A thing of beauty is a joy forever Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness; but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and a sleep Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
– John Keats, Endymion
Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day like writing a poem, or saying a prayer.
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From the Sea
This past week I’m attempting to meditate and center myself as I’m adjusting to the chaos. One of the university administrators asked me if I would be interested in teaching a virtual workshop as a way of engaging alumni during the pandemic. Students are feeling the cabin fever and are itching to learn new hobbies.
I decided to team up with one of my friends and co-teach a crochet class during Friday evenings in the month of March. My experience being president of a knitting club back in high school is coming in handy! In the first couple of hours within posting the event, 18 people signed up!
The deadline to register is the end of next week, but I may already have my hands full with 18 students! I’m planning out the logistics as my friend is figuring out the scarf pattern we’re working on. We picked school colors for the yarn to feature school spirit.
We were blind-sighted by a snowstorm that recently hit our area. Texas generally has such a warm climate year round. So the past few days have probably been the coldest for us in a decade. Like some of you, we have lost power, heat, and running water. I’m going to be okay, and I believe it’ll be a lot better by the weekend. In the meantime, I thought to share some snow quotes that got me thinking! 😉
“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about
“Daring to plunge into the unknown may very well land you in paradise.” – Bronnie Ware
“I’m active, I’m attractive, and I’m in demand! I’m a mover, I’m a shaker, and I work my plan! I help them, I encourage them, and I share the dream! I’m excited, I’m ignited, and I’m leading my team! I’m a woman on a mission, I will reach my goal! I have power, I have purpose, and I’m on a roll!“
Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.
Hi there! Hope you are enjoying the season’s festivities. Today’s prompt about words has my mind circling many random topics today. A few nights ago, I played some fun virtual holiday games over Zoom with some friends. Trivia, a scavenger hunt, guess the language, I spy… One was an A to Z holiday word game. I ended up with a lot of foodie words. 🙂
Bloggers here have whipped up some creative posts with words that have enriched my life. It’s obvious that how we construct phrases can leave an impact. I’ll never forget the day I looked at the first page in my dad’s English learning book from the refugee center. His instructor wrote an encouraging note saying how important it was to learn these words and phrases as it can help you navigate life in a new country.
Fun Words to Say
About the Author from the Back Flap: Seth Lerer was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was educated at Wesleyan University, Oxford University, and the University of Chicago. He taught at Princeton before moving to Stanford University, where he is the Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities. The author of many books and articles on medieval and Renaissance literature, he is known nationally for his audio and videotape series, The History of the English Language, for the teaching company.
A few years ago, I really enjoyed a book about the development of the English language by Seth Lerer. I wrote a fun research paper as well as conducted some surveys about the invention of words and how technology has affected its development by interviewing people in the park. Most people were open to chatting with me about their favorite words. From Pig Latin to Spanglish, it was fun to listen to their varied responses.
Do you ever have words in which you like how it rolls off your tongue? I remembered how my friend and I were discussing how we enjoyed words with the “ch” sound. Charity, Chelsea, Chill, Charisma. For me it brings back memories of the Chia Pet commercials! Ch- Ch- Ch- Chia!
I also found a word search book as I was de-cluttering my room. It was quite a treat since it’s been ages since I’ve done a word search! I really enjoyed doing this one because Chicken Soup for the Soul compiled a set a quotes in each puzzle to find. It made me commit to memorizing “uplifting quotes to brighten your day” in order to find them. 😉 The reward center in my brain was happy from the dopamine kick. I’ve finished three so far:
No one lives long enough to learn everything they need to learn starting from scratch. To be successful, we absolutely, positively have to find people who have already paid the price to learn the things that we need to learn to achieve our goals.”
He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul’s estate. Thought is the sculptor who can create the person you want to be. Silence is when we hear inwardly; sound when we hear outwardly.
Henry David Thoreau
It is the duty of men to judge men only by their actions. Our faculties furnish us with no means of arriving at the motive, the character, the secret self. We call the tree good from its fruits, and the man, from his works.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I also discovered a compilation of thoughts on colored note cards called “Leaves of Wisdom” from The Ladies Bible Class at the University Avenue Church of Christ. Today’s succinct thought:
Behold, I bring you good news. You are loved.
A. M. Chadwick
Winter is Feeling Different
The first day of winter was a few days ago, and I’m shocked that I can walk outside in shorts and a T-shirt in the middle of December this year! Granted, I don’t live in Australia where it’s probably summer right now. Normally, there’s sleet or snow and cold, bracing winds to match where I’m at. Am I going to complain about this pleasant surprise? No…but it makes me think about global warming.
This past Sunday I was reading news of the nation’s new climate team in the local newspaper. I’m grateful to learn that this diverse group has the background and experience to tackle these issues head on. Below are some galvanizing words from the president elect. Looking forward to see how actions pan out in time.
“This brilliant, tested, trailblazing team will be ready on day one to confront the existential threat of climate change with a unified national response rooted in science and equity.
They share my belief that we have no time to waste to confront the climate crisis, protect our air and drinking water, and deliver justice to communities that have long shouldered the burdens of environmental harms.
Together, on behalf of all Americans, they will meet this moment with the urgency it demands — and seize the opportunity to build back better with good-paying union jobs, climate-resilient infrastructure, and a clean energy future that benefits every single community.”
One more post before I go hit the books again! I found out that today is National Coffee Day from Tony Burgess. I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker, but I love the atmosphere of coffee shops for studying and meeting up with a friend. Today, I’m welcoming the new fall season with a pumpkin-spiced French Roast coffee. What kind of drink helps you start your day? Enjoy!
She has led a remarkable life and left a legacy advocating justice for marginalized societies. For those who aren’t too aware of her work, I thought to share some headline quotes from several legal thinkers from the article below.
‘She pivoted the entire structure of the Fourteenth Amendment’
Linda Hirshman is a lawyer, writer and author of Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World.
‘She was a champion of our democracy’
Geoffrey Stone is a professor at the University of Chicago Law School.
‘A symbol of everything that is right about our system of justice’
Ted Boutrous is a partner in the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and global co-chair of the firm’s litigation group.
‘A person who modeled civility, compassion and decency’
Kimberly Wehle is a professor of law at the University of Baltimore School of Law.
‘Part of her legacy will be to encourage the end of lifelong tenure for justices’
Sanford V. Levinson is a professor of law at the University of Texas Law School and co-author, with Cynthia Levinson, of Fault Lines in the Constitution.
‘Her death is a call to do more to protect equality’
Peggy Cooper Davis is a professor and director of the Experimental Learning Lab at NYU School of Law.
‘One of the most articulate defenders of a right to choose abortion’
Jamal Greene is a professor at Columbia Law School.
‘Women and men both owe her a great debt’
Susan Deller Ross is a professor and director of the International Women’s Human Rights Clinic at Georgetown Law School.
She transcended the traditional role of a justice
Rick Pildes is a professor at New York University School of Law.
Despite naysayers, she was to women’s rights what Thurgood Marshall was to civil rights
Ilya Shapiro is the director of the Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Rights at the Cato Institute and author of Supreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America’s Highest Court.
‘She never let abstract ideas distract her from reality’
Gillian Metzger is a professor and co-director of the Center for Constitutional Governance at Columbia Law School.
‘The founding mother — or simply founder — of our nation’s sex equality jurisprudence’
Kenji Yoshino is a professor of constitutional law at NYU School of Law.
‘She was an exemplar of purpose and poise’
Josh Blackman is a constitutional law professor at the South Texas College of Law Houston, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and the President of the Harlan Institute.
‘She reminded us that realizing America’s ideals is a work-in-progress’
Robert L. Tsai is a professor of law at American University and author of Practical Equality.
‘She was as kind as she was smart’
Roberta A. Kaplan is the founding partner at Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP.
‘Hers was the path of millions of once-scorned immigrants from exclusion to acceptance’
Michael Waldman is president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.
Bzzz! My sister has recently taken up the new hobby of bee-keeping during this crisis. All my siblings have been rather proactive and have been an inspiration to me. So, honey and bees are the theme of my post today!
As a hardworking busy bee, you can say I’m constantly searching for all sorts of “flowers”: various blogs on WordPress to read. These awards allow me to celebrate the community garden!
For bees, the flower is the fountain of life. For flowers, the bee is the messenger of love.
I would like to thank Maria Cristina Gino Baroso who has kindly nominated me for the Liebster award. She’s such a warm, friendly woman from the Philippines. I love her hospitable spirit. She features remarkable stories of beautiful people of all shapes and sizes, some overcoming all sorts of adversity. I also enjoy reading her slice of life stories from delicious food to an interesting coin collection. Her questions are featured below:
What do you do first when you wake up every morning?
The morning light trickles in through the blinds. I snap off the nightlight by my window and throw my arms up to do a nice yoga stretch. My back loves it after I had slept like a curled shrimp.
What do you do last before you sleep at night?
Last night, I dozed off to an episode, “The Power of Miracles“, of Morgan Freeman’s TV Series, “The Story of God“. My feelings before going to bed are one of awe and inspiration. The night before I finished the first season of the Arthurian fantasy drama, “Cursed“. Exciting adventures with the fae have been full of suspense and intrigue!
Who’s the first person you greet, “Good Morning” when you wake up? What do you like best, coffee or tea, and why?
I greet my roommates once they wake up and start making some tea. Lately, it’s been earl grey or mint. Sometimes, I like a raspberry zinger or citrus tea with honey. Whatever the mood calls for! I love the various herbs, fruit, or leaves in tea that I don’t necessarily get with coffee. I also associate tea with relaxation whereas coffee gets me pumped up for the day. Though there benefits to both, I’m not much a coffee drinker. Though, I love the smell of it!
What do you usually offer your guests when they come visit you?
What I offer guests who stop by is dependent on who it is. Some of my guests are very picky. A few examples are pho, blueberry waffles, banana bread, Dr.Pepper, water/tea, mixed nuts, ginger/sesame candy, Danish cookies, strawberry shortcake.
How would you treat someone who has just disrespect you publicly?
I confront those who publicly disrespect me. I will not let them get away with belittling me and others. I take a moment to collect myself because otherwise my emotions get the better of me. Afterward, I calmly speak my mind and say what I need to say in front of their face. Typically, I cry once I get home to release the tension.
Did you receive a love letter or a friend’s letter? What’s your favorite line from it?
I love getting letters, cards, creative notes whenever, wherever. I’ve kept cards that my classmates have given me when I was 10 years old. Sometimes, I revisit them when I need a reminder. They represent a time and a place, but they always pick me up!
😉 Infatuation letter – My god, though… do you know you are the only girl I’ve ever met who has used the phrase, “but I digress”?
❤ Love letter – But I feel like… I don’t know. I just feel very happy and lighthearted. I have no idea what is coming… yet I’m excited for it anyway. Thank you, Sa. And yes, believe me when I say, I love you.
😀 Letter from a Friend – I got to tell you, Sa, that Birthday Card you sent to me, is a keeper (it goes right into my vault). Thank you. You can’t imagine how it lifted my spirits.
Do you believe that first love never dies?
I believe first love never dies or rather, it’s the memories that don’t die. I will never forget my first love. Random things trigger my memories as they fade in and out. They make me laugh and cry. When I reminisce sometimes, my chest tightens, and it feels like my heart hurts. Other times, my heart is fluttering and beats fast. I’ve grown so much from that experience. We both did, and I cannot go back even though it lingers in my life.
What is your personal mantra and why?
Having a heart of gratitude for all blessings and the abundance that is unfolding in my life helps me keep things in perspective.
If you’ll be the president for a month, what would you do to end this COVID-19 pandemic?
Coronavirus: 5 things New Zealand got right New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced the country no longer has any coronavirus cases. It has also seen very few COVID-related deaths. What has been the key to New Zealand’s success?
If I were president, I would take a leaf from New Zealand Prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.
1) Swift and tough lock down – Decisive actions 2) Consistent, effective communication of rules 3) Ramp up testing capacity and mask production 4) Willingness to learn from science
I’m not sure the American people will respond like the New Zealanders though. Press conferences directly to the public helped achieve public buy-in in other countries
If you’ll be a superhero, who would you be and why?
I got to learn more about Jubilee from X-men this past year. She. Is. Awesome. Wow! Not only is she bubbly and not to mention powerful, this spunky, optimistic character has overcame quite a bit of trauma. Even when she lost her powers, she tenaciously strives to remain a superhero by other means. Fans have shared more of her powers in greater detail. 10 skills that many people may not know about her:
Pyrotechnic Energy Blasts – Sometimes, it’ll be nice to see fireworks!
Absorb Energy – Always a must have when you working various projects!
Explosively Charge Objects – Detonate…maybe I’ll keep this one under wraps. 😉
Wondra – Super strength and the ability to fly 100 mph to avoid traffic
Force Fields – Resistant to physical injury and protection from earthquakes is nice.
Ghost Mode – Pass through substances without getting hurt. HM!
Gymnastics – Olympic-level gymnast. Just plain cool!
Evade Telepathic Detection – Hide from mental probes.
Vampire powers – Need I say more? Accelerated healing power is a nice plus
Turn Into Vapor (Mist Mimicry) – I always thought about flying with a cloud
It’s hard to find people who haven’t received an award already! You’re not obligated to respond, but I was grateful to have encountered your posts this week.
Rishika @ cartWdesigns – Her original artwork is a lot of fun to browse!
If European cities were a necklace, Prague would be a diamond among the pearls
Czech Republic has been a country I’ve frequently heard about throughout my life. Whether it was my high school project on the Cold War, a Sabrina the Teenage Witch comedic sitcom episode, or one of my many places on my director’s travel wish list, Czech has always struck my curiosity with a peculiar fascination.
Though travel slow right now, I have a travel membership that allows me to daydream a bit in the meantime. They have categories which makes it difficult for me to choose:
Go Back In Time in Prague and Beyond
See Picturesque Prague by Land and Water
Relive Medieval Times in the Czech Countryside
Here are some snapshots of some areas in Prague I found on the website! The towering Gothic architecture is a sight to behold!
Walking around the Prague is comparable to being in a fairy tale: except for one minor detail: it’s real.
Medieval themed hotel providing magical middle ages experiences in an authentic setting
This property is a fantastic escape from the day to day boredom and way better than any chain hotel for stories to tell your friends about. Step back to a more rustic time and enjoy the authentic and imaginative attention to detail, the quality of entertainment, excellent food, wine and the whole atmosphere to make your trip memorable and truly MEDIEVAL!
Wooden floors, wooden beds, simple and rustic furniture – original pieces, candle lit rooms, unique bathrooms – simple, rough but stylish, wooden faced flushing toilets, etc. Behind the decor, the facilities and service are modern.
Dinners are served in the next door Brewery Tavern – an extravaganza of banqueting, drinking and regular live entertainment medieval style. Feast on food prepared on a traditional open fire and beer served by tough and tender wenches of the Inn. Be entertained by swordsmen, jugglers and dancers in the candle lit vaults. But be prepared for medieval mannerisms – keep in check or fall foul of the Innkeeper!!
A part of the Dětenice resort – baroque Chateau, adjacent Medieval Tavern with Brewery and authentic style Medieval hotel.
Eastern Europe has been really trendy. Prague is the best-preserved city in the region … and the best beer in Europe lands on your table there for 50 cents.
I will end my daydream with a quote unlike the ones shown above. I suppose I need a balanced perspective! 😉
How can you not love a city that has a pub with vinyl cushions on the wall above the gents’ urinal, so you can rest your head while you ‘go’? Where you can order a beer without speaking, simply by placing a beer mat on the table? And where that beer is probably the best in the world?
But it’s not just exquisite ale and a wonderfully relaxed drinking culture that keep bringing me back to Prague. There’s also wit and weirdness in equal measure: a public fountain where two figures pee in a puddle, spelling out literary quotations; a 1950s nuclear bunker hidden beneath a city centre hotel; and a cubist lamppost. Quirky doesn’t even begin to describe it.
I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.
― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt
On the one hand, I like deadlines. Its existence spurs me to action. On the other, I don’t like them. It forces me to make sacrifices and prioritize decisions.
What did I end up sacrificing this past month?
Time with my blog
Heart was willing. To-Do's ever so increasing. Energy was waning.
Out of all things, why does it have to be something that brings me joy?
Life doesn't make sense at times.
This year’s A-to-Z blogging challenge was a bust! I truly wanted to explore these topics more in depth! In the past, I was very spontaneous with my prompts and wrote whatever I was in the mood for which was surprisingly quite successful.
A2Z Survivor? Hardly (at least not for April)! Below features all the topics I wanted to write about this past month. I’ll certainly save them for later! I’ll probably change this blogging challenge month-long sprint into a year-long marathon.
a - Axolotl
b - Burj al Arab
c - Ciselure
d - Dogme 95
e - Entremets
f - Fallingwater
g - Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
h - Hanno the White Elephant
i - Isicathamiya
j - Juggernaut
k - Krampusnacht
l - La Tomatina
m - Michael Jackson's Manifesto
n - Neottious
o - Orlov Diamond
p - Paisley Underground
q - Qasida
r - Rose Trellis Egg
s - Songkran / Shibuya-kei / Sagrada Familia
t - Trumpets of the Martians
u - Umbilicanimism (American Beauty)
v - Viking Metal / Venetian Mask
w - Wonky Pop
x - Xuan Calligraphy Paper
y - Yag (Carmen San Diego Fanfiction)
z - Zen Manifesto
On top of that, I started a separate blog about project management for school thinking I could juggle another challenge…simultaneously! That was a certainly a no-go. I did manage to write about how AI is helping Save the Ghost of the Mountain. A pat on the back for something launched!
These overall reflections of my recent A2Z experience leads me to think about a question that Dr. Tanya asked sometime back in February.
Do you have a niche for your blog? If so tell us more about it. I think it would be visual storytelling – I called my blog Culture Shocks to focus on sharing my reactions to new cultural experiences. I wanted to undergo great periods of growth, and jarring experiences would help me stretch outside my own boundaries and meet new people.
At the very least, it would attract those who relish in new adventures and seek novel experiences because variety is the spice in life. I figured I would have plenty of fresh content so long as I didn’t pigeon-hole myself as to how I conveyed these experiences to my audience.
Have you ever thought of niche-ing down and why? Yes, plenty of times! I think it gives me great purpose to be intentional about the audience I would be writing for who is serious about reading your content. It would motivate me to write even when I may not always feel like it because I wouldn’t want to let them down. I actually found old blogs I wrote years ago before Culture Shocks: 2009 – Trash to Treasure Do-It-Yourself (DIY) projects 2012 – Exploration into World Literature 2012 – Confessions of a Parapsychologist Assistant At the time, I thought it was just easier having separate audiences for vastly different topics. I felt like if I could focus on a particular niche, then I might be more prolific. It’s difficult to write regularly for separate blogs and maintain different brand personas. Even while doing this challenge, I thought to myself, “Gee, wouldn’t it be easier to explore deeply about one topic rather than write from five categories?”
If you chose just one as your niche, how much would you miss writing about the others? Too much! There’s times where I feel like a skimmer rather than a diver. Though I do wonder: If I chose a niche, perhaps I can tie those topics with something unrelated and find some point of commonality which can provide a new angle on an established topic.
After Dr. Tanya’s question, Fandango shared a provocative question that also made me reflect:
What DID make me write today in the midst of my busy life? My last post was 2 weeks ago. I just finished working on a rigorous 3-month long project for work this morning. Safeguarding my sanity meant encasing myself in a bubble. My supervisor and CEO said to me, “It’s time to take a well-deserved break!”
I take such a deep breath, I didn’t realize how much oxygen I missed. I realize I blog when I want to chat about something, but I don’t really share in public. I can share random trivia tidbits without worrying about wasting other people’s time.
I look over to my left and my eyes fixate on my cute, whimsical owls, and my thoughts drifted into how I missed my whimsical blog. I once read a journal article titled:
The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus
I’m exhausted. I almost don’t want to stare at a screen. Yet, I miss the people in this community and want to stay close the proverbial campfire. While eating some ambrosia salad, I wrote this poem below with intertwined quotes:
Take a Deep Breath.
Do you know the feeling that DEADLINES induce?
Future date unmistakably marked
Yet, why does it feel imaginary?
Why doesn't iit feel as real as The Present?
Deadlines just aren’t real to me until I’m staring one in the face.
― Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief
Deadline looms around the corner Like a shadow in a dark alley Skin tingles. Hair prickles. Its impending presence
…grind us to the lowest depth of subjugation…
– William Williston Heartsill, Diary of William Williston Heartsill (entry Mar. 1863)
Everlasting companions: Anxiety, Stress, Exhaustion Gradually creep into one's well being Despite Deep Breaths' attempts to squash its vitality, Lassoing the infamous Trio proves quite difficult
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
– Ecclesiastes 4:12
Calling in for reinforcements Spiro-meters are important To measure the shortness of breath, but to tackle it? A Blessing Counter. A Kindness Barometer. A Playfulness Gauge. Maybe, a flexible Salvidor Dali's clock Or... a Clock that breaks quite often So that you can take a break along with it.
Focusing on the act of breathing clears the mind of all daily distractions and clears our energy enabling us to better connect with the Spirit within.
– Author Unknown
Not ready to receive my comeuppance Deadline taps me on the shoulder Delivers the final pummeling blow Just as quickly as It arrived It was gone in a flash and left without a trace.
Breathe deeply, until sweet air extinguishes the burn of fear in your lungs and every breath is a beautiful refusal to become anything less than infinite.
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”
Hello there! Today’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness from Linda G. Hill is: “…write about whatever is beside you when you read this prompt. Not when you sit down to write, but whatever is beside you right now. Take note of it if you think you might forget. Enjoy!”
So, I read this prompt while jogging in a deserted field area this afternoon. Em from Earthly Brain shared a prompt as well: “ If I could learn a lesson from the clouds, it would be …“. An impromptu poem materialized in my head. Enjoy!
Puffy cotton balls reflecting brilliant light Today I greet the day as it comes Drifting along with the wind
It’s somewhat difficult for me to play hide-and-go seek as I often gleam behind nature
No matter though, Sunny and I Our friendship is billions of years old Together on the best and worst of days
A generous spirit today Frolicking among you Revealing a wondrous site