Time Ever-Changing

I’ve been thinking about what next to share. I hold my breath to wait for the “right” time to share, but then things change so quickly. I don’t want to share before it’s final, before I know more… But I might not know more, or everything might be totally different tomorrow.


Artist Sheri Locher, framed clocks (via Pinterest)

Life doesn’t have a hard and fast deadline on anything. As a culture, we are a bit obsessed with deadlines. We have due dates for everything: business proposals, homework assignments, client meetings and employee reviews. We slap due dates on everything from the weather to the birthing of babies. We are so dependent on deadlines that we impose them on people at all costs. If a woman hasn’t shown ample signs of labor by her due date, the doctor will be quick to cut her open and pull that child out.

We are imposed upon from birth that Time is paramount—if we do not meet our deadline, knives and copious amounts of drugs will be imminent.

Let’s think about this. How we insist on a controlled environment; not only deadlines and due dates, but also controlling the temperature, the micro-organisms living in our environment, and nearly everything else between. We take pride and comfort in sterility. I don’t mean cleanliness—but sterility, as in killing all the organisms on that kitchen counter. This controlling attitude is harmful to us. Already we are seeing scary resistances to relied-upon antibiotics due to the over-prescribed nature of these sometimes-helpful methods of modern medicine.

I enjoy a nicely vacuumed carpet, a freshly mopped floor (and when I do, I prefer a human-friendly concoction), or a tidied room nearly dust-free. I also see the importance of arriving on time. All these things make for a happy home, and a respect for time is a respect for the time of others. But I think, on the whole, we should embrace the rhythms of a clock that is not manmade.

However inconvenient, Autumn will not return all at once on the autumnal equinox. However inconvenient, most babies did not get the memo about their due date (and have no idea about the sterile deadline-obsessed world they are about to enter). And what a sad, boring world that would be if everyone complied.

Enjoy the small changes and gradual turn of seasons. Take notice of the little signs and gifts from nature. And in life, it is important to remember we are made of the same stuff; we cannot apparate or disapparate in perfect time, (un)fortunately—and what a wizardly bore that would be, anyway. Take time to see the magic in getting there slowly, to watch how deadlines shift and shape. I’m learning to roll with the punches and understand there is never a perfect time to share–watch the embedded video and see what Lachri Fine Art does as an exploration of how the world turns–it’s pretty inspiring.

What is today, won’t be tomorrow.

Happy Summer’s End!

Unexpected Beauty


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A couple weeks ago, I loaded up my toddler and my infant and I did the unthinkable. I attended my first life drawing class in over three years. This was an open session where any artist could pay a few bucks to sit and observe a naked model for a couple hours and sketch for your own enjoyment/practice/growth. I would never in a billion years assume my toddler and infant would be a welcome addition in a session such as this, and thus I had longed to attend this very same workshop for a while but considered it a simple no-go because I don’t have childcare.

There are a lot of things in life that are that way once you have kids. I often feel I’m committing a strange kind of assault upon other grocery shoppers because my crew of cart-contained kiddos are simply not adding to the ambience they, as citizens of this world, hoped for in the public space of the grocery store.

However, a mom doesn’t quit being a person beneath her mom-skin. And often, we keep spaces kid-free and don’t give much thought about moms who can’t attend because they feel obligated to respect the peace and calm of others. This is fine, I’m certainly not saying people should endure the antics of my toddler because I want to draw a naked lady. But why don’t we consider creating mom-friendly spaces for women who want to continue doing the things they did before they wore mom-skin? Not kid-centered spaces; no, I mean, mom-centered spaces that accommodate, accept, and help kids who are attached to their mothers.

The wonderful coordinator of the art center where I attended the life drawing class encouraged me to try bringing my kids. And, all in all, my kids were pretty well behaved and I was met with a lot of support and enthusiasm. This meant the world to me, and it felt great to turn out a few pages of scribbles with a final render that was probably a total of five minutes focused effort.


A little figure drawing portrait from that fateful day.

Someone did complain, and I understand. I was thrilled to have the encouragement to even try attending! My heart burst open wide with unexpected gratitude when the coordinator introduced me to another artist-mama and said, “here, this inspires something–we need something for moms who are artists.”

And the ball began rolling, and I’m excited to keep that ball rolling. I’m excited to find a community, a physical place that exists outside the internet, where people are working together to inspire, create, and share with the people around them.


Art journal page–part of what we’ll be exploring in the class I am collaborating to teach.

I’m excited to have the opportunity to create and collaborate, maybe get back to teaching–even if for a short while. Most of all, I’m really inspired to create something that allows other moms to bring their kids along–and the best part is that I’ll be doing with my own kids right by my side.


The Beauty in You


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The Rumi quote, “The beauty you see in me is a reflection of you,” appeared in one of my social media feeds, and it gave me pause to remember the beauty of this quote and further contemplate its meaning.


It wasn’t long after I came across this when I experienced a moment that perfectly illustrated this idea. We often go to the zoo that is less than thirty minutes away, and I find the weekday walk a good way to get all of us out of the house and into the fresh air.

A week or so ago I plopped our little crew down on a bench after the giraffe exhibit. I nursed the baby and shared fresh cherries with Toddler Girl. During this resting phase, I saw another woman whom I feel compelled to reach out to—so here it is.

Dear Beautiful Mama,

I had a false sense of invisibility as I sat on the bench watching the other zoo-goers pass us by. My six-month-old was nursing with a lot of… pizazz, let’s call it. My toddler was really loving the juicy, runny cherries we had just picked up from the market, and she devoured them with the messy nature of a two year old. I was grateful to be sitting, mostly. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything above and beyond… in fact, maybe I felt a little bit lazy, a little bit of a cop out, because I was just letting my kids meander through a zoo so I could avoid the monotony of dishes and housework at home. I wasn’t there to explicitly enrich my kids’ lives—I wanted to wear my two year old out GOOD so that I could get a decent night’s sleep. Learning about monkeys or enjoying the up-close-and-personal magic of peacocks? That’s just a bonus, really.

So when you walked by us and said, “Good job, Mama,” I didn’t realize you were talking to me at first. What was I doing that was such a good job? I was sitting on a bench with my fat rolls exposed as my six month old writhed about like a slightly crazed imp. My toddler was staining her dress, and I could already tell I wasn’t going to be exerting myself over those stains to make them imperceptible the next time she wore the dress.

No, I didn’t realize you were talking to me—and really, I was thinking of you, what a good job you were doing. It was obvious how you were an amazing leader and teacher of these children. You were engaging the tweens and bigger kids with fun but challenging trivia questions. You guided them through the exhibit incorporating storytelling and fact-sharing, with an infectious enthusiasm that was obviously making the day a great one for your kids.

Maybe these kids are your nieces and nephews. Maybe one or more are your own and some belong to friends or family. I don’t know—maybe you are a mother-spirit and none of these are your biological offspring. it doesn’t matter. It was so apparent that these kids love you, and that was a strikingly beautiful thing to witness.

Your kind spirit was a magnetic field of energy around you. I was drawn to your maternal grace and absolute talent for teaching and lifting up these children. And I felt blessed to see you, to witness your maternal magic.

So when you looked at me and said, “Good job, Mama,” I didn’t understand.

But then I did. Yeah, I’m a mother with maternal magic, too, sure. Aren’t we all? But we downplay ourselves and take it for granted. We feel we aren’t enough, or that we are not doing enough. We put ourselves down and minimize the amazing stuff we do. We complain about being taken for granted, but we don’t even offer ourselves the love and respect we deserve.

I was watching you, Mama, and admiring the way you mothered. I was awestruck by the way you led and guided, entertained and taught—and you were, perhaps, feeling the same about the mom who was unabashedly nursing her flailing infant and sharing cherries with her toddler. Maybe you were, for whatever reason, impressed by my conversation about the fighting, pooping, showering river hogs. Maybe you really admired the way I made fart jokes with my two year old so her red-stained smile smooshed against my cheek and stained my sweaty face. Maybe you really thought I was being a patient, kind mama when I hugged her tight and made her laugh with some silly impression of a farting pig. Maybe you mistook my clumsy failure to hide my sagging boob and exposed nipple as an act of bold bravery: I am mother, here me roar.

But I’m not a magical mother, right? I’m too lazy to pump and bother with bottles, let’s be honest. I’m a total wimp and hate the heat, so I’ll use about any excuse to sit in the shade and eat. And making my toddler laugh with fart jokes is… well, it is the exact level of accomplishment that it sounds, I suppose.

So what of it?

Indeed. The magic and beauty I saw in you let me gift myself the truth: this was the beauty you saw in me. Maybe you didn’t feel beautiful or commanding in that moment. Maybe you were worrying about something else or secretly dreading the next leg of the hike through the mountainous zoo. Maybe your patience was paper-thin—or maybe not. Either way, it wouldn’t matter.

We get so much right, every day. Our efforts, our actions—our priorities and goals are made because of our families. We build our lives for the lives of others, and it is enough. It is more than enough. To let go of the criticisms we punish ourselves with would be the greatest gift of all—a gift we certainly deserve.

If I could look at myself the way I looked at you—and if you could look at yourself as you looked at me—I’m sure our lives would begin to feel so much better. To know that we are awesome, we are all Good Job, Mamas.

Blessings and love,

Another Mama

Moon Madness


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June 2016 was a month of a powerful Full Moon—the first full moon to fall on the Midsummer Solstice since 1948. If ever I had been skeptical about the Full Moon’s role and influence on my moods, this moon would have changed my nature. I fully acknowledge the mysterious power of the moon’s lunar pull in the world, but this Solstice proved quite chaotic in my own life—and I observed a definitive stir in the lives of those around me—and it reinforced my respect, reverence, and amazement regarding the magic of the moon.

I’m a believer in mood charting, and feel it is useful for those contending with diagnosed mental illness, or those who want to get a handle on the natural cycles of our ups and downs. Mood charting can be beneficial in harnessing our rhythms for greater productivity and a more peaceful and content existence.


Feel free to use this printable for your personal mood charting!

Thinking about the ebb and flow of our natural rhythm, and how the moon’s phases travel alongside us as a celestial calendar, prompted me to devise this chart for my own use. I’m sharing it with you, to use as you wish. Examine and reflect upon the nature of your ups and downs, and using the column dedicated to the moon’s lunar cycle, see how your moods might be aligning with Mother Nature.

I’ve started keeping a few notes for my own reference, using this chart and filling in the current lunar cycle in-progress. I’m curious to see if I notice any patterns, particularly on days other than the notorious Full Moon.

I tried to keep the chart simple, flexible, and re-usable for month-to-month fill-in-the-blank charting that is fast, easy, and practical. Some phases are not considered as “significant,” but I left these phases in with a smaller box so that it is easier to chart across the month uninterrupted. I’m curious to see how my charting goes, and perhaps I will post an update. Feel free to post in the comments how your mood chart turns out!

Volunteer Tomatoes


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Our second story apartment has a very small balcony is my gardening sanctuary. Container gardening has become one of my favorite ways to spend a spare minute. Whether I’m collecting some kitchen compost, watering our flower friends, or trimming herbs, the care and upkeep—and rewarding harvest—of my container garden’s bounty has become one of the most rewarding parts of my day.



I kept my endeavors limited to flowers and herbs, foregoing vegetables because I felt container gardening with larger things like squash or tomatoes seemed fairly impractical. Of course, I saw all kinds of amazing ideas on Pinterest, with impressive photography of tiered and stackable planters to prove your zucchini, squash, and strawberries can grow and thrive in a small-space garden. But, I’m also aware of the realities of my capabilities when it comes to recreating Pinterest-magic.


I kept my humble apartment garden small, simple, and took pleasure in useful herbs like oregano, mint, and cilantro. There was a mysterious little sprout that began to grow near my hostas in the pot that contained some orange Asiatic Lilies. And as it grew larger, five more sprouts followed, which led to my Facebook inquiry of, what is this thing, I didn’t plant it. And a bunch of people said, it’s a volunteer tomato.

I hadn’t heard of the term “volunteer” in relation to plants, but once I learned a little more, I counted my volunteer tomatoes as a blessing, a vote of confidence from Mother Nature. The volunteers came into my garden as the rest of my world outside of the garden seemed to be falling out of order. Things felt like a sprawling mess of conflict and challenges. I felt myself growing weary as I stared down a daunting few weeks, wondering how to manage incoming visits from relatives, our busy family schedule, and the joys of budgeting as a millennial family with student loans.

The emergence of the volunteers seemed like a message from Mother Nature. Even if I don’t think my own pot can hold the bounties of a vegetable garden, the vegetables felt otherwise. If I can open my hands, open my heart, and face the challenges coming my way, maybe I’m capable of holding and doing more than I give myself credit for.

Now I’m planting some squash and beans, with faith that my container garden can thrive with some loving care and due diligence. I’m looking forward to the challenge, and am pretty excited to see what comes next—both in and out of the garden.

Father’s Day

Everyone has something complicated in our lives. Sometimes holidays are complicated because of those complications. But what isn’t complicated (or at least not too complicated!), is the love I have for my family–for my husband and for my kids. Not much more to say, really.



Raspberry Lemonade


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The past year was an insane onslaught of events of all manner. Not the least of events in this busy year—the birth of our newest family member! My body has successfully grown and birthed that baby and so far my wisdom for you is: Six month olds and two year olds go together like fireworks and Fourth of July. It’s explosive, potentially dangerous, but amazingly beautiful and fun.

Since summer is the season upon us, we’re gearing up for the American 4th of July, along with our family’s prominent trend of June birthdays, water park/splash fun. Moving to Colorado from Florida seemed to hold promise of a milder summer; but I think the heat is just as intense—a slightly different animal but no less disagreeable to me. Gardening, seasonal cooking, and finding creative and fun ways to embrace nature and beat the heat are the kinds of summer challenges I am learning to embrace.



Just because life threw us a ton of curveballs and lemons last year doesn’t mean I threw in the towel for good. It took some time, and I’d be lying if I said I was always a glowing example of optimism, but eventually, we found the necessary ingredients to turn our giant barrel of metaphorical lemons into some seriously delicious lemonade (speaking of, check out this recipe from Cooking Classy).


recipe from cookingclassy.com, design by AMG Imagines

In this revival of AMG Imagines, I am planning a definitive focus on my creative works, and hope to pass along some useful information and inspiration to you. I’m also including a generous helping of my faves, so be prepared for delicious off-topic posts concerning food and recipes, family fun and creative parenting, or otherwise off-topic-but-on-topic stuff that makes AMG Imagines the eclectic blog that it is.

Inspiration (when it’s not inspiring)

A lot of creative types crawl the web looking for inspiration and ideas. I do this. I search Pinterest and browse Tumblr (I’m there) to see what other creative, successful people are doing. I say I’m looking for inspiration; but maybe I’m just fishing for excuses.

What starts as “inspiration,” quickly becomes a self-critical kaleidoscope that I’m staring into, looking at so much inspiration that I retreat and say, “I can’t make art that way.”

Recognizing this, I decided to re-evaluate what I’m searching for, and why. Artists create things; our purpose is to redefine and evolve the ground that has already been covered. Oh, the argument of “Has everything been done before, really?” I’m definitely on the boat of, “Yes, we have done everything before, and I’m not sure why we, as a species, are still alive.”

So, I’m not going to do anything new. I’m not going to create art that looks like the work of really successful and talented people. I have to remember I am looking for ideas, inspiration, and searching for new techniques or people to follow. I’m looking for inspiration that enriches my own art, but it’s important to remember my own art is just that: my own. My path to improvement is my own unique path. Finding my niche and forging my way is my own journey.

I love reading about writers. I might, in fact, enjoy reading about writers more than I enjoy the writing of writers. This was the case with many of my literary heroes, including Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath. I think back then I was cocky enough to not be daunted by the greatness of their work and how it compared to mine; besides, they were dead. Ohhhh, to be twenty again, and truly believe my work would just… plop… find its way to brilliance and land me in some cushy chair with a comfortably home and money to spare.

Yes. My twenty-year-old self was adorable.

Perhaps I should go back to that, though. I didn’t let the brilliance of other people paralyze me. I did my thing, and sought criticism, but had enough gumption to figure, “eh, not my problem,” when my work got a thumbs down. I took ideas and inspiration from critiques. I relished the lives of other artists—I found their stories and their work inspiring; not defeating.

Which is why I urge fellow seekers of inspiration and creative ideas to step away from Google and Pinterest and Tumblr. Just for a bit—think about your work, your ideas, and where you are within your creative journey. What is your contribution to the inspiration of those around you? Because your art does count; it may not be in the style of this guy, or that guy, or the chick over there. But that is okay. That is completely the point.

When Life Gets Hard(er)


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When things are hard, sometimes they get harder. It is what it is—or whatever frustratingly true phrase you might apply to this fact of life—can seem like such a flippant dismissal of life’s hardships. But… it is what it is.

After moving thousands of miles, facing a lot of difficult stuff, and digging up hope (and digging up that garden), I got hit with a super sharp pain in my side. And, before we even had health insurance sorted with our new situation, I landed in the hospital with an emergency appendectomy.

Ouch. Not only the physical pain of it. The inconvenience of healing isn’t what I want or need right now. My husband tells me being a martyr is not the same as being a hero; and that not taking care of myself does no one any favors. He is so right! But that is more of the annoying wisdom that is frustratingly true—but not really what I want to hear right now.

My garden? The tilling? All of it is out of my hands now. The nurse laughed when I lamented that I wouldn’t be able to till for six weeks. She said—maybe you can water your plants with a very small can.

My cilantro, chives, and basil are growing beautifully in the kitchen window! I will have to share pictures later. The vegetables, hollyhock, and lavender depend on my daily tending in their small cove outdoors. I had been helping to control their exposure to the elements using some clever ideas from a Better Homes & Gardens article. I started them in containers and chose a spot on the front stoop where the sunlight was good, and I could tend them easily.

But after falling ill, the resulting hospital stay, and recovery, I fear they may be lost.

I’m not giving up though. Recovery is hard, and I mean recovery of any kind. It can take from us so much, so fast, and it can seem so unfair. Sometimes it seems all the effort, research and learning, time spent and time sacrificed in other areas were completely wasted on some good intention that is now completely ruined through something beyond one’s own control.

As I was making my lengthy to-do list, I began doodling—which is a common thing for me. I started the meditative practice of a mandala. My approach is pretty casual and happens spontaneously in the margins of my notebooks and journals. But it is a good practice to help us creatively connect and remember that—no matter circumstances in our lives—we can only control what we can control. Begin in the center, small and simply, and make your marks traveling outward. Find an approach and make it work until you can create something with mind, body, and spirit.

I’m not giving up on my garden. I’m starting with what I can control, and focusing on what is working. My herbs are doing beautifully, and I think a hollyhock is pushing up. Maybe a couple things were lost, but enough can be saved. And it is still May—maybe I can get some sprouts together before the end of June and have a garden to show for anyway.


My husband has offered to finish the tilling, and said his price is more years of marriage. I said I’m okay with that deal. This isn’t what I planned, but I think it will work out just fine–probably for the better. I will start small, and build from there.

Motherhood, Lost and Found

So, my book, A Personal History of the Lost and Found, is coming out. It’s been on pre-order, and will be available to ship very soon. I got word from my editor that last minute things are being sorted—like dealing with cover image quality on matte vs. glossy. It’s really nice to work with a press that gives so much attention to detail, listens to the authors, and is passionate about supporting work like mine that doesn’t necessarily fit in any one literary or art-world box.

With the release of this book, I find there is a huge release of emotions, too. Before my book had a title, or even a collective order, I knew its content was confessional. My experience of the confessional poet is cliché. Because my academic focus was on fiction, I have a much more narrow handle on poets doing the confessional thing, and a much more limited perspective about how this works and what it is doing in the contemporary sense.

But regardless, the content is autobiographical, wrestling with serious battles that I had little outlet for during a period of my life. Nestled in the comforting folds of poetry, it was a good way to be a bit coy and mysterious about a personal hell I’d been living.

The cover art, in progress, depicts the invisible battle we are often called to fight.

Cover art, in progress, depicts the invisible battles we are called to fight.

And even when I decided to do the thing of sending my poems and illustrations into the world, I didn’t plan to share the personal story that largely fueled the sorrowful themes of life and motherhood and conflicting sides of humanity.

I see now, that to some degree, my transparency is mandatory for my voice as an artist. Sharing the personal is not necessary, but I feel that—for me—it is necessary as a personal action. The challenges I’ve faced have been a big part of how my creative and artistic identity has developed in the past few years.

These challenges are also why I am conflicted about Mother’s Day. Motherhood itself is a tricky subject for me. Mother’s Day is a cut-and-dry presentation of normalized assumptions of “perfect mothers” and their wonderful, healthy, living and adoring children. Mother’s Day rarely considers mothers who have lost a child—to death or some other horrible ordeal. What if a woman’s child is missing? Or what if her child is temporarily displaced or separated from her because of adverse circumstances beyond her control?

As I write this, I know there are a thousand variations of the “mother” role that I’m not addressing, that can’t be so easily defined or described. And I know that for me, my story is complicated. I am the mother of two, but am only able to actively mother one of these two.

My oldest, by circumstances that began as “complicated” three years ago, has now been out of my legal custody for three years. The “complicated” factor has only multiplied since then, and while I fear judging remarks or raised eyebrows that speculate, I feel like a part of me is suffocating by shutting out the story and largely hiding it. My eldest is one of the main subjects of A Personal History of the Lost and Found. Our story is difficult to explain, hard to personally process, and remains a confusing path toward reunion.


A piece in-progress that can be found in _A Personal History of the Lost and Found_, that is a direct reference to my eldest and an emotionally charged piece surrounding our story.

I refuse to hash out details or specifics; it is not the business of my audience, and I’m not obligated to share the heart-wrenching events I’ve endured in the past few years. What I can say, on the behalf of myself and many others who may be enduring a difficult story: mothers and their children come in all sorts of circumstance, unruly packaging, confusing landscapes of the maternal maps of life on earth.

The daughter with me daily is closer to me physically. I can celebrate her milestones and achievements in real-time, hug her tight and kiss her boo-boos. But with every hug and kiss I give her, a part of me is crying out to be reunited with my other child. And if I could, I would. The thing of the world we live in—so bent on protecting children and acting in their best interests—is that sometimes, there are stories caught in the abyss, lives that are not so easily sorted and solved.

When people ask of my youngest, “Is this your first?” I find myself increasingly wary of the conversation. There is no easy explanation, and there is no easy way to tell our story. It certainly isn’t a happy one.

It’s a tricky narrative of motherhood and humanness, and I’ve not decided what best way to approach it. I know some will disagree with my sharing this. And some readers may speculate (likely negatively), and I know I’ve probably left a lot of readers’ questions unanswered—and piqued more questions. But that is okay. It is, after all, my own narrative to write. And write it, I will.