And So I Shine, in Celebration, in Memory of, in Meditation

candles

I sit here in the presence of darkness, thinking about this time of the year when you see insurmountable members of my family commemorating and observing some momentous occasion or event. You can snuff me out, but I am present, delivering a light that can be warm, romantic, mellow or haunting.

I am there for Hanukkah, Advent, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. I am there for birthdays, viduals, prayer offerings, and weddings. I am there commemorating romantic dinners and times for meditation. I am there for Diwali, Tōrō Nagashi and Makha Bucha Day.

I can be a little extravagant or demure, but I shine the brightest when darkness encompasses me. I add calm when shadows create fear. Yet, I know I am a beacon of light that reminds people to remain hopeful during uncertain times.

And so I shine. I am candlelight.

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The Amazing Stretchable Paper Sculptures of Artist Felix Semper

Felix Semper, Movable Sculptures, Artist

Image Credit: highsnobiety.com

What an amazing gallery of artistic slinky-style sculptures by Felix Semper, a self-taught artist located in Greensboro, North Carolina. Trying to define the genius of this artist is literally impossible, so I invite you to check out the following videos because seeing is believing. Prepare yourself for the WOW factor of stretchable, moving paper!

What Are a Few of Your Favorite Things?

Thinking

Image Credit: Petr Kratochvil

Remember when Julie Andrews sang the song “Favorite Things” in the movie, The Sound of Music? This song, written by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers is one of the soundtrack classics we often hear sung during this time of the year.

The lyrics outline the simplicity of those favorite things during that particular time, and it showed how spending a lot of money on things didn’t necessarily bring on an appreciation and happiness for elaborate gifts or luxuries.

As I reflect on the occurrences throughout this year, the tragedies, the catastrophes, and some amazing victories, I am humbled by a grace and mercy that only God can give me. When you feel down, and at a low point that throws you off of your game, what memories do you reflect on whether it’s about something or someone you appreciate that makes you smile and not feel so sad?

Sometimes, simple pleasures like a comforting hug, a listening ear or a warm smile are the best. What are your favorite things?

Mother is Sick – She’s Been Diagnosed – We Still Ignore Her Symptoms

Volcano

Image Credit: Nona Lohr

The climate is a-changing…for real!
Her volcanoes that lay dormant for years suddenly erupt, uncontained, like gurgling in one’s stomach, and suddenly regurgitating uncontrollably.
Dam

Vince Mig

Her floods, breaking levees and dams like a massive hemorrhage by the deep gash of a stab wound.
Tornado

Jean Beaufort

Her funnel clouds and ferocious tornadoes spin out of control like an extreme migraine headache, and her earthquakes shake violently like seizures.
Wildfires

Jean Beaufort

Her wildfires spread, flaming like a spiking fever from a dehydrated body.

You do not need to be a rocket scientist to understand and witness that something is wrong with the health and welfare of mother earth. We continue to ignore her wellness by polluting her, thinking there will never be any repercussions by continuously abusing her with our callousness and carelessness.

The warning signs have clearly been here, regardless of where you live, for decades now. Areas that typically never get flooding are seeing massive floods. Areas that typically never experience tornadoes are seeing a shift from tornado alley to their neck of the woods. Areas that typically never experience a lot of snow, like southern and tropical regions, are experiencing below freezing temperatures and snow coverage like that found in higher elevations.

It seems like seasons meander into each other – one day a scorcher, the next day a blizzard. The warnings are clear, even without scientific data. I shudder to imagine how our natural environment will look in the future. Will it resemble the aridity, barrenness, and disenchantment we see in Mad Max movies as we continue to ignore mother’s cries for help? Or can there be a rapid response to prevent the horror of what may come sooner than later?

Desert

Image Credit: Ken Kistle

Holiday Tree-Shaped Cheese Ball on Food Porn Friday

appetizers, Food, Cheese Ball, Holiday appetizers

Image Source: General Mills / Betty Crocker

Cheese balls, once a staple among holiday appetizers began to get a huge yawn because that little round ball of cheese sitting among crackers or baguettes ready for your guests to include on their party plates, became the joke and bore of the party…next to the fruitcake of course.

Today, we thought why not include an easy to make recipe, for a more festive looking cheese ball than the expected nut encrusted, ball-shaped appetizer. We spotted this Holiday Tree-Shaped Cheese Ball that adds a more celebratory flavor amid your holiday appetizer spread. It’s easy to make and can be prepared and stored in the freezer way in advance of your holiday get-together.

Click here for all of the ingredients and easy step-by-step instructions for making this festive Holiday Tree-Shaped Cheese Ball.

Happy #FoodPornFriday!

Porch Pirates: Those Grinches that Steal for the Nastiness of It

Porch Pirates, Thieves, Grinch

Image credit: Piotr Siedlecki

Have you or do you know someone who has been victimized by porch pirates? Oh, the boldness of these thieves who trespass on the grounds of unsuspecting homeowners and violate their property by stealing something that is not theirs and they know it. These porch pirates, the “Grinches Who Stole Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, household necessities and personal rewards” have no sense of respect for something that does not belong to them. They know they are off-limits and they are fully aware of their wrongdoing. They simply don’t care. 

Some say this act is sad. I say it is infuriating, especially when consumers already have limited funds with which to replace these stolen items and to do it in such a short period of time is horrific. If these porch pirates are bold enough to blatantly trespass and steal, then they are bold enough to suffer the dire consequences of such an egregious act when this evil comes back to haunt them in the worst possible way. Poetic justice is no joke.