The time has come to say goodbye to the long, lazy days of summer as we welcome in the coming of fall. With this change there is definitely an air of excitement and anticipation. You… More
I’m sure many of you have seen the news of Hurricane Harvey hitting the Texas coast and the destruction that followed. As I write this we are into Day 2 of this catastrophe. I live in Cypress, a suburban neighborhood northwest of Houston, and we are very fortunate here. Although there has been what feels like an endless amount of rainfall and some flooding in the neighborhood, our street is draining and we are safe.
However, other Houston residents have not been so fortunate. In a metropolitan area of six million plus residents, the city is at a stand still. Businesses are closed. The buses aren’t running. Schools are cancelled until after Labor Day. Our church even cancelled services this morning because city officials have asked for everyone to just stay home! And the worst is that many people are stranded in their homes and neighborhoods and can’t get out! They are frightened which is understandable. The streets are flooded and impassable. The rainfall is hard and constant. It is as if bucket fulls of water are being continuously poured on this city. Yes, we get little breaks in the rain, but it is not a long enough time for the streets to drain before they start filling up again.
The miracle in all this is how the city residents are coming together. People helping people. Not just first responders and rescue teams. People that own boats are out there offering to assist those in need. There are no haters. Just good people coming together to help in anyway they can.
Some have criticized the news media for their hype. However, I applaud the news media and our city officials. How do you plan to keep an area of six million plus people safe from wide spread unprecedented flooding? They asked people to stay home. They warned people repeatedly of the dangers of driving into flood waters. You get the word out about the possible dangers and worst case scenarios. Many people are new to our city and have no idea what a hurricane and Houston streets can be like.
There has been loss of life and I fear for what will be discovered as the days go on….and yet the rain continues.
How you can help Hurricane Harvey Victims
American Red Cross – call 1-800-red cross or text HARVEY to 90999 to make a donation
Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services – call 1-800-SAL-ARMY to help
Catholic Charities USA – they have set up a website devoted to Harvey relief
Austin Pets Alive!– they have created a page on their website specific to Hurricane Harvey needs
**sources via abcnews.go.com
Gratitude – the quality of being thankful, showing appreciation and returning kindness.
Today, I was reminded of gratitude. I have to admit, I have been slouching around, complaining about the August heat and allowing myself to wallow in my discontent. Not a good place to be.
But today, I was reminded that I can choose joy!
It was just a simple article on my morning news feed. The article focused on a woman who had tragically and unexpectedly lost her husband. But the heart of the article was remembering gratitude in an overwhelming situation. It made me feel so silly and selfish for allowing myself to wallow, when truly I am so fortunate.
Then later this morning, I found out that a very dear friend of mine was in a terrible car accident. Her car was T-boned and the jaws of life were brought out to remove her from her vehicle. I have to say she is fine, just very shaken up and a bit sore. But what a frightening event to go through. Thank goodness for seat belts and airbags!
Some how, knowing how frightening this experience was for her put everything into perspective. I remembered the importance of the simple everyday things that usually bring me so much joy, my loving family, the joys of nature, and a faith that sustains me through all the adversities of life.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. However, if you remember gratitude each day, it helps to keep you from falling into that rut. Gratitude can also pull you up when you are in such a rut.
Finding ways to cultivate gratitude in our lives can increase our happiness and joy. Simply stopping to think about things we are grateful for increases an attitude of gratitude. Taking the time to acknowledge simple pleasures and express thankfulness for your blessings can increase your joy and zest for life.
To cultivate an attitude of gratitude, here are some things I try to remember to help me through my day.
- Morning reflection – this quiet time really helps to get my day off to the right start
- Showing kindness – offering assistance, a kind word or smile, a helping hand to someone in need can mean so much to others.
- Say thank you to show your appreciation – those simple words can mean so much, but so often we forget to say them.
- Share what you have with others – tip that waitress that was so kind an extra dollar – drop off some groceries at a local shelter – When we share what we have, it not only helps others, it makes us feel better about life in general.
- Keep a gratitude journal – make a list of things you are thankful for – or better yet, write 3 things everyday that you are thankful for – start off small – but as you continue, you will be amazed at how your gratitude will grow.
- Be a good listener – sometimes someone just needs their thoughts to be heard – You have know idea what a difference you might make to someone by simply really listening to their story.
So there you have it. If you have actually read the words in this article, that shows that you truly care and want to make a difference. Go out into the world and make that difference. In our world where there is so much hate, be a product of love. I believe in you!
Gratitude unlocks the fullness in life.
Blessings to you and yours always – xxoo Gerri
August is upon us, often known as the dog days of summer. In the southern United Stares, August can be uncomfortably warm with relentless heat and humidity. Southerners are growing ever so tired of the heat and yearning for the slightly cooler temperatures of fall.
The best place to spend these warm summer days is at the beach or the lake…. or at least in a cool refreshing swimming pool. Another option is to visit one of the many rivers that wind through the Texas Hill Country. The water can be quite chilly and many rivers offer the cool relief of tubing or rafting.
While we didn’t get away to the beach or lake last weekend, we did stumble across this pretty spot on the Medina River near Bandera. It was peaceful and quiet, the perfect spot to take a moment to relax and take in the quiet beauty of the river banks. Huge Cypress trees lined the banks offering plenty of shade from the hot Texas sun. Actually, we were quite lucky that the recent rains had brought cooler temperatures, a huge improvement to the mid nineties of most August days.
I couldn’t get over the amount of birds that were wondering the banks and frolicking in the water. I did a little research and to the best of my knowledge they were Graylag and Swan Geese with a few Muscovy Ducks mixed in. (Thank you RH for your assistance on this!) I went crazy trying to capture as many photos as I could of these amazing creatures.
We came to the river after having a late breakfast in Bandera, also known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World.” Why it’s called that I’m not really sure, but I did find some hard to resist western boots in one of the local shops. Another interesting tidbit about Bandera is that Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie visited Bandera while taping their reality show The Simple Life. If you happen to be a country music fan, Bandera was once called home to country musician Robert Earl Keen.
We stopped for breadfast at the OST Restaurant in downtown Bandera. O.S.T. stands for Old Spanish Trail, a route that was designated to improve highway access back in 1915. The OST Restaurant opened in 1921 and today is one of the last original restaurants along the route. It features a John Wayne room which features, of course, a plethora of John Wayne memorabilia.
No trip to Bandera is complete without visiting the General Store. If you want to experience a bit of Texas history, this is the place to be. The store is filled with local treasures and there is even an authentic 1950’s ice cream fountain. we did not sample the ice cream as we had just finished breakfast, but I’m sure it would be a delight!
Overall, I really enjoyed out quick trip to Bandera, Texas and the Medina River. Bandera is filled with a rich Texas history and left me with a desire to return and explore a little more. As they say in Bandera…..
When Life Gets Tough,
Maybe next trip, I’ll wear my boots! – xxoo Gerri
Finding joy in the simple things is my quest. I seek simplicity, peace and serenity. I strive to make my days and my surroundings as quiet and peaceful as I possibly can. I have made a purposeful decision to avoid stress and chaos in my life and I structure my days for calm and quiet.
I realize this may not be completely possible. I know that life can be stressful and there are certain times when stress and chaos are hard to avoid. However, I am making a purposeful choice to turn away from stress and chaos and fill my days with calm and quiet.
This has been a long term goal of mine, however, as with many goals, often we fall short of what we have planned. Life gets busy, overwhelming, with stressful jobs, raising families, and seemingly endless to do lists of things we believe must be accomplished each day. It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday stresses of life. Sometimes so caught up that we become weary, physically exhausted and emotionally drained.
Finding everyday joy involves finding simple pleasures in ordinary moments. Finding joy each day involves taking a moment to enjoy small, simple pleasures.
I know that I cannot completely avoid stress and busyness in my life. I know would be unrealistic. But there are things that I can do to bring a stressful day back to calm.
Here are some tips that I follow when I feel my peace and calm is turning into hectic and crazy.
Start each day with quiet. I know this can be difficult, but I try to carve a few minutes of quiet into the beginning of my day for meditation, reflection, prayer. It truly gets my day started on the right foot.
Flowers, candles, music. I love for my home to be filled with fresh flowers, the smell of scented candles, and spa music or jazz playing softly in the background. These things can instantly take the hectic out of my day and bring me back to calm and joy.
Spending time in nature. A part of everyday for me includes a walk outdoors and some time in the garden soaking up some Vitamin D and enjoying the nature that’s around me. The simple quiet of a gentle breeze and chirping birds can relieve stress from my day.
Being Creative. Writing, drawing, painting, photography, arranging flowers…..anything that allows me to simply escape and forge my own way brings me relaxation, calm and rejuvenates my spirit.
Keeping things simple. I try not to let to much clutter into my life. This includes physical and mental clutter. Stuff that takes up space in my home and stuff that takes up space in my brain. If I don’t need it it in my life, I let it go.
Find the simple moments in your day and you will find joy. xxoo Gerri
In our family we do celebrations. We celebrate all occasions, the big and the small.
We celebrate weddings and graduations. We welcome a new life with great joy and yes, celebration. We all come together, crowding into the hospital room, to share the new parents joy and to welcome the precious new life our family has been blessed with.
We celebrate birthdays, no matter how young or how old.
We gather in our home. Sometimes it’s just family. Sometimes we include close friends. We share a meal together, setting the table with great care, including flowers, candles, whatever it takes to make the event feel special. The menu is planned with great care to include the personal favorites of whoever is attending. Of course, there is a special desert and presents.
The goal of the celebration is for those involved to know how much they are loved and treasured as a part of our family. Life wouldn’t be the same if we couldn’t come together and honor them on their special day.
Not only do we celebrate birthdays. We celebrate preschool programs, dance recitals, sporting events.
We plan ways to make our time together fun, special, memorable. On hot days we have watermelon, blow bubbles, fill up a kids pool to splash in.
On cold days we light a fire, make hot chocolate, bring out the pillows and blankets so we can all snuggle together.
Our celebrations do not have to be elaborate and expensive. They can be small, simple, filled with things that are easily attainable. We use our ingenuity as a resource to create an atmosphere of festivity, saving our pennies when needed.
Sometimes we celebrate for no reason at all, just to enjoy our time together.
The importance of our celebrations is to spend time together in a way that is filled with love and laughter, sharing and caring.
It’s important that we spend as much time celebrating life as possible. Celebrations enrich our lives, give us purpose, and strengthen relationships. Celebrations take an ordinary day and fill it with joy and love.
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?
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….
- Rainy Day Reflections
- Design and Style Report
- Sixteen Miles Out
- Guadalupe Cedars
- Oregon Girl Around The World
- Typewriter Girl
- Reviving Charm
- KHK Designs Interiors
- AngelineM’s Blog
- 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!
- What is your favorite part of blogging?
- What country, city, or continent would you most like to visit and why?
- What was the most inspirational time in you life so far?
- What are you most passionate about?
- What is your favorite book and why?
- What is your favorite time of year?
- What are other interest you have besides blogging?
- Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?
- Where did you go for your most memorable vacation?
- Do you prefer a sunny or rainy day?
- 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
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