Focus on Spring

     Mid-February in PA gets to be a time of transition.  Snow, sleet and ice still cover the ground but intermittent bouts of higher temps and seeing the ground below provide the hope for spring to come.

This weekend’s Daytona 500 marks the start of the racing season, a true sign of the change of seasons.

In another month…after probably another large snowstorm or two…the snow and ice will melt and the ground will warm and begin to yield its abundant offerings.  Crocuses and daffodils are right around the corner.

Thought for the day:  Focus on Spring!!

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This, too, shall pass.

This morning’s temperature in my back yard is 24…quite balmy compared to the sub-zero temps we’ve had over the past week.  Thursday morning started out at 9 below zero, not including the warnings created by the wind chills estimated at 30 below.

Walking out this morning, the hairs in my nose do not freeze.  The tips of my ears don’t tingle.  I don’t dress like an Eskimo with layers of clothing and headgear.   It’s not quite balmy enough for the flowers I long to see..cabin fever has struck.

Despite the below freezing temperature, 24 degrees feels so much warmer  compared to recent weather.  Yet it’s all relative.  A 33-degree temperature spread is like starting the day at freezing (32 degrees) one day and 65 the next.  It’s the same spread but it’s not hard to tell the difference.

So many things are relative.  We compare what is to what was or visa versa, making judgments based on those comparisons.  Bottom line:  it doesn’t matter what we think about it.  It truly is what it is.  We can’t change the outdoor temperatures any more than we can change so many other things in life.  It’s all relative.  The key is to cope as best you can with the hand you’re given.

I just try to keep in mind:  This, too, shall pass.  Feeling the cold will make the warmth feel so much better!! 🙂






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Do You Have a Morning Ritual?

Little Miss Abby and I have a few morning rituals to get our day started.

First, Abby likes an energy (Reiki) massage.  She’ll talk to me, following me around  while I’m making my green tea until I sit on the love seat and motion for her join me.  Then she positions herself so her butt is near my left hip so I can begin our morning ritual.  She usually gets three to five minutes, sometimes more, of two-handed petting, getting massaged from the tip of her head to the end of her tail.  When she’s ready, she rolls over just enough that I can do her stomach, a taboo place for anyone else to touch.

After we’re done, I go into my office, sit on my recliner and begin my morning ritual of reading and writing.  When she’s ready, she’ll join me, knowing the only way she gets a hand on  her body is if she sits on my left side.  So she jumps up and turns around to put her but next to my left hip.  She rests her head on my leg as I write and read.  Cuddling is another part of Abby’s ritual.

What does the ritual do for us?  For Abby, it gives her undivided attention for a few minutes and an energy boost to begin her day.  For me, it helps me to begin my day with a dose of unconditioned love.  I, too, get the energy boost and the positive energies I can carry forward with me.  It’s calming yet energizing and brings a smile to my heart knowing how much she enjoys the ritual…as do I.

How about you?  Do you have a morning ritual?  Please share.

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What We See

What do you see here?

I see an aging cat who still loves playing.  Every Christmas this little one decides she likes the bags more than the contents.

What I also see is a feline who has gotten herself stuck…stuck in the handles of the bag.  She’s just put herself in the wrong opening.

We do that, too.  At times we put ourselves in the wrong place or opening where we think we should be and then we get stuck where we really don’t belong.

Mia (or is it Lily?)  can tell she’s in trouble and needed help getting out of this predicament.

Sometimes we don’t recognize where we’re at is not where we should be.  We can’t see what is really right in front of our eyes if we choose to look.  Our eyes see what we think we want yet we can be oblivious to the what our hearts tell us.  What do you see?


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The Fire Within

Shadow on the CanalToday’s outing on the canal left me wanting more.

Yes, it was windy and 45 degrees but for a January day in Pennsylvania, THAT is great!

Too much work and not enough daylight made me a self-created prisoner in my own home over the past few days.  Today I appreciate the wind because it helped to blow off some of the ‘stink’ of being cooped up indoors for a few days.

One thing fellow Pennsylvanians may appreciate in this photo are the shadows.  Shadows mean the sun is out!  Shadows have been a rarity over the past six to nine months as rain and clouds dotted the landscape.  I wish I could bottle the sunshine and the feeling it generates.

While some may focus on the barren trees and muddy trail in this second picture, I see the bright, puffy clouds back lit with sunlight.  The reflective calm of the canal’s water remains in part of the water  while other parts shimmer as the wind dances across its surface.

We are very fortunate today.  I know in January we could be shoveling from a foot of snow or slipping and sliding on icy sidewalks.

Today I appreciate the elements of earth, water and air. Although not in its traditional form, these other three have truly created a fire within me to remain outdoors.  Although we haven’t had a bad winter so far, I look forward with anticipation to the springlike weather and longer days I know are on their way.

The fire within burns brightly, as does hope for what is already here and is to come.

What fuels your fire?

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Always we hope…

     Happy New Year 2019!

Many people use January 1 as a time to make resolutions and I’m no exception.

This year I had no idea what that would be until this morning when I sat in my recliner to do my normal reading and writing.

It came to me that I just needed to ‘be’… be who I am…be present…be patient…be generous…be loving…be forgiving…be forgiving…etc.

After I decided to just ‘be’, I read days #363 to #365 of a Daily OM course I’ve been taking since last year, A Year to Clear What’s Holding You Back.  The course gives snippets of ideas, comments, etc. every day to clear emotions, clutter, and everything else that keeps us locked to the past.  I was floored when I read Day#363, entitled “This is it” where the author shared a poem entitled “Always We Hope” written by Lao Tsu.  I felt compelled to share it with all of you.

Always we hope

Someone else has the answer

Some other place will be better,

Some other time it will all turn out.

This is it.

No one else has the answer

No other place will be better,

And it has already turned out.

At the center of your being

You have the answer,

You know who you are

And you know what you want.

There is no need

To run outside

For better seeing.

Nor to peer from a window.

Rather abide at the center of your being;

For the more you leave it, the less you learn.

Search your heart

And see

The way to do

Is to be.

So for 2019, my resolution is to ‘be.’  I have no idea what that looks like, but I’ll let you know as we progress through 2019.

What resolution(s) have you made?

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Striking Out

          A mid-August early-morning bike ride yielded what I called a patriotic day.

On my way up to Lock 7, I saw a red fox at the base of the water on the other side of the canal.  Unfortunately, he took off before I could get my camera in place.  Strike one.

I slowed my pedaling pace and got my camera ready.  Unfortunately, a deep, guttural growl in the woods to my left motivated me to quicken my pace up a bit more.

The quicker speed left my camera unable to capture the blue heron soaring over the canal in search of food.  Strike two.

On my return trip, my camera again failed to capture what I first thought was an eagle.  The bird was large like an eagle but its white breast made me uncertain of what it really was.  Strike three.

Three attempts; three failures.  I struck out on capturing nature’s critters:  a red fox, a white-breasted bird (osprey??) and a blue heron.

I realized although I struck out on capturing pictures of the beauty I saw, I still reaped other rewards.  I brought back a sense of being one with and in awe of nature, an elevated heart rate and a picture of these small white flowers along the water’s edge.  At least they didn’t move!

Sometimes when we put our disappointments and failures aside, we can gain a different perspective.  All we have to do is look.

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Walking in Another’s Shoes

     You always know when you need another pair of shoes.  Less than a year old, these sneakers have seen better days.  They’ve put on a lot of miles, done a lot of outdoor work and earned their keep many times over.

Stitching at the toes and bending points threaten to break but I procrastinated buying a new pair because I like the comfort, feel and support.  When I finally went to the store to get a pair, they don’t have the style anymore.  I really HATE shopping.  Now it’s time to try another pair and hope they work out. Walking in a new pair of shoes can be good, bad or both for a while…they’re just not the same.

Our feet aren’t the same as they were a year ago and neither are we.  The roller-coaster ride called life changes us.  We’re not who we were when we were 15, 25 or even a year ago.  We, like our shoes, have seen good and bad and we’ve weathered the storms.  Like we’ve exchanged our old shoes for new ones, we’ve probably exchanged our views, outlooks and opinions along the way, too.  We are not the same person who walked in those old shoes.

I wonder if we ‘walk’ in another’s ‘shoes’ to gain a different perspective on an opinion or stance that may differ from ours.

Like the difference between walking in sneakers, boots and high-heels, walking in another’s shoes varies over time.  Imagine trying to wear the shoes you had when you were a baby!  Like outgrown shoes, opinions and views most likely have changed and they’re not what they once were.  Decisions and judgments we’ve made before may not fit our lives today. While we may want to hold onto the old comfortable sneakers and viewpoints made in the past, letting them go offers a freedom to grow, start anew and move forward.  Imagine having the freedom to get rid of your old shoes and finding a pair that better suit your feet today.


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The Spice of Variety

     Summertime brings color into our lives…in the form of green grass, yellow and red birds and multi-colored blossoms.

This is one of four different colored gladiolus blossoms that bloomed over the past few weeks from bulbs I planted earlier this year.  I LOVE seeing all the beauty nature has to offer.

Although it’s barely mid-August, one of the four mums I planted last fall also have begun to bloom.  Another three plants didn’t make it over the winter, but this one’s strength prevailed.

The light and brilliant colors of summer and the deeper colors of fall highlight their beauty in different parts of my yard while recently planted wild flowers begin to garnish the back of the house.

An old axiom says ‘Variety is the spice of life’ rings true when you see these blooms.  Each flower tickles the eyes and senses with its own unique essence, making a bold, strong or subtle statement.

An old Girl Scout song talks about friends…one is silver and the other’s gold.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could love not only the flowers but also the people in our lives the same way…accepting the beauty and essence each has to offer?  Yes, there may be weeds among the blossoms, but each plays their own part in creating the spice and variety in our lives.


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Fruits of Our Gardens

I planted some wildflower seeds earlier this year, seeds that were supposed to attract hummingbirds and songbirds.

Since I had just put a couple inches of soil down on top of old soil, I wasn’t sure what was going to come up.  I tilled, raked and scattered seed, hoping for the best.

After a few weeks, I hesitated pulling out what looked as if it were tall grass, not knowing what might be a plant and what might be a weed.

After another few weeks, I began to see some little flowers and more buds, but still was hesitant to pull what could be weeds.

The other day as it began to rain before a bike ride, I decided instead to pull the tall grass since I saw similar grass in some of remaining dirt I had not spread on my garden.

Patience paid off, as it always does when awaiting the fruits of our gardens.  Isn’t it nice to see the beauty created by Nature when we’re patient and allow things to be as they are meant to be?  Nice lesson for the rest of life, too!

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