Posted in Books, Culture, Events, flashback, Music, poetry, Quotes

Waiting for the Dust to Settle

Alexander Hogue, “The Crucified Land,” oil on canvas, 1939
Reference: Russer Tether Fine Art Associates LLC

“And I know now that all the time I was trying to get
out of the dust,
the fact is,
what I am,
I am because of the dust.
And what I am is good enough.
Even for me.”

Karen Hesse, Out of the Dust

Good evening! Please forgive me for my absence, everyone. It’s been a whirlwind, and I’ve been waiting for the dust to settle, but it seems like it going to pick up again soon! Recently got back from Las Vegas travels filled with personal development nuggets, and I have fun Halloween adventures to share. I also had an enjoyable collaboration with Joey on Writing with Strangers which resulted in a Grimm inspired poem, “A Boy Named Gullible“. I’ve also been learning how to navigate the world of solicitors touting their products and services in my new job. Discerning what is really the best value for what my boss needs is… a process. 😉

Karen Hesse wrote a verse novel called, “Out of the Dust”, which is set in Oklahoma’s dust bowls during the time of the Great Depression. Billie Jo, the 14-year old protagonist, must cope with the tragic losses of her family members and forgive herself for some devastating mistakes.

I was 13 years old when I first read it, and stepping into Billie Jo’s world was an eye-opening experience. This book was the first time I encountered a full length written in poetic format. The quote above makes me wonder about the symbolism of dust in the story and how it shaped Billie Jo’s identity. I wonder how the proverbial dust in my life has affected my character.

I’m hoping taking more breaks and relaxing my mind will help me find a few answers to my homework and work responsibilities. I decided to pass on the Brain Focus supplements in the pharmacy aisle. I like to think I can naturally release the fog in my mind and wait for it to gradually clear so I can find my way ahead…

Image Credit: Tang Jiao @ Pixabay

Though, I wouldn’t mind a metaphorical leaf blower to speed up the process of blowing the brain fog away! 🙂

In response to:

  • VJ’s Weekly Challenge #71: wait
  • FOWC with Fandango: tout
Posted in Culture, Events, Nature, Photography

July Blue Squares – A Photo Conglomeration

We are at the end of Becky’s #JulySquares challenge! Thank you Becky for hosting it! I enjoyed scanning my environment for blue things. I’ve created a collage with a few photos from my busy month of July. Enjoy! 🙂

1. Your photographic square could be a ‘Bolt from the Blue’ – something unexpected or surprising

2. Alternatively why not, like I have today, explore ‘Into the wide blue yonder‘ – sky, sea or maybe a location that is appealingly unknown and mysterious

3. Or if you prefer keep it simple with ‘Blue‘ – whether that’s azure, cobalt, sapphire, cerulean, navy, ultramarine, indigo, or turquoise

And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous try to combine two of these, or maybe even all three!

Becky
Posted in awareness, Books, Events, flashback, Nature, Photography, Quotes

#FOTD- Flowers for Miss Helene

Rest in peace dear Helene

Death, A Sacred Mystery…

Good evening everyone, I feel a sense of loss as I learned from bloggers, Fandango, WillowDot21, Idorun, Jordy, that Helene has passed away. She was such a beautiful spirit and author of What Do You See Weekly Challenge. I feel sad that I cannot even re-read all of her beautiful poems again. Like many others, I loved her sweet comments and thought-provoking, lovely images that so many of us responded to each week.

When I was a young girl, I read a book called, “A Begonia for Miss Applebaum”, by Paul Zindel. Two teenagers, Henry and Zelda, brought their favorite teacher a begonia and soon learned that she had cancer. Miss Applebaum taught them quite a few more life lessons before she passed. I remembered that this book was poignant, gentle, charming, and silly at times. I also remembered wondering if a teacher like Miss Applebaum would come into my life.

Miss Helene was one of those favorite teachers. I’m glad that I got to meet her here in the blogosphere. In honor of her memory, I would like to dedicate these photos of flowers that I took this past week to her. She has forever touched my heart. ❤

Cee’s #FOTD

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”
Joseph Campbell

Posted in Awards, Books, Crafts, Culture, exercise, Quotes

Sunshine Blogger Award #2 from Baldy Blog

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.

J.M. Barrie
Alright, Toto! Let’s head towards the horizon!

After hanging out in the time traveling fog, the sun has come out again! Whip out your shades because I’m going to be answering roughly 60 questions from the WP community for Sunshine Blogger Awards for the next few days. Thank you! It’s always an honor and an encouragement to receive such an award. I’m learning a lot from this blogging journey and looking forward to the new year.

First up, I’ve been nominated by Sean at Baldy.Blog. Thank you Sean! I’ve enjoyed the poetry that he has shared from some classic poets such as Robert Frost, Stevenson, and Tennyson. He also shares fun facts, trivia, scattered quotes, and some wonderful photos.

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?
“The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive, and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.”

Once nominated, if you choose to accept, write a post where you:

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the Sunshine Award and link back to their blog
  • Answer the questions set by the person who nominated you
  • Nominate other blogs and give them questions to answer
  • Notify your nominees through social media or commenting on their blog
  • List the “rules” and display a Sunshine Award logo in your post

If you had to choose to be on a reality show, which one would it be?

Though I’m aware that reality shows aren’t reality, I enjoy watching a variety of reality shows from time to time! I enjoy watching The Voice, Master Chef, Survivor, The Mole, and Disruptive Pitch. However, there’s a handful that I’d think I personally would enjoy being on and realistically see myself on. If level of skills didn’t matter, there’s four shows that come to mind:

The Amazing Race

Photo credit https://www.ibtimes.com
CBS: “The Amazing Race is a multi-Emmy Award-winning reality series hosted by Emmy Award-nominated host Phil Keoghan. This season, 11 teams will embark on a trek around the world. At every destination, each team must compete in a series of challenges, some mental and some physical, and only when the tasks are completed will they learn of their next location. Teams who are the farthest behind will gradually be eliminated as the contest progresses, with the first team to arrive at the final destination winning The Amazing Race and the $1 million prize. “

Ellen’s Design Challenge: “From Trash to Treasure”

HGTV: “The designers are given one hour to race through a salvage yard to find items to make their furniture. Back at the shop, some of the designers discover that the material they have collected is not up to par, while one of the designers carpenter teams is not on the same page. At judging, everything is on the line as the final three discover which two will go on to the finale. ”

Slow TV: National Knitting Evening

Photo Credit-Netflix: “Knitting enthusiasts in Norway discuss the pastime and try to break the speed record for shearing, spinning and knitting wool into a men’s sweater.”

Project Runway

Photo Credit: Pinterest “Heidi Klum hosts a reality series where aspiring fashion designers compete for a chance to break into the industry. Each week, a designer is eliminated from the competition after exhibiting their work in front of a judges’ panel”

If you could change your name, what would it be?

I really like my name: Sa! It’s short, simple, and sweet! Hm…I’ve always wondered what it’ll be like if I was named Magnolia like the flower. My nickname would be Maggie like Baby Maggie from the Simpsons. 🙂 My aunts were all named after flowers. My sister is named after a flower. Maybe I just want to join the flower garden!

Also, I have contemplated what it’ll be like if I was named Star after I read this fun young adult novel called “Stargirl“. It’s about a free-spirited girl celebrating non-conformity.

How long have you been blogging?

Roughly 6 months and a few days! I’m still in the early stages of organizing my content and format, but I enjoy it immensely.

How frequently do you blog?

Depends on the season, but generally once or twice a week. I spend the rest of the time checking out your posts and reading your thoughts. I write in my journals everyday though!

Share the link to a favourite post of yours, why is this your favourite?

#Poetic Short Story- Grand Performance

I loved the lovely image that Helene @ Willow Poetry picked out for her weekly prompt “What do you see?”. It combined a variety of my interests: the beauty of nature, drama, love, poetry. This poem makes me feel alive and grateful for simple pleasures like a sunrise and a breeze.

Do you check your stats for the countries that have ‘visited’ your blog?

Yes, it’s just fascinating to me that what I write is seen from others from different locations around the globe! I’m amazed by these bloggers who inspire me and am curious to see what regions they live and experience life.

Which countries are you missing from your WordPress globe and would really like to see filled in on your map?

So what’s generally missing from my WP globe map are countries from South America, Africa, Russia, Asia. I think it’ll be helpful if I can add a plugin to translate my page into their language of choice. If I keep blogging, I can update to the premium version to do that!

Are you a ‘crafty’ person? (Knit, sew, paint, macrame … ?)

YES! I’ve done all of the above ever since I was a young girl. (This is why I would be on the knitting reality show!) A childhood friend taught me how to knit one afternoon while watching Sailor Moon. My mom was a seamstress and taught me how to sew. Learned how to paint and macrame at school! Crafty activities make me feel really happy. I lose track of time because it’s so fun for me.

There’s a lot of health benefits to these sort of activities as well. Repetitive needlework can induce a relaxed state like the association with meditation or yoga. For some, it redirects their focus and reduces the awareness of pain or rumination on problems. It replaces anxiety and stress with the satisfaction of creating something tangible.

Assuming that you celebrate, do you shop in advance for Christmas or do you leave everything to the last minute?

I shop in advance and online when possible. I also try hard to hit the clearance sales throughout the year. There are many times that I hand-make items. I like to make origami crafts 🙂

Photo Credit: Etsy

Do you participate in sports?

I enjoy many sports recreationally not competitively: martial arts, basketball, soccer, tennis, baseball. I enjoy playing with friends in the courts at the schools and parks. I join in some athletic camps from time to time. I have a lot of fun stories from all the sports I’ve played.

Are you a sweet or savoury person?

Split between the two! I love both!

Sweet
Photo Credit: Pixabay – Macaroons!
Savory
Photo Credit: My Kitchen Snippets

Nominees

Questions to Nominees

  • What are some of your goals for 2019? (blog/personal/career/spiritual…)
  • If you invited me to a party, what can I expect? (food/decorations/theme/music/games…)
  • What kind of gift would you bring to a friend’s house-warming party?
  • What has been an inspiring book that you have read lately?
  • What is your go-to comfort food?
  • What is an accessory or outfit you wear that makes you happy?
  • What is a place you visit that brings you joy?
  • What fantasy or fictional world would you like to be a part of?
Posted in Books, Dreams, flashback, Quotes

The Transition Past a Fog

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Hope all of you enjoyed New Year festivities! On the last day of of 2018, I opened the front door late at night to check out the early fireworks after I popped my small champagne poppers. We have some eager neighbors who are ready to start the new year with a bang! There was some heavy fog that swirled together with the smoke creating a dense screen of opaque gas.

As much as I like the mystical nature of fog (when I’m not driving), I couldn’t help but feel that the fog symbolically represented the concealment of transitioning to 2019 this time. It was as if the fog was teasing me, “Na-na-na Sa, you are not allowed to peek ahead quite yet! There’s something I want you to pay attention to first!”

At least 2019’s fog seems more playful than the 1980’s killer fog from the horror thriller flick! 😀

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.

Thomas Jefferson

Hold on Thomas Jefferson! I know you’re waving your translucent hands impatiently waiting to get to the meat of the issue, but I’m going to indulge in the past just a little bit before jumping to my dreams for the future! I invited you here because I heard that various educators and editors were taking you out of school textbooks in our region. Interesting debate! You are such an enigmatic founding father in American history!

Anyway, the foggy weather reminded me of a novel I read as a young girl called “Fog Magic” by Julia L. Sauer published in 1943. Greta, a young girl living in Nova Scotia, is able to travel back in time every time her village is covered in fog.

I’ve been looking forward at everything in my life through my front windshield to avoid crashing into anything and enjoy the present. Since it’s foggy outside, I’m just going to park in the woods for a moment and enjoy my warm order of “acceptance, courage, and self-love” venti potion from The Sunshine Artist’s garden cafe.

Part of self-love involves forgiveness of myself for the things I felt like I couldn’t do. There’s an acronym floating around the blogsphere: FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Comparing yourself to others is a harmful habit. Sometimes, I’m in awe of what someone else is doing and wonder if I should being doing that too like say… rock climbing for instance.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

So, it’s time to look at my rear view mirror and reflect back on the highlights of my year, bullet journal style!

Photo credit: Laura Bailey @ All the Shoes I Wear

Overview of 2018

January:

  • Elected Secretary of the Justice Society, Vice-president of Chapter Operations for a business fraternity, Treasurer of Guild of Geeks at my school which simultaneously scared and excited me because I’ve never been elected for so many student officer positions
  • Started a more rigorous fitness and nutrition regimen to help me maintain energy for all those new responsibilities

February:

  • Began planning for several community service projects
  • Learning “Infor: ERP Cloud Software” and COBOL programming language that is causing everyone in my class migraine headaches

March:

  • Happily grew some squash, flowers, lettuce and maintained my garden patch during spring break!
  • Organized a clothing drive for the Battered Women’s Shelter for women’s history month

April:

  • Organized my first video game tournament which gave me many lessons in project & event management
  • Organized speaker series for World Water Day and Earth Day for Environmental club

May:

  • Graduated from a bachelor’s program with a major in information technology, project management and minor in English
  • Humbled to be awarded “Student Leader of the Year” along with other distinguished honors

June:

  • Preparing to be bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding
  • Served a homeless shelter
  • CISCO, CCNA, CompTIA+ cyber security training
  • Participated in a summer reading club

July

  • Started my blog, “Culture Shocks” where I enjoyed writing fiction, taking photographs, and interacting with many bloggers around the world. THANK YOU! It’s been a pleasure!

August

  • Began my year long commitment with a local youth literacy reading buddy program

September

  • Participated in San Japan Convention, cosplayed as Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece anime, and enjoyed time with boyfriend before our 3 month separation as we focused on our studies.

October

  • Started studying graduate admission testing workshops. I was thinking about practicing my essay questions here…

November

  • Handled busiest retail season for Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years!

December

  • Participated in a fun song challenge on my blog which hid my incredibly packed holiday schedule. Believe me, it helped tremendously! 😀

Goals for 2019

After that bullet list, you’d think I’d just want to find ways to relax for 2019! Now that’s an idea! In my last Q&A, I said I wanted to remove some clutter. One evening, I noticed that Netflix featured a show with master organizer: “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”. Guess my goal is everyone else’s! I will ponder on these quotes while cleaning and trying out a few things from the #KonMariMethod.

For my blog (same, some tweaks)

  • Book/Movie/Restaurant reviews
  • Crafts/Art/Drawing/Painting/Sketch
  • Fiction/Poems/Stories
  • Questions/Responses/Thoughts
  • Photographs/Challenges/Prompts

For my personal life

  • Transitioning to a new job/career
  • More studies- Tech certifications
  • Read at least one book each month
  • Spending more time with family and friends
  • Sleep more often. Make sure I get enough rest.
  • Dream up new dreams throughout the year!
Photo Credit: Pixabay