Lift Up Your Hearts

Art of Maya Angelou by Bruni Sablan

Art of Maya Angelou by Bruni Sablan

“Living well is an art that can be developed: a love of life and ability to take great pleasure from small offerings and assurance that the world owes you nothing and that every gift is exactly that, a gift.” ~Maya Angelou
Born: April 4, 1928 (St. Louis, Missouri) 
Died: May 28, 2014 (Winston-Salem, North Carolina)
Her powerful, loving spirit will live on eternally in our hearts.

On The Pulse of Morning
A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.
You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the Stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

photo by Riyedh Al Ahmed

photo by Riyedh Al Ahmed

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The Privileged, the Homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers- desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot…
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours – your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

~by Maya Angelou, read by the author at the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony, Jan. 20, 1993

 

With more love and respect and admiration than I can put into words… Maya Angelou was a true mentor and role model who taught such wisdom through her words and actions. She will continue to live on in our hearts, forever. Namaste. Gina

Go Outside

Art by Georgeta Blanaru

Art by Georgeta Blanaru

Living with long winters that dominate for half the year only makes the joys of springtime all the more blissful. May we all see the lessons and wisdom offered to us through Nature. She teaches us so much, and especially patience as the blooming will only happen in due time and not a moment sooner.

May you enjoy this late April, and may we all enjoy this April 22nd day to honour our Mother, the Earth. Happy Earth Day! May we all make time to be outside, and find a true connection. Namaste. 

Here’s a different Pinterest page I’ve created with incredible nature photography. It helps nourish my soul between real-life walks in wild places. May you enjoy!

Easy Easter Decor Ideas

I’m having the whole family over for a big dinner on Sunday evening and I’m so excited! To encourage those who are having people over this weekend, here’s some lovely decor ideas from creative people everywhere. It can be something quick and easy to show your Easter spirit.

In this second gallery, my photos are not the highest quality but they show a couple of simple ideas that can really add to the charm and festive feeling of your space. As you can see, the colourful chocolate eggs my husband picked up at Costco look delightful in a white vintage bowl. A simple banner across our hutch reminds of the reason for the season. A silk bouquet that lives atop a bookcase in the den has been brought out to the small sideboard in the dining area with a couple more of those chocolate eggs displayed in egg cups, along with a rabbit and a tiny nest. And the Easter banner along the back of the kitchen island is seen immediately when entering our home to welcome all to our Easter event. May you and yours have a blessed weekend.

The ‘HE IS RISEN’ banner is a free printable from Paula at AtoZebraCelebrations.com. Also here are my banner letters which I printed off on photo-quality paper, hole-punched and hung across the back of the kitchen island. Now this is my idea of quick decor! May you enjoy my free printable. Happy Easter!

Vintage Easter Greetings

Time has been flying around here as I am happily hosting our extended family Easter Dinner! Very exciting and yet little time for sharing all I’ve been up to, so today I want to share these delightful vintage greetings to bring a smile and a warm sense of nostalgia to your Easter weekend. Enjoy!

For a large collection of vintage Easter images, visit this wonderful Pinterest board:
http://www.pinterest.com/2scrapquilter3/easter/

Quick and Easy Crafts for Easter

When enjoying a gathering of friends and family for Easter, it’s nice to be able to offer the younger guests a craft to do. Here’s a few images of easy ideas with craft materials you might already have around. May we all have a delightful Easter weekend. Be well. Have fun. Enjoy!

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[Images from Google and Pinterest]

My Blind and Priceless Dog

Art by Jo Lynch

Art by Jo Lynch

This is my salute to my delightful rescued dog “Nikki”. She was rescued from an abusive and neglectful situation at about two years of age, from near-starvation and with 16 puppies! The rescue group believes she took on an additional litter from another mother dog who abandoned her pups, or perhaps been killed. Regardless, all the pups and her were in awful shape. Sadly not all of the pups could be saved. But she, and most of the pups, made it! After being nursed back to health, immunized, spayed, and fostered to help her learn to trust humans, she was put up for adoption. That’s when I saw her on the website.

A kind eyed, middle-sized dog with gentleness towards cats (aka acquiescence), she stole my heart right away. I’d been preparing for adoption and had been reading dog books, particularly ‘How To Be Your Dog’s Best Friend’ by the Monks of New Skete, and my favorite book ‘The Loved Dog’ by Tamar Gellar. I also bought a couple by Cesar Milan, and one by Dr. Stanley Coren. All kinds of advice and tips for helping create a wonderful relationship with your dog but I already had the most important component of what is really needed: a big heart with lots of room for a canine companion for life.

Fast forward a few years, and now the one-year mark since Nikki went blind within a few days from S.A.R.D.S. is quickly approaching. That old cliché which teaches us time heals really has merit. My heart is light and happy again, although last summer, fall, and even through much of this past winter, my grieving continued.

Lately though I feel like I’ve at last caught up with her great attitude. She adjusted quickly to this sudden change. It was my own heart that felt broken over how life had to change. No more laughs and visits with other dog-people and their ‘kids’ at the off leash dog-parks because she’d become rather ferocious in her fear of not being able to ‘read’ other dogs. No more games of hard-running, far-flung fetch with the plastic chucker. And our walks in the neighborhood had become less pleasant for me since there’d be no more admiring scenery on our walks. Now I had to constantly watch and protect her from colliding with fences, parked cars, tree trunks and lamp posts.

I had to process my grief over the loss of what was.

At last, nearly a year later, I feel like myself again. I adore life with this delightful dog! Those changes don’t matter any more. I’m used to being her ‘Seeing Eye Human’ on our walks. Plus she still goes off-leash to run beside me at our nearby (and mostly empty) dog park. She’s always at my feet, and is especially hopeful when I’m cooking. She negotiates the house and yards amazingly well. She enjoys the short-distance games of fetch in our backyard, chasing by sound and scent. She follows me room to room to monitor what I’m up to from one of her beds nearby. She’s hopelessly addicted to belly-rubs. Her barks of welcome often turn into a sort of howling song and makes us all laugh. Her listening skills have intensified and she knows who is putting their coat on, who is in what room, and which cat is walking where. Mind you the cats have learned to vocalize when she’s walking to avoid any direct hits!

Everything about her melts my heart. She’s incredibly clever, amusing, sweet, gentle, patient, loyal, and most of all she is an excellent role model for me, displaying how to gracefully accept ‘what is’. And her eyes are as kind as ever because they radiate her pure heart and her eyes don’t need to see in order to show that. I can’t help but wonder, who really rescued who?

Related reading at my other blog:
http://professionsforpeace.com/2013/06/13/acceptance/
Excerpt: “It’s often been said that we have much to learn from animals. Especially our pets, these beloved animals who have lived closely with us humans for long enough to have many things to teach us. My dog is teaching me acceptance right now.”

dont shop ADOPTThis post by Animal Couriers helped inspire me to finish this article! With gratitude to them and all the important work they do helping animals:
http://animalcouriers.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/another-greek-odyssey-begins-for-animalcouriers

If you love animals you might enjoy this Pinterest board of mine:
https://www.pinterest.com/GinasGardens/pets-for-life/

 

Copyright © 2014 Gina ~ People Excited About Co~Existence

Magnificent Moss

Art by Veikko Suikkanen

Art by Veikko Suikkanen

Today I’m sharing a topic I’ve been busy studying: Moss! I’ve been learning all I can about how to add moss to my garden, especially where it wants to grow in the deep shade from our spruce trees.

First, here’s today’s work of art, by Veikki Suikkanen from Finland. Click to visit his gallery on FineArtAmerica. It was hard to pick only one of his delightful mossy forest paintings but this won out. It’s called ‘Spirit of the Forest’. As always, click any image to see its source.

A program I happily reserve space to keep on my DVR is the PBS program Growing A Greener World and I’ve been really enjoying an older episode on moss. They visit a favorite place of mine, Moss and Stone Gardens and interview co-owner and moss aficionado extraordinaire David Spade.

While I haven’t travelled to Raleigh, NC to visit them in person yet, their website is an amazing wealth of information about anything and everything you ever wondered about adding moss to your landscape. They answer questions and show how easy it is to bring this wonderful plant into our yards and give it a good home.

“What if I told you there was a plant that stayed green all year round and yet it survived on minimal amounts of water? You could use it like a lawn and yet you never need to mow it, mulch it, trim it, fertilize it or use pesticides or any chemicals for that matter. It’s the ultimate eco-friendly, low-maintenance plant, and it sounds too good to be true but it’s not, because it’s moss. And despite anything you’ve heard about it in the past, it’s all of those things and more.”

~Host Joe Lamp’l in the intro to episode #319 ‘Moss Gardens’ on Growing A Greener World.
They share some really interesting things about moss, and show us how we can incorporate it into almost any landscape, including sun. Click here to visit their website and watch the full episode.

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Slideshow images can be viewed on my other blog’s Pinterest page ‘Nature ~ beauty beyond words

True or False facts on moss by MossAndStoneGardens.com:

Moss prefers acidic or nutrient poor soils. True or False?
False – Most mosses are not particular about the pH or nutrients of the substrates on which they grow. It would be more accurate to understand that mosses thrive where there is little or no competition, which often occurs in acidic and poor, compacted soils, or for that matter, on stone.

Moss only grows in the shade. True or False?
False – Mosses have the greatest range of light exposure than any other land plant. This doesn’t mean that all mosses can tolerate sun, only certain species can. Mosses are found growing in all climates and exposures, from full blazing desert sun, to almost undetectable amounts of light found in caves. Mosses can also be found on all 7 continents.

Moss only grows on the north side of trees. True and False?
False - Moss does grow on the north side of trees, and it also grows on the south, east, and west sides of trees, as well. Moss may grow only on a north side of a tree if that’s the shadiest location as the sun tracks the sky. If there is something else providing shade (or moisture), the moss will grow in those places just as well.

Moss will invade my garden if I am growing moss on my property. True or False?
False - Moss spores are everywhere, even if there aren’t any mosses on your property. The spores travel on the wind to extreme distances, therefore proximity doesn’t mean density. Moss will grow anywhere the conditions are appropriate for successful germination and can develop into a mature plant.

Convert a moss-infested lawn into a moss lawn by letting nature take its course. True or False?
False - This is very unlikely to happen satisfactorily without intervention. In most regions, the conditions necessary for moss to dominate vascular plants isn’t adequate. For example, in rain forests or areas like the Pacific Northwest, moss can over grow the under brush of existing plants; the abundant moisture gives the moss enough growing potential that it can blanket everything. For other regions, something else needs to tip the scale in favor of the mosses, like abundant moisture, in this case I am referring to irrigation by man. To be more specific, one would have to water the moss lightly throughout the day in order to give it maximum growth potential, but not enough to give the existing plants (grasses, weeds) enough to sustain themselves.

Moss needs to be kept moist. True or False?
False - Despite this common impression, moss is actually one of the most drought tolerant plants. Also, there are a number of species that need regular periods of dryness to survive. Mosses need moisture to reproduce sexually, but not asexually. Water is needed for photosynthesis, but not for survival. Moist areas allow for faster growth, but isn’t necessary for existence. Acrocarps mosses tend to be more drought tolerant than Pleurocarps.

Spreading or spraying diluted yogurt, buttermilk, beer, or manure tea will promote moss to grow. True or False?
False  - The key here is not what substance will create moss in an area, but what allows moss to develop. The most important things to allow mosses to develop are moisture and lack of competition. Competition can be other plants, debris, or loose and irregular surfaces. Moisture is always needed to begin moss establishment. When mosses are beginning to colonize in an area, moisture is what allows the young mosses to perform photosynthesis, which in turn allows for growth. Leaf litter, pine straw, twigs, loose stones, and such, make it harder for moss to find a stable substrate on which to attach. Moss prefers to have direct contact with whatever it is spreading onto; therefore, a smooth substrate will allow the mosses easier contact. Mosses do not draw nutrients or sustenance from the substrates they are attached too; therefore, anything you apply to the substrate is not utilized by the moss since it does not have the root structure necessary to benefit from such applications.

Blending moss and buttermilk into a slurry is the best way to grow moss. True or False?
False - Although widely reported to work effectively, this technique is usually met with failure and a moldy mess. The best way to grow moss is by division of a colony or fragmentation, buttermilk is not needed.

Moss-and-stone-gardens-Yogi

David Spade aka Moss Yogi

Moss spores will add to my seasonal allergies. True or False?
False - Moss spores may be as common as mold spores or pollen at times, but they are generally non-allergenic. You can be allergic to anything, but the likelihood that moss or it’s spores will give you allergies, is extremely low.

If you walk on moss, it will die.  True or False?
False - Most mosses tolerate foot traffic, but it’s a question of how much foot traffic? As a non vascular system, mosses don’t need protection from being compressed. With some foot traffic, their cellulose remains flexible, allowing mosses to be compressed without the kind of damage that occurs when vascular plants are trod on. The key difference is that their flexible structure and small scale are susceptible to breaking, if stretched. As such, walking flat-footed is greatly tolerated, while running or shuffling isn’t.

Moss is a parasitic plant. True or False?
False - When moss grows on trees, wood, or shingles, moss does not feed on the material it attaches too. Mosses may keep substrates they are growing on damp for longer periods of time, and thus, this moisture retention is capable of deteriorating some non-living materials.

If you have moss growing on your property it means you also have molds. True or False?
False - The misconception that moss and molds are related isn’t true. Moss and molds are rarely found together, except when molds are attacking the moss as they might anything organic. With molds present, moss dies or decays, as does most anything else it attacks. If you have healthy moss, you do not have mold.

Spanish moss, Reindeer moss, club moss, sea moss, Irish moss and Scotch moss belong to the Phylum of Bryophyta. True or False?
False - Including moss in the common name, does not mean it’s a true moss. Spanish moss is an epiphyte, Reindeer moss is a lichen, club moss is a lycophyte, sea moss is an algae, Irish and Scotch mosses are vascular plants that look similar to mosses.

Growing moss is beneficial to my garden.  True or False?
True - Moss is a beneficial addition to the garden in many ways: it retains moisture content, similar to mulching, it is superior to mulches in that it is a living layer that processes nutrients and contributes organic material, it does not become compacted, and doesn’t need replacing annually, and it provides a healthy habitat for beneficial insects and promotes the evolutionary symbiosis of 
mycelium and plant roots.

Moss attracts ticks, fleas, and mosquitos. True or False?
False - Ticks prefer tall plants, where they can perch to better position themselves to catch a ride on their next meal. Fleas don’t dwell in moss, and mosquitos need plants to provide shelter from wind and sun. Mosses are too short and dense to support resting mosquitos.

And finally, I needed to know –

A rolling stone gathers no moss. True or False?
True - A rolling stone gathers no moss. If the stone is rolling, moss grows too slowly to get started on it and the friction of rolling would abrade or wear off any mosses that were on it.

There you have it! If you want to learn a truth about moss missed here, let us know! [source]

 

As you can see, along with a great sense of humor, these guys are highly educated masters of moss and are ready to help us all discover the joys of creating an eco-friendly moss landscape.
For additional photos and poetry inspired by moss, check out fellow blogger Bert’s post:
http://whoisbert.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/moss/
When visiting this post on the amazing beauty of moss, also check his Page ‘macros/nature’ to see more of his skillful captures of the tiniest places of this wonderful world of nature we live in.