Monday, November 29, 2010

Music Monday: I am a Poor Boy Too

This has always been one of my favorite Christmas songs for highlighting the humble beginning of a king.  I hope you enjoy the version.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Sketch: Love Locks

Today's Sunday Sketch  is in celebration of one of  our chatters in the Friends in Healing community, Pea,  who has patiently been growing out her hair for two and a half years.  This past Thursday she washed, combed, and blew dry her waist length hair and made her way to the salon to make a wonderful donation to Locks of Love, an organization who's mission is to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children. The children receive hair prostheses free of charge or on a sliding scale, based on financial need.

What a loving and quite personal way to literally "give of yourself!"  I think of Pea and all the generous other donators who have spent years taking such good care of their hair with plans to donate to a child in need.  And today I think of the children, for whom these hair pieces may be one simple way of bringing back a part of themselves. ♥

Friday, November 26, 2010

Healing Art Challenge: Silent Night

How exciting it has been to see all the participation in our Healing Art Challenges.. as well the anticipation for the Gallery show each week and all of the connections being made in the Friends in Healing chatroom as well through the expressive arts.  I'm just jumping out of my cowgirlboots with joy to announce the first challenge in a series that is inspired by well known Christmas carols.  This week we will be reinterpreting "Silent Night."  So grab cameras, colored, pencils, computer keyboard.. whatever your artistic tool is and get busy.  Remember that pieces can be as literal or abstract, personal or general... it's all up to you!  And feel free to open up the idea of what art really is... cook, garden, construct.. whatever speaks to the theme in your way.

Please send your pieces to friendsinhealing at no later than Thursday, December 2, 12 :00 pm CST time.  Please write "Healing Art Challenge: Silent Night" in the subject line.  Happy creating!

And if you can see this ittty bittty font.. I'm giving you a heads up this month.  The other challenges will be based on the songs "Oh Christmas Tree," "We Three Kings" and "Angels We Have Heard on High."  :)

And here's an extra little inspiration for you this week... Enjoy!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Healing Art Gallery: Gratitude

 A blessed Thanksgiving to everyone!  Before the Christmas season begins filled with shopping for new things and gifts galore, how wonderful that we have this time to pause and celebrating all the blessings we already have been bestowed.    I do believe that the act of gratitude is the single most important act toward living a life of fullness and happiness.  Without taking time to notice the things and people that influence our daily lives in small and grand ways, our perspective can easily shift from a life of abundance to a life in need.  Perhaps what we need most is already around us.  May we take the time each day to slow down and notice that which we have already been given.  Let it be written on our hearts as we live and breathe and act each day. 

As you enjoy the work that has been shared this week,  please click the image to see a larger version.  Support those who share a part of themselves here by leaving a kind word of comment if you are so led! ♥

Take time to give thanks...


for companions on your journey...

~ hawk3y15

for love that shelters and inspires
~ zoo

for new beginnings...

~ NayCherryBomb

for the ebb and flow of nature...

~ rosypose

for those who support us...

~ HiddenChild

for the silver lining in every experience...

~ Forktail

for the gift of ingenuity...

~ zootalors

for protection in difficult times...


for night when rest comes ...

~ marla

for hidden bridges to new experiences...

~ playcrane

for the ability to endure...

~ marla

 for time to contemplate the abundance of life....


Monday, November 22, 2010

Music Monday: Autumn

A prayerful meditation for you today from George Winston... in the midst of a busy week, take a few moments to let go of your cares and enjoy the last of a beautiful season of color.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Seeing Grass

While drawing grasses I learn nothing "about" grass, but wake up to the wonder that there is grass at all.
~Frederick Franck

Frederick Franck was a former dental surgeon, before he became a painter, sculptor, and author of more thab 30 books on Buddism and spirituality.  His book, Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing:  Meditation in Action, was one of the first art books I fell in love with. His quick, delicate sketchs made me fall in love with the wonder of a green onion,  an old woman sitting on a bench, a pussywillow.  It was here that I began to cultivate my understanding of the arts as sacred action.. a method not just of celebrating the beauty of the world around me but a way of communing with it in a very deep but simple way.

I've slowly stepped away from my roots in drawing.. but hope to get back to it.  It's a way of keeping that connection real and honest.  Paint flows so easily from the brush.  It's easy to be intoxicated by its playful qualities.  Pen to paper.. there is no more direct way to meet the life around us.

Thank you to Sunday Sketches for encouraging artists to take up the pen again!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

In the Business of Caring

What is twenty worth?

Lots of smiles and joy...

The feeling of warmth and safety...

Tenderness and compassion...

The providance of basic needs so one can grow...

The encouragement of independence...

That's what 20 years is worth!
  And a whole lot more!

This post is in honor of the 20 years of service my friend Colie has given to caring for developmentally disabled adults in a group home.  By accident she wasn't relieved at her work shift the night of her anniversary dinner, so I wanted to do a special celebration for her here!   It takes a lot of patience and flexiblity and heart to do this kind of work, so today I think of her, as well as all the other wonderful individuals who work with children and adults with special needs.  Today is your day!

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential of turning a life around.
~Leo Buscaglia

Friday, November 19, 2010

Healing Art Challenge: Gratitude

Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be, it is important to pause every now and then to appreciate all that we have, on every level.  We need to literally "count our blessings," give thanks for them, allow ourselves to enjoy them, and relish the experience of prosperity we already have.
~Shakti Gawain

I am so excited about our theme this week!  For one, I think gratitude is by far the most crucial act towards living a life of balance, happiness, and healing.  As John Henry Jowett said, it is a "vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic."  Secondly, I'm excited to finally put into use something I picked up at a thrift store months and months ago.  This was a wooden photo stand that I gessoed, painted and spattered.

I watercolored my own papers and cut them to size to fit inside the photo sleeves.

I collected lots of wonderful quotes about the importance of gratitude and being thankful, then copied these on half of my cards.

Now the big task is filling in all the other cards with things I am thankful for. I found I got a wonderful variety if I tried to alternate between the different senses. I have twenty cards to fill up so this is going to be a project! But it'll be fun to flip through or give to a friend.

So here's your challenge for this week, make any type of gratitude creation!  It could be a photo, a doodled list like mine, an abstract painting, a piece of music that you play and send it to me at  Please put in the title line "Healing Art Challenge:  Gratitude."  If you need a little inspiration, feel free to pop me an email and I'll be happy to pass along one of the gratitude quotes I collected.  Please email your piece to me buy Thursday, November 25 at 12 pm CST time.  Yes, that's Thanksgiving Day here in the states!  Have a glorious week of creating! ♥

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Healing Art Gallery: Harvest

Last week we posted the theme for our first Healing Art Challenge... harvest.  Participants were asked to ponder what they are in the process of gathering in their lives and to represent this through an art form to be posted here.  What a blessing to see all these results!

Harvest light...

Harvest the light that shines through ever dark corner.

Harvest beauty...


Harvest solace...


Harvest understanding of self...


Harvest choices...


Harvest joy...

Harvest the love, laughter, and good times.

Harvest possibility... 


Harvest strength...

Where it is impossible you should take true root but by the fair weather that you make yourself: it is needful that you frame the season for your own harvest.
William Shakespeare, "Much Ado About Nothing"

Harvest relationship...

~ Amanda

Harvest direction...


Thank you everyone for such lovely submissions.  Check back tomorrow for next week's Healing Art Challenge!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


In wisdom gathered over time, I have found that
every experience is a form of exploration.
~ Ansel Adams

Did you know that a squirrel only finds ten percent of the nuts it hides?  And despite that this little guy is so vulnerable to attack by lots of different types of wildlife, the squirrel stays busy gathering and gathering more food.  He doesn't even take the time to hibernate in the winter.  He doesn't stop to worry about those nuts that will never be found.. for those will be seeds from which new trees will grow.  Some might just sprout and become necessary food for other animals.  But others may grow into glorious oak trees!

When we are wanting to make a change in our lives, perhaps solve a problem or construct a new way of living, don't we often have difficulty be open to a wide variety of ideas?  It's so tempting to find all the reasons why an idea might not be helpful for us...oh,  because then we can just stay where we are!  But why not be like our dear little squirrels.. take the ideas and wisdom that crosses our path and file it..we might not find it immediately useful.. but given time.. that seed of an idea might be transformed into an idea that may help someone else, or grow into something magnificent!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mundane Worlds

Shine a light through the mundane
 and you will reveal worlds of  beautiful complexity.

image by Forktail of the
Friends in Healing Community

Monday, November 15, 2010



No spark, ideas scorn the thought
To light untrammeled planes within the mind
No fleeting inspiration to be caught
No proud work signed
With joyous pen; frustration reigns, unkind
Blank paper stares unblinking, void of words
Whilst to the Fates my plume has been resigned
But hark!  A thunder in the sky, a gathering herd
And swift bright thoughts  rush in --
Sweet shining birds.

I've been stuck... for months.  I tend to be a creative fury kind of artist.  Pounding out the pieces, the ideas coming so quickly, my hands can't keep up with my mind can't keep up with my heart.  I tell myself to slow down, to be logical, to meditate.  But there's nothing logical when you're playing with fire.    And then... it comes.  This wall of emptiness surrounding me like a sleeping bag, pulling me inside and zipping me up tight.  My heartbeat slows down.  Thank God for the rest. 
Then I sit in that darkness and wait...
and wait...
and wait some more.
The questions start to come. 
Will it ever come back? 
Maybe I was crazy and it never was there to begin with.
Maybe I have no more worthy ideas.
Maybe I don't need to torture myself anymore pretending to be something I'm not.
Then the pressure starts.
People begin to ask.
When are you going to pick up those brushes?
Some even make demands.
I stay in my bag, zipped up tight.
Until suddenly I become curious.
I unzip a corner.
Light peaks through, warming me
by zip
by zip.

And outside the bag are all my beautiful colors..
They never left me at all.
They were the vessel for my emptiness...
not the other way around.

This creativity bowl was originally a thrift store find.  An unfinished, handmade wooden bowl, I was most perplexed as to how I could use the little whole on the bottom where the carver must have had it attached to a stand.  And I certainly wanted to do this little gem justice!  So when that dark, gloomy creative block comes, I can have the bowl right side up, remembering that my creativity has created this void in order to replenish and refill.  And as those ideas fly out of me, I can turn the bowl over to see what will grow.

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