Saturday, December 31, 2011

auf wiedersehen twenty eleven

photo by lisa

photo by lisa

in a year of loss and anxiety, great goodness also happened. if i scan the year objectively, it was a balance of all things. i will remember that i held a hawk and fell under the spell of gigantic horses. i will remember i published 4 magazines and rode a motorcycle along the north sea. i will remember my family and friends.

on the table tonight i will lay bowls of fruit, yellow flowers, red hearts and cash~ my talisman tableaux to welcome the new year.

thank you for following along. thank you for your kind comments and support. may you be at peace with yourself, always.

with love, graciel

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

i will take flowers with me

hand tied bridal bouquet~ 2011
green orchids and dark plum mini calla lilies

cascading bridal bouquet~ 2011
star gazer lilies, roses, and mini callas

From this year into next, I will take flowers with me.
Because my soul can't live without them.

But I will leave behind the exhaustion of designing only
what everyone else needs me to design.

In the coming year, I will discover new ways
to make flowers my own.

For Bella~ leave it behind in 2011 and welcome it in 2012

The Soul In Bloom~ Home Edition
*online course and 1 day retreat*
Week 3~ learn floral design 101!
Starts February 25th, 2012

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

short and glorious

It was a short and glorious Christmas. 
I savored the 24th and the 25th,
with their gatherings and laughter,
presents and confections,
as if they could possibly be my last.

I left no room for sadness in my glad heart.

I lived those 2 days how I would like to live everyday;
appreciative, attentive, open and content.

Friday, December 23, 2011

you are the sun

there is rain, no snow.
there is spanish renaissance music, softly.
there is a string of white lights snaking,
drooping along the wall.
the christmas altar is up~ 
walnut mice with felt ears, tiny tinsel tree.
  white candles are lit.
there is tea. 

christmas is here;
carved out of the whirlwind, the obligations.
it is here in the 47 minutes of peace and soft glow.
it is here in the meditative mind that comes
naturally when the world is put aside.

in that mind, the myth of the season has relevance, has a lesson.
let unto you be born a savior

that savior is yourself.
it is the mind-set you hold, the thoughts you think,
the actions you take or not in regards 
to honoring your sacred self.

give birth to better thoughts about your own worth.
stand up for yourself. make waves. advocate.
let the mythical star lead you to your own adoration.

know your value.
live your value.
you are the sun.
and the savior of yourself.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

52 Photos Project~ she made it better

we've been friends for 27 years. she was the gift a long-ago boyfriend gave me when she and i met because of him. this year, this partly to mostly crappy year, she became my antidote to the cancer and the dying and the removal of the ring. our friendship shifted gears in the most wonderful way and we became regular partners in adventure and laughs, proving that life gets better with age.

we are simple folk, she and me, and we found ourselves eating at diners and bothering the amish, following the draft horse circuit like groupies and learning the art of falconry. she ripped the paneling off my living room walls not too long ago and had better will come back to help pretty up the horrors exposed.

in 2012, we've got plans.  they'll revolve mostly around food and nature and finding new people to bother. and no matter what the year brings, she will make it better.

{This for Bella's 52 Photos Project~ the week's prompt is to show my favorite photo of the year. In searching the archives, I kept coming across my adventures with Lisa. Some are blurry, lots are silly and all of them are my favorites.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

like christmas day in the morning

living next to a volunteer fire substation has some definite small-town perks; my home is unlikely to burn down, kids actually play outside on the blacktop all year long (hockey and chalk art rule the hood) and when santa delivers the mother-of-all-firetrucks to the boys of mayberry, i get to see it first.

this afternoon, shiny-red ladder #6 was moved in a hurry to the north bay to make room for the 'tower of power' (printed right on the side of the hydraulic lift) fire and rescue monster that came rumbling down the street. the volunteers that swarmed the south bay to get a close look were giddy, with hoots and hollers and rounds of high fives. like christmas day in the morning.

i watched the volunteers, one after the other, take the tower of power out for a spin and test their skills at backing into the bay. its been around the block at least 5 times, dieseling back in the now-dark with its red lights flashing and spinning off my windows, lighting the night with joy and a thrill, like christmas day in the evening.

Friday, December 16, 2011

come, come the darkness

 come, come the darkness.
we are ready.
we have fire.

the fire is inside us,
burning shadows to ash.

come, come the darkness.
we have risen.
we are crowned.

the crown is made of paper, of ash,
of starlight, of feathers. 
of mettle from the fire within.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

We are everything she needs us to be

This year, as all the others, it's a German-flavored Christmas. Chocolate from across the sea and stollen with candied cherries. This year my Mom and me talked so much through the measuring and stirrings and 3 risings of the sacred stollen-baking process, we forgot to add the eggs. We laughed at how flat they were fresh out of the oven.

For the past 3 years, cancer has informed our Christmas. And so it does again this year, with discouraging news and options possibly waning. Yes, miracles happen everyday and we've had some already. I'd like more and pray for them daily. But this Christmas, this holiday of feasting and lights, we are whole-heartedly German in our celebrations. We are everything she needs us to be. We are strength. And we are love.

{For Bella and her 52 Photos Project~ sweets, treats and feasts}

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

She's always around, even when I am not paying attention. Sometimes, in the form of the postcard perched on the frame at the end of my hallway, she mysteriously floats to the ground, of her own accord, and lands in my path. She reminds me to remember her and her timing is always flawless. Then, today. I check the calendar to see when her feast day is~ Our Lady of Guadalupe, December 12th, it says. I make note of it and wander away.

15 minutes later, I am passing through the hall again and for the first time ever, it is not the postcard, but the prayer card of Our Lady that is laying in my path.

I am here, she says.

And she is.

She. Our Lady. The Blessed Mother. Virgin Mary. Mary. Mystical Rose. The Western Goddess. Goddess of Compassion. The Great Mother. Friend.

Hear her prayer:  Much of what you are being told is untrue. Do not look to forces outside yourself for answers and the way. You already know the way. And if you think you don't, you will know who to ask for the truth and they will remind you.

A time is coming when what was held as truth will be revealed as false. There will be resistance and there will be chaos. There will be endings. But know that you know what is true and do not doubt your own wisdom. It will carry you through everything, unscathed.

Be kind to yourself.  Make taking care of your own needs your first priority. Do not mistake this for selfishness. It is the opposite. If you can consistently meet your own needs, you are then able to act, with love, on the behalf of others. More love is needed. Self-care is what brings more love to light. Do your part and bring it.

Trust yourself. Mother yourself. Feast on this glorious life.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

52 Photos Project~ December 7th

The color of the season is white candlelight.

{on my mother's German tree}

For Bella

All 4 issues of my magazine, The Soul In Bloom,
are $2 off the regular price now  through December 31st!
Go HERE for a preview and to purchase.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Soul In Bloom~ winter issue 2011/2012

Having set out earlier in the year to create and publish 4 seasonal keepsake magazines, today I release the 4th issue to the winds. The Soul In Bloom winter issue is done and ready for purchase. I admit to being just a bit proud of myself for finishing this personal challenge. It was larger for me than you know.

The winter issue is not about the holidays. It is about the call of the season of rest to honor the Self. It is about the great need for each of us to care for ourselves, madly and deeply, as the only true path to changing the ills of the world and improving the quality of our individual lives.

As with the other 3 magazines in this collection, all the essays, poems and photographs are my original work. To celebrate my accomplished goal of putting my heart out into the world 4 times over, all 4 magazines are $2 less per issue through December 31st. $14.95 each becomes $12.95 each.

Thank you to everyone, absolutely everyone, who encouraged me this year, bought a copy (sometimes multiples!) and gave me the most heartwarming feedback I could never have imagined. I created these magazines because we all need to know how glorious we are, we all need to know we are miracles.

To purchase a copy of the winter issue or any of the other 3, go HERE to sign up.

Thank you to the moon and back to Kelly Letky of The Blue Muse for her graphic design and publishing software savvy.  Without her, my dream would not have come true.

{And the little guy with the snow shovel on the cover? That's my Dad at age 3.}

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

the art installation

in the spirit of removing falseness from my life, the vile and crappy fake paneling i have lived with in this rented home was spontaneously ripped off the walls the other day. my bare-handed wonder friend, lisa, ripped all the paneling off. i broke it up and carried it, piece by piece, out the door.

what was left? 3 layers of seedy wallpaper, dried splotches and drips of coffee that had been thrown at the wall and streaks of brown goo that had held the offending paneling in place.

good enough.

the vacuum came out, the furniture was replaced, the orchard ladder went back on the wall, and fairy lights were re-strung.

it feels like living in an art installation.

only 2 spare things will grace the ladder while i ponder the wall's next attire. 2 little works of art from 2 soul-filled women who sent messages to me in  the mail~ messages to fly and live in my truth.

thank you, kelly letky, for the original photo of my favorite great blue heron.
thank you, christine mason miller, for the oracle card you painted and picked just for me.

thank you, most of all, to lisa. because true friends help to banish the false and expose the beauty with in. brown stains and all. 

{For Bella~ and her weekly art installation called 52 Photos Project. "Twinkling Lights." }

Friday, November 25, 2011

finding my way there

i opened the carefully pleated rectangle of foil to reveal the ooze of red and cherries and flattened crust. i ate it with no ceremony standing at the counter, scraping the foil with my fork to get the last smear of ooze. it was leftover heaven on a warm and windy late fall day; a day more suited to october than the cusp of december.

everything means something to me and the meaning is more than likely tinged with the ethereal. i think of this late warmth, a gift for the northern dweller, and equate it with the opportunity to do just a little bit more before the hibernation begins. and the more for me takes the form of noticing instincts and natural urges, of seeing the old doorways and not-empty bell towers of dreams i've been too timid to embrace. those dreams are demanding attention in this 56 degree wind, begging to be blown open and set in firm soil like necessary seeds of spring.

full of leftover pie and rusted keys in my hand, i step into the wind and search for the door, ethereal bells ringing with each gust. these old dreams are of home and all that it means and of never yet finding my way there.

but i want to be there and set my other dreams down there and feel what it is, live deep what it is to be unshakably and forever at home.

Monday, November 21, 2011

the way of things

the way of things came to my window. and i looked in its eyes, living and dead. the red tail hawk, announced by blue jays,was  level with me on its perch. messenger of life-purpose and fruition, it arrived to confirm just that, and it stayed longer than i could have hoped.

looking to the grass below the tree, i saw why i was afforded such grace. a squirrel. likely the one i had seen out the back window, now dead out the front. the hawk never found safe passage to the lawn to claim its meal. spooked, it flew across the way to the tallest pine. i waited, curtains pulled back, but the bustle on the road forfeited the prize. i carried the prize by its tail, limp body bobbing to the rhythm of my walk, and laid it under the pine. come dark, the owl will be hungry.

back to the window and in pulled the truck of the man who lives below. she was gutted and dead in its bed. i went to look at her eye. it took only 10 yards for her to drop, he said. unlike the 2 bucks that did not drop and left blood trails to no where. i did not mask my wince and my whine, but refrained from unfavorable comment. i threw prayers up to the sky for the one in the bed and the 2 that leaked blood through the leaves. i could feel her fear and anguish rise from her body and crawl over my skin.

i went back up to the window, as this is the way of things.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

golden moments

there are golden moments on the fringe of the turning point~
they are subtle and easily overlooked in the frenzy
and anticipation of the great, next happening,
the great, next way of being.

if you stop and look, you can sense the last
 messages of the season your soul is moving through.
you can feel the forecast of things to come,
and you can understand the beauty
and necessity of what has been.
it has all been beautiful and necessary.

in the golden moments, brief and full,
gratitude can plum its depths and 
soften the next season to come.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

simpler times

let these be simpler times.
let the heart spin with the clockwise tide.
let the ground be firm and nourishing.

like the bones of the trees revealed,
soul is dancing forward,
fresh and formed in the waning light;
a silhouette of possibility.

like the leaf mush begging for snow
to bury what has been,
 molecular magic will break life down
to the essential and the good.

in these, the simpler times.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

fullness in nothingness

i don't know what is happening. excess and waste are appalling me. i crave simplicity and clean lines. clear understanding. fullness in nothingness. my words are sparse. long essays, gone.

i have bought nothing. nothing but food and four dollar magazines. gasoline. herbal supplements. allergy sensitive cat food. rose petal tea. just the bare basics.

i don't know what is happening. i want to, need to be outside. all the time. i stand on the loading dock at lunch time with the smokers just to feel the sun on my face. i wear hiking boots everyday; fashion is out the window. except scarves. i wear scarves. they are my uniform. i don't know if they are in fashion. it doesn't matter. if they don't look good with hiking boots it doesn't matter.

birds and horses and cats and moving water. and taking photographs. hundreds and hundreds of photographs. in a week. like a crazy person. but i am not. these are the obsessions that rise as simplicity informs my days. no, demands my days. i don't know what is happening.


the less i have, want, get~ the more of me i find. in the fullness of nothingness.

Monday, November 07, 2011

i remember what is true

in the season of harvest and waning
i have come alive.

i remember the richness and roots of my soul.
i remember what is true.

there is pungent earth~
leaf mold, cooling soil and the
indescribable smell of flowing creek.

it is firm.
it is under my feet, grounding.

i begin again before the end.

Saturday, November 05, 2011


Truth. Clarity. Joy. Wildness.

My wish for me.

Let it be.

{Harris Hawk. October, 2011}

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

52 Photos Project~ November 2nd

The beauty of fall flowers,
from first stage to last.

Nature is my treat.
{For Bella}

And thank you, Bella, for featuring me
this week on your Just 1 Picture project.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

leaf and stone

it was a peaceful morning walking with the dead.
i can see them from my window.
  today, in the soft october light they beckoned.
mighty yellow leaves and the blue sky of dreams
sheltered and lit their sorrows.

there must have been sorrows.
ruth, wife of henry, you left days before 49.
grace and arthur~
you barely skimmed the surface;
do you remember this earth?

and fannie.
you came and went in 17 months.
your sister after you in 34 months.
your brother after her in 16 months.
how did your mother survive?

but, fannie, that was 146 years ago.
i hope you came again and lived a full life.
i hope you walked with yellow leaves and stone.
i hope you found out for yourself
that amid the small tragedies of living 
the blue sky of dreams is shelter and wildness at once.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

i can almost see them

doors close, one upon another.
there is no going back.
i don't want to.

time will tell if it was wasted.
or if simply more character needed to be built.

i will not see you and you and you again.
but, thank you.

i await the windows.
pain forming panes that fly open,
sunshine and glory streaming through.

answers. freedom. purpose. life.

the little birds are leaving.
the owls will come.
i can almost see them.

Monday, October 17, 2011

wind and water

safe in the roots of the sitting tree,
i sat with wind at the edge of water.
there was shifting and change.
it was cold.

do not be uneasy with the changes,
said the sitting tree to me.
if everything were to leave you,
if you feel you are alone
and cast off,
you are not.

you are safe in the winds and
the turbulent waters,
for your anchor, your roots 
lie not outside,
they begin and end in your soul.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Soul In Bloom~ gratitude

page 45

The Soul In Bloom is on sale!!
25% off October 17th through the 31st!

"I've been savoring my copy of soul in bloom ~
Graciel, honestly... it is just gorgeous.
The quality, the photos, the intimate words.
I love it - and I thought you should know
that I think you've created something magical."

"Your magazine moved me to tears - and I don't cry very much."

"My mom asked me to thank you for the magazine,
she absolutely loves it!"

Thank you to the many dear souls who have taken a chance on
my 3rd issue of The Soul In Bloom.
Thank you for the generous praise.
Thank you for sharing this issue with your friends and family.
You have all made my heart immensely full.
And you give me strength to do more.

To purchase a copy of the Autumn, Summer or Spring issues of
The Soul In Bloom, go HERE to sign up.

Should you have any difficulties in the signing up process
(it can happen, ask my Mom), send me an email at and we'll figure out how to get a copy to your door.