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Those Glorious Dog Days of Summer by Jennette Nielsen

I’m remembering those glorious dog days of summer, when they were smaller, and younger, and they would fall asleep in the car on the way home from the lake each day, exhausted from the sun and play and magic. How I would image001pull into the long drive way right at dinner time to see the bees returning to their hives near the woods, beyond the gardens, and how they would cluster on the outside of the hives because it was still too hot to go home. And I would open all the station wagon doors, to let the cooling air and stillness wake the boys up while i began to unload the broken buckets, plastic shovels, fishing rods, deflated floaties, damp towels and left over goldfish crackers. I would lean into the car, smelling the tops of their lake and sweat scented heads, curls and wisps of hair plastered to their freckled cheeks and bare necks as I unbuckled them, set them free to stumble inside upon rousing. How I would crack open an ice cold hard cider and put a record on the turntable and hang all the wet beach things on the line to dry while noticing the heavy scent of lilies, angel trumpets and nicotiana wafting on the barely there breeze just before twilight. How they would eventually find their way indoors, wanting dinner and needing baths, eating ice cream sandwiches in the tub and more fish crackers, calling it a meal. How that last light of the day filtered through the back trees hitting the fire circle ring just so at golden hour while every door and window were still flung wide and the whir of fans over vinyl side B, hummed and hummed. Those excellent summer days, treasured by my honeycomb heart and saltwater soul, i hope to recall forever.

About the Author – Jennette Nielsen

jn_bioJennette Nielsen is a Pacific Northwest-based honey drenched Maker, Mama, and Medicine Woman, steeped in mellow magic. She is a wild seeker, sacred gatherer and magic forager who loves to tend her honeybees, sew, sling clay, craft herbal potions, dance and sing.

She’s the visionary behind Make-to-Mend, Smashing Rubbish and Cauldron & Hive – three creative expressions of her passion for healing, transformation, beauty and the divine feminine.

Fueled by the belief that the practice and act of Making is a catalyst for Mending and unfurling personal growth, Jennette hopes every woman will thread their needle with soul sinew and stitch their own wild and free nature into their mending, marveling at their own beauty all the while.

To learn more about Jennette, check out the short film on her in the series ArtMaker SoulShaker here or visit her website here or find her on instagram to follow her travels, adventures and vagabond wanderings.

one sentence offering: Join us in Ojai October 9-14 for our last Wild Roots Sacred Wings gathering of 2015 with our merry magical coven of misfit ladybirds.

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Summer Camp by Amy Tingle

CampI never went to summer camp as a kid. So I created the summer camp of my dreams when I grew up.

I dreamed of a huge light-filled studio bursting at the seams with art supplies. I dreamed of cartwheels and hula hoops and swinging until my feet no longer touched the ground. I dreamed of color – crayons, paint, markers, felt, bins of beads and googly eyes and tiny embellishments, paper in all shades of the rainbow.

I dreamed of a secret nook where I could hide out and read a good book. I dreamed of scribbling my thoughts on paper. And I dreamed of looking in the mirror and Camp3loving who I saw.

In 2010, I created what I had only seen in my dreams for girls ages six to twelve in my hometown of Nutley, New Jersey.

I “borrowed” a studio in a friend’s home with wooden floors and windows fifteen feet high and a screen door that looks like it was built for giants. I filled it with art supplies and I flung open the door and began the creativity and self-empowerment camp I had always dreamed of attending.

Camp2In 2013, my partner, the poet, Maya Rachel Stein and I refurbished a vintage caravan and filled it with typewriters for writing secret thoughts or stories or poetry and a bunk for curling up on with a good book. Every summer girls fill the lawn turning cartwheels and spraying liquid watercolors on brilliant white sheets of paper and they hang their wishes from trees.

We roll out our yoga mats and learn how to hold poses without trembling. We meet artists who share how they get to do what they love. We laugh. We experience frustration and anger and disappointment and we learn how to deal with it all. We are independent and creative and brave. It’s exactly like I pictured it. It’s exactly what summer should be.

About the Author – Amy Tingle

amytingle_bioAmy Tingle, is the co-founder of Food for the Soul Train with her partner, Maya Stein. Food for the Soul Train is a mobile creativity company based in Nutley, NJ. Their mission? To bring creativity to communities everywhere via their vintage caravan, nicknamed MAUDE (Mobile Art Unit Designed for Everyone).

Amy and Maya design creative and collaborative environments, online and in person, which help children and adults to build self-confidence, harness their imaginations, practice problem-solving, and bridge differences through the joy of self-discovery.

us 'n Maude 2They are passionate about playful investigation; summer camp for girls is just one of their many offerings. A spring cycling and creativity retreat for adults is another. They dream up – and try to carry out – as many creative projects as they can fit into a year!

Amy is also, among many things, a human being, the mother of two teenage boys, a visual artist (her most recent work includes a series of collages born during The 2015 100-Day Project), and a lover of words, magic, kindness, and a ninja poetess.

Connect with Food for the Soul Train and Amy online as well as on social media.

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Summer’s Day by Kayce Stevens Hughlett

Violet, my 7-month-old granddaughter, and I lie on the ground in the backyard, a worn orange polka dot bedspread IMG_0094beneath us. Vibrant green grass surrounds the orange and Violet’s eyes reflect the color of the clear blue sky… or is it the other way around? Awe sinks in and I gasp at the beauty of this moment. This is who I am. This is how life is meant to be lived. This is the perfect essence of summer.

But wait? How can I be resting here with my granddaughter when only moments before I was five-years-old lying on my back watching the clouds drift by? Can you see me? I’m the kid in the green-checked halter top and cut-off jean shorts climbing on my 10-speed bicycle—no helmet or sunscreen—heading to the community pool to cool off with my pals. Where did the girl in the yellow VW convertible go—the one heading to the ball field to watch her lanky boyfriend play summer league? And what about the college cadet driving to South Padre Island with ZZ Top blaring on the radio? Or the married one working in a steno pool, underpaid and under-loved, with a divorce waiting around the corner?

I was twenty-five years old the grueling summer I finished my accounting degree and had to wear panty hose to “dress for success” as the Tulsa temperatures topped 100 degrees for more than 40 days in a row. Summers seemed to melt away after that. Caught up in snippets of company golf outings and ski trips to the lake—obligatory and empty. Decades flew by and I forgot to savor summer.

IMG_0095Even with my own children, I was harried and always in need of getting something done. What could possibly have been more important than lying on the grass under the summer sky? I wish I knew, but today I offer no regrets, only gratitude for now.

Side-by-side, Violet and I touch the grass and let it tickle our toes. I lie on my back and watch the wind blow sunlight and shadows through the maple leaves. Violet flips onto her back into a full-bodied happy dance. I join her. No shoulds or obligations. No fancy toys or iPhones. Only us. Here. Now. Arm in arm with the essentials—sky, earth, wind, sun, and love.

Savoring this perfect summer day.

About the Author – Kayce Stevens Hughlett

kayce_bioKayce Stevens Hughlett: author, life muse, ponderer extraordinaire, speaker, joy monger, soulstroller.

I prefer to read novels in the summer and non-fiction/memoirs in winter.
I prefer writing with a fountain pen over computer keyboards.
I prefer summer in Seattle over winter almost anywhere.
I prefer Paris over Rome. Big dogs over small. Fluffy cats over sleek.

I abhor that the world is filled with suffering, and I know affliction has helped create the individual I am today.

I thrive on new experiences, adore reading, blogging, and movies ranging from romantic to contemplative.

One of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, calls laughter “carbonated holiness” and I couldn’t agree more. Belly laughs are manna from heaven and there is nothing better than a well-timed temper tantrum.

Play time with friends and family is sacred, as is quiet space and solitude.

Blue_coverartTake your soul for a stroll and visit me online connect on social media as well as Goodreads.

Exciting news! My debut novel, BLUE is releasing on September 10, 2015. I invite you to celebrate this fulfillment of a dream that I never imagined while reading Nancy Drew books on hot summer days.

BLUE—a subtle psychological mind-bender where each heroine is her own worst enemy. Eccentric. Lovable. Unforgettable. Available now for pre-order through Amazon, BQB Publishing, and Independent BookSellers. Release date: September 10, 2015

**Special Offer for Summer Love Notes readers***
Send me a copy of your receipt(s) for 3 or more purchases of BLUE and I will schedule a complimentary Skype Book Club Discussion with your favorite group. Contact me at

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Love Poems to Summer by Blaze Lazarony

Ah Summertime, where everything around me turns into beautiful inspiration: basking in the sunshine, riding my bicycle, holding hands, s’mores roasted over a campfire, chasing lightning bugs, reading chic-lit, frolicking in the warm waves, getting my nails dirty in damp earth, wearing sandals, eating fresh fruits, singing songs, long sloppy kisses, and watching fireworks.

I can’t go an hour without scratching a few phrases into my journal, words that give me pause, remind me of my youth and easier living, or help me embrace my life…all over again.

It is my honor to share with you two such “scratches” that turned into poems of intimate love, joyous celebration, and a brilliant life well lived. Enjoy!

In a Blue Dress

by Blaze Lazarony

Oh, sea, kind sea, upon your likeness I gaze.

rough colored ocean wave falling down at sunset timeAre you aware of your unexplainable beauty?
Turning heads and receiving admiration just for being,
Allowing many creatures to make their home in your layers of crinoline skirts,
Some with teeth larger than mine, and others just small celled organisms, not even in possession of a heart,
And you, spinning and twirling effortlessly,
In an endless rhythm, and yet a uniqueness to your every movement.

You are perfectly attired for every occasion; your wish to reflect your partner seems paramount,
But it is you, through no desire of your own, who take center stage.

All become enraptured—a momentary sigh.

Your frock not any blue dress,
But woven of aquamarine,
and maybe a Crayola color or two.

That invoke a feeling of:
Vastness without weight;
Stature without airs,
Emotion without tears.

slice watermelon with a hole in the shape of heart on a wooden tableYank the curly-queue pigs’ tail free
Smash green waves across your hip
Gaze down at the watery pink fruit

Bite letting the air escape
Swallow the sugar dripping down your throat
Wonder upon the mystery of its creation

Spit black seeds into the ground
Mixing your salvia with its hope
Sowing a new life



About the Author – Blaze Lazarony

blazelazaronybioBlaze Lazarony is a Transformational Business Strategist, Founder of Blaze A Brilliant Path, Best-Selling Author & Speaker. For 20 years, Blaze held high-level positions in Fortune 500 companies, including Macy’s, Inc. She thought she was her job title until she was diagnosed with cancer, she chose to leave that world behind.
Today her passion is leading the charge for conscious women entrepreneurs to stand in their brilliant value by helping them design custom-fit businesses and live soul-based lives that light them up!

She is also a sought after speaker, and a co-author of four books, including 25 Brilliant Business Mentors and Their Top Tips to Catapult You to Success.

To learn more about Blaze & her work in the world, visit her website: – and connect with Blaze on Social Media (links below)

Are you a conscious women entrepreneur who is ready to transform your challenges into golden light, tap into a heat source that empowers you (not scares you), and take inspired action to stand in your value, then you’re ready for… Lightning: A Stroke of Brilliance, a new offering for Summer 2015.

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Sliding Into Joy by Christine Mason Miller

When I was in the fourth grade, I wanted a Slip & Slide so bad I could taste it.

It was such a simple concept – a bright yellow piece of plastic, a few feet wide and three times as long, that attached to a garden hose and sent steady ChristineMasonMiller_photostreams of water along its length, enabling kids my age to run, leap and – swoosh! – slide all the way down to the end.

Commercials showed boys careening by on their stomachs with arms stretched out in front of them and girls twirling around like the teacups at Disney World, all framed by the misty haze of sunny, sparkling water.

Most of my outdoor water play around that time involved running through our sprinkler. Don’t get me wrong, I loved running through our sprinkler. I could be entertained for an entire afternoon leaping back and forth across the fanned-out sprays, doing cartwheels, trying somersaults, and even turning the sprinkler upside down over my head. Give me a bathing suit and a sprinkler and I’d be set – as happy as a kid who’d just been given a bathtub full of puppies. (Well, maybe not that happy, but close!)

But when I saw that Slip & Slide commercial, it was all I could think about.

I imagined the kind of fun and frolic that would take my sprinkler gymnastics to a whole new level, and, if the commercials were any indication, would also lure all of my friends to my own front yard, where we’d all be jumping and leaping and spinning all day long.

Sadly, my coveted Slip & Slide never materialized, which meant it was still on my mind when I headed to Oklahoma to visit my grandparents that summer. My visits with them were always long enough that I’d manage to befriend some of the kids in their neighborhood, and that year was no exception. On one particularly hot afternoon, I was telling my grandma and grandpa about the Slip & Slide, and somehow the three of us came up with an idea which had us immediately rifling through various drawers in their kitchen in search of every available plastic table cloth they had.

I don’t remember why we didn’t simply go buy one – maybe we tried to find them but they were sold out, or maybe I was just too impatient and wanted to get the party started as soon as humanly possible. Or maybe – and I like to think it was this most of all – it was because when I was in the company of my grandma and grandpa, I felt like anything was possible.

And if anything was possible, then why on earth would I have been interested in having the same Slip & Slide everyone else had when I could make my own out of my grandparents’ perfectly good plastic table cloths?

Today I have a small stack of photos taken by my grandparents that day of me and my summertime friends careening down our own private water slide (thereby mildly flooding their front yard in the process.) They are some of my favorite pictures of those summers, a reminder of all the ways my grandparents allowed my creative imagination to run wild. I have a special fondness for the Slip & Slide, but not because I actually had one. I had my grandparents’ table cloths. And their love. Both were awesome.

About the Author – Christine Mason Miller

ChristineMasonMiller_bioChristine Mason Miller is a writer and artist who lives in Santa Barbara, California.

A second, revised edition of her 2008 self-published book Ordinary Sparkling Moments is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

The latest offering from Wild Roots, Sacred Wings is right around the corner…

You can follow her adventures right here:

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Summer Street Lights by Becca Rowan

Growing up in the 1960’s, my friends and I took good advantage of the long summer days to play outdoors. From file000862189394dawn until dusk, we rode bikes, played on the swings, drew on the sidewalk with chalk, bounced tennis balls against the side of the house, and engaged in detailed games of detective using our special “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” spy kits – anything and everything our imaginations would allow.

Though we all came from different sized families and backgrounds, there was one universal rule we each were required to follow.

When the streetlights came on each evening, it was time to go inside.

Around dusk most of us started keeping one eye peeled toward the streetlight on the corner. “It’s not on yet!” someone would yell. “Let’s play one more game! Hurry up! We don’t have long.”

The excitement intensified as the sky darkened. We knew the time was short, and we were desperate to make the most of it. But when the dim bulb in the street lamp magically popped aglow, a chorus of “See ya!” and “Bye!” was heard around the cul-de-sac as dozens of kids separated themselves from their friends and their games and headed home to bed.

The streetlight ordered our days back then. It provided us with a guide, a way to end the day independent of our parents’ urging, a signal that told us when to make the transition between the world of fun and friends and the world of home and family.

Here’s my secret: I was always happy to see the light come on.

By the end of those summer days, I was tired of the noise and confusion, weary of the loud voices of my friends and their tiresome demands. I was ready to head home for a warm bath, the comfort of my books, the quiet companionship of my dog, and the cool clean sheets on my bed. But I was afraid of being called a loser or a wimp if I went inside before dark, if I gave up on games before my friends wanted to call it a night. So I stuck it out, gazing longingly at the streetlight all the while.

BeccaRowan_SummerPorchAlready our beautiful summer days are beginning to wane and I’m beginning to feel pangs of dread for the winter days to come.

The past two winters have been extremely hard, with bitter cold, record snowfalls, and repeated illness for me. I know how important it will be this winter to look toward the light posts that guide my way to happiness: the pleasure of my home and my daily routines, the joy of getting lost in books and music, the love of my family, the caring and compassion of my friends.

I honor the steadfast comfort they provide, and return to them with joy at the end of every day. They are my guiding lights through every season, and like that corner lamppost from long ago, I keep my eyes on them at all times.

Images: 1st from Stock (MorgueFile) | 2nd from Author Becca Rowan

About the Author – Becca Rowan

Becca Rowan is a writer and author of the book Life In General, a collection of personal, inspirational essays about becca_rowan_biothe way women at mid-life experience family, home, work, and all aspects of “Life In General”. She is also a musician, and performs as a pianist and as a member of Classical Bells, a professional handbell ensemble.

Born and raised in southeastern Michigan, she currently lives in Northville (a suburb of Detroit) with her husband of 38 years and their two pampered Shih Tzus, Magic and Molly Mei.

Purchase Becca’s Book, Life in General, from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You can also request a signed copy directly from Becca by visiting here.

Want to read more of Becca’s Writing? Visit her website BeccaRowan.Com connect on social media (links below) and find her over on GoodReads.


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Beethoven, Water and Seals by Sharon Richards

Glistening speckled grey, brown and white heads pooped up on the water’s calm surface. Black shining eyes gazed intently, long wet whiskers curiously twitching, as Beethoven’s fifth symphony floated across the water. It was the SharonRichards_2summer of 1973 and I was on my grandparents boat, The Framac, in Desolation Sound, British Columbia.

The heat of the summer day was beginning to cool and my Grandmother, Tilly, had her vinyls and old record player – transported specifically for this very purpose. My parents, younger brother and ‘Gramps’ gazed on in wonder. Tilly often said that seals loved classical music. We held our breath as the symphony wafted off the stern, danced over the seals, and floated into the night sky.

I cherish this summer childhood memory: the practice of savoring music, connecting with nature and being present with my family. Tilly was an eccentric woman and unlike anyone else’s grandmother I knew. She traveled often to faraway places: Asia, Africa, Russia. She was a poet who illustrated her own poems through painting ambidextrously. She and Tucker, ‘Gramps’ loved being on the water. I was fortunate to be included.

My love of water, travel, nature, slowing down and practicing being present was nurtured through these experiences. I invite you to take time today to reflect upon a positive summer childhood experience. What stands out in your mind? Which images stir your soul? How might you honor them?

I encourage you to play with water. Take time to dip your toes in the ocean, run through a sprinkler, sit by a lake, go swimming, ride a ferry, try paddle boarding or kayaking. The possibilities are endless. May the following blessing gift you with the magic, mystery, and wonder of water.

Blessing of Water

SharonRichardsMay the fluency of the ocean be yours.”
May water in all its ebbs and flows fill you.
As water takes whatever form it holds,
so may you be free within yourself.

As the ocean waves wax and wane
upon the shore, so may you let go.
Finding ease in the rising, retreating,
savoring grace in the coming, going,
loosening your grip into the fluidity that is.

May the ease in which water shifts and shapes guide you:
from flowing stream to icicle,
pelting rain to dripping sweat,
ice cube to popsicle,
warm shower to bubble bath.

“May the fluency of the ocean be yours.”
May the depths become home,
plunging your soul,
your ego gently being washed aside
as the beautiful truth of you emerges.

May the many creatures that claim ocean as home
become kin to you:
long life of sea turtle,
dancing play of spinner dolphin,
stealth and power of shark,
lightness of being and protection of jellyfish,
curiosity of seal,
friendship of angelfish.

“May the fluency of the ocean be yours.”
May water in all its ebbs and flows fill you.
As water takes whatever form it holds,
so may you be free within yourself.

Blessing of Water, was inspired by the line, “May the fluency of the ocean be yours,” from John O’Donahue’s poem, A Blessing for The New Year, Beannacht, To Bless the Space Between Us (New York: Doubleday Publishing, 2008)

About the Author – Sharon Richards

Sharon_Richards_bioSharon Richards is a self-described Spiritual Travel Advisor. Her many years of travel throughout the globe: Paris, India, Canada, Africa, Costa Rica, Western and Eastern Europe, have contributed to her ability to navigate and engage in various countries with a sense of ease and anticipation. She is a pilgrim at heart and loves to explore new terrains, landscapes, language and culture.

Raising three delightful, now ‘young adults’ continues to be a journey of passionate engagement and learning.

She enjoys exploring living life on the edge, spirituality, meditation, writing, cooking, dates with her husband of 28 years, yoga, walking her canine companion, biking, exploring neighborhoods in her hometown, Seattle, WA and celebrating life as often as possible.

Sharon received her B.Ed. from the University of British Columbia. She is honored to hold dual citizenship with the U.S. and Canada.

You can often find her writing on her blog as well as pondering and planning upcoming SoulStrolling™ adventures with Kayce S. Hughlett.

Do you dream of visiting Paris in a non-frantic, slower paced way? Is your heart longing to stroll by the Seine? If yes, then consider joining us on our SoulStrolling à Paris, October 17 -24, 2015 adventure.

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My Summer Home by Rachel Kain

From the time I was a baby, I used to spend weeks every summer on the shores of Mullett Lake in northern Mullett Lake SunsetMichigan. My home during those vacation was a tiny resort of red log cottages. There was a fire ring and some lawn chairs, a long wooden dock, and some aluminum fishing boats piled up on the side of the beach that the cottagers could rent.

There was a swing set that had two swings. It was simple and magical and my favorite place to be. I would swing and swing with the lake to my right and the little log cottages to my left. I would swing so high my heart would feel like it dropped into my stomach. I would secretly wish that my swing and I would spin all the way around the top bar of the swing set, or fly into orbit.

I shoved molten marshmallows in my mouth as we sat around the bonfire in the evenings. The adults drank cocktails out of plastic cups and we drank bottles of root beer and orange pop. Most of those lazy days were spent in the sandy-bottomed lake. I would walk out for what seemed like a mile before the water would even reach my belly button. No matter how many showers I took my hair still smelled like lake water.

It was perfect.

I would fantasize about the two weeks we would spend there all year long. It was one place I ached to visit as I sat in classrooms and daydreamed about as I read books cozied up in my room during the cool months of fall and winter in metro Detroit.

We stopped trips to Mullett when I was in high school. My parents divorced, and it just never happened again. In hindsight, not going to Mullett seemed to mark my exit from childhood.

Oh, but Mullett Lake and I have, in recent years, been reunited. I discovered years ago that my husband spent summers there on the other side of the huge lake and dreamed of going back himself. We finally made it happen.

Three years ago we took our sons there for a week of camping at Aloha State Park, a little ways around the lake from my childhood cottages. My parents had camped there when I was a baby, before they could afford to rent a cottage, but we would pack up and go play at the resort all day with family and friends. The places around the lake had changed, but the lake itself was the same lake we both remembered floating in as children. It was one of those times when things were really just as good as you remembered them: the amazing sunsets amid the smell of bonfires, the lake like glass in the morning, the sandy bottom and shallow shores that made it such a swimmer-friendly lake.

This time I drank coffee as I sat in my folding chair and read and watched the ducks bob by leaving tiny wakes on the smooth morning lake. This time my husband and I drank Michigan beer out of brown bottles as my kids stuffed their faces with molten marshmallows. This time I watched my kids walk out a mile while I floated along on a raft, my face warm with sun and my back cooled by lake water. I felt like a kid again, and this trip was instrumental in letting my inner child come out and play in a way that I hadn’t in a very, very long time.

We go back again this year, in about a month. This time I’ll swing.

About the Author – Rachael Kain

Rachel is an IT professional and writer. She’s really great at her day job, and likes it, too, but longs to become a racheljkainbiofull-time writer—with a house on Mullett Lake.

She’s a lifelong resident of Michigan and currently lives in suburban Detroit with her husband, sons, and dogs.

Rachel is a singer and actress and can be seen performing in plays, musicals, and concerts throughout the year. She’s dabbled with assistant directing as well.

Aside from writing and performing, Rachel’s other passion is fitness. She enjoys strength training, running, and is also known to Zumba now and again. She and a fellow writer, mom, and fitness enthusiast are building a fitness and health website for women—with the goal of smashing myths and stereotypes and celebrating common sense and moderation as the path to health and fitness.

You can find more of her writing here.


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Taste of Summertime Art Play by Dianna Woolley

Hot Wax – Painting Experiments


dw_art2  dw_art3












Aiming to suspend judgment of my workshop efforts and results (well it was a good goal:), where it’s been, where’s it’s going, I attended a Daniella Woolf workshop this past weekend at the Pacific NW Art School, Whidbey Island/Coupville, WA (Puget Sound-Pacific NW). The mixed results, (11 small sized pieces completed in 3 1/2 days – a record for me in workshop history) a few shown here turned up a new color palette for me and some inspiring experimental mark making that will prove useful in my hot wax avocation.

About the Artist – Dianna Woolley – dianna_woolley_bio(Walla Walla, WA)

Husband Extraordinaire: Steve
Studio Assistant:Riley, West Highland Terrier

Studio time goal: daily practice

Dianna: After four successful one woman shows in the Walla Walla area is seeking national representation for exhibiting and/or ongoing gallery relationship

Work produced prior to the weekend in Whidbey Island may be viewed at DiannaWoolley.Com




2015 – “Best in Show Award” – Pendleton Arts Center, Pendleton, OR, annual regional event.

Woodward Canyon Winery has chosen one of her pieces as the label for a spring 2016 wine

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The Smell of Rain on Hot Concrete

Summers were a mixed bag for me as a kid. I loved the ability to read what I desired, stay up late chasing lightening Deathtostock_creativecommunity2bugs, and indulging in the menus that only summer brought – from ice cream and watermelon to juicy tomatoes and corn on the cob. The downside, though, were the hours upon hours of time alone.

For an extroverted gal, it could be frustrating. And, a little boring. Sure, there were some neighborhood kids to play with, but in the heat of the day, everyone stayed inside to stay cool.

Once summer got into full swing, my mother would pack me up and take me to my grandmother’s house in Waxahachie. Though there weren’t any little kids to play with, a change in location stimulated my imagination.

I learned to sew, though I never quite managed to make wearable clothes. I learned to crochet, which we would do as we watched my grandmother’s shows – the Young & the Restless, One Life to Live and General Hospital were musts.

We at Watermelon Popsicles bought at the Piggly Wiggly and sometimes went to Sonic for not just soft serve, but a swirl of chocolate and vanilla soft serve. I picked ripe figs from the fig tree outside her bedroom, always fighting the blue jays for the juicy goodness.

At my grandmothers, I got to help with household chores. Things my mother did since it was easier for her to do them. I dusted, organized the pantry, cleaned the bathroom, and hung clothes out on the line to dry.

And when I began to get a little antsy, she would usher me outside to play. There were rocks to find and the hope of catching one of Ms. Gentry’s cats (I never could). I could walk around the block or climb up in the tree with my books and read while I watched the world go by.

The only downside to my grandmother’s house was that she didn’t have air conditioning. Well, she had a window unit in the Living Room but didn’t like to run it. Instead, she had black oscillating fans propped up on chairs in every room along with one big fan on a stand in the living room.

We slept with the windows open. I didn’t like the heat, but I learned waking to the cooing of doves was one of the most comforting and loving sounds in the world.

When I was home, a summer thunderstorm meant being cooped up in the house with no chance to ride my bike or DANCE by HDC Photography Flckrgo swimming. But, thunderstorms were magical when I was at my grandmother’s.

Imagine a scorching hot day and the rise of the humidity levels. Air conditioned spaces were a welcome respite from the trickles of sweat flowing down your back and the beads of perspiration that always made my hair kink up.

It was hard to breathe on those hot and humid days because the warm wet air just took more effort for your lungs to process.

When the weather finally broke, and the first heavy drops of rain would hit the hot concrete, it created this magical scent that not only dropped the temperatures, but somehow robbed humidity’s grip upon your chest.

To this day, the smell of rain on hot concrete propels me back to summers ensconced at my grandmother’s house.

Then, like any other restless day, my grandmother would encourage me to go out and play in the rain. (Something my mother never allowed because I would get wet and dirty and hurt myself).

The rain created magical rivers in the valley of the curbs that I could cool my feet in as I splashed to the corner. Sometimes, I stubbed a toe, but it was worth every sloshing step. Every globule of rain seemingly rinsed away any blues and all of the restlessness.

Once I’d had enough, I’d be met at the door with fresh towels and told to go ahead and take my bath. I’d go into the pink-tiled bathroom and sit on the side of the tub with my feet firmly planted on the bottom and watch as the grime from the blacktop would first make footprints on the porcelain and then begin to ebb away.

What never left me, though, is the scent of rain on hot concrete brings and the unadulterated love of my grandmother.

*1st Image via “Death to the Stock Photo. 2nd Image Via HDC Photography (Flickr Creative Commons)

About the Author – Debra Smouse

debrasmouse200x300 I’m Debra Smouse, a self-admitted Tarnished Southern Belle. I can help you detangle all your clutter, fall in love with yourself and your life, and unleash your inner sex kitten.

My truth? In order to live life the way you were meant to, you must fall in love with the day-to-day activity of living.

I spend my days writing and working with people who want to change the world, beginning with themselves.

A life coach and writer, me and my Gypsy Soul have stopped their constant roaming and have settled down in Dayton, OH where I share life’s adventures with the Man of My Dreams.

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