It’s a week away from my fiftieth birthday so it’s been a time of reflecting on years gone by, appreciating what I have in my life and planning for things I’d still like to do.
With my 50th looming I had one specific goal to achieve before then – which was to publish a self illustrated picture book. So on that subject, I would like to introduce you to the lead character of my recently e-published picture book – Joa Jerboa. I wanted a character that was African, friendly, kind, adventurous and that mixed raced kids like my own could connect with so Joa was born. Joa has her own unique style and like the typical jerboa looks like a mixture of a mouse and a kangaroo. What makes her unique is the addition of a magical tail which has a story of its own.
The picture book is called “Days of the Week with Joa Jerboa” and is now on sale in the Kindle Store on Amazon. The rhyming story was originally written while we were in the United Kingdom when my son was little and learning to read and I then posted a narrated video on YouTube just using some free clipart to illustrate it. It had always been my plan to illustrate it myself one day and with my early birthday gift of an XP-PEN drawing tablet from my husband that plan reached fruition today!
A closer look at the cover art on the picture book reveals the little blue flowers inspired by Forget Me Nots. One does not reach this age without experiencing highs and lows and lately there seem to be more of the latter. My thoughts have turned to those I’ve loved but who are no longer around to celebrate this milestone with me – like my parents.
Whenever I look at Forget-Me-Nots my thoughts go to those who have passed on and I whisper a prayer acknowledging what they meant to me. It’s no surprise that Forget Me Nots are associated with remembrance but interestingly their genus is Myosotis derived from the ancient greek word for “mouse’s ear” because of the shape of their leaves.
It is therefore apt that Forget Me Nots are scattered throughout the picture book published in my fiftieth year of existence and paying homage to all those past and present, near and far, who make my life more meaningful, purposeful and beautiful.
Today is a gift, and I celebrate the joy of surviving planet earth for half a century. Tomorrow is not guaranteed so today I hope you dance with your being and hold those you love close in your heart. There is no time like the present to be kind to yourself, to honor your journey and what you’ve overcome and to keep on making your ruckus!
A Chair to Remember – The journey of an Adirondack Chair as part of a Temporary Public Art Program by the City of Dublin, California https://dublin.ca.gov/. The chair named “Of Poppies and Pollinators” was designed by Vanessa Thomas. Local Artist Teresa Yue assisted with the painting and assembly process.
The design for this Chair is inspired by the flora in Dublin with the added theme of protecting pollinators vital to our planet’s well-being.
This chair design raises awareness of the important work of bees, butterflies, moths, hummingbirds and others.
The problem of declining populations of native pollinators is complex, and there are multiple factors at work. But population decline can be largely be attributed to habitat loss, diseases and parasites, pollution and pesticide use.
The home gardener can help support native pollinators by creating pollinator-friendly landscapes and gardens.
A total of 20 Chairs were created by local artists and are up for auction via the City of Dublin website until September 2020.
Images used in this design have all been photographed in the Dublin area by Vanessa Thomas and include:
Image 1: Wisteria from Emerald Glen Park
Wisteria in Emerald Glen Park, Dublin, California
Image 2: California Poppies in the Meadow in Scarlett Drive
A pair of Californian wild Poppies
Image 3: Baby Blue Eyes wildflowers photographed in Fallon Sports Park
Passion for the things we love can take us many places. My love of flowers led me to photography which has taken me on journey of wonder and discovery and recently led me to the stage at TEDx Emerald Glen Park.
Butterflies in the Poppies:
My passions for storytelling, community and all things floral collided in a blissful moment that urged me to encourage others to follow the paths where they seek to make a difference.
It’s not for everyone but it might just be for you.
PS: Flowers at the TEDx Event:
Amazing that it included a pincushion bloom from the Western Cape in South Africa! Stocks symbolize a happy life and contented existence. Orange roses represent enthusiasm, passion and gratitude. The Feverfew daisy-like flowers are a medicinal plant for treating headaches so this is a perfect TEDx bouquet!
My Facebook Page has just gone over the 5400 Likes mark – and I am delighted! I also however recall the days when I posted a floral photo and got more than 1 like and was thrilled!
The “liking’ culture is complex – but I think of it like grading exam papers. There are always those who instinctively are critical and judgmental and would never give anyone an “A” as they feel it is unattainable and then there are those with rose-tinted glasses who think everyone deserves some sort of acknowledgement just for putting in the effort. So it’s no surprise that the number of followers outrank the number of likes but that’s ok.
Granted when photos are amazing I am more likely to ‘like’ them but sometimes just getting someone to share a pic of a bloom they noticed while out walking or gardening is even more beautiful. They were captivated and for a brief moment they could rest and breathe in the beauty.
If you’re new to blogging and sharing what you care about it takes time to find your tribe – it’s taken me 5 years to get this far – so don’t be discouraged – just keep shipping.
In a world where kindness, compassion and encouragement are rarely seen how hard is it for you to like the photo your friend or family member just posted about something creative they made? We can fuel each other’s endeavors to bring more beauty into the world.
I love flowers – always have and always will – they give me a chance to pause and appreciate simple moments of nature’s beauty. It’s why I share photos of them – I think my photography skills have loads of room for improvement – but I still love to share blooms that make me stop, pay attention and show appreciation.
Your art is an intrinsic part of your being and is thankfully something that goes with you wherever you are in the world.
Photo 1: Poppies In California, USA
We are coming up to our 4th anniversary of living in the beautiful and vibrant state of California in the USA after leaving the lusciously green and peaceful area of Sussex in the UK.
The definition of home has taken on a new meaning for us and we have learned to value the connections we make with others on our journey. My enthusiasm for Floral Photography continues to drive me to explore my surroundings wherever we may find ourselves and thankfully nature is able to offer an unending collection of floral delights.
Photo 2: A field of Poppies in the UK near Brighton
There is so much excitement locally around the pending total solar eclipse tomorrow, Monday August 21. I was rushing around last week looking for approved viewing glasses for my kids but I was way too late as stocks were already sold out.
Some parents I know even pooled resources to Fedex a shipment of them to get here in time but due to damage in transit they could not be delivered leading to severe disappointment.
I was intrigued by this solar fascination and how the wonders of our universe sometimes stop us all in our tracks and call us to pay attention.
In a way though it also saddened me that Nature has to put on such a dramatic visual display before we really notice the world around us.
There is beauty and wonder around us every day! Nature is battling for survival and we need to pay more attention more frequently to what is happening in our world even though it doesn’t always happen on such a spectacular scale.
With these thoughts in mind I created the image below from the intricate detail and coloring of a single Gerbera bloom and a photo of a decorative iron garden trellis.
Nature deserves our attention – our survival depends on it.