Wednesday, December 31, 2008


It's a snowy day, and everything is so peaceful and clean and quiet. I wanted to share this poem by Anne Sexton with you.


blessed snow,
comes out of the sky
like bleached flies.
The ground is no longer naked.
The ground has on its clothes.
The trees poke out of sheets
and each branch wears the sock of God.

There is hope.
There is hope everywhere.
I bite it.
Someone once said:
Don't bite till you know
if it's bread or stone.
What I bite is all bread,
rising, yeasty as a cloud.

There is hope.
There is hope everywhere.
Today God gives milk
and I have the pail.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Do Me A Favor?

Eleven years ago, I had a skin biopsy removed that turned out to be
Stage 1 Melanoma.

January 2007, I had another one come back Melanoma In Situ.

Between the two Big-M diagnoses, I have had several abnormal biopsies.
My back looks like I've been hit with bird shot. Jamie sometimes calls me "Frankensteen." He's a goof ball.

Well, I got a call from my dermatologist's office this week. The biopsy
she removed last week came back "moderately-to-severely abnormal" and
she has to cut out a bigger chunk to "clear the margins." That will be
the end of January.

It seems pretty clear that this melanoma monster is out to get me. I go
to Dr. Vellanki, my dermatologist (who has caught them all so far) for
skin checks every three months, and she is very cautious. But this thing
is scary. I know Heaven will be great, but I'm not in any hurry to get

So what I'm asking you to do is this: Whenever you think of me, please
visualize me as a great-grandmother, holding and playing with my great-grandchildren. See my face and hands all wrinkled and see me very old.

If you are a believer, please ask the Lord for complete healing for me
from this disease and my tendency toward it. And believe it is done.
Know it. And Thank Him for it.

I hope this is not too much to ask.

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe
that you have received it
, and it will be yours.
Mark 11:24
(New International Version)

"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about
anything you ask for
, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.
For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
Matthew 18:19-20 (New International Version)

Will you do this for me?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Gnomes

The first products from my studio are some little Christmas Gnomes. They are about 5 or 6 inches tall and made of 100% wool. I needle felted them with love.

Did you know that it is the Christmas Gnome who is responsible for random surprises, like finding a $5 bill in your coat pocket the first time you put it on for the year? He is also the one to thank when you find that thing you've been looking for for months (an earring, sunglasses, etc.). He is known as the Christmas Gnome, but he works year-round. However, he is quite shy and hard to catch in the act.

Yes, they are for sale.

I know, I don't have on a drop of make-up in this photo, but I wanted to give you something for scale, and I didn't want to put on make-up just for that! Sorry.

I've also started experimenting with needle-felted trees. I have lots of ideas for these, but this is just a sample of what it can look like with dyed, uncombed wool.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Few of My LEAST Favorite Things

In no particular order:

1. Flakiness
2. Wind
3. Loud noises (that aren't good music)
4. Whining
5. Dishonesty
6. Cold
7. BMs that requires lots of wiping
8. Cold showers
9. Dr. Pepper
10. Skinny jeans (on me)
11. Ceaseless barking from dogs
12. The smell of rotten potatoes
13. Being slapped on the butt
14. Puking
15. Being controlled
16. Anxiety
17. Melanoma
18. Dog farts
19. Snot
20. Obnoxious drunks
21. Sex offenders
22. Child abusers
23. Ticks (and mosquitos and leeches)
24. Gingivitis breath
25. Mullets and mustaches
26. Know-it-alls
27. Telemarketing
28. Loud talking on cell phones in public places
29. Little dirty hands on or near my face
30. Parasites
31. Static electricity
32. Poison, Whitesnake, Slaughter, Warrant, etc
33. Paper cuts
34. Electronics and gadgets that don't work right

Monday, December 15, 2008

Find Your Groove

It's all about going with your flow...not THE flow, YOUR flow.

You gotta find your groove and get into it, and then, like a miracle, all the parts of your life start falling into place.

Have you ever felt like you were swimming upstream and everything seems to be a struggle? Have you ever felt like you have analyzed situations or decisions so much that you forget who you are or what you want? Try listening a little more with your heart.

I'm not saying that working hard is a bad thing, but when the proverbial "doors" continue to shut, it's time to "walk on down the hall," as Jim Morrison would put it.

I think it is important to check in with yourself and with your God. Be still and get centered. Pray and ask. And FIND YOUR GROOVE.

Then groove out!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


My friend Chris and I have found the perfect spot for our shared studio, where we will create all kinds of art. Take a look at the pictures I took today with my camera phone. It is truly a dream!
It is located in Reeder's Alley, which 100 years ago was a mining camp, and the tiny little rooms now rented by artists and writers and massage therapists are where miners once slept after long days of mining for gold. The brick walkway and stone walls are so cool, and in the summer we can spread out a little to the sidewalk and play our guitars and even sell our wares.

One wall inthe studio is this beautiful stone wall. By the way, there is not one square corner or anything else in the space. It's just great.
The "For Rent" sign will be coming down in the next day or two when Chris and I can coordinate our schedules and get down there to sign the lease.

This views looks down the alley toward our main street, Last Chance Gulch. Yes, that is snow on the mountains. We will have a sign hanging down from the wrought iron sign hanger above our door. Our studio address is 119 Reeders' Alley. Summers here will be beautiful. I am so excited I can hardly sit still.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Looking Fine

Jamie and I went to the Festival of Trees Friday night; and we were looking good with new duds and all. I had to buy a new dress to go with my fabulous shoes!
My good friend Audrey sneaked those shoes into my luggage during a shopping trip in Portland, Oregon this summer. I had tried them on at Nordstrom and then reluctantly gave them back to the salesperson because I had already exceeded my budget. When I got home and started to unpack, there they were! Now THAT is a good friend.
Anyway, Friday night, all decked out, was a fun time for the Festival of Trees, which is a great cause: to raise money for Intermountain, an organization that cares for abused and neglected children.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

So Thankful

We had such a great time with Sheila, Jamie's sister, who flew in from Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with us. We don't get to see her enough, and she is an amazing person. We spent a lot of time laughing and playing and eating, and I always feel blessed when I have gotten to be with Sheila.
Here are some photos of our time together:

Dinner at Benny's Saturday night

At the Waterfall

At the River House

Monday, December 1, 2008

How Cool is That?

For the last five years, I have been feeling a pull to use my skills and passions to make a difference in the lives of girls and women. That's how Soul Arts was born (see very first post) and I have been searching for a way to legitimize this service, like going back to school or getting some sort of training.

I first considered getting a master's in art therapy or creative expression therapy (which I participate in as a client and thoroughly enjoy); and found that it is impossible to do that without moving away from my home for two or three years. As a wife and mother of two young daughters, that's out of the question.

Then I looked into Life Coaching. It would cost a few G's, and seems risky, considering that I live in a small, conservative city that would likely not have the demand for a life coach. My hubby didn't like the risk. He kept thinking that there had to be another way.

Then my pastor suggested I look into being a Spiritual Director, which is a person who helps others discern what God is doing in their lives and helps them find and get on the path God has for them.

Well, that seemed perfect! So I did some research and found some schools that offer a certification in Spiritual Direction, and they were even more expensive than the Life Coaching programs, but affiliated with a seminary, seemed more solid.

I discussed the options with my husband, who again said that he wasn't going to fork out that kind of dough for something so unkown. If I had some security as part of the church staff, that would be one thing, but I am part of a church plant, and we are about 20 members big so far. We are certainly not going to support even a part time Spiritual Director!

I was feeling called and stuck. So frustrating.

I took a personal day off work at the museum a few weeks ago and I spent the entire day calling around to spiritual directors and programs and my sister and my dad, pouring out my dilemma with hopes that someone would have some wise advice.

Finally I gave up on that, and I began to pray. I prayed most of the day something like: "Lord, I feel like this is what you want me to do. You gave me this passion for women and teenage girls. But unless you open up some opportunity, I am stuck! I need your help here. If I need to focus on something else, will you make that clear? Otherwise, will you show me the next step I'm supposed to take with this? Please?"

It went on like that for a long time. Meanwhile, I e-mailed the Pregnancy Resource Center and told them I'd be interested in volunteering there. I considered mentoring a girl from the Florence Crittenton Home again. I just didn't know what to do.

At dinner, as I was trying to figure out how to bring up the subject again to my reluctant husband, I got a phone call. It was my friend Audrey who serves on the board of the Pregnancy Resource Center. She said the assistant director had quit that day and the exec. director needed someone in there. She had asked Audrey who she knew who would want to do that kind of work. Audrey told her me! (Audrey and I had never discussed my working at the center.) I told her what I had been praying aobut all day. We wondered if this was God's answer.

(Meanwhile, on the very same night, my church got together to pray and my name came up and they prayed about this particular dilemma I was having. I learned about it a week later!)

So, I stopped by the center the next day to ask what the job entails. I made it clear that I am not a detail person. I won't do spread sheets or balance books or ask people for money. I will be creative and personable and compassionate and fun.

She told me that the person who got the job would be working directly with clients who are dealing with unexpected pregnancies and would also train volunteers to do the same. She said there would be a lot of room for innovation, such as starting classes for teens and new moms, etc. Oh, and by the way, the person who got the job would be paid more than I'm getting paid now, would work less, and would be trained on the job!!!!

I sat there dumbfounded. I was thinking "This could only be God."

But I had to go through the process of submitting a resume and cover letter and getting references. And, of course, I have no experience with any type of counseling -- just Soul Arts and the mentoring I have done with the Florence Crittenton Home.

Well, I went through the motions and continued to pray about it. A lot. "God, I'm just going to leave this to you. You know that's not easy for me, but that's what I'm going to do. If she offers me the job, I'll know it's you. If she doesn't, I'll know that's you, too.

Three grueling, teeth-gnashing, nail-biting weeks later, on the day before Thanksgiving, she called and offered me the job.

There I was, trying to figure out how I was going to come up with about $10,000 for school and then how I was going to make that money back. God had a better idea. He had an opportunity for me to GET PAID TO LEARN AND GET EXPERIENCE.

Is God amazing or what?