Monday, December 2, 2013


As I continue to get older, I seem to have this insatiable desire to learn new things.  In my profession, I need 40 continuing education units every two years to renew my counseling licenses.  Since I have zero for 2013, I will be active in the new year learning ways to improve my counseling skills.  This past year has been filled with taking blogging and art workshops online.  No grades or credits involved.  What fun it has been!  I cannot recommend enough for everyone to discover their own interests and pursue them.  If you can do this, I promise you will feel better mentally, emotionally, and even physically.  Any degree of feeling better is healthier, right?

Not everyone is interested in pursuing artsy things, so I'm going to list some ideas to think about pursuing in the days ahead.  Since I am interested in so much, I am learning to prioritize for focusing purposes. I consider myself "a Jack of all trades and master of none," so my desire is to hone in on what to master.  This is an idea list which I'm sure falls short of all there is to be interested in.  I just want to jumpstart for you some thoughts of what your own interests are.

~ blogs, books, magazine articles, poems, reviews, letters, journaling, etc.  

Animals ~ pets, fostering, volunteering, reading about, etc.  
Birds & Insects ~ feeding, watching, etc.
Photography ~ fine art, nature, animals, birds, journalism, portraits, babies, cameras, etc.
Children ~ playing with, learning from, taking care of, advocating for, etc.
Parenting ~ taking classes, participating in groups, reading about, etc.
Reading ~ books, magazines, blogs, Internet, reading to children, seniors, etc.  
Mentoring/Mentors ~ teaching, learning, influencing, being influenced, etc.
Environment ~ land, ocean, forest, air, etc.
Sports ~ watching, participating in, etc.
Spirituality ~ reading about, sharing with others, being still, going deeper, listening, retreats, etc.
Community Involvement ~ participating in, improving, sharing, etc.
Films & Film Making ~ watching, sharing, reviewing, etc.
Technology ~ computers, software, reading about, taking classes, understanding, etc.
Music ~ listening to different types, singing, playing instruments, attending concerts, etc.  
Nature ~ being in, experiencing, noticing, etc.
Humor ~ developing sense of humor, comedy, writing about, awareness in others, etc.
Teaching ~ passing on information, giving out, tutoring, volunteering, etc.
Giving ~ listening, watching, reading about needs, anonymous, gifts, etc.
Politics ~ running for office, getting to know & understand issues, voting, etc.
Walking/Running/Exercising ~ discipline, good health, classes, etc.
Meditating/Praying ~ asking, thanking, listening, awareness, alone time, sharing, etc.
Causes/Advocacy ~ diseases, health, children, women, hunger, etc.
Traveling ~ road trips, alone, sharing, seeing beauty, having fun, visiting, learning, camping, etc.
Culture ~ different types, languages, respecting, traditions, getting to know people, etc.
Archeology ~ history, digging, traveling, etc.
Psychology ~ study of human
nature,disorders,personalities,counseling, etc.
Business ~ marketing, developing, management, selling, etc.
Building ~ construction, estimating, tools, architecture, etc.
Astronomy ~ space, stars, planets, telescopes, travel, etc.
Science ~ brain, biology, functioning, diseases, medicine, etc.
Nutrition ~ vitamins, minerals, needs, supplements, improved health, etc.
Care Giving ~ seniors, children, animals, Hospice, etc.
Finances ~ budgeting, taxes, accounting, etc.
Friendships/Relationships ~ dynamics, sharing, communication, choices, etc.
Social Media ~ Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.  
Inventing ~ thinking, realizing what is needed/wanted, creating, patents, etc.
Television Industry ~ producing, writing, acting, watching, etc.
Entertainment ~ favorite celebrities, game playing, magic shows, circuses, concerts, etc.
Self Improvement ~ reading, going to counseling, awareness, practicing, changing, etc.
Gardening/Horticulture ~ landscaping, plants, water projects, etc.
Helping ~ meeting needs of family, friends, neighbors, and/or anonymously, fire fighting, police, etc.
Cars/Boats/Trains/Airplanes ~ various types, shows, riding in, racing, piloting, models, etc.
Jewelry ~ making, selling, etc.
Religion ~ reading about, respecting, sharing, workshops, churches, temples, etc.
Real Estate ~ looking at, developing, selling, etc.
Gemology ~ stones, rocks, digging for, looking at, workshops, etc.
Crafting ~ creating new things with different objects, taking workshops, etc.
Painting, Drawing, Collaging, Mixed Media ~ reading, watching videos, practicing, taking classes, art journaling, etc.
Research ~ on the computer, libraries, different subjects, finding statistics, etc.
Health ~ medicine, medical, science, reading, nutritional counseling, etc.
Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting, Embroidering ~ quilting, patterns, etc.
Cooking, Baking ~ reading cookbooks, online recipes and instructions, watching TV shows, practicing, eating, restaurants, etc.
Paper Making ~ kits, greeting cards, book making, designing, etc.
Organizing ~ order, helping, containers, etc.
Games ~ board games, puzzles, videos, etc.

Many of you know what your interests are, so I want to encourage you to never stop developing and growing in those areas.  And for those that are unsure of what those are, be inspired to have fun, try different things, and pay attention to how fast your heart beats when something excites you.  


Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I would like to introduce my little gypsy girl, "For the love of art." Last Saturday I took a workshop taught by Suzi Blu at Paper Tales, a scrapbooking store, in San Diego.  After posting my girl on Facebook, a friend asked if she was going to have a horse.  Not this time.  Gypsy girl has a horse, but she is out of the saddle today.  One has to spend some time out of the saddle in order to keep from getting sore.  

This brings me to the topic I keep pondering ~ the tension between being social and spending time alone.  With my growing new love for mixed media, I am realizing that I need "down time" or time out of the saddle. Gypsy girl represents the evolution of a cowgirl as I am still learning how to draw heads,faces, and bodies.  As much as I love Suzi Blu's girls, I want to create ones that model who I am.  To practice this kind of creativity, I need time to think, and to play on paper.  But there is a side of my personality that longs to be social, to be included in those special events that bring us together.  This week in particular I've been feeling the tension between these two opposites that reside inside of who I am. 

Spending time alone is nothing new to me.  Growing up, I played paper dolls for hours under my family's dining room table.  One day, my mother said, "You need to get out and be with people," so I crawled out from under the table, and did just that, went out and made friends.  The tension between alone and social time began a long, long time ago.  

I am realizing that to have the pull of the melancholy vs. the sanguine in my personality is how God created me.  The challenge is to find and keep the balance between the two.  The "how" to apply this balance is simple, yet difficult to practice.  It is knowing when to say "yes," and when to say, "no."  And practice is what I am doing at this later stage of life. I may not always get it right, but that's okay.  Most of the time I seem to be getting it right, and I'm sure as heck not sore from being in the saddle too long.  

Monday, September 30, 2013

A Blank Canvas

Recently, I committed to donate a painting to Paris in a Cup, a darling tea shop and restaurant in Orange, California, for it's cancer fund raiser.  First of all, I'm still not confident in the fact that anyone would want to purchase a painting from me.  And, second, I had no idea what to paint.  These were dilemmas for this "late bloomer" artist. Cheryl Turner, the owner of Paris in a Cup, is a cancer survivor that has become a friend, and I wanted to support her.  I was excited to buy my 11 x 14 canvas, but had no idea what to put on it.

As I stared at my blank canvas, I thought it was such an excellent metaphor for life.  Every day, every month, every new year we are given a blank canvas of time.  We can stare at it for awhile or we can start throwing all the paint on it we can. Danny Kaye,  a now deceased singer/entertainer, said, "Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can on it."

So, that's what I did.  I began playing with my paint, paper, and pens on the canvas, and threw everything on it that seemed to fit.  Yes, my canvas is full.  Maybe too full for some, and not full enough for others, but it's my canvas, my choices, and that has to be alright.  And my concern that no one will want to buy my canvas? Well, I know someone that would buy it.  Me!!!  

On my mixed media piece of art is a quote by Vincent Van Gogh that says, "What is done in love is done well."  I'd like to paint my days(canvases) with love, so that I can live well.  What is on the canvas of your day today? Is it colored with love?  I want to encourage us all to not live in fear of what others will think of our choices, but to be brave enough to play with the colors of our lives, and to love the best that we can.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Try, Try, and Try Again

Diane Nyad accomplished her dream today.  After four unsuccessful attempts to swim from Cuba to Florida, she tried one last time, and made it.  Here are her words:

"I am willing to put myself through anything, temporary pain or   discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see that the experience will take me to a new level. I am interested in the unknown, and the only path to the unknown is through breaking barriers, an often painful process." 

I can relate to chasing a dream, and not succeeding the first time. After going to graduate school, working 3,000 hours as an intern, I failed the oral exam for Marriage & Family Therapy licensure for the state of California.  Feeling a bit cocky after passing the written exam, I did not go into the oral prepared enough.  After receiving my rejection letter and sobbing, I decided it was time for a makeover mentally, emotionally, and even physically.  I found new coaches and practiced vignette after vignette for months.  I bought a suit and decided to wear my hair pulled back in order to look more professional.  Alas, I went back to the site of my first failure and proceeded to try again.  Even though I sounded like a sheep when I said my name, "Naaaaannnnnnccy Peeeeeveeeeey" into a tape recorder, I could hear (in my mind) my coaches saying, "Get it together, Nancy."  At least six weeks later, the letter arrived again with good news that I had passed.  No, I didn't have to take the oral five times, but it still took everything inside to try again.  It was such a blessing to succeed, because the state decided to not administer the oral exam again.  

Knowing for years that I had to face that oral exam filled me with fear. I was able to keep that fear in the back of my mind as long as I kept moving toward the goal.  Once it was time to meet that fear head on, I was filled with anxiety.  Voices in my head said, "What if you don't pass?  You will feel like such a failure," and those negative voices chatted on. In my second attempt, I had to work hard to quiet those voices, and instead used the mantra, "Get it together, Nancy.  You can do this."  I would imagine Diana Nyad had to battle lots of voices of condemnation after those four other attempts to swim from Cuba to Florida. Her test was not only mental endurance, but one of tremendous physical endurance with certain factors outside of her control. Still, she decided one more time to try again.  At 64 years old, Diana has succeeded.  

Whatever you are going through, whether a dream, a goal, or something unexpectedly traumatic, remember Diana Nyad's three messages.

1.  We should never, ever give up.
2.  You are never too old to chase your dream.
3.  It looks like a solitary sport, but it's a team. 

Life isn't meant to be lived in solitude.  Sometimes we need to be carried along the way, and that's more than okay.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Widen Your Circle

Kelly Rae Roberts posted a lovely quote this morning by Albert Einstein:
Our task must be to free widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it's beauty.
It seems the older I get, the more I appreciate nature, and all of it's glory.  Animals can be therapeutic.  They can fill needs that we didn't even know we had.  I recently read an endearing book called, A Street Cat Named Bob, by James Bowen.  James was in the process of recovering from drug use when he met Bob.  After adopting each other, James found something to care for, something to get healthy for, and so he wanted to make sure he stayed clean.  Having Bob was to him like having a child. Theirs is what I'd call a divine relationship. 

Last week while on my way to one of my favorite craft's stores, I pulled into a parking lot and noticed a scruffy looking man with the most breathtakingly beautiful parrot on his shoulders.  Since I happened to have my camera, I asked if I could take pictures of his bird.  He seemed over joyed, and began to talk about and share his pet, Giovani (female), with me.  I commented on how he and his bird seemed so close, and he said, "You don't know the half of it." I introduced myself, and he told me his name is Ken.  Ken said I could share the pictures of them on Facebook, and seemed delighted that I'd want to.  He told me the police were after him for having his bird in the park without a leash, and that's why he was in the parking lot. Although that struck me a bit strange, my heart was touched by compassion for these two, and it confirmed for me once again the healing power of God's creatures.  

One doesn't have to own an animal to love animals.  There are all kinds of volunteer opportunities to spend time with them, and to care for them. Besides the numerous benefits, one of the greatest is how they can teach us to be unselfish as James Bowen learned. A great example is Bernie Berlin.  Her posts are worth taking the time to read. 

Let's all continue to widen our circles of compassion.  And as we do that, our ability to see the beauty around us will increase.   

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Gentle Reprimands

This cowgirl has been scattered more than usual lately.  There are so many things I want to accomplish, yet the energy level with the heat has been low.  It's frustrating.  So, those things have become a crowd in my head all vying for first place.

This past Friday as I was leaving my art group meeting, I picked up my cell phone, left a message for a friend, and hung up.  Driving straight but needing to make a left turn, I noticed a median between the lanes going forward and the one for the left turn. I quickly pulled over to the left lane. Suddenly, I heard tweeting sounds and saw a flashing light in my rear view mirror.  The policeman on his motorcycle noticed I had used my cell, because he was in the median and said I almost hit him. I deserved that ticket for cell phone use, because it represented how distracted my mind was at the time. 

The next day I drove an hour north to meet a friend for lunch. We had an enjoyable lunch, then decided to walk through the mall.  We sat down on a circular planter to visit a little while longer before heading back to our cars to leave.  I could see that the traffic was already bumper to bumper on the freeway,so I figured the drive home would be slow.  It was stop and go all the way home.  A normal one hour drive took two.  As I wearily headed to my front door, I put my hand in my purse and didn't feel my wallet.  Before panicking, I looked in my car.  A black wallet blends in with the floor of my car and my purse.  No luck.  My first thought was to call the restaurant, but glanced over to my home phone and saw that I had a call from the mall security.  Security called to say that a woman that worked at a jewelry store had picked up my wallet and brought it to lost and found.  Not a card or penny was missing.  Sunday morning I drove up early to beat the traffic and picked up my wallet. All I could be was grateful for an honest woman, and to God, especially for taking care of me.  Now I have a typed list of every card in my wallet and numbers to call if they are lost or stolen.  

The message from last weekend was, stay focused in the moment, not thinking about the future or the past. Writing down all those thoughts traveling through my head, getting earphones that fit or a bluetooth, and buying a bright red wallet will help too. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Keep Going

What About Bob? is one of my favorite movies.  Bob (Bill Murray)  and Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss)play an extremely needy, obsessive-compulsive patient and psychiatrist. One day after leaving Dr. Marvin's office, Dr. Marvin gets on the elevator with Bob, and Bob begs for some wisdom from Dr. Marvin.  Dr. Marvin had just written a book called Baby Steps, so he shared those two words with Bob, "Baby steps, Bob." So Bob gets off the elevator repeating those two words over and over.  

This is basically how my life has gone, in baby steps.  When I tend to procrastinate, I tell myself, "Keep going." When I have not succeeded at something, I say, "Keep going."  Yes, it doesn't matter how far, just keep moving forward in tiny increments if that's the best I can do.  

I think those two words, "Keep going," apply to anything we are going through.  For instance, I believe grief as a part of life is inevitable. When it seems I can't go on due to a particular heartache and/or disappointment, I just keep going.  Sometimes it takes the greatest effort to even get up in the morning, but isn't that moving?  Often I've needed help, and faith, friends, medication, and my increasing passion for mixed-media art are tremendous resources that keep me going.  I strongly encourage anyone that reads this to find your inner and outer resources. Look for them. Search for them.  You will discover them.  In the meantime, let's just keep moving forward even if it is at a snail's pace.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Since I am in a blogging e-class and group, I need to blog a little about blogging.  It is such an interesting process.  The main question is,"What do I have to say?"  "Is there anything to share that will be the least bit interesting to anyone including myself?"  As a photographer, I believe there is so much more to see in life, in the day to day, yet I still struggle to really "see."

Yesterday while having breakfast outside in downtown Encinitas with a friend, three separate women came up to me, and were concerned about my purse getting wet from water seeping out of a large planter nearby. Three!  All were looking out for me in the sense that purses cost money, and they didn't want me to have to lose my purse due to the water.  This isn't a big life changing incident, yet I thought about it the rest of the day ~ three people cared enough about my purse to let me know they did.  By the time the third one came over, all I could do was think how kind these three were.  By the way, my purse didn't get wet.  It just looked like it was in the line of water seepage.  

Kindness is such a precious commodity.  I made a little sign out of scrabble letters that sits by my kitchen sink that says, "Be kind." Years ago a friend shared that being kind was what she and her husband held sacred in their marriage.  No matter what happened in their lives as a couple, they wanted to remember to treat each other with kindness.

I don't want to become so preoccupied with my life that I miss "seeing" the kindness of strangers like yesterday.  Each one is a reminder of something I've come to value above most everything, kindness.  How can I show kindness to those around me?  How can I speak in a way that affirms without breaking down someone?  Today, tomorrow, and always I want to be in a kindness state of mind.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Evolution of a Cowgirl

As a Critical Incident Counselor, I go into companies that have been robbed, experienced an unexpected death, or a downsizing. I love what I do, because I get to meet people at vulnerable times when there isn't pretense, just raw emotion.  The people I meet teach me so much, and my life is richer because of this real life education.  

Out of my heart to encourage others, I believe the cowgirl was born inside of me.  It feels as though that seed has been geminating for years, and now it's time for her to come forth out of the dark soil into the day light.  For a very long time, I have chosen to move toward my fears in order to learn, grow, and become stronger.  It is by far not easy, yet I still persevere.  That's what cowgirls do! 

Today, looking back at some of my first cowgirls, I am humbled.  They look pretty pitiful for the most part.  I didn't even put whites in their eyes, and instead left them skin tone.  Some faces looked like little ET's (Extraterrestrials).  For anyone on the receiving end of an inspiration card from Jessica Brogan's swap, I apologize for the way these cowgirls looked. 

Just as I am changing, so is my cowgirl.  There is more clarity in her face, the whites are in her eyes, and she appears gentle, yet strong. She has gotten braver in her evolution.  We can all have an inner "cowgirl" or "cowboy" if we surrender to the changes life brings.  This is what is happening to my cowgirls on paper, and to me.  Yeeehaaaaa!!!    

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Small, Yet Strong

A friend in the hospital needed cheering up, so I wanted to give her some encouragement to help her get through what she is going through.  This 3" x 3" mini canvas took about six hours to create.  I kept drawing/painting on her face, but was not satisfied with how she looked. Finally, I made a new face on a separate piece of paper, and glued it onto the canvas. With tips from Christy Tomlinson's online workshop, Behind the Art,  I came up with another brave cowgirl.  She may be small, but she is full of empowerment!

Whatever you are going through, I wish you a mustard seed of faith to build on.  Just because it's small doesn't mean it isn't strong.  Be brave and have hope as a new week begins. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hairballs, Skunks, & Yawns

Last night as I was getting ready to climb into bed, I noticed something very wrong on one of my decorative pillows - a hairball! Yes, my beloved cat, Oliver, left me a present.  

This morning a friend that was to come by my house to clean had an incident before leaving her home - a baby skunk in her garage.  When my friend entered my house, so did the pungent aroma of skunk.  Bless her heart, she touched nothing, yet the smell quickly permeated my downstairs and me.  She left, cleaned up, and came back this afternoon free of skunk.  

Last week I sat next to a young male employee at Verizon Wireless while he helped lower my bill.  He yawned a number of times. Finally, I said, "I must be really interesting."  He said, "I'm just tired."  Today I went back to Verizon Wireless for more help with my phone, and saw a different young man.  He preceded to yawn and yawn.  I had to say, "I must be so mesmerizing," and shared with him about last week's experience.  He said, "I have to work a lot." Ha-Ha!  I'm sure being tired was the reason these two separate people almost fell asleep while helping me.  Is it true, "There are no coincidences?"   

These are the kind of incidents that trigger my sense of humor. They trigger another thing though that I call "dying to self."  To me that means, I feel humbled, and realize that I'm not too hot. Being humbled is actually the very place I want to be.  Years ago, in my Webster's Dictionary, I read a quote by the poet, John Donne, "Humiliation is the beginning of sanctification."  Yes, this was in the definition of "humiliation." Whoa, Cowgirls and Cowboys!!!  As much as it hurts to feel humiliated some times more than others, I have learned that it is a very positive thing for my internal growth.  There is a deepening of my spirituality, and a sense of becoming a little more like my God. For this kind of maturity, I definitely know there are no coincidences.  

(Photographer unknown)

Friday, May 24, 2013

What Do You See?

Photography has been my passion for a long time.  With photography, I see such metaphors for life. Life is how we see it!  If I don't like what I see, I can change the angle, the lighting, and what I'm even looking at. Sometimes the view is blurry, so I have to adjust the lens for more clarity.  I do not intend to take blurry pictures.  I do not want to look at life through the blur of the lens of my eye.  As I look through the lens, I have to focus, focus, focus.

Sometimes a scene unfolds in front of us that is horrific or seems so at the time.  On a global level, we have been exposed to planes crashing, bombs blasted, buildings coming down, hurricanes and tornadoes destroying, school shootings, and on and on.  Life is filled with tragedies, losses, and grief. It seems nearly impossible to reframe circumstances such as these, yet I believe it is possible....eventually. Yes, it takes time, time for hearts to ache, and for hearts to heal. That time is necessary for reframing, refocusing, and being able to see any glimmer of hope.

As I sit here at my kitchen table, I'm looking at the bird feeder that welcomes a number of visitors throughout the day, palm trees swaying in the breeze, my cat enjoying another helping of breakfast, and roses in full bloom. My circumstances are what they are, yet I can still choose to look at what is in front of me which right now are some lovely gifts of nature.

Chase Jarvis says, "The best camera is the one that's with you." Grab any kind of camera, and go outside, look around, and snap some pictures of what you see.  Think about how these photos can apply to your life right now. If you don't have a camera, sit in one spot, look around, and capture what you see through your mind's eye. You might have to focus and refocus, but you will see more clearly even if it's a little bit. Give yourself the gift of time to see.

Be blessed and safe this Memorial Day weekend!

What do you see from up there, little bird?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thank You, Barbara Garcia!

Tragedy and fear have raised their heads again through a tornado in Oklahoma City, a city with more than it's share of heartache. This morning as reality set in even more to those directly involved, we as a nation and throughout the world grieve with them.  The losses are horrendous.  In the midst of the rubble stood Barbara Garcia, an older woman that lived alone with her dog.  In an interview with CBS news, she expressed that she was sitting on a stool holding her dog when the tornado hit.  Her plan had been to go into the bathroom.  Apparently, Barbara and her dog didn't get as far as the bathroom, because when she woke up she was lying in the rubble and saw light.  Barbara said she had prayed that she would be alright, and God answered.  All of a sudden, the journalist interviewing Barbara said, "The dog! The dog!  Hi, Puppy!" Barbara acknowledged that God had answered her second prayer, the safety of her dog.

I want to keep this video.  I want to remember Barbara, her faith, her plan, her light, and her dog.  She is a true inspiration of strength that I want to honor with gratitude.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Me, Myself, & I

A close friend had surgery yesterday to remove one breast, and have reconstruction at the same time.  The last time I saw her, I said, "You are not afraid, are you?"  She said, "No, I have so much support."  First of all, she has lots of faith.  She knows God is in control, not her. And, next, she is surrounded by family and friends that love her dearly. Some were at the hospital waiting all day while others were praying that all would go well.  So far, it looks like all did go very well.  The cancer was taken out completely, so there may not even need to be follow up treatment.

What spoke volumes to me was that my friend was not afraid.   Her courage while waiting to have surgery, meaning the weeks before, was inspiring.   Her ability to enjoy her life continued in spite of not knowing all that was ahead reflected a bright light of bravery to me.  My friend was and is one brave cowgirl!

Another close friend was on a road trip with her daughter.  She shared that her daughter wanted the two to split up, have time apart.  I love my friend's take.  "I went off and spent time with my three best friends, Me, Myself, and I." Now we all have those best friends if we allow ourselves to have them.

Friendship is a part of this blog.  It is invaluable to me. There have been numerous times when the support of friends got me through some difficult circumstances.  Friends have been my support in times when my courage felt weak as well as in times of much happiness.  Friends have helped me to be brave!

Cowgirls, go out and spend time with, and get to know that "best friend" that you have inside.  You have a tremendous resource just waiting to be called upon.  Would you consider me a friend, too, that wants to share your journey?  Will you share mine? Together, we can be stronger!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


"To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3)  Thank you to all the brave cowgirls that commented, affirmed "Be Brave, Cowgirl," and encouraged me to hang on to my horse so to speak.  I was overwhelmed to read their blogs, and to find out what painful circumstances some are in now.  Many are grieving horrendous losses, yet they wrote me words of encouragement. "Encouragement" means to instill courage, to put courage back in.  For many, this spring is a sad time, yet they write blog posts that inspire others, and take time to encourage me.  You all are my heroes. You make me want to rise above my day to day battles, and "pay it forward."

I am loving this spring.  For me, it is a season of beginnings, a time to push through my weaknesses and stand strong.  Yesterday I delighted myself by taking photos of this season's gifts  - peonies drapping white fences, a red silk cotton tree bursting with bright red, etc.  After downloading to my laptop and feeling excited to hold this beauty, somehow the pictures disappeared. Gone in an instant.  Maybe I forgot to import them and/or got distracted watching The Voice or who knows.  Today I had the gift of time to go back to these beauties to try again.  Do you know they were even more gorgeous?  It was as though they were waiting for my return.  A hollyhock even caught my eye!  I, also, wondered what the people in the neighborhood thought if they saw me snapping pictures in front of their homes again.  In California, I really could've been a paparazzi.  As the blooms of spring dry up, there will be new ones in summer.  Just as grief seems to have it's grip on a heart, the time will change to a new purpose.

Be Brave, Cowgirls!  You are appreciated and loved!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Butterflies & Courage

What is a blog without posts?  Again, this is a learning curve for this cowgirl.  Yes, this is my blog home, yet as a late bloomer in life and Blog Land, I want to make a difference.   So after such kind, encouraging comments, I admit to having a tummy of excited butterflies and increased courage.  My heart could explode with gratitude for those that took the time to make me feel at home and most of all, safe.  My heart's passion is to do the same for you ~ help you feel encouraged and safe.  I love the image of us together on our horses riding off into the sunset. We do need each other to be brave!  We need friendships in all shapes and sizes.  We are here together from all over the world to lift each other up, to learn from each other, and to inspire each other's passions.  I am falling in love with so many new friends.

Another brave confession.  I am chronologically 61 years old, yet there is a child inside that is becoming freed up to "let the words fall out," to create like never before, and to play.  My heart's desire is to inspire cowgirls of all ages to tap into their inner children too.  I'm having a problem with a few words such as "elderly," "senior" (unless it helps me get into movies cheaper), and "old" (as in, "She is old.").  How about not even using these words, and instead, just be women or even better, "cowgirls."  Thank you, Theresa Jarosz Alberti for sharing this fabulous video!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Feeling Vulnerable, Living Brave

In the e-course, Build a Blog You Truly Love, Liv Lane has asked us to write a post about being vulnerable.  Since this is my first blog and post ever, I am feeling vulnerable.  How interesting that my blog is built on bravery!  I am seeing this as a great way to introduce my blog, and share it's purpose.

First of all, I am one that has had a multitude of fears throughout my life.  To carry around a bottle of Pepto Bismol in my little purse at nine years old definitely reflected fear.   When I began to date Jim, now my husband of almost 39 years, I carried a bottle of Pepto Bismol in my purse just in case I felt nauseated or someone else did.  Jim remembers this like it was yesterday.  He would take me out for fabulous seafood, and I would order fried chicken, because I was scared to eat boiled crawfish or shrimp. 

There are too many other situations to write about this time, but just know I am well acquainted with fear.  As a licensed therapist, I have made it my goal to face my fears head on.  

After all, how on earth could I help anyone face their fears if I couldn't face my own?  I now eat raw oysters, sushi,and relish Mexican food.  Nowadays if I gulp down Pepto Bismol, it is usually for over indulging.  

"Be Brave, Cowgirl", came from a collage I made to encourage and inspire others.  A cowgirl represents courage to me.  She is not afraid to get on her horse and ride with hair blowing in the wind.  And, one of my favorite characteristics about her, she loves to have fun!  Will you join me on our imaginary horses to be brave together?  This cowgirl sure hopes so!!! 

Bonnie Hall Knox c. 1933