Overcoming Tremendous Challenges As They Pursue Their Dreams

I enjoy stories

Reading them, hearing them read out loud, listening to a storyteller.

Among my favourites are those featuring people who were faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges and with their inner strength along with the love of others at their side, they managed to climb those mountains and reach the summit.  And what a joy it is to witness them in those sweet moments of their achievement.

I give you two such stories that were shared with me a couple of weeks ago.  They feature two different young people whose big dreams – at their particular summit – were to share their love of singing.

Here are youtube links to watch, and I hope they bring you inspiration, as they did for me.

The first one features a young lady, Kechi Okwuchi…

 

 

 

And for the story featuring Christian Guardino, I couldn’t find a link that had everything combined, so the first link gives you his performance, and the second one gives you his background story.

 

 

*****

 

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A Future Monarch

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Starting out so small,

Eating its way through milkweed

To grow and transform.

 

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I’m visiting at my parents’ place, and my mother excitedly showed me her little “friends.” Each one in a separate glass loosely filled with a couple of freshly picked milkweed leaves.

Her two friends are still quite small and not easily seen.

My mother is once again fostering a couple of monarch caterpillars in comfy protectiveness with fresh milkweed leaves, until they grow into their full size and make their chrysalis for their metamorphosis stage.

This one of the two is the larger and is about the length of my index fingernail right now. About 1 cm.

See the cool eating pattern it has made in this milkweed leaf. 🙂

 

My mother is all excited at these two new ones, as she has successfully nurtured monarch caterpillars in previous years and set them free as butterflies. 

 

A Revival of Old-style Communications

Isn’t it interesting that in these smartphone and computerized times there are still people around the world who delight and participate in sending letters – and especially postcards! – to friends and family…..AND even to strangers!

Yes!  They do!

I’ve been drawn back into that world of communications quite recently…just by those unexpected happenstance moments.

The first one occurred on my return flight back from my visit to Germany in May of this year.  The woman sitting on the other side of my husband was on her way to visit friends in Montreal.  And somehow she and I just clicked and we got to chatting – in German – about each of our adventures. Ultimately, we realized that one of our common interests involved how much we both enjoy writing and receiving mail…the old-fashioned way.   So, we exchanged our mailing addresses and have since embarked on a fun pen-pal relationship.

A couple of weeks ago I sent her these two postcards, showing some views of the town near where I live…

 

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And then the second memorable time was when I went to the book store in that town to find some postcards to send.  I was chatting with the owner of the store, and as our conversation was coming to a close, he added on something that had just occurred to him on the subject of postcards and how tricky they can be to find these days in view of all the e-mailing and social media that’s going on.

He told me how his wife had found a website that encourages postcard exchanges from all around the world!  She had just recently started and was enjoying it immensely, and he gave me the link in case I was interested in pursuing this old-style mail exchange.

And yeah!  Was I ever interested!

So, I searched out Postcrossing.com, registered, and was on my merry way to engage in postcard exchanges.  The site is well organized in that from all its members, people wishing to send postcards are given randomly drawn names of other members with their addresses and then are required to send a postcard to that person.  There are codes given with each postcard for ease of recording and keeping track of all the mail exchange activity going on.

The site is super friendly and provides interesting information, as well as a forum and help pages.  It gives stats on the distances being covered with these postcards and keeping track of one’s own personal sent and received cards, along with a wall in which to post one’s favourites.

The fun is in requesting a name for sending a postcard – and you don’t know who it will be, but you can read their personal write-ups on the website once you have been given their name.  You get a little idea of who they are.  And once your postcard has been received by that person and registered with the website, then someone else will get your name…..and THEN…..the delightful surprise at one day going to the mailbox and finding a postcard from someone from another country!!

Isn’t that cool !!

In my case, the first person I was given lives in Germany, and he’s a fellow who enjoys sports and collecting stamps, among other things.

So, I picked this postcard from my town, which shows the statue of the gentleman – Dr. James Naismith – who invented basketball.  And I picked out a stamp with a Canadian moose on it for his stamp collection.  He sent me a thank-you message when he received it.

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Once I found out that my postcard had arrived all right at its destination, then I was eagerly awaiting the one that would be coming to me!

And I’m happy to say that when I went to the mailbox yesterday, there among a couple of advertisement flyers was a postcard for me!  Interestingly, it came from a young lady, also living in Germany……but from a different area.

Here is what hers looks like:

 

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Cute, isn’t it?

Translated, it means:  “Don’t wait for the storm to pass by….instead learn to dance in the rain.”

So, I went on the Postcrossing website and registered the arrival of her postcard.  And I also sent her a thank-you message.

AND….I have requested my next new postcard recipient!  She lives in Moscow, Russia!  How exciting!!

Exchanging postcards in this way is a bit like travelling, isn’t it?

Yes…even with all of our ultra advanced and cool technology, there are still some old-style activities that provide lots of fun like they used to do.

 

 

With different instruments….still as beautiful

One of my friends shared this clip with me yesterday

And I’d like to share it with you.

I love this cover!  

In addition to being played in a beautiful traditional Japanese way……do those instruments ever sound amazing!!…….BUT also being one of my most FAVIEST of songs!! And it wasn’t because of its popularity that I’ve always loved the Zeppelin version, but that there’s always something about it that seems to strongly resonate with me in the musicality of the song.

These Japanese players have given it a similar feel – I had goosebumps!!

I searched on youtube for this clip, as the original came from another source….and the BONUS part is at the very beginning they have added in some educational information on this unique instrument….the Nijugen-Koto.  And there’s the other quite similar instrument….the Jushichigen-Koto.  The flutes are called Shakuhachi.

Always something new to learn!

 

An Unusual Singer

Yesterday I found heart-warming inspiration from an unexpected source.

I happened to glance at the activities of some of my Facebook friends and stopped at one where I read that one of my friends had liked a particular video post…..about a deaf singer performing at a talent show.

One other time I had come across a Ted Talk in which a woman was talking about her experience about being deaf and being involved in music, and she had been deaf at a young age.  She had overcome various challenges in her life and had fulfilled her dream of being a professional musician, or more precisely, a percussionist.

So, with that in mind, I was especially intrigued with this new post.

What increased the intrigue was that this other young woman – singer/songwriter – was appearing on the show, “America’s Got Talent,” which I generally don’t watch.  But now being somewhat savvy  that deafness doesn’t mean that a person can’t achieve their musicianship dreams,  I had a hunch this would be a ground-breaking experience.  Ever since Susan Doyle wowed the judges on the British equivalent show – where she overcame her hurdle of no formal training and wavering self-confidence – I keep a keen eye and ear open to those more “unique” aspiring singers.

Well.

What an incredibly momentous experience for this young lady!

Mandy Harvey – inspiring and amazing – how she handled overcoming her biggest obstacle….herself.

No spoilers from me, but I encourage you to watch this clip.

 

 

The Art of Falling

 

I just came across this gem via one of my girlfriend’s posts.

It gave me goosebumps.

I found it impactful and beautifully done.

It has a profound message.

The Facebook page Access Oneness posted this clip with this lead-in comment:

“So, you lose balance and you fall … but, what do you do next? Stop? Or go on? Make art out of falling …”

*****

P.S. Re-watching it…..I just noticed something else. Look at the colouring of the trees from the aerial view.

 

First Flowers of Spring!

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Popped up from the ground,

Tiny green stems holding up

White flower greetings!

 

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The start of every new spring season I always keenly await those first brave little bulb flowers who cheerily greet me with their delicate white faces.

Such a joyful sight to behold amid the backdrop of last year’s brown and dried vegetation.

Just now I went outside to capture some of their beauty to share with you.

I hope you like them!

The flower in the photo above is a snowdrop.

 

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These next ones are called “Glory in the Snow” and also “Striped Squill.”

(….the names I found as I was googling…..  🙂 )

 

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For me it’s an endless pleasure to gaze at these tiny white spring flowers.

Here are more snowdrops…..

 

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A Burst of Orange!

Cactus Bloom; Dec. 12, 2012

 

Arching cactus arms;

Noduled stems of deepest green –

Flower flames at tip.

 

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Such a welcome warm colour at my windowsill.

Christmas Cacti (Schlumbergera) can be so generous with their blooms.

(Archived:  photo taken in December of 2012)

 

A Study in White

White Rose taken May 13, 2012

 

Snugly curly whorls,

Outer petals yaw open;

Purity revealed.

 

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Note:  Dug this one from my archives….in May of 2012 I was having some fun with my camera and this single white rose.  I tried different placements and angles and finally lucked into this one using a black background, thereby having the rose’s creamy whiteness jump out even more.

I was pleased with the effect!

Always learning.   😀

 

 

 

 

 

Tree Capillaries

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Tiny, thin branches,

Splay outwards….intertwining;

Life force transporters.

 

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I was immediately entranced with this image of the black trees and the lighter background.  The silhouette effect seemed to enhance the delicateness and intricate meshing of all those tiny branches on the trees.

It reminded me of our lungs.

The two tree trunks are the bronchi.  They branch into smaller, thinner tubes called the bronchioles.  In this photo, those are the next smaller branches coming from the main trunk stems.

In lungs, the bronchioles end in air sacs called alveoli, which are covered in a mesh of tiny blood vessels…..the capillaries.

See how those smaller tree branches continue into a myriad of even tinier branches….and they appear to mesh into a splayed outward pattern.

And the thought occurred to me that as our lungs bring in life-giving air into our bodies, so do the tree’s branches that in spring and summer are covered in leaves.  Aside from the food absorbed by the roots, the leaves and branches are a tree’s other means of keeping its life force going.  The bareness of winter shows this resemblance to the blood vessels in lungs more clearly.

In my imagination I see two tree “lungs” with their capillaries.

Aren’t they beautiful?