Be The Light: Of Books & Buses

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 June, I have a positive story to share with you, my gentle readers. 

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In Albuquerque, N.M., a city program called Discover a Book stocks public buses with children’s books so that young riders, and anyone else, can have something to read as they ride the bus.  This project has been around since 2006.

The books, which come from the city’s Read To Me book donation program, are available on the bus in specially made cubbies on the back of each bus seat.  These cubbies allow the program to distribute about 8,000 books a year– and the program encourages families to take a book home with them if they want to.

As one community volunteer, Kathy Chilton, said of the Discover a Book program: “There is much to be done in New Mexico to improve families’ possibilities of success.  Discover a Book is a simple, inexpensive, and significant step toward that goal.”

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I love this idea.  LOVE IT!

Books that are easily accessible are books that are read. That holds true for all of us.

I can think of no better way to casually, consistently introduce children of all ages to the idea that reading is fun and good than to have books right there in front of them when they’re bored.

And I can think of no better way to demonstrate to children and adults that there are people in your community who care about you.  People who want the best for all the kids who live there– and put their principles into practical actions.

I mean, FREE BOOKS.  And the time to read them?

This has win-win written all over it.  😉

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Get wild about reading!

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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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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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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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As Pumpkins As My Witness, I’ll Never Be Cluttered Again


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Good Morning!

I’m pulling together a post today, the first full day of Daylight Savings Time, by using this delightful Halloween photo, taken yesterday, and by re-wording a famous quote.

After all, what is a blog but a place to let your freak flag fly?

Especially on a Monday morning after a lazy Sunday in which I never got out of my jammies, but did manage to photograph our jack-o-lanterns.

Oh happy day!

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But now that it’s Monday morning I’m feeling the need to accomplish something.

The muse of productivity, and my inner Katie Scarlett O’Hara, are telling me to apply myself to what is directly in front of me, take control of the situation, and get on with life.

That is, in a word, DECLUTTER.

Meaning that today I’ll be putting things away in the places where they belong. Sorting through piles of magazines + catalogues + recipes. Reviewing and filing important scribbled notes for future decorating and writing projects.

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So with a hat tip to GWTW I’ve begun to chant to myself: “they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be disorganized again.”

To me, this chant seems motivational.  To you, it might seem nuts, but if I end up with a tidy house and know where things are, who’ll be laughing then?


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[ALSO:  I know how you people think.  So let me say right here that if you, gentle readers, go all Rhett Butler and say you don’t give a damn, I wouldn’t believe you.  

Why?  Because if you’ve read this far down you do care about me!  So say something nice.  I need all the encouragement I can get and it’ll be good karma for you.] 

In Which I Do The “3 Quotes In 3 Days” Meme, My Way

[During the last few months I’ve seen a meme around the blogosphere that asks you to share three quotes + three photos.  

Or something like that.  

The intention is that you do this over the course of three days, but this being a quiet Sunday afternoon, and me being me, I think that I’ll do it all at once.  

Why not?  Are the blogging police going to come and get me?]  

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I took these photos last month when we were visiting Centennial Park, Nashville TN.  The famous author quotes are three of my favorites which seem to go perfectly with the photos.

Don’t you love serendipity?

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“If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”


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“Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent.”


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“To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.”


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A Revelation Upon My Return To Blogging: Snoopy Is My Spirit Animal

“My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?”

~ Snoopy

I’m back.  And ready to challenge myself by continuing on with this blog, The Spectacled Bean. There were moments, while I was off in the real world doing holiday things, when I wondered if I’d return.

So easy to let this all go.


But then my spirit animal, Snoopy, turned up among the Christmas tree decorations which we keep in boxes in the basement– and I realized that I’d missed having him around in my home office.

As inspiration. Motivation. And protection.


Thus it came to be that the Snoop-ster and his ever faithful friend, Woodstock, once again found themselves sitting on this funky old chair which adds color to my home office.  And it is from this vantage point that Snoopy has my back once again.

Which, as you can imagine, makes me happy.  🙂

Simply Wonderful: Fall Is Here

I tend to overthink things.  I don’t know if that comes to me naturally or if it was instilled in me as a child through well-meaning adults.  Doesn’t matter.  What is, is.

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I’d been pondering my tendency to overthink when I happened to see this Cary Grant quote.  It seemed like the perfect mantra to adopt during my favorite season of the year.  Why not think less?  Keep life simple.  Occupy myself more with doing.

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Later while surfing the net, I stumbled upon this Paulo Coelho quote, which reinforced my newfound desire to live simply.  I mean, who doesn’t want to find the extraordinary things?  I can do that.  I’ll be wise             

So it is with the foregoing in mind that I’ve decided to groove on simplicity for the next few months.  I don’t know exactly what that means, but I figure if the Universe has gone out of its way to make sure that I get this “simplify” message, then the message is important.  Hallelujah, eh?  Make it so.

Almost Autumn: This Change Of Season Suits Me

This past Sunday morning was the first day in months where the temperature was below 60ºF and the humidity was low.

Delightful. Refreshing. Clear.

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I was able to drink my first mug of coffee while sitting on the deck all by myself.  Experiencing the stillness of the early morning centered me in a way that makes me feel whole.

Hopeful. Capable. Calm.


It wasn’t until I looked up into the trees behind our house that I realized how soon it’ll be autumn. And that I wasn’t alone out there on the deck.  Two birds, way up high, were keeping me company.

Cheerful. Balanced. Orange.


Autumn is about letting go of what used to work and enjoying what is. I’ve found over the years that I can embrace its message because I’m open to new ideas and seem to have an aptitude for adjusting to what is.

Creative. Grateful. Aware.

DSCN3541Meaning that in about another month this tree, next to where the birds were sitting, will be a showy mess of fall color.  And when it is I plan to be engrossed in new projects and a healthier way of life.  Hello Autumn!

Determined. Grounded. Focused.