being present, finding joy, shining your light

Sometimes it seems relentless. The heartbreaking news. One story, one disaster, one trauma after another.

roses, peach drift rose, faded flowers, beauty, joy, garden, autumn, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Sometimes there are things we can do to directly make a difference, donating money, voting, writing to officials.

garden, autumn, dahlias, morning glories, hearts in nature, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Sometimes there's nothing we can do to directly make a difference to an ugly situation.

garden, nasturtiums, orange nasturtiums, nasturtium vine, brick patio, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

But I don't think that means that we are completely powerless to make a difference. To make a difference in this world. To make it a beautiful, joyful, hopeful place.

Be kind. Be YOU, sing your song as no one else can (whatever that "song" may be... I'm not talking about literal singing). Release love into this world. Over and over and over again.

watercolor, painting, moths, Luna Moth, Polyphemus Moth, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

For me that means I'll be growing my garden and making art and teaching classes and writing this blog and sending newsletters with messages of joy.

zinnias, garden, autumn, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

We need to also focus on what is good. Put our thoughts, our effort, our conversation, our energy on what is positive.

black and white cats, rescue cats, adopt don't shop, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

And finally, or maybe first, we need to cultivate peace and love and joy within ourselves. This is so important. We can't shine when we're fizzled out, when we're frazzled and heart sore and depleted. Take time for yourself. Replenish. Nourish. Cherish.

For me that means writing in my journal. Walking through my garden. Pausing to be fully present and notice what is around me. Writing a Joy List and taking time for gratitude. Paying attention to the moment and to the wonders of this world. The crackle of fall leaves. The changing colors of the goldfinches in the garden. The feel of sun on my skin. The fresh coolness of the breeze. The scent of sweet peas (that are still blooming). The sweetness of a tomato eaten right from the vine.

sungold tomatoes, autumn tomatoes, garden tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Hold on to hope, my friends. Never give up on the power of beauty and joy and LOVE.

black eyed susan vine, Autumn, garden, Anne Butera, My Giant Strawberry

Keep on shining.


  1. It is always a pleasure to read your blog Anne. The imagery and words are delightful. What is the plant in the last photo? It is so pretty. The photo of the two cats snuggled up together is so special - They remind me of a yin and yang symbol! I hope you have a lovely week doing things that soothe your soul. :)

    1. Thank you, Simone. I am glad that you are here!

      The plant in the last photo is a Black Eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia). This variety is from a mix called Spanish Eyes: I started it from seed and it was a little slow to get going. It didn't flower until late in the year. Now, though, all the plants I planted are going crazy.

      I hope you had a lovely week and a great weekend. :)

  2. Thank you for an uplifting post, I love your blog, a breathing space in a chaotic world. Your words are exactly how I am choosing to live. I have stopped watching TV except for specific shows, muting commercials and watching Netflix, Youtube, etc. so I have a choice. Have you checked out Jamie Ridler? She is gentle soul like you and does a Behind The Scenes video on Tuesdays and Fridays. Have a lovely week.

    1. Thank you, Leone, for being here and sharing your thoughts. You're so right about being in control of what you watch and read and hear. It makes a difference. Each of us is in control of how we live and who we are. Although we can't control what happens outside of us, we can control how we react to it and how we interact with this world.

      I have heard of Jamie Ridler, but haven't looked into what she's doing for a long time. Thanks for the reminder.

      I hope your week has been lovely. Enjoy the weekend!

  3. Beautiful post Anne. I just read your newsletter. So well done. Thank You! I passed your newsletter on to my son Atticus. He is getting more and more into sketching and other media. He even tried watercolor. :-)

    1. Thank you, Carla. I'm glad you enjoyed the newsletter. I hope your son will get some inspiration from it, too. I'm so glad to know that he's embracing art!

      Wishing you joy! xo

  4. P.S. my sweet peas are still blooming too.

    1. The flowers from late summer into autumn have been such a gift. :)

  5. I cannot wait for my Spoonflower order to arrive!


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