That flashing cursor… where to begin?

I haven’t been here in a long while. I’ve missed sitting down and doing this kind of meditation, stream-of-conscious writing. I’ve missed it, but the reason I am here now is to finish a love letter to my son.  The beginning of my “love letter” is this painting… Waterfall Meditation.





A few months ago after what I thought was rock bottom for him and me as his mother, we began therapy to get to a place of peace and calm where we could begin to function again. At the end of the first session, we were told to imagine that a big, beautiful wide, powerful waterfall of energy was washing down and through us clearing away anxiety, worry, anger, frustration, sadness, etc and filling that space with calm possibility and space to just breath.  The guided meditation made us both feel so much better and we left feeling hopeful. And now on occasion, we will just say waterfall when we think they other needs it.

As life goes, especially with teenagers who are itching for freedom, voice, validation, I was wrong. We hit bottom (or so I hope it was) about a month ago. Fortunately for both of us, we have a big loving extended family, who was able to reach out and hold us in a safe place for awhile. I then traveled back to Yelapa for some much-needed soul-searching, as it is a place where my head and heart seem to communicate well with one another. It was hard to stay in that raw, acid churning uncomfortable space in that raw, beautiful, layered place.

As soon as I dropped my bag at my friend’s house, I headed for my favorite rock on “the point.”  I climbed up and over others to get to my spot, and once finally settled, I got lost in the sound of the waves crashing, tiny crab and snails crawling over giant boulders, looked for shells and sea glass wedged in the crevices just beyond my feet.  Behind me, there was the chatter of men working and tools running in order to restore and expand a palapa just up a bit.  It felt like the perfect metaphor of the construction and restoration in my own mind and heart that I so needed/need to do.

Waves crash,

saws spin,

tears form,

I thought of a quote on peace…..

“Peace does not mean being in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and remaining calm in your heart.”

If I could just calm my heart.

Other life crap was flung my way, but I honestly had no patience or wherewithal for any of it. It offered a good picture of my priorities and helped me create some much-needed boundaries. It was so clear on the who, what and why of where my time/energy/love/patience/creativity should be….. the how, well… damn, I’m trying to figure that out.

A few days later, I hiked up into the jungle along the river to the waterfall. When I arrived, my heart panged for my family who splashed, laughed and played there two years before. I sat on another favorite rock and sketched and painted a bit while watching locals and tourists alike take in the wonder of this magical place. The water was soooooo cold, but I decided to go stand under that waterfall best I could and let all those feelings that were consuming me just wash away, down the river and out into Yelapa’s ocean cove. I thought of Alex and how overwhelmingly I love him. He must feel like he is drowning sometimes.  My bones ached in the ice water and I made myself stand there a bit longer before I went back to the comfort of my rock in the sun. He has to stand in the cold water right now while he figures out his priorities, his principles, his motivations, his goals, his future, what he is made of and who is growing to be. I can’t do that for him… I can’t stand in that uncomfortable place for him. I can give him loving boundaries, reasonable expectations, try to show him how much we believe in him, big hugs, and maybe some guidance, but he has to do the work. He has to show up to his life, do the work and love himself.

I think I forgot to breathe while I stood there. I returned to my rock and wondered if I could let go.

On my last full day in Yelapa, I headed back out to the point for some closure and a few final sketches. All of a sudden I heard the whales spouting! I couldn’t believe it! Of course there were three of them (I have three sons) and my heart sang and ached to be home with my boys. I watched them flap flippers, tales dive and water spout. It was a beautiful gift and awareness.

Back in the reality of life—

this confusing, complicated, wonderful,  maddening, inspiring, frustrating, full, beautiful life of mine, I’m not so good at letting go…..

At keeping it simple.

At loving plainly.

At standing still.

Painting helps me to do that. I’ve been working on this painting off and on for weeks as a way to find that place of peace. I am going to go pick up Alex in a little over an hour and I’m going to give it to him with the hopes he knows it was created with a tremendous love for him and the belief that I know he can create with that big heart, creative brain, and bright spirit a voice that speaks to the world in a beautiful way and hopefully he will be able to hear his own true, authentic voice when standing under a waterfall.

Alex, I love you. Always, Mama


37 minutes

I have 37 minutes left in the kid free part of my day.

I just finished washing my brushes after 4 glorious hours in the studio. I began another large piece in which I can use my enormous wing span to pull and dance the paint across the canvas and fill my entire field of vision with vermilion, ochre and blue to fill my soul. I had 40 minutes before I hop in to my taxi service and haul boys. I actually like the one on one time it gives me with them; I just wish I had a few more hours in the day.

I thought about folding the piles of laundry on my dining room table… nah.

I thought about doing the dishes…nah.

Maybe I should brush my hair and look presentable to the world…nah.

Instead I thought I would sit and stuff my face with my precious boys’ Halloween Candy and get back to my blog that I have missed so much.

(I love skittles… it’s true)

27 minutues…..

This morning, I watched an incredible video of genetically pure Bison be released back onto Soapstone Prairie, just north of here. It was beautiful to see them take off in their mini herd and run free. It brought tears to my eyes, which in all honesty caught me off guard. The wide open landscape; the cheers of the people who must have worked so hard to see that moment; those massive animals running together into their new home, the beautiful Crow Nation Tribal Leaders opening the gate to allow the bison to roam free. It felt so…. I can’t even come up with the right word. It was moving and inspiring.

pause… to eat chocolate….

21 minutes… stare off into the golden trees outside my window….

17 minutes…..

I was able to then go paint. I felt free, too. I’m so grateful that my husband supports my dream of an artist’s life and a life where I feel like I belong… well as much as this crazy brain of mine allows. I feel like right now in this place, I am exactly where I am meant to be. Of course there are consequences  and stresses to being a single income family (and I know there are days when Chris would much rather I had job with a paycheck), but I feel like I contribute in other ways that can’t be described in dollar amounts. And today, I was painting just for me. Not for an upcoming show, a commission or a charity. It was wonderful to get lost in my thoughts and take some deep breaths.


9 minutes…..

This past weekend, I got to see my oldest son, a freshman run at States with his team for Cross Country. He wasn’t feeling 100% but he sure gave what he had. He has worked hard this past season, stepped up to the challenges, shown dedication and been more than grateful for the experience. He grew up tremendously these past few months. His confidence has grown, his character strengthened, his goals met, friendships made. It has been the biggest joy to watch him experience something he truly loves. I hope that he always holds onto that. I let my art go for so many years and I lost myself. Now a few years after practicing, painting, pushing for the next goal (at my own pace) I know I will never let it go again. It is my freedom. It is my wide open range. (perhaps I live on Rangeview Drive for a reason)

2 minutes… no more candy…

So with this jumbled mess of thoughts, I just want to say thanks to all of you who open the gates for me to be free. You encourage and support me. You honor me by bringing my paintings into your homes. You show up to my art openings with cheers, questions and love. You come to my studio to see where I work. You take the time to read my thoughts. You all are the best and I am so glad to be free to do what I love. Thank you.

AH! Now to find my shoes and keys…. gotta go!

Un regalo para mí – Yelapa part 1

On this cold, rainy, gray spring day, I am reaching into my storage of Vitamin D that I tucked away in my core while I was in Mexico for a month earlier this year. I also stored patience, perspective, joy and some lush green and blue skies to hold me through to warm Colorado days. I left the Mexican folk music there.

Last year my wonderfully inspiring friend, Carrie, a.k.a. Wild Mama, invited me (and my family) to join her (and her family) in the small fishing village of Yelapa, Mexico. They have been going for years for months at a time and she has written great essays and talks with a spark in her eye about how this magical place feeds her soul and spirit of adventure.

It was an unmissable opportunity! It was a gift.

She found us a great palapa

Casa Iguana. My home away from home
Casa Iguana. My home away from home

that would accommodate all of us and via a Skype phone call, we booked it for a month. I decided to go ahead of Chris and the boys for two weeks by myself to paint and just be. It was a gift for myself! Un regalo para mi!

I was excited to escape the cold brown winter of Colorado that makes my insides feel the same. I was nervous. What was I thinking? I speak three words of Spanish and understand less when it is spoken to me.

Alone in the jungle? Even just alone!! What would that be like? I’m never alone for more that a few hours. Two weeks?

Scorpions… snakes…. spiders…

EEK!!! I killed it with a skillet!


But the promise of the beach, salt water, warmth, sunshine, flowers, time to read, paint and think far outweighed any fear.


So mid February, I packed my bag with paints, brushes, bathing suits, hiking shoes, books, journals, bug spray, sunscreen and colorful dresses. Carrie and her family greeted me at the pier in Puerta Vallarta. We loaded onto the water taxi and were off to Yelapa. The Sierra Madres rise up out of the bay with the clouds sitting on their tops! The salt water sprayed my face taking me back to my childhood and suddenly I’m 12 again. Watching my friend mother her two children on the bumpy ride to the cove we would call home for awhile was pure sweetness. When we turned out of the bay  to Yelapa, the sun streaked through the clouds shinining down on the pueblo and beaches. I could see the waterfall behind the white dome of the church. A lovely yellow house sat on the rocks at the water’s edge reminding of my yellow house back in Colorado.

I love this yellow house



Orange, blue and white umbrellas lined la playa.  The palmed roofs of the palapas are sprinkled amongst the brightly painted buildings. And that green!!! EVERYWHERE!

Arriving in Yelapa. We had a wonderful beach landing! Fun!
Arriving in Yelapa. We had a wonderful beach landing! Fun!

At the beach, Carries’ husband, Chris greeted us and enlisted a friend to carry my bags up the VERY STEEP hill to my palapa.

About half of the hill to my gate, then stairs up to the Pelapa
About half of the hill to my gate, then stairs up to the palapa

I’m not sure how I would have done it without them. My two story casa for the month was lovely! A huge table to paint on, a laundry line to hang them to dry, a wonderful space to read and write, a magnificent ceiling of woven palms to sleep under,

palapa ceiling


an incredible out door shower with a heart made of shells and rocks under foot


and a palm tree “roof” along with hibiscus, bird of paradise, bougainvillea, geraniums, ferns, a view of the beach down below, and electricity (which I wasn’t expecting)! There were fresh flowers on the table from my hostess, cookies and wine from my friends and two weeks of time ahead of me to enjoy. My cheeks already hurt from smiling.

The kitchen... soon to be studio!
The kitchen… soon to be studio!
My view of the cove
My view of the cove
The hibiscus out my back door.


For the first few days, I read, set up my new “studio” and hiked all over the place to get the lay of the land. I battled tremendous waves of guilt for getting to be in this space and time. I had sensory overload in the best possible way… vibrant colors, new people and culture, new foods, new sounds… like the chachalacas that wake you up every morning, new smells…. like the soapy smell of the Bella Donnas,

The canopy of Bella Donnas I walked under before reaching my hill towards my casa.


not to mention a new language which I was butchering.  I thought I would journal, but there was so much to take in, I found it impossible. They only way I could was to paint. Hours would pass and I would be covered in new colors of this wonderful place and I managed to get some on canvas too.


I felt my brain and heart expanding and settling simultaneously. It was a wonderful way to be.

relaxed and happy in palapa
relaxed and happy in my palapa

It is impossible to sit and write all that those two weeks by myself meant, not to mention the magic of two weeks with my family. I will have to break it down into parts. But the biggest truths are that Carrie’s invitation was a gift that changed me at what feels almost a cellular level. The time and support that Chris gave me to go off for two weeks by myself, restored a part of me that I didn’t realize had been so completely buried and depleted. And the gift I gave myself was to be in the present moment, enjoy my own company (easier said than done for two weeks straight), and challenge myself to soak up everything that I experienced, thought and felt; all of it!

Stay tuned for the dance of the chickens… another day!

* I just type and publish… I’ve got paintings to do! Yay! Boys to take care of! Dogs to walk. Chocolate to eat. Gardening to feed my soul and I probably need a shower. Sorry for not editing!


Last fall while at my booth at the French Nest, the most beautiful couple came to see me. It had been a slow day and I sat with my sister and pondered was it worth it for me to be there.

What was I doing?

Was I kidding myself? Artist?   blah… blah… blah… YUCK!

A month earlier a local magazine, Style, did a write up on how and why my work incorporates the legend of the Red Thread. I was honored and uncomfortable but as it turned out it brought me two of my most favorite and pivotal moments. The first being that day last fall and again today.

As we sat at the booth that afternoon, in walked Patsy and Jerry along with Patsy’s caretaker all arm in arm. Jerry carefully let go and introduced the three of them and told me that they had come to meet me.  Me? I couldn’t imagine why. I was completely taken aback.

They had read the article and learned about the red thread of fate and wanted to come tell me how much it meant to them. Patsy has late stage Parkinsons and the red thread gave them something to hold onto. Patsy talked of her children with the brightest eyes and an infectious smile. Her body is shaking and her neck is twisted so her head rests on her shoulder, but her spirit outshines her disabilities. She radiates strength, love and grace.

She and her caretaker excuse themselves for a break and I got to visit with Jerry for awhile. He is honest about their situation, he shares their story of their family, and he is obviously so moved and grateful for the legend; it is all I can do to hold it together. He is so warm and lovely. He adores his wife, respects her above all and seems to be full of nothing but love and gratitude. I bask in his light. Around his neck is a red thread with a peace symbol on it that Patsy had given him before they learned of the legend. She now calls him her Shanti man. It’s a perfect name.

Pasty and her caretaker return and she picks out a necklace and a board that says JOY, reminding her of one of her daughters. We talk and share some more about the magic of the legend, my art and their story. Before they leave, we have huge group hug right there in the middle of the market. I didn’t want to let go of these special and incredible souls. By the time we say our goodbyes we are all in tears and grateful that the red thread has once again worked its magic and brought us to this moment. They left and I burst into tears of gratitude.

What it took them to come see me!

What a gift of love they brought!

How could I ever doubt that the red thread path that I am on would ever let me down? What a fool I had been to question it.

I smiled and cried some more and my sister smiled and listened to me as I tried to process how overwhelmed I was by their visit to see me. It was a moment that I will always cherish. They gave me a gift from their heart.

Today, six months later I was painting in my studio and my phone rang. I decided to ignore it as I was really in the flow and enjoying being back at work on a canvas after a few weeks. When I got to a good stopping point, I listened to my voicemail and it was a message from Jerry. I couldn’t believe it. I was so happy to hear his voice. He went on to explain that Patsy had taken a turn for the worse in the past few weeks and was now at Pathways Hospice. He told me that one of her requests was that I come see her. Completely overwhelmed with honor, I hung up the phone and wept.

I talked with him a bit later and he asked if I would come this afternoon at 4. I showered to remove the paint off my face and arms (I’m a terribly messy painter!) I put on my red thread necklace with the Courage pendant on it and asked the universe for strength and presence. I arrived at Patsy’s room and was greeted by her brother, son and sweet Jerry. I reached to hold her hand and around her wrist was a red ribbon tied just as I have one on mine. And, around her neck and she was wearing my necklace. She was hard to understand as it took all of her strength to talk. Jerry held her other hand and helped me to understand her lovely words. We talked about the magic of the red thread and how hers would continue on after she died. She and Jerry shared a moment of how special they are to one another and to bare witness to that raw love was indescribable. I told her how I love her radiant smile and bright eyes and have never felt more honored to be in a moment such as that. She asked if I had been a part of a death experience like this. I told her no and how grateful I was to be there to tell her how much her visit meant to me last fall and to see her again. She had given me a wonderful gift of love again.

She tired and asked if we could just listen.

She asked for 4 minutes.

So hands held we listened.  It was the most spiritual moment of my life. Such clarity, truth and love I heard in those quiet minutes.

Jerry held her left hand and I her right. She closed her eyes and her breathing steadied. I could feel her pulse in her hand beating against mine. I thought of our literal red threads.. our veins all pulsing together. Life. I felt like I could feel Jerry’s pulse too… traveling up Patsy’s left arm across her big, beautiful heart and down her right arm to my hand. It was amazing to feel so completely connected to this incredible couple who I had only met once before. They are willing to open up and share their love, their sorrow, their gratitude, their pain and enrich the lives of those around them. I am ever grateful that I am one of them.

We talked a bit more, kissed hands and said goodbyes. As heartbreaking as it was, I felt such a tremendous amount of peace. I hope I will get to see Patsy again and if I don’t I will be sure to continue her red thread by sharing her story and honoring her beautiful spirit. And now, she knows it.

I know I will see Jerry again. I think a wonderful friendship is in the works.

The pathway of the red thread will never be doubted again.

Awake My Soul

Awake my soul. 18 x 36 Waterbased oils on canvas. © Catherine Giglio


It’s been far too long for my soul since I sat here to write. How I’ve missed it. How many moments I wish I had taken the time to sit and reflect. No excuses on my end. I just haven’t made it a priority.

Last month, I reached a big goal with the help of many wonderful people. The opening of Red Threads was magical, emotional, inspiring, validating, special and one of the best things I’ve created since having my children. I know it sounds crazy, but in my mind it’s true.  People gathered in the spirit of community and art and the energy in that room was wonderful. It was beyond beautiful.

Art truly is powerful, connecting and healing.

I’ve been painting the spirit of the Red thread for three plus years now. It has been so healing. I paint it to honor my friend Laurel and her girls who left this world too soon. I paint it to honor those who inspire and create a world of good from heartbreak. I paint it to honor my belief that the relationships we have with each other and this earth we share are the reason for living. I paint it to honor my family members who fight cancer to see another tomorrow. I paint it to ground myself in perspective. I paint it to try to understand others. I paint it to bring back memories. I paint it to honor my dreams. I paint to honor… me. Really? Did I just say that?

The red thread in my paintings has become something I can’t imagine having not found. The price was/is impossible so I treat it with great respect. It is showing me the path that is within myself. I am waking up.

The red thread has pulled me forward in ways that I couldn’t have dreamed. It has been a life line when I didn’t want to put one foot in front of the other. It has opened my heart, given me wisdom, unlocked doors I never thought I’d stand in front of much less open, and created the most wonderful community of support and friendship. It never lets me down. I know it will always be there and be truly unbreakable because it is made up of all of you.  Whether I’ve known you for a life time, or just talked with you in line at the grocery store, read your words in a book, or watched you dance on a stage, exchanged a few words as you walk by my house with your dogs, or spent hours with you planning an art show, shared motherhood with you, shared a home with you, or just met you at an art opening because we both want to honor a part of our red thread we can no longer talk to but can definitely feel. It’s a huge comfort to know my red thread will always be there. Always growing and strengthening, even when it tangles, strangles, hurts and gets messy.  Sometimes those tangled knots are great lessons and make me work harder to be better.

I know now that the red thread is my life’s work and if I get to express that through my paintings and hopefully make the world a more beautiful and loving place, then I am the luckiest of people.

Awake my heart. Awake my soul.

Awake my soul. 18 x 36 Waterbased oils on canvas. © Catherine Giglio
Awake my soul. 18 x 36  oils on canvas. © Catherine Giglio private collection



Completely Ridiculous

For the past few months, I’ve felt like most people I know; living life at pace that is well…completely ridiculous.  If I am really honest.. it’s not even months but years… decades.

Yes, it is a full, wonderful life. One that I am grateful for. But one that needs to slow way down in order to learn, reflect, and be able to stay in the now. There are thousands of articles, blogs, pretty little pictures on social media that talk about the importance of this. I see them, nod my head in agreement and then rush off to the next thing and the next not having absorbed any of the message… not having any self awareness of the ridiculous way I am living.

Tomorrow I will start writing again even though I love it and have so many ideas in my head. Tomorrow I will spend 5 hours painting even though my hands and heart are itching to get lost in color. Tomorrow I will purge all of the crap in my basement for simpler living even though I can’t think clearly with all that meaningless stuff around me. Tomorrow I will get to the gym even though my body is telling me to stretch and become strong. Tomorrow I will call my friend even though I know the sound of her voice saying hello will fill my soul.  Tomorrow… tomorrow.. tomorrow.

Well, once again, it has become all too real that there is no guarantee of tomorrow. On my birthday last week, our sweet friend Ben, the son of our dear friends from Colorado Springs, had a massive seizure followed by brain surgery and he never recovered. He was suddenly gone with no more tomorrows. Ben had been born with Spina bifida yet lived a life full of learning, adventures with friends and family and really had the biggest heart. We were fortunate enough to go say goodbye to Ben while his body was being prepared for organ transplants. It was an honor to be with his family who loved him so completely.

Yesterday, the five of us went to his service. It was lovely and of course so very sad. It was the first funeral that they boys attended. It was hard but beautiful. We sat in the pew holding their hands, wiping away tears and giving them shoulders to lean into. At the end of the service, as the last music played, my 6 year old just lost it. He looked at me and said “this is so sad” and then sobbed. My tears couldn’t stop. I held him while he cried. It felt like his first real life cry; one that wasn’t from scratches or bumps, or being mad at an older brother over legos, or from being hungry or tired. It was a cry that came from a broken heart. It was a cry that showed me he is understanding that life is hard and complicated. It was a tremendous moment for me as his mother that he could share with me like that. It was a gift that I will never forget.

It is completely ridiculous that it often takes moments in time like this to bring me back to pure intention, true awareness and clear perspective. I can hold onto or rather find these places when I paint. But I lose them in the daily grind. How does one stay in that space. Constant gratitude? Humility? How does one let go of all that doesn’t really matter?

First of all, I am going to start by slowing down. I need a constant reminder… perhaps I should tie weights to my shoes? put on rose colored glasses?  What do you think? I’d love some thoughts on how to turn completely ridiculous into completely … well how about….. somewhat balanced?

I’m off to paint… that I know will be a good start and I’m not waiting for tomorrow!


Tough Love

How I have missed coming here to pound out my thoughts on the keyboard. I have a whole host of chores to do, a show to get ready to hang next week but it’s one of those mornings where putting my thoughts into black and white will help clear my head so I can focus on what I need to do. If I am really honest, I want to go crawl back into bed, but that won’t do much good.

This morning, I sent my son off to Eco-Week, where the entire 5th grade class goes up into the mountains for hiking, fly fishing, ropes course, campfire etc..  He has been away from home before, but he has been in a place of wanting to herd the 5 of us together, having some separation anxiety and I think he honestly is ready to hibernate for awhile; his fall instincts are on cue. So going off with 100 other kids wasn’t sounding appealing. I know he is going to have a blast and he will keep it together while he is there. It was just getting him to the point of putting on his pack and walking out the door. He had so many what if’s this happens or that? He doesn’t like surprises or not having a clear picture of what his days will look like. He cried, screamed and yelled for almost two hours this morning making himself almost throw up and had a rash all over his face.  He is much to old for that but the power of anxiety and fear took over. I knew he would regret not going and I almost let him off the hook because in the moment it seemed it would be easier (and those big brown eyes were begging), but it wouldn’t have been the easier or the right choice.

So, instead,  I calmly packed up his stuff while firmly and by hour two, too loudly tried to get him to stop crying and yelling. It was awful. Once he realized that I wasn’t going to let him give up, he finally surrendered and started asking questions. I gave him lots of hugs, told him I knew he could do it, put a heart rock in his pocket and told him where everything was. (Normally, I would have had him pack his own things, but I had to pick one battle today) He went and washed his face and then sat at the table trying to not cry. I had a clear memory of his first day at preschool and going through the same thing. It was gut wrenching to walk out and leave him, but we did it and we both grew; just like we did once again this morning.

Ry and I are actually so much alike. I know he is more my teacher than I am his. He holds a mirror up and seems to say “take a good, long look”. We have had an intense relationship since my pregnancy with him. It has been a lot of hard work on both of our parts, a lot of tough love moving him forward and into the world. But, we have a built a trust in each other that is unlike any other relationship I’ve ever had. I feel like we see each other so clearly and I know as he grows up that will turn into a friendship that will be powerful and so full of love and respect. Right now though, I am his mom first and have to keep giving him tough love so that he can open new doors and become his truest self and not let fear win. A lesson that I have been working on myself as I continue to put my art out into the world. The rewards are so much greater than the fear and I hope after this week, he can see that, too.



I’ve been wanting to come here and write for weeks and I just couldn’t do it.

It seems that is it is out in the open now, that my niece, Ashleigh, has stage 3 brain cancer. She is all I think about these days. She and her new husband, Brekan and her core family, Cassie (my sister) Bob and Robert.

My family all sleeps, healthy and sound.  I wish I could be more like my wise niece… brave, confident, positive and strong. She is all of these things while balancing a grace of the present and the importance of relationships as a sister, daughter, friend and now wife.  She is the definition of awe. She is the definition of love. She is the definition of grace. She is the definition of FUN!! ( I have never danced so much as I did at her wedding!!)

Tomorrow, she will be admitted to the hospital at UVA and I am glad she will be there. It sounds like she is in the best possible hands. So… tomorrow… she goes in for pre-op and her surgery is on Tuesday. I read her blog on her caring bridge site and she confidently writes with her faith, trust in the doctors and the endless love she gets from her new groom and family. It takes my breathe away. What she will have to go through to get rid of this cancer is unimaginable… doable, because she is Ashleigh.. but unimaginable. I wish I could take the pain for her. It is not what a 28 year old should be doing. But she handles it with more grace and determination than I can comprehend.



Is it the result of unconditional love of her parents and brother?

How she was born?

The love of her life lifting her to new heights?

I think it must be the tapestry of all three. She is truly amazing.

At her wedding a month ago, I sat there with all of my sisters and their spouses. Chris stayed home in Colorado with our three boys and I never missed him more. I watched my oldest sister, Cassie, the mother of Ashleigh, be escorted down the aisle and then wait for her husband to walk her daughter down to marry Brekan. I all but lost it. My Dad, a row behind Cassie, stood with his phone taking picture after picture of his first born, while she watched her first born walk down the aisle to be married.  I watched as my Dad zoomed in on my sister’s profile. It was essence of what it means to be a parent as you watch your child have a milestone moment. It was love. Pure love and awe.


It’s too much!!

My step mom has fought Multiple Myeloma for 12 years. My step sister, Chrissy, is battling stage 4 breast cancer…. and now my niece… it’s hard to catch my breath.

It’s hard to stay positive. It’s hard to not be angry. It’s hard to sit on the sidelines completely helpless. It’s hard to not feel guilty. It’s hard to let a minute slide by that isn’t  “all it can be”.   

And, I am fully aware that it’s not one ounce as hard to walk in my shoes as theirs. They are all so strong and inspiring!! I can’t begin to imagine. 

I sat in that church with my sisters by my side and my parent’s in front of me. It was a huge moment. We were all together for the first time in 10 years.




Ashleigh was radiant and so in love with her groom; one couldn’t help but smile.
The minister did such a great job of making the day about love. He had us all chanting #lovewins!  It was magical and I knew that was the phrase that would carry us all through. It was the phrase that would/will carry Ashleigh through her brain surgery, radiation and chemo, as well as her marriage that was starting off with the most tremendous love and challenge. #LOVEWINS

(in all honesty, right now, snot and tears are flying all over my keyboard……ugh)

There really aren’t the words to express….

I don’t want to be a downer. All of these amazing women have learned to embrace the best, to live with all that comes with cancer and make each day count. All of these woman have faced the scariest and most vulnerable. All of these woman love with laughter and zest!

This weekend as I sat on the streets of Fort Collins painting for Streetmosphere, I was lucky to meet so many wonderful people. Streetmosphere was something I challenged myself to do and expected to hate it. The opposite has been the case. I love it. I love connecting with the variety of people who stop to chat. The lesson here is to share your love. Share your love for what you love to do and ask them what it is they love to do.  Share you love by listening to the homeless person who shares his/her story and stop to look them in the eye. Share you love with the curious children, who stop their parents to ask questions and treat those questions as if they were the best questions ever asked. Share your love with the woman who thanks you for making something beautiful in a world that is hard, cruel, random and yes, stunning. Share your love with all around you because it is true…#lovewins .

I have the greatest of hope in Ashleigh. She is a beacon of light. She is strong. She is wise beyond her years and she, as my sons’ cousin is the greatest example of a life well lived. So, please on Tuesday go out and do something you LOVE! Share a photo to #kickash or in the comments here,  so she can see and gain strength in healing in your love of life. Please send love and light to her in Charlottesville this week. Please take the time to tell those you love that #LOVEWINS and that all relationships are important. Please know I am ever grateful to have this platform to write and connect. We can all make a difference. Ashleigh is showing us that.



Share your Joy

I have a magical friend who makes life sweeter with her creativity. My friend, Joy adds her loving touch to the world around her every chance she gets. Sometimes, our neighborhood will be sprinkled with plastic pink flamingos or one of her painted rocks will show up on your doorstep.  She and her husband have the best party games, throw sweet, simple, loving birthday parties for their boys, find me massive heart rocks, show up with fresh herbs on sumer solstice, and share their love in the most genuine of ways. Last week though, might have been my favorite JOYful surprise. She and her family have chickens and give away all of their eggs since they are vegan. So every now and then she will show up with a dozen eggs for our family and refuse to take any money. Sometimes, I can be sneaky enough though. This past time, we thanked her for the eggs and stuck them in the fridge to use once we finished up our others.  Didn’t think anything more. By now, I should know better.

A few days later, Chachi asked for eggs for breakfast and when I opened the carton, there was the best of Joy waiting to bring happiness. Inside the lid, read SUPER POWER EGGS!  On each egg she had written what that particular egg’s “superpower” was if you were to be the lucky one to eat it.  There was Soccer genius, Funny, Intuitive, Magical, Weird, Peaceful, Strange bodily smells (she too is the mother of 3 boys… she gets it!), Delighted etc..


Joy’s Superpower Eggs!!!


Chachi had so much fun picking out his two eggs for his breakfast. Joy had spread her love and magic again and got our day off to a wonderful start.

Photo on 5-21-14 at 7.44 AM
Chachi picked out Magical and Peaceful!


She reminds me that it doesn’t take a whole lot of time or money to have a huge impact on someone’s day. With her sharpie and a dozen words she brought love, laughter and happiness into our house in an instant.

What JOY will you spread today?

I’d love to hear what you do! Share your joy.. it’s contagious!



Every now and then, everyone “hits the wall”.

Last night I hit it full force and felt like the flattened Tom from Tom & Jerry whose 2 dimensional self melts down the stairs into a puddle on the floor. If only we popped right back up into our energetic 3 dimensional selves ready to chase the mouse. Except I am so tired of chasing the damn mouse.  I attempted to keep going but then Chris walked in, my guard fell and I melted onto the sofa. He took over and I was so grateful to just close my eyes for a bit.  Within the hour I spiked a pretty good fever and chills. By the next hour, I had convinced myself that I had cancer of some sort or another or an autoimmune disease. My mind is a scary place. I’ll be first to admit.

I finally gave up, read Chachi a few chapters, took a hot bath and crawled into bed before it was completely dark outside.

Today, I feel better, but not great and I am trying to tell myself that it is okay to let go, say no and not feel guilty.  Is it guilt or having to face that fact that THE (overwhelming) LIST will only get longer and drown me a bit more.  It’s both. Where does this come from? It’s a bit insane and all perspective is lost. Completely hidden. I’ve had several slaps of perspective over my life and yet, here I am doing the same cat chase mouse routine. I am afraid I’ll never learn.

Then serendipity came into play and I got this from author Seth Godin’s daily emails.

If you believe that you must keep your promises, over-deliver and treat every commitment as though it’s an opportunity for a transformation, the only way you can do this is to turn down most opportunities.

No I can’t meet with you, no I can’t sell it to you at this price, no I can’t do this job justice, no I can’t come to your party, no I can’t help you. I’m sorry, but no, I can’t. Not if I want to do the very things that people value my work for.

No is the foundation that we can build our yes on.- Seth Godin

 I think I need to paint this on the wall in every room in my house. There are so many yes foundations that I want to build on or go back and repair with some mortar and remodel. Things and people that have been overlooked, pushed aside and done in the 11th hour all for the sake of chasing the stupid mouse. And I KNOW in my heart and mind that all over the world people are dealing with really hard things; next to impossible things.  I know it, and yet I still react to the mouse. Why? It’s not cohesive in my brain. The thoughts in my brain and my actions don’t match. That is a problem and why the mouse keeps dropping a cinder-block on my head. I am not paying attention and don’t even see it coming because I am too busy reacting.

So today, I am going to try to learn to live in peace with that mouse (aka THE LIST and my spinning brain) in my house. I hope I can shake my Tom personality a bit and be less reactionary to every thought, “obligation” or interaction.

I might go call a friend I haven’t talked to in some time while I prep some canvases…. you’ve been warned if your phone rings, HA!  I might take a cat-nap (sorry, couldn’t resist.. I am my father’s daughter) later today and I might just sit and stare at the Aspen leaves shaking in the wind and do nothing. Perhaps, we just take in so much. The problems of the world are so overwhelming, perhaps reacting like a TomCat is all we have left in us when it feels like we are helpless. I don’t know… or will ever pretend to know. I am off to paint to try to find some peace and make something beautiful. And maybe, I’ll eat some ice cream, too.


A funny graffiti of tom and gerry on a wall in patan,near kathmandu in nepal.december 2010.


Perhaps then, I will pop back into my three dimensional self and not feel so flat.

Sincerely yours,