Celebrate, Relax, Indulge – Vacation Intentions Fulfilled

This year before Jim and I left on our 2-week vacation to Europe, I set intentions for what I wanted for the trip. I picked


And with little hard work and lots of determination, that’s exactly what we did on our Italy/Finland (even a short day trip to Estonia).

Celebrating: 24 years of marriage, loving family, rich friendships, the exciting things going at work related to mindfulness and leadership – in a nutshell, this abundantly delicious life.

Marina Grande, Capri at sunset

Marina Grande, Capri at sunset

Suomenlinna Island, Helsinki

Suomenlinna Island, Helsinki

Relaxing: think a day at the beach here, a day lounging poolside with a view of the sea there; wandering through lovely little towns and big cities taking in all that’s so different from home, finding the perfect piazza or square for tasty brew and a big dose of people watching, watching the sunset from hotel patio with a bottle of Italian wine, olives, cheese, bread…

Marina di Praia, beach in Praiano

Marina di Praia, beach in Praiano

Tallinn Eastonia from Toompea (Upper Town)

Tallinn Eastonia from Toompea (Upper Town)

oh, that leads to

Indulging: buffet breakfast every day, pasta! (and more pasta), tasty Cinnamon pullys in Helnsinki; hotel; sleeping in, not having a schedule – the freedom to choose what feels right to do in the moment (with choices like go to the beach or the pool, visit Ravello or Positano, shopping or sights)

Best Pasta at Da Paolino Capri (where we had front row table when Mariah Carey came in!)

Best Pasta at Da Paolino Capri (where we had front row table when Mariah Carey came in!)

Appetizer spread at Beer Hall in Tallinn - AMAZING!

Appetizer spread at Beer Hall in Tallinn – AMAZING!

For more photos, visit our Jim & Vicki’s Travel Adventures shutterfly photo gallery, where there’s an album for Italy (Part 1) and Finland/Estonia (Part 2).

while you breathe


While you breathe, SING.
While you live, LOVE.
While you work, SHINE.
While you walk, DANCE.
While you see, DREAM.

* Photo taken at Lake Koronis, Paynesville, MN. One of the wrens nesting in the lovely house below at the Wagner’s lake house.



behind the urgency of now


“The doorway to our next step of growth is always

behind the urgency of now….

What we need is always harshly and beautifully right before us,

disguised in the wrapping of our nearest urgency.” 

~Mark Nepo

* Photo taken at Lake Koronis, Paynesville, MN at sunrise – a moment when actually nothing felt urgent.

a deep listening and being open


Presence is deep listening

and being open beyond one’s preconceptions

and historical ways of making sense.

~Peter Senge et al, Presence

* Photo taken at Wagner’s cabin on Lake Koronis, Paynesville, MN at sunset. It’s so easy to be present there.

one thing at a time


“The shortest way to do many things

is to do one thing at a time.”

~Richard Cecile

* Photo taken on the walking path at the Meeker-Stearns Koronis Regional Park trail along the river during a relaxing morning walk with my friend Kate.

The exercise of gentleness opens the quiet world

girlsonlakeatsunset“I have no power of miracle

other than the attainment of quiet happiness,

I have no tact except the exercise of gentleness”

~Oracle of Sumiyoshi

* Photo taken at Lake Koronis in Paynesville, MN, girls weekend with Blair and Kate. This is me and Kate, taken by Blair, at sunset on the Wagner’s dock. Ah…the sanctuary of friendship.

If I had a daughter

It’s graduation time! And, my niece Jillian graduated from high school this week. I can hardly believe it! I vividly remember the first time I saw her at 6 months old, the way she had learned to lean on her side, propping herself up with her elbow and the sweet little wave she gave me as I headed onto the plane as I headed back home…


then she’s around 5 content to dig in the dirt – I thought surely she’d be a scientists of some sort…


then she’s a happy pre-teen trying all kinds of things like poetry and guitar…


then she’s a young woman, with her own ideas and passions. It’s been pure joy to watch her turn into the amazing individual she is today.


I wrote this poem for her.

If I had a daughter
By Vicki L. Flaherty

When I was a young girl
I’m sure I wanted to be a mom,
Just like my own so helpful and calm

I did not imagine way back then
I would have no sweet baby to raise
Who I could spoil, treasure and praise

Oh, don’t feel sorry for me
My life is rich and full and complete
It moves along to just the right beat

My daughter is everywhere
My daughter is every girl
Today it’s you that makes my heart swirl

If I had a daughter
What would I want her to know?
Of what wisdom would I be inclined to bestow?

If I had a daughter,
I would tell her all the tender truths
that she would triumph tenacious and terrific:

You are blessed with special gifts that only you can bring
Others carry their treasures – to those it’s best not to cling
When your heart smiles, the rest of us want to sing
Your spirit alive, your joy unbounded is a wondrous thing

You are always right where you are supposed to be
There is nothing you must do, don’t you see
We have everything we need, you and me
Love, hope, faith, and grace – that’s my plea

Just when you expect it will be all wrapped in a pretty bow
Be prepared for the world to shake and winds to blow
For the future is not ours to know –
All we can do is focus on keeping our light aglow

If I had a daughter,
I would wish for her so many wonderful wishes
That she would emerge winning, warm and wise:

Love, laughter, light
Quiet calm comfort
Rivers, roses, rain

Birds, blossoms, beauty
Dancing dawn to dusk
Sweet sound of singing

Sparkly, sunshiny smiles
Free feeling of flying
Grace, goodness, gifts to give

Candles, caring and kindness
Butterflies, babies, blossoms
Hope, happiness, and heaven

Expectation and ecstasy,
Forever friends and forgiveness
Plans, power, promises and peace

If I had a daughter,
I would promise her powerful possibilities
That she would find plenty on her way to the pinnacle:

What makes your heart sing?
When do you forget every little thing?
What makes you feel free?
When do you fly along with glee?

Make note of these godly gifts.
Hold tightly to these sources of bliss.

Dig deeply to find the love inside.
Let your light shine, nothing to hide.

See how you are special, unique.
Trust that you can rise to the highest peak.

CONGRATULATIONS, Jillian! You are going to thrive in the next chapter!