The Winds of Change . . .

Spring is in the air…



Well, as of today, Spring is upon us. March 20, 2014 marks the spring equinox and the end of winter. If you lived in Southern California this year you may feel like summer never ended and we just skipped through winter and went right into spring. I guess that is one of the main reasons we are all crammed into this corner of the world, some of the best weather on the planet, am I right? But I digress.

I love spring, a new chapter about to begin, and a fresh new outlook on life. A new beginning where hope springs eternal. A chance to shed the old and invite in the new. As much as we may want some things to stay the same in this life that is a power we do not posses. Things do not stay the same. We are always facing change and evolution. Most people, like me, have trouble processing that the only constant in this life, is change.

I want to repeat that… The only constant in this life, is change!

No matter how much we want something to stay the same, it never will, time marches on and the old chapters end and the new ones begin. Nature provides an unparalleled education to us all with the changing seasons and days that grow longer as we get warmer. What a great teacher to us all if we would just be still and allow the lesson to wash over us and be embraced us.

The smells of spring are one of the biggest indicators to me of this change. We have a wisteria vine in our back yard and when it blooms its purple flowers, the sweet aroma is unmistakable. As I walk outside it can literally stop me in my tracks, as I inhale deeply, a smile cracks over my face and I just take it in. It is one of the best reminders of me to just stop and appreciate the moment of now. So I stop and smell the wisteria.

Photo Courtesy of ©

Photo Courtesy of ©

It is one of the hardest things for us humans, to just stop and appreciate the now. To not worry about the future or try and fix something in our past – to just enjoy the moment in front of you. I understand that not all moments in our life are joyful, that pain and sorrow can be part of our now as well. But even in that journey we must pause and take it in, as difficult as that is.

I take in that sweet wisteria aroma for as much and as long as I can because I know it will not be around very long. The seasons continue to march on just like the seasons of our lives. If you are a parent you see the constant changes in your children as they grow and mature, they do not stay babies or toddlers or even teenagers forever (Thank God) they are in constant flux and change. Another terrific reminder for us of this constant evolution we call life.

So embrace the change and the newness that it brings. Be intentional about truly seeing the moments in front of you as they unfold. They will never unfold in quite the same way for you ever again – enjoy them! So take a moment this spring to “stop and smell the wisteria (or whatever makes you stop in your tracks)” and open your heart and soul to feel the wonderful newness of spring as a smile cracks across your face and you soak it all in.

Photo Courtesy of ©

Photo Courtesy of ©

|| what do you think?

What is your biggest reminder of spring?

What is your trigger that reminds you to stop and smell the roses?


By | 2014-03-20T06:30:30-07:00 March 20th, 2014|Inspiration|47 Comments


  1. neil March 20, 2014 at 8:02 am - Reply

    Chuck –
    Since southern California has really one season, sunny days followed by more sunny days, I love the few drops of rain we get in “winter.” The triggers that make me stop and appreciate life are, the smell of BBQ reminders me of my Dad, the second I smell it I think of him. There are frogs in the creek near my house, that is one of the most relaxing sounds at night to listen to. Many times when I get near the ocean the salt air will help me reflex that life is more about the flow into nature than retreating into societies business. When I go to the mountains the pine trees remind me of how little I know, compared to the grow of a tree has had compared to me.

    • Chuck Ricciardi March 20, 2014 at 11:23 am - Reply

      Smell is absolutely one of my biggest triggers and like most of us I do not give it its proper place when I should. No doubt the smell of the salty ocean air certainly reminds me to take notice. Mix that with a beach camp fire and I will literally be stopped and brought back in an instant to a gentler time, as a young lad growing up in Pacific Beach, CA. It is my believe that in these fleeting moments we realize that all is connected and nothing is an island unto itself. Just a bunch of cells and molecules held together with a big dose of life giving water. Enjoy those moments as you watch your little bundle of nature grown and change like the seasons.

  2. Joe Lavoie March 20, 2014 at 8:55 am - Reply

    I appreciate the weather the most and the smells in the air , not the pollen because of my allergies. My family usually always travel in the spring time because of the not so hot weather this was always a slow down time for my family and I have vivid memories of the time we spent together. I try and do the same with my own family now as a new tradition to appreciate the time together and just to realize to appreciate the time we do have. Thanks for this reminder of good times in my life.
    Sincerely Joe Lavoie

    • Chuck RIcciardi March 20, 2014 at 11:29 am - Reply

      It is a wonderful gift to give to our families when we slow down and come together. In this hectic corner of the world we call Southern California it is easier said then done. I to have found memories of spring break travels and the feeling of a new beginning. I do feel sorry for all you allergy sufferers during this time, but hopefully the good out weighs the bad and we all appreciate the newness spring brings into our lives. Good times!

  3. Patricia Kolstad March 20, 2014 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Hi Chuck . .
    First of all what a great blog! It really got me to thinking about my life right now! I love the first day of Spring . . not only because it’s the start of renewal, but it is also when I gave birth to my son, Bruce, who has brought me such joy!
    Your title “The Winds of Change”, makes me giggle inside, because that was a key phrase that a former employee here used quite often. But what you describe is so very true. And most of us don’t think about “slowing down” enough to stop and enjoy all of the wonders of this life. It has only been in the last several years that I have begun to appreciate and accept with confidence, all of the changes that have occurred in my life.
    I think it is difficult to explain to teens and young adults that the life they are living right now will most likely never be the life they will live as they age. Changes are all around us. We change schools, we change careers, our bodies are always changing, our income changes. I think about our aging seniors and all of the changes that cause grief and depression. The loss of their spouse. The loss of their eyesight and the ability to drive. The loss of their home as they must make the decision to enter a Senior Living complex. When we are young, we can accept changes much more easily. As we age, change can bring depression and heartache, or at least the fear of the unknown.
    I have learned to “accept the contributions” as I was once told by our visionary CEO, Neil O’Connor. I think I have learned to be an advocate of change by meeting it head on. This life is so brief. I want to continue to delight in change and be the best mentor to my family and friends. I want them to know that though you may not be able to control everything that will happen in your life . . . you can control how you accept it!
    Thanks for sharing your journey!
    Patty O’

    • Chuck RIcciardi March 20, 2014 at 11:39 am - Reply


      Thank you for your heartfelt response. The quicker we realize in this life that control of all outcomes is an illusion, the better off we will be. I know you have gone through some significant change in your life and family recently with the death of your brother. The pain and anguish of a death of our loved ones cannot be adequately described by the english language. But I also know like a phoenix from the ashes that new chapters open up and a new normal begins. Hopefully, with that, comes healing. We can paddle feverishly against the current, killing ourselves while trying to reach some believed destination that will bring us happiness. Or, we can go with the flow, ride along with the current effortlessly and soak it all in as the journey unfolds. Free will… Love you.


  4. Molly Keating March 20, 2014 at 11:06 am - Reply

    For me, the most prominent signal that spring is here is all of the bird songs I start hearing. The joy of those notes, the sweet reminder that we as people aren’t the only ones noticing the change, the fact that birds know it’s happening without the convenience of a calendar is mesmerizing.
    I love your blog, I will intentionally be seeking out time outdoors, with a good book & cold drink taking in the sounds of the birds & that warm sun on my legs.

    Thanks for the reminder to stop : )


    • Chuck RIcciardi March 20, 2014 at 11:46 am - Reply

      Oh yes, the song birds of spring. Sound is another wonderful reminder for us isn’t. I also love that and have enough trees around to allow me to soak that in as well. From the rushed chirps of hummingbirds to the call of the hawk circling above and everything in between. They know something is up and they do not even own a smart phone, computer or TV, it is innate. It is also innate in us, we have just put to many distraction in front of us so that we are blinded by what our mind, body and soul are telling us. So take spring on!


  5. Shayna Mallik March 20, 2014 at 11:18 am - Reply

    What a great blog! I love how your blog reminds us to stop and take in the moments. I love spring but miss the winter, even the little bit of winter we do get. Especially this “winter” since well their wasn’t really a winter. Spring has the best of both worlds, sunny days with a little of a breeze. Also today is a special day to me now because it is my fiance’s birthday! We both love spring as you can tell since our wedding is in spring and is 23 days away. WOW!
    Once again thank you for sharing Chuck!


    • Chuck Ricciardi March 24, 2014 at 8:30 pm - Reply


      Well happy B-Day to your soon to be X-boyfriend. And yikes 23 days, where does the time go? I’m very excited for you as you start this new chapter in your life. Another change in the seasons for you.


  6. Diana March 20, 2014 at 11:34 am - Reply

    What a refreshing blog!It’s a time to enjoy the great outdoor activities and breathe in that clean spring air. I am amazed how many things there are to experience. Spring is the perfect time to think about all our senses and how we can embrace this season of change.

    • Chuck Ricciardi March 20, 2014 at 2:58 pm - Reply

      After 49 springs Im still amazed as well, at all that can amaze us and tickle our senses. Sight, sound, smell and touch. they all come alive during this time of year if we only let them. I know every season is a season of change but the renewal that spring brings is always special and encouraging. Do not delay, time to go experience them.


  7. Shasta Cola March 20, 2014 at 11:39 am - Reply

    I love spring too, Chuck! My biggest reminder of spring is my birthday 🙂 I feel the same way as you about the smell of the flowers, and also sometimes there is a smell of the beach in the air that I’ve grown to appreciate. I like that everything is constantly changing, because if it didn’t we would not appreciate things as much. It is also good when things are not ideal in life or outright terrible, you can always count on the fact that it will not stay this way, things will change.

    • Chuck RIcciardi March 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm - Reply

      Wise beyond her years…How boring it would be in this life if everything stayed the same. To much of anything, even a good thing is still to much. So change is a necessity isn’t it. If you can master the philosophy that “this to shall pass” you will live a life full of contentment. When we are in the darkness, even though we can not see it or even feel it change will come to bring us out into the light. Happy B-Day!


  8. Becky Finch Lomaka March 20, 2014 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Hi Chuck,
    I love spring (even if we do have great weather all year long)! Growing up in Michigan, it was the lilac bushes that were our first indication that spring had arrived. I can remember as if it were yesterday picking the fragrant flowers on my way home from school and arriving home with a big bouquet of the purple flowers for my Mom.

    Several of my Persian friends are celebrating Nowrus today; the Persian New Year, which falls on the first day of spring and is a time for renewal and acceptance of change.

    Being a “planner” by nature, I appreciate your blog and it will help me to make a conscience effort to “stop and smell the wisteria” and enjoy the moment I am in right now!!

    Thanks Chuck!


    • Chuck Ricciardi March 24, 2014 at 8:51 pm - Reply

      it is amazing how easily we can be brought back to our childhood every time spring unfolds. I like the theme of the Persian New Year… A time for renewal and an acceptance of change. Thanks for sharing, enjoy the moments.


  9. Joanna Ramirez March 20, 2014 at 2:37 pm - Reply


    What a sweet blog Mr. Ricciardi. I am a big fan of Spring. Just the smell in the air. The crisp Santa Ana’s blowing and the smell of Bon Fire’s on the coast. The absolute best. It is the simplicities such as these that make me love this time of year. It is just feel good weather. Much like mother nature and her constant moldings, I too enjoy change. Not necessarily in appearance per say, but change in the mind and spirit. Without change we would be in a constant mode of Boredom! Thanks for the blog again. Love the way you think!

    • Chuck Ricciardi March 24, 2014 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      Well I love your thinking as well. It is the simple things in life that can sometimes bring us the most joy. Mother nature allows us to observe changes almost on a daily basis. I have to admit, I have had to work on accepting change but now realize that it is the only thing you can count on. Enjoy those bon fires and have fun this spring with your family.


  10. Michael Thomas March 20, 2014 at 2:47 pm - Reply


    I have realized through your posting that all of my closest relationships I have these days is because we as friends mutually live moment-to-moment with each other. We don’t care about the past, and we only get excited about the future and not try to create it. We “go with the flow”.Thank you for this very fresh blog, and thank you for helping me appreciate the here and now.

    Always your buddy,


    • Chuck Ricciardi March 24, 2014 at 9:46 pm - Reply

      A wise man beyond his years. Those that can master living in the now will have a joyful existence. We always feel we can control every aspect of our lives and every outcome. But when we can “go with the flow” good things will come our way.


  11. Jenn March 20, 2014 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    My biggest reminder of spring is seeing the green on the hills and orange and red flowers blooming around my house. It doesn’t seem like much of a change weather wise but it seems like a sigh of relief comes to the faces and moods of people all around. I think it is the change and promise of a new year now that we “survived” the harsh (mid sixty degree, LoL) winter. I am glad the year is moving quickly, my favorite season is summer and it is just around the corner. In the meantime I will enjoy this season of change.

    • Chuck Ricciardi March 24, 2014 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      Yes, summer sits pretty well with me as well. But all of it points to change and that nothing stays the same. You know the people in colder climates this year prayed for an early spring, as they did have to “Survive’ the winter this year. Congratulations on your new chapter in life coming your way, just another example.


  12. Kari Lyn Leslie March 20, 2014 at 4:58 pm - Reply


    I am so thankful for your blog. This year has been a tough one early on, and I’m so ready for the Spring. I am affected to my core by the weather. I love the Fall, Winter, and Spring (Spummer) in SoCal. Unfortunately I’m not a huge fan of over 80 degrees, so I find myself cursing most days from now until October. As far a change, I am experiencing a shift in my own life at this time. A few things have happened that have caused me to pause and really examine why I am who I am today. Surprisingly enough, I am embracing these new feelings and ideas. Some may make a difference in my future, and some may just float right past me. I feel as if I’ve made it into the boat, I’m laying in the sun, and floating down a calm river. Things may change, but right now, I’m really enjoying the the float. This Spring I hope to enjoy PEACE.

    Love you!

    • Chuck Ricciardi March 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you are embracing your new feelings and the current and possible future changes coming your way. Certainly this exercise not always an easy task. You have a wonderful heart and I know things will work out for you. Life does not always work out in the exact form we think it will but I hope it will for you. So when the stress gets to much just picture yourself in that boat, slowly heading down stream on a lazy river with you fingers circling in the cool water. PEACE.

  13. Lori March 20, 2014 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    Thank you for this reminder to stop and smell the roses, wisteria or whatever else one finds fragrant and enjoyable.
    This is a reminder that I basically need to be hit over the head with over and over…
    I’m passionate about what I do so it is easy for me to have a one track mind for my work and forget to nurture my external relationships. After talking with people all week and we know I like to talk, I feel that I need down/quiet time to recharge. This makes me not as likely to schedule face to face meetings and rely more on technology to keep in touch with friends and family. Not wise, I know and something I must work on this year.
    One way I have found to “smell the roses” is by spending quality time with a certain, adorable, two year old…..nothing makes you stop and take notice of even the smallest details like watching through the eyes of a child.
    Your post will initiate me to do some spring cleaning of my personal time!

    • Chuck RIcciardi March 28, 2014 at 2:06 pm - Reply


      Margins are very important in our lives. You are passionate about what you do and serving our families with care and empathy is right in your wheelhouse. But we really have to serve ourselves first, as selfish as that sounds. If we are not aligned then we will have a hard time helping others to be so. Children are one of the best ways to stop and take it in, that is for sure, right Auntie Lori. So go find that personal time and be one with all creation.

  14. Anne Anderson Collins March 20, 2014 at 9:33 pm - Reply

    I have several things this spring that are meaningful to me. April and my grandsons planted my side yard with flowering bulbs and plants last fall. Now I have a plethora of freesia and ranunculas and other flowers beneath the red bougainvilla which is prettier than it has ever been. My wisteria had to be cut way back for a roof to get laid, so no blooms this spring. But I am getting my first two lilac blooms in the last day or so. They are a little puny this year.

    Last year, when Lou was sick in his bed in the living room we had the best crop of lilacs our little displaced mid-western bush has ever managed to put out. Lou had me cut a bunch for his bath nurse at the time. She was thrilled.

    A couple of nights ago, I put together my dinner and took Lou’s lawn chair out to the side yard and stuck it right in front of my little garden and ate my meal in total pleasure.

    Later I walked Bella and purposely left the ipod home and just listened to the birds as some of them seemed to follow me along the way.

    We have about 7 dogs in our immediate adjacent homes. Lately when I get home from work, due to the lovely weather, all of them are out there together, people talking, dogs frolicking. I get Bella and she tears out to the gathering and is delighted.

    Poor Molly recently had to be put to sleep. That was another horrible change. One I didn’t expect, but had to deal with and I did it the best way I could. Now her ashes are on the shelf next to Lou’s.

    I am facing my one year anniversary of losing Lou in 35 days. Not sure what I will do on that day. Probably just figure out the best way to get through it, while honoring his life in some way in my heart.

    This has definitely been a year of change, one I never dreamed would be happening to me this young, but there it is.

    • Chuck Ricciardi March 28, 2014 at 2:14 pm - Reply

      Spring can be a bonanza to the senses can’t it. I also recently left the music at home for my bike ride and just let the wind, birds, flowers and plants do all the singing. It never ceases to put a smile on my face. I know you have had some extremely difficult change in your life recently. With the death of a loved one especially a wonderful partner like Lou it is beyond difficult to embrace. I cannot believe we are coming up on the one year anniversary of Lou’s death. I imagine you taking Bella to the harbor that day and allowing the salted pacific air to wash over you. Lou will be right there with you, I’m sure of it, God bless!

  15. Tom March 21, 2014 at 8:36 am - Reply

    I greet each day with a word of gratitude. Each day is a blessing to take in trough all of our senses.

  16. Fitz March 21, 2014 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Hey Chuck,
    Great blog and reminder of the things that are important. It’s hard sometimes to let life happen and be OK with it. I know for me it’s been a challenge to try not to control outcomes. With age, I’ve gained more wisdom. Whether it was trying to control my golf shot or the trying to push my children to do something in school or in sports, I’ve had to learn that there are some things you can’t control. You just have to let life happen and learn from the outcome and be ok with it. Thanks for the great life reminders.

    • Chuck Ricciardi March 28, 2014 at 2:20 pm - Reply

      What a wise sage you have become. In our culture it is counter intuitive to allow. It is all about making it happen, striving towards that goal and practically killing yourself in the process. Always trying to out do the next guy and some will go to any lengths to do so. But the wise know that it is when we are still, that we truly are open to all of lives possibilities. Only then can we understand that we really have the power in us to allow and appreciate all that comes are way. “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”

  17. Amy March 22, 2014 at 5:48 am - Reply

    Great blog. Sometimes we need those reminders to slow down and enjoy the moment. Life always seems to be moving so fast it’s time to stop and smell the roses. Flowers are one of my favorite parts of spring. There colorful and smell so wonderful. They just seem to make me happy and bring a smile to me face. Thanks for the reminder to savory each and every moment.

    • Chuck Ricciardi March 28, 2014 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      My pleasure. God knows you have had enough change lately to last you a decade. Life does move fast, especially in Southern California. It makes it so difficult to stop and appreciate the wonderful, little, daily miracles in front of us. Throw in being a parent of teenagers, working in management at a high quality, high volume mortuary and being a care giver and the “me” time goes right out the window. Hopefully this spring, with its wonderful blooms that it brings will remind you to stop and take notice. Because even amongst our tough times there are moments that can still brighten our soul, you just have to slow down to notice them.

  18. Erin Fodor March 22, 2014 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    It really does feel as though we kipped right through winter this year. Usually Spring is my favorite time of the year, so really i’m not complaining.

    My biggest reminder would come from knowing that Easter is right around the corner now. I look forward to the much needed family time, and watching all of the younger generation frolic and play outside. Also, I live by a huge park with at least 10 baseball fields. As I was driving home the other night, I saw them all full with children playing ball. These are my biggest reminders spring is here!

    • Chuck Ricciardi March 28, 2014 at 2:46 pm - Reply

      Aw yes, how could i leave out baseball as a wonderful reminder of spring. They are called the boys of summer, but baseball most assuredly gets it’s start in Spring. I’m sure in places that actually have winters, seeing the kids make their way out of their basements and into the spring sun certainly is a big reminder. Appreciate your family and realize there is a fresh start for all of us if we just allow it.

  19. Christopher Iverson March 23, 2014 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    I love Spring for the rains that cleanse and make green the slopes and hillsides. For the clear nights that capture the new and full moons. For the cold ocean that sparkles in the afternoon sun. For Lent’s time of sacrifice. For Easter’s reminder of resurrection and renewal. I appreciate Spring as the bridge between the cold of Winter and the warmth of Summer. Spring is eternal for it’s new life, new love, new appreciations and never-ending sense of wonder.

    • Chuck Ricciardi March 28, 2014 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      Enough said!
      Thanks Chris!

  20. Mark March 24, 2014 at 9:23 am - Reply


    I am sure you will not be surprised to read that the biggest reminder of spring to me is the crack of a bat at spring training letting us know that the baseball season has arrived…thanks for the reminder to stop and smell the roses….I mean the wisteria…..Mark

    • Chuck March 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm - Reply

      Erin also reminded me that I missed that big reminder. Spring baseball has always been a part of my life. As a player in little league through High School, it was the best time of year for me for sure. My son Christian has reignited that spring time, past time for me. It has been so fun to watch him play through many springs and summers, and now I get to watch him play in high school as well. Nothing will slow you down like watching your children make their way in this world.”Play Ball!”

  21. Elsa March 24, 2014 at 9:39 am - Reply

    I think the biggest reminder of spring for me is the time change. The best feeling for me is having a bit more daylight before the work day ends. I always dred when the time changes back. The other thing I love about spring is the smell in the air. I love the smell of fresh grass and spring flowers. The change into spring reminds me that summer is almost here, which is my favorite time of year.

    • Chuck RIcciardi March 28, 2014 at 2:59 pm - Reply

      Yes, driving home from work in the dark during those winter hours can be depressing for me. Spring comes along and you have longer days coupled with the day light savings time change that helps solve those winter blues. You actually start feeling motivated again to get outside and do something after working a long day. I believe our sense of smell is the most influential trigger there is, even more then sight. So keep smelling that fresh grass and spring time blooms, nothing better!

  22. Jeff Turner March 24, 2014 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    Thanks for painting the picture of new life. Our back yard has exploded with color the last few weeks and the wisteria is in full bloom. The promise of new life is always so welcomed and the promise of summer not far away. I am ready to put the top down on the car everyday and take the long way home just to see the ocean. Thank you for the reminder to live in the moment. It must be time to go sailing.


    • Chuck Ricciardi March 28, 2014 at 3:05 pm - Reply

      Yes, time to get the old boat out of storage so to speak and get sailing. There just always seems to be a feeling of new beginnings this time of year. I love it and have become better at embracing it. So put the top down and let the ocean breezes be you guide, enjoy.

  23. Lauren March 24, 2014 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Thank for writing this and reminding us to pause! When spring hits my mind starts planning all the exciting adventures to take. I forget that this is also a time for rejuvenation, like spring cleaning!! This year is about finding pleasure in the simple things and to be truly present with family and friends.

  24. Carrie Bayer March 25, 2014 at 9:02 am - Reply

    Chuck, this is awesome! The signal for me that spring is here is the smell of the orange blossoms in Redlands. They are so fragrant that they literally make me stop, stick my nose in the air, close my eyes & inhale deeply. This is so therapeutic for me! We will take evening motorcycle rides thru the groves just so I can get my fill of the blossom sniffing. This spring has been FULL of change for me, more than I would have ever imagined happening in several years but now it’s all in a few months. It was scary to think of but I’m embracing it all at once which has been fantastic. Thank you so much, Chuck- well done! Carrie

  25. Rosemary March 25, 2014 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    What a lovely posting! Spring is such a special time with its reminders of change and renewal. For me, it is also the flowers that remind me of spring – the daffodils, freesias and tulips. Their beauty and fragrance always reminds me to take a moment or two to stop and enjoy! Thank you, Chuck!

  26. Mitch March 26, 2014 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    The big reminder of spring for me is the time change. A rebirth of sorts. The older i get the more i try to “stop & smell the roses,” as it were. It is a reminder to re prioritize things in my life. Worry about things that are worth worrying about. Life will go on even if i don’t want it to.