Friday, December 19, 2014


I have been following a wonderful blog for almost the better part of a year now written by Rebecca Sweet. Rebecca's blog "Harmony in the Garden" is an incredible place to visit when you are wanting some inspiration, when you feel down and want to be uplifted, or just if you want to see what other people are doing in their gardens that might be new and exciting. Or just plain beautiful.

Today, Rebecca posted a give-away but first she talked about what she has been grateful for this year. Gratefulness is a wonderful practice to follow each day but Rebecca has even more to be thankful for of late because she was diagnosed with breast cancer and is undergoing treatment. She asked anyone who wanted to be entered in the give-away to post something that they were grateful for or that had made a great impact on them this year. I wrote about how finding her blog has really inspired me and not just because she posts the most incredible photos of gardens (she writes for Sunset magazine) but because of her story and her lust for life. She truly is an inspiration and a reason to never give up no matter what life throws in your way. She makes me happy; she reminds me to live for the moment and to enjoy even the small details for in the small details we will most often find the big moments.

You've heard me talk about friends that I no longer see who were friends for over 40 years. There really is no explanation for the silence (now going on 6 years) but one thing I can say is that it has helped me look at myself more deeply and to be in touch with what makes me tick. "When one is out of touch with oneself, one cannot touch others."  Ann Morrow Lindbergh   Bill and I were talking about moving out of state and one of his concerns is that we would be far away from our children and grandchildren and that "we wouldn't know anyone." My reply to him was "I have met more people in the last three years since we moved from our home of 37 years than I have in the entire time of living there." True...we seem to attract what we need in our lives. I have learned that in these last six years. It is like cleaning house: you get rid of the old clutter around you so that you can make room for new friends and opportunities. If I could ever speak to these women I would thank them for forcing me to look at myself deeply and to allow me to clear myself of their energy so that I could rebuild myself.

Reading a new book titled "Honor Yourself--The Inner Art of Giving and Receiving" by Patricia Spadaro she writes this: "When an ending comes, you may be tempted to greet it with regret, bitterness, or blame. Instead, face it with the certain knowledge that, for some reason, you need to turn off the road you are traveling on and take another route. Don't look back or hang your head as if you did something wrong or are being punished. Expect that your new adventure will, in its own time, reveal its reward and that this change is ultimately for your benefit. Make your new choices based on those truths and you will be honoring who you are and who you are to become." Page 127 My feelings exactly! She goes on to say that perhaps what bothers us most is that we are not in control of how and when those endings come.

My lost friend once said to me that "change is good". I had no idea she was talking about our friendship but thought she was talking to me about the possibility of selling our house and moving. Little did I know how true her statement would come to be. Change IS good. Really good. And reading Rebecca's blog today gave me that boost I needed at this time of the year when I become melancholic. The days are becoming shorter, the skies are grey for days on end, the flowers and trees have gone dormant but Rebecca gave me hope that Spring shall come. Do yourself and favor and check out her blog and her postings. I think you will become an avid reader and see what she sees each day. She doesn't give up. She keeps planning her garden. She has hope. And hope is so important.

"Insist on yourself: never imitate...
Do that which is assigned to you, and you
cannot hope too much or dare too much."

                    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Last night we went to a service at my spiritual resource center to celebrate Thanksgiving. I was asked to read one of six "prayers", each representing a different faith or belief. I was given the Jewish prayer to read and since I feel that my family's roots go back to Jewish beliefs, I felt honored to read this "prayer". I am sharing because it really spoke to me. Of course, I don't believe in accidents, so this was exactly what I needed to hear.

A Thanksgiving Prayer by Rabbi Maralee Gordon

In this moment, mindful of our many blessings,
may we form an intent to carry gratitude with us continually.
May we leave fear and jealousy by the wayside,
making room in our hearts for contentment, satisfaction and compassion.
May we start each day counting our blessings:
the blessing of being alive,
the many miracles of the living world we are one with,
the ability we possess to love and be loved,
the many gifts and talents we have been graced with,
the support we are able to extend.
May our gratitude lead to action:
May we express our gratitude.
May we smile when we encounter each other on the path,
may we seek opportunities to share our talents with others,
may we express our love to one another,
may we give with no expectation of receiving.
May we seek to repair what is broken.
May we end each day counting the day's blessings,
those we have received and those we have bestowed.
May we be a blessing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


I woke up this morning thinking about the month of November and how it makes me feel.

Sadness was the dominating feeling that came to my mind. There has been so much loss in my life and I suppose that is natural, being 64 years of age. You kind of have to expect that you are not going to get through life unscathed. No one does. It is part of the process we call life...the school of life.

When I try to analyze why I woke up thinking about November and people that I have lost, I realize that it was my discussion with my mother late last night that brought this to the surface. My Aunt Barbara is not expected to live much longer and her birthday is this Thursday, November 6th. But there is more to this that meets the eye. November has deeper sadness that still, to this day, resonates within me. The loss of my father at the young age of seven.

I always feel that I have worked through the loss of my father but it still it tends to bubble up from time to time, making me question myself and if I have resolved the issue of his death still. For so many years I was disoriented because of my loss. I didn't understand the "why" of his death or even "how". But over the years I have worked it out in my mind and realize now that it was a process.

I am currently reading a book called "Finding Yourself in Transition" by Robert Brumet and he defines the ending experience quite well. He says there are four questions that frame our sense of reality. They are:
  • Who am I?
  • What is real?
  • What is my life about?
  • What is my place in the world?

He says there are four stages that we must honor as part of the transition period and they are disengagement, disidentification, disenchantment, and disorientation. "Each of these aspects of the ending experience needs to be honored as an essential element of the transition process. There is no single "right way" to do this. It is important that we be aware of all our responses to an ending and allow ourselves to fully experience each stage of the process. As with any transformational process, we don't make it happen; we can only allow it to happen through us."

In November of 2009 I had just finished treatment for thyroid cancer. That in itself was a great loss having spent a few nights in the hospital with acute renal failure and questioning the four questions that framed my reality: Who was I? What was real? What was my life about? and What was my place in the world? I had no idea at the time that my friend of almost 40 years would decide to never speak to me again either. It has been almost 6 years since we have talked or seen each other. I have had to look at it as though she died in order to make any sense out of it because if I tried to answer the "why" or the "how" this happened I had no answer. The answer is inside of her. And I am not privy to that answer and most likely will never have the answer either. And that same year her mother, a very dear friend to me most of my adult life, passed away on November 18...the day after her anniversary

November 17th is her anniversary to her husband. They met each other through my husband and myself back in the 70's and were married in the late 70's also. They had two children and I suppose have some grandchildren now too. All collateral losses. But again...part of life. 

Robert Brumet says that not only is grief a symptom of being wounded but it "is a part of the very process by which we are healed." "When we allow ourselves to grieve fully our loss rather than avoiding its lesson by seeking another external mirror, we are reclaiming the natural self.." (p.54)

Transition is a process. Just like the seasons and how they change, our lives change in the same way. We have many  moments in our lives to experience change. "Pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding." (Kahlil Gibran) I suppose if I were really honest with myself, I would know deep within me that great things have come to me through the pain I perceived at the time of my loss. I have gone on to marry, have wonderful children and grandchildren, moved from my home of 37 years (a sense of loss and transition in itself yet somehow wonderful and free), plant new gardens, make new art in a new studio, and on and on. Life is full of changes and it's important how we handle them. Go through the process of loss, of grieving, of learning and moving on.

I suppose what I really want to say is "thank  you"....thank you to my father, to my friend, to my Aunt, to everyone whom I have lost in my the month of November especially. I can now see that there is beauty in the loss and I can also see that Spring shall come. It won't always be November. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


The essence of excitement is enthusiasm--whose root meaning is quite profound: "moved by something extraordinary, even divine."

Today, I was moved by the play of shadows on every-day things I saw as I walked in the park. The shadow play on these things thrilled me and got me excited. 

Take a stand for a life that's got some juiciness in it!!
(excerpted from "just ONE thing" by Rick Hanson, PhD)


Acorn on table..a meal perhaps?

Two acorns oppose, each in their tracks.

What was once up is down...a tree nonetheless?

Which leaf do I pick up, which leaf is the best?

This tractor is silent while sun starts to flee.

A bench? A table? Which do you see?

A shadow, a sign, waiting for me.

The fence in the shadows still keeps me at bay.

The shadow of bench allows me to stay.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


"All the noise in my brain. I clamp it to the page so it will be still."

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver---page 532

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Garden Greens

"The eyes in the trees open onto my dreams. In daylight they watch my crooked hands while I scratch the soil in my little damp garden. What do you want from me? When I raise up my crazy old eyes and talk to myself, what do you want me to tell you?"

The Poisowood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Thursday, May 8, 2014


The other day I was browsing the used book store as I sometimes do, in search of a few "gems". There are always great books to be found there and the space is filled with books, all categorized in terms of their topic. In the children's book room I found two or three great little books for my granddaughters but also one for me. It is titled "Everybody Needs a Rock" by Byrd Baylor with pictures by Peter Parnall. What a great book. Simple. Very few pages (less than 20 I would say) and not much to the pictures that are hand-drawn in terms of color but the content is superb! 

I have been a "rock hound" since I was a young girl. I used to have a great rock collection with each rock in its own compartment, categorized by type, when I started my collection. Over the years I would add to it but when I left home at 18 it was one of those things that got left behind in my locker in the garage. I always knew it would be there waiting for me if and when I wanted to pick it up but then one year my parents decided to move and it, along with many other items that I felt were valuable, got tossed in the garbage during the move. I was devastated, to say the least. It takes YEARS to put together a good rock collection!

I have "collected" rocks ever since but not rocks that are semi-precious stones or valued. I have collected rocks that "speak" to me along the way. The criteria is always the same: they have to be a special shape or color or come from a place that I want to remember. You know...SPECIAL!
Byrd Baylor says in her book: "If somebody says, 'what's so special about that rock?' don't even tell them...Nobody is supposed to know what's special about another person's rock." 
She has ten rules she uses for finding a rock. Rule Number 9 I really like.

"Always sniff a rock. Rocks have their own smells. Some kids can tell by sniffing whether a rock came from the middle of the earth or from an ocean or from a mountain where wind and sun touched it every day for a million years. 
You'll find out that grown-ups can't tell these things. Too bad for them. They just can't smell as well as kids can."

I guess I am still a kid-at-heart since I still sniff my rocks. I hold my rocks, rub my rocks, sometimes dip them in water to see the color and if I don't have any water to dip them into...well then...I have been known to even LICK a rock on occasion. Or spit on it! 

I love to collect heart-shaped rocks and I know many people who do too. They don't have to be perfectly-shaped hearts either. They can be a little bit wonky, abstract hearts. Just as long as they remind me of a heart, that is all that is important really. But heart-shaped rocks are not my only criteria either. 

I also like to collect perfectly round rocks that look like balls. And then I like to collect elongated rocks of all different sizes. I have a collection of rocks that look like faces, rocks that sparkle, rocks that look like skulls. And it's funny how these rocks find me. I might just be carrying the garbage out one day and happen to look down to see a face staring back at me in a rock. I have to pick it up, examine it, and if it is "special" it finds a place in my collection here at home. I actually think that I have rocks in almost every room (inside and outside) in my home. It's just something that has to be.

"I've seen a lizard pick one rock out of a desert full of rocks and go sit there alone. I've seen a snail pass up twenty rocks and spend all day getting to the one it wanted. 
You have to make up your own mind. You'll know."  Byrd Baylor

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Spring for me has always been a time of new beginnings. When I hear the saying "Spring forward" when it is time to change our clocks, I often don't think of it in the traditional way but in a way that separates the two words.
Forward thinking, forward march. To or toward what is ahead or in front.
Send to a new address.

When I moved to this new home almost 3 years ago, I brought over a portion of almost every plant that was in my yard at the time. It was important to me because each flower represented a person, a place, or a thing. Each had its own quality that made it special to me and reminded me of something. The rose (above) was one that I took from my grandmother's home when she passed away. I babied it along for many years and each year it hasn't ceased to amaze me. Not so much the color but the scent. The scent is amazing and when I bend down to sniff it, it is my Grandmother...right there in that moment.

This year my daughters surprised me with a kinetic sculpture for my garden. My birthday is next week and true to form, they picked something that would inspire me each day and remind me of them. I love sitting in my dining room or looking out the window in my bedroom and seeing it spin in the gentle breeze. It is a gift for my new home that really makes me happy.

The iris in my garden started out from rhizomes that my grandmother gave to me years ago. They were easy to bring over to our new house because I didn't have to worry much about them wilting in the hot sun while I was busy moving furniture in the house. They sat patiently in one-gallon pots, devoid of any flowers at the time but still waiting, to be planted. The one above was the first iris that my grandmother had ever given to me and it is always the first to bloom every year.

I love taking a walk out in the garden every morning and seeing what gift will be there waiting for me. Every day there is a new color. And each year I continue to add to the collection that I have. The iris' are only in bloom for a very short amount of time here. Usually by the time May comes around, they have finished their spectacular show. Then it is time for maintenance...trimming, digging, re-planting. It is always a labor of love for me. I'm moving another location. Taking them and passing them on to someone else that can enjoy them as much as I do.

Plants are like that to me: gifts. They are from someone and to someone. And each flower, each scent that I walk past each day, reminds me of the person that gave it to me. The lilac bush (above) was given to me by my friend Candy when I moved here almost 3 years ago. This year the blooms are magnificent and full. And this variety will bloom twice in one year...not just the typical Spring bloom that I am used to having. Ah....April! 
A month that has both my birthday, my husband's birthday, and my first-born twin named after. We always knew that one of our daughters would be named April but at the time didn't know if there were going to be two girls, two boys, or one of each. I was lucky and had two girls. Two girls who are so precious and special. Who are considerate and thoughtful. What better gift in the month of December could a mother ask for than two daughters. Vestiges of the Spring before.

And I would be remiss by not mentioning these two wonderful both gone yet still loved so very much by so many. Theodora (Peggy) was my friend's Vicki's mother. To me she was known as Agnes. (Another story for another time). She was a good friend to me in that she shared her family with me as though they were my own. I spent so much time there growing up because my home life was not the best. But Peggy (Agnes) was always there for me, treating me like her own. If Vickie (her daughter) was punished, so was I. If there was to be silence at the dinner table, I had to obey also. But along with the structure came much laughing and fun. Many weekends were spent water skiing, riding in convertibles,  eating fried chicken and potato salad, lying in the sun, and making Peggy margaritas. Oh...those days are forever burned into my memory and will always be fondly thought of.

Her granddaughter Lindsay (seen above with her) has also passed away. I didn't get to know Lindsay very well because we had moved away. But I would imagine that she was the light of Peggy's eye. Lindsay was born on April 17th years after her sister Heather was born on April 26th. Lindsay now has a star named after her in the sky. I know that Peggy and her are together this April. They have moved toward something else...have gone to a new address. They have Sprung Forward and have paved the way for the rest of us. Life is like that: we live, we die. There is no other alternative. But for me, remembering the sweetness of the April flowers is oh, so important.

Friday, March 21, 2014


What is it about shadows? I see them everywhere, as most everyone else does too, but some days they stand out much more in my mind's eye than other days. This shadow of the oak tree in my backyard is one example that really spoke to me. I must say...I see things in these shadows and I am not sure if it is because I can feel my eyesight getting slightly worse than I seem to be relishing the things that I see even more. I want to embrace everything that is out there for me to view before it is too late.

It might not be too late either. Things might miraculously change and one day I will open my eyes to see things the way that I used to see things: nice and clear. At the present moment it appears as though I am looking through a bubble...some of the words run together and some are missing altogether directly in the middle of the word. Some days I notice it, some days I don't. I think that I am just trying to "will" it away because it seems that the ophthalmologist says that it is brought on my the stress hormone cortisol. And heaven knows that I have had my fair share of stress in the last year. Yes...

it kind of looks like this. There are waves and distortions in the middle of my field of vision. I am trying not to focus on it in a negative way but trying to make the best of a somewhat difficult situation.

I started working on a canvas about my eye and what I am thinking about. It has many meanings and still, because I am such a visual person, the eye is very important to the piece. I have been working on a series of art pieces monthly that the topic has been "The I" or "The Ego" and then the play-on-words "eye" definition seems to come "full focus" (no pun intended) because perhaps I need to be focusing outside myself much more than I am. I should be thinking of others more and not be so self-centered. 

The title of this piece is "Cross my Heart..." Remember that old saying that we said when we were promising someone something? Remember what the consequences would be if you told a lie or didn't keep that promise? Well...that needle has many purposes in this painting. I am still working them out; still reflecting and building layers. It is a process as most of you know. But, meaningful and that is what counts. Working through the process; trying to resolve the issues; trying to forgive and move on; trying to remove my Ego from the middle.

'Time is the horizontal dimension of life, the surface layer of reality. Then there is the vertical dimension of depth, accessible to you only through the portal of the present  moment. So instead of adding time to yourself, remove time. The elimination of time from your consciousness is the elimination of ego. It is the only true spiritual practice." (excerpted from Eckhart Tolle)

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Tomorrow...I will start posting to my blog again. I need to do it for ve creative fet out of my head and into the world again. Tomorrow begins anew.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Oh my! I just looked at the date of my last post and it was December. Here it is already February and I am again wondering where all the time has gone. Is it possible that I might have fallen asleep and just now opened my eyes to find an entire month has gone by?

It was a busy January, that's for sure. We had unseasonably warm weather almost the entire month. So warm that we are now in an official drought status, declared by the Governor of California. We drove up to tour the HGTV home which is located in Truckee, California and traveling over the summit which is usually covered with feet of snow, we arrived to find mostly rocks with small patches of snow only in the absolute shady spots. It was really frightening! And it really hasn't gotten much better yet. I'm afraid to think of what summer will be like here in our state when the heat arrives.

Last week we visited the Monks who are visiting here from the Gaden Shartse Monastery in India. What an incredible time we had seeing them create the Mandala, perform healing ceremonies, sweeping the sands of the completed Mandala away at the end of their time here and depositing them in Deer Creek, a local creek in the town of Nevada City. The Mandala has healing properties. It is the Medicine Buddha that is depicted in the Mandala. The Medicine Buddha is the Supreme Healer in Tibetan medicine, available for liberating the individual from suffering and is an exemplary metaphor for the mystical elements which are universally inherent in the holistic healing tradition.

The beginnings of the Medicine Buddha Mandala

Blessings in Nevada City at the Maidu Cedar Monument

The sand from the Mandala is being placed into Deer Creek by the monks.

Ven Geshe Lharampa Jampa Phelgya and Don Ryberg...Tribal council chairman of the Tsi-Akim Maidu Tribe

I'm really glad that I finally woke up just in time to be immersed in the time I had with the monks. And as we drove away from Nevada City that morning, sands being placed into Deer began to rain. Thank you monks for blessing the environment and me with your presence.

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