Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Hopes. New Year.

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
Tough. Beautiful. And grow.

Those are the three words I used today to describe 2011. And for 2012, I thought that since Pinterest is my new creative inspiration-addiction, I would post my aspirations for the New Year there. To be reminded of my hopes for the New Year.

Yes, my 'hopes,' not resolutions. 'Resolution' has always sounded like a chore to me, a mandate, heavy expectations or something to improve upon. Implying something was faulty.

I believe we're all imperfectly perfect. Doing the best we can. With the tools we have. I also look forward, in the New Year, to inspiration, travel, and... love.

Bonne Année, à tous!
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hi... my name is Wendy. And I'm on Pinterest.

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
Wow. My world just radically got a bit more inspired this week. Inspiration is officially OFF the charts. Pinterest is a bit like coffee. If you haven't started, don't. I'm really hoping this is a phase. And that it will pass... But. I. Freaking. Love. This. Don't say you weren't warned.

What's your name?

I'm @bonjouryall (of course).
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Homage to the can of cranberry

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
What's yours? In today's festivities of food, what's the one food that simply can't be missing from the table for you?

At first I went right to my mom's Pawley's Island Pie. But nope, hands down for me, it's the simple ribbed slurp-slop of that can of cranberry sauce. No embellishments, no prep-time, no overcooking (okay, maybe that last one is why I like it). But seriously, I got to thinking about this...

Why the can of cranberry?

Over the past couple weeks I was fortunate to be able to see my family in Atlanta. A surprise 65th birthday for my dad, seeing my mom, dad, and sisters and their spouses, and very happy to see my grandma and grandad, 92 and 94yrs old, and my sweet-fun 2yr-old niece Zoe. But the highlight of the week was getting to meet two brand new members of my family. Baby Reed and baby Allison. One month apart and baptised together on Sunday.

Meeting new babies who are part of your family, your blood, was intriguing to me. It was sort of like meeting two new neighbors. But you're getting to know them as they don't yet have distinct personalities yet. And of course, no traditions... yet.

Today, for Thanksgiving, I am very grateful to be spending it with dear friends up here on a beautiful November day in the DC area, but was stumped when my friend who is hosting insisted there was no need to bring anything.

At first, my thought was that I didn't want her to have to provide ALL the food. We should help out. Then I realized why I was stumped on this request. Everyone's holidays are quirkily and uniquely theirs. And the desire to 'bring something' was also our desire to bring a part of our own traditions and share with others.

Growing up, and as far back as I can remember, my mom would prepare a scrumptious spread, dad would carve the turkey. All of mom's dishes were in the oven at the right time so rotation seemed flawless. The fine silver was often brought out, and in their current house it was one of the few days a year we'd eat in the dining room.

But with all the fuss, preparation, and formality...

...it was the simple, ribbed slurp-slop of that can of cranberry sauce that in it's simplistic way, simply 'made' the holidays for me. Though, of course, it wasn't just the can of cranberry sauce. There's nothing terribly earth shattering about the way Ocean Spray puts it together. But rather, for me its 'as-is' quality amongst all the other dishes that have been so fussed over, mixed, prepared, primped, and baked. It's also all of the memories that this little can holds -- of being a part of so many family gatherings -- that make it, in my book, just as regal as the turkey.

In Atlanta, as I was watching our family grow on the younger end with these two precious little cherubs, my nephew and niece, I was feeling a gratitude that my grandparents are still present and a part of my life, I realized that all of our families are in flux. We change, who is or isn't in our life changes. Life is on the move. Always.

Our family trees gets new roots and leaves fall, too.

There are friends of mine who've lost family members over this past year or so who I am thinking about today. I know a tradition of gathering together like Thanksgiving or Christmas may be hard. Missing that person. But I hope in the memory of that person, that life, that you are able to gather some comfort and joy. And peace.

If the can of cranberry is missing from the table this year, the memory of wonderful gatherings is still there. If a person is missing from the table this year, I pray that the memory of their beautiful life is still there with you as well.

And for life, memories, traditions, even change, and yes, cranberry sauce... I give thanks.







©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shine your light

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does
not serve the world.
There is
nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

— MARIANNE WILLIAMSON

Found this while clearing out some very, very old emails. Still LOVE it.
It's a speech often attributed to NELSON MANDELA.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Even if

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
How many skeptics does it take to change a light bulb? None. They fear change, even if it can make the world a brighter place.
—UNKNOWN


Comments about this post:
CG — The last dying words of the Buddha, were: "Make of yourself a light".
WH — Brilliant.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Shine on

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
My suggestion for the Apple store windows.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mac Daddy

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

Thank you to a visionary with the ability to
'wow' us in a 'wow'-starved world.

— Wendy Hudgins


Image is the actual Apple off of my very first Mac.

Monday, October 3, 2011

In your life

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
There comes a point in your life when you realize:
Who matters,
Who never did,
Who won't anymore...
and who always will.
So, don't worry about some of the people from your past,
there's a reason they didn't make it to your future.

—UNKNOWN

Inspiration can come from anywhere. This was from an email today.
Keep your eyes open... ALWAYS be ready to be inspired.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The doors

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Maybe there's a reason why
all the doors are closed,
so you could open one that
leads to the perfect road.

— K. PERRY

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Yes, even Ms. Perry.
Keep your eyes open... ALWAYS be ready to be inspired.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Story People

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

I picked up this Brian Andreas print of his 'Story People' in Galena, IL back when I lived in Chicago. I continue to LOVE the sentiment. WAKE UP! This print is actually hanging next to my front door. Good thing to be reminded of before heading out into this crazy, beautiful world.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Soul-stretching

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Not everything you create will be a masterpiece, but you get out there, and you try, and sometimes is really happens. The other times you're just stretching your soul.
— MAYA ANGELOU

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Time

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

I love Quotables cards.
Brilliant words. Beautiful type. Great inspiration.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
We will likely have to go through some heavy moments in our lives, ones that will put us to the test to really stand up for ourselves, for what we feel is right in our life. But I believe these moments can, if funneled properly, push us through to a better place. Even if we don't know what that will look like or who will be there with us.

What scary thing are you going through? Does it feel like you can't see the end of it? Maybe you're in a tunnel... but you are still moving. We are never still. Our lives are never still. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. And then 'keep going' some more.

But don't rush it. Don't rush the process. Trust it. Then walk it.

Howevery wiggly and windy it is.

All of the beautiful, love-filled, lasting, and authentic things of your life came into your life without your even trying. You were simply being you and they were attracted to you. Even if the timing didn't seem right. But the timing is always right.

So just get on with being 'you.' That's your job. Don't worry about others. And have faith that those things will find you again. Have faith that the beauty of life and love will always find it's way to you even when it feels universes away. Maybe it is in a tunnel. Just not quite ready to emerge yet. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. And then 'keep going' some more.

There's a light in the dark where the sky splits apart where the stars find a way to shine through all the spaces in between. Yes. Breathing underwater, indeed.
MBR, you're wise beyond your years. HK[isses]


Regarding the craziness of each of our journeys, this reply to a post I saw on SARK's FB page today was simply precious...
SARK: Our healing and changes do not happen in steps like a ladder — they happen in spirals and layers.
A follower's reply:
love that! Also loop-de-loops and sometimes tunnels where you can't see and aren't sure where you are going. (Kind of like Space Mountain or other roller coaster).
My reply: a-men!
And today I also saw another link SARK posted that simply rocked my world. Check out Kris' story, her Crazy Sexy Life. Wow. Beautiful inspiration.

Different than hers, but I'm walking through a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot* moment. Use these tough 'moments' as fuel to launch you to a beautiful place. But to get there, you must first be honest with yourself about exactly where you are on your path, now.

Where are you standing?

Right now. Not last year. Not next year. But right now.

Where is your 'you are here' on your map? Because it's only then, after you are honest about where you are, that will you will be able to truly move forward in your life. So, keep going. Keep going. And then 'keep going' some more.

Even if it is in spirals and layers.
* See Kris' story. Loved this.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Still Standing

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

baby, you gotta

walk by faith,

and not by sight.


Love this song by Monica. Beautiful.
A friend shared this 'anthem' with me.
Play it loud! I am still standing...


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Goal

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
A goal is not always meant to be reached, it can also serve simply as something to aim at.
— BRUCE LEE

Thanks to the Hill family blog for sharing this nugget of wisdom.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Move

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
We will go to and through a lot of places in our lives. In our minds. And in our hearts. If it's beautiful, we still must move through it. So cherish it. But if it's tough, we still get to move through it. So keep walking. Oh, the places you'll go. Keep moving. BE moved.


.
Great find, Ross.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Centered

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

Centered.
I think it means getting deep into the raw, vulnerable, authenticity of our souls. 'Centered' means that those hunches we feel in our lives will apply no matter which way our life is leaning.

It applies whether our lives are 72° and sunny.
And it applies whether our lives are dark and foggy.

Balance.

If you've ever written in a journal, or reread something you wrote during a tough time in your life, and you find that those words of yours still apply in a good time you may be going through (or vice versa)... then those are authentic, centered feelings. Balanced. And good ones to listen to.

A friend of mine and I will often copy and paste eachother's own words, and then email them back to the other person. Our own words, sent right back to us.

Only we truly know the complexity of the path each of us has to walk. It's a winding journey, and sometimes has unexpected sink holes. But no one else can walk it for us. Even we ourselves may see and know we need to make a turn ahead, but unless we do it... ourselves... it simply will not happen.

Others can share their perspectives on what we are going through, and I believe that can be a great help. Maybe they have walked a part of that path and can shed wisdom to save you some trouble, or guide you to a beautiful part of the path ahead. Or they can say "hey, you're almost there, you're doing great!" Or they can also hold up a mirror to help us see the things we already know and are already saying.

But ONLY YOU possess the centered wisdom, authentic to you, of the direction you need to go in. Even if it's not a fun place to go to, or through. If the centered place in you is guiding you in that direction. Trust it. Go.

Trust it. Go.
You possess that wisdom.
You need to listen to that wisdom.

And if it's truly centered, it will apply whether our lives are 72° and sunny or dark and foggy.

Balance.

Case in point of 'our own words':
"When there is absence in our life, even if it hurts, or we ache, or we cry, or we are lost, it can also be precisely the condition needed for us to be filled-up. With the presence of something new. With a new job, an illumination, a new opportunity, with God, with a brilliant idea, or a friend." Absence. Presence. 4/24/2011

"Let go. Hang on. Listen. Follow. Ask for strength. Patience. Allow yourself to be guided. Keep your eyes open. Go for it. And be grateful for this moment, however it unfurls, this moment is your life." 365 4/24/2010

Yes!
Center. Listen. Trust. Go.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Absence of fear and control

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
I had a dream last night that I was flying for the first time. And in the dream I could pilot my flight with the thoughts in my mind. Since there wasn't any up or down everybody was all around, when we sang, we all sang together, oh, what a beautiful sound.

Ooh, ooh, sha la la la la This is the future soul song.

I had a dream last night that I was singing and the sound of my voice, seemed to come from every mountain top like it had no choice. And when my voice rose so did the sun, when the trees sang the harmony as one, every living soul sang the most beautiful melody ever sung.

Ooh, ooh, sha la la la la This is the future soul song.

Before the war the only words and language said "Let there be light." Those that can see it are the ones who believe it and put up no fight. And in the absence of fear and control is the sound of the surrendering soul, louder than the dogmatic persecution I sing it like 'you got that right!'

Ooh, ooh, sha la la la la This is the future soul song.

— PRINCE | Future Soul Song, 20ten

Monday, August 1, 2011

Accepting

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
There are two primary choices in life:
accept conditions as they exist, or
accept the responsibility for changing them.
— D. WAITLEY

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Four-letter words

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
Love.
C’est.
Life.
Hard.
Slow.
Fast.
Easy.
Hold.
True.
Good.
Pics.
Past.
Idea.
Deep.
Dive.
Don’t.
Seek.
Find.
Mask.
Mess.
Feel.
Fine.
Hope.
Work.
Play.
Fair.
Even.
Home.
Like.
Hate.
Help.
Hero.
Bust.
This.
Zone.
Dawn.
Yoga.
Rain.
Tree.
Sage.
Mood.
Mind.
Wise.
Path.
Road.
Soul.
Song.
Sing.
They.
Stay.
Well.
Weep.
Sigh.
Look.
More.
Risk.
Loss.
Keep.
Save.
Undo.
Redo.
Wake.
When?
What?
Damn.
Come.
Back.
From.
Blue.
Blur.
Ache.
Yuck.
Sigh.
Calm.
Door.
Open.
Able.
Want.
Less.
Dusk.
Wish.
Only.
Soft.
Star.
Pray.
Hope.
Heal.
Each.
Epic.
Bump.
Pain.
Fall.
Funk.
Mine.
Over.
Done.
Then.
Wait.
Jump.
Into.
Give.
Take.
Talk.
Rose.
Felt.
Nice.
Long.
Walk.
Fire.
Glow.
Free.
Will.
Soon.
Mend.
Wash.
Able.
Undo.
Miss.
Wipe.
Each.
Hazy.
Tear.
Fell.
News.
Info.
Grab.
Hand.
Wink.
Grin.
Leap.
Just.
Once.
Upon.
That.
Time.

Whew.

©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Saturday, July 30, 2011

No. 6

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

"Every just so often, the words of another
...seem to work out just fine."

PRINCE
Indeed.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Friday, July 29, 2011

Your path

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
There is no set path for you. There cannot be. In all of time, past, present or future, there will never be anyone else exactly like you in this world. No one else can walk your journey. No one else will ever know it as completely and honestly as you. It can be messy or beautiful. Or both. Your heart is trailblazing. Sometimes it will be a lovely journey. Sometimes a really challenging one. Sometimes it will make sense. Sometimes it won't. There are no rules. There is no set path. But like an inner compass, and wherever it leads... listen to it, trust it. And follow your heart.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Flower Power

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
Maybe this is one of the reasons I love flowers so much. This may also shed some light on why I lean toward optimism even in really difficult moments.

In 2007, a year of massive transition for me, I went on a rebuilding trip with my church to Louisiana after Katrina & Rita had devastated those areas. We were taken into the lower 9th ward by a wise, funny, deeply charismatic man who had moved back up to DC and attended our church while displaced from his home.

As he walked us through a neighborhood that used to have many houses, people's homes, where family memories, love, turmoil, history and new life was housed... now stood only the concrete foundations that once supported those very memories.

Barren. Like an old parking lot. Stripped of memories. Stripped of life.

There were only concrete foundations and... sprouts... of green.

Okay, so they were weeds.

But it WAS new growth. In the shadow of devastation.

I meandered off on my own with my camera, as I'll often do on group trips, when a little mini-daisy caught my eye (photo).* Okay, so it was also a weed.

I realized that in our lives, deep below what we can see or even anticipate as 'possible,' lies the very source of life. I believe that's why when you hear people saying "I need to center myself." They are trying to tap into that one, singular, universal well of living.

There are a lot of things that can knock us down in life. Things we thought would stand forever. Things that can scare us, make us bitter, angry, or shut out the idea of welcoming beauty that we each deserve in our lives. Every one of us deserves to have happiness. And perhaps there IS an opportunity to rebuild what's fallen down.

But time and time again, when I see 'life' springing up from unimaginable devastation like this, that I'm reminded of 'possibility.' Of the power of time. And the power of fresh starts. We can't even imagine what our futures may look like.

Beauty can turn into devastation.
But devastation can morph into beauty.

It's in that unknown, in that transition, that faith takes root.
faith is being sure of what we hope for
and certain of
what we do not see.
— Hebrews 11:1


And even in a delicate little flower like this, lies the strength. The power. To come back. To shine. To love. To bring beauty to the world. And thank God for that.
* click the photo -- for video and one of my favorite songs
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Beautiful Flower

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
Gorgeous. Powerful. Love her voice. Love the words.
Have you done a beautiful little flower sketch yet?


Wendy Hudgins

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I'll think about that tomorrow

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
...well, if there IS a tomorrow.

What would you say to people today? What would you do?
If everything were to disappear tomorrow.

These predictions have happened before. "The end of the world."

But what strikes me about this prediction, is the notion that SO many of us are aware of it, commenting about it, I'm blogging on it right now. But at the same time hardly any of us believe the end will actually come tonight at 6pm (and in which time zone will this happen?). There are actually more parodies than preparations. But as a Christian, a Methodist, I'm offended by the 'Christians' who stir all this fuss up, as the bible actually states, 'NO man will know the hour.'

But yet, there is something about this particular prediction, or its timing perhaps, has gotten us to think. A LOT of us. And it tells me that we want more out of our lives.

Then we should CLAIM more out of our lives!

If everything were to disappear tomorrow. Take the momentum of today... What would you say to people? What would you do?

I'd do an iChat with my sweet, silly 2yr old niece, Zoe. I'd call my grandma, who is 91 and we'd laugh and chat about stuff. I'd play with my dog and one of his favorite toys, and give him cheese and treats. I'd sit out on the patio with a book and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, a candle and the Adele station on Pandora. I'd paint. I'd go for a walk, laughing and holding hands with my boyfriend and head out for gelato. We'd go ride the train together with his son, and have a sparkly manicure party with his sweet daughter. I'd go get a crêpe. Nutella and banana. I'd pray. I'd take a nap. I'd get together for dinner with my neighbors and we'd have eachother in stitches. I'd write a note (or a blog) for whoever survives this impending apocalypse. And then I'd tuck in to bed with the book I just started... and fall off to sleep.

Simple joys.

And while there'd be no bungy jumping, sky diving or things like that for me... there are two long shots that have been on my wish lists for years. Two things I would want to do before the end of world as we know it: head to a vintage Porsche dealer to drive my black 911 Carrera, and have breakfast with Prince. Then, I'd feel fine.

Life is complicated, it's busy, it's full, but there is so much beauty in the world.

Why must we only see this beauty in these crisis moments? Why must we postpone our joy? Our living? Our loving? Why can't we live out loud, like this, every day? Why does it seem to take an apocalyptic prediction, a tsunami, a terrorist act, or other breaking point for us to live the life we want to live?

Bonjour y'all! It's been a good ride here on earth.

And as for what comes next...

"I'll think about that tomorrow."
— SCARLET
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Monday, May 2, 2011

Special Report

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
I'm blogging this on the morning of May 2nd, prior to any [additional] news coverage and opinions about yesterday's event.

Brothers and Sisters. I was watching this show for the first time last night. Sunday night, the first of May. Interesting tangled web of relationships. I can relate. I was all comfy on the couch in the living room with the dog sleeping next to me. And they were just about to hit a critical relationship turning point with one of the charact... "ABC NEWS SPECIAL REPORT."

My stomach sank.

A bomb? An assassination? Just seeing those words, presented in what felt like Walter Cronkite throw-back slide-graphics, made my heart instantly sink and my mouth went dry.

Gut instinct. Oh, Jesus, what now. What are they about to tell us.

"Osama bin Laden has been killed."

Wow. Then a mix of feelings...

Everyone who was around to remember the event on that gorgeous, blue-sky September 11th morning, knows exactly where you were. What you were doing.

I had returned from an amazing year living in France to work as an Art Director and Creative Spark at Disney in Orlando. I didn't yet have a pet. It was just me. Not even one year yet, at my new job.

I was in the bathroom, getting ready for work. It was a beautiful day, the windows were open. The Today Show was on TV in the living room and a local Tampa radio station was on in the bathroom where I was.

"A plane has hit the World Trade Center."

When the guy first said on the radio it seemed a bit random and out of place. Small plane, likely. What was the need to tell us in Florida about a little Cessna? At first I wasn't really rattled at all.

We had never experienced ANY-thing like what were about to witness unfolding before our disbelieving, innocent, pre-airport security eyes.

But that morning the brevity of his words on the radio and the randomness of this interruption, twice, were enough for my curiosity to lead me to the living room to witness a paradigm shift in the way our world would be.


Katie Couric was on the Today Show, unscripted, on the phone with a woman semi-near the towers. Video was airing while they talked. And it looked scary.

But my simple thought was, "I hope they can get a fire and rescue team up there before the fire spreads." Was it a small plane? An accident? A terrorist act? No one knew. Not even Katie and Matt. It couldn't have been the weather, there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

No one knew, just yet, what was happening. Or why.

Then as we were watching, live, a second plane hit the other tower and new videos were coming in. Shit. This is bad.

It felt like the country was under attack.

Was this over? Would there me more? What's going on? We had NOTHING to compare this too.

Keep in mind, many of us still hadn't even bought our first cell phone, nevermind digital video, photos, or texts. I believe I was still developing film from my POS film-camera at the Walgreen's in Hunters Creek. YouTube did not begin until February 2005. Camera phones were early 2000's at best. iPhone June 2007. Facebook? Twitter? Status? Never heard of them.

Phone. Email. Those were our options for communications.

And before today, all the liquids you care to bring with you on a plane, tax-free, body scan-free. I remember the first time I witnessed my grandparents — my grandparents — getting frisked. Our world as we knew it was being transformed. Things were about to be different and they were not going back.

We watched the TV, glued to it, and I desperately waited for 'the rescue teams' to come and stop this terror. Save these people.

It couldn't happen. This event was too big. And it was already underway.

All you could do was sit there and watch. Awful. What are those poor people seeing? It's so bad inside that they're opting to jump out of windows? Jesus.

People were casually walking away from the buildings, halfway paralyzed by the same curiosity and disbelief we ALL shared on that dreadful morning.

Then it began.

The top of one of the buildings began to implode and fall. I thought it would go down to just the area that the plane hit. Which would have been bad enough.

But. The. Whole. Building. Collapsed.

It was gone. Gone. No longer there and part of the NY skyline.

Along with anyone in it. Or below it.

Oh, this is catastrophic.

Then all I could think then, was that anyone near that building needs to get away. NOW. And the cloud of 'dissolved building' erupted and came roaring, rolling through the NY streets like that scene from Indiana Jones.

Wow.

Our country had been attacked? On our soil?

This isn't supposed to happen. We're America. Who hates us this much? The leadership of America prior to this time had been one that reached out. We hadn't yet acquired the infamous cocky, inexperienced leadership, and global bad-reputation. The economy was great, real estate was good, we played well with other [countries]. Even eachother for the most part.

I called every person in my family. Are you okay? I love you.

Disbelief.

I called a dear friend of mine, who was a big part of my moving to work at Disney. He had just left the day before, to be in NY for filming a new TV spot for Disney with another Florida creative friend of mine. I remember the message I left him. "Ross, this is Wendy, get out of NY. Now. I don't know if you already have 4,000 msgs informing you of the events -- but in case this is the first, we've been attacked. Get. Out. Now." He did. He and Tom were fine.

Then the first unexpected transformation.

I decided to drive on in to work. I remember cowering in the seat of my brand new Jetta looking up to the sky as if I could see and drive away from an impending attack. I was scared. Then at four-way stops, no one would go. Too polite.

You know they say the calm before the storm? We were all SO nice to eachother, compassionate, respectful, gentle with eachother. It felt like a live scene from Disney's Chip & Dale.

But we've been experiencing the 'storm' of discontent, disrespect, ever since that overly polite, calm, caring, compassionate aftermath day of 9/12/11. As a country, we haven't been able to come together like that since then.

Very sad.

Our country (the one that normally rushes to help others) was immediately offered help by the world. An outpouring of support, protesting these horrific acts in an effort to ward off terrorism from spreading further.

But 43 turned it down, pulled up his britches, tipped his cowboy hat. And essentially said "we don't need you."

Launched a war, dissolved an economy, and made America look ridiculous overseas. Our respect had been tarnished. That's a hard thing to get back. I'd been traveling to France for a decade and after the 9/11 attack noticed a distinct shift in attitudes. Most folks were able to separate the idea that not all Americans supported 43.

Fast forward. Nearly a decade. Now our own political parties are so charged, leaders or wanna-be leaders, are SO shamefully disrespectful (Trump) that the country may implode again, at our own hands. But before that happens... last night...

...the source of the original chaos was stopped.
On Wikipedia, they post this when history is in the making: This article is about a person who has recently died. Some information, such as that pertaining to the circumstances of the person’s death and surrounding events, may change as more facts become known.
On May 1, 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama announced on national television that bin Laden had been killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan by American military forces and the Central Intelligence Agency and that his body was in U.S. custody
After a long period of rest and peace, we'd been in the midst of a history-making decade that began at the hands of this evil person.

But as I watched last night, my feelings were calm, quiet, and mixed. I hate that it had to come to this... but as a kid would say, "he started it."

I am relieved he is out of the picture, and I know this, in itself is a huge accomplishment, but doesn't in and of itself end this out-of-control problem of terrorism. It may escalate it. And with the party-like celebrations that spontaneously erupted... my fear with this mentally and morally unsteady group is that they will retaliate.

Do we really want to fan that fire? I don't.

Also, a quick side-note. Looking back to my having watched the CSPAN Coorespondents' Dinner coverage Saturday night, and being in touch throughout it with my boyfriend who was attending it, something struck me... a gut sense or observation that Obama seemed bit preoccupied. Distracted.

Now, it all makes sense.

Looking back is easy. Looking ahead is not.

Be safe today.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Friday, April 29, 2011

Set the world on fire

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Now you KNOW I loved this sermon. Yes, it was royal pageantry, pomp and circumstance, but just for a moment of this early morning of our 'busy' world filled with tornadoes, war and uncertainty, a dicey economy, and with twisted politics, it sure was nice to be lifted up and encouraged. These words were lovely, timely, and full of hope.
Now, steady on...


The Bishop of London's Sermon
29th April 2011

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves.

Many are full of fear for the future of the prospects of our world but the message of the celebrations in this country and far beyond its shores is the right one – this is a joyful day! It is good that people in every continent are able to share in these celebrations because this is, as every wedding day should be, a day of hope.

In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.

William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another.

A spiritual life grows as love finds its centre beyond ourselves. Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this; the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.

It is of course very hard to wean ourselves away from self-centredness. And people can dream of doing such a thing but the hope should be fulfilled it is necessary a solemn decision that, whatever the difficulties, we are committed to the way of generous love.

You have both made your decision today – “I will” – and by making this new relationship, you have aligned yourselves with what we believe is the way in which life is spiritually evolving, and which will lead to a creative future for the human race.

We stand looking forward to a century which is full of promise and full of peril. Human beings are confronting the question of how to use wisely a power that has been given to us through the discoveries of the last century. We shall not be converted to the promise of the future by more knowledge, but rather by an increase of loving wisdom and reverence, for life, for the earth and for one another.

Marriage should transform, as husband and wife make one another their work of art. It is possible to transform as long as we do not harbour ambitions to reform our partner. There must be no coercion if the Spirit is to flow; each must give the other space and freedom. Chaucer, the London poet, sums it up in a pithy phrase:

“Whan maistrie [mastery] comth, the God of Love anon,

Beteth his wynges, and farewell, he is gon.”

As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West, there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive, we need mutual forgiveness, to thrive.

As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practise and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.

I pray that all of us present and the many millions watching this ceremony and sharing in your joy today, will do everything in our power to support and uphold you in your new life. And I pray that God will bless you in the way of life that you have chosen, that way which is expressed in the prayer that you have composed together in preparation for this day:

God our Father, we thank you for our families; for the love that we share and for the joy of our marriage.

In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on what is real and important in life and help us to be generous with our time and love and energy.

Strengthened by our union help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Amen.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Monday, April 25, 2011

Become

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
"How does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar."
— TRINA PAULUS

©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Absence. Presence.


T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
I'm listening to an ambient Pandora station called New Age Essentials. The sun has fallen on wonderful Easter Sunday in DC, and the windows are open with a cool breeze coming in. Very meditative. Calm. Perfect opportunity to reflect. I also had a cup of Chamomile tea tonight for dinner.

Yep. That's it. A cup of tea and honey. For dinner.

Ate way too much from a wonderful Easter dinner this afternoon.

Completely stuffed. No room for more.

We gathered together and some words were shared before eating. I love that it IS called "blessing" or "grace." We are blessed. And full of gratitude. Caught up with some great old friends, saw so many new babies, and all of the joy and change of today gave me pause...

An empty tomb was the premise for today's sermon. "Running on Empty" was the title. Late last night I shared a link to a current Walmart Easter ad with our pastor, my friend, who used that as a lead-in to her Easter sermon. We are rushing. Filling up with stuff. To have more. To get there first. And she later touched on something that I needed to hear...

An empty tomb was the premise for today's sermon. When there is absence in our life, even if it hurts, or we ache, or we cry, or we are lost, it can also be precisely the condition needed for us to be filled-up. With the presence of something new. With a new job, an illumination, a new opportunity, with God, with a brilliant idea, or a friend. Or as was the case, so unexpectedly for me exactly two years ago today, with the one who still lights up my life.

We have to make space. We have to let go. We have to be open.

I normally only put my photos on this blog, but a former neighbor* posted the photo [above] this evening.

What a perfect, perfect, perfect, image.

Years ago, I read somewhere that if you are desiring something, or someone, or some change in your life... you have to make space for it, for them.

Prepare a space for their presence to come into your life.

When we clutter our minds, our closets, our schedules, our heart (with old baggage), how can there possibly be room for something new and beautiful to come in. To feel welcomed, comfortable, and invited. And, likewise, we have to let go when something is no longer suited for our life. It is only when that clutter is absent that beauty, strength, new life, new possibility can come in. Like a flower in a garden.

Or take the Byzantine, frozen-in-time, northern Greece monasteries of Mt. Athos that inspired the meditative mindset I'm in. For them (like it or not), it was women. For them to stay focused on their work of getting closer to God, of being open to receive, they needed focus. So for them it was no women.

What do you need to clear out of your life? To let-go of? In order to move forward. To be able to be filled up with something new and wonderful?

I feel that the photo above by Roberto Neumiller, represents how our lives can tend to appear sometimes: over-crowded, slowing us down, clouding our direction, blocking our view, and holding on to way too much baggage.

Yes we are busy.

And that's not a totally bad thing.

But while there's a lot going on in ALL of our lives, think about the ADD-inducing overload of our iPhones and Blackberries, we need to remember to set those things down.

We need to remember we need to shed some of the old baggage in our life. To let go. And be open to welcoming in new beauty. New possibility. New life. Be willing to take the risk, to trust, to make the space in our life for, and be expectant for it to be filled with, beauty.

An empty tomb was the premise for today's sermon.

Empty yourself. Create absence.

So you can be ready for the presence of greatness...
in whatever form your life needs at this moment.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins
*I used to babysit him when he was 3yrs old with a little teddy bear and he now flies jets over Afghansitan and other rugged places in the Middle East.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Slight Variations

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

©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Last tweet and a bundt cake

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
In a world with knee-jerk comments, and distorted notions of what constitutes success and what it takes to begin to achieve it, tonight's thoughts comes from this evening's news...

AT THE END
They shared a last tweet of a brave and brilliant photo journalist killed in Libya today. Those would be his very last words. What if what you upload, share, or tweet today... are your last words?
Language creates reality. Words have power. Speak always to create joy in your life.
—DEEPAK CHOPRA
AT THE BEGINNING
The factory making bundt cake pans up in Minnesota is still making them and business in booming. They began after the war with just $500. Take away? If you have a good idea. Begin it.
The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.
—W.M. LEWIS
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Which are you?

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
Are you dreaming your life? Or living your dreams?
  1. Scribble down 3 of your goals on a piece of paper.
  2. Place in: super-fun frame, recycled frame, or float frame.
  3. Display where you are most often (office? home?).
  4. Read them.
  5. Follow them...
Inspired by a wonderful lunch today with a dear friend.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Who are you?

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Take away all of your labels...
[who are you?]

—DEEPAK CHOPRA


I've been intrigued by Deepak Chopra since the first book I read of his while living in Chicago. This simple but profound statement was an online post of his that I just saw. I was captivated. Wow.

Think about it. No longer a "southern, sister, art director, daughter, girlfriend, aunt, [political party], [religious 'party'], white, 40-year old, female, brunette, graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago," He actually says, "Take away all of your labels and you are the Infinite Being." No more stereotypes. No more sides. I was captivated. Wow.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Orange. Purple. Silver.

B R E A D C R U M B
I just returned from a trip to see my youngest sister in Colorado Springs. Her husband is in the Air Force.

There was a time when my two younger sisters, Susan and Elizabeth (just two years apart), were almost like identical twins. Whatever I'd get or create for one sister, I'd have to get or create the same for the other. Then one day gradually over time each of their very unique personalities shined.

Now, in our family, we three sisters are: a creative, a physical therapist, and a CPA. But that's just one single label on the vast complexity of each of us as a human being.

I've always been an advocate of this quote I have posted in my home:
"Man's main task is
to give birth to himself."

—Erich Fromm
Blending in or standing out. This is the dance of life. And I believe we all teeter between these two polarities at various times throughout our lives. But we should stand out. Be more than a single label on the vast complexity of each of us as a human being.

Two things from this past weekend's trip caught my eye:

First, we went to the Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel. Just as we walked inside I noticed a small camouflage bible for the service men and women. Camo, so that (EVERYthing) would blend in to the surroundings. Would stay safe.

But then my eye was turned upward to the wildly sparkling colorful ceiling of sun-soaked stained glass slivers cutting toward the sky like the contrails of a jet reaching to the heavens. And it was the bright colorful unique ones that were the eye candy. That were such an absolute delight to look at. To photograph. To look at again. I was like a child looking at the gumball machine in the grocery store.

Second, was a little book that I picked up as we were browsing around at Barnes & Noble. In this little trivia book, I learned this: There are no words in the English language that rhyme with orange, purple, or silver.

Not only did those colors stand out in the tall, tall ceilings of the chapel but they can't be matched, there's no synonym or rhyme for them. They are unique.

So, be an orange, purple, or silver.

Be unique. Be unryhmable. Be wildly sparkling.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The first four letters

C R E A T I V E - S P A R K
The first four letters inside the word heart...
To get to the fullness of our
hear
t, we must first hear.

—WENDY HUDGINS
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

One

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


our world is small. our heart is big.

an online image of the tsunami's devastation in Japan in contrast
to the simplicity of the Japanese flag. thinking of all of these folks
who lost everything, maybe loved ones, or even their own lives.

©2011

Why does it take a broken elevator?

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Why does it take a broken elevator? Or an heartless attack on an American city? Or a hurricane? Or a tsunami? Or nuclear meltdown? For us to have more compassion with one another. And boldly act on that compassion. There's a show that breaks these monstrous tragedies down to daily bite-size versions of doing the right thing:
What Would You Do?

You don't have to be Christian or Jewish, speak English or Spanish, have money or not. You have to care and have the audacity to act on it. Period.

When an elevator gets stuck, these 'strangers' who you wouldn't otherwise breathe a word to, may very well save your life. May even become life-long friends. If your home is dissolved by a force of nature, you don't care where the help comes from.

Someone on Facebook today just posted this,

"Knowingly giving ones life to help millions of others reveals the truth of what the human spirit can be... why is it only during times of horrific crisis that we put our differences aside and extend ourselves to each other
."
— C. COSCIA

Why indeed.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Monday, March 14, 2011

What's on your bucket list?

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
I recall in 3rd grade, my Sunday school teacher had asked us, "if your house caught on fire, what would you grab to take out with you?" Even at the ripe, wise, old age of [well, however old I was in 3rd grade] I knew she was fishing for us to say, our Bible. But I thought to myself, I love God and all, but you can always get another Bible.

My answer? I'd take photos with me. Those are irreplaceable.
My inquisitive and wandering nature began.

Perhaps I'm struggling with the recent involuntary and instant loss both of human life and of the 'things' that were deemed important amidst the absolutely surreal tsunami that resulted from Japan's recent earthquake. But these folks must now go on, many, without their loved ones. And most without their once treasured possessions.

In the end we all know we can't take any of the physical things we surround ourselves with, with us. But, if you could fill one bucket with up to five items, possessions, tools, etc. from your home to grab in an emergency, what would they be?
  1. ______________
  2. ______________
  3. ______________
  4. ______________
  5. ______________
These are a few of our favorite things. But they are not us.
They make us comfortable, but they are not critical.

Certainly the things we have do bring us a sense comfort, or status, or hold memories. But what's interesting is that when you are separated from those 'things', you actually find you already and still carry a great deal of your life in your mind. In fact, the 'thing' itself is of no consequence, it's the importance you put on it that gives it value.

"C'est le temp que tu as perdu pour ta rose qui fait ta rose si importante."
It's the [time/love/value] you have given to the rose that makes the rose so important.
— Le Petit Prince
My hope is that we never ever have a need to fill our bucket. And that when we say, you're in our thoughts, you take great comfort that that's a very safe place where you can stay for a very long time.
©2011 Wendy Hudgins

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Give it up

T W E N T Y - S I X - L E T T E R S
Closer to God. Closer to fine?
I'm trying to tell you something about my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
The best thing you've ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously, it's only life after all
Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
And lightness has a call that's hard to hear
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it, I'm crawling on your shore.


I took this photo of some little purple crocus just yesterday on Sligo Creek. These are the first flowers to emerge announcing the arrival of spring. In the winter they were just a little non-descript bulb. But buried away deep in the earth, they wait. And they wait. And after waiting a really, really long time...
lentement, lentement, ils apparaissent they burst through and make their debut in brilliant colors as a flower.



Give it up.

In the past I've given something up for the season of Lent. We live busy lives. We can lose ourselves. Our purpose. And life flies by. But this life is not a dress rehearsal. So, I like the hiccup that happens when you commit to let go and release something from your life. Set it aside, or, as I'm planning to do this year, perhaps add something to your life, consistently, throughout these 40 days.

Today marks the beginning of Lent and being inquisitive by nature (what did I do before the internet, I have no idea), I got curious about some of the traditions of Lent. My own personal interpretation of Lent may lean a little toward the pagan side, but there's a profound spiritual connection that can occur as well.

As for some basic questions I had...

Why is it called Lent?
Lent means long. Slow. According to one source, it also means Spring. And... the days are getting longer.

Why pancakes on Tuesday? And eggs at Easter?
Pancakes were a way to use up rich foodstuffs such as milk, sugar, and... eggs before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. So then when Easter Sunday arrived it was a time to celebrate, priests would bless eggs, cheese, meats and other items that the faithful had been abstaining from during Lent. Hence, Easter eggs. The bunnies? You'll have to do some research on your own...

How did we get from fasting ...to giving up chocolate, TV, and Facebook*?
There are traditionally 40 days in Lent which are marked by fasting, both from foods or festivities. Today, some people give up a vice of theirs, or do something that will center themselves, bringing them closer to God. Many modern Protestants consider the observation of Lent to be a choice, or opportunity, rather than an obligation.

As for my pagan interpretation and the spiritual connection...

Removing something in our life that doesn't contribute to us being the best us, or adding in something that will get us to that place... is how I see the journey of Lent. By giving up something that interferes or overly influences your life, or making the time for you to contemplate your unique purpose, I believe we can get closer to what we are meant to be in this life.

And being a breadcrumb-follower who just turned 40 last December, this journey of 40 days has a particular connectionfor me this year.

Getting closer to God?

We live in a world that sadly provides more and more reasons for people to distrust organized religion. But humans are the problem. Not God. Humans are fallible. Even in our best efforts, each of us has done or said things that don't coincide with the image we have of ourselves, or maybe the image God has for us. So Lent, to me, provides a period of time to contemplate this. As for God, I can't prove to you that God exists. And I like that. That is why it is called faith.

If you do happen to subscribe to the idea that each of us has a unique gift or purpose for our short time in this crazy and beautiful world, I believe that one of the greatest achievements (and displays of gratitude) is to relentlessly pursue that.

Closer to fine?

What is it for you? Is it being an artist and showing the world something that their eyes were blind to before? Is it to be a teacher and guide a young mind? Be a loving father? Is it to head up a volunteer organization and offer compassion in a harsh world? Is it to be a world traveler and shed light on the beauties, or atrocities, around the world? What is your gift? Your purpose? Why are you here?

In our busy, busy lives. In the routine-ness we fall into. In the over-obligated schedules we hold. When is there even the time to contemplate these things? To become... closer to fine. Closer to God?

If the time isn't there, I believe we must make the time.

Only we (and God) know our deep past and present struggles, and what we want for our future. I believe that we possess more wisdom, insight, and strength than we know. I believe in the core of our being
each of us knows what gift or purpose we each possess. And when we can center and quiet ourselves enough, when we can rely on ourselves and connect with God we can regain that hidden strength and purpose. Going out to the desert for 40 days must have been a very centering experience. Shedding outside influence. Getting closer to God.

A few years back I gave up TV. Such a relief. No bombardment of information I really didn't need... or even want. And a freedom to get out, read more, or just relax.

* Then last year I even surprised myself by giving up... Facebook. For 40 days. Perhaps this illustrates the more 'pagan' interpretation that I referred to. But what happened was transformative. Being that I work solo as a professional creative in the DC-area, I don't have 'cube mates' or others in my office to chat with or bounce ideas off of, FB is a god-send. And it has an 'alive' quality about it, with profile pics changing like mood rings, little blips of sweet juicy insights into someone's take on their world in a given day. And that part can make it a bit addictive. So I sought to retreat. To recalibrate. And I loved the break from it.

And this year, I am focusing, more privately, on a new thing for this season.

I can't randomly quote scripture from the bible, I certainly don't profess to be perfect or holier than anyone, I'm not. But I do strive to be the best that I can be while I'm here on this beautiful crazy planet. And I do believe in God. And
that where God guides, God will provide. If it's to the wilderness for reflection. So be it. If it's into service and volunteer work so be it. If it's turning off the things in our life that are distractions. Give it up.

In retreating, in this losing of ourselves, we can become found.

After this upcoming period of Lent, of sacrifice... or focus... or addition... perhaps we ourselves will emerge. And blossom. Stronger, wiser, more humble, more compassionate? Even transformed? Opening our own selves up to new possibilities. Like the crocus that emerges and reaches up and out to life. We may just get closer to fine.

Here goes...

©2011 Wendy Hudgins
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