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.


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!


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

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?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Praying for a friend who is undergoing a life changing surgery today ...

A dear friend of mine is undergoing surgery today for breast cancer today. She is such a strong and loving soul. So many depend on her and now she must depend on those that she loves. I can't even begin to fully imagine all that she must going through, but I have faith that she will find the peace and strength that she needs in God. We've never met in person, but I consider her and her husband dear friends nonetheless.  I feel so helpless sometimes wanting to be able to do more for them, but I know that I can do one very important thing and that is to storm heaven with prayers and good intentions for them.

@Copyrighted Photograph, 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

My Grandmother who passed away just a little over a year ago gave me her rosary a few years ago. She knew that of all of the grandchildren that I would be the one to carry on her tradition of prayer ... like her and her mother before her. This rosary, now my rosary, used to belong to my grandmother's mother (my great grandmother) before her. So we are now three generations in prayer and many petitions have been sent to heaven by way of these simple beads and imperfect hands. I do firmly believe in the power of prayer ... of sending my thoughts and energy, by way of the grace and power of a Creator unto another ... The power I know comes from God, not from the beads. The rosary beads are merely a tool I use to focus my mind and spirit more fully in prayer. I'd also like to think that perhaps my grandmother and my great-grandmother join me in prayer for the needs of others when I pray using their rosary and perhaps their sisters (also in heaven) join us in prayer as well.

I just finished saying my rosary for you, Beth.  May God Bless you and hold you in His loving arms as you undergo this life-saving ... life-changing ... surgery. You and your husband will be in my ongoing thoughts and prayers for strength and peace. God Bless you both and ALL women, everywhere, who must take up this cross.

Love & Ongoing Prayers,


11_17_2011 ... My photography friend posted this as his status update on Monday evening after the surgery.  I wanted to check with him before sharing his words here with you.  His wife, Beth, is such an incredible woman and an inspiration to others.  I am so happy that she came through the surgery wonderfully and that she still has her beautiful strength of spirit and Love going strong. 

Here's what my friend had to say ... "I swear to God the almighty, I am sitting here with tears of JOY. Beth is fine!!! Honestly I am crying and can barely type. I can't even begin to explain the feelings I am having now. I've been strong all day and been going on 4 hours sleep. I just got home from the hospital and as I was leaving, Beth was teaching... a student nurse how to do something. This woman is the most incredible person I have ever met. We want to thank God for everything He has given us and that includes all of you wonderful people. I have never in my life felt so much love from so many. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. We love you all. Peace, Love and may God bless you."

Will be keeping both you and Beth in my ongoing prayers, Rick.  God Bless!!

12/2011  I have another dear friend on FB who also underwent surgery for breast cancer a few months back.  Her positive outlook and energy are truly inspiring!!  Sheila has also been in my ongoing thoughts and prayers and I have said rosaries for her as well.  God Bless you, Sheila.  Peace & Ongoing LOVE and Strength to you, my dear friend.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Flag of Poems ...

God Bless our country's Veterans and their families this Veterans Day 2011.  The gift of service that you give our country is truly invaluable and we as a free nation are ever grateful for your service.

"Flag of Poems", By 5th Grade

My husband, who is a Veteran, and I had the privilege of attending a Veterans Day Assembly at our daughter's school.  Students presented "the Colors", led the assembly (narrated), sang songs, read essays and presented Veteran's from the community each with a red carnation after their individual introductions.  Many students were proudly wearing their red, white & blue, while other students who were members of scouting troops proudly wore their uniforms.  All students were actively participating in the assembly.  Students who had Veteran family members in attendance were just beaming from ear to ear and  all of the students were not only proud of our Veteran's, but you could just tell that they were proud to be Americans.

I have to say that this Veteran's Day Ceremony was truly moving for me.  It brought tears to my eyes to see our children show such pride in our country.    At a time when this country seems to be struggling so much it was refreshing to see young children so proud to be Americans and thankful for those who have served to defend our nation.  There should be more opportunities ... like our school's Veteran's Day ceremony ... for our nation's children to express their patriotism.  I have only the highest praise for the student's of xxxxxxxxxxx Elementary and their wonderul principal, teachers and staff.  This school is definitely helping to raise the leaders of the next generation. 

My daughter took the above photo of the "Flag of Poems" for me.  This flag was assembled by the 5th grade classes who have just recently begun studying the Constituion of the United States of America.  The students each wrote a poem about what 'freedom' means to them, then all the poems were assembled together to make this wonderful USA flag.

I hope that you and yours found some way to celebrate this special day and show your thanks and appreciation for those who serve our country.  I also hope that our appreciation for our Veterans is ongoing in our daily thoughts, words and actions.  God Bless the USA!!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day ...

I got sunshine on a cloudy day ...

"Painted Daisy"
@Copyrighted Photograph, 2011.  All Rights Reserved.

...Very helpful on a dark, dreary, drizzly Monday.  At least the clock's hand went forward this weekend and not backwards, right?  Gotta focus on the upside  : )  Or as I always say,  "Change your perspective: change your life."  ~Me

 "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy." ~Martin Luther King Jr.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Shades of Blue ...

Took some close-up photos of a beautiful bunch of vivid yellow Gerber Daisies I received a few days back.  These flowers were truly beautiful!  They had long, long, thick stems and layers upon layers of detailed textured petals, with a fuzzy neon-green velvety center.  They reminded me a bit of the sun shining in all of its splendor.  My photographs turned out okay, but yellow has always been my nemesis to photograph for some reason? Thus, I am already predisposed to NOT being thrilled with the outcome when it comes to photographing "yellow."

Still, I guess, the shots of this bunch of cheerful flowers turned out 'okay' ...That being said, the artist in me had to do more.  So I did some painting on the original yellow flowers and this is what I came up with.  I was in a really 'BLUE' mood today.  You think that came through in my work? ; )

"Shades of BLUE ..."  (low res.)
@Copyrighted Photograph, 2011.  All Rights Reserved:  Isabelle Black Smith.

I've always believed that you listen to the music that suits your mood ... With that in mind, here's a classic song for 'blue' from the poetic Don McLean:  (song link disabled).  Song: American Pie "The lovers cried and the poets dreamed, but not a word was spoken.  The church bells all were broken ... The day the music died."  Love Don McLean. I rode with him in a limo, once, back in college (long story). He is a truly gifted soul.

Have a great weekend : ) 

Peace & Love ♥

P.S.  Have since discovered a really fabulous analysis of this famous song by Don McLean.  The author claims McLean seems to be remaining silent as to the actual meanings, leaving interpretation of this iconic song open to his fans.  From what I came to know of McLean, that sounds about right.  He wasn't much of a talker.  He seemed happiest when he had a guitar in his hands, finding his words through his music.  ... Well have a look at this ongoing analysis and judge for yourself as to the legitimacy of the interpretations offered.  Some fascinating back-story and history there:   The Annotated "American Pie".

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Nobody wins in the Blame Game ...

"Bob Rumsfeld isn't concerned with solving our country's problems. Bob Rumsfeld is only capable of telling you what's wrong with this country and who's to blame for it." ~Movie "The American President"

Funny how movies often mirror real life? Well, it's been a long while since I spoke about politics here, but the time has come for me to speak once again. The blantent mainstream media liberal bias aside, I am happy that poliitical apathy in this country has finally managed to wrestle itself off the proverbial 'couch' and is presently attempting to exercise its muscle in the name of Free Speech and the "Occupy Wall Street" movement. I am, however, concerned with a lack of unified vision being displayed by this movement. I am also concerned that this movement bears many markers for having been unleashed (and presently fueled) to benefit the current administration's political end (i.e., re-election in 2012). After hours of television and other media coverage, I find myself asking: What SPECIFICALLY is it that the occupy protesters want, besides MORE?

Protesters at Idaho State Capitol

That lemonade stand commercial comes to mind here ... You know the one where two brothers set up a lemonade stand on the far side of a neighborhood street ... Let's call them "Brother's Lemonde" (if you've seen the comercial ... skip on down to the end of this paragraph). The brothers don't put a lot of effort into making, marketing, maintaining or selling their product. Basically they squeeze sour lemons into questionable water, without sugar or ice. Then when customers come to their stand to buy a glass of lemonade, the brothers take their sweet time in serving them, choosing to complete their handheld video games before attending to customers. When the brothers finally take their feet off the lemonade table, lingering over the lemonade cups, to serve the waiting customers they overcharge for their sorry product. Needless to say, the well manicured, recipe-tested, iced lemonde stand on the near side of the street ... Let's call this stand "Mikey's Lemonde", the one that distributed carefully hand colored leaflets throughout town ... winds up doing a much better business. So at the end of the day, "Mikey's Lemonade" has a huge pile of cash sitting proudly upon his table. Mikey's money was earned through hard work, a well thought out and diligently pursued plan. While the "Brother's Lemonade" understandably has only a few measly bills and some loose change sitting upon their table. The brothers sit staring across the street at "Mikey's Lemonade" cash intake in bewildered wonderment and dismay. Not to fear though: Mikey's dad returns from a long days work and is quick to remedy 'the situation'. Dad congratulates Mikey on a job well done, then Dad takes the better half of the cash piled upon Mikey's table and gives it to the brothers on the far side of the street. The brothers are overjoyed ... they got their 'more' ... while Mikey is left bewildered. Hopefully, you see the blatent irony in this tale? Dare I say injustice? ... Not to mention a lousy model for doing business in any economy, especially a rapidly sinking one.  In the United States of America, we are guaranteed a right to pursue "Life, Liberty and Happiness" ... The operative word being 'pursuit', meaning that we have to actively make a concerted effort to obtain the 'American Dream.'  We should not expect to just hold out our hands and have government hand the dream directly to us.

America is swaying precariously in a rapidly sinking boat and nearly four years of "simply spending Big Government's 'MORE' " hasn't done anything to patch the holes in our boat. In fact, Big Government's spending has made a bad situation far worse, resulting in the USA's international credit rating being downgraded from its AAA rating (for the FIRST TIME EVER in the history of this country!!) to a AA rating. This new AA credit rating makes it harder for the USA to borrow additional money in the future. It also makes the interest that we pay on borrowed money ome at a higher rate (so it costs us/the USA more to borrow money). But the bad news doesn't end there: a further credit downgrade may lie in our country's future if we continue the radical spending trend of the current administration. Stop for a moment and take a concrete assessment of the facts: Four years of government spending hasn't created new and lasting jobs. It hasn't gotten our economy's stagnent wheels rolling once again. So when do we stop the madness and stop throwing good money after bad? Reality dictates that it is now time for government, and its citizens, to tighten their belts and stop asking for more! America needs to go on a serious fiscal diet and to do this we need a radical new plan.

With the above in mind, it seems to me that the "Occupy Wall Street" movement would do best to:

1) Refocus their efforts behind an organized, well defined banner with specific objectives, means and ends.

2) Clean up their act and put the "civil" back into "civil discourse." ( I mean, is having sex in public, urinating on businesses, vehicles, and public streets, anti-semetic slurs, and other violence really necessary and conduscive to the movement ?)

3) Question the sources from which funding and disent arise in order to ensure that the movement isn't being disguised and used to suit an ulterior political end (e.g., four more years of the Obama Administration's vision of "Change").

4) Realize that the wisdom of our Founding Father's still applies even in today's modern technological age: "United we stand, divided we fall." ~Patrick Henry

There is indeed an inherent strength and power in a united country, hence our country's name "United States of America."

The most coherent voice of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement seems to want the "Big Banks" to end the corruption that led to the government's having to bail out many of these same banks when the housing market collapsed late in 2008. Do these same protesters not realize that it was government's insistence that these banks loan money to unqualified buyers (beginning with the Clinton Administration) that ultimately led to the housing market's collapse, the subsequent ripple of spiraling negative economic effects, and the need for government to bail out the banks in the first place?  Still, this part of the "occupy" movement at least has focus and a legitimate beef with Banks who have accepted government bailout money.  The latter Banks should NOT be handing out large bonuses to executives and other employees until the government bailout funds have been repaid in full.  And there are most certainly legal reforms that could (and probably should) be enacted in order to prevent some of the shady practices these banks have concocted in their market dealings that would protect the smaller investor from these market abuses (e.g., sub-prime derivatives?) in the future.

I say let's stop focusing on "who's to blame. " No one wins in that scenario. It doesn't have to be "them against us." Big, over-extended, mismanaged (e.g., Banking and Solyndra Energy related scandels) government is to blame and, thankfully, here in America we have a constitutionally ensured process known as "presidential  and congressional elections" to address these wrongs. So let us, "We The People", work together to find and embrace our common ground.  Let us work together to make the hard choices and sacrifices we need to make in order for our nation to rise to its former state of greatness, via fiscal responsibility, once again. Let us put an end to this maddening mantra of "We want more!" We've already borrowed against our children's and their children's futures: there's nothing left to borrow!?! There is nothing 'more' to give. We're over-extended and sinking fast. Now is the time to still the crowd's choatic brawl and listen instead to the quiet voice of reason. Be no longer led: Be instead informed. Act decisively, with united coherent voice, and demand a new, fiscally solvent plan. Find a presidential candidate that supports what you believe in and SUPPORT THEM with your waving signs and banners. Then cast an informed vote in November of 2012 towards a better end.

God Bless the USA!!

Best to you and yours,

(And once again, I find myself tired ... writing late at night.  I'll revisit and revise after some sleep.)

P.S.  11/13/2011 A friend of mine posted this quote in one of my writing groups today.  I think it applies nicely to the "occupy" movement.   Wisdom from a very wise soul ... My friend writes this entry to Ghandi's quote:

"Occupy Yourself

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