Photo-to-Artwork

A very personal gift: A Picture Lady Photo-to-Artwork 

 

Create a unique picture for each child or grandchild 

 

 

 

Photo-to-Artwork is the ideal gift for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day or Christmas.

This is because it is so personal and unique; something really special. If your parents have downsized, you may want to consider a collage where you are able to put many family pictures into one frame. You create this work of art together with Picture Lady and there is no extra charge for making a collage, as there is also no extra charge for photo-restoration. In this collage above there is a special scripture and you can always add this as a family inspiration. One customer wrote a short poem for a new baby and included it in her collage, another wanted to remember her very special Mother’s Day Card and we put this in the center, with family pictures all around. Photo-to-Artwork is about making and keeping good memories and passing them down through the generations.

Prices for a Photo-to-Artwork creation:

  • 8×10″      $55.00
  • 11×14″    $75.00
  • 16×20″    $125.00

    (Because no extra charge for photo-work this is a very good deal)

You can make a collage not only of your children or grandchildren, but also of your pets; they don’t live as long as we and so there is often a loss and a sadness when they go. Here is a tribute to a smart cat who passed. He managed not only his owner but also all the other furry friends in the house. This big cat was unique in that he used his paw to eat. He lifted each morsel from the bowl and only then would he consume. Not a pretty cat, but can’t you just see the intelligence?

.cat collage

Here are some Picture-to-Artwork stories that we think you will enjoy:

“Picture Lady”, said the bride “ when we married we were as poor as church-mice.” She showed me the picture. The were young and quite attractive.

It was not a white wedding, but she was wearing a fine blue dress and while he was not in a tux his suit was dark and also appropriate. Behind them arched an old oak tree. So far, so good. They looked great.  The problem was that right behind the gorgeous couple and the gorgeous tree stood an ugly, beat-up gray-blue truck.  Not good. We changed the background to add more trees and flowers and some blue sky to match the bride’s dress and we gave them perfect wedding photos twenty years after the fact.

Some photographs go on some strange adventures! We were brought a photograph of a family that was taken back and forth in Africa, folded up in the father’s pocket as he fled from land to land to avoid civil strife. His family had been engaged in a project to relocate the family (all five children) to America. Mother came first and began training to be a nurse. This is how we met for we did an art show at her hospital. Each year she brought another child to freedom while the father staid in East Africa with those who had been left behind. Unfortunately after the last child (the eldest) came to America civil strife broke out in North East Africa and the father was forced to flee to save his life grateful that at least his family was now safe. While on the run he would take out a folded picture of his beloved family which he always kept in his pocket. It was this picture that kept his hopes and dreams alive that he would eventually be able to join them.

And he did. This is a story with a happy ending.

His wife brought the scratched picture he had carried so long in his pocket to me (now crusted with sweat and dirt). She asked if it could be recovered. They would have been able to have a new celebration family picture in America but the truth was that no other picture would have as much meaning. Could we fix and restore the picture? Yes indeed we could. But there was still an extra challenge. The picture was torn and the oldest daughter was missing cut in half on the right hand side of the photo.

We took her from a different photo and put her back into her family picture. Then we also fixed up the cracks and the photo damage. The father gave it to his wife for Mother’s Day. It sits in a place of honor in their living room.

We sometimes forget that not everybody has it as easy as we do in America.

Some of our better results are for precious family members who have passed.  The family needed a good picture of their mother, recently deceased; they wanted it for her celebration of life. The problem was this happy mother had been such a social person there was not a single photo of her alone; there were several children and not one had such a picture! There were many photos but always placing her in the middle of a group.

So we extracted her smiling face from a family photo and erased the busy background.  There she was finally alone in all her glory. I think if she was there at her special memorial event she would have liked that picture.

We have the skill to put your photos together to create a whole new family picture.
It is in the art of putting what is important in one picture together. The family had always remembered Poppa and Nanna with the house where the family met on special occasions. Here they are together with their lovely home.

final house

Our last story is from a customer who was raised by a grandmother and it had been a warm and sustaining relationship. The grandmother lived a long productive life and raised her grandchild with love and affection but she was older and she finally moved on.  Also gone were several of her siblings who had often been around the home while our customer was growing up.  She had many older (somewhat tattered black and white photographs

She chose to do her frames and pictures in sepia which gives that antique look.   It was a good call.

grandma

 

This is what she thought when it was done:

“My family loves the pictures. When you come into my home, the Heritage Wall is like a magnet and everybody goes there to admire it. It brings the family together providing us with a history – a pictorial story of the family including all our loved ones who have passed. You do really excellent work! Thank you so much” Carol B.W. Riverside

 

What do you need to know if you chose to do a Photo-to-Artwork with Picture Lady?

Our frames are exquisite.  We are also able to frame needlepoint. In addition to do Photo-to-Artwork we do custom framing.

frame one

ArTex makes the photo look like an oil painting when it really is not.  You would pay between $500 and $1000 for an oil on canvas even when it is a copy. With our service the cost to you is between $55.00 and $175.00 depending on the size and the frame. Nor do we charge for the photo work. We keep it simple.

 

What a great gift Photo-to-Artwork is for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day and for Christmas!

The ache for home lives in all of us, a place to which we can go and be ourselves. It has to be a safe place into which we can retreat and not be questioned. It should also be a beautiful place, for beauty is uplifting and a pretty and comforting home is where we like to go to get recharged. When we have the people that we care about around us, even if they are not actually physically present but in the form of precious, enhanced photographs, it brings back past joys of sharing and this is what is sustaining.

Quote for the Month

 Now that . . .  my children are grown, I understand how much work and love it takes to keep a family together. The example of my mother’s strength, devotion and patience is now rippling through the generations.

Forest Houtenschil

Yum-Yum Purr

A Christmas Story for you to read to the Grand Kids

 

Yum Yum, the Christmas Monkey

In a far place in the old country is a magical place where loving families can still find enchantment.  The best thing about this unusual turreted motel is the Petting Zoo.

At this time of the year, the month before Christmas, you will find the animals at the bottom of the garden where they huddle together under the faerie lights. And down there snuggled in Kanga’s pouch is an itsy, bitty, little monkey who happens to be the hero of this story.

When Yum Yum’s mother was taken to the BIG ZOO and never ever heard of, or even seen again, it was Kanga, the kangaroo who found the shivering little monkey.  Demonstrating the spirit of the season she hugged him and stroked him and caressed him. “Oh my!” she said, “you are so very, very sweet and I think I may have fallen in love!”  Then she stuck the bitsy thing  safely into her pouch, carefully leaving his little head out, so he could breathe.

 

The Christmas Monkey

The Christmas Monkey

That was when a big steel bird flew across the sky creating a cacophony. The little monkey dived deep down under and he was not seen again. But even little monkeys get hungry and after three long days he wiggled up and tentatively ventured his head out again saw Bray and dived down again. This was when Kanga knew she had to do something or she would lose the best Christmas present she had ever been blessed with.

Bray, her donkey friend, had frightened the monkey so she couldn’t go to him. She thought of Elevated the Giraffe  whose vision and loftier perspective she valued but he, too, didn’t seem right.  Then she  thought of Babuum.  Yes she would take the monkey to Babuum. After all Babuum, the singing gorilla, was from the same species, or wasn’t he? It was lucky Babuum was visiting in the zoo while waiting for his concertina to be repaired. Normally he sang and danced at the train station.

“We have to do something,” said Kanga. “This little monkey will die if he stays here at the bottom of my pouch. I am not even sure that he can breathe.”

“I think this calls for a special meeting” said Babuum in a ponderous voice.

“Oh braai!!” echoed Bray, the donkey in dismay.

Babuum asked “Singing Wind” to summon the animals. It was a good choice for the bird did loops in an out of the Christmas decorations, and popped a light here and there, and in this way was able to gain the attention of the animals. When they all looked up in wonder charmed by the colored lights reflecting in his dark feathers the bird sat on a branch and explained why Babuum wanted their help. They all began slowly making their way to the clearing at the bottom of the garden.

Even the domestic animals from the big house came on down.  Mackie, the mongrel who was often found fluttering around the legs of Elevated whom he loved to tease, left the big house and bounced on down. Bella, the sleek and sensuous Siamese cat came mincing down the path, followed by her three little pom, pom kittens.

The two magical elves “Hit” and “Miss” were there. They were the most insouciant, and the most mischievous of all the faerie folk, never evil but definitely naughty. They were able to do powerful magic, but their magic lasted only while they were being good. One misstep, one bad deed and the magic would dissipate like smoke from a genie’s lamp.

“Hit” and “Miss” were hanging out in the trees amidst the fairy lights, keeping tabs so they could report back to the faerie kingdom.

The rooster and the hens, the pig and the piglets, all were there. The three sheep were going bla, bla bla. Only Billy the Goat was missing, He had staid up at the top of the garden scrounging up whatever food he could, glad not to be held accountable.

Sneak the snake had slithered on down, not that you would know. Like the mischievous elves he was there and then not there.

Babuum was wearing his top hat to give a greater importance to this meeting. He began the meeting with an off key version of an old fashioned  Christmas carol.

“Christmas is a coming, the egg is in the nog.
Please give a friendly donkey, a friendly little dog.
We don’t have a reindeer so a monkey will have to do,
We all come down to the bottom to help a saintly kangaroo.”

He took off his top hat and bowed first to Kanga and then to his congregation.

“Listen up!” he said solemnly.  “We have a new animal joining us at the petting zoo. And that is always good!  But he is very little and has been taken from his mother, Kanga has been looking after him.”  For just a brief moment, Yum Yum’s tiny little face peeked out again from her pouch and then dived again down under, “and there he is.”

“I saw him!” said a duck.

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

Bray proposed that Kanga should continue to care for the monkey.  He said it was a good thing she had done. She loved him. You could see it in her eyes.

“I think Kanga did a wonderful thing to find and care for the little monkey but I do not agree that she should keep him,” said Elevated slowly.

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

“That she is,” said Elevated from his lofty giraffe height. “but I have one thing to ask you, to ask you all , how is she going to feed an itsy, tiny little bit of a monkey?”

There were long faces all around.  The hens clucked and the sheep bleated.

“How does one feed an itsy bitty monkey?” asked Babuum, echoed by Kanga,

That was when a surprising thing happened. Bella the Siamese cat glided forward into the clearing.

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

“But he is safe and happy with the kangaroo”

“Kanga can come often. The minkey can come to the garden in the day. At the beeg house the dear little thing will get the meellk.”

“We are going to need some human help if he is to survive.” agreed  Babuum slowly.

“Comment? What you all theeenk?”

“I love him already and will be sorry to see him go,” said Kanga but I know  he will not survive without your help. Thank you Bella, he is very, very little.”
So it was decided.

So this is the story of how Yum Yum survived happily with two families, one at the big house and one down in the garden with the animals who had found and helped him.

It was also where he got his name, spoiled rotten where all the visiting children fought to feed him and had called him “Yum Yum.”

It was where he would cuddle quietly at night with the kittens and in the day he would ride around happily with Kanga.

Sadly it is also where he got his big obsession. More than anything in the little petting zoo, more than the big house itself, more than THE BIG ZOO which had swallowed up his mother, more than the big steel birds that fly across the sky and frighten him, more than the whole big wide world where Babuum had gone away again to perform, there was one thing he wanted more than anything.

He wanted to be able to purr.

Yum Yum wanted to purr.

Babuum returned to the petting zoo the day before Christmas and called another meeting where the little monkey who had now stolen every heart, was introduced to the magical elves “Hit and Miss”

“Will you grant him a Christmas wish?”  asked Babuum

“Grant him a Christmas wish,” chanted the animals.
After trying to wriggle out of the situation, finally the elves agreed. They really had no choice for Babuum had threatened to call out the Faerie Queen.

Christmas morning arrived crisp and clear, a light chill in the air but no wind, and no snow. It was the perfect day for Bella and her kittens to snuggle up on the comforter in the family room near the fireplace.  They were all so happy they were purring away.

Yes, and with them snuggled up, was Yum Yum and he too was purring loudly. He was purring the loudest of all.

Then “Hit” tied Snakes head to his tail and “Miss” strung the circular snake up in the middle of the Christmas lights and they laughed and laughed and laughed.

The animals nearly had a feast of sizzling snake for their Christmas dinner. When Yum Yum woke up he had stopped purring.

Yet he never forgot the absolute joy of that magical Christmas morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Single Dads

Single Dads

supermanThe saddest thing I have ever been asked to do on a Photo-to-Artwork was to take the Mother out of a Picture. Children survive best with both a Mother and a Father but it doesn’t always work out that way. Mom had been in the background of a beautiful Father, Mother/Son picture, but had gone effect of substance abuse and she had run off.  Dad was responsible and although it was hard he chose to be both Mother and Father to his little girl.

I am dedicating this post to all Dads, but especially to Single Dads because I have come to admire these courageous and very special people, who stick around and raise their kids alone.

It is not easy to keep up with all the Mom chores; fix the food, do the cleaning and all those wife things that do not come naturally to a man. A cleaning/cooking lady should not be considered an extravagance, even in these hard times.

The main thing that goes wrong in Single-Dad homes is that the Father hat gets sacrificed. Being a Dad is all about those fun things, the romp on the beach, the pony rides, and the Memorial Day Barbecue. It is about laughing together.

A Single-Dad-Family often succeeds or fails, not so much by what Dad does, but by the degree of support he gets from his extended family and the other groups to which he and his little family belong. Long ago when his family first fell apart, it was that sense of belonging that went away. If the community (maybe a Church group) rallied around him and continued to include the family in group activities, Single Dad and his kids have a chance to come through. A great deal of goodness comes from recognizing, acknowledging and admiring the Single-Dad, which is something we can all remember to do. Making their good life possible can depend on people like you and I who are outside the inner family. The time single dads most need our help is after the children are grown and he has done his job.

A Church, an extended family a Social group can always rally round and help him create a new life.

Never, ever see the Single Dad as the victim because the Mother walked out. He, also, could have run and that he stuck with the family makes him truly special.

Thank you all you Single Dads for what you do.

Quote for the Month

The trouble with being a parent is that by the time you are experienced you are unemployed.

Author Unknown

Delicious Green Drink

 

 

green drink

Basic Green Drink

Recipe for Green Drink (kids even like this one)

Into a blender throw one banana and some other fruit. I use peaches or pears or an apple.

Chop up one raw zucchini. Add a handful of TJs chopped greens (often chard or whatever is available that is chopped and cleaned and easy from TJs) Add one heaped tablespoon of TJs green berry powder. Add Kangen water just to cover the fruit and veggies. If you don’t have a Kangen machine (sadness) use Crystal Geyser. You do want water that is alkaline in this drink, for your best health results.

Blend and serve on Ice.

May you live a long and healthy life.

Quote for the Week

Follow your dreams, work hard, practice and persevere. Make sure you eat a variety of foods, get plenty of exercise, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Sasha Cohen

 

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 

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

The Day the Volunteers went on Strike

Why we write these blogs

Excerpt from “Politics IOU” by Ella Bevan

Liberty in the medical sector in Shadow City, was evaporating like a mist on a summer morn.

The cost of medications had skyrocketed until they reached a level higher than what the average man could pay. Big Pharma had decided that they would have to find someone to pick up the exorbitant tab. When electronics also entered into the field of medicine with its expensive diagnostic machines, one after another hospital (all in deep fiscal trouble)  began to fail. All over the nation (and especially in Health Care) the numbers weren’t  adding up.

Health Care endangers LIberty

 

Nice Government Men, all with the best of intentions (and an eye on the next election) had legislated that all the hospitals had to treat anybody who arrived at their doors in Emergency; whether citizens, whether they had the funds or the insurance or not.  Indigents and illegals quickly took advantage. The hospitals were being forced  into free service = free fall. It was a medical fiscal cliff.

Rith, the Director of Volunteer Services in Shadow Community Hospital was a woman whose good looks were understated. She loved her volunteers and she loved the hospital for her job gave her the opportunity to help others. She had known her hospital was teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and that the Board of Directors had sacked the old CEO and appointed a new and younger corporate leader. This didn’t phase her for the hospital did not have to pay her volunteers.  Because Rith was popular and a good organizer, her Auxiliary was able to pick  up several vital  hospital functions that had been dropped after the recent layoffs.

She didn’t like the new man; this new pompous CEO, but who was she to say? She was content to stay out of the limelight, do her job and do it well. She figured that in the end it would all come out alright. There were sick people and an aging population and they all needed help. The need was not going to go away.

She walked along the slate pathway through the exquisite rose garden past the patio, giving her fundraiser Ginsee a cheerful wave.  The new CEO had banished her fundraising events from the front lobby to the patio, and she knew that the Auxiliary-Pledge, usually a very generous gift to the hospital, would be about half this year.  The volunteers were just not getting the support from the hospital that they deserved.

Rith had almost reached the entrance to the hospital when she saw or rather heard the commotion. What was going on?  She could see her seventy-five octogenarian volunteers parading in a long line in front of the newly remodeled hospital entrance.   Some volunteers were behind walkers, some were leaning on walking sticks, and many were in power-wheelchairs or on scooters. Everybody was there; Rith had not seen such a turn-out of her volunteers before. It was something else! They were holding up (or trying to hold) big, heavy, aggressive, bold signs.

“NO FREE LUNCH, NO FREE WORK!”

“WE WANT OUR VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION DINNER”

“WE DEMAND AN AUDIT OF OUR CONTRIBUTIONS”

“WE ‘RE THE PINK LADIES AND DON’T THINK WE’RE YELLOW!”

“THIS AUXILIARY IS ON STRIKE”

“Yes I get that,Pearl!” said Rith, breaking into a run.

Pearl, the diminutive Auxiliary president, was out in front leading the parade.

“Did you call me, Rith?” she inquired demurely, having left the line and coming up quietly next to Rith.  Pearl was just shy of five feet, and she could almost fit under Rith’s left elbow.

“What on earth are you up to?”

“Can’t you see? We are on strike!”

“Volunteers don’t strike,” said Rith through clenched teeth.

“Pearl! Get back here; we need you to lead us!” yelled a gray haired volunteer who was doubled up with laughter. She had not had this much fun, not in her full seventy years.

Pearl skipped back to the front of the line and took her position as the leader of the pack. She picked up her megaphone and yelled: “Don’t you ever dare take us for granted again!” She was proudly leading them, all four foot eleven of her, their new, feisty  president, firm and resolute! Rith penetrated the inner line and pulled out Jay, the vice president; she pulled him out by his last four gray hairs. Usually she could depend on this intelligent man for stability and sane solutions.

“Jay, Jay what on earth are you doing?”

“We’re striking,” he said mildly looking up at her.

“That I can see! What situation precipitated it?”

“You know how it has been. It began to get bad after the hospital was bought out.”

“Yes, I do know all about that, but Jay, there must have been something, one big thing that upset you’ all?”

“There was no Volunteer Appreciation.”

“No Volunteer Dinner?”  Rith was astounded. She had left it all organized before her trip.

“He canceled it. “

“Who canceled it?”

“The new CEO and he also canceled our free cafeteria lunches.

Rats! This was trouble; big trouble! This CEO was typical of a new class of manager coming in dedicated to cutting costs, looking good to the share-holders and making a tidy profit, rather than dedicated to good organization and to good healing.

“Jay, you know that volunteers don’t strike.”

“Yes that is what I told Pearl,” said the placid, little man.

“And what did she say?”

He blinked his eyes, “She said: “Don’t be such a wimp, Jay, do you want him to walk all over us?”

“She said what?”

“What could I do?” He looked up at Rith, eyes wide.

“For heaven sakes Jay, there are going to be consequences.”

“Really?”  Rith hoped she was not too late to calm the waters.

She walked off to find the new CEO, who was, as she well knew, the real culprit here; this new CEO brought in to save the hospital money. With volunteers all you had to work with, was their willingness? Did he not understand this?

She knew that her volunteers loved their annual event; they had been planning a dress-up party with a fashion show! They had even chosen their outfits and they were going to do the modeling themselves. This type of event was right down Pearl’s alley and she had drummed up much excitement in her followers. She had even arranged that the clothing the volunteer models were going to show would be donated by a few local clothing stores.  These ladies were all on a fixed income so this meant a lot to them.   Hot skies above, after all the volunteers had done for the hospital, why deny them this little night of pleasure?  Did this new CEO have any idea how much her volunteers saved the hospital?  They worked the front desk, they manned the phones, they handled the backroom paperwork, and they even conducted valet parking!  It was going to take some damage control, and she hoped that she was not too late to save the day.

Back in front of the hospital entrance, she found the supercilious man confronting Pearl. His fat shoulders and head were thrust back which showed his pot-belly to disadvantage. He and Pearl were in loud dispute, no he was the one shouting and she was listening, ominously quiet. The man stood, smugly satisfied that he had stopped the procession; he was into stopping.  He stood encased in self-importance, so typical of the impeccably coiffed new generation of managers, turned out by colleges far removed from the demands of real life and real people.

Little Pearl was standing her ground in front of him, intense, courteous to a fault, but Rith knew she had not stopped being trouble.  She could see it in the cleft in the little raised chin. Rith began to run again.

“Pearl! Pearl! Please stop this!”

Power wheel chairs began to close in on the CEO from every direction.

Volunteer in wheelchair going fast

The CEO, backed off and spun round. Then he saw Rith and exploded.

“You are fired!”  he spat out.

Rith blanched. She knew he was not going to change his mind; could not change his mind.

“And you, er you, you,” pointing at Pearl with his whole body shaking, “you, you little impudent snippet , you, you, right now, you get right off my campus! “

The man, he was the Man turned and stomped off.

The volunteers went into shock. This was something they hadn’t predicted and had not wanted. They had all loved Rith, each and every one of them.  They began to disperse slowly, beginning to realize what they had done.. Rith watched them go, watched them all leaving her. They had been everything to her; they had been her life, for nearly a decade.

She turned around slowly, not quite sure where she was going to go, or what she would do.

~~~~****~~~~

Politics IOU will be up on Kindle at the beginning of February. Meanwhile you can read the story for free at www.ellabevan.com

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 ~

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.

 

Latino Heritage

Celebrating our American Diversity

As we remember Black History in January and February in America, we appreciate our Latino Heritage in the months of September and October.

It has been impressive to see more and more Spanish leaders emerge with each new election.

Music dancing and great food is very much a part of the Mexican tradition.

dancing mexican womenMexican Celebrations

Each city in Mexico has a Zócalo, where celebrations take place and people of all ages come out to enjoy themselves. The square livens up with music, laughter and vibrant colors. Parades are so popular that people wake up early and rush to the streets seeking a good spot to watch and enjoy them.  It takes months of rehearsal and preparation for marching bands to perform and compete, all wanting to be the best.  There is usually dancing and music in the square with the ever so popular mariachi bands.

No celebration can be complete without food.  A few days before the big event, hundreds of stalls start aligning on the streets near the Zócalo.  Restaurants all over offer the most representative of Mexican cuisine: Mole Poblano is a thick spicy sauce that comes from blending more than 40 ingredients, and is spread on top of turkey or chicken with Mexican style red rice.   Mole is so popular that it is served on nearly every important Mexican occasion.

Here are some Latino pictures from Picture Lady:

The artists are Leonel from Guatemalo, Diego Rivera,  & Segura Torres from Guadalajara.

Boy with Calla Lilies  ]   

The most exciting of the Mexican celebrations is the 16th of September, their Independence Day.

Quote for the Week

Art is the lie that makes us realize the truth – Pablo Picasso