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

Nothing is perfect but….

…the least perfect moments are sometimes the one that imprint the most, the ones we learn from (hopefully) and the ones we move to the next whatever from.

Some say a circle is perfect, some feel a clean fresh snowfall is, while for others it’s the roar of the ocean. Ultimately, it is probably your attitude that enables you feel a moment, an event, or even a lifetime as perfect.

Our preferences change as do our lives-everything is subjective. Our eyes see what they see, our ears hear what they hear, and it is all filtered and processed through our own brain. We learn ‘it’ and act on ‘it’ as we so desire, maybe as we need to, or even have to. Things change, and we adjust.

For instance, I am clear Climate Change is a real thing. I see, hear, read supportive evidence that supports my feelings and thoughts on the subject. However, others clearly disagree. To me, it is preposterous how anyone could think/believe that Climate Change is a hoax. To me it is clear, I see ice caps melting, water tables rising, temps and weather abnormalities everywhere. This absolutely is not just “perceptions.” The imprint of big oil companies and big money on the ecosystem will leave an imprint that possibly can’t be changed back. There will be repercussions we can’t recover from. What will be “next”- we don’t get Earth 2.0!?

Back to the circle-something’s can turn back on themselves, something’s can roll on, and something’s cannot. Some people have ideas you cannot change, right or wrong it is their view. Not too many things in this universe are static, movement is critical. Winds blow, waters flow, ice melts and it all starts again. Life is indeed cyclical. Improvement, movement, and human interactions are the most essential aspect of human survival and existence.

Balancing act
its all about the blance

 

Life often is a balance issue, and we try to stay on the tightrope the best we can. If you are in the North-catch a falling snowflake. In the South, catch a ray of sunshine. Either way, hope it’s a healthy happy balance for you as 2016 closes and 2017 dawns upon us.

Smooth out the rumpled feathers, dig in, and launch again,

It’s been a long time since I sat down and shared, wrote, and put The Botanical Beauties & Beasties “out there.” Too long.  Much water has been crossed over; bridges have been traveled to and from and back again. I know it’s time to get back to BBB3.  The present state of the world, our new politics, and policies are quiet distressing to me. If you don’t agree that’s your option/opinion and you can unsubscribe if you so wish. I won’t be talking much politics here except to mention that our nations new paths of exclusion, non environmental, bigotry and violence in words and actions have spurred me to go back to the BBB3 core message and tag line of Kindness, because it’s always the bottom line. When I changed the tag line back in May 2015 I had no idea of what was to come in November 2016.  We need a world of INCLUSION, compassion, awareness of our world, the earth, and each other.  This is what has partially pushed me out of my blasted off rocket that took off so many months ago. I have indeed landed, bumpy at times, but a good landing overall-moving forward with the Botanicals feels especially pertinent now. I am far from even remotely thinking I am more than, or even as big as, a submicroscopic dot on this universe-however, if ALL the tiny little parts gather ourselves up and collectively we can make a small impression it’s a great start.  I will try to do my part here, and hopefully The Botanical Beauties & Beasties can shine and do their small part.

So-I hope to be able to provide a small smile, a kind thought and new drawing every 10 days or so.  If I can accomplish that I will certainly share them with anyone that so kindly reads these post.2016-logoblog

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

 

Summer travels, journeys, discoveries and destinations……

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. – Marcel Proust

It’s official – it’s summertime. The temps are swinging, and so are the flip flops. Many indications are all pointing to it…

Memorial Day is behind us
July 4th is around the corner
Baseball season is full swing
Flowers are blooming
Landscapes are lush and green
Schools are wrapping up for another year
Vacations are happening
Gardens are being planted
Gardens are being enjoyed
Farmers Markets are popping up
There is color everywhere
Biking, Hiking, Sailing, and all kinds of games abound
…Yep, it’s summertime!

off we go!

Do you have discovery plans? Do they included long distance travel? Maybe local adventures? Dreams-count too!

I think  Proust had it right. The joy, the reason, the adventure, the growth of travel, and in every day, is in how we see it.

What do you want your eyes to be seeing these days?
What are your hopes for your eyes this season?

Jot down your secret dreams for the summer, check back in September and see how you did.

 

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

World Water Day 2015

Today is a holiday to celebrate water! Yesterday, I got to see the Atlantic Ocean and water everywhere-it was wonderful. Water has a way of southing and nourishing my soul, my spirits and my heart all at once. We are lucky here and water abounds. I drink many glasses a day of water. Water flows out of the spigot easily for so many uses almost as if by magic. It’s without much thought to the availability, and ease, of that fabulous water that my daily routine flows each day.

However, World Water Day is a serious issue. I like the way Time Magazine featured it-so I will give you the first bit here, and then send you all over to the article for the rest. 

A holiday for H2O

Sunday is World Water Day, a United Nations initiative to celebrate clean water and bring attention to those who don’t have enough of it. A new report released ahead of World Water Day warns about a looming shortage, and centers on this year’s theme: water and sustainable development.

Here are five ways to celebrate World Water Day….

http://time.com/3753021/world-water-day/

(I’ll give you a hint as the five: food, females, and of course- poop- but it’s not what you think. By the way, on the last one, check out the astronauts, they and Bill Gates have this “recycle” process in common!) 

Another great site and easy to absorb (ha ha) info is from UNWater. It’s a great presentation of water and the worlds needs. http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday

I close this post with MOE- Botanical Beauties Minister of Clean Water.

He has water-breathing gills and can travel in the seas for as long as needed. He and his family can adapt to sea or land as needed. This makes Moe’s job as Minister of Clean Water a natural for him. As he swims, he performs water tests, makes notations of underwater spots of beauty and reports on problem areas. Unfortunately, these areas are more common than he would like to see. He strives to help in any way he can, for he is aware that it all starts with ONE person, or in this case one Botanical Fish. 

Moe, Our Minster of Clean Water
Moe in his element WATER.

Snowflakes. Unique as we are.

For the final truth about snowflakes is that they become more individual as they fall—that, buffeted by wind and time, they are translated, as if by magic, into ever more strange and complex patterns, until, at last, like us, they touch earth. Then, like us, they melt.” –http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/01/03/all-alike

Izzy out in the snow- the 3 large snowflkes are Bentleys Snowflakes images.
Izzy out in the snow- the 3 large snowflkes are Bentleys Snowflakes images.

I am wondering how to do what seems like the impossible, i.e. put a good spin on all this white snow. All these tiny little crystals are getting the best of me. I will admit that the other night the snow did indeed actually glisten-it was as if there were little tiny shimmers popping on and off. It was quite spectacular, and I enjoyed the surreal movie scene quality to it. I know, some people love the snow, to them I say “Lucky You.” Maybe if it didn’t “interfere” making so many things, in my everyday routine, so much more difficult I would agree. I will give it a “pretty factor” of +8  (out of 10 – It can’t be 10 for the GIANT piles from the plows all over the place are NOT pretty.)

OK…here’s the positive spin I could come up with for all this past, present and future snow.

#1) “Snowflakes start off all alike; their different shapes are owed to their different lives.” –http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/01/03/all-alike
My own translation into “human” terms/lives…. We are all the same inside. Our outer looks, our shapes are transposed by our environments, unique DNA and lives. As a snowflake floats through the sky it’s altered by environmental factors-as we drift through our lives we are altered by many things as well, and so we too make adjustments as needed.

#2) “A snowflake is either a single ice crystal or an aggregation of ice crystals…Initial attempts to find identical snowflakes by photographing thousands of them with a microscope from 1885 onward by Wilson Alwyn Bentley found the wide variety of snowflakes we know about today.”  – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowflake
My own translation into “human” terms/lives…We are indeed individuals but a community gives us strength. Just like snowflakes arrive in masses, no man/woman is really an island. 

#3) “A non-aggregated snowflake often exhibits six-fold radial symmetry…” (That makes many snowflakes a hexagram shape.) Within Indic lore, the (hexagram) shape is generally understood to consist of two triangles—one pointed up and the other down—locked in harmonious embrace. The two components are called “Om” and the “Hrim” in Sanskrit, and symbolize man’s position between earth and sky. The downward triangle symbolizes Shakti, the sacred embodiment of femininity, and the upward triangle symbolizes Shiva, or Agni Tattva, representing the focused aspects of masculinity. The mystical union of the two triangles represents Creation…”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexagram
My own translation into “human” terms/lives – Creation is usually a good thing. Creations not only means human lives, but to me also means imagination and creativity.  Therefore, we have the yin/yang, the male/female sides to creativity and the simplicity of a clear known shape intertwined. 

That’s it, I think three good positive reflections on all this snow is pretty darn good!

By the way…Want to know more about the native Vermonter Wilson Alwyn “Snowflake” Bentley (1865-1931), the man who is one of the first known photographers of the snowflake?  He manged to capture more than 5,000 images of those little tiny crystals we know as snow, and indeed showed us, no two are the same!
Click link http://snowflakebentley.com

Falling leaves, Slippery leaves.

Ollie in the fall
Image from the BBB3 archives

 

Here in my little corner of New England the leaves are close to peak, and indeed it is beautiful to see. Fall is in full swing with all its transformations. I have been thinking about the change of seasons and all that entails, both externally in the natural world and internally to us as human beings. In the ancient Taoism/Daoism seasons, we are in the season of Gathering and these three months of autumn are about Containment and Balance. It’s the time to draw our energies inward. Now (not January 1st) is the time to start laying down the paths for a healthy and happy new/next year. “It is time to still our hearts and minds and to gather and collect the spirit and the qi 氣 (energy).” (further reading) … so, how does this fit into my mind, to our everyday lives?

Are you ready? Ready for change? Ready for a new season/year that is quickly approaching? Ready for an open mind? Ready for a new whatever it may that you might be seeking? Look around yourself NOW. Temps are falling. Light is dwindling. Flowers are fading. Trees are having one last glorious blast and then letting their grandeur drop to the ground. Nature is preparing to go dormant for a winters rest. It is a time of gathering nutrients and strength for a rejuvenation that pops in the spring. The ever so obvious natural message to us is:  We too need to let go, drop our leaves, let go of what ever we have been carrying/holding that is no longer of use, or beneficial, to ourselves. (So we are back to one of my recurring themes of letting go.) In the above referenced article it reminds me that “BREATHING is a very powerful way to let go of our tension, whether it is physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. It is one of the primary cycles of yin and yang in the body. Having inhaled we must let go of it before we can take any more in.” I like that, it resonates with me. If your lungs, mind, bodies, heart, are filled with the “unneeded,”  maybe its old dusty air, or “bad”/ugly/painful/sad thoughts, or maybe it’s just plain old unhealthy air/thoughts/actions/patterns, how can that possible be good to hold inside? Mind you, I am not saying it is a piece of cake and all you have to do is breath deep and exhale all the “crap” we all collect right out of our cells. If only it were that easy!

However, all this does tie into another topic I often think about these days that is called “mindfulness.” To me mindfulness is much like awareness but with an extra dose of consciousness. It seems that with awareness you notice, and hopefully make a note of whatever “it” is. With mindfulness you have awareness combined with additional thinking, and hopefully acting upon the thoughts, from your awareness. Make sense?  The yin and yang of life….Let in (how about WELCOME IN) the good, breath out the unneeded, the painful parts that are holding you back. Gather yourself up, let go of the frenetic (although often full of fun) summer energies, unfortunately we lose that summer warmth as well (now we have to recreate that artificially.) Calm down those long list of “things I should do” that pop up so often in the fall. Start gathering that which nourishes you and strengthens you. Small moves in perceptions, actions, can make for enormous changes later. Do it now, while they are tiny, this keeps some of the drastic melodramatic changes away and so a smoother road ahead. And really, do you want those big rough bumps on your road?  Most of us do not. “Chart the difficult when it is easy, act on the great when it is tiny.”  … “Act when something has not yet come to be, regulate when it is not yet disordered.” (Laozi chapter 63 and Chapter 64.) Again, as I sit here writing, I think, if only all, or even part, of this all was easy!

You may be thinking, wondering why the title of this posting? Falling leaves—it’s about letting go. Slippery Leaves—that one makes me smile. It’s a phrase that came to be a gazillion moons ago with a group of very good friends. We were doing our usual hanging out. It was in the fall season with indeed slippery wet leaves all around us. Someone stating the obvious said, “Watch out for the slippery leaves” (I think we were walking?) The response was something like, “Hmm, think so? I think I had figured that out all by myself!” It was not snide, mean, or an unfriendly response. I think we all burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of stating the ever so clear fact. It has become a phrase in my personal lexicon that has transpired a bit and come to mean generically, watch out for the obvious. It can be physical, mental, intellectual, emotional, it doesn’t matter, we often do see, and know the obvious BUT, we also sometimes MISS the obvious—and occasionally our friends do have to help…mindfulness is key.

So, in this season of transformations, let go of what you don’t need and be mindful of all those slippery leaves!