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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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As I turned onto a gravel road the scenery changed, but still had a special kind of beauty.

 

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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.

 

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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:

 

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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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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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Rainy morning in the Florida Keys

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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. 🙂 )

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My morning work tray

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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.

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You can see the raindrops dripping off the stem.

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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!!!

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Stunningly beautiful!!!!

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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.

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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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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.

 

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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.

 

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

 

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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.  🙂

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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