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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

August 21, 2015 Always looking for ways to improve myself, I’m attending a workshop today. Check back next Tuesday for a new What About This? post. In the meantime, I leave you with this thought:

“The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. In their country, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. It’s a reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful, but that it is also tragically short.”
Homaro Cantu

Now go and spread joy!

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June 5, 2015 Edition
Dear Readers,

Due to circumstances beyond my control (lovely warm day, beautiful blue skies, and adorable granddaughter), the writing of Friday’s Fresh Five! lost out to the joy of the moment. Check back next week for a new edition.

Have a wonderful weekend and remember:

“Happiness, not in another place but this place . . . not for another hour, but this hour.”
Walt Whitman

Now go and spread joy!

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April 24, 2015 Edition Movement caught my eye as I stood at the kitchen sink and stared out the window. Something landed on a nearby bush, sat for a while, and then flew away. I wondered if a hummingbird had built a nest there. When I went outside to look, a butterfly flew within inches of my face and landed on a leaf in front of me. She repeated the process – landing, resting, flying away – for more than 20 minutes. “She must be laying eggs,” I thought to myself. The fascinating metamorphosis of butterflies happens right in front of our eyes, but most of us don’t see it. In a larger sense, the challenges we encounter during our own metamorphosis oftentimes prevent us from seeing the transformations of others.

#1 – Proving the Butterfly Effect
Chris Rosati Since being diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, North Carolina resident Chris Rosati has become an inspiration to many people around the world. He created BIGG, Big Idea for the Greater Good Initiative, that challenges people “to change the world with just one act of kindness.” Watch the short video of how Chris is “proving the butterfly effect with a single act of kindness.”

#2 – Forge Meaning, Build Identity
Writer Andrew Solomon gives an inspirational and powerful TED presentation on “How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are.” Eloquently, he shares stories of adversity and encourages us to forge meaning from our struggles. Here’s one of my favorite passages from his presentation: When we’re ashamed, we can’t tell our stories, and stories are the foundation of identity. Forge meaning, build identity, forge meaning and build identity. That became my mantra. Forging meaning is about changing yourself. Building identity is about changing the world. All of us with stigmatized identities face this question daily: how much to accommodate society by constraining ourselves, and how much to break the limits of what constitutes a valid life? Forging meaning and building identity does not make what was wrong right. It only makes what was wrong precious.

#3 – Simple Things
Small things In Life That Bring HappinessCar rides, belly rubs, walks in the park – it’s obvious that little things bring joy to dogs. What types of things bring joy to humans? A United Kingdom healthcare group surveyed 2,000 people and asked them what types of things made them feel good. Check out 50 Simple Things that Make Us Feel Great and see how many of these feel-good activities are on your list.

#4 – Butterfly Blues
Tropical Morpho butterflies have beautiful blue wings. This three-minute video shows how the structure of their wings generates their incredible iridescent color.

#5 – Transformation
Change Makes the Butterfly More Beautiful

Now go and spread joy!

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Early Morning Calm Like angels ascending to heaven, the morning mist lifts ethereally from the lake. A lone skiff floats through the mist and breaks the stillness of the glass-like water. The world is quiet and I am lost in my reverie. Fishermen arrive and set up their gear, but they do not disturb the peace I feel. The lake soon hums with activity, but the calm I felt during those precious early morning moments still flows through my blood and into my heart, setting the cadence of my heartbeat for the rest of the day.

#1 – A Small Portrait
Miniature Paintings by Lorraine Loots It takes calm nerves and a steady hand to paint paintings that are no larger than a small coin and are painted in a photo-realistic style. For each day of the year 2013, Cape Town-based artist Lorraine Loots painted a miniature painting. The paintings were for her project 365 Paintings for Ants and she is now working on a project called 365 Postcards for Ants. Watch the video to learn more about Lorraine and her work.

#2 – Making Clouds
Decorating With Clouds The introduction for this project from Oh! Crafts states, “Let your children fly their imagination in their own room with these great clouds hanging on the ceiling.” Forget about the kids! Adults need all the help they can get to fuel their imaginations, so go ahead and put up soft, billowy clouds in your home and make no excuses for them. And remember that clouds don’t always bring rain.

#3 – Your Green House
7 Easy DIY Green Home Solutions Get your head out of the clouds and start living a greener life. Follow these 7 Ways To Make Your Home a Greener Place and live with a “clean” conscience.

#4 – Answer These Questions
25 Questions To Ask People (And Yourself) “What does a perfect day look like to you?” I could easily answer question #24 of 25 Questions to Ask People, but I would have to stop and ponder my answers to some of the other questions. Whether you ask others or yourself these questions, the important takeaway from this article is not so much about asking the questions, but it’s more about learning to be a mindful listener. Listen to yourself, too.

#5 – Morning Thoughts
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
Marcus Aurelius

Now go and spread joy!

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Acorn Woodpecker “Splish, splash, I was takin’ a bath . . .” sings an Acorn Woodpecker as he splashes around in the top tier of my backyard fountain. Goldfinches stop short of landing on the rim once they eye the big fellow dominating the cool water. Oblivious to other approaching birds, the woodpecker takes a leisurely bath, shaking and lifting his wings periodically. During the drought, my little fountain has become a center of much activity. Small and large birds, butterflies and other insects all make use of the fountain. For their sake, I continue to run it during these times of water conservation. Little water is wasted, as it uses a recirculating pump and is set on a timer. More importantly, my husband adds only bird-safe algaecide to the water. I am ever cognizant that the plants in my garden are not the only living things struggling to survive during the drought.

#1 – Through His Eyes
Photos by Trey Ratcliff Whether it’s your people-watching fix, your travel-itch, your appreciation of nature, or your love of photography, you’re bound to find a photograph in this portfolio that mesmerizes you. Take your time as you scroll through the textural and color-rich photographs taken from around the world by photographer, artist, writer and adventurer Trey Ratcliff.

#2 – Unflabby People
The 10 Habits of Highly Unflabby People GQ Magazine’s article on The 10 Habits of Highly Unflabby People is a good reminder about how the “little things” add up. If you follow the author’s tips, you could potentially save 10,142 calories a week!

#3 – Nailed It!
Baking Projects From Pinterest That Went Hilariously Wrong We all do it. We all see something on the Internet or in a magazine and say, “That doesn’t look too hard to make.” I’m not going to lie, looking through the photos of Baking Projects From Pinterest That Went Hilariously Wrong made me chuckle. As a tester of recipes for this blog, I’ve had my fair share of creative disasters.

#4 – Tips, Tricks, and Hacks
Life Hacks Imagine 466 pages of life hacks for you to investigate. Some of them are very intriguing as well as clever. LifeTricks is an online community that allows people to post “tricks, tips and life hacks for absolutely everything!”

#5 – Do More
“Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.”
― William Arthur Ward

Go now and spread joy!

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Seagull The bird soars through the sky, occasionally swaying to the left and swooping to the right. The cool ocean breeze flutters his feathers and lifts his wings. Other than eating, he has no plans for the day. He does what he wants, when he wants. Landing on a beach, he enjoys the warmth of the afternoon sun. He wanders across the sand, pecking for food here and there. A few of his colony friends approach and squawk-talk with him. After a bit, he bids them adieu and takes flight. Up, over the cliffs, out to the sea, and then back again. If birds could smile, this bird was smiling. Oh, to be free. To be free as a bird.

#1 – Be Real
Genuine Self? Do you “live life according to your true self” and how do you know if you are being genuine? Read 6 Signs You’re A Truly Genuine Person to find out.

#2 – Shut the Door!
Beautiful Doors from Around the World One of the first things someone sees as they approach your home is your front door, so why not make it interesting? Check out these 25 Beautiful Front Door Designs from around the world. Some are pieces of art and some are classically understated. I’m sure the homeowners remind visitors to “shut the door” so that their doors can be better appreciated.

#3 – Succulents 101
Succulents 101 With drought conditions in so many areas of the world, succulents are more popular than ever. People looking for low-maintenance and water-saving ways to bring color and texture to their gardens have discovered the world of succulents. Me included. Tired of unsightly drip lines running up into potted plants on my front porch, I started planting succulents instead. For those of you wanting to learn more about planting succulents, here’s a link to Succulents 101: A Beginner’s Guide.

#4 – Paying It Forward
This Thai commercial, made for a communications company, illustrates how kindness and giving goes around and comes around.

#5 – A Thousand Invisible Threads
“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”
Herman Melville

Go now and spread joy!

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Ghost Ranch Flowers They may look like weeds to you, but don’t step on the vegetation. Please stay on the pathways. We’ve had a long drought here, and the poor little plants are doing everything they can to survive. See how the soil looks crusty? That crust protects the plants and if you step on the crust and break it, you’re inviting a dust storm. These words of advice, reiterated by more than one guide during a visit to the Southwest, motivated me to step up my water conservation and to appreciate the gifts that water brings.

#1 – Saving Water
Save Water While I was at a social gathering the other day, the conversation turned to ways to save water. Conserving water needs to become a way of life for all of us, and not just during a drought. Check out these 100+ Ways To Conserve and see if there aren’t a few more ways you can incorporate water conservation into your life.

#2 – Assessing the Flow
Go with The Flow Do you have days when you feel like you’re swimming upstream or you’re drowning in the details of life or you’re in the wrong pond altogether? Come up for air and take a deep breath. It’s time for a reassessment. From Marc and Angel Hack Life comes an inspirational piece called 16 Reasons You’re Succeeding in Life (Even If You Don’t Feel You Are). Odds are you are happier and more successful than you thought.

#3 – Water Table
Duffy London Abyss Table The London-based design company Duffy London created a mesmerizing table called the “Abyss Table.” This table is more than its stacked layers of glass and wood; it’s a “slice” of the sea.

#4 – How Would You Make Her Beautiful?
The Definition of Beauty Kansas City journalist Esther Honig sent an unretouched photo of herself across the seas to “Photoshop professionals and amateurs in 23 different countries and asked them to ‘make her beautiful.'” Her project is an interesting study of cultural interpretations of beauty.

#5 – Water, Water, Everywhere
“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. ”
― Thomas Fuller

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad

“In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence.”
― Khalil Gibran

Go now and spread joy!

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