Turning Points


It is so much easier to look back. I’m sure I’m coming across some turning points at this very moment. They are too close to glean any insight. Except for spring flowers. They are immediate. They let you know the season is about to change. the lightness of spring is imminent. The brilliance of summer is not far off. My formulas for shibori dyeing fabric begin to change.

Looking back for turning points, I ask, how far back can I go? To my junior year in high school when I changed my style wearing a borrowed, white, v neck dress with a circular, cinched-waist skirt to a civil air patrol dance on the Air Force Base where I lived. Guys out numbered girls ten to one. I danced and danced.

The time when I was 20 and I went shopping in at expensive boutique. I tried on linen pants, fuchsia and orange. They were bold and bright. I hated them. Wanting a change, I bought them. My dad said I was stunning.

I was working in an office. I sewed a deep sea bluegreen maternity skirt and floral print top. Wore it to work, brazen and pregnant. So many compliments.

My first divorce. It was not a bad marriage. Ms Magazine arrived. It was intellectual conversation I was seeking.

Letting my kids go live with their dad. It was the right thing to do. I wanted the divorce. It was my idea. I knew I could handle being a better mother away than he could be a father so far away.

There was a recklessness in the decisions to divorce and custody. A recklessness that gave me a freedom to seize my vision.

There was chaos and disorder in the second marriage. I divorced again. With a clear vision that I deserve to be with those who appreciates who I am and what I can do.


Today I am following my curiosity. That will lead me to my passion, Elizabeth Gilbert says. I believe her. I am most curious about how to deepen my relationships. To know more. To understand more.

Michelle Obama says, “It is hard to hate up close.”

Maybe that’s true. That’s what I want. But most times my arrogance gets in the way. Like when someone takes a different stance and I stand back, with hands on my hips, and say to myself, how could you?

I had a fantasy the other day when we were at my daughter’s house. They had created a new “pub room.” They had arranged it with a little bar, a few tables scattered around. There were several different conversations going on at each table. Every one was smiling, nodding, laughing, listening. Most likely all in agreement since we are all like minded.

I had a thought. What if that wasn’t true? What if the conversations at each table we’re radically different? Opposing views were being expressed. And everyone was still listening, nodding? What if it was like the game of musical chairs and when the band of brothers and cousins stopped playing one person would shift to the next table and enter the conversation? One they might totally disagree with? Could it be done? Could the knot in their stomach be pushed down when they heard things they disagreed with? Could they be silent for two beats and let the conversation flow without the need to be the lone dissent? Could they let listening be the path to deepening?

My husband said, “No, there’s too much at risk.”

“Isn’t being silent and listening equally powerful? “I asked. “Doesn’t living by example mean anything?”

Curiosity has lead me to explore the distinction between empty silence and the the silence of listening.




My dear, Pursuing two high intensity businesses, waiting to see which one takes off, will never work. You have to pick one or the other.

In today’s world, working for yourself is the best option. Nobody wants a job. Your second job, which brings in a little cash, exists to complement your passion. If it’s consulting, get clear about what you have to share and who wants what you have. Then you’re life becomes meaningful. What more could you ask for?

Know that it takes time to build your business. Begin a regular writing practice. This is how you will become clear on who you are, what you want, and what you want to do to have the life you imagine. Write your one year, five year, 10 year, 20 year, 40 year plan. What do you want to be doing in 40 years? It’s easy to write a one-year plan. And the list will be long. But looking forward to 40 years, the list becomes simplified. When I wrote mine 40 years ago there were only three things left on my 40 year plan. I wanted to write, make art, and have a house with the picket fence. That’s what I’m doing. The list of books I wanted to read, workshops I wanted to take, kids I wanted to get involved in sports and activities hav been accomplished.

Now, I write, make art and share. Ultimately that’s the essence of your consulting business. Sharing who you are. Not selling. And asking for fair compensation. Which people will want to pay.

These days, I’m working on more felting on the FeltLOOM, using repurposed clothes.


Vintage skirts with merino wool

You Have To Have Vision

“You have to have vision,” I heard my mentor, Arturo Alonzo Sandoval, say from across the room.  He wasn’t talking to me.  He was talking to one of his students.  I was fortunate to be working on the FeltLOOM in his classroom and could listen.  

You have to have vision.  

How true, I now realize.  And vision is different than a plan.  A plan comes second.  A plan comes after the vision has been defined and chosen. We can have many visions and focus is where determination comes in. 

What vision do I want to focus on?

In the past there was the vision for the move back to Kentucky.  The transition was smooth and provided us with the amazing cabin we now live in.  Today, there is the vision from my art, each piece of shibori dyed silk using carefully chosen colors creates many versions of wearable art.  

Today, in order to keep from getting bored and to keep from repeating myself, I begin a new vision quest asking myself, “what do I want?” This becomes the quintessential question, the question most necessary to keep in the forefront of my mind everyday.

Today, I say to myself, I want each piece of art I make to become part of an intentional ensemble from the beginning of the vision.  

Since I discovered the power of gathering around me only what I like, life is easier.  While I realize it can become cluttered, I leave room for those moments when “opportunity knocks.”  These are the moments when my questions are being answered, ever so subtly. 

What do I want to explore? 


Everything contains energy. My vision. My art. My cabin in the woods.  It’s why I surround myself with art.  Wearable art.  Art on the wall.  Art on the floor.  Art in the garden.  Art I serve my delicious food in. The art in my home, the handmade items I look at, use, wear, are closer to the maker, and the energy is more intense.  It is stronger, hence more transferable to me.

You have to have vision.

Even my Garden Girls remind me of this fact when they talk about writing.   In my creative writing I invented the Garden Girls to accompany me on my quest to take risks and live the layered life of an artist.  

“How do you find the words?” Rose asked.

“Look at your hands,” Clove said.

“I think you mean that’s really all I have to do.” Rose said.

“Of course I mean it,” Clove said. “Look at your hands, Rose it’s all in your body, in the way you walk, the way you smile, the way you think. Look at your hands and take a deep breath and you’ll find the words.”

The thought was exciting, physically. Rose felt her body move. Mentally she felt her mind churn. “Let’s write together again,” she said, “the next time we can claim a moment to own.”

In writing, Rose was seeking passion, the passion that gets you excited and keeps you awake at night. Rose was always passionate; there was no getting around it. She wasn’t ever going to give it up. To be able to create passion, that’s what freedom is, that’s what life is; just keep on writing because what else is there? Sometimes preachy thoughts showed up, talking to Rose, but she listened only when she had to. Mostly there were other sounds to consider— the voices and the quiet. When the voice was soft and the message was sweet love was all around it. Mostly when Rose heard the voice it meant listen.

When ideas were overwhelming, she’d take long hot baths, one right after another. The writing challenged her not to divert her eyes, keeping them on her vision which is to keep on moving, not stopping, except to meditate, watch her breath, while looking at her hands to find the words waiting, and believing they will come, because they’re right there in the table, the light, and window.

First I’ll make a list, a quick one, Rose decided. “Do I write it all down? Do I make notes?” She asked Clove.

“You can,” Clove said, “or you can just look at your hands. It’s in your body, Rose it’s all in there.” 

“Do you realize that you are saying there are no right answers. You are saying that whatever I say is okay, to just be me and say it. Take the risk.”

What does it take to become a Garden Girl? A desire made manifest, to discuss intimacy, passion, wisdom, and authority. And take risks.  

Today, I take a deep breathe.  What I want is in my body.  I begin a new exploration of layering fabric, color and textures creating statement wearable art ensembles.