Yesterday my mom and stepfather, who live in another state, came to town for a visit. We had lunch and chatted for a while afterward, catching up on what everyone had been doing recently. They brought a nice set of flowerpots, which my mom said she thought I might like for growing herbs in the spring.

Afterward I thought about how fortunate I am to have a family that enjoys pleasant visits together. As this amusing bit of word-art I came across recently illustrates, not everyone is so lucky:

Word-art that says "Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go." -Oscar Wilde

People often take family relationships for granted, not really thinking about whether they are bringing happiness to their family members. But just as with growing herbs or flowers, cultivation and loving care are needed for a family to flourish. I hope that as I grow older, my visits will be appreciated too!

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.

October 25, 2016 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

When I mopped the kitchen today, I decided that it was time to put away everything in the corner where the dog’s chew toys, food, and other things had been kept. My daughter moved to Cleveland a year ago, along with her little dog. Here’s a photo taken during a visit in May, showing the dog in the kitchen:

Small black and white spotted dog eating her breakfast.

With no pets living here now, it wasn’t necessary to leave everything in the corner for occasional visits; but putting it all away seemed like a sad empty-nest moment, so that never got done. Finally, while I was putting away some flip-flops that had been left next to the kitchen door during the warm weather, I couldn’t avoid the fact that the dog items needed to go down to the basement too.

Empty corner of my kitchen, with bare walls and vertical blinds.

I suppose I’ll get used to seeing the empty corner, and both daughter and dog will be here for a visit at Thanksgiving; but for now it looks awfully bare.

October mostly has been warm and sunny here, but last night a thunderstorm blew in and cooled things off. This morning it looked much more typical of this time of year—cool, damp, and cloudy. When I stepped outside, though, I noticed some new color in the front garden to balance the dark sky. Solid green hosta leaves had turned—overnight, it seemed—to a bright, cheerful mix of yellow, green, and brown.

Hostas in autumn with a mix of bright yellow, green, and brown leaves.

Don’t they look as if they just put on their party dresses and are ready for dancing and fun?

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.

Considering what has been going on in politics recently, I’d say we all could use as much distraction as we can get. I’ve been changing the images on the digital art display on my dining room wall at least once a day, so that I can at least pretend to be somewhere far away from it all. At the moment, it has an image of Lake Havasu at the Grand Canyon to brighten up the room.

Photo of digital art display with picture of Lake Havasu

Have you been doing anything fun for a virtual escape? If so, feel free to post about it in the comments. (And, of course, make sure to vote anyway!)

Sometimes when things don’t seem to change much from one day to another, it can be hard to stay optimistic. When we don’t see immediate results, we might start to wonder if anything we do is making a difference or if it’s just wasted effort.

When that happens, we need to remember that the most majestic accomplishments often come from tiny, incremental changes.

Word-art captioned "Strength" that says "A river cuts through a rock not because of its power but its persistence."

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.

Two years ago, I posted a three-part series of blog entries (starting here) that explored the concept of tithing as it relates to time. I wrote that giving—whether we give money, time, or anything else—leads to feeling prosperous because we have more than we need, which in turn attracts more of whatever we gave. The subconscious mind constantly looks for patterns in daily life that match our expectations; so, when we expect to have plenty of good things, we’re more likely to find them.

Although giving time two years ago didn’t literally cause me to get more time, it did leave me feeling more relaxed about having enough time generally. After a while, I wrote a follow-up post about creative energy and what giving means in that context. Giving away creative works (such as posting uplifting entries on a blog without expecting to earn any money from it) and encouraging other writers and artists can help with feeling more confident and creatively inspired.

This year, I was still wondering just how the concept might apply to health. We all want good health, of course, but how is it possible to give health away, or to feel that we have enough of it to share? Although many people donate to medical charities to improve the public health, I would classify that in the category of giving money.

Giving blood is a direct way of giving health; but not everyone is able to do it, and blood donors can’t give too often because it takes a while to replenish blood. Medical professionals can volunteer at free clinics, and people without medical skills can help by doing small tasks such as scheduling appointments. Again, though, not everyone can do that, and for most people it wouldn’t be something they did often.

Also, medical charities, blood banks, and free clinics are all modern organizations. Surely, I thought, there must always have been something simpler in everyday life. What would our peasant ancestors have done in their little villages if they wanted to share good health?

Homes with thatched roofs in a peasant village.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

Once I framed the question in those terms, the answer became obvious. Almost everything we do when interacting with others affects their health in some way, even if it’s as basic as giving a cheerful smile to a person who is feeling down. As social animals, humans depend in large part on good relationships with family and friends to stay healthy. Researchers have done plenty of studies showing that married people and residents of close-knit communities live longer than average and score higher on many tests that measure good health.

So, giving health is easy—all that’s needed is a little time and effort, as we go about our daily activities, to show kindness and appreciation when we have the opportunity. Cultivating that habit not only helps those around us to feel happier and healthier—it also makes us feel more connected, which improves our own health. And I believe our ancestors knew that a long time ago, before modern research confirmed it.

Today was an absolutely gorgeous early fall day here—sunny and pleasantly warm, with just a touch of crispness in the morning air. To be honest, it felt much too nice to be indoors blogging, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to post for Nurturing Thursday! But later in the day I got an email sharing some word-art with kind wishes for October, so I’m reposting it here to cheer my readers. Enjoy!

Word-art that says "May your October be filled with good thoughts, kind people and happy moments."

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.

October 4, 2016 · 2 comments · Categories: Musings · Tags:

Last night I dreamed that I attended an event where someone was selling tickets for a charity raffle before the event got underway. Each ticket was 25 dollars. I opened my wallet to see if I had that amount and discovered that I had a lot of small bills, some in odd denominations that don’t exist in real life. It all seemed perfectly normal, though. I was looking at a 12-dollar bill and a 15-dollar bill, while trying to work out how to put one of them together with smaller bills to add up to the correct amount.

Wallet with edges of small bills showing.

Before I went to sleep I’d been thinking about how much our perspective on life changes as the years go by and we gain more insight. I suppose the dream must have been a variation on that theme, illustrating how many different things can add up to a prosperous life—even things that might never have existed in the past, but now are simply part of what we see every day.

While I don’t expect that the U.S. Treasury will literally start printing 12-dollar bills any time soon, I do believe that the future will hold many new and interesting discoveries, and that sometimes it will be a challenge to sort out how best to put them together!