Turtle and Butterfly Tease . . . Part I


Last Monday I went on a journey that connected me with turtles and butterflies. Then I had some difficult days, which I did not blog about.

During the difficult days, the image of turtles and butterflies kept calling out. “Escape the pain and confusion and bring us to life!” the said, in voices that whispered with the breeze and swished like the water.

Not knowing exactly what I wanted to do, I wandered over to the local Wal-Mart (the only place nearby that I knew I could find some limited supplies) an browsed. I ended up buying four canvas panels and some oil pastels. Granted, if I knew better, I would recognize that oil pastels don’t work that well on canvas, but I was just going with the flow.

I have designed something that together forms a whole image, while each panel serves as its own separate individual image.  I will share two of them with you now, as they are the most complete. When I finish the other two, I will share the whole. They are not perfect, but sometimes you simply need to express yourself in a different way.  The Moon Lady was my first (and probably the best), now comes Turtle Wings.

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Rainy Day Blues

Since it is raining today, and I am still suffering from SBD as well as feeling completely uninspired, I thought I would recycle and old post that many have probably never read.  Enjoy!


Warning, it is completely possible that I have lost my mind. And now for your entertainment a ridiculous song that sings the blues. Join me by adding “Ba da da da”, at appropriate points in your head.

Well I woke up this mornin’
with a plan in my head
of going for a walk and gettin’ out of my bed.

I got those fat butt,
got those fat butt blues.

But the rain started falling, and  the sky turned all gray
making me want to snuggle up in bed all day.

I got those rainy,
got those rainy day blues.

But I gave myself a lecture, and got out of bed
turned on the computer and got words in my head.

I got those reading
too many blog reading blues.

I wrote some new words down, and I read some words too
I began to research, hoping ideas would come through.

I got those writing,
what to write about  blues.

Then I got an e-mail, that nearly put me to bed
it said that my content wasn’t  all from my head.

I got those plagiarism
got those plagiarism blues.

But what they don’t get now, what they don’t see
is that I intentionally quoted from a man I’d  like to meet

I got those dumb-ass,
dumb-ass reader  blues.

So now my poem, goes back to the vault
and I write this dribble, it’s nobody’s fault.

I got those silly
silly rainy day blues.

We will continue with regularly scheduled sane posts as soon as my head re-attaches. 

Seasonal Blogging Disorder

I don’t know about you, but I am finding it difficult to blog lately. I’m not just talking about difficulty finding things to write about, although that is true as well. I don’t even feel like reading any of the fabulous blogs that I follow. Perhaps I have been doing it too long, or the heat of the summer has completely fried my brain making me unable to focus on the wit and witticism of my favorite bloggers. When I do read, I struggle to make any kind of intelligible comment. I find myself surfing through blog posts without commitment, or simply erasing them from my inbox blaming it on a weak internet connection which cuts into my time online. (To be fair to myself, I do have spotty internet on the lot and have to seek  alternative locations to get any real work done.)

This sun is from Okoboji Summer Theatre (my summer “home”) so I thought I would borrow it to represent the heat (as well as the drama) that has fried my brain.

I am a summer blogging slacker.Perhaps the amount of ice cream I have been eating to combat the oppressive summer heat has seeped into my brain and turned it into a receptacle of pure sugar and fat, incapable of actually communicating in an intelligible way.

Not that I pay attention to stats (HA!) but it does seem that overall the summer months include a drop of readership. Then again, I haven’t been publishing as many blogs and perhaps my quality has dropped as of late, so I could simply have lost readers. Is this lag a result of the season or a reflection on me and my blog?

It also seems that more of my blogging buddies have disappeared this summer. Perhaps they are simply out enjoying life, soaking in the heat of the sun or relaxing on a cool boat. Many of them have been taking vacations in exotic locations and/or having fabulous staycations in the comfort of their own homes and gardens.

So perhaps the laziness of blogging is simply a symptom of summer.

It’s easier to laze around than blog.

I hope that if and when the weather ever cools, turning toward my favorite time of year (the fall) I will overcome this sluggishness and find my way back to reading, writing, and commenting with enthusiasm and verve.

My apologies to all of you zillions of people who have noticed my lackadaisical approach to blogging this summer. (Who am I kidding, I’m sure many of you are thinking “Lisa who? Didn’t even miss her.”) Also, some of you might have noticed and been offended by my removal of the Blogs I Follow section. I found that it was a mess, as people’s blogs change , so I decided that for the time being I would remove it and make every effort to mention wonderful blogs within the bodies of my posts.

Of course, that requires reading more blogs and writing more posts. Sigh.

Does anyone else suffer from Seasonal Blogging Disorder? Is there a cure?

Yesterday I Began a Journey (100 WCGU)

This weeks 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups asks us to include …. the line was drawn ….. I have combined that with a little personal journey that I am on, as well as a foray into poetry (as I sometimes do). For those of you only interested in the quick read I offer the poem/challenge first, but am following it up with an explanation for anyone who wants to know more.

Yesterday I Began a Journey

Yesterday I began a journey
where the line was drawn between
who I am and who I want to be.

 My butterfly soul
danced a dance of new beginnings
around the strength found in the turtle and the moon

Lessons from people connected to the earth
tightened the bond between
mother and daughter
butterfly and turtle
creativity and hope.

Yesterday I began a journey
which will involve the beating 
of my heart drum
and the sound of thunder
dancing over the waves.

Yesterday I began a journey
with laughter, adventure, love and joy.
Today, the journey continues in words.

Yesterday I began a journey.


 The Explanation

Yesterday Sarah and I went on a spontaneous Girls’ Day adventure with my new friend (and I believe spiritual mentor)  Terry to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Sioux Falls During a Hot Dry Summer

Part of the adventure involved Sarah’s experiencing her first pedicure after watching me get one. It was a silly, fun, mother/daughter bonding experience.

Sarah tried to resist the giggles as her feet got tickled and massaged.

But it was almost impossible to stop laughing.

Especially when your toes are being painted purple while you wear silly shoes.

Lovely mother and daughter feet.

After our feet were fabulous, we went to downtown Sioux Falls to eat lunch. We ended up at Chedd’s, a place for gourmet grilled cheese. Then (once we were able to put real shoes back on) we wandered through some of the fabulous stores on Phillips Street. The first place we wandered into was The Prairie Star Gallery, which has the most beautiful, spiritual and amazing collections of indigenous art I’ve ever seen. The owner shared stories with us of her journey as well as the meaning behind some artifacts. I played and heard the song of a drum so deep and beautiful it still resonates in chest.  She told us about the legends of turtles, who represent (in some traditions) women and birth and the moon . Every turtle shell has 13 sections, which represent the 13 moons of the year. Along the edge of their shell are 28 segments, the time between each moon. Women would use turtle shells to keep track of their menstrual cycles.

I ended up buying a gorgeous children’s book because of the draw of this legend.

I’ve linked the image to the Amazon book description.

As I was thinking about turtles, and the journey, and indigenous legends and everything else, I kept pondering my recent butterfly revelations. I did a little web research and found this lovely legend:

An Indian Butterfly Legend

If anyone desires a wish to come true they must
capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it.

Since they make no sound, they can’t tell the wish
to anyone but the Great Spirit.

So by making the wish and releasing the butterfly
it will be taken to the heavens and be granted.

Author Unknown

All of these images and ideas are merging together into possibilities for me. Right now my mind is dancing with possibilities like:

  • an art project which will join these powerful images
  • a theatre production that shares some legends, all surrounding the shell of a turtle
  • perhaps a puppet play
  •  . . .

So you see, yesterday I really began a journey into possibility, spirituality and hope.

Today We Mourn

Another tragedy brought on
by a world that has lost its way
clinging to outdated freedoms
like the right to buy and own
weapons that kill.

What about the right to live in peace?
Without fear of being struck down
in the middle of an innocent outing
to watch the movies.

Some say guns protect us
and weapons secure us.
I say the only protection
lies within ourselves
within our power to think and recognize
that peace begins only
when we put our weapons down.

Today I Declare

Today is my independence day! I am tired of living up to the rules and perceptions of the world around me and losing myself along the way. I am tired of being “good ole’ reliable” Lisa, there to pick up the pieces, lend a hand, give good advice, solve the problem, and be on duty 24-7, while everyone else does whatever they want to do, regardless of anyone else. I am tired of being introduced only as, “someone who helps us out here” or “the wife of our a Technical Director” or “Sarah’s Mom.” I am tired of not having an identity of my own. So today I declare my personal independence. I hold these truths to be self-evident, that I am created equal, that I too am  endowed . . . with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  What does this mean? It means that from this day forward I will:

  • Give myself permission to write without guilt, even if it means closing my door or escaping to find a place to write on my own.
  • Let my family make their own mistakes without any interference from me.
  • Pursue projects and work that makes me feel fulfilled, even if it means that it cuts into the time I spend with my family.
  • Put myself first for at least one hour each day.
  • Insist that once in a while someone else must make a sacrifice, not just me.

Do I sound selfish? Perhaps, but I cannot continue to live my life feeling like I am only around to help others follow their dreams. I have every right to pursue dreams of my own. I am not doing anyone any favors, least of all my daughter, by allowing myself to be considered as a supporting player in my own life. So today I declare that it is my inalienable right to reach for the stars. If I crash and burn, at least I will look back on my life as one where I tried, I journeyed, and I never gave up on myself.

I intend to make it a life lived to the fullest.  I intend to find joy in every step of the journey. I want to look back and say, “I’m glad I lived the life I lived, and I am proud of who I am.”  If I can do that for myself, I can teach that to my daughter. If I can do that for myself, I will be the person I want to be.





What You Think You are Writing vs. What You are Actually Writing

I’m having a little bit of an identity crisis at the moment.

I know, I know . . . shocking right? Me, trying to figure out who or what I am?

Well, now I have a new symptom of this confusing identity issue. I no longer have a clue what I am writing.

As you may recall, I am currently in the middle of a course/book writing project. I was determined that I was writing an actual adult novel for a change. It was, for all intents and purposes, a fantasy novel, sort of. Kind of. Maybe. But, then again, as I wrote earlier this summer, I am having trouble labeling the genre of this work. Now, of course, many of you suggested that I just write and worry about genre later. And I agree with that. That was also the advice from my editor/instructor in his most recent letter responding to chapter one. (which he liked, by the way).

But he also wrote:

“If I were writing this story (I understand I’m not), I might change that age bit about young women of 21 to young women of 18, and give some thought to a YA novel. As you know, a hot writing niche right now. I just finished the first story in the Hunger Games trilogy, which confirmed what we both know–this isn’t Nancy Drew any more.”

So much for my writing an adult novel. I mean, I know I don’t have to change it, but when he’s right, he’s right!  So, I am now writing a YA novel, but I still have no idea what I am actually writing. Suddenly a romance element has entered the picture, an element that I DO NOT WANT, but it’s creeping in and making me uncomfortable! I am fighting against it, which makes each word a struggle to write.

I guess the book is writing itself and I am just the conduit. Or I simply have lost control of words, my ideas, and my story.

The biggest problem is that every time I try to write now, the doubts creep in and garbage pours out. I know, I know, I just need to let the characters tell the story and figure it all out later.

I just wish I could get out of my own way, and stop fighting myself and my words.

Do you ever find a conflict between what you think you are writing and what you are actually writing? How do your reconcile the two? How do you break through?

Searching for an Image

Yesterday I began a new journey.

I literally drove all day, a round trip to Minneapolis to pick up a guest director at the airport and bring her back to the lot. That’s about 7 hours of driving. On the way up, I listened to past podcasts of Pop Culture Happy Hour as well as a little Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. You’ve got to love those NPR shows.

On one of the PCHH podcasts they discussed “road trip” movies and “quest” movies, trying to differentiate between them and clarify what makes a good movie. As I listened, I thought about my life as a road trip or my life as a quest. I have long been living the journey of my life, without having a clear destination. But, perhaps, my quest is an authentic life, and for me much of that authenticity comes from the journey.

That was stage one of this new journey.

Stage two came after I met the lovely person I went to pick up. Long car drives with strangers can be awkward, unless you find an instant connection, and I feel like we did. Terry lives the life I once dreamed of living, but I did not find myself jealous of that fact. Instead I found a woman full of wisdom, kindness and understanding.

She shared with me a story of a time when she kept seeing an image in her mind. That image guided her, with the help of someone else, to a deeper understanding and centering. Listening to her story made me resonate with the truth, the honesty, and a yearning inside myself to find and understand my own images.

I feel like I am taking a few steps on a new journey into my own inner truth. I only hope that I do not get lost along the way. Somehow, though, I feel like a wonderful journey has just begun.


Creating a Reader in a World of Multi-Tasking

I have been reading since I was at least 4 years old. I spent much of my childhood curled up under covers with my best friends, the ones found between the pages of books. I could spend hours or days hidden there, sometimes never coming up for air until I had read a book from start to finish. I’m sure there were times that my mother had to remind me to come down or leave the house.

Even now, if I have no other commitments, I can disappear for days, ravenously reading anything that comes my way. Much to my surprise, my addiction has only been fueled more by my Kindle (something I was against owning at first). Don’t get me wrong, I still prefer the feel of a book in my hands, and the joy of turning pages. But, once I discovered the ease of finding FREE books on Kindle, as well as the ease of making a purchase just after you finish one book and realize you want something else to read, I realized that there is something truly wonderful to having words at your finger tips.

As a matter of fact I’ve read around 10 books (or more) since I headed to my “summer home” at the end of June.

Sarah sees me reading all the time. She has picked up the (perhaps bad) habit of collecting books. She claims to love reading as well, but there is a difference that drives me crazy . . .

Sarah never seems to finish a book.

She has several books started. She has a summer homework assignment which requires her to read two books and write 8 essays (short) about them.

Getting her to sit down and read those books has become torture.

Not that she isn’t reading. She is currently sitting next to me reading her Highlight’s magazine. I just cannot get her to sit down and finish a book.

I have a theory. In a world where everything comes in high-speed mini-bites, she can only focus in short bursts. A magazine story or article requires a shorter attention span than a novel.  I see it with all my students, who never seem to finish their reading assignments completely. We are raising a generation of people with the inability to focus for an extended period of time.

It makes me sad. I can only hope that someday Sarah will find a book that she simply cannot put down.

Do you think reading is becoming a lost art?

Toward the Unknown (100 WCGU)

I have to thank Julia for the challenge this week, because I have been completely blocked, but as usual her challenge broke through a little. Please visit other people’s contribution, and join the challenge yourself.

Photograph by Steve Kramer http://taochild.wordpress.com/


The rain turned the road into a river, and washed away any possibility of return. Rebecca did not care. She pulled her hood off and looked up, allowing the chilly drops to cleanse away the memories. Someday, she was sure, they would rebuild the road, but she would be long gone. Thanks to the storm, not even the Tracker would be able to follow. Every trace of her departure would be washed away down the road. They might even think that the flood had swallowed her. Rebecca smiled as she covered her head again, and turned away from the flood toward her destiny ahead.

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