DEEP words

“Simply by changing your habitual vocabulary, you can instantaneously change how you think, how you feel, and how you live.” ~ Tony Robbins

“People with an impoverished vocabulary live an impoverished emotional life; people with rich vocabularies have a multihued palette of colors with which to paint their experience, not only for others, but for themselves as well.” ~ Tony Robbins

“Few activities are as delightful as learning new vocabulary.” ~ Tim Gunn

Words that have deep meaning….create a space and an appetite for inspired words.

I LOVE learning new words, opening emails with words of the day and sharing wherever I can with anyone who will appreciate a good word. Hope you find some here. enJOY!

Philocalist: [to me the pronunciation sounds like fill-o-ca-list] [‘philos’- ‘lover of’ ‘kalos’-beauty] LOVER of BEAUTY; finds beauty in all things.

Aliferous: having wings

Saudade: a deep emotional state of melancholic longing for a person or thing that is absent

Epiphany: A life changing realization

Redamancy: [to me the pronunciation sounds like read-a-mancy] the act of loving someone who loves you back; a love returned in full.  Redamancy is what happens when the feeling is mutual.

Crestfallen: discouraged

Querencia: sanctuary where you feel safe. Querencia means “a place where one draws inspiration or strength from,” or “the place where one feels most comfortable and true.” Querencia is a Spanish word that has no direct or perfect English translation.[taken from daunter]

Reverie: A daydream; you are lost in your own thoughts.

Scrumdiddlyumptious: extremely tasty or delicious

Eudaemonia: State of being lucky

Metanoia: the journey of changing your mind, heart, self, and way of life. [ie: spiritual awakening]

Flimflam: Trick or deception

Euphoria: A State of extreme Happiness

Snuggery: a cozy room

Sobriquet: nick name

Felicity: Happiness

Mellifluous: Beautiful Sounding

Thalassophile: Lover of the Sea

Quintessence: Perfect example

Sanguine: Optimistic and Positive

Scintilla: A trace or spark of something

Serendipity: Chain of events that occurs in a favorable way

Surreptitious: Clandestine (keep a secret or done secretly)

Wistfulness: Yearning or desire

Snazzy: stylish and attractive

Zenith: The highest, most successful point of a situation

Frangipani: a perfume imitating the flower of a tropical tree or shrub

Kismet: Destiny

Raconteur: a person who is skilled in telling stories in an amusing and skilled way.

Splendiferous: splendid; magnificent; fine

Verve: Enthusiasm or vigor

Ineffable: too great to be expressed in words

Limerence: The state of being infatuated by another person

Sonder: the realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own.

Eunoia: [greek word for good will] beautiful thinking; healthy mind.

Hope this list gets you learning and including new words into your day to day. It is so enJOYable to learn how to pronounce words, use them in a sentence, quiz family members, etc.

Learning new words is a great way to challenge yourself to stretch and grow. Because if you are not growing…you are dying. Reach beyond your normal and take on little challenges each day that help you aspire to be your best self.

Cheers to you. Yay You! Peace. Love and Light to you. xoxo -H

Make holiDAYS fun

Well, we are all about holidays and fun at our house.

You should have special days, or dare I say, any day into a holiday (which means holy day) to make memories for those you love. Last weekend my daughter had a new boy friend come for a visit, so I put on my creativity brain and quickly made a fun message in a bottle(s) scavenger hunt on the beach. I filled a couple glass, wine bottles with a few inspired quotes and about 4 or 5 messages done in morse code. My husband and I ran to the beach to hide them and left giant arrows made out of drift wood to help them find them. So FUN!! We even found a wood 2 x 4 piece of wood and propped it up on a large tree that drifted out of the sand and looked like a large walking plank. We told them, “look for the 2 x 4 wood plank and walk the plank!” The two of them found a different piece of wood (probably a 2×3) barely off the ground & they took a video of one another walking back and forth on this tiny piece of wood. My husband and I laughed really hard & told them, “Wrong plank!” The two of them kept looking for the other plank and message in a bottle. They finally found both bottles, but in the end had the morse code messages upside down (imagine how I missed that detail 😉 Morse code upside down can be confusing. They finally figured out the messages and had a great time!! LIFE IS A GREAT OCCASION FOR FUN!

Another FUN time this weekend!—St. Patrick’s Day!! Why?? Here’s why…wearing green, Lucky Clovers, Blarney stones, Irish jigs, many would say the Pubs, the Irish stew, leprechauns, the rainbows, the pot of gold…Oh, my. Here is what I have learned about the traditional holiday, how to celebrate it and all the fun you can create!!

Ever since my daughter was a wee pup we would make traps in our house to catch the leprechauns. She always LOVED anything mythical and magical, so everything was very FUN and memorable at our house.

LEPRECHAUNS, GREEN, RAINBOWS & pots of gold, Oh my: apparently, somewhere down some line of time, wearing green was magically suppose to make you invisible to the crafty, naughty little leprechauns who like to pull pranks and steal a pinch!! Now, for the rainbows and pots of gold story…Folklore depicts leprechauns as mistrustful creatures who detest humans. According to legend, leprechauns found the abandoned gold and buried it again so no human could ever find it. The old folktales tell us that there is a pot of gold hidden where the end of any rainbow touches the earth.[chandlerchevcad]

ST PATRICK: St. Patrick’s given name was Maewyn Succat. It wasn’t until he became a priest that he adopted a new name – Patrick, after Patricius (which relates to the Latin root meaning father). St Patrick was NOT a Saint and was also NOT Irish. St. Patrick was born in Britain in either Scotland or Wales (accounts tend to vary on that point) BUT Apparently, as a teenager, St. Patrick was kidnapped by a pirate raiding party and sold into slavery in Ireland. As a slave, he looked after and herded sheep for many years before fleeing to a monastery in England. While there, he became a devout follower of Christianity and ordained a Bishop, after which he returned to Ireland as a missionary. [gocity]

Poor kid. I already love him a little more after learning his history and the life he came from. Imagine being kidnapped, sold into slavery, finding a closeness to God after all that and then going back to the country where you lived in slavery and trying to teach the people. Wow. He must be a saint.

THE LUCKY SHAMROCK: Is more a religious tool than something lucky. As the stories go, St. Patrick supposedly used the iconic shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity while preaching. With each leaf representing Christianity’s Holy Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it was a symbol that showed how they could be three different spiritual entities and yet all part of the same whole.

SHAMROCK & Four-leaf CLOVER: Though shamrocks and four-leaf clovers are both associated with St. Paddy’s Day, the two are not, in fact, the same thing. The important difference: a shamrock is a clover that only has three leaves, which is far less rare to find than a four-leaf clover and therefore not as lucky. In fact, there are approximately 10,000 three-leaf clovers for every four-leaf clover, so shamrocks are much more common. However, four-leaf clovers aren’t just considered lucky because they’re so rare.

Interesting facts: The leaves of four-leaf clovers are said to stand for faith, hope, love, and luck.

Abraham Lincoln always carried a four-leaf clover with him but reportedly forgot it at home the night he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.

The word shamrock comes from the Irish word seamrog, which means “little clover.”

St. Patrick used a three-leaf clover as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity when he was first introducing Christianity to Ireland, which is why shamrocks are associated with the holiday.[womansday]


‘There is a stone there, that whoever kisses, OH! He never misses, to grow eloquent’.

The term ‘blarney’, meaning beguiling but misleading talk, gained currency during the 16th century as the MacCarthy of the day attempted to fend off the demands of Queen Elizabeth I.

Legends about the Stone’s origin emerged, each as plausible as the next. It was said to have been the stone used by Jacob as a pillow when he dreamed of the ladder extending up to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it, and that it was brought from the Holy Land after the Crusades.

For over 200 years, world statesmen, literary giants, and legends of the silver screen have joined millions of pilgrims climbing the steps to gain the gift of eloquence. Among those said to have kissed the stone are: Sir Winston Churchill, Stan Laurel (while Oliver Hardy waited for him downstairs), Ronald Reagan, Sir Walter Scott, Sir Mick Jagger, Katherine Jenkins, Eddie Redmayne, James Nesbitt and Joe Manganiello. []

More than 300,000 people come to kiss the Blarney Stone each year, in the hopes of gaining more eloquent speech. [sacredsites]

So many stories, possible origins of the stone…Did Moses, Jacob, the Scottish Kings or St. Columba first use the stone? Probably this will never be known. The most commonly accepted story of the stone is that, in gratitude for Irish support at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 (a Scottish defeat of the English), Robert the Bruce gave a portion of the stone to Cormac McCarthy, King of Munster. Installed at Cormac McCarthy’s stronghold, Blarney Castle, it became known as the Blarney Stone. A century later, in 1446, King Dermot McCarthy then installed the stone in an enlarged castle he constructed. [sacredsites]

ACTIVITIES to bring out some IRISH LUCK:

Lots of family crafts and games for a younger family—there are tons of sites for these. In this post I am digging deep to find alternative activities and games for an older audience. We don’t drink, so if you are looking for drinking games—you can find plenty of those on other sites. Here are some ideas to spark a fun St. Patrick’s holiday at your home.

PLAY IRISH MUSIC: Some singers to put on your St. Paddy’s Day playlist: Hozier, Enya, Niall Horan, Bono, Sinéad O’Connor, and Van Morrison, to name just a few. [WomansDay]. For a late-night singalong, there’s nothing like belting out the early aughts hit “Breathless” by The Corrs, but if you’re looking for traditional Irish songs, we found the most beautiful renditions of classics including “Danny Boy” and “Molly Malone.” Queuing up tunes to dance to? Bangers from Celtic punk bands The Rumjacks and Flogging Molly will get you moving, as will upbeat pop hits like “Galway Girl” by Ed Sheeran featuring Celtic folk band Beoga (fun fact: Sheeran’s paternal grandparents are Irish).  [CountryLiving]. “Hall of Fame” by The Script featuring Also Cranberries. “The Ballad of Ronnie Drew” by U2 and others. Snow Patrol. “Try a Little Tenderness” by The Commitments. The biggest hit from the biggest rock band to ever come out of Ireland With or Without You U2 Or Beautiful Day “The Blower’s Daughter” by Damien Rice. Don’t forget Enya. “C’est La Vie” by B*Witched


Irish games: Rings, Croquet supposed to have come from a game called Crookey in Northern Ireland, Quoits, Darts, some other games that came from Ireland…Hurling and Gaelic football, but the games below could also be played at your family party.

Road bowling: an unusual and exciting version of bowls that it particular to Ireland. It is played with a steal shot, which is tossed under arm by the player down a twisty road. The player who gets to the finish line with the least shots wins. The whole course is called a score. It only really survives in Cork and Armagh, but there are pockets in other countries. [masterofgames].

Rounders: the American games Baseball and Softball are both descendants of a game played by Irish immigrants. Today in Ireland it’s modern form is called rounders and it’s a very popular activity. [masterofgames]

Lots of other traditional Irish Games can be found at this link

Find the gold coin: hide a specific number and invite guests to go on a gold coin hunt. Whoever finds the most wins the grand prize! Make it a pot of gold, some green cash, a green artichoke…anything green and great!

Irish Slang Words: Break into teams and give each team a “Irish Slang” word to see if they can decipher. If they get the word, then the team gets a number of points. Whichever team gets the most points wins. Here is my list. Bad dose (Severe illness) . Bang on (Right, accurate, correct) . Banjanxed (broken) . Boyo! (male, juvenile) . Bucketing down (raining hard) . Bunk off (skip) . Chancer (lighthearted Irish insult for someone who takes risks) . Craic (Fun, gossips, goings-on) . Crack on (Continue on) . Delira and excite (Delighted and excited) . Deadly (Brilliant, fantastic, great) . Dosser (Someone not working or is messing about) . Effin’ and blinding’ (Swearing and cursing) . Fine thing (good looking man or woman–attractive) . Gaff (home) . Gammy (Crooked or odd-looking) . hames (complete mess) . Holy show (disgraceful scene) . Howya (hi. hello) . Jacks (toilet) . Jo maxi (cab or taxi) . Kip (dump of a place and also a sleep) . Knackered (exhausted or tired) . Bangers (drunk) . Manky (dirty, filthy, disgusting–my hair feels manly) . Minerals (soft drink) . Mot (girlfriend) . Savage (common term for great, brilliant) . Scarlet (very embarrassed) . Shattered (exhausted) . Thick (extremely stupid) . my personal favorite….GRAND. [taken from Irelandbeforeyoudie]

Irish Jokes for some standup comedy time together.

Bono and the Edge walk into a bar in Dublin. The barman exclaims, “Not U2 again!!!”

What do you call a fake Irish stone? A shamrock.

Did you hear Ireland is the fastest-growing country in Europe? Its population is always Dublin.

After examining him, an Irishman goes to the doctor and says, “You have some problems with your heart, but if you take these tablets, I think it will be okay.

“So the doctor gives the man the tablets, and the patient asks, “Do I have to take them every day?” No,” replies the doctor, “take one on a Monday, skip the Tuesday, take one on Wednesday, skip the Thursday and go on like that. “Two weeks later, the doctor walks down the street and sees the patient’s wife.” Hello Mrs Murphy,” he says, “how’s your husband?”

“Oh, he died of a heart attack,” says Mrs Murphy.

“I’m very sorry to hear that,” says the doctor, “I thought if he took those tablets, he would be all right.”, “Oh, the tablets were fine,” says Mrs Murphy, “It was all the bloody skipping that killed him!”

Some fun Puns too! Irish you were mine. I’m Dublin over with laughter. That dance was a jig mistake. When the dance is over, the jig is up. That’s a bunch of ba-larney. You’re my lucky charm. Irish I may, Irish I might. Don’t give into beer pressure. You shamrock my world. I’m a clover, not a fighter. Drink happy thoughts. I’m pure gold. People are always after me lucky charms. Gold riddance. You’re my pot of gold. Get clover it, babe. Let’s have a shamrockin’ good time tonight! Shamrocks and shenanigans for all! Burst into cheers!

GET CREATIVE: Color doodled shamrocks, create or find coloring pages with Irish patterns or words. You could also paint rocks from a river or beach and make your own Blarney Stone in hopes of finding your own voice and being able to speak eloquently. [like the Irish tradition of kissing the Blarney Stone] OR maybe you take some time to make a special poem like some of the great Irish poets.

FOOD: There are a zillion recipes for the traditional Irish brunch or big meals of Stew and Soda bread. Find something that your family will enJOY. Whether you do Irish eggs, potatoes, hashes or stews…create it with love and it will all turn out to be the best occasion. LOVE is the key ingredient in anything you make. Make it with LOVE.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!! Make every day an occasion. Life is too short!

Peace. Love and Light. -H xoxo

Resilience. Remember?

Wow!! I just came across a notebook with a page of scribbled and bulleted statements from the time spent during COVID. The opening statement, “What have you learned through this quarantine?”

This took me back to the time none of us will ever forget. It will forever be remembered in history books, the missed graduations, the loss of loved ones…It was like a cloud of fear came into our world as a whole. It was a heavy time for all. A time that no one will forget or minimize.

I will however, always remember how everyone dug deep within to find the best ways to deal with the situation, the world found so many good things that led to hope—People in various countries sharing their talents from balconies in Europe to roof top serenades that inspired and delighted. Tourist spots were empty but the silence of shared videos put to music was humbling and had its own beauty. Wildlife was wandering and nature was getting a needed break that brought healthy resolutions. People were encouraging, building, tipping, giving, helping those in need of solutions. Celebrities were using their fame for good. Buildings lit up with colors of support for healthcare workers. It was a time of turmoil, but also a time where the world felt like it had come together in a greater cause. In its own right it was truly amazing.

Sure, there were the tough things that came from this time too, but I want to focus on the beauty that unfolded.

Let that be the focus today. How can we remember the resilience?

Here is the definition of resilience: the capacity to withstand or to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

I think in looking back on that period of time the real resilience was led by HOPE and CONNECTION. Everyone was in the same boat of difficulty, experiencing real-time, life-changing situations. The news had the daily death tolls, but the world was also contributing to the news with their own versions of HOPE and CONNECTION. The world was on a stage all together. So much strength came from seeing how other people, families, other countries were coping and how they were finding resilience in the storm. We all had to face the fears together. We all had to face circumstances together. On a world scale. It was humbling. It was connecting. It was pretty incredible in some crazy, twisted way.

The world seemed to shift in some ways. I know the US had families finding more balance than they had experienced in years. Families were getting outside TOGETHER, they were playing games, they were crafting, they were watching television series…all together because that is where they had to be. They had to connect. They had a greater opportunity to connect. Even though it was hard in some ways. smile. smile. [I know I had a few sisters complaining that they were ready for their kids to go back to school—eagerly waiting for the day] it connected families, created a space and opportunity for them to become stronger and to grow through the experience together. You only HOPE that families look back on that time with a greater sense of appreciation and see it as a valued year of their lives.

It was fun to find this paper that took me back to that time…to read the below bullets. To remember. It was a precious time for our family. Life is like that. It goes by so quickly, so we strive to always remember to make memories, spend extra money to invest in experiences together and make life happen with greater connection!!

The bullets listed with each of my families names beside the bullets.


Life is precious. Jon looks at stats every day and sees the numbers of loss daily. He said, “We are all in this together, young and old. Who should be saved? It is crazy.”

Be prepared. I love seeing the outpouring and support to others in need. People need it.

I ask, “What have you learned to appreciate?” His response: The power of connectivity—love all the group texts of support, the social media messages that are so positive. It has been very powerful. Being home with family. Fun banter with extended family. The deeper connections and conversations. Sleeping in. The late nights together.


“What have you missed?” My job and everything about it. [At the time our daughter was working at a really cool aquarium and was missing the camaraderie of her team, the animals, the environment…everything.]

She said, “Our life hasn’t changed that much for us besides more connection and family time & I love that.” [Kate was already doing an online school, so her schooling didn’t change]

“What have you enjoyed?” Quiet time, doing puzzles, relaxing at night, family walks, seeing so many people outside. [Our family was always in the habit of spending lots of time outside, but it was a huge number of people who seemed to come out of nowhere. It was refreshing to see families outside together]. Kate loved our family time together watching shows like Zoey’s Extraordinary Play list, playing classic games like Clue and Battleship, watching Survivor, having her Dad home with us, just a great break all together as a family.


Great opportunity to learn new things. I pulled out a big drum and would have drum time. My little family would laugh at me and my crazy songs and mantras I would sing. I loved seeing people spread love wherever they could [painted rocks along trails, window art with inspired messages, kids doing chalk messages on walkways] good news stories, videos that inspired, having something to connect with others about when we would see people outside, perspectives, going outside even more–we love our family walks. Loved seeing the funny talk shows done from home in pajamas. Loved seeing musicians and celebs using their power for good things.

SOOO LOVED all the resilience and positive news from around the globe…ie: China sending face masks to Italy with a message and blessing, “We are all from the same tree.” Beautiful. Italians sharing songs and music from balconies. The world connected and sharing the best it has to offer. So many great stories of hope.

Also loved “Good News” by MSN, Disney donating food, big companies like Amazon giving to help, Animals wandering the zoos and aquariums, the big tips given to help people stay afloat in hard times.

Here is one of my blog posts from that time & I was adding some of the good things I found that were being shared, posted…its a fun reminder of the resilience of that time. enJOY!

Another one of my favorites from that period of time…beautiful song and images. enJOY…worth the watch [sorry it won’t add image link]

Though, we are still trying to find our own resilience in these times of ongoing challenge…trying to navigate the world with the new health issues, to wear or not to wear masks, to find ways to stay healthy, etc. I hope we can look back on that precious time and see some of the good that came from it. I hope you seek to see the resilience in those great examples of people living with such strength. There were stories everywhere of such greatness. It was powerful time in its own way.

My hope for you today: I HOPE you can sit down (if you haven’t) and think back, ponder on that time and write down your own list of things you remember. Things you can take away. Moments of resilience that stand out for you. Our voices are important for a time in our history that will last the tales of time. So, make sure you take the time to share your stories, your perspective, your memories with those you love.

Have a blessed and beautiful day. Peace, Love and Light to you. xoxo

Happy, Please

I find myself every weekend in a battle of duality. My daughter comes home for the weekend from college & the first few hours are a blissful reunion of happiness and connection. Then, out of nowhere, not sure if it is some type of right of passage, trying to flee the nest or just stacking, college overwhelm, she turns into a emotional tyrant of some type. I find myself spinning in an emotional breaking point at her snide remarks of, “oh, what? Why are you about to cry?” to her talking down to me as if I know nothing about college or where she is currently at in her life. It is exhausting. It is like an emotional terrorist drops by unannounced every weekend. It breaks my heart feeling like that. Just typing those words makes my heart drop. It is so sad.

WHAT? Where is this coming from?

Then, my husband, trying to help mitigate any further turmoil begins to tell me what to do or what conversations to avoid. I looked at him and said, “I feel you are micromanaging me and I don’t appreciate it.” I know he is just trying to protect me from any further wrath, but it is hard feeling like you cannot speak, share, teach, guide on any level as a mother. It is hard.

So, How do you find happiness despite the circumstances around you??

I usually exist in a pretty calm, contented state, so every weekend trying to gain my own grounding yet trying to help instill some sort of balance for all is very trying.

I think I am going to look at the happiest countries and see what they do to help family co-exist, live well and find a deeper contentment overall.

Here is what I have been able to find:

Happiest countries according to the World Index—it is no surprise that they are all in the small European countries. Finland tops the list at number one…Northern Europe appeared to be one of the happiest regions in the world: All five Nordic countries – Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden – ranked in the top seven

What takeaways can you begin to incorporate into your own life? Here are some ideas.

SISU: Sisu is a Finnish concept described as stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness and is held by Finns themselves to express their national character. Comes from a Finnish root word that implies ‘inner’ or ‘inside’. Sometimes translated to ‘inner strength.’ sisu is like a life philosophy and comes into play in navigating a balanced everyday life, but also when facing challenges…you can use sisu as a basis for a healthy life, a calming tool, a way to achieve your goals, and ultimately help you boost your wellbeing and find happiness.[country living]

Personal note: This sounds like an incredible concept! This is just what I need…SISU!! Every weekend. smile. smile.

NATURE’S CURE: Norway and nearby European countries enjoy Friluftsliv, which means, “open-air living”–they immerse themselves and enjoy being in nature. From forest bathing to ice baths to serious sauna time, nature has a serious place in bringing happiness to all. Nature plays a very integral part of healthy and happy living for all the happiest countries. Despite days in darkness, cold temperatures, lack of light, they get outside and appreciate the greater gifts nature gives. They embrace berry picking or mushroom hunting and take advantage of everything nature offers. Being out in nature helps lower stress, boosts needed sun vitamins and increases happiness levels overall.

Dr. Solhaug’s observations are aligned with psychological research on the benefits of being in nature, which indicates that even short amounts of time spent outdoors improve our mood and our mental and physical health. Meik Wiking, chief executive of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, refers to these benefits as coming from “outdoorphins,” and says that “when we follow people over time, we see that they are happier when outdoors.” [New York Times]

Fun fact: Did you know that in Finland forests cover 75 percent of the country’s land area, the highest proportion in the world.

Personal note: My daughter as a little girl was pretty high strung and I would find myself taking her out in nature to calm down. As a baby, I would take her on walks in frigid, winter conditions because being outside seemed to be the only cure to stop her crying. As she got older we would go on walks and hikes, even making obstacle courses out of everything we could find in nature…logs turned into balance beams or jumps, we would balance over rocks and hide under tree boughs. Yesterday was no exception. We drove to a nearby nature area and just watched the ocean waves to help calm our souls. Nature has so many gifts to offer.

EMBRACE SILENCE: The World Health Organisation suggests that regular exposure to loud noises can raise blood pressure and increase adrenalin. Enjoy silence on a daily basis, even if only for 10 minutes. Practicing quiet at times throughout the day might set you up for better rest at night. “Silence and periods of calm stimulate brain growth and relieve tension, which can result in a higher sense of well-being, as people can then feel more relaxed generally [healthline]

Scientists found that two hours of silence per day prompted greater healthy brain cell growth in the hippocampus – an area of the brain responsible for memory formation, learningmotivation and regulation of emotional responses. It also Improves sleep. Improves memory . Relieves stress . Improves blood pressure and circulation . Improves heart health . Cognitive clarity . Better decision making . Enhances creativity . []

READ. READ. READ: Knowledge is power and books are a great source for that in the happier countries. Some great benefits of reading: less stress, improves focus and concentration, better sleep, can inspire and motivate, mental stimulation, increases knowledge and vocabulary, plus it is just an overall general escape to adventure, learning, a different point of view, someone’s life story, etc.

Fun Fact: In Iceland 1 in 10 people become published authors. Wow. That is ten percent of their population. That is incredible.

MINIMALISM: These countries also seem to be in the know when it comes to happy living, humbly giving and not getting caught in the comparison trap.

The US has a big problem with social media compare and despair mindset. There is a lot of keeping up with whomever, comparing oneself to the airbrushed, unreal videos that get posted and finding more of a lack of appreciation for what we have. Here are a couple stats on that: 6 in 10 Americans say social media negatively affects their mental health . Among those affected, 64% experience anxiety from social media use. Users also experience depression (56%), dissatisfaction with life (52%), fear of missing out (52%), and body image issues (51%) as a result of these apps [taken from online]

Then, there is our problem with “stuff” We have a society which is structured so that social esteem or value is connected to what we can consume. -vox. The average American home has 300,000 items. (LA Times). One out of four houses with two-car garages keeps so much stuff in it they can’t even fit a car in the garage. (US Department of Energy). On average, every American throws away over 68 pounds of clothing. Per year! (The Huffington Post). Americans spend about $1.2 trillion a year on non-essential items. (The Wall Street Journal) Clutter and disorganization can waste time, money, and cause stress. []

Scandinavians are well-known minimalists. Danish design is famous for its straight lines, natural materials, light tones, and uncomplicated patterns. Their living rooms are bright and de-cluttered. Because clutter equals stress. Same goes for brain clutter which we have so much of in the U.S.That’s why Danish minimalism goes beyond furniture. Both simplicity of life and simplicity of mind are important to Danes. Less of everything means more time, space, and energy to actually enjoy life. Simple life — happy life. []

Fun Fact: Finns embrace a Nordic minimalism and are known to prefer well-made, sustainable, functional items that will stand the test of time. There is a robust secondhand scene in Finland, too, and on the community-driven “Cleaning Day,” the country turns into one big outdoor flea market -

CONNECTION & COFFEE break: Fika is a typical Swedish tradition where you take time out of your day to pause and enjoy a hot drink and a snack. But it’s not just about savouring a good cup of kaffi (the Swedish word for coffee). Fika is a ritual that’s important in Swedish culture, giving yourself a moment to have a break and socialise. [] They have seen giving people time to wander, connect with others and have little breaks helps with productivity, lessens fatigue and promotes a better overall well-being.

Fun Fact: Sweden drinks a lot of coffee on their fika breaks but Finland is the world’s biggest consumer of coffee on a per-person basis. Another funny fact I came across: No Desk Eating in France! What? according to House of Wellness, The French Labor code prohibits workers eating at the workplace. They encourage a change of scenery and pace. Love that!! haha.

BUILD HEALTHY SOCIAL CONNECTIONS: Finland, Iceland and other European countries have hot pools and saunas as a great way to connect and gather people together to create a stronger community. Those strong bonds help them have a healthier, happier way of living.

Denmark The high-quality social interactions shared by residents of Denmark are the largest contributor to its high happiness ranking. Finnish people value quality time spent with family and friends, known as hygge, to a very large degree. Making these types of relations a priority benefits people in several ways, including lowering stress levels and increasing trust among peers. These cultural aspects of Denmark contribute to its spot as the second happiest country in the world.

Fun Fact: There are millions of saunas in Finland. It is estimated that there are three million saunas in Finland, for a population of 5.5 million. Big companies and state institutions have their own saunas. The president has an official sauna, as does the prime minister. Saunas can be found in city apartments and country cottages. [] WOW!

EMBRACE ALONE TIME: Connections are good for you but so is alone time. Take some time to stay off of devices (especially social media), step away from your phone, and do something alone. Whether you take yourself on a date, go on a walk, embrace the solitude, ponder and look inward, journal, get up early before everyone to make the time to be alone, don’t feed into the social dynamics of FOMO, make & schedule time to be alone.

Personal note: this is a non-negotiable to me. I think you need to step back from everything to recharge your needs and having some alone time allows that necessity.

ENJOY MEALS AT HOME: Most happy countries eat and cook meals at home vs takeout. They eat healthier and consume less. According to a research from University College London, eating small amounts of dark chocolate can lead to a significant decrease in depressive symptoms—and where better in the world to shop around for chocolate than Switzerland?

Fun Fact: According to the UNICEF report, 85 percent of Dutch children eat breakfast with their parents every morning (a sign of positive wellbeing). 

Personal note: I have found in our family that we have traditional meals that are cherished and only come out on special occasions. We eat out, eat in, but it is the special meals that we truly enjoy together that stand out. Whether it is the tinfoil dinners we make together, spaghetti sauces that have our special spices or sticky buns for holidays—food is love and gathers those we care about together in moments & memories. Create those traditional dishes, eat with bowls you bought somewhere special that have meaning, and make food be part of your family traditions.

WORK/LIFE BALANCE: Netherlands Residents of the Netherlands have an open and direct demeanor and no-nonsense attitude. They also work far less than people in most other nations. In the Netherlands, more than 50 percent of people work part-time. This may be a large part of what makes the Dutch so happy. 

For many, it’s about living in a country where all conceivable basic needs are met, whether that’s healthcare, education, or having a job that makes you feel fulfilled. The overarching theme is that Finland remains ahead of the curve in so many facets of life. For now, Finland is ranking top, but the hope is that the example Finland is setting helps other countries to better care for their people. The fact that the country continues to pioneer social and economic welfare, education and working best-practice is something of which other countries should take note when looking at improving the happiness of their people.  -Forbes

Interesting Fact: equal opportunity with great education. For the fifth year in a row, Finland is number one when it comes to happiness. The country consistently ranks among the top education systems in the world, occasionally beaten out by countries like South Korea, Japan, and Singapore. Much of that success comes from a widespread reverence for teachers, who are required to have a master’s degree (their education is state-funded), and a pedagogical system that focuses less on quantitative testing and more on experiential learning and equal opportunity.

ENJOY SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL: visit a museum, take in some art. Walk a gallery for inspiration. With more than 55 museums and countless art galleries across the country, it’s safe to say the Finns treasure their art scene.

Other fun words & Concepts from these countries

LAGOM, a Swedish and Norwegian word meaning “just the right amount.” is a philosophy that aims to balance, in every area and juncture of everyday life. Lagom is the secret that explains a lifestyle based on social awareness, moderation and sustainability. [technogym] it is kind of like Sweden’s version of mindfulness but rooted in a collective spirit and moderation. [sheknows]

HYGGE: Cozy. Danes are obsessed with mood lighting. It’s like the whole country agreed to wage a war on bright hospital lighting so favored in the U.S.It all starts with hygge — a Danish word that roughly translates as coziness and is a way of life in Denmark.There’s nothing a Dane likes more than having a “cozy” home, corner, dinner, or a “cozy time.” There’s little that can’t be described as “cozy” or “un-cozy” in Denmark. And bright lights are definitely that.Without the constant stimulation of bright lighting, your brain is more at ease, and so is all of you. []

KOSALIG: Norway’s concept of finding cozy from experiences and connections. Similar to hygge.

Making things hygge or koselig is not just about fuzzy blankets and warm beverages. It’s about feeling content — a sense of coziness that is not just physical, but psychological. Dr. Solhaug said that her daughter, who is in third grade, is regularly asked to take a log in her school bag so that her class can spend part of the school day outside around a bonfire made with one log from each child. This idea of coming together to celebrate the darkness outside is not only a friendly way to gather, it can be deeply meaningful. Lighting a flame — whether candles inside or bonfires outside — becomes a mindful moment, an opportunity to pause and enjoy.[New York Times]

NIKSEN: Dutch concept of doing nothing—letting your mind wander, which will help reduce stress, increase creativity, find life solutions, etc. Practicing niksen could be as simple as just hanging around, looking at your surroundings or listening to music — “as long as it’s without purpose,” Ekman, who studies stress and burnout, says the research is strong when it comes to the benefits of slowing down, from emotional perks — like reducing anxiety — to physical advantages — like curtailing the aging process and strengthening the body’s ability to fight off a common cold. These potential health effects might be enough to encourage even the most hectic and overburdened among us to consider carving out time to practice niksen.[]

GEZELLIGHEID: Gezelligheid is an abstract notion and encompasses many of the key parts of Dutch culture. The word derives from gezel, which means “companion” or “friend,” and gezelligheid, which literally means “coziness” and is all about positive atmosphere and good energy. A room, person or party can all be gezellig, meaning anything from “fun” to “cozy” to “inviting.” []

Well, that is all I have for you today. I hope these HAPPY PLACES get you thinking of things you can incorporate into your own life to help bring about a happy balance. Life can tip and teeter us, it can leave us holding on for a minute of calm found in a warm bath or sauna. It can help us seek to find ways to breathe easier with a good book, take a moment alone when needed, embrace silence, step back into nature, and assess any situation and handle everything with an even better attitude of SISU.

Thank you, Nordic way of living for giving the world some great examples of simple things we can do to enrich and nourish our lives. Thank you.

Peace. Love and Light to you today. -H. xoxo

Religion of LOVE

I am the last person to be preaching to anyone. I grew up in a religion that many in the world would say is cult-like, with high-priests, bishops, Strick standards, Heaven vs Hell and if you did not live up to certain practices you would end up in various hells, nowhere near your loved ones in the next life. I fell away from the practices and beliefs because I did not believe any God would complicate anything so much and that many organized religions actually separate people instead of connecting them. Ultimately, LOVE is the basic religion anyone should live. IF you can strive to live in LOVE and begin to see and shine that love in others, the world will be better.

I LOVE to see the authentic smile on this woman’s face. Emotion drives feeling. Feelings fuel us. Live from those beautiful emotions that bring such joy and harmony to one’s life…LOVE is a driving force in all you do. Hold tight to it. Chase it. Live it and constantly choose LOVE over FEAR. There is a greater depth to that life.

How can we begin to see and live LOVE?

BE AN EXAMPLE OF LOVE: “How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.” —Rupi Kaur I was in a conversation with my brother, who very recently has been drinking very heavily and it genuinely scares me. His soul is becoming jaded from good things and he is seeking and living in so much anger. My conversation with him went like this, “I am trying to influence my family to help them see they are being lied to about various things but they won’t listen.” I calmly responded, “How can you influence anyone for good with so much anger. You must come from a place of love and be an example of this love over any place of anger or ill-will.”

Seek to not judge or find criticism with others . Be lovingly approachable in any circumstance . Seek to grow in love daily by becoming a little bit better each day . Look for ways to be there for another and be the support and encouragement they need . Be someone’s reason to smile . Being honest with your feelings and not falling victim to playing small because of someone else . Seeking to trust another and being a person who is trustworthy . Speaking kindly about others & if you have unkind feelings, not sharing them with others . Stop gossip or spilling the tea . Be the bigger person in a challenging situation .

CHOOSE LOVE OVER FEAR: “I believe that every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear.” -Oprah Love is a higher energy, so striving to live from love over any energy of fear will have a huge impact on your life. [I like this–this helps describe this energy: According to science, human beings, just like other creatures, radiate electromagnetic fields from the heart. When you love someone, you can radiate thoughts, feelings, and emotions at the same rhythm. When you achieve coherence in your vibrations and emit higher vibrations, you experience more benefits. It is easier to make decisions and device solutions since your discernment is clear. You also have an easier time deflecting negative attitudes and emotions such as frustration, anxiety, impatience and chronic stress that strains your reasoning.Overall, you will experience more composure when your vibrations are higher. However, it can be hard to maintain a constant flow of high vibrations. If you describe love as a combination of qualities such as attentive care, affection, kindness, gratitude, and compassion, then you experience more love and give more love when these qualities surround you. Low vibrations come from feelings of anger, rage, unfairness, and fear.-taken from The Spring Resort and Spa]

BE LOVE TO YOURSELF: “You carry so much love in your heart. Give some to yourself.” “It’s really about changing the conversation. It’s not about perfection. It’s about purpose. We have to care about our bodies and what we put in them. Women have to take the time to focus on our mental health—take time for self, for the spiritual, without feeling guilty or selfish. The world will see you the way you see you and treat you the way you treat yourself.” —Beyoncé. Stop being mean to yourself with negative thoughts, harsh emotions, and begin to do things that help you appreciate, nourish and love who you are & who you are striving to become. Whether it is insecurities, body-image issues, you still need to remind yourself of the beautiful things that make you, YOU. Find appreciation for your body. See and believe in the constant wins of gratitude you feel each day. Tell yourself empowering affirmations every morning and go to bed thinking of the good from your day. Fill your life with love in all you do.

CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE: “You do not just wake up and become the butterfly—growth is a process.” —Rupi Kaur Instead of blaming or getting angery at struggles and challenges that come into your life. Change or reframe it to look at the situations as opportunities for growth and personal learning.

SEE OTHERS WITH LOVE & COMPASSION: “A person learns how to love himself through the simple acts of loving and being loved by someone else.” —Haruki Murakami. When someone else is angry or unkind remind yourself that everyone is on their own journey. Have patience, love and kindness.

Seek to avoid judging others and their situations. “Love is the absence of judgment.” —Dalai Lama This is easier said than done. I have this lesson continually popping up throughout my life. It is an ongoing practice. Where I currently live there is a large homeless problem within 30 minutes and I find myself having a hard time not judging the crazy guy walking down the street carrying a Jesus cross or people pulling suitcases across a busy street into a wooded lane. I am a work in progress and I just continue to send them a prayer of hope. There are so many broken people traumatized by life. I am humbly reminded of this daily.

EVEN LIVING LOVE YOU NEED BOUNDARIES: “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” —Brené Brown. I was talking with one of my sisters yesterday about a family dilemma she was having with a new brother-in-law that had offended her to a very serious degree. I asked her how she was going to handle seeing him in the future. She said, “I had to pay my therapist some money to get her input on this and she told me to be polite, but that I should never feel I need to go to his home because that could fuel some additional emotions. She told me to ‘have other commitments’ at the time.” The therapist told my sister that she still needed to have her own boundaries—even with family. I would say with family, there are many occasions for personal boundaries. smile. smile. I love a thought that Wayne Dyer (Rest In Peace, Wayne. Love you) would always share and that was, “Everything is an invitation not an obligation.”

LIVE YOUR POWER AUTHENTICALLY: “Find out who you are and be that person. That’s what your soul was put on this Earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth and everything else will come.” -Ellen Degeneres Living love is finding and accessing the part of you that can speak your truth and ask for those things that you need for your life. When you allow others to make you feel small, take your power, make you change or strive to alter your values, you need to step back and evaluate who and what you are giving your power to. YOU are the one and only YOU that will ever be. You may be the one person who was sent here to share a message, create a song, bring about change, inspire a nation, give to a cause, alter a moment. You need to do all you can to live your authentic life and be on purpose for the greater good.

YOU CHOOSE LOVE: “Follow your heart. Your heart is the right guide in everything big. Mine is so limited. What you want to do is determined by that divine element that is in each of us.” -Khalil Gibran. In all you do you evaluate if it is going to serve your life for a better purpose or make you feel inadequate in some way. We are humans. We have feelings that guide us along, but it is only when we try to tune into our FEELINGS that we get to higher places as people. Our feelings are meant to guide us. If you feel good–go…follow your heart or your inner feelings, but if you feel bad then you also need to follow that inner guidance. This is true with anything—thoughts, words we say to ourselves, feelings we have, people in our life, food, addictions, direction, etc. Follow YOUR feelings with LOVE being your guide.

SHIFT IT TO LOVE: “A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love.” -Marianne Williamson. We all have moments, bad days, tears, trauma, so we need to be conscious of when we are getting stuck. When we get sad, have a blue-cloud day or seem to be sinking into emotions that don’t go anywhere good, we need to shift it. The way to do that…get moving, get outside, do things that are going to fill you with good feelings, which will help lead you back to the higher energy of love. I am usually a pretty positive and upbeat person, but I have my days and moments too. Yesterday was one of those days–my hormones were out of wack and I was sinking quick!! My husband got me outside and I ran to the sunshine. Sometimes you just need to seek the light, even sunlight.

GIVE LOVE: “There is hardly a more gracious gift that we can offer somebody than to accept them fully, to love them almost despite themselves.” -Elizabeth Gilbert. Praise and appreciate. Accept everyone for who and what they are. Namaste [is the very practice of seeing and appreciating the very light of another]. Just the act of sincerely listening. Being of service. Selflessly giving to benefit another . Seeking to be unconditional and selfless in your relationships . Seeking to not manipulate others for personal gain . Being the golden rule to treat another how you would like to be treated . Striving to always keep an awareness of another’s feelings & not wavering in seeking to not hurt or cause mistrust in your relationships . Care for those in your life with authenticity that you are there for them unconditionally.

KEEP YOUR LOVES IN ORDER: Augustine Aurelius set out to discover why it is that most people are so discontent in life. His conclusion was that for most of us, our loves are “out of order”; we have disordered loves. []

The first time I read about Augustine and his out of order loves it hit me with such truth. When people get disillusioned with any type of addiction (sex, money, food, porn, gaming, selfishness, etc) their loves are out of order. They are choosing the addiction over something else in their life that should be of greater importance. [ie: alcohol addiction over relationship with their family] It makes so much sense. Then, do this exercise below. Evaluate how to help put your loves back into an appropriate and healthy order for your best life.

“It’s useful to sit down and just say, ‘What do I love? What are the things I really love? And in what order do I love them? Am I spending time so I’m spending time on my highest love? Or am I spending time on a lower love?'” Brooks says. “[Time], or your attention or your energy — all that stuff.” -Brooks [Huffington article]

I hope that some of these ideas can get you shifting from Fear to Love, choosing to live from a place of love, but also seeking to understand how and where your loves lie in the order of your life. LOVE is a higher place of living. We need to constantly be challenging our belief systems, practicing gentle nourishment of love with our selves, going beyond the fears that hinder us from growth and finding those deeper places within that yearn to just be LOVE. It is our nature. It is the sweetest depth of who we are. It is a place that feels like home, yet our human experience challenges and binds us to the ego spaces that we find hard to break free from. Follow the love in your life and constantly seek to live from that place.

-Peace, Love and Light to you today. -H xoxo