Monday, July 15, 2019

Renew Enthusiasm, Colors of Cape Fear Botanical Garden

A large scale nature engagement campaign study shows being in nature has many health benefits including reducing stress, improving a sense of life satisfaction, and encouraging sustained pro-nature behaviors. 

On a recent trip to be with family on the east coast, and as an important part of my self-care plan, I combined a family reunion with a day trip to Cape Fear Botanical Garden in Fayetteville, NC.

As my readers know, my adult son died late last year. That's why I've had to be extra vigilant about getting outdoors to walk in natural surroundings. Seeing a butterfly, gazing at a lake, or hugging a tree is a great comfort to me. 

Each time I hear a bird sing, see a butterfly, or take in the lush greens and grounding earth tones of mother nature, it helps in my healing process. 

Then, when I see new growth, it renews my determination to be present for life today.

Following is a photo essay of things that held my attention and renewed my enthusiasm 
at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden in Fayetteville, NC.

More about the Origami Exhibit Here

Much of the flora I saw on this look-see was in various shades of green. Color energy can bypass thinking and works at the cellular level. Green hues create balance, harmony, self-acceptance, self-compassion, and rejuvenation. 

One of the best color tips I offer today is to gaze at or envision something that's green to lift anxiety, self-pity, confusion, and refresh

Many things piqued my interest in this 80 acre natural wonderland, nestled between the Cape Fear River and Cross Creek. I was attracted to both soft and lively colored flowers, plants, wildlife, and origami.

I'd love to know what colors and vegetation appeal to you.

Hosta about to bloom at Cape Fear Botanical Garden

I am especially drawn to pink flowers like the camellias and lilies bellow. Pink helps soothe mind, body, and spirit. It's a color I associate with gentleness, unconditional love, and caring. It provides balance of male and female energies and helps to reduce stress.

The garden contains more than 2000 varieties of flowers, plants, trees, and shrubs including daylily, hosta, and camellia gardens. There's an arboretum, children's garden, and visitor center too. 

Even though some paths and trails offer shade and/or run through the pine or hardwood forest, it gets hot and humid during the summer months. 

A good rule of thumb is to bring ample water and wear sunblock any time you're outdoors.

Up for walking and hiking? Trails at the garden are packed earth surfaced with gravel or mulch. All except the River Trail are accessible by a normal wheelchair with an able bodied pusher who can negotiate the occasional root or rut.

Walking is one of the most relaxing types of activity, especially if you have a busy schedule. Fit even a short walk into daily routines, and know each little bit improves health, both mentally and physically. 

The Cape Fear Botanical Garden is a perfect place for Fayetteville locals or visitors to exercise and renew their enthusiasm.

Information for the Visitor to Cape Fear Botanical Garden

Cape Fear Botanical Garden Website The address is 536 N. Eastern Blvd., Fayetteville, NC 283o1. Phone is 910-486-0221

Things to do in Fayetteville 

Restaurants in Fayetteville

Although we didn't spent the night in Fayetteville, there are motels, hotels, and B&B's of various price ranges to choose from. If you're traveling there, see your travel agent or book a room online.

Downtown Fayetteville is approximately 2 miles away from Cape Fear Botanical Garden. A popular travel site names Cape Fear Botanical Garden a top sightseeing attraction for this area.


Before I go, I'd like to suggest another good way to nurture your mind, body, and spirit. Check out Colors of Joy: A Woman's Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss. 

Journal owners say it dispels negative energy by showing them ways to express their cares, focus on dreams and goals, and learn more about their inner thoughts and feelings in a safe, private place. Read reviews here.

The 12 week journal program is arranged into chapters. Each helps shift perceptions. One example is the affirmation “I cherish and respect myself just as I am," which appears in the chapter Love Myself Unconditionally and Thrive. Its activities and exercises are devoted to improving self-esteem.

Colors of Joy
offers color-themed journal prompts to help the journal writer be more mindful of her choices. It supports and guides her as she takes advantage of the self-expression opportunities the book provides.

Pick up a copy of 
Colors of Joy and use its color-coded journal activities to stimulate intuition and inner wisdom through your senses. Notice which color energies transform fear to love, dread to hope, sadness to acceptance, confusion to clarity, and heartache to peace. 

Journal in Colors of Joy for Healing and


The Cape Fear Botanical Garden is a great place to visit. Have you been there and what did you enjoy seeing or doing? Please share comments below.

It's a popular venue for weddings, social events, and family outings. It makes a beautiful backdrop for pictures.

Do you get outside each day to fill up on a healthy dose of Vitamin D and connect to nature? 

Please share what things you like to do outdoors. Do you camp, canoe, picnic, swim, or play ball? Let us know in the comments section below. 

No links in comments please. They will not get published that way. 

Social media love is greatly appreciated. Just supply a link back to this post when you do.

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Monday, July 1, 2019

Top Reasons to Practice Gratitude with Tips to Help You Do It

It's simple to develop or deepen a gratitude practice, yet the impact it makes on well-being is phenomenal. 

Gratitude Helps You:

See goodness in your life, instead of taking it for granted.

Improve your sense of well-being.

Enhance relationships.

Shift perspective to positives.

Reduce stress.

Lighten your mood.

Create energy that helps you feel fully alive.

Empower yourself.

Generate compassion and generosity toward others.

Tap into the lovingkindness inside you.

Kindle inspiration and creativity.

Sleep contentedly.

Integrate mind with body to boost immune system, develop resilience to setbacks, and lower blood pressure.


See what I mean? Giving thanks stimulates those warm, fuzzy, feelings as well as improves overall wellness.

Please try the techniques listed below. Each is intended to help you make a gratitude practice a mindful part of your self-care plan.

3 Tips to Help with a Gratitude Practice

1. Write in a Gratitude Journal 

Designate a paper bound notebook or journal as a 
gratitude journal. Use a pen with ink in the color you consider to be a grateful or happy color. Try using a marker, chalk, or colored pencils if you prefer. 

Journal writing is a tangible, grounding way to acknowledge and record the gifts in your life. Writing with colors adds color energy to the mix, and helps you tune into your senses and the present moment. 

Whether you journal every day, three times a week, or once a week, commit to a regular time to journal. Then, honor your commitment. 

An easy way to journal is to purchase a guided journal that offers journal prompts and exercises to increase gratitude. 

Activities in 
Colors of Joy: A Woman's Guide for Self-Discovery, Balance, and Bliss were designed to boost vitality, spark delight, and create gratitude in you.

Colors of Joy is a cool gift idea. Show your gratitude and express your caring for others by ordering a thinking of you gift for your sister, friend, mother, aunt, colleagues, cousin, clients, daughter, or neighbor. Present it to those women you hold near and dear. Here's how to order it now.


2. Send thank-you notes

Handwritten thank-you notes are a meaningful way to show others you were touched by their words, gestures, hospitality, understanding, time, or effort. The note can be brief, but make it as specific as possible. Mention the other person's act of kindness, and what it meant to you.

Sit down with your children, after they have received a gift. Discuss the idea that presents and other acts of kindness like a new book or toy or an outing to the beach with a friend's family aren't their birthright. 

Teach kids a valuable life lesson by following through. This is a good way to help children develop a lifelong practice of acknowledging gifts in their lives. If they are too young to write, a picture can say thank you too.

Make gratitude part of your self-care routine. Notice those people who make your life richer. The first month, send one of them a written thank you note. Then look for and send a thank you note to someone the next month, and so on.  Once in a while, write and mail a thank you note to yourself.

Most people want a simple thank you or other sign that their gifts are well-received. If you or your children don't write a note,
 express your thanks in person, email, or over the phone.

Just remember, nothing beats a thank-you note written on paper and sent in an envelope. It conveys the message that you took time to do it, and are grateful for that person's thoughtfulness. In fact, it can turn an acquaintance into a friend. 


3. Curtail complaining for 24 hours 

This is a biggy. Rather than find fault with others or yourself, ma
ke a healthier choice and search for hope and possibility in every situation. 

This applies to difficult people or conditions at work, at home, in your community, with social contacts, and with world leaders and issues. 

A challenging or stressful incident can teach you much about your inner strengths, and heighten patience, courage, and resourcefulness. 

First, admit you're uncomfortable when people don't act the way you think is right or things don't go your way. 

Look at this need to control with self-compassion. Then use kind eyes to lighten your perspective. A 
 gentle attitude helps reduce anxiety, stress, and self judgment. 

Non-attachment allows you to observe which things you are powerless over, or reveals solutions you may not have thought of before. 

Use this practice of not complaining one day at a time, and each day start fresh. Observe things without finding fault, and you'll have clear vision about what is right in your life.

Gratitude Improves Your Outlook


What helps you focus on gratitude and what happens when you do?

Which of the 3 gratitude development practices above haven't you tried, but appeal to you? Please explain.

Have you reaped the rewards of a gratitude practice? In what ways?

Please share about it in the comments section below. Please no links in your comments as I won't be able to publish them that way.

Thanks for the visit and know that I'm grateful for YOU!

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Bloom into Health Eat Color Rich Produce

This post shows you how eating tasty whole food plant based meals with plenty of color rich produce simplifies food planning tasks, improves mood, enhances wellness, and maintains vitality. 

Let me explain...

A whole food vegan eating plan is naturally low in calories and high in fiber. 

People like me who eat this way find they're able to eat large portions without gaining weight or feeling deprived, hungry, or stuffed.

Keep in mind, "whole food plant based/vegan" means recipes contain no animal products or highly processed foods, as well as no added oil, sugar, and salt. 

Nowadays most people understand it's wise to eat at least 5-9 servings of colorful fruits, veggies, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds, and whole grains each day

Those of us who eat both raw and cooked veggies and fruits daily get an ample supply of the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients necessary to fuel our body, reduce inflammation, decrease the risk of developing chronic diseases, give us pep, and feel more joy in living.

Note: Source of the link to the post above I show as, "reduce inflammation," written by Lisa Truesdale on the blog,  Eclectic Evelyn.

Hang in with me, and I'll show you ways food including cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale are flavorful and raise the body's natural immunity to illness

Bloom into Health Eat Color Rich Produce

1. Eat all food with mindful awareness, both at home and away. This will help you make conscious food choices.

2. Remember, the human body runs most efficiently on food that is in its natural form, or very close to it. 

3. Visualize yourself preparing and eating at least one new whole food plant-based meal a week. Envisioning a positive outcome will increase the chance of your success. Read 10 Secrets for Eating Healthy on a Budget for information and motivation.

4. Before you head off to the market, check for specials and make a shopping list. 

5. Most whole food plant-based recipes are simple to make. Love  Veggie Chili? It's economical, delicious, and a one pot meal fit for your family or a crowd. For other colorful whole food plant-based ideas I enjoy using Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's cookbook, Color Me Vegan.

6. Once you're in the market, notice whether your list includes a range of colors like those in the rainbow. For example I love brightly colored red peppers, arugula, oranges, watermelon, collard greens, and ears of corn. How many of the veggies and fruits shown in the photo below do you know? 

Leave the store as soon as you find list items to avoid impulse shopping, but check out prep and recipe ideas for those you don't know much about. 

7. Don't overshop. Select those plant-based ingredients you know you will prepare or cook/freeze right away. Eating fresh fruits and veggies as close to the time when your food was harvested, makes good nutrition sense. 

Make double portions and freeze some to use later. This saves time and energy in the long run. It also cuts down on food spoilage and waste.

8. Purchase high soluble fiber foods including old fashioned and steel cut oatmeal, millet, barley, black beans, lentils and peas, bananas, oranges, pears, and prunes to keep all systems moving.

9. If you buy packaged, frozen, or canned foods, read every label. Here's how to do it

Nix those items with a long ingredient list. Products that are highly processed, usually contain additives, preservatives, and/or empty calories from too much salt, oil, or sugar.

10. Plant proteins are important elements of any healthy whole food plan, and these are good ones to know.

Organic Tofu Protein: 8 to 15 grams (depends on how it's made) per 3 oz. serving

Organic Edamame. Protein: 18 grams per 1-cup serving, cooked

Organic Tempeh. Protein: 3 oz. supply 15.77 grams cooked

Black Beans. Protein: 15 grams per cup, cooked

Mixed Salad Greens. Protein. 2 cups raw provides 2 grams

Spinach. Protein: 1-cup serving provides 1-3 grams, depending on whether it's raw or cooked.

Broccoli. Protein: 1-cup chopped serving provides 2.6 grams

Zucchini. Protein: 2.9 grams in one zucchini

Kale. Protein: 1 cup chopped kale has 2.9 grams

Split Green Peas. Protein: 16 grams per cup, cooked

Sweet Potatoes. Protein: 1 cup provides 2.1 grams

Almonds. Protein: 1 oz. of raw almonds provides 6 grams 

Brazil Nuts. Protein: 6 raw nuts or 1 oz. provides 4.1 grams

Pecans. Protein: 1 oz. raw provides 2.6 grams

Walnuts. Protein: 1 oz. raw walnuts provides 2.6 grams

Almond Butter. Protein: 2 Tablespoons raw unsalted 7 grams

Cashew Butter. Protein: 2 Tablespoons raw unsalted 6 grams

Peanut Butter. Protein: 2 Tablespoons raw unsalted 8 grams ( I don't eat peanuts, but include this for your information)

Sunflower Seeds. Protein: 1/2 cup provides 14.5 grams

Flax meal. Protein: 1 oz. or about 2 Tablespoons provide 12 grams

11. Include fixings for at least one salad a day. Dark green and red/purple lettuces and salad ingredients including romaine, red leaf, watercress, kale, and red cabbage contain more nutrients and taste livelier than the paler colored ones.

Top a salad with a heaping spoonful of Vegan Bean, Garlic, and Ginger Salad Dressing for tangy goodness without the fat. While you're checking out the recipe, discover what tempeh is and how to cook it.

12. If you are at a healthy weight now, your weight will remain stable, if you follow this eating plan, exercise, and refrain from eating junk food/fast food. If you're overweight, sticking with a whole food plant based diet will help you shed pounds and keep them off.

13. Have only a little time to cook? Most markets today sell pre-chopped produce items and salad fixings. Purchasing cut up or spiralized veggies and fruit is a better choice for wellness than eating in a ho-hum restaurant or fast food joint.

14. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. It adds digestion, elimination, and keeps you hydrated.

15. Keep a supply of prepped raw carrots, bean and veggie salad, and celery on hand in the refrigerator for times when you have an urge to snack. Scoop out an avocado and mash the green delicious part into a paste. Use it as a taste-tempting, nutritious spread on whole grain bread or as a veggie dip. If you like, season with fresh squeezed lime juice and salt and pepper.

16. Prepare and carry along a small container of pistachio nuts or pumpkin seeds to munch on, for low energy moments on the job or at home. 

Another idea for snacking is to slice a pink lady apple crosswise, and spread full of peanut or almond butter. Eat this refreshing treat at your desk or after your workout at the gym. 

17. Brown bag your lunch. Save time and prep a few days' worth of veggies, fruits, whole grains for lunches on the go or lunches you eat at home. 

Planning ahead saves time and helps curb eating on the run.

18. Rather than the same old same old, try a rotation plan or find recipes for "new to you veggies" like bok choy, Napa cabbage, asparagus, zucchini, spinach, broccoli, and greens like chard or mustard greens.

19. Lightly steam veggies to retain flavor and nutrients. Season with lemon or orange juice or zest to heighten flavor without calories. 

20. Another way to add interest to home cooked meals is to sprinkle on fresh dill, basil, rosemary, and sage from the garden.  Oregano, mustard seeds, ginger, and thyme are herbs and spices that add zip to the taste of your veggies. 

21. If your budget is tight or you live in a place without a garden, dried herbs and spices are convenient. Store the herb or spice in a tightly sealed glass jar (out of light) for no longer than 1 year to keep quality up. 

Dried herbs are more potent than fresh. Use 1 teaspoon of dried to 1 Tablespoon of fresh herbs or a 1 to 3 ratio.

22. Add garlic and/or shallots, leeks, scallions, black pepper, and onion to veggie casseroles, sandwiches, stews, soup, and sauces. Spices provide a sweet, spicy, or savory note and also contain nutrients to help us stay healthy.

23. Another healthful way to cook vegetables to bring out their natural flavor is to roast them. See this easy to prepare recipe for oil free roasted vegetables.

24. Fruits and vegetables are complex carbohydrates. Most are low in calories and loaded with nutrients. Fruit contains natural sugar. When strawberries, grapefruit, and cherries are eaten in moderation, they don't cause abrupt fluctuations in your blood sugar level.

25. Shop for produce with your senses and look, sniff, and touch for freshness and ripeness. Take your time selecting quality over quantity.

26. Mix it up by eating cooked and raw veggies. You'll start to discern a deeper level of aromas, textures, tastes, and sense which color and flavor combinations compliment each other. 

27. Some veggies or fruits like tomatoes, carrots, and peppers are more easily digested by the body when cooked. Beans need to be cooked thoroughly or else sprouted. 

Other things like onion, parsley, cucumber, and celery can be eaten raw. See, an online resource founded by Michael Greger M.D. for sound advice about how the food you eat impacts your health. 

28. Read additional food ideas from previously published posts on this blog by clicking on the links below. 

To live well and feel healthy, experience the pleasures and benefits of eating as close to nature as possible. 

Then, attract attention and praise from family and friends by preparing delicious whole food plant-based meals that supply the nutrient dense foods that help you and your family work and play at peak efficiency.
Are you willing to add at least one new plant-based whole food meal to your cooking repertoire each week? Why or why not? Answer below.

Which of the 28 tips I offer above helps you most and why?

Do you think a whole food plant-based eating plan saves bucks? 

Most people who follow this plan don't have to take cholesterol lowering drugs or blood pressure medications. They also lower the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, or having a stroke. 

In addition, we as a society could cut down on out of pocket medical insurance costs, doctor visit copay expenses, and medication bills if more people followed this plan.

Before you go, please comment below. I appreciate and read every comment, but do not publish them, if you add links. Thanks for understanding. 

Spread the word by re-sharing on social media, and please credit me with a link back to this post. 💗

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