Tag Archives: nature

What I have learned about grief

flowerGrief is sneaky. Out of the blue grief sneaks up on me. I do my best to prepare for the anniversaries, the times I know it will be hard. But it pops up, unwanted and unexpected.

Grief is strong. When grief hits it can take me down to the ground. Swiftly, I am out of breath and drowning.

Grief does not play fair. I make deals with grief, it can come when I am prepared, when I am ready to take it on, we have an agreement. Grief does not always abide by that agreement.

Grief is a thief. It sneaks in, uninvited, like a bull in a china shop, breaking our agreement and tries to steal my joy.

This is what I have learned about my grief. I say “my grief”, because everyone has a different grief visiting them, not all griefs are the same.

I have learned to give grief a time limit, especially when it shows up unannounced and bullies me into a puddle of tears. I give my grief  time and attention but with limits. I give myself permission to cry, a lot if I need to. I give myself permission to be sad, very, very sad, if I need to.

And then I invite grief to leave.

These are some ways I encourage my grief to leave; I go outside and soak up some nature. I listen to praise music, I read the psalms. I take a walk/run to get some good brain chemicals active. I count my blessings. I do something creative. I feed my soul. I pray.

I don’t always feel like I want to do these things, but I do them. I am persistent, I keep at it until grief finally gives in. Until it packs up it’s baggage and leaves.

So today, I am being persistent, grief swooped in yesterday and knocked me to my knees, but today I am standing. I am inviting grief to leave without taking my joy with it. Having cried myself to sleep last night in the wonderful arms of my understanding husband, I am sitting in my garden this morning. Worship is music playing, I watch the birds drink from the sprinkler, and the momma and poppa swallows try to keep up with the feeding of the littles. I am preparing for a prayerful walk/run with psalms of praise running through my mind.

I will not let grief overtake me. I have so much to be grateful for, I love my life, I will not let grief rob me of my joy.

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The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Ps 23

Gardening Small

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The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden is full of helpful information for beginning gardeners as well as seasoned gardeners. From when and how to start seeds to the when and how of the harvest. This book also gives the reader several options for preparing the ground for the garden.

Great illustrations of how to lay out a garden to optimize space make this book even more helpful . The book is full of practical hints as well as information on companion plants. There is also information on how to extend your garden by suggesting plants to put into the ground right after harvesting an earlier yielding crop.

I can hardly wait for the weather to be warm enough to give this book a practical work out in my garden.

more about the book | more about the author

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review

Broken

 

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I entered this new year with great dreams of running a few 5ks this summer. My foot repaired and healing well, my husband willing to give running a good try. Big dreams. Big goals.

I sit here this morning a little broken, physically for sure, and fighting the mental brokenness that often comes with physical. Looking for the lessons that are sure to be lurking in the corners of broken.

I am drawn to broken seashells, there is beauty inside the shells that can not bee seen until they are broken enough to reveal what is inside.

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Colors and patterns hidden inside. Beauty missed if left intact. I want to be like that in this season. I want light to shine into my corners and reveal gratitude instead of bitterness. Broken with grace is hard work, it is easy for me to fall into the habit complaining.

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If I am honest, I am a little jealous when I see people jogging. I am missing walking on the sand by the sea. I am not fond of crutches, (I tamed that down a lot 🙂 ). I am an active person that finds it extremely hard to sit still for too long. This season of stillness has been difficult but there are lessons to be learned. I want to learn them, I want to use my broken to find beauty hidden in my corners.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:17

 

Your Family in Pictures a review

9780823086207  Your Family in Pictures

This book is much like a recipe book but for photographs. Me Ra Koh’s step by step advice for getting your family in the mood, or setting the stage for fun and unusual family photographs is easy to follow. Prompting the reader to not just capture the formal family portrait but to also remember to capture cherished every day, such as naps, cuddles, homework time and many other rarely though about photographic moments.

The icing on the cake is right under every photo in the book, the settings she used to get the photograph. While these settings are not going to be exact for everyone who tries them, they give a starting point. I could have used these tips when learning to use my DSLR.

Even though I consider myself fairly accomplished with my camera, I am sure I will refer to this book often for inspiration and tips.

I would recommend this book to every couple as they begin their journey together. I would make a great wedding or baby shower gift.

Click here for more information

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Stories from Behind the Cardboard Signs

A Man and his dog

_MG_2290He slowly walked past, briefly met my eyes with a nod. His shoes held together with duct tape, holes in the knees of his pants, and a ratty backpack. He whistled a familiar tune.

“Great is Thy faithfulness!”
“Great is Thy faithfulness!”

Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

I kept going

runYesterday, I ran the longest I have run to date. I owe this to a bluejay, a swallow and two women I have never met.

As I hit mile one, fatigued, hot and sweaty, I was thinking I would just go a little further and turn around and walk back. I could try again tomorrow right? No harm, no foul. I am not really competing with any one but myself and who would blame me? I had already done a couple hours of yard work. Just then a car pulled out of a driveway, a woman in the passenger seat waved and gave me the biggest smile. It felt like she was cheering me on. I kept going.

A little later I noticed a bluejay hoping from fence post to fence post just ahead of me. He would stop and watch me until I got a little close then fly to the next post. It detracted me enough to get a little past the 1 and 3/4 mile mark without really noticing it. I kept going.

I let myself talk me into stopping at 2 miles, same reasons as above. Just before I got to my stopping point another car pulled out of a driveway, this time the woman in the passenger seat waved, smiled and gave me a thumbs up. That simple gesture lifted my spirits, put a smile on my face and gave me just a little more energy. I kept going.

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About a half mile later a swallow decided to fly with me, weaving in and out of the grass in the field next to my route. He would get ahead, then come back and do that little ballet flight that swallows do. This went on for about 1/4 of a mile. I kept going.

By this time, turning around and going back was further than just going on. I kept going.

I thought, in our lives, in our spiritual journey, how many times does God send jut the right person at just the right time to encourage us? More than we know.

I want to be that, an encourager, someone who smiles at the stranger on the corner, the haggard mom in the store, the gentleman shuffling along with a walker. Just a smile is all it takes sometimes to keep someone going, to make their day just a little more manageable.

I want to be that person that not only keeps going, but I want to be the person that encourages others to keep going.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

 

magic in the storm

IMG_6517aAll night the wind blew and the snow fell. We had not seen this kind of storm for years, maybe even a decade. We were house bound, except for a few walks around the house to shovel the walks, to make sure the bird feeders were stocked and the hummingbird feeders were not frozen.

On this morning I woke before the rest of the house. This was not unusual, I like the quiet of the house in the mornings. But this morning  I needed to bundle up a bit and take out the hummingbird feeder before I settled in with my cup of coffee. I stepped out on to the front porch with the feeder, and was met by Mr. Hummingbird. He sat and fed while I still held the feeder. I ever so slowly reached out my hand and stroked his back, he looked up, and continued to feed. When he had his fill, he flew off.

It was still storming all around me. I stood transfixed, in awe at the gift I had just been given.

Isn’t this just like God? With a storm raging all around, God gave me a very magical gift. Maybe if I stop raging back at the storms of my life and look for them, I might just fine that my most magical moments come in the midst of the storms.IMG_6584a

futile to resist

I could feel it yesterday, tugging at my soul. I tried to resist, it is not time yet. I have so many “inside” projects yet to finish.

But it kept nagging, poking at my heart. It was calling me, “come on, just a little time, just a little yard work, you know you want to. . .” I gave in. I found the promise of spring all over the yard.

Mr. Hummingbird greeted me at the back door, as he often does.

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Buds on trees.

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Flowers wanting to burst forth.

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Even lowly weeds, heralding the promise.

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Babies frolicking in the meadow.

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It is on its way . . .

Spring!

My word for 2014

IMG_5937This year instead of resolutions, which I haven’t done for years anyway, I decided to pick one word to practice and ponder all year. This year I have chosen Thankfulness. This word really is so many other words; grateful, thanks, praise, gratefulness, thanks, gratitude . . . it is a pretty easy word to find enough to read about and ponder all year.

I also wanted a word I could put into action, not just to be thankful, but to show thankfulness. I think this can be acted out in many ways also, remembering to tell others in my life how thankful I am to have them. Show how thankful I am for what I have by sharing it with those who are not as fortunate.

I wanted a word that I could put into action in my everyday life, including work. I wanted a word that I could involve others in. This word Thankfulness, has been my word for about 20 days. (I got a slow start, this whole thing of Christmas and New Year’s falling in the middle of the week really threw me off this year.)

At work I posted a large sheet of paper on my door, my goal was to write one thing every day on my way into my office that I was thankful for. I invited others to join it, what a treat that has been. Every day there is something new on it that I did not put there. Funny things and serious things, it starts my day with such joy. So many people have joined in that I have had to add another sheet.

I am also doing my best to post a quote or Bible verse, every day on Facebook. I search through my photography for a photo that I love, then look for a quote that fits. This means I am reading many quotes every day that inspire me. I am also studying the word for my devotions.

My goal in all of this is that by the end of the year, thankfulness is so woven into my fabric that it is not just a habit, but truly a way of life.

I do have so much to be thankful for . . .

Angel’s Wings

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This was my first view when I walked out side this morning. It made me think of angel wings. Today, two years ago, my son, my first born, woke up in heaven.

I mourn for me, for my daughter, for our family, but rejoice for him. I rejoice in the fact that I will see him again, someday. Some days, that does not feel like enough, I would love to talk to him, hug him, just be with him for a bit. I would love to tell him one more time that I love him, it occurred to me this morning that those were the last words we spoke to each other. In the end, it is enough. It’s enough to have the hope of heaven and the reunion that will take place.

I carry a strange mix of emotions, a deep sadness and pain, for the loss, but at the same time an amazing peace. I take comfort in the little reminders all around me that God loves me, he knows my pain. I feel his love through angel’s wings in the sky, hummingbirds buzzing my head, the sounds of sparrows quarrelling over who knows what, family and friends that surround me, the beautiful smile of my daughter, and the warmth of my husbands embrace.

Even though I miss Jason more than I can say, I have a peace, a deep peace that is deeper than the pain, and at the end of the day I know with all my heart that God is good all the time.