what's going on? seven answers

1. In the midst of all the terrible things going on in the world, I feel cheered by the blooming spring bulbs on my windowsill. The way these flowers burst forth with such beauty and power and color - it helps me remember that life does go on somehow and that the earth can heal with time.

It's hard to imagine that the bulbs started out like this just a few days ago. The children have loved watching their daily transformation.

2. I found a beautiful handmade tealight holder at the fair trade shop in my neighborhood. I'm not usually one for pink, but this one caught my eye. At this shop, all workers are volunteers and a large percentage of the profits go back to the people who crafted the items. I am in love with the glow this little candle gives my table as the morning breaks.

3. Along with the rest of the world, I have been horrified by the events taking place in Japan. I visited Japan 12 years ago and I found Japan to be a gentle, lovely country. People were so helpful and kind there, especially to foreigners - and it breaks my heart to see the devastation by the earthquakes, tsunami, and now nuclear catastrophe. I read about the 50 workers who are still working to do what they can to prevent more damage in the now completely radioactive power plant - like brave captains going down with a sinking ship - and I tear up. 

In Germany, a big debate has erupted about the safety of nuclear power plants, and seven of the oldest reactors have been immediately shut down. The vast majority of the population supports this, as do I. A small step, but it is a start.

4. On a more personal note, I just completed a juice and soup cleansing fast, which felt very good. During Lent, it is quite common for Germans to give up alcohol or sweets, and this year I am doing the same. My husband and I are also cutting out sugar, white bread and pasta, butter, and cheese from out diet, and we will be filling our plates with lots of vegetables and grains. I hope after the 40 days are over we will be able to continue! Two of my post-pregnancy pants fell apart in the same week, and I am taking this as an extra nudge from the universe to convince me to finally shed my extra kilos and get back into my old, pre-pregnancy body and clothes. 

5. I'm planning to go to a cafe this morning and write several long overdue thank you notes and postcards. Somehow it is difficult for me to sit down and take the time to do this, so I am bribing myself with a cafe visit this morning to get started. I walked around yesterday thinking about which cafe I should visit, and also that this would be a good Friday morning "artist's date" practice - cafe, postcards, then visiting a gallery or exhibition or artistic shop for inspiration. There is so much to do and see in Munich and I hope to take more time for this in the upcoming months.

6. Happy (belated) St. Patrick's Day! Lucy made this drawing on the 17th which reminded me of little Irish leprechauns, and I received this book in the mail from an Irish bookstore on St. Patrick's Day appropriately enough. Since there aren't many English language bookstores here, I tend to order many books secondhand through Amazon and most of them come from the UK or Ireland. 

Have you ever read any May Sarton? I haven't, but I see her name and this title popping up everywhere on lists of other people's favorite books. It looks interesting so far, a writer's journal about the struggles and joys of the creative process.

7. I started making drawings for a new series of collages yesterday, and it felt good. When I sit down to make artwork, it feels so refreshing and energizing, and I wonder - why don't I manage to do this every day? It's nice to see what you have created at the end of the day - different from cleaning or shopping or reading. For me, cooking has some of this creative element too, but then you eat your product and it is gone. All musings aside, I promise to show you a sneak peek of my new work in progress very soon.

I wish you all an inspiring weekend, and I will be back next week with more news.