Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Photo

A - C R E A T I V E - S P A R K

A 'cliff' at sunrise. Grand Canyon, in Arizona.
PHOTO ©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Flower hunting

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
I'm a patient person with this request. This isn't the first time I've made it. It won't be the last. And I have received some wonderful flowers since the last blog request and hope this will encourage you to pull out that ball point pen, that can of spray paint, the macaroni noodles, or the Parisian oil paints, whatever... just looking for your flower.

Everything sounds better in french, so I'll let you look this one up:
le jardin de mes amis.

This idea began at the end of a year living in France when I did a painting exchange with two friends, one now in LA, the other Santa Fe. It later occurred to me the paintings were were both of flowers, and I love flowers. Then I imagined a space filled with these 'flowers'. A 'garden' of them created by people who have inspired me: friends, family, neighbors, colleagues. I have over twenty flowers already. Some are just doodles, others are detailed paintings. I will continue to collect these for years to come, from the folks who come into my life. So, for those of you who have already sent me your flower, merci bien! And for those who have not yet done one...

Will you draw, paint, sketch, or collage a FLOWER and send it to me?
Use an index card, post-it note, or large canvas. A crayon, ballpoint pen, or fine paintbrush. W
hatever you feel inclined to use. Just keep it simple. Easy. Un-fussy. Be creative. Or not. Just as long as you created it. Handmade is best, so no photos. And yes, a circle with a line below it qualifies as a flower.

It's a flower.
ou created it by hand.

If you are thinking, that this entry is not for you, "this entry must be for someone else." Nope. It IS for you. I believe that each person that comes into our lives, has an impact on it. And I would love to add your flower to the garden ...yes, you.
©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Take two goldfish. Put one in a bowl. The other in a big 10-gallon tank. Feed them both the same amount of food. The one in the bigger tank will grow bigger.

It's similar in our lives, I've lived in a small studio apartment in the gold coast of Chicago and am currently in a house near DC. We can fill up whatever space we're given. A 'potted' tomato plant will grow and produce. But one in the openness of a garden, with sunshine, will flourish.

I believe it's the same with the people in our lives.

If we surround ourselves with people who stifle us, or do not nurture and encourage us to grow, then we won't. However, if we surround ourselves with people who challenge us in a healthy way, who open doors and let sunlight in, who love us at our core, warts and all, and who see the potential in us... we will often live up to that.
©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Monday, May 25, 2009


T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S

I appreciate the dignity, ritual, and respect shown at Arlington National Cemetery. The orderly simple, white headstones. The religious affiliation, name, rank, dates of living and serving while on this earth. And there is something gripping about the thousands upon thousands of little flags, which by themselves, would seem insignificant. It's when they all are together that their impact is felt.

Arlington is a beautiful, quiet and eery place. Wars fought before our grandparents were even alive. Current wars. If you look at the young ages of some of these folks, men and women, your heart aches. But even the others, too.

When you hear 'soldier' certain images and roles come to your mind. They are doing a job. But these images should also appear... husband, wife, mother, father, daughter, son, boyfriend, girlfriend, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, friend, mentor, grandmother, grandfather, uncle, aunt, neighbor, co-worker, human being. If one of them is lost or hurt, it has a ripple effect impacting many, many others as well.

I'll be the first to admit I don't understand the workings of the military. I wish we never had to go to war in the first place, but I have always had a respect for the complex and ridiculously dangerous work they do AND that they have to be separated from their 'normal' life for months on end. This not only impacts them, but the people who were used to having them here.

That respect of mine deepened this year as my future brother-in-law got deployed to Iraq with the Air Force. Mason and Elizabeth will be getting married in June 2010. And in an email update he sent us all, I signed off my reply, "have fun, do a good job, be safe." It is dangerous, but if they weren't doing what they are doing, there's a pretty good chance we wouldn't be doing what we are doing.

For those who have had their lives altered or who have lost their life, thank you. Thank you beyond words. And while your families and friends may struggle to come to this place in their hearts, I do, sincerely, hope you are resting peace.
PHOTO ©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Photo

A - C R E A T I V E - S P A R K

Eastern Shore, Maryland
From a cemetery dating back to the late 1700's.
PHOTO ©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Monday, May 18, 2009

Gravitational pull

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
The gravitational force of crossing over an 'edge,' or boundary, either literally or figuratively has always pulled us. As a kid, maybe it was the invisible line in the back seat. DON'T CROSS THAT LINE, that's your brother's side! Oooh, the temptation. Or that fine line when a crystal glass is at the edge of the table, then when it crosses that edge and inevitably falls. Sometimes a fall can catch you by surprise. Perhaps
you were walking and tripped. About to lose your balance and fall, you stumble, grab something, and try to pull yourself together. In Thelma and Louise, before they intentionally go over the edge, they screech
to a halt at the top of 'a cliff' (The Grand Canyon), they are able to
look around take it in, and back away. Then they still go for it despite
all logic. Scary, liberating, invigorating. But falling nonetheless. Temptation draws them toward the edge. But once they cross over
it, a force takes over, pulls them in, and they can't go back.

Are we supposed to go with the fall or pull ourselves together?
©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Get a Grip

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
There's a phrase from an Aerosmith song I find myself reciting as good advice, 'if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got.' Inspiration comes from surprising places. Keep your eyes open. When you find it, try heeding that advice. It caught your attention for a reason.
©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Photo

A - C R E A T I V E - S P A R K

Coastal Sunrise. Assateague Island, MD
PHOTO ©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Raise me up

A - C R E A T I V E - S P A R K

What a lovely way to start a day.
This is an improvised and shortened version of the original
(more leasurely-paced) full-song version. Ah, technology...
PHOTO ©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Coastal sunrise. Soul refueling.

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Dissecting a frog. Ah, that scent of formaldehyde...

Oh wait. This is supposed to be a pretty, thoughtful, and insightful entry. Okay, grab some tea (and some time) for sixty, random thoughts. Here goes...

So, Wednesday morning it happened. I pulled a 'Wendy.' I needed to scram. To get lost. To discover. To uncover. To stop. To feel. To soak it in. To get it out. And to reflect. I am a 'wanderer' after all. And I never want a GPS system in my car. What's the fun in never getting lost?

I left here and headed to Assateauge Island, MD* to see the sun rise. It's a 3hr drive. And, um, do you know what time the sunrises?? 5:58am. You do the math. But I love a trip like this. No schedule. No expectations. And then it happened. A mental purge. Every thought I had, as random, profound, or mundane as it might be, came pouring out. Now I don't text while driving, but I do scribble thoughts in a notebook. And, at the risk of TMI, I've never done a colonic but this felt like the mental equivilant.

Like the innards of a frog,** if you could 'dissect' my mind and heart that day, here's what was inside. Seemingly disconnected and messy, somehow it all comes together to make up the creature it belongs to. Want the short version? Go to #25.
  1. A perfect send-off note received on FB. Thank you...
  2. Half asleep (it is 3am after all) when I saw a cop car on Hwy 50. It was like your mother sayin' (with a sweet old New York accent), "wear uh sweater, eatchure veggies, and don't drive too fast!" I was grateful to have had that cotton mouth, heart-in-your-stomach feeling you get when you [might be] driving too fast. The one that makes you slow down. Deep breath. Okay. I'm on board now.
  3. Moon reflecting over the Chesapeake Bay.
  4. Skipton Creek. Reminded me of my best friend's dad's name.
  5. A Nicole Nordeman song came on, thought of Rev. R.
  6. Driving in the dark, being led by the moon.
  7. I love the question, 'what kind of music do you listen to.' My answer is, 'whatever I'm in the mood for.' It's not a secret I'm a HUGE Prince fan (of COURSE LotusFlow3r was in th' car) but one of my current favorite songs just came on the radio, "Finally Home," by Mercy Me. LOVE IT!!
  8. Passed a Porsche dealership. Yum.
  9. Dawn is different than sunrise. The sky began a color chemistry experiment — seamlessly swishing all different beautiful shades of blue, indigo, robin's egg, midnight, turquoise, and blue topaz together.
  10. There's a really bright planet in the eastern sky. What is it? Jupiter is Sag's planet. Hmm.
  11. Fog, in the dark of morning.
  12. Sweet smell of cool, grassy fields.
  13. One single source of light [our star, the sun] can warm and illuminate. Clarify.
  14. Passing by an old cemetery as the morning light began. Life does end. Glad I made this trip today.
  15. Don't think I was 'looking' before, but am in a place to let someone into my life. Once you've cleared mental and physical space, there's room for others to enter.
  16. Am trying to move through my life like a labyrinth. Be where you are, Wendy. Don't rush. Don't anticipate.
  17. Thought up a new card I'll be creating.
  18. Always on the lookout for more freelance clients so I can continue doing what I'm doing. And SO grateful for my friends and colleagues who continue to send folks my way. I appreciate you more than you know.
  19. Laughing at the "Love Sucks" poem I google-stumbled on while looking for wise words on sunrises. It's funny. Hope I saved it somewhere...
  20. Arrived. Parked my car.
  21. Couldn't see because of the dunes, but could hear the waves crashing.
  22. Chilly breeze by the ocean.
  23. Walked slowly through the sand toward the 'why I made this trip in the first place.'
  24. Me. A camera. And the Atlantic Ocean at sunrise.
  25. Then without alarm bells or any fuss, and only for those patient people paying close attention. A hot pink sliver of the source that, even before it appeared, had already begun to light up the whole sky.
  26. It's up. The day has begun.
  27. Waves lapping quietly and gently over the cool sands of this vast, empty, and beautiful beach.
  28. Yes. Mid-week, early May is an EXCELLENT time to see a quiet sunrise.
  29. Rested, even fell asleep on a huge towel on the sand with Copper nearby. The warm sun. The cool sand. The sound and the rhythm of the ocean waves.
  30. Saw wild horses near the beach. It reminded me of Camargue, in the south of France.
  31. Wanted to stay all day, but traffic on the beltway dictates your travel times around here. Plus, I knew I still needed time to observe and wander on the way back...
  32. Then, just like the sun coming above the horizon without warning, I knew it was time for me to head on.
  33. Was in my car and on my way.
  34. Drove through Berlin, MD. Cute old town.
  35. The sweet smell of grassy fields is intoxicating.
  36. Sixty Ft. Rd.
  37. Rockawalkin Rd.
  38. Oooooh. I have a great idea for big old tree stumps. Design a sort-of 'cap' for the stump that has a tabletop on it. Then pull up a chair, some lemonade, some BBQ, some friends. Nice!
  39. Farm houses in large fields have one huge, beautiful shade tree near them.
  40. Chicken feathers blowing on the highway from two trucks up.
  41. A phone booth? Really? On the side of Hwy 50. How quaint.
  42. Two tire swings hanging from two magnificent old tall trees.
  43. Tree-lined driveways to old beautiful homes.
  44. Today was about filling up.
  45. Continue to be 'you' no matter who or what comes in or goes out of your life.
  46. Old Amoco stations, the original ones, had weather vanes on top of them.
  47. Bob Smith Chevrolet (looks like it's been there since Chevy first began) is closed. Vacated. Sad.
  48. Turned my head to look out my window (while driving) to see a red falcon chasing another little bird in flight. Um, HELLO WENDY, you're DRIVING!! Yikes. That one scared me. Like 'cop-car' scared me. My curiosity could have made this trip end badly.
  49. St. Peter's Church. Looks old... has historic marker. Will have to google it when I'm home.
  50. I was totally born in the right time. Internet for all my inquistive questions. Love it! Don't know if I was one of those 4 year olds that constantly asked, "Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?" But I certainly ask it a lot now.
  51. People seriously do NOT know how to drive. If you are going to pass me, is it really necessary that you climb up my tailpipe FIRST, and THEN move to my left? Also, blinkers are [as Martha would say] good things! Use them. It's consideration for the folks around you. And on the slow side roads when I slow down and pull to the right and wave my hand for you to pass me — do it. I'm not going to make you suffer for my need to sight-see. I know you have places to go. So pass me, already...
  52. An Exxon had shut down. The covered-up price for reg. unleaded was listed as $1.57.
  53. Woman kneeling at a makeshift roadside memorial. I've never actually seen someone at one of those. My heart ached for her. My throat clenched a little. A reminder to LIVE life. DO your bucket list, or whatever. We will circle back to 'where we came from' but it won't be by way of the same road. And we can't 'undo.'
  54. 'Live' is the verb to 'life.' So do it.
  55. On WAMU on the radio on the drive back, VERY funny and enlightening talk about a new book, "One Nation Under Dog." Anti-depressants for dogs with separation anxiety. Q: Do they differ from the human version? A: Yes, they're beef-flavored. Ha! Love it.
  56. Regarding dogs in the home life of Americans over time: Once they stayed outdoors, but now that they are indoors and often on couches and in beds, it's no wonder the grooming business is booming!
  57. I'm not a big BMW person, but the 328i is pretty nice.
  58. Van for a contractor had a great name on the side for their DC-based business, "Counter Intelligence."
  59. "So amazed at what I've seen — so much more than this ol' mind can hold. When I finally make it home." (See #7)
  60. So overwhelmingly grateful for life. For my crazy past, my mysterious present, and whatever the future has up it's sleeve as well. I'm re-fueled and ready. Bring it!
And if you made it through #60, your prize is in the mail. No, seriously, I didn't realize this one would be so long! Evidently the day-trip, drive, mental purge, and soul refueling was very needed.
* Huge thanks to my friend Michelle for her recommendation. It was perfect. Thank you.
** Were you expecting a big, soothing, inspiring, sage-like,
life-answering, revelation of a reveal from this trip to the sunrise? Me too. But I got 60 random observations instead. And I refuse to edit for the purpose of conforming. Even if to my or others' expectations and anticipations. But like I say, "Seemingly disconnected and messy, somehow it all comes together to make up the creature it belongs to." I believe that even the things that don't make sense in our lives have a purpose.
PHOTO ©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Making room for life

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S - & - B R E A D C R U M B S
One mostly unknown, but VERY compelling, reason I moved up here was for the change of 'seasons.' In our 'this is how/why/when we do it' world, that may not make much sense to others. It might even seem trite. But I KNEW it was important to me. And I continue to take lessons from nature.

Last weekend I went to the dogwood in my front yard and knocked off quite a few dead branches. You could almost here the tree sigh, 'thank you!' I've done this in past seasons, and the results already show. New sprouts. When dead branches are cleared out that no longer have a vitality, significance, or relevance to that tree, space is made for new things to blossom. For that tree to grow. For that tree to be healthy.

What's clogging up space in your life, your heart, your head, that might be preventing new things from blossoming?
©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Monday, May 11, 2009

The impact of messages

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Have you ever wondered how impactful the messages and beliefs are that get instilled into the little minds of children? Well, I've had this bookmark since I was 7 years old. My grandma gave it to me. And while I'm not sure how omniscient the "Graceline" bookmarks from Quality Industries in Hatfield, PA actually are, I can say that regarding their interpretation of my name at 7 years old... I BELIEVED IT. And still do.

So be bright, be encouraging, be good in your guidance.
It IS heard. It DOES have an impact.
©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans
— that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events and issues from the decision will raise in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings, and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would come his way.
Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.
The breadcrumb in this is that 'Goethe' & Dearborn was my first address in Chicago. And 'moving to Chicago' was one of the first in a series of bold moves I've made in life. They still scare me and invigorate me. That's how I'm reminded I'm LIVING life. Also I've only ever heard the last [bolded] sentences of this quote, but through some quick googling uncovered the brilliant lead-in to the brilliant quote. Lesson? KEEP LOOKING. KEEP TRYING. KEEP PURSUING. GET IT OUT THERE. Then, trust.
Last Friday, for the first time, I did not post a Friday Photo as I was still chewing on my 5/5 post...

©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Notre coeur

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Funny how the very organ that keeps us alive
is also the one that can perplex us the most.
©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Monday, May 4, 2009

A deep spiritual breath

Last Tuesday evening I went with some friends to walk the labyrinth at the National Cathedral here in DC. I'd never been there and was a little awe-struck. It's a beautiful building. Plus, the last time I saw images of it, was from the National Prayer Service, on January 21st. The day after the Inauguration. So I pulled up that blog entry and re-listened to that amazing service.

I had recalled three parts that stood out to me on that day: a youth choir's rendition of "He's got the whole world in his hands" (0:30:58); the actual sermon (0:40:37); and the unbelievably inspiring rendition of "Amazing Grace" (0:58:57) which, in it's rawness and beauty, brought me to tears.

As I re-listened to the sermon this time, this caught my attention:
There is a story attributed to Cherokee wisdom...
One evening a grandfather was teaching his young grandson about the internal battle that each person faces. “There are two wolves struggling inside each of us,” the old man said. “One wolf is vengefulness, anger, resentment, self-pity, fear… the other wolf is compassion, faithfulness, hope, truth, love…” The grandson sat, thinking, then asked: “Which wolf wins, grandfather?” His grandfather replied, “The one you feed.”

Walking the labyrinth on Tuesday evening with the sun dappling through those beautifully colored stained-glass windows onto the massively tall, gray-stone cathedral, there was a harp player, then an oboe player. I walked in silence. And as I slowly entered into the center of the labyrinth... the oboe player had just begun a familiar song. I sat with that song. Soaked in, breathed in, every single note. But there was one verse that reached out to me, "grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me [home]."

©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Photo

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K

Opening up.
these will always be my favorite flowers.
received april twenty-fourth, two thousand nine.

PHOTO ©2009 Wendy Hudgins
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