Friday, January 30, 2009


I want to thank the many of you who commented on my blogs this past week. Your words have been so warm and encouraging and I've felt inspired after visiting your blogs.

We hear so much about the negative aspects of the Internet and the people who pray on the vulnerability of others, it is refreshing to read about and be a part of a gathering of people who are striving to be their best. People who follow their dreams and encourage others to do the same. I'm excited to get to know all of you better and hope that I can give you in return the kindness and support that you have shown me.

Blessings to you all!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesdays - Creativity

I'm so glad I found Wishcasting Wednesdays hosted by Jamie Ridler at Starshyne Productions!

"Be a maker of magic and a tender of wishes. It’s easy. Answer the wish prompt above on your blog and then add a direct link to your post in the box below. Support wishes by visiting other participants, leaving a comment saying “As (insert name) wishes for her/himself, so I wish for her/him also.” It’s that simple. There is great power in wishing together."

This is a lovely idea and I'd like to support the dreams of others so I'm going to join this group. Today's prompt is: What do you wish to create?

My first wish is:

I'd like to break through the wall that's been holding me back
and start leading a more creative life.

I want to create a more creative life. In that regard, I'd like to try art journaling, collage and other mixed media but am not sure where to start. I write and draw but would like to try something more. If anyone has any book, website, or class recommendations they'd like to share, please do so in the Comments. Thank you!

Others are casting their wishes at Starshyne Productions.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

WW: Talent

Trent Reznor & Robin Finck of NIN

There's something about musicians that drives us ladies wild. They don't even have to look pretty (although we certainly don't mind (and in this case, Trent Reznor and Robin Finck look mighty fine!), they just have to have talent. There's a magic to talent that makes it so sexy and so addictive that young girls and grown women will bare their breasts, toss out their panties, and just plain make fools of themselves just to get near it.

What exactly is it about talent that illicits this kind of response? In the case of Trent Reznor and the current lineup of Nine Inch Nails, I believe the magic lies in his/their ability to show intelligence, high energy and raw power, softened by sensitivity and self-exploration, with some musical genius thrown in for good measure.

My husband and I were lucky enough to catch one of the November Lights in the Sky tour shows and were completely blown away. We saw them back in 2005 and were thrilled then but this was even better!

So, tell me, whose talent brings out the craziness in you?

For more Wordful Wednesday posts, go to Angies Circus.

Simply Kind Tuesdays - Bus Drivers

I want to give a big shout out today to a group of people who have to deal with a bunch of grumpy customers every guessed it, bus drivers. There are probably just as many grumpy bus drivers as there are passengers but every once in a while you run across one whose light shines brightly every morning which serves to cut through the fog and lighten our mood. I was lucky enough to enjoy the spirit of one such bus driver this morning.

Her cheery "good morning" and warm "bye now" sounded genuine each time a passenger got on or off the bus and her sweet smile simply confirmed it. Whenever someone sneezed, a "gezundheit" followed it. Maybe it doesn't sound like much but when you're half asleep, bundled up in several layers of clothing just to weather the 22 below to 15 above weather, and squeezed between a freezing cold window and a giant who is rammed into you because he's determined to claim his seat, this unforced cheeriness is a boon to the soul.

I've had bus drivers who swore, harassed riders, talked incessantly on the phone (a big no-no) and worse. I also had a bus driver who charmed us with his radio DJ commentary, another who took on a pilot persona, and one fine man who sang Christmas carols during the month of December.

If any bus drivers out there happen to be reading this, thank you so much for your cheery disposition and your kindness when waiting for us to run to the bus carrying three bulging bags and slipping on the ice. Thank you for driving safely and still getting us to work on time. And, a big thank you for putting up with a bunch of grumpy customers!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sleeping with Bread #2

Well, this last week certainly flew by! Here it is Monday again and it's time for Sleeping with Bread.

I had lunch with a girlfriend yesterday that I've known for what seems like forever. We haven't seen each other since Halloween so we ended up chatting away for four hours at the restaurant. I think the fact that she kept ordering cosmos helped to keep them from kicking us out the door!

I always look forward to the times I'll have by myself but often end up getting very little accomplished because that time alone seems so foreign to me and I can't settle into my own skin. I felt very much "me" though while rehashing old times with my friend and catching up on current news. We don't see each other very often but it never feels like it when we do finally get together. I'm happy that we were able to have that time together and feel that connection.

I felt less like me and less connected when at work this past week. I enjoy what I do and love the people I work with, but I've had some trouble feeling present when I'm there. Outside tasks and interests have stolen the thrill of my day job (has there ever really been a thrill?). I want to do more than just adequate work; I want to knock people out with my brilliance! My mission this week is to be more focused and present at work.

Sacred Life Sunday #2

(All art by Elena Ray)

I'm still new to Sacred Life Sunday and mulling over exactly what the word sacred means to me. I guess I think of it as something we set apart and hold in the highest regard. It is something so special that we will not allow anything to interfere with its place in our life. I believe it is also something we deem to be holy. defines it as:

  • Dedicated to or set apart for the worship of a deity.

  • Worthy of religious veneration: the sacred teachings of the Buddha.

  • Made or declared holy: sacred bread and wine.

  • Dedicated or devoted exclusively to a single use, purpose, or person: sacred to the memory of her sister; a private office sacred to the President.

  • Worthy of respect; venerable.

  • Of or relating to religious objects, rites, or practices.
So, by these definitions, what do I hold sacred; especially on this particular Sunday?Moments. There are those moments when the clouds of everyday thought begin to part, and true clarity becomes real. Some bright truth is suddenly clear and we wish to take a snapshot to forever preserve that moment in our mind and memory.

Like when in the midst of chaos, you realize you'd better cherish the moment you're in with your children because they will grow up before you know it. We all know this in our head but this truth has a way of piercing our heart when we least expect it.

Or, when it becomes clear that all the fussing and fidgeting in the world will not change what another thinks of us and that we must not change who we are but become even more us. I can't count the times I've tried to become someone else in the hope of receiving love from men who were not right for me.

There is also that moment when we know we must finally go after our dreams because they're unlikely to just fall into our lap.

Some people don't seem to struggle with this very much but I know I do. I've always wanted to be a writer, artist and dancer. What do I do? I'm a legal assistant at a law firm. A great law firm, mind you, but this is not exactly what I set out to do. Finally, in my 40's, I've decided to push back the fear and chase after those dreams. Well, at least two of them. Its unlikely I'll become a professional dancer at this point but I can still shake my thang with the best of 'em!

As for the writing and art, I've been blogging for over a year now, have written some flash fiction and poetry, and plan to write some short stories for submission. I used to draw way back in school but haven't done much since. The tendonitis in my right hand gives me trouble off and on but I don't want that to stop me from drawing again. When I'm unable to do that because holding the pencil hurts too much, I can try art journaling, digital art and photography. I've been so inspired by the work of the artists I've linked to in my sidebar along with many other artists, like Elena Ray, I'm just itching to try some new things!

A sacred moment might also be when we are completely at peace and accepting of our place in life. We might plan to make changes in the future; and if we don't, they'll most likely still occur. But during those sacred moments, we are happy with the foundation we've built (family, friends, beliefs, values) and know we can survive whatever the winds of change might blow our way.

Our minds hold so much that we tend to think of many of these truths in a "yeah, yeah, I know" surface only way. The sacred moments I refer to here are the ones that reach our hearts.

I look forward to my next sacred moment and pray that my heart and mind are open to receiving it.

May you experience a sacred moment soon!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wordful Wednesday

Wordful Wednesday, hosted by Angie, is for showcasing a photo and writing all about it. This is my first time participating. I wanted to post something soft and sweet today, so what could be better than a few recent shots of my kitties, Devi and Kali!

My family adopted Devi (black) and Kali (grey) in September 2008 after the passing of my 21 year old faithful feline companion Indya in August.

Devi and Kali are not litter mates but were familiar with each other when we adopted them. You can see that they have certainly adopted each other.

Being with Indya for so long, I forgot how crazy kittens can be! Here's a shot of Kali, who is always looking to climb new heights:

On top of our spacey looking shower doors.

Here's what happens when a kitty gets daring:

Yep. That's right. She either leaped or fell into a tub full of water. We heard a horrible thrashing sound that went on and on as I ran to the bathroom, opened one of the doors and found her hanging by her paws from the inside door handle, big eyed and soaking wet! (The stopper malfunctioned.)

Little Miss Devi sat sweetly on the floor looking up through the shower doors at her sister, happy to not be in trouble.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Simply Kind Tuesdays - Pedestrians

I'll try not to make this sound like a rant but I'd like to make this suggestion: Pedestrians, Please Be Kind To Drivers!

Please tell me if I'm the only one who experiences this. I'll be parked in a grocery store parking lot (always the worst), trying to back out of my spot in order to leave the lot. I'll look to the left and then to the right and back again. There will be no one coming from either direction when I slowly start to back out, double and triple checking all directions when all of a sudden, someone will walk out from between two cars and keep walking into the space my car is headed so I have to stop suddenly.

Now, I understand that pedestrians almost always come first but should that really be the case when you are clearly halfway back from your parking spot, no one is around, and then someone heads directly into your path? Do you know what I mean? When I am the pedestrian and I see a car backing up and I am not yet close by, I do not purposely walk into their path. It's as if these people are daring the drivers to hit them. What happened to a little common courtesy in allowing others to pass? I can be sitting there for several minutes before there's a break in the action or someone recognizes my intention and allows me to move.

I'm not saying that pedestrians have to defer to drivers at all times, I'm just asking them to please be smart, and kind, and aware of their surroundings. Thank you. :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sleeping with Bread #1

I found another meme! Sheesh, you say, what is with this woman?! Well, when it's late at night and I've forgotten all the brilliant things I was planning to write about, I surf around, find a meme, and it inspires me. This new one (new to me) seems easy yet thought provoking. It's called "Sleeping with Bread." What?! Okay, hear me out...

(Taken from the Sleeping with Bread site and written by Mary-LUE)

What is Sleeping with Bread?

During the bombing raids of WWII, thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care. But many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them. Finally, someone hit upon the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding their bread, these children could finally sleep in peace. All through the night the bread reminded them, "Today I ate and I will eat again tomorrow." (Linn, Dennis et al, Sleeping With Bread, p.l)

These are the beginning words of a book that introduced me to a practice called the examen. The orphans held on to what nourished them and were thus able to sleep peacefully at night. The examen, based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, helps a person hold onto what spiritually nourishes him by looking at what is giving him consolation in his life or causing him desolation. It allows someone to express his gratitude to God for the good stuff and turn to him for solace for the bad stuff. It is quite simple. You simply ask yourself, in the last day/week/month what gave me consolation and what caused me desolation.

This is beautiful and I want to participate. Although the examen is a Christian practice, anyone should be able to share and take part in this.

For what am I most grateful?

I am most grateful this week for my family. In the last year and a half, we lost my father, mother and my long time companion, my cat Indya. I have many friends who lost family members and friends in the last year as well. I have two brothers and one sister but our family is small because we never knew anyone on my father's side because he was adopted and his adoptive parents died before I was born. He lost touch with this siblings until shortly before he passed. Anyway, there's just a small group of us now. We invited everyone over for a spaghetti dinner the night before last and we had a great time. We talked, drank wine, played RockBand, drank more wine, and enjoyed each other's company. I am so grateful for every member of my family and pray that we will be together for many, many more years to come.

For what am I least grateful?

This week, I am least grateful for the distance between my sister's and my homes. There's about a four hour drive between us so we don't get to see each other very often. I hope that some day we will live closer together but I know we won't be moving to her town as it's too small and cold for us. My son loves it there and I know I would love visiting but my husband and I enjoy some of the perks of living in the suburbs. It's a short hop to the cities, stores are open late, and we can get close to people around us but still claim anonymity when its desired. I should say that I am also grateful for modern technology because without it, my sister and I would not be able to communicate daily by email!

There you have it. My first Sleeping with Bread post. I'm off to read what some of the other participates have written. I hope you'll join me in "Sleeping with Bread."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Simply Kind Tuesdays #1

Another blog I discovered this past week is Claudia H. Christian's On a Limb with Claudia. Claudia created a new meme entitled Simply Kind Tuesdays. She also created the Everyday Kindness meme. The goal for each is to keep kindness in our blogs and in our minds. It sounded like a great idea to me and another way for me to keep in a more positive mindset so I decided to participate!

A friend and I were waiting at the bus stop downtown, hoping it would hurry so we could get out of the blasted cold and home to our families, when a gentlemen walked up to us and asked for money. His appearance and manner were those of an unclean, unshaven, inebriated or mentally ill man. He wanted $8 so he could get a free meal at the homeless shelter and pay for a shower and cot to sleep on overnight. I have no idea whether or not they charge the homeless for those things.

Well, I've been approached by my fair share of homeless people before and there might have been a time or two when I gave them a dollar bill, but did I hand it over this time? No. My friend, however, did. She just wanted to be kind.

I wanted to be kind as well and when I think about their situation, I feel sick and outraged, and a healthy amount of despair. I've been told by women's self-defense teachers that we're supposed to ignore them or tell them "no" and walk away. You never know when you could be in danger, right? But are all beggars bad people? I think not. Sure, there are those who don't really need your money, who make a healthy living out of panhandling. There are also those who will take your $5 or $10 and spend it all at the liquor store down the block. On the other hand, I know there are millions of homeless people who end up that way because of bad luck. It could be any one of us on the street, especially in these uncertain times. Was I wrong to shake my head no? Should I have dug into my purse and given willingly?

My friend didn't hesitate long in making her decision and I think she decided to give no matter if the man was lying to her or not. Does that make her a gullible person or one who just wanted to be kind?

What would you have done?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sacred Life Sunday #1

If you scroll down the page a bit, you'll see a beautiful badge with the words "Sacred Life Sunday" on it. Some time ago, I stumbled upon the Zena Musings blog and immediately started feeling calmer as I looked over the page and checked out Carla Blaze's Zena Moon website. Carla is the creator, candle-maker and sole proprietor of the Zena Moon candle-making business.

Back at the blog, I read about her 30-day personal journey she called My Sacred Life wherein she posted daily a photo from her daily life capturing something that connected her to Spirit, like her prayer beads, candles, family, her garden, etc. Others joined the project and it became Sacred Life Sunday. It seemed like a wonderful idea to me but I already had so much on my plate that I never really got started with it. After checking back to her blog several times, and feeling the pull to take this journey myself, I finally decided to give it a go. So, here goes...

It may seem strange to some people, but I find an exquisite peace when I'm visiting a cemetery. Both of my parents passed on in the last year and a half and I felt the pull to visit them where they rest.

I enjoy walking or driving the paths of the cemetery no matter what the season. In winter, there's a chilly stillness and the trees show off their majesty.

The cemetery in spring and summer feels like a garden with the pretty flowers, winding paths and leaves fluttering in the wisp of a breeze. Autumn is my favorite time to visit. I love the riotous display of colored leaves playing the perfect contrast to the dark and sometimes decaying headstones. The cool breeze has a faint burning scent and everything seems so rich; just dripping with vibrancy. It's an odd word to use when talking about a cemetery but that's how I see it.

It's always interesting to walk around and look at the names and dates on the headstones and wonder about the life that person led. Can you tell anything from a name?

I'm glad I went to visit my parents today and I'm glad their site is not far from where I live. I don't think their spirit is there in that cemetery, no matter how romantic that would seem. I believe their spirits are soaring elsewhere and I hope to see them again one day. I'd like to let them know I appreciate their efforts with me and that I understand that as parents, we don't always know what we're doing, we just try to do our best. I want them to know that I'm trying my best with my son.

The Sacred Life Sunday objective is to get us thinking about what connects us to Spirit and I have to say that spending time in cemeteries, especially this one, helps me connect.

What Tarot Card are You?

You are The High Priestess

Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.

The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Hmmm... Only slightly surprising.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What's Your Word?

You see life as precious, and you wish everyone

was safe, happy and taken care of.

Social injustice, human rights, and peace for all

nations are all important to you.

While you can't stop war, you try to be as calm

and compassionate as possible in your everyday life.

You promote harmony and cooperation. You're

always willing to meet someone a little more than halfway.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Conquering Fear

One thing that terrifies me is getting up on stage in front of a large group of people. I've done it many times but have never gotten over that horrible feeling you get right before you go on. I remember wishing those butterflies in my stomach would carry me off on their colorful wings, right away from the scary task at hand.

Last spring, I fell in love with my son all over again when he mastered this same fear by getting up on stage by himself and singing "The Cowboy Song" while strumming his guitar. I could see he was getting anxious while sitting in the audience waiting for his turn to take the stage. As his mother, I was probably more nervous then he, hoping he'd finish the song and the audience would embrace him.

He was one of several teens who auditioned for and participated in a variety show at a school for kids with learning disabilities. I can't tell you how many times I cried as I watched each person take the stage and give it their all.

Here's a pic of my son giving his all, and bringing the crowd to their feet as they clapped and danced along with him.

Next time I have to get on stage, I'll think of these kids and how they mastered their fear while touching the lives of so many.

How inspiring!

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Girl With No Shadow

I'm feeling giddy with inspiration tonight, all due to The Girl With No Shadow by Joanne Harris. It is the sequel to Chocolat. I absolutely adore Ms. Harris' writing. Love it! I confess I did not read Chocolat but watched the movie and was charmed to no end. Her ability to make you feel the wind, taste rich delicacies, see the sky as it blankets the town...she's a woman after my own heart. Not only does Ms. Harris grab you with her ability to incorporate all the senses into every aspect of her stories, she also nourishes your growing need to know more about the characters, their past lives and abilities and more. Her stories don't bash you over the head with a message, they continuously reward you with one truth after the next in a silky and subtle manner. She writes the way I want to write. Beautiful words put together with beautiful ideas.

I won't go into detail about a specific story but would direct you to her website where you can read interviews and excerpts, reviews and more. My hope and prayer is that I one day have such talent!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Furry Inspiration

My kittens inspire me every day. They are playful, trusting, crazy and loving: all things I aspire to be.

Devi is our black Halloween cat. She's very good natured, loves to snuggle and is pretty laid back as you can see in this photo of her all stretched out for an afternoon siesta with my husband. We call her Black Bear because she's all soft and mushy and just has that kind of bearing.

Kali is our little grey wildcat with a sweet side. My husband has given her the nickname "Great White" as she reminds him of a great white shark when she's opening up wide to sink her teeth into anything nearby.

There you have 'em, Kali and Devi, or Great White and Black Bear, whichever you prefer.

Welcome to A Touch of Inspiration!

Welcome world! As you can see from my blog title, this space will focus on items, words, visuals and events that inspire me. Some days I'll focus on what others have done to bring inspiration to my life, others I might post photos I've taken that have brought me joy. Whatever the day might bring, I hope you'll find in it a touch of inspiration.