Talismans, Love and Our Edges

My August Break Entries for Days 8 to 12

Some of these photos and their little descriptions stand on their own…..others have more of a story behind them.

Day Eight – Smooth

Day Nine – Earth


Day 10 – Talisman

The bookshelves in my office serve as my altar space. The books I love and/or refer to regularly rest alongside my journals (and a longish story on my professional blog about going back to writing on paper). And mixed in among the beloved words are sacred items.

If it has space for a candle, I use it. Each candle has a specific meaning to it, based on what the talisman or totem represents. Coming from a Catholic tradition, lighting candles is a prayer for me.

Before I begin working or meditation, I light one or more of the candles and focus in on that moment the match sparks and the wick catches the flame. I may say a few words, sending up an intention, a prayer, a gratitude.  I may light one candle or four or more or less depending on what’s to be done that day.

I don’t have a talisman that I wear around my neck or keep folded in my wallet. But I do have sacred objects that serve to remind me of different aspects of myself and the soul work I am called to do. The bookshelves in my office is my altar and each item placed there holds a sacred meaning or particular intention. The photo of JB and I watches over my #love and #partnership. A rose quartz, a butterfly from Valentine roses…and all the books that shifted and shaped how I came to understand simulates and lovers. The lantern – that I am tasked with and have a responsibility to shine a light into the darkness for others. The Buddha and a heart shaped stone – the reminder to tend my own soul and shine my inner light The stained glass mosaic – in honor of my guide…the constant reminder that I am never “alone” The day 10 prompt for #augustbreak2015 : #talisman

A photo posted by Debra Smouse (@debrasmouse) on

  Day 11 – Edge

There’s a very long story here about the sail and this boat and the ocean off the coast of Martinique. I have a lifelong fear of getting my head underwater. I don’t like water in my face and never have. Though I didn’t know it until I was in my teens, sometime during the first two weeks of my life I was dropped into the tub by accident. Our bodies remember those kinds of things even if our minds don’t hold real memories.

So, JB and I had signed up for this snorkeling and sailing excursion during our vacation ( a cruise) and when we got off the boat to swim over to the area to snorkel, I had a full-blown panic attack. JB got me calm, got me centered, and swam alongside me as I managed the panic and the fear and finally gave over to the pleasure of the sea….

Day 12 – Yellow

There are signs of autumn falling from my little Birch tree…. I share more about it in the final Summer Love Note tomorrow morning….

Five Things About Me

My August Break Entries for Days 5 to 7

Day 5 – Citrus

Call me crazy, but I love grocery shopping (a link to my May 27th Newsletter about it). That wasn’t always the case, of course.  I snapped these two photos at my favorite grocery store, Dorothy Lane Market. It’s a local store with three locations and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be able to buy locally sourced produce, meat and dairy alongside cans of soup and bags of rice.

We use lots of lemons. In water. As the base of dressings and mayo. Both the zest and the juice in the prep of fish or baked goods….


Day 6 – Notebooks

Funny that the prompt was “notebooks”.  I wrote about keeping a journal in my work blog this week and will be following up next week with how I managed to get enough courage to go back to writing on paper full time.  I could have photographed a single journal, or a stack, or a close-up of these spiral-bound paper I use now.  (For the curious, I use Strathmore Sketch Books for my journals as it allows me to write large or small – and can stand up to a collage or mini-vision board.) Instead, because I see words as sacred, I let people see my sacred space – my altar space. Nothing goes here unless it means something.

Day 7 – 5 Things about Me

I dug back into my archive of photos a bit to get all these images.

The first is one of my favorite photos of JB. I took it in January when we were on vacation and seeing him relax on this catamaran just made me fall more deeply in love with him. I took the photo in either St. Croix or Martinique.  I came face-to-face with – and played with some of my edges of –  around my fear of water. He was there beside me, witnessing and helping me through it. But that’s a story for another day.

The second photo was one taken while we were in Kauai in December. The lesson that love is the answer took years for me to learn, and I am ever grateful. The third? My new morning routines and rituals, taken just this week.

The fourth photo – the middle one – was taken this past October in Paris at a sidewalk cafe. It was an adventure. JB was working in The Netherlands and I had tagged along….but took a side trip. I hopped a train to Paris, spent a couple of days exploring and met up with a friend that was in Paris at the same time (Kayce Hughlett). Then, I left Paris to head back to The Netherlands.

The 5th and final photo is from the flowerbed surrounding our little pond in the backyard. I love sitting out on our deck or our porch and being a part of nature. I also dearly love flowers. I love cut flowers in the house and the magic of planting bulbs in the fall to have spring beauty.


I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed writing in this space.  As a part of my seeking of new discipline around the writing parts of my life, I know that eventually, I need to come up with goals for writing in this space. Because, without goals and deadlines and guidelines, I’d never get anything published. 😉

The August Break

A visual artist I am not; I can tell you, though, that investing in some time behind the camera with intention has been a tremendous part of my spiritual growth. I enjoy looking for the miracle and the detail in the pause – and usually see beyond the pause hours, days or weeks later.

PrintSusannah Conway created “The August Break” as a way to connect with others while connecting to our own life in a deeper way:

Pause, look around you and shoot what you see. Live inside each moment. Pay attention to what’s there.

She released the full set of prompts so there’s no waiting for a post to see what the prompt for the day, and I like the ability to wake up knowing the intention of the project without needing to get online.

I included the links and prompts in case you want to join in – just tag your Instagram (or Facebook) photo #AugustBreak2015

Though I may not participate every day, here’s the results from Day Two and Day Three.

Day Two – Air

Day 3 – Skin