Good News Day 4: Rare Wildflower Superbloom Paints Death Valley in Brilliant Color (VIDEO)


Millions of wildflowers are blooming all at once in Death Valley National Park in a once in a decade ‘superbloom.’

Source: Rare Wildflower Superbloom Paints Death Valley in Brilliant Color (VIDEO)

Good News Day 2: A Kentucky Domestic Violence Shelter Helps Women Grow Food—and Confidence


IMG_4472 cropI can attest to the healing power of nature. Sometimes just a simple walk outside can make a huge difference in my mood and outlook on life. I also have a close friend who has experienced positive mental and physical health benefits from cultivating her own little farm. This article is wonderful news! ~Tricia

 


 

Many survivors of domestic violence have had their attempts at work and creativity sabotaged for years. On these 40 acres of rolling farmland, they’re being restored.

A version of this article originally appeared at edgeofchangeroadtrip.org.

As mist hovers over the rolling fields of Kentucky and the sun is still low in the sky, the women of Greenhouse 17 emerge from the house they share, clippers in hand. They spread out over a field and cut bouquets of fresh flowers.

The small farm and business on a 40-acre site outside Lexington, Kentucky, provides the women with both shelter and employment, giving them a chance to gain skills, confidence, and a renewed sense of self-worth…

Read the rest of this article at YesMagazine.org

40 Days of Good News


Dandelion fluffI have been so distressed about all the ugliness and hate in the news lately. The political stupidity, the hateful people, the ignorance, the cruelty. With my particularly level of empathy, I find all of this negatively affects me heavily.
I am not traditionally a “religious” person, but I am supremely spiritual, so I’m going to take advantage of this Christian season of Lent to try to shine a little “Good News” in the world. For the next 40 days, I will try to write or share one positive post a day. I hope that it helps those of you who, like me, are feeling discouraged and distressed by the state of the world.
I don’t intend this to draw attention away from the bad things happening. I believe that all of these things need to be made public and need to be addressed. I just also believe that maybe some of us need to be reminded of the good things that happen around us, too.
I hope this series helps spread a little love and light in the world, and perhaps heals you as it heals me.
Peace & Love,
Tricia

The Baby Dichotomy


angelBWI have to count myself as fortunate that most people who know my husband and I have stopped asking why we don’t have kids. Now that we’re in our 40s, and we still don’t have them, I think most either presume that we just don’t want them or they know the painful truth – that I have had four miscarriages. It took a long time to conceive, and they just did not last.

For each pregnancy, we were equally hopeful, equally terrified, and then equally devastated. In a society where amazing medical breakthroughs happen all the time, we are left with what minimal insurance we can afford through the Affordable Care Act. And even when we had decent insurance, the kinds of things that would help us conceive -and stay pregnant- are financially beyond our reach.

Now that I am in my 40s, other complications add themselves to the mix. How can a person who was a high risk pregnancy in her 20s and 30s pull off such a miracle over the age of 40? After the last one a few years ago I firmly decided I never wanted to go through that again. Since then, I have waffled back and forth on a monthly, weekly, sometimes even daily basis. I think about my younger self, raised in a society where little girls grew up, got married, and had babies. That part of me thinks of myself as an abject failure. The core sense of being a woman, of how I was supposed to be someone’s mom, is broken.

I spend a lot of time telling myself that now that we’ve been married 20+ years, living the “no kids lifestyle” for so, so long, that there is no way we could possibly even adjust to being parents now. Then I waffle back and think well, we adjust to my husband’s changing jobs and going back to college. We adjust to my own rather regular changes in career and life directions. We are not yet so old and set in our ways that adjusting to being parents would be impossible.

Then, I waffled back to, yeah, but holy crap each failure sucks so much, and I really, really don’t want to go through that again. Then I waffled back to yeah, but what if… What if I really am meant to be someone’s mom? What if this next time IS the right time? What if by waffling in the wrong direction, we are missing out on that important little person in our life? Then, I waffle back to, well, we don’t have very good insurance. How could we even financially afford the medical expenses that could likely result from the trying to make this one last effort stick?

white-lily-flowersMaybe we could adopt. This is something we’ve considered. But again, the financial uncertainty scares me. Other random fears like adopting a child with physical or mental/emotional troubles terrifies me. At the same time I realize that even a child of my own could have the same troubles, so that’s not really all that much of an excuse. Then, there is the decision of trying to adopt a baby, or adopting an older child, and all those different implications.

What is the answer? I don’t know yet. I suppose the clock really is ticking at this point and decisions should be made. I should, of course, better educate myself on some of my options. But naturally, we often find ourselves “too busy” for those things which are the really difficult, even painful, decisions.

Why do I even feel compelled to share this story with the unknown (and known) public? Many reasons, I suppose. First of all, I am fairly certain I not the first woman in history, or possibly even the only woman I know, going through this situation. I want to help others maybe feel less alone and dysfunctional, while helping myself feel less alone and dysfunctional in the process.

I was also intuitively compelled to share it. I’m not even entirely sure where it came from. Maybe one of those countless posts that go by on Facebook about the bond between a parent and child, or “share if you have awesome kids”. Maybe I’m not the only one sometimes tempted to share them because I think my fur kids are pretty awesome.

rain dropMaybe I share it because someone out there right now needed to know that they aren’t crazy for having the same waffling thought train.

Maybe someone else needed to read it and think twice before asking their friend or family member or coworker, for the countless number of times, why they don’t have kids yet.

Maybe someone else needs to see that a spiritual person working on walking a spiritual, awakened path does not always have their shit together as well as you might imagine.

Maybe it’s to help those naysayers who dispute continued efforts to improve and expand our healthcare system that it’s not just lazy, dysfunctional sponges that need help and access to better health and reproductive care, but every day, average, hard-working, loving human beings that could use a little more help preventing the massive financial burdens caused by health care expenses of every flavor.

Maybe it’s every one of these things, and more, that someone out there needs to hear. Meanwhile, I will go back to working on getting my shit together, while hopefully giving you a little more insight on your own…  (:

Love & Light

Vernal Equinox: Time to Grow Something New


vernal

“If you want to succeed, you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.” ~ John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

I like to think that many of us spend the winter like some of our mammal counterparts, hibernating in our snug homes awaiting spring. It’s been a particularly harsh winter in much of the US this year. Our versions of “hibernating” probably included a lot of time shoveling snow or just trying to make it to work.

However you hibernated, there’s a good chance that you’ve been putting off something that’s important to you, or something new that you’ve been meaning to do. It can be far too easy to stay in that hibernatey rut and keep up the routine of kind of slogging through our days that we fell into over the winter.

If the sun isn’t shining where you are, find hope in the fact that that it’s still up there, (and maybe even eclipsing, depending on where you are!), and the the days of darkness are behind us for a while. This is a great time to stop and reassess where you are and where you want to go. Are you still traveling on the same old familiar road, wondering why it never takes you anywhere new?

Shake off the snow and cold today, or whatever form your winter blahs take,  and make today the day you revisit your goals, start yourself on a new path, or get to work on that spring project you’ve been hibernating on all winter!

It’s the Little Things


forest smallOkay yes, it has been a while since I wrote anything. To be fair, it’s been a kind of hellacious summer, and to be honest, I’ve kind of let it get to me. However, recently I’ve decided that even if I don’t give myself time for much else, I need to at least take some time out for what I’ve been calling Nature Therapy. I’ve been making a point to get out and appreciate nature and the truly beautiful state that I live in, Maine.

Getting outside for a hike or a paddle changes my mindset, even if it’s only for a little while. I take my camera with me, and I go with the intent of finding and appreciating the wonder that is nature. I walk along, thinking about the flowers and critters and smelling the balsam fir and the fallen leaves. I listen to the songs of birds, the buzz of bees and frequent scolding from red squirrels. I revel in that non-silent silence that you find when you’re deep out on a trail with no modern distractions.

When I was preparing to finally get back to writing on this blog, I kind of first planned a bit of a rant about being judgmental, but I could not quite get it to flow the way I hoped. Two things changed my mind. red squirrelOne was this Sunday’s message from my minister, who spoke about “Something is Wrong”, and with it she spoke about the judgment and treatment of our fellow humans, and it gave me a different spin on the thought that I want to write about. So, watch for that coming up next. (You can listen to this message here. This particular message starts at 11:30)

The other thing was that afternoon’s walk in the forest, where I had an entertaining encounter with a red squirrel and another one with a damselfly, and I realized that what the world needs now is good news. It made me think that sometimes what we need are the little things to help us change our mindset, turn down a different path, or look at the world in a slightly different light.

I decided that one of the things I would start doing on this blog is also writing up some of the entertaining things that end up happening to me on my walks in nature. A reminder to everyone to take the time out, find your nature therapy or book therapy or whatever little thing makes your world even just a little bit better.

spiderwebA reminder that sometimes when you’re trying to see the forest for the trees or staying on the path, because that’s how you get to the end, you miss the journey. You miss the cheeky red squirrel, the ambling porcupine or the spider web glistening with rain drops.

So, yes, I will write about personal and social responsibility and growth, but I’ll also take the time to share some of my nature therapy with you, in the hopes that it will help inspire you to go experience some of your own.

Peace & Hope

Tricia

The Politics of Compromise


I don’t proclaim to know very much about politics.

Don’t get me wrong, I do understand how a bill becomes a law (Thanks to School House Rock!) and understand the branches of government and checks and balances and all that. What I am not, however, is a politician.

I have my opinions and beliefs, like everyone else, but I am not good at debating them. I have friends with polar opposite beliefs from me, and I tried very, very hard this campaign season to avoid most of the political topics for that reason. I guess because at heart I’m a pacifist and don’t want to start fights or hurt feelings. Probably also because I am empathic and my sensitivity to emotions makes me avoid fights, arguments, disagreements at all costs.

I believe that part of what makes America great is that we are all entitled to our opinions and are allowed to voice them without fear of death (for the most part). I think that what I am missing, and maybe what the country is missing, is the ability to calmly discuss these differences of opinion. Maybe you enjoy a good political rant, or get your jollies from a heated argument about policies, but it stresses me out.

Maybe because over the years I have naturally gravitated towards the desire to neutralize volatile situations, as I work with people I try to put a neutral balance to situations. It seems to me that politics could benefit from this mindset. It would be nice if we could drop the incendiary rhetoric and consider a more rational discussion.

Our country has clawed out way out of much worse situations in the last 236 years. There have been much harsher differences of opinion over the decades, as we built our country and rebuilt our country, fought for our freedom and fought for civil rights. Through all of it, it was when the leaders of our country worked together, listened to each other, and yes, argued, but found compromise, that great things were accomplished. When they paid attention the basic foundation set forth by the Declaration of Independence and the most basic ideals the country was built on, that was when we grew, and changed, and became stronger.

Change comes slowly, but it cannot be stopped. Countries older than the US remain stagnated in old traditions, creating far worse civil unrest and violence than we have seen here in our short history. It is not one person’s responsibility to make things better or worse, that responsibility belongs to all of us. That is what separates us from so much of the rest of the world.

My wish, as we sweep up the mess left behind from the political campaigns, finish celebrating, finish licking our wounds, is that perhaps politics can become less of a matter of “Your side is wrong, my side is right.” and more “How can we work together to make things right?”. Change is not going to come if all each party manages to accomplish is to successfully block what the other party is doing.

We the people have the power to take the first rational steps.

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