So this happened

Today has been an overwhelming day- wonderful and positive – but still a bit over the top!

Why you ask?

a rather positive article about my work and Create Art 4 Good can be found here:

Artist with Heart: Susan Carmen-Duffy

I am so blessed to have incredible support of those around me. There were countless texts, emails, facebook posts, hugs and outpourings of kindness.

Thank you.

I don’t think any of us do what we do to find our way into the newspaper. I do know that this was a very positive and generous article that offered some insight into what I do.

The creation of art, supporting art and Create Art 4 Good seem to have an amazing, endless source of energy all their own. To me this isn’t difficult or challenging other than running out of hours in the day.

To me it is life giving. I am more grateful each day for the opportunity. To me this IS happiness- this is joy- this is life.

I am excited about the future, I am excited about the continuation of these efforts and I am excited (spoiler alert!!) about my book coming out in early 2015.

Stay tuned- the best is yet to be.

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The art of a little bit of love

It happens, usually randomly. Someone bestows a little bit of kindness upon you and you are delightfully surprised. Sometimes it is JUST what you need. A simple card, a doodle, flowers- just something thoughtful.

In my life I have learned that it really doesn’t matter what the object is, it’s more about the intent. I actually have a bin in my studio, it’s label? “Thoughtfulness”. It contains cards and little items that I gather in anticipation of needing to send someone a little bit of love. It’s very helpful in a moment of wanting to bestow a bit of kindness. The really awesome thing is, I always feel the joy intended for the “giftee.

The awesome thing is that I too am abundantly blessed to have people share a little love with me. These last few weeks have been a bit of a challenge. I have had far too many thoughts swirling in my head. I know my life is in transition, or maybe I am just experiencing growing pains. While I feel positive about all of this in general, at times it can be difficult.

tonight I found myself exhausted. The day was long, I had a meeting and errands to run after work. I found myself coming home anxious to walk the dog and start dinner, my eye on the prize of taking ten and maybe wrapping gifts or closing my eyes for a minute.

Tis the season to have packages- I came home to several placed between the front door and the glass door in front. After placing them carefully on the table,I walked my faithful furry friend. Upon my return I shuffled through the mail, reviewed the packages and even opened a few of them. One of them came from my husband’s cousin. I was ever so curious about that one.

Inside was a lovingly written note and because these sweet souls follow my efforts at the gallery via social media, they were distinctly aware of my love of mandalas, prayer flags and Tibetan culture in general. Inside the package was not only a sweet and loving note , but also to my awe a Tibetan Khatak that was placed by the the High Lama at Sera Monestary.

Katak

To say I am blown away is completely an understatement.

I am not certain how to express the depth of my feeling.  I do know that this was a confirmation from the universe of all that is swirling in my head these days. A white Tibetan Khatak symbolizes purity of heart . Indeed it did for me.

The kindness

the thoughtfulness

the love

These things sustain me in my whirled thinking- this kindness shattered away any doubts.

a little bit of love, goes so very far.

I hope you are tempted to share your love with someone else. It needs not to be elaborate, only kind, positive and loving.

wishing you everything good.

Susan

The Art of Celebration

Today is my youngest child’s 21st birthday.

No, we are not having a party, no there is no birthday cake.

He is about three hundred and eight-six miles away.                                               but who is counting?

While my mother’s heart is terribly sad,                                                                       I know he is in the right place, doing the right thing.

Dylan 2014

This situation causes me to reflect on the celebrations of my life. It seems that as long as I can remember the effort to celebrate was constant. I learned quickly that you can celebrate every day not just on the Hallmark designated days.

this is a blessing.

When my brother was serving thirty years in the Navy often the opportunity to celebrate with him on a particular holiday was often impossible. We learned quickly that any day could be Christmas or your birthday. It was about being together. Taking a moment to honor and laughter. It was about effort made and love extended. It was not about a particular date

While I only was able to video conference with  my son today- I am grateful.He is away at school, learning new things – exploring his beloved vocation of the culinary arts and enjoying his life.

Today a celebrate him- I celebrate the completion of my family. There is no doubt that my three children and granddaughter are the brightest blessings in my life.

When this day is over, I will continue to celebrate him. I will continue to be grateful for the moments of laughter and joy we have shared. The deep intellectual conversations, the swapping of favorite recipes and the memories we have made and shared.

I hope that you too find a reason to celebrate today- every day.                                It makes life far less than ordinary- it makes the quiet moments even more important, the appreciation of what we have vital and the sad mommy moments not so painful.

Wishing you the dance of celebration.

sending peace and love to your precious heart-

Susan

The art of tradition

You know in a mere few days it will be Thanksgiving.
No gifts, just family time.

Some suggest it is the most wonderful day of the year                                                            It can be

it can also be difficult for those who might have had loss, are ill or are experiencing other challenges in life.

In order to keep our family tradition of decorating our Christmas tree together we as a family  (minus my youngest) went to cut a tree down a bit early this year. My youngest will only be home for a limited amount of time as he is attending school in Providence, RI.

We stomped through the muddy fields trying to find the perfect tree. I love a tall trianglish tree, that is still fairly skinny. My husband loves a giant “fat” tree.

In the end we found a weird combination of the two.

As we were carrying it back to the car I found myself flooded with memories of holidays past, of recent loss and of the challenges of that loss. My heart felt like it was shattered, tears flooded and I began to cry. the last thing I wanted was to create a spectacle of myself, so I quickly wiped away the tears. Head down, hiding the pain I could only see the muddy ground beneath me.

The echos of doubt ringing in my head.

“I cannot do this”, I said.

Then. in that SPLIT second- I saw a white feather on the ground. A WHITE FEATHER!

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I do not know what your beliefs are. However, mine seem to be quite entrenched in the fact that even once we die we live on, we find a way to connect with life on earth while going on to the next stage.

I believe my father, who I have recently lost was letting me know that I am not alone. His touch has been present in my life since he died. I needed him, he was there.

So I suppose the story doesn’t end here. It is just beginning.

Traditions will continue- life will go on.

wishing you love & joy as you celebrate your every day.

Susan

The art of flavor

It is so interesting to me. We wander through life having such a limited pallette. Rarely do we wander outside our own little boxes, yet when we do it is a completely wonderful surprise.

For instance.

Last weekend, we visited our son who is in culinary school in Providence, Rhode Island. Dylan has spent a great deal of time in the last five years working on his skill as a chef. He has experienced (and walked out of) one of the worst restaurants in Providence, and worked hard at one of the best. He was inspired daily, learned much and treasured the position.

Last weekend, he gifted us with a 7 course paired tasting at the restaurant he adores.

Right

I am still sort of overwhelmed by it all.

The staff of this restaurant clearly had affection for my son. The head chef even made a point to visit our table and share our pride over Dylan and his efforts.

and then there was the food.

I didn’t want to embarrass Dylan by being that parent that whips out her phone every time something was placed down on the table. I promise you two things, no words could accurately describe the beauty, imagination OR the flavor of this tasting. Also, no box in my life has ever been blown up so quickly.

I admit- I tried food I didn’t think I would like. The combinations, creativity and sheer beauty made it even more difficult to maintain the wall I previously held on to.

It was a magical evening. My husband, my youngest child and I.

gracies star1

My son was able to open a door for us, and we were able to jump out of our own way and into a wonderland of flavor. We were happy to share not only such an incredible evening with him, but learn why he loved working there so much.

Sort of like life, right? We live in our macaroni and cheese lives (safe and predictable) and then BAM suddenly we are offered another opportunity, another avenue. The sounds of the orchestra swells and the doors to a richer life swing open.

Please don’t misunderstand. I am not in any way suggesting that you have to eat at a five star restaurant to really live, I am suggesting that trying new things, embracing life, shaking up your routine is not only a great idea, but the key to living and not just plowing through each day.

Don’t mark time, embrace the flavors

inhale the wonder of your life.

Wishing you five stars in all you experience,

Susan

 

One hundred days.

Remember the post I began, oh… about one hundred days ago or so? I suppose you might have also noticed that I stopped posting about my 100 days.

I hope and pray you do not think I have been remiss,                                               No, I did not lose my way along the journey- it just honestly became too personal to report on a daily basis.                                                                                               I feel that in a very real way my one hundred days became sort of a spiritual retreat. I was able to clearly recognize things that would happen, things said, gifts bestowed as readily as I was able to see them. It was incredible.

There were simple gifts-  a beautiful leaf falling from the tall trees in the park next to my home.  A smile from a stranger, a kindness unexpected

There were more profound gifts- too numerous to detail for you.

There were quiet gifts- there were gifts that I honestly only noticed because I was looking for them .

These 111 days have been days of wonder, of learning, of courage

These 111 days have changed my world, my thoughts, inspired my dreams and breathed fresh air into my lungs.

These 111 days- are of wonder.

I have learned that the wonder is there if you pay attention. So are the miracles, the bountiful hope, the passion- everything good. It’s there.

Will you take a chance? Will you celebrate the next 100 days of your life?

Be still and listen…..

In peace,                                                                                                                   Susan

brilliant web

Second Saturday Celebrations!

10635898_10152416153336662_9170883195088834988_nAs promised there will be a surprise or two to celebrate my first year at the Hungerford!

Offer #1 – Buy one get one free Photo pendants. Purchased pendant must be of equal or lesser value.
This offer is good for Second Saturday (10/11/2014) only from 10 am until 3PM.

Offer #2- come in and pay for your workshop. What happens if you do?! You will receive 10% off your workshop fee! (sorry, no discount on materials fees) This applies to any workshop currently offered, Creative evening out or private workshops scheduled. This is for workshops paid in full on Second Saturday (10/11/2014) only from 10 am until 3PM. Need a class list? Email me! Susan@Createart4good.org

Thank you for your love and support- Wait til you see what happens next!

Celebrating with love!
Susan

The Art of… the morning after.

Create Art 4 Good celebrates one year at the historic Hungerford building today.

Last night was the opening of “A Soul’s Harvest”

This featured my own work. I decided to share the work I have been creating inside these incredible walls. Inspired by the spirit of my fellow artists, and reflecting deeply on my own journey. This exhibit is the whisper of my soul.

What an incredible welcome I received.

The gallery was alive with bountiful love and support. Friends and loved ones         some long loved and some new and dear                                                               honored me by sharing the evening.

this was INDEED a celebration.

kite

I can promise you, the best is yet to be.

I look forward to the next year on this incredible journey.

In gratitude, all glowy and smiles

Susan