Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bead Journal Registration

Tomorrow is a big day. Besides the fact that I leave for my annual bead retreat with my bead group, REGISTRATION starts for the Bead Journal Project!!! Click on Registration to take you to the page to sign up. The project will start January 1, 2010. You've seen my bead pages, so hopefully you have an idea of the possibilities. If you want to see more examples, go to the gallery.

The Bead Journal Project is one of the nicest groups of people around. Everyone is friendly, helpful, supportive. The scope of topics that people bead about can be simple or profound, but the all reflect life, our lives, and because of that the meaning of the pages touches us all.

Come join us for friendship, beading, journaling, and more.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Bracelets

I have new bracelets to share today. Above is the detail of the clasp from Marcia DeCoster's Rio Dulce bracelet. I started this one on the bead cruise last year and just finished it.....

Below is a crystal bracelet that I found in Bead and Button magazine from August 2009.

And the third bracelet is from a pattern from Bead Infinitum for a fringe bead, which I have strung with crystals and a rondelle.

Earlier today I met with a friend from high school - Harold, if you're reading this, I had a great visit. It was so nice to catch up and see how the years have treated us over time. I find that life, rather than being a horizontal path, is more like a spiral. It goes round, down, up, around again, it is circular, starting and stopping at different points. And, even with the down times, it is worth every minute, because it is what we have, and it is who we are.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Shana Tova

To all my friends, best wishes for for a happy, healthy, and sweet Rosh Hashana.

As I heard the announcer from the football stadium say today, you couldn't have painted a nicer day, and it's true. Today was the perfect day for the start of the new year, blue skies, slight wind, low 70s, the leaves starting to change colors. A time of transition, a time to reflect, a time to think about our place in the world, and how we can make it a safer and more peaceful place. Between memory and hope, the new year begins.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BJP Year 3

The Bead Journal Project is going to have year 3 starting in January, 2010!!!

To register, go to

To see what participants have done, go to the member's gallery

No experience is necessary! Anyone can join as long as you create one visual journal piece each month that uses beads. You can also use other materials - fibers, quilting, collage, buttons, whatever appeals to you.

Come join us and embark on your own journaling experience.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

August BJP Done!

Here is my last month of the BJP project, Hope. Hope is what keeps you going when all other avenues seem shut off. Hope is wishing to stay alive long enough to see your children grow up. Hope is wishing not for a cure, but for treatment that will keep you comfortable and functional. Hope changes constantly, but it never gives up.

Ann drove a 10 year old car 30 miles each way to dialysis because she believed that the director of the program had saved her life (this was a common belief of many patients, I learned). She raised 3 children, who were her pride and joy, and cleaned houses to earn money. Ann was the most generous person I ever met. She would stop if she saw a homeless person to make sure they got a meal or had a blanket. She had next to nothing herself, but she always considered herself more fortunate than others.

Ann had 2 sons and a daughter, Maria. Her hope was to see them graduate first high school and then college. At the time I met Ann, her daughter, Maria, was a college freshman. She often came over from her dorm to sit with her mother for the 3 hours of dialysis. I watched Maria grow up to be a lovely young woman, and I was privileged to be at her wedding and to share in the joy when her 2 daughters were born.

Faith was another dialysis patient whom I bonded with. She worked at the university, although it became increasingly more difficult to do so over the years. We used to have such lively conversations about anything and everything and we both shared a love of crafts.

Ann and Faith both died from health complications. Maria died when she was 32 from an aneurism caused by her kidney disease. A mariachi band played at her funeral. It's hard to be sad when a mariachi band plays, but it was also hard to be happy knowing she was so young and that her 2 children, who were her pride and joy, may never remember her.

From these incredible women, Ann, Maria, and Faith, I learned to never give up hope, and that while hope changes all the time, there is always something new to hope for.

(Thank you to Susan E. for blogging in a style that I have borrowed for this entry. You are an inspiration!)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Anniversary to us!

Today is our 28th wedding anniversary. And it may also be the 30th anniversary of the day we met. Dennis and I were both graduate students at the University of Michigan and lived in apartments next to each other. The rest is history. And we've come full circle, beginning in Ann Arbor, moving to Boston, then Florida, and back to Ann Arbor. We're happy here, raised the kids here, and hope to be here many more years.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Football Saturday

Today is the first home game for the University of Michigan, the first game of the season. It's only 9:30 am and I can hear the band practicing. It'll be a beautiful day for a game........however, Michigan is coming off it's worst season ever last year, so we have to wait and see how they'll do this year.

On football Saturdays, as I call them, I can't get out of my neighborhood when traffic is coming or leaving for the game, which is many hours of the day. Even though there's a traffic light at one end of the neighborhood, football fans think they don't have to actually stop at a red light. That is football in Ann Arbor. Shops close downtown, RV's park at the high school, tailgating starts first thing in the morning. Flags wave as the cars stream into town. Everyone is wearing maize and blue (unless they're from MSU - green, or Ohio State - red) and the town becomes one crazed football party.

So I put the radio on to listen to the game, open the living room window, and sit with my beading tray on my lap, enjoying the fall day, the cheers from the stadium, and my shiny little beads!

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Final "Firing" Poem

The following poem is the final piece of what I call my Firing Trilogy - My Vein of Gold mandala, The Door poem, and this, Rainbow. They were part of my healing process and were important when I had a trial against my former employer. I used them to buffer the onslaught of negativity that comes with a trial, mainly an effort to destroy me as an individual and social worker. It took years of hard work to put things in perspective and move on. You may think that by revisiting this time in my life I am going backward, but actually it feels like I am creating the base for how I became a bead artist. I truly feel that sometimes profound events have to happen in our lives to wake us up and embrace what it is we truly want.


On a Sunday night I saw a beautiful rainbow over the autumn foliage at Gallup Park.

The sky was black, and from a break in the clouds the sun was shining just so it hit the tops of the trees, magnifying each hue of orange, red, and magenta of the changing leaves.

I have never seen anything like it before, the black of the sky, the brilliance of the leaves.
It was truly magnificent. It was like a message was being sent:

There is beauty in life even with change and loss.
From pain can come new energy and appreciation for the things that matter.
An ending can become a beginning, a time for growth.
The loss of old dreams can be replaced with new ones.

We don't always know what the challenges in life are going to be, there's not a script we can always follow. Our lives are constantly being rewritten and revised.

Perhaps the real challenge is to grasp the rainbow when we see it.