Lately, I have been asked the following question, many times:
“How come you are not worried?”
And my answer is very, very simple:
And what I mean by that is this - my routine. My daily practices. My daily activities. Structure - how I plan, build, and then act out my days.
By building a daily and weekly routine, life can become very simplified. Even the toughest of tasks can be accomplished through small steps, repetitive practice, and routine... And routine maintenance - so to speak.
Building a routine lays a foundation. And continual practice builds an increasingly stronger foundation. And as you will see in bullet number 14 below, a strong foundation can help you through a tough time.
I have been practicing calmness, patience, discipline, determination, and perseverance for so long now, that even these challenging days are far easier to get through than they would have been in the past for me.
Now, when something hits - out of the blue - I can REACT appropriately. I can react reasonably. I can react with health in mind. And that goes for any and all situations. Foreseen, planned for, or very unforeseen.
You see, if you practice not getting angry when someone cuts in line in front of you enough, you won’t overreact when something even bigger happens in life.
If you practice not getting stressed out in traffic, when a two hour traffic jam comes along and surprises you, you’ll treat it like a mini-vacation in your car - instead of a ball of stress and tension and anger.
When you are on the phone and the automated operator tells you to press zero to speak with someone, and you press zero, and they hang up on you instead, after being on hold for 45 minutes, you can simply blow it all off. Dust yourself off. And call again. No big deal.
And I am not in any way trying to compare a global pandemic to the dilemma of sitting in traffic or other minor and petty issues within our communities and society. I’m simply stating if you practice healthy habits, healthy reactions, and practice more patience than you ever thought a human being could possibly have - then you will have a stronger base to fall back on when something even larger attacks you.
And as we are now suddenly living in the midst of a very official 15 Day Challenge set forth by our government. I have once again chosen how to react. I acknowledge that we are at war - with a virus. We are now living changed lives. Every single one of us. I educate myself. I plan. I act. I react. And I act again.
Example: REACTION ~ To World War 19
So, while, as of today, America is on the back end of these initial 15 days, each day is still vitally important that we all follow the guidelines. And, to do all that has been asked of us - with a lot of uncertainty added into our days. And whether we are doing our very best to stay home, or still working outside the home in what the government is considering an essential business. We’ve all changed some aspect of our daily activities at this point.
In order to slow the spread of Coronavirus, every person on this planet has an important role to play. And ultimately the question is this: How will you change your life to do your part? Chances are you are going to follow the guidelines to the best of your ability. This leads to spending time at home, or at least to become very socially distant from one another. For a whole lot of time. Which leads to the need for human activity in the home, plus, the act of being around less people. Instead of - outside and away from home, and thus, interaction with more people.
I’d like to present you with a number of activities that I have long ago since adopted into my lifestyle. Each of these bullet points below has helped immensely in the current situation as I also have adjusted my lifestyle now to help lower the curve. To bend that curve in the right direction. So, whether you're at home, or you’re not - we can’t just SIT there. We need to LIVE - wherever we’re at during these trying times.
Check out any or all of Bean’s List below when you are seeking a way to fill a gap in your down time. When you are seeking a distraction. When you want to react to a situation in a more calm and rational manner. Not everything on this list is for purposes of staying home, sheltering-in-place, or for quarantine, but they are all merely examples of little things.
Little things that can help you in some way of getting through a day.
Small ways of keeping your mind, and your body, occupied.
To keep your brain stimulated.
And to get creativity flowing.
And lastly - to help inspire.
To provide hope.
To light the flame on the fire of your faith.
To keep going.
To march before you feel like it.
To get out of your own way.
And every day.
So, today I present to you - Bean’s Idea List.
Included are 15 daily activities you can partake in - anytime - anywhere:
1-Adult Coloring Books
Adult coloring books. If you have not yet tried an adult coloring book, but have had your eyes set upon them - today is the day to finally take action. While bookstores are mostly closed for the pandemic, you can still order books online. Yes, goods are still being shipped. Or, don’t forget to check out the magazine aisle next time you are at a grocery store or pharmacy. Or even the dollar store. They usually have a small section of coloring books and crossword puzzles. It’s finally time to take your colored pencils out of hiding. Dust them off. And give them a job to do.
They are soooo fun.
Now is the time to try a fun and exciting way to stay organized. I’ve been bullet-journaling for a few years now, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for organizing my life. Plus, besides increased organization and efficiency in daily life - I no longer have ten thousand different random notepads, journals, and post-its, sitting everywhere around the house and lying in different bags and purses and atop different counters and desks. Now, everything I write is in one, singular, book. And that book can go everywhere with me if I’d like.
Sometimes, hope - is just about continuing. It is just about continual movement. You may feel like your actions are small. But they are all important. Your actions ripple and inspire many others. Keep living. Keep moving forward. Keep going. By continuing onward, you are being hopeful. Optimistic. While some of life has to pause, you can still continue in many, many ways. You can still, always, have hope.
With hope - comes gratitude. Write daily in your Gratitude Journal. Even if you don’t know what you are doing when you start out on your gratitude journey. Even if you think you have nothing to be grateful for. Even if you think that the thing you are grateful for is silly or a waste of time. Write down that gratefulness.
Here is an example of my gratefulness just from this morning:
Today, I am grateful for the ability to support local workers who still have a job.
Today, I am grateful that my husband and I gave a tip to the Barista. Whether I can afford it or not right now, I am grateful to pay it forward.
Today, I am grateful that I went for a walk.
Today, I am grateful for the coastal winds flowing through the sky.
Today, I am grateful for the ability to work, and to work with a large, hot, very delicious coffee filling my tummy.
Today, I am grateful for the beautiful blue sky.
Today, I am grateful for the palm trees growing outside my window.
Today, I am grateful for the beef stir-fry meal I am preparing to make for dinner at home tonight.
Today, I am grateful to get my uniform ready for a very long shift at work tomorrow.
Today, I am grateful for the job I have to go to tomorrow.
Today, I am grateful for hard work and the opportunity to work hard.
Today, I am grateful for my determination.
Today, I am grateful for patience.
Today, I am grateful for American’s all over the country - who are working together as a team. All doing their part. All doing anything and everything they can, to help.
5-Smartphone Apps and YouTube Videos
Videos are a fabulous distraction. Use them sparingly. But, use them indeed. YouTube is free. For all those who still do not pay or those who cannot afford cable or streaming services just like me, use YouTube to your advantage. Sure, I cannot see all the latest shows. I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, not even once. I’ve never seen The Handmaid’s Tale - even though I’m dying to binge watch the whole series to date. I’ve never seen Baby Yoda in action. I’ve never watched The Crown. And I’ve never seen The Walking Dead either. But, I’m ok with that.
Because, instead, I’m best friends with Adam Hattan, Tim Tracker, Fresh Baked, The Dis Unplugged, and a whole lot more free fun.
If you need something to watch. There’s something out there for everyone. Click on the free app, and find your favorite channel.
Cook - If you don’t like to cook.
Or, if you tell yourself you can’t cook.
Now’s the time to push away all those excuses.
And learn to love to cook.
Be creative with food.
Whip up something delicious.
Be patient with yourself.
Try a new recipe.
Serve a meal to your family that was made inside your home.
For some healthy and hearty and filling meals, check out these recipes below straight from my kitchen to yours:
10] Bean’s Soulful Southern Chili
38] The Year Of The Sweater ~ Bean’s Minestrone Soup Recipe
43] Bean’s Bold Beef Stew Recipe ~
47] Bean’s Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnut Recipe ~ A Super Food For A Super Sunday
51] Life Is Full Of Pasta-Bilities ~ Bean’s Red Sauce Recipe
58] Bean’s Corona Kickin’ Chicken
Sit on your Porch or your balcony.
Rest in your backyard.
Be outside with nature.
Practice breathing exercises utilizing the built-in App on your Apple Watch.
Look around you and be present in the moment.
8-Listen - Mindfully
Turn Off The News - And Turn On A Podcast
Better yet - a new-to-you podcast.
Get outside of your comfort zone and select a subject matter unfamiliar to you. Or an area you’ve always wanted to learn more about, but just never pressed play on. Either way, from crafting, Etsy, politics, sport, fitness, and weight loss, all the way to comedy, the royal family, celebrity gossip, motivational speaking, and conspiracy theories, if there’s a topic in this world, there’s a podcast with the same name. Delve into the app, grow your library, and start challenging your brain in new ways.
Be aware of the media around you. And I don’t just mean the news media. I mean social media.
Spend the effort to get your news straight from the source.
And limit your time on all the social media platforms.
They are all time-suckers folks. They all want to rule your day.
You - rule your day instead.
Live your life offline, instead of online.
There is, of course, a time and place for social media, but most people need to spend far less time on all the social sites than they currently are. I would like to challenge everyone to put the phone down. Live your life. Even if you are at home right now.
Pick up a book - instead of the phone.
Pick up your child - instead of your phone.
Pick up dinner - instead of your phone.
Pick up a vacuum - instead of your phone.
Pick up the laundry - instead of your phone.
Pick up a paint brush - instead of your phone.
Put the phones down - and lift up your life.
Give your time.
Give your money.
Give your resources.
Give your talents.
Give your expertise.
Give your EXTRA.
And, give, when you have nothing left to give.
This last suggestion is probably the most important part of giving, in my mind. Whenever you think you have nothing left to offer, that’s when it’s the most important to give more than you think you even have left. When you share with the world, that’s when you receive the greatest blessings in return. So call it selfish if you want, but by giving it all away, you are receiving much, much more.
Just because you may be stuck at home, does NOT give you an excuse to not participate in physical activity. We all, as human beings, are much better off physically, mentally, and emotionally when we move our bodies. Of course rest has a place. But there is also an imperative space in your day for physical activity. And it doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to make you sweat too much. You don’t have to be out of breath. It just means to move.
So, toss those excuses aside, and make moving just as an essential part of your day as brushing your teeth currently should be.
EXAMPLE: My experience running the Key West Half Marathon in January 2020.
11-Get fresh air.
If it’s much too cold outside, open the garage door, and soak up some fresh air that way. If it’s a Florida afternoon downpour, go in the outdoor parking garage and soak up some fresh air that way. If it’s a beautiful day, get out there and workout, stretch, sit and read. Any way you slice it though, you should be building fresh air into your day. Even if you have to get creative with the way to obtain that fresh air, make it a daily goal, and start.
The benefits of reading are so numerous that I’m not even going to get into it here and now. Read a book. And keep reading.
13-Arts & Crafts
Work on a detailed puzzle. Draw or sketch. Paint a canvas. Sew. Crochet. Knit. The list can go on forever.
Paint rocks and share joy and happiness around town. You can even tag your rocks with your local rock painting Facebook group - and you’ll be part of an ongoing virtual and digital scavenger hunt.
I found this rock just the other night - and I was so darn excited! Thank you to the person who spread this joy to me.
Here are some examples of how I incorporate art, of all kinds, into my life:
2] 3 Wows Plus 1 Piece Of Magic I Experienced At Jacksonville, Florida’s Cummer Museum Of Art & Gardens
12] Paint N’ Pints @ Intuition Ale Works ~ Downtown Jacksonville, FL
14] Finding Trinkets & Treasures @ The Jax Beach Vintage Flea Market
24] In Real Life ~ My First Visit To A Southern Living Idea House
31] Tuesday’s On First Street ~ The Jax Beach Art Walk ~
32] Jolly Holiday In Jarboe Park ~ The Beaches Green Market
Keep your routine. Besides number 15 below, this may be the most important bullet point in terms of its relation to these scary times during the pandemic. Whenever there is abrupt change - of any kind - your equilibrium may become off balance. If you already have a well-established routine - your foundation will be strong. It will become so solid and so firm, that when an earthquake comes, it may only rattle the building a bit, break a few picture frames, and then continue standing for the rest of its life. Without the right foundation, the structure is a lot less stable. And you risk collapse.
So, start today. Build a routine. Start small. Take one step a day. One step a week. However fast or slow you need to build that routine is up to you. But build it. And stabilize it. And provide that routine - with routine maintenance. Use those bullet journals and write it all down.
Routine has done a lot for me. By establishing a dedicated, solid, thick barrier wall of routine in my life, I have accomplished more than I ever thought possible. And all of those accomplishments started with routine, and dedication to that routine. And having the patience to continue moving forward, even when times are tough, are all because of the routine, even when I desperately want to break it.
For examples, check out:
1] Happy Birthday America! ~ 4 Simple Steps To Help You Have An Easy Americana 4th:
7] My ‘Before & After’ ~~ How A Single Act Of Kindness, Lime Bubly, And MyFitnessPal Helped Me Lose 77 Pounds In One Year
17] Fall Flavors ~ Six Simple Steps I’m Taking This Fall To Maintain My Massive Weight Loss
37] New Year/New 007 ~ Here’s 20 Tips That Will Have You Seeing 20/20 In 2020 ~
Believe. In yourself. In others. In your team. In your community. In your leaders. In your state. In your country. In the world.
And last but certainly not least, LOVE.
Love your family.
Love your friends.
Love the creatures you share this planet with.
Love your life.
And - Love your enemy. And what in the heck do I mean by that one? I mean love even your very worst enemy. That simple. Love who you hate. Love the one who you can barely stand. Love the one you disagree with the most. And show that love to them. Every single day. You will become a much happier person if you can put this tactic into practice in real life.
For some good, old-fashioned faith, hope and love - check out the links below:
23] Faith ~ And Life Lessons Learned Living With Wild & Untamable Hair
26] Deck The Chairs ~ BE THAT CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THIS OUR VERY OWN AND SHAREABLE WORLD
34] Merry Christmas ~ And How To Buy For That Person On Your List Who Saved Your Life ~
36] The End Of A Decade & My New Year’s Wish To You ~
41] Minnie The Daschund Mouse & Her Birthday Wish
48] Love & Donuts In The Air @ Beaches For Australia
49] A Picture Worth A Thousand Words ~ Happy Valentine’s Day, World
55] The Shamrock
59] REACTION ~ To World War 19
So, this sums up Bean’s Idea List for today. I hope you will take some of these ideas to heart, and put them into action in your daily life. Let’s all work together to get through the pandemic that is changing all our lives. Let’s all share ideas. Let’s all share stories. Let’s all give. Let’s all share ways to get through another day. But mostly, let’s all love one another - right now and forever more. ~
*What new activity have you added to your life during this global Coronavirus pandemic? I’d love to know - let me know in the comments down below:
7/8/2019 0 Comments
#2) 3 Wows Plus 1 Piece of Magic I Experienced At Jacksonville, Florida’s Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens
A few years back when friends found out I was moving to Florida, specifically to the greater Jacksonville area, it was immediately suggested to me that I visit the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. Finally, after a few years of living here, I made it there. With soooo many positive reviews online (it was actually very hard to find anything negative said AT ALL) and many recommendations from others to go for a visit, I can definitely see why people love and rave about the place.
It’s always quite an experience to visit an art museum. A visit to such a place can take you out of your familiarity and possibly your comfort zone as well, and place you inside so many varied and different hearts, minds, and personalities - simply by seeing and fully experiencing the immersion of art on canvas. Visiting an art museum can open up or awaken your soul to the variations of the human experience. I would definitely say there is a bit of magic going on there - but don’t forget you need to be open to receive that magic and let it come over you and let it change you.
You visit an art museum to see the art on the walls. So gazing at all the varied art on canvas and sculptures can go without saying here. See it. Do it. Immerse yourself in it. And see ALL the art, and take your time as well. What I really want to detail here today are some of the things at the Cummer that go beyond the art on canvas. Specifically: 3 major Wows I experienced while at the Cummer, plus a single piece of pure magic.
And as I mentioned above about art, I don’t see how going to an art museum, or any museum really, can be nothing but a positive, educational experience. But maybe I’m biased because I’m an artist and I paint on canvas every day of my life. So really it was hard for me to find anything about the Cummer I didn’t like. And I actually only found one single comment online even remotely negative about the Cummer, and that is that they need more seating - that they are very short on seating around the building. This commenter said they were an older individual and that walking around with hardly a place to stop and rest for a bit was too much for them. I’m 38, and by no means elderly, but I COULD NOT AGREE MORE with this review.
Why? Why? Why are there never enough seats in public places??? I LOVVVE me a good bench. There were a nice assortment and variety of seats and seating locations outside in the Gardens, but good luck finding a seat (and I mean a RELAXING seat) inside the building with all the art. Sure, there was the traditional chair and/or single bench in the center of an exhibit room, but that is by all accounts not a place for relaxation, or a place to chill for a bit. It’s simply a chair to sit in while contemplating the beauty of the art before you. But it’s not a place to grab a sip of water, take a few calls or texts, or post your latest Instagram shot. Plus, who wants to be selfish and hog the bench for a rest while so many other people are coming and going and may want to sit for a bit as well?
Really the only seating inside the museum itself where you could catch your breath was at the Cafe, which meant buying something to eat or drink in order to sit down. This was absolutely more than fine with me and the hubby because we planned this Cafe into our day and knew we wanted to eat lunch there to get the entire Cummer Museum experience. But there were definitely people who wanted to sit in the chairs of the cafe and not order anything. And with the quite obvious ‘PLEASE WAIT HERE TO BE SEATED’ sign as you approach the Cafe, it was clear we couldn’t just walk up to a chair and sit. So yes, there is a definite lack of seating at the Cummer. And really the only strange and awkward aspect of the entire museum was the location itself of the Cafe.
The Museum is set up as a series of exhibit rooms, with doors that open and close into a main hallway of the museum. This main hallway is what I would call the artery of the museum and is the main corridor for all traffic coming and going. This hallway takes you up and down the entire length of the museum and all exhibit entry and exits, plus restrooms and gift shop... however, this hallway is where the Cafe is as well. And I’m not saying the Cafe has an entrance off the main hallway - I’m telling you the Cafe is IN the hallway. Like, the Cafe is the hallway, and the hallway is the Cafe. It seemed like the Cafe was a complete and total afterthought to the Museum. Which was somewhat of a disappointment to me. As soon as I saw it I thought THIS is the Cafe?! I was expecting at least a tiny bit more from a museum that charges $10.00 a person to enter. There was no ambiance, no set mood or theme going on or even attempted to go for, and no decor whatsoever. The Cafe is literally tables and chairs set up inside this main hallway of the museum. So everyone coming and going (and going in and out of the main bathroom as well) has to pass by these chairs and the drink station. It was a bit of a bizarre set up.... but I’m telling you right now I would definitely go back. Which brings me to my first WOW of the day.
Wow #1 - The Cummer Cafe
This Cafe rocks! I know, I know, you’re saying what in the heck? She just mentioned how awkward and strange the Cafe is set up, and yes, all of that is so true. But the Cafe was also very, very enjoyable, and I absolutely loved my delicious and flavor-filled lunch. It’s so, so true that good food can make up for bad atmosphere. And while like I said, there was no real decor to the Cafe, there was a vase of fresh flowers on the table we were seated at. Adorable. I so love fresh flowers on a table, it brings immediate joy and delight into any day.
I sat down and ordered an iced tea. Well, when iced tea is served to me in a mason jar, I’ll be happy for the rest of the day. Add a delicious and delicately fruity taste to the cold, refreshing tea, and I declare it the best tea I ever drank in my life any day of the week and twice on Sunday. And this tea was just that and more. I ordered the breakfast quiche as my dish, which was served with a light and fresh seasonal greens with strawberry salad including a vinaigrette dressing on the side. Wow. I so thoroughly enjoyed my meal that I wanted the chef to come home with me and make this meal for me every day for lunch for the rest of my life. Hence the wow factor here. Loved the Cummer Cafe, yes, would go again.
After we ate and received the check, I overheard a woman at the next table order an iced latte. The server asked her if she would like whipped cream on top. She said yes. I love hearing people talk of coffees and creams. Well we were stuffed from the delicious lunch and passed on drinks and desserts. As we were paying our check the iced latte walked past us, and my jaw dropped. Wow, whipped cream will always do that for me. That drink looked so gosh darn amazing and refreshing, I know exactly what I’m ordering when I go back, no need to even give me a menu. Actually, I’m quite sure that whipped cream drink is going to haunt me in my dreams every night until I get it.
Wow #2 - The Gardens
There’s a reason it’s called The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. & Gardens was not an afterthought. The Gardens at the Cummer deserve their own Wow and you should include time during your visit there for sure. I thought ahead and tried to time my visit around the afternoon Florida summer thunderstorms, so we experienced the gardens before visiting the special Impressionism exhibit later into our afternoon. Walking out back of the main museum building to the Gardens grants you a breathtakingly scenic view of the St. Johns River. So with the flowing river water as a backdrop, and flowers, trees, quaint little pathways and vines, trellis’ and canopy’s and quaint seating, and let’s not forget ponds and fountains, the Gardens are certain to impress. I was right in my element walking around all the natural Floridian beauty before me, so many future scenes I dreamt of painting from that single experience. Visit this Garden... and soak all of it in to take home with you.
Wow #3 - The Live Oak
As you enter the Gardens outside, you cannot help but see the beauty and majesty of the Cummer Live Oak Tree. A miracle that Hurricane Irma didn’t take this tree, this Live Oak should require its own visit just to IT if you are visiting or live in Jacksonville. I’ve never seen a tree quite like it. It was a tree out of a fairy tale book. Spanning the top of the gardens and its various branches winding down to the lowest levels of the gardens reaching out toward the river bank, this tree definitely has a personality and life of its own. This tree owns the place. This tree is the boss.
I immediately thought of Disney’s classic film ‘Pollyanna’ when my eyes first gazed upon this Live Oak. Trees are and really can be gifts from God to this Earth. Breathing life into anyone who is willing to accept the gift. In the film, Pollyanna’s friend Jimmy Bean (played by Kevin Cochoran - otherwise known as Moochie if you are a classic Disney film fan), always wants to climb trees with Pollyanna, and she basically is like, now why would I ever want to do that?... not understanding the appeal). Well, Mocchie says, God put them there so I could climb them. Simple as that - matter of fact. I have always loved that part of the film for some reason and apply it to many aspects of my life. And while there are clearly represented signs everywhere at the Cummer Gardens informing you NOT to climb the tree, and rightfully so considering its age, history, and safety issues, if Moochie was around to see this tree today, I’m not sure if there would be anyone who could stop him from climbing it. After all, isn’t that why God put it there?
While the food, fun, and fabulousness of the Cummer was an ideal Saturday outing I highly recommend, and be sure to catch all of my three wow’s mentioned above, there was one more piece of magic both hubby and I didn’t expect but were blessed with.
1 Piece of Magic
As were were looking out at the beauty of the St. Johns River while standing at the edge of the Gardens and watching all the boats go by, I quickly saw a flicker off the water out of the corner of my eye. I focused my eyes on the area, not too far in front of me at all, and watched. Only about a second later I saw it again. A dolphin jumped right out and back into the water. He seemed to say hello to us watching him. I gasped, shocked, never, ever, ever sick nor tired of seeing a dolphin out on nature. I wondered to myself - why was he here? Right here. At the banks of the River. We watched and followed him with our eyes for a long time.... he seemed to be all alone in the water. Just him jumping to and fro.
We continued watching him swim farther and father from our sight, still jumping, until we couldn’t see him anymore. I hoped and prayed he wasn’t lonely, afraid, or injured - although he seemed just fine from my quick gaze. He was well on his merry way, exploring the Floridian waters, many adventures ahead of him. Something in the back of my head made me think he was there because God put him there. At that place at that moment in time. He was meant to be there, for reasons the heavens above and him alone to know his purpose in life. But because I’d like to think God put him there, I was able to say hello to him that hot summer day before he went on his way. ~
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