The Task of Sorting

Yes, I am still sorting. In her book, Women Who Run With The Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes that the task of sorting (separating this from that), is essential to the process of development and healing of the human psyche, particularly the intuitive functions. The task of sorting this from that allows us to develop fine-line distinctions and discernment. It also allows us to learn when things are best let go of, to make room for more and sometimes even better choices.

When last I was here, I spoke of sorting out the templates I was able to save before I lost my external storage modem. I have made hard copies of the ones I want to preserve and use. And have also made yet another file of those that need work of one sort or another. I managed to buy a second-hand drafting table for that work. Yet, all the while I was engaged in those actions, I was aware that I had lost my copy of Photoshop: the one that held the kaleidoscope app that I had used to make the templates. There was grief in that knowledge, because I so enjoyed the process of watching and making those templates.

Occasionally, I would go online and search for another kaleidoscope app, but had no success in finding anything useful. It was utterly frustrating. Until yesterday, when I found, not one, but two different apps. When I got my new computer, one of the first things I did was to download It is a free download and is very user friendly. They supply tutorials on how to use the different elements for working with photographs as well as the paint program for more creative endeavors.

Yesterday, while talking to my daughter, I told her of my frustration. While we were talking, she searched for plug-ins for and found one that included a kaleidoscope app. among hundreds of others. The plug-ins are also free downloads. It took a while to find the app (it was hidden under the distort function), but eventually I did find it. The app is very different from what I have used in the past, but I am more than willing to learn the process.

The other app I found was in something called Suma Pro (found at It isn’t a download, but for the very reasonable price of $4.00 a month, you can use the app, pull up images from your own computer, work on them, and then save them back to your computer. Again, it is a different set-up, but I will learn.

This morning, I pulled up one of my doodles (pen and ink drawing, or line weaving). This is the one I pulled up:

3-17-2015_9_15_41_PMx[1]I took it to Sumapaint and clicked on the kaleidoscope app. This is what came up:

3-17-2015_9_15_41_PMx[1]aI was fascinated, so saved it back to my computer and brought it up in to play with it a bit. Really liked where I ended up with it:


Found a frame for it and it is now sitting on my new-used drafting table as a reminder that I am now back in business. I may even get around to coloring it at some point.


All that sorting made me acutely aware of just how much I enjoy my own creative process. More important, it allowed me to get through my grief and to find what I needed when I was finally willing to let go and see what was possible.

I used the same process to work with a photograph that was taken at the Botanical Gardens:

HOMEOFFICE - dscn4457Did a kaleidoscope from that photo:

HOMEOFFICE - DSCN4457a1I’m more than satisfied with my task of sorting this from that. Can you tell?


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Saving A Dream

Some of you might know that two months ago, I moved from a spacious one bedroom to a larger two bedroom apartment. It has been stressful for all kinds of reasons. However, I finally have a space that looks like a lived in area and am down to sorting through all my files.

My daughter has been coming about once a week to help with that chore. She is separating the poetry from the prose, and then there is all of the visual art. We have one storage box for items that don’t fit any of those categories, and I will have to go through them and decide if I want to keep or toss.

Before I moved, we got hit by lightning and I lost my computer. Along with that, I lost my outside storage modem. Years of work, just gone. So, I have been slowly going through the visual art box to see how much of it can be scanned and saved. I was surprised to find so many of my templates. Nowhere near the 300 to 400 I had in the storage unit, but enough to take the edge of that loss. I also lost my Photoshop program. That’s what I was using to make the templates. I am hoping to replace it, but that might take a while.

So, I’ve spent some time over the past two weeks, scanning some of the templates we have found. Problem is, my fingers start to itch, wanting to color them, lol. So when I get tired of the scanning, I go to my comfortable chair and color for a while. I forgot how easily that activity can calm and soothe. And I really like making beautiful things. But, it’s even better to let others see the beauty.

I’ve decided to share some of the finished and not quite finished images here. Hope you enjoy.826153826157826159


The spacing is a bit awkward, but that’s a problem with the site and my ability to maneuver around in it. Some of these were done in India Ink with fine artists pens, while others were done in colored pencil. And some use both and would have to be defined as mixed media pieces. I eventually want to attempt water color as well. These are copyrighted images and may not be used without permission.

My dream of creating a coloring book is still alive and well.

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A New Companion

His name is Jocko. At least that’s the name that came immediately to mind when I decided he needed such a definition. I had just read a Dean Koontz series (Frankenstein), and that was the name of a small misshapen, but somewhat lovable character in the books, that plays a diverse but essential role in the story.

The name comes from the Hebrew, either Jacob, which means one who supplants, or from the name John, which means beloved of God.

However, there was a problem. At some point, last week, I found myself looking up a very different name and I can’t remember why I did so. That name was Jasper. It comes from the Greek and means keeper of the riches.

Amazingly enough, I find both names and their different meanings to be more than appropriate for my new daily companion. Without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to Jocko, Jasper.

Yes, he is a crow. Shows up every morning somewhere between 7:30 and quarter of 9:00am. He sits atop a utility pole just outside the window next to my new desk and announces his presence with raucous caws. Sometimes, he flies around the building to serenade me from the fence just outside my bedroom window. Either way, he is bound and determined to make his presence known and felt.

Now to the issue of the appropriateness of his definitions (names). Many individuals find crows to be a negative nuisance, even dirty and nasty in some manner. But crows have a rich mythology and an even richer symbolism, if you are into that sort of thing.

There is a Native American story about the crow and how he came to be black all over. In the beginning he was a bird of bright rainbow plumage. Beautiful to behold, but because of all that admiration, he became arrogant. He hated his shadow because he felt it was dark and ugly, and refused to come out in daylight except at high noon when his shadow would not interfere with his beautiful appearance. If it did so, he would peck at it, trying to get it to leave or disappear. He continued to peck at it until one day, in a fit of retaliation, his shadow rose up and swallowed him whole. And the crow lost his beautiful rainbow plumage and has been totally black ever since.

The crow is closely related to the much larger raven. Both of them, because of their intense black coloring, are often seen as shape-shifters. Familiars to shamen, individuals who  are closely acquainted with the Life/Death/Rebirth cycles of existence, and often believed to be shape-shifters in their own right, able to alter their physical beings to those of animals and the like.

Also in Native American spirituality, the crow is often seen as a symbol of higher law, that which exists above man made law.

We humans are imperfect at best. We all have flaws. Yet there are those who would believe that they should and can live above that reality, going so far as to think they can control others and use them to satisfy their own greed and need for some sense of power. That is what the Koontz series is all about: a man who believes he can remake humankind and do a much better job of it than any God.  In the story, Jocko is a type of shape-shifter, able to do incredibly flexible things with his body. He hates himself, because he is one of a kind, a sort of rebirth from one of the above mentioned man’s creations. He is also the wonderful humor aspect I have come to expect in a Dean Koontz story, as well as playing a significant role in the defeat of the bad guy.

One who supplants is an individual who takes the place or position of another, as Jacob did in the story of he and his brother Esau. Or, as the black all over crow comes to take the place of that beautifully feathered bird that was first created. Man can make as many plans as he wants to, but higher law will eventually teach him the lesson of hubris that even the crow had to learn. And God will always love humankind.

So both names are seemingly appropriate. Here’s Jocko/Jasper in full cry.

DSCN4551aI believe he comes to tell me each day, that no matter what my plans may be, there is always a higher purpose to consider.

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A Bit of Beautiful Buoyancy

My sister has decided that I must get out into fresh air and sunshine. Not sure why that is so but it could be any number of things. I am still slowly unpacking my belongings from the move I made over two weeks ago. I do a bit of that each day, then break to read and spend time getting acquainted with my new computer. Very slowly, my new home is taking shape. But, I am also enjoying the unpacking of belongings, some of which haven’t seen daylight for years, and taking the time to carefully choose where they should rest at this point in my journey.

Two weeks ago, Mary came and took me to the Botanical Gardens. It was a beautiful day of sunshine and soft breezes. I hadn’t been out with my camera in far too long, so of course, I over compensated for that lack of photographs to play with. After downloading them to the computer, I did find a new effect to use on some of them.





These were all put through an app effect called “Vignette” in my program which is a free download available online. I think they would make excellent greeting cards or collages as well as wonderfully framed photos for any wall.

The following week, Mary called to say she was packing a lunch and we’d find a place while out for a ride. We headed toward the Bay shoreline and ended up at a small park near the UW extension campus. The weather, once again, was warm and breezy and we shared bits of our lunch with a sea gull until he turned down a home grown cherry tomato and, heaven forbid, a small chocolate covered cashew. That might have been best for him, but it was unthinkable to two chocoholics.

From there, we slowly made our way to the mouth of the Fox river and I was able to reopen my relationship with the Pelicans who inhabit that area every year and, at least for me, feed a natural fascination.




Pelicans are a symbol of buoyancy because they can remain afloat even in rough waters. They can dive deep for the sustenance they need, but then pop right back up after finding it. They are easy to distinguish, even in flight. Not only because of those long huge beaks, but because the black hem on their white wings is so distinct.

My sister really understood what I needed at this point of my journey. Sunlight, warm breezes, beautiful blossoms, and the buoyancy of pelicans. As well as a loving companion who likes to laugh at shared moments from years in the past. I am blessed.

Elizabeth Crawford  7/16/15

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Earth Day Challenge

Earth Day Challenge

planet in palm

Welcome to The Earth Day Challenge for Artists, Poets, and Writers. You may post as many times as you like. Each post URL may be entered below in the comments section. Url only and your name, please. Visit others and repost their contributions if you like. Remember, we are giving voice to our Mother Earth.

Have a great day!



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Suggestions For Earth Day Posting


Artists, Poets, and Writers

Suggestions For Earth Day Postings

As promised, I have gathered a few suggestions for postings to meet the Earth Day challenge to speak for our Mother Earth.

Images: with or without accompanying words:


Poetry: Bits or whole pieces



Loves Nature in small and large
creatures, furred and four-legged,
feathered and winged, from hawks
to hummingbirds, rabbits to big cats
and bears. Shares that love with all
who care and are willing to lean in
and listen.

Prose Writings: Essays, Articles, personal encounters or experiences:


A Tiger Named Pain (personal experience essay)

I have recently discovered a new poem form, created by another online poet, Hannah Gosselin, and is called The Boomerang Poem. It is written completely in metaphor (no similes), and pushes the mind into new and even, adventurous places. And because I am a poet, as well as an essayist, it occurred to me that the form would work for both. You will find the form and a detailed explanation here:

Music: Songs and music that celebrate the beauty of our planet home.


It goes without saying, that you may have your own ideas. All are welcome. Please be aware that you are not limited to only one posting, or to one blog entry. Make sure to share the post/s to social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Each time you post, you are invited to share that URL here, in the comments section. As always, read some of those posts, and if you are inclined, share the post on either your own blog or social media. You may also want to introduce your post/s with the words: For the Earth Day Challenge and then put the URL of this blog below that. I will create a new entry here on Earth Day, April 22, 2015.


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Challenge To Artists, Poets, and Writers


This challenge is being addressed to all artists,musicians, poets, and writers.

          Partaking in our various artistic endeavors we are, of course, expressing ourselves. However, we often are giving voice to those who have none. Those who have been silenced; either by circumstances or by individuals. Many of those silenced are forced, or coerced, into mute resistance (if they are capable of resisting at all).

As a poet and writer, I take that responsibility with concern and care. Earth Day is April 22 and our world, planet, home, is slowly and systematically being destroyed. The earth has no voice, although there are many (like myself) who believe she cries and groans with each tree that is bulldozed, each meadow or field of wildflowers that is paved over, each rock formation that is pulverized, and every swampland that is sucked dry by the human need for more of whatever it thinks it needs. All such actions are underlined by a deliberate ignorance, or denial, of the life such actions destroy; the waste, or fouling, of essential elements for sustaining continued life such as air and water.

So, with that in mind, I ask you to give the earth a voice on April 22, in whatever means of expression you employ to make that expression as public as possible. I would encourage you to use whatever is available to you; be that a blog, social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, a personal online journal, etc. To that end, I will come back here on the 18th of April to offer a few suggestions, ideas, or (if you prefer) prompts. You are free to use them (or not) as you see fit. We have a great deal of technology at our fingertips. Let’s use it and let our world speak. To further encourage you to participate, I am offering just one example, today, of writing that I myself have done. And yes, that means you are not, in any way, limited to only one form or piece of expression. Go through your files. Find images, photos, poems, bits of mythos, and stories. Dust them off and let them speak. This is one of my old pieces that I intend to post on April 22.

Actually, that’s two pieces. The image is a digital painting I created.

So, are you up to the challenge? Do you dare?

Elizabeth  4/13/15

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