Read Around the World

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget
how you made them feel.” 
Maya Angelou

Harper Lee

Today one of the worlds most read writers died today. I’ve done a few posts about Harper Lee, but the following was a post that I wrote January 13, 2015 before it was known about her current release of Go Set A Watchman. 

Rest in peace Ms Lee. You were an inspiration to all.

My post from January 13, 2015:

This year began with reading one of the books on my 100 books to read before you die list. It was an extremely difficult book to get through, but I am proud to say I finished it. The book was, “The Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper.

Whenever I read a book, I always Google the author and read about their life. James Fenimore Cooper, I learned, had a much privileged life. Both he and his wife were authors and came from wealthy backgrounds.

The second book I read the first week of January was, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, written by Harper Lee. I’d seen the movie several times, but had never took the time to read the book. Of course, I Googled Harper Lee and was surprised to learn she is still alive, and that it was the only book she ever wrote and published.

As a “wannabe” writer, I was stunned that such an accomplished writer, with numerous awards and honors never wrote another novel. She did write a few articles in the 1960’s and one recent letter to Oprah Winfrey in 2006, but that was all she wrote.

I believe the success of Harper Lee’s novel was due mostly because she wrote such realistic and compelling dialogue. Also, the storyline was relevant to what was happening in the United States history during the 1960’s, when the book was published.

Harper Lee may be a “one hit wonder”, with her book “To Kill a Mockingbird”, but that one hit was read around the world.

Shine On

That’s Why I Love Him

“What made me love thee? let that persuade thee
there’s something extraordinary in thee.
I cannot: but I love thee; none  but thee;
and thou deserves it.”
William Shakespeare

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One of my favorite fretted instruments is the banjo. After all, you can’t help but smile when you hear the sound of a banjo.

For Mother’s Day 2014 my son bought concert tickets for us to see “Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers” at the Hollywood Bowl. The concert was fantastic.

I was so inspired by the concert, that I decided it was time to learn to play the banjo. I didn’t own a banjo, but there’s a music store near my son’s apartment, and they just happen to have used banjos. After hearing the store owner play one of the banjos, I bought a used 21 fret, open back, 5-string banjo. I was absolutely thrilled to start learning to play the banjo.

However, when I got home with my fretted friend, my husband was not as thrilled as I was. His response was, “you’re not going to practice that thing in the house, are you?”

Relationships are all about compromise. We are both supportive of each others hobbies and interests. He likes me to go with him to the shooting range and go to car shows. And because he knows how much I enjoy banjo music, he has become more supportive of my banjo playing.

After lots of practice and lessons on the banjo, he insists I learn to play the ukulele or the mandolin.

That’s why I love him.

Happy Valentine’s Day To Everyone

Shine On

Uplifting Art

“The aim of art is to represent
not the outward appearance of things,
but their inward significance.”
Aristotle

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Unicorn Chick by Eddie Fitch

Thanks to a Boston program that showcases homeless and disabled artists work, these artists work are helping them rebuild their lives. Their art speaks volumes about the artist and their work. Works of art that would normally go unnoticed without the help of a young woman, Liz Powers.

Since she was eighteen, Liz Powers has worked with homeless and disabled individuals in Boston. She began by creating and running art groups in local women’s shelters. While there, Liz was amazed by the talent around her, but noticed that much of the art would end up in the trash can or lost in the shelters’ closets. After observing the same problem at other local art programs, Liz and her brother Spencer created ArtLiftingSince its launch in December 2013,  ArtLifting has also helped five formerly unhoused artists gain housing.

Her goal is create a profitable business not only for her organization, but for each and every artist that participates in the program. By selling these artists work, ArtLifting is providing homeless and disabled artists the opportunity to earn their own income. The organization is run just like an upscale art studio. Each artists earns 55% of the profit from each sale.

Why is this program so successful? Because by earning an income instead of a handout, the artists feel empowered and confident. This confidence has a domino effect on every aspect of their lives and helps them pursue dreams that previously seemed unreachable to them.

Liz’s ultimate goal is to give a homeless or disabled artist his or her first break. Because she believes most of these people have never had a break. While art can inspire each of us, Liz Powers and the artists she helps inspire us as well as their uplifting art.

Shine On

Peace Lily

“We look forward to the time
when the Power of Love
will replace the Love of Power.
Then will our world know
the blessings of peace.”

William Ewart Gladstone

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In a  previous post, Frankenstein of Flora, I wrote about how much I love plants and especially enjoy rescuing them. In the past few months, I’ve added a variety of new plants to our home.

Recently, I rescued from Lowe’s Home Improvement Spathiphyllum wallisii, commonly known as the Peace Lily. This half-dead plant was cast aside from all the other plants, droopy and in need of some TLC.

I quickly read up on this plant and was happy to learn it is one of the easiest and hardiest house plants. Peace Lilies not only brighten up a living space, but are also excellent at cleaning the air of the room they are in. In fact, a NASA Clean Air Study found that this beautiful and hardy plant cleans indoor air of certain environmental contaminants, including benzene and formaldehyde.

Several Peace Lily species are popular indoor houseplants. It lives best in shade and needs little sunlight to thrive, and is watered approximately once a week. The soil is best left moist but only needs watering if the soil is dry.

If you’re looking for a low maintenance, beautiful house plant, I highly recommend the Peace Lily.

Shine On