Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day Forty-One ... Just for Today

Looking for a way to turn my focus I found this and the blog is a great place to share it:

 Just for Today
 Just for today, I will try to live through this day only,
 and not tackle my whole life problem
 at once. I can do something for twelve hours
 that would appall me if I felt that I had to
 keep it up for a lifetime.

 Just for today, I will be happy. This assumes to
 be true what Abraham Lincoln said, that
 "most folks are as happy as they make up
 their minds to be."
 Just for today, I will try to strengthen my mind. 

 I will study. I will learn something useful.
 I will not be a mental loafer. I will read
 something that requires effort, thought and

 Just for today, I will adjust myself to what is,
 and not try to adjust everything to my own
 desires. I will take my "luck" as it comes,
 and fit myself to it.

 Just for today, I will exercise my soul in three
 ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and
 not get found out. I will do at least two
 things I don't want to--just for exercise.
 I will not show anyone that my feelings are
 hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not
 show it

 Just for today, I will be agreeable. I will look
 as well as I can, dress becomingly, talk low,
 act courteously, criticize not one bit, not
 find fault with anything and not try to improve
 or regulate anybody except myself.

 Just for today, I will have a program. I may not
 follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will
 save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.

 Just for today, I will have a quiet half hour all
 by myself, and relax. During this half hour,
 sometime, I will try to get a better perspective
 of my life.

 Just for today, I will be unafraid. Especially I
 will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful,
 and to believe that as I give to the world, so
 the world will give to me.

 -Kenneth L. Holmes

Just reading it was calming, reading it a few times even more so. I found it late in the day - I don't know that I will be able to manage all of the "Just for Today's" in there but ... I can start out fresh tomorrow and have a good go at it again. This is one of those things I can see hanging in the bathroom mirror, reading it every morning. A good reminder of what's really important. I can let go of the rest that isn't so important, just for today ...

I especially love the Abe Lincoln quote. It is true and I make up my mind to be happy.

Just for today,
Nicola Byrne

If you don't think every day is a good day, just try missing one.
-Cavett Robert

Monday, May 30, 2011

Day Forty ... Baby Steps

Last night was a sleepless night. As I watched the minutes tick by I tried to halt the stream of negative thoughts. I had a great idea for exercises for clients as well as progressions of exercises. Based on the new TRX Certification I went for last week. That was productive.

It is a proven fact that you can't not think about something. Don't think about a white elephant. Stop. Don't picture a big white elephant sitting in the corner of the room. There is no white elephant ... You get the picture. Without something positive to think of instead the negative thoughts kept creeping in like ants at a picnic.

Then at 3:00 a.m. my text message alert bleeped at me. I always turn the sound off on my phone at night, so I was startled, but as I was awake it wasn't exactly a big deal.

My sister sent me a text response to a text I sent her earlier on Sunday. She said my niece Emma took her first steps yesterday. How sweet it that? It seems the Universe saw fit to give me something to smile about, to not only think about but to visualize. The timing was perfect.

It also serves as a reminder to me that although things in my sphere have gone negatively awry I can still take my baby steps towards maintaining a positive outlook. Yes I had a night of laying awake thinking negatively and feeling sorry for myself. Starting this blog doesn't mean nothing bad will ever happen in my life or that it won't affect me, it means I will turn away from making my day all about the upheavals and instead go towards the peaceful, fun, funny, good, uplifting things that also crop up. They are there, they simply need to be appreciated.

Taking baby steps,
Nicola Byrne

The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man's foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.
-Thomas Henry Huxley

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Day Thirty-Nine ... Devestation

In light of my new found ability to let go ... the Universe has seen fit to deliver a fairly devastating blow to my well being. Perhaps it is a test to see how I handle it and how I cope. I don't know if I passed the test, however I am consciously choosing to focus on the good things in my day. I will not rant or complain or vent. I will turn my mind to better thoughts.

I worked a full day today. After that I went to a BBQ at a friend's house. My clients all inspire me. Their hard work, their enthusiasm, and the sheer joy of spending time with them makes my days a gift, not a job. Then to end the day spending time talking to friends and enjoying some rare time sitting and speaking to folks I do not normally get to have lighthearted conversations with ... Well that was a great way to wind the day down.

Last but not least to have a friend to call when in need ... I'm a very lucky person indeed. Maybe I did pass the test?

We shall see!

Happy Memorial Day my friends,
Nicola Byrne

If you're being run out of town, get in front of the crowd and make it look like a parade.
-Author Unknown

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day Thirty-Nine ... Saturday

Saturday was never my favorite day of the week, several other days have been. Now that Saturday is my day off I find it has moved on up and taken first place in my favorite day of the week. It was a great day to move at a slower pace, no particular destination in mind or timetable to follow. Just the ease of being. I had time to make breakfast and lunch and fresh carrot-cucumber juice too.

Days like this there is much to appreciate and be grateful for. No effort required, it seems that the more I look around for good in a day, the more I find. The less negative I notice and experience. It is becoming easier to let go of any potential irritation. I feel less need to label incidents and happenings as good or bad, they just are. I'm learning to let go. I have lots more to learn though and I look forward to it.

Listening to the Vegas wind,
Nicola Byrne

If I could define enlightenment briefly I would say it is ''the quiet acceptance of what is.''
-Wayne Dyer

Friday, May 27, 2011

Day Thirty-Eight ... Bats and Butterflies

Sitting in the backyard after work tonight I was enjoying a glass of wine and watching a bird fly in the sky. Then I realized it was a bat. It barely seemed like dusk so I was expecting to see a bird. It is funny how expectations can alter what we see for a bit. Bats and birds fly nothing at all alike.

When I was much younger and living in Centerport, Long Island, New York I would love nothing better than to sit on the deck of my childhood home and watch the bats. Behind our house there was a dense wooded plot of land and many bats made their homes there. I remember now tossing pebbles and sand up into the air to try to  lure them closer, using their echolocation, thinking I could fool them. I'm pretty sure they can tell a pebble from a bug though.

There is something special about watching a bat fly that is so different from watching a bird. It reminds me of a bug or a flying saucer on the Sci-Fi channel. They change directions on a dime with dramatic speed. Birds don't fly quite the same. It reminds me of butterflies too. They seem to have similar direction changing capabilities.

The bats here are so little they look exactly like the ones I used to watch as a child. The only difference is they  come out earlier, it is much brighter and therefore they are much easier to spot. It may seem odd to get so much enjoyment out of watching bats fly around, yet there is something very peaceful about it. The sun setting, night slowly creeping in, the day at a very relaxing end and the bats are just starting their "day" fluttering around the sky.

I love it.

Just batty,
Nicola Byrne

I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.
-George Washington Carver

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day Thirty-Seven ... What Makes a Day Great?

Today started fast paced and picked up speed as it went. Breaks were few and far between. There were mental and physical challenges galore. Lots of work. Quite a few chores. Doesn't sound like the makings of a great day, I know. Yet it was.

Today I was fortunate enough to spend eight hours in a TRX certification course. Nothing inspires me quite like education does. Education is like my human version of a new dog toy! I love challenging what I have learned and building more on it.

I also love when I am productive at home and get things done. It feels good to get things done.

After the certification course I went to work. You would think that after being gone for nine hours the last thing I would want to do would be to go to work. A year ago may I not have felt the same, I think I would have wanted to go straight home and crash. I'm changing and my outlook is too. That effects my energy. The good didn't end there though. Tonight's clients are doing so well that their enthusiasm is infectious.

It was certainly a great day all around. Educational. Rewarding. Productive.

Good night,
Nicola Byrne

Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day Thirty-Six ... Happiness is a New Dog Toy

Mr. Magoo has a new dog toy today, one that is supposed to be virtually indestructible. So far so good, he has had it for 45 minutes and it lives on. Nothing seems to make a dog like a puppy again quite like a new toy. There was prancing, and bouncing, and tail wagging galore. Doggy smiles. Sixto ran around supervising and barking too, he was so fast in fact I couldn't get him in a picture with Mugsy.

Enjoying the puppy playtime,
Nicola Byrne

Most pets display so many human-like traits and emotions it's easy to forget they're not gifted with the English language and then get snubbed when we talk to them and they don't say anything back.
-Stephenie Geist

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day Thirty-Five ... Very Blessed

Today I am counting my blessings and there are many. Some are easy to forget to be thankful for. Easily taken for granted and overlooked. Sight. Hearing. Smelling. Tasting. Touching. Walking. Standing. The ability to do laundry at home. Heat. Shelter. Electricity. Running water. Hot running water...

Most of the time these things go somewhat unnoticed, they are part of the background of life. Until there's a hiccup and there is an interruption in the seamless background. Recently the hiccup here was no hot water. Washing dishes in cold water feels a lot like trying to lick your windshield clean. You can manage it, but it just doesn't feel right or effective. It is pretty gross in fact. I wouldn't recommend it. All week I have wondered how on earth people cleaned anything in a river ... many years ago.

Not being able to shower at home? Taking a cold shower? The cold shower is definitely the lesser of two evils, but both really aren't pleasant.

I'm thankful for the hot water. I'm even more thankful to the friends who helped fix the hot water heater. There are people in life that go the proverbial "extra mile", well out of their way, to help another. That is one of the most amazing blessings anyone can experience. I may not have a large bank account, but I truly am rich in life.

Thanks to YOU!
Nicola Byrne

The language of friendship is not words but meanings.
-Henry David Thoreau

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day Thirty-Four ... Adapting

I'm adapting to the nighttime workouts, having stuck with it. I should have been exhausted tonight after working such a full day. After my last client I had a smoothie for some energy and went at it. It feels so good to work so hard and seeing/feeling changes in strength and endurance is also a bonus. I can really say I had a great workout.

Looking back on the day it was a great one. Work was long but fun. It makes difference to do what you love. That doesn't mean I don't get tired and want to go home and relax at the end of the day. It means that when I do go home and relax, I can look back on my day with a sense of accomplishment and contentment.

As I was leaving the house today I saw a baby sparrow. It sat very peacefully while I took pictures of it. The sparrow was definitely the high point in my day, it was just so adorable and fluffy. You can't see that in the picture, but he or she looked very downy.

Have a good night,
Nicola Byrne

Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day Thirty-Three ... Serendipity

ser·en·dip·i·ty  (srn-dp-t)n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3. An instance of making such a discovery.
[From the characters in the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip, who made such discoveries, from Persian SarandpSri Lanka, from Arabic sarandb.]
seren·dipi·tous adj.seren·dipi·tous·ly adv.Word History: We are indebted to the English author Horace Walpole for the word serendipity, which he coined in one of the 3,000 or more letters on which his literary reputation primarily rests. In a letter of January 28, 1754, Walpole says that "this discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word." Walpole formed the word on an old name for Sri Lanka, Serendip. He explained that this name was part of the title of "a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of...."

I don't automatically know what I'm going to write about every day ... Today was one of those days that required some thinking. When I'm not sure what I'm going to write about or what I'm looking for I start looking for some inspiration and that can be done a few different ways. I'll look through quotes or pictures until something grabs me. Walk the dogs. Take pictures. Today as I was considering what I wanted to write about I was leaning on going with gratitude, specifically a gratitude list. While looking for a new picture to insert I came across one image that was an interesting way of putting it.

I wanted to find a better image or picture. I did not, but interestingly enough I ended up finding a book that I'd like to read by someone named Nicola called The Boomerang Effect. The reviews on Amazon are all great and well I think it is easy to see why I feel that serendipity sums it up. It is so interesting to me to look at the path that drops certain books or people or quotes or whatever into my lap so neatly. Whatever it is, I'm grateful for it.

Looking forward to a new book,
Nicola Byrne

Serendipity. Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you’ve found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for.
-Lawrence Block

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day Thirty-Two ... Sight Seeing

A day off with sight seeing and snapping pictures just like a tourist was the perfect plan for today. I really enjoyed people watching too. It was crowded on the strip, a good sign for the economy I am sure. Normally I dislike crowds. Today I assigned myself a project of noting only things I like and letting the rest fall away. I found doing that had me smiling consistently and enjoying myself immensely. I saw things I haven't taken the time to notice before. I also saw a lot of kindness and affection between people. And being me I also saw lots of shoes and clothes I liked and appreciated ... 

I did not come up with this myself. It is a way of improving your outlook presented in Rhonda Byrne's book "The Power". I have tried to do the same thing in the past but felt unfocused and easily distracted. In fact I would completely forget I was looking for anything in particular and instead get stuck in my own mind. There was none of that today. It is funny how it takes some things time to take hold and normally I wouldn't even notice that. Especially if I had given up too soon. Now I don't struggle when I consciously look for something to appreciate. It is becoming a natural feeling to appreciate my surroundings no matter what may be going on. I like it.

There was plenty to enjoy on the Las Vegas strip today.

First stop was the Bellagio. The Conservatory was gorgeous, as it always is.

The picture was actually made from flowers, it is not painted, and when close up you can see the water dripping off the frame to keep the flowers hydrated. Extremely creative and beautiful.

All of the flowers are fresh and real and simply gorgeous.

The park bench looked very inviting and I loved the balloons.

Very patriotic!

Suspended from the ceiling, it really looked like the balloons were floating.

The bird is made completely of flowers as well. I cannot imagine how much work must go into setting all of this up.

Next stop was the Aria and I took some time to sit and appreciate the running wall of water.

Inside the Aria near all the restaurants there is this very interesting mirror and cactus set-up.

Very interesting creation by Chihuly near the Aria. 

This is the inside of the Cosmopolitan Casino. I've never been here before and I enjoyed it. The purple looking lines in the picture are actually all strands of glass "beads" made to look just like a chandelier. It is a pretty amazing sight.

Have a great night,
Nicola Byrne

You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.
-Vernon Howard

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day Thirty-One ... A Memory

Last night I was sitting on the couch with Sixto jumping all over me. I opened up my mouth and with one sentence connected through time to my Grandfather and Dad in an instant. I don't think I've ever said the phrase before but it came out like I had been saying it all my life. Just like that I was a kid again remembering my Dad saying it to me, and on the heels of that remembering my Grandfather saying it as well. I think my Dad must have picked it up from him. I laughed out loud. Today it has me smiling non-stop.

"Go haunt the house."

It was always said with love in a very good natured way. I can remember my Grandfather jingling the change he always had in his pocket too. I wonder if my Dad will say it to my niece Emma when she gets old enough. I bet he will. Many years from now she may reminisce and smile about the very same memory I am. That would be sweet. 

Of course Sixto didn't understand me and he happily kept jumping all over demanding he be petted and treated like the royal puppy he is. I complied!

Nicola Byrne

It's surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.
-Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day Thirty ... Wow!

It is official, I've been blogging for thirty days. In order to blog, I've made focusing on optimism a regular part of my day. Looking out for something good to write about no matter what the days bring. Every day.
I know yesterday was twenty-nine days but as I typed thirty up there I felt surprised. I've officially passed the twenty-eight day mark, which means I have created a habit. A new one and a really good one for me, in my opinion. One month down, twelve to go. It is a milestone and I'm happy to note it.

In the month since I have begun this blog I have become more in tune with my emotions and where I allow them to go. Choosing the optimistic thought over the negative thought is not as simple as changing a TV channel.  At times it feels nearly impossible, but I have tools now to help. It can be an affirmations CD, meditation (most of the time that simply turns into a nap, either works though), a walk outdoors with the dogs or by myself, music, reading, and writing a gratitude list. I have even tried Carol Look's suggestion of a gratitude walk, even though my first reaction there was "No, not for me". Gratitude is a reliable mood shifter. You simply cannot be negative and be thankful at the same time. Just like you can't be full and hungry at the same time. One neatly displaces the other.

A gratitude walk is pretty simple. I thought it would feel silly in practice but it did not. I keep the gratitude silent when anyone else is around though. Basically a gratitude walk is a walk outside, alone, listing what you're grateful for. It need not be more than five minutes. I tried it because I know that when I write a gratitude list in my notebook I feel better, lighter inside. I know when I walk outside, I feel the same. The combination of the two could only be stronger yet. So when walking alone with the dogs I vocally say what I am grateful for. I can't talk out loud about good things I am grateful for and think about anything that upsets me at the same time. I'm just not that good at multitasking, honestly.

Thank you for reading. Each one of you that has given me feedback has helped sustain my commitment, fueled my resolve, and gave me something important to be grateful for.
Nicola Byrne

If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness.  It will change your life mightily.
-Gerald Good

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day Twenty-Nine ... Sun, Wind, Eight Hours Sleep

It is so rare that I get a full eight hours of sleep. I simply am not the greatest of sleepers, a lot of things wake me up. A month ago I downloaded from Amazon something called binaural sleep systems and I put on some headphones and sleep the best sleep ever. The only thing is they are regular headphones and if I roll over in my sleep they come out, then dog or feline antics wake me up, or the wind.

Last night though, they stayed in all night and I slept perfectly, woke up early and feel completely refreshed, alert and optimistic. Last night was tremendously windy too, and I never heard a thing.

Clearly, I operate on less than optimal amounts of sleep all to often. Today I can see that it has a subtle (perhaps not to subtle, but unnoticed anyway) effect on my ability to focus my energy on optimistic things and steer clear of negativity.

That said I can see I want to be sure I get a good nights sleep and make that a priority. I'm guilty, as most of us are, of putting that low on my list of priorities, choosing instead to fill the day with all the things I perceive as essential. Reality is, whatever I don't get to in the day will patiently wait for me tomorrow, and when I get enough sleep they will be done with ease.

Wide awake,
Nicola Byrne

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book. 
-Irish Proverb

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day Twenty-Eight ... Monkey Brain

Back in New York I had two wonderfully gifted and amazing yoga instructors. I am very lucky to have met them both and to have learned so much from them. Christine spoke about the monkey brain a lot. How our thoughts flit from thought to thought nimbly like a monkey swings from tree to tree. It is a great mental image and absolutely sums up how my brain is functioning today.

Meditation is a way to quiet the monkey brain. I don't have a lot of success there personally. It isn't the fault of meditation though, it is lack of discipline. Meditating once or twice a week isn't going to lead to becoming skilled at quieting the mind. At this point in time I either fall asleep when I try to meditate (not quite sure how that works but obviously I need more sleep?) or the day is over and it is bedtime before I've even considered it.

Right now being aware of my thoughts may not still the monkey brain but it does give me the option to pick and choose the ones I want. In theory. As negative thoughts crop up I can witness it and choose to take that path and continue with the negativity or I can consciously choose a thought that is more uplifting and positive. It takes some work though. Sometimes I am not aware and when I become aware I can feel the tension in my whole body created by the negative stream of consciousness I was floating in.

Today that is just what I am trying to do. To catch the bad thoughts, release them and turn my attention to a better feeling thought. It is by no means easy, especially when a negative thought has created a physical sensation. Simply choosing a better thought doesn't erase that instantly. I have to take a few slow, steady deep breaths and shake off the tension and then I feel improvement.

Better feeling thoughts for me are:

  • Dwelling on gratitude and the many blessings I have in my life, I don't think you can ever be too thankful or give too much attention to what you are thankful for.
  • The weather here in Las Vegas. Every day I feel like I won the lottery when I walk outside. I cannot believe that I get to see these mountains, the endless sky and have such perfect weather every single day. Just give me a peek out the window and the sky brings with it a sense of peace and rightness.
  • Taking time to consider my own personal successes and growth. A little pat on the back for my efforts now and then is a good idea.
  • I can even look at something I feel I failed at and extract from that what I have learned from the experience, nothing is wasted.
Sifting through my thoughts,
Nicola Byrne

One joy scatters a hundred griefs. 
-Chinese Proverb

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day Twenty-Seven ... Trinity

I have a full schedule at work today and I am fortunate that all my training sessions are spread out across the day and not clumped together. It enabled me to come home for a bit in the middle of the day to do some chores and catch up a little here after the busy weekend.

With chores out of the way I took a moment to sit down and visit with Trinity. Having a cat sit on your lap and purr has got to be one of the most relaxing things in the world. She purrs like a rumbling truck, loud and steady.

Appreciating the moment,
Nicola Byrne

I will try to be happy under all circumstances, I will make up my mind to be happy within myself right now, where I am today.
-Parmahansa Yogananda

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day Twenty-Six ... Effort and Awareness

Today was a busy one ... filled with numerous conflicting emotions for whatever reason or another. Not all good at all. I felt myself slipping into some old negative thought patterns and I didn't like it. I can appreciate that I was aware of it though. I can appreciate that I wanted to improve those emotions as well. I know this is a process and I absolutely know that 365 days is not a cakewalk. I have had some easy days so far. I have had some days where I had to work at it. Today I really needed it hunker down and look at what tools I had to use.

I tried to turn the negative to positive and I listened to affirmations CDs. That was helpful but it wasn't a cure all. I am grateful I have them to listen to. It does make a difference even if it wasn't a panacea. It was more of a crutch and today it was a fairly sturdy crutch when I needed it. I am grateful for it, as I said.

This blog and my commitment to it (publicly) has created an awareness that would not otherwise be there. That is priceless. Thank you to the ones who are keeping me accountable! I probably would have skipped today completely! Not a nice realization, if you think about it. However, that is the point of making yourself accountable. Accepting my own humanness and knowing I will need assistance at some point.

In past times, I can honestly say I would be stuck in a negative rut. Over and over. Now I have this project, to write about something positive every day and to find something every day to write about that is positive. This isn't a space for venting and finding sympathy. I have committed to a journey of positivity. That is special, and today is is an effort. It has actually been work. I don't know if I did a very good job either. In fact, I think I may have failed.

I'm chewing on a quote I heard ... mentally of course ... it said that whether you take offense or defense you are still building a "fence". That nearly gave me a brain cramp. It made me think. Not a bad thing ... Typically we put the blame for bad thoughts or actions on someone else, for our "reality", on someone else.

This quote made me really think ...When you look into yourself and accept 100% responsibility for your emotions and actions that trapdoor or escape hatch of blame just isn't there. 100% responsibility means ... well ... 100% ownership for how you feel, where you are at, why you are there and what it took to get there. There is no blame! If it is a good mood, you get the credit. If it is a negative mood, you get the credit. That is pretty black and white, isn't it?

My thoughts are ... whether I criticize or find fault or defend myself against someone finding fault with me, either way I am building a fence ... An excuse? Whatever a fence is a metaphor for ... I don't want that. I want to accept 100% responsibility for how I feel. What I do. Where I am at. Right now. Even, as hard as it may be, 100% responsibility for all my relationships. Good, bad, indifferent.

No one else is to "blame". I chose my path. I made my own choices. I am where I am because of my own actions and beliefs. I may not be concretely sure of how to go forward but I have a feeling that if I accept ownership of where I happen to be at, that I will certainly figure out how I need to move forward.

Aware and considering ...
Nicola Byrne

You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.
-Jim Rohn

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day Twenty-Five ... Ice Cream

Today Tom and I decided to go to the Springs Preserve to walk through their gardens. It turns out that today they were having an ice cream festival. Really. So we decided to go anyway. Everyone had kids and basically we only had our "inner children" with us. We were game though. It was fun. Tom had a root beer float, I had an ice cream "sundae" which was basically ice cream with whipped cream. Very cute.

We did get to see the gardens, and walk the trails, and enjoy the most amazing and gorgeous day. In the gardens we saw all kinds of flowers, everything is in bloom, because it is spring here.

The panoramic views were breathtaking ... and went on forever.

A sundial perhaps? I'm not really sure.

Tom posing for me because I'm camera happy. He was a very good sport today, I took a million pictures.

And asked him to take some of me too. It felt good to be silly ...

The Springs Preserve is a great place, I love to come here.

I loved these cactus, they actually are heart shaped. Can you see it?

A marsh with water and ducks was very unexpected, I must say. But it reminded me of bit of back home, and that I loved.

 I think that is a yucca in bloom, but I am not 100% sure about that.

Grateful for a memorable and special day,
Nicola Byrne

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
-John Muir