The 9 Gifts of February

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #8! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.

In spite of the lockdown in Toronto until at least March 8 and wintry days, there were gifts in February. These 9 are mine:

1. Natural Light

We have some bright sunny days and longer daylight time this month. When I walk on the fantastic Waterfront Trail to the shores of Lake Ontario, the sunshine gives me our best natural source of vitamin D and boost my mood.

Sunny day with white clouds, ice and snow.
Sunny day with white clouds, ice and snow.

2. Beautiful Scenery

February delivers more cold days and snow than January. Still, downtown Toronto hasn’t had as much snow as other areas in Ontario. I embrace the quiet beauty of winter, perfect to practice mindfulness outside.

Snow on evergreen trees and the ground.
Snow on evergreen trees and the ground.

3. Personal Trainers

The snow-covered steps at the Toronto Music Garden reminds me of the Mountain Climber exercise. This month I use a different fitness instructor’s video series to refresh my body weight training at home. I also keep up with my meditation and yoga practice.

It’s fantastic to have access to workout videos on YouTube. I like how my intense body weight workouts and my relaxing yoga flow compliment each other. The instructors are my virtual personal trainers and fitness motivational coaches.

Snow-covered steps at Toronto Music Garden.
Snow-covered steps at Toronto Music Garden.

4. Happy Celebrations

Mid-February, my family had virtual celebrations on Lunar New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Family Day. Two family members had their happy birthdays. I had several phone chats with my longtime friends. Everyone is in good health and that is well worth celebrating.

Family Day fun: Build a snow fort.
Family fun activity: Build a snow fort.

5. Colourful Arts

Textile artist Amanda McCavour creates a colourful collage within the treetops with hundreds of pieces of hand-cut fabric for her Sketch, Sample, Sew exhibit. This creative display makes me look up and appreciate various colours including white.

Colourful Sketch, Sample, Sew art exhibit.
Colourful Sketch, Sample, Sew art exhibit against white clouds and snow.

6. Thoughtful Comments

This month I enjoy writing 4 blog posts, 1 guest post here, and host 4 Weekend Coffee Share blog link-ups.

While I receive many thoughtful comments from my blog readers every week, those left for this post stood out. Thank you, everyone, who took the time to write and share your thoughts.

Winter birds in the harbour.
Winter birds dotted the harbour with white clouds, ice and snow in the horizon.

7. Good Books

I use the Toronto Public Library Reading Challenge 2021 categories to read more widely and discover new books, authors, and genres. I read 9 good books in February:

  • Daylight – David Baldacci.
  • Minute to Midnight – David Baldacci.
  • Older, But Better, But Older – Caroline De Maigret. *
  • Saint Everything – Sarah Dessen.
  • The Rest of The Story – Sarah Dessen.
  • Empire of Wild – Cherie Dimaline. *
  • The Searcher – Tana French. *
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green and David Levithan.
  • The Summer Book – Tove Jansson, translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal. *

Asterisk indicates new-to-me author. I keep track of what I’ve read on my Books in 2021 page. Year-To-Date Reading Totals: 16 new books, 6 new authors, and 9 categories.

White Muskoka chairs with a view.
White Muskoka chairs: My book nook with a view.

8. Fun Challenges

Aside from the Reading Challenge, I enjoy entering photography challenges weekly: Thursday Doors, Rosy Red, Birds and all things that are white in this post are for Terri’s #SundayStills photography challenge this weekend.

Samples of my February photo challenge entries.

9. New Learning

I learned from Trent at Trent’s World blog and a few longtime Weekend Coffee Share participants that the Weekend Coffee Share link up started in 2014. It had four hosts in the six years before I started being the 5th host this year.

I continued French and Spanish lessons on Duolingo daily in February. I learned more about plants and birds in my area. I look forward to seeing Spring flowers soon.

White trillium flower.
White trillium is Ontario’s provincial flower.

I’m grateful for the gifts of February.

What stood out to you in February? I’d love to hear your comments.

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124 thoughts on “The 9 Gifts of February

  1. Erica/Erika February 26, 2021 / 8:04 am

    Hi Natalie, It does feel how February was a gift this year. I have found Youtube to be great for learning new things (especially for my iphone photos) and yes, Yoga. I enjoy Adrienne’s yoga. I always appreciate your book recommendations. I greatly admire you for taking the language courses. Keeps the synapses active. I love all of your photos and especially the frozen layer of water. A great post!

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 4:12 pm

      Hi Erica/ Erika, The body weight training instructors and their videos on YouTube keep my workouts fun. I’m thankful for them because they keep me motivated. The language lessons definitely keep my synapses active, especially since French and Spanish have many similarities. I hope February has been good to you and March will be even better. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill Weatherholt February 26, 2021 / 8:08 am

    Judging from your gorgeous photographs, February has been a fantastic month for you, Natalie. Your shots are truly stunning and always a pleasure to view. For me, February has been a month of fast and furious fingers as I’m finishing the first draft of my next book. I have also enjoyed the beautiful sounds of the birds who sound as excited as I am for spring. The longer days are wonderful too! Thanks for this beautiful post!

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 4:18 pm

      Jill, Your wrists and hands must have had a workout this month. An occupational hazard for writers but when inspiration strikes you don’t want to lose your train of thoughts. The birds are singing these days for sure, signaling spring is arriving soon. Today when I went outside for my walk, I saw a woodpecker and several bird nests. All the best with your book writing. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. leannelc February 26, 2021 / 8:08 am

    Hi Natalie – I always love seeing the photos of snowy days – especially with the blue skies and the snow on the ground – very different to run of super hot/dry weather we’re still having here in Western Australia. I think it’s been 30+ degrees C for most of Jan/Feb and I’m a bit weary of it all. So some cool snowy pics were appreciated – also really liked that fabric art too – very pretty blowing in the wind. Thanks for hosting and I’m looking forward to reading some of the other posts.

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 4:23 pm

      Hi Leanne, I’m glad I took photos of snowy days because most of the snow is gone this week due to above-freezing temperatures and sunshine. We’re expecting rain tomorrow so it’s going to wash away any remaining snow. I’m weary of hot days of 30C or higher, too, especially when they last and when they bring humidity. Thank you for linking with Weekend Coffee Share. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Like

  4. Betty February 26, 2021 / 8:27 am

    I like the idea of thinking of the “gifts” a month gave you. Very positive! February gave us several days where while it was still cold, there was sun and not too much wind, and we could take a walk outside! Thanks for your post, and enjoy your day!

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 4:27 pm

      Thank you, Betty, for your comment. I’m glad you could take a walk outside in February. I can do cold and sunny in the winter. Any day that I can go for a walk is a great day. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ally Bean February 26, 2021 / 9:57 am

    Beautiful photos, but ones that are 180º opposite of what it looked like here in February. February is just something to get through for me. Looking so forward to March, the action verb month!

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 4:30 pm

      Ally, I’m glad you liked my photos. Most of the snow has disappeared now after a few days of above freezing temperatures and sunshine here. I also look forward to March. 31 new days await 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Molly Totoro February 26, 2021 / 10:02 am

    Such a wonderful list of blessings and thanksgivings. While I try to mentally give gratitude each day, I love this idea of intentionally documenting the monthly highlights. I think what stands out most to me for February is that we survived the Arctic cold without losing power or experiencing busted pipes 🙂
    I LOVE to read and I’m always looking for good books to add to my reading list. Several titles you mentioned are unfamiliar to me. I will be sure to check them out.

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 6:28 pm

      Molly, I hear you about surviving the Arctic cold. My family and friends in Texas didn’t have electricity, heat or water for a few days. We had cold days here but nothing too extreme that we couldn’t handle.

      About my reading list: Baldacci’s books are detective/ suspense. John Green and Sarah Dessen’s books are YA fiction. Cherie Dimaline is Indigenous author. Tana French is my new crime novelist. I like Dimaline, Tana French and Tove Jansson’s books, will borrow more of their books to read. Caroline de Maigret’s book was so so although her first book “How to be Parisian” was a bestseller. I hope this helps.

      Like

  7. smkelly8 February 26, 2021 / 10:39 am

    Kudos to your for all your reading and celebrating. You’ve made the most of February.

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 6:29 pm

      Thank you, Susan, for your comment. February has been good to me. I hope it’s also been good to you.

      Like

  8. trentpmcd February 26, 2021 / 12:24 pm

    It sounds like a great week and month for you! I’m glad you can enjoy the great outdoors. It has been nice for the last week here as well. Last year I added new exercises to my routine and used Youtube to make sure I was using proper technique, but haven’t used it as a “personal trainer”. Pretty good – I’m glad it works for you! And with so many options to chose from, I’m sure you can find the right trainer to meet your needs.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 6:38 pm

      Trent, There are a lot of certified fitness instructors on YouTube. I did some previews and chose the ones that I like as my virtual personal trainers even though they don’t know me 🙂 They’ve designed specific sessions, set the time, count down, etc. and their positive attitude make my workouts at home convenient and fun.

      I’m glad I took photos of snowy days. The sunshine and above freezing temperatures have melted most of the snow in my neighbourhood. Today was sunny at 2C (36F) and tomorrow high 7C (45F) with showers so the remaining snow will be washed away. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. msomerville2014 February 26, 2021 / 1:12 pm

    As always I love your pictures, I was intrigued by the snow blocks, and the snow covered steps. I hadn’t realized that you were back in lock down. Praying that it is successful. I am putting a post in, but I have gone back and forth on hoping it is considered appropriate for the Weekend Coffee share. I was going to write a nd ask you to read it first but decided to trust that it will be okay. Thanks for hosting a nd blessings, Michele

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 6:47 pm

      Michele, We’ve been in lockdown since November. It keeps getting extended (sigh). I’m grateful that I can go outside to exercise any time. Nature boosts my mood. Today I saw a woodpecker and several bird nests. Thank you for linking with Weekend Coffee Share. You’re doing great work for your community. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Like

  10. Thistles and Kiwis February 26, 2021 / 2:04 pm

    Lovely post – like others I always love what you capture around Toronto. I’ll be back later for coffee share!

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 6:48 pm

      Thank you, Barbara, for your comment. I look forward to reading your coffee share from New Zealand.

      Like

  11. Denyse Whelan Blogs February 26, 2021 / 3:47 pm

    Good Morning from a grey and sprinkling rain Australian day. It happens to be my husband’s birthday and we are driving to our son’s place in Sydney today to have a family get together for us all. Since Covid we have not been able to do this in over 15 months so it’s pretty special. Loved your post and I see why you manage your health so well. Gratitude, and more is so important. Thanks for the post and link up. I will visit others later on the weekend. Take care, Denyse

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 6:51 pm

      Denyse, Happy birthday to your husband. I hope you have a lovely family get-together in Sydney. We’re still in lockdown here so every time I hear someone somewhere else have in-person social gatherings, I’m excited for the participants. Thank you for linking with Weekend Coffee Share. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Denyse Whelan Blogs March 3, 2021 / 6:03 am

        Thanks so much for your kind words, it was soooo good catching up with our kids and their klds. Loved it.

        Thanks for being a consistent, caring and contributing blogger to this community I call #lifethisweek. Next week we are sharing our snaps (photos) and that’s an optional prompt. See you next Monday, I hope, as always.
        Denyse.

        Like

        • Natalie March 3, 2021 / 7:59 am

          Glad to hear you had a great time with your family, Denyse. See you at the coming link-up.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Debbie February 26, 2021 / 4:23 pm

    I love how you saw the ‘gifts’ during this time Natalie and shared them with us! Fabulous shots of your area with snow and sunshine – just so much fun! I have mentioned you in my #shoutoutSaturday post today and linked to your post. Thanks for having us 🙂

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 6:55 pm

      Debbie, I’m glad I took photos of snowy days because the sunshine and above-freezing temperatures have melted most of the snow. Thank you so much for the shout-out and for linking with Weekend Coffee Share.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Bear February 26, 2021 / 4:56 pm

    I’ve been trying to come up with a word that would sum up February…. to that I concluded “realization” fits best. It’s a rather depressing word but it fits my world as of late. I look forward every week to seeing your lovely photos, Natalie, really! They are a bright spot in my daily grey. I’ll have to post something tomorrow for weekend share. I got swamped with laundry for myself and my elderly neighbors (a total of 27 loads today for this week! Argh!) today. ~Shalom, Bear

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 7:02 pm

      Bear, “Realization” could mean achievement or making something come true. I’m glad I took photos of snowy days and my photos are a bright spot of your day. The sunshine and above-freezing temperatures have melted most of the snow by now. I hope you have some help with the 27 loads of laundry. That’s a lot for anyone to manage. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Retirement Reflections February 26, 2021 / 5:48 pm

    Hi, Natalie – This post is an awesome example of how our attitudes affect all around us. Despite long, ongoing lockdown and some very wintry weather, your positive outlook and your can do attitude have resulted in a very positive February for you. Wishing you a very happy March as well!

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 7:05 pm

      Thank you, Donna, for your kind comment. I’m grateful to be able to go outside any time and nature lifts my mood instantly. Today was sunny, with high 2C. I saw a woodpecker and several bird nests. Spring is coming. Wishing you a very happy March, too.

      Like

  15. Jo February 26, 2021 / 5:53 pm

    I don’t know what to comment on first – that lead show with light and ice, your positive attitude and commitment, the fabric collage through the trees. Ultimately, though, it has to be the book nook with a view.

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 7:14 pm

      Jo, Yes, the book nook is my fave. too. That lake view is a big distraction and if you zoom in, there are also birds in the harbour.

      Like

  16. Sue from Women Living Well After 50 February 26, 2021 / 9:08 pm

    Hi Natalie a lovely February round up and I loved the Snow Fort plus more books for me to add to my reading list. I finished Hament & Judith plus two books by Jane Harper The Dry & The Survivors. Can’t believe March is here already! Have a good one and thanks for the #weekendcoffeeshare xx

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 9:45 pm

      Hi Sue, I just checked and my library has Jane Harper’s books, hooray. I’ll borrow them as soon as I finish my current loans. Thank you for linking up with Weekend Coffee Share. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Like

  17. PurplePumpernickel February 26, 2021 / 9:39 pm

    Wonderfully celebratory month, Natalie!

    Thank you for the introduction to Amanda McCavour – such lovely work, and the contrast with the silver tress & snow covered ground really is really stunning.

    Like

    • Natalie February 26, 2021 / 9:47 pm

      Ju-Lyn, February has been good to me. I hope it’s also been good to you. Amanda’s textile art is beautiful. I’m glad to share it with you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • PurplePumpernickel February 28, 2021 / 6:20 am

        I love your tours of Toronto – I remember so little of it from my very short trip decades ago, so viewing it through your lenses is a treat!

        Like

        • Natalie February 28, 2021 / 9:03 am

          I’m glad you like my tours, Ju-Lyn. Toronto has grown a lot over the years. I love to share my city through my lenses as a downtown resident. I look forward to seeing Singapore through yours.

          Like

          • PurplePumpernickel March 3, 2021 / 1:08 am

            I visited Toronto for just a few days decades ago – I am sure I would hardly recognise anything now. I am glad I am getting to see it through you as I have fond memories.

            And thank you for sharing in my exploration of Singapore! I look forward to showing you my favourite (and not so favourite) bits.

            Like

            • Natalie March 3, 2021 / 8:08 am

              Ju-Lyn, I think seeing a city through a resident’s lens is different and usually a deeper dive than through a tourist’s lens. Every city has its bright and not so bright sides. I’m glad you have fond memories of Toronto. When I traveled in Asia, I stopped over in Singapore a few times, each time was a good experience. I still look forward to seeing Singapore via your blog and photos.

              Like

              • PurplePumpernickel March 4, 2021 / 9:20 pm

                But even as residents, we can miss so much, as I am discovering. Because we go about our day treading on mostly the same ground. I love relooking at SIngapore through slightly different lenses.

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                • Natalie March 4, 2021 / 9:39 pm

                  Good point. I often change my walking routes and see what’s different. A vibrant place or city always has something new or going on.

                  Liked by 1 person

  18. midlifestylist February 26, 2021 / 11:30 pm

    Hi Natalie, I loved your beautiful photos and positive, upbeat post. Looking back over the month and reflecting on the positives is so awesome. I have a gratitude journal and, although some days it’s hard to find 3 things to be grateful for, writing in it is cathartic. Thanks for hosting Weekend Coffee Share, have a great week, Christina

    Like

    • Natalie February 27, 2021 / 11:23 am

      Hi Christina, I like to do a monthly reflection and write down what stood out for me. Having a blog is convenient for this purpose and I can look back to the previous month or year as well. Thank you for sharing your update and linking with Weekend Coffee Share. Have a wonderful week!

      Like

  19. Moumita De Sarkar February 27, 2021 / 5:05 am

    From your post, it’s obvious that you seek happiness and blessings from the simple things in life. That’s the way to live, Natalie 🙂

    Like

    • Natalie February 27, 2021 / 11:30 am

      Thank you, Moumita, for your kind comments. I like simplicity and try to live a lifestyle that is as low maintenance as possible 🙂

      Like

  20. Sagittarius Viking February 27, 2021 / 8:34 am

    I’d say that longer daylight hours stood our after several months of darkness. We started out with a lot of snow, and ended February with warm winds of spring. The weekends coffee share every weekend is part of the highlight of my week. Thank you for your inspiring posts Natalie.

    Like

    • Natalie February 27, 2021 / 11:33 am

      Maria, It feels like spring is coming here, too with above-freezing temperatures and daylight. I love how we can read coffee share posts across the miles from the comfort of home. Thank you for linking with Weekend Coffee Share. Have a great weekend!

      Like

  21. Gary A Wilson February 27, 2021 / 9:17 am

    The gray days, I believe, are now mostly past us here in Sonoma County (about an hour north of San Francisco) and it really does help push back most of the fatigue that the covid lock down has layered on us. I’m glad you too are seeing and enjoying the longer sunnier days although I don’t think I could get much reading done from your open air reading nook. I’d be too busy enjoying and studying the amazing view. Keep those photos coming. Thanks Natalie.

    Like

    • Natalie February 27, 2021 / 11:39 am

      Gary, So you’re in wine country? Sonoma is a beautiful area in California. Yes, the lake view and the ducks in the harbour are major reading distractions. When I watch the ducks, they look at me and dive as if they play hide and seek. Have a great weekend!

      Like

  22. Liesbet @ Roaming About February 27, 2021 / 9:37 am

    These are fantastic gifts, Natalie. I had to look twice at all that ice on Lake Ontario. Pretty, but brrrr… I seem to forget just how cold it gets up north. The snow fort looks like fun. How do you make those snowy blocks? I’m happy to read you’re on track with fitness, languages, and mindfulness. And, reading and everything else. It’s so rewarding to communicate with other bloggers and receive thoughtful comments. Looks like a blissful February to me! 🙂

    Like

    • Natalie February 27, 2021 / 11:46 am

      Liesbet, We had some cold days and snow in February but nothing extreme. This week with above-freezing temperatures and lots of sunshine, most of the snow has melted. I’d say that we had a shorter than normal winter because it was mild without snow in the first three weeks of January and the cold and the snow was from the last week of January to the 3rd week of February. To make the snowy blocks for the fort, use the same plastic toys that we use to build sandcastles in the summer 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  23. dinah February 27, 2021 / 10:01 am

    Hello!
    Your reading list is impressive! I’ve been in a reading slump lately. Need to return to regular reading again. I miss it!
    Love the outdoor art photo!
    Have a wonderful week!💜

    Like

    • Natalie February 27, 2021 / 11:48 am

      Hello Dinah, Reading is a habit, isn’t it? We’re still in lockdown here so I have time to read and I enjoy reading. Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Kathleen Howell February 27, 2021 / 11:59 am

    Love those blue skies! It makes such a difference in my day..

    Like

    • Natalie February 27, 2021 / 12:06 pm

      Kathleen, I love blue skies, too. Fortunately, Toronto has a good amount of sunshine year-round.

      Like

    • Natalie February 27, 2021 / 1:43 pm

      Pam, We usually don’t get 82F until summer here. This week we’ve got above-freezing temperatures and sunny days so most of the snow has melted. I’d love to visit Jacksonville to see the architecture there.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. csuhpat1 February 27, 2021 / 8:55 pm

    So very beautiful. February wasn’t great for me. It is what it is. The one thing is that we have had a mild winter, so I can get out more.

    Thanks for hosting and I hope that you have a wonderful week.

    Like

  26. csuhpat1 February 27, 2021 / 8:55 pm

    So very beautiful. February wasn’t great for me. It is what it is. The one thing is that we have had a mild winter, so I can get out more.

    Thanks for hosting and I hope that you have a wonderful week.

    Like

    • Natalie February 27, 2021 / 9:40 pm

      Patrick, I hope March is a kinder and nicer month for you. Thank you for linking with Weekend Coffee Share.

      Like

  27. kirstin troyer February 27, 2021 / 9:06 pm

    I love all of these photos Natalie. I’ve been to Toronto once. I love that Trillium. We have it here in Washington and Oregon as well. I don’t know if it’s a native or brought in. I know we’re not allowed to pick them. I too am learning Spanish on Duolingo. I haven’t kept up as much as I should, but I’ve been trying. Boy, I don’t know what stood out to me, however, I did gain a new grandbaby on Feb. 9th. I now have a 2 1/2 year old grandson and now his new baby sister.

    Like

    • Natalie February 27, 2021 / 9:44 pm

      Kirstin, Congratulations on the arrival of your new granddaughter! Such happy news for your family. I’m glad you like my photos. There is a trillium patch at a local park near my place. I look forward to seeing the flowers every spring. Have a great weekend! Thank you for linking with Weekend Coffee Share.

      Like

  28. OnceUponaTimeHappilyEverAfter.com February 27, 2021 / 11:33 pm

    What a delight it would be to build a snow fort or igloo with the family. I once aspired to build one with recycled milk jugs but couldn’t get them to stick together the way they were ‘supposed to’. This one would self-stick and be much more authentic.

    My neighbor spotted a first poppy. Hoping we have the same bumper crop this year that we did last. The trillium is very delicate and pretty. Hope you will be seeing them in great bounty very soon.

    The photo of the evergreens is my favorite of this post. How much more interesting it is because the fence isn’t perfectly straight and aligned.

    Like

    • Natalie February 28, 2021 / 8:53 am

      Leslie, I’m glad I took photos of snowy days because most of the snow is gone now after several days of above-freezing temperatures and sun.

      Poppies are pretty flowers. I like their vibrant colours. I hope you get to see a large field of poppies and take photos.

      Like

  29. Corina February 28, 2021 / 1:50 am

    This is what I need. This whole pandemic is getting to me as is my mother’s death and my aunt’s death, just yesterday. I need to focus on the positive and the gifts, as there have been many since the pandemic shut us down last March. Maybe next week I can concentrate on positives.

    Thank you for your fresh and positive outlook today. I needed that.

    Like

    • Natalie February 28, 2021 / 8:58 am

      Corina, Yes, there have been many gifts despite the pandemic. Focusing on the positives helps us through hard times. My condolences to you and your family. I hope the coming week is kinder to you.

      Like

  30. Suzanne@PictureRetirement February 28, 2021 / 10:26 am

    Natalie, February certainly brought some very nice gifts your way. I particularly love your source of vitamin D and the photo accompanying that thought. Clever to incorporate your ‘white’ photos here for Terri’s challenge. My favorite one of those is the snow fort. Hopefully, March will bring even more encouragement of things to come.

    Like

    • Natalie February 28, 2021 / 11:00 am

      Suzanne, I’m glad I took photos of snowy days because the snow has melted after several days of above-freezing temperatures and sunshine. It’s like winter didn’t happen. I’m hopeful about March and Spring season. I get more time outdoors in comfortable temperatures and lots of daylight.

      Like

  31. Hudie February 28, 2021 / 10:50 am

    It has been a pretty amazing February! I love the way you list out the things you see as gifts. Thank you for sharing, and for making me smile. 🙂

    Like

    • Natalie February 28, 2021 / 11:09 am

      Thank you, Cathy, for your comment. I’m glad my post made you smile 🙂 Enjoy the weekend!

      Like

  32. Terri Webster Schrandt February 28, 2021 / 11:53 am

    Gorgeous images of a pure world wrapped in white, Natalie! I always think of January as a white month, but I have to agree that this February was the month of white. I admire your stick-to-it attitude for fitness and your ideas are quite inspiring. I walk every day and joined a gym but still not as motivated as I once was. Your views of the area are so beautiful! Here is my post and I will link up shortly! https://secondwindleisure.com/2021/02/28/sunday-stills-a-white-washed-world/

    Like

    • Natalie February 28, 2021 / 1:33 pm

      Terri, We had such a brief winter this year, about 4 weeks as opposed to 10 or 12 weeks. No complaint, just wondering about the effects of a short winter. I’m glad I took photos of snowy days because the snow has melted after several days of above-freezing temperatures, sunshine, and rain showers. I usually do my fitness activities in the morning before any excuse or distraction creeps up. All the gyms are closed here so I’m grateful for the online instructors. Thank you for linking with Weekend Coffee Share. Have a wonderful weekend and the week ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Writing Sparkle February 28, 2021 / 11:57 am

    Another round of great pictures to illustrate your narrative. I was really impressed by the shape of the snow blocks for the ice fort. Thanks for the virtual coffee.

    Like

    • Natalie February 28, 2021 / 1:35 pm

      The same plastic blocks used to build sandcastles can be used to build a snow fort 🙂 Thank you, Shari, for your comment and for linking with Weekend Coffee Share.

      Like

  34. Jacquie Biggar February 28, 2021 / 1:10 pm

    Your photos are lovely, Natalie. I love finding new-to-me authors; many who become new favorites!

    Like

    • Natalie February 28, 2021 / 1:37 pm

      Thank you, Jacquie, for your visit and comment. Some of the new-to-me authors have become my new favourites, too. I try to read more widely and find the library’s reading challenge useful.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Astrid February 28, 2021 / 2:11 pm

    All these things are so beautiful. I’m so glad you’ve been able to learn some more French and Spanish. I’d like to learn about plants and birds too.

    Like

    • Natalie February 28, 2021 / 3:30 pm

      Thank you, Astrid, for your comment. The language lessons and learning about local plants and birds keep my mind active and they’re fun to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid February 28, 2021 / 3:38 pm

    I love how you keep so busy and motivated even in lockdown and I love seeing the snow. We celebrated Valentine’s day, our wedding anniversary and even managed a weekend away up the coast. It was a good month indeed!

    Like

    • Natalie February 28, 2021 / 5:22 pm

      Sammie, So great to hear you had a good February. I’m good at self-discipline in general, especially when it comes to my health. The long lockdown prompts me to pay more attention to my mental health. The snow in my photos is mostly gone now after several days of above-freezing temperatures, sunshine and showers.

      Like

  37. Lydia C. Lee February 28, 2021 / 6:40 pm

    You got some great photos but those ‘bricks’ are amazing! Someone was clever!

    Like

    • Natalie February 28, 2021 / 6:50 pm

      We know how to have fun with snow 🙂 Use the same plastic block to build sandcastles in the summer to build snow forts in the winter.

      Like

  38. Julie February 28, 2021 / 6:48 pm

    That’s a pretty awesome fort! For me, what stood out to me in February is that my baby pretty much sleeps through the whole night unless she wants to have her diaper changed. To me, that is a big accomplishment!

    Like

    • Natalie February 28, 2021 / 6:57 pm

      Congrats, Julie. With your baby sleeps through the night, hopefully you get a good night sleep and feel rested in the morning.

      Like

  39. Laurie February 28, 2021 / 6:58 pm

    I am loving the increasing amount of light we get in February! It stays light until after 6:30 here. Yay! Also looking forward to seeing some spring flowers. I saw a few peeping up between the patches of snow this morning on my run.

    Like

    • Natalie February 28, 2021 / 7:08 pm

      Laurie, The increasing daylight time makes a difference, doesn’t it? Today our sunrise time was 6:53 AM and sunset 6:06 PM. I’m on the lookout for spring flowers, too. Nature is amazing.

      Like

  40. Sanch @ Sanch Writes February 28, 2021 / 10:17 pm

    I love how much you explore and remain committed to fitness and self-care during difficult times. Gorgeous photos as always! Great reading goals too in Feb! Hope March is a good one for you!

    Like

    • Natalie March 1, 2021 / 7:49 am

      Thank you, Sanch, for your comment. Fitness, self-care, and reading are all so good for my mental health during this pandemic. Got to work at keeping my positive state of mind. Wishing you a wonderful March.

      Like

  41. Deborah March 1, 2021 / 1:14 am

    I think I’ve commented before on my love for David Baldacci’s work. You’d probably also like Linwood Barclay and Michael Robotham if you’ve not read them.

    I love the ice fort – how amazing… and of course we’re the opposite. We’re finally in autumn and I can’t wait for our days to be shorter. (Having said that winter means the sun coming up at 6am here rather than 4am as it does in summer!)

    Like

    • Natalie March 1, 2021 / 7:58 am

      Deb, I’m now caught up with Baldacci’s Atlee Pine and Amos Decker series. Still have Puller series and his other novels to read. I’ve read most if not all of Barclay’s novels. I haven’t read Robotham so thank you for mentioning him.

      I see your point about you can’t wait for your days to be shorter. Long daylight hours can interfere with our sleep pattern. I was in Stockholm on summer solstice and didn’t feel like going to sleep because there didn’t seem to be night time.

      Liked by 1 person

  42. Chicken Librarian March 1, 2021 / 7:26 am

    So much good stuff in this post Natalie! I love that you are finding ways to celebrate even during lockdown and the cold weather. I love how the pictures really represent everything you are describing.

    I’ve found YouTube to be really helpful in doing yoga. I like Boho Beautiful. She’s very calm and has a ton of videos.

    I love the Sketch, Sample, Sew exhibit. I wish I could see that in person.

    Your book nook looks perfect. Sarah Dessen is one of my all time fav authors. Love her writing.

    And good for you for learning new things, especially languages!!

    Like

    • Natalie March 1, 2021 / 8:03 am

      Thank you, Kristin, for your comments. All the activities that I mentioned in my post really help me stay in a positive state of mind during this pandemic and lockdown. I’ll check out Boho Beautiful yoga videos. Have a great week!

      Like

      • Chicken Librarian March 1, 2021 / 1:33 pm

        I think you’ll like Boho Beautiful. She has such a soothing presence. Let me know what you think! I hope you have a great week too! I’ll see you next weekend for another linkup. xoxo

        Like

        • Natalie March 1, 2021 / 5:43 pm

          I viewed Yoga with Adriene videos before and liked them. I just viewed a couple of Boho Beautiful videos and liked them, too. It’s good to have different instructors. Thanks for letting me know about BB. See you at the coming link-up.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Kristin March 2, 2021 / 8:59 am

            Oh good! I’m so glad! I’ll check out Yoga with Adriene too.

            Like

  43. Antoinette Truglio Martin March 1, 2021 / 2:43 pm

    Wow! You are an inspiration. Cant wait till see what March brings you.

    Like

    • Natalie March 1, 2021 / 5:44 pm

      Thank you, Antoinette, for your comment. March is off to a good start. Have a wonderful week!

      Like

  44. Marsha March 1, 2021 / 5:55 pm

    Natalie, you were so busy in February. I can’t imagine what you life would be like in a normal month. Your positive attitude is sparkly clean and white and a pleasure to read. I love the snow fort. I remember snow forts that were no more that a dug out in the drift of snow left by a blizzard. Yours looks more like a CA mission made of sugar cubes. Thanks for sharing 9 of your most memorable blessings. 🙂

    Like

    • Natalie March 1, 2021 / 6:19 pm

      Marsha, Thank you for your kind comments. My life is simple and quiet these days, partly because of the lockdown. Snow building is fun, like sandcastle building, and it keeps us warm when we’re outside playing in the winter. I’m glad I took photos of the wintry days in February because all of that ice and snow are gone now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marsha March 1, 2021 / 6:23 pm

        You being simple and quiet is pretty productive, I think. 🙂

        Like

          • Marsha March 2, 2021 / 12:09 am

            That’s excellent. Blogging can be very demanding. I get obsessed by it, so I have to watch myself and get up and go for a long walk or help my husband with a project. Otherwise I could sit at my computer for 24 hours a day. (a slight exaggeration).

            Like

            • Natalie March 2, 2021 / 8:58 am

              Awareness, long walks, alternate positions and tasks are all good, Marsha. I try to moderate and vary my activities throughout the day. I also distance myself from blogging a couple of days a week to clear my mind.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Marsha March 2, 2021 / 1:52 pm

                That’s good. Do you have another job, like fitness expert, or is blogging your profession?

                Like

                • Natalie March 2, 2021 / 2:34 pm

                  Blogging is a fun hobby for me, Marsha. I’m not a fitness expert although I’ve been practicing yoga and a regular exercise regime both with weights and body weight for about 25 years. I’m familiar with fitness and yoga lingos 🙂

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Marsha March 2, 2021 / 7:00 pm

                    Wow, I’d say that makes you an expert. It’s amazing when we have hobbies how much our expertise grows in that area.

                    Like

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