Travel is fatal to prejudice

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain.

Summertime arrives, and many of us travel near and far, and that’s great.  As our world gets smaller and smaller, and seemingly crazier, an escape, an adventure, a mind opening experience, a new path, all seem appropriate.

Picnic table image
Find a new table in a new spot
“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber

The journey might be five minutes away or 5,000 miles-both count and both matter.

Spread your wings, fly, walk, run, ride (whatever is your pleasure) and discover your destination.

(Note-background is from the series of illustration backgrounds that I am creating for Book #2 – Working Title of Garden Bud – stay tuned!)

 

You can’t use up creativity. BUT…

I am still pondering the question of creativity and imagination. The part that is clear is that the power and magic happens when combined with actions.

“The biggest difference between c is that imagination is thinking of something ‒ whether it’s an object, place, time, etc. ‒ that is not present, while creativity is doing something meaningful with your imagination….

Sir Robinson explains that imagination is the “act of bringing things into conscious that aren’t here …

Imagination allows us to think of things that aren’t real or around us at any given time, creativity allows us to do something meaningful with our imaginations.

Knowing the difference: ask yourself how you are creative? How do you use your imagination to do something meaningful that is creative?”

The above is referring and referencing the book below. It was posted on March 16th, 2010 by Tanner Christensen on his blog CREATIVE SOMETHING.

Book Cover-The Element

“A New York Times-bestselling breakthrough book about talent, passion, and achievement from the one of the world’s leading thinkers on creativity and self-fulfillment.  The Element is the point at which natural talent meets personal passion.”


“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”   -Maya Angelou

Creative activity aims to do something purposeful.
Imagination is something that emerges.

(I say to myself and you all.)
Go and Mix it up.
Show up and do something with your thoughts.
Use it… both your creativity AND your imagination.
Expand your universe.
Get out and Go and Try.
Read the poem, show the artwork, share the music.
Explore the idea.
Revel in the ideal.
Let the fear go.
GET THE IDEA OUT OF YOUR HEAD and INTO THE WORLD.

“As an old peer of mine, Jez Burrows, once said:
If you do nothing, nothing happens.
 (-from Tanner Christensen blog.)

32 pages of Awesomeness!

Fuddles the Feather
Fuddles the Feather

• It was Tuesday morning.
• I was a bit nervous!
• I put on my best fluffy pink boa, and my magic feather hat
(which is technically called a Fascinator Headband.)
• I picked up my basket, took a deep breath, and jumped in with both feet.
• My audience was unfiltered truth tellers – Toddlers!
• Kids tell it as it is, they would either be interested and engaged or not.
• My stage was story-time at the local library.

To my total delight, the kids were totally engaged! On each page, they were chanting the word Awesome with me. They were searching for Fuddles, and enjoying themselves! I was (and still am) THRILLED.

Birds fly – Awesome! – Sample Page

For those of you unfamiliar with my book – called Awesome, here is a bit of info: It is for the younger set – three to about six, maybe seven-year-olds. The words of the book are simple, however, the concept is not. It is about Awesomeness, and what makes something/somebody awesome. The illustrations are a large piece of the book and in part carry the younger children along. I see lots of potential for interactions and ‘projects’ that can weave their way around the themes of kindness/awesomeness. I am working on many ideas, so, stay tuned!

I am looking for places to read to more kids-schools, libraries, playgroups, even parties! Have other ideas of places? If you are interested, or know anyone else that may be, please contact me at botanicalbb3@gmail.com.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy, please contact me at botanicalbb3@gmail.com.   Please put Book Purchase in the subject line.(The price is $20 + shipping. It is a 7″x 7″ full-color paperback.)

32 pages of Awesomeness unfurl at the library!

Fuddles the Feather
  • It was Tuesday morning.
  • I was a bit nervous!
  • I put on my best fluffy pink boa, and my magic feather hat (which is technically called a Fascinator Headband)
  • I picked up my basket of books, a few other supplies, took a deep breath and jumped in with both feet.
  • My audience was unfiltered truth tellers – Toddlers!
  • Kids tell it as it is, they would either be interested and engaged or not.
  • My stage was story-time at the local library.

To my total delight, the kids were totally engaged! On each page, they were chanting the word Awesome with me. They were searching for Fuddles, and enjoying themselves! I was (and still am) THRILLED.

Sample Page- Birds fly – Awesome!

For those of you unfamiliar with my book – called Awesome, here is a bit of info: It is for the younger set – three to about six, maybe seven-year-olds. The words of the book are simple; however, the concept is not. It is about Awesomeness, and what makes something/somebody awesome. The illustrations are a large piece of the book and in part carry the younger children along. I see lots of potential for interactions and ‘projects’ that can weave their way around the themes of kindness/awesomeness. I am working on many ideas, so, stay tuned!

I am looking for places to read to more kids-schools, libraries, playgroups, even parties! If you are interested, or know anyone else that may be, please contact me at botanicalbb3@gmail.com.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy, please contact me at botanicalbb3@gmail.com.   Please put Book Purchase in the subject line.
(The price is $20 + shipping. It is a 7″x 7″ full-color paperback.)

Do you know 7 really BIG things that are, did, or will happen on Jan 31?

Tuesday, Jan 31 is a lot of things in the wide wonderful world.
#7 is MY FAVORITE!

1) It’s a very dear long-standing friends Birthday so I wish her a VERY Happy Birthday !!!!!
2) It’s the end of January 2017 for all us of us. Only 11 months left to accomplish our 2017 goals. I better keep dancing as fast as I can!
3) 1949: The first daytime soap “These Are my Children” was broadcasted on NBC. Soaps got their nickname because the show(s) were targeted to mothers, and soap manufacturers such as P&G, were major sponsors.
4)  1961: Ham, a chimpanzee, who went into space by the USA was recovered alive and well, paving the way for humans to go next!
5) 1971: Apollo 14 (moon mission) was launched. Shepard and Mitchell made their lunar landing on February 5, “moon rocks were collected and several scientific experiments were performed. Shepard hit two golf balls on the lunar surface with a makeshift club he had brought with him. Shepard and Mitchell spent 33½ hours on the Moon, with almost 9½ hours of EVA.” (Extravehicular activity.)
6) 1929: As of this day the Boston Red Sox were allowed to play ball on Sundays! Mayor Malcolm E. Nichols signed an ordinance regarding this matter. It cost the Sox $1000 for a permit. BTY – there was still a team called the Boston Braves then too.
7) AND most exciting to me is that Tuesday, Jan 31, 2017, it is the day I am making my first real public appearance reading my children’s book called Awsome! at a local library. In case you are around it is 10 am at the Eastport-Annapolis Library. It’s the Preschool Storytime (3-5 years) (Eastport-Annapolis Neck Community Library: 269 Hillsmere Drive, Annapolis, MD 21403.)

So today is a day to continue to prepare. I am reading the book aloud to anyone I can, even the dog just to practice reading upside down, cadence and ideas. I am thinking about subtle marketing/ PR and ways to help further my cause and the book of Awesome! I am also looking for other places to read it aloud, so if you know anyone that runs any activity for the “little kids” please let me know.

Storytime!
Storytime!

If anyone out there is a public storyteller, all tips would be welcome and appreciated!

Front and back Cover of the Book of Awesome
Front and back Cover of the Book of Awesome

Dream BIG & go in small steps.

I read a quote today from Audrey Hepburn that says:

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!”

I recently listed to a webinar about how to get things done. The focus there was exactly that-FOCUS! Ignore the things you could be doing and make sure you ARE DOING the things that enhance/help/travel you to your big goal.  Everything is not equal, and you must decide which ‘tasks’ you should do (which should be the same as ‘want to’) because your big goal should something that is fun to you, and makes you happy and smile.

Put the two together and the world can be your very own glorious garden. Your dreams are indeed all possible. Easy to remember every day-probably not! It’s not bug free or weed free, but it can be pesticide free! It’s hard work.  May take a little self chatting on some days, a small nudge on other days, but we can all get there. As for me – I am sticking up bits on encouragement all around my work area, and trying to feed my passion daily. Do just one little thing everyday for your garden. Only you need to know what it is. It has to be something MANAGEABLE. Then, as the seasons go, watch your flowers bloom!

little steps to big results

 

Have any ideas? How about you?

“Hope is the thing with feathers”—and so goes Fuddles, full of life and dreams.

‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me. 

a feather
The real life model for Fuddles.
HOPE – this seems a well-deserved topic and timely poem for many reasons right now.
  • It is a poem dear friends shared with me, and I think of often. It is a poem to remind me of both of them, and I love that.
  • It is a poem about a thing with feathers! Have you met up yet with Fuddles? Fuddles is my feather and is the Feather of Wonder and Awe. I’m not even sure how but somehow wonder, and awe, is tied into HOPE!? Fuddles is the main character of my up and coming first children’s picture book. I am getting closer to the “magic” that just may sprinkle some of its dust on me. That’s all I shall say for the time being-other than there is lot of HOPE right now around it.
  • Hope lives in our souls and speaks to a future with a promise. It is hope that not only sheds tears of despair, but can help us realize that things will somehow get a little bit brighter. Somewhere, somehow, a star will shine. I surely can’t say it better than Emily Dickenson so elegantly states …

“Hope…perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—”

  • Hope is that silent partner that at times keeps us going, trying, working, struggling, soaring, dreaming, and moving forward. Big choices and small, often it’s hard to keep hope at levels that don’t demand our  nervous systems, our minds, and our souls to do somersaults in our insides. If we are lucky, the metaphorical cartwheels manifest on the outside!

Dream on and keep your hopes alive, it keeps life interesting and much happier.

Nature is blasting – What’s your blast, do you use it?

Fuddles in the snow
Fuddles amongst the snow flakesI found this TEDTalk wonderful. Caroline McHugh is indeed talking about your personal blast.

The weather forecast for this weekend along the Eastern Seaboard is a bit dismal (unless you are a fan of big  nor’easter storms.) It’s true, perception, needs, attitudes, and consequences all come into play here. For me travel is in my plans, a big storm is not good news. However, nature does her blasting with no apologies; she does what she needs to and she lets it roar!

That brings me to letting your self “be” and do as you need to. Blasting your unique talents and views. Taking up your space in this big wide world. In my rambles around the internet and  TED Talks I stumbled upon the talk embedded below. She talks about seeing yourself in a true mirror – “where you look AT yourself,  you look for revelations not reassurance.”

She goes on to talk about folks who are “larger than life” and what makes them so? They take ALL the space the universe intended them to and so they “shine, glimmer, and glow, …it’s as if they swallowed the moon.” I love that statement! It’s all about INDIVIDUALITY! Your job is to be you. To be the best you can be, to do the best job you can at being you.  Caroline MCHugh is “dedicated to helping individuals and organisations be fully deployed, original versions of themselves.” (more)

BLAST out your individuality, your talents, your glimmer and let it shine!
(Even if its under a snow blanket this weekend!)

http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/The-Art-of-Being-Yourself-Carol

End of Year, an opening and a closing.

One door opens as another closes
One door opens as another closes

As so it fades… 2015 closes and 2016 opens up with new possibilities. Attitude must rule, for the magic of change and possibilities are only available when you first dream, then think, and follow with doing everything you can to start the engine and keep it running. Yes, I know, at times it is very hard to keep going, to keep the steam puffing, and even not to stand in front of it and block its way, but…we all know that does no good. I have to keep reminding myself,  I’ve got to at the very least keep chipping away at the big dreams, now and then take a big bold whack at it, close my eyes and JUMP. I suggest that to everyone, the choice to stay static or chisel and jump so… why not!?

As 2016 is peaking its head around the corner I am hopeful that this will be the year that my giant revisions of my book may be in the background and that finally I am on the right track. This book looks nothing like where I started and I’m ok with that, it’s a prosess I keep telling myself-Hope so! It is now a book for the “wee ones” of 2-6 years and it is called  Awesome (at least right now that is the title!) It still features Fuddles, the feather that spreads awe and wonder on planet Earth. That is who you see above but that is not an illustration from this upcoming book. The plan is that Fuddles will be on a farm in a sequence book. In the meantime, Fuddles is peaking out the doors into 2016. He does indeed look a bit shocked, maybe a wee bit scared, but time will tell the whole story.  Temporarily that’s all I will reveal. Partly, because it is very much still a working copy, and partly for I am just not ready to “put it out there” yet.

I am not one for resolutions, especially public ones, but I will proclaim my intent for this to be the year of my first book to finally come to be!

Meanwhile….Merry, Bright, Treats, and Joy …Happy New Years

 

What do Civil Rights, the Blues Music and Poverty all have in common?

The answer is all in the new book featured below.

I am very pleased, and proud, to announce that my friend, Ray Uzanas, book Faces and Places of the Deep South is now out, published and fantastic!

Why is this on the Botanical Beauties and Beasties blog you may ask? Well, it’s for two reasons. The first is that it is truly a lovely book, quality in all ways. The second is that I was personally involved by doing all the book design, layout and cover work. We are both very pleased to be able to present it and share it!

The words from the author are as follows…

In “Faces and Places of the Deep South,” Raymond Uzanas takes the reader on his 2015 journey through America’s rural south where he visits towns mired in poverty and those infamous for their role in the civil rights movement of mid-20th century America. Uzanas explores the vast Mississippi Delta that gave birth to the Delta Blues sounds; traveling to its smallest desolate towns as well as to Clarksdale and its annual Juke Joint Blues Festival.

Interviews and shared stories with people he meets resonates across racial and economic lines as he profiles the lives and times of today’s Deep South. It is a book mostly about the people–what Ray calls the human wealth of the region. His photographs capture and convey the mood and character of the land and its people. Come along for a ride through a half century of southern history.

You can purchase the book at Amazon or Blurb, or if you are very lucky you can see it/read it at a few select local Libraries.  FYI, the book is costly as it is a high quality, 120 page, full color “picture book” filled with beautiful images as well as amazing stories of civil rights, the extreme poverty and life in the generally unknown Deep South, and the great Delta Blues Music originating from the Deep South. Incidentally, Ray does not mark the books up, the cost you see is truly the raw cost of printing each book and of no profit to the author. If you are interested in purchasing one, the Blurb site is a little less money than Amazon  (since Amazon adds some for themselves.)

The link for Blurb: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/invited/

The link for Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Faces-Places-South-Raymond-Uzanas/

We both hope you get a chance to enjoy the many Faces and Places of the Deep South.

Changes: “Life is a series of surprises.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

First I was going to write about a topic that has been fascinating me since I heard a TED Talk  called How to spot a liar” by Pamela Meyer. It’s about trust, deception, and our society’s propensity for lies. It’s compelling, and I recommend using 18 mins of your life to listen to it. However, I moved on to topic #2. That was to be Clutter – Clear the clutter, clear the mind. Goes with new beginnings and one of my favorite topics-Letting go! Although those words and thoughts take up a LARGE portion of my mind these days, it was too much, too complex, and more than I wanted to share in words. Therefore, it was shelved for “later.”  Topic #3 was intriguing when I wandered over to  the word of Friendship. However, as I sat down to write I changed my mind again and indeed the topic I have settled on is CHANGE. Particularly , change with Botanical Beauties and Beasties.

The Quote below is from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays and Lectures. “From a layered and immeasurably insightful 1841 essay titled “Circles,” exploring the pillars of personal growth and how we can learn to stop resisting the very things that help us transcend our self-imposed limitations.” I found it on a site I read regularly called Brain Pickings. Click for the full story.

Every ultimate fact is only the first of a new series… The new statement is always hated by the old, and, to those dwelling in the old, comes like an abyss of skepticism.

[…]

In nature every moment is new; the past is always swallowed and forgotten… Nothing is secure but life, transition, the energizing spirit. No love can be bound by oath or covenant to secure it against a higher love. No truth so sublime but it may be trivial to-morrow in the light of new thoughts. People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.

Life is a series of surprises.”

Surprise # 1:  I might have mentioned to you I am changing the tag line of the business. I am thinking about simplifying things across the board. In life, and so in my business as well. That means change. The tag line has been “Live Kind. Live Green. Live Creatively .” When I do shows those words will continue to serve my story verbally and I still believe in them wholeheartedly. However, I have been thinking for a couple of years now, If the world were to be a bit more “evolved” then Live Kind, Live Green would be one and the same. If we are to truly live within Kindness, that translates  into kindness for self, others, and the world around us, including the planet we all share. So, in the hopes of evolution of us all, and in the process of simplification…. the new line is …. are you ready?…. drum beat please…. Kindess. it's always the bottom line.

As for the third part,  i.e. Live Creatively …Well that most surely continues. Creativity comes in many forms and sizes mostly as words, images, motions and thoughts. We (society) need much help if creativity disappears. For me it is important that I utilize my creativity often, when I don’t my mind gets (even more?) muddled. My thoughts are far enough off the beaten road at times without adding any extra curves! But, I’m also glad about that-without those thoughts, ideas, and imagination the Botanical Beauties would never have been created, launched or shared in any manner. I hope we all agree that would be a shame.

The next step is to figure out to keep moving forward and what’s up next. New paths are ahead, changes are ahead, but I am not clear yet on what, when, where, or how. I continue to work on learning the how, and simultaneously, trying to do (!) the writing and illustrating of  my children’s book. The book has totally changed recently. I will share the New Book when I get a better grip on it.

If anyone has any solid ideas about good marketing, or paths to follow for the Botanical Beauties and Beasties, by all means, please speak up! New crossroads, new thoughts, new directions are indeed what I am looking for!

Surprise #2 – Well, time will tell.

 

Zoie and Kindness