30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 19 Color

This is a picture of some crayons from a bin we keep in the kitchen pantry.  I love to color, and although technology has come a long way and there are many new ways to draw, nothing beats good old Crayola crayons.  My son and I also like to use the “Colorized” app on our iPads to draw and color.  color

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!


30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 10 Season



My daughter’s summer dance season started yesterday, June 10, the day of the ‘season’ prompt.  This is a picture of her getting fitted for her first pair of pointe shoes.  She’s taken two years of ballet lessons and had eight years of gymnastics before that.  We thought she would grow up to become a gymnast, but in sixth grade she made the switch to dance.  She is so excited to be going en pointe and even wants to take French in school because of her ballet training.  She loves her new dance studio and spent sixteen hours a week there during this past school year.  This summer she is taking fourteen hours of evening classes and five weeks of day camps.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

31 Day Music Challenge: Day 30 Your Favorite Song This Time Last Year

Katy Perry

Katy Perry (Photo credit: José Goulão)


Wide Awake” by Katy Perry was my favorite song this time last year. I looked up what songs were popular in June 2012 and it jumped off the list.  Definitely loved this song and singing along with the lyrics.  It’s about being a self-sufficient woman facing reality instead of living in dream realms.  Letting go and waking up, being yourself no matter what people think or who is with you or not.

See the whole music challenge list at DeBie Hive.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

31 Day Music Challenge: Day 24 A Song That You Want to Play At Your Funeral


space (Photo credit: Sweetie187)



“Holy Now” by Peter Mayer is a song that I would want someone to play at my funeral (preferably on the acoustic guitar).  I got stuck on this question because funeral songs are usually about saying goodbye or religious songs in my experiences.  Goodbye songs would be for other people to pick I think, so I picked this song because of the essence of the meaning behind the poetry is an outlook on life that I would like people to remember about me and carry on to their own lives.  It’s not a religious song per se, but it references religion and contrasts the childhood experience of going to church where we learn that once a week we worship to the idea of seeing every day life as worship and finding the divine in everything around us.  It very clearly sums up my religious beliefs.  “Wine from water is not so small, but an even better magic trick is that anything is here at all” is one of my favorite lines from the lyrics.  I’ve written before about my experiences with religion and my scientific philosophy. If you’re interested, here are the links:

Science Saved My Soul

What Does Christmas Mean to You?

30 Days of Truth: Day 5 Something You Hope to Do in Your Life

The lyrics to this song are a reminder to look at the miracle of life with humility and to see the beauty everywhere around us.  I don’t know what happens after death, but I do know that life goes on.  It’s amazing to think about the vastness of the universe and the diversity of life on this planet.  If our spirits do transcend to other realms or reincarnate to new beings that will be incredible.  It’s all a big mystery, and I would hope to leave behind that feeling of awe and wonder in those I knew and loved.

“When I was a boy, each week
On Sunday, we would go to church
And pay attention to the priest
He would read the holy word
And consecrate the holy bread
And everyone would kneel and bow
Today the only difference is
Everything is holy now
Everything, everything
Everything is holy now

When I was in Sunday school
We would learn about the time
Moses split the sea in two
Jesus made the water wine
And I remember feeling sad
That miracles don’t happen still
But now I can’t keep track
‘Cause everything’s a miracle
Everything, Everything
Everything’s a miracle

Wine from water is not so small
But an even better magic trick
Is that anything is here at all
So the challenging thing becomes
Not to look for miracles
But finding where there isn’t one

When holy water was rare at best
It barely wet my fingertips
But now I have to hold my breath
Like I’m swimming in a sea of it
It used to be a world half there
Heaven‘s second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
‘Cause everything is holy now
Everything, everything
Everything is holy now

Read a questioning child’s face
And say it’s not a testament
That’d be very hard to say
See another new morning come
And say it’s not a sacrament
I tell you that it can’t be done

This morning, outside I stood
And saw a little red-winged bird
Shining like a burning bush
Singing like a scripture verse
It made me want to bow my head
I remember when church let out
How things have changed since then
Everything is holy now
It used to be a world half-there
Heaven’s second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
‘Cause everything is holy now”

See the whole music challenge list at DeBie Hive.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

31 Day Music Challenge: Day 20 A Song You Listen to When You Are Angry

English: Rage Against The Machine End of set, ...

English: Rage Against The Machine End of set, before leaving stage July 30 2011 L.A. Rising Music Festival 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Killing in the Name Of” by Rage Against the Machine is a song I listen to when I’m angry. It’s got high energy and a driving beat. The lyrics are rebellious and angry. It’s not a song for the faint of heart. I’ve written another post about songs that express anger here in an entry called Bang Your Head. Sometimes it’s good to bang your head and let it all out!

See the whole music challenge list at DeBie Hive.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

31 Day Music Challenge: Day 6 A Song that Reminds You of Somewhere


“Sacrifice” by Alaine reminds me of St. John, USVI.  It was the last day of our vacation there in 2007 that I first heard this song on the radio during our ride down the mountain to the ferry.  I thought it was Madonna at first, a reggae version.  Close your eyes and listen, it sounds like Madonna.  The melody was catchy, and I tapped my feet on the dashboard as I looked out the window taking in the lush jungle, rolling mountains, and beautiful blue water in the distance.  When love songs come on the radio, I like to joke with my husband and dedicate them to him. I listened to the lyrics and looked up “Sacrifice” online.  I found it right away and downloaded the reggae gold album from iTunes with it.  That was six years ago, and still when I hear this song, I’m right back in that jeep coming down the mountains in St. John.

Reef Bay and Virgin Islands National Park (St....

Reef Bay and Virgin Islands National Park (St. John, USVI) as seen from road on Cocoloba Point (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

See the whole music challenge list at DeBie Hive.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

31 Days of Music: Day 2 Your Least Favorite Song


“What’s going on?” by 4 Non Blondes is my least favorite song. Why? I just don’t like it or anything about it. Her voice is annoying, and the song is boring. I almost wish I had never seen the video because I also don’t like her image. This song just rubs me the wrong way.

31 Days of Music: Day 1 Your Favorite Song

English: Jewel 2008-06-05

English: Jewel 2008-06-05 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s a new month, and I feel like doing a new challenge. So, I’m going to post every day this month about music. Here is a link to the 30 day music challenge on my friend, Kelly’s, blog.


My favorite song is “Near You Always” by Jewel.


It’s sweet and simple. Her words braid together to tell a story of love and desire wrapped up in rejection.  It’s about loving someone you can’t be with.  It’s hard to pick one favorite song, but this is it if I have to pick one. I wish I wrote it. I can play it on the guitar.  Here is a video.


30 Days of Truth: A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself

Dear Self,

How do I love you? Let me count all the ways. This is a difficult but important task, assigned to me in the past by a therapist, but I never completed it. I started writing things down and then felt funny about saying good things to myself. Since this question has come up again in my life, and I am working on keeping a mental list on this subject, perhaps it would be helpful for me to finally put some words together about it.

Self, I have never met anybody like you. You are unique. You’re not like most people for some reason, and sometimes you think this quality works against you, but I think all in all it works in your favor. I love that you are different and have reasons for being different and are learning to become comfortable in your own albeit different skin.

I love that you love learning. You study math just for fun when nobody makes you. You take guitar lessons so you can play along with the songs you like. You’re even learning how to solo and about music theory, and that’s not easy stuff.

I love that you reflect on yourself in an effort to understand yourself, your actions, and your effects on others around you. Sometimes you can come across as confrontational and opinionated, but deep down inside, I know you are looking for common ground and the opportunity to share information and debate and discuss ideas.

I love that you are a free thinker and don’t take what people tell you at face value. You question things, and you search for your own answers, even if you never find them. You’re ok with saying, “I don’t know, but I know where to look for that answer.”

You are kind and loving. You are friendly and can be funny. You can be authoritative and you aren’t afraid to speak in front of crowds. You aren’t afraid to video yourself playing guitar and singing even though you know your performance isn’t perfect. You express yourself and seek connections with others even if they are different than you are.

Don’t get me wrong self, I know you have experienced a lot of things in your lifetime, both positive and negative. You’ve had to bounce back several times from obstacles thrown your way. Even though you can get frustated and upset, you try to find the positives in the negatives, and you try to see problems as opportunities for growth. I love your resiliency. Your parents got divorced while you were a baby and your dad did not take a very active role in your upbringing, but you became a strong, self-sufficient woman anyway.

You edited and self-published your dad’s book for him after passed away.

You were a single mom for four years and handled it with grace. You worked hard on your master’s degree (earned a 4.0 GPA) and got yourself into a professional position as a teacher.

You tutor kids in math and pass on your enthusiasm for the subject and for education in general.

You inspire people.

You care about health and fitness and make healthy choices as much as possible day to day. You educate your kids about the benefits of good nutrition and exercise

You prioritize family, and you’ve built your life step by step with your husband. You are goal oriented and know how to take steps to reach your goals. You’re reliable. When you say you’re going to do something, you do it. You can be counted on when a friend needs support.

I love that you are both tough on your kids and loving with them at the same time. They know they have high expectations, but they also know they have your help in achieving them. You express love freely and love hugging. You think ahead for your kids and do what you can do today to get them to where they want to be in the future.

I love that you care about the Earth and all its inhabitants.  I love that you spent 95 days outdoors. I love that you put your life on the line to speak out for the environment. I love that you notice all the little things like pretty skies, sunsets, wildlife, and flowers around you. I love that you are interested in space.

I love that you are committed to working on different areas of yourself. You aim to be the best you can be and work on being a well-rounded person. Take this blog for example. Your mom read your diary and you got in trouble for it when you were a teenager. Ever since then, you’ve had writer’s block when it comes to writing about yourself. I’m proud of you for blogging, even if you don’t get to it every day, and no matter how many ‘likes’ it gets you on facebook.

I think the thing I love the most about you is that you get along with pretty much anybody. Keep being you self. There’s nobody better qualified!




30 Days of Truth: A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)

Dear Jewel,
You and your music have gotten me through some tough ass days.  When I think about a band or artist who has helped me get through tough times, I think about when my toughest times were. I hit rock bottom when my first husband and I separated, and subesquently, I lived as a single mom for four years in my mom’s house (1994-1998).  I had a baby girl (same birthday as you!), and I lived in my mom’s basement in Springfield, Virginia (a DC suburb) while I put my life back together..  A long time fan of the DC music scene, I remember when you first played at the 9:30 ClubPieces of You was released in 1995, and Who Will Save Your Soul was always on the radio. People told me I looked like you in that video with the girl with a guitar singing in the bathroom.

Jewel in the video for Who Will Save Your Soul
me in 1997

Your voice caught my attention, and your story intrigued me.  Like you, I had lived in my car before. I knew what it was like to be broke.  I knew what it was like to struggle.  I listened to your first album over and over and sang along to every track. I knew all the words by heart.  Who Will Save Your Soul made me think about how we choose to live our daily lives.  Pieces of You pointed out interesting parts of human nature.  You Were Meant For Me was simple yet expressed the pain of heartbreak.

Previously a granola-type person who didn’t shave or wear makeup, I started getting my hair highlighted, wearing makeup, and shopping for a professional wardrobe as I struggled to make ends meet as a single mother.  As I learned to enhance my natural beauty, people kept telling me I looked so much like you.  Being compared to you is a high compliment!  I remember crashing the 1996 MTV Pre-Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC with a girlfriend, and reporters kept asking me if I was Jewel.

Spirit came out on CD, and I moved to Reno, NV in 1998.  Down So Long, What’s Simple is True, Deep Water, and Hands were instant favorites. Again, I loved to sing along with every song.  I’d moved to Reno with a guy, and a few months later, it fell apart (long story).  I met my husband there in 1998 and worked as a teacher for three years supporting my daughter.  We were best friends, and then he stepped up to the plate and asked me to marry him. Shortly thereafter, we got married and had a little girl together in 2000.  Your music inspired me to listen to my heart.  What’s simple is true – those words are very true.

In 2001, we moved back to VA so my husband could attend law school.  9/11 happened, and your song, Hands, became one of the songs being played to inspire people.  This Way was released.  Jesus Loves Me, Break Me, This Way, and Standing Still  were my favorites.

From that point on, things in my life have been on an upward trajectory.  As you and your music continued to evolve, I’ve always been inspired to be “the kind of woman I’d want my daughters to be.”  In 2010, I wrote this blog entry and ended it with lyrics from your song, You Are What You Are. 

I play guitar, and I love playing your songs.  I’ve seen you performing live many times including at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA, S.Lake Tahoe,CA, and Bass Performance Hall in Ft Worth, TX. Your poetry and song lyrics continue to enrich my life and inspire me to be gentle with myself, to find beauty in the world all around me, and to follow my intuition for it will surely lead me in the right direction.  My deepest gratitude for you and your music.  Thank you Jewel!

Susanne Nelson