Ruane Manning: Most Popular Wildlife Artist (August 2013)

Some Quirky Facts about Wild Animals

Long and narrow 12x36

Wild animal textured pictures.

Ruane is known for his delightful pictures of wild animals, like lions, tigers, giraffes and elephants. Each picture has an emotional quality and one feels the artist’s reverence for our small planet and the wild creatures that share it with us. His images come to life through expert use of light and shade, outstanding composition, and his intimate knowledge of the animals he paints so well. Ruane published his first wildlife print as far back as 1968.

He studied Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and won some art awards there especially from the Philadelphia Art Alliance. He is internationally famous for his sculptures, some of which are in the art collection of  Presidents Reagan, Carter and Ford.

He lives on a farm in Southern New Jersey with his family and many animal friends.

Here are some fun facts about the animals that he paints.

 elephant with baby

  • Elephants are the largest animals on the planet and the females have the longest pregnancy – a full 22 months.
  • Elephants hate peanuts and don’t eat them in the wild, are not fed them in the zoo so don’t think you are giving them a treat if you offer them peanuts.
  • Like small human toddler, magpies, and dolphins an elephant will recognize himself in a mirror.
  • Elephants are very social animals. They form close, lifelong relationships with their families. They support each other, helping family members if injured or sick. They comfort each other just as we would.

Mommy giraffe kissing baby

  • A Giraffe’s tongue is almost 2 feet long.
  •  A male giraffe can weigh as much as a pick up truck! That’s about 1400 kilograms.
  • Although a giraffe’s neck is 1.5 – 1.8 metres, it contains the same number of vertebrae at a human neck.
  • Drinking is one of the most dangerous times for a giraffe. While it is getting a drink it cannot keep a look-out for predators and is vulnerable to attack. Furthermore his neck is shorter than his legs.  Poor beautiful, long-neck giraffe, it has to splay his legs in order to reach the water. Then it really can’t see any attack in the making.

Lion with lamb son of god

  • The roar of a lion can be heard from 5 miles away, it is so loud! On the other hand a tiger’s roar can only be heard from only a mile away. All the same both animals have mighty roars.
  • People are very impressed by lions. Lions have been chosen as the national animal of Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, England, Ethiopia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and even Singapore.
  • Why we admire them I know not for lions are lazy animals, they sleep 20 out of 24 hours a day.
  • They also put their women out to work; Lionesses are better hunters than males and do most of the hunting for the pride.

white tiger in snow

  • Tigers have eyes that are brighter than any other animal found anywhere in the world. Their eyes blaze out at dusk or at night in the light of a torch, with a burning intensity.
  •  A tiger can eat 100 lbs of meat at one night sitting, like that is about 400 hamburgers!  They eat so much because they go many days between meals.
  • Tigers are man eaters, and to be avoided if out alone in the wilds. Yet they also eat frogs, monkeys, porcupines and tortoises, (ugh) when a good man or deer is not easy to get.
  • Tigers are magnificent creatures and unfortunately the specie is sadly endangered. If we learn a little more about them, we can maybe help them grow to grow back in numbers once again. By survey pictures of tigers at Picture Lady, are more popular than pictures of any other wild animal.

  Quote of the Week

Obstacles are like wild animals. They are cowards but they will bluff you if they can. If they see that you are afraid of them . . . they are liable to spring upon you; but if you look them squarely in the eye, they will slink out of sight.  

Orison Swett Mardin

 

 

 

About Stemcells and Happiness

smile

So I have been taking the nutritional supplement Laminine a couple of weeks now and how am I finding it?  It hasn’t been earth shattering but I have become a believer.

Because I had polio as a young child, I was left with a slightly crooked back, I have been in pain on and off most of my life, always needing a chiropractor. My pain was never of a degree that I talk much about it or that I cannot be (sometimes quite spectacularly) productive, but it has always been there in the background.  Sometimes you may have noticed that I limp when I am tired and this makes me crotchety. With the early muscle atrophy from the polio as I have aged, I don’t have the muscle reserves that most others enjoy.

With Laminine it is not that the pain has gone away although I do feel something positive happening in my body and there is some hope that over time the stem cells may even handle the muscle atrophy from the polio. That seems possible to me as this is clearly a breakthrough product. Yet in this tight economy I would not stay on Laminine just for the hope of a future improvement in my muscles. No, that is not why I am already so completely committed. It is all about what I am experiencing with the product right now.

I have been feeling a very satisfying sense of well being – as though the stressors in my life have gone away or that somehow I handle them better. Nothing spectacular – just a good sense of what suddenly seems to be a good life. There has also been a distinct increase in energy. I am sleeping better and it is deep healing sleep. And Laminine is  purely nutrition – no side effects.

I was at the cashier at Trader Joe’s yesterday, a young guy named Daniel. He was excited. He said I made his day. He said it was so good to see a really happy person. I was positively exuding good vibes. Hello? He was actually talking about ME!!!

As my mood improves and my crotchetiness goes away, thanks to Laminine, I think my husband is finding this to be a great investment. I feel the benefit; his life gets better. – Lynn

 Quote for the Week 

Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of good conscience, good health, occupation and freedom in all just pursuits. 

Thomas Jefferson

Days of Summer!

And guess what, your house is an unholy mess!

It seems to you that all the world is descending on you for a visit.  The problem is that you were so busy in March and April that you forgot to spring clean, and now it is just far too hot to bother.

But . . .

Your husband is bringing his golf buddies back for dinner!

And challenge of all challenges the in-laws are coming to stay for a week or two or three or four  . . .  and so it goes.  Oh my, will you ever survive?

To add to your distress all the kids in the neighborhood have descended on your pool. You are going to have to jump in and create some summer cleaning games, and create some summer music before you send them all back home and get to it  . . .

Now for the Serious Stuff:

First:
The kids helped but you still need to hire a cleaning lady or service. With all you have going, and are expected to do, you have rights!

Two:
Take a clipboard and walk through your house and really look at what is there. You want to make three lists:

  • One, everything you love.  These are the things you plan to keep.
  • Two, things that you dislike and would prefer to discard.  These are the items you are going to replace. It doesn’t have to happen all at once.  You start with the 20% that will make the 80% of difference.
  • Three: The worn & shabby list: Furniture etc that has become old and threadbare.  Don’t hesitate. Throw it out.  It is better to leave an empty hole than fill your house with anything that you feel is sub-standard. (there are a few exceptions – beloved things you really couldn’t do without because they are so useful, so expensive to replace or hard now to get any more – they stay but try to refurbish them!)

Now, here’s the rub: What about those items on the first list that are dated.  You have been holding on to them because you love them. Meanwhile fashions change, the world moves on,  and while the images may still be beloved, the frames, well those old gold frames don’t they really suck?

Did you know that at Picture Lady we can Resurrect Your old Artwork? This is one of our more affordable and very gratifying services.

Art for the Home:

Spend a little bit of money to cheer your spirits and your home. Invest in one new bright picture for each of your main rooms.  (Living, Dining and Family) Primary colors are always best for the summertime

whimsy one

                                            Cafe Marie 

(I just love the whimsy in this bright picture that reminds me of touring in Europe)

Picture Lady wishes you a summer full of fun and friends and all good things!

And if you are traveling on the I-5 don’t forget to visit us at our weekend store!

Quote for the Week

“A messy house is a must – it separates your true friends from other friends.
Real friends are there to visit you not your house!” 
Jennifer Wilson 

About Health and Wellness

Growing Older Gracefully 

I want to keep my good looks. I want to grow old without pain? I want to stay alert and productive and comfortable and happy right up until the day I die!  Is this possible?

While we all age and while we all must eventually move on, it is an observable truth that while many suffer as they age there are those few who attain a quality of life well into their golden years. What it is that they do differently?

  1. The first thing is they seek out and find understanding. Almost one for one you will find that older people who have attained a quality of life go out of their way to obtain true knowledge. They take the time to go to the web or to the library, or they find a mentor, they follow a religious creed as it applies to health, whatever they do  they seek out true knowledge. Then they run their own bodies rather than have the body run them.
  2. Secondly they remain active, they walk, they go to the gym, they swim. My sister and brother in law ride bicycles. It started when his kids gave him a three wheeler for his birthday, but he was having nothing of this,  only children ride tricycles and he is not a child!  So he went out and bought himself his own regular bike; he is Dutch and so cycling is part of his roots. His wife got the tricycle for having had a knee replacement she needed a little more balance and a lighter gradient. To this day you can see them out and about, both wearing the quaint hard hats. She is 86 and he is 89 years old! They enjoy (by observation) a true quality of life.
  3. Thirdly the folks that age gracefully often do good deeds.  
  4. A friend whom I a
  5. dmire has volunteered most of her adult life, almost as long as she once worked for the phone company. She has been President of this or that Club, and has even travelled to Mexico to hand out glasses to the needy. What you notice most about her is not that she only has one eye, for that has never stopped her, what you notice is her incredible courage and willingness to help. She is 86 years old and she also surely enjoys a quality of life.
  6. The one thing that ties it all together seems to be the goal, they are creating on a goal they have set for themselves. They see themselves as part of the community,  very much still part of the game of life.

The aim is to enjoy optimum health, which is after-all the fundamental stone on which a quality life is built.

Quote for the Week

To keep the body in good health is a duty – otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

Buddha 

 

Creating a Home with Atmosphere

The blogger Seth Godin  said, ” In every city there are expensive hotels that are noisy, with $56 breakfasts, no parking, blinds that don’t make the room dark and rooms that don’t have enough closets. But the fact of paying extra to stay there ensures that you’ll be surrounded by others just as wealthy as you, and just as interested in proving it.”

Paris hotel

I consider there is a little more to a five-star hotel than location, wealthy clientele and flashy decor.

Did you know that the luxury hotel market was first created in France with a hidden agenda. The country desperately needed to improve their balance of trade so they decided to get creative. Can you believe that a whole country invented a luxury culture that they then used for the country to prosper. The French created an image and a style that was uniquely French and tourists flocked into the country to wine and dine, and shop. I know that the French were successful, for we visited with Peter’s brother, who was living on a house-boat on the Seine, and we were shown the  best of Paris. My mouth still waters as I recall the subtle tastes of the delicious food and I can still see the fancy, fashionable ladies swaying down the Champs Elysee.

I am not trying to talk you into going to France for nowadays who wants to go through Airport Security?  I m rying to show you that what the French can do so can you. You can create a uniquely stylish home and it won’t even cost all that much money. You can even add French pictures and they always add a touch of class and at Picture Lady they are not expensive.

french cafe onefrench two

So I don’t quite agree with Seth although I do know of some hotels that are overpriced.  What I believe though is that there is a subtle quality in the best hotels, which I like to call it “atmosphere”   As a creative homemaker you can become a master of atmosphere in your own home.  I believe that a loving atmosphere in your home can become the foundation of your life.

My message is that if France could do it, so can you and creating a home with atmosphere does not need to cost a great deal.  With a little bit of imagination you can create your own  home culture, something special for your family, and it need not be based on pretension, it need not even be expensive. It is all in your attention to detail.

Much can be done with lighting. Ever notice how many lamps hotel rooms have – at least five lights in the room? Real estate agents will turn on every light in a house they are showing. Lamps create atmosphere faster than anything else!  Much can also be done with Aroma. I invite you to check out the Aroma Lamps from Picture Lady Home Products.

Even more can be done with color.Here is the color palette for 2013:

art palette

We are fortunate this year in that the fashionable colors in 2013 are positive, and strong. For some years we have lived with tepid colors, but all that is gone. Now opposites attract  like never before, exerting a magnetic pull on the spectrum. Today’s colors may fight with each other, yet they always make a strong statement.

color palette 2013

 Quote for the Week

Love is a feeling completely bound up with color, like thousands of rainbows superimposed one on top of the other.” 

Happy Decorating!

Lynn
The Picture Lady

Celebrations Around the World


Disney World

The Magical Origins of Christmas

You may or may not be surprised to find that many of the routines and the decor of Christmas go back to traditions that were laid in long before the birth of Christ. Three hundred years after Christ’s resurrection the Roman emperor Constantine saw a vision of a cross superimposed upon a sun and he decided to convert to Christianity. He introduced the Edict of Toleration of 313 AD and changed the world, opening the way for Christianity to go mainstream.

It was Constantine who endorsed the first celebration of the birth of Christ and selected the date of 25th December, whereas the true birth date was unknown. That Christ was born was important,his new message of love was supremely important, not the particulars of the time and the date of when actually born. In other words what he stands for and his spiritual message transcends the birth.

In the play, ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ Tevye, the lead character says that if we abandon the security of our customs, we will be shaken and unstable like a Fiddler on the Roof.

Life for Christians before Constantine had not been pleasant with many slaughtered for their faith, held up to ridicule in places like the Coliseum where they were fed to the lions and tortured.  You can be a purists and protest that some of our Christian traditions go back to pagan times, and think that this demeans our faith but then you would be missing what is important about Christianity.  The soul of a religion lies not in its trimmings and trappings yet it is these trimmings and trappings that make us feel safe. Constantine understood and so he was able to change the world.

Besides Christianity there are other religions that celebrate at this time of the year. It is a time of love and it behooves us to extend tolerance and affinity honoring their traditions and celebrations even if we do things differently. It is amazing to see the commonality, that exists between different religions. Note how they all incorporate candles into their rituals.

Chanukah/Hanukkah

Jewish family celebrating with candles

This Jewish celebration begins at sunset on Tuesday, December 20th and ends at sunset December 28, 2011. It is the story of when the Jews evicted the Syrians-Greeks from Israel, and restored the temple. Apparently when the priests were ready to relight the temple menorah they could find only one jug of oil, enough for only one day. Miraculously the oil burned for seven full days by which time they had processed the necessary pure oil which took seven days to make.

This Jewish story also honors Hannah and her sons who were loyal to HaShem. They refused to pray to Zeus and were all three beheaded; not a way to win historically. Her and the son’s integrity is to be commended.

Ramadan

mosque lighhouse and new moon

This is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar which lasts 29 or 30 days and this is when participating Muslims refrain from eating. There is much celebrating when they finally break the fast.

Fasting is embraced as a cleansing nutritional action in many early religions, and has been adopted in America by the Wellness Movement.

 Kwanzaa

candles and fruit

This tradition from Africa goes from Christmas for seven days through to the New Year. I like this tradition and am comfortable with it for it comes out of Africa where I was born.

The celebration continues for seven days each day a spiritual truth being emphasized.

  1. Unity – (Umoja) To strive for unity in family, race community and nation. (First day and so on)
  2. Self-Determinism – (Kujichagulia) – Rise to a point of cause in your life, and name yourself, speak for yourself, and create for yourself.
  3. Responsibility – (Ujima) Maintain affinity and understanding and peace within your sphere of influence.
  4. Co-operative Community – (Ujaama) Give help to others, and make the problems of your brothers and sisters your own and give them help.
  5. Purpose – (Nia) Support a single group or nation and work to restore its greatness.
  6. Creativity – (Kuumba) Leave everything around you more beautiful and beneficial than before you came along.
  7. Faith – (Imani) Believe in the higher power.
Whatever your family religion, whatever your ritual, the creative homemaker can elevate the Christmas ceremony for her family, and make it a time filled with warmth and love and help family members to find the truth that lies above the ritual.

Quote for the Month
“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.”

~ Hamilton Wright Mable ~

A Story to Read to Your Grand Children . . .

The first episode of Yum Yum Purr

Yum Yum Purr

Yum Yum is popular in the petting zoo where all the animals stay together and support each other as one big happy family.

When his mother was taken to the BIG ZOO and never seen again it was Kanga the kangaroo who found the abandoned itsy bitty thing and put the shivering little monkey into her pouch to keep him safe and warm.

xx

Kanga would normally have gone to Hehaw, her donkey friend, to ask him what to do, or to Elevated, the giraffe, who held a loftier viewpoint. Instead she went to consult with Babuum. Babuum is a performing baboon. Mostly he is gone from the petting zoo, with his concertina and barrel organ. This was one time, one time luckily, when he was back at the petting zoo. Although a tiny monkey with white tufts of fur on his face and a bright blue butt was a far cry from the big and ponderous baboon, Kanga felt they were sort of, kind of from the same species. So she went to Babuum for help.

Babuum, although not a lion nor an elephant had respect and clout in the petting zoo. He asked Domino the squaw to summon all the animals into the clearing at the bottom of the garden. The two elves Hit and Miss came also, but they were not invited. They and Koala clung to the branches of the old oak tree, the elves keeping tabs on the proceedings so they could report back to the fairy kingdom.

It was gratifying that even the domestic animals from the big house came down. Mackie, the mongrel was best friends with Elevated. He was often found fluttering around Elevated’s long legs. So his presence was not surprising.

That the pedigreed Maman, the Siamese cat and her litter of three kittens were in attendance was indeed surprising. They werre rarely seen at the bottom of the garden.

Billy the goat was missing, He was taking advantage of their absence to eat their food. Petunia the pony was being groomed, fancy ribbons put in her hair for the next weekend’s visiting kids. Sneak the snake was there, not that you would know. He made sure he was not seen.

All the other animals were present at the meeting.

The rooster and the hens, the pig and the piglets, and the ducks had all waddled on down. The three sheep were there. They liked Babuum and cheered everything he said.

Hehaw was there, Kanga was there and Elevated, the Giraffe was there on lookout. Yum Yum (although he had not yet been named) was still in Kanga’s pouch.

Babuum started the meeting with a drumroll. He didn’t have the barrel organ to crank, but he did have his concertina. He was wearing his top hat to give importance to the meeting.

“The good news is we have a new animal who joined us at the petting zoo. That is good. That is always good! But he is very little and has been taken from his mother, taken far, far too soon and there he is, Kanga has been looking after him.” Yum yum’s tiny face peeked out from the pouch and then dived down under.again.

“We have to decide what we are going to do,” Babuum said simply..

Each of the animals had something to say. Many lamented the loss of the mother and deplored life in THE BIG ZOO where freedom was restricted and animals put away in a cage. They had heard about such things although it was far removed from their little life, where for the most part they were free to roam around the garden. They were only herded up to the paddock when special tours of children came to the hotel above.

Kanga piped up to say that the little monkey had stopped shivering. Everybody cheered. The sheep cheered. The rooster crowed and the chickens clucked.

Hehaw proposed that Kanga continue to care for him. He said it was a good thing Kanga had done. The little monkey liked her and felt safe with her. She should keep him.

Babuum went round again letting each animal have his say. All said good things about Kanga. Most welcomed the new little monkey and while they said he couldn’t yet understand them, they loved him and accepted him in the petting zoo..

“I welcome the new little monkey,” Domino said, “We need to give him a name.”

“That can come later,” said Babuum.

“I am not so sure,” said Elevated slowly, I think Kanga did a wonderful thing to find and care for the monkey, but I do not think Kanga should keep him.”

In great surprise all the animals reacted. The hens clucked the ducks quacked, and Dobbin neighed.

Babuum said, “You surprise me Elevated. You are good friends with Kanga and you must know she is the kindest animal in the zoo.”

“That she is,” said Elevated from his lofty giraffe height. “I have one thing to ask you Babuum. How is Kanga going to feed this little monkey?”

“Heeouw,”  said Heehaw. “None of us thought of that!”

There were long faces all around and nobody said anything for quite awhile.

“How does one feed an itsy bitty monkey?” asked Mackie

“Meow, excuse me,” said Maman the Siamese cat hesitantly. While to all the other animals she had always seemed haughty, the truth was this elegant, French cat was actually shy. She was also kind. “I will take him to the big house and raise him with my kittens,” she said.

“But he is safe and happy with Kanga.”

“Kanga can visit with us. She can visit often. At the house the dear little thing will get milk. We will need some human help if he is to survive.”

“That does seem to be necessary,” said Babuum slowly.

“I am sure there will be help from the humans and the children,”  continued Maman, Comment? What is it you all theenk?”

“You are very kind,” said Kanga. “I do not think he will survive without your help. He is very little.”

“Mais oui!” said Maman.

“Merci Beaucoup, Maman,” said Babuum inclining his head so the top hat nearly fell off.

In this way it was decided.

So this is the story of how Yum Yum got his name, spoiled rotten at the big house where all the visiting children fought to feed him.

It was how he was also happy. He had two families, where he would cuddle with Maman and kittens during the night and in the day he could visit with Kanga.

It was also where he got his one obsession.

More than anything in the little petting zoo, more than the big house itself, more than THE BIG ZOO, more than the whole big wide world, there was one thing Yum Yum wanted and didn’t have.

What Yum Yum wanted more than anything was the ability to purr. He wanted to be able to purr just like his itty-bitty kitten sisters.

But that is the subject of the January story.

Stay tuned…

 

Let the Holiday Festivities Begin!

Holiday Decorating Tips

(Why do we write these blogs?)

christmas tree and snow flakesChristmas Decorating Tips for you.

For working women it seems there is not enough time in a day to decorate for the season, take care of the boss and still go out and have some fun!

We need, we want, we demand a quick, quick, and easy solution!

  • Fill large tubular vases or long wine glasses with red cranberries to add a beautiful splash of Christmas red to your dining area. Add Poinsettias to virtual vase as an option. (after you have added water).
  • Take some small household, clear glass bottles or old glass vases. Throw some holiday-colored drops of paint inside, shake it up and the paint will splatter inside to look like a modern piece of art. Decorate with a fancy ribbon and voilà, you have some unique holiday decorating!
  • Pick a short craggy branch from a tree. Spray paint it silver. You can stand it in a glass vase or hang it from the ceiling above your dining table and drop tinsel balls from it.
  • For a daughter or granddaughter put a Poinsettia on the mantel and arrange some Holiday dolls bought at a Picture Lady Holiday Boutique around the Christmas flowers. It adds a festive touch and can be set up in less than half an hour.
  • All you need now to set the Christmas mood is Fragrance Candle Lamps from Picture Lady. We recommend Apple Cinnamon Aroma Oil. It fills the house with Christmas cheer and sets the mood for the holidays!  Oh so quick & easy!
  • We suggest you get your Christmas Pictures and stocking stuffers from the Picture Lady Five Dollar Fun Table.
  • Take two or three little Christmas pictures (depending on the size of the wall) and hang them on the wall. String yarn from picture to picture and add your Christmas Cards in a loop from one picture to the next.

To tie the holiday decorating all together it is a good idea to select a theme. Here are some popular themes:

  • Angels (Great selection at a Picture lady Boutique)
  • Rustic – don’t omit the candles or the gold painted pine cones and the scent of pine
  • Modern and/or abstract – add colorful shapes on solid poster board. Instead of florals suggest you put colored tissue in your vases.

ackaging pictures

Christmas Decorating One thing you absolutely DO NOT WANT TO DO. Don’t wrap your pictures in Christmas paper unless you want your house to look like a fast food restaurant!

 Quote for the Week

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!

 Hamilton Wright Maple

Should one Give Thanks during Hard Times.

Thanksgiving Day is when we get together to share and to give and to remember. 

Indian on boardIn times of prosperity giving thanks comes naturally, or does it?  I can recall many a Thanksgiving Day when what we did mostly was eat far, far too much.

Nowadays we tend to look back to times when our house was worth more, our savings had not been leeched out of the stock market, our children could still afford to pay their student loans, and all adult family members had a job and were working. Is it any wonder that we ask if there is anything for which we should give thanks?

Should one give thanks During Hard Times?   You bet! There are still things over which we do have control; our bodies, our minds, and our home and our family.

Traditionally we share our Gratitude Lists at Thanksgiving. What are you grateful for? Here is my list:

  1. I am grateful for the clean public bathrooms in America (been reading a book about dirty China)
  2. I am grateful for the incredible job Kern County does with its roads.  On a scale of 1-10 it is a 12. Los Angeles County with far more in taxes is only a 3.
  3. I am grateful for the amazing weather we enjoy. It seems global warming works in our favor. Our weather is mild and gentle even as winter approaches. Some people lose and some people gain with climate change and the answer may well be time for those on the East Coast in harms way to re-locate to PMC. 
  4. I am grateful for my new neighbors. They have seven children, all home schooled and such clean fun.
  5. I am grateful for our new store at the Flying J Plaza on the I-5 mid-way between Los Angeles and the Bay area. (great half-way stop) It is working out far better than we ever anticipated.
  6. I am grateful for my health and for my hair which at age seventy  is still its natural color.
  7. I am grateful for Trader Joe.  Even in the hard times to go there is a joyous experience
  8. Most of all though I am grateful for that feeling of goodwill after a joyous Thanksgiving feast.

Bliss!

cat passed out

Faith & Gratitude

The grateful mind is focused on the positive so it attracts good things.to it.

  • You can concentrate on the bad like hurricanes, and the homeless, or you can be grateful for your family, your work, your creative home making  and the good weather in California.
  • You can gripe about the dysfunctional political system or you can be glad that all those horrible attack ads have gone away and that we have another four long years to learn to work together to solve our problems. This is a wonderful country for which I for one am  truly grateful.

Should one give thanks During Hard Times?  Yes indeed.  Making gratitude an art and a skill and  something to teach your children will come back to you as a benefit.  We can even remember to be grateful when bad things go away and yes, they always do.

Quote for the Month 

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. 

William Arthur Ward.

 

Halloween

Is it Fabulous Fun or a Frightening Fad?

As the year rolls round and we slide into winter, even with a time change designed to keep our kids out of darkness, creative homemakers view the last day of October, October 31st, with some misgiving. Is this American tradition, which is now firmly embedded in our culture, sick or sensational; good or evil?

Cat in front of lantern

The Origins of Halloween

Historians are not quite sure how this holiday entered into the eerie fabric of our culture. The most popular interpretation is that long, long before the birth of Christ, in the Celtic world of Ireland, England, and parts of France, the end of summer harvest was celebrated, with the New Year beginning shortly after. It was said that on the last night of the year the curtain between alive and dead was at its thinnest, and the ghosts of the dead came out to roam the countryside. The frightened people lit bonfires to keep away the evil spirits and if they walked abroad, they would light their way with a candle in a hollowed out turnip which they had carved with an ugly face. Halloween survived in the Catholic Celtic world, and it even survived the Protestant Reformation with its rejection of all things Catholic, false or symbolic. Halloween, as it exists in America today, was brought here in the mid 1800s, when more than a million Irish immigrants made their way to America, following the disastrous Potato Famine. Once here, they discovered that pumpkins were far easier to carve with funny faces, than turnips.

Bats for halloween

These Irish immigrants, rather than dressing as Saints in a Church parade, asking for soul cakes in return for prayer, got creative with spectacular costumes and went from house to house begging for handouts – and they found it was a lot fun! This was when, in good Irish, elfish mischief, the tricks entered in. Most were centered around the outhouse, and Halloween tricks tamed down when good plumbing became the order of the day. It was in the 1920s that children began to dress up and go from door to door. The idea was to get to know the neighbors, and to foster community spirit. Various bad incidents put a damper on the celebration in the 1970s, but by the year 2000 it was estimated that 92 percent of all American kids went Trick or Treating.

You as a Creative Home Maker

Would you want to deny these beautiful children below the glorious fun of Halloween? All are loved to the degree their parents or grandparents asked us to do a family portrait to keep them alive in the treasure of their family memories. In the innocent world of my new granddaughter, Sofia, I observe that there has been a shift from ghouls and brimstone and lightning, and the fires of hell, to creating an opportunity for the kids to explore new realities. last year Sofia was Rapunzel and this year she will be Cinderella wearing her costume first at the end of September (her birthday) to Disneyland. So in 2012 with parent’s policing the excessive sugar and shepherding their children around from house to house, the kids are having a grand ol’ time for Halloween!

From the Comfort Zone

Bring us your photographs and we will help you preserve your treasured memories. (We’d love to see a photograph of your child in a Halloween costume!)  We would surely post it on this blog and on our website.

Quote for the Week

Eat, drink and be scary.  ~Author Unknown