A Plethora of P's - saxtonstudio blog
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A Plethora of P’s

proactively punctuating life with the plausible, powerful possibilities of positive thought presented through a plethora of “P’s”.

(Most recent first. Scroll down for earlier P posts)

 

 

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#100: Puppies

P_puppies

Because just the thought of puppies makes most people smile. 🙂

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#99: Perspicacity

P_perspicacity

noun
1. keenness of mental perception; vision, insight, acumen. 
Keep your mind sharp and kickin’. Bend and stretch those mental muscles! Read. Do crossword puzzles and number games. Play scrabble. Study things. Ask questions. Listen, a lot. Stay curious. Always, stay curious.

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#98: Poppy

P_poppy

Ah, the alluring poppy. Its brilliant bursts of color and tales of mysterious concoctions make the poppy, all in all, a happy flower to behold.

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#97: Paperclip

P_paperclip

Perhaps the most talked about invention ever, and one that needs no explanation. (But, who DID invent the paperclip?)

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#96: Prolific

P_prolific

Abundantly fruitful. Profusely productive. Being prolific can as easily be a vineyard, a garden or a tree, as a poet, an artist, mathematician or scientist. There are no bounds, just rich creation.

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#95: Parachute

P_parachute

Here’s to safe landings!

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#94: Planets

P_planets

If one wants to be awed, all one needs to do is look up at the night sky. What’s there is unfathomable – billions (upon billions?) of stars; planets within universes within galaxies within more galaxies. Distances the mind can not comprehend. Possibilities of life – similar or very, very different –  in far, far, far away places. Star Trekkian ships and Star Wars-like creatures are only fantasies, but … are they? Beyond our sky, beyond the stars and beyond the planets lies the truly Great Unknown, and amazement on an enormous scale.

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#93: Pottery

P_pottery

Pottery has the admirably dual qualities of beauty and functionality. Designed at the discretion of the maker, each piece is essentially a vessel of creativity – figuratively, through artistic expression and simultaneous usefulness in a variety of practical ways – and symbolically, representing the womb; the carrying, giving and nurturing of life.

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#92: Pickles

saxton.P_pickles

When I hear the word pickle, I can’t help but think of Arlo Guthrie. (“I don’t want a pickle/ Just wanna ride on my motor-cickle…”) Now that I’ve dated myself, let’s move on.

Pickles are a flavorful, low-calorie vegetable high in vitamin K. This is good news for all the people who adore pickles, and too bad for me, as I’m only an occasional fan of pickles. The conditions have to be just right. My grandmother made her own pickles – sweet pickles, they were called, and they were well-loved. Still, while I loved my grandmother’s home-made bread and just about everything else she made, I slithered away when the pickles were served. Same goes for pickled this and that. Pickling is clearly not my favorite flavor. It placed me in a bit of pickle to admit I didn’t like pickles. Maybe no one noticed.

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#91: Pyramids

saxton.P_pyramids

With three equal sides, the pyramid, or triangle, is the most stable form in our world. (Example: A three-legged stool is much harder to knock over then a four-legged one) In sacred geometry*, the triad symbolizes the trinity of life, of substance, intellect, and the force that drives it; it’s the point where matter, and consciousness connect with the higher realms. And according to Plato, triangles form the basic building block of the entire universe. That’s some pretty impressive stuff about the humble pyramid shape.

And then there’s the math: There are 5 types of triangles: right triangle, equilateral triangle, isosceles triangle, obtuse triangle and acute triangle – but no matter their shape or dimensions, the sum of all three angles always adds up to 180 degrees. Nice.

*Sacred Geometry is a term used to describe patterns, shapes and forms that are part of the make up of all living things and that regularly occur in nature. It is system of universal design in which the energy of creation organizes itself into form.

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#90: Pets

P_pets

Cats and dogs are probably the most common pets in any family, and with good reason. They provide companionship and are scientifically proven to increase our well-being. They love us, they teach us. And they make us better people by caring for something besides ourselves!

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#89: Penmanship

P_penmanship

The physical, pen-in-hand act of writing is not only a form of communication, it’s a form of self-expression; another window into the soul. There’s also the value of hand-eye coordination, thinking patterns, and better comprehension when writing things down “painstakingly” by hand (not to mention knowing how to spell and use proper grammar and punctuation without spell-check tools). Doctor’s aside (why is this?), developing good penmanship is a plus any way you look at it.

I wrote an essay on the subject of cursive writing earlier this year, prompted by news stories that penmanship may be (or already has been) eliminated from childhood school curriculums. I feel pretty strongly. If interested, you can read that here. Meanwhile, please, write on.

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#88: Plucky

saxton.P_plucky
Plucky. Such a lively little word. Even better, it means something pretty good: it’s about showing courage in the face of difficulties or danger.

Sometimes it’s okay, and even necessary, to let someone else be brave. But sometimes we need to don our own capes and be our own source of courage.

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#87.

saxton.P_peony2

Dear Peony ~ Your bloom is brief, and your heavy heads droop low under the weight of folds and folds and folds of petals – deliciously soft, intricate petals going every which way, having blossomed from tightly packed, perfectly round balls to form, perhaps (if there could by such a thing), the perfect flower – oh, how I adore your sweeping grace! You are elegance and beauty; you are divine.

(see some of my peonies > here)

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#86.

saxton.P_ponder

I ponder the stars, that I may feel part of this grand universe. I ponder the sea to soften my nerves. I ponder a tulip, to feel amazed at God’s artistry. I gaze into a fire and ponder the depths of my soul.

Sometimes I get answers. Sometimes not. But the pondering in and of itself is satisfying. Short or long, it takes one’s mind on a vacation from ordinary things, from problems that need solutions. Like meditation, a good ponder can leave you feeling inspired, energized and fresh.

Let your mind wander in wonder now and then. Ponder that.

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#85.

saxton.P_perception

It is not what we see, but how we view it. Not what we hear, but how we listen. Not what we sing, but how we feel it. Life is all about our perception ~ how we perceive, intuit or understand any given circumstance or subject matter. It can make the difference between a good day and a bad one, harmony or confusion, truth or uncertainty, agreement or misjudgment. If something doesn’t feel quite right, it’s a good idea to step back and check our point of view, and then decide if rose-colored glasses might serve us better on or off.

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#84.

saxton.P_pomegranate

Move over, blueberries; the mighty pomegranate has one-upped you in the Superfruit category. Not your everyday apples and bananas, superfruits are more exotic varieties with higher than average levels of antioxidants and nutrition, and the crimson seed packs nestled inside a pomegranate’s tough skin are the latest pièce de résistance in the fruit world for both taste and nourishing goodness

Which reminds me, I need to make some pomegranate muffins. Mmmm.

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#83.

P_pulchritude2

Some say it was Cleopatra; some name the woman who played her part in film, Elizabeth Taylor, as the most pulchritudinous woman ever to roam the earth.

Beauty is, of course, in the eye of the beholder and there are far too many examples of pulchritudinous women to list. And yes, the word is generally reserved for female beauty ~ but it can also apply to the physical loveliness of grand landscapes, majestic mountains, breathtaking sunrises, sunsets, and perhaps a simple, elegant rose.  …Ah, sweet pulchritude.

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#82.

saxton.P_plumbing

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of plumbing. Having traveled quite a bit, I think I can say with some confidence that here in the good ol’ USA, we have some of the best plumbing in the world. Knowing this makes me flush with pride.

It also makes me thank my lucky stars to live in modern times. Indoor plumbing didn’t come about til end of the 19th century, when its wonders were heavily promoted by London plumber Thomas Crapper. (No kidding!) According to Wikipedia: The flushing toilet was invented by John Harrington in 1596. Joseph Bramah of Yorkshire patented the first practical water closet in England in 1778. George Jennings in 1852 also took out a patent for the flush-out toilet. In a time when bathroom fixtures were barely spoken of, plumber Thomas Crapper heavily promoted sanitary plumbing and pioneered the concept of the bathroom fittings showroom.

And now you know.

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#81.

saxton.P_purge

Clutter is not our friend. Clutter = chaos = confusion.

So get rid of it. Toss it. Shake it off. Wipe the slate. Clear the way. Cleanse! Have a purification ritual if you must, but do part with doesn’t serve you. “Stuff”, relationships, situations, behaviors and unproductive emotions ~ all can weigh us down or tangle us in a snarled mess.

That said, there’s no need to go for an all out, bonkers-mad purging frenzy. No need to be reckless. Even just a bit at a time feels good; enough to lighten the load.

Consider your peace of mind. We all accumulate some chaos, whether internal or external, mental or physical,  a lot or a little, and boy does it feel great to purge!

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#80.

Phi ~ which uses the symbol Φ ~ represents the “golden ratio” of  tfrac{1 + sqrt{5}}{2} approx1.618033988749894848204586834… and is often associated with geometry, art, and architecture. In the natural world, the spiral of a nautilus shell is one of the most typical expressions of the golden ration, and one where its suggested beauty becomes apparent. (It has something to do with ratios and proportions, and is well explained ~ much better than I can ~ in books and websites on the topic. Here’s a site I liked, with some pretty good history.)

Phi is also is the 21st letter of the Greek alphabet, which is quite less mathematical and therefore something I can more easily understand, but the two cannot be separated, as the golden ratio takes its name from the letter.

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#79.

Poseidon holds dominion over all water. Also known as King Neptune, God of the Sea, Shaker of Earth, Tamer of Horses, Son of Kronos and Rhea, Brother of Zeus and Hades, Ancient Greek Olympian … he’s had quite the colorful life. Though quarrelsome and armed with a mighty trident, he is powerfully dignified in bearing. He also happened to create the first horse (no small feat), and he protects all creatures under the sea, which seems good reason enough to have earned the respect of sailors the world over.

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#78.

Pluviophile (n): a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.

Love is good. Joy and peace of mind are good. Let it rain. As Langston Hughes wrote: “Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.”

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#77.

Whoever invented the pineapple was really taking liberties with the idea of visual beauty. Looking like a giant pine cone (thus the name), they’re oddly shaped, prickly, difficult, and nothing short of interesting. I like them because they evoke thoughts of “tropical”, conjuring up visions of palm trees, white sand and crystal blue waters. A blend of sweet and tart, I think they taste better in their natural environment, too.

Pineapples ~ like most plants ~ hold a myriad of nutritional benefits within their crusty, bark-like shells. They’re also used in fabric, wallpaper and furniture making! And of course, we know that centuries of tradition has made it so nothing says “welcome and warm hospitality” quite like the sturdy pineapple.

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#76.

It’s fun, it’s yummy, and goes oh so well with movie watching. But did you know that it’s also good for the digestive system, lowering cholesterol, and regulating blood sugar? And it serves as a strong anti-oxidant and helps with anti-aging! Pass the bowl, please!

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#75.

Just the sound feels good ~ the way the word periwinkle rolls off your tongue hints of cheerfulness and magic, of imminent delight. It sounds of hope, like an expectant jingling of chimes on a sweet summer wind or the smell of a homemade pie in the oven, or roses or mint or morning light on a fresh snow.

But it brings more than a sensory smile. According to folklore, periwinkle (the flower) represents the beginning of friendship. It can also symbolize compassion, and charms and gifts from the heart. Medicinally, it’s said to help memory and ease the aging process, and has also been known to control swings in blood sugar. It’s a potent little gem that’s usually taken in the form of tea. Of course you can simply enjoy its presence in the garden ~ or just the way the sound rolls off your tongue.

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#74.

To be prized is to be cherished. We all have treasures we value above all else; friendships, families, partners, or things as simple yet somehow soul-satisfying as Aunt Elorena’s scalloped potato recipe or Mom’s hot fudge or a favorite soft, warm blanket. Maybe we prize an ability, or a trait in ourselves; maybe a dream. We hold these people, things or feelings up to a better light, place them on a nearer, dearer shelf, and we honor them by recognizing how they bolster and brighten our world.

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#73.

saxton.P_pliable

Flexibility is important. Not only important to be limber in our joints and muscles, but agile of mind. To this end, I see being pliable as the ability to bend and stretch, where and as needed, while remaining firm in our physical, emotional, and moral core. (If you’re at all like Gumby, your pliable-ness may even involve a perpetual smile; however, this is not a requirement, especially when performing certain yoga poses or mental calisthenics.)

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#72.

saxton.P_pioneer

Be pioneering. Walk the unbeaten path. Chart a new course. Seek adventure. Write a new song. Open a new door. Inquire. Lead. Teach. Dream a new dream. Delight in discovery!

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#71.

There are moments  ~ sometimes big and unmistakable, sometimes just pinpoints in time ~ where we step through a portal from one world into another; from old to new, from shadow to light, from closed to open, from veiled to aware, from childhood to maturity.

Passages are inevitable. Still, we sometimes have the choice to walk through or stay behind, and we have minds and hearts to guide us towards those that are good and right and to turn away from those that are not.

And so, whether figuratively or literally, for the better or even the temporarily or seemingly worse, we find keys, turn knobs, open doors, step through. With little outward fanfare, and often imperceptibly, we learn, we grow, and are forever changed. And our experience here becomes all the richer.

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#70.

saxton.P_penaandink

“The pen is mightier than the sword.”

I’ve always liked this quote. It assumes the great power of words, language and intention, which are just a few of my favorite things, along with pens themselves, of course.

[Side note: I’d always assumed this was a line from Shakespeare. Sounds like it ought to be, right? But I was wrong. This is what learned: This line was quoted in 1839 from a play written by Britain’s Edward Bulwer-Lytton, both an Author and Politician of his day. No one remembers the play (Richelieu: or, the Conspiracy) but we’ve all heard the line. Apparently he’s also famous for the opening “It was a dark and stormy night”. I just love learning new things. 🙂 ]

In any event – back to P for pen. This is actually a guest P, created by a friend of mine and presented as a surprise, which truly delighted me. She’d taken a Zendangle course, and this was something she produced. Isn’t it great?! I adore it.

It’s also great because pens have always been an important positive in my own world. I am, in fact, most comfortable with a pen in hand ~ I just think better with a pen in hand. I’m also able to doodle if things are dull on the other side of the table or the other end of the phone, or in meetings, or just as an unconscious release of nervous energy. They’re great for making lists, and of course, for jotting down flashes of brilliance (that may or may not be brilliant on second look). My thoughts flow most easily when writing. As if the connection between mind and hand takes just enough longer than the one from mind to mouth, allowing for a richer expression, rather than a quick one.

Pens and I go way back. As a child I was always drawing and writing. My mother, a poet, was always writing. My parents had fallen in love through letter-writing. Pens were the natural order of things.

Then as my drawing skills developed, I got more and more courageous and soon stepped out of my comfort zone with pencils (which can be erased) to pen and ink (which cannot be erased). This is when I learned, sometimes the hard way, that mistakes a.) happen and b.) are not always remedied, but c.) can sometimes be made into something better. A life lesson from an unlikely source, but a good one I’ve carried with me.

So I, yes, am grateful for pens. And I do believe they are mighty. <3

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#69.

saxton.P_palette

Palette is defined as a range of colors, especially those typically used by an artist. But we all have what I think of as a personal palette. Our palette can reflect how we feel ~ or project how we wish to be perceived. What we wear, the colors in our home, foods arranged on a plate.

And surely our personalities have color too ~ the sunny, the brooding, the comic, the serious ~ the whole wide range. And within that, are the shades of our moods. And around all that, there are the colors in our aura. (Imagine, what a kaleidoscope of brilliance we all must make together!)

And beyond all that ~ beyond what they may represent, beyond their gift of making the world more, well, colorful ~ colors, in my opinion, in all their tones and hues and flavors, are essentially magical. They can calm and soothe, they can excite and energize. They can heal, and they can disrupt. They’re emotional. They tell stories. They’re loud or soft, subtle and sensitive, harsh, tender, generous; they’re unyielding, protective, submissive, lighthearted, stormy, hot, warm, cool. They are infinite and inexhaustibly interchangeable. There are worlds within worlds of just the color red alone. The whole spectrum of expression is unfathomable.

So, with all that possibility, you can mix your palette to your heart’s content ~ a dash here, a broad stroke there, a sprinkling of this, a spot of that. (Note: mixing with love and a generous pinch of harmony produces the best results.) However you please, there’s magic for the making, if not only a lift for the spirit.

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#68.

saxton.P_presentation

“Presentation is everything.”

I’m not sure when, or by whom, this phrased was first coined, but it speaks volumes. From job interviews to table setting to product marketing to public speaking to asking a date to the prom to framing a picture ~ presentation is the packaging that can make or break a deal, set a tone, and stamp a nearly irreversible impression.

Of course, it probably should be said that a well done presentation can be deceptive. How many of us have been fooled into buying an unworthy product, or trusting someone not deserving our trust? A slick presentation can be a ruse to cover truth ~ so we shouldn’t follow blindly, nor believe what we see just because it’s presented a certain way.

However…. how much lovelier the world is with fresh flowers on a table. How much more engaging to hear an authentic, articulate speech than a sloppy one. How much more effective to sell a home that’s clean and attractively appointed. How much more likely the neatly dressed person will be favored for a job over someone who looks like they’re fresh from an all-night at the pub. How much sweeter to give (and receive) a gift that’s presented with a smile, if not also a bow? We can so much more appreciate a symphony recording that’s clear instead of scratched and muffled. A well-written note means more and feels more genuine than one filled with errors that appears rushed. A meal is more savored when artfully arranged. The list goes on.

It’s the human touch, the extra mile, the care and thoughtfulness behind just about anything, that makes the presentation more winning, the sharing more worthwhile, and the receiving more valued.

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#67.

saxton.P_pillar

Where would we be without pillars? A pillar is upright, strong and supportive. Something to lean on. Something to admire. Something that holds up magnificent structures ~ sometimes with great adornment, sometimes with simple, elegant lines, sometimes plain, functional ones, but always sturdy.

And they’ve been around a long time! The first known stone pillars date back to 2600BC in Ancient Egypt, created by the architect Imhotep. A little later on, some of the most elaborate columns were built by the Persians, and later still, (not to be outdone), the Greeks and Romans used them not only for supporting roofs from the inside, but as decoration for the outside of buildings.

Above all, ornate or dull, pillars are practical. And now and then, the human structure also needs a pillar to rest on or look up to, or support us when we reach higher, when our load is heavy. And sometimes, you’re that pillar of strength for someone else.

The way I see it is that either way, physically or emotionally, pillars are pretty awesome and well due some praise.

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#66.

saxton.P_pancakes2

Pancakes. Because, really, who doesn’t love pancakes? Let’s fire up the griddle. :  )

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#65.

saxton.P_paris

Oh la joie ~ Paris! So many things to love … the Champs-Élysées, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Musee d’Orsay, the Louvre, the Seine. Opera houses, fashion, culinary finesse. Art, and more art. And of course, chocolate croissants at a sidewalk cafe … beau, oui ?

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#64.

According to Wikipedia, paisley is a droplet-shaped vegetable motif of Persian origin, but its western name derives from the town of Paisley, in central Scotland.

Well, you learn something new every day.

What I’d already known was that paisley seems to have an almost immortal popularity that’s been used heavily by the likes of the equally immortal designer William Morris and fashion giants Gucci and D&G (Dolce & Gabbana).

I think of it as a happy print; happiest when used sparingly and elegantly. Of course, for those who like to shout it out more boldly, that works too. Either way, wear it in good cheer. There’s quite a bit of history in a piece of paisley print!

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#63.

I’ve always been enchanted by flamingos. I think most people are. Maybe it’s their color we find so stunning ~ their sheer pink-ness! ~ ranging from pale and soft to deep corals and brilliant pink-tinged scarlets.

Then you see them standing on those incredibly skinny legs that go every which way (often standing on just one leg; go figure…), making them both awkward and fluid, beautiful and strange, and there’s a sense of awe at their very design.

I like the “awe” of flamingos. I like the way their form almost contradicts itself. I like their grace and their gentleness, and how they hang out in groups like one big happy family and don’t cause any trouble. They eat, swim, and fly (sounds good to me). They mate for life.  And they’ve got that amazing plumage.

You know, just thinking about them has brightened my day. Heck, I hope it’s brightened yours too.

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#62.

Need I say  more? Of course, there are lots of versions of paradise. Pick one to keep in your mind’s eye, place it in your heart and pull up the feeling as needed.

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#61.

“And I will make thee beds of roses / And a thousand fragrant posies.” ~ Christopher Marlowe (full poem can be read here.)

…………..

If not inspired to write of love, one should at least enjoy the beauty of flowers as often as possible. Maybe pick some wildflowers to brighten up your dinner table, or hand some to a friend (or a stranger) ~ just because.  And if nothing else, do stop to “smell the roses” now and again.  Spirits are lifted, senses are massaged, hearts are happier. What a gift posies are!

– ♥ –

#60.

“Practice makes perfect”. Or at least it makes for better. And better. And better. If you want to be proficient, you’ve got to plod on, persist, persevere, pursue and practice, practice, practice ~ and in the process come to know satisfaction and personal pride, and in the end, who knows how prolific you might become… and when you do, how glad you’ll be for having practiced your little heart out.

(And oh-by-the-way, the target’s always moving, so you’re never done……. but the good news is that it simply becomes a natural part of creating a better you. It’s never too late. So practice on!)

– ♥ –

#59.

The #2 pencil: A simple, eloquent, favorite tool. A fierce confidante with a rich history and a great future ahead! (See “tribute to pencil” here)

– ♥ –

#58.

A moment of quiet reflection, please, in honor of the Potato ~ a humble, understated vegetable of enormous natural value.

Glamour evades the Potato; it isn’t particularly pretty and doesn’t dress-up for attention very often ~ but oh! the versatile delight it possesses! And so, I pay tribute and celebrate this near divine offering from the Good Earth.

It’s hard to imagine a life without potatoes. This is especially true if you’re Irish, I suppose, but we all enjoy their many variations. Red potatoes, golden ones, brown ones, white ones, sweet ones. Mashed potatoes (lumps or no lumps?), baked potatoes, scalloped potatoes, roasted, fried, french-fried, sautéed, grilled, boiled (I even like a raw slice now and then), and of course, potato soup, potato salad and potato pie.

Potatoes go with almost any meal (except maybe ice cream), and as if it couldn’t get any better, aside from their yumminess they’re jam-packed with nutrients.

Some spud facts: Potatoes contain no fat or cholesterol and minimal sodium. What they do have is natural fiber in the skins, vitamins and minerals and great flavor. A six-ounce potato contains 2 grams of highly digestible protein, almost as much as half a glass of milk, making it a great foundation for a whole meal. One potato has more potassium than a banana, and is a great source of both vitamin’s B and C. And, as a nutritious carbohydrate, your muscles and your brain will thank you for fueling them, saving your heart and other vital organs from trying to do that extra work.

Viva La Potato!

– ♥ –

#57.

Because purple is fabulous.The color of royalty, the color supreme for little girls, the essence of spirituality. It’s sublime and grand and bright and fun and radiant and plush and proud and deep and mysterious and joyful and lavish and luscious and lovely. We should all have some purple in our world.

– ♥ –

#56.

Postcards! Snippets of our lives captured with a picture and a few friendly words that tell someone we’re thinking of them. Except now… with instant email access from almost anywhere in the world, pictures arriving within seconds on our cell phones and exotic places available daily on tv, handwritten postcards are near extinction, relegated to “nostalgia”.

There was a time when it was a treat to send something in the mail from faraway places ~ maybe India or Paris or Jamaica, or from a child at summer camp “a million miles from home” ~ and just as much a treasure to receive.

Now, we’re home before the card. Or we’ve skyped from Finland. Or we’ve shared our stories on Facebook. The postcard is old news.

But this is also true: there isn’t one of us who doesn’t harbor a secret wish for a real letter in the mail. A real birthday card, a real thank you card, a real postcard. With real words written with a real pen by a real live bona fide human being who took the time to write … to you! There’s nothing that says “I’m thinking of you” more than a hand-written or hand-typed note. If you aren’t convinced, watch the sparkle in the eyes of a kid growing up on electronic communication when they see a real envelope in the real mailbox addressed to their very own name.

So maybe, just maybe, the new beauty of sending a card is actually its “novelty” all over again. And maybe, just maybe, the thoughtful, simple act of writing a note won’t go the way of the dinosaurs, not yet, not 100% completely.

By the way, if you didn’t know, it’s National Postcard Week this week. Every day, all week. So send some love out there!

(Of course, I happen to know about an awesome postcard book…!  [forgive the brazen self-promotion] If you haven’t gotten one yet, my publisher has created an e-card set-up this week in honor of National Postcard Week, so you can send a smile to a friend for free. Nice!)

– ♥ –

#55.

Pretty is a sweet word. Something light and graceful and attractive, maybe even delicate. Pretty is pleasing to the eye, to the ear, to the mind.

We think of “pretty” as feminine, but it’s not for girls only. Sure, we girls like to feel pretty, and I won’t deny that make-up or the right shoes (and definitely the right little black dress!) can give our spirits a lift ~ but one look at a soft pink sunset or a peacock’s feathers, or hearing the sweet song of a flute, or feeling the rhythm of a flowing dance … and I know that we all enjoy the pleasure of pretty.

After all, “pretty” makes the dusty bits of life a little brighter.

– ♥ –

#54.

A perfect rose. A flawless chord. Pure white snow. The softness of a baby’s skin. A child’s laugh. A cherry tomato plucked from the vine. Mountain air.

We all love purity. I think on some level we crave it. And it’s not just a nice concept for optimists, it’s something real and raw, basic and primitive. It’s untouched and genuine. It’s unsullied, honest-to-goodness simplicity.

Even in this increasingly technological world, this world of mayhem, madness and convoluted this and that, a world where a drink may say “organic” because one of ten ingredients may have actually been organic, a world that sometimes seems almost tragically impaired by impurities of all kinds ~ purity can still be found.

We find it in the new seed planted in the garden, in the bear hug from a loved one, in the sunrise. The just right cup of tea. The sparrow’s song. The rhythm of a drum. Wit. Wonder. Wisdom. In so many ways, it’s all around us.

Go get some ~ however small, however large ~ and give it your attention, and let purity wash over your spirit like cleansing waves.

– ♥ –

#53.

Some of us, especially when we’re young adults, think we need to follow a set path. Line it up, stay on course. If you falter, get up, brush yourself off and carry on. And there is much truth in that ~  because if we try to follow too many paths at one time, we can become a.) overwhelmed and b.) lost. One path allows us to define a direction, set goals, see progress, maybe even see down the road a bit.

But life teaches us that a clear path isn’t necessarily what it seems. We learn that “things happen”, causing us to change course. There are detours, and there’s debris along the way. Not all the stones are smooth and flat, or angled just so. They might suddenly veer off, dip, crack or overlap. You might have to go through some muddy parts.

And besides all that, how do you know if you’re on the right path? And what happens when you stumble upon a different path? One that looks more inviting?  Ah… that can really mess you up, if you’re humming along, thinking you’ve got this all nailed down pat. Are we really on track, or just kidding ourselves?

Maybe though, we could see many of those dips and swerves as opportunities. Adventure. Choices. After all, who’s to say what path is right for any one individual? Who decides? Who really knows?

Except that when it’s right, it feels right. Right there in your gut. You feel stronger, with more clarity, more determination, more light. Your dreams kick in. Obstacles? Surpassable. Detours? Hey, maybe they’re enhancements.

So go ahead and follow your path, your calling, your dream, even if it you don’t know for sure that it’s “the one”. With a plan in your pocket and an open mind, follow what lights you up, because in taking action, taking steps, you might even stumble upon something better.

– ♥ –

#52.

I’m not holding my breath for the whole world to catch on just yet, but hope springs eternal. So maybe we can help it along; give it some attitude…

Maybe we can hang out our shingles with peaceful intent, toss some into our breakfast, wrap it up in our clothing, walk it into our stride, put the idea in our hearts ~ and practice peace, a little bit, every day.

– ♥ –

#51.

Tis the season to be jolly! Right?

I know, sometimes you don’t feel so much jolly as tired or overwhelmed. We question the materialism, or we’re frustrated by the mountain of to-do’s tossed like tinsel on already burdened days. We may welcome the idea of a big holiday, but secretly feel ornery instead of joyful. Tempers can flare. Emotions grate.

Maybe it’s time to put on your party hat. Literally. Not a hat person? Wear one on your attitude. Shift your state of mind. Get silly. Be festive. Cut yourself some slack. Sprinkle some love around out there. (Oh, and that shopper that just cut in front of you? Wish them the best of the best! Really!)

Put celebration back into the season. Have a get-together, even if you don’t have time for one. Let go even just a little ~ loosen the grip of the daily grind, even if you have to use some extra elbow grease to break that hold. Wrap your gifts with crazy bows. Write notes from the heart. Share some goodness and light. Even if the weather outside is frightful.

Raise a glass, share a toast. Be merry. Bring some cookies to a neighbor. And don’t forget to have a few yourself … while wearing your hat … and singing your favorite holiday song, loudly.

– ♥ –

#50.

It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding; And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving.  ~ Khalil Gibran

Everyone likes presents. They feel good to get, they feel good to give. Large or small, maybe wrapped with shiny paper and a big fat bow, maybe not wrapped at all. Presents say “I’m thinking of you”.

And then, of course, are the presents which no packaging can hold ~ your talents, your thoughts, your care. Gifts of inspiration or hope or wonderment.

Children are gifts. Friends are gifts. You, who make people laugh and smile – you are a gift. You, who ease another’s load, are a gift. You who openly delight in another’s good fortune, are a gift.

There’s no doubt that thoughtful things are worthy ~ and tying them with fancy ribbons adds a joyful spirit. But the gifts you cannot wrap are those that often mean the most. So maybe we should all try sprinkling more of the unwrappable around this holiday season, and remember to top our presents with bows of kindness.

And you receivers… and you are all receivers… assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.

Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings; For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the freehearted earth for mother, and God for father. ~ Khalil Gibran

– ♥ –

#49.

A refreshing herb that grows with wild abandon in almost any garden, peppermint cleanses the palette, soothes digestion, eases headaches and can help keep your memory nearly as sharp as an elephant’s.

Popular for providing a perky punch to the palette, it’s also packed with nutrients, making it one of nature’s “wonder herbs” . I like to toss a few fresh leaves in my tea, along with a pinch of parsley and chamomile. Yum!

For all of peppermint’s natural goodness, I have a sneaky suspicion that the nutritional value is lost in its processed, sugary form (alright, more than a suspicion), but I figure there’s still some sweet emotional value watching a young face light up when offered a candy cane. :  )

– ♥ –

#48.

Because sometimes you just need to be mindless.

Pizza’s a happy, tasty, satisfying no-brainer made to order, with all kinds of goodness going on. It’s doughy and crusty and cheesy and saucy ~ and if you toss some veggies on, it’s a downright healthy meal! Not to mention it’s a very social food, built for sharing, bringing people together. And it makes us feel Italian. Pizza’s good stuff.

Versatile too. There’s thin and thick and deep-dish, white and red, chewy and crunchy. For artistic palettes, it’s a blank culinary canvas, a playground for all sorts of nifty gastronomical toppings. And how many foods are fun to watch being made?

There are lots of reasons to love pizza. But the truth of it is that we don’t have to think too much ~ we just enjoy it, in all its glorious, unsophisticated, delicious genuineness.

– ♥ –

#47.

A grand old oak. Moonlight on a tranquil sea. The timed-just-right one-liner. A child’s first alphabet. These are perfection.

And you (yes ~ you) are perfection. In all your realness, your uniquely you-ness, just the way nature made you, flaws and all. It’s not measured by the length of your legs, the width of your belly, or whether you might not be so good at baseball or science.

Unless you’re a jet engine, perfection is as nature made you. And nothing is more perfect, nothing so magnificently intricate and complex that runs more efficiently nor encompasses more bounty, grace, grandeur and passion than nature.

An exquisite rose reminds us of the world’s beauty; its thorns remind us that there is always a purpose beyond what meets the eye. An ugly plant may not elicit oohs and ahhs, but it might perhaps hold a cure for cancer.

We’re all part of nature’s fabric. We all have beauty, we all have thorns. We all have gifts, and reason to be here. Each and every one of us. Flawed, and marvelously, perfectly ourselves.

– ♥ –

#46.

A pair of pears. Why not just pair, or just pear? Because, as we have been taught, things are often better in pairs. Two eyes, two hands, two feet, for example. Or “two heads are better than one”. Noah filled the ark in pairs. Girls always use the ladies room in pairs.

It must be, then, that two pears are more advantageous than one lonely pear all by itself. Twice the fiber, twice the vitamin C, and twice the calming effects on the nervous system.

Of course, the real truth is that I picked Pear as a positive P because, for some reason, I like to paint them. I actually prefer to paint them than eat them. Their curves and colors are incredibly conducive to a pen or brush ~ they practically beg for portraiture. For this reason alone, pears are good. Add in the medicinal benefits and they’ve got “positive” written all over them.

So a pear of pairs presents a dual positive. And I figure we could all use a double-dose of cheerful thinking now and then. Just remember to try and pair up wisely. And yes, eat your fruit.

– ♥ –

#45.

Wrinkles never looked so good. Nor housed beings so big and rich in personality, intelligence, loyalty and tender care as an elephant clan.

Then there are the rhinos and hippos. And wild boars and warthogs. And I have to say I’m pretty enamored with their novelty and longevity in a civilized world. Just knowing they exist makes me happy for some reason.

That I’ve seen them in the wild makes me even happier ~ but let me tell you, I wouldn’t want to cross any of them when they’re in bad mood. They’re thick-skinned and they don’t take any bull. You gotta admire that.

And there’s something to be learned there, huh. Longevity… loyalty… thick skins… worrying less about things that are out of our reach, and more about taking care of what’s within our grasp, right here and now.

Food for thought.

– ♥ –

#44.

Pumpkin season! Bewitching, enchanting, spooky, happy pumpkin season….

I know I’m a little late on this one. It was all ready to go, then the power went out. Then it stayed out. Halloween itself was cancelled. School’s been cancelled. So you could say, life took a turn.

But the power’s back on, and my orange Pumpkin Cat “P” is here to remind us to make room to be bright, lighthearted and playful, a little bit preposterous ~ and, yes, even pointless now and then. :  )

– ♥ –

#43.

They’re unavoidable. Patterns, seen or unseen, weave the tapestries of life. From small and intricate to big and bold. Some as “routine” as the sun rising and setting, or tides coming and going. Some, like the hides of zebras and giraffes, are unique and irregular. An Aztec calendar is mystifying. A sky of stars, grand and mind-boggling. The patterns upon patterns that create the whole big universe ~ unfathomable.

And then there are the patterns of daily life; individual tapestries woven from the choices we make ~ the clothes we wear, the colors we include, the language we use, the people we align with, the actions we take, the thoughts we think.

And all of our choices that are creating patterns that are busy creating our own personal tapestries, interweave with others’ patterns creating their own personal tapestries ~  all becoming part of the quilt of the great big unknowable picture.

So how do you want to pattern your world? Which thought patterns serve you well and which get in your way? How will you weave your life tapestry?

– ♥ –

# 42.

Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.  ~ Pamela Vaull Starr

Climb the hills. Cross the streams. Reach for the moon and stars. Your dreams are worthy of attending.

– ♥ –

#41.

Poise: the ability to be ill at ease inconspicuously. ~ Earl Wilson

Mr. Wilson is so right. Poise is really about composure, balance and grace under fire. The idea that you can stand calm, keep your wits, speak intelligently ~ when getting rattled might seem the more natural reaction, the easier thing to do!

Poise is self-respect made elegant. So, keep your cool. Smile in the face of adversity. Stand a little taller and don’t let your feathers get too ruffled! It’s usually not worthwhile… but your dignity is.

– ♥ –

#40.

Persistence is to the character of man as carbon is to steel.  ~ Napoleon Hill

You just can’t beat the person who never gives up. ~Babe Ruth

In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength, but through persistence. ~ Buddha

Persistence is a state of mind, a driving force with an out-and-out refusal to give up. And sure, it can be used for the wrong reasons, or take someone down the wrong road if the persistent thought revolves around negative expectations. But it’s also what we do to combat adversity or deafen the naysayers… we persist; and that positive persistence holds an amazing ability to shift outcomes for the good, to breed courage and drown out disappointment.

Persistence urges you on to finish a race, gives you the adrenaline to win a match, pushes you to climb higher and reach farther. It says, “I can do this, I can learn that, I can grow this, I can develop that … and I’m gonna put one foot in front of the other, over and over, to make it so”.

It’s all about how you think. Then you act, then things happen. So, check your thoughts… because the dominant thought becomes the persistent attitude that will inevitably lead the way.

– ♥ –

#39:

“No other acoustic instrument can match the piano’s expressive range, and no electric instrument can match its mystery.” ~ Kenneth Miller

Billy Joel comes to mind. Stevie Wonder. George Winston. Herbie Hancock. Oscar Peterson. Ray Charles. Jerry Lee Lewis. Joni Mitchell. Regina Spektor. Scott Joplin. Bach. Beethoven. Haydn. Mozart. Tchaikovsky.

I admit I’m biased towards the piano. And I know it can probably be said for any musical instrument… but under the right hands (and heart & soul) pianos can be delicate, thunderous, funky, bright, rough, elegant ~ and everything in between.

Like a changing sky, her moods are endless; her range of emotion vast and deep as an ocean. Tickle her, and she sings with delight.

And if we match her up with a guitar and some conga drums… a bit of heaven just might appear.

– ♥ –

#38:

Life is not so short but that there is always time for courtesy.  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are few words that take the friction out of life so easily as a warmly spoken please or thank you. The simplest of gestures can cause a ripple of kindness ~ a cheerful greeting, holding a door, paying attention, lending a hand ~ they can be contagious, one polite deed leading to another, like flowering vines spreading out, taking root, weaving a sweetness into life.

How easy to affect the quality of a day! Acts of politeness take the bitter out, and soothe this challenging, sometimes beastly, business of being human.

– ♥ –

#37.

Sometimes pride gets a bad rap. But to me, pride is about dignity. It’s about self-respect ~ and choosing thoughts that are uplifting and life affirming, and actions that ignite feeling good about yourself.

It’s doing right without righteousness, your best without boasting, and feeling strong without pushing your weight around. It’s confidence without arrogance.

It’s personal; it’s humble; it doesn’t shout from rooftops or seek applause. Whether it’s pride in craftsmanship, pride in honoring your word, pride in athletic or intellectual achievement, pride in the accomplishments of loved ones ~ it’s a solid inner code of conduct that elevates and strengthens. It’s integrity. It’s dignity of character.

Feel proud of something. Genuinely proud, and hold your head high.

– ♥ –

#36.

Today we celebrate Labor Day in the U.S.. A tribute to all those whose hard work has helped build the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country, it’s a day to “kick back” and relax, and appreciate the efforts and accomplishments of so many. A day to give ourselves the proverbial pat-on-the-back for productivity.

I’m a big believer in being productive. I guess it was instilled in my growing up years… but I don’t mean the kind that’s measured by the boss or a particular number of somethings you have to reach to fill someone else’s pre-determined goal. What I learned was that a job done well feels good, that doing your best matters, that there’s both personal and social value in making something better or brighter or more useful or more worthwhile.

Not every minute, not every single day, nor does productivity have to “change the world”. Being productive can be as simple as taking a walk instead of watching mindless blather on the tv, or as involved as developing cures for cancer. Maybe it’s laying bricks or writing stories or growing corn or teaching math. Maybe it’s lending a helping hand. Maybe it’s doing the laundry. Maybe it’s play.

There are no hard and fast rules; productivity is more about time used well and a penchant for positive purpose. Being productive is good stuff; it elevates the day.

– ♥ –

#35.

Just seeing if you’re paying attention. : ) …

Patricia [puh-trish-uh]: a female name of Latin origin, derived from the Latin word patrician, meaning regal or “noble”. It also indicates someone who likes to write, draw, paint, swim, and wear cowboy boots to business meetings.

– ♥ –

#34.

Paper is a wonderful thing. So practical and so versatile!

Needless to say, paper has been a key player in my life as artist and writer, so my appreciation might be over the top.

You see, paper isn’t just a vehicle for grocery lists or movie tickets or plain paper towels… a crisp, blank piece of paper is a breath of fresh, new air, an open field to run through, a drawing or a story waiting to spring to life between each finely woven fiber. Wonder and possibility lurk on every piece! … I love paper.

Paper, by the way, has been around since dinosaurs first recorded their alphabet on a sturdy, if not leafy paper known as jurassicyrus ~ more commonly called dinopyrus. Dinopyrus preceded the use of the more well-known Egyptian papyrus scrolls by several million years.

After the dinosaurs, history is more clear. Papyrus, a thick paper-like product made from the flower stem of the papyrus plant, pressed and dried, appeared in Egypt around 2500 B.C. Papyrus had a good, long run, but was replaced at some point around the 2nd century B.C. by Greek and Roman parchment, a thinner sheet made from calfskin, sheepskin or goatskin. Later, in 105 A.D., Chinese inventor Ts’ai-Lun was credited with the first papermaking process, by pulping rags, cotton, hemp and and other plant fibers.

It wasn’t until 1838 that paper was made from wood pulp, a discovery by Canadian farmer Charles Fenerty. But Fenerty never patented his process, so that German inventor Fredrich Keller, who did patent a wood-pulp papermaking process around the same time, is often considered the original inventor.

And there you have it. Hope you’ll have a new respect for paper. Don’t waste it ~ but do appreciate it!

– ♥ –

#33.

Mom always said to stand up straight. And at some point in the awkward growing up years, I realized she was right (of course). Standing “straight and tall” looks better, it feels better (when you get used to it), and it’s good for you.

Your posture speaks volumes without saying a word ~ not only projecting confidence outwardly, but inwardly. You can stand straight, head high, belly in, shoulders back and relaxed, or you can slouch in varying degrees of slump-dom… just know that how you choose to carry yourself matters to both your physical and mental health, ultimately affecting your general well-being.

And while you’re busy sitting up a little straighter, remember: the same benefits hold true for how you posture your thoughts. Are your thoughts life-affirming or life-diminishing? Do they reach up or look down? Are they strong or limp, flexible or rigid? Are they aligned with your actions? Aligned with your heart?

What we think, and how we think it, has enormous influence in the well-being of a moment, a day, a year, a lifetime.  As Buddha said, “What we think we become.”

And what’s really cool is that the simple act of “standing up straight” helps the positive flow of the thoughts we think ~ and vice versa. So it’s a win-win.

Mom sure was smart.

– ♥ –

#32.

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”  ~ Plato

Last year I did a post about the importance of play. And I still couldn’t feel more strongly that play is not only important, but essential for health and happiness of mind, body and soul.

Maybe some of you feel the same ~ I know I’m not alone in working long hours, and feeling some of life’s rather large stresses in a big way. Which, although we may not find the time, is all the more reason to make the time for play.

Doesn’t have to be a week-long affair (although a month would suit me fine right about now!); doesn’t even have to be a whole day or whole night. More might be better, but even a little can go a long way. So have a laugh with a friend, skip down the sidewalk, do a cartwheel, toss a ball, make lemonade ice cubes, sing a silly song, bend yourself into a letter of the alphabet … just for the fun of it. No other reason required. Period!

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

– ♥ –

#31.

Few games are more fun than a battle of ping pong. It’s blood-pumping, spirit-lifting, good old-fashioned fun. And that’s really about all there is to to say ~ except maybe to find a friend, a table and go play!

– ♥ –

#30.

Pinwheels serve no purpose other than bringing smiles to children when the wind blows, spinning the wheel in a colorful dance, round and round ~ and that delight is purpose enough.

But there’s more … because the child’s delight brings us delight, so for a moment in time smiles spread like ripples in a pond.

I think we would all do well with more pinwheel moments ~ appreciating the dance of life’s colors, and delighting in other’s delight.

Smiles are sure to follow.

– ♥ –

#29.

Life … wherever it calls home, wherever it thrives, feeds, flies, laughs, cries, loves … is precious. Yours, mine, the new baby’s, the old man’s, the birds in flight, the rivers and trees and fairies and whales and clouds and rocks and deserts and mountains and suns and moons.

Life is a gift, a tapestry of twists and turns, of madness, hopes and dreams, offering a nest of precious treasures in sometimes unexpected places.

– ♥ –

#28.

Patriotism is like a giant batch of team spirit… loyalty to your own, devotion to shared values, an overriding love of country, flaws and all. It’s a heartfelt high-five for freedom and a star-bangled banner ever waving o’er the land of the free and home of the brave.  

~ Happy 4th of July, America! ~

– ♥ –

#27.

Peas may be petite, but they sure pack a big positive punch.

Did you know that peas have twice the protein of most vegetables? They also help lower cholesterol, strengthen the immune system, maintain level glucose levels in the blood to keep energy levels consistent, promote healthy bones and boost cardiovascular health. Not to mention their high vitamin C content is a great natural antioxidant that protects the body from cell damage. Plus, they happen to be yummy, especially fresh from a garden.

So, do like Mom said, and eat your peas!

– ♥ –

#26.

Pools are like self-contained mini-vacations. A clear, sparkling invitation to wash away worries, soak aching muscles, rejuvenate tired thoughts.

Water is movement, the flow of emotion, harmony and balance. Refreshing, cleansing, invigorating, weightless, necessary. … So plunge in and feel the tension ease. Splash and play. Float and do somersaults. Blow underwater bubbles. Or, if you’re like me, find a lane and swim and swim and swim. Your body will thank you, your heart will thank you, your mind will thank you. And you will thank the water.

– ♥ –

#25.

Why not? Can’t you just imagine them huddling in their pens, planning some nighttime fun? Their wings (invisible during the day to avoid alarming the humans) coming alive, carrying them effortlessly through the air under a shiny new moon; pigs and piglets soaring above field and fencepost, performing weightless pirouettes over the barn, their squeals of delight breaking midnight’s stillness as they tickle treetops and wreak havoc in the hen house.

Ah, if pigs could fly…  Maybe they’d teach us to lighten up, be a ham, play in the mud sometimes ~ and every now and then, perhaps, to enjoy our own small acre from a loftier, unexpected, improbable, fantastical and quite extraordinary point of view.

– ♥ –

#24.

So much to do. So many things to check off the list, people to see, plans to make, meetings to attend, bills to pay, rooms to clean, cars to fix; on and on and on it goes. A virtual sea of things-to-do. Pretty soon we’re not only carried away, but become part of the ever-demanding waves.

So, after we pause, and become present, and before we decide to persevere, it’s a great idea to welcome in the wonderfully practical notion of prioritizing. To take a moment of clarity and think: really, and truly, what’s worth our time. To consider what we “have to do” vs. what we “want to do” ~ and within those needs and wants, what will give us the most peace, the most value, the most satisfaction. Today, tomorrow, at the end of the road.

I’m talking both about the daily priorities ~ those that help us be productive and get us through the day without everything a.) colliding, or b.) wasting our time, or c.) back-firing ~ and “life” priorities. At the end of the day, what will give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction?

Sometimes, for both the daily and the bigger-picture-of-life viewpoints, less really is more. Quality beats quantity. The world is moving so fast … so fast. It doesn’t have to make us crazy in the process. Much more than we may acknowledge simply depends on our priorities.

What are you going to choose to give your attention to?

– ♥ –

#23.

Thank you ~ for your bravery, your love, your principled, unselfish courage ~ from the wells of our hearts, with a gratitude that knows no bounds.

“Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours.”  ~Wallace Bruce

…………………………
Memorial Day, 2011

– ♥ –

#22.

Here’s an easy one to get your noodle around. Because, seriously, doesn’t everyone in the world like pasta? When you think about it (though it actually doesn’t take much thought…), a steaming bowl of spaghetti with sauce and parmesan, a green garden salad and some fresh, piping hot garlic bread has to be one of the best meals ever invented.

The thing about pasta is that it’s simple. There’s nothing convoluted about it, and there’s nothing “bad” about it. It’s easy, yummy and comes in all kinds of clever shapes. Which is really the hardest part: choosing between fettuccine, vermicelli, linguini, cappellini, cavatini, farfalle, fusilli, gemelli, manicotti, rigatoni, penne, ziti, rotelle, lasagne, tortellini, macaroni, etc. (Of course, I’ve learned from Italian friends that all pastas are called macaroni.)

In the end, it doesn’t matter which you pick. They’re all tasty, all satisfying, and they’re all in the “comfort food” department … which in my book is all positive.

Buon appetito!

– ♥ –

#21.

“People who look through keyholes are apt to get the idea that most things are keyhole shaped.”  ~ Author Unknown

So much of life is about our point of view. Are you so close to something that you miss the bigger picture? Or do you soar above, taking in a broad view, missing the details?

Is your view softened by “rose-colored glasses” or do you see only the hard, harsh angles? When you walk, do you look up, look down, look straight ahead?

Are you near-sighted? Far-sighted? Do you look back, look forward? Do you see what’s right in front of you? Do you consider situations from all sides?

Our perspectives change, of course. But like all thought, we can direct that perspective towards the best possible light.

– ♥ –

#20.I know, not the image you might expect… Power often connotes masculinity; a certain brawniness. It also gets mixed up with things like control and willfulness. Or conjures up motors and engines, watts and voltage.

But the essence of power is energy. It’s that energy that creates the ability to do great things. It’s a force that inspires and sustains. And it’s a force that’s strongest when it comes from the heart. Uncontrived and elevated.

Power is neither masculine nor feminine, and doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, fat or thin, black, brown, white, red, yellow, green, purple….  We all have power within ~ power to give, to heal, to love.  We have power to generate, and accomplish, the stuff of dreams.

Tell that to your mind.

– ♥ –

#19.

A sincere compliment, a recognition of good deeds, admiration, applause… “a gold star for good behavior”, a high-five.

Praise knows no boundaries, no judgments. It can be as quiet as one appreciative word, or a thunderous, symphonic tribute. And there’s no one amongst us – saints to sinners, paupers to kings– who doesn’t benefit from receiving, or giving, a genuine expression of praise.

Praise lifts us up. Sprinkle it around your world, and high-five generously.

– ♥ –

#18.

Sure, sometimes we just need a nap.

But … sometimes what we really need to do to recharge is to add a little pizzazz. A pep to your step, some get-up-and-go spirit. A dash of red, a splash of purple, a pinch of pink, a lime-green wink. A great big bunch of wildflowers set on the table, a beaming smile when you feel a frown.

Put some strut in your salad, some punch in your pasta, panache on your pizza. Break out of the mold for an hour, a day, a year…

Let some sparkle light your world, welcome splatterings of zing and zeal and zest amongst your thoughts. Work the muscle in your attitude. Dance in your kitchen. Use new words. Paint with different colors.

A touch of pizzazz is feel-good stuff. So, go ahead and surprise yourself. Go ahead and shine.

– ♥ –

#17.

Well before a harvest, you’ve got to tend the garden. Before tending, you’ve got to sow the seeds. Before sowing the seeds, you’ve got to prepare the soil.

Anything we want to grow ~ a business, a home, a lifestyle, an idea, a dream; heck, even a good day! ~ involves cultivating the soil. Sure, there’s the physical preparation. But first, before an ounce of physical effort, long before toiling under a hot sun, is the preparation that goes on in the garden of our mind.

To create the best environment for seeds to take root, it’s best to turn over our mental soil (our thoughts), clear the space, remove debris, and fertilize with fortifying nutrients.

Good preparation, you see, makes all the difference in yielding a good crop.

– ♥ –

#16.

Whitman, Yeats, Kipling, Dickinson, Angelou, Gibran, Frost, Sandberg, Tolstoy, Cummings, Wilde, Shelley, Rumi, Shakespeare, Wordsworth….

When I hear these names, eloquence comes to mind.

Eloquence, combined with deep understandings of nature, love, and the human condition; poets have a profound ability to both explain and move our hearts.

Granted, I may be biased towards poetry. I’m a poet’s daughter, spoon-fed the deliciousness of words. From an early age I came to appreciate the beauty ~ and the power ~ of language.

So, bias aside, I realize that not everyone appreciates poetry. But I do think that everyone who does, experiences an expansion of heart and mind. Good poetry is arresting. It’s elevating. Some even say intoxicating. Like being dipped inside a rose, the senses enveloped.

It’s also demanding. It requires your attention. Using only words, poetry engages first the mind, then cuts through to the heart.

And though wrapped in prose, it’s probably the most directly communicative of the arts. In its purity, perhaps the most artistically vulnerable. No visual props, no chords to set a tone. A play of words forming emotional shapes, it’s a meeting of pen, mind and spirit; music and painting put to words.

Poetry has many faces, runs the gamut from simple to complex, lyrical to abrupt. Like song, it’s often a matter of taste. But it’s worth a savoring, magical, thought-provoking, reverent taste now and then. It’s the language of love. It’s the language of life, of loss, of longing and lifting up. It nourishes the mind; it’s a tonic for the soul.

A man should hear a little musicread a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

– ♥ –

#15.

Once again, the positive P-word I’d planned for this week was preempted by a sudden inspiration. This one thanks to learning that it’s National Tartan Week!

Scotland runs thick in my blood; the plaid used for this “P” is, in fact, from my maternal family line, the MacNaughton clan. Something I’m rather proud of.

And what’s the positive message? I’ll tell you this ~ it’s not the wearing of plaid pants, plaid skirts, or men in kilts. It’s not about saving a penny, or drinking Scotch Whiskey (although both notions have their place). It’s not about the uniquely moving sound of a well-played bagpipe. And it’s definitely, most definitely, not about haggis.

It’s about being proud of who you are and where you come from. It’s about appreciating those who came before you, and it’s about confidently showing your colors, inside and out.

So this one’s dedicated to all of us with Scottish ancestry ~ but meant for everyone. Honor the stepping stones of history, respect your heritage, and let the best of who you’ve become shine like a bold plaid.

“Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead.” ~  Scottish proverb

– ♥ –

#14.

Stop. Take a breath. Take three breaths. Nice and deep. The world will still be spinning, so go ahead. Pause.

I know I’m not alone feeling like the “on” button gets stuck sometimes. It’s “one thing after another”. Go here, do this, get that, call there. Sit, stand, walk, talk, think, plan. Wash, clean, fix, organize. Take out the trash. Make more.

Well, this is just a reminder that to pause is good. This isn’t news, but something true enough, and worth repeating.

So do it ~ take a break! Pause to stretch, take a walk, look out a window, smell a blade of grass. Pause to watch the clouds roll by. Pause to feel your pulse. Pause to find a brighter thought.

Pauses soften life. And they’re more efficient and rejuvenating than they get credit for. They help keep things from colliding – things like conversations and ideas. Pausing between meals avoids the discomforts of gluttony. And of course there’s the wise advice of counting to ten before letting your temper loose. Pausing is smart AND good.

So pause the laundry, the tv, the radio, the news, the internet, the email. Pause the to-do’s and have-to’s. Just a pause… a breath, a moment to collect, to reconnect and just be.

Be still. Then you can hit the “play” button again.

– ♥ –

#13.

Polka Dots …  because they’re happy.

– ♥ –

#12.

I had another “P” word ready for this week, but sometimes plans change. Things out of our control send us in another direction.

We’ve all been watching, living in, or at least are aware of what seems a world gone mad. It’s as though strife and wars and natural disasters have gone into warp speed. If you focus on it, it’s a bit terrifying. But we also have distractions… our lives to live, kids’ lunches to pack, dogs to walk, clothes to wash, deadlines that still need meeting … and while places like the Middle East and Japan and Haiti may visit our homes via satellite, it’s impossible, and not particularly useful, to remain in suspended disillusionment and grief.

At the same time, it’s kind of hard to write about say, typefaces, when you know that an hour north people’s homes are flooded, and an ocean away people are fighting for their lives.

And I can sit here and feel bad that there’s nothing I can do for those in need, a world away, facing unbelievable hardships. Maybe even feel guilty that I’ve just enjoyed a healthy meal and know that I’ll sleep in my own bed tonight. I can think that whatever I’m doing, even in writing this, is completely meaningless in light of catastrophic events. But these thoughts … don’t serve a purpose either.

I’m not a doctor or a diplomat, a scientist or a farmer. I don’t have wealth to send to those in need. But I can acknowledge. I can care. I can send up prayer.

I’ve never doubted that a higher power existed. I see and feel evidence of spirit everyday; not always in ways that can be described in factual detail…. and I suppose that has something to do with “faith”. Sometimes it’s a leap, and sometimes a simple step, a shift in thought. But 2 things are clear to me: prayer can be very powerful, and the world we live in sure needs a big dose.

I  wouldn’t pretend to prescribe how to pray, or to whom or what… but I feel that it can be a wish, a thought or an all out religious cantation. It can be drumming, chanting, song, dance. It can be meditation, or painting. However it occurs, and for however long (or briefly) it lasts, you feel it in your bones; your heart expands. At its most effective, it penetrates time and the mundane and becomes a state of consciousness in which you connect to divine energy… and there lies its power ~ accessible, I personally believe, to all who are willing to go there with good intentions.

Prayer is love, wrapped in hope; hope wrapped in love. It works in mysterious ways, and while it needn’t be reserved “for emergency only”, there are a lot of devastated people in the world right now in need of our prayers.

– ♥ –

#11.

Measuring, cutting, hammering, nailing. Planning each step. Following through. Useful logic. …There’s a rhythm, and a rhyme, in being practical.

Sure, sometimes we want to throw caution to the wind and go full throttle on instinct, or feel the thrill of standing on the edge. We need to dream dreams. And everyone should dance in the rain at least a few times in life.

But when it gets right down to the nuts and bolts of living, it wouldn’t be very practical to, oh, let’s say, wash the dishes while jumping on a pogo-stick, or fix a hole in the roof with scotch tape. A book doesn’t get written just by thinking about it; food doesn’t cook itself… etc!

So three cheers to the predictable, marvelous dullness of being practical. Three cheers for methods to madness, for light bulbs with proper wattage, and sensible shoes in a bramble patch.

Applause for practical thinking ~ a practically perfect tool!

– ♥ –

#10.

What would the world be without paint?! Whether you’re an artist or an appreciator, life without paint would be a lot less interesting. So … why not … paint something?!

Paint a wall. Paint a chair. Paint a picture. Paint a story. Paint a dream.

Not good with a brush? Here’s the really fun part ~ you don’t have to paint a thing. You can paint in your mind. Paint with your imagination. Slather on some color with sweeping mental brushstrokes. Dab the corners, glory in the details, add some highlights, make it as bold or as subtle as you want. Go ahead! Get messy. Paint from your heart and let those pigments passionately permeate your world. Paint your day a new color.

Problems might still be there when you’re done (unless you’ve managed to paint them away…!)… but you’ll probably come at them with a refreshed point of view. And if nothing else, you’ll have had a fun break.

– ♥ –

#9.

Punctuation is a really good thing. Without the unsung little darlings of writing and grammar ~ those wonderful marks that emphasize, clarify and organize our words ~ thoughts would run on in an emotionless void, something like this:

Guess what Jimmy won an Olympic medal today were so excited we were all jumping up and down please have Aunt Jane call Jimmy he will like that today he is tired tomorrow will be better okay we hope youre well

Not to mention; using. them (incorrectly) leads? to not ~ ! making sense” :…

So, embrace those practical characters! Discover their charm. Use them with finesse and diligence. Because proper punctuation makes life a less chaotic, more positive, place.

– ♥ –

#8.

Passion is an uncontainable spark; it’s the fire in your chest, in your belly, or rising from the soles of your feet … that expands up, around and through, spilling out over the edges of reason. It’s unbridled enthusiasm. It’s love. It’s hate. It’s wonder. It’s joy. It’s feeling alive.

Passion is a gift from the Gods that makes your spirit laugh out loud. It writes symphonies, bakes cakes, throws plates. It discovers civilizations, turns ideas electric, moves us to tears, heals hearts, builds dreams.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! ~ let your passions shine.

– ♥ –

#7.

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” ~ Winnie the Pooh

Time. The great illusionist. Ticks slowly when we want something to happen, the fast-forward button gets pressed when we’ve got someplace to be.

Time seems to move faster and faster; like it’s in a race. (The great rat-race?) The world’s in such a hurry.

I grew up hearing that “Patience is a virtue”, and I think that’s true. But it’s more than a display of fine character. Exercising patience allows things to unfold more gracefully, in their own right time. And it’s a challenge!

Patience is about what we can tolerate before blowing a personal fuse. It tests us in many form ~ patience towards self, patience towards others, towards listening, towards learning, towards a menial task, towards traffic jams, towards time …  Wouldn’t it feel good if we could toss the accompanying irritation out the window? Have it vanish in thin air and just “go with the flow”? Easier said than done ~ but possible, if we re-calibrate our thoughts.

We come into this world packaged with personality intact, “strengths and weaknesses” already flowing through our veins, inborn traits determining whether we have more or less of this or that characteristic.

That doesn’t mean, though, that someone born with an impatient nature can’t develop greater degrees of patience ~ not necessarily reaching levels of saintliness, but we are ever-growing, learning, changing beings who can and do evolve and enhance our existence by stretching, expanding and nurturing the various aspects of our inherent nature. Patience is one well worth the effort. Think about it …

Feeling impatient can be such a maddening, aggravating, blood-pressure-rising experience, the solution might seem to be to hurry through it, be done with it. But we all know that doesn’t work …  it doesn’t make the traffic light turn green, it doesn’t make the baby stop crying, it doesn’t make the pot boil, it doesn’t make the flower grow, it doesn’t erase a mistake you might have made; it only lets you experience impatience.

So maybe we can’t make grapes ripen faster on the vine… and if we harvest them too soon, we end up with sour grapes. (And I’m pretty sure that creating sour grapes isn’t on anyone’s bucket list.)

But we can, instead, think patient anticipation. We can shift our focus to eagerness. Patience then is not a passive burden but steps that light up the path.

A wonderful thing happens when you take a few deep breaths and mindfully infuse patience: resistance backs off.  You can be present. You can even begin to enjoy and participate in the unfolding.

Maybe we should heed the line from the old Simon & Garfunkel song, “slow down, you move too fast,  you got to make the morning last …”. Because when we don’t, we don’t feel so “groovy”.

The river doesn’t ask “are we there yet?”. Like the river, we’ll all get where we’re going.

– ♥ –

#6.

Presence is a medium-sized word with larger than life impact. Presence is a simple act, but a very big deal. Presence is about being mindful, being aware, being completely, undistractedly, present right here and now.

Presence is granular. It’s thinking the thought, it’s feeling the feeling, it’s tasting the taste.

It’s not about “showing up”; it’s about being attentive. It’s a decision to listen, to see, to intentionally connect. It’s a very deliberate action based on the deliberate thought to be present. Presence is to choose, in this moment, this moment.

I would go so far as to promise you’ll feel a positive difference in your day when you consciously choose to practice being present. … You will truly enjoy that cup of coffee. You will appreciate the comfortable chair. You will experience an unexpected delight somewhere that you otherwise would have missed. And by allowing yourself the opportunity to make simple yet mindful choices each hour, all day, you even may find that you will slow down time a little bit. You will also give others one of the best gifts you can give – your sincere attention. And if you need to move on, remember that that sincerity ~ your presence ~ even in small doses ~ is far better than any amount of “yea, yea, uh-huh”.

Our world is fast-paced and gaining speed. I say, don’t let that fool us into passing by on the powerful thought, and simple action, of presence in our own lives.

– ♥ –

#5.

Zest. Spice. Spirit. …Flavorful … Piquant.

Pepper your day with positivity. Sprinkle pleasing, pungent, uplifting thoughts of promise  ~  give your dreams a kick!

– ♥ –

#4.

“To everything, there is a purpose…”

Ah, but what’s it all about? On a grand scale, few of us are lucky enough to know with certainty what our life purpose is. It’s interesting to ponder, but much of the time that kind of purpose seems more fated than planned.

On the other hand, there’s practical purpose, like getting an education or giving the car an oil change. Useful things that can smooth life’s wrinkles or deliver a better shot at living well.

Then there’s the daily, more personal kind of purpose that comes from deliberate, purposeful thought. Acting with purpose. Speaking with purpose. Changing-the-course-of-a-moment kind of purpose.

Purpose is really just intention. And with some muscle behind it, it can breed greatness. With consistent, conscious positive thought, it can BE greatness.

Moment by moment, purpose lies waiting to be tapped; ready to be tipped and poured.

– ♥ –

#3.

Have a dream? A goal? A path to follow? Go for it!  … one foot in front of the other, one task at a time (or several; which we all do, although I sometimes think multi-tasking is highly overrated!) And if you falter, know it’s not failure but a sidestep, just a lesson.

Stay positive. Stand firm. Pursue. Persist. Persevere. Saddle up and keep on keepin’ on!

– ♥ –

#2.

Impossibility tries its darndest to lure us from our dreams. But it doesn’t have to succeed.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. The Beatles were turned away. Thomas Edison was told he was “stupid”. The world is flat. Walk on the moon? Preposterous. “Impossible.”

Possibility though, now that’s good stuff. Possibility presents infinite potential.

Every atom, every seed, every leaf, every breath, every step, every day … is pregnant with possibility. Possibility is wonderfully persistent. It is endless; it is perpetual.

Today could be the day you see a shooting star. Today you might climb a mountain. Today you may choose a salad over an extra helping of fried chicken ~ or maybe, like me, you’d rather choose an extra scoop of ice cream. (um, that’s okay, right Mom?)

Today could be the day you make a positive difference in the life of a child. Today could be a day you unexpectedly make someone smile ~ or a day where someone unexpectedly makes you smile. Today you could learn something magnificent. You could feel alive with creative spirit.

Right now, you might make a decision to observe a difficult situation from a fresh perspective ~ and that decision might lead to a new idea that can lead to a new action that takes you on a new path of possibility….

Ponder the possibility in any given moment. What can you feel? What can you imagine? What positive thought can you grab onto? What will you choose?

Baby steps, giant steps, doesn’t matter. Dream it. Believe. Think the thought of “possible”.

– ♥ –

#1.

© Patricia Saxton

My newest pet project coincides with a most auspicious day: 1-1-11. (I like that!)

And, as happens every New Year, I feel a surge of renewed hope while the words “THIS is gonna be a great year!” ring in my ears.

This year though, with the intention to manifest more of that “something great”, to avoid disillusionment and an almost inevitable sense of “okay, maybe next year”… I’m going to work with one of my favorite subjects: the power of thought. It’ll be an ongoing journey of sorts, shared through words and pictures.

………………

The trick with “thought” is deciphering which ones are worthy. Of the millions that zip in and around our minds every day ~ consciously and unconsciously ~ how can we let the cream rise to the top? You could call it “thought training”.

Of course there are lots of ways to “quiet the mind”, and they are invaluable tools. Meditation, yoga, strenuous physical activity. Music, dance and art. Acts of kindness and giving. All highly recommended, and sometimes necessary. But that’s not my focus here…   This project is about focusing on what you think. Because what you think engages you with life’s outcomes more than many people realize.

Thoughts can create a better you or a more troubled you. Thoughts affect those around you. Thoughts precede every action. Thought is energy, and it’s potent.

Though we can’t see them, thought forms are as real, possibly more real, than the keyboard I’m typing on. What you think can have enormous power.

As a kid, I was often told to “think positive thoughts”. At some point, that advice seemed too simplistic. In youthful fashion I’d think, “It’s not that easy. They don’t know what I’m going through. You can’t just do that. You can’t just ‘think positively’ and expect everything to become sunshine, lollipops and rainbows”.

But over time I discovered…  that in a way it really IS that simple. You can choose positive thoughts over negative ones. And it does make a difference. A simple twist of thought can change the direction of the moment, the day, the month, the year…  and they are yours to direct!

This is not to say a negative thought should be hunted down and executed, or that having them is “bad”. Remember all those millions of thoughts? They’re not all going to be feel-good, Pollyanna-like thoughts. But the beauty is that you can change them. You can learn from them. You can release them. You can use them to get to a better place, even if it’s just one notch up. It‘s worth the effort ~ and I personally believe most of us have only scratched the surface of the potential power held within our thought patterns.

It’s a big concept yet a simple one, and it’s sometimes easy, sometimes hard to train our thinking. And unless one lives on a deserted island, it’s not just our own thoughts; other peoples’ thoughts can filter in and influence our psyche. When you pay attention, the impact of *thought* is undeniable.

I don’t mean a belabored, obsessive kind of thinking, but more the seed of an idea, the whisper of a deed, the affirmation of beliefs. And whether arriving through your conscious or subconscious mind, tending reaps rewards.

I feel blessed for the positive teachings I was shown in childhood. None of us get through life unscathed though, and those lessons became a springboard for learning how to maneuver some of life’s more intense struggles. They’ve helped me weather many a storm; sometimes when all else failed.

So, this idea for creating a series about positive thinking, expressed through my love of words, art and design, came knocking at my mind’s door. I answered, and here we are.

To make it fun, I decided to use my propensity for “P” words (which may turn out to be a practice run for an entire alphabet, also formed in my mind). Besides, it follows a natural pattern … Patricia, Pencil Points, Peace, P’s ….

So, without further preamble, let’s proceed towards proactively punctuating life with the plausible, powerful possibilities of positive thought presented through a plethora of “P’s”.  :  )

……………………………………………………………

All art & text © Patricia Saxton / Saxton Studio

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