Friday, December 31, 2010

a new year

2010 has been one hell of a year. i lost my beloved grandmother, my amazing mom, then my little love cat. so much love gone from my life.
but one thing that i can look back at and be happy about is that every day this year, i kept a gratitude journal. to be honest, some days, it was only one thing that i could think to be grateful for. but through the darkest year of my life, i was grateful for something every day.
what it showed me is that even though i think i can't keep up with something, i can. and also that little tiny changes land up being rather fantastic.
there are a number of things that i am adding to my 'every day' this year. i will keep up my gratitude journal and some other things. but the one that i am really excited about is my photo a day.
every day for the whole of 2011, i will take a photo to document a moment of my life. and i will post them here for a record for myself as well as to share (a DH suggestion to keep me accountable). i am guessing that most days i won't comment about it, just share what i saw with my little eyes.
what are you excited about this new year?
may 2011 be filled with love, joy, abundance, great health and happiness to you all! i am grateful for each and every one of you!
love, ellie

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New scarf and shawl pins in the shop now!

I had a lot of fun making these pins. All hand forged by me.
Copper, fine silver or aluminum. Check them out at!



fine silver

fine silver

Thursday, June 3, 2010

cool stuff in the creative world

i am taking this really amazing e course with kelly rae roberts. it's called flying lessons and it is all about developing your creative business. that i get to listen to my creative whispers is a gift. those who know me know that i am a coach and a creative.
with the loss of my mom and my grandmother in the last couple of months, i haven't had a creative pulse. i feel it coming back. and i think at least some of it can be attributed to this really great class. kelly is amazing. one of those people/artists who i would normally feel so less than but she is also so real and accessible and well, bright. we are just a few days into the e course and already she has given so much. i think that is her nature.
more about this to come. brain is a bit mushy today but i really wanted to get this out there because it isn't too late to join in this great event.
i was first introduced to her work this past christmas when my sister sandy gave me one of kelly's amazing canvases which was instantly one of my 'the house is on fire, go get this' items. i googled her and found her website and then her a.m.a.z.i.n.g. book taking flight.
me likey. going to rest the brain but go check this stuff out. she and what she brings to this world is really pretty special.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

confessions of a shadow girl

i want to be the light. i always want to be the light. i don't want to feel bad and if i do, i want it to be real short lived. in fact, i believe that people will only put up with me being shadowy for a real short time.
as i continue to work on this staying in the moment stuff, i am realizing more and more how often i take the opportunity to bolt.
and i will admit, that i feel bad about that. i feel bad about feeling bad. and when i feel that way, then everything feels like it gets real big, unwieldy, i get that bug feeling..the one where life is the windshield.
and i don't normally give myself much leeway. it doesn't matter if i am dealing with some health stuff or family stuff, both of which i have been dealing with for a while now.
no, i want to be the light.
i have no trouble stepping into that light for others. the moment i get to help someone, or make something for them, it seems that the sun shines within me.
i guess the reason i am writing this is to admit that i am human, that i am not always sunny. that i have shadows. i am not comfortable with that yet. there is a reason that i have bolted from these moments. they aren't fun. i am not at my best then. i don't feel my best then. i think that i am disconnected to the wind beneath my wings, to borrow a phrase. but, as i choose to stay in this moment, i will get used to it. and that is enough right now.

Monday, April 26, 2010

it's complicated, well kinda

i am reading Women Food and God. it is quite an amazing book for anyone who uses anything, any kind of activity or substance, to feel better about...well, anything.
one of the first things that struck me was when the author, geneen roth, said "Never underestimate the urge to bolt." to run away. withdraw. to protect yourself by whatever means.
this is so powerful for me.
she talks about staying present in the moment, feeling whatever you might be running from. boredom. fear. loneliness. angry. whatever it is.
when i read that part about bolting, i knew it was important to me. i really didn't understand how i could feel anymore than i already was. i KNOW how i feel. i KNOW why i am feeling it. i know and know and know and know.
but i don't feel it. i am intellectualizing it. analyzing.
and bolting.
to food. to talking with someone. to doing something for someone. to making something. to looking for new ideas. like this tree. coming from one source and then fracturing.
anything but feel that i am lonely or bored or tired or uninspired or lacking or really pissed or think that i am just not good enough.
so i have been becoming more conscious about staying in the moment. staying. in. the. moment.
this is a new understanding for me. yeah, i have heard time and time again to be in the moment, not to go elsewhere because life is now.
but this is about intentionally not bolting from the moment.
that is different to me.
strength isn't about just enduring the gale force winds. it's not just about seeing life as a batten down the hatches and hang on.
it's about knowing that the wind can blow as hard as it wants, and it can tear my house down and throw all my stuff in the next county, but i will be fine. i won't crumble.
tonight i had a visceral knee jerk reaction of distrust. i quickly realized that i wanted to bolt. to run and get away from the feeling that i would be hurt, that i was in emotional danger.
i wanted to lash out. to immediately hash out the issue. confront the other person. this wasn't communication in a healthy sort of way. it was the need to be told that everything is good, okay. that i was wrong and that i am safe.
so it isn't only food that i use for comfort.
but it's okay. because i am learning to stay in the moment.
and finding that, in fact, the moment is a pretty cool place to be.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

road trip

Erik and I went on a short photo safari this weekend. Headed off to the outer banks, hitting spots between Nags Head and Hatteras. It was great fun. Just roaming around looking for a photo opp. It was a cloudy day but the lighthouse was beautiful as ever.

We stopped at the visitors center as we got to the Outer Banks and there was a long wooden boardwalk that ran parallel to the bridgeway. We took a stroll down there and I was just captivated by the views under the bridge. Where the water was, is and the stage of wet that the dirt was in. I loved the bans on the bridge supports. Sometimes there were motorcycles crossing overhead with some bike rally nearby. Sometimes it was just a crow's call or some mysterious chirping somewhere. Air...perfection. Beach breezy, sky mingled with overcast and perfect cool know, the kind where it is happy on the skin when you are resting and cooling when you are moving around a lot. We saw all sorts of plants that I couldn't identify.
As we were walking back towards the car for the next leg of the exploration, a bright green lizard darted across the boardwalk, right under Erik's foot. Nearly stepping on the little sucker was what caught Erik's attention and I got to see the little fellow before he went over the edge.

This was a new friend that I made while at the base of the lighthouse. He wasn't a mouse. But he was teeny. Looked kind of like a bitty gerbily type fellow. He wasn't the brightest mouse in the lighthouse but he was so cute. I tried to get him to stay away from the tourists (you know, with me being an OBX native...hehe) and so I walked with him for a while. Probably about 10 minutes. Cute little guy.
One of the great little treasures that I found while walking on the beach was a tiny footprint. I snapped a shot of it then realized there was no perspective so I put my foot next to it. Cool.

I was trying Erik's way of walking on the beach. Since it is too cool to go into the water still, we were just walking the beach. He wears his tennies and socks to make walking easier. I am a throw the shoes off, probably sandals and get that sands all over my feetsies. Well, I was going to be oh so clever and not get my feet all sandy. It lasted until I walked down to the water and the second wave to hit shore moved faster than me. Yup, socks and shoes were wet and came off. Yippee! The toes hit the sand then the water and got all perfectly beachy. I just left my sneaks on the beach while we explored and took in the sights.
Lots of fun. Lots of photos. Just wanted to share a few moments of the get away.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Face of Love

Okay, this isn't the most dignified photo of my grandmother but then my grandmother wasn't the most dignified woman.
Thank God.
Grammy died this morning, in her sleep.
She was born 96 years, one month and a couple of days ago.
Her life wasn't always easy. In fact, I would say that it was rarely easy. She lost her own mother at only 6 years old. Bounced between aunts and an orphanage. Her marriage to my grandfather was something that most women today would never endure.
My grandmother was a pistol, as my dad would say. In fact, a couple of years ago, my family was gathered for Christmas. My dad said something that was pretty shocking to me. He said, with Grammy in the room, "Your Grandmother is in great health. I bet she will make it to a 100." I said that I wasn't taking that bet, how could I possibly win? Grammy sat for a moment and then said "I'll take that bet. I win either way!"
That was Grammy.
Sharp, funny and always looking at life from love.
About 7 years ago, I asked Grammy what her favorite part of her life so far was. She said "All of it." While I knew that shouldn't be true, considering her life, I knew that she meant it. When pressed she told me about going out to the clubs to listen to music and dance with my grandfather. I thought of her, as a young woman in the 1930s, listening to the big bands and the upstarts. Moving to the music and feeling like the world was hers. That still makes me smile.
I spent some time with her a couple of weeks ago. She was fragile and didn't know me.
We sat looking at the finch house at the assisted living center where she lived. She was quiet. I rubbed her back. I stroked her long white hair that was knotted into a bun. She didn't say much this time. She has been leaving for a while. She was mostly somewhere else.
When I arrived I rounded a corner and there she was, sitting in her wheelchair in the hallway. When I asked her what she was doing, she told me that she had just gotten back from the movies. I asked her what movie and while she didn't remember the movie, she said she enjoyed it. Figuring that she hadn't just seen a movie, I asked her where she saw it and she named the two movie houses from her youth. I told her that I was glad that she had a good time.
We just hung out together. Every once in a while, she would say something. I would hug her and tell her I loved her. She would say that she loved me, that she loved everybody. She did. And truly, everyone who met my grandmother for the entirety of her life, loved her.
She sat with a faint smile on her face and I asked her if she was happy. She said "Why not?"
That was my Grammy.
I will never be the woman that she was and I will never stop trying to be more like her. She is my Grammy, my role model and the perfect combination of strength and love.
I will never stop loving her and if my mind slips from my body when I am older, I hope that some of its jaunts are to our happy times together.
Dance, beautiful Lillian, dance.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

long time no see

it's been ages since i last wrote. family health dramas, ensuing issues and emotions. holidays and a load of shoulds have fully packed the space between now and then.
something that i have been thinking a lot about is the quality of life.
during the past 5 months, my mom has faced some death defying stuff. the doctors said, repeatedly that we needed to have the end of life talk. which we did.
it was hard to wait while my mother took the time, overnight in this case, to decide what she wanted to do. and yes, there was a living will.
what i came to realize about a living will is that it is much about one's will to keep living.
amidst the charts, procedures, tests and vitals, the doctors didn't see it. the nurses didn't see it. they only saw despair and a woman whose body had been through hell. desperate cries for a mere, though potentially life threatening, glass of water. endless bags of this and that and more of something else that i had hoped to never learn about in this lifetime. tubes. miles and miles of tubes.
but our family saw it.
my mom wasn't done.
it wasn't recorded on a chart anywhere. there was no test for the fight left in her. while i listened to the doctors, nurses and even hospice people talk to my mother, i heard what they were really saying. this is big and serious and c'mon you have already lived this long and you should be comfortable.
i lost count of the number of times that i listened to them during this period and watched my mother trying to process what they were saying through the haze of medication.
it was a trying time. okay, that is one of the biggest understatements EVER. but i reminded her, in front of them, that what they said was a possibility not a guarantee, because they didn't know anything for sure.
my mother came home, after just shy of 5 months. she surprised everyone. maybe herself too. doctors and nurses came to say goodbye and wish her well. her third day home she went out for dinner. and on the 5th day she and my sister are going out for her first shopping trip.
all of this is to say that i have been thinking about the quality of life.
i am not good with death. i wish that i was better but i guess it doesn't matter that much as it's coming either way.
this has me looking within even more than normal (yes, it might actually be possible) and looking at others as well.
there are a lot of people who are not living a life of quality. who really aren't happy.
and i think that it is because we, like the doctors, are basing the future on the past. this is what has happened so this is what will likely happen again.
but it doesn't have to be that way.
we don't ever have to stop asking ourselves if we have what we want. i am not talking about an ipad here. i am talking about what actually fulfills our spirit, our life purpose. the thing that ticks off all the boxes of our own cosmic 'honey do' list.
this is way too big for one blog posting. i am in this long running show called life and am doing my best to explore my role in it.
so this, like life, will be continued...