Hiking Adventures, Photography

Where I Learned to Soothe My Soul

IMG_0725I’ve been privileged enough to get to travel to a few places.  Not nearly as many as I want to, but hopefully, there’s still plenty of time for such things.  One thing I have discovered though, is that I am blessed in where I live.  Nestled right between rivers, lakes, and mountains.  (I’m serious, they’re practically on all sides of me.)  And one of the most perfect places on earth is only a hop, skip, and a jump away.

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Up there, on top of that mountain, overlooking the valley and it’s raging river; life’s problems just don’t seem quite so big.  Nothing does from up there actually, everything is quite small.  All you can hear is the river.  From certain spots, you can watch the hawks and an occasional eagle swoop down among the tree line in search of their next meal.

 

 

This is a place where the ugliness of world hasn’t yet reached.  It’s serene, blissful, and can absolutely just chase away every bit of the noise and static that tends to build up in one’s mind and soul over time.  I go there often, to empty myself of it all.  And each time something familiar I suddenly see in an unfamiliar way.  Something new speaks me to, for this mountain as old as it is, is still forever changing and teaching us to do the same.

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Musings

Truth

Don’t let your perceptions of someone be clouded by the judgement of others.

 

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We’re all the villain in someone else’s story, whether rightly deserved or not. Someone is always going to feel as though they have been wronged when there has been a misunderstanding or a parting of the ways. What isn’t always known or understood is the catalytic moment that led up to the separation. In truth, what happened is not relevant. Their story is not yours and yours is not theirs. Truth can be subjective.

 

Never let anyone else determine the truth for you. It’s okay to take someone’s opinion or advice into consideration, however, it should never be the sole determining factor in what you believe about another. Whether intentionally or not, they may in fact be telling you wrong. Something more discerning than words are actions. Deception by words is an easy thing to accomplish. Deception by actions however is rarely successful. The best way to discover truth is to experience it. Let someone show you who they are before you determine what you think you already know about them.  

 

H. Jackson Brown Jr said, “nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.” I’d venture to guess the cost goes up exponentially when that opportunity is discovering another human being. They may very well be the one that adds unexpected color to your world. Or perhaps, what they add will be another facet of truth that you have failed before to recognize. They may merely end up being nothing more than a life lesson. But what if the lesson to be learned was in fact fundamental to uncovering your own truth?

 

Be brave enough to discover your own truth. Choose well and live loved. ✌🏻😘

 

Musings

Dear Children

IMG_6602I hope you fall down every now and then just so you remember how important it is to get back up and keep going.

I hope you feel left out sometimes and that it makes you want to keep someone else from ever feeling that way.

I hope there are times that you begin to think that boredom will swallow you whole, because that is when you learn to find your own adventures.

I hope you suffer the loss of friendships and relationships, and that it teaches you to nurture and fight for that which is worth keeping but that it also teaches you that sometimes it’s best to let go.

I hope you encounter difficult and impossible people, these are the folks that will test your character, that will make you choose to either be a weak person or a better person. (And I hope you choose well.)

I hope someone at some point tells you that you can’t do something and doesn’t believe in your abilities, and I hope you learn that they can’t determine your limits or capabilities, only you can do that.

I hope that sometimes you fail when you’ve tried hard to succeed, because failure teaches us how to succeed. It is in those moments that you learn how to become persistent, resilient, and hopefully a little bit tenacious.

I hope at least once in your life, you manage to travel in the wrong direction and get lost. There are far worse things in this life than being uncertain of the direction in which you are headed. (And sometimes its necessary to find your own way.)

I hope, dear children, that life is sometimes hard, frustrating, challenging, and that yes, you struggle from time to time. And I hope you know that in the midst of each and every single moment, I’m right there. Ready to help, to guide, and to seek the humorous and good in each difficult moment.

I hope each of these experiences teaches you that what will ultimately define you, is how you choose to handle them. I hope these lessons teach you to believe in yourself, to find the extraordinary in what others see as ordinary, to embrace who you are and the life that is yours to live.

Most of all, I hope you become decent human beings and genuine people. For that is the only thing I will ever hope for you to be “when you grow up”. Anything else you wish to become; I look forward to watching you discover and figure out as you go.

Musings

Footprints

 

 

img_7552Over the weekend, the wind really blew. I’m talking a feel the house shake kind of blowing. It’s spring, it’s to be expected really. Now living in a rural area full of trees, power outages and wind storms go hand in hand. It’s seldom avoidable.

What I didn’t realize until this morning however was that we have had not one but two wind events recently and both times somehow, I’ve managed to escape without loss of power. That’s a pretty spectacular thing really. The lights never even dimmed. Someone did some amazing work clearing right of way areas for the power company.

I also noticed something else. I’m so quick to sigh, utter, and even groan when the power does go out. “How long will I be inconvenienced by this unforeseeable problem, is almost always the first thing I desire to know. I never give any real thought to much else, such as, how long will someone else be pulled away from their family to repair it? Or, is the situation a dangerous situation for the person going to fix it? And honestly, it’s part of their job, they knew or at least likely now know, the expectations and risks involved… (I’m rather certain this should never diminish concern, but sadly that outlook in this self-absorbed world exists.)

My biggest take away from this morning, however, was that I took the existence of my power for granted. I gave no thought to possibility of loss (although I should have conceivably, as I said, not uncommon). I also gave no thought to keeping it. I just expected it to stay on. I depend on it, I pay my bill, so it should be there just because that’s the way it works.

For whatever reason, my mind doesn’t stop there… No, it continues to process and ponder. (A real curse at bedtimes most often, truly.) I don’t just take my power for granted. I take my life for granted as well. I also take the people in it for granted. Not intentionally, but I just assume that from one moment to the next, it and they will both still be there. I fail to truly and sincerely appreciate whom and what I’m surrounded by every day. 

How often do we look at a sunrise and then again at a sunset fully expecting that next day we will be given the opportunity to see them both again? How often do we walk out of the front doors of our homes saying a quick goodbye to our loved ones, because we know the departure is brief in nature? How often do we walk away in anger, leaving harsh words in our wake, unconcerned with the impact made or even considering that could possibly be the last words ever uttered?

The sincere truth of matter is, we give no real consideration to the footprints we leave behind in a number of other’s lives. We tend to think the opportunity to leave new footprints will be there, tomorrow or the day after. The reality of the matter,however, is that the only opportunity you are guaranteed to have is the one you have right now in the immediate moment. That’s it, just the one.  

Now, think about the footprints you’ve already left… What if those are the only footprints you ever get the chance leave? Did they come from a place of kindness and love? Did they make an impression, or were they easily erased? Or worse yet, did they leave ugly marks rather than beautiful impressions?  

The choices we make each and every day have a ripple effect. Not only in our own lives but also in the lives of others. Our actions, our words, and our lack of can cause an impact in ways we may never know. When we live our lives taking for granted that there will always be another opportunity, we lose. We lose moments, relationships, and the chance to breathe love and kindness into our own lives as well as the lives of others.

Even on my worst days, something good is there. It’s super easy to focus on what is missing or isn’t going the way it should, but in doing that, I’m not fully appreciating what is there and what is going incredibly right. This happens most often, because we took whatever it was that is gone for granted, it’s that simple. We relied on its existence to the point that we failed to take notice of and appreciate what was there when we had it.

One thing I’m learning so much truth about in own life right now is that what your mind feeds on, your soul is feasting on as well. And it needs to be feasting on the things that are life giving. The things that reassure you that this life is worth living and done so with utter appreciation for each and every moment that you have left to breathe. That starts with learning to be grateful for even the simplest of things such as power on a windy day. Or more importantly, the beautiful souls that intersect your path from day to day. Just think of the difference it would make not only in our own lives, but in the lives of each person that we connected to every day if we were living from a place of appreciation rather than expectation.

Musings

It’s Okay

piclab[2497]It’s okay in this life to change your mind.

It’s not okay to ignore your instincts, there’s a reason you have them.

It’s okay to change the direction in which you’re headed if the current destination is no longer a place that you desire to go.

It’s not okay to remain in the same place if the only thing holding you there is the fear of the unknown.

It’s okay to distance yourself from people and things that dull the colors in your world.

It’s not okay to lose sight of all the colors in your world because those around you are colorblind.

It’s okay to set limits and boundaries, unapologetically and without explanation.

It’s not okay to allow the pushing of those limits and boundaries to go unchecked.

It’s okay to quit, to give up and walk away from anything that dims your sparkle or drains your energy.

It’s not okay to hold on if the fear of letting go is what is holding you.

It’s okay to refuse to feed someone else’s need for attention.

It’s not okay to continue to sit at a table where respect isn’t being served.

It’s okay to allow silence to be your response where your words have once been wasted.

It’s not okay to silence your own needs and desires.

It’s okay to take risks and chances on things that challenge you to live louder, harder, and fearlessly.

It’s not okay to be afraid to bet on yourself.

It’s okay to choose happy and to live from a place of love.

It’s not okay accept anything less.

Musings

Whose Table Are You Sitting At?

 

IMG_7223[2206]Okay… Wow! Can I just say God smacked me right in the face with a big ole dose of truth this morning? I’m talking about the sort of truth that just makes you sit there for a hot minute and say, “Huh?!?” And it just keeps running through my head. I keep hearing His words over and over… “Whose table are you sitting at?”

I’ll just tell you now, I was sitting at the WRONG table! I was sitting at a table where I was being fed things such as rejection, hurt, anger, bitterness, and I’m pretty certain envy was coming up for dessert. I was letting all these things feed my heart. I was listening to whispers and notions of, “you’re never going to be good enough”, “you don’t matter”, “you can’t do it”, “you don’t deserve anything better than this”, “they’re better than you”, “they’re smarter than you”, “they’re more talented than you”, “give up”, “just quit, that’s what you’re good at”, and honestly the list could go on and on and on…

Those are all lies by the way. Not one ounce of truth is in any of them. Except perhaps the quit one, I really do quit on a lot of things. But, all jokes aside, I think I quit at the things I wasn’t intended to pick up to begin with, they were just things that I thought might validate me in some way. But that validation is only temporary. It’s the typical acceptance of the world, it only lasts for so long and then you end up cast aside. In all reality, the problem most likely resides in the fact that you were trying to be something you’re not. You were trying too desperately to feel accepted rather than rejected and as a result, you were hiding some of the most beautiful and yet vulnerable parts about you. (You know, the ones you’re afraid someone isn’t going to love…)

Thankfully, I know of another table. At that table the most wonderfully fragrant dishes are being served. I’m talking the kind that make your stomach growl when you didn’t even realize that you were hungry. Things such as love, grace, mercy, acceptance, and for dessert, forgiveness. There I hear promises that say, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3). “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you…” (2 Corinthians 12:9). “The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made” (Psalm 145:9). “…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

After hearing God ask me at which table I sat, I began to ponder the dishes being served. What had I been feeding my soul? I’m going to venture a guess here and say that all those things being served at the world’s table probably taste very similar to the way my son’s basketball socks smell. If I were really sitting at a table where everything smelled sour, bitter, and of decay (yes, his socks really are that bad) then I don’t think I would even excuse myself before I got up and left. I’d just quietly take my leave and go. On the other hand, if I were sitting at a table where everything smelled delectable, savory, sweet, and just completely aromatic… Well, I’m probably going to hope I have my stretchy pants on because this girl does love to eat good food. I’m going to want to savor every single bite and just enjoy the absolute joy of the delicious smells and bursting flavors. In other words, I’m not leaving that table. I may even take a nap sitting there just so I’m right there when the next meal shows up.

As humans, we are all hungry for love and acceptance. Where we choose to feed that need determines a whole lot more than just who we are sitting beside at the table. It also means choosing whether we are sitting at table where the food is bountiful, good to the taste as well as good for us, and more filling than anything we can imagine. Or choosing a table where the meals are scant, bitter, and leaves us constantly desiring something better. I personally, think I prefer eating at a table where the food is to die for and never runs out…