Disclaimer: I’m a little, no a lot, biased towards this sweet mama and her darling boy. Not only do our husbands work together, she is also my neighbor and a dear friend. It was especially important to me that she have beautiful images of her adorable pregnant self because she endured almost the entire pregnancy alone. Erin’s husband deployed in September and arrived home to see the arrival of their precious girl with only days to spare. I watched in awe as Erin maintained a positive attitude even on the toughest of days. Thank you, Erin, for your kindness and friendship and mostly for being such a fantastic human being. I hope you like these.
We recently adopted a puppy. I swore I was not going to get another pet – but when my daughters were begging for a hamster I accidentally let the words slip, “I’d rather get another dog than a hamster”… no turning back from that comment in my house!
So, my oldest (and most persistent) was constantly perusing the website for Cuddly Canines, the rescue organization where we had adopted our dog Trixie. (Side note, Cuddly Canines specializes in mama dogs and puppies ~ usually abandoned pregnant at the shelter. This creates a website that is always full of adorable puppy faces to oodle over!)
My daughter was smitten with several puppies ~ but when a litter popped up that had Trixie’s same birthday, I was willing to take a look. When the foster mama called about making an appointment to meet “June”, the puppy that we were interested in, she asked if by chance we were Trixie’s parents (she had remembered the city we lived in which is fairly far from their organization). It turned out that she is the parent to Trixie’s brother, Blaze, and now a regular foster family for the rescue… So freaky cool! As the discussion progressed, we also found out that the day we were asking to meet June was the exact date (the foster mom’s daughter’s birthday), 5 years later, that we had met Trixie… serendipity to max!
We adopted “June”, who now goes by the name “Alice” (we let dad name her so he felt more invested – and we all think it fits her perfectly). Having a puppy again is a very big task – mostly in the area of potty training. However the lessons she has been teaching us can’t be overlooked.
First, watching her sleep (once she’s adequately tired out!) is a reminder of how to fully melt into a deeply relaxed state. Her body becomes completely limp, and actually molds to whatever surface she’s lying on (lap, pillow, arms). She falls asleep so thoroughly that she has actually slipped off of my daughter’s lap and nearly off of mine as well! During a recent yoga class, when my instructor said breathe in ~ and then breathe out and release ALL of your anxiety, ALL of your to-do lists, etc., little Alice was my muse. I channeled my inner-Alice and really sank into the mat at a level I’ve not reached before. It felt so amazing!
Watching her discover the world through fresh eyes (and ears and mouth and limbs) is a lesson in going back to the world each day with newness. Listen to the birds chirping ~ watch the butterfly float by ~ smell that flower ~ taste the mint leaf ~ play with the stick, or ball, or rope ~ RUN!!!! RUN!!! RUN!!! Wildly run and circle and bounce! Jump off steps! Be excited to see your friends! Show your enthusiasm when you are offered a treat, or dinner! Move through life with joy and new discovery… Love unconditionally. Love excitedly. Love and live with enthusiasm for our amazing world. A whole world can be discovered in a backyard, or a park, or a cozy living room on a rainy day. Life can be joyful and amazing just where you are.
I’m going to try my best to continue seeking advice from Alice ~ on how to live. On how to see. On how to love. Join me? (and any time you want to puppy sit ~ just let me know!)
P.S. I forgot to mention ~ start each day with a big yawn, and a round of downward dog & upward dog, my tail wagging, and super excited to see each person in my house,… can’t go wrong! Life ~ what a miracle!
Are you crazy about succulents? I am! They are so beautiful and versatile – and really easy to work with. I’ve created many potted succulent gardens, including a fairy garden. Also, I have really enjoyed propagating the little “babies” and using them in other arrangements, delighting in the fact that no purchase was necessary. I keep a whole area set aside as my mini nursery for all the little ones that pop up in other planters – and grow my own new ones for future projects.
A while back, I had this flash of inspiration when I came across some black decorative metal wall hangings that I had grown tired of. They were in the back of a closet, waiting for the donation truck – or some other similar fate.
They had some really pretty spaces and it occurred to me that perhaps I could create a succulent wall hanging using these as the framework. I really like the look of living wall art in outdoor spaces. It took a while to carve out the time and figure out how to make it all work, but finally one weekend that I was feeling particularly energetic I did it.
– sturdy decorative metal wall art
– heavy wire mesh to make basket (I used a one that had a ½” square pattern)
– wire mesh with larger hole pattern for top (we had a large role on hand – we had used when making our chicken coop)
– cactus/succulent soil
– coconut basket liner
– peat moss
– gardening wire or similar
– wire cutters
This is how I did it, but improvise as necessary ~ heck, I made this up as I went along!
1. Measure to figure out how large the base of the hanging needed to be. Create a 1 ½” deep basket out of the wire mesh. To do this, take the size of your desired base and add 3” total both horizontally & vertically. For example, if you want a 12” x 12” base basket, cut out a square in the wire mesh that is 15” x 15”.
2. From one corner of the mesh, measure 1 ½” along the edge, then cut in towards the center of the square 1 ½”. Do this on the remaining three sides. Fold the sides up and flap over the corners. Use the gardening wire to hold the corners in place. You should now have a wire basket.
3. Line the wire basket with coconut basket liner. Mine was a funny rounded shape intended for a window box of some sort, so I had to cut it and shape it to line my basket.
4. Fill with cactus/succulent soil.
5. Add a layer of peat moss on top of the soil.
6. Cut a piece of wire mesh that is the same size as the bottom of your basket. Cover the basket with mesh using the gardening wire.
7. Securely attach your finished basket to the metal wall art.
8. Now for the succulents! Arrange your succulents as desired. I really like to see some draping off the bottom, and try to have a few succulents that really pop – either more red or yellow in tone than the rest.
I am really happy with how they turned out. I’d love to create a larger version – and I have two more larger metal wall art pieces that might work perfectly!
Behind every creative endeavor, there is a story of how it came to be. This is the true story of how our project “Beautiful Rainbow World” was sparked.
After Lynne and I had given birth to our two oldest, Ellie and Paris, we were both so enamored with their unique beauty as both of them were ethnically “mixed” race. It was fun for Lynne to discover Ellie’s curls, and for me to cherish Paris’s almond-shaped eyes… and both of them had a beautiful caramel tone to their skin.
We wanted to celebrate this unique beauty and thought of doing a photography book of mixed-race children. We called the project “Mixed Blessings”. We contacted local chapters of multi-racial organizations, spread the word verbally and started to get some photo submissions for our project. However, most of the photos we were receiving were small prints from the 60s, 70s and 80s. This was before digital photos and were the norm, the internet was not as “friendly” as it is now, and also before Lynne had discovered her talent and passion for photography so she was not yet involved in that world.
A few more kids between us, and lots of life, and the project never died but definitely dwindled. We never stopped talking about it though. We bought Multicultural Kids as way to start selling cultural educational products and learn more about the publishing industry. I had also joined a local organization called Melting Pot Moms started by the amazing Angela Williams. A couple of years after joining MPM, Angela posted about a photo shoot that was taking place for a book about mixed race children! I was heart-broken, and yet validated as well. I had the opportunity to take my daughters for that shoot, but couldn’t bring myself to do it – it felt like our dream project was dissolving before my eyes.
That book, “Mixed”, by Kip Fulbeck was completed successfully. The Japanese American National Museum had a full exhibit dedicated to the book and through Melting Pot Moms we were invited to attend the opening for which the Today show was going to be there to conduct interviews. As I was driving up to that event with my dear friend Sandy, I was telling her that this was bitter-sweet for me in that our “idea” for a photography book about mixed race children was now completed, and not by Lynne & I, but the idea had been fully validated by the museum and also the Today show.
To ease this duplicity, I shared with her some of the music we were selling on Multicultural Kids, including Daria’s. The song “Beautiful Rainbow World” came on… and the words spoke directly to my heart: “Today I woke up to see… A beautiful rainbow world. Won’t you dream it along with me? A beautiful rainbow world. Beautiful rainbow, beautiful rainbow, beautiful rainbow world… Red, black, yellow, brown and white… A beautiful rainbow world.”
Immediately (creatives, you know what I mean!), the idea for this new book popped into my mind! Use this song and create a book that not only celebrated mixed-race children, but ALL children… so beautiful and unique, each and every one!
So, that was three plus years ago, but Lynne and I never, never, let this dream die. It may seem simple to some folks, but it is something that speaks to our hearts. We feel it is a book children will enjoy reading again and again, singing Daria’s beautiful words while looking at the photos. Possibly in doing so, that in-born knowing and acceptance of others will stay with these children ~ and touch the adults reading and singing along with them.
To support our Kickstarter project to fund the printing and marketing of this book – please go to: Beautiful Rainbow World
Peace today and everyday…
P.S. Interesting side note, I had been asked to stay to be interviewed for the Today show at the museum opening. They interviewed many people, and I was last. They forgot to ask me to sign their waiver, so as I was driving home I was sure that my spot would not be included. Watching the segment on air, I discovered I was wrong, my girls and I were on the Today show! And not only that, they used the song I had mentioned as one that had always been important to me, “It’s a Small Word”, as the background music. Another little validation from the Universe that I was on the right track…
November 19, 2013
A few weekends ago I was sick with a bad cold. The weekend was luckily not an over-scheduled one, and I was able to pretty much stay at home and take care of myself. To keep myself occupied, after doing the necessary household chores, I decided to create ~ my favorite way to chill. I made wind chimes out of supplies that I had on hand ~ and truly enjoyed the process. (I’ll do another post about what that actual process was… because that isn’t the point of my writing today.)
At the end of this slow and quiet weekend, although I still wasn’t feeling 100%, I did have a feeling of calm about me that I don’t always have on a Sunday evening. I started thinking of all the things I didn’t “do” – and had the thought “I didn’t get very much done on my ‘to do’ list” but was okay with it because I knew I needed to rest.
My next conscious thought was “what if when we wake up in the morning, instead of creating a mental ‘to do’ list, we instead created a ‘to be’ list?” How do I want to BE today? I want to be love, I want to be kind, I want to be generous, understanding, compassionate, forgiving… and the list could go on. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to make a conscious choice to BE one or two of these amazing traits for the day?
The “to do” list will never go away – and quite frankly we will always be adding to it.
So, my new morning wake up thoughts routine is going to be:
– Offer gratitude (my favorite greeting for the new day is “hello worldie” from Patti Digh’s “Life is a Verb”)
– Think of one or two ways I want to BE that day
During the day, I try to remember my intentions and re-align my thoughts if necessary. I know many (many) days I won’t meet the standards I will mentally set for myself ~ but I promise myself that I will never stop trying.
After all ~ we are human”BE”ings, not human”DO”ings.
(p.s. After writing this, but before posting, my to BE method was tested big time. A super frustrating experience occurred where my decision to BE calm, understanding, and peaceful all were tested repeatedly. I don’t want to embarrass the person behind this frustration, but believe me when I tell you that it took repeated reminders from my best self to stay calm, remember I love this person, and keep showing up with peace. When the situation was finally resolved, we were that much closer because I assisted without judgment, and I also felt awesome because I acted from my best self the entire time.)