Posted by: marisundays | July 15, 2018

The magic of Libraries

Dear Friends,

It is early. The air is chilly. The silence around me is comforting as I
gaze at the clouds in the sky and watch the birds fly by me in search
of nutrition. I breathe deeply, thankful that I am able to greet another
day and enjoy the richness of everything around me. Get out early to
see what treasures are nearby, invite a friend or family member along.
Enjoy all that nature has to offer you today.

I visited our local library on Friday morning. I needed to renew two
books that I have borrowed for a few weeks and have not set aside
sufficient time to read; time management skills remain my biggest
challenge. I arrived at the library minutes before it opened and I was
surprised to see that others were already there patiently waiting. It
reminded me about the impact public libraries have on communities
worldwide and how affronted I feel whenever a library is the victim
of budget cuts.

A lot of people I know stopped going to the library as soon as they
finished their formal education. Others enjoy reading as a hobby and
appreciate the intangible contribution libraries make to daily living.
Libraries hold the passports to as many worlds as the imagination
cares to visit. I will finish my two books so that another can delight
in living in the world I find myself temporarily in as I turn the pages.

One favorite pastime of mine is to sit in a reading room and relax.
Quiet contemplation is not reprimanded in a library; silence reigns.
I am happy to see that in our little community, the library is bringing
people together by offering events, exhibits, lectures, games and other
surprises. These endeavors, undertaken by caring and compassionate
librarians, encourage people to experience the magic of reading and
in some cases, begin inner conversations that can change their lives.

Have a wonderful day and an incredibly good week, Marietta

Image of Public Library of Atenas from their Facebook Page

Posted by: marisundays | July 8, 2018

Sustainable and Smart Development

Dear Friends,

An overcast morning greets me yet I am filled with joy and gratitude
as I feast my eyes on the exquisite lush green landscape that the rains
create year after year. Nature is spectacular and forceful, inviting us
to seize all opportunities to go outdoors in movement and mental
repose before the day gets away.

My weekly stroll around the center of town yesterday put me in a bit
of a nostalgic mood. Last week, I talked about the certainty of change
yet when I came upon at least three short blocks that are extending our
“Main Street”, I found myself wondering about all these new locales
and whether they will strengthen the small-town lifestyle that I love.

A few years ago, I was more active in the day-to-day concerns of the
town because I volunteered or was asked to join the many organized
groups that worked on a variety of projects. Although I believe in
being an active citizen and do miss the people I worked with, I know
that it is unwise to neglect one’s own interests and goals because time
and energy are depleted, so I drastically scaled back my participation.

Yesterday’s outing reminded me that I no longer have access to the
information about local business investments, real estate offerings,
changes in our demographics or proposed actions to make sure our
town thrives. My heart breaks every time I see that instead of taking
an old, unique house and re-purposing it, it is simply torn down to
make way for a modern structure that challenges my notion of what
our town could look like!

Atenas is celebrating its 150th birthday in less than a month. The
challenges and opportunities for future generations are many and we
need to find ways in which our county can have smart, sustainable
growth that serves the newly educated, the aging population and those
in between! My optimistic side looks forward to all the surprises my
weekly outings will bring me.

Have a wonderful Sunday and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | July 1, 2018

A visit to the shoemaker

Dear Friends,

It is a clear, cool Sunday morning; a superb invitation for all of us to
live a good day. Get out early and really absorb the sights and sounds
all around as you gently move your body and breathe. The seasonal
afternoon rains will surely make their appearance today so make the
most of the early hours.

I went to the shoemaker yesterday. It was an errand I had put off for a
very long time. After many years of having his shop inside the “old
school”, he was forced to move. The new shop is on a busy street. I
would like to say that the parking challenges in our small town were
responsible for my delaying this mission, but that is not the truth.

The first time I went there, I felt triumphant as I found a parking spot
right across the street from him. The loud barking of many dogs when
I exited my car, followed by the scolding from the vigilant owner of
the house I parked in front of, made me aware of the reason no one
parked there. I made a mental note to avoid it in the future as I ran
across the street.

In the last several years, every time I have to do something in the area
of that particular house, I will drive around the block a few times, often
parking very far away because the dogs and the owner frighten me. On
a very rare occasion, I will put up a brave front and take my chances, but
the earful and the barking never fail to startle me. I sometimes wanted
to contest but I checked the impulse and went about my business quickly.

Yesterday, I was in a very big hurry. I completely forgot about the house
and the dogs as I parked and crossed the street to the shop. When I got
back, I saw a woman sitting in a rocking chair silently watching the cars
go by. There were no dogs barking. I felt a little disconcerted by this new
situation. It was a sudden, and welcome, reminder that change is the only
constant in this life!

Have a terrific day and a wonderful week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | June 24, 2018

A Matrix Worth Nourishing and Sustaining

Dear Friends,

It is a chilly, grey morning in Atenas. I am awake a little early already in
anticipation of going out this morning to do some errands I put off until
today. As I stepped out to the terrace, the carefree swallows ignored my
presence and chased their breakfast! They are swooping low right now,
meaning rain will surely visit my day. Whatever the weather in your part
of town, get out early and enjoy some movement and fun!

Twice a year I am part of the semi-annual assembly at the Senior Residence
in Atenas. In a conference room filled with warm, natural light, we present
our progress reports to the Hogar associates who have an opportunity to ask
questions, vote on issues, and share their impressions of the Board’s work.
Even though being on the board means foregoing other activities, I am glad
that I am part of this group.

Transformative and subtle changes in my life are constantly taking place.
Each assembly serves to remind me of the important assignment we have
volunteered for. Our vision of providing a safe and comfortable living space
for our vulnerable residents is carried out by the exceptional staff who weave
together, seemingly effortlessly, the directives they receive. It is not just a job
for most of them; they consider it a calling, which makes all the difference.

I returned home filled with gratitude for the mysteries of life that have guided
me to this particular stage of my existence. My heart rejoices because when I
am still, silently observing and absorbing impressions around me, I am capable
of feeling deep astonishment at what it means to be part of this complex matrix
that we are sharing and hopefully working endlessly to nourish and sustain.

Have a wonderful Sunday and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | June 17, 2018

A Father’s Day Message

Dear Friends,

Greetings on this early Sunday morning for celebration and rejuvenation!
The birds are silent, the sun is rising and the air is still crisp and perfect for
a brisk morning walk. Get out there early and enjoy the benefits of being
alive with the ability to move your body. If you are watching the soccer
game in Costa Rica, it will be over before the morning gets away from you!

As I do at least once a week, I ran many errands around town on Thursday.
I parked my car and walked to the different shops I needed to visit. I find that
it is a great idea because I can really notice all the changes in our little county,
which make the walk interesting and more enjoyable. I try hard to remember
what shops existed when we first moved here 16 years ago, but the changes
have been so frequent, it is an impossible challenge.

I am happy that we are still a very rural place! The countryside everywhere
has always struck a chord with me. I grew up in Brooklyn, close to Prospect
Park, that haven of astounding beauty that was often visited by us. My father
took us with our bikes in summers and our sleds in winters on hills that made
me feel a deep connection to Nature. My father was (and remains) a city boy
but he never seemed to resent making the frequent trips with his children.

Today Costa Rica and about 90 other countries are celebrating Father’s Day. In
addition to Father’s Day, Costa Ricans are united in the frenzy that accompanies
our participation in World Cup 2018; a win today will be a treasured gift to all
fathers! I would like to recognize all fathers today; in particular, my own Dad,
my husband and my brother who often go uncelebrated and unnoticed while
they quietly contribute their much-needed presence. Thank you for being in
my life.

Whether your father is living or not; whether you have a terrific relationship or
a strained one, your father is partly responsible for your very existence. Spend
some time today sending gratitude, feeling compassion and, if necessary,
bestowing forgiveness on him for mistakes in the past. It will be good for you.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | June 10, 2018

Treasures In Our Own Backyard!

Dear Friends,

I woke up earlier than usual this morning. The sun wasn’t shining, the air
was crisp and silence surrounded me. Knowing that I have a full day of
activity planned (which includes bathing our dog), I decided to get up and
begin my day without delay. Stretching my body usually triggers my daily
habit of being grateful for my blessings and today was no exception. I urge
you to get out early and move with thankfulness for the ability to do so.

It is now almost four hours later and I am aware of the many subtle, yet
distinctive sounds that are in the atmosphere. I hear the parrots’ noisy song
as they fly to the almendro that is planted on our property. The low hum of
the refrigerator’s motor is no match for the racket the ride-on lawnmower
makes as our neighbor passes in front of our gate on the way to his field. It
is a busy Sunday for many of us since the rains bring rapid grass growth.

Last week I met a friend for coffee. Although we had not seen each other
in a very long time, we picked up the threads of our ongoing conversations
with the ease of our strong friendship. These encounters reaffirm how vital
personal interactions are to me and how necessary it is to schedule visits to
nurture the high quality relationships I am fortunate to have. We will not go
so long before we meet again.

While walking with our dog on our lawn last night, I enjoyed the spectacular
show the fireflies put on every June. I recalled our niece’s sudden, impulsive
joy years ago when she first saw the flashes of light and her efforts the next
night to catch a few of them in a jar temporarily so she could examine them
closely. It was impossible for me not to smile at the memory. I felt anew the
wonder and magic her reaction awoke in a part of me that had been napping.
It’s amazing what treasures often can be found in our own backyard!

Have a wonderful Sunday and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | June 3, 2018

The Correct Wall

Dear Friends,

My greeting to you this morning is brimming with deep appreciation for the
beauty that surrounds me. In the distance, I catch a glimpse of the green
mountains that provide the backdrop for the different species of birds that
make their way across the sky. We are in the rainy season for sure, making it
wise to get out as early as possible to engage in movement with gratitude.

I’ve had a very interesting week filled with activities and people that remind
me of how important it is for my mental health and well-being to maintain a
connection to the community. Sometimes in the busy-ness of our household
duties, I curtail my interactions outside our home, communicating by email
or phone rather than in person. When I do venture outside, however, I return
home with a renewed sense of purpose and optimism.

June is a lovely month in Costa Rica, especially after the early rains that
revive the grass. Luminous mornings with their eye-popping shades of green
can transition quickly into ones filled with rainfall that lasts for a few minutes
or for several hours. I have gotten in the habit of using June as the month to
evaluate what the first half of the year has been for me personally so I can
correct what I need to in order to accomplish some of my year’s goals. It is
a good exercise.

I live in hope that things in the world can change for the better. I prefer to
spend my time with people who look at challenges as opportunities rather
than problems and who do address them. Tangible private triumphs (like
curtailing my social media use as time-management) have become a source
of deep satisfaction for me. Introspective moments this week have allowed
me to confirm that at present my ladder is leaning against the right wall. My
hope is that yours is also.

Have a wonderful day and an even better week, Marietta image

Posted by: marisundays | May 27, 2018

The Circle of Nature

Dear Friends,

I began my Sunday morning leisurely. I stepped onto the terrace to let my eyes
absorb the spectacular beauty of the green landscape on the horizon. My gaze
eventually turned to the lantana shrub that has taken hold of a particular part of
our lawn. After a few minutes I noticed two graceful butterflies skipping from
bloom to bloom. Although I didn’t stay long enough to see the hummingbirds, I
know they are not far behind. Get out early today and enjoy Nature’s delights.

My musical choice to inspire the muse this morning is Antonio Vivaldi’s The
Four Seasons, specifically, “Spring” which always stirs so much emotion in me.
The recently-begun rainy season responsible for the rich greens present in the
area always make me feel alive. While I love both seasons in my beloved Costa
Rica, it is the lush greens that most inspire me. I try to get all my “chores” done
in the morning so I can be home to enjoy the heady smell of an oncoming rain.

During a recent Skype conversation with one of our sons, I spotted a basil plant
on a table in the background. I was reminded of his love of caprese salads and
of how we grew basil and other herbs and vegetables in our small garden when
the children were young and lived at home. I counted on those efforts to serve
as pathways for our kids to become acquainted with and interested in scientific
concepts in a more natural manner. I look back at those days with nostalgia,
happy that they turned into meaningful family time in my memory.

I see many young couples with children making their way to Atenas from the
U.S., Canada and Europe. Although some of them come with the idea of living
here just long enough for their children to learn the language and experience a
different culture at a young age, others are coming with the goal of immersing
their children and themselves in a place that fosters patience as everything is
at a slower pace. I believe gardening makes a huge contribution and each rainy
season is a welcome beginning to the circle of nature.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | May 20, 2018

The buoyancy of happiness

Dear Friends,

In contrast to last week’s sun-drenched morning, I am greeted today by a gray,
overcast, tranquil day. The birds are silent right now but Nature still surrounds
me and rather than feeling gloomy, I am quiet and calm. I invite you to get out
early today to reconnect with your surroundings and your loved ones. In this
fast-paced time we are living in, it is more important than ever before to make
time to acknowledge our loved ones and make sure they know they are.

I love my Sunday mornings. As they are more relaxed than the rest of my busy
week, they allow me to contemplate the outside world while I mentally review
the week’s events to share something meaningful with you. I usually spend a
few minutes listening to music and letting my mind wander before I actually
start to write. Sometimes this exercise feels like procrastination but it is really
an opportunity to discipline myself to be more flexible and to try not to manage
my every thought.

It seems the whole world was watching yesterday’s Royal Wedding. I did too.
Although I hadn’t actually planned it that way, I woke up early after having had
an excellent, refreshing sleep. Everything was lovely, the feeling of buoyancy
(it really is the only word that fits!) on the faces of the happy couple made me
join them in a smile across the miles. I wish them every happiness as they walk
together in this serious commitment to each other. The world is watching.

Another month is coming to an end. In recent conversations with my kids, I
have been made aware that “Memorial Day” weekend is coming up in the U.S.
Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who have died in military
service. It is traditionally also the beginning of summer in the U.S. That means
ballparks, campfires, festivities and barbecues. Good food and relaxation pair
with the endless sunshine for a few months. It ends too soon but provides great
opportunities for memory-making, a worthwhile endeavor for all seasons.

Have a wonderful Sunday and a terrific week, Marietta

image of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle free to share images

Posted by: marisundays | May 13, 2018

Celebrating Life and Mother’s Day!

Dear Friends,

I woke up today to the sun shining brightly through our windows. The energetic
screeching of the red-crowned parrots could be heard nearby and I rejoiced to
be waking up in such an optimistic atmosphere. I silently bless everything
around me as I begin my day. It is another opportunity to make new memories
and I invite you all to join me in getting out early to make the most of the day.

Mother’s Day is being celebrated in the U.S. and in over 90 more countries
around the world today. A few years ago, I requested that my children spend the
whole day with me on my visit to New York, which they did. Their company was
worth more than any other gift I could have received. I recall listening to their
good-natured banter and being so proud of the young adults they had become. I
am satisfied that their bond remains strong to this day.

This is my first Mother’s Day without my mother’s physical presence. Although
she had been bedridden for years as a result of Alzheimer’s disease, it was
comforting to look in her eyes and perceive some recognition when she smiled
or pulled my ears! Her passing earlier this year is surreal some days, but I can
still sense her presence in my life every single day. I am blessed because I can
count on my father to offer his wisdom when I need it!

Family, friends and community are my incentives for wanting to live a long life.
The last week has brought mourning to Atenas as we suffered the loss of
several prominent community members. I knew some personally; others by
reputation because they had contributed significantly to the lives of those
around them. These sad events led me to think about the important people in
my past with whom I have lost touch on account of daily living. I will make an
effort to connect with those I haven’t seen in a while. In our modern age, with
so many ways to stay in touch, there is really no excuse for not doing so.

Have a wonderful day celebrating life and Mother’s day, Marietta public domain image

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