Success . . .

July 30, 2014

A fried sent this to me today — I thought you might appreciate it.


Succeeding In Life Even If You Don’t Feel Like You Are….

We all feel like failures from time to time. While this is a normal feeling, you have to find a way to see yourself and your life from a different perspective. Sometimes we ignore the “little things.” Just because you are not a millionaire, don’t live in a mansion, and you don’t drive a fancy car, that doesn’t mean you’re a failure. In fact, it’s quite the contrary.
Here are 20 signs that you are succeeding in life:
1. Your relationships are less dramatic than they used to be.
Drama is not maturity. As we age, we should develop maturity. So maybe your relationships were drama-filled in
your past, but if you have moved beyond that, then you are successful.
2. You are not afraid to ask for help and support any more.
Asking for help does not equal weakness. In fact, it is a strength. No person has ever succeeded in isolation. It takes teamwork to accomplish goals. Asking or help is a sign that you have grown as a person.
3. You have raised your standards.
You don’t tolerate bad behavior any more – from other people, or even yourself. You hold people accountable for their actions. You don’t spend time
with the “energy vampires” in your life anymore.
4. You let go of things that don’t make you feel good.
No, this is not narcissistic even though it might seem like it. Self-love is success. Love yourself enough to say ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t make you happy, doesn’t serve your purpose, or drags you down.
5. You have moments where you appreciate who you see in the mirror.
Ideally, you should appreciate who you see in the mirror at every moment. But even if that doesn’t happen, if you do it more than you used to, then that is success. Love yourself. You are awesome.
6. You have learned that setbacks and failure are part of self-growth.
Not everyone can have success 100% of the time. That’s just not realistic. Life is about victories and losses. So look at your setbacks as stepping stones to  something better. In reality, there really is no such thing as as setback. It’s all just part of a wondrous journey.
7. You have a support system that includes people who would do anything for you.
If you have figured out the people who “have your back” and recognized the ones who only pretend that they do, then you have succeeded. This is a painful realization, but once you learn to see the signs of betrayal, you can stay away from those people.
8. You don’t complain much.

Because you know there really is nothing to complain about. Unless you really have gone through some horrific life experience and had unimaginable losses, most of what we all experience on a day-to-day basis is just mundane. And successful people know that. And they live in a space of gratitude.
9. You can celebrate others’ successes.
Just because other people succeed, that doesn’t make you a failure. Applaud the people who rise to the top. The more positive energy you give to other people’s victories, the more you will create your own.
10. You have passions that you pursue.
You are not stagnant. You know you have something wonderful to contribute to the world. You have unique talents and gifts. Not only do you know that, you pursue it.
11. You have things to look forward to.
If you don’t have exciting things going on in your life that you are eagerly
anticipating, then you are slowly dying inside. Successful people create goals that they are passionate about pursuing. They let this excitement drive their life.
12. You have goals that have come true.
Even though “failures” are a part of life, you have stuck to your goals and dreams long enough to make them come to fruition. You have some tastes of victory. It fuels you.
13. You have empathy for others.
A person without empathy is dead inside. Empathy equals spreading love and positive energy into the world. Successful people know this. They love others as if they are family.
14. You love deeply and open yourself up to be loved by others.
Love is risky, and sometimes scary for people. It’s the one thing we all strive for, but it’s also intimately tied to the one thing we fear the most – rejection.
If you open your heart enough to love and be loved, then you are successful.
15. You refuse to be be a victim.
You know that life doesn’t always happen to you. Many times, you are a
co-creator of your life experiences. Successful people know this and refuse to be kept down by life experiences. The rise up and conquer anyway.
16. You don’t care what other people think.
You know you can’t please everyone. You know that the standards with which society judges people is many times unrealistic. So you just keep true to yourself and love the person you are.
17. You always look on the bright side.
Life can be full of disappointments – if you choose to see them that way. Otherwise, they are learning opportunities. No negative experience is ever wasted as long as you learn from it.
18. You accept what you can’t change.
Let’s face it – there many things you can’t change in life. All you can change is how you view what happens. If you can change your negative perspective
on situations to a positive one, then you are successful.
19. You change what you can.
And let’s face it again – there are many things you can change in life. Successful people don’t sit around accepting the negatives that are changeable. They get out there and do something about it!!
20. You are happy.
To me, this is the ultimate definition of success. It doesn’t matter what the balance is in your bank account, how big your house is, or how many fancy vacations you take. If you are happy, then you are succeeding in life.
Even if you don’t see yourself in many of these 20 things, don’t fret. It’s okay. Be happy that you see yourself in just a few. In time, the rest will come. You  just need to keep moving onward!


Today’s post on Seth Godin’s blog is a generous helping of appreciation for all you artists out there!

I finished another “Beyond Horizons” quilt (4th or 5th one?) at Fire Island on Thursday evening, and slept under it for the first time that night.   This is an upcoming new class (my first “non-spiral” class) – stay tuned for details!

Machine-part mandalas

June 7, 2014

A couple of weeks ago I was in the Columbus, Ohio airport on my way back home from the National Quilting Association show.  These creations by artist Brian Riegel were on display.  He makes art from discarded machine parts.  Aren’t these “mandalas” beautiful?!



I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Thursday with my dear friend Daniel Lundby.  Here are a few pix to inspire you!

Daniel’s faves of the day — cool quilt idea, yes?



Mandala inspirations:

Other quilt ideas:

Quilt-ING ideas – surface design and texture:

And a husband whose stash is surely bigger than his wife’s:

Here’s Daniel!

Daniel & Buddha

Mayday! Mayday!

May 1, 2014

Today – May 1st – is May Day.  May Day celebrations welcome in spring — no surprise there.  But in a completely different context, “Mayday!” is also the international distress call.  Where did THAT come from?

A quick check online turned up the answer: “mayday” is a phonetic spelling of the French words “m’aidez” which means “Help me!”

Quilters do a lot of helping: as I visit quilters around the country I am constantly impressed at the number of quilts you ladies and gentlemen make just to give away to people in need.  You have BIG hearts!

So today, May Day, I just want to salute all of you who spend so many hours at your sewing machines sharing your time, talent, money and love with people you don’t even know.   Thank you for caring and sharing.


or, The Road Accidentally Traveled

The weather prediction for today was a gorgeous spring day and so last night I decided to reward myself for all my hard work this week with a hike — there is really nothing I enjoy like being outdoors.  Last night I looked up hikes on the Appalachian Mountain Club calendar and chose one that seemed appropriate for my getting-the-kinks-out physique.  It would ramble through the Rockefeller Preserve and end with lunch at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.

I got up early and took the MetroNorth train to Tarrytown where I joined up with the other Appalachian Mountain Club hikers.  We piled into a cab, drove to the Preserve, and started our hike.  But after not too long, for reasons I won’t go into, it became clear to me that if I was going to enjoy a quiet walk to take in nature, I needed to be on my own.  And so, I excused myself from the group and set out on my own.

I took my time walking, and even took a long break to sit on a centuries-old drystone wall to watch clouds float over an open pasture while I ate my lunch.  It was quiet and contemplative and lovely.  Eventually I did get to Stone Barns, and explored the farm for a couple of hours.  And in the gift shop I was very excited to find a wonderful book about making artisan bread — Ken Forkish’s Flour Water Salt Yeast.  (Can’t wait to get out the sourdough starter again!)

As I wandered the farm, I realized I had a bit of a problem: I needed to get back to Tarrytown to catch the train home.  I could call a taxi, but I had too little cash with me.  I could try to catch a ride from someone leaving the farm.  Or, I could walk — a distance of about 3-1/2 miles.  The hike had been quite a bit shorter than I had hoped, and since one of my objectives in hiking more this summer is to get in shape for a trek to Macchu Picchu this fall, I decided to walk.  I checked the GPS on my phone for a route, jotted down the directions on a piece of paper (just in case, since I noticed that the battery was running low), and set out.

I walked along a country road for some time until I came to a small community of old, well-proportioned and well-cared-for homes — old money, the kind that doesn’t need to show it off.  In the middle of this hamlet was a lovely little stone church, also old and well-cared-for.  Simple in design, but there was something more about it that made it seem just a little more special, though I can’t quite put my finger on what it was.

It being Sunday and now after 3:00, I thought I might stop in for a few moments of private worship, since I had missed Sunday morning services in favor of going on this hike.  A man was just coming out of the church and he said I should definitely go inside, that it was lovely, but that I would have to pay an entrance fee.  That seemed a bit odd to me, but okay, I’ve visited many churches where it is customary to pass the plate. I had $8 in my wallet.  A small plaque by the door said the entrance fee was $7.  I went inside.

The rose window by Henri Matisse in Union Church of Pocantico Hills, New York

The rose window by Henri Matisse in Union Church of Pocantico Hills, New York

What happened next was worth walking 3-1/2 miles: I walked through the doors and found, in this little tiny country church, Matisse’s last masterwork, and nine gorgeous stained-glass windows by Marc Chagall.

What were they doing here?

Union Church of Pocantico Hills was founded and built in the early 20th century by the residents of this hamlet.  There weren’t enough members of any one Protestant sect to build their own church, and so they all got together and built one non-denominational church where they worshipped together.  The Rockefellers were part of the community and over the course of the century contributed significantly to the life — and the budget — of the church.

In 1954 the Rockefellers commissioned the rose window as a memorial for a family member.  Matisse, elderly and confined to a wheelchair, could not come to the church, so the family sent full-size architectural drawings to him in France.  He created the design in paper cut-outs, and two days after finishing it he died.  The rose window hangs over the altar at the front of the church.

In the back wall soars Chagall’s glorious Good Samaritan window, and eight more windows designed by him line the side walls along the pews.  (You can read more about them here.)

I was enthralled.  And, I was reminded again that often the best journeys are the ones that happen after the planned journey falls through.

Which happened one more time before I got to the train . . .

I missed a fork in the road and ended up walking around Tarrytown Lake.  I love being near water, the view was lovely and in the end, when I checked the GPS, the detour didn’t add any distance to the trip.

Serendipity is often like that.

Wishing you wonderful journeys, wherever they take you.

Rockefeller Preserve