Posted by: marisundays | August 20, 2017

An opportunity for personal growth!

Dear Friends,

I am comforted by my daily rituals: eating my morning fruit, appreciating
the sun shining through the window, listening to the song of birds filling
the air and saying a verse of gratitude as I begin my day. This week has
been a little different since part of it has found me in New York where
the ambience is somewhat somber and colored by this week’s world
events. My Sunday ritual, though, calls for us to motivate and go out
and I encourage you to do so wherever the day finds you, as I will.

My flight on Wednesday was very delayed. A change in wind direction
just as the pilot was about to begin takeoff made it necessary to change
the flight pattern for which the airplane was carrying too much weight.
Initially, the pilot asked for “volunteers”, then offered $500 for a few
others to exit the plane and finally had standby passengers politely
escorted off. 75 pieces of luggage were then removed from the plane
before the pilot was satisfied that the new weight was within legal limits
for flight.

Thankfully I arrived safely, but my suitcase was one of the 75 removed!
I had to wait another day for it to make its way to me. Everything
worked out eventually. Nothing was missing from my suitcase although
it was evident that airport officials did look through it. Years of travel
have taught me not to pack banned items and I was delighted to find
my coffee (from Atenas, of course!) undisturbed.

The long delay on the airplane gave me an opportunity to observe fellow
passengers and the airline crew as well as monitor my own reactions as
the length of our delay increased to more than 3 hours. I am not a nervous
flyer and had no connecting flights to be anxious about missing. It was
easier for me than for other passengers to sit calmly and accept that get-
ting upset over a situation truly beyond anyone’s control was futile. The
pilot, crew and passengers were mostly gracious despite the tribulation.

This evening my daughter and I will fly to Barcelona where we will spend
a couple of nights before we board a ship for a long-awaited cruise. I am
certain we will be safe but since I am not sure how much internet I will
have on the ship, I may not be able to write you again next Sunday. Let’s
try to live each minute with gratitude, to see challenges as opportunities
for personal growth and to let our loved ones know what they mean to us.

Have a great day and a wonderful week, Marietta

Posted by: marisundays | August 13, 2017

Compassion and Respect

Dear Friends,

A somber morning greeted me. I stood on my terrace and let the cool
morning air gently bring me to full wakefulness. The serenity of the
almost invisible green rolling hills grounded me. I could feel my heart
fill with gratitude to be alive, even during this time of uncertainty in
our world. At least in that moment, everything in my world is good.
Go out early today and breathe in Nature’s wonderful gifts.

I had a busy week which ended as quickly as it began. The days seem
shorter so I try to get as much out of them as I can. The problem with
that system is that I often forget to take in the beauty of a new blossom
or the joy of sitting long enough to appreciate the colors of the sunset.
My “to do” list gets longer but I try not to focus on trying to do every
item, especially menial chores that can wait another day (or week!).

Last week I visited the main branch of the INS (National Insurance
Institute) in Barrio Aranjuez in San José. Although my errand was not
exciting, I really enjoyed being in the neighborhood because it gave
me an opportunity to revisit the colonial architecture of charming,
restored small hotels as I made my way from the parking lot to the
offices. I observed tourists with their guide books and wished I had
time to stop and ask their impressions of our “cosmopolitan” city.

When I was in the INS office, I was impressed by the efficiency of the
personnel. I was also witness to the patience and compassion shown by
a son towards his frail and elderly mother who was probably not more
than 15 years his senior. They were walking slowly ahead of me in the
building and he kindly escorted her out of the way so I could reach the
stairs as they took small steps towards the ramp.

I was so moved by this act that when I reached my destination, I turned
so I could see their progress. They had not gotten very far but the son
was still holding his mom’s hand and talking to her softly. I could see
her nodding and smiling, and I got the sense that mutual respect was
part of their bond. Two complete strangers made my day!

Have a wonderful day celebrating life and a great week, Marietta

Picture my own

Posted by: marisundays | August 6, 2017

Ciudad Colon’s Organic Farmers Market

Dear Friends,

The songs of the birds and the refreshing, pure cool air greets me on this
gorgeous Sunday. It’s as if I had placed an order for a perfect day to spend
outdoors, breathing deeply and moving my body in gratitude. I encourage
you to do the same. Let nothing disturb you as you concentrate on soaking
up the sounds and sights of Nature around you, even for just a few minutes.

As I write this message, I am listening to Andres Segovia’s compilation of
J.S. Bach Recordings. The magic of the internet makes these gems available
for our listening pleasure. I can’t remember the sequence of ‘searches’ that
led me to these recordings; I was not as sure as I am other Sundays what
kind of music I wanted today. I now feel energized and motivated by his
interpretation of the difficult pieces that he began to play a hundred years

I have been sharing parts of my life with you all for many years. Knowing
that I will be recounting some aspect of my daily existence urges me to
pay attention to events as they unfold before me. When I focus on people
doing good deeds, I become aware of how many of them lead by example;
quietly devoting time to essential, mundane tasks every single day, with-
out pay or recognition. Today is a good day to recognize these people, I
am sure that like me, you all know someone who qualifies.

Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to visit the Feria Verde (an organic
Farmers Market) in Ciudad Colón. I was eager to see this market since
I have heard a lot about it in recent years. I was not disappointed. It was
a magical, festive experience that allowed me to meet and ask questions
of the people who grow or make the products they sell. I could see that
the challenges of entrepreneurship are welcomed by these vendors who
see them as part of the path they have chosen. I returned home with new
appreciation for people who view hard work as a gift worth embracing.

Have a wonderful Sunday and a terrific week, Marietta

Picture of Feria Verde from their FB page

Posted by: marisundays | July 30, 2017

Double Rainbow!

Dear Friends,

I am writing to you from the comfort of my living room while gazing at
the lovely green horizon that is visible through the screened door after
two ailing trees have been removed from our property. I feel happy to
wake up to another day. I encourage us all to get out early to enjoy some
movement and relaxation. It is a great time to celebrate life!

I love trees. I have many memories of living in Brooklyn and visiting
Prospect Park during my childhood. I felt comfort in the living pastoral
landscape, the subject of the paintings and literature that I enjoyed most.
Removing those two diseased trees from our property was not an easy
decision. We tried pruning them over the years but the lack of trained,
professional arborists who could honestly evaluate their ailment and
help us cure them made my daily walks on the property disheartening.

My husband and I went to the Farmers Market in Atenas on Friday
morning. It was very early but many people were already busy shopping.
We stopped at our regular stands and purchased the fruits and vegetables
to be consumed during the week. We returned home and after putting
away our groceries, I looked out the kitchen window and noticed the
absence of the trees. I felt unburdened in an odd way, a bit guilty too.

Late Friday afternoon, after a short but heavy rain that was followed by
a brilliant sun, we were gifted a double rainbow. I know that scientifi-
cally a rainbow’s essence is just an amalgamation of light; an optical
illusion caused by water droplets when viewed from a certain angle,
impossible to touch. For the sentimentalist in me, however, a rainbow
is a sign of many things, among them hope and promise.

In the particular moment of taking it all in and running for my camera,
it dawned on me that there are other options besides planting more trees
to fill in the gap. Perhaps the area needs to be left alone for a while to
recover and to allow us to intuit what might belong there. No picture
can duplicate Nature’s paintbrush but I did get this lovely partial shot.

Have a wonderful day and a week of possibilities, Marietta

image my own

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

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