fiddlehead.....every changing, ever growing

fiddlehead....ever changing, ever growing

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

miracle of a flower.....

Aren't flowers little miracles?   they are to me...

Here are my latest paintings.   Painting lilies is one of my favorite things!  And it is something I keep coming back to just for the love of them.

"If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole world would change" - Buddha

This painting is a mixed-media acrylic 20"x20".  The clay pieces were pressed into these awesome antique wooden sari block prints I found at an antique store.  Then the layering of paint and was an evolution over the last year, but finally this weekend came into itself when I ran into the quote.   That is what made it complete.
"See the Miracle"

And this painting also came together last week.  It has been in the works since last December and is a gift in honor of  a dear friend's marriage.
"Love Blossoms"

Love it when a painting comes together.  
These days it doesn't happen very often, but when it does feels so good for the artist's soul.

i heart faces- best face of May

I Heart Faces - Photography Challenges and Photo Tutorials
The i heart faces best faces of May photo challenge.....well, it seems only right that this beautiful face should grace this post for several reasons.   She was one of the models at the i heart faces photography workshop in San Antonio, which was fab.   She is also the daughter of Angie, co-founder of i heart faces.  But mostly, she is my best face of May because she patiently gave "good face" to photographer after photographer.  As much as she is a natural, it also took a lot of maturity and soul to pose as little red riding hood for hours.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Adventure Project

go to this link..... and join the   Adventure Project 1 to a 1000  =   total awesomeness

Be apart of ending hunger by clicking those keys for a moment....its so easy!!!

join the challenge
May 22nd – 31st
Investing in small farmers is thesolution to ending hunger and poverty.

one to 1000
red steps

Dreaming Big....workshop

Last weekend I went to San Antonio, TX for a i heart faces photography workshop!  It was inspiring to say the least.  It was exciting to be around other women who share a passion for life through their lens.

It was a wonderful weekend in which I nurtured my soul as a photographer.

The workshop set up stylized photo shots......first, little red riding hood= amazing!

And a shoot with a true beauty......

Is it wrong that now all I want to photograph are gorgeous 
"anthropologie-esque" women who know how to be in front of a camera?  
It was crazy fun....
and the extra bonus is I get to check off #30 "take a photography workshop" from the 
40-before-40   list!   

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ode to O

Ode to O....

Yes, I am a HUGE, somewhat fanatical, Oprah fan....o.k. super fan.  I love her show, her authenticity, her vulernability, her intention and purpose to use her life in this world and from her platform.   I have been in the audience 3 times:   2008 - "Middlesex" topic and book show,  2009 "women vs. men" Dr. Oz show, and 2010 Ellen Degeneres show.     On the Dr. Oz episode we ended up being on the women's side of the stage, and I was able to find myself on t.v. for a brief moment.   Truly, each time I shared the experience with people I adore and it was just a huge thrill!

That is me circa 2008 with the in the green dress ( I wore this dress because it is fab, but also because it is Oprah's favorite color, and I know how that sounds).....
 I am with girlfriends at the Oprah show BACKSTAGE.  Yes, that's right.   
And we met Dr. Oz (but I can't find that photo!)  This is from the Dr. Oz taping when we were on stage.   
We are sure we were chosen to be on stage because we were so colorful!

My love for all things O began when I was this 12 year old awkward girl on the verge of adolescence and all the confusion that brings.  After school I would catch episodes.  I can't even begin to recall all the episodes I have watched over the years, but since the invention of the beloved DVR I haven't missed an episode in 3 years.  From my suburban living room I do remember watching Oprah often felt like an eye opening experience on many days....I learned about controversial issues like race, abortion, homosexuality;  the holocaust, poverty, homelessness, eating disorders, addiction, marital problems to makeovers.    Back then I didn't have a lot of opinions, but they were developing, forming who I am today.  Honestly, back then I didn't know much about anything outside of my safe, middle-class, white suburban world.  That is the truth and I craved that insight.

It is also the truth that I was curious.  I wanted to learn and know more, to understand myself and how I will relate to the world.   I asked myself "Who am I, and what is my purpose in the world"? The high school, college years, & marriage came along and Oprah remained a constant in my life.  I was still asking the question, "who am I, what is my purpose".   At this time I watched Oprah because I respected her view on the world.  I loved what she was offering and teaching me everyday.  I really did want to live my best life.   I worked as a social worker, grad school came along, moves and motherhood.  All the while O remained.  Sure it was entertainment.  But it was much more than a show to me.  It was opening my mind, my heart, helping me understand myself and place in the world.  Even now I am amazed that a t.v. show could do this.   How powerful it can be.   But as I reflect on it, watching O was more than a just a t.v. show to me.  As I watched the show over the years, I saw it evolve too.  The topics became more insightful and purposeful, just as I was.  I had grown and matured along with it.   The intention of the show was in line with the intention I was developing for me life.

So, as the Oprah show comes to an end I feel a sense of loss for what has been a constant source of inspiration in my life for so many years.  I will miss that daily dose.  But "what I know for sure" is that in all those hours of watching Oprah, listening, taking in the topics and information, I have at the same time taken bits and pieces of it into the core of who I am....and in that is the gratitude.

Alas, I will still listen to my Oprah XM channel continually, receive my O magazine and watch shows on the OWN network....but it is good-by to my Oprah show days.   sniff, sniff

So, go ahead embrace the end of the Oprah show....and take these words with you-

Sharing some of my favorite divine Oprah quotes.... 
(I don't know all of these by heart.  google helped me.)

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.

What God intended for you goes far beyond anything you can imagine.

"All pain is the same...."    (so true)

"When you know better you do better"   (have used this one with my kids already)

"As you become more clear about who you really are, you'll be better able to decide what is best for you - the first time around."    (isn't that the truth?)
"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough". 

"Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother".     (couldn't agree more.)

"Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very
moment is the only one you know you have for sure".
all quotes -Oprah Winfrey 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

my "mother's garden"

This spring has been especially exciting for the gardener in me.   That is because last fall I labored for many hours (likely worsening my back pain) in creating an expanded garden next to our driveway and shed.  This garden has been in my mind for a few years.  I split many of my own perennials and was lucky to have inherited many others from friends' gardens.   However, I needed help from a landscaper to create the path I designed the flowers and plants around.  This path went in super fast in the last couple weeks and has completed the garden!  I love love love it.
This is the view from my art studio window.  You can see how the garden's path has divided into 4 sections.   This was a happy thing that just happened.  I didn't purposely divide the garden into 4 sections with the path, but as I was walking along the path I realized that it makes the perfect "mother's garden" for me!   Each section of the garden is named after one of our  4 children.   If they give me a plant as a gift or if we purchase a perennial together we can plant it in "their" section, they can help care for it and watch it grow and change.

The kids are each standing in "their" gardens.

Oh, I love the just gives this large garden exactly what it needed!  Defining the space while welcoming you into it to enjoy.   

i heart my garden.....don't you just love this heart shaped stone?!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

nurture thy self....

Tomorrow I get a weekend of nurturing thy self....ahhh.
The steroids are working wonders on the back so I am able to go to the photography workshop I have been looking forward to for months!
I am so full of joy....because I am heading off to San Antonio to nurture the photographer in me!
  It is the -dream-big-workshop- !!!

Ah yes, joy.   I am hoping this workshop will not only teach me new techniques and expand my knowledge base in photography, but also give me more direction in where I want to go with it.   I feel like I am on the verge of going to the next level with it, but am not certain if I want to just yet.

It is also just a joy to travel.  I love travel.  And I think some alone time will be a great retreat for me.  I have will have a full day there to do whatever I want....I have know idea what that may be.  At the moment I am thinking a spa visit may be in my future.   But who knows, and that is what is so exciting!   

Amazingly the steroid medication is working like a charm on my back, where pain meds did very little, if anything.  So, I am feeling great.  I actually think I will be less active traveling than at home chasing Tessa, and trying not to pick her up and just running my normal family schedule.  I am so looking forward to it!
joy, joy, joy!

Post image for Dream Big Photography Workshop | San Antonio

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 I come

Here is the deal with my back-
  The verdict is that I absolutely need surgery for this severly ruptured disc in my lumbar (between L5 and S1).  It is scheduled for June 7th at St. Mary's in Madison and with Dr. Carter, who is top notch.  Dr.  Carter said that this situation is unusual in the fact that we aren't trying shots, physical therapy and waiting longer....the only fix here is surgery and we don't want it to worsen.  This is because the piece of disc material is indeed so HUGE and in my spinal canal pressing on the left side.  Actually, every Dr. that has seen the MRI says, "this is really IMPRESSIVE".  That is never good.  Dr. Carter is a highly respected surgeon, this is a very routine surgery for him, and it will be minimally invasive.  Go in, get the disc out, and hopefully just close me that is also positive. 

But it must be removed and June 7th is the first chance he could get me in because he is leaving town for a couple weeks in a day.  If other important parts go numb (bowels, lady parts) then I would go in for emergency surgery, but now I am taking a steroid to get the swelling down to ease the pain and make surgery easier.  So that is good.  The side effects (acne, weight gain, sleeplessness, hyper/nervousness) of this steroid sound awful and I hope I don't develop any of them.  Like I need any of that!  
But the surgery date of June 7th gives me time to prepare the family and get the swelling down with steroids.

Apparently, the reason I am not in more excruciating pain is because I have a "super-sized" spine and therefore a very large spinal canal...that means more space for the disc to sit in there on my nerves.  More room in there and that means less pressure.  I still feel pain, and the numbness is there, but it isn't nearly as awful as the average patient.  Apparently, this also means I must have undiscovered super powers.  ;)   tee hee....but we knew that   (joke) ha ha ha

So, there it is.  The recovery should be fairly fast.  I will be in surgery in the morning and home later that day.  They want me up and moving around soon after surgery.  I will have 2 weeks of really taking it easy.   And should likely be fully recovered in 6 weeks.  

One of the hardest parts of this is that I can only carry 10 pounds!   Tessa is already struggling with this one and it hurts my heart to not be able to carry her.   I will be doing a lot of sitting on the ground with her.   Having her crawl into her car seat, crib, high chair, changing diapers on the floor....  it will be fine.  Just a pain in the butt, but I already have that!

I better go....the littles are around me and there is chaos brewing. 
But wanted all of you to hear the news from me.   It is good...I am young, healthy and everything points to a wonderful recovery this summer.  I will be sitting in my garden this year and just watching the blooms grow and the little ones run around.  that can't be so bad!?  ;).

Monday, May 16, 2011

What do I have tomorrow?

This is Jack, my youngest boy.   He loves to ask at any time of day, "What do I have tomorrow?" 

I think Jack is asking this question all the time to understand time, schedules, and just likes knowing what to expect.  He will ask "what do I have after that? and after that?...."

Often times I answer, "you have school, then I will pick you up and you will have lunch and then a play date and then we pick up your brothers"....

Tonight the "what do I have tomorrow" question came and I answered.   
Then the hubby said, "What does Daddy have tomorrow".   "Work", Jack answers.   
Then the hubby asks "What about Juddy and Drew?"   "School", says Jack.  
I knew the next question was coming from Andy with a smirk.   
"Jack, what does Mommy have tomorrow?".   
Jack responds blankly, "nothing".   

Did you hear that?  Nothing?!   I have nothing to do tomorrow....
yes!!!!   awesome!!!!    hoorah!!!   yahoo!!!!

baw, ha ha ha ha ha... that's a good one.
it was funny to me and did make me laugh, but also a little sad all at the same time.
But I get it, he is 4 and that is what he sees,
but of course, we know the truth and someday he will too. 
  nothing, I am literally laughing out loud.  i wish!
perhaps it is time for one of those hour by the hour posts...hmmm
then again, what would that prove.  I know the truth!
;)  -smiles-

my bleeding heart....

I have been called a bleeding heart.....
it's true.
I wouldn't have it any other way.
I want to see "it".
I want to feel "it".
I want to be there for "it"

What is "it" for which my heart bleeds?
for the intense love & loyalty for my family 
for my husband who amazes me everyday,
for my soul friends,
for art and creating, 
for capturing a moment from my lens,
for explosions of color, 
for music that moves my soul & body,
for laughing so hard you cry,
for blooms in my garden,
for snuggling,
for holding hands,
for long, tight hugs,
for the smell of a baby and fuzz on their warm head,
for the warmth of the sun,
for the aroma of peonies, 
for Africa,
for my children, oh for my children,
for seeing the good in the world,
for holding on to the hope,
my bleeding heart 
knows these things for sure.

What does your heart bleed for?
do tell....

I Heart Faces - Photo Challenges, Tutorials and Tips

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Scavenger hunt Sunday

1. Give me flowers:   Ahh....the bleeding hearts have bloomed.

2. Visual Contrast
How I love this gorgeous Japanese Maple that graces my backyard....its new leaves are a dark red...and the contrast against the sky and green trees around it make it a stunner!

3.   Friendship
The wonderful, simple friendship of 2 boys.   Here Jack is on his way to his best friend's house on his four wheeler..... these 2 are peas in a pod.
The Paper

4.  Before and After
                            before: fiddleheads                                               after: ferns

5.  Dark

Look at those beautiful dark brown eyes.....those are the soulful eyes of my sweet niece, Eleanor.  She was visiting this past week with my sweet sister and filled my world with joy!

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Saturday, May 14, 2011

return of the fiddleheads

return of the fiddleheads....

every year I go down to our creek and look for signs that they are emerging...

every year I am thrilled to see them return,
it just feels so very hopeful to see them come back after the long hard winter. 
 No matter what nature has made them endure....they return.   they survive.  they emerge. 
they are nature's  reminder of the many seasons of our life,
how in such a short time we grow, we change

but we grow and change.....on this earth TOGETHER.


Friday, May 13, 2011

silver lining

So right now I am staying focused on the silver lining.....I finally know what the deal is with my back.

I had an MRI (which alone is a TRIP) and it shows that I have a severe herniated lumbar (L5 near sacrum) disc.    There is a large amount of disc tissue that has broken up and moved into the spinal column and is pressing on my nerves.... hence the PAIN radiating into my left leg, numbness in my foot and cramping in my leg muscles. not fun.

The Dr. has informed me that I must have high tolerance for pain.  Who knew?  Not I, apparently I must for the pain to just now be bothering me.   It is at the point where physical therapy is not really an option.  I am sure I have had this progressing for years.   10 years ago I was pregnant when I began experiencing numbness and sciatic pain in my would come and go.   With each pregnancy it worsened.   It was something I became use to and found it lessened with stretching, yoga, ibubrofen (my b.f.f.) and chiropratic adjustments.   That is until recently when the pain has become much more difficult to tolerate and manage.  

So, it is looking like physical therapy wouldn't have a chance in touching this problem.  A cortizone shot  would be a temporary solution.   Pain meds don't even touch the nerve pain.   At this point we are trying to prevent permanent nerve damage.   Next Monday I will be consulting with a (top notch) neuro-surgeon about the options, surgical and otherwise.  The risks, pros and cons....all that jazz.

Here is the silver lining.....always trying to see that!   I have a real sense of relief to know there really is something wrong.   To know what is actually happening in my body is important and empowering.  I also know that  I am young, strong and healthy which means I will likely have a great surgical outcome.  And I am incredibly grateful to have wonderfully competent health care and have full medical insurance .....I am counting my blessings knowing I am so fortunate.

Monday, May 9, 2011

photo Scavenger hunt

I love are some favorites for the photo scavenger hunt from the last couple weeks....

SOOC (straight out of camera= no edit)

Tessa is laying on my knees while we are outside near the garden....I love how she is looking straight into the camera.  This is a SOOC (straight out of the camera)....I love pure, unedited shots like this one.


It is fiddlehead sprouting season.  The kids and I go down to the and see what the fiddleheads are doing.  How they are sprouting and unfurling.   These little fiddleheads grow, blossom and change so very fast.  Their very symbolism, what nature is showing us, is what I love.  

 Isn't it Ironic
 a few weeks ago the daffodils thought it was safe to bloom.....then the snow did a sneak attack on them.  

Bob the Bulldog.....lazy days in a sunny spot.

Smells like Spring
These flowers are their unusual display.   They scream spring is here!

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Food....for the Paper Mama Challenge!:
What?  My hair has many talents....waffle storage is just one.
The Paper Mama

Sunday, May 8, 2011

mother love

"Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible."
  ~Marion C. Garretty, quoted in A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul

I love mother's day.   I love the breakfast in bed that is delivered with such care and excitement.  

I love homemade paper cards, the sprouting plants they planted, the painted hand-prints and flowers.  I love those sweet smiles and big hugs from my all of little people.  

Mother's day means I am thinking of all the many mothers in my life with gratitude.... with love.  

First my own mother.....her sweet unconditional love.  How she has always supported my dreams, embraced who I am just as I am.  How she has shown me how to love big.

I think of my grandmothers, great-grandmothers....the ones I knew, and the ones I never knew.   I think of their lives, their choices, and how it all led to my life.  

I send my love to the aunts, cousins, friends, sisters....women in my life who are each amazing examples of a mother's love.   I have taken bits of wisdom from each of them.

I feel the love and gratitude I have for Tessa's first mother and the life she brought into the world.  I feel the love I know she carries for this beautiful child we share, whom I am blessed to love. 

I am amazed by these little souls, my children, who bestowed motherhood upon me.  how I love them so much it almost hurts.  how I love them with all of my being.  how I want to protect them from this world and yet teach them about it.   how I desire to keep them close and yet let them grow away from me to be who they are destined to be.   

On mother's day and every day, I an ever certain that raising these children is my purpose in this life, it is my greatest journey, challenge and  mission of love....what I am and will always be most proud of.

And a favorite photo as a mother for this year because I can see in my eyes how much I am wanting Tessa to feel my love, how much I love her and how deeply I needed to connect with her in this past year.   That is what much of this past years journey was about for me emotionally...and here I see it.

ShutterLoveTuesdays              Photobucket

Thank you for visiting the fiddlehead report!