This camel is carrying a light load. Shouldn’t you?
This camel is carrying a light load. Shouldn’t you?
At first, he was a reluctant civil rights leader.
He had (very legitimate) fears: personal safety, the safety of his family…
But he served anyway.
It only took one person to lead a nation and provide inspiration for decades thereafter.
But what can I do? You might ask.
When you hear hate, speak up.
When you see injustice, take action.
When it’s election time, vote.
Thank you, Martin Luther King, Jr., for your leadership.*
*from Light Watkins
Is there a food item that can do all of these things?
My daughter has GI problems and when she has ginger tea, she swears it helps.
Ten facts about ginger*:
I looked up images of plankton for drawing and then I read about them. I learned that they are classified not by taxonomy (as so many other animals are), but by ecological niche! There are numerous types of plankton – both microscopic as well as macro.
I decided to use acrylic paint for the “luminescent” factor. I have much to learn about using this type of paint. I’m taking a Lisa Congdon class on watercolors/gauche through Creativebug.com (“The Daily Painting Challenge”). It was $10 for 30 mini lessons on pattern-making: a great deal!
Not sure where I’m going with this art, but I am enjoying the process.
Violin I normally carries the melody,
yet no member is “most important”
They communicate with eyes and breath
in perfect rhythm, spreading joy
I’ve graduated from Lisa Congdon’s Book of 20 Ways to Draw Everything (with drawings to emulate) to 642 Things to Draw which offers empty boxes with an object name (Eloise Leigh, Chronicle Books).
Much of the time, however, I need to look up the image on my phone or laptop because I can’t conjure the image well enough to draw on my own.
By the way, did you know there is an art museum named “Van Gogh’s Ear” in Prescott, AZ? I’ll have to check it out next time I’m there.
Livescience.com just published a (very) short video of a marine biologist seemingly being rescued from a tiger shark. Scientists warn that although it’s altruistic behavior, we need to not jump to conclusions. It might have something to do with their impulse to protect their own young and thus, might be unintentional.
Either way, it’s amazing to watch!
Been feeling a bit under the weather,
but here are a few attempts at heather,
they grow profusely on Scottish coasts
which include kilts, bagpipes and haggis to boast
“Meditation…we see what comes up, acknowledge that with kindness, and let go.”
Pema Chodron, American Buddhist Nun
Like Moths to a Flame...This adage refers to the belief that people are driven by misguided values (such as greed or lust) and that this inevitably leads to self-destruction (moths commit suicide when they fly to the light).
Entomologists still don’t know why moths do this. With each hypothesis, there are contradictions to the assertion. Thus, the mystery continues. (LiveScience)
Something that we DO know is that people often kill their dreams through self-doubt and bad habits. It’s a slow and painless death. In fact, it might be quite enjoyable: Netflix Marathons, junk food binges and endless chatting on social media are feel good in that moment.
Passivity is killing your End Game. [End Game = publishing your book, starting your company, getting a better job, fostering rich relationships, running a marathon, losing 20 lbs., etc.]
Each day is precious. What action can you take to replace just one self-sacrificing habit today?
Not sure how much bandwidth the blog can handle so I thought I’d test it with this clip our hairstylist took of the daughters and me. We go to see Tyrel twice a year for haircuts and styling and he keeps moving farther and farther away…but he’s well worth the long drive. He could be sylist to the stars, if he wanted to be!
You’re on your way now
I’ve removed the buckles
and the harness
but I’m still here, the net
This is an etching my daughter gave to me for Christmas. It’s created by painstakingly scratching the black off the etching paper with extremely sharp tools. Pushing too hard or going too fast can ruin the effect.
It reminds me that beauty and harmony can often result from taking away, and not adding:
But do this with great care.
Don’t dismiss old folk
For with luck, you too will age
greet with reverence
Fatigue can lead to irritability…which can lead to arguments with others. It also hinders our ability to focus and feel good physically.
Interesting fact: “Sleep deprivation was a factor in some of the biggest disasters in recent history: the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill, the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, and others.” (WebMd)
Your sleeping habits affect everything you do. So consider getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep every night!
Before you resolve to start an endeavor (or stop a bad habit), you may want to take time to reflect, first.
“Pain + Reflection = Progress (Ray Dalio)”
What worked for you this year? What didn’t? What did you do fantastically well? What could you have improved? What pains did you endure and what did they teach you?
Goals and resolutions are like seeds. Under proper care, they will germinate.
the riches we all strove for were the inner lights we could possess? What if we all wanted to be rich this way and helped each other attain this wealth?
The great news is that we have the option – the freedom – to choose what wealth is for ourselves. Possessing ambition is fine, but without inner peace, it means nothing.
Rich – adj., abounding in natural resources (Dictionary.com)
The idea for this blog was inspired by Light Watkin’s post on true wealth.
In the desert, I
run into a spiderweb
bewitched by beauty
This is my response to this article in the Washington Post.
When the voices in your head and the frenzy on social media get to you, go out in nature.
Do you bring…
Your spirit permeates your life and your loved ones. What you reap, you will sow.
A young woman got married at the age of eighteen (like her mother had and her grandmother and all the other women in her family before her). She had five kids in quick succession. “And when the oldest child was ten, and the youngest was three months old, this woman’s husband left her.” (E. Gilbert)
To make a long story short, her heart was broken and she cried in despair. But then – that very day that she realized her husband was not coming back – she decided that the vision of her being poor and pathetic for the rest of her life was not to be. She was going to see the world someday.
The woman decided to save $1 every single day. It was not to be touched under any circumstances. This was her promise to herself. It was not emergency money.
She saved $1 every day for twenty years, filling many coffee cans.
And when the last child left the house, she went on a cargo ship (it was the least expensive way to cruise around the world). It stopped every few days and she’d disembark and see a new country.
This is the story the woman told Elizabeth Gilbert at one of her readings.
Clearly, we can decide to take fate into our own hands.
We can make our dreams come true. It might take longer than we’d like, but it can be realized.
As a teacher, I have many different types of students:
talented, but not diligent,
talented and diligent, and
not naturally so talented, but diligent
I do not have any untalented and non-diligent students.
It is the diligent students who meet the most success. There really is no substitute for hard work, self-discipline and care. With facts and “knowledge” readily available at our fingertips (Internet), it is not “knowing data” that will lead to success, but knowing how to use that data and knowing how to interact with people that will lead to achievement.
Grit is proven day by day, hour by hour, and on a consistent basis.
What will you be dedicated to – every day – in 2018?
Went for a run again last night with William. It was much colder than it has been, but we didn’t back down. We also ran during sunset and not in the dark. It was beautiful and I was (am!) grateful for this connection with my husband and nature.
As we approach the new year, I’m reflecting on this past year. It was pretty awesome. One thing I’d like to have more of is outdoor time as a family: more hiking and less technology. (Technology is great, don’t get me wrong, but using it most of one’s waking hours is not necessary).
“Happiness is a choice.”
Three ways to become a happier person:
Anchor strongly believes that you must take responsibility for your well-being and contentment in life. Of course, clinical depression is a real thing. You may need medication, but the medication should be a stepping stone to getting yourself in a state where you can actively work to be happy.
I am one of those people who need to exercise. If I don’t workout regularly, I feel sluggish in every way: physically, mentally and emotionally.
Listening to Shawn Anchor (happiness researcher, author and speaker), I realized a great truth in something he said: Exercise is important, because it provides proof for ourselves that working hard will give us results.
“15 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day. It’s the equivalent of taking an anti-depressant for the first six months, but with a 30 percent lower relapse rate over the next two years.” (Washington Post)
15 minutes! Just 15. You can do this! Make a plan. Anything cardiovascular: a jog, jumping rope or trampoline, bicycling, rollerskating (my favorite)…get out there and get moving!
Source: Washington Post article
She stole my most precious entity
through thoughts of pointless excess
midnight worries, daytime anxiety
the cost was heavy and sobering: my success
My prescription to the current blooming?
Don’t stare at screens and mirrors
Narcissus was constantly grooming
and, your destiny looms ever nearer
You wake up early to draw.
You spill coffee on your paper before you get your pens out.
They don’t seem to mind.
Feeling stressed and anxious about the holidays is a choice. Yes, it is.
Don’t succumb to the pressure to buy.
“This year, shoppers plan on spending $660 on average for the holiday season. 27% report they did not create a budget at all and 24% say they overspent last year.” (USA Today)
Create a budget. Stick to it. If anyone has a problem with it, it’s exactly that – their problem.
Focus, instead, on expressing love for friends and family. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. That is the true spirit of the holidays, no matter what your faith.
Here is an interesting graphic from USA Today:
I am grateful for people – nice and mean
Fortunes – good and bad, I love
I appreciate the pleasures, they’re pleasing
But pain brings growth and is never ceasing
So accept it all!
You’ve seen plants bend dramatically toward the sun. Be like flowers. Work hard to nurture yourself. Nature proves it is exactly what you ought to do.
Went running through the desert
I thought of the kangaroos I drew
with deep admiration of
their hefty legs
Our hearts beating
lungs exchanging energy
Is there any other animal so unfairly maligned and misunderstood? Pigs are not dirty. They’re intelligent, curious and clean.
And just TODAY, it was reported that collared peccaries (javelinas) may actually mourn each other’s deaths. Thanks to an 8 year old’s science fair project, there is video footage showing javelinas nuzzling, sleeping next to and protecting a fellow corpse for ten days. (Pigs and javelinas are only distantly related…but still…!)
Fun facts: pigs have poor eyesight, but excellent sense of smell (hence the truffle finding). They are also smarter than dogs.
Female Emperor Penguins will walk 50 miles to the ocean in harsh whether while their male mates stand over their eggs, keeping them warm and safe. The mothers return against all odds and regurgitate food for the newly hatched chicks. The fathers – who have not eaten for two months – then go to the ocean to eat.
March of the Penguins is an amazing film. If you haven’t seen it, it’s truly inspiring. These animals embody true passion. If you’re having trouble finding motivation, watch the movie.
“Without suffering, there’s no happiness. So we shouldn’t discriminate against the mud. We have to learn how to embrace and cradle our own suffering and the suffering of the world, with a lot of tenderness.”
THICH NHAT HANH
Thich Nhat Hanh goes on to say that we are so afraid of facing our suffering (worrying, anger, despair, fears, loneliness) that we go look for something to eat, or drink or watch TV. And many people do all of those at the same time. Even if there is nothing interesting or satisfying to watch, we are afraid to turn the television off, because then we will be left to face our suffering.
But it is necessary to face it.
It makes you stronger.
It makes you lighter.
It leads to happiness and nothing else will.
You don’t have to be “moody.”
You don’t have to be ultra “proud” of your children, your spouse or your possessions.
You don’t have to react to everything…or anything.
You can choose to live within the band of happiness no matter the context or situation.
The next time something great happens, say, “thank you.”
The next time something “bad” happens, say “thank you.”
This is how to be fully present and truly happy all of the time.
I used to be a nightshade,
slow to rise and rouse myself at daybreak,
active and alert by the light of the moon,
happy to be a nocturnal brute
but mothering lent solitude only at dawn,
and I craved the quiet and calm,
So I rose with the sun and sometimes aforetime,
and now I wilt early – often before nine!
Sunflowers are my new favorite flower. I just learned that they are “hyperaccumulators”! They absorb toxins and pollutants so well that thousands were planted in Chernobyl to absorb radiation. They were also planted in Fukushima to clean up that toxic spill.
The trick is to harvest and destroy them before they produce toxic seeds that birds could eat.
#1: When your computer breaks down and you have to type and publish your blog on your cell phone, ROAR like a lion.
#2: When the bonus they promised to deliver in December gets postponed to February, ROAR like a lion.
#3: When Pinterest tells you that someone in Russia has hacked your account and you can’t reset your password (see #1), ROAR like a lion.
#4: When you start to feel overwhelmed, anxious, angry or depressed, ROAR like a lion.
Or…close your eyes, breathe deeply and know everything is fine.
My 15-year-old daughter went to the bathroom at school today. She didn’t feel well. There was another girl in there – a waif with thin blond hair who looked like she was on meth. The Daughter felt self-conscious, barfing into the toilet. Outside her stall, the waif snickered. Suddenly, the lights went out. The door slammed shut.
Shrouded in darkness, she had to feel her way around to the light switch. Retching and bewildered, she cried. She’s still out there, waiting to see my reaction.
So when the tears stopped, she rinsed her face.
The waif was waiting. The Daughter walked out, head held high.
As she told me the story, she started to shake.
“Why did she do that, mom? She knew I was sick. She could have asked if I was OK and if I needed anything. Why would she do that? Why would she be so mean?”
I didn’t know what to say. Mean people have always existed, like cockroaches. They’re vile, but they must serve a purpose somehow.
“It wasn’t you. It was her. This was not personal, she didn’t even know you. She’s obviously very unhappy and wounded.” I hugged her and told I was sorry that it happened.
I was aware of several facts all at once:
All we can do is be our best and be kind and provide love and comfort to each other.
And practice drawing octopodes.
My favorite children’s book series is Frog and Toad. I’ve always loved the simplicity and hilarity of the stories and it dawned on me only recently that perhaps Frog and Toad were more than friends. Lobel, author and illustrator, came out to his family pretty late in life and then died from AIDS. Everyone needs to accept everyone for who they are. Why judge others?
Which brings me to a comment my husband made to me this morning. He was looking over my shoulder, watching me draw the frogs.
“So when are you going to draw your own things?”
“I don’t know…the things you like.”
“I like what I’m doing. I have drawn things on my own and they were pretty terrible. I’m still learning.”
“Just draw your own things.”
I understand what he’s saying. And I have wondered if I’m playing it safe by drawing out of a book, but I really am a beginner. My goal is to practice drawing until December 31st and then try my own “things.”
And that is when I will make my leap!
Holidays. Busyness. Stress.
Don’t forget that stress and complaining are choices. Complaining is a form of denying reality*. It also makes you sound like a victim. You don’t want that, do you?
Below are my drawings for today. They are incomplete. I helped my daughter learn how to drive today. Someone honked at her loudly as she paused at the red light, uncertain if she should go or not. She got stressed. And then we went out to help her buy her boyfriend a birthday gift. She worried it wasn’t enough. I assured her that her thoughtfulness in choosing the gifts was what really counted.
I am now at my other daughter’s high school concert. When all is said and done, I will have been here with her for six hours. I didn’t get to complete my drawing or get my workout in or get any holiday shopping done. Oh well. But I did get to have a wonderful lunch with her between two concerts and talk about everything she wanted to share with me. We ate and talked and ate and talked and then we had enough time to buy makeup from Target before going back for her final performance.
It’s all good. I’m grateful I can do these things – be completely present for each of my daughters…and be completely present while I draw my funny-looking lizards.
Georgia O’Keefe was a great lover of flowers. She believed that looking into a flower, you were in a new world and she wanted everyone to have that experience. But alas, she knew too many people were in a constant state of hurry. Wouldn’t this world be a better place if more people stopped to admire flowers?
For so long, the world seemed like a bleak and hopeless place
my days were blotted with sorrow and fear
but I stopped fighting reality, I cleaned my own lenses
all is good and light now that my vision is clear
Oh, apple of Eden!
Symbol of immortality, sin, knowledge, and temptation –
Raw and cutting,
Sweet and delectable,
You are such a sauce-y tart!
The answer might not be “speed up.” The solution might be to slow down.