Monday, June 5, 2017

Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things . . .

It is easy to express gratitude when things in your life are running smoothly, but a little more difficult when things get rough. We have recently gone through a challenging time that made it more difficult to see the blessings in our lives. My husband was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and life has been a world-wind of medical tests, doctor's appointments and hospital stays. To say it has been overwhelming doesn't begin to describe what we have been through.

I'll admit that I forgot to be grateful for a while. My thoughts and emotions were so tied up in dealing with the unthinkable that I could no longer see the blessings in my life. I was blinded and running on empty. Just getting through another day took tremendous energy. At the end of the day, there was nothing left over to either recognize blessings or express gratitude.

But, we have experienced blessings along the way.  The greatest blessing is that his condition is treatable and he began Chemo treatments a few weeks ago. He has responded well and the doctors are hopeful. But those are not the only blessings we have received.

We have heard from people who we have not spoken to for decades, as they send their support and hold us in their thoughts and prayers. Knowing that we still hold a place in the lives of those we knew so long ago is indeed a blessing.

We have received words of encouragement from online friends who we have never met. Knowing that we have touched lives and made an impact on others lifts us up in this difficult time.

Our children have stood behind us and offered their undying support, even when their lives were filled with other obligations and we know they were running on empty, too. They will never fully understand how much that means and how proud we are of the people they have become.

The world is filled with kind and caring people and we are blessed to call them our friends and family.

So, today I am grateful for the outpouring of support, for the continued prayers and the goodness of people. May they be blessed mightily in return.
I am grateful for modern medicine that makes it possible to fight this horrible disease, for the experience, skill and compassion of caring doctors and for the many nurses and support staff that have eased our way through the darkness.
I am grateful for the peace and tranquility of nature, for my camera that allows me to capture the beauty God has bestowed on us and for stolen moments when I can get outside to photograph and share that beauty with you. 
And, I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you stop and share my day. May you always find blessings to be grateful for like "the scent of the rain, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of a loved one's voice."

Thursday, December 29, 2016

"Change your thoughts and you can change the world." Norman Vincent Peale

Every year at this time, I hear others claim they are glad the year is nearly over because it has been such a bad year for them. Most look to the new year with hope and a belief that the upcoming year will be better. While I don't knock their optimism, I am struck by the belief that turning the calendar to a new year will somehow change their lives for the better. Many will go forward into the new year without examining their beliefs and without taking any responsibility for the bad year they have had. Some continue to do this year after year without ever recognizing that if every year is bad, they may be contributing to that. If you catch yourself repeating this habit, it is time to stop and evaluate your part in your run of bad years.

Don't misunderstand, I recognize that some things are out of your control. Bad things happen to good people all the time. I know. Bad things happen to me too. Our family suffered a great loss this year with the passing of a family member, but that didn't make it a bad year and turning the page on the calendar won't suddenly make it better. But, changing our thoughts may.

Let go of looking at your life as a series of good and bad days or weeks or years and invest time into learning to change how you think and how you look at your life instead. The old adage to count your blessings and not your worries, really will change your life because you will begin to see it in a different light. As your focus changes from all that is wrong in your life to the wonderful blessings you have already received, you will soon discover that you are happier and have more energy for the things you want to do.

If you feel compelled to make New Year's Resolutions or set new goals for the new year, make changing the way you think the top of your list.

Today, I am grateful for snowflakes in their various sizes and shapes, for sun glittering off ice and for evergreens blanketed in snow.
I am grateful for houseplants that thrive in the midst of winter, for my Christmas cactus who will bless me with glorious blooms by mid January and for raindrops that will fall again in spring.
I am grateful for the light of the moon on dark winter nights, for the lengthening of days and for the bright light of the sun as the earth begins the journey towards spring. 
I am grateful for family and friends, for a home that provides me shelter and warmth, and for healthy food on the table.  
And, I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you stop to share my day. May you embrace the upcoming year by focusing on changing your thinking to change your world. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

It's not what your look at that matters, it's what you see. -Thoreau
A few weeks go I watched the movie The Abundance Factor. I had been putting off watching it because I thought it would be all about MONEY and I really wasn't ready to focus my attention on money at the exclusion of other important aspects of life. I was wrong. This movie is about Abundance in all areas of your life. Like many of the movies and books that focus on how our perspective and attitude affects our reality, it reminded me of how important it is too look at life through fresh eyes and with an open heart. If you haven't watched it yet, I strongly recommend it. It made a big impact on me.

I have recently taken up nature photography and have been immersed in finding the unique perspective that brings a photo to life. Learning to see through new eyes and to focus on the details has taught me much about life in the past year. Photography serves as a metaphor of life for me and helps me work through its complicated (or do we just make it so) nuances.

It has taught me how important it is to see beyond the ordinary and seek the extraordinary in both my work and my life. As Thoreau so aptly puts it: "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

For today, try to see life and people through a different lens and practice seeking the extraordinary in the ordinary or mundane. Look for the little things that make your life unique and special and take the time to appreciate them.

Today, I am grateful for my furnace to keep me warm in sub-zero weather, for the sun that creates sparkles in the snow, and for the white carpet that blankets the world.
I am grateful for evergreens that brighten the holiday decor, for candles that flicker in the night, and for fluffy socks that warm my toes. 
I am grateful for books to read that challenge my mind, for talented photographers who are willing to share their knowledge so I may learn, and for children who brave the cold to play in the snow. 
I am grateful for my family who gave me the gift of photography, for the wondrous world of nature that serves as my subject, and for discerning eyes that can see beyond the ordinary. 
And, I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you stop to share my day, May you find the extraordinary in the ordinary today as you learn that its not what you look at that matters, it is what you see.

Friday, February 26, 2016

A Bird Does Not Sing Because It Has an Answer ...

The birds of the the forest don't wait until the sun is nigh to begin singing. They sing out loud and clear long before dawn, serenading the world with their song. How great is their faith that the sun will return and their confidence that their song should be heard. Be like the birds today and give no thought to the circumstances around you as you lift up your head and sing your song. Know that you were given your song for reason and a few cloudy days will not dull its sound.

Have faith that you are headed in the right direction and even if you cannot yet see the sun, it will arrive on time.

Today, I am grateful for the dusting of snow that beautified the world under the cover of darkness, for the bright sun that peeks between the clouds and for the inevitable coming of spring. 

I am grateful for clean, fresh air to breathe, for sparkling snowflakes in the sun and for squirrels that always entertain me. I am grateful for the majesty of trees as they stand silent waiting for the arrival of spring, for the mystery of seeds that hold a whole lifetime within their coat and for fresh soil teeming with life. 

I am grateful for family and friends, for old acquaintances and for strangers I meet along the way. They have all helped shape me into the person I am. I am grateful for the changing of seasons that allows us to anticipate and celebrate the best of each.  

And, I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you stop and share my day. May you be like the birds of the forest today and sing out your song for the world to hear as you go forward in the direction of your dreams.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it. Confucius

I have recently taken up photography. The idea of using my photography as the basis of inspirational quotes has been kicking around in my head for while. I decided that it was time to put that into action and share my first one with you. It is my hope that it will bring joy to your life and inspire you to reach for your dreams.

I've always loved nature and found great peace and inspiration from immersing myself in the natural world. It is my solace and the place where I feel most at home. About seven months ago, my husband gave me a point 'n shoot camera and I began my journey into photography. As one might imagine, it led me to trying to capture the incredible beauty I saw in nature. 

As my family watched my interest turn to passion, they bought me a DSLR camera for Christmas. It opened a whole new world for me. Although I am still very much an amateur photographer, I am thrilled with the images I have managed to capture. It seems only fitting that I should share them here, as it speaks directly to following your dreams.

I had no idea that photography would become a passion and a source of joy and inspiration for me. Sure, I had said I wanted a camera to take pictures of my flowers for my Garden site, Maine Garden Ideas, but I had no idea that it would open up so many possibilities for me.

Sometimes, we become so conditioned to see ourselves in a certain way and assume we already know what we are capable of that we overlook the opportunities around us. We obediently accept our preconceived notions of who we are and where we need to go. 

Sometimes, the dreams we think we have or the goals we have painstakingly set aren't what we think they are. Sometimes, they are a reflection of what others have taught us we should want or strive for. If we are lucky, we may stumble upon something new that can take us further than we ever dreamed we could go.

Consider your life today and step out with new ideas. Get outside your comfort zone and try new things. You may discover that inside you lies the passion and talent for something you have never considered before. I will be eternally grateful for that first camera that showed me a world of possibilities.

Today, I am grateful for digital cameras that allow photographers to try and try again until they get it right. I am grateful for the vast resources online that teach me what I need to learn, for the patience of experienced photographers who answer the same newbie questions again and again, and the patience of my family as I ramble on about photography. 
I am grateful for the marvelous world of nature from which I can draw my inspiration, for eyes that see beyond the surface and look for the beauty locked inside every scene and for the ability to share that with you. 
I am grateful for a family that supports my growth, builds my confidence and always makes me feel loved. 
And, I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you stop and share my day. May you always the see the beauty in life as you go forward in the direction of your dreams.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Unless a tree has borne blossoms in spring, you will vainly look for fruit on it in autumn.

We can learn much from nature. To produce fruit, trees require sun, soil, nutrients and water. Planting a seed or tiny sapling is not enough. Without moisture and sun, the seed will not sprout and the sapling will quickly wither and die. 

So too with our dreams and goals. While setting our intentions is important, they must be nurtured and cared for so that they may bear fruit. Without care, our goals and dreams are nothing more than wishes cast to the wind.

  • If your goal is to become more successful in your chosen field, you must also work to build the skills and set the stage for that success. Take a class, make new contacts, get involved in projects that allow you to shine.
  • If you want to earn more money to provide your family with the comforts of life, or want to earn that important promotion, you must be willing to do the work to reach the goal. Become a model employee, treat others with respect and show that you are worthy of promotion. 
  • If you want to improve the relationships in your life nurture those you love, be supportive and show them the love and respect you desire.
The goal or dream doesn't matter. It is the care and feeding of that dream that will bring it to pass. May you find ways to feed and care for your dreams and goals today that they may bear bountiful fruit.

Today, I am grateful for another day to pursue my goals and dreams. I am grateful for steady progress, continued drive, and patience as I watch the seeds grow and bloom that I may enjoy the fruit of my labor. 
I am grateful for sunny days and starry nights, for lightning bugs that flit through open fields, and for daisies waltzing to the summer breeze. I am grateful for the song of birds, the call of frogs and the gentle tinkle of wind chimes. I am grateful for leaves that dance and whisper secrets to the wind.  
And, I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you stop to share my day. May you work joyously towards your dreams and goals today that you may see them come to fruit.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

"You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind." Joyce Meyer

If you are like most of us, stopping by to check out what your friends are up to on Facebook is a daily occurrence. In fact, 757 million of us do it every day. For some, Facebook is a way to keep in touch with family and friends, but for the vast majority of us, it seems to have become a dumping ground for all the bad things that happen in our lives. 

A quick scroll through your newsfeed will likely present you with the woes of the world - including the personal pet peeves of all your friends.  You may rationalize that this is no worse than reading the paper or watching the news and that it really doesn’t affect you. According to a study conducted by social scientists from Cornell, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and Facebook, it does.

This study revealed that when people are exposed to negative posts they in turn begin to use more negative words in their own posts. When they are exposed to positive posts, they begin to use more positive words. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that some of that carries over into real life.

So what is a person to do when their Facebook timeline takes a negative turn? You could get off Facebook, of course, but for many of us that’s not a realistic option. We have friends and family to keep up with and aren’t willing to close that line of communication. But, there are other things you can do.

  • ·        Create a group for like-minded people – or family – and use that as your primary means of communication.
  • ·        Block negative posts from your newsfeed. If one of your friends insists on spewing the negative on your newsfeed, take the initiative to click the down arrow, located at the extreme right of their user name on a post, and click “Stop seeing posts, but stay friends.” Your friend will never know that you aren't reading all her posts and you can still contact her whenever you want.
  • ·        Find new friends. Actively seek out new friends who share your interests and outlook on life.
  • ·        Start posting positive posts. Research shows that your positive posts are infectious too. They may be enough to turn things around for that Negative Nelly in your group of friends.

Today, I am grateful for a full night’s sleep, for a refreshed body and a clear, sound mind. I am grateful for a hot shower to wash away the sleep, for clean clothes and for shoes.
I am grateful for my computer that serves me well, for spring rain that refreshes the earth and for the magic of seeds that burst forth into new plants.
I am grateful for the family I was born into, for the family I created and for friends I have made along the way.
And, I am grateful for you, dear reader, as you stop to share my day. May you find much success in eliminating the negative from your world. Remember the words of Joyce Myer today, “You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.”

Sometimes we should express our gratitude for the small and simple things . . .

It is easy to express gratitude when things in your life are running smoothly, but a little more difficult when things get rough. We ha...