Monday, August 31, 2009

August — a season of 'soul'

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
When life approaches a crossroads of contradiction or paradox, 'soul' is at its most vital. Summer to fall. Activity to rest. Warm front to cold front. Times of transition can be uneasy, even sometimes turbulent or uncomfortable. But often these inevitable moments hold some of the most crucial growth and evolution in our lives.

One of my favorite seasons is upon us. But to get into a new season we have to shed the old one. We have to let go. We have to look forward.

August hasn't ever really stood out to me that much. But this year, I saw August as a season of reflection. A season of preparation of things to come. A seasonal shift of soul perhaps.

In late April my soul was cracked open and the fresh air of another soul came my way. One of my first posts about this amazing person in my life was on May 1st. With the very simple, minimally-worded caption, "Opening up." That's exactly what has been happening to me. To my soul. To my life.

I'm finally wrapping up a wonderful book about 'soul' and will share this as we leave August... There are only so many people we come to know in a lifetime, and an even smaller number with whom we live intimately. These relationships are all important to the soul. They initiate us into ourselves.

Onward. Let's see what's in store this season.
©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Photo

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

One Verse First™
My first line of cards now has a new online store:
BONJOURYALL.etsy.com
PHOTO ©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Four years ago

A - B R E A D C R U M B


Four years ago this past week (8/21) as I arrived in the DC area, I could never have predicted how my life would unfold over the next few years. And today, looking back, I simply couldn't be more grateful.

As we keep our eyes open with life's unexpected turns, pay attention to the little breadcrumbs that get quietly, sweetly scattered throughout our lives. This little 'sign,' greeted me after a VERY long drive from my former home in Florida. It seemed to speak to the very center of my soul as I drove down the street to my new 'home.' My new life.

Breadcrumb?

Oui. Absolutement, oui.
I also just realized another sweet little breadcrumb...
the date I arrived up here was, 'twenty one.' Just sayin.

©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

When my work on earth is done

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
"O Lord, Please Hear My Prayer"
ARR. MOSES HOGAN

O Lord, please hear my prayer; In the morning when I rise.
---It's your servant bound for glory. O dear Lord, please hear my prayer.
O Lord, please hear my prayer. Keep me safe within your arms.
---It's your servant bound for glory. O dear Lord, please hear my prayer.
When my work on earth is done, And you come to take me home.

---Just to know I'm bound for glory; And to hear You say, "Well done!"
Done with sin and sorrow. Have mercy. Mercy.

-

From the First Annual Benefit Concert of the University of Liberia Alumni Chorus at my church, Woodside UMC on 8/22. What an amazing night of music and an introduction to my new favorite hymn. And, frankly, not a bad thing for us to be working toward — just to hear You say, "well done."
Amazing photography of the night comes from Terrence K. Brown's brilliant eye.
©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Photo

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

'Peach' Roses
With sweet spontaneity, calm wandering, and wonderland qualities. Merci.
PHOTO ©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Monday, August 17, 2009

How does that garden grow?

A - C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
Grandma Nemeth
Ellen
Chuck
Peg
Chase
Eli
Hope
Maureen
Grandma
Grandaddy
Elizabeth
Star
Susan (GA)
Aunt Linda
Nathalie
Christine
Gracie
Joe v1
Jeffrey
Rob
Mary
Ross
Katelyn
Mom
Dad
Susan (NM)
Ducky
Polina
Susan (MD)
Copper
Dad
Andy
Robin
Kay
Alison

Le jardin de mes amis. Wow. Thank you for your flowers! The variety is brilliant. Beautiful. The hand-touch is critical. So, for th' digital and photo folks, I'll be reaching out to you for a hand-done version of yours. The 'garden' is taking on a life of its own. As more come in, and this is an ongoing collection of flowers, I'd love to add yours to the garden.

And you know I'm persistent. I'll be 102 yrs old, walking the halls of a nursing home somewhere, still collecting these. So stop reading this blog and go scribble out your flower. Voila. You're done.

Et merci, mon ami!
©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Photo

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

Copper, in Paris.
From
our hotel room window on the left bank, facing the Seine and the Louvre.
PHOTO ©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Three wishes

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Outside on my screened-in side patio this morning, I was taking advantage of the 68° temps, morning sun, and sweet morning breeze with my coffee, and an awesome book on 'soul' matters, when I thought about 'threes.'

I'm not quite sure where the three was discovered as such a good quantity, but it really does seem to be a pretty good number.

There's, quite literally, a balance with three. Think of a three-legged stool. Even if one leg is shorter, it never wobbles. Fairy god mothers granted three wishes. Three IS company. There are three sisters in my my family. Religiously, there are also three in the trinity. Even traffic lights have three alerts. Two is too few, four would be chaos.

Think about the big things in our lives. Jobs. Relationships. Homes. What important qualities do you look for? Too many to count? I say, 'choose three.'

I'll focus on 'home' to make my point.

I heard somewhere that when looking for a new house, you should make a list of all the things that you want in a new home. Then, narrow that list to three. Voila! The home should have those three qualities. If this space is to be your sanctuary, your den to replenish yourself from the effects of life, these three things are critical – even if they're silly to others. Everything else, you should try to adapt to, or be flexible with. Here are mine, in order:
  1. Close proximity to spontaneous wandering preferably in a visually stimulating environment. Chicago, it was walks along the lake or around the blocks of gorgeous homes in the Gold Coast. France, it was old meandering cobblestone streets. Here, it's the path along Sligo Creek. Nature, trees, a creek. Escape-ist. Mind-purging. Relaxing. Creatively stimulating. Love it. Need it.
  2. Charm or 'soul' I can't do cookie cut. Need unique details. Need inspiration.
  3. Covered outdoor space to be in the elements of nature, but protected. People have commented that this could always be 'built on,' and they are correct. But then it wouldn't be in keeping with number two.
There won't be perfection in a job, a relationship, or a house. And perfection is not the goal. But once you do uncover the three qualities important to you, especially when you've reached down deep to find your answers, stick to them. Stick to your three things. Ensure that they are present. That's your soul speaking. Trust it. Then be flexible and try to let the rest go.

Click your heels three times and say, 'there's no place like home.'
And who's ever heard of dos, or cuatro, amigos?
Things happen... in...

I'm tellin' ya... it's in th' three's.
©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Photo

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

Aix-en-Provence, France
After a week of blogging about 'breadcrumbs,' there was only ONE image for this Friday Photo. Looking across the street from my apartment in Aix, to 'my' bakery. Wishing I were having one of their pains-au-chocolate!
PHOTO ©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Eyes wide open

A - B R E A D C R U M B
I was home this past Monday night, at around 9:45pm, when I tasted the sound of fear.

I N C I D E N T
I was inside my home when I heard the piercing screams of a woman outside, up the street from my house. I grabbed the phone. Called 911. Cops were on the street in less than two minutes. The dispatcher later phoned me back to say that the victim, a woman, was found, she's safe, and that the incident was a strong-armed robbery. Later found out, a group of guys had come up on this female late Monday night, on my street. They strong-armed her down and stole her purse. She then screamed and chased them (bad plan!). The lady's purse was found in a neighbor's yard on Tuesday morning. But the guys were not caught.

F O L L O W - U P
That night, I decided to go to the Police station Tuesday (my first time inside of one) to simply 'thank' them for their quick response.

I also didn't miss the chance to ask, "what's the best way to protect myself." The cop said, "the best weapon is to simply pay attention. If you don't look like a victim, you likely won't become one." That's obviously not going to eliminate thugs. But it could minimize your contact. They'll steer away from you, or maybe you would be able to steer away from them. I asked about my iPod when I go for my long walks outdoors. He said, "that is not a problem, just be aware of your surroundings." Open your eyes.

Buzzword or not, each moment in our lives is a teachable moment.

After college, I worked at the front desk of a very nice hotel in the Gold Coast of Chicago. Beautiful lobby of dark green marble, Sinatra tunes, mirrors and chandeliers. Whenever people would wander in aimlessly, looking around, you instinctively would approach them and ask, "may I help you." But other folks, who walked right in, deliberately, you didn't even say a word to them. They were aware. They were intentional.

I have always been a very independent person, and I like the freedom and boldness that comes with that. But I'm not careless. I take precautions. But I am leery of mace and guns. The officer actually said to me, that those items often get used against the very person carrying them. Think about it, by even carrying mace, there's something in your energy that shifts to a vibe of, "I'm anticipating someone may attack me." And, frankly, I don't want to anticipate that. So I was happy to hear the cop's perspective.

Even in nature, an animal may not be poisonous or dangerous, but for self-preservation, it's protection is 'to appear that way.' I have a little 7lb Yorkie who often thinks he's a pit bull. And to hear his bark, sometimes you'd think he was. Even in the transitions many of us are going through with work and life these days. If you BELIEVE you will persevere, you just may be right. But if you wallow in, "oh, I don't know if things will ever work out." Well, you just may be right.

Think about it. Our thoughts are powerful. Transformative.

P A Y I N G - A T T E N T I O N
Someone needs help, a friend is hurting, or you have hurt someone, a connection has come to your life, or even ingredients that need to be added to your cooking. Subtle. Nuances. Soul-speak. To pick up on these little ripples in the ocean of our lives, we must be aware. For an artist to find purples in an orange pumpkin, he must have his eyes wide open. Expect the unexpected. Be fully open.

When our eyes are open we 'get' all of those subtle signals. Those 'breadcrumbs,' perhaps? Maybe they are confirming that we are in the right place doing the right thing. Like the House episode on TV (with the cat) that I saw Monday night just before all of this excitement... maybe the 'coincidences' in our lives are real, maybe they're not. But I just happened to be in the quiet of my home, and was able to make a 911 call practically before this poor woman had finished screaming.

I'll close with an observation at the police station that made me say, "but, of course. Of course, that's your name." In a time when law enforcement gets so much bad press, I was wrapping up my visit to say 'thank you,' when I happened to look up and notice that (off by just one letter) the name on this officer's badge was... 'Huggins.'

Breadcrumb?

Open your eyes. Be aware. And keep moving forward, sweet little soul.
©2009 Wendy Hudgins

Where we find 'soul'

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Paradox is usually a sign of the presence of soul.
—THOMAS MOORE

Monday, August 3, 2009

How do you tie-up an email?

A - B R E A D C R U M B
In a fire I know I wouldn't be able to grab them all, but there is something about a letter. Just a plain-old, hand-written letter. Someone's choice of stamps, the broken-up cancellation mark from the city it was sent. Seeing your own name and address du jour. The handwriting. The message from another soul inside. Better yet, the anticipation of that message from another soul inside. And... the passing of time from when it was written and sealed, to when you are standing there holding it. Touching it.

BREADCRUMB: As I'm writing this blog this morning right now, I can hear the tune to that new Hallmark commercial that I LOVE on TV... "Say what you need to say." Girl [with cgi butterflies near her tummy] on a school bus opens a sweet card from her mom... she smiles upon reading it and the butterflies flitter away, out the window. The powerful ability of someone else's words to touch you.

I'm a sucker for trinkets that spark your memory.

I have flower petals from mind-shifting moments. I have ticket stubs from some memorable concerts. Even the ticket from my first flight to Paris. But the correspondences between two people in the slow, deliberate, hand-written, un-editable way of a sealed letter will always, always win out over email, facebook, twitter, even blogging/comments, and whatever next month's new technology is.

Who doesn't get giddy when a text comes in from your favorite person? But how do you tie that up and save it again to reminisce on later?

When we get to stroll back through these letters, they're like a time capsule, revealing the story of that singular moment in our life. A lesson or simply a gentle remembrance of a different time.

How will today's kids go back to share 'that first IM' with their kids and grandkids? Just sayin.'
©2009 Wendy Hudgins
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