Poetry Sunday: Outside The Box

 

 

Outside The Box

 

 

Soften the edges

Erase the boundaries

Ease out to see the light.

 

 

Release the strings

And drop the hard surfaces

Holding you in so tight.

 

 

Kick aside the rubble

Of your shattered dreams

That brought the darkness of the night.

 

 

Yes open to everything

Open to anything

Open to your frights.

 

 

Time to let go

And take those first steps

Time to take flight.

 

 

So step up and away

Breathe the new air

Of all possibilities that will delight.

 

 

Just move outside

That box you are bound to-

To find your exquisite, fulfilled life.

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

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This poem came to me as I was trying to relax and start a 2 week vacation…..and as I wrote it, my mind, body and spirit eased and I was able to move into the moment and enjoy my time away.  No confines, no worries, no strings….just pure delight.

 

The pictures were taken at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, a most fascinating place east of Phoenix.  The first is of an old homestead carved out of the rock.  The second is the remnants of a dry riverbed.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about outside the box.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Savoring

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Savoring

 

For me, food was always an after thought.  Something I had to have to fuel my growing, in-constant-motion- child’s body.  Grabbing a bowl of cereal here and there; a quick sandwich.

 

And into adulthood, this still was the case.  I had my favorites, but still food was merely fuel to be gobbled, rushed, downed and then move on.  Eat at my desk, eat on the run.  Never really savoring.

 

Instead the moments of food bliss were kept for those special treats:

 

The home-made chocolate chip cookies still warm from the oven.  The gooey chocolate-covered fingers licked clean.

The ice cream that I lingered over, and licked slowly off the spoon, tasting the swirl of flavors from lips to tongue.

 

I was lost in the moment with these sugary treats.  And these moments increased with age until sugar was the only thing I savored.  Now, no longer can I dally with sweets.  Instead, I relish the sumptuous taste of the fresh pea or tomato picked from the vine.  Warm in my mouth.  Luscious, now savoring these.  The rush of a sugary addiction transformed.

 

Sweet licks and morsels

Lightly dancing on my tongue

Moments now savored.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

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This poem came from a prompt given to me a couple of winters ago challenging me to write a poem about enjoying food.  I have never had a problem enjoying food…there was little I didn’t like.  And sugar was my favorite food….in any way, shape or form.

But with age, has come issues with food.  The need to reduce sugar or eliminate it as much as possible.  Gluten, acid reflux, no preservatives, eating organically all add to the issues where my food intake is now very healthy, and I have made peace with the changes as I turn 60.  This is my haibun poem paying homage to savoring food throughout my life.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

chesecake collage

The pictures here are of my husband’s award-winning cheesecake that he made for me two years ago on my birthday!  One of those rare sugar times.  The picture below is of the peas I savored from my garden well into summer.

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about savoring  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

savoring

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Breath of Life

 

Breath of Life

 

The wind blows through me; the breath of life.

It restores me.

The soft rustling, white noise calms me-

Enveloped in a warm, cozy blanket.

 

 

Cool breeze on my skin like wading in a creek.

Waking my senses,

I rise to the scents and smells-

New grass, fragrant blooms, leaf mold.

 

 

The drone of bees blends with the wind chimes.

Their music tickles my mind.

Dozing, bringing a deep peace-

Descending, melting throughout my being.

 

©Donna Donabella 2017 

 

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While listening to the stillness of late summer, early fall, there were few sounds but the wind.  These sounds filled me with the breath of life.  And this poem poured forth.

 

 

The pictures here are of fading sunflowers…they bring me such peace when I look upon them in fall.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up, Poetry Pantry, for poets who blog.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about breath of life.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Who Are You?

 

 

Who Are You?

 

 

The life of the soul is where I reside now;

I am energized,

I am in my truth,

I am joyful, grateful, trusting.

 

 

On this journey with doubt and certainty-

I am building a self,

It is my life story,

There is a vision of possibilities here,

Now love fills me.

 

 

I am expanding into my higher self;

Knowledge and experience liberate me.

I am ready to be lifted above the drama.

The rewards expand before me on my path ever mindful of this moment where….

 

This life of the soul is where I reside now.

 

©Donna Donabella 2017

 

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This poem flowed during a meditation where I was exploring my inner self; answering the question, ‘who are you?’  The pictures here are of Tibetan Prayer Flags on my bookshelf.  These flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The wedding picture is of my husband and me…we are celebrating our 20th anniversary on Oct. 11th.  I’ll be away from my computer for the next 2 weeks so I’ll see you upon my return on the 22nd.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

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I leave you with a few additional words about who are you.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Muddy Waters

 

Muddy Waters

 

 

Muddy waters take me in

Take me down to nourish my skin

Skin made tough

Skin made thin

Through life’s adventures

Through life’s sins.

 

 

So soak it up and banish all ills

Fill me deep, realign my will

A heart made true

A soul made joyful

A powerful voice

Now once again skillful.

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

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I had not written much since last August due to a shoulder injury and due to a need to travel inward….a self-imposed time away. But on a sunny day in early April when I began my new journal habit, this poem flowed forth trying to break the ice damn that had built up.  It was how I was feeling sitting in my garden waiting for it to wake up….and hoping my creative juices would do the same.

 

The pictures above is of my early spring pond a bit muddy, and below my later spring pond full of life and water lilies.

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up, Poetry Pantry, for poets who blog.

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I leave you with a few additional words about muddy waters.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Taking Back A Life

 

 

Taking Back A Life

 

 

There is a change coming

Riding high on this mighty wind.

A soulful stirring

A door opens

I stand upon a threshold

Pausing now-

Eager to cross yet fear holds me tight in place.

 

 

The scent upon the breeze stirs my every cell

Filling me with a joyful excitement

Brushing my skin-tingling-

I am awakened.

 

 

Toes stirring, ready for this chance

Taking back a life full of promise.

Not knowing where we are headed

Is the best part of this journey

Coming alive.

 

 

So here we go!

Taking – that – first – step

Toward my destiny…. no looking back!

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2017

 

 

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This poem came streaming out of me after I finally let go of my fears and attended a writer’s conference.  I knew this was going to be a big step towards fulfilling my destiny, and that once I entered, and crossed the threshold, there was no turning back!

 

The pictures here are hummers visiting the garden this year…they represent pure bliss and joy!

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up, Poetry Pantry, for poets who blog.

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I leave you with a few additional words about taking back a life.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: How Far

 

How Far

 

 

How far can a tree bend

against the fierce howling wind

before it breaks in two.

 

 

How deep can my spirit plunge

into the dark depths as it witnesses

these horrors against humanity.

 

 

How low can a people sink

in the name of greed and self-servitude

bowing in worship to hypocrisy.

 

 

I fear a comeuppance is at hand~mighty~

laying waste before the howling gales of lies

forging a path back to truth and kindness.

 

 

My heart is near breaking,

knowing the pain that must be dealt

to bring us back from the brink.

 

 

Many spirits will break against these storms

as we swing back along a line of sanity

or some semblance we can salvage.

 

 

But without these storms we lose all~

our planet, our humanity,

our very souls!

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

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I rarely write anything that could be construed as political, but given the political climate and actions (or lack there of) in our government, I knew my anger and concern would spill out on the page here soon.   The opening lines came to me while watching a particularly nasty storm, and then the rest flowed from there.

 

The pictures here are selfies I took during a course this winter.  They express my feelings these days.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link, Poetry Pantry.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about how far can we sink.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Midweek Poem-Innovate

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Innovate

 

 

Words fall, swirling around my brain today

As the world softens about me-

Bringing up new ideas to spark

This New Year–this new path.

 

 

Stretching,

Opening a bit more.

Integrating all of me into one wholeness

A word drifts around my periphery.

 

 

Speaking its name.

A newness, a change

Butterflies now in the pit of my core

Giving me a push forward.

 

 

Comfort disappears with this word

A movement in a different direction.

To explore free

from my self-imposed bonds.

 

 

Allowing me the freedom to go

to places I never dared to dream!

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2016

 

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I wrote this poem at the new year, as I was contemplating my new word for the year, Innovate.  I have written a couple of posts about this word and what it means to me, and how I planned to incorporate it into My Mantra.  So after 6 months with this word, I find it still serves to push me a little further outside my comfort zone, and take new steps forward toward my dream.

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their Midweek Motif.  This week Susan is giving us the theme ~ ‘The Song of a Single Word’.  I am also joining in with Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights.  This week’s theme is ‘Dreams‘.  As Sanaa says, ‘We all have them. We strive for something which at first we deem impossible. But as they say, the key to realizing a dream is to focus on its significance, cause then even our smallest steps and victories will take on a greater meaning.’   My word for the year helps to focus me on my journey toward realizing my dreams.

 

 

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I leave you with a another image about Innovate.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

innovate-bleeding heart

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Inner Critic

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Inner Critic

 

 

Inner Critic (IC)~You can do better, Donna.  

You know and so do I.  

I don’t want to hear excuses.  

I just want to see results.

 

 

My dear Inner Critic, I know you mean well,

but I beg to differ with you.  I

am not perfect, even though you want me to be.

I just can’t.  No, I just WON’T be perfect!

And no amount of haranguing will make it so.

 

 

IC~Look, all you need to do is work

harder and longer.

More effort that’s what you need.

 

 

It won’t matter, don’t you see,

because I am flawed.  I do try

my best, but in the end I will make mistakes.

I will fall face down many times over. But I WILL pick myself up.

 

 

IC~But why fall?

Do you want to get hurt, scraped, embarrassed?

Don’t you understand, I am trying to protect you from this.

 

 

I know you are.  You are, after all, part of me.

And you mean well.  But no, I do not fear the fall,

because I know it will happen.  And when it does,

I will learn to fly again, and fall, and fly, and…..

It is the inevitable cycle.

 

 

IC~ARE YOU CRAZY?!!

What is wrong with you?!

That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard….

 

 

Maybe so, but it is my sacred life.

And as part of me, you will just have to accept it.

No more shouting.  No more belittling or bemoaning.

Understand this-I AM STRONG.  I am enough.

And I am flourishing just fine the way I am at the moment.

 

 

Now come on, let’s go have some fun!

 

 

IC~OK, but I still think…….

 

 

No thinking my dear Inner Critic,

and no talking.  Let’s just be for now….

In this moment….time to enjoy life!

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

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I read a prompt a while ago where they asked us to have a conversation with our Inner Critic.  I have had a long-standing Love-Hate relationship with that part of me, with me losing more times than I care to count.  So I thought it was about time we had it out….after all this Inner Critic was holding me back and I was letting it.

 

As a reforming perfectionist, I am dedicating this poem to all of us who have been caught in Perfections trap.  And most especially, I dedicate this to my lovely niece, Natalie on her 13th birthday, today!  Like her Aunt Donna, she is a perfectionist.  A wonderful goal to to try to reach, perfection, as long as we don’t let it hold us down and make us feel bad about ourselves, as I have done.  So here’s to you my dear niece!  I wish for you the means for working with your Inner Critic, and not letting it get the best of you.  Oh and she is a most gifted and creative poet as well!

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  This week’s theme is ‘The Hidden Realm’, that safe haven I find inside as I heal and discover my true self.

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I am using pictures of Columbines, and faded Columbine petals that represent Anxious, and Resolved To Win, in the Language of Flowers!

 

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about Inner Critics.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

Inner Critic

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Finding My Core

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Finding My Core

 

 

I stand here at my center

while all around me seems to be falling apart.

Senseless violence.

Memories of loved ones, now gone,

bubble up to open the wounds of my heart.

 

 

And it is in these times I seek my core,

a need to express my true self.

Nothing dancing off the tongue,

but words conjured up from deep inside.

 

 

They express the swirl of emotions.

They provide a base of stability to stand on.

They yield a sliver of light shining in the dark.

They form new boundaries, places to explore.

And they heal the wounds that can break me in two.

 

 

Words call me home when I find this core.

So I seek this poet’s heart to find the words

that make a dwelling place for me.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

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This poem came to me recently in the aftermath of yet more killing, carnage and fighting in the world.  I felt the pain deeply, and needed to connect to my inner core. Where I am reminded, that a beautiful sunrise means each day starts anew and anything can happen.  The sun represents for me healing light, and connecting to my true self.  It is always shining deep inside me, I just have to be aware of it….especially if I lose focus.  And with all the pain and suffering in the world it is easy to lose focus especially for this highly sensitive person.

 

The flowers pictured here are native Rudbeckia hirta that shine throughout my garden like the sun all summer.

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  This week’s theme is “Hate’s a parasite that rots the Soul. ”  We are to write a poem which helps dispel hatred.  This is my take on the theme, and how I deal with the hatred I am finding more and more around me.

core collage (1)

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about finding my core.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

core

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Midweek Poem-Yesterday

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Yesterday

 

 

Some days I sit with melancholy moods.

Slipping back to yesterdays,

where memories are strongest,

yet so very far away.

 

 

 

And I long for those days,

such an absence,

aching now to regain playful flashes.

 

 

 

But they seem gone, those firsts….

riding a bike with no hands

learning to swing to the sky

eating hand churned peach ice cream we just made

Yet so many of these memories flood back almost drowning me.

 

 

 

And like an old friend I visit them,

and all the emotions they bring.

These memories relived, an old black and white movie

scratched, moments fading on the screen….some almost gone now.

 

 

 

Can we ever really relive those first times,

going back to yesterday?

Perhaps we can take up where we left off,

building new memories, no longer standing still.

 

 

 

Catching up, no time elapsed in our absence.

Senses renewed and awed, reimagined.

New flashes, forever a part of me.

 

 

 

Like watching a fawn discover a grassy meadow,

running free and wild on fresh legs for the first time.

I travel back to that first tree I climbed so high,

with views still magnificent and full of wonder~even in my absence.

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2016

 

 

 


It is the second anniversary of my blog this week…and as I start year three, I thought I would branch out a little and Innovate (my word for the year)…new starts!  And my first new start is participating in Poets United’s Midweek Motif.  This week Sumana is giving us the prompt “absence“.

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I have been kicking around the idea of a poem based on this wonderful quote….

“I could tell you my adventures—beginning from this morning,” said Alice a little timidly; “but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

 

I thought it would be interesting to look at the idea of going back with memories….being absent from these childhood times, can we really go back as the memories age and fade.  I hope you enjoy my take on ‘absence‘.  I used Zinnias, I grow in my garden, to illustrate the post, as they represent ‘Thinking of an absent friend’.

 

 

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Box Full of Darkness

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Box Full of Darkness

 

 

I open this box again.

Its dark demons still survive there.

The bruises, the slaps, the cuts-

Pain still runs deep in the scars.

 

 

You told someone recently you remembered me fondly.

And my snort of derision was a surprise.

Maybe a slap back.

But this ‘box full of darkness’ has risen again.

 

 

No longer all neatly wrapped and stored in the attic of my heart,

Where it had burned a hole.

White hot with searing anger,

With anguish and betrayal.

 

 

And as I gaze upon this box, I know it is never forgotten.

But it no longer defines me.

Abused, Used, Victim!

No this box I hold, shows me I am a survivor.

I have risen.  Strong of heart, shame resilient.

 

 

And while I may feel some residual pain,

And a tear may appear at the corner of my eye,

This box, oh this holy, blessed box is your gift to me.

One you never knew you gave me,

Perhaps the only one you ever gave me.

 

 

And so I keep this ‘box full of darkness’

Neatly wrapped in the attic of my heart,

Where now it holds a special place on the altar of my soul.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

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“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.” ~Mary Oliver

 

I read this quote some time ago, but could not wrap my brain around it.  How could darkness be a gift?  And then when I was doing some inner work, something happened to bring the quote’s meaning home.

 

So as the ah-ha moment penetrated, I wrote this poem.  A victim of domestic abuse from decades ago, the poem is based on these painful memories.  And they have not, nor will they ever be forgotten or define me.  I have forgiven, and moved on…..and this beautiful box full of darkness is now not something that holds me down or holds me back.  No, instead it has freed me.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up, Poetry Pantry, for poets who blog, and with Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  This week’s theme is “Passion makes the world go round”.  Although this is a painful and dark poem, it is dealing with subjects passionate to my heart….forgiveness, letting go, resilience and healing.  All important things happening in my life right now that I am passionate about on my journey.

box collage

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about a box full of darkness.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

box full of darkness

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Conversations In The Garden: On Empathy

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“Most of us are experts at solving other people’s problems, but we generally solve them in terms of our own and the advice we give is seldom for other people but for ourselves.”

~Nan Fairbrother

 

 

 

Last week I talked about self-compassion, and how we must start there to increase love in our lives.  It is easier said than done, as we usually can find empathy for others over ourselves.  But I think it is harder to find empathy at all these days.  So much judgment and criticism in the world and especially on social media.

 

 

DSCN9798Sure we feel ‘sorry for’ people we see on the news, or that we may know who have a serious illness, lost a family member or a job.  We have all manner of feeling ‘sorry for’ people.  But that is not empathy.  That is sympathy.  And while sympathy may seem to be the right thing in the moment, it really doesn’t go far enough.  Sympathy keeps us at arms length where we really don’t have to engage with people.

 

 

When my father died, all those years ago, many people sympathized, but few understood and empathized with me….felt what I was going through and had been there perhaps.  His death devastated me so much that I didn’t know how I would get through the loss.  I really didn’t want to go on, and if it wasn’t for my Uncle and a dear friend, Marie, I’m not sure I would have gone on with my life.  They listened, helped me cope and go on with my life.

 

 

DSCN9807When I listen to people, especially dear friends and loved ones, I used to find it hard to connect without trying to solve their problems.  I wanted to help them so much that I found myself looking for solutions instead of listening.  I mean really listening without thinking about my response….just letting them talk and say what they needed to.  Assuring them I was here for them no matter what they needed.

 

 

I have worked hard to mindfully listen, to not solve problems, because the solutions are inevitably for me….how I would solve the problem.  Recently a dear friend shared that living alone was getting scary as she got older.  She is afraid that she could be sick and dying and no one would know.  In that moment I felt her fear.  And we made a pact.  I would call her weekly, and if I didn’t hear back from her I would call her until she called me back.  Usually I waited for her to call me, not wanting to be a pest.  She thanked me and this eased her fear.

 

 

DSCN9808Empathy cannot always be shared with everyone for everything.  And sharing our stories takes courage as we want to connect with someone we trust.  Who has earned the right to hear our stories…..who is not going to be critical or hurtful.

 

 

And empathy doesn’t stop with people.  Showing we care about the earth, and the critters that inhabit it, is important too.  That is why I garden organically, don’t use chemicals and plant native plants as they use less water and benefit the wildlife.  There is so much we can do to show everyone compassion, but it starts with how we connect with the world and ourselves.  Do we approach it from a place of loving kindness and caring?  I hope so….for this is the single most important thing we can do to make the world better.

 

 

 

bee balm collage

 

How do you give others the love, empathy and compassion they need?

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of bee balm or Monarda that blooms in my garden all summer.  In the Language of Flowers, they symbolize protection from evil and illness. Bee Balm is also said to represent fertility and promotes restful sleep.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words On Empathy  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

empathy

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Finding The Compassion We Need

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“Today I began to criticize myself and look at myself with a judgmental eye… but then instead of going all out in that direction, I stopped and I began to understand me. And then I began to be patient with me. And then I began to feel a softness in the middle of my chest. So then I concluded that I can understand and be patient with me, just like how I am always understanding and being patient with everyone else. Why? Because I deserve that, and more.”

C. JoyBell C.

 

 

Recently I was able to participate in two online courses about self-compassion.  Even though I felt that I had made great strides in this area, when both of these courses almost simultaneously hit my Inbox, I thought I would explore this topic a bit more.

 

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Surprisingly at first, I encountered all sorts of resistance within.  But this only confirmed, I needed more work on self-compassion, and  I knew I was going to learn more about this very important topic.  As the above quote says we deserve understanding, patience and above all else love.  And not from outside ourselves….no we must seek that love inside first.

 

 

In life we all face circumstances that are difficult to handle…challenges like the death or illness of a loved one….pressures at work or of losing a job.  Busy schedules where we try to juggle more than is humanly possible.  And with these trials, we also find failure.  All of these can seem to happen at once until we fall into a heap thinking we can’t handle much more.

 

 

DSCN4421And what I have discovered in these impossible moments, is that I need to turn inward, and tap into my hidden reserves.  What powers these reserves, and allows us to survive?  Quite simply it is love.  Not just love from others, but love of ourselves….really the most important gift we can give to ourselves and others.  For when we love ourselves, the tribulations of life can seem to melt away, and our capacity to love others increases tenfold.

 

 

One of the most important things we can do when building our self-compassion, is to identify the barriers to love we have created.  For me the need for perfection used to bog me down.  Starting from childhood, and on into my adult life, I would berate myself for making, what I viewed as, stupid errors.  I have had a long history of putting myself down that was perpetuated by some well meaning adults and teachers who continually pointed out my mistakes.

 

 

DSCN4542Changing an answer on a final that resulted in a grade of 98 instead of 100% would put me in a tailspin where I would call myself ‘stupid’, say ‘how I knew better’…’what was wrong with me’…and causing me to obsess on this mistake for months.  Nothing was acceptable to me but perfection.

 

 

And there were other thoughts and emotions that built up barriers causing more negative talk.  The list can be endless:  resistance, worry, fear, self-doubt, procrastination and frustration to name a few that have plagued me.  I have worked hard over the past 5 years or so to break through these self-imposed barriers.

 

 

DSCN4478What did I do?  It really is quite simple, and a bit brave, if I say so myself.  I recognize these moments where I engage in negative self-talk, and I stay in the moment with them….I feel them, where they reside in my body, and then I give myself a bit of self-love.  I tell myself, out loud usually,  ‘I am doing the best that I can in this moment’.  Then I recognize that indeed I am doing my best….and I let go of the emotions tying me down.

 

 

Sometimes when I would rush and drop things or make a mess, I would look at why this was happening….and again this would require me to stop, focus and be in the moment.  It became easily apparent, that I was rushing because of time constraints or wanting to finish…. so I would tell myself to take it slow and be in the moment more.  And when I slowed, and focused, I would enjoy the task.

 

 

DSCN4664Each time I focused and stayed in the moment I sensed an easing of these negative emotions and self-talk.  There are many practices to help with this process, and I have learned some new techniques, from the courses I took recently.  I highly recommend Open Your Heart To You from Sandra@Always Well Within, and Self-Compassion taught by Kristin Neff & Brené Brown@Courageworks.  Check these courses out to see when they will be offered again.

 

 

We can easily turn our self-doubt around, and embrace our own inner love.  We just have to have a little courage to stay in the moment, and break through any barriers we have encased around our own hearts.  And you can start by smiling at yourself a bit more, and realizing that you deserve love too.  Speak to yourself as you would a good friend…..you wouldn’t berate them, right?  Give yourself a few words of encouragement by being your own best friend…..you will be amazed at what that self-compassion can do for you!

 

 

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How do you give yourself the love and compassion you need and deserve?

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of different purple irises that bloomed in my garden this spring.  In the Language of Flowers, they symbolize ‘Compliments to you’.  I can’t think of a better way to express self-compassion.

 

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I leave you with a few additional words self-compassion.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

self compassion

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Wildlife Lesson-As Spring Unfolds

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“One should pay attention to even the smallest crawling creature for these too may have a valuable lesson to teach us.”

~Black Elk

 

 

 

As spring warms up, the birds come flocking to our garden.  Many have visited before, and return to find feeders, nesting areas or boxes, and a habitat in which to raise their young.  Chemical free with lots of plant debris.  And water….a nice pond to drink from or bathe in.  More on the pond in another Wildlife post in the months ahead.

 

 

And each critter who wakes or visits, teaches us lessons in how they live, cohabitate and survive.  So here are some of the mid to late spring visitors to our garden.

 

 

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Squirrels naturally assume that wherever they are, is the place to be.  We have found many black walnuts in and around the garden; some eaten, some forgotten.  The squirrels love to play around and explore every nook and cranny of the garden, high and low.  I can tell you this favorite perch on the wren house had to be vacated once the wrens were back.

 

 

 

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And what a surprise to see this baby bunny just out of the nest.  In March, we saw a pregnant female near the big ash trees in the center of the garden.  I could not find the nest, but eventually, once they left, I saw the small opening.  It is not uncommon to have a nest in our garden each year, but this year they nested early because of the very warm March weather.

 

This little babe was hiding in the middle of a bunch of daffs absolutely still (see last photo at end of post).  I almost didn’t see it.  It eventually moved more to the edge of the daffs the next day, and then it was gone.  We see a small bunny around our neighbor’s shed so perhaps we will see her in our garden eating the clover that is flowering.

 

 

 

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Pollinators were cautious of the warm March weather, and were slow to emerge in April.  But once they did, they were busy making nests in the bee house we have.  I am not good at identifying bees, but these are small solitary bees.

 

 

 

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The pond also awoke cautiously in later April.  Frogs…..

 

 

 

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and toads.  This is a female toad laying eggs for the first time in the pond.  I’ll have their story for you this summer.  And I’ll show you the pond project that has been a roaring success for the critters.

 

 

 

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Pileated woodpeckers live here year round, or so it seems.  They have been busy in the garden since February, digging holes and getting the insects that have been living in trees and stumps..  This female visits often.  I plan to have a post about these majestic creatures this fall.

 

 

 

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Finches live here all year round too.  They eat the dandelion seeds, in spring, that are all over the back lawn…which is mostly dandelions and clover.  The Goldfinch looks very happy, and the House Finch looks like he got caught in the act.

 

 

 

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Red-wing blackbirds came early with the robins this year.  They returned to their territory and nesting areas, and many visited the suet feeders, especially this March and April as the cool weather kept their insect diet at bay.

 

 

 

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Other familiar year round faces are the Cardinals, here, and the Song Sparrow in the picture at the top of the post.  Cardinals sing all year round too.  It is a beautiful song.

 

 

 

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But as May dawns, I look for two migratory birds to return to the garden….the Baltimore Oriole….

 

 

 

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….and the Ruby-throated hummingbirds.  We put up feeders, for both birds, but more birds prefer the Oriole feeder, even the hummer above.  Both birds arrived a day apart in the evening, and were exhausted taking long drinks and resting on the feeder.

 

 

 

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Our oriole feeder holds sweetened water, and cups for grape jelly.  And as we were refilling the jelly, the Orioles couldn’t wait to partake…..you can see we didn’t even have to hang the feeder.

 

 

 

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And Orioles (left and top right) are not the only ones who love the sweetened water and jelly.  Downy Woodpeckers (center right) visit frequently, along with Catbirds (lower right), Sparrows and a newcomer to the garden…..

 

 

 

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…Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.  A stunning bird isn’t it.

 

 

 

wren collage

I wasn’t sure the Wrens would return.  I heard their jolly, bright song for weeks and finally they were ready to nest.  It is fascinating to watch them carefully make a nest of small sticks….turning the sticks in their beaks and handing them off to their partner in the box.

 

 

 

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And last but not least, the Cedar Waxwings returned in late May right around my birthday.  Always the best present!

 

 

I am struck by the spring lessons of caution and focus as I observed, looking back at our visiting and year round critters.  Pollinators and pond critters took their time not being lured out of hibernation too soon.  And I was cautious too as I observed an early spring that turned back to winter.  And those critters that came too early, weathered the storm and showed me such resilience.

 

Once the critters arrived for spring, they were focused on their chores of finding food, and procreating.  I too was very focused with garden chores this spring.  And we will see the fruit of their labors soon enough with baby frogs and baby birds being added to the garden habitat.  I hope to see the fruits of my labors as well as the garden season progresses.

 

I am sharing these lessons with Beth@PlantPostings for her wonderful Garden Lessons Learned meme.  I hope you will join her.

 

 

So there you have some of our mid to late spring visitors.  I have at least two more spring stories coming in the next two months….both about the pond.  What critters are showing up in your garden this spring?

 

 

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 hosts Mosaic Monday, and Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every week.  Please check out all these great blogs.

 

 

 

I leave you with another thought about the lessons to learn from looking deep into nature.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

look nature

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-16.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Beyond Words: Spring At The Lake

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“Silence was the cure, if only temporarily, silence and geography. But of what was I being cured? I do not know, have never known. I only know the cure. Silence, and no connections except to landscape.” 

-Mary Cantwell, Manhattan, When I Was Young

 

 

I wanted to wrap up this series with another trip back to the lake across the street.  Several months ago, I started this series called, Beyond Words.  I wanted to showcase different spots I find, in pictures, with as few words as possible.  I have been focusing on the lake across the street; already seen in late summer, late autumn and winter.

 

 

Now as we are full into spring here, I thought it would be interesting to see how spring unfolded in late April at the lake.  It was chilly still in April.  Some days were warm, and many nights freezing cold.  But still life moved along, and the leaves just started to show up on the trees.

 

 

So let’s see what early spring looked like, at the lake.

 

 

 

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This is the iconic view as you pull up to the beach.  Picnic tables and grills to the left in the trees, and the playground and bathhouse to the right.  Of course the still lake in the background is always a peaceful sight…..when there are no swimmers!

 

 

 

beach collage

The beach wasn’t much different, just a bit greener as the grass grew quickly through the sand in spring.  Soon the machines will be there to dig up the sand, sift it and get it ready when the beach opens this weekend.  For now, geese and gulls are making the beach their home.  And watch out for those cigar-sized goose droppings.

 

 

 

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Closer to the shore you can see all the grass and wood debris that continues to wash up on shore, all needing to be cleaned up too.

 

 

 

jetty collage

Looking left toward the jetty we can see it is just beginning to green up, and tall grasses will grow out into the lake soon.  Mallards are likely nesting along the shore.

 

 

 

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Again looking toward the little cove, we see all the tall grasses and weedy plants, along with small trees greening up too.  I love how the lake was still and calm making it a reflecting pond.

 

 

 

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As there were no fishermen on the lake or boats yet, I turned around toward the woods that were alive with activity.

 

 

 

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Looking up we can see visitors stopping by.  I was unsure who this was….perhaps a sparrow.  And I was checking out the woodpecker holes to see if anyone was claiming them as a home.  And you can see the maple trees were first to leaf out.

 

 

 

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I decided to walk the path to the bench.  It looked a bit lonely at the edge of the grassy beach.  Lots of bright glaring sunlight around mid-morning.

 

 

 

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I turned back around toward the right again, and saw clouds were beginning to roll in, almost giving the long view, out to the point, a foggy appearance.

 

 

 

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As I walked away, I turned back to look through the woods where the sun was still shining….this view will remain etched on my brain.  I will not be back to the lake for the rest of spring or summer, as it will be overrun with people soon….basking in the sun and splashing in the water.

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed these trips to the lake.  I am not sure what spot I will pick next to highlight, but I’ll let you know.  But for today, I am out celebrating as I turn a young 59!  With this post, I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.

 

 

 

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Special Note:  Oneida Lake is the largest lake entirely within New York State.  It has a surface area of 79.8 square miles, and is located northeast of Syracuse and near the Great Lakes.  There are several parks, marinas and beaches along this lake that spans several counties.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional thoughts about celebrating life.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

celebrate life

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Wild Blue Indigo

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Wild Blue Indigo

 

 

Deep blue of indigo

Stalks reach skyward.

Magnets for the buzzing drone.

Bees drink their fill

With drunken smiles.

Sweet memories linger

With their departure.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2012

 

 

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I am continuing my spring poems with another wonderful native plant, Wild Blue Indigo or Baptisia australis.  Their spikes of purple flowers rise tall each spring, drawing in dozens of pollinators for weeks on end.  You can read more about this plant here, in my garden post.

 

The pictures here are of the Baptisia that grows in my garden each spring.

 

 

 

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I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and with Gillena@verses for her Monday WRites meme, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  This week’s theme is “Nothing is more memorable than Scent”!

baptisia

I am also linking in with  Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about deep blue indigo.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

wild indigo

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Wildlife Lesson-Early Spring Critters

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“My favorite weather is bird-chirping weather.”

 ~Loire Hartwould

 

 

 

As spring (March 21st) dawned in the purply-pink sky, there was a perceptible shift in the air, urged on by the warmer spring weather.  As we walked around the area and observed our surrounds, we were greeted by crowds in the trees, in the sky and on the ground; crowds of migratory birds who had returned here early to nest and raise their young.

 

 

Of course it was different when the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) came around in mid-February.  The birds scattered to find warmth as it fell on the coldest weekend of the year with -20F temps and -40F wind chills.   It was lonely and the trees were pretty bare.  Now weeks later, the birds are showing up to usher in spring right on schedule….March 21st.

 

 

 

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When we returned in early March from our trip out west, the weather had warmed a bit and the peepers were singing us to sleep.  And when I walked around our pond, the first week of spring, I saw tadpoles swimming.  The frogs are usually not long off.  The first are usually the Northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens).

 

 

 

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Prior to the new birds arriving, I noticed the Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) were pairing off and looking around for nesting sites.

 

 

 

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And American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos), along with various hawks, were seen gathering nesting materials.  This crow was ripping bark from an old vine growing in the meadow.

 

 

 

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Canada geese (Branta canadensis) were also returning, in droves, in mid-March, littering the skies on their way to the lake across the street.

 

 

 

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And many blackbirds descended upon us as spring started….Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater), and Common Grackles (Quiscalus quiscula).  A few Red-winged Blackbirds were back in February, but the raucous noise of the males returning to their nesting sites was a glad spring chorus in late March.

 

 

 

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But I knew spring was here, when we heard the familiar banging on our front windows.  Our female ‘crazy-toes’ American robin (Turdus migratorius) was back to claim her nesting site, our garden, for her third year.  The banging meant she was back to fight the imaginary robins in our windows.  You can read more about our journey with her here.

 

As I report on the events of the start of spring in March, April receded to winter with snow and cold.  The robins were especially struggling, and you can read about their struggle here.  They seem to have made it through and are now building their nest next door at the abandoned house.

 

 

So there you have some of our first spring visitors.  I will update you on more spring critters next month….April warmed, and the critter activity has been busy!  What signs of spring are you seeing in your area?

 

 

 

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 with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every week.

 

 

 

I leave you with another thought about the lessons to learned from the singing birds.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

birds sing

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-16.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Lilies of the Wood

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Lilies of the Wood

 

 

Through the shadows

of early woods,

Carpets of white

arise in pools of light.

Spreading out far and wide

in glorious song of spring’s arrival.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2012

 

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In honor of National Wildflower Week, I am highlighting one native plant, that grows in my garden, each week for the next 5 weeks.

 

Wildflowers are amazing to see in the woods in spring.  These lilies of the wood, as I call them, are also known as Trillium grandiflorum.  Upon seeing their carpet of white blooms, across the floor of the forest, I was inspired to write this poem.  You can read more about this beautiful wildflower in my garden post.

 

The Trillium pictured here are those that I grow in my garden, in hopes they will make a mass of stunning blooms one day.

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

trillium

I am also linking in with  Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about the lily of the wood.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

lilies of the wood

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-April Spring

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April Spring

 

 

The soul stirs under bright April skies,

Raw and cold, with warm sun, clouds rolling by.

 

 

Rain pours down and pools throughout,

Replenishing the soil; pushing worms out.

 

 

Everywhere in the garden is the rush to grow,

Fresh green foliage wrapped with bright colorful bows.

 

 

More voices join daily in the garden’s song,

First robin’s, then peepers all the day long.

 

 

And my heart quickens its beat on this glorious stage,

As April moves to May and writes a new page.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2016

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April springs are unique and special.  The weather shifts from cold and rainy to warm and sunny, even within the same day….trying to settle.  This year it has been very unsettled.  The blooms continue to pop up more and more throughout the garden decorating garden beds throughout….much like presents with bows.

 

The flowers here are pretty spring bulbs known as, Chionodoxa, or Glory of the Snow.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

glory of snow collage

I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about April spring.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

april spring

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.