Mermaids and Liturgy

Sunday 10 December 2017

Snow and quiet moments
Broken strands of lights
The perfect song
Multiple plan B’s
A blossom
A bird
A drink of water
Mermaids and liturgy
I can’t always explain what catches my eye.  What consumes my attention. I don’t always know why one thing weighs more than the other.  Why one event is charged and another supposed-to-be-significant moment passes on by.  I do know that December in particular seems to have all the things.  Lights and favorite people.  Stress and movement.  Gatherings and loneliness in blender.  Reflection and anticipation. And lists.  All the lists.
I’m waking up early and sometimes sleeping in.  I’m carrying my camera and sometimes putting it down.  I’m paying attention and holding hands with only the most important things.  Everything else can pass on by.
Wishing you all the most important things.
“Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it.”  Marcus Aurelius, The Emperor’s Handbook   
By |2017-12-11T12:05:51-04:00December 11th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Release Expectations

magazine perfect family gatherings
gorgeous butter cookies w edible glitter
beautiful IG posts every day

constantly cleaning up after aging pets – rug at the curbside this week…
borrowed batteries out of a remote to light up the mantel for this photo
writing deadline displaced cookie baking. Day 3 and I’m already behind on my own personal challenge.

The full moon is my cue to let go of that which does not serve. Once a month seems to be about as long as I can go without a healthy accounting of my angst, agendas and judgment. When the moon shines bright, I let go. I forgive. [Especially my 18 year old self. She did the best she knew how.] I bless and release. I surrender. Today’s gentle reminder has a heaping teaspoon of truth telling. Because tis the season for agendas and unrealistic expectations. Listen, decide what you truly want and let go of the rest. Unrealistic magazine expectations and perfectionism don’t deserve your energy. Give your attention to the important things. [Pro tip: You decide the important things.] For us this year: generosity, family and simple ways.

I’m letting the light of the moon wash me w clarity and grace. I’m opening my hand and releasing image management. My intentions are focused on rich connection and good chocolate. On analog faces and peaceful spaces.



Open your hand. What stays and what goes?

By |2017-12-06T17:35:25-04:00December 6th, 2017|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Zero resolutions and cross fit for the soul

“We have another chance to navigate, perhaps in a slightly different way than we did yesterday. We cannot go back. But we can learn.”
– Jeffery R. Anderson   The Nature of Things – Navigating Everyday Life with Grace
It’s the time of year for resolutions.
It’s also the time of year where I dig in and refuse to make them.
Let me clarify.  I think SMART goals are well…smart. My calendar has been and is filled with coaching sessions helping people identify  goals and vision and vocation.  I’m all about setting goals and putting new energy behind your dreams.
Reality for me is that the “new year” happened back in the Fall.  I love a fresh school calendar, fall clothes and new supplies.  And even though school days are behind me, I still hit reset at the end of October around my birthday.

Stone Mountain and fog

January is the middle to me.  Winter is here.  In Georgia that simply means a handful of blustery, gray days and some rain.  But I’m still hunkering down and making soup and playing the long game of getting through forever nights and limited sunlight.
I have no list of resolutions.  What I have is down time and, true to my overall spiritual practice, time to reflect.  This time of year is more about orientation and course-correction than restart and beginning.
The richest lessons for me have to do with staying aware and present.  With paying attention to what it feels like when my soul is fraying at the edges.  Because if my soul comes undone how will I make, offer, do or BE?  I continue to receive feedback and let my ego dissolve.  Man, I’ve gotten some hardcore feedback this year about things I’ve done and not done.  Thank you to my sacred circle and some courageous truth speakers.  Gah.  Painful and good, like lancing a boil or stairs after leg day.   Speaking of discipline.  NO continues to strengthen my YES and I’m choosing gratitude like a boss.  Collecting gratitudes is cross fit for the soul when turkey buzzards and Persephone are your your spirit animals.
I’ve been trying on words and intentions like maybe I needed something new.  I don’t.  I’m still good with the concept of Sovereignty and the work of Inhabiting my Territory.  I want to feel Tranquil and Empowered and am aligning my behavior to bring that about.  I want to listen to my Inside Voice and use my Outside Voice in a more focused-project-to-the-back-of-the-hall kind of way.  All variations on a theme from the last couple of years.  I don’t need new, I need deep.  I’m throwing my roots down into the earth and finding water and lava and gold.  I’m reaching my hands up to the heavens to find breath and spirit and stars.  I’m singing and shouting.  I’m arranging words and flinging paint and issuing invitations for you to join.
Salud 2017.   Salud.
By |2017-06-01T15:55:11-04:00December 31st, 2016|Uncategorized|4 Comments

When to share your story.  Lessons from an Ent

Details Inside
“I am not going to tell you my name, not yet at any rate.’ A queer half-knowing, half-humorous look came with a green flicker into his eyes. ‘For one thing it would take a long while: my name is growing all the time, and I’ve lived a very long, long time; so my name is like a story. Real names tell you the story of things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time saying anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.” 
>>  Treebeard in JRR Tolkien’s The Two Towers
Sunday 24 July 2016
I started this morning’s Sunday meditations by flipping through my journal to reflect on this past week and take an accounting of lessons learned and changes necessary.  It’s part of my weekly rhythm.
This page with the last little backwards bits of a photo transfer reminded me of an Ent, a race of tree-like beings in J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world Middle-earth.
I am not going to tell you my name
I was struck by the wisdom of being slow to share name and story.
Brene Brown says it this way in The Gifts of Imperfection,
“You share with people who have earned the right to hear your story.” 
Man, that’s so good.  It’s one of the things I would tell my 16 year old self.  
[And my 21 year old self.  And my 40 year old self.  And for sure my 51 year old self.]
Be quick to smile and slow to share the details of your story.  
Rarely Seen
This morning I poured my story into the pages of my journal.  The pages have proven themselves trustworthy friends.  As have a very small handful of people in my sacred circle.  You’d be surprised by how small the number is.  Like Treebeard, I’ve learned to weigh and measure who gets to hear ‘the story of things’.
Here’s some more wisdom from Brene Brown:
I loved when she said this:  
“You have to think long and hard about who has earned the right to hear this story.  And, with whom am I in a relationship that can bear the weight of this story?”
My name is like a story
May you find companions along the way, who are trustworthy and who have sight to see you.  May your sacred circle be filled with quality over quantity.  Overflowing with those who can hold your story with skill, empathy and grace.
BE in your life,
By |2016-10-19T14:20:22-04:00July 24th, 2016|Uncategorized|4 Comments

Coming back around

“And now you’ll be telling stories
of my coming back
and they won’t be false, and they won’t be true
but they’ll be real” 
>> Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings
Thursday 14 July 2016
Sometimes in the ebb and flow of the creative process, living and creating is The Thing and sharing shifts in priority.  That being said, I appreciate projects and thinking about other humans, because sharing product and process keeps me engaged with the world.
I’m circling back around to sharing for the #100sharesproject. Stuffing 8 days of delicious creative living into one post.
Last week was filled with prayers in poetry and painting form, collections of words, and pages and pages of private musings and discoveries.
There were coaching sessions and days of painting at the studio and a long Sunday brunch with a friend that was full of dream talk and vision casting.
What is the Next?
There have been workshops filled with prepped pages and the joy of watching women discover how exquisite it is to create with abandon.  I’ve been covered in paint and spent a summer evening with a dear one catching up over glasses of French Rose.
Amy & French Rose
May your life be full to overflow.  May the work of your hands be rewarding.  And may your offerings to others be clear and refreshing.
BE in your life,
By |2016-10-19T14:20:22-04:00July 14th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

All the universe conspires 70/100

Wednesday 6 July 2016 70/100 "And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." >>Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist That time that @spirituncaged made a beautiful little book and I found it at just the right time. #the100dayproject #100sharesproject

“And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” 
>> Paul Coelho, The Alchemist
Wednesday 6 July 2016
That time that my friend Cynthia made a beautiful little book and I found it at just the right time and tucked it into my journal.
I often say the pages know before I do.  I spill words and color into my journals.   I count on well-timed words from a friend, sacred texts and divine messages.
The thing that astounds me when I look back at the pages and reflect, is how my out of sequence spills, collections and fast sketchy drawings collude to reveal exactly what my soul is trying to say.   In the pages I dream, set intentions and shed broken belief systems as soon as I discover them.
Growing Faith

“Growing Faith”  sketch for painting

I am growing faith that what is necessary will be there when I need it.
BE in your life,
By |2016-10-19T14:20:22-04:00July 11th, 2016|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Transfers 69/100

Creativity Is Allowing Yourself to Make Mistakes. Art Is Knowing Which Ones to Keep
>> Scott Adams
Tuesday 5 July 2016
Spent the evening playing with photos and soft gel medium.
Despite the fact that the transfers are hit or miss, I love the look.  And working with mistakes and the unexpected  keeps me thinking outside the box and strengthens artistic problem solving.
Enjoy a mistake.  Learn something new or add an hour toward becoming an expert in something.
BE in your life,
By |2016-10-19T14:20:22-04:00July 5th, 2016|Uncategorized|3 Comments

Explorations in Voice 67/100


“Intuition is the voice of the Spirit within you.” ~Morgan Llewllyn

Friday, 1 July 2016


This morning’s pages were filled with found text and words in multiple layers.

found text

Exercises in listening.

Exercises in expression.

Exercises in discovery.

IMG_2268 (1)

May you find your voice and path on this day.

BE in your life,


By |2016-10-19T14:20:22-04:00July 1st, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Creating Containers 66/100


Wednesday 29 June 2016

Back to the #100sharesproject after a pause to solve a series of website challenges.

noun con·tain·er \kən-ˈtā-nər\
a receptacle for holding goods

A cup of tea.

A book with a story between its covers.

A circle of women holding laughter and safety in their locked arms.

A life.


"I am the vessel" journal page May 2016

“I am the vessel” journal page May 2016

A life is a container filled with minutes spent and connections made. Within our lives are many containers like small stacking dolls inside of one large doll. Creative practice is a sacred container.  A container for soul work.  A container for words and the work of our hands and the messages we want to live and send out into the world.

By sacred container I mean a receptacle for emotions and presence. A safe place to bring awareness to emotions and to reflect on what stays and what goes. Spiritual and creative practices are alive and well in the containers we create. In our art and in the circles of people where we gather.


journal page January 2015

Our spiritual and creative practice is in the gardens we plant, the journeys we take and the work of our hands. In the evenings when we gather our family around the table. In the pages when we pour out words. In the communities we build and the difference we make when we courageously choose love.

In these spaces, we weave heart and mind together. We heal. We grow. We transcend.

After countless workshops and coaching sessions and years of honoring my own practice within the pages of a journal, I have come to appreciate the value of creating SAFE containers.

Sturdy, yet flexible containers that hold a FULL RANGE of life and emotions.

a year of pages

a year of pages

Whether navigating grief, collecting wisdom and gratitude, or simply documenting the glory of the everyday, may you create the spaces and pages that uphold your life.

Be in your life,

By |2016-10-19T14:20:22-04:00June 29th, 2016|Uncategorized|3 Comments

How to Speak Color & Line 65/100

How to speak color & line. Wednesday 22 June 2016 So often, my voice is wrapped in color and line. English is too stiff and far away. Text without image no longer satisfies. I think that lines and color must have been my first language. Having pages filled with color and shape puts me one step closer to speaking the language of my soul....[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way — things I had no words for. ~Georgia O’Keeffe


Wednesday 22 June 2016


I started a new journal on Monday. There was a full moon on the longest day of the year – it seemed an auspicious day for a fresh start.

The pages are unlined and lightweight. Not typical of the hand bound journals I’ve been making for myself the last couple of years, but it was on hand and I could tell that the Inhabit Your Territory book was at a close.


The first thing that I do with a new journal is begin to prep pages. I differentiate between Empty pages and Blank pages. [HERE’S a post that talks about that.]

So often, my voice is wrapped in colors and lines. English is too stiff or too far away. Text without image no longer satisfies. I think that lines and color must have been my first language. Having pages filled with color and shape put me one step closer to speaking the language of my soul.

empty page tree

Am ready for the days ahead. Ready to listen. Ready to collect. Ready to reflect.

What sort of containers do you create for your soul work?

BE in your life,

By |2016-10-19T14:20:22-04:00June 22nd, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Tend to Your Correspondence 64/100

Dear Grief

“I’ll write to you. A super-long letter, like in an old-fashioned novel”
Haruki Murakami

Tuesday 21 June 2016

I believe in the power of a handwritten letter. A keyboard is effective for capturing words before they fly away. But, moving a pen across a piece of paper gives mind and heart a richer expression.

Today was a day for letters. Some of them straight into my journal so that my soul could have its say. And others into envelopes with beautiful stamps to send on their way.

Whether you deliver a letter or not, tending to your correspondence provides a place to recognize the reality of a situation, to say what needs to be said, and to take the time it takes to formulate words.

A letter can be for you or for them. Mailed, tucked away in a journal or run through the paper shredder. All the options. All the space.

I hope you tend to your correspondence. Say what you need to say.  Write until you find it.

Write until you find it


BE in your life,

By |2016-10-19T14:20:22-04:00June 21st, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Safety & Risk 63/100

Bloom anyway

“The road must be run safe first, and fast afterward.”
— Rulebook of the New York & Erie Railroad, 1854.

“Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.”

 – Rumi

Monday 20 June 2016



I feel the constant tension between the two.  In art and in life, there is a juxtaposition.  I don’t recall the path to how I became cautious and slow-moving, but I know that I am.  And yet deep down inside, I know that’s not all that I am.  I have always had snappy eyes and ready words and I remember skinned knees and wild outfits along with hiding under blankets with books and flashlight.  SAFETY AND RISK.  I need both and.  I am both and.

Betsy @ 4yo

As contemplative as I am, I have to move my body and my ideas often.   As free-spirited as I am, I thrive in structure.  I tell myself NO daily to something I really want in order to keep my boundary muscles strong.  And I choose something uncomfortable every day just to stay in good standing with risk.

I easily indulge the desire to retreat and I create safe places to sip tea and think.   I love to hunker down and read books and write words and paint  in order to suss out path.  I will also risk in huge ways with myself and others when it comes to words that must be said and questions that must be asked.

Safety and Risk.


Every day do something that scares you

[that day I climbed to a high place and took a self portrait.  Both out of my comfort zone.]

There is a pendulum swing between safety and risk.

We must explore both our frontiers and our cave dwellings. 

In art and in life, we must understand when we need to increase safety and when we need to increase risk.  We undermine forward motion if we hunker down when the clear cry is for risk; and we harm both our body and psyche, if we constantly hit override in order to serve a product over our inner knowing for self care, security and rest.

Mandala for poetry


It is a precious ebb and flow.  We must move between the two.  It is a profound listening that we must engage in.  We must recognize the sensations of our skin crawling, our heart beating more quickly, or a deep breath.   We must open the eyes and ears of our heart.



This is why I faithfully keep a journal.  Not just to make pretty pages, although sometimes they are.  Not to document my daily life, although that happens, too.  But, so that I can be honest with my self about whether I am to take a risk or create safety.


Play safe NOT

I keep a journal, because as I paint and glue and collect and sift, I hear whether in this moment, I am warrior or care giver.



The pages help me clarify whether or not today is a day for No or Yes.

And glory, glory, glory!  Gone are the days when I let someone else make that call for me.

May you, with wisdom, know when to hold safety close to your chest and when to kiss risk full on the lips.


BE in your life,


By |2016-10-19T14:20:22-04:00June 20th, 2016|Uncategorized|2 Comments

Fathers 62/100

Father's Day picture close

[T]here is wisdom in every man, in every father, in your father. And that’s true whether you love him or despise him. ~Joe Kita, “Introduction,” Wisdom of Our Fathers, 1999

Sunday 19 June 2016


Gosh, these card store holidays are just hard.  A mixed bag of love and loss and heartache and joy.  I cannot talk about all the love I have on this day, without keeping close, those for whom the word Father is a place of wounding or sadness.

My father has been gone from this earth for over a decade.  And let me say this, the saying about time healing all wounds is only partially true.  While it’s true that I don’t miss my father daily like I used to, the passage of time doesn’t compensate for the fact that grief doesn’t play fair.

The sensation of loss fades, but anniversaries and holidays and surprise moments haven’t gone away.  I can be walking along just fine and then trip in a gopher hole memory.    Sometimes I cry and sometimes I enjoy a happy memory.   I never know which it will be.

Days like today are never straight up celebration.  There’s so much to be grateful for and yet, it’s also mixed with a little sadness.   I miss you Daddy.


Today our family celebrates one of the best men I know.  Rands you love us with acts of service and sacrifice.  Your heart is bigger than your biceps.  Which is no small thing!  You share wisdom generously and make things happen.  Your embrace has reached exceedingly far beyond the children we birthed.  We love your dad jokes, your grandpa slippers and the way that you champion creativity.  We are grateful for your open hands, honest prayers and countless acts of service.  You simultaneously guard the perimeter and share your heart.  You are a rare breed.  All the love and respect.

Father's Day picture

1996 Family portrait by Joshua Garmon, age 7

By |2016-10-19T14:20:22-04:00June 19th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Details 61/100

“Everything made by human hands looks terrible under magnification–crude, rough, and asymmetrical. But in nature every bit of life is lovely. And the more magnification we use, the more details are brought out, perfectly formed, like endless sets of boxes within boxes.”
― Roman Vishniac
Saturday 19 June 2016
Today was all about getting task done.  5 miles at Stone Mountain, tidy the house, clean out the garage, weed the garden.  Meanwhile… out on the deck, the dill in the yellow pot has gone to flower putting me in mind of stars and planets.
Here’s to strengthening our noticing and expanding gratitude.
BE in your life.
By |2016-10-19T14:20:23-04:00June 19th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Flowers and Weeds #100sharesproject 60/100

What is a weed?  I have heard it said that there are sixty definitions.  For me, a weed is a plant out of place.  ~Donald Culross Peattie
Friday 17 June 2016
As we drove down the road, Rozy kept noticing all the Queen Anne’s Lace.  It’s June in Georgia and there are huge, delicate, compound flowers everywhere.  They look like they should be on the back of your grandma’s sofa not by the roadside.
Rozy:  What is the difference between weeds and flowers?
Me:  Perception.  You get to decide.  If you want it in your garden, it’s not a weed.

7 May 2015 Spent the afternoon taking photos, making wishes and telling stories over tea with @kt757nc #greeneyes #disneyprincess

I then went on about the benefits of dandelion greens and other plants that have uses that we’ve long forgotten.  I’m pretty passionate about native plantings and noticing what manages to reseed and survive without a lot of intervention from me.
I would have little to no grass in the front yard if our HOA didn’t insist.  I would rather have a yard filled with paths and beds of veggies and zinnias and hearty perennials.
We can in fact only define a weed, mutatis mutandis, in terms of the well-known definition of dirt – as matter out of place.  What we call a weed is in fact merely a plant growing where we do not want it.  ~E.J. Salisbury, The Living Garden, 1935
And then, because plants love to hand me life lessons, I got to thinking about qualities in my own life that I call weeds.  There are for sure some things that just don’t belong.  My free-spirit can turn into isolation and my love of learning can become a perpetual research project that never results in product.  I’m also a storyteller which can turn into inaccuracies that sell others short and create non-existent safety issues.  I definitely have to keep tabs on those behaviors.  I pull those weeds quickly.
Weeds are nature’s graffiti. ~J.L.W. Brooks

Friday 3 June 2016 46/100 "You can't course-correct if you're not doing anything." @kfiddler783  It’s dandelion season!  Yards and roadsides are full of weeds.  Also, I’ve been on a yellow kick.  No surprise that one day while out driving, these caught my eye. So, I stopped. Never mind that it was way too sunny to shoot wide open and that time was short.  I stopped.  Even though nothing about the moment was perfect.  I acknowledged that something caught my eye and I didn't fall into the I'll-come-back-later trap. I stopped, when it would have been much easier to drive on.  Perfectionism is a real thing and it can be overcome.  By being willing to do something less than perfect…as you learn. Sometimes when I give myself permission to stop, I keep moving. Another Katie quote to help you beat the Resistance: "Don't be paralyzed by overthinking, just create." Enjoy my wise friend.  #beinyourlife #the100dayproject #100sharesproject

However, there are other qualities in my life that flower and have medicinal purposes; qualities that are resilient and persistent.  Things that the world would call weeds, but that I want growing in the garden of my soul.
A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.  ~Doug Larson
In a world of manicured lawns and six-packs of petunias from the hardware store some of my bohemian ideas and contemplative habits don’t always align w productivity and efficiency.   I’ve made peace with that.  I’ve decided to keep the ability to stay awake and aware of my emotions, even the darker ones.  I’ll keep learning new ways to stay engaged with passion and emotions in a responsible way.  And I’ll continue to forge a path through the dark woods for myself and others.
yellow pasture flowers
I learn more about God
From weeds than from roses;
Resilience springing
Through the smallest chink of hope
In the absolute of concrete….
~Phillip Pulfrey, “Weeds,” Perspectives
BE in your life,
By |2016-10-19T14:20:23-04:00June 17th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Behind the pages: Origami paper, tape and story 59/100


Scanned Image 100330002


“Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it, sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Cheap paper is less perishable than gray matter. And lead pencil markings endure longer than memory.”  ~Jack London


Thursday 16 June 2016




I’ve been cleaning up the archive and found this set of collage pages.   I love how these pages hold story.  Joshua was in Sydney and we still bought DVDs.  Long forgotten appointments are scribbled in margins; even the paper and the tape point to details.  Hockey tape from the boys, masking tape from the classroom and painters tape  & some kind of metallic plumber’s tape from house projects.


Moby Dick task list 

Set design notes and a tea tag from the cup of tea I was drinking during a production meeting.  Origami paper taped in with a strip of hockey tape.  

[I confiscated a roll after realizing that it’s off-white and not white.  It works beautifully with neutral papers.]

I’ve been making pages long enough that design elements and ephemera are dating themselves and telling stories.  I now see the benefit in collecting bits and pieces from day to day life in order to reflect and celebrate later.