Posted in Culture, fiction, Quotes

#A2Z- The Ciselure Shop (fiction)

The chimes on the door clanged. A portly gentleman dressed in an olive-green tweed suit just entered Vpyshit’sya, a small shop nestled within a mountain village of Dzembronya, Ukraine. Novak took a burgundy handkerchief from out of his breast pocket, and wiped the dust off his gold rimmed glasses. He breathed a sigh of relief that he arrived in one piece as the foggy weather made safety of the travelling conditions questionable.

After taking a quick glance inside, he decided to walk around the shop quietly studying the craftsmanship of the metal pieces that were on display. He displayed a keen perspicacity in recognizing quality pieces. He heard about this shop as he chatted to the barman last night. Ukraine was well known for a variety of metal and wood carvings.

He was immediately enthused by the diversity of products he found: unique jewelry that was encased by glass display boxes, brass Viking shields that hung on the walls, intricately engraved kitchen knife sets, engraved metal wall decor.

He slowly found his way to the check out desk in the back of the shop. He noticed a young lady diligently working in the back room. Sophia’s family has been in the ciselure business for five generations. Her family taught her everything they knew, and precocious Sophia became a young master in the craft. She was inspired by a few techniques from a video she watched.

She was finishing up an jewelry box for an exhibit held at the Metal Working International Trade Fair in Kiev, the capital. She was looking forward to learning new things in metallurgy and the innovative tools in metal industry.

Novak cleared his throat, “Excuse me, mam. I was told that you can create metal designs for a wide variety of things.” Sophia broke from her trance, got up from her workstation, and walked towards the man. He took out a wooden box from his bag, and set it on the table.

“Careful now, there’s a golden pocket knife I would like to engrave for my son. It’s his birthday and there is something I would like to inscribe.” He took out a note for Sophia to read:

My son, take time to sharpen your skills, your tools, your resources, and you’ll be more productive. Much love, Novak

Image Credit: Pixabay

In response to:

Posted in awareness, Concepts, Culture, Events, Quotes

#FFE 16 – Phases of the Effects of Broken Glass

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

European Proverb

As Mel has done, I turned to Google for help in interpreting this statement that Fandango has shared with everyone. It boils down to not criticizing the character faults of others when you have similar faults. Sounds like an ideal in understanding humanity’s fragility.

I came across some very striking interpretations along the way. Below is a creative work done by tattoo artist, Sam Barber, featuring a vulnerable woman who is struck by the aftermath from the blow of broken glass. It touches on some points Mel has written about how painstaking it is to rebuild a person who has been shattered. The storms in life can rank up such fear. How can one be comforted when they’re exposed and open to another attack once the glass has been shattered?

Jentheripper – 8 Sharp Broken Glass Tattoos

My mind jumps to an extreme literal example. My memory recalled an assignment I had about “Kristallnacht”, otherwise known as “Night of Broken Glass” during November 9-10, 1938 when the Nazis brutally assaulted the Jews while everything was ravaged and shattered.

Realizing that his home was now uninhabitable, he broke down and – as he confessed in the letter – started sobbing like a child.

Jewish merchant, Martin Fröhlich
The Conversation – The forgotten mass destruction of Jewish homes during ‘Kristallnacht’

Koenigsberg’s New Synagogue took as long as 80 YEARS to rebuild from the aftermath! Now that is the recovery of a building, can you imagine the recuperation of the people? Despite these devastating events, another Kristallnacht occurred 17 years later in Turkey in September 6, 1955.

Image Credit: Greek Reporter

Below is another compelling interpretation I found from a Dutch artist who seems to favor a realism approach acknowledging that people from glass houses will always throw stones even though they shouldn’t. From this pain, one can acquire wisdom.

Image Credit: MAF RÄDERSCHEIDT 

They say people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Maybe, but sometimes it’s a good idea. Only those who live in a fragile surrounding in consciousness and with the fantasy of danger, protect themselves. And other glass houses. Daily Painting about glass houses

Alles, was Kunst ist – A painting a day keeps the doctor away

It leads me to think of the individuals who felt this way:

Pain makes me grow. Growing is what I want. Therefore, for me pain is pleasure.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.

Lao Tzu

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.

Kahlil Gibran
Image Credit: Envato Market

It makes me wonder why people are attracted to super human individuals who can withstand the symbolic impact of broken glass when watching a film. Perhaps it’s because we realize how fragile we can be, and anything to the contrary intrigues or inspires us.

Image Credit: Envato Market
Posted in Food/Recipes, Music, Nature, Photography, Quotes

Life’s Too Short

“We only have one life and one body to care of, and we better do it right. You never know what tomorrow may bring and so we better live this life the best we can and be grateful for everything we have.”

Novak Djokovic

I want to wish all of my readers a very happy Thanksgiving! Life outside the blog-o-sphere has been very busy. Tried a confetti creamed corn recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe for a few potluck dinners I was invited to, and though it doesn’t quite look like her pictures 😉 it was still a great hit!

Rory’s Challenge? 3 quotes. 2 songs. 1 image…
Once again, I over-delivered! Take care everyone! ❤

Rory’s 321 Quote Me
Beautiful mellow sentiments
Enjoying my varied tropical music jams! ❤
Chill Your Mind background music – Summer as a mindset! 🙂
Snapshot of my new cute bracelet that my women’s fellowship gifted me with!
Image Credit: Pinterest
Posted in flashback, poetry, Quotes

#OctPoWriMo5 – So Many Doors

“Zeal is a volcano, the peak of which the grass of indecisiveness does not grow.”

Khalil Ghibran

So many possibilities to choose from
Caught in the web of analysis paralysis
Which door will be right for me?
Each one presents an insightful experience
Curious to know what’s on the other side
Seeking a cure to my indecisiveness

Tick-Tock… Tick-tock…Tick-tock

Can I knock on each one and see if there’s any response?
Can I peek inside and if I don’t like it, can I just pop back out?
What if I took some time to hang out behind one door?
Contemplating the consequences of choosing one door over another
What’s worse is if I didn’t choose any door at all
As I’m pacing in chaotic, deep thought,
I hear a set of keys jingling in my pocket
Aha! Which doors can these open?

Tick-Tock… Tick-tock…Tick-tock

Time to walk confidently in the chosen path
Decision is transformed into a courageous undertaking
One that shapes my destiny and gives me inner peace
Freedom to learn from the outcomes outweighs the risk of regret
Future is built from committed present actions
Tenacity and attitude fuels purpose-filled grace

Day 5 – Bop
Posted in Dance, flashback, Food/Recipes, Makeup, Quotes

Waiting for a Persimmon to Ripen

Good evening everyone! VJ’s prompt about ripening has me thinking about quite a few things today. With fall looming around the corner, I couldn’t help but think of persimmons with its bright orange color! It is a mighty fruit packed with some powerful benefits:

  • Aids in weight loss & its fiber promotes a healthy digestive system
  • Can help regulate sugar in blood for diabetics
  • Rich source of phytochemicals which helps in warding off inflammatory infections
  • Anti-hemorrhagic properties which helps control excessive bleeding
  • Helps with hypertension because of its low sodium levels
  • Source of vitamin C to strengthen immune system
  • Source of vitamin A, shibuol, betulinic acid to help fight cancer
  • Source of a complex vitamin B which helps improve eye health
  • Source of copper which helps iron absorption and produces red blood cells
  • Source of potassium which helps retain significant minerals
  • Natural energizer relieving stress and exhaustion
  • Has some anti-aging properties as seen in some soap and this beauty blogger review of Amalie Beauty Persimmon Anti-Aging Nightcreme

My thoughts begin to wander onto some quotes, however…

“Age is not all decay. It is the ripening, the swelling of the fresh life within that withers and bursts the husk.”

George McDonald

My father used to grow some persimmon trees in our backyard. They come in two varieties: astringent and non-astringent. When they’re not ripe, biting into one leaves a bitter taste that lingers in your mouth taking its time before it leaves your tongue. With a little more patience, you can taste a wonderfully sweet fruit which makes the wait worth it.

“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.

Eden Phillpotts, author

A rather interesting analogy to segway into some new events in my life. I recently got hired to be a technical writer at a cybersecurity firm! Very excited by this new development and chapter of my journey. Yet, it took me a while to get to this point. Many times I felt rather impatient with my own growth, but in hindsight, it took some time for my knowledge and information gained from my studies to mature before it was finally ready to be put into action.

“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers. It may not be difficult to store up in the mind a vast quantity of facts within a comparatively short time, but the ability to form judgement requires the severe discipline of hard work and the tempering heat of experience and maturity.”

Calvin Coolidge, Former U.S. president

It’s been a few days since I’ve drank from this firehose of this major life transition – a constant outpouring of new ideas to take in, process, and from that immense gulp, I’m responsible for creating a grand tool that can unlock a whole new world of possibilities for my coworkers and myself.

“Nothing is finer for the purposes of great productions, than a very gradual ripening of the intellectual powers.”

John Keats

I should really slow down though as the quote above reminds me of the fine potential that can be derived from a gradual ripening. 😉 That said, I feel like a giddy metal worker dancing amidst the flying sparks as I’m in creation mode!

Posted in flashback

3 Things Challenge: PL152 – Basketball Lesson

Good morning everyone! I had such a fun day at the amusement park with my friends two days ago. A great way for me to end the summer with a bang! So, it will be my first time participating in Paula Light’s 3TC where she will give three random words for you to write about. When I saw this weeks prompt, it reminded me of a memory!

Paula Light’s 3TC – sweatpants, court, begonia

My sweatpants were soaked with perspiration from my two mile jog outside on the school track. The yard is surrounded by many houses outside the chain link fence. Some days I envy the homeowners who are watering their beautiful begonias in their front yards as I’m huffing and puffing on my runs. After our warm up, we head inside and show our instructors our game play.

Coaches peered out in the sea of girls performing sets of drills on the court studying who they want on the basketball team. I practiced my drills at home: dribbling back and forth, spinning the ball, shooting into the net, playing with neighborhood friends.

My shoes squeaked on the glistening wooden floors. I dribble the ball, and run towards the hoop. For a moment, the room is muted, and it’s just me and the net. I leap into the air, hook my left arm, and shoot the layup.

The ball skirts the edge and falls outside. Disappointed, I run towards the bleachers where the rest of my classmates were standing …

*THUD* My vision was obscured by white stars as I temporarily blacked out. I just crashed into the bleachers.

“Sa! Are you alright!” My basketball coach exclaimed with a motherly expression on her face.

Before the shot, I took my glasses off because they were falling off my face. Probably not the wisest idea. My vision and depth of perception of objects was horrible without them. 😉

Posted in awareness, Concepts, Culture, Events, flashback, Freedom of Expression, Photography, Social Justice

Freedom of Expression – Revival!

Hamsa Hand

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Home decor at Big Lots store

Good morning everyone! Hope you had a wonderful weekend! I looked up a Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of revival to refresh my understanding and this is what popped up:

  • a new presentation or publication of something old
  • renewed attention to or interest in something
  • a return of strength and importance

When I visited my niece, I noticed reoccurring symbol in her artwork that captivated me. An eye in the palm of a hand. She herself didn’t knew what it meant but I was surprised because I’ve suddenly encountered the symbol a lot in my environment. Following my curiosity, I learned that it is known as the “Hand of God” (or Hand of Fatima), an spiritual symbol of protection from the evil eye to bring health, wealth, good fortune, happiness, good luck, and fertility. Ooo la-la!

Hamsa’s earliest origins were in the middle east. Several celebrities (Jennifer Aniston, Heidi Klum, Jay-Z, Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna) have been spotted wearing it. To learn more about the symbolic significance in various religions, you can visit this website! https://aromantly.com/blogs/spirituality/hamsa-meaning

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Saw this pretty necklace in the jewelry store and got it for my niece

A Visit Back to Yesteryear

Richa shared some wonderful quotes which made me reflect on my past life a bit. I was browsing through LinkedIn today and came across an article about burnout and this section prompted a flashback:

Ten years ago, I had my first experience with burnout in my early years of college. I was in need of delimiting my responsibilities. I was studying many things that I was passionate about in combination with subject matter that I was not interested in. I wasn’t getting as much sleep as I should have and lost weight from not eating properly because I was trying to keep up with my peers and stay on top of my scholarly workload.

One day, a childhood friend once noted and said to me, “You don’t pray often, do you?” I felt a little irked and thought to myself, “How would she know if I prayed in my private time? Can she really assume?” A nagging question suddenly dawned on me though. I wondered if an individual’s interior life of prayer can affect one’s external life.

Despite me conducting so much research on my assignments and looking for answers, I was cognizant of the fact that there are some things that cannot be answered via research database. One night, I lied in my bed and stared at the ceiling. Though I loved what I was doing in college, paradoxically, I also prayed for some way of escape…at least temporarily.

During my time on campus, I became aware of a religious awakening spreading throughout the student body. Many people described it as a “revival”. Speakers shared stories with a sort of fervor that I was unaccustomed to. Many students from a variety of faith backgrounds mingled, sincerely listened to each other, studied together, prayed for one another through their troubles, and offered assistance where needed.

Quenching the thirst of my curiosity, I also read academic books on the history of prayer and the power of intercessory prayer. I also poured over various religious books of wisdom while hanging out in prayer houses. I suddenly became very intrigued by these ancient books. My mom was entertained by my fascination with these dead authors. 😉

After years of the frost of cynicism covering these student lives, I witnessed dramatic transformations and strengthened relationships. Admittedly, it felt unreal to me to experience a beautiful scene of an integrated diverse community where people didn’t just tolerate differences in one another, but wholeheartedly embraced all the quirks within each other. Some developed a fresh zeal to tackle on local problems in society like hunger, diabetes, homelessness, trafficking, etc.

So! That’s what revival has meant to me in my life. What about you? 🙂

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 flashback, Quotes

Freedom of Expression – Father!

Richa’s prompt – Father!

This is one story of an incredible man who I have admired ever since I was a young girl!

Image Credit: Pixabay

“I’m finished!” Dad exclaimed as he completed the final touches of the sand castle. The seagulls in the brilliant blue skies flew above us as mom threw bread pieces in the air.

I looked up after admiring some seashells in the sand by my feet. I gasped at dad’s sculpted masterpiece. He didn’t use any sand buckets or shovels. He created several large sculptures shaped by his hands utilizing a drip technique mixing sand and water. Always an engineer even when he’s on vacation! He is always passionate about building things. I remembered browsing through his box of college textbooks, and seeing his thoughts written in the margins of the pages.

Dad came from a rural area of Vietnam and had humble beginnings. Adventurous and full of mischief, he loved telling jokes as a kid and still does today. Although, he came from an impoverished neighborhood, he didn’t let it stop him from dreaming amazing big dreams and plans to make everyone in his life as happy as they can be. He pursued a different path than his brothers and sisters who were monks, fishermen, and painters, yet he gleaned from the lessons learned from his siblings. Intense, hardworking, and a determined go-getter, he took quite a few risks to reach some meaningful goals in life.

Image Credit Pixabay

Walking away from battles that don’t matter is not weak; that takes a strong person. That’s a mark of honor. Fall seven times, stand up eight.

– Japanese Proverb 

He was a strong soldier, but he didn’t want hurt anyone if there was no reason for it. Deep down, Dad is a gentle soul who doesn’t like confrontation, and yet I’ll never forget the day when he went to a peaceful protest to show his support for Vietnam’s fight for independence from the communist grip. Dad’s quiet presence was in solidarity with the activists. He showed me to fight for what is important.

When I encounter the world around me and see much suffering, I realize that he has given me so much and how blessed I am. Growing up, I felt liked I lived a life of royalty. Dad treated me and my sister like princesses, my brothers as princes, his wife, a queen. I will always say I had idyllic childhood and he played an instrumental part in that!

I remembered when dad would faithfully drop us off at the library every Saturday to explore the wisdom of others for the day. It was my safe haven and my second home.

His worst nightmare is when he sees me in pain. He comforted me when I had my own nightmares. He taught me there’s harm in hanging on to things that have hurt you.

Dad, you are so generous and forgiving. You bring joy to your friends’ lives by helping them laugh and see a different point of view. You’ve instilled a love of music for us by giving us a karaoke set so we can sing the night away and giving us a piano as a way to express our emotions and feelings.

I hope you know how much I love you. You’ve given me your very best, and I never want to let you down. I know you would never share any of this as you are such a humble man, but I want you to know how extraordinary you are.

Happy Belated Father’s Day Dad!
You are a light in the darkness
From Daddy’s Little Girl
Image Credit: Pixabay