Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Return Home from Women's Journaling Retreat

How can I describe how it feels when your dream out pours right in front of your eyes? What words can I select to paint how watching the spirit of the Universe work, as it exceeds my wildest visions? That's what I'm going to try to do here for you.

I've gotten nestled back into my sweet home and reunited with my precious "boys" (you know, the furry and the un-furry one). Most of the bags are unpacked and most of the laundry done. But I can't help it . . . I keep traveling back to this scene mostly . . . the huge quiet only broken by chipmunks chattering, the heart swelling beauty of nature, and the gentle women spirits surrounding me, here on the rocks for our morning yoga.

Don't get me wrong, I dance around these visuals too. This scene, where we'd already created our group "Talking Stick" (see it in the window there) and were chattering over our catered "Welcome Dinner", makes me smile. Or the warm sun, autumn breeze and friendly mallard ducks at this beach site where Jean demo-ed, takes me right to my heart. Then too, there is gazing from our cabin porch to see the full moon hanging over the lake, that fills me with wonder.

So, there. It's just a nibbling of what happened, what we did and what we saw during this time . . . now feeling so sacred to me.

Am I a dreamer, or isn't it true that we ALL are dreamers, capable of stretching our envelopes and watching our boldest imaginings become reality? What are your dreams . . . believe me . . . they CAN become a reality!!!

Just ask me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Packing Prep

The evening before I leave for my "Women's Journaling Retreat" in the lovely Sierras. I'm dreaming of the wide spances of granite and glorious blue sky. I'm imagining five creative women loving the mountain air and each others company. The new ideas and perspectives shared enlarge and enlighten each of us. Who said there were only two instructors, Jean & I? I believe there are five teachers coming to this retreat!

I've been watching the weather. At first I was getting frightened when I saw the thunderstorms icon on the weather predictions and then, when I called Lake Alpine and the manager said the weather was, "cold, with a chance of snow". But now there are sunshiny icons with highs in the 60's and nights, invigorating at low 40's.

I'm packing from long underwear all the way to swimsuit. I'm prepared. I remember reading in some astrology column that a Virgo will have every thing in their purse that you could ever need, even Alka-Seltzer and band aids. Well, yep, I DO have those in my tiny purse . . . so you can guess I'm not missing anything in this packing assignment!
Then, there's the food. Since each participant is bringing their own breakfasts and lunches I have to plan for that and also, Jean and I are preparing two meals of the retreat too. I'm blessed in that my wonderful husband, the best chef in the house, is helping me prepare the toasted walnuts, quiche and helping (not controlling) my packing.
I've already prepared the Handbooks for all the weeks agenda. Writing out and finding illustrations for most of the exercises and ideas . . . I really DO love writing these up. Some people have suggested I write a book on my journaling . . . perhaps this in somehow preparation for just that.
Anyway, can't see how I could be any more prepared. Now I just finish the last minute things before 7am tomorrow and then, I'm off. The drive from here to Lake Alpine is just about 8 hours, so I'll take a couple breaks and turn up the music as the trip reaches its end. But by then, I will be floating on air . . . just being in the mountains again.
So wish this "mountain momma" a happy reunion with her element, safe travels and a successful, fun workshop. Cheers . . . off into the wild blue wonder . . .

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Plein Air "Dip" before Anniversary

Oh my, I realized I have missed talking with all of you for weeks. A busy, exciting time is upon me ... birthdays, anniversaries, and preparing for my "Women's Lake Alpine Journaling Retreat" too.

Early in September my birthday arrives ... and my honey took me over to the coast camping on the Rogue River for a sweet get away ~ lovely mornin' view, eh? Sunshine, dinner out and sea air ... not a bad way to turn sixty. Yep, the big six-O!!! Doesn't feel that way tho :) On our way home, we stopped at the Jedediah Smith State Park where I worked up this lil' journal entry. Can life get any better?

The date 9-11 holds much meaning to the United States and what I chose to commemorate that date was a Plein Air Paintout initiated by the International Plein Air Painters (http://ipap.homestead.com/). Our group's site was at the Upper Duck Pond in Ashland's Lithia Park. I arrived around 9am and gave greetings to our small PAS-SO group, and traveled over to the other side of Lithia Creek. I love the way sun sprinkles across the rocks and the trees frame the entire scene. It took me several tries to get settled where I was comfy, had a good view and wouldn't fall into the creek. What attracted me to this crossing was the visual path of water, almost welcoming me to travel across the creek. I was emersed in painting when suddenly I heard russeling across the creek and in seconds, plotting right across the water opening were a doe and her two fawns. She froze, much like I did, but when I smiled and she sensed my tender feelings at seeing them ... she trotted briskly by with her twins in tow. No wonder I love painting in nature - what gifts we receive and are reminded to appreciate! Here's the start of a painting, where I had to stop cuz I had to find a bathroom :( But, for me it caught the essence of the morn.

I decided to take the most quick way back to the car - across the creek. So, carefully I selected a rock-hopping path, and with backpack on and chair in hand, I ventured across the creek. You'd have been very proud of my prowess and balance - - well - - until I slipped on a big rock and, yep, slurp, right into the water I went. Good thing I'm quick, so I saved most everything of wetness, save my right shoe and my butt. Kind of a funny and refreshing way to end the plein air day!

Next, it was my turn for some surprise planning. As I drive back and forth to Ashland to my Art Center Studio, I pass South Stage Cellars Vineyards. They are currently displaying Cheryl Garcia (http://www.greatmetalwork.com/), our local amazing Metal Scupltress' Giant Poppies. I'd been coveting them but knew their 12 foot presence as well as their price was not fitting to my budget. But I did mention to Cheryl I'd love to gift a singular, demure version of her magnificent florals to Roland for our Anniversary. We chatted via email and finally settled on a 27" singular blossom with a flourish of greenery. Cheryl, in her usual warm way offered to customize the base with our names and even included a very sweet loving statement, hidden under the base.

I picked up the adorable lil' poppy on my way home from Ashland on September 11th, yep, that's 9-11, and hide it in the back of the car. I waited til I was certain Roland was busy inside and I found a sunlit corner of the garage to display her "in wait". It was adorable when he saw her, he was on his way out to the store ... wouldn't even read the card, because he was sure he'd cry. Now our lil' poppy sits joyfully on our front porch - just beaming growth and happiness. Much like what our marriage has brought us.

Now I'm bustling around doing final preparation for the "Women's Journaling Retreat" at Lake Alpine. So I'd, literally, best get packin'.

Keep creating and feeling gratitude in our fascinating lives!