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Friday, December 30, 2016

Enjoy the Season!

As we reflect upon this past year, may we welcome in a season of much hope and new beginnings. 

Before the new year arrives, take a moment to enjoy the scenery with friends and family. 

Take a moment to breathe, no matter where you are. Contemplate. Nature is your deepest resource of replenishment and renewal. 

Take time to reflect upon the season's of one's soul and welcome in a new year of hope and unlimited opportunities.

Here's to new beginnings. Let's welcome in 2017 and count each day as a blessing!  

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Hostess Gift and Saying Thank You

When someone opens their home to you and shares their personal side of themselves with you, it is special. Not only is that person inviting you "in," they are giving you their time and full attention.   That's why one should always arrive with a hostess gift as a simple gesture of thanks.

Your gift does not have to be costly or elaborate, but it should be genuine and from the heart.  It should signify "kindness and thanks" in appreciation for sharing a special time together or for a special gathering. 

Technology occupies every aspect of our lives these days but instant gratification of cyber connection and interaction cannot be compared to in-person relationships. They take care and maintenance -- and being thankful is a huge part of why those person-to-person relationships work -- and last.  

Thank you. These two words are so easy to say. They uplift the giver and the receiver's soul.  Use them often.

A handwritten note accompanied with a keepsake gift such as a candle, flowers or a plant, handmade craft, or a delicate food treat are the perfect way to express thank you to a friend, family member or a colleague.  

Give the gift of  "thanks" to those who share a personal time and space for you for it is truly a gifted moment.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Simple Pleasures and the Five Senses

Fall foliage is gorgeous. A treat for your five senses! 
It's a great time to get outside and refill your soul. 
Explore, connect with nature and acknowledge being human. 
Enjoy life's simple pleasures and hit 'refresh' often!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Why I Teach Art

Why teach art? Why teach creativity? Why be creative?

We all have different needs. We come from different pasts and live with different stories and experiences. When I teach Art from the Heart to people, my goal is to teach my students to get out of their "mind thoughts" and experience things again through their Heart senses. I give my students an opportunity to rediscover themselves through what they see and feel--through their heart. Art through the Heart opens one’s soul to the rediscovery of themselves through love and through the senses.

Most people today have stopped seeing what is around them. They are so busy rushing through the day to get ready for the next day that they forget to stop and take in the moment. Slowing down and creating art is not only cathartic for my students, it is cathartic for me. 

I'm sharing this video from Fast Company about Pamela Bell, Co-founder of Kate Spade and Founder of Prinkshop who teaches an art class for homeless addicts. As much as she is changing their lives, she says she gets more joy from teaching this class than she does from anything else. This video is such an affirmation of why I teach art. Art truly is a healing release for all.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Rest in Labor

After spending the day working in the garden on a cool Saturday morning and feeling a little tired and sore,  I felt a great sense of  joyous accomplishment, as I surveyed my labor.  

As I was finishing up the last area of my garden to-do list, the saying  "rest in labor" came to my mind.  As I put my garden tools away and cleaned up from the day, I kept hearing "rest in labor" go through my mind.  
With everything put away, I took a quiet walk through the garden, a gentle cool afternoon breeze at my back. I sat for a moment. "This is what 'rest in labor' means," I thought. As I was taking in the moment, I began to feel a peace and a restful refill of my soul.

What a wonderful way to end a glorious day in the garden by "resting in one's labor. " Enjoy the gifted moment of the present.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Give Yourself The Gift of Time

On a recent trip to the East Coast, I was invited to join a group of ladies for an informal lunch. We spent the afternoon sharing in various topics of conversations about our own lives.  As lunch was coming a close with a wonderful warm crepe dessert, complimented with hot coffee and teas, one of the ladies shared that she was going through some recent changes in her life and learning the value of giving herself time to sit quietly and be still.  She realized that by giving herself this quiet time to turn off the noise and busyness of the day, she was discovering that being still gave her such peace. 

After our dessert and coffee and a wonderful afternoon of conversations, we all parted ways and returned to our regular schedules and lives. As I was traveling to my next destination, I began to realize how easy it is to always be in motion in a noisy world and to never take the time to slow down and be still. I decided that I, too, needed to give myself permission to take time to be still and enjoy the gift of peace. 

Early the next day as I began to prepare for an "action" packed schedule, I stopped for a moment, took a deep breath and gave myself permission to be still.   I quietly sat, overcome by observing so many beautiful treats from nature that I may have missed by rushing through the day.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Take Time to Smell the Roses Daily

In a recent post, I wrote about the importance of taking time from one's busy day to stop and smell the roses.

As I put  my own words of advice into practice, I am awestruck with the many simple pleasures of life that I have discovered on my journey of slowing down and stopping to "smell the roses."

I encourage all to take the time to slow down as one never knows what one will discover along the way, like the gift of Love.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Take a Moment to Stop and Smell the Roses...

As I was rushing to fit in my morning exercise walk in between calls and meetings, as I was racing through my to-do list in my head, I stopped for a moment to realize that I was half way through my exercise routine and did not even notice the beautiful summer morning and many treasures of nature surrounding me.   I found out how easy it is to be racing through life and, once again, miss the simple joys of life.

As I slowed down a little more to look at the beautiful plants and trees and take in the gentle warmth of the morning sun, I started to understand more and more the old cliché, "stop and smell the roses."

Yes, I did "stop to smell the roses."  And what a refreshing difference it made for me.  After a few minutes of being in the present and taking in the gracious beauty of my surroundings,  I continued on my way with my morning exercise routine. I turned off my to-do list, my head became more clear with new thoughts and ideas. I began to breathe more freely and found that I was more energized, refreshed and refilled.  

Little did I know that those few moments I took to slow down my daily routine would have such an amazing impact.  I encourage all to slow down for a moment to "stop and smell the roses" and see what you can discover. 

Celebrating Summer Fun with Friends

A great way to celebrate summer fun with friends is to have a picnic-style garden party to inspire creative hearts. 

 During the summer months I like to get friends together to to enjoy an afternoon  of inspired creativity in the garden to paint, draw and write with delightful foods and wonderful conversations filled with much laughter and joy. 

At the end of the afternoon, we all walk away refresh and refilled with the glories of creativity 
and fellowship.  

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Giving Thanks will Create a Joyous Life

A friend and I were sharing in a conversation today about life in general, decisions that need to be made, changes taking place, careers choices, ways to create a work life balance, etc. etc. --and how everything in our lives is so impacted by the technological rush and distractions.  

As we continued our conversation exploring various topics  on our minds and hearts , I began to realize more and more how life really doesn't  need to be so complicated. 

I mean the things that may influence us such as family, friends, work, community and oh yes, the non-stop technology noise, can be complicated and sometimes challenging.  Yet I believe more and more especially in today's global society with so much going on in world, how easy it is for one to be distracted from the simple gifts of life. 

I also believe that these simple gifts of life can be discovered through one's heart, if we take time to give thanks every day, and sometimes every moment for the many things we have and often take for granted.

For instance, if you a take moment, get out a sheet paper and pen and jot some of things that you are thankful for, such as family, friends, community, work, the air we breathe, the water we drink the nourishment from the food we eat, the beauty of nature, I can go on and on as there is so much richness in our lives if take the time to see what we have, as oppose to what we don't have.

As you go through the exercise of giving thanks, on a daily bases, I do know as one chooses to open their heart to be more thankful for all things, you will create a joyous life.

Stop, Breathe and Refill to Enjoy the Gifted Moments

On a recent travel excursion I found that I was continually reminding myself to slow down, breathe, and be present to take in the gifted moments of everything and everyone around me.  

As I started to put the slow down, stop and breathe mantra more into practice, I found that my senses had awakened more to a greater awareness to everything around me.  

I began to discover things I had not previously seen before, or taken the time to experience, such as the colors of the sky the reflection of light the details of a flower the peace of an evening sunset. 

As I returned home from my travels, I realized how easy it was to fall into some of the old habits of the technology rush and distractions.  As I began to get swept away into these old habits it dawned on me that I again needed to remind myself to slow down, breathe and be present.   For every day is a gifted moment-- and I encourage all of us to take time to enjoy life's experiences.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

What is Love ?

This morning I woke up with a simple thought about the age old question, "What is love?"  How do we understand  this "thing" called love?  It is not something you can hold onto or describe briefly. It is such an amazing feeling beyond any expression. One can easily and freely have access to love when  our hearts are open to a greater purpose than ourselves. 

I know we all have much to do in our day-to-day lives with challenges that may confound us. I find it is easy to be distracted from this simple expression of love.  So often, I try to remind myself of the things that reflect love for me: sharing with family, saying hello to a friend, reaching out to a neighbor, smiling, singing, gardening, the list goes on and on.  

I also remind myself of one of my favorite verses from the Bible, in 1 Corinthians: 13, that many will recognize  for it is often recited at weddings.  " Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It does not anger easily..." and as the verse goes on, I am reminded that this gift of love, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never love is the greatest gift.

As I finished writing these thoughts this morning, I turned to look out the window and  was drawn into the early rising sun dancing across the garden.  I decided to take a break from writing to visit the garden. As I began to walk through the garden, I found myself captured by the beauty of the early morning sunlight, giving me such a warm sense of peace and comfort.   This feeling is a little hard to express-- maybe no differently than how one contemplates describing the essence of love.  

This morning, I found myself maybe one step closer to a better understanding of this age old question, "What is love?" Love is in all of us and is all around us, if we choose to open our hearts more to a greater calling.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Grow Your Creative Heart

On a recent trip to the East Coast,  I spent a wonderful afternoon teaching a class on the joy of creating art from the many inspirational treasures of the spring season.

 Like several of the members in my class, I found myself  taking in the gifted moments of the soft sunlight dancing across the yard creating a glorious blanket of light and a sense of peace after a long gray winter.

During the class time, some of us spoke about how this gentle spring day took us back to memories from some of our earlier years of life, running through the great outdoors and discovering the treasures of this season. 

And though we may not always have the time to wander through the fond memories of our childhood days, I was reminded once again, to take time and enjoy the gifted treasures of today as we prepare for tomorrow.

Oh, how great it is, to just breathe in the fresh air and sit for a moment of time and take in the inspirations of the spring season to grow one's creative heart.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Joyous Spring Surprises

In several of my recent blogs, I have written about working in the winter garden to welcome in the treasured first blush of spring.  

At times, I have felt that the long days in the garden, cleaning out beds and pruning trees and bushes, seem endless.  

Today, after an afternoon of light garden work, I was reminded that the cool winter days of cleaning and pruning were well worth the labor as I enjoy these spring surprises, which give one's soul much joy. 


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Welcoming in the Gifts of an Early Spring

Today I am enjoying the splendor of a relaxing Sunday afternoon in the garden.  I am quietly reminding myself to take in the gifted moments of an early spring season and to enjoy the burst of nature's surprises.

These treasured surprises from an early spring garden after much needed rain, for me, is like having a birthday party with lots of gifts and each one you open is a greater surprise.

This is one of my favorite times of the year.  It is a time of new beginnings awakening, after the winter slumber-- a burst of hope filled with much peace and joy.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Garden Joy After A Rain

Last night we were blessed with a much long awaited rain that is so needed for our drought region.

After receiving rain throughout the evening hours, I woke up to a garden refreshed and revitalized from this gift from above.

As the day progressed from a cold and cloudy morning to a bright sunny afternoon,  I found such joy in watching the garden, refreshed from the rain, dancing with the soft cool breeze.  

Though some days I find myself tired from the on-going care and maintaince of a garden,  I was reminded that it is well worth the many hours spent laboring in the garden to enjoy the simple pleasures nature like today.