Sunday Morning! Taking Time To Nurture Our Souls!

Sunday Morning!

Sunday morning always seems to have a special feeling…whether I’m attending church, going to work as a nurse in the NICU, or enjoying a leisure breakfast with my husband, I love the unique pace of a beautiful Sunday.  More than ever before, it has become a day to reflect and take the opportunity to truly be grateful for all the many blessings I enjoy.  My cute hubby, who is a news junkie of sorts, has also deemed it a good news day–a much-needed break from the grind of the regular work week and a day to nurture our souls so that we can be better fortified to live our best lives.  For some time now, we have recorded the CBS news show, “Sunday Morning” that used to be hosted by veteran TV journalist, Charles Osgood.  The unique stories shared on this wonderfully produced program, spotlight the innate goodness found in most people and their genuine desire to serve and uplift others.  After all–when it’s all said and done…isn’t that what life should really be about?

Sunday Morning! Nurturing Our Souls!

“Wishing you a happy Sunday!  Let’s do what makes our souls shine!”  Steve Hartman on “Sunday Morning”

Taking The Time To Nurture Our Souls!

In today’s society, we tend to have the need to constantly push ourselves to achieve and always show strength–and while these are admirable attributes in and of themselves, we run the risk of making life more about accomplishments and less about being loving and doing more of those things that bring us happiness.  If you’re feeling a bit stretched to your limits–you just might find that any given Sunday morning is the perfect time to be a little introspective and take a personal inventory of the things that nurture your soul and create more joy in your life.  My husband is a financial planner and makes the analogy on occasion, that if you don’t make regular deposits into your bank account of life, so to speak, there will come a time when you won’t have anything left to withdraw.  Wise insight!  How then, do we go about nurturing our souls so we can open our hearts and be more caring?

♥ Count Our Blessings

It’s sounds a bit cliché, but perhaps one of the best ways to find more contentment and joy in our lives is to really recognize what we have to be thankful for…whether you write these things down in a journal or just take time for a moment or two of thoughtful meditation, acknowledging our blessings seems like one of the best ways to nurture our souls!

Sunday morning! Taking Time To Nurture Our Souls!

Most anything from generic spiral notebooks to small pocket planners work well for jotting down some thankful thoughts, but if you’d like a special gratitude journal, Rifle Paper Co. has a good variety of unique ones!  

It goes without saying, that a personal thank-you is always the best way to express gratitude!

Showing gratitude.

My mom always used to say, “Gratitude unexpressed is not gratitude!”

♥  Unplug And Look Up!

I know this seems to be the “catch phrase” of this generation, but with the influx of information from all the technology readily available at our fingertips, it does seem that more often than not, our eyes are constantly looking down at our phones or they’re affixed on some other sort of screen.  As I’ve made a conscious effort to put my phone away during those times that I’m playing with my grandkids or out for the evening our with my husband, I can vouch for the fact that a big part of nurturing my soul has come from looking up and being truly present in the moment when spending time with family and friends.  In fact, I’ve even gone so far as to find excuses to plan special occasions with family and friends, where we get together and socialize the old-fashioned way with fun games, good food and lively conversation.

Nurturing our souls.

I think every family has a few favorite games that they love to play together, but if you want some great ideas for some hilarious and technology-free fun, then check out the “Unplug and Play” game book by Brad Berger!

♥  Create A Home Sweet Home!

I’m a firm believer that your home should be that comfortable safe haven from the outside world; the place you go to surround yourself with the people and things you love the most!  While I don’t necessarily adhere to overly strict rules when it comes to keeping a nice house, one of the first things I learned in nursing school is that a neat environment lends itself to our overall well-being!  The rhythm of a good weekend where equal parts of work and play are enjoyed, always serves to help me nurture my soul, especially when a little quiet introspection while relaxing at home on a lovely Sunday morning is included!

Home sweet home pillow.

“A Sunday well spent…brings a week of content!”  Old Proverb

♥  Strengthen Our Body And Minds! 

All too often, we prioritize everyone and everything else in our lives except for time to care for ourselves, leaving us feeling a bit exhausted and overwhelmed.  As a result, we find we’re living in a state of chronic stress without fully realizing it.  Living this way can take a huge toll on our physical health, as well as our mental state of mind.  Recognizing that our bodies and minds…and ultimately our spirits are all connected, gives us a powerful incentive to do better at including some regular physical exercise and mindful creativity to help us live a more balanced and vibrant life style.  Taking time to do these things helps us to have a sense of inner peace, which is key to nourishing our souls.  Creating simple routines to include a little self-care is obviously a very individualized process, but taking care of ourselves is integral to being more fully present for others.

Nourishing our souls quote.

“A happy life is manifested in a more balanced union of the body, mind and soul.”  Tribute Journal

♥  Love More Fully!

Ultimately, when it comes to nourishing our souls, I think you’ll agree, that loving with a generous heart is what seems to matter most.  In her article, “Rx For The Soul” psychologist, Dr. Judith Rich, states that “the soul is here to learn to love it all, even and perhaps especially, those things the ego thinks are unlovable.”  Maybe by loving the unlovable parts of ourselves and others, we’ll see the good and decent parts of one another more clearly and our souls will find peace and a greater acceptance of people from all walks of life!

Nuturing our souls.

“At the end of our life, our questions are simple:  Did I live well?  Did I love fully?”  Jack Kornfield

As I close this post, I want to share a good news story by TV journalist, Steve Hartman, on a recent “Sunday Morning” episode.

Happy Sunday…and best blessings to everyone!

Sunday blessings

“Do not face the day until you have faced God in prayer!”  Bible Quotes

Now it’s your turn…what do you do to nourish your soul?

–Much love, Mary

Oh September!

Oh September!

After a busy summer and record breaking heat where I live in Utah, I’m more than ready for the cooler temperatures and the fall lull of September.

Oh September!

“Life starts all over again…when it gets cool and crisp in the fall!”      F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’ve often heard the statement that autumn is mother nature’s second spring…if that’s the case, then it’s all the more reason to make the most of September!

Making It A September To Remember!

I love that I live where I get to experience all four seasons!  For me, September is that ideal mix of lingering summer activities that converge with the rich colors and mild weather of fall.mSeptemberQuoteHere are a few of the things I look forward to this month–as I try to make it a September to remember…

• Fall Harvest!

Come early fall, my husband and I are always excited to pick some of the fresh vegetables from our small garden, but we also love visiting some of the fun fruit stands that pop up along some of the back roads around our hometown.

Fall fruit stands.

“Autumn is the mellow season–where what we lose in flowers, we more than gain in fruits.”  Samuel Butler

I don’t think there is anything quite like the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables, eaten fresh or grilled to perfection, as you enjoy those last family BBQ’s of the season.  (We buy corn at a local family farm stand where the kids raise and sell the corn to earn money for college tuition and extracurricular school activities; how great is that!) 

Grilled corn.

“You don’t have to cook complicated masterpieces, just good food from fresh ingredients!”  Julia Child

• Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice!

Speaking of yummy fall foods…how about all the warm, pumpkin spiced, comfort foods we love to eat this time of year!  This simple recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake that my daughter came across, is a fall staple in our family.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Cake recipe!

This recipe is great for cookies or muffins too.  I’ve seen people drizzle it with a powdered sugar glaze or frost with cream cheese frosting.  I sprinkle on a few extra chocolate chips before putting it in the oven. 

recipe.png

This recipe is easy to make and so moist and delicious!    

• Back To School!

While I thoroughly love summer…my father instilled in me a great love for going to school and getting a good education!

Back to school.

Come the first day of school…my dad would often crank up the old Gene Autry cowboy song, “Back In The Saddle Again” –whenever I started a new school year; while I didn’t think it was very funny at the time…traditions die hard, and I ended up doing the same to my kids!  (They are following suit and play it for their kids going to school too!) 

• Beautiful Earth Tones!

I’m a 70’s hippie throw-back of sorts–so the deep earth tone colors of fall definitely speak to my heart!

Fall mums.

(J & J Garden Center)

Mueller Park leaves

(Mueller Canyon Park)

Whether you are just making a stop at a local nursery, or going on a hike at a nearby park, you can’t help but feel that all is right with the world, even for a brief time, as you view all the gorgeous fall foliage.

• Sweater Weather!

Believe me, I love the casual days of capri’s and flip-flops, but come summer’s end, I have to admit, I kind of get excited to pull on a comfy knit sweater, maybe a plaid scarf and some fun leather boots.

Fall is sweater weather!

I know, it’s still 90+ degrees outside…but it’s never too early to start planning ahead for cooler weather; my fall “go to” is usually a great cable-knit sweater in a fun fall color and some leggings.

(I bought this sweater on sale last year at Miss Iny, but I’ve seen some darling sweaters recently at local stores like H & M and Gap.) 

Fall plaid scarf.

…and yes, please give me all the pretty plaid scarves for fall!

(You won’t be surprised to hear that Target has a great selection of scarves.)

• Anticipating the Holidays!

I always look forward to my annual Halloween Festival with my grandkids…and since Halloween décor and trinkets make their debut in stores with the back to school supplies, it’s easy to get a head start on the items needed for my party in September.  My grandchildren love to start planning their cute costumes now too!!

Halloween costumes.

“I love the spirit of Halloween and the energy that comes with it!”  Katharine Hepburn

• Helping Texas!

I also want to express my deep heartache at all the devastation Texas has had to withstand this past week…may September be a month of recovery and new beginnings for them!  I hope we can all try and find at least one way, however small, to help out.  If you scroll to the end of this article, it lists a variety of resources available to offer assistance.  You’re in our thoughts and prayers, Texas!

Help Texas!

“We rise by lifting others!”  Robert Ingersoll

I hope it’s a fall of sweet surprises for all of you!

What are some of the things that make fall a magical time for you?

–Mary

Summer Anthems!

Summer Anthems

My husband recently downloaded a neat, new play list on my iPod that I listen to on my early morning walks or while I work in my yard.  Each song seems to remind me of some of the fun adventures we’ve enjoyed with friends and family this summer.  It got me thinking–if your summer had a theme song…..what would it be?

Summer Anthems!

“Summertime is always the best of what might be!”  Charles Bowden

The Songs Of Summer!

Summer seems to embody all the simple pleasures of life that we love so much, and like a great song…..we find as it nears its end, we want to play it all over again on a shuffle repeat!  Summer anthems don’t necessarily need to be about summer; I just like ones that inspire our carefree, adventurous spirits!

Musical note ear buds.

“Like a lyric to a favorite song, you stay with me all day long.  And when I get to the end, I wanna hear it again!”  Toby Mac

Here are a few of the songs that describe my summer…..

◊ Vegetable CarJoshua Radin (Listen here.)

Summer Anthems!

This song summons up my love of visiting all the quaint farmer’s markets around my hometown; one of my very favorite summer past times!

Utah Farmer's Markets.

“She drives a vegetable car.  Diesel Mercedes, green two door, Lisa Loeb glasses…..I do wish that you’d ask me to ride along.”

Lyrics “Vegetable Car” by Joshua Radin

◊ Ramblin’ Man:  The Allman Brothers Band (Listen here.)

Adventures await... www.mytributejournal.com

I think we all love to travel and see new places during the summer.  The classic song “Ramblin’ Man” by the Allman Brothers Band, speaks to the carefree spirit in all of us.  My son seems to have been born with an extra dose of wanderlust, and we have enjoyed some amazing journeys with him!  Luckily, his wife and little boy are always up for some fun adventures with him too!

Summer adventrues.

“Lord I was born a ramblin’ man, trying to make a living and doing the best I can.  And when it’s time for leavin’, I hope you’ll understand…..that I was born a ramblin’ man.”

 Lyrics “Ramblin’ Man” by The Allman Brothers Band

◊  A Summer Song:  Chad and Jeremy (Listen here.)

Summer ahead sign.

I’m dating myself a bit with this iconic summer song–but if there ever was a summer anthem for the magical summers of my youth…this song is it!  Now I get the pleasure of enjoying wonderful summer days with a little bit different perspective as I experience so many of them through the curious and fanciful eyes of my grandchildren!

Summer adventures.

“Trees swaying in the summer breeze, showing off their sliver leaves as we walked by.  Soft kisses on a summer’s day, laughing all our cares away…..just you and I.”

Lyrics “A Summer Song” by Chad and Jeremy

◊  Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer:   Nat King Cole (Listen here.)

Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer.

It’s a bit ironic that I remember my mom often singing this song under her breath as she had me help her do yard work and other chores during the summer months when I was growing up.  She’d just wink when I’d asked why we weren’t actually being lazy!  It took becoming a parent with a home and family of my own to fully realize that just like any other time of year, it’s important to find a good balance between work and play.  Truth be told, I don’t think there’s ever a shortage of some lazy, hazy and indeed crazy days during the summer!

Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer…..you’ll wish that summer could always be here!”

Lyrics Those Crazy Hazy Lazy Days of Summer” by Nat King Cole

◊ Saturday In The Park:  Chicago (Listen here.)

IMG_6692

This song is the ultimate summer party song by one of my all-time favorite groups.  Being able to watch my two older granddaughters play their violins at fun musical concerts in so many beautiful parks, just adds to my love of this summer anthem!

Summer concert in the park.

“Saturday in the park, where every day’s the fourth of July.  People talking, really smiling; a man playing guitar and singing for us all…..and I’ve been waiting such a long time for today.”

Lyrics “Saturday In The Park” by Chicago 

◊  A Little More Summertime:  Jason Aldean (Listen here.)

Endless Summer sign.

Every season seems to create its own nostalgia as it starts to wind down, but I always seem to lament every year about the end of summer coming too fast.  My sensible hubby is quick to remind me that too much of a good thing makes it so it’s not as special.  Still, at summer’s end, I can’t help but wish that there were just a few more weeks left…then I remember everything I love about the other neat times of the year and the great songs I associate with them!

A little more summertime!

“If the sun would have just hung up in that sky just a little bit longer; if the blue waves could’ve stayed at our feet on the beach instead of going out with the tide…..if only I had a little more summertime.”

Lyrics “A Little More Summertime” by Jason Aldean

It’s hard to believe that there’s only about a month of summer left–I hope it’s spectacular for everyone and full of all the wonderful things that make the best memories…and that they linger through the winter months to come!

Summertime!

“One must maintain a little bit of summer…..even in the middle of winter!”  Henry David Thoreau

I’d love to know if there’s a particular song that reminds you of happy summer days whenever you hear it?

 –Mary