Footprints in the Snow

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Just over a week ago, our little neck of the woods experienced what was probably the worst snow storm of this winter. Actually, ice storm is the best description. So many of us wondered when will this winter ever end! After all, it was late April!

Yet, here we are today, the first day of May, and that snow and ice is a distant memory. I see a robin in one of our oak trees as I write this. The sun is still shining where, a couple months ago, we would be enveloped in darkness. All the remnants of that late ice storm have melted away! We thought winter would go on forever. But it didn’t. It left as quickly as it came.

And this got me to thinking about life.

This past week-end my Wild Child, along with my darling Grandson, moved into an apartment of their own. They have been living with the hubby and I for over 3 years now. The Little Man was only 1 and 1/2 when they first arrived to stay! And now he’s almost 5. And, though I am so thrilled for them and proud of my daughter, suddenly this home is very quiet (I hear the clock ticking madly). Things are a little less tussled and becoming more and more adult as each day passes. Wow! What a change!

I have blogged about my wonderful Wild Child before. One thing this family can always count on, is that life will never be boring with her in it! Things change suddenly! Flash back three years ago, and we had little warning before she moved home again with her baby boy in tow. A couple weeks to be exact! I recall rushing around (at Christmas time, no less!) preparing the place for a little one; thinking about what is safe to leave out and what must be stored. I had an adult home and it was going to change in a hurry! In the end, adjusting to the full house and toddler-fun came easy.  We all settled in and it seemed like these circumstances would last forever (or at least for a very long time!)

That’s not how it happened though!

Suddenly, with less than a month’s notice, things have changed. But isn’t that how life goes? Circumstances change the way winter quickly gives way to spring. When the time is right, things fall into the place that is right.

This is a good thing.

I’m happy for my daughter. She’s 25 and ready to have a place on her own. And the Little Man has grown to be a strapping young lad of almost 5!

It’s just that today, I feel in a ruminating mood. I’m thinking that we should never take for granted, our circumstances, or the people, or the time of life we are in. At the end of the day, count it all joy. Because when things change, they will change quickly.

Early this morning (this very quiet morning!) I awoke and wondered about my Magical Garden that I have blogged about here. Specifically, I was wondering about that wonderful tulip that appeared suddenly, unexpectedly, and from I’m-not-sure where. I questioned: would it still be there? In that moment, it was so important to me that it would be there again this year. So, I rushed to the garden and – Yes! – it has pushed it’s way up through the soil and is starting to grow! I silently said a prayer of gratitude. That little tulip has brought me joy for many years now, right around the early spring. I’m so pleased it’s still with us!

I wish you all joy in your individual journeys

and

I wish us all balance in the ever changing constancy of life! 2018-05-01 18.32.46

 

 

 

 

Friday Afternoon Gratitude

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It’s a rainy, dark, chilly and dismal day here in my neck of the woods. Yet, I love a rainy day! And I was able to score some time off of work leaving the hectic schedule behind to pause and simply be grateful.

Lately, it seems I have focussed too much on what has gone awry in my life. “My former church hurt me, it was so unfair, now what …” But, you know what? It’s time to leave all that behind. Life rarely goes as planned. And why waste time and energy meditating on things and people that went wrong? With a little change in perspective and a slight shift in direction, unplanned circumstances can lead to wonderful places. This, in all actuality, is what has happened. I need to remember that.

So, here I am today, making Coq au Vin in my slow cooker and anticipating a lovely night in with a dear friend who has become like a sister to me. I’ve messaged back and forth with the precious grown up daughters, and with the hubby. Life is good!

I realize how very blessed I am. It seems the small events and happenings all add up to a wonderful life. I couldn’t go another day without acknowledging this.

And now I look forward to the future.

Carpe Diem

If I knew (really knew) there was an expiry date on my life, would I go inside now and finish my ironing? Or would I polish off this exquisite bottle of 2015 Shiraz, sitting here in my gazebo, surrounded by tall so-typically-Canadian evergreens, backgrounded by the steady rumble of crickets?

Would I worry about the size of my thighs, my slightly too soft “mummy tummy”, how many steps I walked today, and whether or not that small cluster of spider veins will turn varicose? Or would I breathe in this early-night air, feel the August breeze on my skin, flex my toes, and exhale “ahhhh” contemplating how incredibly beautiful it is that I got to be ALIVE on this wonderful summer day?

If I knew my days were numbered, would I let minor annoyances grow into mountainous misunderstandings? Would I fight with my loved ones? Or would I simply whisper: “I love you”and leave the rest to sort itself?

Would I worry about who did me wrong? The time someone hurt my feelings? Would I even have time to think about who dislikes me and why they feel that way? Or would I celebrate the miracle of being completely, totally MYSELF?

The truth is, we are all mortal. Not one of us will be around forever. Some are awakened to this fact. Others still sleep.

As for me? I want to embrace and enjoy every single minute of this One Precious Life.

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The Choice of Joy

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I choose to walk a path of joy, in all circumstances

I know this is not always easy; that in every life, circumstances come and go. Some are conducive to happiness, while others bring pain.

Yet, still, I choose happiness.

I am committed to finding at least one beautiful blessing in life each day – even if that blessing is as “ordinary” as a warm comfortable bed, a beautiful sunrise, or a lovely gentle breeze on my neck. I want to focus on what is available in the here and now that has potential to bring joy. I want to nurture that joy. And I want to pass it on.

This does not mean there are never days of tears, fears or sadness. It just means that, along with all the other emotions I am feeling, I will also pay attention to the ones that bring a smile to my face. I hope others will smile too.

I choose the road of joy. I hope you will too.

Albert Camus

Loving the Shift

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What a wonderful, warm summer we are having here in my neck of the world. Pink skies, clear silver moons, and gentle warm breezes are filling the days and nights. How lovely after a few years endured with cold winters and short, overcast summers.

I feel this shift. And I love it.

The past seven years have taught me about shifts; about how there is really nothing to be feared in change; that things are always moving forward and transitioning.

I have come to accept that this constant motion of evolution is healthy. I can no longer imagine a life of no change, or, rather, a life that lacks acceptance to change. (I imagine such a life would be spent with clenched jaw, fixated eyes, and fingers desperately holding on to what has already come and gone)

My (very infrequent) posts since September have eluded to a sense of my own personal life in a transitioning period once more. Nothing major – no big drama or chaos this time – just a subtle and gentle shift of circumstance and focus.

My eldest daughter moved out last September, while my youngest has moved  back in  with our darling little Grandson in tow. My home has once again altered itself. What was recently a very adult home with wine, cheese, and long, deep discussions, has become a busy, slightly tousled abode hosting a busy preschooler with a continual background theme of Kids TV, quick little footsteps, shooting of webs (he’s a Spider Man fan)  and messy kisses.

I embrace this change of circumstance, for I know that nothing lasts forever. The time I am blessed to spend in this chapter of life will be short. Like all seasons are short. Even the ones that last 20 years. At the end of the day, life is short. I am committed to embracing each and every precious moment of it. Even the moment where said youngest daughter’s kitty jumped on the dream car, causing a couple claw scratches by the door handle …. (Yikes!)

Yet still, life is good.

In keeping with the transitional theme, My Magical Garden (which I have written about in a couple previous posts) has been changing too. This year there are less of our wonderful strawberry plants. I thank them for their stay and bless them on their way. They taught me so much about the beauty of letting go of what cannot be controlled.

In their place, Lavender bushes (which were once tiny dry plants I frankly thought would not endure their first winter) are flourishing. Their sweet fragrance makes me smile. Are they here to teach me about hope, endurance, perseverance?

Or are they just here to enjoy – no over thinking or spiritualizing?

Hmmm, maybe they are here for the bumble bees and butterflies. Yes, I think that is it!

Last Friday, I drove to the commuter station in the dream car, roof down and stereo cranking out my favourite 80’s tunes. I arrived early (a novelty these days, so close to vacation time) and had a few extra moments to simply enjoy …. beautiful pink sky, wonderful gentle breeze, awesome full silver moon.

How wonderful to be exactly where I am right now.

How I love this shift.

 

The Dreaded “Shake Up” Call

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By this age I have discovered that change is the only constant thing about life.

Our bodies alone are always morphing into something new; over a 24 hour period we loose almost a million skin cells. We were born a  baby, grew to toddlerhood, then childhood, then teenhood, and finally on to adulthood.

These changes are reflected in our lives. Our priorities shift and alter as we pass through the various ages and stages.

And then, of course, there are the changes that are individual to our own personal lives. People come and go. Things that were once so important, become a distant memory. Busy houses filled with children’s laughter become a little quieter and a little more adult.

Sometimes life will take us down paths we would never have chosen for ourselves. We may become

unsettled,

disjointed,

uncomfortable,

confused.

We have experienced a “shake up” call. We become acutely aware that control is an illusion; that certain aspects of life are beyond our command.

What we do have control over, though, is our response to the various happenings life tosses our way.

I have found that when I let go of what I think my life should be, and I accept life as it really is, a tremendous space opens. I now have room to replant and revamp. I have room to enjoy what I previously did not envision.

I know that life sometimes brings suffering. I have suffered myself in the past.

But I have discovered something that has helped; a little shift in perspective that has added insight to what previously may have looked dismal.

I have learned that when I focus on “should be’s”, my life becomes a closed box. But when I open my eyes to the truth of what “really is”, I become free to enjoy and to create new things. And, yes, I also become free to cry things out, to grieve, to be sad. All feelings are normal and natural. I believe in accepting and embracing all emotions before they can be laid down and let go of. Only then are we prepared to truly move forward in peace and confidence. And we are always moving forward. We have no other choice. Time ticks by and propels us into the future whether we are digging our heels in, kicking and screaming or whether we are gently accepting the change.

By all means, I believe in holding on to my dreams. I fight for the future I want.

But I also know that it’s important for me to find ways to love the here and now. And I allow the here and now to assist me in shaping the future.

It’s in the choices I make right now,

It’s the way I endeavour to find beauty and lessons in the present moment,

It’s in those silent prayers of gratitude for what is, what was, and what will become,

It’s in letting go of the preconceived plans of how life should go and embracing the life journey that really exists for me.

By this point in life, I have faith in two things:

The first being my track record for successfully navigating any challenge (or joy, or crisis, or loss) that life has offered so far, is One Hundred Percent. That’s pretty good odds. Please remember that we are all working with these odds;

The second would be, I have complete trust in our Beautiful Creator*. I know that I may have one thing in mind that I believe is good and I believe I want. However, when I let go of what I think I want/need (and I let go of any residual bitterness, anger or resentment at not getting my way), I find I am led to a future that is beautiful beyond anything I could envision for myself. Please understand that I am not saying this facetiously. Some of the paths I have walked have been extremely hard. Yet pressing on has paid off.

At the end of the day, Life itself is gift enough.

In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity – Albert Einstein

*I respect every person’s interpretation of what “Beautiful Creator” would mean. To some, this may be “The Universe”, to other’s “God”, or “Nature”, et cetera.

My Magical Garden – A Sequel

Last May I wrote about a very special garden in the front of our home. This garden had a mind of it’s own, and would not yield to any of my attempts at planting flowers. Eventually, I gave up and simply plopped a strawberry plant container on it to conceal the empty space. Surprisingly, at the end of the summer, the strawberry plants grew over the container, and somehow planted themselves into the soil of this magical garden. A few years later, another surprise flower emerged. If you are interested, you can read the rest here.

This fall has brought another surprise for our family – this time in our backyard, near the lavender and herb garden. A beautiful deep pink carnation has somehow joined us growing in between the stones of our walk-out patio. What is so amazing is that there are no carnations in any of our gardens.

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I am so grateful for this small miracle.

The blessings of nature abound when our eyes are open to see them;

when our hearts are open to receive them.

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Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see. – C. S. Lewis