May Day Celebrations

 

 

The fire of the sun

In a spray of bright flowers

Spring turns to Summer

Petals float down from blue skies

Dancing with me in the breeze

 

May Day A spring holiday celebrated for millennia around the world, usually with flowers, crowning of a May Queen, and dancing around the maypole. Every country or region has its own specific customs.

Read more about May Day 🌺

Beltane An ancient fire festival marking the first day of summer (making Summer Solstice in June “midsummer” – Shakespeare, anyone?). Fires were used to represent the waxing sun and thought to provide protection and abundance for the coming season. The Green Man is often associated with this festival as are fairies and tree spirits.

Read more about Beltane 🌺

Lei Day In Hawaii, they celebrate Hawaiian culture and tradition with dancing and the giving of leis (necklaces made of flowers). Each island in this archipelago has its own distinct flower which is used to make the leis.

Read more about Lei Day 🌺

 

The May Queen

(an excerpt)

You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;

To-morrow ’ll be the happiest time of all the glad new-year,—

Of all the glad new-year, mother, the maddest, merriest day;

For I ’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I ’m to be Queen o’ the May.

~~~

The honeysuckle round the porch has woven its wavy bowers,

And by the meadow-trenches blow the faint sweet cuckoo-flowers;

And the wild marsh-marigold shines like fire in swamps and hollows gray;

And I ’m to be Queen o’ the May, mother, I ’m to be Queen o’ the May.

~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson


Wishing you all joy on May Day!

🌸🌸🌸

 

Vernal Equinox: Balance in a Time of Imbalance

 

 

I found a post from exactly one year ago and, unfortunately, I’m in a similar place. I thought this year would be different but, alas, I’m here…in this post about a day not working out the way I wanted it to.

I’m exhausted and overwhelmed. I’ve taken on too much and have fallen way behind online and in real life. Looking back at this post from last year tells me something: I need to change. I accept that.

Easier said than done, as they say. I’ve got to agree. They are right.

I’ve never liked the term “balance” because, as I’ve stated numerous times, it’s unattainable. But today is the first day of spring. The Vernal Equinox.

This is a time of balance.

On the equinox, day and night are of equal length as the sun crosses the equator. Today, we experience the same amount of darkness and light—outside and within ourselves. Take a moment to meditate, to reset. Adjust any imbalances you feel.

I wrote that just two years ago. I’m going with it. Though it seems contrary to what I’m saying here, it’s not. Adjusting imbalances is not quite the same as trying to achieve balance.

While I won’t be chasing my tail in a futile attempt to attain complete balance in my life, I will be sitting. Just that. Sitting. Breathing. That’s nice, too. And paying attention. To the things I’m neglecting that need more attention and the things I’m spending too much energy on that are draining me. I will try harder to listen to my inner self.

I found this, too:

This is a time of beginnings.

We are being offered a fresh start. Spring cleaning removes dust, dirt, and clutter from our homes. The debris that has accumulated over the cold months can be swept away, leaving an inviting space. Our external environment affects our internal one. In this way, we are helping clear our minds as well.

I needed to see that. To reread those words. To remind myself what I believe to be true. And to do something about it.

 

The Vernal Equinox is a time of balance and beginnings. It’s a perfect time to take stock of your life and press the reset button. It’s also a great time to start new projects or dust off an old project and breathe life back into it. Mother Nature is backing you up right now. What will you do with this gift?

 

Happy Spring! 🌼 (And, to my friends in Australia, Happy Autumn!)

 

Happy Holidays!

 

sun-and-pine-tree_holidays-sig

 

Snow and Sun settle

Upon the slumbering pines

Yuletide gleaming bright

A winter haiku for you, gentle readers. May your days be merry & bright.
Wishing you all a Happy Holiday season! ❄️

 

Last-Minute Holiday Gifts from the Heart

 

holiday-charity-gifts

 

These are some of the charities we give to regularly. We love them. I’ve sorted out the ones that let you email the recipient or print your own card.

Quick, easy, heartfelt. The perfect last-minute gifts:

 

Environment / Nature

ARBOR DAY FOUNDATION

arbor-day-post

Mission: “to improve water and air quality, slow climate change, and reduce poverty by planting trees.”

These Trees in Celebration certificates are lovely and every single dollar you spend plants a tree. They also offer “Give-A-Tree E-Cards” to send a holiday greeting with meaning. Because. Trees. Behold the beautiful trees! 🌲

 

Animals / Wildlife 

ASPCA

aspca-post

Mission: “animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected…”

Show your love for our four-legged friends. Give a holiday gift card in honor of a beloved furchild. I can’t stand the cuteness of that puppy. You know you want to help these little munchkins. Available in ecards.

 

Hunger / Poverty

HEIFER INTERNATIONAL

heifer-post

Mission: “to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth.”

Choose a donation and print it out, email, or text with a custom message to the gift recipient. Or you can give a gift card (to print out or send via email) so they can choose their own donation.

* My personal favorite gift to give is honeybees. They are awesome. Here are 2 reasons why:

“Food for Life: Honey is the only food that includes all the essential elements necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals and even water. Its unique chemical makeup also allows it to be preserved indefinitely.”

“Farmers’ Helpers: In the process of searching for nectar, bees pollinate plants. The placement of a single colony can potentially double local fruit and vegetable yields.”

Isn’t that incredible? It’s the bee’s knees. 🐝

 

KIVA

kiva-post

Mission: “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. We celebrate and support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.”

Print these out or email them to the gift recipient and they can start loaning right away. Change someone’s life, get paid back, help someone else… And on it goes. Making spirits bright.

 

Childhood Cancer/Childhood Diseases

ST. JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL

st-judes-post

Mission: “Finding cures. Saving children. St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.”

Please do check out the site if you don’t already know about St. Jude Children’s Hospital. And, if you do, well… ‘Nuff said.

Printable Christmas Cards

Ecards for Christmas

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Printable Hanukkah Cards

Ecards for Hanukkah

 

   ❄️ Have a beautiful holiday season! ❄️

 

How I Found Joy in Negativity

 

globe-sig

 

In the midst of some recent turmoil, there was one blessed day of balance.

The Autumnal Equinox.

I thought there was no way I would be able to share in the wonder of this day.

During an equinox, when the sun passes directly over the equator, day and night are of equal length—we have the same amount of light and dark. It is a time of balance.

That elusive balance.

I don’t actively seek it because, as I’ve said before, I believe it’s unattainable—a recipe for frustration and resentment. But I do look for it in small quantities, for certain situations.

And every autumn, I have welcomed balance when it arrives on my doorstep, asking politely, with the light of the harvest moon, to be let inside.

September 22nd was smack in the middle of a mess, and I knew that day would go just as badly as the rest of the week had gone. I knew. No matter what I planned or how hard I tried, it was going to be bad. Horrible.

I also knew I was being extremely negative but I couldn’t muster any optimism.

At the time, my attitude seemed reasonable and the terrible outcome more than a little likely.

But the world keeps spinning, seasons change, time moves on. No matter what’s happening in your life, there is always something larger than you.

Taking a simple walk or standing under a tree often gives me this much-needed shift in my thinking.

The equinox provides me perspective. The Earth turns, continuing its cycle whether I’m prepared for it or not.

I tend to get highly disappointed when my grand plans go awry but am delightfully surprised when I anticipate trouble and don’t find it. Negativity in general? Not something I’d recommend. But, once in a while, it’s helpful.

There are two things I need to keep in mind.

The first is that forcing a good day rarely, if ever, works. Often, it backfires. The second is that acknowledging my day will not be as wonderful as I want it to be allows me to let go of all expectations.

And that, gentle readers, is how I stumbled over the roots of a genuinely good day, finding balance and joy in the midst of chaos.

 

Happy Autumn!

Yes, you’re now officially allowed to break out the pumpkin spiced beer, muffins, coffee, scones, etc. (And, as always, Happy Spring to my friends in the southern hemisphere.)

 

Can you force yourself to have a good day with positive thinking? Do your positive thoughts keep you going even if things aren’t perfect? Or do you find that your expectations are impossible to meet? If you expect the worst, are you pleasantly surprised or do you dwell in that negativity?

 

* Apologies for all the post questions. I’m having a yin/yang, light/dark, positivity/negativity bit of a time here and wondering how others deal.

 

Being in the Moment

 

Bee & Flower - Sarah B sig

 

It’s funny to me how many people write about being in the moment.

Writers are never truly in the moment because, when we have a moment, we’re thinking about writing that moment.

Take my Pause and Smell the Roses post. I was thoroughly enjoying that morning but then I came in and wrote about it. Ideas were floating around my head even as I sipped my coffee and watched the chipmunks.

Actually, I kind of felt like a chipmunk—savoring birdseed and suet while darting back and forth and running in circles. Because, really, that’s what I was doing—mentally running from the outdoors to the notebook in my head and back again.

It’s a crazy writer thing. It is.

Yet here I am, again, about to describe a lovely afternoon I experienced. Blue sky, butterflies, shapes in clouds, the whole nine yards. It was gorgeous and relaxing. Of course…I’m writing about it now.

I’m not exactly sure how this works, but, while I was appreciating sunshine and flowers, thoughts and words were buzzing in my brain.

Was I writing the entire time or did I actually get to pause and smell the roses?

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

 

ThoughtBubble

Are you able to truly be in the moment? (Think about this for a minute…) And, if you are, do you write about it after?


 

 

Full Moon & Fairies (Summer Solstice)

 

Summer Solstice -sig

 

There is magic in the air.

Fairies flutter about enjoying the day, preparing for their feast, and, perhaps, causing a bit of mischief. And, this year, they have even more to celebrate. A full moon accompanies the solstice.

This weekend, I’m celebrating with them.

Wine will flow, my friends. And I will run barefoot in the grass like when I was a child. I’ll breathe deeply, inhaling the heady scents of blossoms that, weeks ago, were tiny buds.

At twilight, I’ll light candles and search for blinking fireflies.

Of course, after this longest day of the year, the days will become shorter. But I will bask in the sun and light and magic then welcome the dark half of the year.

When the sun decides to set after its long journey, I will marvel at the pinks and purples of dusk. I will fill my glass and toast the twinkling stars who, in my wine-induced bliss, will merrily wink back at me. I will refill it to toast the bright, full moon who will smile her light on me. I will soak up the night and all its beauty.

Because, if it wasn’t for the darkness, I could not appreciate the light.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

What will you do with your extra hours of sunlight? I’m toasting you, my tweeps. Know that.

 

As always, I think of my friends in Australia during these times of year. Happy Winter Solstice to you!

 

(The summer solstice is officially tomorrow, Monday, June 20. Enjoy!)

 

Appreciating Fragmented Beauty

 

Pink Clouds -sig

 

There’s still good in the world.

 

I see warm breezes

Hear growing grass

Smell blue skies

Feel songs of sparrows

 

Things are not right.

My world is out of alignment. Nothing is as it should be.

It’s difficult to find peace in turmoil, to appreciate the beauty around you when it’s fragmented by ugliness.

The world is broken.

People amaze me, after all these years, with their ability to be unkind. With all the ways they have perfected their unkindness.

 

I will not let this sink me.

Even if the good arrives a bit mixed-up, I will continue to take it in.

Because it is still there.

I have to believe it is still there.

 

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Do you ever wonder if there is any good left in this world? Are you able to find beauty and goodness around you in the midst of a difficult situation?

Vernal Equinox: Spring in My Step

 

Today is the first day of spring. The Vernal Equinox.

 

Spring Equinox sprout Sarah Brentyn - sig

 

I had this really cool post planned. It was introspective and thought-provoking.

It was full of serious talk and thinking stuff.

Instead, I wound up with this barrel full of monkeys. Because that’s what my brain feels like.

I finally fell asleep around 4 am last night. So, I’m working on about 3+ hours of sleep. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I need eight.

Where was I?

Right. The post mentioned all the wonderful things I was going to do today.

I had plans to pause, enjoy nature, seek balance, embrace something new. Pretty much none of that happened. (Unless you consider exhaustion-induced zone-outs “pausing”.)

I will copy two lines from the post:

It is a time of beginnings.

It is a time of balance.

The Vernal Equinox is, indeed, both of those things. Spring is a time of new beginnings and the Equinox a time of balance. I wanted to embrace these.

I didn’t.

You know those days you walk into a room and forget why you went in there? Or you open the fridge seven times because you forget what you were looking for? Yes. It was one of those days—all day.

No fresh starts or balancing for me today. I ruined it.

Or did I?

Because, I used this opportunity to not do things. Such as beating myself up for not posting this morning, not reading other blogs, and not getting to my own blog comments.

Also, I didn’t get angry at myself for not living that perfect day I planned.

For me, that’s one hell of a fresh start.

As far as balance? I accepted that, along with the light, joyous pieces of me, there are dark, upsetting ones.

I’m human. I’m whole.

There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m going to just put it out there and say if you’re all sunshine and no shadows, you’re probably pretty boring. Or lying. Which might make you slightly more interesting but certainly not any more likable.

So I didn’t have a beautiful first day of spring. But I did have one more day on this earth. And I learned a few things while I was here. (One of them being that I can go a whole day without beating myself up about anything. And I’m counting that as a win.)

 

My Sunday thoughts in a sleep-deprived ramble of nowhere near 200 words.

ThoughtBubble

 

What happens when you plan a day and it falls short of your expectations? Do you give up? Beat yourself up? Move on? (Or a combination?)

 

Happy Spring! (And, to my friends in Australia, Happy Autumn!)

 

Letting the Light In

 

It’s dark outside.

 

2015 snow & shadows - sig

 

The occasional car casts shadows along my wall—its bright headlights a stark contrast to the dark around my desk.

I blink at the computer screen. It’s 4:52. I check the weather and see sunset was 4:14. So early.

I reach to flip the lamp on and hesitate. This darkness is reflecting my mood nicely. I realize it’s actually reflecting my life right now as well.

I close my laptop and sit, allowing myself to be swallowed by darkness.

I breathe deeply. I let the darkness in.

It is strangely calming, feeling the darkness in my life and inside myself.

I decide to embrace it. Knowing that tomorrow, the first day of Winter, brings light.

The Winter Solstice heralds the return of the Sun even as it seems we’re entering the dark half of the year. We’re not. Sunset will be later. Each day will hold a sliver of additional sunlight.

Having acknowledged the darkness, I will appreciate the light that much more.

While the Solstice has always been magical, tomorrow I will open myself up fully to the hope and brilliance the Sun offers.

I will let the light in.

My Sunday thoughts in 200 words or less.

ThoughtBubble

 

Dark is not a bad thing—it’s just the flip side of light. It’s also a wonderful time to contemplate (and honor the introverted, introspective hermit I am).

I wish you all a wonderful Winter Solstice, full of love, light, and maybe a wee bit of magic.
I wish you all a very happy holiday and a beautiful season of light. ❤

P.S. Happy Summer Solstice to my peeps in the southern hemisphere—where everything I’ve said is flipped on its head.