the prompt is “soft”

My first thought reading the prompt “soft” was the term “soft eyes.”  How appropriate.   As I begin my new school year and am sitting through days of reconnecting with peers and trainings and recalibrating for new learning, it is a good reminder to maintain soft eyes.

It is a bummer that when I Google this term the first thing that pops up is the title of an episode of The Wire but oh well, maybe now more people will become familiar with what it means.

Reading how it is used in horseback riding is interesting and similar to what I’m trying to do this week – keep my eye on what is in front of me while maintaining my peripheral vision.  The Urban Dictionary states flatly that soft eyes involves not to forgetting to see the forest when looking at a tree.

So my soft eyes are seeing the beginning of the school year and all the new relationships with students and families at the same time I am tediously compiling the paperwork needed to be filled out for each child.

My eyes are seeing the possibility of a new curriculum coming alive in my classroom and supporting my young aide at the same time I’m trying to decide how in the heck I’m going to store and organize the materials.

Soft eyes see a school staff taking baby steps towards a positive school culture even as they digress into their usual haggling of who is responsible for what.


It is supposed to rain tomorrow – we haven’t had rain for so long and we need it so badly.  My eyes are eager to see a wildly wet and splashy world and I don’t plan to focus for one tiny moment on anything narrow or small at all – like the fact I just washed my car…..

Abundance is…..

Abundance is being in a circle of people, some friends, some strangers, and all of us knowing the song begun by the elder – or at least enough to produce a beautiful sound.

And singing the song more than once


The power of an invitation is its implication of appreciation.  Think about it.  Why would someone invite you to a social event or to be a presenter at a workshop or to create something for a group of people or to have a personal conference?  All of these invitations imply you are worth something and even though we all work hard at maintaining self worth on our own, it is nice to have others fill up your tank once in awhile.

I have been the recipient of invitations lately and it feels good.  So I’m encouraging others to get out there and invite!

proclaiming myself


She described herself as sturdy in the radio interview.

I’d like to claim that word for myself;
I am sturdy.

Sturdy is a sapling,
the kitchen stool,
the coiled clay pot my daughter made in grade school.

I am rooted but bendy,
able to support children and grown men,
a handy container for steel wool,
or single earrings, tea bags,
favorite finds.

Happy Birthday (a few days late)

Dear Alyssa,IMG_3180

I looked for your star on the 4th of July;
it was there right above me
as I lay on the deck watching fireworks.
I made wishes for your family just like I did 2 years ago.

You would’ve enjoyed your shared birthday party this year.
Your cousins scarfed down pizzas and beer,
clowned around on the picnic tables
and took a lot of selfie pictures.

On the way home we stopped at Grandpa’s gravesite.
I’ve been to two cemeteries in two days,
on opposite sides of the state.
At one time, your grandmother thought she’d be buried next to him.
Now she talks about being here with you.
Her time is coming, and it will be the right time.
But that wasn’t the case with you,
and we grieve.

So I’m standing here wishing you Happy Birthday.
The wreath from your mom and dad is beautiful.
I like to come when the sun is going down
and the shadows are long.

The light shining through the flower petals
takes my breath away,
so much beauty, so much love,
we miss you in the world.

I’m headed to see your family now,
I’ll give them extra long hugs today.

Your auntie.

Idaho Lullaby

Follow me
over there
where a red ball is falling
through a seamless sky
towards land and lake

Walk with me
where shadows sweep the dust of day
across a widening pool of moonlight

Lie down in the coolness
beside me
beneath tall pines whispering
the darkness absolute

Today was the day

Today was the day I dreaded when I came to Grunewald. I wasn’t sure when it would happen; I thought it might happen earlier in the week but no, it was today, Thursday.

What was this dread all about? I anticipated a point in these workshops when fear would rear its ugly head and I would be paralyzed in m process and not know how to keep going. I have to say the teachers of this class have done a wonderful job of easing us all into the learning and experimenting, teaching us different techniques in a sequence that put the most accessible ones first while letting us see possibilities as they demonstrated.

But today was hump day. We had been shown several techniques and had all begun to move on to our 2nd and even 3rd boards so it was time to assert our own creative instincts and have at it. Which almost everyone did. But I froze.

Finally I decided to experiment using a poem I’d recently written and add some color and texture to it but it took me half an hour of wondering around campus because being in the studio just had me panicking. Finally I paid attention to the last words of the instructors: do what you already do and then apply what you’ve learned about encaustic. Three hours later I put that board on my shelf and prepared the next pieces I have to figure out what to do something with.

I have my last big board to work on, 2 board books to play with and an accordion book of plaster gauze to think about.

I worked morning and afternoon in the studio and then cooled off soaking my feet in the inflatable pool they have set up in the shade by the garden. It hit 99 degrees today and I don’t think we’re done with the peak of the day. It was really hot last night. Thank goodness for fans and very quiet sleepers in the little dorm I’m in.


Most of the work shown in the pictures is stuff being done by my fellow classmates or the instructors.  But you can see my 3 little pieces on the shelf there.

Tomorrow is another day and I think I’m going to venture a dip in the river.



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