Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘nature’

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

 

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

 

 

 

 

images

 

Honeysuckle High

 

OK, I confess—- I got high today, but not the way you think.  I didn’t partake of marijuana, cocaine or any other illicit drug, but I was definitely feeling that kind of euphoria earlier today.  (at least what I’m TOLD it feels like–wink, wink)  Curious?  –  I guess I should explain.

 

I enjoy riding a bicycle and today was a perfect day for a cycling…temperature in the 80’s, very low wind and mostly sunny.   This particular ride was like many others except that it had a specific purpose.  Here in South Central Pennsylvania the honeysuckle is in full bloom and it smells AMAZING, so today’s ride was a ‘honeysuckle ride’.  I chose a 25 mile route along  back country roads that I knew had the largest sections of honeysuckle.  I rode by patch after patch of fully-blooming honeysuckle and as I passed each one I took a slow deep breath through my nose in order to inhale as much of that alluring scent as possible (taking care not to hyperventilate.)  I enjoyed each and every wave of the heavenly scent and even found myself moaning a few times–luckily nobody was around.

 

images (2)

 

As with any ride I enjoyed many aspects such as the breeze on my face, getting wonderful exercise, seeing many beautiful sights along the way, but the biggest pleasure today was being able to continually savor that sweet aroma of honeysuckle.  I may not have used an illegal substance today, but I definitely ‘inhaled’ and got as high as possible from honeysuckle.   Believe it or not the song “Rocky Mountain High” kept going through my mind, except I was singing it as “Honeysuckle High”.  I was enjoying myself so much that if my legs hadn’t gotten tired I might still be riding.

 

download

 

If you’ve never tried it, I suggest you give it a shot.  I must warn you that it IS addictive.   😉

 

 

Read Full Post »

 

 

IMG_8578

 Sulphur Mountain Banff Canada

.

The line between courage and craziness can sometimes be blurry. As a 52-year old grandma, I viewed myself as somewhat courageous because I’m still very active—I enjoy many outdoor activities including road cycling and backpacking. My perspective on that, however, has come into question.

 

My husband and I were in Banff, Canada, in the Canadian Rockies, for a business trip and we decided to make good use of the free time before the organized events began. The first day we rode mountain bikes along two fairly easy trails, but then decided to attempt a third more difficult trail. I quickly began to question our choice as it wasn’t a typical mountain bike trail, but had steep banks that had been filled in with loose rocks/gravel because the dirt had been washed away. There were many times as I was slip-sliding my way up a hill or inching my way down another that I was doing some serious praying. (i.e. “Please let me survive this.”) After several hours we did make it back to the hotel in one piece albeit with very tired legs and arms (from holding on so tight to the handlebars.)

 

 

20140516_103030

 Me before the trail got rocky  (thus the smile)

.

The next day took my questioning to a higher level. We decided to hike Sulphur Mountain, which is a fairly aggressive four mile alpine hike to the summit. I think under normal conditions we would have been OK, but the trail had a lot more snow than we expected. The trail started out as dirt and mud with little patches of snow , but as we climbed there were more and more sections that were snow covered and slippery. We both found ourselves slipping every once in a while, but then as we neared the top, I made one very poor choice in my footing. I was on a very snowy stretch, but there was a narrow strip of dirt along the edge of the trail and I decided to walk on the dirt since it was less slippery than the snow/ice. Unfortunately, as I set my foot on the dirt, it gave way. I instantly found myself on my back, sliding down the side of the mountain — I mean SLIDING at a fast rate of speed. Please understand that this is the kind of thing I’ve only seen in scary movies, but suddenly I was living it and I was TERRIFIED!

20140517_102152

 Me before the fall (again, smiling before disaster)

.

As I slid, I frantically grabbed at any branch, root or plant I flew past. At one point I caught the branch of a pine tree but was moving so fast that I couldn’t keep my grip and began to pick up speed. Just as I lost hope of being able to stop myself I saw a tree in my path and braced for the impact. Luckily, I caught the tree with one of my thighs and finally came to a stop with my legs straddling the tree and my arms wrapped around, holding on for dear life. I breathed a sigh of relief as I could tell that nothing was broken, but that there were lot of cuts and bruises. My husband had started to slide down to try and help me, but its was so steep and slippery that he lost control too. He managed to stop quite a bit above me and we began to talk and try to figure out what to do next.  If we tried to climb back up to the trail by ourselves the risk of beginning to slide again was a very real possibility.

 

banff_sulphur-mountain-1_big

 Trail before it got more snowy and scary

.

Just then, some ‘rescuers’ came upon us. There were 3 strapping, young men coming up the trail behind us and my husband called out to them to ask for help. They carefully supported each other and climbed down to help us back up to the trail. Once I was safely back on the trail, I realized that the only way to get out of this mess was to keep climbing and finish the last mile of the hike so that we could ride the gondola down.  (Yes, we could have ridden the gondola to the top, but where’s the fun in that?)  Trying to hike back down under such slippery conditions would have been WAY more dangerous than continuing to climb. After another mile or so of hiking through snow with my shaky legs and stinging cuts we finally reached the top.

 

20140517_115611

At the top—shaky, but smiling

.

Back at the hotel, as I got my wounds cleaned and tried to assess whether I needed stitches, I began to ponder the question of whether I’m courageous or crazy. I realized how lucky I was and felt grateful for several things. First, I was very thankful that I didn’t break any bones and that I somehow escaped with just scrapes on the back of my arms, larger cuts on my legs and bruises in all kinds of places.  I was also grateful that I had packed mostly slacks and long sleeved shirts for the rest of the week since my arms and legs were NOT very pretty. I was, of course, also thankful that my hands escaped unharmed so I could keep making jewelry. 🙂

 

So…here’s the question…..is a 52-year old Grandma that does somewhat risky things like this courageous or crazy? …. And, even if she’s crazy—– should she stop? I kinda think that crazy isn’t always a bad thing. 🙂

 

l

Gondola ride down Sulphur Mountain

 

20140517_121807View of trail near the top from Gondola

.

PS—Believe it or not, I climbed back on a mountain bike a few days later, but I was VERY nervous and extremely cautious—-basically a ‘chicken’.  I guess I’m going to stay ‘crazy’, but maybe a bit more cautious than before.

 

Read Full Post »

redwood-trees

 

OK, you may be wondering what earrings and redwoods have in common…let me explain.

 

I recently took a trip to California with my husband and after landing in San Francisco, we drove to one of the California Redwood State Parks to hike. We went there directly from the airport so we wound up changing out of our ‘flying clothes’ and into our hiking gear in the restroom of the ranger station.

 

As we began our hike I realized that I had forgotten to remove my earrings and they were not exactly the kind of earrings I would normally wear to hike. They were my large open spiral earrings that are simply wire coiled round and round in a spiral of rings. Well, if you know me, I’m the kind of woman who likes things to ‘feel right’…..and these earrings simply did not. I thought about putting them in my pocket or my pack, but was afraid of damaging or losing them.

 

photo

 Large Open Spiral Earrings

After hiking a short while we came to a redwood tree that had fallen across the path and the section that blocked the path had been cut away. This enabled us to see the inside of the tree and all of the rings. Suddenly it dawned on me that my earrings were perfect for this hike. They represented the many rings inside of the beautiful redwood trees. My earrings then ‘felt right’ for this hike.

 il_570xN.410279864_e5bv

 

Smaller Open Spiral Earrings on Etsy

As you see in the pictures below I couldn’t resist having my picture taken and realized that I may be the only woman to have her picture beside one of the fallen redwoods in order to highlight her earrings. I admit that this may seem odd to some, but as a jewelry designer, I’m often thinking of what my designs ‘feel like’ to the women who wear them and I was thrilled to find a connection between my earrings and my surroundings. Believe me, this isn’t the weirdest thing I’ve done. …………

redwood1

redwood2

Read Full Post »

biketulipsforgetmeknot1

I love being able to experience changes in season.  Here in South-Central Pennsylvania, we are anxiously awaiting the end of winter and the beginning of spring.  The charm of winter has worn off and I, for one, am looking forward to warmer weather.  In the beginning of winter the snow is delightful and exciting.  Sitting by the fire with a cup of coffee is heart-warming.  All of the unique and special experiences that come along with winter were fun for a time, but by this time of year, I am ready to move on to the next season—spring.

I look forward to being able to go outside without a coat and to see the first of the spring flowers begin to bloom.  I always enjoy the first day that I can open the windows and let the warm, spring breeze blow through the house.  It feels so refreshing to hear the birds chirping in such a way that you can tell THEY are excited about spring also.

I also look forward to being able to do one of my favorite things—riding my bike.  I live in an area with many country roads and there aren’t many feelings better than hopping on my bike for a long ride on a beautiful spring day.  Sure, it has been warm enough to ride several times lately, but it has only been possible if I’m wearing all of my winter gear.  It feels so much better to be able to feel the spring wind on your face and feel the sun warming your back.  I’m fairly certain that I have a smile on my face for most of the first ‘spring’ ride of the season.

Unfortunately, I’m going to have to be patient and wait a bit longer for all of these delights.  The first official day of spring may be in a few days, but the true warmth won’t be here for several weeks.  Until then, I’ll keep my warm riding clothes handy and be grateful for any taste of spring that comes my way.

Read Full Post »

The First Snowfall
Peace on a Snow-covered Path

Peace on a Snow-covered Path

I thoroughly enjoy seeing the first snowflakes of the winter season just as I enjoy other ‘firsts’ of each season….the first daffodil in spring, the first day it’s warm enough for shorts in the summer and the first leaves that change color in the fall.  I’m very thankful that I live in a place that has seasonal changes.  Being self-employed gives me flexibility in my schedule and the opportunity to take advantage of the gifts that comes with each season.

The beginning of winter brings on cozy things like lighting the fireplace, burning candles and digging out the warm, fuzzy slippers.  The lower temperatures of winter also mean that it’s time to bring out the winter coats, hats,  mittens and yes, even the snow boots.    The cold temperatures definitely limit the time I’m able to be out on my bicycle, but as long as it’s above 40 and there is no snow on the ground, I am still able to bundle up and enjoy occasional rides.  When the weather doesn’t allow for bicycling, I can always dig out my hiking gear and head out to the Appalchian Trail for a beautiful, wintry walk in the woods.  When I can’t be out in nature I can be doing something else I enjoy—sitting at my workbench creating some new piece of jewelry and enjoying a nice, hot cup of coffee.

We had our first snowfall a few days ago here in Central PA and as  I sat at my workbench and watched the snow coming down, I decided to take a break so that  my Golden Retriever, Denver, and I could enjoy all that the snow could offer.  I bundled up in all of my winter ‘duds’ and headed out my back door for a walk in the field behind our neighborhood.  Several neighbors keep a path mowed through the tall weeds and trees and it is a perfect place to enjoy a walk in the freshly fallen snow.

Denver, of course, went completely wild, running as fast as he could through the un-marked snow.  I, on the other hand, got partway through the field and just stood still.  There is something so peaceful and calming about being outside while it is still snowing.  As millions of tiny snowflakes begin to lay a white carpet over everything there is a sense of tranquility that comes with that.  This particular morning it was so quiet and still that I could actually hear the snow as it gently landed all around me.  I even allowed myself to be a bit like a child for a bit and turned my face upward and opened my mouth, allowing the snowflakes to land on my tongue.  (yes, hoping that the neighbors were not looking out their windows.:) )

Denver and I were alone in the field and it felt like time almost stood still.  I’ve always found hiking somewhat therapeutic and a time when I can sort through things in my mind, but it is even more helpful when it is snowing.  Taking step after step along the snowy path in the silence of the morning was so refreshing that I almost wished I could go on like that forever.  Being out in that silent solitude can help me to put other things in my life in perspective and can make the other more complicated aspects of my life not seem quite as overwhelming. Unfortunately, after a while, the cold began to seep through all of my winter clothing and I finally had to head in for a hot cup of  tea to thaw out.

As I said in my last post, I am hoping to be more purposeful in how I spend my time and energies.  I hope to take advantage of other opportunities to enjoy many different things that may present themselves in my life.  That day it was stopping the work of the day long enough to do something that is truly good for my soul.  It is my hope that doing things like that will help me to become more ‘present’ and to become more thankful for things that I have a tendency to take for granted……like the beauty of nature.

As I sat back down at my workbench after the walk, I did have a more peaceful and positive feeling.  If only there was a way to bottle that feeling……….or better yet, make a piece of jewelry that could somehow impart those feelings to the person wearing it.  Hmmmmmmmm……….I wonder what that would look like. 🙂

Denver enjoying the snow.

Denver enjoying the snow.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts

%d bloggers like this: