Not Just Another Pretty Picture


Panorama at Franz Lake

I have been living in the Upper Arkansas River Valley for about eight years now. I never tire of the views that capture my eye when I look up – when I’m out and about or when I’m at home:)

Sunset from my studio

Sunset from my studio

Yesterday my husband and I took a break from wrapping our holiday care packages to wander along the river to Franz Lake. The views, especially after the fresh snow, did not disappoint me.

Along a new section of trail en-route to Franz Lake

Along the new section of trail en-route to Franz Lake


With an eye on the Sawatch Range — at Franz Lake


Looking North at Mt Princeton, with the 365 foot historic smelter tower, peaking through the trees, on the right.

All this to say — I never think of my views as just another pretty picture.

All I need do is look up to be reminded of the beauty that surrounds me. This earth, and the little corner where I live, is absolutely amazing.

Where do you find beauty when you look up?





P.S. The holidays are upon us, and I’ll be stepping away from the online world for a bit. I hope to share one more post — about the exploring in planning I’ve been doing for the coming year. If I don’t make it back before the new year though, I’m wishing you a wonderful return to the light. And I’ll be back in the new year with renewed energy.

P.S.S. I’m sure I’ll be sharing some of the adventures we have planned in the next few weeks on Instagram. I’d love for you to visit me there:

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Filed under Arkansas River, Everyday Adventure, Joy, My Salida Backyard, Nature

Spreading the Mandala Magic!


Solstice Mandala


Mandala – sacred circle – magical circle …I think they are all really the same. And they have become a very important part of my creative life this past year.

It actually all began with my friend Julie Gibbons. Julie was studying and creating mandalas while we were in Circe’s Circle together, and she has developed an amazing 12-moth online workshop, Mandala Magic, where you can dive deep into mandala making & self-discovery! Registration is now open for the 2015 cycle.
(Circe’s Circle is a life changing group coaching program with Jamie Ridler – and registration for the next session is now open!)

This past spring I participated in another online mandala workshop, with Louise Gale. Mixed Media Mandalas unlocked the magic of these sacred circles in such a fun and accessible way.

mandala collage

My friend Kathryn Costa launched this fall, and asked me to participate in her solstice mandala calendar. The image at the top of this post is my final piece.


I love  opening a little window each day and seeing a new mandala from a different artist from around the world. You can check out this ongoing challenge – with weekly themes and the solstice mandala calendar for download – at

All of these wonderful artists and their resources have been inspiration to create and share my own mandalas. If you’ve already bought a 2015 Daily Musings Journal you’ll know the cover is inspired by a mandala I created. That mandala is included within the journal as a fun color-in page.


I am in awe from the response for the 2015 Daily Musings Journal. The creation of this journal, which started many years ago as a personal practice, has been a true journey of love that is flowing over as more & more of you join the daily musing journey this year and are loving these journals. I printed a limited quantity and there are still a few left for 2015. If one has your name on it please don’t wait too long to order yours!

Breathe-justBreathe_webI’d like to share one other mandala that I’ve created this year…

Breathe Just Breathe

This practice of returning to the breath and the present has become such an important practice for me. My thanks goes to my amazing yoga teacher Chanda and the yoga community at The Yoga Tonic.

If you’re interested in receiving a PDF of this mandala – that you can print, color and hang up to remind you to breathe – I invite you to join my mermaid tales email list where you will receive this along with about a dozen total color-in play sheet PDFs as my gift to you.

I hope these resources offer you a helpful entré into the world of the sacred practice of mandala making, and I hope you will find joy in creating mandalas as much as I do.




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Filed under Creativity, Daily Musings Journal, Inspiration, Journaling, Joy, Lettering, Spirituality

New Steps, Fresh Perspective


It’s been a little over five weeks since arthroscopy on my left knee. I’ve been doing physical therapy exercises, a modified yoga practice and pedaling my bike around town…and oh how I’ve missed the dirt. This past weekend I finally took to the trails in the Arkansas Hills just outside of Salida.

Come along on my hike with me…
You always have to cross the river and look up at Mt Princeton (photo above) as you head to the trails. New snow coated the peaks and everything felt crisp.

Venturing onto the trails felt like new steps – a fresh perspective on the beautiful valley, ringed with peaks, where I live.


I love looking across town to Mt Ouray and Chipeta who protect the Valley (Sawatch Range)


Clouds still hang near Mt Shavano while peaks north have only a big blue back drop.
The historic smelter tower is a stick in the foreground:)


Looking east the Twins Sisters (Sangre de Christo Mountain Range) shine on this glorious day.


Turning south again Mt Ouray looms as I descend back to town.

I love the fresh joy I felt with each step on the dirt trails and each vista that caught my eye. I try never to take for granted how my body can carry me over the river and through the woods, but after my reduced mobility from surgery I really have a fresh perspective.

As we move into Thanksgiving week here in the states, I am grateful for this body I call home. And it’s weekend again — I hope to go play on the dirt once again :)

What helps you gain a new perspective and fills you back up with gratitude?

I’d love to hear from you!




P.S. I’m filled with gratitude by all those already loving their 2015 Daily Musings Journals. Here’s one heartwarming response — unsolicited and it goes so perfectly with my previous post :)
“At times, I’ve gone weeks without using it (travel/work) but then when I come back to the doodling part (and I’m ALLL about stick figures), it feels so comforting. Like having a warm blanket, hot chocolate, and a dear friend to share it all with. Thank you for creating it. You can tell it came from your heart.”

The 2015 Daily Musings Journal is still available, but quantity is limited and they’re selling quickly. Yay! Get yours before they’re gone, and join the 2015 daily musings journey.

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Filed under Arkansas River, Everyday Adventure, Inspiration, Joy, My Salida Backyard, Nature

Don’t be afraid of the “D” word

Daily that is!

AugSprd-4_smIf you want to take a wander through my daily musings journey check out my video here.


I am honestly not good at doing much of anything but eating, sleeping and brushing my teeth on a daily basis. All those daily challenges that are shared online intimidate me – make me feel not enough!

I don’t even  create daily in my Daily Musings Journal!

But it is regular enough that it feels like a solid, beautiful practice.
I make it play to capture a bit of my day. And I try to make it every day, but I’m not perfect.
Some times it is the next morning and some times I have to play catch-up.
Some days, some weeks feel more inspired than others (isn’t that the way life goes, too:)
Even if I leave a square blank, that is still OK. I can always go back and create a doodle that has nothing to do with that day. I will certainly remember, probably with a chuckle, that this is what I did!

And there is more to the Daily Musings Journal than just musing daily.


You can play any time on any of the musings sheets, and for 2015 I’ve added a few more of them,

and also some fun color-in pages…


I hope you’ll join the 2015 daily musings journey. Or gift it to a friend :) Click here to learn more and to get yours today!





P.S. It feels funny to be writing “salesy” copy on my blog, but I realized as I was creating this post that getting the Daily Musings Journal, my baby, out into the world is a big part of my creative adventures right now! And I hope you feel the daily musings love come through. Thanks for being part of these adventures with me, whether you decide to join the daily musings journey or not :)

P.S.S. Exciting News: The 2015 Daily Musings Journal is now available in a few fine retail establishments in Aspen, BoulderSalida, Colorado

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Filed under Creativity, Daily Musings Journal, Inspiration, Journaling, Joy, Lettering, Playing

My Daily Musings Journey (a video)

I had fun creating this little video that shares my daily musings journey for 2014 – and invites you to join me for 2015!
Click here for more information and to order your 2015 Daily Musings Journal!
And I’d sure appreciate it if you help me spread the daily musings love!




Filed under Creativity, Daily Musings Journal, Inspiration, Journaling, Joy, Lettering