Saturday, January 30, 2010


Step #6, in Mary Jane Butters' Seven Wonders program for releasing your passion, is this: Create A Meal, Slowly. Mary Jane goes on to say, "A meal just for you. So often we feed others, but we must also nourish ourselves. Allow your senses to heighten as you create your personal culinary favorites. Smell, touch, see. Light some candles and present the meal to yourself--the guest of honor. Dine as if you have all the time in the world, coaxing flavor and inspiration from passionately prepared fare."

You may be surprised at just how sensual an experience slow-cooking can be. Don't believe me? Go to my sidebar there on the right, and click my link to "favorite foodie films." Watching a film like Chocolat, Woman On Top, or maybe Like Water For Chocolate, is guaranteed to put you "in the mood!" Whether it will be for cooking, eating, or something else altogether, well, that's hard to say...

Friday, January 29, 2010


Step #5 in Mary Jane Butters' Seven Wonders path to creativity? Meditate. Mary Jane says, "Make room in your schedule for five minutes of stillness and silent introspection once in the morning and once in the evening. You can spare that much time for getting to know yourself again, for falling in love with who you are. Shut the door, or better yet, get outdoors. No phone calls, no family matters. This is your time. Without the distractions of daily life, you can tune into your own longings. Lie back and watch the clouds. Jump on a trampoline at night and then "prone out" for a star count."

I've never been any good at the yogi type of meditation - just can't keep my body still, or my mind from drifting off. However, I am very good at both walking and sunrise meditations. I love being up before everyone else in the house, basking in the peace and quiet with a fragrant cup of tea, just letting my mind float where it will. Also, I'm fairly certain that all of those solitary walks I took when my kids were growing up, probably saved both my marriage and my sanity. So find a form of meditation that works for you, and make it a part of your life. Can't remember who said this, nor the exact words, but it must have been someone brilliant: "The most important requirement for creativity? Time for noodling!"

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Step #4 of Mary Jane Butters' Seven Wonders program for accessing your inner brilliance tells us to Dance. Really! Dance like you did when you were a kid, and didn't give a hoot what anyone thought. All you really cared about was the way your dress swirled about you when you'd spin.

Mary Jane says "Draw the curtains, lock the door, and let loose. Yes, dance! Technique is irrelevant here. The point is to hop and twist, 'let your backbone slip.' Wave your arms and stomp around until you start giggling, gasping, and letting go of all those cramped and uncomfortable cynicisms we carry. It will happen, guaranteed. Free-form dancing is a delightfully delirious way to loosen up and get in touch with your spirit. Try Shiva Rea's Yoga Trance Dance video to help set your limbs in motion."

Yoga Trance is good, but me? I really digs me some boot-scootin'. Gotta love all these wood floors in my house, and having no neighbors close enough to mind it when I crank up the volume! Go ahead, click that link. You know you want to. Hah, look at that! She's trying to fight it, but her head's rockin' already. And there she goes - Aaah-hah!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Thanks to my collage creation, I ended up with a pretty good idea of how I wanted the Cantina Garden to look and feel - especially with regard to color. Yesterday it inspired me to grab a couple of cans of paint whilst at King Feed, which I then used to

refurbish my formerly blue metal planter. (There was a ledge of stone in the corner of one bed, that the masons were unable to remove - perfect for placing a heavy container on!) Then I grabbed a wind-chime and my bird-feeder named Lucy, from elsewhere on the property. It's not much, but it's a start. Now all I have to do is come up with the perfect plants to complement these pieces. Oh yeah, and then there's all that digging and spreading, too.


Step #3, in Mary Jane Butters' Seven Wonders plan for tapping into one's own brilliance, happens to be very dear to my heart. It is this: Find a few minutes for free writing. "Indulge your deep love of the literary with a beautifully bound journal, just for you. Trust me, this little blank book will become your treasure-trove. Don't worry about penmanship or grammar; journal writing is a rare opportunity for unbridled thought. Unleash your pen and let it run wild across the open pages. Spur it with wishes, wonders, and what-ifs. When you read your entry, the tracks that your heart left upon the paper might surprise you."

There isn't much I can add to her words. You all know how I feel about jornal-writing. If something about this house and this place had not compelled me to begin my sunrise scribblings, I never would have started turning them into little stories and essays. And, if I had never started writing all those stories, there would be no blog. And, if there were no blog...well, I can't even go there. I can't bear to think of all that I might have missed out on.


Lexie's Got A Job!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


"To know what you prefer, instead of humbly saying 'Amen' to what this world tells you you ought to prefer, is to keep your soul alive." - Henri Matisse

Until I was in my late thirties, I never did any decorating in my home without the assistance of my mother and/or oldest sister. When I tried to choose plain white dishes for my wedding registry, the look of horror on both their faces had me quickly erasing that entry and replacing it with the floral pattern that made them smile in satisfaction. When John got transferred to Indonesia, though, and Mom and Sis couldn't come along, I was finally forced to make a few decisions on my own. Surprisingly, I liked it! After three years, when we knew it was time to move back home, I started pulling pictures out of magazines. I knew we would probably build a house from scratch when we got home, and I didn't want to be caught off guard, with no clue as to what I wanted. I didn't go through looking for anything specific. I just tore out anything that really called to me. Anything that really quivered my liver.

When I had finished, and was flipping through my wish book, I was hit with a startling revelation. Maybe it wasn't that I had bad taste, or no taste at all, as I had believed most of my life. Maybe my taste was just different than most - because the home I was imagining looked absolutely nothing like those of my mother and sister, with all their gee-gaws and ruffled frou-frouness. What I really wanted was something more along the lines of the place I dragged John to every time we were in Singapore - that British Colonial jewel of pale walls with rich wood trim, high ceilings with slowly turning fans, four poster beds with mosquito netting, rippling palms and airy simplicity - The Raffles Hotel. (we never actually stayed there - just went for afternoon tea, or for Singpore Slings, in the bar where they were invented)

All of this leads us to Step #2 of Mary Jane Butter's agenda for Tapping Into Your Own Brilliance: Create A Collage! Mary Jane says, "Not only is this a fun project just 'for the heck of it,' but collaging is also a sure way to stir up ideas. No fancy equipment required. Just gather a bunch of old magazines, greeting cards, or picture books and start snipping out images that call to you. Don't worry if they're completely unrelated or if they seem silly. It doesn't matter if you don't understand quite why they ring true. Trust your instincts. Paste the pictures on poster board and watch as a map of your spirit emerges."

I did as instructed, and as you can see above, my spirit had a lot to say about how my new Cantina Garden should look and feel!

(click image to enlarge)

Monday, January 25, 2010


In her magazine, Mary Jane's Farm, Mary Jane Butters always has a 2-page spread called Mary Jane's Seven Wonders: A Few Tips For A Simple Life. This month's topic is "tapping into one's own brilliance." Her secret recipe? "Take a cup of curiosity, add a pinch of pampering, simmer to satisfaction, and then savor the inspiration that springs to life."

She lists seven simple things we all can do, to tap into our inner wellsprings. As I worked my way down the list, it occurred to me that these are all things that I have slowly been incorporating into my life over the last ten or fifteen years - the exact same period of time, as it happens, in which I finally came to believe that I just might have some creativity lurking inside me after all. Coincidence? I think not!

So, since there just happens to be seven days in a week, I thought we might as well try one of her steps each day this week. Care to tap into your inner brilliance? All you have to do is join me, one tiny step at a time.

Step One: Take a walk outdoors.

According to Mary Jane, "A few minutes of peace under the wide-open sky is a perfect way to shake off the stresses that cloud creativity. The rhythmic sounds of your footsteps and breath will lull you into a more thoughtful state of mind, allowing you to focus on finding your purpose." For me, anything mindless and repetitive, whether it be walking, driving, or mopping a floor, seems to automatically switch me over into right-brain mode, and great ideas just pop into my head. That's why I never minded my long commute to work in Houston (as long as we were at least moving!). Walking, though, is definitely the best. Now, you may be thinking, "Sure, that's easy for her to say, with all that great scenery around her, but what about me?" Well, to tell you the truth, even gorgeous views can get stale, if you follow the same path every single day, day after day. That's why I like to shake it up a bit. I get just as much, if not more, out of walking the aisles of a farmers' market, thrift store, or garden center, a beach, a different neighborhood, an ethnic part of town, or the deserted streets of downtown Austin, early in the morning when things are just waking up. It doesn't matter where you walk, as long as you do it!

Are you ready? Well, come on then. Let's go!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


The Muses and I try to get together about once per week, just for a quick cuppa and to catch up on what everyone has been doing or creating. Since everyone in Wimberley knows everyone else, we try to spread the joy around by gracing various establishments with the pleasure of our company.

Wouldn't want anyone to get their nose out of joint.

Ha! You really believe that? No, the truth is, we get so rambunctious and carried away with our laughing, we have to hop around to keep from wearing out our welcome at any one place! Last week we tried a new place - The Bent Tree Gallery & Twigs Coffee House - which is at the rear of the town square. The gallery is a cooperative, with about 17 different artists represented, so we had plenty of eye candy to enjoy, along with our tea and coffee. The manager seemed delighted to have us, and even brought over a complimentary plate of cookies, warm from the oven! We were on our best behavior. It won't last.