Be The Light: Of Ladybugs, Love & A Clever Little Girl

I’ve joined in a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

The purpose of this event is to highlight positive news stories, presenting them on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of April, I have a story to share with you, my gentle readers. 

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THE NEWS STORY:  

Did you know that in the Jewish religion when visiting a loved one’s grave it’s customary to leave a stone on the grave?  These stones are called visitation stones.

I wasn’t aware of this tradition until I read about a girl who took it upon herself, in response to cemetery vandalism, to create some pretty hand-painted lady bug and heart visitation stones.

The complete story [found here with video] tells of 6-year-old Ayel’s response upon learning that vandals had damaged her great-great-great-grandmother’s tombstone in a St. Louis cemetery.  Ayel decided to paint some stones for herself, and for all the other families who had experienced this vandalism, as a way of showing kindness to the living– and respect to the deceased.

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MY COMMENTARY:

If you took the time to watch the video, then you’ve already realized that Ayel is cuter than the bee’s knees.  I mean, how could you not love her?

That smile!

But beyond that fact I like this kid’s spirit.  She understands what happened in the cemetery and that it was a lousy thing for anyone to do.  However, instead of ignoring what happened or giving in to helplessness, she’s opted for kindness.

Ayel intuitively gets what many adults have forgotten.  She understands that creating something healing and meaningful doesn’t have to be complicated.  It just has to come from the heart.

Which, as anyone with even just an ounce of kindness in their soul knows, is a great place to start.

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Share Your World | On The Deck With The Usual Suspects

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Re: what I mentioned last week that I was looking forward to doing. On our deck we now have a small herb + vegetable garden with the usual suspects: [l to r] Italian Oregano, Rosemary, Husky Cherry Red Tomatoes, Cute Stuff Gold Peppers, and Sweet Mint.

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• Wanting something to quench your thirst, what would you drink?

Water… or maybe Iced Tea.  Of course what is Iced Tea but Water fancied up, so my final answer, Alex, is: what is water?

• Complete this sentence:  Never In My Life Have I…. 

Wanted to go to the moon.

• If you could be given any gift what would it be?

Are we talking gift, like a present? Or are we talking gift, like a skill? Or a superpower?  I need a bit of clarification here before I can gift the world with my answer.  😉

• What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep, toss and turn, or get up and try to do something productive?

I’m a good sleeper, so I rarely deal with sleeplessness.  But when I do, I lie in bed and compose blog posts in my head.  This tends to put me back to sleep almost instantly.  🙂

• Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to the needy selfish people who caused me angst and trouble– which then lead me to remember one of my favorite hymns, It Is Well with My Soul.  I share a beautiful rendition of this hymn, sung a cappella by Sisters, below. In the rotunda!

This week’s looking forward to something goes to having lunch with an articulate out-of-town friend who I’ve known for year and agrees with me that most of the people who we know are whacked.  We’ll have much to talk about.  Imagine that!

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This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

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Out For A Walk: “Love You, Annie”

IN ANTICIPATION OF A haircut appointment tomorrow, I’ve been trying to decide what to do about my graying blonde hair. “Gronde” as it’s known in hair salon lingo.

Out for a walk yesterday I was lost in my thoughts, contemplating this very important issue, when I walked by a property under construction.  There were men working on the outside of the building.

As I walked by I heard one of them shout at me: “Love you, Annie.”

This made no sense to me but I smiled, waved my hand at him, and continued on with my walk.

ABOUT HALF A BLOCK later it occurred to me in a hey-wait-a-minute moment that I may have misheard what the guy shouted at me.

That what the man shouted at me was: “Love you, Granny.”

Meaning that from afar I appeared to be, of all things, a grandmother.

Peeved and dismayed as I was by this disturbing realization that shook my ego to its core, it dawned on me that I had my answer about what to do about my gronde hair.

Hence, tomorrow’s hair appointment will include highlights, lowlights– and any other lights available– to reduce the grayness in my fading blonde hair.

Because Granny?!

Me thinks not.

Share Your World | Bright Green & Dark Blue

Bright Green: river birch tree leaves and catkins in the spring.

Once a week Cee asks the questions on her blog, and I answer them here on my blog.

 When writing by hand do you prefer to use a pencil or pen?

A pen. No doubt this is because I was taught to write with a Zaner-Bloser pen.  This pen had what you’d expect a pen to have: that is, a teacher-approved inky writing tip, guaranteed to help make your cursive writing legible.

But on the other end of the pen was a pointy pokey plastic tip that was good for jabbing annoying boys.  As a 4th grade girl might want to do.  Should she be fed up with their silliness.

In retrospect this was the first multitasking tool to which I had access– and it taught me that if you make do with what you have at hand, you can solve your own interpersonal problems.  Isn’t that right, Danny & Tony?

Would you rather be an amazing dancer or an amazing singer?

While I like the idea of being amazing I don’t want to be on stage, therefore being an amazing dancer or an amazing singer ain’t gonna happen, kids.

Now should you want to refer to me as an amazing blogger, then we’re getting somewhere.  😉

Dark Blue: full moon in the early evening perfectly clear spring sky.

If you were on a debate team, what subject would you relish debating?

Ok, again, I’m not one for being on stage so a debate team wouldn’t want me.  Regardless of the subject I’d freeze up while on stage trying to declare or contradict or refute– or whatever it is that one does when one is on a debate team.

All those people looking at me… *shudder*

What are you a “natural” at doing?

I’m pretty good at snarking.  Rolling my eyes.  Seeing the absurdity in the moment– and calling it out.

Also I can throw ingredients together, sans recipe, and usually make something edible.  And I merchandise/decorate spaces by second nature, fussing around with things until they are visually pleasing and inviting.

Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to the fun little video below that summarizes my pre-Easter week shopping experiences.  Just like the red bear in the queue, no matter where I went I made some less than prudent decisions about which line to stand in. Gotta laugh, ‘ya know?

This week’s looking forward to something goes to a local garden nursery, only open a few months a year, that’s known for its unique plants.  I’ve a list of some small garden tomatoes | peppers | cucumbers that I’m hoping to find at the nursery, so that I can have a manageable veggie garden in pots on our deck this summer.

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This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

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Share Your World | Tulips A-Go-Go

Once a week Cee asks the questions on her blog, and I answer them here on my blog.  

• Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

Yes, *sigh* back when I was a crazy, younger, athletically inclined woman who followed the crowd, I was a cyclist.  I did lots of 30+ mile bike rides for charities, and even once went so far as to go on a Backroads bike tour vacation.

This adventure in hell vacation started in New Bern, NC, and involved days of bike riding on dodgy, bermless country roads, littered with dead snakes and frogs.  Roads, filled with 18-wheeler lumber trucks zipping past us, spewing bits of pine bark and needles as they went by.  It was scary.

Throughout the tour we were on a strict time schedule to get to ferry-boats to go island to island along the NC Outer Banks, with the goal of getting to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?

However, this did not happen because a huge storm, the aftermath of a hurricane, disrupted the ferry service to Cape Hatteras.  Meaning that our last ferry-boat was abruptly cancelled, leaving us stuck one island short of Cape Hatteras, on Ocracoke Island.  In a dumpy motel.

So with torrential rain falling and nowhere to go, we abandoned the pretense of cycling, made note of Ocracoke’s famous ponies, and drank excessively in the one bar that was open while it stormed, all the while lamenting that we were never going to get to Cape Hatteras.

Which *sigh* was the whole point of the bike tour.

• Name one thing not many people know about you.

I will not wear the color orange, so keep all your sports fan gear away from me.

• What is your favorite flower?

Tulips. Graceful and colorful, with no excessive leaves to muddle up their lines or draw attention away from their colorful petals.

• Things I want to have in my home (paintings, hot tubs, book cases, big screen tv etc)

While it’s true that I like things, and that if my life had gone in a different direction I might have become an interior designer, I feel that for me to list all the things that I want to have in my home would take hours.

Instead, I’ll leave you with the following quote by William Morris that summarizes how I’m learning to evaluate the things in my home: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

• Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to the cats featured in the YouTube video below.  They make me smile.  I’m beyond impressed by their focus and skill– and that any human being was able to get them to do what they’re doing.

This week’s looking forward to something goes to Zen-Den listening to S•Town podcast so that he and I can discuss it.  At length.  Produced by Serial and This American Life, S•Town is the most compelling investigative-journalistic-true-crime-ish story I’ve heard [or read] in years.  Think Southern Gothic genre.  The language is coarse.  The topics are mature.  And the story is so good… in a bad way.  Highly recommended.

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This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

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[Unofficial] Share Your World | I’m Pivoting Here

{ Image via The Public Domain Review }

I’m sorry to report that Cee is ill this week so there are no official Share Your World questions for me to answer.  

This, however, will not stop me from sharing my world with you, my gentle readers.  Oh no it won’t.  

Thus I give you my answers to The Pivot Questionnaire made famous by James Lipton on Inside the Actors Studio.

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1.  What is your favorite word?  

It’s a toss-up between snazzy & neat-o.  I like them both equally.  Although flapdoodle & groovy are good ones, too.  Can I get back to you on this one? 

2.  What is your least favorite word?  

Close-minded.

3.  What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Blue sky, fresh air, being outside in nature or in a city, walking or sitting, taking it all in.

4.  What turns you off?

Hypocrisy.

5.  What is your favorite curse word?

“Frostbite.”  Stated thusly because this is a PG-13 blog.  Use your imaginations and I’m sure you can figure out which F-word I’m thinking of.

6.  What sound or noise do you love?

I like the sound that the leaves make when the wind blows through the trees, resulting in a quiet rustle that, along with a few happy bird chirps, is the epitome of mellow.

7.  What sound or noise do you hate?

Donald Trump’s voice.

8.  What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I’m fascinated with interior design, so I’ll say that.

9.  What profession would you not like to do?

Trash collector.

10.  If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Welcome! We have your favorite table waiting over here on the deck out of the direct sunlight. Now it’s chilled Sauvignon Blanc, right? And will you need to see a menu today?

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Be The Light: Of Coffee, Kindness, And Connection

I read about the idea first when bikerchick57 posted about it on her blog, Mary J Melange.  Then I read about it again when Susan Scott wrote about it on her blog, Garden of Eden Blog.

I liked what they were talking about so I thought to meself, I’ll do this project, too.  Thus I share with you my first post in a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest, the point of which is to highlight positive news stories and present them on the last Friday of the month.

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INTRODUCTION: I initially thought it would easy to find a positive news story online, but I was naive.

Stupidity. Anger. Hostility. Resentment.  Those news stories were everywhere, easy to find even when I didn’t want to find them.

I was ready to give up on this project but decided that I wouldn’t let vitriol win, and eventually I found the following positive news story, therein proving that good news is out there if you intentionally look for it.

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THE NEWS STORY: When I finally found something positive in the news, it was a story about a small personal gesture made by a woman who behaved rudely toward a guy who was just doing his job.  The story, Starbucks barista gets apology note and $50 bill from ‘sassy’ customer, hit home with me for many reasons.

For one thing, I’ve worked as a waitress, which is like a barista in that you have to deal with tired people who just want their food and drink. Now.

Also I’ve been a sassy customer, not in food establishments as much as in retail stores, when I can’t find what I want– and all that I want is, in my mind, so simple and should be there.

And three, I’ve sent apology notes to friends and family when I’ve goofed up. ‘Cuz good manners count.

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COMMENTARY: This was an act of kindness that highlights a common problem that I see in our increasing complicated, impersonal, and fast-paced world.  That is, a lack of patience for not getting what you want, then taking it out on whomever happens to be the messenger.

But what I do not see or read about often enough are apologies expressing a sincere regret for impatient behavior, backed up with something tangible. Hello, President Grant!

So in conclusion, with all due respect to Gibbs Rule #6, I think that in many cases, such as this one between strangers, apologies are a sign of strength that can only make our world a better, less hostile, more connected place in which to live.

And we all want that, don’t we?