Tag Archives: advice

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?)


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!


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.

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Quote of the Week #24

When was the last time you stepped outside of your “comfort zone?” When you did something that was new or different and not the same thing you do every day, every night, every week, the things you do and have been doing your entire life?

Last night, rather than plopping down on the couch to read or watch TV, I very happily spent a chunk of time in the woods, walking in the dark, looking for a special species of firefly called Blue Ghosts. These fireflies are found in pockets in southern Appalachia where the land is undisturbed, cool, moist and shady. Unlike other species that have blinking light patterns, the males of blue ghosts stay lit for 30 -60 seconds. The result is a bunch of eerie lights that streak through the darkness, as if there are many ghost children walking with tiny lanterns.

My excursion to the woods of Dupont State Forest was prompted by a phone call from a woman I’d never met who was new to the area and wanted to see them, referred to me by a friend. She had a wonderfully refreshing attitude–embracing adventure with open arms and able to laugh at herself when a mishap happened that might have derailed our plans for the evening. At half my age, she had a night filled with “firsts,” including riding in a convertible, going on a night hike, visiting a new park, and seeing glowing lights along the steep bank beside the trail. As for me, it wasn’t my first time in the woods after dark but

It did remind me of the importance of getting out of the house to give yourself  experiences, as these are what get added to your Wonderful-Moments-Memory Bank and ultimately, ENRICH YOUR LIFE. 

It’s not aways easy but it is always worthwhile.

And so, the quote of the week :


What new thing will you do this week? Will you give YOURSELF the gift of an experience?

To read more about fireflies, Click HERE.

Special thanks to my new friend Maggie for making it happen!

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Quote of the Week #23



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4 Things We Can Learn from Carolina Wrens

wren-2248Since moving to North Carolina I have gotten to know the habits of the Carolina Wren–a small brown bird that upon first glance, may not look impressive. But having watched them closely in both places I’ve lived here in WNC, I know now that looks are deceiving.

Here are a few things I think we can all learn from this little bird:

wren-09931. Don’t let the weather influence your mood.

For a small bird, wrens have a very BIG song, and they sing it no matter what the weather is doing. Rain, wind, sunshine, the wren doesn’t let this affect his day–he sings in all weather, and does so with commitment. So be like a wren, and live your day to the fullest, even if it is raining. Or cloudy. Or hot. (Click below to hear the wren song)

wren-01022. It’s Okay Not To Be Like Everyone Else–Be Unique!

Have you ever seen a wren nest? They really are THE shining example of innovativeness and creativity. While other birds are looking to build their nests in “regular” places like trees, wrens seem to think “outside of the box.” They thoroughly explore their territory, then choose spots you would never think of a bird nesting. In my years in NC I have seen their nests in a ceiling fan, top of a propane tank, a bike bag, metal gate post, hanging basket, cowboy boot, and wren-1759planter outside of a busy restaurant.

This year, having seen a pair checking out our deck, I bought and hung up a mini decorated box, hoping the wrens would nest there. What a thrill to find their nesting material IN THE BOX one day after I hung it up! Now I will get to watch them living in this pretty box! Let this be a lesson to us to be openminded enough to explore ALL possibilities, even ones that go against the grain.There’s nothing that says you have to be just like everyone else!quote22-8929

3. Communicate Your Intent.

Wrens seem to chat to other wrens quite a lot. For instance, when the parents are returning to the nest with food, they don’t let that fact stop them from announcing their arrival. Even with a beak filled with some tasty insect morsel, they still “talk” –be it to the eggs, their mate sitting on the nest, or the growing babies. When the nesting materials are being collected, they seem to have a lot of chatter. What they are saying I have no idea, but I have watched them hopping about in the bushes, always accompanied by their melodious voices. We can all be like the wren in this way and try our best to communicate clearly–to our mate, our friends, our wren-8785coworkers, strangers or whomever we are talking with.

4. Don’t Let Your Appearance Limit Your Possibilities.

Wrens, at a little over 5 inches, are not particularly big birds, and they are not colorful or beautiful in the traditional sense, but WOW, can they sing! When the male moves from place to place in his territory and lets others knows the spot’s taken, he sings with an exuberance you would expect from a larger creature. We can all learn from this, not letting our physical self dictate our possibilities.


Check out another post about the Carolina Wren HERE. or HERE.

Posted in Animals, Birds, Did you know..., For My Soul, Just for Fun, Lessons from Mother Nature, My Outdoor Classroom | Also tagged , , 3 Comments

Quote of the Week #22

Years wrinkle the face, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the SOUL.

— Watterson Lowe


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Quote of the Week #21

I spent the holiday weekend backpacking and camping in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, discovering after being on the trail thirty seconds that I had neglected to put on my watch that day. And I wasn’t carrying my phone as cell reception there was notoriously spotty so why waste the weight?

Are you like me–never without a watch? Of course even if you don’t wear a watch you probably have your phone with you, thus able to check the time whenever you desire. Have you ever wondered or had the opportunity to escape time for more than a few hours? What was it like? Did you like it, or did it make you feel lost?

I admit that at first I did not like the idea of not being able to check on the time. A whole weekend without my watch! Our society is so driven by TIME that it’s hard to disconnect and imagine going about our day without it.

But I have to say it actually turned out to be very freeing. I could eat when I felt hungry, walk until I felt tired, go to sleep when my body let me know it was done for the day, wake up with the birds and the sun and plan my day according to what I wanted to do rather than what a random number suggested I “should do.” If you haven’t tried it, I highly suggest it!

Which brings me to this week’s quote:

“The bad news is: Time flies. The good news is: You’re the pilot!”

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Quote of the Week #17

yardd-1000383 I recently took a road trip three hours east to High Point, NC to attend a wedding. Have you ever been in an unfamiliar place? Ever been driving along, on unfamiliar roads, maybe going slower than the speed limit as you approach an intersection, trying to decide which way to turn?

The road through downtown High Point was deserted as we crawled along, trying to identify where we were and more importantly, where we wanted to go. Just as we decided to turn left a giant pickup truck appeared out of nowhere, BANG, smashing violently into the driver’s side of our car, the window shattering loudly and sending glass in every direction. For a minute the world stopped. We struggled to figure out what just happened.

Though shocked and shaking, we were both unhurt, our hearts racing, our minds whirling, our breath ragged, our clothes covered in glass. My husband managed to get out, squeezing through the tiny space between the vehicles, rushing over to check on the other driver but amazingly the driver would not roll down the window, get out of the vehicle or acknowledge him in any way. The truck was completely unblemished, not a scratch or dent on it. The windows were tinted and we could not see in. After repeated attempts to talk, we gave up, waiting for the police officer and then going through the necessary steps following any accident. The other driver never exited the truck but we could hear him questioning and being generally rude to the officer asking the questions.

Eventually we went on our way, as did the pickup truck.

Today we got a call from our insurance company saying the driver and passenger of the other vehicle have claimed the accident left them injured. They are seeking medical compensation. What? We both asked, how could this be? Their truck was undamaged–like a tank! They smashed into us! We were hardly moving.

Hearing this made me angry and I spent the better part of an hour fuming, wondering how people can be so dishonest.yardd-7912

Then I went upstairs, sitting at my deck which is in front of a giant window that overlooks our freshly-dressed trees and yard dotted with yellow flowers and brand-new ferns. Two hummingbirds came to feed at my window feeder. Our cat curled up in the bed on my desk. A brilliant blue sky created a patchwork between dark branches and green leaves. And I suddenly thought, “Wait a minute! I am ruining a perfectly good day for what?” I resolved not let it derail this lovely spring day.

There are all kinds of things everyday that can make us angry, that can change a good day into a bad day. But next time you find yourself angry, you might want to ask, “What’s the point?” And think about this–my quote for the week, and a good bit of advice that seems especially relevant today:

“Holding onto anger is like drinking a poison and then waiting for the other person to die.”  –Buddah


May your day be wonderful!

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