Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Semantics or Core Differences?

I’ve been thinking again and that always causes some folks concern while it leaves others just scratching their heads, but semantics has been on my mind a lot lately.  Semantics as defined by Merriam-Webster (2014) is at its very basic definition is just the study of the meanings of words and phrases in language or in a particular context, for example, obesity.  No one wants to be obese, but what or whom defines obesity.  However, it is more acceptable to describe ourselves as portly, chubby, fleshy or stocky, but obese?  Why, obese is more than just fat!  Actually, portly, chubby, stocky, fat are all synonyms for obesity… newsflash, they all mean the same basic thing, according to dear old Merriam-Webster (2014).  All previously mentioned synonyms as well as obesity mean “a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body” (Merriam-Webster, 2014).  Remember these are my thoughts, so bear with me.  Now thinking along this line of thought, let’s throw out a couple other words and/or phrases that I think have caused all kinds of division and discord throughout history: incentive vs. bribe; magic vs. miracles; “get saved” vs. “awakened to faith”; garden flower vs. weed; half-full glass vs. half-empty glass; adult novel vs. pornography; and the list could continue till the next millennium…  The point is words are symbols of communication.  Their meaning is relevant to the communicator and the communication receiver.  That is great as long as both are on the same page for word meaning but look out when the sender and the receiver are on a different page. 

I believe semantics is the reason we have so many different religions, dominations, cultures, and even
interpretations of The Bible.  By using a synonym for a word, such as obesity, we can make a statement fit our purpose or belief.  By changing a word, we can often persuade another person to see things our way, but do we really?  Perhaps, we just adjust our viewpoint when we change a word to one of its synonyms to fit another’s belief.  For instance, if the CEO of a major company wants to really push a particular product, he is going to offer an incentive if his sales people and/or the customers buy this product, such as a rebate of $100 or giving an upgrade option away.  Now according to Mr. Webster again, incentive, which invokes a good feeling in most of us, is defined, “something that incites or has a tendency to incite to determination or action” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, 2014).  On the other hand, bribe, which invokes a negative feeling in most of us, has two parts to its definition: “1: money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust; 2:  something that serves to induce or influence” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, 2014).  Let’s look just a bit further to Mr. Webster’s Thesaurus. 

If we compare prophecy with clairvoyance, there are so many similarities between these two words. 
Prophecy as defined by Mr. Webster is “a statement that something will happen in the future; the power or ability to know what will happen in the future” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, 2014); on the other hand, the definition of clairvoyance is “the power or faculty of discerning objects not present to the senses; ability to perceive matters beyond the range of ordinary perception; to predict future events (noun).  Common related words to prophecy and clairvoyance include “foreknowledge and foresight” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, 2014). 

Two more words that I worked with in my semantics study was miracle and magic. Now to just clarify, I am not talking magic as in a magician or illusionist, such as David Copperfield, so I’m not going to include the parts that refer to magic tricks in the definition of magic because most of the time, that is an illusion, not really magic.  Magic is defined as “the use of means believed to have supernatural power over natural forces; an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source” (Merriam-Webster, 2014). Mr. Webster defines miracle as “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs; an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment” (Merriam-Webster, 2014).  The definitions between magic and miracles are where the similarities end.  No synonyms are common between the two words.  In fact, there are more similarities in synonyms between magic and prophecy than miracle and magic. 

More than semantics is at stake here. Who benefits when certain words are labeled as bad, evil as opposed to others as righteous, good?  I am one of those people with a ton of natural curiosity about a diverse range of subjects.  Semantics interests me because I believe that words and their definitions through the ages are changed by specific groups and cultures in order to fit their needs.  If the word won’t change enough in people’s minds to suit the power head in the group, then I think that word and/or practice is discarded, degraded, even branded as evil; while another word is invented and tagged as more appropriate.  Looking into the history of words, their meanings and origins might show us that we are not so different than people outside our culture and comfort zones.  Still thinking so watch for more on semantics….

Till Next Time!
Leigh Anne

Clairvoyance. (n.d.). Retrieved April 8, 2014, from

Magic. (n.d.). Retrieved April 8, 2014, from

Miracle. (n.d.). Retrieved April 8, 2014, from

Prophecy. (n.d.). Retrieved April 8, 2014, from

Obesity. (n.d.) Retrieved March 4, 2014, from

Semantics. (n.d.) Retrieved March 4, 2014, from

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Homesteading, pallets, and gardening

I’m so excited about our weekends! We’ve been spending time outside working on patio and herb/veggie garden setup. it looks great! yesterday, Steve finished putting the topsoil and potting soil mix in the herb/veggie beds while I planned what is going in there while sitting on the nice clean patio! The veggie/herb beds are based on the pallet gardening technique this year.  I’ll also be doing some container gardening as well. 

We ended our afternoon by riding down to Lake Guntersville Dam. (can you tell we love Lake Guntersville?) Delightful walk on one side of the dam and we gathered with other eagle lovers to watch one of the babies stretch his wings in the nest. As we were walking back to the truck, one of the eagle parents flew and circled on his/her way back to the nest. We parked the truck again and watch while she fed her babies in the nest. no pictures of eagles yet, as my camera battery was dead as a doornail!   I wanted to share my new rose bed too. Steve made this for me while I visited my family a couple weeks ago. Bragging about our homesteading (make it do, use it up or do without philosophy), this rose bed was made completely from pallets that were to be thrown awy as were our pallet herbal beds. I'm so proud of him and love my herb and rose garden beds! He bought roses to add to my rose collection, brought home topsoil so I was able to plant the new roses in the pallet bed this weekend.
I plan to add some annuals around the roses to cascade over the sides for additional color this summer! Steve is now in the process of making a second raised bed to add more growing space to my flower garden! I love recycling and repurposing these pallets that would just be thrown away otherwise!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hunter S. Thompson poem personified by Sprinkle

Mark, one of Leroy's Raiders, about 1975.
I received news of friend’s death this morning.  This happens to be an old high school friend who fought the battle with throat cancer for several years.  Several months ago his doctor told him his throat cancer was back and not to expect to live longer than about a month.  Mark posted the news on Facebook then proceeded to fight gallantly.  Mark was a free spirit. He valued his friends, family and just grabbed life to the fullest.  He inspired everyone with his wit and wonderful outlook.  I’m sure he tweaked halos and wings as the angels welcomed him home this morning.  I hope to follow his wonderful example of living life with gusto till the very end.  He personified this poem by Hunter S. Thompson:
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
I can’t say rest in peace because I believe he is not resting but continues to live in heaven!  Till we meet again, Mark!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

A friend of mine shared this on Facebook today.  I want to credit the proper author here on this post so I've edited the post to include the author of this lovely sentiment.

While I don't consistently participate in this day, I am a fan of it. I'm a fan of love, because without it, without the promise of it, without the feeling of it, what is there? Being "In Love" though, well that's the deal ain't it. Kisses are different, hugs mean more and the intimacy with that person that makes you transcend the physical? It's just magical is all. That one person can take you to the stars or be the rock you smash yourself against. You know what, either way, worth it. Passion is a wonderful thing, but is everything. I don't mind what I've lost, it was less than what I gained and tomorrow is a new day. Who knows what's going to happen on that day. Happy Valetines Day to you! 

"Love is sometimes denied, sometimes lost, sometimes unrecognized, but in the end always found with no regrets, forever valued and kept treasured." Leo Tolstoy

The one thing I do know, don't let this be the one day out of the year that they know how special they are to you. You never know which kiss will be the last one.
Brian Hames

Have a beautiful Valentine's day!  go hug your loved ones!


Not a pleasant topic but one that is on my mind since I’m working through the grief process and have been the last couple months.  My ex-husband, Pat, passed away unexpectedly the week before thanksgiving.  Now while grieving for an ex-spouse might sound weird, it has been and continues to be painful and confusing.  My hubby, Steve, has been a bit bothered by this sudden outpouring of grief for a man who has not been in my life for a long, long time; however, Pat and I shared a life, dreams, and children. 
The actual grief came in spurts before I realized that even as an ex-wife, I had to process the stages of grief.  I went to the funeral to support my son.  The funeral was just the beginning of the process. I had not even seen my ex-husband since our grandson had passed 5 years ago.  But sitting in front of his urn is an eye-opening; heart wrenching awakening to lots of emotions that I thought were long buried.  So many things unsaid that should have been said to provide both of us closure. 

Stages of grief defined by ElisabethKubler Ross are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  I don’t want to get into a basic psychology class here but each of these stages are necessary to go through successfully the grief process.  How one goes through the process and the order of the various stages are as individual as the person experiencing the grief.  The grieving process is unique to each person depending on his/her personality, circumstances, and emotional state, but grieving is a necessary process.

The other side of the coin to this dilemma is that I remarried 11 years ago to a wonderful man who I love to pieces!  Our marriage has seen lots of great times as well as hard times.  Divorce is so common in our society today that this situation is becoming more common as we, the baby boomers, are reaching the age where death is dealt with more often.  Current spouses are being called on to be supportive and loving while their partner grieves for a lost ex-spouse.  Lots of questions arise that I nor my sweet hubby can answer:

1.      Is there marriage in heaven?
2.      If we are married, who will we be married to since we have both been married before?
3.      Do you love me as much as you obviously loved him/her? 
4.      Is our marriage going to survive this loss?
5.      How long will you grieve for him/her?

This process is both confusing and unfortunately so necessary.  There is no set deadline on grief for anyone we lose to death.  Each person experiences emotions differently than another so grief is a personal thing that can’t have a set time of duration.  Be good to yourself and your current spouse!

 When we marry we give a part of ourselves to that spouse that is left with that spouse when divorce occurs.  There were shared dreams, children, experiences that might have been happy, sad, angry, etc., but they are shared and can never be part of another marriage.  Truly when we marry, part of our heart is filled with that other person.  Perhaps that is what is meant by becoming “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).  I could go down so many rabbit holes on this train of thought but won’t today.  It’s enough to know that grief of an ex-spouse is normal even if life with that person was no longer possible.  Feelings and emotions are not controllable but our reactions to them are.  Allow the grief and process all the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  Then follow Mary’s example while she watched Jesus grow into a man; treasure all the good memories and ponder them in your heart (Luke 2:19). While your ex-spouse is your past, and you have history with him/her; remember your current spouse is your present and your future.  Go create history with him/her!

For your reading pleasure:

The death of an ex-spouse raises wrenching questions. The Globe and Mail.
When An Ex-Spouse Dies. Heartache to Healing: Compassionate Grief Support to Heal Your Heart and Soul.  HeartH

Lose of Ex Husband. Legacy Connect.

What's Sex Got to Do with It?  True Woman.

References: Because Love Never Dies. (2014). The Five Stages of Grief. Retrieved from
Meyers, R.  E-Sword Bible Software.  (2008)  New International Version.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

2014 is now in full swing!  This post isn't about resolutions or goals but really an introduction of myself to the world.  While I don't feel I can or even should reveal everything detail about my life, I do feel that part of growing in this life is being open.  Sharing my life experiences has two-fold benefits: 
1.    Sharing my experience may help someone out there who is just beginning a similar experience to get through said experience without the same mistakes.
2.    Sharing my experience helps to sort it out in my mind and heart so that it is compartmentalized in proper perspective.  Experience is meant to teach and strengthen us, not harm us. 

That being said, I tend to be a perfectionist and try to plan my blog so that it is very appealing to any and everyone who reads it.  I’ve realized that this perfectionism is causing too much procrastination.  My perfectionism keeps me from trying lots of various creative outlets because I might fail!  The creativity might not be up to everyone’s standards.  Well, know what?  I will fail if that is my bar for success!  I cannot jump high enough to clear that bar!  Someone is not going to be pleased.

So…. Here is my goal for this blog.  No more just planned out articles that are months apart.  As things come to mind whether I have one thought or paragraph or 10 pages, I’ll just throw it up on the blog.  If one posts isn’t to anyone’s liking maybe someone will love the next one. 

Till next time, probably later today since something else is already has a finger on my spirit!

With a happy heart (most of the time),

Leigh Anne the Queen of Hysteria

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Creative Muse Lives!
Ready for another confession today?  I am basically a very creative person but in the last three or four years, I have ignored my creative side so much that I honestly thought my creative muse had packed her bags and left for good!  Up until then few days passed that I didn’t work on some creative idea or project.  I have always been interested in honing my needlework skills in quilting, knitting, doll-making, and embroidery of several types.  In addition, I have played with beading (mostly to accent some piece of needlework or soft sculpture), cake decorating, polymer clay, and even scrapbooking.  I love refinishing furniture and nothing pleases me more than to complete a decorating project in my home! 

In 2008, I felt the pull to finish my formal education but not in art or women’s art history.  I felt the call to enter the counseling field for transitional women.  I love what I learned during the formal training but honestly, I learned more about myself!  During these years, I put my creativity on the backburner of the stove of life due to the demands of academia.  During the years of study also brought some of the largest, meanest storms of life I have ever experienced.  Let’s just say that I have new admiration for the Book of Job!  When my creative muse packed her bags and left my inner self, I waved goodbye, thinking “good riddance, muse!  What did you ever accomplish here anyway?”

I completed my masters this past summer, then in august found myself back at home full time.  During this time, I’ve begun my “house into a home” project which is an ongoing project at this point but definitely is showing benefits and improvements.  During the work of turning our living room from storage room to library/music room, my creative muse started peeking back in the windows of my spirit.  She watched silently while I sorted through boxes, arranged furniture, and painted the walls.  The week following the painting, I just sat and wondered what to do next.  During this rest period, she was still silent and didn’t even give me a poke towards a creative mood.  It is amazing how decluttering rooms, painting rooms, and arranging furniture into a pleasing livable fashion spoke to my absent creative muse.  God gives us talents to use, regardless of what those talents are.  When we don’t use them, we might not lose the ability or talent but the urge to create goes to sleep. 

Well, I committed to making a large birthday cake and constructing the slideshow for Pete’s, Steve’s grandmother, 100th birthday party.  Last week, I marked the calendar off for deadlines for the various stages of my two projects.  I had already been scanning and editing pictures for the slideshow but knew that the cake had to be extra special so a schedule with deadlines to get it all done in proper fashion without the last minute crunch was necessary.  During my years of cake decorating for family and friends, I have experimented with fondant but never did much with it except for making cakes for baby showers or flat flowers.  Well, this cake won’t be getting flat flowers or bassinet skirts but 3D figures to represent various interests in Pete’s life that have been dear to her heart.
So like all good researchers, I began to research for similarities between working with fondant dough and polymer clay.  Amazingly, they are very similar.  In fact, whenever I did a search for fondant animals, I always got some tutorial or reference to polymer clay animals.  Procrastinators, you will empathize with me at this point, I’m sure.  I began to procrastinate because my perfectionistic tendencies crept into my mind and began whispering, “what happens if you can’t make these animals look right?”  “What if they look like one of the grandchildren did them instead of an experienced cake decorator, former artist?”  Procrastination is the child of perfectionism.  I procrastinate because I feel that the end product must be perfect and I won’t meet the perfect expectation.    Amazingly, I don’t have to be perfect, I just need to do it!  Also, my creative muse does not like chaos but she doesn't need perfection either!  I tried to make her live in an intolerable environment for years!  My creative muse was forced to live in chaos of emotion, stress, depression, and total clutter with no time or inclination to explore imagination.  Just in case your creative muse has been absent or silent, they NEED imagination and order, not perfection. 

Tuesday, I made the list for my fondant supplies and located my polymer clay tools.  Yesterday, after walking the floor, chatting with a client, I finally sat down and opened the fondant package.  I took a deep breath, turned on the computer to find my researched images of cows, cats, and poodles.  Trees and flowers will come next.  I began working the fondant just as I would polymer clay.  The fondant became soft and pliable.  I realized I was holding my breath.  It took me a couple hours to finish the first little cow but I’m proud of him. 

His features are not perfect, but the longer I worked on this one little fondant cow, the more my confidence rose, and surprisingly, I heard my creative muse whisper softly at first.  By the time Steve came in from work, my muse had begun singing and I was so excited! 

My creative muse has come home.  She isn’t completely settled yet but she is already singing and inspiring me back to creativity! I have interests in many art forms ~ writing, doll-making or soft sculpture, quilting, knitting, and beading.   It doesn’t matter what medium I choose to work with as long as I work in some creative medium, she won’t go away again! 

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Animal Kingdom at Disney World

Steve and I have returned home and had a weekend of rest from our vacation to Disney World (DW)!  Now to get back in the swing of real world stuff, but I’m going to show and tell about our trip first!  Since we moved to Alabama, our drive has increased substantially so we left on Friday at lunch, stopped at Steve’s parents’ home, then arrived in Orlando late Saturday afternoon.  We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge DVC Resort this time.  We discovered it last December and just love it!  It is a great place for families but the older empty-nesters can enjoy it too!  The Wilderness Lodge lobby is awesome and like all the resorts pretty busy; however, the DVC lobby is much quieter with lovely
nooks to sink into comfy chairs or rockers—all the fireplaces were going even in the summer!  The first night Steve and I found our favorite rockers in front of the main fireplace empty.  We spent a delightful evening with his laptop and my knitting.  I worked on one of two baby sweaters that must be completed by the middle of September.  (That is 2013, not 2014, babies don’t wait that long.)  A young teenager walked past us while we were just relaxing with the comment, “really?  Come on, this is Disney!”  Yes, we actually sat in
rockers in front of the fireplace at Disney World!   

We spent a delightful first full day at Animal Kingdom followed by dinner at Boma’s in the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Animal Kingdom Park is one of my very favorites!  There is no way to see and do everything in one day for us (remember, we are not 20-something anymore.)  But we do have favorites that are just must-do then we try to visit something different every trip.  

Flight of Wonder never ceases to amaze me!  I’ve had pet parrots for years but am always amazed what the DW researchers are able to prompt these magnificent creatures to during several shows a day!  Guano Joe, the lost tour guide, adds so much humor and lightheartedness!  I’ve been going regularly to Animal Kingdom for eleven years and the same “Joe” has been there every time! Conserving these beautiful creature is the main message during this show and I think Disney and their wonderful cast members convey it beautifully without beating me over the head with it! 
 This guy was flying to retrieve another guest’s dollar bill.  He got the dollar and flew close enough to hit my head as he passed me. He also returned the money to the guest later in the show.

Disney is so full of fantasy and wonder, but when Hope, the bald eagle, made her entrance on the arm of a cast member, emotion and pride for my country swelled in my heart!  She is so beautiful and is a great reminder of the great country I call home. 

Kilimanjaro Safari is another “not to be missed” activity for me!  The weather for this ride was perfect, not too hot or humid to ride in the open-sided trucks. That’s our driver guide in the rearview mirror.  Our driver was very informative about all the animals in
throughout the ride.  This is one of those rides where there is no control on how many animals you might actually see, but we were so fortunate to even see the lions napping on the huge rocks.
Look closely for the two lionesses! They are really camouflaged on those rocks!

This big African bull elephant blocked the road for three trucks during our ride.  After several minutes one of the drivers radioed for the inspectors to come
and shoo him across the road.  He was enjoying his day in the sunshine! 
These trees are often said to be “upside down” trees since it appears their roots are growing out of the ground! (Borrowed this picture from since my driver went too fast for me and my phone camera!)

Just around the corner from the big bull elephant, this little baby was cooling himself with his ears. Mom wasn't far away either!

You don’t have to ride the safari to see wildlife, just walk through the park! Every nook and cranny holds some wonderful plant, bird, animal or fish! 

This little 
Meerkat was sitting alone in the very large habitat he shares with his friends and family.  I have read before that one little guy has guard duty while the rest of the colony sleeps.  Wonder if they draw straws?

Waterfalls are just one of many beautiful settings throughout Animal Kingdom.  This one is in the gorilla habitat as you cross the bridge going back to the trail.

Speaking of gorillas, the gorilla family was out and active for our Animal Kingdom day!  This little fellow was sitting quietly at the large viewing window, but as the crowd left the pavillon, he kind of followed along until we all got to the bridge.  He climbed trees then proceeded to swing back and forth to the delight of his audience, until Mama left.  Like a small child, when he couldn't see Mama, he was done being big stuff and went looking for her!
The tigers in the Asian habitat were done watching the humans and had settled
down for the afternoon siesta!  No, they are not dead, they were breathing!  I looked to make sure!  :)

We revisited the Festival of the Lion King and could not figure out why we had skipped it the last 5 years! 
The music, costumes and dancing is just phenomenal!  I wasn’t able to take pictures during this show since flash wasn’t allowed but have snagged a couple pictures and links for you to visit.  Don’t miss this show!  Here’s a YouTube link of the show.  Wish I had thought to take the video camera with me!

As I mentioned before, we ended our day over at Animal Kingdom Lodge with dinner at Boma, which offers South African cuisine and stimulates your taste buds to the point of no return! Although it is buffet style, the food is excellent!  Just be careful how many trips you make back to the buffet!  The buffet is sectioned off by courses so it is easy to navigate back for more of a favorite food!  The serving staff is just friendly and warm!  I was wearing my “Celebrating” badge since I just completed my graduate work the week before our trip.  My server noticed and after bringing our coffee, she came back with a dessert plate bearing three delicious truffles: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate.  Boma’s has been one of our favorite restaurants for the last eleven years; however, this year, they went up in price a bit which makes a meal a bit pricey for us to be able to be able to keep it as a regular visit.  After tip, our dinner for two was about $90. 

After dinner, Steve and I needed to walk off some of the many calories we had consumed!
 The horseshoe curved veranda is inspired by the traditional African Kraal and is designed to view four different savannas filled with over 200 different animals and birds, including giraffe and zebra!  While the animals enjoyed their evening meal, lots of us enjoyed leaning against the fence watching the animals!

Over the next few days, I'll share Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom!
Till next time!
 Just had to show you the Tree of Life!
With a Happy Heart, 
Leigh Anne