Friday, May 24, 2013

Music Soothes Not Just the Savage Beast

Hey all,

Jonathon sent me a beautiful email the other day.  He was listening to a song and thought it reminded him of us, so he sent me the link to listen to it.

And all I could do was wipe away a tear and sigh.  Sometimes he is just so romantic...

What was the song?  Life With You by Celtic Thunder.  You can download the song HERE, and the lyrics can be found HERE.  But my favorite part was this...

I want to spend my life with you
Don't want to live all alone
I can't conceive of the years left in me
Without you in our home

Every time I think about you
I think I can't live with you
I'll tell you something
I am nothing without you

Isn't that wonderful?  To be sent that by my sweet baboo made my day.  A reminder that he truly loved me.

Another favorite song that I love is also by Celtic Thunder.  It's one of my all time favorites and really shares how I feel about my husband and family.  It's called The Voyage and I always crank the music up really loud when it comes on.  You can watch the video below and read the lyrics HERE.

My favorite lines are below.  I get teary-eyed whenever I listen...

With no maps to guide us
We steered our own course
We rode out the storms when the winds were gale force
We sat out the doldrums in patience and hope
Working together, we learned how to cope

Life is an ocean
Love is a boat
In troubled waters it keeps us afloat
When we started the voyage, there was just me and you
Now gathered round us, we have our own crew

Music can soothe, excite, anger and calm the listener, and songs that touch us in a special way are ones we hold deep in our heart.  We use music to romance the one we love and to mark important occasions in our lives.  Most couples have a special song...for Jonathon and I it is "Makin' Memories of Us" by Keith Urban.  You can check that out HERE.   And the special lines that touch my heart are below...

And I'm gonna love you like nobody loves you
And I'll earn your trust making memories of us

We'll follow the rainbow
Wherever the four winds blow
And there'll be a new day
Comin' your way

Perfect, Right?  

And I even have the song picked out that I want at my memorial.  A beautiful song by Collin Ray that says all I want to say about how I feel about my husband.  Romantic and true, we've promised each other that it will be played at both our wakes.  Have a listen to If You Get There Before I Do (Love Me).  Lyrics HERE.

As you can see, for me music is not just something to listen to.  It is romance and beauty, and it feeds my soul.  I've used it in many ways--from seducing my lover to playing with my children to performing before thousands.  As an author, it's played a huge part in several of my stories. The Second Chance Trilogy is all about music and romance.  And as the great Marcus Aurelius said...

The sexual embrace can only be compared with music and with prayer.

Ain't it the truth!!!!

What is your favorite music and why?  Put it in the comments below.

Until next time!!!

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sandy Toes and Salty Kisses

My wish for you...  May You Always Have a Shell in Your Pocket and Sand in Your Shoes...

Hey all,

I just got back from three lovely days on the coast.  Jonathon taught a dive class over a three day dark (show was closed for three days) on the beautiful island of Ilhabela.  We had a wonderful time, staying in a lovely little cabana for two with a waterfall at the front door and the stream running right under the room.  Yep!  That's right.  We fell asleep each night to the beautiful sound of water rushing beneath us.  I have to say, the whole experience made it very easy to get romantic!!!!  (naughty grin here)

AND, the place came with two dogs you can love on as much as you want too.  A huge plus for a frustrated animal lover.  :-)

You can check out the resorts (actually a private home with cabins) HERE.  As you can see by the pictures, it is a slice of paradise.   Waterfalls, pools, trees, and tropical flora made it one of the prettiest places we've ever stayed.

It had a small village close by so we could pick up any last minute necessities. (The fresh fish was to die for!!!)  There were tons of trails all over the island and the beach dives were a lot of fun.  Jonathon taught several open water divers and helped out a couple of advanced as well as those who needed a refresher. I jumped in to help whenever he needed me, but I spent most of the time he was teaching wandering, swimming and just enjoying myself.  I wandered the resort just feeling the sun on my face and listening to the breeze whisper in the palms.

I needed to get out of the city.  Sao Paulo is so huge and filled with big buildings, I sometimes feel suffocated.  I think I need a country, mountain or ocean fix every now and then just to make it through the days.  While the park near our hotel is quite nice, there's just something about being on a primitive beach that stirs your senses and feeds your soul.

Since I don't know when I'll next be able to get my "fix", I made sure this long weekend filled me to the brim with everything I need to make it until next time.

Let me share a few pics from our time on the island.  Click on pic to make larger.  Enjoy!!!!

This picture was taken from the ferry looking at the island of Ilhabela.  It's only a short distance from the mainland, about 20 minutes, so it's easy to travel to.  Lush and green with lovely small villages, waterfalls and beautiful beaches.  A dream!

 On our way to the resort, we pass this beautiful beach and yacht club.  You can swim there and it has plenty of pubs, kiosks and restaurants nearby.

Most of the rooms had kitchens, but our small, tucked away cabana didn't, so we used the common area kiosk near the pool to make our meals.  It had everything you needed and we enjoyed the fellowship of our friends.

Our cabana was right behind the kiosk down these stairs.  Not for the faint of heart, each step kept you (ha ha) on your toes!  You can see the cabana at the bottom.

This picture was taken just in front of the waterfall looking at our tiny cabana.  Surrounded by palms, bamboo and all sorts of foliage, it's VERY private. You can see the stream rushing beneath.  Add that sound to the music of the waterfall, and I was in heaven.  I'd love to go back and spend a week doing nothing but write!

Inside the room looking out at the waterfall and stream.  Primitive, but so relaxing and restful.  The shower had a window that opened up into the jungle so you could see nature while nature saw you!!!!

The beach were we dove.  Starfish, urchins, sand dollars and small jellyfish near the beach, but larger and more plentiful life near the rocks along the small island you can see in the distance.  I saw all kinds of fish, crab, sea slugs, more jelly fish, clams, sponges and coral.  A lovely place to dive or snorkel and we could stay down a long time since it wasn't more than thirty feet at the most.

 One last photo.  Artsy-fartsy, but still a beautiful sunset.  I'm hoping we go back with another group.  It was so relaxing and a memory I'm glad to share with you all!

I hope you enjoyed a look at one of the beautiful places in Brazil.  Now, as you can see, I've changed the date of this blog to Fridays.  That's because in a few weeks I'll be starting another FREE READ on my FREE READ blogsite.  I'll let you know more as the time get's closer and I hope you will all join me in the fun.  Until next time...


CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Friday, May 10, 2013

Beauty Is In the Eye...

Hey all,

Sorry this is a day late, but...the internet. Need I say more?  Oh well, at least I'm able to get on now.

I went to a museum the other day.  One here in Sao Paulo.  It was very small, but quite well kept and I was surprised to see that the info was in Portuguese and in English.  Since English isn't so often used here, I was very pleased.

It wasn't a varied collection, actually only two artists, and while it didn't take long to go through it, I did enjoy myself.  The first one (see above) was kind of surprising.  Photographs of Andy Warhol in drag, done by Christopher Makos.

The second-- a graffiti artist--was someone I'd never heard of before, a guy by the name of Alex Vallauri who has work in both Sao Paulo and New York.

Both art displays were interesting.  Not too much to my taste, mind you, but I do like to see different types of art.

I've learned to ask myself three questions.

1.  Do I like it?
2.  Would I hang/display it in my home?

If the answer to the first two is yes, then I ask the following...
3.  Why does it touch my heart?

If the answer to the first two is no, then I ask the following...

3.  Why is it considered art?

You see, I've discovered it's not enough to just look at art, you've got to understand what it is about it that makes you feel.  Whether it's bad or good.  

For me it's easy to stare at a Michelangelo or Monet and feel the throb of appreciation and enjoyment I get when I'm fortunate enough to see what they've created.  But I've learned over the years that approximately two-thirds of the art I see DOESN'T make my heart go pitty-pat.  So, I can just ignore that the art is out there, or I can try and understand why some people think it's art in the first place.

So I ask myself the above questions, and if it isn't something I find attractive, I try to analyze the piece.  Understand why it doesn't make me sigh.  I don't spend a great deal of time on most of that art, but I've learned that every once in a while, when I take a second look, I actually wind up LIKING it.

I know...weird, right?

For example, (see the picture to the right) I love Alfred Sisley, and discovered him the first time I went to the Louvre.  Now, I can recognize his work whenever I see it in a museum or hotel.  I love the way his art makes me feel and I hope someday to own a selection for my very own, though I'll most likely have to make due with a professional print.

But I also discovered another artist in Paris.  One at the modern art museum I chanced upon.  Alberto Giacometti.  When I first saw him, I turned up my nose at his work.  I didn't like it at all.  But later I found myself wandering back towards his display, and for the first time I tried my three questions.  And to my complete shock, I decided that my first impression had been wrong.  I DID like his work.

Very much.

So I re-asked the same three questions and realized that Giacometti's art (not all of it, but many of his sculptures) just made me feel good.  And while that may not be a fancy or artsy reason to like art, it was enough for me.

So next time you see a piece of art you blink at... one that makes you think, WTF?, try asking my three questions.  You might actually find out that weird piece of art that you initially thought was horribly ugly, is actually something that will make your heart go...


Until next time,

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Hey all,

Today's blog is something I've been thinking about for a while now.  Stupidity.  Now, some of you may think I'm getting cranky about things, and you'd be right.  But like one of my favorite bloggers used to say (Karen at Karen Knows Best),  "It's My Blog and I Can Say What I Want!!!"  *smile*

Now stupidity, I'm sorry to say, comes in many different forms.  As you can see from the picture.  This is an accident waiting to happen.  To adults!!!  What is this...Jackass, the Mature Version?  Stupidity can be just plain scary and it can be stupid scary.  People being stupid just aggravates me.  But that's not all I want to talk about here.

It's not just the idiot who sticks a bottle rocket up his ass, set's himself on fire, puts it on YouTube and then wonders why everyone thinks he's a moron.  ( know who you are!)

It's not a woman who after receiving that spooky, scary, life threatening phone call goes blithely to the door to answer it when someone knocks.  And doesn't even look out the peephole to see who it is who is going to kill her slowly.  (And yes...this happens.  NOT just in the movies.)

And it's not the now-famous thief who walked into a 7-11 with a bag over his head to rob the place, but forgot to put eye holes into the bag!!!  (You can all have a moment to giggle.)

Are these people all stupid?  Oh yeah.  But these uber-stupid people aren't the ones that I find scary.  What I find truly scary are the stupid people who do stupid things every day.  Why?  Because after a while we stop thinking that they're stupid and start accepting what they do as normal.  

And that's terrifying!

For example...

I'm not a Bill Clinton fan by any means, but I have to believe he has some smarts.  He was in politics.  He became president, for God sakes, but was he so stupid he thought no one would find out when he had an affair?  And was he that much an idiot to try and explain his way out the way he did?  Oral sex isn't sexual relations?  Seriously?  I guess that's news to a lot of prostitutes out there.  Stupid.  And our country was in his hands.  Not only a liar...but a stupid one.  Terrifying.

Or... how about the high school students who put their lives on Facebook or some other social media.  You've heard of stupid things like students putting a "hit list" on their school site.  No, I'm not talking about killing someone.  These hit lists cover anything from who should get bullied that day, to who should take whose virginity, to where the next "secret" party is going to be.  But it's all there in black and white for anyone to see.  And take advantage of.  But the kids keep doing it.  AND a lot of them keep getting hurt.  Idiotic and scary...

This one makes me laugh and shake my head.  I still get them every day and I anyone buying into this crap?

~~~I've won a gazillion pounds in a lottery in South Mubuzo.  WooHoo!!!  All I need to do to get this windfall is send them all my personal info.  And my first born son.  *snort*  (Don't worry, Jeramiah...I'll get a receipt!)
~~~Some friend (I won't remember their name, but they are my bestest awesomest friend forever *see all the hearts and flowers?) has been stranded without any money.  They were robbed-beaten-attacked-kidnapped-mugged (you choose) and only need XX amount to get them home.  The embassy won't help.  *horrors*  And are the only one who can.  (music cue here...."Help me Obi Wan Kanobi you're my only hope!!!")
~~~The widow of some absolutely, wonderful, amazing missionary-statesman-scientist-humanitarian, who has oodles of money, wants to share it with me.  (How generous!)  But to do so, she'll need my banking information, so she can just transfer that windfall right into my bank.  Isn't she thoughtful???

But some people buy into this stuff.  I had a reader who was all upset because one of my other readers (con artist) sent a pathetic email to a lot of people on my list bemoaning the fact her house had burned down and all her books had burned up.  So she was hitting the lists asking for replacements.  I had to tell my reader that she'd done this before...on other lists.  At least six other times.  And if she was wealthy enough to lose all the houses that had supposedly burned down, she could damn well buy her own books!!!  

What's terrifying about these scenarios is that it happens every day and every day someone is tenderhearted, naive, unthinking to buy into it.  *sigh*

Do people get in trouble for some of these things.  Sometimes.  But it just doesn't seem to matter so much anymore.  We may shake our head when some idiot downs a few margaritas and then drives his car into a tree on the way home, but seriously...that's not just's criminal. 

The problem is stupidity is like anything else.  When we see it over and over again, we become jaded...we don't allow it to bother it as much as it should.  And so eventually, the stupid becomes the norm and everyone starts to accept it.  And in my humble opinion...

That's the scariest thought of them all!!!

Have you a stupid people trick you've seen and shaken your head over?  Either in real life or in the news?  Share it hear so we can all learn from it.  And sigh.

Until next week,

CJ England

Follow Your Dreams