Thank you for reading, sharing, and being an invaluable part of forming our online family this year. We are deeply grateful for your support. May 2019 be a year of greater happiness, good health, and bountiful blessings for you and yours.

1. Volunteer.

It’s difficult to dwell on your personal problems when you’re focused on a worthy cause. Service builds self-esteem, reduces feelings of alienation, and gives life authentic purpose. We have ideas on where to give your time and why it’s worthwhile here.

2. Eat More Veggies.

Honestly, there’s no mood that a hot bowl of carrot ginger leek soup can’t help. The only thing better than growing vegetables (and giving them away?) is using their vitamins and nutrients to revitalize the body and spirit. The sisters eat all-natural at Mariandale; here’s why it matters to us.

Josh Arcaro and Regina Blakeslee in the Mariandale garden

3. Alternatively, Indulge in Chocolate.

No need for a special occasion! But, when you do indulge, fair-trade is the way to go.

4. Identify What’s Important to You.

When the Village of Ossining didn’t allow beekeeping, the sisters worked with the local government to change legislation. When Sister Linda Delgado learned that funding for the Older Americans Act failed to keep up with inflation and demand from a rapidly expanding older population, she gathered with fellow New Jersey residents to support and show solidarity for the re-signing of the Older Americans Act.

Once our sisters identify causes that matter to them, they are able to follow with action. Sometimes, it’s as simple as gathering with those who have the same values. Everything from forming a community to self-education to attending protests to working on systemic development ultimately makes the world a better place.

Sister Nancy Erts gives a retreat outdoors

5. Spend Time in Nature.

It doesn’t matter if you live in the ‘burbs, the city, or in a cottage in the woods with no running water. A simple walk is one of the best cures for stress. Consider it a walking meditation. Count your steps, pay attention to your breath, and observe the intricate details of your surroundings. (Mariandale offers a variety of opportunities to honor Earth intentionally, too.)

For ideas of how to connect with the natural world around you (even if you’re stuck at your desk!) click here.

6. Think of Others

Whether it’s making gifts for others or inviting someone over for tea, serving others doesn’t have to involve a weeks-long project. Sister Linda Rivers spent much of her time crafting gifts that she knew her family members would love. This year, ask yourself how you can serve others –no matter how small the deed– and then do it!

7. Foster contemplation.

If you take some time in quiet, amazing things will happen. Not sure where to start? We have some tips for quiet prayer here.

8. Get Creative.

Write a poem, take some photos, learn a new song on your guitar. As Sister Donna Brunell explains, “Being creative fosters a connection with God as Creator and Imagineer.”

Fostering a connection with God while utilizing individual skills and talents seems like a pretty good use of time. However you find that connection, it seems like a solid way to start off 2016. And there’s no better time to start than now.