Creative Living

A Convivial Picture Is Worth…

I get around every so often with my camera to capture moments as another means to express myself creatively. However, there are some photo ops that should be passed on…this I know.

Like Princess Kate sun-bathing topless in France or the guy I saw today at the grocery store who did his very best to dress as a woman, but unfortunately was not successful in pulling off his desired look. I realize it happens to the best of us and the last thing we need is someone with a camera nearby.

But, here are some random moments I snapped that I am happy to share today. You know, because they might inspire or bring about the sh*ts and giggles.

Knock Knock, it’s me, Wisdom

I found this piece of paper taped to the door of a counselor’s office and had to hold my hand back from scribbling the word “convivial” before the word living. You know what’s up. This pretty much sums up what I be preachin’ here here. Too bad there’s no source to credit. Then again, I could google it, but I’m lazy. It’s good stuff to share regardless.


I’m on a riverwalk boat tour and pictured is the bridge where famous Tejano singer, Selena filmed her music video No Me Queda Mas. We were all chanting “Selena! Selena! Selena!” Just kidding, but she does live in my heart forever. And her music too. Ahh…memories of that one Tejano cowboy sporting the cowboy hat, boots and belt buckle, the one I danced a mean cumbia with when I was just 16. He went by the name Lely. Go figure.


In between writing and revisions on my forthcoming Convivial Lifestyle Guide, I play with Photo Booth in Mac.


About to dip my fingers into this buxom beauty of a birthday gift sent by my Chi-town girlfriend who was known as “Giggles” in grammar school.

I sometimes get out to local coffee houses to write and this night, I was at Hideout Coffee House on Congress Avenue. Just down the street from the Texas Capitol.

That’s all folks! 



Two Comforting Reminders for the Creative in You

Last night, I went to bed at 2am. As a result of that decision, I have a headache and aching body the next day. This is a pattern for me, because I am lured by the silence of the night. It’s when I work and find myself seeking to connect to the creative in me, but my poor body pays the price.

To calm my mind from the myriad tasks on my personal and creative to do lists, I pulled out Julia Cameron’s book, Prayers to the Great Creator.

I’d say its fair to call it a devotional for creatives with universal language that can appeal to all. I opened the book to this page and thought the words were perfect for how I’d been feeling earlier that day.

Being in the midst of writing the Convivial Lifestyle Guide Vol. 1, I am learning a lot about my voice and abilities as a writer. I reassure myself that this is my first guide, and as a friend recently assured me, I can aspire to create a masterpiece, but this only is a representation of a moment in my life, of how I thought, felt, believed. It is impermanent, so I must detach expectation from it.

The Moment When You’re Ready To Follow Through

It was the last week in June that something finally clicked in me to sit my butt down and focus on writing the first Convivial Lifestyle Guide. I gave myself this ambitious time frame of completing it by end of July, but I also gave myself the freedom to have fun with it and go with the flow.

Every evening at 8pm, I’d head out to write. I enjoyed it, exercised the discipline each day to focus on this one thing. Then…resistance hit toward the end of the month. But I smiled and thought, it’s all good…this is part of the process. I’m just going to go along with it.

I never allowed it to convince me that resistance in the form of mental exhaustion and anxious eating would stop me from completing my guide. I also ignored thoughts of “Who’s going to read this, who will care?”  and just kept writing.

When you create, you do it for you first.

We are now in the month of September, and there are less than two weeks left, and the guide is not finished yet. I’ve accepted that not everything is within my control and I am not going to rush this experience. Don’t worry, you won’t have to wait too long. I can see the finish line approaching. I’m suddenly hearing Chariots of Fire and imagining I’m running in slow motion on a beach.

What I’ve noticed in this experience is how fast time goes when you’ve set a specific goal and you stick to it. It feels like I’ve put my head down to paper and began to write and numerous days have zipped by. This is when I write myself reminder notes to call my grandfather, take needed breaks, catch up with friends, watch a movie or some reality TV to give my mind a rest, simply do other things that bring me joy and peace and laughter, because that will only fuel the convivial material and experience I share with you.

If you’re in process of creating something totally new, here’s one last bit of wisdom from genius writer, Steven Pressfield’s book, The War of Art:

The professional [read: creator] arms himself with patience, not only to give the stars time to align in his career, but to keep himself from flaming out in each individual work. He knows that any job, whether its a novel or a kitchen remodel, takes twice as long as he thinks and costs twice as much. He accepts that. He recognizes it as reality.”

When at the beginning of a creative project, a career switch, a life change, etc., once you’ve come to the decision to just do it, there is excitement, momentum, immense enthusiasm, a sense of lightness in your body, and then…there is resistance, silence, a restless mind, confusion, doubt, distraction, but you must stay strong and stick with it.

Be humble in your efforts and know that this creation doesn’t define your entire life, but only one moment in it, so enjoy it, savor it.

In the end, that’s what convivial living is all about- the moment, the feeling, the memories, the experience.




My enhanced definition of the word Convivial for you and Merriam-Webster to consider

I have this desire to expand on the Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word that defines and supports the overall message surrounding this online haven…

Convivial [kuhn-viv-ee-uhl]: : The feeling you get when making the every day choice, whether subtle or profound, to live your life on purpose and with passion.

Convivial is how you aspire to feel every day of your life (whether you realize it or not). It’s a privilege, a unique responsibility that you must take advantage of and this desired feeling I speak of cannot come through unless you make the choice to create and express yourself, every day, in every way you see fit.

I’d love to know how this new, enhanced definition is playing out in your life. What subtle or profound choices are you making to experience the genius and the joy within you?


Give the gift of “I Believe in You”

I’m remembering my childhood friend, Carrie when she came to visit me in Austin not long ago and it made me so happy to know we’d have five days to play and catch up with one another’s lives.

Our kids played together, I took her and our whole entourage (all under age 5) to many scenic spots around town, and we even enjoyed a few joint naps together! If you’re a parent who has tried to go sight-seeing with small children, you know what that’s like, so exhaustion is almost inevitable.

A few weeks later, as a token of her appreciation for the time we spent, she sent me this engraved necklace which said…

“Live the life you love”

I was thrilled to wear something that held such a powerful message, and so close to my heart. Carrie saw it at a store and said she immediately thought of me.

This is the same friend who sent me the book Write From The Heart by Leslea Newman during a time when I was compelled to cross over from Banking to Unknown Writer.

I had been expressing my desires to her and a few other friends and the day I received the book in the mail, I was in awe. I thought, “Wow…what a way to show you were listening.” To have someone really pay attention to what you say aloud, especially your dreams, then respond with a detail that encourages and connects you to that dream is a gift beyond anything that can ever be bought. And it’s a moment that can never be forgotten.

To believe in someone and have someone believe in you is the greatest exchange you can make. It can’t get any more spiritual than that, can it?

Today, I had another dear friend nurture my spirit by accompanying me on a photo shoot around Austin. I’ve been in Austin for eight months now and have wanted to take pictures around the city to declare “I am here!” Well, today was the day. Here’s a sneak peek into the fun we had.

Before the fun even began, I felt the gratitude bubbling up inside of me and I had to let my friend know how much their gesture of time and attention meant to me. We ended the day with a beer and frozen margarita at good ole Hooters. Yeahhh.

In celebration of life, especially since today is my birthday (yeah!), tell me…to whom can you give the gift of “I believe in you”?

Who can you grant your time and attention to so that you may encourage a long buried dream to rise again? Or perhaps, who has nurtured you in this way lately and how so? Get your gratitude on and declare it or make a commitment to offer it to someone in the comments below. And be sure to eat some cake today, just for me.


How to accept everyone’s contribution to your life

The life of a writer, an entrepreneur, an artist, an activist, anyone going against the grain is a beautifully challenging one.

The tough part is seeing the beauty during those tough times, during those moments of doubt, during the times when the responsibilities that come with managing your way in the real world (i.e. working a job you aren’t fulfilled by, paying mounting bills, raising a family, finding quality education and experiences for your kids, etc.) seem to take over any time and energy you want to preserve for getting out to experience your life. It’s even harder when you feel alone in your quest to create the worlds you envision, when you feel no one understands why and what you’re doing, including yourself sometimes. The good news is…

There’s a spirit of extreme perseverance that resides inside each creative, inside you.

When you believe there is another way you can live your life, even if you don’t have all the answers right now, you are compelled to stand firm in your position and push through your blocks and detractors. You seek (more…)


Art is wonderfully dangerous. Are you playing like Julie Taymor?

When the DVD for the movie Frida came out, I bought my copy and watched the bonus features which introduced the film’s director, Julie Taymor.

My husband pointed out her assertiveness, the conviction in her voice, the passion in her eyes. The more I listened to her speak, the more I felt drawn to her as a creative and a woman.

If you’re not already familiar, here’s your chance to meet and appreciate the mind of Julie Taymor as she speaks on the value the Arts play in our health, family, and culture. Click the following video link to view.


Here are some of my takeaways, quotes that resonated, memories recollected, and feelings validated…

“The Arts…they’re wonderfully dangerous…I LOVE playing with fire.”

Could I have been aware of this at six years old? This reminds me of the time that I grabbed a box of matches from my grandmother’s house and snuck outside to light them up one by one. I thought I was being sneaky, but it was dark outside and I didn’t think about how the occasional flickering of each matchstick would give me away. The sparks of light lured my mother and grandmother out from where they were conversing and I was caught. That was the moment I got schooled on the dangers of fire, but it would not be the last time I played with it.

“Let’s turn off the lights and tell stories…”

This line from Julie gave me peace about a night time ritual I have with my kids. Every night when I put my boys to bed, I’ll read them five poems and stories from Shel Silverstein’s Where The Sidewalk Ends, or other random books from their collection, and if they’re still unwilling to get some shut eye, I put the books away, turn the lights off and tell them, “Okay, it’s time to use your imagination. Tell your own stories.”

“A whole heart is a broken heart…because through the cracks, the light comes in.”

I think of the many heartbreaks I’ve experienced: friendships gone awry; the times I’ve not felt heard, seen, or understood; the moments when I feel taken for granted; the times I give so much and get no acknowledgment for my efforts; the times I need validation and find out no one can truly offer what I must find within myself…these are the moments when the cracks form and create pain inside, but they are also the moments when enLIGHTenment occurs.

There’s so many other interviews to check out and I hope you feel intrigued to do so. But for now, tell me, what are your impressions after seeing this video? Any insights of your own you’d like to share? You knowwww I want to know. Go on and express yourself in the comments below.

Much love,


My latest convivial discovery: The story of Walt Grace

I made the recent discovery of John Mayer’s song, Walk Grace’s Submarine Test and I don’t know if the surround sound stereo system I initially heard it on made the difference, but as I listened to the lyrics, I thought, “Umph! Yet another example of why I love this man.” If I was a male musician, that’d be me.

I am fascinated by the spirit of human creativity, by the spirit of humanity

-there’s the beauty of our perseverance; our intolerance to mediocrity (most times); our desire to experiment, to better ourselves; our efforts to experience quality co-existence with others, to hear and speak truth, to arrive at fulfillment. This simple song about a man and his unique choice that blatantly went against anything common speaks volumes of that creative, human spirit.


The line that does it for me, I mean, caused me to run for my pen and write it down, was when he sang,

“‘Cause when you’re done with this world, you know the next is up to you…

Perhaps you may interpret it as the reality of death and your second chance to experience the hereafter and “get it right”, but I took it as a reminder of how you have the ability to choose to create your life over and over again while you are still alive on earth.

Right now, you could be living one world, one life, one reality, but the moment you decide you are done with it, you are ready for a change, for something new, then “you know the next is up to you…”

My Deer in Headlights Moment with John Mayer

While on sabbatical last week, I’d been writing and editing most of the day and before closing down this writer’s shop (i.e. brain) for the night, I checked email and saw a message saying, “You have a new twitter follower…”

I clicked the link and saw it was John Mayer. My jaw dropped and I said aloud in the silence of the house I was staying at, “SHUT. UP. QUIT IT.” My cousin always splits her sides when I respond to her gossip in that manner.

My heart started racing, and it was clear I was having one of those moments where you feel all giddy and flattered and think, “Who, me?” I did everything not to fan myself and flitter my eyelashes at the computer screen.

Logic kicked in and I verified that this was not the real John Mayer that I am infatuated with, the one in which I would probably faint if he ever serenaded me. No, it was someone portraying themselves as him. Good laughs good laughs…

Your turn now. Are you as madly in like with the mind of John Mayer as I am? If so, we must connect. What’s your response to the submarine song above? What other tunes by Mayer or other artists set your soul ablaze? I’m talking the kinda of music that makes you want to pull a Walt Grace and defy all conventional wisdom, set sail along new shores in life. Do share in the comments below for the convivial creator’s collective playlist.


Be bold, Do the work & Life will respond accordingly

This will be quick, but I simply want to express my gratitude for an unexpected blessing that came my way last week and to tell you that if you show your commitment to your craft, your art, your dreams, yourSELF, and put your requests out there to be heard, to be known, to be considered, guess what? Life will respond accordingly.

As I write you, I’m on a writer’s sabbatical all this week as a result of doing just the above. I devised a plan of action to create space and time for myself to continue focusing on a project that’s been a long time coming. Before I continue, I want to ask you to be part of this experience and not miss out on anything, so be sure to…

Join the Convivial Collective for news on the official launch date of The Convivial Woman’s first digital offering, Volume I in a series of Convivial Lifestyle Guides written by yours truly for you truly.

Back to my story… So, I put my request for space and solitude out there for the right person to hear, and as easily as I spoke it, it was granted.

I’m so grateful for what’s been provided to me all this week. I’m holed up in an undisclosed location, all by myself with my Mac, a new journal, surround sound music, a plush bed, several books, and healthy snacks galore. I have no plans to be anywhere. It’s just me, the convivial muse and I all week long. Scary and exciting!

Silence can be intimidating, but it’s needed for anything creative to come out of you.

Upon arrival, I experienced (more…)


Follow the Compass of Your Personal Beliefs

Are you the kind of person who doesn’t take whatever life someone tries to hand you, impose upon you, convince you of, create for you?

Good. That’s what you call someone awake and alive and exercising the free will and power they were born with.

In reviewing some notes of recent things I’ve written, but am not ready to fully share yet, I do want to stop for a moment and share this nugget with you:

You are here to express the masterpiece within you, to live according to all that YOU believe, not what others want you to believe.

The moment you start questioning, that’s the moment you start living.

Open your eyes. Be a sponge. Take your life in your hands as a baby does and explore, observe, taste, and even fumble with it. It’s all just an experience, an opportunity to be. here. now.

Stay open to the lessons the world wants to present you by way of…

the people you cross paths with,
the places you visit,
the feelings and yearnings that linger and haunt you,
the relationships you are challenged by,
whatever and whomever you come into contact with…

Life is attempting to offer you a new, more wild education that is certain to bring you back to the essence of and the original creation that is you.

Let me know in the comments below where you see your compass pointing you these days, how and about what are your personal beliefs changing? What do you think is provoking that change?


The Creative’s Need for Order

As a mother of two boys, the wife of a messy husband (shh…don’t tell him I told you), and being a writer and entrepreneur in my soul who walks around with myriad thoughts and ideas jumping off the walls of my membrane, I work hard to keep order in my world. I can’t say I’m always successful.

As creatives, the meaning of “order” is different for each of us. Do you know what it means for you?

Way back when, I may have wondered about, or dare I say, judged someone for keeping a crazy space, but I’ve learned there’s more lurking beneath the surface than just laziness. It plays a part, but many times its more than that.

I’m reminded of when my brother was temporily living at my parent’s home as an adult. Back then, he was quite distant from family and didn’t want to mingle or talk much. I didn’t understand it at the time, but now I do.

He knew he was talented, smart, and (more…)


The Question John Mayer Keeps Asking

Anyone who knows me knows that I’d melt at the sight of John Mayer. I love the man, love his music, and love the courage he exhibited at 18 to venture off with a guitar and share his voice with the world.

He lives each day with the intention to color outside the lines just as I do. And I have no doubt you hold a similar desire in your heart.

When I was a young wife and still working as a banker, I was questioning a lot in my life. I had a steady income, college degree in hand, was good at what I did, had my parents nearby, and was married to a wonderful man. But something was still missing.

I wanted to write for a living. I wanted to really, truly, massively serve the world. But what could I do to figure out the answer for my life in that moment? For starters…

PLAY some John Mayer and then follow his brave example

I was driving home from work, contemplating quitting my job and I was listening to his first CD. Here was a young guy who worked at a gas station, had no interest in following his classmates to college or looking for his life’s answers in text books.

He had just one natural gift to guide him in starting his life: his voice.
And he used it and found his proper place on a stage. You are no different and can do the same with your talents. Has the world seen what you’re capable of?

When you’re trying to figure out your way in the world, Mastin Kipp, CEO/Founder of The Daily Love says, there will be a tremendous questioning phase.

Everyone’s going one way, and yet, you want to go the other way. Are you wrong for wanting to venture down a different path? One that is unlike anything anyone you know has ever gone down? It’s not wrong…it’s mandatory!

John Mayer wondered the same thing and even wrote a song about it called Why Georgia. Mayer asks, “Am I Living It Right?” Click the lyrics below to listen to the actual song. Makes me want to wrap my arms around my muse and have the most sensual of slow dances.

“Everybody’s just a stranger but that’s the danger in going my own way…I guess it’s a price I have to pay, still everything happens for a reason…
Its no reason not to ask myself if I’m living it right.” -John Mayer

We’re all here to have a similar success story, in our own unique way.

What do you want your story to sound like?

In what ways are you contributing to the details of your legend every day?

We all have fears deep inside that want to convince us that we are not enough, but none of it is true.

As Marianne Williamson says, you are powerful beyond measure…All you have to do is believe it and act on it.

If John Mayer feels the need to ask, “Am I living it right?” I’m sure you won’t be any different if you’re contemplating listening to the stirring your soul.

Follow your bliss. Do YOU. Become all you deserve and are meant to BE.


Write an Unforgettable Note to Self (Often)

Today is my first day in “class” for B-School and I’m taking a quick break to share this blog with you!

I’m possibly working out some discomfort and feelings of uncertainty as I write you-I was feeling it as I worked through the material I’m learning.

The community of women entrepreneurs who are involved, approximately 1500, are all so amazing and inspiring. That is the true benefit of this experience and I am so grateful to be part of it. However…

That alone can bring up tons of emotions and feelings of uncertainty. You may start asking yourself,

Do I belong here?

Is this the right place for me?

Do I have what it takes?

How can I compare to all the amazing things that these other women are doing?

Will this really be worth the money I spent on it?


Will I get through all the assignments and apply all the knowledge in one peace?

When in uncharted environments and around new people who bring on the challenge, I’d like you to remember this quote to justify and validate your state of uncertainty and occasional insecurity (forgive me I can’t remember who said it!):

“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you need to find another room.”

Simply put, smart people surround themselves with even smarter people. And the smarter you want to get, the more uncomfortable positions you’re willing to put yourself in.

Personal investment in yourself is a huge deal and embarking on a new path can feel like stepping onto a tight rope with all eyes on you. There will be bumps in the road, especially at the inception, and the path will appear unpaved, seemingly treacherous, but this is to test your will and determination to get to where you are going.

Here’s what I want to recommend you do ever so often, starting today, to combat weak thoughts:

Treat yourself to unforgettable, inspiring, personal reminders and words that come straight from you.
A kind of love note to self and place them in unexpected places for you to find later, where you can easily forget, and then find when you least expect to.

When that time comes for it to reappear, you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised and trying to remember
“Hey! When did I write this?”

It’ll be a guaranteed moment of personal warmth and wonder.

I bet you’ll even have a bounce in your step the rest of the day, because you took the time to treat yourself to words of your own that inspire and uplift. It’ll be a great way to be reminded of how special, smart and vulnerable you are.

Here are two unexpected discoveries I recently found…

When I first set up my website, it was called Convivial Society and I was using FotoMoto to print postcards and share my photography. I wanted to test out the quality of the card stock, so I sent myself a postcard and wrote this message on the back. I’ve kept it since.

I started reading Aleph by my beloved author, Paulo Coehlo, then put it down to probably read three other books that I didn’t finish either (creative, scatterbrain minds!), then I picked up Aleph again and found this message written on back.

A closer look at what I wrote

It was a sweet surprise and I’ll be surely including it in my notes for The Art of Convivial Living book I’m working on. Material! Material! Our lives are what make up the material in everything we create.

Alright, I’ve gotta run now. It was great to spend this moment with you! Let me know in the comments or on Facebook / Twitter how you plan to take loving action into your own hands. Perhaps you can even do it for the ones you love…that never fails. Secret post it notes under the toilet seat? Nah…do even go there!

Just acknowledge that you are on this earth to learn, create and contribute in your own way and to touch numerous lives because of it.

Your presence is like no other,

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