Saturday, December 31, 2022

December 31--Happy to Leave 2022

The first and fundamental law of nature is to seek out peace and follow it. 
--Thomas Hobbes

    Heading into the new year, I like to review and thank the previous year. Or in this case, say "Good riddance!"
    You may wonder if I simply remember all this stuff. Actually, it comes from a review of my Win List. That's a daily note of all the good/blessings/joys in my life. Writing my Win List is part of my daily spiritual practice. Here are the 2022 items of note...

==Completed my seventh year of tax prep work.
==Taught MELT and yoga classes at the Clearwater Wellness Center and via Zoom throughout the year. One of my regulars passed away in June when I was on vacation--quite a shock to lose a student so suddenly.

==Son Derek and his wife Caila made me Grammie--Luca John Ember Hardin was born August 16, 2022.
==My husband and I celebrated our 36th anniversary in April.
==Sister-in-law Susan passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in September. I am blessed to have her (3-box) yarn collection to keep me busy thru the winter months.
==My niece and her son stopped to visit on their drive back to Ohio from Arizona. That was the first family to visit us here in decades.
==My brother moved into assisted living in October, a much safer place for him to be.
==This was the first Christmas since our sons were born that we were not together on Christmas day. I knew this would happen eventually, but that did not make it any easier.

==There were several visits to Colorado including my favorite activity--golfing with my sons.
==I added the Diamondbacks stadium to my MLB quest in May with a quick trip to Phoenix.
==I put a lot of miles on our new RAV4. In June I drove to Ocean City, Maryland for a week at the beach with my niece and her son. Then I drove south, and on three consecutive nights went to MLB games in Atlanta, Tampa, and Miami. It was a bit crazy, but I've now made it to 28 of 30 teams.
==I made an unplanned trip to Ohio in early October for my s-i-l's service.
==Then I headed back east to the Philadelphia area at the end of October for a great-niece's wedding. Afterwards, I drove through the area of PA where I grew up and hiked my favorite spot on earth--Alan Seeger Natural Area in central PA. Saw my "best friend since jr high" too.
==I enjoyed in early December another fabulous 11 days of relaxation with friends at the Couples Swept Away resort in Jamaica.

==Completed my 25th consecutive year of swimming over 100 miles.
==I came home from the October-PA-wedding trip with the bizarre illness that is Covid, but fortunately I recovered quickly, and no one I was around contracted it.

==Barney kept us moving with twice-daily walks. He makes us laugh and his goofy antics never get old.

==My husband took on the huge project of rebuilding our deck, tearing down the old wooden one and building a larger one with composite "lumber" and aluminum railings. There are also programmable built-in lights. VERY cool and SUPER sturdy.

Let's go, 2023!!!!

Friday, December 30, 2022

December 30--Sometimes I Disagree

Like water, we are truest to our nature in repose.   --Cyril Connolly

    My brain is not getting this one. While the idea of still water is a peaceful one ("He leadeth me beside the still waters"), how many perfectly calm bodies of water have you ever seen? Rivers flow, ocean waves crash on the shore, winds ripple the lakes, there are usually critters in there stirring things up. Maybe a small mud puddle could be totally still. 
    I think our true nature is in repose when we are not in human form. That's heavenly. But when we are here on Mother Earth, we are designed to move. I think of my new grandson--he is all about movement--that's what babies are designed for. Most recently he's learned to roll over. Comically, having spent his whole life so far positioned on his back, he does NOT like being face-down. Once he figures out that it is essential to crawling, he'll be good with it. We are designed to move from day one, and that's a good thing. 
My dog friends have the "repose" thing nailed.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

December 29--Light and Love

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.  --Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Mighty awesome words of truth. May we be light and love today, caring for ALL creatures, great and small. 

The Japanese Friendship Garden
of Phoenix, May 2022

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

December 28--Light Returning

The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. 
--Bertrand Russell

    Due to weather and new-baby issues, my son, his wife and his son had Christmas to themselves this year for the first time. It must have made an impact on my son, because he thanked both his dad and me for making Christmases so wonderful for him as a kid and a young adult. It's what you do when you are "inspired by love." 
    I would offer that the best way to be "guided by knowledge" is to "know thyself." The more we understand ourselves, "warts and all," the more resources we have to create that good life. This past fall has been a deep dive into grief, failed expectations, and my shadow-self. I feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and for now, thankfully, it's not a train!

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

December 27--Enough?

There are two ways to get enough: One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.  --G. K. Chesterton

    This is the working-life, retirement sort of scheme that I see playing out with our house and many friends. We work a large chunk of life to accumulate enough to support our families and create a thriving life. At some point all that accumulation becomes a burden (for us or our offspring), and we begin to desire less. I vastly prefer experiences over stuff. I'm very limited in what I will allow myself to bring home. Desiring less is very freeing, and I have never not had plenty of "enough." 
    I wonder sometimes about the billionaires in the news, so often categorized as greedy. How many billions are "enough?" This is a valid question as in our society, the rich get richer... and the middle class continues to diminish. The very wealthy and the very poor have no concept of how the other lives. "Enough" is defined very differently by those two groups. 
    What is your "enough"?

Is beauty enough?
From the CSU Gardens, July 2022

Monday, December 26, 2022

December 26--Onward

Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing that I knew 
There was milk and toast and honey and a bowl of oranges, too. 
--Joni Mitchell

    Woke up, and thank the heavens, Christmas is over! Christmas 2022 was a GIANT "pothole" in life for me, very different from decades of Christmases past. My wise yoga teacher Ana Forrest said, "Never waste a good trigger." If something causes one to grow/expand/release, dive in! Actually, the past four months have been loaded with triggers, including Christmas, and I can say confidently that I did not waste any of them!
    Will this 2022 change make future Christmases easier? I don't know. I don't even know if I have any more Christmases in this lifetime. None of us can be sure of that. But I am ready to move on to 2023. There are adventures to be planned!

Sunday, December 25, 2022

December 25--Merry and Bright

Quiet is peace. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life.  --Khaled Hosseini

Merry Christmas from Barney and me!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

December 24--Christmas Eve Stories

The universe is made up of stories, not atoms.  --Muriel Rukeyser

    Ain't that the truth! We each reside in our own little universe that is created from the stories we have made up. Life on Mother Earth is our universes intersecting. Of course, one of the most famous stories of all time happened on Christmas Eve.
    My story for this Christmas Eve is hanging with Barney, writing and enjoying my morning coffee with Bailey's Irish Cream. Maybe I will go for a swim. I'll watch the Chiefs game later. My husband is in Missouri visiting his family. I pre-planned a Christmas Eve treat--there is a piece of carrot cake awaiting me in the fridge. I cannot recall a time when I was alone on Christmas Eve. I must say that my story on this is that I do not like it, but I will suck it up, put on my big-girl panties, and make the best of it. 
    Merry Christmas Eve!

Friday, December 23, 2022

December 23--Just Love

When you come right down to it, the secret to having it all is loving it all. 
--Joyce Brothers

    But don't we love to whine and fuss about all those things we don't love--bad weather; high prices; corrupt politicians (that's redundant, I know); annoying relatives, kids and coworkers; the job; chores; on and on. It is even annoying that focusing on the negative seems so much easier than staying on the loving side of things. I remind myself often that love is the simple and best answer anywhere and everywhere. 
Barney, my excellent example
of love. 

Thursday, December 22, 2022

December 22--Baby, It's COLD Outside!

Cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.  --Joseph Addison

    I am having to work hard at cheerfulness right now. The frigid winter storm that has set upon us is not helping. I'm not fond of high temperatures in the single digits. It is one degree right now with a 25 mph wind. I am infinitely grateful for a steady, relatively new furnace. Wordle, Waffle, crocheting, swimming and watching basketball are saving my sanity right now. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

December 21--No Peace Here

When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.   --Peace Pilgrim

    In years past I have been an extremely "happy camper" relative to Christmas. For the first time in 35 years, our whole family will not be together on this Christmas Day. I may actually be alone on Christmas Day, as my husband plans to go see his parents, and I'll be staying home with Barney. Let's just say that there's very little peace within me about all this. While I knew in my head that this day would eventually come, and I'm not the only mom on the planet without her kids with her at Christmas (DUH!!), it is still quite a challenge for me. Our household is not its usual peaceful place. Right now I think the only way for peace to return is for the calendar to pass December 25. I just want it to be over, which for me is a very depressing way to think about what used to be my favorite holiday. 
    One day at a time,

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

December 20--Nature's Song

It is good to listen--not to voices, but to the wind blowing, to the brook running cool over polished stones, to bees drowsy with the weight of pollen. 
--Gladys Taber

    This is a much-needed reminder for me at the moment, as I have some unpleasant and depressing voices chattering in my head. Here in Kansas there is plenty of wind to listen to. 
    Below is a video of "the brook running cool over polished stones" in Alan Seeger Natural Area in central Pennsylvania. The waves in Jamaica were equally successful at washing away my anxieties, but alas, being back home, they have returned. My upcoming walk with Barney will be helpful--he is a good listener!

Monday, December 19, 2022

December 19--Enough Time

There is time for everything.  --Thomas Edison

    It has taken me a lot of years to embody this truth. I have been a dedicated list maker, and I like to get stuff done. Whether or not they are constructive, we all operate on our own priorities as to how we use the time we have. 
    Enough time is a topic that comes up in my coaching work. Fear of not enough time is a self-fulfilling situation, in that so much time and energy are wasted over angst about time. If you are continually telling yourself that you don't have enough time, that will be your ongoing manifested result. 
    Time is a human invention. We create it, and we can create as much as we want. (Read about "Einstein time" in The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks.) When I feel rushed (rare these days), I remind myself that I am creating time, and I have plenty of it. 
    Let's look at procrastination. Is there really such a thing? We tend to beat up on ourselves for procrastinating, but we put things off for a reason. We tend to judge that reason as good, like taking time to make a good decision, or as bad, i.e., delaying because of laziness, fear, indecision, or inadequacy. Could it prove useful to consider "procrastination" as a call to examine one's priorities? 

Sunday, December 18, 2022

December 18--It's In the Heart

The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.  --Buddha

    We could substitute "Spirit" for "the way" in that quote. This is likewise true for solutions, passed-on loved ones, inspirations, serenity, the right words at the right time, healing, and so on. The heart has way more wisdom than we generally recognize and put to use. 
"One Love, One Heart"
Jamaican Christmas ornament

Saturday, December 17, 2022

December 17--What Sort of "Something Bigger"?

The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.  --Norman Vincent Peale

    I think of a few things I love to do--gardening, golfing, swimming--and while they all take physical effort, I always feel good after time spent doing any of those. It is energizing to do the things we love. 
    I can capitalize "Something Bigger," seeing it as another name for Higher Power or God or Spirit. It is certainly our source of energy, and confidence in It is empowering.
    I also note that losing myself in something bigger can suck the life out of me. This would be a "something bigger" that is negative and/or over which I have no control. This fall has been a difficult time where I have been lost in grief and hugely-failed expectations. I am very aware of the energy drain I've been living in over the past few months. 
    Such is the ebb and flow of life. 

Poinsettias in Jamaica,
after a rain shower

Friday, December 16, 2022

December 16--A Benevolent Universe

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.  --Eckhart Tolle

    These are the words of Satish Kumar which come from Richard Rohr's "Daily Meditation" for December 14:
We live in a benevolent universe. . . .

The benevolence of the soil is endless; it helps one single seed to multiply into millions of seeds for hundreds of years, producing colorful, aromatic, juicy and delicious fruit, feeding birds, bees, humans and animals. The tree celebrates the benevolence of the soil and becomes benevolent in return, offering its fruit to whoever is in need, without condition and without judgement. . . .

The benevolence of the sun is beyond the capacity of words to describe. It burns itself to maintain life. . . . It provides conditions for photosynthesis for the whole plant kingdom to nourish itself and give nourishment to bacteria, insects, birds and animals.

The moon is benevolent. It maintains the cycle of life and cycle of time. Time and tide are sustained by its presence. . . .

Rain is benevolent. It . . . delivers itself to every farm, field, forest, mountain and human habitat, free of charge, without needing any external supply of energy. It moistens the soil, quenches the thirst, fills rivers, ponds, lakes and wells and in partnership with the sun it feeds the world. . . .

Air is benevolent. We breathe, therefore we are. Air is related to the spirit, to inspiration, to spirituality. . . . Air is breath of Brahman, breath of the universe, breath of God. In Sanskrit air is prana, which means life itself. . . .

Space is benevolent. All and everything is held in space and by space. All movements, all changes and every kind of dynamism are sustained in the stillness of space. We always need to be mindful of reducing our clutter and maintaining spaciousness in order to be detached and free.

Soul is benevolent. Compassion, kindness, generosity and inner luminosity are the qualities of the soul. Mind, intelligence, and consciousness are held in and processed by soul. Soul is the seed of life. Feelings, emotions, sentiments, intuition and reason pass through soul and manifest in the world. . . . It is not only humans who have soul; animals, birds, insects and microbes have soul. Soil, trees, rocks and rivers have soul. . . .

The world is how you see it and what you make of it. If you look at the world with benevolent eyes, the world reciprocates with benevolence. If you project suspicion and self-interest, you get the same in return. Trust begets trust and fear begets fear. Recognizing the benevolence of the universe is not to deny the shadow side, but seeing nature as red in tooth and claw and people as selfish and greedy makes us respond in similar vein. If we sow seeds of malevolence, malevolence will grow; if we sow seeds of benevolence, benevolence will grow.
What a blessed life we live!

The Pleiades Star Cluster
Astronomy Picture of the Day, 12/05/22

Thursday, December 15, 2022

December 15--It's a Challenge

Watch out for each other. Love everyone and forgive everyone, including yourself. Forgive your anger. Forgive your guilt. Your shame. Your sadness. Embrace and open up your love, your joy, your truth, and most especially your heart. 
--Jim Henson

    Yesterday when driving home from teaching my MELT/yoga class, I came across a dead dog a couple blocks from our house. It was a heartbreaking sight. I needed to use the bathroom, so I planned to go home and return to the dog. It's a good thing I went on home, because my husband actually saw the dog be hit. He was walking our dog, and a driver in a pickup truck hit the dog and didn't even stop. My husband was understandably very shook up. He wanted to go back to the dead dog, and he found information on the dog's tag to call the owner. He left a voicemail, and later in the afternoon the dog was removed. 
    Forgiveness is a process. Right now, relative to the murdering driver, all I can think is "What an asshole!!!!!!!!" That kind of thoughtless cruelty is very tough to forgive. This is a neighborhood where children are playing! No one should be driving fast enough that they end up hitting an animal! I feel so sad for the dog's owner(s), too.
    It's hard to open my heart and forgive when things like this are so painful. 

Oscar the Grouch

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

December 14--HOME!

The fruit of silence is tranquility.  --Arabian Proverb

    After a very long but uneventful travel day on Tuesday, I am safely and happily back home. I am grateful for a superb vacation. Below are two shots from my final stroll on the beach yesterday morning.
    More tomorrow,
This one stood still for several photos.

As a fitting end to my Jamaica stay,
the man on the bicycle twice offered
to sell me marijuana 😉😉

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

December 13--Paradise Ending

Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time.  --Hermann Hesse

    Today is our "return home" day. I will be retreating to that sanctuary often today to bring peace with me as we move through bus travel, airports, customs, flights, etc. 
    Yesterday was our last full day here. After an early breakfast, my roomie and I enjoyed a two-hour vegetation tour of the property. There are 72 different kinds of palm trees alone. I will be sharing photos over the next few days. 
    I did my last lap swim, making for a total of seven miles while I was here. Then it was off to the beach for another wonderful sunny afternoon. Smoke from a local fire gave us the best sunset of the trip. Our final supper together at Lemongrass was yet another blessing of the day. 
    Beam me up, Scottie!

Monday, December 12, 2022

December 12--Ocean Music

There is no greatness where there is not simplicity.  --Leo Tolstoy

    Life here is great because it is so simple. Swim laps. Drink coffee. Eat. Laze on the beach, cool off floating in the ocean, repeat several times. Shower and dress. Drink. Eat. Sleep. We've thrown in some shopping and a craft here and there, along with a couple of scenic boat rides. 
    Yesterday we had our first significant cloud cover for about 2-3 hours in the afternoon. There was no rain, however, so it was a nice break from the heat. Later in the early evening, we had our first rain shower of the trip.
    Let's talk about beach music. One of the reasons I love this resort so much is there is no blaring music going on constantly. The waves provide the best "music." There are several local musical groups who make their money via tips as they play for folks sunning on the beach. There is a twosome with a stand-up base and snare drum, and they are not bad. The rest range from out-of-tune to me wishing for temporary deafness and escaping into the ocean. Yesterday's musical comedy was a multi-piece "band," I'm not sure how many because I did not want to encourage them by looking at them. They started a number positioned just a few feet away from one of our group. It took quite a few bars for me to figure out that they were attempting "Feliz Navidad." Ironically, our group member that they were "serenading" is Jewish. 
    I would also add that if I never hear "Sweet Caroline" or "Can't Help Falling in Love" (Elvis) again, it will be too soon. 
    Give me the great simplicity of ocean waves breaking any day!

A very clever artist makes a different sand person(s) every day. 

Sunday, December 11, 2022

December 11--Would Bob Marley even drink that?

I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am. I am. I am. 
--Sylvia Plath 

    I am, I am, I am a doofus. 😉😉 I locked myself out of our room yesterday morning. Fortunately I had enough clothing on to truck up to the lobby and get new keys. My roomie was off having breakfast, so I didn't want to go into the restaurant wearing half-swimsuit, half-nightgown. Geez. 
    Our silly adventure of the day was "Bob Marley shots." This is a red-yellow-green-layered concoction of strawberry, creme de banana and creme de menthe liqueurs. This is a new-to-me Jamaican ritual which had the bartender howling at our reactions. It was a total nose hit for me, like horseradish. As my dad said (originally relative to marriage), "Once is enough for anybody." 
    Otherwise the day included another lovely lap-swim and lazing on the beach and in the ocean. We capped off the day at the martini bar followed by the regular Saturday night lobster tail dinner. 
    When I close my eyes, I can feel myself rocking in the waves. I don't want to forget that heavenly feeling. 

Saturday, December 10, 2022

December 10--Party On

After a storm comes a calm.  --Proverb

    I hope this doesn't jinx us, but we've hardly even seen clouds, much less had any rain or storm during our time here so far. 
    The big event of yesterday (Friday) was the Reggae Beach Party. It is an amazing effort. Starting mid-afternoon, they take an empty section of beach and turn it into a buffet restaurant. They put up giant poles and string lights, and add smaller poles with tiki torches. They set up at least 50 tables with eight chairs each, along with a stage for the band. There is a huge buffet spread of food and two full bars. There's specialty lighting. Our seating was once again about 20 feet from the ocean. It is such a treat to bury one's feet in the cool, fine-grain sand. And the whole production is all quickly and quietly gone--our room is very close to the party site, and I heard very little disassembly noise. 
    Another day begins with another swim, 

Friday, December 9, 2022

December 9--Sea Beauty

It is in the shelter of each other that people live.  --Irish Proverb

    We have a lovely group of six folks on this Jamaica trip, and we have all blended well with each other. We go our separate ways for assorted activities, but hang on the beach, check out the sunset, and eat dinner together. We enjoy the "shelter" of each other's company. 
    Yesterday started with a walk on the beach, followed by a glass-bottom boat ride. The boat motored out to a reef where we saw assorted fish and starfish. Our guide dove in and brought up a starfish for us to pass around, keeping it upside down to hold the water intact to keep it alive. (Photo below.)
    We lazed away another sunny beach day, enjoyed the sunset, then had martinis while awaiting our reservation at Lemongrass, the Asian restaurant here. It was our best meal so far, capped off with excellent Pad Thai. 
    Time to swim,
It is spiny, but the spines are rounded, not sharp.
The shell is quite hard. Beautiful!!


Thursday, December 8, 2022

December 8--Eternal Debate

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

    I'm late today due to internet issues. 
    The tree frogs here sing at night. That's one theory. The other suspicion is that it is a recording with speakers hidden in the trees. No one can find the frogs or the speakers. It's an eternal debate. 
    Yesterday's highlight was the evening sunset catamaran cruise. I learned my lesson about the potency of rum punch last year on this adventure, and I elected to not repeat the lesson. I stayed 100% sober. It was a lovely cruise, but not nearly as rowdy as last year's. It was fun to watch someone else belly-flop off the slide. 
    Just as the sun was setting, the moon was rising opposite it. 

    The evening's entertainment was the Silver Birds steel drum band. Wow, not only is their playing amazing, but the energy with which they dance is astounding. There was, of course, another rendition of "Sweet Caroline." If I believed in hell, I'm sure it would include non-stop playing of that song. 
    More tomorrow, I hope, 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

December 7--Transparency

Let things taste of what they are.  --Alice Waters 

    I've been doing a lot of tasting lately! We've had four nights in a row of sit-down dinners lasting 2-3 hours. The food is wonderful, but I'd just as soon not sit around eating for that length of time. 
    The Waters quote expresses a desire that a person/situation/thing is true to its nature. It's another way, possibly, of saying "what you see is what you get." No subterfuge, manipulation or conniving. 
    I share these words of Alan Watts regarding the difference between belief and faith:
We must here make a clear distinction between belief and faith, because, in general practice, belief has come to mean a state of mind which is almost the opposite of faith. Belief, as I use the word here, is the insistence that the truth is what one would “lief” or wish it to be. The believer will open his mind to the truth on the condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes. Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go. In this sense of the word, faith is the essential virtue of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception.
    Happy birthday to my father-in-law!

These shrubs are just blooming now,
red & green for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

December 6--A New Taste Treat

Only in peace do we have joy. Not by acquiring things, not by doing things, not by earning or learning, but by dedication.  --Swami Satchidananda

    It's pretty peaceful here, and I'm feeling a lot of joy. 
    Yesterday's highlights... I did the usual 24-lap swim, and hung out on the beach. Mid-afternoon a friend and I went across the road to the fitness center for water aerobics. A half-hour of that kicked my butt. (Though I must say I'm not sore this morning from it.) In the evening the resort held the "private" dinner for returning guests. The feature was surf & turf, which I declined in favor of spinach and eggplant lasagna. It was good, really just a big pile of veggies with cheese. The highlight of the meal was dessert--hot cheesecake. It was flavored with the very hot Scotchbonnet peppers, quite an unusual flavor and SO delicious. A bit of nighttime "relaxing" on the beach made for a lovely night's sleep. 
    Time to swim,
After sunset

Monday, December 5, 2022

December 5--Not Suffering in Paradise 😉😉

Harmony makes small things grow; lack of it makes great things decay.  --Sallust

    I think of the harmony in my small grandson's home and how he is growing at a marvelous, happy rate. We know of unhappy homes where great families decay. 
    Enough heavy stuff! I'm in Jamaica, it's fabulous, I'm off to swim laps...

Saturday night is lobster tail night

The sunset catamaran cruise

Sunday, December 4, 2022

December 4--Grateful for Perfect Water Temperatures!

Out of clutter, find simplicity.  --John Archibald Wheeler

    There was a lot of "clutter" around as I was packing for this trip. I stuffed my large suitcase and still came in under 50 pounds. I believe I have everything I need for a simple 11 days in paradise. 
    Yesterday, after a morning lap swim and smoothie at the fitness center juice bar, it was off to the beach. The day went like this: float in the water--read in the shade--lie in the sun--REPEAT. There was a snack somewhere in there, a trip back to the condo for forgotten items, and a couple trips to the bar. Busy, huh?!!?
    Saturday is lobster tail night here, so that was our dinner treat. We had a live band serenading us. Bands here love to play "Sweet Caroline" and get the diners to sing. I'll bet I hear that at least a half-dozen times when I'm here. It's become musical torture for me. 
    We watched the sunset, and I got the most beautiful beach photo, post-sunset. See below. 
    Time to swim!

Saturday, December 3, 2022

December 3--Serenity Abounds

Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is. 
--Thomas Szasz

    I'm in Jamaica, arriving last night after a LONG, crowded trip. Friday night is "Beach Party" night, so the buffet and band were moved out on the beach, and our table was about 20 feet from the ocean. I doubt that there will be much boredom here--it's all serenity to me! Already this morning I've done a 24-lap swim. It is such a treat to swim under the brilliant blue sky 😀😀
    I am not having much luck with internet service here, so postings may be sporadic. 
    Below is one of the interesting sights in the Atlanta airport. There is also a display case of old lunch boxes. 
    More tomorrow, maybe, 

Friday, December 2, 2022

December 2--Woohoo!

We are happy when for everything inside us there is a corresponding something outside us.  --W. B. Yeats

    I must confess that I have no clue what Yeats means by that statement. I am happy because today I get to return to Jamaica for 11 days in paradise. I have a desire to travel (inside) and a trip now happening (outside). Maybe that's the idea? 
    Anyway, I am not sure that I want to return to writing the blog. I do look forward to lying in the hammock on our balcony overlooking the ocean and chillin' with my thoughts and Chromebook. So we shall see how things go. 
    Safe travels for me, inside and outside!
I had the colors of the Jamaican flag--
black, green and yellow--
put in my hair. FUN!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

December 1--Harmony. I Think I'm Back.

Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. 
--Albert Einstein

    December's theme in "Daily Gratitude" is harmony
    How many lives and billions of dollars have been wasted on the oxymoron of "peace-keeping force"? 
    Switching gears, let's look at personal harmony. This idea comes from Rev. Dr. Dennis Merritt Jones. You are the king or queen of your own personal monarchy... "It is the domain of your own life, your mind and body, which means the only inhabitant is you. You are the ruler of your own empire... How does your personal monarchy measure up? What kind of ruler are you? Do you rule yourself with a hard hand and judgmental heart, or do you treat yourself with kindness, generosity of spirit, reverence and respect? The next time you enter the sacred gates of your own mind and heart, be wise, strong and loving--and long live the queen/king."
    It's good to be queen!

P. S. The final quotes for November were:
Nov 28----Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved.  --D. H. Lawrence 
Nov 29----The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.  --Michel de Montaigne
Nov 30----True wisdom lies in gathering the precious things out of each hour as it goes by. --E. S. Bouton

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

November 22--Thanksgiving Week

Here are the quotes for the rest of the week while I am taking a writing break:

Nov 22----Praise the bridge that carried you over.  --George Colman

Nov 23----Things do not change; we change.  --Henry David Thoreau

Nov 24----It's never too late--in fiction or in life--to revise.  --Nancy Thayer

Nov 25----Gratitude is one of the least articulate of the emotions, especially when it is deep.  --Felix Frankfurter

Nov 26----Forget injuries, never forget kindness.  --Confucius

Nov 27----The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.  --Eleanor Roosevelt

Have a superior, pleasant, bountiful Thanksgiving with safe travels if you are on the roads!

Astronomy Picture of the Day, 11/21/22
The Butterfly Nebula

Monday, November 21, 2022

November 21--Stick a Fork in Me

Life is made up of moments; small pieces of glittering mica in a long stretch of gray cement. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead, that won't happen. We have to teach ourselves how to make room for them, to love them, and to live, really live. 
--Anna Quindlen

    I've decided it is time for a break. I'm tired of the thoughts in my head, and I don't feel like writing. I have written a post every day since April 1, 2020, except for a short break in April 2021. That's over 900 posts. I'm feeling like I write the same things over and over again. My reader count is declining. I'll be back sometime. 
    In support of my break, here is the useful affirmation from today's "Daily Guide" (Science of Mind magazine) by Rev. Dr. Dennis Merritt Jones: "Today, I observe what occupies my mind, soul and body. I give myself permission to take an intentional time-out, the time necessary to rest simply in spirit, mind and body." 
    Have a great Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, November 20, 2022

November 20--Good Stuff

Adopt gratitude as the basic tenor of one's life--gratitude for being alive, for being free, healthy, and intelligent; gratitude for the senses and their pleasures, the mind and its adventures, the soul and its delights.  --Johannes A. Gaertner

    What an excellent suggestion, especially moving into the week of Thanksgiving! Gaertner makes a list of likely items to appreciate, but you can certainly add to it. Gratitude feels good!
An estate sale "treasure" I found

Saturday, November 19, 2022

November 19--Sometimes We Live Bigger, Sometimes Smaller

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.  --Anais Nin

    I'm a mixture of brave/courageous/bold and fraidy-cat. I've driven thousands of miles by myself all over the country this year. I do that without hesitation. Yet I'm terrified to back our RAV4 into the garage. I can drive it in forward just fine, but don't ask me to back it in. I can't even watch my husband do that, and he's comfortable with it. 
    This fall has hammered me, and beat up a bit on my courage. My s-i-l passed in September. I made two trips to PA and Ohio, the second ending with me coming home with Covid. I've fallen twice (only bruises, thankfully). Then on Thursday, the husband of a dear friend passed after a lengthy fight with cancer. I feel like the wind keeps getting knocked out of me. Then there's winter-time setting in, and missing my kids and grandson. 
    But there is a Jamaica trip upcoming in a couple weeks. That will re-spark expansion in my life!
Christmas decorations in Jamaica

Friday, November 18, 2022

November 18--Kindness--More! More!

If everyone helps to hold up the sky, then one person does not become tired. 
--Tshi Proverb

    Are you contributing to the good of the whole, or living by the philosophy of "what's in it for me?" Being human, we will most likely be a mixture of those two options. It seems to me that the Trump candidacy and presidency encouraged a widespread return to rude and negative behavior, and that isn't good for anyone. 
    My daily morning prayer is "Please help all of us on the planet to be kinder to each other and kinder to our Mother Earth." 
    Let's all make kindness a continual practice. Every act of kindness matters!

Kindness works in every season!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

November 17--WOW! Cool!

Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. 
--Mary Oliver

    I note that today would have been the 81st birthday of my s-i-l Mary Ellen. She passed seven years ago and I still miss her. My Ted Bear is a constant reminder of her love. 
    As an over-the-top-lover-of-lights, we are entering my favorite time of the year. I LOVE Christmas lights!! I'm gradually getting our Christmas decorating done before I head to Jamaica for an early December vacation. Displays are beginning to appear in our neighborhood. No matter how simple or extravagant the display, I love it. I also love Botanica's annual fundraiser "Illuminations," where millions of lights shine in the winter gardens. Lights are set to music, too. It is astonishing. I can hardly wait!
    Ms. Oliver's instructions are simple and "right on." Find a "WOW!" today and tell someone you love about it!
A fabulous avocado toast & poached egg 
breakfast prepared by my son. YUMMY!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

November 16--Give and Give

They who give have all things; they who withhold have nothing.  --Hindu Proverb

    It's a mindset--one either supports circulation and flow in life, or one dams it up. My dad was a very generous person, giving freely of his time and financial resources. He and Mom started life together with very little, so he could have been a miserly hoarder of all he earned. He taught me the "keep the flow going" lesson for which I am eternally grateful. Giving continues to bless my life every day. 
    Everything in nature gives abundantly. We would do well to follow that lead.  

Fall leaves--now there is abundant giving!

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

November 15--Balance

Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind. 
--Lionel Hampton

    This is certainly true for the many wonderful people in my life. It makes my heart feel happy to think of them and how they have blessed my sojourn on Mother Earth. 
    Life has been interesting lately. In the past two weeks I have had two nasty falls. One was when I fainted during Covid, and I bruised my left side in assorted places. The second was when doing some cleaning (see, I told you I despise cleaning!) and Christmas decorating. I fell off a chair (insert here: "that was dumb!!!") and fortunately, our recliner broke my fall, so I bruised only my right side. I feel great gratitude that these did not result in any injuries more significant than bruises. Alas, I hate being thought of as "an old person who falls." I have not fallen in years before these two incidents, and I don't plan to fall again for a very long time! I attribute my toughness to Melt and yoga and staying active, and that's good motivation to continue those practices. 
    Upright and moving,
I say often: "It's a good thing one does not have
to have perfect balance to be a yoga teacher!"

Monday, November 14, 2022

November 14--little/BIG

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.  --Robert Brault

    Amen! I think of my sweet husband caring for me during my recent experience with Covid. I stayed in the lower level of our house, and he was up and down a lot bringing me food, water, meds and anything else I requested. That was definitely a "big thing."
    There are so many things in my life that are little/big things: swimming, golf, walking Barney, hanging on the new deck with my husband, road trips, gardening, fun times with family and friends, home-cooked meals, teaching and coaching... Looking at this list I see that it is the day-to-day "little" activities that make for a great life, and that is one BIG thing. 
Sweet Barney 😍

Sunday, November 13, 2022

November 13--Phrases of Love

There is as much greatness of mind in acknowledging a good turn, as in doing it. 

Thank you
You're welcome

    How about we all use those three phrases more often? It would make both me and Miss Manners happy. I suspect that we have all had poor service and good service. Given that most of us generally prefer good service, let's acknowledge it! The more we bless good service, the more we shall receive it. 
    Lovingkindness pays,
A fern in the woods of PA

Saturday, November 12, 2022

November 12--Living or Existing?

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.  --Oscar Wilde

    It is quite difficult from the outside looking in to tell if someone is living or merely existing. What about Mr. Wilde--it is commonly known that he really enjoyed his alcohol.  Was he living or existing? Addiction is rampant in our society. Having been on both sides of addiction--actively using and recovering--I can say that if one is still practicing the addiction, that's existence, not living. 
    Each individual must decide what it means to live, and if the effort is worth it. This is an ongoing process for all. Many changes have been happening in my life, and I am pondering what my new version of living looks like. What do I want to keep? What do I want to release? The clearer my picture of living, the more likely I am to create it. 

Where is your path leading?

Friday, November 11, 2022

November 11--It's TIME!

They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.  --Andy Warhol

    Isn't time an interesting thing? What did people do before clocks were invented? There must be some natural organic function within us that understands the passage of time and could easily guide us through life without clocks. But then I would be late for appointments, which would drive me nuts. 
    Sometimes, however, I feel like there is always a time readout in my face, emphasizing the super-quickening forward march of time. Nowadays when I go into a hotel room, I either cover the clock faces or turn them to the wall. I'm really looking forward to my upcoming time in Jamaica where no one cares what time it is!
    Consider the idea that time heals. I guess that's so for a physical wound. I'm not so sure about grief. I believe time can mellow a heartache, but it doesn't eliminate it. 
    There is very interesting information relative to time in the book by Gay Hendricks titled "The Big Leap." Time is human creation and we can create as much of it as we want. Have some fun with that one!

Thursday, November 10, 2022

November 10--We Can Do Better

Our life is the creation of our mind.  --Buddha

The land itself and the conditions of that land, like altitude and climate, impact our genome just as our human ancestors do. We are born on it, die on it; we come from it and return to it. The land and the waters, oceans and rivers, are part of us, relatives and ancestors in a very real way.  --Patty Krawec

    Two quotes today. Let us use the powerful creative ability of our mind to take better care of our dear Mother Earth. We belong to her rather than she belongs to us. 
    Let us use the powerful creative ability of our mind to take better care of our magical and mysterious bodies. Our priceless vehicle for being alive on the Mother deserves our loving attention and care.
    Let us use the powerful creative ability of our mind to take better care of our mind/spirit/emotions. It is essential for expanding into new consciousness that creates a world that works for everyone. 
    Let us use our creativity wisely,