Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Winter Contrast

Happy New Year! I am getting off to a slow start-not such a bad thing, actually.
So far, it is a time of what Abraham-Hicks calls "Contrast"for me. Yes, I am coming out of the closet - I read and listen to Abraham -Hicks and I even belong to a couple of Abraham- Hicks Facebook Groups.

My view of Contrast (just as I understand it!) is that things in my life are not so much what I wish for.
My ruined greenhouse, the necessity for a root canal next month on a tooth that was apparently injured during my adventures in orthodontistry - no one's fault and I am delighted to have my childhood smile back!😄 An ice and snow storm at the beginning of the year set me back considerably ... I do not thrive in cold weather.

Ice masquerading as snow
Only birds are venturing out

The only tracks anywhere on the property for days!

In my room all is well -one of my Calla lilies!

My cyclamen continues to bloom-over a year! and these lovely pink begonias!

The garden room is crammed with plants from the greenhouse

A view of greenhouse ruin and most of the plants safely stowed.
All in all life so far this year is giving me time to reflect. I am happy that I can appreciate beauty everyday - even when I am iced in!
Please leave a comment and tell me how your year is going so far. Did you make resolutions? Is 2017 looking like a good year for you? I hope so! I LOVE your comments and also links to your own Blogs, Youtube channels , and Pinterest boards!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Thank you, Barbara Fisher!

Imagine my surprise when my wonderful friend Barbara Fisher-http://marchhousebookscom.blogspot.com/  tagged me for this award!  A lovely challenge and a no brainer for this week's blog! Here are Barbara's 10 questions and my answers:

1) What is your earliest memory?   As a baby I remember a large, beautiful silver basket with flowers and leaves and animals. It had a wonderful texture. I could feel the shapes of the roses, the little rabbits, etc.  My mother usually had florist flowers in it- it was usually on a coffee table. I wish I had it! Or even a good photo!

2) Where is your favourite place in the world and why?   There used to be ( it may be there still under another name) a wonderful little bookshop across the street from Wells Cathedral in Somerset England. I loved that shop and when the Bevans moved to Wales I had dreams of buying it and living there! Otherwise I love London, Verona and the Veneto area, - and New Orleans -where I grew up.

3)Do you have a favourite piece of clothing or footwear?   YES!!                                                          
My beautiful blue skirt I bought many years ago in Paris. Here I am wearing it at Versailles soon after I bought it- and much more recently shooting a video in my room.
AND- the gorgeous cream boots and red Mary Janes from Anello and Davide in London also bought many, many years ago. Sadly they are no longer comfortable to wear!

4) What inspired you to write a blog?  The six word autobiography challenge set by Oprah years ago. My very first post!
5) Favourite snack : Plain chocolate Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar or plain chocolate Digestives.
 Otherwise just excellent quality plain chocolate!

6) Have you ever acted or sung on stage?  Yes many times -singing as an adult. Ballet until I was 14.

7) Have you or anyone in your family traced your ancestry?  Yes, my sister as well as cousins on both sides of the family - back to the 1600s. Must have been some  shady characters - we came to America before the Revolutionary War  and we have Viking genes. Certainly some marauding adventurers!

Have you ever experienced déjá vu?  Frequently.

Do you sing in the shower or the car or both?  I prefer baths and I do not drive a car- but I LOVE to sing!

Have you enjoyed participating in this tag?  YES! Thank you again, Barbara!
I am tagging
 Janet at http://yellowpinkandsparkly.blogspot.com/
Beth at  http://byhookbyhand.blogspot.com/
Miché at http://www.spoonbenderscafe.com/
Leanne at http://www.crestingthehill.com.au/
Laura at https://lauracarpi.wordpress.com/   in Italian, but Google will translate!

 If you decide to participate, here are the "rules":
Thank the blogger for the award  in your post. Answer the 10 questions set by me (see below).
Nominate your blogging friends! Ask 10 of your own questions for them to answer on their blog.
Display the award on your blog or in the post.
I would love for you all to check out their blogs! And if you like, answer any -or all of the following questions in the comments or email me or message me on Facebook!

1) What fun activity do you do everyday (or most days!)?
2) What was your favourite toy as a child/ Do you still have the toy? or one very like it?
3)What is your favourite type of music?
4) Are there books or movies you have read/watched many times? Which ones?
5) Do you like to create things:sewing, knitting, crochet, jewellry, toys, origami- anything? Please share a photo or description
6)Are you a morning songbird or a night owl?
7)What is magical about your life?
8)If you had 3 wishes what would they be?
9)What do you love best about yourself?
10)How would you make the world a better place?

This was fun, Barbara! I hope YOU answer my questions ;^)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Thanksgiving Self Care Story



Thanksgiving is a big deal in my household. Frequently we have house guests as well as dinner guests for the main event.

My sister and I grew up celebrating Thanksgiving mostly in the high-end restaurants our mother managed. After our Thanksgiving meal, we would be sent off to a movie. Occasionally we enjoyed a more traditional Thanksgiving with our stepmother's family. The best was when we visited our father's extended family. All the aunts, uncles, and cousins would come to our grandmother's house. These were rare occasions involving long distance travel. I cherish the memories! ( I spent years and considerable $ acquiring the china pattern we used at the children's table- I use it frequently and always on Thanksgiving). This china makes me smile!



When I was 15 I decided that I would shop for and prepare the Thanksgiving feast rather than go to a restaurant. Our stepmother had taught me many cooking skills. As I worked, our mother was so impressed that she took the day off and invited some friends to join us. One guest actually brought flowers! Another guest was the owner of a large record shop. He was so pleased with the dinner that he gave my sister and me generous gift certificates ( I still have some of those vinyl albums!).
Almost every year since I have prepared  and hosted the Thanksgiving celebration.

This year (here comes the self care part -at last!😉 ). I woke up Thursday feeling totally stressed.  All of the stresses of this autumn took their toll- the loss of my greenhouse and the plant rescue operations, the temporary (I hope!!)  loss of my housekeeper/garden help, some growing pains about yet another career change... To top it off one of my cats has started leaving puddles of bloody urine all over the house. Fortunately we have a wonderful veterinarian  who makes house calls. My little cat is doing better.   Still, when I woke up early Thursday, I did not feel well, and after feeding the cats I slipped on  a puddle I had missed when cleaning up. It was the last straw. I sat down and decided  there was no way I was going to cook a big turkey, make pies, etc. I went to my room - put on clean pajamas and went back to bed.  I telephoned the guests and invited them for Saturday. Everyone was very obliging!

 I spent the whole of Thanksgiving in bed napping, reading, and listening to music. It was lovely!

In years past I would have pushed through- with less than optimal results. By Thursday night I would have been very ill indeed.  I have finally learned to take care of myself and not worry when I must occasionally disappoint people. As it was, no one was really disappointed. The turkey, the pies, etc. were delicious. We were all just as thankful as we would have been on Thursday!

Have you ever opted to take care of yourself and cancel an engagement? Have you ever enjoyed a holiday just resting?

I love your comments. Please leave a comment below , email me , or message me on Facebook! Thank you for reading my blog!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

True Beauty - Embody and Energize Who You Are Inside



View of one of my windows in my room today
  I am discovering the change in the world I would really like to be. I want to inspire you  and shine a light on how embodying your true beauty creates energy!
 I discovered at an early age that beauty is not about looking like a movie star, a doll , a beautifully drawn paper doll,etc. I began to look for the beauty in the ways people express themselves. Have you  noticed that somehow animals and plants seem to express their unique beauty just by being?  People seem to have more of a challenge...
It can be a scary adventure to truly accept and love yourself. The first time I had to look in a mirror and find something beautiful about myself it took a long time. I chose my eyebrows!  It has taken me years to be able to look at myself and like what I see.
 Do you cringe when you see yourself on video, or in the mirror, or hear yourself on audio? I still do - after years of practice in accepting myself. Just when I think I really accept myself,  I see myself on a recorded coaching session or hear myself sing and I just want to hide!  I am horrified by how much I talk, how loud I am when I get excited, how messy my hair becomes, how I frown when I concentrate...
I am learning that loving and appreciating  my body -just as I am- is the first step to feeling better /looking better. I keep getting "wake-up" calls as several of my friends have had major health issues that are clearly related to taking care of everybody/everything except themselves!
Feeling good /looking good is an inside job. It is not about age-weight-size- these are just numbers! It is not about impossible photoshopped images in  the media.
Feeling good/ looking good is about letting your inner self/soul shine through your body!  Embodying the Real-Authentic-You! Your unique R-A-Y of light,love, beauty!
The first step is getting to know the R-A-Y. There are so many ways to do this! Danielle La Porte's book The Desire Map is a start. Julia Cameron's  books The Artist's Way and The Vein Of Gold are excellent. This may be another whole blog... ;^)
For this week,  it might be fun for you  to discover something  awesome about yourself and embody it. Here's a suggestion: Use an "I am" statement. It has to be something you truly believe about yourself- or at the very least something you are WILLING to believe about yourself. As you say it - see how your body feels. Gently tap or massage  where your body feels the statement- or move/dance to it.
I made a short video last spring about my Embodied Affirmations . You can see it here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDz36e7gEZA

My message to you this week in a nutshell:
Practice accepting yourself as a beautiful being.
Find something about your body that you are willing to see as a part of  your unique beauty.
 Try some Embodied Affirmations that you are at least willing to believe (even if you are not there yet!).
You are an embodied beautiful soul- if only you will believe it and see it!
You might enjoy my Pinterest  boards https://www.pinterest.com/colleen2322/
Thank you for stopping by! If any of this resonates for you, please leave a comment or a suggestion. I LOVE your comments and suggestions.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Resilience, Rewards, Radiance, and Research

Most of my little world is still beautiful!


 I love autumn! Usually I am energized by the cooler weather and the ever changing colors. In light of my greenhouse disaster I have been feeling somewhat overwhelmed and not quite exhausted, but certainly low on energy. Although I continue to eat well, enjoy my walks, exercise, and sleep well, I notice that I am not always feeling as "lit up" or as radiant as usual. The task of cleaning up all the debris- even with help- is difficult, somewhat dangerous ( so much twisted steel and broken glass- some of which is still poised to fall!). Just plain daunting.

So I have been thinking about what I have done successfully in the past to get through overwhelm and low energy.. The first thing that pops up for me is "this too shall pass". I have a plan for getting through the cleanup and on to the fun part of planning the new greenhouse. I know I am resilient. I bounce back pretty quickly from difficult experiences. I have had plenty of practice!

Still, I am dragging my feet. This week I am just doing a little bit at a time. The weather is co-operating so I can afford to take baby steps for awhile. Sadly, my gardener is unable to help me because she is taking care of a seriously ill family member. I  miss her. She cheers me up as we do tasks I am unable- or unwilling- to do on my own. So I am carving out an hour or two a day when the sun is brightest. I am doing what I can.

Then I reward myself! Yesterday it was with a Youtube video in Italian teaching me how to crochet a sweater . Two treats in one! I LOVE learning Italian and I LOVE making pretty clothes. Rewards are necessary! Making a list of rewards I want can be a reward...

 Rewards bring back my radiance! I light up when I am enjoying life, having fun, learning new things... Radiance for me means feeling glow-y inside. Happy just to be alive. Enjoying and appreciating the beauty around me. Posting these photographs! Enjoying and appreciating my own beauty. Dancing!

 I want to discover how you deal with set-backs, disappointments, disasters...Here is the beginning of my research:
When you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, daunted : what words do you use to describe your feelings ? What concerns or anxieties are coming up for you?
When you feel lit up, radiant, full of energy, what words do you use to describe your feelings?
When do you feel  lit up, radiant, full of energy ?

Chestnut tree
Walk down the road

Driveway

Louisiana cypress trees
View from my kitchen
Thank you for reading my blog! I love comments. I would really appreciate reflections on my first research questions.  It makes me happy to see others in their radiance and high energy. See you next week!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Accepting a Disaster


My beautiful greenhouse is a total loss.  I have been growing fruit and flowers in it for 2 decades. Needless to say, I am very sad.  Here are some photos to illustrate the magnitude of the loss:

I have been around long enough to have learned that I can only accept what I cannot change. I cannot undo the damage- nor can the greenhouse be repaired. The structure is irreparably damaged. I may be able to salvage many of the plants and possibly the pool and some of the furniture. So, what is next?

 The damage needs to be cleared up, and this is a monumental task. My gardener and I have already been pruning all the damage to the roses. We have taken buckets of broken glass out of their pots. There are some precious ferns, small fig trees , a bay tree and a rosemary bush with strong sentimental value to me. So many of my plants came from people I love- many of whom are no longer with us. We will have to find some help to remove the remains of the steel and glass and other debris. I am hoping for a crew who will respect the garden and do minimal damage in the clean-up operation!

This is really quite an "Adventure". One of my primary values is "Growth "and this is definitely an opportunity for growth! Dealing with a big loss, mustering my creative thinking to discover how I want to garden now and what I want to save is quite a challenge!

I am planning to have a new greenhouse !  It is time to redesign my garden. I would like the new greenhouse to be connected to my garden room  so that it is closer to the house. I also plan to make the garden  easier to maintain. I cannot imagine life without roses, flowers for the bees, the butterflies,and the hummingbirds. I love having little water gardens for frogs and dragon flies! I enjoy growing (and eating!) fruit, vegetables , and my favorite herbs. All of my life I have been strongly connected to these things. Life for me without a garden would be desolate.

I understand that there are tragedies in life far more sad and challenging than what I am dealing with. I am curious to know how you deal with loss, challenges, Life Adventures. I keep receiving little signs that "All is well, really".  I grew up with that conviction and I know in my bones that it is true- but i do struggle with some of the evidence right in front of my eyes! How about you? What sustains you when disaster strikes? Something must- or you would not be here reading this ;^)
Please leave your thoughts /feelings about this topic in the Comments below. I love your comments and I truly appreciate it when you read my Blog! See you next week!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

My Trip to the Pacific Northwest- Part 3

My favourite- the Italian garden at The Butchart Gardens
My final installment! Today I will take you on a pictorial tour of my stay in Victoria and my day at The Butchart Gardens.  The crossing was rough, and quite cold - but well worth it. As soon as we arrived in Victoria the weather was sunny and balmy!
We stayed in the garden suite at a very nice inn located in a quiet residential neighborhood.
This is another inn down the street-maybe next time? The roses were fantastic!
The house across the street from our garden suite. Love the colors! Not unusual in this lovely neighborhood. Victoria is such a colourful place.

 Horses and carriages went by our windows all day (at least when we were there for rest breaks!).
A wild peacock in the parking lot at our inn! I talked to a neighbor who said that he has been living in the neighborhood for years! Evidently not uncommon here. I used to see wild peacocks growing up in New Orleans not far from Audubon Park- this is a very unusual climate!

Victoria-James Bay   


James Bay area  

Beautiful Butchart Gardens! Just as lovely as I expected. I have been reading about this garden for years. The roses were fantastic! And I was happy to see bees and butterflies throughout the gardens.


More photos now of the Italian Garden-there is even a place to enjoy some gelato!
Definitely my favorite of the gardens!
I had so much fun riding a rose-bedecked white horse on the famous Rose Carousel! For some reason there were more on-lookers than riders...
Banana tress, palm trees and Pacific Northwest evergreens all growing together! These are mature growing in the ground trees! What a fantastic climate!

I had so much fun on my break. I have more photos, and they may come in handy for other blogs.
Thank you so much for looking at my blog . I am loving the comments! Please keep them coming. I really do want to know what you enjoy seeing here and/or reading. I also welcome emails and pm's on Facebook if you are too shy to post. You might  also enjoy my Pinterest boards :
https://www.pinterest.com/colleen2322/
See you next week.