Originally posted on Ennui Made Me Do It:

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Photo Friday Theme – Signs Of Summerby Kim O’Neill

Spring is finally in full bloom in the Northeast, so I enjoy taking my dog outside first thing in the morning. That day I walked out past our pond only to find the large goldfish I’ve named “Big Momma” dead on a rock! I then cautiously looked around my backyard as we have had black bear and wildcats prowling through our neighborhood. As I turned to the front, I saw this beautiful heron perched in the trees. I had only wished I had my zoom lens!!!  People have warned me about herons but this is the first I have spotted in the year and a half I have moved here.  I read that now through July is their breeding time and like to position themselves near bodies of water (which there are many nearby) So with the trees sprouting their…

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I just watched a segment on the Today Show about Thomas Morgan, filmmaker and father, who created the 100 Good Deeds game with his family. It really touched my heart how enthusiastically his children responded to this idea and are making a difference every day they play the game. The rules of the game:  A “good deed” means we’ve gone out of our way to help someone and only counts if the deed remains anonymous.

This resonates with me as I search for my purpose. I’ve been adjusting to the empty nest as well as our “nest” relocating to the Northeast for my husband’s work has been a challenge for me.  Pursuing good deeds would be a great way to reach out to my new community.  I found a great list of 100 ideas on http://www.virtuesforlife.com.

Here are some of my favorites ideas:

Leave a gift for someone in a random public place such as on a park bench, at a bus stop, the library, a coffee house, or restaurant. Laura Miller started kindness missions by leaving a single hydrangea flower on the windshield of a car in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. That single act has now blossomed into an international phenomenon of anonymous acts of kindness. Check out her website Secret Agent L.

Volunteer or organize a clothing or food drive with your neighbors for a local shelter. Your taking initiative to collect and distribute items will not only make it easy for them to give, but will also inspire them and help others.

Lend an elderly person a hand, if you see them struggle to reach something in the grocery store or while doing another activity.

Thank a service person such as your postman, military, a police officer or fireman for their hard work and dedication to serving others.

 Sincerely compliment someone every day, whether it be their physical appearance, their character, or what they’ve accomplished in spite of difficulties.

Let someone into traffic who looks like they are in a rush.  Remember though to be very cautious especially if either of your vision is impaired.

The next time you have exceptional service at a restaurant make sure to tell the waitperson’s manager what a fine job they did, either in person or in writing.

Donate your used books and/or magazines to a local library.

Give up your seat on the train or bus to an elderly or pregnant person, or someone who looks tired.

Create a craft that can be brought into a local children’s hospital. Some ideas include knitted items, quilts and beaded necklaces.

Send someone an e-card for a special occasion or to let them know that you are thinking about them. A great website for e-cards is www.gratefulness.org.

Leave a newspaper, magazine or even a book at a coffee house once you’ve read it for the next person. You can add a note that says you hope they enjoyed it as much as you did.

 Mentor an at-risk child or teenager by becoming a big brother or sister with the Big Brother Big Sister Foundation and help them achieve their potential.

Say good morning or hello to passersby during your day, even if you don’t know them, simply as a friendly gesture.

Adopt a soldier and help a soldier in a variety of ways such as sending note cards, donating items, or hosting an event for a veteran.

Donate blood to the Red Cross and tell of your experience, encouraging others to do the same.

Buy an inspirational book for someone who needs some uplifting.

Make a child’s wish come true through the Make a Wish Foundation, the nation’s largest wish-granting organization. You can help give hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Start a blog or website that can help people. You can also sell advertising and then donate some of the proceeds to a nonprofit.

 Leave a $10.00 bill in an open public place for someone to find. You will make their day! But be sure it’s not in a place where it may be turned in by an honest person.

When you have finished mowing your lawn, mow your neighbors too! Be sure to ask them first and let them know that you are practicing kindness, and they would help you if they agreed to your offer.

Say “thank you” and “please” as generously and often as possible.

Think about a loved one or friend who has a need and respond to that need. Whether it be to lend support in their job search, helping them with a project, or just offering your ear whenever they need to talk.

Stick up for a person who has been treated wrongly.

Let someone, who only has a few items, go ahead of you in the checkout line of the supermarket.

Adopt a pet from the humane society near you. You can even search for a pet locally through Adopt-a-Pet.com.

Resolve to Be Real in life. A truly kind person will be authentic with their words and actions, realizing the negative or positive impact they can have in every encounter.

For more information on 100 Good Deeds, go to http://www.100gooddeeds.org/about.html

 

“Christ’s resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force. Often it seems that God does not exist: all around us we see persistent injustice, evil, indifference and cruelty. But it is also true that in the midst of darkness something new always springs to life and sooner or later produces fruit. On razed land life breaks through, stubbornly yet invincibly. However dark things are, goodness always re-emerges and spreads. Each day in our world beauty is born anew; it rises transformed through the storms of history. Values always tend to reappear under new guises, and human beings have arisen time after time from situations that seemed doomed. Such is the power of the resurrection, and all who evangelize are instruments of that power.”
Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel)

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It definitely was a long winter this year. I have to admit that I absolutely love the snow especially when its peacefully falling or on a beautiful sunny day being out in the fresh crispness of winter. By the time there are layers of ice where you need snowshoes to walk on it, and the snow is now shades of charcoal along the roads, I long for Spring.

I love what Charles Dickens wrote about March because it the truth living in the Northeast! I am on the lookout for that first “Spring Day”!!

Kim

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John loves to hike and he knows I love photography so we decided to do a photo hike in a new area out by Long Valley. It was a good hike especially along the Black River where you  were climbing over rocks. I didn’t love the uphill climbs as it reminded me how out of shape I am.  It definitely was a popular spot with families young and old and the family pets!

After our hike, we stopped off at the Cider Mill Farms for some homemade goodies and coffee. Lovely family place!

 

 

autum benchAutumn Walk by Kim O’Neill

Walking through crisp air,
leaves fall around me like rain
the soft sounds of peace.
*   *   *
Leaves spin as they fall
painting yellow, orange, and red
a rustic landscape.
*   *   *
Shepherd at my heel
loves to explore on our walks
the world around her.
*   *   *
Squirrels scurry about
collecting their goods to store
for cold days ahead.
*   *   *
The smell of fireplaces
warmth and coziness nearby
the breath of Autumn.
*    *   *
As I step inside
I press my leaves in a book
memories to keep.

Originally posted on Ennui Made Me Do It:

photo friday theme – from the road

split rock reservoir

John and I were on the road doing all the Saturday errands  - “the depot, the warehouse shop and gas stop, a Jersey diner” all places I won’t name because there may be some sarcasm in my tone as it’s the typical to do places. On the way home, I suggested we stop by the reservoir near our home to see the sunset. I took this photo from the crazy one-lane bridge. There are stories about this bridge in a book which involve mafia and other people you wouldn’t want to meet at night on a one-lane bridge!

For John and I, we enjoy it every time we are there and plan to purchase another kyak to enjoy this beautiful place from the water!  - Kim

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We have now lived in our home for 10 months! I am thoroughly enjoying our first Autumn in New Jersey. We’ve been apple picking and decorating with all the great pumpkins and gourds and of course the changing of weather and leaves!

The thing that hasn’t changed is our home projects. When I wanted this home, I loved it… where John envisioned what he could make of it. So it’s been one project after another… all outside except for the inside being painted. People coming and going since January, blocked driveways, mess, people knocking when you are still in your pajamas! All of this upsetting my protective German Shepherd Bailey who barks whenever anyone           enters her domain!

This week our huge outdoor project was completed and it looks beautiful. We have to take the time to enjoy before winter moves in!  I am truly happy my husband envisioned the potential to make it our home. Now I just need some help on the inside.

Hiking around Split Rock Reservoir

Hiking around Split Rock Reservoir

I just returned from Miami and the Keys to celebrate my daughter’s 21st birthday in Key West. I was so happy taking in the beautiful weather and incredible water that always puts me at peace. Although the “Duval Crawl” was anything but peaceful! We had a fun night celebrating and then took in the water views again as we passed over from key to key heading to Miami.

While in the middle of all this, I was reading a book called Hiking Through by Paul Stutzman. It was about a man’s trek through the AT (Appalachian Trail) 2,176 miles running from Georgia up through Maine. It was something he dreamed of doing and after his wife died from cancer, he needed to make peace with himself and God. I really loved his adventure and the friends he made along the way. I couldn’t wait to see if the trail ran through New Jersey and found that it is not far away – just at 80 and Del Water Gap.

John has talked about doing it before and now I am really looking forward to going out to take a day hike out along the AT trail. Now there are trails all over the area we live in so I may want to try hiking right in my back yard first!! We walk down to the reservoir along the gravel road but really haven’t ventured into hiking yet!

If you have a trail in the NJ area you love hiking, please let me know!!

Happy Trails!

 

For information on the book Hiking Through, go to: http://paulstutzman.com                    Also go to http://www.appalachiantrail.org for information on day hikes and what to expect.

Megs at beach

My daughter was up visiting from Miami before she heads up to work this summer at Camp Kiniya. I really don’t know all the fun things to do with her in NJ yet. With the heat wave that came through last week, we decided to head to the Jersey Shore. I just set the GPS to Monmouth Beach where I thought we could start and work our way south.

We started in Long Branch and worked our way through neighborhoods Asbury Park,  Ocean Grove, Avon by the Sea, Spring Lake and others. It was a totally different feeling from South Florida. I really loved how there were beach neighborhoods each with their own personalities. There were some lovely beaches to stop at but with Megs by my side, I was definitely looking for a little more excitement. After being diverted away from the beach back,  we hit Point Pleasant…

I knew this was exactly what we were looking for.

Boardwalk, shops, restaurants, rides and more… It was a perfect day out. We ventured into Martel’s for lunch. Meg looked longingly at the Tiki area with kids just a few years older all mingling at the beach bar. (Only 2 more years )  After lunch, we saw an aquarium which we HAD to visit. It was really nice for a small aquarium on the Boardwalk! We were there amongst kids on their field trips, but enjoyed watching feedings for  the harbor seals and penguins. Megan loves anything with animals, so it was a nice stop before we hit the beach.

The beach was very busy for midweek but there was a “heat wave” … The temperature on our phones read 90 degrees but there must have been colder weather off shore because it was chilly when the sun disappeared behind the sun. Megan ended up wrapping herself up in her towel like a burrito, I stayed in the sun and  ended up with a bit of color. Not a person found in the water with the water temperature and the waves crashing against the shore. It brought memories of a childhood vacation to Atlantic City where my dad liked to throw us into the waves.  When we had enough beach time,  we picked up ice cream cones to go and headed home.

Other than the 2 1/2 hours of traffic on the way home, it was an amazing day!

 

megburrito

Above: Megan wrapped in burrito

What is your favorite spot on the Jersey Shore? Or fun thing to do in the Garden State?

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