Day 4: Spend an Hour Coloring

After a full, fun day, I was grateful for the hygge activity I selected this morning. I drew this slip of paper:

Spend an hour coloring.

Coloring, especially for adults, was a hot trend a couple of years ago. I don’t hear as much about it currently, however, it is a meditative art form that I still enjoy. I brewed a cup of hibiscus tea, sliced up an apple and gathered supplies.

Day 4: Spend an Hour Coloring

A Coloring Book and Page Chooses Me

In keeping with the game I am playing, I picked up the first coloring book that I saw as I walked into my studio. Enchanted Forest, by Johanna Bradford, snagged my attention. Perfect. My word for 2019 is Enchanted.

Holding the book in both hands I opened to a page, randomly, and laughed. A variety of feathers filled the space. The feather quill is my symbol for this year.

What an accurate portrayal of where I am at this very moment…poised between two worlds. I inhabit that shifting space of overlapping energy as this year ticks down and the next year invites me in.

Day 4: Spend an Hour Coloring

Spend an Hour Coloring

Tonight I took my task very literally. With my hot tea, apples and Crayola colored pencils arranged nearby, I glanced at the clock and began a countdown. I didn’t feel hurried. I knew I would not complete the coloring page in 60 minutes. That wasn’t the point of the activity.

The point was to lose myself in the gentle art of coloring. I enjoy selecting color combos and laying the color down on the page. Shading is something I’ve always done, even when I was a child with a box of waxy crayons. I build color up, and smooth it out, highlighting a section here, shading a bit there.

As I color, my heart rate slows, as does my breathing. My soul expands, my mind quiets and then ponders deeper mysteries.

Da 4: Spend an Hour Coloring

Exchanging Time

My mind focused in on my choice of words, written on the slip of paper. Spend an hour coloring. Spend… Why did I choose that particular word, spend? Why not Color for an Hour? I almost changed the title of the post to the simplified version.

But my mind kept turning over the word spend. The word comes from the Latin expendere, which literally means pay out. I paid out an hour of my time this evening, an hour out of the 24 I was allotted today, in exchange for the simple and satisfying pleasure of coloring.

That realization gave me a fresh perspective. I’ll exchange more of my time, to explore and develop this line of thought. Tonight as I closed my coloring book, and took a deep breath, I declared this:

May I wisely spend the hours and days and months that I have, creating the life I most want to experience. My currency is precious. And it is limited in this life although my soul is boundless. Coloring was worth an hour of my time, in part because of the truths uncovered. May all that I pursue be counted as worthy.

Day 4: Spend an Hour Coloring

Day 3: Switch Bedroom to Fall Décor

I confess that when I drew out a hygge activity this morning, I was hoping for a particular one. I already knew what I would do to carry out that action. And of course, I could have simply fished around in the dish and found the activity I was thinking of. But that’s not the way this game works.

I closed my eyes and drew this action;

Switch bedroom to fall décor.

That’s not the paper I had hoped for, however it was the perfect fall hygge activity for me today.

Day 3: Switch Bedroom to Fall Décor

Clean Sweep

This afternoon, I began the task of removing the summery bedding and décor from my room. With my iPhone playlist on shuffle, I hummed along as I said goodbye to summer and a hearty welcome to fall.

In moments, I was thoroughly into the seasonal switch. With items cleared from surfaces, I could easily dust so the activity became about cleaning and tossing and gathering stuff for donation as much as redecorating.

I love how the energy in a room rises in connection with removing clutter and tidying up. Even though the fall colors in my bedroom are darker, the space felt lighter and brighter.

Day 3: Switch Bedroom to Fall Décor

Day 3: Switch Bedroom to Fall Décor

Fall Décor

I swapped out blues, greens, pinks and light yellows for reds, golds, rust and orange, with black accents. Beginning with the vintage suitcase, I reset vignettes and arranged fresh displays as I moved around the room.

Fall colors are my favorite. The rich vivid hues create warmth and a strong sense of coziness, which is what hygge is all about.

It’s too warm still for flannel sheets and blankets on the bed. However, I traded the lightweight summer quilt for a vintage coverlet that Greg’s grandmother made many years ago, and topped it with a quilt my younger daughter Adriel gifted to me 17 years ago. She made the quilt and matching pillow shams herself, with a little help from my mom. As I smoothed the quilt onto the bed I smiled as I thought about Adriel.

Day 3: Switch Bedroom to Fall Décor

Day 3: Switch Bedroom to Fall Décor

Next Change, Holiday Décor

Candles lit, I surveyed my finished work. It might be 93 degrees outside however in my bedroom it is fall. The temperatures outside will agree with this inner declaration soon enough.

The soft glow of candlelight revealed gleaming surfaces and favorite seasonal items. I recognized the overwhelming feeling of gratitude that welled up within as a sure signal that this activity was the right one for today.

My room is warm and inviting, peaceful and joyful, and it provides the ideal backdrop for restful slumber and lofty daydreams.

I realized too that the next reset that I do will involve holiday décor. How quickly this year has flown by. And how eagerly I anticipate the new year. Great things are in motion. The Dream Giver is calling to me, just around the river bend.

Day 3: Switch Bedroom to Fall Décor

Day 2: Go on a Nature Walk and Collect Treasures

An important aspect of hygge is being outdoors and enjoying nature. For every hygge challenge that I do, I make sure to include outdoor activities.

This morning I randomly selected this folded slip of paper:

Go on a Nature Walk and Collect Treasures

Day 2: Go on a Nature Walk and Collect Treasures

Walking in Nature

I selected the river path, in Wildcat Park south of Joplin, as my destination late this afternoon. A stroll along the river, on this warm day, was inviting even if it wasn’t any cooler by the water. Hearing the gurgle of the river as I walked was soothing and grounding.

I carried a canvas bag, brought home from Edinburgh, Scotland, to collect treasures in. I was open to finding seeds, nuts, leaves, twigs, rocks and feathers.

Instead of bagging them, I collected treasures through my iPhone camera.

Day 2: Go on a Nature Walk and Collect Treasures

Collecting Treasures

In spite of the heat, there were hints of fall evident. Leaves littered the path, grasses waved their tassels, and acorn pieces were scattered in the grass. The squirrels were busy feasting and gathering.

Day 2: Go on a Nature Walk and Collect Treasures The river was one of my companions as I walked. Greg was the other.

Day 2: Go on a Nature Walk and Collect Treasures Beauty abounded.

Day 2: Go on a Nature Walk and Collect Treasures Wildflowers are still in bloom.

Day 2: Go on a Nature Walk and Collect Treasures These Canadian geese have not headed south yet.

Day 2: Go on a Nature Walk and Collect Treasures A golden afternoon.

Day 2: Go on a Nature Walk and Collect TreasuresThe sunbathing turtle proved skittish, but this water snake continued to bask in the sun. He’s non poisonous.

Day 2: Go on a Nature Walk and Collect TreasuresThe trees along the path were festooned with delicate webs. Fat brown spiders patiently waited.

Day 2: Go on a Nature Walk and Collect TreasuresThis huge old sycamore tree stood as a sentinel at the head of the path.

Day 2: Go on a Nature Walk and Collect TreasuresMetal treasure.

Leaving Nature Where It Is

By the end of my nature walk I had placed two treasures in my canvas bag…a nut and a small odd piece of metal that was half buried in the ground. Greg pried it loose for me. I fancied the rectangle of metal and I convinced myself that I likely prevented someone from tripping over it.

Instead of carting items home, I chose to leave nature where it was, outdoors, so that others could appreciate its beauty. I have my photos.

Day 2 of the 7 day fall hygge challenge is finished. I am enriched by the stroll through nature and by the treasures I collected in my heart.

Day 2: Go on a Nature Walk and Collect Treasures

Day 1: Create a New Fall Vignette

In spite of warm muggy weather today that belies the fact that fall begins this weekend, I excitedly drew my first hygge activity to welcome in the new season.

For this game that I play, I randomly select a folded slip of paper from the container, and follow the directions. This morning I picked this action from the little ceramic nut dish.

Create a new fall vignette.

Day 1: Create a New Fall Vignette

Starting Afresh

After retrieving my box of fall decorations, I selected the vintage wooden sieve on my dining room table as the focus of my reset. This old sieve is not a family heirloom. I purchased it five years ago at an antique store. However, I love this unique piece. It makes a great container to create vignettes within.

I cleared away the summer items from the table and the sieve, and opened to possibilities. My rules for creating fresh displays are simple: use what I already have on hand, try new combinations of items, and have fun.

Day 1: Create a New Fall Vignette

Day 1: Create a New Fall Vignette

Creating a Fall Vignette

Color sets the mood for each vignette. Gone were the blues and greens of summer. I brought in a richly hued table runner, and swapped out green plates for yellow ones. A gold cloth provides a backdrop within the sieve. Pumpkins surrounded by miniature wreaths rest beneath the wire cloches.

I knew I wanted to include the nut dish that belonged to my grandparents. This is the fun part, then. I try out various items as I create the vignette, studying combinations and effects. Digging through my fall storage box, I gathered several pieces and set them on the table.

I keep the display simple, using the “rule of three” to prevent overcrowding the space. As I shifted pieces in and out of the sieve, the vignette came together quickly.

Day 1: Create a New Fall Vignette

Day 1: Create a New Fall Vignette

Vignette Pieces

The mercury glass vase, which when twisted around, has a Christmas motif on the front, does fall duty here. Sprigs of autumn berries decorated with tiny rusty metal stars fill the vase. A footed enameled metal dish holds a small spice scented candle, encircled by wooden acorns.

A garland of red, orange and clear beads completes the interior of the sieve. Resting nearby is a rust colored votive holder, adorned with a wooden cut out leaf, and two more acorns. Light is a very important element in my vignettes. I always include at least one candle.

I’m happy with this vignette, the first acknowledgement of fall in my house, and the first hygge activity of the season. The cozy display makes me smile, and it reminds me that cooler weather is coming!

Day 1: Create a New Fall Vignette

Oklahoma Scotfest 2018

My Scottish blood got to sing today, and rejoice in the soulful sound of bagpipes, in neighboring Oklahoma. Greg and I joined my sisters, nieces, nephews and their children at the Oklahoma Scotfest 2018, in Broken Arrow.

OK Scotfest 2018

OK Scotfest

This annual event, which draws more than 25,000 participants, is a celebration of Celtic heritage, music and history. The festival features Scottish clans, set up in booths, athletic competitions, drum and pipe bands, Scottish and American food, and vendors selling a variety of Scottish wares. Traditional folk music as well as Scotrock is performed throughout the three days of the event, in stages set up in tents.

For the first time my Scottish clan, the Maitland Clan, set up a booth. My family and I had the pleasure of meeting another clan member, Annette. We enjoyed chatting and getting to know her.

OK Scotfest 2018

Photos from Scotfest

Here are highlights from the fun day:

OK Scotfest 2018The clan tartans on display.

OK Scotfest 2018Doing genealogy research, Greg has discovered a Scottish connection to the Buchanan Clan.

OK Scotfest 2018We enjoyed watching border collies compete to herd sheep. The dogs respond to whistled commands from their owners.

OK Scotfest 2018Look at these cuties! Weston and Lola arrived in kilts.

OK Scotfest 2018These handsome boys purchased their kilts at the event. Later Ethan and Kaleb wore their kilts to a Cub Scouts meeting and used the experience as a teaching opportunity to explain what a kilt is.

OK Scotfest 2018Athletes from around the world competed in Highland games.

OK Scotfest 2018Pipers and drummers preparing to perform. I absolutely love the sound of bagpipes.

OK Scotfest 2018The band Wicked Tinkers performs in the main tent.

Scotfest Opportunities

The festival provided wonderful opportunities to step into Scottish culture, in the middle of the US, and learn more about my heritage. It was especially fun to share the day with family and make new friends.

I loved the busy and rowdy atmosphere, the many colorful tartans on display, and the ever present wail of bagpipes. That sound stirs a deep response in my soul and calls to me. It is an invitation to return home, to Scotland.

Soon, I whisper. Soon.

OK Scotfest 2018

Fall Hygge List

This afternoon, I googled to see when fall begins. It’s September 22, in case anyone else wants to know. This year I have practiced a week of hygge activities, to welcome each new season. Thinking about the two weeks ahead, I wondered when I would have time to focus on the Danish custom of hygge, which is by definition a lifestyle that celebrates living in the moment, finding beauty in simplicity and nurturing yourself and others with coziness.

The fact that I considered not welcoming fall with a week of hygge showed me just how much I need to slow down and nurture myself.

Fall Hygge List

Fall hygge list

Continuing the tradition that I began in the spring, I cut 16 strips of paper and wrote a fall appropriate hygge (pronounced hue•gah) activity on each one.

My list includes cozy inducing actions such as:

• create a fall themed front porch • choose a new book/author to read • create a cozy reading nook • go on a nature walk and collect treasures • make apple cider • wear a neck scarf all day • enjoy an outdoor fire with healthy snacks and a hot drink • plant bulbs in the garden • make a new fall soup or chili – plant based of course

Fall Hygge List

Fall Hygge List


Hygge randomness

Another tradition that I instigated with the summer season involves creating more than a week’s worth of activities. The slips of paper, 16 for fall, are folded and dropped into a container. Each day during Hygge Week I randomly select an activity and carry it out.

I enjoy this form of creative play. The Divine plays along with me and I always select the perfect action for the day, even if I initially think otherwise. This game grows my faith and my trust.

As I considered which container to use for these slips of paper, desiring something “fallish”, one popped into my mind. I dug the ceramic container out of the closet and smiled. The squirrel nut dish belonged to my maternal grandparents. Grandma kept mints, nuts or candies in the dish, and Pop continued that tradition after her death. After he too stepped into eternity, the dish came home with me.

The sassy little squirrel atop the walnut brings me joy. Looking at him I am reminded of my grandparents, who would surely approve of creating more coziness, simplicity and nurturing in my life.

The fall hygge list, cut into strips of paper, rests within the vintage covered dish. I’ll begin Fall Hygge Week on Monday and count down the days to autumn, which begins next Saturday. I’m grateful for hygge and that I am honoring my own tradition, especially when it feels like I am too busy to do so. It’s going to be a great week.

Fall Hygge List

55 Years Cradling Plants

I use a variety of interesting containers in my backyard garden. Along with standard clay flowerpots, I make use of metal buckets, wash tubs, tree stumps, and even a toolbox. One of my favorite containers is a green and white pot handed down to me from my mom. It has spent 55 years cradling plants.

55 Years Cradling Plants

Container for house plants

I’m not sure what the exact age is, of this vintage container. As a small child the southwestern style flowerpot sat in various corners of our Tulsa, Oklahoma home, and I am 60 now. My mom always grew a species of plant within it commonly known as the snake plant or mother-in-law’s tongue. This tough house plant is easy to grow and thrives with little care.

First cultivated in China, the snake plant was treasured because people thought it bestowed eight virtues on those who grew it. Those virtues include long life, prosperity, intelligence, beauty, art, poetry, health, and strength. The plants were kept near the front doors of the home so that the eight virtues could circulate throughout the house.

I wonder if Mom knew this? Our snake plant most often resided in the foyer.

55 Years Cradling Plants

Cherished flowerpot for my plants

When we moved, this flowerpot moved with us, to fresh houses and new towns in different states. Eventually the container came to me. Mom knew I would keep green beauties growing within it.

And I have.

I switched out the snake plants for colorful portulaca, also known as sun roses or moss roses. These plants are just as easy to grow and care for. For years the old pot sat on my covered front deck or rested solidly among flowers growing in beds around the house.

Five years ago, when I created my backyard paradise, I moved the container to the area just inside the garden gate. It lends color with its spill of blooms and it anchors the area, filled primarily with ground covers such as creeping jenny and phlox. It’s an anchor for my heart and soul as well. Every time I see the now vintage container, or water the plants tucked inside, I think of my mom and my childhood. This pot has stood as a silent witness to many events and changes. It is dear to me.

55 Years Cradling Plants The container’s most recent home. Photo taken before the ground cover filled in the area.

New location new plants

As I watered and pulled weeds this evening, I knelt down next to this vintage container and rested my hands upon it. The setting sun kissed the rounded sides, warming them and creating a soft reflective glow. Energy hummed beneath my hands.

Because of its age, I made the decision to relocate the flowerpot indoors this fall, where it will be protected from the cold weather. And just as suddenly, I knew what to transplant into the pot.

How appropriate it feels to grow snake plants in the container again, bringing the flowerpot full circle. Inspired by my research tonight, I’m delighted to plop my freshly planted container near the front door where, feng shui style, the eight virtues can be unleashed within my home. I’m smiling already, thinking of this change. My old container…55 years cradling plants…and counting.

55 Years Cradling Plants

Michelle’s Love Letter

Several years ago I came across a delightful organization. Its purpose is to contribute to the betterment of the world by sending out love letters to strangers. Instead of texts or emails the sender handwrites an old fashion letter and sends it to a person who collects the mail and delivers the bundle to the recipient.

The organization, More Love Letters, send out requests throughout the year. And they run a special campaign during the holiday season, mindful that it is a difficult time of year for many. Their solution for seasonal sadness? Offer more love.

Michelle’s Love Letter

Meet Michelle

I received an email from More Love Letters with a request for mail for a young girl named Michelle. My heart was touched, as it always is when a child is sad or hurting.

I happily wrote Michelle a note and drew hearts on the envelope that I then colored in. The thought came to me to use this post tonight to request more love letters for this dear soul.

Here is Michelle’s story, sent in by her sister:

“My little sister, Michelle, is eleven years old. She has been diagnosed with depression and separation anxiety, and is having a super rough time. My parents are getting divorced and they fight constantly in front of her. Michelle is doing poorly in school, has been antisocial lately, and she often has to take a side in conflicts. She doesn’t want to eat, go anywhere, or talk to me. She has also been making dark jokes lately–I think to try to make herself feel better about her situation.

I want Michelle to know she’s not alone, and there are many people whose parents separate or get divorced. I want her to know that it’s okay, and that she is still loved, and that this is not her fault.”

Let’s join Michelle’s sister in telling her that she is not alone, we’re right there with her!

Letters are welcome in English, French and Spanish!

Michelle’s Love Letter

Michelle’s Love Letter

Michelle’s Letter

I wrote an encouraging note to Michelle, telling her that she is amazing, thought of and loved. As I searched for a pen in my writing table drawer, I found a box of Sneaky Cards. These game cards are made to be passed on to someone else, who completes the task on the card and then passes it on to another person, and so on.

Inspiration struck and I selected a fun card to include with the note. I don’t know if Michelle likes to bake or make treats. However, this card drew me. I’m trusting that intuition and the Divine are guiding me.

Michelle’s Love Letter

More Love Letters

If you feel compassion for this child, and want to brighten her day, please join me in sending Michelle a love letter or note. It does not have to be a long letter nor do you have to offer advice.

Just let your heart dictate the words that your hand writes. Send her sincere encouragement, tell a short story, or simply mail a greeting card with your signature. Every letter arrives with love and good intentions and positive, life changing energy.

Send letters to:

Michelle’s bundle

℅ Denisse C.

8118 Albacore Drive

Apt 16

Houston, TX 77074


Make a difference in Michelle’s life. And check out More Love Letters and get on their notification list, if you would enjoy making a difference in the lives of others.

There are so many hurting people in the world. The world needs more love letters, and kind hearted writers to send them.

Michelle’s Love Letter

Movie Review Crazy Rich Asians

In between appointments today, I slipped away to catch an early showing of a film I’ve been wanting to see. Perhaps because the matinee was just after lunch, or maybe because the movie has been out for a couple of weeks, I had the large theater auditorium to myself. As the lights dimmed the experience felt like a private showing. This is a movie review of Crazy Rich Asians.

Movie Cast

Crazy Rich Asians stars Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh, Jemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Awkwafina, Sonoya Mizuno, Chris Pang and Pierre Png. This romantic comedy, directed by Jon M. Chu, is based upon the novel by the same name, written by Kevin Kwan. The film carries a PG-13 rating, for adult themes and mild language, and has a run time of 2 hours.

Movie Summary

Rachel Chu (Wu), an economics professor in NYC, travels east with her boyfriend of one year, Nick Young (Golding). Nick’s best friend Colin (Pang) is marrying his sweetheart, Araminta (Mizuno) and Nick is the best man. When Rachel hears “out east” she pictures Queens. In reality, east is Singapore.

Rachel’s first clue that there are things she does not know about her boyfriend comes when the pair is seated in a luxurious first class suite aboard the airplane. During the flight she discovers that Nick’s family is wealthier than she imagined.

Movie Review Crazy Rich Asians

After arriving in Singapore, Nick and Rachel are met by the soon to be married couple. They enjoy an evening together exploring the city, dining on exquisite street vendor food, and chatting.

The next day Rachel plans to meet Nick at his grandmother’s house for a family dinner. She spends the day visiting with a former college roommate, Peik Lin Goh (Awkwafina), and her eccentric family. During lunch she mentions her boyfriend’s name, shocking her friend. Thereafter, Rachel finds out that Nick’s family is one of the wealthiest in Singapore with vast business and real estate holdings.

Nervous about meeting the Young family, Rachel allows Peik Lin to loan her a formal gown to wear to the dinner and to chauffeur her to the grand estate. There she meets Nick’s sad but beautiful cousin Astrid (Chan) and her husband Michael (Png), his disapproving mother Eleanor (Yeoh) and the matriarch of the family, Nick’s grandmother Ah Ma (Lu).

Movie Review Crazy Rich Asians

Eleanor immediately dislikes Rachel and makes her feelings known. She frowns upon Rachel’s American birth and the single mom who raised her. Eleanor intends for her son to take over the family businesses and to marry a woman more suited to the traditional Chinese way of life. Consequently, she views Rachel as being too ambitious and ridicules her for chasing after her passion, which is to teach economics to college students.

Far from home and a familiar life, Rachel is surrounded by jealous young women who had hoped to catch Singapore’s most eligible bachelor, suspicious members of the Young family, and a culture that differs greatly from her own. Is her love for Nick, and his for her, strong enough to survive such overwhelming challenges?

Movie Review Crazy Rich Asians

My Thoughts About the Movie

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The story is very much a Cinderella one, with such a reference made during an extravagant ball-like party. The “evil” family members, however, are all on the boyfriend’s side. The characters are more complex than just being good or evil. Eleanor’s backstory reveals why she reacts so strongly to her son’s girlfriend.

The visual impact of the movie is one of opulence, with brilliant cinematography accompanied by a lively musical score. There is a classical feel to the film, reminiscent of the movies I grew up watching as a child.

And while the story of poor girl meets rich boy is familiar, there is freshness throughout the film with beautiful Singapore providing a textured backdrop and cultural interest. Chinese Americans differ from those in Singapore, giving me the impression that the former don’t quite fit in anywhere.

Movie Review Crazy Rich Asians

Awkwafina was a joy to watch as Rachel’s friend. She provides a great deal of the humor in the film. Constance carries the role of Rachel well, in a deliberately understated way. And Michelle Yeoh, who plays Eleanor, is why I wanted to see this movie. I am familiar with her as a regular on Star Trek Discovery. She offers a powerful performance as a woman who honors tradition and wants the best for her son, and also fears losing him.

At its heart, this charming film is about relationships of all kinds…friendship, romance and family connections. As is true for most of us, it is the family relationships that most define us and challenge us. There is love amongst family, and heartbreak as well, and often sacrifice. Crazy Rich Asians offers thoughtful insights into all three.

Movie Review Crazy Rich Asians

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

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I recently saw a simple quote, a list of words really, that so resonated with me.

Travel. Learn. Grow.

Those words brilliantly capture what I love about traveling and why my heart sings when I visit new places. As I pondered the quote I came up with six ways travel helps me grow.

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

I had the opportunity in 2017 to visit four countries…Italy, Ireland, Scotland and England…during two separate trips. Those trips were so fun! Beyond enjoying travel, I experienced expansion and growth. This is what I learned.

Strangers can become family

I traveled to Italy in the company of my daughter Elissa and grandson Dayan. We joined with a group of other travelers from around the world. Not only did I learn new things as a result of the Italian culture, I learned from the people in the tour group. How amazing and enlightening to see Italy through my own eyes, and through the eyes of Australians, Iranians and a couple from India. Our diverse group very quickly formed strong family bonds.

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

Family can be strange

Just kidding! If we are strange, we consider that Divine. I traveled with a group on my second trip as well, all family members. I learned that it is very doable for five people to plan a trip that makes everyone happy. Ensuring each person has a say in the itinerary and gets to select favorite activities is important. We watched out for each other, listened, and made compromises if necessary. Above all, we looked for the adventure in each day.

Adventures appear in unexpected ways. Go with the flow.

Elissa, Dayan and I learned this truth immediately when storms in the Charlotte, North Carolina area caused our plane to reroute. As a result we missed our overseas flight. I had the choice of railing against what happened or staying open and watching for other opportunities. When we let go of expected outcomes and stayed open, miracles happened. We were among the few who flew out of Charlotte that night, thanks to the appearance of an angel named Jason who got us onboard a plane bound for London.

Getting lost can lead to finding what one is truly searching for.

In Scotland my brave sister Debbie drove us all over the country in a rental car. When the GPS system went awry, we ended up off our chosen route. And yet that’s when the magic happened and we encountered sights we did not expect to see. Because of our wandering, I got to cross several places and attractions off my wish list.

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

Embracing new experiences guarantees that more will arrive.

When traveling in a country for the first time, every sight, every experience is new. The food is different. The language requires concentration, even when it’s heavily accented English. And the culture is fresh whether it is ancient or constantly changing.

The less preconceived ideas I have about what I will experience, the more I learn and grow. In Italy I initially wasn’t excited about visiting the churches and cathedrals. These magnificent structures are the heart of every city and town, village and piazza. The architecture and the museum quality art within astonished and moved me. I would have missed incredible sights and opportunities if I had dismissed visiting those basilicas and chapels.

Travel enriches my life and expands my soul.

For me, nothing in this life is more expansive than seeing new places and meeting new people. The history, the magic, the mystery and noise and spirit of a place, all call to me. Each country that I visited has ancient stories, symbols, songs and art. It’s more than knowledge that I collect as I travel, it’s a knowing, a recognizing, and a greater awareness of the richness and diversity of life. I love watching people. And I love taking time for solitude and deep inner reflection.

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

Where to Travel to Next

For me, there are many reasons to travel. Learning and growing and becoming more expansive tops my list of why I travel and why I long to experience more. Wandering is in my blood, exploring in my DNA.

I am creating a life that allows my heart, soul and body to be untethered and free to roam about the planet. These six ways that travel helps me grow is just a beginning, as is the list of countries I intend to visit.

There are many places I want to explore and get to know. I have so much more to learn.

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

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Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow