Mojo Monday ~ Mental Freedom

“Because you don’t have time…you’re on this earth for a dash of time really, and then that’s it. 
And for some reason that reality and knowing that, it just changed everything.” 
~ Viola Davis

Viola Davis played the role of Aibileen Clark in the film The Help.  Davis won numerous award nominations for the role including a Golden Globe Award, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild and an Academy Award.  In 2008 she had also received numerous nominations for her role in the film Doubt, that has also starred Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

She has been working as an actor for 20 years and has received other awards and recognition throughout her career. Yet in a talk with Oprah Winfrey she opens up about having battled low self-esteem for many years.  She also shares during the interview how she had to learn to receive love and how when she was nominated for an Academy Award in 2008 for the film Doubt she went through a mid-life crisis that led her to realize the only definition of success that mattered to her, was her own.

Here is the first clip where she talks about overcoming her low self-esteem.

Here is a second clip where Viola reveals why she didn’t feel fulfilled, despite the fact that her dreams were coming true.
Viola’s childhood was far from glamorous.  She grew up so poor that at times she knew what it meant to go hungry and her family lived in a condemned building that was infested with rats and roaches.  Despite her impoverished upbringing, Viola says, she learned to dream big from her older sister.  She credits those experiences for making her who she is today.  She shared in the first video how grateful she is for the simple things in life due to  her knowing what it is like to have so little.
What are your reactions to the video clips?
Do you feel you worry too much what others think of you?
Do the opinions of others affect you a great deal or not very much at all?
Would it bother you if someone didn’t like your writing, your art, your singing, your dancing or some other form of creativity that you were expressing?
Have you allowed criticism to hold you back from doing something that interested you or that you loved?
If you answered yes to any of these questions consider what these now well-known writers faced when they were trying to get published. Dr. Seuss faced over two dozen rejection letters before he realized his dream of being published. Classic books such as Lord of the Flies, Diary of Anne Frank, War of the Worlds, Animal Farm and The Time Machine all initially met with rejection from publishers.
How about these very successful and well-known public figures: “Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because, ‘he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.’ After that, Disney started a number of businesses that didn’t last too long and ended with bankruptcy and failure. He kept plugging along, however, and eventually found a recipe for success that worked.” “While today Steven Spielberg’s name is synonymous with big budget, he was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times. He eventually attended school at another location, only to drop out to become a director before finishing. Thirty-five years after starting his degree, Spielberg returned to school in 2002 to finally complete his work and earn his BA.”
Could it be true that some of the funniest actors didn’t fair so well in the beginning? “Just about everybody knows who Jerry Seinfeld is, but the first time the young comedian walked on stage at a comedy club, he looked out at the audience, froze and was eventually jeered and booed off of the stage. Seinfeld knew he could do it, so he went back the next night, completed his set to laughter and applause, and the rest is history.” “Lucille Ball had thirteen Emmy nominations and four wins, also earning the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors. Before starring in I Love Lucy, Ball was widely regarded as a failed actress and a B movie star. Even her drama instructors didn’t feel she could make it, telling her to try another profession. She, of course, proved them all wrong.”
Here is to following your dreams, writing the book that you will love to read, painting canvases that speak to your heart and express your soulfulness, singing those songs that lift you up, dancing that lets your spirit fly and be free, creating whatever that is inside of you yearning to be expressed, all because it makes you happy.

Here is one last clip of Viola Davis speaking about learning to receive love:

Mojo Monday ~ Children’s Books Aren’t Just for Children

Anita Silvey has worked in the field of publishing children’s books for over 40 years and is an author of several books of her own including Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Children’s Book: Life Lessons from Notable People from All Walks of Life. 

Anita once wrote that early in her career, she started asking anyone she met (at cocktail parties, dinners, even in cabs and elevators) about the books they read as a child. A universal ice breaker, this question often elicited smiles and fond memories.

However, for her book Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Children’s Book she talked to people that she would not ordinarily meet — about 110 leaders of society in a variety of fields such as science, arts, politics, sports, or journalism. To them she posed a more serious question: “What children’s book changed your life in a profound way?” As she conducted interviews with Pete Seeger, Andrew Wyeth, Steve Forbes, Julainne Moore, Peter Lynch and Kirk Douglas, she realized that she possessed far too little faith in the power of children’s books.

Silvey shared that what these icons read as children shaped them as adults – in amazing ways. Some recalled a character with fondness; some became attracted to a location or country because of a book. Some have remembered a single line from a book for decades. Many chose careers because of a children’s book. Many found a personal, social, or political philosophy that has sustained them for decades.

I don’t remember learning to read as a child.  My memories are such that it seems I just always knew.  There is a chance that I was a lover of books even in the womb.  We always had books at home and I still have some of my books from childhood which I now read to my own daughters.  One of my favorite childhood authors was Dr. Seuss.  Before my daughters were born I came across the mother-lode of Dr. Seuss called Your Favorite Seuss: A baker’s dozen by the one and only Dr. Seuss.  We started reading to our girls very early, in fact here is one of my all-time favorite photos taken of my husband while he was reading to our infant daughters from the over-sized Dr. Seuss book.

My daughter’s collection of books is growing though they also love to make trips to the library to pick out some books to check out.  I still love children’s books.  I love both words and art and children’s books pair the two so beautifully.  I think it would be wonderful if more adult books includes art too.

Do you have any favorite books from childhood? 

Do you still read children’s books?   (If you don’t I highly recommend it)

If Anita Silvey had featured you in her book how would you have answered the question “What children’s book changed your life in a profound way?”

Just a few books you might enjoy:

Mama Says: A Book of Love for Mothers by author Rob D. Walker and award-winning illustrators Leon & Diane Dillon celebrates the universal love between mothers and sons in rhymes from around the world. Timeless virtues such as honesty, courage, and a caring heart are extolled in simple, rhythmic verse that rocks and soothes in lullaby tones:

Mama says be loving

Mama says be caring

Mama says you’ve done God’s will

Every time you’re sharing.

Each rhyme is depicted in the script of its original language with the English translation mirrored alongside. Cherokee, Russian, Amharic, Japanese, Hindi, Inuktitut, Hebrew, English, Korean, Arabic, Quechua, Danish. The beautiful illustrations evoke eloquently the relationship between the mother of each nation and her young son. The words give voice to the spirit of each country and the corresponding costumes and scenery are rendered masterfully in naturalistic artwork that is splendidly evocative of culture and place. On the final page is a fabulous two-page group portrait of the boys now grown to manhood:

I listened to what Mama said

And now I am a man.

All the Colors of the Earth written and illustrated by Sheila Hamanaka tells a story of how:

Children come in all colors of the earth

The roaring browns of bears and soaring eagles,

The whispering golds of late summer grasses,

And crackling russets of fallen leaves,

The tinkling pinks of tiny seashells by the rumbling sea.

Children come with hair like bouncy baby lambs,

Or hair that flows like water,

Or hair that curls like sleeping cats in snoozy cat colors.

Children come in all the colors of love

In endless shades of you and me.

For love comes in cinnamon, walnut, and wheat,

Love is amber and ivory and ginger and sweet

Like caramel and chocolate, and the honey of bees.

Dark as leopard spots, light as sand,

Children buzz with laughter that kisses our land,

With sunlight like butterflies happy and free,

Children come in all the colors of the earth and sky and sea.

 On the Night You Were Born written and illustrated by Nancy Tillman has touched the hearts of readers of all ages

On the night you were born,
the moon smiled with such wonder
that the stars peeked in to see you
and the night wind whispered.
“Life will never be the same.”

On the night you were born, the whole world came alive with thanksgiving. The moon stayed up till morning. The geese flew home to celebrate. Polar bears danced. On the night you were born you brought wonder and magic to the world. Here is a book that celebrates you. It is meant to be carried wherever life takes you, over all the roads, through all the years. 

In the book Giraffe’s Can’t Dance by author Giles Andraea and illustrator Guy Parker-Rees, the lead character, Gerald the giraffe, doesn’t really have delusions of grandeur. He just wants to dance. But his knees are crooked and his legs are thin, and all the other animals mock him when he approaches the dance floor at the annual Jungle Dance. “Hey, look at clumsy Gerald,” they sneer. “Oh, Gerald, you’re so weird.” Poor Gerald slinks away as the chimps cha-cha, rhinos rock ‘n’ roll, and warthogs waltz. But an encouraging word from an unlikely source shows this glum giraffe that those who are different “just need a different song,” and soon he is prancing and sashaying and boogying to moon music with a cricket accompanist.

Here is also a fun reading of Giraffes Can’t Dance for your enjoyment! 
If the video embedded below won’t play for you here is a link:…