Friday, January 27, 2017


Yellow: my favorite color. 
Bright, cheery, light-filled, the color of the sun. 
I needed to find yellow this week.

As an artist, I use the color wheel to make colors shine. 

Yellow, by itself, can be soft and comforting. 

I add yellow's analogous colors -- green and orange -- around yellow to make yellow more varied.

I add purple, yellow's opposite, in the shadows, which makes the yellow more intense. These quiet studies give me time to reflect and focus. They aren't always easy to produce, but they are familiar and satisfying.

At this time of year, with all the rain we have had and the political tumult we've experienced, I needed to find yellow to bring in the light. I could paint things yellow all day, but walking around in a yellow world would become boring.

When our son Theo was three months old,  the two of us accompanied Bill on a business trip to Southern California. We stayed in a well-appointed hotel with tastefully decorated rooms. Because I was a new mom and Theo was napping, he and I spent much of the day in our room. At first, the room was soothing. The walls were painted a trendy version of peach, a soft, inviting color choice. The lampshades, chair coverings, bedspread, towels, carpets, and even the paintings on the wall all matched that same shade of peach. Within an hour, the peach overwhelmed me. I felt deprived of color and needed to walk outside just to see all of the colors around me.

It is easy to continue to use my favorite color and my favorite method of painting, but I know that without making an effort to stretch myself, to move outside of that comfortable bubble I created for myself, my world would become flat. I know I need to look for ways to add diverse and unusual elements to my artwork, just as I try to do in my life. I will not settle for the way I have done things in the past. That's how I grow.

What are you doing this week to step out of your comfort zone?

Friday, January 20, 2017


Tomorrow is a big day. 
Many of us will join together to stand for human rights, 
our civil liberties, and our diversity.

Women's marches and activism go back a long way. If you know your history, you know that at one time women were discouraged from attending college because it was thought their health would be affected by the challenge of rigorous study. The American Association of University Women, started in 1881, published their first report, "Health Statistics of Women College Graduates," which disputed the then popular belief. The group, now called AAUW with men and women members, still remains  a crusader for women's and children's education and equity.

Image courtesy of

If you know your history, you know the Suffragette movement brought about the right for women to vote in the U.S. in 1920. You know that women were assaulted and arrested for demanding their rights during the Presidential inauguration in 1913, and that the 19th Amendment was passed only when President Woodrow Wilson reversed his opposition and 36 states ratified the amendment.

image courtesy of

If you know your history, you know that women at the end of the 19th century rose up to protect birds -- an unimportant action, some might think. But five million birds were being killed each year just to adorn the hats of fashionable women. Minna B. Hall and Harriet L. Hemenway started small tea parties (interesting that tea parties show up in our history repeatedly) to encourage women not to buy hats with bird feather decorations. Their parties grew into the Audubon Society, which campaigned for the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which continues to protect birds (think cell towers and wind turbines) to this day.

Women are not the only ones who are activists, but they often step up when the need is great.

What are you doing to stand up for your beliefs?


To find out more check these sites:

Friday, January 13, 2017


Today's post is by Mary Anna Weklar

My dad lived a long and vibrant life filled with love and laughter. Four years ago just after he died, I started the task of writing out thank you notes to people who expressed their concern and support. I asked my Mom what she wanted me to write in the cards. Her answer was something very simple and profound, "Tell them thank you for the precious moments spent together." My heart breaks every time I think of the beauty of that. My Mom and Dad were soul mates who found each other at a very young age, so they had over 70 years together. They had known some of the people I was writing to for over 50 years. Yet, I got what she meant. Life goes by so quickly that upon review, it all seems merely like fleeting moments. And even in her grief, my Mom was able to hold on to the joy and appreciate all the good she and my Dad shared together with family and friends.

Recently I heard Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D speak about her 20 plus years of work around positivity and why it matters. She has found that positive emotions broaden our view of the world and expand our ability to lead healthier and more meaningful lives. Since positive moments don't always grab our attention like a negative moment, it is important to be on the look out (being mindful) to recognize the positive. While it isn't good for us or others to "fake" positivity, we can create rituals to help build more awareness of positivity over time.

Some simple things we can incorporate into our lives include, taking a moment to see something positive right now, even when we are not "happy." What can we be grateful for in this moment? Some of the things I have been noticing lately include the big ripe strawberries and cherries returning to the farmers market, the smell of sweet jasmine in the air, longer and warmer days approaching summer and the smile of my new baby nephew. In fact, babies and puppies are some of the easier ways to find our way back to the positive. Simple joys exist all around us and as we start to open to the positive in our everyday life, it is better for us than a big vacation. It becomes like an upward spiral where we can create a daily diet of micro-infusions of feeling more positive and grateful, improving our health and growing our resilience to life when it throws us a curve ball.

Deeper work includes mindfulness, compassion and loving kindness meditations and related actions. Offering service or volunteering for a cause of your choice is a standout for feeling good when all else fails.

My Mom taught me a good lesson with her reminder to enjoy every precious moment.


Thank you, Mary Anna, for your submission to the reader challenge about someone who inspired you.

Mary Anna is a health and wellbeing coach with a passion for collaborating with people to live healthier and happier lives. Mary Anna loves being outdoors and you will find her hiking, swimming, skiing, exercising, or heading to a farmers market. She combines her expertise in nutrition, exercise, yoga, and integrative medicine with positivity, mindfulness, compassion, and gratitude. In 2014 Mary Anna completed a community health fellowship at Stanford University.


To you wonderful readers who have tried to leave comments on my posts for the last month and have not been successful, the problem has been fixed. I want to thank all of you for your thoughtful responses and hope you will continue to comment whenever you can!

Friday, January 6, 2017


I walk fast.
I talk fast.
I eat fast.
I work fast.

With my sides hurting recently, I was told by my physical therapist to slow down. Oh, and to remember to breathe too.

Good advice.

It took me a week or two to realize what those instructions really meant.

Slow down and breathe. I repeat to myself as I move about my day.

I've been taking a watercolor workshop with an instructor who paints in a completely different way than I have ever experienced before.

First she starts with the darks.
She rarely does sweeping washes.
After about an inch of paint, she changes color.
She is slow.
Her paintings are luminous.
Her advice: look 3 times, think twice, paint once.

Good advice.

Starting with the darks

It took several weeks for me to catch on to her methods.

They work.

So now I will repeat it to myself again.

Go slow.

Look 3 times.
Think twice.
Act once.


Check out Leslie Wilson's watercolors at her website: