Monthly Archives: March 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: The Creative Explorer’s Club

Our sponsors our creative, unique and truly special…just like our readers! So if you’d like to highlight your business, e-course or event here on Superhero Journal (includes your ad in the sidebar + ongoing sponsor spotlights), we’d love to have you! Just send a quick email to Amber at: [email protected] to get all of the details.


Linda Matthews – The Creative Explorer’s Club

The Creative Explorer’s Club is a playground of creative inspiration!

Take an interactive journey of self-discovery and artful self-expression
where you can explore your creative process through the healing power of art
using symbols, words and images
and learn how to develop a regular and sustainable creative practice
by developing systems and rituals to manage your time and activities.
Oh – and of course you’ll have lots of fun along the way also.

As a member of The Creative Explorer’s Club you’ll:

  • discover your artful and creative nature through lessons and tutorials using my favorite mixed media techniques and using my philosophy of “slow work” – working slowly and thoughtfully and with attention
  • learn how to create a vision for your year that makes space for creativity on a regular and consistent basis
  • explore a little deeper how your creativity is interconnected with your spiritual nature
  • connect with other Creative Explorers on the same path
  • get support along the way

For full details please visit The Creative Explorer’s Club.


Registration is open for Superhero Photo spring!

Ben at 3 years old with my husband. My superhero boys.

Wanna take better shots of your little superheroes?

For those of you who are ready to begin capturing your world with fresh eyes, join me for the next session of Superhero Photo! With everything abloom, spring is the perfect time to capture light, unexpected beauty and make magic. As always, all skill levels and types of cameras are welcome!

In this course we will explore:

  • Different themes each week – Portraits, Treasures, Composition, Self-portraiture, Color, etc.
  • Technical lessons- In aperture, lighting, composition, post-processing and more!
  • Treasure hunts- A downloadable PDF of creative photo prompts to inspire and delight
  • Inspiring interviews with super talented photographers- Tracey Clark, Vivienne McMaster, Anna Kuperberg, Andrea (Hula) Jenkins, and Tara Whitney
  • Plus, a warm and encouraging community space on Flickr to share our work!

You can find out more here!

Class begins April 10th

P.S. Enter the coupon code “SPRINGJOY20″ by Sunday, April 1st and get $20 off!



Sponsor Spotlight: Beth Nicholls’ Do What You Love e-Course

We love our sponsors! If you’d like to become one (includes your ad in the sidebar + ongoing sponsor spotlights), we’d love to have you! Just send a quick email to Amber at: [email protected] to get
all of the details.


Beth Nicholls – Do What You Love e-Course

Image: Tiffany Kirchner-Dixon

Life changing. Awe-inspiring. Transformational.

This is how the Do What You Love e-course has been described by recent participants. 

This online adventure will take you step-by-step on a path to discovering your true passion, and finding a way to make it a greater part of your everyday life. In six weeks you will expand your comfort zone, nurture your playful spirit, and use this to feed your creative soul. You will travel this path with a community of like-minded people from across the world, sharing your stories, forging new connections, and inspiring each other. 

This will be like no other class you have ever taken. Can you afford not to join us?

The adventure begins on May 14, but places are limited so sign up now to secure yours! For the first time ever this course will be run from Japan where founder Beth Nicholls will be on her own big adventure. Don’t miss out!


Ben’s treehouse and other delicious kid things that make me nervous.

Ben in his magic tree, shot with Canon Xsi

If you came over to my house right now, the first thing that would happen is that Ben would take you by the hand and show you his treehouse. He is exceedingly proud of it even though it is simply a tree, with good limbs for climbing, and he can stand in it and see the world from a wonderfully high vantage point. What does make it special though is that he has fashioned a world of shelves, zip lines, pulley systems and grappling hooks, all from cardboard boxes and red craft yarn. He has a lot of plans… and I don’t always know what to say yes to, if he has a grip on reality or not. Will he actually try to use the crocheted zip line? Will he hurt someone with the coat hanger grappling hook?

But really, I’m just worried about him falling out of the tree. There is a line of bricks underneath it and the cement walkway to our house is just beside that. I have flashbacks to his drop seizures, of the time he actually did fall out of the tree, slammed his head on the pavement and then had a seizure. Or did he have a seizure and then fall out of the tree? Or the time he fell off the slide and the same thing happened.

For a while there, it was almost easier. There were hard rules: No trees, no tall play structures, no hikes with big cliffy edges, no swimming pools or bonfires. It was clean. Now that he is medicated I am in the murkier waters of balance- how do I let him be a boy? climb trees, fall off his bike, all that delicious kid stuff and still keep him safe?

Yesterday, a neighbor who I shared my concern with, called up to him. “Hey Ben! Why don’t you expand your empire to the magnolia tree?” she pointed to the tree in front of our house with its elegant pink blossoms, placed more delicately in a patch of grass and soft dirt. His eyes got big. He liked the sound of that.

Then he ran to the other side of the house and creeped back behind the jade plants. He squealed with delight, “There’s a clubhouse back here! and tunnels!” He dragged his tiny purple desk chair back there, built a new shelf and attached a shoelace from one tree to the next.

My shoulders dropped. At least for now, he’s at ground level again.

Until he sets his sights on the next adventure of course. I’ll take it though. A moment of reprieve.

Brene Brown is my superhero

Brene’s brand new Ted Talk is a must listen! It will transform you in only 19 minutes.

The rain is just the rain.

One of Nico's favorite books, I am a Bunny

It has been raining a lot around here lately. We haven’t gone to the park in what seems like ages and the kids are getting cabin fever. More importantly though, I’ve been noticing my knee jerk response to the rain. I have been watching my utter aversion, my recoiling from it as I step out of the car and run to the other side to unstrap Nico from his car seat. I see how I try to work at lightning speed so that my hair doesn’t get wet, or how I can get snippy when one of the kids is being uncooperative and prolonging the extraction-from-the-car process. I watch myself run, baby on my hip, into the house.

And for the first time, I have been questioning this. Like WTF? Why am I so afraid of getting wet? Is it the mess? being cold? ruining my shoes? Is it simply the chaos of it? Or is this something I learned? Trained at a young age. Recoiling from the rain is my legacy. It is not even mine, just what I was taught over and over again. Rain = bad.

And so I have been asking myself, what if there is a different way to be in the rain? A different posture to take on. The first time I experienced this was visiting my friends in Hawaii. It rained every day, that luscious, tropical kind of rain. Rain that is wild and torrential, warm and exotic. I remember getting caught in a cloudburst and running, but this time gleefully, drenched, elated and alive. It was one of the highlights of our trip.

A friend of mine and his wife got rid of their car recently and have committed to cycling as their single mode of transport. They have one of those gorgeous Dutch bikes with the bucket on the front, big enough to carry all three of their kids. I marvel at their commitment to simplicity and they came to mind a lot during the relentless rain of the last week. Were they regretting their decision? Did it totally suck to have to load everyone onto a bicycle each wet morning?

As I drove Ben to school the other day, I passed by this friend. It was pouring and he was happily zipped up into a rain jacket, looking completely relaxed. His posture was one of total surrender. He looked vibrant. He looked alive.

And that’s when I got it. The rain is just the rain. And I have my response to it. It rains and I am bothered by it. Even afraid. But what am I afraid of? That I get wet? It doesn’t even make sense.

Then I started to notice all the joggers. They had their rain jackets and baseball caps on and they were running, happily, in the rain. Same thing, vibrant and alive. I felt a pang of jealousy, wishing I was a runner, someone who ran in the rain. Then I noticed Ben, getting out of the car and sticking out his tongue to catch the drops, asking me if we could go on a walk.

The rain is just the rain. And we have our response to it.

I called a friend and told her about my rain revelation. Turns out she had her own. “With the right tools,” she said, “It’s a total game changer!” She went on. “I have my 60′s white vinyl rain jacket, my hot little rain boots, and do you remember those clear bubble umbrellas we had as kids? You can see everything going on around you but you are safe in your little bubble! Total game changer.”

So let’s add that sometimes you just need the right tools.

I can’t help but wonder, Where else in my life am I doing this? Where else do I recoil from life when I could simply surrender? Is it in traffic? Is it when the kids hurl toys all over the house? Is it when everyone is being too loud? Is there a way I could surrender to even this? to grow my capacity for chaos? To consciously choose, to decide that messes are okay. That they are just messes.

Old habits die hard. Especially the ones we aren’t even conscious of. I find that with parenting I am consistently bumping up against these automatic ways of being that were passed onto me. They are usually bad news when I notice them, like oh no, I’m doing that thing! that thing my parents did that I hated so much! Ugh. They are not always pretty, but I’m hoping that by shedding a bit of light on them, I have some room to choose. To be different, to transform, to maybe even pass on a love of the rain.

Sponsor Spotlight: Stephanie Levy’s Creative Courage e-Course

Superhero Journal sponsors are…well…super! If you’d like to become a sponsor (includes your ad in the sidebar + ongoing sponsor spotlights), we’d love to have you! Just send a quick email to Amber at: [email protected] to get all of the details.


Stephanie Levy – Creative Courage

Looking for an extra boost of creativity and courage this spring?

I’m Stephanie Levy, an American illustrator living in Europe, and I’d like to invite you to join Creative Courage – an international e-course about finding, following, and realizing your creative dreams.

During our Spring Session (April 9th – May 25th, 2012), twelve incredible creative women – Flora BowleyCamilla EngmanLisa SolomonTara Sophia MohrTracey ClarkAngela RitchieTif Fussell, Jennifer Judd-McGee, Victoria MoranBeth NichollsLucie Summers, and Marianne Elliott – will share their secrets on publishing books, building online businesses, creating workshops and e-courses, and thriving as creative artists, instructors, and authors.

As a unique bonus, we’ll take a *virtual field trip* to Paris, France in April. I’ll even send you a personal postcard featuring my collage artwork directly from Paris!

Creative Courage is your invitation for 7 weeks of fun, color, and inspiration to begin your new creative life!

Come celebrate spring and find out how you can join us here.


Being fluent in boy and other things you didn’t put on your resume*

Nico in the tub, shot with Canon Xsi

You didn’t write down that you are fluent in dinosaur and Thomas the Train, that you can even identify most whales and Star Wars characters, that you have an entire lexicon of boy at your disposal.

You didn’t put down that you are a master of distraction. That you know how to strap a squirming, even screaming child into a carseat in seconds flat using sleight of hand and tiny fish crackers.

You know how to get a diaper changed so that no poop seeps upward, across the back. And if it already has, you know how to get those clothes down the body without any poop riding up near the baby’s face.

You didn’t put down that you have nearly bionic hearing, that you can hear a cry, a bad dream, a sudden blowout, even a seizure in the middle of the night, all the way from the living room with Jon Stewart blaring in the background.

You also didn’t mention your special skills in what they call, what is it? Distraction? The word escapes me. When you get them to pay attention to the other thing, the new thing, not the illicit, chokable or iPhone-like thing in their hand.

You have even regained your word recall, lost in a postpartum haze for a while there. Well except for that one word I can’t think of above. Transference? Deflection?

Anyway, you did not include on any resumes at all that you are a master multi-tasker, that you can simultaneously check your email, nurse a baby and toast a blueberry waffle at lightning speed.

More importantly, you have learned to listen to the big boy who can talk, to repeat his words back to him so he knows you heard him, to let him dream up crazy schemes in his treehouse, like the one involving the cardboard box, red yarn and a pulley system, and not say, This definitely won’t work and sounds kind of dangerous… but instead, let out an enthusiastic, “Let’s try!”

You have learned to take his criticisms to heart, like when you are actually not listening to him and he says, “Are you even listening to me??” and you have to stop and say, “You’re right. I’m not listening to you at all! You’ve got me now.”

What didn’t you put on your resume?

*This list was inspired by this great poem by Joyce Sutphen. As usual, this was part of my fantastic writing class with Laurie Wagner. You can enroll in her online course here!

P.S. Just opened up registration for spring classes! Take Superhero Photo starting April 10th or an upcoming Mondo Beyondo class!

Everyday joys or remembering to savor*

Silly face Ben

Ben pouring milk in daddy's coffee

Before the microphone scuffle began

a brotherly scuffle

Nico making his getaway

“There are times to dream and there are times to savor.” Or maybe she said “seasons” to dream and seasons to savor? Either way, this is one of my favorite quotes from our Mondo Beyondo interview with Noelle Oxenhandler (who wrote the beautiful book, The Wishing Year). It can be so unconscious, the way we dream, one dream into the next, without coming up for air. The way we imagine something that feels out of reach and then by some miracle, actually find ourselves there. But instead of celebrating for a very long time, we immediately start striving again. You can see where this is going, right? Our ambition can be wonderful and also exhausting! The insatiable way we keep barreling forward, getting each duck in a row, and always looking to the next duck.

I do this too. And when I look at my photographs, I see that in a small way, this is me trying to savor. The little moments, the small everyday joys that pop up inside the mess and rush of life. Me, with my camera, is also me counting my blessings. Remembering that this crazy, delicious, and exhausting life was once a dream that seemed very much out of reach, a true Mondo Beyondo. And now it is here.

This gorgeous shot of Ben is by my husband, Matt Passmore

Me and Nico, who did not understand that steam trains are fun! until we took off

Nico and Ben on the steam train, Tilden park, Berkeley, CA

Today, as I work my ass off! ;) I will also remember to savor. A lunch date with a friend, the sunshine before the rains begin again, the pink magnolia tree outside my window. These boys. This house. This body. This gorgeous life.

P.S. I am planning to sell two of my cameras. A Canon Xsi and an Xti. If you are ready to upgrade to a DSLR, one could be yours! especially if you live in the Bay Area and we don’t have to ship. [email protected]

Sponsor Spotlight: Catherine Just and Cypress Sun Jewelry

Our sponsors are one-of-a-kind! If you’d like to become a sponsor (includes your ad in the sidebar + ongoing sponsor spotlights), we’d love to have you! Just send a quick email to Amber at: [email protected] to get all of the details.


Soul*Full Photography Retreat with Catherine Just

Oregon Coast Photography Retreat June 6th-10th, 2012
with award-winning photographer Catherine Just

What happens when you allow yourself the time to dive deep into your creativity?

What if you mix it with:

  • a charming beach house on the Oregon coastline
  • a group of fabulous like-minded women
  • tea and meditation
  • journaling and discussion
  • mindful photography

Grab your camera and let’s find out!
All levels of photography are welcome.

You can view a video of past Oregon retreats HERE.

Only 5 spaces left!
Register now!

Click HERE for more information and to sign up.
See you at the beach house!


Cypress Sun Jewelry

Happy Spring Colors from Cypress Sun Jewelry!

Get your Superhero code for beautiful lariat necklaces.