Roses

Flowers can be a selfless gift of love and appreciation, a thought of kindness and outreach or of sorrow and reparation.

Roses carry their own special quality of thought and class.

Receiving roses whether they be red, white, pink, coral or deep, flaming intense purple all have a story to tell.

Throughout life occasions occur where roses seem to fit.

Roses are the thorny, crowning, blooming, delicate flower in the garden.

Roses may be my favorite – take a moment to find yours.

Big Easy Antithesis

Spending the day enjoying Jackson Square in historic New Orleans, Louisiana offers gaudy and decadent entertainment along with intelligent enrichment.

New Orleans is a city of intense contrasts. Luxury automobiles speed down cobblestone streets while gaunt-looking carriage horses pull tourist-filled wooden street carts down asphalt boulevards. Scantily-clad beauties prance casually across the portico of historic churches while greasy, dirty, poorly-clad, unshaven men loiter on street corners that are briefly visited by smartly-tailored bride grooms walking to their wedding ceremony.

The St. Louis Cathedral, centrally located in Jackson Square with its memorable architecture and historic past, is an anchor for these contrasts. Pedestrians intermingling activities congeal with the trolley car ramblings. Local artists display the electric, neon portraits along the rod iron fence that encases the sedate statues of the past.

Jackson Squares’ stark contrast continues with the indiscriminate shops that frame it. These stores, that are occupied by conversant proprietors, are the true keepers of the historic encounters of the culturally diverse attitudes of N.O. Their presence is often muted by the glaring tunes of the French Creole street bands and spontaneous Cajun lyrics and rhythm of homegrown tunes.

One such shop owner was at her designated position the festive afternoon I and my friend entered the subdued, unpretentious book store located at 624 Pirates Alley. This quaint literary boutique offered a welcome respite from the auditory and visual assault offered by the festive revelry of the weekend entertainers of Jackson Square.

The wizen, literary proprietor rose from her patine-covered chair as we entered the book store. I asked the rhetorical question – “Is this really a William Faulkner book store?” Her eyes twinkled and the corners of her mouth revealed an understanding smile as she slowly inhaled the idea. “Yes. He actually rented these two rooms in the early 1900’s while he wrote the novel Mosquitoes.”

She graciously conducted a tour of the quaint, cozy rooms with an easy, yet grand, sweeping of her arm as she circled the room. The space was compact so we completed the tour without leaving our initial stance.

Faulkner’s literary collection was audaciously displayed in the middle of the rooms yet they seemed to consume the entire shop by their understated prominence. The sparse book store quickly appeared scanty in trying to contain Faulkner’s substantive collection of literature.

After reviewing the assortment of Faulkner publications, I chose the book entitled – Mosquitoes, an in-depth description of people in isolation relating to each other in an unpretentious manner. The book was not bedazzled with jewels or inscribed with quaint tourist logos but it was a treasure for me. It filled up my senses of sight and sound much like eating a warm, toasty beignet from Cafe’ Du Monde Original French Market Coffee Stand fills up the sense of taste and touch – they are both delicious.

Smiles

Reading a review of the award-winning children’s book Runaway Smile and imaging the ants “windsurfing across a bowl of milk during the windy season” brought a smile to my face.

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Valentine’s Day gave you an opportunity to express your love, appreciation and tender feelings for others.  Receiving gifts on this loving occasion generally brings a smile to your face.

When you feel happy you release endorphins, neurotransmitters, which have a positive effect on your health.  Smiling makes you feel happy.

Faking a smile or laugh works as well as the real thing – the brain doesn’t distinguish between real or fake as it interprets the position of face muscles the same way.

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The more you stimulate your brain to release endorphins the more often you feel happier and relaxed.

Endorphins act as the body’s natural pain killers offering relief for chronic pain.  Therefore, smiling and laughing can be an effective pain management tool.

So, when you smile there are positive physiological changes occurring inside your body without your knowledge.

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When you want to read a good book look at Runaway Smile by Nicholas Rossis  – put a smile on your face.

 

 

Anticipation

We enter a New Year with a decade attached.

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Hopes are high and resolutions sharp.

Anticipation drips off words and actions.

Verbosity and intention our worth.

Too much adrenaline may be our curse.

Enjoying the feeling sways easy.

Focusing attention skews the anticipation.

Throttle and measure the pedal of movement.

Counter annihilation of anticipation

and propel yourself on a true course of achievement.

Work in Progress

Just like our bodies are made to move, being healthy is dynamic.

When was the last time that you made a health mistake?  Did you correct yourself harshly or grant yourself a free pass?  Often when we’re trying to achieve our healthiest selves we hold ourselves to a level of perfection that’s impossible to reach.

Imagine that you’re a work in progress – you’re not done with yourself!!!

Medical literature and research give us some measurable goals to observe along our way.

  1. Failure can be a success – how else can we know what health areas to work on if we don’t fail at times? Failure is like a mirror that reflects back on us the area in need of improvement so that we can shift our health goals instead of quitting.
  2. Solutions may change when we look within ourselves – but that’s where the answer may be found, within ourselves.
  3. ‘Accepting it or Changing it’ is an attitude that any skilled counselor will profess. When we look at a situation that makes us unhappy adopting this method tends to take the stress off us and our lives.
  4. Take a ‘do-over.’  So we make a mistake, own it, apologize, make it better. The situation may be that we didn’t meet our buddy for a scheduled workout.  Okay, call them up, apologize, reschedule and offer to pick them up the next time and make sure that we keep the next appointment.
  5.  We’re changing, so look forward.  Rehashing mistakes is not in our gameplan.  Analyze our positive choices and realize that we can be whoever we determine to be.

We own this, so let’s give ourselves permission to proceed with our work in progress.

The Pumpkin Patch

Our neighborhood community garden has a pumpkin patch full of ripe, multi-colored, multi-sized gourds.

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I marvel at the variety of shapes in this garden yet each different fruit seems to occupy its own distinct place to make the garden a beautiful, restful place.  There are small, white gourds with deep ridges lying next to large, deep-yellow colored pumpkins marked with misshaped forms. Long-necked gourds snuggle next to orange, perfectly round pumpkins that resemble artist-shaped displays. Surprisingly, this mismatched arrangement reveals a beautiful fall scene inviting a restful reflection.

This garden is like a group of people – each one is different yet if you remove just one person the group loses its uniqueness.  I’ve learned that each person in a group has a unique function – there’s a leader, a follower, a secretary, a parliamentarian, a historian, an extrovert, an introvert and most importantly a janitor.

Everyone is important.

The historian may be irritated by the extroverts or the secretary might not like the leader, while the parliamentarian may question the motives of the historian but eventually, everyone will have to answer to the janitor.  However, if anyone is taken out of the group the business assigned to this class of people can’t be accomplished.  The members need to work together and everyone in the group is important – just like colorful gourds of the pumpkin patch.

Your spot in the pumpkin patch may be rocky and rough and dark orange and ugly looking or it may be sleek and round and bright yellow with perfectly shaped edges. Wherever your place is in the community garden it’s the perfect place for you.

Decrease Your Increase

It’s the end of a busy, stressful day your feet are tired and the blood pressure monitor would probably register high enough so that your doctor is concerned.  The fatty, salty burger you gobble for lunch is only partially digested because the hectic office environment keeps you jittery all afternoon.  Evening commute Interstate bumper-to-bumper traffic jams have cars backed up for ten miles. Your drive home is eventful enough: you don’t need the road construction barriers marking a detour at your highway exit.

Systems in your body that keep you safe from an imminent attack are now activated.  You’re ready to defend yourself and your family and your village and your entire community if and when the big, huge, ferocious, gnarly bear comes barreling down the mountainside to not only attack your but eat everything in sight.

Obviously, the bear isn’t coming but your body doesn’t know that because from your actions throughout the day you have told your body that indeed the bear IS coming and you must get ready for the attack.  Pulse, blood pressure, digestion, endocrine system, respiration, sight, hearing, tactile senses all are doing their appointed job to ready you for defense.

However, all you really want to do is slowly get out of your car, walk your tired feet into your cozy home, take a warm, soothing bath, eat a well-prepared, healthy evening meal and quickly fall asleep in your welcoming bed that sits in a darkened, quiet room.  You will sleep soundly knowing that tomorrow will be a stress-free day filled with opportunities for professional advancement and social enrichment.

I know you’ve heard that a good nights sleep is one of the keys to health.  Well, just as you perform certain habits when you get ready for work you should perform certain habits when you prepare for sleep.  You want to follow these simple steps:

  1. Squeeze in time during your workday for small snippets of physical exercise: it’s good “sleep hygiene.”
  2.  Cap your Nightcap – alcohol may keep you from staying asleep if you manage to initially fall asleep and it can worsen sleep apnea
  3.  Adjust the bedroom thermostat temperature to 65 degrees
  4.  Avoid a full stomach, so maybe cut down of that salty, fatty burger for lunch
  5.  Using technology just before bedtime signals your brain to wake up especially if the “blue light” is constantly blinking into your brain with its wake up signal. Turn off the “tech” devises at least 30 minutes before bedtime and dim the room lights

So, even if you’ve had that stressful, jittery, eventful, bumper-to-bumper day at work you can manage to decrease your increase stress, anxiety, attack-mode defense simply by implementing a few inexpensive little tricks that offer you high rewards both in your professional and physical life.

You’ll be well-rested so when your bear of a boss does come you’re ready for the attack.

 

Give It Away

When was the last time you gave something to someone that was good for their health?

We all read information about how to keep ourselves healthy – it’s usually while we’re reading through a magazine article in the waiting room of a doctor’s office or when a friend says to us “Ya just gotta read this great article about vitamins.”

But do we actually sit down with someone we care for and talk about health issues or share our time exploring the plethora of health-related item available for maintaining our health?

If we have the knowledge we should give it awaysomeone’s waiting.

Evidence-based, health-related, tried-and-true information needs to be passed around.

My challenge to you is starting tomorrow select one piece of tried-and-true, health-related information and give it away to someone in your life that makes you happy.

You’ll feel happy too!

Malleable

Having a capacity for adaptive change is Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary definition for malleable.

This remolding can be accomplished either by beating with a hammer or intentional pressure from an internal force.  However, both of these methods require that the shape being changed is flexible, elastic, fluid, adjustable and adaptable.

Gee!  That sounds like a shapeshifter.

Yet everyone can do it.

It simply takes desire, planning, and routine.

Sounds easy I know but these 3 steps are the basis of any change, such as:

  •  Desire to improve your health
  •  Plan to organize your personal workspace
  •  Establish a routine for your exercise workout

All these changes can be set in motion and you can be malleable quicker than a honey bee finding springs’ first hint of sweet nectar.

 

 

 

 

Customize

Each likes to design their personal space – a comfy chair, pretty flowers, favorite foods.

Often we customize our exercise routine too much and end up with ‘tunnel vision’ when it comes to an expanded viewpoint on alternatives.  Some swear by free weights.  Others use aerobics.  Still, others profess that it’s only truly pure if yoga tops the list.  Possibly, the answer lies in a combination of all.

The key is to get up and move!

Your body has multiple joints – head joints, neck joints, shoulder joints, arm joints, hand joints, finger joints, back joints, hip joints, knee joints, ankle joints, feet joints, and even your tiny toe has joints.

Customize your joints by keeping them healthy and you can show them off just like a shiny red sports car.