Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Hallelujah CYBER-PILGRIMS. Hallelujah for CHANGE as we travel on our journeys. The NEW YEAR is right upon us. Winter has already brought us the shortest day of the year, and now, each day grows brighter, illuminating our PATHS.

BEING on the PATH, TRAVELING, BEING in PROCESS is essential for me. No matter what! Today, I share with you “darker” images that have emerged recently. These cloaked women seem to be a departure from HALLELUJAH’S soulful, joyful journey to the Bahamas.

As you know, I teach international students English at Georgia Tech, and in the past several months, Muslim women have been sitting outside my office door on couches in the hallway chatting, eating, and studying. Cloaked in various colorful scarves and long cloaks, these modest women murmur, sharing food and drink even though they come from countries as diverse as Libya, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

The two women I have painted here are both from Saudi Arabia. My curiosity about Islam and issues concerning women’s issues always pulls me to standing in front of them asking questions. They like talking with a teacher. Our Language Institute students are infinitely practical and ambitious. Conversation with a teacher will improve their English.

The woman dressed in black is 7 months pregnant with her third child. This baby will be sent back to Saudi Arabia to be cared for by her mother who is already tending the other two children so she can work on an advanced degree along with her husband. Black is the traditional color of outer garb for Saudi women. The other woman, also a mother, is wearing just as much clothing (They conceal all of their bodies, including necks, wrists, and ankles—even ears.) but is dressed in white. She laughs explaining that she can wear this color while living in the United States, so she is doing exactly that. They are not encouraging about my going and living in their country: “It would be hard for you,” they say.

Why have their images haunted me? They are joyful, smart, and privileged. When they are in the privacy of their own homes, the outer clothing comes off and they dress, I am told, like everyone else in our school.

I can’t escape the MYSTERY they PROPOSE—an UNKNOWN WAY of LIVING. Hallelujah is on her pilgrimage and does not know WHERE she IS, nor WHERE she IS GOING. But I AM in the CANOE! Let me explain.

Twice weekly, I receive a letter from Robert Genn, a Canadian artist, who has a fantastic website called “A Painter’s Keys.” I suggest any art pilgrim wanting to get inspirational thoughts about the creative process to get on his email list. In his most recent email, Genn writes about the relationship between making art and staving off depression. It seems that ART MAKING helps keep us sane—even if you aren’t masterful. MASTERY isn’t even a part of it. Genn refers to an interview with Garrison Keillor in an issue of Time: Asked, "How did you master both writing and oral storytelling," Keillor replied: "I didn't. There's no mastery to be had. You love the attempt. You don't master a story any more than you master a river. You feel lucky to canoe down it."

Hallelujah for the RIVER, for the JOURNEY, for BEING in the CANOE. Fellow Sojourners, we may celebrate the coming of the NEW YEAR with this thought…CHERISH THE PROCESS. Happy New Year! That’s Coffee with Hallelujah!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Welcome Courageous Pilgrim, Sojourner of the Heart!

Hallelujah has been struggling with the word, "COURAGE." What does it mean to be courageous? Is Hallelujah courageous because she is a VISION FOLLOWER? I do trust more and more what feels authentic to ME. If I feel like twirling and dashing across a field at a party--I do, and I bring others with me! If I feel like laughing in my ESL class, I do, and the students start laughing too! This blog feels natural to me as a way to bring together my images and ideas. I genuinely want to SOUL BLOG and connect with ALL of you who want to TWIRL in cyberspace with me.

As an ACT of COURAGE, I am also LISTENING to what Hallelujah WANTS to do ARTISTICALLY. Let me give you an example. Recently, I was asked to paint the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe on a wooden form for a fund raising project for the Refugee Women's Network. These wooden forms are about 12" x 4" and rounded, conforming to the shape of the cloaked Virgin with hands clasped in prayer. RuthTruth intended to convey the traditional image of the Mother of Jesus that is so dear to the Mexican altar. Her intentions were earnest, and yes, there was some fear about the outcome. After all, these Guadalupes are going to be auctioned, and RuthTruth wanted to be sure hers was going to make money for micro loans for refugee women wanting to start their own businesses.

However, Hallelujah wanted NOTHING to do with FEAR! She decided to OPEN the DOOR, to BE CURIOUS. What could I do that is part of my pilgrimage, my journey? Hallelujah decided that this image of the Virgin was going to be related to her Bahamas journey, so the Virgin became a mermaid! Hallelujah's friend Ron brought her a block of mahogany wood, so she could make a platform and painted it with a white tropical bird, a merman, hibiscus flowers, and fish! We felt PEACE around this ACT of CREATION.

When the HEART is LISTENED TO and ITS MESSAGE acted upon, there is a PEACE. Is this COURAGE? Does courage = peace? Is it possible to align our actions with that which brings us joy, pleasure, and happiness?

That's coffee with Hallelujah. Tell me what you know about the COURAGE to be yourself and how you express that courage. Do you FEEL peace?

Monday, November 30, 2009

SAY "YES, and...."

Say YES! Hallelujah....Then add, AND....

What else can be added? Say YES, anddddddddddddd....come up with something MORE. You will always surprise yourself!

After a year of taking improvisation classes, I know the rule of "YES, AND..." quite well. In improv classes, where you build scenes by creating your own lines, you are responsible for making your partner look good. Whatever he or she says, you receive that statement as a wonderful gift. You agree and build on what you have been offered. Let me give an example.

If your partner says, "I think we need to paint this room the color of eggplant." You say, "Great idea! And...we can paint the trim in pumpkin orange." The goal of saying YES is to keep the CHANNELS open, to move from one place to another.

Hallelujah is in the process of learning how to do IMPROV ART. She is saying "YES, AND..." going to the Bahamas spiritually to support her earnest self, the visionary painter RUTHTRUTH in her "efforting" to illustrate "The Misadventures of Maria the Hutia."

In this image, "Yes, the Bahamas," I have returned to one of my stock images--that of the mermaid. She is cheering me on to say, "YES." I have put her in my mandala circle in order to create balance in my psyche and to hold the energy. At her right is the snake (symbol of creation), fish (symbol of fertility), Wandjina (my male energy and force), and then in ghostlike form--Maria the Hutia! Yes! And?

The second image you see here is the next of the illustrations for the children's book, "The Misadventures of Maria the Hutia."
She is eating seagrape leaves nearby a swirling, stormy sea, which will sweep her away from the shore and into her journey.

Hallelujah says "YES" and discovers that we are all PILGRIMS. What will you say YES to today? AND....

That's coffee with Hallelujah! Share your "yeses" with me! and...

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Dear Fellow Pilgrims,

It is Thanksgiving and I am thankful for sharing this occasion with you. I find it an occasion to be thankful for being authentic and going to the matters of the heart.

We all experience emotions of turmoil and frustration at one time or another, especially around holidays. Do you proclaim these feelings to yourself? Do you give them a NAME? Do you act them out in a conscious way?

I am fortunate because on my pilgrimage, I have met a GREAT TEACHER. She is an actress, director, and creativity coach. I call her affectionately, "LAM,"-- Lesly, Alien Mom! Together, we two aliens (yes I am "RAB"--Ruth Alien Baby) have crafted our own language and understanding of the universe! In this universe, I speak turmoil, frustration, and so many things more. In the process of speaking, I am transformed, and my dross emotions are fired, burnished and emboldened! My language of pain and confusion becomes GOLDEN I WANTS, JEWELED LAUGHTER, FUNNY DANCING, CARAMEL POPCORN, and PAINTINGS! Ha Ha Ho Ho Ho--Hallelujah!

I have learned to NAME my ugly feelings of failure, confusion, and limitation. So, "I FAILED!" So, "I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM!" SO "MY EFFORTS EXCEED MY ABILITIES." For me, it has become a matter of "NAME IT, OR SHAME IT." I have chosen to NAME my desires. To proclaim proudly, "I want to be special!" "I want help!" "I want attention!" "I want my curiosity answered!" "I want others to be curious!" "I want to leave my negative thoughts behind!"

Hallelujah! RuthTruth has named her DESIRES. I am an ancient linguist, speaking the form of flower, hearing in orange and purple, composing tongue dances along with the wind. I listen to the animals feeding upon one another in the forest proclaiming, "WE ALL EXIST TOGETHER."

Hallelujah encourages us all to free ourselves from shaming our feelings of our inner workings this Thanksgiving.


In this first image, I introduce you to my "Imaginary" MOM. She has manifested from my need to "MOTHER" myself. I love her freedom--She always wears pink night dresses, and her hair is lit with light from the Milky Way. RuthTruth (aka Hallelujah) tends to be in the dark. Here the white tropic bird from the Bahamas has arrived as my spirit guide.

In the second image, "For Each Alien, There is Another Alien!," Hallelujah is a child discovering that the IMAGINATION creates reality! Hallelujah has retreated to her childhood closet for quietude and solace (What child does not do this at one time or another?). Her imaginary mom has known where to find her, and together they have donned alien masks and are PLAYING and SPEAKING their own special language! Instead of crying in the dark, WE ALIENS are eating popcorn, laughing, and trying on new possibilities. By BECOMING someone else in the theatre of the closet, we NAME the HURTS, WE then search for language of FUN. We eat more popcorn and giggle. Hallelujah for being present to our emotions--for being AUTHENTIC!

That's coffee with Hallelujah! Tell me your DESIRES, HURTS, and what you plan to do for transformation. ARE YOU AN ALIEN TO YOUR EMOTIONS? Name all your soul for you and me! What a bounty we have, when we are in touch with our souls. Thank you for giving your time and your hearts! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


I'm not afraid to go to places in myself that frighten me. I am a traveller; it is my make up to MOVE. 

MOVING spiritually is the best journey there can be. Will I fail? What if my enormous efforts come to absolutely nothing?

My international students who are learning English often use the word "effort" as a verb. "I efforted," they tell me. "I do too, "I tell them.

I EFFORT. I fail. I EFFORT again. EFFORTING allows me to fly and crash, run and fall...I am not afraid to go there. However, I must admit, I get tired of the FAILURES. I DO!

BUT THEN--Coffee With Hallelujah saves me. This creative time that I spend with MYSELF has no boundaries. Time is fluid and I find joy in most everything...ART SAVES ME, ELEVATES ME, and MOVES ME. Artmaking makes me gloriously happy.

The painting published here called, "This Way to the Bahamas," resulted from my readiness to JUMP into the unknown. I have committed to illustrating a children's story about an endangered animal in the Bahamas. Two years ago, I said, "YES" to the project. Little did I know that there would be no funding for this worthy conservation project, and that RuthTruth, Georgia Visionary Artist, would not be able to rely on her finger painting and whimsical color choices. Instead, I challenged myself to learn to draw! 

I started painting in 1988. As I was turning 30, this wonderful painting window opened. I saw in blocks of color and found no use for line. As I was turning 50, in 2008, after seeing one year pass without making progress on the illustrations of "The Misadventures of Maria the Hutia," I found myself with one completed painting that had been used on a t-shirt for a children's science camp and five pencil drawings. These drawings showed promise but were without pizzazz. They were not "free and spontaneous" like my paintings.

So, I was not afraid to go there to that place of ferocious line, perspective, delineation, and commitment to form. I decided to draw three random images a day in archival ink. The rules of the game were: 1) do not erase 2) work with the mistakes 3) do not throw anything away 4) keep going and making 3 images every day.

One year later, I have found my groove. I have EFFORTED and I EFFORT still. Yet, I am a HAPPY PILGRIM. I joyfully and soulfully travel to the Bahamas, to the realm of my artistic desire, to learn, to create,  and to inspire others to do the same. In this painting here, Hallelujah is following her white tropical bird and holding hands with Wandjina for comfort and strength. Perhaps, we are afraid to go there, but WE ARE GOING, just the same. It is our journey, our path, our way of growing.

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey! I am curious about you, your fears, failures, and journeying on. Please write and tell me about yourself. I would love for you to have Coffee with Hallelujah! 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Introducing Maria the Hutia!

Hallelujah Welcomes Pilgrim Maria the Hutia! She is a small furry rodent who is traveling in the Atlantic searching for her home.

Ronald Shaklee tells her story in "The Misadventures of Maria the Hutia." Professor Shaklee also wrote an engaging song about Pilgrim Maria, which was recorded with children from the island of San Salvador in the Bahamas and plays on its national radio stations. Listen to this catchy tune at: Living Jewels.

Hallelujah identifies with Maria's journey. Who are we once we leave our natal homes? Who will befriend us? Maria must find out, and Hallelujah has been searching for the answer to this question for half a century.

Hallelujah loves all you fellow pilgrims and is curious about you! Write and tell me who you are, what you consider home and why. 


Hallelujah EARTH! Hallelujah loves the natural world around her and knows YOU do too. Hallelujah dances, sings, and playfully celebrates the beauty of the land, sky, and oceans.

 One precious part of this earth resides southeast of the United States in the Atlantic, along the Bahamian platform. This island named San Salvador is the farthest island out there in the Atlantic, surrounded by coral reefs and at the “wall”, where the shallow aqua blue waters drop off into the deep, deep mysterious sea.

 San Salvador needs our love and attention! Its coral reefs are suffering from pollution, its waters are being over-fished, and the stately ancient sea turtles are disappearing.

 Hallelujah soulfully and joyfully believes all of us can make a difference in the actions we take each day. My life’s pilgrimage has taken me past the shores of this island, to its living, beating heart—its children.

 I have gone swimming with the children to look at the mermaid’s glass, to give names to sponges, corals, and fish. We have drawn the dolphins, spotted eagle rays, and the birds. We have added colors to these creatures and told stories about how each of us can protect them.

 As a way to continue to engage the children of San Salvador with the nature surrounding their homes, I am creating illustrations for the story, “The Misadventures of Maria the Hutia,” written by Ronald Shaklee, a geographer who has been visiting the island for decades. Ron’s main character is a hutia named Maria, an animal that scientists had thought was extinct. Happily it was not.  Scientists found that her kind was still thriving on some smaller pristine islands in the Bahamas. Hutias live! Hallelujah!

 In this image you see here, “To the Bahamas,” Hallelujah has invited Amber, a white tropic bird and one of the characters in Maria’s story to transport her and Wandjina to the Bahamas. We are journeying soulfully and joyfully. Observe that Wandjina is in the night, the rich darkness of the subconscious, and I am in the light. Another miracle that has happened is that I have sprouted Wandjina’s crown. My crown is more like pistils of a flower that I cherish for their beauty and potentiality.

 I am traveling into the unknown, and I am not alone. Hallelujah asks you to join her on this journey. We, Wandjina and I, are curious about you. We want to know about you and your journey. Inform us of your bearings. Likewise, we ask you to be curious about us, ask us questions, seek answers.

 That’s coffee with Hallelujah! Love you!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

HOWL: Where the Wild Things Are


Today, I howl to BE, I howl to SEE, I howl ME.

You there in cyber space, you are Hallelujah’s community, and I invite you to be my TRIBE of HOWLERS. We all have the PRIMAL GUT ENERGY, so let’s raise our gut voices of veritas. Speak YOUR truth.  BELLY howl it out!

 My Chiboogamoo and I just saw the movie, “Where the Wild Things Are,” which is ONE LONG EXTENDED HOWL.  Hallelujah laughed in pure joy at young Max’s connection to his BELLY KNOWLEDGE. Max growled, screamed, and pounced out his feelings from the beginning to the end of this cathartic movie.

 Hallelujah approves of CATHARSIS and practices howling and laughing regularly. Consciously practiced howling for Hallelujah began on Christmas morning of 2007 in Osa, Costa Rica. At 5:00 am, howler monkeys bellowing deep in the rain forest woke Chiboogamoo and me up. The air vibrated their powerful sense of BEING. Their belly howls filled my body, reverberating, healing, and informing. Howlllll…Hallelujah! Howllll… Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

 Young Max goes to the place where the wild things are (the land of pure emotion), and then he returns home a more integrated boy who can both understand himself and his mother better. This response is the KNOWLEDGE of the HOWL. The howl is there for us any time we need to release, run, and recognize, realize, and regroup!

Today, I howl to BE, I howl to SEE, I howl ME.

I call the painting you see here, “Embracing the Wild Things.” On my journey, I have already discovered I am not alone. In addition to my feline companion, I travel with Wandjina,  Here in this image, we are reaching out to the “wild things.” Perhaps this painting is more of a reflection and an invitation to the wild things to be present in my life.

 In the future, Hallelujah envisions painting something akin to Max’s cinematic mud clod fight. What would that be like for Hallelujah? How would you paint your primal energies hurling dirt clods at one another!

Let’s you and  I paint to get the howl out. What HOWL will you take today to speak your veritas, to move your soul, to see your heart’s desire, to hear your baby howl, your monkey howl, your ancient dinosaur howl?

 That’s Coffee with Hallelujah! Tell me about how you get your HOWL out!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

TO BLESS IS TO SEE: Friending Yourself and Others




Although this communication is taking place across the cyber universe, perhaps it is possible for our “mind waves” to flow into one another we can SEE each other’s minds and hearts.


We may all wonder how we can be truly good friends to ourselves and to one another. TRULY SEEING—taking in, perceiving, holding in view—OURSELVES--is a good beginning.


In this painting, Tears of Clarity, Hallelujah is SEEING herself in the presence of Wandjina. As I explained earlier, this northwestern Australian aboriginal creation God is representing for me, my animus (the male part of my psyche).


On my (Hallelujah’s) PILGRIMAGE, I have uprooted myself from my past and am PEERING into the UNKNOWN. THERE I AM!


Hallelujah SEES herself as Wandjina! This PERCEPTION causes HEALING tears that magically transform into NEW GROWTH! Wandjina’s black eyes hold the mystery for Hallelujah. The butterfly’s presence unites my two selves, and I proclaim


HALLELUJAH welcomes PILGRIM ARTIST Carleton, who wrote to her after viewing her blog on “Seeing and Being Seen.” Carleton is a fellow spiritual artist who just finished a vision quest in Utah. In addition to bravely traveling his own journey, he helps others on their journeys as rector of the Grace Episcopal Church in Yorktown,Virginia. Pilgrim Carleton kindly wrote the following:


“Part of the essence of ‘BLESSING,’ i.e. our capacity to bless one another, is to truly "see" them, to gaze upon and take them in so that they actually FEEL seen.  That's why when the bishop visits our parish and takes the time to really discern, register, and reflect back the goodness of our ministries and life together -- it's a BLESSING (much more than his waving his hand around at the end of the service).”

Bless you Carleton for this insight, for this explanation of "gazing" upon someone and "taking" that soul "in." We all long for this kind of recognition.


Bless all you pilgrims!


That’s Coffee with Hallelujah! Write and tell Hallelujah about how you bless yourself and others by being present, truly present. SEE ME! SEE YOU! BLESS YOU and ME! We ARE SEEN!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Hallelujah is posting a cherished photo of her Chiboogamoo.
He is yellow to my pink and water to
my fire!

Hallelujah especially likes this photo
because her little Chiboogamoo is brave enough to show his SENSITIVE side.

Also shown here are images taken at the Dinosaur Dreaming site at Inverloch
along the southern tip of Victoria, Australia.

You can see volunteer dinosaur bone hunters passing by Chiboogamoo as he sits upon fossil crayfish burrows from 115 million years ago. If you want more of an explanation about the importance of his findings concerning fossil crayfish burrows,
Hallelujah invites you to visit Chiboogamoo at his blog,,
where you can post him your questions. While you are visiting him, you can delight in his praise for the geologic record that he expresses in humorous and witty poetry.

Hallelujah appears at the far left in the photo of the three women equipped with a broom and yellow bucket, low-tech but important tools for clearing off sand covering significant fossil traces giving clues to the environment from millions of years ago.

Hallelujah for Hallelujah's husband! Hallelujah for being loved and being supported in uncountable ways on MY LIFE'S SOJOURN.

Hallelujah for journeys through time, knowledge, and companionship!


Hallelujah thanks you for GAZING upon her! Hallelujah desires both to SEE and BE SEEN.

 Right now, she asks you to consider how YOUR EDUCATION and everyone else’s education impacts our ABILITY to SEE.

Before beginning this contemplation on education and seeing, Hallelujah wishes to acknowledge her friend “SEE-SEE,” who had her read a chapter from Elif Safak’s 2000 novel, “THE GAZE,” and who led a discussion one recent night about SEEING and BEING SEEN in a group of female artists. Many thanks SEE-SEE!

Although Hallelujah had many responses to what her fellow artists said on this topic, for now, she wants to talk about: How our EDUCATION affects how we SEE and ARE SEEN.


EXAMPLE #1: Everyone’s CULTURE determines the standard for beauty and what is “normal.”  In “THE GAZE,” the main character is a fat woman in love with a dwarf. These characters are accustomed to being OBSERVED negatively because they are different. Being seen negatively becomes a part of a causal chain of who these characters have become and will be in the future.

Conclusion? How other people SEE us, affects us significantly. If they GAZE upon us favorably, don’t we have a better chance of SEEING ourselves likewise? Thus, we have a greater chance of proceeding confidently and positively in our lives. AND THE REVERSE! BEING SEEN can be ADVANTAGEOUS or DANGEROUS! (Chiboogamoo, who is reading over my shoulder, adds, “This is true of predators and prey as well.” Hallelujah adores her companion and acknowledges his thoughtful contribution.)

EXAMPLE #2:  Our EDUCATION teaches us to LOOK for CERTAIN things. Hallelujah would like to introduce a paleontological example.

 My Chiboogamoo and I spent some time along the coast of Victoria in Australia at a site called “Dinosaur Dreaming” in Inverloch looking for fossil traces—tracks and burrows.  As a paleontologist, Chiboogamoo knows specific patterns to look for in the rocks, and he has patiently taught me these search images, so I find them too. However, our guides, loving caretakers of this site and working for the Museum of Victoria, had a different way of looking at the rocks. They were looking for bone. Their search image was for a change in rock color and density. If the rock looked spongy and more porous in spots, it might contain dinosaur or mammal bone.

 Chiboogamoo “discovered” fossil crayfish burrows directly in front of the staircase going onto the beach at this site. Everyone had passed these distinctly patterned rocks every day for as many as 15 years without SEEING them. He also found some dinosaur tracks even though many paleontologists had been to the site before. Not one of them had Chiboogamoo’s education—the study of life traces: ichnology. Soon, after his “discovery,” he taught site workers how to LOOK at the rocks differently, and they began finding more of the same traces.

 Meanwhile, during my time along the rocky shores of Dinosaur Dreaming, I struggled with how to change my perceptions, so I could find fossil bone instead of traces. I have not been able to SEE any as of yet. Not yet!

Conclusion? We FIND what we KNOW to LOOK for. If we change the SEARCH PATTERN, we can FIND something DIFFERENT—maybe!

On my PILGRIMAGE, I would like to have a "SEARCH IMAGE," so I can find that "SOMETHING" that I am looking for. How will my EDUCATION help me in my journey—if I want to discover what I do not already know?

That’s Coffee with Hallelujah! Please tell me what you know about the unknown and do you have any tips about how to see it? ALL RESPONSES from PILGRIMS are WELCOME!

In this image, "Looking Between Worlds," Hallelujah has just freed herself from being "rooted" in her old ways. The painting is number 8 in the series of Hallelujah's Pilgrimage, that started on July 25, 2009. Painted on August 11, it is a good example of my experimenting with water color pencils and crayons, markers and glitter. This image is particularly meaningful to me because I feel it shows me transformed: I have the yellow glow of warm energy emanating from me, as well as the new growth represented by the veil of leaves and flowers. The pink hot spot at my center echoes my wide open mouth in amazement at what I see before me in the NEW WORLD of self.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


HALLELUJAH is looking for signs of similar intelligence in this vast blogging universe. A few days ago, a Fellow Pilgrim greeted her and gave her the nickname “HAL,” asking permission first, of course.


I am pleased to find this kind of nicknaming intimacy in cyberspace. I should like to nickname my new friend, “SEE” because of her emphasis on LOOKING and DISCOVERY and TRANSFORMATION.


I like the way SEE begins by looking at the physical world encompassing the self and moves inward, filtering her perceptions through her EMOTIONS. Even though she observes her emotions changing each day, she still looks into the mirror and sees her physical self—somewhat the same day to day. The QUESTIONS arise between 1) What is SEEN, 2) What is OBSERVED, 3) And all that is UNKNOWN.






WHAT MORE CAN WE KNOW by going on a PILGRIMAGE? By doing our ART? By blogging our thoughts?




Blogging is answering my need for a language to NAME and DEFINE my EXPERIENCE.


Here in this image, “Riding Mother Snake,” (which again is only a portion of the entire image because of scanning limitations), Hallelujah is traveling through space and time on the back of the female snake manifested from Wandjina. From her belly sprang the waters of the earth. She is responsible for the land formations, the seasons, the tides, and changing winds. Hallelujah WANTS to EXPLORE with and LEARN from this great maternal force.


Notice how Hallelujah is also accompanied by Wandjina, who can float freely in the universe? I love his male energy and confidence! He represents the other half of my psyche—my wonderful ANIMUS! I am cultivating his companionship, and he is proving a strong guide!


That’s Coffee with Hallelujah! Blogging can be soul sharing. Hallelujah is putting her feelers out for like-minded souls, fellow pilgrims to talk to her about their own journeys. Please blog and tell me about your way of soul journeying.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


If it’s not ONE thing, it’s ANOTHER! Or BOTH!

I entertain dualities--dualities of light and dark,

known and unknown,

male and female,

action and intuition,

 reality and imagination...

graded papers and ungraded papers!

Painting these perceptions in image, color, dot and pen gives me the opportunity to see these opposing energies existing simultaneously. I have created shimmering worldly documents--paintings--which attest to the life of my vibrant inner world.

Viewing my images causes me to catch my breath. 

For a moment I am breathless. Can OPPOSING ENERGIES marry happily ever after, UNITING, DELIGHTING, TRANSFORMING, and DIRECTING?

As a PILGRIM,  I honor the PATHWAY to SELF KNOWLEDGE. Here in this painting I recognize the thesis, the antithesis, and AHHHHHHHHHH—the SYNTHESIS.

As a SOJOURNER, I ask as I INTEGRATE pieces of myself,  “WHAT NOW?”

For NOW, I will paint, discover, and blog.

That’s Coffee with Hallelujah. Tell me about your Pilgrimage and experience with opposing ideas. Do you entertain them like dueling houseguests? Do you find integration or resolution?

Sunday, October 4, 2009


To SURRENDER is to TRANSFORM. Here in this unfinished image with Wandjina, I am melting away from a known identity and entity to the GREAT UNKNOWN. 

I’m relinquishing an identity of being youthful, accepting aging.

 I’m leaving behind a 24/7 job of teaching ESL, making it part time.

I’m even loosening my emotional ties with my hierarchical and distant past of growing up in a military family, naming it HISTORY.

My SURRENDER can be encapsulated in my morning experience of taking public transportation to Georgia Tech, where I teach:

I surrender to the fact that when I’m standing on the street and see the train approaching, I CANNNOT CATCH THIS PARTICULAR TRAIN.

No matter how fast I run, I cannot move up the numerous stairs fast enough, cross the bridge extending across Dekalb Avenue, swipe my transit card, pass through the gate and trot down the towering stairs in time to depart with the fast approaching “people transporter” that I see right before me. No immediate gratification!

THIS ONE, the ONE I see right before me, NOW is NOT MINE…okay…I SURRENDER.

I have been practicing “SURRENDERING to the MOMENT “again and again for the past year since I started using public transportation.


That’s Coffee with Hallelujah! 

Monday, September 28, 2009


I am celebrating today and every day because I am awake on my LIFE'S JOURNEY. Are you? 

I turned 50 years old last year. How many years left of my life do I have to JOURNEY?

I insist upon making my life MEAN something. I want to FIND connections and to honestly FEEL that people and events in this world are related to ME in some vibrant way. That if I vote in an election, it results in public health care. That if I help an international student learn English (my day time profession) he or she can gain access to a job or university. That if I grow my own tomatoes, it reduces my footprint on this earth.

In my twenties, I chose to live EXISTENTIALLY. If I could not entertain one God or one religion to meet my spiritual needs, I would impose significance on the events and people around me. I chose to CREATE ART, and I granted this activity relevance. I chose to people my world with friends and family members that HONORED me, and I HONORED them in return.

I am on a pathway of learning. I seek a FEELING of congruency that my mother calls "PEACE." I want my mother to know that I find PEACE in KNOWING I am on the JOURNEY. I do want to feel the EFFICACY of my life, that my actions matter and that yours do too. I want us ALL to matter in this space, this time--right now. I am NOT suffering. NO! Instead, I have an intense craving for MORE of the good stuff of life and the ability to express that stuff in image and word.

Here in this image, "I AM A PILGRIM,"  I am travelling with Wandjina, a God from Northwest Australia. I invited him into my psyche as a STRONG MALE ANIMUS--energy, direction, and action. Hallelujah was feeling slightly lonely, and in her universe all one has to do is NAME WHAT SHE WANTS.

Wandjina is the aboriginal creation God. He created the Great Mother Snake who gave birth to the earth and all its seasons. He and I are now travelling together so that I can learn more about CREATING. 

I painted this part of my journey on Saturday, September 12, while hosting my friend Kyla, who had come to paint with me. We decided to do mandalas, wonderful circular drawings that create safe spaces to nurture our hearts. I was particularly pleased with the vibrancy of the water color pencils. It took me three layers of marking and wetting to achieve that. I also like how Wandjina rises above me to protect my way.

I am also traveling with my ferocious and mighty feline companion, Misha, who is approaching his 15th year. In these 15 years, this quadruped has taught me the joy of catnapping. His furry body stretching across the bed, the floor, the pillow, and my lap in complete and utter sustained joy has persistently ANNOUNCED to me the infinity in the moment of BEING HERE NOW. 

Perhaps MEANING is DOING and BEING IN OUR BODIES,  and then HOLDING these two actions simultaneously in our consciousness--without JUDGEMENT!

I AM A PILGRIM--ARE YOU? Thank you for being here for Coffee With Hallelujah. I would like to know about your meaning making. That's it for tonight--HALLELUJAH!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Please meet Hallelujah in her "first form" as she appeared to me this past August as I was working on my quarterly goal of "Joyful Catnapping."''

I found Hallelujah peering from another dimension. She is looking into the PILGRIMAGE from my former life. During the summer, I was working on uprooting myself from being stuck. I was adoringly stuck on old ways of thinking, familiar but unproductive ways of getting things done, and sporting a sour attitude. I was afraid of changing. Stuck.

Artistically, several things are going on for me here. First, I am experimenting with a fairly new media for me. After almost 20 years of painting with acrylic and latex paints on wood boards, I have recently been working on paper with archival pens, gouache, water color pencils, water color crayons, markers, and paint pens.  It was also new for me to cut out paper, paint it, and sew it on to the primary image. Then I relied on acrylics and glitter to "finish" whatever felt left undone. 

Second, along with experimenting with how I could use this new media, I have also been patiently asking new iconography to appear for me. I wanted shapes and forms to help me SEE who I am. PEERING into myself, I have been asking once again that lifelong question: "WHO AM I?"

I expected my images to answer me. 

In two paintings that preceded this "Hallelujah Sees," I wrote the words: "I SEE." I experimented with drawing the vine with leaves to show "growth." It was in this Halleluhah image that I succeeded in expressing: THE FEELING OF GROWING THROUGH SEEING. (Sorry because of the limitations of my scanner, this is a portion of the original painting.)

The BIG question I ask of myself is: "What do I see?" I see that the time has come for me to MOVE emotionally and intellectually. We all have these fantastic moments in our lives when it benefits us greatly to alter our ways of being. 

THIS SEEING QUEST IS MY JOURNEY. I will look about and truly try to take in what is appearing to me. I will listen and strive to hear what is being said. 

That's it for tonight. Thanks for having coffee with Hallelujah!

Saturday, September 26, 2009


My vision is that we are not alone on our journeys. This image originated from talking with Jen Hilburn, the ornithologist on St Catherines, a barrier island off the coast of Georgia. 

In my desire to connect my art with my love of the environment, I urged her to tell me about her conservation work on the island. She told me about the plight of the American Oyster Catcher (AMOY), a beautiful black and white, orange billed migratory bird. 

It is no longer reproducing at a rate to sustain itself. Over time, unless we humans can help the AMOY, it will die out. Jen, like other ornithologists, are taking action to help this bird reproduce such as building artificial sand bars so it can build its ground nests and incubating eggs until they hatch.

When Jen saw my images of the AMOY with the guardian angels, she talked to me about being a scientist. Scientists do what they can. They are not angels, she said. When the scientists' actions fail, the birds will die. We can remain hopeful, and we can remain vigilant. Action must be taken. She was very serious.

I understood Jen. She wants all of us to take action to do what we can for the Earth that we live on. We shouldn't anticipate miracles. If all of us were more like Jen, the Earth would be a better place. We are not alone on our journey. I know that there are more people like Jen. And all the time, more of us are learning.

Let me know what you think about my painting. Even more important, tell me what you are doing to take care of the Earth? Can all of us be scientific guardian angels? That's Coffee With Hallelujah! Good night!


Welcome to my blog, "Coffee With Hallelujah." Will you join me in a discussion of my pilgrimage and yours? Are we artists only when we engage in our art making? Or can we create lives that are filled with surprise and imagination? Can we keep discovering ourselves and those around us as we grow old?

The idea for this blog originated last week. As an artist who sets quarterly goals, I was wrapping up my goal of "Joyful Catnapping." Instead of striving to achieve a numerical goal, such as 10 paintings, 1 website, or completed illustrations for a children's book, I had decided to experience joy each morning as I sat down to create "art." I had decided to "see" what would happen. 

It was with great delight that I expanded my vision of the world, and from it emerged another self: I introduce you to HALLELUJAH! This is my more fluid self, one who truly is ready to go into the unknown. 

I enjoyed 12 weeks of drawing with Hallelujah, and I felt disheartened when our time ran out last week. At that moment, I found myself at the center of a "Little Five Points." Here in Atlanta, where I live and work, there are junctures where five roads come together in one place, and they are called "five points." 

Well, this image came to my mind of ME, serious dogmatic visionary RuthTruth, standing in the center of "five points," a beautifully configured star. Each arm of the star represented an artistic job or duty I was feeling I needed to do. I envisioned a locomotive expressing me away from my center place with Hallelujah. I felt my joyful catnapping fade and anxiety simmer. There is just too much to do! Where do I start?

Then I had an epiphany! A shooting star, Hallelujah! I would arise from my bed, and I would know that FIRST--before anything else--I would have Coffee With Hallelujah. I would honor myself and the joy I experience when I ask: What can I discover today? Only then, would I EXPRESS myself to the task at hand, and I would bring Hallelujah with me. 

We would do our work together joyfully and integrated. I would find a new way to accomplish my work, like a cat napping!

Join me. Join Hallelujah. Where are you in your life? What is your journey? Call forth your art.