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Friday, December 1, 2017

Reflections: Preparing for a New Year

When the year winds down and you're crossing off the last few days on the calendar, where do you go to reflect? Do you reflect? 

I find that there are so many mixed emotions this time of year. Relief. Dread. Optimism. Excitement. Abundance. Calm. Anxious. Accomplishment. Disappointment.
A windfall of 365 days to fill is a gift. Each one of those days is a gift. 
It's very helpful to try to grasp the year ahead all at once and try to give it a shape, an intention. Yes, an intention.
It's so important to shed the skin of the previous year, whether it was bright or lackluster. 

Mark the transition and give yourself permission to reflect. Sometimes it helps to go to a familiar place at an unfamiliar time. For me, there's nothing quite as comforting for my soul as the beach in winter. It seems to encompass all of me: past, present and future. That expansive horizon line gives me perspective and hope. The beach is ever-shifting but it is always beautiful in its unpredictability. And every tussle in the clouds is followed by glorious, luminous light at sunset. 

Take time to make note of your transition into 2018. This way, you will be ready to embrace with gratitude the unchartered course of the next 365!

Look forward and make this your motto for 2018:

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Lend a Helping Hand

Remember to be helpful this time of year. 

Helping is Healing, Empowering, Loving, Peaceful!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Three things to be thankful for

November is a magical month for me. The month opens a wonderful season of giving -- around the globe. Like the trees that give us magical colors this time of year, we come out of our "me" cocoons, spread our wings and share. We look out rather than look in. 
We think about others. We are helpful. We extend a hand. 

Here's my best advice for November. 

Name three things to be thankful for. 
Do this right now. Do this every day for the month of November. 
Don’t make it complicated. Take in the essence of what is surrounding you. 

The power of this exercise will stay with you long after November has passed. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Welcome in the New Beginnings of the Harvest Season

Just when I thought the summer season of gardening was over, we were given an extra blast of record breaking heat! What a reminder for us all, that just when you think you are finished, you never really are. There is always something to do.

At the end of each summer season, I often share with my gardener and family, "We made it, we survived another summer of combating some of the mother nature’s challenges!"  Every summer, I'm thrilled by the joys of greater sunlight and longer days but they go hand-in-hand with a lot of extra time in the garden, just to stay ahead.  There's a lesson in there somewhere: Summer gardening is like getting through another season of life. 

Plenty of times in my life, work has felt endless, but the garden reminds me to stop and count my blessings. How much true joy has this garden brought me over the years? It's immeasurable -- just like the joy reflecting on cherished memories spent with family and friends throughout the years.

The summer season opens up a perspective in one’s heart to be able to withstand new challenges. Are we willing to work in the garden day-to-day with an open heart or does it become a drudgery? Are we so busy keeping our heads down, focusing on the weeds of life, or are we taking a moment to smell the many gracious fragrances?  

At times, life-- like garden work --may feel a bit too much, yet, when are faced with a challenge, I've learned that a little extra work with a loving heart will strengthen us to grow. Enjoy each glorious season of endearment that can rekindle the soul and spirit!

This month, let go of any doubts or confusion and welcome in the harvest.  There is much to nurture. The joy and loving relationships with family and friends prepare our landscape of life for the next season.  

Friday, September 15, 2017

Where will this season take you?

I am reminded of Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling, when a swan egg accidentally rolls into a duck's nest. Fate unfolds unfortunately for the duckling who feels ostracized then faces hardship and solitude. When Spring arrives, he throws himself in with a flock of swans, expecting to be attacked, but when he sees his reflection, he realizes he is one of them.

The swan always reminds me that personal transformation for the better is always possible!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Embrace Change

Why do we avoid change?

So often we look at change as negative.  Yes, change is not always a choice; it may be a loss, or something we had not anticipated to take place in our lives.  How much my life has changed this last year and, even more recently, these last several months! And though some of the changes seemed to be ever so difficult, many of the changes have really helped me to grow, learn and stretch myself in new directions.

The more I welcome and embrace change as a gift of opportunity, I find I actually think differently. Change simply means not getting “stuck” in the routine.

Every six months, I like to do a self-assessment to make sure that I am tuned into the changes that are happening around me so that I am still reaching and growing. It’s a lot like pruning and cleaning a garden to keep it fresh and healthy through the seasons. During a process of change, take a moment to be quiet and listen.  You’ll start to enjoy the new precisely because it is different! 

As we begin to welcome in the cooler air and rich colors of the autumn season, I encourage all of us to embrace the many changes ahead as a positive experience of “newness”—a refresh and refill for one’s soul.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Endurance and the Summer Garden

The utopia of a Spring garden—its newness and bloom surprises—is quickly followed by the Summer months of July and August. The garden grows double-time, basking in the vitamins from the sun and warm weather. This is the season that puts me to the test. Longer and more frequent days are are required in the garden, trying to stay ahead of the growth, the bugs and other challenges. The peak of summer gardening is all about endurance.

I often find myself asking, “Can I ever get ahead of the upkeep and care?” And, the funny thing is, after a long week of labor in the garden, I am always rewarded.   When I sit in my favorite spot over looking the garden at dusk, I relax and take in all of the joy it brings me. I know that it is never fully complete or finished. I accept that it is a work in progress. Actually, I love that it’s always a work in progress. Isn’t it all? The splashes of colorful flowers dotted across he varying hues of green are a backdrop for a very special kind of dance where humming birds and butterflies flow to the rhythm of the gentle breeze.  And it’s never the same performance twice.

We must all endure through seasons of extra work, some emotional or physical strain, and longer hours at different times in our lives. But no two days are the same. Each day is a new performance in the greatest work-in-progress of all: life.

As we endure through the peak summer months of a garden in full abundance, we welcome in the cooler and shorter days of the autumn season. In these periods of rest, we rebuild, prepare and find the strength to endure through all that is put in front of us -- every day and in every season.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Long Summer Days are for Creativity

Summer is our most gifted season around the globe. It's permission to soak in the beauty all around us. It's a time to watch things bloom and blossom and, I don't know about you, but I have the same urge within me to do the same. I am inspired to paint, draw and write. Others are inspired to cook, sing and dance.
My challenge to you is try something different. If you like to cook, find a new recipe. If you like to dance, dance to a new tune. If you like to draw, try a different size of canvas or a new medium. Experiment. I cannot underline how fulfilling it is to carve out some time for oneself in this way. It is truly a gift.

And if you don't consider yourself a creative person, I don't believe you!

Sometimes we just need a little inspiration. One of the best sources of inspiration is to dream and I find that magazines really offer me a chance to see something new, or something in a new way. Images within the pages inspire me or remind me of my dreams or just give me a sense of awe. Magazines are always trying to bring you to new places or revisit older ones in a new and refreshing light. I love that about magazines. And I love summertime!

In your creativity, you'll discover just how unique you are.

In the afternoon, you can often find the floor of my living room looking like this.
Spread out those magazines and give it a try!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Walk and Talk

Sitting in front of one’s computer does not grow creative thoughts or solve problems. The best thing one can do is walk around and share in conversation with colleagues and friends.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Take A Break!

As we rush through our everyday busyness of life, I find myself revisiting and reflecting upon my own "mantra" to stop, breathe and slow down to truly capture the gifted moments. 

With change being a constant and time moving more quickly than ever, I am reminded that I must give myself permission to turn everything off and to just enjoy the experience, my surroundings, and the quiet with no clicks of the camera, streaming of Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook conversations. 

Ahhh... an experience is simple, free and right here, right now...Enjoy! I love looking at these recent photos of a trip to Europe and basking in these moments!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sowing Seeds

This weekend in my garden, I found myself welcoming in the burst of spring. The birds and butterflies danced through the flowers and trees, while taking a break, here and there, for some nutriment from seasonal delights.  As I worked my way through the garden – pruning, feeding, spraying and cleaning out some of the beds – during each stop at a different section of the garden, I found myself thinking about the phrase, “sowing seeds.” I was preparing a garden bed for some new small plants—plants that I would feed, water and nurture to help them blossom and flourish to their greatest capacity. I thought about how the phrase is used with so many contexts in our lives, from gardening, of course, to biblical scriptures, business investing and ways to describe human interaction with marriage, family and friends.

As I continued to work my way through my garden chores feeling a little thirsty from the physical exercise of trimming, I started to think that this simple sounding phrase of sowing seeds is really about all aspects of life.  I realized that when one is sowing seeds, one must be willing to have patience, which we learn from the seasons of the garden and nature’s way—nothing is the same and the weather is often unpredictable.

We must be willing to trust our instinct and believe in what we are doing.  Whether it is in a relationship, a job or a hobby, we must be willing to spend the time to nurture and grow that relationship or idea with love and compassion in order to enjoy the fruits of one’s labor. And like the seasons of the garden, we must be willing to have peace in understanding that our lives, ideas and situations are always changing.

So as I dusted off the dirt, which I usually find myself in from head to toe after a day in garden, I looked around with such joy and a thankful heart for all that God has created for us to enjoy.

I realize that if we are willing to spend the time to sow seeds with patience, trust, peace, love and compassion, our journey through life will be a lot more bountiful and full of garden surprises…