To Create Sunshine

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


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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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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.

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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!

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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!

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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

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


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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.

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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.

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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.

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 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.

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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.


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New Beginnings with Pantone ‘s “Greenery”

It is two weeks into the new year and I am excited about new beginnings and the challenges this year will bring!  Pantone’s 2017 color of the year, “Greenery” expresses this feeling perfectly for me.

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“Greenery symbolizes the reconstruction we see with nature, one another and a larger purpose.”  – Leatrice Eiseman

The year 2016 was a challenging and turbulent year for many of us.  In America, we experienced political upheaval and witnessed horrific violence in our cities and around the world. Personally, I suffered a great loss in my life this year and am eager to move on and restore.  I don’t believe that I am alone in yearning for peace and serenity in this new year. If you desire love and good will towards men, the place to begin is your own home.

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After doing a little research on Pantone’s color “Greenery”, I discovered that green, the color of nature, symbolizes growth, harmony and freshness.  Green offers a great healing power and also produces a calming effect.  Green is associated with tranquility and calmness.  Green not only restores depleted energy, but also cultivates a sense of well-being.  Green promotes a love of nature, as well as a love of family, friends, pets, and the home.  Hmmm, I think I could use these things in my life.  In my opinion Pantone couldn’t have chosen a more perfect color for the new year!

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Now I admit, I am not one to want to include a green velvet sofa in my home.  I probably won’t be painting any rooms green either.  However, adding a little “Greenery” in the form of candles, pillows, ceramics, or plants just might what’s needed to freshen a space and give it new life.

“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”  – Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Wishing you all much joy, peace, and serenity in 2017!   xxoo Gerri


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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.

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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.

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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


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Remember Gratitude this Christmas

Well, we are closing in on the month of November and fast approaching the Christmas season.  I hope that you have found something inspiring in my series on Gratitude that has assisted you in relieving stress and combating anxiety in your own life.

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Speaking of stress,  remember to include gratitude as you enter the busiest season of the year.  It’s easy to allow yourself to get caught up in the shopping and gift giving, trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.  I can feel the stress creeping up on me even as I write this!

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So, with that in mind, I am offering you a few tips to help reduce your stress and enjoy the Christmas season more than ever!

  1.  Let Go of Perfection.                                                                                                                            Make this holiday season about what is right for you and your family.  Stress can be created by the desire to create the “Perfect Christmas.”  However,  Christmas is not about perfection.  In fact, far from it.  There is no need to spend hours baking cookies for a cookie exchange if you detest baking!  Make Christmas about what  is important to you and your loved ones.  That may mean having an simple evening of popping popcorn, getting out the pillows and blankets, lighting a fire and watching old holiday movies with someone special to you.  ( Do you feel your stress level starting to come down already!)  However, if you love to bake, by all means go for it!  The point is to choose the right activity for you.
  2. Set Priorities.                                                                                                                                 Choose the special Christmas activities that are most important to you.  Traditions are great, but not every activity has to become a tradition.  Just because you made a gingerbread house with the kids last year, doesn’t mean it has to be done every year. It might be more fun and exciting to experience a new activity rather than repeating the same one over and over.  Maybe this year take the kids ice skating or have a caroling party. ( Do people still do that! ) The important thing is to what you will enjoy the most.
  3. Remember to Include Nature.                                                                                                   Step outside and breathe the fresh air.  Take a walk.  Take the dog for a walk.   Exercise.  Even a short amount of time spent in nature can help reduce stress and fight anxiety.  If it’s cold where you live, even a brief walk can be invigorating and boost your mood.
  4. Take a Break!                                                                                                                                     What do you like to do that relaxes you the most?  Listening to music.  Soaking in a hot tub. Getting a massage or a mani/pedi.  Having dinner with close friends or staying home and ordering take out.  Don’t forget to schedule time for whatever it is that relaxes you and that you enjoy most.
  5. Remember Gratitude!                                                                                                                       Yes, this is a busy and hectic time of year.  There is so much to be done!  But if you will pause for just a moment to be grateful for your blessings.  Maybe the greatest gift you could give this season is to remember to save thank you, to squeeze someones hand or to give them a hug.

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“It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”  This holiday season share your gratitude with those you love, and maybe even the stranger who is serving you coffee.  Gratitude – pass it on!  xx00 Gerri


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Gratitude for My Home

If nature is my happy place, then home is my sanctuary!

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On Sunday, temperatures dropped to a chilly 37 degrees.  Since we hadn’t turned the heat on in the house, it was a bit cool inside when we first awoke.  Although it turned out to a be a simply gorgeous day with the sun shining bright, we did light the fire to help take the chill  out of the house.  Our first fire of the season.

There is something about having a fire going that makes you just want to relax and stay close.  We kept the fire going all day, not because it was terribly cold outside, but because it was so nice to have the cozy ambiance of the fire going again. We didn’t leave the house at all, except to walk the dogs of course.  That’s an event that can’t be missed or our schnauzer will definitely let us know about it!

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To me, these are the best kind of days.  The weather was cool, but gorgeous. We puttered around the house, I cooked! and my son stopped by for dinner.  It was a great day to shut out the rest of the world and simply enjoy being at home together.

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These kind of days remind me of why my home is so special to me.  I need that break from the real world to relax and spend time with the people who are most important to me. My home is not a place of grandeur with everything in it’s place, although I do try to keep it tidy.  It ‘s a cozy place to gather with family and friends, to share a meal and conversation, and on a chilly day we can gather around the fire.

This week we will be hosting Thanksgiving in our home.  We will be breaking bread with a collection of family and friends, some that we have known forever,  some that we have yet to meet.  It will not be a quiet day, but a day filled with joy and laughter, sharing and relishing the time we have to spend together.

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In a world filled with stress and negativity, I’m grateful to have the sanctuary of my home to retreat to.  It gives me a place to slow down and savor a quiet day with just my husband. On other days we open our home to share with others and I’m grateful for the opportunity to do this.

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It’s easy to allow the stress and negativity to take over your life.  However if you stop and pause and allow yourself to embrace gratitude for your blessings, it does help to relieve the stress and anxiety that we all face in our everyday lives.

I’m wishing you all a blessed Thanksgiving and hope that you will face the day with gratitude in you hearts!  xxoo Gerri