Life is an ArTFuL BaLaNCe

LiFe is an ArTFuL BaLaNCe!

She balances precariously upon the edifices she has created that are now the architecture of her life’s journey.  Her HeArT, MiNd, BoDy, SoUL, FRiEnDs, FaMiLy, WoRk and PLaY have become the arteries of her existence.  Without proper care to each one of them, they will shrink and a part of her will shrink with them. While they give HeR life, SHE gives ThEm life.  She must find a way to keep them ALL whole so that she can be OveRFLoWing.

At first, she stumbles as the minutes of the days fall away so quickly that she can barely think of anything more than WoRk….the least of her passions but the one that always seems to take precedence.  She has waves of GrEaT JoY when she decides to PLaY for  the day or to TrEaT her SoUL with a quiet bubble bath or to spend a few precious moments with her FRiEnDs and FaMiLy.   But the tide eventually recedes and the waves go silent. She soon finds herself stumbling again, trying desperately to regain her BaLaNCe.

But she is a smart one. She is a SeEKeR of MaGiC and she travels with her EyEs Wide Open.  So with EvERy stumble and with EvERy Rise she searches out something new about herself and something new about her JoUrNey.  She discovers what is important to her and she finds ways to give every facet of her life the attention it needs.  With each life lesson, she gains poise and self-confidence laced with balance and steadiness. With each act of self-love, she learns to love herself.

She has found her way to walking the journey of her Life with an ArTFuL BaLaNCe!

 I aspire to be her one day.

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My Eagle SOARING adventure with my Buddy! A Cookie Bag Moment


Kolton, my 3 year old buddy, and I went on an adventure yesterday.  We were going to go see a couple of eagles get released after a long rehabilitation at the Wildlife Care Clinic in Ames. They were the unfortunate victims of poisoning from this crazy toxic environment we are fastly creating.  

When I had heard of the scheduled release a few days earlier, I felt compelled to go although I am not sure exactly why.  So the adventure began!  And par for the course in my world, it started off with time dripping away so quickly that it was highly questionable whether we would get to see the release at all.  Firstly, I was faced with a little boy who wasn’t quite sure he wanted to go on Grandma’s adventure and so tick tock as I tried to convince him how awesome adventures can be.   Finally, I got him into the car only to be greeted by a very empty tank of gas. Why not?  After all adventures would not be adventures without a few twists in the road. 

So on to the gas station.  But of course, with a presumptuous three year old that has come to associate gas stations with the expectations of a DRINK and a TREAT; one cannot just simply get gas without ruining his version of the adventure.  So with a five dollar bill in hand, a three year old in tow and the clock ticking ticking ticking, we can best be described as Hansel and Gretel stumbling upon the confectionary house deep in the forest. Well, Hansel anyway since Gretel still only had five dollars and a place to be.   

The DRINK part was easy since they’ve conveniently placed these very compelling and extremely expensive McQueen juice bottles on the very bottom shelf for any unsuspecting three year old boy to drool over.  It was grape juice.  Not his favorite but HE was determined that it was EXACTLY what he wanted…(a job well done, marketing strategists!).  With $3 of my $5 gone, it was on to find THE TREAT.  So he began running down EaCH and EVErY isle.  And I do mean RUN because after all he was a sugar-depleted three year old anxious to find his next fix. The decisions were ENDLESS and with the clock ticking for the eagle release, the word ENDLESS deserves to be written in capital letters!

And then he saw IT! He stopped! His eyes grew big! They grew brilliantly bright with JoY!  You could tell that a magical moment had just fallen upon him.  There on the shelf, just out of his reach, was the most glorious bag of Chips Ahoy cookies!  “Grandma, are these cookies?” “Yes, babe, they are!”  “Do we have enough money to get them?” “Yes, babe, we do!”  His heart grew out of his chest as he hugged his treasure and ran to the counter. $4.98 and we are finally on our way!

Into the car we go, strapped in, cookies open and a drink that he did not care for that cost a ridiculous $3. “Grandma, can we go to the Cookie gas station another time too!”  My heart grew satisfied knowing that I was a part of one his magical moments of the day.  But TICK TOCK…the eagle release. FOCUS! FOCUS!  Then it hit me!  I really had no idea as to how to get from Point Cookie Gas Station to Point Eagle Release.  I look at the clock….10:20…Eagle release 10:45!  TiCk ToCk!  GPS!  I pull it up and apparently, I’m 21 minutes away.  OK, still doable with a whole three minutes to spare! So on we go on our glorious adventure!

Finally, we are in the general vicinity of our goal but suddenly the GPS shows me driving in the fields!  Well, I may be getting older, but I’m fairly sure I was not off-roading it at that moment.  The writing is on the wall and it says “We are LOST!” The tick tocks are getting louder and the concession that we are going to miss what we had come for was trickling into my thoughts.  We will just have to make the best of it.  After all, it’s an adventure!  As I’m explaining to my buddy that it’s a very good possibility that we may miss it, THERE it is! A SIGN! McFarland Park…2.5 miles!  THIS WAY!  It was MY Cookie Bag moment! Without the sugar of course! But much sweeter!  

Okay…. so apparently it’s a back road…sloppy gravel pitted with daunting grooves but hey, that’s what happens on adventures, right?  And then we see it, in the distance, over the hills…. a LINE of cars snaking its way back a half a mile from our glorious destination.  It doesn’t matter! We are ready for the challenge, or so I tell myself.  So I park the half mile away and my buddy and I look up a very large hill and start running.  Twenty steps later…”Grandma, will you carry me?”  I look at him.  I look up the hill.  I look at him.  I look up the hill.  I look at him.  “Yes, baby, of course!”

So now, 30 plus pounds heavier, I begin to climb the IMMENSE hill. As my thighs begin to burn, I reposition him to a piggy back ride in hopes that the new position will give me HoPE of reaching the top.  We play a game of breathing big breaths….well, it’s a game to him but it’s a lifeline to me!  He laughs.  His laughter makes my heart swell… I really don’t care about the hill anymore as long as I have this moment with him. 

I start to look up in the sky because it’s likely that that will be our only chance of seeing these great birds. 

With great relief, we reach the top… and then the entrance… and then the crowd of way more people than I ever imagined!  We look around.  “Grandma, where’s the eagles?” “I don’t know babe.”  I’m trying to decide if I’m looking at a crowd that is anticipating a release or if I’m looking at a crowd that already experienced the release.  I quickly realize it is the anticipation side of the equation!!! Yayyyy! We made it!  Holy crap!  How DID we possibly make it?!?!

We snake our way through the crowd, trying to find a spot where a three year old and his grandma who have beaten all odds of arriving on time, can taste the experience.  We duck down in the front and get really little so we don’t impede on anyone behind us.  Slowly a layer of standing people with very large cameras work their way in front of us. We can’t see.  So we move again and make ourselves really teeny in front of this layer. And then another layer of standing people with very large cameras work their way in front of us.  I realize it’s the same layer as before and it appears we are playing leapfrog!  The STANDERS with BIG cameras clearly have no consideration for the TEENIES and their GRANDMAS as their own anticipation of getting the GREAT shot precedes any level of respect for OUR glorious adventures.  The GRANDMAs and other Parental units are starting to rise up. “Get down in front!”  “The children can’t see!” “If you are going to be in front, get on your knees!”  A few of the STANDERS concede however the largest of the STANDERS clearly have missions that are bigger than their listening skills.  But we think we finally have a spot where if you look JUST right through the holes created in the negative space of the bodies, we will get to see what we came for. 

Just then, a body moved in front of us.  And then it happened! Something completely unexpected escaped my own body.  Suddenly, unintentionally, inadvertently, unconsciously a TeENy LiTtle monster inside of me growled.  Just a little growl!  But a growl! And judging by reaction of the innocent woman with the little camera that moved in our way, what was supposed to be on the inside of me had actually escaped to the outside of me.  Oops!  That little three year old sitting with me may have been the one that taught me to growl.  It’s not uncommon for growls to escape him as he currently struggles at keeping his monsters inside while he is learning to be a respectful being.  And now one of his biggest teachers just had a moment where he got to see one of HER little monsters get out.  Of course, I apologized profusely to the woman as she was clearly one of us and was simply trying to find her spot on HER glorious adventure.  However, admittedly a part of me WONDERED at the results of that little EeNsy WeENsy growl!  We did not lose our spot again.

We waited anxiously and then they brought them in….the eagles had arrived!! They were beautiful creatures!  The clinic Peeps told us that these two were the survivors.  Many die from lead poisoning.  This stoic pair had beaten the odds. They were now ready to resume their lives in nature.

So the release was readied.  Two women in thick coats and massive gloves positioned themselves with their backs against us as they held these large creatures in their arms.  As the countdown began, I anxiously pointed my buddy in the right direction with one hand and juggled the camera in the other in hopes that through the masses of bodies, we would not miss what we had come for.  ONE, TWO, THREE!!  Their MaGNiFiCEnt WiNgs spread and they ROSE up and then they SOARED. At that very moment a part of me SOARED with them.  Something inside of me rose up on the wind and took flight too.  My buddy and I watched together as they gracefully floated on the currents and quickly drifted out of sight.  It was a Cookie Bag Moment for both of us! 


And then as one might expect of a three year old, he was quickly on to other facets of the adventure as a tree whose branches reached to the ground and beckoned to him to come and climb.  And then on to the pond and it’s plethora of critters including snails, and clams, and minnows.   A child’s delight!  And a dock that doubled as a ship sailing across the waves chasing dragons and whales and sharks and ‘good’ birds.  The adventure went on.

But this one moment of soaring with the eagles has found a place within my soul as I take the feeling of that moment, the taste of those skies and the elation of soaring and put them in a bottle to open when I need to know that feeling again.  I apply what is in that bottle to the act of pursuing my dreams.  I cannot forget the obstacles my buddy and I faced in attempting to get to that Cookie Bag Moment on our adventure. These parallel the obstacles I have been facing on my adventure of pursuing my OWN dreams.  It is not always an easy road but when all seems lost, small things show us the way if our eyes are open to seeing them.  And if we follow the signs and keep on keeping with our dreams and our hopes, the reality is that we CAN soar with the eagles.  One day, I fully intend to be among them, soaring every day of my life as my dreams come to fruition! 





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A Love Story and a good place to Leap

I have been suffering from writers block when it comes to blogging.  Simply put, FEAR!  I decided that yesterday would be my jumping off point… time to LEAP into it!  Face the Fear… why yesterday?  It was the bittersweet celebration of the LIFE of two extremely important souls in my life that ended 6 years ago in true love story fashion.

On Valentine’s Day, 2006, I was busy organizing and going through boxes that had sat for entirely too long in my bedroom.  I was feeling the elation that the process of organization causes when  finely started a long needed clearing of clutter in one’s life. Just then, the phone rang.  My husband was calling to tell me that my mom had died.  Her death was far from expected.  I had never contemplated the thought of her not being here.  She just always WAS.   It was surreal.  I was floating above the world and I could not find anything to grasp on to pull me back to the ground.

Suddenly, I found myself at the farm where we grew up.  I do not recall the ride there, just the arrival.  There was an ambulance and people all about.  No sense of haste…just people standing, chatting.   I walked slowly to the center of it all. It was like walking through a fog and then in the ‘clearing’ lay my mom…. on the ground as if she had laid down gently and quietly and went to sleep, her hands cupped beneath her head. My father sat over her, crying.  His world turned upside down and never to be the same again.  The days of morning teas and shuffling through bills and the business of the day together were gone…just like that.  One moment she was writing emails while my dad listened to political happenings on a TV where the volume was entirely too loud.  The next, she lay there at the foot of her deck, amongst her sculptures and creations.  Her two faced sculpture on an 8 foot pole leaned over her with it’s sad face showing as if it was mourning it’s creator.   If she could choose where she would die, she would have chosen to die outside among the trees and the fresh air.  She did.

The next year was a year of absolute turmoil for my dad as he struggled with losing her.  His heart was broken….shattered into a million pieces.   He was a short little Indian man with the strength of the warrior and the humor of the jester.  He greeted everyone with ‘Hello My Friend’ and a polite and meaningful wave.  He was a ray of light in your day.  When Mom and he would come to visit, he would sit in our driveway in their old black cadillac, blaring the horn to let us know they had arrived.  It always made us  smile.  If he needed something done, he called whomever he needed to call whether they sat behind the desk of political position or whether they sat behind the wheel of a dilapidated Chevy.  He MADE things happen.  He faced many fears in his lifetime and built a powerhouse of strength in his soul as he faced them. But a broken heart will destroy the greatest of warriors and he was finally defeated.  She was his sword.  She was his armor.  On that Valentine’s Day morning, he was stripped naked and fell into a pit of despair and he would not find his way out.

On Valentine’s Day 2007, a year later, I prepared to mourn the anniversary of my mom’s leaving by joining the family to go Taco Time with dad   (THEIR special place) and visit the cemetery which had become his shrine to her over the past year as he took flowers and objects and decorated her grave almost every day.  The folks at the cemetery recognized a broken heart and they allowed him to break their rules while he wallowed in the pain of losing her.  On Valentine’s Day 2007, I received a phone call in the morning.  “Dad is dead.”  Three words and it was over. He had gone to be with her.  His heart was no longer broken and he was no longer in despair.  He had found his way out of the pit at last.  This earthly world had become his purgatory and he was now free. And now he stood in Heaven, beside his beloved where he finally felt whole again.

My Valentine’s days no longer mean what they did 7 years ago.  They have evolved from a time where at the last minute I would scour the store for unnecessary gifts for loved ones (after all, if you love someone, shouldn’t you show them all year round?), to a mourning of the loss of my soul partner in art and finding the magic in life’s journey (the loss of mom), to a mourning of the loss of both of my greatest teachers in life (the loss of both of them), to a celebration of LIFE for I am grateful for the life I had WITH them and I am grateful for the life I have now BECAUSE of them.  They gave me the gift of sight…to see the beauty in this world and to feel it deep within.  The gift to find the magic in our journey.

So from this day forward, in honor of that gift, I will LEAP!! And I will FLY because that is what they taught me to do.

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Seekers are Spilling Out

As of late, I have found myself compelled to create what I am titling ‘Seekers’.  My life’s journey seems to have been a continuous treasure hunt, seeking for clues as to how to see the magic, how to be the magic and how to share the magic.  There are messages everywhere!  I don’t always catch them but when I do, it’s like finding a piece of the puzzle to understanding how to be my best self.

These creations I call ‘Seekers’ are my way of reminding myself of some of the messages that I hear along the way and sharing them with others in an artful and soulful way.  I generally like my creations to be functional so they can serve a purpose in a beautiful way.  I find these ‘Seekers’ to be soulfully functional!

Many times I have little to no clue as to where they are going when the pencil hits the paper.  I just start and they spill out. With each stroke they begin to whisper to me.  I then bring in the ink and as I add the dark lines, it’s as if they are coming through a frosted glass window to stand before me.   I could stop at that point, but they are not ready to.  I then scan them in and digitally color them. Now they begin to really dance!

Digital coloring is a process that I am growing in and it intrigues me…sometimes to the point of irresponsibility when it comes to doing the bills and all those other necessary but soulfully UN-fulfilling and sometimes draining tasks.  I have to drag myself kicking and screaming out of the world of magic and creativity back to the dreaded to-do list.

I’m not sure where the ‘Seekers’ are going and honestly, I don’t know where they came from.  But they are what is spilling out of me right now and they bring a part of who I am into this world and for that, I am grateful.

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The Artist In Me

Awakening - An 8 ft sculptural dedication to turning 40 yrs old.

As I walk through the world, trying to find my best journey, I am constantly struck by colors and sounds and words that speak to my heart.  When I take a moment from running about in the haze of everyday life and allow myself to experience one of these many treasures around me, I am filled with a sense of “OK, now I get it!”.  My day is changed, if only for a moment before I sink back into the haze.  My next thoughts are  “Thank you for allowing me the ability to feel that moment.” as I know that when the monotony or craziness of every day life sets back in, I may not readily be able to see the magic around me and for those moments that I can, I am grateful.

Art has been a part of my life since I was a child.  My mom, self-titled “Artista Mama”, was an artist and she continually fostered the artist in me…a mama bird feeding her baby bird’s soul.  If I would show an inkling of interest in an art form, she would be sure to supply me with the right tools so that there would be nothing to stop me if I wanted to learn and play. She spent her lifetime teaching me how to see, how to listen, and how to feel the beauty of this world through her own life as she would snap intriguing photos of dried peeling red paint on the local gas station pump, or create a sculpture inspired by a finding in the wall of imperfect drywall plaster that resembled a man standing on his hands, or share with me new methods she had discovered for creating fairy wings.

Those teachings have nurtured me into an artist.  They are whispers in my soul that at times would be very quiet as I allowed my business-as-usual life to consume me.  But those whispers would always find their way to the top, like bubbles in a fish tank, racing for the chance to burst into the world and express themselves.  But as time has passed, the whispers no longer go nicely to their quiet room.  Now they are screaming to me 24/7.

When I’m working in my shop, I feel an immense sense of peace and tranquility… and an incredible sense of belonging.  The frosting on the cake is when I am successful in creating something that connects to someone else, something that inspires or motivates them or brings joy to them, if even for a moment.

It seems to me that the screaming whispers combined with the sense of purpose I feel when my art work connects with another soul is more than just a random happening.  So it is time for me to take what I have inside of me and spill it into the universe and see what it manifests.  It is my hope that one of my creations will become one of those treasures that YOU will pass in your daily life and it will speak to your heart and then you will be filled with the sense of “OK, now I get it!”, if only for a moment.


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