Friday, January 1, 2016

Determination in Action

Welcome, new readers, and all, to my blog.  I have been blogging since April of 2009, daily since late March of 2011. 

Today, I decided to take inspiration from a parade held in Pasadena, California each New Years Day- the Tournament of Roses parade, and see how I could apply the lessons of a parade to my daily life.  I've chosen the word "Determination" as my word of the year.

What is special about this parade?  After all, many parades have floats and marching bands.  But this particular parade has a special rule:  all floats must be covered in organic material - flowers, seeds, bark, and like material. 

And what stories you can tell with these materials. Stories of determination.
A ballerina performing Swan Lake - a float honoring a 13 year old ballerina battling leukemia. 
She says "Cancer has taken a lot from me...I won't let it take ballet."
This float honored organ donor recipients - all of the riders are alive today because of organ or tissue donors.   They are too small to see, but there are also portraits, made of flowers, of those who who donated organs after they died.  I know two people who passed away because they needed an organ donation - one, a heart, one, a liver - and couldn't get them.
The Florida Panther - the most endangered mammal in the Eastern United States.
And the American bison (left), a "symbol of strength and determination".

Each one of these floats takes months to decide and build.  But the organic materials must be applied at the very last minute - the last week (12-27 through 12-31) before the parade.  The work is done by both professionals and volunteers, who labor day and night, applying sometimes tiny materials (anything from lentils to onion seed to ground cinnamon), and covering themselves in glue.  Some flowers must be placed, individually, into vials of water.

After the parade, there is a time for public viewing.  After that, the floats are stripped, and materials that can be recycled are - a messy job.

How can I not be inspired by these examples of determination?   The work I put into my blog and my life pale in comparison.

What are you inspired by the most?  What do you use to fuel your determination?

Today is day 1 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge and the Ultra Blog Challenge.


  1. I too enjoyed the parade today, and looked at it with a eyes-wide open glee. I'm crossing the mid-century mark and life is taking on a whole new meaning...honoring the determination of others is one thing I want to be more mindful of this year. Thank you for your thoughts and insight as well!

  2. I watched that parade today but really didn't pay attention to all of the lessons to be learned and inspiration to be had from the parade. So glad you helped me to see it differently.

  3. I'm inspired by the love and goodness that flows throughout the world. Determination is fueled by the knowing that there is something more, a better way to live each day.

  4. Hi Alana,
    I haven't watched parades in quite awhile so this came as a surprise. I love the idea! Thank you so much for sharing it!

  5. I haven't watched the parade yet. It's on my DVR.

    We're actually close enough to go and/or go see the floats after. I never have. I don't fancy camping out to get a good spot, especially when it looks better on TV.

  6. Unbelievable dedication and determination by the float makers and the Float Honorees. Thanks for sharing your insights. Well done for the beginning of your 2016 blog writing.

  7. Alana, I always enjoy your observations. I saw part of the Parade and was boggled, as always, by the array of care and love in it. Some thousands of people put their hearts into that parade each year. Thank you for your sharing.

  8. Didn't see the parade. Love the word determination. Not sure if that would be my word or not...I like positive words that helps others.

    Coffee is on

  9. Love your pictures! I am inspired by my kids to do better every single day!

  10. I suffer from depression, so it's hard to see the sunny side of life. But then I hear about people like that ballerina, and I realize how much better I have it than some. And the float makers remind me to go farther than I think I can because it could be that last step that makes the difference.

  11. What a wonderful idea for the floats in the parade and so very inspirational. I look forward to following more of your blog now I've discovered you Alana. Happy New Year!

  12. Word of the Year - Interesting concept. Wishing you lots of light and happiness in 2016. Have a great year ahead. :)


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