Enchanted by Fuji Matsuri

From mid April to mid May every year in Japan, there is a beautiful flower festival called Fuji Matsuri or the Wisteria Festival. Walking through this beautiful flower garden would inspire poets, writers, musicians, artists and photographers. These pictures are so enchanting and magical-can you picture a wedding here? I can. The beauty this earth presents to us continues to capture my imagination. Hope everyone has a nice Earth Day tomorrow!

Photo credits:

It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.

Hi everyone!

How is everyone? Well, Adventure Boy and I are finally back from the Children’s Hospital after being there for the past 3 weeks. AB had to pass certain walking requirements by the Physical Therapists (one leg is in a cast and the other is in a brace) in order to come home. It feels amazing to be back home again. We’ve missed our cozy home.

Saying goodbye to all the wonderful medical professionals who have helped AB these past 3 weeks has been a little hard. I’ve never been good with goodbye’s and this wasn’t any easier. It’s not goodbye, it’s just see you later-which is actually the truth. We’ll be back there in a month for follow ups and more physical therapy, hence the title of this blog. What. Did you actually think I was leaving WordPress? I love this site. Never! I’m determined to get a million hits by the time I’m 90 years old. Lol. Anyways, let me tell you about some of the people who really impacted our stay while we were away in no particular order.

Miss Debbie. She was one of the many cleaning ladies there and she always came in with a happy demeanor. One day, while she was changing the next bed’s linens, AB was getting Physical Therapy. This day, AB had to just take 2-3 steps, but it was so painful for him. AB was crying say, “I can’t, I can’t! It hurts too much!”. An hour later, Miss Debbie came in and gave one of the best motivational speeches I ever heard. I almost cried. She encouraged AB to try his best and to keep going. AB listened. At first, AB was silently mouthed to me, “Who is this woman?”, I just shook my head and said, “Just listen to her.” The next few days, Miss Debbie would come in and always check on AB and to see how he was doing. He even showed her how he had improved and she’d get all excited.

Alex. He transported the kids to their Physical Therapy. He was pretty cool and always had a smile on his face. He talked a lot to AB and was incredibly sweet to him.

AB’s rehab nurse, Therese. If there wasn’t the coolest rehab nurse on this planet, then she would be it. Therese’s bubbly personality and fun antics, AB’s stay would’ve been boring. The nurses at the other floor after the operation were all exceptional. At first we thought the nurses at the rehab were a bit boring until we met Therese. AB really got attached to her and got along great with her.

The male nurse at the other floor. Not to be too specific, but he was the sweetest male nurse I ever met. AB also got very attached to him because he was so gentle and fun-loving with him. I hope we get him again in the future. In never saw a nurse more attentive to AB other than Therese there.

The magician. After we went to the rehab floor, we went down to the main floor to watch a magician. This hospital has their own tv and radio show just for the kids at the entire hospital. The magician did a trick for all the kids and even got AB to be involved in two of them.

All American Rejects. We met them there as they stopped by to say hello to the kids and be on the radio. AB met all of them and got a picture with the lead singer. A lot of famous celebrities have stopped by that hospital, but they always leave it to the last minute to tell the patients so that there isn’t a mad rush for non patients to see them. It was a quiet group, but it was cool to see them. AB likes two of their songs. He has their autograph in a safe place.

The cleaning man. I’m not sure what his name was, but he would come around 8pm to change the trash in our rooms. He was always so friendly and helpful. I talk to everyone no matter what their job is. Once he saw how friendly I was, he’d come in with stories to tell even though his stay was short. He’s also ask how AB was feeling.

The breakfast and lunch lady. She would bring in AB’s food (and sometimes mine) with the greatest smile. Service with a smile. I’d thank her every time for our great food and would tell her to tell the chef how much I loved his omelets. Sometimes, when she would not be on the floor, we’d get others who would just drop the food off and leave without saying a word. This lady was just a ray of sunshine for us at 7:30 in the morning. I’ll miss her along with all the other nameless nurses, doctors and staff members who were just as nice to us during our stay.

The two sweet therapy dogs who stopped by AB’s bed to say hello and wag their tails. Such beautiful creatures with enormous amounts of unconditional love to give to children who are stuck in bed.

Last but not least, Kristy the Physical Therapist (intern). Kristy was the one who really helped AB to be able to walk more than 2 steps in rehab. The other day, AB used his crutches and walked over 30 steps. How do you thank someone like her for doing all that work to help your child take steps using crutches and a walker? She was amazing and AB and her got along incredibly well. It was her last day interning and I could have sworn I saw her wipe a tear away during the last session which then made me want to tear up myself. But I held it in, it was tough, but I held in that one huge teardrop that wanted to just splash over. She’ll make a fantastic PT someday! We will both miss her a lot, but we’ve met the other PT’s there and will see them again very soon.

Even though, we met some incredible people it feels so good to be back home. We are settling in now and enjoying our privacy. We’d had 6 different roommates since we’ve been gone at the hospital so it’s nice to be in our own place.

Have you ever been somewhere for a few days, weeks, months or years where you met people who impacted your stay or life?

One of the reasons I love this movie “Big Fish” is because it’s not only quirky, but beautiful in how it ends. I’d want to see every single person who entered my life (be it a few hours or so) who truly left an impact on my life. I’m not saying, everyone, but certain people who helped me along life’s journey. I think that would be a beautiful way to go just as this movie displayed. No matter what job you have or what volunteer job you may do, you do leave an impact on someone’s life along the way. Everyone has a purpose. From the doctors all the way down to the people who sweep the floors. Trust me.

One more thing. If you haven’t seen this movie, definitely check it out. It’s worth seeing! I own this movie and have seen it many times. However; every single time I see this part, I shed a tear.

Lots of love.

JavaGirl’s Life

I want to live in your paintings

My heart feels heavy in an artistic way. An artist I admired so much growing up has passed away in California yesterday. Perhaps you have heard of him, Thomas Kinkade. Thomas was one artist I always felt I wanted to meet and sit down and have coffee with. In my mind, we would discuss his brush strokes, his inspirations, dreams, family and how his artwork inspired people such as myself. People admired his paintings so much and wanted to live in his cottages and towns he painted, that there is actually a real life town where the houses are built exactly like the ones in his artwork. One of my favorite things to look for in his paintings was the letter “K” which he so cleverly hid in all his paintings. I would spend a lot of time just exploring every brush stroke to find this gem. Here are some of his paintings to enjoy.

And finally, I leave you with my favorite painting of his. This painting I saw first at a mall as a teen where it all began. I saw this painting and just stood there for quite some time just taking in all its beauty as it stirred up my imagination. Having lived in a postcard life in Brazil where all I saw was blue skies, lots of sunshine and swaying palm trees, this was different. What would it be like to live in that painting? That cottage is so cute and feels safe. I want to be safe; a place where everything is going to be ok and there is sunshine in every corner of my little world.

“Who is this artist?”, I asked the sales lady.
“That’s Thomas Kinkade. Isn’t he great?”, she replied.
“Yeah. He sure is. How much is it?”, I knew the answer, but it was all that I could ask at the time. The sales lady told me the price and I turned back to the painting. Oh, how I wished I could afford this painting. I love oil painting so much and I had fallen in love with the beauty of how this artist painted a world I wanted to live in. It was unlike any other artist I admired, but this man painted with sensitivity and tranquility. Perhaps it was the way he always had a theme of sunlight in his paintings. In Brazil, that’s all I ever knew. There wasn’t a rare day that I didn’t see sunlight, maybe that’s why I gravitated to his paintings. I also love stone houses and a lot of his houses and cottages were made out of that. Gardens flowing with shades of purples, pink, yellow and blue hues would make even the pickiest gardener fall in love. Growing up as a child, sometimes my mom would take me to a huge house in Bala Cynwyd, PA where I would run around the stone house and amongst the gardens filled with flowers and butterflies. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was like being inside a Thomas Kinkdade painting. I still cherish those memories.

Years go by and I forget about the painting I wanted as a teenager. Now an adult, I own this painting. It’s a constant reminder to me to take time out of a busy life to relax, enjoy nature and know everything will be ok.

“In a world where there is so much darkness amongst the hearts of people who never saw light or had seen it and forgot what it felt like, Thomas Kinkade was able to be an advocate for light in his artwork to bring hope for those that needed it or still need it.” –JavaGirl’s Life quote

Blogger’s Note: I’ve been absent because I’m at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Adventure Boy had surgery this past Tuesday and we’ve been here ever since until he recovers completely to go home. I still find time to like, comment and read all your posts while I sit here in the hospital room. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Your stories, ideas, thoughts and pictures help make this time a little easier. I hope everyone is having a good and relaxing weekend. Talk soon.

Photo Credit: Thomas Kinkade

A year later…

Hi everyone!

Guess what? Tonight I reached 50,000 views on my blog! Thanks to everyone who stopped by the past year. Some days I’d get a lot of views even though I hadn’t written anything. I have no idea how that happens, but it is a sweet surprise. Wow. So a whole year has flown by since I started my little blog. How do I commemorate? Well, for starters I’ll show some pictures of life in Brazil. I rarely do this, but tonight it feels right to do so. Back in the day, I didn’t own a digital camera, only the old school ones. So, I had to take a photo of my old photos. You may see a bright light reflected in the background.

First, I just want to quickly give some advice to any new bloggers out there who are just starting out. I noticed I’ve gotten some newbies as subscribers, so this one is just for you. These are 12 things I’ve learned from blogging the past year.

1. Don’t expect massive views when you first begin. I was so excited when I’d get at least 50 views a week! To me, that was success! There were days when I’d only get 11 views in one week. Don’t get discouraged. Keep on plugging’ away at the keyboard.

2. Remember why you blog. Are you blogging just to get noticed? People will notice that right away. They want to see you and read what makes you happy, sad or whatever you feel.

3. Reply to every single comment if you can. I was so excited when I had my first comment from Josiah. I couldn’t believe someone took the time to leave a comment. If people take the time to leave you a comment, be nice enough to reply back to them. It’s not fun to put thought into someone’s blog and then have them ignore you. It makes them appear arrogant or “too good” to say thank you.

4. Always be sure to check out “Freshly Pressed” bloggers and “like” or leave them a nice comment. You’ll find some great bloggers there and that’s where I’ve met some of my new friends.

5. Find a good and successful blogger who you can watch and learn from. What makes them get so many views? Is it how they interact with their subscribers? The most successful bloggers respond to every comment they receive, even if they are bombarded by commentators. Sure, it takes a lot of time, but it’s worth it in the long run. Successful bloggers also write about things that their particular audience likes.

6. No one is forcing you to write your entire life on a daily basis. Keep certain things private, unless you want the attention of stalkers and psychopaths.

7. You’ll notice what kind of people will subscribe to your blog. I’ve noticed I have photographers, adventurers, travelers, authors, foodies and fashionistas following me. I’ve also noticed a lot of them are highly intelligent and extremely sweet. I am a lucky girl. I love all my subscribers!

8. There will be days when you just don’t know what to write about. That’s fine. The world will not end, unless you believe the Mayans around December.

9. When you write a blog, don’t forget to do your “tags”. Your tags will be able to help other bloggers find you faster and if you are lucky, the WP gods might add your blog to their “best of tags” department, which is like a mini Freshly Pressed which I’ve been a part of several times in the past (thanks WordPress!). There are many tag departments such as arts, photography etc where you can also search out like-minded bloggers such as yourself.

10. Try not to compare your own blog to others. You are what makes your blog special, not theirs.

11. Don’t forget your “Proofread” icon on your “Add New Post” tabs before publishing your blogs!

12. Last but not least, acknowledge your viewers from around the world! I’m always flattered when someone from a country I’ve never heard before takes the time to stop by my page! I write specifically to include international readers. I know they translate my page a lot.

Whew. I know that was a lot. Those are just things I have come to realize over a course of the year. Ok. On to the pictures!

This was during my High School Trip from Northern Brazil to Argentina by bus. Our High School was small, so the entire 9-12 graders were able to go. This was taken at Iguacu do Foz on the Brazilian side. Yes, it does look like a scene from Lord of the Rings. If you haven’t been to this place, you must go before you turn 100 years old. This place is beautiful beyond words and simply stunning! I’ve been to this place two times. Most of the people pictured here in this photo are now married and have children of their own.

Here is what it looks like to walk beside and along the stone walkways down by the many Iguacu Falls. There are many tiny trails that snake their way around the waterfalls. It’s quite lovely and you can see a boat speed by with screaming tourists enjoying their ride close to the waterfalls below.

This picture is just insane. Why? Because this is called the “Devil’s Throat” at Iguacu Falls. It is here that you can feel the mighty power of the waterfalls. I was crazy enough to go with some of my classmates on a raft boat that had a motor on it. The man in the boat got within several feet from the edge of the waterfall before turning the boat around and speeding back to land. It was terrifying, but at least now I have bragging rights to say I was close to the Devil’s Throat and didn’t fall over. No, I wouldn’t do it again! I love how the sky looks spooky and gloomy, it sure adds effect to the crazy ride we all had!

Fortaleza, Brazil has got to be one of my favorite places in Brazil to vacation (next to Rio, of course). Fortaleza was like my little paradise town where I could ride on dune buggies up and down the sand dunes, ride on shrimp boats in the ocean with crazy fishermen, drink freshly pressed juice right on the beach served from a little hut, not be bothered by a lot of people, collect sand dollars on the beach and take a walk in the colored “canyons”. These are my two friends from NJ who came down to visit me one year. The girl in the back is getting married this Friday which I’ll be attending! This was taken back in the day when we were all teenagers! Notice how blue the sky is? It’s like that every single day!

Ok. So, there are a few pictures of my life in Brazil. Hope everyone has a great week and thanks for stopping by!