Poetry Sunday: As Winter Yields, And Spring Sighs


As Winter Yields, And Spring Sighs



As winter yields, and spring sighs…..



the ice on the pond relaxes, relenting its hold


the ground gives way, a slow warming

to allow the snowy liquid to be absorbed nourishing


courageous early bloomers rise with trepidation,

breaking through to finally stretch toward the sun


winged natives, begin their songs of gratitude and praise,

and make ready for the mating season



March is so mutable, such a fickle one.

Do not underestimate its hold on winter, unrelenting.

But winter is nudging me, and saying goodbye in such subtle ways.

It is time for spring to make plans to visit, sailing in on warming winds.

So I am readying for spring’s hello, and winter’s goodbye as March traverses along.


© Donna Donabella 2018



In spring I see the subtle signs of spring….those I listed above.  And this year as February ended those signs appeared.  Unfortunately we had a beast of a storm on March 2nd that dropped a foot and a half of snow on us.  And more snow comes daily with cold winds. So now we wait for the signs of spring to come again perhaps by March end.  You can read more about the storm and my garden in this post.

The pictures here are from my garden.  Snow covered back garden, and pond thawing.


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


I leave you with a few additional words about Winter yielding, and spring sighing.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

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

Poetry Sunday: Dear New Year


Dear New Year:


It feels good to write your name on this page….another year older, new numbers for this new year.  And the new numbers come easily to my pencil and fingers.  Most years, I will continue to write the old year, correcting myself numerous times as if I cannot let go….not fully accepting the change the new year brings.


But not this year, 2018.  It is as though I have erased the old year and never want to write it again.  I certainly never want to see it again~or so I think!  Yet this new year looks foreign and foggy to me.  I am not sure what to make of it, except it feels good; stronger with lots of promise.


So I begin this New Year with these thoughts….I will Tend this year lovingly for myself and others.  A bit more kindness and love given.  A bit less judgment and fear.  Yes 2018, I am remaining open for you and all you will bring.  Hopeful you will make sense and bring some order to this world.


©Donna Donabella 2018



I wrote this epistolary poem in my new journal as the New Year began.  The flowers pictured here are commonly known as Amaryllis, scientific name Hippeastrum.  Red amaryllis are often associated with the holiday season, and typically mean determination, beauty, and love.


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



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

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

End of Month Potpourri-February 2016


“Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger. She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.” ~Hugh Macmillan




With scenes like this, I feel a sense of peace and calm even in the midst of a snow storm.  There is a feeling of being wrapped in a blanket, cocooned in safety as I watch this swirling magical world descend.  There is a beauty and magic to winter we miss when we just think about the negatives of snow.



It’s cold, the roads are a mess and I hate driving in it, I can’t garden or get outside….the list can go on and on.  But when I think of the time I spend indoors in winter, I feel glad to have this special time to rest, recharge and reconnect with my inner self.




And I do make time for the outdoors almost daily in winter….it is a renewed commitment to being out in all seasons and experiencing what they bring.  I absolutely love walking outside, even in cold winds, because it is refreshing.  I can give it many other terms:  bracing, invigorating, stimulating, energizing, exhilarating, reviving, restorative, rejuvenating, revitalizing.…well you get the picture.  And these words also describe how I feel about winter in general.



So I thought I would show you a few more pictures of winter this year…..most of it has happened in just one month, January.  Very strange to not have snow for at least 3 months, but I accept each month as they come.





When winter falls on the meadow, it is a breathtaking sight especially when the cold frosty morning meets the sunshine of the new day.





Each plant, coated in frost and snow, shimmers with the sunrise.





The fresh snow sits like cotton balls dipped in glitter.





And as the sun rises, I am intrigued by the bokeh effect on the landscape.




snowy branches

The display changes from different vantage points and lighting.  One reason I love to wander around after a snow fall, is to capture the different effects and views.




DSCN1881And  even on the grayer days, there is a beauty to the snow.





New snowy white flowers appearing where there was once only a seedhead….I call them winter flowers.




winter clethra collage

As the gray lightens or darkens the effect on the garden does too.  This Clethra bush is stunning when it is splashes with some snow.  It completely transforms under a heavier coating.





I hope you enjoyed this little look into winter in my own backyard.  We don’t have to venture too far to see the beauty of nature, frosty and sparkling under the winter snows.  You can also see some additional winter scenes with, winter at the lake, just a 10 minute walk from my door.



I will be away from my blog for a bit, and won’t have a Thursday post until March 10th.  I’ll see you then.




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


All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-16.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Conversations In The Garden: On Boredom


“I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.”  ~Louis C.K.




This quote, that I found recently, struck me as an in-your-face truism.  And I will be the first to say, I can get bored easily.  Or at least I thought I was bored.  Especially in winter when I am cooped up inside…ughh!  Now what do I do….sit and look at the white landscape.  Yes, the snow is pretty, but really I need something different after a while.



What I didn’t know then was, ‘I need something different’ was code for, ‘Routine is what is boring me’.  The same old, same old…..white landscape, too cold (or so I thought) to go out…..nothing new happening, ‘cabin fever’ feeling was creeping in.
And when I thoDSCN2001ught about it, that feeling doesn’t just happen in winter.  It actually happens in summer when it gets too hot to go out and do much.  And I find myself cocooned inside with the air-conditioning.  And then it struck me, how sad is that!



Did you ever notice that you will hear children saying, ‘I’m bored’ more easily than adults.  I know I did especially in winter, and toward the end of summer vacation.  Sounds familiar…..hmmmm!



I will even become bored with my garden….more bored by the look of it.  The same tried and true bulbs bloom every spring in the same spots.  The same bushes and trees leaf out.  The same weeds take over as I lose steam at the end of May trying to combat them….they’re everywhere….my God, they don’t stop!  At about that point, I give up and go inside just as the garden is heating up.  I know it is a sacrilege to be bored in a garden….but it happens.  What is causing this?  And really how can I be bored with so much life to be lived?



innovate3aSo am I really bored?  Or is that I need to shake it up a bit?  Try something new.  So I began exploring this a bit more toward the end of fall.  I think that is why the word, Innovate, really resounded for me as a mantra for the new year.



Like any activity or habit, if we don’t stretch ourselves, we can become tired of the sameness that comes from repetition.  Now some folks love the safety and security of repetition.  My husband does…..(Shhhsecretly sometimes so do I, but don’t tell him that).  He likes his comfortable routines, and when I need to shake up mine a bit, he unfortunately or fortunately has to come along with me many times…..with much kicking and moaning, I might add.  But once we start, we both find we like the change.



So there it is…change…..it is change I am seeking.  We fight it, we run from it, but inevitably it is what we seek…what we crave.  I know I do.  My brain craves new scenery, new scents, new experiences.  Some changes in the garden help….new bulbs, new designs….trying a few new vegetables; tomatillos this year.



DSCN1899But my soul seeks change as well.  It wants to explore, to contemplate life in new places, and meet new folks.  Engage in stimulating conversation or just watch the sunrise or set from a different locale.  To learn about myself more, and watch this woman grow.



So this is my year to Innovate….embrace change in my habits.  We are walking almost daily even when the temps are in the teens and it is snowing….what a wonderful experience!  We are planning some travel to see family…they are scattered around the country and we just don’t get to see them often enough…fingers crossed my health stays good for travel!  And we are exploring our surrounds…..going to the beach on the coldest day of winter was breathtaking!



Of course these are only a beginning….as I move through my day, I wonder how I can stretch myself.  Instead of reading 60 books this year, can I expand my normal repertoire or genre (mysteries and garden books)…I have added some spiritual books, memoirs and non-fiction to the list and love the intellectual stimulation.



DSCN1926So I am really bored?  Or maybe I just need a little shift.  A few more layers to endure the sharp bite of the wind, as I go out even on the coldest, snowiest day to find a warm, cozy world.  It seems just a gentle push up and over the hump or edge of that rut, I have worn into my path, is just enough to set me off onto a new adventure…..




Do you ever feel stuck in a rut or bored?  What have you found that helps lift you out and over that hump?







Special Note:  The pictures here are recent winter scenes, photographed through my windows.




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


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

Beyond Words: Winter At The Lake


“You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one; each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.”  ~Paulo Coelho




So we are back again to explore a beautiful spot that lies just across the street….a mere 10 minute walk from my front door.  Several months ago, I started a new series called, Beyond Words.  I wanted to showcase different spots I find, in pictures, with as few words as possible.  I have been focusing on the lake across the street; already seen in late summer, and again in late autumn.



It was time, now that winter was here, to venture across the street after our first big snowstorm, and a foot of fresh snow.  In autumn I visited on the unseasonably warmest day in November.  And on this winter’s day, in early January, it was the coldest day.  I was in many layers bracing myself against wind chills near -20 degrees.  It was so cold I couldn’t stay out for more than 15 minutes without my fingers turning numb, even though I was wearing gloves made for this severe cold.



But regardless, I was drawn back to this beach, this place, to see its beauty now in winter.  So let’s go to the lake…….





It isn’t surprising that no one is here.  I did find a few footprints of another brave explorer.  How desolate it looks, yet very calm and serene.




DSCN2020I have never walked on a snow-covered beach before.  I felt a bit giddy, and just like when I was a child seeing the beach spread out before me….drawing me in.  Knowing I could stay here forever.




DSCN2019Oh the soft feel of the sand beneath the snow….such a different experience.  Looking to the right, is the area where I saw the soft grassy jetty in late summer.  Now it’s icy and snow-covered, but it appears someone is visiting.  Let’s look closer.




geese collageThe gentle waves have frozen in place close to the shore, but there is open water near the jetty.  The wind has stopped and the lake is like glass.  A flock of Canada geese are feeding here in the warmer open water.  They will soon leave as the cold air and winter weather are finally settling in.




DSCN2044And if I shift my gaze a bit to the left and close up, I see the grassy shore now draped in its wintry cloak.




DSCN2045As I pan back, I can see more of this beautiful cove with the pristine beach.  I didn’t want to walk on it.  So instead I shifted back to face the water, and moved a bit forward.




ice collageAnd I took in the view of the lake in front of me.  Snowy beach meeting frozen water’s edge.  Frosty frozen water meeting ripply waves caught in winter’s icy grip, then open water, more ice and the deep blue lake beyond still not frozen.




more geese collage

And out in that open water are more geese.




other shore collageIf I stretch my gaze to the other shore, I see a foggy haze out in the middle of the lake where the warm water meets the frigid winter’s air.  One of the amazing sights on this day was all the blue.  The blue of the sky meeting the many shades of blue of the water.




snowy bench collageAnd as I shift my gaze left again, even the snow in shadow is blue.  Do you remember this bench from the last post?




DSCN2050It is already getting too cold, so I turn to go.




DSCN2048I’ve left my own path….my tracks in the snow here today.




frozen beach collageThere are no children playing on this day as there were in autumn.  I couldn’t resist photographing this sign again.  The thoughts of swimming here are farthest from my mind on this day.




DSCN2015One last look before I hurry to the waiting, warm car.  Soon enough this picnic spot will be filled to capacity with people celebrating the coming of beach weather.




DSCN2051Before I get in the car, ahead of me I see the sun blazing off the snow, almost blinding me as it illuminates the trees far on the other side of the parking lot.




DSCN2053As we were driving away, I was struck by the beauty of the trees no longer colored in their magnificent yellow and orange autumn cloak.  Now instead, they sparkle in their winter jewels.




DSCN2054Each scene more wondrous….




DSCN2055My soul drinking in every awe-inspiring view as we wound our way to the street, and back home.  It is amazing what wonders lay just 10 minutes away, waiting for us!


I’ll be back to visit this spot one more time in spring to give you a glimpse of its splendor, before the beach opens.  With this post, I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts 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. 






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




I leave you with a few additional thoughts about nature’s heart.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

nature-winter lake

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

Poetry Sunday-Red Flashes



Red Flashes



Red flashing by.

Black socks, trotting slowing.

Stopping, motionless.

Two now-stealthily waiting.

Patience…pouncing, rewarded!

And then gone-

Red flashing by.



 © Donna Donabella 2014



We have had foxes visiting our garden to hunt for several years now.  They are fascinating to watch.  And the observations of these beautiful creatures led to this poem a couple of years ago.




fox collage2

The top left picture shows the parent foxes after a soaking early spring rain, and one of their offspring (bottom right)…the mighty Hunter, as we have named him.  He is a beauty with his winter coat, and an excellent hunter.  You can read more about Hunter’s story when he first jumped our fence.  We recently had a new addition to our fox family.  Vixen, as we call her, showed up on Christmas, and has been visiting to hunt.  You can see pictures, and read her story here.


The pictures at the top of the post, in the mosaic below, and at the end of the post are of Hunter as he went about his daily hunting last winter.




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

fox collage

I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.





The latest issue of the on-line magazine, Rural, is out.  It is aptly named, Winter Love. rural winterlove An except of my poem, Blanket of Cotton, and a short essay, In Winter Play In The Garden, are included in this amazing publication.  I am honored to be included with so many creative writers and photographers.

The magazine is the creation of Jen@ The Light Laughed.  I hope you will check out the latest issue of this free online magazine.  You can sign up to read the new issue of Rural here.




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


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

Wildlife Lesson: Surprise Seasonal Miracles


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

Charles Cook



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





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




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


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





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





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





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




xmas bird collage

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





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


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




New Years critters

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

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


What wonderful critter surprises are you seeing?


With this wildlife story, I am joining in the meme Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina@My Gardener Says that happens the first Wednesday of every month, and with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.  I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every week.




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


All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-16.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Creativity Sunday-Holiday Views


“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”  

~Norman Vincent Peale



It has been almost 18 years since the passing of my father….40 years for my husband’s father, when he was just 15.  And 10 years ago, his mother died leaving a huge void in our lives.  Our traditional family gatherings were no more.  We seemed a bit lost trying to find our way.



We had just moved to our new house a few months earlier, but I just couldn’t open the boxes of decorations I had lovingly used in year’s past.  We didn’t cut down a tree.  Instead we put up a ceramic tree and a little faux tree, and lit them nightly. And I took whatever new decorations I was gifted, and scattered them about.



DSCN0983But this 10th year in our new house, I found a renewed energy…maybe because I was less stressed and had been retired now a year….maybe it was just time.  This past February, I went through all my Christmas decorations, and saved only those I cherished and might want to use this year.  And I promised myself to open those boxes, and put up some Christmas decorations.  Those I did not use this year would go in the pile to give away.



So in early December, the 4 boxes and our 2 little faux trees came out of the basement.  As I opened the boxes, a rush hit me, and I went about creating new scenes.  Three hours later, the house took on a holiday feeling, and the spirit of Christmas seemed to pour from every corner.  And you know what?  I used every single decoration….coincidence, I think not!



So I wanted to share some of our holiday scenes this year, that mean so very much to us!  With as few words as possible….




tree collage

Here’s one of our little faux trees.




ornament collage

With some of my favorite old decorations…..some as old or older than me.  The background is our ceramic tree that once belonged to my mother-in-law.





Sitting at the base of the tree, is this wonderful container of more old ornaments and garland.





This little tree graces our front hall.




garden tree ornament collage

It is also decorated with old ornaments, and my cherished garden tool ornaments given to me by a very dear, dear friend.





My favorite of these garden tool ornaments is the old-fashioned watering can.





And what better accompaniment for this tree, than my Christmas Garden Fairy.




mantel collage

The mantel was completely redone this year.  I brought out our wonderful Mr. and Mrs. Claus stocking holder and our stockings…..they were missed.  The wreath is one given to me by one of my thoughtful teachers when I first became a school administrator….I adore it.





Here’s another view of the mantel.



And a couple of more lovely scenes….












I leave you with a view from my front windows looking onto the porch…the glow of candlelight keeping the Christmas spirit bright!


I hope you enjoyed these holiday views.  I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and with I Heart Macro hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.




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

christmas is

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-15.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-To The Beat of Their Wings




To The Beat of Their Wings



To the beat of their wings,

a final call.

Farewell to autumn,

as the snow falls.



Formations stretch out,

across the sky.

Hundreds, now thousands,

lift their wings to fly.



Cold, fierce winds

pushing them onward.

Moonbeams, sun’s rays

navigate them forward.



An occasional rest,

then back to the task.

Soon in the warm breezes,

they can bask.



Though the way is now southerly,

all too soon-

They’ll be winging their way back

by the light of the moon.



 © Donna Donabella 2015



This poem came from my observing throngs of birds winging south for the winter.  The geese started their way in October as you can see in the picture at the top of the post.  And ended in early December with the starlings seen in the mosaic below.

The poem also speaks to my journey through the winter season.




December 21st is the Winter Solstice.  In celebration, I am doing my my Seasonal Celebrations round up post at my other blog, Gardens Eye View.   Join me tomorrow to see how others are celebrating the new season.  You can also read an excerpt of my Winter story in the latest issue of RURAL magazine.





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

wings collage

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




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




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


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

Conversations in the Garden: Slowing The Pace


“I have reached the stage now where luxury is not in fine possessions but in carefree possessions, and the greatest luxury of all would be the completely expendable.”

~Nan Fairbrother



At this time of year, the garden is making its final preparations for its annual slumber.  Each successive frost reminds the plants to stop growing and producing flowers.  Instead the plants begin to adjust their energies to their roots…a time to put all their focus below the soil and build up their resources now at the most basic level.  Where there is warmth and nourishment for growth.



Unlike in spring and summer, where the emphasis is on the outer growth of the plant….the leaves and flowers.  We work furiously in our gardens to prepare for the emergence of the plants.  We weed, cut back and remove impediments so we can celebrate each new bloom as it appears.  And then with the heat of summer, we sit on the front porch to cool ourselves and witness the beauty created before us…nature in all her glory.



I have spent many days, languishing in the shade of my porch and gazebo to observe the critters buzzing and chirping about.  To hear the gentle wind blow through the grasses, and watch it sway the multitude of flowers.  What sheer bliss.



DSCN4276But it seems with the coming of late fall and winter, we grieve for our gardens.  Nature lays waste to our precious masterpiece, wildlife retreats and we are left with cold, fierce winds and icy cold rain and snow.  We finish our garden chores and move indoors to find warmth, and a bit of relaxation.



But instead of kicking back, taking some deep breathes and going within to replenish ourselves, we seem to do just the opposite.  Our lives seem more hurried than when the plants were lush and the garden chores many.



I find myself impatient, sluggish, restless and frustrated.  Some of these feelings because I cannot be outside in my beloved garden and nature, but more because of the holiday season.  There is so much to do!



Cleaning, baking cooking, decorating, shopping, sending cards…ugh!  Not a holiday, where the word should conjure up rest, recreation, and freedom from work.  No, quite the opposite in fact.  The feeling of having to rush, rush, rush to get it all done before the holiday is here…not really getting a chance to enjoy the holiday season.  Instead it’s the annual race to finish it all and make it the best, brightest and prettiest holiday ever, takes charge!!




Well I for one cannot do that anymore.  I have given it up.  Given up the cards…I send a few ecards to family.  No more baking except for one little dessert for a special meal.  I can’t have the sugar anymore anyway.  I have a faux tree already strung with lights...no judgments please.  I use a few decorations, and have purged the rest so I am not tempted to get them out and go through all the decorating hub-bub.



So why did I do all this.  Because it just wasn’t feeling like a holiday…the spirit of the winter season and Christmas holiday had somehow been lost.  When I should have been slowing my pace and enjoying, I was actually in high gear with too much anxiety and frustration over all the ‘Have To Do’ things….and it spilled over to family making their holiday less than pleasurable.



Now instead, I ‘get to do’ those things I love.  Yes I know many people cannot just chuck it all.  There are family traditions, children, grandchildren…but I do think we all need to find a bit of time for ourselves and for our own sanity.  You say you don’t have the time.  Well that is precisely when you need to find some time!



Start slow and with one thing.  Not sending as many cards perhaps.  Or holding back on some of the baking and decorating.  It really is an individual thing.  Look for those things that no longer give you joy, and start your purging there.  That is how I started.  And certainly keep those traditions you love.  They are important.



DSCN4277Cutting back on a one or two small things will allow you to slow your pace.  Giving you a needed break.  And did you know that if you slow down as you move through your holiday rituals, you will enjoy them more.  So take a cue from nature and her rhythms to slow down this time of year.  Savor the beauty of nature and the season.  The time spent with loved ones.  Give the gift of time to yourself to renew…get to know yourself and reconnect with your inner core to build your strength below the surface.  Allowing your body, mind and soul to grow again….finding that sheer bliss inside!




slow collage


So how do you slow down the pace right now and enjoy the winter and holiday season?  You can read more of my thoughts about winter in my posts, Winter’s Gifts and Winter’s Moods.







Special Note:  The pictures, in the first part of the post, were taken this year from my front porch.  The violas, I grew from seed, were a special view as they were planted in multiple vases.  The other views are of my gazebo.  Each of these pictures evokes a sense of relaxation for me.





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


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

End of Month Potpourri-March 2015


Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.

~Quoted by Lewis Grizzard in Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You




In my neck of the woods, here in the northeast, spring takes her sweet time.  She slowly walks into my garden, and in March she is just beginning to yawn.  Consequently as others are showcasing their lovely spring blooms, I am still watching the snow melt.


But that doesn’t mean there isn’t beauty in my garden.  And for this End of Month Potpourri, I thought I would show you some of the beauty of late winter.




The sun comes streaming through the trees and bathes the garden in early morning light as spring comes closer.



DSCN0403The trees glow first as the sun splits through the bare branches, even those covered in chilly ice crystals.




It creates a rainbow on the snow as it sparkles.




Early shadows cast a blue glow over the snow-covered garden.  You can see the melting snow is creating creases in the landscape almost like a creek running underground.




The sun at high noon is shifting its shadow, and glaring off the surface of the melting snow.



DSCN0757A couple hours later, and the shadows have moved farther along the fence playing on the snow.



DSCN0726As the snow melts, it creates ripples and dimples….making it appear as if we are watching ocean waves frozen in place.



DSCN0733And then it will shift, looking instead like sand dunes on a desert of snow white.



DSCN0749And there are other playful shadows, such as this one from the patio table, reflecting its intricate scroll work.




As we get closer, it appears as if we can see right through the melting snow to the water beneath.



DSCN0754And even closer still, a few frozen bubbles….



Those bubbles mean the snow is melting, melting, melting…..soon to be gone.  And all that wonderful water, in the snow, is nourishing my garden and the spring blooms that lie underneath waiting for spring to step into the present.





Note:   The branches at the beginning and end of this post are of my dwarf willow trees.  As spring has sprung, and rain takes the place of snow, they are covered in the jewels of spring raindrops.  Soon they will burst forth in pussy willow flowers.






I leave you with another thought about the change of the seasons and weather.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

bad weather

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

Conversations In The Garden- On Awareness


A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.

~Leonard Nimoy



My mom is now in the winter of her life.  At 83, her body is shutting down, and she is in need of more assistance in her basic daily living skills.  It has been a traumatic journey for her recently, and given me much on which to pause and reflect.



DSCN0389I think about all she has given me over the years.  I was a sickly child, with asthma from the time I was born.  I almost died of pneumonia when I was one, and was in and out of hospitals from a very early age.  I had every childhood disease imaginable.  And in all that time, my mom never complained, and never once wasn’t there for me.



And now in her most vulnerable time, I try to be there with comforting words.  To give her guidance, to talk about her day, every day I can even though I am almost 3000 miles away.



And I think about my own mortality, now more than ever before.  How much time I have left here on this earth, in this body.  How long will it continue to allow me to do and think about the things I love….even the everyday things like walking, eating, breathing.



DSCN0384As I think about all this, I am drawn back to the Wabi-Sabi principles I learned about in January, in particular Principle 6:  Accept the inevitable.  Life is evanescent.  Before we know it another day has gone by, and then another month and another year….and then more years than we care to think about.




So if life is so fleeting, what can we do to not let it pass us by?  I think this is why I have been in a ‘noticing’ frame of mind recently.  To experience each moment….be present, be aware of my surroundings.  Really look, and deeply listen.  And especially become aware of myself.  Observing how I feel, what I am doing, how I am reacting to my life.  What choices I am making.  What might I want to change or do with my life right now.



DSCN0485And I have found great freedom in this noticing.  I find I am free now to do what I want…whatever that might be.  I am still discovering, even now in my life, that new paths are always showing themselves to me if I can be more aware.



Winter is a great time to reflect on our lives.  This past winter was a brutally cold one.  One that wore on with endless days of piles of snow unrelenting, and a frigid, bone chilling wind that never ceased to howl.  And under all that snow was a garden about to come to life again.  But for a long time though this winter, all I could see were my memories of it as it was held frozen below the landscape of white.



DSCN0516And if I take any lessons from this winter, it is this season will pass and be replaced by a new season, a new path, a new time, a new memory.  As I sit with the window cracked listening to the last of winter’s winds blow through the barren trees, I smell the change it is bringing.



And I hear the birds once again singing in a new season….rejoicing for this new time that is at hand.  A time to celebrate the beauty of what was, and what is to come.  A new garden to be born with new memories to be made.  My life, still before me each new day lived to its fullest.  The possibilities are endless when we are aware, in the moment.  




I am sharing this life and garden lesson with Beth@PlantPostings for her wonderful Garden Lessons Learned meme.  I hope you will join her.





Note:   All these images, of my garden, were taken this February during our brutal winter.  Even in its bitter cold and snow, there was beauty to be found.  The last photo is of my early spring garden last year.



The quote, at the beginning of the post, is the last Tweet Leonard Nimoy made a few days before he died.  I found it inspiring, thoughtful, and in his honor as Mr. Spock, “fascinating”.  May we all, “Live long and prosper”.






I leave you with another thought about aging, acceptance and life.  Feel free to download this photo and share.


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.

Creativity In Winter



The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?  

~J. B. Priestley



With the solstice behind us and we head into more daylight hours, I thought I would share with you some of my winter, and the beauty it brings me inspiring my creativity.  The first photo is my meadow in winter as the snow makes dollops of cream on the goldenrod seedheads.





The trees are another wonderful place for winter creativity and inspiration.  The snow clothes the trees leaving me to wonder how beautiful a tree can truly be in winter.  This is my beloved silver maple covered in lichen and snow.





We have many types of snowfall, and I love the gentle slow falling flakes shown here against the backdrop of the gazebo slightly off center.





Here’s another tree shot of the same silver maple, but this time it is the red flower buds that stand out in winter waiting for the warm spring.





Then there is the beauty of snowfall in black and white.  Here is it falling a bit steadier with no wind again against the backdrop of the gazebo.





And here is a part of the garden that was recently covered in snow.  The snow washes the landscape clean and there are few colors left making black and white photos of it very intriguing and creative in my opinion.





One other spot that is magical in the garden in winter is the big birdhouse.




creative snow collage

And finally I leave you with a mosaic for the season that shows you more of the bokeh effect (out-of-focus areas of the photo) of snow.  You can see this same effect in many of my photos of snow in this post.



I hope you enjoyed these winter scenes created by nature.  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.  




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


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.