Gosh! It seems like everything has come alive in the last few weeks–both in the garden and in our community. So many gatherings with friends, hikes, picnics, campfires. It’s so beautiful and feels so good! Yesterday morning, I moved my yoga practice outside, and had a really nice sunrise session with two friends on a deck overlooking Ute Mtn. I hope you are all enjoying the season, too, wherever you are…

The last few weeks have been especially sweet and memorable because Surya (mero Nepali bhai/my younger Nepali brother) is staying with us while he’s on his summer break. Seven years ago I showed up at a village school in Nepal, and Surya was the first to greet me–he was 13, almost 14 then–an old soul, full of curiosity and compassion for all life. We immediately connected and had many long talks and memorable soccer games among the grazing cows in the dried-up pond. I would never have predicted that young boy would some day make it to the U.S. on a scholarship (a chance of a lifetime, really) and visit me in my world. It has been awesome to have him here and really refreshing to share so many ‘firsts’ with him, like hiking hours into a remote snowy wilderness, and soaking (yes, he’s 21 and took his first, healing, full-body submersion) in natural hot springs!) Goodbye cold bucket showers, hello bubble baths! I have been smiling and laughing and skipping a lot more than usual lately, and it has everything to do with him. He has said several times that everything about here reminds him of home. Now he knows why we love Nepal so much. When we reached William’s Lake (below), Surya yelled out, I want to build my house here!

Last week, we took him to one of the most special places in the world (to us), the Lama Foundation, a nearby spiritual community high in the mountains that practices and respects all world religious traditions. A day at Lama might include a Native American prayer at breakfast, a guided Buddhist meditation, Sufi dances of Universal Peace, and a Jewish Shabbat celebration, and so effortlessly woven together. The community also works together on building projects (yesterday, I learned how to make adobe bricks! so fun!), gardening, silk-screening prayer flags, cooking meals, etc.

Surya decided he wanted to attend community camp there this week (which would also fulfill the ‘sleeping in a tent’ goal on his wish list!). So, yesterday, Patrick and I took him up the mountain, helped him set up his tent, had dinner at sunset with the other retreatants and teachers and said our goodbyes. It was hilarious–we felt like parents taking our son to summer camp! Hee. We wish we could be flies on the ceiling of the dome watching him…I can’t wait to hear about his week!

I’ve also been loving spending time at Lama lately and have been getting so many fun ideas for the women’s creative backpack retreat in August, which btw, is filling up. If you are interested, sign up soon! It’s going to be beautiful. Elaine and I are doing a short backpacking trip soon to plan out the retreat!

In between our adventures lately, I’ve been workin’ my little bootie off! It feels good to have accomplished my site redesign, and I can focus on creating. I am excited about 6 new commissions with Oopsy Daisy. The best part about these is that the subjects and concepts relate directly to what I love–mostly around traveling, nature, gardening, and history. I have also been gearing up for starting the illustrations for my new book with Henry Holt, which is very dear to my heart in its inspiration. (I feel so blessed!) With all of this, I’ve mostly been in the thick of sketching and researching, so I’m anxious to get to the painting phase! My studio is organized and just waiting for paint to splatter and collage pieces to fly. I’m excited to paint for some months straight! Yeah! Sometimes I go through a phase where think I should be doing more to get more different types of commissions (other than kid-stuff), but for the present moment, I am trusting I’m doing exactly what I should be doing since there seems to be such a natural flow.

Elsewhere on the grounds, Patrick has been rockin’ out in the garden. It’s going to be even more hoppin’ then last year, and I don’t mean grasshoppers! My part has been more focused on cheering for the little sprouts, which I am very good at, I must say! Almost everything is planted and transplanted. Here are my little sweet peas starting to climb!

About 5 days ago, I had a little moment of ‘funk’. It happens. I’m not sure exactly what is was–it was probably due to buggy-eyes from the above mentioned sketch phase or computer internet researching. Computers wear on me! I decided I needed more fresh air. Even though I spend a lot of time outdoors, sometimes I just need more. You ever get that feeling? My solution: “Let’s move outside!” I told my idea to Patrick, and 30 minutes later, he had the tent set up in a magic little Pinon grove on our land. For the last four nights, at the end of the day, I say good night to my work, brush my teeth, put on my flip flops, and walk outside down a trail thru yummy sage and baby veggies, under a gazillion sparkly stars (and a shooting ones, too, with crazy long tails), and climb down into our little fox-like den. I snuggle with my love and fall asleep to coyotes howling and aspen leaves rattling…and sleep so deep…and don’t wake until the sun warms me, the birds start to giggle and shadow trees greet me.

and one last picture i had to share…at William’s Lake with my best little furry dog friend! xo