Poetry Sunday: The Waiting Game

 

 

The Waiting Game

 

 

Sitting in the airport

waiting for the plane,

Where is the pilot-

here we go again.

 

 

Waiting for the shuttle,

where are we to go,

Does the driver know the way-

unfortunately, no!

 

 

Waiting for a meeting,

will it be starting soon.

Three hours later and no word yet,

oh lord, it’s almost noon.

 

 

Waiting at the grocery store,

waiting in this line.

Do I really need these items,

my patience is out of time.

 

 

Now the traffic stops again,

I sit and ruminate.

Six lanes going nowhere fast

so I wait, and wait and wait!

 

 

It seems with all this technology,

all the ways to go,

We are not really moving anywhere,

except at a snail’s pace, slow!

 

 

So what to do with all this time,

of waiting and nowhere to go?

 I’ll just make up this little poem,

and remember to just go with the flow.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 

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I wrote this poem a few years ago while waiting a full day to testify in a labor case for a former employer’s dispute.  It was frustrating waiting in a room for 6 hours with nowhere to go and no phone…..just a book and a pen and paper.

As I wrote it, I thought of all the times I have had to wait in long lines…..the end wasn’t quite developed but I was able to revisit the poem and find a perfect ending recently.

 

These pictures are from a recent trip waiting hours for flights….a perfect illustration!

 

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 The Waiting Game.  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, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Our Lost Stories

 

Our Lost Stories

 

Our stories lost between the pages of time

Whispers no longer heard

Dates on gravestones never seen.

 

 

Who were these souls

Their names forgotten?

Who is remembering their sacrifices,

Their tears, their joys, that brought us here?

 

 

Their legacy is ours

Whispered from one generation to the next

Forever on the wind as the dust stirs

Part of each cell and fiber-

A family found again; our heritage.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 

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I found this poem that I wrote a few years ago, in an old journal.  It may have come about when I was trying to work out some of my family’s ancestry.  I thought it would a great poem in honor of my my father’s family on this Father’s Day here in the U.S.

The top picture is of my father’s family in the early 1930s.  He is pictured lower right and my Irish grandmother, Margaret, behind him.  The other’s are my aunt (grandmother’s sister Esther), uncle (Fred, Esther’s husband) and cousins (Esther and Fred’s children, Myrtle and Fred).  The bottom picture is from around 1901 and is my grandmother’s baby picture.  We are discovering many old pictures of family we do not know or cannot recognize as the only one left now is my mother who has the accumulated history of her family and my father’s.  It is sad to have lost these family stories with each relative who is gone now.

 

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 Lost Stories.  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, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: He Watches

 

He Watches

 

 

P e r c h e d

Ever alert

Ready to spring into action

Clever as he amuses himself

Youthful exuberance

all the way

          to the

                     tip of

                                        his long

                                                        tail.

 

 

This is who I met as he eyed me cautiously.

Sized me up with those pale green eyes, curious.

Not too affectionate, but willing to connect with a touch.

PERCY-of many breeds, with proud Latin name.

‘Effective Hunter’

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

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I wrote this poem after meeting this amazing animal.  He is a rescue cat that my nieces fell in love with.  He is thought to be part Persian and has an abnormally long tail.  A kitten when they brought him home, and 6 months old when I met him.  He made quite an impression on me, wrapping his long tail around my heart.  And this poem came leaping out of me on the trip home.

 

 

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 Percy-He Watches.  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.

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-Dear Imagination

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Dear Imagination:

 

 

You come to me on crayon-colored rainbows

scrawled on envelopes and walls.

You ride on the wind with swings flying high,

and bike spokes pinned with cards, clapping like hoof beats.

You roll down hills laughing so hard

you can hardly breath.

And you plunk down in a meadow plucking yellow and white petals

to the tune of, “He loves me, he loves me not!”

 

 

 

You are part of my soul.

Maybe its most important part.

You have been with me for all my life.

And you are my saving grace.

You are what makes my heart sing.

I am forever yours.

 

 

 

Now there have been times I may not

have been open enough to hear you,

But rest assured I will not let

Fear, Worry, Doubt and Self-Judgement shut you out.

Your voice will sing to me all my days,

and we can ride the clouds to new adventures!

 

 

 

As we lay under the leaves of maple and oak and ash.

And dream of forts, and pirates and princesses.

Making braids of grass and playing tunes on leaves.

Laughing until we can hardly breath.

 

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

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I am bringing you another epistolary poem from a letter I wrote in April.  This one is special, recalling my inspirational days of childhood.  I have included pictures of native purple lupines which represent ‘Imagination‘.

 

 

 

 

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

lupines

 

 

 

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

dear imagination

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.

Happy Birthday to My Hero, My Dad

dad

“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”  

~Clarence Budington Kelland

 

 

Reblogged, and edited from an earlier post on my other blog, Gardens Eye View.

 

 

Today my dad (Eugene J. Abel, Sr.; better known as Gene) would have been 82  87 years young.  Born as the Great Depression was starting, to a mother who wanted a girl, in the city of Philadelphia, so began my dad’s life.

 

 

He was the second son of two children.  His mom, who came from a poor Irish background, stayed at home although I think she may have worked at some point. His German father was strict and worked on the railroad.  They did not have much money, and both his parents came from large families of 13 children each.  And my grandmother revealed to me later in her life, that she married at 19 to get out of the house and away from her unhappy life.  It did not turn out to be a happy adult life for her either, as she viewed it.

 

 

Isn't he the cutest baby
Isn’t he the cutest baby

My Dad graduated high school, went to work and met my mom.  He was drafted into the Korean War towards its end, but did not see any action due to drinking foul water on maneuvers in Texas.  The war ended and he came home gladly as he always said, he hated the army.  As opposed to his older brother, my Uncle, who made a career from it.

 

 

He married my mom in 1954 after she graduated from nursing school as an RN.  He was going to night school after the war to get his accounting degree.  He could only go part-time because he had to earn a living.  They started a family in 1956, and had 4 children in 5 years.  During this time, my dad continued to work during the day, and go to school at night, while my mom stayed home and raised us kids.  She would work on weekends while my dad took care of us.  To say this was non-traditional is putting it mildly.  How many fathers in the 1950s cooked and cleaned and took care of the kids?  Not many.  And how many parents really shared everything:  work, kids, household?  Not many!

 

 

We moved to Indiana, in the fall of 1962, where my dad had a new job.  From the city to the country without batting an eyelash.  Mom stayed home at this point, and dad drove an old clunker of a car, an hour each way to work, always making sure my mom had the station wagon.

 

 

So you can see my role models were very different (at least that’s what my friends always said).  And my dad was the consummate kid.  He loved to play with us.  When we were growing up in Indiana, he came home from work, and was always playing ball with us or some other game.  He even made folding the laundry fun.  We never folded laundry without having a sock fight, and he would usually start it.  My mom used to say she had 5 kids, and she was right.  But first and foremost, he was always our father.  He disciplined us, even though I think it hurt him more than us sometimes.

 

 

1949-my dad as a young man
1949-my dad as a young man

But what I remember most was the love.  The complete unconditional, non-judgmental love and acceptance of all of us with all our faults.  He never dwelt on those faults either.  He would look at the positive.  He would talk with us.  He would let us make up our minds, and make our own mistakes.   He let us live our lives even if he didn’t approve.  And you never really knew if he didn’t approve, because again he did not pass judgement.  He was the proud dad, and he always made you know just how proud he was of all of us.

 

 

My dad was loved and admired by all who met and knew him.  I used to work summers, in the same company where he worked, when I was going to college.  You could see the admiration of his co-workers and the employees he supervised.  He had many friends, and I never remember anyone ever saying an unkind thing about him.

 

 

And his sense of humor, and story telling was legendary.  It was the Irish in him, I suspect.  That dry, slightly sarcastic way he had of saying things that was so endearing.  We loved to hear him tell the same stories over and over again, or have him sing his silly songs.  Those that know me well know I inherited his sense of humor; dry and sarcastic as well.

 

 

My dad on the left with a friend
My dad on the left with a friend

And I think the garden was his solace.  It was where you would find him puttering in peaceful happiness.  He even planted cactus, at their house, when my parents moved to Arizona.  That was when the bottom dropped out though for my dad.  He had lost his job at about the age of 50, and tried a few of his own businesses that failed.

 

 

He fell in love with the weather in Arizona when he took me to graduate school there.  So they moved there in 1985.  My mom knew something was wrong…I think we all did even though we tried to believe it was just depression.  It turned out to be early onset Alzheimer’s.  My dad suffered with this disease for almost 15 years until it took his life in 1998 soon after I was married. He was only 68.

 

 

Amazingly though he never lost his sense of humor or his love for his family.  He would continue to garden until the disease took so much of him he did not know us anymore.  He suffered in silence, never wanting his family to be hurt or affected by the disease because that was the kind of person he was.  And for his sake we never showed the pain we felt, or made him feel like he was incapable of anything he wanted to do.  It was the little triumphs, like when he could walk from the car to the house or still feed himself, that sustained us and at the same time pierced our hearts with a searing pain.

 

 

So I remember the man with the song in his heart and all the things we shared:  gardening, our love of old movies, story-telling, discussing politics and the news.  He was the listener and I was a talker.  His were the huge shoulders that I cried on, and that held me up when I needed them.  His voice, the heart of my father, was silenced long before his body gave out.  I really lost him soon after the disease started.  I was 28.  To say I miss my father can’t even begin to express the love, pain, sorrow I feel daily.  I feel his presence, though, whenever I am in the garden.  In that place of peaceful solitude that sustains my soul, that puts me in touch with him and his memory.  And maybe that is why I love it so, why I feel the compulsion, the yearning to be out there.  To be with him if not on this plane of existence then in another with his spirit.  So today I am celebrating the man, and my memories of my dad, on this his birthday.  It is the least I can do after all he has done for me….I love you daddy!!!

 

 

 

“Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.”
~John Ruskin

 

 

 

Special Note:  

Thank you to all who have read this celebration of  my dad’s life.  It seemed fitting to bring this memoir back.  I hope my siblings read this, and hopefully find some solace.  The picture at the top of the post was taken when my dad was in the middle stages of the disease.  The disease even made it hard for his brain to tell his body how to smile, but smile he did even though he had to work at it.  He is pictured with his trusty buddy, our dog, Banditt.  They were never apart until my dad was so sick he had to live in a group home.  It broke Banditt’s heart, I think, and his health declined until he died a few years before my dad.  They are together now, and I know Banditt was there to greet him.  I wonder what my father would have thought of this blogging thing, and of his daughter’s writing.  I am sure he would be proud smiling that fabulous grin beaming ear to ear…..

 

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-Squirreling Around

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“Not much goes on in the mind of a squirrel.

Huge portions of what is loosely termed “the squirrel brain” are given over to one thought:  food.

The average squirrel cogitation goes something like this: I wonder what there is to eat.”
~ Kate DiCamillo

 

 

 

I have not always been fond of squirrels….eastern gray squirrels that is, or Sciurus carolinensis as they are also known. As a matter of fact, in my old garden that grew beneath an orchard of old black walnut trees, I actually loathed these beasts.  They dug up my plants, chewed all the flowers off my tulips and crocuses.  We waged a battle of wits to keep them from our bird feeder…..yes, I was not fond of squirrels back then.

 

 

But here in our present garden, the squirrels are not as big or plentiful.  They are part of the native landscape…residents that hunt up food, and are food for those who hunt them.  So they are kept in check.  Even the small Common Wrens chase them from the spring and summer garden trees when they are nesting.

 

 

 

tracks

And as part of our wildlife garden, I have found them cute and amusing…we’ll see how long that lasts if they destroy my tulips again.  For now, though, I actually get a kick out of them.  Especially in winter when they are wrapped up in their thick winter coats.  We  can see their frequent visits, and even their typical pathways once winter arrives.  They have very distinctive footprints.

 

 

 

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Last March, the squirrels found the suet feeder as the winter’s frigid cold was harsh and all the critters needed extra fat for energy and survival.  This winter they tore it down once as they swung on it.

 

 

 

DSCN1322And this little squirrel, was likely born in winter as Eastern Gray Squirrels breed in summer and winter.  Brrrr!  Not a time I would think of breeding and raising young ones….although all those bodies in a nest must make it toasty.  I am assuming he is one of a few gray squirrels still frequenting the garden.

 

 

 

We don’t have any squirrels actually living in the garden in hollow tree nests, but we have had leaf nests, also known as dreys.  Gray squirrels usually use these dreys primarily in summer as they are supposed to be temporary.  But here we see the nests built and used in winter too.  It is said that if the nests are built high in the trees, then the winter will be harsh.  This year, the squirrels seemed to be unsure with good reason…it has been an atypical winter.

 

 

And within the last year, we have noticed a new visitor…..a Black Squirrel.  The Black Squirrel is a subgroup of our gray squirrel, and not usually seen in these parts.

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This squirrel is pretty aggressive as is usual for Black Squirrels.  When he hopped into our garden, he liked what he saw.  He has taken over the yards of 5 houses as his territory, and if a gray squirrel is found anywhere near, he chases, and chases, and chases them.  Of course the gray squirrels sneak in and make themselves at home when he is gone.

 

 

 

tree squirrel collage

As tree dwellers, squirrels are at home in our trees.  Especially this fellow.

 

 

 

pumpkin squirrel collage

This pumpkin was smashed in front of our house in late November.  We decided to put it in the veg garden so perhaps the seeds would germinate in summer.  But our friendly gray squirrel is making himself at home.  We watched him take one seed at a time and bury them throughout the garden, especially near the veg beds and in the veg beds.   He even came back later and found a few for a snack.  And the black squirrel has buried several black walnuts, from the nearby woods, in the veg garden….we find the shells all over the garden in fall and winter.

 

 

 

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I do love their faces…too cute and they have the best expressions.  Recently we even had one come to the back stairs to peer in through the kitchen glass door.  He lingered a bit on the railing of the stairs…..

 

 

 

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All I could  capture of him was his tail end.

 

 

 

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As a matter of fact, I often photograph them from the tail side.  After all it is a rather handsome tail.

 

 

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.

 

And I am sharing this lesson with Beth@PlantPostings for her wonderful Garden Lessons Learned meme.  I hope you will join her.  Please check out all these great blogs.

 

 

I leave you with another thought about the lessons I am learning from nature.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

squirrel

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.

Creativity Sunday-Holiday Views

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“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”  

~Norman Vincent Peale

 

 

It has been almost 18 years since the passing of my father….40 years for my husband’s father, when he was just 15.  And 10 years ago, his mother died leaving a huge void in our lives.  Our traditional family gatherings were no more.  We seemed a bit lost trying to find our way.

 

 

We had just moved to our new house a few months earlier, but I just couldn’t open the boxes of decorations I had lovingly used in year’s past.  We didn’t cut down a tree.  Instead we put up a ceramic tree and a little faux tree, and lit them nightly. And I took whatever new decorations I was gifted, and scattered them about.

 

 

DSCN0983But this 10th year in our new house, I found a renewed energy…maybe because I was less stressed and had been retired now a year….maybe it was just time.  This past February, I went through all my Christmas decorations, and saved only those I cherished and might want to use this year.  And I promised myself to open those boxes, and put up some Christmas decorations.  Those I did not use this year would go in the pile to give away.

 

 

So in early December, the 4 boxes and our 2 little faux trees came out of the basement.  As I opened the boxes, a rush hit me, and I went about creating new scenes.  Three hours later, the house took on a holiday feeling, and the spirit of Christmas seemed to pour from every corner.  And you know what?  I used every single decoration….coincidence, I think not!

 

 

So I wanted to share some of our holiday scenes this year, that mean so very much to us!  With as few words as possible….

 

 

 

tree collage

Here’s one of our little faux trees.

 

 

 

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With some of my favorite old decorations…..some as old or older than me.  The background is our ceramic tree that once belonged to my mother-in-law.

 

 

 

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Sitting at the base of the tree, is this wonderful container of more old ornaments and garland.

 

 

 

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This little tree graces our front hall.

 

 

 

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It is also decorated with old ornaments, and my cherished garden tool ornaments given to me by a very dear, dear friend.

 

 

 

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My favorite of these garden tool ornaments is the old-fashioned watering can.

 

 

 

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And what better accompaniment for this tree, than my Christmas Garden Fairy.

 

 

 

mantel collage

The mantel was completely redone this year.  I brought out our wonderful Mr. and Mrs. Claus stocking holder and our stockings…..they were missed.  The wreath is one given to me by one of my thoughtful teachers when I first became a school administrator….I adore it.

 

 

 

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Here’s another view of the mantel.

 

 

And a couple of more lovely scenes….

 

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I leave you with a view from my front windows looking onto the porch…the glow of candlelight keeping the Christmas spirit bright!

 

I hope you enjoyed these holiday views.  I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and with I Heart Macro hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.

 

 

 

I leave you with a bit more sentiment about Christmas.   Feel free to download the photo and share.

christmas is

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-15.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Wildlife Lessons: Welcoming Autumn Visitors

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“These are brand-new birds of   
twelve-months’ growing,  
Which a year ago, or less than twain,   
No finches were, nor nightingales,  
Nor thrushes,     
But only particles of grain,   
And earth and air, and rain.”  

~Thomas Hardy

 

 

In spring, I wait patiently for life to stir in my garden.  For the first native bees to wake and buzz happily finding new nectar and pollen.  To see the first butterflies stretch their wings, and the first frogs and toads hop into the pond.

 

 

And of course I await the return of the song birds who migrate here to find a spot to make a nest and raise a family….the robins, red-winged blackbirds, hummingbirds and orioles….to name a few.

 

 

And once these birds begin to leave, in late August for their winter homes, I am saddened by the silence in the garden.  The butterflies flying south keep me company, but I miss the birds’ gladful chorus.

 

 

This autumn, I was reminded that there is still much to be grateful for as critters find their way to our oasis, and share a few moments.  With the warmer weather lingering longer, we were able to welcome many wonderful creatures.

 

 

 

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The first new visitors were the White-crowned Sparrows you see above and here.  This one is an immature bird, probably born just this year.  The mature bird is at the top of the post.  I love their black and white striped heads.

 

 

These beauties come north to breed every year in summer.  And while they are nearby, I don’t see them until they are migrating back south for the winter.  They stop by for a snack of seeds, which is why I try to leave my seed heads in the garden well into late fall.

 

 

 

robins

With the warm weather, we saw many robins come down from the north.  They hung around for quite a few weeks, finding berries and fruit to eat.  Our usual robins, who return each spring, left us in August.

 

 

 

birds feeding

And with the exodus of the summer songbirds, comes the reemergence of resident birds in to the garden.  They now take their rightful spot here all fall and winter to enjoy the suet we provide.  The Red-bellied Woodpecker (top left), the Pileated Woodpecker (center), and White-breasted Nuthatch (bottom left) also look for any insects they can find in the trees.  The Black-capped Chickadees (right) will forage for seeds.

 

 

 

birds in distance

The Cardinal (top left) and his mate love to hang about in our front trees once the throngs of other birds have left.  And we are thrilled to see the Red-winged Blackbirds (right) come by for a bite on their way south.  Although this year, there were many more throngs of them for many more weeks than in years past.  Some mature males seemed to be checking out the area for possible nesting sites too.  Perhaps we’ll see more of them in spring.

 

 

And with the cooler air brings the raptors back from Canada.  This Red-tailed Hawk (bottom picture-he was far away) is making our garden and wild area his winter home.  We watch him hunt almost daily.

 

 

 

starlings

The last groups of birds to go, and the first to come in spring, are the European Starlings.  I have never seen so many large groups visiting for days on end.  I adore watching their murmurations around the trees and fields.  Maybe next year I can catch them on video.

 

 

 

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Of course, in our garden, the toads bury themselves in fall, but the frogs (these are Green Frogs) were lingering in the pond well into early November.  They will bury themselves at the bottom of the pond to overwinter once the mercury dips to freezing, and stays there.  Here is our romantic couple still together.

 

We spotted many frogs still in the pond at the end of November.

 

 

 

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One of the biggest surprise visitors was this Northern Leopard Frog.  I have never seen them around the pond in fall, and especially not in late November.  But they will find permanent water, like our pond, and also bury themselves in the mud at the bottom.  This frog will emerge before the others and breed in the pond in early spring.  Then they move to the grassy areas of the garden in summer while the other frogs and toads come to the pond to breed.  I just love the cycle of life, through the seasons, in our pond and garden.

 

If I hadn’t been clearing the pond garden later than I usually do, I would have missed this frog….of course the warmer November weather kept it in the garden longer as the pond never froze until the end of November.

 

 

 

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Our last surprise visitor in late fall was this insect.  No it’s not a strange looking giant ladybug.  It is a Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle, Labidomera clivicollis.  How cool is that!  I will be looking for these beetles next year on my Swamp Milkweed plants, and seeing if they also hang around on the other milkweed I have growing in the garden.  Then I can study them a bit more.

 

 

It is amazing what wildlife still lingers in the garden from September to November, when we think all have left for warmer climates or hibernation.  We just have to pay attention.  And I find it easier to spot the wildlife in the declining garden and leafless trees of fall.  I wonder who will come visiting this winter.  You know I’ll keep you posted.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

And I am sharing this lesson with Beth@PlantPostings for her wonderful Garden Lessons Learned meme.  I hope you will join her.  Please check out all these great blogs.

 

 

Also as the solstice approaches, please join me at my garden blog, Gardens Eye View,  for my quarterly meme, Seasonal Celebrations. There you can find all the details for linking up to this celebration of the coming of the new seasons around the world.  I hope you can join me with a post.

 

 

 

I leave you with another thought about the lessons I am learning from nature.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

nature

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-15.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Gone Are The Days

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Gone Are The Days

 

 

A nip in the air has hastened the hour

of hardening the soil and death in the bower.

The harvest is done; the cold winds do howl.

Gone are the days of seed and the trowel.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2012

 

 

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As November begins, I continue to put the garden to bed cutting back some plants, and leaving others for birds and insects.  I am always amazed at some plants that continue to bloom and grow even in the colder weather.  This year, November has started unseasonably warm.  I hope it continues.

 

 

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.

web 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.  

 

I am joining in another wonderful meme at  A Spirit of Simplicity.  It is called Tuesday Afternoon where Kara celebrates a nice slow day in a busy week.  Check out her blog and the meme on Tuesday.

 

 

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 again from Beaver Lake Nature Center in the Autumn of 2010.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about the end of the garden season.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

goodbye fall

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.

End of Month Potpourri-October 2015

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“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.” 

~Jim Bishop

 

 

 

The morning of the full moon in September, the sun promised to rise in a glorious fashion.  The last bright star still glowed as the sun peeked over the horizon.  So I went out into the garden to see the sunrise from different vantage points.

 

 

 

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It was such a magnificent experience to bask in the first rays of light…..

 

 

 

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…..with the colors expanding across the sky!

 

 

 

sunrise collage

Yes the inset is a later close-up.

 

 

 

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I spent quite a bit of time near the back fence watching the sunrise over the meadow.

 

 

 

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I shifted to capture the pergola in the sunrise.  I thought it would be a great backdrop.

 

 

 

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As would the grasses waving to greet the day.

 

 

 

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Then watching the sun setting later in the day, I saw the glory of the fall foliage on fire in the golden light of the setting sun.

 

Fall is one of the most beautiful times in nature and in my garden.  I hope you enjoyed this glorious day with me.  I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and with Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) photo linkup party at image-in-ing.

 

I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Kara@A Spirit of Simplicity for Tuesday Afternoon where we are invited to celebrate a nice slow day in a busy week.

 

 

 

I leave you with a bit more sentiment about creativity and joy.   Feel free to download the photo and share.

fall foliage

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-15.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Rising With The Snow

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Rising With The Snow

 

 

As October skies diminish their light,

Flower beds begin to pull their covers tight.

Bid farewell to Susan and Petunia hanging low-

As we greet Pansy and Rose still rising with the snow.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2011

 

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This is an early poem inspired by the later fall garden.  I wrote it as I watched October fade with the autumn light, and the days turned grayer, and the daylight hours shorter.  The girl’s names are also flowers that grow in my garden.  It isn’t unusual to see roses and pansies blooming right up until the first substantial snow, seen sometimes in late October.  Thankfully not this October!

 

 

 

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.

old snow roses collage

I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and with Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) photo linkup party at image-in-ing.

 

 

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 roses pictured here grow in my summer garden, and bloom again in fall.  They make an amazing picture when the snow encases them.  These photos were from a few years ago when we had an early October snow.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about the first snow in the garden.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

oct skies-snow rose

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-Memories of Fall

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Memories of Fall

 

 

What are the sounds, the smells of fall?

Do you remember them one and all-

The scent of the leaves beginning to fall,

The howl of chill winds and mournful calls.

The crow’s lonesome caw adrift on the wing,

Has me dreaming already of flowers in spring.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2012

 

 

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As Fall begins, I am already dreaming of  my garden in spring.   It is easy to get lost in contemplation as I move about the fall garden.  And that is because, in autumn I am planting garlic, moving plants and getting the garden ready for its long sleep.

 

 

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.

memory of fall 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.  

 

I am joining in another wonderful meme at  A Spirit of Simplicity.  It is called Tuesday Afternoon where Kara celebrates a nice slow day in a busy week.  Check out her blog and the meme on Tuesday.

 

 

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 again of Beaver Lake Nature Center in Autumn 2010.

 

 

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

memories of fall

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-August Days

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August Days 

 

 

The fairy lights have all gone out,

The darkness lingers now.

Summer’s vacation is ending soon

As she takes her final bow.

 

 

No, I will not think of that time.

No, now I will rejoice for such,

Are the warm, quiet August days

I treasure oh so much.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2015

 

 

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In August I start to see less and less critters in the garden.  The fireflies are gone, and darkness comes sooner each day as we move toward fall.  But still there is a peaceful, quiet in the garden as August lingers.

 

 

 

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.

sunflower collage

I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.

 

 

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 sunflower pictures are from a sunflower that comes back every year.  In The Language of Flowers, sunflowers are a symbol happiness.  The picture below is of my garden behind the picket fence in all its August blooms.

 

 

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

august days

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-August Muse

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August Muse

 

 

August seems such a strange month.

The weather shifting in and out of season.

And those glorious golden days,

The hot sun still parching my garden.

 

 

Flowers fading, fruit ripens

And my thoughts turn a bit melancholy.

As the raucous noise of summer fades,

And friends depart for their long journeys home.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2013

 

 

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When August rolls around in the garden, it is a bittersweet time as we watch the garden bloom and fade.  And while I love August and all the bounty it brings, I am saddened as I know it will be gone too fast, and I will be longing for its return.

 

 

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.

hummers

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.  

 

I am joining in another wonderful meme at  A Spirit of Simplicity.  It is called Tuesday Afternoon where Kara celebrates a nice slow day in a busy week.  Check out her blog and the meme on Tuesday.

 

 

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 one of the last bird ‘friends’ to leave our garden at the end of summer…the ruby-throated hummingbird.  These are pictures of one of the sweet females, who worked hard raising a brood in spring and summer, getting ready to fly South soon.

 

 

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

august muse

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-Summer Breezes

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Summer Breezes 

 

 

A sea of gold set ablaze in the hot sun.

I squint to watch a monarch dance with a bee,

Adrift on the sultry breeze.

As it caresses my skin and sets my soul on fire,

I am lost in the lazy hum of the garden.

All life here has succumbed to this moment-

There is no other as there will never be again.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2012

 

 

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This is the last series of summer poems I wrote in 2012 and 2013 to celebrate summer.  This poem was a memory of a summer day watching the pollinators play on the breeze and sip nectar under the golden sun.

 

 

 

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 pictures in this post are of a monarch butterfly drinking in the last golden nectar of summer before flying south for the winter following those summer breezes.

 

 

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

monarch

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-Summer Memories

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Summer Memories

 

 

Lazy days beneath the leaves,

Soft rain falling, feel the warm breeze.

Shouts of joy, blooms of gold,

Dreams of childhood; tales to be told.

 

 

When finally in my older days,

These are the summer memories that never will fade.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2012

 

 

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I am continuing my series of summer poems.  This one I wrote in 2012 as I looked back on my childhood wishing not to be working, but enjoying the summer days again.  That feeling of ease, peace and just being in the moment.

Now in retirement, I am beginning to enjoy those days again, and trying to find that ease of summer days from my many childhood summer memories.

 

 

 

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.

 

yellow flowers

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.  

 

I am also joining in another wonderful meme at  A Spirit of Simplicity.  It is called Tuesday Afternoon where Kara celebrates a nice slow day in a busy week.  Check out her blog and the meme on Tuesday.

 

 

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 those trees spreading a shady canopy and all the yellow blooms of summer that blaze brightly in the summer sun.

 

 

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

summer memories

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-Fun In The Sun

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Fun In The Sun Days

 

 

Humid days, hazy days,

Crazy, busy travel days.

 

 

Fireworks and Fair days,

Burgers, popsicles and S’more days.

 

 

Sprinklers and beach days,

Flip flops, sunburns, staying cool days.

 

 

Please never let them end-

These summer fun in the sun days!

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2013

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This is another in a series of summer poems I wrote in 2013 to celebrate those summer days I remembered from childhood.  We had a County Fair that I was always entering something in…cookies or a badly sewn placemat.  We went swimming, wore flip-flop sandals, made S’mores and popsicles.

And we never failed to go on a family vacation.  All 6 of us piled into a station wagon on the road for our destination.  Nothing too expensive, but exploring neighboring states.  The best was when we shared a house on the beach in Florida with other family.  Made we want to live on a beach…maybe someday.

 

 

 

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.

 

summer rainbows

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 thoughts of summer with sunlight streaming through the trees, rainbows after thunderstorms and my flip-flops all grown up and much prettier looking.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about Fun In The Sun.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

fun in the sun

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.