out-smarting the conveyor belt

I used to think life held some great destination that I was going to arrive at one day and have it all figured out. I had a mental list of things that needed to be checked off and then somehow I was going to stop growing. Because I had gotten there. Or something weird like that. I don’t even know that girl anymore.

I am so aware of the journey now and cannot even visualize a destination, because that would be limiting myself from so many possibilities. I am cognizant of what I am passionate about yet believe there are a plethora of other things and experiences I don’t know I am in love with because I haven’t yet been exposed.  And if I was only on board for the destination I wouldn’t be living the journey. And how do you ever realize your true loves if you don’t constantly have your eyes open to what you might encounter on your path?

I am amazed that I spent so many years trying to get there, but didn’t ever really know where I was going. My journey was more of a transport via conveyor belt through a tunnel with ten demerits for opening your eyes or asking questions. I’m not so concerned with how I got dead-bolted to the conveyor belt in the first place, but rather with how I took a free-fall off of it, with eyes wide open, and realized the journey was up to me.

Truth is, I cannot even ride those airport conveyor belts any longer because they take too much of the control away from me; how slowly or quickly I choose to pace myself, or what I want to pause and take in along the way. I had my eyes fastened shut for so many years I don’t think I even realized what I was not living.

I find myself overflowing with gratitude for my life. I am living the life I choose to live. And I get it now. That in itself is a celebration.


love > markers

O lover of sweet treats and markers; I am a lover of you. Even with your guilty face and conniving ways my heart is sold to “and when I get back in here let me see all the colors laid out and ready for me” and “when I put this broom away I will take some money and a sweet treat” and “wow, so you’re doing the outlining first right mama? I bet I could outline better with those markers” and then there’s the (in whiny voice-at breakfast time) “but I just can’t think of anything to eat other than a cookie..that’s the only choice in my brain”.  She is a sugar coated, double dipped, ride-your-bike-to-7-11-and-spend-all-of-your-allowance on candy-coated me.  

I purchased some new supplies this week for a project on which I am working, and you-know-who couldn’t wait to get her paws all touching everything. I said no. No wrecking my markers. You have 4 cup-fulls of them that I have so nicely organized for you, and those you shall use.  Well…I made it through family art session numero uno with my markers and paper both in my possession. With fine tips and miss scribble-scrabble not being such good bedfellows I am reluctant to say mi palette es su palette.

Tonight is night two of family art and she has, I’m pretty sure, been thinking about how to get those markers in her hand since family art session number one. And then, from the looks of it, she has been through law school already and I am no match for her arguments. Or candy-coated cuteness. But I do experience great laughter and joy, and think even she is starting to get herself. So, we are all working on our stuff, in their room, with the new lamp that nearly took out my right arm (and, unfortunately, left me looking like a cutter). And really, I guess it’s my fault, because I asked for her artistic input on my project. And guess what? It could only be added, you might guess, with MY markers.  Markers = 17.99.  True Love > everything else.

Sure sis, you can use these but be gentle with them.  And then miss bossy pants arrives on the scene. You can feel the glow of accomplishment and marker-love exude from her every pore. I think this marker score may have trumped candy and sweet treat love. She begins with admiring her new accomplishment.  Then starts bossing me about whose turn it is and what color we are going to use. Then comes the “turn the markers my way when it is my turn and I will turn it your way when it is your turn”. There is a lot of Quinn-loves-Quinn talk to herself about the markers. There are a few little prayers of some sort. There is a big-ol’-smile and an “I need my hair in a pony so I can concentrate” request (demand really, but I’m okay with it). And before anyone can scream out “I Love Sugar” she has full control of both my marker set and my sketch book.  

And my heart. Always and forever my heart. Sugar-coated-candy-lovin’-sweet-treat-i-only-want-cookies-for-breakfast-can-i-use-your-markers-where’s-my-money kind of love. And I love it when you pick me up mama.  Is your back better? I don’t care baby, I love you. Let me carry you to bed.


melting into me

Does too much to say make the saying harder to come by? Have you consigned your will to create with the words that entice you or are they challenging you to do more and better, forcing you to feel deeper and stronger? You don’t know how to write yourself out of what you have fallen into so you simply stop writing because, maybe, if you don’t write then you don’t feel each moment as though it has permeated your soul.

You could fastidiously gather the words you love and compile them to write your story, punctiliously fashioning each chapter. But through trial and error you have learned that designing the chapters is not nearly as exciting as letting the chapters bring you to life. So you have an experience and define what it means to you; minute by minute, day by day, month by month, and you take pause with each temptation to formulate the words that will make perfect your sermon to self. Trusting and living with intention provides words abundant with which you can tell your story. 

The words that are so much a part of you are simultaneously screaming to speak and begging silence. There are lessons learned you want to share; perhaps in hopes of precluding collective travels down the same path you have found to be lackluster by comparison. You are learning to welcome love and pain, to let raw emotion consume you as it provides the truest form of living you have experienced. You have feelings so intense that they threaten the pillars of strength you have built, brick by brick, which ground you. And as each step and misstep petitions for grace as it dissolves into your melting pot of growth, you see your authentic self with increasing clarity. 

There are so many questions but you don’t know where to begin. What path led you to this leg of the journey; which choice or un-choice to this outcome. And as you think about your life and attempt orderliness of the pictures and flashbacks, of the note cards and summaries and dissertations, your omniscient core knows that the questions are not yours to have, to beg, to postulate. Journeys happen and they take you where they may and you tiptoe, run, walk and sometimes crawl as best you can in the moment. 

Meanings are myriad depending on what you choose to believe in that moment and from that experience; to where you let it guide you, to what ensuing experience you let it lead. Life has many serendipitous happenings if your mind is open to receiving them. The relational nature of life becomes vivid when you seize what presents itself along the journey. Open-minded living is joyous because the surprise of the next serendipitous moment is looming… another opportunity to make a connection on your journey of here and now. 

Life is education on your terms: you hold the power to decide how you will let each opportunity color, change, mold and improve you. Life is an auspicious exploration of self; an offer to learn, grow and attempt to understand you. One day at a time. And one day at a time really means one moment at a time, one experience and then another to form an existence, to create a story, to live a life. 

Be in love with you. Be in love with life. Be.

lotta sorta kinda

Lot of tired
Lot of 2nd grade crying followed by
Lot of lecturing on when crying is and is not effective and acknowledged
With examples…
Lot of great homework
Lot of togetherness
Lot of flag football lovin’
Little of mom actually playing football
Lot of praise on my skills (throwing not catching, just to be clear he says)
Lot of screams from the pig upstairs
Lot of ignoring of the pig by its owner
Little to a lot of lecturing on caring for pets
Lot of asking for more pets
LOT of NO to that
Lot of coloring
Lot of awesome breakfast’s (if I do say so myself) 
Lot of reading in mom’s bed
Lot of trying to stay and sleep in mom’s bed
LOT of NO to that
Marginal bed infiltration, accepted, kissed and hugged
Lot of explaining this was a one night gig to strawberry haired underpants stealing girlfriend
Marginal accidental swearing not really at (well sorta) but in the general vicinity of rule following man-child all up in my space
Which begets
Lot of pouting
Lot of talking about rules 
Lot of apologizing for being human
Lot of explaining that I am, indeed human and not an endless vat of smiles and patience
Lot of forgiveness
Lot of love
Lot of gratitude
Lot of amazement
Lot of work, but
Lot of everything life is meant to be

And I am human, damn-it (insert smile here)

outside in

You, my child.

You are before me with eyes wide open and I search myself for what it means to raise you. Love over contempt, action over apathy, acceptance over fear. We teach by example, you and I; learning through each day we are allowed another opportunity.

I and you –  anger and retract, push and apologize, cry and try harder. I see me in you – the good and the bad – and am too hard on you when I see pieces of myself that I wish not to see.

You act and I learn, you fear and I understand, you hurt and I die a thousand lives in one moment while I hold you with voice strong and embrace stronger. Together we hold hands that at times are hard to extend when we are at our most vulnerable existence.

We are beauty in that we are. And then there is you, and you.  Individual and exquisitely you and I love with admiration deep and mind altering.  

And when I think I have seen the most beautiful creatures on earth I am afforded the opportunity to view you through the looking-glass of another. And I am in awe. Always in awe of you but the view from outside in is truly breath-taking.


it is


most definitely,


who is


even to,


still, you have

desire. of. none.

for me…

not the me, of now, for

she – in all of her


is a trigger.  that.

ignites within…

you (she hates that).

we have taken the

worst, of


to display in all

ways, to


you, and me,





blindsided, with eyes-wide

open… and,


ily, mm

I saw your beautiful being tonight through tears. Tears that I had two years ago. Tears that were easier to define tonight, though. They were tears of joy and amazement at you…a young woman now; no longer a child…and they streamed from my eyes the moment I set eyes on your eyes.

You see, you were my child for the better part of a year, and then you were gone, and I didn’t know what to do with that piece of love and missing…and maybe you didn’t either. I wanted to be angry and protect my own, but you had become my own, so then I was torn between two loves and feeling everyone’s pain.

I want you to know that he was the guiding light; the guiding soul; the one who led me back to love for you because his capacity for love is unbridled. But you already know that; his being shows exactly who he is and how glorious it is to love through his eyes.

My arms and heart will embrace you forever, no matter where you are; part of you will always be my child, and part of my heart will always belong to you.

mentor me tomorrow or always

I have been remiss in my writing.  I have no excuse other than one that is fabulous:  I have too many passions.  I am and have been trying my gosh-darndest to devote equal love to each on a daily basis but I am, as I have always been, a work in progress.

I could spend each moment of my existence happily floating amongst the freedom of art.  Creativity in motion.  In fact, I am working quite harder than is visible to the human eye (other than my own two which, coincidentally cannot see all that well) to propel my visions into reality.

And the reality is this.

I am 100% passionate about the following things:

-Spending copiuous amounts of time inside my own mind

-Writing and writing and writing my daily thoughts and observations; I have so much I want to share and so little time to put pen to paper to share it

-Each hand-written journal of quotes that I create; especially those designed for a specific person

-Every ancillary project that I have in the works under The Winking Phoenix

-Books I want to publish – forever wishing for more chunks of time in my day to free-flow my mental file cabinets

-Being the most loving, listening, kind, giving, compassionate wife, mama and general human being I can be each day

And, I am 100% committed to the  following things:

-Being the most loving, listening, kind, giving, compassionate wife, mama, and general human being I can be each day

-Being a better version of myself tomorrow than I was yesterday

-Offering the best of me to all I encounter, and absolutely to my husband and children on a daily basis

-Freeflowing my groove on a continuum that makes it all come together with some semblance of grace

So, with all that out of the way, I will enter into what propelled me from one creative endeavor to another:  What is a mentor? 

And you know I have a ton to both share and ponder.  And it was witnessing a mentor-in-action tonight that really got me thinking about the concept of mentoring, and what a true mentor does for others – and I am really excited to talk about it.

Stay tuned for my next post which promises to explore the many facets of mentoring.  I am tempted to start now (that passion thing is a killer)…but I am exhausted and it wouldn’t be as good as it could be for any of us…so after some much needed sleep I shall make my way back to these pages :-).