I wish that all children had an opportunity to learn some form of music. It is so good for the soul and I honestly believe it helps them to be able to learn other things as well more easily. If every child in every culture, every nation, had music from such an early age, do you think we might have a more peaceful world?
I have a number of heroes in this life, and I think heroes are good for all of us. We all need others who inspire us and give us something to keep us going when the going gets tough. One of Zig Ziglar’s quotes I always remember is “Get a checkup from the neck up and avoid stinkin’ thinkin’ and hardening of the attitudes.”
In these times, we all can benefit from our heroes. The daily news is often dismal, the sign of a dysfunctional society for sure. It is easy to get down when we read nothing but the worst of the worst in human behaviors throughout the world.
Zig Ziglar was not born a privileged man. His father died when he was young, and a younger sister died a couple of days later. His mother kept the family together, and he worked hard all his live after that, serving in the military and then working in sales. But he took what he had in life and made it work for him and his family, and he is today remembered as one of the greats in inspiration. His first book went through some 30 publishers who thought it was a waste, and then a publisher picked it up and it sold half a million copies right away.
No matter where we have come from or what we have been through, we CAN make our lives better. But it doesn’t happen if we sit there and wait for someone else to do it for us. And remember that no matter how difficult our lives may be or how challenged, there is always someone who would feel wealthy if they had what we do.
I have many heroes in all sizes, shapes and colors that I follow. I will ultimately reveal all of them over time, and some I have already mentioned. Who are your heroes in this life and why?
I want to point out that there are a lot of really wonderful teachers in the schools today, and we will always have some bad ones too.
Now being of the senior persuasion, it has been a lot of years since I was in school. If we picked a century to start, it would be the early 1950’s thru some of the hippy years.
I was not the kind of child who tried to get in trouble normally. But somehow or other, I seemed to attract it. Let’s see how many of these things you might have had to do.
Sitting in the front corner of the room with your chewing gum stuck on your nose through the whole class.
Sitting in the front corner of the room with a dunce cap on your head.
Writing 100 times or more BEFORE you left the class, some crazy sentence that was way too long, even if it made you late to your next class, for which you would also get punished.
Getting dragged by your hair down to the principal’s office because you got up to sharpen your pencil just before the teacher started to dictate some shorthand while she was still talking.
Getting a clown face of makeup (and you did not wear makeup) because you played hooky one day.
Getting told that cows had more brains than most people, especially bad children.
Getting your knuckles hit with a ruler because you did not have your hands in proper position on the keyboard.
Being told your biology specimen you identified was incorrect and that if you questioned that, you would get an F (and later finding out it was contaminated when we got it).
And of course I had my exciting adventure in Bible School, which I wrote about in a previous post.
BUT . . . some of those teachers would turn over in their desks if they knew that I had actually grown up to accomplish some things. Not sure how I did it, but I did, yes I really did . . .
Virginia Woof Art Quilt in Progress by Anne Copeland
We are not going to have everything our way all the time. We can choose to be happy in life regardless of any given circumstances. Life is truly what we make of it.
Virginia Woolf was, by all appearances, someone who had everything going for her. She had a husband who loved her, a circle of friends who were creative people and who thought for the most part as she did related to life philosophy. Her books and writings were successful, and she had a beautiful home with everything a person could possibly want or need.
And yet, she ended her own life by her own choosing. She never looked at any alternatives for her own self. It is true that there was not mental health help in those times as there is now, but there were things she could have chosen to do. She drew a wall around her life, and chose not to allow anything in or out.
No matter where we are in this life, we can always choose to accept the things we deal with as outside ourselves. We might not be able to change these things, but we can choose the way we think about them. We can always choose to love and accept ourselves as we are, and as we are not.
Although I am normally of a cheerful spirit and am always trying to provide inspiration for others, today is a truly difficult day.
I have been working with physically/developmentally/emotionally challenged children and adults perhaps since the 1970’s when my younger brother came home from Vietnam, 100% disabled with a TBI, a spinal injury, and permanent PTSD. It gave me the heart for this work and I have done it ever since.
It has been a good journey, and I am glad that sometimes in the face of tragedy, we are led to do things to help our communities and to help others who are going through challenges.
Yesterday morning very early, I got a call from one of my best friends who helped me to create and run our tiny, but successful nonprofit for some 15 years, providing exposure and professional development for physically challenged artists. Barbara Williamson is a paraplegic lady I met more than 15 years ago when she was looking for help to become a professional with her own business selling her fiber arts work. It was natural that we came together to do the work we did with virtually no money for all these years.
Barbara Williamson, “Buddha’s Garden,”
one of three pieces left because they are in an exhibit in another town
Barbara was shot point blank by a felon when she was in her mid 20’s; the bullet missing her heart by one inch, and leaving her permanently physically challenged. She was approximately four months pregnant at the time, and miraculously, the baby was born early, but survived, so today she is a mother and grandmother. All these years, Barbara has been a productive fiber artist, a writer, and she has contributed so many things for her community and for others in need.
The phone call was short; she, her caregiver, and her dog had to evacuate their town. There was a huge fire coming up the mountain in the valley below her home. As we tried to hear the news throughout the day yesterday and today, we heard that the hospital has been destroyed (all patients evacuated) two blocks from her home and the fire is blazing through the entire town. My friend is presumably safe for they got out early, but all of her artwork and her sewing machine and everything else had to be left behind. This is some 15+ years of art quilts that have been in many exhibits including international ones, and which we were preparing to sell on a website we were creating for her.
But they were more than just that. They were the reason she has survived cancer, a burst artery, a stroke, and any number of other physical challenges through these many years. There are tears in my eyes, but there is joy in my heart, for what is taken from us today will live on in our memories over the many years. Perhaps I have impacted her life in a positive way, but she has brought so much more to mine.
This photo is a baby girl named Anne, and it is some 76 years old approximately. Oh how she loved to be read to aloud, or how she loved to “read” her own little books. There were never enough books, and her favorite person to read to her was her Grandma. She was still sitting on the floor next to her Grandma in her rocking chair. And Grandma would tell little Anne stories to capture her memory and to make her days memorable.
I dedicate this story to my friend Jennie, who teaches preschoolers at a private school back East. Her favorite way of teaching is reading aloud to the students, something they all love so much. She combines it with so much creativity. One day, she was asking the children if they wanted to have a new story, and instead of telling one child who was talking a lot, she told the children if they wanted a story to say “Ravioli, Ravioli.” It changed the climate immediately and all the children began to say that.
I am so glad I grew up loving to read. To this day, it is perhaps one of my most wonderful adventures in life. I hope any of you who have children will take the time to read to them as much as possible. Let them pick out books from the library. And teach them to ask in funny ways such as “Ravioli, Ravioli!”
I would love it if each of you who follows this blog posts something about something you absolutely LOVE to do, be it making a good pot of spaghetti, painting something that means something to you, or whatever brings Edison in all his brightness he created for us into your heart. I am going to share some of mine here. I am NOT a professional artist in the sense of having a degree of art, and have had very little professional training of any kind. But what I DO know is what I like, and what speaks to my heart. I love fiber art, or art quilts and others too, but I do the art quilts. I love anything unique, and I love things made from nature or from recycled things. And I love urban art and also what I call interactive art. This is art that causes the viewer to need to interact with the art in some manner to perhaps try to figure it out or its message to viewers. And I love to put it everywhere – not just in the house or an exhibit or publication, but anywhere my mind decides would be fun to have some art. So if you are expecting some really polished stuff, you probably should go to a different place. This is stuff that comes from the center of who I am.