Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘gift’

Never Say “Never”

IMG_20151015_120823

 

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.

 

IShfnnvyivmlbc1000000000 (1)

“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

.

IMG_20150812_195824

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
  • hiking
  • canoeing
  • etc……

IMG_20151016_165554

Nothing beats sitting around a campfire.

IMG_20150907_100656

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.

 

IMG_20150812_195210

A Gift from Above

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Moonflower4

 

Last evening I was given an incredible gift.  It was a custom-designed treat that touched my heart and lifted my spirit after a rough day.   Yesterday was an emotionally challenging day because my granddaughter had the surgery to fix her cleft palate.  The anxiety leading up to the surgery and the pain of watching her suffer as she woke up and began her recovery made it a very long and tiring day.  I was very thankful that the surgery went well and she was doing well.  All in all, it couldn’t have gone better and I was already feeling very thankful and blessed……..

…………then came the unexpected blessing.

 

I walked out on my front porch late in the evening and was greeted by the sight and scent of at least 30+ moon flowers.

 

Moonflower7

 

They grow all over the railing of my front porch and vine up to the ceiling as well.  I’ve grown moon flowers for many years and have never had a night with so many blooms.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of smelling a moon flower I recommend that you find a way to do so.  They have one of the sweetest and unique scents of any flower I’ve ever smelled.  They are also incredibly beautiful–so delicate and pure white.

 

Moonflower2

 

I brought out a glass of wine and simply enjoyed being surrounded by the beauty and the sweet aroma of my favorite flowers.

 

Moonflower10

 

I don’t see this gift as just good luck.  I’m learning more and more to accept these moments as gifts from a God who loves me and knows how to bring joy to my soul.  I’m also learning how to enjoy these gifts to their fullest.  🙂

 

Moonflower1

 

Your ‘gift’ might not be a porch full of moon flowers, but I would encourage you to look for those special little things that occur in your life and recognize them as gifts from above.

Read Full Post »

 

download

 

Being sick is never enjoyable, but we can find ourselves with unexpected blessings during those times and Good Friday was one of those for me.

The week before Easter I developed a bit of a cough that eventually wound up developing in to a bad case of bronchitis. Not sleeping, coughing and feeling basically rotten isn’t something I wanted for this special time of year. I had hoped to attend the Good Friday service at our church. Unfortunately, I was exhausted from not sleeping and was still coughing a fair amount so I wound up sitting on my couch feeling disappointed—then I saw IT.

I was looking out our back windows at an absolutely gorgeous sunset. The sky was turning vibrant shades of pinks, blues & purples– it was truly breathtaking. My eyes fell on a clump of trees that are off in the distance and all of a sudden I saw an image in those trees that I’d never seen before….an unmistakeable shape of a cross. The longer I looked at it, the more meaningful it became. I saw it as God’s way of reminding me of the true meaning of Good Friday.

 

IMG_0603

 

I had my husband take this picture and yes, I posted it to facebook. One comment made by a friend stated my feelings perfecty – “Way, way more meaningful than a church service”. It seems that sometimes we think that the only way we can have a spiritual experience is to sit in a church sanctuary, but we need to be reminded that God can meet us wherever we are—even being sick on a couch.

God gave us the MOST incredible gift on the cross that day, but we continue to be given loving gifts . We just need eyes and a heart that can ‘see’ them.

 

IMG_0602

My Good Friday Cross

 

 

Read Full Post »

il_fullxfull.270062859

 

Jewelry may seem like a frivolous commodity to some. Sure, it can add bling to an outfit, but it can also make a woman feel happy and can be a wonderful gift for someone special. At times a gift of jewelry is the perfect expression of love.  This was the case with a recent custom order.

 

I enjoy designing custom pieces and like to hear that the recipient of the jewelry was pleased with the outcome.   I recently received a note from a customer that expressed such gratitude for a special order item that it brought tears to my eyes.

 

A woman from the Middle East inquired about a possible special order after viewing my jewelry on ArtFire.  Her Grandma lost a special necklace many years ago and she discovered it was similar to my Celtic Knot design.  The customer sent me pictures of her Grandma wearing the original necklace.  I was able to make a few adjustments to my design and the finished product looked very much like the one she had lost.  The customer was thrilled and planned to give it to her Grandma for her birthday.

 

celtic_knot_necklace_d986242b

Click HERE to view Celtic Knot Necklace

I received an email several weeks later telling me how much her Grandma liked the necklace.  She was extremely happy to have received it and knew it was given out of love.  My customer had even received a call from her Grandpa to thank her for bringing so much happiness with the gift.   He said that the Grandma felt like the luckiest woman on earth to have been given this necklace by her granddaughter especially since she ordered it from half way around the world.  Yes, the Grandma likes the necklace, but the love behind the gift is what she treasures the most.

 

I was honored to have been able to help this young woman show love to her Grandma in this way.  I like knowing that I had a small part in bringing so much joy to a sweet 80 year old woman.  I have always loved making jewelry, but that note made me love it in a new way.

 

il_fullxfull.246555106

Read Full Post »

IMG_0274

 

 

MY VALENTINE “GIFT”

It is Valentine’s Day and I was given a VERY ‘cool’ gift—a beautiful snowy morning.

 

IMG_0255

 

As I stepped out the back door I was greeted with a view that literally made me stop in my tracks.   Everything was covered with a layer of beautiful, white snow.  Something about the snow clinging to the branches made me feel like I had stepped in to a winter wonderland.  Being in the season of Lent and purposefully focusing on the gifts God has given me, I couldn’t help but see this as a Valentine gift from the only One who can create such beauty.  

I could not resist the urge to bundle up and head out for a walk with my dog, Denver.  I took my camera along in order to capture some of this beauty while it lasted.  With the sun beginning to shine on the trees, I knew the snow wouldn’t last long.

IMG_0264

 

As I walked through the beautiful, white carpet of snow, it felt so invigorating and cleansing.  Seeing all of nature covered in white reminded me of a scripture that was read last night at the Ash Wednesday service.  Psalm 51:7 :Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  There is nothing more pure and clean than a fresh snowfall.  

IMG_0291

As I came to the part of the path where the sun had been shining the longest, I could already hear the snow beginning to melt and fall to the ground.  I knew that it was only a matter of time before all of the trees, bushes and grass would lose their snowy covering.  Being aware of this, I savored each moment and tried to appreciate every bit of the natural beauty as I walked.

IMG_0278

 

Denver, my Golden Retriever also appreciated this special gift.  When he first realized that we were going for a walk in the snowy field he began to frantically run around in large circles.  It’s like he was so delighted that he just couldn’t contain himself any longer.  It almost made me wish I was a dog so that I could find that much joy and excitement from something as simple as the snow.

IMG_0297

 

As I headed back to the house to begin the work of the day, I stopped and took a few deep breaths and enjoyed the sounds of morning.  I silently said my ‘thank you’ for the gift and took one last look into the field.  Even now, looking out the window as I write these words, the trees are already bare.  I am still thankful for my beautiful Valentine gift, no matter how short-lived.  I want to carry that over in to the rest of my life—being thankful for ‘gifts’, even if they are only in my life for a short time.

HAPPY VALENTINE”S DAY!!!

IMG_0269

 

Read Full Post »

Friends

Friends

As the holidays approach I’ve been thinking about various ‘gifts’ I have been given.  I am particularly grateful for my friends—I consider them a special gift.  As I think about them, I realize there are various kinds of friends and they are all of great value to me, but in different ways.

Some of my friends are more casual–someone that I might go out to lunch with or chat a bit over a cup of coffee.  They know mostly the surface things about me and the time I spend with them is fun — I look forward to being with them.  We share things about our lives, but they may only see the outer layers of who I really am.

I have a few friends with whom I inexplicably maintain a connection even if months or years pass between the times we talk.  When we do get together it’s as if no time has passed–we are able to pick up right where we left off the last time we spoke.  Those kinds of friends know the good and the bad about me and go down several layers closer to the core of who I am.

There is also what I like to call an ‘emergency friend’.  This would be someone I can call night or day in a time of crisis.  A simple phone call brings this person to my door ready to listen and help. This particular kind of friend provides comfort, guidance and prayer at times when I need it the most, even if we are not in touch on a regular basis.

Another kind of friend is my modern day ‘pen-pal’, a.k.a ‘email-buddies’.  I’ve never met some of these women face-to-face, but, have developed meaningful friendships with them through the computer.  I’ve often had my morning brightened by finding a message from one of these amazing women in my inbox.  We have shared joys and sorrows through our keyboards and they have been there for me and ‘listened’ when I needed to talk things through.

The most cherished kinds of friend are the ones who know the good, the bad and the ugly about me…..but they love me anyway.  They are willing to listen to my problems and they provide understanding and love.  They hurt when I hurt and feel joy when I feel joy.  I feel safe enough to share my heart with them and they in turn are brave enough to share theirs with me.  I am fortunate enough to have several like that and I don’t know where I would be without them.  They are almost all women who have experienced some kind of deep hurt or struggle which has somehow deepened their ability to love others and empathize with them.  These are ‘real’ women and are truly a gift.

There are also friends who are no longer a part of my life for one reason or another.  Some of them have affected my life in small ways and others have had a much greater impact.  I have a deep gratitude for the way I have been stretched and deepened by some of these very special women.  I can only hope that as they look back on our friendship that they are able to be thankful as well.

I am fortunate to enjoy a wonderfully diverse group of friends. It is refreshing to be exposed to so many different points of view.  I love being able to introduce my friends to each other and see them begin to develop a friendship. It is heart-warming to see them enjoying each other and appreciating those differences.

My life is much richer, deeper and fuller because of these special women and I am thankful for all of them.  Every single one of them is a very special ‘gift’ and I hope that I am the kind of friend that can be a ‘gift’ to them as well.

Friendship-Quote-e1327408483515

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: