Posted by: marisundays | January 7, 2018

Honoring my Mom

Dear Friends,

It is a cold and grey morning here in San José where I have spent the week.
While the whole country is experiencing this cold front, it seems to me that
San José has been hit much harder than other places. I won’t suggest you get
out today and move around unless you need to, but it is always a good idea
to take a deep breath and feel gratitude for everything in your life.

On January 1, 2018 I said goodbye to my mother’s physical form. Although
my heart is broken, I rejoice knowing that she has been released from pain
and suffering and is in a better place while watching over us. I would like to
honor my mother by sharing with you my tribute to her at her funeral last

“What can be said about my mother would fill at least one book that I hope
to write someday. To summarize in the simplest manner, we can say that she
was a woman who would not be satisfied with passing through this world
unnoticed. She left a mark on every project and on every person she knew.
The oldest of ten siblings, she proved that dreaming, having goals and
achieving them was not impossible. She left us a legacy worth following.

On behalf of my father, my sisters, my brother and myself, our appreciation
for the support her faithful caregivers: Ana Brenes, Luz Mora and Gaby
Campos have provided. To our father, our admiration for showing us what
true love is with his devotion to her, especially in the last 6 years. I ask you
for applause for him and I ask God to lend him to us for many more years
to come.”

I feel blessed beyond measure because I carry my parents’ genes, their
strength and their resilience. My mother’s generous spirit touched the
lives of many including you, who I now thank for being on this journey
with me for the last few years. Rest in peace Mom.

Stay warm today; I’ll see you here next week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | December 31, 2017

Welcoming 2018!

Dear Friends,

On this beautiful, still, sunny Sunday morning, I invite you to welcome a day
that will hopefully unfold in a relaxing and meaningful way. Get outside early
in an attitude of gratitude, combining gentle movement with an awareness of
all the goodness that surrounds you. Being truly present for just a few minutes
every morning, can make a notable impact on how each day plays out.

This is the last Sunday of 2017. As I move into the energy of 2018, I am
filled with appreciation for all of you who have been spending a year of
Sundays with me in the past. I like to go back and re-read your feedback.
It is especially encouraging when you take time from your own busy days
to share the comings and goings of your life and articulate your intentions
for the year ahead.

The last couple of weeks have found me busy and happy with visits from
family and friends. Instead of exhausting me, these visits replenish my spirit
and fuel my need to bond and connect with people who motivate me to grow
into the best version of myself. I am enthusiastic to plan the months ahead,
even though I accept that a certain amount of flexibility is always required.

Life is full of mysteries. 2017 held many positive experiences for me and I
am at peace with the personal goals that I have been able to meet or surpass.
I have written down (in pencil!) the three priorities for 2018 which I feel are
within my reach. It is a big difference from other years where I have dozens
of “priorities” and lose focus early on. Let’s welcome the New Year with the
expectation that we will attain the things we work for and deserve.

Have a wonderful celebration tonight and a great week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | December 24, 2017

A Christmas Eve Greeting!

Dear Friends,

As I feel the breeze caress my cheeks on this glorious Sunday morning, I am
filled with gratitude for each one of you. Knowing that you are receiving my
emails each week encourages me to look for positive events during the week
so I can keep my promise to bring you good tidings on Sundays. Get out
early today to enjoy the crisp air that infuses our neighborhood with energy!

The past several weeks have been full of wonderful happenings in our small
town. We have witnessed the generosity and hard work that made it possible
to provide gifts and a party for over 350 “angels” who would otherwise not
be able to celebrate the season. The Municipality put on a marvelous parade
that was well-attended and brought lovely floats and many surprises. There
have been concerts and a Christmas fair in the park that made shopping easy.

There is optimism in the air, an intangible yet present feeling of promise, as
we await the 2018 that is just around the corner. Although most of us are busy
with seasonal activities that center around decorations, traditional meals, travel
and reunions with family and friends, it’s important to make time to reflect on
the real spirit of the holidays. I am enjoying being part of the community that
gathers together once a year to acknowledge our importance to each other all
year long.

Last week I noticed many new visitors making their way around our small
town. Yesterday La Coope (celebrating its 6th year in the “new” location) was
full to overflowing with regular shoppers and visiting tourists who were also
enjoying their afternoon coffee in the outdoor cafeteria. As I passed by, I was
greeted by many people I have met over the 15 years of living here. I am
proud to be a part of this town; a town that has kept its tradition of hospitality
and solidarity despite the constant changes and challenges it faces.

Whatever tradition you observe, my best wishes for a joyful celebration and
a wonderful, peaceful week.


Posted by: marisundays | December 17, 2017

A bond of peace, hope and community

Dear Friends,

Greetings on a wonderfully quiet and cool Sunday morning. As I finish my
morning coffee, I have been watching part of the video from yesterday’s
Festival of Lights in Atenas, compliments of Radio Atenas, our local station.
I am filled with gratitude for all the wonderful things I am able to enjoy, not
the least of which is the technology that makes it possible to communicate
with my loved ones across the miles. Get out early today for a bit of sunshine
and to feast your eyes and ears on the sights and sounds of the Season!

Although I admit that I am not one to go all out with the decorations or gift
giving at Christmas, I do look forward with child-like anticipation to visits
with friends and the special foods that seem to taste better around this time
of year. I feel privileged to be living in a place that has lots of large families
that still gather together to make those hundreds of tamales that will be shared
during the next couple of weeks. It is heartwarming to listen to conversations
and be part of the lively banter, memories that last long after the day is done.

Movies and Christmas carols are present everywhere. Some are silly and many
are quite solemn. Whenever I hear the Muppets and John Denver sing the
songs, I am transported to the days when our children were little and we
decorated and sang along. Those happy reminiscences put a smile on my face
and make me glad that I put aside all my chores to spend time with them
creating what would become family rituals that we can all recall fondly.

Our patience will be tried in the coming days as we find ourselves stuck in traffic
or having to do last minute shopping for forgotten items. It is important, at this
time, to remember that the real spirit of the season is not the external gift-giving
and partying, but the internal process that supports us so we can connect to
those in our world in a common bond of peace, hope and community.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | December 10, 2017

The power of first impressions

Dear Friends,

At this moment, I am aware of the effect cold front is already having in
our area. During the night there was an increase in the windy pattern which
was evident from all the debris that accumulated on our front porch. Since I
am going out early this morning, I have already taken a quick walk, feeling
the wind in my face and the sun on my skin. I stretched and soaked in
Nature’s goodness. I encourage you do the same before it gets too windy.

I went to the Atenas Farmers Market very early on Friday. Well, I thought it
was very early but many people had made an even earlier start! My shopping
list was modest and my intention was to dash in and get back home quickly to
tackle the other items on my agenda for the day. I first visited our regular
produce vendor whose welcoming smile immediately put one on my face. I
realized then that dashing in and out is more of a challenge to me once I am
actually in an environment that is vibrant and conducive to conversation!

As I made my way back to my car, a vendor I had never noticed before invited
me to sample a product he was introducing. By that point, I was in a hurry and
politely declined. He graciously replied, “Another time then, Marietta” which
had the effect of stopping me in my tracks because I did not recognize him as
anyone I knew. Naturally my inquiring mind had to know where he knew me
from, so I stopped to chat and sample his tasty chimichurri-like sauce.

He recounted an informal meeting we had years ago when he had recently
retired from his company and was looking to develop a project in Atenas. As
he was talking, I was able to recall all the details, including my enthusiastic
response to his idea which actually did become a reality. I never saw him again
until Friday when he was happily introducing his new venture.

As a business-oriented person, I am happy to see that as his other enterprise
goes into decline, he has initiated a new one with equal enthusiasm. As a self-
appointed community builder, I am extremely gratified that he remembered me
in a positive light. It reminded me about the power of first impressions. I left
the farmers market feeling very content, even though it was much later than I
had planned!

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | December 3, 2017

With A View Towards 2018

Dear Friends,

A beautiful, sunny and breezy morning woke me up today. It came with
the sounds of the different bird species that season after season make
ornithology so interesting to me. I suggest all of us get out early today
to enjoy rest and relaxation before the frenetic pace of the holidays takes
over our days and makes us forget what the real spirit of the season is.

It has been an uplifting and exciting week in our household – quite a bit
different from the same time last year when we experienced so many
losses in a short time. We went to pick up our daughter at the airport on
Tuesday and it became very evident that high tourist season has arrived.
Her flight was delayed, affording me some retro and forward-thinking
time. I was also able to indulge my enthusiasm for people watching.

The outside arrivals area at the airport is always chaotic but especially
so when flights have been delayed and it is high season. There are dozens
of people holding signs or just loudly anticipating the emergence of their
relatives or friends. This is one of my favorite parts of waiting, actually.
I enjoy (discreetly) watching people’s first reactions when they spot loved
ones. I remember the excitement that waiting for their Dad to exit sparked
in our children as they proudly held up a sign with his name on it!

The year is almost over. As it concludes, I have begun to make a short list
of realistic personal goals for 2018. You’re all aware that I feel we should
enjoy every day and every stage of our lives. My daughter’s company in the
last few days has made me even more aware of the importance of simply
living and enjoying the present moment without focusing on mistakes of
the past or anxieties about the future. The present moment is all we have.

My best wishes for a terrific day and week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | November 26, 2017

Becoming a better person!

Dear Friends,

I am welcoming a quiet, beautiful Sunday morning in my home. My second
cup of Atenas coffee accompanies me to the terrace where my ears catch
the distant call of a single bird. I am writing a little bit earlier than usual
and the silence makes it easier for me to breathe in and appreciate the air
that surrounds me. Get out early today and make it a point to notice all the
beauty in the natural world and in your own life. Make a decision to live
a good day.

In the last few days, I have noticed there’s a breeze in the air; colorful lights
adorn storefronts and homes. Many of our neighbors have already decorated
their Christmas trees. Since I celebrate Thanksgiving in a big way, I have not
begun any Christmas preparations but I do know that we are just 35 days away
from welcoming 2018! It startled me a little this morning when I counted the
days on the calendar. How can the year be ending when it just began? I am
certain many of you feel the same way.

2017 has been a good year for me. I have been privileged to enjoy celebrations
that I had long anticipated and which I can relive through pictures and videos
that today’s technology makes available. This year will be memorable because
I have taken time to assess my life up to this point and really let it sink in that
time goes quickly. I have done my utmost to make necessary mental adjust-
ments so that I can endure and stay positive in situations that I can’t control.
My level of confidence and happiness as we head to 2018 is high.

We all want to flow with life and enjoy it to the fullest. There will always be
difficult times and events that will test us. Nature has been quite active in 2017
with devastating results for many worldwide. These are opportunities that show
our personal capacity to bounce back and transcend the challenges. Last year
I mentioned being hopeful that the surprise result of presidential elections in the
U.S. would lead to critical thinking and open dialogue resulting in real change.
I think it is important for all of us to serenely and honestly make an assessment.

My mom used to say that if everyone took responsibility for just the things they
signed up for, the world would be a much better place. I think of that statement
often and try to implement it on a daily basis. We can’t control everything out
there but we have the power to shape our own destiny. I strive to turn myself
into a better person by surrounding myself with uplifting people who have the
compassionate attitude that allows them to focus on solutions rather than blame.
My internal world has become a better place which I hope presents externally.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | November 19, 2017

Gratitude in Large Quantities

Dear Friends,

A gorgeous morning greets me! This Sunday’s air is cool, refreshing, and
invigorating. As the seasons change, excitement builds for me whether I am
in sunny Costa Rica anticipating “summer” or experiencing the magnificent
fall foliage that my friends and family share through their pictures on social
media. Get out early today, stretching and appreciating the body that supports
you in all your activities.

Several years ago, right around this time, I was visiting my friends in the San
Isidro de Atenas area who specialize in cultivating orchids (AMASIA). I came
home with a little planting of an orchid that promptly died because I was not
attentive to the instructions given to me for giving it a good chance to thrive.
A few weeks later, despite my strong objections, a friend gave me an orchid
that she could not take with her when she moved overseas.

The orchid was in bloom when I received it. I tied it to a tree that is an ideal
distance from our home and I occasionally visit to make sure it is still living!
I was thrilled this morning to see that it is healthy and that its roots have clung
deeply to the tree. I am certain it will bloom again shortly. My AMASIA
friends lost most of their nursery during hurricane Nate but they are working
hard to rebuild. I admire their resilience and know they will succeed.

I will celebrate Thanksgiving Day on Thursday. It continues to be my most
favorite day of the year. I love the idea of one whole day focusing on being
grateful. I will be accompanied by family and friends in at atmosphere that
will highlight Nature’s bounty and fill the house with the aromas that evoke
memories of my childhood. My parents were doing all the cooking then and
without knowing it, they were bequeathing me the most important ingredient
in the recipe of my life: gratitude in large amounts for everything I have.

May you have a wonderful day and an excellent week, Marietta

images my own

Posted by: marisundays | November 12, 2017

Better days await us!

Dear Friends,

It’s a beautiful morning. I can feel the warm sun on my shoulders. Its cheerful
summons reminds me to bask in another day of life and possibilities. I stretch
and feel my mood elevate as the my circulation activates and mental stress rolls
away. Get out early today and enjoy all that life has to offer wherever you are.

November has long been the month of reflection and gratitude for me. I become
nostalgic for the fall colors of my childhood in New York, even though living in
a tropical climate is imperative for my well-being and overall satisfaction with
life. I am delighted to witness that my community is planning activities for the
upcoming holiday season and I daydream about seasonal meals and presents!

Despite all the trials and tribulations our world has been through this year, we
enthusiastically expect better days ahead. This is a testament to human nature’s
capacity to wait with optimism for good things to come out of even the most
negative of situations. I am now in the time of my life where I am aware that
my glass is emptier and that the energy to get up and refill it is less than it once
was. It has become more important to associate with cheerful people.

I was in our local supermarket yesterday afternoon. It is often very crowded
on Saturdays because of the discounts and food brands that offer tastings. To
my surprise, it was uncrowded and I was able to chat with the cashier who I’ve
known for more than 10 years! Our conversation’s focus was on the stages of
life and on how satisfying it is to enjoy each stage as it is happening. I left the
store feeling exhilarated after talking with such a positive, energetic person
and I hope the same was true for her.

Have a great day with lovely people and a terrific week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | November 5, 2017

Dusting off our moral fiber

Dear Friends,

I woke up refreshed this morning and delighted to see the flowers of the
sugar cane in the fields across from us. It rained late last night after a few
days of no rain. The transition to the dry season has begun with the winds
blowing and the ground becoming a rug with a thick layer of leaves that
our gardener rakes constantly. I breathe in gratitude for all that I see before
me. Get out early today to enjoy a relaxing Sunday.

Last week I mentioned that I was newly engaged in reading headlines. This
is prompted in part by the fact that we are heading towards elections in Costa
Rica in February 2018. The current political undercurrent worldwide is of
much concern to me. I urge people to vote so I feel it is my duty to educate
myself by critically assessing the policies and track records of those who
want to run our country; no easy task with over 10 candidates!

I have opted out of many newsletters that crowded my in-box and devoted too
much space to marketing. As a consequence, the emails I do receive are few
and focus on the areas I am interested in. There is one in particular that makes
me feel like the journalist who writes it can read my mind! I am in awe of his
uncluttered style and I appreciate the fact that he sends it early in the morning
so I can get on with my day and cogitate on the current important issues.

Friday morning I learned from him that our OIJ had a busy dawn in Atenas
(and in San José) which ended with the arrest of prominent figures connected
to the “cement scandal”. I recognized the streets of Atenas and felt like the
wind had been knocked out of me. I was disoriented for much of the morning.
As I was driving home from San José where I had spent a few nights, I felt an
odd mixture of relief and sadness as I passed the very streets that had been
part of police activity earlier.

As I write this morning, I feel optimistic because there are officers in our country
who are brave and honest. We might actually cut through the web of lies and
corruption that is strangling us and this will allow us to address some of the
issues that have been ignored for too long. I believe we can all collaborate to
bring to the table the moral fiber that we need and have forgotten exists in most
of us.

Have a wonderful day and a terrific week, Marietta

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