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Worldwords is a little coffee table type daily devotional guide that  picked up a few years ago via the lovely establishment for which I have been a part time some time employee now for some years.
Santa Fe Beeswax Candle Co. Ah the smell of Beeswax, I miss. Honey a plenty. The kind of ambiance that begs you to stay. A spirit to make a difference.

Victor La Cerva, Md. has put together a collection of global reflections to awaken the soul. 
 Today's reflection: December 22
sooch (suj) Kafir Kalash
Be pure!

We begin to enter into a more nourishing and dynamic harmony with ourselves when we relinquish the needs to be perfect. Sooch! The words are whispered as part of the ritual purification during a December festival in northern Pakistan. Bathing incense, special foods and ceremony combine in events around the world to encourage right living. Beyond simple moral compunction, sooch yourself and simultaneously accept yourself. Welcome into your life those who can be confrontative and supportive at the same time, gently pointing out discrepancies between your actions and your words. The more you relinquish control of your spiritual destiny, the greater freedom you will experience. The embracing of your unique shadows allow the brilliance of your light to shine forth.

I welcome the wholeness of my imperfections.

Philippians 4:4-8

A little over two years ago I purchased a small notebook with this phrase on it.
I have an image of it captured as my phone's background.
I look at it often simply to remind myself that with my newly solidified faith comes peace, even when, especially when I am feeling anxiety, stress, worry or fretting over life.

My life, my God, our God shows me all the time just how present He is in my life. I go searching just the other eve for scripture to study, to reflect upon, to inspire. I open to a random place after a simple meditation and I find; The passage Phillipians 4:4-8.

I looked at several versions of the passage to really understand the language and absorb the message. To be able to express to all of you and to myself the meaning of this verse and what solace and wisdom it can provide.

I was tickled to learn that this one line that I had been carrying with me for two years had come back around full circle.

After jotting notes and doing a bit of research,  I snuck a peek at a Christmas present from a dear friend. Again...God shows me He is here. Merely a few days after my first reminder, I stumble upon a lovely set of notecards:

Had I doubted its relevance or its importance, would not that have been the most classic case of purposeful ignorance?

Needless to say I did not doubt, but was overjoyed to have been blessed again. A simple gift becomes a moment to happily place amongst my treasured assurances that indeed Christ is alive in my heart and that I can be peaceful of mind due to this glorious fact.
For those of us that sometimes have our doubts, God shows us with signs and subtle connections that He is here working in our lives so that peace is possible.

Phillippians 4:4-8, speaks to me about remembering just how amazing God's presence is in your life. The Apostle Paul urges us to remember to set your heart and mind on God for this will bring a joy filled change of perspective. Although he is imprisoned while writing this letter, Paul sends the message to Rejoice, for the ultimate joy comes from Christ dwelling within us. Paul challenges Christians to lead by example. To show the world that the Lord works in all you do. He then goes on to say that you should turn your worries into prayers and let God's peace guard your heart against anxiety. Fill your mind with thoughts that are honorable, true, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise. That is, replace harmful input with wholesome material. And through all this, Paul asks us to be Thankful. Thankful for what the Lord has done and thankful ahead of time for answering your worried prayers.

Rejoice! Hallelujah! Thanks!


Gratitude - Part Two!

"I have 2 Sisters!" The eternal words of pure love coming from the mouth of my little sister as a young girl. My older sister even fashioned a silver ring with this saying stamped around the band it became so infamous. Even though she is all grown up, she was and still is so proud to have her two sisters, and we are so proud to be blessed with her sisterhood as well!

Part "2" of the Gratitude blog.

Gratitude or the act of thanksgiving is the acknowledgement and appreciation of some act  received that provides a benefit or fulfills a need. Gratitude is linked to emotional health and well being. Studies have shown that Gratitude therapies prove consistent marked results to improve coping skills, decrease stress and aide in lessoning chance for depression.

Gratitude has been classified as a virtue as well as a now very accepted form of spiritual practice and healing resource.
"To learn the grammar of gratitude, practice saying "thank you" for happy and challenging experiences, for people, animals, things, art, memories, dreams. Count your blessings, and praise God. Utter blessings, and express your appreciation to everything and everyone you encounter. By blessing, we are blessed." ********

I have displayed, right on my kitchen cabinet, a saying about gratitude that has helped me get through dozens of difficult times. Summed up for me (and you my dear readers) this paragraph states that it is virtually impossible to be negative when you have a smile on your face! This is why we have even more reason to be grateful for our trials. Where else would we be given the opportunity to dig deep within the wells of our being to the place of endless love and pull a smile out of the darkest of times? 
A smile, a grateful thought, a gaze at your child, a walk in the park, breath, life, we have ever so much to be thankful for in this life. For most of reading this, we are cozy and well fed with extra time to spend enjoying our lives. There is little we can truly complain about even though none of us has a carefree life without difficult time. It is these moments that can give birth to a new consciousness. 

"the miracle of changed consciousness 
comes from placing the attention
above the difficulties of the day.
with deep Gratitude... comes true humility,
a key to the Fountain of Youth.
Gratitude lights the way to enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm clears the path to Love.
Love is the key to freedom." 
- Sandy Paris

I am grateful today for the simple fact that Christmas lights makes my daughter happy. How much more joyful a car ride can be when you are keeping watch for the sparkle and glitter that signals a most wonderful time of the year indeed. Her little voice acknowledging another display with delight as her little eyes get heavy with sleep.
Sometimes I forget while driving she is there when I am lost in thought or concentrating on the task at hand.
Or sometimes I forget to be patient when I need to concentrate and she is demanding attention on her...NOW!
When in a difficult instant, that instant, you can choose to let all of the nonsense stop and enter the place of joy for every single display of Christmas lights from here to Missouri...
(I haven't made it to Missouri yet but I'm in the game.)

I am certainly overflowing with joy this Christmas.
A new appreciation for the celebration of a gift of love so pure and true that even the most avid skeptic cannot extinguish its radiance. Christmas represents a time when Jesus came close to us, a time where we were given the gift of seeing all that can be conveyed of God, in human terms. And so as to not be discouraged by the fact that we no longer live amongst this example, Christ gave us the gift of His love, a fire burning in our hearts, the Holy Spirit.

Nice. What a gift.

Gratitude - Part One

I have been working on a gratitude blog since just before Thanksgiving. Admittedly have been side tracked happily by my family.
Recently I stumbled on this site...Go Gratitude.
I signed up for the installments of gratitude tips and practices to change the way you think and apply gratitude in your life.
I have gotten 6 installments thus far. I have to say I like it. Short, sweet tidbits, perception benders, attainable change in thinking.
Check it out and see if you too can Be A Wake...
And stay tuned for the rest of the gratitude excitement to follow.

Cannot wait to share the first 'exhibiting at a craft show experience' that I have had since I was a young lass as well.



New Listing For Sale! Gorgeous!

Turquoise, Hematite, Opal, Labradorite, Tourmalated Quartz, Peridot, Freshwater Pearls with a Native made (signed) Onyx and Silver Pendant.Toggle Clasp.
$65 plus S&H


For Sale. My talents at work. Pass it On!

Paintings, jewelry, prayer beads, keychains.

16x20 original painting(s) to adorn your child's room and capture the heart of your little angel(s) now and forever. Only 16.95 plus S&H. 

Prayer Bead Bracelets. Based on the Anglican style with 33 beads for the 33 years of Christ's life. Prayers have been selected to reflect words that will spin love to the world and aide in any trial. Made with all natural stones and handmade with blessings and love. $18 plus S&H. 

Natural Stone Keychains with Cross. $6 plus S&H

Also available, custom pieces.

Please contact me with any questions or for more information.
All sales must be paid by check or money order.
Package will arrive wrapped with love and catered to your work of art.

Many Blessings this Christmas Season!
Pass it On!


Ah...the Aspens.

I am from the east coast and one of my favorite times of the year is fall. I love when the deciduous trees change color and drop their beautiful leaves to the ground. I love the smell, the sound and the oh so glorious view. Here in the desert we have a different kind of fall and practically no deciduous trees. All things considered I love the weather here and am not complaining one bit. In fact, The Aspen trees make it possible to have the fall here in the sunny Southwest. I love to take a drive up the mountain and capture the yellow and sometimes orange and red beauties when the sun is shining down on the leaves and they glow.  

Did not make it up the mountain this year, but while looking for the next batch of amazing photos to share I found these.

Thank God for the Aspens and the colorful leaves that bring so much joy. Thank you for the sun to shine its light and warm days like today to mild bliss. And thank you for reminding me about the little things in life. 


Emotional Intelligence

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the innate potential to feel, use, communicate, recognize, remember, describe, identify, learn from, manage, understand and explain emotions.

Well that is one definition. There seems to be a lot of research and factors concerning Emotional Intelligence beginning in at least the 1930's. There are tests available to scale your Emotional Intelligence but more practically, there are a wealth of sites out there giving us insight into why emotional intelligence is so important and how we can affect change in our lives by raising our emotional awareness overall.

Click Here Psychology Guide and author Kendra Cherry have divided Emotional Intelligence into Four Branches.
1. Perceiving emotions (correctly)
2. Reasoning with Emotions, which is using emotions to promote thinking and cognitive activity
3. Understanding Emotions, which is to determine the true cause and meaning of the emotion
4. Managing Emotions, which is responding to our emotions and those of others as well as proper regulation of our emotions

These are the fundamentals when beginning to look at Emotional Intelligence. If you are to be successful, these are concepts you must now become familiar with and ready to act upon strengthening. has an amazing article called 5 Skills For Raising Emotional Intelligence which includes links to other articles in their fine catalog dealing with ways to recognize components of these skills.
They define Emotional Intelligence as the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage your emotions in positive constructive ways.
The core concepts to Emotional Intelligence, Jeanne Segal, Ph.d and Melinda Smith MA, go on to say are Self Awareness, Self Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management.
The Emotional Intelligence factor in our lives is very important to gaining personal mastery with regards to dealing with our emotional experiences both internally and externally.
These are tools we can use!
Back to the 5 Steps:
1. The ability to quickly reduce stress.
2. The ability to recognize and manage your emotions.
3. The ability to connect with others using nonverbal communication.
4. The ability to use humor and play to deal with challenges.
5. The ability to resolve conflicts positively and with confidence.
With these steps in your tool belt, when emotions begin to fly, you will understand why and what you can do to address necessary issues and move through the feelings to the facts.

All learning has an emotional base. ~Plato

Steve Wickham has a very simple and truthful article about how Self Acceptance is the forefront of Emotional Intelligence. In fact, it is the very center of the concepts of maturity.  In Self Acceptance As a  Feed to Emotional Intelligence, Wickham likens the journey of self acceptance to that of the journey to God. A quote that inspires him to make this assertion comes from Emerson; "Accept the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events." And finally Wickham says, "Practiced self acceptance is the instinctual rejection of self condemnation."
Amen to that!

A blog I was reading about this subject (Acquire Wisdom and Live with Passion: Emotional Intelligence vs IQ), also had attached a quiz of sorts for testing emotional intelligence that I found fascinating. I was able to solve the problem of safely allowing passage for all members of the party from one side of the river to the other, but not without a few slaps in the face. 

I found an absolutely lovely 146 question Emotional Intelligence Test at I felt  it was an amazingly well put together and thought out test for really gathering an idea of your Emotional Intelligence level. Since it is posted on a test site, there can always be skepticism, but I dove in without reserve and found it to be quite scholarly and I was pleased to know that I have grown a tremendous amount in Emotional Intelligence over the last several years and while I still have room to grow I am well on my way to mastery!

Biblical EQ - Emotions are a very important part of the Christian life. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is especially important when it comes to leadership and ministry skills. Biblical EQ uses the Bible and the character of Jesus to show how we can grow both spiritually and emotionally into mature human beings.

I came across a very technical and nicely summarized article about Emotional Wisdom and the motivation and survival of law practice managers. It dawned on my that this was great bits of information for us all to know. 

According to the article, for help in navigating the turbulence of daily doses of surprise and change, disciplined application of emotional resources is essential. They characterize emotional intelligence as social savvy interpersonal skills, while although this is a gross understatement, is very tangible for a vast audience. Emotional Wisdom which refers to this disciplined application, implies mature insight into and constructive application of the motivational power inherent in neuro-chemical activators of the autonomic nervous system.

Say what? Emotional Wisdom is knowing how to identify and exert power over the brain and nervous system chemistry triggered when emotions arise. 

Emotions are chemical-physiological reactions and come hard wired in the body to function as survival mechanisms. They are a signal system to our bodies to react and happen much more quickly than our minds can process the logical reasons why that emotion was being triggered. 

So, by recognizing these signals and not reacting to them, we can change our outcomes, especially in interpersonal situations. For instance, by being totally fearless, you could miss important ques that may be alerting you to check the facts and to check if clarification is needed. Anger can be taken as a need to act angry when it is really just a signal to attend to justice, love or integrity. Anger can motivate us to pursue truth, beauty and excellence or can cause you to hurt others or yourself needlessly. Learning about your emotional health can lead you away from making a mistake and misdirecting anger in the future.

Emotions are challenging. We assume that they have so  much validity because at times they can be intense. Yet misreading situations, expressing unnecessary remarks out of fear, doubting yourself and acting out of assumptions, avoiding looking deep into a situation because you are ignoring what your body is really trying to tell you. Learn what the warning systems for different emotions are to help you make informed choices in how to respond to them.

The article also spoke of the training that Olympic athletes were trained to use. It included mental recollection of best/worst scenarios to overcome apprehensions, The Relaxation -Activation Method which helps an athlete avoid emotional eruptiveness and irritability leading up to important events, and maintaining the ability to rest. These skills applied to normal stressful circumstances can only be helpful in eliminating judgmental thinking, not worrying excessively, and performing with calm confidence when you most need it.

The precipitous for this article was an evaluation of my own emotional health and understanding the normal stages of development in my toddler. I found an amazing website called that has a section of interviews with Tami Simon. The interview I listened to was with Karla McLaren who is an empath and author of The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You. She speaks of the different emotions and what they are signaling for you. It can be simple as asking yourself a question that leads to the heart of the matter and it's proper resolution.  Emotions are not positive or negative, McLaren expresses, but fluid and available at all times. Emotions can be in a normal state, a mood state (where the emotion is activated), and the heightened state where boundaries are left behind and improper words /actions are probable. The normal or fluid state allows our emotions to be healthily present to alert us to life's situations and keep us living at our optimum. McLaren gives practical steps to maintaing a healthy emotional state; grounding, listening for the quiet- the place where all your senses are aware, create solid healthy boundaries, take part in conscious complaining, that is where it does not effect anyone else but gets expelled, rejuvenating yourself or Joy, and burning contracts, where you release all your stuck attitudes, beliefs and negative stuff onto a scroll and then burn it. 

This interview certainly opened my eyes to some things about how to approach emotional learning and it began a journey to access all the resources in this article and ultimately to validating my own emotional health while identifying where I need improvement.


Paper Mache Hat

So I have begun a paper mache project or two around the house. I had a playdate indoors recently and one of projects was a paper mache hat.

We started with a simple cooked flour and water recipe. Boil 4 cups water, while it's getting there, prepare one cup flour and one cup warm water. When water boils add the flour mixture and stir until well blended. Cook for 2-3 min and you have PASTE!

I blew up a few balloons as forms and covered the top portion with a nice coating of paper mache and made sure it was fairly even after I applied more layers. Once that is dry, pop the balloon and it will separate from your hat base!

I had seen dinosaur hats which I figured would go over well, but my 2 year old lost interest in the whole project so I was on my own. She loves pigs so I decided to go that direction. I made wads of newspaper into eyes and a nose, then cut cardboard ears and attached them with duck tape.

I then covered the whole piece in another layer of paper mache to make it as smooth as possible and cover all the tape.

I used acrylic paints and went the traditional pink pig route for our creation.
Here it is tail and all, A Pigtastic helmet and wonderful children's project! What fun!

My little piggy loves her hat and I cannot wait to see her play and give this piggy an adventurous life.

I had so much paste, (hee hee), that I started an art piece that I have been looking to begin for quite some time. I have a few pieces going and I am alreday pretty excited about it.

More to come...
Pass it ON!


A women's heart...

“A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.”
- Maya Angelou


God lives in Me!

Wow. What an awesome thought.
And what an awesome task of compiling this information into a blog.
I'm excited!

So, what brings me to this message was a little pamphlet I picked up from church called Our Daily Bread. It is a book of daily devotionals. I personally find them inspirational and it seems to provide lots of spark for things to study and write about.

This particular day, August 30th, 2011, Albert Lee speaks of a triathlon participant who not only brought himself, but his disabled son through the events. His father pulled him in a boat while he swam, he was in a seat pod on the bike, and was pushed while his father ran. This man, Rick, in his wheelchair was dependent on his father to finish that race.

We are dependent on Christ to proceed with ours.

"We cannot finish the Christian race on our own. We have to do so by depending on Jesus living in us." ~Albert Lee

So I died to the law-I stopped trying to meet all its requirements-so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthy body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me, I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. Galatians 2:19-21

Christ Liveth in Me
As lives the flower within the seed,
As in the cone the tree,
So, praise the God of truth and grace,
His Spirit dwelleth in me.

Christ liveth in me,
Christ liveth in me,
O what a salvation this,—
That Christ liveth in me.

Once far from God and dead in sin,
No light my heart could see;
But in God's word the light I found,
Now "Christ liveth in me."

As rays of light from yonder sun
The flowers of earth set free,
So life and light and love came forth
From "Christ living in me."

With longing all my heart is filled,
That like Him I may be,
As on the wondrous thought I dwell,
That "Christ liveth in me."
Major Daniel Webster Whittle (1840-1901)
(I look forward to performing this...)

Faith connects our weakness to God’s strength.

I have been then gazing at my treasure of a book, In His Steps, by J.R. Miller. I was looking for inspiration for dealing with conflict and trying to grapple with the idea that many people believe that Christianity is based on a one time forgiveness of sins and cleansing of your soul, that from then on you will do no wrong. Or that you must be doing right. Phew. This one bugs me.

From Chapter three, "Forgiveness of sins is not enough. A man's lies and dishonesties may be forgiven; but if that is all, he is still a liar and dishonest. God's forgiveness regenerates. A Christian life is the setting up of the Kingdom of God in a human heart."

"This puts a responsibility on every Christian. We represent God in this world, and we are to live in such a way that from our life, others will learn the truth about God."


Within us all when we ask, is the light of God, which is present and connecting us all together in love. Let it Shine! Then as you grow stronger in faith through study and challenging your old habits and behaviors, your light grows brighter. And we make our aim to be as close as we can to this ideal of living like Christ.

We cannot actually achieve perfection, hence Christ's existence. We can only do our best to remain focused on living as if we could feel that Christ was in our heart's loving us. Then letting that love overflow into the world from within. You have what you need inside you already. And if you ask, the light can begin to shine where you have dark places.

I was brought to this all really while preparing my Sunday school lesson. The suggested song to sing for this week's gospel was This Little Light of Mine. Scripture tells a story that Jesus told for His teaching of a group of ten bridesmaids who were waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom for the festivities to begin. Five were well prepared and went to sleep with full lamps and extra oil. Five were not and their lamps ran low. In the middle of the night the bridegroom arrives and asks them to assemble. The five with no oil, ask the five with to share. They decline and suggest that the five maids go to buy their own oil. While they are away, the five prepared maids and the bridegroom begin to celebrate.
The five that went for more oil were not let in and were treated as unknown when they arrived.

Jesus urges us to be ready with a full lamp and extra oil. You never know when it will be the time you need it. Build your foundations, grow your light, do what you do well and with all of the love you can.


White Cake with Almond Flair...

Simple White Cake w/Almond Sugar Glaze.

1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c butter (softened)
2 eggs
2 tsp almond extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c milk (I use almond milk)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour pan or use cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs one at a time and blend. Stir in Almond extract. Combine flour and baking powder and add to the creamed mixture, blend well. Finally stir in the milk until batter is smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake cakes for about 30-40 min depending on the size and cupcakes about 20-25 minutes. I cooked these mini cupcakes for 15 minutes and they were great! Cakes are done when they spring back to the touch.

Glaze Icing
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
2 1/2 tsp milk
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tsp butter (melted)

Blend ingredients together and add water if needed to make consistency more spreadable. Only a dab of water at a time.

When cool ice the cakes/cupcakes and enjoy!
Easy and better than any box cupcake out there!


Baking! Oh How I love thee.

I personally love baking, decorating, inventing and adjusting to make the yummiest treats possible. Here's the kicker...I try and make the most tasty treats that are also the healthiest. So I begin with recipes in books or from the internet and then I adjust.

I must admit as healthy as I like to be there are some recipes I do not mess with. Some from the Good Housekeeping Cookbook are too delectable to try and be overly healthy! Like Grandma's Sweet Potato Pie and Cream Cheese Fruit Tartlets. Oh my!

I often substitute applesauce for oil, I use only the best eggs and high quality ingredients whenever possible. Even though sugar can be found unprocessed and in its purest form, too much is not so good. I try to reduce the amount of sugar in my recipes but not sacrifice flavor by using almond extract instead of vanilla. Just some tricks I picked up trying different things and sharing my creations.

I have created a gluten free chocolate cake recipe that when iced tastes to me just like a chocolate glazed Dunkin Donuts donut. Only without all the excess fat, gluten and the sugar I use is high quality, unrefined sugar.

I always seem to have enough batter to make a loaf pan cake and 6 extra large cupcakes each time!

Amen to loving the art of baking!

I am hoping that once I get consistent results each batch, that this gluten free recipe will become so popular people will pay me to bake for them!
I cannot wait to begin planning for Christmas cookies. I had so much fun last year! I think I made about 8 different types of cookie in a frenzy one day but they were baked with joy and love and I know those who ate them felt it! Awesome.

We had a bake sale recently at my church, and I baked an Iced Banana Carob Chip Loaf. It was so good! I've never used carob in a recipe before and I was so pleased with the way it tasted with the banana.

I also have some baking pumpkins ready to cook up and make some stock for pumpkin pies and breads! today Wednesday Nov. 2nd, I decided to make my fabulous cupcakes! 2 dozen mini cupcakes. Perfect for bite size treats, iced or not, totally great recipe! I use almond extract for both the cake batter and icing giving them a little nutty sweetness. It is one of the easiest recipes to remember, follow and whip up whenever needed. I will share it in it's own!

I use Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour to replace the regular flour when I bake these days. I put this into my Simple White Cake recipe and found that it worked pretty well. I think it changes the consistency which can be addressed using Xanthan Gum apparently. I think I would also add a little applesauce. This is a wet ingredient and would require adding an approximate amount of dry ingredient to equal it out. I would probably say I will try a 1/4 cup of applesauce and an extra 1/4 flour. I am going to get the Xanthan Gum to try to work on maintaing that fluffy cake form!

All in all these were good cupcakes! The icing was the same and still complimented the recipe nicely.


Dia de los Muertos

I am a big fan of the idea of celebrating the souls of those we love and have set out to understand more about its celebration and make it part of my tradition. I must admit I am no longer a big fan of Halloween. Once I got scared enough times, I think I decided I'd rather just stay in. I don't like many of the costumes, movies, and gore that goes along with it. But that's me!~
One of my sisters loves skull decorations and whilst gathering trinkets and treasures over the years and living here in a very Hispanic and Catholic Community, I was reminded of Dia de los Muertos.

A bit of simple background from a teaching plan:

November 2nd is the official date for Day of the Dead, although it is celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd. These dates correspond with the Catholic celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. This correspondence results from the Catholic Church's efforts to "find similarities between the indigenous and Christian beliefs." This celebration has a complex history that has been transformed through the years.

click picture

"People celebrate this holiday in their households, as well as in the cemeteries. In their homes, between Oct. 31st and Nov. 2nd (a time called "Todos Santos"), offerings of food and drink are prepared for the dead. "Ofrendas" (offerings) are often set up in the home on an altar displaying portraits, personal goods, clothing, favorite foods, and possessions of the deceased family member. Sometimes they are shown at the gravesites as well. On Nov. 2nd, family members visit the gravesites of their loved ones. They decorate their graves with flowers, enjoy picnics consisting of favorite foods of the deceased, and socially interact with others at the cemetery. This is an important social ritual that the Latino people see as "a way of recognizing the cycle of life and death that is human existence." In certain areas, an all-night candlelight vigil takes place by the graves of the family members. The whole occasion is festive, and everyone talks of the dead as if they were still al ive. During this time, people "remember, re-live, and enjoy."

So while enjoying the Halloween time I will remember what this celebration means to from a more cultural and spiritual perspective. We will offer praise to those loved ones who have gone before. We will put up a picture of them somewhere to and we will celebrate their love in our lives. We will also honor the spirits of people past wh o have spent their lives doing God's work. And we will have pumpkin carving or painting and yummy treats like these skull cookies.

I threw this recipe together and even improvised a few ingredients based on what was in the pantry and they were awesome! I used chocolate chips for eyes and yogurt pretzels for mouths. I will prepare much better for next celebration and bake some yummy treats!

choice of music for Dia de los Muertos is Devotchka. A Denver based fusion of greatness! Totally appropriate for the occasion. I visited friends one year around Halloween and was priveledged to attend one of their shows. What a treat!

click picture

Through the archives...My photo shoot 11/07

So a few years ago when I was moving back to Santa Fe, from an 8 month trial life in Austin, TX which is a beautiful city, by the way...I landed down pretty lost and discouraged. I was thin and negative without a purpose.

A friend of mine is an excellent photographer and a feisty spirit of tough love. I proposed that we do a photo shoot somewhere funky, outdoors and...that really represented me. I thought it would be fun and lift my spirits and self confidence. I was correct.

Mostly it was fun.

I highly recommend having a good friend who is a skillful camera whiz do a photo shoot for you. Get looking Sunday best and go have some feels AMAZING!!!
Laughing, joking, telling stories, costume changes, old mustangs...and east coast ramble.

I arrived at Ursula's to receive an amazing makeup and hair makeover from Svetlana Brit, since we all need help looking our best.
It was really fun to wear fake eyelashes, get all done up, and see natural shine right through. Svetlana did such a nice job, she was also quite nice and lots of fun!

Then off we went to an arroyo in the Espanola area to catch the best light of the day. It was November around 3:30pm and brilliant the day we went out. Lugging my gear through the dry sandy arroyo, some dogs playing in tow...we walked along to capture the light and the essence of me.

I share this because it was the next noteworthy batch of photos in my iPhoto collection.

God is good. He graces us with gifts for His work.
I was happy to be part of something that inspired someone else to do what they love. I felt that energy this day and I have much respect for the woman behind the scenes...Ms. Ursula Coyote.

I met Ursula when I first arrived in Santa Fe in 2000. She was running the karaoke evening at this swanky type lounge they called Bar B. Thursday nights. I was so nervous to even leave the house let alone sing so I brought my parents with me. That night while I was singing, feeling so afraid...she approached my family and encouraged me to sing more.

Pretty soon I was going every Thursday (w/o parents) and having some of the best nights of my life. Rich conversation, singing, dancing, watching life, having fun. Ursula encouraged me more over the years to branch out, try new things, and believe in myself. It has been a really wonderful healing aspect to my life and always will be...but I'm ready for more.

My desire is to begin singing about the Lord with a modern appeal mixed with some good old foot stomping gospel tunes.

I am blessed and grateful. I sing to my daughter, I sing at church, I sing whenever I can. I still go to karaoke and it's much more fun after years of practice and encouragement.
This town has a nice camaraderie around karaoke, if you find the right group. I am still singing with folks I met 10 years ago. It's great.

Sometimes we need reminding of our gifts and our calling to share those gifts with others.