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Posts Tagged ‘emotions’

Considering that my last blog post was about an ornate, massive cathedral, this one is going in a slightly different direction.  While the grandeur of a cathedral can lead me to worship, much simpler churches can do the same.

 

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We had the opportunity to attend a very old and tiny church near our cottage this past summer.  It was built in the 1800’s and has been preserved and kept as it was in the past.  There are old, wooden pews, oil lamps, and no heat or air conditioning.  The first time I walked into the church many things took me back to the church I attended as a young girl  (especially the hand-held fans with the picture of Jesus.)

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Everything from the picture of Jesus in the front of the church to the board with the attendance numbers felt very nostalgic to me.  On the back of the pew in front of me were old hymnals and a bible. As I pulled out the hymn book and began to leaf through it, I found this taped in the front.  The words to this song captures what I was feeling at that moment.

 

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If you like old-time music, here’s a link to the song.  

Church in the Valley by the Wild Wood

My eyes filled with tears as I though about how much my Dad would have loved this little church.  He would have enjoyed the old hymns as well as the speakers who really taught scripture.  My Dad passed away shortly after we bought the cottage last year so was never able to attend this little church with us.  Even though I know he is in a place that is better than any cathedral or old brick church, I still miss him.

Feeling nostalgic was touching, but then the service started.  A sweet, older man led us in singing hymns.  He wasn’t as refined and polished as most of the worship leaders are in many modern churches, but you could tell he LOVED singing those old songs an meant every single word–it was a beautiful thing.   As I sang the alto part to hymns that I had sung as a teenager it affected me in a way that it didn’t when I was young.  Having experienced 40+ years of life since singing them, the words had a much deeper meaning.

We actually helped to set a record attendance of 39 one week and as a person who usually attends a VERY large church, it was moving to be a part of such a small congregation.  People had either come because they have a cabin in the area or they were camping at the nearby campground.  Even though we were all strangers, we were united in our faith.

The church is only open from Memorial Day through Labor Day so I will miss that little church until next spring.  😦

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Never Say “Never”

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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.

 

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“Fern Gully” (aka Adelaide)

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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

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The “Special” Porch

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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
  • hiking
  • canoeing
  • etc……

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Nothing beats sitting around a campfire.

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One of our hikes

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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.

 

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A Gift from Above

 

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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”.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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

 

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

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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.  

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The Phone Call

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I’m sure we have all had phone calls that changed our lives.  Some calls impact our life for a day or so and cause only a minor change of plans.  Others may affect us for weeks or months and then there some that may have an impact on us for the rest of our life. I received a call this past summer that would impact my life for several months.

It was a Sunday morning and I was ready to walk out the door for church when the phone rang.  My husband was bicycling in a charity ride from Philadelphia to Atlantic City – Tour de Shore.  I did this ride last year, but chose not to do it this year because the roads were very rough.  The caller identified herself as a woman who was riding in the group with my husband and she informed me that he had taken a bad fall which resulted in a fractured collarbone.

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Immediately after ending the call I begin to think all of the ways our lives were about to change.  My  plans for the day changed right way.  My first task was to figure out how to get to him home.  After taking the train to Philadelphia, getting a cab to the hotel where his car was still in the parking garage and then driving to the hospital in New Jersey I found my husband not just with a shattered collarbone, but also six broken ribs. (OUCH!!!)  I then had to drive him the 2+ hours back home while trying not to hit bumps or do anything that would cause him pain.  (Thankfully he had taken 2 Percocet.)  For a “country girl” much of this was out of my comfort zone.

2014-11-10This is a Percocet smile. 🙂

 Life the first week was consumed with caring for him both before and after the surgery to repair his clavicle.  It was broken so badly that it required a plate, screws and a bone graft.  The surgery did help with some of the pain in his shoulder, but the ribs were excruciating any time he moved.  Pain medication was his best friend for several weeks, but slowly, the pain level began to subside.  Each time he would accomplish a task that had been impossible before, it was cause for celebration…..i.e. getting out of bed by himself, putting on a shirt that didn’t button down, driving, etc…   Eventually life began to return to a somewhat normal routine.

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Day of Surgery (cute hair net)

That phone call definitely caused upheaval in our lives, but we were very aware that it could have been worse.  Luckily, we were able to be grateful for the things we could still enjoy had rather than focusing on those we couldn’t.   I found myself hoping he would be back on a bike at some point, but I was thankful that he was able to spend evenings with me listening to music, sipping wine by the fire pit and watching the sun set.  We both developed a deeper appreciation for the simple pleasures that we are able to enjoy together.

 

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Since then he has continued to heal and even went for a short ride with me a few weeks ago.  He now has full range of motion in his shoulder and other than a scar, he is back to normal.  Yes, those kinds of phone calls can change our lives in small or large ways, but life goes on and it is how we handle those changes that determines what kind of life we will have.

 

 

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Wine by the fire………something to appreciate.

 

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Melissa Laine (My 2nd Granddaughter)

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Last year this time my daughter and her husband were expecting their first child, a baby girl, to be born in the middle of August.  Unfortunately, on July 2nd my daughter was rushed to the hospital with a severe case of pre-clampsia.  I didn’t know much about this pregnancy complication, but it is life-threatening to the mother and child.  The only way to cure it is to deliver the baby – which meant their little girl was going to be born six weeks premature.

 

As Anna was in the delivery room, all of the grandparents-to-be were waiting in the hallway for our little Melissa (Missy) to be delivered.  We were praying and trying to be hopeful that she would be ok.  We were in a location where we would see the baby being taken from the delivery room to the NICU.  I commented to my husband that we would know what condition the baby was in by how fast the nurses would be moving.  Well, as they rushed past us and we got a quick glimpse of our tiny new granddaughter, we knew we were in for many challenges ahead.

 

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 Missy–a few hours old.  (still cry every time I look at this picture)

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Little Missy weighed 5 lb. 11 oz. which is fairly large for being 6 weeks early, but she was born with Pierre Robin Sequence which caused her to have a cleft palate and other issues with her jaw and tongue.  This created serious difficulties with eating since she could not produce any suction without her palate.  The first 6 weeks of her life were spent in the NICU which meant daily trips back and forth to the hospital for my daughter and son-in-law.  (1 hour drive each way).  Her feeding issues meant that my daughter had to pump in order to be able to give Missy breast milk through a feeding tube.

 

all_dressed_upMissy- a few days old

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The day they brought her home from the hospital was a joyful, yet frightening one, because she was still on heart and breathing monitors as well as the feeding tube.  I watched my daughter and son-in-law handling things that most parents don’t ever need to think of—removing and inserting a feeding tube, learning how to tape lead lines for monitors, learning infant CPR, etc……

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IMG_0090Missy’s Homecoming

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All parents have some amount of fear that their baby might stop breathing, but for them this was a very real possibility and did happen several times.  The first time I was with them when the monitor went off it broke my heart to see my daughter and son-in-law rush up the stairs so fast that they were literally falling over each other.  The panic I saw them experience was something I will never forget.

 

For many months they endured difficult times including a week in the local Children’s Hospital where Missy struggled to breathe due to an inflamed esophagus.  Their life consisted of constant keeping records of feeding & weight gain, reading monitors, sleepless nights, and with my daughter continuing to pump her milk.  Little by little Missy began to overcome the feeding issues and was finally able to eat without the feeding tube. She has grown and developed in many miraculous ways.

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Beginning to Crawl

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Now that nearly a year has passed and Missy is approaching her first birthday, she is clear proof of what amazing love and care she has been given by her parents.  They have gone through things they couldn’t have anticipated, but have handled each hurdle with the strength that comes from loving a child.  They have made tough decisions along the way and have chosen wisely.

 

As I watched my daughter go through all of this I was continually amazed at the amount of strength and courage she showed and am very proud of the mother she has become.  Missy is now a happy, healthy, 24 pound little girl who is already trying to take her first steps.  When I look at the first picture of her I could never have pictured anything this wonderful one year later.  As I watched little Missy fight to overcome her various struggles, I have come to realize that my daughter isn’t the only one with incredible strength…..she passed it on to Missy.

 

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Anna and Missy at the Beach.

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Missy with her amazing Mommy and Daddy

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Missy will be having the surgery to correct her palate this Fall and she and her Mommy will need that strength.

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***(click on links below to go to jewelry and listen to songs)***

“Eclectic” is a word that has been used to describe me and I have to admit that it’s very fitting.  My tastes and styles vary greatly in just about every way possible and the music I choose to listen to is one of those areas.  I enjoy almost every genre from classical to head-banging rock and roll.  The different styles in my jewelry designs are also what could be called ‘eclectic’.  As I look at  the pieces in my collection I can almost ‘hear’ the music that might have been playing as I designed them.

One type of music I enjoy is the soft, ballad sounds of artists like Nora Jones, Natalie Merchant or Sarah McLachlan.  Many of their songs are about love, and the feelings those songs evoke  may lead me to create more ‘romantic’  pieces of jewelry, or at least ones that feel that way to me.  I find that these designs often have pearls in them and use warm-toned vintage metals.

Romantic Pearl Necklace  (click for more info)

“Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones (click to listen to song)

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Country music can inspire more rustic designs possibly with antique copper or ones that use components with a bit of a Southwest flair.  I have certain gems that just ‘feel’ country to me…Autumn Jasper or Blue Sky Jasper.  I often find myself singing along with the more familiar country songs.  (Being able to do that is one advantage to working at home.)

Rustic Blue Sky Jasper Necklace-Jason Aldean's "She's Country"

Rustic Blue Sky Jasper Necklace (click for more info)

“She’s Country” by Jason Aldean (click to listen to song)

As I’ve designed more Celtic pieces, I’ve also developed an appreciation for Celtic music.  There are many types of Celtic music from very traditional style which is very melodious and serene to a very edgy style that is predominantly drums—like the group Albannach.

Traditional Celtic Knot Necklace

Traditional Celtic Knot Necklace (click for more info)

Traditional Celtic Music (click to listen to song)

Sexy Summer Anklet--Celtic Byzantine--Albanach

Sexy Celtic Byzantine Anklet (click for more info)

“Alexander’s Welcome” by Albannach (click to listen to song)

(you MUST listen to the entire song to get the full Albannach experience.)

( I first heard this group at the Celtic Fling and I LOVE THEM!!!)

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I also have a deep love and appreciation for piano music–Michele McLaughlin, David Lanz, Joe Bongiorno and others.  This music can stir up strong emotions which then flow into whatever I am designing.  This type of music can sometimes make me more aware of the feel of the stones I’m working with or  make the colors seem more vibrant to me.  The jewelry designs created while listening to this type of music definitely have bits of my ‘heart’ worked in to them. (Even a few tears at times)

Cluster of Treasures-Christofori's Dream

Cluster of Treasures Necklace  (click for more info)

“Christofori’s Dream” by David Lanz (click to listen to song)

(see comment below You Tube video to see how I feel about this song.  It is truly an amazingly emotional arrangement.)

There are other days when I’m more in the mood for some serious Rock & Roll music—Aerosmith, Led Zeplin, Def Leppard……  That’s probably when my more edgy pieces are created—ones with lots of metal worked in to them..  I have to admit that when some of these songs start to play I can’t help but get a smile on my face and begin to ‘dance’ a bit in my chair.  There have even been times when a certain song comes on and I have to put my pliers down and simply get up and dance to the music. (Another advantage of working at home…..it’s usually not acceptable to get up and dance around in a cubicle.)

Sexy Summer Anklet---Walk This way

Sexy Summer Anklet (click for more info)

“Walk This Way” by Aerosmith (click to listen to song)

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Chains and Pearls Necklace

“Pour Some Sugar on Me” by Def Leppard   (click to listen to song)

These 2 songs definitely get me up and dancing—how about you?  

(I got to dance to Def Leppard at one of their concerts this past summer.   Yes, I can still have fun at a rock concert at 50 years old. 🙂 

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I’ve often said that music is the key to my soul.  I enjoy the way it can tap in to some of the  feelings inside of me and I’m also grateful that I’m able to express those emotions through my jewelry. 

Now…………..what do I feel like listening to next?………………….

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In my section ‘a little about me’ I’ve described myself as a woman who feels things deeply and then tries to find ways to express those feelings—-at times through my jewelry. Being a person who feels things deeply can be a blessing as well as a hardship. Feeling the extreme joys in life can be one of the sweetest experiences in life, but feeling deep sadness is one of the hardest. The fact is that you can’t feel one without the other. By opening your soul with complete abandon to love, joy and life your heart becomes immediately open to the more painful emotions of life. I am a person who is brought to tears easily and at times I find myself wishing I could be a bit less ‘prolific’ in that way, but in many ways I’m extremely thankful that I am that kind of person. I recently found this quote and it touched my soul and made me even more thankful for my ‘gift’ of tears.

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the make of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…..and unspeakable love. ”

–Washington Irving

There is something cleansing in tears. They are caused by deep emotions that can not be contained, but find their way out of your soul in the form of beautiful teardrops. I’ve always appreciated the unique beauty of teardrop pearls, gems and beads. They have such a feeling of warmth and beauty to them and it suddenly dawned on me that they are a perfect symbol for human tears. Tears are warm and if you really think about it, they are often beautiful. Granted, we may not consider ourselves ‘beautiful’ with splotchy faces and swollen eyes from crying, but the tears that form in our hearts, flow from our eyes and gently slide down our cheeks are packed full of whatever is in our souls and that can be a truly beautiful thing.

The emotions behind tears can be very complex. They are often caused by several different emotions at one time. One kind of tear in particular has a unique beauty to it—the tear that is brought about by joy and pain at the same time. There is something exquisitely beautiful about being able to cry tears of joy about something that is also causing pain as well. It is a true blessing to be able to feel inexpressible joy for someone’s good fortune even though that same good fortune causes pain in your own heart. I think that is the kind of tears that the quote above is referring to. Those tears are ‘messengers of overwhelming grief…..and unspeakable love’.

I, for one, am thankful for the gift of being able to shed those kinds of teardrops and I am reminded of a passage from the Bible…Psalm 56:8.

You have kept record
of my days of wandering.
You have stored my tears
in your bottle
and counted each of them.

I am truly beginning to believe that God does see each and every tear we cry and when those tears are the result of love, especially a love that He/She has placed in our hearts………..I like to think those are kept in an especially beautiful bottle. Those tears are a visible sign of true love. Tears that are the result of that kind of inexplicable love are what I see as ‘treasured teardrops’.

I have a feeling that you may be seeing more teardrops worked in to my designs in the weeks and months to come and you will know that they are in some small way a tangible expression of my deep feelings and are visible symbols of my ‘treasured teardrops’.

I share this with the hope that for any of you who find tears streaming down your cheeks will somehow be able to see some small amount of beauty in them………..even midst the pain that may be causing them.

Teardrop Designs by Brenda Elaine

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