What a glamorous old tractor! I want to put on a couture dress, with Christian louboutin shoes, and ride it through town. Every time I return to my hometown, I find these treasures from the past. What a beautiful history.

The Optimist Creed

When Im hiking in nature, I am always impressed by the smallest most curious discoveries. These bright orange pods, are lying in the middle of an otherwise neglected and dead, moldy looking space. Regardless of the shadows that lurk around haunting us, there is always beauty to be found even if its small and seemingly unimportant. I love the words of this creed, and hope to continue this practice working to master the attitude of an optimist. 

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet. To make all your friends feel there is something in them. To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true. To think only the best, to work only for the best and expect only the best. To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own. To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile. To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

This Photo shoot collaboration was inspired by a suburban Zebra living on a farm in my neighborhood. The owners of many farm animals and quite a grand pasture, were so nice to allow us to show up at their property, and allow for a rather incredible day. The zebra is indeed wild and crazy. He was very difficult to pose, but my lovely daughter saved the day wearing a vintage thrift store full length wool coat and consignment store hat. Don't forget to browse local thrift shops, you may find a vintage treasure that can be made current again. I paid a whopping $6.00 for this stunning coat.

Carpe Diem  Seize the day!

Goddess in the tree!

It's as if the image of her soul rose to the surface, who will see me? This tree symbolizes a complete metaphor of the sacred feminine in all her creation.  Gentle and strong, her image is surrounded by the shape of a heart so perfectly placed as if to show the most intimate part of woman. If you can unlock the her heart, you will gain access to her soul, and her true souls beauty. As a women in general, this sweet spot has been cloaked under layers of protection.  We are now rising up, ripping of the layers one by one, and discovering that within this chamber, is the magic of who we are.  Joseph Campbell draws a stunning parallel between the womb of woman, and the universe. Pure in creation, giving life, love, and nurturing.  Through photosynthesis we breathe what the tree exhales. Deeply rooted in the earth, a tree provides us with so many nurturing gifts. Shade, shelter, food, breath, and fire as she dies, preparing the way for new growth. She is also home to the winged ones, who build their nest in her branches, and fly into her interior for protection from the storms of life. Just like a child returns to it's mother for comfort and protection from human storms.  In the womb space of this tree goddess you will see a nest so appropriately nestled in the cavity of her belly. And what a joy to see the bird that calls this home. 

 Then there is the unseen part of the tree, the root system. The grand redwood trees are feminine. When the mother tree dies, the burls attached to her trunk, are released from the trauma of her death, stimulating these pods. The seeds then give birth to the ring of daughter trees around her. Those daughter trees absorb the sunlight that was stored in her bones, and they continue to sustain nutrients from her strong and stable root system.  The daughters grow independent of their mother, but continue to sustain themselves through the unseen parts below ground. Perhaps this explains our deep connection to the ancestors. When you consider the ebb and flow of life and death, and understand the role nature plays, it can be a very grand and humbling process. 

As I was driving down the road, in my state of contemplation and mediation, my peripheral vision caught a glimpse of this image. I pulled to the side of the road and stood in awe as I stared at the "Woman in the tree!" How does this happen? Has anyone else noticed? How could you miss it? It has caused deep reflection as I have uncovered the message for me. I felt I needed to share this wonderment with those who stumble upon it. Unplug every now and again when your in the car. Turn off your phone, and notice nature passing by. It may just amaze you when you see the hidden messages just outside of your window.  Within nature are metaphors so beautiful, they can answer your prayers, and give insight to the concerns you face every day. 

Carpe Diem Seize the day!
Carpe Noctem Seize the night!

Carpe Noctem Seize the night

The British invasion week one, was full of adventure. Our friends from the UK come every Sept. to use up 4 of their 6 week holiday. This year I told them I would take them on a tour of the trees. Im not so sure that they get as excited as I do, but I knew they would sense the sheer grandness and be struck with wanderlust!  It just so happened that our first night in Humboldt, would also be during the fall equinox, and full moon. My excitement could not be contained when I saw this full moon rising behind the redwood canopy.  After years of full moon photographs, this one is my favorite so far.

 Carpe Noctem, seize the night. 

The trees are always stretching and reaching for the sun. The towering heights are dizzying. I am addicted to this. This natural high that nature provides. Time stands still as I step off the grid. There is a crackling and haunting silence, that I crave. The breeze blows all concerns away, and I can see. I wonder if our drug addicted culture, could replace the chemical high with the natural high. How can we unplug from our technology driven life, and plug into the ancient ways of peace? How can we share this high?  When I take my children into nature, they forget about phones and tablets, zombie games and avatars. They instead explore, and connect with the old way of play. They climb and shimmy, and share discoveries with excitement. This feeling is the same as prayer. I offer deepest gratitude and have profound insight when Im in this space. I crave this nature prayer....

"Experience life in all possible ways'
good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light,
summer-winter. Experience all the dualities.
Don't be afraid of experience, because
the more experience you have, the more mature you become."

 So much so that I had to answer the desire to climb a giant. The forestry service has made available a small spot in the forest for climbing.  It was a scary thought.  My own hands and feet would rely on these staples to get me up 75 vertical feet to a platform where a zip line waited. Before I could begin, I had to learn the 101's of climbing. How to hook in and out, transfer from wire to wire, and keep myself safe. This was my idea, my own calling that left 5 of us standing on the forest floor looking up. The 3 men I was with were not happy, but refused to let me do it alone. (they couldn't let a girl take on this challenge, and be to afraid to try.) I was the first one to conquer this challenge and fear. My arms were weak half way up. I had to chase every fearful thought out of my mind, and replace it with sheer will. Each step brought me closer to my goal. Once on top of that platform, I looked down. The view took my breath away.  I still had 3 zip-lines to conquer, all of this a "First" for me. Unlike sky diving, there isn't a man strapped to my back throwing me off of the platform, insuring my safety. Im on my own. My 20 min. training, and courage will be my tools. 

We all made it back to the ground safely. I went around the zip-lines twice. Even these strapping men will admit they are glad that they participated despite their sheer terror. Once they were safe on the ground, they thanked me for the thrill. I used to allow fears to hold me back. I would have never tried this years ago. There are things I would still not ever do. But when this kind of urge strikes, Im all in!! 

"Life begins where fear ends."
"Take hold of your own life.
See that the whole existence is celebrating.
These trees are not serious, these birds are not serious. 
The rivers and oceans are wild,
and everywhere there is joy and delight. 
Watch existence,
Listen to the existence and become part of it."

 Carpe Diem Seize the day!!

A Sand Dollar walks along the beach!

                                      Sand Dollar Strolling on the Beach


Have you ever witnessed a living sand dollar walking along the beach? There is a certain magic that takes place in the early morning hours, when the tide is out.  Sea creatures come to life when the tide pools are shallow. If you're a beach comber, searching for treasure, this is the witching hour.  Much like the forest that comes alive at night, the beach is dancing with excitement. Ive found many a sand dollar in my days, but not living walking, art making creatures.  Seeing the beauty of this mysterious, strange creature, left me in a place of wonder. The small little spines move in a wave like motion, which allows the Sand Dollar to burrow in the sand, collect food, and take a merry stroll along the beach.  I saw star fish, sea urchins, small fish, crabs, mussels, birds, and if that wasn't all enough... I was greeted by a pod of dolphins that left me astonished, amazed and almost overwhelmed. It took every ounce of strength I could muster to separate myself from the magnetic pull of the mattress. It was almost painful to wake up so early, stumble in the dark for clothes, and then lumber down 4 flights of stairs to get my tired bag of bones onto that beach.  Im so excited to share my treasures and hope that you will feel see and hear the enchantment through the lens of my camera. If you ever have the opportunity to rise before the sun, I promise you will witness the allurement and wonder that left me chasing the high every morning of my vacation.

All photos owned by Tresa Martindale do not copy 
without permission.

A blog post to heaven, Mom I made the chocolate cake!!

MOM!!! I did it!!

I became very nostalgic as I recalled the home baked cakes my mother made for all of her children on their birthdays.  I was wishing that I had the milk glass cake platter. My pleas paid off when my sisters friend shared an ebay link with the exact replica. I also remembered that I had my mothers recipe collection. For a woman who didn't leave a journal or any written words, I am amazed at how much I learned about her by studying her recipe cards.  I was flipping through them one by one, and the stars aligned. I found her original chocolate cake recipe. I laughed out loud, with the cake platter on its way, and this chocolate cake recipe in hand.  
Im not a baker! Home Ec. class was a fail, I killed yeast starts, and was more like the muppet chef.  
My Mom, however knew what she was doing. I had to decode the recipe as she had her own way of lumping ingredients together and then adding others later. The card was oil stained and faded, but after about an hour, I was beaming as I presented my first born child with her first ever home baked cake. It was a crooked cake, but it tasted fantastic. Im guessing that the old fashioned recipes were truly BOSS!! I even found the sugar letters! I was way more excited about this creation than anyone else! I just can't believe that I pulled it off down to the platter!!  
So Mom, Im sending you this blog post to heaven.  I know that heaven is in every place that takes your breath away.  You were right there with me as I baked your special cake, It took my breath away the minute I put the last candle on it. I know for sure that you are never far away!!  
Im so full of gratitude that I have your recipe cards, so joyful to resurrect this long lost tradition. I can't wait to make this for every child's birthday!! 

I will improve with practice, for a first run, I was pleased!! 

My oldest child is 22!! How does that even happen?

You are perfect

Each person comes into this world with a specific destiny. He or she has something to fulfill, some message that has to be delivered, some work that has to be completed. You are not here accidentally, you are here meaningfully. There is a purpose behind you. The whole intends to do something through you. ~Osho

Heaven is in every place that takes your breath away.
Carpe Diem, Seize the day.

Sending a blog post to heaven, Happy Birthday Mom!

If we could only send a blog post to heaven, wouldn't it be grand? I was thinking, You have been gone for 36 years, this November. That means that you have missed 36 of my birthdays. I have celebrated 36 years as a motherless daughter. About 20 years ago, I set aside time on my own birthday to honor you. I realized that my birthday was your BIRTH-DAY. It was a joyous moment every time that you gave birth to one of your 5 children. It occurred to me that birthdays should be as much of an honoring of the mother as the child right? Well, that may not work for everyone, but for me it became a tradition. Every year that my children have a birthday, I tell them their BIRTH story. I go over every minute of the time that led up to their birth. I wish I knew my birth story from you. Dad tried to explain it but you know how he is. (A little sketchy on details.) 
I was giving more thought to your birthday, and remembered how incredibly you always celebrated our birthday's. You made a 3 layer round chocolate cake, covered in home made chocolate frosting. Then you topped it with those sugar cake letters, and a candle for every year. You had a white milk glass cake plate that proudly displayed your art, your over the top, celebration of your babies!  I did a rough calculation, and realized that you baked 22 cakes in your 8 years of motherhood. It's crazy to think that you only had 8 years with your children.

So then Im wondering why a cake and candles? Where did it originate? I found this explanation, and  loved it. 

"The tradition of placing candles on birthday cake is attributed to early Greek, who used to place lit candles on cakes to make them glow like the moon. Greeks used to take the cake to the temple of Artemis. Some say that candles were placed on the cake because people believed that the smoke of the candle carried their prayers to gods. Others believe that the custom originated in Germany where people used to place a large candle in the centre of the cake to symbolize ‘the light of life."

(It all started here, on this day. 5 babies would make up your legacy)

Isn't that the best! I am not the worlds best baker. Im not sure I could manage a 3 layered cake. But today in honor of you, I am going to buy the best cupcake I can find, and blow out a candle. When I send that smoke to heaven, it will be infused with my prayers of love and gratitude for you! Thank you Mom for surviving your birth. You were not supposed to make it. 3 months early. You were 1 pound 3 ounces of fierce survival instincts, packed into a tiny body the size of a soda can.  Thank you for giving birth to me, and my 4 siblings. We are all miracles of you! Thank you for celebrating us and making us feel special. I found old photos of each child with their special cake. Im so glad we have them. 

 This is the FIRST cake! Me on my first birthday. It brings a tear. You loved me so much, for that I feel so blessed.

Celebrating my first birthday in our brand new house that Dad built. This is before the sample patchwork carpet went in. Im in love.  Did Dad buy me my first football? 

I have a memory of this cake. On my 2nd birthday, you were in the hospital delivering my brother. From this day forward, we would always share a birthday, and you would make 2 special cakes.

Mikel with his cake. He wants to rip into it. I love seeing the old patchwork carpet samples. We used to play games, hopping from color to color. 

Curtis enjoying his birthday cake outside in the driveway. Dang it I wish we had that cake platter!!

Lane also gets to have his cake outside. Maybe it was less messy? 

Tami, your baby turning one. As I look at this cake, I realize that it's the only one you were able to make for her. You died only 8 months later.  I know that Tami will cherish this photo. You were able to give all 5 children a special cake. Thank you MOM!! 

So Mom I honor you today!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  My inspiration is to bake a 3 tier cake for my first born child in July. Ill let you know how it goes, and I will take pictures. Ill send another blog post to heaven!! 

I AM, a 10 year old sharing his wisdom Stunning words!

This is my beautiful boy. His soul is old. His words settle deep in your bones. He was only 10 when he wrote this reflection. He has a haunting remembering, a wisdom of the ancestors. When he was in my womb, I knew that he had magic to share. What a lucky mom I am to care for this inspired young soul. 


BY: Connor Martindale.

I am a wonderer seeking for my freedom.

I wonder about the animals in desperate need.
I hear roaches croaking at me.
I see the fireflies flying around me
I want to be a believer.
I am a wonderer seeking for my freedom.
I pretend I’m in world war 2.
I feel blood pouring out of me.
I touch the nurse as I’m in desperate need.
I worry that I’m going to die.
I cry as I see that I’m a survivor.
I am a wonderer seeking for my freedom.
I understand that I will die someday.
I say I’m happy.
I dream about my past life.
I try to be a good man.
I hope that I’m right.
I am a wonderer seeking for my freedom.

Reminisces of a Motherless Daughter...

May, its a lovely time of year where I live. I am able to witness a grand re-birthing of slumbering flowers, trees and grass, colors burst forth from little balls that stretch and unfold into petals reaching for the sun. Watching the world wake up and come alive is such a miracle. Watching the birds gather sticks and twigs to build their homes is an effort of industry. I always hope they will find a branch on one of my trees worthy to lay their eggs. May is also the month when we celebrate our Mothers, and the month my Mother was born. Its a bitter sweet holiday. My mothers legacy and purpose in life was simple yet monumental. She only wanted to be a mother, and raise her children. She wanted lots of babies, she had lots of love to share. She was taken from us before we were able to have many memories. I am living her life. I am raising my babies, being a part of their joys, sorrows and life's milestones. Ive been there for them every day after school for 21 years. Im lucky, Im blessed, I miss my mom.  I love being celebrated on mothers day, I love being with my kids. I also open that little door in the center of my heart, that holds the vulnerable earthly longing for the mother who is responsible for everything good in my life. I wish I could hug her, and break bread with her. I wonder what our conversations would be and imagine that she would light up with joy seeing her grandchildren. I let the tears build puddles in my eyes, until they spill out and roll down my cheeks. I indulge in my moment of missing the mother that I cannot touch. I feel the air around me tighten, and a warming swirl wraps around my shoulders like a big hug from the part of my mother that still lives. I offer gratitude. My journey through life has been hard, downright dark at times, but If I know any thing at all it is this. My greatest insights and growth have come from sitting in the dark, negotiating that place of pain. It is through the cracks that the light pours in and perspectives shift, then and only then life changes! Sometimes I wish that I were not a motherless daughter, I wish I could fill the void with experiences that I see other women share. I was only 8 when she left. The only way I can come close to that knowing is through my experience being a mother myself. I know how deep the love for my children flows, It is so rooted into my center, a bond that could never be broken. It's from this place of my own mothering that I can imagine what having a mother must feel like. In the here and now of today, its good enough! Im grateful for the perspective that offers this knowing. If I could say something to her and knew that she could hear me it would sound something like this: "Mom, thank you for giving me life, and the opportunity to show up with a purpose. I choose to live my life, and create a legacy worthy of your praise. I have taken my mission of chain breaking seriously. I strive to be better, to be stronger, and to have insane courage along my journey. I know you guide me from where you are. You are everywhere that your children roam. You assist us all. What we call miracles, are fueled by that strong mothering force that continues to pulse through our veins. Thank you mother for leaving a legacy to be worthy of and proud to expand. I miss you crazy bad, I love you to the moon, and 100 million. love ME, the girl you call TRESA pronounced TREE-sa." I am she the girl who loves trees, and nature, my name is perfect, it's spelling is special and magical and full of meaning. It is my song, I love that it came from you!! 

me 2 months before her death.

An excerpt from my book "Speaking your truth"

I found escape in the crevices of my imagination. I believed that there was a sacred contract made between my mother and her children. I imagined that she knew her life would be short. She came to give us life, to create a legacy that would change the future. She promised us that after she died, she would never be gone. I imagined her as a constant companion that I could call my angel. She would protect us from danger and help us navigate our way through life. She knew it would feel like an impossible journey, but she promised that we would be surrounded by her love, and that we would rise up as we each earned our wings and learned to fly. 
I knew the message that told me I would be a “chain breaker” was a significant part of this contract and a very important piece of my purpose. With this belief, I knew that my life was important. I had my own holy grail that needed to be discovered and the journey to find this treasure would define not only my life but forge a new path for future generations.

This may have started as an imagined story in my mind, but over time it became real. It was my elixir of courage, tincture of strength, and potion of forgiveness. I had to give up hope that my past could ever look any different. I had to forgive myself for hating the adults that had been in charge. I learned that I’d had magic powers all along. The power was realizing that I could be in charge of my own life and script it any way I wanted. For years I searched, trying to understand the mystery of the message that was on a loop inside my brain. “You are a chain breaker.”