Share Some Self-Love this Valentine’s

This beautiful card and others like it are on sale just in time for Valentines Day, in an effort to promote more genuine self appreciation.

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How about a self-love Valentine this year?

While it may be true that there are certain, say, presidential candidates who don’t need encouragement in this area, most of the people I know could benefit from more sincere self-appreciation.

I wrote about Terri last year in THIS POST

What if we didn’t just wait, hoping that others might notice we need love and appreciation? What if we had a day to honor the best in ourselves?  Well, Terri St. Cloud of Bone Sigh Arts posted this on her blog: “Let’s put the Heart in Valentine’s Day”.

You’ll find some heartfelt examples there. And I bet you can think of people in your own life who deserve more love and credit for goodness than they give themselves.

Let’s give it a try. First, spend a little time considering what you need, and see how you can give yourself more. More peace, more time, more love, more patience; more compassion. And look for ways to share this gift with others who need a little, or a lot, of encouragement to honor themselves.

It just might make the world a better place.

A Tireless Worker for Peace & Justice

Rev. Delores
Rev. Delores M. Roberts-Mason Dec. 28, 1942 – Nov. 16, 2015

In celebration of Dr. King’s holiday, I want to honor the Rev. Delores M. Roberts-Mason, who dedicated her life  to “the least, the last and the lost,” empowering children through reading, performing arts, education and religion.

Mrs. Roberts-Mason was a natural at empowerment. She pursued her first degree  while her two children were young, and took them with her to campus on weekends. “I want them to assume they belong in university,” she told me.

The list of Delores’ accomplishments is long.  during her 30 years with DC DHS she touched many lives, uplifting, educating, encouraging and empowering families who had fallen on hard times. Her testimony before the House and Senate Select Committee on Aging in 1989 was helped pass legislation protecting seniors. Howard University honored her as an Outstanding Woman of Washington for her work with young people.

When I met Delores in 2004, she was the head of Zoe Life Ministries, a faith-based youth empowerment organization that ran reading, performing arts and non-violence programs with area kids.

Armed with only volunteers, Rev. Delores and the Zoe Kids & Teens Theater Group wrote, produced and performed numerous musicals including Day of Reckoning, Heart of an Angel, Why and more. The typical production took 2 years from script to performance. Dedicated volunteers worked with the kids on dance, acting and music. But it was Rev. Delores who recruited, wrote, rallied and wrangled the entire magnificent enterprise into being.

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Rev. Delores Roberts-Mason at the Walker Mill Middle School Peace Summit 2011

The Teen Peace Summit was a special school day dedicated to violence prevention held at Walker Mill Middle School in Capital Heights, MD.  Tapping her extensive network of professionals in many fields for leaders, Rev. Delores created a dozen or more break-out sessions with topics like Conflict Resolution, How to Say NO, Seeing One Another through Art, and more on the morning of this special day. The afternoon saw awards presented to students for accomplishments in writing, speaking and art.

Rev. Delores had many gifts, but perhaps the most important was the ability to help people open up and share the best part of themselves. She touched many lives in her work, certainly my own. I believe she had the heart of an angel.

You can listen to a beautiful radio tribute to Rev. Delores here:
MPI celebrates the life of Rev. Delores M. Roberts-Mason

If this story moves you, give more of yourself to those in need, from the heart. It’s what Rev. Delores would have encouraged you to do.

 

 

Holiday Goodies

A Merry Christmas to All

Here’s a few treats for you to make the Season bright. 

Enjoy this beautifully told tale of friendship, gifts and shared holidays:

My Christmas message at Clearwell’s blog bears repeating here, if you can forgive the pun. Please watch this sweetly beautiful animated tale of Bear & Hare, dear friends who have never spent Christmas together, until now.

Get the whole story about this video at Clearly Connected Conversations, HERE.


Christmas Message from Poet Meisaan

From the blog Curving Toward the Center, a series of beautifully simple writings  on the theme of alternative worship and meditation from poet and children’s author  Meisaan. 

What You Accept

What you fear amounts to a thimble of water, says the Lord;
I am trying to give you an ocean of love

© Meisaan Chan


Be Kind to Yourself

beKindtoYourself

thanks to Kristen Neff & Johnine Byrne


 

The Swans are Here!

The winter swans have arrived on Piscataway Bay. They chatter and coo and warble even in the night.

Tundra Swans

Year End Blessings to ALL!

Wild Turkeys!

Here are the ones that got away, wily iridescent birds that appear and disappear as if by magic, who live near you but you may never see.

As you enjoy that roasted fattened bird today, raise a toast to their ancestor, who, according to Benjamin Franklin, should have been our national bird. Behold Meleagris gallopavo silvanus, the Wild Turkey.

 

From Franklin’s letter to his daughter in 1784:

For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America… He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.

Our american bird originally hails from Mexico, but got its name in Britain when the Spanish brought a similar Middle Eastern species to England. So there actually IS a connection between turkey (the bird) and Turkey (the country.)

Whatever is on your table today, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving Day, and all the blessings of connection and abundance.

Blessed Be!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Guest Blogger at Cheryl Holloway’s Author blog

I’m honored to be featured today at Cheryl Holloway‘s blog here:

How to Succeed at NaNoWriMo

Please go read, and give Cheryl some love. It’s the second year I’ve been invited to do thisand I’m honored.

Cheryl interviews indy authors of all types and genres, and I’ve discovered interesting writers and books. So she is a big help to authors who want to share their work. And she is a very reliable blogger – I know I will have something interesting to read at least once a week.

Cheryl writes romance, and heart-touching short stories. She’s written biography and young-adult fiction. Essentially, she understands people very well. And, she makes a great writing buddy! This is her first NaNoWriMo, so share some encouragement and share the blog too.

girl-writingBut there’s something I’m avoiding: 

Something that came up while I did this interview: I have yet to complete the rewrite of one of my NaNo novels. I’ve edited and rewritten about one half of last year’s. But the previous two stories (3 years of writing) languish unimproved. Were they terrible?  I don’t think so. I know the stories were interesting. But I have some blocks there – am I reluctant to see just how bad the rough drafts really were??

So, before NEXT YEAR’s NaNo, I will have at least one solid draft of a complete novel. There, my commitment to you!

But wait! Here’s more good news:

I have been submitting Short Stories to contests and journals, in search of prizes and publication. So far, no results. I only started in August, and the first one is a tiny one. I’ll hear about the second one much sooner – in 2 weeks! And I have a third story almost ready to go.

So I am floating my balloon out into the literary landscape.

But for today, it’s NaNo time! And I have  words to go before I sleep.

Summer Painting

You can catch me at the monthly Moyaone Markets, where I often have art for sale and in progress. In good weather I love to set up outside and invite anyone to make art with me, and that’s what I did at the August 1 Market, a blissful summer’s day.

I had a variety of guest artists of all ages, and we had fun in the dappled shade, splashing our watercolors, sprinkling with salt for cool effects, and watching the colors run and bloom, just like the flowers we were painting.

Haven’t you wanted to pick up the brush or pen and make images? What’s holding you back?

Next Moyaone Market Saturday September 5
9am-1pm  •  2311 Bryan Point Rd, Accokeek MD

 

Color is Life

I’ve written about my struggles with depression; the past few weeks have been challenging, with the loss of a dear friend, a pet’s death, plus health and money woes. My faith has been tried.

Years ago, when a fellow depression-sufferer asked me, in the throes of her illness, “What keeps you alive when things get bad?”  I knew well the feeling, seeking for a shred of hope. As I gazed across the yard, and saw the shaded sky, the mirror lake, the deep green pines, the word just rose to my lips. “Color. I live for color.”

This week I arose before dawn to paint the sunrise. It was ostensibly in honor of Solstice, but in truth it was intended to wrench me out of my sucking depression.

Painting was good medicine. But the Supreme Court decision on Friday, unleashing a tidal wave of rainbows, is really buoying my spirit in splendid waves of shared joy. Hallelujah, it’s a rainbow! May your life be colorful!

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The Holy land is everywhere.

Astrology Rob Brezhny is a weekly source of inspiration for me, and sometimes he knocks my socks off with a profound connection, a pithy quote, a soulful connection. But today it’s just one simple sentence.

The Holy land is everywhere.

I spent my Memorial Day Weekend basking in my new home, enjoying the neighborhood and the house. This was somewhat a wise decision to keep things low key, and somewhat forced house arrest due to budget constraints. It worked out beautifully. With no dollars to spare my food was humble and home-made, my engagement was with neighbors, friends and pets, and my entertainment came from the cycle of the day.

One splendid evening I took a walk with dog Lily and cat Charlee, and we watched herons wading in the sunset waters of Piscataway Bay.

The Holy land is everywhere.

Crochet Coral Reef

We’ve heard about multiple hazards threatening the well-being of our ocean, from a profusion of plastic junk to rising temperatures to excess CO2 – but what have you done about it?  No, this is not your typical tree-hugger guilt trip! I want to amaze you with the creativity and cross-cultural genius of this particular project:

The Crochet Coral Reef

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Margaret Wertheim is a physicist and writer who has, among other things, noted that the underlying mathematical description of the growth patterns of coral -their hyperbolic geometry -was best described through the rhythm and pattern of crochet.

“Corals and sponges — all those frilly crenellated structures — are actually biological manifestations of hyperbolic geometry. And although brainless corals can make hyperbolic forms literally of the bodies, it’s very difficult for humans to make models of this. And in fact, the best way to do it is with crochet.”

This realization led to a collaborative project to create coral reefs in crochet by needle artists around the globe, a unique method for using art to bring attention to the corals.

It’s difficult to confront the serious threat of coral bleaching, without the sense of helplessness that can cause us to throw up our hands and cry “I recycle! what do you want ME to do about it, give up my CAR?!”

When Margaret and her twin Christine started the project in 2005, they joked about the reefs disappearing. Today, NOA scientist are warning about record level coral die-off. These tiny brainless creatures build cities that can be seen from space.

When I listened to Margaret in a recent episode of the On Being podcast, I was struck by her gift for crossing connections among science, art and spirituality, something that is clearly dear to my heart here at Art, Spirit, Nature.

You can listen to the interview here:

Help a teacher, artist, mom save her home

10356146_10154457712820532_9051581794283326954_nI’m shouting out for an artist friend who’s in a tough spot, and really needs help to save her home. 

Meet Rana Raeuchle , teacher, artist and mother, currently working in South Korea. Her son Allen, now grown,  keeps the home fires burning until Rana completes her contract later this year.

 

Long story short:

Young artist and mother, left by husband, gets education and raises her son, working as an artist and educator. To help out, Rana’s mother eventually acquires  a modest house and rents it to them. Then, Mom gets cancer and goes through several years of terrible and fatal illness. Due to unforeseeable problems with wills and lawyers, the house does not, as planned, convey to Rana. 

lc4900445-w0xd-w640_h480_q80For all these years Rana has paid rent, and more recently the mortgage. But with probate complete, the bank is forcing a sale since Rana is not the original mortgage holder, nor the official heir. Despite Rana’s diligent work history but admittedly low-income, her efforts to procure a loan to cover this amount have proved fruitless. Now the clock is ticking, and a solution is needed by the end of the month.

The amount  required to purchase this house is only $45,000.

I want you to help Rana & Allen keep their house.  

  • You could donate: GO HERE to donate to her GoFundMe
  • You can donate to Paypal HERE
  • You could promote this to social media far and wide
  • You could buy the house and rent it back to her
  • You could provide a private mortgage
  • You could come up with some other creative way to help out!!

Artwork by Rana