Posted in fiction

#Saturday Symphony – Mythological Creatures

Image Credit: Wallpaperup

Graceful elven beauty with diplomatic resolve
Talented artisans proned to wanderlust
Magical being. One with the woodlands

Image Credit: Hooked Upon

Dark Penangalan prowling for the next victim
Vampire’s trailing organs drenched in vinegar
Slithering and enraged. Vying for blood.

Posted in poetry

#Paint-Chip Poem: When I’m Old

Sadje’s What do you See? #47

Delicate fuzzy memories like a watercolor piece
Verdant fields juxtaposed by cumulonimbus-filled skies
Traveling abroad and delighting in the spice market

Exploring exotic recipes. Enjoying simple pleasures.

Wax drips along the antique brass candle holder
Re-reading tales of a wild Huckleberry Finn by candlelight
The grass is always greener where I water it

Posted in Awards, Concepts, Culture, Nature, Quotes, Social Justice

Spreading Peace with the GREAT ACHIEVER “महासिद्धी” BLOGGER AWARD I (GAMBA I)

Kamal’s Blogging Café: To learn more about the award and its rules, here is the link. https://kamalsbloggingcafe.wordpress.com/2020/08/08/great-achiever-mahasiddhi-blogger-award-gamba/

Hello everyone!

A few weeks ago, I met a new blogger named Kamal who has introduced a new initiative with her new Great Achiever Blogger Award to spread peace among the blogging community. She is an ambitious visionary, and the award itself has such a beautiful origin story!

It has given me an extreme happiness and immense pleasure that I am here to introduce a ‘GREAT ACHIEVER “महासिद्धी” BLOGGER AWARD‘ to expand peace in our global village- WordPress. This award goes to a real achiever and successor who has been giving their creative feelings and thoughts exquisitely presenting a good perfection of work of art in WordPress Writing.

I am from a birthplace of Gautam Buddha who enlightened many parts of the world in his lifetime by his wisdom and knowledge of equanimity, or peace of mind which is achieved by detaching oneself from the cycle of craving that produces trouble. And, from a lap of Mount Everest, giving an adventurous taste of mountain climbing to the people around the world. The most important thing is purity from the Himalayas, everyone get tastes of pure water flowing from mountain to the hills and then Terai region spreading tranquility in spring.

“महासिद्धी” is a term for someone who embodies and cultivates the “Siddhi of perfection”. A Siddha is an individual who, through the practice of sādhanā, attains the realization of siddhis, psychic and spiritual abilities and powers.

We are a member of a global village “WordPress” to help shape the world peacefully through our continuous effort to dedicate and invest our valuable time for writing giving a perfection, i.e. “महासिद्धी”.

What an introduction! Thank you, Kamal. ❤ I’m truly honored and humbled by such serendipity. Throughout my journey in blogging, earning a badge for reaching particular criteria is a fascinating concept. I apologize for replying sooner as I have many other obligations outside of my blog.

However, spreading peace is a wonderful cause I can easily rally behind during these times. Unlike a peacekeeper, a peacemaker is neither passive nor fearful. Throughout history, society has a myriad of approaches for maintaining peace. The complexities of human nature, being what it is, has demonstrated conflicting ideas of how peace will transpire.

It takes diligence to remain calm within your heart in the midst of chaos. I have known many bloggers who have done this well but are award-free. Thus, I will open this nomination to any of my readers who would like to contemplate and explore these ideas.

Rules & Regulations

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, with a link to their blog.
  2. Make a Post of the Award with a Statement of PEACE & SAVE ENVIRONMENT as above. Tag your post with the #greatachiever.
  3. Mention the rules and regulations.
  4. Ask 7 questions of your choice. One of the questions must include “PEACE” and one for “SAVE Environment”.
  5. Nominate at least 7 fellow bloggers or more to 21 bloggers and notify them.
  6. Follow @kamalsbloggingcafe (https://kamalsbloggingcafe.wordpress.com) to secure certification as a badge to get a chance of collecting badge of GAMBA WORDPRESS SHINING STAR AWARD for PEACE & SAVE ENVIRONMENT. For more details, visit https://kamalsbloggingcafe.wordpress.com/award/.

Musings

I like to imagine climbing Mount Everest one day, but I think I’m content watching the incredible views in a documentary while I condition myself. 😉 If you are not familiar with the Terai region, these flatlands stretch along the border between Nepal and India. They can be quite beautiful in the spring time.

Image Credit: Knowledge @ Wharton

With such sweeping, natural beauty, it’s unfortunate to know that the country is struggling with many challenges such as natural disasters, cycles of extreme poverty, and political instability, to name a few.

Image Credit: Sagarmatha Dispatch-Gazette
http://sceenius.com/2015/07/27/flatlands-of-nepal-the-terai/

Some of my readers are aware that I was raised with mixed religious traditions. Sometimes, my hybrid, eclectic upbringing has led to some friendly tension with my “pure” friends, but c’est la vie! (That’s life!) 🙂

Years ago, one of my classmates once called me a “Bodhisattva“. I had no clue what that was, so I looked it up.

A person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so out of compassion in order to save suffering beings.

Oxford Dictionary
Image Credit: Stephen Lucas
Kuan Yin (also known as Avalokitesvara), Bodhisattva of compassion

My father’s brother was a Buddhist monk. When I was a young girl, I attended various beautiful temples with some lovely gardens and fountains. My dad said Buddha’s birthday was near my own which I thought was a fun piece of trivia. There I spent time with and learned from other monks and more devout Buddhists.

Image Credit: Dan Pancamo
This photo contains an example of some of the colorful, architectural elements that I remember most

Kamal’s Questions

  • How can you be a good blogger as a member of WordPress Global Village?

If by “good”, you mean integrity: I pay it forward and recognize other bloggers whenever I can or when time permits. I help others enjoy the blogging process and encourage them to keep growing in their craft if they’re new. If they’re veterans, I participate in their challenges. I enjoy interacting with other bloggers, and I learn new things everyday.

  • Could you please define a word “PEACE” from your point of view?

I’ve experienced many peaceful moments singing with groups of people in harmony. I also enjoy digging my toes in the sand and feel the ocean wash over my feet as I see the sun rise.

Image Credit: Wallpaper Cave

A picture is worth a thousand words.

American adage coined by Henrik Ibsen

For the past few years I’ve been following photography entries for the Global Peace Photo Award inspired by Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Alfred Hermann Fried and Tobias Michael Carel Asser. The photos are quite compelling. Here’s one I absolutely love!

Image Credit: Maria Turchanova, Russia
The World as a Manifestation of Love
  • How can we save a tree?

Sadly, I’m trying to save a weak crepe myrtle tree that has developed some lichens. It’s been fighting to stay alive for a very long time. I need to apply some herbicidal soaps and add more mulch. I feel like I have to accept the inevitability of the cycle of life on this one, but I will keep trying so long that it’s showing signs of life and sprouting new leaves.

  • Do you think human trafficking is still a crosscutting issue? 

Yes, human trafficking is one of the largest crimes in the world and intersects with a variety of studies. “This Power and Control wheel outlines the different types of abuse that can occur in labor and sex trafficking situations.” -Polaris Project

Image Credit: Polaris Project
Domestic Abuse Intervention Project’s Duluth Model

It’s even in my own backyard! A few years ago, the store where I worked at made national headline news. A trucker was smuggling illegal immigrants across the border in a large 18-wheeler truck. One of my coworkers reported suspicious activity in the parking lot and heard yelling inside the truck. The individuals in the truck bed were suffocating in summer weather, had no water, and no restrooms. Some died due to asphyxiation, and many were treated at the hospital.

Infographic Credit: Department of Homeland Security (Blue Campaign)
  • What thing do you sacrifice to make a happy family environment?

One thing we sacrifice is our pride and need to be right. We apologize when situations warrant it.

Pride is the longest distance between two people.

Kushandwizoom
  • Which animal do you like most? Why? 
Image Credit: Pixabay

The panda is one of my favorite animals. The symbolism behind the panda as a spirit animal really resonates with me.

  • What do you think about the journalist or Youtubers? 

Youtubers and journalists have a platform to share news, photographs, and information that they have gathered and researched with the public. They share their opinions, their truths, and sometimes deliver a new angle on an existing topic. Journalists expose themselves to potentially dangerous situations everyday. Youtubers also deal with their particular trolls. I feel that those who move forward in such situations are courageous and resolute.

Freedom of the press is a pillar of our democracy.

MSNBC
  • Is a movie-star play a vital role to aware most of the people around the world or just they present their performance to earn money?

There is a wide spectrum of the type of movie stars out there. Some movie stars try to raise awareness about many pressing issues. They play a role in the movie to enact change or shift the public’s mindset about a topic. Sometimes, they raise money to donate to a charitable cause. Audrey Hepburn danced in underground concerts to raise money for the Dutch resistance during World War II for instance.

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

There are also movie stars who have done a movie purely for the money. I feel that there is no shame in this sort of honesty as money is a necessity. Acting is a profession, and they don’t call it “show business” for nothing. Do I feel that some are overly paid exorbitant amounts of money? Sometimes, but it’s peanuts in relation to an underground network of elite individuals who the public doesn’t see or know about.

Sometimes, actors would just like the cash and openly admitted it like Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Sean Connery, Paul Bettany, Richard Dreyfess, Eddie Murphy, Jackie Chan, Bruce Willis, Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness, Michael Caine, Marlo Brando, Betsy Palmer.

Image Credit: Fanpop
Ben Affleck in the movie, “Paycheck”:

My Questions

  • What does peace mean to you?
  • How do you resolve conflict?
  • What is one thing you do to help the environment?
  • How does security play a role in maintaining peace?
  • What kind of food makes you feel at peace with the world?
  • If you won the Nobel Peace Prize, what would you want the award recognize you for?
  • If you were sign up for the Peace Corps, what kind of work would you consider?

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time! 🙂

Featured Nighttime Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Posted in Culture, fiction, Music, Nature, poetry, Quotes

#Paint-Chip Poem: Think of Me Fondly

Image Credit: Telegraph, Why the Faroe Islands needs 37 words for fog

Far from the rolling hills of Denmark,
lies Aalborg’s famous House of Music.
Beyond the brushed aluminum exterior,
audience members gaze upon the stage

Opera enthusiasts wait for the singer
With shut eyes, she whispers “open sesame
as the invisible curtains part ways in her mind
Starry backdrop of lapis lazuli skies
gives way to her glowing presence

A brilliant spotlight shines upon her
Thousands of sparkles glitter across the stage
Her melodious voice flowed with honey
with no signs of rusty inflections

Image Credit: Think of Me (The Phantom of the Opera, 2004)

Think of me, think of me fondly 
When we’ve said goodbye 
Remember me, once in a while 
Please promise me you’ll try 
When you find that once again you long 
To take your heart back and be free 
If you ever find a moment 
Spare a thought for me

“Think of Me”, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Phantom of the Opera

Image Credit: Musikkens Hus, Aalborg House of Music, Aalborg, Denmark

Posted in Uncategorized

May Flowers

Image Credit: Jill Wellington

Good morning! It’s the first of May! I’m slightly partial to this month as it’s my birthday month. Today, I’ve learned that lily of the valley and hawthorn flower are May’s birthday flowers. Aren’t they lovely?

Hawthorn Flower – Pixabay – EKK-Hagen
Lillies of the Valley – Pixabay – Mareefe

I pinned this beautiful hand painted scarf that was inspired by these two flowers.

May Silk Chiffon scarf Lily of the Valley and Hawthorn
Green pink Mauve shawl -Hedgehogs scarf -spring floral hand painted silk wrap
Etsy- Sik Intuition
Posted in Events, Music, Quotes

Home, Sweet Home

There’s nothing as frightening and threatening as the loss of your home. It uproots feelings of security, disturbs your daily routine, affects your health…

“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” 
― Maya Angelou, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes

Sweet
Laughter
Dreams grow
Fellowship occurs
More than just four walls
Where you feel safe and sound
A space where attached feelings linger
Where you relax and unwind from your day
Shelters you from both figurative and literal storms

Throughout my life, I have seen friends and family experience the anxiety of losing their homes from hurricanes, lightning bolts, fires, crushing debts, job loss, arson, gas leaks… you name it. It’s overwhelmingly tragic. It’s fascinating when insurance policies calls some of these events, “acts of God“, natural hazards outside of your control.

Despite such a loss, it’s remarkable when I see the community help one another get back on their feet. Sometimes, strangers show random acts of kindness through gifts and sharing resources.

“Cherish the people who make up your home, and you’ll notice the hearth fires burn brighter than ever before.” 
― Thomas Kinkade

Recurring nightmares of our home being on fire used to haunt my dreams. As a child, I used to unplug all appliances and tried to cure my insomnia as I nestled between my parents as they were sleeping. I prayed for these nightmares to go away. Throughout my life, those unforgettable memories spurred me to action to help others in another sphere.

Due to this understandable fear, I regularly help others on the brink of losing their homes or who have already lost their homes. Those stories are for another day. Today, I’ll focus on sharing the story of one lifestyle blogger in dire need to save his mother’s house.

Meet Mr.A

Arnie Correa (otherwise known as Mr.A) is a lifestyle blogger on A Barbarian in Gentlemen’s Clothing. He’s a father of a beautiful, young girl. I’ve followed him for a year now and his readership grew quickly because of his consistent hard work and thought-provoking articles.

His father and mother worked very hard for 20 years to save money to build their dream home in the Philippines. His mother contracted pulmonary edema, and as a result, she could not make her monthly bank payments on time. His family will lose their house in three months unless they can raise enough money to pay the bank.

To learn more about his mom’s story, you can visit here: Help Me Save My Mother’s House

His readership has reached a few milestones and generously pitched in, but he still has a long way to go to reach his goal to help his mother. Job market has been tough for him. So, he has multiple fundraising avenues:

  1. Gogetfunding.comhttps://gogetfunding.com/help-me-save-my-mothers-house/
  2. Paypal https://paypal.me/arniecorrea?locale.x=en_US
  3. Patreonhttps://www.patreon.com/user?u=32646507
  4. Fiverproofreading services

I’m passing along another blogger’s plea for help. If the story touches you, please share the post on social media channels or donate. Even if the story doesn’t touch you, consider using his proofreading services at $5 a pop. He can help you take your writing to the next level and give you some helpful feedback. Language buffs out there: if you want to learn a new language, he’s teaching Tagalog. One-on-one sessions with a native speaker is a perk.

Have a great day everyone! Don’t take your home for granted. Be blessed! 🌻❤🤲

Phillip Phillips – Home

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
‘Cause I’m going to make this place your home
Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found…

“What is home? My favorite definition is “a safe place,” a place where one is free from attack, a place where one experiences secure relationships and affirmation. It’s a place where people share and understand each other. Its relationships are nurturing. The people in it do not need to be perfect; instead, they need to be honest, loving, supportive, recognizing a common humanity that makes all of us vulnerable.” 
Gladys Hunt, Honey for a Child’s Heart: The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life

Posted in poetry

#Paint-Chip Poem: Her Wedding Day

Photo by Annie Timmons Photography

She applied some lipstick and smacked her lips
The soon-to-be bride was just peachy
She was going after the whole enchilada
After all, it was her wedding day!

Calligraphed sand dollars for the guests
A wonderful apricot nectar cake for dessert
Bridesmaids were happy with their coral dresses
She and her fiance helped decorate the beautiful venue

The Melrose Knitting Mill
A restored mill warehouse in downtown Raleigh
An elegant red brick space where fantasies comes true!

Image Credit: Etsy
Linda Kruschke’s Paint-Chip Poetry #32
The only difference I can see is that the all of these paint chips are gradients of a red pigment except for the sand dollar. It sure is a toughy! 🙂
Posted in Culture, fiction

The Rise of a Median King

Hello everyone, hope you are well! One of my favorite interests include Greek classical history and mythology.

I’m endlessly fascinated about the downfall of former empires and the Greek tragedies that touch upon universal themes and issues that impact humanity. To this day, classical mythology has influenced modern-day culture in a variety of arenas: sports, cardinal virtues, architecture, chemistry. Many series such as The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson is highly influenced by classical myth.

The fictional story below is an embellishment of historical and biblical events that took place in ancient Iran, Iraq, and Ukraine during 627 BCE to 560 BCE. I loosely followed the accounts of Herodotus, a Greek historian, in his book, “The Histories”, Josephus’ in “Against Apion”, the Bible, and Qu’ran. There are some inconsistencies regarding the parentage of Amytis across historical accounts, but that leaves room for my imagination to weave in some magic. 🙂

A Bold Maneuver

He noted the situation had become grim...

Young Cyaxares, son of the late king of Media, Phraotes, received news that his father was dead. He was slain in battle by members of the Assyrian army led by Ashurbanipal, the zealous and brutal king of Assyria.

Relief of Ashurbanipal hunting on horseback. Nineveh, Assyria, 645–635 BC.
Image Credit: British Museum

The Assyrian empire was powerful and dominated the lands. They reached the ultimate heights of technological, scientific and cultural achievements of the time. Ashurbanipal, in all his might and military expertise, reasserted dominion over the Medes, Persians, and Parthians. His glorious palace along the Tigris River served as a reminder of his status in the world.

The Monuments of Nineveh by Sir Austen Henry Layard, 1853
Image Credit: National Geographic

Nomadic Scythian warriors got wind of the news and swiftly raided Cyaxares’ homeland. For nearly three decades, Scythian officials controlled the region and exacted tribute from the Median citizens. Cyaxares resented their presence and began to formulate a strategic plan to avenge his father.

One evening, Cyaxares invited the Scythian chieftains to a fine banquet where they enjoyed a fine feast and alcohol. The aroma of marijuana filled the air. Cyaxares murdered them while they were drunk and their guards were lowered. He later proclaimed that he was king of Medes. The Scythians soon recognized their leaders were killed and subsequently retreated to the steppes.

Taking Down the Big Kahuna

Cyaxares united various tribal forces afterward and gradually conquered and occupied several Assyrian territories. He prepared to go to war against the Assyrian empire, but he was going to need help. He formed a few alliance and friendship treaties. One of his allies was Nabopolassar, Chaldean king of Babylonia, who decided to join Cyaxares’ effort to confront the Assyrians and their Egyptian allies.

The eventual death of Ashurbanipal led to Assyria’s weakened political infrastructure. The Medians and the Babylonians took advantage of Assyria’s internal strife and besieged the capital of Assryia, Nineveh, one of the greatest cities in the world.

Battle of Nineveh
Image Credit: Alchetron

Raising a Family

Cyaxares married and soon gave birth to a son named Astyages and a daughter named Amytis. To forge and formalize the alliance between the Babylonian and the Median dynasties, Cyaxares gave his daughter’s, Amytis, hand in marriage to Nabopolassar’s son, Nebuchadrezzar II.

Image Credit: Louvre Museum

She packed a few belongings and moved to Babylon with Nebuchadrezzar II. When she arrived, she was dismayed at the dry and flat landscape. She missed the mountains and lush scenery of Media. Cognizant of Amytis’ homesickness, he decided to replicate a piece of her homeland by creating: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

 Maarten van Heemskerck (1498-1574)

Amytis was surprised that her new husband would go to such lengths to make her happy. She recognized certain trees and plants that she enjoyed in her homeland and was touched by his commiseration. Not only was she pleased, the community shared their plaudits. She knew that he was capable of bringing Babylon back to its full glory.

Image Credit: Wallpaper Safari

Her husband fortified the city’s defenses and rebuilt many temples. Little did she know, however, that he would go mad towards his final days. All of his past achievements and success contributed to an increasingly high ego.

Nebuchadrezzar II
Image Credit: jubran.deviantart.com

When three young Hebrew men didn’t bow down to him one fateful day, he tried to burn them in a fiery furnace to no avail. Daniel, a revealer of future mysteries, was held in captivity with them. He interpreted the king’s dreams and predicted that world powers shall rise and fall. Feeling a bit insecure, Nebuchadnezzar threw Daniel into a pit of lions. Imagine his surprise when the lions didn’t eat Daniel… 🙂