Thanks

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Thank you, Blogging Friends, for your valuable camaraderie in this WordPress world! Thank you for sharing your delicious photos, your chewy ideas, and your knowledge of the lore of this land. The bounty of this landscape seems infinite; I look forward to exploring more in the year to come. May we all live together online in peace and harmony, enriching each other with our talents and observations!

With great respect and humility,

— scillagrace

 

Freestyle Writing Challenge

While I was off in California at my brother’s wedding, my blogger friend Juls from Paris challenged me to a writing exercise.  Finally today, on a cool, rainy Saturday, I’ve had time to myself to sit down and write.  Here is the link to Juls’ post.   (This is my tricky way to get you to visit her site and discover an amazing quadra-lingual traveler and photographer!) Here are the rules:

1. Open a blank Document
2. Set a stop watch or your mobile phone timer to 5 or 10 minutes, whichever challenge you prefer.
3. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!!!
4. Once you start writing do not stop until the alarm sounds!
5. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (it is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write with correct spelling and grammar.)
6. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals.
7. At the end of your post write down ‘No. of words = ____” to give an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.
8. Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nomination (at least five (5) bloggers)

The topic I was given was “The Road”.  I gave myself 10 minutes.  Here’s what I wrote:

The road is the path for the journey. The road is where we spend our time, living and going, breathing, walking, being alive, moving forward. The road is not always comfortable for me. I have often wanted to stop, to set up house, to be sheltered and still, coddled and kept safe. Danger exists on the road. Danger exists in life, and every instinct in me wants to minimize danger, for myself, my children, my loved ones. Trying to eliminate danger, trying to make the road more like a safety shelter, is a constant struggle against reality. I have tried many established ways of making the journey of life and death more comfortable. I have gone deeply into religion, the sojourner who seeks the aide of the divine to travel more safely. I have surrounded myself with the buttresses of society, traveling in numbers to increase safety and minimize inconvenience. The funny thing is, when the most dramatic events occur, I find that I am truly experiencing them alone. No one really travels through death in company. When your brain is about to shut off, who thinks your final thoughts with you? No one.

I have lost a lot on the road; I have gained much as well. My sister and I were in a car crash on an Interstate Highway. She lost control and was killed beside me. I lost my husband in the safety of our own home as we slept. Death is in life, not in location. I have discovered life on the road, on the journey. Moving forward to greater acceptance of my children and their autonomy is a fine example of this. It is an experience of opening up to possibility, to opportunity, to change and movement and dance. You can’t step in the same river twice; you can’t leave the road and still go somewhere. I have been stuck at the side of the road for stretches of time. I invariably begin to twitch, feel hot and restless. It is not living. The road is wonder, challenge, growth. I want to be on it; I want to be moving forward, even as I resist and return to neuroses sometimes.

Word Count = 365 words…one word for every day in the year, oddly enough.  My 5 nominees for the challenge are:

Jerry from “Taking a Leaf”

Kaye from “Rebooting”

Stephanie from “Love in the Spaces”

My daughter Susan from “Write a Thing”

Nicole from “Thirdeyemom”

Hoping you’ll find this stimulating!  And now, set your timers and scroll down for the topic….

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Your topic is: SPIRIT.  Go!

 

Five Days Challenge – Day Two

I have been invited by Terry of Through the Lens of My Life to participate in a Five Day Challenge.  Each day, I will post a photo and write a story to go along with it.  (I probably will interpret the term ‘story’ quite loosely.  I do that.)  I will also invite one person each day to take up this challenge on his/her blog. 

My offering for today is called ‘Outward Bound’:

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And after all that had been said, Brody still couldn’t understand why she thought sailing off into a wet, white void was more like freedom than chasing ducks on the shore. But she had the bigger brain and he wore the collar, so he trotted up the gangplank and resigned himself to barking at seagulls from the deck.

 

— Next, I invite you to visit Jamie Dedes at The Poet By Day.  She is an honest-to-goodness Poet, and posts her poems and photographs (and other interesting tidbits) on her various sites.  She has more than five days of work on her blog, so this is not a challenge to her, but an exhortation to you to peruse her garden.  She is also the co-founder of a blog magazine (‘blogazine’) that considers me a contributing writer.  Our identity: “We are a consolidation of two collaboratives, a compendium of works from diverse and visionary creatives with the shared core values of peace, justice and nonviolence.” We are coming out with our fifth issue of The ‘B’ Zine on March 15.  I am pleased to have contributed a feature article to each issue. 

© 2015, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

BE inspired … BE creative … BE peace … BE

The second issue of The ‘B’ Zine is out!  This is a collaboration of The Bardo Group (which considers me a contributing writer) and Beguine Again.  The theme for this month is “Preparation”.  I invite you to check it out, enjoy it, reblog it, and be part of the movement.  Peace!

THE B Zine, December, Vol.1, Issue 2 – Table of Contents with Links

THE B ZINE

BE inspired … BE creative … BE peace … BE

Volume 1, Issue 2

a publication of Bequine Again and The Bardo Group

This Month our Theme is

Preparation

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THIS SEASON in the Christian Church is Advent,  a time of spiritual preparation for birth of the Christ spirit in the hearts of human kind.

If you are not Christian, you might use this time and these practices as preparation for the birth of your highest Self as represented by the founder or a saint of your own religion or as an awakening to the Essential Spirit within. If you are atheist, you might see this time as preparation for the birth of the very best You.  Inspiration and suggested spiritual practice are gifted to us by Terri Stewart, Priscilla Galasso, JD Gore, and Rev. Tandi Roberts.

In this issue  we also look back with Corina Ravenscraft at November and its gifts of Gratitude and Rememberence as we cross the threshold into December.  Corina’s second feature is a celebration of December.

Jamie Dedes reviews Writing Your Self: Transforming Personal Material by John Kilick and Myra Schneider.  Working with this book might be a good way for you to kick-start the fast-approaching New Year. We have poetry from Jamie,  Joseph Hetch, Terri Stewart and Myra Schneider and a sampling of Naomi Baltuck’s singular photo stories, both inspired and inspirational.

Other features include a reflections on: an Ethiopian coffe ceremony with Karen Fayeth; life and isolation with Joseph Hesch, World AIDS day with Tracy Dougherty; the presence God with Liliana Negoi; and an artful medition by the Rev. Tendi Roberts.

You will find team and guest bios HERE along with links to their work and/or websites.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Features/Preparation

Slowly We Go, Terri Stewart

Prepare Ye – The Way and the Wilderness, Priscilla Galasso

Preparation, Frank Watson

Preparation Ritual, Tandi Roberts

I Knew Advent, JD Gore

Features/General Interest

For the Love of a Good Cuppa, Karen Fayeth

Lifting Stones, Lilliana Negoi

World AIDS Day, Tracy Daugherty

Rememberance and Forgiveness, Corina Ravenscraft

Seasonal Cheer, Corina Ravenscraft

Swann in the City, Joseph Hesch

Book Reviews

Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, Jamie Dedes

Writing Your Self: Transforming Personal Experience, Jamie Dedes

Poetry

Finding Silence, Myra Schneider

Beneath the Surface, Joseph Hesch

You Just Missed it, Joseph Hesch

The Leaves Still Fall, Joseph Hesch

The Republic of Innocence, Jamie Dedes

Winter Is Here, I Know, Jamie Dedes

Photo Stories

Embracing the ‘M’ Word, Naomi Baltuck

The Many Degrees of Spooky, Naomi Baltuck

Virgins No More, Naomi Baltuck

It’s Never Too Late, Naomi Baltuck

Art

Light from Darkenss, Becky Withington

Illustrations:

Header: Adoration of the Shepherds, Gerardvan Honhorst (1622)
Above: Angel Gabriel’s Annunciation to Mary, Murillo (1655)
Below: A page from an 11th-century Gospel of Matthew (1:18-21) with Matthew 1:21, (35) providing the origin of the name “Jesus.”

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Photography 101: Double

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am doubly thankful for you, the blogging community.  Thank you for your visits and thank you for hosting me when I visit.  It’s been great fun and great learning doing this project.  There are (at least) twice as many wonders in this world to see than I imagine.  I am grateful to be opened and broadened and expanded by your lives and your art.  Thank You, Thank You!!

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,500 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

An Abecedarius Award!

I have been given another award! *smiles like a 6 year old*  Many thanks to Sally from Lens and Pens for this honor!

This one looks rather fun: it’s called the Awesome Blog Content award and comes with a kind of game to play.  I get to go through the alphabet and choose a word or phrase that describes me.  Ready, Campers?!  Here goes:

A – Appreciation and Awareness

B – Bio-luminescent

C – Cheerful

D – Discovery World

E – Elephants!

F – Fantasy

G – Galasso (duh!)

H – Heigho (possibly obscure to those who don’t know me well…)

I – Intelligent

J – Jim

K – Kappa (as in Phi Beta)

L – Love, love, love

M – Music

N – Nurturing

O – Old World Wisconsin

P – Priscilla (again, duh!)

Q – QI

R – Renewal

S – Sincere

T – Truth

U – Universal

V – Vulnerable

W – Widow

X – Extraordinary

Y – Young at heart

Z – Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Now, instead of nominating other bloggers for this award, what I’m going to do is link you to my favorite post of this morning.  Into the Bardo, A Blogazine features a post about a discussion of language and play which I found very interesting reading.  Check it out!

Anyone else who reads this and wants to do the ABC word association game in a post, just for fun, can consider themselves awarded!  Go ahead, post the logo…it’s like sewing another patch on your Girl Scout sash!

 

Shine On!

One of my followers has awarded me with the Shine On! Award, so I am gratefully acknowledging this compliment with an extra post this week.  The Soul Driven Mind strikes me as a very earnest blog by a man who seems to walk the intersection of hard core systems like the Air Force and IT while keeping his head outdoors or on Mars.  I applaud him for challenging himself to widen and deepen his vision, to keep in touch with his natural, creative self and to let that place speak freely and inform him on a regular basis.  Whether that routinely clashes with his profession, I’m not sure, but I can imagine it would sometime.  I wish him great courage and fortitude in his quest and the ability to make the tough choices with joy!

I am to state 7 things about myself, so here’s what comes off the top of my head:

1) I am currently very excited about my oldest daughter’s wedding next month, and by excited, I mean a little out of my depth and emotionally charged in many ways.  If her dad were still alive, the social roles would be much easier to figure out, and I would be guided and shielded by his very confident, extroverted personality.  As it is, I am forging a new path on my own, not always predictable.  I cry, feeling sad and angry that he’s not present.  I put my own quirky self out there, vulnerable and honest, and wonder if that will be acceptable and satisfying to myself and my family.  But these are people whom I deeply love, and to give myself, however frightening that may be, is the best I have to offer.  So, it’s pretty thrilling all around!

2) I am hatching a huge creative project.  I just bought a 5 subject notebook at Walgreen’s yesterday, and I plan to fill it with all kinds of brainstorming notes.  I don’t want to reveal just yet what it’s about, but it’s an embryo that gives me a secret glow.

3) I ordered a dress from India to wear to the wedding.  It’s waiting at the Post Office for me to pick it up.  Does every woman have fantasies about being radiant for some occasion and fears about being merely ordinary?  What is the Middle Way of beauty?  Seeing myself as lovely and alive and sacred but no higher than any other creature on the planet, I suppose, even the graceful little mosquitoes who may show up at this outdoor event!

4) I love the smell of Wisconsin in the summer: that humid, earthy, rain-soaked fragrance of Girl Scout camp makes me feel like I’m 8 years old again.

5) I love children’s books, and I looked very much like Sal in Robert McCloskey’s books “One Morning in Maine” and “Blueberries for Sal”.  Bobbed blond hair swept to the side in a barrette, jeans with an elastic waistband at the back, sneakers, sweatshirt.  Pictures of pre-school me growing up in Massachusetts are an uncanny likeness of her. 

6)  The last movie I watched was “A Wedding”, the Robert Altman film starring Carol Burnett, Desi Arnaz, Jr., Mia Farrow, etc.  A comedy without a laugh track, satirical and ambiguous.  We don’t have TV and don’t feel interested in the movies that are being made these days, but there are lots of good films in the archives to provide social commentary and philosophical and psychological fodder for conversation and introspection.  Taking on weddings and family dysfunctions seemed like a good project for this week. 🙂

7) I love good food.  I went to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and bought a pint box of Sugar Snap Peas.  They are so fresh and sweet, all raw and fertile, that I wish it were summer all year so that I could enjoy them more frequently.  But then, I suppose, I would stop paying attention.  The habitual way of putting calories into my mouth is so uninteresting.  I like focusing on something unusual and life-giving.  The last meal I really regretted was a Culver’s butter burger basket.  So much grease!  Never again….

This last part is always the most difficult for me.  I’m supposed to nominate 15 other blogs for this award and link to them and notify them of the award requirements.  First of all, I don’t follow very many blogs because I simply haven’t the time to read them.  The ones I do follow, I’ve already given awards to (if they even accept them).  I also refuse to tell anyone that there’s a requirement for receiving an award.  My appreciation is offered without obligations attached.  That said, I will share the new blogs that I’ve been following:

Jeff Sinon Photography: Nature Through The Lens

Steve McCurry’s Blog (you know the guy who photographed that iconic Afgan woman with the haunting eyes for the cover of National Geographic?  Yup, the same man.)

Into the Bardo: A Blogazine (I’ve actually been added as a contributor to this one, and all the contributors are people whose work I would recommend.)

I hope the short list doesn’t disappoint anyone.  Thank you for contributing to the expressive community of artists, thinkers, and humans that make this blogosphere so interesting and worthwhile!  I am pleased to be among you!

Wordless (NOT!) Wednesday

The excitement is growing.  I cannot be silent!  My oldest daughter is getting married in July and just sent me a link to the blog post of her engagement photo session.  I invite you to enjoy this whimsical, artistic and thoroughly lovely tribute HERE.  Check out that Lord of the Rings paper flower!  A thousand words to make a picture…

Susan is currently finishing up her Masters in Linguistics.  She and Andy met as Spelling Bee rivals when Susan was 11 years old and Andy was 12.  He won.  She hated that…but was drawn to him anyway (rather obsessively).  Finally, when he graduated from Middle School and could no longer compete, she won.  Then they were on the Scholastic Bowl team in High School together.  Can I really post about these word nerds without using words?!  So, pardon my departure from your expectations. 

I have rather a meager collection of photos of them together, but I’m sure that will change dramatically over the years!  I am busily working 4 part time jobs and not taking many new photographs or spending much time on this blog, but I did want to share this highlight of my week…just because it is a source of joy for me.  Finding a kindred spirit, a best friend, a fellow nerd, in this socially-driven but often shallow century may not be a miracle, but it is something to celebrate.  I salute Susan & Andy for figuring out who they are, what they value, how to live from that and how to live in partnership with each other as those things evolve.  Not easy, but definitely worth the energy.  And look what fun they have doing it!!  My deepest respect (and a bit of pride!) goes out to them.