Poetry Sunday: Surrendering to the Light

 

Surrendering to the Light

 

Dark and dingy on this misty day,

Soul searching in the weathered decay.

 

 

Once colored gems found among the green,

Soon all is gone to a barren scene.

 

 

Quiet melancholy heavy in the air,

Tears rush forth while heartache is declared.

 

 

Let the grief well up, spew and flow,

While the water washes me clean as I let go.

 

 

This wearisome heart must not yield to the disdain,

Surrendering only to the light and a restful peace regained.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 


I am thrilled to be back blogging and writing again.  It has been over 4 months, and I am feeling healed and much better.  I aggravated an old back injury, had vertigo and then blood pressure issues (not related to the vertigo).

I started this poem when life had me down and the weather seemed to amplify the sentiments.  With this rainbow last week, on a particularly warm November day, I was remembering what is important in my life if I am to live it to the fullest even on the darkest days.

 

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

 


I leave you with a few additional words about Surrendering to the Light.  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: The Wild Child

The Wild Child

 

A wild, playful child alone in her world

A digger of the earth joined in its holy sepulcher,

In solitude she finds her truth

Becomes her most vulnerable self

Belongs not to the world, but of it

Not to anyone but herself alone.

 

 

She will not sacrifice who she is.

She is everyone, everything, and no one.

She is surefooted now on her personal quest.

Believing in her most precious self.

For she lives her truth-

 

 

Willful, dogged, persistent in her accountability

Integrity flows abundantly, courageously

Loving kindness kindled and generously shared

Delivers on her word and deed knowing limitations

 

This wild child was born a thousand times and lives now, again, and will forever.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 

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 As I was contemplating recent readings, the term Wild Child came up and this poem poured forth.  It is autobiographical, and it is a song to all of us who are working on our inner selves.  I offer it to all who are called or feel like a ‘wild child’ as I move into my 61st year.

 

And yes those pictures are of me when I was about 8 or 9 years old.  Both pictures hold very fond memories, as I loved to swim, and go fishing.  That was the first big fish I caught, a lake perch.

 

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 Wild Child.  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: Dear Truth

 

Dear Truth

 

Dear Truth:

 

My goodness I was glad to see you!

 

To speak your name~well rant it for a good, almost, 10 minutes.

 

You shook me upside down when I heard you speak.  And rung my emotional bell until it hurt from my head to my belly.

 

But you had to come, you had to speak, Truth.  And I am so happy you did.

 

Although next time can you add a dollop of love with your words so they don’t leave me too splayed upon the ground when you are done talking.

 

Yes I am glad you came and spoke, Truth, through me, from me down to my very soul.

 

Truth can set you free they say.  It turned me inside out and landed me on my ass.  But I had that coming.  After all I kept you at bay for far too long, Dear Truth!

 

© Donna Donabella 2018

 

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I am bringing you another epistolary poem from a letter I wrote in April of 2016.  This one was freeing to write.  It seems when I hold back from speaking up, the truth backs up until it bursts free.  I am learning to speak up more and more especially these days.  And especially to those who feel free to lie as a matter of course.

With the #enoughisenough movement, Truth is a friend to many again and speaking loudly through thousands, finally!

The pictures are of a witchball; a gift given to me by a dear friend.  Historically, witchballs were hung in windows to ward off ill fortune and bad spirits.

 

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 Dear Truth.  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: You Have The Right

 

 

You Have The Right

 

 

You have the right to remain silent

Anything you say can and will be used against you,

But so what

Is it better to remain mute,

To not give voice to what assails my soul?

 

 

While silent, I give approval to insults, to violence, to cruelty.

While silent, I give up my rights.

And while silent, I condone bigotry, harassment and assault,

Based on nothing but the color of one’s skin or sex.

Based on only a name, ethnicity, or religion.

 

 

But isn’t it my right to also be free of these wrongs,

To be free to worship, to be free to be who I am.

There has been too much silence for far too long.

 

 

The silent ugly underbelly of a nation’s people,

Raised on freedoms taken for granted.

Believing there is no racism, and that

Women are treated fairly, equally and are valued.

 

 

But no~the ugliness was still here in this silent nation.

Blindly condoned and quietly strengthened,

Until one day a government gave it credence~

Gave it voice~made it legitimate and perfectly fine

To say the most vile, hateful words about its citizens.

 

 

Ignorance is not bliss anymore.

We cannot afford to be ignorant or stand idly by

As the very freedoms and foundations

We hold dearly are slipping into the abyss.

 

 

Lives lost fighting for these freedoms,

Now anguished in the soil of this fetid land.

Pride in a country where these freedoms were held scared,

Now fear runs rampant instead.

It is all there is some days,

No brave voices rising from the silence to be heard.

So many mute giving approval,

As silence kills.

 

 

You have the right to remain silent

Anything you say can and will be used against you,

In the court of life.

Will you remain silent?

Or will you give voice to the warriors

Needed to take back a country once lost.

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

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This poem has been rattling around in my soul waiting to break free as my anguish with each horrific day goes by with more lies, more acts of violence, hatred, bigotry and on and on with hate.  And so many still stay silent as words and acts by our government bring us daily to new lows.

The irony of this poem’s opening is purposeful.  They are the opening lines of the Miranda Warning said to all who are arrested.  And who knows if our acts of resistance will get us arrested, but I have hope we will overcome the insanity and fear.   So this poem is my rant to those who are still silent, as I give my voice to those trying to change the dialogue, and not allowing my silence to condone any more of this insanity.

 

The pictures are more goddess selfies I created last year.

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and I am joining Sherry for her Thursday prompt at Imaginary Garden With Real Toads; Being The Change.

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I leave you with a few additional words about You have the right.  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: Given Freely

 

Given Freely

 

Sometimes in the most hurried, stressful situations, it is worth our while to remember that a smile can light up our world….it can light up the whole world.  One small act of kindness, can change everything around us.

 

So with that in mind, in a very busy airport recently, I decided to make it a point to smile at everyone.  To excuse myself as I weaved and bobbed.  To joke with, and be polite to the TSA agents as they examined my bag one more time.

 

Even if smiles were met with frowns, and thank yous were not forth coming as I gave away space at my table or in line to get food, I still smiled.  I still persevered, and kept kindness front and center.  Letting it pour forth from my soul.

 

And what was the effect of this grand experiment?  Well, I cannot tell you it made any difference in anyone else’s life, but I know it did mine.  I was calmer, happier and more centered.  Each smile I gave away, made my day brighter.  And I have to believe it helped shift the world a little, that day, to the kinder side of life.

 

 

Smile given freely

No cost exacted save for

Soulful connecting

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

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This poem, a haibun, was an experiment I decided to conduct in a crowded airport.  To smile, be courteous, polite and kind no matter what.  Not an easy task when traveling as it is a stressful time made worse by time constraints, tired feet, discourteous people and knowing I am about to be strapped into a cramped space for hours while flying 35,000 miles suspended above the earth.

The pictures are fun selfies I created in a course I took using the phone apps, Pixlr and Prisma.

 

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 given freely.  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: Judge Me

 

 

Judge Me

 

Judge me righteous

Judge me Sad

Judge with your allegiance

Judge me Bad

 

 

Call me liberal

Call me snowflake

Call me out

For heaven’s sake

 

 

These words no longer puncture

They cannot hit their mark

They only move to inspire me

To give my fire spark

 

 

To voice a truth being erased

A people’s values labeled fake

Every lie the deception ordained

Now I judge that the biggest mistake!

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

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I was recently inspired to speak out again about the most basic hypocrisies in our world and country…..judging others and the erosion of truth. I wrote this poem in response to all the trolling and name calling.  Calling out the trolls and calling for a resurgence of sanity, values and the ‘real’ truth.

These pictures are selfies I created earlier this year when I was taking a course in how to creatively us photography phone apps.

 

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 Judge Me.  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: 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-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-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.

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.

 

 

 

baby bunny collage

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.

 

 

 

bee collage

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.

 

 

 

frog collage

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.

 

 

 

finches collage

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.

 

 

 

oriole feeder collage

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.

 

 

 

waxwing collage

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.

Conversations in the Garden: On Perspective

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“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
~Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

 

 

For me, I would say the world IS a garden.  A big, beautiful garden full of plants and wildlife, so much more fascinating than I could ever dream them to be.  And the intricate webs of life, that are woven in this garden, are so important for us….for you and for me, and for the plants and wildlife we live amongst.

 

 

With Earth Day being celebrated tomorrow…or is it anymore….I am reminded of the call, in 1970, to change how we treat the world, the environment we live in.  It meant something important and special to me, that first Earth Day.  Finally a way to recognize what we must do to change how we are treating our planet.

 

 

IMG_0412And the rallying cry, ‘Earth Day Everyday’ was a perfect mantra for me.  A young 13-year-old wanting to make a difference.  I knew so little then…and now some 46 years later after all I have learned, and all I try to do, I wonder do I make a difference at all.  Will my one garden, grown organically, using less water…will it matter in the grand scheme?  Will it matter to the wildlife in my one plot?

 

 

And realistically in the grand scheme of things maybe not.  But for me it does matter.  I was taught respect.  Something I find sorely lacking these days.  And the respect that we may give others who have earned it, also translates to a respect for the earth that supports us.  Indeed it is essential that we respect the earth.  That we do our best to do no harm.

 

 

I know I am not perfect, nor can I be.  But my efforts do help the microcosm of life, here in my one plot.  The rabbits nest here, the animals find food here to support themselves and their young.  Unlike those around me, who spray every bug until it dies, I cultivate the insects.  I welcome them home.  And my garden is abuzz with their sounds throughout the season.  These insects are the reason my flowers grow, my fruits and vegetables produce, and birds and babes flock here to nest and raise their young.

 

 

IMG_0381From my perspective, it is really rather simple…..do no harm.  Stop spraying your weeds and the insects.  The chemicals not only are killing the wildlife around us, but they are killing us.  More and more research is showing that our exposure to chemicals is causing diseases in us and our pets.    And the chemicals found in our food, is where we get the bulk of these chemicals that are deadly to us.

 

 

I am not going to regale you with research article after research article.  They are there if you chose to read them, or even believe them.  But if we use common sense, why would we want to poison our bodies.  Once I started eating only organic foods, I found many of the health issues I had subsided, and the inflammation in my body was drastically reduced.  Not scientific research…no.  But good common sense….do no harm.

 

 

If chemicals kill weeds and insects, then it follows they poison us too on some level.  Have you ever used some of these chemicals.  I did a long time ago, and even poisoned myself….I was deathly ill after prolonged use….several days of spraying to rid myself of lawn and weeds.  I was lucky to escape with my life in tact.  But then I was only focused on getting rid of the weeds…can’t have weeds you know!  Now I live with the weeds.  The weeds that support wildlife.  I’d rather have weeds, and wildlife and my life, than a chemically sprayed world devoid of life.

 

 

IMG_0413Can you tell I am impassioned about this topic?  Am I preaching to the choir?  Yes, and I am up on my soapbox too.  And maybe my voice will reach very few, but that is not going to stop me from doing what I know in my heart is the right thing….do no harm.  This is my perspective, and only you can reach your own conclusions based on how you see the world.

 

 

I ask that you take a moment this Earth Day, and consider my words.  Look at the world from a different vantage point.  Shift your view, to see the world through the eyes of others that we share this planet with.  Look at the future for yourself and your children, your family.  Bury your face in the grass and see the teeming life there that we depend on, and that depends on us to first do no harm.

 

 

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How are you celebrating Earth Day?  What is your perspective?

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of Iris reticulata that grow in early spring.  I took pictures of the same clump of iris from different perspectives.

 

 

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

perspective

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 Lessons: A Survivor’s Tale

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“All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive.”

~Yann Martel, Life of Pi

 

 

 

I had a different story for you today.  One that started out with beautiful spring skies, and warm breezes, birds chirping and arriving to their summer homes a bit early.  And then the bottom dropped out, and we had this….this frigid cold, and snow….days of snow.  Snow that froze my daffodils and hyacinths to the ground and kept them there for 4 days.

 

 

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Snow in April is common here.  We get dustings, and even up to 3, 4 or 5 inches.  But it melts fast.  In all my days here, I have never seen so much snow in April, 8 or more inches for 2 days, and no melting even when it stopped.  Cold January and February temps, in the 20s and teens, instead of normal early April temps in the 40s and 50s.

 

 

And as I tell this story, our snow is still here.  And my flowers are still suffering.  But the more poignant part of the story was not about me, and my whining about my poor flowers.  It was about the birds, and especially the American Robins.  They came back in March.  The last to arrive were here on the first full day of spring…our lovely warm spring that has disappeared.

 

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We have loads of robins who visit us.  They pair off, and make their home claiming the land between every 2-3 houses.  Staking their territory to start their home and raise their young.  And our pair has been coming here now for 3 years running.  We know because the female greets us every morning by banging on the window.  She is the only one to ever do this, and she has been doing it now for three years.  But that is another story you can read here.

 

 

 

DSCN3136The robins are used to a bit of snow, and cold.  But this snow swallowed the ground, and not a bit of it was left uncovered.  Why is this significant?  Because robins eat worms and insects in spring, which were nowhere to be found in the snow.  See my poor daffodil buds languishing in the snow.

 

 

 

DSCN3151And it didn’t dawn on me that they would be suffering until I saw this.  Our female struggling in the Barberry branches.  At first I thought, why would she choose to perch in this thorny bush, where the branches are vertical and packed tight with barely any breathing space.  And then I saw it….

 

 

 

barberry collage

She was eating the berries formed last fall.  We have never seen any birds eating these berries.  Which is a good thing, as the seeds then are scattered (if the birds eat the berries), and this invasive bush colonizes in forests pushing out the native understory plants.  But this day I was glad for the barberry berries as were the robins.

I do have lots of berry producing bushes that are native and preferred by the birds, but those were picked clean in late summer and fall.

 

 

 

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Another sign they were eating these berries, was the tell-tale red droppings in the snow, and on my front porch bench.

 

 

 

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They found evergreens or trees with dense branches for some shelter, but their isn’t much here as the trees are not leafing out for another month.  For birds to survive the cold, it is essential they have food, stay still, especially if they can’t find much food, and use their metabolism to generate heat. And they puff up their feathers to keep the cold air away from their skin, and trap body heat.

 

 

 

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Of course they need water to drink, but all puddles and ponds were frozen.  So at first, I saw them eating snow often to stay hydrated.  As the snow on the driveway and roads melted and formed tiny puddles, they drank from those.

 

 

 

bird footprints

Seeing their little foot prints in the deep snow, broke my heart.  They seemed to prefer staying on the ground, even sitting on top of the snow in sheltered areas.

 

I have plans to take out the barberry bush in the next year or so, but I will make sure we replace it with a nice berry producing bush, and maybe add a couple more along the side of the house just in case.  After all, we have lots of bird friends who like berries, so the more the better.

 

 

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I guess I should have realized the burden this unexpected weather would put on these birds, but we are so used to seeing birds here all winter.  Of course our full-timers, as I call them, are acclimated to our climate and know how to survive.  Unfortunately for the visitors, they are not used to this, but boy they are wired to survive, and find what they need.

 

I was buoyed by their feistiness, and their determination.  It pulled me out of my snowy weather doldrums, and made me see the bigger picture beyond my flowers….which I bet may survive after all.  I won’t count them out yet either!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Note:  I’ll tell you the nice spring critter story next month, and give you any updates on the robins.  Also please excuse some of the pictures…between the weather, dirty windows and screens they made for some dark and out of focus shots.

 

 

I leave you with another thought about nature and surviving.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

survival

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.

Shedding My Bark

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“Listen to the trees as they sway in the wind.

Their leaves are telling secrets.

Their bark sings songs of olden days as it grows around the trunks.

And their roots give names to all things.

Their language has been lost.

But not the gestures.”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

 

 

 

A week ago, I wrote about finding the balance between the masculine and feminine sides of me.  Of embracing my feminine side more, and how it has served me well as I stay in touch with this softer me.

 

 

And I am reminded of this deeper, dreamier side as I gaze at my garden in early spring.  The trees stripped bare.  These tall, stalwart soldiers seem to be standing guard.  Strong, straight and unyielding, at times, to even the strongest winds.

 

 

But if I look closer, I see that trees cannot survive if they are unbending, and too stiff.  If
DSCN4123they cannot be flexible, they break under the wild winds, and heavy bitter snow.  It is their ability to remain loose and shed their bark, that makes them stronger.

 

 

And like a tree, I grow from Mother Earth with strong roots reaching deep down into the enriching soil.  Creating a strong foundation to draw from in time of need.  To allow layer upon layer of bark to grow as it is needed for protection.  And when that bark is no longer needed, it is stripped away letting the next layer grow to accommodate the growth in me.

 

 

Recently, I found I needed to throw off the bark that had been protecting me for so long.  It felt as if it were strangling me, not allowing for the changes coming.  A need was growing to let go of what was no longer serving me.  And allow this new strength, I was finding in the softer side of me, to begin to grow.

 

 

DSCN3640I had been asked to testify at a hearing regarding work issues.  I had been gone for over a year, and wanted no reminders of my old work experiences.  Of reliving the stress.  But without a choice, I was forced to make the 2 hour trip twice.

 

 

I had forgotten so much of my job, in such a short time, which was telling.  I was hiding from much of this excruciatingly stressful time.  When I worked for a bully in a toxic atmosphere.  It felt almost surreal to recount the work….the sometimes humiliating treatment of my superior.

 

 

And if that wasn’t enough, I had to endure the ridiculous, overbearing and intimidating questioning by one lawyer in particular.  Not for any real purpose, but to try to rattle me, and waste time in order to have time to prepare for subsequent testimony by others.  To say it was a total waste of my time would not be correct.  Hopefully my testimony would help others.  And I know it helped me.

 

 

As I went through the experience, I found I could draw upon my foundational strength, still flowing deep in my roots.  DSCN6904And I kept my head about me.  Not drawn into the aggressive, assertive, tense me of old.  But now a calmer, cooler head prevailed.  And when it was done, a release was felt through out my mind and body.

 

 

I was able to shed the bark of the past.  No longer having to use the strategies of old.  I could feel an evolution unfolding inside of me as I followed my intuitive side.  A swelling of new growth, bending and yielding as the winds of this situation blew about me.  And I knew at once I was home in this new place.  This new Yin of me.  And when I returned home, it was time to get busy, and start my journey along this new passage….to the softer side of me….feeling stronger than ever.

 

 

Have you experienced a shedding of your outer bark?  What new lessons are you learning?

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of old, 80 foot trees growing in my garden.  The stump at the beginning of the post is of an ash tree that suddenly fell in the garden one day.  It had become too brittle to yield to the prevailing winds.  I thought it perfectly summed up the post.

 

 

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

trees

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 Patience

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“You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety.” ~ Abraham Maslow

 

 

 

I have been working with the amazing Sandra Pawula, from Always Well Within, in her new venture, The Joyful Wisdom Letter and Circle.  Sandra sends a letter once a month with a unique theme to work on.  As she says……

 

I created the Joyful Wisdom Letter to help you overcome these pesky states of mind and live your full potential.  The Joyful Wisdom Letter offers a unique transformational process, which delves deep but moves at a relaxed paced.

The Joyful Wisdom Letter is not about “sexy” or “epic” or “big.”  It’s about being true to your essence, whatever that means for you – from leading a quiet life to dancing in the bright lights.

 

 

DSCN7502Let me just say that the letters so far have been life changing…..especially the one about Patience.  To say I’m impatient is an understatement.  I have learned to cultivate a bit more patience since I began gardening.  Waiting for veg seeds to grow as I work on weeding, or trimming plants.  Trying to learn a bit more about a plant that is limping along, so I can apply the lessons in order to help it grow.

 

 

These small garden lessons have helped me some, but little did I know when faced with a challenging situation, I would find the tools I needed deep inside to move ahead in growth, and not step back into safety thanks to Sandra’s teachings.

 

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It was the phone call we never want to get.  Middle of the day, and why was my husband calling me.  He had gone off with his lifelong buddy for a trip up North.  When I answered there was silence, and then his voice, odd and monotone.

 

 

They had been in a car accident, he was OK as was his friend.  My husband recited to me that he had broken his thumb and was waiting for an ambulance.  It was awful…they hit head on.  All I could answer was OK, try to listen and not react….‘stay calm’ was what my heart was telling me while my brain tried to race in panic mode.

 

 

 

DSCN7767And in the midst of this phone call, I found myself unusually calm.  He was alive, just a broken thumb.  But my mind still tried to race.  With a broken thumb, I’ll have to be ready to take over some chores and responsibilities, and give support….oh boy I am not good with that.

 

 

An hour went by and his friend called back….I couldn’t make out much of what he was saying as he seemed to be in shock.  They were headed to one of our local hospitals.  But they are waiting for the ambulance as the first one took the family from the other car.  They were OK too.  Really unbelievable all were OK, as the collision was 50 miles an hour head on.  They would let me know which hospital they were headed to soon.

 

 

So I waited for the next phone call.  I decided that as I was waiting, I better get showered, clean up the dishes, and be ready to go…oh and grab a bite to eat in case I couldn’t later.  As the time ticked on, I found myself doing other chores and writing to pass the time.  I still was unusually calm…..but why weren’t they calling me back, it had been 2 hours!

 

 

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Finally, I called them.  I had not wanted to be a nagging, needy wife, which is why I waited, but something told me the wait was over and I needed to know what was going on.  I can still feel the butterflies in my stomach just writing about this.

 

 

I reached them by phone just as they were working on my husband’s thumb….hearing him shout in pain did not sit well.  But I finally found out where they were.  I jumped in the car.  I made a concerted effort to drive the speed limit, and not rush….’stay calm’ was still my mantra.  No reason to rush as that would just add to my anxiety.  I made it in great time as traffic was light by that time of day.

 

 

I did have a bit of anxiety trying to find parking, but finally with the security guard’s help I found it.  I walked in as they were finishing up.  His thumb not broken, just dislocated, and he had some stitches.  But what had not been apparent in the phone call, was that his strong wall of tough composure was broken.  This accident had shaken him to his core, and it was here he would need my support.

 

 

DSCN8611I did not panic, I did not cry….instead I found the lessons from Sandra deep inside me.  My practice of these had ingrained them in me somehow, and I had found a new strength, and new ways to respond to this scary situation.

 

 

 

My old habit of responding to stress with more stress was quashed for now….I remained calm, and calmness rewarded me.  I decided to perceive this situation as one of gratitude….thankful he was alive, and not harmed except for the thumb.  This joyful perspective helped me to help him too.

 

 

My life changed that day….and not for the worse (thankfully again), but there was a shift.  I suddenly knew what really mattered.  I had a new feeling deep in my soul…a knowing that I was somehow different as was my husband.  We could lean on each other, ‘in sickness and in health’.  I knew that he was there for me, as he had demonstrated on numerous occasions.  But I was never sure how I would respond when called….now I knew he could count on me too!

 

 

DSCN8740This new found sense of calm and patience has continued in my life….not perfect….but one where I can realize when I am slipping back, and can catch myself.  I am not sure how these new lessons will show themselves as life goes on, but I know that with dedicated awareness and practice I change any habit or tenderly tend any part of me that is in need….and this knowledge gives me solace.

 

 

 

How do you practice patience?  What new lessons are you learning?

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of asters from my fall garden this year.  They symbolize patience.

 

 

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

aster patience

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.

My Manifesto: An Innovative Life in 2016

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“Making the beginning is one third of the work.”  ~Irish Proverb

 

 

 

As the year was coming to a close, I decided to wander out to my meadow.  Really a sanctuary garden, wild, with native plants, a couple of birdhouses and trees.  It lies just beyond the fence.  It is a place of quiet, curiosity and peace…where I can commune with nature and wildlife.

 

 

 

DSCN1160And it was here, while I snapped pictures of the dried and tattered plants, that I realized I had a full and abundant life.  I was lucky to be alive, to have relatively good health, a partner who gave me support and unconditional love, and family and friends who were still there for me.

 

 

 

I started to think about the upcoming year.  What would it hold?  What did I want to accomplish, how did I want to live out this next year of 2016?  I had recently adopted my word for the year, INNOVATE.  And I was thinking how this word would guide me.

 

 

 

DSCN1187I was also thinking what color this year would be.  I have been working with the Colors and Numbers, by Louise Hay, since 1998.  Each year has a number, unique to you, that matches with a color.  And when we tune into the color of the day or year, we can find more harmony and flow in our lives.  I have found this to be true, and I enjoy the colors.  Before I tuned into colors and numbers, I was wearing too much of one color especially black or gray.  This exploration of color was much more creative and fun.

 

 

 

You don’t have to believe in colors and numbers to have fun with it.  And when I explored this year for me, I realized it was a Personal Year 4.  But not just any 4, a 22/4.  Meaning, when I added my birthdate and this year, I got 22.  The color for the 22/4 year is coral.  And its significant meaning, Greatness.  And when I coupled it with my word for the year, Innovate, I saw a wonderful synchronicity developing.

 

 

 

This 22/4 year, superior accomplishments could be DSCN1164achieved…maybe writing and
publishing that book….it has been on my mind of late
.  It is also a year where I can have success, if I work on big plans for the good of the community.  It is said to be a powerful year.  A bit daunting and exciting, and definitely a year to Innovate.

 

 

 

As I tried to make more meaning of all of this, I decided this might be the year to create a manifesto.  A manifesto is quite simply a written declaration of my intentions, motives, or views.  And I am making mine for one year.  Not really goals per se, but more how I intend to live this Innovative life in 2016.

 

 

 

Creating a manifesto, is a work in progress so I hope to refine it as the year progresses….check in and see how I am doing.  And hopefully make this a yearly practice, if it helps organize and further guide me.

 

 

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As I Innovate my life in 2016, I am living a life:

 

    • Seeking out new destinations to explore
    • Inspired by creativity
    • Spent in the arms of nature more often
    • Of new experiments with growing, cooking and eating new foods
    • Of new habits that facilitate innovation, creativity, health and happiness
    • Moving more each day; stretching my body, mind and spirit.
    • Of gratitude and abundance
    • Of courage showcasing my talents to the world
    • Connecting with more people, more often
    • Of beauty surrounding me inside and outside my abode
    • Tuned into my creative channels allowing them to come forth and flourish
    • Serving my spiritual and intellectual needs

 

 

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Do you have a guiding word or phrase for the year?  Maybe a manifesto?  How have you decided to embrace the new year?

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are from my meadow at the beginning of winter.

 

 

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

innovation and vulnerability

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.

Innovation in 2016

DSCN6566“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.”  

~T.S. Eliot

 

 

Just before the New Year, I have a tradition of choosing a word to guide me through the coming year.  It becomes my muse, my mantra, my guide.  In 2014, as I had retired, I chose THRIVE.  I needed to remind myself that I was healing and to nurture myself….that I was still alive and thriving.  In 2015, I chose SOAR.  As I had healed more, I felt like flying.  Getting above the clouds, and the gray, to see what was over the horizon.  It felt like a year to just enjoy my life.

 

 

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Now with 2016, I am feeling like I need to get out of my cocooned comfort zone.  At first I thought my word might be Connection or even Diving, but neither felt quite right.  And as I started my search, I happened on, Move.  Yes, I did need to Move more….still not quite right.

 

 

Then I saw three more:  Stretch, Integrate and Innovate.  Stretch, now that was a great word.  I needed to let go and get out there more….yes, this would do me nicely.  But you know, I liked Integrate.  I have so many skills I need to use more…to integrate the parts of me as a whole.  Maybe, this is the word.

 

 

But Innovate was still circling around.  I had seen this word before in a Facebook game I played.

 

innovation

This word will guide you through the year of 2016! It will support you in your daily struggles and situations that may appear hopeless. This word will always show you the silver lining so that you won’t ever need to worry. It was chosen for you specifically, embrace it!

 

 

OK this sounds like a word I could embrace.  But this word was big….so big it scared me.  Am I up to the task of this word Innovation?  I don’t know!  It is like Stretch, but a bit more forceful.  Like a shove in the back to get out on that stage and show your stuff.  Not exactly what an introvert wants to do.  But maybe, that is exactly what I need.  After all I did say I needed to let go, to move, to go beyond my comfort zone.  Stretch could help me do this, but it is too comfy a word.  I might not Stretch enough.

 

 

 

innovate wordle

 

So I vacillated between the two some more, Stretch and Innovate; Innovate and Stretch.  As I thought more about Innovate, I saw for me that it could mean new, different, expand, branch out, extend….and Stretch.  But it adds a different dimension to Stretch….a little more oomph!  And it incorporates Move and Integrate…I see me doing more, and using more skills with Innovate.

 

 

 

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Oh yes….just maybe.  Perhaps Innovate will help me break free from some self-imposed bonds….to experience life more without fear, or with accepting there will be fear.  So I took the leap…and decided on Innovate.

 

 

It is causing some butterflies in my stomach….a scary excitement as to what this year will hold.  But oh, how I am looking forward to it.  As I am already encountering situations, I am looking on them with fresh new eyes…a new perspective…with Innovation.  And on this New Year’s Eve, I ready to Innovate in 2016!

 

 

Do you have a word to guide you this year?

 

 

cosmos collage2

 

 

Note:   The flowers pictured here are cosmos, which in Greek means order, harmony, or the world.  In the Language of Flowers, it also means innocence.  The collage of words was made in Wordle.

 

 

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I leave you with my image for Innovate 2016.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

innovate2

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-Reframing

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Reframing

 

 

I move on slow footsteps,

In the opposite direction

To the farthest shore

To sit with myself.

 

 

Away from conformity, from perfection,

From fear and moral outrage.

 

 

Turning my face toward the moon

A softer reflection catching my tired eyes.

Seeing through a darkness revealed

A truer light less inflamed.

 

 

Casting long shadows of beauty all about me

Only seen when glimpsed from this new vantage point.

Empathy-A different perspective gained,

Found as I move on slow footsteps,

 

 

In the opposite direction.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2015

 

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As I was contemplating the strife of life and the tragedies in the world, I was feeling sucked in…becoming enraged, hopeless and fearful.  And in an effort to pull myself out of this and look for a solution, these words came pouring out.  I believe we need more compassion in this world, but first we have to start with empathy….both will make a huge difference in the world.

 

 

 

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

moon 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.  

 

And 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 above are of the full moon in October right around Halloween.  Below is the almost full moon from the same month.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about reframing my outlook on life.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

reframing moon

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.

August Break Begins

talisman

“Non-judgment quiets the internal dialogue, and this opens once again the doorway to creativity.”

~Deepak Chopra

 

Last August I participated in a photography challenge called The August Break, the creation of Susannah Conway.  And I was excited when I heard she was doing it again this year.  Each day is a new word, and you decide how to show it.  So for Thursdays in August, I will be showcasing my pictures from the challenge.

 

 

I love this challenge because it is simple, and allows me to be in the moment and to be creative.  I thought I would break it up into thirds and show you what I came up with in 10 day chunks.  I am truly a novice with photography still using the auto setting on my point and shoot.  But I am enjoying composing the images daily, and looking for different perspectives.  I have included a few collages of pictures as they make for interesting photos as well.

 

 

The first picture above is actually Day 10-Talisman.  This hand-blown glass rabbit has been with me now for about 30 years.  I bought this at our local Renaissance Faire as I was told it was a special animal spirit for me.

 

 

 

bfast collage

Day 1-Breakfast  I took a few different perspectives of my breakfast plate; in more light and then less light.

 

 

 

air

Day 2-Air  This was a bit challenging to decide what to shoot, but when this dragonfly perched on the tip of this tiny plant right in front of me, I knew this was my shot.

 

 

 

cuke5

Day 3-Skin  I wanted to find something besides the obvious human skin to shoot.  So when I saw these cucumbers from the garden, I was drawn to their skin which can be smooth or bumpy.  They also make great pickles!  YUM.

 

 

 

numbers collage

Day 4-Numbers  I took this day to go around the house looking for interesting numbers.   And then I thought about how I would compose the photos of these ordinary objects.  The first is of an antique crock.  Next is an antique kitchen timer.  Both antiques belonged to my aunt and uncle.

The last photo is of a ceramic clock we bought on our honeymoon in Italy.  I love this photo because even though the numbers are Roman Numerals, the number 4 is incorrect.  It should read IV as a Roman numeral.  It gives this clock more personality the way it is written as tally marks instead.

 

 

 

citrus views

Day 5-Citrus  There isn’t much to tell here.  Again I was playing with perspective when shooting the lemon next to this vase of flowers from my garden.

 

 

 

notebook

Day 6-Notebook  My notebook is my journal.  I opened to the next blank page and took a picture.  I liked working with the perspective and angle of this shot.

 

 

 

5 things

Day 7-5 Facts About Me  I had no idea what I was going to use for this day.  As I was sitting on the couch and looking out the window, the sun was streaming through this little display on the windowsill.  The screen was up so the garden in the background was more pronounced.  I loved how the scene glowed and I knew this was the picture.

So what are the 5 things about me:  Love to garden, love to pick flowers and arrange them, love New Mexico where I bought the glass tile (and wanted to move there at one time), my dear friend (who lives now in NM) bought me the 2 figures and the gourd is an inspiration to me for many things including gardening, and I am fascinated with Native American lore, history and archeology.  In another life, I might have studied Native American tribes as my career instead of being an educator.

 

 

 

smooth contrast

Day 8-Smooth  So many choices here, but I decided on the lily pads in the pond that are still occupied by many frogs who love using them as lounge chairs.  When I was leaving the pond area, I caught sight of the native cactus I have growing in the stones on the side of the waterfall.  The contrast struck me, and I added it to the picture.

 

 

 

earth4

Day 9-Earth  Again the possibilities were endless, but the sunset that night was too beautiful not to use here.  The atmosphere of the Earth working its magic here and in the last picture below.

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed these photos from the first 10 days of  The August Break challenge.  I am linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.  And I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

 

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

aug break creativity

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-Be Like A Seed

DSCN4124

 

 

Be Like A Seed

 

 

See not the hopeless, helpless time.

Go instead underground

And be like a seed.

 

 

Seek instead the nourishment within your own soul.

Bringing refreshment and urging you to grow.

Letting go of your outer shell.

 

 

Draw your courage from deep inside,

It is there waiting to be summoned,

With perseverance and resilience.

 

 

To push you through the weeds and hard rocky soil.

To grow as you dreamed bearing flower or fruit.

Finally becoming the seed once again.

 

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2015

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I love the perseverance and resilience that seeds and plants show as they bust through any barrier to grow.  This poem was written in response to this and how I feel as I heal and grow, create and expand my life.

 

 

Aunt MaryAnd as I think about seeds, I think of the strong influences in my life.  One being my Aunt Mary who is 93 years old.  Her story of courage and strength is being printed today.  I wrote her memoir to add to the stories of women who helped in the fight during WWII; referred to as Rosie the Riveters.  You can read Aunt Mary’s story and other Rosie’s stories to at the Rosie’s Daughters website.

And if you do like the story, please leave a comment at the end of the story.  And don’t forget to read some of the other Rosie stories you will find on the website!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

seed collage

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

 

 

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

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of our native swamp milkweed plant, Asclepias incarnata, sporting its seeds that will spread out across the land growing more of this beautiful plant that is an important nectar source for pollinators and an even more important larval host plant for the monarch butterfly.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about Being Like A Seed.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

seed

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.