Wednesday, December 1, 2021

December 1 - Candle of Hope

Looking back on my childhood, our Advent started on December 1st and ended on Christmas.  My mom handmade 25 little pockets of paper on a large piece of cardboard and filled it with activities for every night leading up until Christmas.  It was tradition.   It was long before all the dazzle of pinned ideas and social media inspiration.  It was simple, but magical and deeply rooted in faith and family.  The anticipation of opening up the slip of paper every night to see what the activity was exciting and part of preparing our hearts for the real meaning of the season.


Tonight's activity in our home wasn't as planned as my mom was so amazing at making it all happen.  Tonight was cutting some branches off our trees, in only the light of the moon, because I wasn't as prepared as I had hoped.  I quickly added the fresh greens to our centerpiece holding the candles to be lit each night.  This first week is Hope.   Our Advent Devotional reading is Unwrapping the Names of Jesus.
2 The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shone.  Isaiah 9:2

We lit the candle of Hope, whispered a prayer, read the devotional, and listened to Silent Night.  The candle danced its light in the darkness around us.  I paused.  My heart and mind both met quietness.  This is tonight's handful of quietness.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Quiet Moments - nature walking

 

 . . . because little hands teach us big things.

 

 . . . because the sound of water is worth listening to.

 







 . . . because walking with nature is stepping into the Master's creation.

 

I often get a bit wordy and ramble on, so these quiet moments posts will be a mere whisper of pauses where silence speaks louder than words and the camera captures the beauty of life.  These moments were inspired by a blogger I've truly found as a kindred spirit (a virtual mentor).  I now have a handful of these special mentors over the years of blogging. She's shown me that what I was already doing with my family was beautiful and to slow down and capture it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Finding my way

 

The crisp air is finally making its way to our little mountain top.  The temperatures are dipping below freezing and the daytime is still warm enough to feel the rays of sunshine.  Each fall I feel an awakening of renewed strength and I find my way back to that part of me that I lose come each summer as the heat steals away my energy.

 

I take a deep breath and look around.  

 

My home is cluttered, my hands are wrinkling, and trees are bending in the wind outdoors and I can sometimes hear a branch snap.  My back hurts nearly every day now.  It bends like those trees at times and I wonder what will be that point where I feel the break like the branch on a tree.  Elevation issues cause pressures in my head and headaches often follow.  I move slower, I function slower.   I'm getting what I've always dreamed, but not in the ways I had thought.  I was feeling the busy take hold of life years ago and struggled to find slow, and now it has come in the form of painful twinges that force me to relinquish what the mind wants to accomplish against what the body can actually do.


I've been gifted so many seasons of being able to push through the pain and I feel the slow now coming on beyond those dreams.  My once immaculate home suffers with piles in each room and I see dust where I've chosen to rest over perfection because I don't want to waste energy fighting it.   Chronic pain and I go way back to my teens and has added new layers over time.  It's my shadow and follows me everywhere.   Sometimes it tries to steal the joy in my everyday life, but deep within, I'm not sorry that it follows me around.   It's made me stronger.  I see the little things that I know I would have missed had I been walking life at a faster pace.  I see God in the gift of life and the challenges bring me closer to cherishing every movement.  Standing up, sitting up straight, every step is not be taken for granted.  Household chores are precious because I can do them.  I pause to reflect upon others who can't.  I am grateful for every load of laundry I've washed and folded, every pile of dishes that served my family and made it back clean into the cupboard. 

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.  - F. Scott Fitsgerald


I think the area I struggle the most is the inability to serve more outside our home.  I've been creative over the years in small ways like doubling up supper to bless a neighbor with a meal, but my heart feels a little let down that I can't keep up or do the things I'd love to.  I guess this is where writing became part of my soul. I've been told numerous times that something I've written has offered encouragement or inspired someone in difficult times.  Maybe it's a way to serve.   I've tried to let it go and pursue other avenues, but I am always called back to write the words of my heart.  I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with a paragraph being written in my head until I'm forced to grab a pen and paper. It then turns into a chapter.   Eventually it gets lost in an old journal hiding in one of those piles that waits for my attention. 

 

It's hard to write the overflow of your heart and share something that potentially could be picked apart by others.  I've had my ups and downs of blogging in the past.    I've quit many times because I felt like the window to my soul or my family has been far too exposed.  This time, I'm trying to write from the same window, but with a sweet curtain to shelter the harmful rays.   I am inspired by other kindred people and don't want to copy, but share that because of them, I was able to bring similar moments into our home.  

 

I'm not really a writer. This is just a new chapter in the same book starting again as it gets "crisp in the fall".  I'm just part of the story - telling the story. . . becoming the story in the handful of quietness.