Never Say “Never”
I can’t even begin to count the times I’ve said I would NEVER do something only to wind up doing exactly what I said I’d “never” do.
- I said I’d never live in a white house–I now live in a house with white siding.
- I said I’d never ride a bike–I now LOVE riding bicycle.
- I said I’d never like eating wings because it was ‘barbaric’. Well, I now thoroughly enjoy sitting down to a heaping plateful of messy wings and tearing into them like a ravenous dog.
- plus MANY more……..
One thing I said I’d never do was to have any kind of vacation place. My husband had been talking about it for years and I’ve always said that was something I’d never do. Well………yep, you guessed it, we now own a cottage in a nearby state forest. As my husband kept showing me picture after picture of cabins, cottages and homes in the woods I continued to adamantly tell him that it wasn’t something I wanted. Then, one evening he showed me a picture of a cottage that had recently been listed. To call it ‘love at first sight’ might be an overstatement, but for some reason my attitude changed and I could immediately see our family spending time at this little cottage in the woods. Knowing how much our kids loved camping in this area when they were young, I knew they would want to spend time at this little place. We went to see it with family members and it was unanimous—everyone loved it. We became happy owners of a little cottage in the woods.
“Fern Gully” (aka Adelaide)
Even though I loved the place and expected to enjoy it, I had no idea how much I was going to NEED it. Just the time we began to spend time there things began to happen within our family.
- My daughter delivered our granddaughter 4 weeks early after an extremely difficult pregnancy.
- My father, who had been ill, passed away suddenly.
- Other things happened within the family that brought sorrow.
As all of this was happening, I found that spending time at our peaceful, little cottage enabled me to process some of my emotions. Many nights were spent sitting on the porch praying and crying while coming to terms with some of the grief and fear. Sitting on that little porch in the woods, listening to the sounds of the forest as nightfall came filled me with a sense of calm. My soul began to heal as I rocked, cried, prayed and yes, sipped wine
The “Special” Porch
This cottage has been something our entire family needed. We have had several wonderful weekends at the cottage with the kids/grandkids enjoying many things as a family.
- sitting around the fire
- enjoying dinner together
- falling asleep under the same roof and then waking up together
- seeing our first bear
- working on projects together
Nothing beats sitting around a campfire.
One of our hikes
When I first looked at the pictures of the cottage, I knew it would be a fun place for our family, but I had no idea how healing it would be. Even though I didn’t know all those things were about to happen-God did. He gave me something I needed before the need was even there. I can’t help but wonder how often God does this and we don’t even realize it. I hope I can become more and more aware of all the ways I’m cared for by my loving God.
I encourage you to never say ‘never’. You might be saying no to a special gift that God wants to give to you. It might be something you never wanted, but turn out being exactly what you need.
A Gift from Above
Posted in My thoughts | Tagged beauty, cabin, camping, christian, cottage, emotions, family, feelings, forest, gift, God, gratitude, grief, healing, hike, hiking, introspection, Laurel Lake, marriage, nature, Pine Grove, soul, spirituality, thankful, women, woods | 3 Comments »
Perspective and Perception
It’s amazing how the same thing can be somewhat cute and fun from a certain perspective and terrifying from a different one. I experienced this firsthand a short while ago.
Our family was spending the weekend together at our family cottage and we had a bit of excitement the first morning. As most of us were relaxing in the family room my husband came rushing in from the yard saying ‘BEAR, BEAR, BEAR!!!!” and pointing excitedly out the window. We all rushed to take a look and sure enough, there was a bear leisurely walking through our yard. We, of course were all glued to the windows watching his every move.
From this perspective the adorable, black bear was harmless, fun and exciting. I was happy that my granddaughter was able to see a bear on her first sleepover at the cottage. We have pictures and videos and have enjoyed telling the story to all of our friends.
How my mind saw the bear from the safety of the cottage
The second time I saw the bear it was from a much different perspective and it had quite a different effect on me.
I was at the cottage alone with my Golden Retriever, Denver. I had been there most of the day cleaning and painting and was preparing to head back to our house. I had Denver ‘do his business’ before loading him in the car and I went back to the cottage to lock up. As I turned around from the door I noticed a movement by our fire pit. (about 20 feet from where I was standing). Yep, it was that same black bear, however, this time I didn’t think of it as adorable and I definitely didn’t stand there gawking at him. Instead I made a beeline for the car where I immediately jumped in, shut all of the doors and windows and tried to still my pounding heart.
How my mind saw the bear when the only thing between us was air
I know they say not to run from a black bear, but I dare you to put that into practice when you are that close to one and can run to safety. I know that if I could see myself on video it would be hilarious, but it didn’t seem funny at the time.
I haven’t seen the bear since then, but I now take a look around when I walk out the door. I do anticipate seeing him again, but I hope it’s from the inside of the cottage and not face to face.
This is a picture of the actual bear. Perspective definitely affects my perception.
“Buddy” the bear
Posted in My thoughts | Tagged bear, cottage, family, fear, forest, lake, Laurel Lake, michaux forest, perception, perspective, wildlife, woods | 1 Comment »
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.
Posted in My thoughts | Tagged ambience, cottage, evening, forest, grief, healing, hummingbirds, nature, night, porch, relaxation, sadness, sorrow, trees, women, woods | 4 Comments »
Screams on a Volcano
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.
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.)
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.
Feeling 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.
Posted in My thoughts | Tagged adreneline, adventure, bucket list, dream, grandma, grandmother, hawaii, maui, rain forest, rush, thrill, travel, volcano, wish, zip line, zipline | Leave a Comment »
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.
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.
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.
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?”
Posted in My thoughts | Tagged anger, garden, gardening, lawn, service, shrub, telemarketer, tree, weeds | 3 Comments »
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chloe when she was too young to hike
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.
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. 🙂 )
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.
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. 🙂 )
One ‘crazy’ Memaw
***Photography courtesy of “Poppop”
Posted in My thoughts | Tagged aging, babies, bicycle, children, cycling, Design, family, grandchild, granddaughter, grandma, grandmother, grandparent, happiness, hike, hiking, infant, jewelry, joy, memaw, middle age, music, piano, woman | 2 Comments »
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. 🙂 )
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.
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!!!
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.
Posted in My thoughts | Tagged beauty, floral, florida, flowers, garden, gift, gratitude, happiness, islamorada, jewelry, keys, orchid, rainy, surprise, vacation | Leave a Comment »