bookworms unite

vintage books crossJanuary 7, 2015

Oh what a world, what a world. But we have our books. Reading. A saving grace. Rescuing us from aloneness, loneliness, boredom and emptiness. Providing company, comfort, commiseration, motivation, answers, distraction, entertainment and…joy. Books are great friends and lovers indeed.

When the Day of Judgment dawns and people come marching in to receive their heavenly rewards, the Almighty will gaze upon the mere bookworms and say to Peter, “Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them. They have loved reading.” -Virginia Woolf

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. -Charles William Eliot

Only in books could you find pity, comfort, happiness – and love…they gave you security and friendship and didn’t ask anything in return… -Cornelia Funke, The Inkheart Trilogy: 

I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I read a book one day and my whole life was changed. -Orhan Pamuk, The New Life

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read. -Groucho Marx

Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them.
-Arnold Lobel

roots up

tree and roots crossJanuary 8, 2015

If you’re tired or beaten down, take a break from reaching outward and upward. Go inside and draw down. Pull nourishment up from the roots that live in your quiet underground space.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother. -Herman Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
-J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

the power of three

primary colors crossJanuary 9, 2015

What color can there ever be, without the mixing of these three? I’m talking about my favorite threesome: the primary colors red, blue and yellow. These are the colors that cannot be created using a mix of any other colors, yet they are the root of every hue imaginable when mixed together in various concentrations. Speaking of the power of three (which happens to be my favorite number), there is “the rule of three” for speaking and writing which says that ideas presented in threes are somehow funnier or more interesting, memorable or effective than other numbers of things. Think about famous “threes” like Larry, Moe and Curly (The Three Stooges), The Three Little Pigs, “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” “The Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria,” Charlie’s Angels, Three Blind Mice, the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings Trilogies, the Three Wise Men–the list goes on. What’s your favorite set of three?

And the three men I admire most
The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost
They caught the last train for the coast…
-Lyrics from “American Pie” by Don McLean

levity and light

yellow crossJanuary 10, 2015

Today, my hand at a very simple print. I was thinking about the quality of lightness, feeling light, levity. That rare sense of being completely unburdened: free from worry, restrictions, constrictions, constraints, frustration, irritation, anger. Pure lightness of being. A luminous yellow helium balloon soaring, laughing, liberated.

The body…is subject to the force of gravity. But the soul is ruled by levity, pure. -Saul Bellow

Build lightness in.
-Alberto Santos-Dumont, aviation pioneer

sunday words

the power of words crossJanuary 11, 2015

What kind of words do you use when you speak to others, and just as importantly, when you speak to yourself? Are they words that are kind, uplifting, encouraging and worthy of the Spirit that lives within each of us?

Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. -Rudyard Kipling

Be Impeccable with your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love. Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

Thanks to words, we have been able to rise above the brutes; and thanks to words, we have often sunk to the level of the demons. -Aldous Huxley

The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit. -Proverbs 18:21 NIV

Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation. -Matthew 12:37 MSG

You string some letters together, and you make a word. You string some words together, and you make a sentence, then a paragraph, then a chapter. Words have power. -Chloe Neill

oh, humanity

red crossJanuary 12, 2015

The Red Cross, symbol of humanity, was born from the inhumanity of war. From the founders to the workers to the volunteers and donors, it’s an organization of wonder and a testament to the human heart. The symbol is shorthand for hope and relief.

The International Red Cross…is the largest humanitarian network in the world. Its mission is to alleviate human suffering, protect life and health, and uphold human dignity especially during armed conflicts and other

In 1862 Swiss businessman Jean-Henri Dunant witnessed the horrors of an Italian battle. He called for national voluntary relief organizations to help nurse wounded soldiers, and for international treaties to protect wartime medics and hospitals. In 1863, the  International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was founded, followed by the 1864 Geneva Convention, which established such protections.

According to the ICRC, the Red Cross symbol was a reversal of the colors of the Swiss flag. By some accounts, the symbol was also intended to counter Turkey’s objections that the flag derived from a Christian symbol.

Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. in 1881. Returning from Europe after the Civil War, she campaigned for an American Red Cross and for the 1882 ratification of the Geneva Convention.

I have an almost complete disregard of precedent, and a faith in the possibility of something better. It irritates me to be told how things have always been done. I defy the tyranny of precedent. I go for anything new that might improve the past.
-Clara Barton

A Red Cross–the universal symbol of human compassion. Under that flag, there are no enemies, no racial or religious animosities. There are only brothers. -President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1968

somewhere in the middle?

middlewayJanuary 13, 2015

Buddha describes The Middle Way as a path of moderation, between the extremes of sensual indulgence and self-denial. But it’s also a means to tranquility and evenness (although some people like to live in the highs and lows), by avoiding the undue ripples or stormy seas set in motion by extremes in thought, word or action. Because the waves that are sent out are the waves that return, in varying forces. I’m not talking about flatlining or being boring, or about not reaching for the stars, enjoying life to the fullest or changing the status quo. Just observation and awareness, perspective and moderation–most of the time.

Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity. -Socrates

What goes up must come down. Isaac Newton

To maintain serenity without getting exuberant in joy or cast down in sadness, this will be tranquility of mind. -Seneca

Human thought is like a monstrous pendulum; it keeps winging from one extreme to the other. -Eugene Field

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. -Isaac Newton

[Be] alike in success and defeat…yoga is perfect evenness of mind. -from the Bhagavad Gita

Let your moderation be known unto all men. -Philippians 4:5 KJV

Moderation in all things, especially moderation. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. -Thomas Paine

flower child


daisycrossJanuary 14, 2015

A.K.A. Hippie chick, late 1960s: innocent, idealistic and carefree, clad in vivid florals and faded jeans, offering flowers as symbols of peace and love, complete with dreamy eyes and a groovy vibe.

If you’re going to San Francisco*
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you’re going to San Francisco
You’re gonna meet some gentle people there

For those who come to San Francisco
Summertime will be a love-in there
In the streets of San Francisco
Gentle people with flowers in their hair

All across the nation, such a strange vibration
People in motion
There’s a whole generation with a new explanation
People in motion, people in motion

-Lyrics to San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair), written in 1967 by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas

*The Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people converged in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. Although hippies also gathered in major cities across the U.S., Canada and Europe, San Francisco remained the center of the Hippie Revolution.


gigo2January 15, 2015

Are you familiar with the term GIGO (garbage in, garbage out)? It’s a concept in computer science and math that says the quality of output is determined by the quality of input. So what does that have to do with us regular peeps? Think mind=software and brain=hardware. The mind intends, imagines, dreams, schemes, conceives, observes, judges and interprets. The brain processes and obeys, according to the code it’s given. The output is a belief system that determines and affects how we experience life. What quality of code, or thoughts, do you send to your brain on a regular basis? Does your brain need some reprogramming? What do you feed your brain? What do you watch on TV and what do you read or listen to? Where do you put the majority of your focus? What’s going in: goodness or garbage? 

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet. -Mahatma Gandhi

no-fist friday

open hand crossJanuary 16, 2015

Open up, let go…

Life is not a fist. Life is an open hand waiting for some other hand to enter it. -Elie Wiesel

Grasping at things can only yield one of two results:
Either the thing you are grasping at disappears, or you yourself disappear.
It is only a matter of which occurs first. Goenka

surface pattern

black and white textured floral crossJanuary 17, 2015

What interested me was not news, but appraisal. What I sought was to grasp the flavor of a man, his texture, his impact, what he stood for, what he believed in, what made him what he was and what color he gave to the fabric of his time. -John Gunther

stained-glass sunday

stained glass crossJanuary 18, 2015

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.
-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

I consider myself a stained-glass window…I am the multi-colored glass with light filtering through me, in many different shades. Allowing light to shed and fall into many many hues. My job is not to direct anything, but only to filter into many colors. -C. JoyBell C.

dreamers unite

martin luther king artJanuary 19, 2015

We all came in on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now.
-Martin Luther King Jr.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one. -John Lennon

All men of action are dreamers. -James Huneker

Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. – Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

the love of being

heart red crossJanuary 20, 2015

Do you ever enjoy just “being?” It’s one of my favorite things not “to do (when I can manage to get into that state)!” Being isn’t the same as sitting quietly with your thoughts (although that can be nice too). Being is the pleasure of simply existing and enjoying the rhythm of your breath. It is sinking into, and merging with, everything around you. You are without past, future, boundaries or resistance. You become a transparent presence through which everything flows with grace and ease. At least for a moment or two (or more…fingers crossed).

Sometimes I Think, Sometimes I Am -Sara Fanelli

Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits…
-A.A. Milne, Creator of Winnie the Pooh

Be–don’t try to become. -Osho

yearn. long. want.

copper and wood crossJanuary 21, 2015

The money, health and love boxes have been ticked off. And yet. And yet. There’s an itchy river of discontent snaking through our insides. We yearn for, long after, and want….what???? Something intangible and more dimensional is gnawing at us, as yet unknowable and decidedly elusive. In the end, what we really want is to feel alarmingly alive, raw and real. What we long for is the noisy but prized “click” of self and soul aligning.

KRAMER: Do you ever yearn? 
GEORGE: Yearn? Do I yearn? 
KRAMER: I yearn. 
GEORGE: You yearn. 
KRAMER: Oh, yes. Yes, I yearn. Often, I…I sit…and yearn. Have you yearned?
GEORGE: Well, not recently. I craved. I crave all the time, constant craving…but I haven’t yearned.
-Seinfeld Episode “The Keys,” Season 3, Episode 23

We’re constant travelers, full of want. It’s that great discontent that drives us forward…-Ryan and Tina Essmaker,

But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.
-Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

what’s your vibe?

energy vibrationsJanuary 22, 2015

We are beings of vibrating energy, transmitting frequencies determined by our state of mind, feelings and belief system. Considering the theory that “like attracts like,” we are not only transmitters, but we are also receivers! Therefore, what we broadcast energetically–unknowingly and invisibly–shows up tangibly in our life’s circumstances.  This is a really interesting idea in terms of problematic patterns that stubbornly persist, despite dogged efforts to fix them externally. We might be better served to work on shifting undesirable effects by shifting our transmissions first. This takes intense personal scrutiny and sleuthing to identify our “broadcast,” and sustained, conscious effort to change our outgoing “program.” Take a look around you…what’s your vibe?

If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration. -Nikola Tesla

The game of life is a game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later with astounding accuracy. Florence Scovel Shinn

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?…Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. -Matthew 7:16, 7:20 NIV

re-seed and water

flower crossJanuary 23, 2015

Time blooms, a single day ripening into years. Aspirations, enthusiasm, hopes and faith may wither and fade into background noise. And so we re-seed and water what makes us feel hopeful, excited and joyful. We emerge again and reshape ourselves under the same sun.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
-2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV

Life is like a flowing stream; once the flow stops, our life becomes stagnant. When we remove the dams and debris we have accumulated and encourage it to flow freely, it becomes a source of sustenance and renewal and growth for us and for all with whom we share it. –Tom Hackett

If you want to know, life is the principle of self-renewal, it is constantly renewing and remaking and changing and transfiguring itself… –Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago

homage to monet

monet crossJanuary 24, 2015

I don’t think I’m made for any earthly kind of pleasure.

Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.

It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.

-Claude Monet, one of the founders of French Impressionism, most widely known for his series of Waterlilies paintings and the paintings of his gardens at Giverny.

same, but different

watercolor crossesJanuary 25, 2015

On average, the DNA of humans is 99.9% identical from one to the next. Although our genetic difference is minuscule–about 0.1 percent–the variety of packages we come in make life so much more interesting!

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven. -Yiddish Proverb

One love, one blood
One life you got to do what you should
One life with each other: sisters, brothers
One life, but we’re not the same
We get to carry each other, carry each other
-Lyrics from “One” by U2

Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box. –Italian Proverb

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.1 Corinthians 12:12 ESV

Whatever you may be sure of, be sure of this: That you are dreadfully like other people. -James Russell Lowell

still watching

saint marks campanile, san marco campanile, venice belltowerJanuary 26, 2015

This old photo, dated 1949, was one of hundreds of photos taken by my peripatetic father. It’s the famous San Marco Campanile (the bell tower of Saint Mark’s Cathedral) in Venice, Italy. I myself will be revisiting it in June, some 66 years after the photograph was taken. Although the campanile reached its current form in 1514, it was initially constructed in the 9th century as a watch tower or lighthouse. The bell tower suffered repeated damages from lightning, fire and earthquakes throughout the centuries, and in 1902 it collapsed completely. By 1912 it had been reconstructed. Since the 1500s, the top of the tower has been graced with a gold statue of Archangel Gabriel–God’s “messenger” angel–who presides over the city. The name Gabriel means “God is my strength.”

And off in the far distance, the gold on the wings of the angel atop the bell tower of San Marco flashed in the sun, bathing the entire city in its glistening benediction.  –Donna Leon, Death in a Strange Country

stranger in a strange land

et alienJanuary 27, 2015

Everyone feels like an alien at one time or another, right (uhm, or is it just me)? Different and unknown, trapped in his or her truths. The last, sane sucker in a mad, mad world. Or, the only defective humanoid on the planet. You crave scarce kindred spirits who speak your brand of gibberish, will go for a spin on your saucer, and share snickers at sightings of the absurd. But you adapt to your temporary homeland by smiling, nodding and falling into step. Solace and reminders of home abide in the glittering universe around and within. Sigh. You’ll be home soon enough.

It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile
Be yourself no matter what they say
I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien
-Lyrics to “Englishman in New York” by Sting

He is afraid. He is totally alone. He is 3 million light years from home. -Tagline from the movie E.T.

Feel the sky fall down upon me!
All I have, are miles full of promises of home.
Days will pass, your words to me,
It seems so long; eternity…
-Lyrics from “Evacuee,” by Roma Ryan, sung by Enya

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.Matthew 28:20 NIV

our personal GPS

i am a signJuly 28, 2015

The best way to read “signs from above” is to listen to the whispers deep in your belly–your gut. When the whispers are ignored, along come the nudges, then the sharp pokes to the side. Finally, there’s a cast-iron pot cracking you on the head (aren’t we lucky somebody or something is looking out for us?)!

I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me. -Hermann Hesse

What we see depends mainly on what we look for. -John Lubbock

Often subtle clues are not obvious enough for the stubborn…This is when God stops throwing crumbs and starts throwing the whole piece of bread. If you step on moldy bread then you know you have waited too long.  –Shannon L. Alder

counting riches

RichesBJanuary 29, 2015

Growing up, if my father wasn’t nearby, we’d joke that he was in the “counting house.” That meant he was in his study, where he kept meticulous accounts of monthly income and expenses on an old-fashioned ledger in his elegant handwriting. These days, I try to count my riches by actively observing how abundant the days are–from feet and legs that can rise out of bed, to nabbing a front-row parking space, to the plentiful array of groceries at my market. My prized family and friends, along with health, are first on the list. Keeping a line-by-line ledger of how rich you really are generates joy and wonder. By the way, you’ve probably heard about the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal, but did you know there’s an app for that? You betcha! Just search in the iTunes store under “gratitude journal” and you’ll find a wealth of choices.

The grateful heart sits at a continuous feast. -Unknown

Think of Divine Abundance as a mighty, refreshing rain.  Whatever receptacle you have at hand will receive it.  If you hold up a tin cup, you will receive only that quantity.  If you hold up a bowl, that will be filled.  What kind of receptacle are you holding up to Divine Abundance? –Paramahansa Yogananda

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. -Oprah

countdown to sunday

Superbowl countdown crossJanuary 30, 2015

I’m thinking some people might want to take a pass on the first quote for Superbowl purposes?

Whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.-Mahatma Gandhi

The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. That’s the essence of it. -Vince Lombardi

It is not for us to calculate our victory or fear our defeat, but to do our duty and leave the rest in God’s hands. -Alan Keyes

Oh the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. -Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

simple saturday

purplesilverJanuary 31, 2015

He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love…Song of Solomon 3:11 KJV

For purple mountain majesties 
Above the enameled plain 
America, America 
May God thy gold refine 
Till all success be nobleness 
And every gain divine
-America the Beautiful, Words by Katharine Lee Bates