Spring in winter

spring2     Winter – Day 66/89

Today feels so much like spring I am having a challenging time wrapping my brain around the fact that it’s February. It feels like the end of April. With flowers blooming it looks like it too.

As I wandered my property with Rue and Hinata today I was reminded of the first day we saw this place. I remembered that it was on the Spring Equinox 13 years ago. I’d seen the ad for this place for several months but never thought to go check it out. I’d looked up where it was and the fact that it’s on the same road as PT’s (a strip club) kept me from looking. Plus the thought of prepping a house to sell with 3 kids under 6 was wayyyy too daunting.


That Spring Equinox the kids and I were returning from the zoo and I thought “what the heck, let’s just drive by and see. The price is too right to at least not check it out.” The house had little appeal for me, but I instantly fell in love with the land itself. You can’t see the house from the road and it’s like being in our own little valley. The daffodils were blooming along the walkway, the grass was green and the giant tree in the back yard (my first magic tree) was amazing. I knew we had to come back with Russell and check it out, which we did a few days later. It was a done deal after that.

I’m very thankful for these memories today of other Spring Equinoxes I have loved. With that being the anniversary date of Russell’s death now there’s a sadness in looking towards the first day of spring. I am grateful to my core for memories of joy and for the incredible blessing of having days like today in the middle of winter.



Halfway Point


Winter – Day 45/89

We’ve done it folks! We’ve made it halfway through winter. Today, Imbolc, marks the halfway point between winter and spring.

Now is the time to dig deep and believe that we can make it all the way through. Holding onto the hope for spring while allowing the beauties of winter to still gift us can be a challenging thing for many of us. At least, I know it often is for me.

The first half of winter I can usually stay pretty positive with myself and with others. But then we hit February and I start to slip and slide into the more negative places of myself. Oh, I keep trying to stay positive but I find myself getting pissier and more desiring hibernation as winter progresses.

Last winter and this winter, with the added reality of grieving Russell, the pissiness is really more of a bone deep weariness and a lethargy that is very hard to shake. This morning I didn’t even want to go to archery and this has been my new found joy. We went anyway with me pushing myself to not give into the weariness. the first half of our time was okay. I didn’t feel as excited as I have but I intentionally channeled all of the sadness, weariness, angst, and powerlessness I’ve been feeling into each shot. I focused on breathing deep, standing tall and just shooting my arrows.

Then halfway through just as Demetri and I were about ready to stop shooting, I got to shoot at balloons. The first time I hit one it felt like a jolt of energy shot through me as the balloon popped. It woke me up and infused delight through my entire body. I felt the excitement for this new joy arise in me again as I shot 3 more balloons. I felt all my swirly, weary emotions drain away as I laughed each time I hit a balloon.

The rest of the day I’ve felt lighter and more ready to keep on moving forward. And I bought some balloons to use as targets at archery from here on out. If popping some balloons with arrows can create such a charge for me I think I need to go shoot arrows as often as I can.

At this halfway point in winter what might your balloons be? What can keep you moving forward this winter and give you the extra charge you need to stay energized?

We’ve got this people! WE CAN DO IT!

#embracingwinter #warriorwomanseekingjoy
#halfwaytospring #archeryrules

Warrior Woman Seeking Joy


2017 is the year of this Warrior Woman Seeking Joy!  This focus, this intent, the idea of what this could look like for me is the only thing that is waking me up and causing me to actually want to leave the warm safe shell that has formed around myself in the past year or so.  And for the first time in weeks something has excited me enough to want to write again.  The relief of that is huge!

This second year of living without Russell has kicked my ass.  That really is the most honest way to put it.  The first year was hard but this second year has been so subtly challenging that it’s only been in the past month and a half or so that I’ve been able to get a handle on what all has been happening for me.  I’ve tried many, many times to write about it either as a blog post or even just in my journal but the words just keep flitting away from me like those no-see-um gnats in the summer. You know there is something there annoying you but you just can’t see it to get rid of it.  So there is a constant irritation that you can’t get away from.

One of the most challenging things of this second year has been that some of the things I used to love the most – horses, dancing, teaching, spending time just talking with people – no longer energize or even interest me enough to want me to actually leave my house.    It’s made living the life I have chosen seem empty and rudderless. My go-to things that used to leave me feeling happy and confident just don’t anymore; more often I just feel “meh” or very sad missing the joy I used to feel. Not a very fun thing to feel everyday.

Someday soon, I think, I will write more about this second year and the insights about it I am growing into.  But today is about what it means to me to become a Warrior Woman Seeking Joy.    It means finding those things that grab my interest and hold it for longer than a few seconds.  It means seeking the things that leave me excited enough to readily say yes to leaving my house.  It means doing things that leave me feeling powerful, strong and capable of anything.  It means breaking out of my “always done and loved” into “now I do and love” activities. It means digging deep, listening to my inner self, and trying new things or sometimes old things in a new way.  It means saying yes to breaking out of my shell and living deeply again.

This morning I tried something brand new. Soren, Demetri and I started archery classes.  They have both been wanting to take archery for a few years but we just never quite pulled it together with a time that works.  I got hooked on the idea a few months ago when I saw video of a woman who does archery from horseback.  The horse looks like Karoly and I could immediately envision myself someday doing that.  It began the awakening thought of becoming this wild, free Warrior Woman.

The glee that I had during archery this morning was amazing.  I was so excited I kept rambling about my excitement to our instructor, Jack. He just smiled, along with Soren and Demetri, and would tell me a few more stories.  When Jack told all 3 of us that we were doing much better than the average beginners I felt like a kid who had just gotten a gold star.  And the two times I got a bulls-eye I whooped so loudly I startled everyone.


My inner Warrior Woman Seeking Joy gave a resounding YES today. Archery will definitely be one of the regular things I add into my schedule.  All day I have felt lighter, stronger, more awake and those are glorious things for me to feel again.  Demetri and Soren expressed similar feelings which simply adds to my joy that all 3 of us have found something fun and new to share.

While I hope to find renewed joy for the things that I’ve always loved, I am most hopeful that I will continue to seek new, interesting things to continue my awakening, my emergence from my protective shell.  Already other ideas are popping into my head of things to try. I am committed to listening to what feels right for me, doing it even if I must do it alone. I want to feel strong, purposeful, brave, and able to handle anything.  I want to let go of the lethargic, sad, rudderless feelings that have wrapped around me for far too long.

Most of all,  I want to become a joy-filled woman who is a warrior for healing herself and the world.  I want to be a wild woman who brings wonder and happiness to those around her.  I want to free my muse to write with power and vulnerability again. I want to live as a Warrior Woman Seeking Joy who lets nothing and no one stop her from living a powerfully authentic, joy-filled life.

2017 here I come!

archery 2.jpg

Project Seeking JOY

There is much swirling around inside of me this week and many musings that I am writing in my journal to be shared on my blog soon.  But this one that I started on Thanksgiving in the early morning hours, reflecting upon the trip to Mizzou with Walter, my daughter’s horse, the day before and all of the crashing into the dark places I went that day.    Since much of this musing is connected in with things I want to and need to reclaim for myself at Avalon I wanted to share it with all of you first.
THIS – Project Seeking JOY! This is one of the bits of wisdom that flitted into my being last night as I drove home from the farm after getting Walter settled back in. In the quiet of my truck I heard this quiet, yet very confident whisper “Your next focus is to reclaim JOY – joy of horses, joy of the land of Avalon you’ve been entrusted with, joy of play, joy of living. This will be your new fight song, your reclaiming of a power that is unique to you alone. Joy in all of the little ways it can lighten our hearts; seek this again.”
I felt my body breathe a sigh of relief as I imagined just sitting with the horses again, grooming them, breathing in their smell that I love so much, remembering the joyfulness of horses not just the heartaches, taking Karoly or Magic for walks to the pond, walking with my Tara, Willow, and Hinata through the woods, sitting under our Magic tree to just be (and now in the Sanctuary room), playing with the kids and teens in my life in all the silly ways I used to do; and profoundly playing my way back to a joy for life that I miss.  Choosing ways to play first!
I can feel the YESNESS of this welling up inside of me as I write.  The picture I shared here is one of those wonderful moments of JOY – barefoot, bareheaded, riding bareback on Karoly with one of my wonderful dogs by my side.  Ah yes and the sun is shining, and I had just finished swimming with Karoly in the pond.   JOY!
I’ve become so very bogged down in the tasks of my life – chores, work, business planning, helping the kids find their way forward on new paths – that it’s become easy for me to forget the great JOY available to me everyday. This is especially true at Avalon.  As has always been and always will be true there is way more to do each day than any of could ever possibly get done. Projects, events, coordinating lessons, teaching, farm work, problem solving, on and on and on.   Yes all of these things are important things but it is easy to lose the joy, the pure, unadulterated JOY for the horses I’ve known all my life in this.
So I am taking steps forward to SEEK JOY.  All of the extra horsey things at Avalon – sunrise rides, parades, full moon rides, drill team, just hanging with my horses, finger painting Karoly, brushing a horse – these are the things that bring that sweet, innocent, playful joy of horses to me.  I think this is probably true for most of us and that each of us could stand to remember that doing the playful things together and with our horses helps us remember why we want to do what we do.
Saturday we will ride at sunrise. Yes it will be EARLY and it will probably feel cold too.  But it is one of the most magical things to ride a horse as the sun comes up, feeling the heat of their bodies warming your legs.  And wow does the hot chocolate taste even better after we’re done.
I will be seeking many, many ways to play more paying attention to the kids in my life to help remind me of what I want to bring forth into my life.  I will be inviting anyone and everyone to come along with me as I seek ways to play again and experience joy in my life.  I will be seeking ways at Avalon and outside of it to just be silly and have fun.  It sure can make all of the work a whole lot easier to deal with if I play first.
So if you’re ready to play more, to lighten your heart and breathe a little easier join me in Project Seeking JOY!  It might make winter a whole lot more fun.

Flying to Wonderland


If someone came to me inviting me to race dragons in the moonlight I would laugh with glee and race out the door ready to fly away.  I would barely stop to take a breath before jumping onto a dragon’s back.  Oh the wonder and joy at just the thought of this!

Dragons and imagining them as real is part of Wonderland for me – the place where all things of joy, hope, peace and wonder are possible.  Wonderland is the place of dreams come to life.  It is the magical place of walking, and flying, as a whole, healed person.

Wonderland is the opposite of Cuckoo Luckoo Land. Cuckoo Luckoo land is the place of dark and twisted paths. It is the place I dropped into when Russell entered the hospital and still travel into at times as I heal from his death.  In Cuckoo Luckoo Land up is down, in is out, left is right, nothing is as it should be.  There is much wisdom to be gained while traveling in this place but the drops into it are truly like stepping into a rabbit hole and sliding down a windy slide with the speed of light.

Wonderland is the place of light, open skies, peaceful winds and freedom.  Just today in reading this lovely dream of a picture I have named that place I go inside myself where I feel at peace and feel ready to fly on a dragon.  Wonderland it is; the place where I believe dragons are real and I picture myself riding one to healing. All things are possible here and I believe that I can transform my life into one of Joy. Ahhh Wonderland.

I’m going to play with creating a picture board of what Wonderland looks like to me, calling in all of the magic of that place to me.  I want to invoke the light, laughter, love, healing and joy I imagine as I picture myself flying on my dragon under the moonlight.  I may also as I play with what the wisdom of Wonderland holds for me create another board revealing what Cuckoo Luckoo Land means to me.  There is wisdom in the dark paths I travel when I am there.

I cannot, in all honesty, have one without the other.  They are both part of my dance; the light and the dark, the grieving and the healing.  For tonight, I will go to sleep dreaming of someone coming in the moonlight with my dragon.  Oh do I want to fly to Wonderland!

My children – my greatest gifts


Ack, I almost forgot to write today.  I’ve already made it 3 days in a row this week and I want to commit to writing everyday. Actually I AM committing to writing everyday, at least a little bit, because writing here does so much for keeping me moving forward. I am seeing my blog posts like stepping-stones that I am laying one at a time on the path in front of me. Step by step, inch by inch, I see myself clearer.

Tonight I am filled with gratitude for the wonderfulness that is my 3 children.  I don’t write very often hear about them because this is the place to tell my story as I experience my life.  I try not to tell other people’s stories or assume that I could possibly know what they are feeling or experiencing.  I leave it to them to tell when and if they want to share.  It is theirs and it is best to stick with telling my own.

Tonight though I am filled with such awe and love for all 3 of my kids that I need to just share a little bit.  Each and every one of them reached out to me, requesting to spend special time with me alone.  This from 3 teenagers – Kateri is 19, Soren is 18, and Demetri is 14.  I’ve reveled in my time alone with each of them; being together, sharing stories, memories and ideas, making food, eating food, talking, laughing, dreaming, and helping each believe a little bit more in ourselves.  Joy, just pure joy having these special moments with each of them, per their request!

I have always been “in love” with these wonderful people who I am deeply honored to call my own.  There is nothing I love more than spending time with them.  They are smart, loving, compassionate, respectful, fun, and amazing people.  How I ever got so lucky to be their mom is beyond me!

Watching them grow and unfold in the past year and half has been a thing of mystery for me.  I have watched as they have tried new things, met new people, learned to put self-care first and family a close second, been faithful to friends, made choices true to who they are seeking to become, found strength inside themselves they never knew they had, been willing to reach out for help as well as consistently reach out to others in need, and loved me and each other through it all.   I’ve always loved watching them grow and learn, but this past year and a half has been an exceptional time of witnessing their inner awesomeness shine through.

I walk, with deep gratitude, alongside each one of them as they are finding their own way in this world.  I walk with them trying to allow them to make their own choices and help them figure out the hard parts that sometimes arise from those choices.  I trust them to always have my back and the backs of one another.  I have more fun adventuring with them and learning about the things that bring them joy than I ever thought possible.   Hearing each of them excitedly share with me something new they are trying is wonderful.  Knowing that they believe I will always love them and support them no matter what helps me believe I am doing a whole lot of things right with them.

The stories of their lives are still theirs to tell.  I’m just happy to say that my story has them in it if every single day.  To love our children is a given I think.  To like our children and have them like us right back – now that is pure gift!



Today’s Gratitudes


My heart is filled to overflowing with love, joy and gratitude for an amazing weekend of celebrating people’s love stories.  I had the great honor of being part of two love celebrations over the span of two days.  The preparing for these two events, playing at each party and the days following these celebrations have left me with much to be grateful for.

On Saturday night my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in their magical back yard with close to 100 family and friends surrounding them.  Together we got to stand witness as Mom and Dad renewed their wedding vows in a ceremony filled with deep emotion.  As Neil Diamond’s song “Story of My Life” played, I watched my parents stare deeply into each others eyes as if the rest of the world no longer existed.  The world seemed to dissolve around them as I could feel their love wrapping visibly around them.  It was truly one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I know much of their story and I know how much it means to them to have been able to recommit themselves to one another as they were surrounded by many who love them.


Then, on Sunday afternoon and evening, I was able to be part of the first wedding to be held at Avalon.  The magic that I feel pulse throughout Avalon all of the time seemed to broaden and unfold like a blooming flower as Amanda and Matthew claimed their love to the world for the first time.  Their wedding was like something out a fairytale – horses, flowers, joyous guests, music, playfulness, flickering lights, and a bride and groom glowing with their love and joy for one another.  One couldn’t help but smile watching them float through their day and night together.


As I moved throughout my very full weekend – preparing pretty party spaces, dancing, laughing with family and friends, working hard to make sure things went smoothly, conversing with hundreds of people, taking moments of quiet rest and reflection – I thought often of Russell.  It’s in moments like these that I sense both his presence and his absence the most.  He loved gathering with friends and family more than just about anything in the world.  Well he probably loved his silent retreats just as much, but parties were a joy to him.  I had several moments throughout both celebrations that I could feel my breath catch as I swore I had just seen him in the crowd talking to this person or that person.  A lot, and I mean A LOT, of emotions ran through me this weekend.

What I am left with today, after a full day of rest yesterday and beginning the clean up of spaces today, is a long list of things to be grateful for.  While my body, mind and heart are saturated and a little achy, they are also smiling with gratitude for all of the many blessings in my life.  There is no way I can name all of them here but I am definitely going to try to name as many as I can that have popped into my thoughts over and over again this last week.

*I am grateful for parents who have traveled a long road together filled with many joys and sorrows.  To watch them recommit to one another with deep love after 50 years of marriage is a wonderful gift.

*I am grateful for children who I love more deeply every single day.  Watching Kateri be part of the wedding at Avalon glowing as the beautiful young woman she filled me great love.  Watching my sons, Demetri and Soren, snazzily dressed up and helping in whatever way possible over the weekend made me feel so proud of the wonderful young men they have become.   The very best thing Russell and I did together was bring these 3 amazing people into the world.



*I am grateful for the opportunity to work and dream at Avalon Horse Farm – a magical place filled with possibility for love, joy and healing.  The farm literally glowed this weekend and I could feel the very land pulse with magical dreams.

*I am grateful for family – near and far – that I love spending time with.   To be friends with my family is a wondrous thing.  They are talented, compassionate, giving, fun people. I am grateful I got to be with them this weekend, even if the time was way too short.


*I am grateful for friends who know me so well I don’t even need to speak for them to step in with a hug, a smile, a “you’ve got this”, a hug, whatever I seem to need in the moment.  Even in those times when I slip into feeling alone I know I am not truly alone ever!

*I am grateful for being in place that I can miss Russell, even to the point of overflowing tears, but not be dropped to my knees or feel like I have to run from a situation.  Integration is happening slowly and steadily.  Love is the strongest thing I feel.

*I am grateful for feeling and being super strong, capable of spending long days working.  Seriously, I feel like I kicked some real booty the past couple of weeks prepping the farm and my parents (at least a little) house for several big events.  I couldn’t be prouder of how the farm is looking right now and I am grateful for the work I do to make that happen.

*I am grateful for the incredible Avalon Community that is in place right now.  Leading this community to help our dreams unfold is joy, with something new happening all of the time.  Yes I am proud of my work but even more so I am proud of the work that I coordinate to make it shine.  I feel a little like Jean Luc Picard from Star Trek with his – “Make it so” leadership.   To be part of an authentic community that works hard to make our shared love of Avalon shine is wonderful. So many folks have shown up in the last few weeks to help out wherever they can. And many of them have shown up just when my own energy was flagging.  Together we are so amazingly strong and mighty!

*I am grateful for my core Avalon team.  There is absolutely no way that I could pull off any of the things we dream of without them.  Over and over and over again, these folks show up asking “what more can I do to help?”   John, Denise, Nikki, Kenny, Lynette, Mike – all of these folks have spent dozens of hours every single week in the past few months helping make Avalon better and bigger.  Without me asking they have helped into the night-time hours to make the farm sparkle.  I would probably be a weeping puddle of a mess without the work they do.  There are many, many others who help keep me strong and sane helping out in so many ways, but these folks always seem to pop up just when there’s one more project to get done.

*I am grateful for my pups, especially Miss Tara right now.  Dogs have that amazing way of making you feel like you are the center of the universe. Tara especially does that with me, following me around and wanting to just be near me. Plus her sweetness just makes me smile everyday.


*I am grateful that my life is filled with opportunities for growth, love, joy, connection, and walking my authentic path.  There is much I am still figuring out but then that is life isn’t it?  That everyday I am able to walk in nature, be with my children, learn something new, laugh or cry with friends, rest my weary self, and dream of new possibilities fills me with such gratitude I feel ready to burst sometimes.

In this time, in this moment life is good, very good!