Seven Basic Chakras

Chakras are energy centers that spin like a wheel in our body pulling energy in and sending out energy.  They are not physical body parts but do affect our physical body.   They are part of our field of energy that extends out from our physical body.   There are seven basic chakras.  In the pictures below I show  what color  each one is  associated with and what the chakra does.  Our chakras react to the world in which we live and can affect our lives in positive or negative ways depending on what we do or don’t expose ourselves to.  I learned about chakras a long time ago but  I thought it might be a good idea to review the subject and work on simple ways to help ourselves stay positive !

Walk barefoot in your yard to make that connection to the earth .  Stand with your feet firmly planted on the grass or dirt and just breathe for a few minutes .  If you can not stand it’s okay to sit down with your bare feet resting on the ground. Relax and let Mother earth share her energy with you.  Make this a daily practice and make a note of how you feel on the first day and how you feel a month later.  You decide is it helpful.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Bring the color orange into your life:  a pillow, a rug, a picture, plant orange marigolds or zinnias in your garden or put  a bowl of oranges on your table.  Orange is a lively  fresh color.  The color orange is also associated with sunshine and happiness.   What pleasure can we take into our lives when we not only notice the color orange but we bring into our daily life.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               I like to wear solid yellow shirts, solid yellow short sleeve t-shirts and solid yellow long sleeve shirts, 100% cotton is my preference.  I call them my “I can” shirts.  I use a pastel yellow color rather than a deeper yellow.  I have always loved that color because as soon as I put it on, I feel good !  It wasn’t until I learned that the color yellow was associated with the solar plexus chakra that I began calling them my “I can” shirts.

The color green : what is a common thing that we all do when someone is in the hospital ?  We take them some flowers or a houseplant.  This is an expression of empathy.  When we have houseplants in our homes are we open to the possibilities of growth ?  I’d say yes, in more than one way.  Take care of your houseplants because they are sending you  positive energy.   If you don’t have one you can consider getting one or grow one from a clipping from your neighbor or friend.

The color sky blue is awesome !  The communication chakra helps us with our creativity, intelligence, musical and verbal abilities.  The throat chakra connects to our heart chakra and our forehead or 3rd eye chakra bringing in feelings and thoughts.  This connection enhances our relationship with sound.  Language and sound play important roles in how we communicate with others and ourselves.

The color indigo is one of my favorite colors.  Although this picture shows a purple martin the color I see on it’s back in this picture is indigo.  Lighting is important when photographing birds because only when the sunlight hits them just right do you get the true colors of the bird. (They are said to be a dark blue purple.)  One idea is to simply purchase a square of indigo fabric from the quilting section of a fabric store or a cutting of it from a bolt of indigo fabric.  Make a scarf or a potholder with the fabric.   Hang the scarf on a corner of your mirror when your not wearing it as a way to see it everyday.

White or gold , both are found on the white cosmos flower above.  I have a friend who says  wear gold jewelry!   Earrings , bracelets, etc.  But I like white gold and silver, so that doesn’t work for me.  Instead I painted white cosmos with a blue sky background with inexpensive acrylic paint to include white and gold in my home for daily viewing.

To  optimize the energy field around our  body we can use these colors to increase the positive energy flowing in and the energy that we send out.   Take a look around you and notice the colors you already have in your home,  what are your favorite colors ?

The Dangers We Face & What We Can Do

It’s that time of year when school is starting up again.   Shopping for new clothes and school supplies is the fun part for us as parents and grandparents.   The kids like it too !   The more serious  parts are the conversations we have to have with them about the dangers of the world we live in. No one is excluded from the need to know how to be aware of your surroundings.   Why it is a good idea to know where the closest exit is when you enter any building.   Why it is a good idea to stay in a group instead of walking alone.  There is danger out there and bad things do happen to good people.   No one ever thinks anything bad will happen to them until it does.  My intention here is not to scare anyone but for everyone to be prepared by talking to your children young and old.  Talk to your neighbors, your friends, your family, and your children’s teachers.  Let’s all be on the same page when it comes to the safety of our children.

1.  We teach them when they are young about how to look both ways before crossing the street.

2.   We talk to them about ‘stranger danger’ and how to run away when a stranger asks them for help to find their lost puppy or asks them if they want to go for a ride in their brand new car.

3.   We talk to them about being aware of what their private parts are and that no one is allowed to touch them in those areas for any reason.

4.  We talk to them about drugs and how to say no and walk away from any situation that puts them  in contact with others who are using drugs or asking them to participate.  We give them examples of what to say that will give them a good reason to reply with confidence and leave.

5.  We talk to them about having a boyfriend or girlfriend.   We talk about what kind of relationship they want to have.  We talk about sex education and what it is.   We talk about domestic violence and what it is.  We talk about what it means to be best friends and how important it is in a relationship.

6.  We talk to them about remembering all the things we have taught them and to call us anytime day or night when we send them off to college.

7.  With the history of school shootings and the issues of mental health vs gun control debates.   We make the world what it is, we create change.  We find solutions. This is not a touchy subject because there is a lack of those who are mentally ill being unable to realize that they are in need of help.  It is a real subject.  This is not a anti- gun control subject.   There’s a term called   ‘suicide by cop’ a mentally ill person will create a situation forcing a police officer to shoot to kill because they believe it is their solution to their bad situation.  It’s a real subject.

Our children need our guidance and it is up to us to give them good examples of what to say and even role play out a situation to show them how to respond.   For example, if you just say don’t get in the car with a stranger they will understand you but they won’t know what to do or say if it should happen. It will be unexpected and the person asking will be friendly.    Children are kind and loving , of course they will want to help find the lost puppy .  Especially if they have a cute puppy picture to show them.  Unless you have prepared them to scream as loud as they can and run away as fast as they can as soon as they hear the words ‘help me’ because coming from a stranger means they are in danger.   Run to the closest place  it could  be home,  a grocery store, a restaurant, a public library etc.  Tell them to ask to use the phone to call you to come and get them.  Know their route home and talk about where a safe place to run to is ahead of time.

Children are trusting.  They have to be taught that no one is allowed to touch their private parts.    They need examples of what to say and how to leave immediately and a phone number to call for a ride home.

Preteens and teenagers will have best friends and want to make new friends, it is a given scenario. Having a plan for unknowingly walking into a bad situation can be a good thing ! When they call  home for a ride they can use a code word or sing lyrics to certain song meaning,  I don’t feel comfortable here without having to say it outloud.  Providing  them an easy way to get out of a bad situation.

As parents we watch our children grow and develop. We help them every step of the way to learn new things and become more and more independent. Teaching them to learn what to say and what to do in these situations is just one more way to help them grow and develop the life skills they need to become independent adults.

Subjects one thru four, are subject we have been teaching our children about for decades because there is danger in the world we live in.   Subject number five has expanded to include not just married couples having this issue but teenagers in junior high, high school and  college age students, too. Subject number six is like teaching your teenager to drive and then giving them the keys to their own car.  You know you’ve taught them all the safety rules but it’s still hard to let them drive away.

Number seven is a growing danger.    All I have is a message to everyone who has children in school.  My message is this.   Before you enter an airplane  or a courthouse you have to go thru a METAL DETECTOR.  It does not TAKE A LAW to install one of these devices in the entrance of a school.  It could be as simple as having a FUNDRAISER and a team of dedicated parents  and teacher to implement the plan.  This type of fundraising has been performed to create playgrounds, garden areas and even football stadium.  I offer this solution to teachers and parents to protect students of all  ages.   Please share to create conversations and action on this growing safety concern and the other dangers we face and what we can do to protect our children.

Like a Rodeo Cowboy

With all that goes on in the world today I feel very lucky, that is what I always tell myself but in the last few years I have come to realize that lucky is probably the wrong word to use.  It may be more about perception than luck.   For example,  one day I was walking to the store to get groceries.  It was a very windy day.   As I  rounded the corner of the block I came across a man that was  really high up in a big  tree.   My guess is that  he had climbed up so high so he could cut the branches off the tree that were rubbing against the roof of the house next to the tree.  The man had let go of his tools and was hanging onto the tree branches with all his might as they were  swaying in the wind.   He was grinning ear to ear !   When I saw  him I stopped for a minute and smiled as I realized this guy was  happy up there.  He was riding those tree branches like a rodeo cowboy !   Mother nature was taking him for ride on the wild winds.  I felt his joy as I realized what it was like to forget about fear and enjoy the ride of the strong winds .  I admired his fearlessness !  That moment in time was a gift for me to appreciate the strength of the human spirit.  We all have this strength within ourselves we call upon it or it calls upon us at any given day as we live our lives on this earth.   It has nothing to do with being lucky but everything to do with our spirit and how we see it in others and ourselves.

I thought about his fearlessness and how it showed courage, a quality of his spirit .   His smile told me he was confident.  I was given an lesson of what perception does for us in our daily lives and how it impacts our spirit directly affecting how we feel when we engage in activities.

Butterflies in Central Texas

Butterflies are in the air for spring,  you just can’t have spring without butterflies.    As the winter weather fades away, the sun begins to warm the earth and our gardens begin to grow.   Mother nature issues a you are refreshed  message as she brings out the butterflies !   Their migration begins.   We take our winter coats and pack them up in the  excitement of spring’s arrival.  We put away our heavy curtains and open our windows to allow the fresh air and sunshine to come in.   For garden enthusiasts our daily routine changes as we spring forward to take action and  welcome in the season .  We turn our garden beds and amend the soil to power it up !  We think about what we want to accomplish by having a garden.  Do we want to grow fruits and vegetables ?  Do we want to attract hummingbirds or butterflies ?   Do we want to provide resources for wildlife ?   Do we want to grow flowers, shrubs,  trees or a little bit of it all ?

We create our own gardens and observe the growth of wildflowers springing up all around us.  All the while butterflies are moving on their migration path taking nourishment where ever they can find it.  The choices we make can increase our possibilities of having butterflies drop by to visit our gardens.  I like to always include Lantana in my garden because it is a hardy plant that loves the sunshine, can take the heat of summer and the butterflies love it.   I have learned to enjoy planting flowers by seeds rather than buying annual starter plants to add color to my garden.   I like Zinnias because the seed sprouts pretty quickly and the plants grow about 2 feet tall and produce flowers of many colors .   I plant Marigolds around my garden beds to help keep out the aphids.   I love the smell of Marigolds if it was made into a perfume I would wear it !    One spring not to long ago I tried a new seed packet called the “Sensation Mix” of Cosmos,  I absolutely love it !  The butterflies do too !  It comes with the seeds for three different colors of flowers;  white, light pink and hot pink .   I learned from trying this seed packet that it grows as easily as Zinnias do but the plant itself is quite dainty with thin wispy green leaves and a tall stem that holds up the daisy shaped, brightly colored flowers.  Try it you’ll like it !

When the season changes to summer the existence  of the butterfly in our lives continues to show us  how delicate life can be.  The summer heat can be brutal yet there is this delicate little creature soaring through the air just as if the cooler weather of spring was still in tact.  Amazing.  Our activities change from planting to maintaining our gardens.   We set up our watering systems, make any hose repairs we might need and let the timers do their job.  We send our children to summer camps, we take summer vacations ,  go hiking down a forest trail or have picnics in the park .  No matter where we go or what we do we will see butterflies fly right by us.   They tirelessly pursue the road ahead making it look easy and worthwhile to persist in moving forward on their migration path.    With our own plans to live the best life possible and create some memories for our children during summer we drink more water to carry on despite the blazing heat of summer.  Butterflies get their liquids from the nectar of flowers.  They also drink water from shallow wet spaces on the ground whether it be the edge of a mud puddle or a shallow dish with a handful of sand in it that is wet.

Come September in walks autumn with cooler temperatures and shorter periods of daylight.   Butterflies  will still be migrating when  we send our children off to school with their new backpacks and lunch boxes.   One autumn morning  I noticed a butterfly outside my office window sitting on the windowsill.   I admired it’s beauty and recognized it as a Monarch butterfly.   When I was leaving for the day I saw  it was still there !  Thinking it was in distress  I slipped a sheet of paper under it’s tiny body to pick it up and took it home with me in a box.   I made a terrarium for it with a large clear plastic container and provide it with a few fresh flowers from my garden .  I placed a flat lid from an empty jar with dirt damped with water inside my homemade terrarium.   With the butterfly all settled in for the night I hoped it would get a good night’s sleep.   In the morning  I was delighted it was still   alive !   By November butterflies will be at their roosting sites.  Monarchs go deep into Mexico to spend their winter.    Being in Texas I thought this butterfly still had a long way to go.  I took it outside and placed it as high as I could reach on the leaf of a tree.   I wished it good luck on it’s journey and walked away. I turned around one last time to see it and it took flight into the air and flew away !                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here are some of the butterflies from my yard.  Enjoy !

Bullseye Landing !

The Red-Bellied Woodpecker is a frequent visitor to my bird feeder.  One of my favorite shots was when he made a bullseye landing on the tree out front.  I quickly grabbed my camera in hopes of  getting  a shot before he flew off,  I got lucky and captured it !   I am an avid birdwatcher.  I love their positive energetic attitudes !

I began watching birds when I was about six years old.  Just like most kids I was a backyard explorer of nature.   I would take a cardboard box, a Y shaped twig, some bread crumbs and kite string to my backyard to set up my bird catcher box.  I would tie the string to the twig to hold the box up.    Place some bread crumbs under the box and unwind the string long enough to hide behind a nearby tree to wait for a bird to come eat the bread crumbs and then pull the string and capture the bird !

I started taking pictures when I was a preteen.  Later  I  learned how to develop film in a photography class in high school.   Although I loved the process of developing film,  the excitement I felt when pulling the paper up out of the chemicals to see how the picture turned out, I sure do not miss the smell of the chemicals we used back then !   I love how easy it is now to use memory cards with digital cameras.

In our hurry up, get up and go world I will stop and listen to who is around me, bird wise that is, who will greet me today I wonder as I step outside into the fresh air.  Will it be the Carolina Wren who sings so loud almost as if she is telling a story she wants everyone to hear.  Or will it be the Blue Jays calling to their young as they learn to fly from branch to branch among the trees.  Blue Jays take their parenting seriously keeping a close eye on their young ones.  It could be “Where are you?”  “I am over here!”  Or a game of ‘Marco !   Polo !’ but one thing is for sure they are communicating with each other.

Here are some of the birds that  I have ” captured ”  : )

Visual Art

You can capture a moment in your memory but you can not share it with others unless you pull out your camera and grab that moment with a click of the shutter button.  Photography is a great hobby but it is also a powerful  tool to communicate with.  No matter what language a person speaks the photograph tells the story.   Photography is a form of  visual art.

If you are a visual learner you may remember faces better than names.   Or remember pictures and be able to link them to words, when studying a pharmacy technician handbook  in  a section on the names of the most commonly used 200 prescription drugs,  I was stumped !  I could not even  pronounce these names so how would I be able to remember them !   I found someone had made a YouTube video listing the most common 200 prescription drugs  using picture icons to show the words  by breaking up the name of the drug  into small comic strips!    If you thought visual learning was just for kindergarten and 1st grade students learning to read it doesn’t end there.

When we look around our home at all the photographs of our family members it gives us a sense of belonging and a mirror to who we are.   Our family photo albums hold  our endeavors to create a wonderful life and all the achievements and highlights along the way.  Pictures can create feelings of harmony and peacefulness or adventure and fun just to name a few.   In our homes our art expresses our personal connections to the world in which we live.   In an effort to promote self confidence in a young child we might put up a self esteem board with pictures showing what that child can do . In an effort to leave our work life at the office we might bring home a giant portrait of ocean front property that gives us a feeling of relaxation so we can slip into our big easy chair and gaze at say a  waterfront view of the ocean  with a sailboat in the distance.  Sail on my friend !  Feeling stressed during final exams in college put up a poster of the forest !  Tall green trees can give you a sense of rising above it all !  You got this !  That is the power of images they can initiate emotions .  The rest is up to us.

Gardening in Central Texas

Here we are in the middle of July with temperatures in the triple digits !  How hot does it get in Texas,  pretty darn hot !  So how do you keep your garden green and alive ?  First you start by knowing the what the difference is between annuals and perennial.  This will help you maintain a great looking garden.  Second,  having an automated watering system will also help you water at the right time of day to keep your plants healthy.  Last but not least is to give your plants fertilizer when they need it.  These simple steps will help you work with nature to grow a beautiful garden even in the heat of summer.

Annuals are plants that only live one season.  In springtime when a lot of us go to the garden centers to shop for plants we want one of everything we see!  As there are plants in bloom all over the place.   After the last frost we are more than ready to welcome in springtime by adding new plants to our garden or picking up a few new plants to replace those that may have died in a hard freeze.   Annuals are used to add color to our garden.   For example one eye catcher is “Fuschia.”  It will usually be in a hanging basket it has fuschia and purple colored petals and it attracts hummingbirds like crazy !  But be aware that fuschia cannot tolerate heat over 80 degrees, they cannot tolerate full sun,  they like semi sun, which is less than 4 hours of sun a day.    If you over water them they will get root rot, aphids are drawn to them as well as red spider mites.   You’ll need to fertilize them every two weeks and if it makes it thru summer and fall you’ll need to bring it indoors for winter.  It’s a zone 10 plant so if you live in San Diego, California this is the plant for you !  Yet they sell them here in Central Texas, even  if you are an avid gardener this particular beauty  would be a challenge.   Do your research ask your friends and neighbors whatever it takes to learn what does well in our zone, which is zone 8.   It is ok to go with Snapdragons , Pansies or Johnny Jump Ups for color even though they are annuals and will die out when the spring season ends, they are part of embracing springtime.   They like sunshine in spring but when the heat comes they cannot tolerate it.  Plant them with plenty of air circulation to avoid powdery mildew and mix dish soap with water in a spray bottle to kill any aphids you may see on them.

Perennial plants are plants that come back year after year.  You can  check the plant tags to learn which ones are a perennial or ask a garden center associate for help.  In the middle of summer roses are a favorite , they love the sun.  Bougainvillea , Pride of Barbados, Gold Star Esperanza, Plumbago  and Lantana can all take the sun and the heat.  Turks Cap (Malvaviscus)  is a perennial groundcover that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds !   Sunflowers are fun to grow in summer if you enjoy feeding the birds  you might be entertained by growing some sunflowers and watching birds come for the seeds when the plant  begins  to dye out.    Each of these plants have different watering and feeding schedules but this is a good starter list of what can survive the heat of a central Texas summer.   Vinca flowers also known as periwinkle which is in garden centers now is a perennial you can use to replace your spring annuals to put the color back into your garden this summer.  Enjoy your summer and happy gardening !

A Family of Canadian Geese

A family of Canadian geese , how lucky could I get !  I was at Timothy Lake when I got my first sighting of these magnificent creatures !   My hiking buddy had taken me to Timothy Lake so I could see Mount Hood in the distance but I could not take my eyes off of those beautiful geese and their goslings !  We were viewing nature from two different perspectives.

There was no way I was going to miss this shot !   I had my camera in hand and was frantic about the timeframe I would have.   To my surprise these geese were not in a hurry to leave once they spotting us but instead they were approaching us with their babies !   I walked along the banks of the lake towards an open spot where the sun was not blocked by the tall pine trees along the shore and snapped this beautiful shot of them.  They even came on shore with us.   Turns out it was the geese giving the humans treats !

One of my relatives lives by a river and is fortunate to have a family of Canadian geese that visit her every spring she has a shot of a goose on her diving board with other geese standing around the pool !   Now that shot is a conversation piece !