Thank you, John R. Lewis—1940-2020

(couldn’t find this video without ads…sorry! worth watching though!)

 

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/john-r-lewis-front-line-civil-rights-leader-and-eminence-of-capitol-hill-dies-at-80/ar-BB16T4CP?ocid=msedgdhp

 

 

VJ’s Weekly Challenge #103: Theme Song 7/10/2020

VJ says, “Let’s have a little fun this week, discovering our current theme song.”

OK.

I am so boring.

I have a current favorite them song, but those who read my blog regularly are probably tired of this one.

It’s just that it still fits so perfectly for me…for these treacherous health times, for this political chaos, and for this long-needed, though painful racial upheaval.

So once again, pump up your volume and enjoy the music, the beautiful video and the message!

 

 

I am resilient
I trust the movement
I negate the chaos
Uplift the negative
I’ll show up at the table, again and again and again
I’ll close my mouth and learn to listen

[Hook]
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh

Whoa, whoa, oh-oh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh

[Verse 1]
These times are poignant
The winds have shifted
It’s all we can do
To stay uplifted
Pipelines through backyards
Wolves howlin’ out front
Yeah, I got my crew but truth is what I want

Realigned and on point
Power to the peaceful
Prayers to the waters
Women at the center
All vessels open to give and receive
Let’s see the system brought down to its knees

[Hook]
Whoa, whoa
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh

Ooh, oo-ooh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh
Whoa, whoa, oh-oh

Ooh, oo-oo-oo-ooh
Ooh, oo-oo-oo-ooh
Ooh, oo-oo-oo-ooh

[Verse 2]
I’m made of thunder
I’m made of lightning
I’m made of dirt, yeah
Made of the fine things
My father taught me that I’m a speck of dust
And this world was made for me
So let’s go and try our luck

[Bridge]
I got my roots down, down, down, down, down
Down, down, down, down deep

I got my roots down, down, down
Down, down, down, down
Down, down, down, down deep

I got my roots down (I got my roots down)
Down (I got my roots down)
Down deep (I got my roots down)

I got my roots down (I got my roots down)
Down (I got my roots down)
Down deep (I got my roots down)

[Verse 3]
So what are we doing here? What has been done?
What are you gonna do about it when the world comes undone?
My voice feels tiny and I’m sure so does yours
But put us all together, make a mighty roar
Roar

[Refrain]
I am resilient
I trust the movement
I negate the chaos
Uplift the negative
I’ll show up at the table, again and again and again
I’ll close my mouth and learn to listen

 

Directors- Chloe Smith and Leah Song Cinematographer/Editor- Alex Allaux Movement Director- Justin Conte

https://www.risingappalachia.com/resilient-1

 

 

 

 

https://onewomansquest.org/2020/07/06/vjs-weekly-challenge-103-theme-song/VJ’s

Lens–Artists Photo Challenge #103–Surprise (Day 116 of being “grounded”

What a delightful challenge for this starting-to-seem-endless, cooped-up time. It comes from:

https://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com/2020/06/27/lens-artists-photo-challenge-103-surprise/

I am especially blessed these days by my father’s powerful teaching and modeling. His most strongly held spiritual belief was that boredom was a sin, and an insult to Mother Nature. He taught us to always look for that big surprise. He believed we were constantly surrounded by miracles and could find one anywhere, anytime.

Nothing cancels out boredom better than a miracle.

Being trapped in my rooms for so long has been mostly OK because of this exact philosophy. But I have to admit, I almost get to the point of boredom sometimes. When I find myself feeling that, I know it’s time to get outside. Even if just in my country-like, suburban neighborhood. Rain or shine, day or night, peopled or not, the miracles abound.

Here are some recent Surprises!!!

First, water, early morning sunlight, and shadows…a great combination for surprising beauty.

20200625_07062320200625_070632

 

Next, the bunnies are still around, which means the Coyotes, Owls and Hawks are probably well-fed elsewhere…for now.

IMG_2440IMG_242420200607_16095620200605_185012

 

Surprise! The baby Apple Tree has its first baby apples!

20200626_08294120200626_082957

20200626_083021

 

Next, very early sunlight sometimes messes with my mind. At first I thought these lovely plants had been attacked by some strange blight, only to discover on closer examination, was surprised to see it was the sun slipping through the cracks in the fence!

 

I love experimenting with things that close-up, are mysteries….but a step back reveals the origin of the surprise.

20200625_12235320200625_122357

 

And this one surprised me because I didn’t notice until writing this post, the shadow, light and colors from the Hummingbird feeder look remarkably like a Hummingbird!!

20200625_12234520200625_122349

 

And lastly, though I’m not sure it will actually work to post this, I had a long-awaited surprise just this morning.

I love my local crows and have been feeding them everyday for many years now. I wait each year for early summer, hoping to capture the Teenage crow “Feed Me!!” phenomenon.

They put on quite the show for me today!! The video is long-ish, and kind of bumpy, but if you listen closely, you’ll hear the reason for the camera jerks.

 

You can hear Miss Lucy, purring her competitive little heart out, and see the results of her head-butting my camera.

What a wonderful, surprising challenge today!!

 

Go here to see others’ creative interpretations of “Surprise”!

https://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com/2020/06/27/lens-artists-photo-challenge-103-surprise/

Spirit Lifters; Day 85 of being “grounded” 5/29/2020

To find the Spirit Lifter in this post may require some work.

Dig deep. You’ll see it.

20200524_143225

Being falsely accused of something has been one of the most painful experiences of my entire life. Countless little accusations, misunderstandings that were never quite cleared up.

But there were a couple of huge ones, life changing ones that, had I not heeded my father’s early teaching about having the ability to choose how I look at things, well, those condemnations would have been the end of me.

20200527_160656

And somewhere along the line in my 72 years, I realized there is always, ALWAYS something beautiful to balance out, or even counter-act, life’s repeated icky, dark, mystifying tragedies.

20200528_194628

Of course, retrospect is my best friend, and when I search for light and fail to find it, if I can just wait long enough, it will eventually show up…often reminding me that it was there all along.

20200524_143300

We are all in the middle of the dark right now, but in small, seemingly insignificant ways, if we keep our senses open and awake, we can gather up pieces of light every single day. These discoveries have a cumulative effect, and can eventually outweigh the heaviness of these dark days.

Often, it is not until later that we can see the obvious gifts we have received, in spite of the catastrophe or heartbreak. And sometimes they are miracles that simply could not have happened without that dark time.

20200518_115528

 

I wrote this on my friend Karuna’s comment section this morning.

Touched My Heart

I just watched and can’t stop crying. Here’s a big thank you, Karuna. I have been teary all morning, because of what’s happening in Minnesota and across the country, after George Floyd was killed. This incident was highlighted for me, following a powerful connection just last week with Milton Grimes, Rodney King’s attorney. And then 2 nights ago, we just happened to watch Rocket Man…

I had been searching desperately for other “perspectives” to choose from today and then I see your post. Thank you so much!

If it’s OK with you, I’m going to write about this today on my blog.

 

Worth the whole watch…

 

I can’t light no more of your darkness
All my pictures seem to fade to black and white
I’m growing tired and time stands still before me
Frozen here on the ladder of my life
It’s much too late to save myself from falling
I took a chance and changed your way of life
But you misread my meaning when I met you
Closed the door and left me blinded by the light
Don’t let the sun go down on me
Although I search myself, it’s always someone else I see
I’d just allow a fragment of your life to wander free
But losing everything is like the sun going down on me
I can’t find
Oh, the right romantic line
But see me once and see the way feel
Don’t discard me baby don’t
Just because you think I mean you harm
Just because you think I mean you harm, oh
But these cuts I have, cuts I have
They need love
They need love, they need love to help them heal
Oh, don’t let the sun go down on me
Although I search myself, it’s always someone else I see
I’d just allow a fragment of your life to wander free
Cause’ losing everything is like the sun going down on me
Don’t let the sun go down on me
Although I search myself, it’s always someone else I that see, yeah
I’d just allow a fragment of your life to wander free baby, oh
‘Cause’ losing everything is like the sun going down on me

Spirit Lifters: Day 75 of being “grounded” 5/20/2020

OK, it’s really getting long now…so it’s time to seriously shift our perspectives and consider instituting new, healthy daily habits into our “new normal” lives. Along with taking care of ourselves physically, we simply must attend to those other parts that are being insidiously drained, even damaged during this pandemic.

Here’s one of my regular self-care habits, a potential, inspirational resource, as well as a couple of new musical treats.

This is an excerpt from the newsletter of one of my favorite people, Karen Drucker. She is a talented musician, comedienne and public speaker.

Almost anything will work again if you unplug it for
awhile…including you.
Anne Lamott
You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
Joseph Goldstein
This is precisely the time when artist go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.
 Toni Morrison
I have to admit I have gone through every emotion during this last month of shelter in place: thrilled to be home; deeper connection with my hubby; anxiety about gigs cancelling and how to pay bills; feeling like I need alone time; happy to not have to fly followed almost immediately by wondering if I will ever be on a plane going to a gig again! Back and forth – happy, panic, bliss, fear. Lather, rinse, repeat!
The most positive thing for me, though, during this time has been connecting back to doing music. My friend, Alan Cohen, has a great expression: “Make the main thing be the main thing!”  I realize that with all the gigs and traveling and hyper-busy-ness, I let the joy of creating music get pushed to the back burner. It seemed to me I just didn’t have the time. What has become clear to me as I analyze what really lights me up is how writing and performing healing music helps my soul. When I get emails from people telling me that a certain chant helped them get through cancer treatments, or how singing along with me during this challenging time we are in is easing their anxiety – these messages validate what the main thing is for me – creating music. Right now, what feels like a suspension in time also feels sacred to me to be able to have the space to write and record again.
The greatest gift along this healing path that I have received was delivered this month – a beautiful 64-page booklet produced by Unity Churches featuring my “Heart of Healing” songs. It includes essays written by various writers and Unity ministers, with affirmations around each of the themes that the songs convey. This is a free booklet available to anyone. Even though this project was started last year it seems so perfect for what we are all going through right now. For information on how to receive your booklet contact: The Heart of Healing
So like the quote above from Toni Morrison, I am committed to do my part in helping us all heal by writing songs that, hopefully, will uplift, heal, and connect us as we all get through this challenging time together. I wish you peace during this time and hope that we will meet in person soon!

 

Here is Karen’s calendar (lots of virtual options) and a way to hear her music and to get her newsletter.

Calendar

Or her main website;

https://www.karendrucker.com/

If Karen isn’t your cup of tea, find a person or organization who speaks your language, fires up your brain, and touches your heart.

And really important, keep access to it easy, handy for those days when you need something to balance out the bad news we are be inundated with daily! (I read the Greater Good Science Center articles.)

When all else fails, music can make us think differently, feel deeply, or just smile!!

 

And this really fun one that was around even before this Virus took over our lives!

 

Look up more songs by  Playing for Change ! I bet you’ll find something you like.

That’s it for now. As always, I love comments, any kind, and I’m not getting many, so if you “like” this post, take a minute to write me something, just a sentence will do!!

Thanks so much.

Chosen Perspectives

Spirit Lifters; Day 72 of being “grounded” 5/16/2020

I’ve been kinda distracted by life lately…nothing catastrophic or even Virus related, just regular life. Granted, it has been New Normal life stuff but it was a nice break from thinking about the reality that I have only left my home twice since March 6th, and both of those times were hit and run medical trips…once for the parking lot, giant-cutip-up-the-nose, Covid 19 test on March 26th (false alarm..cleaning products overdose) and once last week for a quick blood test.

I haven’t been as focused on finding Spirit Lifters like before. Time to get back to that

One of my favorites is still Some Good News from John Krasinski, and episode 5 is no exception. I LOVED this one and sent it out to all my “Foodie” friends.

 

 

Then I went to another favorite place.

This weekly magazine was a wonderful resource anyway and they have really been great during the pandemic. This week’s articles are so supportive and helpful, especially the one on finding purpose and connection during this time. A great, inspiring read!

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_im_finding_purpose_and_connection_in_a_pandemic?utm_source=Greater+Good+Science+Center&utm_campaign=852a0c2414-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_GG_Newsletter_May_14_2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5ae73e326e-852a0c2414-74625275

There are still so many local stories happening that are inspirational, like this one.

https://www.newsbreak.com/washington/seattle/lifestyle/0OzedBAG/air-force-to-perform-flyover-in-seattle-area-to-thank-healthcare-workers

I was reminded of it while sitting outside yesterday, enjoying the sun, and these flew right over me, amazingly low in the sky!!

 

 

And personally, I have so many things to be grateful for in my life every day…no, not the whole “daily gratitude can change your life..blah, blah, blah…” But seriously wonderful things that I take for granted...until I remember not to.

I am so blessed to be able to get out and walk in Nature (granted, suburban Nature). I see miracles every single day!

20200511_120936

20200511_120932
The old rhododendron in my front yard has never been more beautiful!

20200514_111129

And see the red ones on the left above? One of them is growing right out of what’s left of an old Madrona!

20200513_08103820200513_08104920200513_081044

When I leave my own, rustic, and mostly unattended to yard to walk up my street, I find treasures all along the way.

20200514_11021520200514_10580420200511_06435320200514_11021120200514_10575520200514_110549

20200509_143057
Can’t wait to see this guy blossom!!!

I feel so badly that my best friends (both athletes), who live in an apartment in Madrid, are unable to get out and go these days. They were just telling us yesterday, all their daily routines are completely stalled…no outdoor exercise allowed, so they run up and down the stairs in their old apartment building. None of the places they sit and write every day (Cafe’s, restaurants, the Plaza) are open and the cops come and send them home if they are caught outside without a very specific purpose. Oh, and the worst for them, they can’t walk together, even to the little market for food…no hand holding, nothing.

 

Apparently, I am more easily entertained than most. It is a highlight for me to walk out my door to see what profound or coded or artistic message the local slug population has left me each day.

(Maybe you’d have to live in the Seattle area to understand this one…🤣)

20200513_063028

 

And I know how absolutely lucky I am to have a Master Gardener living basically right in my back yard. The Rhubarb is already huge so I knew Mimi would start creating in the kitchen!

20200501_142548

I was a lucky recipient!!!

20200513_124327
Mimi’s Rhubarb jam and cream cheese on a toasted gluten free bagel!!! YUM!!!

 

And if that’s not enough to lift my spirits, there is always one or two of the reliable, dependable furry family members!

 

Let me know how your spirits are in the Comment Section!!