A Sense of Wonder


Hi Friends!

New beginnings ~ I have always loved them! Whether it is the beginning of a new school year or a brand new calendar year, I am always excited by 365 new opportunities to learn and grow! Sometimes, all of this newness can feel a bit scary or intimidating. Having a thoughtful plan, though, can help new beginnings feel joyful!

For each of the past five years, I have chosen ‘One Little Word’ to guide me along this path of learning and growing. What a difference it has made for me each year! In late November, I began listening closely to my heart so that I could choose OLW for 2017.  Within a few weeks, my word ‘chose’ me.  As I was reading, one word jumped right off the page and into my heart! At that very moment, I knew that this was the word to guide me through the new year. I didn’t tell anyone… I just let this word settle into my soul. It felt perfect! As we rang in the New Year, I celebrated my new ‘One Little Word’ 2017! With paper and ink, I created bunting, a card, a bookmark, and a magnet to keep my word visible each day. Now it’s finally time to share… 🙂


Family and friends have watched and encouraged as I have followed my creative heart during my Renaissance (the ‘R’ word that I use for my Retirement). So, now it’s time to take the next step ~ one that feels so important to me. My ‘One Little Word’ will help me in so many ways…


   1.   to sustain with food or nutrient;

                                           supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth

     2.   to cherish, foster, keep alive, etc.

          3.   to strengthen, build up, or promote

Source: Dictionary.com

Throughout my entire life, I have always been a “Work before play” kind of person. This philosophy served me very well throughout my career. A few years into my Renaissance now, it is time to make a change.  It is my intention to prioritize my creative time, downstairs in my Paper Garden studio. Rather than taking care of our home and garden first, often feeling uninspired to be creative later in the day, I am planning to take time in the morning to be creative! Mornings were just made for paper, inks, stamps, paints, brushes, and being messy in my little Paper Garden studio! 

Fortunately, I have found the most wonderful book to guide me as I nourish my creative side!


The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, has been inspiring creative souls for twenty-five years. It has been on my reading list for a very long time. As I shopped for the book last Fall, I discovered that the author has a newly published version of The Artist’s Way Program for Retirees and Other Creative Souls, called It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again.  It holds so much inspiration to nourish my creative path! I’m already on my way…

It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again is

a step-by-step, twelve-week program with four basic tools:

Morning Pages (daily)

Artist Dates (once a week)

Memoir (weekly, with five tasks)

Walking (twice a week)

So, I’m excited to share a bit about the ways I have been nourishing my creative side this week…


I’ve always loved writing, so Morning Pages are becoming a part of my early morning routine. Filling three pages, in longhand, with my morning thoughts has been quite pleasurable ~ and powerful!  For quite a while, I have been thinking about ways to bring more creative time into my day. While writing my thoughts on January 1st, I actually formulated a real plan. The slow, thoughtful process of writing can be a beneficial way of problem-solving, setting intentions, voicing worries, and putting dreams into action.


Since this whole process feels like a wonderful gift to myself, I am writing Morning Pages in my nice handwriting (just as I do when I write cards to loved ones). Soft music and a cup of tea accompany me as I write. It takes time and my hand feels tired, but so far I am enjoying it immensely! Julia Cameron reminds us not to share our Morning Pages with anyone, so my husband understands that he cannot peek.  🙂


On Wednesday morning, I planned my very first Artist Date.  I bundled in layers to protect me from the -8 F windchill and headed off to a tropical paradise ~ a very large Orchid grower’s greenhouses! It is one of my favorite places to visit each winter. Since we are having such a frigid week here, it was the perfect way to combine my Walking in nature with an Artist Date.


At first, my focus was on Walking throughout the 150,000 square feet of greenhouses. Julia Cameron encourages two 20-minute walks each week, without a companion, phone, or even a pet. It is a time for quiet thinking and observing.


Then it was time to begin my first Artist Date (and take out my camera). Rather than focusing on the names of each variety of Orchid, my attention was drawn to the colors and patterns in the blossoms and foliage. As I meandered, I found colors just like the inks on my studio desk ~ Spiced Marmalade, Picked Raspberry, Scattered Straw, and Worn Lipstick distress inks, and Blushing Bride, Daffodil Delight, Wild Wasabi, Elegant Eggplant, and Gumball Green dye inks.


These graceful orchid forms will truly inspire my stamped and watercolor floral designs and layouts.


Julia Cameron encourages each Artist Date to be thoughtfully planned in advance. One must go alone, rather than invite a friend. This intentional, mindful tool benefits our creativity and independence as we visit inspiring places of interest. I have a growing list of places for my weekly Artist Date ~ old favorites and new adventures!


I have always wanted to write Memoir and have even participated in a Memoir workshop in the past. So, I am really looking forward to filling my new Memoir Journal with treasured memories! Each week, Julia Cameron assigns five different writing tasks around a weekly theme. Our first week’s theme for our writing prompts is “A Sense of Wonder.” 


Each week, my Memoir writing will focus on a five-year span of my life. In our first week, we are writing about discoveries, cherished memories, and surprising connections from birth through age five. What fun to read through my Baby Book (Thanks, Mom!!) and reminisce with old photo albums! I’m going to love, love, love this walk down memory lane… and can’t wait to see what connections and discoveries are made! It’s just exactly the inspiration I need as I nourish and rekindle my love of scrapbooking!


Adding The Artist’s Way tools to my very busy life will be both challenging and exciting. It will most certainly nourish my creative heart and soul in unknown ways! Since my days are so full already, I plan to stretch out The Artist’s Way a bit longer than twelve weeks. I truly want to savor each weekly theme (Purpose, Joy, Vitality, Connection, Motion, Adventure,…) as I learn and grow on my creative path this year.  I will be enjoying mornings in my Paper Garden studio, too! ♥♥


Do any of The Artist’s Way tools sound interesting to you?

If any of our kindred spirits would also like to take this creative journey this year,

I would love to connect and quietly share our discoveries! (Just contact me through ‘Say Hello’ on the blog.)

Please let me know, in the comments, if you would like to read a few blog updates

as I travel along The Artist’s Way!


Thanks so much for being a part of my creative journey!

Warmest hugs!

♡ Dawn








32 thoughts on “A Sense of Wonder

  1. You found inspiration in a book while I’m walking the beach each day listening and watching the waves wash in. I guess it doesn’t matter where you find peace and the determination to move forward with a positive attitude into the new year. 🙂 Here’s to lots of creativity in your studio. 🙂

    • Inspiration is all around us, Judy! We just need those quiet moments ~ walking, writing, painting, stitching, gardening, meditating,… so that we will feel the inspiration. Walking along the beach is such a wonderful way! Have you read Gift from the Sea by Ann Morrow Lindbergh? Walking along the beach collecting shells always brings me back to that wonderful book. Enjoy every moment in the warm sunshine, Judy! ♡

  2. Dawn, I’m so excited for you my friend as you Nourish your very soul through creative endeavors. I’m so impressed by your intentions to continue to grow and learn. Your baby book looks a lot like mine with the satin cover. What a wonderful treasure! I love hearing how you are spending your Renaissance—a perfect word for you my friend! Stay warm and cozy. ♥

    • Big hugs, Martha Ellen! It’s such an exciting time of discovery for me. The very first place I ever saw The Artist’s Way was on Susan Branch’s blog long ago. It has been on my reading list ever since! Each year I look forward to new ways to learn and grow… and this feels like an excellent way for me! I think I will be extra-busy this winter! 🙂 Hope you are enjoying the start of the New Year, too, my friend! ♡

  3. Nourish is a beautiful “One Little Word” for you, Dawn. How wondrous it is that it spoke to you and that you listened.
    I was thinking that this was the spot you were going to. Had I not some commitments today, I might have gone there or the Oak Park Conservatory. Your photos are breathtaking and your journey to the greenhouse was purposeful and perfect. Stay warm.

    • It feels just perfect, Penny! I’m really enjoying the subtle changes in my day, for they feel really BIG to me. Following The Artist’s Way is nourishing me with insights as I grow and learn. It brings to mind one of my favorite quotes ~ “Seek not outside yourself. Heaven is within.” Writing Morning Pages and Memoir will be such wonderful tools for looking within.

      It was a heavenly visit with the Orchids. 🙂 I chatted with a friendly woman who actually works in another greenhouse, but came to visit there on her day off. The big Orchid Open House is planned for the last weekend in February and the first weekend in March. Thank you for reminding me about the Oak Park Conservatory. I haven’t been there in ages, but it would be perfect for my list of Artist Dates. Stay warm, if you must venture out today, Penny! Windchill is -17 F. I’m bringing hot tea downstairs to the Paper Garden! Brrrrrrr!

  4. Nourish! How perfect for you Dawn! In just the short time I have followed your blog (maybe a year and half?) you have grown so much as an artist. And I love that you call your retirement, your renaissance! Something for me to look forward to!
    So while “breathe” was the perfect word for me last year, and I still need it! This year’s word is BALANCE. A state of equilibrium; equal distribution. With a full time job, a spouse with dementia, and a 93 year old live in mother, I struggle to find balance in my life. Frankly, I struggle to find me. But I am determined! My life is consumed with work; work at work, work at home….it seems all I do is work. I started last month to listen to audio books on my 40 minute drive to work, and found I can listen to most books in a week. So at least I am reading again! I have stopped working through my lunch hour, (most days😊) and I either go to lunch with a friend or I go meander around town, just me, myself and I. And the big thing…I finally went to a chiropractor and I am getting by hips and back aligned! No more hip pain and that’s a biggie when you are on your feet all day. I hope for more walks with my Golden, Molly and more time outdoors! And maybe another 5K run is calling my name!
    So there is my word! Thanks for your inspiration, Dawn!
    Looking forward to your blogs as you nourish you soul!! And thanks for sharing with us!

    • Oh, Chris! Balance will guide you through the New Year in wonderful ways! I can already see that it is helping, as you make intentional changes in your days and weeks. 🙂 Taking a break at lunch and listening to audio books are perfect ways to restructure your time ~ special gifts to yourself! So glad that you are feeling better. Training for a 5K sounds like an amazing goal. You go, Girl! Your word Breathe will help you whenever you call upon it. It has become a part of you! My past five OLWs come to mind easily now, whenever needed. They have become a part of me… and remind me whenever I forget!

      Thank you for being here, Chris. It means the world to me that you take time to write and join in the conversation here when your life is already so busy. Sending warm hugs on a cold Midwest morning! ♡

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Chris! Although it feels a bit strange to share such a personal journey with The Artist’s Way, I’m happy if it inspires just one person to learn and grow in new, creative ways. It warms my creative heart! Happy weekend, my friend! ♡

    • Happy New Year, Karen! Each year has had a bit of a different focus, and I am really looking forward to this New Year. It’s exciting to keep growing! I thrive on that. 🙂 I was just writing my Morning Pages, and reflecting on the intentional changes that are guiding my days. You are so right ~ purposeful and enjoyable all rolled into one! Thank you for being here, Karen. I’m sure you have some special ideas for the year ahead, too. Enjoy the warm Florida sunshine! ♡

  5. What a beautiful creative adventure for you. I’m so happy for you. I am not yet retired and my garden is my focus. I manage to spend many hours on the weekends and any time I can but until I retire I’ll not be able to throw myself into the possibilities full throttle. I’ll have to live vicariously through your experience and make good notes on some of the steps to delve further into one’s creative passion.

    • Happy New Year, Karen! Heartfelt thanks for your kind words. It’s funny how my Renaissance has evolved over the past several years. Although I had many plans waiting, there have been so many wonderful surprises, too. Since my husband is still working and most of my friends were still working when I retired, I really had to create my own path. Perhaps that is why I have found so many books to guide and inspire my journey. I’m so excited for all of the possibilities that await you in your retirement, Karen! It’s so wonderful that we can all learn from and help one another as we plan for the next chapter in our lives.

      Please enjoy your garden for both of us! 🙂 I really miss my garden during the Winter. Very soon, I will be dreaming my garden dreams again. Thank you for always being here and taking time to join in the conversation, Karen! Wishing you and your family good health and much joy in the New Year! ♡

  6. Dawn, I’m happy for you. Nourish is a delightful word, and the perfect word to carry you on your continued journey through your Renaissance. (I love that by the way). I’ve learned over time that I write better in the morning when I’m fresh and less distracted. I admire you for setting these goals and finding a good way to follow through.

    I bought the Artists Way several years ago, but I guess is was the wrong time. I just didn’t have time to pursue it (as my boys were still young, and time alone hard to find). I look forward to hearing any updates you want to share.

    I love your pretty reminders in the form of tags and bookmarks. Those are gorgeous journals as well.

    What fun to visit the orchid greenhouse in the middle of such a chill. That must have been something.

    Sending a big hug your way. Thanks for your lovely post.

    • Happy New Year, Alys! You always say the kindest, most encouraging words. My creative heart and soul were calling out to be nourished in the year ahead. Hoping to build new habits! I have really enjoyed my first week of Morning Pages. Honestly, it feels like writing a personal blog! 🙂 Writing our thoughts down feels so much more action-oriented than just thinking about things.

      I had always been curious about The Artist’s Way and knew that I would read it one day. Imagine my delight, while shopping for the book, to discover Julia Cameron’s newest Artist’s Way program tailored for retirees! I will work my way through both books, with much curiosity. Isn’t it amazing how kindred spirits find the same books on our bookshelves and reading stacks?

      Ali Edwards stresses the importance of making our ‘One Little Word’ visible. It’s nice to have bookmarks for my journals. They are both Lang journals. I chose the bicycle journal for writing Memoir, since my life has been “an amazing ride” so far, with new adventures yet to come! 🙂 I’m really looking forward to hearing about your ‘One Little Word 2017’… when the time is right. Warmest hugs, dear Alys! Thanks for always being here. Have a lovely weekend! ♡

      • Dawn, your enthusiasm is both palpable and contagious. I love that about you. I kept written journals for years, so I do understand the tremendous value in capturing our thoughts on the page. I look forward to hearing your next chapter. xo

      • Warmest hugs, dear Alys! I always feel excited about new beginnings and all of the possibilities that they bring! Although I love the idea of journaling, I haven’t been good about continuing the journals I have started over the years. Only my Gratitude Journal is filled with entries. So, I’m really hoping that Morning Pages will build a new habit of keeping a journal. The weekly guided prompts should help me to fill my Memoir journal. I’ve been looking through old photo albums all week long. I’ve been a memory-keeper my entire life. 🙂 So there are many, many albums filled with smiles. I’m enjoying this whole process! Heartfelt thanks, Alys! Hope you fared well during the recent flooding rains in California. I’ve been thinking of our friends out west. ♡

      • I like that phrase “memory keeper”. Both my parents kept photo albums and scrapbooks, so I too followed suit.

        Thanks for asking about the floods. We’ve been lucky ourselves, but boy what a mess up and down the state. We have five clear days ahead starting Friday, so that will help dry things out and allow dangerously high rivers and creeks to recede. xo

        Are you still under lots of snow?

      • It’s in our DNA, Alys! 🙂 I’m sure that I inherited the memory keeping gene from my dad. 🙂 He has the most wonderful family photo albums. Recently, I videoed Dad telling the stories of his service in the Korean War as we looked at his album together. For the past few years, I have been making some family history videos. It’s so nice to have the voices and stories along with the photos. True treasures! ♥♥

        I saw the frightening news reports of flooding again last night. They mentioned a city south of San Jose, so I thought about you and your family. So grateful that you have some dry days ahead. Our snow melted on Christmas night. We have had extreme cold in January. This morning we woke up to freezing rain covering everything. Our Midwest winters are always character builders! One of the sweetest blessings of retirement is being able to stay inside during wild, winter weather! I count my blessings every day! ♡

  7. I have to smile. Although I do not consciously take part in the “One Little Word” it has found me this year and, believe it or not, my word is also “nourish”. Your post is so much more eloquently written than mine, but I am exploring the same and similar books, and have discovered many who are also turning to Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” at this time. It is going to be interesting to discover what we all achieve from this.
    I am awaiting delivery of “It’s Never Too Late To Begin Again” which I hope will be here this week, and I have been recommended to read another of her books, specifically aimed at those who enjoy writing, but as I look deeper there are many that cover different areas of our creativity. She is such a readable and accessible writer, teacher and guide.
    What a blessing to have the arboretum so close by to offer such a burst of much needed colour to the darker, dull days of winter; what inspiration it brings too, as well as a delightful place to take your walks, out of the biting elements of winter.
    Wishing you well with your new OLW 2107! I will be thinking of you often and watching your progress too!
    Deborah xoxo

    • Kindred spirits on both sides of the Pond, Deborah! ♥ Thank you so much for your kind, thoughtful words. What a joy to know that we are both on the very same creative path. I think your OLW will be a powerful guide this year. This is my sixth OLW, and all five of my past words remain an important part of my ‘toolbox’ as I am learning, growing, and becoming. I call upon them whenever needed… and they always help me to take mindful actions.

      For many, many years, I have been curious about The Artist’s Way. When I was shopping for the book last November, you can’t imagine how delighted I was to discover a brand new version of The Artist’s Way Program for people of a ‘certain’ age! 🙂 The timing was perfect! So, I decided to work through It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again! first, and then continue with the classic The Artist’s Way. Life is busy, so I’m quite sure that I will stretch the program beyond twelve weeks. That’s the best way to savor all of the new learning and discoveries along this exciting, creative path! Creativity takes time and cannot be rushed. The program was developed as a course where creative souls could meet together to share their discoveries. That would be so powerful. So, I am hoping to connect with others, locally or at a distance, to share our path! Wish we could sit together over a cup of tea to share, Deborah! 🙂

      My first Artist Date felt very special! It is an interesting experience to go places alone, as I typically invite my husband or a friend. It provides a quiet focus that I am enjoying though. I have a growing list of ideas for future places to visit. I’m sure one could very easily plan virtual Artist Dates ~ just imagine visiting the Louvre or Monet’s Gardens for inspiration! ♥ I’m just delighted to know that we are following the same creative journey, Deborah. I think it will be a wonderful year of discovery for both of us. I look forward to following your exciting journey as well. Thank you for being here! ♡

  8. What a great OLW for 2017, Dawn! I am a firm believer that mornings are the most perfect time for creation, so I hope you’re able to find fulfillment and inspiration in that time that you make for yourself. ❤

    • Thanks so much, Chris, for your encouraging words! I’ve always been a morning person (perhaps it’s because of my name!), so I’m delighted to follow my new intention. It’s working out well so far! 🙂 I’m very grateful that my OLW found me and looking forward to a creative year ahead! Sending warm hugs from my heart to your heart, Chris! ♡

  9. This has been a lovely and inspiring post. I did a workshop for 12 weeks I believe about 10 years ago on “The Artists Way”. I still have my workbook that we bought for it. I have long since drifted away from my morning pages to devote time to reading and commenting on blogs and once in a while, writing my own. I may give serious thought to picking it up again. I do miss the time to clear my head and organize my thoughts in the morning. Adore your pretty journals. I too have always wanted to tackle memoir. “As soon as” I get this place back in order, I may get to start enjoying more creative possibilities. You have stirred something up here. Looking forward to more updates from you. I love the orchid garden.

    • Yay, Marlene! I love hearing that I have stirred something up! 🙂 You were so very fortunate to take The Artist’s Way workshop years ago. The program is really designed to be shared with others each step of the way. Hopefully, I will connect with someone else who would like to share discoveries while working through It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again! Fingers crossed! I’m taking it very slowly and savoring all of the new insights and discoveries along the way. I can already tell it will take me a bit longer than twelve weeks. It feels like a very special gift that I am giving myself! I’m so grateful that Julia Cameron has focused her newest book on retirees. It is a wonderful chapter of life! Sending big hugs, Marlene! ♡

      • I would love to hear about your experiences with both books, Marlene! I bought both and decided to start with It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again! since it is perfectly suited for this special time in my life. Then I’m planning to work through The Artist’s Way. We’ll see if I decide to continue straight through both books or save The Artist’s Way to begin 2018. I have so much more time in the winter while my garden is sleeping! My heart will tell me what is best. I think it will be great fun for you to compare your thoughts now to your thoughts ten years ago when you worked through The Artist’s Way workshop! Have a happy day, Marlene! ♡

  10. Hi Dawn. I was wondering if you finished doing this book and to let you know that Debra Eve of The Later Bloomer is starting a book club and will be doing the book starting June 20th. Here is her website: http://www.laterbloomer.com You can sign up to receive her emails about it there, if you are interested in doing the book with her and her followers.

    • Oh, thank you, thank you, Cathy! I’ve never visited Debra’s site before, but just signed up. I would love to be a part of this book club! 🙂 It was so thoughtful of you to let me know, Cathy. I truly appreciate your kindness! Kindred Spirits + Perennials add such joy and inspiration to our days! Wishing you creative days! Warmest hugs! ♡

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