The longest word in the dictionary

It’s not “Floccinaucinihilipilification” (which is “the act or habit of estimating or describing something as worthless, or making something to be worthless by said means.” – Oxford English Dictionary).

Mary Poppins/Julie Andrews image borrowed from http://sergioleoneifr.blogspot.com

Mary Poppins/Julie Andrews image borrowed from http://sergioleoneifr.blogspot.com

It’s also not “Supercalifraegilisticexpialidocious“, believe it or not (sorry, Mary Poppins).

 

 

 

Nope, the longest word in the dictionary is SMILES (because there’s a mile between the S’s)…  :D Hahaha…ha?

Image Jim Carrey laughing from Tumblr.com

Image Jim Carrey laughing from Tumblr.com

Last month, June 15th was listed as “Smile Power Day“. But I say, why can’t it be every day? A smile is one of those things that can change all kinds of things for the better! It can:

  • Add years to your life
  • Make you a happier person
  • Make someone else a happier person
  • It’s a mood change for the giver and the receiver
  • Improves relationships
  • In business, it sends a great customer service message

There is great power in a smile. It’s contagious, too. And it’s an evolutionary trait!  Did you know that your smile can be a predictor of how long you will live? Or that every, single person is born smiling? I bet there are other things you didn’t know about smiling.

In this TED Talk video, Ron Gutman talks about “The Hidden Power of Smiling”.  Laughter may be the best medicine, but it all starts with a smile. ;)

So go out and smile today! Make a conscious effort to do it more today (and every day!). Spread the wealth and do something good for your health and those around you.  I’ll venture to say you won’t regret it. :)

 

 

Posted in Food For Thought, Friendship, Giving, Health, Inspiration, Life, Present, Smiling, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

~ Dragons’ Secret ~

© "Time to Fly" by Corina L. Ravenscraft

© “Time to Fly” by Corina L. Ravenscraft

Far beyond time’s measure and memory,    
Long before the world became as it is,       
The wondrous dawn of Dragons came to be,
And brought with their kind, sun-forged imprimis,    
The sage and noble first seed of life’s truth:  
Protect and guard the world’s balance they knew.
They nurtured this mission to fruit, in their youth,
And in their high, immortal manner, too,
Preserved the knowledge, and kept the way smooth.
They held tireless vigil o’er beasts and land.
Whether newly hatched or long in the tooth,
They instantly knew, and could understand,
Necessity of defending their world:
Ensure the delicate balance survived.
Through Light and Dark, Past and Future unfurled,
Balance made sure that the seed of truth thrived,
Through vast generations of ageless souls.
Dragons’ keen skill kept the world’s balance true.
‘Til certain beasts (men) crept out of their holes,
Watched the dragons, and in their learning grew,
In dire arrogance, thought that they knew best,
With no accord or preservative plan.
They took what they wanted, savaged the rest,
No keepers of truth, these foul beasts called Man.
They spread like disease, infecting the land,
Claiming dominion of all that they saw.
The balance shifted, under Man’s harsh hand,
With no respect for the Dragons’ first law.
The Wyrms began to ponder their choices,
Held Dragon Council and called for a vote.
“Destroy them!” cried almost all the voices.
Then one came forward, soft voice in her throat,
Spoke of another, wiser solution:
“Let us,” she said, “disguise ourselves as men.
Then teach them, ourselves, to stop pollution.
Teach them about balance, as one of them.
But, we must forsake our immortal souls.”

“But we must forsake our immortal souls.”
The words echoed grave round the gathered drakes.
All considered such a dire change to their roles,
And the consequences of Man’s mistakes.
Finally, as one, they reached agreement.
Scales shivered, wings withered, tails disappeared.
They keened a last, great song, in deep lament,
Forfeiting all, for the truth they revered.
Then they dispersed to all of Earth’s corners.
Clothed in many colors of human skin.
They started their set task as foreigners,
But adapted, and quickly learned to fit in.
You may have met one of their disguised kind.
They fight for the Earth, and all its glory.
They’re rare, but if you look hard, you might find,
That you already know the Dragons’ story.
They’ve left the ending to you and me…

They’ve left it to us. So what will it be?

© 2014 C.L.R.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Tropical Thoughts…

It’s summertime here in the South, and the weather puts one in mind of the tropics; the steamy humidity, warm summer sun combine to promise that you’ll need another shower as soon as you dare to step foot outside. Many years ago (2006), I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Big Island of Kona, Hawaii for a couple of weeks. You hear stories, of course, of the beauty, but nothing compares to the reality. It truly is a tropical paradise. The native people are very eco-conscious and generally helpful, friendly people.  They have a deep respect for the Earth and their simple ways of life were incredibly appealing to me.  It’s terribly expensive to live there, since the economy is tourist-driven, but if I ever had the money, this is where I would retire and happily spend the rest of my life.

I got to snorkel with Green Sea Turtles…

Swimming with sea turtles, Kona, HI, 2006

Swimming with sea turtles, Kona, HI, 2006

and see plenty of Yellow Tangs and Needle-nosed Knifefish (which floated right below the surface of the water in schools) — Both are types of reef fish.

Yellow Tangs and Butterfly Fish on the reef, Kona, HI, 2006

Yellow Tangs and Butterfly Fish on the reef, Kona, HI, 2006

 

 

Needle-nosed Knife Fish

Needle-nosed Knife Fish

I also got to see some amazing waterfalls (although it was raining like a monsoon when I went to see them) This is Akaka Falls…

Akaka Falls, Kona, HI 2006

Akaka Falls, Kona, HI 2006

 One of my favorite pictures from the trip is from Pololu Valley. You could see the mountains, the coast and the rainforest vegetation all in one shot…

Pololu Valley, Kona, HI, 2006

Pololu Valley, Kona, HI, 2006

There were some wonderful examples of island art, from hammered tin gates…

Fantastic Hammered Tin Gate on Ali'i Drive

Fantastic Hammered Tin Gate on Ali’i Drive

to the carved, wooden Ki’i statues in various places all over the island. These statues are usually meant as guardians to protect and watch over certain sites. This one is from “Place of Refuge”…

One of the Ki'i (Wooden guardians) At Place of Refuge

One of the Ki’i (Wooden guardians) At Place of Refuge

To my great delight, there were even dragons!

Between Two Dragons at the Hilton

And Buddha was there, too!

Buddha and Me

It was such an inspiring trip, I couldn’t help but write a poem to help me remember the experience. If you ever have the chance, I hope you will go! It was an enriching journey for the artistic spirit and the soul of anyone who appreciates nature. :)

~ Kona ~


 

Muted moonbeams drift through vaporous clouds,

While gecko songs mesh with the soft click of palms.

Awash in the gentle susurration of waves’ persuasion,

The island breezes encourage me to let go…relax.

No pressure here, no hustle and hurry,

No scamper and scurry,

On “island time”.

Simply hang loose and flow.

The scent of exotic, tropical orchids,

Mixed with the lush green of giant, verdant ferns.

The bright flicker of numerous birds in the brush,

Calls from long-forgotten conchs and steady drums…

All convince me that I,

Have finally found my way home,

To Eden.

~ C.L.R. ~ © 2006

((Someday, I’ll get back there and once more find that kind of peace and serenity.))

Posted in Art, Environment, Inspiration, Nature, Peace, Poetry, Spirituality, Travel, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The Man Who Planted Trees

If you haven’t read or heard the tale, “The Man Who Planted Trees” by French author Jean Giono, it is a wonderful story about how one person can have a tremendous impact on the world! It’s also a story of how everything in nature, including man, is connected.

"The Man Who Planted Trees" by Jean Giono.  Image borrowed from Wikipedia Commons, fair use agreement.
“The Man Who Planted Trees” by Jean Giono. Image borrowed from Wikipedia Commons, fair use agreement.

It tells about how a single, reclusive shepherd manages to successfully re-forest a barren and desolate area in the foothills of the Alps. Elzéard Bouffier, the shepherd, dedicates the latter half of his life to re-planting acorns, beech nuts and other tree seeds, one by one, patiently walking the land where nothing would grow and no water flowed, and the people who lived there were a hard, bitter folk.

When I first heard the tale, I thought that it was based on a true story.  I later discovered that it is not. However, there have been real life counterparts! There is a man in Assam, India, named Jadav Payeng, who single-handedly managed to plant a forest covering 1,360 acres.  Abdul Karim is yet another man in India who used the same method of planting trees as the shepherd in the story, and over a period of 19 years, created an entire forest from nothing. Another man, Ma Yongshun, was a forestry worker in China who planted more than 50,000 trees in his lifetime!

Tree gif from dragonkatet/photobucket.com

Tree gif from dragonkatet/photobucket.com

If you haven’t read or heard the story, may I suggest that you pick up a copy from your local library, or even better, watch the short, animated film below. It is an uplifting story full of hope and reassurance that no matter who or where you are, you CAN make a difference as only a single entity! Best of all, your actions may inspire others and create a ripple effect of good. :)

Posted in Ecology, Elements, Environment, Food For Thought, Friendship, Inspiration, Life, Nature, Stories, Trees, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Pressed Flower Power and a Sunny Spinach Pie

It is SUCH a blessing to have a mother who is an artist! My mother recently hosted a workshop where we made flower presses and feasted on home-made goodies. I had never given much thought to the process of dried and pressed flowers before, but I learned quite a bit! Did you know that back in Victorian times, pressed flowers were considered one of the “acceptable” past-times for women? They would trade them, make “Old Maid” cards with them, use them to decorate serving trays by putting them on the bottom of the tray and then placing a piece of glass over them to keep them in place and protect them! You can do the same kind of thing today, of course, or they can be used for bookmarks, hand-crafted greeting cards, even decoupage gift boxes.  There are scads of good ways to use these free gifts of nature. :)

Bought Flower PressMy mom got the idea after buying some blotter paper on sale and seeing the different types of flower presses available out there in the world. She got a couple off of e-bay and decided that they were really simple to make, so she cut up some scrap wood she had in the garage, and bought some hardware and invited us all to come learn about the process.

Materials for Flower Press

She made it easy for us by providing all of the materials.  Each press has two pieces of wood for a top and bottom, four long bolts with washers on each side and four wing-nuts, and then as many pieces of blotter paper and cardboard between as you can fit into the press.

Finished PressPress Close-UpThere were several of us who attended, and we each got busy sanding the edges off our own presses. We had to use wood rasps/files to get the big splinters and rough pieces off, and then we graduated to sand paper.  Each top and bottom had holes (pre-drilled, thanks to Mom) in all four corners to line up for the bolts and wing-nuts.

Cutting PatternsAfter that, it was cutting out the cardboard patterns to go between the blotter papers (which had already been graciously cut and provided). You can use any paper (even regular copy paper) as your blotters but we suspect that the acid content may have something to do with preserving the original colors of the flowers.

Pressed HybiscusPressed Nellie Moser ClematisThe next step is to place your flowers between two blotters and stack them as you get more of them, so that eventually, your press is full of flowers! You then have to be patient and leave it alone for about 6 months, so that the flowers have a chance to fully dry and stay stationary.  (This part will be the hardest part for me, as I am not known for my patience and I know I’ll want to keep checking on them). This is what my finished press looked like. I may paint it on the top and bottom, and I glued down the washers at the corners to keep them from sliding around when I added more flowers.

Pressed Jackmani Clematis

It’s important to get the flowers early in the day, after the dew is off of them, but before the sun has had a chance to wilt them. Moisture is bad, because it can cause your pressed flowers to mold.  The thicker the flower, usually the longer it will take for it to dry, but don’t be afraid to try them all! You never know!

As for the “Sunny Spinach Pie”, I got the recipe from here and it looked so lovely that I decided to try and make it. I thought it would be the perfect dish to bring to our get-together. I ended up making two. The first one was what my boyfriend delicately called a “Pinterest Fail” (I’ll leave it to you to Google that phrase). It didn’t look very good but it tasted fine. The second one, however, came out a lot better. It was a success at the workshop, too. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Sunny Spinach PieWorkshops like this are a good chance to get together with other creative individuals, share the ‘creative energy’, good times, and learn something new at the same time.  If you have a passion for a certain type of creative project, why not consider making it into a workshop and inviting others to participate? :)

Posted in Art, Cooking, Creativity, Flowers, Food, Friendship, Home-made Gifts, Nature, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Writer’s Fourth Wednesday: Ekphrasis

Today over at The Bardo, Victoria has hosted the Writer’s Fourth Wednesday and prompted us to write an Ekphrasis.  She says,

“Ekphrasis is a term for writing that is inspired by a work of art, whatever media or subject that may be.” She used the example of Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn and invited us to write our own Ekphrasis for something which inspired us.  Since we are celebrating International Photography Month over there, as well, I wanted to use a gorgeous photo by one of our many talented photographers, Terri Stewart.

So, without further ado, here is my entry for the prompt.

* * * * * * * * *

Photo by Terri Stewart © All rights reserved and used with permission

Photo by Terri Stewart © All rights reserved and used with permission

~ Fire, Recycled ~

I bite the night,

licking and tickling

the dark air’s edges.

Greedy, I feed my flickering maw,

consuming gloom

in a cavorting, capricious dance.

Men need me.

I call to the primal nature of primates,

a spark against the shadow,

bringer of both life and death.

Is it any wonder the mighty Phoenix

calls me home?

Once sated, my orange and carmine coals will fade,

leaving only amber embers to drift into gray dust.

Even my ashes will provide sustenance

to the green things the gentle gardener grows .

You see, I never truly die,

I am fire,

recycled.

~ C.L.R. ~ © 2014

Posted in Ekphrasis, Elements, Inspiration, Photo Challenges, Poetry | 8 Comments

May 28th is Amnesty International Day

If you’re reading this right now, chances are good that you have heard the phrase, “First-World Problem”.  I find myself thinking this phrase more than I would like, but I count myself damned lucky that I’m even aware of what it means.

When you live in a country as rich as America, it’s easy to take things for granted and forget that so many other places in the world lack basic, human rights.  When you read the words “human rights” what comes to mind? Food? Shelter? Clean water? Freedom?  Living life without fear for one’s safety? It can be difficult to empathize with those who do not have these things, if you, yourself, have always had them.

May 28th is “Amnesty International Day” and it’s a chance for you to help those in other places throughout the world who are being starved, tortured, oppressed, or who may have no shelter, no access to clean water, no one to speak up for them, and worst of all, no hope.

Image borrowed from amnesty.org

Image borrowed from amnesty.org

“Amnesty International Day recognizes the need to protect human rights around the world. The Amnesty International organization strives to accomplish these goals by providing awareness and recognition of the issues. They work to publicize local and regional problems, and to arouse citizens, governments and politicians to action.

Celebrate Amnesty International Day by:

  • Learning more about human rights issues
  • Becoming active in human rights causes
  • Writing your politician on human rights issues
  • Making a donation” ~ Source

This post isn’t meant to guilt trip you into donating anything, be it time, money or effort. It’s not a late-night infomercial showing you pitiful images of children who are little more than walking skeletons due to malnourishment.  (As a side note: isn’t it telling that such infomercials are not on prime time television where so many more people would/could see them, but instead they are in late night spots where they won’t get the attention they need? Why do you suppose that is?)

 

Amnesty International logo from Amnesty.org

Amnesty International logo from Amnesty.org

I simply would like you to take a moment to think about what human rights you cherish the most and then find a way to help bring that right to a complete stranger.  There are, unfortunately, countless human rights violations happening all over the globe. On the bright side, that means that there are countless opportunities to help. You can sign petitions, write letters, make phone calls, get involved in your local community. Or you can join movements like Amnesty International, and while the day is “Amnesty International Day”, nothing says you can’t join other worthwhile organizations who also strive to speak up for human rights. In fact, here is a quite comprehensive list of Human Rights Organizations, all in one place.

“Many organizations around the world dedicate their efforts to protecting human rights and ending human rights abuses. Major human rights organizations maintain extensive websites documenting violations and calling for remedial action, both at a governmental and grass-roots level. Public support and condemnation of abuses is important to their success, as human rights organizations are most effective when their calls for reform are backed by strong public advocacy.” ~ http://www.humanrights.com

Remember this:

“If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep … you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace … you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness … you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation… you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church or synagogue meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death … you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married … you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful … you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone’s hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder … you are blessed because you can offer a healing touch.

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

 

Posted in Food For Thought, Giving, Gratitude, Homelessness, Human Rights, Hunger, Inspiration, Life, Politics, Poverty, Uncategorized, War | Leave a comment