I started this blog to share some of the thoughts I have along the journey of life. I love to travel and spend time with my family and friends. A good meal, breaking bread with those I love, gives my life meaning. So does travel. I adore dreaming of sites to visit, not just to check them off on a list. Rather, I consider myself a student of life, traveling as an explorer, to open my mind to all the possibilities the world holds in store for me and for others. I love to travel to discover how different the world is in terms of climate, cultures, politics, terrain, economy, etc. but also to discover how SIMILAR the people are. Despite language barriers, much can be communicated with a smile or gestures. Language is simply a means to communicate, yet there are so very many other ways to communicate. Once when I was in French-speaking Canada, I realized that my 7th grade French class didn’t teach me the word for “straw”. However, when I thought about it, I was able to communicate to the very French-speaking waiter in a very French-speaking restaurant about my need for a “cylinder through which to drink” in my limited French vocabulary. Travel challenges the mind and soul, stretching us to problem solve and form conclusions about all that we experience. THAT is the type of travel I enjoy best. “All’s well that ends well”, as they say………….”Life is Good” as well.
Today, I wanted to share something that I read which inspired me, especially during this difficult time for our country and world during the pandemic.
“Rather than focusing on the obstacle in your path, focus on the bridge over the obstacle.” -Mary Lou Retton, Olympic Gymnastic Gold medalist, who also won two silver medals and two bronze medals in 1984
Life is good; find that bridge somehow somewhere today. Carpe Diem, friends.
I am always of the mindset that if we don’t like whatever situation we are in, or if we can’t change the situation, we must change our thinking. Changing our thinking puts our life back into our own hands and allows us a choice as to how we proceed. Self- isolating was (and is still) difficult while we cope with the pandemic, so I began to think of all the wonderful ways I could connect with others beyond my narrow little world in the last few months. I really enjoy reading, so I found an on-line book club which met weekly during the pandemic. Although I didn’t love the books we read, it was such a welcome break to speak with others on-line about a shared experience. Talk centered around the book, but also drifted from time to time to how everyone was feeling about the pandemic. Talk continued also about what our experiences were like, which stores were opening, what restaurants were closed, etc…as the United States began to re-open in the last month or so.
The link below contains a small list of on-line book clubs for avid readers that want a shared experience or wish to try something new:
I have found it helpful in my life to exercise my body, to exercise my mind, and to exercise my soul regularly to stay healthy and well, and during this pandemic it was no different.
Life is good; try out something new today to help you cope with the trials and tribulations of the pandemic. That’s been the beauty of the pandemic, if there is any. That is, we all have found new ways to re-connect with others and to what we may have enjoyed in the past. Find a way to change your thinking and come up with a new diversion, too.
Carpe diem, friends……..
(If you belong to an on-line book club, feel free to message me, and I’ll post a link for others to hear about it, too.)
-“The Bare Necessities” song sung by Baloo in “The Jungle Book”
For some reason, I thought about this song yesterday. It has been years since I’ve seen the movie, “The Jungle Book”, yet that song has stuck with me through the years. It’s application is universal and very timely. When I think about the song’s meaning for my own life I am constantly reminded about what’s really important to me. Time with family. Friends. God. Laughter. Health. Food for the mind. Food for the soul. Food for the body. Exercise. Free will. Freedom. Perhaps everything beyond that is a luxury, even certain brands of toilet paper, napkins, or paper towels in this pandemic. Certain brands of hand soap, too. All luxuries. The pandemic has taken us back a bit to examine what is really meaningful in our lives to help us get back to basics. For every drop of rain that falls, as it has been said, a flower really does grow……..
Life is good. Find and think about what your own bare necessities are if you haven’t already.
Lanterns have been used throughout the ages for many things. First and foremost they have been used to light up a dark area. They are the inspiration for many festivals around the world, especially in Asia. They remind us that the light they yield can bring us out of darkness, if we follow the light, both literally and figuratively. Finally, lanterns symbolize joy, celebration, good fortune, longevity, and protection (from evil.) Lanterns have also been associated most recently with knowledge, finding one’s way or helping another find his or her way, light over darkness (or good over evil), intelligence, and even truth.
It’s uncanny to me that “Teen Traveler”, my daughter, and I discovered by chance recently that we both had seen lanterns made out of cans independently and both wanted to make them some day. Someday is today, whenever I can make it so. To that end, we have been washing out cans from the vegetables we stocked up on for the pandemic. Seems as though we’ve been eating our fair share of canned green beans. Probably even more green beans then we ever wanted to eat. Probably even more green beans than we ever will eat again. That being said, we put some water in the washed cans and froze them overnight. This makes punching holes in the cans easier (and safer), as the can is less likely to roll when working on it.
After we decided on our designs, we put the can on a towel to prevent it from rolling while we were working on it and to catch the water as the ice melted. The internet is full of can lantern patterns, so we looked on the net for inspiration. Some people spray paint their cans afterwards, too.
With a hammer and a nail, we punched a hole through the pattern we taped onto the can. This project takes just a few minutes and yields a lot of fun when doing it together with someone. “Teen Traveler” makes me laugh so much that tears flow from my eyes, and this project was no exception. Ice from inside the can broke like an iceberg off a continent while we were hammering the nail, and the ice slid (and sometimes flew) out of the can. The pattern from the can became wet and disintegrated after a while. The project looked so easy to those that had gone before us to do this very same project. The more the project didn’t work out according to our plan, the more we laughed. Life isn’t perfect, as they say, and neither is this seemingly easy project. I am reminded of something Alan Alda, and American actor, once said he wished he had told his younger self years ago. That is, the need to “adapt, adjust, and revise.” We adapted the pattern we wanted to use. We adjusted the pattern we had chosen, as it was far more complicated than we originally imagined to accomplish. Finally, we revised our plan to fill the yard with a barrage of lanterns we would make and hang from the tree. Maybe just two is plenty, afterall….
I wanted to think of some clever poem or song about lanterns to provide us with some inspiration, but then decided that simply being together with my teen daughter doing something fun was inspiration enough for me. It doesn’t get any better than that. It is what it is, and what it is was beautiful.
Life is good; find a way to make something wonderful with someone you love today. Create beauty and recognize the beauty of the moment.
I am always been fascinated with the power that perspective holds over us in our lives. How we see or think of something colors how we feel about it time and time again. Take crickets, for example. These insects are considered a bit of a nuisance among some people here in American because of the “noise” they make, especially in large numbers or if you are trying to sleep. They can also be called a nuisance because they can destroy vegetable crops and flowers and can be damage to clothing, carpeting, and furs. However, in China, crickets are respected a great deal, and the Chinese consider the noise they make to be “music”. The Chinese also see crickets as a symbol of courage and a fighting spirit. In our culture, many people take crickets to be symbolic of good luck and genuine happiness, even if they find them annoying.
I have always had a fondness for crickets. In fact, in college, I listened to audio tapes of crickets chirping on occasion when I studied, as I found their sounds soothing to my ears. Many of my friends though I was a little crazy accordingly, but there is a melodious peace they make if you really take the time to listen to them. The sound can almost be hypnotic.
Crickets are fascinating creatures. In fact their chirps, made by rubbing their upper and lower wings together, can even help you figure out the temperature outside at any given time. According to the “Farmer’s Almanac,” if you count the number of chirps in fourteen seconds and add forty, you can get a pretty fair approximation of the temperature outside in Fahrenheit. I somehow see raising crickets somewhere in my near future…..
Life is good. This summer, get outside to hear the crickets chirp some night. May you see their noise as music and find the good fortune and happiness in your lives that they represent, for they are truly magical creatures.
Carpe diem, friends………..
“When there is goodness, there is magic.” -Cinderella’s Mother in “Cinderella”
I just did it. I ordered fifteen HUNDRED live ladybugs for release into the yard. I began thinking of some new ideas to do during the pandemic while we continue to self-isolate. I love watching the butterfly caterpillars we have growing in the house, looking each day for subtle changes in them. Watching and waiting. Watching and waiting. I wondered what else we could have growing in the house during this hot Florida spring and decided that ladybugs would be amazing to watch, grow, and release. I looked on Amazon and found this kit:
I love this kit, as it has three magnifying glass lenses (for 3x magnification) on the top of it, which will help to really notice the amazing changes in the ladybugs as they grow. I love watching life through a lens. The kit contains a voucher for about ten live ladybug larvae, too. I decided that ten is not nearly enough ladybugs to eat the white flies and aphids I have growing and eating in my yard, so that’s why I ordered the large, no VERY large, order of live ladybugs in the meantime.
“The ladybug wears no disguises.
She is just what she advertises.
A speckled spectacle of spring,
A fashion statement on the wing,
A miniature orange kite,
A tiny dot-to-dot delight.”
-J. Patrick Lewis
The ladybug kit, Amazon assures me, will arrive at my home on Tuesday, May 19, and the live ladybugs will arrive on May 29. The kit will arrive WITHOUT the butterfly larvae, however. I will have to order them separately after I receive the kit, using the voucher that is provided along with the kit.
“Life is a series of tiny miracles. Notice them.”
(photo credit: Dreamstime)
“Ladybugs all dressed in red, strolling through the flower bed… if I were tiny just like you, I’d creep through the flowers, too!”
(photo credit: Dreamstime)
Evidently legend has it that ladybugs are associated with good luck, changes, divine intervention, and a happy resolution to something troublesome. The Celts associated ladybugs with protection, and in French folklore legend has it that whatever ailment you have flies away when a ladybug flies away from you. The French, as well as the Austrians, also believe seeing a ladybug would be correlated with good weather. In Norway, if a man and a woman spot a ladybug at the same time, legend has it that there will be a romance blooming between them. A rare sighting of a yellow ladybug, according to yet another legend, signifies upcoming travel, adventure, and a new chapter in one’s life. Swedish folklore tells us that if a ladybug lands on a young woman’s hand, she would be married soon.
There are also some religious meanings associated with ladybugs as well. In fact, some say the origins to the ladybug’s name, originally known as “Our Lady’s Beetles”, is the result of a reference to a prayer made by farmers in the Middle Ages to the Virgin Mary to keep their crops safe from swarms of pests (aphids). When the ladybugs arrived, they thought they were sent from their prayers to the Virgin Mary, and they called them “Our Lady’s Beetle.” Some say the common number of seven spots on the lady’s back are associated with the Virgin Mary’s “seven joys and seven sorrows” as described in the Bible.
It has also been said that lady bugs in the Jewish religion also have religious meaning. The Hebrew word for ladybugs is “Moses’ Cow”, as there is an old Yiddish legend in which Moses encountered these beautiful creatures when he was sitting in the Garden of Eden studying the Torah. When the ladybug asked Moses why he had spots, Moses replied that the spots represented God’s words and deeds. Also, a common number of spots on the lady bug, seven, is symbolic of the six days that God created with world and the seventh day that he rested. If a ladybug has only two spots, it stands for the “Two Tablets of Jewish law (the first tablet was written by God, and the second Tablet was written with Moses). If a ladybug has ten spots, it represents the ten commandments, and so on.
Ladybugs are some of the most beautiful and appreciated beetles in the world. They help us by eating pests and are the stuff of legends. When I look at my new ladybugs when they arrive, I will remember their association with good luck and protection. I can’t wait to release them into the world so that in some small way, I am doing my part to make the world a little bit better than I found it.
Life is good. May you find good fortune and may any ailment at all, or any ailment from the pandemic (physical, mental, or otherwise), fly away from you if and when you see a ladybug land on you during some enchanted evening or magical moment.