“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves: ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson
Humility. A tremendously huge lesson for us all. As a person of deep faith, I believe it’s important, essential even, to acknowledge the workings of God in our lives. Gratitude helps realign me with the bigger picture. I look in the mirror as I brush my teeth in the morning and think of so many things to be thankful for… such as running water (which I turn off when brushing my teeth), and good health, my loved ones, this day! The list grows! There is so much to be thankful for, yet we too often forget to acknowledge how gifted, how blessed, we truly are. Humility to me includes respecting this gift of life I am given every morning. As they say, never regret growing older for it is a privilege denied to many.
Of all trees, I observe God hath chosen the vine, a low plant that creeps upon the helpful wall; of all beasts, the soft and patient lamb; of all fowls, the mild and guileless dove. Christ is the rose of the field, and the lily of the valley. When God appeared to Moses, it was not in the lofty cedar nor the sturdy oak nor the spreading palm; but in a bush, a humble, slender, abject shrub; as if He would, by these elections, check the conceited arrogance of man.
~Owen Feltham (1602 – Feb 23, 1668)
I hope you’ve enjoyed my old-fashioned quotes in this brand new year of 2015. I believe humility is always timely, even if the teachers have been gone for hundreds or thousands of years, their lessons live on.
Luke 18:14 KJV ~ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
A few days ago, in my neck of the woods, we had a morning of rare thick fog. It hovered deep over rooftops and created frost linings along wires and tree branches. The sky was white, with no hint of sun through the haze, just the glow that bathed everything. It was utterly magical.
On this frigid Saturday morning at 8:00 am, I wasn’t concerned about throwing on my yoga pants and a t-shirt to go buy some groceries since I’d be mostly hidden beneath my black parka anyways. As I hopped in the car and backed out of the garage, the awe escaped me in a gasp of wonder. If you live in a northern clime and have experienced a hoar frost in the making, you know what I mean. If you live more southerly and haven’t experienced this incredible wonder of nature, it’s difficult to describe how beautiful it is. Photographs, no matter how artfully taken, fail to grasp the beauty of this natural phenomenon.
My local grocer is only a few blocks away but I kept on driving. I’m very grateful to live near a huge wild park preserve with a network of paths, some that run along the river, and picnic table areas scattered among the acres of old growth forest. It was definitely a ‘selling feature’ when we were house hunting.
As I drove past the grocery store and into the wild preserve, I was pleased with the lack of traffic. Indeed, everything seemed hushed and in slow motion. I found myself driving under the speed limit just to gape and marvel at the incredible sight of the trees frosted with white, their tall tips melting into grey fog. Luckily the speed limit is already very slow into this family-friendly park as I kept inching along. Keeping a close eye on my rear mirrors, I saw that no one was coming, or going, on this incredible morning.
Then I saw one person, with a small dog on a leash, walking out of the fog in front of me to cross the road. I happily stopped and leaned forward to look up at the exquisite splendor of the tall trees being painted with hoar frost icicles on every surface. Glancing in my mirrors I saw, again, no one behind me. I drove slowly deeper into the park, approaching the lake and the turn-around where the road ends.
The beauty of nature always feels like a painting by God to me, and the more beautiful the sight, the more deeply I am moved. This particular morning I was moved to tears. Perhaps that I was listening to Amy Grant’s ‘Better than a Hallelujah’ might have something to do with it, but mostly I was just overwhelmed with gratitude for life, and the gifts we are so freely given, every day, if we but open our eyes.
As I finished the drive and looped back towards the grocery store I realized, I wasn’t finished. Not yet. I wasn’t done admiring this incredibly beautiful and rare event of nature. I had to go back! Pulling a careful U-turn on that deserted road, I drove back to the one parking lot in the middle of the main cluster of picnic areas, a place I visit often in the warmer months. A place one can easily walk down to the river. I pulled in and parked not too far from the only other vehicle, a mini-van.
As I turned off the engine, wrapped my scarf around my neck a couple of times and pulled my wool hat and gloves from my bag, I saw the occupants of the van slowly heading towards the river. From their sizes I guessed one adult and three young children, all bundled in snow pants and parkas.
Seeking solitude, I headed the other way along a path following a creek that feeds into the massive river. The hush upon the forest couldn’t hide the occasional squeals and joyful shouts from the small gathering behind me, and it made me smile. I looked up at the treetops in the blanketing fog and quietly recited a poem aloud, knowing no one was around to hear and wonder about this woman speaking to herself.
There was tremendous duck and goose chatter at the river, and I was compelled to stop walking away from the commotion and instead go and see what kind of bird action was happening. As I turned around I noticed that the family hadn’t gone far, and instead were playing in a small copse of trees just beyond the parking lot. I walked past them towards the river, pausing at a small cluster of young aspen beside the path to touch the intricate frost icicles that formed along their thin branches.
As I approached the river I noticed more birds than I’d ever seen on this section of river before, and seeing as some were on this side of the river, I stopped well back since I didn’t want to disturb them. For several minutes I stood and watched this massive display of wildlife. There were Canadian geese intermingled with black Coots, and ducks of various species, and I estimated their numbers to be in the hundreds. Shuffling about for position, drifting into the swiftly flowing, deep river to glide to a new spot, these waterfowl were busily settling in for something, or conversing with relatives, re-establishing friendships… who knows for sure. But their noisy bustling was a wonderful sight and it helped swell my already happy heart up to nearly bursting with joy.
With a smile on my face I turned to head back towards my car, since I hadn’t dressed appropriately and my legs and feet were getting quite cold. Seeing the mother and children (I’d heard her voice so now presumed the adult under the parka to be ‘mom’) slowly spreading onto the narrow footworn path I’d taken from the main path towards the river, and not wishing to interrupt them, I turned to the left to follow the main path. After several feet of walking I realized this route would take me much farther from my car before I could head back towards it, over a bridge.
I was too cold to walk the further distance so I turned around, deciding to head back through the family gathering on the pathway. They were climbing up out of the lower ground amidst the copse of trees they’d been in. I was about 20 feet away when the tallest child turned and saw me, a boy maybe 5 years old. He reached his arm out full length to point towards me and exclaim excitedly, “Look Mom! A PERSON!!”
I laughed out loud with the most joyous love overflowing from every part of my being. It was already a magical, meaningful morning for me, but NOW to be someone’s sighting! How fun is that?!
I waved as I laughed again, and said, “Yes, it’s me. A person!” and the mom smiled at me, undoubtedly having known of my whereabouts ever since I arrived in the park, just after them. The youngest one at her feet, about 2 years old, slipped and did the cutest little slide in his snow pants, down the one-foot embankment the snow-blower had left beside the paved pathway. He was smiling at me as he laid there. I said ‘whoopsie-daisy’ and his mom gently asked, ‘Are you alright buddy?’ to which his smiling face, still looking at me, replied, ‘Oh yes, that was nothing.’ My heart melted even more.
My walking had now brought me right amongst them, and I smiled at the mother and said, “This fog is really rather magical, isn’t it?” waving my hand in a sweeping motion, and she replied immediately “It IS rather magical! That’s why we’re out here.” “Yay. Good for you. Have a wonderful day!” “You too” she replied. The five year old ‘wildlife spotter’ called out, ‘There’s a great big hole to play in there!’ indicating the hollow in the wooded copse they’d spent much time in, and where I was walking past. I called back ‘Yay! What fun!’
I was someone’s sighting! I felt like Bigfoot, or better yet, Buddy the Elf in the forest when he was ‘spotted’ during his assistance of Santa’s crashed sleigh in that sweet, funny movie “ELF”. I chuckled and smiled all the way to my car… and all through the grocery store actually. That sweet child, and his enthusiasm at spotting ME coming out of the fog, made my day. How wonderful that I’d chosen to go beyond merely admiring the fog’s beauty from my car, and decided to actually walk in it, correct clothing or not. God gifted my choice with the pure sweet joy that radiates from happy children, and just remembering that moment makes me smile. And the chorus was playing in my mind, ‘We pour out our miseries… God just hears a melody… Beautiful, the mess we are… the honest cries of breaking hearts… are better than a hallelujah’
Yes I wasn’t dressed perfectly for a winter outing. Yes I felt overwhelmed with grief and sadness much of the time, but the beautiful fog captured my imagination and I forgot everything else. I went for it and was rewarded with a most joyful gift. This helps me remember to go with the flow and be open to whatever might happen. Things don’t need to be preplanned or perfect. I am not perfect and that is perfectly alright. God loves me, and all of us, just the way we are… hurting or not… right here and right now. He knows we’re working on it. We’re trying to get better, to be better, but we’re already good enough. Right now.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my frosty and magical morning foray. May nature’s beauty gift you always with joy, love, and learning. And may we embrace the understanding that we are enough, just as we are.
This is what I felt like…
Okay… who am I kidding. You know I’m more like this!
A wise old owl sat in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?
This old nursery rhyme was recorded as early as 1875 and is likely much older than that. It was quoted by John D. Rockefeller in 1915 and is often mis-attributed to Edward Hersey Richards. [source]
For months now I have been suffering from a grief-laden form of writer’s block. A sense of ‘what can I say’ has been blocking words from flowing through me. Instead, lately I find solace in images. If during my time away from my blog anyone has wondered where I was, I was on Tumblr and Pinterest. These are places where I have another ‘family’ of sorts, although nowhere near as close as here on WordPress because we share without words. We share with each other through images. Especially on my Tumblr site. Collecting photographs that portray a certain feeling of ‘life in the country’ has been my solace.
Pinterest and Tumblr are quite different, and I enjoy both for different reasons. My PIN boards are fun and freeform, whereas my Tumblr board is more sacred to me… a place where I am careful to only select images that portray what I FEEL.
My entire Tumblr site is about mood and feeling. I liken it to an online Dream Board, for it is what I dream of living, a place in the country with a few animals that are working companions, and not for eating. Tree fall and mushroom collecting from nearby forests, absolutely. Fishing, definitely. But meals are mostly from eggs, cheese, and freshly grown grains and vegetables. Therefore you will not find any images of pigs or cows, except the occasional milk cow and she will be long-lived and well loved, as would her offspring be. No veal or pork here. And my well-trained horses will be able to pull a sleigh, wagon or plow as easily as going for a ride through the woodland or countryside.
Dream Boards are a wonderful way to focus on that which we intend to create and accomplish. Tumblr does this for me regarding my dream of a life in the country as a writer, gardener, cook and dish washer, baker, fisher, knitter, artist, book collector, star gazer, fire maker, wood gatherer, tree planter, egg collector, sheep shearer, barn chore handler and livestock/bee keeper.
So if you ever dream of a less complicated life, and enjoy communing with trees and stroking the neck of a horse or a sheep, you just might enjoy a stroll about my place in the country. It’s a place where I spend a lot my internet time, collecting images that help me feel as if I’m already living my dream. Scroll down through the infinite scroll as is, or click on ‘Nostalgia’ to scroll through image snapshots of my wordless posts through the months past. I hope you enjoy! Be well. Namaste. Blessings, Gina
Today is a good day to relax. Let us set aside moments to relish a bit of nourishing solitude. How about spending time outdoors, reading some uplifting words, and cherishing a long, soothing soak in a tub.
There’s really nothing quite like laying down amidst warm water to help melt away the stresses of life.
That’s where I’m headed and I wish that for you as well.
Sometimes we just need to unplug.
May we all be refreshed and renewed for the days ahead, and grateful for the many blessings around us.
“There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.”
~ Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (1963)
“Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.”
~ Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle (1948)
“This is what the Sabbath is for: reverence, rest, renewal, rejuvenation, reassuring rituals, recreation, rejoicing, revelation, remembering how much you have to be grateful for, and saying ‘thank you!’ You can do this in a church, mosque, temple or synagogue, on a walk, while antiquing, sitting in bed propped up on pillows reading something wonderful with a breakfast tray, working the crossword puzzle before a roaring fire, attending a marvelous art exhibition or movie matinee, or listening to opera in the kitchen as you sip sherry and prepare a fabulous feast. What matters is that you do something special that speaks to your soul and that you revel in whatever you do. Your activities on the Sabbath should uplift you and provide enough inspiration to sustain you during the week to come.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy
“Anybody can observe the Sabbath but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.”
~ Alice Walker
Here I’m sharing the best rant ever! Granted, I’m a fan of Bill Murray. The movie SCROOGED (a rather crass and sarcastic version of ‘A Christmas Carol’… not for viewing by children!) definitely ends with a heart-touching conclusion, thanks to great screen-writing and outstanding acting by Murray who brings these words to life. Let’s take this advice to heart.
It happened because it’s Christmas Eve! I’m telling you! I’m not crazy…
It’s Christmas Eve. It’s the one night of the year when we all act a little nicer. We smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be. It’s a miracle… it’s really a sort of a miracle, because it happens every Christmas Eve. And if you waste that miracle, you’re gonna burn for it… I know what I’m talkin’ about!
You have to do something… you HAVE to take a chance! You do have to get involved. There are people that are having trouble making their miracle happen. There are people that don’t have enough to eat. There are people that are cold. You can go out and say ‘hello’ to these people. You can take an old blanket out of the closet and say ‘here’… you can make them a sandwich and say ‘Oh by the way, here!’
I get it now! If you give then the miracle can happen to you! It’s not just the poor and the hungry… it’s everybody who’s gotta have this miracle, and it can happen tonight for all of you! If you believe in this spirit-thing… the miracle will happen, and then you’ll want it to happen again tomorrow. You won’t be one of these bastards who says ‘Christmas is once a year and it’s a fraud!’
It’s not! It can happen every day, you’ve just got to want that feeling. And if you like it and you want it, you’ll get greedy for it! You’ll want it every day of your life! And it can happen to you. I believe in it now! I believe it’s gonna happen to me now… I’m ready for it! And it’s great… it’s a good feeling. It’s really better than I’ve felt in a long time. I’m ready.
Have a Merry Christmas. Everybody.
(Calvin, his secretary’s son who we understand has witnessed a horrific trauma and hasn’t spoken for years, runs up to our reformed ‘Scrooge’ and tugs on his pant leg…)
Did I forget somethin’ big man?
God bless us, every one.