The Freedom To Thrive


“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”  Maya Angelou


As I write this, it is the day before our latest (and I hope last) winter storm.  The snow continues to melt from the back roof which is north facing.  I love the sound of the drip, drip, drip.  The air is warmed by the sun and the outside temp is 48 degrees.  The soft gentle breeze blows easy, rustling the few leaves left on the bayberry bush.  The joyous bird song is wafting in stirring the idea that spring is coming.  Winter not quite ready to break, spring is expected soon.  After another snowstorm and more cold temps, I expect spring will stay for a while.  At least that is my wish.

And as I await spring, I know she will be here once I see the red-winged blackbird sail into the garden and sing his DSCN4350lovely song around the end of the month. For now, I am lulled into a peaceful state by the cardinals who live in the forever wild garden just off the meadow.

It has been nearly 2 weeks since retiring from a very busy job.  And what everyone asks is: What are you doing?  Are you and your husband getting on each other’s nerves?  Are you bored yet?

Here is my mantra for my retirement thus far:


 “The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment.”   ~Pema Chodron


DSCN4359No I am not bored.  I am taking each day as it comes.  As I finish this post we are in a blizzard warning getting 1-2 feet of snow before winter finally gives up.  And what a perfect time to also link in with Beth@PlantPostings for her wonderful Garden Lessons Learned meme.

I am still dealing with residual issues from my illnesses in January.  Not anything serious just annoying and interrupting my sleep.  But here is what I have been doing or have planned in the next few weeks as I wait to get back in the garden:

  • I must clean up the seed growing area and get things ready for starting veggies, herbs and my marigolds.  I am not starting many flowers indoors, but will work on growing them from seed outdoors in late spring.  I will have to purchase some violas and pansies this year as I should have started them already.
  • I am cooking more and trying some great recipes especially for soup.
  • My husband and I are starting an exercise regime….this one should be interesting.  We will see who sticks to it.
  • I am sleeping better already.  Going to bed when tired and getting up when my body feels ready.  Now that is heaven to me.
  • One of the most important things I need to do, is clear the clutter that has accumulated for 9 years since we moved in the house.  Files, clothes and general stuff that just seems to pile up in every corner in every room.  Things have not changed much since we moved in, and I look forward to doing a bit of changing things up.  Soon it will be time for garden clean up too.
  • I am working on some new online courses and enjoying learning more about myself and setting goals DSCN4273personally and professionally.
  • I am getting out and getting reacquainted with neighbors and friends.  We went to dinner with friends to celebrate my retirement, and I attended a neighborhood event.  We are being frugal and not traveling much now.  Our first big trip we hope will be to visit family around Christmas for an extended period.
  • I actually went to the store to shop.  I never had the energy or time, and I actually was exhausted.  I need to get my shopping legs back.
  • I am finally finding time to catch up on my reading of books, magazines, online articles and blogs.  I should be around more and catching up on a months worth of blog posts in my inbox.
  • Another thing we have had to do is shop for health insurance….that has been exasperating and we are still working on it.  How lucky we were to just pick a plan at work and never worry.
  • And best of all, I am enjoying my time with my husband.  With work we could never spend enough time together.  We are making up for lost time just enjoying simple things like shopping, cooking and eating meals together.  It has been great and we are not driving each other crazy.  That says a lot.  Thanks Robert for everything you have done for me!


So what has been my biggest lesson this winter:


Lean in and enjoy where you are even if it is cold and snowy.  Find the beauty and joy of your surroundings.  When I stop fighting and being negative, I see the lovely details of the early morning snow sparkling on the snow, the different textures of snow and the way the spent blooms catch the snow….and on and on.



I hope you enjoyed the photos of my winter melting slowly as I continue to lean in, let go and get ready for the new season.  I look forward to you joining in with the Seasonal Celebrations meme.  You can find out how to join below.




“Letting go gives us freedom and freedom is the only condition for happiness.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh







wwf_earth_hour_300x250March 29th at 8:30pm is another chance to help ourselves and our planet simply by joining in Earth Hour.  

We only have one planet. You can help protect it. Earth Hour starts with a simple flick of the lights at 8:30 pm on March 29, 2014 in a collective display of commitment to create a better future for the planet. But Earth Hour is more than just this hour. Uniting behind a common purpose demonstrates that we can make a meaningful difference. Earth Hour is our chance to make our commitment to protecting our planet not just for one hour a year, but every day. (from the website)


You can also start your own Earth Hour event.  Joining in with this global phenomenon, you help protect the one thing that connects us all – our earth.



Come Join Us:

Seasonal Celebrations is a time for marking the change of seasons and what is happening in your part of the world during this time.  I hope you will join in by creating a post telling us how you celebrate this time of year whether winter or summer or something else.  Share your traditions, holidays, gardens and celebrations in pictures, poetry or words starting March 1st.

And it seems so appropriate to collaborate with Beth and her Lessons Learned meme.  What lessons have you learned this past season of autumn here in the North and spring in the South.  Then tell us about your wishes, desires and dreams for this new season.

The rules are simple.  Just create a post that talks about lessons learned and/or seasonal celebrations.  If you are joining in for both memes please leave a comment on both our blog posts.  Or if you are choosing to join only one meme, leave a comment on that blog post.  Make sure to include a link with your comment.

Beth and I will do a summary post of our respective memes on the equinox (around the 20th of March).  And we will keep those posts linked on a page on our blog.  Your post should be linked in the weekend before the solstice to give us enough time to include your post in our summary.  And if you link in a bit late, never fear we will include it on the special blog page.  The badges here can be used in your post.   So won’t you join in the celebration!!



Next up on the blog:   I will have a special new Garden Book to review on Monday.

I hope you will join me for my posts once a month at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. See my latest post.

I can also be found blogging once a month at Vision and Verb.  I hope you enjoy my latest post.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.




58 Replies to “The Freedom To Thrive”

  1. I’m glad you are taking time to enjoy life. Working is great but sometimes there comes a time when you need time just for you. enjoy every moment Donna

    1. I will do that Christina…you do know when it’s time to give to yourself. I hope to enjoy my time before I start working on some big projects.

  2. Just when I’ve posted about how spring has fully sprung here in Dutchland…a month early, I might add…you and others are getting another snow storm! I Skyped with my sister in Michigan yesterday and she, too, was hit, not able to drive to work. Too bad your winters couldn’t have been spread out a bit to the rest of us who didn’t get any of it!!!

    Anyway, I love the idea of your retirement. Don’t be surprised if you end up being LESS organized than ever. Just go with the flow becasue it happens to the best of us. HA!

    1. I was laughing Ginnie when I read about being less organized. Boy did that happen right away. I am learning to go with the flow and enjoying it but I feel a bit foggy trying to get my bearings. Days run into each other these days.

  3. Taking one day at a time is the best way to be. I’m still clearing out work files after 2.5 years of retirement. One of the best things is knowing I don’t have to go out in that awful weather we just had to drive to work. Keep enjoying yourself one day at a time.

    1. I think about that too Linda…not having to drive in the bad weather is great. I was going to clutter clear and clean right away and then my body said, rest. So I am taking it easy right now. I feel a bit guilty at times though.

  4. I have always loved the words of Maya Angelou, and you included a great quote at the start.
    It takes a while to settle into a comfortable routine of retirement but a lot of stress from working leaves the body and during the snowstorms we’ve had this year, it’s nice to know you don’t have to drive in them.

    1. I agree Judith. It will take time to establish a routine and I am just going with the flow until I find my routine…but boy that stress left my body so fast and especially since I did not have to drive in the bad weather anymore.

  5. Donna I am so happy for you! My husband and I often question how anyone can be bored! There is always so much to do and learn. I am glad you will have time to enjoy and experience what you would like. I LOVED seeing the ice melt. We got clobbered and it is cold here again but the sun is out! Last year the Redwings arrived here on March 10 – think it’s going to be much later this year. Normally they arrive within one to two days of the date.

    1. Yep no red wings yet and the snow is slowly melting. We need a warm trend for several days…just hanging out right now is great..thanks for your good wishes. I am hoping I can connect with bloggers who are close by this year. Love to see your gorgeous garden and potager.

  6. Donna, I LOVE the things you are doing. It all sounds like a model of the way to do it. How in the world can anybody expect you to to know if you are bored in two weeks? We are a funny people sometimes–we fight the pace of real change, which has it’s own timetable. Bless you my friend–you are going to have a ball. Why? Because you already love life. Now your life’s force can go into other things and that is a gift.

    1. Oh Susie I have tears in my eyes from your lovely words. I think going with the flow of life is key and learning to do that and trusting everything is going to be fine is hard, but a life lesson of supreme magnitude. I have thought about writing a memoir of my experience of retirement the first year. And I think I will do a monthly update that perhaps might be expanded to a book someday. Sending you big hugs!!!

  7. I’m so glad it sounds like you are enjoying retirement, and that you are sleeping better. Sorry about the snow, but it will melt eventually. Spring is coming. I hope all your seeds sprout into strong little plants!

    1. Thanks Alison. With winter still hanging around, I am getting more time to rest before the big push of the garden season soon.

  8. It sounds as if you are enjoying retirement already – it must be wonderful to have time with your husband, time for cooking, and time for some real shopping too! Good timimg too, as you now have time to ease into a rhythm before the gardening season gets going. Maybe the snow has its positive side?… i.e. you can’t rush to get out there, but have time to plan. 😀

    1. I was thinking just that Cathy. Perfect timing to ease into gardening and actually I have extra time to rest right now.

  9. Another great post Donna, and congratulations on retirement if I haven’t said it before. Hubby retired last July and I must say it’s been so much fun and no we haven’t gotten bored or gotten on each other’s nerves yet 🙂 I enjoyed your quotes very much. I especially love to read anything of Maya Angelou. Thanks for the reminder about Earth Hour. I like to do my small part. Have a great weekend 🙂

    1. I love Maya Angelou too. I am so glad you enjoyed the post Denise and that you are enjoying time with your husband. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  10. Love the title of your post…I think this will be a time for you to thrive along with your gardens. One of the nicest things is to go to bed when you are tired and wake up when you body wants to instead of by an alarm. 🙂

    1. I agree Karen. Not having any alarm clock or constraints on my time has been blissful. So glad you really liked the post.

  11. Congratulations on your retirement, Donna! It’s been 3 yrs. for me and I rarely get bored – although when it was super cold this winter and hard to get out…yes, it happened. Wishing you the very best in your new start!

    1. I think I could get cabin fever in winter Beth so i want to be able to get away once or twice. It is great to hear from others who have been retired to hear how you all are doing. Thanks so much Beth!!

  12. Donna, I love both the title and sentiment of this post. I’m looking forward to my own freedom to thrive in a few short months. Meanwhile, thanks for reminding me that I should stop grousing about the January weather in March and get out with my camera to capture its beauty.

    1. I look forward to hearing about your retirement soon Jean…and thank you…so glad you really enjoyed the post. You have been such a help with my retirement through your blog.

  13. Congratulations on your retirement! I am envious! Everyone I know who has retired in the last few years looks so much happier and healthier! Sounds like you will really make the most of it.

    1. Thanks Jason. If you take time to enjoy yourself you can’t help but be happier….will you be able to retire soon?

      1. Not for another 10 years. But I’m thinking about leaving my job early and starting a different (much lower paid) career. My spouse could be the primary earner for a few years. It’s something we’re trying to figure out.

        1. My husband lost his job years ago and at his age had trouble finding a new one so he worked part time and I was the main earner. It is tricky managing retirement with less money and having to get our own insurance, but somehow I think it will work out…I wish you luck Jason.

  14. Donna, thanks for joining Wisdom Wednesday! of all your great quotes, i like the best about writing the future moment by moment. I’ll keep that in mind in a few years time.
    Have a great weekend!

  15. What a wonderful retirement you are going to have Donna – I could never imagine being bored once I retire and judging by what you’ve planned, you certainly won’t be. I do hope those little health niggles sort themselves out.

    1. Thanks Angie and yes they are working themselves out. Taking time to rest and be healthy is so important especially with retirement. There is so much to do, learn and enjoy I can’t imagine getting bored either.

  16. Donna, so pleased you and your husband are enjoying retirement, sounds wonderful, Frances

  17. (we are for better or worse, but not for lunch) and busy not bored.
    Decluttering towards minimalism is still a distant goal for this pack rat.
    I need to imagine listening to icicles dripping as they yield to spring.

    1. As a former teacher, I have a great tendency to be a pack rat so I need to declutter quite a bit. Diana, I do feel better when I have a minimal amount of stuff around. Spring is peeking in as winter is starting to yield.

  18. I wish you well in retirement and hope you find the enjoyment you seek. The red-winged blackbird has already visited here, but Spring is a ways off after 17 inches of snow. The migrants are returning and unfortunately, the weather is not what they probably want right now.

    1. No black birds yet but I think soon. We had a foot and a half too and now cold weather after rain. But soon Donna spring will inch its way in. I think enjoying each day will be blissful in retirement and so far I am doing just that.

  19. I wish you the very best on your retirement. It sounds like you have had a wonderful time celebrating the last few weeks.

    It seems my clutter has increased in retirement as “projects” have multiplied. The differences are nice and we enjoy them immensely.

    1. I have a feeling that the clutter I get rid of will creep back with different stuff Shirley 🙂

      I look forward to new projects and continuing the celebration.

  20. Great quotes from Maya Angelou, Pema Chodron and Thich Nhat Hahn – all food for thought. I too turned to gardening to figure things out, it is a wonderful teacher and continues to inspire me.

  21. You sound contented, and as if not only are you settling in, but learning so much about yourself, and your new world. Eager eyes, and happy heart…may spring come quickly to your part of the world.


    1. Jen what wonderful sweet words…thank you so much. I am happy and so inquisitive. Looking forward to spring finally settling in.

  22. What a beautiful post, Donna. I teared up when I read the nod to your hubby. I feel the same way–we are truly blessed to have spouses who respect us, share our joys, and support our work and our efforts. I agree with Jen–you do sound very contented! I’m so happy for you. Thanks for joining in the meme, and I hope to have my seasonal celebrations up very soon. Cheers!

    1. Beth I think I am most grateful for my hubby for all the reasons you so wonderfully articulated. Thank you my friend!!

  23. Congratulations on your retirement! There’s always so much to do, isn’t there? It’s so great to take some time to enjoy the winter scenes and the signs of a coming spring. A beautiful post!

  24. Congratulations on your retirement! I hope that you will fell better with each day. Sleep can do wonders! And so can spring! I hope that those icicles will soon drip away till next year.

    As you know, my own retirement was unexpected, forced by unfortunate nerve damage with a surgery I had last summer, which has made walking painful and difficult. Nerves heal slowly, but I am making progress. Though I always have a cane with me in the garden, I can garden! (With the help of Lou!) I am filled with plans, and I have accepted that those plans must unfold slowly, as they often must be done on Lou’s schedule rather than mine. People always seem solicitous, but I tell them that God has given me the gift of time, which is priceless.

    1. Thanks Deborah. I am feeling better each day. Each day the snow melts a little at a time.

      With the shingles, I discovered just how awful nerve damage can be. Your outlook is such an inspiration. Hugs to you my friend!

  25. Love this beautiful posting, Donna. It took me back to the early days of my retirement 9 years ago — can’t believe it’s been that long. I have to say it just gets better. Don’t try to do too much the first year, though — remember you have plenty of time now. Wishing you a speedy return to the very best of health. P. x
    PS I just did my Seasonal Celebrations post. It’s a bit sparse — I’m just not as eloquent as you. But I do enjoy this meme.

    1. Thanks Pam and thanks for the advice. I had it all planned and my body spoke loudly and said enough…time to rest. So I am. I look forward to reading your SC post…you underestimate your writing Pam my friend.

  26. Well put Donna. I loved the message in your post. I guess we all just need to appreciate the beauty of winter for now. This is the first winter since I recently retired from one job and I am learning the new pace as well. My passion for gardening and blogging has been keeping me going. Enjoy your retirement and i wish you good health.

    1. Thank you Lee….I am wondering how I will do my first full winter being retired. I agree that gardening and blogging keep me going and will have a big impact this year.

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