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A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

If your life basket spilled out upon the ground, what would it say about your passions and your life? What do you see in this picture? Could you pick out the person from a group by looking at this picture? If you had to create a life picnic moment, what would be in your basket? IMG_0721

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The Star, the Star, shining in the night

starfish story picDecember is Emotional Abuse Awareness Month. Make a difference in 2016. Every life matters. You matter. Get help or seek help for another. Stop the cycle. Make a difference to that ONE!

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The Positive Impact of The Theater

The arts are healing. They carry the power to influence within a safe environment without taking on a permanent change.

Theater allows words and action of situations to come to life for a brief moment. We get to glimpse into another world from the safe distance of our seats. We are not required to engage at the moment, just listen and watch. We are voyagers privy to a peak into lives and worlds beyond our own. We leave pondering what we have witnessed. Some words and action might impact our lives while others are lost in the mental files of our minds.

What does a theater program offer besides the pleasure of attending? Community and school theater programs offer the opportunity to explore emotions, places and lives not our own. Improv companies allow people to step outside their limited thinking to explore responses to touchy subjects and emotions via comedy. Theater offers opportunities to role play situations before they actually happen in our lives to develop a better understand of our own responses. In some ways, role playing can be an agent for change. We can “walk a mile in someone’s shoes” via the theater. We can step outside of our being to experience a life of pain and sorrow, joy and ridiculous antics, within a safety zone without worry we might be labeled.

A shy child can develop social skills from exposure to the theater. The theater enhances reading skills in dyslexic people. Proof of this? Look how many actors and actresses are coming out about their dyslexia. If you have a change, check out Henry Winkler’s life story dealing with his GIFT of dyslexia. Being involved in plays can help an angry child learn control by being involved in theater games to prep the mind. Theater which includes dancing and singing helps children and adults to develop coordination and lung development in asthmatics. Singing, dancing, and acting, known as the triple threat hosts so many benefits. Theater, beyond the stage has unlimited possibilities for positive outcomes  for business, life and relationships.

You do not have to be an actor to enjoy being involved in the theater. Creatives are what make the performers look good, especially if not the best on stage. Costume designers, set creators, lighting specialist, musicians, make-up artist, dance instructors, voice coaches, graphic designers, technical support, and stage managers can make or break a production. There is a place for everyone in the theater arts. You can learn the trades and ways while actively working on a performance.

Quiet artist come alive while exposed to the actors and others behind the scenes. Lots of laughs and tears to be shed. Lessons learned dealing with deadlines and those sorts called directors, are life long skills we all need. The plus in the theater it is short lived and you can move on all the wiser. I cannot begin to list all the benefits of being involved in the theater arts as a game changer in life.

Support the theater arts in your community and schools. Become involved with local productions. Go see professional productions to gain insight into other worlds an cultures as well as explore emotionally difficult situations from a safe distance. Just go and be involved any way you can.

 

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Hi Ya’ll!!

DonnaDuffATC Love Chinese food. My favorite part is the Fortune Cookie. I keep the fortunes as reminders. Some make their way into my art. This is an Artist Trade Card. It is the size of a baseball card. Quick little art pieces I trade with others. Most of the time I hate trading them because I am amazed how awesome they turn out. This little fortune was ironic. I live in the Great Green South. We in Georgia are known for a slow laid back ways and accents. Each area of Georgia has their own flare to the southern ways and sound. But overall, we have this need to gather and laugh at each other. Nothing like on a hot summer’s day to kick back on the porch with a tall glass of sweet tea, some friends, maybe a few guitars or corn hole to pass the time. We are expert story tellers. Nothing like a gathering after a fishing trip. The small bass on the hook will become a life threating experience to reel in the whale out of the local creek. And, heaven forbid you get the privilege to hang out at a family reunion. The stories will flow ! Storytelling is an important part of life. We pass along important information in the form of stories. Life experiences, helpful hints, family histories, and much more find their way into the story telling format. There is nothing better than a great storyteller. I bet you know a few you enjoy listening to when they are around. A great storyteller’s stories will live on in your mind for eternity. What are some of your favorite stories? What stories do you enjoy telling? If you have children, it is important to share stories with them as well as encourage them to create their own. Well, maybe not ones to get out of trouble but some of those are rather comical to parents. There is a difference between lying and storytelling. The art of storytelling is slowly disappearing. Revive it. Bring storytelling back into your daily life. There is a storytelling business model which creates great results. Boring meetings can become lively using this strategy. Believe it or not, the Harry Potter books started as bedtime stories the author told her kids. Big things can happen if you have a great story to tell. Explore the many options and uses of storytelling in your personal life and business environment. “Let me tell you about the time….”

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Do you read poetry?

Poetry

Poetry (Photo credit: Kimli)

From one of the shelves on my desk sits a row of poetry books. Most belonged to my grandmother. She was a high school English teacher some 50+ years ago. Poetry was a big thing back then. She read us poems, even made me memorize a few when I was younger. Growing up, my life was full of poetry, not from school but in my home. As I pulled down one of my favorites, 1000 Beautiful Things, complied by Marjorie Barrows, 1947, tears formed in my eyes as I read. So many children are growing up not exposed to the wonders of poetry. I know they have a brief unit or two, and even write a few during different phases of their younger years in grade school but it is different now than it was.

With the age of technology upon us written language has changed over the past 20 years. Texting has taken over with a language of its own. Very few if any under the age of 25 ever write letter to anyone. The failing postal service in the USA is feeling the lack of written communication on a personal level. I noticed the other day when my 21-year-old asked me how to address an envelope because she had forgotten how.  I had failed my own children in regard to letter writing. She told me she never had to address an envelope in high school, the last time was in elementary school. She had written a letter for persuasion, to make requests for information and thank you notes but had sent all via email. I realized she had never received a hand written love letter containing a love poem. How sad. Nothing is more touching than to receive a love poem. She also had never received a funny poem written by a friend in honor of a lighthearted situation. In fact, she had never coined a poem or two since it was required the last time was in middle school.

I opened my filing cabinet and pulled out two bulging folders full of poems I had written. I have never shared them. Wondering why I realized it was because someone had laughed so many years ago when I said I wrote poems. Silly how one person could change my beloved past time hobby. I did write again in a masters level college class. No, a poet of great works I will never be but one who sings the songs of my heart and mind across the fibers of paper for my own personal enjoyment and some rare few others I most definitely will do again. I even have a file of some poems I have received. Yes, a few love poems from young loves back in the day. I still treasure those even though time has altered our paths I still can feel the little flicker associated with the words from a time long ago. Two treasured collects are from friends who were poets in the days of high school. I giggle and sigh as each poem reminds me of the memories captured of a carefree time. Some weathered old pieces of paper contain poems written by my grandmother. Those  are very special to me. I hold in my hands a vast collection of heart songs called poems. Each taking me back to a special time and place. Each one bringing me back to connect with people, emotions, places, and most of all parts of my life I often forget until my hands open the files of words of my life.

On my shelf I have many books of poems. Some bring me to the ocean shores as I read them I can hear the waves crashing in my mind. Others take me deep in the woods where the scent of fresh pine and flowers are triggered. There are those that cause tears to run down my cheeks, some from intense laugher, a few from sadness, and those special ones that touch my heart. In a section off to the far side are a few poetry books filled with children’s verses. Those I read to my children when they were very young. A few they could quote when they were little but were soon replaced by words from a big purple dinosaur named Barney or a group called the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles. I realized I had allowed this to happen. Sigh.

My goal is to bring poetry and the art of hand written letters back to those around me. I hope to share with the children and adults I work with as well as making a higher priority to commit to writing both letters and poems to my family. Some traditions and ways should not pass as we move forward. The art of writing personal letters and poetry are two which need to be revived to carry on.

In Memoriam

I ask of life this last request:

That word of mine may share

With all who read that loveliness-

The halo of the hair,

The softest voice, the busy hands,

The gentleness and grace-

The logic of the mind- the light

That brightened up a face.

– Mildred Bowers Armstrong

 

Made you smile, didn’t it. Dig out the poetry books. Find a pen and pencil to write a few of your own. Send a letter to a friend with a limerick or funny line or two. Share a favorite childhood poem with your own children or grandchildren.  Or, create a private journal to fill with poems, letters, sayings, quotes, and pictures of things which touch your heart. In years to come you will find it a treasure of memories which will fill your heart from moments you have forgotten.

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Celebrating Creative Freedom on the Fourth of July

English: The Bill of Rights, the first ten ame...

English: The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution Česky: Originál Listiny práv, prvních deseti dodatků k Ústavě Spojených států amerických Deutsch: Die Bill of Rights genannten ersten zehn Zusatzartikel zur US-amerikanischen Verfassung, die den Bürgern bestimmte Grundrechte garantieren Español: La Carta de Derechos de los Estados Unidos, el término por el que se conocen las diez primeras enmiendas de la Constitución de los Estados Unidos de América (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Never thought about it this way until a friend mentioned it to me today. We are lucky in the USA to be able to express ourselves in so many creative ways. Our freedoms have afforded us the privilege. Via the arts we can sing, dance, paint, build, cook, and write in ways others cannot due to censorship and regulations.  We should honor the rights so many died so we could express ourselves which is protected by the First Amendment, freedom of speech.

With freedom does come responsibility. We should never abuse the right to express ourselves in a negative or abusive fashion. We should also respect the right of others to express themselves though it might be different from our beliefs and ways. As much as I enjoy Facebook and other means of social media, I find many who abuse the right with an onslaught of bashing and unnecessary over use of foul language. Sometimes such might be appropriate but not every other word. Nor is it ok to slander others in a revengeful or spiteful way. Sadly, so many children are following in the negative path of influential adults. Internet bullying, texting inappropriate pictures, etc. are becoming the norm amongst children as young as 8 years old.

Today, make this Fourth of July a celebration of creative freedom. From this day forward, make a difference by promoting the positive and avoiding the negative. Influence the young in the way our freedom of expression was intended, to encourage and motivate. Confronting wrong can be done without the use of a string of expletives and nasty pictures.

I hope where ever you are you celebrate today with fireworks painting the night skies, an abundance of colorful foods, with laughter and song, and lots of stories of your families journey to celebrate the event. Happy Birthday, America! Let Freedom ring for many more years to come.

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Did you miss this along the journey?

Raven Cliff Falls Trail

Raven Cliff Falls Trail

Raven Cliff Falls trail, GA

Raven Cliff Falls trail, GA

They are all around you just have to have an open mind to see them. Folklore captures the glimpses into the faces of nature. If one is lucky you can find a forest full as you wander about. I am certain this old fellow has many tales to tell about the many people passing his way daily. His smug look makes me wonder what he would tell others of my travels. Certain he snickered as I tripped over the root trying to take his picture.

Do you see the dragon’s head? Look closely. To the left is the nostril and to the right is the eye on the magnificent weathered head of this creature. Before the days of mass media and technology, I am certain some traveler would have come home with tells of the dragon and the tree spirit along the path.

Are you so focused upon the destination the wonders of the journey are often missed? As I traveled the many trails this past week I watched as folks missed the rare glimpses into the face of nature. When I questioned if they saw the faces they looked at me like I was crazy. Bringing the images back up on my camera some could see them others just saw a tree, nothing more. Sad, so much missed out on due to a lack of imagination. Is it such a bad thing to let your mind see the possibilities? If one cannot see the rare glimpses in nature, what are they missing in their daily walk? How many faces go unseen?

I challenge you to take a hike. Open you eyes and mind to the possibilities around you. Do not limit your visions to trees, the clouds are masterpieces in the making. Rocks and plants often hold their own secrets.

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Sugar limit law? There will be an uprising in the South if you mess with our sweet tea!!

A glass of sweet tea

A glass of sweet tea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rare will you find a political comment from me on this blog but this really got to me. Now the government is limiting the size of drinks to more “regular” portions thus cutting back on the sugar consumption. I understand we have become a supersized nation both figuratively and literally. But what will be next?

Will the sugar police be showing up at my house to measure the sugar content in my southern sweet tea? New Yorkers might be ok with the new sugar laws but there will be an uprising in the South if the sugar police mess with our sweet tea. For those of you not from the south, our sweet tea, if made right by true southern standards, would exceed any amount Starbuck’s puts in any of their specialty coffees and without a doubt more so than the traditional other southern water called Coke Cola. Southerns love their tea sweeter than sweet. We have been drinking it by the gallons since birth. Really folks, the southern sweet tea has been such since Georgia became a state.  You cannot use any less nor can you place any sort of artificial sweetener in it and still call it southern sweet tea.

About that artificial stuff, research shows that stuff is just deadly.  I guess it is ok to pump people full of cancer causing nasty tasting sweet stuff? Just curious how such a law got passed? You folks up north, the south will rise again if you try to mess with our sweet tea by enforcing this law to go nation wide. For your information, iced tea cannot be sweetened with sugar packets and taste right. It must be brewed and added while it is still hot so the sugar melts not dissolves. It just won’t taste right.

And folks thought the Boston Tea Party was a problem, the Southern Tea Party will be… all I can say is “Bless your hearts” if you trod upon my sweet tea. What will be next?

 

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A person is a person no matter how small

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!!! What a wonderful contribution this man made to humanity in his many children’s books. I dare say they have a bigger message to the adults who read them to their children. Not sure if you are aware of the means of his books. The Lorax is about the environment. The Sneetches and other stories deal with bullying and racism. Heaven forbid you not have a star upon thars!! But my favorite is a little known and late to release of Dr. Seuss, Hooray for the Diffendoofer Day!! I challenge you all to check out a copy of Google it on your computer to read about this children’s book with a VERY strong political statement about how children are educated. Testing to the test is the way the government feels education should be run. Dr. Seuss saw the flaw in this school of thought. We should push for Diffendoofer Schools to open everywhere! It is not easy to be a diffendoofer sort of teacher in a modern-day school. Though your test scores will soar and the students will excel the protocol is beyond the comprehension and standardized tick marks required to be classified succesfuls in the data of the modern-day way. Integrating the arts is what it is about, all children can succeed if their learning style is met.

I challenge you to become a diffendoofer parent.  My earlier blogs on homework very much follow the diffendoofer philosophy. Let’s dare to be more than average. Most of all remember, a person is a person no matter how small. You can make a difference in a diffendoofer sort of way!!

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