Friday, December 09, 2011

Holiday Spirit

I'm trying! It just doesn't seem like the Christmas season yet ... so when I had an extra 15 minutes after errands while Miss M was at dance class, I went to Rhema to see the lights.  Thankfully, my camera was in the trunk, so I played for a while.  I even tried to create a makeshift bokeh frame out of my drink cover.  Have you ever tried to purposely rip a heart shape into plastic? Not easy! I'll have to go back with a better creation.

In the meantime, I have been thinking about symbolic things ... anything to give a frame to my thoughts or feelings or place in life.  Tonight it's the unfocused but "new focused" interest that can be found by looking beyond the space between me and my environment.

There's more to a scene than what I can see in front of me.
There's more to my environment than what I can focus on.
There's more to my life than what I can carve out of my own efforts.
Somehow ... I want to get my focus off of me, off of the things around me, and set it so far past it all that a new picture appears ...
Something new, different, patterned with possibility, intersecting with inspiration, hinting toward a horizon ripe for discovery.

Maybe this will be my bokeh holiday ... looking past, focusing beyond myself, and finding new beauty.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


I glance her way and get a glimpse of dimensional time.  I absorb a present moment different than I've known before.  I see a flash of her future and a flashback of my past.  I see her beauty and wonder how I missed the  the time that turned her into a young woman.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 05, 2011

One Moment Danced ...

My little one is growing up. She's becoming a young lady and a beautiful performer. I may need to do a series of photos just from her years in the Nutcracker!

And I do want to gripe just a bit.  I brought my camera to the performance hoping I'd hear those magic words: "No flash photography."  And I did!  Those words are my magic because I do NOT use flash (and truly hate it when all cameras are penalized because of those who).  So when I hear that, it's equal to saying, "Go ahead! Take all the photos you want as long as you don't use flash."

There was one lady evidently with the production (she had a name tag, but I couldn't read the name) who REALLY DID NOT LIKE ME taking those photos.  But far beyond me, she made quite the scene ... kept turning around, glaring, and giving very loud "SHHHH"s and even imitating me by saying something ... I heard "CLICK! CLICK! CLICK!" being uttered between other loud whispers I tried to ignore.  It's one thing when a camera makes a natural noise, and completely another when a human imitates, shushes, stares, glares, and turns around constantly.

I'm guessing it's people like her who are behind all the "NO _____" rules.  I would like to say that I am also not obtrusive like some can be (and I've heard used as a reason why cameras aren't allowed) ... I just sit in my seat and capture what I can.  Why?  Because of the above.  This is how I experience these things best - behind a lens, making memories for my loved ones and me to share.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 28, 2011


Trust erodes and corrodes when lives are in limbo.  Hope deferred makes the heart sick.

Water and oxygen ... two elements necessary for life are also two elements that can deteriorate iron.  I'm intrigued.  I'm especially interested in the picture it gives of rusted out life.  Iron is so amazingly strong, yet these two elements which are life-giving (and which also do not harm iron separately) can simply by being present over time completely consume iron!

Walls and gates can lose their strength and no longer fulfill their purpose.  So too when trust erodes.  What once was strong or should be a strength is simply being eaten away.

As I think about my biggest missteps in life, it all goes back to trust.  I trusted too easily.

Mistakes and trust ... I made mistakes. I lost trust in myself.  And that was my first big mistake.

But I don't really want to reflect on the past.  I'm thinking about how limbo erodes trust.

trust [ trust ]   Audio player
  1. reliance: confidence in and reliance on good qualities, especially fairness, truth, honor, or ability
  2. position of obligation: the position of somebody who is expected by others to behave responsibly or honorably
  3. hope for future: hopeful reliance on what will happen in the future
Here is where I have made missteps ... at least with people and with myself.  I have had hopeful reliance on what will happen in the future.  And I have even had such confidence that I have made life changes in the expectation of those good things happening.  But what happens when that hope is unfulfilled?  It makes me think of Proverbs 13:12.  "Hope deferred makes the heart sick ..."

And I found an interesting version on about the verse from the Bible in Basic English:  "Hope put off is a weariness to the heart; but when what is desired comes, it is a tree of life."

I am weary.  I am worn.  My heart is weary to the point that I once again don't know what to trust.  I feel too weak to trust myself.  Too weak to trust myself to hear truth.  I want that tree of life to grow strong.

It's amazing what we trust versus what we do not trust.  I trust my BlackBerry but not my heart.  If I can ever "get it right" in that department, I would be on my way to conquering the world.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Always a welcome sound ... laughter was a big part of a rousing game of horseshoes with Uncle James at grandma and grandpa's house in Kansas.  (And even though I couldn't capture the action clearly, I still love this photo!)
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Winds 'n Roses

(Oops! I edited and published something quite old and thought it would retain the original date. Oh well!)

Exhausted, I lie here sleepless, listening to the wind. My thoughts drift and swirl like the sounds dancing outside my window.  They say a storm is coming. Knowing this makes the wind sound different. I listen a little closer. I hear a threat and a howl. I wonder what will happen ... if we will be prepared, protected.

But as I contemplate, I remember that wind is what one waits for when wanting to fly a kite. I remember that wind carries seeds to perpetuate new growth. I remember that sails were meant to catch the wind and propel a vessel.

So I wonder in a metaphor of life ... what am I holding to the wind? I realize that I feel fragile. What I hold is more like a flower than something destined for flight. I think maybe I have wrapped my wings around myself and they have become soft like petals. I imagine myself as a flower in the wind.  And I worry that the delicate layers will be quickly stripped and my hopes now folded and soft will have been dashed.

I write and let the wondering thoughts wash over me ... Silly me. I know that just as it would make no sense to display a boquet in a windstorm, it also makes no sense to try and fly a kite indoors. Both will result in some kind of destruction! There's a time and place for everything.

Nurture the fragile. Launch the bold.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Turning Entanglement To Art

Sometimes life is bland and flat ... other times it's a tangled mess ... it can be a party ... or it can be the residue from others that is left for me to clean up.  It can look like nothing or an intricate maze.  What makes life beautiful? Perspective.

Maybe my life is all tangled.
Maybe the bright splashes are to be celebrated instead of figured out.
Maybe daily life is a slab of ordinary underneath everything.
But it could be that if I look closer, maybe it's art.

I'm considering adopting a new motto:  Never untangle ... find the beauty.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 29, 2011


And so she performs ... the "wolf" performing to Howl (by Florence + the Machine).  She loved the drama of this dance!  It was a tough competition this year (the younger girls didn't place) but it's only the first.  Here we go!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Black Light Special

As we stood in line waiting for our turn on the Rockin' Rollercoaster, we heard the announcement, "This ride DOES go upside down." M's head whipped around toward me and her eyes were HUGE! I had just told her that I didn't think it went upside down - at least I didn't remember that it did. It was the one thing that would have prevented her from going. She did NOT want to go upside down!

I couldn't help but laugh and asked what she wanted to do. She was torn. The event had been built so high in her mind that she didn't want to NOT go. And she kept commenting about how her brother would be proud of her if she rode it.

And so we rode ... 3 times!

Screams and laughter were part every round. She was positively glowing (and not just from the black lights in the ride)! I'm glad my memory failed me. It helped Miss M become a coaster lover! Now THAT'S special.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cake and Laughter

Turning 12 while waiting for a Disney adventure had highlights of its own.  From finding a cake and candles to forgetting matches ... and having hotel staff offer to sing but finding instead when we returned a lobby FULL of business men ... we found plenty of moments to laugh.
Posted by Picasa

The Imogen Adventure Continues

I was finally able to download everything ... and I'm 3 of 3 for artwork submissions in the "heapsong" series! The image used on the "thank you" page is one of the walled garden gates. And I get to be mentioned in the credits both as a Garden Angel and as a photographer this time!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Immi's Hands

I've seen these hands from afar ... creating music, expressing joy, punctuating emotion on a stage or a video blog.  But the first time I saw these hands up close, they eclipsed the expected handshake and embraced me with a warm hug accompanied by a double-cheeked kiss.  That day, I watched the same hands serve others cups of soup and wrangle tools that broke ground in the walled kitchen garden.  Throughout the week, I watched these hands work and welcome day after day ... Gentle, strong, elegant and expressive ... just like her.

The humanity behind Imogen Heap's hands marked me.  Seeing her humble service, personal inspirations, intimate affections, and joyful explorations made her feel much more like a real life person (which, of course, she is).  And maybe more astonishingly, made me feel more like a friend than a fan.

So when Imogen began to play after hours at the celebration party in her home, it was more than "just" music.  It was far more than a moment to savor in the presence of someone famous and amazing.  It was life unfolding unscripted, resting and cradled ... all of us together ... all of us basking in the wash of words and moments and music shared earlier ... all of us with these meditative tones to brush through our souls.  The beauty of simply being with one another was profoundly woven in melody.

I now see how people can so easily call her "Immi" ... and it now seems so formal to call her anything else.  Immi's hands ... yet another inspiration.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Stairs And I

I don't know why I didn't think about this before I acted on my desire to see a castle ... they don't have non-scary steps!  So in addition to my big accomplishments of walking and hiking all over creation and not dying, I also climbed TWO sets of these (there are two separate towers people can climb)!

The first one (above) took me a few times of starting/stopping/readjusting bags before I actually did it.  I held my breath, then told myself to breathe, and then would force myself to slowly breathe as I put each foot on a disappearing, skinny step.  There's only room for one on these!  Ignore the butterflies.  Think about things other than falling.  And voila!  Suddenly, you're on top!  There's only one downfall after the beautiful vistas ... you have to go back down.

But as you can see, I didn't die.  In fact, I'm uploading lots of photos to Flickr right now for others to enjoy!  I won't have time to upload them all right away (it's almost midnight here - and I have limited internet), but when they're done, you can find them here: 
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Flowers to Flowers and Dust to Dusk

This is how my day started (in Lewes) and ended (in London) ... with a whole bunch of things in between!

Really, I wanted to write a poem, but can't seem to get the gears started.  I keep thinking about a phrase Imogen Heap used when talking about the song she is working on in conjunction with the garden project:

The piece I want to write is from the voice of the Walled Garden itself. A spoken word piece or perhaps a kind of collective voice for neglected spaces and abandoned man made structures. Being in the garden, I hear it almost sigh in relief with the news of this fresh enthusiasm. As if it's been calling out to anyone who might catch it from dust, to fall in love with it again. As those of you involved breathe a new life into the garden, community and beyond, it becomes clearer to me what it's been missing all these years and between spurts of getting my hands dirty, I'll be penning these thoughts.

And truly, the "dust" moment with the gravestone pictured above was part of a much bigger moment that I need to share ... but I'll need to revisit it and get more coherent thoughts on it.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

White Cliffs to Brown Rooftops

Just have to share before I go to bed ... the sprawling view I had yesterday was from that white spot in the circle.  I am proud to say I have walked every distance in England other than trains and the cabs from the hotel to the garden.  And today? I'm extra proud as it involved my luggage from that circle area (literally down below the cliffs) coming all the way to my little nook in the sky.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 03, 2011

White Cliffs of Lewes

Partway up the hike to the top of the white cliffs ... AWESOME view. Once we got up there, it was pastureland as far as we could see. I couldn't even see the river or road from where we were. Just green, green, green rolling hills (and cows ... and sheep)!  There's a little tiny dot of a castle over in the right hand side of the picture (ok where it would be if I could see it). That's where I'll be staying near for my last night in Lewes before returning for the launch party with Imogen Heap and Clear Village on Saturday.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 30, 2011

Lingering lunches.
Random wafts of conversation.
Streams of light in an English tea room.
Fresh air and motorists.
These little moments may seem pedestrian but that's the beauty of it to me.
Today I will discover a bit more of what it is like to simply "be" in Gidea Park (Romford).
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I wish you were here.
There's a low rumble of the organ;
The hum of tourists off in the distance.
Here, I am nestled in a corner of the prayer chapel at St. Paul's Cathedral ...
Feeling the cold stone pillar on one side
And warm wood to the other,
I'm cushioned in a respectful silence.
It is peaceful here.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Gentle spirits. Vibrant spirits. Generous spirits. When they all combine, I have to say that the celebrations are sweet!  Truly, my life doesn't hold enough of these.  I'm used to the work side of life, but I'm not used to doing much more than coming up for air until the end of a project.

Thinking through the few number of days we spent together, it's surprising how much room there was for celebrations with each other.  We worked hard. We had tea. We celebrated our project, each other and even  birthdays. No one was a taskmaster. We breathed, laughed, shared, collaborated, overcame, and built together.

I could go on and on about the people involved ... and I find it hard to accurately express what my heart has felt ... but it was quite amazing to me.  The pace, the productivity, the peace, the people.  To see it culminate together and be part of it all is a rather overwhelming honor.

This is part of what I need to bring back with me when I go home.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 26, 2011

Abandoned Spaces ... KEEP OUT

I woke this morning thinking about the different direction Imogen's song has taken (spoken word, garden perspective personified, gathering into anger) with an overwhelming realization ... that's what happened to me!

Imagining a personified garden being confused when people dwindled, frustrated by its own efforts going nowhere, wondering why all the good things it once knew were so far away, not able to see the "keep out" signs someone else placed on its walls ... I saw the same struggle in myself with the "married years" (and even still struggling deeply with some of the effects).

Tears came then.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Recording for Immi

Today was extra special ... not only did we hear an update on "heapsong3" from Immi, but we recorded some things as well! I guess technically, one can say that my recording hiatus is over.  I have one line ("I'm forbidden.") in the midst of many lines, plus screaming, groaning, vowels, hushes and whispers with the group.  HA!  It will be interesting to see what is used in the piece!

Of course, like many things, it is being filmed.  Of course, I'd always rather be behind a camera than in front of it unless there's a good reason.  This?  It's a good reason, but still rather uncomfortable ... especially since there is NO chance to even try and improve one's appearance when sweaty and dirty in the midst of garden restoration!

If you'd like to share in some of the real time experience, I took a few video clips with my tiny camera (not quality - just good memories):

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 24, 2011


We were challenged in one “circle time” (when the group gathers in a circle to learn and discuss) to recall something we noticed … but not just on the surface.  Noticing to the point of thinking or studying or delving into some aspect of it deeper.

I didn’t share with the group at the time because the conversations seemed to spiral into plans of the day … but what I was thinking about was the patterns in nature.  Just earlier, I was contemplating the balanced growth of the trees we were clearing and cleaning with branches sprouting opposite in one way and then the next pair up at 90 degrees. As I sat there, I thought about the thin-leafed swirls in a flowering plant, the thorns on some of the vines, the buds of the berries, the patterns of leaves, even the interesting elements of the weeds we pulled … all different, all very patterned, and all with specific purposes. 

It made me wonder if we could learn from them.  What makes the tree strong?  Could it be applied to life principles?  How about the need for protection?  What do the swirls do?  Are some things in existence simply for the joy of aesthetics? I’m sure all is valid … but I have a sneaking suspicion that if we could know every reason for every element, there would be a purpose to it that goes beyond beauty.

But before my thoughts ramble too long, I should also try and remember a few other “noticings.” One was a personal shift today.  Until this afternoon, I felt a little like I didn’t have much to offer other than my help (not that it isn’t significant, but I’m not an expert in permaculture, etc.).  Then, this afternoon as we split up into design teams to generate some ideas for the structure to protect the garden plantings, I started to have ideas.
IDEAS! It felt good to have ideas – ones that were not in context of job or family or personal goals.  Every team was strong and had good ideas.  But contributing to a design team that ended up receiving the most stones (votes) was truly exciting.  HOWEVER – I don’t say that in a way to make it sound like we did anything extra special.  Truly, some designs were so similar that they could have been easily merged.  And each design has great strengths that we may find to be more relevant as the actual project starts.  BUT – coming from a relatively dry place (or so it seems to me sometimes), I felt a little like those who dream again.  I started to feel alive!  IDEAS! Good ideas. They make me smile.

But before I wrap it up completely, there’s one other significant “noticing” that plays into the picture.  As we worked in the days and hours before, it was quite an unusual feeling to be away from normal life (i.e. rushing from one thing to the next, in front of computers, in meetings, in cars, always over capacity).  Even the sound of spades and forks and rakes in the dirt was like meditation.  Birds calling in the forests, male deer calling in the fields, branches and stems brushing together, footsteps in the dirt … all brought an organic peace that quietly seemed to reassure my soul without me even knowing it.  It’s a lovely feeling.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Alan meditating (I assumed) on site.
While the day was huge … my first work day, meeting (and kissing) the English and those from many other counties, sitting by Imogen, and just being around so many life-giving people … the overriding thought of the day was that of being vessels.

Alan, a practicing Buddhist from the San Francisco Bay area, was sharing about how he viewed relationships as being vessels for one another … and in one context, vessels that could hold the hurt and help the other heal.  In one case, a friend shared something that was too much for him to hold, and what made an impression upon me is that he recognized it, communicated that capacity to her, and was able to gracefully support her within clear boundaries.

Maybe that sounds like a bunch of words, but for me it’s quite significant.  I’ve had a challenge with boundaries.  And people close to me have challenges as well (some with running over boundaries and others with over extending their own).

I like thinking of boundaries as vessels, actually.  There’s a capacity, a limit, a boundary within a vessel.  It’s clear how much a vessel can hold.  It’s usually not clear to me how much I can hold.  I feel like I never do enough.  Others say I do too much.  And when I do recognize that I am overwhelmed, I feel guilty.  I think I’m going to challenge myself to carve out my vessel.  But not just to know it well, I want to know its purpose.  I want those kinds of limits that promote a healthy perspective that feeds my own spirit, soul and body as well.  One that isn’t overwhelmed, one that can give, one that can hold, and one that can heal.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How To Dream Again

Karsten holds the "pub spoon" (not sure
what it's really called - but it's what you
get when you place your order for food
up at the bar and then they come find
the spoon at the table when your
food is ready).
Tonight I met my first friends from the Garden Angels team after I got to the hotel and joined them for supper (my first English Pub – The Ship).  There were four countries around the table: Sovakia (Andrea), England (Karsten - via Germany), Scotland (Colin) and the USA (Alan - California and, of course, Me - Oklahoma).

Karsten works for Clear Village and is the project manager of the whole garden project.  I was asking about the work they do, and the answers I received started making me think!

What do you do when you go into a place that has lost hope?  Help its people dream again.

What is the key? Trust. 

When they still can’t dream, what do you do?  Have them share their stories … memories about neighbors, children, their own childhood, relatives, etc.  And as I listened to him describe how it has worked, it seems that through the very simple action of sharing stories their dreams were jump started again.

Trust … Dream … Stories … Dreams.  I see the connections.  And I know there is much more to glean when I have time to dig beneath the surface and meditate on some of these things.  But I see the power of these two things:  Stories and Trust. 

It makes me want two things:  1) to experience this for myself; and 2) to bring this to others.  Of course, I see it so easily in light of Girl Scouts.  As we move forward, it’s almost as a sluggish giant that has forgotten how to dream.  But when we hear those stories about Girl Scouting, we are revived.  We dream again.  And trust? WOW. It’s huge.  And after years of constant change (even in my short time on staff), I can see how the trust factor is essential to dreams being unleashed once again. 

Simple. Powerful.

Stories + Trust = Dreams

Monday, September 05, 2011

Celebrating 19 Means 20 Has Launched

Today he is REALLY 19 ... well, in all actuality, he has completed 19 years on this planet and is STARTING 20! It's hard to believe the little guy who surprised me into motherhood is an adult, much less a father as well!

I say surprised because babies weren't being pursued as a goal on the horizon. There was an expectation of 3-5 years of marriage first.  I experienced a little over a year of marriage.  Then ... MOTHER FOREVER.  Some of the journey so far has been amazing, some excruciating, some entertaining, some exhausting, and all of it an adventure one way or another!

So in light of life and change and miracles ... here's to more!  Happy Birthday, Jeremy!!!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Imogen Adventures

For the primary benefit of my dad who got a little update from Facebook (but I haven't been very diligent to chronicle everything) ... here's a recap of my Imogen Heap Adventures so far:

Andy (left) is the designer doing the digital CD artwork. During a video stream (daily during the project), they highlighted one of mine (shown above).  It didn't make it into the top selection out of the thousands of submissions, but it (and I) DID get mentioned in the broadcast!

However ... eight (YES - 8!) of my images made it into Andy's favorites for the CD artwork.

Most proudly, one of my images made it on the first inside page of the CD art ... and was very significant because of the "Welcome In A Heartbeat" lyrics because Aiden (my GRANDSON - yes, GRANDSON) was born then.

I'm in the credits! ... but not just for photos, for VIDEOS!

During another livestream, Imogen talked about seeing a clip of a sunflower swaying in the breeze and how it reminded her of her mother (a favorite photo of her smiling in a field of sunflowers).  Guess who had the only sunflower video?  ME! She described a concept for the video involving a sunflower video projected on her back ... but another video of several yellow wildflowers flowers was also submitted, which is the one easiest to pick out in the final video.  I think the one below is mine with the grasses mostly reflecting in reverse on her face.  ANYWAY, even though it's hard to tell, I know they chose both video clips that I shared (which is a surprise since I don't have any good video equipment)!  How do I know?  I received a check!  YAY!

And I KNOW this is mine ... it's a time lapse sunset on Mount Scott.

Next project ... I have two images chosen!  No live broadcasts to boast about, but having more images chosen was AWESOME.  There were no video submissions or sound submission, so the opportunities were smaller.  VERY happy to have TWO chosen!  Mine above is the branch/ornament/people behind the bubble. And below is the party scene superimposed on the trees. Of course, being in the credits again is superb!

So there's the recap ... other than I was invited to Imogen Heap's house (near London) for the first launch party.  I ALMOST went.  But I just couldn't justify it with the impact on family.  So, I've got a standing invite to join her at a concert of my choice - tickets and backstage access and a little time together.  WOOHOO!  My favorite thing, however, is getting a personal thank you from Imogen mailed to me.  TRULY love those special things.

How slow do you want the fire to burn?

  Just a little over a year ago, I had an urge to set up my special writing place. One person I wanted to tell was my aunt because I had bee...