Twenty-six

A stone angel holding some flowers. It’s a difficult day.
Another friend has passed away all too soon.
Killed by a drunk driver I am fully aware that life is ever so fragile.

I have had so much loss in the last year. Too many to count
But I have also had countless gifted moments that have blessed me beyond measure.

Life is fragile, my friends…
truly cherish each moment

25 and counting

when I was hungry, you gave me to eat...

It’s simple
and it’s silly
But… I was sitting in the parking lot of Pep boys (THAT is a long weird tale)
and this gentleman came up to the car and asked me for money.
I was distracted as I was reading a blog on my phone.
I automatically apologized (I didn’t have a dime on me)
and then screamed”WAIT!!”
I reached in the side pocket of the car door and handed this man a “blessing bag”
I had created and carry with me for these exact occasions.
“God bless you”‘s were exchanged
we BOTH felt better.

Happy day #24

Today’s gratitude is simple IMG_0039

Life has a string of moments… like pearls or let’s say, M and M’s
if you take time to notice,
it’s a sweet life
If you don’t- someone else gets your m and m’s

take a break
have a cup of tea
or a few m and m’s
enjoy the sweet life.

Day #23

It was a day. You know by that opening statement and because there are an obvious lack of positive adjectives that it probably wasn’t the best of days.
BUT all is well that ends well, right?
without going into the gory details of the trials of the day, I will merely suggest that I found my day to be incredibly challenging.
It was a day where I quickly became overwhelmed with the challenges set before me and felt powerless to meet these challenges.
Yet, the wonders of life never cease, and I am pleased to report that I feel I am ALWAYS blessed with what I need- especially if I pay attention.
I WAS paying attention.

with freedom healed comes opportunity to reach higher.

with freedom healed comes opportunity to reach higher.


After the honor of facilitating a wonderful prayer flag workshop- I sat down to reflect. Reflect on my day, evaluate the workshop, and pay back in my head the encouraging words, and kindness of those around me.
It is clear to me that the warmth of a friend, the amazing sunset, the sound of laughter in my studio or even listening to my neighbor singing can change the day, alter the path.
For me… it did.
It’s all about paying attention.
I am going to continue, paying attention.

wishing you peace,
Susan

changed for Good

This very interesting journey of 100 days has brought me to a most conscious and aware place. I find myself noticing things I perhaps would have passed over previously- yet, suddenly I am not only aware but grateful. Please don’t misunderstand, it is not that my life is perfect and everything is roses. However, I do find that finding the good in each day, makes the days where the journey is more of a challenge much less of a challenge.

Today I am catching up on my 100 days

IMG_4904[1]Day 11 – I am a very lucky woman. Like most people I love a cup of something warm in the morning to begin my day. My husband has a reputation for making an amazing cup of coffee. While I actually don’t need a whole cup of his coffee at ANYTIME (whew it is strong!) I am blessed to say that each morning, without exception, he makes me coffee. If I am not up when he is (he gets up at 4ish am every morning) he wraps it in a towel for me to keep warm. (we use a French press) How blessed am I?!

Day 12 What a wonder! Today was a travel day- we left on vacation at 6:30am, driving to our first destination of Kentucky. THIS amazing flower was at a rest stop. A REST STOP! I don’t think I need to explain further. WONDER is the word of the day! IMG_4690[1]

Lincoln_Bible

Day 13 History has always been an amazement to me. I find such incredible power in walking where incredible souls have walked before me. Today we visited Lincoln’s birth place and boyhood home. WOW! Lincoln! My father had a special place in his heart for Lincoln, today I felt closer to him because I was walking where Lincoln walked. It was indeed a blessing.

Day 14 Driving to Memphis. I will be honest, this has never been on my list of things to do. It has been however, on my husband’s list of things to do. I am not thrilled with the idea of barbecue, although as it turns out it is more about the texture than the actual flavor, I certainly had nothing for Elvis- so in my mind, Memphis was just another place on the map. However- making my husband happy, that is another story all together. I have no image for this day, mostly because it was a sound, not an image. As we were driving to Memphis we started talking about all the great songs that referenced Memphis. I began playing them and before I knew it the excitement that built in me bloomed. I was doing my best to honor my husband, but ended up being quite thrilled that we were on our way to another profound and historic place. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KK5YGWS5H84

Day 15 All I can say is see #14. Today we went to Graceland. I NEVER had any desire to see what I thought was gratuitous wealth, arrogance and self absorption. (yes I know, don’t judge!) What I found was a human being, who was actually sort of shy, adored his family and tried to do good things. The house is totally stuck in the 70′s which made me giggle, the spirit of the house is profound. Elvis was the king…. I was saddened by the fact that his challenges ultimately destroyed him. There were many things I was grateful for- however I was downright giddy over doing what countless others have done before me. I wrote on the wall at Graceland. I felt like a rebel. It was pretty awesome. IMG_4820[1]

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Day 16 One of the things I believe is most important in life is appreciating others. While I don’t believe everyone on earth deserves a tip for doing their job, I am very well aware that some services are probably very under paid for their hard work. That said, I always tip the housekeeping staff in my hotel room. I usually write a note as well. Well today, Felicia, my wonderful housekeeper extraordinaire wrote back! This has NEVER happened to me before. It was a lovely, wonderful surprise. I felt so blessed.

Day 17 There are no words to really explain how visiting the Civil Rights Museum made me feel. powerful, overwhelmed, and honestly- ashamed.
Civil rights museum

Upon reflecting on this day, I have to say that I was only in the parking lot of the museum by the time I felt completely overwhelmed. By the time I was about half way through I literally shut down emotionally. It is a horror to witness visually the crimes and hatred one set of people had for another based on the color of their skin. It completely boggled my mind and broke my heart. It certainly wasn’t news to me. As someone who has always sought to learn more about history, I was well aware of these horrors. However the Civil Rights museum did a fine job of creating this information in a very visual and moving way. I am forever changed.

Part of my gratitude these days comes from the opportunity to walk where other inspiring souls have walked before me. I feel that I am blessed with the sensitivity to feel the power, the spirit of them. This trip to Memphis has been a multitude of blessings. Time alone with my husband, visiting historically significant places, taking a moment to sit by the fire and as my sweet niece Emily would say, “Marsh Mellows” – it’s a good thing. It’s a recharging thing. I am so blessed.

Day 18 On a lighter note- rarely have I witnessed something more charming than the Peabody Ducks at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. It made me wish I could bring my mom who adored ducks to visit this very sweet and down right amazing sight!
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Day 19 We left Memphis and visited friends whom I haven’t seen in over fifteen years. One would think that was completely awkward. NOPE. It was amazing, the blessing of a friendship kept for such a long time.

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Day 20 Travel home. Feeling blessed for my experiences, but also the fact that this charming puppy is gosh darn glad to see me. Not much beats unconditional love from a furry child.

Day 20 There is nothing quite like your nearly twenty-six year old daughter being thrilled that you are home. It’s the little things.

Day 21IMG_4898[1] How awesome is the summer opportunity to have fresh food that is rich in flavor and perhaps even good for you?! Caprese salad- made with love!

Day 22 It amazes me how the gifts of another can profoundly affect others. This is true of the medical field, the arts, whatever you do really. (this is probably why I became friends with my wonderful housekeeper in Memphis) Today I was touched, and continued to heal by the efforts of my acupuncturist, Christine Papp. Christine listens with her heart, and intuitively treats that which I find challenging. She is a gift.

I believe I am just about caught up.
it’s has been an amazing time. I feel like someone who had blinders taken off. Not all the experiences I have had were fully of hearts and flowers, but all of them changed me and I have been changed for good.

Peace to you, my friend.
Susan

And then there were ten….

Ten days!
They say a habit is formed in twenty-one days. I think I might have worked more quickly than that.

It’s interesting. Every day I find myself on the look out for a moment, an opportunity or a wonder. Every day I am blessed with choices of several to share with you.
I don’t think my life is profoundly different then it was ten days ago, I just think I am noticing the positive more. It’s a great thing.

Today, despite having a challenging morning (you don’t want to know) it was a day full of accomplishments. The huge blessing that I am attaching to most though is the fact that I was able to play a little bit in my studio.

What a pure JOY!

It may sound funny, but I am thrilled when my hands are a mess. It’s exciting to me. It means I have been working.
I haven’t had hands like this in FAR too long.
I am hoping to make working again, a habit too.

Wishing you peace and bright stars in the sky
Susan

hand

hand2

Number Nine

sun

So often in life we don’t take the time to notice the little things in life. I think we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and down’t slow down enough to see all that is offered to us. I know I have been guilty of barely acknowledging the wonder around me. These last nine days have taught me about taking and embracing the moments given to me. Sometimes the timing of these obviously well orchestrated moments are uncanny.

In the past I have not always appreciated “summer”. I am more of an autumn kind of girl. I ADORE sweater weather. Today, however, I took the time to sit outside, in the sunshine, without my phone, without anything to do and just enjoyed being in the sunshine. As you may or may not know, I have adopted my father’s dog after his passing. Bootsie and I sat outside, for nearly an hour doing nothing but enjoying the slight breeze and incredible sunshine. It was amazing and magical. It was incredible to take a moment and take a deep breath.

wishing you magical moments.
Susan

7 and 8

these moments were great…
Hmmm, seems to be a good theme for me these days.

I feel like this entire exercise is about taking a breath and appreciating the countless gifts I have been given. It is about exhaling, appreciating and opening my heart.

So since I have been grateful, but not sitting at my computer, I wish to catch up just a little bit.

Day 7-nyc

I have to say that one of my probably most irrational fears is height. I struggle with vertigo from time to time, and well, when you are physically high up it’s pretty scary.

However, I tried to let go of my fear and just enjoy where I was. This happened to be a most spectacular sight. The George Washington Bridge- very cool and made me want to paint. I am so glad I DIDN’T close my eyes and miss this wonder.

Day 8-bunny

It’s about taking the moment.

I was hurried to leave an appointment the other day – and this little guy stopped to say hello. Wishing I had a great camera to photograph him, I was grateful to catch this on my phone. I was amazed at how not shy he was and his trust in me. He was willing to hang out and let me photograph him.

What did I learn?
slow down, take the risk- the benefits are in your hand to enjoy.

In gratitude
Susan

Day 5 of 100 days,

It’s simple, I have dedicated the next 100 days and raised my awareness of everything around me. The wonderful part of this is that I find the smallest things to appreciate. I have learned about others and myself and found more things in life to have gratitude for. Good stuff! It’s not all roses, sometimes I hit the thorns, and by raising my awareness of what is around me that is positive and wonderful seems to perpetuate the next moment of appreciation.

Today was simple.

The sky was darkening, and dramatic. It had been a long day- most people would hurry home to finish the last tasks of the day, but not my husband…
He actually turned around so I could capture the moment.

How lucky am I?

bridge
Wishing you peace and everything good.
Susan

Day Six-

bagel

I know, I know… my thoughts seem to be about food a great deal- But this time I promise even though the evidence indicates this is about food it really isn’t.

You know how when you are in grade school you think you are unpopular because you only have a few friends? By middle school maybe you have found your way into some section of the school that has a wider population, so you think you are doing great now because your circle has widened. In high school you get more selective, you see that hanging with the wrong people is generally a bad idea and by college you just pray your roommate isn’t crazy. As an adult, you learn that a few forever friends trumps having a thousand acquaintances. This is about my forever friends.

You may or may not know but if you have never been to NYC- you have NEVER had a real bagel. They are good, they are not light and fluffy. They have spirit and depth (yes honest)

So do my friends.

I am blessed to say that when I need them, they are there.

On my daughter’s first birthday (even on crutches), after I miscarried, to celebrate countless moments, when my parents died. They were there.
Usually with bagels, always with a hug and the ability to heal my heart.

I wish you this kind of blessing
this kind of friendship.

In peace,
Susan