To Create Sunshine

Searching for beauty, peace and serenity in our world through nature, home and travel


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Liebster Award

 Thank you to The Robin’s Nest for nominating me for a Liebster Award!  If you are not familiar with Robin’s blog, I suggest you stop by for a visit.  She shares lovely and encouraging posts about life in general.

The Liebster Award is a virtual award passed from blogger to blogger to show support and to help promote fellow bloggers.  Who doesn’t need a little support and encouragement now and then!

Here are the rules!

Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog.

Answer the 11 questions the person asked you.

Nominate 11 people (comment on their blog and let them know)

Ask the people you have nominated 11 questions.

Here are my questions from The Robin’s Nest:

Why do you blog?

  • Blogging gives me a creative outlet for writing, photography, and self-expression.

What are your top 3 traveling destinations and why?

  • I would like to go to Europe, Nova Scotia, and South America.  I hope to see as much of the world, it’s beauty and it’s cultures while I can.

If you were granted 3 wishes what would they be?

  • World peace, an end to cancer, and that all children have a safe and loving environment to grow up in.

If you could go back in time to your younger self, what advise would you give?

  • Stay calm in all situations.

What is your favorite food/cuisine?

  • I prefer fresh fruits and vegetables….and a little bit of chocolate!

What country/culture inspires you the most?

  • Umm… I think mabe the French for their artistry and creativity.

What are you passionate about?

  • My family, art, creativity, and travel.

What is your biggest weekness?

  • Procrastination.

What is your favorite movie or book?

  • It’s hard to limit myself on favorite books.  I’m going to go with The Nightengale  by Kristen Hannah.

If you could change something in the world, what would it be?

  • I would like to see hatred be replaced with love and understanding.

What is your favorite pass-time hobby?

  • Just one!   Reading, writing, photography, painting, traveling, spending time with my husband and family, laughing……

And now….the nominees are….

  1.  Rainy Day Reflections
  2.  Design and Style Report
  3.  Sixteen Miles Out
  4.  Linneaurea
  5. Guadalupe Cedars
  6.  Oregon Girl Around The World
  7.  Typewriter Girl
  8.  Reviving Charm
  9.  KHK Designs Interiors
  10.  AngelineM’s Blog
  11.  Rambling in the Garden

These are all beautiful and inspirational blogs!  I hope you will drop by and visit them!

Now, if you accept the challenge, these are your questions!

  1.   What is your favorite part of blogging?
  2.   What country, city, or continent would you most like to visit and why?
  3.   What was the most inspirational time in you life so far?
  4.   What are you most passionate about?
  5.   What is your favorite book and why?
  6.   What is your favorite time of year?
  7.   What are other interest you have besides blogging?
  8.   Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?
  9.   Where did you go for your most memorable vacation?
  10.   Do you prefer a sunny or rainy day?
  11.   If you had a day all to yourself, how would you spend it?

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and I hope you enjoy the challenge and make a new friend!  xxoo Gerri


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A Rainy Summer Day

As I look at the sky, I notice the gathering of dark water-laden storm clouds and wonder will we actually get some rain.  A bit later, I hear the patter of gentle raindrops as they slowly begin to fall.  The thunder rolls and the lightning strikes….. and, it has begun! A much awaited summer storm!

I know we equate summer days with lounging by the pool, relaxing at the beach, or perhaps a backyard barbeque. But one of my favorite summer events is when the rain begins to fall!

With summer temperatures rising into the nineties, and the blazing summer sun beating down with brutal strength,  the summer rain brings as much excitement to me as the first cool autumn breezes blowing in.

I embrace the summer rain much as I would a winter storm.  A chance to power down, choose a good book, grab a cuppa tea and hide from the world.  Believe it or not, I even have a favorite blanket (more for comfort than for warmth) that I pull out as I escape to a quiet corner with my awaiting summer read.  There I immerse myself in whatever novel has recently piqued my interest as I know the rain is continuing to fall just outside my window.

I don’t always read during a summer rain.  Sometimes I take cover on the back porch and luxuriate at the musical sound of the raindrops pounding the roof.  I have to position my chair just so under the breezeway as not to be splattered by the rain falling on either side of me.  From this vantage point I can watch the thirsty plants gobble up the falling drops.  It’s as if I can hear them chanting to the sky, “Thank you so much for this magnificent rainfall!”

Eventually, the rain will pass and the sun will come out again.  The temperatures will again rise and I will do my best to hide from the midday sun.

But until then, I will enjoy this refreshing break from summer’s heat with this delightful summer rain.

 

What do you like to do in a summer rain?

Have a lovely summer day! – Gerri

 

 


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Early Morning Quiet

Summer has definitely arrived with temperatures soaring into the mid 90’s!  I am a lover of warm weather, but it is truly difficult to enjoy the outdoors when the afternoon sun just beats down on your head and bakes you.

Fortunately for me, one of of my favorite times of day has always been early morning.  (Well, to be completely honest, this probably wasn’t true when I was in my teens and only saw early morning on an as needed basis!)

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However, now that I am older, I feel my best in the morning, refreshed and ready to conquer the new day. Recently, I’ve taken to grabbing my coffee and sitting outside first thing to enjoy my garden and commune a bit with nature.  The sun is not high in the sky and the temperature is pleasant.  I listen to the birds chirping and enjoy the slight breeze rustling the the tall pines.  It is quiet and peaceful.  It gives me a chance to put my mind in order and reflect on my goals for the day.

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I draw my peace and serenity from these early morning quiet times. I gather my thoughts and my energy.  This time alone in the peaceful, quiet early morning inspires me.  It’s in this quiet time that I gather my creativity and think about the possibility of future projects.  Without this time, I feel lost, without focus, unable to attain my creative goals, or to even be sure of what they are.

I have found that if I go too long without this quiet time,  I become depressed, anxious and unsure about my future.  It’s in these quiet moments that I gather my serenity and hold on to my faith.

How about you?

Where do you find your serenity?

What to helps inspire your creativity?

xxoo Gerri


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A Surprising Walk

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So often it’s the little things that take place in our day to day existence that make life meaningful.  It’s in the sound of the wind rustling through the tall pines.  It’s in the beauty of the light and shadows as they play across the water.  It’s coming across a special surprise on an ordinary day.

It is no secret that I am a lover of gardens and nature.  I am so fortunate to live in a lovely area filled with gorgeous, tall oak and pine trees.  A favorite activity of mine ( if you can call it an activity ) is to sit on our back porch and listen to the wind as it whistles through the tall pines.

I also enjoy walking on the trails we have and visiting the pond. It fills me with peace and serenity to escape from my home for a bit each day and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature.

This morning on my walk I had a lovely surprise!  As I was heading along the path, I came across this sweet friend just coming out of the forest!  You can imagine my delight when I saw him there.  I am tracking my steps so I now walk with my phone in hand ready to capture any special moments.  He was probably scared to death of me, but he did stay still long enough for me to get a couple of photos before he scurried back into the woods.  It made me feel so fortunate to have just a moment to observe him just a few feet away!

I hope you all take the opportunity to get outside and enjoy this beautiful day!  Take in the small details of nature that surrounds you and look for the joy and peace it has to offer.

xxoo Gerri


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The Beaches of Isla Mujeres

Imagine sitting on the beach and gazing off into the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.  I can’t think of anything more relaxing and tranquil than doing just that.

While visiting Isla Mujeres, an island across the the Bay of Mujeres from Cancun, I was fortunate to have several days of relaxing on the beach and soaking in the incredible soft hues of the amazingly clear and tranquil waters.

To Create Sunshine beach on Isla Mujeres

Not only is the water an amazing color of blue, the beaches are as pristine and white as you could hope to find.

To Create Sunshine beach on Isla Mujeres

There are a wide variety of beaches to visit around the island, all beautiful. We spent most of our time at Playa Norte, near downtown.  It was easy access for us, just a short five minute drive in our golf cart from our little casita.  It is also just a brief walk from the ferry if you are visiting the island for just the day.

We found during the week, if you go over on the side near Mia Reef Resort, you get less traffic from day visitors.  However, we did not cross the bridge to the Mia Reef Resort.  Although it appears to be a lovely all inclusive resort, it is rather costly for a day visit to their private beach.

To Ceate Sunshine Isla Mujeres

We chose to stay at the lovely Villa San Miguel.  After several years of resort vacations,  we wanted to experience a more authentic feel for staying on the island.   So often when you are in a resort, it is so lovely and relaxing you just stay in the resort.  Not that there is anything wrong with that!  However, our goal for this trip was to get out and experience what it might be like if we were to purchase property on the island.

File May 14, 8 45 58 AM

We enjoyed zooming around the island in our rented golf cart, and we actually visited the local grocery stores and made our own breakfast each day! ( My husband is a fabulous cook!)  We had hoped to try grilling some fresh fish at our little casita, however, we found the grounds did not provide a grill for us to use.

Renting our golf cart allowed us to explore the island extensively.  The lee side of the island, facing a view of Cancun, has numerous beautiful, sandy beaches.  The east side of the island, facing the Caribbean, is more rocky, but beautiful to gaze upon.  Many gorgeous private homes are on this side of the island.

Breathtaking views can be found at the southern tip of the island.  Here lies the home of Punta Sur and Garrafon Reef Park.  To get there, you must take a taxi or rent a golf cart, but it is well worth the brief journey!  Punta Sur hosts beautiful and unique rocky cliff formations.  For a small fee you may enter the sculpture garden which entry to this allows you a closer views of the rocky cliffs and Cancun across the bay.

To Create Sunshine Isla Mujeres

View of Cancun from Isla Mujeres

If you do make the drive to visit Punta Sur, I highly recommend taking the easterly road back to town.  You get to see the many beautiful villas and the views are amazing!

If you are seeking natural beauty in a peaceful, casual, slower paced island setting, Isla Mujeres should be on your list!  Whether you choose one of the fabulous all-inclusive hotels or choose a quaint villa for your stay, I do not think the Island of Women will disappoint!

Wishing you safe travels wherever you go – xxoo- Gerri

*Original photos by To Create Sunshine – For more photos of the beautiful Isla Mujeres and other amazing places you may follow me on Instagram @tocreatesunshine

 

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From Tranquil Beaches to Majestic Mountains

The month of May has been an absolute whirlwind of travel! It began on the lovely Island of Isla Mujeres with it’s pristine beaches and turquoise waters. I then traveled to a family wedding in Columbus, Ohio and was amazed by the rolling hills and green, vibrant countryside filled with quaint farmhouses and picturesque flower gardens. Finally, I completed the month with a visit to the magnificent Rocky Mountains and Estes Park.

To Create Sunshine Estes Park, Colorado

View of Longs Peak from Estes Park, Colorado.

I am left with amazement and awe for the beauty that surrounds us in our world, and I was thinking, wouldn’t our world be a little better if we could all just stop to enjoy and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds us.  I know it is difficult or even impossible to drop everything and travel to the beach or the mountains.  However,  we can all take a few minutes of each day to step outside and enjoy the outdoors.  Spending time enjoying nature relieves the stress and anxiety that builds in us from dealing with our everyday tasks.

When I’m home and busy,  I try to at least take a walk everyday or spend some time in the garden just relaxing and watching the birds and squirrels romp around.  Taking time to enjoy nature can improve your outlook on life and relieve stress and anxiety.  And it doesn’t cost a penny to open your front door and walk outside to breathe in the fresh air!

I feel totally and completely blessed to have been able to see so much and have so many varied experiences in such a brief amount of time.  I will be back soon to share photos and more about my travels.  Until then,  you can find me relaxing in my back garden taking in the beauty of my own simple surroundings.

To Create Sunshine backyard garden

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

xxoo Ciao  –  Gerri


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Colorful and Exotic Isla Mujeras

To Ceate Sunshine Isla Mujeres

Beautiful and tranquil Isla Mujeres is a slice of paradise in the Carribean Sea.  A small island, only five miles in length, surrounded by amazing turquoise blue water and filled with pristine white sandy beaches.  Isla Mujeres is just a brief ferry ride across the Bay of Mujeres (Bay of Women) from Cancun, yet so very different from Cancun.  If Cancun is Miami, than Isla Mujeres is a smaller, more quaint version of Key West.  Cancun is a huge, metropolitan city filled with beautiful beaches, shopping and nightlife.  Isla Mujeres offers a much slower, laid back island pace.   Imagine your days lounging on the beach or snorkeling in the nearby coral reefs.  Evenings are spent wandering Avenue Hidaigo with it’s many Mexican marcados and street cafes.

To Create Sunshine Isla Mujeres

Marcado on Hidalgo Avenue, Isla Mujeres.

The Mexican Marcado on Avenue Hidaigo

Many visitors come from Cancun each day, but Isla Mujeras is truly a destination in itself. If you plan to stay on Isla Mujeras,  there is a wide range of luxury hotels, all inclusives, and villas to choose from.  For our visit this year, we chose a charming casita near downtown complete with a pool area and incredible view of the Carribean Sea.

GETTING THERE

If you are flying into Cancun, and plan to stay on the island, you will want to prearrange for transport from the airport to the ferry that will take you across the bay to Isla Mujeras.  Have your transport take you to the ferry, where for $10 US you can purchase your ticket to cross the Bay of Mujeres to paradise.

The ferry will drop you off right in the heart of downtown.  You will find yourself on the main boulevard filled with red taxi’s, scooters and golf carts zooming by.  From there, you catch a taxi to your hotel, or if you’re staying downtown, you can transport your own bags the short distance to your hotel.  Some hotels are right down the beach within easy walking distance.  Others are a bit further.  I would want to have a pretty good idea of the location of your hotel if you are planning on walking with your bags, however, you see many people doing this all the time.

To Create Sunshine Isla Mujeres

View of the downtown area from the ferry

One of the fun things about Isla Mujeras is zipping around the five mile island in your rented golf cart. We had prearranged to rent our golf cart for the length of our stay.  One of our party walked to pick up the golf cart while the rest of us waited at the ferry with our bags. Once we had our cart, it was less than a five minute ride to our little casita.

To Create Sunshine Isla Mujeres

Villa San Miguel

Thank you for stopping by for a quick view of Isla Mujeres.  I will be returning with more to share about this beautiful island across from Cancun and more photos of the beautiful beaches.    xxoo Gerri

*Original photos by To Create Sunshine  –  For more photos of the beautiful Isla Mujeres you may follow me on Instagram @tocreatesunshine