February is the month that brings up thoughts of flowers, chocolate, hearts and valentines. Whether you are single or not, I subscribe to the idea that love begins within and it’s from that internal place that wellness springs forth. Take time this month to honor thyself; self-care is paramount in my regimen.

As you may have noted, I don’t get into political discussions here, however, I do feel it important to comment on my sincere desire to see the government end the “shutdown” sooner than later, and hope that by the time this issue is being physically distributed, federal employees are back at work and/or getting their paychecks. This is also mentioned as there are professionals offering special services to those directly affected by the shutdown.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention the first year’s anniversary of the tragic shooting at our local Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. Thankfully, I share that other local health care professionals have widened their reach into our community, extending a hand with free sessions, supporting the ongoing healing process around this particular event. A heartfelt thanks to all who are serving in one way or another.

Our feature article this month is on a topic that should not be a surprise to readers: the human heart. It’s empowering to know that nearly all heart diseases can be prevented through regular exercise, a whole food, plant based diet, and taking care of our social and emotional health. That approach is in direct alignment with the types of services and information that are offered within the pages of this publication—the wholistic approach to wellness.

You may have noted the heart image on the cover—a digital variation of my mixed media called “Heart of Mother Earth”. Imagine this healthy, pink iconic shape beating fully through all the pages of this month’s magazine. This digital image is a collection of items that had been discarded (unloved) and ended up either in the neighborhood streets and parking lots or on our public beaches. What I love to do is take those items, give them light and love, and a voice: “I am here to inspire actionable solutions via a message of love and self-care.”

At Frame ‘n Art by the Sea, 229A Commercial Boulevard, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, owners Teresa and Mike Mangini have arranged a special window display for February which includes a selection of my heart-themed mixed media pieces. Please feel free to stop by and enjoy.

Through the language of art and style we fill our senses through smell, sound, color, shape and texture. What’s your style saying about you?

Make a point to get out there and volunteer/offer a smile to a stranger. My heart opens wider as I personally share and volunteer my smiles and services in ways that resonate with me.

‘Tis the sun that rises and smiles upon us each day that helps grow the plants whose cocoa beans and rosebuds are so often given as expressions of love. As well, it’s the human smile that we share with one another that reflects outwardly our inner sun of love and peace, growing harmonious relationships.

Tend your growth; plan on it.

SusieQ Wood