Spirit of Dragonflies

Guide to Awakening Your Inner Self – Begin Your Creative Journey Today


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Satisfaction

This week, share a photo of something that brings you satisfaction. It can be monumental, minor, or something in between.

“Grandchildren are their grandparents’ toys.” ~ Mokokoma Mokhonoana ~

While visiting my daughter and her family in San Diego, I had the opportunity to care for my grandson, Tanner, while his Dad was traveling for work and Mom was away celebrating a friend’s birthday. We decided to take a walk and get a treat. I asked Tanner if he wanted to share an Acai bowl but he wanted a pink ice cream cone. I ordered him a small strawberry and myself a small Acai bowl. Not sure what the size of their large ice is but as you can see their small is pretty large for this little guy.

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After handing him his cone I walked back to grab the Acai bowl and a spoon. Realizing we would need some napkins I left to grab a small stack. When I returned, look who had my spoon and was enjoying the Acai bowl.

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I said, “I thought you didn’t want one.”

Tanner smiled and said, “You can share.”

His face beamed with pleasure and self-satisfaction. How could I resist. I returned for another spoon as he continued to lick his ice cream then take a bite of my treat.

His ice cream began to melt and he sat looking at it overflowing the sides of the cone. I grabbed a cup to set underneath to catch the liquid. Tanner looked up and said, “Mimi, doesn’t this remind you of a volcano?” Looking at the melting ice cream he said, “See, this is the lava?”

At three and a half, I had no idea he even knew what a volcano was. Then he told me about Hawaii, volcanos, and how one day he was going to live in Hawaii. It is his favorite place. This lucky little fellow has visited Hawaii with his parents a couple of times and has decided that is where he shall call home when he grows up. We agreed that I should travel with them on their next trip and stay with him at his home in Hawaii when he moves there.

In case you are wondering, he didn’t finish either of the treats.

“Grandchildren are loving reminders of what we’re really here for.” ~ Janet Lanese ~

Love this little guy. Luckily for me he will be visiting next week. Maybe we will visit a local ice cream parlor with this cousins. I don’t believe the cones will be quite as large this time.

If you are interested in viewing more photos for this week’s challenge or would like to submit your own, click on the link below:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/satisfaction/

Love and Light!


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WPC – Transience of Childhood

Drifters, nomads, and even the state of impermanence: this week, share your photos of transient.

There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.                                 ~ Walt Straightiff ~

Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn’t developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things we don’t expect to see. ~ Douglas Adams ~

It’s a transient moment in time when a child is inquisitive and open to everything in the world around them. Then he/she begins to see through the filtered lens of his parents, relatives, teachers, and society – never again to explore the world through innocent eyes.

My grandson, Colt, noticing his shadow for the first time allowed my daughter and I to experience what it must have felt like to see our own shadow for the first time. The same for my grandson, Tanner, when he was handed a sparkler. It was a treat watching him enjoy the sparks flying in the air, lighting the darkness around us. If you want to see the world anew, witness it through the eyes of a small child.

Childhood is a transient and feels even more so today. So allow yourself to slow down and pay attention when with small children. Allow them to touch trees, walk barefoot, pick up leaves, spiders and worms. Encourage them explore the world around them without sharing your own fears and insecurities about what they are doing (of course keeping safety in mind). See through their eyes and explore the world around you anew.

If you would like to view additional photos for this week’s challenge or would like to submit your own, click on the link below:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/drifter/

Love and Light!


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WPC – Wanderlust

“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” ― Dalai Lama

This week, share a photo that represents travel to you. Whether you’re crossing borders or visiting a nearby neighborhood for the first time, we would love to see how you capture these new environments and interactions!

“because he had no place he could stay in without getting tired of it and because there was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars…” ~ Jack Kerouac ~

Wanderlust – A strong desire to travel or wander. Yep, that’s me. I have lived in five states, over twenty apartments, owned and sold three homes and one mobile home. You might say I was born with a gypsy soul.

My dream has been to visit all 50 states. A few years ago my sister and I had the opportunity to travel together on a cruise ship to Alaska, our first time traveling together since childhood. Alaska was the last new state to mark off the list leaving only 8 more states on my list to explore. While visiting this beautiful state we shared many adventures – snorkeling, a train ride into the mountains, seeing a glacier, zip lining and many more.

“When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.” ~ D. H. Lawrence ~

 

When I discovered that I could zip line through the canopy of Tongrass National Forest I was so excited. Once at the top of the platform, looking out into the temperate rainforest, tears filled my eyes. It was overwhelming to know that I was actually experiencing such an adventure. I had been zip lining once in the Adirondacks but nothing as exciting as gliding along the rainforest canopy.

When on an adventure, time has no meaning. We stood in line for over a half an hour to buy a coffee at the original Starbucks – my sister doesn’t even drink coffee. To entertain you while you wait, young people rotating to share their talents on violins, guitars, and singing. We also stopped at Pike Place Fish Market to watch employees throwing fish to one another. There were many times we both were overwhelmed with emotion and I shall never forget the experience shared with my sister.

If you would like to view other posts for this week’s challenge or would like to submit your own, click on the link below:

//dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/wanderlust/

Love and Light!

 


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Life Through the Eyes of a Child

What are you teaching your children about life and our connection to nature? Better yet, what are your children teaching you?

We can bring our children to the mall, fill their bedrooms and our houses with items we don’t need, spend our days in amusement parks, zoos, aquariums, or sit in front of the television or computer disconnected from life-giving nature. Or, we can teach our children early that we are alive due to our connection with something larger than ourselves – nature, our place in the Universe, something higher than ourselves.

Imagine what our worldview would be if we taught our children that they are connected to everyone on this planet and we are all sharing the same air, water, soil, energy . . .  YES, we are all sharing this for the time we are blessed with life.

Feeling very grateful that my children, grandchildren, family and friends share in a love of nature and the reality that without clean air to breath, clean water to drink, healthy soil to grow food we would not survive. What can you do to help yourself and the next generation? Listen to the little ones. They are teaching us about life, being mindful, and finding beauty in our world.

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Tell me about nature

My little grandsons, Tanner and Colt, love nature – running around barefooted, hugging and talking to trees, the sky, clouds, birds, rolling around in grass, dirt, sunsets, and walking in the woods. Last year, when visiting my daughter and her family in San Diego, Tanner said, “Look at the beautiful sunset.” His Mom and Dad hadn’t noticed that every night at dinner there was a beautiful sunset view from their dining table. Out of the mouth of babes . . . While I was visiting, Tanner and I would go outside to enjoy the sunset until the thin orange/red line disappeared into the dark of night. We took walks in the neighborhood and spoke to the homeless lady sitting in the shade of a tree, to the workmen repairing the road, to the clerk serving us our ice cream. We also stopped to watch the birds in flight, the squirrels playing under the trees, the cat crossing the road. Everything is interesting when we slow down to see through the eyes of the child.

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Baby connecting with tree spirit

The boys follow in the path of my granddaughter, born 18 years prior to Tanner. They are their Mimi’s special nature babies. Taylor, at 21, is very connected with nature and exploring her world. Luckily she still finds everything to be interesting and spends her free time in nature – exploring New Mexico for now.

When we teach our children about nature they grow up to be adults who understand their connection with the precious Earth we live in communion with. It’s up to us as the adults to bring them to places where they can touch the earth, and maybe hug some trees, so they can find balance when facing challenges during their teen years. Prepare them to enjoy the inspiration of singing birds on a day when they might be facing loss; to connect with trees and the peaceful energy of a forest to guide them through sadness/ loneliness, so they can ground themselves and find inner peace. These are the treasures we can provide to our children rather than malls, amusement parks, computers, television shows, and other ways to mask reality. With the use of illegal drugs on the rise wouldn’t it be better to teach our children how to handle stress, sadness, loneliness and loss by connecting to nature during their early years rather than having them struggle through their inner turmoil without knowing. If you are one who is controlled by drugs, alcohol, tobacco or other vices, wouldn’t it be more productive to allow the small children to teach you how to reconnect, center, and ground yourself? By paying attention to the cues from the child you learn to remain open to the gifts of nature. You will also learn to reconnect with the joys of life that you may have forgotten along your path.

When Tanner was one, he was looking up at the white clouds and pale blue sky. I pointed upward and said “clouds” then “sky.”  It didn’t take long before he was pointing up and saying “sky.” At first I thought he was just repeating words. Later he pointed up and said, “sky” on his own and continued from that day forward. What was interesting is that he didn’t say “clouds” unless there were actually clouds in the sky. He would sit and look up at the sky as if in meditation. Maybe he was. I was reminded of that day this weekend when 18 month Colt and I were outside, he pointed upward and said, “Sky.” First they learn the words, then the meanings, then the connections – most importantly – they see the beauty.

I’m amazed that both boys have a love for trees – a love that started very early on as you can see in the photos above. One of Colt’s first words was “tree.” At first he whispered “treeeee.” When outside he will toddle from one tree to another and hug them or touch them and look up at the canopy. He and I have been enjoying the Magnolia tree in his backyard for quite some time as you will see in one of the photos below.

Whether summer, fall, winter or spring you will find us outside enjoying nature. Yes, we still visit the mall on occasion, a zoo, sit in front of the computer or television, and partake in other indoor activities however our great love is being outside and sharing in the natural beauty of our world.

If we could all pay a little more attention to life and realize how much we depend on nature for our survival we would be able to balance our ‘needs’ with our ‘wants’ in a more beneficial way. As a result we will leave this world a better place for future generations. Let’s do our part to balance our lives – see as if viewing the world through the eyes of a child and witness the beauty in your daily life.

Love and Light!


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WPC – What’s in a Name

Humans love naming things — look around you, and I bet you’ll see dozens of names. This week, take a photo of one!

Names have different meanings for different people. For this week’s challenge I decided to go in a bit of a different direction. What’s in a Name – what infuses a name a meaning, depth, emotion? Society, history, living, media, experience . . .

Gilmore Girls – this means nothing to some, a television show to others, a cult following to others, and the meaning goes even deeper for some. The later is where you will find me.

My youngest daughter, Cassandra, introduced me to Gilmore Girls during the first season. I’m not a dedicated television viewer so it was hit and miss at first. Although back then Saturday evenings you would find me watching Trading Spaces (a reality TV show where neighbors switched homes and redecorated one room in the other person’s home). Many an idea for my own home came from watching this as did a new adventure in discovering I could lay my own ceramic tile floors, paint, upholstered furniture, repair cabinets, build retaining walls and fences. Cassandra and I would frequent antique stores and second-hand shops looking for ideas and treasures to add to our home.

By season two, we were watching Gilmore Girls weekly along with Trading Spaces – looking forward to the two hours together spent interested in the same thing. For Gilmore Girls we made coffee and had treats prepared. Sometimes her girlfriends (and on occasion boyfriend) would stop in to watch with us – no phones or interruptions were allowed. We lived in a little cottage style house at the time, just the two of us. My older two children were on their own by then. When I began to travel with work we would watch then call one another to discuss the show and for me to check in on her day. Her friends referred to us as the Gilmore Girls. We were not exact – we love nature and didn’t eat anything close to the junk that the show portrayed them as ingesting. Also, I did most of my own home repairs although I always wished I had a handyman friend like Luke and chef friend like Sooki.

Sometimes our lives paralleled the show. Like when I returned home after dropping Cassandra off to live in Pennsylvania with my oldest daughter, Allison. When I returned to our home for the first time knowing I would now be alone and life would never be the same it was an emotional moment. Life without children flashed before my eyes in hit my heart with a bang – what it would be like to have a home without children – empty. It would the first time in my life – I gave birth to my son Joe when I was 17 – living on my own. Not long after that day, I was watching a Gilmore Girl episode when Lorelai Gilmore (Loren Graham portrayed the Mom) walked into her home after her daughter, Rory, left home for the first time. In the show, Lorelai had been a Mom since 16. The show reflected her loss, her transition to a home that would never be the same. Lauren Graham and the director caught the emotion perfectly.  It was as if I were watching my own reaction in a replay before me. I felt her pain and that of so many other parents transitioning into this new realization.

We continued to watch Gilmore Girls – Cassandra from Allison’s home in PA and I from my home. She stopped watching after a while and started watching America Idol with Allison. At the end of her senior year I sold the ’empty nest’ to my granddaughter’s Mom and relocated to California with Allison. Cassandra relocated to Florida, then Pennsylvania (PA),  North Carolina, back to PA. During our relocations she became interested in Gilmore Girls once again. She would watch the show three hours in advance of my watching on the west coast so we would call one another the next day to catch up on the show and life.

In the meantime, my granddaughter became interested as well so we had three-way conversations for a short period of time. During the conversations we also discussed books and creative pursuits we were pursuing at the time. Those calls were a wonderful way to connect and bond.

Once the show went off the air I purchased the DVDs for each of the girls and myself. Eventually I relocated back to New York, Cassandra returned as well and my granddaughter was still living in our little cottage with her mother. She and her mother (who had purchased my home) were being referred to as “Gilmore Girls.” Life had taken a full circle.

We would enjoy Gilmore Girl weekend marathons mixed with sleighing, board games, hiking, visits to coffee shops and second-hand stores. Those were some of my favorite moments. Today, Allison is watching the reruns on Netflix and realizes that she really enjoys the show and understands why we were so drawn to it in the beginning – strong women, intelligent conversations, references to books, history, quirkiness, following your dreams, learning lessons and growing.

Imagine my surprise last year when I received a text from Cassandra about the upcoming Gilmore Girl Fan Festival being held within a couple of hours of my home. I immediately purchased tickets and reserved a hotel room. Our birthdays are in November so it was an early birthday present to us. Never did I regret that decision, it was a wonderful experience.

We met mothers, daughters, friends, sisters and some men from all over the world who shared in the same experience. A cult – maybe. A lifestyle – maybe. A love for strong women, single Moms rising to overcome challenges, continuing education, small business, entrepreneurship, relationships, friendships, adventure, books, history, love, compassion, overcoming obstacles, quirkiness, laughter, silliness, family, mother’s love – that is who we are and I am proud that others share in this same philosophy.

The Gilmore Girls Revival aired the weekend of my birthday so Cassandra and Colt spent the night and we watched all four episodes together. My granddaughter relocated to New Mexico this past fall otherwise she would have been hanging out on the pull-out couch with us. Of course there was coffee, gluten-free snacks, salsa and chips. We eat healthier than the show portrays the Gilmore’s appetite preferences. Cassandra made my ‘I Love Snow Shirt”. It was a wonderful time and even my one year old grandson, Colt, enjoyed the show.

We do not need a show to live our lives to their fullest but Gilmore Girls became a fabric that ran through our lives for over a decade. We are both college educated and lifelong learners. We are not afraid to try new things and don’t see anything as a failure – everything is a learning experience. My home is filled with books and I love coffee, bookstores, and coffee shops. This would have been the same with or without the show. We both continue to learn, grow and expand – Gilmore Girls will remain a part of our heart and a special time in our lives. So what’s in a NAME – everything and anything that you want it to be. Names have no meaning unless you give them meaning.

Have you ever been pulled together with others through a television series? If so, which show had this effect on you. If you are a Gilmore Girl fan, did you attend the Gilmore Girl Fan Fest?

Love and Light!

If you are interested in viewing photos for this week’s challenge or would like to submit your own, click on the link below:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/names


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WPC – Local Life

“It is not more bigness that should be our goal.  We must attempt, rather, to bring people back to…the warmth of community, to the worth of individual effort and responsibility…and of individuals working together as a community, to better their lives and their children’s future.”        ~ Robert F. Kennedy ~

My home town is small and, when I was young, everyone knew everyone else. I no longer know many people living in the village, many family members are now deceased yet I still feel a sense of home when I visit. The buildings, stillness of the river, changing seasons, parades, smiles, local library, Saratoga National Historical Park, train bridge across the Hudson River . . . although changing over the years still comfort me.

My niece is the librarian at the local library – a dream she had as a child has come to fruition. There are events throughout the year to bring out the local people – Ladies’ Night, local parades, Fall Festival, Easter Egg Hunt, along with other events throughout the year. Love that the local community is safe enough to still allow children to dress in costumes and go door to door saying “Trick or Treat.” My sister, living in the family home, still has over 100 children knocking on her door on Halloween.

“This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower ~

Sometimes it is nice to participate in local events with family and friends. To visit a place that continues to be a place of mutual trust and respect. To feel safe and comforted when visiting the family home, library, or while taking a hike or cross-country skiing in the Saratoga National Historical Park.

Hope you have enjoyed a visit to my home town located on the west side of the Hudson River midway between NYC and Plattsburgh.

If you would like to view additional photos or would like to post your own photos, please click on the link below:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/local/

Love and Light!


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WPC – Nostalgia

“I’m terribly nostalgic, but I’m with the Elizabethans who thought nostalgia was a disease. It’s a dangerous place to be because you can get caught up in it.” ~ Mark Gatiss ~

I think Mark Gatiss is correct. Being nostalgic is fine to visit however you don’t want to get stuck there.

Every time I visit my brother-in-law’s hunting camp a sense of sadness fills my heart. At the same time I feel filled with love and happiness from the wonderful memories shared at camp. The women would vacation at the camp in the summer. When fall arrived only the men were allowed. Over the last several decades the older family members have died and my brother-in-law, sister and their daughters have relocated to Florida and Kansas. Now, I just go and sit outside or walk to the pond to enjoy the view.

 

When I was a child they didn’t have a bathroom or toilet inside the camp. The earlier outhouse had two holes so I would go inside with my sister or mother. It was very dark at night in the Adirondack Mountains and before they installed electric we used oil lamps and  flashlights. My brother-in-law’s brother and my sister had hours of fun building Tee-Pees and running through the woods playing freely in nature.

 

Out behind the camp was a path to the pond. The red shed is still standing along the path. Once a well-worn path, now it is covered in grass due to the lack of use. The view of the pond is still as beautiful as ever especially in the early fall – before hunting season begins.

In the early days they pulled water from the pump. Now it is more decoration than anything however if it is primed water will still flow. We get our drinking water from the fresh water pipe down the mountain from camp. Non-potable water is now pumped into the camp from the creek for washing dishes.

Before I leave it is always a special treat to see the creek and remember the uncles fishing. They would wear long sleeve shirts, even in the heat of summer, hats with netting, long pants and boots. We may not see them for the entire day. We were always allowed to share in the fun, even though I didn’t eat the fish. Sitting by the creek I felt their presence. The photo to the left is from the left side of the road and the one on the right is behind the camp. Sitting near the camp, listening to the flowing water takes me back in time. I can’t linger too long because the memory can bring sadness knowing that they are all deceased – Mom, Dad, Johnny, Adam, Winnie, Betty, Mike and many more. The best thing about camp is all the memories we shared there in my youth and then while I was mother to my own children. They are wonderful memories and one of the reasons why I find being in nature is so soothing.

“We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it.” ~George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss, 1860 ~

When my older two children were young, they loved to run outside in the woods, fish in the creek, swim in the swimming hole across the street and build Tee-Pees out of sticks as we had when children. My older daughter took her first steps at camp. My son celebrated his 13th birthday and my nieces gifted him with naked playing cards. Poor Joe was outnumbered by all of my nieces and they enjoyed embarrassing him.

My youngest daughter spent hours in the woods pretending the area in the photo below was her home. She set up a stove, chair, and used small twigs and leaves in the pan for food to share with any willing adults who visited her.

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“Nostalgia for what we have lost is more bearable than nostalgia for what we have never had, for the first involves knowledge and pleasure, the second only ignorance and pain.” ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960 ~

I am grateful for the wonderful memories of pleasurable times with family and friends. Even though no longer part of my life, it is such a great feeling knowing that my own children were able to share some of the same memories from my own childhood. It would be great to have similar memories to share with my grandchildren. They may not share in the camp memories however we are sharing nature in different ways and building our own memories.

If you would like to view other photos or would like to submit your own, click on the link below:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/nostalgia/

Love and Light!