Floss your heart

She went through the door“The best way out is always through.”

~ Robert Frost

[and my friend Rozy]

Recently, my husband, who keeps the website looking beautiful, asked me to update some copy by answering the question, “Why do you journal?” The first thing that came to mind was: “It saved my life.”

In his TED talk, Why We All Need To Practice Emotional First Aid, Guy Winch discusses the need to take care of our mental and emotional house with the same level of care that we extend to our physical bodies.  What a liberating reminder to pay attention – to give loving, respectful care to our hearts and minds.

As I listened to the talk, I relalized, “I do this!”  Mainly because after many years of poor emotional patterns that included denial, shame and negative self-talk, I ended up in an emotional health crisis.  Something had to give.  I found myself in a state of depression and anxiety that required not only deep healing, but a huge emotional lifestyle change.

A gentle, truth-speaking guide was key at the beginning, but I owned the true shift for myself in my daily journaling practice.

Altered book journal Jan - Mar 2015

Altered book “Classic Art” journal Jan – Mar 2015

Journal pages were the main catalyst for telling myself the truth and keeping my emotional accounts clear.  In the pages I was able to recognize emotions and sift through them to figure out what was true and what wasn’t.

I began to see what to keep and what to let go of.  It was there I learned that some emotions were simply messengers and others required action or conversation and oftentimes pointed to need for change.  Not only do I tend to my soul with my journal, I engage in what Guy Winch calls, “emotional hygiene”.

20 Jan the word TRANSITION keeps coming up, so I'm sitting with it. In this season, it is connected to EXPANSION and dreams and birthing new things. So that's where I'm putting my eyes and heart. I like to know exactly what's coming my way. I don't. All I know to do is paint & write daily in order to listen carefully. #atpeace #seekingjoy #chasingdesire #50dragons

20 Jan the word TRANSITION keeps coming up, so I’m sitting with it. In this season, it is connected to EXPANSION and dreams and birthing new things. So that’s where I’m putting my eyes and heart. I like to know exactly what’s coming my way. I don’t. All I know to do is paint & write daily in order to listen carefully. #atpeace #seekingjoy #chasingdesire #50dragons

In the pages of a journal, we can give our souls preventative care by extending recognition, grace and mindfulness to our hearts and minds.

14 March 2015 Home after a day filled with BE in your life workshop. Spending some time in my own practice. Gathering text and collage elements as I listen and chart new territory. New journal. New season. #openheart #50dragons #wildthymejournals

14 March 2015 Home after a day filled with BE in your life workshop. Spending some time in my own practice. Gathering text and collage elements as I listen and chart new territory. New journal. New season. #openheart #50dragons #wildthymejournals

No doubt there are some who are more comfortable tending to their bodies than tending to their souls.  A skinned knee or sore shoulder is often easier to identify than loneliness or grief.  In my workshops, the focus is on creating a container for soul work.  It can look to the outside viewer like it’s simply about an artistic experience, but it is so much more.  In the pages of a journal, we can create vessels to hold our stories and experiences – from tea tags and tickets to the true contents of our hearts and minds.  I’m going to take a few posts to marry some journal pages with this fantastic article by Guy Winch and show some practical ways to weave soul care into a journal.  I hope you”ll join me and floss your heart and mind.

BE in your life!


By |2016-10-19T14:20:30-04:00March 28th, 2015|Journals|2 Comments



All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. – Henry Ellis


So much precious living in this creative life I live.  Of special note:  My two youngest children made beautiful food for friends with nary a lifted finger from me.

Apple tart flower w cream

It meant the world to walk into my house and see my children sitting around the table laughing with friends, coffee in hand, waiting for apple tarts to finish baking.  A simple rookie timing mistake that they handled with ease and grace.  And even though the kitchen was exploded, my heart expanded a size or two as I watched them sharing love by serving food.  It wasn’t something that we intentionally taught, rather a value they caught in the living.  Which is in and of itself, both terrifying and full of freedom. 

[And seriously, before the night was over, the kitchen was tidy. <3]

Also, keeping true to my commitment to share more.  Not everything, but more.  I’ve shared a couple of raw journal pages.  Pages where I’ve been wrestling with credentials/lack of credentials.  And pages that hold true heart break and true revelation.  In the last few weeks, I have put things in writing that used to stay in the shadow realm of my thought life.  As if somehow I could escape the reality of my swirling brain or make the true issues disappear by not putting them on paper with pen or paint.

I make people cry and help them find their voice.

Maybe I’ll always internally struggle with ‘people-pleasing’ and worry over whether or not I have approval from others.  [Which ‘other’ I care about varies and shifts.]  Maybe I’ll never feel like I’ve completely arrived.  But in the last decade, keeping pages has given my feelings a place and allowed me to recognize when my feelings are telling the truth and when they’re simply pointing the way.   I’ve discovered that the cloak of behaving that I wore for safety has been cast aside.  At first secretly, and now right here out in the open.

Recently, my sweet friend Hali, who is simultaneously gentle and fierce, offered to print me out a piece of paper if it would make me feel better.  “Would you like a piece of paper to validate what you already do?  Because I can do that and then you can carry it around in your purse and do the work with some credentials.”  Actually, she offered me a piece of “fucking paper” and gave me the sort of quiet, swift kick in the ass that I’ve come to count on from her.  She was fierce about reflecting my true vocation back to me and reminded me in that moment of energy and laughter, that at times I must be fierce, too.

The truth is I’ve always gone my own way.  I’ve lived true to my convictions, but I also secretly pined for affirmation of all of my alternative paths and beats.


Not so much pining over outside opinions anymore.  I’m not flipping anybody off or holding grudges or even crying a ton.  I’m simply naming emotions and moving on.  I’m taking my ideas/important work seriously and my angsty self not so seriously.  I’m no longer diluting my message or making myself easily digestible.  In a recent meet-you-halfway meeting with my friend Cynthia, we said aloud to each other all the things we’ve done without approval or credentials.  Between the two of us, it was quite the collection.  I call it the Big-Ass-List-of-Courage-and-Valor.  There is so much living well that we ignore.  Why do we forget to recognize our own victories?  Find the people who know you and help you recognize what you do well.  Stop going to the wrong people and constructs for affirmation that you’re never going to get.  Be true to your self and be brave.


I am living my creative life.  Recognizing that I am a vessel.  I require filling up and I am made for pouring out the oil of words, image and paint.  And so, I continue to pray the prayer of orientation that passed from the lips of a Catholic nun, to a great teacher and then landed in my heart.

“Teach me to care.  Teach me not to care.”

Be in your life.


p.s.  The Journal Shoppe is open. [See the tab above.] It holds the slow, handmade work of my hands including journals and other treasures.  Enjoy.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:31-04:00November 25th, 2013|Journals, Uncategorized|4 Comments

I am not a brick wall and other confessions from a chameleon


Adapt yourself to the things among which your lot has been cast and love sincerely the fellow creatures with whom destiny has ordained that you shall live.

~ Marcus Aurelius

I am a chameleon.

I am adaptable.  Sometimes so much so, that I begin to believe that I am the persona put in place, in order to adapt to the construct that I’m in.

For peace.

Or affirmation.

Or because no one seems to be leading.

I was watching a little chameleon in the garden the other day.  He was so tiny that he was perched on a zinnia.  He was chartreuse and that’s why I saw him against the fuchsia backdrop. I moved too quickly and he scurried away.  I followed his movements over to the brick wall where he finally settled.  As did I.  I settled in too, and watched him turn from bright green to light green to brown.

I felt like I was watching myself.  I become who I need to become.   My greatness is that I can tell what the construct needs…and then I become that.  I am great at modifying myself.  I disappear my true self and become what I perceive I need to become for that moment, in that space.

And it struck me.  He’s still a chameleon. 

[Actually, here in Georgia, a Carolina anole.]  He’s not a brick wall or a leaf or a concrete sidewalk.  He is himself, a Carolina anole living in my garden; basking in the sun; eating insects and changing color when necessary.

And teaching me lessons about holding on to my self in the midst of changing constructs and roles.


Always a lizard, never a wall.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:31-04:00November 15th, 2013|Journals, Lessons from the garden|2 Comments

Bloom in the desert

What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery





[extra paint and flower photos from Sedona]


Another page.  Another lesson.

This page is a testament to the dry places. Beauty exists in the desert, if we bend to it.  I’ve identified this past year, that I am not afraid of discomfort or depth or the dark.  I don’t shrink back from those places that seem void of life, but that, with a deeper look, hold hidden water and profound beauty.


The “dry places” have shown me how to honor my pace and the way that I view life/art/life.  I no longer expect others to move with me or understand how I move.  I am satisfied with walking my own path, at my own pace, seeking out treasures in hidden places.  It’s ironic to me that this page unfolded with so much color, when the sensation of this part of my life is often dark and monochromatic.



Perhaps it is because it is in here, in the wilderness and underworld, that I shine.

Be in your life,


By |2016-10-19T14:20:32-04:00August 22nd, 2013|1000 Pieces of my Heart, Journals|4 Comments

sun, moon and unconditional love


[Sunset in South Africa; Super moon at St. George Island, FL]

The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.

– Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


Another page from my final IGNITE project.  A reminder to Listen.

I continue to listen to sun, moon and rhythms.  Am paying attention to what I need and how I ebb and flow in my creative practice and in my life.  From how much vitamin D I need, to living as an introvert, I am learning.  As I gentle my body through perimenopause and its cycles, I have learned over the past decade to always listen to my body.  My body knows.  When to open the windows and where and with whom I’m supposed to be.  When to rest and when to move – My body knows.  Sometimes the talking is through headaches and tears and sometimes through an ache or elation, but my body, she speaks true.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:32-04:00August 19th, 2013|1000 Pieces of my Heart, Journals|2 Comments

wild thyme creative: The garden is my favorite teacher

Image“Might I have a bit of earth?” Chapter XII The Secret Garden by  Frances Hodgson Burnett

Sharing another big lesson from my 10 month immersion in IGNITE, intuitive painting teacher training:

In order to obtain any level of sustainability in an endeavor, you have to pace yourself and you have to obtain sustenance.  This goes for creative endeavors as well as marathons and 9-5 jobs.    And it goes for the body, as well as the soul.   In my life, making art is part of showing up to regular life in a healthy fashion.  Art can increase emotional and spiritual health and capacity.

The tension came when I had to choose between art-for-life-and-breath and art-with-deadlines-and-assignments.  They weren’t always the same; and I had to figure out a different aspect of the sustainability formula.  In order to show up to art with deadlines, I had to be oriented and clear.  For me, that means time with my hands in the earth.  My little bit of earth in the front garden is one of the places that I find my bearings.  The rhythm of my day begins with a cup of coffee and a little bit of weeding or dreaming.

In my attempts to manage details and meet deadlines, I thought that I simply needed to free up some time on my calendar.   I stopped visiting the front garden and let my little bit of earth get a little weedy and go a little wild.  I knew that I could ignore the weeding and tending in the garden for a season.  What I didn’t realize was that it wasn’t the garden’s maintenance that was at hand; it was my own tending that was falling through the cracks.

I mistakenly thought that time in the garden was a calendar thing, when really, it was a soul thing.


[1000 Pieces of my heart Page 3:

Zinnia studies: watercolor botanicals, cellular studies in acrylic, macro photography]

Because of these revelations, I had to include some garden studies in this final body of work.  The garden holds lessons, places of curiosity and inspiration galore!  The cellular studies are based on microscopic studies of actual plants grown in my little garden.   As in, I pulled out the microscope from homeschool days that are over, and am continuing my own studies.  I studied biology before I studied fine art and Botany class was one of my favorite classes.  Although, this time around, I’m immersing in pattern and color instead of biochemistry.

Returning to the garden has been essential.   Stepping away from the garden, and the subsequent disorientation, revealed how important the earth is to me.  Like Mary in The Secret Garden, I discovered, that the secret to being alive is in tending my “little bit of earth” on a regular basis.

From quick studies, en plein air, to photo walks, I orient and am inspired.

“It was the garden that did it… and the creatures – and the Magic.”

“It came alive.”

The found text, from the book, The Secret Garden,  reminded me that I needed the magic and cycles of the garden to right-size myself.

My current fascination is with the volunteer zinnias that are spilling over the front sidewalk.

My friend Rozy, laughed as she walked into the house this morning:

“You are untamable!  You just won’t be contained.  Your garden gives you away.”

Oh, I hope so.  I really, really hope so.


[1000 Pieces of my heart  Page 5:  More verbs and daily photos from the garden]

By |2016-10-19T14:20:32-04:00August 16th, 2013|1000 Pieces of my Heart, Lessons from the garden|2 Comments

Way has closed behind me


[1000 Pieces of my Heart.  Page 1:  Clearing]

“Ruth,” I said, “people keep telling me that ‘way will open.’  Well, I sit in the silence, I pray, I listen for my calling, but way is not opening.  I’ve been trying to find my vocation for a long time, and I still don’t have the foggiest idea of what I’m meant to do.  Way may open for other people, but it’s sure not opening for me.”

Ruth’s reply was a model of Quaker plain-speaking.  “I’m a birthright Friend, “ she said somberly, “and in sixty-plus years of living, way has never opened in front of me.”  She paused and I started sinking into despair.  Was this wise woman telling me that the Quaker concept of God’s guidance was a hoax?

Then she spoke again, this time with a grin.  “But a lot of way has closed behind me, and that’s had the same guiding effect.


From Let Your Life Speak by Parker J Palmer


It’s over.  10 months of immersion in IGNITE, Connie Hozvicka’s Fearless Painting Teacher Training.  From the very beginning of IGNITE I knew that I wanted to excavate how to be involved in the lives of others through art/healing/teaching and still stay true to my own creative practice.

This place that I’ve landed is very different than where I thought I’d be, now that we’re at the end.  When I started IGNITE, I thought I was going to define wild thyme creative in a very tangible way.  I thought that I would set goals, focus on my business plan and activate those plans.  Quite frankly, within a short couple of weeks, if I could have quit, I would have.  I was overwhelmed with trying to orient to the class work load, plus, live my full life.

Eventually, I realized that I wasn’t going to be defining and activating a business as I was still *** “creating a clearing in the dense forest of my life.”  Most of the time, the “invitations” felt like assignments  – heavy with deadlines and shame for not meeting deadlines.  However, the sensation of shame only lasted as long as I stayed with measures outside my knowing and my body.   Such an amazing lesson.  Way was closing behind me with a profound guiding effect.


“Give yourself credit for what you’re already doing.”

“You’re doing more than you realize you’re doing.”

These phrases and others like them, resonated deeply when they were spoken.  They vibrated through the atmosphere and I pinned them in my journal like a butterfly in a shadowbox.  Framed butterflies are beautiful and inspiring.  But, also, very far from the exquisite reality of a live butterfly flitting from flower to flower in the garden.  The word Doing kept clanging against my heart and soul.    Doing, doing, doing.  It was no secret throughout the trek through IGNITE that I am not a DO-er, my greatness is that I am a BE-er.

Our final invitation for the course was to create a body of work that reflected the lessons we learned during IGNITE.  For me, this body of work was about recognizing the shift in my focus from Doing to BEING.   As I moved through the course, I learned to cover the doing/lack of doing with grace and acknowledge that I BE, so very well.

The true lessons from this course had less to do with painting and teaching and more to do with Who I Am and How I BE.
[Journals Jan – June in the Scarborough Faire garden – parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme]

Throughout IGNITE, I never once stopped journaling or taking daily photos.  I engaged in the spiritual disciplines of my faith, gardened and gathered people in circle.  I created beautiful environments for friends and family, wrote letters, songs and poems and lived my rich, beautiful life well.

This last body of work shows the crossover between my life and camera, garden, journal and paint.  It is a weaving of my self and text and paint and pages.  Originally, I was envisioning a series of paintings.  [Because that’s what I thought I needed to DO…]  But as I stepped into execution and reflected on process, it became apparent that the juice for me, is in the integration of life, pages and final art.

When I stopped to pay attention to where my breathing was deep and settled, the truth began to emerge from the mist.   My breath and body lead me to path.  When I tuned in to where I was hyperventilating and fidgety, I was able to follow a bread crumb path back to exactly where I need to be.  When I followed Peace and Permission, I found that Clarity was there too.  In facilitating Hug Your Story workshops, I say aloud that “the pages inform my art.”  But, the reality is that my art and life and pages and words and images and collections and paintings all inform each other.  Despite my love for sorting and classifying, I don’t even try to sort and classify my life and art.

And so, I made a book, from a painting and I filled it with bits and pieces of my life and heart – my true body of work.
“BE in your life” is what I say to my children instead of, “Be Safe.”  When my oldest son started driving I realized that the words that came out of my mouth, whenever my children left the house, were full of fear.  So I made a change in the declaration I was making over their lives.  Today, when someone walks out the front door of our house we say, “BE in your life.”

They are my heart
Oh, these 6 people have my heart.  The life we live together and the spaces that I create for them has been my body of work for decades.  It has been the proving ground of all that I now share.   This heart is embroidered, with stitches that my grandmother taught me when I was a little girl, on a photo of my precious ones taken on Easter Sunday.  It’s the way it is when you live a creative life.   Past woven to the present.  Art stitched to sacred practice connected to loved ones that sometimes make it to a painting or a photograph.

My children have flown from the nest are most magically in their lives; and now, I am learning to give myself all the same verbs, space and permission that I’ve given them.

Delighted to share lessons/pages/life/art with you.

Be in your life!


***  a line from the poem Clearing by Martha Postlewaite.  I held the poem as my intention for the class.  You can read it in its entirety HERE in this blog post from last week.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:32-04:00August 12th, 2013|1000 Pieces of my Heart, Art is Life is Art, Journals|5 Comments

Vessels and voice and cutting up paintings

“Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began…”

Charles H. Spurgeon, All of Grace

Today I am putting the final touches on the last body of work due for the intuitive painting course that I’ve been immersed in for the last 10 months.


Here’s a little “before” peek at the vessel that holds the work.


[Arches 140 lb. watercolor paper, 11”x14”]


This journal is made from a painting that was my first introduction to intuitive painting.  It’s infused with history and soul work.  It was the first painting that I ever wept over.   It went something like this:


“Choose a color that speaks to you.”  The invitation was simple enough, but actually doing it was anything but easy.

“No.”  I actually said it aloud.  “It has to be something else.”

I found my staring quietly at the bins, waiting for my spirit to say, “Choose Payne’s Gray.”


“Ughhhh.”  Again, aloud.

I shook my fist.

I left the room.

I made a cup of tea.

I gave the studio a tidy.

I returned to stare at the bins.

I listened.

I heard,  “Choose Pink.”

I cried.

I cried some more.

I stormed about pulling out every container of pink in the bin, and realized that there weren’t but 3 little plastic jars of pink craft paint.  I remembered that I know how to mix pink.

And then, I start painting.  And, I fell in love with paint again.


This past Spring, I cut up that first painting to make a journal for the Sedona portion of our training.  It’s my practice to keep a journal by my side when I work large scale.  I like having it there to catch words and extra paint or the elusive ideas that fly around when we begin moving our bodies in painterly ways.  After every painting session in Sedona, I took the extra paint from my palette and created backgrounds.  I love that this project has a little bit of every part of my journey.  The tears, the wrestling and the new ease in movement and shift.  There’s  even a little bit of Sedona soil, and the fuchsia palette that keeps showing up.  I don’t fight it any more.  I listen.


I’m also listening to the argiope that have filled the garden this year.  So. many. spiders!   They remind me that I’m writing and weaving my full life.  And, that much like a spider sheds its exoskeleton, I’m in a season of shedding.  I’m letting go of that which has served me and embracing renewal.


I’m also using my voice again.  As I always have and in new ways.


In wrapping up my time, I keep returning to this poem over and over.  It was part of the intention that I set at the beginning of the course.  It is still a faithful guide.



Do not try to save

the whole world

or do anything grandiose.

Instead, create

a clearing

in the dense forest

of your life

and wait there


until the song

that is your life

falls into your own cupped hands

and you recognize and greet it.

Only then will you know

how to give yourself

to this world

so worthy of rescue.


by Martha Postlewaite



Grace and Peace.


By |2016-10-19T14:20:32-04:00August 2nd, 2013|Journals|2 Comments

1000 Pieces of my Heart: Week 2


“The woods were made for the hunter of dreams.”

Sam Walter Foss

Studies in brown 3

{10 – 20}  A visit, a walk in the woods, some pressed leaves, brown paper journals, and a Secret Garden.

This week has been quiet, but a couple of weeks ago, was full of people and visits w people.  Rands and I were in Washington, D.C. with a new squad of World Racers.  Mostly there were meetings and quick meals in between meetings, but there were also some wonderful moments with friends and racers, old & new, tucked in between the information exchange.  It was exciting and humbling to be with these world changers as they left for their 11 month journey.


D Squad praying for N Squad

D Squad praying for N Squad

I stayed in town and spent a delightful couple of days talking about books and telling stories with my Candi-friend.  Hard to believe that we’ve known each other since we were teenagers at Belmont College-now-University.    A favorite moment was going on a foggy, crisp explore in the woods with Candi; her daughter, Cami; and their terrier, Roscoe.

Studies in brown 2

The day turned up some studies in brown and we were in the woods much longer than it seemed that we were.   It was one of those feels-like-20-minutes-but-it’s-really-been-an-hour sort of treks.  I love when time falls away because you’re soaking in exactly where you are.  We stopped to peek at dead-tree-woodpecker-houses and weird mushrooms and told stories and walked in silence.  All in all, just the way, a slow explore should go.
Studies in brown 1
And, although I didn’t play tourist and go to any museums or monuments this go ’round, I did receive a tour of Cami’s bookshelf, her Hobbit Legos and her beautiful bottom-drawer nature collection.  It felt like a tour of her heart.


{Pressed leaves shared from Cami’s collection}

And, I revisited my November and December journals. There is so much to be gleaned from a good journal retrospective.  I was wrestling with perfectionism and a bout with the flu during the holiday season and handmade, grocery bag journals with their sweet, humble brown paper were a great way to diffuse the pressure.  I especially love white pen on brown paper.

Lastly, I started a new journal on January 1.   It’s an altered copy of The Secret Garden, which is a shift away from the larger scale that I used for most of 2012.  But, I like it for it’s wonderful phrases and portability.  Still, I miss 9×12 and watercolour paper, so we’ll see what comes next.

The Secret Garden journal

As always, we’ll see what comes next.



By |2016-10-19T14:20:32-04:00January 24th, 2013|1000 Pieces of my Heart, Journals|1 Comment

1000 Pieces of my Heart: Week 1


“I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.” Walt Whitman


A year in journals - 2012

 A year in journals – 2012

{1-9}  7 Journals, 1 List & a bird

This week was goodbye to 2012 and hello to 2013.  As I gathered journals kept, I was struck by how infrequently I shared journal pages this past year.  My creative habits have been minimalistic for the past couple of years, with most of my creative expression happening in private, on pages and with simple daily photos with my phone.


Staying active and creating “art in the crevices” has served me well, but in a closer examination of my creative process over the past couple of months during IGNITE, I have felt the rumblings of a call to the deeper parts of my practice.  When I get quiet and listen, I feel the magnetic pull of my big girl camera and brushes and a longing to be here in this blogging space documenting and sharing.  It’s all I want to do.


This past year has brought a lot of exciting change.


And with that change has come the dance of staying in balance.


And let me say, at the risk of much disagreement, that I think balance is overrated.


Sometimes passion creates imbalance and we just have to step away from the line in the middle and be breathtakingly over into our practice.  We must trust that the pendulum will eventually swing back in the other direction to the next area of passion that needs attention for a season.   We must:


dive in


take risks


do the thing


follow the alternative path


drink deeply




find the place


say a dramatic no


embrace a dramatic yes


My expectation for this year is that it will have less balance and more passion.  That there will be more depth and grit and life in my creative practice and less worry about how to get to everything and everyone.


My intention is simply to listen and create.  And then listen and create some more.  To respond to the cry that exists simultaneously in my belly and my heart.  The cry is demanding and persistent like a newborn baby and I am delighted beyond measure to respond.


The Secret Garden journal

By |2016-10-19T14:20:32-04:00January 6th, 2013|1000 Pieces of my Heart, Journals|6 Comments

The Spiritual Discipline of Journey

Stairs outside Chiang Mai, Thailand

exploring outside Chiang Mai, Thailand

“Journeys open up our spirit to the possibility of a reality it hasn’t yet grasped.”  Seth Barnes


The first time that I met Seth Barnes, was January of this year, 2012. I was sitting next to him in a room full of people, in a cabin in North Georgia. Randy and I had just said yes to being coaches on the World Race, this thing that we knew we were supposed to do, but didn’t yet fully understand. At that point, all we knew was that a group of 20 – 30 somethings would be traveling to 11 countries in 11 months and that our volunteer work would be to meet them at different points along their journey and “coach” them. We knew in our gut that we were supposed to respond with a yes.  At least Rands did. I was not so confident. As the boundaries around my time and space are newly forged, I was hesitant. It had been years since we’d yes to something, anything, without a lot of facts and research. For crying out loud, we took weeks to choose a refrigerator and there we were, within a few days of being asked, handing over a precious yes.


Honestly, the yes came out of trust in our friend Rozy, not out of any huge understanding of the organization or of what we were getting ourselves into. Clearly, my knowledge was limited, because at our coaches training, I was sitting next to the founder of AIM

[Adventures in Missions] and didn’t know who he was.


I didn’t know him, but, I recognized a fellow “life catcher” and scribe when I laid eyes on his journal. It was a simple, humble composition notebook. The kind with a black and white marbled cover, that you can get every back-to-school-season in the US for about fifty cents. A plain notebook, filled with words and lists and ideas. Of course, I asked about it right away. It turned out that, like the man, the book was humble externally, yet filled with brilliance.


“Tell me about your journal.”


And he did.


The magnetic pull of that journal, soon had me caught up in one of the most fascinating conversations of my life. I now know, that I was hearing bits and pieces from the book, Kingdom Journeys.


Kingdom Journeys book, passport and travel journal

passport & Nairobi page in my WR travel journal

I love good stories, which means I love good conflict. Part of the reason that I am passionate about capturing personal narrative is because when you begin to document your own story, you inevitably find tension. And, it is in conflict, paradox and tension, that we find God. Seth walks in Pilgrimage and Journey, in the same way that I embrace journaling & artistic practice – as a spiritual discipline.  He says on page 18 of Kingdom Journeys:


“I will always think of Chiapas as the place where my journeys collided. It took a physical journey to complete a spiritual one.”


And later, he speaks of Restlessness.  A sensation that can be a curse and lead to vain wanderings or be a motivator, a gift, that can lead to a calling.

“Traditional peoples found ways to turn the Curse of Restlessness into the Git of Restlessness by weaving it into the sacred.  They made a spiritual discipline out of leaving. some call it a pilgrimage or a rite of passage or an initiation experience… The essence has always been about tapping into restlessness to help people discover the divine at work: both in the world and in themselves.  Their journey turned the curse in the Gift it was meant to be.”


So, true. A year ago Randy and I didn’t know that the World Race and AIM existed. We had no idea that we would journey to far-flung places with our beloved D Squad. We had no idea that our hearts would be shifting and expanding to hurt big and love big. After our last trip, I wrote:

I am no longer satisfied with a comfortable, small existence. I understand that I must stretch my courage and my heart. Painful? I expect so. Maybe, there will even be more pain. God help me. Fear, stand aside. I am discovering what I am made of. I am made of vulnerability and I am in total dependence on God. Safety is no longer an option.



Elephant ride in Thailand jungle

Elephant ride in Thailand jungle

“All of us are on a journey. We can’t escape the beginning and the end, but the middle is full of crazy possibilities.”

pg. 23 Kingdom Journeys


For a free download of Seth Barnes’ book Kingdom Journeys: Rediscovering the Lost Spiritual Discipline, go HERE.  [through September 29, 2012]






By |2016-10-19T14:20:33-04:00September 27th, 2012|Art is Life is Art, Journals, Travel|6 Comments

Behind the Pages: On being an Empty Page Ninja



“I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.”

Jack Kerouac


Monday, September 17, 2012

In my ever-evolving journaling practice, I am discovering the power of the Empty page.  I  like to differentiate between a blank page and an empty page.


A blank page, can be daunting.  A blank page is demanding; it uses obnoxious tones or bellows.  Quite frankly, it can be a bit of a bully.  And bullies require push back and fighting skills.  Which some days, I just don’t have…

 {origami paper, acrylic paint, 2×2 postal pix, watercolor, graphite, Sharpie pen fine}

But an empty page says, “Hey there, your mind looks full.  Why don’t you put those words and ideas over here.  In this box.  On this pretty paper.”


{tissue paper, acrylic paint, graphite, 4×4 postal pix}

and, “Look at all that brilliance; this corner has been waiting for just that very thought.”  An empty page is a good friend who knows exactly what you need.

In my practice, I set aside a day, every 7 to 10 days, to create empty pages.  Safe places to tuck words, images and ephemera.  Empty pages, by my definition, are pages that are started.  Pages with soft edges that don’t screech with blankness, but instead with a calm voice, point the way to expression and life.

I like to create more pages than I think I’ll need, so that I don’t worry about space or rationing.  For me, that’s about 6 – 10 double page spreads in one session.  And then, I put away most of the supplies.  The magazine pages and the paints, tuck away and I settle into a quieter method.  At hand, I keep a pen, a glue stick, a sharpie, something that writes in white and my ever-present watercolors.  With prepped “empty pages” in my bag, I’m free to carry only a glue stick and a pen or two. 

[If I’m traveling, I’ll add Inktense pencils and a water brush.]   In that simple place and pace, I’m able to put my energy into capturing rather than creating from scratch.


{paper tape, magazine cutout, 2×2 postal pix, Inktense pencil}

 Once I’ve made a handful of pages, I even free myself from writing things down in order.  I just find the empty space that matches what I have to say…or glue, or sketch.

One of the things I talk about extensively in workshop is the fact that my journals are not art journals.  The pages aren’t planned with emphasis on the final product.  They are a vital part of how I process life.  They are part of my spiritual practice and they ultimately inform my art, as I don’t differentiate between the two.  I write lists, draw, glue things down and capture thoughts.  In the pages and with a camera, I am in my life and listening to the Holy Spirit.
Let Go

{paper tape, white Jelly Roll pen, ink pad, tissue paper, acrylic paint, magazine cut out, stamps, graphite}

Empty pages create space and safety which ultimately allow me to be victorious over the Blank Page Bully.  Empty pages make my practice more contemplative and less like a battle.  Well, maybe still a battle, but one where I’m a ninja not a stormtrooper.  Here’s to climbing over fears, worries and stalls, one empty page at a time.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:33-04:00September 17th, 2012|Art in the Crevices, Behind the Pages, Journals|8 Comments

On leaving space

Secure in your love.

Secure in your love.

{Security envelope hearts.}

Tuesday {Valentine’s Day} was a day full of cut out hearts and sweet words to share.  Wednesday left me with a lot of empty hearts – but only in paper.  I’ll be sharing them tonight with the folks in my Hug Your Story workshop – along with the question:

Ask: What is in your heart?

{Derwent Inktense pencils, Tim Holtz paper tape, school supply watercolors, acrylic paint on bubble wrap}

Send a bird to ASK.

What is in your heart?

Always nice to make space to figure that out.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:33-04:00February 16th, 2012|Behind the Pages, Journals|0 Comments

Mandala Monday: Mandalas for conversation & processing.


“The crucial variable in the process of turning knowledge into value is creativity.”
John Kao

Last week was a big week for processing.  {And that sentence is just too small to contain the shift and movement that I know are coming!}  It’s actually been a HUGE week for processing.  Which means lots of time in the pages and a couple of long conversations with my long-time, heart friend, Candi.  These mandalas were drawn while she and I were having epic phone conversations.  {One of those times was literally in the middle of the night, when we realized that we were both awake.  Thank you twitter.}

I often draw during conversation or when I’m taking notes.   The rhythm of drawing mandalas soothes my bouncing brain and keeps me present.  Of course if something strikes me, I write it down, thus these mandalas are surrounded by lists of books to read, wisdom and insights from dear friends and the thoughts and dreams that ultimately emerge in the entire process.

Mandala 5Jan2012 {acrylic, paper scraps, Pilot Precise V5 extra fine, Derwent watersoluble Graphitone & metallics}

Today’s list – January Books:

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron {re-visiting w a friend.  Still full of wisdom and movement.}

The Mandala Workbook by Susan Fincher {I think I’ll just keep cycling through these exercises.  Beautiful & deep}

The book of Ephesians by St. Paul {Oh, I love to study…}

A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor {The Bluestocking Babes are reading short stories}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:33-04:00January 9th, 2012|Journals, Mandala Monday|4 Comments

Art is Life is Art: Interview by Dawn Sokol

I was honored last month to be interviewed by Dawn Sokol for the Journal Fresh portion of Create Mixed Media site.

Here are supplies and text details for the pages included as part of the interview.


“No one is free when others are oppressed.”  There are more than 27 million slaves in the world today.

(stats from Zach Hunter of Loose Change to Loosen Chains}

{Tim Holtz® Distress inks, stamp, sticker, Sakura Pigma® Micron® pens}

blue nest

{Gesso, acrylic paint, tissue paper, origami paper, watercolor crayon, shipping label, nest sticker, graphite}

Magic Hour at the barn

{Gesso, stamp & ink pad, Derwent watersoluble graphite, 4×4 PostalPix print, dip pen & India ink}

my brokeness has come together to form the wings that have given me...

{Ink pad, torn painted paper scraps, Sakura Pigma® Micron® pen}

...definition and flight

{Ink pad, torn painted paper scraps, Sakura Pigma® Micron® pen}

Life makes me sizzle

{Watercolor, Sakura Pigma® Micron® pen, butterfly sticker, ink pad}

You can find the interview HERE.



By |2016-10-19T14:20:34-04:00September 6th, 2011|Art is Life is Art, Journals|2 Comments

Behind the Pages: Message from an empty page

May, June and July were sort of empty.  I mean, there was no shortage of activity.  The Brilliants are Coming and Going and Becoming and Excavating.  It is a collective household sort of thing, as R and I, in our season of a full-nest-that-is-about-to-burst-into-emptiness, are Becoming and Excavating too.   This all bleeds into my creativity and creates holes and spaces.  Things feel blank.

Empty, but not quiet.

Empty page door

Things are turned inward to a place of questions and consideration.  The necessary contemplation of what’s-coming-next?   I am in a deep study of the shift.  Wondering which doors to open and close and walk through…

As I pulled out the camera to share pages, I felt conflicted about what to capture and share.  Most of the words are too private for my introvert-self to comfortably share, and several of the pages are decorated but blank.

Empty, but not quiet.

Funny, it still catches me by surprise when my journey emerges on the pages.  Even though this is what I believe and say aloud to other people.  I’m pretty fond of saying, “If you approach the pages honestly, they’ll tell your story, even if you don’t know it yet.”

So, here are some blank pages.  Things are shifting and re-defining themselves.  I don’t have many words yet, but I’m Coming and Going and Becoming and Excavating.

Empty, but not quiet.

Empty page pink

Empty page pink

{scrapbook paper scraps, decorative packing tape, white acrylic, pink ink pad}

Empty page doily

Empty page doily

{doily, gesso, graphite}

Empty page scrap

Empty page scrap

{gold acrylic, scrap from paper that I put behind journal pages when I’m painting them, notebook paper scrap}

Empty page leaning

Empty page leaning

{magazine image, gold acrylic, gesso}

Empty page iris

Empty page iris

{packing tape transfer of photo from the front garden, origami paper, paper tape}

Empty page blue floral

Empty page blue floral

{scrapbook paper, origami paper, paper tape, masking tape, gesso}

Empty page bird

Empty page bird

{acrylic paint, gesso, origami paper, Derwent watersoluble Graphite, paper tape}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:34-04:00August 9th, 2011|Behind the Pages, Journals|0 Comments

Art is Life is Art: June – Rest


It’s been the order of the day for the past few weeks…


When Meghan shared June’s word for our collaboration, I was surprised, but not really.  The word Rest, was already all over the pages of my journal.  I think that the spontaneous writing of the word was a prayer of sorts – a longing bubbling to the surface of my knowing.


Rest was June’s word and now August is here.  My blogging sabbatical is officially over.  The sabbatical that was originally going to be a week until it stretched into two weeks and then, became two months.


I confess, that after pretty consistently showing up with words and images for the past 5 years, I needed a bit of an artistic nap.

I used to ignore my body and my needs.

Push through.  Be tough.  Git ‘er done.

I was tired often and hurt a lot.  Both inside and out.  So now, I pay attention.  I believe that concrete sensations like hunger, thirst, aches and pains show the way.  As we listen to the subtle {and sometimes not-so-subtle} internal messages that come to us via our body, the next steps emerge.

Exhaustion and anxiety often lead to revelations & minute course corrections.

Slow down or take a turn.

Adjust your pace or give way.

Move quickly or turn around.

Walk away or press in.

If we can’t tell from facts and figures, often our bodies will get our attention and put us back on the path.  Of course now I have a huge queue of photos and posts and prompts and projects to share.  Plus, some slight adjustments and new things.

All in good time.

blue nest

One of the many blank pages created during June & July’s season of rest.

{gesso, packing label, tissue paper, origami paper, water color crayon, ink, acrylic}

p.s.  July’s word = BIRD   August’s word = TBA

By |2016-10-19T14:20:34-04:00August 2nd, 2011|Art is Life is Art, Journals|4 Comments

Behind the pages: May

For many unexpected reasons, May turned into a blogging sabbatical.   However,  it wasn’t a page sabbatical.   Here are some May pages & posts.

May calendar

Also, as mentioned at the beginning of the month, the word for May is Redemption.

I have a WIP that turned out to be larger than I thought it would be, and thus is taking longer to complete.  But don’t worry.  Meghan’s blog post was on time and should be savored. Make a cup of tea and GO HERE for a lovely view of the word Redemption and then come back to peek at some pages.

Magic Hour at the barn

Magic Hour at the barn

{Postal Pix print (my new favorite journaling material), gesso, stamp, ink & Derwent watersoluble Graphite}

visit to the zoo

A day at the zoo

{gesso, tape & the Panda stamp from the zoo}

Family Meeting

Family meeting

{gesso, ink, stencil & white gel pen}

Where do I stop & start - Boundaries




{magazine clipping, ribbon & Pilot G-2 0.38}

Master List

Master List

{masking tape, Rhodia graph paper, paper scraps}

sometimes I make my own storm

sometimes I make my own storms

{watercolor, black gel pen, Derwent watersoluble graphite}

It was a good day for talking in circles

It was a good day for talking in circles.

{paper scraps, gummed reinforcements, acrylic paint, Derwent watersoluble graphite}

Morning Glory

Morning Glory

{security envelope scrap, seed packet, gesso}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:36-04:00June 3rd, 2011|Behind the Pages, Journals|3 Comments

Art is Life is Art: Show up for today

The following is part of a response to a discussion at the wild thyme creative facebook page

“…much of my current artistic work is in the capture of little moments. While I paint large scale and create mixed-media pieces on a regular basis, my daily practice involves what I call Art-in-the-Crevices. It’s the sketches and songs that happen because I carry my journal EVERYWHERE. It’s the partial poem I pen while I’m waiting and the photos from my phone.  Too often we get caught up in our expectations of the perfect environment and miss the beauty and truth all around us in the little moments. Honestly, it’s those little bits and pieces that keep me sane and present in my “real life”. Ultimately it’s the small captures that inform and birth the larger work.”

The little moments are where I’m living these days.  Concerning wild thyme creative,  I am both processing my archive and making plans for the future.  {This very much mirrors what is going on in my personal life too…}  I’m simultaneously reading old blog entries full of my emotions and thoughts from the past and  planning & dreaming for the future.  All necessary and exciting, but sometimes, I find it a challenge to just show up for today – to experience what it’s like to be in my skin, here and now.

I used to take these little “life bytes” for granted – now I give myself credit for capturing them and count it as my art.  My daily prayer is that I simply show up for what’s in my world today.  Here’s a tiny list {surprise!} of things I do to Stay Present:

* Write down {or draw or paint} exactly what I’m feeling at least once a day.

this is how I have felt for days...

* Go out in the garden barefoot.

I think it’s super important to feel the ground under your feet, where you are. I go out and tune into the following:

~ what I see around my feet

~ what I feel under my feet

~ what I hear around me

{I generally stay and breathe and observe until I can feel my breath all the way down to my toes…}

* Take a photo & notes based on your observations. {I write things down because I like to remember, but the point is to tune in.}


This photo says:

* It is cold & wet.  But I am not afraid of inclement weather or events.

* There are weeds in the garden & I need a pedi.  It’s time to slow down and tend to self & home.

* The birds are singing.  I have a voice.

* The ground is solid.  I have a place to stand.

I am petite.  But I am not small.

Things are a little messy.  Discovery & expression are found in messy.

Drips and Mistakes you don't scare me anymore


“Magic happens just by being present in your body.” Baron Baptiste

By |2016-10-19T14:20:37-04:00March 28th, 2011|Art is Life is Art, Journals|4 Comments

Behind the pages: What is the difference between Flee & Retreat?

Flee & Retreat

What is the difference between FLEE & Retreat?

{a page from the Pilgrim’s Progress Journal}

I know it’s been quiet here at wild thyme creative.  No, nothing wrong.  It is simply the quiet of dormancy and processing.  To be honest with you, I didn’t realize that I’d gone silent until a dear friend asked if I was okay.

I have not fled.

My windows are wide open.

open window

{When I want to run away or depression hounds me, the curtains are closed.}

No, this is a retreat.  An intentional pull back.  This quietude is simply part of a cycle.  A part of the reset that has to come after a huge influx of information.  The last few months have been incredibly rich with change and depth, matching the cycles in my garden.  There is huge growth happening under the surface; I can feel it about to burst and I’m preparing for it.

For the something coming.

There is needed change and a returning to old passions

There are insightful conversations and honest assessments

And there is no fear…

What is the difference between Flee and Retreat?

Flee is what you do when you run for your life from a predator.  When, for safety, you have to get away from something – by running as quickly as your adrenaline-laced muscles will take you.  A retreat, however, has intention and is to preserve life and find peace.  You can walk when you retreat…and breathe.

cherry blossoms

This current season of retreat is a lovely quiet with the soft sounds of birds singing, typing rhythms and pens scratching paper.  There are sketches and words.  Plans and confirmations.  There are new things coming, but they’re not here yet.  For now, I am immersed in peace & contemplation.  Visions and dreams are coming to fruition even as I bump into my awkward imperfections.  Imperfections that are perfect for the Lenten season with its invitation to enter into the wilderness with Christ.

I am learning to trust The Quiet – this season that doesn’t have much product, but is connecting me deeply to my true heart.

Speaking of returning… I’m back to lists.

I am not:

jumping through hoops

staying busy just to move

dwelling long on expectations or outside opinions

I am:

occasionally picking up my “real” camera

daily documenting with my phone camera {@wildthyme on instagram}

making honest pages

walking often

visiting the garden

listening to birds through open windows

writing daily

planting seeds

breathing all the way to the bottom

leaving my hands open

By |2016-10-19T14:20:37-04:00March 23rd, 2011|Behind the Pages, Journals|8 Comments

Behind the pages: Morning pages, paint and BIG thinking

About to wrap up my participation in this class with Connie Hozvicka:

It’s why things have been quiet here.  {because I’ve been painting like mad!}  I can’t wait to share more about the process and the class and the paintings, but the process and the class and the paintings are taking up all the extra space in my world.  Literally! For now, here’s a Connie quote that I’m chewing on.

“Don’t feel like you need to justify it; just paint it on the paper.”

Until I heard that phrase, I hadn’t really stopped to consider, how much I consider.  I analyze most every move I make when I paint from technique to design – to content and color, I’m always thinking… and wondering what other people are thinking.

This class has me feeling when I approach the page.

Engage {morning pages}

The art looks different.

{Probably because I am different.  I am making a shift…}

I Dream Bigger {magnet at my desk}

Here are a couple of Morning Pages from this week.  Note the paint.  I’ve been adding paint to my mornings and I LOVE it.

green hair girl {morning pages}

butterfly girl {morning pages}

I am large spaces {morning pages}

“I am large spaces waiting to be filled.  I am boxes to burst out of.  I am well-behaved, but that is changing.  I am boundaries falling in pleasant places.”

{acrylic paint, Pitt pen}

…more soon.  ~b

By |2016-10-19T14:20:37-04:00February 11th, 2011|Behind the Pages, Journals|3 Comments

Mandala Monday: {or Thursday} sketches in journals

2011 marks the fifth time that I have begun the calendar year with an extended fast.  These fasting experiences have been life-changing.  And while I’ve been delighted with the physical and emotional benefits of feeling light and clear; for me, it is first and foremost, a spiritual endeavor.  The first year that I took up the journey, was full of victory.  Quite frankly, because of my intimate connection with food, I emerged, delighted that I even survived!  I managed to cook for my family, make it through blood-sugar ups and downs and deal with my grumpy self.  I substituted verbal prayer for food and came out at the end with a huge sense of accomplishment and perspective.  It wasn’t until it was over that I realized I hadn’t really documented the journey very well.  No journaling, photographs or epiphanies, just survival and jeans that were a little loose.


In the subsequent years, I have been more proactive about journaling/capturing the insights and clarity that come during a fast.  And, for the past four years have also chosen a Word-for-the-Year.  {Although it feels more like the words choose me…}


Somewhere amidst the writing and words, I also started using images and drawings to capture the insights that come when food is out of the way.   Unbeknownst to me, art journalers all over the world were already combining everything like this.   But for me, to stop compartmentalizing my art world and my word world, was a new discovery.  The fasting, in it’s clarifying, back-door way pointed to the “everything journals” that have become part of my daily practice.   In the last two years,