Touched by Magic!


Hi Friends!

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels – that’s creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place – that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one. The often surprising results of that hunt – that’s what I call Big Magic.”

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

A true ‘jewel’ of a book has touched my heart and soul. It’s the kind of book that had me in tears  as I read, for it spoke so much about the creative path that I am following during this exciting chapter of life! Perhaps this wonderful book is also on your stack of books to read…


After a very long waiting list at the library, my turn to explore the magic of creativity finally arrived. It was a double-blessing to check out both the book and the audio book of Big Magic at the same time. What a joy to hear Elizabeth Gilbert’s passion as she read to me, while I followed along, adding sticky notes to the passages that inspired my creative heart.

Liz Gilbert shared the reasons why it can feel so scary to take risks as we create. Whether you are a papercrafter,  a watercolorist, a quilter, a glass-blower, a writer, a composer, a poet,… any kind of artist at all,  Liz helps us understand how “Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity.” As I read, I filled a journal with quotes and connections to her powerful inspiration.


Now I truly understand why it can be so hard to go downstairs to my ‘Paper Garden’ studio to begin a new project. Liz encourages us…

“Work with all your heart, because – I promise – if you show up for your work day after day after day after day, you just might get lucky enough some random morning to burst right into bloom.”   

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic



Now I can understand why, on some days, all creatives feel like we have lost our mojo. We have the time to create, a dedicated space to be messy, and wonderful supplies at hand. In spite of these many blessings, we just don’t feel creative. On those days, I can only look through my paper, paints, ink, and stamps as I wait for my inspiration to return.

Liz reminds us…

“The most important thing to understand about eudaimonia, though – about that exhilarating encounter between a human being and divine creative inspiration – is that you cannot expect it to be there for you all the time. It will come and go, and you must let it come and go.” 

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic


Liz encourages us all to look back through our family history to find the makers that we come from. So true! I come from a long line of makers. As I grew up, I watched the joy and hard work of my parents as they worked with with their hands and hearts. My mom made a beautiful quilt, colorful stained glass pieces, handmade pottery, sewed our clothes, baked the most wonderful cookies and cakes, and tended her lovely rose gardens. My dad built our bedrooms upstairs and our family room downstairs, restored several antique cars, and designed Lionel train layouts. Even today, their creative passions add joy to their days. My Aunt Gilda, with an advanced degree from The Art Institute of Chicago, found joy as she worked with pen and ink, as a sculptor, painter, quilter, and calligrapher. (One day, I promise to share more about these amazing, creative makers who have been a source of lifelong inspiration to me! ♥) From time to time, I’m sure they all felt the same creative fears that I feel. It’s all a part of the magic!


Especially this year, as I strive to ‘blossom’ (my ‘One Little Word’ 2016) by bravely sharing my artwork and taking part in creative Challenges that stretch my skills,…  I can feel the magic happening! It gives me the courage to keep sharing. I feel so blessed to gather with other makers at our monthly papercrafting Crop Days. It feels so inspiring to spend time with my creative ‘tribe.’


Liz celebrates makers of all ages…

“If you are older, trust that the world has been educating you all along. You already know so much more than you think you know. You are not finished; you are merely ready.” 

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

Even though it’s hard work and can feel scary at times, I feel so ready ~ ready to learn, ready to grow, ready to blossom! I am so grateful to all of the creatives online who teach and inspire me each day. (You might like to check out my Inspiration links in the blog header.)  They shared Big Magic with me… and I couldn’t wait to share Big Magic with you!

♥  Beginning this week, Big Magic is available in paperback, too.

♥  I absolutely loved the audio book of Big Magic! There is nothing like hearing the passion in an author’s voice as she reads her inspiring words aloud to you!

♥  After publishing Big Magic, Liz wanted to continue the conversation about creativity. Her delightful podcasts, ‘Magic Lessons,’ are “roadmaps to creativity and the little nudge we all need when we feel stuck creatively.”  I enjoyed all 12 wonderful episodes from Season 1. Now Season 2 of ‘Magic Lessons’ is already underway.  Check out the ‘Magic Lessons’ podcasts!


Yes, I have truly been touched by magic…

and I look forward to sharing more connections to the inspiration and lessons

I’ve learned from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic

 I’ve only just begun to blossom! ♥

“All I know for certain is that this is how I want to spend my life – collaborating to the best of my ability with forces of inspiration that I can neither see, nor prove, nor command, nor understand. It’s a strange line of work, admittedly. I cannot think of a better way to spend my days.”      

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic


Hope you will join in the conversation here!

Have you read Big Magic?

Do any of these quotes from the book touch your creative heart?


Be awesome today!

♡ Dawn












A Lifetime of Learning and Growing


Hi Friends!

Thankfully, some things never change…

“What one loves in childhood

stays in the heart forever.”

~Mary Jo Putney

Sweet memories of our weekly visits to the library as a child still warm my heart. I would thoughtfully choose an armful of books to check out, and couldn’t wait to begin reading them. I hugged them tightly, like treasures, while sitting in the backseat on the ride home from the library. I would often stay up late reading, with my book and a flashlight hidden beneath the blankets.

I’m so grateful that my mother shared her love of reading with me!  Each afternoon, when I came home from school, it was so comforting to see my mom sitting in her favorite chair quietly reading as she waited for us. Although the print is a bit larger now, my mom continues to be an avid reader. Whenever I visit, it’s such a comfort to see her reading in her favorite chair. Readers raise readers.


A few childhood favorites

One of my greatest joys in life has been sharing my love of reading with my young students over the years. Gathering them close to read aloud. Helping them to discover that reading is thinking. Reading books by our ‘Author of the Month’ and celebrating with lively book discussions during our monthly ‘Author’s Lunch’ gatherings helped them blossom.  Watching my students grow into real readers, with favorite authors, and a wish list of books to read was so exciting. Several students dreamed of becoming authors when they grew up. When they write letters to me, from middle school, high school, or the university, they are still eager to share what books they are reading now. Readers raise readers.

One of the blessings of my ‘Renaissance’ (the special ‘R’ word that I use for retirement) is the wonderful gift of time spent at our public library. Our library is the heartbeat of our community and encourages lifelong learning in so many exciting ways!

It’s always so nice to visit the Children’s Library to see young children and their parents engaged in reading together. Early Literacy activities and reading celebrations help our young readers discover the joys of reading. Special areas of the library have also been designed for Middle School students, and Teens.  There is so much to learn here at the library!


Our library is just over ten years old.

The original library had outgrown its space in a historic mansion in the park.


I will always remember Opening Day at the new library!  All of the books had already been moved and organized in the new building. There was just one book remaining in the old library. Avid readers, young and old, gathered to form a human chain from the old library building, across the park, to our new library. We passed the last book, hand to hand, across the park to its home in our new library. What a moment… and a special celebration of the joy of reading!


Nonfiction books are always my favorite genre.

I’m passionate about learning, growing, and blossoming in new ways.

Just walking through the door of the library fills me with a sense of discovery!


The ‘Travel Center’ is a wonderful resource for vacation planning…

and armchair travelers, too.


There is so much creative inspiration everywhere at the library!


At the ‘Culinary Cupboard,’ library patrons can borrow specialty baking pans for one week.

Perhaps it’s time to plan a party!


Our library offers so many interesting programs and classes each month. Last week, I attended three different technology classes and began learning Tai Chi, in evening classes at the library. In fact, the library is where I learned how to write our blog!


You can see  a tiny sampling of the diverse classes coming up at the library. I have enjoyed classes in photography, memoir writing, watercolor painting, flower arranging, and so many other creative interests. This weekend, papercrafters will gather for our first  ‘Crop’ event at the library.  I’m really looking forward to an entire day of creativity, fun, and friendship!


Over the years, many things have changed…

Our library has continued to evolve with the changing times. Now we visit the library to access computer databases for research or genealogy. We use scanners at the library to digitize our old family slides for memory keeping. Some people come to use the 3-D printer, the Study Rooms, the Creative Studio Lab, or the Gathering Room.  A variety of clubs attract people who love to read, cook, sew, blog, converse in a foreign language, travel, meditate, play games, or do genealogy. Our librarians and library staff  share so many of their specialized talents with all of us.  We feel so fortunate to take an active part in this learning community!

There is something for everyone at the library.

It’s a wonderful place to meet friendly people who share the same interests!

Readers often enjoy a quiet place near the fireplace,

with a hot drink, and a good book, newspaper, or magazine.

The library feels like a calm, peaceful oasis on a cold winter’s day!


Thankfully, some things never change.

I still love to come home with an armful of interesting books…

and I can’t wait to get started reading them!


What are your favorite ways to use your public library?

How has your library changed over the years?

Happy Reading!

♡ Dawn