March 2007 Archives

It is a silly little thing really, but every little inch forward makes me smile. Bryan registered a domain name for our dream.

Exnihilo (out of nothing)

So we have a little website for our mondo beyondo project. Right now there is really nothing there except some rotating pictures. I will begin working on the branding of it in my spare time, but for now there is a makes me smile. It has no content yet, except the groovy weather info. Later we will add all the updates as we begin to build, some text about what we are intending for artists as they visit, etc...

Ok it is kind of silly we are years away...

But Bryan woke up this morning and, referring to the traffic noise outside our bedroom window, said, "Can you change that to say... the sound of waves crashing on the rocks?"

Yes we are obsessed. Both of us.

We are 42 years old, and if when we are fifty we can be listening to our waves, awaiting to greet our visiting artists and other hungry souls giving them space for inspiration while being inspired in our own work... I'd say that's worth a little obsession.

True, hard reality pushes hard in the opposing direction which is probably why a dose of obsession is necessary. I decided a few days ago that I was going to start some sort of journal that specifically tracks each step, the dates, and the gritty, not-so-fun details of the progress of this little dream. Because this stage (the dreamy part) is easy. Of course there have already been challenging steps taken, but my gut tells me that the truly hard stuff is in front of us. One of the big roadblocks is finances.

Truth be told, we are insane. ;-)

So I figure a journal that tracks the ups and downs might be fun to look back on one day. And it might encourage others in the possibility of following their obsession...

one step at a time.

from the sky-our mondo beyondo land

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Indulging in a little dreaming after my coffee can post I checked google earth to view our sand and got an updated shot. The last satelite photos hadn't revealed the cutlines or roads. Here it is. The red dot is our lot.


Hopefully the google police don't come and arrest me for sharing this.


This picture is an icon for a dry painting spell. It is a shot of the bottom of a coffee can that I use to swish my brushes. Long since dried it has created an art form of its own. When I picked it up to fill it I looked inside and was enchanted by the image that was created (which sparked the need to take the picture). It reminds me that even creativity can have its cycles, and I have had a dry one for the last few weeks (regarding painting anyway).

Really creativity just shifted gears. I have been working on the sketches for the buildings for exnihilo (the artist retreat). They are only prelim sketches, and they will probably be altered again and again, but it was such a good feeling to get a few lines on paper. These simple lines represent major decisions. Walls, dimensions, walkways.

I remember when I was a little girl and a friend of mine and I would draw little worlds in her driveway with chalk. We would draw each of our "houses" and then the little roadways that would connect them and try to ride our bikes on them(she had a big driveway). The blissful world of pretend brought to life in pink, blue, pale green, and white.

Fast forward to today and I am drawing on special paper with blue squares, designing a very similar kind of thing.

But this one is for grown ups. How cool is that!

But I have to admit I wouldn't have gotten very far without the other half of the development team. Last sunday while staring at the page I threw some ideas at Bryan while we sipped our coffee. He has this keen way of ordering his thoughts and is a quick problem solver. Where I got stuck he simply pointed out a few ideas and I was unstuck and off to the races. He went off to do other projects while I penciled my way back into childhood. We make a good team. We later went to the library and picked up stacks of books on design. By no means do I have delusions of acting as architect on this, but I get stubborn about wanting to know something well enough to at least speak the language when handing off my simple sketches to a pro.

Having been inspired as well, Bryan was wandering the library isles searching for recording studio design (yes, exnihilo is going to have a studio too). The same spark that was in my eyes earlier was now in his as he began to imagine the space, the gear, and the potential of the studio doubling as a hurricane shelter (again showing his gift for problem solving). Later he told me about when he and his brother were kids and the family was going to remodel the basement for their new rooms. The boys drew up plans for various work stations for all their favorite activities...

sound familiar?

Hopefully exnihilo will foster the same kind of childhood inspiration in those that visit. That is the whole goal. Making space for creativity to blossom, exnihilo (out of nothing). Hopefully a few years from now we will be inviting you all there.

Ok at the risk of just adding more momentum to a trend that doesn't need any I woke up this morning needing to blog in the worst way ever and "the secret" was on my mind. Further prompted by bobbie's good words here, I felt the need to make a comment or two in light of my own life and what I have discovered which may overlap her post some (sorry bobbie it must be the fact that this "secret" is so volatile it needs lots of voices to balance out the insanity).

If you haven't heard about "the secret" consider yourself blessed, but clearly you have been hiding under a rock or living in a monastery because it seems to be inescapable. And if you have been spending blissful moments in a monastery then you have missed out on the latest "name it and claim it-possibility thinking-american dream/gnostic revolution with a juggernaught packaging campaign endorsed by Oprah. It is the Pursuit of Happiness available to the masses. Welcome to adult peer pressure.

And what about the name? Talk about a teaser. Hey it got me to pay attention enough to check out utube and find out what all the stuff was about. Everyone wants to hear a secret (which plays on the human nature aspect that I point out more down below). I have to hand it to the marketing machine for the enticement.

A few things as I see it... the secret isn't all that secret. The good parts aren't that special. The bad parts are destructive.

I don't have a problem with the think positive part of it, but the whole "master of your own universe part"...hmmm....

not so much.

I do happen to believe in thinking positive for two reasons. First, scripture teaches us that we are to focus our minds on good. (I was workin this one hard last friday because I was struggling with pesky negative self-talk). Second, because of the pithy little cliches my mother fed me early on that interestingly enough are like paraphrases of actual scripture and will never leave me...

• meet trouble as a friend (james 1:1)
• when life gives you lemons make lemonade
• count your blessings
• don't count your chickens before they hatch
• treat others the way youwould like to be treated
• don't cry over spilt milk
• birds of a feather flock together
• people in glass houses should not throw stones
• stop and smell the roses
• kill them with kindness

what a hoot, but they work. Most you will find in proverbs if you look hard enough. My mother is the picture of positive and that kind of person is just...well, fun to be around. Uplifting.

And we have all met people who for what ever reason, do the opposite of at least attempting to be positive. They are negative beyond imagination. It is an art form for them. A girl I knew in college had this. Under the pretense of christian love she would verbally pummel you with all of her daily problems. Every detail, every time, life was horrible, life was shit, give me a hug. You could feel the life being sucked right out of you. You know the person. When perceived hardship rarely crosses into actual hardship, and in an altruistic christian environment that might not call her on the carpet there is lots of attention enabling. Hey I was at fault, I was doing the hugging. But I can now spot this type of person from a mile away.

So I DO think it is a good idea to focus on all things good when one can (barring major disaster, pms, bad weather, etc ;-)


And it is a very BIG but...

I also believe in the sovereignty of god, and this other pesky little concept that most people like to ignore...


ick, not that word.

Ok let's use a different phrase... human nature.

This is where "the secret" breaks down. The assumption is that everyone is pure enough to know what to "ask of the universe". So many simple stories in literature and film depict what a falsehood this is. I won't even go into the scripture that deals with this, there is too much. Instead let's use pop culture.

Forgive the sci-fi metaphors, but's me.

Think three wishes from the Genie in the bottle (which ironically "the secret" uses as a visual icon in their media). Several versions of the genie story end in the wisher sealing their own fate with a wish that is ultimately distructive. I think of an old twilight zone episode called the man in the bottle where the main character wishes for ultimate power and becomes hitler, ultimate wealth that is taxed away and that ends with the moral of the story being content with what you have.(hmmm...more scripture could be applied...)

Another more current example is the Micheal Crighton movie, Sphere. I know I have blogged on it before so forgive the repetition. The basic story is about a team of experts sent to investigate an alien craft at the bottom of the ocean. The alien left a gift, a sphere that acts as a conduit of everyone's thoughts or "wishes" manifesting all that potential "goodness" into reality. Unknowing that they have this gift the member's of the team's subconcious run amok and one by one they die horribly at the hand's (thoughts) of each other (instead of saving the world, stopping famine, curing cancer). The survivors finally put two and two together and realize that there is no way to do pure ultimate good with this gift and humbly decide to "wish it" into non-existence (which is actually the only real flaw in the story because based on that scenario following it to the logical conclusion they all should have died, but hey, everyone prefers a happy ending-it sells more).

The point being, even the best person with the best intentions can screw this up. So if you employ the concept of "the secret" to, let's say... have your neighbor's wife (because it is what you really want and you are entitled...etc) the dominos begin to fall.

Of course "the secret" wants you to believe that there is enough "good things" to go around, that the universe wants you to have everything good...yada yada yada. The problem is that your idea of what is good for you might just come at the expense of someone else.

And what about disappointment.

Granted, "the secret" does try to frame life challenges as character building, but it seems like it is viewed(or allowed) only as a measure of hindsight, and once you are practicing "the secret" life will be hunky-dory forever, amen. Or you screwed up somehow and then it is your fault anyway.


Call me crazy but there are some simple common sense things that just don't seem so "secret" that a person can do to help move their life in a forward direction. For me it has been setting goals and then attempting to acheive them. For me if I don't have a goal...(well If you don't know where you are going you will get there every time.) And, (very important) the underlying assumption is that goal comes out of an exercise in discernment, seeking god's will, and other such checks and balances which are often hard and are part of a long spiritual journey.

Now, scripture teaches how to make good choices, but it also recognizes that sometimes/manytimes/always, we are powerless to make those choices without god. Enter jesus. Enter grace. Enter the power of prayer.

Not quite the same as "placing an order with the universe".

So as much good that may be produced from employing "the secret", because so many of its concepts originate from scripture and other common sense wisdom, there is a dark side that may cause a lot of pain and confusion. What if you don't get what you wish for? Because frankly our will and desires don't always line up with god's. Thankfully if we pay attention (to god) we are offered "realignment" through obedience which often takes sacrifice or acceptance of crushing disappointment, or sobering truth about one's self...

but ultimately leads to peace.

Because when you know that you are in line with the will of the universe (rather than the universe lining up to you)...

there is no better feeling.

And that is a happy ending.


planets by daniel

warm at last-at least for today

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It is 76 degrees outside. Bryan is coming home to take me out to dinner. It has been a rough two weeks of him workings really really late nights (one was 4am) and so a normal evening is absolute bliss. I put on a white shirt and plan on wearing NO JACKET.

Ahhh, the relief of warm weather... relishing it here...

even if it only lasts a day.

Obviously I am EXTREMELY influenced by climate to be so happy about a little sunshine. I'll own it.


I approached my beloved artist date (friday) with a sense of anticipation and reluctance today. The anticipation comes from a place of well fostered joy built day by day, out of bricks made from celebration of being an artist. The reluctance comes from negative voices shouting against that divinely given identity. Voices which have been a recent plague on my psyche.

This is an old old story for me and it always surprises me when it crops up now and again presenting it's all familiar creative roadblock.

Negative self-talk. That is what it is, and scouring scripture this morning reminded me that there is no room for negative self talk in an identity that is gifted from god.

Consider this...
Phillipians 4;6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

Or this...
Galatians 5: 22-23
the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

or this...
James 1:2
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Why this tangent today? Because I recognized that although I have so many things to be thankful for I have not been so thankful lately. Instead I began to focus on the stupid little things that tend to rob the joy from life. I also began to focus on all the negative aspects of myself (example;need to lose weight, aging, etc). What is amazing about that activity is that it doesn't help readjust ones thinking or motivate one for improvement. Being dissatisfied doesn't move me forward. Being content does.

Php 4:12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

But practicing contentment is hard for me sometimes. And then there is the embarrassment that comes from having plenty and being discontent, which spirals into feeling like you have no right to be content because you don't appreciated what you have already. Which just points out the "bad person" aspect and makes it worse.

Vicious cycle. Negative self talk.

Does anyone else struggle with this?

Some of these feelings (I am sure) comes from (still) adjusting to a new identity in not having a child at home anylonger. My moorings are being realigned and while I wasn't paying attention some of my internal speech shifted. Little things. Seemingly inconsequential words spoken in my head. So quiet that I might not even hear them.

But I do, somewhere in the back of my head...





Or phrases...

you used to be so good at this.

you have gotten so lazy.

self indulgent.

Wow, where did that come from.

So while I wasn't looking my brain decided to slip in these one liners that started to make me doubt my newly forming identity threatening the things that I knew before..

That I am...

fabulous artist,
great mother of an incredible son,
great wife of an awesome husband,

I am grateful for...

my health,
my family,
my home,
my work...

There will be more to my positive self-talk list, but for now these words will quiet that negative voice that was steering me into a negative version of myself.

I learned years ago that negative self-talk just perpetuates the negative. It is amazing to me that scripture even addresses it.

So part of my artist date today was a reminder to myself. Creative activities that encourage rather than convict. Low pressure projects that don't need perfection just imagination. Journalling. The artist date today consists of reminders of who I am and all that I have to be grateful for.

snowing again


Last week predicted that this week would be in the mid 50s.

As I type this it is 27 degrees and snowing.


Looking out at the falling snow I have a choice. Contemplate the beauty and peace that the freezing temp causes in making everything dormant until spring...

or rail against it and be frustrated because it is just so darn cold in our beloved but drafty house.


At the sight of mid fifties last saturday, I had pretty much shifted into spring being oh so ready to play outside on the overwhelming number of projects we have at the ready to finish this house. Those plans were somewhat thwarted. Truth be told I should be grateful because I still have tax docs to gather and bookwork to catch up on and if it was sunny and warm outside...

can you spell procrastination?

So instead of blaming thwarted plans on the weather maybe I should be thanking it for the reminder of what I really should be doing. Perception of reality makes all the difference don't you think?

Ok, time to contemplate the peace.

back to work.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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