Living Life in Full Bloom and a Giveaway

from my garden, peonies in full bloom

Moving to a new community is like tending a newly planted garden, it takes time and patience. Groundwork is key, you need a plan, a good plan. From my desk in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where I live part of the year, I travel in and out of websites, adding to a list of all the things I want to see and do, the kind of things to help me get a feel for the heartbeat of the area  I call home in the USA…the other half of the year. I have 93 items on my list to date and they all have a common theme, discovery.

My list is comprehensive and it will take time. I need to get fitter before I climb a mountain, but I can kayak in the surrounding lakes and ponds. To my list, I have added.. shop in the local farmers markets, rumble through antique shops, pick blueberries, take a writing class, attend a town meeting, research the history of Tahilla Farm through the Historical Society, join in the local garden tours, attend performances at the local playhouse…I like long and full lists. Each discovery is as rewarding as I imagined. I tick each one off my list, move onto the next, and look for new ones to add. My expat life has served me learn to look at life with a curious eye. 

One of the tasks on my "to do" list was to attend an author's book talk at our local independent book store, Toadstool Bookshop. I love this bookshop! As luck would have it, my first talk was exceptional and memorable.  In the author I saw a kindred spirit, someone who would totally understand my list..I love when that happens.

 via Organic Gardening
The woman behind the book is the talented Elizabeth Murray, a gardener, artist, lover and spirit-weaver who offers 120 daily practices to deepen ones passion, creativity and relationships. It did not take me long to gather that these are practices she is abundantly gifted in.

Some of you may be familiar with Elizabeth's story around Monet's Gardens. In 1985, she packed her bags and left it all behind to live in Monet's Gardens and assist with the garden renovation. She has written two bestselling books, Monet's Passion: Ideas, Inspiration, and Insights from the Painter's Gardens and Cultivating Sacred Space: Gardening for the Soul and a host of others since then. Her story is a fascinating one, she is one determined woman, she is a full bloomer in her own right.

I love a book that inspires me, one that makes me take pause and consider the path I am on and where I am going. Better yet, if a book leads me down new paths. Elizabeth takes you down four pathways..GARDNER, ARTIST, LOVER and SPIRIT-WEAVER..with purpose, creativity, imagination and celebration. She wants you to fall in love with life and bring blessings into each new day. Her book guides you in ways to do just that. She tells you about the FULL BLOOMERS in her life and provides unique LIFE MAPPING tools to help you create your own individual life map and find your NORTH STAR. 

This is one of those perfect GIFT books for the person who is looking for that "extra something" in their lives. It is 120 pages of inspiration, you can't beat that! It is a perfect book for the Brown Paper Book Club!

During the book talk, I thought of you and purchased two extra autographed books for a Giveaway at Collage of Life. All you need to do to enter, is leave a comment or write to me at I will enter your name for you and draw the winners on July 16th at 6:00pm (eastern standard time-USA).

from my full bloom

There are many men and women who continuously inspire me. One is my mother, Alma, who at 79 is still living an artistic full bloom, with pizazz.  She has been painting for as long as I can remember and is a vibrant force within the Art Colony where she paints and lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts. If you happen upon a woman in the Rocky Neck area, dressed in vibrant colours, wearing a hat, smiling and most likely laughing along the way, even if it is to herself…that is my mother. It also explains a lot about me. ;)

Alma, my full bloom, in lilac
and still painting at 79.

Outside my mother's studio, one of her paintings,
 a home by the sea.

Another who inspires me is a dear friend, Evelyn, in Sydney, Australia. Evelyn  shares updates with me on what she is painting in her private studio, "La Maison du Bateau", a boathouse on Willoughby Bay. I love her work, she is an amazingly talented artist who has a gift with a paint brush.  Evelyn graciously allowed me to share the painting below, a work in progress, inspired by a recent tropical holiday. Evelyn lives her life in full bloom, elegantly.

Evelyn looks for inspiration in her travels.

memories of a tropical holiday

and lastly a full bloomer of a different nature.
Some of you may remember our resident porcupine, Priscilla.
I wrote about her here.
We recently spied Priscilla with a little porcupette who
I have nicknamed "Pia".
How sweet is that!
I imagine Priscilla was in full bloom for at least 
seven of the previous months.

Priscilla and her little porcupette, Pia.

Would you like to know more about living a life in full bloom?
You can visit Elizabeth's website here
leave a comment on this post
or write to me at

With that...
Priscilla, Pia and I send you warm wishes 
from Tahilla Farm for a wonderful week!

Priscilla and Pia

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