Happy New Year from Florida!

We typically visit St. Augustine, Florida after Christmas until the 2nd week of January (or so). The Festival of Lights remains up until the end of January so we just continue on in the holiday spirit. We are still listening to holiday music, looking at decorations and are taking a few vacation days to totally enjoy some down time.

Yesterday we ventured out in the opposite direction that is typical for us and we discovered a gem. The Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is a beautiful state park that houses a formal garden and lots of coquina rock. The area was once owned by a distant relative of George Washington. More recently it was owned by Owen and Louise Young; he was the former Chairman of the Board of the General Electric Co. in 1922.  Louise Owen loved gardening. Following Mr. Owen’s death she donated the lovely property to the State of Florida; she requested that the gardens  be continued.

The entire setting is so lush along side some historic buildings. It was a wonderful find for us!

We wandered through and enjoyed the holiday spirit still alive and well at the park.





Ornaments were hung from bushes and gazebos and poinsettias were everywhere!




We even found Christmas trees tucked away in unexpected places.


Reindeer were seen throughout and one even posed with hubby.


In addition to that we saw some beautiful plants and flowers (even the roses were blooming!).




Spanish moss was draped from the trees. Some trees are dated to over 500 years old in this park!


Cute things like this rock fish would surprise you on a turn.


Happy New Year from both hubby and I! We hope that where ever you celebrated (or are still celebrating like us) is joyous and peaceful.




Happy New Year! Musings on Resolutions

happynewyearDo you make resolutions?  Goals for the new year? Do you keep them? Is the new year a time of new beginnings for you or just another day in your journey of life?

I love a new beginnings or the start of things.  I love a new school year, I love a new year, I even love the daily new start I get every day when I wake up.

We take a trip every year right after Christmas and into the first week of January.  One really fun thing about the trip is that our kids and hubbies/boyfriends also come and we celebrate Christmas and New Year together.  Since we are spread out it is a real celebration when we all get together.  After they leave however the reflecting on the old year and the planning for the new year begins!



I know this picture may look ridiculous to you!  Understand though that I am a trained facilitator so flip charts, markers and post its are involved in all areas of my life!  Hubby and I have flip charts all over the basement, all year long!  We track what we want to be doing (fun stuff too!) and track what we really are doing.

Over our holiday trip we bring them all and review the previous year. It is SOOO fun!  It is amazing what you forget that you have done over the year.  The stuff around the house, the stuff at work, the stuff with the family and the fun stuff you have experienced.  This tracking and review helps us to really appreciate the previous year and helps us to see any challenges we encountered and the areas that we excelled in.  If you have not tried tracking your year, try doing it in some way- postits, notes in a jar, a journal, etc.  Anything that you can get to and review easily is wonderful.

Then the new year planning begins.  We each take a bit of time to reflect on our own goals for the year; then we share those and chat. We then create joint goals.  We look at all areas of our life– spiritual, family, home, work, friends, health, etc.  We create a sentence or two for each area that depicts how we want to feel in that area for the year.  It may be a sentence that is very goal oriented– “We want to do x” or it may be more intrinsic.  Then we add these to Evernote so we can check in during the year on them and then we pop a bottle of bubbly to toast our new year.  The process involves a few days but it is so great.  It gives us a chance to talk deep about stuff without being at home with the distractions.  Having a beach to take a break on doesn’t hurt either!

I am going to be sharing on some of my goals over the next weeks.  It will be good for me to get them out there and share my progress (or lack there of) as the year goes.

My first personal goal for 2014 is to “Be Debbie”.  I have some personal commandments I try to live by and this is number one on that list.  I decided to bump it up a notch and make it a goal this year. Unleashing my inner farmgirl this last year has helped me to discover “Debbie” again.  I want to continue unleashing my inner farmgirl and practice being the best “Debbie” that I can be.  Not just for others but for me too!

What about you?  Do you make resolutions?  Think that is a waste of time or is it helpful for you?  Any you would like to share?  I would love to hear how you are planning on unleashing something for yourself this year.

Happy New Year and Happy Unleashing!