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.



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!



I am going to attempt to try the impossible.

I have been wanting to get back to my magnificent muse writings but felt I really couldn’t do another without writing first about my mom. I have been thinking about it for months and so many memories, lessons and thank-yous, it seems impossible to write the words that will encompass all of the love and energy that is my mom. So this will just have to be one of many so that I am not too paralyzed to start. Knowing that the gratitude and inspiration is never ending will allow me to begin. Perhaps this will be my new mother’s day tradition. Normally, I plant the sunflower seeds she sends me every year on Mother’s day, but that will have to wait until later week when the weather is better.


sunflowers 007
My mom sends me sunflowers every year. What joy they bring!




My favorite picture of my mom and me.





It really feels impossible to know where to begin. There is just so much.

As I look out the window at the SNOW falling this May 11th.. (hey, it’s my half-birthday!)… my first thank you is that she taught me to love and care for my little corner of the earth. I am mourning the loss of all the iris, peony, and delphinium blooms that are now frozen. She would be just as devastated.

I could describe every plant and flower on our property in Virginia where I grew up. The rows of daffodils on the east side of the driveway, the dogwood where the cars were parked, the azaleas that surrounded the front porch, the lilies and forsythia along the fence row, the wisteria where our old english sheepdog would eat the bumble bees…. I can still see and smell it all. She created a natural, magical place for us to grow up. I loved getting to garden along side of my mom. At the end of the driveway, we would plant some zinnias and marigolds. I can see her long tan legs, her hair tucked behind her ear and her beautiful hands working the soil in my mind.  She now lives on a beautiful hilltop along the Blue Ridge Mountains, a lifetime away from the hilltop of my childhood. Once again, she has created beautiful spaces that match the view. I’ll be going to see her in a month and I can’t wait to see how her living canvas has grown and matured and what else she has created on her corner of the earth. Last year, I received a box in the mail full of plants from her own garden. Much to my surprise most of them are coming back this year. Hopefully the snow won’t kill them off. I love having plants that her hands cared for here in my yard. It feels magical.


My mom loves and celebrates the magic of childhood. It was simple but magical. And when I think back on my favorite memories, it was she who orchestrated them. The first one that pops into my mind was an incredibly hot summer day. We lived in an old farmhouse and back then very few people had air conditioning. We had some A/C units in our bedrooms that got turned on at night on rare occasions. It was so hot. Too hot to even really think. She got my sister, Jenny and me special coloring books. We never had coloring books, which I thank her for now. She gave me a Raggedy Ann and Andy story coloring book that had tracing paper between the pages. My Raggedy Ann doll was a treasure. I loved her until she was bald and I actually still have her. Someone will have to throw her away once I leave this world.  Mom brought down the huge fan to the porch, left us in our matching floral nightgowns and I think I sat and colored and traced that entire book. We sang songs into the fan to make our voices distorted, made popsicles from orange juice. I loved that day. I wonder if she remembers. She was probably running around taking care of my baby sister, Christin and was thinking that the dollar she spent on coloring books was a brilliant move to keep us busy and from whining.  At least that’s what I would have thought.  She took us on our own special days to raft the river or go to an art museum with just her. No siblings allowed. She celebrated us as individuals and allowed us to be exactly who we were. That has turned out to be the greatest of all gifts.

Of course growing up, I didn’t think she had it all right. I remember being furious that my sisters sometimes had  later curfews or that our punishments were never the same as another’s. I foolishly tried to call her out on this and she looked at me calmly and said that consequences and privileges would be as individual as we were and appropriate for that person. I was speechless. She, what I think is brilliant NOW and annoying back then, put all the responsibility right back on to us. As a single mom she had to take the brunt of it all. I don’t know how she did it. Even with her wonderful circle of girlfriends, who were our other mothers, she worked tirelessly. She managed to get her landscape architect degree, work a full time job, drive 100 mile carpools (no exaggeration… country living) for ballet, gymnastics and tennis and do her best to manage a 80 year old farmhouse and land…. believe me half of our childhood was spent cutting grass and my friend Jennifer and I would clean each other’s houses in order to have sleepovers! She got us on track for college which was mandatory, and made sure that we were strong, independent girls so she could send us out into the world. It took a lot of growing up on my part to really see ALL that she did for us. We understood to a degree the huge task she had in raising us, but not until we became mothers ourselves could we fully appreciate the endless work she did. And, I have decided that she must actually have magic powers.

She still creates her simple magic. Two years ago, my boys went to stay with her while I visited with a friend. They took mason jars filled with grass to catch lightening bugs, which we sadly don’t have here in Colorado. She let them put them by their beds as night lights and then they  released them the next morning. She gave them trays with different colored puddings and let them finger paint and them told them they could eat it.. but with their hands behind there backs! They thought she was crazy and loved every second of licking their pudding masterpieces. The boys now help her garden when they are there and she sends them pictures of how “their” flowers are doing. There are picnics by the river with rock skipping competitions and she won’t back down, not one bit. She has taught them, like she did us, to be curious as to what’s around the next corner. To want to explore and see more. And, because of this we have had some special, spontaneous, magical days.

But perhaps the most magical memory that she gave to both my sisters and now all of her grandchildren is the magic of sunset. When we were little girls we would have our bath after dinner and in the summer get to go outside with her to blow the sundown over the Blue Ridge Mountain. I remember feeling convinced that if we worked hard enough, we were actually the ones making the sun set. Afterwards, we would say good night to the sun, run under the maple trees to catch lightning bugs and then go upstairs to read before bed. It was a brilliant move to get us to bed. But, what it taught me is to take the time to slow down and be in the moment. I so clearly can feel every last bit of oxygen leaving my body as the last sliver of sun sunk down behind the mountains. I remember that it felt like bad luck to inhale at that moment. She now takes her grandchildren out to blow the sundown when we are together. There is nothing more magical than watching her with them in that moment. The golden color on the faces of the people who anchor me in the past and future and in pure love is definitely a magical experience to be right in the middle.


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My boys blowing the sun down at family reunion, Pipesteam, WVA.


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The sunset at Pipestem!


Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You truly are magic.

I love you.

Showing up

To my dear friends and family,

It’s up!

My first show in Fort Collins is now hanging. And my paintings are along side Valerie Savarie’s amazing altered books. I feel nervous, proud, excited and…… so very loved.


It is really surreal to me to see my paintings hanging together in an unfamiliar space.



My coach asked me last week what success would look like after Friday night. I guess after seeing them hanging, I hope that they evoke an emotion or a memory, and some peace as that is what the process of painting them brings me. And, I hope that there is a wonderful sense of connection in the coming together to share time and space around them. Community. That is important to me and I feel honored to be a part of this one. Through AIR Evolve Class, friendships, mastermind groups, my coach, my huge family, my spunky boys and my endlessly supportive husband, I have reached a goal and overcome some fears with all of the love, advice, and support I have been given.

Earlier this week, my son turned down an opportunity at school, mostly because he was scared to get up in front of others.

I completely 100% get it.

I tried to tell him what a great chance it was and that I thought overall he would not only learn a lot, but have a really good time. He struggled back and forth and back and forth and ultimately decided against it. I was sad for him, but I also understood that his fear is real and super powerful. I know how proud he would have felt if he had gone ahead and just tried no matter if he did well at the project or not. He would have beaten his fear back a bit and opened a new door. But he is 10. It has taken me 40 years to face many of my fears. I hope that I  that I can teach him showing up and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone has greater rewards than you can imagine. And, I hope that I can keep the conversation going so that he won’t waste decades of opportunities on account of fear.

I have been told I am “brave” (perhaps foolish)  sharing  here like I do. It is a very small fraction of the crazy that runs through my head. A crazy that I am learning to live with and embrace with my heart.  However, showing up here actually makes it easier to live the life I want. It helps me set intentions and holds me accountable. It has been a year since I decided to come out of the cocoon of my basement studio and into your worlds. Sure, sometimes I cringe and blush a bit at how much I share, as it is often more than just what is going on with my art. I hope that by showing you more than just the artist part of me, it helps to paint a picture of where some of my works come from. It’s a risk I am willing to take as it has made my relationships deeper, formed new friendships, opened doors to places I assumed I would never unlock and it feels good to live and paint from a place that is true to my core. Through sharing my joys, flaws, inspirations, failures, moods and adventures, others have reciprocated, making it easier to let go, easier to be in the moment, easier to find peace in reflection, easier to to set goals, easier to just be and be completely fine.  That said, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t lots of hard work involved, fears to constantly overcome or so much more to learn. There are days when the journey feels overwhelming, hopeless and frustrating and I don’t want to show up any more. And, of course there are days when it feels joyful, fulfilling and right. It has been a risk that has taught me so much about myself and rewarded me to have you by my side, helping me to spread my wings. I hope as a mother, I can do for my boys, what you have done for me and they won’t be afraid to go try.

So many thank-yous to all of you who have cheered me forward this past year. You showed up in front of me to pull me along, behind me to kick me in the rear when I need it and along side of me to share and listen. I really appreciate all the love and support you send my way. You  add depth, intention and color to my journey as a an artist and my journey as a human. I am ever grateful. I look forward to seeing  many of you on Friday and for those who cant’ join in the fun, pictures soon to follow! Cheers to you!

Gratefully, Catherine



242… but whose counting?

AH!!!!  A quiet house. The boys are on spring break, but all were invited to various different things today. The stars for this mom have aligned!

It’s been 242 hours since I was alone, but whose counting?

I know there is a lot talk flying around these days about introverts, so I know you’ve probably heard how much being alone is needed. I have been grateful for books like Quiet by Susan Cain that validates what feels so normal to me, yet in our fast moving/high energy world, I often feel so very off kilter. A freak.   It surprises most that I am an introvert, especially since I really do love people which I think is one of the bigger misunderstandings about introverts.  But I also really appreciate being (and need to be) alone.  I love that right now, I can hear the hum of the refrigerator, the ticking of the clock, the whir of the washing machine and the blue spruce branches brushing up against the house. White noise. I know that I need a big reboot when I don’t even want to turn on music. I have turned the phones off because they make me jump a mile high when I am in this quiet space. I feel like my nerve endings are finally getting a break from taking in so much information.  My nights have been restless looking for the time to organize thoughts, projects and life milestones, but with no clarity of a sleep deprived brain, it is just frustrating and at times panic ridden. It is hard to wait for these moments of solitude and even harder to create them. I struggle with feeling entitled and selfish when I take a needed time out to find that peace, but I also know that I have nothing left to give when I don’t. If only I had a gauge like a fuel tank for others to see that I am running on fumes and to please be patient why I go quietly get rid of the tired/bitchy girl who has taken over to protect the one who wants to love and be loved.

So now, this computer too gets turned off for the next few hours and I am going to go get lost in my paints and start filling up my tank again.

What do you do to fill yourself up?


Red Thread Thanks

Last fall, I was fortunate enough to sell  painting that I loved to a woman who welcomed it into her home with great pride and fanfare. I had planned to write about that day then, but I am glad I waited as the story had another chapter to be told.

I often find it hard at times to say goodbye to a painting as I send it out into the world.  For me, there is a lot of emotion and internal thought in them. My memories are carried within those layers of paint; blankets of thoughts and feelings. However, I have learned that the paintings tend to find where they are suppose to be. When I get the chance/privilege to talk with the new owner of my paintings, it is pretty evident and even magical how they find the right home.

When I delivered this particular piece to a home in Old Town Fort Collins, I was greeted with tremendous warmth and excitement. The new owner showed me where she wanted it to go and then asked if I would ” do the honors” of hanging the painting. I was happy to do so. Once it was up, she actually had tears in her eyes and gave me a great big hug. It was the best. She poured some beers and we raised our glasses and toasted. It made my heart soar. We sat and talked a bit. She asked me about my work and how I got to be a painter. I told her the Legend of the Red Thread of Fate and how it came to be a part of my life. Again, tears in her eyes. While we sat and talked, her oldest son, a freshman in high school, pulled a chair up right in front of it and just sat. Eventually, he too asked some questions and  I know my feet weren’t touching the ground. What a gift of love they gave to me as they welcomed my art with such ceremony and true appreciation. It really caught me off guard to be experiencing that moment but I was overwhelmed with gratitude.



This past week, she invited me along with my boys back to her home for another visit and to talk about a commission based off of Sisters Three. She proudly showed me her painting again and how it has become her reading corner. It was great to see it as it brought back fond memories for me, but it was clear it was a painting meant for her. I am glad I let it go.  I learned more about her this time and about her practice as a therapist for youth and families. It was a lovely visit and it went by much too quickly. She showed me that the red thread I had sent with a thank you note, was still tied around her wrist. I showed her mine and was so grateful that the red thread had done its job once again. Connection.

A few days later, I got a text from her asking if I had anymore of that thread that I could spare. She was going to be meeting with a group of 5 high school students who had a friend who passed away and she wanted to share the legend.

My knees felt weak and my eyes welled up. The familiar stab of sorrow in my heart.

I left the ball of thread on my front porch  which she later returned with a message that the session had gone well. The students took extra to pass along to other friends and loved ones. I closed my eyes and thought of those whose hearts were breaking. I thought of Laurel and her girls. I thought of my sister in law whose friend passed away last week. And I thought of all of the amazing people I get to love and be loved by.

I love that the legend is infinite. It has traveled so long and far already. How many times will it circle the globe?

I love to wonder who I still get to share it with and who they will share it with. It keeps me pushing forward in those days when I doubt myself and my path.  It reminds me that I truly paint (and write) to connect with my journey and  to connect with others.

Thank you for being here to take the time to connect with me. I really appreciate it. If you ever would like some red thread to pass along, message me your mailing address and I will pop some in the mail to you. Best, Cat