Thursday, May 28, 2009

At least 8 things to be grateful for and perfect self expression

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."
- Helen Keller

I'm moving through this week with an astounding amount of grace and calmness. Tomorrow is my last day of work. I'm finally coming around to the fact that this is a good and exciting thing. I'm wise enough to know that I have to let go of those things that haven't served me in order to make room for the next phase. I'm ready to watch the scared little girl become the vibrant, strong, kick ass woman that she always wanted to be. I'm ready to let go of the fear of the unknown and let God work with me to show me the great things on the horizon.

I've been listening to Florence Schovel Shinn lately. She was an artist and metaphysics teacher in New York in the early part of the 20th century. Her work is really quite phenomenal. She talked about the idea of "perfect self expression" :

"There is for each man, perfect self expression. There is a place he is to fill and no one else can fill. Something that he is to do that no one else can do. It is his destiny."

I believe that there is indeed perfect self expression for all of us. Some of us have found it; some are still seeking. But it is there. We have to be patient and listen and be aware of the shifts and changes.

Today I find myself grateful for so many simple things:

A great trash pick in the parking lot of my office building. I found this yesterday. I already have a vision of what I want it to look like. I can't wait to post pictures of the finished face lift!

A warm slab of mushroom lasagna (recipe is over at my meatless year blog; check it out here)

A quiet late night dinner for Breen and me

Watching my daughter play softball

Cool grass

Blue skies and sunny afternoons

Kicking my feet up

Favorite books and time in the hammock

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday...Frivolous

What a great Wishcasting prompt! Thank you Jamie!! I've got several frivolous wishes.

A few years ago, my friend Terry and I fantasized about opening up a women's retreat ranch in Montana or Oregon. A place where women could come for a long weekend of crafting, fishing, eating and camping. Just yesterday, I received my first copy of Mary Jane's Farm magazine (this was a small frivolous purchase for myself). In it was featured "Sisters on the Fly". A group of women who meet up with their vintage trailers for a long weekend of fly fishing, gourmet camp food and a cowgirl prom. I would like to do something frivolous like purchase a trailer like this:

I would glam it up to be one bodacious, kick-ass girly trailer. While I was at it, I'd hook up my blogger chicks with trailers too and we could meet up at least once a year to hang out in to the wee hours of the morning. We could even have a prom around the campfire:

Another frivolous wish would be to take Breen out of the office for one week and make a pilgrimage to Burning Man. I can't think of anything hotter than spending a week in the middle of the desert with my amazing husband.

Last frivolous wish: a summer shopping spree to update my summer wardrobe. I know it's not even practical with the loss of my job but I sure would love to buy a bunch of cute tank tops and little sundresses.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The end of an era (also doubling for SUNDAY SCRIBBLINGS)

This week marks the end of an era for me. The last day at my job is Friday. We'll be clearing out the office Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. After that, I'll be home juggling my free time with job hunting, creative projects, home organization projects and playing human taxi to Max and Kendall as I shuffle them around to their camps. This is also a period for some rest and healing.

My Sunday Scribbling prompt for this week is Worry and how I handle it.I really debated with myself long and hard about sharing this here but, in the end, my blogging community has been an incredible source of strength and support over the past few years. Basically, I started to experience some panic attacks over the past few weeks. On one hand, it all felt like I got hit from nowhere. On the other hand, I should have seen it coming. For quite a few years, I stuffed a few things down because I was always on this hectic and sometimes crazy treadmill trying to focus only on taking care of the kids. There never seemed to be the time to take care of me. Getting laid off was probably the proverbial straw that broke this camel's back. Not only have I earned my own paycheck and handled all of my own finances for over 20 years, this job was very much tied in to my "old life". So here I am stripped naked and standing at the crossroads of a whole new part of my life and I am literally like a deer in the headlights.

Here's an equation that's simple to follow: Worrying + A few unresolved core issues + a major life change = panic attacks. Sure, some people are lucky enough to handle stress and anxiety by eating 2 pints of Ben and Jerry's and playing video games for 6 hours straight. Lucky them. I do believe for myself that these panic attacks are only situational and are also a wake up call to promote change. I look at my life today and I am so incredibly blessed. I am light years away from that old life. I have found the man I always dreamed of and I am part of his amazing family now too. I know without any doubt that God gave me all of this goodness and there is no way that he would take me three quarters of the way here only to dump me off at the side of the road. I don't know what's ahead over the next month..two months...year. I only know that I was given this time to truly discover the next part of this magnificent journey. It comes down to surrendering those fears which were never real in the first place and trading worrying for trusting.

We are coming to the end of a wonderful holiday weekend. On Saturday, I drove to Maryland where Breen's sisters took me to a tea room for a "welcome to the family" lunch. Including my mother, sisters, nieces, one fiance and one girlfriend, there were 13 of us. I really love Breen's family and I feel honored to have them as my new extended family. Yesterday, we went for a nice long bike ride and had a cookout with my parents. So here I am thinking about the week ahead and the end of an era. I know in my heart that this door is being closed so that another one much better can be opened. I was shriveling up, little by little, at this job; we had downsized to a point where we moved to a tiny office with no windows and no other employees in the office but me. I'm a girl who loves light and people. It's time to regroup, move ahead and open up like a brand new flower.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Lately, I've really taken a hit with stress and anxiety over my job ending. Honestly though, it goes deeper than being laid off. My job represents the one last piece of "my old life" that I was still clinging to. One by one, all of the things in my old life that I held on to for so long all began to fall away. When I found out my job was ending, it felt like I had been stripped away and was standing there naked. Vulnerable. Unsure. Of course, I have a wonderful new life with an amazing husband who loves me and supports me. But the old tapes have a way of playing even when you thought you could throw them away with the eight tracks. I'm standing on the edge of a new place. I'm scared and excited all at the same time. I'm also looking forward to taking a new and gentle approach with life. I'm looking forward to taking some long and lazy rides on the back roads that lead home to my very core. This is something new for me as I'm usually running around on fumes hoping to make it to the next gas station :)

Last night put in to perspective what the very essence of family and partnership is all about. I am grateful and blessed today to have it. When we got home from Kendall's softball game last night, Breen patiently and perfectly helped Max with his math homework. Earlier, he was in tears but when Breen stepped in, he finally got it.

While he helped with the homework, Kendall sat on a stool in the kitchen and read aloud to me as I made Breen's granola.

After that was all done, Breen put together a hermit crab habitat for the crab Kendall is bringing home today. And I sat there in awe of the simplicity of the evening scene in our house. This is at the core of togetherness: sharing our skills, being together and listening to each other. I almost laugh at the idea of stress and worry. Everything is perfect in its own moment.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday

What is your highest self wishing for?
What's rumbling in your soul?

After much time spent visiting my fellow Wishcasting Wednesday bloggers, I finally decided to join in. Today's prompt really resonates with me on so many levels.

Today, my highest self wishes for:

* Peace and good health as I embark on a new journey
* Days filled with a renewed sense of creativity
* wisdom
* patience with myself
* a strong faith in God's plan for me
* continued love and support from family and friends

There has been so much rumbling around in my soul for a while now. What stands out most for me is the desire to find out how to really tap in to my creativity and to also find out what my true calling really is.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I woke up this morning knowing that I should get back to blogging but the past few days have been a bit challenging for me and I really got off track. Then this morning, I opened up my e-mail and there was a set of awesome interview questions from Boho Mom. Perfect timing. I really needed a good writing prompt. Here goes:

1.) Sooooooo, Jane.... if it's not too personal, how is your 2nd marriage different from your first? :) The difference is night and day. I've written about my first marriage and I reiterate that it was an absolute train wreck. My first husband and I never should have married each other in the first place. If we agree on anything, we both know that it was disastrous from the start. It was a loveless marriage with no partnership whatsoever. When I met Breen, I had been on my own for a few years. In those years, I had really started coming in to my own. I prayed a lot for God to either send me the perfect mate or allow me to be strong and happy as a single person if that's what he had in mind for me. He sent me Breen. Honestly, I fall more in love with him every day. He is strong, hard working, spiritually solid, committed, focused and dedicated. We are completely passionate and not afraid to express it. He is a wonderful role model to my children. In fact, before we ever got married, Breen came in to our lives and made us a family. We love to support each other in all that we do. He completes me and makes me want to be a better person. I feel loved, safe and valued for all of the unique parts of me. He puts up with me and listens patiently. He doesn't judge; he simply sees me for me and loves it all, perfect and imperfect.

2.) If money, time, or responsibilities were of no object, what would be your "perfect date" with Breene be like? He and I are both pretty laid back. We both love the outdoors. I imagine the perfect date would be a long weekend at the beach or lake with my kayak and our bikes. Perhaps we would camp out under the stars and take long walks on the beach. He would go out for an early morning run while I ran around with my little camera taking a million snapshots.

3.) If you could have any job in the world, what would it be? Good question! I'm just arriving at a brand new crossroad in this area. I love being around people and I love being creative. Ideally, I would love to have my own coffee house/store filled with funky art, antiques and books. Lots of books.

4.) You look freakin fantastic!!! What's your secret and what are your priorities for taking care of yourself throughout your 40's? Well, it's taken me 44 years on this planet to come to an understanding that feeling and looking good is a multi-faceted process. For me, it comes in stages; as a new piece of myself is excavated, I work with it and honor that. Above all else, it all begins with accepting and loving who you are on the inside. Exercise, green smoothies and a vegetarian diet make me feel good but it goes much deeper than that. At my very core, my faith is key and so is loving who I am; both things are continuous works in progress. At the end of this month I will be unemployed. This is the first time since having kids that I am actually looking forward to taking a few deep breaths and nurturing myself while I find out what is next on the path for me. I think as I reconnect with myself and have some healing time, I'll continue to amaze myself with all of my potential.

5.) We all know what a creative girl you are. What's your absolute most favourite "thing" that you've created? My creative brain runs in 1000 directions and probably always will. I've done so much from knitting to painting furniture to making journals to designing jewelry to creating happy aprons. I pretty much love it all. But my favorite thing I've made to date is a self-portrait made on a piece of old wood and moulding. I have it hanging in my living room. Every time I pass by it, I smile. It has objects embedded in it that represent all the phases of myself from childhood to adulthood.

If you would like for me to interview you, please leave me your e-mail and I'll send you the questions!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


It's raining today. I'm hoping that the weather will be beautiful for Breen's triathlon this coming weekend. I'm certainly looking forward to getting away for part of the weekend.

This week has been busy. Tomorrow, I have a second round of interviews for a possible job offer. I'm looking at this now with excitement. I'm very much ready to put on a new pair of shoes and walk a new path. Whether it be this job or something else, I am ready. Yesterday we had a staff meeting and I think it really helped in putting closure to end of our jobs here. This morning as I was driving to work, I got thinking about all of the things I would love to be doing as a creative artist: write a book, make lots of art and start a business somehow. But I also got thinking that it doesn't have to be an "all or nothing" choice. I can be successful in a non-art related field and I can be a successful artist all at the same time. If I open myself up to all sorts of opportunities to stretch and learn and grow then maybe, just maybe, I'll have to make a choice with my successes. Imagine that!

Today, I made a bold move and contacted the editor at Vegetarian Times. I explained my vegetarian blog and asked if they would check it out and consider mentioning it on their website or in their magazine. I would love to get more readership there plus I am more than open to advise and tips from vegetarians who have been doing this a whole lot longer. Next step....get my aprons up on my Etsy store and write a letter to Martha :))) Hey, why not...a girl can dream big, can't she???

Monday, May 11, 2009


I found this is my inbox this morning:

Everybody has the same basic thing to forgive, and that was when we gave up the Spirit world and fell into the physical world.

We can look back and see where we thought, "I'll go down there and be back in just one life." Then we found out that we liked it here because it is a pretty nice place (in its own way). At some point, we come to the realization that we have to work this out.

So the basic thing we need to do is to forgive ourselves for forgetting that we are divine. That is the real message to open up the channel for our return to the Spirit.

Sometimes these daily messages are so deep you need waders on to even attempt reading them. But some days, like today, the message hits me. In a nutshell, we are all divine beings here on the planet having our human experiences. Some days, OK a lot of days lately, I'm way too hard on myself. My focus this week is to lighten up with myself. Let the negativity fall away and just be present with things going on in the moment. It's so important on a daily basis to recount the blessings we have and to look at the day with neutrality (and dare I say JOY???). Yes, joy is a choice. So is negativity. Which one do you think serves us better?

I'm cruising along with my quest to go vegetarian. This morning I made these kale chips which I put in my Bento Box for lunch today.

Check out the recipe

I'm also gearing up to get my Etsy shop up and running again. I'm planning to offer lots of happy art: aprons, journals, jewelry and much more. I'll keep you posted! What's that? You want a little sneak preview of a new item???? Ok, ok.....

What else am I JOYFUL about?

1. We are traveling this coming weekend to Breen's first triathlon of the season. I can't tell you how much I love being there to support him and see him as he crosses over the finish line!

2. I'm trying my hand at my own sushi rolls this week...thanks to the gift I bought myself for Mother's Day :))) Side note: I am trying to remain neutral about the price of sushi rice.

3. I'm going to slowly take the rest of this month to "Spring Clean" my art and jewelry supplies so that I can be ready to create some happy things.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday...It's good to the the mother

It's Mother's Day. As I sit here this morning thinking about my experiences as a mother, I know I am blessed. Some days it feels challenging raising a ten year old girl with raging mood swings and a son with his own set of challenges, but I wouldn't trade a minute of it for anything. I can't imagine my life without my children. They help to round me out as a person and without them, I wouldn't have learned half the things about life, love and compassion that I know today. This year feels especially wonderful. Since Breen and I got married in March, we are a family unit and I have the privilege of being a step mother to his children. Life is so damn good.

Yesterday, I had some "me time". I went to Borders and sat with a pile of books around my feet. I told Breen that if money were no consideration, I could easily drop hundreds of dollars in one visit to the book store. Primarily, I sat close to the cookbook section. I had no paper in my big handbag, so I ended up writing names of books for my wish list and recipes on the backs of old grocery receipts. I decided to buy myself two Mother's Day gifts.

A sushi kit with mat, book and CD (these will be awesome in my Bento Box).

A silk hand painted glasses case:

Breen surprised me with one of my wish list books. This book so completely ROCKS!

Kendall got me some plants for the front of the house:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sacred Saturday

Saturday mornings always feel sacred and serene for me.

I woke up at 6:30 this morning, came downstairs, made coffee and headed out to my front porch with my new journal and Kendall's laptop. Breen is still sleeping; he loves to sleep in. Sometimes, I wish I had it in me to sleep past 7am but I'm just not wired that way. Besides, for me, the early Saturday morning hours are a time to breathe deeply and savor all the early hours before the rest of the world gets moving. I noticed something this morning. As I sat here on my porch, I noticed a neighbor sitting out on his porch two doors down. It hit me that we live on a street with tons of houses and neighbors and yet most of us barely acknowledge each other. We live in a small town that is supposed to be prized for its "small town feel". For as long as I can remember, I've dreamed of living on a street in a small community where everyone knows and interacts with each other. A place where you might throw together a last minute barbecue or run over and have coffee together. I am a people person. I crave human connections. It seems to me that there is no better time in our history to reach out to each other and make gunuine connections. It hits me that this is a "must have" for my next job: people connections. I know there is a small community like the one in my dreams and I can't wait for us to meet with each other.

On the job end, I'm still teetering between dread and hope. It has to stop. I am blessed beyond belief with this life of mine. I will find a new job and it will be the right one for me with great pay, good hours and awesome people to work for and with. It's out there. And while I'm searching, I remind myself that I am a confident creator of happy art. I will continue to take the time to create art, get it out there and share the happy vibes it brings.
Today, I am grateful for:
1. My husband (thank God he puts up with me!)

2. My parents (they make my son feel so loved and accepted)

3. These Saturday morning hours

4. The roof over our heads

5. The food on our table

6. The presence of God in our lives

Today, I am looking forward to:

1. Finishing our wedding quilt

2. Sending Happy Creations out in to the Universe

3. The slow unveiling of my path

4. Seeing Breen's face when he wakes up and comes downstairs

5. Seeing my family for Mother's Day

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Here we are 4 days in to another rainy day. I'm at the office now and I have to say that it is almost a surreal experience to be coming in here every day working towards my last day. In other ways, it is the end of an era and I knew it had to come. I'm such in impatient soul....I want to know right now what's behind the next door.

I have this ritual now. Every night, I take a hot bath. I turn off the lights, light a candle or two and settle in to the warm water with my grandmother's silver rosary. I'm not really sure it makes me feel connected to her spirit but it does help me feel closer to God. I let the thoughts pour out of me along with the stress from the day. It's become a great way for me to breathe deeply and get a few minutes of meditation.

Yesterday, I got a call from a woman who is a "friend of a friend". She is looking for a "right arm" to assist her in her hectic business. We are meeting tomorrow. It seems that there could be some room for future growth in the company. I have good skills to bring to her table if it was indeed a right fit for each of us. But a funny thing happened. When she first called, my first reaction was that I was really looking forward to being home for the summer. There has never been a better time in my life to really investigate where my passions are and how they might be best served after my current job. As much as I need to bring a paycheck home, I don't want to jump right in to a job that only serves that purpose again. I've always been a very late bloomer. I have this feeling that the best of myself is certainly yet to come. I also feel in my gut that losing my job right at the beginning of the summer happened for a reason. Do I follow my gut or do I get swept up in having to get to another job right away? If this potential job was offered, would I have the faith to say no even though I have no idea when the next job opportunity could come my way? This is where my faith feels constantly tested.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday and a call to write

This was last night's dinner: tofu stir fry with cashews and brown rice. Yum!

Last night I had two dreams:

1. I was in a big room (maybe a conference center) with clowns and Breen was there with me.

2. I was standing at a bus stop with my son and there were two other boys who were verbally bullying him simply because he didn't understand what they were talking about. I was so sad in my dream that I woke up at 1:30am with tears rolling down my cheeks.

The universe hands us opportunities. There are several layers to this for me. For over 12 years, I've had this feeling that I'm supposed to write a book. Fucking ridiculous "calling" really when you consider that I don't know Jack Shit about writing a book. And for years I wondered what the hell I was supposed to write about any way. In the earlier years of this calling, I thought perhaps my disastrous journey in my first marriage was worthy of writing about....but who would want to read that? I wasn't famous or different from thousands of other women who also found themselves in my situation. But then there was my son. When I figured out that there was something different about him, I thought maybe that was a book waiting to be written. I let it go for a while. Sometimes I've wondered if I should write a book about the spiritual approach to handling a child with Aspergers. Sometimes I've wondered if Max should write a book. There are so many clinical books on the subject but very few on the every day living with it. Maybe the arrival of Aspergers in my life was the reason to write. So....flash forward to now...

I looked to this summer with dread. Every time this year I have to scrape together money for summer camp simply so that I can go to work and the kids have some coverage for the day. Thousands of dollars. My ex has not paid me enough in the past year or so to even scratch the surface. I was going in to the kids savings account to pay for it all. My son's program was $2000 for a 5 week half day summer enrichment program at his school. Highway robbery! My back was up against the wall since he detests regular summer camps and I was not ready to have him sit home all day by himself. Then, a few days ago, I was told that the company was closing and my job would be over as of May 31st. Suddenly, I knew that I was meant to be home with my son for the summer. I have a chance to do things with him as I job hunt. This past Sunday as Breen and I were driving home from church, Max called me on my cell phone. "Mom, I think one reason why you and I were meant to be home together this summer is because we need to write a book about Aspergers". I was a little floored and pretty touched. "I have a lot to say about the subject since I'm 13 now". Maybe he's right. Maybe, just maybe, this is the book I was meant to write.

I keep trying to get still every day and listen to what God wants for me. Sometimes I wonder how my perfect job/career will manifest. Honestly, I have no idea and the more I try to find the answer, the more elusive it is. Everything happens for a reason. I know this. As I go through the days to come, I'm going to make sure that I continue to work out at least 4 days at the gym, eat well, drink lots of water, pray, let my creativity flow and stay committed to the job search every single day. Something awesome is around the corner. It's just a matter of time.

Monday, May 4, 2009


It's been raining for 2 days now and supposedly for the rest of this week. I don't mind it too much because it helps all the flowers and grass grow. Soon enough it will be hot as hell.

I've started a third blog on my "meatless year" journey(yes, I know I'm overly ambitious). Go check out today's post here.

This weekend flew by. Breen and I actually got a "date night" and a chance to go to church on Sunday morning. Since my ex has not taken the kids for over a year, a date night is a big deal around our house. I hadn't been to church in weeks and weeks. But yesterday's service really spoke to me for some reason. Maybe because I'm about to face a whole new set of changes and I need to hear the words that anchor me. This week, a lot of the sermon was about the power of words and thoughts. There is a vibrancy associated with the words and thoughts we put out there; what ever is put out there is what we receive back. Every sermon is concluded with an assignment for the upcoming week. This week, the assignment is to think of one thing about your life that you would like to change and each day imagine that the change is already yours. So of course with my impending job search, I'm creating a lifestyle in my mind that I want to see. But it really goes beyond just a job. Ever since I graduated from college I've worked. But I have to say that I've pretty much taken jobs to earn a paycheck to pay my bills. I can't say that I've been truly passionate and stoked to get up every day and sit in an office from 9-5 in front of a computer. For the past year, I've been in a windowless office with no co-workers except my boss who comes in a few days in the afternoons. This does not serve me. I'm a people person. I like color and air and stimulation. I've been slowly dying on the vine.

When I was married before, I willingly stayed in an unhealthy marriage for way too long simply because I was afraid to leave and be on my own. It didn't serve me. When we finally did separate and divorce, a whole new world opened up for me. I found my sense of adventure and humor and ability to write. I discovered how much I liked going places and talking to complete strangers. I discovered art and cooking and photography. When the huge weight was taken off my shoulders, it made room for the most amazing man in my life whom I am now married to. I feel the same about this whole job thing. I stayed too long in a job that ultimately was not serving me. It did not show off my God given gifts. I have to imagine if I was given all the blessings I have since my divorce, the same will be true with new directions after the weight of this job is lifted off my shoulders.

Today I envision that I already have the tools and abilities to have an amazing, fulfilling and satisfying career. And I am excited.

Friday, May 1, 2009

New paths

There is a lot going on these days. I'm working through the grief cycle of no longer having my job as of May 31. My boss and I have been working closely together these past few days to hammer out a game plan for how to do all of this gracefully and efficiently. We each have strengths and insights that the other doesn't; that is what has made a great relationship for all these years. Yesterday, it hit me that I know she is doing the right thing by closing it down. I know that I needed to leave on many levels and I know that the very business she loves is also wearing her down.

This morning on the way to work, I saw a beautiful sight. A man was kneeling down on the sidewalk taking a picture of the fallen cherry blossoms. He looked like an ordinary guy with a backpack on his way to work. What made me smile was that he saw some beauty around him and stopped to capture it. The sight of the blossoms on the sidewalk instantly made me realize that our new paths, which are sometimes uncertain and scary, can also be beautiful. It is how we choose to see things. I can walk this new road with fear and resistance or I can trust that there is a blanket of beauty cushioning the steps. It's up to me.

I have this feeling that I am about to embark on a life changing adventure after this job is over. For a long time now, I've been beating myself up trying to figure out what I want to do for a living that I actually feel passionate about. The harder I am on myself, the more elusive the answers are. It's time to take control of my life. Get it organized and take some walks down some new paths. Take some time to be still and listen to what God is saying. There was a time when I could never imagine the life I am blessed with now. Not too long ago, I was alone raising 2 kids. I had debt. I was destined to be on my own. Then I met Breen and got married. Months ago my father ,out of the blue, called me and said that he wanted to pay off my car loan. I then decided to dip in to my savings and pay off all of my credit cards. I stand here today on the edge of unemployment with no debt in my name, an incredible husband and family & friends that love and support me. Not to mention, I'm loaded with artistic vision; a gift that may bring me to places I never imagined.

I've got lots to do and I'm actually kind of excited. I'm starting yet a 3rd blog today on my journey through a meatless year. At first I thought I was crazy to take on so much blog management but then I realized how much my life changed when I started my very first blog. Meeting one person here in my blog world that feels like a soul friend is worth more than a dozen acquaintances that I could meet in the real world. I'm going to take these life changes on and I hope I continue to learn and grow through my writing and the people I meet.