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Posts Tagged ‘grief’

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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Forest

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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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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“Write your hurts in the SAND and you blessings in STONE.”

When I first read this quote I liked it, however, I changed my mind as I thought about it.  I realized that it’s not really possible to do, nor is it a beneficial thing to even try to do.  No matter how much we may try to deny it, we ARE a product of all our past experiences — the bad as well as the good.  Each and every thing that enters our life shapes us in some way.  Everyone experiences hurts as well as  blessings and it is impossible to have the hurts simply disappear like words that are written in sand.

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None of us can choose when or how a painful circumstance may enter our lives, but we can choose how we allow events to change us.  I know it sounds cliche’ to talk about pain making you stronger, but if you spend time with people who have experienced deep wounding in their life, you will often find this to be true.  Walking through painful times can allow people to find a strength they had not yet known was possible.  People often come through tough experiences stronger than they went into them.  This definitely isn’t something that happens in a day, a month, or even a year–it is a long and arduous process of facing the hurt, allowing yourself to grieve and then finding ways to live your life while your heart begins to heal.

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Brokenness in our lives can not only make people stronger, but can make them more beautiful.  A person who has come through hard times in life is often capable of deeper levels of acceptance, forgiveness, compassion and love. There is a profound and indescribable beauty in someone who has walked through a deep pain and is then able to show someone else amazing compassion.   Having a friend who is truly able to understand your  pain can be an incredible comfort.  Being able to see that someone has survived that kind of pain can give hope to one who may be at the beginning of that journey.

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If you are in deep pain right now, I hope my words don’t come across as thoughtless or cavalier.   I’m not saying any of these things lightly because  I, myself, am one who is still in the process of healing and trying to internalize these things.  Wherever you are on your journey it is my hope and prayer that you are able to find that strength inside of you, but that you also find people you can lean on when you need it.  Whatever you may be experiencing in life, I would encourage you accept the fact that it is not ‘written in sand’, whether it be joy or pain.  You can’t always control what may come into your life or what may be taken away, but you can make a choice in how you allow it to change you.  I, for one, hope to allow both good and bad times to shape me into someone who is stronger and more beautiful.

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Some choose to allow their pain to turn into bitterness and that is a very sad thing to see.  My beliefs may be different than yours, but I feel that some help from God  is needed to bring true strength and beauty out of pain.  In my experience, my own prayers and those of my friends have helped immensely.  I am at a point in the process that I can begin to see that I am a stronger and more compassionate woman than I used to be.   It is my hope and prayer that you will be able to see the strength and beauty in yourself that pain may have ‘forged’ in your life and that you will find a new or renewed faith in our Heavenly Father/Mother as a result.

WTF1109 qotw the most beautiful pplz

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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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