31 December 2014

Sadly, we're still sick...

We finally celebrated Christmas, as best we could, on the 28th, and E had a fun 17th birthday on the 29th - she's the only healthy one!

So I won't be posting here anytime soon... but I just wanted to wish you all a very Happy New Year and may 2015 be all you want it to be :-)

6 December 2014

Focus on Life Week 49: Chaos!

December's theme is no surprise - 'Tis the Season...

And I like this week's theme, as so often December is rather chaotic (which is why I needed a wee blog break to prepare!).

So here's my chaotic desk - before I create some order and make this month's Full Moon Dreamboard...

... and here's the serene Elder Moon at 5 am this morning, before she sank behind the trees at the back of the house.

19 November 2014

Taking a wee break...

... from Blogland, as I retreat for the next couple of weeks with Susannah Conway...

Hoping I'll return renewed and invigorated...


Decided to share with Focus on Life as I am hope-full - this week's theme :-)

14 November 2014

Focus on Life Week 46: Faith(ful)

One thing I have faith in is Family.

Here's ours from a family holiday in Yorkshire 12 year ago!! My dad's taking the picture ;-)
Yes, A LOT has changed in 12 years, but the deep bonds between us haven't...

10 November 2014

Word for the Week

Last week was a tad manic, so I didn't draw a Word for the Week - I needed to stay with Peace...

Hoping this week is calmer, I draw this from my Rediscovery Pack

Ahhh, this is a watchword for me! This is what to I strive to be in everything I do - from writing on this blog, to what I read, listen to, how I interact with people...

I hate anything fake - from people to handbags - but I love raw, authentic honesty. Hence I buy most gifts from Etsy rather than Ebay, listen to folk like Damien Rice rather than some manufactured pop boy band. It's why I seek out a local independent coffee shop, rather than Costa of Starbucks, why I read magazines like Flow and Uppercase, instead of Hello!

The rich, deep pink background has appeared a number of times on other Words for the Week - Love, Hope, Opportunity, Support - which seems fitting. There is a definite connection between all these powerful words!

I'll leave you with some great quotes about Authenticity, and my heartfelt wishes for a wonderful week :-)

7 November 2014

Focus on Life Week 45: Grateful

November's prompts from Sally are words ending in '...ful'

I have soooo many things I am grateful for (I write down at least 5 every day...), so I figured I needed to make a collage...

6 November 2014

November Full Moon Dreamboard

Making this Dreamboard felt a tad different, as I made a New Moon Dreamboard for the first time a couple of weeks ago, so the themes of the Reed Moon were very present - harmony, clarity and purpose - when I sat down to start it...

But as I look at the completed Dreamboard, I realize Samhain was probably more on my subconscious than I realized...

Left-hand page
There are several pages from old We'Moon diaries with a clear focus on words, rather than images...
Top left:
Blanket of Miracles

I stand on a blanket of miracles.
I am strange stuff and dark magic:
broken bones and black feathers,
chants, fire, wood and
so many tears.
Tears like drops of moonlight
along an evergreen path.

I am soft kisses and slick touch,
heavy and round,
like my grandmother.
I arch,
reciting fever prayers
to old forest gods,
breathing the rhythm,
and giving birth to the world.

This is no spell.

I am deep memories and 
lies long forgiven.
With tongue and teeth,
skin and spirit,
I drum.

I stand on my blanket of miracles
and dance, singing

I am 
the blood of my mothers,
dangerous knowledge,
fire and water and
salted bread.

I come to this place
to remember my beginning.
I come to this place
to honour my end.

Then I curl up
on my blanket of miracles,
to dream my daughters
into being.

Katharine Saunders 2012

Wow, what a poem!!!

Top right:
I, Wonder, say to you truly
all that we are
is just one motion of breath and divinity
rushing together - to fill the great lungs of life.
Let me stir in your body, this mystical cauldron,
where matter and spirit meet for a  moment -
the one long moment - of your life.

excerpt, Renee Hummel 2006
And a lovely image of the practice of Arati by Margaret Forbes 1996

There are two gorgeous images by Beth Wildwood - the wee owl tag I've attached the spine, and a gorgeous owl goddess, with the words 'sense of serenity' which a clipped from a magazine advert.

Bottom right:
A Dead Language

My tongue forks
a dead language,
one of owl.
My fragments 
have hidden
in broom closets
in the face
of Academy,
The War,
Old ball and cannon
what's allowed
into this canon,
the precious words
of women
yanked from the stacks.

The dead language shall rise - womanspeak the canary of seasons,
a land folding in on itself, creatrix - repairing the split.

excerpt, Shae Savoy 2012
Image The Bird Girls Denise Kester 2012

Right-hand page
Top left is a piece about Setting a Cup for Shadow 'For times of heart and mind meetings, conflict transformations, mediations, visioning and accountability processes and so forth' by rain crowe 2012, but it's too long to write out here. 

Top right: I've included the whole page from this month's We'moon diary as it's just too perfect. The stunning image is called 'Forest Madonna' by Barb Levine 2008.

Bottom right: Mother-Child Song by Amy L. Alley 2009, which I thought was ideal as they are blowing through reeds!

Other images: 'Keeping Vigil' by Anny Eastwood 2005, Nicola Taylor's business card, and a wee penny farthing sticker :-)


Phew! I think this is THE longest post I've ever written! Thank you if you persevered to the end - you are a star *grin*

As always, I'd love to know what you see/feel when you see the Dreamboard, and do let me know if you've made one too!

PS The weekend and this week have been very busy and stressful, so I didn't draw a new Word for the Week - I still need to sit with Peace...

31 October 2014

Focus on Life Week 44: An ordinary photo...

... of the extraordinary everyday...

My beautiful carnelian chunk (Carnie) - he sits on my desk to inspire creativity and gets a gentle rub when I need an extra boost ;-)

He's about 3.5 inches tall (if you're wondering...)

Paint Party Friday - Beginning the journey...

... of A Year and a Day... A wonderful course created by Angel Sullivan.

We began last Thursday (23 Oct), on the New Moon, but I've been dithering and battling with my inner critic all week - not daring to start my journal, in case I ruin it!!

I bought two of these beautiful books, handmade in Italy, to take me through the next 366 days. I decided to start in the brown-coloured one as it seems to represent Autumn/Winter, and the green one I'll start next year in Spring/Summer.

I have dedicated the journal to my mother's mother, whom I never knew. She died aged 32 from breast cancer when my mother was 10 years old. Her name was Florence Esther, which I didn't know until recently yet we called our own daughter Esther Florence(!)

There are 14 of us in the group, and I have written My Sisters' names so I can remember them each day as I journal...
Sharing here although I realize there's no painting - yet :-)

27 October 2014

Word for the Week

My body hasn't adapted yet to the clock change at the weekend, so I'm a tad late...
Here's the card I pulled from my Rediscovery Pack today.

Ahhh, peace, perfect peace...

I'm first struck that it's the same colour background as last week's Word, Communication...
And I wonder, how much of our communication is peaceful? And I remember Rumi's wise words

So many of our interactions are all about being heard, who can shout the loudest, and are not about really communicating with each other, and so often not in a peaceful way.

Then, I turn to the painting on the wall beside me, which has been my mantra for the past 6 months...

... and I am reminded of the famous Rudyard Kipling poem... The word 'Peace' isn't mentioned per se, but I think Kipling is describing Inner Peace! The kind of Peace that isn't disturbed by anything that's going on around... that still centre of the vortex, the peace-filled calm amid the whirlwind of the world...

What do you think/feel when you see this Word? What does it mean to you?

24 October 2014

Focus on Life Week 43: Your favourite colour

I don't really have a favourite colour... depends on what mood I'm in...

I tend to enjoy whatever colours Mother Nature chooses to display on any given day.

Yes, it's my lovely bush from last week, but now in daylight ;-)

23 October 2014

New Moon Dreamboard - A new practice

I have thought about making a Dreamboard for the New Moon for several months now, and today I did just that :-)

It's a new scrapbook and this time it's A3, so a double spread is pretty darn BIG!!!

The extra impetus to start this new practice is the beginning of A Year and a Day - a wonderful course hosted by Angel Sullivan. Who knows what the next 366 days will hold, but I'm ready and I'm drawing on the New Reed Moon energies of harmony, clarity, and a deep sense of purpose and intention for the coming month.

Here's the full spread. I used lot of images from my tear-off quote-a-day calendar - there's a definite 'ready for action' vibe, I think :-)

Left-hand page
Top left: Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed Vaclav Havel (Czech playwright)
Top right: You see things and you say Why? But I dream things that never were, and say Why not? George Bernard Shaw
I think you can read the other quotes (especially if you click on the image to enlarge).
I've added a wee feather and two fallen leaves - gifts on my doorstep this morning!

Right-hand page
Again, if you enlarge the image, you can read most things, but the wee heart sticker in the centre reads' 'Unlock your heart, unleash your potential'.
Below it I've written out a quote I found,

What life can compare to this? Sitting quietly by the window, I watch the leaves fall and the flowers bloom, as the seasons come and go.
Hsueh-Tou (982--1052)

And bottom left is a page from an old We'Moon diary, which really spoke to me...

Leap of Faith

Standing before a fork
in the road
there is not a right answer

or truth cast in stone, there are
choices, plans and desire,

there is the heart of fire and
twist of fate,
there is the unveiling

of who you are and who you
are becoming.

This I have found after
bargaining with my hopes

and my destiny. There is only
a still quiet voice within

that tells me trust what you
know and then surrender,

leap of you must, let your wings
unfurl, let your angels play catch.

We drink dreams from a
sliver of moon.

Wendy L. Brown, 2007

It was especially the last phrase which summed up why I wanted to make this New Moon Dreamboard... I have always connected with the Full Moon, but I am only just beginning to recognize all Mama Luna's phases, and tap into the hidden potential of the New Moon...

As always, I'd be thrilled to read any responses/insights you have when you see my Dreamboard, so do share x

PS Wow, I've just realized this is my 250th post!!
Another reason to celebrate the wonder of the New Moon ;-)

20 October 2014

Word for the Week

Wow, that week went quickly... I swear the days go by quicker as we wind down the year...
Today I pulled this Word from my Rediscovery Pack

Such a good Word! It's what we humans seek to do - and arguably, it's what has driven most of our evolution and invention!

This beautiful sky-blue colour sits perfectly with the throat chakra, and yes, we communicate a lot with our voices - grunting, speaking, singing...

But also, we communicate with our hands - signing, writing, making art...

And not forgetting all the body language communication that goes on - whether we're aware of it or not!

The long months after the stroke when I couldn't talk were dark days... and even now I often struggle to form the words I want, especially when I'm tired...

We communicate to connect, and when we can't for whatever reason, we become lonely and isolated. Hence the internet can be life-saver for some (it was for me!), and why I think wi-fi access and basic computer know-how are vital in today's world.

Forms of communication are changing and developing all the time, but the essentials stay the same - to meet and greet a fellow human being...

17 October 2014

Focus on Life Week 42: The colour of evening

I especially like the in-between times of the day - dawn and dusk - the light is softer, the world quieter, but it's a terrible light to try and take photos :-(

Here's my attempt at a Golden Hour shot...

I have a night-time option on my camera (a wee Lumix digital), but it did something weird with the colours... But I rather like it - my ordinary bush looks rather alien :-)

16 October 2014

Thursday Thoughts...

Exercising my Blossoming Power...

... and learning to embrace my lopsided-ness

wet hair + NO make-up + NO glasses = VERY vulnerable *gulp*

PS I need to remember the wisdom of yesterday's post!

13 October 2014

Word for the Week

Well, here's a thing - two Words came out of the Rediscovery Pack bag stuck together, back to back, like two sides of the same coin...

How cool is that??

And I have to say, even on this wet, grey Autumn day, I do sense within me a 'Blossoming Power'...

In 10 days' time, I begin this year-long journey with the very lovely Angel Sullivan and an online group of Soul Sisters (we've been getting to know each each on Facebook for the past few weeks).

It's a BIG commitment - in both time and money - but when I signed up back in July, I just knew it was what I needed to do. I have had a growing sense that I've been building up to this for the last couple of years - certainly since I became able to write/journal more competently with my left hand.

Daily journalling is how I've always worked through the STUFF whirling constantly around my head - it's what I was doing when the stroke hit 7 years ago (the pen falling from my hand mid-word is how I knew something was up!) And in the first years after the stroke, when I couldn't even read, let alone write, I was completely lost, I simply didn't know who/what I was...

Now, though, I sense within me this Blossoming Power of who I am, and who I am becoming... And it's incredibly exciting, and more than a tad scary...

But I just love that this potentially scary Power is actually Blossoming - unfolding like a flower, naturally, and in its own time. It's not exploding out - which I would find scary in the extreme! - but opening up gently, unfurling little by little...

And wow, that's the kind of Power I like, and what I actually want a piece of :-)

As always, I'd really appreciate hearing what you feel/see/respond to in these two amazing Words...

10 October 2014

Focus on Life Week 41: A punch of colour

It's been a yucky week in the UK weatherwise - high winds, heavy showers - so all I could manage was a shot of the postbox at the end of our street. But it is a punch of colour against the fading autumn leaves...

9 October 2014

Thursday Thoughts...

This greeted me this morning at 6am...

I tried to get a photo of the strong moon-shadow on the dining room floor, but sadly didn't manage it. But the brightness of the Full Ivy Moon was extraordinary!

I just love that when I go to bed, I see the moon from the front of the house, but by the time I awake the next morning, she's journeyed around and is shining over the garden at the back of the house.

Her celestial movement in the night is deeply reassuring, and as I gazed on her this morning I remembered sitting in the back of the car as a child, totally fascinated as she followed us home...

I never envisioned a man in the moon, or that it was made of cheese, but I did see the Moon as a benign, slightly shy figure, who sometimes hid in the big, black sky, but at other times shone brightly with a big open face silently announcing her radiant presence.

8 October 2014

October Full Moon Dreamboard

Ah, the Full Ivy Moon... it's all about releasing and letting go... something very close to my heart as our son left for university a couple of weeks ago!!

Left-hand page
Top left - I recently found some Halloween-themed backing papers in my stash, and this one of the full moon behind branches was just perfect!
To the right of that is a postcard of a Natasha Newton painting of a tree shedding its leaves, on which I've stuck 'Let Go'. I love her earthy palette and naive style, but can only afford postcards and stickers of her work...
Under the moon image is a postcard of a painting by Jess Purser. I don't know why this image leaped out at me, maybe I secretly want a crystal ball to see not only my future, but that of my kids, as they forge out on their life path...
I'm sure that was in my mind when I chose this 'Carve your own Path' image from my quote-a-day calender... And the typewriter wooden cut-out and the words 'Important' and 'Take Note' say it all... I am journalling each day through this 'letting go' process in preparation for this amazing e-course which starts on the New Moon on 23 October, the timing of which couldn't be better!

Right-hand page
Top left is a black and white photo from an old Toast catalogue, on which I'm written the Anais Nin quote: 

Life shrinks and expands in proportion to one's courage.

It was printed on the back of the Greg Spalenka Warrior postcard (top right). I love the androgynous figure, as I see it presenting both me and our son...
Below these two images are works by Gillian Lee Smith, whose work I just adore. The little doll figure was on an old business card of hers, and the painting is from her current exhibition 'We all Cast Shadows' at the Heart Gallery. I have stuck on the quote 'Love will find a way' - no prizes for guessing why!!
Finally, on the bottom left is a postcard of a tree collage by Anna Mackellar, on which I've stuck a wee image of the Leaf Goddess by Nadine C. Butterfield 2003 from an old We'Moon diary. And finally is a lovely pine-cone illustration from my stash (no idea where it came from).

So there it is, my 'Letting Go' Ivy Full Moon Dreamboard. I have found it especially therapeutic this month, and I now feel ready to prepare for the New Moon and my own A Year and a Day adventures...

I know I'll revisit it whenever I miss Sam, but I'm so thrilled he's begun his new life as a student, that any sense of loss is balanced by a real sense of excitement for him. The Ivy Full Moon is all about holding on and letting go - and knowing when is the right time for each...

I'd love to know what you think when you see my Dreamboard - do share in the comments :-)

6 October 2014

Word for the Week

Well, I've probably pulled THE 'biggest' Word out of the Rediscovery Pack today...

WOW! What can one say about this Word that hasn't already been said??

All I think of when I see this Word are these beautiful people...

(l to r: Sam, Esther, my dad, Jon, my brother)

... and the one taking the photo, my hubby Nick...

These are my family, my Loved Ones :-)

But what of all the other people I love? My friends, near and far, ones I've known all my life, ones I've only met recently online?

What of beloved Molly-cat, and all the pets I've loved in my 50 years on this planet? What of the subjects I love - the books, the artists, the artworks? The foods, the places, the seasons...?

There is SO much that I love, how could I possibly list them all???

When I see the rich, deep pink background, I'm reminded of the other Words I've encountered with the same colour - Support, Hope, Opportunity - what a triumvirate on with the stand this week's Word!!

Truly, Love supports and gives us hope, and surely every day gives us the opportunity to experience Love - whether we're the giver or the receiver...

For me, to love and to be loved are THE richest, deepest Truths of Life. I would love(!) to know what you think/feel/experience when you see this BIG Word...

3 October 2014