Rainy Days and Mondays

raindrop sunrise quote

It was a rainy Monday in my corner of Wisconsin.  During my morning commute I saw several drenched cows.  The rain fine-tuned their colors, painting the fields with shiny black and vivid chestnut.  It also transitioned the grassy fields from umber to green.

And, I swear I saw every branch transform to bud.

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IMG_8493Last week I was painting with a sweet 2-year-old.  He dipped his paintbrush carefully into a small cup of water and then magically transformed a coloring page from black & white to a colorful masterpiece.  A bit like today’s rain.

I hope you witnessed a form of nature’s magic today.  Many days elapse in the flurry of busy – too absorbed in what’s next or examining what just happened.  And the tiny wonders slip by.  But I hope that wasn’t the case for you on this Monday.

golden hour collage

In honor of sprinkles and storms, I assembled a quick rainy day compilation.

“Rain from Heaven,” Eric Paslay

“Let it Rain,” Keri Noble

“Raining All Year,” Allen, Mack & Myers & Moore

“Right as Rain,” Adele

“Let it Rain,” Zac Brown

“Come in With the Rain,” Taylor Swift

“Feels Like Rain,” John Hiatt

“I Think It’s Going to Rain Today,” Norah Jones

“Rainy Days And Mondays,”  The Carpenters

And, my favorite song (brilliant lyrics):

“More Heart, Less Attack,” NEEDTOBREATHE

 A lyric sampler…

Be the wheels not the track
Be the wanderer that’s coming back
Leave the past right where it’s at
Be more heart and less attack.

I stuck my hat out, I caught the rain drops
I drank the water, I felt my veins pop
I’m nearly sanctified, I’m nearly broken
I’m down the river, I’m near the open.

“More Heart, Less Attack” was written by Bo Rinehart and Bear Rinehart.
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Maybe it is possible to seize at least a few moments each day.  Even when it is raining.

Finding Joy: DIY Easter Eggs

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Here we are 25% into 2015: the year in which I named joy as my companion for this trip around the sun.  The challenge so far has been connecting these three simple letters and reconciling how to honor life with a joyful heart… when some terrible situations have unfurled themselves into the lives of people I adore.

My heart and soul have been out of orbit, endlessly spinning to solve the equation of how joy and sorrow can sit on the same shelf?  It seems as soon as happiness “wins” something goes awry reminding me that worry and sadness lurk in the cracks.  It is an unapologetic and relentless twist; perhaps demonstrating the endless intertwined connection of light and dark.  No wonder a new word (to me) has been popping up in recent weeks: conflate.

CONFLATE. transitive verb. 1. a: to bring together : fuse.  2: to combine (two) into a composite whole.

The last book I read was Anne Lamott’s Handbook on Meaning, Hope & Repair, cleverly named Stitches.  It’s message is rooted in recapturing joy after loss and locating our authentic identities in chaos by “collecting the ripped shreds of our emotional and spiritual fabric and sewing them back together, one stitch at a time.”

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Tonight I connected with the teens over a couple dozen eggs, acrylic paint, Tim Holtz pressure-sensitive transfer words and other embellishments.  I fell in love with the ease of using these eggs (a Walmart find: empty white egg shells apparently manufactured for crafty purposes).  We applied paint (diluted with water) with sponge brushes.  Once dry we added the Tim Holtz words creating intention eggs!

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I also experimented by applying tissue paper to the eggs using Mod Podge.  I quickly learned that small strips of tissue paper worked best.
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IMG_8302Inspired by the color of Kate Spade’s products, we attempted a Kate Spade twist!
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 “Life is such a miracle, a series of small miracles. It really is, if you learn how to look at it with the right perspective.”― James Patterson, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas
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I hope you find layers of joy in the ordinary miracles this Easter weekend.

Heart Equation: Decorate with Wings

IMG_7453A couple of weeks ago I found the mathematical equation for a heart in the most unlikely place: at the end of The High Line taking refuge from the cold at Chelsea Market.

IMG_7476I purchased this (below) from Matt Shapoff’s shop: Handmade On Peconic Bay.  In my quest to find hearts, I have never turned to math.  Apparently there are several equations that graph the magical shape.

FullSizeRender(1) It was my first ever visit to Chelsea Market (Meatpacking District). The industrial architecture was visually beautiful with exposed brick walls, original beams and countless rivets!   I also adored Artists & Fleas.

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IMG_7685In Central Park I found solitude, confirming that maybe, just maybe, winter is a great time to visit NYC.   IMG_7648

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Photo credit to my husband for my stage debut.

IMG_7663In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.  ~Aaron Rose

IMG_0009There was also a theoretical physics lesson during our NYC visit and once again the lesson arrived in an unlikely venue: the Manhattan Theater Club.  Have you seen Constellations?  If you haven’t, hurry and catch it before it closes (3.15).  Click here for an official review via the NY Times (the review provides a peak inside the theater too.)  I can’t stop thinking about these two characters, infinite possibilities and the brilliant dialogue written by Nick Payne.  During one scene, Marianne explains “the quantum multiverse,” to Roland, stating “every decision you’ve ever and never made exists in an unimaginably vast ensemble of parallel universes.”  I would love to hear from you if you saw the show!

IMG_7095Apparently physics tells us that snowflakes are nature’s finger print: composed of a unique atomic composition that is unlikely to replicate.  I snapped this ordinary snowflake photo recently. Click here for some fascinating history about photographing snowflakes; courtesy of the HuffPost Science.

Somehow this trip led me to come home and totally revamp my mantel.  True story.  All you need is love (and wings).  I found the giant letters at Hobby Lobby.

IMG_7925IMG_7948IMG_7921Where you are finding inspiration?

Can’t stop listening “Two Hearts Are Better Than One

by Katie Herzig: Live In Studio: Acoustic.

Wine Cork DIY

wine cork message 1Cheers! 

Don’t you love finding messages in unexpected places?

wine cork messages 2See the irony in my photo?  Expression: put a cork in it?!  Can’t stop, won’t stop… or so the lyrics go.

I collected corks during our Napa visit last year with the help of supportive friends.  I have been experimenting with projects to create a little something for each one of our travel mates.  Perhaps this symbol of love?

IMG_2156 IMG_2141                      Or maybe I will make them something to honor our time together?IMG_2327 IMG_2340 IMG_2330To create the cork heart, use a glue gun or tacky glue to connect the corks in the desired shape.  I re-enforced the back with extra glue.

I love that the clock and cork height were a near perfect match!  I simply attached the corks to the rim of a $7 clock I picked up at Target.

  What clever things have you created with corks?

We are still buried in white.

yellow balloon Which leaves me longing for lush color.

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Ferrari Carano Vineyard

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Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Rutherford

Rutherford

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Silly at Silver Oak!

IMG_0131 IMG_0280 IMG_0780IMG_0458Our mission in Napa was to shower a friend with love on her birthday.   These corks represent so many moments during our time together.  Now back to creating cork gifts….

wine cork 3The Wine We Drink Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors

Poison & Wine The Civil Wars

Winter White and The Frozen Bubble Equation

Randy Pausch quoteWe are covered in white and dreaming of a Crayola summer.  White is just the boss of a Midwestern winter.

IMG_6952 It paints the sky above and the ground below.  And, white touches everything in between.

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Mercury milestones create a “should I stay or should I go?” conundrum.  Go outside or hibernate?

IMG_6950 To tip the scales in favor of outside on subzero days I found a little hobby a few years ago.  You might recall other posts on the topic of frozen bubbles and my pursuit to find the most effective recipe for creating the magical spheres.  (To go back in time click here or try this click.)

Last week, I tested a new formula.

IMG_5534Success!

IMG_5472Wait for it…

IMG_5498In the snap of a second, I witnessed these bubbles freeze in mid-air and gently land as frozen gems.

IMG_5440Occasionally they shattered on impact.  But most landed intact with soft precision, as if honored to be blessed with a long life expectancy.   Sometimes the wind caught the orbs and they rolled on waves of snow.  The point is… this bubble solution worked.  Over and over again.  The temperature was likely  an important factor (it was -4 degrees), but this bubble formula produced the best results.

IMG_5471The burst of serendipity?

The magic didn’t arrive in a DIY recipe.  No creative solution to report.

I found the formula in the most unlikely place.

IMG_6871The secret ingredient is in the Crayola formula.  Not your ordinary bubbles…. Can you stand the irony?  I am giving up on my homemade bubble recipes and relying on Crayola.

IMG_6978Bubbles offer a fresh lens for seeing wonder.  I hope your weekend is filled with moments of delight.

Please check out Matthew Mayfield’s stellar song, Cold Winds.  Or try Coldplay’s new track, Miracles from the Unbroken Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.  Did you see the movie?  The power of Louie Zamperini’s survivor’s spirit is all I can think about.

My One Little Word: 2015

IMG_5079Hope you are stepping into the New Year with a joyful heart.  Perhaps you read my last post about the one little word initiative as an alternative to resolutions.

I was feeling some pressure to find my word since the calendar flipped.  A friend suggested I simply select “be.”   Excellent idea, but I am feeling more bee.  I also felt like it was within my reach, but each time I leaned in to grasp it, the word slipped away.  Elusive, little pesky string of letters that it is.  For the record, it is not hen.  Perhaps that emerged as you looked at the photo above.  Although a year dedicated to building a coop and raising chickens is appealing.

IMG_5046 I considered my one little word as the clever, yet confusing… word.  You know… more writing and studying His word (the Bible).  But I hit the pause button on that; along with the suggested “be”.  Someday.

IMG_5072 Then, with little fanfare and while totally preoccupied in the middle of a restaurant, I tuned into a song playing via the speaker above my table.  Of course, my word was delivered on the silver platter of a song!  It had been making appearances everywhere, but it wasn’t until I heard it, that I claimed it.  Riding on those lyrics, I knew it as sure as the sun will rise.

IMG_5060The contemplating ended in that moment.

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IMG_4967Did you discover your word!? I am sitting here patiently waiting to hear from you!!!

Please share your word in the comments.  I would love, love, love to hear from you.

Without further ado…my 2015 word!

IMG_5107It is already propelling these mantras!

Unleash your Joy

Choose Joy

Scatter Joy

Jump for Joy

Find Joy in the Ordinary

 IMG_5334In case you are wondering about the song that sealed the deal, it was “Overjoyed” by Matchbox Twenty.

* Spillover II was created by one of the most talented public artists, Jaume Plensa, best known for his interactive “Crown Fountain” in Chicago’s Millennium Park.  Spillover II is 8-foot-tall and was created entirely with stainless steel letters.  It sits overlooking Lake Michigan in Shorewood, Wisconsin.  I shot these photos on 1.1.2015.

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After claiming my word, I found joy in a bag of caramel popcorn and as the lone visitor to the “Crown Fountain.”

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I hope you join me on the one little word journey (full credit to Ali Edwards who pioneered the idea!).

Happy, Joyful

New Year! 

 

Living with Intention

intention quote ordinary creativeToday’s all about reflecting on 2014 and being grateful for its blessings.  Did you select one little word* for 2014 and invite it along for this trip around the sun?  I rambled about my word back in a first quarter review so I intend to keep this brief today.  Click here to hop to the review!  Or, click here to read a love letter to my 2012 word (create).  For the record, I still have a sweet spot for my 2010 word (breathe).  I don’t know how a simple word can manifest its way into one’s life; but I wholeheartedly believe in the power of this practice.

IMG_0305My mind often runs like a track athlete (it runs in circles).  It leap-frogs across a pond of chaos and floods with ideas.  Determining which ideas to plant and cultivate is a regular dilemma.  Which is why the word intention kept raising its hand during the fall of 2013 with a bossy “pick me” attitude.   Let’s just say intention proved to be a soul-stretch.

It lead to manifesting some awesome outcomes but that was balanced by desperate fails.  Ardent dreaming and futile tears.  Cups of truth and shameful lies… all equating to 365 days of living the human paradox.  Intention was not my constant companion like prior words.  This little word will require more than a year of devotion. But it is like that Foy Vance song… it is now my Guiding Light.

intention memo word of the year

I have been fishing for my 2015 word.  Has your word surfaced?  While brainstorming with my daughters I teased them that I might select P L A Y.  As in… more theater and more fun.

Other words up for consideration include adore, bloom, carpe diem, develop, emerge, faith, joy, nature, nurture, nourish, quest, sacred, thrive, trust, wonder and well, the list goes on.  I am leaning toward carpe diem simply because it seems like two for the price of one.  I can’t wait to hear about your 2014 journey and plans for 2015 and of course your word!  I will unveil mine as soon as I sign the contract.

Sending you blessings and j o y for the next 365 days.  Catch you on the calendar’s flip side…

light a light lyrics—-

*The one little word project originated from Ali Edwards, scrapbook designer and life artist.  She will be kicking off another year of her One Little Word offerings.  Pop over to her blog for brilliant tips.

A beautiful version of “Light a Light” available via this link.

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