149 Of 365 (366) For 2012

[ All credit to Olivier-B, whose lovely picture may be found here. ]

“We want not so much a Father but a grandfather in heaven,

a God who said of anything we happened to like doing,

‘What does it matter so long as they are contented?”

[ C. S. LewisThe Problem of Pain ]

148 Of 365 (366) For 2012

[ All credit to Elisabeth Hartmann, whose lovely picture may be found here.  ]

“Can you see the power emotion has to distort our outlook?

Makes you wonder,

did you have a bad day,

or did you make it a bad day.”

[ Brandon MullFablehavenRise of the Evening Star ]

135 Of 365 (366) For 2012

[ All credit to ORSOMARINO, whose lovely picture may be found here.  ]

 

“And remember, also,”

added the Princess of Sweet Rhyme,

“that many places you would like to see are just off the map

and many things you want to know are just out of sight or a little beyond your reach.

 

But someday you’ll reach them all,

for what you learn today,

for no reason at all,

will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.”

 

[ Norton JusterThe Phantom Tollbooth ]

What I Ment To Say

“Speak with integrity.

Say only what you mean.

Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.

Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”

[ Miguel Ruiz ]

Lately, I’ve been very quiet.

That is except for the daily remembrance – maybe even intrusive in some way (but then you can always skip over whatever you don’t want to read here – that makes it a bit better than sitting across the table from someone I imagine – you can decide what you want to hear and let the rest drift on by you) – a daily glimpse into whatever bit of myself I was willing to define myself by; whatever bit of myself I wanted to remember the day by a year later.

I’m not sure what I am to make of the consequences that come with my silence. Life here is so different from life outside (quicker maybe, slower at times – a haze, a mist, a dream). I understand that. I do. But sometimes I’m not good at – processing.

This is not an apology and it’s not a plea either. It’s – I guess you could best refer to it as a “whisper”. I longed to test my voice in this space again.

Wondering if there would be an echo.

Wondering if there would be silence.

Wondering what I would feel.

Wondering.

– I know this is not what I envisioned my first real post to be (I have other drafts – many).

Maybe this would have been better as a letter (would you have preferred it to be one?).

I think what I ment to say is

“I miss you. I miss me with you. I miss – everything. Thank you.”

[ “Breathe me” – Sia ]

112 Of 365 (366) For 2012

[ All credit to Luna Simoncini (Dolcenera), whose lovely picture may be found here. ]

“You can’t know what friends might actually become sisters

because they stayed by your side.”

[ Holly C. CorbettThe Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around The World. ]

87 Of 365 (366) For 2012

[ All credit to Steven Dorgelo, whose lovely picture may be found here.]

 

“Jessilyn remembered:


Daddy didn’t say anything for a minute or so,

and then he reached up and caught a firefly as it glowed beside him.

 

>See this light?< he asked me when the firefly lit up his hand.

 

>Yes’r.>

 

>That light is bright enough to light up a little speck of the night sky

so a man can see it a ways away.

 

That’s what God expects us to do.

 

We’re to be lights in the dark, cold days that are this world.

 

Like fireflies in December.<”

 

Jennifer Erin Valent Fireflies in December ]

32 Of 365 (366) For 2012

[All credit to Morgan Light, whose lovely picture may be found here]

Dean: Don’t you find that somewhat of an aberration? Doesn’t this disturb you my dear? After all, it’s not normal.

Molly: I know it’s not normal for people in this world to be happy, and I’m happy.”

[ Rita Mae BrownRubyfruit Jungle ]

A HUG To Cherish

The HUG Award - via A Hope For Today

“To refuse awards

is another way of accepting them

with more noise than is normal.”

[Sir Peter Ustinov]

I was presented with yet another award: “The Hope Unites Globally (HUG) Award (c) “

The HUG Award (c) is a fantastic (not just limited to bloggers) award, which initiated by Connie Wayne at Hope for Today, promoting hope, love, pace, equality and unity for all people.

It is designed for people, with an expectant desire for the world, for which they: Hope for Love, Hope for Freedom, Hope for Peace, Hope for Equality, Hope for Unity, Hope for Joy and Happiness, Hope for Compassion and Mercy, Hope for Faith, Hope for Wholeness and Wellness, Hope for Prosperity, Hope for Ecological Preservation and Hope for Oneness.

The HUG Award (c) recognises and honors those, who help keep hope alive in our current world plagued by war, natural disasters and economic recession. They nurture hope in any of the above areas by the work they do or in their personal lives with things such as blogging, public speaking, charity work etc.

As I stated above The HUG Award (c) is not just designed for bloggers, but rather for anyone, anywhere in the world, who meets the guidelines and especially nurtures hope and respects the dignity of others, without compromising their own religious, spiritual, or political beliefs.

If I felt undeserving upon receiving the other awards so kindly bestowed on me up to now, I feel especially undeserving in this case.

However, as the great Sir Peter Ustinov stated correctly, just accepting an award humbly takes away much less attention from the important things, in this case this fantastic award and all it stands for and my own nominees.

For a complete list of rules for accepting this award, please refer to the guidelines and rules of the HUG Award

I really wanted to adhere to the philosophy of this award and not bend the rules in regards to this nomination, so I decided to not just name the nominees, but rather explain, why I believe them to be deserving of this particular award.

(sidenote: You can only receive this award once, so if I mistakenly awarded you this, please let me know, that you have already received this award.)

The nominees (in alphabetical order):

365 Veterans – This lady is honoring a veteran a day for a year. I don’t believe there is any question as to her being deserving of this award.

Childhood Relived – Now obviously this lady is beyond witty, but wittyness alone wouldn’t get her this award (not even considering her track record of winning everything in sight). The plain fact is: She is inspiring. Inspiring in seeing life and childhood memories for fun they are. Inspiring in proving you can survive all atrocity in life; – even an 80s childhood.

Creating Reciprocity – This lady asks herself the important question: “How can we live together?” With all our differences in culture, religion, upbringing, economic power and knowledge where is our common denominator that serves us as a foundation of living together in peace? Her posts are informative, but above all heartfelt.

Good Humored – I have previously described her as the Aretha Franklin of comedy and I stand by that description. What I haven’t told you about Paprika Furstenburg yet is that she has a truly genuine way of perceiving the different and the unusual with a loving heart. Above all she can laugh at herself as much as at or rather with others. I truly believe that humor is one of the pillars of the hope, especially when delivered with such warmth and intelligence.

Hotdogs And Marmalade – She is the daughter to a mother suffering from Alzheimer’s, a true christian (who doesn’t feel the need to impress her beliefs on others), a wife and a mother to her children. Her warmth in her descriptions of her everyday life and the acknowledgement of a gift at the center of every adversity are humbling and inspiring.

How To Date Boys – Yes, it’s funny reading through her honest recounts of dating as 20-something-year-old in this day and age, but it’s also her true and blunt honesty especially to herself, that creates hope. Hope of true love, hope of relationships and hope that in the end there is a prince charming for every girl out there.

Quieter Elephant – He’s one of the recipients, that is harder to explain. Obviously his posts are highly entertaining, random, hysterical, enlightening and informative, but that alone would not be enough. What makes him special and truly deserving of this post is his eye for beauty in strangeness in this world. I believe that being able to see something beautiful and special in random everyday occurrences is inspiring.

Random ReasoningThis post alone and her closer look at time and the essence of how we perceive time alone will tell you two things about this lady: 1) She’s hilarious and 2) She’s an analytical thinker, who enjoys the wisdom of foreign cultures and uses lessons from the past to explain the present.

Riatarded questions our western superficial values and challenges us to grow. This alone makes her more than deserving in my book.

Sakura Lights & Strange Trip Times – Art is always an inspiration for hope, freedom, beauty and connection deeper than words and these artists, each in their own right, are no exception to this rule. On top of that they each have a message that needs to be heard. It is my honor to nominate them for this award.

Snippets & Glimpses & Terminally Beautiful Life – These young ladies both courageously shares their mind and soul with anybody who will care to look and listen. They, each in their own right, suffer from several afflictions and they face this sufferance with more honesty and grace than most people I know. They truly bring hope and grace to my days.

Susserative Aspirations – This gentleman strives to understand humanity and most importantly himself. To confront your own imperfections and to relentlesly search for understanding of every other human he encounters, to me, is inspiring on a level I can’t even begin to comprehend. I challenge you to read his resiliency series and not agree with me.

The better man project – To try to confront your flaws and become a better man and a better person in the course of a life. I can hardly imagine a more inspiring project.

The Heartbreak Of Invention – External beauty leads to admiration. Although I can’t say anything about the charms her looks hold (since she has chosen to walk this past anonymously like so many of us), I can say that her inner beauty, the glow that surrounds her, is beyond inspirational. When I grow up, I hope to become half the woman she is today.

The Priviledged Contrarian – Her views on life and especially her honesty with herself and with others are refreshing and inspiring. She connects to so many people on so many levels and seems to be able to relate to everybody with a respect for their individuality.

Worrywarts Guide To Love, Sex And Marriage – If you are here reading this, you already know how I feel about the Worrywart. What you might not have heard me say yet, how important her presence in this blogosphere has come as a moral compass – She grounds me and inspires me everyday to be better, to me more (and maybe to be less dramatic). But it’s not just me. Her wit, eloquence and honesty alone would not make a fellowship as large and loyal as hers, I urge you to go find it for yourself. You will feel better for having met her.

Thank you for sharing all that you are with me.

Thank you for making this an enjoyable journey.

Thank you for making this my home.

[ Hallelujah – performed by Espen Lind, Askil Holm, Alejandro Fuentes, Kurt Nilsen ]

Everyone’s A Winner!

“Every day offers us the gift of being a special occasion,

if we can simply learn that

as well as giving

it is blessed to receive with grace and a grateful heart.”

[Sarah Ban Breathnach]

The intrepid cosmic tripster of Strange Trip Times graciously re-awarded me “The Versatile Blogger award” (againagainagain) here.

Unfortunately, I find myself once again in the situation of having to bend the rules to this award. Usually, I would be charged with telling you seven random secrets about myself, thanking the awarder (and linking back to them in this post) and in turn passing the award on to 15 – 20 worthy nominees.

Like I said in the third versatile blogger acceptance post, I really wouldn’t know who to nominate (but am always open to suggestions – speak up people!) and feel I’m already boring you with all the little bits of random that is me.

So, instead of this ongoing ramblings, I thought I turn the lime light from me on to my awarder and take a bit more words than usual to thank him adequately.

Apart from being a writer, who I cherish grately for his relentless honesty regarding himself and others, the intrepid cosmic tripster is also a pretty spectacular artist.

But please, don’t trust me on this, judge for yourself:

Photomanipulation by Strangetripsstudios via Strange Trip Times on WordPress

Photomanipulation II by Strangetripsstudios via Strange Trip Times on WordPress

3D Art by Strangetripsstudios via Strange Trip Times on WordPress

If you care to check out these (and other) artworks of him for yourself, which I highly recommend you do, you may do so here.

(sidenote: The reason I refrained from linking the artwork directly to the respective artist is, that I have found linking to mess up the dimensions of the picture.)

Being recognised by people / writers / artists, I admire, is a humbling and exhilarating experience for me and I am truly grateful to each and every awarder. To all of you and to the intrepid cosmic tripper in particular:

“Thank You!”

Not enough with me being recognised for my versatility by so many of you,

 Paprika of Good Humored was kind enough to nominate me for “7×7 Link Award” here.

Actually she didn’t specifically nominate me at first, but just everybody on her blogroll (which is still pretty cool, because her blog roll is rather compact, thus just being on her blog roll is an award in itself – or at least that’s what I tell myself).

So at first I was kind of hesitant to jump at this nomination, but when she repeated it in her comments, I grabbed that cute, shiny award badge off her writing home and hurried homewards to prepare my ever lengthy acceptance speech.

Rules for excepting the award:

The rules for this award mirror the rules for every other award I have come across with the exception of one cool little twist. Instead of spilling your guts about random little things about you, you get to link back to seven posts of yours (one for each of the categories).

Thanking Paprika is not an easy task, because I owe her much more than this cute little badge. I tried to express this gratitude here, but I actually think we’ve reached a point in our relationship where she knows, how much I treasure her. So to spare me the write and you the read, I’ll leave it at a simple, but heartfelt :

“Thank you!

7×7 Link Collection:

This is an extremely informative (thus helpful) post I wrote on the dangers of teenage pride and overly sweet liquor on christmas eve’. Although the title basically sums it up, you might want to read up on it for a more detailed go-to-recipe in these situations. You never know, when you’ll be a stubborn teenager on christmas eve’, better to be prepared.

I struggled with this one, because I wanted to base it only on the harsh reality of stats and figures. My highest ranking post is one of the acceptance award speeches. However, if you care for one where I’m not secretly singing my own public praises, you’ll be better off with the next popular one according to my stats.

This is an excerpt from my mother’s diary which she kept for me until she passed away in 1984. I don’t think I have to explain, why it is beautiful to me. Even though, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I think you could enjoy my mother’s writing as well. (This was also the last post I published before disappearing for a while).

This is one of my earlier posts and since not a single soul was reading my posts at that time (not even the spammers), it’s a the absolute bottom of my stats. However, I think it deserves better. Not because it’s my best writing (I actually resisted the urge to go back and edit it!), but because it touches on a part of who I am, which is vitally important in understanding where I come from. Obviously, if you are only here for the pictures, don’t bother, it’s not nearly as artistic.

I’m not sure, if this is the best post I’ve ever written, but it’s the only post I’ve ever written about someone I am immensely proud off. This (rather short) post is a tribute to my mother’s father, who passed away a while back and who I still miss terribly. Among other things, he was my moral compass.

When I wrote this, I thought it might make you laugh or even just chuckle. I never expected it to coin this new saying of “living happily ever after under the bridge” (I have Worrywart to thank for this!).

Weirdly enough this didn’t spark the controversy I thought it might. However the topic, of deliberately chosing abortion (over adoption or other possibilies) not once but twice, is rather controversial in my opinion.

Nominees:

I’ve decided to take a different approach to this award (which I copied from Paprika). Since I don’t want to play favorites (more than I am already doing on my two separate blogrolls that is), if you are on my blogroll (the lower long one), that means I love what you are doing, which in term means you are deserving of this award (or both of them actually!)

So if you’d like to stick this shiny new badge to your writing home and you feel you are up for the challenge, by all means go for it! I’d love to read more from each and every one of you!

Update:

Worrywart of Worrywarts Guide To Weight Sex And Marriage just kindly bestowed 3 more awards on me here to complete my collection:

Thus all the more love to go around!

Since she didn’t post any rules to the exception I will just assume they are “ruleless“.

Also, because you all seem too shy or too humble or too reluctant  to accept awards without an official nomination, I have composed the following list.

If your name is one here, please by all means grab one of the awards, or two or all of them (like Worrywart said there is no sense in being selfish with blogger love: Take ’em and stick ’em to your blog!).

Because you are awesome and your blogs make me think, smile, laugh, chuckle, cry, feel and just overall feel like a part of an incredible blogging community, I nominate the following bloggers:

(in alphabetical order)

[“Bowl Of Oranges” – Bright Eyes]

A Spark In The Dark

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it

is like wrapping a present and not giving it”

[William Arthur Ward]

The first award I ever received was at a YMCA day camp on the Cape. It was an honesty award. I was eleven years old. I don’t remember exactly why I received it, but it had something to do with lot’s of drama. The kind of drama that only a prepubescent girl perceives as vital to her own existence.

Over the last couple of weeks you kindly bestowed awards on me without me having to flood the Atlantic beforehand to receive them. I’m grateful for that: For the awards and for unnecessity of prepubescent drama (well mainly because I’m not sure I’d still know how to channel it – completely).

Yesterday, Papa Sakura of Sakura Lights bestowed “The Versatile Blogger Award” on met, yet again. Although I’ve already received it twice (once by Patrice here and once by Quieter Elephant here), it humbled me.

Especially, since his criteria for the nominations were growth and change, which I am both trying to achieve. I’m not sure, I’ve met them yet, but I see it as a vote of confidence on his part that I will receive them in the future. I’m grateful for that. It’s incredibly uplifting having people believe in you. If you know me (or at least have read a couple of post or comments of mine) you know I’ve already found a lengthy and winded way to thank him for this nomination on his award post (if you don’t well go see for yourself!).

Obviously, that doesn’t mean I can’t seize this opportunity to thank him again in my home. I felt the best way to do this was to post my favorite art work of his.

NY State of Mind - Sakura Lights

If you wish to check this wonderful painting out on his blog, which I highly recommend, you may do so here (in case you were wondering, I tried linking this pack to him directly, but it somehow wrecked its dimensions).

Although, I feel extremely grateful towards him for bestowing this wonderful Award on me yet again, I really wasn’t up for another Nomination Post. In all honesty, I don’t have anyone to nominate that I haven’t nominated before (except maybe Quieter Elephant and he already received it – obviously) and I’m pretty sure you’re all still recovering from my last seven random, dirty secrets.

So I decided to design a new Award, which I could bestow on a bunch of people I deem worthy. This proved to bit quite a bit of work. Not only because I couldn’t come up with a name at first (“Because of you” and “Je ne said quoi” – Award just didn’t cut it) and also because Phil had to help me a bit with the design in Paint.net (which I use because I’m to cheap to pay for Photoshop, if I can have something equally as good for free). I finally settled on this:

I guess, it would be more fitting to call this tribute as opposed to award, because that is, what it is.

Every single one of the following writers (I didn’t say “bloggers” now did I?!) has light the way for me on this journey. They are sparks for me (and not just me I’m sure) and this would be a dark, dire and lonely place without them. I don’t know, how to thank them enough for what they have done for me, but I hope to find a proper way some day in the future. Until then, this little jpg – file will have to suffice.

Rules for accepting this award: None. Honestly, this is yours and yours alone. Grab it and stick it on your blog or don’t. Share it with people you deem worthy or don’t. Make your own set of rule when awarding it or don’t. I said it before, this is more a tribute than an award and I can’t attach rules to a tribute (well maybe I can, but I don’t want to).

[However, I should add, that in order to spotlight the nominees the way they deserve, I chose to only nominate three writers this time. This time obviously implying, that I plan on awarding “The Spark Award” again in the future]

List of nominees (in chronological order of appearance):

Patrice was the first writer I met here and she was kind and understanding and genuinely interested in what I had to say. Above all, she thanked me for sharing my story.

Please let me repeat that:

“This wonderful, extraordinary and lovely writer and person thanked me for sharing my story”

She never gave up on me. Even when I stopped blogging for a while, even when I didn’t respond to comments. Even when I disappeared into thin air without a word of explanation. Through all of that, she never gave up on me. I don’t think I will ever find means to thank her for that.

I love the name and the design of her blog, so I’d like to share the facade of her blogging / writing home with you here:

I’ve put together a list of my favorite things about Patrice:

Search for Post: "I love Gandhi, too" - Drawn by her daughter

My favorite Post Not only is this brilliantly written, but it’s honest and deep and it make’s me feel like she just invited me inside her mind, soul or heart. It touches me deeply, when someone finds it in themselves to share such depths with random strangers. I strive to be like that.

But this wasn’t the first time, Patrice invited me in. I went back in time and found our first conversation here, so see for yourself:

If you want to read up on the post, which you should (actually you should read up on all her posts!) you may do so here.

So my dear Patrice, I hope you accept this token of my gratitude knowing it stands for much more than a couple of bits and bites pressed into a jpg-file.

Paprika is one of those writers, of which you can proudly proclaim: “I knew her before.” This wonderful, witty, caring, empathetic, honest and insightful Lady has been struck by lightning recently, – in a good way. This post of hers was “Freshly Pressed” and rightfully so.

Through all the buzz and excitement, she still carved precious time out of her day to read my ramblings and to comment on them. And guess what?! Above all, she makes me feel, like I’m the one she should be grateful to for “being her personal cheerleader” as she put it.

Let me repeat that:

“This rightfully renown writer is grateful to me.”

Paprika has a list of reader’s favorites on her blog (which may be found here), but strangely it didn’t include my overall favorite post and my favorite post regarding my funniest comment (If you want to know what it is, you’ll have to go see for yourself. I promise it will be worth it. Maybe not for the comment, but definitely for the post!)

Once again, I love the design of her writing home: It’s so simple and clean. But don’t trust me on that, judge for yourself:

The first conversation we ever had, was back in September 2011. Nothing can bring two gals together faster than a mutual agreement on their utter attractiveness (is that a word? Well now it is.). Since you weren’t a part of this historic moment, I’ve included it for you here (however this is another posts of hers you really should read up on).

Paprika for all the times you’ve made me laugh, for all the times you’ve made me smile, for all the times you’ve made feel special and for the wonderful that is you, please accept this award, knowing that this place wouldn’t be same without you.

Erik. Erik came to me, when I was but a ghost. He found me in the in-between, when I had stopped posting and before I took it up again (I have Patrice’s nomination for the “Liebster Blog Award” to thank for that).

Something about his comment on my About page touched me deeply and I felt compelled to return. As I am not going to force you to open another tab in your browser and look for the comment, I’ve posted it here (well at least the beginning of it, if you want to read more you may do so here):

One of the things that struck me first about Erik (apart from the sincerity of his words), was the calm and serene beauty of his writing home. Please judge for yourself:

I know, I know, this is rather superficial of me, but it is looks that make the first impression (just because you don’t like this fact, doesn’t make it less true) and this first impression was one of peacefulness and beauty within.

Although, I enjoy all of this modern-day James Joyce‘s posts, I’d have to say, that the Resiliency – Series are my favorite. I’m not sure why, but I love the discontinued feel of continuancy to them (and if you don’t know what I mean you haven’t read them yet – do so now!)

In all his talent, kindness, wit and cutting openness, he still praises my honesty.

Let me repeat that:

“This incredibly talented writer, who shows so much of his soul on random strangers, praises the honesty in my writing.”

My favorite posts of his is “Hannah” as part of the above mentioned resiliency-series. It’s moving, it’s powerful, it’s sad, it’s beautiful. I guess you could say it’s life.

This, in case you were wondering, is the first conversation I had with him on his home turf (on this post of his):

Please, Erik, accept this award knowing, that this can only begin to express the gratitude I feel towards you.

Let me finish this post with two words in the english language that are completely overused and at the same time rarely uttered in earnest:

“Thank You”

[“Tribute (The best song in the world)” – Tenacious D]