Lift each other up!

One of the things I love about my nature walks is the row of cottonwood trees along the gravel path. The slightest breeze makes their leaves sing. The first time I experienced the sound, I thought it was running water, but the creek is in the other direction. It took a minute for me to discover it was the trees themselves producing this glorious noise. Now whenever there a breeze, I look forward to hearing those trees sing to me on my walk.

One of the trees lost its footing in a recent storm. It surely would have fallen to the ground if not for a neighboring tree that caught it and is now providing support for the injured tree.

I couldn’t help but think about all that nature can teach us. As human beings we can learn to lift each other up, support each other when we fall and sing our songs for strangers.

Smiles and hugs!

Gratitude Journal week of 10-8-2017

Sunday 10-8-2017.

Today I am grateful for the volunteers who run the Saturday night program at Hyde Observatory. Amazing time last night. Thank you! For my son’s great taste in friends. Outstanding kids. And for finally getting this blog live.

Today I send love and blessings to Christina (name has been changed).

 

Monday  10-9-2017.

Today I am grateful for Louise Hay and Hay House Publishing. For phenomenal friends who always stick with me. And for warm throw blankets. Brrr.

Today I send love and blessings to…. honestly, I don’t have anything. What a problem to have! I guess today I will be grateful for not having anyone or anything that is bothering me. So thrilled!

 

Tuesday  10-10-2017.

Today I am grateful for my comfortable bed. For cat fur in my coffee. And for audio books.

Today I send love and blessings to my Veterinary office. My kitty is sick and they couldn’t get us in until tomorrow. ☹️

 

Wednesday  10-11-2017.

Today and everyday, I am grateful to the Universe for loving me. For my black socks. Seriously, today while getting dressed, I thought to myself “I love my black socks”, so they made the list. And for the shimmer of the frost in the early morning sun.

Today I send love and blessings to myself for not always being able to practice what I preach.

 

Thursday  10-12-2017.

Today I am grateful for any and all opportunities presented to me on this day. For the chatter of the birds as the sun rises. And for fall blooming mums.

Today I send love and blessings to whoever thought bubble gum was a good flavor for feline pain medication. Hmmm.

 

Friday  10-13-2017.

Today I am grateful for the hail storm that damaged the car I had purchased just eighteen months earlier. The damage was only cosmetic and the insurance money allowed me to pay off my car loan twenty months early. Today I am eternally grateful for my sick kitty finally eating a decent meal. I hope this means we will have a bit more time together. Thank you. And for a job that allows me flexibility with my hours.

Today I send love and blessings to that roofer again. He is right on the edge of breaking our legal agreement.

 

Saturday  10-14-2017.

Today I am grateful for the colors of autumn. For the smell of autumn. And for cool breezes.

Today I send love and blessings to my former boss.

 

Last weeks gratitude journal can be seen here.

 

 

 

Loving without condition

My son and I share our lives and home with three furry felines. We consider them to be part of our family, therefore they are very spoiled and highly loved. Each cat was adopted and has a very distinct and different personality. Just like most of the people I know, their individual traits have been shaped by both their genes and their environments. And just as I believe that every human is equally worthy and deserving of love, so too are these felines.

Unlike dogs, cats cannot be trained to be a good companion. When you adopt a cat it can be difficult to know exactly what you are going to get as far as personality goes. As with anything in life, it must be entered into with an open heart. I love and respect each of these animals for exactly what they are. Each is a divine and unique creature, as we all are, deserving of comfort and care.

The oldest is a fluffy calico female. She is all sunshine and light, has been her entire nineteen years of life. This one loves humans, other cats and dogs. She was very close to a dog I used to have and they would lay around together and groom each other.

She does not growl, hiss or bite. She purrs loud and pretty much whenever there is another life close to her. She is unaffected by the attitudes or behaviors of her housemates. She allows one cat to hiss and growl at her every time she walks by without a second glance. The other cat is allowed to obsessively play with her tail, without retribution. He has been doing this for over three years. She is not critical of my son for handling her too much or of me for shooing her away because I do not wish to be groomed.

This cat is inherently happy regardless of those around her. I have been blessed to have her as my companion for all these years. What an inspiration for the rest of us!

The middle fur child and also the most recently adopted is a gorgeous purebred Ragdoll with stunning blue eyes. I found this beauty at our local humane society. She is much more dark and shadow than sunshine and light. Simply saying she has an attitude would be completely understating her personality. This cat is vocal, demanding and stand-offish. Sometimes she is downright mean.

Her demeanor has improved greatly in the three years she has been with us. She will now occasionally seek out attention and she allows unsolicited petting as long as it is brief. She will always give a warning before she lashes out. It wasn’t always this way. I bled many times before earning her trust. She has come to know that we will not hurt and we will show her love and kindness that does not require any specific behavior on her part.

The other cats have accepted her as well. We adopted her at seven years old and no information about her life before she joined our family. We are just very thankful that she is with us now and receiving the love she deserves.

My youngest kitty is a black and white male. His coloring exquisitely depicts his disposition. This cat is the absolute perfect balance of light and dark tendencies. He is by far the sweetest cat I have ever known, yet he is also joyfully naughty. He is energetic, curious, intelligent and playful. Hmmm. I might need more human men like this in my life.

This cat is my lap warmer and the source of most of my daily hugs. I like to press him to my ear to listen to and feel his purr. My son can handle him as much and in any way he chooses.

True to his nature, however, this cat does what he pleases, which includes walking on tables and counters, running through house as if he is on fire and trying to “pet” the fish. He will cheerfully antagonize the other cats by showing his perceived dominance, and in the next moment submit by rolling over to expose his belly or cuddling up for a nap.

The day we adopted this precious feline, we had gone to foster home to see his sister. My son plopped down on the floor after we arrived and this cat immediately crawled into his lap and got comfortable. He chose us to be his family. It was meant to be. And I can’t imagine life without him now.

So what do you think? Could you love each of these fur balls unconditionally despite their very unique nature? Do their purrsonalities remind you of any humans you know? Do you or can you love these humans even if they don’t follow your path, knowing that they have been shaped their own genes and experiences which certainly differ from your own?

It’s all about perspective. How do you view the people in your life? Choose love.

 

 

How to live a happy life – 13 actions you can take today

I originally intended for this article to be a list of fifteen actions you can take today to live a happier life, but with today being Friday the thirteenth, I thought a list of thirteen might be more appropriate. Enjoy.

1.  Practice Gratitude

It is so easy to take the beauty in life for granted. It seems sometimes that we are built for negativity. Practicing gratitude can be a powerful way to realize how wonderful your life already is. It’s not always easy to feel authentically grateful, especially if things aren’t going your way. The good news is that gratitude can be learned. You can fake it until you make it.

I challenge you to practice gratitude for thirty days. Start a gratitude journal and each morning, for thirty days, list three new things in life that you are thankful for. It can be something huge like divine guidance or something small like warm socks or anything in between. If you would like to see my gratitude journal, it will be posted weekly, for a limited time, on this blog. At the end of your challenge, I would love to know if this practice improved your life and how.

2. Practice Forgiveness

Forgiveness will set you free. Holding a grudge only hurts the person choosing to hold it. Why spend your precious energy all worked up over something you can’t change. The past is done, there is no undoing it. You can’t change the fact that you have been hurt and you can’t force anyone else to change their mind or behavior. What you do have some control over is your own thoughts and actions. Rather than wallowing in your own hostility, why not change the way you think about the situation. Wish your adversary love. Pray for them.

The most important person for you to forgive, is you, and this is often the most difficult task to accomplish. If you can forgive and love yourself, you will find it much easier to forgive others in your life as well.

One good way to get started is to send love and blessings to one person or thing that is irritating you each day. This can be yourself, someone else or not even a person at all. I list mine right after the three things I am grateful for in my journal. Repetition is encouraged on this practice as it may take some time to truly forgive the hurt that runs deep. You will be training your brain by doing this practice daily and it does work.

3. Write your stories.

Start a journal. Writing can be a very powerful tool for healing. Spill your emotions and fears onto the pages in whatever way feels therapeutic to you.  Write poems, write stories, write letters you will never send. Try writing a letter to God, the Universe or your higher self. If you can’t take the chance of someone finding your written words, feel free to burn the page when you are done. What is important is that you release what is bottled inside of you.

4. Learn to say no and yes.

It is time to start saying no to people, events and things that drain you of your life force. It is not your responsibility to deal with other peoples issues. Take care of yourself first. Ask yourself “Am I doing this out of love or out of fear?” For example, are you doing someone a favor because you love them and are happy to help or are doing it because you are afraid the person will think less of you if you don’t? Choose love.

It is time to say yes to your life. Yes to contining to learn everyday. Yes to new experiences. Yes to change. Yes to the things you love. Yes to your intuition and yes to the power of believing in you!

5. Meditate

Start a daily meditation practice. I cannot tell you how much this has helped me to be present, see clearly and remain calm. We spend most of our time either dwelling on the past or looking to the future. The past is over. The future doesn’t exist yet. Now is all that matters. Meditation can teach you to focus on now. A large commitment of time is not required. You can experience the benefits in as little as ten minutes a day. There are many phone apps available for guided meditation. Play around and find something that fits your style. Give it a try.

6. Get out in nature

Go for a walk, or a run or maybe just sit under a tree. Feel the force that connects everything on this planet. Look with wonder at all that you see. Get grounded by walking barefoot on the sand or the grass. Get your toes, or your hands, wet in the stream or the lake. Listen to the wind, the birds, the gravel beneath your feet. Drink it all in. Unplug for just a little while each day. It will be worth it.

7. Do nice things for yourself

Make your happiness a priority. It isn’t selfish to take care of you for a change. In fact, I think it’s necessary if you want to stay healthy. Take the time you need to do the things on this list. You are worth it. Treat yourself to a massage or a little gift, something you’ve had your eye on. Take a class or go out with friends. Indulge in a bit of self-love.

8. Give

It is better to give than to receive. It has been proven that people tend to feel better about themselves if they give to others in need. I personally believe that the more you give, the more you get. The time is always now, even if you feel like you don’t have enough to spead around. No matter what my situation is, I am generous with what I have, there is always someone else who needs more than I do. So donate your money, your time or your stuff. Feel those good vibrations!

9. Spend some time alone

This is never a problem for me. I love my time by myself. Some of you may feel the same way. There is a trick to this, though. You need to be alone without distraction. Yep, that means no television, no texting, no social media. Most people will find it extremely difficult to just be still and quiet with themselves. The reason we are uncomfortable with this is because we will be forced to listen to our own thoughts. When you engage in this practice, be kind to yourself. Remember to practice forgiveness as you do this as well.

There is no better way to become aware of your thoughts and what is truly important to you than being alone without anyone else to influence what is on your mind. If you want to expand on this experience, take a trip by yourself. Go away for a couple of days and only do what you want to do. If this scares you, you may want to ask yourself why.

10. Trust your instincts

Many of us are not willing to act on our instincts or intuition.  We don’t trust ourselves. We may be afraid of failing or of what other people might think of what we are doing. Your intuition is what your soul wants, what your heart desires, it is your higher self giving you inspiration. When you ignore your intuition, you turn your back on your authentic self. Don’t feed your fears. Trust your intuition.

11. Embrace your demons

Have you hugged your demons today? We all have a dark side. If you have taken some of the actions listed above, you may be seeing some of yours by now. This is key to learning self-love. There are parts of ourselves that may be difficult to love, like, or even admit to.  The first step here is awareness. What are you ashamed of? What makes you angry or sad? What are afraid to talk about openly? It may be uncomfortable to acknowledge at first, but it will become easier with time.

The next step is acceptance. No one is perfect. We all have flaws. These perceived imperfections are necessary to the human experience. They are something we all share. Without our darkness, our light would not shine. To experience wholeness you must accept all of yourself.

Finally, it’s time to embrace. Release your shame, your anger, sadness and jealousy by gently trying to see it’s source. Where does it come from? Do not judge yourself. Treat your demons with compassion and understanding.

12. Chase your joy

One of my definitions of joy is watching my son grow, learn and develop in his own way. Another is being curled up with a great book, hot coffee, a blanket and a vibrating cat on my lap. I feel calm, at peace, like everything is right in the world.

What brings you joy? Once you define what that is, start using your energy to chase your joy. My home is rarely as clean as it used to be. Cleaning does not bring me joy. My time is better spent on things that do.

13. Walk into your fear

Whatever you are most afraid of, is what you should be paying the most attention to. Our conscious mind will always choose fear to block us from true awareness. Your authentic gifts can be revealed by facing what scares you. Walk into your fear. Walk into your greatness!

Happy Friday the thirteenth to you!!

Gratitude Journal week of 10-1-2017

Sunday  10-1-2017.

Today I am grateful for the friendship I have with my ex-husband. For the knowledge that eleven year old boys tend to pull away from their moms somewhat and gravitate toward the male role models in their lives and this is normal. And the calico cat that has been my companion for nineteen years.

Today I send love and blessings to the company that sold my refurbished laptop. It may not be human but it definitely has some issues of its own.

 

Monday  10-2-2017.

Today I am grateful for the love fest that happened between my son and our Ragdoll act this morning. The price of admission was running ten minutes behind schedule and totally worth it. For thunderstorms. And for books. I love books!

Today I send love and blessings to the architectural team who created the drawings I am trying to work with at my day job. Smiling through gritted teeth.

 

Tuesday  10-3-2017.

Today I am grateful for my beautiful sister. For occasional playtime with my son, who grows more independent with each day. And for awesome co-workers.

Today I send love and blessings to the father of my fabulous niece.

 

Wednesday  10-4-2017.

Today I am grateful for free on-line classes and lectures. For being able to see the sun rising above the dam when leaving for work. And for great neighbors.

Today I send love and blessings to the driver who was so impatient at the red light that he felt it necessary to blast his horn right outside my open car window.

 

Thursday  10-5-2017.

Today I am grateful for my black and white cat who is always ready for a snuggle right after my alarm goes off in the morning. For umbrellas. And for my cell phone.

Today I send love and blessings to that roofer, again, as I prepare the letter reminding him that his payment is late, again.

 

Friday  10-6-2017.

Today I am so happy and grateful that my roof is not leaking with all this rain. That my thirty year old garage door opener still works. And for the smell of early morning rain.

Today I send love and blessings to anyone who thinks suing someone over contracting a STI to get revenge or monetary gain is acceptable.

 

Saturday  10-7-2017.

Today I am grateful for mornings that don’t require an alarm. For homemade banana muffins. And for the pure bred Ragdoll cat that we were able to adopt at our local humane society.

Today I send love and blessings to my tendency to procrastinate.

 

Please check out last weeks gratitude journal here.

 

 

 

 

Birdy Bathtime

It’s been a sunless, gloomy day filled with clouds and umbrellas. But even on a day such as this, it isn’t difficult to find an awe-inspiring sight, if you simply pay attention.

I always try to look with curiosity and wonder at all that I see. Today was no exception. While out running errands, I found it. That something special that would leave me smiling with appreciation.

My treasure for today is a puddle. Ah, but this is no ordinary rain puddle. This body of water happens to be a large and quite popular bird bath.

These little cuties were splashing around like my kid at a water park. Several birds took flight as I approached and didn’t make into the photo. This was obviously a private party, but I sure am glad I crashed it!

Smiles and hugs

Positive Parenting – 20 things every child needs to hear

Our children are the future of this planet. They deserve to be raised with a loving spirit, high self-worth and sense of independence, so that they may make a positive impact on our world. Children are not possessions. They are not mini versions of their parents. Our children don’t exist just to make us look good. Children are young growing human beings in their own right. They have minds of their own. Their thoughts, behaviors and actions do not have to mirror those of their parents. We can encourage our children to express who they are rather than who we wish them to be. Our children have their own paths to follow. Inside each child is a precious gift of individuality. We can help them release this gift to the world. Young children especially are sponges and everything they learn from us now will influence the kind of adult they will become. Let’s try to make it a positive experience.

Here are twenty things I believe every child needs to hear from their parent, in no particular order:

  1. I am sorry. I was wrong.
  2. I forgive you.
  3. Thank you.
  4. You are enough just the way you are.
  5. You are the most amazing human being I have ever met.
  6. I love you no matter what. There is nothing you could ever do to make me stop.
  7. Your dreams are important. I support you!
  8. It’s okay to make mistakes. That is the best way to learn.
  9. Perfection is not important. Loving who you are is.
  10. You are entitled to your own opinions even if they differ from my own.
  11. You have taught me more than I could have ever imagined possible.
  12. This is your responsibility.
  13. You are so good-looking.
  14. I think you are an awesome kid.
  15. I respect you as a person.
  16. You can count on me. I will always be there for you.
  17. Your friends are so lucky to have you in their lives.
  18. It is appropriate to feel whatever is inside you.
  19. All lives matter. Bullying and abuse are not acceptable.
  20. You have what it takes to achieve your goals.

Hang Gliding Hawks

It was early morning when I left for my nature walk. I was hoping to catch the sun just as it peeked over the horizon. The warm moist air felt welcoming and the wind blew strong and steady. I always enjoy watching the sun rise above the little by my house and today did not disappoint. It was nothing less than majestic, and yet, it did not end up being the highlight of this communion with nature.

The red-tailed hawks were out on this morning and they were low and visible in the sky. Beautiful and powerful birds, they are quite large and have an impressive wingspan. I was able to locate several groups of hawks in the area, all doing the exact same thing. They were hang gliding!

I have never seen anything like it before. Wings spread wide, facing the wind, gliding effortlessly without a single flap of the wings required. They were simply floating on air. How positively free they must feel. It was obvious to me that these birds were engaging in this activity with the absolute intention of doing so. They were using what had been given to them, in that moment, which happened to be a strong steady wind, to bring themselves joy.

Watching them maneuver to the wind in order hang above me, going nowhere, succeeded in bringing me great joy. I felt a profound sense of awe and deeper connection to life as I gazed upon these glorious creatures. We can learn so much from our fellow inhabitants of this world.

This was an incredible experience for me and I felt it was worthy of sharing. I hope you enjoyed it. Remember to look with wonder at all in your life and you will start to see truly amazing things!

Peace, love and connectedness

Gratitude journal week of 9-25-2017

Monday  9-25-2017

Today I am grateful for: Facebook and the connection to old friends it provides. Motherhood, which is the best thing I have ever done. Jeans, yesterday’s temp was in the nineties but today it is only in the sixties.

Today I send love and blessings to the roofer who scammed me out $2700.00 two years ago and is paying me back very slowly.

 

Tuesday  9-26-2017

Today I thank God for people who care enough about the human condition to speak out. People like Ella Dawson, Hillary Clinton and Amanda de Cadenet.

Today I send love and blessings to all of the ignorant haters that have caused these beautiful women pain and torment.

 

Wednesday  9-27-2017

Today I am grateful for metaphorical puzzle pieces. Those fragments of ideas that don’t make much sense on their own but that I instinctively know will be valuable later on. Motherhood, which is the absolute most difficult and challenging thing I have ever done. Inner wisdom and knowing how to find it!

Today I send love and blessings to anyone who thinks I’m nuts. I can live with that. Your opinion counts too. Maybe I am.

 

Thursday  9-28-2017

Today I am grateful for being able to laugh when I spilled my coffee this morning….onto myself, the counter, the floor, the rug and the cat! Ha! Minor setback, not a major tragedy. The creative ideas that fill my head upon waking. The game of Earth (life).

Today I send blessings to President Donald Trump, the NFL and anyone who is unable to tolerate another’s view or how they choose to express it.

 

Friday  9-29-2017

Today I am grateful for the people who have come before me and paved the way. Fridays at home. Hot pumpkin spice coffee. Yum!

Today I send love and blessings to my fears, my judgements and my negativity!

 

Saturday  9-30-2017

Today I am thankful for subtle intuitive messages and the ability to grasp them. The blessing of being able to live close to a small lake.  The occasional afternoon nap. I will be wanting one of these later today.

Today I send love and blessings to the learning curve I am experiencing to trying to get this blog launched!