In This Month of Love-Love Nature

It’s February, love is in the air, and Valentine’s Day will soon be here. But you can’t truly love anyone one else if you don’t love yourself, first. (See my post In This Month of Love—Love Yourself). Chances are you have a nature-deficit and you’re suffering for it. If you love yourself, love nature and make time to connect with nature every day.In this month of love--love nature to care for yourself. read more

What Time in Nature Does

Studies show that connecting with nature increases our sense of well-being. When we give ourselves the gift of time in nature, it allows us to understand our place in the world. We feel more connected.

Connecting with the natural world also helps with healing physically and emotionally. Hospital patients with views of the outside heal faster. Those who are grieving find time in natural settings soothing.

Studies suggest that connecting with nature also makes us smarter and more productive.

A Nature-Deficit

Yet, in our modern-day lives, American’s spend more than 90% of their time indoors with little to no fresh air. See this from Velux. Some studies show that we spend even less time in nature.

“In 1989, Ott “reinterpreted” the codes from the MCTBRP activity pattern data for 44 U.S. cities ( Robinson et al., 1972) to estimate the amount of time that people spend in-transit, outdoors, and indoors, and he concluded that employed persons in the U.S. spend only about 2% of their time outdoors, 6% of their time in transit, and 92% of their time indoors.” — And Americans aren’t the only people who spend more time indoors. Estimated outdoor time was far less than expected in eleven other countries.

Our indoor lives mean that 15% of us suffer from some level of Seasonal Affective disorder or SAD. It also means that we are sicker.

Indoor air can be five times more polluted than outdoor air. And children’s bedrooms can be the worst polluted room in the house. Children living in a damp and moldy house have a 40% increased risk of developing asthma.

Our disconnection from nature in our daily lives, may be endangering the earth. Some researchers believe we do nothing about pollution because we disconnected. Without regular time in nature, we don’t see that nature is in danger.

So what can we do about it?

Watching birds has become part of my daily meditation affirming my connection to the earth body. Carol P. Christ

Broaden your definition of nature. If you’re in an urban setting, a plant in your apartment or a bird on your window sill can be a moment to connect with nature.

Find a few minutes every day to reconnect with nature. Take a walk, visit a park, plant a garden, or open your windows to revel in fresh air and sunshine. Visit a local waterfall, a creek, or a river.

Take a few minutes to educate yourself and/or your children on the natural flora and fauna of your area.

Write down three things to appreciate about nature every day. What would you write? Appreciate how our planet gives us water to drink, air to breathe, flowers to look at and scent the air.

Take part in arbor day, a community garden, take a vacation to a national park or national forest area.

Try to leave the Earth a better place than when you arrived. Sidney Sheldon

Love Nature

To wholly believe in and love ourselves, we need that connection with nature.

In this month of love--love nature

So in this month of love—love nature.

Summer vacation: Terror in the Tent, part II

After recovering from the fright of a snake slithering over my sandals and the horror of crushed feet there was more traveling to do for this summer vacation. (Read part one of this adventure.) I rolled with the punches and pretended I didn’t live through terror in the tent.

Rolling with the punches included getting up way too early, packing up camp, and roasting in the car for eight hours. The highlight of the day was stopping for ice cream in a small town on the Nebraska-Colorado border. We had permission to order anything we wanted. So of course, we all ordered the decadent and rare treat of ice cream sundaes. He served four of us immediately. Then the server disappeared into a back room for about ten minutes. The three who were not served were curious, then irritated.

By the time the server reappeared, my father had finished his ice cream. The server took Dad’s sundae dish, washed it, and filled it with an ice cream sundae which he served to me. And so it went. As each of the first four finished, their dish was washed and refilled until the last three had their ice cream. The seven of us ordering sundaes exceeded the number of sundae dishes he had. Yup. It was that small of a town.

Driving up to the Rocky Mountains was awe inspiring. Pictures simply didn’t convey the grandeur and spectacle of the mountains. Driving up the narrow, curvy, mountain roads was almost more than my poor mother could tolerate. Finally, we reached our destination. It was everything I had dreamed of. A cold, babbling mountain stream lay feet from our campsite and snow-covered peaks surrounded us.

My summer vacation: terror in the tent part II by Lynette M. Burrows

Now, we were from the central states. We’d been to the Smokey Mountains, but nothing like the Rockies. And it was July. When the sun went down we thought we’d been teleported to another planet! It was freezing @$$ cold. We had no winter wear with us. Remember my sandals? Yikes. We each had a windbreaker. It wasn’t enough. We put on every piece of clothing we’d brought with us. Dad built a big fire and we huddled around it. I still was freezing and decided my sleeping bag would be warmer.

Terror in the Tent part II, my summer vacation by Lynette M. Burrows

Inside the tent wasn’t much warmer than outside. I crawled into my sleeping bag, zipped it closed around me and, covering my head, I snuggled down. Ah, bliss. I began to warm up.

And then, something began to rattle. It sounded awfully close. The rattle sped up, grew to a buzz. And then something scratchy crawled up my leg! I screamed and shot out of the sleeping bag like toothpaste out of the tube. I yanked on the zipper for the tent door. It jammed.  I couldn’t stop screaming. My parents fought with the zipper. One of them finally got the zipper unjammed and pulled me out of the tent.

Hysterical, all I could say was, “Rattlesnake. Rattlesnake. Sleeping bag!”

My father grabbed a big stick and went into the tent. We watched through the screen as he poked my sleeping bag with the stick. Nothing happened. He poked again. He bent and unzipped my bag. The buzzing started again. He took a big step back, then lifted the top corner of my sleeping bag and out flew a cicada.

My brother couldn’t stop laughing.

I couldn’t stop shaking.

I’m not sure how I managed to climb back into that sleeping bag and sleep that night.

The next morning we found all our containers of water and frozen solid. That was the last night we camped at that altitude. Thankfully, it was also the last night of terror in the tent. We had other adventures that trip—the car broke down, a cattle drive came through our camp one day, and a forest fire re-routed us for a while.

With the tincture of time, I’m able to look back at these adventures and smile. It was terrible at the time. And I swore I’d never camp again. (I didn’t for a while.) We had other family vacations to other locations. And there was always at least one adventure (like a rainstorm flooding the Great Salt Lake Desert). But the vacation that was full of terror (to my teenaged self) was also the trip where I fell in love with the Rocky Mountains. I’ve returned to the Rockies many times since but I’ve never again experienced the terror in the tent that I did the year of my family vacation.

Summer Vacation: Terror in a Tent

When I was kid summer vacations were about getting away from home. I grew up in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio cities. Often childhood family vacations were trips to visit grandparents and aunts and uncles. In my teens, my family chose the adventure of camping. But sometimes the adventure turned into terror in a tent.

Summer Vacation: terror in a tent, or the memories of being a teenaged girl who wasn't meant to go camping
Photo by Paul Hermann on Unsplash

At first, our camping vacations were to area lakes and parks. This time we were going to visit the Rocky Mountains. Now, I was already an insatiable reader. Usually, I spent camping trips reading ensconced in one of those folding chairs with that plastic webbing. I did some fishing, some hiking, and enjoyed cookouts and campfires. But stories were my thing even then. This time, though, I looked forward to the adventure of visiting the Rockies.

Being a female teen I was up for an adventure to the mountains as long as I could wear cool clothes. No, I don’t mean the latest fad. I mean cool. We spent hours and hours in a four-door sedan. My younger brother, my much younger tomboy sister, my infant brother, my parents, my father’s “ancient” mother, and I squeezed into the “comfortable for four” car. Seven people in an unairconditioned car traveling through the central plains in July? I mean, come on! It was HOT. I wore a shirt and shorts (very modest by today’s standards) and strappy sandals.

Our first stop was a barren campground in western Iowa. I only remember two things about that campground. Phase one of terror in a tent began when I stepped out of the car and a snake slithered over my open-toed sandal. I ran to the nearest picnic table, scaled it, and stood there screaming. I refused to return to the campsite my parents had picked. They finally relented and moved camp—to the other side of the campground. (I know, I know—now.) At the time, it mollified me.

My parents set up the tent while grandma took care of the baby. I don’t remember what I did, but I can guess—chair, shade, book.

The tent wasn’t large enough for all seven of us. There was math involved in getting space for all us to stretch out and yet leave room for mom and grandma to get up in the night. Grandma’s cot ran the length of one side of the tent, the side closest to the door. Mom’s cot was across the back of the tent. The baby slept in a box beside mom’s cot. And Dad’s cot ran the length of the other side of the tent.  My sleeping bag was on the ground. In order to leave a path for Grandma, my lower legs had to go under my father’s cot. It didn’t bother me. I could sleep anywhere. My sister slept next to me and my brother next to her. His feet also were under Dad’s cot. I don’t think her feet reached that far.

We were all exhausted thanks to an early departure and a day with record-breaking heat. We went to bed when the sun went down.

In the middle of the night, two of the legs of my father’s cot collapse. I woke up screaming, certain my feet were crushed. It took Dad a while to untangle himself from the sleeping bag and broken cot. My feet weren’t crushed. Bruised, but I could walk. My brother escaped injury because he’d curled up into a ball. I don’t remember how long the commotion lasted or how long it took my parents to work out a different sleeping arrangement. But Dad slept on the ground after that. I slept on the other side of the tent.

The second terror in a tent should have had me insisting on going home. But I was a good kid. I rolled with the punches or the crushes or—well, you know what I mean. Besides, adventures like this fed my writer’s imagination.

Have you had a vacation or two where things didn’t go smoothly? Those events were scary, but the terror in the tent didn’t start until we reached the Rocky Mountains. I’ll tell you more about that, next time. In the meantime, please share your vacation nightmares memories in the comments below.

Twice in the past few weeks, I’ve embarrassed myself! Sheesh. Sorry folks. Evidently, I didn’t press the right button when I tried to schedule this post to go live on Wednesday, September 5th. And although I was curious as to why the post bombed so badly no one liked or commented on it, I never came to the website to verify that I’d actually posted it. It was only when I was attempting to link it to the second part that I realized it hadn’t posted. *headdesk* Ah well. Since this is a two-parter, this one must be posted first. The second part will be posted next Monday.

The Special Effects of the Sky: Thunder and Lightning

It’s May in Kansas which means the special effects of the sky: thunder and lightning get a workout. Thunderstorms affect us in a powerful, emotional way. Our response to thunder and lightning shows up in everyday speech, in literature, and on the weather channel. Below is a collection of facts and fantasy all about thunder and lightning.

The special effects of the sky: Thunder and Lightning are powerful images in word and song. Hear are some facts and fantasy.

“They say all marriages are made in heaven, but so are thunder and lightning.” 

― Clint Eastwood

Fact: Warm, humid, near-the-surface air rises and cools. Water vapor in the air condenses into a cloud and releases heat. Which makes the air around it warmer and it rises and cools and condenses. This process continues until a tall convective cloud is formed. This is the thunderstorm. The cloud can reach up to 12 miles high.

What if NASA invented thunderstorms to cover up space battles?

Fact: The sudden increase in pressure and temperature caused by lightning results in the sound we call Thunder. The sound is refracted through the lower layer of the atmosphere and reflected off the Earth’s surface. Temperature, air density, and the curvature and composition of the earth affect how the thunder sounds.

“Lightning doesn’t strike twice, but you know, baby

Nothing is impossible” lyrics from Wave

Fact: The Empire State Building used to be used as a lightning laboratory since it is hit nearly 25 times a year. Lightning strikes the ground approximately 25 million times each year in the U.S. 

Early Greeks believed that lightning was a weapon of Zeus. Thunderbolts were invented by Athena, the goddess of wisdom. Since lightning was a manifestation of the gods, any spot struck by lightning was regarded as sacred.

Fact: Air, a poor conductor of electricity, gets very hot when lightning passes through it. It can get up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5 times hotter than the surface of the sun). When lightning strikes something like a tree it turns the water inside the tree into steam and can cause the tree to explode. 

Umpundulo is the lightning bird-god of the Bantu tribesmen in Africa. Even today their medicine men go out in storms and bid the lightning to strike far away.

Fact: Lightning can strike 10-15 Miles from the thunderstorm. Anvil lightning can strike the ground over 50 Miles from the thunderstorm, under extreme conditions. Lightning in clouds has traveled over 100 miles from the thunderstorm according to Kennedy Space Center.

“Brainstorm until your dreams roll in like thunder & your passion strikes with the love in your eyes.” 

― Curtis Tyrone JonesSleeping With Enormity: The Art Of Seducing Your Dreams & Living With Passion

The special effects of the sky: thunder and lightning are fearsome and awesome. No wonder we include thunder and lightning in so many myths, songs, and stories. What stories or sayings do you know about thunder or lightning?

13 Things For Which I Give Thanks

I give thanks for many things. This week of gratitude would not be complete without listing these in particular.


I give thanks for Family--Image of family members posing with the Grinch

I give thanks for family--Image of extended family members around a round table, enjoying Chinese food,


Near and Far

(in no particular order of preference or date)

Image of my grandson and I mugging for the camera, one more of the  13 things for which I am thankful
Images of three of siblings, grandchildren who are one of the  13 things for which I am thankfulone of my youngest grandchildren in the park--another of the  13 things for which I am thankful


Image of my young pup snuggling with my oldest yorkie, more of the  13 things for which I am thankful


Imagine YOUR photograph here.

You thought I’d try to put in photos of all my friends? I love you all! I would not want to miss any of you.


that shelters me from all kinds of weather

Photo taken from my front door shows my porch & neighborhood in near white out conditions. A roof over my head is one of the  13 things for which I am thankful

 snowmagedon 2013

FOOD3 homemade pumpkin pies on my counter, food is one of  13 things for which I am thankful


the elixir of my life!

A cup of coffee--definitely one of 13 things for which I am thankful
Latte Art by Morten Rand-Hendrickson Flickr CC


and how modern medicine has sustained the lives of those I love

Image of a 1920s medical office, photo taken at the St Joseph Hospital museum. Medicine is another of the 13 things for which I am thankful.


all varieties

Treble cleft and notes, Music is one of 13 things for which I am thankful


icons on iphone, another of the 13 things for which I am thankful

image of an open notebook with a pen, an open laptop computer, a cup of coffee and an iphone--more of the 13 things for which I am thankful


in all its variety

an image of a waterfall surround by lush greenery and pink flowers--nature is another of the 13 things for which I am thankful

My Health


 I give thanks because I could type these words image of the words THE END.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Have a safe and happy day and, of course, stuff yourself with all your favorite foods. But also, take a moment to be grateful for the people, places, animals, and things that make your life better. Need some ideas? Here are 20 weird things I’m grateful for. Remember, you are one of the 13 things for which I give thanks. Thank you for reading, for coming back, and for all your support.