Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Forest

The Beauty of the Forest

Being in the woods is something I’ve always loved. I’ve done a good bit of hiking, backpacking and simply enjoying time in nature. Tonight I’m enjoying time in the forest from the comfort of a porch.

I sit on a covered porch surrounded by a white railing with glowing candles along the top. The sun is setting and the night sounds are beginning. It’s light enough that there are still birds chirping even as the night insects begin their chorus. The various insect sounds are particularly clear because there is no wind rustling the trees—it’s completely still. Hummingbirds are still coming to grab an evening snack from the feeders. There are many sounds, yet it is peaceful here.

I see various types of pine trees, a few deciduous trees, ferns and other plants that grow among the trees. The only colors backlit by the darkening sky are green and brown, yet is a beautiful sight. The trees are tall and graceful.

It’s a very simple setting, yet one that nourishes my soul. This is a place that I feel at peace and can allow healing to take place in my heart. There have been many worries and sorrows in my life lately, but time on this porch is one thing that touches my heart.

I’m feeling very thankful for the beautiful creation that God has given to me.

Screams on a Volcano

2015-05-01 12-58 10 - Edited

HAPPY Midle-Aged Woman on a Zipline in Haleakaka, Maui

 

My screams could be heard throughout the rain forest which was at 5000 feet on a dormant volcano .  These weren’t screams of terror, but ones of pure joy and excitement.  Something I had dreamed of doing for many years had finally become a reality at age 53.  Anyone who knows me well is aware that I enjoy a certain amount of adventure and even some danger.  One thing I’ve always wanted to do was to ride a zip line.  My husband and I were fortunate enough to be in Maui for a business event and there are a plethora of zip line courses available.  I chose to do one that had 5 different zip lines as well as a rope bridge.

 

2015-05-01 12-29 11 - Edited

Before ‘zipping’…giving the Shaka hand sign—meaning ‘hang loose’

.

My experience began by signing all of the standard waivers one has to sign when doing any kind of activity with risk of injury.  Then I was instructed to sit on a bench while a young man helped me step into a harness which he pulled up to my waist and cinched tight.  Next he attached a heavy clasp and hook and gave me a helmet.  After I was all “geared up” we walked a short distance through a forest of Euculyptus trees to a platform which overlooked a 40 foot ravine.  After some basic instruction  on how to hold on to the harness and how to steer, one of the guide zipped across the ravine to the platform on the other side of the ravine.   (His job is to make sure you get stopped without slamming into a tree. 🙂 ) This line was approximately 150 feet and I would reach a speed of roughly 15 mph.  Then it was my turn to step up onto the platform.

 

I hopped up onto the platform where the guide hooked my harness up to the cable and I looked down into the 40 foot ravine.   I then grasped the strap and handle of the harness and took a running leap off of the platform.  WHAT A RUSH!!!!  It wasn’t  all that scary, but was extremely exhilarating.  Each line after that got a bit longer and faster.  Then we walked across a rope bridge. (while also clipped onto a cable.)

 

IMG_20150501_131120

Crossing the rope bridge

 

Finally we got to the 5th and final zipline which was definitely the most exciting.  It was a 750 foot cable stretched over a deep ravine.  It was considered a pendulum line because after flying the entire way to the end of the cable you actually zip back in the other direction and after a few passes through the middle finally stop by one of the guides grabbing your feet.  On this line I reached a speed of approximately 45-50 mph.  As I jumped off of that platform and picked up speed it felt as though I was really flying.  I was hooting, hollering and laughing.  I was having the time of my life.  I loved the feeling when I reached the other end knowing that I was about to begin rushing back the way I had just come.

 

IMG_20150501_132947Feeling very confident before taking the final plunge

.

I guess I must be a bit of an adrenaline junky because as the guide was removing my hook from the harness I asked him where the fastest zip line is and he said he thought it was in South Africa and that it went up to 100 mph.  Hmmmm…….

 

When we got back to the station the I was told that they could hear the shrieks of delight from there.  I guess I really let it rip.  🙂

 

PS–before the 5th zip line the guide took a picture where I was supposed to look ‘scared’.  This is the best I could do.

IMG_20150501_132941

 

 

 

The Last Straw

Telemarketer

Have you ever received an annoying sales call?  I’m betting your answer is ‘yes’.  Well, I received one from my lawn care company that was quite literally the ‘last straw’ and caused me to completely cancel their service.  Now, before you go thinking I’m just some crazy woman who was over-reacting, let me explain.

 

We had used this lawn care company for several years, both for our lawn as well as our trees and shrubs.  They did keep our lawn lush, green and weed-free and the gentleman who cared for our trees and shrubs was amazing.  He would talk to me about various diseases, insects and other details about how to keep my plants in tip top shape.  I had absolutely NO complaints about their service.

 

I did, however have a problem with their sales department. It seemed as though they called me every few weeks about adding some service that they insisted was something I NEEDED.  With each call I would politely decline several times, but they just wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer until I would quite emphatically insist that I did not want any additional services. The calls just kept coming and I finally asked them to put a ‘do not call’ message on my file because I did NOT want any other services except those that I had already signed up for.  Well, I still continued to receive sales calls–and I continued to tell them that I did not want any future calls.

 

IMG_7096

One day I got another call and I had reached the end of my patience.  I told the sales person very clearly that if I received one more sales call from their company that I was going to cancel my services with them.  I’m not usually  person who would resort to using a threat like this, but nothing else had worked.  I hoped that this would make the calls stop.

 

Well…..not even two weeks later I received a call from this company and when the person identified who they were, the first thing out of my mouth was “Are you kidding me?!?!?”  (I have to be honest and admit that it was not said in a sweet tone of voice.)  I told the person about my previous conversation concerning the cancellation of my service if I received any more calls and that THIS was that final call.

IMG_7098

I immediately hung up, called the local office and cancelled all of my services with them.  The operator apologized profusely and tried everything to get me to change my mind, but I was determined to stick to my decision.  Finally she accepted the fact that I wasn’t giving in and we arranged for the termination of all services.  I very adamantly told this person that I wanted my file clearly marked that I did not want ANY further calls from them for ANY reason.

 

Yep, you guessed it…..a few weeks later my phone rang and it was some person in management calling to see if he could somehow persuade me to change my mind and re-instate my contract.  I’m sure he realized he was in for a rough road when upon identifying himself and heard these outraged words….“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” (Again, not said in a very kind, sweet tone of voice.)  Needless to say, he didn’t get very far and finally gave up.

IMG_7099

 

I must say it has been a relief not to be receiving constant calls from them, but, the downside is that I am now searching for a new lawn care service. :/ I would like to find a smaller, local company/person who will do a good job, but not be hounding me to add services that I don’t want or need.  Any recommendations would be appreciated.  I do need to warn you— do NOT mention TRU-GREEN or I will respond with “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”

 

A Happy Memaw

Some women complain about getting older, however I am enjoying life as a middle-aged woman. One benefit for me is that I get to be a ‘Memaw’ to my granddaughters and that is one of the greatest joys in my life. I’m fortunate enough to have two beautiful granddaughters and two more grandchildren on the way. 🙂 The oldest one, Chloe, is 6 years old and the younger one, Missy, is 20 months. My daughter is due to deliver another little girl in July and my daughter-in-law, Tiff, is expecting in November.  I’m looking forward to having 4 grandchildren.

.

11015914_10206082625090348_8224065556093718528_n

 Memaw, Chloe & Missy

.

There are many wonderful things about having grandchildren. To begin with, when they are babies I get to snuggle them for hours on end. The feeling is somehow different than when my own children were babies. The simple pleasure of holding your child’s offspring is indescribable. Plus, since you’re not the parent there are no other pressing things to do so you can simply enjoy the moment.

.

IMG_0557

 Snuggle time with Missy

.

As they begin to speak it is wonderful to hear them say my name. I was actually going to go with the standard name “Grandma”, but as Chloe began to talk it became “Memaw” and in hindsight I actually like that name better. Missy is just beginning to talk and my name comes out more like “Mawwww”, or more often it’s “uh, oh, Mawwww”. No matter what it sounds like, just knowing that they are calling me brings a smile to my face.

.

It is also an absolute blast when they are able to do some of my favorite activities along with me. As you may know, I love making jewelry and Chloe has sat with me at my desk many times and made her own jewelry designs. She is actually pretty dang good at it. 🙂 I’ll be anxious for the others to join us when they are old enough.

.

IMG_6621

IMG_6623

 One of Chloe’s latest designs

.

I also enjoy hiking and have been able to do that with both of them.  In the beginning they go along for the ride, but now Chloe is to the point that she is a genuine little hiker.  One side benefit to hiking with a baby on your back is that it certainly adds to the amount of calories you burn.

.

HPIM1560

 Chloe when she was too young to hike

IMG_6579

 Chloe on a family hike this past summer.

(Missy is on Anna’s back instead of mine. 🙂

.

Another one of my favorite activities is cycling.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of riding bicycles with Chloe for the first time. She recently learned how to ride without training wheels and we spent part of the afternoon riding around our church parking lot. I think there are many joint rides in our future.

.

IMG_20150404_135259

 Chloe with NO training wheels–YIPPEE!

.

Another activity I often do with Chloe is to cook and bake.  She likes nothing more than to help make some cookies or cupcakes.  I guarantee that when she helps me there are plenty of sprinkles and other decorations on whatever we make.  (OK, I also confess that we sometimes lick out the bowl — What happens at Memaw’s stays at Memaw’s. 🙂 )

.

IMG_20141122_134412

 She LOVES to decorate cupcakes!

.

Since I also love playing the piano I’m just now getting them warmed up to that as well.  Chloe can play a wee bit and Missy just enjoys plunking away on the keys.  When Missy is here she often walks to the piano and pats the bench, which means she wants me to sit down and hold her on my lap so she can play a ‘tune’.  I think she may be hooked.

.

IMG_20150108_102115

 Future Pianist

.

Yes, getting older means gray hair, wrinkles and more aches and pains, but the benefits definitely outweigh the physical signs of “maturity”. Besides becoming a grandparent I have become more comfortable with who I am, and I am now courageous enough (or maybe crazy enough) to do things I wouldn’t have done when I was younger. You can get away with some pretty eccentric things as you get older.  (like wearing a hat with feathers. 🙂 )

.

IMG_7041

One ‘crazy’ Memaw

***Photography courtesy of “Poppop”

IMG_20150324_094843

Rainy morning in the Florida Keys

.

We are on vacation in the Florida Keys and we have had gorgeous weather—until this morning when I awoke to the sound of rain.  I looked out the window and saw that it was ‘raining cats and dogs’.  I decided to make the best of things and get some jewelry made.  (Yes, I bring jewelry along on vacation. 🙂 )

  .

IMG_20150324_094934

My morning work tray

.

As I sat and worked on some jewelry, I just kept looking out the window toward the bay and watching the heavy rain continue.  After working a while I got up and looked out the window behind me and I got a beautiful surprise.  There was a white and dark pink orchid growing on a tree only about 10 feet from me.  Back in Pennsylvania I would not see an orchid growing on a tree.

.

IMG_20150324_094738

You can see the raindrops dripping off the stem.

.

Apparently in Florida, you can attach certain orchids to a tree that is in the perfect location…not too much direct sunlight, but not all shade either.  If the orchid receives indirect sunlight and some fertilizer it will flourish.  I sure wish we could do that in Pennsylvania!!!

.

IMG_20150324_154109

Stunningly beautiful!!!!

.

Later in the day the sun came out and I was able to appreciate the orchid close up.  Seeing the beauty of that orchid at a time I was not expecting it brought a smile to my face. Orchids are a thing of beauty and I’m thrilled that I was given the gift of seeing one today.  I am very thankful for my rainy day surprise.

“Road Work”

“Road Work”

What do you picture when you hear the words ‘road work’? Workers in bright yellow vests, orange cones, traffic delays….? Well, for me it has an entirely different meaning.

road-work-ahead

 

I design and make jewelry for a living. Anyone who knows me is aware that I not only do it as a job, but thoroughly enjoy it and am very passionate about it. I have a work bench at home where I make most of the jewelry, but I almost always have several trays ready with projects to take with me wherever I may go.

 

IMG_20141122_113300

 

My husband and I have taken many long trips in the car and for me, many of those hours in the car have been spent with a tray in my lap and tools in my hands. I have been able to make things I needed for upcoming shows as well as fill orders from my Etsy shop.  I’ve even come up with new designs during a few of the trips.

 

IMG_6573

( I often find time to work in the hotel rooms too. )

“Road work” is a win-win situation for me. Making jewelry makes the time pass more quickly, which REALLY helps on the extremely long rides. It also enables me to stay caught up on work that needs to get done while we travel. Luckily my car has a very smooth ride and I’m able to do many different things.

 

IMG_20141122_113310

 

I’m notorious for working in the car, no matter how short the trip may be. My son has actually joked that if get one of the cars that drives itself sometime in the future, I could even make jewelry when I’m the driver instead of the passenger.

So, I may not wear a bright yellow vest, but I do a LOT of “road work”.

PS—I’ve also done this quite often on airplanes. Hmmmm…..maybe I should start a jewelry-making ‘mile high club’.

 

image (1)

Feel the Music

music_speaks_what-136004

 

Music has always had a profound effect on me. Certain songs make me want to get up and dance, white other songs are sure to bring me to tears. Music seems to have the ability to reach inside of me and stir my deepest emotions. Depending on what I’m listening to it can be invigorating or calming, healing or even sometimes painful. I’ve often said that music is the “key to my soul”.

 

download

 

In the past few years piano music is the one type of music that can touch me in especially profound ways. At times when I have found myself in a low place it has been the only kind of music that I could ‘feel’ in my soul. It has allowed me to tap into emotions that I had pushed down and tried to ignore. The music has given me an avenue to work through some of those feelings.  It has provided a real sense of peace and of healing at times I needed it the most.

 

images

 

One song in particular can move me like no other—Crisofori’s Dream by David Lanz. The minute that song begins to play my heart comes alive. That song takes me through a myriad of emotions. It begins with a very sad feeling, but there are moments of joy as well. There are several ups and downs during the course of the song and my heart soars and falls along with those changes. One section always makes me feel optimistic and give me a sense that things will be ‘ok’. For me the song always ends with a feeling of peace. The last part of the song is the sad melody, but it somehow gives me a sense of acceptance and contentment.

 

life_is_like_a_piano__by_its_only_levi-d59tc92

 

I’ve listened to that song countless times, but I am now able to feel it in a new way – playing it myself.  I played piano when I was younger, but had given away my piano some years ago. I recently made the decision to play again and bought a beautiful piano. Of course, the first song I learned to play was Cristofori’s Dream. The minute I began to play the opening notes I felt such a sense of ………. I don’t even know what word to use…contentment, peace, passion, healing, excitement, joy and even grief. I knew that I would be spending a great deal of time at my piano.

 

piano_quote

 

As I worked on learning the entire song I didn’t really feel the usual emotions due to concentrating so hard on getting notes and inflections right, but as I conquered more and more of the music, I began to experience it in an emotional way. One evening I was playing and at one section I found myself beginning to weep.  Now as I play it, I am able to enjoy it and ‘feel’ the music.

 

182232_20140513_212233_Jaden

 

I’ve since learned several more beautiful and moving songs, but this one will always have a special place in my heart. When I just want to sit down and ‘feel’ the music this will most likely be the song I play.

If you want to ‘experience’ this song, here is a link to it being played by David Lanz. Cristofori’s Dream

 

pian

An evening at my piano with a glass of wine…….wonderful!

IMG_9281

Playing Cristofori’s Dream

***I was listening to Pandora as I wrote this and just as I was typing the last sentence, guess what song began to play………and yes, it still brings me to tears.  

%d bloggers like this: