Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Review of 2009 in the life of Raphaella Vaisseau

A year ago I declared 2009 to be a Year of Discovery during which I would continue to assimilate the new attitudes and understanding of seeing the good and focusing on the best feeling thought I can in any given situation or circumstance. At times during this year keeping this focus was a full-time job for me. Yet I persevered and I am reaping the results of my improved focus. With all the practice, I continue getting better at it every day. Most recently I’ve discovered how important it is to pay attention to the words I use and the stories I tell. I’m creating a new future so I’m telling new stories. I’ve been doing a lot of studying -- mostly with Abraham-Hicks, but also with Landmark Education, writer's groups, study groups, NLP and hypnosis. It’s all paying off. I’m committed to continuing my studies in 2010 and look forward to even greater expansion.

Kittens have been a big part of my life in 2009. I became a Kitten Foster Mom in March. Since then I have had a continuous blessing with the little ones coming to me for a day, a week or a month while they look for their forever families. I adopted Diana who is a beautiful addition to my family. For more about the kittens I foster, take a look at the Key West Cat Society / Venice Cat Coalition blog I created for them.

The other big news of 2009 in my life is the adventure of traveling to arts and crafts shows around Florida and setting up my Heartful Art booth for sales. My first show was in October here in Venice. My first road trip was to Dunedin, FL in November, and I fell in love with Safety Harbor, FL when I went to a show there on Dec. 13th. Exploring other cities, discovering new things about life in Florida, and meeting all the people who come to the shows brings me much happiness. I am grateful to have a new mini-van to make all the extra traveling safe and fun. I hope to expand even further in 2010 to attend shows on the East coast of Florida as well.

I SO appreciate my beautiful little house here in Venice, the fabulous friends I have (both old and new), my cats, my family, my art and creativity, Heartful Art, my customers, my car, social security, Facebook, Twitter, my cell phone, technology, and the joys and challenges of living life as a grand adventure that’s really, really fun! Onward, I say. Onward into the future.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Safety Harbor, Florida - One Cute Town !!!

One of the things I like the most about my new life here on the Gulf Coast of Florida is packing up my van with Heartful Art and traveling to neighboring towns for art fairs. After the Venice Farmer's Market on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009, I traveled to Safety Harbor, Florida to explore the town in preparation for the Arts & Crafts Fair there the following day. I arrived with plenty of daylight left to wander the streets, and I'm so glad I did. I discovered Safety Harbor to be a charming little town where shops and homes were decorated in festive colors and adorned with objets d'art. It occurred to me that every one in this town must be an artist! Murals were everywhere -- even on the Fire Station and the Post Office. I found an amazing place to treat myself to dinner: Green Springs Bistro. Check out the slide show on my Flickr site for photos and more information.

Friday, December 18, 2009


I found this beautiful video by following a tweet of my friend, Stephen Marcus, which led me to which led me to the YouTube page for ReDEFINING The DREAM. All the words below are theirs. Enjoy the video, explore and check out the Facebook group: "One Billion People for Higher Consciousness" ... have fun, dream big, love everything.

How do we use the Law Of Attraction to effect change on a Global scale?
How do we keep our minds focused on the Possibilities, in spite of the problems?
If we take the time to contemplate what change looks like, what freedom, equality, peace, justice, perfect health, food and shelter for all, looks like, we can begin now to write a new script, we can begin now, individually and collectively to ReDEFINE and in so doing, ReDESIGN the World we wish to live in.
It is up to us to ReDEFINE our future now. 

It is up to us to ReDEFINE everything!!!!!!!
"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours" Mark 11:24. Begin by watching this 24 verse affirmation of gratitude, inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech, and Bob Proctor, (The Secret).

TUBFRIM - helping the children of Norway

I first learned of TUBFRIM in 1998 while living in Ashland, Oregon. The local Sons of Norway there collected used postage stamps and sent them off to Norway to help raise money for the children. I loved that it was such a simple way to participate in making a difference. I've been saving my postage stamps ever since and once a year I package them all up and mail them to Norway.

Postmaster Ditlef Frantzen in Nesbyen established TUBFRIM in 1928. The aim was to collect and sell used stamps and use the proceeds to aid the eradication of tuberculosis among Norwegian children. TUBFRIM is owned by the Norwegian Health Association (Nasjonalforeningen for folkehelsen). Today the profits are used to help handicapped children and youth in Norway, and to finance the efforts to eradicate tuberculosis.

If you'd like to join in the fun, send your stamps and used phonecards to TUBFIRM, N-3540 Nesbyen, Norway. You can also mail them to a participating Sons of Norway lodge in the U.S.A.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gingery Carrot Soup from the SF Farmer's Market Cookbook

Wow! Inspired by the ginger sitting on my counter from last week's trip to the Farmer's Market, I found a recipe from the San Francisco Farmer's Market cookbook for Gingery Carrot Soup. Keep in mind, I've never made homemade soup before. I didn't have the right quantities but I was motivated to create something healthy for a cool winter day. I chopped up onions, carrots, a potatoe and the ginger and cooked it in chicken broth for 1 hr, blended it together and OMG! what an amazing meal.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Abraham Rampage for Telling a New Story (Jerry and Esther Hicks)

Source says to you …
• You are worthy beyond description
• All is well for you
• Well-being abounds
• There is abundance flowing to you

Telling a new story (practice telling a new story) …
• I am abundant in nature
• Well-being is always coming to me
• I am often understood by the people I’m interacting with
• I am loving this life that I’m living
• It’s fun to expand and grow
• I love the contrast of my environment which helps me to continue to identify new things that I want
• Often I’m not a vibrational match to everything that I want but I can feel the difference and I know how to lean in the direction of what I want
• My life just gets better and better
• I’m surrounded by people that are like me learning about life
• It’s really fun to be in this physical body and expand
• I get the sense of who I am
• Often when I’m really not paying attention I can feel the source within me just sort of wrapping non-physical arms around me and through me. I can get that non-physical hug (so to speak) from the inside out
• Sometimes I can just feel the well-being of my being
• Sometimes I get glimpses of what’s in my vibrational escrow
• I’m really enjoying how my life is beginning to unfold
• I’m noticing that the people around me are enjoying their life also
• I’m feeling a freedom from detaching myself from what they’re thinking or from what they’re wanting from me
• I’m doing such a good job of living my life
• I’m starting to realize the reason that I came forth into this physical experience
• Things are coming easier and easier
• I’m beginning to understand how the universe flows
• I’m beginning to understand the vibrational world
• I’m beginning to leverage my time more by pre-paving more things
• I’m becoming more of a mental being
• I’m not reacting to so many things
• I’m lining up more
• I’m sensing to the energy
• I’m feeling strong negative emotion – sometimes things really rub me the wrong way but that’s a good thing because that means something’s out of sync with what I’m wanting
• I’m getting more intuitive about people - I can feel when they’re leveling with me, I can feel when they’re not
• I can feel when it’s to my advantage to interact with them and when it’s not
• I’m becoming more intuitive
• My senses are out there in advance
• I’m doing a better job of pre-paving
• People like me
• I’m doing well everywhere I go
• Good ideas flow to me constantly
• I always have a good time
• I have fun wherever I am
• There’s cooperation around me all the time
• New ideas are flowing to me constantly
• I never get enough of this physical experience
• I love living life
• I’m feeling so vital and alive
• I love the people that are surrounding me
• I love the variety of people
• I can see the diversity of the talents in the people that are around me
• I realize what a wonderful team that we are – working together
• I’m appreciating the people of this planet more and more
• I love the cooperative nature that we are all about
• I love knowing that we are all casting our vibrational boats
• I love knowing that there is no injustice
• I love knowing that everybody gets exactly what they are offering vibrationally
• I love knowing that I’m getting exactly what I’m offering vibrationally
• I love knowing that I don’t have to hold anybody else responsible for the way my life’s unfolding
• I love getting into this appreciative mode because the better it gets, the better it gets, the better it gets
• I’m eager about this life experience
• I want everybody to have the fun that I’m having in this life experience
• I’m not bothered by those who aren’t having fun because I know the potential for fun is there for all of them
• I love being the clear example that I am
• I love offering my vibration deliberately
• I love watching all of the universal factors line things up
• I love how circumstances and events come into alignment to give me evidence, post-manifestational evidence of how I’m doing vibrationally
• I love knowing that it doesn’t matter what’s going on right now because I can keep telling a new story
• I love knowing that it doesn’t even matter how good my story is right now – it might not even be close to the best story I can tell but I love knowing that I can continue to tell a better and better story
• I love knowing that the cooperative universe will keep matching my better and better story
• I love knowing that I have the option to focus
• I am the center of my universe
• I love knowing that it’s a vibrational universe
• I love knowing that the Law of Attraction is utterly consistent and will never bring me anything that’s not a vibrational match
• I love knowing that everything that I get is because of something that I’ve been saying chronically
• I love knowing that I can morph the story, I can tell a different story
• I love the cooperating universe that will continue to give me evidence that I’ve changed the story that I’m telling
• I love knowing that I never get it wrong and I can’t get it done
• No matter where I’m standing there will always be new data that’s coming
• I love all of the people that are surrounding me that are playing the same game that I’m playing
• I love knowing that they’re not in charge of me, that they can’t control me and I’m not in charge of them and I can’t control them
• I love knowing that we are all here as vibrational entities
• We are all here as extensions of source energy
• We are all much more in harmony with each other than we are not in harmony with each other
• I love knowing that every particle of the universe has that which is wanted and that which is not wanted
• I love knowing that every person with whom I interact – there are things that I like about them and things that I don’t like about them and it’s up to me to fixate on the part of them that I want more in my life experience
• I love knowing how cooperative many of them will be
• I love knowing that even the most tuned in, tapped in, turned on person I can extract from them something less than tuned in, tapped in, turned on because I am a powerful creator
• I’ll get from everybody whatever it is that I focus upon
• I am responsible for my experience
• I get the complete credit for everything that’s happening to me
• I love the stability this time-space reality but I love even more the stability of the eternal nature that is is me
• I love my expansion
• I love where I am
• I love where I’m going
• I love where I’ve been
All quotes are copyright Abraham-Hicks Publications. Visit the official Abraham site at: Publications, P.O. Box 690070, San Antonio, TX 78269 Telephone: +1 830-755-2299 Fax: +1 830-755-4179
Excerpts from The Well-Being Mexican Cruise, January 2008

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spontaneous Support and Friendship

Two Sundays ago some friends from church went out for lunch following services. That's really nothing new, but this time something in our conversation sparked an idea to have the four of us get together for mutual support, inspiration and encouragement. We've met twice now and it's clearly a divine intervention for each one of us.

It's not a writer's group, but I'm working on my writing. It's not a healing group but we're learning techniques to move and heal our energy. It's not Toastmasters but we're all inspired to be confident public speakers. It's not a prayer group but we're saying and singing prayers.

Wow. What it is is a whole lot of fun.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Favorite Author, Ted Andrews passes into Spirit

Ted Andrews passed away Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009. His work and his writings have contributed so much to my life and my awareness of animals and animal communication. His work has blessed me countless times. I am so very grateful for the gift he made of his life here on Earth. Here's a link to my favorite of his books: Animal Speak. To explore more of his writings and his life, check out his website, Dragonhawk Publishing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Harvest Fair in North Port, Florida today

I spent the morning in North Port at the annual Harvest Fair where my Heartful Art booth was outside under the palm trees on the grassy lawn.
It was another fun day sharing my art with people and enjoying the palm trees, blue skies and the perfect weather of Florida in October.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Fun Theory - Piano Stairs (Volkswagen)

"Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator and feel better” is something we often hear or read in the Sunday papers. Few people actually follow that advice. Can we get more people to take the stairs over the escalator by making it fun to do? See the results here."

"We believe that the easiest way to change people's behaviour for the better is by making it fun to do. We call it The fun theory." says Volkswagen. Learn more at

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sun Fiesta - Heartful Art in Venice

My little 10x10 booth is not the same as the former Heartful Art Gallery on Princess St. in Sausalito which closed on Halloween in 2006. Nevertheless, three years later, I'm happy to be doing art shows in Florida.

My first show was this past weekend in Venice - Sun Fiesta. We had rain, strong winds, heat and cold, but through it all the music played on and the people kept coming to my little world of art and color.

I do love to share my art with people face-to-face.

I plan on doing 1-2 shows per month in Florida from now through May. In June I travel to Las Vegas for the annual ACRE show.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gratitude is the order of the day

Found a new blog featuring Abraham-Hicks material which led me to the author's twitter page which led me to a link she posted ... which is where I found this Tony Robbins quote to share with you all. Check it all out!

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”

Anthony Robbins World Authority on Leadership Psychology
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Abraham-Hicks on

Every week I tune into for an hour with Esther and Jerry Hicks. I listen to the program, "Ask and It Is Given" - Through Esther Hicks, the non-physical consciousness Abraham addresses a live audience. This weeks' lecture was recorded in San Francisco on Feb. 28, 2004. The show is aired on about six or seven times per week (I've listened twice already today) so you have several options yet this week to listen if you'd like.

I found this particular lecture exceptional. "Be a match to everything that makes your heart sing and your spirit soar," says Abraham, encouraging me to "reach for the best thought I can find" and "talk about things that make me feel good." I'm reminded that every thought is vibration. My emotion lets me know the vibrational frequency of every thought I think.

Abraham-Hicks is one of the things in life I'm most grateful for. Their work offers me a consistent source of inspiration and practical information for manifesting and maintaining my well-being.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Survey and Bird Parade

While browsing my daughter's Facebook page, I noticed her post from last week: "National survey reveals hopes and fears. When asked what are the most vital issues today Americans said: "solve unemployment", "end government extravagance", and "keep us out of war". This from a newspaper dated Dec. 15, 1935 found in the walls of my house when I remodeled."

Interesting, eh?

Meanwhile, I went out to get the mail this afternoon and saw a bird parade on my street.

First the Sand Hill Cranes, then a flock of Ibis.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ringling, Lido Beach and Sunset at the Jettys - with my friend Susanne

Susanne was in retreat in Venice for six weeks this Summer/Fall after the passing of her husband, Craig on July 1st. You might enjoy her blog (she's a much more devoted blogger than I), Susanne's Boat Ride. We did so much during her visit, I couldn't possibly catch up with all the blog posts I missed during her visit. I discovered people, places and things in Venice and Sarasota I didn't know were here - people, places and things I will treasure always. Check out my Flickr photos for slideshows of Lido Beach, Ringling Museum, and the sunset at the Jettys in Venice.

Thanks to Susanne for her beautiful presence, spirit, strength and friendship.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Great news via Marketwatch today!! Bernanke speaking at Brookings Institution: "Recession is over"

As a retailer myself, this is VERY good to hear. I'm going to visualize it constantly - health, wealth and happiness for one and all.
clipped from

Bernanke: Recession is over

Greg Robb

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that the recession has ended - at least based on the numbers.
"From a technical point [of view], the recession is very likely over at this point," Bernanke told a conference at the Brookings Institution. Bernanke said there is a "risk" that labor markets will remain weak through 2010 because growth will be too anemic to create jobs. Bernanke noted that many economists now expect the labor market to recover slowly. But he said this was only a forecast and might be wrong.

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New Video from Abraham-Hicks: The Vortex

Abraham - as translated by Esther Hicks - recently gave the definitive explanation of what they mean when they talk about alignment with Source Energy.

At the end of the workshop, after spending a long segment with a workshop participant who was struggling with circumstances that seemed overwhelming, Abraham gave perhaps the most passionate and amazing rampage they have ever given. The emotional reaction of the workshop attendees confirmed its power as a touchstone for anyone wanting to know when they are in, and when they are out of, their Vortex of Creation - where the only reality that serves us truly exists.

Recorded on June 20, 2009, at an Abraham-Hicks Law of Attraction Workshop in Boston, Massachusetts.
For nearly 25 years Esther & Jerry Hicks have produced books, audio recordings and videos based on the Teachings of Abraham, and their latest book, entitled "The Vortex, is currently on the New York Times bestseller list.

Esther explains that when she speaks for Abraham, she is interpreting blocks of thought from Non-Physical Source Energy - which she also sometimes identifies as her "Soul". Esther doesn't use the word "channeling" to describe her process, since she is not in a trance and is not hearing a voice in her head. Rather, she has trained herself to verbally interpret the same unerring Inner Guidance that is available to all of us.

For more information, please view our YouTube video entitled "Abraham Explains Who They Are", or go to and listen to the audio entitled "Introduction to Abraham", and explore the wealth of other information available there.

Friday, September 11, 2009

09-09-09 Activation of the Crystal Prism within - Siesta Key, Florida

I joined many others in celebrating 09-09-09 on Siesta Key on Wednesday evening. I enjoyed feeling the soft white sands of the beach with my bare feet, hearing the sounds of flocks of birds continually flying overhead and seeing dragonflies flying among us while we participated in creating the crystal prism on the beach.

Organizers explained "the creation of a Prism in the sands of Siesta Key is but a physical representation of the creation and activation of the ethereal light prism within each of us. The main focus of this ceremony on 9.9.9 is that each of us feel, experience and witness the ethereal transformation into the crystal light beings that we are. The time is now for us to attune with that reality and to hold it with our purpose on this planet."

We met at the Sacred Tree on Siesta Key beach at 6:30pm to create the prism. The celebration ceremony began at 7:02pm. As the Prism of crystals was formed Diana Daffner warmed the atmosphere with her flute. Then it was blessed with sacred waters from around the world by Waterbearer Rose Lettiere. Shaman Mic McManus invoked the spirits and devas of the four directions. Rev. Zan Butterfly Deerwoman led a Crystal Solar Matrix meditation activating the crystal inside each one of us as healer Patricia Cockerill toned the crystal bowls.

See more pictures on my Flickr page here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Breakthrough: Raphaella Swims in the Gulf

I'm 62 yrs old and today was the first time I went swimming in the Ocean. It was actually the Gulf on the West Coast of Florida but, hey, it counts! I'm from Minnesota - Land of 10,000 Lakes. No oceans there. When I ventured out to LA in the eighties, I was excited to go to the Santa Monica Beach. I stood in the water about calf high and suddenly was pulled in by an undertow. Yikes. Scared me silly. I thought it was a riptide until today when my friend, Susanne explained the difference between an undertow and a riptide. But, alas, I never again ventured out past the shoreline.

Years later, here I am living in Venice on the Gulf. I enjoy walking on the beaches so I invited Susanne to Caspersen Beach yesterday. She asked about swimming and when I explained that I "didn't know how to swim in the ocean" she said she'd go with me and show me the ropes. Her friends suggested Manasota Beach because of the lifeguard and flags indicating safety of the water. I did some research online last night and met her at 8:30 this morning. Surprised the lifeguard wasn't on duty at that hour of the day, we were emboldened by a dozen senior citizens hanging out in the water about 30 yards from shore. We put on our goggles (and I my noseplug) and entered the water. It was perfect and warm. As we waded out, we felt it was perfectly fine to swim lengths between the seniors and the shore, within the two buoys that we felt marked the safe swimming area. Off we went - seeing the shells on the ocean floor and the fishes swimming around us, tasting the salty water, hearing the seagulls and people talking, and feeling the silky water on my skin, I felt exhilarated. It wasn't just the sensory thrills, but the joy of doing something I didn't think I could do. So easy it was. So freeing. I'm basking in gratitude tonight.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Costa Rica report from the Rasur Foundation and the Academy of Peace

So many butterflies. They´re everywhere here. We did some major organizing today, cleaning up, building bathrooms, making steps in the garden, removing air plants from the cashew trees, and a lot of planning. A lot of physical work from 6am - 6pm. Hard rain in the afternoon but overall the weather is more pleasant than Venice this time of the year. Not as humid. Later in the afternoon I went with Charlie (from the University of Peace) to the site of the September summit to plan signage. Tomorrow I´ll begin to paint. Note: I won´t be able to post my photos until I return home next week. Just checking in to say we´re all doing fine.

Hola from Costa Rica

We arrived safely, forgot to change our money at the airport, met our hosts at the Rasur Foundation, settled in and made plans for our work week. Cyndee and I are rooming in the tin-roofed treehouse. Other than waking up at 1am, 3am, 4am, 4:30am and finally getting out of bed at 5am, we slept well and enjoyed the different sounds of a distant land. We walked with David down to the bakery at 5:45 to get our morning bread.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Walk on Casperson Beach in Venice, Florida

What a beautiful beach to walk on. I discovered it yesterday while looking for a beautiful and new place to take a walk.

I'm going back today to write, walk and meditate.

See more pictures on my Flickr pages.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Teo Charlie Rysavy - born 6.4.09

Two days ago little Teo Charlie Rysavy was born in Minneapolis to my daughter, Cate & her husband, Jason. Here are the latest pics of the little darling (including the big belly picture taken during early stages of labor):

I haven't heard the parents say how they came to name the sweet boy Teo, but searching the web, I found that in Italian Teo means "Divine Gift" - that's pretty perfect. Teo is pronounced TAY-oh. We're all so happy he has joined our family and is blessing Cate, Jason, Micah and Jackson. They're on the way home from the hospital this afternoon. Life is good.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I'm a Grandma - New Baby Boy Rysavy Born Today - June 4, 2009

My daughter Cate has wanted a baby since she was hardly out of high school. It took what seemed like forever to her to find her soulmate, Jason. Thanks to they found each other a few years back and were married last year. There are two other boys in the Rysavy family from Jason's previous marriage: Micah and Jackson (treasures themselves). The latest little baby boy Rysavy (and my daughter's first birthed child) was born this morning at 4:11 am in Minneapolis, Minnesota after over 32 hrs. of labor. He's 6 lb. 7 oz. and came 3 weeks early. My strong and beautiful daughter got through the whole birthing process with no drugs - that alone should bring her special blessings fr0m all guardian angels in attendance. (I can't imagine it myself.)

Here are a few of Jason's Tweets (which I find adorable):
I love my daughter, I love her husband Jason, I love Micah and Jackson and the new baby boy! BTW, his Numerological Destingy # is 3 - same as mine. Yippee!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

UCLA Study on Friendship Among Women - By Gale Berkowitz

The article I’ve copied below was sent to me by a friend (how lucky I am). I found it interesting so I’m passing it on to you with my thoughts. I enjoyed reading most of Gale Berkowitz article on the UCLA Study: Taylor, S. E., Klein, L.C., Lewis, B. P., Gruenewald, T. L., Gurung, R. A. R., and; Updegraff, J. A. Female Responses to Stress: Tend and Befriend, Not Fight or Flight. I loved the findings of the study and Ms. Berkowitz’s comments about that. However, I don't agree with her consensus with Ruthellen Josselson in the final paragraph. I would respectfully say to both Gale and Ruthellen, please speak for yourselves. Enjoy the new study, align your friendships with what we can empower women to create for themselves/ourselves and please … don’t perpetrate another negative stereotype of what women do on the rest of us.

I, for one, don’t accept it. I value my friends and my friendships as I value my self, my family and my work. I’m careful to choose friends I can make that kind of commitment to. For me, valuing my women friends and friendships is a conscious choice I made long ago when I realized that if I wanted a friend I had to be a friend and that meant honoring my friends with my time and energy as I honor myself and would like to be honored by them. It was after a thoughtful discussion in 1997 with a friend about friendship that I wrote my poem, “A Friend.” Here’s Gale Berkowitz’ article about the Taylor-Klein study at UCLA so you can explore the conversation in your own mind, and among your women friends.


A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special. They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are. By the way, they may do even more.

Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis. A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. It's a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research---most of it on men---upside down. "Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible," explains Laura Cousino Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the study's authors. "It's an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers.

Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioral repertoire than just "fight or flight." "In fact," says Dr. Klein, "it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the "fight or flight" response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect. This calming response does not occur in men," says Dr. Klein, "because testosterone---which men produce in high levels when they're under stress---seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen," she adds, "seems to enhance it." The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic "aha!" moment shared by two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA. "There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded," says Dr. Klein. "When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own. I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly 90% of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto something." The women cleared their schedules and started meeting with one scientist after another from various research specialties. Very quickly, Drs. Klein and Taylor discovered that by not including women in stress research, scientists had made a huge mistake: The fact that women respond to stress differently than men has significant implications for our health. It may take some time for new studies to reveal all the ways that oxytocin encourages us to care for children and hang out with other women, but the "tend and befriend" notion developed by Drs. Klein and Taylor may explain why women consistently outlive men. Study after study has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. "There's no doubt," says Dr. Klein, "that friends are helping us live." In one study, for example, researchers found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death over a 6-month period. In another study, those who had the most friends over a 9-year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%. Friends are also helping us live better. The famed Nurses' Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life. In fact, the results were so significant, the researchers concluded, that not having close friends or confidantes was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight! And that's not all! When the researchers looked at how well the women functioned after the death of their spouse, they found that even in the face of this biggest stressor of all, those women who had a close friend confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality. Those without friends were not always so fortunate.

Yet if friends counter the stress that seems to swallow up so much of our life these days, if they keep us healthy and even add years to our life, why is it so hard to find time to be with them? That's a question that also troubles researcher Ruthellen Josselson, Ph.D., co-author of Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girls' and Women's Friendships (Three Rivers Press, 1998). "Every time we get overly busy with work and family, the first thing we do is let go of friendships with other women," explains Dr. Josselson. "We push them right to the back burner. That's really a mistake because women are such a source of strength to each other. We nurture one another. And we need to have unpressured space in which we can do the special kind of talk that women do when they're with other women. It's a very healing experience."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Butterfly Faerie Girl 5x7 print by Raphaella Vaisseau

Inspired by face painting at Art Circle, I first made a drawing in pencil and then painted with watercolor on paper. I love her bright eyes and spirit. This Butterfly Faerie Girl is saying, "I am strong, beautiful and I am free. I invite you to be awake and see my spirit all around you. I bless you as you walk in nature. I bless you as you are touched by the magic of butterflies. I bless you with light and aliveness. Be well and know that you are strong, beautiful and free."


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Cat Painting by Raphaella Vaisseau

My girlfriends and I meet once a week to create art together . We make art & crafts to enjoy creativity and friendship for the sake of creativity and friendship. However, we also make things to help raise money for the Venice Cat Coalition and the Key West Cat Society and their work to reduce the cat overpopulation through TNR (trap/neuter/return).

So far we've made jewelry, collage, drawing, painting and last week we learned face painting. Tomorrow we're making cat toys. I've been loving this weekly communion with my friends in the spirit of creativity. Last week I started a new Etsy site (Rescue Cat Club) for us to sell our creations for the cats. I'll let you know when it's up and running. Meanwhile, enjoy "Diana".

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

President Obama takes big step to fight global warming

According to a CREDO Action Alert: Today, President Obama set new national policy on climate change by making cars and trucks more fuel-efficient by requiring an average fuel economy standard of 35.5 mpg by 2016.

Today, President Obama announced the first national standard for greenhouse-gas emissions for automobiles, which will tighten emission and fuel economy standards that have been delayed for decades. The new rules, which will take effect in 2012, require an average fuel economy standard of 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016 and are built on California's tough tailpipe standards by requiring that cars be more fuel efficient. CREDO continually fought to pass these standards, but the Bush EPA illegally blocked them. The plan would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 900 million tons through 2016.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Recipe for Fitness

I made a commitment to myself today to get back on track with my health and fitness journey. While I was updating my website, I rediscovered the recipe section where I planned to post all the fabulous healthy meals I learned to cook two summers ago. So far, this is the only one posted, but it's a great one. Click on the picture to go to the page on my website where this recipe is actually readable. Then make it for yourself and enjoy!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Team FEST - Florida Etsy Street Team

Wow. I just discovered and joined the Florida Etsy Street Team (FEST) and I am discovering so many new and beautiful things and people. Have you discovered Etsy yet? It's a marketplace for everything handmade.

My first sale was a postcard to a young girl in Nova Scotia. I've purchased from and sold art to artists and people all over the world from Estonia, Norway, London and all over the US. Yesterday I received an e-mail from someone in Singapore who was having trouble completing a sale on my website because of the customs forms, etc. At first I suggested we set up a conference call on Skype and I could talk her through a Paypal transaction. Then I remembered Etsy. I quickly uploaded her order in the "reserved" section of my etsy store and she was able to complete the sale within minutes using her credit card. Voila! No hassles. No worries about time difference. No forms to fill out. (I had already checked the USPS website for shipping rates and had added it to the reserved order.)

I have a separate paypal account set aside for my Etsy purchases too. Last month I realized my friend's birthday was coming up fast and money was short. I remembered my Etsy reserves and went online to search for a handpainted wine glass, which I was sure she would love. I sent the artist an e-mail and asked her if I could buy just one rather than a set of two and I asked her if she could get it to her in time. She said yes to both and the deal was done. What a fun and wonderful way to shop!

Here's a link to my store. It's small. I only have 50 items uploaded compared to over 1,500 at As I learn more about Etsy, I'll add more products to my store and continue to discover new artists and new friends from around the world.

Here are a few of my favorite stores I just discovered this morning:
Browse for more Florida artisans on the Etsy home page by doing a search with for handmade using the word "FEST" - happy shopping.

Monday, May 4, 2009

1st Celebrating Wellness Fest 2009 - May 2, 2009

I've loved the logo since the first time I saw the flyer for the 1st annual Celebrating Wellness Fest held on Saturday, May 2nd at Phillippi Estate Park in Sarasota, Florida.

The festival was the brainchild of Kimberly Braun, who has more than 20 years experience working with others with a Masters of Arts in Theology and Spirituality. Learn more about Ms. Braun on her website, The logo alone would have been enough to draw me to the festival, but arriving at the park I was thrilled to see the tents, healers, drummers, artists and practitioners scattered throughout the beautiful natural grounds of the estate by the lake. A feast for my eyes heralded a feast for mind, body and spirit being offered and accepted by those in attendance.

Click here to enjoy a slideshow of my experience at the festival on my Flickr site.

My highlights of the day include Prayer Pots by Anita Walling, Harmony Stones by Therese Sadler, Mine (T-shirts) with Kim McLeod and her sister, Lolablue soaps and candles by Jamie Lovern, the amazing carved fruit and food at the organic food by a new vegan chef, organic beer at the WSLR radio booth, and Cabot hot pepper cheese.

I also loved the Natural Awakenings give-away: 100% recycled pens with soy-based ink, plus ... the healers, drummers, dancers, singers, presenters, and all the people, like me, who came to share the ambiance of the day and empower ourselves to greater wellness.

Last but not least was the closing ceremony at dusk with vision stones passed out to all. Music first, then a meditation led by Kim Braun. Take a deep breathe everyone and all together let's "build community person by healthy person." I look forward to doing this all over again next year.

Wisdom - Andrew Zuckerman

Food for Thought

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Mother's Love - Love for Mother

This picture, taken on the kitten's 21st day of life, and Mama Cat's 21st day of Motherhood, illustrates the adoring love shared between them.

Mother's Day is May 10, 2009

These cute little 5" x 5" matted quotes are sure to touch your Mother's heart this Mother's Day. They're $7.00 each and come with their own envelope and choice of mat colors. They're also available in the 5" x 7" size for $12 each - same choices. And then there are magnets and posters too. (Note: Everything in my online store is alphabetical by first word so scroll down to find the one you want.)

Mother's Day is coming up soon. Be ready! Call me for special requests: 941-993-7001. - Raphaella

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Serendipity: Okoboji to Venice

It's a small world. Here's a picture of Nicole and myself in front of my home in Venice. The photo of her fridge shows my magnets and postcard among her treasures there - I'm honored and so happy to create art that inspires people like that. She and her mother used to shop for my Heartful Art at a store in Okoboji, Iowa (then owned by Waxela Sananda who now lives and creates "Spirit Mama" art in Austin, TX).

How we made the connection: One Saturday morning in February, Nicole's mother came upon my art at the Venice Cat Coalition booth at the Venice Farmer's Market. She recognized my cute little inspirational magnets and voila! she remembered where she had found them in years gone by. Fun!

Nicole came to visit her parents a few weeks later and they all (including her father) came to meet me at my studio to buy art, share our stories, and meet the little kittens I was fostering (the 3 tabby brothers). Back home in the midwest, Nicole now has a kitty of her own and she is, herself an artist. We plan to keep in touch on Facebook.

Heartful Art
is available in over a hundred stores in the USA, on the internet and also in Femail Creations catalog. Destiny happens. We never know when paths will cross and serendipity lights up our world to remind us ... we are all One.

Twitter 101 - Charlotte-Anne Lucas

This post (Twitter 101) was written over a year ago, which I find interesting in itself for the retrospective. I just discovered Charlotte on Twitter. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Social Media Tips by iiG - Interactive Insights Group

If you're as curious as I am about social media, check out this list of information compiled by iiG: and have fun! - Studios & Office in Venice, FL

Where I love to work - out in the lanai with Princess Diana on her castle. She follows me from room to room as I switch from laptop to desktop, making art to making phonecalls - which I LOVE. Muffy used to do that, whereas Apache (God bless her) mostly stays in her closet "apartment" ... Diana reminds me a lot of Muffy. Her small body, her intelligence and her soft fur.

Kittens now 16 days old

Here they are at 16 days old. I managed to get them away from their mother for the quick 5-minute photo shoot by bribing her with delicious kitty morsels in gravy. The kitties are still a little wobbly but they can see and hear now I think. They notice me when I come by to check on them. Meanwhile, Princess Diana hisses when she sees them and Apache hisses when she sees Diana. The kitty drama continues at my house but I am loving it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

My First Tweet

September 20, 2008 when I was still living in California. Fun.
clipped from

My First Tweet

heartfulart: Finished resting from a big day in San Francisco - Now I'm getting back to packing for my move to Florida next week. Yippee! 2008-09-20 03:29:30

 blog it

Friday, April 17, 2009

Earth Day 2009 - festivites at Oscar Scherer State Park

Heartful Art, Hypnosis Venice, The Key West Cat Society and The Venice Cat Coalition will celebrate Earth Day on Sunday, April 19th (10am - 5pm) at the 20th Annual Earth Day Festival at Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey, Florida.
Earth Day is always observed on April 22. International Earth Day is celebrated on the March equinox.
Reason We Celebrate Earth Day: To call attention to the environment.

History of Earth Day:
- Former U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson was Earth Day's co-founder.
- The first Earth Day was in April 22, 1970.
- Senator Nelson got the name after reading about San Francisco’s Earth Day celebration which was held on March 21, 1970.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cats, Cats, Cats

I'm loving being a Feline Foster Mom. Diana, my amber angel, is a sweet, sweet being. She's learning to trust me and getting to know how to hang out with me (right by my laptop where Muffy used to sit) while I work. We take breaks to play and I feed her yummy things as part of her taming-training.

The kittens are nine days old today. They can't walk very well yet, or hold up their heads for more than a few seconds at a time but they sure are cute!