Sunday, April 28, 2019

Sunday Sunshine: Celebrate Your Inner Child

We're so grown up. We have adult responsibilities, adult worries, adult concerns, adult plans. All of those responsibilities, worries, concerns and plans can weigh you down. How often do you catch yourself smiling or laughing or relaxing during those tense adult moments?

It's time to lighten up and celebrate your inner child.

Be silly. Be playful. Laugh hard and joyfully. Let yourself relax in healthy, restorative ways.

Try this: Take 15 minutes -- just 15 minutes -- to lie on your back in the grass (or in a lawn chair!) and watch the clouds float above you against the bright blue sky. Let your mind drift. Let your imagination take over. Can you see shapes in those clouds? 

You can also try this: Stand in front of the bathroom mirror and smile. Make it a genuine, happy smile. Then, laugh out loud - a really deep belly laugh. How does it make you feel?

We all need fun and relaxation. It’s good for the mind, body and spirit.

Today, this week: Reserve time in your datebook for play and relaxation. Celebrate your inner child.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Sunday Sunshine: Embrace your Inner Wisdom

We human beings tend to rely on our wonderful brains. We were blessed to be given them, but our brains aren't the only source of our understanding or our wisdom.

Go a little deeper to find the source of your truth. Look to your heart. There is the source of your inner wisdom.

When you feel something in your heart, it's different from when you think with your brain. Your brain will filter information, use your memory to paint a picture of your today and even project judgments on your tomorrows.

When you listen to the subtle messages of your heart, you can trust that it won't lead you astray or betray your best interests with its filters and its file drawers of information from the past.

Today, this week: Embrace your inner wisdom. Trust its wise messages meant just for you.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunday Sunshine: Focus on the Good

For Christians, this is Holy Week, the week that will conclude with Easter next Sunday. 

Whether Christianity is your tradition or not, you may resonate in other ways with this season of rebirth and renewal, this time for greening and growing, this opportunity for planting seeds and watching the natural world burst with color and spring beauty.

There is so much goodness for us to enjoy this day, this week and during this season of spring. There is so much beauty for us to witness all around us and to emanate from inside of us. 

When we focus on the good, more of it seems to become visible to us.

Today, this week: Focus on the good things and they will grow in abundance.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Spring Bouquet

Spring arrives with the same exhilaration I feel when I receive a gift of flowers. I have said time and again in this blog how much I love spring and how it is my favorite of the seasons. I particularly love the hopeful, spring-green color that emerges in the hillsides when everything starts to wake up and come back to life for another season of growing and blooming.

While I know that spring officially arrives in March, in our cold climate, spring doesn’t start to make itself obvious until sometime in April.

My love of spring began when I was a child, perhaps because my late mother and I enjoyed spring birthdays. More likely, however, I love spring because my mom embraced the season fully with a joy that could only rub off on those around her.

My late mother, Barb Naidl (right), and me, posing in front of one of the lilac bushes in our backyard.

Spring meant an ever-cascading array of flowers in our home—lilacs, lilies of the valley, branches of forsythia and flowering current, and stems of iris, some dark purple and white and others brown and yellow. All of these flowering beauties grew without much assistance in our spacious backyard. They seemed to know they were welcome there, so they flourished pretty much on their own.

Me, lounging in our backyard. The beds of iris are visible behind me.

Beginning in April all the way through May, Mom would fill antique pitchers of all sizes with flowers, including one really large white porcelain pitcher that nestled perfectly into a large porcelain bowl, even though the bowl was not its original mate. That pitcher was so heavy that it required two hands to carry it safely.

This heavy bowl and pitcher held sprays of beauty during all seasons.

My favorite spring flowers were the lilacs and the lilies of the valley because of their heady scent. Mom would carefully cut, trim and then arrange small branches heavy with lavender and white lilacs in her precious pitcher collection and then place them strategically in nearly every room in our house, thus filling each space with fragrance.

There would be delicate milk glass vases filled with lilies of the valley, offering a lovely white-on-white contrast to the dark walnut antique commode chests on which they would be featured in our home’s living room. My mother loved antiques, so our home was rich with them.

Spring also meant the early budding of our yard’s three willow trees. Although they tend to be messy, I’ve always loved weeping willows. In the spring, they are among the first trees to hint that the seasons are changing, with their delicate yellow hue. 

The weeping willows in our yard provided a place for me to play and imagine.
In the early spring, they were among the first trees to hint at spring when they
turned a gentle shade of yellow-green while everything else was still brown.

Violets played a big part in my childhood springs and they still do today. As if overnight, our backyard would transform into a sea of white and purple as the violets began to bloom. Our family would wait to mow the lawn for the first time in the spring until the violets had had their time to shine.

Aside from nature’s welcoming changes, spring also meant a change in wardrobe, particularly represented by a new dress to wear to church on Easter. I can still remember how special I felt in one particular Easter outfit. The dress was made of a linen blend, the top portion of it white splashed with large, navy blue polka dots and the skirt portion plain navy. Over the dress was a matching navy linen blend coat. I wore a white hat decorated with a wide, navy blue grosgrain ribbon. The outfit was topped off with white anklets, white shoes and white gloves. I felt snazzy!

One of my favorite new Easter outfits from my childhood.
I felt so dressed up with my hat and matching dress and coat.

Despite my fond memories of new Easter clothes and the remembrances of how special I felt in them, when I reflect on springs past, it’s the flowers I recall most vividly and how my mom would bring them inside to transform our home into a special, fragrant and lovely place.

There are signs of spring sprouting everywhere now. Spend some time in nature, watching the changes unfold, the flowers bloom and the increasing signs of earth’s reawakening.

And as the earth transforms, contemplate what that reawakening of spring might mean for you.

Sunday Sunshine: Spring Clean Your Internal House

The chatter can feel deafening. We are constantly bombarded by messages, both positive and negative. It seems, though, that we tend to dwell most on the negative messages. 

It's spring, the perfect season to clean your internal house. Remove the gossip, the mean-spirited words and the stressful news from your life as much as possible. 

Fill that newly cleaned space with kindness, love, joy, and positive energy and activities. Then, share that love, kindness and joy with others around you. 

Let the good energy flow out of you like unfurling petals of a bright spring flower. You have the power to bring such beauty to yourself and to the world.

Today, this week: Rise above the fray in this world. Bloom with love and kindness to everyone around you.