Douglas Moorezart is an exceptionally generous artist and blogger and I’m so thrilled that he nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. As a relative newbie to WordPress, this is such a significant honor. Unlike Douglas, I’m a less than consistent blogger and have actually been “off” schedule for several months following hip replacement surgery. But I’ve no excuse now – so here goes. These are the steps I’m required to follow in accepting this award.
1. Thank and link the amazing person(s) who nominated you. So Douglas thank you, thank you. (Douglas can be found here!) http://moorezart.wordpress.com/
2. List the rules and display the award.This lengthy post does just that. :)
3. Share seven facts about yourself.
a. I’m 68 years old and only came back to poetry and art after a 30+ year hiatus
b. I’m brand new to both photography and digital painting – having taken up the first to add color to my poetry, and the second just in the past two years because I like the challenge of learning something new all the time.
c. I’m completely self-taught as an artist and have no formal art school training.
d. I have a passionate love for the sea and all things related though I do not live anywhere close to it.
e. My favorite painters are from the Dutch School – particularly Vermeer.
f. I’ve always been passionate about justice and have fought for it on many fronts my entire life. The subject of social justice was the core of my high school teaching career.
g. I paint to express what I think is beautiful or to confront personal challenges in a sometimes ugly world.
4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated. (This may be the hardest part for me as I am not sure that I follow 15 blogs religiously!)
1. Jo Ann Tomaselli – Visual & Verbal Reflections: Jo Ann makes me into a voyeur of sorts…perhaps that’s not the right word but I get to join her travels vicariously as she shares her amazing photography with all of us. A good friend…an amazing photographer! http://joanntomaselli.wordpress.com/
2. Outside the Nest – Bruce and Tracy Levinson – a couple of empty-nesters share their insights into how to recommit and re-invigorate a relationship just at a time that it might be in danger of losing the freshness that kept love alive for 20 years. Delightful stories, advice, travel tips, romantic challenges…an honest, forthright and at the same time humorous look at reinvesting in each other. http://www.outsidethenest.net/blog/
3. Christian Churches – though I do not focus a great many of my paintings on this particular subject, Geordie Gardner has created a series of Christian blogs that display the beautiful spiritual and religious artworks from artists around the world. I feel privileged to have been one of them. http://christian-artworks.blogspot.co.uk/
4. Watermelon Snaps – stories from the brilliantly talented writer, Lisa Jewell. Lisa has a way of making you remember, making you think and feel things about your own life you might not even have realized. Incredibly touching and relatable characters you will fall in love with and simply be drawn to return time and again. http://watermelonsnaps.blogspot.com/
5. Marc and Angel Hack Life – very practical tips for productive living. Inspiring writing and guidelines for living a happy and fulfilling life. http://www.marcandangel.com/
6. Brain Pickings – Maria Popova, author of this amazing blog, describes her blog this way…”The core ethos behind Brain Pickings is that creativity is a combinatorial force: it’s our ability to tap into our mental pool of resources — knowledge, insight, information, inspiration, and all the fragments populating our minds — that we’ve accumulated over the years just by being present and alive and awake to the world, and to combine them in extraordinary new ways. In order for us to truly create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these pieces and build new ideas.” It just might be the most thoughtful, intelligent, well-written blog out there. In essence, brain pickings is what it says – an opportunity to pick the brains of some of the most brilliant writers and thinkers of our times. http://www.brainpickings.org/
7. Holly Goes Lightly – by the amazingly gifted Australian Writer, Holly Ringland. I met her as a poet, short story writer and was completely enchanted instantly. Now finishing up an advanced degree on scholarship from Manchester University UK, Holly writes a journal style newsletter and phenomenal blog at http://www.hollyringland.com/
8. Positive Outlooks – short and sweet, generally designed as memes to post to Facebook, this blog is often the highlight of my day or the inspiration for my own deeper thoughts. We’ve all heard a lot about the benefits of positive thinking – this lovely blog will help you keep those in mind. http://positiveoutlooksblog.com/
9. Priya Ghose Photography – the exceptional photography of Priya Ghose who describes herself as “plantaholic, insect stalker, fish wrangler, golden hour appreciator, urban exploration adventurer and waterlily lover.” You will come to appreciate the natural world like never before. http://priyaghosephotography.wordpress.com/
10. Jordan Blackstone – Jordan has her fingers in many pies but periodically blogs for the Huffington Post about life and art in addition to maintaining her online presence on Facebook and her art gallery at Fine Art America and Crated.com. A talented digital artist and photographer, it’s hard to figure out how Jordan finds time for all she does! https://imaginethatjbphotography.wordpress.com
11. Sharon Cummings – saved one of the best for last. I don’t think I’ve missed very many of Sharon’s blogs since I started following her. Her abstract art pieces and unique Stoned Rock paintings have opened my eyes to totally different genres than my own. One of the most successful contemporary artists of my acquaintance, Sharon’s dedication to her craft and generous support of other artists sets her apart from all the “wannabes”. Visit her work on Fine Art America, Pinterest, Facebook and enjoy her wonderful insights on Abstract Art by Sharon Cummings at http://sharoncummings.wordpress.com/
Now – I warned you that I didn’t think I actually followed 15 blogs and it turns out that I don’t – or at least I can’t think of 5 more right off hand. Quite a number of blogs I follow are political in nature and this doesn’t seem the place for those but I’ll return to add four more in a later edit.
Now the fifth step for you to follow is to post your award – if you accept it – on your own blog – and follow me if you’re so inclined. Positively not necessary however…I still think each of you is just exceptional at what you do and am inspired each time I go to your blogs.
I’m not quite ready to come back to daily posts – perhaps next week. But I ran across this fabulous and uplifting song by the two youngest stars of the television series Nashville and couldn’t resist sharing it with you. Click on the word “post” to see the video and hear the song. Post by Maree de Marco. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Listening to these girls is a lovely way to start any day. Want to send a special thank you out to all of you who sent me get well wishes and prayers – it meant more than I can say!
“Modern medical advances have helped millions of people live longer, healthier lives.” Ike Skelton
I’m going to be off a few weeks – working at becoming the Bionic Woman, one hip at a time. (This will be my second and shoulder next). But the prospect of joint replacement surgery got me thinking about the incredible time we live in in terms of medical advances. I’m old enough to remember the very first heart transplant ever, to have had to reschedule my wedding because a beloved member of our wedding party had found a donor and was going to have a kidney transplant – a rare and tricky procedure then that is commonplace today. I remember discussing the prognosis for our friend and hearing the word that the expectation was that the transplant – if it worked at all – would give our friend five more years of life. He is, thank God, still very much alive and that was 45 years ago.
I remember too, a time when there was no such thing as joint replacement – if your knees went bad or your hips gave out, you lived with a lot of pain and wound up in a wheel chair. Arthritis is not a forgiving disease – you can slow it down but you can’t completely restore function once a joint is badly worn. But today, the miracles of modern medicine let us opt to replace knees, hips, shoulders with titanium parts or to fuse the vertebrae in the spine with metal rods. Most people come through such surgeries extremely well and after several months of physical therapy, they are almost as good as new! I’m pretty sure that we’ve barely scratched the surface of the kinds of advances that are going to keep people living and living well well into their second centuries of life. It is indeed a Brave New World – and I’m grateful that I get to be a part of it.
So I hope your first weeks of summer are filled with light and warmth and joy and I’ll see you when I get back around the end of the month. I’ll be looking forward to catching up on all your “discoveries” and creations when I get back
“Soldiers, sailors and airmen…The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving peoples everywhere march with you” General Dwight D. Eisenhower, D-Day message
I watched a young man on the news last night, in Normandy with his great grandfather, overlooking the wide open beach and the impossibly rugged, tall cliffs of the Normandy coast, saying honestly, “I can’t imagine putting my life on the line to cross that beach under heavy fire…I don’t think many of us can.” And yet, if we can’t imagine it, how are we to remember it and to honor the courage and the sacrifice of the thousands who gave their lives for our freedom? I remember as a teenager watching in awe and respect as the Cornelius Ryan book, The Longest Day, came to life on the “big screen.”
The complexity of the operation, the sheer logistical nightmare that it was, the impossible odds of making it across the beach or up those cliffs was almost overwhelming. In 1998, I was overcome by emotion and watched the first half hour of Saving Private Ryan with my hands covering my eyes and tears running down my face, as the reality of D-Day, raw and far too real, pounded my senses so that I could almost smell the fear, and the blood, of those who were part of the D-Day invasion. Over 40% of those who disembarked on the beach on June 6, 1944, died under the never ending hail of fire that peppered the beach or picked off individual men as they struggled up over the cliffs. I sat enthralled and so awed through the 10 hours of Band of Brothers which Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielburg produced after Hanks had starred in Saving Private Ryan.
Seventy years after that day, I can stand in freedom and put my hand over my heart to salute a flag stained by the blood of heroes…and pray that the world, which has too often forgotten the lessons of war, might remember this sacrifice too and work for the peace so hard won, in good part because of those who died in Normandy 70 years ago.
You can see my full portfolio at http://lianne-schneider.artistwebsites.com
“Country roads, take me home to the place I belong.
West Virginia, mountain momma, take me home, country roads.”
John Denver, lyrics by Bill Danoff, John Denver and Taffy Nivert.
Whether it is the rolling hills of Western New York, the wide farmlands of Ohio and Pennsylvania or the hilly scrabble of West Virginia, one cannot hear the phrase “country roads” without thinking of John Denver’s haunting and memorable hit – Take Me Home, Country Roads.” The catchy tune and and poignant lyrics was a huge hit in 1971 and was ultimately played at the funeral of West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd.
For me the song just takes me back to solitary drives along the country roads of my beloved western New York farmlands, sometimes stopping to walk up a creek to a small waterfall or step into a field full of wildflowers, hopefully camera in hand. But I’ve driven through West Virginia too, and I have to be honest and say that there are few places in the country as lovely and unspoiled as the mountains of West Virginia where Appalachian life still finds a home and people still sit on the front porch playing a fiddle when the family and friends get together.
You can browse my full portfolio or purchase a print of Take Me Home at my website”