Tuesday, March 29, 2005 2:35 PM

Ilustration Friday: Crowded A painting I did for my sister who asked for a picture of "fishies."

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Thursday, March 24, 2005 8:02 PM

On my retreat.... I went on an AMAZING retreat for mothers this past weekend, and my mom and her friends were on the team that put it together. It was so special, being on a spiritual retreat with my awesome mom and other special mother-figures -- people who knew me when I was so small and who helped form my faith as well. It was almost tribal -- there was such a feeling of being in a fellowship of mothers, where the elders of the tribe were there for you to lean on and come to and share their wisdom. It felt very loving and nurturing, and I cried a lot. ;) In a nutshell, what I took away from the retreat: * God wants most for me to love my children. Check. I can do that one! * I don't need to have a huge faith, all I have to start with is a faith the size of a mustard seed. Check. I have that! I even have a necklace with a mustard seed in it, and like a dork, I wear it without even really thinking what it holds most of the time. * I don't need to be super-mom, Martha Stewart, spend a lot of money, or obsess about my kids to be a good mom, no matter what the media or the rest of the world tells me. Phew! What a relief! * I AM ALREADY A GREAT MOM. ;) * There is no mom competition. We should all be supporting each other, not giving each other guilt trips or thinking we don't stack up. Dang, I want to put this on a t-shirt or something. * Being a mother is an honor and a privilege. something I often forget in the midst of the unceasing diaper changes. * Prayer can take many forms, including singing and taking special notice of the world around you. I said on the retreat, "Wait, that's prayer too?" and the whole group said "Yes!" back at me. Thank God for that, because sometimes taking the time to notice the color of the sky or the new crocuses coming up is all I can manage. I had the opportunity to do so many neat things, and I tried to take advantage of them all instead of napping (which, on this retreat, was a totally accepted option). I prayed the rosary aloud with a group of women, hiking around the grounds of the retreat center. That was powerful to me -- almost like a mini-pilgrimage. I'm not big on the rosary and if it had been inside I wouldn't have done it, but outside, under the bright blue sky, all these mothers of so many ages, lifting their voice in prayer. It was so cool. I also got to go to Vespers -- the place is a school and is run by Benedictine monks -- and by some lucky chance I sat next to the cantor who took a liking to me (probably because I could read the music!) So he would point out what we were singing next and what page to turn to. It was beautiful, chants and responses, mostly in English and a bit in Latin. If I could, I'd go every night; what a peaceful and beautiful way to pray. Happy Easter and Spring -- this is our season, the time of creating. ;)

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005 7:43 AM

Illustration Friday: Bloom Crocus-Minded by Jo Sorley It takes courage to be crocus-minded. God, Iíd rather wait until June, Like wise roses, When the hazards of winter are safely behind, and Iím expected, and everythingís ready for roses. But crocuses? Highly irregular. Knifing through hard-frozen ground and snow, and sticking their necks out, because they believe in spring and have something personal and emphatic to say about it. God, I am by nature rose-minded. Even when I have studied the situation here and know there are wrongs that need righting, affirmations that need stating, and know also that my speaking out may offend... for it rocks the boat... Well, Iíd rather wait until June. Maybe later things will work themselves out, and we wonít have to make an issue of it. God, forgive, Wrongs donít work themselves out. Injustices and inequities and hurts donít just dissolve. Somebody has to stick her neck out, Somebody who cares enough to think through and work through hard ground, because she believes and has something personal and emphatic to say about it. Me God? Crocus-minded? Could it be that there are things that need to be said, and you want me to say them? I pray for courage.

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Friday, March 18, 2005 10:21 AM

I'm going on a much-needed retreat this weekend that's geared towards mothers. If you've got a minute, please say a prayer for me! (Added; And my incredible mom, who is one of the mothers running the retreat!)

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005 11:07 PM

Illustration Friday: Fragile (Yes, on Tuesday, it's going to be a short week.) A little sketch of where the skeletons of leaves come from.

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Thursday, March 10, 2005 7:18 AM

Illustration Friday: Ancient This week, I went a little crazy and tried out some new techniques. I started with a sketch for one of the illustrations for Spirits Unwrapped, because hey, you can't get too much more ancient than a mummy. But to age the illustration further, I added in some more elements: First I scanned in material from an old stash of my grandma's along with yellow silk flowers as a start for the background. Then I photocopied a piece of paper while leaving the door open to make a black piece of paper (covered with toner) and then creased and crunched the heck out of it, and scanned that too. Ripped up some more copy paper and scanned that in as well for a frame. I also used some of the special brushes in photoshop to erase and give texture to the flat areas. Then a little more photoshop magic and poof! Instant age.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2005 11:31 AM

Guaranteed to make you smile, or there's something wrong with you. Watch the video of Mahna Mahna on the Muppet Show (requires Windows Media Player). One of my absolute favorite songs of all time. (Note to self, I need to get this as my ringtone, ala "Committed.") Crank it up and sing loudly!

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Sunday, March 06, 2005 10:15 AM

The Michelangelo Project! Happy birthday to my favorite artist, and a creative genius to boot! So far, we're still planning our creative endeavours at our house, so I'm posting my journal/sketchbook page from March 6, 2001. I was at a conference in Georgia and was drawing at breakfast, reading The Artists' Way. I followed it up with a trip to an art museum. (Click the picture to launch the image, it's big.) On the agenda for today: watching "Don't Eat the Pictures" with Sophie (the cast of Sesame Street goes to the Metropolitan Museum of Art), making homemade granola, and working on the first set of illustrations for Spirits Unwrapped. I'll post more later.... what creative things have you been up to? Leave a comment!

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Thursday, March 03, 2005 4:15 PM

The Michelangelo Project March 6th is Michelangelo's birthday! To celebrate the birthday of one of the world's most inspiring artists, I invite you to participate in this project. What you do: 1. Do something creative this Sunday, March 6th. It can be something you love to do, something you've forgotten how to do, something you've never done and always secretly wanted to try. Here's your excuse! Some ideas are: - paint/draw/collage - sculpt (like the master) - write a poem, a short story - take a photo - visit a museum or art gallery - sew - cook something exciting you've never made before - see an art film, foreign film, or movie about an artist 2. Come back here and share your experience! Post a link to your creation, write about your trip or creative process - share your creative story with others. How creative can we get? (There will be a special post Sunday for you to post to.) 3. Link back with the above graphic if you've written about it on your site. 4. Have fun, for goodness' sake! This is not about being perfect or creating the best piece of art. It's about embracing your creative side in whatever form it happens to take. I'll be back to share my experience on Sunday... can't wait to hear your stories!

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Illustration Friday: Jazz Certain kinds of jazz remind me of flying. I really enjoy Vince Guaraldi (the Charlie Brown music guy). Makes me want to dance, especially when I hear "Linus and Lucy", the ultimate dance song. This snippet of sheet music is from "Cast Your Fate to the Wind," a popular piano solo at my husband's studio. This past year I've done a good amount of casting my fate to the wind and just letting go, because the amount of control I've had over my life has been minimal, at best. It's been a whirlwind of a year, and I'm looking forward to a little settling down, some peace and quiet. And all that jazz. ps ~ Brand new: Click to learn how you can participate.

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Happy Birthday, Peter Joseph and Angela Faith Dear ones, It's amazing to me that you both are ONE YEAR OLD today. Your daddy and I freely admit that we have no idea why you both came the way you did; why God decided you needed to come so soon after Sophie was born, and why you were born two months early. We think that there's a special reason why you're here, and we may never know what it will be. And that's okay with us. We're just glad you're here. Peter, you are such a special little boy. I love the way you army crawl, on your elbows, and you are the fastest thing around. I love how you crow when you do something you're especially proud of, which usually means I need to run and investigate! I love that 4-toothed grin of delight when you pull yourself up on the furniture. You'll be walking any day now, and I'll love that too. You are the dramatic one, the one who goes from exhilarated to meltdown in 3 minutes, but daddy and I are on to you! And you still do the tortured kitten scream... I may actually miss when you give that one up. ;) Angela, my littlest muffin... I love your cuddliness SO much. I think you're still making up for lost time when you were in the hospital a month longer than Peter, and we were all home without you; I love that you want to be held and snuggled like crazy. I love how you do that perfect textbook crawl, slowly, while you stop every few steps to look around and see if there's something interesting you want to grab. I love your wookie noises - you sound just like Chewbacca and it's the cutest thing ever. And the talking! When you and Peter babble to each other and then laugh, I know you're sharing something really funny together. And I love that you have each other. I love you, my precious muffins. Your presence here is even more blessed and cherished because of the incredible circumstances of your birth. If you'd been born even 10 years ago, you might not have made it, and that makes me look at you every day in wonder. You're so strong and healthy too! You two are miracles, and you are a gift to me and daddy. We love you so much. loving you always, your mama pictures from the big birthday party one year ago: some of their early photos

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