Who Is
The Fragrant Muse?

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Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, United States
I'm a Creative Soul and Happy Person. I have a passion for my Family, Aromatics, Fairy Gardens, Pugs, SoulCollage, Miniature Worlds, Visual Journals.


All contents Property and Copyright(c) of Liz Fulcher/The Fragrant Muse.
All rights reserved.
Please don't use my written word, photography or art without my permission.
Thank you.


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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Interview with Seena Frost, Founder of SoulCollage®

Seena Frost, Beloved Mentor and Creator of SoulCollage®

Readers of this blog may remember a post I wrote earlier this year entitled Aromatic SoulCollage® in which I shared my great love for this amazing creative process.

Seena Frost has just completed her second book on SoulCollage®, entitled "SoulCollage® Evolving".  You can read more about her book here and order it here.

Yay Seena!  Those of us who are in love with this work have been hungry for another book. 

When I learned that Seena would be doing a blog tour, I jumped at the chance to interview her and ask some specific questions that had been rattling around in my head.  Her answers were, as was expected, very insightful and soulful.


Liz:  Thank you for joining me today Seena!  It's an honor to have you as my guest here at The Fragrant Muse and a delight for me to pick your wonderful brain!  How about we start with the basics:  What is SoulCollage®?
Seena:  SoulCollage® is both a creative celebration of the complexities of Soul and, at the same time underneath this complexity, is the honoring of our Spirit’s unity with Source. It’s a process emphasizing Both/And; Spirit and Soul; One and the Many. To honor the forever-evolving, amazing dance of our Souls, we create many collaged cards using found images to depict our unique parts. We give names to these parts, dialogue with them, and embrace them, even the ones that are shadowed and acting out. Giving a card its own name and allowing it time to say what’s wrong and what is needed often helps these inner parts heal. The inner part is able to find new ways to express its special energy so it has a positive place.

Liz:  Tell us the story of the origin of SoulCollage®.
Seena:  Many roots in my past eventually joined and grew into the blossoming and above-ground “plant” we now call SoulCollage®. These are too numerous to identify here, but in 1989, there came a moment at the end of a three year program with Jean Houston, when an integration occurred, and I made my very first cards. I called them Neter cards and these were all cards that now would be in the Community Suit of my deck because they were all for people. Over the years, and with input from others, this first project eventually evolved into people creating cards in the four suits, symbolizing the Manyness of our Souls, and one card, the Source card, as a symbol for the Oneness of all created forms.

At first I used these cards as a therapeutic tool in clinical support groups; then, because everyone loved creating them and found much inner wisdom through them, I introduced the process into other kinds of community groups. It can still be used as a therapeutic tool by licensed therapists, but it also can be used individually as a spiritual practice and in groups as a transformational ritual.

Liz:  Do you see a specific personality type in the people drawn to SoulCollage®?
Seena: This is an interesting question, and I’ve given it some thought. Actually, if there is a SoulCollage® type, it’s a person who is visual and who is interested in looking inwards at their own Soul. As to the Jungian personality types, there are parts of the process that appeal to introverts, especially the silent and intuitive choosing of images. And there are parts that appeal to extroverts—the speaking aloud from the images. In readings I’ve found that extroverts find it hard to be silent witnesses while introverts find that easy; but then extroverts can go on reading from an image forever. Sensates like sitting and doing the collaging part. Thinkers have to be patient and wait their turn, but it does come after the Feelers have had their time to feel out the energy of an image. Intuitives obviously love most all of it.  So, I would say there is some activity in the process to please all the types, but, at the same time, there is a stretch for what Jung calls our inferior parts that need exercise to grow stronger.

Liz:  Though SoulCollage® has a wide audience, it seems to have a strong appeal to women over 40.  Why is this?
Seen: You’re right about that, thus far in our history. Let me talk about the gender issue first and the age issue second. There is no doubt that women are more naturally drawn to collaging images, and to diving into their inner life to examine and work with it. And women are drawn also to share this inner exploration with others.

Men are usually more externally active, preferring to participate in action sports or watch them. Men like to work with solutions and goals and products that have overt value or significance in their world. Generally they do not want to dive into their inner life issues unless there is a huge reason like a mental or marital problem. Thus, the idea of sitting and collaging images, and then pretending to be the image may seem silly to men. And gatherings to do this in groups might seem a waste of time. Not for all men of course, and men, when they experience SoulCollage®, often are intrigued. It can be as if they just entered an interesting, foreign land.

Part of the reason for the age difference is that the process began with older women (like me!) and so spread most quickly among us. Probably another factor is that women over 40 are no longer chasing little children all over the block, or just trying to break into careers where their masculine aspects must be emphasized and their feminine aspects minimized. At mid-life, there comes a yearning for more time, and a new freedom to be more feminine (not like the ads tell us to be), which is to be creative, intuitive, empathic, collaborative, supportive, noncompetitive, and loving. And also there often is a yearning to explore the inner life so as to find more balance and purpose and happiness. 

I truly believe that we who are doing the process now will reach out to younger women, and also to men as time goes on. SoulCollage® is a practice that can produce changes in the Souls of all people, changes that our world needs right now. In fact, without change towards more heart language, more collaboration and more learning to listen and empathize and imagine, we won’t make it. Young women, especially those who are stepping into leadership positions all over the world, could use this practice. It does not need to be very time-consuming, to honor (alongside their masculine ‘find the solution and act’ aspects), those feminine aspects of their psyches that are so needed to change how we deal with each other and the natural world. And men who come into our community may find help in discovering the value of their own feminine aspects and vital ways to integrate them with their masculine aspects. Let’s see if we who are women over 40 can be inclusive enough to make this happen.

Liz:  As you know, in my own personal SoulCollage® deck, I've added a unique suit to honor one of my life's passions, essential oils.  I call this my Aromatic Suit
Neroli SoulCollage® Card
Liz's Neroli SoulCollage® Card

Each card honors a specific aromatic, the significance it has for me and my personal story with that essential oil as well as it's energetic or therapeutic value.  I use these cards frequently in my work as an Aromatherapist.   What are your thoughts on expanding one's personal deck beyond the standard 4 suits to honor a unique passion?
Seena:  I think this is a fine thing to do as long as each of the oils has a personal significance for you, is a Neter of yours and can speak to you from its special energy. If there were just a couple of oils that were important in your psyche, I would suggest having them in one of the four suits, perhaps as Council archetypes. However, since you are an Aromatherapist and every oil is unique and important in your life story, then a new suit is appropriate.

My problem with adding extra suits to the four basic ones is that it may complicate your deck beyond what is helpful. Sometimes people decide to make a new suit and put in it all the Neters that are traditionally listed in some category, such as the archetypes of the Major Arcana or all the Nine Muses. Doing this gives one’s mind the job of choosing who to include in the deck, and does not leave the choice to the Neters themselves. Each of us is unique as to the collection of Neters that are in our decks, and no external list should dictate our choices.

Sometimes we will recognize the activity of a Neter in our lives… “Aha… that voice was my Advising Self, or that action was from my Warrior archetype, etc” …. and so we set out intentionally to find images and make a card for this Neter. This is perfectly fine too, but the Neter is the one whose energy has alerted us to its presence within our Soul.

Liz:  What advice would you give a SoulCollage® Facilitator who has an individual that regularly meets with a card-making group, enjoys creating the cards but doesn't want to participate in the "inner work" of interpreting the cards, journaling or doing readings?  Is the person still receiving value from the SoulCollage experience?
Seena:   If the person comes regularly, collages cards, listens to others doing their processing, then certainly some inner work is already happening. Resistance to going further with the process is the Neter in charge just now and is to be respected.  Encourage her or him to make cards for all their inner voices that are instructing about when and how to participate. Certainly encourage her to continue. Let him know how valuable to everyone a good listener is.

Thank you so much Seena for taking the time to answer my questions.  Your new book is fabulous and I can't wait for others to discover the life-changing adventure known as SoulCollage®!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Little-Known Fact about Santa

We began setting up our holiday village last weekend.  Bean "helped" of course.  In fact, he helped so much that Santa lost his right hand. 

I disappeared to fetch glue and when I returned hubby was wearing a suspicion grin.  "What?" I asked. 

He glanced at the lake and said "Apparently, Santa can't swim".

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What Inspires You to Write?

The Fragrant Muse blog was born in April of 2009 with no particular purpose other than to put my many thoughts and interests into writing.

Initially, blogging was like falling in love.  I jumped out of bed in the morning anxious to create and share stories of the world around me.  My writing came easily, was spontaneous and fluid.  My mind was full of post ideas.   I began making friends, following blogs, having followers and a new creative community began to form around me.  I was enamoured with the whole blogging experience.

In the past few months, this glow has faded a bit.  Recently, when a friend remarked, "Your blog is getting boring", I was taken aback, but also felt the truth in her words.  I haven't felt inspired to write.

Upon reflection, the shift occurred when I began putting restrictions on my posts and blog content after reading gobs of material on "how to build a better blog."  I bought books, magazines and read loads of web material on how to be a better blogger.  I subscribed to CopyBlogger and ProBlogger to learn what makes a blog readable and interesting.
One message I found over and over was "keep your blog uncluttered and tightly focused on one subject."  Since my primary personal and professional passion is essential oils, I decided to keep my blog limited to aromatherapy-related posts. 

I began to de-clutter my blog by eliminating such topics as The Bean (my grandson), art journaling, massage, Sassy the pug, my fairy garden, miniatures, my family and random day-in-the-life-of-Liz stuff.  And you know what?  I miss writing about these things that color my world so vibrantly!   I've considered a second blog for all my non-aromatherapy interests - and I may someday - but for now, the idea of maintaining two blogs feels daunting.

So I'm going to go back to writing about all my interests and pull from my creative right brain.  I'm going to post on everything that interests me and inspires me; everything that makes The Fragrant Muse who she is.  Certainly, essential oils will still be my main focus, because that is also the case in my life; however, I'll also include a generous sprinkling of other shiny bits of my life.

I'll save my rational left brain for paying the bills and doing my taxes.

Because the truth of the matter is this:   My world and all that fills it is multi-faceted with many interests and I love sharing my life and all that colors it.  If I lose followers or folks find The Fragrant Muse too random then this is what I have to say:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Climbing the Emma Tree

Emma Tree Blog
In the 18 months I've been traversing the blogging world, one unexpected delight has been meeting and making friends with talented writers, artists and the most fascinating creative people.  D. Smith Kaich Jones of Emma Tree: Tales of Art and Anxiety is one of those folks.  Debi writes of experiences of daily life and describes them in such a rich and exquisite way that you can't help but connect and get what she says as well as feel understood, yourself.  I stop there for a visit when I need to refill my inspirational cup.

This is her poetic description of living in East Texas
"It is not Paris. 
It is not Morocco. 
It is not even Oregon or New Mexico. 
It is here, it is Texas, and even then, it is not West Texas,
it is Northeast Texas,
a church on every corner and a taqueria on every block,
feeding your soul and feeding your belly."

Debi's writing talents have earned her three articles in an Authentic Living series for Somerset Magazine and a place in the the Autumn issue of Artful Blogging: Visually Inspiring Online Journals.  Both magazines are published by Stampington & Co: Arts and Co, your one stop shop for creativity. 

I have many favorite posts by Debi, but below are three I wanted to share:
Night Spring where she writes about her beloved cat Maggie, that we all fell in love with
Empty House, Full Heart After Maggie's passing (still makes me cry)
Sign Day  All women should read this one!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Make your own Search Story!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pulling the Plug

"American children and adolescents spend 22 to 28 hours per week viewing television, more than any other activity except sleeping. By the age of 70 they will have spent 7 to 10 years of their lives watching TV." -- The Kaiser Family Foundation

"You watch television to turn your brain off and you work on your computer when you want to turn your brain on."
-- Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer

Pulling the Plug
On September 2nd we cancelled our cable service and are now a no-television household.  The set is still there if we want to watch a DVD or video, but the actual connection to the outside world via TV is gone. 

I'll admit, the first couple of days were weird and we did miss it.  Although my husband and I aren't compulsive tv watchers, we've had a long-standing ritual of sitting down around 7 p.m. and letting the busy day melt away by watching a show or two...or three or four depending on our level of fatigue.  Ever notice how it sucks you in when you're especially tired (read: vulnerable)?   James and I began to observe how we were numbing ourselves with tv and the ease with which we slipped into mindlessly watching one show after another, even when we weren't particularly interested.  

What about "good" TV like the Discovery Channel or PBS?
 TurnOffYourTV.com has this to say: 
"All TV is passive, sedentary and non-experiential. Most viewers tend to watch show after show--not individual programs. Instead of watching a documentary about birds, go out (with binoculars if you have them) and see how many real birds you can identify in your neighborhood."   The purpose of National TV-Turnoff Week is to leave behind judgments about the quality of television and focus instead on creating, discovering, building, participating and doing."

So, what is different for us now?
Well, the immediate difference is that we read more.  A lot more.  We have more conversations in the evening, go to bed earlier and rest better.   My husband would frequently fall asleep in front of the tv after a long day.  Now he goes to bed, which is where one should be when they're worn out, isn't it?    We are beginning to work on creative projects.   I spent one evening just sorting my jewelry then made an earring holder out of an old frame with a window screen glued to the back and hung my earrings on the screen.  This might sound deadly boring, but was so satisfying and I can now locate earrings easily.  If I'd watched another re-run of Bones or CSI, my earrings would still be all over the place.   After years of wanting to try mindmapping, I got on mindmeister.com one evening and created five different mindmaps: my website, my youtube channel, my finances, my weightloss goals and personal life goals. 

Oh, and one very unexpected benefit.  I eat less!

Computer TV
In the interest of full disclosure, I have watched the current episodes of Modern Family and The Office on hulu.com.  And you know what? It wasn't nearly as satisfying as I thought it would be.   I imagine even that, too, will end eventually.

What we've lost in mind-numbing "entertainment", we've gained in freedom over our brains and our time plus a whole lot more quiet.

What about you?
Could you live without your connection to the television?  


  • Number of 30-second commercials seen in a year by an average child: 20,000
  • Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 38.5
  • Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680
  • Percentage of children ages 6-17 who have TV's in their bedrooms: 50
  • Percentage of day care centers that use TV during a typical day: 70
  • Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours
  • Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500
  • Percentage of Americans that regularly watch television while eating dinner: 66

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Connecting with Mother Moon

Tonight is a Full Moon.  Just how in-tune with the energy of the Moon are you?

In the video below, Flora Peterson challenges us to go outside and connect with the Moon for 29 consecutive days.   Although her video was posted in 2009, this powerful exercise can be done anytime. 

Flora, aka CharmingPixieFlora, is a tiny powerhouse bursting with positive energy.  Her website bio lists her as a Teacher, Intuitive Consultant, Certified Life Coach and New Age Practitioner and she has an information-packed YouTube Channel called Flora's Family Footsteps.   Today also happens to be her birthday!

So tonight
I'll anoint myself with the oils of Mabon (the Autumn Equinox) which are Benzoin, Myrrh and Sage, and for the next month I'll step outside to face Mother Moon and focus on embracing her energies.

Who knows, I may even howl.

Happy Birthday Flora!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

How to Create Your Own Video Channel on YouTube

If you haven't created your own video channel on YouTube, what are you waiting for?  It's free, easy and a great way to showcase your products, services and bring attention to your business.   You could even create a channel just for family and friends to watch if you want nothing more than to show the folks back home your new baby.

My Channel
I created a channel for The Fragrant Muse last week with the goal of offering video tutorials, commentaries, product reviews and whatever else Musie and I dream up to boost your relationship with essential oils and encourage personal creativity.    The name of my channel is "Discover Your Fragrant Muse".  

As will happen when people get their hands on a video camera, you'll find no shortage of ridiculousness, obnoxiousness, amateur attempts at fame and just plain crap on YouTube, but there are also a good many videos that are educational and entertaining.  Why shouldn't yours be included?

What Video Camera to Use?
My challenge has been choosing a camera that gives good quality images, good audio, and still allows me to pay my son's college tuition.    I did find some good advice here.    Because I'm  excited to begin and somewhat overwhelmed with all the choices and options, I bought a Flip Mino HD (2nd generation).   Although the Flip wasn't my first choice after watching this review by Jon Paula,  I bought one anyway because it felt safe.   Jon named better starting video cameras in his Camera Buying Guide video.  I know that as my understanding of video technology matures, so will my equipment.  Or not.  Who knows, maybe I'll end up liking the Flip.

Signing Up
You can find very good step-by-step instructions for signing up for your channel on this EHow page.   If you look on the right sidebar of this page, you'll see other helpful ehow posts on being a Channel owner.

When you create your account, that will be the name of your channel.  If I had opened my account under Liz Fulcher I would now have "Liz Fulcher's Channel".  Instead, my account is under The Fragrant Muse so my channel is "The Fragrant Muse's Channel".   You might not want "PrettyBoy123" as your channel name.

Getting a Banner
To get your own header, you must first be a YouTube Partner.  This happens after you've produced a certain number of videos and have many subscribers.   It's a goal to work toward.

For now, just get your face out there...and let me know when that happens so I can stop by and subscribe.  And don't forget to subscribe to my channel!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Fragrant Muse Gets a New Look. Finally!

My naked blog has finally gotten dressed.   Indeed, embellished with a beautiful party dress fit for all manner of fragrant musings and creative mutterings.  I love it!

The new banner was created by the very talented Stacy of the blog Pandora's Compass: Living Life with the Lid Off with minimal instruction from me.  

Stacy chose my Jasmine Muse SoulCollage© Card from my collection on Flickr then allowed her own creative instincts to flow and designed a header that she felt matched my energy and my blog message:  inspire your imagination (creativity) and enchant your senses (essential oils).

It is perfect.  Thank you Stacy!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Chesterfield Ad

This Chesterfield advertisement has hung on the wall of every home I've lived in.  It's been woven into the fabric of my domestic life like a favorite cushion or set of dishes that's always been there. 

The poster is more than just a cool vintage collectible and has a unique significance for me.  The handsome model is my father.  This particular ad appeared on page 66 of Life Magazine on June 29, 1942 when he was just 25.  He posed for other Chesterfield ads that year which appeared in Popular Mechanics, Colliers and Good Housekeeping as well as billboards alongside the road.

Today is my father's birthday and he would have been 93.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Interviews by Julochka of Moments of Perfect Clarity

Julochka of the magnificent blog Moments of Perfect Clarity has been interviewing other bloggers -  specifically her readers - for the past month.   She sent her interviewees a list of questions then posted their responses on her blog.   Today's interview is with yours truly.

In looking over her collection of  interviews, I see a beautiful blogging patchwork, and I can't help but marvel how the blogosphere affords us the opportunity to know amazing and fascinating people that would otherwise be lost to us.  

What I found surprisingly (and utterly delightful) was the unexpected nature of her questions.  Instead of covering topics on my fragrant life, she asked things like "where do you go to unwind?" and "what do you miss about Italy?".

If you want to read more, go here.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Falling into Place

A deceivingly simple, yet profound message.  You'll want sound for this. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What do I wish for my Creativity?

 Liz creates

Today at Jamie Ridler Studios, the topic is creativity.

In the past year I've ruminated on the concept of essential oils being a catalyst for personal creativity.   That they support physical, emotional and mental health, is well-known and scientifically documented.  But what about supporting spiritual health?  Specifically,  personal creativity. 

Can essential oils be a catalyst for creative expression?  I say an emphatic YES!
I firmly believe that essential oils can influence and support not only creativity, but also intuition, motivation and the occasional flashes of genius! 

In my
own life, essential oils have inspired me to design healing blends, create an essential oil company and manifest educational programs on their unlimited uses.  Aromatics were the spark that ignited my Aromatic SoulCollage® series and the same energetic force that that propelled me into the blogosphere, giving life to The Fragrant Muse.  

To answer Jamie's question "what do you wish for your creativity"...

I wish to continue expanding this concept of aromatics bolstering the creative mind.   I have an idea for an educational program specifically on how to use essential oils to stimulate personal creativity.  And here we go again...my creative juices are flowing!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Meet my Psychiatrist

Last week James, Bean and I escaped for a spontaneous camping trip.  Four days in the woods and I'm a new person.  Okay, not completely new but certainly refreshed.  It seems that surrounding oneself with trees and sleeping next to a burbling stream is good medicine for an overworked mind.   More to the point, the elixir was no electronics.   No WiFi.  No cell phone.  No TV.  No radio. 

For the first time in months, and I do mean months, I worked in my art journal.  I painted, wrote, mused and dreamed.   I read The Creativity Book: A Year's Worth of Inspiration and Guidance and found myself enormously inspired, which led to more journaling, musing and dreaming. 

We watched in silent awe as a mother black bear with three cubs passed through our campsite at 5 a.m. one morning.  We adopted "Chuck" a precious little chipmunk who ate from James' hand.  We  swam in the chilly mountain lake, took long walks in the cool woods and talked about everything under the sun.

It was good.  Very good.

I foresee another therapy session before summer's end.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

And Now for Something Completely Different

Rosemary aged 15
Elizabeth aged 4
(I didn't become Liz until later)
Paul aged 12

Friday, July 9, 2010

This one, I let her win.

I spent several hours last night working on photographs of my oil bottles for the website.  I carried the bottles into the kitchen where the light was best, set them on a beige square tile, added a white background and snapped away.

For the rest of the night, Musie wouldn't leave me alone.  She kept poking me in the brain, insisting that the pictures weren't right - that they were flat, boring and, above all, they weren't me.

When I got up this morning, I rummaged around my dresser drawers and found an old cotton quilt with pretty appliqued flowers.  I set the quilt on a table in front of a bright window, smushed it around then rested the bottles on the soft fabric and took a picture.

Musie approved.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Leaping into Less

It's been ages since I've played at Jamie Ridler's studio, so I popped over this morning and her question What Leap Do you Wish to Take? gave me pause.

What LEAP do I wish to take?   Jamie, I'm already leaping tall buildings in a single bound and stopping the occasion speeding bullet in order to accomplish my goals.  In fact if I keep leaping at this pace, I'm likely to spring myself right into burnout.  I've done it before.

Leaping it kinda my thang. 
My Meltdown SoulCollage Card

The question begs to be asked:  What constitutes a "leap" anyway?  Isn't a leap an action performed without knowledge of the consequences?  An act of faith?   In that case, I'm not leaping at all because I know my hard work and actions will result in success.  The leap for me then is slowing down.   

Woah...my palms just got sweaty.  I must have hit a nerve.

So the leap I wish to take now is letting go, slowing down and doing less...while keeping the faith that it will all work out.

Now that's a leap worth taking.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Mud" by The Bean

Nana and Pap like to take me for walks on Sunday afternoon. 
Nana thinks its funny when I'm on Pap's shoulders,
'cause it looks like I have a tail.

My Pap knows a lot about plants and teaches me 'bout ones I can eat
and ones I shouldn't touch.  
Here he's teachin' me 'bout pois'nivy. 
"Leaves of three, let them be" he says.

We like to go down to the river and walk on this one tree that goes
waaaaay out over the water.
It's a little scary but I like it.
Pap almost fell out of the tree once and Nana laughed real hard.

Sassy our Pug always comes with us on walks.
Nana says she's a "cream puff" but she's part of the family, too.
I never saw a dog climb a tree before.

Pap likes to hold me and talk about what we see like
clouds and water and birds and stuff.
Nana calls him "flosofer". 

I love my Pap.  Nana says he's "earfy" and "grounding".
  I don't know what that means but I feel safe when he holds me.

Nana wanted to get closer to the water for pitchers (she's always takin' pitchers!)
She took off her shoes and walked in the mud.

This made Pap and me laugh.

I wanted to get in the mud too.

And the water.

It feels funny when it squishes 'tween my toes.

Sassy went kinda nuts in the water and Nana kept calling her "mudball"

I fell down.  Then I fell down again.
Falling down was fun!  I was swimmin' in the river!

Nana told Pap "that's enough he'll get 'monia".
She made me get out of my wet clothes and told Pap to take off his shirt and wrap me up.
It was warm and smelled good, like Pap.

I like having adventures with Nana and Pap.
You never know what's gonna happen.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

In January of this year I began what was initially an exciting three months of stimulating new experiences.  I signed up for a series of aromatherapy classes in new and distant cities.

This fresh slice of life thrilled me to bits because my adventures included everything I adore:  working with essential oils, meeting new people, flying and driving to unknown cities,  leasing cars with state-of-the-art gadgets, renting adorable cottages and - most importantly - flooding my thirsty brain with new knowledge.    At one point I added even more classes which meant increased travel, increased expenses and increased time away from home. 

And it's taken its toll on my well-being.

Somewhere in the thrill of new experience and seeking higher knowledge, I began to lose myself and my balance.   I have a lot of increased wisdom to be sure, but the most valuable lesson has been that it's possible to have too much of a good thing.

I've been away one week every month since January.  For some that might not seem like much, but for me that's a lot of time away.   This has translated into less focus on my loved ones, overloading my massage schedule when I am home and packing more into each hour of each day.  Worse, my creative soul-nourishing activities have been neglected:  writing, blogging (only 40 posts since January!), Fragrant Fridays, art journaling, soulcollage and time spent just dreaming.  Never underestimate the value of "goofing off" "puttering" and "doing nothing in particular".

Yep.  When staying in a gorgeous lake cottage like this isn't nearly as interesting as
moments like this,

then it's time to be home.

So today, I'm putting an end to busy.  I've invited my inner child for a visit and we're doing nothing in particular.  At home. 

Where, it turns out, we like it best.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Road Trip Anyone?

If you're a Lavender Lover or just want something fun to add to your list of things to do this summer, I suggest you check out these festivals:
Prairie Lavender Farm
Bennington, Kansas
June 19, 2010
Hosted by Mike Neustrom, owner of Prairie Lavender Farm, this looks like one fun festival!  You can pick your own fresh lavender, take a tour of their farming/processing operation, learn to make lavender gifts, listen to live music and shop in their brand new store.

Questions?   Check out their website Prairie Lavender Farm or email Mike, he's one great guy! mike@prairielavenderfarm.com.

 If you live in the Pacific Northwest or have a bunch of frequent flyer miles to use, you'll want to attend the 14th Annual Lavender Festival in Sequim, Washington.  Sequim calls itself "The Lavender Capital of North America".

July 16, 17, 18, 2010

They'll have farm tours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily plus a street fair with more than 150 crafts and lavender booths.  There will be food, music, and more in downtown Sequim. 

For more pictures you can go to the Sequim Lavender Festival blog here or check out the website which is chock full of information and photos. 

And if you're going and need some company, write to me...you never know, I just might be up for it!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Art Journaling: A Day of Color and Mirth

Working in an art journal really brings out the inner child as I saw on April 17th.  Seven powerful, wonderful women turned into creative "little girls" as they played with paint and stamps, tore up magazines for collaging, wore animal hats, ate chocolate and made beautiful art in their journals.

Below are pictures of our day of creative play.
Click on the photo if you'd like to enlarge it.

Have I forgotten to pack anything?   The kitchen sink maybe?
Linda and Jennifer hard at play.
Even in an Art Journaling workshop I include aromatics.
  Here's Dee adding peppermint essential oil to her paint bottle.
Recommended Reading
Sassy was there, too!
  It was her ninth birthday and this is how she celebrated.
  In fact, this is how she celebrates

Linda drying her page with a hairdryer.
Pat brought this beautiful Goddess stamp from home.
I am SO ordering one!

Pat and Jennifer
Lots of goodies to play with!

Bobbie, deep in thought.
 I love the freedom this process encourages!

I gave them animal hats and asked that them to write
in their journals how they were like their animal.
 Cathy created a pretty border around her two-page spread.
Hey, Joleen is a southpaw.
It was truly a relaxing, fun and creative day.  When can we do it again?