Poetry Sunday-Joyful Play

dad as boy

 

Joyful Play

 

With arms outstretched, I whirl around

Floating, spinning above the ground.

Tiny feet dance on large shiny shoes,

Piggy back rides with giants amuse.

 

 

As I ride the waves on the back of a whale,

Now thrown off, high in the air I sail!

And on the sandy beach we bury our treasure,

With squeals of delight in castles of pleasure.

 

 

These moments delight each one is immeasurable,

Through the years repeated with love unforgettable.

Time seemed endless in those blissful days,

Of fond memories in joyful play!

 

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2015

 

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My dad’s birthday is Tuesday.  He would have been 86, but died at the young age of 68 from the most horrific early onset Alzheimer’s disease.  He suffered 15 years with this awful monster.

But I remember him now as an Easter baby full of joy, kindness and always playful.  My mother called him her fifth kid.  Last week’s poem spoke of the pain of his loss, but I choose to remember his life of joyful play in this week’s poem.

Many of the memories in the poem are fun times spent with my dad, especially at the Jersey Shore growing up.

 

 

 

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.

dad 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:  As I reminisce about playing as a child, I am showcasing pictures of my dad.  In the top photo, he is pictured on the left as a 10 yr old boy in Philadelphia, PA.  The collage shows him as a teen with his godson, his older brother’s first born.  And as a young man just newly engaged.

The last photo, below, is of us kids (my sibs) with my best friend Cindy on the right in the striped pants.  I’m in the middle (about 5 yrs old) on the left with that  head of unruly, curly, dark brown hair.  We grew up in Philadelphia until we moved about a year after this picture was taken.  My dad would take us to the park on weekends while my mom worked as a nurse.  He called us the Motley Crew.

 

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

the crew at 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-Waiting On A Friend

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Waiting On A Friend

 

The landscape is lonely

waiting on a friend,

The warm spring winds

to blow in again.

 

Sprouts of green

dot the white,

The seasonal change is

once again in sight!

 

© Donna Donabella 2013

 

 

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I wrote this poem in early March, 2013 when we had a similar unrelenting winter.  I was daydreaming about spring returning.  It felt like a good friend, who had been gone far too long, was returning for an overdue visit.  And I am once again waiting for that friend, spring, to really show itself once more.  Sadly, today, it is snowing again, so I will continue to wait for spring.

 

 

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.

spring 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 green sprouts are from previous year’s in my March garden just as the snow thaws showing the  bulbs beautiful, green growth below.  The purple flowers are early snow crocus that bloomed in mid March, 2013.  An unusually early bloom time.

 

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I leave you with a few words about waiting for spring.   I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

waiting on friend

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.

End Of Month Potpourri-January 2015

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“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” ~Pema Chodron

 

 

I had been toying with this idea of have a monthly post that really could be about anything.  Perhaps a conversation with an author, or a book review, a group of photos dealing with a subject that caught my fancy…really the sky’s the limit.  So I aptly named it Potpourri, which can mean any mixture, especially of unrelated objects, subjects, etc.  And coming at the end of the month I named it, End of Month Potpourri.

 

 

DSCN8533No pressure trying to find subject matter here.  Just connect with the flow, and what moves me at the time.  Trusting that it will all come together.  And so for this first post it has done just that.  There are photos of some winter scenes that fit a current topic I am studying along with an interview of sorts that follows up nicely with my personal poem from Sunday, Timeless Images.

 

 

After a virtual retreat of sorts with a wonderful group of women, I decided to join many of these same women in what is called, Women’s Circle of Joy.   The group is led by, Cigdem Kobu of Peaceful Triumphs.  Check out her website and the Circle as it is not too late to join.

 

 

DSCN8500Our first big topic this month has been the concept of  wabi-sabi.    I had heard of wabi-sabi, but honestly had no real idea of what it encompassed.  In essence it is a Japanese idea of the acceptance all things as impermanent, imperfect and incomplete (these are 3 of the seven principles of wabi-sabi).  And that beauty is found in this world of the impermanent, imperfect, incomplete.   Another principle is that of  greatness found in the subtle overlooked details instead of the majestic.  We just have to be still and patient in order to see it.  Something I have been doing in my garden this past year.

 

 

It has been fascinating trying to wrap my brain around some of these principles.  And this idea of wabi-sabi, really isn’t too far away from my current view of my life and the world around me.  Take the pictures in this post.  They are of recent scenes right outside my window.  Snow changes the landscape and adds a subtle beauty because it is impermanent.  And what better representation of imperfect than seedheads of flowers long gone.

 

 

DSCN8732Recently, I was given the distinct honor of being awarded recognition for my new blog by a reader Julie@Gardening Jules.  Now in the past I usually shied away from accepting awards, but I have changed my mind these days.  When someone praises my work, I try to acknowledge that praise.  So in going with the flow, I am accepting this award.  Thanks Julie!

 

 

It is called the Leibster Award, given by bloggers to other bloggers to say, ‘hey I like what you do.’  Now there are rules, but I am one to sometimes make my own rules.  You have to answer questions posed by the blogger and then choose 5 blogs you want to pass the award along to with questions you pose to them.  I thought answering Julie’s questions would be fun as you can always learn so much about other bloggers this way.  But I am unsure who I might give this award to as it is for newer blogs, and most of the blogs I would nominate have already been nominated.  So I reserve the right to perhaps do some interviews of bloggers I would like you to meet, in a few future Potpourri posts.

 

 

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Here are the questions Julie posed to me….

 

 

1. Do you encourage wildlife to your garden?

 

Absolutely I do.  I have been revamping my garden to make it into a habitat for wildlife.  You can read about that in my Wildlife Lesson posts, on the first Thursday of the month, and in my Gardens Eye View blog.  I think it important that we share our space in a way that is mutually beneficial and does no harm.

 

 

2. Do you grow organically and use natural methods?

 

That is the only way I garden, eat and live.  I have found my health is better, the planet is better and my garden grows better using these methods.

 

 

3. Any tips for recycling plastic?

 

That is hard as we have laws here where we have to recycle our plastic and even pay a deposit of 5 cents on each bottle of water.  It encourages people to return them to get the deposit back.  But instead of using plastic containers and bottles, I use a modern stainless steel thermos for water, and glass containers more and more in which to store food.

 

 

4. Any recommendations for flowers to arrange in your home?

 

Grow as many flowers as you can, both annuals and perennials.  Use foliage from bushes, trees, groundcovers and plants.  Grow bulbs indoors during winter.  And don’t forget seedheads, twigs and dried grasses.  I think any plant material you arrange is beautiful and can be very wabi-sabi especially with those twigs and seedheads.

 

 

5. Have you tried edible flowers?

 

I sure have.  I love pansies, chive flowers, nasturtiums and borage flowers.  I hope to try more flowers this year.  My favorite so far is nasturtiums.

 

 

6. A favourite fruit recipe?

 

I am simple when it comes to fruit.  I like it fresh and plain.  I will bake apples sometimes with cinnamon.  And I love to add fruit to salads.

 

 

7. A favourite vegetable recipe?

 

Currently I am enjoying roasted veggies and veggies in soup especially winter squash and root veggies.  I also posted a favorite veggie recipe on my garden blog last month.  And I’ll have a veggie soup recipe, on February’s Journal post, the first Monday in February.

 

 

8. Do you like to create anything other than flower arrangements using natural materials?

 

I have never been too crafty so my answer is no.  But I would love to try a few new ideas once I see any that move me to create.  Of course if I stretch this a bit, I do create photos using natural materials as subjects…I know….I told you it is a stretch.

 

 

9. How do you feel about growing natives or non natives?

 

I am passionate about growing natives and they are essential for creating a thriving, diverse habitat for wildlife.  I continue to learn about them, and incorporate them in the redesigns of my gardens.  But I also still love my herbs, roses and other non-native flowers as long as they are not harmful.  I got rid of all my Buddleia because they were invasive here, and I had hundreds of seedlings yearly everywhere that I did not want growing in the woods that are protected behind me.  I even had some coming up last year and it has been about 4 years since I got rid of them.

 

 

10. Any recommendations for an unusual fruit or vegetable that is good to eat?

 

I like fresh grown fruits and veggies so I can’t think of anything too terribly unusual.  We have been growing different colored veggies like purple carrots and golden beets.  Both are tasty and a milder flavor of the original.

 

 

11. Do you have a good view from your home?

 

We bought the land because we have a protected wild area behind us.  And I designed the garden so we could see it from all the windows in the back of the house where we spend the most time.  You can see the meadow, wildlife, gardens and pond from the house.  So I think it is a fantastic view for a suburb.

 

But you judge for yourself….here is one view you can currently see from inside looking out at part of the back garden.

 

 

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So there you have it some photos, some thoughts on wabi-sabi and my interview for the Leibster Award.  A true potpourri.  Thanks again Julie and I promise to do some interviews here to make up for the 5 blogs not nominated at this time.

 

 

Note:   All these images, of my garden, were taken in the month of January from inside the house.

 

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I leave you with another thought about perfection and imperfection, one of the principles of Wabi-Sabi.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

perfect

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

Poetry Sunday-Timeless Images

 artist

Timeless Images

 

 

 

The mirror looks back at me

A face, strange and foreign somehow.

 

Ruddy, wrinkled

Laugh lines deep, crinkling at the edges.

 

A care worn complexion still fresh

A body older, fragile, stiff with painful bending.

 

And yet within this vessel, exists

A soul still full of wonder.

 

Seeking answers, scarfing up knowledge

Playful, dancing through life.

 

She is there sometimes on the surface

But often over the years kept far down.

 

Admonished, ‘act your age’

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

 

She has fought her way back

An old soul, still youthful, a child.

 

The glint, that spark

Still there in her green eyes.

 

Mischief, seeing the new

Seeking joy; neverending.

 

Her smile blazes

Her laugh infectious.

 

Yes, the mirror looks back at me

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

 

Now forever born again, new each day

For each moment the possibilities boundless-timeless.

 

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

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

 

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

 

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

dd collage 1

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

 

dd collage 2

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

 

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

 

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

dd baby 57

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

Creating Pure Joy

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“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.”  — Erich Fromm

 

 

One of the habits I have lost along the way was the ability to have fun.  I noticed it only recently when I was taking stock of myself and my habits after being retired for almost a year.  I did things that I liked to do such as gardening and photography.  And yes they were fun, but I felt something was missing in these endeavors, in my life.  And I found I did not have as many hobbies or friends to “play” with anymore.

 

Now I know I am an adult and we have to work, but there was never anything that precluded us from playing and having fun with friends as an adult.  It just seemed my life became about the job… especially since we had no children.  And there was less and less fun in the job as time went on.  Challenges had replaced pure fun, and for a while sufficed.  But soon the joy seeped out of the job and I couldn’t find it anymore.  It became, “I have to” not “I get to”.  Where was the fun in that?

 

And sadly it was as if I didn’t know how to play anymore once I retired.  I used to DSCN6752amuse myself for hours as a child bouncing and catching a ball to see how many times I could do it without missing.  I would wander and smell the flowers, look at the bugs, climb trees, swing, wade in the creek, ride my bike, and all alone if friends were busy.  When friends were around we would play make-believe games, riding our horses to the rescue (our bikes with rope tied around the handlebars).  We would roll down hills, play tag, hide and seek and even card or board games.  Nothing planned or scripted, but whatever we felt like doing in the moment that would bring us immeasurable joy.

 

I miss those simple games, those creative fun times lost for hours in the sheer joy of life.  When we were with family at Thanksgiving, my 27-year-old niece and her fiancé wanted to play a board game.  So we got out the only game my sister had, Trivial Pursuit.  You bet I was in and ready to play.  And we were lost for hours playing the game, making up new rules and having so much….you guessed it, FUN!  Yes I won, but that is beside the point.

 

One of the ways I know I can create more joy in my life is to learn to play again….to let go and be creative…find what amused me as a child and still does.  There are the obvious things like riding my bike, wandering around the garden and watching bugs.  But those will have to wait for warmer weather.  It will be challenging to see what fun things I can find this winter…I love puzzles and there are a few jigsaw puzzles with my name on them just waiting to be put together.  And perhaps a bit of play in the snow-making snow angels and  snowmen!

 

Of course once the weather warms up and spring fever hits, I will be itching to get out and DSCN7059have some fun in the garden.  I can ride my bike over to the lake and see what’s what.  Oh that sounds like fun….you know I never get over there.  I wonder why…it could be fun!!  And there is flower arranging, or maybe painting a few pictures of flowers….oh I think I am going to like that too.

 

But more than doing all these things, I will be continuing to find more and more time to create joy…the pure joy from just exploring my surrounds and enjoying life in the moment with no scripted plans.  The possibilities are endless.  All I have to do is get back into the flow of those joyful, spontaneous moments of life.  Hey if you are in the neighborhood, stop on by…no need to call….we can play.  It will be such great fun!

 

Note:   The yellow roses pictured here represent joy.

 

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I leave you with some additional thoughts on, creating joy in our lives. Feel free to download this photo and share.

yellow rose

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

Poetry Sunday-A New Life

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A New Life

 

Survive or thrive

A hard lesson learned.

 

From wee bulbs in spring,

pushing forth through

softened earth.

 

And wee birds

chorusing beautiful songs,

a joyous burst.

 

Simply being or living,

I’ve found my path.

 

A light brightly burning.

No longer in darkness.

 

Time to fly, time to soar…

Free-no longer tethered.

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

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

 

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

 

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

soar collage (1)

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

soar poem

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

Wildlife Lessons-Butterflies

DSCN1244“Like a butterfly stuck in a chrysalis, waiting for the perfect moment, I was waiting for the day I could burst forth and fly away and find my home.” ― Emme Rollins

 

 

I have long identified with butterflies.  Seeing them instantly brought me great inexplicable joy and happiness.  A freeing, playful spirit would overtake me.  I would want to follow them as it I could fly away on their adventures sipping the sweet nectar of different plants and choosing which I prefered.

 

And I never quite understood why these creatures held such magic over me until I began to garden for them, and then study them a bit.  When one gardens for butterflies, you make a concerted effort to bring in the flowers that will nourish and nurture them through each stage.  You bring in shelter too.  By getting to know how they live, you begin to know them….it is inevitable.  And to really understand them, you must also study their lore.

 

DSCN3557Butterflies seem very fragile.  Thin wings…wisp of creature that a strong wind could demolish…sensitive to their environment where slight changes could bring about their demise.   But if you watch them carefully and study them a bit, you get to know how really resilient these creatures are.  Flying thousands of miles to get where they must go…where they know instinctively they must go.  Battling storms and adverse conditions, yet still moving onward even in their short lives.

 

And it is the resilience that I most identify with now…still the playful, free spirit, but more the knowing of their place, their journey and never deterring…such commitment.  Of course these are human emotions I give to these creatures, but still it feels right to think of them in this way.

 

This year with my mantra/word for the year being Soar, I feel a strong pull, almost kindred spirit, to creatures of the air and especially the butterflies.  It is a transformational year too as I enter my second year of retirement, where I feel ready to shed the old and stretch my new wings getting ready to Soar into the brilliant blue skies.  So having butterflies as the symbol of my year, is perfect as they have long represented transformation in folklore.

 

As I look toward the future, I am looking back at the butterflies that Soared into my life and garden in 2014.  They were not great in numbers, but we did have a greater variety.

 

 

red admiral collage

The Red Admiral or Vanessa atalanta is usually a yearly visitor.

 

 

 

white admiral collageAnd the White Admiral or Limenitis arthemis arthemis has been visiting the last few years, now that we have been gardening for butterflies.

 

 

 

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This Eastern Tiger Swallowtail or Papilio glaucus bravely flew around the garden although he was missing the bottom half of his wings.  Pretty resilient critter finding lots of nourishing nectar here.  We generally have a few of these lovely butterflies visit.

 

 

 

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His cousin, the Black Swallowtail or Papilio polyxenes, frequents our garden more, and we usually have many of these caterpillars on our dill or Italian parsley.  I grow a patch just for these creatures.

 

 

 

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Another cousin, I had not noticed in our garden before, was the Giant Swallowtail or Papilio cresphontes.  Very similar to the others, but the body and wings are a bit different.  It was a treat to see him nectaring on the Clethra bush.

 

Another new butterfly was the Fritillary that is pictured at the top of the post.  It is hard to identify it with just the one photo.  This one was hard to get a picture of as it wouldn’t stay in one place long enough.  But I think it could be an Aphrodite Fritillary or Speyeria aphrodite…maybe an Atlantis Fritillary or Speyeria atlantis….most likely though it is probably a Meadow Fritillary or Boloria bellona.  I will watch for more of these lovelies in my garden as their host plant is violets which I have plenty of.

 

 

 

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Surprisingly the most plentiful butterfly in our garden is the Monarch or Danaus plexippus.  I think with all the milkweed we have now, and loads of their nectaring favorites like Echinacea, Monarda, aster and Helianthus, we see them on their way North and again as they migrate South. Not many caterpillars spotted in years past, but I hope that changes.

 

My plan for this year is to continue to add specific plants to entice loads more butterfly species into the garden.  I hope to compile a database of what host and nectar plants I already have that may draw in different species, and then go looking for caterpillars as I am more out and about in my garden.  It is my version of play….fascinating stuff really!

 

 

 

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Here is some interesting folklore about butterflies:

  • According to the Blackfoot Indians, butterflies carry our dreams to us at night.
  • Native American cultures consider the butterfly a symbol of the sacred and the unknown.
  • Since ancient times, the butterfly has been a symbol for the soul.

 

 

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.  Please check them both out.

 

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

butterflies

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.

Soaring in the New Year

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“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

 

 

As the new year unfolds today, I am thinking of so many things that I want to try, to accomplish, that I am dreaming of.  There are great possibilities in the beginning days of the New Year, but I can get caught up in making quick decisions of what I want to do or change.

 

I have long given up on using “resolutions”, and instead embrace a theme for the year around one word.  This idea of one word is more of a focus or attention I want for the year.  It helps to energize me and helps me expand the possibilities.  Along with the attention or focus, this word also helps give me a clear vision of my intention or desired outcome(s) for the year…supporting and inspiring my path.

 

This year, when I discovered my word, it felt right immediately.  It actually brought butterflies to my stomach, tears of joy and an inner knowing that this was my soul speaking.  It is an action word that I know will be transformative to my growth and path.

 

The word I chose as my guiding mantra for 2015 is:

 

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This word immediately uplifts me to seeing all the possibilities there could be.  To fly high, unrestricted…to rise above the fears…to rocket ahead, to aspire, pursue, strive and yearn with all my heart and soul.  Soar to me means freedom, especially freedom from doubt and fear.  Fear is still there, but no longer in the forefront.  With this word, I feel those fears fall away and my creative spirit expanding.

 

So what does all this mean for the new year?  I can say I am no longer letting fear pull me back from the dreams and desires that still smolder.  Soaring into the sun, these ideas I have had can now burn brighter.

 

And I am beginning again this year…always a fresh start.  Time to try out new ideas.  Of course with beginning, there is always fear, but I refuse to let that limit me from the new experiences and ideas waiting for me.  After all if you are a beginner then you are not expected to know everything or be perfect really.  Think about that….you are learning through new experiences so you should expect that you will make mistakes.  How wonderfully liberating.DSCN6115

 

In the spirit of trying new things, I want to expand my blog a bit this year with some new ideas:

 

  • I am moving my wildlife stories from my garden blog to this blog on the first Thursday of the month.  I love to garden for wildlife and observe the critters who come to live with us in our garden.  Their stories are inspirational to me, and I want to share them here.
  • I will be connecting my Sunday Poetry with particular themes each month which I think is a great way to emphasize lessons and experiences.
  • The second Thursday of the month, I am trying a new feature called Conversations In The Garden.  I am going back to my lessons learned through my garden posts that I used to write on my garden blog.  When I started my garden blog, that was the main feature with some gardening thrown in.  Now my garden blog has expanded to being more about gardening and specifically gardening  for wildlife, vegetable gardening and gardening with native plants.  I miss doing these ‘lessons learned’ features and will bring many back and continue them here.
  • The last Thursday of the month will be what I call, End Of Month Potpourri.  It will feature inspirational books I am reading, a photography project I plan to begin this year and other updates on the beginnings happening in this year of SOARing.

 

So I hope you will follow along and continue to inspire me as I SOAR this year.  Wishing you a most wonderful and happy New Year filled with lots of laughter and love!

 

If you like what you find on this blog, I hope you will share it with friends.  We can all use a little sharing of life’s inspirations.

 

 

Note:   The pink rose buds pictured here represents new love.  A perfect sentiment for a new year of SOARing and exploring new ideas.

 

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

pink rose bud

 

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.

 

Happy Holidays

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Today marks the celebration of Christmas around the world.  It is a day of hope, a day of new beginnings, a day for families and friends to gather together.  It means so much to so many, and yet we all have our different memories, traditions and beliefs.

 

And during this time of Christmas, there are many other holidays celebrated as well.  Chanukah has just ended, Kwanza will begin tomorrow.  We celebrate the New Year soon and we just celebrated the Winter Solstice as the days now lengthen and the light returns to the North.

 

Recently I discovered this Tara Mohr quote that spoke volumes to me and shifted my perspective of gratitude.  I thank Sor’a Garrett@The SHINE Connection for bringing it to me in her Joy of Giving series.

 

“Gratitude for makes me feel fortunate, gratitude to makes me feel in my right place-as a humbled, limited, human being. Gratitude for is about counting our blessings. Gratitude to is about being on the receiving end of a conversation with something larger.”   ~Tara Mohr

 

So during this special time of the year, I am filled with gratitude for so much and to so many people.  And I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to thank all of you for your support of my new blog.  Whether you read, comment, subscribe or pop over from time to time, I extend my gratitude to you.

 

And I wish you Happy Holidays as you celebrate the season.