Tag: altar cloth (Page 1 of 3)



they were productive,
these women.
and more.

and sometimes,
sometimes for days on end,
they cried.
they cried silently and
without attracting attention
because to explain
in words
what every teardrop held
seemed an insurmountable task.

~~ :: ~~

today’s altar (cloth): determination

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from In Real Life‘s post on facebook today,
an adorable photo
and this caption:
“Why are you trying so hard to fit in
when you were born to stand out?”

and this good question from sandi faviell amorim of deva coaching:
“Question, play, challenge, inspire, nudge, shine => that’s me.
How do you express your greatness?”

let’s just call this
all the encouragement
i need . . .

i am tired of
being told
to be a cookie cutter
by governments
and schools
and cultures
and religions.

i don’t flock
and i don’t herd.
not any more.

(don’t say i didn’t warn you.)

:: ~ ::

Today’s altar is this little altar cloth,
dedicated to the precious,
we all are.

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tumult, 2


sometimes when you just keep going
when you just keep grappling
when you just flatout refuse to stop,
beautiful shiny
colorful jewels
spill forth
from the very epicenter
of the chaotic

the chaotic tumult
is ragged,
it is seldom
mistaken for
or comfortable.
and the shiny treasures
that spew –
they’re nondescript
and indecipherable,
at least at first,
but still
they shine on,

:: ~ ::

Today’s altar is this altar cloth,
dedicated to the treasures that
sometimes spring from
tenacious tumult.

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i am agog
with images,
and i want to stitch
most of them
but sometimes
(more often than not)
when i pick up cloth
and thread a needle,
i see blank.
it’s neither white
or black
just the color
of nothing.
and then i worry
if i ever really
saw any images
in the first place
or if this is a sign
that i’m not to stitch
the images.
maybe i’m just
going crazy,
my creative capability.

things swirl
and grow.

who do i think i am,
(there’s no question mark
because that is no question.)

i refuse to live
in nothingness,
so i turn my hands loose
to grapple.
to gather
and join
and to give
my hands
without interference,
i set my brain
aside in a playpen
and turn it loose.

or do i?

is that even possible?

i remember the delightful
conversation i had with my son’s
girlfriend this past
sunday morning.
she regaled me with
the overlay
of her undergraduate
humanities studies.
at the essential core
was identity
and from there,
each year was
spent reading about
and pondering
identity in
specific contexts.

i want a copy of her
(is this how you say
“more than one syllabus”?)
(i’m fluent only in
english and southern,
you know.)
when she can dig it
out of storage
so i can forge
down that same
will i find myself
there in the books
she read
so many years ago?
will i finally know
who i am
why i’m here
and what i am
supposed to do
on my stay?

do i make too much of this?
where “this” is
my self,
my life?

why can’t i just be satisfied
to be here,
to take one day
at a time,
living it
wherever it takes me?

am i too big for
my britches
in even considering
that i’m here for a
particular purpose?

is that too high falutin’?

who do i think i am?

is that the voice of
my big, bad

and as if that isn’t enough,
i’m on the verge
of a new identity,
one that has me
and pinging
and tumbling
in emotional
and existential

:: ~ ::


my mother loves irises,
and they are beginning to
fill her backyard
with color.
seen through my macro lens,
they appear as
an entryway.
perhaps not a yellow brick road,
but a road nevetheless.
a road leading into
the unknown.
into possibility.
into Mystery.
an altar
of the finest
most inviting
(if not the most unsettling)

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Of Mere Being


The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze distance.


A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.


You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.


The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

~Wallace Stevens, 1954~

Thank you, Karen Sharp.
I couldn’t find words to thank you for the gift you sent,
so I stitched an altar cloth for it,
and today it is my altar . . .
that feather you sent wrapped in your note.
so much more than a feather and a note.
divine energy.
alchemy, i’d call it.
alchemy through the experience of seeing.


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(true: they look more like birds, these jacks scattered around the red rubber ball, but squint your eyes and remember that i never, ever professed to be good at drawing.)

~ a ~

play. it’s so very important, so vital to health and well-being, so essential to creativity. my childhood years were spent in a culture that looked down its nose on play. play was synonymous with laziness. only sorry, no good fools played. fine, good, upright people worked, and let me tell you: they worked hard. that was the prevailing attitude.

~ b ~

my grandmother worked – not outside the home, but make no mistake: she worked. in addition to babysitting the grandkids, cleaning, keeping the lines of communication open with family, planning menus, grocery shopping, cooking, and doing the laundry (washing the clothes, hanging them on the line to dry, ironing them, mending them, putting them up), every spring she planted a big garden, and every summer she harvested the crops, cooked daily meals, and preserved food for the winter.

yes, my grandmother worked long, and she worked hard, but my grandmother also played. she developed new recipes and entered cake contests. she made quilts as meditation. on more than one occasion, i saw her sit on the floor with my brother and cousins staging battles and beating the snot out of their plastic army men. and she played the piano – boy howdy did she ever play the piano.

~ c ~

“Deep play is an absence of mental noise — liberating, soothing, and exciting. . . .We spend our lives in pursuit of those moments of feeling whole, or being in the moment of deep play,” says Diane Ackerman.

~ d ~

“we need to structure our weeks so that we have a weekend,” i recently told my husband who joined me in working from home full time last november. doesn’t have to be a saturday on the calendar, but we need to build in some play – whether that’s having a reading day, going to the library, going to the nearby arts center to view the exhibits, joining the local hiking club, fingerpainting, shopping architectural salvage stores for recyclable materials to use in the construction of what will one day be jeannedom (my studio). doesn’t matter what it looks like or what day of the week it falls on, we just need to escape, and we need to escape regularly.

~ e ~

karen caterson shares an epiphany with us today: “Play is where ideas live.”

~ f ~

“There is evidence that suggests the forces that initiate play lie in the ancient survival centers of the brain–the brain stem–where other anciently preserved survival capacities also reside. In other words, play is a basic biological necessity that has survived through the evolution of the brain,” says stuart brown, m.d.

dr. brown goes on to explain why this “nonproductive activity can make one enormously more productive and invigorated in other aspects of life.

dr. brown goes on to explains why this “nonproductive activity can make one enormously more productive and invigorated in other aspects of life” with scientific evidence and full of interesting anecdotes. it will persuade you not to feel guilty pursuing your dream or enjoying your life because it will make you and your kids more successful and happier.

~ g ~

i wholeheartedly believe in the power of play, don’t you? do you have a steady diet of play, and when you play, what does it look like/sound like/taste like/feel like?



This morning over on Facebook, Sunny Howe posted a plea for positive, fortifying, anti-bullying (a.k.a. playing nicely together) energy, so to conjure that energy, focus, and direct it, I created an altar. I may be showing my ignorance here – maybe it’s a huge faux pas to invite others to create an altar dedicated to a particular theme – but I’m asking anyway: Perhaps you’d like to create an anti-bullying altar and share it with us on the 365 Altars Facebook page? We’d sure love to see them if you are so inclined. That’s where I met Sunny, you know. She creates beautiful altars and posts them there regularly.

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it was bound to happen


things stack up,
get piled on top of her.
they add layers
and layers
and layers
of who she
should be
and how she
should act
and how she
should think
and feel
and look
and write
and speak
and walk
and dance
(or not dance, depending).
layer upon layer
upon layer
until one day
she just pops,
taking up much
more room than
she ever did before
and shouts
loud enough
for the folks
on pluto to hear
because she
simply can’t
hold it in
one nanosecond


More about 365 Altars


inspired by my soul mate and writing partner, julie daley.
hey, have you ordered a copy of her brand, new collection of essays, stories, and more?
if so, yay! if not, scoot.


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Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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