Chichin Itza, Mexico. A visual share and #weeklysmile

Chichin Itza means the mouth at the well of the Itza (Mayans). It is located in the Yucatan of Mexico. We took a ferry from our Royal Caribbean cruise ship to Playa del Carmen, then we walked 10 minutes to the tour company’s buses for a 2.5 hour drive. Ours was a van, much better. I didn’t know what to expect, but the tour was nothing but enlightening. Join me for some highlights!

Playa del Carmen murals tell a story.
Pre-tour, we learned a lot of Mexican history through our tour guide and interactive tablets.
Our tour guide, Carlos, was quite knowledgeable in the history and lore of this area! I couldn’t resist a cheesy photo.
This dog visits the temple and sits at the top frequently!
Local wildlife.
The sports arena.
These are skull designs.

My photos don’t do the etchings justice.

To the left are the vendors, providing a chance to support the local economy. The jaguar whistle lures us in…

This week on my cruise vacation has been amazing! From this portion of the week, I feel so enriched learning about the culture and history of Mexico, the Mayans, and Chichen Itza.

Morning Meditations (help from Louise Hay)

Woman with busy-brain learns to meditate and focus her mind on positivity with a little help from the right books.

Do you struggle with meditating like I do? Here’s my latest tool.

So, you have a busy brain? You wake up with a drumbeat in your head thinking of all that you need to do, or you struggle to get up and feel positive about your day in any way? Have you tried meditation, they ask. Ha. My busy brain struggles to meditate and needs all the help it can get. Here’s what’s working for me lately.

Last summer, my holistic friend Kim gave me a lot of journals and self-health books. Since I love books, self-help books and journaling are both things I love to spend my time with, and being a teacher on summer break allows me exactly that! I started last year with the Soul Coaching, 28 days book with focused each week on one of the elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water. Believe me, I had a few seriously negative things that I needed to get through last year, but I began to open my eyes more to God’s blessings all around me and to learn more about myself and my spirituality through them.

This year, I am using the Affirmation Journal by Louise Hay pictured above. It really centers my mind each morning on positive things that exist in my life and helps set up my mood for the day. Things are going quite well for me this year, but summer is a time I could be dangerously lazy and develop serious kinks in my neck from reading on the couch or sitting at the computer for countless hours, starting with breakfast even. Being my age, I at times struggle with focus as well and may have 20 tabs open at once, so starting my day with breakfast and writing in this Affirmation Journal helps me to get centered with a positive mindset. Another goal I have is to be more active and have several breaks from sitting, writing, or computer time. So, getting centered in the morning helps me all around.

Sure, I could Google positive thoughts or daily affirmations. No, never mind, I can’t. I would be distracted by the latest drama between two celebrities suing each other over their broken, toxic marriage, or even by Amazon telling me what I should buy now. I could read a Bible passage and reflect on that. No, some of those passages are quite confusing. I was raised on the Bible, and it has its purposes, but if you’ve read it, you know it’s confusing. I’ve had preachers preach that you can’t just pick and choose what passage you wish to read. Sometimes I do agree, other times, I may seek it out. At any rate, I have found this book helpful as it asks for my interpretation and reflection on each thought.

Here is an example based on the thought: “I now accept all good as normal and natural for me….”

I think this entry had a lot to do with gratitude as well, but accepting good things for exactly what they are has been a struggle for me at times, having “busy-brain.” I just want to share what has worked for me lately.

Blessings to you all for a happy week and great summer!

Weekend Coffee Share, Succeeding

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Today’s cup is a donut shop brew, and man, it tastes great with vanilla creamer and a cacao ashwaganda powder blend ( more on this later). It’s quite a warm day, but I wanted hot coffee, so why not? I am really overdue for this.

I’m proud to report that Summer Break has started, and I’ve already had two celebratory naps in three days! My sleep schedule is going very well. I also made my first trip to the beach for a one hour beach walk with my friend Judy yesterday. The sun was hot, but the breeze was lovely, and the conversation always just flows between the two of us. I feel very successful at enjoying summer break so far!

So far, I’ve had extended breakfast time each morning, enjoying my cereal and fruit with juice and either coffee, chai tea, or green tea. I’m trying to write in my affirmations journal at breakfast time instead of perusing social media or daily news. It should help my relaxation! Considering, news and social media lately has been all about deadly shootings and a celebrity studded abusive relationship. Seriously, who needs to ponder those things delay? Makes it hard to enjoy your life

I’ve started a trial of a cacao ashwaganda blend in coffee or a cup of tea. Ashwaganda is supposedly good for anxiety (and sleep as a result), hot flashes, and achy joints. I will say, I had it in my hot green tea a few days last week, and the day I had to move around and clean up my classroom, I felt I had the energy and strength that was needed. Of course, I was a little sore the next day, but I think I should probably expect that. So, I’m hopeful. I just need to pay attention to how I feel and recognize if it’s really helping. Has anyone out there tried ashwaganda? What were your thoughts?

My dog had a visit to the vet Thursday, and his report was good, though his nerves were awful. Thankfully, his bordatella vaccine was oral. I brought up his snarling at night, and the vet indicated it was a “grumpy old man” issue. Not a big deal. ๐Ÿ™‚ I still need to get him to the dog park and let him work out some energy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Season 4 of Stranger Things is my current streaming habit, which is entertaining, but the first two episodes weren’t totally connecting with past seasons for me. There are plot holes, but I still love the characters. If you haven’t watched seasons one through three, you’ll feel sort of lost. My boyfriend was asking lots of questions. On the horror scale, it is great, though. I’ll give it that, and I plan to watch the rest.

Overall, I’m feeling great about summer break. It only took me one day of feeling listless to transition to my summer self, and that may have been sheer exhaustion as well. I’m going to love the next two months of freedom! I hope you all have a great weekend and a happy summer! I can’t wait to have some travel experiences to share. ๐Ÿ™‚

Weekend Coffee Share, Appreciation

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Pull up a chair and your morning beverage of choice!

This morning, I’m having a light breakfast with my green Tazo tea. It has a reasonable amount of caffeine and tastes great without anything added. I have lunch with a friend later, but I woke up late. Therefore, breakfast is a lighter portion of cereal with my usual fruit and turmeric powder on top. I have to undo a week of unhealthy eating.

After dinner at a trivia night, I stress-ate lots of salty fries, then got all full on teacher appreciation treats this week. This includes ice cream floats for the teachers on Thursday. I had dessert before my carb-less pot pie lunch! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sometimes the most meaningful gifts is a handwritten note. This one was inside of a card that said, “Thank you for being you,” and was so well-written!

The green tea is tasty and energizing me! It’s one of my favorite things, and living with two other adults, I had to eat dinner without my caffeine-free green tea a few nights, as my son drank it all. Things like this happen a lot. It takes a good measure of unconditional love for this to work. ๐Ÿ™‚ It helps that he pays rent.

Mother’s day is tomorrow, and I hope to have a beach walk with my son, then lunch with my mom. There’s a Mother’s day market she seems interested in attending, so we’ll do that. My school year’s almost over, and I’m doing some cruise dreaming! Almost there!

Weekend Coffee Share, Home

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,ย  hosted by Natalie the Explorer.ย  The drink for me is green tea today, and the background music is peaceful ambient. Actually, Saturday got away from me; I started this post yesterday but was not quite finished until this Sunday morning. Bear with me please! There is some good to share. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been postingย  a little this week about my trip to Rochester,ย  NY, a much needed getaway.. I returned Monday at noon, and boy, was Bixby ever glad to see me! I was glad to get home, as there was a lot going on here while I was on vacation. There has been a family situation, and I am trying not to let it get me down. Sadly, my reading has brought me to the term Anosognosia, which describes what one of my loved ones is going through: refusal to accept that one is ill and needs medical help. The serenity prayer is going through my head so often now. Unconditional love means we love each other no matter what.

The Serenity Prayer also helped me get through a sudden, unplanned repair to my car. Sigh. I can handle it, but I can only handle my own reactions. I’ve been happy to see my local family and friends again, though.

Back in Florida, I’ve enjoyed sitting on my back porch in the sun eating breakfast a few times, but I fondly remember sitting on my friend’s patio in Rochester eating breakfast,  lunch, and sometimes dinner. I even caught a beautiful sunrise once! Rochester is also home to many beautiful and historical sites.

The statue of Frederick Douglass, who is buried in Rochester.

There was a lot to enjoy of nature, whether rain or shine! We actually found Susan B. Anthony’s gravesite in the rain with rain ponchos on, but did not find that of Frederick Douglass. His statue, however, was located in the nearby park which we visited later at night. Such a beautiful sight.

Hennessy River Falls. Beautiful in rain or sunshine.
Lacy Acres Farm in Bloomington, New York

My friend and I also met my cousin at an alpaca farm, which made for a lovely day and a relaxing tour. We got to feed them and pet them too! I published more photos and details of that in a post this week: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2021/07/22/the-alpaca-shag-rdp/

My summer break will end soon, but I am at peace with that! I like knowing I can pay for my car repairs, and I certainly want to plan for future vacations. Considering I really love teaching overall, I don’t mind getting back to that while earning a paycheck, but I am planning future vacations. ๐Ÿ™‚ Life is short! All I can do is do what I enjoy, live up to my responsibilities, and be there for those I love while respecting my own needs, which likely looks different for all of us.

Have a great weekend and an even better week to come!

Weekend Coffee Share, Summer Travels

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,ย  hosted by Natalie the Explorer. I’m on vacation this week! Bixby is back home with my mother. He’s going to smell another dog on me when I get home, which is sure to be interesting! I’m on the back deck at Hannah”s house, and I’ve witnessed a sunrise in a new city ( working my way through a bucket list item). ๐Ÿ™‚

Sunrise on the back deck!

My coffee today contains hazelnut milk, and is stronger than usual. We are walking every day there is not rain, so I’m using up the excess energy! Enjoy your beverage of choice and pull up a virtual chair on the back deck. The weather in Rochester, New York is pleasantly cool today with chances of rain.

The art in this place is amazing! It has a small town feel with an art school and several museums within walking distance of my friend’s apartment. It seems like a wonderful Arts community as well!

The door to the Memorial Art Museum.

Another place of interest was Erie Canal. It made me think of Holland, a place I’ve never been. It was just nice to see it. We sat with a drink and took in the views and breeze. The next day, we had dinner thereoverlooking the water while a jazzy band played outdoors.

At Erie Canal, outside Lock 32 Brewery. Grapefruit Sessions was awesome!

My friend was so kind to invite me to stay here this summer, and her dog was also an excellent host and play buddy!

I really have enjoyed Hannah’s sweet dog, a big, affectionate mixed-breed. I do miss Bixby, though.

I made sure Hannah got a signed copy of Detours in Time!

There is not a whole lot of writing going on right now, but I am getting inspired! 28 days of Ellie, my current writing plan, paused at day 6, and I’ll return to it when I’m back. For now, there is a lot of walking, taking in new sightsย  and laughter with an old friend. I believe anything that warms the heart can inspire a writer’s soul!

Thanks for visiting me for a weekend coffee share! I hope all is well in your corner of the world. Have a great weekend!

Aladdin’s restaurant at Erie Canal.

Weekend Coffee Share, Of Fire and Water

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. After a matcha green tea, I am taking my time this morning. Why? Because I can. ๐Ÿ™‚

It is Fire Week in the Soul Coaching book, which involves stepping out of the usual routines. It being summer, I get to step out of my work routine anyway! One new addition to the routine is walking 5 miles on Tuesday evenings with a Meetup group, traipsing through neighborhoods I don’t normally frequent and seeing wonderful new sites. I do know one person in the group, but taking these walks is a new thing for me, and I love it!

Strange angle, but I had to catch that awesome sunset too!

There has also been plenty of time to rest, take my time, and live in the moment. If that is the water part of my life, it is a slow-moving, lazy river. I love those, and they certainly represent living in the moment. It is such an important thing to do, isn’t it? Of course, we may not be able to do it all the time. Still, living with uncertainty with all of the shake-ups and changes in my life recently has made living in the moment necessary at times. I have to maintain the balance.

Bixby does the dance of ‘living in the moment ‘ so well!

In honor of Fire week, I wrote a post with a poem all about fire and what the flame means in regards to moving forward. You may view it here: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2021/06/23/respecting-the-flame-poetry/

Perhaps I will blog more on my journey through the Soul Coaching book, if the spirit moves me. It has become a welcome routine every morning with a long, drawn-out breakfast. When it is done, I’ll be changing up my routines again. I actually worked on writing the Ellie book this week. There will be more of that to follow!

Have a great weekend, everyone, and thanks for stopping by for my coffee share!

Weekend Coffee Share, Of Sunrise and 1,000 Mornings

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,  hosted by Natalie the Explorer. It has been a green tea day for me. Enjoy whatever beverage you like! “Caution” by the Killers is playing in the background, a lively, hopeful tune.

This past week, I had an opportunity for walking the beach with a good friend. I’m still reading the 28 days of Soul-Coaching book, so maybe it colors everything I see, including a gray day! On Beach-walking: “The skies above may be gray, but my feet are grateful to be grounded on cooler sand and pavement today as I connected with the earth while beach walking with Judy.” She and I just talk and talk, about anything. It’s awesome and we enjoy it!

Morning Beach-walking with my son, circa 2006.

On the subject of mornings, I have found that I’m regularly waking up this summer before 7 a.m., due to the angle of the sunlight through my window. It peeks through the slats in my blinds and comes through the sheer curtain that hangs there. I don’t mind it, because at other times of the day when I am in there, I find the sunlight cheering. Not only that, but it will be helpful to be used to waking early when I have to go back to work. I’m not really a night owl anymore. I’m probably healthier this way anyhow.

From a poetry book I just finished reading, titled 1,000 Mornings by Mary Oliver: “…who would cry out to the petals on the ground to stay, knowing as we must, how the vivacity of what was is married to the vitality of what will be? ” This poem was called LINES WRITTEN IN THE DAYS OF GROWING DARKNESS. I’ve been pondering a lot about my past and the changes that have occurred in my life, how everything happens for a reason, and I’m trying to make those reasons positive, not always easy, right? I’m also discovering that there is a Season for everything. You have to see it for what it is. I’m still working on that, and can’t really be any more specific at this time. ๐Ÿ™‚

My house is still too quiet at times though. I am not working this summer, so it really is noticeable, the absence of my son. July is travel month; that will be sure to help. I am still catching up with old friends, which is very fulfilling. Sometimes you can easily be open and honest with someone if you’ve known them a really long time, no matter how long it’s been since you conversed.

Mom had a cataract surgery this week, and I drove her. It went smoothly, and she is noticing a difference already. Her appointment was really early Wednesday, so when we returned home, I slept a lot. The silence is good for that, but it still seems too silent for me. Bixby seems to have adjusted. I just have to keep busy with reading, writing, reaching out to people, etc. That is the plan.

In the writing arena, I have been working on a short story for publication in early July. It is going to be part of a contest. I will definitely let you all know when the publication date comes closer. The book about Ellie is in my mind, but I haven’t made more progress yet. I decided I have to outline the ideas, and I likely need a full-throttle coffee day, since I have not had one in a good while. Then I could possibly work on it for several hours. It just may tickle the muse into inspiring me!

That is all I have for this week. I’m still getting a lot of down time and relaxation, and I’m sure that is just what I needed this summer. I hope you all are doing well and will have a great weekend! Happy Father’s day to those who are fathers.

You may visit Natalie’s Coffee Share and view those of others in the blogger community at http://natalietheexplorer.home.blog

Weekend Coffee Share,ย  Old Souls and Thunderstorms

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,  hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Summer break is here, and in NE Florida, we don’t have to wait for Summer Solstice; there is plenty of sunshine already!

We have had a few strong thunderstorms. After work Monday, I came home and started some laundry. The skies got dark, and thunder started rolling. The anxiety my dog gets sometimes is very real. He paced, getting very nervous. I lay on my bed reading on my phone, and he jumped up so as not to be alone. Then hopped back down to pace again, panting as if he’d just run a mile.

I tried giving him a calming chew, sensing his heart must be racing like mad, but he wouldn’t take it. A few more turns of that dance, and I finally got him to take a calming chew as I held him in my arms. Poor guy, his anxiety seems to be worse as he ages. I went to my bed and he got up there and laid across me, so I couldn’t do much. He’d scratch at my arms, not very comfortable.

I decided I’d get off my phone and just hold him; after all, I was worried about him. It took a while, but his heart rate slowed, and he nestled into the crook of my arm. Finally, we both napped. My poor little anxious furbaby. I figure he had a rough time all alone with storms in his life as a stray dog. He’s now ten years old, and we’ve had him for 6 years, but it seems his fear and trauma from the past life are not easily forgotten.

Calm after the storm

The workday Monday consisted of finishing packing up my classroom. Yes, I finally was ready to move forward to summer. Of course, I have some travel plans for July and beach time in June. I’ll also be looking out for my mom when she gets her cataract surgery next week. Tuesday, I got some repairs on my car and started another summer goal, which is reading a book that involves 28 days of soul-searching. It also has ideas for journaling, so I started all that when I got back from the auto-shop.

As it was, I ran late getting to the auto-shop appointment, and my hair was still wet. No big deal, though. The Soul-Coaching book encourages accepting ourselves as we are, and there’s a lot about de-cluttering.

Tuesday night, I joined a walking group that meets weekly. We went 5 miles through some lovely, historic neighborhoods. I really enjoyed that, though my legs were screaming afterward. I think I’ll try it again. ๐Ÿ™‚

Never mind that I took a one hour walk on the beach with a friend the next day. I did enjoy the sunshine and the company. She and I talked so much! If I keep it up, it’s shaping up to be a healthy summer ! Here’s a random shot from the hip:

Don’t ask me whose legs these are….

I actually don’t know whose legs those are, but I had to post it because it’s quite funny when a camera develops a mind of its own!

Still trying to get inspired to write more of Ellie’s story, a time travel adventure with an awesome femme-fatale. I got her into a rough spot and have to really think about the bridge for their to the end. I already have the end in mind:) I’m sure to return to her this summer, but I think I’ll try to outline everything. I am a mix of planner and pantser when it comes to writing books. Nothing wrong with that!

So, that’s my life as of late in a nutshell. I’m rolling with the punches/changes. No sweat! Haha… I hope you all have a great weekend.

Weekend Coffee Share. A start and an end. 8/03

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at http://eclecticali.wordpress.com

Have a coffee, hot or iced, a tea, or whatever you like. For me, it’s an energy V8 juice. I’m still experimenting with reducing my coffee dependency. We can sit on the porch if you like. I must warn you, it’s 80 degrees and very humid in this corner of Florida today!

My dog Bixby will gladly join us. He likes to hang out where his people are. Just water for Bixby! He is looking dapper since he got a haircut yesterday, for that matter, so did I!

As a teacher, my summer is almost over, but a new school year is just beginning! July went by in a flash! In case you weren’t aware, teachers not only bring home work throughout the school year, but many teachers are currently shopping for classroom supplies already, checking class rosters, looking up student information, and already doing the background work to know their students’ need. I started that Friday. I wasn’t getting paid. It only lasted an hour; I had so much else to do. So, I’ll get off that soapbox now and ask for your prayers and positive thoughts for this new school year.

Author Progress Notes(2)

On the writing front, I am awaiting beta reader feedback for the WIP, Malachi. Ellie’s story is becoming a work in progress, more to follow later. I’ve spent at least a week going though the narration of Detours in Time to compile editing notes for my narrator. I should finish the last chapter today! It will happen soon, I can feel it! That and, I am waiting on a 15 minute checkpoint from a separate narrator for Undercurrents in Time. I really felt it needed a female voice, and I feel confident of my narrator. I can’t wait to share the news when these audiobooks hit the shelf at Audible! Since I already brought up the weather, let’s move on. Also possibly pertinent, is that I am making an effort again to grow my Mailchimp newsletter list. If you are an author, you may also know that everyone says we need a list, but I am still trying to make it work for me!

Also in the writing arena, I posted a poetic response to Friday Fictioneers about a week ago. I’d love for you to read it: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2019/07/29/break-the-endless-loop-amwriting-fridayfictioneers/

That’s all I’ve got for now. I hope you all have a wonderful week, and if you take your coffee hour on the porch, be sure to cool off afterward in front of a fan, and water the dog!ย  Summer break is almost over for me, but summer is still in the air!

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