In flowers that is….Still intoxicated with mandala madness. 🙂
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I went outside today to see if there were any flowers left blooming. In Florida we have a short Winter and then a handful of nice Spring days with bursts of color everywhere. The azaleas…….the bromeliads……and then it all dies………….9 months of HEAT. Not much grows in Summer except the grass and weeds. All of my irises are brown and crispy looking. The lilies look like beef jerky. But this little group of tiny dancers was still celebrating, so I snapped them quickly before the sun was full in the sky.
I will be in my studio painting now for a good long while……..expect some new acrylic work very soon!
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It’s so simple. Just smile. Even if you have to look at cute videos on YouTub of babies laughing or puppies sleeping, it’s a great way to improve your health and it makes you feel good about yourself. Below are some of the rewards of lifting those cheeks:
1. It Lower Heart Rate – Smiling slows the heart and relaxes the body. People who smile and laugh often are less likely to develop heart disease. Smiling reduces blood pressure temporarily too.
2. It Reduce Stress – Stress relief may be as simple as smiling a little more throughout the day. Smiling releases endorphins that counteract and diminish the stress hormones.
3. It Increase Productivity – Smiling has been shown to increase productivity while performing tasks. There’s truth to the “whistle while we work” mentality. This also explains why silly internet memes and pictures of cute animals can actually get people motivated and working harder after a few moments of smiling or laughter.
4. It is a natural Pain Killer – Smiling and laughter both have been shown to lessen pain. They release endorphins that lift our moods, but many of these act as natural painkillers too.
5. It Increase Attention – Stress limits our perceptions and narrows our attention. Our body kicks into fight or flight mode where we can focus only on one of those things. Smiling counteracts this and widens our attention again, opening us back up to multitasking and insights that come from the fringes of our perception and our subconscious.
6. It is Contagious – Around 50% of people smile back. This spreads the health benefits throughout those around you and it comes back to you several times as well.
7. It makes you more Attractive! – Smiling makes people look more appealing. This seems to be especially true for women. Men are more likely to approach a woman who smiles than one who simply makes eye contact while women aren’t necessarily drawn in by a smile alone.
8. It makes You Look Younger – Smiles naturally lift the face and in studies have shown to make people look younger, around 3 years younger on average.
9. It increases Longevity – The effects of a good smile extend past just the exterior good looks. People who smile more often live longer too, around 7 years longer than most according to one study. It releases stress, helps the heart, and much more to keep you healthy longer.
10. It Boosts the Immune System – Smiles help the body relax and this lets the immune system react more quickly and effectively against invaders.
So C’mon…………………………………………………..S.M.I.L.E. 🙂
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Are you trying to hold on to your youth? Your children? A dysfunctional family? A job that isn’t right for you? A marriage that doesn’t work? That D you got in trigonometry in high school?
So many of us cling tightly to what is familiar or comfortable. Others bind themselves to the past and allow it to punish them for their entire lives. Change is scary. Some just cannot picture a life different than the one they currently have. I have learned that the harder you grasp something, the more it hurts when it slips away from you. The secret to life is “letting go”. Also known as acceptance. This has nothing to do with giving up and everything to do with knowing when it is time to move on.
I had a few years of uncertainty and fear as I moved into middle age. I was panicked at the thought of my little girl out in the big mean World all by herself. My marriage had a major hiccup one Summer and I was not sure we would make it. I noticed that I was starting to lose the interest of men when I walked into a room. My body and face were aging and I did not know how to handle it. I was also very confused about what I wanted to do with my business. I considered shutting it down and taking a different path by getting back into Holistic Medicine. I call those years “the worry years”.
Slowly I started to realize that I could not hold onto all of those things that I wanted to remain the same. More importantly, I did not want to. I discovered it was safe to let go and just celebrate where I was headed. I was not only physically different, I was also mentally and emotionally transformed. At 45 I am now excited to watch my daughter leave for college and blossom into her own life. I will not be keeping her bedroom as a shrine where I can focus on the past. Instead it will be converted into a sanctuary for yoga and thinking. She will be welcome to visit anytime, but I will use that space for mediation. I have learned to work “with” my partner instead of “against” him as we weather life’s bumps. I am less selfish. I have also decided that I will not be artificially preserving my youthful face. It’s gone and no amount of face lifting, injecting or sand blasting is going to bring it back. It’s o.k. to have wrinkles and fine lines. In fact, if you allow yourself to let go of what society dictates is beautiful, you can actually admire them for what they really are: signs of a life that has endured numerous storms and celebrated many triumphs.
As for my career that is still being pondered. I have a few new ideas about what direction I would like to move in. But whatever I decide, the process leading up to it will not be fraught with anxiety. No, these are truly “the wonder years” for me. The dictionary tells us that “wonder” means: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. And that is exactly where I am. Bring it on life!
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I like to walk around with my camera just seeing what I can find. I love old buildings and garbage piles because often the most interesting photos are there. These beauties were growing proud all along an abandoned restaurant. They were not in neat little rows, but wild and rangy. They were large flowers, so I do not think they are weeds.
Do you know what type of flowers these are?
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What makes a person successful in this life? Is it dying with a big ol’ pile of money? Is it having the most friends? Is it the big house and fancy car? Is it being recognized by others for your achievements? Is it being pretty and well liked? Is it bagging a perfect spouse? Getting that kid into Harvard?
Over the years I have dramatically redefined my perspective on personal success. Everyone has their own criteria, but for me it has nothing to do with any of the above. I have come to realize that true success has little to do with worldly achievements and everything to do with the inner peace that comes from not needing them.
Am I a successful artist? Absolutely. I am not getting rich off of my creativity, but I am earning a living. If my spouse died, I could support myself entirely on my income. I only have to work a few days a week now thanks to years of time investment. I make money while I sleep and on the days I do not work too. In my own mind, that is success. I ignored those that said I couldn’t do it and I worked hard to achieve my goals.
Am I a successful Mom? You bet. I turned away from my abusive upbringing and defied the odds. I did not perpetuate the abuse and I’ve helped my autistic daughter find her own voice. I have supported her every step of the way and encouraged her to love herself just the way she is. I did not teach hate or prejudice and as a result she has friends of all races, religions and sexual orientations. She is now enrolled in college and doing all of the things normal folks do. She didn’t go for an Ivy League school, but one that fit her goals. She didn’t win a bunch of awards or get a perfect SAT score. But she is happy. To me this is one of my greatest achievements and I feel pretty successful as a parent.
Lastly, am I successful overall? The are so many ways to achieve success: Relationships, Job, Health, Family, Hobbies, Fitness, etc. The simple answer for me is: Yes. The detailed answer would be far too long to expect the average blog reader to get through. I am at a point in my life that I no longer concern myself with how others view me. I am satisfied and happy with who I am and all I’ve done. In the end, that is all that matters. So, yes, I am truly successful.
Do you see yourself as a success?
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Yesterday me and the hubby went on a little field trip. We found our way to the Florida Botanical Gardens in Pinellas County. Somehow in all of these years in Tampa, this gem has been hidden from me. We frequently drive down to Sarasota to enjoy the Selby Gardend, but this place was also amazing! So many flowers all out in the open to see and smell. The winding paths lead to many beautiful surprises. Plus there is a little heritage village with old houses and buildings that were to be destroyed, but were saved and moved here. What a treat!
It is a macro lens photographer’s delight. 🙂
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The word “succulent” sounds titillating. You can almost “feel” what it means as it rolls off of your tongue. Say it right now. Slowly…
O.k. maybe I just wanted to use the words “succulent and “titillating” in the same sentence. 😉 But these beauties grow all over the place in Florida. They seem to be just as happy in our tropical swamp as they are in the dry air of the desert. But with thousands of varieties available, they do have varying care requirements. So if you want to grow some of these beauties inside or out, read the labels on the plants before buying. They do love bright sunlight, but they can get sunburned. I have seen a few wither and die myself.
I love the smooth feel they have and the variety of colors they come in. I’ve taken artistic liberty with this one obviously. I was intrigued by the interesting shapes and shadows in this plant. Nature is my inspiration!
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Another beautiful day in Florida and I was out early with my camera. We have the most beautiful aloe plants growing all around our property and the humming birds love them. I am not sophisticated enough as a photographer yet to start capturing those speedy little birds, but I did get some nice shots of the aloe flower spikes. They are so delicate. I use the aloe leaves for skin irritations and they are quite healing. I wonder if the flowers are useful? Here are some ways that the leaves benefit us humans:
Aloe Vera contains many vitamins including A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6. Aloe Vera is also one of the few plants that contains vitamin B12.
Some of the 20 minerals found in Aloe Vera include: calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, manganese.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are about 22 amino acids that are necessary for the human body and it is said that 8 of these are essential. Estimates of the amino acids found in aloe range from 18-20 amino acids, with all 8 essential amino acids.
Alove Vera also includes quite an impressive range of fatty acids. Aloe contains three plant sterols, which are important fatty acids- HCL cholesterol (which lowers fats in the blood), campesterol, and B-sitosterol. All are helpful in reducing symptoms of allergies and acid indigestion. Other fatty acids include linoleic, linolenic, myristic, caprylic, oleic, palmitic, and stearic.
Aloe Vera is a well-known adaptogen. An adaptogen is something that boosts the body’s natural ability to adapt to external changes and resist illness. It is thought that aloe’s power as an adaptogen balances the body’s system, stimulating the defense and adaptive mechanisms of the body. This allows you an increased ability to cope with stress (physical, emotional and environmental stress like pollution)
Poor digestion is related to many diseases. A properly functioning digestive tract is one of the keys and foundations of health. Aloe is known to soothe and cleanse the digestive tract and help improve digestion. The interesting thing about taking aloe internally is that, because it is an adaptogen, it helps with either constipation or diarrhea, helping to regulate your elimination cycles in whatever way you need. It’s been a great remedy for people with problems such as irritable bowel syndrome as well as acid reflux. Aloe also helps to decrease the amount of unfriendly bacteria and in our gut keeping your healthy intestinal flora in balance. Aloe is also a vermifuge, which means it helps to rid the body of intestinal worms.
Aloe Vera is a gelatinous plant food, just like seaweeds and chia. The main benefit to consuming gelatinous plant foods in your diet is that these gels move through the intestinal tract absorbing toxins along the way and get eliminated through the colon. This will help the proper elimination of waste from your body and help the detoxification of your body.
Disease cannot manifest in an alkaline environment. Most people are living and subsisting on mostly acidic foods. For great health, remember the 80/20 rule – 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acidic. Aloe vera is an alkaline forming food. It alkalizes the body, helping to balance overly acidic dietary habits
There hasn’t been a lot of studies conducted in this but there has been some research to show that Aloe Vera extract injected into the blood, greatly multiplies the oxygen transportation and diffusion capabilities of the red blood cells.
According to a study published in the 2000 issue of the British Medical Journal, beta sitosterol helps to lower cholesterol. By regulating blood pressure, improving circulation and oxidation of the blood, lowering cholesterol, and making blood less sticky, Aloe Vera juice may be able to help lower the risk of heart disease.
I think given the stresses of our daily lives, every one can use a boost to their immune systems. The polysaccharides in aloe vera juice stimulate macrophages, which are the white blood cells of your immune system that fight against viruses.
Aloe is also an immune enhancer because of its high level of anti-oxidants, which help combat the unstable compounds known as free-radicals, contributing to the aging process. (Free radicals are a bi-product of life itself, it is a naturally occurring process but we can overload ourselves with unnecessary free-radicals by living an unhealthy lifestyle) Aloe is also an antipyretic which means it used to reduce or prevent fever.
Because of aloe’s well-known healing properties for the skin, aloe is one of the primary compounds used in the cosmetic industry. It is a known vulnerary, (meaning it helps heal wounds) and is great for applying topically to burns, abrasions, psoriasis and even to bug bites. Aloe acts as an analgesic, acting to help relieve pain of wounds. It’s feels especially good to cut a stem of aloe, place it in the fridge and rub it on sun burnt skin – the immediate soothing effect feels like an absolute lifesaver. Aloe is also an antipruritic: A substance that relieves or prevents itching. Aloe Vera is an astringent: which causes the contraction of body tissues, typically used to reduce bleeding from minor abrasions.
Due to aloe’s high water content (over 99% water) it is a great way to hydrate, moisturize and rejuvenate the skin and fits within my general guideline: “Don’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat!” Aloe increases the elasticity of the skin making it more flexible through collagen and elastin repair. Aloe is an emollient, helping to soften and soothe the skin. It helps supply oxygen to the skin cells, increasing the strength and synthesis of skin tissue and induces improved blood flow to the skin through capillary dilation.
Wow, I think that covers all anti- bases. Okay, I admit, that was just a sneaky way to add in another 8 good reasons why you should keep Aloe Vera handy and incorporate it into your lifestyle. Aloe Vera’s active ingredients are sulphur, lupeol, salicylic acid, cinnamic acid, urea nitrogen and phenol which are substances that prevent the growth of disease-causing microorganisms and act as a team to provide antimicrobial activity thus eliminating many internal and external infections, also active against bacteria. It also helps to treat fungal and viral infections.
Source: Sacred Source Nutrition
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It’s that time of year when all of the flowers are blooming and these quick little showers show up out of nowhere. My orchids look fabulous this Spring! I can mostly get phalaenopsis to re-bloom year after year. When I buy some from a store or garden shop, I let them live out their flowering lives in my home. When they are all done, I just stick them under the oak trees and they love it! I do not do anything else to them. I just let nature water and care for them. The white and hot pink especially like to show their pretty little petals for me. We just had one of those morning showers that leaves everything all sparkly with water droplets….I couldn’t resist!