“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.
“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!)
YES! Colors are the secret ingredient to Spring time! We are coming out of our winter shells and happy for the promises Spring can bring. If you think about it as a larger frame, all the pieces fit perfectly.
The meaning of the color indigo reflects great devotion, wisdom, and justice along with fairness and impartiality. It is a defender of people’s rights to the end. (Blue Berries and Blue flowers are popping out)
The meaning of the color pink is unconditional love and nurturing. In color psychology, pink is a sign of hope. It is a positive color inspiring warm and comforting feelings, a sense that everything will be okay. (Pink Blooms ALL around, especially in this location with the beautiful Cherry Trees, RedBuds, and dogwoods!)
The color white is the color at its most complete and pure, the color of perfection. The psychological meaning of white is purity, innocence, wholeness and completion. (White flowers abound: Lily of the Valley, Snowdrops, my front yard has beautiful white camellia blooms- just to name a few.)
The color green relates to balance and harmony. From a color psychology perspective, it is the great balancer of the heart and the emotions, creating equilibrium between the head and the heart. (ALL the shades of green, especially that new lush green as leaves begin to unfold-it’s hard to beat that!)
The color red is a warm and positive color associated with our most physical needs and our will to survive. It exudes a strong and powerful masculine energy. (Flowers of azaleas, poppies, and tulips are what come to my mind!)
Even though I don’t have a pix – how could we possibly not mention YELLOW! The color yellow relates to acquired knowledge. It is the color which resonates with the left or logic side of the brain stimulating our mental faculties and creating mental agility and perception. (Blooms of the Daffs and the forsythias! )
Put it all together, and you have wisdom, fairness, unconditional love, hope, perfection, wholeness, balance, harmony, mental agility topped of with our will to survive! It’s little wonder Spring busting out all around feels so good!
Times they are a changing…
The weather, the earth, the world….it’s enough to make my head spin!
Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam And admit that the waters
Around you have grown And accept it that soon You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone For the times they are a-changin
Dylan famously goes on to write the next verse about writers and critics, followed by politicians, with the last stance about mothers and fathers. So timely!
The times certainly are ‘a-changing’, Bob Dylan is now the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for literature—first time for lyrics, as opposed to a novel. It was said that it is “perhaps the most radical choice in a (Noble Peace Prize) history stretching back to 1901.” (reason #1)
Spring brings Easter, Passover and I am sure there are other holidays of spring renewals that I don’t even know. Spring is busting out with colors- greens, yellows, pinks and red splashes all around! (reason #2) I’ve been thinking a lot about changing, or ‘reinventions’ as I am now trying to call, and view, all the changes. As a child the world is always changing, we are continually learning, and trying all different hats, paths, and ways all the time. That’s a good thing. As an adult constant learning and forward motion is still a good thing. That said-constant change is not easy. However, I hope I never stop learning and exploring. Curiosity didn’t kill the cat. Curiosity does keep the soul, mind, and body alive! (reason #3)
For myself, all these ‘reinventions’ are global as well as very personal. It feels like a spinning top at a dizzying speed. How about you?
…and speaking of changes…
A new kind of Botanical Beauties has come to town! I’m having fun with flowers in new ways (reason #4.) Stay tuned as we see together what and how this develops.
Feeling a bit soggy?
Here are a few ideas of ways to make a rainy day better.
Don’t think of it as cold wet water:
Think SPRING FLOWERS!
Here’s a list of ideas for spring shower happiness.
💦 Pretend you are two years old and go splash in puddles-I know a very special little one that this works well for!
💦 Enjoy some artwork. Galleries, museums, or exhibits are all luxurious and wonderful places to forget it’s raining outside.
💦 There’s always the movies.
💦 Meet a friend for a cup, or glass, of whatever makes you smile.
💦 Plan a rain barrel for your garden, then the next time it rains you will be receiving bonus water!
💦 Gray is much better than black. Look outside-gray is probably everywhere and Mother Nature is usually is pretty smart!
Maybe Gray still is the new black?
💦 Gray is a subdued and quiet color so crawl into that: Tuck yourself in and enjoy a good read with a hot cup of tea/coffee. Or just nap!
💦 Remember that rain is not frozen, or slippery, and it requires no shoveling.
💦 Learn new things. For instance- Did you know that the iconic crayon color, Dandelion, will be retiring? To send him off in style, Crayola is taking him on a 4-week retirement tour! VERY clever marketing and fun to watch. Here’s the link. https://youtu.be/WSBaRK1BM3Q
(BYW – today 3/31/17 is National Crayon Day…who knew?)
AND OF COURSE – there is always “Singing in the Rain” with Gene Kelly!
• 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in purchasing a copy, please contact me at email@example.com. Please put Book Purchase in the subject line.(The price is $20 + shipping. It is a 7″x 7″ full-color paperback.)
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!
Change-if it were easy (or fun) we would all be “making changes for the better” continually. But it’s not. Most of us don’t have strong “change skills.” As humans we differ from our pets (or at least my pets) only in scale to our aversions to change. The furniture moves, or the dog gate moves, and one of my dogs is a bit concerned about it. Luckily I am more flexible than that! We all know that change can be a good thing. Usually, we feel better about change when we choose it, not much feels good when it is thrust expectantly upon us. So, the tricky part is knowing you have the power and choose! We all know the saying, Want new results? Then you have to change something!
In doing some internet research for this post, I found what I think is a good article about change. Most of you readers (I assume) are not looking at immediate grand changes, but I think these are useful tips for us all. Since I am indeed facing many changes, I find these concepts helpful. I hope you do as well.
“1. Change helps you grow
2. Change teaches you to be flexible
3. Change can challenge your values and beliefs
4. Change reveals your strengths
5. Change makes you more compassionate.
6. Change breaks up routines
7. Change offers opportunities”
The other piece of important stuff in my head today are words from Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO and the widow of Dave Goldberg) who gave a powerful speech at UC Berkeley’s commencement about resilience and loss. I think, change, resilience and loss are all often closely connected. Change is nearly impossible unless you have resilience and loss makes you face it all and forces change. Here are a few snippets from her words.
“…After spending decades studying how people deal with setbacks, psychologist Martin Seligman found that there are three Ps— personalization, pervasiveness, and permanence— that are critical to how we bounce back from hardship.”
“….Because today marks the end of one era of your life and the beginning of something new…”
“I learned that in the face of the void—or in the face of any challenge—you can choose joy and meaning…”
“Lessons about hope, strength, and the light within us that will not be extinguished…”
“The easy days ahead of you will be easy. It is the hard days—the times that challenge you to your very core—that will determine who you are. You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive…”
“…live with the understanding of how precious every single day would be. How precious every day actually is…”
“Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.”
“So what do we do next?…Lift each other up, help each other kick the shit out of option B—and celebrate each and every moment of joy. .. ”
and now back to my own words…
Easier siad then done-but good words all around.
Look for the good and the positive-then let the changes begin!
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!
A lot has happened in the past month or so. A constant thought has been an awareness that I/we often don’t really know what’s going on with whomever is front of me/us. What’s the back story? Is their a cause and effect? Am I missing something? Do they have a “truth” that if I knew would cause me to understand or perceive something, or them, differently? Creating a different interaction? Changing the outcome of an event? This happens everyday, small events and spreads to gigantic events that can effect many.
As I often do, I was listening to NPR en route to work. This week had two particular interesting pieces to me with my Things are not what they always appear to be mindset. The first-
“Is It Time To Resurrect The Brontosaurus?”
The Brontosaurus may be back.
Not that it ever really went away, at least not in the minds of generations of people who grew up watching Fred Flintstone devour one of his beloved Brontosaurus burgers.
But, if you’re a scientist, you have to stick to the rules, and in 1903, the name Brontosaurus was struck from the record. That was when paleontologist Elmer Riggs deemed that the Brontosaurus was really just a different dinosaur, Apatosaurus…..As NPR reported in 2012, the tussle over naming the dinosaur goes back to the so-called Bone Wars of the late 1800s, when rival fossil hunters raced to name new Thdinosaurs. Othniel Charles Marsh led a team that found the skeletons of two creatures….
The first was found in 1877 and named Apatosaurus. But, as the story says, “it was missing a skull, so in 1883 when Marsh published a reconstruction of his Apatosaurus, Lamanna says he used the head of another dinosaur — thought to be a Camarasaurus — to complete the skeleton.”…The second dinosaur, found in 1879, was named Brontosaurus, or “thunder lizard.”… As Smithsonian notes, “The fate of Brontosaurus now relies upon whether other paleontologists will be able to replicate the results, as well as what those researchers think about the threshold for when dinosaurs merit different names.”
The part that actually thrilled me was the sub name for Brontosaurus, of “thunder lizard!” A giant, long-necked, heavy bodied, swamp-dwelling, 15-30 ton, well loved by many small children, and movie goers, creature possibly never even existed and is a lizard?!!!! Who knew lizards could be have such a breath of size possibilities? It was news to me. No wonder the word THUNDER is in its name! The need to make lots of noise and be heard seems clear for the cause. Where is the truth? What’s the real story? What’s the back story? In the name, it seems that someone had either a great imagination, or sense of humor, with the words THUNDER LIZARD? The pairing of those two words seems incongruous and yet somehow wonderful! This delights me. Who’s behind those Foster Grants-a giant thundering big stomping dinosaur? A scampering tiny camouflaged quick creature? A minister of truth? A 1879 Brontosaurus? A few bones here or there, a skull-for sure they all make a difference, I get it but….There always seems to be a back story-even in science! There are at least 1/2 dozen articles this week on this issue-it’s big news in the Dino world. Who would think in spring 2015 the Brontosaurus would be prime time news? In the words of Abbott and Costello, Who’s on First? Does it matter? Who’s behind those dark glasses? It all mysteriously ties together for me. Does it for you?
As for the second piece of NPR that drew me-well, you will have to wait until next time. This is plenty to think about for now… Stay tuned and enjoy the very welcome warmth and sunshine of springtime. Today, up here in NE, we are finally getting to see, and feel, a bit of spring. Flowers should start popping out soon-thank goodness for small miracles of nature!
Winter solstice. Dark skies. Cold temps. No wonder bears and other animals decide to hibernate! Some days that indeed feels like the perfect plan. Today is the shortest day of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere, we get only 9 hours and 4 mins of light here. That’s kind of a bummer until you flip it around and realize the positive, that TOMORROW it immediately starts getting better! The days start getting LONGER! Another positive about the long winter nights is, that if there is a clear night, it can be spectacular star gazing.
Isabella has decided to “accentuate the positive.” She is listening to music (“Baby it’s Cold Outside” just happens to playing as I type this. A fun winter song of dilemmas and choices that often makes both Izzy and I smile!) Izzy (her nick name) knows the importance of attitude as these dark days role thru the winter. Remember, the dark skies make the bright stars appear to shimmer and sparkle!
We (Izzy and I) want to remind you that Isabellas role, in the community of Botaniums, is that she is the driving force behind “The Knowledge Café.” A place that strives to always offer a warm welcome to all that travel through the doors and to be a gathering place for all. The Knowledge Cafe is a place of wonderment for many and that delights Izzy. The Café not only houses theJoyful Sparkles Bakery of Julia with its delectable goodies and beverages, but also acts as a general store with books, handmade local gifts, fun technology, an art gallery as well as arts center, and sometimes even an art studio. All this helps foster friendships, and connections. Izzy believes in the importance of all these facets of life, especially the friendships and connections part-life is not nearly as much fun or interesting without those!
All this helps reminds her, and by proxy we hope you too, that life is actually pretty darn great….Despite winters cold temps, head colds, slush/mush, dark days, and some of the other less exciting winter attributes, there is still plenty of reason to smile, snuggle, enjoy and be happy.
According to Victor Hugo-“Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.” How can we argue with a famous poet, novelist, dramatist?
…One kind word can warm three winter months. – Japanese Proverb… Make Victor Hugo proud – use kindness and laughter to warm up these long dark winter days and nights!
As we here in North America settle into Labor Day Weekend, I will use these “holiday days” to post a tribute to my friend, and his labors of love for his wife and their cause.
You may (hopefully) remember my post of the introduction of Diggerfoot and so my friend Kirk. Kirk, his daughter Charissa, and his wife Cindy, are hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) with, and for, Cindy’s bucket list. Cindy has Alzheimer’s. The couples core is as long distance hikers, or as they seemed to be called, thru-hikers. As a couple they have traversed the country (The Continental Divide Trail,) hiked the Appalachian Trial and this is Kirks second time on the PCT. Compleating the three is called the Triple Crown. It’s a desire of Cindy’s to have that accomplishment, matching her husbands. As Kirk so clearly stated on his website, and I want to remind you…”We will use the hike for a mission to spread Hope for Alzheimer’s. The first avenue of hope is with Cindy’s journey, demonstrating that people with Alzheimer’s still can pursue their dreams. The second avenue of hope is through raising awareness for how lifestyle choices can improve Alzheimer’s patients and caregivers. The most important of these lifestyle choices is physical exercise, the only “treatment” show to halt and even reverse brain decay. The third avenue of hope is through Exercise for Brain Health Research, for which we are raising funds. To see how you can help us spread Hope for Alzheimer’s please visit that page.”
I will take two consecutive posting here on The Botanical Beauties & Beasties site to try to recap some of what I found the enticing tidbits of info and fact from the first two months of their journey. These two postings may be a bit longer than usual, but I hope you will find them compelling and that they tempt you to connect to Kirks blog and find out more about their cause and journey. (http://www.humanityhiker.com/) ~
The hike began at Snoqualmie Pass. This pass is about 45 minutes from the Seattle Metro area and is part of Rocky Mountains. It was a little tougher than expected the hikers had a false start. From Kirk’s blog -“We spent our whole first day in the snow, also struggling to find the trail. The day never climbed above freezing…” So here in MA we were enjoying all the summer trimmings and they were in snow! For a few reasons, Kirk makes the call and they turn back. He decides “We would go further south to start our hike north to the Canadian border, precisely at Mackenzie Pass in Oregon. I also resolved that we really had two goals. One was to get Cindy the Triple Crown. The other, and more important, was to enable Cindy to enjoy life, even at the cost of the other goal.”
With this change of their plans they have created “a “flip flop” thru-hike in order to stay away from snow and make the hiking easier for one not as sure of foot as she once was.….Our first day out from Mackenzie Pass, after first hiking through a lava field reminiscent of a moonscape, we encountered over a mile of hiking on snow, followed by burned forests littered with extensive blowdowns. This was not making hiking easy for Cindy but I made the call to go on this time because the snowfield was on gentle slopes, no steep traverses, and burned forests don’t go on forever.”
Now, they are on track, up at 10,500 feet, they have climbed out of Sonora Pass and have an amazing panoramic view. Sonora Pass northern boundary is Yosemite National Park, and it also where the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) crosses Hwy 108 for those of you who know roads! With an elevation of 9,620 feet, it is the second highest paved pass in the Sierra Nevada range. By early July the gang is in the S. Lake Tahoe area. Kirk is running support and a self-appointed Sherpa to make this journey possible. He says in his posting that “I think is one of the most beautiful stretches along the PCT, the Desolation Wilderness.” I read that the temps are in 80’s, I haven’t read bad words about snow for a few postings now, and the trip seems to be moving along. I am glad for them.
A July posting is calledCollapsing Tent Poles. Cindy is struggling with daily tasks and towards the end of his post Kirk says- “At times like this you wonder why you would continue with this. The answers come from Cindy. We are always meeting other hikers and tell them something about what we are doing. To one group I gave the report on how exercise is the only thing shown to actually regenerate brain tissue. Cindy chimed in cheerfully: “Yep! That’s why I’m out here! …. Well, and I love hiking.” The positivity that Cindy demonstrates, and the strength they all show, is proof of the wonders of the human spirit when we, as people, need to call it up, somehow it seems to rise to the occasion! If you are mindful of it, you can witness this all the time in our daily lives. The struggles are unique to our own paths, and each one is equally important to the individual facing the challenge.
A few days later and the group is about 10 miles N. of Sierra City, headed over to hike the Sierra Buttes section of the PCT. “As we descended into Sierra City we finally got down low enough to be out of the snow.” (Amazing out here on the East coast we were enjoying a very lovely summer! Sun and no snow thank goodness!)…By mid July I am seeing posting that mentioned Cindy and her gang are hiking 20 miles a day! Impressive!
This posting is from Kirks blog on July 26, and the three hikers are back close to where they actually tried to start their hike originally. Remember that a 10 mile snowfield turned them back around to begin elsewhere! “We were just a few miles into the Three Sisters Wilderness…As we tackled this section south of Mackenzie Pass on July 22 there were no ten mile snowfields. Indeed, I failed to remember how spectacular the scenery was through here, a source of continual awe were it not for being focused on the footpath. The lava fields made for some tough footwork for Cindy, as did the snowfields. For though they did not last for ten miles the patches occurred frequently over such a length.” Day two of that section, and thunderstorms hit…rain, drizzle, and cold, created this sentence. “All rain gear not made of rubber, to my knowledge, have a saturation point. Ours had reached that in the continuing rain. Wet and cold, I knew Cindy faced hypothermia conditions. After only three miles I knew I had to find a campsite soon.” As expected, they weathered the storm … one of the most heart warming moments in my readings of Kirk’s post is what he wrote after setting up a campsite, cold, wet, and in that storm – “This was the essence of us as a couple: content in our sleeping bags after a day’s hike, weathering the storm. This was normal for us; the way things should be. I looked over at Cindy and absorbed the music, knowing just how fleeting such “normal” moments now are. I wanted to freeze and hold onto that moment forever.”http://www.humanityhiker.com/weathering-the-storm/As Kirk stated, the experience had created a new normal and they had gotten thru it all. An interesting question for us to think about. That concept of “normal” and how it is really a very wide dynamic range for most of us and pretty much most of the time! Do you have a new “normal”? Is yours ever evolving? I know mine is.
So I will end this post here – and in a day or two, I will ”recap” the best I can the August postings! Catching us all up-to-date, and hopefully a little more “aware.”
As I write those words, I can’t help but also be reminded of all the awareness that the Ice Bucket Challenge has brought to the ALS issue. There are so many important places, things, and issues that call for our attention and awareness these days!
“Slowly, I witness the constants in my life fade around me. All things must pass. I just wish we could have more control in the manner of their passing.” – Kirk Sinclair