Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December, an end to 2013

Here we are again as another year reaches its end.  This month has had some lovely quiet moments and some hectic ones.  Tensions that flow with the cycles of life and death that the earth clearly wants us to embrace at this time of year.  And yet we find it so hard to embrace them....

  Our solstice was perfect and quiet and just us four.  Its bookend was sickness for us with recovering just in time to celebrate Kyan's 6th birthday even if we were the worse for wear.  Our Christmas was not white but that was fine with me.  A little bit of snow around this time of year is all we need to feel the energy of winter arrive.

Tonight will be a thoughtful one for me.  I plan to think, evaluate and count my blessings.  There are not many words today.  Happy New Year.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Fair November

What a stunning month November was this year.  The thing about my birth month is that most people find it wet, cold and depressing.  Which I try not to take personally really.  I mean, there is little I can do to redeem it for anyone...it is what it is.  Except when it is not.  Like this year when it was sunny almost every afternoon and that sun streams down like a gift to those of us that are usually huddling under umbrellas and feeling pale and gloomy by mid month.  The above photo is of two bald eagles on the edge of the Harrison river.  This was their moment to feed on the salmon as they return to lay their eggs and die in the process.  Such a fascinating life cycle and such a delicate balance that we were privileged to witness this year. 

On the right in the above photo lies the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa where we luxuriated in the healing waters for a lovely weekend.  It was the highlight of the month for me.  So relaxing after a busy month of soccer games, gatherings, school, cleaning...you get the picture. A mini vacation it was and a grateful person am I.

And just cause I want to share a lovely poem I found about November that gives it a nice sentiment rather than the gloomy one that is often associated with the 11th month.

November comes
and November goes,
with the last red berries
and the first white snows.

with night coming early, 
and dawn coming late,
and ice in a bucket, 
and frost by the gate.

the fires burn
and the kettles sing,
and earth sinks to rest
until next spring.

-Clyde Watson

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

October Memories

 The first time we trekked out from the city to the country to pick apples and pose with pumpkins was 6 years ago.  The biggest guy in these pictures was only 2 and the second biggest guy was in my belly.  The next year we had two little ones and one on the way (actually only a month out).  Several years and subsequent visits later we brought the littlest one who decided to sample the dirt during his first pumpkin photo shoot.  And this October these pictures were taken of four rapidly growing boys.  In various stages of becoming men.
 The thing about tradition and growing up is that while we adults try and create memories we really can't.  Ultimately what the boys remember will depend on them, what is important to them, what they value, what sticks as odd or fun or silly.  It may be that I may cherish these outings way more than they ever do.  I acknowledge my part in that, my attempt to influence their childhood stories to reflect my own values and interests.
 There was no picture where they all looked at me and smiled.  Photographing 4 boys between the ages of 8 and 2...good luck my friend.  But in each one you can see a characteristic; the stoic leader, the mischievous one, the thinker with his heart on his sleeve, and the unpredictable wild card.  Each so close and yet miles away from the person they could be tomorrow or were yesterday.  
There are many definitions of family that ring true for me.  I don't hold one above all others because the path of my life has taught me that every type of family that we encounter whether we are born into in, make it ourselves or have it forced upon us shapes us and teaches us more about ourselves.  All I can hope for these 4 is that the family that they most certainly are gives them strength and deep love and acceptance that they can carry their whole lives.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Shapes of September

September was of course a lesson in adaptation for us.  Kyan going to Kindergarten was the whole scope of the month.  A little getaway with friends, a soccer routine to get into....and weather that was just steady.

Can it be that almost 4 months have passed since this new routine came about?  And while we are not old pros yet we certainly have a rhythm that wasn't overly disruptive to our lives.

Kyan likes school.  He does well with the schedule and while he is more tired as seasoned parents always say happens that first year, he takes it all in stride.  The transformation has been positive.  I see his confidence growing, his ability to adapt is better and his learning capacity is impressive.  We have yet to get a report card, but I don't feel I need to read it to understand how he's doing.

What I see and what he exhibits is very promising for a school experience that enriches him.  But as with everything we'll just take it one day at a time.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

August Fades

Oh how quickly the days pass from warm summer sun to the weaker sun of fall.  Our August was bright and full of fun days.  Visiting more of our home province and trying to enjoy the last few weeks before Kyan's first year of elementary school.

After the heat of July August faded in and out and moved with a more deliberate pace.
We saw some incredible sights; walking through old train tunnels, visiting community gardens, and gathering with friends to share music.

A highlight of the month was to witness the blossoming of dreams being realized.  Artists close to me (including myself) creating, working, striving to find their place and bring their truth to the world around them.  This manifested differently for each of us but filled my heart with a steadfast joy.  I feel lucky to have been there and experienced that moment in time.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Urge to Share

This year's blogging break has been quite a cathartic change for me.  I want to send a quick thank you to those of you who are still reading along.  I can't say that things will get more frequent here, but I will say that when there is something I need to share it will be recorded here.

Last year I experienced a wonderful renewal at Autumnal Equinox and I think this year has brought the same freshness to my perspective.  The coming of the rain brings insights into my journey.  They are not always clear or wrapped nicely for me to discover.  In fact they are often at the bottom of a pile that requires me to sit and slowly evaluate and discard things one by one.  But what I am grateful for is the chance to move through the pile at my own pace.

Launching my art career has is now coming upon a year mark.  It was last year that I discovered an opportunity and followed my instincts.  Now I am about to pick up my work from my second show this year with 2 or 3 more (hopefully) to come before the calendar year ends.  My mind is slightly blown from how life moves when things are falling into place.  It feels really good, really right for this moment in time.  I am building something for myself along with building for my family.

So my health goals and career goals are on track now.  As for my spiritual goals...well they are still sitting in a corner of my mind.  I see them and their importance is not lost on me.  They call, I hear them.  In this moment I struggle to find a place for them.  I struggle to find words for them, while at the same time my continual refusal to name something so deep and personal still surfaces.  For now, well, they wait.   I know that they will find their place in my life when the opening happens.  By opening I mean that life will find a space as it has before.  That the seasons of our world are reflected in the movement through our days and we must accept that the pace of the dance is not ours to control.

There is more, so much to share.  Thoughts, new stages, new opportunities.  All in their own time.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sunny July

Literally the sunniest July on record we had not one drop of rain.  Our family had some glorious views both as a foursome and as a twosome. Dave and I had a getaway for two for the first time in 5 years.  There were beach visits galore, swimming classes, deadlines, a wedding, and lots of lovely heat.  It almost felt like summer was bottled up into a month, but at least we made the most of it this year.   

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Peeking around corners

There are small spaces in our days.  Tiny windows into our world that I often notice but move past quickly.  As the time approaches for Kyan to enter Kindergarten I have tried to notice them more.  To stop and really appreciate them.  Because as much as life expands with school, so too will it change.  This boy will be molded by his surroundings, just as his brother will have a different experience being home alone with mama.
Here are three moments from one day last month.  A perfect, ordinary day, this summer of 2013.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

June Dreams

Even though July is nearing its end I have yet to post about that ever strange and tumultuous month of June.  This year it did not fool me.  I hoped that perhaps it would bring the sun but only a few days shone.  Some so brightly that it was overwhelming.  But not here...

Halfway through June I flew many miles with one of my best friends to be in the same room with my ultimate icon Joni Mitchell.  If you are new here, well I've mentioned her before once or twice.

Not only did we listen to her talk for a glorious hour and a half, absorbing all those things that you can only do in person; mannerisms, facial expressions etc. but we also spent an entire 36 hours together without the four boys that we brought into the world.

Talking without interruption, browsing art galleries, tea shops, gift stores and one very lovely fabric store.
So this June brought with it a whirlwind dream for me in the midst of chicken pox, summer camp and jet lag.
Looking back on the month, it was filled to the brim.  Finally seeing the Les Mis stage production, Elliott having his first sleepover at Grandma's, it was busy.
And in moments of stress I go back there, to that small 36 hours away, trying to feel that freedom, trying to remember that feeling of elation in my stomach as Joni walked on stage in her simple and authentic way.
What a memory to have, and I am so grateful to the guy that made it all happen.  Luckily I get to see him everyday and I know that in the future we can share some more big dreams together.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The May Dance

A month of anticipation is May.  Building towards something, bursting forth with newness and light.  Our May was filled with new commitments, new blooms, new ideas, new strength.  I tried to take moments to appreciate the sun and rain.  So often I can be too absorbed by getting things crossed off my list or with the most recent breakdown in communication between a 5 and 2 year old to just exist.

Yoga helps me with this.  And the building of my spiritual practice will help with that as well.  I was lucky to celebrate Beltaine to start off the month and the tradition of those involved and the things we did to mark the day felt good.  A steady, warm place.  A place of connection between souls as the ribbons went around the pole.

There have been notes jotted down, and sketches drawn.  I've found a spring rhythm and yet summer comes knocking soon.  The sensation that fills me most days is one of waiting as a door is slowly swung open to reveal a lush landscape ahead.

I have to navigate the path, stopping often to check the status of myself and my loves.  We walk together though we are different seekers on the journey.  May heralds a time to dance for a while and then reflect.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Goodbye in a Whisper

From baby to little boy.  A milestone happened this month.  3 years after Kyan weaned in May 2010, Elliott is now in the ranks of post-breastfed.  Both times as weaning approached I expected a bigger denouement but reading over my post about Kyan weaning reminds me that these life moments are so rarely big.  There are no fireworks, it just ends.  Elliott protested a bit at bedtime but transitioned amazingly fast.

Our breastfeeding relationship went very smoothly.  He caught on quickly and was very clear about his needs.  I must say the second time around was more fluid and I fought it less ie: less worrying about him never weaning or I guess just less worrying in general.  I knew it would happen in time.

 So rather than get into my personal issues with the process, what it does to me etc, etc, I'm just going to say that 2 years, 2 months, and 3 weeks was the length of this intimate bond with Elliott.  And now our relationship is moving to another place.

I was once invited to a "got my breasts back" party held by a triumphant mama who was finished breastfeeding after having two children.  I can't say that I feel like having a party, rather I feel like marking the moment as I have here and looking forward instead.  There is so much on the horizon with the boys, and with how growing up happens in a family.  This stage is over for us.  This bond will only live in Elliott's internal consciousness as a feeling of warmth, security and love.  I am so lucky to have had the time to share this with both boys and now I say goodbye in a whisper and let it all float away on the May wind.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

April's Restless Moon

There are many more poetic names for April's moon: Pink moon, Sprouting Grass moon, Egg moon....but at this moment Restless is all I can call it.  After two nights in a row of disturbed sleep, tossing, crying, calling out, strange dreams, I'm a little on the grumpy side.

This month has been great in terms of weather, we've planted some seeds, watched some grow bigger than their little pots, started soccer, singing and swimming.  The boys have taken a cue from the seedlings and are growing and eating like crazy.  The events in Boston, Texas and family emergencies have been overwhelming and emotional.

The fullness of this time of life comes up often.  Full schedules, full heads, the fullness of life being reborn with the spring.  I'm trying to take concrete steps to keep us flowing with this but the month has left both Dave and I and probably the boys too feeling tired and slow to adjust to the longer days of light.

My new artwork schedule has been put in place and is rewarding beyond words.  Having set aside that time to just make art and let out the images or words that build up inside out of my head, along with a weekly yoga practice and time in nature feeds my soul.  I feel like a more whole person; like the pieces of me that have been on the back burner have equal footing.

With this change comes transitions that are contributing to the restlessness though.  Weaning Elliott, I remember it not being easy and overall it is going very well.  But there is a certain cry he'll make at night when he really just wants to nurse but I've already given him his scant allotment of two short sessions and it is just so forlorn.  It makes me so sad.  That cry cuts right to my guts, pulling out guilt and sorrow for the baby stage that is soon to go and will never be seen again by us.  It is really such a personal thing between him and I, a journey begun at his birth, somewhat of an extension of the pregnancy itself in that only the two of us share it.  I can only hope that we are moving at a pace that is sensitive to his development and that once this season of our bond comes to an end it will fade into his unconscious like it did with his brother in such a way that Kyan has no memory of nursing beyond the physical closeness that we shared which he continues to experience through hugs and cuddles.

Change, transitions, new green, sprouts, sunshine, rain, restless birthing spring.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Three years later and Kyan's quilt is done.  That took a bit longer than I had hoped but it feels great to see him sleeping underneath it at night.  I learned quite a few things about quilting while making this; the biggest lesson being that the first step of cutting fabric is crucial to be mindful of.  I don't have all the fancy quilt tools or lingo mastered and I'm not sure if I ever will.  But I am satisfied by the end result and plan to make one for Elliott who will be on the bottom bunk, and a new summer quilt for our own bed (at some point)

While working on several projects the last few months I've decided to try and have one to two art projects and one home/gift sewing project coinciding.  This seems to give me a rhythm to follow and the option to move from one to another in case I need a change or circumstances won't let me be in the sewing room to work.  As my camera has gotten something on the lens my iphone pics is all I have to share the finished quilt. In the next few months I'll get a professional photo taken which will show the details much better.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

March: Bringing up the rear

 This March brought much sweetness to our days.  Spending two weeks where I grew up with family and friends and trying to make maple syrup yet again.  It seems that the sap doesn't flow just because I really, really want it to.  But what the cold kept away the warmth of being surrounded by familiar people and the grounding nature of place filled up; not just for me of course but for my boys too.

When you live far away from the people who raised you, where your peers growing up, and know you in your first awkward and/or innocent versions it is surreal to return sometimes.  I often feel a bit out of sorts trying to reconcile the me of the past with the me of now.  But then you feel the old bonds, are taken care of in ways that speak more to your soul than to your rational mind and when I leave I feel full.  Full of the energy of those who formed my sense of self, who shared years of memories and made the person I am now possible.

So while the cold temperatures were difficult for this west coast convert to accept, there is no mistaking the spring in my step and deep gratitude I feel for being able to go home again.  And while we were away the youngest member of the family turned 2.  Oh, goodness here he is, 2 already.  I can't say that I wish he wasn't exactly where he is.  This little ball of cuteness that is full of mischief and silly grins, I dare say he is most perfectly himself and that makes this spring all the brighter (and of course busy).

So the thing about March is that it was over in a flash and now we are in full on spring mode and there is so much to say, so much good art about, and so much life being lived.  I can't help but feel optimism oozing out of everyone's pores.  2013 is quite a trip so far.

Friday, March 1, 2013

February rains

The rains have fallen as they tend to do here in the month of February, and cold dampness often got into our bones.  I am not sad to see this month end.  There were good things and stresses all wrapped up together.  The clumps of time seeming endless but rushing by at the same time.

Around us the earth is awakening here, slowly but surely.  Ambitious friends already have greens from their garden, the tulip shoots are rising out of our front bed and I've been studying the seed catalog and making ever new plans of what to try and grow.

One of the wonderful parts of the month was learning that my piece sold in the art show I was in.  Through the generosity of this art supporter I made my first art sale.  A surreal moment on this journey that swept me up and really all began with a late night summer tarot read.

The cards on that warm night said that this direction was the right one, that I had to go full force and make manifest.  The warmth of that message, my friend who read them to me, and the fire we had just left carried me through the fall winds, winter freeze and past all my worries and doubts in my ability to make it happen.

This month we will travel to Quebec and visit my family and friends.  So many dear faces and memories will wrap around us.  More and more these days I pull out hand made items to remind us of our dear ones who are far away.  I am lucky to have many crafters in my family.  My mother's afghans, a quilt, a rug, and a cross stitch.  My grandmother's quilt, knit socks, knit dishcloths, embroidered place mats, mittens, scarves and toques.  My aunt's quilt for Ky and needlepoint that was a wedding gift.  My sister's cross stitch, also a wedding gift.  All of these things shelter us, and are pulled over or looked at in the cold rain to keep in the warmth and remind us of our roots.

When you live far from your family you need the reminder of these soft things.  Their energy was put into them and remains as you use them.  I've made many things with the energy of their intended recipient worked in.  As things are made I think of that person wearing them or looking at them.  It was very surreal when my art piece sold because for many weeks I had no idea who had purchased it.  I wondered where it would go and marveled that it was no longer mine and I would never see it again.  Luckily the man was generous and shared his email so I could contact him and when I did I received a wonderful reply.
So the foreign feeling of letting the piece go has subsided into a reassured feeling that he was meant to find this art and keep it for his own.  And that my future mission (should I choose to accept it) is to keep making and fulfilling the needs of others to look and share and perhaps keep an experience.
Desert Path, Embroidery & Quilting on original cotton printed photo, 2012

All this while the February rains pelted or slowly pattered down.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

from the January quiet

Pulling back from this space was an interesting break in January (er....most of February...)  I felt a certain shift where the impulse to post dwindled and the change has brought me to new horizons in creative practice.  Mainly that this writing will become more of a companion to my visual work, and less reflective of the outside world.

As for sharing about my family and our journey together they will be here as ever, since my world is tied in every aspect to each step they take.  Steps like registering from Kindergarten in the fall, stringing sentences together, drawing 3 or more masterpieces a day and leaving them in strategic places to be found by respective recipients.  Words are being figured out and written, as are numbers.  Conflicts arise between brothers with a bond so strong already that it warms the heart over and over each day.

Sometimes it takes years to register just how much choice we have over our time.  For me I've been able to see clearly in the last few months that I have to prioritize my goals in a concrete way.  What I tended to do for the last 5 years was lament and then waste time on things that were diversions more than enriching experiences.

As a mom my time is rarely dictated by myself alone, and yet I have started to align tasks for each day.  Thinking what needs to get done and what can wait.  Sometimes I make a list and cross it off, other times I keep a shorter list in my head.  This simple step has helped me especially on days when I'm overwhelmed by the amount to get done.

I've also been trying to take my own advice and focus on one thing until it is done.  I constantly remind a certain 5 year old to focus on the task at hand, get your coat on, clean these cars up, etc and then think of the next thing to do.  It is not easy for me since I have a "big picture" brain that jumps around constantly.  But   with that focus has come a comfort, something is accomplished however small.  Previously I was surrounded by projects in various stages of completion and two boys undoing most of what was done.

Live and learn they say...and in this case it is true.

From the January quiet much has surfaced.  A regular yoga routine and soon family hiking excursions.  Simultaneously this year I have decided to develop my art practice to a regular part of our family life, and already for next year I've decided that my spiritual practice (along with spirituality explorations for the boys) will find it's place in the rhythm as well.

Stamina is a word that February has brought forth.  How to increase it, how to maintain it, how to nurture it. Good food, exercise, outdoor time, family time.  As the pieces come together some parts of our old life do not fit and so are either removed or reshaped to fit the new mold.

This blog is like that for me.  Being remolded, finding a new place and tone.  And I think that is good.  Change is good.  Thanks for taking this journey and I plan to be here more frequently now that our new pace is settling down and my desire to share is finding it's new voice.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Eat more salad, Drink more water...

Happy New Year.

There are changes happening in everyone's lives... the change of the calendar always inspires new actions, resolutions, goals.  It's an arbitrary new beginning, but it never ceases to inspire many of us onward towards something different.  In past years I've listed goals in this space and I always create a small list to help my scattered dreamer mind focus as life rushes around me.
On Winter Solstice I sat for an hour by my altar and focused on goals, wrote down my dreams, meditated on what I could realistically expect from myself at this season of my life.

In truth the new year began for me sometime after Autumn Equinox of 2012.  I felt a new daring, energy that I may have never felt as concisely before in my life.  It was telling me to take chances, to step outside my comfort zones, to believe that I could make my life happen.

I've been a bit surprised with some of the realities of this new energy.  Balancing art making with homemaking is not easy.  Keeping it all in hand has brought countless opportunities to learn.  I've learned more about myself and my limits, learned about how much I can expect from others, gosh more lessons than I've even completely absorbed at this point.  

Over the years this blog has been a repository for whatever my mind and soul felt compelled to share.  That is changing as I endeavor towards new territory in my career and eventually with my spiritual work and home life.  For now things will look much the same but when my website launches sometime this year (not putting too much pressure on myself in terms of dates) I will be moving my creative and art musings to a new blog connected to the site.  This blog will remain my personal journey with my family and for more directly pagan writings, although my artwork and spirituality are very closely tied so we'll have to see how that develops.  This new direction is exciting and feels very right for this moment.

And speaking of this moment or tonight to be exact I'm thrilled to announce that I'm in an art show.  It is a group juried show with the theme of Earth.  I worked away during October to produce a quilted piece and was just beside myself when I was accepted.  Details for the show can be found here.

So this is a new year, and a new world for me filled new horizons to explore.  I feel along way from art school and a bit out of my element but that is what challenges are all about.  So to tie my title into this post I have many aspirations for this year, two are as simple as eat more salad and drink more water, others are as complicated as find concrete time for creating and forging new working relationships in the art world.   But they are all open and fresh and offer many adventures down the road.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.