Reviving the Inner Warrior

Image by Dmytro Tolokonov on Unsplash

Yesterday my friend, Dee, wrote on her blog, Keep It Tight Sisters, about rediscovering her inner warrior. This resonated with me because more and more my own inner warrior has been revealing herself. I call her “Ur Chandra”–the person I was before life and challenges forced many of the things I appreciated about myself to retreat.

I invite you to read Dee’s blog post, consider the reflection prompts at the end, and reacquaint yourself with your own inner warrior: Release Your Inner Warrior: The Rebirth of Coco.

March on…

#ThursdayTreeLove | Chase the Light

Chase the light,
whatever
and wherever
it may be
for you.
Chase it.

Tyler Knott Gregson, Typewriter Series #586


Since I must “consider the trees” regularly to preserve my sanity, I am joining Parul Thakur every second and fourth Thursday for #ThursdayTreeLove. When I’m too exhausted for words, the trees speak for themselves.

About the Image: “Look to the Light,” New Orleans (my parents’ backyard), iPhone Photo

Adventure Time: Tag! I’m It!

I’ve been tagged in A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip!‘s “3.2.1. Quote Me!” challenge. It involves quotations, so I can’t resist. Here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you (Thank you, Darren of The Arty Plant Man!)
  • Post two (2) quotes for the dedicated “Topic of the Day”
  • Select three (3) bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me!’

Today’s Topic (from a week ago): ADVENTURE

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open. –Jawaharlal Nehru

When my son was much younger, he loved going on “adventures.” Everything was an adventure–walks in the neighborhood, playing in the park, road trips, a trip to the grocery store, nap time. When we were headed “nowhere,” he created adventures for us, complete with a filled backpack, a map he’d drawn, binoculars for spying, a compass, and of course, canteens filled with water.

His approach to life illustrated so clearly that every moment offers adventure and that we don’t have to go out and find adventure. Sometimes we have to create our own wherever we are and with the means available to us.

I’m not always as adventurous as he is, but perhaps that’s because parenting is about as much adventure as I can handle most days.

Parenting is by far my boldest and most daring adventure. –Brene Brown

My nominees are:

Note: Although adventure is the topic for today, there is no specific deadline for it. You can address it whenever you wish.  In fact, feel free to use the topic “adventure” or the latest topic, “chic.”

Have fun!

Fear Is in the Air: Eyes, Art, and Winning

A couple of months ago, I “won” a couple of postcards from artist and writer Eva Newermann. She’d posted a challenge for readers to find three “strange” things about the eyes of Ewa Lowe, the main character of her SciFi thriller, Fear Is in the Air. I spotted them immediately, but was travelling at the time and WiFi was sketchy. Eva was kind and declared me a “winner” anyway!

Can you see what’s “different” or strange about the eyes?

While you think about that, here are the two oversize (5.5 x 8.25) postcards Eva sent to me:

“Gunvor Bengtson” aka “Ewa Lowe” by Eva Newermann

This is a painting of one of Eva’s friends. She had an interesting experience while painting this one. “Her [friend’s] face appeared through her body.” Eva plans to use the image on the cover of her new Ewa Lowe book, Ewa 51, which comes out next year.

“Winter in Scandinavia” by Eva Newermann

The winter landscape is from a cabin Eva used to have in Norway.  Peaceful. Isn’t it?

Did you see the “three things” about the eyes? You can check your answers here: Ewa Lowe’s Eye Challenge.

Even though the “eyes challenge” is closed, you can be a winner too! For a few days each month Fear Is in the Air is available free with iBooks on Mac or iOS devices. And here’s a bonus win! The Universe a Work of Art is also free. Eva wrote the children’s educational book with her daughter Line Newermann, a Norwegian drone photographer. It was inspired by Eva’s father who made the “night sky magic for her as a child [so] she seeks to do the same for other children through her paintings.” If you don’t have a Mac or iOS device (gasp!) you can still purchase them on Amazon.

They’re on my weekend reading list, but I skimmed both books earlier today–the artwork is fabulous!

Be sure to check out Eva’s website to see what Ewa is up to and to see more illustrations. Then, go and download the books!

Have a great week!

Meet the Pedi of South Africa

When my Tk went to South Africa a few months ago, she sent a postcard and a note card. Both took a really long time to arrive— almost one month and two months respectively. Though Tk was a little frustrated, they were worth the wait. The Mandela quote has a place on my inspiration board, and I learned about the Pedi People. Wouldn’t you like to know a little about them too?

Here’s the mini history of the Pedi People printed on the back of the card:

Two groups of Sotho-speakers migrated into South Africa from North Africa in about 1400 A.D. Both groups had totems or mascots that they held in veneration. One group called themselves baFokeng and settled on the edge of the Kalahari Desert (Botswana). The other group were skilled metal workers and called themselves baRolong, settling in the Northern Province but soon splintered into different groups as a result of infighting. The splinter group which settled along the beautiful Soutpansberg Mountains (neighboring the Venda) became known as the Pedi deriving their name from the Karanga people (the Wambedzi) whom they conquered. BaPedi is the Sotho-Tswana from of the name Wambedzi.

The Pedi dominated large parts of present Mpumalanga and Northern Province until attacked by the Matabele under the rule of Mzilikazi. Under Apartheid, a homeland was established for the Pedi, known as Lebowa, which has subsequently been incorporated into the Northern Province of South Africa.

The card is gorgeous, but I’m sharing it because the long timeline of the Pedi demonstrates that the continent of Africa has many peoples with complex histories and diverse contributions to art, culture, and history.

The beautiful 6×6 card features the work of South African artist Barbara Tyrrell (1912-2015), represented exclusively by Asher House in association with Pretoria University.

Reclaiming “the Grind”

Today was my first day (back) at work.

Last night, I had inexplicable anxiety about facing today. With the way I was feeling, one would think I absolutely hate my job or hate working. But I don’t. After almost 24 years in the university classroom, I’m happy to say that I still thoroughly enjoy most aspects of my work. I dislike meetings, grading marathons, and end-of-semester madness. But I enjoy crafting information and creating content. I love facilitating discussions and watching students evolve, find their voices, and exercise their agency. I love engaging with students, tracking their progress, and keeping in touch with them as they move on from the university and develop their personal and professional lives.

So WHY? Why was I inwardly responding with such trepidation to the “first day back.” I’ve had a productive summer of writing, lots of reading, plenty of relaxation, and completion of a few projects. Then, it dawned on me. That’s the problem with returning to work–the rigid schedule that forces me up and out of the house and “doing” constantly until I fall exhausted into bed each night only to wake up the next morning with too little sleep to do it all over again and never, ever finding time for my own intellectual pursuits. Until next summer, gone are the slow, quiet mornings of sipping tea, spending time with God and watching day break. Until next summer, no playing board games with the guys and binge-watching Scott and Bailey (or some other British drama) with my hubby in the middle of the week.

Summers make me feel invincible, like I can accomplish any and all things. This summer has been particularly productive, so I don’t want to disrupt that productivity. Although I’m excited by the prospect of returning to a routine for my son, I realize that returning to a routine for me means less productivity. Less creativity. Less giving of my time in ways I choose, instead of ways that are mandated or expected.

By the time I drove down the driveway this morning, I was okay. I have two more weeks left before students return and classes actually begin, and in that time, I will be implementing ways to take care of my intellectual and creative self and continue to get my own work done. I’ll also work on getting more sleep. I don’t ever want to feel like the classroom is a trap and a killer of dreams (literally and figuratively).

Sunflower Story: SUN-LIN AND THE BIRTH OF SUNFLOWERS

As promised in last Monday’s post, I’m back today with my own version of the “birth of sunflowers.” I hope you remembered and found time to write your own story. If so, provide a link to your story in the comments below. I’m excited to see what you came up with!


Sun-Lin and the Birth of Sunflowers

By Chandra Lynn

For my son who believes beauty should not require death.

Sun-Lin was a free spirit trapped in a body that was too fragile to let her fly free. Despite her name, she could not play in the sun like the other children. She could only watch from a veiled window. She was born with a rare disorder that made the direct sunlight intolerable. But oh, how she loved the sun and longed to be held by its rays and kissed by its warmth!

Every day Sun-Lin sat by the window, longing to be like the other children, squealing with delight as they romped through the grass, played stick ball or hide and seek. But Sun-Lin was always in good spirits because the children visited her frequently and related their exploits with such detail that she felt she was among them as they played.

One day Sun-Lin fell gravely ill. She was going to die. Nothing was going to change this. Just before sunrise (what she believed was) the morning of her death, Sun-Lin spoke bravely in a whisper to her doting parents. “Today, I say good-bye to you.” Her parents gasped! “I have one request,” she continued, “that we sit in the garden as the sun rises that I might finally bask in the sun.”

Her parents wrapped her carefully, placed on her lap a few colored pencils and a drawing pad, and wheeled her into the garden. The garden was breathtaking, filled with brilliant flowers of all sorts—zinnias, roses, hyacinth, lilacs, hibiscus, daisies, poppies, tulips, and so much more.

As Sun-Lin sat quietly, all the neighborhood children came to say goodbye. They prayed for her as only the little ones who know nothing of doubt and hopelessness can. They hugged her for as long as their attention allowed. Then, one by one, each child left but not before shedding tears. These tears fell on blades of grass and the tips of the flower petals and glistened in the sun.

Sun-Lin watched as the sun climbed high in the sky, and she thought perhaps she would try to draw the sun in all its shining glory. As she drew she thought about her life, how good it was, and how much everyone loved her. Before long, the sun began to descend and Sun-Lin’s heart leapt at the prospect of witnessing a sunrise and a sunset. Just after sunset, a little sad that this would be her last, she shed tears for the first time. Her tears flowed freely and gathered on blades of grass and flower petals and rested with those of the dear children who had visited her throughout the day. Night fell and she soon fell into a deep, restful sleep. Instead of moving her to her bed, Sun-Lin’s parents slept beside her in the garden.

When she awakened, strangely, instead of feeling weaker she felt stronger than she had felt in days.  As she wondered about this, she noticed the strangest thing at her feet: the sheet of paper that held her drawing had fallen to the ground, and near it a strange flower she had not seen in the garden, grew and opened before her eyes. “A sun flower!” she exclaimed. For the flower looked just like her drawing of the sun, with the additions of a thick, long stem and a large brown center filled with seeds.

Sun-Lin did not die that day or the next or even the next. For the brilliant drawing had captured the rays of the setting sun and danced in the night wind. As it danced about the flowers and grass, it collected Sun-Lin’s tears and the tears of the children who loved her. The magic of the sun, of innocence, and the sweetness of dreams gifted us what became known as the sunflower.

Sun-Lin lived a long life–for the Sun’s gift was beyond its beauty. Physicians soon discovered the healing powers of the sunflower, so Sun-Lin’s mind and body were nourished a long time on the petals and the seeds of the flower that looked liked the sun and followed it just as Sun-Lin had.

To this day, the tall and regal sunflower follows the sun with deep devotion. In gratitude it provides nutrition and healing for all the little ones who love to dance and play in the sun.