Is she aware of ~ Deb

aware of


“Is she aware of what she holds in her hands?” ~Deb


Two months ago I was {rapidly and mindlessly} chopping carrots.
I sliced off the tip of my finger.
The trip to the ER resulted in no stitches, no grafts, no Tequila.
Oh wait…if only Tequila had been offered, because I am allergic to all pain medications, but not Tequila!

I am still experiencing pain like never before.
I am limited and compromised when I try to type this story.
Threading a needle, hanging clothes on the line and opening a bottle of wine cause me to pause.
I rely on other body parts to assist what once was a natural, mundane, daily movement.
The simple act of changing my camera settings to make this photo was interesting.
Yesterday was the first day I could actually wash my hair with all ten fingers.
It. Felt. So. Good.

I am sharing this photo and backstory with you to demonstrate how important our hands are.
They are our tools. They are our way to communicate, to create.
We cradle our children and squeeze our lover.
We paint the canvas, we play the piano, we knead the dough, we carve the stone, we bend the wire, we type the story, we draw the line, we massage the flesh, we mend the wound.

I have learned to SLOW DOWN.
I am reminded to be in the present moment.

Carrots get chopped. Fingers do not. And Tequila can be enjoyed.


Backstory : I created my photo this month to emphasize the importance of my hands.
I dressed in black against a black backdrop. Remember to focus on your hands.

And if you want to see more of my “handy” photos, join me over here.



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Is she aware of ~ Jennifer

Is she aware of what she is holding on to?


“Is she aware of what she is holding on to?” ~Jennifer


I hold on to too much. There are things both real and imagined, visible and invisible, physical and emotional that I have yet to release. Some are fears. Some are memories of specific events, while others are reminders that I’m afraid to let go of. I have piles of drawings and paintings my daughter has made, each special in its own way. I struggle with which ones to keep and which ones to recycle. It’s irrational of me, but somehow throwing away even the smallest of her offerings feels like I’m throwing away a piece of her and a piece of my heart. These early years with my children are fleeting and I don’t want to forget any of it (except the tantrums and the lack of sleep).

There are videos on my phone that I can’t bear to part with: the first time my daughter walked in the grass, my son chuckling wildly from tickles, my husband spontaneously dancing in the living room to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On.” I’ve gotten pretty good at donating gifts that don’t bring me joy, trusting that they will light up someone else’s world somehow.  I held on to the Santa Claus nightshirt I gave my mom, though…the one that says “Believe” on it. I couldn’t put that one in the donation bin back when we sorted through her belongings. It reminds me of her youthful sense of wonder. And in a bag on the closet shelf sits the beautiful stuffed unicorn she bought for me when I was in second grade. I named it Uranus. (I giggle now, but I was seven years old at the time, and intent on giving it a name that started with a “u” like unicorn.) It’s only an inanimate object, yet I haven’t liberated it yet.  Somehow I still equate that unicorn with my childhood innocence.

My husband always gently reminds me that I can let go; that right now is what matters. Intellectually, I know there’s no need to use up space saving material items. I’m gripping the past so tightly that the present could slip away. I’ve been wasting my energy.  I know I don’t want to keep anything that is holding me back or robbing anyone of happiness, so I’m sorting through what is true and what is only fear.  I’m working to release ideas I have of myself, like the ones that say my nose is too big and my shoulders are too broad. I’m trying to gently embrace reality rather than hold on to the fantasy of what once was or what might have been. My desire is simple yet challenging:  I want to cradle the exquisiteness of today in my hands, and then lovingly set it free.


Are you holding on to too much also?  What do you want to let go of?  If you’re ready to give voice to it, please leave me a comment below.  There is such healing in sharing…



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Is she aware of ~Bella



“Is she aware of the pathway home?” ~Bella


The place I call home has changed drastically over the last five years. Flood waters rose and receded. Families uprooted and left. The homes left over are remnants, shells of what used to be. But they still have stories to tell.

I wonder what our house will look like if we ever leave. Will an outsider look upon it and see the memories imprinted on its walls, its exterior, the patches of grass? Will I ever truly feel at home if I’m not in this house?

What I know is that home is the temple, home is the soul. Wherever I go, I am already home. There is a pathway home. I reside there. I am there.


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Is she aware of…


In this busy world we need to be aware of so many things at any given moment. Our minds focus on schedules and duties and deadlines. We tend to pay attention to matters that require our immediate attention, thereby overlooking some of life’s deeper messages. And so this month, we are examining our own awareness.  We are looking again.  We are noticing subtleties as well as the seemingly obvious.

Come along with us throughout April as we work with the prompt “Is she aware of…?”  Visit us here for our quotes and the stories behind our photos on the 14th, 21st, and 28th of the month.  Post your quotes and your self-portraits on Instagram using the hashtags #sheisthreedotcom #issheawareof so we can find each other.  In the meantime, here’s a video from us to you…




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What if she uncovered ~ Deb

what if she uncovered ?

What if she uncovered all of her true self?


Strip it down. Bare it (almost) all. Expose your real, raw vulnerable self.
Seems a little frightening to some, yet for me, I feel most comfortable in my own skin.
Not some factory made dress or t-shirt or even my favorite faded jeans.
In fact, my Mom tells about when I was little she could hardly keep clothes on me.

Self portraiture , to me, is all about healing by seeing. Mending the broken parts of yourself with kindness and acceptance. Learning to love the changes of time. Embracing the whole self, uncovered.

Many of my self portraits expose my bold and brave personality traits, but also the open and honest stories of growth as a weathering woman. The physical changes. The rusty bits and pieces. The softening.

So if you want to continue this journey alongside me, click here for more of my “Bare Beauty” and feel free to join our self portrait challenge this month, uncovering your true, open and honest self. Tag your photos #whatifsheuncovered #sheisthreedotcom over on Instagram so we can find you. All of you!
And if you missed my little video about shooting in the bathtub, click here!



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What if she uncovered ~ Jennifer

Version 3
“What if she uncovered parts of herself that felt lost?”
In the last five years, I’ve watched myself change. I’ve seen my body morph with two pregnancies, quickly swelling to accommodate each enormous baby, then slowly shrinking back to my normal weight. I’ve shifted my views of my body, my time, my priorities. Everything went to my children. My body was no longer my own; it became the epicenter of nourishing, soothing, and holding them. My breasts became utilitarian, always heavy, filling with hot milk at the first sound of a cry. My hair stayed up in a swiftly wrapped bun, out of my way and beyond the reach of their little fingers, which tended to grab and pull. Jewelry became a thing of the past. Earrings, necklaces, and bracelets went from objects of adornment to potential choking hazards. Sleep slipped through my fingers night after night, year after year, pulling me farther and farther away from the self I recognized.
Motherhood has changed me, but it has not ruined me. It has brought life into focus through a different lens; an amazing one, in fact. At times I have to rotate that lens a bit in order to clearly see what matters, though. Over the past five years, I’ve also learned that on occasion the focus must temporarily shift to my own needs. If I don’t get the sleep, exercise, and nutrition my body needs, I can’t be the mother or the wife (or the human being) I want to be. But there’s more to it than that. Deep down, there’s also the wish to be recognized as a woman; one that can be attractive, feminine, graceful. There’s a desire to peel back the layers of nursing bras and yoga pants just to see if I’m still underneath it all. Sometimes what I need to reconnect with that part of myself is simply a bit of quiet time to brush my hair, put on a pair of earrings, and slip into a dress that makes me feel lovely.


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What if she uncovered ~ Bella

{she uncovered}


“What if she uncovered a new layer of herself?”


It begins with an idea. “What if I could bake myself a treat that nourishes my body while satisfying my sweet tooth?” It then moves on to research mode. Find a recipe that fits the craving. It must be a sweet, coffee cake type dessert with fruit.

I find a recipe and begin grinding nuts, creaming eggs, and washing fresh blueberries. “What if I treated myself like this more often?” This business of intuitively creating what my body craves for fuel, for pleasure, and for sustenance?

The time it takes to mix and pour and bake is like therapy. It is a block of time out of my day to pause and dig around for the big questions that sit unanswered. It’s not about weight gain or loss, it’s about treating myself with tenderness and a lot of care. This is a moment to sift through layers of who I was, who I am, and who I want to be. This is the time to release old patterns and adopt new ones.

I pull the cake from the oven. It smells divine. I feel like I’m on the cusp of something new.



Filed under Bella, What if she uncovered

What if she uncovered


As we inch our way toward spring in the Northern Hemisphere, many of us are seeing the last of the snow melt.  The clouds are beginning to clear on multiple levels.  We’re starting to catch a glimpse of what lies underneath.  This month, we’re wondering the same for ourselves, and for you, too.  “What if she uncovered” is our prompt for March, and we invite you to make use of it in any way you feel called.  By all means, join us by posting your #whatifsheuncovered self-portraits for #sheisthreedotcom on Instagram.  It’s always wonderful to witness you as you peel back the layers.

We’ll be back with our quotes and stories on the 14th, 21st, and 28th.  For now, we have this little video for you!




Filed under Bella, Deb, Jennifer, Triptych, What if she uncovered

Did she forget ~ Deb

did she forget

“Did she forget to remember?” ~Deb


This phrase and practice is showing up more and more in my daily life.
My 58 year old brain struggles sometimes with trying to remember.
Birthdays. Bill payments. Names. Deadlines.
“Uh, oh…( in the middle of night ) … did I put away the leftovers?”
“Did I start the clothes in the dryer”
Or did I actually forget to wash them ?


I know, I know…we all do this, no matter what our age.
But at my age, I am beginning to worry about the forgetting.



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Did she forget ~ Jennifer



“Did she forget who she had always wanted to be?” ~Jennifer


I’m no domestic goddess.  I paid no attention to how my mom did the laundry.  I had my head buried in a book while she was cooking.  I didn’t want to be stuck behind the stove or in front of the washing machine.  I wanted to travel, learn new languages, earn degrees, and write.  I never thought about where and when a husband and children would fit into my plans, but I knew I definitely wanted them.  As the years went by, I forgot just how much.

I’ve now traveled so much that I no longer have the wanderlust.  I’ve satiated whatever strange need I had to possess knowledge.  I’ve come to enjoy writing as an expression of my heart rather than proof of my brain.  Marriage and motherhood have humbled me and shaped me.  They are integral parts of who I am.

I had an awful case of the flu when it was time to take my February photo.  I didn’t know how to express what I was feeling, other than extremely nauseous.  I attempted to shoot some self-portraits, hoping I wouldn’t look green.  By the time I loaded the photos onto my computer and realized they were unusable, there was nothing I could do.  My husband gathered us up for Sunday breakfast out, which it turns out was an early birthday surprise for me.  My in-laws were there waiting with smiles and presents.  The stack of blueberry pancakes I ate was the best ever, especially because it was the first solid food I had eaten in days.  The gifts I received were heartfelt and thoughtful.  One of them was a bracelet my mother-in-law had had engraved “Strong in the softest of ways,” (which is the title of an essay I had published in Bella Grace magazine this winter).  I gasped when I saw the round charm, so overcome with surprise and so honored to receive it.

After returning home, I started to panic.  What was I going to do about not having a photo for the She is Three monthly triptych?  Then I looked down, where three items illuminated by the sun streaming in caught my eye.  My wedding ring, my new charm bracelet, and the Mama bracelet my daughter had strung for me last year were right there, shining back at me.  They are what I had forgotten in the midst of my worry.

I’m still not a domestic goddess, but I am a wife, a mother, and a woman who strives to be strong in the softest of ways.  Those roles are far harder than any paying job I have ever held.  They are also roles that no amount of studying could have prepared me for.  And so I wear my wedding ring and my bracelets proudly.  They are badges of honor that I have attained through my heart, not my head.  They are reminders of who I always wanted to be.



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