Orchids Have Taken Over



After the flowers fell, I tossed them aside, into the compost. 

At the cabin I let them linger. 

A new bloom appeared a year or two later.

Orchids became my event flower. I bought one for the centerpiece. 

Took it home afterwards to take in the light.

The collection has grown, forcing me to let go. 

Can I save them forever? 

Can I save anything really or anyone? 

letting go

letting go

It’s that saving that’s got me going.

I must shift. 

I must understand that while everyone is an orchid, they don’t necessarily bloom in my garden. 

That can’t be true. I must reassess. 

standing back

standing back

There must be away. I’m standing back now, to witness, to see if I can understand, oh yes, to stand under. That is not so easy. 

Yet I promise. 

"I hear you," I say. 

And then like the orchid I wait. 



Calming Red Buds Bloom


There is something calming when the red buds bloom. Their deep pink, petals fall to the ground. Mixed with moss, grass, and dirt, they cover stones. Each morning and evening, planning each day, then reconciling, we walk paths.



The pink, pale and deep, is comforting. There is compassion and understanding about the tug of letting go. We are moving back to city life in Lexington with it’s commotion and excitement. This is more than we’re used to after the calm of the country.



The cabin empties itself a little more each day. We find new places for furniture, dishes and mementos. Let go of others donated for safe keeping.



The pink petals, with all the passion of red, excite this move and softened it with the purity and openness of white. You can do this. Trusting the difficulty, dropping pink on the path, so tiny you have to squint at times to see them, and I do. They are tender and kind with their message of understanding.



I packed Johnny’s well-worn baseball glove and soccer trophy. Placed a broken teapot in the woods. All this layering of a past long gone next to a future imagined. We plan graduation parties and birthday brunches. Trunk shows and poetry reading smixed with music classical and jazz.


You are invited

Five Senses Salon and Trunk Show at Tribeca Trunk

116 Old Lafayette, Lexington, Kentucky

Featuring Laverne's Newest Designs

Hand dyed Boleros and Kimono Jackets and Patchwork Dusters

Moving and downsizing means that I also have to let go of lots of art to wear from the past

and my artist proofs at very special prices.

(Sort of a everything must go kind of sale! Tiny houses have very limited space.)


Soreyda Benedit Begley

Statement Headdresses

Special Occasion Dresses, and Custom Designs

If you ever wanted a dress designed especially for you,

come on down and introduce yourself to Soreyda.

Friday Reception, April 20, 5-8 pm

Larry Vogt, Improv, Classical and Jazz Guitar

Saturday Trunk Show, April 21, 11-4 pm

Sunday Salon, April 22, 1-4 pm

Open Mic Poetry and Music

My World


There was a secret ingredient for creating my world. I had moved to a city where nobody knew my name. This gave me freedom. I could be anyone I wanted. I never had to explain myself to someone from my past. That little voice from my childhood that asked, "who do you think you are?" Was replaced with, "I know who I am." 

I embraced the concept, I own this place. Not as in I own the whole city. I owned my identity that inhabited this place. Take me as I dress. 

Shibori Silk Charmeuse and Devore Wrap

Shibori Silk Charmeuse and Devore Wrap

It's a stance, a posture, the way you walk, the way you set your eyes on the road ahead, your gaze, accompanied by a smile. A confident smile that says, "Hi." A tender smile that says, "underneath I know we're the same. Our hearts beat. Our heart peeks out."

It was a posture that took me downtown for celebratory parades, or on strolls through the park with toddlers and then without when they became teens and wandered on their own. When our car was stolen we rode bikes, a baby seat on the back. In winter I rode my bike wearing a L.L. Bean down coat that covered my artsy haircutting fashion. During the summer I rode my bike to the farmers market wearing a flowing white gauze dress. I dressed for the day. Form followed function. Once after work I went to a Halloween party. Someone said you're supposed to come in costume. I said I am in costume.

I am at home. I defined my borders and they were safe. Take me as I dress. 

Shibori Silk Charmeuse and Devore Poncho

Shibori Silk Charmeuse and Devore Poncho



It’s not art if it is not organized.

I am organizing. And pondering my theme. Is it by date? By subject? By feelings? What do I see?

This is what I see today, gathering old journals. Sequins. Sequins appear often in my work They are tacky, glittery, and full of color.

Aug 6, 1993

Each sequin I cut off and place in the crystal heart on my antique dresser. I organize the sequins by color. They are a reminder to get organized. I hope they set me straight, get me out of the caring mode. Caring in the sense of caring that I do it right, or caring about what other people think. Ever since artist, Deborah Koehne, came into my life and told me punk was fuck it, I knew that was my direction. I’ve written before about getting back to fuck it, and getting organized was part of the plan.

First, I arrange the jewelry and lipstick in the top drawer of my dresser. The one you have to be careful when pulling it open. Otherwise, it shakes and knocks over all the photographs and empty perfume bottles. I place the jewelry in coordinated white boxes. I glue sequins on top to designate the contents. I toss out the eye shadow I never wear. It’s not my color.

My mother’s dress lay on the bed. It was the dress I was removing the sequins from. It was the dress she wore when she was a can can dancer. I try to imagine my mother ever being like me. I try to picture her leaving us four kids at home with my dad and going off to rehearse. I only know she danced the can can because of photographs of her in a line with several other women. Their skirts were making circles, their legs kicked up and they were all smiling. Especially my mother. It was clear she had the drive to learn the routine. She did more than stay home and take care of babies. In another photograph, I can see my dad is proud.

This is the part that starts to get difficult. The sequins secured on the front around the darts and the pleats and the ruffles were stuck. I can’t get them off.

mom & dad can can198.jpg

Value Process


"It is only by learning what I could contribute and how I could share that I was able to foster meaningful exchange." Kirsten Sevig


These are the only three books I need as I prepare for 2018. In "Necessary Endings" Dr. Henry Cloud helps me identify what I need to let go of. In "Striped Pears and Polka Dots, The Art of Being Happy" Kirsten Sevig reminds me the goal is the journey, not the destination. Like when on a road trip and my kids would ask, "Are we there yet?" And the 2018 Planner I bought myself at Anthropologie with my 15% birthday discount gets me organized.


Be happy! Enjoy the process!

Kirsten is absolutely correct. I have experienced the value of process working with Soreyda and all the other planners and models and designers to produce Blossom 2018. It started with a conversation about how to take all that has been painful in 2017 and allow it to blossom into something beautiful and empowering.

Let’s say adios to 2017 in a fun and fashionable way! 

A Fundraiser for Lexington Community Radio 93.9FM

El Pulso Latino 95.7FM and The Ingenia Club

Lexington Community Radio 93.9FM. El Pulso Latino 95.7FM

Empowers the community by engaging listeners with local, timely, and relevant information and opinions that positively impact safety and quality of life in Lexington. And envisions a more informed, connected, included, equitable and empowered America, starting right here in Lexington, Kentucky. www.lexingtoncommunityradio.org

The Ingenia Club Founder, Bella Begley, wanted a space where young people could meet with like-minded peers interested in all types of creative activities. With the help of the Living Arts and Science Center, this vision is becoming a reality. The club provides a space and a framework, but what it ulimately becomes is up to you! Please join us - there are no dues or fees! The Ingenia Club provides space and community for people who will create something wonderful! www.lexingenia.com

Lexington Fashion Designers: Rosario Sosa, Iris Jimenez, Krista Shah, Laverne Zabielski, Soreyda Benedit-Begley, Ronald Cooper and Mya Price.

Traditional Chinese costumes and dance showcase by Shuling Studio. 

Traditional Mexican Costumes showcase by Casa de La Cultura Hispana de Kentucky

Dance performance by America Diminicci, Tahiti dance performance by Claudia Ochoa, and Jazz performance by Connor Perry. 

Music performance by LaKyya Washington. 

Dance party with DJ Xtremo!

Tickets may be purchased at Eventbrite


Another Kind of Light


If I look deep, into the night, there is another kind of light. I saw it on Christmas eve. Everyone gathered around in our tiny sunroom, opening presents, reading the poems I had written and given as gifts. As I sit here in the morning soft light, I remember. My lovely daughter, her amazing husband, their two children, my grandsons, and my son, Donnie, rolling in with his big, big heart. He parked his van in front of our neighbor's drive. They didn't mind. They hardly ever use it. It made it so much easier for him to lower his ramp.

For my birthday Donnie gave me a tall candle and for Christmas, he gave me a bourbon barrel candle holder that he designed and our friend, Malamin, built. Unique and precious. Dana, Gary and boys gave me homemade chocolate chip cookies and a chenille throw, rust color, to compliment the olive, hand-me-down loveseat and chair. Cozy for keeping warm.

We didn't take a single picture. How did that happen? Gary brought his selfie stick. In a minute, I kept thinking. It was as though I never wanted to leave the moment.


Transporting Stories


In the beginning, I knew my grandsons would get many toys for Christmas. I decided when they were babies to give them art. I continued that tradition every year. A few years ago, feeling momentarily guilty, I thought I should choose something else. Would the boys like something from LL Bean? I asked my daughter. That's not their style, she said. And, they have come to expect art from you. Yes! Going through possessions due to my upcoming move and downsizing, this year's theme is containers. This is what I have written to accompany their gift.

An object to contain or transport something.

The memories and the stories our ancestors told, hold and shape the person we are, and are to to become. They carry us forward. Do not hold them too tight. Stories are always suspect. They are meant to embellished, researched and rewritten.

This bowl is from my grandmother, Stella Butterfield Tilson. She was raised in Oklahoma and West Texas. Andrew, her compassionate father, and Gabriella, her strong, outspoken mother, were missionaries. Gabriella was referenced once in a book that written about Andrew and the missionary work he did with the Indians. He converted over 500 to Christianity. She said she didn’t like what the soldiers were doing to the Indians. She didn’t like that they brought the children to the shcool in a chicken-wire covered wagon.

When I asked my aunt Eugenia about this comment, she said, “Oh, now you’re getting political.” And said no more.

This bowl is also strong. It has lasted a long time and is now ready to contain your poems and stories, carry them forward. I have added Frank Walker's book of poetry. He gives you history way before FB. Read it and ponder. Then write yours.




Even though it is cold outside and I have made a fire, I crack the window to hear the hoot owl. She has been out there for several hours. 

Going through boxes, I found two tiny Christmas cards my mom sent to her mother and father from Japan in 1956. Her note inside is in beautiful penmanship. It tells me a lot about her desire to share and her love for her parents. She was living on Tachikawa Air Force Base where my dad was stationed. They had four children. I was the oldest. We traveled by ship to get there, plane to return to the states.

In the note she explains why she has chosen a yellow tie for her dad. My grandfather became a magician when he could no longer cotton farm in West Texas. My grandmother accompanied him to the many schools and civic organizations. Once, as a little girl, visiting from Kansas, I was his assistant.

        "Dear Daddy, we picked this tie because we thought you could maybe use it in your magic costume someway. A magician is usually in black and the yellow tie would show up on the stage and a touch of the Orient is always mystifying."

In the note to her mother she explains why she chose the carved ivory earrings and cameo.

         "Dear Mother, we chose Ivory for you again because it is different and to me it means excitement and adventure. The earrings are carved so delicately by hand, and the cameo too."

Knowing what to rescue of your parent's possessions when they are gone is important. My mother knew to retrieve the small pieces of jewelry. After she was gone, I found them in the bottom of the hand carved wooden jewelry box she had also purchased in Japan. While there was not an excess of money in our family, my parents didn't know the value of fine things.

My biggest fear is that no one will be able to find my fine things. And they will end up at Calvins, an antique and junk store in Monticello. And, that no one will know the story. I have a lot of searching and writing to do.


I Gotta Have It


Larry has been at our dollhouse on Darley for the past two nights. He is preparing the side yard for my she-shed-studio. We want to be sure it is set far enough back so there will be room to haul dirt or other building materials. I stayed at the cabin. It may have been a mistake watching the opening scenes of "Voyeur." GayTalese takes us through his office. He saved everything. And it's very organized. The secret ingredient for making anything artful. And "Voyeur" asks provocative questions. Who's life is worth exploring? How do we weed through truth and lies in personal narratives. Is telling worth it? And can there be redemption for subject and writer? Whoa! That's a lot to process for one evening.

As I pack up to move into a smaller home, I now realize I can't toss things in plastic boxes. My packing must adhere to the principles of organization. All my handmade journals go in one box. Art and artist books go in another. Books and magazines I've been published in go in their own box. Books inscribed by the author are their own collection.

Spike Lee's new series of "She's Got To Have It" is equally thought provoking. Following a young black woman's perpetual implementation of her feminist agenda is welcome. Nola never misses a beat. Intellectual and hot. She is clear about who she is and who she is not. So far, my favorite song is in the second episode at 12 minutes. I replayed it several times. Dancing as I washed dishes, Netflix cut me off from too many rewinds. In episode three it is clear our choices as women need never be questioned. I look forward to wearing my LBD at my party. And taking my own advice. Add color.

LBD with color

LBD with color

Secret to Slow Transitions


We drove up to Lexington from the cabin yesterday morning. Made it in two hours. Unloaded one bookcase and four heavy plastic boxes filled with art and books. I'm so glad I read the article by Jessica Stillman about the value of having more books than you can read. Unread books are even better than read. We dropped off one of the old oriental rugs to be cleaned. It will go in my studio-shed, or in the attic. A perfect place to put the books and curl up and peruse, deciding which to take down to the comfy chair and read.

While Larry tuned pianos Marcie and I wen shopping. I bought a glittery fuchsia wreath for the front door for $5.00. And came across the perfect mannequin. Every good designer needs a mannequin in her living room.


Later, on the way over to Donnie's to fix supper, we stopped by Joe and Elise's for a peppermint tea break, and to pick up newspapers for the wood stove at the cabin. When there, morning fires are a must.

Being paralyzed is not easy. Donnie has it down. "Get all your ducks in a row," is his motto.  He bought chicken. Larry sautéed while I put in a load of laundry. Over dinner we discussed plans to purchase a 3 x 4' 3/4"plywood for a ramp for him to be able to get his wheelchair into our tiny new house. After watching "Longmire," I cleaned up the kitchen. 

"Can you throw me in bed?" Donnie asked. Larry reached for the sliding board needed to transfer from chair to bed. 

Back at our dollhouse, Hignlin' greeted us, tail wagging, seeking a walk. Too cold. Too late. I'm grateful for the picket fence dog yard Larry built. We sat for a moment by our fake-fire space heater. "I'm exhausted," Larry said and went to bed. I took my nightly hot bath. The secret to a slow transition is maintaining rituals. 


Unraveling Leading to Change


 There are two flights of stairs in my cabin in the country. The loft is where I sew. The basement porch is where I dye fabric. On the main floor, I visualize. In the hammock on the front porch, I take breaks. On some days, I am exhausted. One day I said, in 10 years when I am 81, will I be wanting to climb these stairs several times a day  in order to earn money to supplement my Social Security?  And, if my husband, Larry, goes first, will I want to live alone in the country? These decisions lead us to buy a little house to begin a slow transition to the city.  

The second decision was choosing to live in a location near downtown Lexington where  millennial's were renovating and establishing new businesses. They have values I align with. "But mom," my son said, "you're not a millennial." I know, but I like to be around them. Feel their energy. Hear their ideas.  

The third change was seeing the need to  get more inventory in my online boutique, promote it, and establish other forms  of income which would come from selling what I know in addition to what I create: books, tutorials and retreats. 




At last night's dinner party we had conversations with our cabin friends about moving. It was bittersweet. Something that seemed a long-term plan is becoming more eminent. This is not going to be easy. 

"We will miss you," friends said. "We understand."

For the rest of the evening conversations continued about whether to stay in the country or move. They lit like little wild fires around the wood stove  Family. Water source. Steep roads. Mowing. Walking. And then there's the who goes first consideration and the other is left alone. It's not that this is a new conversation. When it starts showing up on your horizon, it feels different.

Larry made the best chuck roast. I made Mushrooms Berkeley from the first edition of "Vegetarian Epicure." The pages, ragged, and falling out, tied with hand dyed organza wrapped around. There are many versions of this recipe, but this is the best.

Kathy and James brought kale salad. Harvested from their low tunnel garden on their mountaintop. Tim and Ellen brought corn casserole and homemade bread, baked in the oven. Dewey and Barbara brought dessert. The table was set with candles. Later, the guys pulled out their guitars, the cabin shook, and we girls talked over. 

I never clean up immediately after parties. I prefer to sit and savour. I like the quiet afterwards. The remaining candlelight. And remembering. Expressing all the way to the grave goes by fast.


Scenic Gaze


The decision has been made. The shed has been ordered. It will be delivered in two weeks. It's not an original design, built from scratch. It is affordable. We will embellish it later. And it's only two feet less wide than the one I have in the country. Just the right size for my inventory and current wearable art collection. I will be able to keep my colors organized and if you stop by, I can show you my latest designs, my newest color combinations. It's all about color. A way to add a little beauty for others to look at when you walk down the street. When things have gone dark, there can be a tendency to go gray.



The decision has also been made where to put the shed. In the side yard, instead of the back, where it would interrupt our scenic vision through the glass sliding doors when we sit in the overstuffed chair and gaze, sip coffee or tea, and stay warm by the fake-fire space heater with its red glow on late evenings or before dawn. This is where my ideas simmer preparing my ship for sail. Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, "When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for." Make color your sail.

FullSizeRender (28).jpg

For Your Viewing Pleasure


I was carrying several pieces of art to wear to the car for my trip to Lexington. The man who had come to work on the cabin stood nearby. "I never know what to wear," I said,  "so I'm taking lots of clothes."


He smiled and lightly shook his head. "But your beauty is on the inside. It doesn't matter what you wear."  I smiled, thinking how sweet for him to say that. 



I'm not doing this for me. I'm doing it for you. I am the pallet. My wearable art is my paint. I'm creating a beautiful composition for your viewing pleasure. 


Expressing My Womanness


Yesterday we had a big discussion about the shed/studio at our new dollhouse. Larry wants to wait. I don't mind waiting, but not too long. He said what if I don't like the dollhouse? I have to like it. Of course there's always a chance there may be something but we cannot be cavalier. We need to approach this as the right decision with the right options given our parameters.

This is how it turned out. We have worked, lived, and raised children, near and from afar. This is who we have become. What we can afford. And the timing is right. That's the most difficult. Timing. There is an ease at the cabin, for me more so than Larry. In four months he will be 79. He comes in huffing. Tired after a few hours working outside. He hates that fact. There is more firewood to gather. We like to build a fire on cold mornings and see how seldom we need to turn the furnace on during the winter.

The shed is an issue because it is what I need to continue my art to wear operation. Even with a studio elsewhere there is much I need to do at home. (The wind has been blowing hard all night. There is a banging against the house. What is that? Who will do the repair?)

Today I am reading Austin Kleon's blog. https://austinkleon.com/ He's writing about Virginia Woolf and "A Room of One's Own." He’s emphasizing the money part. “A room of one’s own is nice, but if you can’t buy the time to sit in it, what good does it do you?” Virginia had an inheritance which I don't have. I'm working on a 20 year business plan instead. When I am 91, I want to make art to wear, wear art and express my womanness.


Create the Future


"The best way to predict the future is to create it." Abraham Lincoln

It is remarkable. We are going to go from a 17 acre farm with a 1700 square-foot cabin, a garden shed, and a studio and move into a two bedroom 1000 square foot dollhouse with a 10,000 square foot yard. "I can manage this," Larry said.

IMG_6213 (1).jpg

It sounds like a, "how could you?" Truth is, we must. I do not want to be blindsided. I want to control my move away from the cabin, much as I love it. Neither of us could manage it alone. Age is upon us. I'm into thinking positive, mindfully. All the mowing, and I know I would not want to live there alone. It would be too stressful. We will keep our books and art, guitars and music. We will have a bedroom with a queen size bed and a guest bed to escape to in case of snoring. I can use the living room as my atelier, or find another studio nearby. Strange, yes. But a must.

The kitchen opens onto a tiny sunroom with glass sliding doors. Hard to keep the heat in. I'll miss my wood stove. I'llwrap up in a blanket and get one of those space heaters that glow like fire. Cozy for early morning gazing into the backyard with two large trees and an old shed. "A tear down," Larry said. "I can fix it," he added. There is enough room for another shed for inventory and supplies, if necessary.  


The goal is to sell the cabin, come spring. Pay off the mortgage on the dollhouse. In a way, it will be our own tiny assisted living with family and friends nearby. 




Much to my dismay, most of my children don't want what I have saved; school papers, writing, art, stories, poetry. I have begun to throw them away. When DJ was here visiting from California, he didn't even want the plate with his name on it. I must reassess.

I gave to Goodwill all of Johnny's soccer jerseys. They are very nice and will be a real find for the right person. I saved all the patches earned from the soccer games. Many were long road trips we took together. Why am I saving them? In some ways I feel I earned them as much as he did.

"Photos," DJ said, "all I want are photos."

That's good information. Since my Swedish death cleansing has begun, if the kids don't want these mementos, I must let go. Each item, from this moment on, can be touched only one more time, then ripped from my heart and placed in the box of giveaways.

"Tell the story that goes with them," my daughter, Dana, said. 

Yes! That is my next assignment.  

IMG_6802 (1).jpg

This bowl and dish are very old. They came from the small frame house where my mother, your grandmother, grew up in Whiteflat, Texas. Your great uncle W.R. Tilson, an early settler, named the town. When he stood on a ridge and looked out over the land full of prairie grass he said it looked white, flat. These are the photos of family gathered around the dinner table in that tiny kitchen.  The round table took up the entire room. Your great grandmother, Stella, was known for her crispy fried chicken which came from her own flock. Gravy and mashed potatoes. Green beans and sweetened ice tea.

Letter to my 17 year old self


My dear Laverne, 

Soon you will graduate from high school, travel to Chicago, live with your Polish grandmother and pursue a job downtown as a secretary. Daddy told you girls don't need college to raise babies and suggested you take shorthanded and typing. You were the the short hand wiz and received the secretarial scholarship after Daddy called the base commander because the school had given it to someone else and told us they wanted it for a town kid not an Air Force Base transient.

You also took pre-college class courses, just in case. All your friends were in those classes. You were smart and had no trouble getting good grades. When you never found a job in a law office you used your secretarial scholarship to take elementary ed classes at Wright Junior College. This was your first transgression. It began you're determined life to pursue dreams, no matter what the circumstances. 

You will continue to make unconventional choices beginning with your first divorce in 1976 and letting your children live with their dad. You will be judged. You will know you have done the right thing. That is what is most important to remember. When you make the right decision for yourself, it will be the best for everyone in the long run. Don't look back. Stand steadfast. Persevere.

Me receiving the secretarial scholarship, Rome Free Academy, Rome, New York, 1964

Me receiving the secretarial scholarship, Rome Free Academy, Rome, New York, 1964

Prayer to My Beloved


Dearly Beloved,

I am bewildered by death. Who will go first and have the benefit of the other being there? The other then dyeing alone. Will you go first since you are older? You are so healthy.

Yesterday I got angry at you. I was afraid you were going to eat too much cheese. You put the whole chunk on a saucer. A special saucer that you got down from the cupboard. One for the cheese. One for the pears. I noticed because you never do things like that. Then I got angry and ruined it. "I thought we would share," you said in your defense. I am so sorry, my love.

Every year I love you more and more. You are near perfect. I have no complaints. You deserve to go first so that I may guide you. Care for you in the moment. In my meditation I see you move through your death with ease. Then I will be alone and bewildered. 

"Now I lay me down to sleep," is not a bad prayer, as one writer surmised. It is the ultimate request. "If I should die before I wake. . ." Yes, please. My dear, from this moment on, I shall be kind to you, as you are so kind to me.  

Image by Ray Zabielski

Image by Ray Zabielski