Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

There are Fairies Here

“There are fairies here and, if you promise to be very quiet, you can see them!”

When I was quite young, our family was invited to a friend’s home. These people had two daughters about 12 and 13 years old and, when we arrived, this is what my younger sister and I were told. I recall walking into a darkened room where, on a table were a couple of shimmering lights that looked like tiny fairies! I was mesmerized. I recall nothing more of that night and it was never mentioned again, but the images and the mystery of what we saw remain with me to this day. It was a magical childhood experience.

While I’ve not had subsequent fairy sightings, I’ve always loved the idea of the existence of tinySprouts creatures such as elves and fairies. Many years later, I had the good fortune of meeting Frank and Bell Barr, who believe in the wonder of fairies and were actually making whimsical Faerie Houses for them! These little houses brought back that early childhood experience with fairies and the magic surrounding it. According to Frank and Bell, who use the Old French archaic spelling of faerie, they see their Faerie Houses as “physical incarnations of the Faerie spirit – a willing imagination, a playful heart, and an appreciation of the present moment.

Fairy house in garden copyAt the time, I was creating my gardens, based on Feng Shui principles, and teaching about Feng Shui gardening. I was so utterly charmed by these tiny faerie houses, I began adding them to my garden and recommending them for my client’s gardens. They add whimsy wherever they are placed and hold the energy of both movement (faeries flying in and out) and sound (a tiny bell is tucked into each). They also offer a moment of pause, providing an opportunity to let your imagination take over, if but for a minute.

When my townhome association made me remove a beautiful crabapple tree from my patio, I wasIMG_METAL TREE copy devastated! What had been a lovely landing place for songbirds became an empty void. Several months later, I was visiting a friend’s garden and noticed a metal tree sculpture “planted” in the middle of hosta. I thought it a solution to that void! I immediately purchased one, knowing I would fill it with faerie houses!

This month, Frank and Bell hosted an open house to celebrate their 20th anniversary of creating these enchanting houses. Their home is a perfect representation of their energy – a delightful environment filled with color and whimsy, intentionally designed to remind us our inner child, with its capacity for delight, awe and belief in magic, is always there!

In this month of Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful to Frank and Bell for the joy they create in the world and to the Faeries!Fairy01

Don’t Sweat the Big Stuff

44319818 - frozen chicken in the frost on the tableThe mantra, don’t sweat the big stuff, might be one to take to heart, especially this Thanksgiving. Remember the scene in the movie adaptation of the book, “Eat, Pray, Love” when it was discovered the turkey was not only not done, it wasn’t even thawed? A Thanksgiving nightmare! But, hey, don’t sweat the big stuff! Right? Unphased by what the majority of us would consider a catastrophe, the characters laughed (I suspect many of us would cry) and with good humor, joy and gratitude, sat down and feasted on the wonderful side dishes. P.S the turkey was eaten for breakfast the next morning!

The varied responses to our divisive 2016 post-election results suggest another type of Thanksgiving nightmare –   conflicting political views! Under normal circumstances, Thanksgiving gatherings traditionally bring their own set of stressors; this year suggests a potential for increased rancor. But, hey, don’t sweat the big stuff! Right?

Many ask how is that possible? Perhaps it is worth taking a step back to try for a little perspective. First, consider why many of us celebrate the Thanksgiving tradition? I like to think at some point during cooking, eating and watching football, we use this day to take at least a moment to reflect on our many blessings.

Second, we love the foods we traditionally associate with Thanksgiving. Food is a 46731368 - thanksgiving roast turkey dinnerpowerful source of Chi (energy), fueling and nourishing us physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Feng Shui belief reminds us the energy in the kitchen strongly influences the food that is being prepared. If the Chi of the kitchen becomes unbalanced because the cook is tired, stressed or upset, then everyone at the table will ingest that adverse energy. It’s not difficult to imagine what would happen to the Chi of the dining room should any family member or friend make the unfortunate decision to air their differing personal political views at the table. It’s a sure set up for bringing a pall of negative energy over the entire occasion. Being respectful allows everyone to enjoy these traditional dishes.

babyThird, and most important, consider how our lives have all been touched, to a greater or lesser degree, by personal events of 2016. There are those of us who have experienced the loss of a spouse or a parent; those who have joyfully welcomed the birth of a child or grandchild; a new reality has set in for some as a terminal illness makes for a last Thanksgiving; others are in recovery from cancer or surgery; loved ones may not be joining us because they’ve relocated; others will welcome a new family member to their table. We never know from one Thanksgiving to the next what life will bring.

Can we afford, for even a moment, to alienate friends or family members? Can we, instead, be thankful for and respectful of our differences, and celebrate our connections? Knowing the holidays can bring extraordinary pressures, can we consciously try for patience, and above all, a sense of humor?

After all, life is too short to sweat the big stuff!

VegI am thankful for life’s abundance, our connection to the earth, and to one another. This is an auspicious time to gather with those we hold dear, set aside our differences and practice harvesting love. Let us lovingly remember those who are no longer with us and hold very dear those who remain. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie



GrowingDuring this special time of Thanksgiving and acknowledgment of gratitude, I wish to share a book recommendation with you. It’s titled, Growing Through the Narrow Spots by Ruth Bachman. I’ve long since learned to pay attention to what shows up in my life and grabs my attention: a sudden awareness of the words to a song, a saying on a billboard or a bumper sticker, or, as in this case, a book title that jumps out at me. This particular title stirred an inner familiarity and it presented itself during an especially challenging personal time.

What are the narrow spots? Well, when I was a child, I found myself fascinated by the seemingly delicate flowers and weeds that pushed through the tiny cracks in the cement sidewalks in my hometown of Lubbock, Texas. Narrow spots were those tiny cracks in the sidewalk. As an adult, I became aware of the narrow spots in the sidewalk of life.Pansy02a

Every day life lessons! Many small, many big! Challenges that seemingly knock us off course and require our immediate attention and a shift in awareness: gratitude for the gift of health when a health challenge occurs; gratitude for the gift of friendship and family when a loss occurs; gratitude for our homes that nourish and protect us until the loss of that home. The list is endless of the blessings in our lives we take for granted until they are challenged or lost. These are the narrow spots – when life closes in – requiring us to navigate differently. And, if we’re fortunate and pay attention to our personal GPS, the gift, when all is said and done, may be an endless supply of gratitude.

 Can you see the holiness in those things you take for granted – a paved road or a washing machine? If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul. Rabbi Harold Kushner 

 In Bachman’s personal story of loss and acceptance, she states, “ The secret is not to fight the passage, but to bravely accept what is – to say, “Yes” and embrace the passage, not a stoic surrender, rather a courageous reconciliation with reality.”

Bachman’s beautiful book speaks to all of us, regardless of our personal life challenges. Her words remind us that gratitude awaits on the other side of the tight spaces, if we choose courage and resilience to navigate through.

 Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds. –Theodore Roosevelt




The Season of Gratitude

VegNovember arrives, ushering in the season of gratitude.Throughout history, fall has been a time for celebrating and giving thanks for Earth’s bountiful harvest. While the nature of these celebrations has evolved through the centuries, the spirit of the occasion remains the same: to reflect on life’s gifts.

In anticipation, we reminisce about our blessings as we plan how our Thanksgiving Day will be spent: whether to be a host or a guest; what traditional dishes to serve and with whom we will spend this day of gratefulness. For some, this Thanksgiving will have new meaning and a different energy. There are those who have experienced the loss of a spouse, a parent or a dear friend; a deep void will be felt as those who are no longer with us are lovingly remembered. Thanks will be given for their presence in our lives. Others will experience an expansion of gratitude as the birth of a child or a grandchild is joyfully acknowledged. Loved ones may be absent because of distance; others will embrace the addition of a new family member or friend to their Thanksgiving festivities.

Regardless of our individual situations, Thanksgiving provides an auspicious time to gather with those we hold dear and share in gratitude for both the gifts and the challenges that brought us to this day.1292

 “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie