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Sizzling Summer Solstice

I hope everyone is doing well! It's been rather hot lately; it definitely feels like summer. Happy Summer Solstice (or Winter Solstice)! There's a lot of energy right now; take the time to do some healing, breathe, and relax.

More goodies arrived this week; it was super exciting. It'll be awesome when everything arrives for my desk/walls. I got some Funko Pop figures and a new Fruits Basket shirt from Boxed Lunch. The little cat statute and Nee-doh cat from The Paper Store arrived, too. Corliss insisted the cat statue was Kyo from Fruits Basket (granted, it does look like him, but it was titled something along the lines of "Cat Light Wooden Statue"). Corliss and I also went back to Earthbound to check out what new things they have since the last time we were there before all the unusualness went down. We saw Maureen again, and she was so happy to see us! She's so sweet! We adore her! We got some more crystals, and we both got a selenite charging plate, too. It was a lot of fun. We also got some free pretzels from Auntie Anne's (thanks to National Pretzel Day), and we got some delicious pizza with garlic Parmesan sauce, peppers, and onions--Corliss couldn't believe we've gone our whole lives without knowing about this pizza (in her words, our whole lives had been a lie). We had a phenomenal dinner, and Corliss got me to watch Clueless for the first time since it's on Netflix now.

I participated in another birthday parade for one of the Toucans; it was pretty neat how there was a fire engine leading the parade. He was so excited to see the fire truck (he loves fire trucks) and everyone in the parade. When he saw my car, he lit up. The excitement was precious; he even exclaimed, "It's the sticker car!!" It's just too cute.

I did some more babysitting with the boys. They're pretty funny and quirky (in a good way). They started watching some videos about the old Burger King toys that came out for the first Pokemon movie. I mentioned that I had some, and they begged me to try to find them so I could bring them over. I did find them, and they had a blast checking out all the different kinds, testing them out, and organizing them into types of toys. We also went to the pool; they were pretending to be ninjas in the water, doing all sorts of poses and "attacking" each other. It was so nice to see them getting along and having fun together (honestly, it was really cute--not that they'd appreciate that term lol). I'm really blessed to be able to spend such quality time with them.

I got to babysit for another family, one that I haven't seen for the last few months. They were so excited to see me. I brought over their birthday presents since the boy's birthday was at the beginning of the month and the girl's is at the beginning of next month (and I'm not sure the next time I'll see them). They couldn't wait to open their presents. The girl couldn't wait to start the crafts I got her; she loved making the stress balls, and her brother joined us to paint rocks. They then decided to hide their rocks around the neighborhood. After crafts we went on a nice walk (but, boy, was it hot); they actually wanted to go for a walk so I saw no reason not to (they've never willingly wanted to go for a walk when I've babysat). When we got back from the walk, the girl wanted to make trail mix to snack on after dinner when watching a movie or show. She added all sorts of things (popcorn, pretzels, marshmallows, chocolate chips, etc.). She then declared, "And now for the finishing touch!" and pulled out Baking Powder. I tried not to burst out laughing and inquired, "Baking Powder?" She looked at me disgusted and insisted, "NO!" She then added sprinkles instead. After dinner she decided to use some of my fuse beads/perler beads and created a glow-in-the-dark art piece. They also introduced me to their new puppy, Duchess. She's super sweet, but she is quite the energetic puppy--at one point she literally just kept running laps around the couch.

I started the Kitty Chronicles; while I was babysitting, the girl asked for me to make videos of my cat's outdoor adventures, so here's the first video.

Since my cat and I go on backyard adventures almost every day, I was able to make more than one video for the girl I babysit. My cat really enjoys the outdoor time, and it's really grounding to be out in nature. We love listening to all the birds. Here's the second video:

Here's some advise from Fruits Basket (I've watched all 6 episodes of Season 2 that are released so far--I adore this show! It's so deep and moving!)

Since I watched all of Season 2 of Kipo already, I moved onto the next item on my list: Pokemon Journeys. I love the opening! It's super catchy, and it's got a great message. The opening: "It's a big, big world, but you know where to find me. We'll be together, and we're gonna do it our way. We'll discover, we believe in each other; on adventures with my friends, like, every day, and we're already on our way. The journey starts today. The journey starts today. The journey starts today!"

I love the character Goh. Right from the beginning I loved his passion. Even when Chloe dismissed him, remarking, "You're talking like you're in a dream," he didn't let it get him down. He replies, "It's reality! It's my future, and I can hold that future in the palm of my hand!" This is essentially his catchphrase. Goh doesn't let social conformity and expectations to dictate his actions; he let's Chloe know via text, "I'm going to be late because I'm about to have a fateful encounter." He follows his heart, his passion, and what makes him happy, even if others don't understand it. He wants to explore the world, encountering all sorts of Pokemon, remarking, "Lugia really brought that feeling home for me: the feeling there's a lot of world out there! Know what? You can go wherever you want if you've got the desire!" The world is truly vast full of so many incredible people, places, creatures, experiences; the sky's the limit when you have the desire and motivation to see your goals and dreams through. A lot of people lack this passion and drive Goh has. When he encounters Scorbunny, he encourages, "Could it be... you've given up? Have you figured this is the only way you can keep on going? ... You can't just give up. It's a big world out there! Anywhere you want to go, you could just go! And you can make all sorts of friends! You see, all you have to do is try everything!" Giving up guarantees that you won't get what you want; your life won't change and improve if you sit around moping about. Take your future in the palm of your hand and create it the way you want it to be.

Ash and Goh hear that there has been a surge of Ho-Oh sightings, and they head over to Johto to check it out. Turns out, it was a little boy trying to lift his grandfather's spirits and reignite his hope and passion. The little boy, Chad, explains how his grandfather had been searching for Ho-Oh. His grandfather once told him, "Look at this, Chad! I hold in my hand a rainbow wing from Ho-Oh! It's said that if someone finds a rainbow wing like this, they'll attain great happiness... Yes [I got to see Ho-oh], but, unfortunately, it was very cloudy at the time, and I didn't get a very good look. But the next time, I'll make sure I get a great look up close! [I'll go on a journey to find Ho-Oh.]" After setting out on this journey, he suddenly comes back, drained of energy; his grandfather seems completely sapped of all his zest for life. His grandfather remarks, "[I won't keep looking for Ho-oh.] I'm afraid Ho-Oh doesn't exist. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get it to show itself to me, not even once. No, Ho-Oh never existed in the first place. That's what legends are all about. I'm tried of wasting all my time chasing dreams. How could I let this thing [Ho-Oh's feather] fool me for so long?!" His grandfather became ensnared in the belief of seeing is believing; if you don't see something it must not exists. This lack of faith and lack of believing causes his rainbow wing to fade and lose all of its vibrant colors. This represents the lack of color and vibrance this kind of mindset gives life. Plenty of people share this mentality, but even on the cloudiest, stormiest day, the sun is still there--it may be hidden from view, but it still exists. We can't let lack of evidence or "proof" discourage us. Sometimes you need to believe in order to see. Chad makes his grandfather go with them to try and see Ho-Oh. At first his grandfather is reluctant and believes it is a complete waste of time and effort. He changes his mind, however, admitting, "My boy, thanks so much. What you did, all of you taught me something! Something quite wonderful! Ho-oh... I haven't given up looking for you, Ho-Oh! Now come out and show me what you look like, please! ... It's no good. Let's give it up, son. Just for the time being! Tomorrow is another day. We'll get a fresh start then--if you'll help me, Chad." All their shouting didn't yield Ho-Oh, but it rekindles Chad's grandfather's belief and hope; the rainbow wing that his grandfather had regains its vibrant colors. Once he regains his belief and the rainbow wing regains its colors, Chad's grandfather actually witnesses Ho-Oh soaring through the sky near the rainbow. Chad's grandfather attests to the boys, "Ho-Oh is up there. I just know it." Believing is seeing. Your thoughts and beliefs create your reality. Don't sell yourself short. Don't give up. Your dreams can become reality. The narrator concludes the episode, asserting, "When it comes to dreams, there are no shortcuts. The key is to never give up, no matter what. That is what heroes live by! Let's go, as the journey continues!" We are in the midst of our journeys; believe in yourself and the universe--you are destined for great things if you allow it into your life. You have a lot more power than you think. Your mindset will dictate the reality of your life. Believe; it makes a huge difference.

The future holds endless possibility. It can be whatever you desire if you collaborate with the universe--you are a powerful co-creator. That being said, there can be a lot of pressure placed on individuals by society to have their future all figured out. Chloe struggles with this pressure. She becomes frustrated because classmates assume her future's set in stone to be a Pokemon professor because her dad is one; her mom mentions that she used to dream that she'd create comic books. Her mom reminisces, and the viewer gets to see a flash back where Chloe's mom, Talia, almost gave up on her dream. In this flashback, Talia struggles with motivation, and a young Professor Cerise remarks, "Taking a break from drawing today? ... What? Why would you do that [move on from drawing]?! You always look like you're so happy drawing! ... Please, please think about it! Don't just give up on drawing so easily!" Sometimes we need a break, but that doesn't mean we should give up. Taking a break can help us become refreshed and rejuvenated. Think about what makes you happy, what you enjoy; follow that joy and passion. Live according to your heart; life will be a lot more enjoyable that way. Talia admits, "...what he was saying did make a lot of sense. I was having fun. But I had to decide how and what I was going to draw... I never wound up drawing comic books, and I never had huge success as an illustrator, but I can say I enjoy what I do! And you'll make your own decisions someday. Then you'll decide what path your life takes... No need to rush anything." Take your time; there is no rush. Figure out what makes you happy and then do it. Even if you only take things a single step at a time, as long as it's a step in the right direction, that's all that matters. Each step is progress. Chloe's mom says that she hasn't had "huge success as an illustrator," but what defines huge success? I'd say enjoying what you do every day is the best kind of success. Doing what you enjoy every day might mean that you have to change your life; you might need to close some doors. That's okay. As the narrator points out, "Goodbyes, although not easy, can lead to brand new, happy hellos.... They've had many adventures, and the curtain is about to rise on yet another brand new adventure!" Each door that closes, each chapter that ends only means that a new one is beginning. Sometimes it may not be easy, but that doesn't mean that happiness doesn't lie on the other side. Open the curtains and let the dawn of your new adventure begin!

Pokemon Journeys is great! I wish there were more episodes, but they are an awesome 12 episodes. I did some drawing inspired partially by episode 3 of Pokemon Journeys, "Ivysaur's Mysterious Tower." Ivysaur used vinewhip to swing over a wall; made me think of Spiderman. Thus, Spideysaur was born.

I took some time to relax with great animated movies Friday night: Okko's Inn and A Whisker Away. I whole-heartedly recommend watching them. They're so good! They hold profound messages and had me feeling deep emotions. Okko's Inn emphasized the importance of welcoming everyone, regardless of what first appearances might be--you don't have the whole story from the first glance. A Whisker Away explored similar concepts but focused more on being yourself while having an open heart. It recognizes that a lot of people, like Muge, feel out of place, like they don't belong and like nobody cares. Kinako points out, "You may not know it, but a lot of people care about you." Muge then admits, "I shut my heart to everyone... I told myself I didn't need them. They were just scarecrows in the background. But now... I know I was wrong. I'll try to like them, too." It's true. Even if there are times, days, periods where it feels like people don't care, that's just our perception--that doesn't make it true. Perception makes reality, so we believe it to be true, but while our feelings are valid, our perceptions aren't necessarily true. We shouldn't shut our hearts to others--nobody is a mere "scarecrow in the background." You matter to more people than you might realize, as Muge came to understand. It was almost too late for Muge--she almost lost everything; don't let it be that way for you. Live your life according to your heart, full of love, joy, passion, and light. Muge would have ended up living a life of regret; nobody needs that--not her, not me, and not you. Let others in. Let love in. You might be surprised by the results. Stay blessed, my friends; love and light~

This week's food for thought:

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