Thursday, June 28, 2012

Inspirational Quotes

   I'm an inspirational quote junkie. These are some of the ones that have always inspired me. Maybe they will inspire you too!

"Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death." -Anais Nin

"Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise." -Alice Walker

"The purpose of life is a life of purpose." -Robert Byrne

“Becoming more patient involves opening your heart to the present moment, even when you don’t like it.” -Unknown

“All life itself represents a risk, and the more lovingly we live our lives the more risks we take.” -M. Scott Peck

“Nothing is ever really lost, it’s just misplaced.” -Unknown

“It’s amazing how much you can hear when no one is saying anything.” –Elaine St. James

“Those who think they have no time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” –Edward Stanley

“You are financially secure when you can afford anything you want and you don’t want anything.” –Art Buck

“Was it where they lost me that I finally found myself?” –Pablo Neruda

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

“The most important things in life aren’t things.” –Anthony J. D’Angelo

Monday, June 25, 2012

Shelburne Falls/Bridge of Flowers

   Last weekend, my family decided to take a trip to Shelburne Falls to see the Bridge of Flowers. Our first stop on the way there was at the Mohawk Trading Post and Smoky Bro's for lunch. The Trading Post reminded me of the little shops you would find in northern Michigan. My family used to stop at these kinds of stores all of the time while vacationing "up north". My parents bought me many pairs of moccasins and Native American Indian headdresses during my youth!

   Next we arrived at downtown Shelburne Falls. We stopped at the visitor center to grab a map and then wandered around for awhile. I loved the mosaic pictures that were hung on the street corners!

   While wandering, we were thrilled to come across the Glacial Potholes and "Salmon Falls". We didn't even know they were there! 

    At last we arrived at the beautiful Bridge of Flowers. I had a guest photographer (my six year old son) help me out with some of these pictures. He did an amazing job! I bet you won't even be able to tell which shots he took!

   Shelburne Falls is a great place to visit. The Glacial Potholes and Bridge of Flowers are definitely worth seeing. Plus, I hear Bill Cosby lives in the area, so you never know who you might run into!  

   To learn more about any of the places mentioned in this post, visit,, and 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Useful Gifts/Northampton Survival Center

   Living in a small space really makes you think about the amount of stuff you have. I really don't have that much stuff, I've gotten rid of a lot of it over the years and each time I've moved. But when you don't have a lot of living space, what little stuff you DO have seems like too much. This has made me very mindful of my purchases and especially of the gifts that I give and receive. I'd rather get a useful gift than something that will take up more space and won't get used. Don't get me wrong, I love clothes, books, music, and smelly lotions just as much as the next girl, but if I want that kind of stuff, I'll just buy it for myself. When receiving a gift, I'd rather it be something useful. Over the years I've developed a deep appreciation for incredibly useful, practical gifts. There's nothing I love more than when someone recognizes another person's need for something and then gives it to them.
   I wanted to share one of the most useful gifts I ever received. When I was 18 years old, I moved out of my parents' house and into my own apartment. I had no idea what I was doing and I was totally unprepared for the situations that might come up when you live alone. One of the gifts that my parents gave me during that time was this beauty:

   That's right, a simple toolbox with a few basic tools. At the time, I thought, "What am I going to do with this?" But this gift has been used over the years more times than I can count (particularly the level!). I am so grateful that my parents recognized what I needed and gave it to me. I love this toolbox! I wish more people gave useful gifts like this!
   Useful gifts don't have to be something material. A useful gift could be giving someone support or providing friendship or volunteering your time. I was scheduled to do some volunteer work last fall at the Northampton Survival Center. The Survival Center is an emergency food pantry that provides low-income families in Hampshire County with free food, clothing, and personal care items. I wanted to put my office skills to use and help people, so I met with the staff at the Survival Center and arranged a time to come in each week to work in their office. Unfortunately, the week I signed up I also received a full time job offer from somewhere else, so I never got a chance to volunteer. But I still drop off clothing and other items whenever I get the chance.
   I guess where I'm going with this is, you never know how important a useful gift could be to someone. I never would have guessed that the toolbox I received over a decade ago would still be one of my favorite belongings. Next time you give a gift, consider making it a useful one! 
   To give the gift of your time or learn more about the Northampton Survival Center, visit

"The hands that give are more pious than the hands that pray..."


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mount Greylock State Reservation

   At 3, 491 feet, Mount Greylock in Lanesborough is the highest point in Massachusetts. You can see 60-90 miles of beautiful landscape from the summit. The park has a paved road open from late May-November for driving to the summit, numerous trails for hiking and backpacking, a campground, a lodge for less primitive overnight accommodations, and a small restaurant. The sights are breathtaking and for only $2 (for parking) it is well worth the trip!

   I first heard about Mount Greylock last winter and was anxious for the weather to get warmer so that I could check it out. I used directions from Googlemaps and they made the reservation very easy to find. There were also signs in Lanesborough along the side of the road pointing in the direction of the park. Our first stop after driving up Rockwell Road was at the Visitor Center. Inside were restrooms, maps, a model of the reservation, some artwork, and a little area for kids to explore.

   From the visitor center, it was eight miles to the summit. There were various spots along the way to park and hike, as well as several overlooks for picture taking. Once we arrived at the summit, we headed over to the War Memorial Tower. I wanted to take pictures from the top, so we climbed up the several flights of spiral staircases to the top of the tower. The views from the top were amazing!

   We climbed back down and went to the overlook to take some more pictures. On that particular day, several people were hang gliding so we got to witness all of the excitement!

   Next we went inside of Bascom Lodge. The Lodge offers private rooms for overnight stays, a restaurant and dining area, snacks, and restrooms.

One of the dining areas was being set up for a wedding reception later that evening.

    We decided on the way back from the summit to stop and do the Rounds Rock hike. We were told that it was one of the easier hikes for kids. The hike was about a mile and took us about thirty minutes to complete. I’d say it is probably a hike best for children five years of age and older. An interesting aspect of the hike was a little over half way through, you pass the site of a plane crash from 1948. John Newcomb, a veteran Army Air Corps radioman during World War II, crashed his twin-engine Cessna plane on Greylock while delivering late editions of the New York Daily Mirror newspaper to Albany. Even after all of these years you can still see the remnants of the plane.

    Mount Greylock is a great place for breathtaking views of Western Massachusetts. It is a fun way for the family to spend the day (or night) together. It is easily accessible for everyone and has accommodations for both the adventure-seekers and the more sedentary. No matter who you are, you don’t want to miss seeing one of Mother Nature’s gems!

   To learn more about Mount Greylock and to plan your trip, visit