“The Best Day EVER!”

Don’t you just love it when the simplicity of a child’s thinking jolts your world?

It happened to me yesterday when a friend shared the extraordinary spin her five-year-old son placed upon a rather ordinary Saturday.child

The young lad awoke proclaiming the day was going to be “my best day ever!” He continued to announce it throughout the day finding joy in even the most routine of chores. At breakfast he orchestrated the family’s conversation, beaming and announcing again it was to be his best day ever. This continued as he helped his dad around the house, held the family guinea pig while his mom cleaned the cage and even while shopping at Costco. While being tucked in that night he said, “Thanks, Mom, that was the best day ever!”

The next morning he awoke and while snuggling with his mom on the couch, proclaimed, “This is going to be the best day ever!”

“What? I thought yesterday was the best day ever,” she responded.

“Yes, Mom, every day is the best day ever because I’m a kid and Kids’ Day is every day!” Smiling wide he continued, “Yep, it’s gonna be the best day ever until my brother and I are adults!”

Mom reflected on her sons optimism. As adults, wouldn’t it be nice to wake up each morning believing each day was going to be our best day ever?

Yes, my friend, it would be nice. No, actually, it would be amazing if we faced each and every day with such a positive approach.

I admit I often do not meet the challenges of each day with such a glowing attitude. My day can be progressing just fine and dandy and then wham! A phone call brings discouraging news. The mailman delivers unexpected turmoil. A sudden remembrance threatens peace of mind. A relationship clash saps enthusiasm.

I’m not talking about “death in the family” phone calls or “your home is being foreclosed on” notices. That type of news is truly devastating.

It’s the more mundane things that we allow to rob us of joy that this youngster’s chipper attitude spoke to, at least for me. You know, the annoyances, the frustrations, the he/she “gets on my last nerve” situations. The waiting for circumstances to fall into place. The needing-to-make-a-decision-but-can’t-quite-decide-what-to-do scenarios. The stuff of day-to-day living on this earth.

In a moment’s time, any number of things can threaten to ruin what only moments before had been a great day. Worry and anxiety and unrest reign where only minutes ago, everything was fine. And suddenly I want nothing more than to crawl under the covers and escape.have a great day

I think I’ll post a “this is the best day ever!” prompt on my refrigerator… and on the bathroom mirrors… and on the dash of my minivan… and on the computer screen. As a reminder not to let the minor bumps in the road steal the joy from my day. Even the instead-of-a-refund-we-owe-$600-in-taxes revelation does not have to ruin an entire day.

Thanks for the inspiring lesson, my five-year-old friend.

 

 

 

 

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Poetical Immersion

 

If I were to compare the number of novels to the number of poems I’ve read, the ratio would be at least 100:1. It’s obvious how I prefer to spend my leisure time.

 

 

poem by Lt. Col. John McCrae

poem by Lt. Col. John McCrae

 

Let me get lost in a story. Let me join Wendy in the adventure of a lifetime in Neverland. Let me travel to planets outside my galaxy with Meg in A Wrinkle in Time. Let me wake up in Oz with Dorothy.

 

 

wendy peter pan

 

 

 

 

 

 

And yet. Every once in a while, I love to sink into poetry. Read it. Read it again out loud. Feel its rhythms. Luxuriate in its emotion. Reflect upon the meaning of life.

 

photo by Sharon Birke

 

When I pick up a novel I read for escape, for entertainment, for a “good” story. At The End, I set it down with a sense of satisfaction and move on to the next good read within twenty four hours. Occasionally, the novel’s theme remains with me for years. Those are the best – stories that encourage me to emulate selfless heroes and teach me how to live a life glorifying to God.

 

Poetry, at least the poetry I’ve taken time to memorize, always stays with me. When I taught fifth grade, our curriculum offered an excellent selection of poetry to memorize. To this day, my son, now in his thirties, can recite “The Village Blacksmith” by Longfellow. I wanted my students to own that same passion for poetry. We had fun with it, discussed meanings behind meanings, and I hope many of them have a favorite poem from their year with Mrs. Samaritoni.

Next time it’s my turn to post in Scriblerians, I’ll share my favorites. In the meantime, please share with me any poems that you still have memorized from childhood.

We the People

God Bless The United States of America.

God Bless The United States of America.

 

“…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…” The U.S. Constitution

On July 4th we the citizens of The United States of America are celebrating our countries 239th anniversary. As countries go, we aren’t by any stretch of the imagination the oldest governed country in the world. There are actual populated cities on this earth that are far older. But for what we may lack in age and maturity, we certainly make-up with in brashness, can-do spirit, and audacity. Is that good? I don’t know, any perspective less than a hundred years old I immediately consider suspect at best.

Regardless of my nation’s sometimes bloody, sometimes noble, sometimes idiotic, sometimes unfair, and sometime brilliant past or present, I do love my home and nation – warts and all. Our US flag stands for a great deal, some bad, but so much more that is good.

Consider how many people from around the world would move to the US at the drop of a hat. Think of all our Latin American neighbors sneaking in against or laws and policies because they would rather live here than their own nations. I work at a University and meet many students from other nations who would rather stay here than go back to their own nations as their academic careers draw to a close. Many struggle to stay, some are not so successful.

No matter what people may think of the United States of America, it is for me the most wonderful place to live in the world. If you were born in a different place and take offense at my statement, I truly hope you love your home as much as I love mine. My wish for you is that you will work hard to make your nation a great and a wonderful place to live.  As for me, I will endeavor to help my home maintain our national identity as “one nation under God, indivisible with justice for all.”

Is our country perfect? What does perfect mean anyway? Is their room for improvement, absolutely.  But if we don’t learn to work together and face our difficulties with civility and respect, the alternative will always be bleak.

 

Name one thing you love about your home in the United States and one thing you would change for the better.

 

DRAWING LESSONS ANYONE?

This post definitely comes under the and-now-for-something-completely-different category. Today, I want to celebrate creativity in a different way. Many don’t know it, but I’m also a professional artist. I have done line drawings for 3 novels, commission work, have visited schools as an illustrator, and am now embarking upon my first picture book. The book is called Growing Up In Wild Horse Canyon, written by Karen Autio and will be published by Sono Nis Press in 2016.

Image

(The above is a commission I did about 15 years ago of a friend and her horse.)
Over many years of associating with creative people, I’ve noticed something about them: they often express their creativity in many ways. They may also be musicians, actors, decorators, architects, fabulous landscapers, painters, sculptors, gaming wizards, or even think-out-of-the-box mathematicians, engineers and scientists. (Have I missed anything?)

Image (1)

(The above was inspired by a trip to France. I do love horses, so had to paint another couple!)
And with drawing, many of you may have had discouraging experiences in school years of not being able to draw as well as the next kid, so you backed off completely. Now, though, many have a hankering to try it out again, but don’t know how to go about it.

IMG_4098

(The above was done with water colour pencil crayons, one of my favourite mediums!)
Well, have I a deal for all you closet artists! I would like to offer all our Scriblerian followers a chance to learn to express yourself in two dimensional art. I will teach you some artist’s secrets that have been known since cave art and have been used throughout history in architecture, sculpture, paintings, and drawings. But the cool thing is that these same secrets are even now staples in decorating knowledge of landscapes and homes. I teach a few of the same things in my school visits, along with my different approach to drawing that enables anyone to learn to draw. And what you learn will enable you to draw anything, not just the object we are working on. The only things you need are patience, an open mind, and a pencil and paper.

Image 1

(The above is a sketch from my fantasy WIP Orion’s Sword)

Loraine Kemp-Bailey's nails

(The above sketch is from one of the books I illustrated called One Thing I Know For Sure coming out soon)
What I ask of you is to reply with your email and name. I will put them all together in a bag and choose 5 people to be my students, and will notify you with an email that you have won. I will send you the 5 or so lessons via email and you can scan your drawings (or take a picture of them) and send them back to me. We will have a back and forth correspondence until you have finished your picture. This is of course meant to be fun and you will be free of knowing how well ‘the next kid’ is doing in comparison. Perhaps if you’d like, we can post your picture on a later post. Remember though, we all learn in different ways and at different speeds.
After the lessons you will never look at artwork the same again. You will be able to spot artwork done by a professionally trained (or unprofessionally trained) artist from 10 paces, and will be able to appreciate two dimensional and three dimensional art as you never have before.
If you’d like to see more of my artwork, go to http://www.lorainekemp.com or http://www.facebook.com/lorainekempartist
So, if this is what you’d like to try for a sideways expression of your creative spirit, let me hear from you! Don’t be scared! Let the games begin!!

Loraine-Kemp-puppy in box

 

Fascination with the Dead

No trees survived on the lot where my new house stands. They were destroyed by wildfire in 2011, long before my husband and I began searching this particular county for a place to call home.

One tree on the lot behind ours stands as a reminder of an area once thickly forested. It stands for only a little while longer, we suspect. A house is being built on that lot, and we know that when the yard is landscaped, that dead tree will be a goner.

The Tree

It is beautiful, I think. Naked, though dignified and graceful, while all the trees nearby sport new growth. I expressed my sorrow to my husband over losing it from our view, even though safety requires that it not stay.

Is it strange that I’m interested in something after it is dead or destroyed?

I study the forms of dried flowers and seed pods. Of skeletons, both human and animal. I’m fascinated by the finds from sites of ancient civilizations. I read about dead artists, celebrities, and politicians.

Maybe I truly appreciate and understand the composition of a living thing or a thriving system after its life is over.

Have you read either fiction or nonfiction that focused on the state of death or dying or perhaps a decaying civilization? Were you particularly fascinated by what you read?