To Create Sunshine

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


Leave a comment

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


5 Comments

Rustic Charm in the Texas Hill Country

I know that there are many places of awe inspiring beauty in the world. Colorado has the most majestic mountains I’ve ever seen.  I am enthralled by the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.  I have been astounded by the breathtaking beauty of Hawaii.  Thailand fascinated me with it’s exotic culture and charming people. I long to visit and see more of these amazing places.  However unique and fascinating those places are, they are far from my home.

So, when I need a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, I escape to the Texas Hill Country. My husband and I load up the Tahoe, along with our schnauzer, Bear, and head west until the flat lands gradually turn into rugged, rolling hills covered with live oak and cedar trees.  Nestled between San Antonio and Austin and encompassing 25 counties, the Texas Hill Country boasts of a rustic charm filled with a a rich Texas history, charming architecture, and a natural beauty that soothes my soul and brings me peace and serenity.

IMG_20170220_100426.jpg

I have to admit, the weather was less than desirable the weekend of our last visit. After our arrival the fog and rain set in, and temperatures dropped into the 30’s.  No worries though.  We loved being there no matter what the weather.

The Texas Hill Country is known for it’s numerous small town venues, restaurants and antique shops all filled with quaint, rustic charm.  One of our favorite hidden gems is the Welfare Cafe. Located off IH-10, between Boerne and Comfort, the Welfare Cafe is an out of the way kind of place that is not too be missed.

The Welfare Cafe began as a General Store way back in early Texas history opening around 1848.  The local post office was later established in 1880 inside the General Store.  Welfare became a railroad shipping point and the small town thrived. By 1892, the town of Welfare consisted of a whopping 275 residents, along with a schoolhouse, saloon, hotel and cotton gin.

img_20170220_104130

In 1916, the original general store and post office burned down, but was rebuilt that same year.  As time passed, the small towns population dwindled and bad times haunted the small community.  The boll weevils destroyed the cotton crops, and of course there was the  great depression.  The population dropped to a mere 25 residents.  Through it all, the post office and general store continued to be an important meeting place for the community.  A place to collect your mail and exchange stories, borrow books and talk about the weather. Over time as the population of the small town dwindled,  the local school closed and the few students  that still lived in Welfare would take the bus to the school in Comfort.  At the end of the day the bus would drop them off at, where else, but the general store.  In 1966, the trained stopped running past Welfare and it wasn’t long after that the post office closed, followed by the general store in 1978.

img_20170220_214816

Today, the fascinating history of the small community of Welfare is being revitalized by Gabriele McCormick and her husband David.  In the early nineties, Gabriele and David were looking for a change from corporate life in the city and fell in love with the charm of the hill country,  as so many of us do.  They purchased the general store, post office, and various barns on about 150 acres.  Slowly, they began to restore the old buildings and began the transformation to what we now enjoy as the Welfare Cafe.  The restaurant has thrived, and over the years, Gabby and David have continued to make improvements on the land.

In 2005, the Goat Barn was built using reclaimed wood from the original barn.  There is now an intimate wine bar in the loft. The Welfare Cafe frequently offers special events and is the perfect venue for a rustic, but charming hill country wedding.

IMG_20170221_162019.jpg

As mentioned previously, the weather was dreary the day we visited and the charming, rustic gardens were showing the effects of the recent freeze.  I have to admit, I enjoy wandering the grounds almost as much as I enjoy the fabulous cuisine which has a touch of German influence.  The day we were there, we enjoyed a delicious Sunday brunch complete with German sausage and strudel, croissants, an assortment of fresh fruits and cheeses, quiche, pancakes and so much more.  Of course, what Sunday brunch is not complete without Mimosas!

IMG_20170225_094009.jpg

IMG_20170212_105341.jpg

The Welfare Cafe is a delightfully charming venue filled with nostalgia and relics from the past.  This is a delightful spot for a lovely lunch or dinner.  Be sure to check out their website and calendar for special events.  They offer special holiday celebrations and often have live entertainment.

The charms of the Texas Hill Country are endless.  If I had my way, I would spend my days wandering the many small towns and visiting all the lovely shops, restaurants, historical sites, and possibly a winery or two.

I hope that someday you have a chance to visit the Texas Hill Country and explore the many fascinating venues that the area has to offer.

“Texas is a State of Mind.”  –  John Steinbeck

xxoo – Gerri

* I would love to hear a comment from you have visited or plan to visit the Texas Hill Country or the Welfare Cafe and Goat Barn.

a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/14269915/?claim=kjbfj8dhdym”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>


1 Comment

My Hygge Obsession

Lately, I have been obsessed with the Danish practice of hygge, pronounced hue-gah.  I’m not quite sure for the reason for my obsession.  Perhaps because it seems to be the embodiment of all that I am longing for in my life.  It gives validity to  the peace and serenity that I so long for and have been trying to create in my own little world.  It has a name and that name is hygge.

cropped-cropped-image1.jpeg

I have long been a fan of coziness.  Sitting by the fire, lighting candles, and buying fresh flowers to have in my home are not new concepts to me.  Craving a simpler, less hectic life and taking pleasure in simple, everyday things is what I strive for.  Spending quality time with friends and family, but also treasuring alone time, cuddling up with a good book or on occasion, cooking a fabulous meal for my husband, are things that I am passionate about.

Perhaps it’s because I feel such a strong connection to this latest wellness trend that I feel so obsessed.  It’s like “Hey, new friend.  You really get me!  You understand what I am all about!”  You know that feeling when you meet a new person and you just immediately connect. Yeah, that’s how I feel about hygge.  And I have to say it’s a really good feeling!

img_0080

Today, we are experiencing 100% chance of rain.  It is pouring right now.  Temperatures will drop into the 40’s again tonight.  I know that’s not especially cold compared to the weather in Denmark, but it’s cold enough for me!

Tonight, for Valentine’s we will probably have a fire and light some candles. ( I picked up fresh flowers yesterday.)  We will definitely be staying in.  We have no desire to fight the crowds at restaurants on Valentine’s Day!  We will have a wonderful home cooked meal and maybe a glass of wine.  I’m sure it will be a very hygge evening!

img_0079

I think our world needs a little more hygge right now.  Valentine’s Day is a day of love, a day to show kindness, to reach out to others and show them you care.  Today, consider calling a friend who might be alone, maybe an older relative who has lost their spouse, or anyone you can think of who might need a little lift.  Share your love and fill our world with a little hygge.  Who knows, if everyone makes an effort, maybe we can raise the hygge quotient around the world.

Peace and Love to all on this Valentine’s Day!

xx00  Sending Extra Hugs Today  – Gerri

img_0081

Photographs of these precious children are property of To Create Sunshine.  Thank you for not using them for other purposes.


Leave a comment

A hygge state of mind

It’s a dreary winter day complete with a dense fog that has set in and plans to stay awhile.  So how about seizing the moment with a roaring fire and lighting some delightfully scented candles to enjoy the day.

20170212_111607 (1).jpg

Apparently this is a concept that the Danish have mastered. They refer to it as hygge, pronounced hue-gah, which translates to cozy,  although it really means so much more.

Even though there have been several books written on the subject,  I only learned about the Danish word hygge recently.  Apparently, Oxford Dictionaries selected “hygge” as one of their Words of the Year for 2016.  I suppose that is why “hygge” is getting so much attention lately.

You see the Danish have incredibly long, cold winters with very few hours of sunlight. However, they embrace their winters by taking pleasure in ordinary everyday things, like a crackling fire, scented candles and cozy blankets with warm socks.  If I had to endure long, cold winters I’m sure I would be craving these things as well!

 

CAM00703

From what I’ve come to understand, hygge is really a state of mind;  an attitude full of contentment with life. It’s about savoring the moment, relishing simple everyday life experiences, and enjoying time spent with friends and family.  It’s all about embracing the moment and living in the present.

I don’t think you have to be Danish to have hygge in your life.  Life can be hectic and stressful.  It’s important to find ways to step away from the stress and enjoy simple pleasures in your life.  Sometimes we need to slow down and enjoy the moment.  This may mean a quiet evening by the fire or it could be spending time reading a good book, listening to music, or pursuing any activity that brings you joy.  It might mean sharing a meal with close family, or using some alone time to soak in a hot bath, or go for a long walk.

Whatever it is that brings peace into your life, I hope you will take some time to embrace the simple pleasures of everyday moments.

Wishing you a very “hyggelig” (enjoyable) day!   xxoo Gerri

 

 


Leave a comment

Nature’s Neutral “Greenery”

Between freezing temperatures, buckets full of rain, and howling winds, l think we all could use a little “greenery.”  Pantone’s color of the year has me panting for spring to arrive.  However, while I wait I am going to brighten up my home with pops of green.

img_0039

Adding a little green decor will brighten and enliven any space.  It’s simple to add subtle touches of color with accessories such as lamps, pillows, small rugs, or vases.  It doesn’t take much color to bring a little life to a room.  You can add these items in small amounts to try out the color and see if it works for you.

          img_0049img_0045img_0048

If your timid about adding green into your home, try adding some natural greenery with flowers and house plants.  A little touch of greenery creates an inviting atmosphere to any space.  In addition,  adding greens from nature brings the outdoors in creating the feeling of warm, spring days even as the winds are howling outside.

img_0043

 Green adds personality and peacefulness, while keeping the atmosphere natural, soothing, playful and fresh.  Green has a way of brightening a room that has too much brown making it a delightful complement to a dark leather sofa.

img_0050

Green is often known as “Nature’s Neutral” bringing the serenity of nature into our homes and creating a sense of balance and harmony.  Green brings to mind relaxing days spent in lush tropical gardens.  Can you think of a better way to chase the winter blues than by adding a little inspiring green?

So Stay Calm and Go Green!

xxoo  Gerri

Disclaimer:  Images on this post were found via Pinterest.


3 Comments

Choose Joy This Christmas!

Busy, busy, busy!  That is my life this time of year and I’m sure your life is super busy too! It is so easy to get stressed out this time of year when there are so many things to do. Shopping, decorating, wrapping presents ….. the list seems endless at times.  This is supposed to be the most joyous time of year.  Unfortunately, many of us get bogged down by our “to do” list and forget about the joy.

image

If you are feeling this way, take a moment or two to breathe.  Go and grab a hot mug of tea or your favorite drink, and take a load off for a bit.  I promise, the most important things will all get done.  As for all the other things….let them go.

Here are a few things I do to keep the stress down and fill my life with joy!

Don’t Forget Gratitude       Instead of fretting over that endless to do list, be thankful for the things you do  have.  Remember those less fortunate who would love to be shopping, wrapping  gifts,  and decorating a home.  Above all, be thankful that you have a home.

Make a list, check it twice!     List ten things you need to accomplish.  The first item should be the most important thing on your long to do list.  That specific need that must be accomplished today. The least important item will be last.  As your making you list, think about what really needs to be done, and what could be put off for a day or two.  Then get busy and tackle those first items on the list.  If you can’t finish everything, it’s okay.  Get a good nights sleep and start again tomorrow.  This way your most important priorities will get taken care of.  If something doesn’t get finished, well … maybe it wasn’t that important after all.

Take care of yourself.      Speaking of a good nights sleep,  don’t forget to get plenty of rest and to make healthy dining choices!  You need to get enough rest and plenty of healthy nutritious food to feel your best.  Try packing carrots and hummus for a quick nutritious snack. If you are dining on the run, try a salad with your meal rather that french fries.  Your body will be ever so grateful!

Drink plenty of water.       If you enjoy an occasional adult beverage, this is not the time to overdo!  You cannot afford a headache in the morning!  Pace yourself and remember to drink water in between each drink.   Coffee can also be an evil culprit.  I love my morning coffee, but I can no longer can drink caffeine after noon or I will have trouble sleeping at night. Try water with a little lemon.  It will be so refreshing!

Choose Joy!   Your friends and family would prefer to have the gift of your presence rather than one more present!  Be there for them with your mind and your spirit.  Reach out to others and share your heart.  You will find that when you truly put others first, your joy will return.

IMG_20151213_094541.jpg

Joy is not in things,

it is … in us.♥

I hope you all will slow down a bit and find some joy

this holiday season!  xxoo  Gerri


Leave a comment

Gratitude for the Beauty of Nature

After an amazing week in Colorado enjoying the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains, I would be remiss in not expressing my gratitude for the beauty of the world that we are surrounded by.

image

Nature is truly one of our greatest gifts and patiently waits upon us to step outside and experience all that she has to offer us.  Spending time in nature often reduces anxiety and stress.  Sharing gratitude for nature cam replace those feelings of anxiety with calm, peace, and serenity.  Perhaps some of us should try this technique for relieving stress!

image

The amazing thing is that you don’t have to venture to the glorious peaks of the Rocky Mountains to enjoy the beauty of nature.  Natures beauty can be enjoyed by simply opening the door and stepping outside.  Take a deep breath.  Stop for a moment and listen to the sounds of nature.  What do you hear? Hopefully the wind rustling the leaves on the trees.  Maybe birds chirping.  Enjoying nature can provide some very positive effects for us.  Taking a moment to express gratitude for nature benefits our bodies and our minds.

image

Whenever the world gets me down. I retreat to a green space to nurture myself back to the peaceful place where I long for my mind to stay.  Being outside not only offers me peace and serenity from a hectic world, it restores my zest for life.  After a time outside,  I’m renewed and ready to move on and face whatever challenges lie ahead.

IMG_20150812_130805

I can’t always get out of the city, but I am fortunate to live in an area where I take a walk, go to a park, or simply retreat to my own backyard where I can spend time relaxing and enjoy watching the tall pines swaying in the breeze.

CAM00653

If the world is getting you down today, try to take some time and step outside for a moment to express your gratitude for the wonders of nature!

I promise you will feel so much better! xxoo Gerri

                   “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand                                 everything better.” – Albert Einstein