Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Moonlight Reflections" At Year's End ...


@Copyrighted Photograph, 2011.  All Rights Reserved.


"Moonlight Reflections" At Year's End 



... I tend to get a little sentimental and mushy on this night of the year. I'm a mix of emotions, hopes and dreams ... reflecting on the past and hoping for the future, while not allowing myself to be too rigid in my plans for the upcoming year.  "Never say never" ... one of my ruling mantras ... comes to mind and this requires a certain amount of versatility and flexibility.  So with Hope, Peace & Love in my heart:   I wish all of you, my beloved friends, family and ALL who pass this way, a truly Blessed Year ahead, in 2012.  May you experience True Peace in your lives, May Love reign in your hearts and May the Abundant Blessings of a Loving Creator richly bless You and Yours.  Happy, Happy New Year!! =) XOXO


Love,
Isa


Song: "Auld Lang Syne", By Lea Michele ... from "New Year's Eve" movie sndtrack.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Purple Clouds Brood with Ominous Portent ...




@Copyrighted Image, 2012.  All Rights Reserved: Isabelle Black Smith.


"Purple Clouds" 


An evil wind howls relentlessly
In the waning hours of a year
Soon to be laid to rest,
Whilst swirls of purple clouds
Brood with ominous foreboding
In vehement protest 

To yet another year's closing.
A speck of insignificant dust,
I wander thus below ...
A lone, winter clad, cold
And weary figure
In silent observation.
Foretelling footsteps,
Tossed wildly about
By the chill of a merciless wind.
My untamed imagination
Wonders: What pray do these portents,
Thus our way, in the new year send?



 @Copyrighted Poem, 2011. All Rights Reserved: Isabelle Black Smith.





Very cool clouds there were here this afternoon/evening.  Sadly, I did not have any camera with me on my walk though, so I borrowed an image that came close (though the clouds here were a bit more brooding in nature).  I wish I had had my camera (did not even have a cell phone) with me on my walk, but the fierce wind made it hard to breath and think ... let alone take photos, I suppose.  Perhaps, I was just meant to observe and listen maybe?

Interestingly enough ... I decided to google "Purple Cloud" once I returned home and my fingers had thawed ... "Cloud" singular, because there was one lone purple cloud that seemed to be following me ... and low and behold look what I found:  "Purple Cloud", a fictional write  ... story, book, first published in 1901 and republished by the author again in 1920.  The work is a science fiction write, with a most intriguing story line.  This may just be my next read?



P.S. 1/8/2012 Early morning hours ... It occurs to me upon reflecting this night that the last line of this poem should read "our" and not "my" as originally written.




1/16/2012 ... It snowed here this weekend.  Got some great photos of clouds with barren tree branches laden in snow.  This particular image seemed to lend itself to purple.  So I have decided to update the photo here with one of my own.  This photo goes much better with the imagery of  "A lone winter clad, cold and weary figure."

Here is the original photo that I had posted, borrowed from another blogger: "Purple-Dreamy."  I will post it here to help promote a fellow photographer : )  It is a great photo: fabulous clouds ... fabulous PURPLE!






Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Christmas Rose ...

A Christmas Rose just for you:  May the Spirit of Christmas still be blossoming in your heart this day. ♥




@Copyrighted Photograph.  All  Rights Reserved.



Peace & Much LOVE,

~M





[So much meaning embodied in a simple, single red rose?  And not just "love" ... Mysteries forever unfolding.  A new write seems to be brewing inside of me this night.


"What's in a name? That which we call a rose 
By any other name would smell as sweet." 

~Juliet, Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)]






Monday, December 26, 2011

Illumination ...

I created this painted image from a candlelight photograph that I took a few months back.  I haven't posted it or shared it with a larger audience until now because I wasn't quite sure where it went?  Sitting here today, in the early morning hours the day after Christmas:  I think it belongs here.  So here it is ...



@Copyrighted Photograph, 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

(To Be Titled)





Haven't come up with a fitting title for this painting yet ... Sometimes words alone are just inadequate, aren't they?


1/2/2012 ... Then again, maybe sometimes you just have to wait until you are ready to hear the words?





FIRE

There are old truths that breathe to life in Fire.
Past secrets rekindled in the rebirth of flame.
For all truth lies within the scope of Light
And Fire is one of the oldest elemental rite.
Thus Fire saw man through emergence
From his deepest darkest night.


@Copyrighted Poem, 2012.  All Rights Reserved: Isabelle Black Smith.



.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Joyful All the Nations Together Sing ...





"Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me [opens his heart to me]  shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."  ~John 8:12






@Copyrighted Photograph, 2011.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.





"Joyful All the Nations Together Sing:  Peace & Love on Earth"





I am but a simple, humble King.
Yet, unto me glorious verses
Do the Herald Angels sing.
My wealth is not silver,
Nor is it treasured gold ...
In fact, it is nothing
Tangible that one can hold.
My treasure is instead
A gift of 'knowing'
Our Creator's True Peace
And Unconditional Love.

On this joyful night,
As Angels together do heralds sing,
A jubilant symphony of harmony
In remembrance of me,
Their Newborn King ...
Born one special night,
Long ago, in a tiny manger,
Under a blazing star,
In Bethlehem,
Prince of Peace & Light ... 
Know that I am a legacy of Hope,
Gifted from God above,
To reach forth and fill this wanting Earth
With His Eternal Peace and Love ...


[The Christmas story is just a beginning;
For Jesus's legacy of Hope lives on
In our world to this day when we who hear 
'The Christmas Eve Chorus' ring 
Open our hearts to receive His Light anew.
Then we so greatly blessed, in turn,
Venture forth, with joyful hearts,
And unto a weary world His gift impart.
Hand-in-hand & Heart-to-heart,
Our united Lights will brightly shine:
A reflection of the Supreme Presence Divine.
That together, in our own simple way,
We may simply illuminate our shared world
By spreading the flame of God's Eternal Peace
And Unconditional Love burning brightly in our hearts.]


United in voice, Let all the Earth together REJOICE!
Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all Mankind.




@Copyrighted Poem, 2011.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.

(Early A.M. Christmas Eve Morn ... It's late and I have yet to sleep.  These words may undergo some revision after some (hopeful) sleep.  God Bless!)










A beautiful Christmas Song:  "Wake Up the World", By JJ Heller








Merry Christmas one and ALL!!
 ...  "Let all the Earth Rejoice," indeed!!  Open your hearts and receive the Light of our Creator this Christmas Eve and Day.  Then go forth and renew the face of a weary Earth with His Peace and Eternal Love.  God's Blessings be with all who happen to pass this way.   May you strive keep the 'Light of Christmas' alive in your hearts throughout the New Year, 2012.

Love,
~M





P.S.  I have to share that so many of my non-Christian friends have been so thoughtful in asking about what Christmas is, what it means to me, personally, and then wishing me a heartfelt "Merry Christmas" in return.  The sincerity, effort and LOVE of these friends is truly heartfelt.  It makes me SMILE =) from ear-to-ear and from the heart ♥ ... It gives me the greatest HOPE for this world that we all share.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing?






We saw some snow falling tonight, but alas it wasn't real snow.  Still it was neat to see : )  This fake snow falling is likely the closest we will be getting to a "White Christmas" this year, in Seattle, as the forecast is for 40 deg. F and rain Christmas Eve, with a high of 45 deg. F on Christmas Day.  Some winter magic might still happen ... After all, weather forecasters are seldom 100% accurate in their forecasting and they only need to be off by eight little degrees, right?  I hear that my family and friends in Texas might be in for some snow down south.  Lucky them!







Seeing this fake snow fall tonight prompted me to look into what it would take to deck out your yard with fake snow.  Here is a really cool website that I found:  Zigmont Magic Effects Inc.  So it would seem that we could have our "White Christmas" for a price.  ; )  Ah well, fun to imagine and dream ... still I'm thinking that there "ain't nothing like the real thing."  Hopefully, some snow will make its way up here before winter's end.  I guess, we can always drive up into the mountains if we have to.  In the meantime:  I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas.  How about you?


P.S.  I remember when my oldest niece & nephew and my eldest daughter were very little (ages 2-5)... I bought cans of spray snow and bags of that cotton fill for making pillows.  Then, I decorated our small back yard as if it had actually snowed.  I hung paper snowflakes from trees, bushes and the swing-set. I made fake snowballs out of styrofoam balls and I let the kids assemble a small snowman out of larger styrofoam balls.  They had a blast!!  Afterwards, we went inside to have some hot peppermint cocoa to warm up and decorated Christmas cookies.  Fun times, good memories and just goes to show what you can accomplish with a little creativity and imagination.  I doubt that my children, now older and wiser, would go for the latter these days?  But at least we still bake dozens of Christmas cookies and then stay up all night watching Christmas movies, drinking hot cocoa and decorating cookies.  Enjoy your children; they grow up so quickly  ♥

Monday, December 19, 2011

Getting Back to The True Meaning of Christmas


Handmade gifts from the heart are the best, aren't they?  You feel the LOVE that went into making them. You feel the LOVE when you make them and even moreso when you use these gifts. 

The materialism at Christmas bothers me a bit, but the holiday season does promote the idea of "giving", which is not an entirely bad thing.  I try to keep my kids focused on the GIVING part, with not so much emphasis on the receiving part.  That is to say that they should focus on thankfulness for all that they have and then be grateful for the additional gifts that they are so fortunate as to receive.  This shift away from materialism toward gratitude is NOT an easy thing to do in today's highly materialistic world.  That being said, I think this lousy economic climate that our country currently finds itself immersed in is actually helping people to refocus on the truly important things this holiday and Christmas season.

For example, I see many people in our neighborhood making the effort to put up lights and Christmas decorations, when in past years they just left them boxed in the garage and did not even make the effort.  I'd say that we have probably tripled the number people decorating the outside of their homes in our neighborhood this Christmas season.  This Christmas decorating trend seems to be the case in neighborhoods throughout the area as well.  It always makes me smile and feel the Christmas Spirit of 'cheer' as I walk or drive through an area all lit up and decorated for Christmas.  I notice more people making donations to charities as well.  My oldest went to a party the other night where a group of friends and families went through a neighborhood singing Christmas carols and collected food items for a local food bank.  They collected six full garbage-sized bags of food  donations in just one night of caroling.  Isn't that wonderful?!







Every year, since my children were very little, I have had them write down on paper (or color a picture if they are little) something that they will selflessly do to help make the world a better place.  Then this becomes their gift to Jesus for his birthday.  I find that this project really helps to redirect the focus of Christmas and even small children can understand the concept of giving a gift to Jesus for his birthday.  When they were really little my children would color pictures of them giving lots of hugs to Mommy and Daddy.  Then when they were just learning to write they offered things like "I promise to really try hard to keep my room clean, without Mommy having to nag me."   Now that they are a bit older, I will see if they can come up with three things ...one of them being something that they will give to total strangers.  It will be interesting to see what they will come up with.

Well, I do hope that you and yours are enjoying the celebrations that lead up to Christmas and the other holiday traditions (e.g., Hanukah, Kwanzaa ...).  May Peace& Love reign in your hearts.  Perhaps this Christmas and holiday season, you will stop to offer a stranger a smile or hand in friendship?  Perhaps you won't be so quick to jump to conclusions and judge others.  For you see, heartfelt gestures such as these keep the 'Christ' in Christmas ... promote the Peace on Earth and Good Will towards all men.  If someone can "take Christmas away from  you", then perhaps you never really had in your heart to begin with? God's Blessings to all who pass this way.


Love,
~M

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Do You Believe in Reincarnation?

Have you ever had a dream that seemed so very real that it seemed as if you had physically been transported to another time and space?  A dream where the world is alive with color ... vibrant colors ... and there is texture and smell to go with sights and sounds?  I don't often have dreams like this, but I have had one such recurring dream lately -- over the course of the past few months. Dreams such as these make me think that they come from experiences in one of my past lives and I do wholeheartedly believe in reincarnation.














These are two paintings that come pretty close to elements within my multi-dimensional dream.  My dream centers around a stolen pair of shoes.  Is that odd?  ...  I recall that I could also feel a gentle breeze blowing across my face as I ran playfully amongst the trees, with the patches of the sun's warming rays breaking through the treetops from time to time.   So I wonder, have you ever had a dream like the above, with textures and smells that accompany an array of vivid colored sights and sounds?  ... "The stuff that dreams are made of " ...

Do you believe in reincarnation?  I would venture most people never ever really take the time to think on the subject and as such have no opinion (or instinct) one way or another.   Let's face it, re-incarnation is not mainstream or really a topic for 'normal' discussion.  Most often, I believe that because reincarnation is based upon a set of personal beliefs and experiences it is often difficult to translate into meaningful explanations for individuals outside of the immediate experience ... dream or memories of recollection.  Besides, most people walk through their lives half asleep.  The notion of pondering reincarnation probably never occurs to most and when it does they are all to eager to dismiss it because it is a concept that is so foreign and frightening to them (i.e., pondering reincarnation requires addressing death and one's own "mortality") ... because as yet, there is no tangible 'proof' that reincarnation is possible and does occur with regular frequency.  To my way of thinking, however, working within the narrow confines of our 'tangible', concrete daily reality is so very limiting when you consider the vastness of the ever expanding universe itself ... isn't it?

I always say:  "Change your perspective:  change your life."  Right now, I am thinking ... "Change your perspective:  enlighten your life."   We have centuries of history dedicated to the pursuit of worship of a supreme divinity, a God ... A Creator. We take His ... or Her ... existence completely on faith, do we not? As such, would it really be such a stretch to then also entertain the notion of reincarnation?  If you accept an improvable belief in God, I wonder how we would assume that He only gives us ONE chance to get it right?  We are, for the most part, a stubborn and narrow-minded lot, we humans.  Therefore, I should think that it would take at least a few iterations before we would begin to dissociate from a self-based focus of our lives, our world and the universe at large.  Once the focus shifts away from self then (and only then?) one can subsequently begin to tread the path of enlightenment on a journey back home to our Creator.

Well, these are my thoughts on reincarnation ... inspired by a recurring dream.  I do sincerely appreciate other people's perspectives, however, and I accept that some of us are further along their journey home than others.   So take this discussion ... pondering ... for what you will.  Perhaps, I have given you something to think about?  Perhaps the unfolding of this discussion within you will be a step along your own personal path of enlightenment?  Whatever the case may be:  Peace and Much LOVE to those who pass this way.


[Paintings above are courtesy of ArtMagick.com:  1) "At Fosset, Under the Fir Trees", By Fernand Khnopff;  2) "April Love", By Arthur Hughes.]




12/19/2011 Early A.M. ... In rereading this very post coupled with thoughts on the true meaning of Christmas, the 'Christ' in Christmas, non-Christian religions and atheists ... and having had many interesting discussions with quite a few atheists:  I am left wondering if perhaps the subject of reincarnation might be a bridge to an understanding between all of the latter?  It is a rather intriguing notion to me ... I'll have to see where my pondering of this leads?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Poetry 'Down Under' ....

A footnote just for me. I had one of my poem's read on air today, in Australia of all places.  One of my newer Facebook friends broadcasts as a host on a music & poetry show every Friday night.  He asked me to send him something early this morning and then he read it on the air not 30 minutes later.  It was kind of cool to hear one of my poems being read out loud, especially with a heavy Australian accent.  Thus far, I have only written my poems and read them in my head to myself or posted them here, on my blog, and/or in poetry forums on Facebook.









So today literally was the first day that I actually ever heard one of my poems being read out loud.  It never occurred to me that I had not done this ever ... read my poems out loud?  I usually write my poems and only read them back, in my head,  with my inner voice. It wasn't until this past year that I even began sharing my poems with others and I have only ever done so in written form.  Thus, it was almost a surreal moment for me when I heard my poem being read aloud on air, in Australia, this morning.  It really makes me stop and think ... though, I doubt I would ever find the courage to record any of my poems in my own voice?  But you never know.  One step at a time right?

Yes, it wasn't really until this very year that I even began sharing my poetry with any audience, other than myself  (Hey, I count ... don't I? ; ).   I remember in high school, I used to write poems and tape them to the wall in my closet behind my clothes for safe keeping.  My mother went into my closet one day and found a few.  She stayed in there reading for quite some time.  When I came home from school she said that she never knew that I wrote poetry and that my poems were "beautiful."  I took the 'posted' poems down from the closet after that and hid them away with my other secret writes, and my words of poetry had been hidden ever since until this past year.  Truth be told, I really did not write much in college at all.  After college, I stopped writing all-together ... It wasn't until about 2 years ago that I started writing poetry once again.  So perhaps, I am now 'awake' and emerging?

The universe works in mysterious ways, does it not?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Do Not 'Speak', Unless You Can Improve Upon the Silence?


"Do not speak, unless you can improve upon the silence."
~Quote from the Movie, "Everafter"




"Moonlight Reflections"
@Copyrighted Photograph, 2011.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.





"Be the waves that shape the world around you toward a greater end." 
~Isabelle Black Smith



I posted this quote the other day along with a photographic scene of exquisitely large pieces of driftwood in my post titled "Synchronicity." I am wondering now, based on a series of events that unfolded during the course of my day:  If you make no waves ... always 'play' within the safety of the 'lines' ... then how can you possibly shape the world around you?  Hmmmm ... perhaps not all are meant to shape the world toward a greater end?

Another thought, drifting in and out of my consciousness, was a seed planted from a line in a movie that I watched the other day:  "Do not speak, unless you can improve upon the silence"  [The title of this piece].  Well, from here my thoughts wonder toward another saying from conventional wisdom (despite my best efforts to steer them otherwise):  "Actions speak louder than words."  ... So then, what about 'inaction'?  Does it speak ... or speak as loudly as 'action'?  Based on my observations in watching people move through daily life, I would argue that inaction speaks perhaps the loudest.  That's my position for the moment ... we shall see if it holds.  I think there is some more pondering to do upon this subject.

And such are the motions, the late night ramblings of a tired mind ... Do you see now why I cannot sleep  (my  haunting nightmares aside)?  So many questions to be explored and yet answered ...







"Procession of Souls", By Louis Welden Hawkins
(Image Courtesy of ArtMagick.com)






 Here follows a poem that I wrote, as my thoughts unraveled, while pondering the above notions this night  ....





"Do Not 'Speak', Unless You Can Improve Upon the Silence?"


Silent mist, veil of shaded fog ...
Down sullen path do they hither trod.
The lost souls, wander on pointless journey.
A weary, disheveled band, they wander
As they once did:  cyclical marching,
Innermost feeling and emotions
Safely hid, tucked deeply down inside.
Parade of Lost souls marches samely,
In ordered fashion through motions
Of a recounted ordinary life.

Lost souls afraid to speak.
Lost souls forgotten how to seek?
Lost souls mild and meek ...
Lost souls afraid to be heard,
Ever fearful of the spoken word,
Lest deemed they to be absurd.
Lost souls afraid to be seen?
Lost souls afraid to truly live.
Do they pray a second chance
To them give?

Bounded by feared perceptions.
Afraid to breech set boundaries
Of an accepted worldly life,
Lest to be named
Inflictors of 'needless strife.'
To them the ordered march
Would thus suffice.
... But, ah to wonder,
Inflicting chaos upon the order,
To color and boldly outside the lines ...
Such a subtlety of knowing, sublime;
Alas to Lost Souls lies,
For the moment hidden:
Until, perhaps in due time
It be bidden.    


@Copyright Poem, 2011.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.




And in closing, I am reminded of a very wise saying ... "In order to understand the living:  you got to know the dead."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Frosted Moon ...

Tried sleeping, but I couldn't.  Got up and saw the moon through the skylight in my bedroom.  The Enchanted Moon was blazing brightly and covered by wispy clouds.  The whole scene looked wicked cool, so I grabbed my camera and tried taking some snaps through the glass of the skylight.  Did not use a tripod and the glass distorted the image slightly ... was also a bit dirty.  So I played around with the image and smudged the clouds a bit, etc.  Not great but it looks kinda cool ... Not bad for 3:00 a.m., with no sleep?  Oh well, it was fun to play : )




"Frosted Moon" ... taken through skylight

[Feel free to use this image : ) Would be nice if you would link back here and give me credit.  Thanks!]



See what you miss if you just blindly sleep through the night?  So there is perhaps an upside to bad dreams and "insomnia"?





Guess, I'll try to finish up my latest read now: "The Tempest".  The introduction was about 60 pages, but some of the info does seem to be useful in understanding the play itself.  Funny thing is the play is supposed to be Shakespeare's shortest work, so the play itself is dwarfed by the introduction in the book that I am reading.
So far this play reads much easier than some of Shakespeare's other works ... for me anyway.  I am looking forward to seeing the new movie that was made, in 2010, based on Shakespeare's play, also titled "The Tempest," when I am done reading the actual play.  The movie stars Helen Mirren and the trailers looked rather intriguing.  Here's the movie trailer if you happen to be interested.







Movie Trailer for "The Tempest" on YouTube: http://youtu.be/DDyGl2uIQ-Q

Monday, December 12, 2011

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas ....

Tis the season to be jolly ... or they say, right?  So today, I'll not think deep and solemn soul-searching thoughts. I'll focus on the season and being "jolly" ... "Fa-la La-la-la-la" (Did I get that right?  Remember, I don't sing.  Not yet anyway.)   Well,  it is frosty out this morning.  Everything is coated in thick layer of frost.  Almost looks as if it had snowed outside overnight.  So very pretty!  It did snow briefly yesterday afternoon.  I was driving home and suddenly is started sleeting.  Within a minute, the mixture had turned to snow.  It snowed for a few minutes and then became a really heavy, large drop-sized, deluge.  It was kind of cool, but a bit odd?  Then again, I am told to expect the unusual up here in these parts with all of the "convergence" zones ... something we did not have, or did not have many of, in my native Texas.  Still all this frost and a teasing of snow yesterday is making me really want to have "White Christmas."  Think that's my Christmas wish.  That would be so very wonderful!  Here's hoping : )

If I wasn't so tired I would post a snap of the frost covered beauty outdoors right now, but I don't have my camera handy and 2 days of 2.5 hrs. sleep don't add up to producing a worthy photograph anyhow.  So in lieu of my own photograph:  I'll re-post the image from my poem the other day.  Perhaps, I'll update with a frost photograph at a later date?


[Such an enchanting photograph ...Dream-like Winter Wonderland.]




So what kind of happy, quasi-happy thoughts can one have when deliriously sleep deprived?  Hmmmm ... my mind wanders to coffee.  I'm not supposed to have coffee, but today I am making an exception and having half of a cup.  I have to drive a lot today and coffee helps with my alertness and responsiveness.  I amaze myself with what I can do on little or no sleep.  Makes me wonder how much more I would be able to accomplish if I ever could sleep like a normal person?  Opps, getting off course for "jolly" thoughts, aren't I? ... So as I sit here on a short break, I am wondering (since I actually happen to be having a mug of coffee today):



Q:  Is the way one takes their coffee telling perhaps of how they approach life, or more specifically how they approach (handle) difficulties presented in their life?


How do I take my coffee?  Hot and Black ... no cream, no sugar or any of that other exotic stuff that you can put into coffee.  Nope, no bells or whistles for me ... I like to keep it simple and get right to the heart of the matter maybe?  Well, I will have to think some more on this question.  What do you think?  Does how you take your coffee say something interesting about you?????






Okay to close, I will post a poem that I wrote just for fun awhile back about my love for my favorite forbidden beverage: COFFEE.  Have a wonderful day and don't forget:  "Tis the season to be jolly."  Peace & Love ...




"Ode to Coffee"

Enticing, awakening, mind-melding, pain deadening elixir of life.
Though to my poor stomach you bring only greatest of strife.
Dark, velvety, chocolate perfection, where rainbow swirls
Often dance delicately atop your lake in absence of accessories.
O sensuous seductor, how I long to bring you to my lips, but
Know full well one sip of you would swiftly bring me to my knees.
Heavenly, aromatic blend sing of mysterious and forbidden spices.
O exalted one, your song to me it endlessly entices.
Liquid temptation in a pot, for alas I know I can have you not.
Black, no sugar, no cream ... Can't I still dream?


@Copyrighted Poem, 2011. All Rights Reserved: Isabelle Black Smith.




What do think:  would the poet John Keats approve? ; )

Friday, December 09, 2011

Love Is ...






LOVE IS


Love is not a person,
          A place ...
Love is not a thing.
Love is not a shiny ring.
Love is not a bitter sting.
Love lies in the act
          Of Forgiveness
          And in the fleeting moments
          That make your heart want to sing.
Love is an everyday embracing
          Way of Life ....
          A way through all external strife.
It's found in surrounding those
         Who are present, in the moment,
          On your journey through this Life
         With unconditional YOU.
Love is simple.
Love simply is ...
         A gift bestowed unto us from up
         Above, that we may go forth
         And shower this world with His eternal LOVE.


@Copyrighted Poem (to be published), 2011. All Rights Reserved: Isabelle Black Smith.








12/10/2011 ... Well a friend of mine feels that my thinking here is naive ... that Love is so much more complicated.  I think that perhaps my friend confuses Passion with Love.  Passion, in my humble opinion, is an entirely different animal altogether and a decidedly more complex one at that.  I think that this poem just expresses a need that I have these days to simplify and get back to basics.  I think that this poem expresses Love in its purest form: that we are vessels for radiating God, Our Creator's Love out into the world.  I mean, it's as if I've been full circle with Love ... born into the light, traveled through the darkness and now it seems ... after this long and rather tumultuous journey ... that I've arrived right back where I started from.  As I said a few weeks back in my post on "Rain" ...

"... I am amazed at the circular nature of life, truth and personal experiences .... that often what we seek lies at the end of a circular journey and only when we round the last of the journey do we begin to see that light and dark, supreme hope and utter despair, love and hate, ecstasy of joy and the abysmal depths of sadness often go hand in hand. We must first experience the darker one in order to be resurrected to savor the other."


And going full circle ... seeing the full evolution of Love and arriving back at the beginning is very liberating.  It bestows upon you an indescribable peace and that is a good place to be.  So that's all that I was trying to express in this simple poem.  Sometimes, simple is all you need right?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Never-ending Quest for the Missing Piece ...

Do you ever feel as if an important message ... a missing piece or part of you yet to be unlocked ... is waiting for you buried within a book, a poem, a piece of ART ... a conversation with a stranger?  And you have to find it:  you're fueled by an inner burning desire to experience it, unlock it, before you can move forward in your life? And sometimes, when you are fortunate enough to make the connections to unlock a missing piece: you are utterly overwhelmed by a profound sense of oneness with the larger universe as a whole ... with the source of energy that unites us all.




"Descent From Heaven"
@Copyrighted Photo, 2011.  All Rights Reserved: Isabelle Black Smith.
(other cemetery photos on my flickr site)




I don't know how anyone can ever find the time to be bored?!  There is just way too much to see, do and experience on our quest to unlock the mysteries of this journey we call life.  ... I am deliriously tired now, I should try to unwind and sleep for at least a few hours.  In the arms of my angel, perhaps I will find some peaceful sleep this night?


12/12/2011 ... While driving today it occurred to me that I'm always saying "Peace & Love" to everyone.  To me, those are the things that make you happy ... help you survive in life.  So I want to wish those blessings for others in their own lives as well.  "Peace & Love" is just my shortened way of wishing the latter for others ... or so I thought?  But there might just be a bit more to this saying of mine ... Starting with my fascination with photographing cemeteries in the spring of 2010 (which my family was thought was really odd and creepy) a friend of mine pointed out that a big part of me wanted to "rest in peace" ... not to die, but to find peace for a painful part ... parts ... of my life.  Well photographing cemeteries is where I happened to come across this enchanting statue in the photograph above.  There is something about this statue that just speaks to me ... I keep coming back to her again and again.  And today, for some reason ... tired as I was ... it just clicked that what this statue means to me and what I was searching so desperately in my own life was "Peace in Love." It's not Peace and Love as separate entities ... it's that the way to find peace is through Love.  All of these ideas finally began to come together when I wrote my poem (in the subsequent post), "Love Is".  Well, I just needed to document this revelation for myself somewhere.  Maybe it will make sense to those who read here ... maybe it won't?  As I always say:  the universe (God our Creator) works in mysterious ways.


In Sum ...   "Peace & Love" <==> "Peace in Love"  ... So now when I say this to you, you will understand and more fully comprehend my blessing and sincerest wish for you in your life, this day and all of the days to follow.  

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Sunset Photography ....

Some amazing, truly breathtaking sunsets here, in the Pacific Northwest, these past few days.  Heaven's sweetest kiss upon the Earth before she sleeps ... Well, even if "words" elude me these days, the images are still coming.  When those begin to fade, I suppose that I shall heed the wisdom of the talented Ansel Adams:




“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” ~Ansel Adams








"Sunset on My Garden" (low res.)
@Copyrighted Photograph, 2011.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.






A friend of mine says that God's wisdom flows more clearly in the silence ... Such a beautiful notion.



Peace & Love,
~M
.



12/6/2011 ... I am praying especially for the people of Syria right now.  Praying is a good way to fill the silence.  May God Bless them and bring an end to the brutality of the current ruling regime in Syria.  And may the rest of the world find the courage to speak up and voice their condemnation of this regime for needlessly slaughtering so many of its civilian population.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Must See Film Documentary for ALL Americans: A.S.A.P.!!!

A Must See Film Documentary for ALL Americans: A.S.A.P. ... Preferably before the upcoming Republican Presidential Primary Elections and most certainly before the Presidential Election in November 2012.

[Note: As usual, this is written in the wee hours of the morning ... It's now almost 4:00 a.m. my time and I have yet to sleep.  I will read over and proof this tomorrow.  Thanks for your understanding and patience in the meantime, but I felt the need to put this information out as soon as possible.  I just finished watching this film myself (via STARZ on Demand). I strongly urge you to:  PLEASE, WATCH THIS FILM AND SPREAD THE WORD!!]

What is this must see film?  It is a movie written, produced and directed by Charles Ferguson (Sony Pictures) and narrated by Matt Daemon, titled "Inside Job".  This movie is a detailed analysis of the Economic Meltdown that hit in September 2008.   It names names, names congressional bills, shows documents, interviews key figures and clearly explains the banking practices, corruption and lack of regulation that led to the financial meltdown of the U.S.  Banking Industry in terms that average citizens can understand.  The primary message of this movie seems to be to inform and it lets the viewer draw their own conclusions.  Further, the movie is not an outright denunciation of a capitalistic system, in general, or of a particular political party which surprised me.  The belief that "Inside Job" would be biased --like the Michael Moore movies-- is perhaps why I have waited until now to watch it?  I believe this movie was initially released in March 2010.

"Inside Job" shows that those responsible for the financial collapse did not suffer the devastating financial losses themselves that were passed along to their unsuspecting shareholders and investment clients. In fact, in all most all instances these executives walked away from their jobs with substantial compensation packages that were funded by a $700 billion taxpayer bailout initially signed under President Bush.  And to this day banks are using taxpayer bailout money to continue this corrupt practice of "compensation."  Further few, if any, of these same executives have been subjected to criminal prosecution for their part in the financial crisis and corrupt banking practices that were allowed (encouraged) to occur on their watch with blatant disregard for their lesser shareholders and investment clients.  This failing to prosecute the latter executives is an enormous shortcoming of the current Obama administration in my humble opinion.

So how and why are the corrupt "compensation" practices being allowed to continue even after the financial meltdown and bailout of these large banks with taxpayer monies?  Well,  the Obama administration that ran its previous election campaign on a platform of "Change" and an end to "corruption in the financial industry" has done little, if anything, to enact needed change in the form of substantial, and meaningful, regulations in the financial sector.  The Obama administration has refused to address "compensation" for banking CEO's and top executives and, in point of fact, this administration has gone on to appoint many of these same former failed banking executives to government positions of influence within the current administration.  The Obama administration has done the latter, even when the financial oversight advisors of several European nations vowed in a 2009 (need to check this year, might have been 2010) G20 summit resolution to bring an end to the corrupt system compensation bonuses for banks' executives and employees under their country's jurisdiction.

The Obama administration has also refused to address reform in the standards rating agencies which rate investment risks for consumers.  Before the meltdown, these standards rating agencies (e.g., Standard and Poors, Fisk, and ____ ) fraudulently gave many of the risky CDO's being pushed by the big investment banks (and other investment groups) misleading AAA ratings.  This AAA rating of CDO's in turn led average investment consumers to believe they were investing their savings into reasonably safe ventures.  What really shocked me to learn is that there was (and still is) no regulation or safeguard in place to ensure that ratings handed down by these "rating agencies" are reasonably accurate and reliable!!?!!  How crazy is that???

Perhaps one of the most shocking moves by the Obama administration in the aftermath of the financial meltdown was the reappointment of Ben Bernanke as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.  Bernanke was the man who was in a prime position to see the writing on the wall before the economic meltdown occurred ... the man who saw the warning signs* and simply looked the other way, when he had the power to act ahead of time a potentially avert the crisis or at the very least act to lessen its far reaching effects.

The "Inside Job" film goes on to address the ripple effect the failure of several of the largest U.S. financial institutions has had on average Americans and the global economic repercussions as well.  Be warned, this is a LONG film (108 minutes), with a lot of facts.  For the latter reason, this film may be best viewed in multiple sittings.  If you feel the need to bail on the entire film (e.g., skip out in the middle) at least skip to the end and watch the last 15 minutes.  Here you will see that the invasion of the "financial powers that be" is so pervasive that our academic institutions (e.g., Columbia, Harvard, and Stanford Schools of Business) have now even been "corrupted", with professors receiving large sums of money for "consulting fees" by many of the large banks responsible for the financial crisis in the first place.  And it is these academics who are often called upon by our government to give advice on financial matters affecting the nation at large.

[*2004 FBI Begins Investigating several cases of fraud allegations against the large financial institutions pushing "crappy" CDO's and Commodities Swaps (insurance against failed CDO's); 2005 IMF Chief Economic Advisor, Rajan, Report outlining dangers of a potential economic meltdown of possible global proportions; 2007 investigative reports by Sloan, Editor in Chief for "Financial Times", and other leading economists warnings of impending danger of financial collapse.]

Well, I am still trying to process all of the information presented in this film myself, but let me say that this film is well documented and a REAL eye opener.  It truly makes me see that this election is a chance for an informed American citizenry to elect a fearless president who is NOT a life-long Washington insider.  Someone with a consistent political record on the important issues.  Someone who is well informed, articulate and has the fortitude and courage to take on Wall Street in order to enact the much needed financial system reforms and consumer protection safeguards.  Second to getting our "economic house" (i.e., financial system reform, jobs and growing the economy) in order seems to be the growing threat of a nuclear Middle East (first Pakistan and now Iran), as recent media coverage will verify. We will also need a president who is extremely knowledgeable in foreign policy matters, with a clear vision for dealing firmly the threat of a nuclear Iran.  We need someone for president who IS proud to be an American and is not afraid to lead.

For more information on the "Inside Job" film,  please visit:   InsideJobFilm.com

These days, being an informed U.S. Citizen is a heck of a lot harder than it used to be in days past ... but the information is out there; it's up you to find it and process it.  The future of our country and legacy that we will leave to our children and our childrens' children depends on us.  Let's not let them down!





Movie Trailer: "Inside Job" on YouTube

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Gentle Art of Blessing ...

A friend of mine, Garlan, from my ART group (on FB) posted this video today.  It was so beautiful, moving and inspiring that I just had to share it here with you.





YouTube Video:  "The Gentle Art of Blessing"



This is most certainly the philosophy that I try to live by in my own life.  The message in this video ties in nicely with the notion of a "Noosphere" as well ... the notion that we all ... all things ... are intricately connected with one another.  Kind of puts the little things (e.g., lousy economy, unemployment, materialism and greed) into perspective, does it not?

Peace, Love and Abundant Blessings to all who pass this way.

~M



12/2/2011 ... These days, I find the less I "need" ... the happier I am.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Synchronicity ...

Synchronicity ... a fabulous word, is it not?  I wonder does life run noticeably smoother when all your pieces flow synchronously in harmony? ...   How easy it seems for life events, misplaced priorities, etc. to give a jolt to that harmonious flow, resulting in the asynchronous movements of your pieces ... So you just go with the new flow, though the ride may be a bit bumpier.  And you keep hope that this asynchronous detour will be temporary ... that harmony will soon be restored. You can learn and grow from your detours, right?












"Driftwood Pause"

@Copyrighted Photo, 2011.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.




"Be the waves that shape the world around you towards a greater end."  ~Isabelle Black Smith






"Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music."
~Angela Monet

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Day of Thankfulness ...

This world can use a day dedicated to Thankfulness ...





Thanksgiving ...

A moment's pause from chaos that is this daily life.
Today, a day of rest from outward, worldly strife.
Come together with special people on our journey.
Joined hands, bowed heads, and open hearts unite.
Conscious of  thankfulness for blessings in our lives.


@2011 Isabelle Black Smith.  All Rights Reserved.








My youngest informs me this evening ... "You know, Mommy, the first Thanksgiving was called the 'Harvest Feast' and they didn't eat turkey either; they ate eel, fish and venison." ... So I ask her if we should give up our turkey and have fish or eel instead. Her reply, "Uhhh, I don't think so!" ; )

Here's wishing you and yours a restful and truly blessed Thanksgiving.  Peace & Much LOVE to all!


Love,
~M

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Is Time Meaningless?

Someone in my writing group (ART group) wrote a poem titled "Lost in Time" in which he asks ... "Is time meaningless?"  Well, that's just one line from the poem, but this line really struck a chord in me and set my mind to wondering.  Then a friend wrote a very insightful and very eloquent reply to the effect that time is only relevant as a path for evolution of the soul.  Suddenly the pieces of my pondering fell into place ... and I knew the answer to the question:


Q:  Is time meaningless?"


A:  Time is relevant and meaningful to the synchronicity of souls.





"Group Soul", Baron Arlid Rosenkrantz
(Image Courtesy of ArtMagick.com)


Now that I have my answer, perhaps I can sleep?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Channeling Autumn ...

I was sick last week.  I still am ... Think this is the flu and its after effects, but it's all a state of mind, right?  Anyhow, I couldn't take feeling crappy and constrained any longer so I took my daughter and we snuck out to the beach to photograph what I had a feeling would be the last of Autumn.  It was a gorgeous day ... good for the body (even a sick one), mind and soul to be outdoors.  I took some amazing photographs that day ... I still haven't gotten through them all, but here is one of my favorites.  It is my daughter skipping down the tunnel bridge straddling the railroad tracks ... EJ and me call this one "Channeling Autumn."  It was a good escape ... Good to "play hookie" from life and responsibility from time to time, I think.  Do you agree?




"Channeling Autumn"  (low res.)
@Copyrighted Photograph, 2011.  All Rights Reserved: Isa Black Smith.



When was the last time you unleashed your inner child?



.

BE The Change you want to see in the world ...

I am loving all this activity in political arena lately.  It has been a healthy distraction for me . 'They' say never talk religion and politics, but those are often the most interesting subjects, I think.  The key to being able to converse on the subjects of religion and politics is to keep an open mind and to be willing to listen to the points of view of others from the perspective of an honest interest in becoming more enlightened,broadening your mind and horizons so to speak.  I often try to put myself into the place of others in an effort to see where they are coming from.  And sometimes, let's face it:  you just have to agree to disagree.  Our differences are part of what makes this world so dynamic, varied and wonderful.   You can disagree with someone and still strive to find a common ground of mutual respect for one another' it takes a bit of effort, but it can be done. 

Mutual respect seems to something that is sorely lacking as the "Occupy Wall Street" movement has evolved.  When you lose sight of mutual respect all you are left with is a nebulous cloud of chaos and discord at best, and in a worse case scenario you are left with violence and destruction which serves no good end.  Once you start down the road to violence and destruction, you move the objective beyond free speech into revolution and potential anarchy.  I have to wonder if this where the "Occupy" movement truly wants to go and if so, to what end?

I suspect that those who are calling for violence and destruction on Wall Street today do not speak for the majority, but right now they seem to be the ones speaking the loudest.  Unfortunately, horrible things have been done in the name of group dynamics ... "group think" ... You don't have to look back far into current events around the world or history at large to find them.  So I urge you in the silent majority of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement to speak up, be heard ... be the lone voice of reason if necessary.  One voice of reason can make all the difference; sometimes, it just takes the courage of one man ... one woman, one child ... to speak up and lead, instead of merely continuing to be led.




"Moonlight Reflection"
@Copyrighted Photograph, 2011.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.





Well, today is still early morning ... late night.  So let us pause in the silence of the tranquil night, reflect, regroup and act towards a greater end.  Say "NO" to violence and destruction, and help the "Occupy" movement regain some of its credibility and direction.




"You must be the change you wish to see in the world"  ~Mahatma Gandhi 





You know, I have to wonder if perhaps a lot of what is driving the "Occupy Wall Street" movement stems from a lack of leadership at the presidential level.  It's hard to keep your morale up when you can't find work, you've got mounting personal and national debt weighing on you, your future and your children's future look bleak, our nation is no longer respected in the world as we once were and our own commander in chief is treating us as if we, the American people, are to blame for the current state of affairs in our nation ... stating that "Americans have gotten soft" ... "American have gotten lazy."   Now, more than ever, I think we need a strong leader with a clear vision for the future of America and an unwavering pride in our nation.  Perhaps the Republican field of candidates would do well to adopt "Pride in America" as campaign strategy?  It might just give them the edge that they need to surge ahead in the polls .... Just a thought.


12/7/2011 ... A friend of mine posted this in my ART group early this morning.  I Think that it fits nicely with my last thoughts on pride in America ... Pride in anyone's homeland.


"Breathes There The Man"


By, Sir Walter Scott


Breathes there the man with soul so dead
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turned
From wandering on a foreign strand?
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no minstrel raptures swell;
High though his titles, proud his name,
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

CBS News Media Bias Revealed via internal e-mail ...

 My three daughters watched the last Republican Debate, on Foreign Policy, with me the other night. It was rather interesting to hear their comments as the various candidates spoke in turn. I was most impressed with my eldest's command of the issues and she's just 13. All three girls noted (all on their own) that Michelle Bachmann did not seem to be getting many questions at all. Then, I happened to come across this story that backs up what my children observed:  "Michele Bachmann accuses CBS News of bias"

I think the authors of the above story were being diplomatic in their titling of the piece.  In my humble opinion, the evidence clearly shows bias on the part of CBS ...and by their own hand no less.  Now the reason for this bias is another matter entirely.  Was the bias merely due to the fact that Michelle Bachmann was a woman running in a field of men ... the old "glass ceiling"... or was the bias due to the fact that perhaps a segment of the liberal left sees Bachmann as a very real threat to the re-election of Obama?  It is interesting to me how history does indeed repeat itself  ...( i.e., the 18th and 19th Ammendments to the constitution) and now Obama becomes president before a woman does.  Is it finally time for a competent woman to become President of the United States?  I have to wonder, as do my daughters.  My oldest used to say she wanted to become President of the United States when she grew up, but as she grows older she seems to be increasingly turned off by the accpeted political practices in our country.  I guess, I can't blame her?









I find Michelle Bachmann to be a very intelligent, articulate individual with a rather impressive command of the issues facing our nation. She is also one of the few candidates with business, government and foreign policy experience ... the "trifecta" so to speak. Bachmann's position on the Senate Intelligence committee gave her the ability to rattle off detailed facts, dates and names with an impressive command to which no one ... save Newt Gingrich perhaps ... even came close to matching. I have to wonder now if CBS's now documented (by their own hand, via internal email) intent to minimize questions to Bachmann was intended to keep her trailing in the polls by not allowing her to shine in an area where she surely excels and could have really wowed potential voters? ... Just goes to show that you can't sit back and rely on this biased media to give you the full picture: They have an agenda of their own and it isn't just to inform any longer as it once was in days long since gone by.





"C" Seems to be an empty field right now?





I believe this election primary for Republicans is about two things: 1) Finding a candidate who can beat Obama and 2) Electing the president who is best for the country and can get us OUT of this sinking ship that we are now in. The problem is, I'm not yet sure that there is candidate who meets both criteria. I think that there are two candidates who could fill the bill for criteria #2 (B), but I'm not certain that these candidates would not be able to pull off #1 (A). And I happen to think that the one candidate who is capable of beating Obama will not necessarily be the best president for the country.  Thus far, I don't see any candidate falling into the overlap of (C).  

I would venture to say that voters and the media have underestimated Michelle Bachmann.  Let us hope, however, that voters do not make the mistake of underestimating Barack Obama and his powerful, extremely well funded PR machine.  Four more years of Obama may not be what this country needs, but that doesn't mean that easily swayed, emotional and uninformed voters (wanting "more") can't make his re-election a reality.

... A side thought:  My eldest thinks that perhaps Obama should put his $60++ million of funds raised for his relection campaign toward a better use by donating the money to the U.S. Treasury in an effort to pay help off the National Debt which has skyrocketed during his 3+ years in office. 

Well, you can't say that we don't live in interesting times, can you?