Poetry Sunday: Kiss the Sky

Kiss the Sky

 

Undulating waves at the end of the day

Bid farewell to the sun’s last rays.

 

 

And shimmer against the gathering clouds

As they raise their voices on chords aloud.

 

 

With the moon’s rise illuminating their path

Their throngs kiss the sky as they roll on past.

 

 

I wish them well as they travel along

And hold in my heart the last strains of their song.

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 


In late November, while walking at dusk with the moon rising, my husband and I witnessed thousands of geese migrating over us….we lost count at 30 groups, moving higher and higher as they sang their glorious song of farewell.  This poem was created on that walk.  I will be taking a hiatus from blogging for a few weeks to devote time to enjoying the season without the rush.  I’ll see you after the New Year.

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


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

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Given Freely

 

Given Freely

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Smile given freely

No cost exacted save for

Soulful connecting

 

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Life’s Happiness

 

 

Life’s Happiness

 

 

For here the wonders of the world behold

All wrapped with a stately bow,

Forever in my heart will I hold

My life’s happiness to be told.

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2016

 

 

 

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I have debated about publishing this little poem as it was so short, and I wondered if it was finished.  But I believe at this point it is perfect.  Of course I may change my mind eventually.

It was created as a mantra to go back to in times of need….it says it all for me.  The yellow roses here are from my garden and represent ‘Happiness‘.

 

 

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

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about life’s happiness.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

in my heart

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

Poetry Sunday-Taking Back A Life

 

 

Taking Back A Life

 

 

There is a change coming

Riding high on this mighty wind.

A soulful stirring

A door opens

I stand upon a threshold

Pausing now-

Eager to cross yet fear holds me tight in place.

 

 

The scent upon the breeze stirs my every cell

Filling me with a joyful excitement

Brushing my skin-tingling-

I am awakened.

 

 

Toes stirring, ready for this chance

Taking back a life full of promise.

Not knowing where we are headed

Is the best part of this journey

Coming alive.

 

 

So here we go!

Taking – that – first – step

Toward my destiny…. no looking back!

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2017

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Poetry Sunday: This is for us…..

 

 

This is for us……

 

 

I scratch the earth

to plant a seed,

and watch it grow and bloom and green.

 

 

And I scribble these words

across a page,

to capture my heart as I wrinkle with age.

 

 

You splash fine colors

on a canvas blue,

with red and orange and all manner of hue.

 

 

And you scramble an egg

whipped together with ease,

adding onions and herbs to create a feast.

 

 

We dance upon life’s stage

whirling round,

playing on our heartstrings melodious sounds.

 

 

Oh this beauty of creation

we bring to life every day,

brightens our world in moments we give love away.

 

©Donna Donabella 2017

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It has been almost a year since I have written here on this blog….since I injured my shoulder and had to listen to my body and really rest which meant no writing or gardening (I am right handed and the injury was to my right shoulder).  I learned to be more left- handed….and it has been a good rest.  I have discovered much about myself and my journey while away.

 

I had no clue when and how I would return to this blog and writing poetry.  But the day my beloved Aunt Mary passed (July 3rd) I wrote a blog post on my other blog and 3 poems.  This poem is one of them.  It seems the floodgates are open again.  This poem is based on my interpretation of a quote I used on my tribute post to my aunt.  It captures my essence and my purpose these days and how much Aunt Mary has influenced my life.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

… so this is for us.
This is for us who sing, write, dance, act, study, run and love
and this is for doing it even if no one will ever know
because the beauty is in the act of doing it.
Not what it can lead to…
~Charlotte Eriksson

 

I am joining  Poets United for their Poetry Pantry linkup.  The roses here have been blooming in my garden for weeks in honor of my Aunt Mary Rose.

 

 

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

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

Poetry Sunday-Dear Imagination

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Dear Imagination:

 

 

You come to me on crayon-colored rainbows

scrawled on envelopes and walls.

You ride on the wind with swings flying high,

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

You roll down hills laughing so hard

you can hardly breath.

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

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

 

 

 

You are part of my soul.

Maybe its most important part.

You have been with me for all my life.

And you are my saving grace.

You are what makes my heart sing.

I am forever yours.

 

 

 

Now there have been times I may not

have been open enough to hear you,

But rest assured I will not let

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

Your voice will sing to me all my days,

and we can ride the clouds to new adventures!

 

 

 

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

And dream of forts, and pirates and princesses.

Making braids of grass and playing tunes on leaves.

Laughing until we can hardly breath.

 

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

lupines

 

 

 

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

dear imagination

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

Nature’s Healing Balm

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“What a joy it is to feel the soft, springy earth under my feet once more,
to follow grassy roads that lead to ferny brooks
where I can bathe my fingers in a cataract of rippling notes,
or to clamber over a stone wall into green fields that
tumble and roll and climb in riotous gladness!”

~Helen Keller

 

 

When spring gets into full swing….where the flowers are coloring the landscape, and the warm breezes drift around me carrying intoxicating scents….I am calmed, I am rejuvenated, I am healed.

 

 

And it isn’t just in spring….it is anytime I am in nature really.  I have a strong need to be here where I can observe a special world that moves to its own slow rhythm and pace.  Being surrounded by the constant noise of machines and voices, the smell of exhaust from engines, the bright light of screens, and the endless push, push, push to get things done, I need a place to go where I can feel a healing balm descend on me body and soul.  Where I am reminded to breath slowly….to look and listen…to take in the world around me with every sense I can muster.

 

 

glory of snow (1)

But there are rules when I enter nature’s world….and these rules must be observed if we are to get any healing effect from it.  You must surrender to this world in silence….open up your eyes and ears.  Breath deep, and drink in every smell.  Feel the temperature, the air and light on your skin.  Be there in the moments that present themselves.  And for heaven’s sake, bring no electronics with you…well maybe a camera from time to time to capture a bit of it.  We cannot notice this special world when we are engaged in looking at a screen or talking to another person.  This is a world to enter alone.  To give ourselves to fully.

 

 

Recently, I have been keeping a digital journal of Moments of Fulfillment in my garden.  Moments I am beginning to write down in a journal and on my other blog, monthly.  The moments that bring light and lightness to my heart.  Where I feel at home, and at peace.  Let me show you a few of these moments that have been a healing balm for me this spring.

 

 

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When a sky, this color, presents itself, you must capture the moment in your mind as you sit and gaze on it….just by looking at its magnificence I am instantly calmed.  And the tears that well up in my eyes, at its miracle, match the raindrops still on the branches of the tree.

 

 

 

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Sitting on the Wall Garden, I can watch the first pollinators roll around in the crocus pollen…they are drunk and high with their first drink of spring.  And the high is catching.

 

 

 

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The tiniest of bulbs are now popping up all over the garden.  And because the landscape is so bare, you can’t help but notice them…..in blues…..

 

 

 

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And pale pinks….nestled in and among the new growth and spent debris of last year’s garden.  Hardly noticeable sometimes unless you stop and look closely.  Even getting down on hands and knees.  Sometimes I will even lay upon the earth and stare at their beauty.

 

 

 

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There are surprises around every corner.  A clump of dried grass is so much more upon closer inspection.  The thought of new life, or life that never came to be.  Pondering the mystery brings me solace.

 

 

 

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And visiting nature after a refreshing rain can bring its own special beauty.

 

 

 

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One of the most incredible sounds is the sweet song of the spring birds.  Calling to each other.   Whistling a tune.  They just seem so happy, that each time I hear their songs, I break into a smile that lights my heart.  For me there is no better healing balm than nature…whether in my own garden, or in a park across the street, or a nature center across town.

 

 

Where do you find solace and healing?

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of the recent early spring in my garden.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional words the healing power of nature.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

touch of nature

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 New Life

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A New Life

 

 

First kiss.

Such bliss.

Standing at this entrance way,

As One,  will be joined this day.

 

 

Joined as one this day

Pure love delightfully displayed.

Tears of joy shed all around,

Souls collide in sparks abound.

 

 

Watch the sparks from this collision

Can’t be stopped that’s love true mission.

The current builds, this pair transformed

And now, a new bond is formed.

 

 

Formed today this bond is spoken,

With vows never to be broken.

Hard work is needed, and a grand wish,

For a new life started with this first kiss.

 

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2015

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I wrote this poem in October after attending my niece’s wedding.  The first 2 lines were a song in my head, and the rest just came after.  I was playing with an idea for a form, to work the first line of the next stanza from the words of the last line in the stanza before.  It was a challenge, but fun.  And I rather like how it turned out.

 

The pictures at the beginning and end of the post are of my niece, Christina, and her husband Colin, Mr. and Mrs. Murtagh.  The mosaic is my parents’ wedding picture from 1954, and my wedding picture from 1997.  In my wedding picture, my mom is pictured far left standing, and my niece was the flower girl.  She was 10 years old.

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  Thanks for the invite Sanaa! Please visit these fabulous poetry blogs to read some more wonderful verse.

wedding collage

I am also linking in 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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I leave you with a few additional words about a new life.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

new life

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

Poetry Sunday-A Smile

smile3

 

 

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.

selfie smile collage

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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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 Lesson: Bathing’s For The Birds

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“The bath is one of the places I prefer, certainly not a place I leave readily, a place where one can close the door and remove oneself, put oneself in parentheses, as it were, from the rest of humanity. It is a place for reading and thinking, where one’s mind wanders easily, where time seems temporarily suspended.”

― Sheila Kohler

 

 

 

A pond is a garden teeming with plants and wildlife.  One of the wonders of having a pond in the garden is being able to watch wildlife.  Frogs, toads, dragonflies and snakes all come to the pond to live and play regularly.  And if you are lucky you can see birds stepping into the pond for a bath.

 

 

 

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Our pond has too much vegetation along the edge which prevents the birds from bathing.  We need to do a little maintenance to correct this problem.  But the bigger birds have figured out another way to bathe.  They sit in the top of the waterfall and bathe away.  I don’t think he wants us watching him!

 

 

 

male bather

It’s as if they have their own private spa there.  Taking their time with a luxuriating bath or a quick flap of the wings and they’re off.  But mind you, it is not a first come first serve outdoor bath.  No you have to be a robin to get the first chance to use it.  And male robins rule the bath.

 

 

 

lady robin bath

In the picture at the top of the post, our crazy robin momma is none-too-pleased with the catbird who thought she was going to take a bath.  So move over momma catbird, and wait your turn.  This momma robin is spending her second year in our garden so she has special bathing privileges.  I even spied her once covered in mud after she built a nest.  I was standing right next to the waterfall, but she was so desperate to get all that mud off, she hurried and didn’t let my presence stop her.

 

 

 

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I start to see the bathing commence once the robin’s hit town in spring.  Sometimes I feel like a voyeur.  Right up until the tall perennial helianthus puts up screen, in early August, we can keep watching like peeping toms.  By mid-August the robins are almost ready to leave our garden for their winter home.

 

 

 

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Robins and catbirds aren’t the only birds who use the pond for a bath.  We have orioles and an occasional brave cedar waxwing try it out.  But because of the force of the water flowing from the waterfall, only big birds can use it as a bath.

 

 

 

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You can see how this bath is a great source of amusement for us.  Seeing this male robin all wet and poofed up makes me laugh.  And the males seem to be bath hogs.  Most will stay in the bath for long periods, then hop out, shake, stand there for a few minutes and bathe again.  I have seen some hog the bath for upwards of 20 minutes or more keeping the other birds out, even the female robins.  Females are too busy to take a long bath….sounds familiar doesn’t it.

 

 

 

you are all wet

We have a few other smaller bird baths in the garden for other birds, but secretly I think the other birds are jealous of those who use the big bath.  OK, I will admit the robins who live in or nearby our garden are spoiled, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I think even when we fix the pond so birds can wade in and bathe, the robins will still use the waterfall bath.  After all wouldn’t you want a private bath if you could have one.

 

I hope you enjoyed the bathing birds from our spring and summer garden.  It seems bathing is for the birds here in our garden.

 

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 bird baths…actually taking a bath in general!  Feel free to download the photo and share.

birdbaths

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-Play With Abandon

Samantha

 

Play With Abandon

 

 

Play with abandon,

Fling your arms to the skies,

Fly over the waves wearing necklaces of seaweed and shells.

Skip along the lanes and the meadows

Gathering wildflowers and shiny stones.

Be free, never constrained.

Feel life as it was meant to be,

Washing in and out with the waves

As they dance through your mind.

Taking you to the fortress of your soul-

Softening your heart.

You can always be here,

To play with abandon.

As you fling your arms to the sky and fly…

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2015

 

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This poem was written on a particularly difficult day.  These words became my voice as they poured from my heart.  They remind me to never let go of play….it is the dance of my soul.

 

 

 

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.

play 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 of my niece, Samantha Abel, when she was 2 years old playing at the beach, and at home.  She will turn 16 in November…how time does fly.  They are a perfect illustration for my mantra, Play With Abandon.

 

 

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

play with abandon

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.

August Break Completed

smile

“A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.”

~ Denis Waitley

 

 

 

I promised I would finish up the photography challenge,  The August Break, the creation of Susannah Conway.  Today I have the last 4 prompts, and my interpretations.  These last few words seemed even more of a challenge, but I practiced patience and waited as the inspiration took hold.  Some came to me days later, and I changed the images that didn’t seem to work for me.  So here we go.

 

The first picture above is Day 30-Smile.  Yes that is me, or what I was willing to show of me as I wanted to emphasize my everyday smile.  Just a hint of a smile always on my lips as my mouth upturns and my cheeks puff out.  This photo was actually taken on my Mac computer using the application, Photo Booth.  The camera on my Mac is easier to use for taking self portraits.  And I love some of the effects that this application has.  The effect I used for this was picture is called, Color Pencil.

 

 

 

In The Bag collage

Day 28-In My Bag  This particular prompt had me stumped.  I had many ideas none of which I liked.  As I was going by the pond, I noticed the yellow waterlily finally blooming at the end of summer, which was late.  And I remembered it grows in a cloth bag at the bottom of our pond.  The cattails have all but crushed this waterlily, but I was happy to see it was not going to be pushed out.

 

 

 

in my bag collage2

Then the next day, I saw the new bag of my favorite coffee waiting to be opened and ground.  And it hit me!  I opened the bag on our kitchen table and let it spill out.  And here are 3 views of the coffee beans (that was in my bag of coffee) spilled on the table.  I love these images and can still smell the coffee.

 

 

 

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Day 29-Listening  I knew I wanted to take a picture of our, almost antique, receiver.  My husband has had this receiver for a long time, even though we no longer have the turntable.  We have a CD changer still hooked up to it, and we love to use the radio.

 

 

 

tree frog

Day 31-August Was….  Full of Discovery.  Everywhere I looked in my garden, the smallest creatures seemed to bring delight.  And I continued to see more and more special scenes like this one.  This a Gray Tree Frog.  They are more gray when they are living closer to our trees, and green when in the garden.  As I walked by the stalk of a plant, this tiny green blob caught my eye.  Only an inch long, they are hard to see, but they make a mighty song in high summer when mating.  The pictures were processed a bit differently to highlight this little creature.

 

At the end of the post is another little creature hard to see when they rest in our big ash trees, on tiny branches.  Of course I am talking about the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.  This is either a female of juvenile hummer.

 

 

 

So there you have the photos from days 28-31 of  The August Break challenge.  Here are the links for the my other posts from this challenge: Days 1-10, 11-20, and 21-27.

 

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

 

 

 

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

create joy

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.

Morning Time

feb sky

“Have you ever seen the dawn? Not a dawn groggy with lack of sleep or hectic with mindless obligations and you about to rush off on an early adventure or business, but full of deep silence and absolute clarity of perception? A dawning which you truly observe, degree by degree. It is the most amazing moment of birth. And more than anything it can spur you to action. Have a burning day.”

~ Vera Nazarian

 

 

 

 

I never really paid attention to the dawn until about 6 years ago.  It was then that I was commuting an hour each way to work…traveling east in the morning and west in the late afternoon.  It wasn’t a job I was particularly excited about, but one that would get me to retirement as there were so many lay offs, and I was 3 years away from retirement.

 

 

 

jun skyAnd each morning, usually at the crack of dawn, I would travel east many times dreading the day, the tedious work.  I was very good at my job, but it did not allow me to use many of my skills or creativity.  And as I traveled that long stretch of highway, I knew there were many who traveled with me that were in the same boat.  Not excited about the early morning, long commute to a job that was not their ideal.

 

 

 

But each morning as the sun rose with me in my travels, there was something magical about the day.  Something that would awaken inside of me.  An incredible spirit that lifted me through my day.  I only wished I could linger longer with the sunrise, capture it and just be with it in silence.

 

 

nov skySo when I retired, I vowed to watch the sunrise on as many mornings as possible.  Go to the windows facing east and wait for it…..with anticipation and excitement much like a child experiencing the wonders of seeing a baby bunny or a fawn walking into the meadow for the first time.  And that wide-eyed wonder has not faded, as I watch sunrise after sunrise.  On those mornings, when the sky has blessed me with its incredible magic, I take my camera outside (even in the 20 degrees below zero weather), and snap picture after picture as the sun slowly kisses the horizon and hugs the sky just for me!  I want to wake the whole world, and share the new day shouting, “You’re missing it”.

 

 

And my first thoughts, in the first rays of daylight, are of thankfulness with a mouth stretching smile…and yes many times tears of joy for this blessed morning.  There is a peace that descends on the world in these first moments of the morning.  You can hear the joy from the birds, and watch other animals come out to greet the sun too.

 

 

aug sky 2This is the time of my deepest reflection.  It is when I am alone with my day…when I descend into myself and contemplate my life and all I have.  It is when I let go, and just revel in the moment.  It is the best time for me to meditate too.  A practice that has become part of me, much like the dawn.

 

 

 

On these inspired mornings, as my little corner of the world is waking, I feel energized and renewed.  A new day, a new time….a beginning that holds a promise born in the sky…ablaze in my eyes, my heart and my mind.  A gentle kiss from the Universe welcoming me again to be here in this moment of joy.

 

 

morning sky collage

 

Do you greet the dawn?  Does something in nature inspire you?

 

 

 

 

Special Note:   The pictures here are from sunrises over the past 3 years, and they represent each month.  I find the dawn in late spring and early fall are far less colorful, but the sun blazes brighter those days.

 

 

 

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I leave you with more thoughts about morning inspiration.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

morning-dec sky

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.

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-Meadow Delights

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Meadow Delights

 

 

Perfumed air moves lazily past my windowpane,

Refreshing my soul in shadows.

As a kaleidoscope of colors delights my eyes,

Joy abounding-senses fulfilled.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2012

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My meadow  inspired me to write this poem in June of 2012.  The meadow comes alive with daffodils before the spring flowers dazzle.  Then the blue lupines and daisies, pictured here, spring up to delight the senses.

 

 

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.

meadow collage

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

 

 

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

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures of native lupines and ox-eye daisies bloom in my meadow every June.

 

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

meadow

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-May 2015

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“People often ask themselves the right questions. Where they fail is in answering the questions they ask themselves, and even there they do not fail by much…But it takes time, it takes humility and a serious reason for searching.”  ~ William Maxwell

 

 

As I end this special month of my birth, now another year older, I continue to contemplate life…asking myself questions about what I am doing, where am I going, what do I want out of this life of mine….and I am finding many answers within, as I listen to my heart and soul speak to me.  As you may remember, this year I have chosen to be part of an online group, Women’s Circle of Joy, led by Cigdem Kobu of Peaceful Triumphs.

 

 

And this month, we have been exploring, “Living Lighter”.  It’s not just about losing DSCN8975weight or getting rid of your stuff…it goes much deeper.  We were asked to examine seven areas of our life to see if we were Living Lighter.  These areas included:  Our Private Lives, Our Physical Body, Our Environments, Our Emotional Weight, Our Mental Hassle, Our Career and Work and Our Social Lives.

 

 

This path to living lighter really started for me last year in retirement.  I wanted to simplify my life, and took time to reacquaint myself with my home, and my husband as we would now be together 24/7.  We have easily slid into this new phase of our lives working together as a couple sharing the load.  We did a huge clearing in February when we clutter cleared our house from top to bottom.  It felt wonderful to let go of stuff we no longer needed, but I have learned this clearing of stuff is an ongoing process you must continue to revisit every couple of months as clutter can sneak back up on you fast.

 

 

DSCN9107And living lighter isn’t just about letting go of the things we have…it is also about the mental and emotional sides of simplifying.  I have poured out many of my personal revelations regarding mental and emotional clearing in this blog.  As I have worked through issues, such as worry and fear, I have found my heart and soul becoming lighter.  And with retirement, I lightened my stress load, and now dictate what “work” I will explore and take on.  Socially, I am reconnecting and opening up to invitations and connections put on the back burner.  And I have let go of relationships especially where others try to control my life.

 

 

And most of all, I have been building better habits that will bring me closer to perfect health.  Moving more, finding what physical activity I like to do, daily meditation and journaling, and discovering which foods are best for my body.

 

 

I have recently found it important to take time to pause and reflect on life.  I think that is IMG_2414where the poetry I write comes from….those things that give me pause or that I see when I pause…so magical really that reflective time.  And in that time when I let my mind wander and wonder, I think about my easy, carefree future.  What does it look and feel like…..

 

 

In this future, I awake from a restful slumber to the sounds of nature…refreshed and eager to see the new dawn…the wondrous colors of the day both in the sky and in the garden.  I move easily out-of-doors, and walk in this new light of day coming back home to the incredible smells of a nutritious breakfast.  What do I want to accomplish today?  A bit of weeding, a new writing project, a little cleaning and clearing in the house, or is this my day of rest where I can play or take a fun trip to a new spot.  Will I be grabbing lunch with a friend or perhaps seeing a practitioner for a bit of wellness care.

 

 

And part of my day will be spent in quiet contemplation….writing about my gratitude for the wonderful things in my life.  There is always time for daily reading; books for pleasure (mostly mysteries), or books I find more personal and spiritual….maybe someone’s journey of inspiration.  There are always things I can do to keep life simple…and with that simplicity, comes time for joyful activities that allow more room in my life for new experiences, new friendships and new journeys.

 

 

 

 

Note:   The Daisies pictured here are from my garden, and are said to represent simplicity.  Daisies were the first flower I remember that I cherished as a young girl.  They are such a simple flower of pure white that never cease to bring me a smile.

 

 

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I leave you with another thought about simplicity or living lighter.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

simplicity

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 Prioritizing Health

DSCN9200“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos—the trees, the clouds, everything.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

 

One year ago today, I was coming home from the hospital after what was to be a simple operation to repair a tricky hernia.  But one overnight stay turned into 5 days in the hospital, and weeks of hell.  Operations rarely go as planned and we can never expect they will…at least I don’t anymore.

 

 

But with the help of a skilled healer/acupuncturist, I was able to get my body to start healing itself.  It is amazing what our bodies can do, if we can connect with them.  If we listen…deeply listen and then do what our gut is telling us to do.

 

 

DSCN9773When I had the initial pain with the hernia, I knew deep down inside what it was, but believed it would go away.  I didn’t mention it to my acupuncturist or a doctor.  But at a baby shower, a nurse friend convinced me to have it looked at….of course the next morning I ended up in the ER with some of the most excruciating pain of my life…..they were convinced it was something else, but I kept saying hernia….and surprise, surprise it was a hernia.

 

 

So when did my health derail….it seemed when I focused more on my job than my health…believing it would all be temporary and that there was nothing to worry about.  And I noticed that my garden also became neglected when I was too busy with work….that neglect becoming a metaphor for my failing health.  Both my body and garden were clogged with weeds, starved for nutrition and needed to be reshaped.  So I finally took my health seriously, and began to pay close attention to my body (and garden), and listen when they spoke to me.

 

 

I have been working on getting my body systems realigned and regulated….and I have learned what to do if they are not.  I practice daily meditation…it has been an amazing part of my morning that I cannot go without.  I connect with my body by quieting my mind in meditation.  And my body relaxes too….so important for a strong start to my day.  And this connection to my body is like the connection I have with my garden.  I nourish both with natural wholesome organic foods, and they both repay me in bountiful ways.  Of course my garden actual nourishes me during the garden season as we grow many of our own organic vegetables.

 

 

IMG_2360And it isn’t just about getting enough quality food or sleep or exercise.  It is about quality of life too.  Doing what brings you happiness…engaging in creative pursuits and play often….spending time with friends and family.  Having quiet time to yourself to just be in the moment.  These quality of life things, that we sometimes forget, do make all the difference in our healing and health.

 

 

Healing is about your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being.  If any of these are neglected, we will not fully heal or maintain our health.  So for me it is a holistic approach to health considering all four of these components.  I advocate for myself and make my health my priority, as I have seen first hand what happens when we disconnect from our bodies and neglect our health.

 

 

So I continue to tweak my routines and habits, adding things that will improve my health as I age, one small step at a time.  I have learned it is not a race, but an individual slow journey this path to perfect health.  And we can get to our destination happier and healthier by making our lives, and our health a priority.

 

 

 

 

Note:   In the Language of Flowers, yarrow represents good health.  I chose pink yarrow, because pink symbolizes the feminine as well as compassion, nurturing and love.

 

 

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I leave you with another thought about good health and being good to yourself.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

health

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.