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?
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!”
Reblogged in part from http://www.Sunsigns.org
About 4 days ago, I went out on my porch, and there was the most gorgeous orange praying mantis on the gate above the stairs. I couldn’t stop looking at her (I was certain it was a female from the body shape and size). I have always had a curiosity and love for almost every insect that comes to our garden or outside areas. Last winter I rescued a hive of bees disguised as a birdhouse. Some fellows had an ad in Craigslist asking someone to come and save the bees roosting in their birdhouse by their front door before they had to do something drastic to protect themselves.
I had joyfully read about bee keeping over the years, and had a good idea of at least some things I needed to do, so I called the gentlemen and told them I would be there and get the bees. I waited until nightfall, for it makes sense as they are not buzzing around outside at night, so would be calm until I got them home. My “beekeeping outfit consisted of a jeans shirt with long sleeves, jeans, boots, gloves and a hat with a “veil” I made from some netting I had.
Off I went to bring the bees’ location, and when I got there it was much larger than I anticipated, but I was not about to lose them. I put a big plastic bag over the birdhouse and put it on the seat next to me to drive home. When I got home safely with them, I uncovered the hive and put it on a stand I had in the back yard. I was so happy. I discovered that the reason that the beehive was so large was that it was made from a real beehive with slats in it, etc. In the morning when I checked the bees, they were busy looking around for flowers, etc. It was particularly hot that summer, so I needed to give them sugar water. I went inside and prepared it in a low level long container. I was used to making sugar water for the hummingbirds, so I measured it pretty much the same. I brought it back to them, and did not get a single sting. They knew I was feeding them and I did not represent any kind of threat.
So I kept my bees as long as I could, but I DO live in a mobile home park, so ultimately had to take them to another rescue place, which turned out to be two blocks from where I got them originally. So I was sad for awhile, but it seems that every year, some insect or insects that become my “science project” come to visit or stay for awhile.
If you know anything about the praying mantis, it will come as no shock that this insect is the paramount spiritual symbol of stillness and patience. She stayed and stayed, and all day I returned to look for her and she was still there, so I named her Ginger. Even if she does not stay long, she has brought a wonderful message to me. I made sure she had something to eat the first day, catching a couple of bugs for her in a way that they were not dead when I put them near her one by one. I saw her catch and eat the first one, and I am sure she ate the other one too.
The praying mantis takes its time in all that it does. It takes care to pay diligent attention to its surroundings, and moving through life at its own pace. It demonstrates the ultimate power of stillness. It serves as a reminder for humans to slow down in our chaotic, fast-paced lives.
The praying mantis animal totem also teaches us how to still our bodies and go within our own mind. By doing this, we can connect with ourselves, drawing up greater physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual power. This stillness and concentration is a form of meditation, a practice that the mantis places much importance in.
Praying Mantis Insect Associated Traits
Patience, Stability, Meditation, Peaceful, Quietness
Symbolic Meaning Of Praying Mantis
Wisdom emerges when we are still and quiet, sensing and feeling rather than thinking critically. It comes with experience, age, and being, rather than traditional schooling. It cannot be obtained through arrogance.
Accordingly, the praying mantis symbol chooses to present itself to individuals when they have allowed their busy schedules to overrun their intuition, silencing their internal voice and throwing their equilibrium out of balance. The praying mantis always comes to us when we are internally craving peace, quiet, and calm in our lives.
The praying mantis meaning has a variety of traits: temperance, quietness, awareness, calmness, clairvoyance, patience, mindfulness and innovation. These insects are well known for their pre-strike pose, which is a popular symbol of balance and patience in and of itself.
In fact, the Chinese honor the praying mantis for its elegant, mindful, and contemplative movements. By reminding ourselves to have patience with ourselves in our own movement, we, like the mantis, can grow in our wisdom. They remind us to have patience in acquiring the things we want and to remain balanced throughout the duration of the wait.
If a praying mantis strikes too soon, its prey gets away. Because of this, it has evolved to be patient: so patient, in fact, that it will not budge unless it is 100% positive that it is the correct thing to do. This acts as a direct message to us, reminding us to contemplate our movements just as carefully and precisely.
When our timing is off, we may generate an unnecessary (and unpleasant) struggle or blow an opportunity entirely. Through stillness, awareness, and balance, we can hear and recognize the perfect moment. We must listen to the voice that speaks to us with openness, not fear. If we have patience and wait before striking, the right moment will come, and we will succeed.
The praying mantis will become your animal totem once you have learned to take your time and live your life at a silent and reflective pace. You should make all choices with a sincere commitment to careful thought and contemplation.
By being mindful of this, you will enable yourself to know exactly where you are going and when you will get there. Calmness and serenity are crucial to living like the praying mantis.
But you should also be capable of being decisive and ready to take action when opportunities present themselves. For example, healers often cite the mantis as their inspiration when channeling their healing power.
The praying mantis symbolism might also creep into your subconscious while you sleep. To dream of the praying mantis means that your intuition is actively trying to guide you at this very moment. Perhaps you have overlooked the the signs and symbols in your conscious day time hours and now the messages are speaking to your restful mind.
All of the instincts and gut feelings you have been experiencing lately are attempting to tell you something about the situation you are currently in. Do not allow your judgement to be clouded, your concentration to be broken, or yourself to be distracted from the end goal.
Trust the feelings that you have, both when awake and in slumber, and act on them appropriately. If you listen to yourself truly and honestly, you will succeed.
Footnote: The night before last, the orange Praying Mantis went off the porch and onto one of my rose bushes out front. I presumed she was hungry and looking for a meal. Later when I went to look before going off to bed, she was nowhere to be found. I can only assume that she has moved on. I am sad that she left, but at the same time, I am very grateful for the timely message. Thank you my friend, and you are always welcome back to my home and my heart!
So now you have seen Part I, and I want to let you know that I am quite prolific with speaking what is in my heart and the compass of my soul. So Part II will show you some more things I have created, and you might question their designation as “art.” I want you to know that as an artist, I define what is MY art and what it will chose to be at any given time in my life according to how I am envisioning life at that particular time. I like the freedom to celebrate life in the many ways I choose to celebrate it. When I turned 65, I decided to do something different for my special day. I had put on some African music which I liked very much, and I was thinking of how the people paint their bodies to signify something that is very meaningful to them, so I got out some black cloth, and being all alone, stripped and painted my breasts white. I pressed them to the cloth. We know ourselves in one way, or perhaps two, but there are things and ways of ourselves that we have never observed. So when I looked at the cloth I had created, I was, to say the least, surprised, for whoever would ever know that this was what a breast looked like on cloth. Here are a couple of pieces that came from this wonderful experiment in which I learned to see myself in a whole new way. This process never ends, for there is always something new to learn, and as we change over the many years, so do our bodies and minds. Each part becomes a special art exhibit all of its own.
Boobalala by Anne Copeland – Paint and Fiber
“My Garden of Earthly Delights” by Anne – Paint and Fiber
This quilt is about 18″ x 20″ and it features the breast prints in multicolors, which was a lot more fun and challenging than just doing white. And to think, I still have more body parts to color and experiment with. Who knows what this will ultimately lead to. I am certainly not the first person to experiment with painting body parts, but I did this my way and without any lessons either. The frog is painted separately.
Oh, and this was a charity quilt I decided to make for Art for Autism, since I have been very involved for many years with autistic and other special needs children. For those of you who might recoil in horror, there is nothing ugly or wierd about our breasts. I fed all my children with mine, lived through breast cancer, and now that I have passed three quarters of a life (age 77), I am glad to be able to still have those breasts. For me, they are no different than having teeth, hair, armpits, or feet or a backside. Does a tree hide its branches in shame?
So this is Art Exhibit Part II. We will look at some other ideas in different “exhibits” I get to curate and write about. It’s my show. See you at the next one.