Wednesday, July 31, 2013

gettin' to

I woke up today already stressing about my to-do list. It’s one of those days where I just have so much on my plate and nearly all of it MUST be done today. I made a list, checked it twice and sure enough, I’ve got to dive in and get this stuff taken care of.  My stomach hurts, my jaw is clenched, I’m steeling myself for the onslaught that’s facing me.  But wait….this is a terrible way to start the day!

So I’m turning this morning around. This morning I GET to mail off two pretty packages to buyers. I GET to run to the store to pick up laundry detergent and other essentials. I GET to do PR for some upcoming gigs. I GET to find the funds and pay my too-high health insurance bill. I GET to run to the library to renew my books. I GET to find/create more items, photograph and post them for sale. I GET to clean up the mess the cat made overnight. I GET to….yes, I GET to!

I saw a notice that a high school classmate passed away a couple of days ago after suffering years of struggle with a debilitating disease. A family member is coping with medical issues that is robbing her of very basic abilities that the rest of us take for granted every day. Cancer has taken too many people that I love. These people can no longer do the things on their to-do list….but I GET to!

Monday, July 29, 2013

go slowly, sit quietly, breathe and smile...

Sometimes you are rewarded for going out into the rain....

Go slowly, sit quietly, breathe, smile....

Friday, July 26, 2013


I had a very interesting "aha" moment this morning. Still lingering in the comfort of the considerable drop in temperatures last night and the great sleep I had, windows open and fresh air filling the bedroom. Feeling grateful that a check was deposited and I can pay off a worrisome bill. Enjoying a sample Danish that was offered to me when I was running on empty from racing out of the house without breakfast. Getting a good report from the mechanic following my oil change – no unexpected car repairs needed. Popped a pretty package into the mail for a buyer is Colorado, only to find that when I logged on again that I’d sold a piece of jewelry this morning. Feeling all kinds of gratitude for all these seemingly little things.
But then I notice that at the two tables next to me, there are business conversations going on. I hear 5-figure and 7-figure transactions being negotiated and handshakes all around. The funny thing is, those people don’t look happy. I’ve made my little sale and I’m feeling joy.  Ok, based on the business dealings going on near me, maybe I need to set my bar a little higher – but it seems to me that maybe those guys doing the high-dollar deals need to take a little lesson from me too! Aha!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

is happiness your default state?

If not, then why not?  On phototripping outings over the past few months I’ve been watchful of a lot of things around me that might have gone un-noticed otherwise. One thing that’s struck me is that little kids always seem joyful, happy and pretty care-free. So maybe happiness is everyone’s default early on in our lives! But how do so many people lose that along the way? Maybe it’s because of assumptions we make over time or habits that we’re not even aware that we have. Maybe it’s the chatter in our heads, the self-talk that goes unchecked. Perhaps we’ve bought into some negative comments made by other people or heck, maybe we just listen to network news much too often and it’s poisoning us without us even realizing it.

So how do we try to recapture happiness as our default? Well, what are you passionate about? Do you feel like you’ve found your true purpose?  “Live in the moment” is a pretty worn out chant these days but if you can find something, a project or purpose that pulls you into it’s current then you’ll probably find that you’re not thinking about the past, not thinking about the future, you’re concentrating fully on what you have in front of you right now. No worries, no regrets, just 100% focused on this moment. You may be so focused that time flies by and nothing else can compete for your attention. Musicians are often totally in the moment when they play. Same goes for an artist working on her/his craft. So try to find that engrossing activity or experience that makes time stand still for you, that keeps you totally focused. It’ll be a great first step towards re-setting your happiness default.

Monday, July 22, 2013

on finding hidden gems

I was doing a bit of thrifting on Saturday at the gigantic Hospice Flea Market Store.  I was there for well over an hour, combing through all of the goodies, looking for hidden treasures. It always strikes me when going through a store like this, just chock full of people’s cast-offs, that ALL of this stuff was once in someone’s home. Some of it probably should have gone to the garbage rather than being donated and some of it is pretty junky, but at some point someone paid good money for this stuff and valued it enough to keep it in their home. I always get a secret rush when I discover a gem in a store like this. What I found on this weekend was truly a gem and it was free! While going through tables of “stuff” I found that someone had taken the time to hand-write notes and leave them stuffed inside an item or hidden in crannies. Some notes were of a religious nature but most were words of encouragement, meant to lift up the reader. I must have come across a dozen notes, all in the same hand, tucked away in the oddest, most secret places. I read them, and then put them back in their hiding place. Each one made me smile but what meant the most was that someone had taken the time to do this for people that they don’t even know, an act of kindness for which they’ll never see the outcome.

Friday, July 19, 2013

on jumping personal hurdles

With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.      ~Dr. Wayne Dyer
One of the big challenges I have in my life right now is that of forgiveness. It’s a theme that keeps rearing its head and presenting itself to me in different forms. Ok, ok already, I get the message. The problem is I’ve never been able to just let things roll off my back.  I’ve asked someone wiser than me how to do this – how do I forgive, how do I “just decide” to make it so. I mean after all, in no way do I want to condone the bad or hurtful behavior. My head tells me that if I don’t let go then I’m letting the events continue to hurt me over and over again. I know that forgiving doesn’t have anything to do with the other person and it’s certainly not about forgetting.  What my heart tells me is that I need to do this for myself.  I want to listen to my heart.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

now, voyager

I think I just might have just found my favorite Bette Davis film. Now, Voyager is a story of a completely repressed woman, born into a very wealthy Boston family, struggling under the weight of her mother’s domination. Every aspect of this young woman’s life is controlled by the watchful eye and heavy manipulation of a mother whose main goal is to keep her daughter tied to her in order to keep her in the role of dutiful daughter. Watching Bette transform into a secure, independent, strong woman is remarkable, not only for the storyline but because Bette’s acting is so amazing. Her expressive eyes and physical transformation completely draw you into her struggle and subsequent personal growth. You see her fight through emotional boundaries, some really tough decisions, deal with the doubts she has about whether she’s doing the right thing and eventually, bloom into her own individuality and womanhood. I really like that the story doesn’t resolve into a perfectly pretty package, but ends with the Charlotte character creating a great, albeit unconventional (for the times) life for herself. Released in 1942 and also starring Claude Reins and Paul Heinreid, both of whom also starred together in Casablanca. My favorite quote from the movie? “Don’t ask for the moon when we have the stars.” Now, Voyager needs to be on your radar, so put this in your Netflix queue or keep your eyes on TCM and catch it during the next showing. You’ll be glad you did. (As a personal aside, my in-laws once stayed at their favorite B&B in New Hampshire during a week when a much older Bette Davis was also staying there. Turns out it was her favorite get-a-way as well….but that’s a story for another time.)
photo via

Monday, July 15, 2013

rain, rain, rain, rain, rain......

We've had weeks and weeks of daily, heavy rains, so much that most people can not remember when there's been this kind of deluge. The rivers and creeks are running very high, inviting over-excited kayakers to take advantage of the swift running water only to find that they require helicopter rescues to retrieve them. The upside, aside from not having to worry about drought this summer, is that all the trees and plants are a brilliant green, which is rare in our area for this time of year.

 Mosses and lichen are emerging everywhere, taking advantage of all the extra moisture.

The air is heavy with moisture. It collects on windows and drips from eaves and other over-hanging spots.

Wildflowers are popping up in the strangest places, taking hold in nooks and crannies.

It seems mushrooms and mosses are springing up in yards all over town, creating a soft, lush groundcover.

And though sleep comes easily when a steady rain falls on the roof and low thunder rumbles outside, most people that I've talked to are ready for a sunny, dry-spell for a while, but the ducks are loving our super wet summer.

Friday, July 12, 2013

the times they are a-changin' here in nc

“May I become at all times, both now and forever, a protector for the helpless, a guide for the lost ones, a ship for those to cross oceans and a bridge to cross rivers, a sanctuary for those in danger, a lamp for those in darkness, a refuge for those who need shelter, a servant to all in need.” (Dalai Lama)

While the decision makers in our state seem to be having an ethical and moral nervous-breakdown, making sweeping changes that are crushing the people that need help the most, questioning our ability to make personal decisions for ourselves and subjugating whole groups of citizens, we as individuals would do well to take these words to our hearts and do what we can individually to help those that can’t help themselves and to speak for those that can’t speak for themselves. Then on Election Day we’ll become the decision makers again. I already know what my decision/vote will be.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

daphne fragrance garden

Tucked away in a far corner of Burlington’s City Park is a little known bit of tranquility called The Daphne Fragrance Garden. Given to the city in memory of her seeing-eye dog, Pat Yarborough wanted to gift a space designed for the visually impaired but it’s definitely a gift given to us all. The first time I visited the garden after it first opened in 2009, I didn’t fully appreciate what this spot would develop into.  Today I see that the plantings have all matured and the garden itself has expanded a bit. Pass through vine covered trellises and you’ll find nestled here and there, little benches where visitors can sit and enjoy the amazing scents. It’s quiet enough that it’s pretty hard to miss the buzzing of all the bumble bees hurrying from bloom to bloom and though silent, there are also butterflies of all colors flitting throughout the garden. This is a tiny little get-away, but if you are looking for a quiet space where you can sit and relax for a bit then here’s a nice spot for you.

Monday, July 8, 2013

small town 4th of July

Is there anything better than a small town 4th of July? Everyone comes out to celebrate in the town square, many in their red, white & blue finery. Home-made ice cream, old fashioned games, Americana music, even the animals get into the spirit...and who doesn't love a parade!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

corner view: home

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane and curated by Francesca, where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. This week’s theme is "home" and comes from Dana.

A home is your sanctuary, your soft place to land in a world that’s sometimes just too hard. You don’t have to fill it with much, but a house doesn’t become a home until you bring to it unconditional, extraordinary, tail-wagging, furry bundles of love. There’s nothing like seeing those small faces waiting for you at the window and being greeted so enthusiastically at the door each and every day. The cat or dog (or both!) lets you know always, that the world is a better place just because you are there. 

Monday, July 1, 2013