Poetry Sunday-Thoughts of May

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Thoughts of May

 

 

Of mothers, bees and bright bouquets

These are the images and thoughts of May.

 

 

Warm breezes, green fields and children at play

These are the sights and sounds of May.

 

 

Butterflies, frogs and birds twittering away

All of nature moves to the rhythm of May.

 

 

Fireflies brighten the lazy dusk of the day

Time slows in the early evening of May.

 

 

And the indigo sky shows a sparkling display

As we rest and dream of tomorrow in May.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2015

 

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This poem was originally written in May of 2012 as part of my month long celebration.  I updated the poem a bit this year.  I hope you enjoy my thoughts of May.  And Happy Mother’s Day to all!

 

 

 

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.

VA Bluebells 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 native wildflowers pictured here are Virginia bluebells or Mertensia virginica.  They are not related to English bluebells, but are similar in appearance.  In the Language of Flowers, bluebells represent gratitude.  A perfect flower to give to mom to show your gratitude.

 

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

May

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

Wildlife Lessons-Seeing Red

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A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.  ~Maya Angelou

 

 

 

I can tell you the lesson of this recent wildlife sighting immediately….do not judge a book…well you know the rest.  When I saw the bird above, at first I thought it was a House Finch.  The House Finch has come to be more common around here after being introduced to NY from the western US in 1940….so my immediate reaction was, it’s a House Finch.

 

 

DSCN1706But when I stopped to look longer, I noticed the back of the bird was a bit different.  Then I looked closer at their heads and…wait….this was not a House Finch.  So I began snapping lots of shots, and did a search for small, red-headed birds.

 

 

Almost immediately the name Common Redpoll came up, Acanthis flammea.  And when I looked outside again, there was a quite a flock of these small finches, covering the patio, searching for seed between the bricks as the snow had retreated quite a bit.  They didn’t stay long, but long enough for me to observe and listen to these cuties.

 

 

DSCN1702And when I searched pictures I had taken from a few days before, I found had taken pictures of these birds who resembled the House Finch in the big ash trees.  I easily recognized them by the deep rust-red patch on their foreheads and distinctive white bars on their wings.  Males also have a pale red vest (like in the top photo).

 

 

If you live in Canada, the northern US or close to the Arctic Circle, you will see these birds as they migrate South from their breeding grounds in the Arctic tundra in winter.  They like to hang out in open woods and weedy fields, and it is estimated their numbers are in the millions.  It seems the noisy, energetic Redpolls I saw were heading back to the Arctic to breed.

 

 

 

red birds collageIn April we also saw many other red birds.  On the bottom and top left are the male and female Northern Cardinal.  The female was feeding on the lichen of the ash tree.  I have spied other birds feeding on lichen too.

 

 

On the right are pictures of the Red-Bellied Woodpecker.  Woodpeckers love our suet feeders and can be seen lining up or swooping others at the feeder to make their intentions known….get moving fella, I want some suet too.  The cardinals pick up the dropped suet under the feeders.  The center picture is a male Downy Woodpecker.  I hear them constantly chattering and talking to us when we are out in the garden, especially if we are near the suet feeders.

 

 

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Here are some interesting facts about Common Redpolls:

  • Common Redpolls survive temperatures down to –65 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Sometimes Common Redpolls will tunnel into the snow (at least a foot long and 4 inches deep) to stay warm during the night if the temps are extremely low.
  • Redpolls have throat pouches for storing seeds. Once they fill their pouches, they fly away to swallow the seeds.
  • Although winter redpolls eat mostly birch seeds, they also eat other tree seeds, and seeds from grasses, sedges, and wildflowers.  And if seeds are scarce they also eat insects.
  • Common Redpolls have been found to travel great distances; from Michigan to Siberia and Alaska to the eastern U.S.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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

redpoll

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.

Surrender

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“I wonder if pain comes from surrendering or resisting?”  ~Donna Lynn Hope

 

 

I have been taking stock recently of my life.  This journey in retirement has been interesting, and has taught me many things so far.  With a year into this journey, I am not sure sometimes if I am where I am supposed to be.  I have long controlled my life.  Planned, over planned and tried to wrap it up in a nice, neat bundle doing what I think I should be doing.  Many times not listening to that little voice to guide me.

 

 

And in those times, life was hard, unhappy and full of pitfalls into which I fell hard.  I would get up, and control things even more, resisting the path being shown usually because of fear.  And inevitably pain would be a big part of my life.  Along with the feeling that life was unhappy, and I would never find real joy.

 

 

DSCN3355And of course life is anything but nice and neat many times.  I am never sure what it will bring me next.  But I have noticed since I stopped controlling my life and its journey, I have been happier.  It is not easy to drop what you had been doing for over 30 years, and strike out on a new path.  A path not even defined, with very little direction.  Just showing up each day and wondering what it is I am supposed to do, and where I am supposed to go.

 

 

I do feel like I have been drifting lately.  And that drifting is okay when you need time to heal yourself.  But it seems it is time now, to start contemplating what is next.  And instead of trying to take control and orchestrate the life I think I am supposed to live, I have instead surrendered to the Universe.  I am looking for those signs that will show me what is next…listening for that inner voice to talk with me again.

 

 

It take’s patience to surrender…another lesson I am learning.  Living each day in the moment, exploring and taking a few risks.  These are scary steps, but oh so much better than giving into boredom and complacency, where I tend to reside when I am afraid to move out of my comfort zone.

 

 

One of the most important lessons I have learned in surrendering, is that there is great freedom when I loosen my grip.  When I let slip those tight reins I have on my life, I open my heart to joy, wonder, and infinite possibilities.

 

 

I did say this was my year to soarflowing with and following a path DSCN5360shown to me in small steps.  And recently I have been taking a few test flights to try out my new wings.  But I think it might be time to step out a bit further, and maybe from a higher branch.  To fly from this place of surrender, and have faith that I am doing the right thing.  Knowing that these wings will lift me up to new places, new challenges and wonderful adventures.  After all if I don’t,  look what I might be missing.  A whole wonderful world just waiting for me.

 

 

 

Note:   In the Language of Flowers, grass represents submission; a synonym for surrender.  These wonderful tall ornamental grasses grow in my garden every summer and bloom in the fall, finally surrendering in winter to the snow.

 

 

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

surrender

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

Wildlife Lesson-Orange Pride

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“Birds are flying over the garden. What are you doing inside the house? Join them! If you can’t join them, at least open the window and greet them!”
Mehmet Murat ildan 

 

 

On March 20th spring crawled in even though we had cold air and snow covering the garden.  But it was the signs that nature brings, that really heralded DSCN7229the new season was indeed upon us.  The red-winged blackbirds had arrived a few days before….and the deer, who were about and feeding on shrubs, were already losing their winter coats.

 

 

And I knew that eventually the warm winds would blow again and melt the foot of snow remaining (we are still waiting for the melt).  So it was time to get ready for other critters we knew would be returning.  I usually put out the hummingbird feeder in late-April as scouts can be out and about.  And right on the hummingbird’s tail feathers, is the arrival of other birds.

 

 

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One of my favorite birds, returning north anytime between later April and early May, is the Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula).  I adore their bright colors, a welcome sight, just as the trees are leafing out so I can still watch them easily.

 

 

 

Last year, they announced themselves with their wonderful song and by hanging on the two hummingbird feeders we had out (see photo at the top of the post).  I had not seen too many of these beauties before in my garden except when one or two would take a quick bath in the pond.

 

 

 

other birds on feeder

But last year, there were several hanging around the hummer feeder trying to get at the tasty liquid.  So I quickly purchased a ‘cadillac’ oriole feeder.  Orange in color with lots of spots for drinking sweetened liquid, eating orange pieces or partaking of grape jelly.  It was a big hit with the orioles and hummers, and other birds who learned how to get to the sweetened water like the catbirds, downy woodpeckers and house sparrows (top left to bottom right).

 

 

DSCN7155Last year at the crack of dawn, the orioles would wake me as they ate and sang at their feeder which was right under my bedroom window.   Such a wonderful array of bright warm colors against the early morning sun.  They are a perfect symbol of summer as the color orange represents warmth and heat.

 

 

 

I have never spotted an oriole nest in my garden, but they do build their nests in the “wild area” woods behind us.  It is an unusual sight to see this basket of grasses hanging from slim fibers on a tree branch.

 

 

And once the babies fledge, the orioles are gone as quickly as they came.  But their short time in my garden gives me much pride; which is another word for happiness.

 

 

oriole collage
Top 2 are males; bottom left is  female and bottom right is fledgling

 

Here are some interesting facts about Baltimore Orioles:

  • They got their name because their orange and black colors are the same as the heraldic crest of the Baltimore family of England.
  • It is said, Baltimore Orioles prefer only ripe, dark-colored fruit, and will ignore ripe green and yellow fruits.  Ours loved the dark grape jelly, but did not like the oranges we put out.
  • Young male Baltimore Orioles do not get their bright-orange adult feathers until their second year. They are very similar in appearance to younger females.
  • Females become a brighter orange as they molt, and almost resemble bright orange males once they are older.
  • Baltimore Orioles can stab soft fruits, and drink the liquid with their tongues.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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

bird-oriole

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

Wildlife Lessons-Cedar Waxwings Play

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“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

Last May, as I sat on my comfortable lounge chair recovering from surgery, I happened to hear a sound that was about the only thing that would get me up and out of that chair.  You see the surgery was for an abdominal hernia repair, and it was hard for me to get up, stand up or walk.

 

DSCN8070But when I heard the trilling and whistles, I knew what it meant.  The Cedar Waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) had come back to my garden.  When I looked out to the tall trees in the center of the garden, there they were.  About 20-30 of them….they looked so excited to be here.  They had returned from their southern winter homes and were back to take up residence and find a prime nesting site.

 

It seemed they were hanging in my trees because they were all vying for time in the pond.  If you have never seen an “earful” or “museum” of Waxwings, then you have missed a treat.  Besides all the whistling going on, they are always in motion.  Moving, tussling, hopping, pushing and doing acrobatic moves as they catch insects on the fly.  And they are incredibly social birds too.

 

Whenever I see this “earful” of Waxwings, I think back to my childhood days when my DSCN8084siblings and I, along with the neighbor kids, would get together and play.  We would play these large games sometimes make-believe, sometimes with rules like Simon Says and sometimes just exploring down by the creek or digging in mounds of dirt for unusual finds like arrowheads.  And when we were together, you could hear us a mile away with our high-pitched squeals of delight.

 

I have written about the virtues of play before.  It is one of the joys in life we sometimes forget to practice when we begin to grow older.  And we sometimes think play is only for children, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  One of the best ways I know how to play is to cultivate a creative pursuit.  Dancing, singing, drawing, gardening, photography, writing….you name it.  If it is part of being creative, then it is part of the joy of play.

 

DSCN8570And you don’t even have to be good at it or worry if you are.  I never cared if my pictures looked great or if I used the right green to color in leaves.  I just had fun coloring or drawing.  Now I tend to care a bit too much, but I am releasing the arbitrary bonds I have place on my creative self.  And in that freedom, I have found my playful side again.

 

So when I see fawns frolicking or birds riding the thermals, I am reminded to play.  And it is especially easy to think of play when you I see Cedar Waxwings each spring.  Don’t they have the most beautiful coloring.  I love the browns and yellows so subtle.  And the little red tips on the ends of their wings.  But best of all, I love their masked faces.  Like a bunch of bandits riding into town to whoop and holler.  I want to get on my pretend horse, don my Lone Ranger mask and ride those bandits out of town, the hero of my yard again!

 

The Waxwings also remind me of those times, during recess, when there would be so many DSCN8064children screaming, yelling and playing.  A group of us would sneak off to the old apple trees, and gorge ourselves on dimpled, imperfect apples….much like these fruit loving birds.  Watch out because they will eat every serviceberry, winterberry, strawberry, mulberry, crabapple, and raspberry in sight… as well as the berries of juniper, dogwood and honeysuckle.

 

Cedar Waxwings are native to North and Central America, where they nest in open wooded areas (right behind my meadow) and winter in the southern half of the United States, Central America and the tip of northwest South America.  They are supposed to live year-round here in New York, but I have not seen them here in winter.  And they are supposed to breed mainly in southern Canada, but we have mating pairs here in central New York each summer.  Wherever there is running water (my pond with waterfall) and berries along with lots of insects…that’s where you will find them.  It seems my wildlife garden has become a great spot for the Waxwings to visit and dine.

 

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Here are some interesting facts about Cedar Waxwings:

  • Males and females look alike.
  • Cedar Waxwings have been known to eat fruit that is overripe and has begun to ferment, thereby becoming intoxicated.
  • When there is a supply of berries that only one bird can reach, the Waxwings will line up along the twig and pass berries with their beaks down the line so that each bird can eat.
  • Cedar Waxwings are said to be named because of its fondness for the small cones of the eastern red cedar…..AND
  • Because the name “waxwing” comes from the waxy red tips of its wings that are said to possibly attract mates.
  • The oldest known Cedar Waxwing was 8 years, 2 months old.  It is nice to know that the same birds may return to my garden each year.

 

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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.

 

 

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

waxwings play

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-Creating My World

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Creating My World

 

I touch the heaven inside of me

Flowing, boundless, creating my reality.

 

Always changing, twisting, transforming

Beliefs morphing, still being born, forming.

 

All before me limitless

Unending joy, pure bliss.

 

Listening, tapping into the whispers that surround

Nature’s miracles through my eyes abound.

 

A spirit transcending time and space

Manacles broken, no longer in a race.

 

Moment to moment the scene will change

As I try to capture it just out of range.

 

A word, a melody, the light

With pen and paint our senses delight.

 

So harness the wind, oh I think you can

Creating your world with a wave of your hand.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

 

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This poem was also created during that inspiring flight to see family in November.  I was in a very artistic mood, creating my world.

 

 

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

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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 lotus flower, pictured in this post, is a symbol of spontaneous generation, and also represents creation itself.

 

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I leave you with a little reminder of the creating.   I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

creating

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.

Triggering Happiness

DSCN7790 “And the true realism, always and everywhere, is that of the poets: to find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy is to miss all.”  ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

 

 

 

Six months ago I began this blog.  It was after an exhausting trek for the past 50 something years of trying to find happiness, that I was finally able to unlock the question for the ages.  How can we be truly happy?  What is the magical elixir we have to swallow to find happiness?

 

 

And the answer quite bowled me over.  We need not search around us, or make lists of things to do that will thrill us.  Happiness is found within us.  It is always there.  We are born with it.  It is just that life gets in our way sometimes, and somewhere along the line we try to search for happiness thinking it is lost to us suddenly.

 

 

And I think in that moment when we realize we have lost it, happiness has gone deep within us….and our sorrow shadows it.  Suddenly we can no longer access it, try as we might.  I tried with alcohol (when I was in college and almost burned out too soon)…with sugar and that battle has finally been won although now the health issues from it are still around.  And I tried with shopping and buying the latest fashions and things.  I tried with what I thought were bigger, better jobs with more money.  And still I was so unhappy.

 

 

Until I discovered my happiness again this past year.  Still deep within me ready to be released if I could but trigger it.  And the trigger wasn’t lamenting about life, wishing things would change, hoping for better times.  No, actually one of the triggers for me has been through writing about my life.

 

 

Whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom, and power.  ~  Stephen Covey

 

 

DSCN7802I have been on a journey these past six months embracing change.  Which means I have to dig deep and unleash some past emotions that tie me down.  And as painful as those moments may be, they have been the most liberating in helping me trigger my happiness.  For me to reconnect with happiness, I had to know what it felt like again.  To recognize it.  And in order to do that sometimes I had to recognize the pain blocking the happiness.

 

 

This is not a journey finished in 6 months, 6 years or 60 years.  It is a journey that is a lifetime.  Imagine a lifetime of happiness, if we can trigger it.  Move the curtain away, unlock the box we neatly tucked it into, and bring it back into our lives front and center to stay.

 

 

So what have I noticed are some other triggers for happiness.  Well that is a personal journey we each have to discover…and it has been such a blissful journey, for me, so far.  I can tell you that it has been amazing to feel that ripple of joy once again.  It may start with a beautiful sunrise, or a sweet gesture or kind word.  A young fawn stepping into the meadow for the first time.  Seeing the first blossom of spring as the ice and snow melt away to reveal the magic of nature.

 

 

Oh in those moments my heart is singing, my eyes are wet with tears of joy, and I feel those wonderful butterflies in my stomach that send me soaring lighter than air engulfed in an amazing blissfest.  And when I find myself in those gray days, where I am lost, where I am feeling a deep sorrowful low, I reconnect with that bliss.  I search the snowy landscape for beauty that is there if we look for it.  I remember those kind words offered, or I just smile.  Maybe forced at first, but once that smile is stretching across my face, it spreads throughout my body.  It is hard for me to be sad when I am laughing or smiling.

 

 

And sometimes the easiest trigger to connecting with my happiness within is to just be grateful….grateful for family, grateful that I am alive, grateful for each step I still take, each sip of water I drink….grateful for deep unconditional love found in my soulmate.  And even grateful for the painful, unhappy feelings that creep back in with still unfinished business. Yes that still is the ultimate key….sincere, deep, abiding thanks for this life I have.

 

 

Note:   The lilies of the valley pictured here represents a return of happiness.

 

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

lily of valley paint

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

Wildlife Lessons-The Gentleness of Deer

DSCN2128“In the midst of our lives, we must find the magic that makes our souls soar.”

~ Anonymous

 

 

Every summer we wait patiently (OK sometimes not so patiently) for the new fawns to emerge from the woods and step into the meadow.  The mama deer (a white-tailed deer or Odocoileus virginianus) is careful to make sure they are a couple of months old before allowing them out in public.

 

 

It is a tremendous sight to see these special DSCN2817creatures.  Young, so full of wonder, awe and play.  I feel younger myself as I watch them, and I melt back to my childhood and those days of new discoveries when I hadn’t a care in the world.  Drinking in the world through my senses.  That is how I imagine it is to be one these lovely creatures; these young deer just experiencing the world for the first time.

 

 

 

And so it was on my husband’s birthday, that two lovely, adorable little fawns stepped into the meadow for the first time…mama right by their side, always not too out of reach.  DSCN1224Watching them explore, being admonished by their parent for taking off, or warned that danger was near and they had to flee.  It brought back a flood of memories of me holding a cherished adult hand, fading behind them a bit skittish to come out and meet others….still shy and a bit fearful, but safer knowing my mother, father or grandfather had my hand.

 

 

 

 

 

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Once the fawns appear we are on fawn watch daily calling, ‘they’re out…in the meadow or in the neighbor’s yard by the pool or they are running the loop’.  I cannot tell you how my
heart soars watching them in the intimate moments with mama….stealing a glimpse as she nurses them…WOW!  Or watching them groom each other with those little tongues….and how adorable are those spots almost in specific patterns that must mean something.

 

 

 

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Seeing mama show them the flowers, plants and shrubs to eat.  Each having a favorite that they enjoy in the meadow as they appear to disappear amongst the tall goldenrod and Queen Anne’s Lace.  Just a pair of ears moving slowly through the plants.

 

 

And watching with pride the first day they cross the road.  Scared for them as they wander DSCN3993down the fence line, cognizant of the people about…running back many times…today is not the day.  And finally they meander, too slow I think, across the asphalt, and my heart stops hoping no cars are about.  They stop for a few moments to explore other gardens.  Then realizing mama is gone they race to the safety of the woods to visit.

 

 

DSCN4836The twin fawns that were born this year continue to grow up around us.  Not old enough to jump the fence yet in fall and winter.  Seeing their spots fade and their thick winter coats replace the youthful innocence.  Praying they make it through the winter.  Seeing their mother inside the fence the night of our first snowfall, covered in snow and close to the fence with her babes nuzzling her nose, from the other side,  every so often to make sure they were OK.

 

 

Spotting them recently still with mama running the fence line at dusk to cross the road DSCN6710and go to the woods, I worry about them in this bitter cold.  I miss seeing them daily, and will wait for spring when we will hopefully see them again.  We think one is female ( a bit smaller) and one male (a bit larger)…will they stay together for another year; I don’t know.  But I am sure one day I will find them inside the fence.  And we will have a meeting of the minds as I let them know the meadow is for them, the garden inside the fence for me.  Somehow I don’t think they will interested in what I have to say.

 

 

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Here is some interesting folklore about deer:

  • According to Native American lore, deer represent gentleness.
  • Deer are said to represent the gentleness of spirit to heal our wounds and help us find peace.
  • The spots on the fawn represent the dark and light in others that we must love if we are to bring gentleness and peace to ourselves and others.
  • Deer represent the love and compassion we need to find balance in our lives so we can accept ourselves as enough as we are.

 

 

 

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With this wildlife story, I am joining in the meme Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina@My Gardener Says that happens the first Wednesday of every month, and with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.  I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  Please check them all out.

 

 

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

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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-Sky Painting



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Sky Painting

 

 Splashes of paint on a cloudy morn

Carried like fire, the sky adorned.

 

Deep purple hues, bright orange splashes

Undulating hints of gray dots and dashes.

 

Then spread across the deep bright blue

Pictures forming, ever shifting anew.

 

Now marshmallow fluff, mountains in the sky

Clouds collide painting pictures, rolling by.

 

The sun creates the palette, the wind is the painter

Seeking new canvas as soon or later,

 

A new scene emerges with each breath I’m taking

Behold nature’s finest; look the sky is painting.

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

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This poem was created as we were SOARing through the sky at 35,000 feet.  I am always mesmerized by the clouds from high in the sky as well as when the sunrises.  Actually I find the sky paints the clouds best during sunrise.

 

And given that my new word for the year is SOAR, this poem is the perfect complement. You can read about my word of the year as it will be my guiding force this new year!

 

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.

sky painting

 

 

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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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.  I hope to more overtly spread some blog love through both my blogs in the future. 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are from recent sunrises where I watched the sun paint the clouds and sky.

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I leave you with a little bit of sentiment about clouds and light.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

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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-Christmas Scenes

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Christmas Scenes

 

I look upon the Christmas tree

And fade to childhood memories;

 

Of snowflakes, boots and mittens warm

Donned on frosty, biting morns.

 

Sleds dragged down snow-covered streets

To find fresh powder on hills replete.

 

Later home with frozen fingers and toes

Warmed before the fire with hot cocoa.

 

Smells of cookies permeate the house

As I stealthily sneak one as quiet as a mouse.

 

And all about tinsel and lights galore

Are sparkling hung from roofs and doors.

 

While I await, anticipating the scene

Of Santa and spectacular Christmas dreams,

 

I sing songs of joy and choruses of mirth

that herald in the day of His spectacular birth.

 

 

© 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 Christmas Scenes.   I wrote this poem on my way to see family for Thanksgiving.  I had not seen much of my family for a few years.  And on the plane ride, some lovely thoughts of Christmas were running through my brain.  So I hope you enjoy the poem that is filled with many of my childhood memories.

 

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.

 

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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.  

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Special Note:  These Christmas scenes were taken upon our return home once we did a bit of Christmas decorating.

 

All photos were taken on auto mode and first processed in iPhoto (so nothing fancy).  The collage was made in Fotor.com.  The tree images were further processed in PicMonkey.com to add some brilliance, snow, frost and stars.

 

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

xmas

 

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.

Discovering My Life Force

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“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”  ~Martha Graham

 

 

I am a deep thinker.  I have always been and recognized this at an early age.  I was able to tap into my innermost thoughts, those held deep in the recesses of my soul until given voice.  Even when I was working as an educator, I contemplated below the surface of issues and felt them deeply.

 

And most recently, I have been exploring those deep recesses to bring my thoughts to light again.  Maybe that is why I took to meditation so eagerly as it has been a means to help me in my exploration.

 

People have asked me how I am able to write the way I do…..and I say it just comes.  Some days the words are stuck, blocked, and I know I have to work on the blockage first before they can flow.  Many days as I sit in quiet solitude a phrase, a snippet of a thought will caress the outer reaches of my consciousness, and I will play with it to see if it has potential.  Maybe it is not the right time and it will float away for now.

 

And some days, I will sit to write about a subject, and the channel will be open as the words flow out hard, fast until exhausted I sit and read it back wondering who wrote this.  But it is always about the words.  Finding those elusive words, those precious thoughts, the speaking of my soul let loose to bring tears to my eyes, or laughter to my heart always meant for me first.

 

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Words have been my life force.  Whether spoken or written, they are the Universal energy that flows through me.  They are picked up on the soft winds and the howling gales and are strewn about me.  I lift them up and send them out into the world.  Some in short verses with deep meaning and others as lessons I want to share as I create new energy that will come back to me.

 

My words are not always positive especially those spoken.  They come as a firestorm sometimes, and I have to keep a close watch on those emotional outbursts.  I know now that those times are best left unspoken, and some time away is called for to assure I am not wounding or being sucked down into a dark place I did not intend to go.  I have better control now and exert it.

 

And I polish the positive words.  I shine them as they are picked up in the light and float out in gleeful currents.  Those are my true words full of emotion but so much more useful, compassionate, peaceful, rich and powerful.  These are the words I want to keep as my life force.  Those that heal not hurt.  There is no purpose in the hurt.  It causes me greater harm in the long run.

 

So I keep to my true purpose and think deep thoughts, feel passionately, hurt, let go, forgive, judge less, love more and speak earnestly.  The heart smiles, the soul is expanded and the tears of happiness fill me up and wash me blissfully.

 

 

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Special Note:  The Cardinal Flower pictured here signifies energy.

 

 

The picture below is my gift to you this week.  Please download it and use it to spread the positive energy around you.

 

lobelia

 

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.

 

 

 

A Kinder Place

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“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness.  Kindness in giving creates love.”

― Lao Tzu

 

I have a friend who is a consummate giver.  I love watching her give by doing little acts of kindness…seeing someone struggling with a door that she gladly holds open as many others walk on.  Or giving up her space in line for an elderly gentleman, and letting into traffic that frazzled mom with a van load of kids.  No judgement here as I have walked or driven on by as well in my own little world not noticing.

 

But it is in these small, almost mindless, acts of kindness that we spread love, and I know we can all use more of that.  We never know what ripple effect our kindness can have.  But I know when someone has shown me a kindness, I feel happy, grateful and it makes me realize I need to give a little more.  No obligation just a pure, loving, wanting that permeates from within me that must be released or maybe unleashed on the world.

 

I love walking down the street and smiling at everyone.  Even those who do not look my way.  Maybe they will feel the love flowing to them.  And it is amazing how much someone can be uplifted by that smile…that little simple kindness that uses so many of my 43 facial muscles.  I usually get more smiles in return, but it is not why I do it.  I am giving straight from my heart center letting it flow out…and boy does it make me beam inside like sunshine emanating from every pore…feeling warm and luscious almost like the rich chocolate oozing from the center of  a flourless cake.

 

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I found someone’s wallet once and made a point of finding out who they were, and drove it to their house.  They wanted to give me a reward, but the reward for me was in giving them peace of mind.  And do you know that I have lost things like credit cards and keys and somehow they are brought back to me.  A bit of karma maybe riding that kindness wave.

 

 

 

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.  ~Dalai Lama

 

Kindness is an important and often missing element in our world it seems these days.  One that if practiced more, we might not have as much suffering, anger and hatred swirling about.  I’m not saying it will all just go away magically, but I know there would be less angry people in a kinder world.

 

Doing something that makes me feel good, and given with heartfelt love and no obligation or strings attached.  What a most precious genuine gift for the receiver and bliss for the giver (said with a bright, big, beaming smile of love to all)!

 

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Special Note:  The blossoms in the pictures here are elderberry blossoms.  These lovely blossoms signify kindness.  And produce a yummy berry (as seen below) I share with the birds in fall and winter.

 

 

The picture below is my gift to you this week.  Please download it and use it to spread kindness.

 

elderberries painting

 

 

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 Something New

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“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
― Sophia Loren

 

 

This week’s photo challenge had us looking for something new along with themes such as little, lines, morning, soft and nature.   Again the themes this past week overlapped and I decided to go with an overarching theme…that of something new.  Every day is new for me, and when I pick up my camera I never know what is going to appear unusual, beautiful, intriguing and a must capture.

 

All but one picture was taken in my garden depicting nature.  And while taking pictures of my garden is nothing new, all of these pictures were taken at the start of a new day in the  soft morning light.  The first picture is of Obedient plant glowing as the first soft golden rays of the morning sun shines down on the garden.

 

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

 

 

hibiscus This is one of my hardy hibiscus greeting the soft morning light.

 

 

 

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Joe Pye weed glowing….

 

 

 

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…along with perennial Helianthus a much smaller (little) native sunflower.

 

 

 

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And the lines of zebra grass make a great backdrop for Queen Anne’s lace.

 

 

 

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This fading Echinacea flower is almost transparent in the morning light.

 

 

 

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Last week I showed you this Great Burnet in black and white.  And while I loved its texture in monochrome, I do adore its wine color too.

 

 

 

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My native Tradescantia, still growing in late summer, becomes a golden purple casting a wonderful shadow in the morning light.

 

 

 

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This picture of the same Obedient plant, at one at the top of the post, was also taken in morning but the clouds rolled in.  That did not deter this little hummingbird.  Can you see her just approaching from the right….just peeking her head in.

 

 

 

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And finally my favorite little vase together with my special little Zuni bear fetish are also greeting the morning sun.

 

 

 

I leave you with another shot of creativity in nature…. a white admiral butterfly, which is a new critter in the garden this year.  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.

 

 

 

Living From Happiness

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“Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.” ~Chuang-Tse

 

I don’t know when it all started, but for a very long time I was not a happy person…or should I say I could not maintain any sort of happy feeling for very long.  My happiness was a barometer that measured how things were going in my life.  It came and went with relationships, jobs, family issues, you name it.  It was just beyond my grasp where I only felt it for brief moments. Happiness would slip away as quickly as it came, hidden, masked, covered up somewhere replaced with long periods of sadness.

 

What a horrible way to live…glass half empty and draining fast.  Of course I numbed myself with many things especially sugar and carbs.  I bought things that I thought would make me happy.  I stayed super insanely busy so I didn’t have to deal with or feel life.  All of this didn’t serve to make me happy, but added to my sadness.  Until a very wise man and healer said to me six years ago, that I was killing myself and that I had the power to stop it.

 

But it can be impossible to stop a runaway train, once it has a head of steam and it is careening downhill.  And that was how my life was feeling.  My health began  to unravel with the stress of work and life so I said enough, I am done.  It was time for a change.  Time to jump off and either get a new job or retire and start a new career.   For me the decision was clear; it was time to retire.  But knowing when it is the right time and getting up the courage to jump is the hardest part.  There is a tremendous amount of doubt and fear with a change such as this.

 

So in these past several months of retirement, with time and the continual support of those closest to me, I began to see glimmers of light around the edges of my life.   I was beginning to recover from the crazy ride.  And now that I wasn’t speeding through life anymore, I suddenly saw my surroundings clearly.  Life was front and center and I was breathing that slow steady breath that connects you to your deep core.  A light suddenly switched on, and I had one of those big aha moments.

 

DSCN0821So what did I discover.  Happiness is not something you can seek because you already have it.  It is waiting inside of us.  Waiting for us to connect to it.  But what is the secret code for accessing this inner joy?  The big shift came when I truly began feeling and expressing gratitude daily both in spoken and written word.  And it was not until I began writing it down every day, that I had my lifeline.  It sounds too simple, I know, but it isn’t.  Not really.  It does take a bit of time and practice.  And some patience.  But it is there waiting to be rediscovered.  That sense that you can live your life from your inner happiness.

 

Now not every day is great, and I have my sad moments because lets face it that is life.  But I no longer dwell in the sad places.  And when I need to connect more to that light, I spend time with things that give me a boost….I read for pleasure, I watch nature right outside my window, I spend time among the flowers and veggies in my garden, I cook from scratch and try new recipes, I talk with loved ones who are so far away….so many things that keep me engaged with happiness.  Each of us accesses happiness in our own way through our own life lines so the key is to find your access points.

 

Another boost for me is writing.  I had been toying with the idea of writing another blog for a while now.  But I kept thinking am I ready?  Is this the right step?  But I knew deep inside it was the right time and place to start anew when word came that Vision and Verb would be shutting down.

 

And here it is…the end of that lovely experience on Vision and Verb where my voice suddenly and clearly was present.  It had found an outlet and it was not to be silenced.  And now it will continue on this blog where it can grow and expand with me as I run, walk, skip, plod and sometimes crawl down this path.  This blog is my conscious effort to open to the flow of happiness and share stories, conflicts, challenges and creativity with you as these have all led me to find my inner joy.

 

I hope you will join me here every Thursday as I share my stories, the stories of others through their blogs and books, and share how I am expanding my happiness through new outlets of creativity.

I leave you with a special saying and photo that I hope you will save and use.

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Special Note:  The yellow of the flowers means optimism, happiness, hope.

The heliopsis in the top picture are said to be the happiest of flowers, and in the language of flowers they symbolize loyalty and constancy.

 

 

 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.