GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life

Memory Unlock / Thankful Thursday

While taking a break at work, I enjoyed some milk tea with a biscotti my husband bought me from a local bakery. The cookie reminded me of when in middle school, I made paximadia (greek anise biscotti) for either Latin Club or a class that was studying different cultures. I was deep into my Greek Mythology phase at this time so it was very natural I’d find a Greek recipe for the event.

I remember how time-consuming the process was. I had baked before but nothing this complex. Maybe just 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies. Nothing that required two baking times. I remember how hard the cookies were. I thought they were ruined. I had never had biscotti before so I didn’t quite know what to expect. I took them to the event, but I can’t recall if they were a hit or not. I don’t think anise flavor was very popular with 12-13yr olds. I vaguely feel like they were better received than I had expected they would be.

I’m don’t remember if my mom liked the cookies or not. She was a big coffee drinker so I would expect she may have enjoyed them with her coffee. I just don’t remember.

I’ll write in my journal an ‘artist date’ idea of making paximadia now 40 years later and see if the experience triggers any more memories.

I guess since it is a Thursday, I should get back into the habit of doing my Thankful Thursday posts. I know it’s been a while.

I am thankful for:

  • Memories unlocked
  • Cycles
  • Tackling difficult projects
  • Inspirational books
  • Angel numbers everywhere

A quick break

Taking a break at work, I can’t check Facebook or Instagram since both sites are down and there’s really nothing on Twitter but people complaining about Facebook and Instagram. So I thought I’d type out a quick post, and reflect on life before social media. Because I’m old.

I took programming class in junior high (mid 1980s) but it was in DOS and our big project was printing out a big ansi/ascii banner (I don’t remember which). I didn’t spend any other time on a computer. At home I’d watch TV, read magazines, clean my room, sort out clothes, ride my bike. I was in band so I’d practice or play music for fun.

Now, I find myself grabbing my phone for a distraction. TikTok, Facebook, Instagram. I post and constantly look for a like or comment. I’ve contemplating deleting them. I could easily do without Twitter. I am connected with others sketchers & cyclists on FB and Insta, but how connected are we? I check for group ride notifications and cancellations. I thought about how people used to have phone trees, where each person was assigned some one to call to pass along a message. Now we have group texts. Social media is easy, but it’s not simple.

Even though I’m posting this online, I feel less connected with others than I did before I had an online presence.

Luckily my sketchbook is always in my purse with some fine liners and watercolor so even without social media dopamine monkey to chase, I can have “something to do”.


A group of artists I meet with are currently reading Twyla Tharp’s Creative Habit. She mentions Rituals, which got me thinking, What rituals do I already have?

I started lighting a candle and focusing on flow when I set up my bills each month. I started that after reading Tosha Silver’s “It’s Not Your Money” Now I feel off if I pay bills without the candle, and focusing on my intention on the ebb and flow of funds. Loosening my grip, so more can come.

I pull my Faery card on Sunday before I go to bed, or this week on Monday because of the holiday my days are messed up. I pull a Secret Message Society fortune in the mornings, and glue it either in my sketchbook or calendar planner.

I think I used to have more rituals but they’ve fallen by the wayside. Doing something with intention can be a ritual. Washing dishes, being aware of the warmth of the water, the feel of the dish, the sound of the scrubber.

This week I’ll explore where I can add ritual to my daily routines.

Busy weekend & thrown schedules

I realized yesterday evening I didn’t write a blog post. My weekend was busy and my schedule has been thrown off. Monday felt like Sunday, even though I was at work.

I’m still playing with finding a schedule for writing and making my podcast. I was going to skip this week’s podcast but I knew that would lead to pushing it off more and more. So I recorded some thoughts on initiating conversations with strangers as I drove to work. When I scheduled it for Wednesday, I noticed that the last podcast was still set in draft mode. I thought I had scheduled it. I tried scheduling it again, and it remained in my draft folder. Then I noticed I have to put a comment about the episode before the publish button become active. I did end up skipping a week, inadvertently, and I’m really ahead of the game with 2 podcasts scheduled.

In a spiritual discussion with friends about Week 10 of The Artists Rule one of my Stop Doing/To Be was Stop planning everything and be spontaneous. I don’t think spontaneity works in all aspects of life. I like the comfort of a schedule. Knowing I will write or record on certain days helps me stay consistent. Consistency is something I’ve also had problems with in the past.

This week’s Fairy Card is The Big Behind. I would have laughed if I had pulled this card the week after my colonoscopy. The gist of this card is knowing your options & changing perspective. Look behind you instead of always forward. In cycling I have a difficult time looking behind me for cars when I need to change lanes. I have installed mirrors on my drop bars which helps but I still need to gain the skill of being able to turn around to look while riding. Sometimes you need to reverse trek and go back to where you come from in order to advance. I’ve been thinking a lot about my childhood and how different I am now. Am I really different though? Can I incorporate or return to that fearless chatterbox of a little girl?

August already?

I guess it’s been August for a week but seeing school zone lights flashing this morning really reinforced that summer is coming to an end. We’re in a head advisory so it doesn’t feel like fall.

The weekend was busy. New adventures and paths ridden on my bike. I joined a friend on a 21 mile total. We stopped at a mural festival, met up with other friends that took a different (longer) route, enjoyed some ice coffee and donut from a local cafe. I pushed myself too hard as usual and ended up borderline overheated.

It’s so hard to not push myself on rides. If there is a specific destination in mind, I push myself to get there quickly. I push myself in groups as to not hold anyone else back. I want to relax into the adventure of travelling new roads and seeing new things.

Maybe it’s like a meditation practice, or yoga practice. A cycling practice.

I forgot to pull a faery card for the week. I meant to pull a Wild Offering card this morning but forgot that as well. I have a life coaching cards app on my phone. I’ll “pull” a card from it…. “Shooting Star” That’s appropriate since I have the Perseid meteor shower peaks on Wednesday.

I don’t have much on my calendar for the week so I won’t rush in to fill the empty squares. Being mindful and present is a goal but not something I need to put on a “to do” list.

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Trying to find my Niche

Do you ever feel like you’re called to do something but you don’t know what it is?  I feel like I want to share my life experiences but I don’t know the best way to do that. 

I want to share my cycling journey and thought I’d try YouTube but I tend to forget to record video when I’m in the moment.  I’m not coordinated enough to record while I ride, I just recently managed to grab my water bottle for a drink while riding my road bike. Normally I have to stop to grab a drink. 

I started a podcast months ago, made one episode, and then think “Oh, I should record this” when I think of something deep or clever.  It’s usually not a good time to make a recording with a lot of background noise.  When I finally have quiet time the thought has passed or doesn’t seem relevant anymore.

Maybe I’ll try recording podcasts while I ride.  It may keep me from pushing myself too hard, I don’t want to be gasping for breath as I’m trying to talk.  Maybe I need a script.  Speaking off the cuff is a challenge for me.  I’m good at listening, but not good at speaking out loud about my thoughts, feelings, or needs. 

I thought I’d drop TikTok but I like the option to upload multiple short videos, or record in the moment when I remember.  I can now post 3-minute videos.  The introductory cycling journey video I posted (and subsequently deleted) on Youtube was 2 ½ minutes.  So maybe TikTok is more doable.  

I spend more time agonizing over these little details than actually creating. 

Then there is always the blog.  I can type quickly and post easily here, so maybe I should really start with the blog consistently and see where that goes. 

Consistently.   That’s my word of challenge.   What is preventing me from being consistent?  Where am I consistent in my life?  What do I want to be consistent with now?  What can help me achieve consistency? 

Slowing down.


Being in the moment. 

Hello July 2020

Half of the year is over, and I really hope that the remainder of 2020 isn’t as crappy as the first half.

I decided to keep me focused, I’ll set some goals and revisit them throughout the month.

July Goals:

Art – Make some smaller mixed media pieces on bristol or cardstock.  Something that could be easily shipped worldwide, and get my Etsy shop stocked.   I honestly forget about Etsy, although I’ve purchased through the site.

Movement – BIKE and GEOCACHING!  There are a few caches within my current riding stamina limit, and there are plenty of caches near the lakes that I could get while riding.  I’ve returned to yoga in the mornings, although not constantly, and I notice when I sit too long I get uncomfortable.

Spirit – I’ve been reading Tosha Silver’s It’s Not Your Money and I have a few more weeks to go in that.  I’m going to start reading Julia Cameron’s Finding Water next week.  I may use my blog to sort my thoughts on it.

I’ll check in my goals mid-month and update.



It’s too early to think of a title

I just finished my morning coffee and I’m thinking about things I have planned this weekend.  The writing group is meeting and another group is starting to work through The Artist’s Way.   My mind wandered to morning pages, blog posts and why do I write.  Do I really want to write?  I used to keep journals until I read through some of my mom’s when she passed.  I don’t want to leave daily rantings and bitching behind for my family to read and think “Wow, was she really this unhappy?”   I systematically started shredding mine, although there may still be a few left in my closet.  I need to shred those as well.

I guess I need to remember I’m NOT my mom.  But I’m probably more like her than I want to admit.

As I was pondering journals and posts, I realized I have 30 mins before I need to get ready for work – why not just write a blog post.   I grab my little Chromebook that is drying to bleed cyan and here I am.   I’m not sure where my train of thought was going.  It seemed like a good substantial post until I started typing.  Now I’m not sure what my point was.

I need more coffee but I’m out of creamer.  I haven’t yet developed a taste for black coffee.

I guess I can count this as a stream of thought writing, although it’s not in longhand in a spiral notebook.  I did have a point to make before I sat down to write. I should really work on drafts in Word before posting.


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My Mind is Numb

I want to be consistent with this writing thing, but when I sit down with my laptop, I don’t have any ideas.  A lot has happened in the last 3 days.  Worried mama type things. Spontaneous crying.  My son had an incident at work. A fall causing a seizure, or a seizure causing a fall.  No one saw what happened. A phone call from the paramedics asking what hospital I wanted him to go to will haunt me.  I arrived at the ER expecting to see him unconscious, hooked up to machinery. He was standing, putting his shirt back on. One side of his face was covered in dried blood.   A cut on the side of his head. I know head wounds bleed a lot. A fractured vertebra we found out about later.  They took him for a scan.  I heard on the intercom “Code Blue in CT Room 1”  I knew it was him.   He doesn’t remember much from the hospital, and virtually nothing after the second seizure and was medicated.

Luckily, he’s back to himself now, despite random bouts of nausea and vomiting. (I honestly don’t need to hear your explanation of concussion symptoms. I’ve been given more advice on concussions (which he was NOT diagnosed with) than a pregnant woman gets on childrearing.)

The coming week will be busy.  The next few months my routine will be disrupted.  I don’t care about any of that, as long as he’s okay.  I’m trying to not hover like a mama hawk. Technically, he IS an adult.  I’ve hugged him more the last 3 days than I have in the past 3 months.  He knows I’m worried.  Luckily, he tolerates me.   I hated when my mom treated me like a child even when I was in my 30s and 40s.  I honestly don’t think she ever saw me as a functioning adult.  I’m working on giving him space but being available if needed.

I know moms who have lost children. I can’t even begin to imagine what they have gone through.  I feel like my worry is, insignificant? compared to their experiences.  And I feel guilty.

I’m focusing on catching up housework, and laundry.  I went out for a while and sketched.  I’ve mowed.   I decided to write although I feel this is more of a rambling stream of consciousness.   Maybe getting it all out of my head will help.  Or I’ll just go clean out the fridge.


Facing Fear

I turned 50 recently, and with that, thinking about what I miss out on because I’m afraid.

  • Afraid of what people may think
  • Afraid it will be too difficult
  • Afraid of being uncomfortable

I’ve seen 2 rabbits in less than 24 hours.  One last night in a yard as I was riding my bike (facing a fear) and one this morning while driving to work.  The one this morning was laying in the grass easement next to a busy divided highway.

A quick search on the metaphysical meaning of Rabbit mentioned facing & flushing out fear.  Wow… that’s exactly what I’ve been contemplating lately.

I had taken some Soulodge courses with Pixie Lighthorse 6 years ago or so, and I’m certain Rabbit was one of them.  I’m sure I have the lessons saved on my external hard drive at home.

This past weekend, I put my fear aside.  I went alone to a knitting group for the 1st time.  I wasn’t sure what to expect. I figured if worse came to worst, I can sit in a corner and focus on my knitting.   I really had a great time. It was a small group and everyone was friendly.  I managed to get a good chunk done on a sock (now finished).  I’m planning on what I want to start for the meeting next month.

Then in the afternoon, I went to a writing group.  I know I’m a sporadic blogger and would like to change that.  This group was very inspirational and I had a lot of ideas brewing for upcoming topics.  Maybe I’ll adventure more and try my hand at poetry.

In the evening – still the same day – I went to a wine tasting for cyclists.  I’m not actually a cyclist, but I do plan on getting there.  The women I met were very encouraging, which instigated my 1st ride last evening, where I saw Rabbit.  Facing my fears after stories of falls and crashes.

Everything comes back full circle.