*Cough Cough*


To take cough syrup, or not take cough syrup: that is the question.

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous coughing,
Or to take arms against a sea of maladies,
And by opposing, ease them?

Ay, there’s the rub…but where’s that bottle??



I just read an interesting article. It seems that the Italian court is reluctant to allow a couple to name their new baby boy “Friday.” Their point is that the boy would be subjected to a lifetime of ridicule and inferiority complexity by being named for a savage character from the book Robinson Crusoe and a day of the week that “raises a sentiment of sadness and penitence.”

I find this an extremely interesting difference in culture. I always thought the name “Friday” was terribly cool—I’ve actually read Robinson Crusoe, and my impression is that the name “Friday” depicts an indispensible, true-blue, buddy of a sidekick. “His Gal Friday,” for instance. A “Friday” is someone you can always depend on. Not to mention, the day Friday is so welcomed in the US that we Thank God for it and name restaurants after it.

It’s just fascinating the way people have so many different perspectives in the world.

It Couldn’t Be Done

It Couldn’t Be Done
By Edgar Guest

Somebody said it couldn’t be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing and he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one has ever done it”;
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing and he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.


One of my favorite poems/writings of all time.  Just thought I’d share.  :) :)

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


Trivia Matters

(c) mousewords


(c) mousewords


The writer Lynn Abbey said, “One of my great passions is the collection of historical trivia.”

Is every writer a researcher? I was home-schooled through High School. I had to struggle to make it through my senior year of history…on time. I would read one blurb about, say, Cardinal Richelieu, and suddenly I’d be off in my own world, crafting a story line inspired by a real-life villain. My history book would be shoved aside, and I’d reach for my handy pad of drawing paper and a pencil. My history lesson for the day wouldn’t get done, but I’d write a few pages of a graphic novel.

It’s the same for me to this day. Even when I’m busy writing a novel, I’m easily distracted when doing research. I have reams of pages and hundreds of computer files filled with little blurbs and minutiae, from every subject under the sun. Each one sparks a fire of imagination in my mind, and sets me thinking away on another planet.

Did you know…

This past spring it was announced that water was detected on planet HD209458b—the first planet outside our solar system to show signs of water

A hyperpolyglot is one who can speak six or more languages fluently

Each file on an NTFS volume is listed as a record in a special file called the Master File Table (MFT)

A fen is a low, flat, swampy land; a bog or marsh

HC Andersen, Cuddle Up, Robbie Burns, Taboo, and Iced Raspberry are all names of roses

“God kveld” is “Good night” in Norwegian

And the infamous Cardinal Richelieu was known as Éminence Rouge, or Red Eminence, from the color of his habit.

I’ve got a million of ‘em.



A Story for the Ages

'Miranda's Wonder' by mousewords


I started reading William Shakespeare’s The Tempest today. It’s one of my old favorites—first it was a brilliantly illustrated comic book version that captured my fancy, and from there I went on to read the actual text of the play. As a teen, however, I must admit I found the text pretty dry.

Flash forward to today. Armed with an acquired appreciation for archaic language and some experience in reading it, I took a look at The Tempest and saw it through new eyes.

Dang, it’s good.

Somehow I always find myself amazed when I discover irony, humor, and romance within the writing of stories from hundreds of years ago. I just naturally expect the writing to be complex, wordy, somewhat proper, and devoid of any forms of romantic emotion. I can’t imagine how I came up with this presupposition, but I have it. It’s a good, thing, though, because I’m usually pleasantly surprised.

On the very first page of The Tempest, as I watched the magician Prospero share sharp, witty remarks with his amazingly intelligent teenage daughter, I did my same old double take. My first inclination is to wonder if someone translated the story into modern terms—but no, it’s all classic.

The wit and irony of Shakespeare’s conversations would rival the banter in today’s summer blockbuster movies. And the romantic fervor in the few words of his passages compares to entire novels filled with warm fuzziness.

For right now, my favorite quote of the evening fell from the lips of young Miranda, as she gazed upon the third man she had ever seen in her life. The first she ever fell in love with.

“I might call him a thing divine…for nothing natural I ever saw so noble.”


The Kingdom of God is Within You


An eloquent writer in the WordPress community recently posed the challenging question: “If you didn’t know anything about the Kingdom [of God], how would you define it?”

When defining the Kingdom of God, the first verse I think of is part of Luke 17:21: “The Kingdom of God is within you.”

I always drew great hope and comfort from that verse. “The Kingdom of God is within you.” I felt it was a treasure hunt of sorts—it was the Lord telling us that we can look within ourselves and find the holiness of His perfect Kingdom, through the Presence of the Holy Spirit. It made me feel comforted to think of this, because there are times when I feel so inadequate. But then I think to myself, the Kingdom of God is within me, waiting to be discovered! I can do more, through Him Who strengthens me!

Yet who am I, and who’s to say I know what I’m talking about? As I read different perspectives on the subject, I began wondering, what if I’m wrong? When you question something you believe in, and face the thought that it may not be exist in the way you thought it did, it shakes you up inside. It really “rocks” your world, in the earthquake sense of the word.

So I turned to the wisdom of others. I belong to a discussion group in which we discuss the works of 19th/20th century author Grace Livingston Hill; and to this group, I asked the question, “Am I wrong?” Their answers have uplifted, enlightened, and inspired me.

One friend had this commentary, which has helped me find peace and confidence in my own opinion:


“As for this one particular verse, the best way is to go to the original Greek or Hebrew
texts to see what they say. Often, words and phrases in the original text could not be easily translated to English because there just wasn’t anything comparable. I believe it is a mistake to assume that English translations are the final word.

The connotation of a particular phrase can change from Greek to English, or even from Grace’s time to our time. So “within you” may mean something different to you and I than it did to the KJV translators in 1611 and something else to those who wrote down what Jesus said. The huge number of translations is proof that not everyone agrees with everyone else’s interpretation of the original text.

Do you want a perfect example of changing connotation? If I told someone of Grace’s day to “reach out and touch someone”, they would physically touch another person. However, someone from my generation [look out, I'm showing my age] would probably pick up the phone and call someone! There are many other words and phrases that have changed meaning dramatically just in our lifetime—Just read a GLH book to find more! We have to be very careful about reading today’s meaning into yesterday’s writing, especially where the Bible is concerned.

Here’s what I’ve found on BibleGateway.com after reading your post :

Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible by Robert Young is an extremely literal translation that attempts to preserve the tense and word usage as found in the original Greek and Hebrew writings. Here is Luke 17:20-21 in this version, courtesy of BibleGateway.com:

And having been questioned by the Pharisees, when the reign of God doth come, he answered them, and said, `The reign of God doth not come with observation; nor shall they say, Lo, here; or lo, there; for lo, the reign of God is within you.’

The Amplified Bible covers both —the brackets are part of the translation and are not mine. “Nor will people say, Look! Here [it is]! or, See, [it is] there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you [in your hearts] and among you [surrounding you].

American Standard Version: neither shall they say, Lo, here! or, There! for lo, the kingdom of God is within you.

New Life Version: It will not be said, ‘See, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For the holy nation of God is in you.”

Wycliffe New Testament: neither they shall say, Lo! here, or lo[!] there; for lo! the realm of God is within you.

Worldwide English New Testament: People will not be able to say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is! That is because the kingdom of God is inside you.’

Many versions (like NIV) include both “within” and “among” with one or the other as a footnoted possible translation. On BibleGateway, some are saying within and some are saying among, so it looks like the jury is still out.

Jesus did, after all, say specifically that His Kingdom was not of this world in John 18. In Luke, the pharisees were asking about a literal kingdom on earth, but Jesus seems to be pointing out that it couldn’t be seen here or there, it was somewhere that it couldn’t be seen.

Be encouraged and listen to what God is speaking to you. After all, He’s got the FINAL, final word.”


Another friend shared this definition of the Kingdom with me:


“The kingdom of heaven is the church living out the purposes of its king Jesus while we wait his return to rule his kingdom on earth.”


A third friend summed up both perspectives beautifully with her own:


“The Kingdom is within each of us who are true Christians, and the Kingdom will also be an actual happening/place one day in the future for those of us who believe.”


I’m grateful for the question, the challenge to my beliefs, and the wisdom of others. I do believe, as I always have, that Christ’s kingdom will come on earth some day. In the meantime, I hold with confidence to the notion that his Kingdom truly does exist inside us, too.

I know it does, because I have seen it, in all its glory, within others.


A Red, Red Rose

I had Scottish currant scones for breakfast this morning. :) :) I considered that very good timing, because I had only just completed this artwork the evening before. It’s inspiration is in a poem by Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland:

A Red, Red Rose
by Robert Burns

My love is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June :
My love is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I :
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun :
And I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only love,
And fare thee weel a while !
And I will come again, my love,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.



It’s done!

“Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters”

Size: ACEO 2 1/2 in. x 3 1/2 in.

Medium: Ink and watercolor on watercolor paper

See the Work-in-Progress steps here.

I absolutely loved the way this one turned out–the warm tones are a departure from my usual kaleidoscope of colors. I’m eager to paint more like this!

Since the fairy tale comes from Zimbabwe, I was inspired by the art of that country. Stone sculpture has always been a main art form there, so for the background designs of my piece, I took my cues from ancient stone carvings. One type of stone used in Zimbabwe’s sculpture is “serpentine”! I thought that was an amazing metaphor for the king in the tale. With that thought in mind, I tried to mimic the colors of serpentine stone with my paints. It’s a bit easier to see the shades of colors in person, but it still translates decently.

Our auction to benefit the rangers and mountain gorillas of the Congo is going strong! We have 85 listings already! It’s very exciting…I welcome everyone to stop by and take a tour of inspiring artwork!

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters

Here’s a bit of background on the artwork I have on the work-in-progress board:

This will be the next installment in a series of hidden picture fairy tale art I have been doing. For the Art Helping Mountain Gorillas auction, what better tale to tell than one from Africa?

“Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” is a lovely fairy tale from Zimbabwe. It’s been called a Cinderella story, but a more accurate comparison would be to “Beauty and the Beast.”

In the tale, Mufaro is the father of two beautiful daughters: Manyara, who is attractive in appearance, but self-centered and unkind; and Nyasha, whose gentle beauty matches her compassionate heart. Mufaro’s daughters receive a summons to appear before the King, who has decided to take one of them to be his wife.

Eager to be queen, Manyara sneaks out in the night so that she may reach the King ahead of her sister. Along the way, a hungry little boy asks her for food; but she ignores him, thinking only of herself.

The following morning, her sister Nyasha accompanies the wedding party in its procession to meet the King. The same hungry boy makes his plea to the group, and kind-hearted Nyasha stops the procession so that she may give him food. When Nyasha is brought to the King’s chambers, she is suddenly surprised to see her sister run from the room in a panic. “There is a horrible monster inside!” Manyara cries.

Courageously, Nyasha steps into the room to see what her sister was so afraid of. Yet what she discovers is not a terrible monster–only a small garden snake that she recognizes as her companion from back home. Before her very eyes, her little friend transforms into the figure of a man—the King himself.

The King knew of Nyasha’s gentleness from her friendship toward a wild creature; and he knew, also, of her kindness toward the hungry boy. She was the beautiful woman—in face and spirit—that he wanted to have for his bride.

I feel that this story illustrates the purpose of the upcoming charity auction so well. Like Nyasha, so many beautiful souls are showing kindness and compassion toward their fellow human beings and toward the creatures of the planet, both through their artwork and their efforts to help. As we work together, let’s hope for a “Happily Ever After”!


~Christine Taylor

Love Gives Us Wings

'Thumbelina' by mousewords

I’m continuing a series of hidden-picture, storytelling art pieces. Thus far, I’ve completed “Beauty and the Beast” and “Sleeping Beauty”–and yesterday, I added the third card, which is “Thumbelina.”

Completely familiar with the story–like most people who grew up reading fairy tales–I still wanted to look up the original version to make sure I had my facts straight. No telling what a retelling will do to a fairy tale. What I discovered was a surprise.

In Andersen’s original story, pretty, tiny Thumbelina was kidnapped from home by a toad, who thought the little human would be the perfect bride for her son. With the help of friendly wildlife, Thumbelina escaped this fate–only to be captured again, this time by an enamored “cockchafer,” which is a type of beetle. The beetle’s peers, however, managed to convince him that the tiny two-legged creature was much too ugly for him to take as his wife, so he set Thumbelina loose in the middle of the wilderness. Alone, lost, and frightened to begin with, Thumbelina now also carried the memory of the words that the beetles had slung at her–”How ugly she is!” She wept to herself over the thought that she was so ugly that even the beetles did not want to have anything to do with her. When, all the while, as Andersen quotes, “she was really the loveliest creature that one could imagine, and as tender and delicate as a beautiful rose-leaf.”

Desperate to escape the elements, Thumbelina found shelter with a kind-hearted field-mouse. Yet even this friendship worked against her, for the field-mouse arranged a marriage between the girl and a rich old mole. When Thumbelina demurred, the field-mouse scolded her for being foolish, telling her that she was lucky the wealthy old mole would even have her, as she was poor and completely without prospects. Believing this, Thumbelina sadly resigned herself to her fate. Yet once again, a rescue came, as a result of her own good heart. While dwelling with the field-mouse, Thumbelina had saved the life of an injured swallow; just before her wedding, he returned, and offered to take her away with him as he flew South for the winter. Happily, Thumbelina agreed.

Love–true love–awaited her in the South. The swallow placed her among the flowers, where she found herself face-to-face with a winged man who was only a bit taller than she. He was the King of the Flower Dwellers. The King thought she was the loveliest creature he had ever seen, and told her so, instantly asking her to be his bride.

With awe–for she was immediately taken with the handsome King–Thumbelina agreed. She could see that he would be a “very different sort of husband” from the ones she had been faced with marrying before. The Flower Dwellers rejoiced, and brought a pair of shimmering wings for her, that she may fly among them. And her Lover gave her a new name, to better reflect the beauty that he saw in her.

Andersen has captured a poignant metaphor within this tale. How many voices in this world–both inside and outside our own thoughts–tell us negative things about ourselves? You’re not good enough…you’re not strong enough…you’re not attractive enough. You can’t expect the better things in life, so you should take what you can get and be satisfied with that. “Happily Ever After” is for the people in fairy tales. When we hear these things often enough, we start believing them. But, all the while, the real truth is within us–the truth that we are beautiful, and able to choose our own path in life. The truth that we’re worthy of love…and our own Happily Ever After.

Only when someone else sees that in us can we recognize it in ourselves. So take a look around. Tell someone the truth about themselves today. And know that the same holds true for you, as well.