I came across this quote by Oren Arnold, while reading Simply Sage, and realized it was just what I was looking for…With so much focus on consuming during this holiday season, I thought why not remind myself (and others) of what this time of year (and life) is truly about. Love, forgiveness, understanding, patience and compassion – towards others yes, but also, ourselves.

“To your enemy, forgiveness. 

To an opponent, patience. 

To a friend, your heart.

To a customer, service. 

To all, charity.

To every child, a good example.

To yourself, respect.”

Oren Arnold

the beach 


What inspires you? That was the question asked by the folks from WordPress’ daily post last week. It’s not only a question, but a special photo challenge. They want to see what inspires each of us to blognot only through words, but in action. They want to see what it is we ‘do’ – what makes us want to blog. What inspires us.

So I decided to accept this challenge and set up my camera (while little man was napping) and take a few snapshots of me ‘doing what I do’… I’ve also included a few photos other’s have taken along the way…

To me, inspiration is endless, it’s everywhere, it’s ever changing, it’s fun, it’s life. This is why I blog.

I love (thus am inspired by) finding a great deal (preferably free) unfortunately no photos of me dump shopping (yet), traveling, gardening, growing my own, cooking for family and friends, making art with my son, being outdoors, living in Maine, the sky at sunrise and sunset, baking, taking pictures…this list can go on and on, but for now, just a few pics of me, doing what I do

The timing of this ‘what inspires you’ challenge is quite poetic for me. It goes beyond blogging… I started this post before knowing my life was about to change. My mother, unexpectedly, passed away last weekend.  And while it may seem strange to some that I am sharing this, I am because She was my inspiration. My mother lived life differently than most.  I learned what to do and what not do from her – but most importantly she always inspired me to be me. This is why I blog. Thank you mom. I love you and I miss you. You, Gypsy Di, will always be my inspiration…wherever you may be.


This past weekend we enjoyed the company of good friends…you know the kind – friends with whom you can ‘just pick-up’ where you left, regardless if it’s been a few months, or years… friends which have seen the best in you and sometimes, the not so best…

Friends make moments we never forget – moments which can change our lives, moments which are simply too silly to forget or best of all, fun – good friends are fun! They are important for our overall ‘being’… and most importantly, as William Shakespeare said,

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”  

Thank you to my friends – old and new.

Happy 4th. of July!

the simple life


“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter; to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.” John Burroughs

The irony of the simple life is that it’s not always so simple…is anything? 

What’s your idea of ‘the simple life’?

New Zealand

I had the great pleasure of traveling around this incredibly beautiful country for four months. Michael and I drove everywhere, North Island, South Island – everywhere! We bought a small 3 cylinder car (we barely made it up some hills!) within 10 days of our arrival in Auckland through a weekly, local car market. The market is a fabulous resource for travelers. Sellers bring their cars and buyers come to buy. It made sense for us to buy vs. rent as we were going to be there for months and we didn’t want to be restricted by a rental agreement…plus, we thought we could possibly even make a little money back when we needed to sell it – and we did. Our car for four months ended up costing us $100 (not including fuel) – we sold it for $100 less than what we paid and we sold it a week before we were flying out. Perfect!

We camped, hiked, stayed in hostels, witnessed amazing sunsets, drank delicious wines, enjoyed incredible beaches and waterfalls, and met some incredibly beautiful people…I was always amazed by what people didn’t ask – the common question of, ‘what do you do?’ was rarely the first query upon meeting someone; it seemed like such a contrast to our American lifestyle…here in the states we are consumed by what people ‘do’. Oftentimes when introduced to someone (here in the states) it seems the question of ‘what do you do’ is the first thing asked. Granted, what we ‘do’ in terms of paid work is a viable question and can lead to some interesting conversations, it doesn’t necessarily reflect who we are. ‘Work’ doesn’t necessarily equate money either – so many things we do throughout our daily life is work… perhaps the way to answer the inevitable question of ‘what do you do?’ – is to answer with what it is you enjoy to do – the ‘work’ you enjoy – garden, bike, run, cook, write, paint – whatever it is that brings you the greatest joy in life vs. what it is you get paid to do – and if what you get paid to do is actually the thing you love doing, then by all means share that too – it is so incredibly inspiring to meet people who do what they love and get paid for it!

As Nelson Mandela said –

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same, We are all meant to shine.”

Do what it is you love…

What do you love?