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One Outfit

I used to go into a slight panic when I had to dress up to go out. An event to impress requires a dress. Or “slacks” that flatter and don’t make me look fatter. I’d pull something together eventually and think, “This is the only decent outfit I own.”

I have two closets with clothing in them. Some of the stuff is summer wear. Yea, some of it wouldn’t fit while I was pregnant, as well as afterwards. But do you really believe any other time it was the only outfit I had? Because I don’t.

I have notice this “only one” feeling has applied to my writing too. I’d write a really great piece and then not want to let it go unless it was the perfect place to publish. Because it’s the only good article I will ever write. I seem to feel desperate and clingy about my good life moments. Like it’ll never happen again.

Then I recognized this was a record skipping. Lack of abundance keeping me from a continuance to the more room. Permission to have. Permission to be. Permission to let go of a definition that no longer serves, if it ever did. Permission to know there’s more that will come after you’ve used that one.

Only when we live in the fear that we ‘don’t have’, do we hoard and over-indulge and still end up feeling empty and lacking. I used to think you’d discover I was the poor cheap untalented failure I secretly knew I was,  these days I have indisputable proof that at least a couple of people feel differently. Including me. And that’s a mighty fine view to see.

I have come a long way. Even from I’m a Square Me in My Round LIfe, a post that shows I can hit some low notes and come through carrying the lessons I was meant to gather. (Plus there’s an actual picture of me featured in one of those “one outfits”. I recently finally got back to that same size, the one I was when I got pregnant.)

Enjoy Your Now

Our busy weekend is still going strong. Today’s Eamon’s 9th birthday. We’ve had days and days of visiting with family, fun Easter egg stuff, and eating out and unhealthy. I needed to write a post for today and as we wind up our vacation mode, I am reviewing what I have noticed and what was important from these experiences. In honor of my new friend Lauren, I would like to offer a five things list.

1. There is no such thing as a given. What you think will be the way it always will be may not be a day, month, or decade from now. Enjoy now. Noticing the lilt of a voice, the readiness of a laugh, or the loveliness of a wine is all of the moment you will ever ‘have’.Mark and Eamon from

2. Birthing and maintaining babies is a lot of work. The word relentless comes up quite often for me. They are inconvenient and terrifying. And at one year-old, are the truest cutest delight to give to the world and those you are related to. They are a gift you give to those you love and those who don’t even know you. Share them often.

Easter basket contents on

3. Spring cleaning is necessary. We worked hard for a week to clean the clutter, chaos, and deceased shrubs from our garden, a reminder of the awful weather we endured. My every cleaning whim was attended to and I feel hopeful now that I can move on to planning for summer and projects and travel.

Fiona walking in the backyard on

4. Planning makes a tremendous difference. My husband always says it’s easier to break an appointment than make an appointment. We had a visit because we set intentions and they bought airplane tickets and we wrote things on calendars. Live a little ahead of yourself. Enough to have stuff to look forward to enjoying.

reflection on

5. The best time ever to decide or do or change is now. It’s all you have. Do your best, let go of the rest. Forgive, forget, get over it. It isn’t always about you. Exist in your life in the moment with integrity and gratitude and that feeling of contentment is better than the completion of any to-do list.

I made the best use I could make of a car nap writing this. Hope everyone is enjoying Spring and family and thinking about what they’re getting up to next. Enjoy your now.

Old Blog, New Tricks

I created this blog in the Summer of 2011. I’ve experienced a lot of feelings as a result. And the number one feeling I keep having is that I am not doing this quite as well as anyone/everyone else. The fog may be starting to finally lift as continue to gather my lessons and grow my soul. Let’s start this story with last year’s blog.

I Was Lost

Not feeling like I was full of grace. More like full of it, I was bumbling about on my blog. I didn’t understand any of the instructions I was being given to improve myself and my blog. Confused and unhappy, wanting to know/improve/make a difference, I wasn’t scheduling, I was behind, not inspired. Not wanting to give up but…Stuck.

Stuff was missing from my life and thus my blog and I just felt twitchy and unhappy.

And then a couple of things happened.

Fiona's cake face

Yes, having a baby at 46 will change quite a few things as well.

I had maintained a few connections  from my first Blogging Your Way e-course with Decor8′s Holly Becker. You can read my Dear Holly: A Letter of Gratitude To My Teacher post to understand the positive impact of a good teacher. One of those relationships I kept up with was Raincoast Creative Salon’s Sandra Harris. I watched her like a hawk. On her blog and by way of her friends’ support of her endeavors. I knew I had been missing some very important lessons. On blogging, community, and encouraging my creative soul.

She was boldly up to a lot of stuff and I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her progress. Sandra was actively involved in a creative community, activities, events, and a lifestyle that I realized I’d been craving more than a little of too. She was off to the Alt Summit blogging conference as a newbie, scared and crazy and I was right there with her in my heart. She was talking about connections and creative endeavors and elevator speeches and I knew I wanted to be standing with her. Where she led, I followed. And she did the same for me. Turns out we mentor each other.

Two Things Came To Light

Through my friendship with Sandra, I met Jennifer Cooper when I attended an artist meetup held in my hometown of Baltimore. I then began to understand what had been missing in my blogging life. Absolutely, it had been community. Yes one person can make a difference but a bunch of people supporting each other can move mountains. Or at least convince themselves they can because they’ve got a community to rely on. Great stuff that I’d never had that before. I was raised an isolationist.

Shalagh on

As I kept in touch and a watch as Jennifer and Sandra, two amazing inspiring creative women and Moms, I had an opportunity to be involved in the Bold. Brilliant. Beautiful. You. project. This community was created especially for us to support one another for these times when we need to climb but totally need to borrow courage and be inspired by each other.

And thanks to Holly’s second Blogging Your Way e-course I took in October, 2013, I realized that I was in need of and capable of creating an even better blog. And I wanted to go from a personal place to a more professional place. I could talk and make it pretty simultaneously. For. Real.

I had forgotten that I take nice pictures. I needed to incorporate ‘me the artist’ with ‘me the writer’ to be a ‘whole me’. And that wasn’t too far from where I was. The more I’ve practiced doing my best and letting go of the rest, the better I’ve been feeling.

I’m now scheduling my posts sometimes a week ahead of time. With a baby I can steal time here and there but it’s never a guarantee and I promised I’d keep up my continual streak of posting three times a week. The awesome side effect of interacting with other people and posting regularly is that I feel more creative. I want to write and take pictures. I want to weave these posts from the pretty thread I’ve got out at the moment. And I want to imbue them with wonder and enthusiasm and joy. And I believe I’ve started to do just that.

peek a boo Fiona from

Next up, my blog intentions. A declaration of what I will be doing here and how. Accountability is so very important. State what you want and the Universe will help you get it. Some of us are just a little slower than others is all.

Fiona’s First Birthday Party

Seems in the rush around and shuffle of creativity and Spring projects, I forgot to post a Fiona’s First Birthday party post. Which is to say, you still haven’t seen the pictures of her cupcake face yet. I did show you the party decorations.

Paper feathers for Fiona's party on

My paper feathers are still hanging around. See the whole post here.

Gold circle festooned balloons on

And the fabulous gold circle patterned balloons that my son and I made.

That post is here.

Bells of Ireland from

And I published a post on the flower arrangements.

Flowers for Fiona's birthday party on

I made pulled pork and my special coleslaw and good old Aunt Emma’s chocolate cake cupcakes that morning.

Aunt Emma's chocolate cupcakes from

Eamon used Lucky Charm marshmallow shapes and sprinkles to decorate them.

Cupcakes and presents for Fiona's birthday party from

Emma and Fiona and the balloon from Fiona's birthday party on

Family came including Fiona’s cousin Emma whose only several months younger.

We are all thrilled to know they have each other to play with as they grow up.

And soon it was time for the cupcakes.

Here comes the cupcake fro Fiona's birthday party onb

Fiona's birthday cupcake on

Fiona's birthday cupcake on

Fiona's birthday cupcake on

Fiona's birthday cupcake on

This has to be my favorite shot.

Keep up the red balloon at Fiona's birthday party on

And our good friends John and Gayle played a rousing game of keep up the balloon with Eamon.

New toy from big brother for Fiona's birthday on

Fiona got new toys and it was a really great day for everyone.

My sister-in-law Kim and I at Fiona's birthday party for

Shalagh laughing from

Balloons out front for Fiona's First Birthday Party on

A month has gone by since the party and it seems so long ago. Happily, I’ll always have the pictures and the memories. Celebrations are an excuse to create memories and well worth all the efforts.

Connection and Contribution : Creative Spurt

In the past 6 months, my creative involvement in my life has grown wings and taken flight. At some point I set an intention to be actively involved in whatever creative challenges came along. And they came along. And I said yes. Being mindful of what I need had given me way more opportunities than I expected.

My food styling challenge on Instagram for


For instance, joining the social medium of Instagram has introduced me to a new and group of creative people. Games and challenges occur often there. Where I was terrified I didn’t know the rules in that world, I dared myself to play along anyway. I produced pictures and tagged people and then I took up another challenge. And then another. Progressively I felt more comfortable with my picture-taking and my socializing. My shyness has dissipated and I’m being myself. The pictures for this post are from a styling challenge I participated in.

colorful for Instagram challenge on Shalavee

The Opportunity List Continues

This is what he rest of my creative challenges and life looked like. I was invited to paint the rocking chair for the Humane Society charity fundraiser which will be held in May. I was interviewed for a piece about bloggers. I wrote and spoke publicly on the creativity and the process of flow. I wrote an article for a bridal supplement. I have written some steep pieces for my Bold Brilliant Beautiful You Project. And then the participation invitation I was hoping for came in an email.

Creative tools for my Instagram styling challenge on

We Are the Contributors

I was invited to participate as an art contributor in the We Are the Contributor’s 3rd project. Creatives Sandra Harris and Melanie Biehle conceptualized an online visual project where many artists produce art based on a prompt. Here’s their first project.  I was secretly hoping I’d be invited. I’d participated in their quick creative challenges hoping to prove I was capable of bigger badder art. And how thrilled, and then panicked, I was to be asked. An initiation of a sort to graduate me into an artist’s realm.

Desk top for Instagram Styling Challenge on

The We Are the Contributors project results will be published on April 17th and my post about my piece and the creating process will be here on the blog on Friday, April 18th. Taking the pictures of the final project to send off proved the hardest part and I felt proud of all my efforts. Really proud. Risking is risky.

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