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Our Backyard Friends and the Uniqueness of YOU

We are blessed to have undeveloped park land behind our home.  This brings the opportunity for a LOT of wildlife in our backyard!  Birds, deer, coyote, butterflies, squirrels, snakes, possum and one sighting of a mink to name a few!  My hubby, Brian, has been feeding the birds for years with several types of feeders.  We enjoy the visits from many types of birds throughout the seasons.  We live in SE Wisconsin, it seems we can experience several seasons within a few days.

This Spring we have been blessed with new sightings and the return of old feathered friends.  Today we have three pair of Cardinals – their song is beautiful and the flash of red as the males fly in and out of the big pine tree is amazing.  Not sure if we have four or five couples of House Finches who travel with their mate everywhere – feeders, oranges on the table, grape jelly dish on the feeder pole, birdbath for a cool drink – together always, the male with his red head and the female with her brown stripes.  We have been blessed to have two sets of Baltimore Orioles, who are brilliant orange with black and one Orchard Oriole, who is brick red with black, this season.  They visit us at the feeders often flying from one to the other with their beaks full of jelly and nectar.  The hummingbirds flit from our two feeders and this year we added a swing for their (our) enjoyment, they take a quick drink then fly to the top of our neighbors crab apple tree – apparently to be the top bird in the yard.  Grosbeaks, Robins, Sparrows, Blackbirds, Nuthatches, Woodpeckers, Mourning Doves and others, fly in, eat, drink, and I think socialize! With the back door and windows open the sounds are calming, refreshing and mesmerizing.  Some days I turn the rocking chair to face the backyard to relax and observe.

What I’ve noticed this year, different from years past, are several deviations from the norm in our wildlife friends.  Whether by injury or design, we have some unique, special looking wildlife friends.  The first to come and visit was our squirrel friend who lost his tail from an encounter with the large Cooper Hawk.  We thoroughly enjoy his antics as he bounces in the yard doing all the normal squirrel things, but with a different twist and purpose in his movements. We noticed last week we have a female House Finch that lost an eye.  She and her mate come to the feeders, birdbath and extra fruit treats regularly, they are now teaching their young ones how to feed themselves.  A lovely sight of loyalty and parenting with a few adaptations to help her with her tasks.  The third anomaly we noticed is a female Cardinal without any feathers on her head.  She looks like she has a black leather hat on, she too just goes about the business of feeding and caring for herself, her mate and little one.

As I reflect on our wildlife friends, I think how does this apply to me?  To US?  Each of us are created uniquely, with gifts, personalities, preferences and appearances different from anyone else.  We are created in the image of God Genesis 1:27.   Some of us have lost sight of our beauty and our uniqueness.  We carry scars, loss, and disappointments around with us, not seeing the beauty and opportunity to use our unique experiences to better our world and the people around us!   Like the nature friends in our backyard it might take some adaptations or support from others for you to see your unique qualities.  I encourage you to look at your scars, reflect on your challenges, remember and celebrate your experiences to see what you can learn.  Ask yourself how you can use that awareness for the betterment of yourself, your family, all those around you and beyond!  You have a purpose, you are gifted, a unique creation that can make a difference in the world!   “Every man and woman is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.”  Benjamin E. Mays

I found this to be true in my own life.  In the Fall of 2007 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis  What sounded like a death sentence has become one of the best ways for me to connect with others.  I changed the name Multiple Sclerosis to More Special, because I am!  With a few adaptations, support from my family and friends I can see how MS is a unique blessing in my life.   I make opportunities to hike, work, learn, discover, create & play daily, which I know encourages others.  No matter your history or your present situation, you can find your purpose and bless others through your uniqueness!

Do you want to find out more about YOU and how you can make a difference?  Swing by the Speak To Me page and complete the simple form then I will connect with you.  Let’s see how we can work together to guide you in your new awareness, to clarify your unique gifts, set goals to find and put into action your purpose!

Go Outside and PLAY!!!

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”  George Bernard Shaw

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”  Plato

Wise folks see the importance of play and researchers have found positive effects of getting outside.  Have you gone outside lately?  Read on to find motivation for getting out of the recliner and getting outside!

Researchers and physicians maintain that our physical and mental health will improve by going outside.  A recent study in Scotland showed by electrical activity in the brains of the study group, when walking through a park, that group experienced less “brain fatigue” then another group who walked in a busy downtown area.  The researchers concluded that people should take a break each day to walk in a green space or if that is not available, to simply look at the trees outside.  “It’s likely to have a restorative effect” says lead researcher Jenny Roe.

I know my hubby Brian and I get rejuvenated by going outside to enjoy a sunrise over the lake, walk in the park or work to rid buckthorn from our prairie, it renews our spirits and our hearts to be outside!  And might I say, the pictures we get to take are awesome!  What about you?  Where can you go to get some outside time in a natural setting?  How close is the city park?  What about a county Botanical Garden?  For a small fee you can walk the grounds, sniff the flowers and maybe find a new plant for your yard!

Another benefit of getting outside is Vitamin D which is essential for helping us absorb calcium and it facilitates communication between the brain and the rest of the body.   A deficiency of Vitamin D has been linked to the higher occurrence of Multiple Sclerosis in the northern hemisphere – where the sun does not shine quite as much!  I live with MS or as I call it, More Special, and found that my Vitamin D level was very low.  I take Vitamin D supplements but, when nice weather arrives our primary natural source of Vitamin D is sunshine!  Researchers have suggested that 5 – 30 minutes of daily exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can restore Vitamin D levels.  One quick walk around the block, a game of hop scotch or throwing a baseball to your kids is all it takes!

Fresh air just makes us happier!  A study from Jules Pretty at the University of Essex Britain, found that our first five minutes outdoors delivers the bulk of the boost in our spirits, but a full day outside can deliver a major spike not only emotionally but cognitively as well!  How easy is that to raise our levels of happiness AND improve our minds?  To take advantage of these benefits and to get outside, at Pursuing Your Life’s Purpose we offer Walking Life Coach sessions.  What a special way to receive the many benefits of the outdoors, get some exercise and get coached on finding your purpose in your life!

The sight and experience of green in nature has healing effects for us as well.  Recently many hospitals have designed healing gardens on their campuses.  If not a garden then pictures of nature on the walls have shown to be effective in the healing process as well.  Outside magazine recently had a story collecting current research from all over the world on the benefits of being outside.  Some of the information suggested that being in nature can potentially lower blood pressure, lower blood-sugar levels in diabetics, reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol and when the sunlight hits our eyes, the optic nerve spurs the brain’s pineal gland to boost up our production of serotonin, which boosts our mood and cheers us up.  Wow, and it’s all just outside our doors!  So put down the remote, close your laptop and GET OUTSIDE and PLAY!

If you are looking to move forward in life, want to clarify your goals, define your purpose then I invite you to Speak To Me and see how we can work together to make this happen!  Be blessed and be a blessing! 

Thank you to Next Avenue for some of the information found in this post!

Sunny Sunday

Oh what a beautiful morning…

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