Joe ThorntonIt’s August: the deep-end of the summer, the hottest time of year.

For a lot of people this is an ideal time of year; full of sun and fun. Time to hang out outdoors and enjoy the sunshine and the warmth.

But it’s not that wonderful for everyone.

sitting tumble weedSummertime isn’t all fun and bliss for me and for many others. It feels unbearably hot and heavy and muggy. Your clothes stick to your body. You feel parched and thirsty all the time. Within an hour of taking a shower you feel like you need another one. Sometimes the humidity gets so high you feel like you can’t breathe. Not to mention the whole humidity and frizzy hair thing! This, to me, is not the most pleasant of feelings.

It’s summertime. It’s hot. And when the heat and humidity become oppressive, it can sometimes drag you down. Your frame of mind can become so downtrodden and negative. It’s the exact opposite of people who miss the sunshine during the cold winter months. They need an infusion of Vitamin D and a sun lamp. But I need the shade with a cool breeze and an ice cold drink.

When the summer weather reaches the point where all I want to do is hide indoors, a song runs through my head. Though I’m dating myself with this. If you don’t recognize the song, you’ll at least recognize the feeling…

“Hot town, summer in the city,
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty,
Been down, isn’t it a pity,
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city,
All around, people looking half dead,
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head.”
~ "Summer In The City” by The Lovin’ Spoonfuls

When I get emotionally dragged down by the heat of the summer, I have to force myself to remember all the things I do love about this time of year. I have to consciously adjust my mindset. I have to pay closer attention to the wonders of summertime.

redsunflowerMy favorite flowers are blooming all around our gardens, bright yellow and copper colored sunflowers sharing their beauty and joy. I love to pick fresh blackberries and raspberries for treats. This year I’ve enjoyed watching the robin’s nest with three bright blue eggs… then hatchlings… develop in one of our apple trees.

I’m always amazed by the speed at which things outside change and grow; the miracle of nature. The flowers are blooming and the bees are buzzing and the vegetables and fruit are growing. Life is taking over and the world is sharing its bounty.

BlackberriesI am overjoyed by the flowers, fruits and vegetables growing in our yard. I love going for walks on the property and yes, I even enjoy mowing the lawn; it’s very Zen to me.

When I get my head back together and begin appreciating the season, different songs run through my brain:

“Summer breeze makes me feel fine,
Blowing with the jasmine in my mind.”
~ “Summer Breeze” by Seals & Crofts

“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer,
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer,
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer,
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer.”
~ “Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer” sung by Nat King Cole

“Here comes the sun,
Here comes the sun,
And I say,
It’s alright.”
~ “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles

So, I guess I’m just gonna settle-in and enjoy the rest of the summer. I’ll pick a berry or two for you. I’m going to appreciate the season all I can… with the air conditioning and a glass of iced cold tea.

Care to join me for my cure for the summertime blues?

Annette Noyes TarotAugust 2018
kgsurxThe king chosen for this month's card represents mature, action-oriented energy. As in, he knows what he wants and how to get it. The card's suit signifies intellectual activity and analysis. You may be driven by bright ideas and know exactly how to make them happen. You won't see any obstacles to getting funding or approval for your project because you've looked at it from every angle and see a clear path forward.
 
Unfortunately, this single-minded approach to your goal can make you impatient and overbearing. You will need to deal with others along your way, but they'll seem so slow and stupid. Be aware of their feelings. Also, be aware of your own feelings! You may be perfectly nice to everyone else but hold yourself to impossible standards. You can be just as (if not more so) hypercritical and unforgiving of yourself as you can be of others.
 
Therefore, it's vital that you make time to relax your mind by doing something with your body--but perhaps not solitary exercise such as running, biking, or swimming. But, but, but...you do your best thinking on your run/swim/bike ride! That's my point; a rousing game of volleyball will have you concentrating on the ball and your fellow players and not on what's going through your head. Read a book, go to a movie, play fetch with your dog, or anything to get out of your head. This month's mental energy is going to be unrelenting and intense, and therefore you'll need to balance your overactive mind with other activities. Click to Tweet
 
Annette Noyes
The Emerald Box Turtle
www.theemeraldboxturtle.com
 

“When you hold on to your history you do it at the expense of your destiny.” – TD Jakes Click to Tweet

ChiChiRiveraThis quote really made me stop and think for a moment! Watching people, I notice patterns, and I have to say, we are often so focused on our own past experiences, hurts, regrets and failures. I understand this tendency, because come on, what else do we draw from? However, the more we think about our pasts, the more we dwell there. Spending time in our memories does not allow us to move forward in the business of life (making new experiences).

Making new experiences is the juicy mindset of the adventurer. Don’t you want to be an adventurer? If you cling on to the past, you could prevent yourself from being open to receive new experiences. If your cup is already full, nothing new can fit. Let go of yesterday to make more room. If you want to know some good ways to be open, here are some suggestions: Watch your thoughts, attitude and behaviour. You are the only one who can control them. You can train your mind to be in the moment, by merely focusing on your breath. Seriously, listening to your breath is a wonderful way to get you out of your head and into the present moment. Go for a quick walk outside. Wonder at a cloud or a leaf or a bird, share your gratitude of nature’s wonders. Gratitude works almost instantaneously to bring you into the moment.

Allow your destiny to unravel by being open to what the Universe is presenting to you right now! If you take the time to notice the signs, life becomes a magical adventure, and you hold the compass. Click to Tweet

In Love and Light,

Rev. Marjorie Rivera Kain

www.Pittsburgh Medium.com

Joe ThorntonHappy July everybody! This is the month that we celebrate our great nation’s independence!  But may I suggest that we celebrate more than that?  Let’s also celebrate each other.

Let’s look at the people around us.  Yes, absolutely, let’s look at our family and our dear friends.  Where would we be without each of them, whether they’re still here with us or whether they’ve passed.  The contribution each person has made in and to our lives is immeasurable.  

Wax Lips 1967Our family helps to form the person we each become.  They give us the foundation for our views on life and the world.  They teach us, good or bad, lessons that we carry throughout our lives.  And our closest friends have, as well.  

Think back to childhood. We assumed that the way we lived was how everyone lived.  Then we went to our friend’s home and saw they did things a bit differently.  And it was okay; just different.  And from that we learned that there were many different ways to do things.  One way may have worked best for us, but it’s okay for other people to do things their own way.

But let’s not just look back in time and not at only those closest to us.  Let’s look all the way around us in our daily lives today.  How did the clerk at the grocery store treat you today?  Did they offer up a smile?  More importantly, did you?  Did you contribute to their day being a little better?

There is no hard and fast rule that states that others must be kind to us so that we may reciprocate in like form.  A better idea is for us to be the instigator of kindness. Click to Tweet  Make eye contact, offer a smile and as a stranger how they’re doing. Let’s go out of our way only a little bit and see how big of a reaction it can create.

John and I do most of our grocery shopping at an Aldi store near our home and we’re in there at least once a week.  Because we’ve both gone out of our way to smile and to be friendly to the clerks at the check-out stand, what began as a simple smile has escalated into a casual friendship.  We know each other’s names; we chit-chat a little each time we’re there.  And you can tell by the expressions on faces, that they’re as happy to see us as we are them.  In fact, upon entering the store, we always look to see who’s working that day. It certainly has made grocery shopping much more pleasurable.

We’ve done the same thing at the bank with the tellers and at other shops we go to.  And for every person we interact with, our days and even our lives have become richer.

We all know what the world is like today.  It can, at times, be very unpleasant.  But each of us can take a moment to bring something, no matter how small, to our interactions with others to make the experience better.  To make another person’s life better.  To make our own lives better.  

I’m a big movie fan and the tagline of one of my favorite films is: “In a cold world you need your friends to keep you warm.”  

And how sweet it is.

So celebrate everyone this July.  Because while we’re pretty amazing as individuals, it’s together that we’re great.  And by standing together we make a great America. 

By the way, please don’t forget that our dogs and cats don’t understand fireworks and are frequently terrified by the loud sounds and smell of sulfur and gunpowder.  The Fourth of July is also when there are the most strays as many beloved pets run away  in terror and get lost.  So keep your pets indoors and be patient with them; comfort them and let them know that they are safe.

And remember, too, that many of our veterans, true American heroes, suffer PTSD and fireworks can disturb and upset them as well. 

So maybe it would be best not to set-off fireworks in your neighborhood.  Let’s leave them to the professionals.

Joe Thornton, Great Conjunction Co-Founder

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Annette Noyes TarotJuly 2018

5 of pentacles - reversed
In Tarot Land, 5's represent change; the suit of Pentacles represents the physical plane, which includes business, your physical body, money, house, and all the other nuts and bolts of actual physical life.

We've come to a turning point on the material plane, and it's time to make some changes to better facilitate any new possibilities. In fact, opportunities that have thus far been hidden suddenly become available to you. For example, you may have the chance to cross-train or take advantage of a seminar that will advance your career. But to take part, you're going to need someone to watch the kids in the evening. A new car loan may be granted; now you have to rearrange your budget to cover the loan payments. Look for the "OOO! I wanna do that!" moments and then make space for them in your life. Click to Tweet

You'll be required to take a different approach to get things to work for you. Tried and true methods are no longer possible. Suck it up and adjust...besides, the new methods will probably be better in the long run. Believe it or not, relationships with colleagues, family, friends, etc. will improve as you reorder your life and accept new dynamic energy. That's because when you're at your best, you're happier. A happy camper is more attractive to others, and therefore, fun is had by all!

Annette Noyes
The Emerald Box Turtle
www.theemeraldboxturtle.com