Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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Epiphanies from Under The Tamarind Tree by Rosaliene Bacchus

front-cover-under-the-tamarind-tree

At first I didn’t think I had much in common with Richard Cheong, the main character in Under the Tamarind Tree.  His story is set  in the country of Guiana during the 1950s and 60s during a time of political and personal danger which I have never experienced.  Richard’s father was Chinese and his mother was from India. His dream is to have a big chicken farm. The father of three girls, he is obsessed with longing for a son.

Stepping into a different culture, even through reading a novel, is often uncomfortable at first. Reading this book helped me grow in humility and understanding.  As I read, I grew to like Richard and to care very much about him and his family.

I realized that there are important things that transcend culture. Richard and I do have things in common. His little brother was killed at the age of 8.  My little sister was killed at age 16. Richard loves his daughters who are important in the story. The misunderstandings and dynamics between Richard and his wife were familiar and realistic.

Richard makes mistakes, but he is a good man. He works hard for his family and his dream. Bad things happen that are beyond his control. We are reminded that hurt people hurt people, and at times, revenge runs rampant. Revenge is like a character that rears it’s ugly head more as the story progresses. Hard truths come to light. Through it all, Richard perseveres.

There’s a lesson in this story that rings true. If we persevere and keep doing the right things, however imperfectly, life has a way of working out –  maybe very differently than we planned, but sometimes better than we imagined.

Under the Tamarind Tree is well-written and rich with detail. I’m grateful to Rosaliene Bacchus for teaching me so much about Guyanese culture and history,  for helping me open my heart to our common humanity, and for reinforcing that hope lives in the midst of seemingly unbearable challenges.

You can learn more about Rosaliene at her writer’s website

Or by reading her blog: Three Worlds One Vision

 

 


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Good News Tuesday 2/25/20: Thunberg Foundation, 8 Hour Plank, Saving a Coastal Ecosystem, and Newlywed Cops Stop a Robbery on their Date Night

Sunflower w address

Seeking Balance One Tuesday at a Time

Greta Thunberg uses Award Money to Start a Foundation for the Earth

Greta Thunberg, 17, won the Right Livelihood Award in December. The award is known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize.” Greta plans to use the ($100,000) prize money to establish the Greta Thunberg Foundation in Sweden. You can read more in this article from Global Citizen.

62 Year Old Breaks World Record with 8 Hour Plank

62-year-old George Hood, a retired law enforcement officer, broke the world record for holding the plank position for over 8 hours. George used imagery of being a strongly rooted tree and listened to rock music while breaking the planking record.  He wants to break the stigma of seeking help for mental health issues.

His advice for other people looking to hold even just a 20-second plank or do one push-up is to just get started. (GMA)

I’m going for the 20-second plank.

Here’s the story from Good Morning America.

 

Scottish Government Protects Important Coastal Ecosystem

Citizens and wildlife groups worked for four years to protect the Coul Links coastal area from a proposed golf course.  On February 21, 2020, the Scottish government decided to decline the golf course application. Here’s an excellent video from the campaign to save Coul Links including the message: “We have to put a higher value on nature.”

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

                                                            Margaret Mead

 

Newlywed Police Couple Stops Robbery

Detective Chase McKeown and Officer Nicole McKeown have been married for six months. While off duty at their weekly Saturday night date at a fast food restaurant, they saw a robbery in progress and went into action. They chased the perp out of the store and caught him. Here’s the story:

 

Got good news?

Please share in the comments!


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Mysterious Sounds & a Song from my Heart

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Our Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday was “animal sounds.” “Write about the sounds animals make and how you experience them. Have fun!”

It was after midnight. I went out onto the balcony to look at the stars. The darkness was thick like a wool blanket over our mountain hideaway. A few stars peeked out through the evergreen trees. Cool, fresh air filled my lungs and tingled my face and hands.

Then I heard it. It sounded like a duck quacking at first. Then there was a screeching, snarling noise below, maybe fifty feet away. Were the two sounds from the same animal? Were two animals fighting. Was something hurt? I didn’t want to think about that. I waited and the same noise came again, both noises right after each other suggesting it came from the same animal.

Over the next few minutes, the noise repeated. The quacking diminished and the snarling increased.

I would have loved to have heard a wolf howl, or even a coyote. Or a bear grunting. A wolf would be better. When I was five years old my dad was stationed at the naval base on Newfoundland, Canada. We lived on base near some hills where wolves would howl at night. I don’t remember this well, at least not consciously, but oh how I would have appreciated this more much later in life.

After a while, the noise did not come back and the chill sent me back inside. I never found out what animal or animals made that sound. I’ll listen for it when we visit the mountains again.

Years ago, I wrote a song. It was back in high school, kind a corny maybe, but heartfelt. The song was about extinction. I added a stanza more recently, but for some reason, I don’t know where I put the words. I wonder if I can remember it now. I’ll try.

Once you could see

a million brown deer

We knew they’d be here for us

a l w a y s…… a l w a y s

Once you could see

the birds in the sky

We knew they would fly for us

a l w a y s…… a l w a y s

(bridge/guitar solo)

You can still see the birds

You can look, even feel

And they seem almost real

Yet somehow out of place

In their polished glass case.

And the deer in the park

stumble in the dark

And they seem kinds lame

But no one takes blame

For their blindness.

(Here’s the new part:)

Once we could hear

the wolf and the whale

Their voices would sail to us

a l w a y s…… a l w a y s.

But the wolf and the whale

No longer cry

They’re just stars in the sky.

No one stands by

For the singing.

(bridge/guitar)

Still we can see

the birds in the sky

We pray they will fly, always.

Still we might see

A million brown deer

We pray they’ll be here, always.

Still we can hear

the wolf and the whale

May wisdom prevail for them

a l w a y s…… a l w a y s……

© Joanne Macco, aka joannaoftheforest

 

great voices wolf pup

Hard to explain with no editing. I don’t remember if all these words are what I originally wrote, but it’s pretty close. On the guitar, I use chords …. wait let me check…. E, Em, and another chord I don’t know the name of in the beginning. Then there’s a bridge into the sad parts with G, D, A, and Em. Then back to the first chords for the hopeful part.

Dang. I didn’t write about Doodle howling when I tuned my guitar. But you can imagine.

Doodle w foot on head

I miss Doodle bug.

For more animal sounds in the stream of consciousness, and the rules for #SoCS,

visit Linda’s blog:

https://lindaghill.com/2020/02/21/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-22-2020/

 


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Run with Love (Motivation for a Plant-Based Diet)

“Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.”  River Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix quoted his late brother in his recent Oscar acceptance speech. It was a moving speech. Here’s more of my favorite parts:

“I think that when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles, we can create, develop, and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and the environment.”    ___Joaquin Phoenix

The whole speech:

 

In his speech, Mr. Phoenix reminds me about animals suffering in the dairy industry. This encourages me to return to my goal of becoming vegan which means consuming no animal products. While I’ve done fairly well in abstaining from most meat over the last four decades, I’ve found it hard to give up fish and dairy (especially cheese) for good.  The 40 days of lent starting next week give me strength to do better, to show myself what I’m capable of. Going vegan for lent in the past helped me be done with chicken and reduced my dairy consumption after lent. Maybe this will be the year I’ll be done with dairy. As far as seafood goes, we’ll see. For now, my goal is to be vegan for lent.

Here are three reasons to move toward a plant-based diet:

1. A plant-based diet is healthier as long as we don’t eat a lot of junk food.

2. It’s better for the environment because it takes way less energy to produce plants than to produce plants to feed to animals in an industry that adds more pollution. Animal agriculture is a significant contributor to climate change.

3. A plant–based diet reduces animal suffering and leads us in a direction of kindness and peace.

 

Factory Farming vegan diet

 

Please consider joining me in reducing our consumption of meat and dairy products. Every small step makes a difference and prepares us for the next step.

If you’re not already a vegetarian or vegan, you might want to consider something like Meatless Mondays.

Thanks for reading.

Avocado vegan pudding in blue cup (2)

Vegan Chocolate Pudding with cocoa, almond milk, and avocados. Delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Love is in da Blog 2020: Travel (with my Favorite Beatles Song)

Maybe I’m late, but better late than never to jump into Love is in da blog.

The prompt: Love that travels or a love song about travel

First I thought about Carole King’s “So Far Away,” reminding me of my high school sweetheart moving 700 miles away in 1972. But then I thought about one of my favorite songs, the song about him coming back to me in 2011.

“The Long and Winding Road,” is easily about a returning love. It could also be about my spiritual journey. Great songs have room for interpretation making them universal, epic. That’s how I feel about this song.

 

For more on travel songs and Love is in Da Blog, visit Bee at:

https://thebeewrites.com/2020/02/18/love-is-in-da-blog-2020-day-18-love-that-travels-or-a-love-song-about-travel-prompt-for-day-19/


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Good News Tuesday 2/18/20: Australia Fires Contained, Soldiers and Koalas, Taxi Driver Interrupts Scam, 10 Billion for Earth, and College Degrees in Prison

Sunflower w address

Seeking Balance One Tuesday at a Time

All Australian Bushfires Contained in New South Wales

Not all the fires are out, but they are all contained allowing more focus on rebuilding.

The exciting news comes after a week of historic rainfall in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.     Good News Network

Let’s continue to pray for healing.

In this related story, soldiers are using their free time to help care for displaced koalas.

Soldiers take care of Koalas ABC news

From ABC News

Taxi Driver Stops $25,000 Scam

When a 92 year old woman asked him to take her to the bank to pay the IRS, taxi driver Raj Singh dug deeper. He ended up taking her to the police, who uncovered the scam. Mr. Singh could have just taken the lady to the bank and not asked questions, but it’s a good thing he cared.  Here’s the story from The Good News Network.

10 Billion Dollars for Planet Earth

Jeff Bezos, “the richest man in the world,” has announced his plan to donate 10 billion dollars of his own money to help fight climate change. Associated Press reports Amazon, the company started by Bezos, plans to have “100% of its energy use come from solar panels and other renewable energy by 2030.” That will be something to watch over the next 10 years.  The AP article pointed out that Jeff Bezos “only recently became active in donating money to causes as other billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have done.” Wouldn’t it be great if all of the world’s financially wealthy people because so altruistic? Hopefully, it’s not too late to do some good for the planet. Here’s the article from AP News.

Earning College Degrees in Prison

Hudson Link is a nonprofit program that helps prison inmates earn college degrees for free. According to Hudson Link, the general rate of recidivism in (NY) state is 43%, while the prisoners who walk out with degrees have only a 2% chance of being re-incarcerated. You can read more about it on the Good News Network.

This  video had me grinning and teary eyed.

Got good news?

Please share in the comments!


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A Children’s Book, Loving Energy, and Body Alignment (#SoCS)

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From SoCS host, Linda Hill: “….our Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “cheek.” Use it as a noun or a verb. Enjoy!”

There’s a children’s book called The Kissing Hand. It’s about a little raccoon who is afraid to go to school because he doesn’t want to be away from his mom. His mom kisses the palm of his and and says that whenever he is lonely or nervous, he can put the palm of his hand, the place where she kissed him, on his cheek and remember that his mother loves him.

I must’ve gotten this book for one of my children who was nervous about starting school at least 20 years ago. Children’s picture books are special to me, so I keep my favorites. I believe it’s at the mountain house where I took most of my children’s books since that’s where I’m most likely to spend time with my grand kids.

The Kissing Hand story got me thinking about how powerful the mind can be, especially when we have a physical cue, like kissing a hand and then putting it on the cheek. Is there real energy in that kissed spot? Energy of love that can be transferred to the cheek? Reiki works a little like that, but residual energy?

Anything is possible.

What we do know is that the mind is very powerful in healing and mood. Thoughts are powerful and can influence the body.

I have a bad habit of biting on the inside of my mouth around my inner cheek area. I can go for years without this happening, but it’s surfaced lately, maybe because I’m too busy, way busier than I ever imagined being retired. Too many interests I guess. Or is there more to it? Maybe I’ll come back to that.

I’ve told myself to stop biting the inside of my mouth. I’ve prayed for help with this since it seems to be an addiction of sorts. A nervous habit? The problem happens when I put my tongue in my cheek. Funny, I don’t like the figurative meaning of that expression because I don’t like sarcasm.  It’s dishonest. Oh, I’ve used sarcasm occasionally, but not when things are important, serious, or could be misunderstood.

Anyway, when I keep my tongue away from my cheek… wait let me go back. When my tongue feels an imperfection, a bump of some kind, that’s when the biting starts. So, if  I just keep my tongue lined up forward, I’m better off. I’ve started breathing with imagery of a vertical line. This relates to something I read about chakras and energy  (qi/chi?) moving up the front of the body and down the back of the body.  I’m sure there are people who know a lot more about this than me, and I’m resisting the urge to look it up because what I really want to get to is this:

When I inhale imagining energy moving up the front of my body, cresting at the top of my head, and flowing down the back of my body, it feels really good. I don’t know why. Maybe it helps me sit or stand straighter. My head seems to go back a little, or maybe it’s just energy moving, aligning my osteoporotic whatever  posture. I’m sitting up straighter just typing this.

Well, I’ve already used up a lot of words…. Isn’t it interesting how the mind and body work together? There’s a lot we can do with this understanding.

Here’s a little video of The Kissing Hand. It’s very sweet. I just watched it again, and the part about energy flowing from Chester’s hand to his heart when his mom kisses him fits with the whole energy thing.

Enjoy the watercolors!

 

Whose love goes with you wherever you go?

The Stream of Consciousness flows every Saturday from the blog of Linda G. Hill. You can find out more here:

https://lindaghill.com/2020/02/14/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-15-2020/

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

3. I will post the prompt here on my blog every Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The,’” or will simply be a single word to get you started.

4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.

5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read all of them! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later or go to the previous week by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find below the “Like” button on my post.

6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!

7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.

8. Have fun!