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Life is full. Our family schedule, although much lighter now than just a few years ago, is still the max we can handle. We are busy! Sometimes it is easy to get lost in the schedule and the busyness and just go through the motions. Really easy. “Wait, how did I get here?!” Ever have that thought? I have. I don’t want to just go through the motions, though, because then I don’t get to “enjoy the party”!

O.K. stretching on this one – a picture to represent enjoying the party?! Lots of parties have cake, right? We can make this work…

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten much better at recognizing when I am present and when I am not being present. There are certainly times when I’m not being present, but I think that for the most part I am pretty good about being present. Yes, even when doing the dishes. 🙂

I think I’ve been really lucky. I enjoy where I live, the work I do, my hobbies, so many things! When I’m doing things I like to do, I find it much easier to be present. I was in Chicago last week for work. I loved every minute of it: listening, smelling, tasting, everything American! I really enjoyed meeting people and hearing where they were from and what they do.

All smiles in Chicago!

My hotel was a short walk from the conference hotel. On one of the days, I recognized that I was smiling with a silly grin on my face as I walked down the street, with the sun shining brightly and causing me to sweat more than I would have liked! But it was such a perfect moment, in Chicago, in the sun, on my walk, with a silly grin.

At the conference, all of the participants received a copy of Amy Cuddy’s newest book called Presence: Bringing your Boldest Self to the Biggest Challenges. What perfect timing for me! Although many people have different interpretations of what presence means, I needed a little tap on the shoulder to help me with this one on a professional level. Sometimes I’ve found it difficult to “bring my boldest self” to the table. For me personally, my take-away from this highly recommended book, is to believe in yourself, be prepared, and after that you have to be relaxed (that is the hardest part for me!). When I think of new challenges that have gone well, these elements have been key.

An excellent read! I highly recommend this book.

After the conference, I had the opportunity to visit my parents. I hadn’t seen them in too long. I wanted to go and visit them and just spend time with them. I didn’t want to do anything in particular, which honestly, isn’t like me. Normally, I’d have a list of things I’d want to see or do. I think because of this relaxed state of just being with them, it was a really nice visit. In fact, it was a perfect visit.  (And my Mom made some of my favorite foods!)

Linguine with clams, shrimp, garlic, broccoli, and (shhh, don’t tell anyone, lots of butter). One of my favorite “nobody cooks like Mom” dinners!

We’re from upstate New York, and for too many years my parents dealt with harsh winters with too many snow storms and terrible weather. They are enjoying their well deserved break from all of that in their new location in Florida. They have created a lovely home there, and thoroughly enjoy the good weather. They swim, exercise, and walk on the beach as part of their daily routines, and they love it!

An Egret on the beach, just hanging out and enjoying the nice weather!

I found the beach to be so relaxing. There were so many different varieties of birds, and some of them were quite entertaining to me! I took way too many videos, to my parents’ amusement. Oh and the shells! So many beautiful shells! My mom and I enjoyed walking the beach for hours and collecting shells. I wonder what craft project I’ll make with them? 🙂

A small selection of the shells we collected.

And just like that, it was time to return home. Time to say goodbye to the warm weather, and my parents, and the time away from my typical daily routine. And just like that, I was home, and oh so happy to once again be home.  Because, quite honestly, I am enjoying the party.

My father, especially, loves wearing florescent colors! So we had to take a picture of all of us in our bright colors!

Are you enjoying your party? I hope so! 🙂

In peace,
Dana

My parents have some lovely flowers on their balcony. This hibiscus was my favorite!

 

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