Posted in My thoughts, tagged autumn, beauty, cottage, fall colors, forest, gratitude, journey, life, meditation, michaux forest, mountain, nature, peace, personal, scenery, thankful, trees, woods on November 7, 2016|
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Quite often in life, I get so focused on where I’m going that I forget to enjoy the beauty along the way. I become so absorbed with finishing everything on my to-do list that I miss the special moments that occur along the way.
Earlier this week I had to make a trip to our cottage for a small task that needed to be done. I awoke thinking of all the things I needed do as I’m preparing for my Holiday Home Show and had a ton of tasks on my to-do list. I wasn’t looking forward to taking 1 1/2 hours out of my already busy day to drive the whole way there and back for an errand that would take only 5 minutes to accomplish.
That morning as I took my dog out for his morning ‘constitutional’ I was greeted with the sight of a gorgeous morning sky. As I stood looking at it I was reminded that even when life is harried that there are gifts of beauty along the way that are easily overlooked.
As I drove up the mountain to the cottage I began to notice just how beautiful the scenery was along way. It’s late-Autumn here in central PA and the leaves are turning amazing colors. Both sides of the road are lined with trees and it seemed as though each time I drove around a curve in the road the colors were more amazing than the the last.
One section is lined by pine trees. Even though the bright colors of the deciduous trees are extremely beautiful, the line of green pines has it’s own charm.
As I turned onto a gravel road the scenery changed, but still had a special kind of beauty.
Entering the driveway I felt a sense of peace (as I often do). This time of year when it’s completely covered by pine needles and leaves even the car was quiet.
Even though the cottage is nothing fancy, to me it’s a beautiful sight. It’s my ‘piece of heaven on earth’ – a place I can relax and experience a sense of peace that I don’t always feel at our home. On this day, as I got out of the car and headed to the door, this is what I saw:
My Happy Place 🙂
I couldn’t help but smile as I imagined the sound effect you hear in movies when something has a bright light shining on it – like an angelic chorus. (Click here to hear the sound I heard in my head) I know that may sound a bit dramatic and a little silly, but in a real way, this little place has been a heavenly gift to me. It’s where I can slow down enough to focus on the truly important things in life and be able to appreciate all of the beauty that is around me. On this day, even though I wasn’t able to spend much time there, I did take time to notice the beauty on drive. I wish I could always have the mind-set to be more aware of special moments along this journey called ‘life’. I hate to think that I am missing any heavenly gifts along the way.
I can’t remember if I finished everything on my list that day, but I do remember feeling grateful for all the beauty around me.
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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 on October 17, 2015|
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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
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Posted in My thoughts, tagged bear, cottage, family, fear, forest, lake, Laurel Lake, michaux forest, perception, perspective, wildlife, woods on September 17, 2015|
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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
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Posted in My thoughts, tagged ambience, cottage, evening, forest, grief, healing, hummingbirds, nature, night, porch, relaxation, sadness, sorrow, trees, women, woods on September 17, 2015|
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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.
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