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I just returned from the funeral of a relative in Florida and while I sat there during the funeral service, reality set in.  You might ask how come it's just now setting in so let me correct myself by saying...reality set further in.

As we continue to age, we middle-agers are now experiencing the reality of our parents and other older relatives becoming sick or disabled and the entire process that comes along with that, until the day they pass.  Then there's the preparation for the viewing, the funeral and the repast.

When I was a young girl, a funeral was an entirely sad occasion.  Today it's more of a celebration of the life of the deceased.  People are now beginning to say that their loved one would have wanted a celebration...not an entire two days of constant mourning and sadness.

Families go all out at these celebrations these days.  Good food, music,a  meet-and-greet for those who haven't seen each other for ages (yes--sometimes several years!)...an unplanned family reunion for sure.

That is what this one I attended turned out to be and it was great!  We ended up spending the entire day together for a funeral that started at 10:00am.  E-mail addresses and phone numbers were exchanged.  iPhones and iPads were pulled out to show pictures to bring each other up to date.  Singing, dancing, picture-taking, reminiscing on the life of the deceased...just a wonderful celebration overall.

I much rather the occasion being called a "celebration" and certainly not a "funeral" because after all, everyone was gathered to celebrate the life of the deceased...not the passing.

Coconutree_2I have caught island fever! Just returned from a trip to my homeland (Jamaica) and am already planning the next one!

How I stayed away so long, I don’t understand.  My visits have been far and few over the years and I’m now wondering how come.

Jamaica is such a beautiful island.  The fresh air.  The beach.  The food.  The people.  The … everything!  I had such a wonderful 7 days and was almost upset when it was time to go.  The trip was my best experience yet, as I visited places I have never been to before.  Yes – even though it’s the place of my birth, there are places I have never been.  That’s about to change for sure.

I’m even seeing where my eating habits would be exactly the way I want it to be, as there’s a huge variety of fruits and veges there.  Freshly grown produce by local farmers are in abundance.  For meat eaters, grass-feed cows are everywhere.  Freshly caught fish from the fishermen that swim right in as you relax right there on the beach is one of the most heavenly experiences.  The fish gets cooked while you wait with music playing in the background right along with a lovely breeze that is always blowing.

You can’t put a price on this wonderful experience; you simply cannot.  I want to have this experience more often so I will be visiting more often.   DoctorsCaveArt

 

I missed this year’s annual planting of my Spring garden with my grand daughters.  For some strange reason though, that feeling and urge to still do some planting kept hammering at me.  So, the Spring season came and went.  Summer came and went as well and  I managed to suppress the strong urge for those two seasons.  Then came Autumn, and the urge to plant only got stronger and stronger.

To make matters worse, I took a trip to New York for my younger cousin’s wedding and happened to swing by a childhood friend's home nearby.  She took me outside to her backyard and immediately, an out-of-body experience took place.  My "planting urge" hit me almost to the ground when I saw Marie’s beautifully planted yard!  The front was filled with beautiful zinnias and other colorful flowers too numerous to mention.  Her backyard was also filled with flowers, and there were vegetables and fruits of all description.  Mind you, my backyard is three times the size of hers, yet she managed to fill her entire yard with maybe up to four times more than I would have done in mine!   She had various types of herbs, vegetables, fruits, edible and inedible flowers which gave the yard the feeling of just wanting to spread a blanket and just laying there the entire day.

I spent three days at Marie’s house (of course canceling my prior arrangement to stay elsewhere) and just couldn't get enough of this beautifully planted-up yard.  I began to wish that I lived in New York -- that I lived next door to Marie's beautiful yard.  I also wished I didn’t have to leave!  I wanted to see this yard every single day!  This was my new inspiration!

I couldn’t wait to get home to finally release this monster inside of me to plant, plant, plant!  I know Winter is only a few months away, but that's no deterrent to me.  I’ll just have to find Fall-friendly flowers and vegetables to plant so I can release the tension I'm having in my green thumb this year.

It's on now!!

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Letting my time in-between visits stretch out for too long, I had almost forgotten how much of a wonderful time can be had visiting Jamaica. I had the pleasure of going there this past Labor Day weekend for the Yoga Camp; Wellness Retreat #CCLJamaica at the Bromley house in St. Ann.

The country-side home where we stayed was gorgeous. Words cannot describe how beautiful, peaceful, calming and fragrant the air was. The sound of cows mooing over yonder, reggae music playing in the hills, birds chirping all day long, coupled with the fantastic view of the lush, green hills.

This was truly a time to pay attention to self, relax and just simply - - chill. As organizer, Takeyah Young of Core Connection Lifestyle put it, “It was a time to go within, tap into that which resonates at your core and take action.” The vegan-style menu for all three daily meals, yoga at the house and on the beach, the one-on-one coaching sessions, the Take Living Personally workshop by Takeyah, and Akilah Richards of www.Execumama.com fame's Live Your Grain workshop all made this retreat an event to never, ever forget.

I’m still in #CCLJamaica mode. What a wonderful time it was!

 

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We drove to Clarkesvill, TN again this weekend - just a one-day trip this time - and on the way back, listened to "The Slight Edge" audio book by Jeff Olson. What a lesson! Now, due to inclement weather, a 4-hour trip took us 7 hours...yes, 7 hours but you know, I didn't mind at all!!

This is an audio book that I have listened to before but somehow, this time, I heard things I didn't those times before. Of particular interest was the portion on Harnessing the Power of habit. We certainly do many things by just sheer habit and if we could just adopt good ones...really good ones...we'd surprise ourselves.

Another subject - Harnessing the power of celebration! My goodness. I sat like a sponge, sopping it all up. Forget about Harnessing the power of reflection!

My friends, if you have never listened to this audio book, I invite you to go ahead. I'm not done listening yet. I've put it aside for the next couple days due to upcoming mid-term exams. By Thursday, I'll be back at it.

So, move over...to the slight edge!!

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