Wow!!!

Dear Friends,

I haven’t felt like doing much blogging lately, so I’m sorry for missing so many lovely posts. But, as a follow-up to my recent blog post, health issues have been resolved, although some gray area needs explaining and clearing up. So we’re still waiting, but all is a bit brighter. Then just when we sighed with relief, another cause to worry arrived this week, but we’re not alone. It’s been a tough year, period! In so many ways!

Even though negative thoughts tend to stick like glue, when positive thoughts arrive, they are welcomed like a warm embrace. So, we carry that positivity with us everywhere we go because suggesting a mindset of the opposite would only create doom and gloom. And I can’t help but fall gracefully into the magic of the season even if Covid lurks in the shadows. I love the Christmas carols, the twinkling and colorful lights of joy, and this season of hope even in dark times.

Then, on my early morning walk with Copper today, the sunrise greeted me with a BIG smile. We just can’t have enough photos of sunrises and sunsets, can we? I looked to the sky and thought, “Wow! Another gorgeous sunrise! Another day to enjoy life and all the people and joys in it that make us so grateful.”

And in every dark moment, a hint of hope shines through…

New bloom!

I hope all of you are doing well in spite of this crazy, tragic, and stressful year. And if you’re feeling down, I hope the sunrises lift your spirits as you lean into people around who love you. And when the sun is hidden, I hope its warmth stays in your hearts, guiding you into each new day.

Sending virtual hugs, Lauren 💓💓💓🎄🎄🎄

A little bit of a few things…

Dear Friends,

I’ve lost blogging momentum because of some health issues in our family and procedures during the holiday. My mind has been a little preoccupied. But on the morning of Thanksgiving, my husband and I enjoyed a walk around the neighborhood. The sun was shining and the temperature was invigorating and brisk. After turning a corner, we stumbled upon a van that invited passersby to write their gratitude on the colorful hand turkeys provided. Sharpies and hand sanitizer were also conveniently supplied. We gladly participated and added our turkey to the eye-catching and humbling collection. God Bless the owner of this van, for even in dark times there is much to be grateful for.

Just like many others, we were ready for some Christmas joy, so we bought our tree on black Friday and we’ve never seen the line so long! Patience really was a virtue that day! We call our tree the “Family tree” because most of the ornaments are homemade from our son and daughter when they were little. The angel on top is our daughter’s creation and there is no reason to replace it. Our senses are heightened by the Noble Fir fragrance and the room is cozier than ever now.

Copper enjoys the warmth and coziness of the fire,
but he prefers not to be too close to the snap, crackle,
and pop.

Lastly, WordPress tells me that I have a 10-year anniversary to celebrate! Time sure flies when you’re having fun creating, along with meeting wonderful people all around the world. So, Thank You, for your support and friendship!

I hope those of you in the U.S. had a wonderful Thanksgiving and wish you all a blessed Christmas and holiday season.
Stay safe and well, too! Lauren
💗

Happiness Hyperbole

With all the stress, loss, loneliness, and changes to our “normal” routines 2020 has delivered, sometimes the thought of “moving” to the town of Hallmark sounds appealing. An escape where only happiness and love abound. At times, though, some of the movies are just a bit too predictable and perfect for even me. Still, if you’re in need of a deluge of joy, the Hallmark channel won’t disappoint. And I hope my little piece of happy Hallmark writing below brings a smile and a positive start to your week…

Out of a Hallmark movie

How heavenly to have home in Hallmark. A huge, humble harvest of happiness. The “happy” hyperbole hurries a headache. However, hear the harmony, harness the hope, humility, hospitality, and huggable humanity. The hummingbird’s hum is a highlight. Holiday honey, hazelnut, and Havarti heighten the hunger in the household. It’s happening! Heed the harmonious and heartwarming high spirits!!!!

A real town in Maine that looks just like Hallmark.
Two Hallmark favorites: Paul Greene & Candace Cameron Bure

Wishing you an abundance of happiness this week
and a very Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!
~Lauren
🧡💗😊🍁🍂

Peace, Love, & Sunflowers!

My daughter took these photos in Tennessee
and these murals are too amazing not to share.

The artists are most likely local, so we do not take credit.
In fact, we applaud them not only for their talent,
but for the timely messages.

Don’t you agree the world needs a great deal more
of Peace, Love, and Sunflowers?

What a year this has been…so traumatic and devastating for many because of the loss they have endured, and for the rest of us, it has been a time where new normals could not be avoided – different ways of going about our everyday lives simply had to be implemented. For the west coast, fire season has come and gone, and gratefully, our first family of raindrops has arrived. Mother Earth smiles and sighs with relief.

Autumn officially presents herself and brings a cozy, warm complexion of spicy nutmegs, pumpkin oranges, burnt squash yellows, and pomegranate reds. Can we break away from the rat race even for a moment and remember to inhale, then exhale, s-l-o-w-l-y?
Do you think we can relax the pace and capture the magic around us that we would normally let pass by?


Maybe in that moment as the landscape shifts, we will feel gratitude for the gift of another day and the possibilities in a new year that are so close we can almost touch them ever so gently.

Love, Blessings, Happy Monday, & Stay well, Lauren 😊🧡🍁🍂🧡


Free Rent…

Is there a challenge enticing you, but your lack of confidence makes you shy away from even trying? Well, do you realize you are allowing negative voices to control your actions? You are giving them free rent in your brain. How kind of you. Kidding. Only You know what your capabilities are without having anyone remind you, not even yourself! So, you should evict those voices! Now! Don’t wait! But it’s not easy, is it? We’re too quick to second guess ourselves, so we listen…well, listen to this…

Copper thinks he’s a lap dog. He has no idea that he is tall and lean, weighs 75 lbs. and is all muscle. Hence, he is not a lap dog! Truth is, because he’s confident in how he feels and because he sees himself as a chihuahua, he gracefully curls his body and folds his long legs to fit into the tiniest space – especially in the spotlight of the sun. He is the most faithful sun worshiper. And he’ll place himself between two pieces of furniture and lean. Yes, he’s a leaner. He leans on us when he sits next to us. He leans against the sofa and chairs and anything else that will hold his weight.

So, be like Copper and just do what you set your mind to. Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t give those voices free rent anymore! You have more important data to occupy your mind and Dogs really do know best, don’t they? 🙂

Stand tall on your own two feet – don’t give doubt the upper hand. And observe your furry family members who truly know how to live a life of happy!

Lauren Scott (c) 2020

Guilty or Not?

I have several projects pending but nothing new to share right now. So, I came across this post from 2018 and thought it was worth a second showing. For those of you who have already seen it, I appreciate you taking the time to read again…

Have you ever compared your success to that of your friends, neighbors, or acquaintances? I assume most of us have; I know I’m guilty.

If you compare yourself to your perception of others, then the possibility of your self-esteem deflating is great. The negative assumptions you allow to roll around in your mind can be harmful to your mental well-being. Even though the outward appearance seems perfect, it’s exactly that. ‘Seems’ is the operative word.

Is there one method of how you measure success? Essentially, it’s up to interpretation. What does success mean to you? Do you have goals that you’re working toward? What kind of person do you aspire to be? In my opinion, here’s what you shouldn’t do – don’t give dollar signs too much power in measuring success. They can be misleading. Other factors display victory, such as volunteering, honest work ethic, being a loving husband, wife, partner, parent, sister, daughter, son, or friend
The list is endless.

Think carefully how you measure success because the last thing you need is to fall into a depressed mind-set caused by comparing yourself to others. Letting those unfavorable thoughts take control of your mind will only cause clutter and make your life messy. Instead of focusing on the success of other people, focus on what makes you feel victorious. Set some goals and go for it!

Do you have any thoughts on this subject? Any experiences? 
For example, I’ll start by saying that I never attended college post high school graduation. I made the right choice at that time in my life. But for some reason over the years, I turned my lack of college degree into an unbearably heavy burden, frequently comparing myself to those who held that academic accomplishment. As a result, I often experienced my mood shifting into negativity. I allowed those pessimistic thoughts to pull me down, to second-guess my decision years ago, and to negate the fact that I was a wonderful wife to my amazing husband and a loving mother to our two awesome children. If that isn’t success, I don’t know what is!

As some of you may remember, I did a post years ago about returning to school. I was excited and had taken all the English courses (which I loved and aced!) needed for an Associates Degree. Then I began thinking, “Why am I doing this?” I thought deeply about what going back to school would entail. Sure, the diploma would look great hanging on the wall next to my husband’s and children’s. But the thought of holing up behind a closed door, doing homework for the next several years, all of a sudden didn’t appeal to me. Alternatively, I wanted to focus on my family and the interests that I was passionate about. I came to the realization that a college degree doesn’t define who I am. I’m Me with or without it. I still pursue my passion for writing without that specific validation. I didn’t quit, though. I just chose not to continue, but I am grateful for taking that big step onto a campus thirty-six years after I walked across the stage waving my high school diploma. It wasn’t easy. I had to muster up a big helping of determination and courage to be able to sit in a classroom with young students eager to face their future head-on. With this being said, I met some other adults just like me, so I soon grew comfortable in this new setting.

Everyone shows vulnerability in some manner; this admission is mine. Since this realization, I have gladly discarded the choice to “college-compare” because we’re all successful in different ways. And when I acknowledged this discernment, that heavy burden was released, too. I could breathe easier and my mind decluttered of that negativity. The clear view was stunning!

The easy road spirals downward; the challenging road stimulates your mind and nudges you to look deeply within yourself.

Be You!!!
Sending love and virtual hugs,

Lauren 💗💗💗

All photos courtesy of Google images.

From Fabulous to Flames

We’re home now after another wonderful lake adventure and so grateful to have had blue skies before they turned hazy. Our hearts are heavy; praying for all those affected by over 600 wildfires burning up and down the state of CA, and for the firemen and first responders. Yesterday, the air was very smoky, the worst yet, and the advisory continues through Wednesday. The surroundings are a bit eerie. As more dry lightning is possible for today, our bags are packed because at the top of our street is dry open space. So, we’d rather be prepared in the event that hill ignites. It’s frightening, and I can’t imagine what others have endured who have had to evacuate, who have lost their homes or loved ones. And then think of the animals affected. It’s heartbreaking. We’re keeping all who are in the path of fires in our hearts. In the meantime, we swam in the refreshing lake, relaxed in our site, and did some hiking. It was great to get away, but also good to be home safely. Hope you enjoy these photos (only a few of the many we took; I can’t help but take too many)…

Stay safe wherever you are!
Lauren 💗💗💗

It’s really that simple!

Deep rooted in youth
love unconditionally
more practice needed

Vulnerable heart
Tears in waiting if broken
All people the same

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

A.C.C.E.P.T.A.N.C.E.

Let’s find it in our hearts to practice kindness,
less judgement, more acceptance, and to spread
love exponentially. It’s really that simple.

Wishing you a great start to your week,
Lauren 💕

Photo credit of holding hands: Google
Flower photos from our garden.

All Good Things

In these unsettling times, it’s important to find joy in each day,
even if digging a little deeper is necessary
. Anxiety, fear, and sadness
have certainly been fueled this year, which is reason enough to find things in life that make us happy. Throw in a dash of fun and a sprinkle of silly – bring on the smiles and laughter! It’s important for our mental and physical well being to find a balance so that all of our energy and focus isn’t directed only to the negative. I’m sure you’ve heard of a gratitude journal, so let’s count this post as one of my long journal entries, but first the visuals:

I’m grateful for another drive through the majestic redwoods and then onto Bolinas Ridge where the view of Stinson Beach was stunning – no fog or wind, just a glorious June day. I find joy in receiving fun gifts like the musical note earrings my daughter gave me because of our shared passion for music, and then the socks from her that tell me “I’m gorgeous, don’t change.” Wearing this kind of encouragement throughout the day is definitely a mood-booster.

I’m thankful for how I followed in Mom’s footsteps as my family indulges in sweet decadence once in a while, as well as baking for gifts. The plate of cookies are oatmeal chocolate chip, so don’t be shy! The cake was for a birthday: lemon with raspberry filling and buttercream frosting (all homemade). I also look forward to our relaxing patio time where we can talk about the day, make plans for tomorrow, and clink our glasses to celebrate being healthy and employed in these Covid times.

And then there are books! Can’t live without the exciting and adventurous worlds they draw me into. My son gave me “Little Fires Everywhere” not knowing anything about it. It turned out to be an engrossing and riveting read, and the mini series starring Reese Weatherperson and Kerry Washington was just as captivating. I found “Nineteen Minutes” listed on one of Stephen King’s book recommendations and am half-way through it. Can’t put it down either, but I must so that I can write this post! I highly recommend both books.

You see Copper lying on the bed…he was also enjoying “Little Fires Everywhere.” He is diligent in practicing how to relax and has become very good at it. 🙂 The love and joy this big puppy gives us is priceless. Oh, and look at Mini! As a child, I lived in Anaheim with Disneyland in my backyard. So, Mickey and Mini will always have a special place in my heart.

Nature provides serenity. It calms and emboldens us to look deeply within ourselves. It is a teacher of simplistic living, especially while backpacking. The sunset was taken at one of our favorite campgrounds, Look Lake – a gorgeous body of water in the Sierra without the crowds. The other photo is of Spider Lake that is a higher elevation, and I’m happy to report not one spider was found! Both destinations were perfect to take in the beauty around us, to spend time together, and to simply be. No technology, just a tent, a couple of chairs, and a picnic table. This is what we love to do, and we hope to venture onto the trails as long as our bodies will allow.

I hope you enjoyed these samples of some things in life that bring me joy – the list is never-ending. What do you lean towards in these times of uncertainty? What brings you calm? What turns your frown upside down? What makes you chuckle? Do you find that some of these photos bring you joy, too?

Wishing you a wonderful Friday and much joy in your days ahead,
Lauren
💗🎉💗🎉

An Ugly Pattern

George Floyd display May 2020

Fires

Sparked by distress –

A wound never mended.

The days are not tearless. Have we

Not seen

those same hot flames from nightmares of

yesteryear’s pleading cries?

Let change take root.

Listen.

spreading love in the neighborhood

 

The recent tragedy of George Floyd’s murder and the civil unrest that followed inspired me to jot down the various thoughts whirling around in my mind. I have more to say noted on the pages in my journal. But instead, I chose to try a another new form of poetry: a butterfly cinquain. So my words are few, but the message is huge.

Then yesterday on my walk with Copper, I came across these two displays – both profound and moving in their own ways. I couldn’t walk by without taking photos, so I give credit to my compassionate neighbors for acknowledging the ongoing injustice and the senseless murder of George Floyd, and for spreading much-needed love. This heart is one of many on a sidewalk that I admire everyday, and the collection began when Covid wormed its way into our lives. Even so, spreading the Love is part of the solution in every situation that brings pain. I thought this beautiful heart was a fitting end to what I’ve tried to convey. 

My heart is still heavy, but Hope for change is not lost. 💗

Lauren Scott (c) 2020