Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Summertime Market
Douglas, Michigan
Photo taken myself

Now is your chance to get the best fruits and vegetables of the summer. Taste-wise, they are at their very best. This particular farmers' market is just around the corner from me, and is stocked with just picked produce, grown locally. The prices are handwritten on recycled cardboard. Just below the price, they write the distance in miles in which it was grown. (A thoughtful little piece of info!) I get such satisfaction in buying & eating local produce. Hope you can find one near you!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Patience . . . .

Adopt the pace of nature:
her secret is patience.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, July 24, 2009

Just something yummy . . . .

Refreshing Mint Lemonade

5 cups water, divided
10 mint leaves
1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup honey
2 tsp. lemon zest
Lemon slices & mint sprigs, for garnish
Pour 1 cup water in a blender. Add mint leaves. Blend together for 1 minute. Strain into pitcher. Pour remaining water, lemon juice & honey into pitcher. Add lemon zest. Serve over ice with a lemon slice and mint sprig.

I was the first person to arrive at a friends house for a cookout last evening, so the hostess put me in charge of making this homemade mint lemonade. Guests began arriving, and I found myself socializing while preparing it, talking & laughing, when I really should have been paying attention to what I was doing. Needless to say, it took me twice as long, and I made a big mess! I'm sure she was thinking, "I should have made it myself!" But I have to say...it was really very good. Very refreshing, summer-like, and thirst-quenching. (I cleaned up my mess, and because I felt bad, I cleaned up hers too!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Realize your Dream . . . .

Just out of curiosity, I looked up the word Dream in the dictionary. I don't ever remember reading the definition, specifically, before now. But reading the descriptions of the word, you realize that some may not know how to take its meaning . . . . .
- a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal
- an unrealistic or self-deluding fantasy

I believe you must dream in order to have,
but more importantly,
you must have a plan to realize your dream.
1. What is your dream?
2. Make a plan.
3. Follow through with the plan.
4. Realize your dream.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Coffee. Garden. Lemonade. Garden. Cocktail. Garden. . .

I doesn't really matter what time of day it is, or what I'm drinking for that matter. My garden brings me joy everyday. I love watching the daily changes, and inspecting what flowers may have been coaxed into bloom overnight, or what little creatures are enjoying it as much as I am. I tried very hard yesterday to photograph the resident hummingbird, but those little guys are quick! Another time.

Happy Wednesday!
photos taken myself

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Swallow your pride! It's non-fattening. . . .

"It's hard to be humble," says an old country song, "when you're perfect in every way." In reality, very few people actually think they are perfect in every way, but it can still be pretty hard to be humble when we live in a society that encourages constant competition. And it's just about impossible to be humble when we are constantly striving to be better than others. Being humble doesn't mean you shouldn't feel good about yourself. Instead, think about the abilities you have, and be thankful for them. Let go of meaningless, simplistic comparisons, and you'll be able to enjoy doing things without worrying about whether you're better or worse at them than others. After all, if you feel superior, you have no incentive to improve! And one of the best things about being humble is that it gives us more room to grow.

"Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble, but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy."
-Norman Vincent Peale

Monday, July 20, 2009

Get your daily dose . . . .

Jumping for Joy
is good exercise!!!

photo taken myself

Friday, July 17, 2009

Beauty not lost . . . .

Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty - they merely move it from their faces into their hearts.  
~Martin Buxbaum
~photo by P Villerius via Flickr

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Scenes from my morning walk . . . .

More often than not,
there are things to be happy about,
laying out in the open,
under a clear blue sky,
in plain view.

photos taken myself

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Is it possible to use these words in the same sentence? . . . .

I was sitting on the beach a few days ago, by myself, and I really did try to just disappear into my own little world, but for some reason, voices were carrying remarkably easily, and I could hear so many different conversations. It must have been the way that light breeze was blowing. Here's what I witnessed:

Scene I:
A father arrived before the rest of his family, and he was amazing. . . setting up 7 chairs, a huge cooler, blankets, 2 umbrellas, and laying out all the toys . . shovels, buckets, etc. He made so many trips back & forth to the car, finally getting a new raft out of its package, and sitting down to blow it up. (I was thinking, wow, he really deserved to enjoy that raft, and maybe even a cold beer, that hopefully, was in the cooler.) His family joined him just as he finished. Five girls, and his wife. Some settled into their chairs, and a few of the younger ones took off for the water. He was so kind, offering food & drink to each of them, and even suggested a game of frisbee. He stayed calm when the girls started complaining about what was in the cooler, how cold the water was, and even blamed him for setting up camp too far from the bathroom. More complaining, more whining. He held out as long as he could, then finally reached his boiling point, and the voice that came out of that man's mouth, was no longer that kind, gentle voice that was so bighearted just a few minutes earlier. It was a deep, gravlly voice that sounded like it could have come from Hell. I've never been there, but I'm pretty sure the Devil himself probably talks like that.

We just lose it sometimes! He was giving so much, and getting nothing in return.

Scene II:
A couple sitting beside me arrived about the same time I did. Setting up their chairs, towels, etc., I noticed the wife hadn't had one nice thing to say. She was on a beautiful beach and the weather was perfect. She began complaining about how hard it was to walk in the sand, and she was upset because there was no cell service, and surely would miss all calls. She was impatient setting up her chair, and actually blamed her husband for not helping her get it right. She actually said, "I'm going to fall over in this chair, I just know it." Sure enough, just a couple minutes later, she fell over on her back with her feet straight up in the air. She laid there, like she couldn't get up . . . . it really was a funny site! Her husband laughed a bit, because, ok.....it was hilarious! Then I heard that same voice....you know, the one from Hell, "Give me your f****** hand!!", she yelled. My goodness, one roll to the left, and she could have easily gotten up.

I've thought about that day on the beach. It's so easy to get caught up in the momentary drama, and the little stresses of the day. Some people expect trouble, and get it, and some people do everything to avoid it, only to have things go wrong anyway. But things happen! Life's little challenges, little stresses.....they happen. And when they do, it's up to us how we respond. We do have a choice. I'll be taking a deep breath, and pausing before I speak . . . because, "that voice"....whew! It stuck with me enough to blog about it.

Don't let stress rob you of the joy you should be experiencing in life.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Take an instant vacation . . . .

Photo by LanierStar Photography

Who doesn't love a big belly laugh? I'm talking about the kind that warrants a big deep breath, once you've settled down. It's so cleansing! Laughter brings us joy, and gives us physical & emotional release. It takes the focus away from stress, guilt and anger. It's contagious, and when shared, it binds people together and increases happiness. Laughter can even strengthen your immune system, diminish pain, and boost your energy. It also inspires hope and lightens your burdens. Best of all, it's free! Milton Berle once said that laughter is an instant vacation. Take one today!

Wishing you a day full of laughter!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

G'night . . . .

Lake Michigan sunset
Photo taken myself

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in, forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it well and serenely.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wishing you a sweet, restful night,
in a big comfy bed.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mellowing out in Saugatuck/Douglas . . . .

Downtown Douglas
Photo taken myself

Oval Beach - Saugatuck

I am so grateful to be spending my summer here in Douglas & Saugatuck Michigan. They are two harbor villages that sit on Lake Michigan and are within walking distance of each other. Both are beautiful, although I am partial to Douglas, which is where my cottage is. They are consistently named one of America's top 25 art destinations, and has been tagged "The Art Coast of Michigan". Saugatuck/Douglas was recently ranked fifth among the top 100 vacation destinations in the Midwest.
For theatre: The Saugatuck Center for the Arts presents several Broadway shows all summer long.
For shopping: there is plenty of variety, from preppie to funky; glitzy to avant garde; hip or humorous, eclectic to the truly exquisite.
For fine arts: there is a proliferation of galleries and artist studios, street art fairs, and many diverse do-it-yourself art opportunities. The secluded campus of Ox-Bow School of Art is here, and is affilated with the Art Instutute of Chicago, offering a wide range of summer course work, including metal-smithing, printmaking, performance art, glassblowing, writing, ceramics, painting & drawing.
For Cinematic Arts: Saugatuck hosts the internationally-acclaimed Waterfront Film Festival each June, named the third most popular film festival in the world-after Sundance and Cannes-by the Screen Actors Guild's national magazine.
For retirement: featured on NBC's Today Show as one of the 70 communities identified in Barbara Corcoran's book entitled "Nextville - Amazing Places to Spend the Rest of Your Life".

Art is a way of life here. The art of relaxation, the art of recreation, the art of learning, and the art of nature. Come and visit!

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams . . .

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams . . .
Follow your heart