Thoughtful Thursday Social Interaction

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I walk about 2.5 miles a day, 6 days a week. On some days I walk by the kids waiting for the school bus. It didn’t dawn at me at first but then I noticed something odd. It was super quiet and there were about dozen or so kids there.

When I used to wait for the bus there were about 8 of us at the bus stop. We were loud, laughing and carrying on. We told jokes or talked about the latest events going on at school. But all of these kids had their faces buried in their cell phones. They wouldn’t make eye contact with each other much less me as I walked by.

As human beings we crave interaction with others, yet here all they all were in absolute isolated silence. It makes me question if the use of cell phones especially at a young age is beneficial. As a parent I can say they do come in handy with changes in scheduling or for any emergencies. But we all got along great without them for years.

Texting on the phone, surfing the web or hanging out on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram is not the same as interacting with others. It’s kind of a form of isolation. Studies have shown that isolation can cause depression, anxiety and low self esteem.

From my daily observations, these kids didn’t appear happy. They were more numb and zombie like as they clicked away mindlessly at their phones. Would it be better to limit the use of the phones to certain times of the day or maybe just for emergencies? Or maybe go back to not having them at all but then kids want to be like everyone else and simply blend in.

It makes you question what will these kids be like when they’re grown. Will they be well rounded adults who talk to others and learn from life? I’m not sure but one thing’s certain, they’re our future. To really appreciate and live a happy life you need to be involved with your world using all of your senses. Trying to live life through your phone leaves you feeling rather empty and and unhappy.

Many times I’ve even seen families out to dinner and everyone is busy on their phone. There isn’t much interaction between them. This can’t lead to a balanced life filled with joy. Maybe, as adults we should lead by example and use the phone less and interact with our kids and surroundings more.

What are your thoughts?

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Thoughtful Thursday Happy Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year again. The weather has gotten a little cooler, thank goodness and the leaves are changing. But this is a time of warm gatherings and welcoming family and friends into our homes with lots of love. It’s a time to reflect back on the year and give thanks for all that we have.

More importantly it’s a time for you. This is the time to slow down and take in the beauty around you. Catch your breath and nestle in for the winter with warm soups and hot cocoa. Take time for yourself this season to recharge your energy. Find happiness in the simple, small everyday moments. Allow your soul to linger in the joy and peace of the season.

I want to extend a sincere heartfelt “Thank You” to all of you for your love and support. It’s greatly appreciated!

Wishing you a Very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

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“As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~John F Kennedy

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Thoughtful Thursday – Mirror Neurons

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What are mirror neurons? Mirror neurons are the part of the brain that cause us to mimic or reflect back what we are seeing in another person. For example when you see some one hurt themselves, you may winch and feel their pain. Or when some one yawns, you’ll have to yawn yourself even though you’re not tired. The same also holds true for when some one is in a bad or good mood. Their mood may rub off on us. This is because of the mirror neurons in our brains.

When I first started my morning walks I’d smile at strangers and most often I didn’t get much of a response, much less a positive one. But I didn’t let this stop me because I was determined to share my happiness.

As I continued my walks day after day, I’d smile bigger and longer. If that didn’t work I’d follow that with a twinkling wave and a cheerful “Good Morning!” I completely understand that not everyone wants to be happy and that’s ok.

But smiles are contagious and are universally understood. If you smile at some one long enough, you’ll most likely get a smile back due to the mirror neurons. Whether you’re in a good mood or not, the fact that you’re smiling instantly raises your energy and you can’t help but feel uplifted.

After a couple of weeks something magical started happening. These strangers who were not the happiest little campers suddenly became friendlier. I began to get big smiles, twinkling waves and morning shout outs of “Good Morning!” So much so that some would go out of their way to greet me. It made me feel even happier that I was able to share my positive energy with others. I may not have changed the world, but I changed my corner of it, just a bit.

Imagine if everyone tried to “Share the Happy” with those around them. Life isn’t always perfectly happy but when we put more of that positive energy out there, it will surely come back to us ten fold. So what are you waiting for, get out and share a great big smile with some one today 😊

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“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” ~Buddha

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Thoughtful Thursday

Photo by Maria Vidaurre – Mockingbird fledgling

I have to share with you the progress our baby Mockingbirds are making. There were 3 babies born around March 25th. Both parents have been feeding these ever so hungry little ones nonstop from sunrise to sunset. Last Friday we noticed the babies had left the nest but could hear them scattered in the bushes in the front of our house.

Yesterday I was lucky enough to witness one of the parents feeding this hungry little one. It was quite a show with the wings spread and the mouth wide open, waiting for food. The tail feathers in the front are from one of the parents coming in to feed. The babies long tail feathers haven’t grown in as of yet.

In between feedings, the parents are teaching the babies to fly. You can see them sputtering about in front of the house. They fly for short spurts and safely land back in the bushes where they’re completely camouflaged.

It amazes me how much they have grown in 2 weeks. The parents started by feeding them little worms and small insects. Now we see them coming in with large dragon flies for the babies to eat, it’s just incredible.

Have a great weekend!

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“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Photo by Maria Vidaurre – Mockingbird fledgling

Thoughtful Thursday

Photo by Maria Vidaurre – Mockingbird hatchlings

Welcome Little Ones

Last week I wrote about the coming of Spring and the Mockingbirds that made a nest in our topiary just outside of our front door. I still find it odd that they did this with all of the foot traffic in and out of our home, but I guess they felt safe enough.

We’ve been watching Momma coming in and out from the nest a lot from our window. One time we saw her come back with a worm so we investigated once we knew she left. When we walked outside you could hear tiny little peeps. Lo and behold, we had 3 new babies in the nest and I was able to get a quick photo before Momma came back.

Life is beautiful, precious and just amazes me at times. We were blessed to see the birds build the nest, lay their eggs and now welcome the new babies. I’m still in awe with these precious little ones.

Mockingbirds are the Florida State Bird and are here all year round. They are about ten inches in length, sing beautiful songs and are excellent mimics. We’re keeping everyone away from the nest area so the babies and parents don’t stress. We can see that Momma keeps an ever watchful eye over her babies as Mockingbirds are known for fiercely defending their nests.

Take the time to slow down and breathe in the beauty and new life all around you during this very special season.

Have a lovely weekend!

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“Those who find beauty in all of nature will find themselves at one with life itself.” ~L.W. Gilbert

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Spring Solstice

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the Spring Equinox is on Saturday, 3/20/2021. This marks the first official day of spring in the Northern hemisphere. On this day, the length of the day and night are almost equal.

The flowers are beginning to bloom and the birds are nesting. We have a pair of what I believe are Mockingbirds that have made their nest just outside our front door in the topiary tree. We’ve been careful to keep the noise down, lights low and the gardeners away from that tree so that we do not disturb them. But it can be a little challenging since they are right at our front door. You can see the momma bird on her eggs keeping them nice and warm. I can’t wait for them to hatch! Very exciting!!

Have you checked your yard for any exciting new babies that may be coming soon? Would love to hear from you.

Hope you have a great weekend!

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“Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own.” ~Charles Dickens

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Daylight Savings Time

This Sunday marks Daylight Savings Time. We go to bed on Saturday night and at 12 am we are supposed to set our clocks forward 1 hour. An easy way to remember which way to set your clock is think “Spring forward, Fall back.”

But who started this and why? During World War I, President Roosevelt had the idea to follow the European model and suggested to Congress to start one standard time throughout our country. This was supposed to help us utilize our resources better. Thus they enacted the 1918 Standard Time Act which was meant to only be in effect for 7 months out of the year. After the war, the Standard Time Act was discontinued. However, some states still continued to follow it.

When World War II started, Congress imposed new legislation that was basically same as the 1918 Time Act but would be in effect for the entire year instead of only 7 months. This was repealed in 1945, and again some states kept following the Time Act.

In 1966 Congress passed new legislation that would permanently set a standard time for the entire nation. There are a few exceptions to the rule. Hawaii and most of Arizona do not follow this legislation, as well as overseas US Territories.

So don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead 1 hour Saturday night before going to bed. Hope you have a great weekend!

Thanks for stopping by. Share the Happy!!

Sources:

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/daylight-saving-time-instituted

https://time.com/5005600/states-without-daylight-savings-time

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Many Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar has become the latest buzz with all of it’s health benefits. Growing up, it was a staple in our house. My mom would use it to make delicious foods and salads, color Easter eggs (my favorite thing to do, although I remember not liking the smell too much) and to clean just about anything. There really wasn’t anything that vinegar couldn’t do.

Apple Cider Vinegar is made from fermented ripe apples. Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, which is cloudy and has cobweb looking pieces in the bottle contain lots of gut friendly bacteria and is often referred to as “The Mother.” The unfiltered variety is considered to be the most nutritious.

Studies have shown that it can help with weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol, improve heart health, improve skin health, detoxify the body, reduce dandruff, clean and disinfect fruits and vegetables, soothe sunburns and the list goes on.

Too much vinegar however can cause nausea, itching, sore throat, head aches, loss of tooth enamel to name a few. It can also adversely interact with medications.

I believe that moderation is the key to success with any health regime you start. But always check with your doctor/health practitioner before starting anything new to make sure it’s right for you.

“Nature itself, is the best physician.” ~Hippocrates

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Soap Nuts

Soap nuts, also known as Sapindus mukorossi are native to India and Nepal. They are not nuts, but actually a fruit, a berry to be specific. However, when you dry them, it forms a hard outer shell that looks like a nut. The shell contains saponin, a natural detergent. Saponin gets released when the shell absorbs water, it also softens your clothes. Soap nuts are a great alternative for people with allergies who need a chemical free detergent.

To use soap nuts you would need to put about 4-6 of them in a muslin bag and then toss it in your washing machine with your laundry. If you prefer a scent just add essential oils to the muslin bag before tossing them in. Soap nuts don’t create a lot of bubbles and can be used several times before they break down. They are very eco friendly and cost effective!

You can also use soap nuts to make facial washes, shampoos and natural soaps. I found quite a few site online that sell soap nuts. So I’m going to buy some and see how it goes.

 

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

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Thoughtful Thursday

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Choices

I think we can all agree, 2020 is a year we will not soon forget. But the New Year has begun and it’s filled with endless possibilities. More importantly these possibilities will be a direct result of the choices that are made.

When you think about it, our lives all boil down to the choices we’ve made through the years. There are the good choices we’ve made when everything was simply peachy. Then there are those choices that when we look back, we question what the heck were we thinking at that time. It would be great if we had a crystal ball to see how things would turn out based on our choices. But where’s the fun in that?

I strongly feel that in the “not so great choices that are made” are important lessons to be learned. Sometimes the lessons are revealed quickly while other times, it just takes a while before it shows itself to you.

Make 2021 a Great Year! Be patient and kind to yourself, as well as with others. Do the best that you can. When faced with adversity, take a minute to breathe deep before responding harshly. Make the choice to have a positive enlightening day! Turn those days into a week, month and year!!

“May your choices reflect your hopes not your fears.” Nelson Mandela

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