sparks of JOY

The 10 minute challenge has been going well.  It doesn’t always mean blogging, it means updating a SMASH journal this week, just jotting thoughts on scrap paper and sometimes it means sitting here in front of a monitor and typing the words that dance around in my head.

This Sunday morning as I enjoyed my cup of coffee and looked around the house I started to think about the little big things that spark joy in my life. 


It can begin at the cup of morning coffee which is a consistent habit in my life.  Often times made with love by the man I love.  This morning I was reminded of motorcycle mans love of tennis and how he will record tennis matches so he can see who will win the big game.  Before DVR’S he would set his alarm to watch games that were televised in the early morning hours while we all slept.  This sparks joy in me because it’s part of who he is and I love all the details the makes Rich the person I fell in love with. 

I love when I notice a new flower has opened up in the garden, or a tomato flower has popped open, knowing it will soon be a beautiful piece of fruit.  I love to watch a snail slowly cross the sidewalk and leave an iridescent trail behind its path.

I love the smell of the barbeque when the meat is grilling and the charcoal aroma reminds me of how blessed we are to have consistent meals. I love to sit around the backyard fire at night, especially with people I love, music playing and the dim city stars scarcely to be seen. 


I love when Abbie and Blue Jay call me up to show me a purple light shadow on the bedroom floor because they know it will spark the shot of joy that makes us all smile and laugh.

I love walking past the gigantic ceramic bowl of fruit that sits on the dinning room table and catching the fragrance of fresh peaches as I walk by.

I love how this year is the year of rainbows and I become so excited to find them in the most unexpected places.  I love when I set my intention to find things they appear, the hearts, the feathers and now rainbows.  I’m realizing that when we set our intentions on the good, good finds us back. When we smile and speak in love, smiles and love follows us back. 


Although all these things have been fully enjoyed in the decade of 40,  40 was not my most spectacular decade.  I will call it the decade of learning and sometimes the lessons were hard.  If I didn’t focus on the little big things it may have been worse.  If I didn’t have my faith and belief in a God much bigger and greater than anything, things would have been far worse.  I had high anxiety and it resulted in some obsessive compulsive behavior  (truth be told, it’s still a struggle a little bit) I feel deeply and my make up is to hold it all inside.  This decade I have been practicing to speak out more and it’s helped elevate some of the symptoms.  If you have followed me for a time and know some of my story I had sores all over my legs and some of my body because I picked myself obsessively.  I wanted to believe it was a condition so I spent more than half the decade looking for the answer through diet, multiple doctors visits and so many ointments it was completely ridiculous.  Until  the 3rd  dermatologist who was straight forward,  told me it was ALL ME.  No weird food allergies or skin conditions.  I just needed to figure out how to deal with my self hate and anxiety in another more healthy way.  This part has been the journey.  It’s better so much better, I call it 98%.  Perhaps when I reach that half way to 100 mark I will have it in the bag.


hello world!!

Goodness gracious. Someone took a long break from the blog world:) However I’m newly inspired. There truly is so much inspiration all around me, the garden is BURSTING IN COLOR!! All the little poppy seeds I planted in October have come alive and it’s a joy to me to see them each morning when I wake up!

red poppy.jpg

I’ve been in a creative slump these past few months. I have not made time to doodle or draw, blog or even take very many pictures. I think it’s normal to go through some dry spells so I’m not too upset about it. I do miss it though. It always is a form of therapy for me to have some sort of creative outlet. Two things in the future that have sparked my creativity again, one is the art walk on my birthday and the other is a film class I joined on-line.

My friend and neighbor asked me to show some art with him in May for a small city art walk. When he asked me I thought to myself, what in the world will I even share? I was so flattered that he wanted to show with me and I love being part of community so I accepted without even knowing what I would be showing. I have since decided to share how much folding cranes means to me. I have taken many pictures of my little folded cranes throughout the past couple of years and I’m going to share their story. I know the cranes don’t resinate with the masses however they are special to me so I’m going to do what sparks joy in my soul. In fact Lynda my neighbor’s wife has battled a couple of bouts of cancer and the second round when it was especially difficult I wanted to fold her a crane each day she went through intense chemo up until her new birthday! I fold cranes when I feel like I need to be still and quiet and pray. I fold cranes when someone leaves this world. I fold cranes for a variety of reasons, some good of course. I remember wanting to learn how to fold a crane and it took me quite a while to figure it out so when I did, I wanted to keep folding and keep folding so I wouldn’t forget. This May, the cranes will be featured for the city artwork along side my friend who makes the most awesome big, big metal robots. I made square postcards to share and I still need to figure out the few I want to print and show.


Lastly I joined a film making class with Xanthe Berkeley it’s a 10 day course that encourages us to make a film every day for an entire week about our daily lives. Just a really short film with hi-lights of our day. In it she is teaching us how to use a new app and this class is specific to using your cell phone for filming and editing it on your device as well. All of that part is new for me. I took a year long time capsule class from her in 2015 and we used our DSLR’s for filming and our computers for editing. I’m determined to learn something new. I made a one minute film on Saturday and while I used my cell phone, I was frustrated with how long the app was taking me to edit so I edited my film on iMovie because I already knew that program. Below is the short film I made and guess what…6 more mini’s to go. This should spark some creativity for sure.

Our Mindful Eye

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.
— Francis Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden)

In our neighborhood there lies a long narrow patch of what used to be dirt and weeds. We have lived here for 19 years and this is what it has been the entire time. Until recently, I noticed that sprinklers were installed and grass was planted. I’m not sure who this property belongs to? I drive by this patch of land sometimes twice a day if not more. I pass by it on my walks. I noticed a while back on one of my walks that it looked like sunflowers were growing. I’ve been keeping my eye on them. Today I drove by and noticed one had bloomed!! I stopped my car and took a picture of the beautiful sunflower blooming on November 4th! I’m used to seeing sunflowers in the summer and this just seems to me like a gift. I’m not sure who planted this row of sunflowers against the block wall and in the new grass but they are there and they bring me joy. I’m sure they make others smile too. I wish I knew who planted these. I would give them a hug and say thank you.

There is a place we walk sometimes that is pretty much a weed patch mixed with wild flowers that birds might plant. I have often thought it would be nice to scatter poppy seeds or hollyhock seeds in this massive space of neglected land. I have not done it. It’s just been a thought. Maybe I should act on it? I think it might bring joy to some. There is a children’s book that is about something along these lines. It’s called “Miss Rumphius” written by Barbara Cooney. It’s about a women who lived by the sea and wanted the world to be more beautiful so she planted lupine seeds where ever she went!

Last week got hectic and I forgot to take a picture or post. I’m trying to get back on track this week, even if it means an iPhone photo like the one I share above. I realize the whole point of this project was to pick up our big girl cameras and be mindful. I was mindful and I count that as half. I stopped to admire a beautiful sunflower. I wonder Christina’s mindful eye found this past week, you can visit her HERE at 22 LIMES and see:)

Our mindful eye

Give me the splendid, silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling
— Walt Whitman - Leaves of Grass
grass in golden hour.jpg

This is how my eyes saw it.  The little grass seeds sprouting across the barren backyard.  I laid on my belly and took a few pictures as the sun shown across the top.  (Is shown a word? 😝) I felt like my eyes saw it like this.  I was so excited that our backyard was getting some green.  Thanks to motorcycle man.  He raked up the hard clay dirt and threw down seed just before a weekend rain.  It’s so exciting to see a little green back there.  Yes, this is how my eyes felt like they saw it.  Below is what the camera actually saw


Still a little exciting from the belly angle. However the true reality, the big picture as they might say, is below.


And guess what?  I still see so much HOPE.  There is so much hope in all those thousand of grass seeds.  I’m imagining by mid winter we will have a blanket of green.  It’s been a couple of years since the backyard has been green. When we lost the wall that rainy season and part of our backyard slipped away in the little mud slide, I didn’t want to even look out the windows to the backyard, let alone step foot onto the patio to look at the dirt and block wall.  It’s all in the attitude right?  My attitude is adjusting and I’m now excited about the green, green grass.  I wonder what Christina is excited to share this week?  I can't wait to visit her at 22 LIMES.  It might just be a little more exciting than the grass I’m watching grow.

our mindful eye


This week it’s this simple. I spent the greater part of this past Saturday cleaning. The kind of cleaning that’s not the ordinary, or at least not my ordinary. I was walking into the kitchen and realized the kitchen floor felt grimy under my bare feet. I should sweep and clean my kitchen floors, which turned into cleaning the whole down stairs. My house isn’t very big which makes this very doable. I washed baseboards, doors, walls and all this on top of the “regular” kind of cleaning. The kitchen floor feels so good under my feet today! I sometimes choose to do yoga in the kitchen but I will only do it if the floor is clean. Maybe I can practice in there this week. While I cleaned I rearranged some plants that sit by the kitchen window. I took this little love spoon handle out of another plant that sits on top of the fridge and I can’t see the love handle all the way up there so I brought it down to someplace I can see. My friend Cristin Spriggs gave me this spoon handle and I really love it! I have so much LOVE in our home. It’s like I don’t want anyone to forget that LOVE lives here. If you were to visit my home, you would see love on the front door, on mirrors, on cork boards, on the door leading to the garage…pretty much EVERYWHERE. I also just recently purchased the most adorable and comfy sweatshirt from Kate Flowers which reads LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS over and over and over again. Today in church we are beginning a study of John and in John it talks of LOVE too. If I surround myself in love it reminds me to….Just Love. I try hard to do this but sometimes I fail. I call it the practice of love. Practice and never give up practicing and with practice comes a more natural behavior or even habit. Practice love and you will not be let down.

My creative partner Christina posted two posts last week and I was double happy to be able to see two of her creative images and to hear her heart. I hope you will be able to visit her blog too, it often inspires me to be a better person. I think its important to surround oneself with people who inspire us to be better people, she is one of those kind of human beings.

Our Mindful Eye

Isn’t it amazing
the way beautiful
things find us

climb into our laps
without warning

intimidate the worst
parts of our day

and only ask that we
notice them
— rudy francisco

You may think there is nothing very spectacular about this image. It does seem pretty ordinary but my favorite things are usually ordinary. The things that we may take for granted like the wood fruit bowl that sits in the center of the table. Sunday morning I woke up earlier than I usually do on a weekend day. I was the second person up. The first already gone for work for the day. When I walked down the stairs from our room I immediately was taken by the light shining on the dining room table. It was a gift to wake up to. My eyes saw it far better than this image can portray. This is just a snapshot and idea of what my eyes saw Sunday morning. I notice from the memories that Facebook will pop up that it’s this time of year exactly that most my images are shadows and light. It’s the fall golden light. Southern California doesn’t quite get a true colorful fall, but we do get a beautiful golden light that is noticeably different than that of summer and spring. As I’m becoming older I notice I have definite patterns in the course of a year.

I hope I never stop appreciating the gifts that surround me. The faithful creaky wood floors, the light that moves through a room in the morning sunrise and also in the evening sunset. I hope I never stop noticing the sweetness of a crisp apple, the hot cup of coffee that feels especially right in my hands. I find such comfort in the walls of this home we have had for the past 20 years. I think about moving to a place that has less traffic and more nature but for now I find the beauty in this place, the place I am now.

I started this project because Christina invited me to pick up my camera and find the beautiful things that surround me and remind me to be mindful in the things that I do, the images I share. I’m really grateful she invited me to do this project. It makes me happy to know that she is appreciating her moments so very much that she has not had a chance to share them lately. Her last image made me laugh because it was simply a wide eyed owl that read, “do you ever feel like this?” Yes. Yes I do.

mindful eye

We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of your hand
— Isaiah 64:8

For many years now I’ve been interested in those who shape clay into unique and especially beautiful and useful pieces. While I was pregnant with my first baby just over 23 years ago I took a pottery class at the Adult School with my mom. I remember wearing my overalls and having a cute little belly with my first son growing inside of me. We had such fun in that class my mom and I. I made the most awful things. I made this hand shaped coffee mug for motorcycle man and we still have this oddly shaped mug to this very day. I think they let us on the wheel just one time I can remember and it was so much more difficult than I had imagined it would be and the clay felt abrasive when I had imagined it would feel soft. After I had Austin I was extremely busy raising a baby while working full time and 3-1/2 years later I had his little brother Dylan and felt even more busy, raising two boys and working full time and also deciding to purchase our first home that was quite a large undertaking. It was 3-1/2 years after second born son arrived and we were trying to make our little fixer upper house a home that our littlest and only girl came into the world. Needless to say I’ve been busy the past 23 years. I’ve managed to pick up my camera and keep a blog and do some of the creative things that matter to me but I’ve always wanted to return to the clay creations. I even recently checked out a book at the library about an interesting, lively and creative woman who made her life in pottery, her name was Beatrice Wood. I pin pottery in Pinterst, I admire other women I know on social media who dabble in pottery as well. I try and support those artists with encouraging words or buying things they might have for sale. The cup in the photograph above is a recent purchase, I bought a pair actually and I couldn’t wait for them to arrive. They landed on my doorstep on Saturday late afternoon just in time for afternoon coffee and then later that night I poured a cup of red wine in the same cup. It felt so perfect in my hands and it felt special to know this was a handmade one of a kind. When I picked up the cup to wash it today I noticed the wine drips and I found it to be pretty and real so this is what I decided on for my mindful eye to see. If you might want to take a peek at the selection of pottery Camille has you can click HERE.

Fall is finally here and I’m excited to use this pair of handmade cups for hot cozy drinks and night caps and maybe even a darling bundle of flowers to display. I find the pair of cups/vases to be multi purpose and I love that. It’s important to build others up and support them when we can. Speaking of creative friends, I always wonder what Christina will share in her blog space. I really love that she invited me to be a part of the mindful eye project because it keeps me at the very least posting once a week.

the mindful eye

It must be a great disappointment to God if we are not dazzled at least ten times a day.
— Mary Oliver

We made it to the beach Saturday evening and I’m so happy we did. We love to just sit in the sand and take it all in. Watching the sun as it quickly slides away and gives us the most tremendous show as it waves goodbye, it says to us “It’s been a lovely day, completely amazing however I need to visit the other side now and let my moon friend shine for you tonight, I’ll be back tomorrow. Promise.” It’s always a privilege to send our sun friend off to the other side, the sun has done such good things for us today. It’s provided a beautiful light for us to see, it gives us some much needed Vitamin D, it helps our plants and trees grow, it warms our earth and provides life to so many things. We are thankful. God knew how important it was and created it first, the very first thing:)

I also planted the poppy seeds in the front garden. I can’t wait for them to grow and bloom. I hope it’s as simple and turning up the soil and just sprinkling them in sort of like I salt my food. Just sprinkle a little here or there and let nature do the rest.

Last week Christina talked about working on her creative self and she shared a prayer that included little old me and I feel so honored and I want to pray the same prayer. Christina’s prayer for us so completely authentic and heartfelt and I really appreciate that she prays for us and I know the words to be true. I began my creativity this weekend by not being creative at all but rather admiring God’s creativity and being inspired by His handy work. He has inspiration all around me and I realized that lately I have not been noticing as much as I sometimes do. It was really important that I sit still this weekend for a little bit to just take some of His wonders in. Sometimes I think that’s all we need to do. Just stop for a little bit in our otherwise busy days and just sit still under His sky and on His earth and just listen and see.

life and water

What a chance, what a surprise! My will has chosen life
— Holly Hunter's character (Ada McGrath) in the Piano

This film came out in 1993, the year I got married.  I was 23 years old.  I remember specifically the theater I saw this movie at. I went to a  matinee with a friend of mine. I remember being deeply touched by this movie and in the 25 years since the movie came out I will play back one of the last scenes over in my head from time to time.  The part where Ada deliberately puts her foot inside the rope that is going overboard with her piano. In that instant she is choosing death as she deliberately places her foot in the middle of the coiled rope that is quickly running out as the piano plunges deeper into the ocean.  She believes she would rather be in the depths of the quiet ocean with only her piano than to live. However she surprises herself when she slips off her shoe to rise to the surface for breath, for life!


 How many times have I also fantasized about plunging into the depths of the quiet beautiful under water world?  Where  in the water I can do things I can’t do on land, in the water that is a peaceful meditation to this otherwise noisy, crowded sometimes crazy world.  How many times have I placed my head under the water of the bathtub just to listen the underwater noises, my heart beat, the blood rushing through my veins? How many times have I walked to the back yard and fell into the pool just so I could float on top of the water and again listen to the world in an entirely different way?  It’s peaceful. It’s quiet.  It’s liberating.  WATER. 


WATER.  We need it to live.   Half our bodies are water.  A baby is surrounded by fluid while developing in the mothers womb. 71% of the Earth’s surface is water.  I was made for water. I feel at total peace while in water or being near  water.  This is why this particular scene of this movie touched me and has never left my memory after all these years. To sink into the depths if only for a moment. I would like to think my will would also choose life if given the choice.