Poetry Sunday-Giving

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Giving

 

Be like a ripple in the water

gathering as a wave,

moving about the earth

nourishing everything you pass.

 

 © Donna Donabella 2013

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This post was written as the new year began in 2013.  I was working on a theme word for the year and these are the words that poured forth.  It was my husband’s birthday yesterday, and I thought this poem would be a wonderful tribute to one of the most giving persons I know.  I am lucky indeed to have him in my life.

And this is my one year anniversary starting this blog.  You can read the first short post here, and the first regular post here.  I have been busy with 102 posts, over 4600 comments and 13,000 views.  It has been a wonderful year sharing poetry and stories with so many Giving people.  Thank you!

 

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here of my pond as it thaws in spring (below), as it begins to grow its lovely water lilies (in the collage) and as the waterfall flows (top of the post) causing ripples in the water.

 

 

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

giving

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

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“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.

 

 

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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.

Poetry Sunday-Be Like A Seed

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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.

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

 

 

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

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures 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.

 

You Are What You Think

DSCN7942It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about. ~ Dale Carnegie

 

 

 

It has been almost a year since I started this blog…well 10 months really.  And in that time I have been on a journey to reconnect to my inner happiness.  It lies within me, within us all…all the time…available.  We just have to tap into it….to allow it to come into our lives.

 

 

Seems simple really, but it has been a bumpy road filled with so much learning, knowing, joy and some sadness that had to be wiped away occasionally.  When I read this quote by Dale Carnegie recently, it really stuck with me.  Simple and not so simple sometimes.  Just change your thoughts…

 

 

But in reality, it takes time to change our thought patterns…and we need patience DSCN7941with ourselves.  If we have been in a worrying frame of mind….my legacy given to me by my mom and my aunt who raised her….forever worrying about every little thing, thought, detail….we won’t just stop worrying at the drop of a hat.  Or maybe in a negative cycle where we think everything is going to go wrong…nothing ever works out….we just aren’t meant to be happy or to have nice things….well you get the picture.  I remember hearing some of this too growing up.  Part of a generation plagued by a Depression and war.

 

 

And when you have been exposed to or been part of these limiting thoughts for so long, they become you.  There is a fear in letting them go because they have been part of your identity.  Long engrained habitual thinking.  And there is the thought….If I stop the worry, what will I replace it with?   We even have long-held social interactions with family and friends around the worry…the negative.  Now how do I or who do I talk with if I give it all up?

 

 

I know this may sound crazy, but the fear and not wanting to let it all go can be real.  And it can completely change who and how we interact with those closest to us….some friendships may even slip away because the negativity is too much for us once we begin to change.

 

 

I have been dealing with changing thought patterns for a long time around family.  You DSCN7938can easily get sucked back in, as I did early on years ago as I began this change.  Especially when family doesn’t want to change.  But now I think about what I want for myself.  How I want to feel.  I think about the happiness always there for me….something I choose to tap into as often as possible.

 

 

And I want to enjoy my life…connect with people over mutual interests and celebrate the achievements we all are making.  So I continue to be a role model for some family and friends turning conversations to the positive….talking about the good things happening.  Changing the perspective, seeing the gifts laid before me each moment.

 

 

The flowers blooming and shifting, the cries of laughter of children playing outside my window, the birds…new ones visiting daily with new songs to witness.  The flowers are springing up all over dotting the landscape with a rainbow of colors….oh the heavenly perfume.  These wonders keep me connected to my inner bliss.

 

 

DSCN7939Will there be sad times…the loss of loved ones….the worry when a loved one is sick?  Absolutely.  That is just part of life.  But I try not to dwell there for long….I look for the gifts always around me, and lift up those who may be in pain with kindnesses….a bouquet of flowers or just a smile.  Trying to always see the magic, the tingly joyful times before me.

 

 

 

 

 

Special Note:   The flowers pictured here are columbines, specifically Aquilegia Vulgaris Nora Barlow Pink’.  In The Language of Flowers, columbines represent being anxious and trembling.  Such a lovely flower to have such worries, but I will dwell on their beauty not their meaning.

 

 

 

 

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I leave you with more thoughts about the power of positive thinking.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

think positive

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-A New Path

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A New Path

 


Feel the light, the heat

the strobe of bright rays.

Yellow, orange warm-

energizing new life into every pore.

 

 

My eyes are shut

to its blinding glare,

But it still leaves behind

flashes of burnt red.

 

 

I am planted,

rooted to the ground.

Absorbing the life flow of it.

Bringing me back.

 

 

On new found ground I stretch,

erect reaching for it.

Feeling its warm love bathe over me;

healing renewal and peace….

 

 

I am ready for the journey-a new path, a new life!

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2015

 

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I wrote this poem after watching the sunrise almost daily during the first year of my retirement.  And sunlight was particularly healing to me this last year.  Now I am feeling ready to move on, and what better time to declare that than around my birthday….pssstit’s on Tuesday!

 

 

 

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.

sunrise 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 was invited to link in with Macro Monday Mixer hosted by Stephanie@allthevs.com.

 

 

 

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

 

 

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Special Note:  These sunrises were an inspiration recently as I watch dawn break from my bedroom window.

 

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

light

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

End of Month Potpourri-April 2015

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The potential of the average person is like a huge ocean unsailed, a new continent unexplored, a world of possibilities waiting to be released and channeled toward some great good. ~ Brian Tracy

 

 

For this month’s potpourri, I am continuing my thoughts about self-love.  Self-love and self-care are things we are not routinely used to considering…we are not brought up to think about ourselves first….it is thought of as selfish.

 

 

But in reality it is the most self-less thing we can do to care for ourselves….I feel if we don’t care for ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, then we cannot adequately care for others.

 

 

Part of that self-care is making time for ourselves….not easy in our busy lives, but essential.  It is important to connect to our inner core….to find ways to replenish ourselves.  I disconnect from the world for chunks of time.  It gives me space and solace to think or not think…to go with the flow or put my ideas down on paper.

 

 

But the best thing I do somedays is to celebrate.  With the coming of May, I find it a perfect time to celebrate as it is my birth month.  It is a standing joke that in May….I don’t have a birthday, but I celebrate my birth month.  But that joke has really become a reality for me, as I think it is a perfect idea.

 

 

And while this is something I do in May, I have begun to realize that I need to celebrate more….not just the big occasions, but the smaller moments in my life.  A glorious day….a perfect sunset….the return of a beloved flower or bird to my garden…..a mother rabbit nursing her young.

 

 

These times don’t need a big celebration…they just need to be noted in a journal, or for me with my camera.  So as I look back at some of these special times this past month, I thought I would celebrate them here with you as I saw them through my camera lens.

 

 

 

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As the snow finally began to melt in the beginning of April, fog came to the garden.  This was the foggy sunrise that met me on that glorious morning.

 

 

 

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The willow trees outside my front door, capture the droplets of rain and hold them making sparkles and reflections.

 

 

 

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And those same trees are a perfect perch for many bird visitors seeking shelter, a home or just a spot to watch the sunrise on a foggy morning….like this Junco.

 

 

 

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The first flowers of spring were a daily occurrence as the snow melted to reveal them already blooming.  And with spring rains, the flowers were bathed in more beauty.

 

 

 

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The first daffodils shimmered like the snowdrops above.

 

 

 

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As the ground warmed, and the bright spring sun shone down, more flowers bravely bloomed for me…Iris reticulata here…..Chionodoxa in the first photo.

 

 

 

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And Crocus tommasinianus blooming through the new green grass.

 

 

 

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This Scilla siberica is finding the first light of the new day…what a glow it is giving off that is captured here and in my heart forever.

 

 

 

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And finally the silver maple flowers are blooming already as the spring sunlight makes them shine like diamonds on the branches.

 

 

These are the celebrations I see each day…and so many more I hear with each new bird’s song.  Each a delight…each renewing me helping me to SOAR higher.  Each and every day now I am making time for me…I take it slow with no set plan…just kindness, gentleness and a child’s curiosity regained.

 

 

 

Note:   Each photo was taken on my daily walk around the garden in the month of April, 2015.  Some required me to lay on the soft, wet ground and see the flowers from a new perspective.  Oh what breath of life I found there as I reconnected with Mother Earth.

 

If you like gardening, and want to see more pictures of my April garden, I have a monthly journal post at my garden blog, Gardens Eye View, the first Monday of each month.

 

 

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I leave you with more thoughts about self-love and giving love back.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

heart

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.

Loving My Scars

 DSCN6944“Never be ashamed of a scar. It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.”  ~Unknown

 

 

 

I have lived my life with many scars.  Those visible childhood scars from when I fell off my bike.  Or the time my hand went through the plate-glass storm door…ouch and long story.  And then my first serious car accident where I hit the steering wheel (before seat belts-yes I am that old), and my teeth went through my chin…lots of stitches.

 

 

DSCN6215And there are the not so visible scars…I don’t mean the ones from surgery….mine from last year is still healing nicely, thanks for asking.  No, I mean those scars we hide inside.  When we were deeply hurt for the first time.  Mine was a Kindergarten teacher on my first day in a new school and she crushed my spirit...a scar that stayed with me, unseen even by me until a few years ago.  When it came bubbling up to the surface, I realized that this scar had led to some self-defeating ideas I had been harboring for almost 50 years.  WOW!

 

 

And the scars that built on that first one….the stories I believed about how I was not artistic, or creative, and yes Mr. Driver’s Ed teacher who said I would never learn to drive.  OK there are some who may have agreed with him (and secretly still do).  And my thesis team…those professors I had to convince I was worthy of passing by successfully defending my Master’s thesis….those who took pride and pleasure in trying to make me look not so smart or accomplished.

 

 

DSCN6957Yes, I could go on with the ruminations from when I started work….it is an endless reel of tape that sometimes plays in my head.  But at some point these scars tend to heal over only opening again when someone close to me, personally or professionally, would say something nasty.  And over the years I built up a thick skin around those scars so as not to feel them there.

 

 

But they are there.  I even built a high wall from all the bricks thrown at me over the years.  In fact, the wall became so high I began to feel suffocated, claustrophobic and isolated.  So I finally burst through the wall.  And instead of viewing my scars as something to keep hidden, I have brought them out to the light of day where I can see them, and they can heal.

 

 

I now view my scars as gifts….gifts that have led me down my path…the path where I am DSCN7502meant to go.  They are my strength.  They showcase my resilience.  And I am darn proud of them.  Sometimes I write about my scars here….it helps me to heal them, and sometimes it helps others.  I am not depressed or upset about them or the lessons they are teaching me….actually it makes me happier when I can talk about them, and then let them go.

 

 

So you see I really do love my scars.  Those that show the physical or emotional pain of my life….they are me…an important part of me.  They help me to continue to embrace my vulnerabilities.  Without them, I would never have been able to truly love my whole self, scars and all.  They have become a kind of Superpower that assures me that whatever is happening, I will have the strength to get through it.

 

 

DSCN7270I am still figuring out the “get through it” part.  For me, it is like putting on a soothing balm to heal the wounds and scars.  But it is an individual journey…we all process let downs, disappointments, and grief in our own unique way.  Sometimes I surrender and let go….sometimes I decide to walk away and not engage….and sometimes I fight head-on into the fire coming out a little scraped and bruised, but again wiser, stronger, and oh so much happier.

 

 

 

Note:   In the Language of Flowers, daffodils represent self-love.  And I chose white daffodils, as white represents light, goodness and safety.

 

 

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

self-love

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 Living with Uncertainty

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“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.  Delicious Ambiguity.”  ~Gilda Radner

 

 

 

There is one thing I know that is definite about life….we are all going to die someday.  Now I know this is not a major revelation nor even a pleasant thing to think about.  But the realization of this fact recently caught up with me.  Prior to that, this fact was pushed far down into the nether reaches of my brain so I didn’t have to deal with it.

 

 

Talking about death was scary because for me there was nothing definitely known about what happens to us when we die.  I also didn’t want to leave those I loved, and there was so much I still wanted to do with my life.  But the fact that I am going to die someday was always looming somewhere in my brain even if I resisted it.

 

 

And dealing with the death of loved ones, I think was even more painful because I couldn’t DSCN5808accept the finality of death.  That sense of loss was too great for me.  So I always pushed it away.  Recently, it has been continuing to dominate my thoughts.  Perhaps because of my mother’s failing health.  And perhaps because another birthday is coming closer to another decade done for me.

 

 

These thoughts had been weighing on me, and it was finally time to face them….to deal with them as we each must do in our time.  And when I ran across this quote, everything suddenly changed for me…becoming clearer.

 

 

I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few.  ~Brené Brown

 

 

And reality hit me square in the face….I had been limiting myself, my life.  Not really living…wrapped in deep fear, and dipping deep into unhappiness many days, all because I couldn’t deal with the uncertainties of life.  And maybe too because the only certainty was not such a pleasant prospect.

 

 

DSCN5795As a gardener, I face uncertainty every season.  When winter yields to spring, I am never sure what damage will be shown once the snow melts.  What flowers and plants will have succumbed to nature’s wrath and the natural process of dying.

 

 

In gardening it is an accepted fact, this life and death cycle.  If you don’t accept it, you won’t be gardening for long as the disappointment can be too great and defeating for some.  But not for me.  I have learned from my mistakes, and the ravages of nature that are out of my control.  I have shifted my perspective, and learned to accept each season as it comes, no matter what happens and enjoy the garden knowing it is never the same year to year.

 

 

So why does it seem easier to accept uncertainty in my garden?  I think because the joys I have found in gardening far outweigh any disappointments, and maybe make the successes of the flowers that present themselves so much more meaningful.

 

 

I have even come to enjoy the stages or seasons in my garden.  The first signs of new life DSCN5811and focusing on the beauty it brings as we get into the many flowers of spring and summer.  And learning to love the fading autumn beauty of my garden, still alive and exquisite setting up new life as it turns to seed.

 

 

These stages of life in my garden have become an inspiration for me.  They present themselves in each day as the sun begins to lighten the sky, until the last rays of light fade bringing the beauty of the stars at night.  I appreciate the fullness of each part of my day as new experiences dawn, and my body breathes in the life each new hour brings.

 

 

And I have begun to notice myself in each subtle shift this year.  I have learned that while I know there is a winter in my garden, as there is in my life, I don’t have to perseverate on it.  Instead, I can acknowledge that my time, like my garden, is limited, but it is in the moments between my birth and death that I find my greatest joys and fulfillment…this is where I choose to reside, to bloom and grow until my last breath.  Seeking the uncertainty where that delicious ambiguity resides.

 

 

 

Note:   In the Language of Flowers, daffodils represent uncertainty.  I decided to feature daffodils that were hit by a snow storm last year, and still continued to go on blooming brightly.  When they were weighed down by the cold and snow, I was uncertain if they would survive.  There was a beautiful quality about these daffodils even as they faced death.  But in the end they showed their resilience and strength as they went on to live their lives fully in my garden.

 

 

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

uncertainty

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-Timeless Images

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Timeless Images

 

 

 

The mirror looks back at me

A face, strange and foreign somehow.

 

Ruddy, wrinkled

Laugh lines deep, crinkling at the edges.

 

A care worn complexion still fresh

A body older, fragile, stiff with painful bending.

 

And yet within this vessel, exists

A soul still full of wonder.

 

Seeking answers, scarfing up knowledge

Playful, dancing through life.

 

She is there sometimes on the surface

But often over the years kept far down.

 

Admonished, ‘act your age’

‘Be an adult’, were the words heard far too often.

 

She has fought her way back

An old soul, still youthful, a child.

 

The glint, that spark

Still there in her green eyes.

 

Mischief, seeing the new

Seeking joy; neverending.

 

Her smile blazes

Her laugh infectious.

 

Yes, the mirror looks back at me

But it is the child, that’s all I see.

 

Now forever born again, new each day

For each moment the possibilities boundless-timeless.

 

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

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This poem was also created as we were SOARing through the sky on our way to visit family at Thanksgiving.  Lots of wonderful poems flowed as we flew that day, and this one came easily as I have been reflecting on life since retirement, and anticipating seeing family.

 

The pictures in this post are all of the author, me.  The top one was taken last year.  One of the only selfies I have ever taken.  The first collage is from Christmas when I was 2 and my high school senior portrait from 1975.  The second collage features me as a young teacher in the mid 1980s and my Kindergarten graduation picture in 1963.  The last picture is my faded and creased baby picture.

 

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.

dd collage 1

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.  

 

dd collage 2

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:  You can see my facial expressions haven’t changed much in the last 57 years.  I don’t usually like my picture so there are few that I have kept.  But as I age, I have come to accept my pictures as I accept myself, and am happy to share them with you.

 

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I leave you with a little bit of sentiment about life, acceptance and aging.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

dd baby 57

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-A New Life

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A New Life

 

Survive or thrive

A hard lesson learned.

 

From wee bulbs in spring,

pushing forth through

softened earth.

 

And wee birds

chorusing beautiful songs,

a joyous burst.

 

Simply being or living,

I’ve found my path.

 

A light brightly burning.

No longer in darkness.

 

Time to fly, time to soar…

Free-no longer tethered.

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

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This poem was also written when I was flying to Arizona to visit with family I had not seen for a couple of years.  Flying 35,000 feet through clear blue skies was an amazing atmosphere in which to write.  It was a quiet, not very crowded flight that allowed me to create.

 

And this poem was written before I chose my word of the year, Soar.  I had not read this poem again before choosing my word so it was certainly a surprise when I read this poem again recently.

 

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.

soar collage (1)

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 poem, collage and pictures are all reminders for me to keep embracing my mantra for the year, Soar.

 

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A blogging friend (Donna@Garden Walk, Garden Talk) said I should use my own words with these special photos.  So I have included my favorite words from this week’s poem with this photo.

I leave you with a little reminder of feeling free and giving yourself permission to fly.   I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

soar 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.

Seeking Vunerability

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 “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brené Brown 

 

The day my father died, I closed up my heart, shut out the world and the light….and plunged into darkness.  I was 40, had just been married (my dad could not attend due to his health), and now a pain, a loss too great to bear, had seared my heart.

 

But this covering up of my light actually happened 15 years before his death.  The day the doctors told us that our father had Alzheimer’s started me down that path of darkness.  And I could not bear to talk about it.  And who would or could talk to me?  Not my family.  If we didn’t speak about it, then maybe it would go away.  So we never did speak.  We still have not spoken about any of this even 16 years after his death, that is how painful it is to each of us.

 

I said my goodbyes six months before he died, when hospice was called in.  I flew from NY to AZ numb, so much uncertainty I just could not bear it.  We did not know how much time he had left so I wanted to see him even though he did not know who I was.  Do you have any idea how rip-out-your-heart awful it is to have your father not know you?  Not be able to talk to you even though he is sitting right in front of you.  It is a special kind of torture.  But that last time I spoke to him, he seemed to know me for just a minute or two…you could see the cloud lift from his eyes and the sparkle of life return.  I told him of the upcoming wedding, and he answered that was good…..which was code for I am glad you have finally found someone special.  And while his moment of recognition buoyed me, soon after I was plunged into a deep despair again knowing he would not be with me on my wedding day.

 

These deep rooted agonizing feelings have been with me too long now.  I have built up great pain avoidance so as not to deal with them…keeping them at arm’s length.  And with so much pain avoided, there was a lot of time wasted in my life.  Time where I just existed, but did not really live.  You see when I shut myself up, I avoided the world and all other feelings.  And that included joy, especially joy.  And while this is all natural you may say, I think it is the worst thing I could have done….because once started it is hard to stop the avoidance.

 

DSCN6056But even though the road has been slow and it took 16 years to work through, I have learned from these dark times.  I don’t avoid pain anymore.  Instead I embrace the pain and other discomforting feelings because they are an important part of me, and must be dealt with.  They do not go away if we avoid them.  They stay like a fog blocking the light from every part of our life.  And I have to say, I was pretty darned tired of the darkness surrounding my heart.  The high walls and shields built around me.

 

I no longer run from these vulnerabilities as they are sometimes called.  Please don’t call them weaknesses….being vulnerable is not being weak.  Being vulnerable is allowing your strength and courage to shine through as you embrace your weaknesses, your pain and sorrow.  Vulnerability is facing pieces of life that cannot be cast aside.  So how did I face mine.  I learned how to identify my comforts…what brought me to calm.  I learned to play more.  But I think my breakthrough came when I got to know my Superpower.  What is a Superpower, you ask?

 

In a course I took about vulnerability from Brené Brown, we were taught to look for this Superpower; our higher purpose, that which inspires us.  This was a life changer for me because now I could identify where my life flowed from…where my center could be found.  I found my Superpower was and is communication.  And this blog is part of that Superpower.  It all clicked for me one day, and I knew where I needed to head next in my life.  Where I had found my greatest joys previously when I was connected to this center….writing!  So now I write as therapy.  I write to stay in touch with feelings, good and bad.  I write to plumb the depths of my despair so I can shine a light on it finally…for when the light is there, darkness cannot stay.

 

And while the pain is still great when I think of my dad’s disease and death, I can talk about it now.  I hope to write about it in greater detail one day.  Without the darkness, my heart is open.  And life is renewed.  I am still feeling my way along the path as it is a bit rocky some days, but now I am walking down the road of life again.  Embracing all the uncertainties, seeking out those things I previously hid from…those vulnerabilities that now bring me the greatest joys in my life.

 

 

Note:  The Hepatica here represents Confidence in the Language of Flowers.

 

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

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

Poetry Sunday-Trees

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I Am The Tree

 

Erect I stand, strong of will.

Defying the wind, and all nature can swill.

 

I cast my eyes to take in the scene,

While all around is washed white and serene.

 

The strength of my roots and courage in my stance,

Will serve me well in life’s new dance.

© Donna Donabella 2014

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I am participating in The Personal Photo Challenge hosted by Donna@Cottage Days and Journeys.  This month’s challenge is called Trees.   I wrote this poem on the first day of my retirement, March 3rd 2014, after over 30 years in public education.  It is a testament to my perseverance and what awaits me now in my new life beginning again.  I hope you enjoy the poem.

 

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

 

autumn trees

 

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

 

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Special Note:  These trees are from my garden and surrounding my garden.  The views I see every fall when trees are at their finest.

 

All photos were taken on auto mode and processed in iPhoto (so nothing fancy).  The collage was made in Fotor.com.  The last image was taken in black and white on a foggy autumn morning and processed in PicMonkey.com to add the text and frame.

 

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I leave you with a bit of a sentiment about trees and planting dreams.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

 

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

Poetry Sunday-Thrive

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Thrive

 

Moving forward

Slowly along a path-

With a sense of hope and

Renewal welling up.

Inside filling me

With a burning desire

That shines bright

Radiating all around.

A deep realization growing,

Flourishing, strong, thriving!

 

© Donna Donabella 2013

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I wrote this poem New Year’s Eve 2013 as I chose my word to focus on for the year.  This past year’s word has been Thrive.  I chose the word before I decided to retire and this word has served me well to set the foundation to heal and ready myself for the next steps.

 

 

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.

monarch 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.  

 

 

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Special Note:  Butterflies represent transformation.  And monarchs are especially important as their numbers certainly have been declining.  But it seems they continue to thrive and it is reported that their numbers are beginning to increase with this years southern migration.

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I leave you with a little bit of sentiment about butterflies, transformation and thriving.  I welcome you to download the photo and share.

monarch

 

 

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

 

Poetry Sunday-Still Life

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Still Life

 

The heat of my days is gone,

now a tinge of coolness on the wind lingers.

 

Soft colors faded from the garish summer sun,

as light shines at an angle, my perceptions skewed.

 

Gone is the black and white, the absolute.

Born is the gray, the in-between that stays.

 

Locked in my periphery, soon movements far afield will dim,

all will stretch out before me barren, a new canvas.

 

Awaiting the first brush strokes of fresh color,

a novel design-now the whisper of a dream awaits.

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

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I am participating in The Personal Photo Challenge hosted by Donna@Cottage Days and Journeys.  This month’s challenge is called Still Life.  So I decided to create a poem about how my garden has become a still life as it fades and withers to winter, and that it still has life as do I as I age being reborn again.  There are multiple meanings in this poem but you can also take it at face value.  I hope you enjoy the poem.

 

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

 

And speaking of wonderful verse, my friend Susie@Life.Change.Compost has written a  beautiful poem she is featuring this week.  I encourage you to read it…you will be glad you did.  Susie is a gifted writer and I look forward to her posts.

 

still life

 

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.  

 

 

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Special Note:  These vases were some of my favorite still lifes from this past summer.  All were created by me with flowers and foliage from my garden.

 

All photos were taken on auto mode and processed in iPhoto (so nothing fancy).  The first collage was made in Fotor.com and the last image created in PicMonkey.com to add the text and frame.

 

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

still life dream

 

 

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

Poetry Sunday-Sanctuary

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Sanctuary

 

When I am weary, weak and muddle-headed,

I seek IT.

 

 

When fear grips me and pulls me down,

I discover IT.

 

 

When tears, troubles, and worries will not abide

I crave IT.

 

 

And when inspiration is not found,

I encounter IT….

 

 

Here in my sanctuary,

As near as my soul’s own light.

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

 

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This poem was a challenge for me to identify my sanctuary.  Where do I find my refuge, retreat and safe harbor?  While nature and my garden are my go to spots for a sanctuary and wildlife can bring me great solace, my greatest sanctuary is what I find within me.

 

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.

 

 

phlox

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.  

 

 

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Special Note:  Phlox symbolizes unanimity or harmony, unity, accord.

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I leave you with a bit of a sentiment about finding your sanctuary.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

 

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

Creating My Fear

vv waterlily painting

 

Fear has always been my greatest enemy.  It has controlled me.  And consumed me.  So much so that I prefered to remain invisible for many, many years.  I chalked it up to being an introvert.  I was just not wired to be out there taking risks.  Nice excuse and it served me well.  And I had folks protect that hard shell I created for myself.

 

But as my job changed and I had to put myself out into the public eye more, I was forced out of that cushy, but dangerous, comfort zone.  And what do you know I was successful and happy in the change that had come over me.  My courage increased as I continued to move out of that zone growing along the way.

 

I forgot that with growth comes pain and with pain that fear was back.  Big and ugly, looming, sucking my reservoirs dry.  And it wasn’t until I hit a high, hard wall that I decided to go back to my roots.  Back to the mighty word.  My words. The words that speak from the soul.  From deep down inside my belly forcing those emotions back out exposing my raw self.  Funny thing was there was no fear once those words were laid bare.  At least not for a while.

 

But I did not understand, that fear would return over and over to beat me up and knock me down.  And I let that fear suffocate me, cutting me off from my words.  It wasn’t until I read an interview with a wonderful purveyor of words.  One who understood that in order to create with words you had to embrace fear.  Know that you would and must create it along with your soulful work.  It was not to be squashed, but accepted.  Embraced and even cultivated.  Because without that fear you would cease to create; really create from your roots.

 

 

“I believe that Creativity and Fear are basically conjoined twins; they share all the same major organs, and cannot be separated, one from the other, without killing them both. And you don’t want to murder Creativity just to destroy Fear!  You must accept that Creativity cannot walk even one step forward except by marching side-by-side with its attached sibling of Fear.”

Elizabeth Gilbert

 

 

Simple words really.  Create and Fear.  Inexplicably intertwined.  And to cut off my DSCN9826fear was to cut off the flow of my words rendering me mute.  Safe yes, but mute.  Soul speak quieted.  My heart smothered.  So the choice was simple. It was time to stop despairing.  It was time to whisper those fears.  To take fear by the hand and walk with it.  Get to know it intimately.  Give it voice.  And as that fearful voice rose, I discovered my words.

 

Those deep down feeling words are flowing again.  And as long as I keep fear beside me, I will compose, generate, form and otherwise forge my words here every month.

 

Special Note:  Water lilies symbolize Eloquence and Purity of heart.

 

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Update 6 months later:

This post was  originally published January 22, 2014 when I became a regular part of the team writing at Vision and Verb.  And it was the inspiration for starting this new blog….to continue to challenge my fears and to not lose my words and creativity.

It has been six weeks since starting this blog, and I am having so much fun stretching my creativity wings with photography and what I call my weekly ‘heart-felt’ posts on Thursdays.

I will be expanding my creative Sunday posts in September by adding some poetry.  I hope to join in a few poetry sites for their challenges as I continue my love for reading and writing poetry.  There is something so very personal and soulful in poetry, and I hope to continue to tap into my soul giving you little glimpses.

 

 

 

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

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