Flight of the Paper Cranes

My sister Rita Baird, who is also a musician and writer, composed a song titled Paper Cranes; the lyrics include a girl who wishes to escape the life she is in by folding numerous paper cranes. According to Japanese legend, it is believed that a wish would be granted if one folds a thousand cranes. If you would like to hear her song, it can be found here: http://www.reverbnation.com/homespunroyal. As a mother of five, Paper Cranes is a song that came straight from Rita’s heart when she thought about the injustices done to children in the world.

The lyrics are:

She has a closet full of cranes, folded paper cranes and wishes

She folds a new one everyday, sits and folds and prays and wishes

To fly way, fly way, she wants to fly away too

He has a dresser full of planes, folded paper planes and wishes

He folds the planes to hide the pain, puts on a smile but inside he wishes

To fly away, fly away, he wants to fly away too

{And I want to take them away, take them away from that shadow place

To where their creations play, creations plays and soars}

She hears the whispered tales of lore, tales of faraway lore and wonders

He hears a voice he can’t ignore, the less he ignores the more he wonders

She turns the handle on the door, the door holding all her cranes and worries

He sees the airplanes on the floor, scattered across the floor and worries

{And I want to take them away, take them away from that shadow place

To where their creations play, creation plays and soars

And flies

Teach them to fly too}

Night of the Moon Rabbit

     At the Asian supermarket, boxes of mooncakes are on display; September 30th is the date of the Chinese Moon Festival. Mooncakes are a traditional food eaten during this time of the year; they are round pastries filled with lotus paste and salty egg yolks, which symbolizes the fullness of the moon. Children would be given lit paper lanterns to carry around on poles and family and friends would gather to enjoy the beauty of the full moon.
     There is also an ancient Chinese legend that accompanies this festival; the folktale says there lives a rabbit in the moon called 月兔 (yu toe, moon rabbit). It is said that Chang’e secretly swallowed the elixir of immortality from Queen Mother of the West, and then started flying up. In a hurry, she grabbed a white rabbit to accompany her. From then on, Chang’e and the rabbit cohabit the moon for eternity.
     I love this time of year because it also heralds in the beginning of fall in a festive way. Watching the glow of paper lanterns and tasting the sweetness of the mooncakes is a great way to celebrate.
Rabbits, lanterns, and mooncakes: what else could a child ask for on a beautiful night like this?

Tightrope Faith

This painting was influenced by Janelle Monae’s song “Tightrope”;  Ms. Monae sings about walking a tightrope in order to keep balanced in life. I also see the analogy of walking a tightrope as an act of faith. I am about to enter a period of my life where I will come across major challenges. But God says in His Word to me, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

In my painting, the dove and the gold orbs represent the Spirit of God. Just like Daniel in the lion’s den, faith is giving my trust to God that He will protect me and hold me up no matter what. His Spirit is before me binding the mouths of evil (represented by the alligators and the snake) so that no harm will come to me.

Meanwhile, I walk by faith across the seemingly impossible tightrope path but with Him holding my hand, I will get across safely.

SHEL and the Owl

I was recently introduced to a new band called SHEL which is composed of four sisters (Sarah, Hannah, Eva, and Liza Holbrook) from Colorado. They are an accomplished group of young women who wrote and produced a new debut LP.  One of the songs in their album is “Wise Old Owl”. This catchy tune is about a young woman who has questions about lost love. Every night, she asks the Wise Old Owl why she suffers from a broken heart and awaits the answer. But the owl’s response every time was: ” Woah oh oh, ooh ooh ooh hoo hoo, hey ay ay ey ay lay ey ay hoo hoo”. The owl’s line sounds better in song than it does in print so if you want to check out the music, click here: http://shelmusic.com/.

Old Friends on Paper

Books are like old friends; three of my favorite childhood books are The Trumpet of the Swan, Stuart Little (both by E.B. White) and Pipi Longstocking by Astrid Lingren. Books were my constant companions when I was small; they allow my imagination to flourish and they also provide a safe haven for me when I felt lonely. I no longer have copies of my childhood books but to recall these enjoyable characters is like remembering past friendships with old pals.

A Bicycle Built for Three

I’ve noticed that a lot of cyclists enjoy riding along the street where I work. One day, I counted at least ten cyclists in the span of ten minutes, one of which is a family on a tandem bike for three. The adult rode in the front while two children pedaled behind him. I wondered as I watched them pedal in unison how difficult (and safe) it is to ride together on the same contraption. I was enlightened when I found a YouTube video of the Smith family riding a tandem bike: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=fvwp&NR=1&v=ZG545aEwiJo. It appears quite fun (the little one likes to show off his tricks in the back). Some day if I have the chance, I wouldn’t mind riding a bicycle built for two, or three, or four.

A Little TLC

I love to give old furniture new life; sometimes all they need is a little TLC. Last month, I was blessed with five encounters of curb-side free pieces; one of which is a large oak table. On that particular day,  I turned into a street I don’t normally drive through and there it was: a beat-up 30 x 36 inch, heavy-as-heck table, perfect for doing my artwork on. I was using a nice sewing machine table which I refurbished last year but the tabletop space was cramped and the height was not right. So I was determined to take this piece home in the trunk of my four door sedan no matter what. God really blessed me because there was no way I could have done it without help. Lo and behold, the original owner just happened to see me struggle with the darn thing and he came out with a powered screwdriver (I am truly thankful for him); he took the table top off (which weighs 45 pounds by itself) and voila! The two pieces fit like a puzzle in the trunk of my car. I spent a week in the mornings sanding and staining it. After much anticipation and gratefulness, I get to use it today.

A little TLC goes a long way.