Tag Archives: wisdom

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.

Posted in Call to Action!, For My Soul, Just for Fun, Ten Things | Also tagged , , , , , , 1 Comment

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

HeavenListenJoyMusicLeavesCalmSuspendedPerfectionCollageColorsQuietDreamFallLoveSoarBeautyFloatLookFeelWonderBEEmbraceHearMomentsDanceMirrorOrangeYellowFree

Posted in For My Soul, Quote of the Week, Wisdom for your Wednesday | Also tagged 16 Comments

Quote of the Week #77: Some Quotes about Leadership and the Power of One

What qualities do you think are important in a role model? WHO is a role model? Are sports stars role models? Actors and actresses or singers? How about leaders of countries? Can you think of any leaders that you consider role models? What qualities do they possess that make them admirable?

As you know, an important day is just around the corner for our country. I hear many who say we have no good choices and so they’re going to sit this one out? Imagine what would happen if everyone thought that!

Every voice counts.

In my humble opinion, we must not make this about our political afflictions, but rather the good of our country.

In the last week I have read three terribly tragic stories in the paper about children who were being bullied at school….And so, not being able to take it any longer and getting no help from those that could have made a difference, they opted to kill themselves.

What a tragedy! As the sibling of someone who committed suicide these heartbreaks hit me especially hard. How can we rebel against bullies at our schools and say this behavior won’t be tolerated… but allow them in our government? How will we explain that to our children?

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The power of ONE: Don’t fall for that lie that one person cannot make a difference. All powerful movements began with the actions of individuals striving for change. Your actions count. Be the change. VOTE.

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And another, “If you think you are too small to make a difference….”

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Quote of the Week #76

Are you anxious for November 8th? If so, you’re not alone! Everywhere I go, it is what people are talking about.

art-3It is easy to feel overwhelmed by all the negativity and fearful for the future… so I thought I would offer you a moment of peace and quiet and some beauty to feel inspired by.

It is fall! It is a glorious season! And every day there are great reasons to get outside and enjoy it before it turns to winter.

And so, today’s quote, by John Burroughs:

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”

MovementSerenityFloatingFall is here!CalmPearlsReflectionsArtist at workColorful hillsideLayersQuietMusicSpider ArtCaught!Splendid CollisionStillnessSilkWaterNature's jewelry Design

Where do you go to have your senses put in order? Or to feel soothed? Do you have a favorite spot? If so, I hope you make time to visit it soon. Happy day!

 

Posted in For My Soul, Nature NOW, Quote of the Week, Wisdom for your Wednesday | Also tagged , , , , 2 Comments

Quote of the Week #75

puz-7400Remember that beautiful chrysalis I featured as a puzzler recently? And that I said I hoped I would get to see it emerge? Well guess what?

When I woke up on Saturday and looked at this chrysalis, it was notably different, appearing darker with obvious orange wings visible through the thin layer. Having never watched this kind of butterfly emerge before ( I have only seen a monarch and a red-spotted purple emerge as a butterfly) I wasn’t sure what the timing might be so I set up my camera and tripod a foot away and settled in to watch. It was 8:30.

The chrysalis at 8:30am

The chrysalis at 8:30am

All morning I sat close by, watching and photographing the changes–which were so subtle that I would miss them if I didn’t look frequently and carefully. There was a general loosening at the top, more air spaces within the chrysalis and a flattening of the pointy projections on the outside of the chrysalis. I could see the butterfly was slowly moving downward.

The chrysalis at 11:30

The chrysalis at 11:30

There were several false alarms–“I think it’s about to go!” I shouted exuberantly more than once. My husband sat with me in the beginning, enjoying a cup of coffee as we watched. We stared at the tiny chrysalis before us, looking and looking to see if anything was happening. I was hopeful. He was patient.  An hour went by. Then two. After several hours of “I think it’s going!” he eventually moved off to do other things, leaving me to sit alone. (No need for both of us to just sit there and watch it doing nothing!)

At just before noon I saw the bottom “hinge” opening and shouted for him to come join me. Together we watched as the tiny butterfly struggled from its chrysalis. Wow, this is an incredible thing to witness!

You can see it here!

And so, this week’s quote,

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What miracles have you witnessed lately?

If you want to watch a Monarch caterpillar making its chrysalis, you can watch that here.

Posted in Animals, For My Soul, Insects, Spiders and other Invertebrates, Quote of the Week, Wisdom for your Wednesday | Also tagged , , , , , , 6 Comments

Quote of the Week #74

I have been spending a lot of time in a field near my house looking for Mother Nature’s treasures. Each day when I know I will be doing this I wake up excited and with a feeling of anticipation, like a child on Christmas eve or Christmas morning. I race through getting dressed and breakfast, anxious to get out there and see what I will discover. (Reminds me of a post I wrote called What Inspires you to skip?)

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A most spectacular gulf fritillary butterfly on New York ironweed

There’s no telling WHAT that might be. Since finding that metallic chrysalis recently, I have been keyed in on looking for more chrysalises and amazingly, have found MANY, though most of the others were from a butterfly called a Buckeye (photos below in the slide show). These are much less impressive, though still equally miraculous in how the process occurs.

Today I found 13 chrysalises, though only 7 of them were still intact–the others were hollow inside, already eaten by some hungry insect. I brought the good ones home so I can have a chance to watch them emerge.

I know one of these days when I arrive excited for a heavenly morning of photography, I will find this field mowed… I dread this, knowing it will be a very sad day. It will break my heart in a way I suspect not all that many people will understand.

In my bios and artist statement, I often say I have had an intimate relationship with the natural world since I was a child. I suspect this baffles some people. Intimate? With nature? Huh?

But it is hard to describe it with any other word. When you return again and again to the same plot of wild land–whatever size it happens to be– you begin to learn things about it, just as you would a lover’s body.

I love this intimacy with nature! I am beginning to be able to predict what butterflies I will see, where the turkeys will be, where the deer bed down, where to look for chrysalises, and what plants I can expect to find caterpillars feeding on. I have watched deer browsing along the woods in the back corner, have enjoyed the calls of a pair of red-shouldered hawks that are often nearby, have heard the turkeys gobbling in the adjacent field and have seen goldfinches and other birds feeding on the seeds of the flowers. I have lain in the grass surrounded by yellow and purple blossoms, looking up into a sea of blue, watching turkey vultures soaring on invisible air currents. In spending such quality time there I have become attached to the field and its inhabitants.

And so… this week’s quote, a long one to be sure, but one of my very favorite from a man I very much admire–Henry David Thoreau who said:

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“If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs…–that is your success. All nature is your congratulation and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality… the true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening.

It is a little bit of star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.”

I have written about this theme before– quote #42 about each moment of the year, or #44 about everything having a voice, or #58 about getting to know something in nature or #68 about nature making you whole.

What do you think of these? Do you know what I mean when I say an intimate relationship with nature? Have you experienced this during your lifetime?

Check out some of the photos from my recent visits to this field:

A most beautiful gulf fritillaryA buckeye covered with dewA backlit sulfurA monarchA skipperCaterpillar of a buckeyeA crab spider waitsA buckeye chrysalis in NY ironweedA moth with dewLadybugSkipperHaven't identified this caterpillar yet!Ailanthus webworm mothA jumping spider with preyAnother sulfurA variegated fritillaryAnother skipper!Haven't identified this one yet either!Wow, what beauty!A gulf fritillary and a variegated fritillary togetherA buckeye on goldenrodDotted with dewA buckeyeA variegated fritillaryA fuzzy caterpillarBeauty in the little thingsWater on cloverWater art!SuspendedMy favorite--web art!More web artA crab spider with dinnerPraying mantisSwirls of a passion vine

Posted in For My Soul, Just for Fun, Lessons from Mother Nature, Quote of the Week, Wisdom for your Wednesday | Also tagged , , , , , 2 Comments

Quote of the Week #73

Hey everyone! Happy First day of Fall! I hope as you read this you are having a glorious day. Are you ready for a change of seasons? If not, get ready because unfortunately, you have nothing to say about it!

My husband and I just returned from 3 weeks in Alaska, where fall was well underway. The blueberry bushes were bursting with berries, the aspen trees had yellow leaves, the tundra was decorated with vibrant red vulture-5leaves and the weather was cool and fall-like.

While in Alaska we spent most of our time backpacking and camping, exploring the great state in a way few visitors who go there do. We hiked in the wilderness of Denali National Park, where there are no trails to follow and in Denali State Park and on other trails that are perhaps known to locals but not very frequented by tourists. It was a glorious 3 weeks!

vulture-4Much of our time there we woke to rain and fog and a sky filled with clouds. But it didn’t stop us from carrying on with our plans because sometimes the rain and fog and clouds add drama that has an appeal unlike any other kind of weather. It is magical when the wind pushes the fog out of the way for brief glimpses of the landscape or clears totally to show you a mountain you hadn’t seen before. Or when a rainbow appears, stretching across the entire sky.

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So this week’s quote, something we heard more than once while we were in Alaska:

Hiking in the wilderness of Denali National Park

Hiking in the wilderness of Denali National Park

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”

And it’s true. With the right clothing, one can be outside experiencing whatever Mother Nature decides to throw your way! So with that in mind, get OUTSIDE and enjoy this new season! It is sure a glorious one.

Posted in For My Soul, Lessons from Mother Nature, My Outdoor Classroom, Quote of the Week, Wisdom for your Wednesday | Also tagged , , , 6 Comments