Posted by: marisundays | July 23, 2017

Life’s Purpose

Dear Friends,

I love waking up in the morning where the sun paints the sky most days.
In the distance I can distinguish the croaking sound of a toucan rising
above the early chatter of the golden bellied flycatchers (Myiodynastes
hemichrysus) . As I stroll onto the terrace, I can feel the warm breeze
on my face and I am grateful to greet another day in good health. Get out
early today and enjoy all the gifts Nature is offering you.

Today is Sunday, the day I use to plan the activities and details of the
coming week. The last few months have gone quickly, as I am sure they
have for all of you. I continue to extricate myself from as many projects
as I can that eat into the time I want to devote to pursuits that are more
closely aligned with my personal goals. Although I do feel a bit uneasy
about not “rescuing” everyone, I find that I am able to recover from the
feeling faster the more I practice!

I devote a small part of each morning to deeply thinking about my vision
and purpose in life. I had a more concrete idea of this when our children
were young because the most important thing to me then was to provide
coherent parenting they could count on. I discovered a mix of approaches
that could be tailored to our particular situation. They are grown up now
and when I revisit my vision and purpose, I sometimes long for the days
when the answers seemed clearer.

My association with the Hogar de Ancianos provides me with frequent
reminders that life ends. There have been weeks when several residents
transition within days of each other, almost as if planned. In those mo-
ments, I know that one unwavering purpose of my life is to be involved
with people who cultivate the kind of environment that gives me strength
to navigate obstacles. This provides me with a deep sense of inner peace,
the key to lifelong contentment.

Have a wonderful day and an outstanding week, Marietta

Image Wikipedia

Posted by: marisundays | July 16, 2017

Atenas, rural and unhurried!

Dear Friends,

As I greet this overcast morning I am filled with joy and gratitude.
Last night’s haunting sky is unforgettable and was beautiful in its own
way, but I appreciate being able to see the lush, green landscape the
rains provide as a feast for my eyes during this season. I encourage us
to get out early today to move in gentle harmony before those rains
interrupt our plans!

At this time last year we were caring for one of our dogs (Canela)
who was hit by a car on our property. I shared that story with you.
I was overwhelmed by the compassion expressed by the many who
wrote me afterwards. Sadly, we did lose Canela at the end of April.
Our household went from four dogs to one in nine months but we are
blessed with memories and (not enough) pictures! Your feedback was
a testament to the bond we have through my weekly reflections and I
look forward to many more years of shared musings.

Living in a small town like Atenas can sometimes be a challenge. This
is especially true when lots of errands need to be done quickly and
people you haven’t seen in a while stop you and want to have a little
chat! Last week was particularly busy for me. I had to visit the bank
and the post office. If you live here, you know that can mean waiting
for a while, even during July school vacation.

I haven’t gone to the bank in person in a long time, so I was surprised
that there was no armed guard outside and that I was able to push open
the door without waiting for him to unlock it. I then remembered that
recent gun legislation prohibits armed guards, etc. This was a welcome
change. My errand was concluded quickly and I crossed the street to
Post Office to check for mail.

The post office was empty so I had a chance to chat with Mario, the
service clerk. After a few minutes, Mario confided that he would be
retiring at the end of the month. The news took me by surprise; I have
become attached to the employees I see regularly at this branch. I am
glad for him though as he will be enjoying his retirement doing some
traveling. It was heartwarming to hear that working in the Atenas Post
Office provided him with the blend of the rural and unhurried lifestyle
I enjoy and am grateful for each day.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | July 9, 2017

Moravia and Atenas

Dear Friends,

I hope the sun is shining wherever you find yourself and that
you are surrounded with all the people and things that bring you
joy. Take my weekly advice to get outside early today to move
around gently and with gratitude for everything in your life. It is
good to feel alive by participating in events that add color to our
days and make fond memories.

Some months ago I read an article in a local newspaper or website
that had a picture of the Atenas and Moravia municipalities that
evidenced the fact that the (original) buildings were identical. It
was a very interesting detail to me because I have spent time in both
buildings (my mother was born in Moravia) and had never noticed
any similarities. After reading the article I became enthusiastic
about learning more and comparing them, but life got in the way
and I promptly forgot all about it.

Municipality of Moravia

Municipality of Atenas

A couple of weeks ago, I had to visit the Moravia Municipality to
pick up a document. Making the trip there from Atenas required a
lot of fortitude on my part because it meant leaving the rolling hills
and tranquility of this rural paradise I am blessed to wake up to each
morning. I anticipated facing lots of traffic, imprudent pedestrians
and the ever-present road construction or repairs. I was not wrong!
I finally arrived at my destination and was surprised to find a quiet
street where I could park my car. That was an unexpected bonus.

Once I arrived at the Municipality, I was struck by the presence of
uniformed guards who directed the public to the proper window for
their errand. While I waited, I did notice the structural similarities in
the two buildings. I was impressed by the respect shown especially
to senior citizens whose reason for the outing might have been to
simply talk to someone during their long, perhaps boring, day.

When I left Moravia, I was aware that the densely populated “suburbs”
were surrounded by a spectacular mountain landscape. Although it is
three times the size of Atenas, and boasts about twice the population,
Moravia’s beauty evoked an emotional response not unlike the one I
feel when I catch a glimpse of our town’s palm trees welcoming me in
the distance. I identify with my mother’s attachment to her birthplace!

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Images Facebook Pages Municipalidad de Moravia and Municipalidad de Atenas

Posted by: marisundays | July 2, 2017

Dear Friends,

I am greeted by a somber Sunday morning. A surprising chill is in the air,
even in our usually hot Atenas. My flip flops were not in their usual place
and I searched for them in my bare feet. The sensation of the cool floor on
my skin served to fully awaken me and I feel grateful for another new day.
Get out early to take advantage of our Sunday habit of gentle movement.

Central America experienced a huge power outage yesterday and it made
life a bit chaotic for most of us in Costa Rica for a few hours. It happened
shortly before I was scheduled to attend the semi-annual assembly at the
Hogar de Ancianos. All the things that are powered by electricity and taken
for granted at home (opening gates, circulating fans, overhead lights, etc.)
were not working and we had to do things manually, like we used to in
the past.

Our interconnectedness with the rest of the region was made apparent in
a way that we never think about when things are working, which is most
of the time. Yesterday was a reminder of our vulnerability. As I arrived
to the meeting, I could hear the loud sound from the backup system at the
Hogar. The system was completed several years ago and it is a vital part
of our thorough contingency plan for our frail residents in these cases. It
has been a very sound investment.

Yesterday’s meeting was held in one of the conference rooms, rather than
in the open area where it had been held in the past. The landscape view
was replaced by the intimate atmosphere which attendees mentioned they
enjoyed a great deal. The room’s recently painted pastel walls with sheer
curtains created a feeling of balance and harmony. I was profoundly
touched by the support and comments expressed by the membership
about the improvements to the facility in the last few years. It brings
me a lot of personal satisfaction to know that our commitment has shown
results and is appreciated.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | June 25, 2017

The importance of Family Traditions!

Dear Friends,

I was greeted by a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning. The welcome
sound of cheerful birds’ singing reached my ears before my bare feet
made contact with the floor. As I breathe deeply I am filled with thanks
for the blessings bestowed on me this day. Get out early, stretch and
walk in gratitude, a friend or other wonder might be around the corner.

My husband is devoted to our local farmers market. Sometimes I go
with him early Friday mornings. It is very gratifying to chat with and
support the farmers who cultivate the products that will enhance our
meals during the week. We enjoy the bond of community; the booths
displaying fresh, local, colorful food and the anticipation of trying new
recipes featuring the produce we have purchased.

My weekday breakfast routine has always been quick and uninspired.
Sunday morning breakfasts, though, are special for me because of my
husband. I never know exactly what is percolating in the kitchen along
with the coffee (from Atenas, of course) but I am always surprised and
grateful for the creations placed in front of me each week, undertakings
I do not take the time to make for myself! Sunday breakfast is a tasty
and enjoyable feast.

The older I get, the more I notice my personal fondness for some family
traditions, those precious characteristics that make a family’s subculture
unique. Some deserve to be left in the attic, but others that connect us in
deep meaningful ways are worthy of passing on. Many years ago, my
parents established a tradition of visiting Atenas every week and having
lunch at Don Yayo’s. Yesterday my father and my brother met us there.
It was wonderful to revisit this ritual after a long absence. I can say that
the staff enjoyed the reunion as much as we did. It was sensational!

Have a wonderful Sunday and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | June 18, 2017

A Father’s Day Greeting!

Good Morning Friends,

Greetings to all of you on this glorious Sunday. At this very moment,
I am gratefully aware that I have everything I need to feel nurtured
and alive. I hope the same is true for you. I urge us all to get moving
early today to make the most of the hours when we have lots of good

One of the memories of my early childhood is sitting in the sun in our
small front yard eating an orange that had been prepared just for me.
I can recall the incredible sensation of the sun shining on my face as
I bit into the sweet-tart juicy pulp that was enhanced with just a sprinkle
of salt. I remember sitting on the grass and letting the liquid fall on the
small plate that would also hold the seeds I carefully avoided biting.

The memories of my idyllic early childhood are vivid and I do recall
missing the connection with nature as I grew up in New York. We were
fortunate, though, because we lived very close to Prospect Park, the
585 acre haven of outstanding beauty in Brooklyn that we would visit
on weekends. In the summer, my city-boy Dad would take us with our
bikes or skates for endless hours. In winter, there was sleigh riding and
fun in the snow. I don’t recall a single time when I felt like he resented
these outings. I am grateful to him for spending precious time with us
and to my husband who has equally nurtured our children.

Today is Father’s Day in Costa Rica and about 60 other countries in the
world. We all have a father. He might be living or may have transitioned.
He might be supportive or critical and strict. He might be an active part
of our lives or we might be estranged from him. Whatever kind of father
he is/was, he is still a co-creator of our very existence and without his
input, we would not be alive to share the gift of ourself with the world. I
encourage us all to spend time thinking about our fathers today and if we
can spend time with them, all the better.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there today. Have a great day and
a wonderful week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | June 11, 2017

An exceptional dinner

Dear Friends,

Greetings on a gray Sunday morning. I believe there is a chance it will
become a sunny day before long and urge us all to get out there with
enthusiasm and enjoy Nature’s gifts and our ability to welcome them.

One of the serendipitous outcomes of living in Atenas has been the
opportunity to befriend people from many other countries. I feel very
fortunate that our little town has attracted interesting people who are
outgoing and willing to live here. Atenas appears to satisfy their desire
to live a richer experience than the one-dimensional exposure provided
by the modern housing subdivisions that are cropping up everywhere,
including our little town.

We enjoyed a lovely evening with several of these good friends who we
had not seen in a long time. Our hosts were wonderful. The menu was
unique. The background music was discernible but not loud. The
seating arrangements and topics at dinner were conducive to lively
conversation. We used cloth napkins and our dessert was plated nicely
and eaten with tiny spoons that were over one hundred years old! Who
says proper manners don’t exist anymore?

At points during dinner, English, Spanish, German and French were
being spoken! Rather than feeling like I was in the wrong story, I
experienced the connection of being part of a group enjoying the
informal atmosphere of eating at home with friends. I sat back and
tried to absorb all the nuances of our get together. I was along for
a ride that brought me unexpected adventure and surprise and lots
of memories which will stay with me for some time to come. I hope
you have similar experiences in your life.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Image free to share

Posted by: marisundays | June 4, 2017

Grace and Strength despite Pain

Dear Friends,

I hope the sun is shining wherever you greet this new day. Get out
early and move around with gratitude and joy because you have been
given another opportunity to live a good day. Make the best of it by
spending time with loved ones, expressing with words and actions
how much they mean to you, pets included!

I have been back in Atenas for a full week. It has been wonderful to
reconnect with friends to update each other on major life events that
have taken place in the first half of 2017. As I get older, I find I pay
more attention to little details I often missed in the past as I peruse the
pictures of birthday parties, vacations, cruises, and weddings that my
friends share on social networks or personally when we are together.

June is the month I have chosen to spend time scrutinizing the
elements of my daily life. I will be making some alterations in my
daily routine with renewed purpose. Corrections and revisions at all
times should be accompanied by wonder and mindfulness, important
ingredients that make this adventure exciting. It is time to examine my
priorities so that they are realistic and achievable.

The past week has been difficult for three of my friends who have
lost a beloved family member after lengthy illnesses. In all three cases,
the families were examples of what it means to really accept what is
coming with grace and strength. They have shown courage despite
grief and have honored their loved one by celebrating their life, with
genuine love, respect and kindness. Hold your loved ones close.

May you have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

image Public domain image

Posted by: marisundays | May 28, 2017

Better safe than sorry

Dear Friends,

The morning greets me with the sounds of Nature and a bright sun.
From my seat, I take in the panoramic vista and I find myself filled
with gratitude for the sense of security and peace it brings to me.
Get out early, devoting some time to stretching and rejuvenating the
body that supports you as you mindfully go through your activities.

After 5 weeks of living in an area of endless buildings, roads and
bridges, it is a bit disorienting to come home to Atenas with its lush,
green beauty. My eyes can’t get enough of this paradise and I am
enjoying the simple act of walking and noticing all the changes that
have taken place in the county in the short time I was away. Many
part-time residents have gone back to the places where they will
enjoy summer and re-connect with the loved ones they left behind.

My Sunday mornings are usually more relaxed than the rest of my
busy week. I enjoy the quiet of the outside world and use it to review
the week’s activities to pick something that I can share with you. I
enjoy this exercise because it allows me to re-live an experience in a
different time and place and that reflection is often very therapeutic.

My flight home from New York was filled with adventure! Our pilot
informed us of near-constant turbulence, requesting us to remain in
our seats with our seat belts fastened for most of the flight. When we
were close to Juan Santamaria airport , he was unable to land due to
poor visibility and we were diverted to Managua where we spent an
hour awaiting improvement in the weather and also refueling.

When the pilot emerged from the cockpit in Managua, I was shocked
to see that he was a very young man. I was silently grateful that he
risked our ire rather than our lives when he made the decision to land
or divert until he felt confident he could do so. When we finally got
to Costa Rica, his landing was smoother than many seasoned pilots.
I applaud his wisdom in knowing his limits and keeping us safe.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | May 21, 2017

The luxury of a day on one’s own!

Dear Friends,

The chill in the air woke me up very early this morning. The first sound
I heard was a small house finch singing his heart out. It’s amazing to me
that my casual approach to birdwatching over the years has refined my
ability to identify several species. I don’t ever feel lonely when there are
birds singing nearby; I experience the world as a friendly place. Get out
early today and try to spot a bird or two during your time outside.

Today is the last Sunday of my current visit to New York. The last five
weeks have been a constant stream of joyous activity. Our son’s wedding,
followed two weeks later by our daughter’s college graduation, with lots
of celebrations in between, have kept me busier than I can remember in
recent times. I had time to visit with friends and to enjoy going to places
that did not exist when we lived here. I look forward to slowing down
this week in Atenas so that I can ruminate on new memories properly.

I have said in the past that graduations are the punctuation marks of
education without qualifying what punctuation mark I meant. While
I was originally thinking about a “period” because that is an end, I see
now that I had not given it enough thought. The appropriate mark is
actually a colon, an indication that there is a host of items to come. We
all continue (or should continue) our education long after the ceremony
has ended.

I have the opportunity and luxury to spend an entire day on my own
today. Everyone has something to do; even Otis the cat, is elsewhere!
When presented with days like this, I often fill them with items on my
extensive “to do” list, in other words “chores”. Today, I will indulge
in one of my absolutely favorite activities: reading thick, glossy
magazines from cover to cover, including the advertising! If I can
just encourage the birds to keep me company with their singing,
my day will be a complete success!

Have a terrific day doing something you enjoy, Marietta

Image public domain

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