Think a beautiful thought in the morning
and it will carry you through your day.
About a year ago, we “celebrated” kindness on Pics and Posts by featuring seven consecutive days of posts on kindness. The world can always benefit from a bit of kindness, so it’s Kindness Week again. Instead of sharing kindness-themed postcards and messages written by senders, I’m asking that we do more than read pretty words and inspiration. This week let’s focus on kindness at work.
I’ll drop in every day with a brief post and a general “kindness prompt.” I won’t be too specific because we all have our gifts, our ways, and our sense of what someone (or something) needs.
Since genuine kindness is altruistic, there’s no need to report or share your acts of kindness with others. This is not about show and tell or about social media and selfies. It’s about developing and exercising a truly kind spirit with no intention to gain–not even attention.
We’ll get the ball rolling by taking the advice of Mother Teresa and starting at home.
Today’s Kindness Prompt: Show kindness to your family members. You know them best, so you know the kindness they need. Keep in mind that kindness isn’t always tangible. A kind word spoken at the right moment can be all a person needs.
In addition to the prompt, I’ll share postcards, art, and photos because every blog post needs a bit of eye candy. 😉
Note on the image: A little more than two years ago my hubby and son planted zinnias outside my home office window. It’s the gift that keeps giving. For three summers the zinnias have bloomed beautifully and have beckoned the butterflies. This year’s first flower opened today. The image above was shot the first year the flowers bloomed; it is edited, of course.
If you’d like to (re)visit last year’s kindness posts, see the links below:
It’s always a bit of a challenge when Liberate Your Art ends, but side swaps help participants extend the camaraderie a little longer. I was so insanely busy when the postcards for side swaps started coming in that I just placed them in an envelope to enjoy after grades, reports, and meetings.
That time has come!
I received 13 cards via the extra swaps, plus a bonus package I’ll share tomorrow. Would you like to review them with me? Here goes…
Sherry H. of Amook Island Creations sent a reproduction of a mixed media piece accented with a Matisse quote:
There are always flowers for those who want to see them. –Henri Matisse
She encourages us to “look to nature for inspiration.”
From Terry O, an “in-progress” project:
This is a “slow-stitch” project. All of it is done by hand. Terry “attached a worn, paper thin vintage handkerchief to a sturdier fabric–a pink linen tablecloth, thereby creating a new piece.” Isn’t it pretty? I’m impressed that it was stitched by hand.
My penfriend Lisa C sent a “city shot” as she describes it.
I almost didn’t notice the buildings because I was “lost in the clouds.” Interestingly, the postcard Lisa sent last year also featured clouds. She shot this from the parking lot of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Christine B, my faithful friend, sent two. Here’s the first one, a macro shot of a dragonfly.
My hubby added this one to his collection. [He says, “Thanks, Christine!”]
Kathy and I agreed to swap before I received her card as part of the main swap, so I was surprised (and elated) when she sent another mixed media piece.
Like the first one (see LYA 2018 post), this one also started as a magazine page. She altered the page with oil, pastels, acrylics, citra solv, and monoprint. You can find more of Kathy’s work via Sol Sister Studio, her Facebook page.
As expected, Janice D sent a gorgeous mixed media piece–an angel, this time.
Her note, appropriate:
We’re all winging it. That’s what angels do.
From my blogging friend Louise of Drops of Everything:
Until I read Louise’s caption (“Dancing Clothes”), I was prepared to entitle this one “Linen and Things.” 😉 She added a quote to the back:
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. –Mother Teresa
I remember hanging up clothes to dry outdoors during the summer when I was younger. I was not yet into “seeing” or photography, so it didn’t strike me as “artistic,” but I had lots of fun running and playing through the drying clothes. Louise’s image makes me wish I could recapture those moments from my childhood.
Check out Louise’s blog for more of her photography and art.
My neighbor, PJ, moved away, but she remembered to reach out for a side swap (She used to live in Tennessee, not too far from me, but moved to Kentucky earlier this year). She sent mountains:
The painting is part of a triptych PJ created during a Paint Fearless Mexico retreat last November in Oaxaca. She was inspired by the mountains she flew over to get there. I’m loving the color combination and would love to see the other parts.
My blog friend, Sheila D, sent a lovely bouquet of flowers.
In keeping with the floral theme, Natasha P. sent a peony party:
This appears to be a mixed media piece. Natasha added a quote on back:
Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun. –Mary Lou Cook
After visiting Natasha’s blog, I realize that I’d received one of her postcards–a peacock–the first year I participated in LYA. In fact, she was featured in my first “real” blog post. How nice to reconnect! Natasha has a thriving henna business in San Diego.
Peonies seem to be the thing this year. I’m seeing photos and art of peonies everywhere I turn. I even “discovered” some peonies I shot some time ago. I’m not sure they’re worth sharing though. Maybe, I’ll play around with them…
Val vdP of Mellowood Studio sent a beautiful winter-themed watercolor:
Isn’t it just perfect? Val works with various forms–watercolor, acrylic, mixed media, monochromatic, oil. She even does lessons and paint parties. Find lots more of Val’s work on her website: Mellowood Art Gallery. Check out her blog too!
While we’re on the subject of watercolors, Christine sent a pair of sandpipers:
Confession–I had to “google” sandpipers to make sure I had the right bird. This watercolor is spot on! 5 green stars, Christine! I think we should talk Christine into starting a WordPress blog, so she can share her art and photography with a wider audience.
And lastly a “butterfly on deck” from Teresa H.
I coveted this postcard when Christine posted it in the LYA 2018 group on Facebook. Fortunately, Teresa had one left and she kindly sent it to me! The quote is perfect.
But on paper things can live forever. On paper a butterfly never dies. –Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming
Teresa wrote that the butterfly is “about the size of your palm and glides slowly and majestically from blossom to blossom, so it’s easy to get good photos.”
Though it was my first time swapping with Terry, Natasha, Val, and Teresa, I’ve “side-swapped” with the other artists before, and some have become blog friends and regular penfriends whom I’ve come to cherish over the years. I’m looking forward to building more friendships as we move along this artists’ road.
Tune in tomorrow to see the contents of my surprise LYA package!
As I was “flicking” through photos on my phone, I realized that all of the photos I captured with my phone this week were shot while I was in conversation with others…
An abandoned home while chatting with my hubby during our morning drive:
An expiring dragonfly while one of my students was sharing a profound spiritual experience:
My favorite image of the week–wires and lines while chatting with the same student and a colleague after grabbing lunch:
The pretty butterfly, part of the Christmas decor adorning the banister outside my office as a conversation with another student was ending.
I was fully tuned in to each conversation when these images literally grabbed my attention, but I imagine it must be (at least) slightly annoying to have a conversation with someone who pauses or slows her step during conversations to take a shot at something that catches her eye. So “thank you” to everyone who accepts me and my camera (or iPhone) and understands that those pauses to consider the little things provide necessary balance for an often too busy life.
I’ve been craving time with my camera, so yesterday I arrived at work 30 minutes before conferences with students were scheduled to begin and took a brief walk–camera and iPhone in tow. As expected, there weren’t many signs of autumn, but the walk provided a refreshing start to my day and a clear mind as I headed into the weekend.
My campus walks always start with the trees. The oaks did not disappoint with their gnarly trunks and roots. The fungus attracted my attention here.
Notice the resting ent?
I wonder how he got here from Middle Earth. Or is he a tree troll?
The Dogwoods have so many interesting transformations throughout the year. I’ll have to make a point of charting the changes one year. They’re showing signs of autumn.
Of course, the evergreen deserves admiration all year long.
It wouldn’t be the first day of autumn in Alabama without butterflies and pink.
It’s about to take flight…
A morning walk requires a squirrel.
A couple of bonus photos shot earlier in the week: One provides proof of autumn.
And a tree I encounter (almost) every time I take a campus walk. There’s so much to love and study.
As I’m reviewing these photos, I’m thinking about my older brother, Dennis–a photographer–and feeling a strong connection to him through our mutual love for nature photography. I’m praying him through a medical crisis and sending hugs and deepest love from the Deep South to the West Coast. I love you, big brother!
I cannot let March end without sharing the big yellow bouquet of postcards I received in honor of International Women’s Day/Women’s History Month. With Beckra’s (ongoing) permission, I hosted her “Yellow Flowers for International Women’s Day” swap on swap-bot for the fifth time. I felt compelled to share the yellow blessing with the Love Notes community and many were excited to participate. So, in addition to the swap-bot participants and the women in my circle of family and friends, I also sent dozens of postcards to Love Notes participants. In return, my mailbox was filled with yellow flowers all month long.
The first postcards came from my two swap-bot partners, Jan and Valerie [Click image for a closer look].
My penfriend Beckra sent a bright closeup of a yellow flower she photographed. She hasn’t participated in the swaps lately, but she always sends me a card for IWD.
Then, the cards from my Love Notes pals made their way to my P.O. Box from various parts of the USA and the world.
Christine B’s was the first to arrived with an IWD greeting and a sweet message–“You are an outstanding woman and I am glad we connected.”
I usually don’t mind postal markings on postcards. I “minded” this time.
Lorelei sent a coloring card with a couple of spots colored in yellow:
Many sent photo postcards. Some, like Beckra’s and Christine’s, featured the photography of the senders [Click image for a closer look].
Ellen even used a stamp featuring my favorite flower:
Some sent “store-bought” postcards: [Click image for a closer look].
Many included inspiring messages:
She is clothed in strength and dignity,and she laughs without fear of the future. –Proverbs 31:25
We get so worried about being “pretty.” Let’s be pretty kind, pretty funny, pretty smart, pretty strong. –Britt Nicole
Little yellow flowers
Dancing with the breeze
Little yellow flowers
Huddled round the trees
Little yellow flowers
Seemed to know my pain
Little yellow flowers
in my mem’ry will remain. –Valerie Dohren
Some women fear the fire; some women simply become it. –R.H. Sin
May we continue to make progress on all issues that affect women.
Some featured the art of the senders with inspirational reminders [Click an image for a closer look].
Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. –Mother Teresa [Cricket]
Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them. –Unknown [Lori W.]
Debra D. sent an elegant “thank you” for my “hosting” the swap.
An artist to me
kind of prophets
of our community.
or their sense
is so vital
and so pure
that we always
need to listen
to them. –Fiach Mac Conghail
And finally, Lori-Anne C. of Canada, sent a handmade, sunflower-shaped postcard that made me squeal on a day when I really, really needed to be reminded to “face the sun.”
The beautifully written message on the back of the postcard was just what I needed to hear the day it arrived.
Isn’t that an “amazing” message?
You are amazing and strong and brave and wonderful!
When life tries to convince you otherwise, be sure to carry this heartfelt message with you.
Thanks, ladies, for all the postcard love! Until next time…Hugs!
It seems everywhere I turn people are saying “good riddance” to 2016. I’m sure they have their reasons. In many ways, 2016 was a hard, hard year, and 2017 provides the opportunity to put it all behind us with the hope of a “clean slate,” a new start, and another “chance” to get things right.
But I hope as we are saying good-bye to 2016, we reflect on the good that came with the bad: For every death, there was a birth; for every loss, a victory; for every failure, a success. Even if we feel none of these positives, there are always lessons and gifts–even in pain, disappointment, and loss.
I encourage you to part ways with the “old” graciously. Eventually, there will be reasons to look back fondly.
As part of my Mother’s Day gift this year, my hubby and son planted zinnia seeds outside my home office window, so I can enjoy the flowers even when I’m indoors. I’ve watched the buds open and multiply brilliantly over the last few weeks. A couple of days ago, I noticed butterflies hovering around the blossoms. Today, I stepped outdoors to snap a few shots of the zinnias, and the butterflies were everywhere, gracefully fluttering from flower to flower while I attempted to capture them in their best poses. They lightened my mood and made my heart smile.
My guys gave me flowers. They also gave me butterflies.
Yesterday, I shared the postcards I received via Liberate Your Art 2016, so today, I’m talking about the postcards I sent for the swap. If memory serves me well, I sent four postcards out. Some older and some newer.
I captured this photo of a boat sitting in the water at the approach to Goree Island in Senegal. I shot the original photo on my first “real” digital camera, an Olympus Camedia. I’ve always liked the colors in the picture, and I have other photos of this boat and others like it. The boat’s colors drew me in. I altered the photo in the Superphoto app for iPad.
I read the “Broken crayons still color” quote somewhere and decided to make this postcard in honor of women in my life who feel “broken” by life and circumstance. I wanted each woman to remember to embrace the parts of herself that are broken and realize that there are ways to be broken and still be whole, healthy, and beautiful.
I shot the photo while playing around with the macro settings on my first Canon Digital DSLR (the Rebel). I added text to the photo using the Rhonna app. It is stunning when printed on Red River Paper’s polar pearl metallic stock–every photo looks better on that paper, really! I was tempted to forgo professional printing and print the photos myself!
The fallen cherry blossoms are almost as pretty as the blossoms on the tree. They form such a beautiful carpet of soft pink petals on the areas surrounding the trees. I captured these last spring while walking through campus on the way to lunch with a friend. I altered the original photo in Superphoto.
Sadly, I completely missed the cherry blossoms and pear blossoms this year. I almost missed the dogwoods.
And lastly, I sent “Grace.”
This is a photo you may have seen before. I posted it last July with the title Everything Changes. Then, it was paired with a Frida Kahlo quote. I can almost guess my state of mind when I added that quote, but as I contemplated the photo and how it was “achieved,” I felt that it would be more appropriately titled “Grace.”
The moment this photo was taken was “grace.” My camera and I have been on “vacation” from each other, but every now and then (like the afternoon this photo was shot), I experience a moment of reprieve and of artistic “blessing” in which the colors and the environment cooperate and allow me to exhale at a crucial moment. I’m not sure I’m particularly fond of the photo itself, but I love the combination of pink and green with a touch of yellow. For me the quote makes this photo. Though I have altered versions of this photo that I actually like better, I decided to send the original for the swap.
So that’s it for now. See something you like? Let me know, and I’ll send it your way.
Stay tuned for a final LYA 2016 soon. I have a few side swaps in transit, so I’ll blog the “after party” when those come in. Until then…
My family and I were in and out of town during the month of July and “work” started hours after we returned from our last trip. There was little time to appreciate and share the goodies that filled my mailbox over the last few of weeks. But know that I was elated to find “nature” in the stack of mail waiting for our return–postcards and a letter that arrived somewhat unexpectedly.
The first I’m sharing is a really adorable polar bear postcard Silke sent. She’d told me a few weeks ago that she wanted to add a little fun to my mailbox. Of course, to my advantage, I forgotten about her intent.
Silke added to the description: “Now, you tell me how they know they have black noses?” I laughed out loud, because now I’m wondering that very thing. Animal intelligence. More polar bear facts she shared:
She even added a tiny, happy brown bear sticker to the back of the postcard. Adorable. Isn’t he?
Candace of Glenrosa Journeys sent a postcard boasting about her coming retirement. Okay, not really. Maybe not. (Not sure, as I received this news as I’m beginning a new academic year). Her postcard should have been “expected” also. We’d committed to exchanging postcards post-LYA and we procrastinated sending. I couldn’t decide which one to send, and Candace was lazy–her words, not mine. 😀 She shared a beautiful butterfly postcard and quote that were worth the wait:
I want to fly like a butterfly around this beautiful world, till the last frame of my life and the last click of my heart. –Biju Karakkonam
Lastly, I received a letter from Beckra, a friend and colleague I met through swap-bot. This was totally unexpected, especially since she had just sent me a special package a couple of weeks before–and I hadn’t even had a chance to respond to her yet. Way to put the pressure on, Beckra. 😉
In addition to her newsy letter, she shared her photography story (read: philosophy) and three of her photo postcards. [Click an image for a closer look]
Photography is a different way of experiencing, and one that helps me see differently. […] Without photography I’d never spend so much time with water and light, and I’m grateful for that.
I featured Beckra’s calming photo postcards in an October 2014 post I might need to revisit in a couple of days when classes begin: Getting Through the Crazies: part i.
Thank you, ladies, for adding beauty and joy to my life! You’re on my snail mail list for this week. Hugs…