January 29, 2011

do what you love

i am a huge believer in retreats.  ever since my very first one on the oregon coast with the most amazing women... i have been hooked.  there is something so astonishing about a group of like-minded souls coming together in a unified desire to create.  there is something so freeing about stepping away from the everyday and focusing on yourself.  indulging in your own creative spirit.

last february i was blessed to attend an artful journey.  
three whole days of mati rose mcdonough & kelly rae roberts.
during those days i was able to add to my creative family.  my community.  
my tribe...many wonderful women.  i want to introduce you to one today...
please meet beth nicholls.
oh my goodness i love her.  this beautiful soul has done more with her short life than most people could ever do in two lifetimes.  her story is enchanting.  
her talent..endless.  while creating next to her for several days, the concept of "doing what you love" came up often.  beth had traveled all the way from yorkshire, england to attend the retreat.  the idea of planting her own retreats closer to home was born and beth has been cultivating the idea for the past year. because beth has gleaned much joy in her life by choosing to "do what she loves"... she has a passionate desire to share that dream with others.  
to offer the tools and inspiration to follow your heart.
i am so excited to introduce you to the harvest of beths labor.
i just have to tell you that if there was one retreat i could go on in a lifetime...this would be it.
deep in the serene english countryside where families of deer and rabbit roam...
there is a cozy cabin waiting just for you and your newfound friends...
to come and exhale.  to process the inspiration received.  
and to rejuvinate your creative spirit.
{above three pictures by "natural retreats"}

beth has put together an impressive array of teachers for this retreat
flora bowley - painting
 rachel hazell - book art
 priscilla jones- mixed media
plus a host of creative enterprise sessions to help grow your creative business.

i hope you will take a moment and pop on over to read more about this 
amazing retreat HERE!!!  please say hi to beth.  
i promise you will instantly want to be her friend too.  
she has so much to share.

cul*ti*vate a "dream" retreat for yourself

January 27, 2011

calling all hearts....

if you.ve been reading my blog for sometime you may recall my little experiment last february.  if not, you can read all about it right HERE.  see i have this obsession with hearts.  i just love them.  i love all the possibilities they respresent.  i even like the word HEART.  the letters just look cute together.  one of my favorite things to do is to try to find "surprise hearts".  hearts that jump out at you when you least expect it and from the most unusual places...a stump of wood, your noodle soup, a hair on the bathroom floor...you get what i mean right?  last february for 14 days i went on a search for hearts.  here.s how i did it.

"every 24 hours i am going to find a heart hidden or maybe just camouflaged or eclipsed or hushed somehow and give it a coming out party.  a debut.  throw it out there for a formal introduction to the world.
heck, it doesn't even have to be concealed.

i am calling all hearts.
and when i stumble upon them...i am going to share them with you!"
{spilt milk heart and cookies}
it was great fun and the best part is i got a lot of you to play along...pretty soon i was getting photos of suspicious hearts from all over the place.  I LOVED IT!  so, starting february 1st i am going to host my 2nd annual 
"looking for love in "unexpecting" places. 
a 14 day observation"
now i.ve been gathering a few "surprises" with my children over the past few months and i can.t wait to see what you.ve discovered as well. 

to play along...simply leave me a comment with a link to your discovery (a photo of it to be precise) or email it to me HERE...along with a link to your website so i can send heart seekers over yonder way...(or not.)   i.ll post all the heart rendering fun right here starting next tuesday!

cul*ti*vate all the "surprise hearts"  your little eyes can find.

January 24, 2011

when the tempests rage...

{photo found here}
i.ve been thinking about storms lately.
it.s been quite windy here in peoria, arizona the past few nights.
last night at about 12:30 i felt a little hand touch my face.
"i can.t sleep mom." ...back went the covers and in crawled a little girl who tucked herself under my arms and fell fast asleep.  almost two hours later i heard the speedy pitter pat of small feet running towards my bedside. 
{the feet of one who has recently developed a GIGANTIC fear of natural disasters} onto the bed he leapt.."i had a bad dream and the wind outside is SOOO scary."  under the sheets dove his 9 yr old body with his head resting right next to my heart.

for the next 5 hours as i lay sandwiched between my 2 youngest
i marveled at how by just being next to me.  touching me.  knowing i was there.
...suddenly the howling winds outside the window weren.t as scary
and they were able to get rest.
last week i had a few storms of my own arise
{nothing devastating...but storms none the less}
i believe in God.  i like to call him my Heavenly Father because it makes my relationship with him more intimate...like i REALLY am his child.   
i know that not everyone shares my belief.
i am so grateful that i have somewhere i can turn.  somewhere i can run when the winds pick up and start to howl and things get a bit scary.  and although the storms may still be swirling about...
i feel His arms around me.
i know i am safe.
i know i am loved.
i can find rest.

where do you go when the tempests rage?
where do you find rest amidst the storms?

cul*ti*vate a safe place from the storms of life

January 17, 2011

on sitting still...

i think i am reigning in my vision to a more translucent path.
instead of many trails of earth and pebble and sea,
pulling me in multiple directions,

by sitting silent...

ever so silent...
{impatiently at times i might add}

the edges have begun to blur 
and the path that lies ahead
is now
 clearly emerging.

sometimes we have to sit still 
give our hearts time to process and speak back to us.

i am still learning this lesson about my soul.

cul*ti*vate your "still heart" times

January 14, 2011

the lovely VIVIENNE McMASTER...

i have been so darn excited about today.s post i could hardly stand it.
i am honestly thrilled to share with you my very first "guest"on cul*ti*vate.
this woman is one of the most beautiful, authentic souls you will ever meet.
her photography is going to knock your socks off.  
her self portraits are especially jaw dropping and i am joyful to share that viv is on a mission to bestow unto us many of the truths she has learned 
through her journey into self-portraiture and photography.
i can truly say "i love her to death!" and mean every scrumptious letter of it.

Letting Ourselves Shine {a Guest Post by Vivienne McMaster}

I met the lovely Chrissy last year at an art retreat.  I adored her the moment I met her.  Why?  Because she is radiant.  Truly.  
Her spirit shines through her so brightly.

So when pondering what aspect of self-portrait photography 
I wanted to share in this guest post I thought of talking about radiance and letting our inner spirit shine through.

Perhaps you, like me, have struggled with getting your photos taken.  I never felt like who I really am shone through and I get critical of the physicalities of myself in the photo.   What is really at the core of whether I like a photo or not isn’t about my body (though my psyche sure likes to pretend it is).  
It is whether or not my essence shone through.  

It was a big realization for me when I saw that I was capable of taking photos that did indeed let that spark of who I truly am appear.  
Sometime I let the sunlight help me radiate my own light, other times playfulness and movement bring it out in me.  

Perhaps for you it might be your radiant smile or the way your mama self shines when you are in photos with your kids.  Maybe it is when surrounded by friends or after a beautiful walk.  What makes you shine? 

Let’s try and remember to shine our light when someone aims the camera at us or  we aim it at ourselves.  Let’s remember what makes us feel like our most true selves and let that radiate.  Sometimes it can be awkward or challenging to push through and find ways to do that but I swear it makes all the difference with the way we relate to photos.  

Of course there are some days when we don’t want to be shiny and bright.  I’ve learned through continually aiming the camera at myself that those photographs are equally valuable to me.  

Whether it is someone else taking our photo or inviting ourselves to step into the photo as a self-portrait I am on a mission to encourage us all to play around with how we can find ways to feel seen in photographs, to feel beautiful or playful or truthful when we see them and to capture moments along the way.

Let’s let ourselves shine.


Vivienne is a photographer that is head over heels for self-portraiture and the potential it has to shift our self-perceptions.  She teaches e-courses in self-portraiture and developing our visual voice through photography.  You can find out more about her  and her courses at www.viviennemcmaster.com

starting january 17th vivienne will be hosting the online class
or you might was to jump in with both feet and check out 

either way...you will NOT be disappointed...i promise!

thank you ever so much lovely vivienne...i am so blessed to call you my friend!

cul*ti*vate your own radiance

January 12, 2011

hmmmm? which path to follow?

 am i the only one having a hard time
 choosing which paths i want to follow in 2011?
 i feel like there are a plethora of choices out there for me.
so many wonderful opportunities to explore.
so many classes to choose from.
a basketful of retreats i want to attend.
an abundance of friends i desire to connect with.
loads of artful ideas in my brain just bursting to come forth.
sewing and stitching and painting and photography....
my dear friends....
how do you narrow down your paths?
how do you beautiful souls decide which paths are the 
important ones for you to follow this year?

{i.m serious...i need your help}

cul*ti*vate the paths YOU are meant to follow

January 10, 2011

soul restoration!!! we all need it!!!

calling all  wonderful friends...
only a few more hours to sign up for 

melody and kathy are taking registrations through midnight (mtn time) tonight 
if you have been looking for yourself lately...
or have been bombarded by all the nasty little lies that trickle into our lives...
this may be the perfect gift to give yourself this year
this class will explore the same amazing curriculum i did at 
you can read about it here here
here here or here

i hope to see you there!!!


 *** UPDATE *** 
SOUL RESTORATION PART I will be held again in april 2011.  registration will begin around january 18th.
SOUL RESTORATION PART II is coming june 2011.

cul*ti*vate your soul

January 4, 2011

i need to learn how to knit...

i hope everyone had a most wonderful Christmas
and a happy (and safe) new year.s eve.

i know that i and my family really did.
every year i always say...
"this was the best Christmas ever!  it will never get better than this."
and magically it always does, the next year always seems to top the last.

most of you know that i live in arizona.  
we don.t get snow where i live.  actually we break out our uGG boots 
and our woolen goodies and crank the heat if it goes below 60 degrees here.

i know.  i know.     babies.
but i wasn.t always this way.  
see...i was born and raised on mountainous utah territory.
i loved the cold.  the snow.  the skiing.  4 wheel drive.  the snowman making.
the shoveling..(not so much) but you get the picture.

so i was as surprised as anyone when my blood started to thin
when we moved to phoenix 14 yrs. ago.
winter treks back home produced more "hot showers", "fires"
and "layers of clothes".  "mounds of blankets" and "those hand warmer thingies that you shake and they get warm..in every available pocket"
2011 will most likely move our family back to the frigid winters 
of the beehive state.  after spending the holidays there, i realized...
 i am not ready for the cold.
i happened upon these photos today and they made perfect sense to me.
knitted lovelies for things that don.t even need to stay warm.
 i pods
 bicycles {love this one}
street signs

wishing you all a warm new year!

{what would you cover with a fuzzy sweater if you had the chance?}

photos found here