I slowly open my eyes and not sure I can feel where my toes are and yet I feel completely whole in the moment. The room comes into focus again. In my mind, I paint the serene blue walls with clouds… wisps from my breath make the stratus clouds appear all around me. The gift of shavasana’s meditative state is immense.  I have been coming to this room for three years to practice yoga. I know the knots on the floor that look like eyes staring back at me, where the wood grain flows like ocean waves, and the patterns of the metal on the exposed vents. However the greatest part of this room is my teacher, my guide as he so humbly prefers. Mike is without a doubt the kindest and most giving person I have ever met. He shows up with the purest heart, tremendous gratitude  and greatest perspective I have received from a yoga instructor. He truly shows us what it means to be in that private and sacred space on your mat all the while making everyone’s energy and spirit a collective world of good. Yesterday, I went to my yoga class for the first time in over a month. How I have missed it!! It was just the reset I needed.

Like many of you who give yourself the gift of yoga, you know what the tremendous benefits are.

Flexibility and strength for both your mind and body,

the power of breath,

the calming of the mind,

the importance of balance,

and yes, the greatest gift of meditation bringing a wash of peace and clarity in shavasana. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh……………..

but it requires showing up. How had I let that go? How did I make it less of a priority?


The other night I went to a monthly get together with a small group of local artists. It helps us to brainstorm, get perspective, share resources and ground us in accountability. Having to verbalize what you will be working on for the next couple of weeks is tremendously powerful. After all of the chaos and fun of December, I lost so much momentum and inspiration to move forward with putting my art out into the world. The dark voices of doubt from exhaustion and being at the beginning of this journey rise bringing uncertainty on so many levels. As I sat and listened to these brilliant, talented, interesting woman offer up advice, talk about the books they have read, the opportunities and resources they are knowledgeable of, my doubt grew and began to swallow me up. I could feel myself shrinking and wanting to disappear as I didn’t feel like I had a thing to bring to the table. At the same time, I felt such gratitude to be sitting there, overwhelmed by the amount of information. I wanted to soak it all up like a sponge. My nervous funny came out and I felt like the gangly freshmen I was decades ago, but there was no back of the classroom in which to go disappear and hide.

During the meeting, one of the artists said that she had sat down and written all of her successes of 2013. So when I got in the car, I decided I would start making my list when I got home. That was something tangible I could grasp in my moment of such apprehension.  I thought it would be short and sweet and not much to write home about.

I was wrong.

I walked in the door and the first thing I saw was the pile of thank-yous I had written to all of those who bought my work this past year, hired me for decorative finish work or commissions, my teachers from Evolve, some local artists who have been so supportive, welcoming and inspiring, a friend who spent time helping me kick off a business plan, my coach,who I can’t wait to see again in a few weeks and Mike, who kept bringing me back to center time after time. In each one I put a mini print of the first painting I sold last year. The one that started a year of doing and focusing on what I love to do. I sat down (okay collapsed onto the sofa) and began flipping through all of the names.

Here was my 2013 “list”on the stack of envelopes….. the names of the beautiful and amazing people who were in my life on account that I had spent a year following my heart. People who shared their stories with me. People who lived across the country as well as down the street. People who I had known for years and people I still have yet to meet face to face. People who are all a special part of  my red-thread tapestry.
What a grand list! How very fortunate I am.  I knew right then, that I hoped to have a list like this a year from now and the year after that. Lists with lots of wonderful memories and faces that have made me grow more into my true self. How could I doubt my journey when I have gained so much? To do this, I have to keep being vulnerable, keep learning, keep painting, and keep showing up.

I sat in the quiet of the house and soon began the normal spinning in my brain of what a new day would bring. I realized that Mike’s class was first thing in the morning. I felt a sense of calm and composure begin to build even at the thought of just being there. So the next morning I headed off to his class for the first time since November. I thought I wouldn’t be able to touch my toes, that my legs would shake as I tried to hold warrior poses and that I would fall over during a balance posture. There was that doubt rising it’s ugly head again. But I surprised myself (just as I did this past year by putting myself out there) and managed to have a practice that made me feel strong, open and even graceful. Mike had done it again. At the close of his class he often offers his gratitude along with  “the true light in me, honors the true light in you when I say… Namaste.”

Another gift.

I just need to keep showing up; to the yoga room, to my studio, to those meetings and to all the places that push me outside of my comfort zone and keep me moving forward. From my list I can see how great the rewards will be…..all of you.

Now, on this snowy morning I am off to yoga again and then I am heading to my studio. I have a big year ahead and an important list to make… it’s time to show up!




It is early morning of the first day of winter, the Solstice.

I woke up to the echo of the train whistle and found a light dusting of snow had fallen. I can hardly wait for the sun to rise to to see my world covered in the sparkle of fresh powder. A solstice gift of white and bright drowning out the brown landscape.

A year ago we were loading up into the car to head east for the holidays and we watched the sunrise over eastern Colorado. I remember how blinding it was and how Pikes Peak standing one hundred miles to the south, glistened in all of her majesty. It was spectacular. And across the plains, the bright orange train engines rolled pulling what seemed a mile of cars. Here we were making a journey back to the place where Chris and I grew up, met and married  and were looking at the base of the mountain where we called home for 15 years, the place where our children were born. Somehow, it felt all encompassing.

This year, my Mom and Harry have traveled to us and are sleeping a few miles away under my sister Christin’s roof. Here my house, too, is full. With my sister Jenny’s family here there are 4 adults, 6 kids and two dogs snuggled up for the next week. It makes me so very happy. A wonderful gift to have so much family gathered.
This day, even though it is the shortest day of the year, gives me the greatest of hope. To know the light is returning is such a comfort. Tonight, on this longest of nights, we will fill our house with family and friends. Each being a light who shines bright.  They will fill my soul with laughter, cheer and hugs. Our solstice party, is a gift to ourselves. To be surrounded by the community we have and to share it with family is true grace. There will be bonfires to burn pieces of paper with worries and wishes. My sweet friend Rosemary, who is an amazing drummer, is setting up a drum circle. (I can hardly wait!) We will fill ourselves with warm soup and bread and toast one another and all of the goodness. It brings me such joy.

I have another sister who is 2000 miles away in Virginia and I miss her dearly. Earlier this week, a package arrived in the mail with a little box that said to open on the 21st. So like a little kid on Christmas, when I got up this morning, I went and turned on the tree (that sounds so funny) and sat on the floor in the quiet and opened it. Inside was a beautiful beaded necklace. Something she picked up 6 months ago on a trip to Bermuda she explained in her note. I filled with warmth to think that she was thinking of me then. The last line read “Something to make your eyes sparkle as the days get longer. I love you, Chrissy”  I can’t begin to tell you how proud I will be to wear this tonight. It is a long strand with white, golden, green and red beads. It combines the colors of light which means the world to me and the colors of Christmas, which means the world to her. It’s perfect and will feel like a hug and that she is with me too.


Deep breath….

In all honesty, my face is burning with tears right now. First of all, I love that she signed the card Chrissy. I think I am the last one to still call her that. She dropped the “sy” years ago and I just couldn’t break the habit. Second, I can hear her infectious laughter in my head and I love that, too. We met 31 years ago when our parents were dating. So many memories of growing up together are flooding me. She has given me so much laughter. She has one of those laughs that just makes the whole room full of people smile and laugh themselves.But the tears aren’t of just joy. There is no way to escape the sadness and anger that cancer brings with it. It doesn’t define her to me, but stage 4 doesn’t let you forget it’s there for very long. I am grateful for the silly texts she sends me of puppies from work, or cute pics of her son dressed up in his santa hat. It gives me peace to see her soaking up life’s true gifts. Everyday she embraces the light in the darkness. She is inspiring and indeed sparkles bright.

My sweet baby nephew, just woke up crying. Chris is up making coffee now and the faintest of light is beginning to outline the trees on the horizon. This shortest day now begins and I know it will be a great one.



Golden Dreams

I just typed the most insane post about the crazy dreams (belt sanders!) I have been having that surely would have earned me a straight jacket if I had sent it out into the world. As much as I would love to try and process them, I am feeling extremely grateful for the delete button.

So often when I am in this exhausted state, I could use a real delete button to back up time and make better choices of words and actions. I guess that in the world, the word sorry is as close to a delete button as we get.

Fortunately, for the canvas there is always more gesso and primer. I had been working on a canvas for a long while and just couldn’t pull it together… so out came the gesso today. A new beginning awaits the canvas I couldn’t even stand to have in my studio. I can feel my color palette shifting again.. the darkness of the season has me longing again for golds and leaning away from the blues. I need to warm up. It is like I can feel the warmth reach my toes as my eyes soak up the golden tones. I want to stand in the comfort  light and not the long shadows that this time of year brings. My shadow that is so very long, dark and blurry, looking like the ghost of Christmas future from Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, mocks me to try to do better, to be more grateful, to be present and mindful. Not always a bad thing, but I want to find that reminder in the light.

Since my shadow isn’t always there to jump out and scare the sense into me, I have an app on my phone called Lotus Bud. It rings randomly through out the day and asks that I take a minute to be mindful and grateful. I think I need to have one installed in every room in my house, so that we can all stop and remember to be and do our best. Why is it that we are the meanest to those who mean the most? We struggle with that here especially when we are all tired. We take for granted the foundation we are to one another. Yesterday, we all needed a bell to go off every 10 minutes. Our almost teenager’s eyes could not have rolled further back into his head, our 5 year old had glue and paper everywhere and wanted no part in cleaning up, my brown eyed boy was struggling to keep it together and my sweet husband wanted to surrender to the list of house projects that grows faster than the weeds in my garden and I wanted to get on a plane to a hot beach in Mexico… alone and not be the constant referee, who was making bad calls by the way!

But as the afternoon and evening unfolded, homework slowly was done… well this time, a proud kindergardener showed off his latest creation, my brown eyed boy was able to ask and receive the love and support he so needed instead of an all out meltdown, my husband got a fun time out at a neighborhood football party and I went to bed early to confront my strange dreams. They didn’t get much better, but tonight I plan to close my eyes and dream in golden colors, ready to start again on a canvas that has some layers of learning already on it.

Trick or Treat

The past few days have a been a test, my mid-term/mid-life exam of learning to stay in the present. As you may have guessed, I am pretty good at getting caught up in the reflective and I am a pretty good day dreamer, too. But when life is uncomfortable, it is so easy for me to long to be else where. I try to find the grace in the moment. And even if I can see it and feel it, the exhaustion of the constant trying makes me want to run back in time to old friends and places. This week there were lots of reminders of “we just get today”…a friend of Chris’s had a heart attack, our old community said goodbye to a young girl from brain cancer and they were hurting, my sister in law’s friend’s breast cancer is back and I so wish I could take away the worry and sorrow, a nasty divorce where children are being used as pawns and wasting so many todays just infuriates me. It adds up and becomes overwhelming even though I am not directly effected. My life didn’t change dramatically, but  I don’t ever want to take those lessons in vain.

Yet I am human and especially when I am worn out, I tend to lose sight. I am grateful to come here and try to see again.

Yesterday day was Halloween.  After some drama of who was going to be where when and all of the silly energy of miscommunication, I finally surrendered and let the night just unfold. My two older boys are at the point where they want to go off with their friends and to the bustling neighborhoods. My friend and neighbor graciously escorted a herd of boys all over northern Fort Collins. So Chachi and I took off through our quiet, dark neighborhood. Most of the homes here have older people who built here 40 years ago. They were  so happy to see his sweet face swaddled in black velvet as he practically whispered trick or treat. No longer were his big brothers there to do the talking for him. No longer were we in a pack of friends and family. I felt guilty as I longed for the days of our big extended family dressed in theme meandering in our tree lined neighborhood of Colorado Springs. The night full of laughter and generations all taking turns visiting with one another. Now the boys wouldn’t dream of doing a theme with us…. I might have to resort to bribery one of these years!  How are they growing up so quickly?

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine said she wanted a “do over” of last Halloween. True it was great fun, but I remember thinking at the time there are no “do overs.” If only there were “do overs!!!!” We all know we only get today once, but that doesn’t make it always easy to use each day wisely and well. And that is exactly what I wasn’t doing as Charlie and I set out last night. I was feeling sad missing those days… wanting a do over.

But then I watched the faces light up when my son whispered his trick or treat, enjoyed the nice few minutes I got to spend talking to our neighbors because I wasn’t in a group and soaked up the pure joy in Charlie’s voice for yet another piece of candy received. I realized this is exactly where I needed to be. We wandered through the dark, hand in hand. Not often do I get to focus my attention on just one son. I realized for the first time in a week, I felt relaxed. I walked at his pace, let him choose which houses he dared to go ring the bell and we even got to soak up the stars as we went past the greenbelt. I will always be grateful for that time with just him. Trick was on me! It was a real and wonderful treat!

Later we met up with my sister and her family. Chachi now had his cousin Will to run up to doors with. They suggested that we head to old town and walk along the main street. It was just what I needed. Treelined, sidewalks full of leaves, fun people to watch, fantastic decorations and children running everywhere! We returned home where the other two showed up with crazy amounts of candy and sat in the living room swapping stories and inhaling tons of sugar! I was grateful there wasn’t a do over. The moment was perfect as it gets and I look forward to being tricked again next year!

Plaster skies


The sky is not quite white or gray today. It hangs overhead as a solid color with no gradation, completely flat. It feels like I could reach up and touch the center of the sky and that my hand would then look like I had dipped it in a bucket of cold, wet plaster. But below this plaster veil, what remains of the fall leaves is stunning.They pop with extra vibrance. It is as if, they have been plugged in. Chartreuse greens, electric golds and my favorite vermillion sprinkled in-between. There are now trees that are completely bare. They have shed this year’s story. Their bare branches and sticks remain exposed against the cold sky. I am learning, ever so slowly to appreciate the message of fall. I know many who love this season. They are finally getting to me and opening my eyes. I have refused to see nothing but death and sadness this time of year. I have struggled and battled with the sense of loss I feel this time of year. Perhaps since my birthday is this season, I say goodbye to another year of my life, see goals not realized, and vainly when I look in the mirror or down at my hands wrinkled hands with knobby knuckles that time has indeed passed- it is all so very selfish. I am fortunate to have lived to the point where the lines on my face remind me of the fullness of my life- the magical days, the impossible days and all of those in-between.  I am lucky enough to have these old looking hands to turn the soil, hold a paint brush, hug my beautiful children, hold Chris’ old worn hands, pet my loyal and loving dogs  and write to searching for perspective.

It is just so still outside. The Aspen leaves just droop, nothing is moving. It is looks like time has stopped for a brief period. But beyond the white plaster sky, the busyness of the world is tremendously overwhelming. To think of all the motion going on globally, it seems impossible that these leaves can be so still. Can’t they feel the parents’ sobbing for their child who just passed away, can’t they feel the laughter from the playground down the street, can’t they feel the buzz of the highway, can’t they feel the oceans crashing to shore thousands of miles away. Or perhaps they are too tired? They are done telling their story. They will drop to the earth and slowly disintegrate into the soil to feed next years growth. Soon the trees they fall from will be standing with their limbs and twisted twigs exposed. They will look vulnerable but will be lighter and more prepared to take on the harshness of winter. Their time for providing protective shade isn’t needed now. We can see their beautiful lines reaching up to the sky. We can see how they have grown and become their beautiful, unique form even with cracks and knots and scars. As I age, I can see the value of this season. It is still uncomfortable, but becomes more beautiful each year. I am grateful to all of you who have shared your love of this season with me. You are helping my branches grow.

Healing Waters

Healing Waters


Yesterday morning, I went down to my studio to paint for just me. Not for the artisan fair, not for the CF Gala coming up (though I should be and it is fun), and not for the show next spring. I wanted to get back to that place on the canvas where I could find my center. I haven’t been feeling well lately. Like most of us, I am worn down and at times feel like I could shatter like glass. Dealing with craziness and frustration of thyroid and adrenal disfunction is maddening and even though I know self care is necessary, I haven’t been good about it on so many levels… that is a long, internal and boring battle.

So while, still in my pajamas, I turned on some favorite music; Bach’s organ works. I chose my color palette to find some peace in the now. A smokey lilac and a gray blue to start. I wanted to get back to my skies. I have missed them.  Slowly, I tuned out my responsibility as a mother, wife, friend, homeowner, sister, daughter, dog-owner, hostess, community member, “taxi” driver, gardener and eventually got lost in the music and paints. Almost as if in a panic to get rid of that white canvas, my strokes started out frantic began to become more sedate and so did I. And sure enough, there came my water that I crave and miss. I still can’t believe I am so landlocked. I am so grateful to have beautiful Long’s Pond up the road, but I miss the ocean. Someone once said to me “you artists are always doing the same thing over and over.”  Yes and no…at times it is true. For me, it is a form of meditation when I paint in this mode. Back and forth across the canvas, numb in color.  I could feel myself floating over gentle waves, soaking up the blue.. not quite sure where the sky ended and the water began… a faint horizon line. I wanted it blurred so I could feel the expanse of time and space. My heart rate steadied, the music floated through my blood stream and my breath calmed. This is why I paint. It heals me. It takes me to places I can’t physically get to and allows me to escape to a peaceful place within myself making me feel healthy, stable and whole. I can float and find footing at the same time in those healing waters I create and then I am ready to challenge myself again.


The pronunciation of our last name has come up a lot lately. It is an easy one to butcher and get wrong. Our last name is Giglio pronounced  jill- E- o but most often it comes out  JIG- leo

and even on occasion jige-LO ???

Nice, huh?

I remember back to when my mother-in-law was a substitute teacher for my sister and as a third grader called her Mrs. Jello. Chris was called Gigs growing up. (As high school sweet hearts from a small town, Chris and I have these old stories) Yesterday, I overheard the boys cracking up about how and when people have messed up our name. But, when someone gets it right, they are over the moon. The principal at Alex’s school now calls him Giglio (pronounced correctly) and he beams with pride. The name Giglio is one associated with beauty and meaning. It translates to lily, which in Italian is the iris. Read more here. Similar to the Fleur-de-lis, it instead has five petals instead of three. It is great fun to have this icon associated with our name. We have the flag of Florence which appropriately for our family has 5 Giglios on it. Our garden is full of iris of all shades. They are on our plates, glasses, doorstops, jewelry, etc.  Chris and I have been to the Isola del Giglio where we were the only Americans and people there were baffled we were there and in SHOCK that our last name was indeed Giglio. I even had to show an elderly man my passport to get him to believe me. In turn, we were given tremendous service and attention while there. It was a hoot! We dined at Restaurante Giglio in Lucca with Chris’s family for his parents’ 40th and the menu is in our dining room. The name has taken us to wonderful places and given us some favorite memories. But the man who gave us this name is who is really on my mind and heart. Chris’s dad aka Mr.G  is a gentleman to the core. I met him 25 years ago when I was just 15.

Double date to a wedding in Richmond 1993
Double date to a wedding in Richmond 1993

He watched me grow up along side his son and was nothing but supportive and caring as we stumbled along to find our footing into adulthood and eventually marriage. He was Chris’s best man.

Mr G. (the far right) Chris's best man!
Mr G. (the far right) Chris’s best man!

In my studio I have a print of a young girl running with all of her art supplies under her arm that is in a frame that he made. Right now, Chachi sits at a table eating a snack that his grandfather proudly made with his hands. But Mr. G has given us so much more than his woodworking creations. He gave Chris a tremendous sense of what is right and wrong, a ridiculous work ethic, the importance of being a part of a community and an authenticity of being a true gentleman. And to me he always finds a quiet moment to sneak in a wonderful and heartfelt compliment. I cherish those words dearly. Right now he isn’t feeling well and Chris and I feel like we might as well be on the moon. If only we could put Colorado where West Virginia is. Chris will soon be going to lend a hand around their house and hopefully get in some fishing time with his Dad and brother to just enjoy the company and the day. Mr. G. is a great story teller. One of my favorites is that he had to be taken to first grade in a cab and checked in to school or otherwise he would just go roam for the day. He would rather be outside than anywhere, so it makes perfect sense.

Off to fish at Becky's pond
Off to fish at Becky’s pond

I now have three boys who have his name. It feels like a huge responsibility to instill in them those hardworking, genuine, and sweet gentleman qualities that seem to come with the name. I am lucky to have my four Giglio guys here under roof and so fortunate to have had Mr. G lead the way. I will always be grateful that this loving man is a part of who I am and that I have the honor of being a Giglio, too.

with the next generation of Giglios
Mr. and Mrs. G with the next generation of Giglios

Endless Summer

Last night a friend of mine put a very honest post on Facebook about the passing of her father. It was straight-forward and bittersweet. It was real. It was refreshing. As I went through my day today, I kept thinking about her pure honesty, her lesson learned and her gratitude. It helped me embrace the sunshine more as we gear up to wake up to snow tomorrow. (I am in complete denial about it and if we are talking about being real.. rather grumpy about it, too!) So I picked all of the tomatoes, kale and rhubarb, dug up the potatoes and enjoyed my bare-feet in the grass while eating the last of the raspberries. It felt luxurious as I ignored the state of the inside of my home and slowly worked my way around the beds. I then moved onto the flowers and lavender… so lovely.. so sad to see the color go.

My own father called to tell me that he and Diane were going to come up on Sunday for the Artisan Fair that Chris and I have been making things for and to see my mural in the hay-barn. It meant the world.

And then, all of a sudden I had 10 minutes before it was time to go gather boys and begin distributing them to activities. Scramble… did I even brush my teeth today? I should put on clothes that don’t have paint and holes it… HA! There is nothing in the fridge or pantry…damn it. I was suppose to go to the store. Fried green tomatoes anyone? Where are the dogs? and my keys?

I manage to get there on time and see my sweet friends and sister for a few minutes. Then we are off! I drop boys at soccer and Charlie and I head to the grocery store and manage to fill the cart to the brim in an hour. Meanwhile, the temperature has dropped, the gray clouds are rolling in and I feel like the world is closing in on me. I am not ready to say goodbye to the green, the light, and having bare-feet. I fight fall every year. Yes, the light casting long beautiful shadows is stunning, but it means I have to say goodbye to dirt under my nails for a long 6 or so months. It is so strange to just turn off this big part of me for half the year. Each year I try to find the silver lining, but I really, truly miss tending my little corner of the world. My moods sinks.

Back at home, the boys and I bust through the front door with our bags and reality hits. The sink is full of dishes and I forgot to run the dishwasher this morning.  We have to maneuver around buckets of laundry and stuff is everywhere. I can feel myself winding up and feeling overwhelmed over these little things that I know in the big picture don’t matter. So I ditch the bags on the kitchen floor and during the last few bits of daylight, I go and cover the rest of my garden, hoping to save the arugula, lettuce and herbs. I use some old white drop clothes and almost feel like there should be peaceful, dead bodies underneath. My dark thoughts catch me off guard and the uncomfortableness of death sits heavy with me.  The anticipation of those we will lose in the next decade is overwhelming at times. The fact that there is no guarantee for a tomorrow for any of us, takes my breath away. Embrace the snow and the cold, Catherine. It brings snuggles by the fire, holidays with family and friends and big comfy sweaters to go with my jeans. But still that twinge of frustration lingers. What is wrong with me?

I head back in and get to work unloading groceries and making the boys dinner. Charlie picked out turkey dogs, green beans and mac n cheese.  Chris is helping a friend today (a whole different story) so nothing gourmet happening in the kitchen tonight. All three are talking to me at once and I realize more than anything that I am just exhausted. Plain tired. So frickin’ tired, I will eat a damn hotdog.

But then I am saved by the bell.. the doorbell. There standing on my porch, my wonderful friend and neighbor Betsy is offering me warm carrot-ginger soup with toasted pumpkin seeds. I almost kissed her!  We sit to dinner and I look down to my place setting. It is this gorgeous and yummy soup, green beans in a penguin bowl, and a much needed bourbon and coke all on top of  “The Presidents of the United States of America” laminated placemat.

Well-balanced meal.. carrot-ginger soup from Betsy, green beans with a bourbon and coke!
Well-balanced meal.. carrot-ginger soup from Betsy, green beans with a bourbon and coke!

To my left on the floor is a bucket of laundry, but to my right and across from me are the three most beautiful, often annoying, funny, loving, and exhausting boys. They are my real light. I know when I hit the fall of my life, I am really going to struggle. Right now, I feel like these years are my summer. And,even with all the mess, chaos and exhaustion, I find myself wishing for this to be an endless summer.

Sunrise Remembering Baryshnikov

September sunrise


My ears are ringing. It is so unbelievably quiet.

It is a beautiful Sunday morning. I just came in from watching the sunrise with a quarter moon still over head. No one was out walking, the birds were still asleep, and there wasn’t even the slightest breeze to make the Aspen leaves quake.The light was soft and warm at the horizon with that cool turquoise above that says that fall is here.  Inside, I can hear the clock ticking which just seems ridiculous. I notice the difference in the sound that my sweatshirt makes vs. the material of my socks. It is surreal. No dishwasher, washing machine or dryer running. Like most homes full of children and dogs, this house buzzes with activity until we collapse into bed at night.

Chris is always up at the very first glimpse of light outside. Today he is up in Wyoming fishing the Green River,  so it was me who popped out of bed early to let the dogs out. Somehow, they even know it is Sunday and have gone back to bed, where I normally am. I have always wanted to be a morning person, but…. well…after 40 years… it’s still not looking hopeful.

It is nice though to sit in the quiet space of Chris. Where he starts his day with his coffee, listening to the world wake up. I can see why he loves it so much.

Yaaaawwwwwn!!!! Perhaps I should make some tea.

Sitting in his space, I feel that I can hear his heart beat instead of my own. It is strong and centered. It is steady and calm. And it doesn’t match the quick beat of my own. I try to breath in all the way to my toes to slow it down.

POP! (fortunately not my heart, but a great memory!)

I am back in Minnesota anxiously waiting for one of the great moments of my life. The lights dim and then on stage he appears wearing red pants and a wireless heart monitor. There stood Baryshnikov!

boom, boom, boom we can hear his heart at a steady resting pace.

I am so frustrated and caught off guard as my eyes well up with tears so he was blurry for a minute.  The anticipation of getting to see him dance in person was immense.  My own heart racing. I felt like a silly school girl, until he began to dance and I realized that it was so justified to see such incredible strength, grace and expression. He was stunning. He literally danced to the beat of his own heart  which he slowed and quickened with his movements. (read more about HeartBeat: mb, here) He was powerful, beautiful and inspiring.

He was in control of every muscle in his body, moving in perfect harmony. And strangely, there was something about him that reminded me of Chris. It made no sense to me at the time and I kinda shrugged, chuckled to myself and then soaked up the rest of his performance and the rest of the show. I was so grateful that I had gotten to see Baryshnikov dance in person. Huge bucket list experience!

After the performance I couldn’t stop rambling on and on…. and on and on. And then my friend, Lori said that something about him reminded her of Chris. I couldn’t believe it. I told her too that I had thought the same and confessed I kinda giggled.  We couldn’t pin point what it was, but there was some essence that we had both picked up on. It felt kinda crazy… and cool!

Sitting here now in Chris’s space and remembering back all of those years ago, the connection of grace, strength and control makes sense to me. Baryshnikov was dancing to his heart beat; his pure essence. Chris lives that way.

He is intentional, strong and even graceful in his being. And, I can’t believe I get to dance to life along side of him.

The birds are now all chirping and awake, a train whistle blows, neighbors are walking their dogs and a few cars make their way up the hill and out of the neighborhood. I am going to go make that tea and sit a little longer until the house starts buzzing again wondering what thought will pop up next and recognizing that this time is also a great moment of my life.

Beginning Again.

Welcome to the new home for my blog… on my very own website!!! (I still have some work to do.. but it is close!)

I can’t believe it!

And, I can’t believe that this is my 50th blog post. I have missed this outlet; this place to pause, reflect and connect.

Where to begin again?

I am sure I have had at least 50 thoughts for a blogs posts since the last one.

At least 50 chores and projects I should be doing instead.

At the very least 50 reasons to be grateful we have a warm, dry house after the rains and floods in CO two weeks ago.

And, at least 50 people to thank who have helped get me to today.

Gratitude thread in my studio.
One of many gratitude threads in my studio.

In my art room, I hung some red threads above my desk and on them I put names of the people who have supported me, inspired me, pushed me, taught me, loved me, reached out to me, encouraged me, rallied with me, brainstormed with me, been honest with me, opened doors for me, laughed with me and gave me a big kick on the backside of my jeans when I needed it (you know who you are!).  I am so humbled by the amount of energy, time, and love that people have showed me to help me grow this year. This time last year, I was painting the exterior of our house bright yellow. (Confession time…the back still needs to be done. Eventually!) But, I remember as I worked on it last year, imagining a life.. no dreaming of a life where I was constantly creating and moving forward. At the time, I felt stuck and couldn’t see to the next week. And, I learned that  I was the only one standing in my own way… thanks Chris! Seriously, thank you for holding up the mirror! Never would I have imagined that I would have come this far with so far to go!  I have sold paintings here and across the country, have a show next April at Gallery Bleu, am working on a collaborative show in Colorado Springs, now have a website (with an online store no less!), am back doing some decorative finishes, just did a fun mural in a hay-barn, will be a part of an Artisan Fair next weekend… it’s crazy!!! I must say the crowning jewel is when my husband, who is the cornerstone of my life and gives so much to let me follow this dream, introduced me as an artist. It’s a title I am still not comfortable with, but it is growing on me.

So thank you!! I couldn’t have gotten to this point alone. Far from it! And, I am so grateful for  the tremendous support of family and friends, the Evolve class through AIR here in Fort Collins, and the amazing people I have met along the way. All of you, who are a part of my red thread tapestry that feels like a big comfy blanket, are helping me create this life that makes me feel like I am beginning again. And for that, I can’t thank you enough.