Connections, Chaos and Fun! Reading to Children in the Zoom Room.

Sometimes I see half a blurry face.  Sometimes I see only feet. Sometimes a dog suddenly appears on the screen.

 

4-year-old Abby and 6-year-old Sadie are two wiggly and giggly sisters.

The girl’s attention span can weave in and out. This is not unusual for children.  Especially when I am reading a book to them in front of a computer screen.

 

I do know they are listening to me because of how they respond.  The questions they ask:  “Where is the guard dog that barks as loudly as a dinosaur’s roar?”  Their faces are now glued to the screen.

 

They sometimes become very still and quiet, engaged in the story.

Their faces will zoom in closer to get a good look at the pictures.

At times they ask me to bring the book closer to the screen.  Especially when they are both trying to find the dragonflies.

 

When A Book Is More Beautiful In Real Life

I opened the box from Amazon and I was thrilled to see the book, “Molly Finds Her Purr” had arrived.  I knew I would like this book since I love Pamela Wight’s writing.  I have been following her popular blog for over a year.  Rough Wighting

Pamela Wight has written a delightful, engaging story about Molly, a lonely, stray cat. This story shares a message of kindness, inclusivity and compassion.  Molly meets some unique, colourful animal characters who help Molly feel accepted.  They create “A Circle of Friendship” and they help Molly find her purr. 

The detailed artwork in this book is exceptional. The vibrant colours help bring this captivating story and the animals to life. 

Detailed illustrations and vibrant colours

Life Is Different Right Now

Cuddling and reading stories used to always go together.  

We are all trying to find new ways to navigate this new life. 

      Our present day Love Language is Connecting. 

Today, this means virtual connections while we are sheltering-in-place.  Letting friends and family know we are thinking about them. 

                Children are adjusting to this new life, too.

 

We Set The Example For Our Children:

  • To be kind.  Respect the boundaries and recommendations to help people stay healthy and safe.  Yet not live in fear.
  • Adult worries do not belong on children’s shoulders. 
  • To model grace under pressure.
  • It is okay to feel sad one moment, and be smiling the next.  
  • To expect change.  Change is a constant in life always.  Especially today.
  • To feel hopeful.  People have adapted, evolved since the beginning of time.  We are still here.
  • To play.  To have fun.  To create.  To find joy in each day.
  • To be grateful.  Always remember how lucky we are.

                   Our children are watching us.  

Love Abby!

 

Reading a book to children in the Zoom room and on a computer screen can be a challenge.

It does make it easier when I am reading an engaging, fun, beautiful book like “Molly Finds Her Purr.”

Of course, I would rather cuddle with Abby and Sadie in person.

For now, I am happy to see feet, half a blurry face, a dog and

                        Especially a Smile.

Love Abby and Sadie!  Their smiles warm my heart.

 

What type of connections are you making with family, friends and children while we are sheltering-in-place? 

 

Postscript:  In future I plan to make one on one reading dates.  There was some bickering on whose turn it was to find the dragonfly on each page.  In the past, they have appreciated the dedicated time and undivided attention. 

Link to Goodreads review:  “Molly Finds Her Purr”

Amazon.ca:  “Molly Finds Her Purr”

Amazon.com“Molly Finds Her Purr”

Zoom reading date with Abby and Sadie photo credits:  Thank you to my daughter and my husband.

 

 

 

Will I Wake Up And Find Out All Of This Has Been A Dream?

I have had very vivid dreams all of my life.  My dreams are in full colour and they contain elaborate story plots. When I wake up I remember all of the details of a complicated story, the colours, the smells, the emotions. 

When I wake up, I also realize it was all a dream.  

This past week, for a brief second, when I wake up I feel life at the present moment is a dream.  The present events are surreal.

I feel I may step out of the movie sets, “The Truman Show” or “Capricorn One” at any moment. 

Then reality sinks in.

When Did We Begin To Take This Pandemic Seriously?

Is it social distancing, social isolating, quarantining, shelter in place? 

Last Sunday, my husband and I made the decision to completely hunker down. 

Up until then, my husband was still going to the gym daily and I was on Day 16 of a 30 day yoga challenge at my yoga studio.

No more gyms, stores, visiting with family and friends.  This is a serious pandemic and we need to take it seriously.

“You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem,” my husband’s quote.  Sometimes he does have something smart to say.

Many Things Have Not Changed

We are fortunate we live in a home and we are comfortable with basic necessities.

Everyone in our immediate family is healthy.

Spring has arrived. We have access to trails and many walking areas in our immediate neighbourhood.

A Few Things Have Changed

We have been advised the Half Corked Marathon will either be cancelled or postponed. We Won the Lottery! The Golden Ticket!  We are staying positive and still in training mode.

 

We had tickets to a James Taylor/Bonnie Raitt concert in April.  This event is also cancelled or postponed.  Cancellations are common around the globe right now. 

My early evening walk is usually filled with the sound of children laughing and playing at a park nearby.  Yesterday, all of the parks were closed. Yesterday, the park was completely empty and eerily quiet.  

 

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I met with my best friend last Saturday, and for the first time in 50 years we did not hug good bye. We giggled and stepped back.

         Inside, I am choked up.

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We usually have a lot of interaction with our daughters and their families.  The grandchildren are 4 weeks, 23 months, 4 and 6 year old.  They are very huggy, smoochy, drooly, and they touch everything.  They would not understand boundaries.  Our goal is to help keep everyone healthy.  We FaceTime and Video Chat.  This is temporary and this is important.  I put on a brave, happy face and I tell them this will only last for a few weeks.  

         Inside, I am choked up.

The Question:   Do You Recognize The Common Denominator?

  • I have continued my yoga practice and I am doing a 30 Day Challenge with “Adriene’s Yoga” on YouTube.   Thank you to Deb The Widow Badass   for this great recommendation.  I love and miss my yoga family at Found City Yoga.  How Hot Yoga Changed My Life

 

 

  • Thank you to Marty, Snakes in the Grass  for your witty, humorous posts, always.  Your last post reminded me how I should keep a thermometer easily accessible.  I hunted through the house and I found the thermometer we keep for when we watch the children.  I tested it twice.  36.6 C each time.  Whew.

 

  • I am going on longer and more frequent walks.  Thank you to Mark, Swinged Cat  for sharing information about the Voice Recorder app and Voice Memo app.  When a bolt of inspiration hits me or I need a simple reminder, I can just press on the big red button and record my thoughts.
  • Janis’s post Retirementally Challenged  “In this time…” contained many gems that resonated with me.  I copy/pasted her last paragraph into a Gratitude/Positives file. Thank you, Janis, for your wise words “….we don’t have to distance ourselves from much that nourishes us.”
  • Pam’s words Rough Wighting  warmed my heart. “I wish we could all meet in a safe place and hug each other and talk for hours. Well, I suppose that’s what we do right here in the blogosphere!”  Thank you, Pam, for reinforcing the importance of connections.
  • Thank you to Laurie Meditations in Motion  for her words “we’ve got this. One step at a time.” 
  • Thank you to Liesbet Roaming About for always reminding me how little we need to lead a happy, simple life.  We are all living “a life less ordinary right now.”  In your last post you discussed the positives, negatives and reality of the present events.  Your phrase “our solution is our flexibility” has stayed with me.  Thank you.
  • Anabel Glasgow Gallivanter shares a great deal of history and information about Scotland.  The photos on her site are breathtaking.  Thank you, Anabel, for helping us plan our next vacation.  You have helped put Scotland high on our list.
  • Jo Restless Jo shares posts containing stunning photography of exceptionally beautiful, historical buildings.  Thank you, Jo, for reminding me how humankind has weathered many challenges over the past thousands of years.

     This too shall pass.

Ten minute walk from our house

The Answer:  “You” Are The Common Denominator.

I am sharing a quote from Suzanne, Picture Retirement  “I have always been grateful for my connections throughout the blogging community, but now, more than ever.  There is so much sharing, caring and outright humour being delivered to my inbox daily.”

I strongly agree with Suzanne.  I am entertained.  I learn something new.  I laugh.  I cry.  You touch my heart.  

This Is Not A Dream

I realize when I wake up in the morning, all of this is not a dream.  This is our present day reality, changing by the hour. We are also in the early stages of this pandemic.

I have a great deal to be thankful for always and especially right now.

People have been very kind and thoughtful.  Almost everyone in our neck of the woods is respecting the social distancing, social isolating guidelines. 

We are going to get through this together. 

I appreciate the connections in my personal life and in the global community.

Please continue writing, sharing and connecting.  You will not always know when you have made a difference in someone’s life.

         Thank you for making a difference in mine.

 

How are you connecting with friends and family?

Has someone recently made a difference in your life?

 

Postscript:

I shared only a few posts from blogger friends.  I could easily include gems from every single post I read.  

I just finished listening to a very good, empowering podcast.  “The Tim Ferriss Show #414:  Jack Kornfield – How to Find Peace Amidst COVID-19, How to Cultivate Calm in Chaos.”  

A Bonus Gift:  People Be Weird”  

Kate’s witty posts Coffee Kat Blog often bring a unique perspective to daily life and the human condition.  She sometimes adds  a “people be weird” in her post.

I was walking by a house yesterday and a couple, likely husband and wife, were quibbling about whose turn it was to take their dog for a walk.  The husband yells out how “the dog had better not poop.  I am not picking up dog poop.  If the dog poops, I am calling 911!”  No humour in his voice.

Likely cabin fever and too much togetherness already setting in.

Yes, Kate, “people be weird.”

I still can’t stop giggling.

 

Roughing it! Why Leave The Comforts Of Home?

Why Go Camping?

 

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  • Is it the Forest Bathing?  Do the trees emit oils that replenish my body?
  • Is it the Ions near the ocean?  I feel more in balance when I am near water. 
  • Is it the Silence in the presence of nature.  My breathing slows down.  I have a sense of peace and belonging.

 

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Getting There

 We are all packed and excited to get on our way.  We are heading to Long Beach on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.   

This campground is fully booked almost a year in advance.  The sites are a hot commodity, almost as difficult to obtain as tickets to U2, Pink, and Justin Bieber.

It takes us approximately six hours to drive to the West Coast.  No ferry travel, which is a bonus.  We travel through lush forests and beside beautiful lakes.  10 Reasons Why You Should Not Live On The Island

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We Bring The Basics

  • Eight foot camper.  Easier than a tent.
  • Tarps.  Tarps.  And more Tarps.  My husband is the Griswold of camping.
  • Layers of clothing.  It is Fall weather with a combination of sun and rain.
  • Camping food.  Everything tastes better outdoors.
  • Many books downloaded on an ereader plus hard copy books.
  • A good, flexible attitude.  Nature and camping can be unpredictable.

 

We Bring Extras

  • Fondue Pot.  A real treat and a tradition for the two of us.
  • Blueberry tea ingredients.  A classic recipe resurfaced from 1970’s camping.  A combination of amaretto liqueur, orange liqueur, hot Earl Grey tea or Orange Pekoe tea.
  • Propane campfire.  Campfire bans are often in effect.
  • More tarps.

 

8 Reasons I Love To Go Camping

1.  I spend uninterrupted time with my husband.  Our discussions contain topics we don’t delve into at home.  These topics often contain the truly important layers of our life. 

Our discussions often contain silence.

       “When you can sit in perfect silence with someone, you truly know how to

                          communicate.” Richard Wagamese

 

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2.  I go for long hikes. 

3.  I watch the sunset. 

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4.  I see the stars and the planets at night. 

5.  I take many photos giving me new perspectives on my surroundings.

 

 

6.  I can read all day and not feel guilty how I should be getting more accomplished at home. I indulged in many books this past week.  (see bottom of page)

 

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 7.  The Sound of the Ocean.  The Sounds of the Birds.

                             The Sounds of Silence. 

8.  Ocean and lakes as far as the eyes can see. Untouched old growth forests.  Open spaces.  

                It is in these Spaces where I feel most Whole. 

 

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Why Leave The Comforts Of Home?

Many great books are available on the Blue Zones and the concept of Health, Happiness and Living our Best Life.  One of the books I just finished reading is “The Blue Zones of Happiness” by Dan Buettner.  This book reinforces and  summarizes many of the concepts we have learned about enriching the quality of our life.  

Hundreds of factors affect our happiness. The research shows how 40% is what we can affect through our behaviour.  Most of us are familiar with:  exercise, eating healthy, meditation, declutter, minimalist lifestyle, surround ourselves with positive, supportive people, to name a few.

Buetnner’s book contains research from Sonja Lyubomirsky.  She wrote a popular book a few years ago “The How of Happiness.  She discusses,  

          “the challenge lies in sustaining the new level of happiness.”

Lyubomirsky cautions, 

“If you repeat the same happiness-boosting strategies too often, they begin to feel routine.  They lost their ability to lift your spirits.”

 

 

We need to vary our activities. This concept can apply to our nutrition and diet. It can also apply to exercise, stretching and maintaining a healthy body. 

Marty, from  Snakes in the Grass  shared in  The Core of it All   how his chiropractor advised him,  doing the same sequence of stretches will lose it’s benefit over time.  We need to mix it up.  Our body does not derive the same benefit from doing the same, routine activities over and over again.  

For me, camping falls into this category.  I benefit from a change in my surroundings, a change in my activities and a change of pace.

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My Life

I appreciate my day to day life and the comforts of my home.

 I also feel great when I have a change of scenery, I vary my routine and I go camping.

I gain perspective and I feel the harmony, balance, and beauty in nature. 

I rest, recharge and replenish my spirit in solitude.  I am better able to manage life’s challenges.

I am reminded how I am a part of the bigger picture.  I belong here.  I am timeless. 

                          I become my Authentic Self.

                         

 

What activities make you feel your best?  Do you vary your routine?  Have you gone camping?

 

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Blog sites:  Thought-provoking, informative articles on the vast subject of Happiness.  

Kathy:  Smart Living 365   Shares many great posts helping us Live our Best Life.

Nancy:  Defining Third Age  A series of posts sharing information from courses she has taken on the Science of Happiness.

Leanne:  Cresting the Hill    Many interesting articles on the health benefits of “calm” “peace” “serenity” “balance” in our lives.  This specific post discusses the concept of “Unbusy.”  Choosing to be Unbusy in Retirement

 

Books I read on my Fall Camping Trip: 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis.  I recently saw the “Magician’s Nephew” in Chemainus.  I was curious about the “Chronicles of Narnia” series. 

“The Book of Life” by Deborah Harkness.  Book three of “Old Souls Trilogy, A Discovery of Witches.” I read the first two books last Fall.

Embers” Richard Wagamese.  A book filled with rich, yet simple words containing a wealth of wisdom.  I LOVE this author.  This author was brought into my life by a lovely, smart, wise, intuitive, family member.  You know who you are.  Thank you for sharing your light.

The Blue Zones of Happiness” Dan Buettner 

A Mother for His Twins” by Jill Weatherholt.  I met Jill this past year following her blog site.  I was immediately pulled into this engaging story and I read the entire book in one evening. Suspense, characters you love, the concept of choices and forgiveness.  I did shed some tears at the end.  jillweatherholt.com 

 Better Blogging with Photography” by Terri Webster Schrandt.  An amazing photographer with a very interesting blog site.  Many gems in this book.  Second Wind Leisure Perspectives

“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron

“Habits for Success” by Brian G. Benson

 

 

 

 

The Secret to Danish Happiness? I want that Pyt button!

When a word continues to appear on my radar, I need to pay attention.

I first heard about Pyt last year.  The Danish Library Association chose Pyt as the nation’s favourite word.  I was immediately intrigued. The Danes are known as the happiest people on Earth.  I want to know their secret.

This is the same culture that coined a favourite word, hygge, a few years ago.  I easily adopted hygge as a way to relax and destress. Reading, cocooning, snuggling, a feeling of contentment.  A favourite way to spend my time. 

 

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                           Long Beach, Vancouver Island

 

Now the word Pyt has surfaced.  I have read a variety of translations describing the meaning of this word, how to pronounce it and when to use it.   I understand how a cultural word may not be easily translated into the English language. I speak German, and we have words that do not directly translate into an English word.

 Pyt (‘pid’) is used for minor frustrations and annoyances.   Pyt is used to express ‘don’t worry’, ‘accept it’, ‘move on.’   weblink  link

When I read further about Pyt, I found out that the Danes had even created a button with Pyt on it.  When you press this button you will hear the Pyt word. A reminder to pause, gain perspective and let it go.

 

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                                     photo credit:  Karen Rossinger

I could see how a physical symbol would help the expression Pyt seep into a culture’s language and values.   I had a Happy Face button.  The Happy Face emoji is still a part of popular communication.  😊

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The underlying message that continues to surface for me is “acceptance.”  This concept is emphasized in one of my favourite books, “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz.  In 2017 my one word intention was “acceptance.” 

I still need to be reminded to accept the things I cannot change.

I am usually a glass-half-full kind of person. Yet, we all have stresses in our life, even the Danes. Many of us use strategies to gain perspective, like walking in nature, meditation and creative outlets.  The Danes also use words to help prompt a more peaceful, happy life.

 

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                            Long Beach, Vancouver Island

 

We can learn from other cultures.  We can share secrets.  We, too, can be the happiest people on Earth.

 

postscript:  amazon sells Pyt decals and wall stickers.  I may have to create my own Pyt button, even if it is in my mind.

40th Anniversary……You know he’s a keeper when……

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Month 1

I call him at work to tell him I “think” the tv is on fire……..he runs the 4 minute mile and he is home before I can even hang up the phone…………He totally cares………about me?………or the tv?………likely both

Month 2

        Things in common………some totally opposite………..

        Toilet seat down…………most of the time………………..

        Family values, kindness, respect, thoughtful, fun……

Month 20

Me in pj’s the past 24 hours……..the darn flu………..he gets down on one knee to propose……..excited to share the ring he has designed for me………I think I said “yes”………too delirious from the flu to remember………

Month 30

We make it official and get married.

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40 Years Later

It’s how he still looks at me with love and kindness when I enter the room

It’s how he accepts my flaws and loves me anyways 

It’s how he makes me laugh

It’s how he gently holds and plays with the grandchildren 

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It’s how he drops everything to be present and help when his family needs him, always making loved ones a priority 

        Things in common………some totally opposite………..

        Toilet seat down…………most of the time………………..

        Family values, kindness, respect, thoughtful, fun……

He is still the same man I married……….. except that we have grown 40 years older together.

We are a team.  We have learned when to step in or step back.  We support each other. 

Many pivotal events have occurred over the last 40 years.  And yet, it’s the numerous little things that create the moments in our day, and ultimately create our life.

I am very aware of the passing of time and the fragility of life.  Our days ahead will be less than the days we have left behind.  The gift of time is very precious.

I am grateful for the 40 years we have had together.  I will cherish the moments we have ahead of us.

Yes……. he is a keeper!

(Happy 40th Anniversary Sweetheart…….my Partner, my Friend…….I love you with all of my heart)

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Sliding Doors – Do you ever wonder how your life would be different now if you had taken the Other Door?

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I think many of us have reflected on the “sliding door” moments in our life, the what ifs?….. what might have been?……  how would my life be different now?  I know I have.

 It may be a split decision to take a different route home or leave 10 minutes later from work, avoiding an accident.

It may be where we decide to live, our career choice, who we choose to marry.  One decision can change the course of our life forever.

I am also very aware of the butterfly effect, the ripple effect, caused by that one decision……..the family I now have and the friends I have made along the way.

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A pivotal “sliding door” moment for me was when I met a very friendly girl in a cafeteria at school.  We had 2 weeks left until the end of the Spring semester and we were discussing our Summer plans. 

She was heading back to her hometown, Whitehorse and I was going to Yellowknife to work for the Summer.   She told me about the beautiful Yukon Territory and the jobs that were available there.  I reviewed the student job search bulletin board and 2 weeks later I was on an airplane heading to Whitehorse instead of Yellowknife.

My Summer job actually turned into 4 years of living in the beautiful Yukon.  This is where I met my husband ……and the rest is history.

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Was I destined to meet my husband, possibly at a different time and place, or through different circumstances?

We found out that our paths may have crossed in a prior year.  My family and I used to camp at a lake in the Interior of BC when I was a young girl.  At that time, my husband lived on this lake immediately across from our campground.

I have heard many stories like this. One couple I know spent the first few days of their lives in the same hospital nursery.  They were actually born on the same day.  They met years later and married.  Other friends found out they had attended the same basketball game years before they actually met.  A random event?……. fate?…….. serendipity?

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There is also evidence of Parallel universes in modern science.  Something about electrons spinning in different directions at the same time…..quantum physics.  The theory is that there is a parallel you inhabiting a world that is no less real than ours, yet can accommodate different outcomes. Is there a copy of me existing right now in an alternate reality, a separate parallel universe?  This concept is far too in depth and complicated for my brain……..although intriguing.

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I do not know whether our lives unfold by chance or whether we are on a preordained path.  Do we have certain people in our lives for a reason? Are there lessons we are required to learn on this route?

I have reflected on the “sliding door” moments in my life, especially the summer I moved to the Yukon.  I will never know how my life would have turned out differently, if I had taken that airplane to Yellowknife instead of Whitehorse.

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My gut on this one?  I am grateful I went through that one door over 40 years ago,  leading me to this rewarding life.

I cannot imagine my life without my husband, my daughters, my family, my friends.  I was destined to be right here, right now.

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7 Books that changed my life

I would love to hear which books are on your list

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Heidi” Johanna Spyri:   lost count as to how many times I read this book as a child and the lessons I carried with me throughout my life – when you think life is not going as hoped and planned- it’s because something better is in store for you

The 4 Agreements” Don Miguel Ruiz:  read countless times, taped the main concepts inside work cupboards and day planners, given as gifts…….yet, I still need to reread and remind myself…… especially when interacting with people in all parts of my life

Big Magic” Elizabeth Gilbert:  the concept of creativity…..everyone is creative……..art, music, carpentry, designing cakes, writing……it has all been done before, but it hasn’t been done by you

Tiny Beautiful Things  Cheryl Strayed:  I enjoy her writing in general, although, it was actually one sentence in one of the chapters that changed how I think about writing…….’what is your story…….and more importantly, what are you REALLY trying to say’

Seat of the Soul” Gary Zukav:  huge impact in my life (almost 30 years ago) ……..when you are going in the right direction, following the ‘Mother Ship’,  life will fall into place……not a constant struggle……..helped me pay attention, change direction, make choices……yet, let life unfold 

The Power of Now” Eckhart Tolle:  an Awareness of your thoughts being separate from actually You – tough to wrap my mind around this one – although worth trying to grasp….. staying in the present moment

I’ve been thinking” Maria Shriver:  my most recent book – many gems in this one – I appreciate her honest, succinct, relatable words:  life is yours to create….and to re-create, listening to your gut, stop worrying about what others think…..it’s a huge waste of your time,  learn how to turn off the critical voice in your head

Many more books on my list that have made me think differently, changed me and enriched my life. 

I would love to hear which books made an impact on your life……any gems?  Thank you for sharing.

We are in this life together.  Thank you for stopping by.