Travel Challenge – Day 8

A big thank you to my friend Jyothi at Travel Explore Enjoy for nominating me for the 10 Day Travel Challenge!

The rules of the challenge are very simple. Post a favorite photo from your travels without explanation for each of 10 days, and nominate & notify 10 other bloggers to participate.  Be sure to link back to the person who nominated you!

Today, I nominate Ingrid at Live, Laugh, RV.

Travel Challenge – Day 7

A big thank you to my friend Jyothi at Travel Explore Enjoy for nominating me for the 10 Day Travel Challenge!

The rules of the challenge are very simple. Post a favorite photo from your travels without explanation for each of 10 days, and nominate & notify 10 other bloggers to participate.  Be sure to link back to the person who nominated you!

Today, I nominate Eeva at Wanders the World.

Travel Challenge – Day 6

A big thank you to my friend Jyothi at Travel Explore Enjoy for nominating me for the 10 Day Travel Challenge!

The rules of the challenge are very simple. Post a favorite photo from your travels without explanation for each of 10 days, and nominate & notify 10 other bloggers to participate.  Be sure to link back to the person who nominated you!

Today, I nominate Dan at Danventure Travels.

Travel Challenge – Day 5

A big thank you to my friend Jyothi at Travel Explore Enjoy for nominating me for the 10 Day Travel Challenge!

The rules of the challenge are very simple. Post a favorite photo from your travels without explanation for each of 10 days, and nominate & notify 10 other bloggers to participate.  Be sure to link back to the person who nominated you!

Today, I nominate Jane at Jane Lurie Photography.

Travel Challenge – Day 4

A big thank you to my friend Jyothi at Travel Explore Enjoy for nominating me for the 10 Day Travel Challenge!

The rules of the challenge are very simple. Post a favorite photo from your travels without explanation for each of 10 days, and nominate & notify 10 other bloggers to participate.  Be sure to link back to the person who nominated you!

Today, I nominate Tina at Travels and Trifles.

Travel Challenge – Day 3

A big thank you to my friend Jyothi at Travel Explore Enjoy for nominating me for the 10 Day Travel Challenge!

The rules of the challenge are very simple. Post a favorite photo from your travels without explanation for each of 10 days, and nominate & notify 10 other bloggers to participate.  Be sure to link back to the person who nominated you!

Today, I nominate Pam at I Choose This.

Travel Challenge – Day 2

A big thank you to my friend Jyothi at Travel Explore Enjoy for nominating me for the 10 Day Travel Challenge!

The rules of the challenge are very simple. Post a favorite photo from your travels without explanation for each of 10 days, and nominate & notify 10 other bloggers to participate.  Be sure to link back to the person who nominated you!

Today, I nominate D.S. Chauhan at Travel and Share.

Travel Challenge – Day 1

A big thank you to my friend Jyothi at Travel Explore Enjoy for nominating me for the 10 Day Travel Challenge!

The rules of the challenge are very simple. Post a favorite photo from your travels without explanation for each of 10 days, and nominate & notify 10 other bloggers to participate.  Be sure to link back to the person who nominated you!

Today, I nominate Kelly at Compass and Camera.

Does “In All Things Give Thanks” Apply to These Times?

Trail following the Snake River, Wyoming

This was my fifth ever blog post, written in April of this year. For Christmas, I have dusted it off and polished it up for reposting. Have a wonderful holiday.

It’s amazing how drastically things can change in a short period of time. When this year began, we lived a “normal” existence, but, as you know, since the inception of covid, life has been anything but normal. With the many reports we hear of death, disease, job loss, and an expectation of this trajectory to continue, the idea of gratitude might not be hitting a lot of folks’ radar. In the frighteningly grim existence that we now find ourselves, should we be giving thanks, as the Bible verse suggests?

Before the world changed, I went for a hike on a beautiful trail in northern Arizona. The sun was warm, the trees majestic, and the giant boulders seemed contemplative. The longer I hiked, the more profound my thoughts became, until finally, I arrived at a deep sense of gratitude. I found myself expressing love and appreciation for every tree and boulder I touched. This went on for a while until my heart seemed to overflow, and an intense feeling of tenderness engulfed me. Have you ever been overwhelmed with joy by a simple experience?

“. . . One who forgets the language of gratitude can never be on speaking terms with happiness.” ~John Robbins

According to a very long list of studies done on gratitude compiled by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine, the expression of gratitude has many benefits. These studies show that an individual expressing gratitude can benefit from lower blood pressure, better cholesterol levels, feeling more socially connected, experiencing less anger & anxiety, and better sleep. Bonus: some studies show that more gratitude also results in less materialism. Have you experienced benefits from expressing gratitude?

Hiking high in the mountains of northern Arizona

In the documentary What the Bleep Do We Know?, you may recall the water experiments done by Dr. Emoto and his team. Water from a single source was encapsulated in different vessels & “given” messages. The water that received messages of hate & other negativity resulted in crystals that were ugly, but those exposed to messages of love and gratitude were absolutely beautiful. That result causes me to consider how water in our cells must respond to expressions of appreciation from both ourselves and others.

Hike around Park Lake near Helena, Montana

Everything in life is vibration.” ~Albert Einstein

You may have heard the idea that whatever you focus on increases. According to cell biologist Bruce Lipton, PhD, author of Biology of Belief, “Quantum physics acknowledges that the observer is a participant in the creation of (her/his) world.” Worrying or focusing on negativity reduces our personal vibration, which then infuses our creations with low vibes, resulting in unhappiness and unhealthy experiences. Researchers at the HeartMath Institute have proven that the regular practice of expressing sincere gratitude raises our personal vibration. Which then is followed by the desired outcome of higher vibrational creations and experiences.

Northern Colorado trail

Although it can be tough to switch into gratitude mode right now, maybe the verse “In all things give thanks” was given not as a religious edict, but as a practical way to bring light and hope into dark and difficult times. Express gratitude for the personal benefits. For your family. For your community. For the good vibes you can bring into our suffering reality. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”

One of many “Urban Trails” in Flagstaff, Arizona

Blessings for Gratitude,

Lisa

Gifts of Nature

Seaside Christmas decorations

Happy holidays!  I hope the season is one in which you find great delight, even with our current covid limitations.  It can be an exhilarating time of year, with colorful decorations, extra-special meals and treats, and fun gatherings with loved ones.  And gifts, of course!  

Gift-giving has been a popular custom for hundreds of years.  Initially, small gifts to help the poor were given at this time of year across many religious traditions.  Unfortunately, this compassionate practice that epitomized holiday spirit has been all but lost; somehow, receiving gifts has become more important than giving.  It is my prayer that this perception is changing as a result of the plight of those who have lost their jobs or homes due to covid.  (Approximately 4 million Americans have been out of work for at least 6 months.)  The winter holidays are a perfect opportunity to share the love in our hearts with everyone we know.  By tapping into Nature’s abundance, we can give extraordinary, heartfelt gifts to those in need as well as friends and family without breaking the bank.

Scenic drive near San Diego

Experiences, in my opinion, are so much better than things in most cases.  Give the gift of fun!  Take a long, scenic drive together, an epic hike, a trip to the local arboretum or state park, take a picnic lunch and go fishing at a nearby lake, visit a butterfly garden, or create an itinerary for a post-covid trip!  Camera and binoculars in hand, this might just be the holiday gift that never stops giving.

Let’s fish here!

Home-cooked meals and baked goods make lovely gifts.  Although I was expecting the opposite due to the pandemic, fewer and fewer folks seem to be preparing their own meals.  Home-cooked dishes are superior in quality and taste to frozen, pre-made, and oftentimes, restaurant food.  One of the delights of the holiday season (in normal times) is going home for a meal made by Mom or Grandma, right?  I’ll bet you know someone who seldom – or never – eats a home-cooked meal.  What could be a better gift for them than a prepared-from-scratch soup with some freshly baked bread?  

Bok Choy soup

Another beautiful food gift is a home-assembled fruit basket.  Dress up a reusable basket with ribbon, glitter, paint, or whatever you have, and fill with your choice of oranges, pears, apples, wine or mineral water, small bags of nuts, cookies, or good-quality chocolate.  Wrap it all up in cellophane (or don’t!) and remember to include a card!

Nature photo gifts are a winner, as well.  Create a calendar, make some greeting cards, or put together a small photo album or scrapbook of a natural area your loved one wants to visit.  Collect actual photos and cut-outs from online sources and magazines, including the articles, and add quotes and colored stencils to jazz it up!  A great way of communicating heart-to-heart without speaking a word.

Finally, the best-smelling gift: a chai simmer pot kit!  Gather the aromatic ingredients for chai, add a beautiful, fat orange and some fresh cranberries for color, print out the recipe (or write on a small card), and tie it all up in a clear bag with a festive bow.  The tea tastes marvelous, and the kitchen will smell like the holidays after it brews!

Homemade gifts are often appreciated beyond measure.  Pouring your love into something for the benefit of another is what giving is all about.  This holiday season, show your heart to your neighbors in need, friends, and family with simple gifts of Nature that communicate the true reason for the season.

Hiking in Sedona

Holiday Blessings,

Lisa

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