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Versatile Blog Awards

I am proud to say, I was nominated for the Versatile Blog Award. It’s a non-award from a good online friend and I am beyond flattered. Only two years ago, I longingly looked through the window of the online community and thought I would never make such lovely friendships as I saw people creating. And then my lone cowgirl self rode into town, hung around like a pooch waiting for food and a scratch. Eventually, I became a part of the scenery.
stairs to a house no longer there from
I connected with several fellow new bloggers after the first Decor8 online Blogging Your Way workshop. Women who were new and feisty like me and funny and figuring it out. Among them, Jane Barry of The Curious Love of Green . She lives in Ireland and I share with her a love of food, writing, of creativity,  mothering, and maintaining the home fires. She is wry and driven and I was so flattered when she offered out to me a crowning and bestow-ment of the of Versatile Blog Award. Thanks so much for thinking of me Jane, even if it is maybe one of those non-award awards. The reverence from you means more than words.
After linking back to my bestower, Jane’s next instructions were to then share 7 random facts about myself.
1)  My pinkie toenail is more like a glob that I file down to a flat surface to paint.
2)  I never owned a car when I lived in the city. My first car was ‘Bessie’ the the 1980 Chevy brown truck we bought at a Delaware car auction to haul debris from our new house renovation 12 years ago when I was 35 maybe.
3)  I blew renewing my driver’s license in a timely fashion and had to retake both the written and driving tests in 2012 to get it back. A most  humbling experience detailed in a three part series.
4)  The first middle and last letters of my name Shalagh are my initials, SLH.
5)  I don’t know how to type. Surely there’s a computer tutorial I should be using to learn how to considering I do a lot of writing.
6)  At my wedding, I sang a song I wrote when I was a teen about a river to my husband a cappella for his present. In front of all our guests.
7)  I refuse to shop at Wal-mart. I do not appreciate or respect the way they treat their employees and so I practice conscious consumerism.

One way sign from
And Lastly, I must complete the process by then passing on the award to 13 other versatile bloggers. So here are 13 blogging gals whom I have the highest regards for.
Amanda Warton at The Eastern Bay 
Kathy Bosin at The Chesapeake Journal
Marg Hogan at Destination Here and Now  
Sandra Harris at Raincoast Creative Salon  
Suzonne Stirling of Urban Comfort 
Lauren Keim of Still + Life 
Sheri Silver of Donuts, Dresses, and Dirt
Sabrina Wolfe of Wolves In London 
Jennifer Mullin at the Fiery Redhead
Heather Serody at Big Girl Life 
Marissa Harrington of Bourbon and Goose
tulip tree in the morning on
And even if the award stops here, being that it is one of those kind of non-award admirational awards, I hope these women know that I am a devoted reader and lifetime supporter and friend to each of them. I love to write and I love to be read. Did I mention Jane is just finishing her draft of her book? Think I’m busy?

It’s a Spring Thing

A couple of weeks ago, Winter began to expand its boundaries into some mythical time warp, like the last week of a pregnancy.Reality can be cruel. I used to say that by the time any season has officially arrived, we’ve already experienced enough of the upcoming telltale weather to believe it’s truly here. We’ll have a lovely couple days preview of warm weather for Spring and that enables us to put up with the rest of the ridiculous blowy cold stuff. This year, nature made me and my little saying untrue and ridiculous.

Not only did I become an unwitting liar, I also began to feel like a girlfriend of a compulsive liar. But you said you’d never snow again?! I couldn’t bear to hope anymore. Trapped inside my house with a befuddled toddler (she keeps pointing to outside the window), I was forced to endure more Winter masquerading as Spring. For inspiration and a dry happy experience on the last rainy cold Sunday in March, we adventured out with girlfriends to Homestead Gardens, an indoor plant place and decor extravaganza showplace. Then finally, Fiona and I grabbed a stroll last week in search of a nap and some proof that Spring may actually be here despite my cynicism.

spring walk

 Homestead Gardens from

Ranunculus at Homestead Gardens from

Homestead Gardens on

Homestead Gardens on

Homestead Gardens on

The following are the shots I took with my phone on our stroll, squinting in the sunlight and not even knowing if I’d gotten what I was shooting at. I love the volunteer pansy with the weeds in the bricks.


Weed flowers from It's A Spring Thing from


Grass tufts for It's A Spring Thing on

fence and vine shadow from


crocuses from It's a Spring Thing on

Daffodils from It's A Spring Thing on

Hyacinths from It's A Spring Thing on

I forgave Spring enough to take pictures but Mark, my husband, is the only one with enough hope to want to garden. Babies prohibit me from having my former enthusiasm for gardening I once had. Hard enough keeping the little being alive without fretting over whether the other stuff is dying. We’ve had some bad luck several years in a row. My rosemary and my rose-bush seem to have been sacrificed to this past Winter. Once burned, twice shy.

Another day outside today.

Fiona in the backyard from

Creative Momma Q and A’s

There’s a theme emerging that I found myself wanting to follow and question and gather opinions and empowerment on. The theme is creativity and mothering. I started my quest for clarity when I wrote this piece on the Cone Collective meet-up in Baltimore, an event organized by Jennifer Cooper. She was kind enough to answer my questions about her experience with being a creative and a mother.  She also kindly offered me my first guest post on her blog Classic Play(note her comment on helping others in the Q and A).

I wrote and she published The Needs Of The Many and The Needs Of You , my thoughts on taking care of my creative needs and the needs of my infant. I then realized I’d found a subject I was interested in exploring a little more.

drawn like a moth to a flame

On the blog on Monday, the next installment in my journey to explore this topic as a Question and Answer with favorite blogger and magazine stylist Suzonne Stirling. She’s a Mom and is full-time freelance creative. Her answers were really interesting and gave me insights I hadn’t expected. How to balance creativity and motherhood will be an ongoing theme and one I hope benefits you or someone you know. Enjoy.

I Am What I Am

Sitting in my hair stylist’s chair, deep into a conversation, she says she recently heard that we don’t see ourselves through our own eyes, we see ourselves as we think others see us. I asked her to repeat this. She said our self-perception is based on how we believe others think of us.

I’d agree. For most of my life,  self-worth has been ‘less than’ and was created from bit’s and pieces which I was required to mind-read to gather. From my parents and from everyone I was in contact with. My views of me are then fractured. I feel I’ve never fully seen myself. I am crazy-quilt and my low self-esteem is the rotten thread binding this quilt.

From I Am What I Am post on for the Bold Brilliant Beautiful You project

In the past, people have told me sincerely how much they admire my talents. I would nod and smile. Not only did I not see these talents, I would duck and dodge their every attempt to move me on and improve me. I was comfortably stuck under my crazy quilt turned cloak of invisibility.

My cloak kept me safe from the expectations of others. I believed if you got too close, you’d see me the way I see me, an unworthy fake. My failures and my humanity would be unforgivable. Why would either of us want to share that ugliness. I already knew how this would all end. And so I didn’t start.  I controlled what you thought by giving you nothing to think.

from I am what I am post on for the Bold Brilliant Beautiful project

I wouldn’t have to show up for myself, join any groups, be accountable, or have any goals or dreams or aspirations to unveil. These were all safe as long as I remained invisible. I thought it was easier this way. But, alas, my cloak became an anchor.

The therapist named this sense of invisibility low self-esteem. I was shocked. Others, yes, but not me. After my rage subsided, my brain began to shift. I didn’t need to be fixed because I was not broken just afraid.  I began to hear my harmony when I sang. I kept writing and I kept singing.  I reached out to people in far away places online through my blog. And what I let myself hear was that I was contributing something valuable to their lives. And I kept contributing and I’ve kept reaching out.  I have begun to catch clearer glimpses of my outline, my profile. And a ‘me’ that I see is materializing.

from I am what I am post on for the Bold Brilliant Beautiful project

This Bold Brilliant Beautiful You project came when I most needed to cement into place the bricks of me I’ve been gathering. So here is my very revealing ‘I  am’ list, February’s  BBBY project homework. And thanks to this group of women, and a growing sense of self, I’m feeling better and bolder than I have in a very long time.

I AM :
•    I am a doer, an enthusiast, and an energizer bunny
•    I am a writer, essayist, memoirist, and humorist
•    I am a wife and a mother and an individual
•    I am funny, almost always smiling
•    I am brutally honest, soul-searching
•    I am visually fixated, detail oriented, and sloppy
•    I am a closet artist knocking at the door to get out
•    I am invisible and afraid of success
•    I am a Virgo with a huge helping of Libra, a devoted and intentional friend
•    I am a good listener, hearing what’s said and what’s not
•    I find lessons in anything, everything and I am a positivity fanatic
•    I have come a long way despite where I’ve been
•    I am a UU, respectful of all choices
•    I am from a broken family and co-dependent
•    I am a great cook and a non-practicing waitress
•    I am a pet lover and a plant killer
•    I am looking for purpose, connection, and permission to become myself

Why is my life so important to honor now? This need to connect, to express, to create, to thrive, and to give back? Maybe it’s the baby girl I just had at the ripe age of 46 who needs me to show her that you can be your own hero despite the adversity you’ve encountered. The only way to lead is by example. Read the other ‘I am’ lists by these amazing women and to make an “I am” list for themselves. There’s a simple way to do it here. One we can do with our children and see where they stand with their self-concepts. And join with the link up party if you are inspired. I am practicing intentional intouchness while making these connections. Staying quiet and alone never worked so good for me and requires a lot more work than just being bold and brilliant and beautiful.

Destination Here and Now

I have a deep respect for fellow blogger Marg Hogan. She is one of a handful of women I met through the Blogging Your Way online course created by Holly Becker of Decor8. ‘Met’ is a loose term since she lives in Australia and I in the USA. She is a kindred soul of the visual and poetic kind. I dig her photography and her simple word accompaniments. I aspire to be this simple. Her posts are like wonderful mind snacks.


She posted a piece with so many pictures, it’s an art installation masquerading as a blog post. The subject was on an artists village called Hills End.

It’s called The Day the Artists Open Their Doors.


And she poses a question  about bravery to let go and define yourself as “artist”.

To make the artist you are your real job.  I wanted to share this lovely post everywhere.


Art and life are one. Voyeurism is allowed on this day. Snack with your mind on her pictures.

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