December 14, 2015

Swagbucks Santa Helpers Team Challenge

The holidays are a time to celebrate but they are also a time of giving. There are so many people that don’t have the privilege of a holiday experience they justly deserve, whether it be gifts or a hearty meal. While we celebrate with our family and friends it is important to reflect on all the blessings that have been bestowed on us and remember that we have a duty to help others. That’s why Swagbucks is humbly asking all of you to be Santa’s Lil Helpers this holiday season in their newest Team Challenge!

For the first time ever Swagbucks will allow us to donate our Team Challenge bonuses to a charity of our choice!

The season of giving begins Monday, December 14th at 8am PT/12pm ET so get in a giving mood. (Yes, that's today, right now!) The Team Challenge ends Friday, December 18th at 12pm PT/3pm ET but you are encouraged to stay in the holiday spirit throughout the New Years too!

All members who participate and contribute at least 200 points to their team’s total will be receive a SB bonus. Members of the 1st place team will receive a 40 SB bonus, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 20 SB bonus!

On Monday, December 21st you’ll receive an Inbox message asking if you want to donate your Team Challenge Bonus to a charity of your choice. If you accept, we will donate your bonus, in your name, to your charity!

If you are new to the Swagbucks world, make sure to create your free account here. Once you do, you will be able to join the Team Challenge right away and start getting paid for doing your everyday online tasks.

I am on the Ready Reindeers team and my antlers are antsy for a big win!

Here are the ways I will be contributing to my Team:

  • Survey Completes - Earn SB when you complete a survey and you'll contribute 22 pts to your team! 
  • Watch - Earn SB when you watch entertaining videos from nCrave and Watch and you'll contribute 14 pts to your team! 
  • Search - Grab rewarding search wins through your defaulted search engine or from your mobile device and you'll contribute 12 pts to your team! 
  • Discover - Earn SB by discovering great deals on your desktop or through the Swagbucks Mobile App and you'll contribute 8 pts to your team! 
  • Swagstakes - Pressing your luck doesn’t end when you break the wishbone! Try your luck in a Swagstakes and contribute 4 pts to your team!
  • Survey DQ/OQ - Attempt a survey and if you earn an SB for getting DQ'd or OQ'd you'll contribute 3 pts to your team.
  • Swag Codes - Redeem daily Swag Codes through the SwagButton browser extension or the Swagbucks Mobile App! Contribute 2 pts to your team.

Tis the season to get Swagging and do some good, so lets have some fun and spread the joy!

Ruth Cox is an affiliate of Swagbucks and earns rewards for activity and referrals through links in this article. 

December 5, 2015

Dark December Dandelion

Returning home from a dark December neighborhood walk with my dog, I discovered a lone dandelion bloom in my back yard amid the remains of fallen autumn leaves. What a bright spot to find in the cold of a dark winter night. 

Beekeepers know the value of the dandelion flower. It is one of few flowers available to bees throughout the year. Yes, dandelions bloom January through December. So if you care about the dwindling bee population—stop treating dandelions as weeds—pour no more weed killer upon them, please!

I have always enjoyed the beauty of a lawn filled with dandelion we-edibles—sprinkles of sunshine by design I believe them to be. Even now, as an adult, I can sometimes be found making my wish upon the seeds of the flower, holding its seed stalk in hand as I huff and I puff to blow the seeds into the air with my dreams riding on the wings of the wind.

Yes, no matter the weather, there is always a bit o' sunshine to be found, perhaps peeking out of the ground!


Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an associate of Amazon and of Zazzle and may earn via purchases made through links in this article.

November 12, 2015

Conair Cold Wet Hair Rescue

But of course the dog needs to be walked as soon as you get out of the shower on a cold autumn day! Yes, this recently happened to me and I was reminded of one of those things I left behind when moving me and my dog across the country a few months ago ... my hair dryer!

You see, no matter how one maximizes space when packing a car, not much fits in a little Honda Civic. Friends have been eager to assist in helping me to replace necessities left behind but I figure I packed me, my dog, and my computer--so what else could I possibly need? Well, every now and again something points out a need.

Walking the dog in below forty degrees with wet hair reminded me of that blow dryer I left behind. The next time a friend asked me what I needed I didn't hesitate to say, "A blow dryer! So I don't freeze my head off all winter!"

So here I am fresh out of the shower with my new Conair for my cold wet hair!

Conair to the rescue!

It just so happens that the day the package arrived was another chilly one so it came in handy for another drying of the hair before I walked my dog Valentino in the cool night air! Oh ... That delightful Fleece Sweatshirt in Galapogos Blue I am wearing in the picture was also included with my Conair. Christmas came early for me, yippee!

Nothing could be finer than to be warmed by gifts born of friendship.


Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an associate of Amazon and may earn via purchases made through links in this article.

October 13, 2015

Me and V Are Back!

Eleven very long weeks ago my dog Valentino and I began a journey together, moving from the state of Florida to the state of Ohio. I will be sharing many tales of our travels in the coming days but for today I just wanted to say...

Me and V are delighted to be back online with our friends! (So many of whom shared our journey in one way or another.) And let me tell you...

Me and V have experienced rays of sunshine friendship far more heart warming here in central Ohio than we ever did in the Panhandle of the so-called Sunshine State.

Here we sit together enjoying the view from the front porch our new home in Canal Winchester...

Valentino and Ruthi - Canal Winchester, Ohio
Valentino and Ruthi - Canal Winchester, Ohio

July 22, 2015

Goldenrod Wildflower Wisdom

The goldenrod with its symbolism speaks volumes of wisdom to those spirits who welcome its presence. Whether growing wild in nature or as a wildflower grown in a back yard garden, this golden flower provides nectar for wildlife along with healing properties for mankind.

Needless to say, many consider the goldenrod nothing more than a nuisance weed which aggravates their allergies. For me and my dog, this native US flower is nothing to sneeze at!

My Dog Valentino in Goldenrod Wildflowers
My Dog Valentino in Goldenrod Wildflowers

It seems forever ago that I first saw my dog Valentino romp in the goldenrod growing wild on the Florida Panhandle coastline along the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, it was just last November, shortly after I opened my heart and home to this hound dog from a local animal shelter.

It warmed my spirit to see my dog sniffing the scent of golden beauty in the air. Yes, I captured the moving moment, adding one of my Dog Pawsitive Tidbits in Haiku poem to the picture.

The seed of the goldenrod is prolific and will take up residence just about anywhere, seemingly happy just to be alive to thrive in the sunshine.

Goldenrod Moving Moments

Now, my dog Valentino and I prepare to leave Florida, moving north to Ohio. Oh yes, the sunny yellow goldenrod thrives in the hills of Ohio too. Naturally, I'll do my best to capture moments of my boy roaming the countryside in a field of golden beauty to share with you, my readers and friends.

Despite drastic changes in our landscape, Valentino and I feel we are well protected by our innate adaptability, just as the goldenrod. We will hold on to the symbolism of the goldenrod wildflower and its healing power as we travel northward on our wondrous adventure.

In the meantime, we wish you the same good luck and good fortune we ourselves hope to find. We will return as soon as possible with our poetry and prose, but until we do our advice to you...

Plant seeds of Goldenrod wildflower wisdom of your own!

Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an associate of Amazon and of Zazzle and may earn via purchases made through links in this article.

July 1, 2015

No Bite White Spider Lily Flower

Have no fear, no spider bites in store for you here! These sparkling white beauties are the Spider Lily flowers found growing here in the Florida Panhandle sand and sunshine.

White Spider Lily Flowers

Naturally, I felt the pristine lily white spider worthy of a postcard cover in my Zazzle store.

But of course, you can grow the Spider Lily (also commonly called Peruvian Daffodil) in your garden, indoors or out! This lily is an easy to care for flowering plant.

This floral beauty is linked up with Noner Says for Wordless Wednesday. Come WW hop along with us!

Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an associate of Amazon and of Zazzle and may earn via purchases made through links in this article.

June 15, 2015

Purple Pairing of Mexican Petunias

Dreading Mondays? Perhaps a purple pair of Mexican Petunia flowers is sure to ease the feeling of mayhem associated with Monday Madness! (Or any day for that matter.)

Pair Up To Face the Day

Linking up with a friend or loved one makes for a perfect pairing through which to double the pleasure held in the gift of another day, come what may.

As usual, I paired up with my dog Valentino to discover this Mexican Petunia plant in bloom. A neighbor has a row of these as the sidewalk border in one of her flower gardens.

It is always a pleasure to see these purple pretties on my morning walk with my dog. It makes for a perfect way to face the start of my day!

Butterfly and Hummingbird Attraction

If you enjoy planting flowering perennials to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, the Mexican Petunias are a great choice. The plant is available in several colors but I do love the striking pop of color of the Maya Purple. There is even a dwarf version, known as "Katie."

Researching the Mexican Petunia (Ruellia Brittoniana), I discovered it is considered an invasive plant here in Florida. I can not imagine being invaded by anything more perfect — Bring on the invasion!


Do tell ... Who might you pair up with for sharing the pleasure of Mexican Petunias blooming the color of purple?

Since I am publishing this article on Monday, I choose to link up with the Monday Madness post over on the Challenge Your Writing blog.

Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an associate of Amazon and of Zazzle and may earn via purchases made through links in this article.

June 14, 2015

Partridge Pea Plant Plea

Most people are well aware of the environmental expression "turn trash into treasure." In my view of the Partridge Pea plant I saw the flip side — nature's treasure trashed by mankind.

When nature calls, my dog abruptly brings our walk to a halt. While he takes care of his sprinkling of nature business I busy myself with observing our natural surroundings. I am always on the lookout for sprinkles of sunshine to share with my readers.

Partridge Pea Wildflower

My eyes immediately rest upon a tiny treasure of a sunny flower growing out of fern-like leafage. I capture its beauty on my cell phone camera with intentions of spreading a bit of sunshine your way today.

Arriving home from our neighborhood walk, my dog settles in for a nap while I begin searching the internet in hopes of identifying this beauty of a blossoming plant. My research results in the discovery that this is a Partridge Pea plant, a native Florida wildflower, and is of the legume family.

Interestingly, I learn that the doves which perch on overhead wires in my neighborhood (as well as many other birds and wildlife) feed upon the seeds of the Partridge Pea in fall and winter. In downloading my pictures to my computer for viewing, I was certainly given food for thought!

Read and Heed the Partridge Pea Plea

Taking a closer look at my images, I came to realize that my observational skills were seriously lacking. While my focus was on the beautiful wildflower treasure I did not even see that its beauty grew out of a pile of trash left behind by mankind — cigarette butts!

I can now see and hear the plea of the Partridge Pea plant. Smoker or non-smoker, I hope that you can too...

Do not trash the treasure of Mother Nature!

Please don't litter nature with your cigarette butts!

Shop Now for Do Not Litter Signs

Birds, butterflies, and bees will love you for planting Partridge Peas!

Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an associate of Amazon and of Zazzle and may earn via purchases made through links in this article.

May 24, 2015

Spanish Bayonet White Yucca Flowers

Spanish Bayonet Postcard by abitosunshine
Enjoy rainy day views of the various stages of a flowering yucca plant, but do beware the tips of greenery on this Spanish Bayonet.

Walking with my dog on a typical north Florida rainy day I found the yuccas in their spring bloom throughout the neighborhood. One particular plant grouping was most impressive as its white Yucca flowers were in various stages of development all at once.

An up-close view shows the plant's flowers white with a bit of purple bleeding through and quite fragrant too. When gazing at this floral beauty its softness belies the prickly tips of the yucca's green leafage.

Do not be fooled into getting close to those bayonet-like spikes — ouch! Even my dog Valentino knows to steer clear of this Spanish Bayonet.

Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an associate of Zazzle and may earn via purchases made through links in this article.

April 23, 2015

Chasing Black Swallowtail Butterfly

Black Swallowtail butterflies aplenty have flown across my path this past week. A few finally landed upon honeysuckle long enough to be captured on camera. Sweetness!

While walking my dog Valentino yesterday I was delighted to find a half dozen of the Black Swallowtails fluttering wildly around a honeysuckle bush in full bloom. Now to keep my dog still so that one or more might land in front of the eye of my cell phone camera. (Valentino was a good boy and stood still!)

First to land was one of the Eastern Black Swallowtails, with "tails" pretty much hidden behind the leaves, unfortunately. Still, you can see it is a black beauty.

Best of all was being able to capture the Giant Swallowtail butterfly, which I have been chasing for two years now. I finally caught it in a shot worthy of sharing!

Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an associate of Zazzle and may earn via purchases made through links in this article.

I am linking this article up with Writer's Unite over at Marsha's Spot. If you're a writer, check out her weekly post and add the links to a couple of your published articles.

I so enjoy chasing butterflies while walking my dog in the north Florida sunshine! Are you a butterfly chaser too?

April 20, 2015

Walking In Sunshine Wildflowers

When you wake up to stormy weather just take an early morning walk and you are sure to find a bit o' sunshine along your way.

On our first walk of a morning my dog Valentino and I found ourselves walking in a light rain with thunder rolling in the background. Needless to say I was in search of sunshine!

Valentino walked right into (and almost pawed upon) a patch of Florida wildflowers Yes, there is always a bit o' sunshine to be found peekin' out o' the clouds!

This pair of sunny yellow flowers is from the Aster family. They are Coreopsis Lanceleaf, more commonly known as Tickseed. (No icky ticks here!)

Walking On Sunshine

The showy wildflowers had me immediately singing in the rain, the song — Walking On Sunshine.

You may remember the movie and recall the song. If not, you can find the original motion picture soundtrack online.

I am including two video versions of the tune for your listening pleasure as a walk down musical memory lane.

Song sung by Katrina & The Waves

Eddy Grant song version

Which version of the song shall you sing while walkin' in sunshine?

Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an associate of Amazon and Zazzle and may earn via purchases made through links in this article.

April 15, 2015

Seeing Red Florida Flower Power

A mid-morning walk with my dog here in the Florida Panhandle had me seeing red, mostly wild flowers growing out of the sandy scrub soil amid forest greenery.

Red is a powerful color that evokes a variety of strong emotions. Of late, I find myself in a mindset that welcomes the intensity of red flower power. My feelings run the gamut from excitement to agitation and on to the ever-present power of love.

Click the pictures for a larger bright red view.

As you can see, even my dog Valentino enjoyed the adventurous hunt for red flowers. He sniffed for bunny rabbits in the bushes as he rushed me from one natural display of red to the next. Naturally, we had to stop to admire the red beauty of the Bottlebrush Tree and its determined spirit.

A lovingly tended floral display in a neighboring front yard produced a brilliant red rose. But of course, that led us to the power of love!

Disclosure: Ruth Cox is an associate of Zazzle and may earn via purchases made through links in this article.

What do you feel when you see red?

I am linking this Seeing Red picture story up with ABRACABADRA for Wordless Wednesday.

March 12, 2015

Spring Flowering Cabbages and Plums

Spring is around the corner in my neck of the woods, announced in a flowering display by both ornamental cabbages and kale and blossoms on the plum trees.

When I walk my rural beach neighborhood with my dog, he chases animal wildlife scents while I am on the lookout for the beauty of nature and its seasonal transitions. Throughout winter, I kept an eye on one neighbor's charming little landscape design of potted plants and rocks amid the pine needles around her mailbox.

I awaited the flowering cabbages as a sign that Spring is near. Sure enough — yellow flowers climbed the wooden mailbox post!

One of my neighbors planted a plum tree at the corner of her house years ago. Each year I sit on my deck and await the wonderful white display of tiny flowers that will blow their fragrance my way in the breeze. Then come the plums!

The reddish-yellow plums will feed the wildlife. Under the hungry eye of birds and squirrels the fruit disappears faster than it ripens to fall off the tree!

I am linking these Spring flowering beauties up with the Writer's Unite blog hop on Marsha's Spot today. Come share your online writings and read what others are writing about too!

What signs of Spring are beginning to appear in your corner of the world?

February 15, 2015

Common Buckeye Butterfly Capture

I so enjoy chasing butterflies while walking with my dog here in the Florida Panhandle along the Gulf of Mexico.

My catch of today? The Common Buckeye Butterfly — lying on the ground right in front of my coonhound's nose!

This butterfly blended into its surroundings so well that had it not been for my dog Valentino I doubt I would have seen it. I tugged gently at the dog's lead, just enough to move his head, so I could click that picture before the Buckeye fluttered away. And onto a decorative porcelain plate it went!

The Common Buckeye Butterfly (Junonia Coenia Hübner) is found throughout the state of Florida throughout the entire year. These butterflies make their way as far north as Canada and south into Mexico. It generally winters along the Gulf Coast. Lucky for me!

Disclosure: As a Zazzle associate I may earn income through purchases made via links in this article.

January 18, 2015

Sunset Silence

Taking in the softly lit sky and coastline beneath the setting sun, I heard the silence whispering in the wind. Can you hear it?

Sunset Sea of Silence Body Pillow
Sunset Sea of Silence Body Pillow by abitosunshine
Browse Sunset Body Pillows online at

The soothing sounds of silence of a setting sun over the Gulf of Mexico create ambient grooves that move a spirit to a place of serenity like none other. The sky sets the mood for the day's drudgery to drift away, smothered by the sea.

The sky beckons me to touch the dim reflections of the day as they wash out to sea, with mind, body, and soul cleansed by nature's artistry. As the sunset closes the day I am able to hear the promise of a sunrise in the making, for surely (as Annie sings) the sun will come out tomorrow.

And, it did on this sunshine Sunday!

This sunset over the Gulf of Mexico is linked up with Noner Says for Share A Link Sunday.

January 8, 2015

Dance to Music of Sunshine

I have this serene little spot in my yard that I often sit, with my dog after a walk or while reading. Sometimes I just gaze at the shadow play on the fence as the sunshine dances to the sound of the music of the wind whispering through the old Florida oak trees and the figs and the ferns.

Today I smiled as my sun garden stakes became the shadows dancing on the wall of the fence. The wind whistled through the trees and the spinners and chimes hanging on the branches.

And I danced!

I do believe someone was watching but I danced to the tune of my own spirit ... Sol. Actually, my dog was watching and I am sure he thought I had totally lost my sanity, ha!

Here is a picture I took of my little sunshine serenity dance on the fence.

Here is a postcard I created from the photo using my Corel Paint Shop Pro graphics program.

Sunshine Dance Postcards
Sunshine Dance Postcards by abitosunshine
View more Abitosunshine Postcards at

This postcard creation from my picture satisfies my new year's resolution for today. Read more about my creativity goals HERE.

Now ... Dance!