Challenge #2: Taking Care

Relay for life is past approaching which means we have been working like crazy with last minute fundraising and organizing and everything going on. For those of you who don’t know, Relay for Life is a 12 hour event dedicated to cancer and fighting the destructive disease that affects so many people. It begins with a survivors lap to celebrate the fight that those individuals have gone through and won. Luminaries will shine in the night, showing those we fight for, and those we fight in memory of. All the money fundraised goes to the Canadian Cancer Society, and every year millions of dollars are raised across Canada.

My mom always told me that no matter who you are, no matter how much money you make or how happy you are, you are nothing without physical health. That taking caring of ourselves and our bodies is important. So let’s look at physical health in another perspective.

We’ve all heard of that baby analogy right? If you haven’t, you’re going to hear it again. Pretend your body is a baby. You have to take care of it, you have to clean it, but you also have to love and treasure it even though you know it is flawed. You would never hurt a baby. You would never tell the baby it is ugly or too fat or too thin. You would never starve your baby, and you would never shove more food in your baby’s mouth than it can consume. You would never neglect the baby of medicine or a doctors visit if it were feeling ill, and you would never simply brush sickness off. You wouldn’t give your baby addictive drugs or alcohol, and you wouldn’t make your baby smoke cigarettes. You would love the baby, because it is the only one you have and the only one you will ever have.
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So now think back to your body. Think back to your physical health. What I’m basically trying to say is that it is important to take care of yourself and your body. Don’t abuse yourself, physically or verbally. Don’t beat yourself up over what you can’t change. But learn to look at yourself in the mirror and love what you see. There’s a reason Project Courage did mental health month before physical health. It takes a mentally healthy person to be able to love yourself and your image as well as understanding physical limits.
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CHALLENGE #2

This week I want you to focus on taking care of yourself. Continue to eat healthy as I know you all have been trying to, but also give yourself enough sleep, water, and exercise.

Here are a few little challenges, one for each upcoming day.

Day 1: Drink 8 glasses of water throughout the day. A tip would be to keep a tally of every glass you drink. It has to be water, not juice or pop or coffee or any other beverage. Water.
Day 2: Get 9 hours of sleep. Did you know that you get the most restful sleep when you sleep in 90 minute intervals? Our body is programmed to go through a sleep cycle every 90 minutes where we transition from light to deep sleep and back again. That’s why I said 9 hours instead of the typical 8. I want you to wake up and finish a sleep cycle.
Day 3: Exercise for an hour. We all know that exercise is extremely important, but honestly, most of us feel like we don’t have enough time to exercise. Go on a walk with a friend, go on a bike ride, go swimming, run the treadmill even. Do yoga or even play Wii Fit. Just get moving and get active.
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Baby photo from… https://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&docid=r0-qdPHgKOzdNM&tbnid=5APlgRt2uJSjYM:&ved=0CAQQjB0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.hdwallpapers.in%2Fblue_eyes_cute_baby-wallpapers.html&ei=v8SXU42TC4GBqgbv6IGgCQ&psig=AFQjCNEPXfcdy5aR7Ti5w1EON5xGfLSSjA&ust=1402541619844921 and sleeping photo from.. archive.indianexpress.com.

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Challenge #4: Find the Balance

I hope you have spent this week laughing, I hope you have talked with friends and smiled a lot. The weather has been nicer here, and its really beginning to feel like true spring is here. This week has been filled with ups and downs, but I tried not to take things too seriously. In all honesty, it was a lot of fun. I made last minute plans (something I never let myself do), I bought candy apples, jumped on trampolines, and laughed about cotton balls. All in all, I’ve remembered to keep this week fun and about laughter. I also hoped you remembered to laugh at yourself, because I know I sure did! It’s nice being able to take embarrassment and laugh at yourself too. All embarrassing moments become amazingly hilarious stories, so that’s always a positive!

This challenge was published late because I got too held up on having fun today. I took a jog 2.5k for fun (even though a lot of people would disagree on that meaning of fun), and I watched an episode of a show I liked. I smiled and told myself not to worry about things and I had a good day… Except all of this made me forget about publishing this challenge.

Its hard to balance having fun and being serious sometimes. Often when we are truly happy and carefree we forget about priorities and engagements. We forget about deadlines and promises and we get lost in the moment. I hope you all had an amazing month, but I hope that having fun and letting loose didn’t stop you from completing tasks or making decisions. What we need to realize is that its important to balance things in our life. We need to know how to have fun and lose inhibitions. But at the same time we need to learn how to be responsible and pay attention to deadlines and seemingly boring and tedious tasks like cleaning your bathroom or buying new socks.

All in all, the people who live life the most happy and fulfilling aren’t happy go lucky all of the time. They don’t do what they want all the of time, but they are the people who learn to make everything fun and exciting. These are the people who look forward to little things every day, and who use this energy to their advantage. They are people who prioritize and time manage and they are the people who know when to let themselves take breaks and relax. This is truly the hardest thing for any of us to grasp.
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Challenge #4
The last challenge of this month will probably be the easiest and the hardest challenge (as always). I try to conclude with something that wraps ups your subconscious lessons that you have been gaining throughout the month. Someday, you’ll thank me for this. Until then, you will probably feel utterly confused.

I want all of you to go to this link and watch this video. Its a montage of children falling, which is kind of hilariously adorable. I hope it makes you smile.

At the same time, its also symbolic of the fact that those kids lost their balance, so they fell. Ahhh are you making the connection? Bingo.

Get a piece of paper. On one side, write down 5 things you like to do. For example you could write “buy myself ice cream” or “go visit a friend” or “watch a movie”. Flip it over. On this side, write down 5 things you still have to do. These could be cleaning your room, buying your mom a birthday gift, or organizing your desk.

Beginning, choose something on the “fun” side to do. Don’t think about it too hard, just do it. Once you’re done, cross it off and flip the page over. The next day or next time, you have to pick something off the list of things you have to do. Done? Cross it off and flip again. See how this works?

In a way, its symbolic of using your time wisely and equally. It reminds you that although you know there’s important things you have to do, there’s always time for both. Its about balance and finding the time for play and joy.
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Challenge #3: Ha. Ha. Ha.

I think I’m going to begin this post with some terribly corny jokes about corn. Bear with me some of these are pretty groan-worthy.

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Q: What did the corn say when he got complimented? A: Aww, shucks! 

Q: What do you get when a Corn cob is runover by a truck? A: “Creamed” corn.

Q: What do Corn cobs call their father? A: “Pop” corn. 

Q: What do you call the best student at Corn school? A: The “A”corn.

I feel like I am literally the only person in the world who laughs at corny jokes, so next time I’ll make them about cabbage or something. 

There are a lot of times in life where I want to catapult my computer across the room and this is one of those moments. I had literally written half this post already and then I added this corn picture and for some reason everything under the corn got deleted. That sounds so crazy but I’m totally serious. The corn is rebelling against me. 

April is about being silly, it’s about finding time to let loose and remember the great things in life. It’s taking time to find our inner child and do things we enjoy. It’s about laughing at corn jokes and finding happiness in the small things we take for granted. It’s not being afraid to do what embarrasses us, and it’s about finding the courage to step out and take those chances and just having fun.

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Challenge #3: Find Your Laughter

 

 

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I truly do believe that laughter is the best medicine. Of course, laughter alone cannot fix broken hearts or broken bones, but it can sure make things seem and feel a lot better, if even for just a short period of time. Laughter can relieve stress, it can bring people together. It fills silences and shows friendships. It is good for you in so many ways and here are just a few:

  • laughter relaxes your entire body; a great laugh will keep you relaxed for up to 45 minutes after
  • it triggers the release of endorphins, a positive chemical that triggers the “feel-goods” and can even temporarily relieve pain
  • laughing can boost your immune system: do you ever notice that outgoing, bubbly, happy people never seem to get sick, and that people who are negative and complain a lot often do? Well there ya go! Laughter can actually decrease stress hormones and increases the amount of antibodies and immune cells we have, therefore preventing illness
  • laughter is proven to balance blood pressure and improve blood flow; for some reason, laughter can expand the tissue that lines blood vessels, allowing for better flow
  • improves your social skills; it is scientifically proven that laughter can allow people to bond, communicate, and connect with the people around us

I put those corn jokes as an attempt to make you laugh. Even if you didn’t laugh at the jokes I hope you at least laughed at the fact that I still find them hilarious. 

Laughter is so important, so let’s spend this week finding some time to laugh:

  1. Try and have one good hearty laugh. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? When you and a friend talked about jokes and things that made you laugh for 5, 10, 20 minutes straight and by the end you were laughing so hard your stomach hurt and you couldn’t even make a noise.
  2. Remember to laugh at yourself as well, let loose and don’t be afraid to feel embarrassed once in a while. It’ll boost your self-esteem and the confidence in yourself. If anything embarrassing happens, just try and laugh it off! Do you ever hear “you’re going to laugh at this someday”? Well let that day be today!
  3. Find a picture or a meme that really makes you laugh. Set it as your background or print it out or copy it so you can see it every single day this week. Let yourself laugh silently (or out loud) whenever you see it. 

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Corn jokes courtesy of http://www.jokes4us.com/miscellaneousjokes/foodjokes/cornjokes.html. Evil corn photo from http://soulsbyfarm.org/2012/10/14/an-autmun-pictorial-on-the-farm/autumn-fall-farm-corn. Laughter clipart from http://www.integralhmc.org/laughter-is-good-medicine.

 

Challenge #2: Be Silly

Sillyness. Silliness. However you spell it. Well the spell check underlined “sillyness” so I’m guessing that spelling is wrong! Now that I’m completely off on the wrong tangent… Being silly is something that we take for granted and something that we don’t do often enough. By the dictionary definition, being “silly” means having a lack of common sense and judgment, or being absurd and foolish. Now this seems like an awfully negative connotation of such a simple word, so let’s change that. Being silly isn’t necessarily losing all your common sense, because I really DO NOT want you guys to be sticking tomatoes in the microwave and putting your toast in the washing machine. Even though kids do that sometimes, they are just learning… and they are also quite curious as to what truly happens when you put bread on the spin cycle. But connecting with the silliness of your inner child means connecting with that carefree spirit, the ability to do something totally absurd and hilarious once in a while. It’s connecting with the idea that sometimes we can do or say things that just doesn’t make total sense, but that’s okay.

I hope you had fun saying hello to your inner child again. I mean, how long has it been since the two of you have truly connected? What did you say to yourself? What do you miss about being a child? What did you like and what did you dislike? Are you still the same person now? Now that you’ve been given a chance to reflect on your childhood and the kind of person you were and your experiences, let’s take the rest of this month and really work on bringing our inner child out more often. How does this connect to the last theme? Well we realized that sometimes saying things and doing things requires a great amount of courage, and finding and connecting with your inner child takes courage too. Sometimes, it takes courage to go against the norms of society and rediscover what it’s like to see things as a child. Sometimes, it takes courage to find the joy in small things and to explore your laughter. Sometimes it even takes courage to say hello to the child you once were, to hug them and comfort them if they’ve gone through something awful. And finally, it takes courage sometimes to look at that inner child and tell them that it’s alright, that it will be alright, and that you forgive yourself, but you’re also sorry.

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CHALLENGE #2

This week I challenge you to find time to be silly. Smile at the little things in life, get excited about things you normally take for granted. When was the last time you were completely excited for dinner just because you knew it was going to be something you loved eating? Let yourself feel all those seemingly trivial feelings, because that’s just what the inner child does. Find your childhood silliness, find that spirit and the energy that we once had and seemed to last for an eternity. Did you have that too? I don’t know about you but as a child I was literally never ever tired, but now it seems to be like I get tired around noon and have trouble keeping my eyes open. Maybe I just need to stop going to bed so late after watching YouTube videos about cats and babies laughing at lemons. Alright, I don’t really do that, but you get the point (was there even a point?).

Here’s what I want you to do this week:
1. Wear something one day that you normally wouldn’t wear. Maybe it has a funny saying, maybe the pattern is awkward, maybe the design makes you laugh. I have this crop top with a moustache on it, and I’ve never ever worn it before. I’m not even sure why I bought it, but I will make an effort to wear it sometime this week!

2. Find as many opportunities to laugh as possible. Have you ever heard that a child laughs an average of 500 times a day while the adult only laughs about 15? Find that laughter again. However, there’s a difference between actually laughing and forcing a laugh. Try forcing a laugh, right now. Did you sound super unconvincing and probably really awkward? Yeah, no one wants to hear that 500 times a day. So try to laugh, tell funny stories and laugh about things with your friends. My friend and I literally laughed for 20 minutes straight in class today just talking about little things. It was amazing and I was crying from laughing so hard.

3. Play a song you love and dance around as wildly and energetically as you can. You can do this alone in your kitchen or with a group of friends. Just take the time to dance and let loose. I do this every morning actually, I have a go-to song that gets me pumped up and happy every morning. Maybe that’s why I’m so exhausted by noon… I’ve basically used up all my energy dancing in my kitchen. (My current go-to song is “Dance With Me Tonight” by Olly Murs.. love it). Dancing totally helps us get stress out, but not only that, think about a time when you were little when someone played music and you could just flail and windmill backwards across your living room. Yes it was embarrassing and probably super hilarious, but for a while (or at least the length of one song), forget about your worries and just dance.

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Team Courage is participating in Relay for Life for our city. Relay for Life is a 12 hour relay for cancer research. All the money that we fundraise will contribute to the Canadian Cancer Society, and it’s a really great cause so we encourage everyone to get involved if you can! By giving up one night of our lives, it’s symbolic of how cancer never sleeps, and how it is something that touches the lives of almost everyone whether personally or when it affects family, friends, or someone we know.

If you would like to donate to our cause, you can do so online here: https://secure2.convio.net/cco/site/Donation2?idb=1955828194&df_id=21640&FR_ID=14813&PROXY_ID=309234&PROXY_TYPE=22&21640.donation=form1

We really appreciate all donations and your money is going to an amazing cause!

Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.

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Be silly quote from.. Drum roll please…. Brrrum (is that a drum sound)… blog.zerodean.com 🙂

I am (silent)/Challenge 1

Recap: So far, we have talked about understanding ourselves, friendships, and courage. We have talked about understanding what motivates you, to how to be a better friend, to what finding courage truly means. So what does April have in store?

Do you remember a time when you were always carefree? Do you remember when you played outside until the sun set and didn’t care about your looks or what others really thought of you? Do you remember all the things you loved to do as a child? Whether it was playing in the sandbox or jumping off the swings at the park; drawing pictures of puppies, or making necklaces out of flowers… we all have things that we loved to do. Most of us are too busy now, we have school, work, other obligations. What happens to doing what we enjoy? What happened to the child we once here? Well, April is the time to find your inner child. 

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CHALLENGE #1

This month is all about finding time for play. It’s about finding time to do things that make us happy, things that we really enjoy doing and have loved doing since we were little. It’s about finding the inner personality that you are keeping bottled up inside because society forces us to grow up. April is the time to take that inner child out of hiding and embrace the carefree spirit. It’s also about nurturing the inner child; perhaps you have gone through things in your childhood that weren’t the greatest experiences. Perhaps you were bullied, perhaps your parents got divorced, perhaps you even lost a parent, or were abused. Readers, this month is about stepping into that place and embracing the child and nurturing him or her. It’s about reminding yourself that perhaps bad things happened, but good things have to have happened to. Perhaps some of us had to grow up too fast because of circumstances, but this month is dedicated to bringing back that carefree laughter and spirit. And Team Courage is going to guide you every step of the way.

This week I want you to find your inner child. This is easy for some, and extremely difficult for others. I believe that within us, we all have personalities that shined when we were kids. We were carefree, spirited, energetic, happy, and curious. We didn’t mind if our clothes got dirty and we spent time doing things that made us happy, just because we felt like it. We took pride in our accomplishments and laughed with our friends. We ran through sprinklers, coloured in colouring books, played with lego, and watched cartoons. So how exactly do we find this person within us?

This week I challenge you to complete these tasks:
1. Record a short video that begins with “Hi, this message is for you, the child I used to be..” Tell yourself memories you had, habits you had, what you liked and disliked. Apologize for repressing the child within you, and explain why you do so.
2. Write down a list of 5 things you loved to do as a child. Circle anything that you still do. Look at what you have not circled, and make an effort to do one of those things sometime this week.

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Today (April 2nd), some members of Team Courage are participating in the We are Silent campaign by the Me to We organization. For 24 hours we will be silent, but what for?

Around the world:

  • One in six children are estimated to be underweight in developing countries.
  • 4.78 million children around the world are refugees.
  • 66 million primary school-age children in developing countries attend classes hungry.

Team Courage is going silent in behalf of those who have lost their voice; for the children who live in poverty, for families living in war-torn countries, for the kids who are bullied and for the people who are scared, lonely, and are afraid to speak out. There are billions of voices who are not heard, so tomorrow we symbolically sacrifice our voices as well. I encourage you, the readers to get involved as well. Take a vow of silence, if not for a day, then for an hour. Research the Me to We organization and find out more about the Vow of Silence 2014. Thanks for supporting us in this cause. 🙂

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Finally.. Team Courage is participating in Relay for Life for our city. Relay for Life is a 12 hour relay for cancer research. All the money that we fundraise will contribute to the Canadian Cancer Society, and it’s a really great cause so we encourage everyone to get involved if you can! By giving up one night of our lives, it’s symbolic of how cancer never sleeps, and how it is something that touches the lives of almost everyone whether personally or when it affects family, friends, or someone we know.

If you would like to donate to our cause, you can do so online here: https://secure2.convio.net/cco/site/Donation2?idb=1955828194&df_id=21640&FR_ID=14813&PROXY_ID=309234&PROXY_TYPE=22&21640.donation=form1

We really appreciate all donations and your money is going to an amazing cause!

Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.

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Information about We are Silent from http://www.freethechildren.com. Vow of silent photo from http://simply4franki.deviantart.com/art/Vow-Of-Silence-2011-11-30-271619605. Inner child clipart from http://sayingsandquotes01.blogspot.ca/2012/12/never-forget-your-inner-child.html.

Challenge #4: Courage in Yourself

Let’s just all stop for a moment and appreciate how darn adorable giraffes are. Nature is beautiful isn’t it? Somehow in the grand scheme of things, our world has managed to create some of nature’s most adorable creatures ever. As I am typing this my cat is violently attacking the laptop with his head, I guess that goes to show that my cat got some of the “special” animal genes.

Going back to the topic of courage, which is the entire point of this month. I’d like you all to take a moment and reflect on Project Courage so far. We’re coming to the end of the third month on the project and it’s incredible how much it’s grown. I would like to specially thank all of my readers, as well as Team Courage for making this project possible. It all began with a dream to inspire and positively change the lives of the people around me, and I can say without a doubt that we are accomplishing that goal together. I might be changing the lives of my readers, but all of you have changed my life in ways that I can’t even fully comprehend. So THANK YOU, I owe you one. 🙂

Before you go on, open this song, and listen to it as you read. This is “Arrival of the Birds and Transformation” again. Why do I want you to do this? Well read below to find out.

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CHALLENGE #4

I wanted to find a quote that really encompassed what I was trying to get across this week, and if you have read the reflection from challenge #3 you might have seen hints about this challenge. But I wanted to save perhaps the easiest and most difficult challenge for last this month. Every week we have discovered a different type of courage, but this may be the sort of courage that we need the most.

This week I challenge you to find courage in yourself. 

I want you take yourself by the hand and show yourself that you shouldn’t be afraid or worried or upset. I want you to find the courage to be proud of who you are, to know what kind of person you are, to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, and to understand your goals and reasons. I want you to tell yourself that it’s okay that you have made mistakes, because you’re human and that’s what humans do. I want you to smile at yourself in the mirror because you have the courage that you are beautiful, handsome, smart, talented, and kind. I want you to see your own strength and the courage you have gained from your battles in life because frankly those battles aren’t over yet, but you still keep fighting. I want you to have the courage to look into yourself and your mind and to figure out who you are. I want you to find courage in yourself, but I don’t want you to do it alone. Because your friends are here with you, your family is here with you. I, and the rest of Team Courage, we’re all here with you. It’s hard to be strong and it’s hard to keep going, but there’s a difference between strength and courage. You can be courageous and be weak sometimes. You can be courageous and cry yourself to sleep. You can be courageous and be angry or feel small or insignificant. Because that’s not when you show your courage, you show your courage the next day when you use your weakness to make you strong. You show your courage the next day when you wipe the tears off your face and keep going. You show your courage when you stand up again even though you have fallen, whether it was an accident or you were pushed. You have courage, the world can see it, so believe it.

This week I want you to see the courage that you have, but not only that, I want you to prove yourself the courage that you have. I want you to set your mind to do something you never have before, I want you to face something that scares you, look it in the eye and say “I will prove my courage”. I want you to look at yourself in the mirror and be confident in who you are, because there is only one you in the entire universe and only one you that will exist ever. I want you to take on this week and feel proud of you and your decisions, who you are as a person and where you have come, but also where you have left to go. Courage is something remarkable, and it is within each and every one of us, all you have to do is let it shine through.

Then why am I asking you to listen to this song? You have heard it before if you listened to it while reading last week’s reflection, but songs have the ability to change emotions. They can change the way we think and alter the chemistry within our very own minds. You associate the song with these words, and you associate the words with those feelings. The feelings of courage, of compassion, of hope, of self-discovery. The brain is all about association, and listening to music can really alter the way we feel about ourselves. So download this song, or find another one that inspires you. Listen to it on repeat throughout this week, whenever you have the time. Maybe as you get ready in the morning, maybe right before you go to sleep.

So this week I’m not going to ask you to do any giant task or write anything down. But I want you to spend this week actively proving to yourself that you have courage. When you find it, add the word “courageous” to your “I am..” paper; if it’s already there then star it. Post reminders to yourself around your house with sticky notes, set a courage quote as the background to your phone or computer. But courage is the power to look within; so this week I am challenging you to figure out why you have courage, and how you have shown it.

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Remember readers, keep smiling. 🙂 Whenever you are feeling down just go on Google and search cute baby animals. I promise you will not be disappointed. I also didn’t know that I could code for the change in font colour until now so excuse me while I kind of freak out to myself because this is a beautiful discovery.

Giraffe photo from http://sciencelakes.com/ct/8805832-cute-giraffe-pictures.html. Courage quote art from http://society6.com/marloesdevries/You-get-in-life-what-you-have-the-courage-to-ask-for-Oprah-Winfrey-quote-blackwhite-version_Print. Goldfish courage quote from http://www.pics22.com/pics/courage-quotes/page/4.

Challenge #3: Courage in Words

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Have you ever wanted to say something to someone but just didn’t know how? Have you ever wanted to stand up for what you believed in, but lost the words to do so? How many times have you wanted to tell someone how you truly felt, but you chickened out and walked away instead. How many times have you lied because the truth was too hard to share?

This week, we’re exploring a new type of courage. So much of our day is spent on written and verbal communication, especially with the interconnectedness of our modern day world. But we often lack the courage to say things that we know we need to or should. How come? And how do we find this courage? What does it mean to have courage in our words? How can a few letters strung together hold the power to do anything? Hold the power and our courage?

To find courage in our words we first need to understand the power that words can have. Words have the power to change us, they have the power to unite enemies and destroy friendships. They have the power to unite entire nations and have the power to make dreams come true. Words can move us, they can fill us with emotion and happiness. But they can also break us, sometimes the most simple words are the hardest to hear. Words can change history for the worse or for the better. But most of all, words have the power to stick with us. Think about any time you have been called a bad name, when someone has made fun of you or said something that offended you and it totally changed your opinion on that person? Words can hurt, and this hurt can stick with us for a long time. Because of this lingual abuse we often forget that words can have power in the opposite way as well. Words can be positive, and we often lose the courage to speak these. If something negative can stick with us for so long, then a positive can stick with us for so much longer.
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CHALLENGE #3
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Project Courage’s challenge this week is to find your courage through the power of speech. Unfortunately, this is a challenge that I can’t give you specifics for. Each person has different boundaries, and some people are more open with speech and communication than others are. This challenge could involve a variety of things.

You could…
• stand up for someone who is bullied
• speak your mind and defend your opinions
• tell your crush how you feel
• explain to your friend how their actions hurt you

Finally, the last part of this challenge is to watch this video. It’s just a two minute clip, but the message behind is important and something we should all know.
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzgzim5m7oU
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Power of word clip art from powerfulprimates.com. Words clip art from annajonesbuttimore.blogspot.com.