A2Z 2021 – Birds – Kingfisher

Image by Timo Schlüter from Pixabay

  • Physical Description: A small bird with a long pointed beak, the belted kingfisher has a slate-blue head with a crest, a slate-blue back, a white front, and a white collar around its neck. The female has additional rust-colored markings along her chest and sides and is more brightly colored than the male.
  • Geographic Distribution: Most kingfisher species are found in the Old World, but the belted kingfisher is found throughout North and Central America.
  • Environment: The belted kingfisher lives near bodies of water such as rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes.

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

In general, the kingfisher is seen as a symbol of protection and a good luck charm. Legend has it that the Old World kingfisher had more muted colors than the belted kingfisher of the Americas. Supposedly the belted kingfisher received its beautifully colored plumage when it was the first bird released from the Ark after the flood waters were confirmed to have receded, and therefore was the only bird to catch the final rays of the setting sun on its breast and the blue of the twilight sky on its back.

One family of the kingfisher suborder is named Halcyonidae, derived from the same root as our word “halcyon,” meaning idyllic, peaceful, or nostalgic. Greek mythology gives us the story of Alcyone, the daughter of Aeolus (king of the winds), who drowned herself in grief when she discovered that her husband had drowned.

Herbert James Draper – Alcyone searches for Ceyx

The gods rewarded her devotion by turning her into a kingfisher, and Aeolus forbade the winds to blow during the halcyon days (the seven days before and after the winter solstice) so that the kingfisher could lay its eggs. The fabled “halcyon bird” was said to build its nest on the water itself, something that could only be done during the halcyon days when the seas were calm.

In old Europe, carrying a kingfisher feather was thought to provide protection from misfortune. Hanging a dead kingfisher by a string was thought to serve as a wind indicator, as the bird’s beak was said to point in the direction from which the wind would come

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

Sighting a kingfisher is, in general, a lucky thing. Noting which way the kingfisher was facing may be valuable, as this may be the direction from which good news or an opportunity will come to you.

The kingfisher may bear the message for you to be the one who calms troubled waters, as the legendary halcyon bird was said to do. The halcyon is also said to have possessed the ability to calm winds – you may be the one with the power to clear up muddled communication that’s dogging a particular situation in your life.

The halcyon connection may also be a message to evoke some wonderful memories of your past in order to enrich the present.

Associated Energies: Precision, timing, good fortune, peace, calm
Associated Season: Summer
Element Associations: Air, Water
Color Association: Grey, blue, white, rust, green, red

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

Wow, I love this kingfisher’s hair do! It’s like a mohawk! 🙂 The featured photo also reminds me of a picture that a fellow blogger features, Christine Bolton at Poetry for Healing.

“…evoke some wonderful memories of your past in order to enrich the present.”

Last night, I was hooked on reading a book to the very end. It’s called the Midnight Library. It’s made me think of all my own experiences in my life that has led me where I’m at today.

“you may be the one with the power to clear up muddled communication that’s dogging a particular situation in your life…”

There’s some things I want to take initiative on soon amongst my friends and family!

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Juan Fernandez Firecrown

Featured Photo by Héctor Gutiérrez Guzmán 

  • Physical Description: The male is 11.5–12 cm long and weighs 10.9 g. Its color is mostly cinnamon orange, excepting dark grey wings, black bill, and iridescent gold crown. The female is 10 cm long and weighs 6.8 g. Its underparts are white with a dappling of very small green and black areas; the crown is iridescent blue, and upperparts are blue-green.
  • Geographic Distribution: Found today solely on Isla Robinson Crusoe, one of the three-island Juan Fernández archipelago belonging to Chile
  • Environment: Inhabits forests, thickets, and gardens
Female Juan Fernández Firecrown by Fabrice Schmitt

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

The English name “hummingbird” comes form the hum created by the rapid speed at which the bird’s wings flap. John James Audubon called hummingbirds “glittering fragments of rainbows,” and they have also been called flying jewels. The sheer beauty of the hummingbird is insprirational.

Urban legend tells of hummingbirds hitching migratory rides on the backs of larger birds such as geese, for it was believed that something so tiny could not possibly fly so far on its own.

A Mayan legend tells that the Creator, after making all the other birds, had a pile of small colorful scraps left over, and fashioned a tiny bird out of them. Being made of leftovers is hardly a handicap, however. The Aztecs honored the hummingbirds as a symbol of vitality and energy. The Aztec hummingbird god Huitzilopochitli was associated with war and the sun, and the Aztecs believed that warriors would be reincarnated as hummingbirds. Dead hummingbirds were carried as talismans for good fortune in war, or to enhance a warrior’s battle skill.

In Central America, the hummingbird is seen as a symbol of sexual energy and, by extension, a symbol of love and attraction. In the American Southwest, the hummingbird was associated with brining rain and much-needed water. The form of the hummingbird was sometimes used as a decoration on water jars, and the hummingbird is part of ceremonial rain dances in both the Hopi and Zuni tribes, symbolized by a dancer dressed as a hummingbird who dances to summon rain for the crops.

Trinidad and Tobago calls itself “the land of the hummingbird.” The hummingbird is featured on the country’s coat of arms and the penny; it is also the mascot of the Caribbean Airlines.

Juan Fernandez female Firecrown feeding. Photo by Kevin D. Mack

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

If you see a hummingbird, chances are good that the message is somehow connected with vitality. The hummingbird may be telling you to watch your energy and not squander it. Although a hummingbird has plenty of vitality, it is carefully apportioned for survival. The hummingbird does not have time or energy to play; it is focused on its basic needs.

What are your basic needs? Are you dividing your energy and attention among too many things, as enjoyable as they may be? Take stock of your commitments and your extracurricular activities, and prioritize them. Make sure to prioritize those things that encourage relaxation and renewal, as well as work- and family-related responsibilities.

In addition to warning you to watch how you spend your energy, the hummingbird reminds you to take joy in the simple things, to literally slow down and smell the flowers. Bury your nose in a branch of a flowering shrub, or walk among the paths of a public garden to refresh yourself. You need to feed your emotional and spiritual selves as well as your physical being. The hummingbird, with its love of bright, sweet things and its colorful, iridescent plumage, gently scolds you to nourish that side of yourself as well, and to embrace joy.

The frequency with which the hummingbird must eat also reminds you to take plenty of small breaks to restore and maintain your energy. Ignoring your basic needs is self-destructive in the long run.

The hummingbird’s message can be summed up as urging you to live life to the fullest within your means; don’t hold back. Give it your all, but remember to relax and sip the sweetness along the way. Make sure to balance all your commitments in order to best apportion your energy.

Associated energies: Joy, energy, energy management, sweetness, vitality
Associated seasons: Summer
Element association: Air
Color associations: Green, Red, White

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Juan Fernandez Firecrown Hummingbird Critically Endangered

Reflections

Poor endangered Firecrowns! It’s sad that native cats eat them and rats eat their eggs! If only falcons could be their friends if they weren’t birds of prey.

“Lack of time is actually lack of priorities”

Timothy Ferris

Today’s divinatory meanings have really been hitting home with me! What do I have to say no to in order to say yes to something else? Where have I been spreading out too thinly? I feel that this is one of my major vices and something I can improve upon. Perhaps I experience FOMO (fear of missing out) to a high degree. I think about the time I spend here on this blog and your time spent here with me. Thank you, I hope you are getting as much value as you can from my posts.

“Your life will be a blessed and balanced experience if you first honor your identity and priority.”

Russell M. Nelson

But perhaps, my priorities are often murky because I feel like my identity isn’t set in stone? Am I still exploring aspects of myself that I’m blind to and that are unknown to me? Is it hard for me to develop strong roots or depth in an area because I enjoy a variety of experiences?

Often I think of bloggers who make it their priority to post as often as they do. These bloggers sound like the real deal. How often do bloggers reevaluate their priorities? Spend more time with their families in person, work on things in their real world. Place your time where it’s important to you.

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Falcon

Featured Photo by Viktor Jakovlev on Unsplash

  • Physical Description: The falcon has a curve at the end of its beak that is sometimes referred to as a hook. Peregrine falcons average 17 inches in length, with a wingspan of about 42 inches and an average weight of about 2.5 pounds
  • Geographic Distribution: Falcons are found on all continents except Antarctica
  • Environment: Falcons are found in mountainous areas and open woodland, though they are at ease in urban areas and often substitute skyscrapers for cliffs.
Image by Miles Moody from Pixabay

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

One of the older names for falcons was tiercel, meaning “third”, as it was thought that only one egg in three hatched a male bird.

The falcon was one of the forms associated with the Egyptian god Horus, the god of war and hunting, and the Eye of Horus talisman (correctly known as the Wedjat) which represents the all-seeing eye of both the bird and the god. The hieroglyph of a falcon refers directly to Horus and means “that which is above.”

Ancient Egyptian God Horus
Photo by Aruna

Freya, the Norse goddess of love and sexuality, owned a falcon-feather cloak with which she shapeshifted and flew.

Deviant Artwork by flaming-wave666

Falconry, the sport of hunting game with trained small birds of prey, was an enormously popular social sport in medieval Europe. The falcon is sometimes used as a symbol of freedom from bondage or slavery, referring to a falcon that escapes the keeper’s hand and flies free, never to return. Likewise, the falcon can symbolize unfettered or passionate love, building on the image of a tamed falcon, once unhooded and untied, bursting forth in pursuit of its goal.

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

The falcon is power in a small package. These birds move efficiently in more than one sense of the word, wasting no energy of motion. How is your efficiency these days? You may need to work on your split-second decision making.

“Peregrine” means wanderer. If you see a peregrine falcon, it may be reminding you that movement is important. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re about to pull up stakes and move to another place (although it might), but it may suggest that changing to the familiar can be limiting. Being too comfortable and not seeking to expand your horizons can have a negative impact on your potential. Try pushing yourself outside your comfort zone in order to expose yourself to new ideas and concepts.

The falcon can be seen as a diurnal symbol, as it is generally associated with the sun. Remember, though, that the Egyptian god Horus had two eyes. One was the sun, but the other was the moon. Thus the falcon can be a symbol of balance and completion too.

Associated Energies: Perception, efficiency, power, balance
Associated Seasons: Summer, fall
Element Associations: Air, fire
Color Association: brown, buff, cream, rust

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

Wow, I’m just in awe of the falcon’s sheer speed. 200 MILES PER HOUR. They’re incredible! You do not want to get on their bad side. Intelligent and razor sharp, figuratively and literally!

A few nights ago, I chatted with a friend and he shared with me a link about being more efficient in life. Saving money on food ($1.50/day) , 2hr/week workout, etc. (https://efficiencyiseverything.com/)

I was first intrigued by industrial engineering when I first read about Lillian Gilbreth, an extraordinary lady. She applied psychology to time-motion studies and helped industrial engineers understand the psychological dimensions of work. She was an industrial engineer, psychologist, consultant, and educator, and raised a large family.

Her son wrote a book, “Cheaper by the Dozen” which later inspired a modern day film. It was fascinating reading about how her kids developed ways to save money and be more efficient in their morning routine. I only know three women in my social circle who decided to have 12 kids outside of Lillian. One being my grandmother, the other two women in their 40s-50s. Imagine giving each child the time and attention he/she deserves. So much can go on in their lives. Kudos to mothers who do so much for their kids!

Gilbreth Family photo on Pixels

A2Z 2021 – Birds – Blue Jay

Featured Photo by Alain Audet

  • Physical Description: The blue jay is a medium-sized songbird that weighs about 3 ounces, measures about 10 inches, and has a wingspan of about 15.5 inches. Like all other corvids (the family that includes birds such as crows and ravens), jays are fiercely intelligent and social birds, with a loud call that ranges from a harsh cry to close mimicry of other birds or sounds. The blue jay features blue plumage on its back, white, or pale grey on its front, and a varied patched work detail of blue, black, and grey on its wings and tail, with a slightly darker mask around the face. It has a jaunty crest of feathers on the top of the head that raises when the bird is alert; the crest is lowered when the jay is relaxed, especially when feeding a brood or dealing with extended family such as flock mates. The Steller’s jay is dark blue with a charcoal grey head and lacks the paler belly of the common blue jay.
  • Geographic Distribution: Native to North America, the blue jay can be found in southern Canada and throughout the United States from the Midwest to the eastern coastal regions. The Steller’s jay is found in western North American from Canada down through Central America.
  • Environment: The blue jay is mainly found in mixed forest areas, especially forest edges, residential areas such as towns and cities. The Steller’s jay prefers evergreen forests.

Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations

The word jay may come from the Old French jai, meaning gay, a reference to the bird’s bright plumage. The Canadian gray jay (Perisoreus candensis) has a reputation for thieving; perisoriou means “to pile up.”

As the blue jay is a North American bird, it lacks the older religious symbolism of Old World birds. Instead, it is featured in Native American myths, and seems to have been an important figure especially to the Chinook, Sioux, and Coastal Salish tribes. In one myth, the jay is said to have had a beautiful voice and became overly proud of it. To punish him, the gods caused it to change to the harsh croak call we know today. In other myths, the blue jay is a trickster figure who works with Coyote or Fox.

The blue jay is the provincial bird of Prince Edward Island, Canada. The provincial bird of British Columbia is the Steller’s jay.

“Bluejay is the trickster hero of the Chinook, Chehalis, and other Northwest Coast tribes. Bluejay is generally a benevolent being who is helpful to humankind, but he is also extremely foolish and careless, and stories about him are often humorous or even slapstick in nature.

Native American Legends: Blue Jay

“Blue Jay was a trickster who enjoyed playing clever tricks on everyone, especially his sister Ioi. As she was the eldest sister, Bluejay was supposed to obey her. But he deliberately misinterpreted what she said, excusing himself by saying, “Ioi always tells lies.”

Bluejay Finds a Wife, A Chinook Legend

Omens and Divinatory Meaning

The jay’s strong family bond may be directing you to look to your own family situation. Are you directing more energy into non family areas of your life than into your family itself? The jay may also be urging you to trust your immediate and extended family, including your trusted communities, and by extension to be more alert when dealing with people who are not of these closer relationships. Be fearless when defending your family and the communities in which you participate. The jay’s strong flock or family ties also point to its loyalty.

The jay’s relationship with oak trees may prompt you to look into oak’s meanings. The oak tends to be associated with strength, durability, timelessness, longevity, and protection. If you live in the western part of North America, look instead at the qualities connection with evergreens, the Steller’s jay’s preferred tree, which include fertility and everlasting life.

The blue jay’s familiar talkativeness, coupled with its blue feathers ( a color associated with the throat chakra, one of several energy centers found throughout the body) may be urging you to look at your own communication habits and skills. Are you talking a lot and saying not much of substance? Are you communicating the essential truths and facts, or burying them in a lot of chaff? The color blue is also linked with purity and spirituality; the blue jay may be coaxing you to follow higher ideals and nourish your spirituality.

Finally, the blue jay may be reminding you to gather and store a bit extra in order to ensure that you have a safety net if times get tough.

Photo by Erin Minuskin on Unsplash

Associated energies: Family bonds, social networks, communication, loyalty, fearlessness
Associated seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall
Element associations: Earth, Air
Color associations: Blue, white, black

REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock

Reflections

I’ve been blessed to have come across a few blue jays in my life. I got curious about a lot of Native American tales such as this one: Indian Legend of the Cowichan Tribes :Bluejay brings the Dead girl to life. Despite all the foibles that families have, I wonder how essential trust in the family unit is. I’m sure there is an exception to really dysfunctional families however. In which case, the family that you choose will probably work best here.

The divinatory meaning behind “be more alert when dealing with people who are not of these closer relationships” reminds me of a story that my boyfriend shared with me about The FBI’s First Big Case: The Osage Murders. <<This link is to the history channel. It’s a riveting story of how the Osage Tribe’s wealth lured criminals and with that jealousy and prejudice.

“They’re scalping our souls out here,” complained one exasperated Osage. The systematic embezzlement—referred to as the “Indian business” by some white settlers on the Osage reservation—wasn’t lucrative enough for some, however. In order to maintain tribal control, shares of the oil money could not be sold by the Osage to white settlers, but they could be inherited. That loophole proved the genesis of a calculated, cold-blooded plot to gain inheritance rights from tribe members before killing them. In some instances, white settlers even married their marks to legally become the next of kin before murdering their spouses.”

– Christopher Klein talks about David Gran’s best-selling book, “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI,”

“Be fearless when defending your family and the communities in which you participate”… I feel this phrase echoing throughout history and even in the present. I didn’t plan on writing on this route today, but it certainly has me thinking!

#SoCs- Ornamental Tales

Linda G Hill: SoCs – List

Hello!

It’s been such a busy season for me. I have an ever growing list of all sorts of to-do lists. School, career, relationships, books, movies, recipes, some crafty creations. When I face some stress during the school season, Aristotle’s quotes remind me of a reason why I put myself through it all:

Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.

The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.

Aristotle

A friend shared with me that last one a long while ago. It stood with me ever since!

One day, you think I would have more sense, and cut back. Give myself more breathing room. Maybe I can burn some of those lists and send those ashes flying away on a windy day. 🙂 Experts say that people can optimally focus on 4 or 5 things at a time.

The present is such a gift. Right now, heart-warming stories of ornaments are on my mind.

When we were kids, my parents decorated our Christmas tree with greeting cards friends gave us, bookmarks, ornaments we made as kids. Glittery paper rings, popsicle stick frames, ornaments made out of yarn or dried noodles. I was always touched by my parents’ sentimentality and wondered why they never bought any ornaments or threw any of our creations away.

For them, the ornaments are more than just a pretty fashion accessory for the tree. There’s a story behind each of the ornaments. How happy we were to make these ornaments for our parents. How happy my parents were to receive a card from our neighbors and friends. How it brought us all together. A tree brimming with true joy and happiness.

When I was a student officer for the Guild of Geeks, I loved painting ornaments on the windows of the school with my fellow club members for a holiday contest for Christmas. We also painted Beamo, Dr. Who’s time machine, among other well known pop culture references. We won 2nd place which scored our club to have lunch with the university president on her balcony! We actually had some folks trained in light saber fights. What an amazing, albeit nerdy memory!

I remembered when one of my friends who was running for office extended an olive branch to his opposition by creating a Christmas ornaments with his opposition’s son. Despite things getting ugly during election time, I wonder what memories his son will choose to take with him. Hopefully, remember the spirit of the season in spite of politics.

I want to create a new memory. My mom and dad collected some pine cones on their nature walks. I took some back with me during Thanksgiving. I’ve been wanting to create a pine cone wreath. Give some out as Christmas gifts. I found so many inspirational ideas!

I was also curious about some other random stuff like The History of Ornaments and What kind of Christmas ornament are you? Quiz.

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

Once Upon a Time…

Once upon a time, there was a royal newlywed who lived in a castle nestled in the forest nearby a glistening lake. The beloved couple ruled over the kingdom to the best of their ability honoring the previous leaders who recently passed away. The king and queen were deeply in love, but for reasons unexplained, they had difficulty bearing children.

Image Credit: Pixabay

They decided to visit a village of fairies who lived within a grove of jacaranda trees near a majestic waterfall. There was one famed fairy, in particular, who could help them with their barrenness, and her name was Florence.

The royal couple packed for food and supplies for a day’s trek, saddled their horses, and ventured out into the forest. The cool breeze whipped around them as their steeds galloped onto the soft ground. They smiled at each other the moment they listened to the resounding sound of the waterfall swishing on the boulders.

The jacaranda trees were a sight to behold! Lavender blossoms gently fell about them as the fairies warmly greeted the king and queen. One of the fairies welcomed the couple into her home, and put on the tea kettle. “How can we help you?”

Blessed by her hospitality, the queen smiled. “We’re looking for a fairy named Florence. My husband and I are in need of her assistance.” The fairy gazed at the queen thoughtfully for the briefest of moments before she left to fetch Florence.

The king clasped the queen’s clammy hands as they waited, “We will be fine, I’m sure.” The queen gazed at his hazelnut eyes warmed by the twinkle in his eyes and his reassurance.

“NOW…. who is need of my assistance?”

The queen was startled by a loud, sing-song voice. The couple turned around taking in the sight of Florence. Her hair was a brilliant shade of ultraviolet which framed a lovely heart-shaped face. Her crooked nose was accompanied by a gleaming broad smile.

Breaking out of a trance, the king introduced themselves. “My wife and I are having difficulty bearing children, but we would love to raise a family someday.” Florence nodded in understanding, “You came to the right fairy. I can help you with that!”

In her satchel, she took out some magical blackberries she harvested while searching for various herbs. She mashed them in a bowl and poured special nectar on them to mix. She gave the concoction to the king and queen, “Here you go! Drink this, and it will grant your dreams.”

The couple was willing to be open to various possibilities, and obediently they drank the delicious drink excited by what will unfold in the coming months.

The Great Blogger’s Bake-off: 2020 Summer Picnic – 3 Tempting Dishes

A picnic is more than eating a meal, it is a pleasurable state of mind

DeeDee Stovel
Image from Pixabay

#Haiku – Picnic Outside the City
Music, Treats, Laughter
Skyline sunset gives warm glow
Happy memories

Good afternoon everyone! I hope you are all well and enjoying the weekend!

Mel at Crushed Caramel, Gary at bereavedandbeingasingleparent, and Jeanne, our judge, at Jeanne in the Kitchen is hosting a lovely blogger’s picnic this weekend. Mel, our moderator, is currently sharing excellent commentary and tunes to match on all of the blogger’s entries. I’m so inspired by everyone’s creations this weekend. From UFO donuts to fast food cakes, feel free to stop by Mel’s latest posts!

I had difficulty deciding what to bake this year. Since I’m at home due to lock-down, I’ve made three dishes that I have never tried before, but always wanted to taste. Two French dishes and one Dutch delight!

Mushroom Quiche

A while back, a baking magazine caught my attention with its lovely tangerine yogurt cake on the cover. Dorie Greenspan was thrilled to share her sweet and savory recipes.

I decided to go with something savory and settled on a mushroom quiche on page 54. I didn’t have a tart pan, so I settled for a pie pan. The aroma of the filling the air as it was baking in the oven. I was excited by the end result.

OH MY GOODNESS..

This quiche personally made me cry with happiness the moment I took a bite! No exaggeration here. This flaky crust was one of the best I’ve ever had. The combination of flavors really sat well with my palette.

I surprised myself. I gorged. I ate half the quiche that night!

Just finished watching Lord of the Rings and laughed at this meme! 😀

My boyfriend said it was good, and my roommate said it was very rich.

Glazed Fruit Tart

Next up is dessert! A few years ago, I found this little book for sale at a used books store and was intrigued by the prospect of 500 types of pies and its variations.

I settled on a glazed fruit tart recipe. The basic sweet crust tasted like a soft cookie. Next time, I will stretch the crust over the pie pan. It shrunk as I baked it. 🙂 I included a citrus scent to the vanilla extract mixture to my pastry cream, arranged my sliced fruit, and topped it off with a warm apricot glaze.

All the bright colors truly made my day! What I love about this recipe was that it wasn’t too saccharine. The whipped pastry was lightly sweetened and the combination of the natural sugars from the layers of real fruit was refreshing. Loved the fusion of flavors!

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Butter Cookies

As I was digging further in my ingredients bag, I found some powdered sugar, and decided to use it to make another treat. Shiran Dickman, blogger at Pretty. Simple. Sweet., shared a recipe for melt-in-your-mouth butter cookies. My cute cookies looked like a village of little igloos with snow sprinkled outside their homes.

Overall Feelings on This Year’s Picnic

This year’s blogger’s bake-off was truly special. The stress from this current events took such a toll on many people around the world. Many bloggers turned to the joy of baking for the first time as they were confined to their homes. Comfort food has a way of reminding us of our connection to family and friends. I know I feel closer to the authors who created these recipes because they brought me happiness to share with everyone I know. Hope you enjoyed my little kitchen adventure! 🙂

✧・゚: *✧・゚:* Recipes Below! *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

A Fourth to Remember

Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

Joy!
Wa-hoo!
Today’s the day!
Buzzing with excitement
We’re celebrating indoors today!
My owner created a scavenger hunt for me
She hid some delectable treats throughout the house
Pop a tunnel of floating bubbles along the way
Canine peanut butter, vanilla cookie treats
Await me at the end of the obstacle
An excursion to the back patio
Fetching a squeaky ball
My owner loves me
No fireworks
Tender
Care

Word of the Day: Excitement

A Sunshine Odyssey

Good evening everyone! There’s a lot for me to celebrate in life today! I just love to do the best I can with what is given to me. It’s a thrilling feeling to partake in such a creative adventure! When I receive a gift of an award, it’s a confirmation of appreciation from the giver. Someone out there has appreciated something I wrote and shared. If I left the world a more inspired, compassionate, and hopeful place, an award to me serves as a catalyst for me to continue reaching for better horizons.

I’ve been nominated at least 15 times this past year for Sunshine, Mystery, Solidarity, Kindness, Liebster blogger awards. I’m grateful for your friendship and support via your comments. It gives me great joy to consistently be recognized for these qualities here on WordPress. Moreover, I’m glad I don’t actually receive any real trophies because I don’t have space for that. 😉

Many thanks and kudos to these hardworking bloggers! Rory @ A Guy Called Bloke, Sadje @ Keep it Alive, Mr. A @ Barbarian in Gentleman’s Clothing, Irene @ My Slice of Mexico, Mel @ Crushed Caramel, Kiwi @ Kiwi Katastrophes, Laura Bailey @ All the Shoes I Wear, Jenna @ The Sunshine Artist, Myexpressionofthoughts @ Beauty lies within yourself

I have taken a different approach with my award nominations today and wrote a story from their questions about myself in third point of view. Pictures are from Pixabay. It will be a blend of fantasy and truth! 🙂

I was inspired by Word of the Day – Odyssey

“HOW DARE YOU DEFY ME?” Ciar, god of darkness, gradually began to suck the remaining light in the galaxy into his mouth which resembled a terrifying black hole.

Sa, space warrior princess from the kingdom of Texas, was temporarily distracted by his impeccable rock hard abdominals, but she was more preoccupied with his black hole. One non-negotiable, unalterable term in this life, is that Sa will survive.

“Sorry? What’s that? I can’t hear you!!!” Sa just used her most commonly spoken phrase against the god of darkness. Will you look at that? 🙂

“Golly, whatever did I do to him?” She unhappily fought against the immense forces that threatened to kill her. What does Sa do to cheer herself up when she is unhappy? She hums a tune of an electrifying song. In this case, the theme song of Ghostbusters galvanized her and became her saving grace.

Ghostbusters 2016 Theme Remastered (Walk the Moon Version)

She pulled a glittering lever, and was not prepared for the recoil. Space X’s Falcon Heavy rocket thrusters propelled her out of Ciar’s influence. Elon Musk gave her a parting gift, his most powerful rocket, and wished her good luck on her odyssey. Commandeering a rocket ship is one talent Sa would love to improve upon! Sa thought back to when she read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy scanning her memory for any clues. “YEE-HAW!” Ciar’s bad breath is the least of her worries.

Ciar’s army has besieged her beloved hometown. Ciar’s rhetoric was powerful, and he has swayed the minds of various citizens to commit heinous acts and convinced them they are doing right by the kingdom by terminating who they felt to be the enemy. Who was the enemy? A neighboring community whose was seeking asylum from the ravages of their own war-stricken home? It’s an event that has changed Sa’s perspective on how we live in society.

In the next twelve months, Sa looked forward to the day when the migrants would be settled into their new homes with the help of RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. One of her friends told her how hard she has been working around the clock to help furnish their new homes. Sa shared a value with her friend: caring for those who have difficulty defending for themselves. If she won a lottery, she would love to get each of the boys she met while visiting her friend a pair of printed Oxford leather shoes and help them feel fabulous.

One great thing about being in outer space is that Sa isn’t like the dwarf, Sneezy. Her seasonal allergies don’t act up! Drenched in sweat, Sa glanced outside the window and marveled at the moonglade against Earth’s ocean surface. “Now this is something to write home about on my blog!” Filled with nostalgia, she missed swimming in the sea with the dolphins and her friend, a marine biologist.

Sharing an oceanography and geology course together, Sa admired her friend’s determination. The marine biologist was studying and documenting how the threat of global warming was affecting the dolphin population. The dolphins were having a difficult time adapting to the changes to their habitat, changes to their migration schedules, and it’s even affected their ability to reproduce.

Sa opened up her laptop and began typing a post so that her family can read her latest adventure! Sa was grateful for her parents for teaching her how to be brave in the midst of adversity. She once studied her family tree in the genealogy department held in the third floor of the public library. Even though her roots were derived from diverse backgrounds in monasticism, education, art, aquaculture, one quality was clear: bravery was the connecting link to Sa’s ancestry line.

One of her fondest memories was with her father when he taught her how to play basketball despite her not being too athletic. He pushed her to the edge of what she may have thought her limitation was, but he showed her that she isn’t as fragile as some people made her feel. He nurtured her bravery every step of the way.

She pondered on what they were doing now. She missed washing dishes side-by-side with them. A single tear floated in zero gravity. It’s the little things that seem to get to her. Before Sa left Earth to fight a galactic battle, she filled out a Texas Tree Survey from the Arbor Day Foundation. She felt so proud of herself for taking the time out to complete this survey. She received a gift for 10 free flowering trees (5 American Redbuds and 5 Dogwoods).

Despite being a space cadet, she remained hopeful for a better future for Earth and all its creatures. She knew that there were other people out there who would be wiling to plant trees, rebuild habitats, and help nurture the planet back to health. Her only regret is she might not see the delicate trees grow into the royal beings that they are. Its blooms are startlingly attractive to her when cloistered together.

Her penpal, Cassandra, would get a kick out of this blog post! Although Cassandra chose the monastic life in the convent as a nun, she loved reading about her childhood friend’s adventures in the world. The last time Sa connected with her was by passing her in while shopping in a mall outlet. It felt so good to see an old friend!

If Sa died in outer space today, she would want the world to know that she loved Earth so much. She is a caring, adventurous gal with a sense of humor who would do anything including fighting the god of darkness to protect her loved ones! ❤ 🙂