a tickle of words to create smiles

Archive for April, 2012

A Walk in the Woods

The sun’s warmth and the gentle breeze of the season made it an excellent day to just absorb nature. Here are a few of the 240 photos I took today to give you a sense of the loveliness I experienced with my husband and my puppy-dog Sasha. It was both magnificent and magical! Nature’s treasures were alive from dancing butterflies to fragrant honeysuckle. 

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Each of my senses were delighted! I am reminded that God’s presence is everywhere and my heart is filled with thanksgiving. I truly feel blessed! I think sometime this week I will create a painting or two based on these pictures.  Nature has such a soothing effect on the soul. I hope each of you had an equally tranquil day and may you be blessed with a glorious week. 


Gifts of Love Update 8

Today I detailed 2 more Gifts of Love as you can see in the picture above. It has been a bit of a slow day as I seemed to have gotten a touch of flu or something. I am not surprised with the damp, cooler weather we have experienced lately.  I bet you are wondering who won this week for the Gift of Love bag drawing. I drew out the following 2 names: Terri Dorr and Laurie Story!! Congratulations!! I will be in contact with you this week to get your mailing addresses. 

If any of you wish to be a recipient of one of these Gifts of Love, I will be doing a special drawing (one or two winners) each week until I finish painting all the Gifts of Love. I am on bag #30 for detailing and #68 for background art. All you need to do is leave a comment on my blog. The more comments you leave, the more times your name will go into the “hat”. The winners will be announced on Saturdays or Sundays. The Gift of Love will be sent out to you as soon as I get your mailing address. 


~ Art by guest artist: Rick Orobko ~

Vulnerability is often thought of as a weakness. According to the more commonly accepted definition of vulnerability it is the inability to withstand the effects of a hostile environment (Wikipedia).  Merriam-Webster defines vulnerability as the quality or state of having little resistance to some outside agent; and, the state of being left without shelter or protection against something harmful. Synonyms include: defenselessness, weakness, helplessness, powerlessness, passiveness, passivity, feebleness, frailness, frailty, openness, proneness, sensitivity, receptiveness, receptivity, easiness, gullibility, naïveté.

While some of those related words seem to be negative traits to have, others like openness and receptivity are actually quite positive traits to possess. So, why is it that most do not want to be vulnerable. Mostly, because they do not want to be hurt or feel like they are not in control. Here is the thing, though, while vulnerability is the core of shame and fear, a struggle for worthiness, it is also the birthplace and foundation of joy, of creativity, of belonging, and of love. (Brené Brown).

Dr. Brown studied vulnerability and why people struggle with it. This is a summary of what she stated in her TED talk. People numb vulnerability (with addictions). She asked, “What makes you feel vulnerable?” She got responses like: “Having to ask my husband for help because I’m sick, and we’re newly married; Initiating sex with my husband; Initiating sex with my wife; Being turned down; Asking someone out; Waiting for the doctor to call back; Getting laid off; Laying off people…” And the way people cope with vulnerability is to numb it.”

Dr. Brown stated, “And I think there’s evidence — and it’s not the only reason this evidence exists, but I think it’s a huge cause — we are the most in-debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in U.S. history. The problem is — and I learned this from the research — that you cannot selectively numb emotion. You can’t say, here’s the bad stuff. Here’s vulnerability, here’s grief, here’s shame, here’s fear, here’s disappointment. I don’t want to feel these. I’m going to have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin.  I don’t want to feel these….You can’t numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects, our emotions. You cannot selectively numb. So when we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness. And then we are miserable, and we are looking for purpose and meaning, and then we feel vulnerable, so then we have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin. And it becomes this dangerous cycle.”

Dr. Brown continued, “One of the things that I think we need to think about is why and how we numb. And it doesn’t just have to be addiction. The other thing we do is we make everything that’s uncertain certain. Religion has gone from a belief in faith and mystery to certainty. I’m right, you’re wrong…. The more afraid we are, the more vulnerable we are, the more afraid we are. This is what politics looks like today. There’s no discourse anymore. There’s no conversation. There’s just blame. You know how blame is described in the research? A way to discharge pain and discomfort. We perfect. If there’s anyone who wants their life to look like this (a perfect gift package with a bow on top), it would be me, but it doesn’t work.”

“And we perfect, most dangerously, our children. Let me tell you what we think about children. They’re hardwired for struggle when they get here. And when you hold those perfect little babies in your hand, our job is not to say, ‘Look at her, she’s perfect. My job is just to keep her perfect — make sure she makes the tennis team by fifth grade and Yale by seventh grade.’ That’s not our job. Our job is to look and say, “You know what? You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” That’s our job. Show me a generation of kids raised like that, and we’ll end the problems I think that we see today. We pretend that what we do doesn’t have an effect on people. We do that in our personal lives. We do that corporate — whether it’s a bailout, an oil spill, a recall — we pretend like what we’re doing doesn’t have a huge impact on other people. I would say to companies, this is not our first rodeo, people. We just need you to be authentic and real and say, ‘We’re sorry. We’ll fix it.’ “

Here is the wisdom in Dr. Brown’s TED talk: “But there’s another way, and I’ll leave you with this. This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee — and that’s really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that’s excruciatingly difficult — to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, ‘Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?’ just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say ‘I am just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.’ And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we’re enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, “I’m enough,” then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.”

In summary, we can consider the following in our challenge with being vulnerable: 1. Let ourselves be seen; 2. To love with our whole heart; 3. Practice gratitude and joy; 4. To believe WE are ENOUGH! (good enough, smart enough, etc.). As we embrace our vulnerability then we can be open, more loving and kinder with others. 

Dawning of the Age of Aquarius ~ 2012

I am not one that follows astrology with any conviction; but, I am intrigued by its influence on personalities of people and eras/ages. As it turns out, each of the twelve different (western) astrological signs has an age associated with it. These ages change over time depending on which of the signs appears during the morning of the spring equinox. I discovered tonight that we are currently in the Age of Pisces and shall soon enter the Age of Aquarius.

It’s assumed that we shall bid farewell to the Age of Pisces and shall welcome the Age of Capricorn/Aquarius compatibility during the year 2012, a lot more specifically, on December 21. The Aquarian age is thought to begin in 2012 and to last till 4172. (Ages span for 2,160 years; so if you start the calendar at the birth of Jesus Christ, then the Age of Aquarius would start in the year 2160; so all this information may be viewed as speculative.) According to the Mayan calendar we will have come a full circle of 25, 625 years. When you multiply 2160 years with the 12 astrological signs you get 25, 920 years. I find that interesting. Most of the information for this article came from: (Spiritual Growth Prophecies); I am sharing those things in their article about “our times” (as explained through the lens of astrology) that intrigued me. 

The more dominant core values of the Piscean Age of money, power and control must go to make room for the Aquarian Age values of love, unity, brotherhood and integrity. Pisces is the ruling constellation in the eastern pre-dawn night sky. But, the effects or influences of the Aquarian Age have been felt powerfully for as much as 800 years. The influences of Aquarius began around the French Revolution when their slogan was “freedom, equality, fraternity.” These values represent the Aquarian Age. (Spiritual Growth Prophecies)

Change in Astrological Ages is gradual, but the push comes to complete the change long before the next Age begins. Our technology booms, especially in electricity, are actually spawned by the Age of Aquarius to come. Modern man thinks it’s because we are so much more “advanced” than our ancestors. Technology went into an unprecedented trajectory in the Age of Pisces. It will continue to escalate; moreover, methods that are in harmony with the Earth will become a prerequisite to all new inventions. Harmony and for the good of the whole will be mandatory and innate. Nothing will flourish unless it satisfies the values of the Aquarian Age.

The Age of Pisces is – The Age of Monotheism (one God), Spirituality, and the Fish. It is characterized by the rise of many religions such as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. This represents the “spiritual” nature of Pisces. Throughout most of Pisces though this spiritual side is for the most part seen as the truth hidden behind the five senses. Spirituality was seen in relation to the world, not through an innate knowing of divinity.

The Fall of Rome began at the beginning of this Age. As with all great cycle changes the Age of Pisces began with chaos. Rome fell and chaos was rampant as the great change of power began. It was the birthing of the Middle Ages. The Age of Pisces is considered the Age of Jesus. Egypt’s Isis was dropped and Mary mother of Jesus comes into being replacing her near the close of the Age of Aries. Jesus is said to have been born of the Virgin Mary. Virgo is the polar opposite sign of Pisces. The Age of Pisces represents charity, mercy, sacrifice, compassion and pardon, which are the virtues taught and lived by Jesus.

Water played a prominent role in the teachings of Jesus, and Pisces is a water sign. The fish is the symbol of Pisces. Many of Jesus’ gatherings were near lakes and water. Fish were a big part of the diet of Jesus, his disciples and the multitudes. Water was used to baptize the people. Jesus was sacrificed because he was the “Lamb” of God. This represents the sacrificing of the RAM of Aries, which ended the Age of Aries the astrological age before Pisces.

Pisces marks the merging of east and west to give birth to the New Age of Aquarius. In fact that’s what has happened. Earlier on in the Age of Pisces, the Europeans, the Vikings, and more integrated with other cultures on mass. In recent history, China, India and much of the East have found their economic might and now the economies of the West are totally reliant on this trade. The East and West have merged as never before making it difficult for wars and other negative activities to continue.

The Piscean Age is a time of gentleness, materialism and artistry, but also it’s impracticability. This is possibly due to the rise in the European empires. To the spiritually undeveloped person Pisces represents “servitude.” To the disciple or aspirant, the vision of “service to humanity…world savior” as Jesus, came to the forefront. Good examples are Mother Theresa and the Dali Lama.

During the Age of Pisces, we were TOLD what to believe through religions, authority figures, dictators, etc. These powers have lost ground and the shift is now away from “power over others.” The emphasis will now be “power over self.” This debacle of power will escalate as we near the end of the Age of Pisces. The dawning of the Age of Aquarius encourage us to look beyond the five senses and experience true living by relying on guidance from the creator. Aquarius will be an Age when we truly realize that the love we show towards our brothers is the love we feel towards ourselves. This represents the oneness of all things which fosters unconditional love.

Science and technology will be used to improve human and environmental situations on earth, and not for monetary gain. We will finally know the true meaning of “progress.” In the Aquarian Age progress will represent decisions or activities where ALL things and people gain from the change. Sound impossible? It’s not.

We will finally KNOW we are not “victims” of circumstances, but the “creators” of our experiences. And, we will also know how to change our earthly situation. The focus will be on making our lives a heaven on earth. It will be the second coming of Christ, but this time we will KNOW he never left us. He was always within us trying to guide us, but we wouldn’t listen. Why? Because we thought we knew better, and listened to the voice of our ego instead. We will finally know and live the heavenly lives God intended for us from the beginning.

I do have profound faith in Jesus Christ, God and the Holy Spirit whose presence have always been in my heart. Christ inspires most of my actions when I am not giving into my emotions or acting in haste. Haste makes waste. The parallels between history and the characteristics of astrological ages is fascinating; however, as with statistics, it can be interpreted many ways.  However, it does seem we are moving towards a climax in history and there does seem to be more of a spiritual awakening among my circles. Only time will tell. 

As in the lyrics to Aquarius: When the moon is in the Seventh House; and Jupiter aligns with Mars; then peace will guide the planets; and love will steer the stars. This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius! Harmony and understanding; sympathy and trust abounding; no more falsehoods or derision; golden living dreams of vision; mystic crystal revelation; and the mind’s true liberation. Aquarius! With Peace, Love and Harmony! ♥ Angi

Art Day with Edie

Today I had magnificent time with my friend Edie of Life by the Seat of my Pants.  I was a guest on her live on-line art show, Art by the Seat of my Pants and we had a fantastic time creating and teaching art today. I shared how to make the Gifts Of Love bags and Edie experimented using different media on Tyvek paper, which is the specialized water-resistant paper that is used for U.S. Post Service Priority Mail envelopes.  

Edie started her program by introducing me and my Gift Of Love campaign. She shared the Gift of Love I gave her and she did a great job explaining the premise of the campaign, which is to pay Love forward to others. Inside the Gift of Love is a memento of the art of the bag printed on card stock and a letter with an original poem in it that I wrote entitled, Gift of Love. I will make the Gift Of Love campaign directions and its corresponding letter available this weekend on my website, Hearts That Care.

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As we continued co-hosting Edie’s art show, I demonstrated how I did the backgrounds for these works of art. After doing 2 backgrounds, I set those aside to dry and started painting on one of my completed backgrounds to demonstrate how I conceptualize the images. I saw angel’s wings in this particular bag. Each bag is unique, but each bag will have at least one heart painted on it. The heart represents Love and Hearts That Care.  

Edie did the second half of the show, where she used various painting and coloring materials on the Tyvek envelope. She started by using Gesso on half of it. While the Gesso dried, she used Neocolor, Intkense, Distress Ink, Water Color Paint, Craft Paint and Acrylic Paint on the “naked” side. Each of these materials acted differently. The Tyvek seems to have a waxy coating and a really interesting texture. The material seems indestructible. You cannot tear it easily. Edie also found that the Tyvek is not porous enough for most glues. You cannot glue things easily to Tyvek. Be sure to visit Edie’s blog. I am looking forward to doing more art shows with Edie in the future. 


What do I do when my mind needs a bit of down time? I doodle. I use my noodle and doodle. In the U.K. I learned that they moodle, which is like daydreaming, pondering and wondering all at the same time. So I use my noodle to moodle and doodle. 

I had intended to paint and create more Gifts of Love; but sometimes things do not always go as planned. I had some “business” to take care of today. Tomorrow, I will be able to do more with my Gifts of Love campaign.

This evening I doodled as a way to tame all the wild thoughts in my head. As I doodle, I keep positive thoughts, blessings and attentions in my mind. I needed a way to release the pent up stress and let go of the negative energy. I am not sure where the negative energy originated but somehow it got into my being. As I doodled I was able to breathe easier and relax the tension that nested between my eyes and in my stomach.

Other ways I release tension is going out for walks in nature, exercising and/or listening to music. On those infrequent occasions when I am simply prickly or maybe even angry or hurt, I am tempted to vent at my husband, but as soon as I find myself raising my voice at him, I back away from the situation and try to reassess it. And ask myself, “why did I yell or why do I feel angry?”

This allows me to take time for myself and ease the emotions with a more positive activity like doodling and listening to soothing music. I try to engage in any activity that allows me to slow down my heart rate and calm me. How do each of you “wind down” after a less than positive day?

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Faith and Love

Faith makes all things possible… love makes all things easy.
Dwight L. Moody

All we need is faith and love to fuel our hearts. The hardest part is having faith in ourselves and loving ourselves. It is often easier to love and have faith in others. Why is that? Is it a feeling of unworthiness? Is it fear that we will disappoint ourselves?

How can we love others and have faith in others if we do not have love and faith in ourselves? How do we start? Love and faith in ourselves starts with gratitude and counting blessings. It is reflecting upon who we are and cherishing everything about ourselves, how we live, how we interact, who we are and what we have accomplished.

It is also not discounting anything. Smiling at strangers, saying hello, complimenting others, acting in compassion and with kindness, holding one’s intentions, saying prayers for others and sending good wishes and blessings are all seemingly small acts but add up to be something quite amazing. For we do not know how much of an effect a smile or hello may have on the hearts of others.  

One of the best and most loving actions we can do is listen. Listen with all your heart to what others have to say. When you are completely present for someone, it feels amazing for both the giver and the recipient. How do you feel when you know others are completely present for you? When you know you are being heard and valued, how do you feel? How does it feel to have someone’s faith and trust? It feels wonderful! All we need is faith and love.

  • Faith (erniereppe.wordpress.com)

Gifts of Love Update 7

Today was a delightful day of getting back into the swing of creating more backgrounds for my Gifts of Love campaign. There are now a total of 67 bags with paint on them. Twenty-eight Gifts of Love are completed.

Last Monday, I presented a Gift of Love to my newest friend and associate, LeRoyce. She was absolutely delighted to receive it. She is the fourth recipient of one of these works of love and art.

I know I will have more opportunities this week to present a few more Gifts of Love to others. Below are images of my latest creations: 5 completed bags, and fifteen in process with their backgrounds, which includes the ten I painted today.

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If any of you wish to be a recipient of one of these Gifts of Love, I will be doing a special drawing (one or two winners a week). All you need to do is leave a comment starting today. The more comments you leave, the more times your name will go into the “hat”. The winners will be announced on Saturdays and the Gift of Love will be sent out to you as soon as I get your mailing address. 

Ode To Gaia

Ode to Gaia

Your colors are so divine,
With every flavor like sweet wine.
Abundant and bountiful are your treasures;
If only we use in moderate measures.

There is absolutely no need,
for the sense of lack, fear or greed.
You, dear Mother Gaia, are pure love.
Your gifts are everywhere, below and above.

You deserve so much in return,
yet nothing you expect just discern
what adjustments humans must make
to bring back equilibrium without mistake.

For we all know in our hearts that you will find
A way for life to go on with or without human kind.
Foolish people may continue to believe
That we can go on without reprieve.

We must always keep you in our embrace,
And stop all our shameful waste, a disgrace.
On this designated day, let us love and honor you,
In all your magnificent glory of green and blue.

Update: In my haste to post, Ode to Gaia, I forgot to tell everyone my sister and father had a hand in the last 6 lines of this poem. We co-created this poem in honor of Earth Day. Thank you so much for reading it. ♥

Tribute to Ray Carmines

A man who is surrounded by so many loved ones during his lifetime is a rich man, indeed. And, such a man is Mr. Ray Carmines. Mr. Carmines will have his 85th birthday on April 26; while, today he celebrated with family and friends at the local Ice-Plex. My family and I count ourselves privileged and blessed to be included in such a wonderful event in his life. It was beautiful to see Mr. Carmines radiate such joy and seeing it reflecting back to him. Look at his dazzling smile!

Mr. Carmines with my parents.

The celebration was perfect. Mr. Carmines was surrounded with about a hundred or more friends and family, all of whom were gathered to celebrate his life and enjoy his presence. Mr. Carmines exudes such a beautiful and positive attitude. He has been a part of my family’s life since I was about ten years old when we first moved a couple of houses down from him in our neighborhood in Poquoson. He has always been a very loving and generous man.

Mr. Carmines has always been active in the community, a loving father and husband to his four daughters and wife, a great friend and neighbor and a man of God. He is one of a few I have known in my life to truly live his life in the spirit of Jesus Christ with a generous and loving heart. He has never has had a negative word to say about anyone. I do not even recall ever seeing him unhappy. He is one who chooses to fully live his life in joy. Not only does Mr. Carmines snow ski whenever he gets a chance, but he is also champion ice skater/dancer, which is the one of the reasons why we celebrated his birthday and life at the Ice-Plex.


The Ice-Plex was the perfect place to accommodate everyone. Many attendants ice-skated including the “man of the hour”. It was such a delight to see everyone relaxed and having a great time. There was plenty of wonderful food, drink and birthday cake.  

One of my favorite parts of today’s celebration was playing BINGO using words that celebrated Mr. Carmines’ life such as: Virginia Tech (his alma mater), ice skating, snow skiing, maroon and orange (school colors), football, and so many other delightful words that represent a part of Mr. Carmines’ life.  In the spirit of love and generosity, everyone had the opportunity to win at least once (many won twice or more); furthermore, prizes were available, wonderful tokens that helped to mark the occasion.

With or without prizes, we ALL felt like WINNERS! The positive energy, warmth and love that filled the ice complex could have melted the ice. I hope these words convey at least a fraction of joyousness that was experienced today. Mr. Carmines is a magnificent person, a loving soul and a gift to the world. May he have 85 more magnificent years. 

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