Saturday, April 30, 2011

Details of A Day

Details of A Day... photos: karen holmes

"We are important and our lives are important,
magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded."
- Natalie Goldberg

Today, after picking up my mail, I decided to walk the couple of blocks to revisit one of my favorite meditation gardens. Open to the public, the serenity of this place begins the minute your toe meets the first step up to the walkways that are embellished with splashes of color, light playing with the shadows, and soft scents of cared for earth mingling with the ocean breezes. I thought I would simply share some of the details that seemed magnificent to me... and worthy of being recorded...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Being Quiet

Being Quiet
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"The quieter you become,
the more you are able to hear."
-Zen Saying

We all fall into life patterns - some of those patterns serve us well for a long time and then we simply outgrow them. I used to like to come home, kick off my shoes and settle in with a cup of tea to watch the evening news. Recently, I have begun to break that habit by beginning to separate myself from the broadcasted devastations that offer little balance of goodness. Perhaps the commotion of life in general is granting me an invitation to wander off into places that allow me to become quiet, and more able to hear and recognize the goodness that does exist.

One thing that offers me calm, is to sit on the shore and watch surfers - their balance, grace, regard for nature, and their practiced peaceful waiting between waves, simply reminds me and inspires me to take time to welcome the quiet.

Today, I wish you pockets of peace and quiet that allow you to get in touch more fully with the goodness in your life...

Monday, April 25, 2011

My Rose

My Rose
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Of course an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than you altogether, since she's the one I've watered. Since she's the one I put under glass. Since she's the one I sheltered behind a screen. Since she's the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except for two or three for butterflies). Since she's the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all.
Since she's my rose."
"It is the time you have lost for your rose that makes your rose so important."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery (La Petit Prince)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Grace

Simple Hope
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Only those who look with the eyes of children
can lose themselves in the object of their wonder."
- Eberhard Arnold

The sweetness of a child looking upon a grouping of stuffed bunnies and finding the one that calls to them in a silent heart-voice that makes them say: "That one is the one I want to take home with me." And into the dark night, tucked deep in downy calm, and as the morning's golden light softly slips through the window, the bunny simply brings comfort and listens... and there lives love... 

And isn't that also the simple grace of Easter? We choose God and bring Him home... we feel the comfort of forgiveness...we are heard... and there lives love...

Wishing you Easter Grace...

Thursday, April 21, 2011


One Flower
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"They built their argument on an obvious but subtle truth - that a flower can't run away, which makes it a model for how to deal gracefully and ingeniously with the realities -
the opportunities as well as the limits - of your habitat."
- Janine Benyus (foreword to Zugunruhe)

Inspirational Book: Zugunruhe The Inner Migration to Profound Enivironmental Change

"Zugunruhe, a German word (pronounced zoo gen ROO ha), literally means 'migratory restlessness' and is the definition encapsulating this known phenomenon of marked behavioral changes observed in many species prior to migration."
"As far as I am concerned, Zugunruhe should become a new word in our lexicon to describe all of us who seek to transform the way we live: restless for a new society that reconciles its relationship with the natural world."
- Jason McClennan (Zugunruhe)

Perhaps this Earth Day you will take up with the restlessness of Zugunruhe and begin to explore changes you can make to join with the grass roots communities that are already involved in the transformation process (at the very least it is good to be thankful for their efforts that bless us). Walk the isles of your market and begin to notice the packaging on the products that practice "less is best" with the wrappings. Begin to read the labels and buy something - one thing - that loves our earth back (as simple as trying out something like Trader Joe's Mandarin Orange Liquid Dish Soap). Obtain a blue recycling bin (or use a paper bag) and begin to use it... you may notice (like I have) that you feel a little bit better doing those gatherings and when you place the items of plastic, paper, and glass in the street-side recycling bin you might just realize that you are loving our natural world a little bit better. Support resale shops - with donations and purchases. Perhaps commit to doing a better job remembering to use your recycle bags.

One flower and one person... tomorrow is Earth Day... I celebrate and embrace this earth we call home, and I trust that you do the same. All of nature: mountains, ocean, meadows, one bird, and even one single flower captivate me...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Charming Gardeners

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
- Marcel Proust

It is only Tuesday, and this week I have already had the good fortune of beautiful and caring exchanges with ones who are indeed "charming gardeners" who "make my soul blossom"... how blessed am I! Wishing blessings in return to my charming gardeners... I am so grateful!

Thank you for your visit today... may you experience the joy and grace of this season.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Sweet Peas

Sunday Sweet Peas
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"I wanted to become the seeker, the aroused and passionate explorer, and it was better to go at it knowing nothing at all, always choosing the unmarked bottle, always choosing your own uproven method, armed with nothing but faith and a belief of astonishment."

- Pat Conroy (The Lords of Discipline)

Sunday Sweet Peas, fresh picked this morning in a local garden by unknown hands. Brought to the Farmer's Market, and cheerfully sold to me by 10:00 a.m. beneath a turning-robin's-egg-blue sky intent upon whisking away the morning fog. Then delivered home to rest in a sunlit jelly jar in celebration of spring and the forthcoming event of Easter. I delight in this weekend's determination to welcome flowers and spring into my home "armed with nothing but faith and a belief of astonishment." Flowers and warm receptions all around... ah, the abundance of spring even in the smallest of kind exchanges.

Wishing you a gracious beginning to your week... I hope that you will explore and seek out simple things that make your heart sing with pleasure.

Jelly Jar Sweet Peas
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lilac Lingering

Lilac Lingering
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

Bien dans sa peau
"comfortable in one's skin"

Please do not for one moment think that I am finished with the weekend spring bouquet gathering! I thought I would show you my beginning...

Here in our area, lilacs do not grow as profusely as in other places, which is why when I saw the bouquet of lilacs for sale atop a counter in a sweet florist's shop, and then bent over to softly breathe in the signature scent of spring, I just knew a couple of sprigs would be coming home with me... oh how I love the ease of knowing - simply knowing - what intuitively will bring me joy.

How are your weekend bouquet gatherings going? I hope beautifully!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lovely Lily

Lovely Lily
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Misty mornings that hold within them
the promise of a beautiful day."

- Santa Montefiore (The French Gardener)

Some mornings you simply wake up and say, Today, I want to fill my life with flowers! Simple as that: flowers to feed my soul. So today you will, indeed, find me bringing home a bouquet of flowers to grace my tabletop for the weekend. Spring is having a party, and I have an invitation... 

Wishing you colorful bouquets, and the celebration of being alive to yet another glorious Spring...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tranquility Fountain

Tranquility Fountain
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"That which the fountain sends forth returns again to the fountain."
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Surrounding the base of this fountain are suns and angels... if your birth month lands on an angel, it is fabled that you will have a year of tranquility (and the sun signifies prosperity). I like to imagine the sturdy hands of long-ago that carved the stone and created this fountain, and also those unseen hands that now visit in the early hours to care and tend to the grounds and waters surrounding such elegance...

I find it difficult to believe that this was all just quietly waiting for me to simply discover it on a sweet, sunlit day... the oranges were ripe for picking, and my heart joined them: I was ripe for appreciation of such a kind discovery...

I hope you will enjoy also...
Tranquility Angel
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

music of spring's tranquility
(thank you, christina...)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Comfort Cake

Comfort Cake
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

If I had to sum up Friendship in one word, it would be Comfort. 
-Terri Guillemets

Birthday cake... i did not see her son puff up his cheeks to blow out the candles, or even guess at his wish for the year... but the joy of celebration was prolonged when my friend Pam brought me two pieces of the birthday cake (and the recipe!)...

and now in the long shadows as the day finishes, i relax with my sweet slice of cake and sip my milk-tea ... and feel grateful that i am so fortunate to have such a good, kind friend.

Wishing you blessed friendships that flow back and forth in small kindnesses, delivering comforting goodness like waves upon the sand...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Soul Window

Soul Window
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"All beings
Are words of God,
His music, His art."

- Meister Eckhart (Expands His Being)

All of last week, I kept trying to find an opening in the rains, and in my schedule, to visit a place that would allow me to finish an article I was working on. Yesterday morning, the day greeted me brightly with sunshine, a profusion of blue skies, and soft white clouds. This is it! I said to myself. And it was as if I had received a private invitation to an exceptional day. As it turns out, I had, indeed, received an exquisite invitation to an astonishingly, grace-inspired day... but the magnitude wasn't immediately evident.

When I arrived at the edge of the parking lot - just in time for my made-that-morning appointment - I saw a flash of red and brown in the distance and heard an unusual drum cadence alongside vibrant outbursts of vocal celebration. Is that an elephant?! A wedding procession?! And off my heart went - I wanted to see that elephant and merriment up close (and keep my appointment, too). Which is exactly what happened! Remarkably, when asking for directions, a kind gentlemen personally took me the back way to the place where I was going, and there they all were! Astonishment! The wedding procession and I were on the same path to the same area - next door to one another - and we met on that day, in that moment, and at the same exact time... Such Fate! Such Destiny! Such Happiness! And my appointment? The lovely woman chose to include in her tour the place where sacred wedding vows would be exchanged within moments... where the two would become one, and their loved ones - who were already descending stairs - would join them to hold the day as witnesses to a holy event.

I, too, was a loving witness ... and my own invitation came from God. I was meant to be there in that moment, and as I looked directly into the Soul Window of the Elephant's eye, I knew that I would remember the day forever, and that fate had requested my company. I am so very thankful that I said Yes!

You never know when moments will surprise you, and your heart will go out to them, and grant you an extraordinarily divine invitation...

"Say Yes".... simply say "Yes!" to the invitations of moments that so naturally and graciously expand your heart and being... you will bow down in gratitude for all your days...
Heart World
Just Before Becoming One
Photographs by: Karen Holmes

"All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love."
- Leo Tolstoy

Friday, April 8, 2011

Lasting Pleasures

Easter Basket
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Pleasure is the flower that passes;
remembrance, the lasting perfume."

-Jean de Boufflers

My sons have naturally grown up over the years into fine men, but I have held on to their childhood Easter baskets and bring them out at this time of year as a sweet ritual. I smile when I recall their tiny hands clasping the basket handles, and how much joy they expressed in the discovery of their once-a-year celebration of spring and overflowing abundance. Such kind rituals offer us the beauty of being surrounded with deep ongoing connection that understandably moves forward into next generations, and releases a lingering perfume of pleasures.

May you have a weekend of cheerful spring celebrations and rituals that bring you enduring joy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dance the Miracle

Dancing Toes
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Think of the magic of that foot, comparatively small,
upon which your whole weight rests.
It's a miracle, and the dance...
is a celebration of that miracle."

- Martha Washington, American First Lady

Oh, how I love to see a child dance with abandon... the steps and music belong to them one has taught them...they just know... pure and simple expression....indeed, it is a celebration of the miracle of being.

Today, may you celebrate the miracle of your life...and dance your own unique dance with joyful abandon!

Blessings to you...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Finding Roses

Finding Roses
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Beauty and grace command the world."
- Park Benjamin

I like the whole of idea of recycling - and wish I was better at it (I do keep trying). One of my favorite ways to recycle is to drop off, at the local Community Resource Center, my items that I have discovered are not exactly "10"s for me (but could be for someone else). And while I am there, I poke around to see if there is maybe something that "sings to my heart." This weekend, my heart went out to a little bowl with scattered pink roses. The yellow tag said $5.00, but lo and behold, when I went to pay, the lady said, "It is your lucky day, 1/2 off on all yellow tags!" So for $2.50 I have a little bowl that is so sweet and springlike... and I did my small part for recycling and the Community... imagine that!

Heart Songs

Song Inspiration
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Always remember,
your focus determines your reality."

-George Lucas

Over the past few years, I have adopted the idea of more fully surrounding myself with things that are a "10"; in other words, they make my heart sing... I figured that if I was willing to make a long-term commitment to caring for something, it only seemed wise - out of a sense of mutuality and good balance - that it would care for my heart in return. Of course, my "10" may not be another person's "10" - but that is fine with me - what seems more important, is for each person to take the time to discover what makes them happy on a consistent basis, and draw that into their life with focus. Perfection is not the goal... discovery and a shared sense of belonging is (that beautiful ah-ha moment when you sense a "rightness"... and, well... you simply "feel your heart sing," and you instinctively know that you want to more fully belong to that reality!)

What are the "10"s that make your heart sing... (your favorite color, favorite book, favorite place, favorite bowl, favorite scent, favorite photo, favorite work to do, favorite space, favorite individuals) - are they in your life already... or are they simply waiting to be discovered and brought closer by you? What exactly is it that gives your heart "a song to sing"? Have you taken the time to know?

Friday, April 1, 2011

One Day Soon

One Day Soon
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"The migration begins
one day soon
she arrives at her destination."

- Jason. F. McLennan (Zugunruhe)

When I saw this staircase yesterday, so beautifully lit by late afternoon sun, my breath was taken away - so much so that I had to return to take a photo to share. To me this staircase is a perfect metaphor for envisioning your future and taking that first step. My favorite aspect about this staircase is that it emphasizes something I began saying years ago: "Enjoy the process." The overflowing, radiant and wildly colorful flowers so simply and clearly define what enjoying the process is all about. Gather beauty and love around you as you begin your envisioned signature climbs... and one day soon you will indeed arrive at your destination.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend as you define your destinations, and then "enjoy the process" to one day soon.

About Me

My photo
I have always been inspired by my Grandfather's particular generosity and encouragement, along with his love for others and nature. His spirit lives on, and the influence is quietly with me as I write and share. This is my small offering that I pray will bless others and allow them to become Simply Inspired. warmly, karen -xok.
Each day provides its own gifts.

- Marcus Aurelius

Thank you for visiting with me here...welcome.

please be courteous

Unless otherwise indicated, the photos and writings are by Karen Holmes. You may link; however, the material on this blog is copyrighted and requires consent for duplication. For permission to use information from this site, please contact Karen Holmes via email. Thank you for your consideration.