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Friday, May 11, 2018

'We First' creates a better community

Last month was spent traveling overseas. In amongst all of the sights, I was surprised by the number of billboards and advertisements for "ME." Every ad seems to be taken at selfie length these days. And then, everyone around me was taking a selfie -- with, of course, a notable landmark.
"Look at me now," we all seem to be saying,  rather than, "Look at this!"
On this trip, I was struck by just how much we are resembling each other, culturally. Selfies seem to be all that matter-- across the globe. But are we collectively celebrating individuality?

Instead of saying 'me first' let's all try 'we first.' WE is the mirror image of ME. Think about what you are seeing and sharing.  Is it the best reflection of who you are? Remember we are put on this earth to collectively love one another. "WE FIRST." 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Merry Month of May

To all of my women friends and colleagues,  

Have a merry month of May!

Mothers, sisters and daughters -- you are gifted treasures

Celebrate this gifted season of womanhood. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Joy is contagious!

I was reading a story about two moms and their children hiking through an old garden. As they climbed through the overgrown paths in the early morning mist, they tried to keep their eager children close. A child’s voice yelled as they came towards the end of the path, "Look! There's a stream. And look at that tree!” As the children rushed ahead to get a closer look, the early morning sunlight was breaking through the thick branches of the tree, making it appear even more grand. Its deeply etched roots and thick storied bark let them all know that this was not an ordinary tree. This tree had lived through many seasons of life yet still stood strong.  With pure joy, some of the children rested under its majestic limbs while others started climbing to seek new horizons.  It was indeed a 'treasure tree.' 

We often forget during our busy days to look up and see the simple pleasures and joyous discoveries around us.  On a recent late afternoon walk, I ran into my friend Paul.  We had not seen each other in a while so we began to share about our lives and our families.  During our conversation, I told Paul that I was working on a piece about the simplicity of joy, and about finding joy in all things. “How easy it is for us to forget or get lost in all the noise and distractions around us!” said Paul.  “We should just stop for a moment and observe the many joyous gifts around us. I mean, just look at this sunset!” We paused and took in the unique colors of the sunset, its wispy blues and rusty yellows, and contemplated the fact that each night is a different painting made expressly for our joy.

So often we take these gifts for granted. Slow down and allow the childlike discoveries of our surroundings to fill our hearts with joy. The more we allow joy to be part of our daily lives, the more joy is contagious. Pass on the gift of joy to others!

Friday, April 13, 2018

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Take time during the rains of April to rinse off the past. 
Prepare to welcome in the rebirth of spring and new blooms of ideas.  
Be free. Open new creative paths for yourself.

Take a cooking class
Sign up for a hike
Go to a museum
Take an art class
Volunteer in your community

Set up a quiet break to sketch out your dreams, plant new ideas then make way for growth in the new season!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Start Your Life of Creative Adventure!

It is always interesting to read about entrepreneurs and what leads them to pursue their talents and create their own inspirational businesses. I love reading about growing one's passion and talent into a business...or simply turning a hobby or activity that you enjoy into something to share with others. It is so satisfying to share what works for you with others. After all, this is our only life of creative adventure. You have permission! 

In the process of discovering one’s own talents or interests, many of us begin with a list of things we enjoy doing. Often our list of goals and things we like to do are launched and relaunched at the beginning of each year in the form of new year’s resolutions.  I especially like to create to-do lists for projects for home and work that sometimes become a “thinking list” of new ideas and thoughts. 

Yet often during the process of list making, we create a box of restrictions around ourselves in the shape of boundaries, perfections and expectations.  This can take away from the freedom of trying something new, trusting our hearts to explore a dream or even taking the risk of creating something that could blossom into something of beauty.  We often stop ourselves from choosing to live our dreams before we even try a step forward.  As one entrepreneur shared with me, “If you have a good idea don’t wait, just jump in and begin to swim and discover your talents!” Another successful business mentor told me,  “If you follow your heartfelt dreams, everything will grow in your “own” life….and your “own” journey.”

I know there is so much “other” in our everyday: things we must do, responsibilities, and our own self-imposed expectations.  Make  time to open up your box and explore with freedom. Develop your talents and interests and see where the journey will take you.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Welcome Spring!

As we welcome in the Spring season, enjoy new beginnings and appreciate your surroundings!
Have a wonderful and peaceful holiday weekend.
Keep following your heart and living your dreams!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

How to Be a Green Leaf

Longer days are an invitation to get outside. All those new buds make me brim with anticipation and excitement for more growth ahead.

Practice being a green leaf by taking part in nature. Get outside -- whether you live in the city, by the coast or in the country, take a walk outside. Make it longer than usual or try a new route just to heighten your senses. Even better, invite a friend.

Marvel at the beauty of nature -- its cycles and the evolving color palette throughout the day and throughout this month.

This is a great time to plant some seeds and watch them grow! Spring is in the air, green leaf! Opportunities are there for the taking!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Be A Green Leaf in Drought

There are so many joys I find in gardening: the discovery of life in a new blossom, the first burst of rose buds in the spring, and that grand tree, dormant for winter, finally stretches and releases fresh green leaves. The doves coo in the quiet dawn mornings as the butterflies practice the choreography of the season.

I often write about gardening because it teaches me so much about life.  Most of all, it has taught me to slow down the day and avoid list-making in order to truly take in the moments that nature created for us to enjoy.

Because of my love for gardening,  I have become fascinated with garden stories and metaphors.  Many refer to the garden for cultural significance while others look to the garden for spiritual understanding.

During a recent trip to Asia, I became fascinated with the green leaf. Its design was on clothing, jewelry and notebooks. It was everywhere— an icon of new life, good luck and good health.  

When I returned home, I came across a book, Green Leaf in Drought by Isobel Kuhn, a true story about the lives of missionaries who traveled in the most eastern part of China during the early 1950s. It documented their lives and the many trials they faced trying to be "green leaves" during many seasons of drought, loss and sadness.  The story of their lives touched my heart.

We all go through droughts such as loss, uncertainty and sadness during the seasons of life and yet, through these challenging times, there is always hope for newness.

How To Be a Green Leaf in Drought

- Find a time in your day to refill yourself with something you enjoy.
- Play some music, sketch, take a walk, read, putter in the garden, try a new recipe or set some time aside to just sit, be still and breathe.
- Once you refill the soil of your soul, you will discover the newness of life that gives you strength to continue to shine. You will have the strength to continue to grow through all seasons. You are a green leaf.
- Plant a seed of encouragement to help others who may be going through a drought.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day is a wonderful reminder during this typically cold and dreary month to feel inspired by the things and people we love! 

The vibrancy of the color red is our greatest cue to keep our passions in mind at all times. 
Do something special for someone dear to you and remind them how much they mean to you.
Keep following your heart and live your dreams! 

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Life lessons from the garden

This week, I was thumbing through some of my garden books when I was pulled into a story about the virtues of the gardener who tends to the cyclical unpredictability of the land, season after season.

Yes. A garden instills humility in us -- a deep respect of something greater than ourselves. We learn about the gift of nurturing, tending and caring for others – from the heart. 

The author went on to describe the gardener’s deep inner strength and their wisdom to not only grow a successful and healthy garden but to choose to live a life that is able to find joy in all things.

Life, like the garden, is very unpredictable—yet, we gardeners dig, prune, clean and repeat.  We welcome in the joy of the surprises created in the garden—not by us, but by something greater than us.  Hope and inner strength translate beyond the garden.

One of my favorite lines goes something like this:
I thought by being diligent and dedicated to my work, I was growing my garden, yet I learned that actually my garden was and still is growing me.

I am sure I am not the first person to discover that gardening is a wise window into the mystery of life. And, like many who have come to this conclusion in their higher-learning institute of gardening, we discover how to be joyful through all of the seasons of life.  

Plan, celebrate, reflect -- February is full of surprises!