Earth Day Plans

This week as we approach Earth Day I’m thinking about going green!  Today I’ve got a few ways you can go green and take care of our earth and celebrate this special day.  After all, I want the earth to stick around for at least a few more years, don’t you?

1-take action in your community.  There are lots of ways you can do this, from cleaning up litter and removing dead plants and trees to planting trees and flowers to putting up bird houses and even bee hives to encourage the natural population of your area

2-if you’re not able to go out and physically help in your community, there are tons of petitions online you can sign to support environmental initiatives online.  From organics to GMOs to smog and endangered species, there are tons of great causes you can support.

3-in line with the previous idea there are tons of earth-friendly organizations who would really appreciate a donation.  Even organizations like PETA and Charity: Water have an earth-focused mission that would benefit, you don’t just have to look to the more political organizations.

4-I love my hot showers so I’m not really willing to give them up, so if you’re like me that’s not one way you want to help save the earth.  But you can however wash your clothes in cold water.  They won’t complain and it will save your energy bill too!

5-if you’re looking for a spring refresh for your house there are tons of garage and yard sales that have begun with the favorable change in weather.  Not only are you saving a few dollars, you’re also saving the landfills from some items that would be in them for many years to come.  (And if you’re having a yard sale and everything doesn’t sell there are lots of local organizations who can benefit from the left over items too).

What are you planning this week to celebrate Earth Day and honor this place we all live?

Exploring the World

Summer is coming up in just about a week, can you believe it?  When I think about summer the first thing that comes to my mind is the outdoors.  The second, of course is the end of school for the year.  I can remember what a relief it was to be done and on break for a couple of months and able to enjoy myself again.  I didn’t hate school and I wasn’t bad at it, I just preferred not learning my lessons in classrooms while filling in workbooks.  There are so many ways to learn and not everyone learns the same way.   One of the best ways to learn I think is to get out in the world and see it and/or experience it.  Thanks to technology we’re able to explore the world even from the comforts of home if we don’t have the finances to physically go to places.

One of the things that captivates me the most when it comes to exploring are the natural wonders around the world.  I’m always tempted to click the links to videos and sites about dogs, penguins, bobcats, and other animals like Explore, and I always get sucked in to checking out the photos on the Weather Channel and other sites of gorgeous natural places and of nature taking over what we man have created.  There’s just something about nature that captivates me.

This summer I encourage you to take time with your kids to get outdoors.  Check out some Rail Trails, visit some National Parks (and not just the famous ones), take a bike ride through a park, or just get outside and sit with a cool drink.  Take time with your kids, with your partner and by yourself to see the natural world that surrounds us on a regular basis and appreciate what we have while we have it.  Summer is synonymous with so many of us taking a break from our usual days and doing something else or just taking time off, and with exploring the world we live in.  Make sure you really take that break this summer and spend some of that time off in nature.  What will you explore this summer?

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” Frank Lloyd Wright

Earth Day Details

Today the world celebrates Earth Day.  It’s a time for us to reflect on the world we live in and often take for granted.  As we reflect on family and relationships today it’s important to note that we are all in a relationship with the earth.  It’s not one that we all think about or take time to appreciate, but without the air that surrounds us and the ground that supports us we’d be nothing. Today as we think about Earth Day I thought we’d take a page from our kids and look at the little things.

Kids are really good at noticing the little things, like the stains on your shirt, the things you drop, and the words you say.  Kids are also pros at collecting stuff.  Whether we’re talking about toys bought at the store, old standbys like cardboard boxes, or the countless stones, acorns and flowers (aka weeds) they find in their explorations and your travels, they love to pick it up.  When was the last time you took a good look at what they picked up?  Have you took a close look at some of the things they’ve found lately?  Have you picked up a few of your own lately?

I know, that’s a kid thing! But at the same time it’s not. It’s all about noticing what’s around you, appreciating the beauty of the earth and how the world was created and what makes up the world.  Kids have great imaginations because they don’t see the limits and restrictions we’ve put on the world and still see the little things that make up the big things.  This Earth Day spend some time up close and personal with nature.  See the little bugs as they go about their lives, see the spring flowers exploding, see the birds searching for worms, pick up a couple of rocks, and appreciate the little things that make up our big planet.

“To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.”   William Blake

Ready to Relax

I don’t know about you, but my schedule changes over the summer, and I try to move my days off to those that are nice and sunny whenever possible so that I take advantage of all the wonderful fresh air and summer sunshine! I have always made a point of taking time each week to relax and not do work on my computer or meet with clients so that I can have time to regain my perspective and remember that all the work I’m doing is for the goal of being able to enjoy life more. After all, what’s the point of doing all the work if it isn’t to have time to enjoy the fruits of your labor?

I don’t believe that resting and days off are a waste of time. We aren’t machines built to run 365 days a year 24 hours a day (and even machines have down time because of issues, repairs or overheating concerns). We’re humans designed to sleep every night, but sleep is only a small part of the resting and recharging we need, we need showers and food and friendly conversations that have nothing to do with how we make money or how we’re making a difference in the world.

I’ve never felt that taking an afternoon off to enjoy nature or go on a hike, have a picnic, or read a book is a waste of time because I always feel better, more grounded and more productive after I’ve had that quiet time. There’s something special about nature that all too often we don’t take advantage of. So this summer I encourage you to make sure to take time with your family and by yourself to get out there and enjoy what’s all around us. Take a day to go out into the country and see what you don’t usually see when you’re riding the highways to and from work, go to a National Park and see what your taxes are caring for, and get some perspective on how much bigger life is than what you see in your daily journey.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time.” John Lubbock

You’re Failing

Today around the world people are telling you that you’re failing. Yes, that’s the message of Earth Day really, that we’re failing the earth and need to get to work to turn things around. I have to agree that we’ve got some pretty destructive habits and vices, things that are making parts of our world uninhabitable for both man and animal. It’s important to hear that we fail sometimes. It gives us a reason to get out of our lazy or frozen state, get going and make changes, hopefully for the better.

Each day there are more studies showing that what we think we want isn’t really what we want. So by doing all the damage that we’re doing to the world to get what we think we want, we’re actually doing damage for no reason. If you really want to be successful in your life or business you need to figure out if what you really want is what you’re working really hard towards. If you’ve been dealing with a lack of energy or passion for your work, there’s a good chance that you’re not working towards something that is truly valuable to you.

We may not think that one soda can thrown in the garbage really makes a difference, but it’s one compounded by every human in the world throwing a can in the garbage that makes a difference. So while your one may not, when you put everyone’s one together, it shows. If you really want to be successful you’ll apply this principle to your life: one post, call, email or client may not make a big difference, but when they’re repeated and combined they do. You need to see the whole picture as well as what happens daily when you’re consistent to understand success.

Finally, learn to love. Your criticism of a client will drive them away faster than you can get new one, just like your love for the earth will make it last longer than your complete disregard. Love not only feels better, it’s a human emotion that binds us all together better than any other can. Even though we’ve got a sick fascination with the bad stuff, we really want to share the good stuff and be part of the good stuff.

The lesson of Earth Day is really that the simplest things can make the biggest difference, both for the earth and your business. What simple things are you failing?

Relationship Revitalization

With spring here I thought I would share a few ways to take advantage of the fresh air, free spirits and new life that comes with the transformations of spring.  Any relationship can get a fresh start at any time, of course, but it’s especially easy to consider when we’ve got all of the changes in the air and world around us.

1-see a coach or pastor.  It may seem like an excessive step to seek professional help, but this can be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to let issues that have been stewing for too long to be aired out and cleaned up.  Involving a coach or other professional gives you both the safety of another set of ears and impartial opinion that a family member or friend would not be able to offer you.

2-hire an organizer.  It’s a great time to get rid of stuff that’s been sitting around in your house for a really long time and is getting in the way of your relationship.  You would be surprised how the clutter around your house can affect your relationship.

3-commit to a date night each week.  A date night, even if it’s just 2-3 hours a week can be the start that you need to begin communications again and work through some of the issues and things that bother you both, and even more important, create time to rebuild and strengthen the bonds of love.

4-figure out your finances.  This is something that everyone should do on a regular basis, but with tax day coming up quickly, it’s an especially good time to really make sure both of you know the ins and outs of your finances and make a plan for where you really want things to be in the future.

5-spend more time outside.  I love being outdoors (even if I have to bring a tissue box). Getting outdoors as a couple for a weekly walk, or playing outside with your kids is important to feeling good and being healthy.

What are you going to do to grow your relationship this spring?

Let’s Grow a Garden

With spring finally here, it’s time to get outside and get messy! Today I’ve got some great ideas to help you with your garden, and get the whole family involved.  Don’t worry, if you don’t have outdoor space I’ve got a couple ideas for keeping those green thumbs in the family happy too.

What to plant:

I love planting tomatoes, peppers, and peas.  They get great results in Northern NJ.  They’re also easy to maintain and produce more than just one crop (unlike lettuce or radishes).

However, I love the cheeriness that flowers bring both indoors and out, so planting flowers, especially if you host gatherings frequently, is a great idea.

Planting:

For the fruits and vegetables, you’ll want to plant in an enclosed area, maybe for the flowers too, depending on the animals that live near you.

Have the kids help you plant, water and weed, as well as make signs like these cute bugs to help know what you’ve planted where.

You can also divide the garden into sectors so that each kid is responsible for one, and has to take care of it.

If you’re a little behind the planting timeline too, you can start your plants inside with this homemade “greenhouse.”

More garden fun:

If you don’t really have a green thumb, or not much outdoor space, but your kids really want to plant something, here are 14 cute and easy grass planting projects.

In line with not planting, you can also make a very zen rock garden that doesn’t take up much space but is lots of fun to play with and relaxing to look at.

For the crafty (and not green) kids in your family, a rainbow garden trellis, or gazing ball are two things you could make to add to the gardening.

Will you be out in nature this year planting?  What will you be growing?

Best Bird Friends

Well, we got our winter storm in the Northeast USA this weekend, which means lots of snow and tough traveling conditions.  It also means that our feathered and furry friends are out there dealing with the snow too.  Today I thought I’d share some fun and easy things you and your family can do for the birds.

Nesting supplies bag

Milk carton bird feeder

Gourd feeders

Cozy bird cottage

Birdseed biscuit

Tweet treats

Birdseed wreath

Bird feed recipe

Pinecone bird feeder

Share your tips and ideas for caring for our feathered friends in the comments!

Great Outdoors-Historic Places

Today we’re finishing up our look at some of the USA’s best national treasures and historic parks with a look at four of the most historical sites.  Each and every site that has been placed into the National Park Service has it’s own, very important history and has played an important role in the development of the USA.  You may have parks that stand out to you historically more than the group I’ll be mentioning today, and I’d love to hear your stories and memories about those parks.

New Orleans Jazz

We start our tour today off in Louisiana at the birthplace of Jazz.  Music is sacred and central to many cultures and countries, including the USA.  Jazz brought new life to many aspects of American culture, and helped transform some of the older cultural aspects into ones that embrace that America is a land of the free.  If you’d like to experience live concerts and step back in time to the late 1800’s, New Orleans is the place for you.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

These two American treasures are located right next to NYC and represent hope, friendship and a new life that many have found in the USA since it’s beginnings in the 1400’s.  I think there’s something about this location and all the people that came through here, lived here and even died here that has added to the interest and history of this place.  It isn’t just the location of a president or one individual, but rather millions of stories and lives.  You can check out the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and be part of the story too.

Gettysburg

This location is known as the turning point of the Civil War, and a point that was the beginning of reuniting a country.  Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is a location of soldiers, stories, death, war, sadness and hope.  It was pivotal in bringing back together the “United” States of America.  It’s a place that represents leaving the past behind and moving on to the future, something we’re doing as a world currently.  You can visit Gettysburg with it’s historical battlefields, ghost legends and discover for yourself why Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address.

Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell

“All men created equal” this historic spot proclaims.   Visiting Independence and the Liberty Bell are a great reminder of the foundation of a country and the impressive ideals that men set up for her.  At times we’ve failed, as do people in their own lives, and we have much work to do if we’re to attain those goals.  But Philidephia, Pennsylvania is a reminder of the hopes and dreams that the Founding Fathers had for our country, and the example they hoped they, and we, could set for the rest of the world.  They should serve as a reminder and inspiration for us today as we chart our own course for the future.

We’ve been all across the USA this month, to places of beauty, romance, water and history.  Now it’s your turn, what are your favorite places across the US?

Great Outdoors-Looking Good!

This month we’re going to be spending most Fridays taking a tour of the USA and a couple of dream destinations and celebrating Great Outdoors Month.  Today, we’re going to take a look at some places those of you who enjoy taking tons of pictures would like.

Joshua Tree

This beautiful park nestled in California has 12 trails you can hike to get lots of great pictures, view the desert plants and get to know this Dr. Seuss like tree.  If you want more Joshua Tree, you can even camp overnight in the park.  You can learn more, and plan your trip, here.

Acadia

This park on the coastal edge of Maine is filled with amazing plants, animals and scenery.  While you’re here taking pictures you can also do some hiking and biking along the trails.  Don’t forget to visit the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse while you’re there!  You can learn more, and see alerts about closed areas, here.

Everglades

This wild and crazy park found throughout Florida  is home to mangrove trees, alligators and lots of birds. While you can do boating, there are plenty of trails for those who are suspicious of those living in the water.  You can learn more here.

Arches

Arches National Park is found in Utah, and is a crazy collection of rocks that has been created into arches by nature.  You can hike around the arches, see Wolfe cabin, and capture the sunset as it colors the arches.  You can learn more here.

Olympic

This park is more like 3 parks in one.  There is an ocean coast, mountains and lush forest for you to explore and capture on video or film. Located in Washington, this park’s ancient forests, cool tidepools and wildflowers will have you busy for hours!  You can plan your trip here.

Redwoods

I think one of the most fascinating parks is Redwood simply for the size of nature here.  This park in California is the only place we can view these enormous trees.  Don’t worry, there are also streams, woodlands, prairies and animals to check out here too!   If you’d like to learn more, visit here.

Yellowstone

Last but not least today we look at Yellowstone.  This park has parts in 3 states, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, and is filled with geysers, animals, trees, and luscious landscapes. It’s rich heritage and history are evident throughout the park’s lodges and cabins as well as on the trails.  Start planning your trip here.

Have you visited any of these locations?  Which was your favorite?