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

Hellos & goodbyes

New Year 2012


The old year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead. The New Year has taken possession of the clock of time. All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months.
Edward Payson Powell

I’ve spent the last several days in the pages of last year’s journals reading outpourings of morning thoughts and peeking between the lines of poems and quotes.  I am looking for anything that needs to shift or move and am revisiting ideas and dreams.  I am paying attention to colors, patterns & preferences because like a map, those details reveal Path.  This last handful of pages, while from the past year, have me fully engaged and here in the present.

I am also slowly becoming reacquainted with this space and as always, am making lists.

Today I:

*  Spent the first few minutes of the year with good friends.  {CELEBRATE}

*  Journaled. {LIVE}

*  Took a nap.  {REST}

*  Journaled again.  {PROCESS}

*  Made a list.  {RETURN}

goodbye Christmas

*  Took down Christmas ornaments {SHIFT}

*  Stopped when I noticed.  {LISTEN}

(See more daily photos on Instagram)

By |2016-10-19T14:20:33-04:00January 1st, 2012|lists|2 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: Collaboration & 9 months of words

calendar & mandalaOver the past several months, it’s been my privilege to sit and chat with my new friend, the lovely Meghan Arias.   We talk about all sorts of things.

* beautiful things

* creative things

* spiritual things

* favorite beer things

* cemeteries and their stories

* our people and their stories

We talk about the past and the future, but mostly we talk about this:

Art + Mommy = X

X = blocked

X = conflicted

X = all or nothing

X = a dance

X = synergistic

X = not the same as before

The last time we met, Meghan and I talked about how motherhood has changed the structure of the creative process in our lives.  We no longer have the freedom to wait on inspiration or feeling to create.  We no longer create when it is convenient for us.  Instead, art happens in and around motherhood and life.  In planned spaces.  Or in unplanned spaces.  In studios.  Or in nooks and crannies.  Written in neat handwriting.  Or scribbled on a napkin.  Often times art happens in ways that are counter-intuitive to our natural bent.

We confessed that we don’t like it.

We shook our fists.

We may have even cried a little, but just a little, cause we’re tough like that.

And then we laughed.  Seriously, we bounced in our seats.  Because in the deepest part of who we are, the need to create supersedes the need to be angry about our less than perfect studio spaces.

In the midst of discussions about calendars and schedules, deadlines and shows, we decided to create a collaborative space of our own.  Thus, each month from April to December, we’ll choose a word and respond creatively to that word.  Simple, I know.  But, simple is good, since between the two of us, we:

*write words and songs

* paint stuff

* glue paper on things

* sing

* parent 9 children

* run businesses and manage creative careers

* read lots of books

* work on our vocabularies

* and make copious lists

We have decided that our motherhood is a reason, not an excuse.

9 months worth of words.  Very gestational and birth-like.  It is in keeping with the motherhood theme.  We have a pretty awesome list of words – some nouns, some verbs & even some adjectives and adverbs.  It’s a list of words that have been sitting in our hearts and minds percolating.

Bubbling to the top for April, is the word Surrender.  I’ve been carrying the word around in my pocket for a couple of weeks now.  Noticing it.  Looking it up.  Breathing it in.  Waking up with it on the tip of my pen.  This time ’round I’m making pages.  Keep an eye out for posts concerning our current word – there may be more than one.  {What can I say, we’re Word Girls.}  Meghan and I will link to each other’s blog and invite you to join us by leaving a link in the comments.    We’ll then scoop up all the collaboration and share the love.

I leave you with a question & a prayer for Surrender.  {From my journal yesterday morning}

A question:  What does it look like to let go of control in the creative process?

A prayer:


O Love that will not let me go,

I’m still holding on.  Some things are precious to me and I don’t want them to change.  Others are broken and beg to be hidden.  As I become aware of these holding-on places, I reveal them to you.  I confess I have tried to hide and compensate and have grown weary.  I Surrender.  I accept this time and place.  I bring my gifts and my wounds and trust that you will display your works in and through my surrendered places.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:36-04:00April 15th, 2011|Art is Life is Art|6 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

The Bluestocking Babes Reading List

We call ourselves the Bluestocking Babes and have been reading books together for over 5 years now.

I totally meant to post this yesterday for List it Tuesday over at Artsyville, but the day filled up with a sick girl and other non-computerish endeavors.   It’s not a handwritten list, but it did hit my email on a Tuesday, so I printed it out and taped/stapled it my journal.  {with room to doodle over the next few days. :)}





By |2016-10-19T14:20:37-04:00January 26th, 2011|books|0 Comments

List it Tuesday: January Books

I like to open up my journal whenever I’m on the phone to doodle and capture anything important that gets said.  This is a page in my everything book with a list and some phone call doodles from a chat with my friend Candi.  {Sharing the list over at Artsyville for List it Tuesday}

January Books

{stationary scrap, ink, Acrylic, Pilot G-2 Ultra Fine 0.38}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:37-04:00January 18th, 2011|Journals|0 Comments

List it Tuesday: 25 Things We’ve Done

25 things we've done-1

I married my college sweetheart a few short weeks after my 21st birthday.  We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last week.  {Actually, we agreed that we’ll be celebrating all year. ;)}  On the way out the door to dinner, I grabbed a small Moleskine sketchbook and stuck it in my coat pocket.  I didn’t really have any major journaling agendas, but I feel strange not having something to write on at all times and my current journal is a 9 x 12 sketchbook.  {Since my bag for the evening was tiny and beaded, there was no way it was going to slip into my purse.}

Over a wonderful dinner, we talked about past, present & future and because I’m a list girl {and had a journal in my pocket} we made two lists.  {Just a note – while we have all sorts of life goals and plans in writing, these lists were spontaneous and from the heart…} Here’s the first:

25 Things We’ve Done

* had brilliant babies

* bought a house

* started a business {several actually}

* traveled to MS; TX; HI; CT; NYC; NC; Sydney, NSW, AU, {we forgot so many…}

* mastered communication {with each other & well enough to teach others}

* healed old wounds

* made decisions and stood by them

* bought a beautiful horse {and have ridden said horse with no bit}

* rescued a blind German Shepherd Dog

* owned chickens

* read hundreds of books

* taught our children to read hundreds of books

*  made several trips to the ER

* lost a baby

* found our hearts

* learned to take care of ourselves

* asked questions {and found a few answers}

*  made good friends

*  found wise counsel

*  figured out when to walk away

*  buried a father

*  laughed & cried

*  furnished a home {in our style}

*  learned to shoot a gun

*  opened our home

* We have become our selves

{Yes, I know there are 26, but we lost count about halfway through the memories & bottle of wine…}

P.S.  If you really like lists, don’t forget to check out List it Tuesday over at Artsyville

By |2016-10-19T14:20:38-04:00December 7th, 2010|Art is Life is Art, Journals|6 Comments

Art is Life is Art: On secrets and journal victories

One of my biggest “wrestles” in art journaling has been What To Write. I have spent a lot of time sorting and classifying my thoughts before ever making the first handwriting stroke.  I spent years collecting quotes and taking notes from other people’s writing and talks, all the time busily making beautiful pages that were void of my own true thoughts and feelings.

Decorating pages was the first phase of my art journaling, but the next {and to me more powerful} stage was getting authentic with my content.  To do this, I had to deal with some old messages and judgments – the deeply embedded belief systems that controlled my story for years.  It was second nature to filter and modify my emotions BEFORE approaching the pages.  {especially if the pages were beautiful and the content not so much…}

There are many reasons that we keep secrets.  A friend of mine is fond of saying:  “We’re only as sick as the secrets that we keep.”  It is easy to believe that our secrets will betray us, expose us and ultimately consume us.  My art journal has shown me that I have options.

page detail:  be careful with my secrets

These days, I’m much more candid in my pages than in my early years of heavy editing and my later years of avoidance.  These days, I just write what I think and feel.  Where I am.  What I’m doing. What I’m thinking.  UNFILTERED. These days, I know the power in a folded page; I know that I can glue in an envelope and collect uncomfortable things for later.  Being honest in my pages, keeps me here, in my life.  My energy goes to art instead of dancing the Containing-Pain-and-Fear Dance.  The surprise for me has been in the demystification.  It’s amazing how writing something down causes movement.  I can:

*  capture.

*  release.

*  paint over.

*  pursue further.

* write clearly

* write messily {or in disappearing ink}

*  tuck away.

Writing it down doesn’t mean I’m sharing.  Writing it down means I’m facing the secret; looking it square in the eye.  It means that I am in charge.  I have choices.  The secrets don’t have to win

Feel the victory.  Write a secret in your journal. Fold the page and let it go.

A nest of private thoughts

By |2016-10-19T14:20:39-04:00August 25th, 2010|Art is Life is Art, Journals|10 Comments

Art is Life is Art: It’s all about space.

If you’ve ever been in one of my classes/workshops there are three things you know right away.

*  I talk with my hands.

*  I rabbit trail in very quirky ways, but {almost always} come back around to the main point.

*  I have a deep belief that art principles are life principles.

Conversations with me usually involve “word pictures” and/or a sketch or two.   When talking about any given topic over coffee, I usually have to pull out a napkin or my journal and draw, or describe a scenario that illustrates the point.

So, last week when Aussie Brilliant #1 called with some time management challenges, we ended up in a conversation about “margin”, which launched me into an art lesson about positive and negative space – that, was really not an art lesson at all.

Because after all, you can form something by shaping it or by leaving room for it.

In my son’s world, this means showing up to several things that are in the Form-of-Self.  Things like classes, job and his volunteer work.  There are a million things that “shape” us.   From the people that we meet, to the discoveries we make, to our preferences & adventures.  They come to us from the outside in and add shape to our lives.


In addition to what shapes us, we are formed by other things.  These things, while just as important, are more ethereal. They are those things that we leave space for; and they are also in the Form-of-Self.  Things like writing songs, making art, reading books, thinking/processing time.  Personally, I think you have to fight a little harder for these things.  It is tougher to make space than to be formed.  But that is another conversation…


Imagine my delight this morning, when I received the following email.  The subject line read simply:  Mom!


I just got out of a fancy pen shoppe! :). The lady gave me an impromptu handwriting lesson!  And you know what she said??!!?

“It’s all about space.” She then pointed to the jar of ink.  “the letters are all there, waiting for the spaces”

dude!  She kept talking about pens but i I fumbled to write down what she said.

Private Reserve Ink - Avacado

Ah, thank you pen shoppe lady for the beautiful word picture.   I hope I get to meet you someday.  When you, in the middle of your fancy pen shoppe in Sydney, took the the time to show a college student the beauty of lettering, you not only sold a pen, you unwittingly reinforced one of the powerful life lessons that show up in art.  {The same message coming from home in Georgia…”It’s all about space.”}  I hope that your Generous Heart  and Love of Beauty circle back around to bless you in large ways. {And that would be REPETITION & UNITY...}

P.S.  We’re sending that young man back to you to buy a pen, because every songwriter/scribe should have a beautiful instrument.

By |2016-10-19T14:20:39-04:00August 12th, 2010|Art is Life is Art|4 Comments

A list for 2010

“I am learning to just put my thoughts on where I am, instead of going back or worrying forward. To grab what is in front of me right now. The feel of my pillow. Sand under my toes. Stop for the photo. Say the words. Hug the boy. Squeeze the girl. Forgive myself for not being enough and embrace The One Who Is.”

Wrote this to a friend a couple of years ago.  {And thought of it again when I realized that everything on my list of what-I-would-like-to-do-in-2010 required my “staying present”.}

3267336950_3abe1d27fa_oJanuary is an odd time for me – mostly because I went from college to the homeschool lifestyle and am still on an American school calendar.  January doesn’t really feel like a beginning; it feels like the middle.  A list of goals and resolutions seems out of place.  {That’s more of a September thing.}  Thus, I rarely make resolutions in January.  {I’m usually  in the midst of working on September’s goals.}

What I do in January is look for themes.  It seems the Big Idea for 2009 around here was REPAIR.  We used lots of duct tape, diagnostics & contractors.  It’s been an inside out kind of year with  a lot of introspection and fixing.  Looking forward, it looks like the theme is CLARITY.  {I’ll let you know if that’s still the case come March & August…and what comes into focus.}

Now that our floors are solid and walls repaired, I have a simple list for 2010.  It includes:

* a few old dreams

* and some new visions

* the ubiquitous shedding of a few pounds

* and the gaining of an undergraduate degree {I’m on the 25 year plan…}

I want to:

* write more letters & care less about the opinions of others

* eat more slow food & less fast lifestyle

I hope to:

* plant food not bitterness

* hold Baby Charlotte and not grudges

* make art daily

* pray constantly

* live well

* make a difference

* be

Happy 2010! {in 2 hours}

By |2016-10-19T14:20:40-04:00December 31st, 2009|Uncategorized|7 Comments