Re-Discovering Myself Through The Seasons of Life

As you come to accept yourself for who you are, you will find peace and tranquility.

Life has a way of throwing you a few curve balls now and then. As I reflect back on my life thus far, I am amazed at how each and every moment has helped to shape and mold who I am and who I am becoming.

My childhood years were filled with laughter, joy and happiness. I was raised in a good home with parents and siblings who loved me. They each played an important role in providing me with a solid foundation to build upon.

The teenage years brought with them the reality that sometimes hearts are broken and friendships are lost. I began to awaken to the reality that life was not always sunshine and lollipops. As I look back on those years I realize that they too shaped me in many ways. It is during this time that I began to think more deeply about what I wanted and who I wanted to become.

I’d have to say that my 20’s were some of the toughest years of my life. It was during this time that I experienced some of my most difficult trials. At times they seemed too difficult to overcome and there were times when I just wanted to give up. Fortunately, I persisted and gained the strength necessary to overcome them and endure them as best I could. Even though most of my 20’s were difficult, it was near the end of those years that I found the love, peace, and joy that I desired.

Then came the 30’s. Wow! Those years seem to be a blur to me in many ways. Life was busy, hectic and fun! Our family grew in size and my career took off and catapulted me far and fast. It seemed that much of this time I was just trying to keep up and do everything that was required of me. Life was good. However, this was when I started to reach deep within myself as I tried to figure out what I really wanted out of life.

That brings us to the 40’s. As I entered my 40’s I put on the brakes. I decided that I needed to slow down and catch my breath. I was purposeful in my decisions and began to evaluate all aspects of my life. I reflected on what was good and what needed some extra attention. I began to make the necessary changes needed, and this brought with it more clarity and understanding. My relationships with others took on a whole new meaning.

It has been interesting to contemplate where I’ve been, where I am now, and where I am headed in the future. I have discovered, over the past couple of years, what inspires me and what makes me tick. I understand myself better today than I ever have. I have waded through troubled waters, floated upon waves that carried me far beyond my wildest dreams, and sat peacefully in tranquility, contemplating where to go next.

Through the process of re-discovering who I am, I have come to realize that I am, who I have always been. I have come to accept that my strengths, and my weaknesses, help to shape who I am. I have discovered that those who know me best recognize my strengths better than I do. They see beyond my weaknesses and offer encouragement as I pursue my path in life.

Where would we be without friends and family? They help to shape and mold us throughout our lives. When we stumble, they are there to lift us up. They provide a shoulder to cry on, and they are the first to make us laugh when we are down. It is through my conversations with my closest friends and family that I have come to recognize that there are innate characteristics that form who I am. As I have made my way through life, I have come to accept and love who I am and who I am becoming.

Life is a journey. It is riddled with rocks and stones that at times can make us stumble and fall. However, life also provides many anchors and pillars of strength, that if we hold onto we will eventually find our way. Just as each year we experience the different seasons, and the changes they bring, we too experiences various seasons of life. Each one is important and brings with it new growth and a new awakening to what is to come.

Take time to enjoy the moment, and the season of life, you are in right now. With time, the seasons of your life will change and bring with them new opportunities for growth. Take time for reflection and learning, for they will bring with them a new outlook on life and more clarity as you move forward and into the next season of life. As you seek to re-discover who you are, you may just find that you are who you always thought you were. Accept yourself for who you are. Recognize your strengths and understand your weaknesses. When you do this, you will be better prepared to face the future with boldness. Then, aim high. Who knows, you just might reach your goal.

Saturday Stroll

No, I have not been ignoring my blog. Yes, I have been busy.

I finally decided to take a break from my busy day today to take a stroll around the yard. Due to the large amounts of rain this year my garden is virtually non-existent. I have not had much enthusiasm to garden as of yet. Thanks to my son, we do have a few things growing. He has been diligent in growing various vegetables in spite of the rain. My kitchen garden window has continued to be the source of heat for the many “starts” he is growing. I came home about a week ago to find our camping table set up in the dining room in the center of the bay window. He had taken many of his larger “starts” and moved them to this table to take advantage of more sunlight. His enthusiasm has not been dampened by the rain like mine has. Thankfully, we may actually have a few things to harvest this year.

As I walked out the back door onto the deck today, I noticed just a few of the many tomato plants my son has been growing. These are placed next to the deck railing to be “hardened off” as my son says. He has put barriers on the sides of them to keep the wind from blowing too hard. Once they have “hardened off” he will find a place around the yard to plant them. He has already planted 10 tomato plants around the yard. Not sure where these will be going. If all goes well, we will have enough tomatoes to feed an army!

Just a few of the many tomato plants that my son has been growing.

The mysterious flowers growing in the deck planter have finally begun to flower. I still have no idea what they are…

Do you know what these are?

Our yard is sprinkled with Foxglove all around the perimeter. Here is one near the side gate…

A burst of color against all the greenery.

Here is a beautiful white one near the driveway…

Just one of the few white ones in the yard.

Here is another one on the side of the house. Notice the bee working its magic…

There were so many bees swarming in and out of all the Foxglove that I could not keep track of them all. It was fun to watch though!

I finally discovered what these are…Peonies! My friend said that due to the tightness of the blossoms before blooming the ants do the pollination instead of the bees. That makes sense because I see ants on them all the time.

Notice the tiny ant working diligently to pollinate.

Our spinach is finally growing thanks to my son…

The slugs ate all the lettuce but at least we still have the spinach!

I discovered this beautiful peach Iris nestled in a cozy corner in the backyard. I love the color!

This was a complete surprise! I was thrilled to find this beautiful flower nestled in a corner of the yard.

The strawberries are beginning to turn red and my mouth was watering just taking the photos…

I was happy to see that the strawberries are beginning to turn red!

My son pointed out that the cherries are beginning to grow on the trees…

Cherry pie sounds really good right now!

The hosta’s that are growing at the base of the built-in bench are beginning to show their budding flowers…

One of the many hosta's in the yard. This one, at the base of a bullt-in bench, is beginning to show its flower buds.

At the end of my stroll I noticed these tiny pink flowers growing out onto the sidewalk near the front corner of the yard. As I knelt down to snap a photo I was suddenly very aware of their fragrant scent! They smelled wonderful. I have no idea what they are…

These have a wonderfully delicious scent. Do you know what they are?

For me, life is good. I am feeling drawn in a direction that provides perfect clarity of vision for the future. I am following in faith, and remembering to stop and take time to notice the simple pleasures surrounding me. When life gets busy we often forget to notice the small, simple pleasures of life. Take time to stop and smell the flowers. Take time to slow down and remember to smile at others. Your kind smile may be the only one they see today. Every day is a gift, that’s why they call it the present. Remember to be PRESENT and make the most of each and every day!

Fruit Is Nature’s Candy

When you're craving something sweet turn to Nature's Candy and eat fruit instead of chocolate or candy.

In one of my early posts, Fruit vs. Oreo’s, I talked about how simply placing a bowl of fruit on the counter had changed what my family ate for snacks. I have continued in my efforts to always have fresh fruit available, AND VISIBLE, for my family. Over the past few weeks I have not been as diligent with keeping our current “fruit platter” stocked. As I have reflected back on the past few weeks I have come to realize that the simplicity of having fruit on the counter vs. not having fruit on the counter can, and has, made a huge impact on how we “snack” in our home.

As the fruit on our platter has dwindled, my craving for chocolate and sugar has increased. I actually found myself walking in to my friends house the other day and asking, “Do you have any chocolate?” I was craving chocolate like a mad woman. As we looked through her cupboards we realized that she too was out of chocolate. We did however, find some licorice. I looked at my friend and said, “I guess this will have to do.” The sugar from the licorice did provide some satisfaction but it still left me wanting something more. (FYI – No, I don’t go through everyone’s cupboards looking for food. This was the home of one of my dearest and closest friends with whom I can always be completely honest and vice versa. She understands me and it was totally natural for me to say what I did to her.)

Later that night I stood staring at the fruit platter on our kitchen counter. The only fruit remaining was a couple of banana’s that looked to be only good for making banana bread. I sighed as I stood staring in thought. I suddenly realized that what I was really craving was the natural sugar I get from fruit. I immediately made a plan to buy more fruit on my next shopping trip. You can see from the photo provided with this post that I went a little overboard. I guess I was feeling the need for some of nature’s “candy” and couldn’t decide which ones would satisfy my craving the most…so I bought a lot!

Do you ever crave chocolate or candy? The next time you have a craving like that, instead of using chocolate or candy to satisfy your sweet tooth, turn to nature’s candy and eat fruit instead.

It’s Not About You

Turn Your Heart and Mind Over to God. Trust, Exercise Faith, and You May be Surprised by how Quickly the Gates Will be Opened and the Path You Should Take Will be Laid Out Before You.

When we finally accept the fact that life is not about what “WE” want, but about doing what God wants us to do, suddenly the path becomes crystal clear. As we begin to exercise our faith and walk down that path, obstacles are removed, we see with more clarity than ever before, and our fears are washed away.

As we begin to trust God we will find that the restlessness we have been feeling suddenly disperses and the dawn of a new day brings with it the conviction and warmth that God has a greater plan in mind for us. Our vision and purpose are suddenly crystal clear and the pathway is opened.

Are you telling God what you want and then asking him to help you to find a way to make it happen? Or, are you giving yourself over to God, trusting him to use you to be an instrument for good, to do His will and not your will.

When you finally accept the fact that it’s not about YOU, things begin to happen and you will feel a freedom and peace you have never felt before. Try it and find out for yourself. With God all things are possible.

*This beautiful photo was taken by Terry Winter. He has taken some fabulous photos. I love the way he captures the light.  To see this and other photos he has taken go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/-terry-/2253119668/

Life Happens…

It was early this morning as I decided to put on my shoes and take a quick walk around the yard. It was raining lightly as I walked outside. The fresh air felt good and the light sprinkling of water upon my face actually felt refreshing. As I soaked in the fresh air, and the rain, I lifted my hand and turned on my camera. Let’s see what I can photograph today…

My walk was brisk as the rain began to descend with a bit more weight to it. As I strolled around, snapping photos, I tried to ignore the obnoxious crow that had been making noise all morning. It appeared a few days ago and has perched itself permanently to the top of our neighbors tree. It “caw’s” from about 4 am on, each and every day.

As I was making my way along the back of the yard, I knelt down to snap a photo of one of the many foxglove that have been blooming. As I zoomed in to snap a close up I noticed something on one of the flowers. It looked like a tiny, fury green bug. At first I wasn’t sure what it was. I ran inside to get my “better” camera and snapped a few more photos. As I continued to get closer to the tiny bug I realized it had wings. Could it be a bee? It looked almost green to me and did not look the same color as a normal bumblebee. Yes, I think it’s a bee.

Do you hold steadfast and immovable when the storms of life come? Or, do you climb inside a hole and hide? What do you see this bumblebee doing?

As I sat pondering this little bee’s predicament I felt rather sorry for it. It had been caught in the rain. It looked sad and helpless, sitting there on the flower. I knew it could not fly away in the rain and would most likely spend most of the morning perched on the flower, waiting out the rain. I thought about how often in life we are caught “in the rain” so to speak. LIFE HAPPENS. Sometimes we too, get stuck just like the bee. We are forced to wait out the storms of life, sometimes in places that feel a little uncomfortable for us.

As I sat watching the bee for quite sometime, I wondered why it didn’t climb inside the flower to protect itself from the rain. It could have easily taken a few steps and nestled itself inside the flower to be protected from the rain that was beating down on its little body. Instead it sat patiently, perfectly still, while the rain continued to beat down upon it.

Are we like the bee? Do we brace ourselves for the storms of life and endure them with patience? Or, do we climb inside a hole and hide from the world around us, waiting and hoping the storm will end?

I’d like to think that I”m like the bee. That when the storms of life come I will face them with courage. That I will stand steadfast and immovable, holding fast to the truths I know. Having hope that if I endure the storm well, I will be stronger and wiser when it has passed.

I must admit that there have been times in my life when I have felt the desire to climb inside and hide from the pressing storm. In fact, there have been times when I have done just that. Thankfully, with time, I have learned to climb back out and face the storms of life with courage and faith. It is when I stand steadfast and immovable, exercising my faith and working hard to do my part, that the light at the the end of the storm comes.

Realizing that the storms will come is the first step. Bracing ourselves to endure them well and to learn from them is step two. Having the faith that there will come an end to the storm is the next step. Understanding that when one storm ends, and time passes, we will most likely be faced with another storm. This is LIFE. This is how we LEARN. Each and every day we are being tested. Will we choose the right? Will we be strong?

Sometimes, when we are in the midst of our own trials, we are so focused on ourselves that we forget that there are others who are suffering too. Everyone has trials and to each is given our own unique set of “storms”. The question is not to ask, “Why me?” but rather, “What is it that I am to learn from this?”

When the storm finally does pass, and the sun shines, do we go about our life giving no thought to the purpose of the storm? Or, do we take time to reflect on its purpose. Has it refined us and made us stronger? Or, did we allow it to weaken us? If we have allowed it to weaken us, we can rest assured that we will most likely endure another storm, and another, and another until we finally learn the lesson we are being taught. If the storm has made us stronger, we will not be free from trials, however our future trials will be for the purpose of teaching us something different.

A new shade of purple popped open yesterday. I love the delicate shape of the Iris.

This life is a testing ground. Our lives are filled with trials and storms. They are also filled with joy, happiness and love. The simplicity of life is where we find our real joy. It may come in the form of a child’s smile, the laughter of a friend, or the still small voice that speaks to your soul, giving you peace in a time of need.

The next time you find yourself in the midst of a “storm” think of this bee. Don’t crawl inside and hide…stand steadfast and immovable. Be strong and have the faith that “this too shall pass”. This is LIFE. It’s all we have. Embrace it and find the joy in it. There is always joy…sometimes you just have to look a little harder than others.

Remember to LOOK and then remember to LIVE. Life is a gift, use it wisely…

Purple Is The Color Of The Day

This morning I awoke to various shades of PURPLE. The iris are continuing to bloom in spite of the never ending rain.

I decided to “google” the color purple and this is what I found…

“Purple is the color of good judgment. It is the color of people seeking spiritual fulfillment. It is said if you surround yourself with purple you will have peace of mind. Purple is a good color to use in meditation.

Purple has been used to symbolize magic and mystery, as well as royalty. Being the combination of red and blue, the warmest and coolest colors, purple is believed to be the ideal color. Most children love the color purple. Purple is the color most favored by artists. Thursday’s color is purple.” Who knew that each day had a color associated with it? I didn’t and I don’t think my flowers did either because today is only Wednesday and my purple flowers are blossoming all over the yard. Maybe they got their days mixed up…

Another site stated this about the color purple…

“The color purple is a rare occurring color in nature and as a result is often seen as having sacred meaning. Lavender, orchid, lilac, and violet flowers are considered delicate and precious.

The color purple has a variety of effects on the mind and body, including uplifting spirits, calming the mind and nerves, enhancing the sacred, creating feelings of spirituality, increasing nurturing tendencies and sensitivity, and encouraging imagination and creativity.”

What do you think? Do my purple flowers calm your nerves and uplift your spirits?

My “satin slipper” finally bloomed overnight into a very wet iris this morning…

A very wet, newly bloomed iris.

More of these iris’s are continuing to bloom each day…

Everywhere I look I see purple today...

These too…

These stand out against the red and pink behind them.

Purple seems to be the shade of the day. What did you see that was purple today? Out of the three photo’s above which shade of purple is your favorite?

Mother Nature Never Sleeps

Every morning I receive a gift from Mother Nature. While we are all fast asleep during the night she continues to work miracles among the plants and flowers. Today I woke up to find many new flowers bursting forth with their beautiful colors.

The Iris are beginning to bloom. What was just a bud yesterday became a glorious flower overnight…

From bud to blossom overnight...

The Foxglove are beginning to blossom all over the yard…

We have so many foxglove all over the yard, this is just the beginning of their colorful display.

As I knelt to take a photo of this budding plant I noticed this little ant crawling all over the bud. I’m not sure what he’s up to but I thought it would be great to capture him on film…

What do you think this little ant is up to?

Did you take time to look around this morning? What gifts did Mother Nature give you today?