End of Month Potpourri-February 2015

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“Cherish the beauty and cherish the pain, both will give you experience and you will never be the same”

~ Nikki Rowe

 

 

It is the end of the month, and time for a little Potpourri.  A bit of this and a bit of that.  And I thought I would dip into the Women’s Circle of Joy assignment again this month.  February’s topic dealt with the idea of and our thoughts on the word Cherish.  The Women’s Circle of Joy group is led by, Cigdem Kobu of Peaceful Triumphs.

 

 

I don’t think I have ever thought much about the idea of cherish or cherishing.  And truthfully this whole concept, at first, had me a bit perplexed.  For my husband, cherish means sweetly thinking of old memories.  But my immediate thoughts turn to something different.

 

 

DSCN9192Cherish evokes thoughts of love….but maybe more….or maybe a bit different from love.  When I cherish someone or something, I not only hold them dear, but treat them dearly.  There is a tenderness and nurturing that happens in cherishing.  There is adoration, encouragement, treasuring, support, comfort.

 

 

I think perhaps this word, cherish, is the linchpin of love, or more specifically that deep soulful love.  I can say I love chocolate, but do I cherish it.  No, not really.  And I do love a brilliant, colorful sunrise.  But do I cherish this sunrise?  Yes, in this case I believe I do….because of the incredible soulful emotion that it brings to me….I somehow feel comforted by this new dawn.  And I treasure being in its presence.  I am lost in its essence for the 15-20 minutes it might last.  I can’t get enough of it as it changes, it deepens and morphs until the sun finally is revealed brightly burning.

 

 

And so it is when I love and cherish someone.  And we say this word in our wedding vows….love, honor and cherish.  But I never considered what those words really meant.  Somehow, on some level, I knew there was a mutual cherishing love between my husband and me.  One where we have grown together and still do.  Where we support each other in very different ways.  We love all of the other person; those things that are funny, comforting and even those things that annoy us.  And those annoying things, I think, are most cherished, as that what makes us who we are….our true essence.

 

 

I think those loves in my life that didn’t work out, failed because there wasn’t any cherishing.  The love was bright and burning, romantic for a while, and then it was gone.  And when I reflect back now, it seems they didn’t last because there wasn’t a deep support for one another.  Deep down my soul knowing I wasn’t accepted fully, wasn’t treasured for who I was.

 

 

DSCN9199And when did I first know that cherishing love?  I was lucky to know it from my loving parents who indeed cherished their children no matter what.  Even when we made mistakes we were cherished.  We were forgiven, taught a lesson perhaps with consequences and allowed to fall and make mistakes again.  They cherished us enough to allow us to learn and grow with their guidance and support.

 

 

“But for the most part, love is a recognition, an opportunity to say, ‘There is something about you I cherish.”

~Raymond E. Feist

 

 

And since I have experienced this cherishing love, I have found a deeper love and acceptance for myself and my gifts.  And each moment of my life is special; shared by and with those I cherish.  And I cherish the natural world around me supporting it as it gives back beautiful sights, sounds and smells.  I cherish the life lessons, both those that have been joyful and those filled with excruciating pain, as they are both special for what they have taught me and are still teaching me.

 

 

The exercise of contemplating this word Cherish has been quite interesting.  I encourage you to think about what you cherish in life.  From a simple smell, that brings back deep heartfelt memories, to a song or sound.  These things we cherish are what makes our life so much richer, so blissful, so very delicious.

 

 

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Note:   The Paperwhite flowers pictured here are said to be an aphrodisiac because of their intoxicating smell.  They also represent respect, modesty and faithfulness.

 

 

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I leave you with another thought about cherishing.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

cherish

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Gratitude For A New Day

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 Gratitude For A New Day

 

 

 The dawn breaks slow

a warming glow,

across the horizon

rising soft and low.

 

A peace settles down

on everything surrounds,

waking my soul

with the sweetest sounds.

 

And my grateful heart knows

as love overflows,

a day being born of

blessings bestowed.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2011

 

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I wrote this poem as part of a challenge to create a gratitude prayer.  I had forgotten about this poem until I recently found it tucked inside some papers I was going through as I cleared mounds of clutter that had accumulated for 10 years.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

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I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

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Special Note:  The sunrise photos pictured in this post, came from a recent sunrise this winter.  They show the progression of the sunrise, starting with the small circle on the left and going in a clockwise direction.  This beauty of this sunrise lasted 15 minutes.

 

The first picture is a view from my porch looking past the rain chain, which hangs from the porch roof, into the colors of this new day.

 

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I leave you with a few words of the gratitude prayer for this new day.   I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

gratitude new day

 

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Conversations In The Garden-On Being Sensitive

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“Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it.”  ~ Dorothy M. Neddermeyer

 

 

Several years ago, I was vacationing with family at the beach.  Growing up, I used to watch my dad body surf, and always wanted to give it a try.  This day the water seemed to be calm enough to attempt it….enough of a wave to push you to shore, but not too rough.  So I eased myself into the next wave, skimming the top and riding it to shore.  After a few more tries, the ocean felt a bit rough so I thought, just one more time.

 

 

That one more time was almost my last as an undertow took me down under the water.  If you have ever been caught in an undertow, you know the panic that can ensue.  I fought and fought, to no avail, the strong pull keeping me on the bottom of the ocean floor.  So near to the shore yet unable to reach safety.

 

 

In those tense seconds when I realized what was happening, I also realized I could die and that these might be my final moments of life.  I am a strong fighter, but in this time when panic was reaching up through my body and strangling me, I suddenly decided to relax.  I let go of all the panic, all the struggling and went with the flow of the water.  I let my primal instinct take over, and suddenly I was on the surface and close to the shore, my feet touching soft sand as the water lapped around my knees.

 

 

Fear cannot be banished, but it can be calm and without panic; it can be mitigated by reason and evaluation.  ~Vannevar Bush

 

 

DSCN7761I was reminded of this lesson recently when I found myself getting into a knee jerk reaction that brought back some unpleasant memories.  I had been growing herbs under my “grow lights” in the basement and was just about to start my seed growing, when two of the three lights went dark.

 

 

And right on cue, I went into panic mode.  How was I going to grow these herbs without lights?  Where could we find replacement bulbs?  I had to start seeds soon, and how could I without these lights.  I was spinning within this deep felt craziness, when I suddenly realized these were similar feelings I had a year ago in reaction to stress on the job.  Stress that finally led to my retirement, and that I thought I had released.  But given a seemingly small crisis, I went right back down that dark hole of despair.  Wow!

 

 

And once I was able to step back from the situation, I found I could let go of the panicky reactions and evaluate the situation.  All was not lost.  I could move plants to windows.  I could search for bulb replacements, and I could postpone the seed growing.  All better plans than to keep spinning in this stream of negativity I was creating for myself.

 

 

I think the garden has been the best classroom for learning how to handle what life throws at me.  Every year I never know what nature will bring.  A long cold winter, followed by a late freeze killing flowers or vegetables.  A drought or flooding rains.  And each scenario, in each new year, is different making for interesting lessons to learn so much more about my garden and myself.

 

 

As a gardener, I have found it doesn’t pay to give in to panic or worry.  When I DSCN7759started growing veggies, the first one I attempted was the tomato.  Any good Italian must be able to grow tomatoes, right?  But every year it was something new….sometimes it was the disease known as ‘blight’ killing the plants, or it was the deer eating the plants to the ground.  But I never gave up trying to get the tomatoes to produce an abundant crop.  Instead I tried hybrid seeds that were bred to fight diseases, and I netted the tomatoes to keep out the critters, but let in the pollinators.

 

 

And you know what?  I now have tomatoes.  Oh I still have to be vigilant, to make sure the pests and diseases are kept in check.  But instead of worrying and panicking, I now ease into the situation nature presents, look for solutions, and I don’t beat myself up over what happens.  Great lessons I am trying to stay mindful of as life presents itself.

 

 

So am I still sensitive to the curve balls life can throw me?…..Absolutely.  And is my first reaction still panic?…..Sometimes.  But I am reminded quickly that life is what you make it.  It is more about how you react or don’t react.  And in those moments when I need to step back, I go into my garden to be with nature.  To feel the slow pace of life where I take a look around and be in the moment.  Because it is in those moments that I find my inner wisdom calling me to breathe in life and let go.

 

 

Note:   The purple iris pictured here is symbolic of wisdom.  

 

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I leave you with another thought about sensitivity, strength and wisdom.   Feel free to download this photo and share.

iris confidence

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Creating My World

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Creating My World

 

I touch the heaven inside of me

Flowing, boundless, creating my reality.

 

Always changing, twisting, transforming

Beliefs morphing, still being born, forming.

 

All before me limitless

Unending joy, pure bliss.

 

Listening, tapping into the whispers that surround

Nature’s miracles through my eyes abound.

 

A spirit transcending time and space

Manacles broken, no longer in a race.

 

Moment to moment the scene will change

As I try to capture it just out of range.

 

A word, a melody, the light

With pen and paint our senses delight.

 

So harness the wind, oh I think you can

Creating your world with a wave of your hand.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

 

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This poem was also created during that inspiring flight to see family in November.  I was in a very artistic mood, creating my world.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

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I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

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Special Note:  The lotus flower, pictured in this post, is a symbol of spontaneous generation, and also represents creation itself.

 

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I leave you with a little reminder of the creating.   I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

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All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Triggering Happiness

DSCN7790 “And the true realism, always and everywhere, is that of the poets: to find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy is to miss all.”  ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

 

 

 

Six months ago I began this blog.  It was after an exhausting trek for the past 50 something years of trying to find happiness, that I was finally able to unlock the question for the ages.  How can we be truly happy?  What is the magical elixir we have to swallow to find happiness?

 

 

And the answer quite bowled me over.  We need not search around us, or make lists of things to do that will thrill us.  Happiness is found within us.  It is always there.  We are born with it.  It is just that life gets in our way sometimes, and somewhere along the line we try to search for happiness thinking it is lost to us suddenly.

 

 

And I think in that moment when we realize we have lost it, happiness has gone deep within us….and our sorrow shadows it.  Suddenly we can no longer access it, try as we might.  I tried with alcohol (when I was in college and almost burned out too soon)…with sugar and that battle has finally been won although now the health issues from it are still around.  And I tried with shopping and buying the latest fashions and things.  I tried with what I thought were bigger, better jobs with more money.  And still I was so unhappy.

 

 

Until I discovered my happiness again this past year.  Still deep within me ready to be released if I could but trigger it.  And the trigger wasn’t lamenting about life, wishing things would change, hoping for better times.  No, actually one of the triggers for me has been through writing about my life.

 

 

Whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom, and power.  ~  Stephen Covey

 

 

DSCN7802I have been on a journey these past six months embracing change.  Which means I have to dig deep and unleash some past emotions that tie me down.  And as painful as those moments may be, they have been the most liberating in helping me trigger my happiness.  For me to reconnect with happiness, I had to know what it felt like again.  To recognize it.  And in order to do that sometimes I had to recognize the pain blocking the happiness.

 

 

This is not a journey finished in 6 months, 6 years or 60 years.  It is a journey that is a lifetime.  Imagine a lifetime of happiness, if we can trigger it.  Move the curtain away, unlock the box we neatly tucked it into, and bring it back into our lives front and center to stay.

 

 

So what have I noticed are some other triggers for happiness.  Well that is a personal journey we each have to discover…and it has been such a blissful journey, for me, so far.  I can tell you that it has been amazing to feel that ripple of joy once again.  It may start with a beautiful sunrise, or a sweet gesture or kind word.  A young fawn stepping into the meadow for the first time.  Seeing the first blossom of spring as the ice and snow melt away to reveal the magic of nature.

 

 

Oh in those moments my heart is singing, my eyes are wet with tears of joy, and I feel those wonderful butterflies in my stomach that send me soaring lighter than air engulfed in an amazing blissfest.  And when I find myself in those gray days, where I am lost, where I am feeling a deep sorrowful low, I reconnect with that bliss.  I search the snowy landscape for beauty that is there if we look for it.  I remember those kind words offered, or I just smile.  Maybe forced at first, but once that smile is stretching across my face, it spreads throughout my body.  It is hard for me to be sad when I am laughing or smiling.

 

 

And sometimes the easiest trigger to connecting with my happiness within is to just be grateful….grateful for family, grateful that I am alive, grateful for each step I still take, each sip of water I drink….grateful for deep unconditional love found in my soulmate.  And even grateful for the painful, unhappy feelings that creep back in with still unfinished business. Yes that still is the ultimate key….sincere, deep, abiding thanks for this life I have.

 

 

Note:   The lilies of the valley pictured here represents a return of happiness.

 

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I leave you with another thought about happiness.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

lily of valley paint

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Night Visitor

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Night Visitor 

 

She slips out from the shadows

into the moonlit fields.

 

Gliding, her tawny hide now black

under the blanket of stars,

she is mindful of her purpose.

 

Stopping occasionally for a nibble along the fence line,

she melts back to the cover at woods edge

to safety and rest.

 

© Donna Donabella 2013

 

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I wrote this poem watching deer in winter a year ago.  It is amazing to see deer suddenly appear at the tree line, and then just as magically fade back.  In winter they usually appear at dusk making them harder to see.

 

You can read more about the deer in our area, especially the fawns, in my Wildlife Lesson post from last Thursday.  While many find these animals a nuisance, we try to live with them.  There are times though we do have to exert a bit of control over what is ours to eat in our veg garden as we provide other plants for deer.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

deer collage

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

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Special Note: These are pictures of deer that live around us and share the land.

 

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I leave you with a little reminder of the magic of deer.   I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

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All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Wildlife Lessons-The Gentleness of Deer

DSCN2128“In the midst of our lives, we must find the magic that makes our souls soar.”

~ Anonymous

 

 

Every summer we wait patiently (OK sometimes not so patiently) for the new fawns to emerge from the woods and step into the meadow.  The mama deer (a white-tailed deer or Odocoileus virginianus) is careful to make sure they are a couple of months old before allowing them out in public.

 

 

It is a tremendous sight to see these special DSCN2817creatures.  Young, so full of wonder, awe and play.  I feel younger myself as I watch them, and I melt back to my childhood and those days of new discoveries when I hadn’t a care in the world.  Drinking in the world through my senses.  That is how I imagine it is to be one these lovely creatures; these young deer just experiencing the world for the first time.

 

 

 

And so it was on my husband’s birthday, that two lovely, adorable little fawns stepped into the meadow for the first time…mama right by their side, always not too out of reach.  DSCN1224Watching them explore, being admonished by their parent for taking off, or warned that danger was near and they had to flee.  It brought back a flood of memories of me holding a cherished adult hand, fading behind them a bit skittish to come out and meet others….still shy and a bit fearful, but safer knowing my mother, father or grandfather had my hand.

 

 

 

 

 

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Once the fawns appear we are on fawn watch daily calling, ‘they’re out…in the meadow or in the neighbor’s yard by the pool or they are running the loop’.  I cannot tell you how my
heart soars watching them in the intimate moments with mama….stealing a glimpse as she nurses them…WOW!  Or watching them groom each other with those little tongues….and how adorable are those spots almost in specific patterns that must mean something.

 

 

 

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Seeing mama show them the flowers, plants and shrubs to eat.  Each having a favorite that they enjoy in the meadow as they appear to disappear amongst the tall goldenrod and Queen Anne’s Lace.  Just a pair of ears moving slowly through the plants.

 

 

And watching with pride the first day they cross the road.  Scared for them as they wander DSCN3993down the fence line, cognizant of the people about…running back many times…today is not the day.  And finally they meander, too slow I think, across the asphalt, and my heart stops hoping no cars are about.  They stop for a few moments to explore other gardens.  Then realizing mama is gone they race to the safety of the woods to visit.

 

 

DSCN4836The twin fawns that were born this year continue to grow up around us.  Not old enough to jump the fence yet in fall and winter.  Seeing their spots fade and their thick winter coats replace the youthful innocence.  Praying they make it through the winter.  Seeing their mother inside the fence the night of our first snowfall, covered in snow and close to the fence with her babes nuzzling her nose, from the other side,  every so often to make sure they were OK.

 

 

Spotting them recently still with mama running the fence line at dusk to cross the road DSCN6710and go to the woods, I worry about them in this bitter cold.  I miss seeing them daily, and will wait for spring when we will hopefully see them again.  We think one is female ( a bit smaller) and one male (a bit larger)…will they stay together for another year; I don’t know.  But I am sure one day I will find them inside the fence.  And we will have a meeting of the minds as I let them know the meadow is for them, the garden inside the fence for me.  Somehow I don’t think they will interested in what I have to say.

 

 

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Here is some interesting folklore about deer:

  • According to Native American lore, deer represent gentleness.
  • Deer are said to represent the gentleness of spirit to heal our wounds and help us find peace.
  • The spots on the fawn represent the dark and light in others that we must love if we are to bring gentleness and peace to ourselves and others.
  • Deer represent the love and compassion we need to find balance in our lives so we can accept ourselves as enough as we are.

 

 

 

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With this wildlife story, I am joining in the meme Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina@My Gardener Says that happens the first Wednesday of every month, and with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.  I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  Please check them all out.

 

 

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I leave you with another thought about deer and all wildlife.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

fawns

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Winter Woods

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Winter Woods

 

Winter slips silently around me

Walking me to cold, crisp woods

To gaze upon the peaceful slumber

Suddenly exhilarated, restored in found solace.

 

© Donna Donabella 2012

 

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This poem was written on February 6, 2012,  during a particularly cold, snowy winter.  There is something about the snow; like being in a fantasy world, peaceful where you do not even notice the cold.  I love to walk in snowy woods, and let my senses do my thinking.

 

And I am reminded of that winter this year, but now being retired I can enjoy it daily, either inside or out, without worrying about travelling in snow.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

woods collage

I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

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Special Note: The pictures here are of winter woods found in my garden this winter.

 

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I leave you with a little reminder of the solace of winter woods.   I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

winter woods

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.