Love (and art) will save the world.

A handful of rustic, folk-y clay figures form the center of our Christmas decorations every year.

You know the players. Mary and Joseph. The baby Jesus, also known in our family as the Beeji-weeji.

A cow. Some shepherds and kings. An angel. And, in this particular collection of witnesses, a Puli dog from an artist with a sense of humor, somewhere in a village called Szentendre, in Hungary.

Sure signs of Love for my heart.

Love will save the world. Ultimately, if not by tomorrow.

Art will help save the world. It’s ancient wisdom that feels true to me.

Art as a way of carrying Love through the ages.

Today, we’re not talking about modern artists in Hungary or Gothic and Renaissance masters. At least not primarily. Today we’re talking about a story of Love and a 10-year-old kid with a big heart and some colored pencils.

Today, we’re talking a really big dog named Otis and all the things he learned at his first Christmas.

And a chance for you to be part of the Love.

It’s easy! Just click on the pretty book title and get your copy of the Kindle book called Otis and the Great Christmas Adventure! 

I learned this story from a friend who loves Newfoundland dogs too, and wants them all to be loved.

Then, as is the way with stories, I told it to Kenzie, my older granddaughter.

Kenzie made some amazing pictures.

Leisa pushed some buttons.

A whole lot of other people added their help and encouragement.

And, today, there is a book! An electronic book, to be specific.

And a great story for helping kids learn about making and being friends. About being kind and helpful. About having a whole lot of fun along the way.

Sarah and Phoebe and Luther are hoping you’ll want one of the fancy electronic books today. It costs just $2.99 and a little more than half of that goes to help Newfies in need, just like they once were. (And your dog can’t chew it up!)

There are a lot of amazing dogs who need this kind of help.

There are also a lot of kids who need help learning to be kind and confident. Learning what it means to have empathy.

Newfies are really good at teaching about that!

And, it’s easy to give one of these books as a gift. Just click the title link, above, and then click the link on Amazon that says “give as a gift.”

When I was a kid, my family had this unwritten rule about stocking presents for Christmas. They should cost less than $5.00.

Just think! You can almost get two whole books for $5.00 and help more huge, hairy, kind dogs!

And, since we know each other pretty well, may I say that it would be a big help if you clinked that link today and got your book…books? It would!

It’s a complicated thing which winds up meaning that the more books that find homes today, the more people there will be who know about Otis and his story. And more dogs will be helped.

Then, while we’re helping people, go get some art supplies for the kids you love. Encourage them to be who they are and, when they’ve practiced a bit, encourage them to make pictures of Love.

It may take a while, but it’s bound to save the world!

Thanks for being here!

Oh! Please share this post far and wide. If you don’t have your own process, just scroll up and click the little blocks to the left. They’ll make it easier!

And Kenzie will be pretty excited, too!

Much Love, sue

p.s. New to e-books? No Kindle reader? No problem! Just ask the nice folks at Amazon to send yours to your laptop. Or your grandkids!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Blanket of Peace

A bit of a southern snow storm and, perhaps, the fact that my latest book project is done – well, not entirely but we’ll get to that later – seem to have calmed my busy goddesses last night. We slept.

And woke to the silent falling of more snow.

Not enough to be a real problem, but enough to allow for my filters to shift just a bit. For my eyes to remind me that change is both inevitable and possible.

And so I have spent a couple of hours staring out at the garden, watching the snow flakes drift hypnotically toward the ground as a weighted blanket of white transforms the landscape around me.

At least most of a couple of hours.

I can’t help noticing that, in the midst of these quiet moments, I keep reaching for my phone, searching, I suspect, for assurance that my usual world goes on.

Watching for an email about my Amazon order that did not, in fact, arrive by 9:00 last night. (Which wouldn’t be such a big deal if it didn’t include the canvas for the painting class that starts today and gifts for my girls which need to go with me when Christmas starts early in our lives…next week!)

And a message from the awesome guy who delivered most of the dog food on Thursday and is supposed to arrive with the rest in the next hour or so. (Can’t send the beasties to Camp without groceries!)

And a couple of book reviews I’m hoping for.

With all that noticing going on, like the narrative sort of therapist I am, there must be a bit of wondering as well.

Am I electronically addicted? No.

Am I a bit anxious about the number of metaphorical plates I’m trying to keep spinning in the air just now? So it would seem.

Am I tending space for change, knowing that even the most longed-for of changes are inherently stressful? Yep!

Now, here’s where things get tricky!

For what changes, specifically, am I tending space? Who knows???

Or, as the old Quaker saying goes:

In order to learn, we must be willing to be changed.

We must open ourselves to the advent of newness. It’s a good time of year for that.

So, I keep setting the phone back down and reaching, instead, for my mug, comforting with hot water and lemon, while I huddle under my own magic weighted blanket and take deep breaths, watching the snow flakes drift hypnotically toward the ground.

And mentally orchestrating a book release for next week!

Stay tuned…

Should your goddesses, like mine, have a tendency to keep you awake, click here to check out the Mosaic weighted blanket thing.

And, lest you be worried, the dog food has appeared!

Peace!

 

 

 

A veritable goddess convention!

Yesterday, a well-meaning, though somewhat naive, soul asked me what I’d gotten done for the day.

Several responses flashed through my head. Not all of them helpful!

Then I started a list.

Before I share that list, let me say first that it feels like lots of things are changing. And, predictably, I don’t sleep too well in phases like this. At least not at night.

The former O.R. nurse in me remembers rule one. Sleep when you can. You may never get another chance! So, the first thing on my list was the note that I’d actually gotten in a nap.

Then there was all the usual family member, dog mom, homeowner kind of stuff. Feel free to fill in the blanks.

Then there were hours worth of the tedious parts of modern book publishing. Finding ISBN’s. Writing book descriptions. Filling out forms. And more forms.

(Did I mention there’s going to be a new book?)

A bit of a sewing project.

About four quarts of really good soup. Dinner. Lunch. Freezer.

Some meditation time.

And the realization that I hadn’t really gotten all that much done  in the sense of completed.

Next, a sudden mental ski jump.

My goddesses had been quite busy!

And with it, a whole basket full of memories.

In 2003, when I was deep in all the difficult decisions that go along with the need to undergo a hysterectomy, I happened across Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen’s amazing book, Goddesses in Older Women.

There was much to learn.

Using mythological figures and Jungian archetypes, Bolen explores the different energies women might find active in their lives as they experience some of the transitions associated with aging.

It was kind of a new perspective for me! And, it’s been a while. Long enough that it is not too surprising that I can’t  put my hand on my copy of this amazing book, which I’m sure is around here somewhere. Let’s agree, in this moment, that I’m sharing the meaning I found in those pages rather than actual passages from the book. (Just click the link in the title above and get yourself a copy!)

It made sense to me that, in the impending transitions I faced, my focus might shift. From warrior goddess, perhaps, to a greater focus on hearth and home. From mother goddess to partner. From before to now to later.

One of the things I really appreciate about Bolen’s work is that it doesn’t feel prescriptive in the sense of how things ought to be, but more descriptive with options for understanding unfolding experience. It’s a really good book!

So what brought that all up again yesterday?

Well, somehow when I first read these thoughts years ago, I imagined that the goddesses in my world would all take turns, rather like polite house guests, and we’d bond over a stockpot or a quilt before the next guest came to visit.

I never imagined juggling writing and publishing, stockpots, three enormous dogs, new things to learn, the need for a bathing suit, and major life questions about callings.

In fact, I think I assumed I’d be through being called.

Now I know that we’re never really through.

Whether by the Creator of our understanding, or the Universe, or the voices of our own spirits, if we listen, we are being called.

A word of warning…opening ourselves to that kind of listening is likely to keep us up nights.

And it just might start quite a party of goddesses in our lives.

In need of a harbor…

It was a gray-ish, kind of dreary day in Atlanta. We seem to be stuck in the space between what we southerners think of as fall and winter. I’m still trying to adjust to the early sunsets. And the news.

Oddly enough, I’m also humming Jimmy Buffett tunes in my head and dreaming of Key Lime Pie!

I suspect it has to do with our preparations for a voyage to the Conch Republic.

We are, perhaps, a bit behind in terms of shore excursions and ground logistics, but we’re excited.

An actual chance to put my toes on Key West (without dealing with the infamous bridge) and a whole week with my favorite people.

So, in honor of that…my go-to recipe for Authentic Key Lime Pie, complete with my fabulous gluten-free oatmeal pie shell, just in case you might be feeling the need for a harbor like I am just now!

Authentic Key Lime Pie

MAKES: ONE 9 INCH PIE, ABOUT 8 SERVINGS

The real deal Key Lime Pie, right here. Better yet, with the Oatmeal Pie Crust shell, it’s gluten-free! This is the recipe right off the Nellie & Joe’s bottle of Key West Lime juice. You can order it from Amazon or try Whole Foods or Publix depending on where you are. Did you know that the pie has sweetened condensed milk in it because the recipe was developed before Key West had dependable milk delivery or refrigeration? Really! Would I eat this once a week? No, but it’s a holiday favorite in my family. Remember, if it’s green, it’s not real Key Lime Pie!

Equipment Note: You can use a food processor, hand or stand mixer for this, but a wire whisk will do it. A mixing advantage is handy if you opt for homemade whipped cream. I often use an Eco-foil disposable pie tin with the domed plastic crust when I make this pie.

Arrange oven racks so pie will bake in center of oven.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a suitable mixing bowl, combine and mix well:

One 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk.

3 good quality egg yolks. (Reserve whites for another use.)

Add and blend until smooth:

½ c. Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice.

Pour filling into:

One miraculous 9-inch Oatmeal Pie Crust (see below) or a prepared graham cracker pie shell.

Bake for 15 min. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Allow to sit 10 min. before refrigerating.

Chill several hours or overnight.

Optional: Add to sparkling clean mixing bowl, preferably metal,

1 pint organic, heavy whipping cream

1 Tbsp. 10x powdered sugar, if desired. (I like mine unsweetened.)

Whip cream rapidly by hand or with mixer, until soft peaks form.

If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Just before serving, top pie with whipped cream.

Oatmeal Pie Crust

I found this on an old, yellowed index card, in my mom’s handwriting, when I went through her recipes. I don’t remember her ever making it. What a gift for Bill, who’s gluten-free! See how many ways you can find to use this like you would use a graham cracker crust, but better!

Equipment Note: A food processor or Vitamix-type blender is used for this recipe.

Depending on how high your pie will get when finished, allowing for whipped cream or meringue, you may want to purchase an Eco-foil pie pan with a plastic cover.

Into the bowl of your food processor or carafe of your blender, place:

1 c. gluten-free rolled oats.

½ c. brown sugar.

½ c. flaked or shredded coconut.

Pulse until ingredients resemble a fairly fine meal. Add:

⅓ c. melted butter OR – 1/3 c. melted coconut oil

Continue to pulse until all ingredients are evenly mixed.

Press into bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Cover with plastic wrap or lid to the pan. Chill.

And a special hint for you, friends…this pie is great for breakfast, with a cup of dark roast coffee and some of your delicious whipped cream. An actual beach is optional, but quite nice!