Laurel’s Kitchen by Laurel D. Rund

Laurel’s Kitchen

Sometimes it’s fun and intriguing to bring back an oldie but goodie.   The  poem and artwork titled Laurel’s Kitchen is in my book Emerging Voices-Living On.

It surfaced and peeked its head out today and said – “remember me”?   The words and art are as important to me now as they were when created.   Please enjoy this old and proven recipe!

Poem and artwork about the book Laurel's Kitchen

By chance, a friend found a cookbook named “Laurel’s Kitchen”.

The serendipity of this discovery gave me pause to reflect about my life.

Just what are the ingredients, when put together,

that will create a delectable and scrumptious dish?

What ought to be added and what are the exact measurements?

How does it all get kneaded together?

Should I let the mixture sit undisturbed so that everything blends and finds its balance?

How long will it take to cook up this perfect dish?

And, when tasting my concoction, will I remember to stop and

relish what feeds my heart and enriches my spirit.

I have come to appreciate that life does not come with a cookbook.

When in a place of stillness and gratitude, I remember that being alive

brings the possibility of a new recipe each and every day.

That’s when I know for sure that I am in “Laurel’s Kitchen”!

Laurel D. Rund (c) 2011


Buy Emerging Voices-Living On!



Soul-Filled Gathering by Laurel D Rund

exerpt from DailyOM …

“Our bodies are living, breathing expressions of our consciousness.

We are dual beings by nature, soul-filled spirits bound to earth by physical bodies. In our lifetimes, we are charged with the duty of nurturing and tending both with equal devotion and love. 

If the soul is the inward manifestation of our consciousness, the body is the living, breathing expression of that consciousness. The physical self provides the home in which the spiritual self takes root and flourishes. Just as we must tend to the seed of the soul to ensure that it grows strong, so, too, must we care for the protective shell that is the body to make certain it is capable of playing its role in our development.  Both facets of the human experience play a vital role in our well-being.

The body and the soul are the yin and yang of our current reality. They are, at this point of human evolution, irreparably bound together, and many spiritual teachers agree that the body is one of the greatest vehicles through which to access the soul. In fact, many believe that our spirit has chosen to be embodied as an essential part of our spiritual development. Consequently, it is the responsibility of each person to forge a marriage between the two, so that these disparate aspects bring out the best in each other, creating a vibrant, dynamic, and workable whole.”

In my words – we are all a work in progress.  Namaste,  Laurel

“Art from the Heart” One-Woman Show

Art from the Heart

I am pleased to announce that my Art from the Heart will be featured at the Solo Gallery/Arts Council Manatee County – 926 12th Street West, Bradenton, Fl., for the month of September 2013.

The opening night for the Art from the Heart exhibit will be September 6th, 2013 from 6-9:00 pm at the Village of the Arts “First Friday Artwalk.”

The Village of the Arts is a vibrant community of artists living and working together in Bradenton. It is Florida’s largest art community, and over 30 businesses call the Village home. Galleries, studios, healing arts, jewelry, fashion and books can all be found as you wander the streets of this charming area of restored 1920’s and 30’s cottages.  If you’re in the neighborhood, please stop by and say hello!  Laurel


Art from the Heart exhibit September 6, 2013 artist Laurel D. Rund

The Yin and Yang of My Heart by Laurel D. Rund

The Yin and Yang of My Heart

Unbelievable as it seems, it has been four years since my husband passed away. Every year, from January 26th until February 19th, I go into a Bermuda triangle of memories and emotions – his birthday, the day of his death and our anniversary fall on these dates.   You would think grief would have loosened its hold on me, but these meaningful days still haunt me.

I loved my husband for 44 years (notwithstanding all the ups and downs of most marriages).  Today,  I  am blessed to be in a committed and loving relationship with a wonderful man who has graced my life in many unexpected ways.  We understand that we each bring our own life history into the mix, which enriches the bond between us..

Mature relationships are so different from the ones we had when we were young and always looking forward.   In addition, I have the perspective of time and the experience of loss, which has taught me to be grateful for what is here right now in the present moment.

The Yin and Yang of My Heart by Laurel D. RundAnd this brings me to the angst that is the Yin and Yang of my heart.

I have been worried that the love I hold for my husband in my heart would somehow be lessened or lost because of my newfound love.  I wondered if I could love two men, quite differently, in a balanced and peaceful way alongside each other?

“Yin and yang are two sides of dualism. It is the tail and the head of a coin. The tail is yin, and then the head is yang. They exist alongside one another. The head cannot exist without the tail, and the tail cannot exist without the head.  The earth we live on is yin, and the sun that brings us warmth is yang. Sadness is yin, while joyfulness is yang.” (

At lunch the other day, I shared with a friend, who was widowed after 60+ years of marriage, what I was struggling with.  She looked at me and said “don’t you have room in your heart to love all of your children?” That simple question was an “Aha! Moment” for me.

I immediately flashed back to a memory of being pregnant with my second son and wondering how in the world I could possibly love another child as much as my first.  As soon as he was born, the love for my “second child” enveloped me; and the question of how much capacity I had to love became a moot point.

My heart has room for many loves – my husband, my new mate, family, friends, and pets.  It is a big place with infinite capacity.

In the past, when one of our pets died and we got a new cat or dog, not a replacement, but another pet to love ~ I didn’t worry about room in my heart.  I didn’t worry about losing the memories of that beloved pet.  I am not likening the death of my husband to a pet, but the point here is that I am more than capable of holding countless “loves” in my heart.

Art from the Heart by Laurel D. RundI consider myself very lucky and am grateful to have found a loving man who honors my past, as I do his.  In our sixties, we know that our individual journeys, before we met, prepared us to find the love we have for each other today. We have blended our lives and are building our own history ~ each and every treasured day that we spend together. I have come to understand that I am not being disloyal to my deceased husband; I am honoring the love we had by being open to life’s possibilities.

Today was a watershed moment for me.  The questioning within me has been answered and my heart is open and at ease.

As Rumi said, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”   I whole “heartedly” agree!

Can We Will We?  written by Laurel D. Rund; composed & sung by Philip W. Leber

The CD “Emerging Voices” can be found on Itunes

The book “Emerging Voices” can be found on Amazon

February 2013 Art Show Calendar for Essence of Laurel

Listed here is the February 2013 art show calendar for Essence of Laurel.

If you are in the area, please stop by and visit the Essence of Laurel booth.  My work is also available for purchase on the Fine Art America website.

Thanks for your support.  Laurel

Events with Essence of Laurel February 2013

19th Annual Siesta Key Craft Festival (Sarasota, FL)

February 9th & 10th, 2013 – Saturday & Sunday 10 AM – 5 PM

Ocean Blvd & Beach Rd in Siesta Key Village

Join us at the 19th Annual Siesta Key Craft Festival and take in the sand and the sea along Ocean Boulevard and Beach Road as you discover wonderful creations from more than 100 crafters exhibiting and selling their work in an outdoor gallery.  From photography, paintings, sculpture, jewelry and more showcased from local and traveling crafters, your visit to Siesta Key is promised to be a feast for the senses. This spectacular weekend festival is not to be missed.


25th Anniversary Downtown Sarasota Festival of the Arts

(Sarasota, FL)

February 16th & 17th, 2013  – Saturday & Sunday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM 

Main Street in Downtown Sarasota, FL

Ranked one of the TOP 100 Fine Art Shows in the nation by Sunshine Artist Magazine and celebrated as one of the area’s biggest and best art shows in the area, The 25th Annual Downtown Sarasota Festival of the Arts is one South Florida event you do not want to miss. Set in an ideal location along downtown Sarasota’s premiere Main Street, The 25th Annual Downtown Sarasota Art Festival spans from 5 Points-Selby Park to Orange Avenue drawing in exceptional crowds and eager buyers. Join our all-star lineup of artists in the nation ranging from spectacular painters, sculptors, jewelers, and more!

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”  Albert Einstein




This Puzzle Called Life

 This Puzzle Called Life

Art and poetry by inspirational artist Laurel D. Rund

I was working my way through my own personal puzzle in 2010.  It was a transformative time – as I moved through grief into an appreciation for my newly reshaped life and spirit. After completing the artwork below, I sat down and wrote an accompanying poem “This Puzzle Called Life.”  Both pieces are included in my book “Emerging Voices.

For me, it was about letting go of fear and finding my creative voice.   The poem still inspires me today.   “LDR” equals Laurel Diane Rund saying “YES” to life!  That’s my Essence talking about the here and now.

 Pieced together throughout the years,

the outside border of this puzzle called “life”

presents itself as my human form.

Like a comfy pair of shoes, it is easy to wear

and visible for all to see.

Ah, but the inside pieces are much more

complex ~ hidden from view.

They are a reflection of my spirit, of my soul!

I have finally come to understand that these

puzzle pieces ought not be rigid or unyielding.

They should be sturdy, pliable and unrestrained

 because life is about change and wisdom gained .

In the past, I was intimidated by puzzles,

put off by the frustration of not being able

to see how everything fits together.

Today, as I move my life’s puzzle pieces around

and new shapes take form,  I am filled

with curiosity and confidence.

These colorful images are a kaleidoscope which

reveal my intent, my purpose and the gifts within me.

Laurel D. Rund (c) 2010

Endings and Beginnings – its metamorphosis!

Endings and Beginnings – its metamorphosis!

My poem and original artwork called Endings and Beginnings were created in 2009, reflecting how I felt after grappling with the loss of my husband.   As I walked on Siesta Key, here in Sarasota, Florida – a calmness came over me.  The sunset reminded me about how life renews itself every single day.  Endings and Beginnings was and is reflective of my attitude about life.

Yesterday,  for no particular reason, I was inspired to transform the original artwork which accompanied the poem Endings and Beginnings in my book “Emerging Voices-Living On.”   My artwork went through its own metamorphosis, just as I have.   Change is inevitable and it gives me a chance to express myself from where I am in the present moment.  As John O’Donohue said There is an unseen life that dreams us. It knows our true direction and destiny. We can trust ourselves more than we realize and we need have no fear of change” 

The song, Endings and Beginnings, was composed and sung by Philip Leber – my life partner.   When he composed the music, he was inspired by both the poetry and the original image.   Click on the link below to listen to Endings and Beginnings – it reflects how both of us feel about life today.

Enjoy!   Laurel

Spiritual poetry and artwork by Laurel Rund called Endings and Beginnings

Endings & Beginnings

When I gaze at a sunset, it fills me with awe.

Watching the orange glow of the sun recede,

it takes me to a place of serenity and optimism.

As sundown arrives, I cannot help but

stand still…be quiet…and bear witness.

Nature’s golden moments and breathtaking beauty

offer the gift of tranquility.

A sunset brings with it the soft whisper

of life’s possibilities ~

the promise of a new day!

When this magnificent source of light

recedes behind the clouds far into the horizon,

and daylight starts to dim,

I know with certainty that life always

renews itself with Endings and Beginnings.

Laurel D. Rund   © 2009



Lyrics by Laurel D. Rund & Philip Leber.  Music composed and sung by Philip W. Leber of Gulf Blues.

Life Choices – Light tomorrow with today!

 “Light tomorrow with today.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning



artwork by Laurel D. Rund called After the Storm

After the Storm

Every day I wake up, I make a choice on what my outlook will be for the day.  After I spend the first moments of the morning reflecting and writing, it sets my attitude and the creative energy within me meets up with my intentions.  Below are some wonderful quotes to reflect upon.

Your choices, your actions, your life.  Live it your way with no regrets.  Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.  Continue to work hard at what you love no matter what the challenges are.  Be persistent.  Life eventually rewards those who do.”

Be a student of life every day.  Experience it, learn from it, and absorb all the knowledge you can.  Prepare yourself for greatness by keeping your mind conditioned with fresh knowledge and new challenges.  Remember, if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready when great opportunities arise.  Read The Last Lecture.”

Be patient and tough.  Someday this pain will be useful to you.  You will never realize your true strength until being strong is your only option left.  Until you are broken, you won’t know what you’re truly made of.  Pain doesn’t just show up in your life for no reason.  It’s a sign that something needs to change – it’s a wake-up call that guides you toward a better future.  So keep your heart open to dreams, and make that change.  For as long as there is a dream and positive action, there is hope; and as long as there is hope, there is joy in living.”

Growth requires pain. – Be patient and tough, someday this pain will be useful to you.  Those with the strength to succeed in the long run are the ones who lay a firm foundation of growth with the bricks that life has thrown at them.  So don’t be afraid to fall apart for a little while.  Because when it happens, the situation will open an opportunity for you to grow and rebuild yourself into the brilliant person you are capable of being.”

This moment is a gift. – The truth is, your whole life has been leading up to this moment.  Think about that for a second.  Every single thing you’ve gone through in life, every high, every low, and everything in between, has led you to this moment right now.  This moment is priceless, and it’s the only moment guaranteed to you.  This moment is your ‘life.’  Don’t miss it.  Read Tuesdays with Morrie.”

from Marc and Angel Hack Life – Practical Tips for Productive Living

Is there room in my heart?

After my husband, Marty, passed away in 2009 one of my biggest worries was wondering  “is there was room in my heart” for another man and would this somehow cause me to lose Marty “again.”  I believed my heart would remain closed to someone else because of that fear.  But with time and the assistance of people I trust, I learned that this assumption was not true.  I now know that within my cellular structure I will  always carry the memory of and love for my husband.

I have come to understand that I have an infinite capacity to love and that one love does not replace another.  I liken it to wondering if you could love your second child as much as your first because the love for your first child is so spectacular.  My heart expanded happily – I had more than enough room to love another child.

The gentle man  who is in my life today has entered my heart in the most unexpected and wonderful way.  He is not threatened by what I had with Marty – he welcomes it as what makes me who I am today.  A woman with more than enough room in her heart to love again.  Unconditional love is just that – it doesn’t rely on conditions to be.

The artwork below was a touch drawing that I turned into story art.  There are many symbols within the picture that speak to me.   But, that’s my story.   What’s yours?

Can We Will We - Emerging Voices by Laurel D. Rund


The song “Can We Will We?” is a collaboration between Philip Leber and myself.  The poem comes from the book “Emerging Voices – Living On.” 

To be or Just Be – That is the Question

To be or Just Be – That is the Question


Every day is filled with questions, especially whether I should/can be or just be?  I realize that I often get stuck in fear and bogged down with mapping out every single detail of what I am working on.    When I get quiet and listen to my own voice, go within and remember not to be unsure, afraid, or self-doubting I move forward.

Sometimes it’s as simple as reminding myself that the edit button is a magical and freeing tool (used to be that’s why pencil’s have erasors!)   I can change what I have written, rework a piece of art that meets me where I am, or change my attitude.

So, when you are wondering whether to be or just be –  remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face-you must do the thing you think you cannot do.”  

Carpe Diem!


Laurel's blog about to be or just be - that is the question!

Life is Finite – Possibilities are Infinite

Life is Finite – Possibilities are Infinite

Every New Year’s Eve, the spiritual center I go to has a burning bowl ceremony.  All throughout the year attendees put notes into a prayer box.   These notes of hopes, wishes and dreams for themselves or others are collected each week and kept in a sacred box.

On the last day of the year many of us gather at a beach pavillion, meditate, listen to quiet music and wait until the coals within a copper bowl start to burn and glow. We stand in a circle around the burning bowl and reach into the box of cards, take a handful and carefully place them into the bowl.  As we handle the notes, our intent is to release them and let them go forward to meet their purpose.  It is reverently quiet, except for the crackle of the paper as it burns. The last thing to go into the fire is the box that contained all the notes – another symbol of letting go.

This is a sacred ceremony, and our spirits are touched as we participate and witness the embers burn and fly towards the heavens.   The words, hopes and dreams of all who wrote down their wishes and prayers for themselves or others throughout the year find their way to a place called Hope.  When all the cards have burned, there are images within the embers that are magical, left to each person’s imagination.  The picture above is from 2011’s Burning Bowl Ceremony – what better way could there possibly be to ending one year and beginning another?   It is like watching spiritual fireworks!

Life is finite. Possibilities are Infinite.


As this card says, Life is finite.  Possibilities are Infinite!   Go forward into the day and meet your purpose.  Laurel


Elegy to a Tree

Elegy to a Tree


Elegy to a Tree, the poem, was written about six months after my husband passed away.   It at the time when I had turned to the expressive arts to help me express my soul’s grief.

After enrolling in a drawing class, I was given an assignment to go outside and draw a tree.   I knew exactly which tree I wanted to draw – my favorite tree which was right outside my house on the golf course. There were oh so many times when I would sit and look at “my tree” in the sunshine and the lightning storms,  taking great comfort in its strength and dignity. When our neighbors built their house next to ours, my biggest concern was that it would block my view of the tree.   Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

When I took my drawing pad outside to work on this assignment, to my horror and dismay I discovered that “my tree” was missing.   It had been taken down and replaced with an ordinary palm tree.   So, from a state of grief and loss, I drew the found one of the many pictures I had taken of the tree and used that image to draw from.

Once completed, I was compelled to write “An Elegy to a Tree” as a tribute and eulogy.  The poem speaks volumes about what I was experiencing at that time in my life – a loss of any kind created a raw emotion that went down to my very core, my “roots”.

As I have traveled with my work to art shows, the piece created from my drawing and the photograph of the tree seems to call out to passers by.  This story art touches the viewers almost instantly.   It is spiritual in nature, and I don’t think I had much to do with creating it other than to have it come through my hands and heart onto paper.  Elegy to a tree is mean to be shared so that its spirit lives on.

Elegy to a Tree

Welcoming all to a vision of grandeur,

you stood tall and proud with your trunk rooted firmly in the ground

as your limbs reached towards the heavens.

I watched in awe as playful birds rested on your bare branches,

and marveled when your sparse limbs were

 illuminated by gleaming sunbeams.

You withstood the force of fierce winds, unrestrained rainstorms

and seemed to revel as lightning danced raggedly around you.

During your time on earth, your spirit was one of

beauty, dignity, grace and, above all, courage.

Then suddenly one day you disappeared!

 Thoughtlessly cut down to fulfill

man’s need for youthful perfection, you were

replaced with a rather unremarkable seedling.

Was it was time for your journey to

come to an end so that a new life could begin?

Nonetheless, your loss was jarring.

 Know this oh grand tree ~

 the indelible image of your

magnificent strength and glory

 will always have a home within my soul!

© Laurel  D. Rund 2009

Elegy to a Tree story art by Laurel D Rund

Elegy to a Tree

Trees play a significant part in my life.  On the first year marker of my husband’s death, February 11th, 2010, I planted a beautiful bottle brush tree outside my office window with notes from me and my grandchildren under the roots of the tree.  Birds and butterflies land on this tree (now “Marty’s tree”)  and it gives me great pleasure every time I look up from my computer and see it.

It is a symbol of hope and regrowth!   As it grows, so do I.    View all posts by Laurel Rund →on Open to Hope’s website

Feline Fancies Storyart and Catnap Video

Feline Fancies –

“Dogs have owners, Cats have staff!”


Feline Fancies by Laurel Rund

My feline fancies – as most who know me, also know about my cats – Alfie and Batzy.   They have provided me with much joy, comfort and unconditional love during the good times and the bad.  They go to the front door and greet anyone who rings the bell, wagging their tails (were they dogs in a past life?).  They determine, via their feline instincts, whose lap is acceptable, and whose leg they will swipe with their tales.

The picture above is of Alfie and the dog belongs to my granddaughters – Gabbie.   Got treats?

Anyway, I’ve designed my Feline Fancies cards around my purr-fectly purr-fect cats and now here’s my newest piece, a cute cat video called “Nightie Night”….   enjoy,  Laurel  (this is what happens when you have a few extra minutes on your hands…or is it paws?








Arts and Craft Shows with Essence of Laurel

 Arts and Craft Shows with

Essence of Laurel

by Laurel D. Rund


For me, I am taking a much need hiatus from this season’s arts and craft shows. It’s been quite the adventure as my Essence of Laurel booth was open to the public and as I participated in several  Florida arts & craft shows.  I’ve met wonderful people at each event – the artisans and the attendees passing through.  

Now it’s time to rest, play and create until the Fall arts & craft shows start up for me again.     My work will continue to evolve, as I do … I am grateful for this time in my life.  


A reminder to myself during my arts and

craft shows hiatus….

  • “Appreciating what you have. – Sometimes, when you make the most out of what you have, it turns out being a lot more than you ever imagined.  A beautiful day begins with a beautiful mindset.  When you wake up, take a second to think about what a privilege it is to simply be alive and healthy.  The moment you start acting like life is a blessing, I assure you that it will start to feel like one.  Time spent living is time worth appreciating.”  Read The Power of Now.”  Marc and Angel Hack Life

Essence of Laurel booth at Sunfest 2012


Essence of Laurel digital artwork


Visitors to the Essence of Laurel Booth at Sunfest 2012

The Essence of Laurel booth at Sunfest 2012


Events with Essence of Laurel

Events with Essence of Laurel …. Saving the best till last they say – and it’s coming up this weekend.  I will be a participating artist at the annual SunFest in West Palm Beach.  The Essence of Laurel booth will be open for business and in full display  from Friday, May 4th – Sunday, May 6th (schedule below).   Looking forward to this new venue and new experience.


Essence of Laurel will be open for business at the annual SunFest 2012!