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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

TRYING TO TRAVEL AT THE SPEED OF "NOW"!

It is spring, yes! My Azaleas are spectacular, thanks to the cold weather. It is one part of the yard that looks good. I'm still not sure if some of the plants are alive. Some severe trimming will reveal all.
Mi esposo has been in NC putting some electric into his shed/workshop with the help of his son. I have done a wonderful job of amusing myself, by being a social butterfly, and reconnecting with friends and family in South Florida. I've also had dinner and/or snack fests with friends.
I have not yet put pencil to paper! I'm good at turning on the new big screen TV and distracting myself. What I need is quiet; it is the only way that I can focus on writing.
Last night I turned off the television. This morning I walked then had breakfast on my porch. I do love being in the "now". As a potentially A.D.D. person, it is my habit to eat quickly, not mindfully. I am trying to do this today--savor the flavor, texture, and scent of food, watch nature, and breath.
Author Sue Patton Thoele, in the book Growing Hope, calls finding yourself through solitude and quiet "defragging your inner hard-drive. I like that. One of her examples in defragmenting includes "writing down bothersome thoughts, releasing them by burning, tearing, or putting them in a little jar of water in the freezer (on ice)", clever, no?
I make a resolution, today, to make a little more quiet time in my life. I will chew slower, pray more, and breathe slower.
Here is a poem from my book, Water Running Downhill:

THE ZONE

While sequestered as a willing tenant in
Your self-made prison of busyness
Dream of ways you can be free

To give yourself the gift of
A precious few moments, no distractions
Lock out your outer "life" and meditate

Find that it is almost a new experience, as
You may have forgotten the sensation
Of pure awareness, and nothing else

So used to being the "amazing balancing act"
You have found it hard to stop doing and planning
And just become still

Discover that one can see so much clearer
When traveling at
The speed of now

Quotes:

There is a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious. Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than before.
--Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation. For when you come back to your work, your judgment will be surer.
--Leonardo Da Vinci

Have a blessed week!

Joan

Saturday, March 20, 2010

SPRING IS IN THE AIR!

Spring has arrived; at least it has in Florida! The weather was spectacular, today! High pressure is keeping us sunny, although the wind is blowing pretty heartily.
Oak leaves and pollen are showering us constantly. You get out the blower and clean it up, a few hours later it looks like you have done nothing!
We have been working on cleaning up the yard; actually Rob has been doing all of the hard part. Since he's retired, he has taken over most of that activity. He has been removing some of the dead plants and tops of plants that suffered during the freezing winter weather. I did some planting this afternoon, a little weeding, and cleaned up the dirt and those dratted oak leaves!
Along with the season of spring comes a need to open up and air out the house. I have been doing some spring cleaning for the past couple of weekends; reorganizing closets and donating some things. I have a long way to go! But, I am making headway.
There is something wonderful about clearing out clutter. Apparently it makes us feel lighter in spirit, also. As if the mental clutter goes out with the clothes and shoes, etc. Plus you get a good feeling when you donate items that can help others.
I challenge you to consider starting a similar project, this week, to see how it makes you feel. Let me know how it went!
Here is a spring poem from my unpublished book, Naturescapes. Have a bountiful week!

Peace!

Joan

Spring Forth

Brilliant multi-hued
Easter egg shades
Illuminate and complete
The transformation
From stark winter-bare
To the richly adorned
Newly verdant landscape

Spring awakens and
Brings forth
Sleepy bulbs from
Their cozy winter beds
Nodding and stretching
They unfold their
Many colored heads

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"PET " OF MY HEART

Pets, how we love them. They are forgiving, constantly giving us love and affection in turn. Here is the lovely Magnolia with my friend Ruriko. This dog will snuggle forever, as long as you snuggle her!
Domestic pets give us more than love. Animals also help us to have lower blood pressure and enable greater healing for patients who have had heart attacks.
Studies show that pet owners have less depression, greater self-esteem, and more social contacts. Apparently, the dog or cat can act as a social catalyst between the owner and another person. Furthermore, pet owners report being happier and having a lower stress response, which lowers blood pressure.
I know that my sweet dog makes my life happier. She is playful and joyful. I am more present when we are sharing a moment.
Here are some quotes:
An animals eyes has the power to speak a great language--Martin Buber
We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals--Immanuel Kant
My little dog, a heartbeat at my feet--Edith Wharton
A cat is a puzzle for which there is no solution--Hazel Nicholson
Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes--Theophile Gautier
Dogs are not our whole lives--but they make our lives whole--Roger Caras

Have a marvelous week!
Joan

Sunday, March 7, 2010

THE QUEST FOR HAPPINESS!


A Joyous Good Morning to You All!
How is everyone today? I think that the weather has improved for a great deal of the country. Florida is finally getting a warm-up. It has been crazy cold here! But, I'm not complaining. So many of you have been freezing--literally!
My theme today is The quest for happiness, something that seems to elude so many of us. Much is written about finding happiness. Many sources speak to the difficulty of this search. Apparently, many of us deny ourselves happiness, as we think we don't deserve it. Or we think that if we are happy, now, that something terrible is coming to dispel it.
So what do we do? "Practice acceptance", says M. J. Ryan, author of The Happiness Makeover,"try not to judge yourself or others critically. . .they're (you are) doing the best they (you) can". Ryan also speaks about thankfulness, for today, and for what you have. She emphasizes celebrating good things, as this creates joy.
Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, author of The How of Happiness, says that there is a "genetic component to happiness". But, she says that it is also "a skill you can learn".
Other habits to break are, ruminating (circular thought patterns) and negative thinking. Keep an open mind! (jan 10 family circle 99 , Happy Talk by Steve Calechman)
More good reads are Happiness Now, by Robert Holden, PhD, and Shortcuts to Bliss, by Jonathan Robinson. If you are not into reading self-help books, look to the internet for articles and quotes to make you smile.
Oh, by the way, today's photo is of my friend Dani, who is exploring and hacking her way through the jungle of life. I love this picture, Dani reminds me of Lucille Ball here. Too droll!

Quotes:
Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy--Anne Frank
Optimism: a cheerful frame of mind that enables a tea kettle to sing though in hot water up to its nose--Unknown
Happiness is not in things; happiness is in you--Robert Holden
When one door of happiness closes, another opens: but, often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us--Helen Keller

And lastly, a poem from Water Running Downhill!

State of Grace

I sent this message
Out to you
Grasp it
Let it define you
Live it
Take it to heart

The revelation is
This is the moment
The present, and
Nothing else exists
Be here
Seize the "now"

Be your bliss
And therefore
You shall be
Blessed

Have a great week! Smile!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Chicken Diva of Dunnellon

Last weekend my husband Rob and I went to visit the Chicken Diva in Dunnellon, Florida. This is my friend Elisa, collecting fresh eggs! Visiting these friends is like staying at a B&B, with lovely accommodations.
Elisa and her husband Dario have a mini-farm complete with 5 dogs, a few rabbits, 2 roosters, and several hens. Oh, and Dario is a chef! He prepared gnocchi with a red sauce and sausages--it was fabulous! I got to help the chef; I riced the potatoes and added flour as needed.
It was interesting to watch the older rooster, Norton, run the female population around. Stellino, the younger cock of the roost, was gentle and reserved. This was unusual for a rooster.
Stellino had tried to mate with Mimi, Elisa's free range hen and kept falling off! So, Mimi would run away from him "She doesn't think he knows what he's doing", Elisa confided.
After we returned home Sunday afternoon, I called the "farm" and wanted to thank our hosts again. I was saddened by the news that Stellino had just leapt up and keeled over, dead. Perhaps the reason he was so "tender hearted" was that he had a tender (bad) heart. We'll never know.
Here is a poem for Stellino:

Ode to Stellino

You were gentle
Crowing quieter than
King Norton who strutted
Cocky testosterone-filled
He a ladies man
You shy, untried

Rest well feathered friend
One remembers you
Who held you when
You were small
You took a peck
Of her heart
With you

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day!


Greetings Valentines!

It is the much touted romantic day of days, Valentine's Day. We have exchanged the traditional cards and greetings with kisses.

I made pancakes this morning to sweeten the day. Baby-back ribs are planned for dinner, with sweet potatoes, baby spinach salad, and Key Lime pie for dessert. We actually travel to South Florida for the ribs, to Torchio's in Boynton Beach. They have the best meat and have true baby- back ribs. This is not a gourmet feast like Sam, From My Carolina Kitchen, would make (check out her blog!); but, it's simple and tasty.

Saint Valentine's Day, per Wickipedia, "is annually held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The holiday is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius in AD 496. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by gifts,cards, etc. The holiday first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. "

Courtly love sounds so romantic, doesn't it? I could enjoy being courted with gifts and flowers! Oh, and how about courting me with some house cleaning, or with cooking or doing the laundry? Oh romance, how you have changed! Although taking me shopping with no limits would work! Hmmm. . .
Here are some quotes for you love birds!

Soul meets soul on lover's lips.
~ by Percy Blythe Shelly ~
I love thee, I love but thee With a love that shall not die Till the sun grows cold And the stars grow old.
~ by William Shakespeare ~
One word frees us Of all the weight and pain in life, That word is Love
~ by Socrates ~
Paradise is always where love dwells.
~ by Jean Paul F. Richter ~
The most eloquent silence; that of two mouths meeting in a kiss.
~by Unknown
~ Love is the emblem of eternity: it confounds all notion of time: effaces all memory of a beginning, all fear of an end.
~ by Germaine De Stael ~

Lastly, here is a poem from an unpublished love anthology that I wrote for my husband, called As Souls Meld:


DÉJÀ VU

I believe
We have met before
Another time, another life
It is the only explanation
That explains our closeness
And our chemistry together

I touch you
And it feels as natural
As breathing in and out
My skin knows yours
Intimately
Our scents mingle as one

I cannot imagine
Life without you
It would be like
An empty void
Lacking all familiar

I would strain
To hear your laughter,
Your music, your voice
My eyes would search
For signs of you

But we would leave
This world
Only to be reborn
And meet again
My love-
Deja Vu

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Art of Patience


Welcome Friends!

This truly is my Achilles heel--lack of patience! Usually I do well, throughout the day. I work with dental patients, and exercise great patience with them. Unfortunately, I tend to tire from a long day, or week of this. So, it is my private life that tends to suffer from occasional bouts of impatience. I need to learn to develop my "patience muscle"!

Here are some ideas that will help all of us to practice greater patience. First from M.J. Ryan, author of The Power of Patience (article from Womans Day 4/1/05):

1) Take 10 minutes each day to take care of our needs, and set priorities for the day.
2) Keep a pebble in your pocket and switch it to the other pocket when you are losing it!
3) Give yourself all the time you need to accomplish something--no stopwatch!
4) Snack healthy, sleep more, have less caffeine.
5) Note and compliment patience in others.

Destina Moga of MakeoversLife.com, offers a meditation exercise for patience.
1. Find a quiet spot.
2. Sit down. Get comfortable.
3. Close your eyes.
4. Clear your mind.
5. Say to yourself, “I have an ocean of infinite patience that trickles in all
of my relationships and daily actions.”
6. Repeat this phrase until you begin to feel like you are creating a space
for infinite patience in your inner dialogue.
7. End the exercise by saying to yourself, “My work is done now.
Thank you. Peace.”
8. Practicing this exercise daily will bring patience into your life.
9. In time of impatience, say to yourself, “I have an ocean of infinite patience"

Lastly Jeanne Zornes from PowertoChange.com, suggests we:
1) Laugh off Murphy's Law
2) Lower our expectations, look for excellence instead of perfection
3) Allow others to fail you--don't expect perfection from others, be gracious
4) Pray or meditate instead of fretting

These all seem to be great fodder for the impatience monster. I am willing to practice these suggestions. Hopefully, I will subdue the critter!

Here are some quotes:

Patience is the companion of wisdom.

--Saint Augustine

Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself.

--St. Francis de Sales


Patience and fortitude conquer all things.

--Benjamin Franklin


Have a peaceful and patient week!

Joan