Valentiny 2017

As Valentine’s Day approaches our thoughts naturally turn to…Susanna Leonard Hill’s second annual Valentiny contest!
This year, we have to “write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone is confused!“ For the full rules, click here.
Last year at this time I was sweating in tropical Hainan, celebrating the Chinese new year. I remember desperately trying to find a place where I could connect to the internet to upload my Valentiny 2016 story. This year I am at home and it’s a totally different story. For one thing, IT’S COLD! But at least I have no problem connecting to the internet.

Candy Calamity

“Package delivery for Mr. Cupidus!”
“That’s me.” The head candy maker climbed down the ladder.
“Sign here, please.” Mr. Cupidus signed.
“Your load’s over there. Enjoy,” said the delivery man.
The head candy maker rubbed his hands. He danced over to the load of 1000 tons of chocolate, just waiting to be moulded into heart shapes.
Mr. Cupidus whipped off the tarp.
He stopped. He stared. He gasped.
Mr. Cupidus’ heart beat faster. “What’s this?”
Instead of a big brown blob there was a huge mound of red and white goop.
Mr. Cupidus sniffed. “Mint.”
He tasted. “Yes, definitely mint.”
He tugged at his heart shaped tie. “What am I going to do with 1000 tons of candy cane fondant?”
“Hey, Mister,” he yelled at the delivery driver. But the driver sped away.
Mr. Cupidus hung his head. “It’s too late anyway. Valentine’s Day is tomorrow.”
Then his head snapped back up. “Unless…I just adjust my controls?”
Mr. Cupidus jumped into action. “Yes, that’s it!”
The next morning, Mr. Cupidus looked at the newspaper.
The headline read:
     Heart-Shaped Candy Canes a Valentine’s Day Hit!
     Mr. Cupidus Declared a Genius!
Mr. Cupidus grinned. “I wonder…What should I do for Easter?”

Don’t forget to read some of the other stories. We participants appreciate it.
And Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope that you enjoy it with your partner and/or children or just giving yourself some self-love.

Book Review: “Meditation is an Open Sky”

“You know when you’re having a bad day and nothing seems to go right?” This is the first line of the children’s book “Meditation is an Open Sky” by Whitney Stewart.
I first heard of Whitney Stewart through a 12X12 webinar. I was very impressed by her, especially by how thoroughly she researches her material, travelling to places to research, and meeting people such as Sir Edmund Hillary. In fact, on her website, she bills herself as “a writer who travels the world”. Not everyone can do this, so it’s great that there are people like her with the ability to do so. It really does make her books come alive.
This book is no exception. It is based on her experiences in Tibet, Nepal, and India and with many meditation masters, including the Dalai Lama.
On Monday, my daughter came home in a cranky mood, so I decided that this was the perfect time to try the book. There are nine different meditations. I let her pick which one she wanted to try, and she decided to start with “jigsaw puzzle for wisdom”, for when you are “feeling all mixed up”. She decided that she wanted to try another one after this one, so the next choice was “bursting emotion for control”. After two more meditations, she was finished experimenting.
I asked her how she felt afterwards. She said that three of them helped, although interestingly enough the “bursting emotion for control” did not. How ironic! Perhaps more practice is needed? Her favourite was “jigsaw puzzle for wisdom”.
I did the meditations along with her. I found that the one I liked the best was “protection circle for security”, but that’s perhaps because of the current chaos in the world.
I recommend the book. It is more important than ever for our children to learn how to calm themselves. And many adults can use a lesson or two too!
If you want to learn a bit more about Whitney Stewart’s interest in Tibet, as well as her interview with the Dalai Lama, you can watch the following video.

To learn more about Whitney Stewart’s research process on one of her latest books, “Feldpost: The War Letters of Friedrich Reiner Niemann”, which is on my “to read” list, click here.
What authors are inspiring you these days? How are you keep calm and centred in the chaos of the world?