I took a break from my work and went out for a run this morning. The weather was warmer than usual, the birds were chirping happily, and it was starting to feel like spring. Rain was forecast for the afternoon, so getting out earlier in the day seemed like the thing to do.

Toward the end of the run, I got sprinkled on a little, the clouds were dark and heavy, and the wind was blowing my hair all around—but that was okay, it was good to get outdoors and be part of nature anyway!
 

Word-art that says "And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." -Kahlil Gibran 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Although valentine cards, holiday gifts, and thank-you notes are common ways of showing how much we appreciate our loved ones, often it’s the ordinary days that end up being more memorable. Even when it doesn’t seem as if we are doing anything in particular, but simply relaxing and enjoying others’ company, they feel appreciated because we chose to spend time with them.
 

Word-art that says "Joy is the simplest form of gratitude." -Karl Barth 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

This time of year it’s always fun to browse through garden catalogs, even though spring planting is still far away. The weather around here is cold enough that I expect the groundhog will settle in for a long winter’s nap. It’s never too early to imagine a thriving, beautiful garden, though—not only the flowers in the yard, but also the peaceful garden of the mind that sprouts from planting happy dreams.
 

Word-art that says "Plant dreams, pull weeds, grow a happy life!" 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

After work this evening, I took off the nail polish that I got almost three weeks ago when I went for a manicure with my daughter and her bridesmaids on the day before the wedding. That was a good memory, and removing the polish left me feeling a bit sad, but my nails had grown enough that the task couldn’t reasonably be put off anymore.

I don’t often wear nail polish, and now it seems a bit peculiar to be back to natural after three weeks of shiny rose-gold fingertips! But I am grateful for my daughter’s thoughtfulness in inviting me to go with her to the nail salon, and glad to have the memory even though I am not literally wearing it anymore.
 

Word-art that says "Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

The sun was coming up over bare trees and a snow-covered landscape when I sat down at my desk this morning to begin my work. I felt cheerful about the days starting to get longer again. Spring surely couldn’t be all that far away!

Although happiness can be found in simple, ordinary moments like waking up to a brighter morning, we do need to take enough time, in the midst of our busy schedules, to notice and appreciate what’s going on around us. Whether or not we feel happy on any particular day is not random like the weather, but has a lot to do with how we choose to look at things.
 

Word-art that says "Happiness is always an inside job." 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Last weekend I traveled to Tampa, along with my husband and son, because my daughter chose to have a destination wedding. Other relatives drove in or flew in from different parts of the country. It was good to see everyone all together, the ceremony was lovely, and a weekend away from the freezing cold of Ohio was definitely a plus! Although my daughter had been stressing for months about getting the details just right, it all came together very nicely.

Having a daughter who is all grown up and married, though, will likely take a while to get used to, both for myself and for my husband. We’re still wondering where our little soccer-playing girl in braids went! But, it’s probably for the best that we can never foresee everything the future holds. There’s always more to see as time goes on!
 

Word-art that says "Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you'll be able to see further." -Thomas Carlyle, philosopher

(Word-art courtesy of ProFlowers.com)
 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

On Tuesday morning, my husband and I went to the Rec Center to work out, as we often do in the winter when it gets too cold to run outside. He was driving, and he said that he would drop me off at the front door if I wanted, but that he expected I’d probably want to walk in from the parking lot together as usual.

Although the weather was unusually cold, I was about to say, just out of habit, that I was fine with walking in. Then it occurred to me that he was trying to do a kind deed, so I should accept the offer—and in fact, I did appreciate not having to walk across the snowy parking lot. Kindness is as much about letting others be helpful as it is about doing good deeds!
 

Word-art that says "When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed." -Maya Angelou 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

Studies have shown that as people get older, they spend more time focusing on positive things. Some researchers think it happens because age brings about more awareness of mortality, and as a result, time feels like a scarce resource that needs to be used wisely.

That may be so; but I would say that no matter what length of lifespan we expect, our perspective is likely to broaden as we gain experience. We discover that whatever we got so upset about when we were younger wasn’t the end of the world after all, and we’ve taken away useful lessons. Instead of looking at every missed opportunity as a terrible calamity, we understand that there is always something more to be found.
 

Word-art that says "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." -Milton Berle 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

I went outside to run at noon. The sun was shining brightly, though it was still chilly. I generally feel better when I can get some exercise outdoors—not just because of the physical fitness benefits, but also because it puts the to-dos on hold for a little while and sets the mind free to wander peacefully.

When people talk about why it’s good to exercise, they usually don’t add daydreaming to the list; but I believe that exercising the imagination is just as essential to a healthy life as exercising the body. After all, the stories that we tell ourselves shape our view of the world, just like physical exercise keeps the body in shape. Taking time to explore new stories helps keep the mind from getting too flabby.

Wishing all my readers a peaceful holiday season with plenty of free time to daydream!
 

 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.

As the end of the year draws closer, I’ve been reflecting on how things went with my resolution of gratitude for the empty spaces left behind after clearing away mental garbage. Even if those spaces hadn’t yet filled up with healthy positive energy, they were still an improvement over stagnant feelings of anger and fear; and I resolved that this year, I would appreciate them as such.

Although I never did wake up one morning to find myself unexpectedly bubbling over with fresh enthusiasm and feeling like a completely new person—or anything nearly that dramatic—there were subtler shifts as the year went on. Those old subconscious dramas slowly faded away, no longer appearing to be present-day obstacles. In their place came quiet confidence and trust in a stronger future; and then, after a while, problems started to feel as if their solutions always had been there.
 

Word-art showing Dorothy's feet with the quote "You've always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself." -Glinda, Wizard of Oz 

Nurturing Thursday was started by Becca Givens and seeks to “give this planet a much needed shot of fun, support and positive energy.” Visit her site to find more Nurturing Thursday posts and a list of frequent contributors.