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.

Poetry Sunday-A Smile

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A Smile

 

 

A smile stretches,

And cracks open my heart.

Letting a soft, warm light

Illuminate the fringes of my world.

Spreading from head to fingertips to toes.

This glowing feeling,

Happiness, emanating back

to the corners of my upturned lips.

Stretching further,

And exposing my burning core

set ablaze with delight and peace.

 

© Donna Donabella 2015

 

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This poem popped into my head as I was flying to Colorado for my niece’s wedding.  The warm feeling that a smile can bring, and how easily it can change your attitude.

 

 

 

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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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 selfies taken at various times over the last 2 years without a cell phone, as I do not have one.  I used the Photo Booth app on my Mac.

 

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

smile

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.

Wildlife Lesson: Surprise Seasonal Miracles

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“Your deepest roots are in nature.  No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation.”

Charles Cook

 

 

After our very wet spring, many of our critters seemed to disappear.  We had about a dozen deer living in the woods around us.  And momma deer and her twins were spotted in early spring.  But during summer and fall, all but one deer was occasionally spotted.  It seems that the harsh winter took its toll, and many deer died.  Even hunters noted reduced numbers.

 

 

 

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And our precious fox, Hunter, also seemed to have moved on after his den was flooded so often.  We missed them terribly.  So on Christmas, we were so surprised to see the flash of red run onto the meadow.  A ‘Christmas miracle’ my husband proclaimed.  At first, we thought it was Hunter….

 

 

 

DSCN1553But upon closer examination, the tale had a pure white tip, and was much darker….not Hunter.  And I think this may be a female.  So we named her, Noel, at first.  Then I remembered that a female fox is called a vixen.  So what better name for our Christmas fox than, Vixen (one of Santa’s reindeer).

 

She scoped out the area quickly and then we saw her white-tipped tail bid us goodbye (in the last picture below).  We also noticed her winter coat was not as thick as Hunter’s last year when it was -20 degrees.

 

 

 

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It was rainy leading up to Christmas and one of our squirrels was out and about.  I love his umbrella tail!

 

 

 

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And the green frogs were still not hibernating.  We saw them on Christmas, and just before New Year.  See how dark in color they are now.  They match the dark pond water.

 

 

 

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December saw a busy time at the suet feeders….and some fighting.  It is fun to watch the pecking order as they all vie for the feeder.  This is a female Downy Woodpecker.

 

 

 

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And other Christmas visitors included the Hairy Woodpecker (left), Goldfinch in its brownish-olive color now.  And Chickadees have been frequent visitors, along with that female Downy Woodpecker (lower right).

 

 

 

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Our greatest surprise was seeing a deer again on Christmas Eve just before the moon rose.  We think it is one of the twins from last winter.  A small doe.  The last time we saw any deer was late spring, and I had virtually no garden damage except for lilies.  Now I see a bit of daylily foliage nibbled so this deer is about, but mostly at night.  And her winter coat is not thick, and looks pretty ratty.

 

So there you have some Christmas/seasonal miracle visitors….and surprises!  We feel blessed!

 

 

UPDATE:

New Years critters

In the first few days of the New Year, Vixen has appeared and was ably hunting voles through the snow.  She (and it is definitely a female) is as good a hunter as our male foxes, if not better.  Perhaps we will see babies or kits one of these springs.

And the deer have returned.  At the first snowfall, we saw many deer tracks, and then three appeared in the meadow.  Maybe momma and her 2 children, now over a year old.  I am hopeful, in this new year, that our critters will continue to share the same habitat with us….and that we will see fawns and lots of other baby critters once again.

 

What wonderful critter surprises are you seeing?

 

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.

 

 

 

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

miracle

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….

 

 

 

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Here’s one of our little faux trees.

 

 

 

ornament collage

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.

 

 

 

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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.

Beyond Words: Autumn At The Lake

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“When you sit tranquilly, you set a great example to the people who rush around in panic and thus you show the crazy waves the beauty of being a calm lake!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

 

 

 

In my Seasonal Celebrations post, on my gardening blog, I talked about what I wanted to focus on for autumn, and I decided to take in more of the world around me through some local  field trips.

 

 

So a couple of months ago, I started a new series, called Beyond Words.  I wanted to showcase different spots I find, in pictures, with as few words as possible.  For my first post, I traveled the short 10 minute walk to the lake across the street to see it in late summer.

 

 

And here we were again, at the lake in mid-Autumn, to see how the views had changed.  It was unseasonably warm in November, so there was lots of color and activity at the lake.  And little did I know when I wrote this, that December weather would also be warm and still looking like fall with no snow.

 

 

So let’s go to the lake…….

 

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Children were playing on the beach and playground as it was 75 degrees, and a perfectly clear day.

 

 

 

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Beyond the children were hundreds of geese spread out from shore.  A few ducks and seagulls were mixed into the group, but the ducks are few and far between as it is duck season.  Many mornings, at sunrise, we can hear the loud gunshots.  Poor ducks.

 

 

 

autumn fisherman collage

And the fisherman were out on the lake still.  There were about 6 fishing boats I could see, and this lone fisherman who had waded into the shallow water.  In my last post, there was a fisherman who had waded in.  I wonder if it is the same fisherman?  This time the water was cooler so he was wearing his waders.

 

 

 

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One of the first things we noticed, besides the trees, was the sandy shore.  It was now covered in grass as the beach grooming stopped in August.

 

 

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And with the lack of beach grooming, there was lots of grassy debris along with seaweed and leaves stretching at least three feet up the beach from the edge of the water.

 

 

 

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The grassy jetty that had reached out into the water in late summer was now gone, along with the plants along the shoreline.

 

 

 

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Continuing to scan toward shore, you can see the grasses declining and the barren woods giving you a view of the water on the other side of the jetty.

 

 

 

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And if we come ashore we can see this lovely path ending at a bench to take in the views from either side…..let’s get in closer.

 

 

 

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I love this peaceful view.  A spot I must remember to visit more often.

 

 

 

lake woods collage

As I turned from the water, I saw this magnificent sight of leaves in their full splendor….still hanging on.  There is a mix of American Tilden, White Ash (already leafless) and Maple trees here.  The woods are so dense in summer and early fall…..a wonderful shady spot now partially barren, and blazing with the early afternoon light this November day.

 

 

 

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This is our first view as we get close to the lake, and it is also our last as we turn to walk back.  If you look at the summer post from Oneida Lake, you can see some of the dramatic changes that have taken place during autumn at the lake.

 

I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and Kara@A Spirit of Simplicity for her new meme Tuesday Afternoon.

 

 

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

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional thoughts about lakes and how they can draw us in.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

lake

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-Nature Never Sleeps

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Nature Never Sleeps

 

The chilly, yet refreshing, rain has stopped.  Gray clouds linger keeping a nip in the air.  Migrating red-winged blackbirds still arrive, and mix with resident chickadees and goldfinches.  Woodpeckers strike at the dying ash tree while robins, who have remained, look for berries.  So many birds come in waves, so late this autumn.  Is this a portent for the coming of a mild winter?

 

And the juncos are here now too.  These ‘snow birds’ arrive with the close of fall and the first snow.  Their feathers match the dark winter sky, as they flit from place to place clearing the garden of seeds.  These feathered visitors are all here for their early morning feeding before going about their day, flying south or finding a warm spot to linger.

 

No matter, all are welcome here bringing pleasure to this gardener even as winter gets closer, and the garden sleeps.  Nature never does, thankfully!

 

 

Soft birdsong rising

With the fiery eastern light,

New day has begun.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2015

 

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The visitor’s to my garden were many this fall.  Some were late in visiting, and a few new surprise critters stopped by.  These observations led me to write this Haibun.  You can read more about the specific garden visitors in my Wildlife Lesson post from last week.  It continues to be unseasonably warm here as I await winter’s coming.
RURAL Donna1

 

December 1st started my Seasonal Celebrations meme for the change of seasons.  Check out my post at Gardens Eye View, and join in the celebration of the change of seasons, no matter where you are on earth.  You can also read an excerpt of my Winter story in the latest issue of RURAL magazine.

 

 

 

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.

junco 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 is hosting Mosaic Monday and with Kara@A Spirit of Simplicity for her Tuesday Afternoon meme.

 

 

 

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 Dark-eyed Juncos who visit the garden from late fall through early spring.  These birds come right around the time of the first snow, and leave as spring returns.

 

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

junco-nature

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

Wildlife Lessons: 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.

Conversations In The Garden: On Growth

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“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” ~Cynthia Occelli

 

 

 

It seems appropriate in late autumn to look back on the garden.  As I assess my garden, weed and clear a bit of debris, I look for the changes my garden has been going through.  How it has grown, and what future paths it may take.

 

 

And with this time in my garden, I also look inward.  To reflect on where I have grown and how far I have come this past year.  Autumn spells the time of moving from the full moon of summer to the waning moon….a great time of introspection…of restoration and preparing for the dreaming time of winter.

 

 

DSCN8714So what do I see in my garden as it declines and goes back to the soil…to the roots?  I see seeds forming everywhere.  Nuggets of wisdom that are forming on the plants, falling to the ground or flying on the breeze to land and grow again.  Perhaps morphing a bit, growing bigger and stronger plants.

 

 

Seeds are amazing.  To me the giver of life.  They hold everything that is needed to grow a complete plant that bears fruit or flower.  They symbolize the cycle of life.  And when I hold seeds in my hand, I am grateful for their work.

 

 

In order to grow, we do have to crack our hard outer shells, much like a seed.  We draw in nutrients to help us set down deep roots.  Then we grow from those core roots finally producing fruit.  But it doesn’t end there.  As that fruit holds the seeds to continue the cycle of life.  During autumn, I look for the seeds that are being formed inside of me.  Which will I give nourishment to so the fruit of my dreams is realized.

 

 

DSCN8712My garden is the perfect spot to reflect on life.  And my life seems to follow nature….follow the seasons and the cycles of the moon.  And while the seed represents my life, I think it also represents my soul.  So I come to sit with my soul now in the waning garden, under a waning moon.  To meditate in silence, clear the debris and make room for new growth to come.

 

 

We are growing constantly even if we don’t immediately see it.  Nothing in nature remains the same, and so it is with us.  And as the changes I have gone through this year reach the nourishing light of day, I am grateful for them all.  These changes represent times of learning and growth.

 

 

So now I take seeds into my hands in autumn, and cast them upon the barren soil wishing them gratitude with water and light….planning and dreaming in winter to see them sprout in spring.  There is no fear as I wait and dream….just pure joy and anticipation for changes yet to come.

 

 

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So how is the garden of your life?  What dreams have you been casting onto the soil?

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of Autumn grasses from my garden this year, as nature prepares to cast the seeds produced.  Letting them rest as she turns her energies inward to replenish herself.

 

 

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

growth

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.

Winter’s Gifts

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“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.” ~Ruth Stout

 

 

 

Winter is a much maligned season…..yes you heard me correctly.  When we say winter is coming, you don’t hear a joyful cheer rise up from the masses, especially if you live where there is snow.  No instead there are groans and grumbles.

 

 

It is cold.  The landscape looks brown or drab or worse covered in white for months on DSCN8599end.  Outdoor activities are limited.  And worst of all, it is dark and gray.  Especially dark….we rise in the dark, go to work in the dark, and watch the sunset before we return home from work.  We are eating in the dark, and if your internal clock is like mine, you want to go to bed by 7pm.  Not a bright prospect for a season.

 

 

So I decided a few years back that I had to stop grumbling and complaining about winter.  Instead I needed to find the good in winter…the gifts it brings us.  And once found, I needed to embrace these gifts, and believe in the wonders winter can bring.  And I do mean believe, for as we know our perceptions about something can color it either positive or negative.

 

 

I believe it is time to give winter the credit it is due.  To bring winter out of the darkness, and into a more beautiful light. And I want to share winter’s gifts with you now, as the season approaches.

 

 

So what are these gifts, you ask?  Take a look……

 

 

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Winter isn’t actually such a dark season.  November and December are the 2 darkest months, and they come at the end of autumn.  As winter starts on the solstice, we mark the darkest day and celebrate the coming back of the light.  Each day we gain sunlight and the days brighten and shine.

 

 

 

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And that’s another gift of winter, some of the most spectacular bright, clear blue skies.  Watching the sun rise low is especially wonderful, as it casts unusual shadows on the canvas of white.

 

 

 

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Then there are the sunrises that take your breath away.  Yes this is an actual winter sunrise of pastel colors with that heart cloud.

 

 

 

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And on the days when the skies are a dark gunmetal gray, and they open up with a fury, we see another glorious scene.  One of magic where the whole world is swallowed whole in white.  I watch each snowfall as each is different depending on the temperature.  And that snow can create such unique scenes.

 

 

 

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While the landscape may not be filled with green and flowers, there is a quiet beauty you will miss if you don’t look for it….really look for it.

 

 

 

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A brown drab garden brought back to life with the magic of the snow and the winter light.  One light show I look forward to every morning as the scene is always spectacular. Reaching deep into my soul, scenes like this make my heart sing.

 

 

 

winter bluebirds

And then there are the visitors who add their own light to winter.  Here a pair of bluebirds find shelter and shop for a spring home.

 

 

 

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Watching nature is another wonderful gift of winter.  Now that the trees and landscape are bare, we can see the birds more clearly.  And see the beauty of other critters, like this fox in its thick coat.

 

 

 

winter window

So while winter may keep us indoors more, and may start off as the darkest season, we can take advantage of the gifts of winter even from the warmth and safety of our homes.  By changing your perspective you can observe a stunning world just outside your window.

 

 

Oh and there are other things you can do during winter as you begin to embrace the gifts it bestows on us.  Consider exploring one of the following:

 

 

  • Grow herbs on a windowsill to use all winter so you can still have some of summer’s fresh flavor.
  • Bring in a potted geranium or coleus and watch it bloom all winter.
  • Give yourself a challenge and read more.  Catch up on those books you have been meaning to read.
  • Take walks and look at the beauty of winter from a different viewpoint.  Maybe even build a snowman or make a snow angel.
  • Take up snowshoeing or another winter sport, and see the winter scene’s in a new spot.
  • If you are crafty you can work on projects or delve more into other creative artsy endeavors.
  • Clutter clear your house slowly and create more space for joy and abundance.
  • Cook more yummy soups, stews and comfort foods.

 

The list is endless….So take some time this winter and explore all the gifts winter holds. 

 

 

As the solstice approaches and we ponder winter’s gifts, I hope you join me on November 30th on my garden blog, Gardens Eye View,  for my quarterly meme, Seasonal Celebrations.  

 

What do you think are winter’s greatest gifts?  What are your favorite things to do in winter?  

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of winter scenes from my garden over the years.

 

 

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Read-Rural-online-magazine Please join me on November 19th, for the next issue of the newly published on-line magazine, Rural.  I will have an excerpt of this post in the new issue.

The magazine is the creation of Jen@ The Light Laughed.  Many of you may know Jen already from her new blog or from her days writing at her old blog Muddy Boot Dreams.  I recently did an interview with Jen which was quite a treat for me.

I hope you will check out the last issue of this free online magazine.  You can sign up to read the new issue of Rural here.

 

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I leave you with a bit more sentiment about winter’s gifts.   Feel free to download the photo and share.

winter's gifts

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: Turtle Surprise

 

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“Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.”  ~James Bryant Conant

 

 

On a warm, late summer day, as the pond was fading to fall, I spied some movement that did not look like a frog….I thought what I saw in a flash just couldn’t be.  But then when I checked later, I saw this little head peeking out of the water….it is a turtle, I yelled as I ran into the house to tell my husband!

 

 

DSCN8650Oh my, what a wonderful new visitor to our pond.  But who was this handsome fella?  As I searched the Internet for eastern US turtles, there was no doubt this was a painted turtle (Chrysemys picta).  A very shy painted turtle I named Tommy.

 

 

These turtles are the most widespread native turtle in North America. They love slow-moving fresh waters with dense vegetation, so our pond was perfect for Tommy.  He was looking for a new home, and he seemed to find one here in our garden.

 

 

There are 4 different painted turtles, and I learned ours is most probably a midland painted turtle.  Midland painted turtles can be found from southern Ontario and Quebec, to the eastern states down to West Virginia, and over to the midwest states south to northwestern Alabama.  They are usually not found along the eastern seaboard where the eastern painted turtle reigns supreme.

 

 

adult turtleWe have never seen a turtle in our pond.  This large adult visited our front yard in 2011 as he made his way from the wild area pond to a pond or nest in the woods across the street.  Large turtles cannot get into our garden and pond area because of the fence.  But a smaller young turtle, like Tommy, could and did.

 

 

Painted turtles eat aquatic vegetation, algae, and small water creatures including insects and fish.  Our young turtle settled for vegetation and insects (we have no fish) in our pond as he hunted along the pond bottom and skimmed the surface too.

 

 

Painted turtles have many predators and are most vulnerable as eggs hunted by garter snakes, crows, chipmunks, gray squirrels, skunks, groundhogs, raccoons, and red fox.  The hatchlings are also easy prey for fish, bullfrogs, snapping turtles and snakes.

 

 

Of course the adults are more protected by their hard shells from many predators, but theyDSCN8190 can still fall prey to ospreys, crows, hawks, bald eagles, and raccoons.  Tommy is small and easy prey (he definitely hid a lot among the lily pads).  Painted turtles do defend themselves by kicking, scratching (look at those claws) and biting.  And they can right themselves when flipped upside down.

 

 

Painted turtles mate in spring and autumn. Females dig nests on land and lay eggs between late spring and mid-summer. Hatchlings do not leave the nest immediately. Instead it is thought in our area that they arrange themselves symmetrically in the nest (to keep warm) and overwinter to emerge the following spring.  And still with all their protection, hard freezes can kill many hatchlings.  Tommy was a lucky turtle.

 

 

During winter, the adult turtle hibernates, usually in the mud at the bottom of water like ponds. The painted turtle can survive extended periods of below freezing temperatures because their blood can stay cold, and their skin resists ice crystals in the ground.

 

 

DSCN8645The painted turtle is active only during warm days when it basks for hours on logs or rocks to regulate its temperature. We would see Tommy basking daily in the afternoon, on the pond edge amongst the dense vegetation.  Because it was late summer, the sun did not shine for long periods on the pond so the only warm time of day was afternoons.  It is interesting to note that at night, the turtle drops to the bottom of the body of water or perches on an underwater object and sleeps.

 

 

Our pond is constructed from a polyurethane liner, and we knew that it was too small to sustain a growing turtle. So Tommy would not be able to dig down far into the mud without digging through the liner which would empty the pond.  So we decided to move him to the wild wetlands down the road.  We trapped him in a live trap with shrimp and lettuce.  Then we found the perfect safe, secluded spot and released him.  He immediately went to the body of water there.  Lots of vegetation, cover and mud to make any turtle happy.  I was sad to see Tommy go, but we knew our pond was not the best home for him…..so good luck Tommy.  Thanks for visiting and bringing joy into our lives.  Live long and prosper!

 

 

 

turtle

Here are some interesting facts and folklore about Painted Turtles:

  • Four U.S.states (Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Vermont) have named the painted turtle their official reptile.  Ours, in NY, is the Snapping Turtle.
  • Adults in the wild can live for more than 55 years.  Good news I hope for Tommy.
  • Fossils of the painted turtle have been found showing they existed 15 million years ago.
  • Many Native American tribes regard the turtle as having strong feminine powers.
  • Algonquian tribes have tales that tell of the painted turtle playing the part of a trickster.

 

 

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.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every week.

 

 

 

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

turtle pause

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.

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.

 

 

 

meadow sunrise collage

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

 

 

 

grasses at sunrise collage

As would the grasses waving to greet the day.

 

 

 

sunset foliage collage

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-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.

An Interview with Jen@The Light Laughed

Selfie in golden field

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  ~Walt Disney 

 

 

 

This month I thought I would bring you another interview with an amazing person I have grown to know in the blogosphere.  As you might remember, after receiving and award from Julie@Gardening Jules, I had promised to do several interviews of some amazing bloggers and share them with you.

 

 

So for today’s interview, I am talking with Jen Vandervoort@The Light Laughed.  You might know Jen from her days blogging at Muddy Boot Dreams.  That’s where I met Jen, when she lived on the coast of British Columbia and created magic in her pictures and prose.  I think that was over 5 years ago now.  Since then Jen has been on many new paths, and I have enjoyed seeing her bloom and grow.  She is an inspiration for me in so many ways….her photography, her blogging style, the way she creates community through her blog and her willingness to keep creating new ideas.

 

 

So let’s meet Jen……..

JEN BLOG PROFILE SHOTS 2015

Hi I’m Jen, chasing a laughing light through the Okanagan, camera in hand. Photographer by heart, blogger by day fan of Instagram, and Pinterest for their visual appeal. Weaving words among my images, sharing stories, and exploring the world of blogging with a focus on midlifers.

I believe in being our own personal best as bloggers no matter what level we aspire to.

I’m a co-founder of a FB group for bloggers who’d like to grow, share, and support each other through blogging, we’re always welcoming new members, and have been working on a few interesting changes to roll out in soon to make the group even better.

 

 

 

 1.  Jen it has been such a pleasure knowing you.  As I said I am inspired by your blog and your style of blogging.  So why did you start blogging?

 

I discovered blogging about at the same time digital cameras became affordable. I’d been sharing digital photos with friends, and on Flickr, so when I discovered blogging it just evolved. There is something in all of us that seeks affirmation for our creativity, and blogs allow us to share our lives so easily.

When I came across The Pioneer Woman’s blog it changed my life in so many ways, she introduced me to blogging, and Photoshop. I happily realized that I could start to build a community of amazing people to surround myself with who would share their work, and appreciate my work too.

 

 

Wet garden and cat

2.  I bet there is someone who we can say inspired all of us to blog.  What inspired you to recently change your blog?

 

I moved from Blogger to Word Press because I was feeling hemmed in, and had too many issues with being shut down without reason. I like my content, and images to belong to me, not to the whim of some computer nerd tucked away.

Word Press allows me to own my own content, it’s self hosted, and Blogger can no longer shut down, or remove my blog.

 

 

 

3.  I understand wanting to own your own content.  So Jen, what is the significance of the title of your blog?

 

The Light Laughed reflects who I am now as a blogger, and photographer. When I’m out there with my camera, I’m searching for the light, where does it come from, what is it doing? Have you ever watched the light drifting through the branches of trees.  It settles, flits, laughs….that’s how I got my blog name…wandering down the country road in my new life, camera in hand, watching the light laugh.

We’ve reached our Muddy Boot Dreams, it was a long journey of almost 12 years, and it’s wonderful to be here, but the name just didn’t fit anymore.

 

 

Bare branches at the side of the road

4.  I love what you say about the light.  I too found inspiration in that light.   What keeps you blogging?

 

My community of blogging friends, and an urge to share these small wonderful moments of everyday joy. The way you’d point out something interesting while you’re out with friends is how I want to blog. We all have a story to tell, to share, to read in the comments that my readers felt like they were there with me, that it touched their hearts…that’s what keeps me blogging.

 

 

Feathers and acrons

5.  I couldn’t agree more about the blogging community.  What are some of your creative endeavors that give you pleasure?

 

Photography is my most beloved create endeavor right now. I am also writing more, and exploring the exciting world of short videos.

 

 

 

6.  Your photography is incredible…more like art to me.  It speaks to my soul.  Do you have a favorite space or spot that is sacred in or around your home?

 

My garden is an organic, natural space, where wildlife and birds wander, and my heart lives there, it’s where I find my peace.

 

 

Bokah daisies

7.  Nature and gardens do that for us, don’t they?  I know you have moved to your dream spot.  What makes this place nirvana for you?

 

Each time we had to leave to go back to the coast I couldn’t help but cry during the drive back, an intense feeling of having left a piece of my heart behind. The day we moved up here it was as if I was given it back. It’s not just being surrounded by family and friends, it’s a homecoming.

It’s where we belong, and are flourishing.

 

 

 

8.  So let’s shift a bit.  Tell me what famous person or not so famous person you would like to meet?

 

Ansel Adams…The Group of Seven, Emily Carr, to all of them I would have liked to say, thank you for changing the way the world looks at art and photography.

 

 

Primrose in post and birds nest

9.  I would love to meet and just observe Ansel Adams.  And I can see why he inspires you through your photography.  What is or would have been your dream career or job?

 

I think I’m living it now. But if I had to choose, a small shop, selling stationary, beautiful flowers, books, and gifts, tea and scones…that would be my dream.

 

 

 

10.  And I would love to frequent that shop especially for a cup of tea and to read a special book.  If it is possible to pick a favorite book, what would you choose?

 

I love to read, and of each good book I’ve read the latest would be one of my favorites. Being immersed in the pages, reading the words, the tactile dragging of fingers over good quality paper while turning the page.

Visually stunning photographs that transport me into others worlds, where I get to walk among the characters, sit on chairs in beautifully decorated rooms, smell the flowers in the gardens…

 

 

Old bus in yard[6]

11.  What are some spots you love to travel to and why?

 

New Zealand is on my list for a repeat visit…it captured my heart, if I didn’t live here, I would try to live there.

 

 

 

12.  Photography is such a big part of your life. What is your creative process?

 

Creativity’s an intense feeling in my heart…[ I know I talk about hearts a lot ] …but it’s that feeling inside that drives me to create. When something is evolving creatively in me it’s almost as if it takes over and won’t be silenced until it’s made. You just have to go with it.

 

 

Echinacea pink

13.  The pictures here are all incredible creations of Jen’s.  Aren’t they just stunning?  Jen, what are some words of wisdom you have for those of us who are still learning about photography?

 

The most important thing you can do is practice, everyone improves that way. Learn the basics of composition, and technique, challenge yourself to move beyond the Auto button. Constantly compare, not to others but to your own older work, so you can see how much you are learning and how your style is evolving. That’s what is going to inspire you the most.

 

 

 

14.  Ah yes that Auto button.  I am still working on moving beyond it.  Someday soon I think…..What new form of arts or craft would you like to learn?

 

I would love to learn to create encaustic art with found items and my photos. Something about working with bee’s wax makes me think it would be very interesting.

 

 

Spring mockup

15.  Well that is a new one for me, encaustic painting.  It sounds fascinating.  Is there anything else you want to tell us about your life, and what might be next for you?

 

I’m eager to explore more about designing websites, creating digital goods, and video, that’s where my heart seems to be headed lately. I think the journey has just started…and it’s going to be interesting.

 

 

Fence and cloudy sky

Jen, I know I will be anxiously awaiting your next creative steps…..

 

I hope you enjoyed this little talk with Jen Vandervoort.  I love learning a bit more about the creative people who touch my soul, and inspire me to move beyond my limits.  Jen you are definitely one of these inspirational people.  Please make sure you visit Jen in all the wonderful places she hangs out.

 

Here are her most popular links…Although Jen is on Twitter and G+, she says she doesn’t really visit there too much.

Email: muddybootdreams@gmail.com

Blog: www.thelightlaughed.com 

FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Light-Laughed/145926472105260

Instagram: https://instagram.com/jen.thelightlaughed/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/muddybootdreams/

 

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Photos are the sole property of Jen@The LightLaughed and their use in this post is by permission of the photographer.

Poetry Sunday-Fall Colors

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 Fall Colors

 

 

Flowers pale, but color remains

The sky’s on fire all through the gray.

Orange, yellow, red dominate the surrounds

High in the trees and low on the ground.

While fall rolls along, it soon will all fade

Back to brown and the rich shades of clay.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2012

 

 

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Autumn (or Fall as it is sometimes called) in the northeast United States is quite beautiful.  Something to be celebrated.  So as Fall begins to move through my garden and the surrounding area, I am showcasing it with some of my favorite poems I wrote a few years ago.

 

 

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.

fall colors 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 were taken at one of my favorite spots to observe Autumn, Beaver Lake Nature Center.  These were taken in 2010.  Soon these colors will be showing themselves again.

 

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

fall colors

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

Conversations in the Garden-On Perseverance

perserverance

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

~Winston Churchill

 

 

If my gardens have taught me anything in the last 20+ years, it is the lesson found in this wonderful quote.  And oh how I have stumbled and bumbled around in my garden.  Planting mint or anything in the mint family in a moist sunny spot….a nightmare as it takes over.  Letting teasel go to seed in the meadow…..you get a meadow of teasel, not native wildflowers.  Or trying to grow tomatoes in a spot with barely a few hours sunlight….you might get one tomato if you are lucky.

 

 

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And through all these experiences, I have continued forward.  With a dogged determination to not give in or give up, but to persevere.  To keep going and fighting and learning from these mistakes…..I like to call them experiences.  Yes I could give up.  I have thought about it.  But a voice replays a very wise saying in my ear each time I do want to just throw up my hands….’It is, what it is.

 

 

It took me a long time to figure out what that meant and not fight against it too hard, because it is like beating your head against a wall.  So what to do when you plant mint?  Continue to rip it out.  You will still have enough to use, but it will not take over.  With teasel (pictured here), which is a beautiful and somewhat dangerous plant, you have to keep pulling it out too.  Eventually you get ahead of it and begin to see progress.  The plant cannot get a foothold and you can see your wildflowers flourish instead.

 

 

There are times shear willpower will not win out, and during those times I study, plan and put in the effort.  Take growing tomatoes.  We knew we needed more sun so we waited until we had a sunny spot to grow them.  But then wilt and blight killed the plants.  And year after year with no tomatoes we again contemplated throwing in the trowel.  Instead I looked for hybrid tomatoes that were grown to resist these fungal diseases.  I tested different ones until we found those we liked, and now we have tomatoes growing and ripening.

 

 

IMG_7513As it is with my garden, so it is with life.  Things have not always turned out as I had envisioned.  My story has changed many times through many lessons and hardships.  The paths I followed led to new paths…some good and some not so good.  And sometimes I let setbacks get to me, but not for long.

 

 

Through it all, there has been one constant…..I never stopped trying to reach a dream. Those dreams may have been delayed until the timing was right.  Each struggle helping me grow, to make me ready.  To learn the lessons hidden inside the wait and the struggle. And many times I let the dream go…not giving up, but releasing my tight hold on it.  Inevitably the dream came back around, many times changed and morphed into something better.

 

 

And it was because of this steadfastness I cultivate inside of me, that I have grown.  I have a rich, purposeful life.  Maybe not the life I envisioned or dreamed about many years ago, but a wonderful life.  Full of rich experiences with persistence and determination…a life of happiness and joy.  And now on this new path since retirement, I am learning many things still.  Not content to sit and let my memories wash over me.  No I am flexing those ‘moxie muscles’ again as I pursue new dreams…new hopes with the same perseverance I have always shown.  I whisper these new dreams on the wind, let them go and continue to move forward one step at a time.  I am excited to see what comes back to me in time.

 

 

teasel collage

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of wild teasel or Dipsacus fullonum.  It is considered an invasive plant and weed here in the US that was introduced in the 1800s for use in the textile industry.  In The Language of Flowers, it has come to represent Misanthropy.  The plant is not to be trusted as it is covered in sharp barbs from tip to root, and will cause injury if you get tangled in it.

 

 

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

on perserverance

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-Turning To Fall

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Turning To Fall

 

 

As Summer turns her face to Fall

The birds, the bees, the butterflies call.

Eat, drink and fly for all too soon-

The cooler winds will blow past the Harvest Moon.

 

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2012

 

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A few year’s ago, as I watched summer turning to fall these words struck me.  Autumn comes early here, and this year the ash trees were beginning to turn yellow by the third week in August.  But recent temps in the low 90s, humidity and lack of rain kept us in summer for a couple of weeks longer.  Now we are getting just a taste of cooler fall weather.

 

 

 

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.

harvest moon

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 moon pictures of last year’s Harvest Moon.  As I have only a point and shoot without a tripod, these are not the clearest pictures, but I enjoyed the challenge of shooting them none-the-less.

 

 

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

harvest moon poem

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-Put Down Roots

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Put Down Roots

 

 

The cattails are silent now

The red-wings song eerily remaining on the wind.

While the bullfrogs rest, their hard work done-

New progeny growing,

bringing a vision turned toward the future.

 

 

The land is laid to waste as all about

seeds of a season past are strewn.

Given time to put down roots-

Strong and lasting, waiting, dreaming.

Soon it will be their time to smile

In flowers upon the earth.

 

 

Will I be there to witness this cycle repeating-

I live in the hope these seasons will be many,

Witnessed before my fresh eyes with unending gratitude.

 

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2015

 

 

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This poem is a continuation of my contemplation of the seasonal change from summer to fall, and how my life is entrenched deeply in my garden.  It also speaks to my spiritual rebirth and my mortality.

 

 

I enjoy celebrating the seasonal change and invite others who want to celebrate the changing of the season to join me in my quarterly meme, Seasonal Celebrations which I hold on my other blog, Gardens Eye View.  You can read how to join in here in my kick-off post.

 

 

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.

cattails 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 cattails here are from my garden.  These wonderful native plants grow in my pond.  In the Language of Flowers, cattails are said to mean Prosperity and Peacefulness.

 

 

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

put down roots

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.

Acceptance

DSCN8318

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Am I beautiful?  I think now I can say that I am.  Oh not in a conceited, ‘love me, look at me everyone’ kind of way.  No just for myself.  I would not be judged a beauty in today’s world if we looked at outward beauty only.  But I am not consumed with being or thinking myself beautiful.  No instead I like and love myself…that is beauty to me.

 

 

And it has been a long time coming to accept myself as a beautiful person inside and out.  When I started high school I was 5 feet tall, and weighed about a 100 lbs soaking wet with naturally curly frizzy hair that did its own thing.  I wore tortoise-shell glasses (all the rage) which of course made me a ‘four-eyes’….or in other words an easy target for bully-types.  And I had not blossomed yet, so there were no big stares from the boys.

 

 

DSCN4441We were and still are bombarded with messages of being beautiful, and trying to achieve an image of beauty that is outside ourselves.  Add to that I was not outgoing, but instead a shy, introverted girl who was a dreamer in a sea of 3800 students.  So I was content to keep myself to myself…not letting many people in.

 

 

Now some 40 years later, and many experiences under my belt, I am just beginning to accept me for who I am…and I am learning about who I am again.  I think I was always trying to play a role in an effort to be liked or accepted never quite understanding that keeping these masks on would do more harm.

 

 

And although it is scary to strip off the masks, that is what I have done in the past 10 years.  And it was not always easy being alone with myself.  I had been learning in the last few years to be more accepting of others and not to judge them, but I had not given myself the same courtesy.

 

 

DSCN4440

It wasn’t until I started listening to the messages coming from within, that I saw just how judgmental I was with myself.  Being with those feelings and messages, has helped me to realize that I too deserve a break.  I am only human.  I am still learning, and will be for a long time to come.

 

 

I think the biggest lesson was when I could finally stop beating myself up for things I did or didn’t do, and finally accepted some self-compassion.  The self-sabotage ended, and the messages were ones of self-healing.  If I was trying to change a habit or incorporate a new healthier one, I no longer berated myself when I slid a little down the slippery slope.  Instead I just got back up and started again.  And it has become easier starting fresh each day.

 

 

The biggest thing I have done for myself has been to finally say, “I AM ENOUGH”, and really mean it.  Warts and all….imperfections, bad habits, fits of temper…you name it, it is me….beautiful, wonderful me.  I am really grateful for myself as I am.  And as I feel I want to change things within myself, I do.  Mostly to feel better, and be a better person…to be happier.  And isn’t that what it is all about.  Being happy in our own skins!

 

 

DSCN8317We are all on our own paths….we can only be where we are, and who we are right in this moment.  So let’s celebrate that.  Let’s celebrate all the wonders that make up our unique selves.  I’ll start….

 

 

 

 

Here’s to this 58 yr old, 5 foot tall woman who doesn’t look her age….who is kinder and gentler with herself and others….who is having more fun, practicing healthier habits (as I must now)…who is still the introvert and the dreamer….a creative being who loves to tell stories and share them.  She is my hero….I love her and I like her a lot….she is my best friend and fierce protector.  She is beautiful and enough just as she is right now!

 

 

Special Note:   The flowers shown here are pink lilacs.  In The Language of Flowers, lilacs represent beauty and love, and pink represents admiration and appreciation.  A perfect flower to herald the message of self-love and acceptance.

 

 

 

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I leave you with more thoughts about acceptance and being enough.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

acceptance

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.