Thursday, October 29, 2015


All my life, 
my heart 
has yearned
for a thing 
I cannot 

~Andre Breton

how soft a word
for such a
ravenous feeling.
How we hunger
in silence.

~ Pavana पवन 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Introduction to Portraits: Week One

I can't tell you how excited I am to participate in an online art course called Unearth Gather Create.  Gillian Lee Smith (Scotland is her home) is not only a tremendously talented artist, but an absolutely incredible instructor. I am so lucky to have found this excellent six week course. There's so much amazing content that I foresee me spreading it out for much longer.

For the past week, (all this was intended for just one day) I've been working on the first portraiture lesson. Trying to overcome a little bit of overwhelm. A little bit of fear. Experimenting with all these materials and exercises I haven't touched and experienced in years. The lessons, as well as the use of charcoal, have encouraged freedom, expression, and exploration. Using both sides of the brain. It's been interesting to see what's coming out of me.

I'll admit, it's not easy sharing these images with you all, and I feel very vulnerable. (ugh, it's scary...) But, I am trying and willing to work hard. I will continue to listen to and heed my muse's call and try to kick the perfectionist/critic voice in my head to the curb. Posting my drawings and paintings here will chronicle my progress, so I guess that's a good intention and motivation.

30 second thumb nail sketches

blind contour mirror drawings

1 minute gesture drawings

5 minute mirror sketch

5 minute left-hand drawing from a magazine photo

self-portrait drawing from a photo

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Things I Thought Then, Things I Know Now

When I was a young girl at Northridge Elementary School, the hallways seemed so wide. But when I went back to those same familiar corridors of my childhood as an adult, it seemed like the walls had magically shrunk closer together. That, or that I was now a giant.

My limited perceptions have changed and will continue to change.

I never would have imagined ten years ago that I would now call myself a runner. That I would run for fun almost every day. The unbelievable miracle to be able to run a marathon and other long distance races. 

I never would have believed you if you said I'd become one of those weirdo vegan people. An unbelievable impossibility that I would give up a nice juicy steak, the treat of stopping for a scoop of creamy Baskin-Robbins ice cream, a smooth smear of butter on homemade bread. That I would love and crave vegetables more than any other food and how drastically tastes can and do change. 

If you told me ten years ago that I would be a photographer, become a massage therapist, a blogger with readers from all over the world, and that orange would become one of my favorite colors to wear, I would look at you and laugh. 

I now know that transformation is totally possible.

I once thought that the relationships I developed and shared would always stay the same. Close, connected, and intimate. That those cherished and beloved friendships throughout the different stages of my life would never end. That these tender feelings would never alter or change. That those people I so loved and needed would always be there for me. And I for them.

Now I know and am coming to accept that people change. Circumstances change. Needs change. People come and go, and that sometimes we each go in different directions. Slowly coming to understand that all relationships take conscious and deliberate effort, care, work, and nourishing to be sustainable, to be maintained, to flourish, and to grow. Realizing now the impermanence in my life, in my surroundings, and in my relationships with other people. Instead of holding onto unrealistic expectations and assumptions, grasping and clinging to what sometimes brings disappointment and disillusion, I can allow, release, and just let go. 

Let people go, let things be. Wake up and see things as they really are.

I once thought that I would grow up, marry my Prince Charming, ride off into the sunset and together with our handful of children, live happily ever after. 

Now I know that this dream of happily ever after includes the hard truth of day-to-day struggle. That every family will experience heart-ache, sadness, pain, and trial. I never would have imagined that each of my children would face these kind of individual challenges and suffering. That I myself would experience my own loneliness, disappointment, and pain. All of these difficult realities that life can throw at a person. And at the same time, all the unimagined joys, the smiles, the laughter, the victories, the unity, the growth, and the satisfaction that comes to a family. To each individual and to each relationship. The beautiful, meaningful, and precious every-day moments that are always, always there if we would only open our eyes with mindfulness and gratitude. 

Love is the family foundation that will support and sustain, even during the hard times.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

prayer peace flags

I set an intention this autumn
to plant and to harvest
the seeds and the fruits
of Peace.

I am searching and I am seeking
in my heart,
in my home,
in this world.

A feeling and an ideal 
I've longed for
throughout my

May there be peace 
on Earth,
and let it begin
with me.

Grant me 
grace and serenity,
and may all beings
be safe
and well
and happy,
I pray.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

not always roses and sunshine

~from the archives,
Sunday, February 13, 2013

a gentle reminder:

to my children 

who'll read this in future days, 
to my friends 
who understand and who've been there and who are there themselves, 
and especially,
to myself,
most of all,
on those quiet, empty afternoons
when i'm even more gray than i am right now,
where i'll look back, and remember,
for patterns, for meaning, for truth
of this life's journey 
i've been trying to navigate all these years.

this is what i want to express, what i need to express:

there are moments, 

even years
of mess. of difficulty. of struggle. of pain.

i've learned this.

and i've lived this.

where dogs pee on the welcome mat.

where crusty dishes stack. no end in sight.
where orange peel shreds sit forgotten in the dark of the juicer waste compartment. furry gray mold growing for days on end.
where the house falls, pulls, and breaks apart. literally, before my very own eyes.
where neglected plants droop and shrivel brown.
where strife, the inner and sometimes the outer, sits heavy, so heavy. in a soul. in a room.
where laundry, the dirty and even the clean, sits piled and piled. 
where kitchen sink windows crack, staying shattered. for years. 
where heart-seeds of hope and trust and expectation are watered with tears of lingering letdown and ugly cynicism and dark disappointment.
where questions go unanswered.
where days drag long and you feel like crap.
where you give your all and that's all you can do and your all isn't quite enough.

yes, it's true.

life isn't always roses and sunshine.

knowing, remembering:

that sharp, prickly thorns lie among the sweetest, softest, and loveliest of rose petal blooms.
that the grayest, gloomiest of clouds are seen even among days of brightest, welcome sunshine.

"for it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things."

warmth and cold.
health and sickness.
pleasure and pain.
light and darkness.
answers and questions.
abundance and lack.
beauty and ugly.
good and evil.
joy and sorrow.

it can't and never will be one without the other.

"...and all things shall work together for your good."

"...and this, too, shall pass."

so this is really all i wanted to say today.

and another little thing, too:

this journal of mine will continue to show the beauty and the wonder. (mostly the beauty and the wonder). capturing all the goodness-- the simple and the grand things of my life-- a tool and a means that brings so much joy and gratitude into my heart.  the real purpose of what i want this space to be. a peaceful, beautiful, inspiring spot in this world. but sometimes you and i may get glimpses of what's real. and i'm okay with that. hoping you can be okay with that, too.

i'm living it all.

we're living it all.
you know?

the beauty.

the struggle.

this glorious goodness that's always, always there, despite of, and even amidst all of life's strife.

it's what is,

my dear.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

around here

:: It's been a while since I've received a good massage. (Sometimes I wish I could give myself a massage.) Worth every penny.

:: Amazed that while waiting and exiting to get that massage on Monday, three different people complimented the outfit I was wearing. The cute wide-eyed college student just about fell out of her chair when I told her that my clothes were, in fact, purchased from the local thrift store, "Well, I need to head over there right now!" she enthusiastically responded.

:: I'm especially feeling so proud of each of my kids this week: 

Joined Gary for the Kohinoor (Indian) lunch special while we were both out and about Thursday afternoon. (Deciding to first meet up at the library, I ask him, "So have you had lunch yet?", "No," he slowly replies with a shy, wide smile.) So fun to hear more about his new job (substituting teaching and after-school program) at the Utah International Charter School. What a wonderful opportunity and perfect fit with his Arabic language, cultural understanding, and positive role-model personality to be able now to work with and mentor these special refugee kids.

Jane recently got promoted to work in the legal department at her doTerra job using her Mandarin for translation work. She is loving this new opportunity. She is loving married life, too! (so, so happy with Preston.) Last Saturday, she invited me and Eliza over to her new apartment for a "girl's night-in" where she prepared a beautiful candlelight spread of tea, pumpkin bread, and little mini vegan cheesecakes. That time with my girls was just so intimate and special.

Eliza's gearing up for scholarship application season. (She's a National Merit Semi-Finalist finishing her application this week for the National Merit Scholarship.) As president of the National Honor Society, she's gathered tonight with these friends to roast marshmallows and watch a movie. 

Our missionary Samuel (serving on the Arizona/Mexico border) is happier than he's ever been. I gathered treats, supplies, and a love note this week to put in a care package to sent off yesterday. Hoping this gives him love, a smile, and a lift. 

I wrapped up the week going to our 6th grader Isaac's Parent Teacher Conference. He's sailing along and is excited he got the part of Puck (his first choice) in his upcoming class production of Midsummer Night's Dream.

:: Football season and Eliza's busy social life has meant me spending most Saturday nights lately home alone. A little lonely, but I'm making the best of it with Netflix, my books, and the paints.

:: Speaking of paints, Eliza and I headed up to the city this afternoon to re-stock some needed art supplies for both of us. (She's preparing her senior portfolio and I'm starting some new paintings next week.) Both of us feeling like little kids in a candy store.

:: Stopped at Whole Foods with her before heading home for sushi and treats. On the drive back, I was quietly and powerfully reminded again of how these one-on-one times with my kids are the best thing, the most loved thing, the most memorable thing I've done and could do as their mother.

:: These autumn sunsets have been just stunning lately.