Just Breathe!

20181031_174844.jpg

I took this picture back in the Fall, when we were hiking through the nearby woods. The trip was just a nice pleasure outing. A time  for me and my husband to enjoy the peace and solitude of the woods.

Today in conversation with a friend I was reminded of another time that I visited the woods. A time where I was feeling stressed and I needed to go to the woods so that I could breathe. I was telling my friend how they needed to take some time to breathe as well.  They are at a crossroads in their life, a big decision needs made and they are feeling consumed by the pressure. They need some time to just breathe.

It was a couple years ago when I had driven to the woods with a heavy heart.  Life had dealt us a huge blow and I was overwhelmed. I remember finding a log to sit on in the middle of the woods. I sat my weary body down and I soaked in the silence while staring at nature’s beauty around me.  I sat for awhile , I walked for awhile , and my soul breathed. While doing these things my spirit became calm, as peace wrapped around me. My circumstances hadn’t changed, but I had. I had taken the time to slow down, to concentrate on the moment and to just breathe.

I believe we all have been there before. Times where decisions and our present circumstances weigh us down. Times where we  wish we could be a child again, coloring under our blanket fort and eating chocolate chip cookies.

What do you do when you have a big decision weighing on your heart? What do you do when life deals you a severe blow and you don’t know where to turn?

We can become so consumed with feeling we need an answer that I feel we often neglect doing a very important thing.  Taking a step back and giving ourselves time to breathe! It is sometimes in the silence when our heart speaks to us and tells us what we need to know.  It is sometimes in the silence when the fog in our mind lifts and things become more clear.

Sometimes its not about wrestling with all the questions in your head for the thousandth time. Its not about figuring out how to unscramble the messed up alphabet in your head. Sometimes its only about one very important thing, and that one thing is taking  time out to take care of you. Allowing yourself time to just breathe!

 

 

Special Sounds

Relaxing piano music is playing and my Sheltie has her head on my one foot as I rub her back with my other foot. The vanilla candle is  burning and filling the house with its pleasant aroma.

I think back to growing up and hearing my Mom play the piano. It was a peaceful sound to me, made my heart smile. I remember hearing my Dad sing when we would go on road trips, which would again fill my heart with peace and happiness. I remember us singing around a campfire as a family and the contentment it would bring.

I remember my husband reading poetry to me when we were dating. Reading it as we sat in the woods. His voice filled me with joy and a peace that all was right with my world.

I remember the voice of my husband reciting his wedding vows to me and how it touched my heart so deeply that when it came time for me to speak, my words slipped down my cheeks. A lump was in my throat, but I did feel a heartwarming peace.

I remember many more years later, the sound of my husband’s heart beating as we held each other close when both our hearts were breaking. When we didn’t know what the next day would hold, but we knew that we would hold onto each other.

I remember after a scary C-section, due to the heart rate of my baby dropping dangerously low, the sound of my precious baby crying and the peace that immediately came to my heart, for my child was alive!

I remember the sound of laughter, something that my life has been full of since I been little. The sound of laughter that can bring happiness to the heart and just be plain fun!

The sound of birds singing and leaves crunching, the sound of the waves. So many sounds that can bring peace. What are some of your favorite and sentimental sounds?

The Splendorous Sky

We made it back from the beach last evening. As much as I did not want to leave the beach it is always nice to come home to those you love! My dear daughter really didn’t want to leave. At the last minute her work schedule changed and she wanted to join me and my friend Sherry. I am so glad she came,  she has liked the beach before but this time she caught the bug, the beach got into her soul. When you see sights like the following pictures, how can it not?

I was just so touched by the sunrise yesterday that I had to share it. To try to give you a glimpse of the beauty that was displayed right in front of us as we took our front row seats on the sand. These pictures were all taken within a hour as the sky kept changing.

Enjoy! For those who enjoy writing poetry, if these pictures inspire a poem I would love to hear it! Or perhaps they may inspire a short story which would be great to hear as well. If they make you smile and take a deep breath and feel relaxed for a moment in time that is the best. In this busy life we all need time outs and I can’t think of a better way to have a time out than to embrace the beauty of this wonderful world!

20181010_064937.jpg

20181010_064840.jpg

20181010_065442.jpg

20181010_065318.jpg

20181010_065520.jpg

 

20181010_070958.jpg

20181010_065841.jpg

20181010_070601.jpg20181010_084745.jpg

Peace in the Mountains

.facebook_1538352310790.jpg

We got back last evening from North Carolina. We had a great, relaxing time! I always love listening to the creek babbling  in my Aunt and Uncle’s backyard.  To me the sound of flowing water is one of the most peaceful sounds there is.

When we first got married and moved from Indiana to Pennsylvania, we rented a small cottage. It was perfect for the 2 of us and the backyard was the best part! There was a creek flowing through it that I loved to sit by.

It rained for most of our way down to North Carolina but once we got down there the sun came out and we had some beautiful weather. Brilliant blue skies.

.facebook_1538352482964.jpg

Sunny blue skies and sunny hearts! Deep conversations mixed with light conversations and plenty of hugs to go around! We were surrounded by nature’s  beauty and enfolded by love.

42809519_243186983034648_7232550353223286784_n

42669902_1681701081956692_884019799842095104_n

42705689_435144320344131_5091961008201662464_n

This just gives you a little idea of the curves in the road. The ones my stomach doesn’t like too much! It is about a good 20 minutes to half a hour of those curves to get to their house. But my stomach can handle it a lot better now than when I was pregnant, yes we may have had to pull off on the side of the road!

Amidst the conversation we also had time for games. Here is an action shot of Brad playing horseshoes. A game that I hadn’t played for years!

20180929_153035.jpg

It is back to routine now, but I am very glad that we were able to get away for a little and enjoy the love of family and the serenity of nature. There is no electronic device yet that can substitute for the peacefulness that being in nature can bring!

20180928_160336.jpg42804522_2355121467836964_7419047144704704512_n

 

Photo Challenge: Silence

via Photo Challenge: Silence

20170807_150944

The seagull’s feet may make no sound walking across the sand, but the simple act of watching it can leave resounding echoes of peace in the soul.

Hearts silently alight with simple beauty watching  the seagull take flight. 

20170409_075641

Words aren’t always needed.  Sometimes more is said in the silence of one who cares.  They cast their light into your soul with the love of their unspoken words.

Wings of Peace

d2f3aeb427c00eab9063712e9305ac83 From Pinterest, artist unknown

She was sitting by the lake gazing into the water.  She saw her reflection and her sad eyes staring back at her.   When would things be different?  Would they ever be?  She loved coming to this lake and shutting out the noise of the world.  The noise of hate and prejudice.  When would the sound of love finally drown out all those other noises?

Hearing a sound, she looked up.  She saw 2 beautiful white doves soaring together up into the sky.  She smiled at the lovely sight and her heart warmed.  It warmed as she listened to the soothing sound of the running water from the small waterfall nearby.

Nature was so peaceful.  There was so much we could learn from it, if we only would take the time to listen.

In honor of MLK today I wanted to post the picture above. My heart was drawn to it when I saw it. I would love to have it framed and on my wall. Filled me with tranquility.

I also couldn’t help but think of Colin’s poem, “My Dream”.   He is kindly letting me share it on my blog.  It is from his “Just Thinking” book of poetry, which is a collection of moving poetry written from his heart.  You can follow the links below his poem if you care to purchase a copy.  The perfect book to warm your heart on a cold winter’s evening!

My Dream

(Copyright Colin Chappell 2016)

I dream of a day

When we’ll all be friends.

I dream, as I look at the stars,

That the world will see

Being valued and free

Is far better… than destruction and war.

***

I dream of a day

When my friends are yours.

Although from quite different lands.

That you understand

All colors and beliefs

Are able to live in peace. Can hold hands.

***

I dream of a day,

Hopefully not far away,

When compassion wins in the end.

We’re all human after all.

We all stumble and fall

So let’s help each other up… and be friends.

***

I dream of a day

When the killing has stopped,

And peace prevails at last.

Borders are open.

Old vendettas are forgotten.

Past beliefs… will stay in the past.

***

I dream of a day…

But it is only a dream,

So many people will say.

Perhaps I am delusional?

Perhaps I am just a dreamer,

But to survive, we must find a way.

***

To break down barriers,

And to live together in peace.

It will be a challenge for some,

But why must we label

Our different neighbors?

Why can’t we become as one?

***

We all want respect.

We all want freedom.

Let’s open our eyes and see,

That we really do all want the same.

It’s really not complicated.

It’s peace… for you… and for me!

***

I dream of a day

When world peace is achieved,

And when the pen is the only weapon.

There will be universal love

And… to the power above I’ll say

“Thank you. Our Earth has now become Heaven.”

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Colin+chappell

https://books.friesenpress.com/store/search?q=Colin%20Chappell

You can also purchase it in ebook format from Google Play.

Peacekeeper vs. Peacemaker

Are you a Peacekeeper or  a Peacemaker?  You can be both too.  Were you aware that there is a difference between the two?  Let me explain and as always feel free to share your thoughts on what you think about it.

I am all for peace. If peace would reign in this world it would be a much more wonderful place to live!  I will do what I can to contribute to peace in this world.  I will help in ways that I can to be a Peacemaker, to spread peace and live at peace with my fellow men.

I feel that being a Peacemaker is good all the time, but what about being  a Peacekeeper? Is that always good?

I tend to lean towards being a Peacekeeper, as in I don’t like to ripple the water! I don’t like to make waves.  I like to do my best to keep everyone happy and to keep things calm.  Is that possible to do in life all the time?   No, but there are times that I sure try!

I will give in much easier than some people for I don’t like disagreements.  With that said, I do have issues  that I stand strongly on and that I won’t give in on.  I have learned how to stand my ground more since I have grown older.  Being a Peacekeeper shouldn’t mean that you are a pushover.

But in talking about general things, if its not a big issue, then yes its easier for me to just let it slide.  I would rather keep the peace.  I would rather not get into a big debate about it,  though there are some people I do like to disagree with  just for the fun of  it.

Peacekeepers don’t sound bad and its not bad unless you are hurting yourself or someone else by “keeping the peace”, for is that truly keeping the peace?  There are people that have harbored awful painful secrets,  for they didn’t want to upset anyone by telling them.  Unfortunately that is so damaging in the long run  to them and can be to others as well.

After my brother died I hated seeing my parents so upset, so I did my best to keep them happy.  That meant holding my grief inside of me a lot. Letting it out through my journals, but not wanting to hurt them with it.  I obviously wasn’t successful at that all the time, but I tried.  I can’t even say that it was a conscious decision.

I knew my parents loved me and were there for me when I was hurting, they always had been before. This time though it felt different for I knew they were in deep pain as well.  It wasn’t just me hurting this time.  There was nothing I could do to take away their pain, but I felt that I could at least make it easier on them.  I decided in my sub-conscious that one way I could do that would be to hide my pain.

I really didn’t realize until years later that I had done this. That I had seen myself as a protector of my parents and my sisters.  Not until I took a psychology type course that helped open my eyes to seeing possible connections between some of my experiences as a child and some of my behavior now as an adult.

There also was the time that I was texting with a friend and the conversation led to them asking me things that I didn’t want to answer.  I was “busy” with keeping the “peace” in myself. I  had an  image of how I wanted life to be and this was messing with it. My friend’s questions were “rippling” my “peaceful” waters!

The question was short and simple and persistent, for yes I tried to dodge it.   The question was “What is it that you don’t want to say?”  I almost threw my phone across the room for I knew that they knew what it was.  They were smart enough to know, so why were they asking me?

They were asking me because they were wise.  They knew I had to say it for my own good.   My friend knew I was struggling and they were trying to help me and my loved one at the same time.  I knew as I typed out my answer,  I knew as the tears fell,  that my friend had asked the right question.

I realized in the days that followed that I was filled with more peace then I had before. Not only did I have more peace but my peace made my loved one feel much more at peace as well.  In a way my friend had been a peacemaker between  my loved one and I.  For that I am so thankful.  I had been trying to keep the peace in myself,  by not dealing with the issue.  He had helped make peace, by making me be real with myself.

Is there something you need to be real about today?

 

 

What is Forgiveness?

I thought I knew what forgiveness was.  There have been times in my life that I have been hurt, who hasn’t?  Times where I have had to let go of the hurtful words or actions that had been done.  I had to realize that having peace in my heart was more important than holding onto my pain.

In my journey through life I have found that not too hard to do.  I am not saying it has been easy.   There have definitely been harder times than others,  but overall I didn’t feel like I had much of a problem with it.

I have always been one that strives to look at the bright side of life, that wants to live in the joy of the moment.  I can’t do that if burdened with holding a grudge against someone.  It’s not worth the loss of inner joy.

A little over 2 years ago that all changed.  I was deeply hurt.  My family and I had been betrayed and the pain in my heart was overwhelming.  The depths of it almost drowned me.

Suddenly I was lost in the sea of unforgiveness.  I felt more anger than I have ever felt before.  I felt sickened by the cold feeling that I had welling up inside my heart.  The intensity of it was a new feeling to me and I didn’t like it at all.  It was then that I wondered if I would ever be able to truly forgive the person for what they had done.

I knew the importance of forgiving.  I had been taught it, I had encouraged others to do it.  I knew that I didn’t want to become a bitter person.  Having the knowledge of what I should do though is different from actually taking the steps to do it.  It is hard!  It was something I thought I had a grip on for one moment, but in the next moment would feel like I didn’t.

There is a saying that gets flung around all the time.  “Forgive and Forget!”  Forget??  I forget times of appointments and forget where I put my car keys, etc.  Forgetting something major that happened to my family and I?  Forgetting the pain that was caused to those I love the most?  How could I?  The answer was simple.  I couldn’t.

I don’t believe you can forget and I don’t think you have to.  There is more to that saying I believe.  I believe that its not in forgetting what happened but more in what happens to us when we remember.  I feel over time that as we learn to let go and forgive, that when the painful memory comes back , its not quite as sharp as it was the very first time.  I believe that its the realization that  even though the memory may stay with us,  we no longer need to let it rule us.

It doesn’t mean that there won’t be times where the pain of the memory might hit harder than other times.  Its a process.  This isn’t something that happens overnight and all is well the next morning.  It is about finding the strength to be able to keep making the choice to let go.

It is not about denying the pain but in accepting the peace.

Pain hit me unexpectedly this morning.  A memory flashed in my mind and the tears quickly came.  I thought what is happening?  What is this feeling?  For the memory that had flashed into my mind wasn’t of the betrayal.  No, it was a memory of happier times.  A memory of a friendship that had been shared for over 20 years.

The tears came because I missed the friendship of the very individual that had caused so much pain.  I truly missed it.  I missed the person that I thought I had known.  I missed the person that I believed had cared about my family and I.  I missed the good times we had shared.   It was while I was thinking about those things that I realized something.   I realized that I cared.

There was a warmth that had crept into my heart unexpectedly.  A warmth where coldness had been before.  A warmth that was poking up through the shards of a broken heart.  The warmth of a forgiving heart.  That realization brought more tears.

I still don’t want to see him. I don’t believe you need to see someone in order to forgive them.  I don’t believe that you need to hear a “I’m sorry!” in order to forgive.  In this case I still haven’t heard those words and I don’t know if I ever will.  Forgiveness is not about the other person.   Its not about whether they deserve it or not.  How many times have I been forgiven when I didn’t deserve it?

Forgiveness isn’t about measuring the level of offense that was done. Forgiveness is about extending grace.  Forgiveness is for us.  Forgiveness is in the release of the coldness of bitterness and letting warmth fill our heart.  It is in the releasing of the tears that roll down our cheeks.

I am not saying that I am fully there, for I am not. I am not saying that I don’t still have questions, for I do.  I also still have moments of anger; but  in cases like this morning I have felt the warmth of caring.  The warmth that causes more tears to flow,  but flowing tears is something that I will take over a cold heart any day!

Forgiveness is a Warm Heart.

 

 

She Danced….

c4bcef505d06c84af40b6baee44ae548

The sky was dark, but she heard the music in her heart and so she danced.

The music would sometimes be hard to hear, at the worst times it would be muted and the silence was deafening to her ears. Times where she couldn’t  even remember how the happy tune used to sound.   When the happy,  melodious tune that was always a welcomed guest appeared now to be a stranger.  Walked out of the door of her heart with no forwarding address.

That wouldn’t stop her though.  She would still feel the pull from the depths of her soul and she would dance anyway.  She may have to make up the tune and it might have a lot of sharps and flats,  but still she danced.  She danced,  believing that the melody she once again would hear.

She danced for she knew her story wasn’t over.  She danced for the dreams that were  still out there waiting to be fulfilled.   She grabbed onto the moonbeam and let herself fly.  She flew through the sky in her dreams.   Letting herself be carried by the wind.  The wind that  would sometimes  mutter and sigh, but other times  would chime,  as she danced on the clouds.

She danced,  even though the nights grew long. and the wind harshly blew.   She danced, because even in the darkness she believed that she still could shine!

 

This was written for a dear friend of mine.  A friend who inspires me as she  makes her way through  deep grief.  Keep dancing my friend, your story still has many pages to be written upon! Love you!