Tag Archives: awareness

The art of counting

“Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.” — Harold Coffin I often have a problem with envy, especially when friends who are my age start describing their carefree “empty nest” travels and activities.  After nearly 30 years of caretaking and managing the lives of our children (beginning when …

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Serenity is contagious

“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious.” — Satchidananda Saraswati Serenity has never been my strong suit, but maybe that’s why I …

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Remembering: Little advantages

“Human felicity is produced not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.” —Benjamin Franklin Just as it’s often the minor irritations that distract us and wear us down, so too the power of small blessings can transform our lives.  The trick is becoming aware of …

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No such thing

“There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude.”  — Robert Brault One of the great blessings to come from this blog has been the ongoing task of reading many wise and inspiring words from all sorts of people, all over the world, from the earliest recorded eras up …

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What we enjoy

“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment…” — C. S. Lewis Tea. Books. Friends. Flowers. Animals. Family. I hope nobody is getting sick of seeing these and other topics here, over and over, because I have so much fun writing about what I enjoy — including anything …

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Clarity from stillness

“If water derives clarity from stillness, how much more so does the mind!” — Zhuangzi In a recent post, I discussed the fascination of watching moving waters.  But still waters are captivating as well, particularly when they mirror beautiful scenery. Stillness is a trait that doesn’t come naturally to me.  Even when my body is not …

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Pay attention

“Choice of attention, to pay attention to this and ignore that, is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer.” – W. H. Auden Auden captures a truth here that has always been evident to me, yet remains elusive in the ongoing rush of life.  When one is distractible or detail-oriented, …

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Read history

“If you think you have it tough, read history books.” — Bill Maher I’m no fan of Bill Maher, but he has a point about history.  It’s a great way to gain some perspective.  Not long ago I read Bill Bryson’s fascinating book At Home, and I realized I’d never fully appreciated such things as electricity and sewer systems.  From …

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The real secret

“The real secret of how to use time is to pack it as you would a portmanteau, filling up the small spaces with small things.” — Sir Henry Haddow Much has been written about the importance of prioritizing major tasks and important duties first, and fitting everything else in around them.  But sometimes there still does …

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God’s handwriting

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting – a wayside sacrament.  Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”  —Charles Kingsley Travel is one of my favorite ways of searching for …

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The true traveler

“The true traveler is he who goes on foot, and even then, he sits down a lot of the time.” — Colette Of all the reasons I love walking, travel may be the most lasting.  I have done a good bit of traveling since I was a girl, and as far back as I can …

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The sense of the beautiful

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe In the centuries since Goethe penned this sound …

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Mind and soul

“Let knowledge grow from more to more, But more of reverence in us dwell; That mind and soul, according well, May make one music as before, But vaster.” —  Alfred, Lord Tennyson Several miles from the palaces of knowledge found at the Smithsonian Institution, the Washington National Cathedral stands in a quiet residential area seldom congested with the …

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Here to change the world

“We are here to change the world with small acts of thoughtfulness done daily rather than with one great dramatic leap in results.” — Rabbi Harold Kushner Everyone loves to see results.  There’s nothing more satisfying than completing a major project or putting the final touches on something we’ve labored over for weeks.  But in reality, …

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You should ramble

“To enjoy scenery you should ramble amidst it; let the feelings to which it gives rise mingle with other thoughts; look round upon it in intervals of reading; and not go to it as one goes to see the lions fed at a fair. The beautiful is not to be stared at, but to be …

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A thousand small ways

“When we are willing to be open-minded, art and beauty come flooding into us in a thousand small ways.”— Julia Cameron I tend to think of open-mindedness as a trait useful primarily to our rational minds, vital to the examination of ideas, cultures and opposing viewpoints.  Yet there are many ways our minds can be open rather …

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The familiar exotic

“Make the familiar exotic; the exotic familiar.”  — Bharati Mukherjee I’m pretty good at making the exotic familiar, or at least trying.  When Jeff and I travel, we tend to avoid the tourist routes and go to places where the locals are: public transportation, grocery stores, municipal libraries.  The more intriguing a city is, the more I am determined …

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Aware of the treasure

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall …

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It’s helpful to remember

“In times like these, it is helpful to remember that there have always been times like these.” — Paul Harvey Today’s post is dedicated to all of us who are FED UP with: 1. traffic, gas prices and ridiculous parking costs; 2. the hassles of air travel; 3. public bus or rail system problems; or …

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Every single day

“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.” — Jo Walton Have you ever been outside just as the sun was rising or setting, and thought to yourself that you should make it a point enjoy sunrise, or sunset, more often? So have I.  …

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When March is scarcely here

“A light exists in spring Not present on the year At any other period — When March is scarcely here.” — Emily Dickinson Along with a recent post about walking, I included a photograph of some trees in my neighborhood.  The photo above pictures those same trees during the all-too-brief period of their flowering, usually …

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Give thanks

“When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.”  — Tecumseh Long before we had any idea Jeff was sick, we planned a …

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Welcomed and recorded

“Each thought that is welcomed and recorded is a nest egg, by the side of which more will be laid” — Henry David Thoreau For me, writing is an effective way to train my thinking.  I find that most people give more thought to what they write than to what they say, and this may …

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The unceasing effort

“Art is the unceasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers– and never succeeding.” — Gian Carlo Menotti Humans can create stunning works of art, but the best of these only imitate, echo, enhance or complement the beauty found in nature.  Art is usually made, at least in part, from materials found in the …

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There will be times

“Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit.” — Anton Chekhov Even when the trees appear to be bare, there is a lot happening underground.  A gardener once explained to me that fall is the best …

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