Painting Landscapes with Bob Ross

It’s the imperfections that make something beautiful. That’s what makes it different and unique from everything else.

– Bob Ross

Last night, I enjoyed digitally painting alongside Bob Ross for the first time. His soothing voice helped quelled any anxiety as he takes you away to a fantasy world of luscious landscapes. Bob also said that as you’re painting, you can create a story along the way. So, I will link up to Denise, author of Girlie on the Edge’s Blog for her Six Sentence Story word prompt.

Invigorated by the fleeting, fresh smell of pine, Mirela admired the radiance rippling across the lake during her morning stroll in the fields while munching on her croissant breakfast egg and ham sandwich.

Mirela vanquished her fear of unknown and retreated to the mountains, a dream destination, away from the noise and bustle of the city life she’s been in the thick of for decades.

The care of her sanity was treated with high priority during a tumultuous time in history, so the guidance of her heart has led her and her husband to this peaceful place.

She enjoys the quiet moments of checking out the woodland creatures scurrying away to their homes holding food tightly to their chest while hiking her way through the woods.

As she comes back from a brisk walk, her husband had just finished chopping wood to add to the crackling fire to place on the hearth of the fireplace.

They walk into the cabin together preparing to drink a glass of delicious wine and feast on some delicious pot pie.

Also in response to:

Gratitude During a Chaotic Time – Daily Quarantine Questions๐Ÿ“Œ

He transformed into a tough security guard, and wherever I went, he was there….

Image by fsHH from Pixabay

Last night, I had an disturbing dream where a coworker’s omnipresence at a building’s every entrance unsettled me. With his steely gaze, he said firmly, “Sa, you can’t leave. You have been QUARANTINED.” I look behind me to find a packed auditorium surrendering to the shadows.

This morning, the city mayor and important officials imposed a shelter-in-place order on the residents for at least three weeks to help “flatten the curve“. Those who choose not to follow the rules can face a fine of $2000.

In the midst of the fearful masses, courageous people throughout the community have displayed admirable, selfless acts of service. A small alteration business has been donating their fabric to help make more masks for the medical professionals in the hospital. There has been an increase in volunteers at the homeless shelters and food banks helping those that are most vulnerable.

Fear and faith can’t occupy the same space.

A friend shared a post-it note and the above declaration with me. I thought to share this post-it with you and invite you to reflect on these questions in your own lives.

Friend checks up on me and sends me a thoughtful post-it๐Ÿ—ฟ ๐Ÿ’Œ๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿ’ก

1. What are you GRATEFUL for today?

Good morning from my end! ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒ…

  • Emojis! Regardless of how Rory Gilmore feels about them!
  • Stress-relief balls of all shapes and sizes!
  • Yarn for crocheting Harry Potter House scarves for everyone!
  • Adult coloring books, comic books, and magazines to create collages!
  • Business and work that allows me to work from home!

But seriously…. Most of all… Dare I say it? ๐Ÿ˜† YOU’RE da bomb! ๐Ÿ’ฃ๐Ÿ’ฅ

Today, I celebrate having 600 followers on my blog! ๐Ÿน๐Ÿ’ THANK YOU! You guys are all rock stars in my eyes! ๐Ÿ™Œ Shining bright like diamonds in the sky creating beautiful constellations.

Find light in the beautiful sea, I choose to be happy
You and I, you and I, we’re like diamonds in the sky
You’re a shooting star I see, a vision of ecstasy
….
At first sight I felt the energy of sun rays
I saw the life inside your eyes

Rihanna

Each of you has impacted my world one way or another. Words cannot express how deeply appreciative I am for your presence. You have brought a full spectrum of emotions from jubilation, sadness, humor, and companionship into my life by sharing pockets of your life through a variety of mediums: film, poetry, story, & photos.

Truly, you’ve made my life richer. You’ve even inspired me to take my first virtual poetry workshop (Sharpened Visions) hosted by California Institute of the Arts on Coursera which I never thought I would do.

2. Who am I CHECKING IN or CONNECTING WITH today?

Unable to visit anyone due to new laws enacted in my city, I’ve checked in family, friends, coworkers, former coworkers, and other acquaintance-friends in my phone book. A friend who worked on the front lines as a medical worker passed away recently.

Today I’m checking in with you! How are you? Are you relishing the homebody lifestyle? Or…are you itching go somewhere?

3. What expectations of “NORMAL” am I LETTING GO OF today?

Such a timely question considering how the purpose of my blog explores just that! Lately, I’ve noticed that there is a deeper spiritual hunger which wants to be quenched perhaps not just in myself but around the world. I came across this story below.

Image Credit: Radhanath Swami Quotes

Finally, after over an hour, a beautiful sight rose before my eyes. The Yamuna River, descended from the Himalayas, having flowed through the plains of North India, was embracing Mother Gangesโ€”Yamuna with her complexion of deep blue, Ganges with hers of white, and the transparent Saraswati joined them from below.Sitting on the sandy bank, I gazed into the cloudless blue sky.

Image by avalok sastri from Pixabay

There, a hawk, wings extended, soared the airways. His reddish-brown feathers shone in the sun as he hovered lower and lower, till he was just a few yards above my head, his glistening yellow eyes intently scanning the river. Suddenly he plunged headlong into the Ganges.

Image by VIT DUCKEN from Pixabay

There, a frantic underwater skirmish ensued until he emerged with a flapping fish, about a foot long, pierced in the grip of his talons. Squirming desperately, the fish was carried overhead and into a nearby forest. Looking on I reflected:

The unsuspecting fish, who knew nothing but a life in the river, went about its routine like any other day, but in an instant was ripped out of its reality to meet with death.

Like that fish, we routinely live our lives hardly aware that, at the least expected moment, the yellow-eyed hawk of fate in the form of crises, tragedy, or even death, may wrench us out of our comfortable environment.

We regularly hear of it in the news or see it around us but rarely take seriously that it could happen to us. Perhaps the lesson here is to guard against complacency and give higher priority to our spiritual needs.

If the fish swam deeper, the hawk would not be able reach it. Similarly, if we go deeper into our connection to God, we will find an inner reality so deep and so satisfying that it lifts the consciousness to a place where we could deal with the effects of unforeseeable fate with a stable, detached mind.

โ€“ Radhanath Swami (Excerpt from The Journey Home Book)
Dwarf Gourami Fish

4. How am I GETTING OUTSIDE today?

There’s a grassy field behind my place that’s absolutely deserted now. I’ll just sneak out there for a few minutes and enjoy the sunshine!

5. How am I MOVING MY BODY today?

Today I’m finding inspiration in these absolutely adorable dancers! I will attempt to dance many styles along with them! They make it look like so much fun! ๐Ÿ˜€

Also, I need a rhythmic cardio-in-place workout like jump roping. Inspired by this talented Hungarian jumper, Adrienn Banhegyi.

6. What BEAUTY am I either creating, cultivating, or inviting in today?

CREATING a beautiful desk work space!

CULTIVATING zucchini indoors!

INVITING a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers!

#Haiku-Feline Above | A-Z 2020 – Theme Reveal!

Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.

Eugene O’Neil
Image by Pixaline from Pixabay

Uneasy kitten
Chatoyant green gems staring
Mystified by feats

Hey there, Kitty! Not to worry! You will get to live another day!

It’s that time of year again! A to Z April Blogging Challenge is a fun challenge where bloggers participate in topics of their choosing corresponding to letters in the alphabet.

And my theme for 2020?

I discovered a lot of topics that I’ve never heard of before and wanted to share them in story and poetry form! Random categories include:

Architecture | Animals | Manifestos | Festivals | Music | Gifts

My curious mind will transport us in a variety of places. I’ll be a fun travel buddy. Look forward to you joining my journey!

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Blogging Insights #20 – Long form VS Short form Content

Hello everyone! Hope you are doing well! I’m officially free from the wrath of the flu! My goodness, I can just breathe a sigh of relief. ๐Ÿ™‚ Today I want to explore this question:

Have you ever wondered the differences of impact between short-form content and long-form content for blog posts?

Today’s post will be centered on Dr.Tanya’s questions regarding blog length featured under #blogging insights on her blog, Salted Caramel.

  1. Do you prefer writing long form or short form content?
  2. How long, in your opinion, is the ideal blog post?
  3. What do you prefer reading, shorter or longer posts?
  4. What are the topics on which you would like to read longer posts (say, more than 1000 words)?

For the past eight weeks, I’ve been working on a class in which my professor wanted us to engage our audience via WordPress or LinkedIn platforms. Setting this intention and accomplishing assigned objectives required me to do some research.

I found an intriguing article called: 10 LinkedIn Publishing Tips: We Analyzed 3000 LinkedIn Blog Posts

It explored what sort of content works best on the LinkedIn platform, and various data correlation and comparison for successful LinkedIn posts. I began to wonder if there is similar analytics done for WordPress blogs.

Here are my responses to Tanya’s thought-provoking questions:

Do you prefer writing long form or short form content?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I really enjoy writing short form content when I want to relax from a busy, chaotic day. Typically the content I write is fun, light-hearted, and contains beautiful poetry, photo short story. This is primarily what my audience on my blog sees. It’s easier for me to generate posts prolifically when inspiration strikes spontaneously giving me more freedom to explore.

The downside to short-form content, in my opinion, is that it’s ideal for producing timely updates relevant for a short period of time which requires consistent production of posts. Otherwise, your stats and traffic begins to drop. Long-form content, on the other hand, has some lasting quality to it. While readers may not sit back and read all of it in one go, they will come back for more if they’re truly interested.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

I write long form content for school or work when the content requires more time to plan and analytical thought. I enjoy writing long research papers when the subject matter is something I’m passionate about. I tend to dive really deep into the subject matter, and I lose track of time.

I’m competent in writing quality business reports, white papers, and proposals that require technical research. It’s a different sort of “like”. I feel more like a detective investigating a solution and feel a sort of thrill reaching a conclusion.

Writing long-form content develops your blog’s branding and credibility which can deepen a blogger’s relationship to their readers. Many people also reblog and reshare long-form content more often than short-form content.

How long, in your opinion, is the ideal blog post?

I feel that the ideal length varies from blogger to blogger and depends on the subject matter and purpose. Bloggers may ask themselves many questions such as:

  • Why do you blog? To improve your skills? To inspire? To meet people?
  • What are your goals? Do you want more followers? More posts?
  • Are you aligning the length of your posts with reader’s intention?

My ideal blog post tends to be 200 words or less because it works with my schedule and it’s primarily for my enjoyment that I want to share with others. It’s difficult for me to write anything longer consistently due to time constraints. Every now and then, I’ll save a long post in my draft box and work on it until completion, but those are few and far between.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

If your intention is to create viral headlines and create content that generates a lot of traffic and followers, there seems to be several articles like the Linkedin article I mentioned above where data analytics tells a story of what makes for an ideal blog post.

Blogging boot camps also give recommendations for creating and monetizing blog posts that generate large sums of profit which depending on the blogger’s values and perspectives can be very ideal.

What do you prefer reading, shorter or longer posts?

On WordPress, I prefer reading shorter posts related to fiction only because there are so many talented writers I like to read throughout my busy day. It’s easier to read shorter posts on my phone and it’s also easier to scan for information I like. If bloggers like to write extended stories, I prefer it to be broken up in separate blog posts. If I’m still interested, I can buy their book if the blogger has published one.

Image by Prawny from Pixabay

What are the topics on which you would like to read longer posts (say, more than 1000 words)?

Despite my preferences mentioned above however, I don’t discount the effectiveness of long-form content. I really enjoy reading long articles in The Atlantic or The New Yorker when a writer demonstrates their authority and expertise writing about something that intrigues me such as trending updates in health/wellness, nutrition, improving home space, environment, history, business, technology, or anthropology.

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

Long-form content provides a platform to highlight important stories that define our time and generation. It may provide in-depth knowledge that you may need to succeed in your endeavors whether it’s starting your business, working through the pain-staking issues surrounding divorce, or a how-to article on fixing the intricacies of your car.

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

Long-form content gets higher search rankings and outperforms short-form content in this regard. The longer readers spend time reading a blog post, the more readers can develop trust with the blogger. Readers have invested time reading more of what the blogger has produced, and therefore more likely to interact with the blogger. Bloggers give direction to their posts and target a specific audience.

Quotes

Whether my preference is either short-form or long-form, there are benefits and limitations to both. With that in mind, I think I’ll focus on delivering the best valuable content I can. Curious about the topic of content in general, I’ve collected some food for thought below regarding content.

Thanks for reading! I’ll see you soon ๐Ÿ™‚

#SoCS- Figure Skating

Linda’s #SoCS prompt – Figure
Badge Photo Credit – Shelley

Figure skating has been a joy for me to watch over the years. Seeing these athletes gracefully landing loops and pirouettes to the rhythm of their chosen music is lovely.

Image Credit: Pixabay

I love their elegance, choice in outfits, reflecting what they want to express to their audience. Balancing on ice while keeping the rest in mind!

I figure that’s what inspired me to skate. Mom bought me my first set of rollerblades from the Toys R’ Us for my birthday. Cute set too – Magenta buckles/wheels and white boots! My neighborhood friends and I would create little routines.

The fun one to practice was what we called the Figure 8. We used the indented cracks in the driveway to guide our paths. Dramatically, we held each other as we intersected paths on the infinity.

There were friendships in that neighborhood that I wanted to last for infinity. People grow and change, go off in their own directions though.

Image Credit: Pixabay

Little ducklings growing into beautiful swans. I’m reminded of a glass figurine of a swan my aunt gave me. I turn the dial and it plays a tune. Spinning around. Not knowing what direction it will face once the melody fades away.

Will the swans be united again after swimming in such different directions for so long? โ›ธ

Image Credit: Pixabay

Whoosh! Feeling a blast of cold air as I’m ice skating wakes me up and makes me feel alive while skating with friends. Then comes the inevitable….

*CRASH* Ahh!

My skate gets caught in someone else’s deep indentation in the ice, and I flip over and slide, stomach-flat, across the arena at an incredible speed. I’m disoriented, and everything looks like a blinding set of stars.

Yes, sometimes the cracks in life can make you more than stumble. All I can do is get up, and try again once I get my bearings straight! ๐Ÿ˜€

Word of the Day Challenge: everything

Sunshine Macro – Feather

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.

Emily Dickinson
Goose feather taken in a park

Freedom to fly wherever it pleases

Yet the spirit from beyond seeks to connect with me

I’m laying in the grass and enjoying the sunlight

Gently reminds me to renew the day with a fresh start

Release the world’s heavy burdens

Not bounded by the limitations of gravity

#Whatdoyousee?- Toddler Babble

Image Credit; Lisa Fotios- Pixabay

Mr. Cuddlesworth, I’m so glad to see you! Mama set me down on the bed for a nap, but I just need to vent. I’ve had such a peculiar day where everyone’s ears suddenly stopped working.

I tell Dada that I want my blankie, but he shoves a bottle in my mouth! I want to ride in the wagon and feel the breeze, but I’m stuck inside watching Blue’s Clues! BORING!

Can I share some secrets? I’ve found a Honey Nut Cheerio lodged in the wheel of my toy car, and I ate it while no one was watching!

I also stuck my fresh behind in a huge bowl of orange jello today when Dada wasn’t looking. I liked it! It felt squishy, and I want to do it again!

Also, I have a crush on my babysitter… What am I gonna do?

Thanks Mr. Cuddlesworth, I feel SO MUCH better!! Can I snuggle with you?

Trusted confidant
Soothes, comforts, empathy
Dreams are safe with you

In response to: Whatdoyousee? #17 – Sadje

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