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Saturday, February 26, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
|Spanky Marcel Percy Alien Jones|
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We can guarantee you’ll get a chuckle or two and perhaps a new fun word to toss out in conversation! We all three hope that you’ll take time to visit our respective blogs, and to that end, we have posted hyperlinks/links back to each of our blog pages. You’ll find the links at the end of each section, next to our byline. ~ Dawn, Lisa & Irma Kaye
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
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There are many firsts that you experience with your blog. One of them is blogging awards. These are fun, informal awards that different bloggers create, along with an award icon and a set of criteria for each award recipient to follow. I clearly remember the first time I was given one of these awards - I was very happy to learn that other bloggers were reading my work and enjoying it enough to offer a symbol of recognition. The downside of these blog awards is that they become viral in a very short period of time, with many people sending you the same award and overloading your page. I have given this concept a lot of thought over the past two years, and I believe I've come up with my own version that works for me.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body ~ C. S. LewisHow's that for a powerful statement?! Quotes often prompt blog articles for me. I've had this quote saved to my drafts file for several weeks, waiting for all the thoughts to coalesce.
I was speaking with a friend on the phone recently who is going through some personal struggles. He was focused quite a lot on dissecting specific words down to their most minute definitions, nuances and applications. I do that myself, as I always enjoy how written language can change with the slightest emphasis on a syllable, or depending upon how that specific word is used in a sentence. Stringing words together into a quote such as the one above will have me pondering all the layers and directions and possibilities, and quite often, will open my eyes and mind up to a perspective I might not have come up with on my own.
We do lose sight of our origins, this is a daily truth. Being on the front lines of this Earth School bombards us with all the raw emotions and experiences that are meant to mold our character, grow us up and refine all the rough edges. Small wonder that we forget that we are Spirit in essence, merely housed in a physical container. It is human nature to think in corporeal terms, because we're in a physical reality!
But taking time to remember our own Divinity is worthwhile. We can't remain here in the physical plane forever, that much is an absolute for this reality. It is a temporary gift we're given, being able to incarnate here and interact with all the wonderful people around us, to be able to feel, hear, think and express ourselves in a human manner. I often wonder what the beauty must be in the non-physical plane, as what we are capable of producing here has breathtaking expression.
When I meditate, there are moments when my consciousness is able to connect at a level that gives me glimpses of that non-physical plane. Occasionally, I am able to shift my consciousness and step outside of my physical body, and those experiences are transcendent. As a child, I can remember reading a great deal about Helen Keller and the fact that, despite her physical limitations with sight and hearing, she was able to shift her consciousness and travel great distances with meditation. She was able to describe other countries in clear detail, down to colors, textures and scents. When asked how this could be possible, her reply was, (paraphrased here) "My body is blind and deaf, but my Spirit isn't."
Similarly, a story I remember hearing of President Reagan's family caring for him in the final stages of Alzheimer's disease was that his daughter, Patty, would spend hours talking with him each day. At that point in his disease, he had lost the ability to speak, and doctors were unsure if he could hear conversation around him. His daughter continued to have her one-sided conversations with him each day. When asked why she bothered by a medical technician, her reply (again, paraphrased here) was, "His body has Alzheimer's disease, but his Spirit doesn't. I'm positive he can hear me, so that's why I do this each day."
These several quotes cobbled together in my mind and made me wonder, what is to stop each of us from having similar conversations with ourselves? Many esoteric tenets hold the belief that we have an Over Soul, or Higher Consciousness. Some believe that we can tap into our own thread that is connected to the Universal Consciousness, or that which we might label God, and that at that level, our Spirit, or Soul, is the culmination of all of our best, strongest, most noble achievements. Call it our own personal spiritual anchor, or bellwether of sorts.
Most of us are comfortable with the process of prayer; some prefer to access that Higher Consciousness through meditation. I've said many times before that when we are creative or loving, or happy, we are expressing something Divine with our actions. Why not take time, then, to remember that we truly are that Soul, housed temporarily in a physical body.....and recognize that as such, our Spirit form is supremely powerful and capable of guiding us in the most pure form? When I remember to do this, I find that my days are much clearer. Energy flows better and I am in a very present state. Solutions to problems are more easily discovered, and connections to people who I am meant to find, interact with and teach and learn from seem to manifest effortlessly.
It is the days that I forget and focus on just being human, wrestling my way through all the front lines activity of a given "battlefield" that life is much more challenging. Another good friend, a Buddhist, always gives me these amazing quotes that she learns from her spiritual teachers. Life is as simple, or as difficult as we make it. That's not a tough concept to read and absorb, but it certainly can be challenging to NOT make life difficult! I know I excel at that very thing! Coming back to quiet, taking time to be with myself and remembering who and what I am.....a being of spiritual energy that is connected to the Divine....this is where and when Life flows much more easily.
So, I do remind myself of Mr. Lewis's quote above. I am a Soul. Inhabiting a physical body, yes, but consciously reminding myself that there is so much more than this immediate physical plane of existence.
What are your thoughts on this C.S. Lewis quote? Do you take those small moments to reconnect with your own Higher Consciousness? What method of approach works best for you? There are no right or wrong answers to these questions; I'm just curious and I know I will value the comments that each of you take time to write here.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
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Earlier tonight, I was talking with a friend who was snacking on pretzels. So the obvious questions followed. Pretzel sticks, or the traditional rounded, woven kind? Then the next question was inevitably, with dip or plain? And is it me, or does anyone else think their fingers smell like celery after they've eaten pretzels??? Something about the lye they spray on the rising dough to give pretzels that crunchy, glossy outer shell after they bake leaves a celery fragrance on them. No, I'm not kidding and I'm not imagining it. Sniff your fingers the next time you eat pretzels and tell me what you think. Celery. I promise.
So, why can't someone come up with a happy medium between ladies knee high stockings and trouser socks? Is that so hard to invent? The textile factories exist for both, so the technology is already there. There are days when knee highs, ugly things that they are, are too sheer, but that same day, trouser socks are too thick to wear with heels. It makes our feet look like sausages crammed into our high heels, and that just ruins the whole purpose of buying cute shoes. Ladies, I know you get me on this one.
Mustard seeds. I just got a big bag of them from one of my favorite online companies. Right now I have a jar of leftover pickle juice in the refrigerator, half filled with dried mustard seeds. I stumbled on that idea a couple years ago when I had finished a jar of dill pickles and had the liquid left over; there were mustard seeds swimming around in the pickling liquid. I use mustard seeds in potato salad, egg salad and a couple of other dishes, but it takes a while for them to rehydrate in the salads. So, I dumped some into the leftover pickle juice in the jar and tried them a couple days later. Et voila, instant pickled mustard seeds....and a foody addiction was born. In about two days, I'll be enjoying them again.
I don't know about you, but someone has to have the answer to why almonds and mushrooms squeak when you bite down on them. They're not sentient, or even breathing, after all. Why do they squeak??? Another random food thought, I realize, but these thoughts do take up valuable pondering time in my day. I just thought I'd pass along....and share....the torment with you. I'm very generous that way.
You know, sometimes you have a really crummy day. It starts out with just a bad moment and that's never good. For me, that happened earlier this week and within an hour, instead of the bad compounding, I was literally inundated with Sunshine Moments. They were dropping down upon me from every direction. The bad moment faded into insignificance, blotted out by the cheerful, determined rays of the sun being gifted to me. I am still feeling the effects of all that radiance, which is probably why I have all this energy late at night to Grasshopper!
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
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In light of that very thought, I've been struggling in the past week to hit on a new topic and come up with content that felt new and fresh. I do this with Christmas gifts as well, and while that may seem like an odd jump in thought, bear with me. I'm a year-round shopper for Christmas gifts. I enjoy finding that absolutely perfect gift for each loved one, and if I happen upon such a perfect item in January, or in August, then I purchase it and tuck it away. The fun, for me, is hitting upon that divinely perfect gift for that loved one....the one that will make their eyes light up and an absurdly pleased and surprised smile to spread across their face. Some years I miss the mark and find gifts that are pleasing, but aren't over the top perfect. Obviously, I strive for the former, because it's just so much fun to find that right note. I strive for that same perfect note with my writing here in my blog.
I want what I write to make my readers' eyes light up. I want to paint a picture so strongly evocative with words that you will literally see what I'm describing in your mind's eye. I want you to smell that freshly cut grass, feel the ache in your heart of a sad moment, experience that moment of standing on an East Tennessee mountainside, breathing in the clean air. I want whatever concept I'm talking about to leave a permanent impression on your heart. And this need had me pondering where my priorities should be. Does every post have to have a wildly, impactful effect? Or is a more subtle, softly communicated message just as powerful. The answer is that both have equal, yet different merit. Success isn't necessarily measured by a tangible yardstick.
Not long ago, I was watching some Oprah moment on television. Oprah was talking about different musical artists and authors who hit the public eye in an epic manner with their first attempt - the first album sold tens of millions of copies, or their first published book hit the New York Times Best Seller List and stayed there for endless weeks. These people then spend decades chasing that phenomenon, hoping to reproduce the same result. The reality is that sometimes it isn't always possible to hit that perfect note every single time. Sometimes, doing a really good job should be enough.
This is something I've contemplated a great deal in the past ten days or so, as I've searched for the next topic to write about. I have about eight blog articles in my drafts folder that are not bad efforts at all, but that also just feel sort of blah to me. I don't know about other bloggers out there, but most likely all of us live in mortal fear of publishing blogs that present a blah energy. In fact, it bothers me so much that I will go longer than most without posting new content, simply because nothing is really hitting that high standard that I demand of myself.
Do I think this is healthy? Not really. I know that I'm my own worst critic. We all are guilty of this, if we're honest. I hope that the people who follow my blog look forward to reading what I write, and that they expect a certain level of quality from me. Then I also have the self-deprecating thought that people might not even give a second thought to what I write here. Sometimes we just get kicked into this odd spiral of thought and there's endless wrestling that occurs. Ego is certainly in the mix. Anyone who creates, whether it is with words, or music, or art, or any other medium should be able to admit that it matters to them that their work is well received. I'd be lying if I said otherwise.
So, tonight I'm wrestling with that spiral of thought and struggling to produce a blog post that I deem worthy of being published. I am not so bold as to equate myself to best selling authors or music artists, that I'm chasing some mythical chimera of excellence everytime I write here on my blog. What I'm saying is that I do chase a certain inner feeling of balance with what I write. It bothers me immensely to post a blog that is mediocre in my own eyes. Apparently I am more ruthless and demanding of myself than I had been aware of. And to be honest, if a dear friend were wrestling with this same issue, I would be all over them, admonishing them to lighten up, cut themselves some slack and to celebrate their creative gifts without so much stress being self-inflicted.
Is this post worthy, in my own eyes of being published? I think so. If nothing else, perhaps I'm admitting some frailties and relaxing a bit. Perhaps I've recognized that I sometimes stray from the original goal, which has always been to write for the pure enjoyment of it all. I admit that I prefer feeling that high level of satisfaction with each blog post that I write - the ones that, when I click to post, I know without a doubt are going to really resonate with others. I daresay that all writers have that goal in the forefront of their mind. I also remind myself that I don't find it necessary to write in a loud, shocking, attention-seeking manner. Why, then, would I find it necessary for every post I publish to have a dramatic impact? Why have I overlooked that the softer, more gentle messages I communicate have their own impact? Good questions, both.
Life is short and our....my energies...are much better put towards enjoying life. I do admit to having a talent for getting in my own way. Tonight, I'm writing a new page into my personal book of lessons, and that is to occasionally step aside. Allow myself to be more human. This blog post isn't perfect, it might not be sparkling and vibrating at that highest level of excellence that I normally prefer and demand of myself, but it is addressing an important issue. My whole life, writing has been one of my biggest joys. Ultimately, my focus should be there....on the simple act of writing itself.
Excellence should be something to celebrate, but not to the exclusion of all else. Two years ago, I was only vaguely aware of the blogging world, and today I have been actively blogging and building a worldwide readership. That accomplishment alone is plenty to celebrate. That, and recognizing that the better part of valor is to allow for beauty in the mundane as well as the brightly sparkling moments. I think of the difference in a color photograph juxtaposed next to the same image in black and white. Both are breathtaking and riveting in their own unique fashion. Quiet beauty shines and glows just as strongly, after all....and can exist with equal impact in words.