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Posts Tagged ‘soul’

It’s the practice of many churches to have a sunrise service on Easter morning.  There is something symbolic and meaningful to see the dawning of a new day and know that it is the day we are celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

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The sun is just rising above the trees.

This year I had a different type of sunrise service.  It was held on the back porch of our cottage and instead of sitting in a pew I was sitting in a rocking chair.  Instead of being all dressed up I was in my pajamas.  🙂 The porch faces South-East and I was able to enjoy a beautiful view of the sun coming up through the trees.

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It’s now daylight.

I sat quietly listening to the birds singing for a while and then decided to listen to a song that seemed appropriate,  Allegri Misere.   I played it on my laptop so I could see the pictures and the words.  It is sung in Latin, but this particular video shows the words in English as well.

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Getting Brighter

For me there are two things which touch my soul and cause me to worship the Creator  –  the sounds of nature and certain music.  As I listened to this worshipful song which was accompanied by the chirping birds I realized that I was hearing two beautiful things which can help my heart and soul to worship God at the same time.

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My Cathedral in the Forest

There are also two places that I feel closest to the creator–in the woods and in a Cathedral.  ( I know, they are vastly different, but they both have a profound affect on me. ) As I was watching the words on the video and the stunning pictures of cathedrals, I realized I was also seeing two things that bring me into a worshipful place.  I literally had my Cathedral in the middle of a forest.

I may not have gone to any ‘official’ sunrise service, but I was able to worship the risen King in a very real way  –  possibly more than if I’d been in an organized service.

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Can’t you FEEL the emotion on her face?

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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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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.

 

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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.

 

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My Good Friday Cross

 

 

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Window

As I have been focusing on spiritual things during this season of Lent, a trip to the National Cathedral in Washington did just that – it drew my eyes and heart heavenward.  If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit, I would highly recommend it.  This Cathedral is the 6th largest in the world and has 231 stained glass windows.  You can look at pictures, but there is something that can only be experienced by walking through the doors.

Rowan LeCompte, the cathedral’s foremost stained glass artist, compares stained glass to music.  ” Both are emotional and instinctively perceived. Like music, stained glass can stimulate the imagination, it can lift the heart, it can enchant.”  I found this to be true.  Music has the ability to touch my soul and I discovered that stained glass also moves me in indescribable ways.   The beauty of these windows as well as the architecture were awe inspiring and as I walked around I found myself in tears several times from the feelings that overwhelmed me.

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The amazing beauty of the stained glass, as well as the of the incredible architecture of building itself, caused me to have the distinct feeling that I was in the presence of something Holy.  The windows all have unique and specific meanings, some Biblical and some historical.  Seeing Jesus, Mary, other well-known Biblical figures depicted in these scenes reached out and grabbed my heart, causing me to simply stop and stare  with tears running down my cheeks .

The only thing I would do differently if I were to go again (and will be sure to do as I tour other cathedrals) is to have my ear buds with me to be able to listen to the music that ‘goes with’ the experience.  Unfortunately others were touring the building and even though my heart ‘heard’ music, my ears were distracted by the noises around me.  I can only imagine what would happen if/when I am in a Holy place like this and am listening to music that touches my soul in that same deeply moving way.

To get a sense of what I ‘felt’, click on the link below and  listen to the music as you look at the images of the cathedrals in the video.  It can’t do justice to actually being there, but if this is the kind of thing that can touch your soul, it will be a wonderful experience.  I have been fortunate to have a facebook friend who has posted various Youtube videos during this Lenten season and they have been special gifts to me.  This video is one that he posted.

Click HERE to listen to Allegri Miserere

If this isn’t what moves your soul, I would encourage you to look until you find what does—-it can be an amazing and overwhelming experience.

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Window

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As I enter this season of Lent, I go in to it with a different perspective than at any other time in my life — much more aware of my need for God.  In years past I made half-hearted attempts at giving something up for Lent, but I never truly opened my soul for God to fill the empty place.  It is my hope that this year will be different.

I’ve been on a journey for the last several years and have had my soul opened up in ways I didn’t know were possible.  There have been times of extreme joy as well as overwhelming sorrow.  I’ve felt intense love, but also deep loneliness.  I’ve found areas of strength inside of myself, but have also discovered places of weakness that have literally brought me to my knees. I wish I could say that I listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit during this time, but I often chose to shut my ears to those quiet whispers.

With the greater awareness of my need, it is my desire to do all that I am able over the next 40 days in order to begin to hear AND listen to those whispers.  The Bible says that God works through our weaknesses. Being more aware of my weak areas,  I hope and pray that is true and that God can use those things that have been made so evident to me.  

The symbol of the butterfly is very special to me.  As I listen to the song “His Hands” by JJ Heller, I truly feel like a fragile butterfly and long to feel the peace of knowing that I’m being held gently in the hands of the one who created the universe.  It is my prayer that as you listen to the words of this song, that you too will feel a sense of being gently held by our Heavenly Mother during this Lenten season.

 Click HERE to listen to “His Hands”

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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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