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Place of Peace

girl-1486940__180I’m definitely not a history buff; however, I do admit that I have a long-standing appreciation for Franklin D. Roosevelt.

What fascinates me about Franklin is not his political career. It’s not even that he contracted polio, then took charge of his own painful recovery and helped others by founding the Roosevelt Warm Springs rehabilitation center.

Franklin recognized that overcoming a debilitating disease is a long road in a humbling, demoralizing process.  As a result, he developed a passion for people who are suffering.

“The landscape belongs to the person who looks at it.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

It was during Franklin’s rehabilitation that he discovered his own place of peace known as Dowdell’s Knob.

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Dowdell’s Knob is a prominent mountain in Harris County, Georgia….It is referred to as a historical spot where former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt would dine occasionally. In fact, he had a brick oven and picnic area constructed on this mountain for his use during his visits to nearby Warm Springs.” 

If Franklin learned that another patient with polio at Warm Springs had reached their limit he would often suggest they be brought up to Dowdell’s Knob to sit and contemplate the majestic beauty of the world around them.

“We touch other people’s lives simply by existing.” J.K. Rowling 

Biographies and documentaries portray so many sides of suffering. Our heroes, like Franklin, become role models encouraging us all to overcome obstacles and push through the pain.

By their example, we imagine that we too can be better than what our frail, limited bodies allow us to become.  Whether it’s grief, pain, isolation, desolation, you name it.  As the Broadway song lyrics state, “There’s a place for us.”

Finding your ‘somewhere place’ is a blessing.  Returning to that place (internal and external) when needed is a mystical grace.

The mechanics of modern pain relief and healing are becoming more impersonal and prescriptive with each passing decade. Intrinsic to triggering authentic healing there remains one moment of transformation. Your physical renewal might not even be on a conscious level, and honestly, sometimes physical conditions are not changed. And yet, in an instant, everything can change – for the good.

Nature facilitates mystical manifestation.

When you look out at a landscape, the ocean, a wooded trail, or the face of someone you love, whatever speaks to your soul, there’s a shift.

Call it a divinely inspired moment, but something triggers your will, determination, or passion that results in a drive that changes everything.

“God is the friend of silence. See how nature — the trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how they move in silence.” Mother Teresa

If life is a magic garden with wonders to discover and behold, then our paths are gilded with divine love and peace leading us inward, outward and home.

Let nature make each day ridiculously amazing!





 Photo credits: Pixabay



T.J. Laddy – Golden Ashes

TJ Laddy 2

RIP T.J. Laddy


This weekend a beautiful champion Sheltie, T.J. Laddy, crossed over the rainbow bridge.  T.J.’s parents, Peter and Sheila, dedicate their lives to their beloved Shelties.

Through social media and a vast network of like-minded souls, they tirelessly help other ‘fur parents’ cope with a loss.  Peter’s weekly OneBuckley radio broadcast showcases topics of interest to pet owners everywhere. Today I honor their work and pray for encouragement.

Shortly after losing my beloved Golden Retriever Shamrock I scattered his ashes over his favorite lake on Cape Cod. I remember the tremendous void yet peaceful finality of bringing him home to his final resting place.

I think when our earthly tragedies brush so close to the heavenly realm we look for signs, wonders and comfort in the world around us. Though I don’t require signs, I’m open to the blessing and comfort that nature offers.

Nothing speaks as eloquently as the natural world when helping us say goodbye.

I scattered Shamrock’s ashes and turned to walk away. I thought, “Is that all there is?  It can’t be. It just can’t.”

I stopped one more time and looked back. I watched as the sun shone through the clouds illuminating the newly-strewn, gray ashes on the water. For one fleeting moment the water glissened with a golden sparkle all around the spot where Shamrock was laid to rest.

Was it a physical phenomenon? Yes. Was it a supernatural phenomenon? It doesn’t matter. Nothing matters in the end but love. The golden sparkle on the lake reminded me that love never dies. Somewhere, somehow just as there are connections on earth those connections live on as an integral part of who we are.

It is my sincere prayer that Peter and Sheila are comforted with all of God’s love manifesting within both the natural and supernatural realms to lift them up during this difficult time.

When you hear T.J. Laddy’s bark in the night, or sense his presence from time to time.  Smile. Sand




Nature’s Lens: Not-So-Shabby Chic

Leaf Me Alone One

Take a closer look at the well-loved pickup truck in the picture. Did you notice the intricate, hand-painted leaf design illustrating good ole Yankee ingenuity?

Honestly, the first time I saw this sportsman’s delight nestled under the trees, I thought, “What fun! This is much more inviting than typical camouflage or zippy, commercial paint jobs.”

Ever wonder what your “stuff” says about you?

If you are like most of us, it probably doesn’t say a whole lot, at least from a creative standpoint. Oh sure, you’re a thoughtful shopper agonizing over all the bells and whistles. But face it our vehicles, homes, clothing and most things in our lives showcase cookie-cutter works of art. As consumers, our role is to proudly flaunt inventions, logos and designs usually created by others.

Taking a page out of nature’s playbook, the following ideas may inspire you personalize and embellish your space.

Showcase your relationship with nature.

“Art takes nature as its model.” Aristotle.

Claim something in nature and make it your own. Everyone finds something that becomes their signature identity fallback e.g., red cardinals, dolphins, crystals, stones, eagles, deer, sunflowers, etc.

Let nature inspire creativity.

“Creativity is the ability to introduce order into the randomness of nature.” E. Hoffer

Nature is so all-encompassing it is often overwhelming. Quietly focusing on what calls out to you and touches your heart inspires new ways of expressing your authentic self.

Impact your environment.

“To the artist, there is never anything ugly in nature.” A Rodin

Worry less about what others deem beautiful. Pure intention always finds a home. The intention behind your actions or artistic expression stimulates creativity. Intention can alter the end results and ultimately your world and the world around us.

Connect with the divine.

“On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.” J. Renard

Prayer is multidimensional. Nature as a form of prayer offers an unparalleled appreciation for divine gifts that only you, the seer, can frame appropriately.

Look within. Seek inspiration. Live with pure intention. Tap into the creative essence around you.


Photo courtesy: A creative New England local.





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Dog Daze

The Twittersphere rocks!  Some weeks getting a blog post done (nay getting life done) is a Herculean task.  Come on fellow bloggers, we can do it.  Let’s inspire the world.  Er…after we put down the weekend’s beer that is.

Nature On……



Dandelions and Decisions

dandelion-1331043_640Sometimes I dread making even the simplest decisions.

Analytical by nature, I agonize, awfulize and research all the facts. Then I will painstakingly make a decision and hope it works out for the best.

Of course, I begin with a sincere prayer for inner guidance and help from God. And, I employ all the practical decision-making techniques at my disposal i.e., vision boards, spreadsheets, decision trees, Six Sigma techniques and the like ― anything to improve my chance of success.

beaver-46234_640This month I had a (sick) 50-foot Japanese walnut tree in the backyard that needed to be removed.  My goal was to select the right contractor at the right price. The tree cutting and felling would be both pricey and dicey. After all, I seriously didn’t want that humongous tree falling on my neighbor’s house.


Fortunately, my son recommended a friend as a possible contractor. Dave was very personable and professional and to top it all off he offered a huge discount.  I felt he was well-qualified and yet something inside of me didn’t feel right. It’s that old gut feeling that sometimes overrides the facts yet is so difficult to trust. At the last minute, I decided to cancel Dave and select a different contractor at a slightly higher cost. But alas, Dave became what I now term a ‘decision dandelion’.



Decision Dandelion

Just like when planning the perfect lawn or garden dandelions seem to crop up everywhere. You really don’t always know what to do with them.

I think there are dandelions along the way in every well thought out decision-making process. Call it a gut feeling, new information or even lack of information. I think dandelions can become the unsung heroes or worst nightmare of our rocky, weed-infested decision-making paths.

“The difference between a flower and a weed is a judgment.”  Unknown

It’s just when I start to feel that I’ve really got everything together in my process and my inspiration is spot-on that I forget sometimes it’s better to rip out the dandelions than to ignore what’s right in front of me. I think at this point our self-reliance and overinflated egos must be tempered with the reality that sometimes the rules of nature apply and if we get out of the way it all works out ― weeds and all.

Whether you view a dandelion as a weed or a flower I encourage you to contemplate some excellent aspects of the Buddhist philosophy in your decision-making process.  Many are well-suited to those of us seeking clarity and simplicity along the natural path.

Buddhists compassionately abide within the laws of nature and eliminate unnecessary stress whenever possible.

“Four things you should always concern yourself about before you make a decision:

  • Not acting out of personal desire, what’s in it for you?
  • Not acting out of ill-will or revenge
  • Not to make a decision out of delusion, out of ignorance.
  • Never make a decision out of fear.” Ajahn Brahm     Link to full text.

I guess whether you pull up the dandelions or just walk over them the choice is yours. Just be careful. It’s all good.


Photos Pixabay


It isn’t easy being green. Or is it?

kermit-383370_640“A back-to-nature movement to reconnect children with the outdoors is burgeoning nationwide.” —
USA Today, Nov 2006 

This week CBS News featured a story that captured my imagination opening the door to a whole new world showcasing how nature is reclaiming its place in our lives —especially in the area of learning.

I encourage you to watch this informative video titled:  Students learn nature lessons in classrooms without walls.

“Growing number of schools now offer students a daily dose of the outdoors — with no bus ride required. Mark Strassmann visited the Chattahoochee Hills Charter School outside Atlanta where the curriculum and campus are rooted in nature.”

Seeing mathematics in nature….

Inspired by the book Last Child in the Woods written by child advocacy expert Richard Louv, the belief is that children learn better when they are out in nature. One-third of the Chattahoochee Hills students’ school day is spent outdoors. They demonstrate math skills by engaging in nature-based 3-D modeling exercises. One student with plans to become an author felt that all the details she experiences outside in nature help with her writing.

The following links will help you further explore this topic.

Children and Nature Movement
Nature Deficit Disorder

I grew up during a time when being green was the norm. Of course, we didn’t call it green. We played hide and seek until the street lights came on and promised to be home before dark. It was a time when capturing fireflies in a jar or building camps and forts in the woods were among the highlights of summer.

It was unstructured, uninhibited and unabashed outdoor fun.

At the end of each grubby-filled day, we were plopped into an inviting clawfoot bathtub and told to vigorously scrub off every vestige of nature only to repeat it all again tomorrow.

So I guess there was a simpler time when being green wasn’t being different after all.

The fact that kids were outside playing didn’t warrant a news special. The euphoric high we experienced playing outdoors all day enabled us to apply ourselves to learning when the time was right.

It isn’t easy being green.
“It’s not that easy bein’ green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves 
When I think it could be nicer being red or yellow or gold
Or something much more colorful like that.”

I am excited to see any children and nature movement integrate with today’s learning opportunities. This is an important shift and awareness that will bring us back to the future.

Maybe Kermit will rewrite the song. Who knows, with a little determination Kermy, it might be easy bein’ green after all.


Photo credit: Pixabay


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Your Personal Almanac ~ Seeds of Change

3551548997_fe2d47f399_mHave you recently tapped into some of the latest mindfulness practices only to collapse in the reality that this just isn’t for you?

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a tailor-made personal almanac that could help you navigate through the seasons? Imagine having a customized calendar to help you forecast life’s unpredictable storms. With your trusty guide in hand and with the right Yankee ingenuity you could easily develop a perfect plan to weather any hardships.

I think the same holds true as you search out what elements of nature’s bounty will resonate with you. More importantly, it’s key to figure out exactly what will benefit you —where you are in your life right now. Someone who’s at the top of their game certainly won’t have the same needs of a person experiencing deep personal loss, sickness or depression.

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour if we will only tune in.” G.W. Carver

Seek to see hear and experience exactly what is meant for you.

The main premise of my life is to find meaning in everything. That’s who I am. I seriously think I could look at a plastic cafeteria tray and find some mystical connection to my life. I also like to do things for a purpose. I certainly will be mindful or enjoy a walk in the woods if I fully understand why it will benefit me. The whys of life really matter.  But once I get it, I throw my heart over the bar and I’m open to any all lessons life wants to convey.

“Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behavior. You are beneath the thinker. You are the stillness beneath the mental noise. You are the love and joy beneath the pain.” E. Tolle

I encourage you to join me in simple stillness to help clarify this phase of your life. Honestly connecting to your authentic self is a powerful grace to open up the right doors. It allows you to stand in your own truth letting nature revitalize you ―body, mind, and spirit.

6272173262_c592a71f21_zAre you stressed or burned out?  Are you working way too hard?  Or worse, has your life come to a screeching halt and you have to start all over again?  Do your survival needs come first and right now you view nature and stillness as a luxury for the few? 

This may be a critical growth period for you. It is what you should be doing right now. So you don’t have a lot of time to stop and smell the roses. Don’t worry about it. You’re hard at work laying a strong foundation for the future.

The challenge now is how to be nurtured in the struggle along the way.

Tuning in or out…

Take some time and review the following questions. Contemplating your answers can help you make the right changes in your life.

  • Who am I?
  • What do I want?
  • What is important to me?
  • What am I good at?

Tell a story that resonates within your heart. Knowing your true essence is an important lead-in to your observation of the natural world.

Whoever and wherever you are God works throughout nature with a plan to support you.

Blessings to you and yours. We are all on this journey together.



Photo  credit: h.koppdelaney via / CC BY-ND
Photo credit: kmkeshav via / CC BY

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A Pop of Nature

“Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease.” Hippocrates14707669744_3d41657cc1_z

I like to keep things simple. That includes modifying any and all touch points I may have with the natural world. I relish finding little pops of nature…effortless manifestations of my physical surroundings.

Some folks revel in an afternoon spent gardening and planting, grateful for every sensory step within that experience. The physical process is very important and beneficial to their fulfillment.

I’m better suited to participating in the end results. I now realize that how and where I integrate into nature is irrelevant. What’s important is that I consistently leverage what I am uniquely designed to receive rather than worrying about what I’m supposed to transmit.

Our individual worlds are in a constant state of expanding and retracting opportunities. There are times in our lives when we hike in the mountains, walk on the beach, and stop and smell the roses. But that can change in an instant.

Physical limitations or simply the demands of family or an all-encompassing new career can quickly derail our semi-delusional dreams of rock climbing and the like. Majestic mountains and magical meadows may only be seen in photographs taken by other people.

Failing to notice the plants in the lobby of the airport terminal or the raindrops on the window in our dingy cramped office, we risk hoping that tomorrow we will live. Only the elusive tomorrow will bring us the possibility of a Thoreau-like retreat that will allow us to commune fully with nature once and for all. Surely then we will heal. Then we will rest. Then we will be peaceful and whole.

“The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore, the physician must start from nature, with an open mind.” Paracelsus

Dramatic pops of nature consist of more than visual cues. The sound of the wind, feeling the gentle breeze on our face as we walk across the parking lot in an otherwise drab existence can be experienced on a spiritual, even cellular level.

Of course vibrant pops of color abound and the dramatic nod or scent of plants and flowers are always center stage. But there is so much more to encounter especially during our darkest times.

I’m convinced that the right pop of nature can touch the saddest soul. I witnessed this so often when I took my beloved Golden Retriever Shamrock to visit nursing homes. Battle weary elders with vacant stares confined to wheelchairs would light up when he came near.

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” J. Muir

  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    You are the beholder within the realm of your life. What resonates for you is ultimately what your spirit is calling out for. Listen to your inner wisdom.
  • A loss of perspective to scale causes lack.
    Revel in your life when it is expanding but develop inwardly when your external environment shrinks. It’s all relative.
  • Trust your intuitive visceral responses to natural surroundings.
    Relish this one-of-a-kind lifetime. You have been uniquely designed to both contribute to and appreciate the universe in which you live.

I’ve come to the reality that I cannot recycle every plastic bag. I can’t save every animal and I certainly can’t climb every mountain (despite the song lyrics). But I what I can do is show up and witness what the world has to offer. Once I am filled to the brim with overflowing wonder peace and love, then I can give back. Then I can fulfill my own true destiny reflecting my own unique ―pop of nature.


Photo credit: maf04 via / CC BY-SA


Authenticity ~ Fighting Stillness

Nature consistently transforms itself.

Sometimes life just behaves badly. The other day I was having a conversation with a dear friend and I explained to her how one day I sat in the quiet stillness of my new-found life and it felt like all the lights just went out. Where did everyone go? Where the heck have I been?

Certainly I had overcome many obstacles of late, but at least for one fleeting moment, it felt like everything was over. And, to some degree so was I.

When that happens there’s a sinking feeling that has nothing to do with living peaceful and centered in the present moment.

It’s funny because I was actually contemplating writing a blog post about the importance of mindfulness and stillness. Yet there I was complaining about my chosen topic.

Stillness, the very thing that is touted by many practices, philosophies, and religions as an elevated path is sometimes one of the hardest things to reconcile. I didn’t even realize I was grappling with it so much. Fundamentally, I think even our tolerance or acceptance of stillness is really about perspective.

So what really happens when all the lights go out on some level? Why is it that sometimes slowing down is sought after, but other times, when it is forced upon us, we fight it?

Interesting things happen when you come to the end of your own power.

I recently attended a workshop at the famed UMass Center for Mindfulness. During one of the sessions, participants watched a video of a large commercial airliner coming to a screeching halt on the runway. The sheer magnitude, noise and length of the airliner’s landing visually demonstrated the impact of coming to a screeching halt. Great visual!

It was interesting to listen to the students discuss how the video impacted them. One woman said she felt a sense of relief when the plane landed. Sort of like when your life is moving faster and faster, you are working more and more feeding into the nerves, stress, anxiety, and chaos then in one day just like the airliner ─everything stops.

But what happens when the good things stop too? How do you react when the fast times end and a life of quiet contemplation is foreign and empty?

One participant said that she just got tired of the corporate rat race and quit her job to spend more time gardening and enjoying nature. She was fortunate enough to orchestrate her life accordingly and now defines success in simpler terms. She seemed genuinely happy.

For many of us, the screeching halt isn’t voluntary such as unexpected illness, loss of a job, or simply facing physical limitations that are a part of life.

Nature embraces both chaos and quiet.

If you notice the quiet before a storm it can be dark, foreboding even threatening. After the storm when the sun comes out, the birds return and all is right with the world. That’s often when brilliant rainbows appear to reassure us that stillness has returned and life as we know it is worth living yet again.

On those days when you can’t fully relate to the beauty around you, it’s sometimes comforting to realize that the natural simplicity and order of the world applies to us as well.

So rev up your engines, or not, the choice is up to you. It’s all glorious and good.


Photo credit: berkuspic via / CC BY-SA

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Nature’s Inner Circle – Retro-Chaos

Natural wonder begins when all else ends.


Years ago during the fabulous 70s madness, my family was nestled in our retro-styled living room when I opened the interior door to let in some air. I gave it a tug but noticed something stopped the door from fully opening. A mother of young sons instinctively knows how to rally the troops. So of course, I immediately screamed, “There’s a snake!”

Honestly, whatever prompted me at that moment to use the word snake I’ll never know. With every fiber of my being and in the deep recesses of my soul, as odd as the resistance felt, I knew there was no snake.

I also knew that the natural protective instincts of my entirely male household would immediately kick in. Surely one of them would come to the rescue and fix the door issue if I simply screamed ─snake.

By now the boys were gloriously excited at the household drama caused by a screaming fraidy-cat female, and my husband Jerry came rushing in to save us all from certain death-by-reptile.

Of course, I dutifully cowered in the corner effectively perpetuating my role as the damsel in distress. Then, Jerry triumphantly held up the large dark snake that had been there all along.

Seriously!  It was real! There really was a snake behind the door!

Well, certainly that day I was both rescued and vindicated, however, I’ve carried this fib (untruth, mother’s creative license, lie) for many years.

I’ve played this scene over and over again in my mind.

Nature’s nurture is tailor made for you.

What was it deep within my own human nature that instinctively knew a snake might be in the room?

I think on a purely physical (primal) level we are deeply connected to our natural surroundings and the internal drives that protect us from harm are stronger than we realize.

Over the years, I would occasionally think back to my little snake buddy.

Authenticity is about reaching back and within to gain a deeper understanding of your connection to the physical natural world, as well as your own spiritual path and purpose.

Our inner and outer circles are guided by rules.  Nowhere are those rules more universal and pronounced than in the natural world.  But when natural phenomenon intersects with humanity’s intuitive wisdom the explosion of awareness and physical manifestation is brilliant.

During those times when I experience grief, sickness, unplanned transition, weakness or fear, I am then in a place to heed nature’s beauty, signs, wonders and yes, sometimes its warnings.

That is the time when I am most open not only to my own preferences and natural authenticity but to experiencing nature as a whole.

Then, and only then, can I allow myself to receive the nurturing support nature has in mind for me.


Photo credit: marc falardeau via / CC BY

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Springtime – What’s Old is New Again

Hands SoilNew England’s spring weather burst into full throttle today -our first ‘really’ warm day of the season.  Now’s a great time for even the most time-stressed nature wannabes to peruse the Twittersphere, spring sales, garden shops and all things green and growing.

It is also the premier time of the year when ‘dirt’ calls us home to discover a deeper connection with mother earth. It is not surprising that Dr. Christiane Northrup’s excellent article The Farm Effect: How Dirt Makes You Happy and Healthy  jazzed up my social media newsfeeds.  Anything promising to make me happier and boost the immune system is high on my list of interests.

Have you noticed how many of the old-time practical philosophies are surfacing of late? Even Facebook’s throwback Thursday posts rekindle nostalgic wisdom.

  • Parents should be stricter
  • Dirt glorious dirt – and why you should be playing in it more often
  • Share if you remember catching fireflies in jars
  • Smile if you stayed out playing until the street lights went on

So yes, when it comes to spending too much time indoors or online failing to contemplate the childlike aspects of nature (in real time), I am guilty.

A few quick Google searches on this theme also helped me to realize I am eliciting some behaviors symptomatic of the dreaded nature-deficit disorder. Finally, I have a diagnosis and can begin a time of awareness and recovery. But where to start?

Nature will not be admired by proxy. W.Churchill

Most of my brushes with nature of late remain less than tactile. I confess my NatureOnNotice Twitter feed is a glorious sham.  I love it, but I need to find a simpler, more authentic, way to integrate the restorative aspects of nature to heal my body and fill my spirit. I don’t even have house plants right now.

What I really need is a corporate nature consultant.  Or better yet maybe a quiz that generates my nature personality profile. (Preferably in a four-part grid.) Then I can take actions that align with my sporadic nature tendencies.

Clearly, I am facing a new road to keep it real and discover my own authentic nature.

Note:  I wear gloves to handle dirt. I think you are supposed to call it ‘soil’.  Of course, even sweet smelling soil (sans fertilizers) in the springtime can be rejuvenating.



Photo credit: sareoutreach via / CC BY-NC-ND