Can you fly?

Always loved this song – rumored to be sung to me as a kid – maybe that’s part of the reason it resonates with me.  Regardless….Ella Fitzgerald’s voice is beautiful in this YouTube piece.
“One of these mornings you’re gonna rise up singing
And you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky…”

The big questions are –
❓Are your wings spreading out…
❓Are you trying to fly…
❓Are you singing…

I’ve been thinking a lot of late about taking chances, i.e., spreading one’s wings. In chatting with friends, we often comment on how some people, particularly younger ones, are willing to just throw something up, whether it be on Social Media, in life, in business, or even just an idea.  It’s pretty much an anything goes and let’s see what sticks attitude. As an “older” person I often feel like I have to know something about what’s going on before I do ‘X, Y or Z’ for BBB3 (Botanical Beauties and Beasties.) The curiosity is that in many other parts of my ‘creative life’ I seem to be able to throw the spaghetti up and see if it sticks. I even enjoy doing that. For instance, I have just started playing with acrylic paints. I know NOTHING about them, and for that matter, I know virtually nothing about painting. And yet, when it comes to this I only have smiles-I have no shame, little fear, and I just allow myself to play and paint knowing that ‘something’ will turn out on that small canvas lying in front of me. I am so sure of my fun play that I bought a package deal of 14 little blank canvases-Chutzpah!!! So there I am, having a grand time, mixing paints and mediums, using paint brushes, cotton sticks, whatever, with a minimal idea as to the outcome. I have only a vague concept if I am playing within the lines or the rules, and couldn’t care less. It’s exciting and fun to just be like a kid again-just DOING WHATEVER. Surprisingly the painting(s) are not too bad. One I like quite a lot (see below)- as do some of my friends.

So…why is it that sometimes a level of laze fare and ‘confidence’ exudes, while other times fear and one’s mind stop us? What it is that lets one throw caution to the wind and just try things out?  I think it may have something to do with private verse public? What are your thoughts?

And with much hesitation – Izzy shares my first painting! Izabella and Blue Painting

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Are Colors the Secret Ingredient?

Colors of spring
Colors of spring

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!


info from: http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com

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.)

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

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

 

Karma. A force to be reckoned with?

Karma :
The force created by a person’s actions that some people believe causes good or bad things to happen to that person. – http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/karma

The topic keeps popping up and so its time to be attentive (again).

Recently, I was having a great conversation with a friend about the concept of how the world/people/organizations can be callous and how we let them (enable them?) to siphon our spirit out.  This friend is involved with an ugly business situation that is crushing him. We started chatting about the reflections of ourselves in others. Within friendships, personal and business encounters we act (and react) to these reflections. It is said that emotions don’t belong in business, and although I think business too needs people with hearts, I do understand that raw emotions cannot rule business. However, these ‘reflections’ I am speaking of are far less conscious than unprocessed emotions and are much more subtle. Perspectives verses realities-perhaps. The boundaries of what is acceptable can be fuzzy and clearly differ from the mind and heart of each sender and receiver. Do we stop and think about those reflections? Seldom. However, they no doubt play a large role in our daily stumbles. I am sure these reflections are part of whom we enjoy and disdain, and probably part of why we just don’t like some people we meet. We all know-What we send is usually a reflection what we receive back. I do think reflections can be related to Karma.

The above conversation eventually lead to Karma and who sleeps the best at night? Obviously, most of us think the people who “care more” about the world, humanity, and each other, sleep better. Clearly they are destined to have better Karma.  I acknowledge that the world probably needs a little of the bad, it’s a balance and contrast thing. When folks are down right mean, or “bad” what’s that all about?  What reflections do they see and feel-if any? Do nasty people even stop to think, much less think about what they are “putting out” in the world?  What is their Karma?  If we change our reflections do we change our Karma? What do you think?

Later that day I was poking around on the web and an image popped up that said, “There are two kinds of people in the world: givers and takers. The takers may eat better, but the givers sleep better.”  It turns out the quote is from a motivational speaker/corporation called Ziglar. I thought it was an interesting full circle spin back to my afternoon conversation, one that started with yoga, twirled to reflections and ended with Karma.

It happens continually…
Coincidence-sure you can call it that….
But….
I think Karma also plays into the big picture.
Whether its food, attitude, or actions…
Garbage in=Garbage out.

Ollie - Minister of Truth

Does clutter become The Fabric of My Life?

Clutter, “Stuff”-The fabric of my life? I hope NOT!  I refuse to believe that my stuff makes up WHO I am. It is true that, partly, it makes up what my home looks like, how crowded my mind, and possibly my life, may be at any given moment. All this “stuff” didn’t just appear one day in my house, my mind, or my life, it’s an insidious, slow moving, existential like growth. Maybe it is like fabric? I suppose it did start as a small swatch and has evolved into yards and yards over the years. If I continue with this analogy… fabrics can get messy and be washed, they can get cut up and reused or re-purposed, they can be loved as well as tossed out or given away. Sometimes they fade, and sometimes we have to give them up for they are no longer possible in the space. My “fabric” (like yours probably) has pretty much been through most/all of those scenarios.

This topic has come up for I am reorganizing my office/studio. It is the result of winter damage, which meant a wall and ceiling needed to be repaired, which meant EVERYTHING had to come out of a VERY crowded, over stuffed, “creative chaos” room. Not a bad thing in the long run, however in the short run it has been exhausting. Taxing my left side brain into hyper organization and lots of practice in the art of “letting go”-into the recycle, trash, or donate pile. This brings up another favorite topic, the one of Intention. I am practicing that skill as well. I read an article that stated- “Most traditional approaches do not consider the energetic impact of clearing, no matter how miniscule the task or effort. The fact is, clearing anything consciously and gently … creates an energetic opening—a spaciousness—that works on us slowly and surely to soften our grip of attachments.” (article)  I have been very intently/consciously clearing things out for approximately three years now. It started with the closets full of clothes, and slowly I have been working on the “stuff.”  The office/studio has accelerated the cause along. In theory (and mind) I don’t want the all this stuff, I want my space (in all ways) to be clearer. Much easily said than done for me. However, it is better than before and I am slowly learning the process and power of Intention in so many aspects of life. Intention of letting go. Intention of holding on when appropriate. Intention of a never ending process of moving on to whatever is next with an open mind and heart. Intention of clearing (in mind as well as physical space.)  An intention of realizing it is not about throwing away something but is often about letting go of a far bigger commodity than the goods in my hand. I am far from done. I will probably always be working on this “intention and clearing process.” It will probably never be easy, or fun. I do know it does feel good to let some of these things go. There is some truth to the saying of- Clear the clutter, Clear the mind. 

For all those that are spring cleaning, or life clearing- May the journey be partly to embrace the change, and enjoy the clean air in that new cleared space. (At least, that’s what I am trying to do.)

It always comes back to KINDNESS. This time it’s kindness to yourself, give yourself a break, a pat on the back, and awareness that the journey is what often matters and that simple is often an easier way to go. As Robert Browning so famously said, and the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe beautifully adapted-Less is More.

Birdelini takes on the motto of Less is More in her Simple Spring Hat 2015 collection.
Birdelini takes on the motto of Less is More in her Simple Spring Hat 2015 collection.

What’s behind those Foster Grants?

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-

Ollie and The Thunder Lizzard
Who’s behind those Foster Grants?

 

“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.”

It’s taken more than 100 years, but the Brontosaurus may be on the road to redemption….” To read the whole article, click here. 

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!

  Calthia is created from the first crocus of springtime. Her job is Clean Air. Seems suitable as she helps blow away the dregs of winter!!
Calthia is created from the first crocus of springtime. Her job is Clean Air. Seems suitable as she helps blow away the dregs of winter!!

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.

Time, a precious commodity.

Ollie and time
Time and Ollie, The Minister of truth holding time.

 ~ The greatest gift we can give is time. ~

It happens to be Daylight Savings time this weekend. However, that is not really why I am writing about time. It just coincided perfectly.

It’s natural as we get older to think of time with more respect than in our younger days. The real difference now is that I am very aware of the use of my time and how it is divvied up. I am careful, and conscious, of whom, what, when and where gets my very precious time. There are surely many things, and actions, which are “have to’s” and some even overlap into the “want to’s” that must occur and use up some of my time. The top of my personal list, for my desire of how I want to use my time these days, is to spend time with the people I really want to. I sqeeze in the other “good stuff” I love to do as well…and then I squeeze some more into the mix with the “have to’s”..Right now, I am of the belief system that my inner circle, i.e. the friends/family that truly matter in the long run, are amongst the more important uses of large chunks of my time.  No, if you are wondering, or worried, that something awful has happened to my health, the answer is thankfully no. However, I am acutly aware of how tenuous that can be, as dear friends, and extended family, are not all so lucky. So—spend time with those your love, those you want to be with, and those that make you happy. While your there, let them know that they are important. Time can indeed slip away in the blink of an eye…

Live in the Today.  Be present.  If not now-when?
and of course  “Be here now”-Ram Dass

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.“- Carl Sandburg

Time does not change us. It just unfolds us”. – Max Frisch

Meet Diggerfoot – A Pacific Northwest Guy!

This is the first installment about my friend Kirk, who with his wife Cindy, and their daughter Charissa, are hiking The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT.) That translates into that they are hoping to hike from the Canadian border to the Mexican Border! To me, this alone is amazing. But wait, there’s more….

…I met Kirk and we become friends thru our connections/websites/beliefs about kindness. On that note, when Kirk told me about his upcoming long distance hike and its purpose I knew I wanted to help out if I could. A unique and fun way for me to pitch in is to share some of Kirk’s words about their adventures, adding a twist in my own way. Naturally, this translates into getting The Botanical Beauties and Beasties involved and sharing it with you all, my readers. As to the purpose of the hike —these words are Kirks own words that were posted before they actually left the East Coast for the West…

 “Our daughter Charissa, Cindy and I will hike the 2666 mile Pacific Crest Trail, starting this June 15.  This will complete the Triple Crown of long distance hiking for Cindy, the top item on her bucket list as she deals with her early onset Alzheimer’s.  In the coming months the blog posts will focus on both Alzheimer issues and the PCT adventure.

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.”

To, that end-I have created a new Pacific Northwest Botanical Beautie. I am delighted to introduce Diggerfoot. Named after Kirk himself, created from true Western trail plants (Thanks to one of my other amazing friends, Susan Nolde!) In future installments we will hopefully learn how Kirk, and now this newfound Botanical, got the trail name of Diggerfoot!

DiggerFoot with ID Labels
Diggerfoot! This image is actually a rare occurrence where I am showing you the Plant ID of Diggrfoots “parts.” Special THANKS to Susan Nolde for these original plant images and the ID’s!

During the 5 months or so that the hikers will be out, Botanical Diggerfoot will be interviewing Human Kirk. He will be answering some of Diggerfoots (and mine) ever pressing, and hopefully interesting, questions. If you have a question for Kirk too, feel free to email it me, and it will get asked as well!  The questions will range from humorous, to plain logistics about this kind of hike, to the seriousness of the cause at times. We will get to see these post as time for the interview process goes, and connectivity to the NW Mountains goes too!  You can follow the trios adventures closely by following Kirks Blog at  http://www.humanityhiker.com/ to keep up on the hike, its trials, tribulations, success and beauty. I find the reading fascinating, as this kind of hiking is so far removed from my realities, and inspirational as well.  Its heart warming to again see what people do for their loved ones and as well watching people follow their dreams. I am pretty sure you will empathize and learn a bit about the unfair and unjust disease of Alzheimer. It’s shocking to learn that every 67 seconds someone in this country is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, with over five million total now being afflicted, likely including someone you know. This degrading, terminal disease with no known cure causes more deaths than breast and prostate cancer combined, while robbing a person’s memories and ability to function in the process.

And, BTW, yes, they are indeed off and hiking! After a few false starts they seem to be sorted out and being able to work on the process of making this journey an amazing one. Diggerfoot will share his first interview very soon!