Category Archives: For My Soul

1 Minute Meditation: Water Art

Okay, so maybe not everyone loves rainy days and maybe you’ve never looked in the water for art–in which case, this video’s for you!

Stop what you’re doing. Set the To-do list aside. Clear your mind of clutter. Then take time for this one minute video–a bit of peace in your day.

Imagine you’re sitting beside this body of water, watching as the patterns on the water dance back and forth. Then later, a gentle rains falls on the surface of a creek, the drops making circles on the water’s surface beneath a flowering dogwood, bursting with white flowers. Watching them is mesmerizing!

Let me know what you think of this one minute meditation.

Happy Earth Day!

Hey all, Happy Earth Day to you! And happy Saturday and weekend too. It’s not every year that Earth Day falls on a weekend, but when it does, it is nice. Here is a post I wrote another year, about the history of Earth Day and also some things YOU can do to make a difference.

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Saturday is usually the day I do my puzzler, but I am going to hold off on that until tomorrow. Did you know that as Earth Day is being celebrated, there will be more than 500 locations around the world where people will be marching in support of Science?

Why are all these people getting together for Science?  And why on Earth Day?

Because a really lot is at stake, not just for the United States, but for the world.

What we do here impacts the world and other countries expect us to set a high bar and then uphold it.

Scientists agree that the climate of the earth is changing. Our clean water and clean air are something we take for granted. But what if 5 decades of environmental progress is taken away with one executive order? What if our precious National Parks are opened up to mining or drilling for oil? What if pesticides that have been deemed dangerous by dedicated scientists are allowed again? What if the chemicals from fracking are allowed to pollute our waters? What if the very institutions that we depend on to keep the water and air clean are eliminated? What if the research scientists have worked on for decades, is no longer being funded, or worse, erased?

Despite what some think, this is not a political issue. It doesn’t matter if you are a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent or other, these decisions have the potential to affect you and generations to come.

From the Science March website: “Scientists work to build a better understanding of the world around us.

Science is a process, not a product — a tool of discovery that allows us to constantly expand and revise our knowledge of the universe. In doing so, science serves the interests of all humans, not just those in power.

We recognize that inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in science are critical to ensure that science reaches its potential to serve all communities. We must protect the rights of every person to engage with, learn from, and help shape science, free from manipulation by special interests.”

Science is part of our daily lives. For instance, did you know without SCIENCE we would have none of these things?

  • Medicines that keep us healthy
    • antibiotics
    • insulin
    • vaccines
  • cell phone
  • alarm clock
  • tv
  • computers
  • the internet
  • radio
  • photography
  • weather reports
  • clean water
  • clean air to breathe
  • food
  • electricity
  • cars
  • dental floss
  • plastic
  • organ transplants
  • transportation, from buses,cars,trains, airplanes,boats, etc
  • newspapers
  • fans and air-conditioning
  • heat

Of course this is only a small list, but you get the idea! I am going to be spending my Earth Day marching in support of Science…. how you will spend yours? What does Earth Day mean to you?

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As always, I’d love to hear from you! Use the comment box below to tell me your thoughts.

See you tomorrow for the puzzler!

One Minute Meditation: Spring Rains Fill Stream

Have you been too busy to get outside and see what’s going on? Do you need a minute just to relax and do nothing? I thought I would do some one minute meditations, starting today, with this video I made recently in my backyard here in western North Carolina. Come join me for a short walk!

As you watch, imagine yourself walking along a small stream in the forest. It is early spring, with just a few ephemerals poking out of the ground. The sky is cloud-filled, the temperature cool. All you can hear as you move along is the sound of falling water. It relaxes you, makes you feel calm and unhurried.

 

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge #1

Hello again and welcome to the first ever weekly photo challenge! I hope you are as excited as I am about this new weekly blog category! I think it will be interesting to see how other people interpret and capture the themes.

The only limitations to this weekly challenge are:

  • That the photo has a NATURE THEME and
  • is taken OUTDOORS.

So if the theme is RED and you just installed a new backsplash in your kitchen featuring a field of RED tulips, this may be beautiful but it doesn’t fit the challenge guidelines.

…drum roll please….. the first weekly photo challenge theme is: SHADOWS

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You don’t need to have a fancy camera or be the most amazing photographer ever–you just need to interpret the word/phrase and capture it in an artistic or creative way on film. I will take all of the photos that come to me, add some of my own, and then put them in a slideshow and publish the post on the following Wednesday. You can send many (up to 10) or you can send one.

Won’t this be a great addition to your Wednesday? Every week you can look forward to seeing what other readers from around the country have captured. It will be great fun! And a great reason for you to GET OUTSIDE and begin to look more closely at the world around you.

Email me your images at ShareNatureMore@gmail.com.  Don’t forget to include your NAME and LOCATION, (just the place/park/city/ and state because it will be fun for other readers to see where these images were taken and if you don’t want to give your last name, that’s up to you)  and if you want, a title. Please shrink your image, if you can, to a more suitable size, like 500-800 pixels for the longest side. (If you don’t know how to do this, I can do it for you.) Your images will never be used for anything other than a one-time use in a slide-show that I will feature the following Wednesday in a blog post. Each photo will have a label identifying the photographer and location.

So let this motivate you to GET OUTSIDE! and see what interesting shadows you can find. I can’t wait to hear from you and see what you come up with! See you again soon.

4 Things to Remember this Holiday Season

Several years ago I wrote a post in December called 5 things to remember this holiday season. If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you may remember this post. It was one that I really liked and wanted to reshare, especially with my new subscribers who may not have been reading then. (By the way, my favorite from that list is number 2; what is yours?)

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I won’t repeat those 5 things, but I will add 4 more, in honor of THIS December and THIS moment in time.

So here then, 4 things to remember this holiday season:

1 Don’t compare yourself with others.   This is a hard one because we see examples of “perfection” everywhere we look–on Hallmark cards, friends’ Facebook posts, TV commercials, photo cards sent to us from family members. Remind yourself that this represents a few seconds in time. No one’s life is perfect; no one is immune from struggle, from challenges, from day-to-day stresses. Appearances aren’t everything–just because someone looks happy, doesn’t mean they are. Family and friends and people around you may be thinner, taller, shorter, smarter, richer, more attractive, more fit, more busy, less busy, more ambitious, may have a “better job,” or “better house,” or “better situation,”, etc, but that doesn’t make them BETTER THAN YOU. Stop comparing yourself to others and you will be so much happier.

2. Joy comes from within.  We sometime think, and are led to believe by tv commercials, billboards and other media differently but this is TRUE. We all have the power to be happy or not be happy. It is whatever we decide. The poorest people in the world are not the saddest, nor are the richest people the happiest. Having money and things does not equal happiness. Instead, happiness comes from being grateful, from being able to focus on our blessings rather than our wants, and from being at peace with who we are and on what road we’re on in life. If you are not happy, try doing something nice for someone else –because making others happy often makes ourselves happy.

3 Make time for YOURSELF. If you are a giving person, it is so easy to get caught up in all of those lists and commitments. You rush from one thing to the next with barely any time to breathe. Slow down and remember that YOU ARE IMPORTANT TOO! Give yourself some pleasure this holiday season by making time for things that bring a smile to your face and a feeling of contentment in your soul. It could be a walk in the woods, lunch with a special friend, a trip to the salon… whatever it is don’t let it slip away–YOU deserve to be on your Christmas list too!

jen-09934. Keep making new memories.  All of us have collections of memories, of fond times that we have stored away in the corners of our brain that we can bring up, close our eyes and relive. But maybe we need to think of those memories as having a shelf life. Just like that can of corn or that jar of pasta sauce needs to be replaced when the expiration date comes, so too we need to think of replacing our old memories with new ones. And you don’t usually make very many memories sitting on your butt on the couch! So get out and DO SOMETHING! Go sledding, go hiking, go backpacking, go bowling, go to a new country, play with your kids, go visit your friends, invite friends over for some fun games, sign up for a new class… the list is endless. Maybe instead of a New Year’s Resolution we should make some lists of all the things we can do and learn in this coming year. We must remember to KEEP MAKING MEMORIES!  

Want to know one way to do this? Have you heard of a Bucket List? Well how about instead of–or in addition to–making a LIFE Bucket list, why not make a monthly bucket list? At the beginning of every month, sit down with your spouse/family and write a bucket list for that month. What are some things you’d like to do? Write them down and post them on your calendar–this will help remind and hopefully, motivate you!

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Good luck and do let me know how it goes and if you have any things you’d like to add. I always appreciate hearing from you!

Happy day! See you again soon. Oh, and here’s a post about some meaningful gifts that won’t break the bank or one about some gifts for Mother Nature that make a giant difference.

Quote of the Week #79

Happy Thanksgiving! On this special day I want to say THANK YOU my dear readers for joining me on this journey, for reading my blog posts and caring about our beautiful planet. Thank you for your interest in our fascinating outdoor neighbors and in the things that make our earth special. Thanks for helping me dispel myths about the plants and animals we love and for encouraging respect and appreciation for all living things. I appreciate you! May your holiday be filled with the love and laughter of family and friends, good food, good health and lots of reasons to be thankful.

There are troubling things happening in our world everyday, but there are also amazing blessings and examples of lives changed by kindness.  Of course, these inspiring stories don’t get the press of the negative ones, but if we look hard enough we can find them. (Check out this site for some feel-good stories that will make your heart smile, like the video of the dog racing down the dock and jumping in the water to swim with the dolphin or the cops who gave out this instead of tickets)

Think of your own life. Everyday there are things we can be grateful for, things we may overlook because we are focused on what is wrong with our lives, what is lacking, what challenges we are dealing with.

What are you thankful for today?

Here are a few of my favorite quotes picked for today, as well as a collection of some of my favorite pictures–all of which show the beauty of our world –beauty that is right outside of our doors–if we have the eyes to see.

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and here’s another one that I think is fitting, especially in thinking about last week’s post, or in considering some of the difficulties getting together with family members sometimes presents:

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and lastly:

Life is full of give and take. Give thanks and take NOTHING for granted.

Here is a collection of some of my favorite images. Enjoy! And Enjoy this special time of year.

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Quote of the Week #78

As you likely know if you’ve been a subscriber for very long, I try to do a weekly quote and usually this is something inspiring. When I first began this category I simply put a nice quote on a nice picture and that was that. But at some point it occurred to me that doing it that way, without any story or text with it was not very imaginative. And so I began using what was going on in my life as inspiration for the topic or theme of the quotes.

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In this case however, I have been conflicted about whether to talk about my current state of mind because in doing so, it is bringing up a controversial subject that is apt to offend.

But I can think of nothing else.

Since Wednesday morning when I found out the election results, I have been in a state of despair and have accomplished next to nothing. Each day has been a struggle and honestly, the best part is the sweet bliss of sleep that makes me forget for a few hours. Are you feeling this way too?

There are many who say “Get over it! It’s time to move on! Stop being a sore loser!” But what they may fail to understand is that I–and others like me– are not grieving because our candidate lost, WE ARE GRIEVING  for the loss of so much of what we believe in and what we think this result says about our country.

When was the last time you saw a movie or read a book where the villain was not defeated at the end? We all want, and expect that GOOD will triumph over evil. No one wants to see the bully win at the end of a movie. No one wants to watch the mean character come out the winner.

In our world we have lots of people who are not exactly good role models–celebrities and athletes who do or say dishonorable things. But with these people we can chose not to watch them, not to support them. We can skip their movies or games.

When it comes to the President of the Untied States, we cannot make any such choice. Sure, we can NOT watch the news or read the papers, but neither will change the fact that the President sets the tone for our country and represents us to the rest of the world.

How could the first qualifications necessary to be President not be a person who RESPECTS OTHERS?

How can it not be required that this person is compassionate and caring, someone who puts others first and considers the good of everyone BEFORE  what’s good for himself?

And so I grieve…

I grieve for the triumph of greed and bad moral character over common decency and respect for other people, including those that have a handicap or have different colored skin, those that practice a different religion or come from another part of the world. I grieve over the fact that we have put a bully into the highest office in our land, a man who repeatedly attacks other people, who encourages violence, who gets ahead by insulting anyone who stands in his way. I grieve for all women and girls because we have said with this election that it is okay to belittle them, to say they are fat or ugly, to compare them to pigs, to make them feel like they aren’t good enough, that they can’t succeed because they were born girls rather than boys, that they don’t “have the right look”, and worst of all, to sexually harass them and then brag about it. By electing this person for President, we have said, “Yes, this behavior is acceptable.” This sickens me…and it baffles me as to how anyone could have chosen to overlook this shameful behavior, the same behavior that if we saw in our kids we would punish.

In addition, as someone who loves nature more than just about anything, I fear for what this means for the environment. I suspect protecting our natural resources and beloved animals will not be a priority of this administration.

And so, I grieve.

m2-20…And cannot come up with anything inspiring to say for this week. I am sorry… Here’s the best I can do, along with some pretty fall pictures, which make me forget, if only for a few minutes:

“You can close your eyes to the things you don’t want to see, but you can’t close your heart to the things you don’t want to feel.” –Johnny Depp

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“All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul and they will never notice how broken you really are.”  –Robin Williams

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