We loved first in our dreams...
You reached from beyond
into my unconscious mind
and found me in the realms of fantasy
Falling in love was as easy as breathing
And we did with an intensity that seemed
To brush the very tenets of my soul
Every spiritual nerve tingled
As we laughed at jokes
As you tenderly touched my face
As your arms reached around me
And we sighed in perfect contentment
It was a fullness of joy...
That still companions me
in my waking hours
You reminded me how to love...
Which I'm holding in my heart
Until we meet again.

Peace Be Unto You…

Peace Be Unto You…

In this turbulent world that seems to grow grimmer by the day, I wanted to write about one of my favorite subjects on this Easter Sunday…peace.   As the years have passed, I have come to discover that my favorite emotion is being at peace…that gentle, reassuring, loving feeling that all will be made well.

It has come on a summer’s night listening to crickets and watching fireflies dance.  It has come as friends sang softly by the light of a campfire.  It has come as I watched a sunrise from my window or walked through the quiet of soft snowflakes falling.  It has come as I lay warm on the sand listening to the ocean waves. It has come as I sat on a dock watching a sunset and listening to a dolphin sing.  It has come as I held a baby, calming it and letting it sleep against my shoulder.

It has come to me in a empty room where I hid to stop the tears of a broken heart. It has come to me in my mother’s arms and it has come to me under my father’s hands as he has given me a blessing.  But most often, it has come on my knees as I sought answers to desperate prayers.  My racing heart slows, my mind grows quiet, I feel a calm warmth that seems to spread over and around me as I listen for those words “Peace…be still.”

As the night draws nigh on this holy day, I listen to the birds singing the sun down.  The colors tint the sky like pale Easter eggs and the glorious words “He is Risen” echo in my heart.  I know He lives…and that He loves us. The world may rage on, but in my soul, I have peace and that is enough for me.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:26–27).

Christmas: A Season of Hope

Christmas: A Season of Hope

When I originally started my blog, it was a way to practice my descriptive writing. I never expected anyone to read it nor that it would develop into what it has. But as each inspired piece of writing has come out of me, I realized that most of what I wrote was about Hope.  As I have come through this 8 year journey since I began my blog, I have found many ways to endure difficult times and crises in small, everyday ways.

Every year for the past 9 years, I have had the same Christmas wish.  I won’t reveal what that is, because it’s too personal to me, but I will say that it has not yet happened. Yet every Christmas finds me gazing on that one star and making that one whispered wish.  Why?  Because Christmas is the season of Hope.  Hope that those promises made to us long ago will come to pass.  Hope that when we wake on that sacred day, that we will find some hint of our most treasured and beautiful desires coming true.

There are times I feel that it will never happen.  I lose faith…I lose hope.  Yes, it’s ironic that the woman who writes about hope sometimes feels it slipping away from her.  But we are all human, we all have our good and bad days.  And had I never experienced disappointment, how could I know the joy that comes from a hope fulfilled?

I can say that every time I come to the end of my rope, something happens to give me the strength to keep going.  It might be as small as a hug to something as large as an unexpected financial gift, but whatever it is, I see it as Heavenly Father’s way of saying “I’m aware of you, little one.  I know you’re struggling, but I am here.  I will not fail you. Be still and know that I am God.”

So here I am…still and quiet, listening, waiting and yes…hoping.

Merry Christmas my beautiful friends! May you all find your dearest hopes come to pass this New Year…

 

A Humbling Lesson in Gratitude

A Humbling Lesson in Gratitude

So yesterday, I was having a bit of a Grinch moment.  I was frustrated about several things and then while trying to go somewhere last night, my car got stuck in a snowbank in my driveway.  Frustrated and upset and tired of not having a significant other to help out, I slammed the door and went inside and decided to deal with it the next morning.  About 8:30 pm, I received a text from my landlady upstairs stating that someone was shoveling out my car.  I went up and it was my wonderful neighbor.  He had shoveled my entire driveway and then he helped me to get my car out of the snowbank.

Feeling very grateful to him and a bit embarrassed about my earlier complaints, I went back inside.  As I laid down, I pondered about many things in my life until I finally fell asleep.  It was then I had a humbling dream. I dreamt that I was getting ready to move to another city with my sister and my Dad and some other members of the family.  We were all going to leave at a specific time.  I had to run an errand to another section of town and promised I would be back before they all left.

This is where the dream took an interesting turn.  I had to drive to a part of town that wasn’t that safe when my car ran out of gas.  Knowing I was going to be late, I tried to make a call on my cell phone, but found all the data had been used up and there was no Wi-Fi.  I tried to borrow someone else’s phone, but it didn’t work.  Not long after, someone stole my purse.  With no money and my cell phone not working, I couldn’t call for help.

I wandered a few blocks into a neighborhood where hundreds of people lined the streets.  They were of every color, race, nationality and country.  Some had obviously been rich at one point as their clothing shown, but they had fled with just the clothes on their back.  I soon realized most of them were homeless locals and refugees.  I sat with one of the men asking if he had a phone and his phone didn’t work either.  I asked him why they were all waiting around and they said they were all waiting for places to sleep.  I looked around at the beds that had 2, 3 or sometimes 4 people to them and began to feel deeply humbled.  It was at this time that I found both my cell phone and even my shoes had disappeared.

Essentially, I was like these people.  I had no money, no shoes to walk anywhere, no car, no phone to call for help.  I was just like them and I realized how easy it was to have your life turn around so quickly.  As I partook of the breakfast food being served by volunteers, my sister came.  She had somehow found me and I knew I was going to be ok.  But as I left the building with the hundreds of refugees, I began to sing a hymn.  I don’t remember what it was, but it was a hymn of gratitude.  My sister joined me and soon, everyone there was singing this song.  For a moment, though these people were homeless, we were all grateful for what we did have.

I woke up from this dream and realized immediately the lesson that my Heavenly Father was trying to teach me.  We are all refugees in a way.  We owe our last breath to Heavenly Father for He has given us everything and can take everything away.  He does so to teach us powerful and important lessons in humility and gratitude and to rekindle that flame to serve.  How could we be grateful for an old car if we did not have to walk and take the bus?  How could we be grateful for warm shoes to cover our feet if we at one time didn’t have them?  How could we be grateful for our peaceful sanctuaries of home if we didn’t know the fear of losing that at one point? Once upon a time, even the King of all Kings was homeless as he was born and laid in a manger.

Mary and JesusYes, I am grateful.  I am thankful for the warm blankets on my bed and a warm home to sleep in, for the kindness of neighbors, for the love of family, for an old car that works and gets me to places I need to go, for a job that helps me pay my bills, for the food I have, for understanding friends, and most of all, for Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate at this wonderful time of the year.

As the song below says, there’s so much to be thankful for…

The Season of Light and Gratitude

The Season of Light and Gratitude

(There will be more installments of my adventures to come, but for now, my heart simply couldn’t hold the joy of the season inside any longer!)

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When I think of Thanksgiving, I also think of Christmas, because the two holidays are so completely intertwined.  Not in the materialistic or commercial way some people think, but because of the dear meanings they hold to me.

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Dealing with a bit of jet lag and waking up at 2 am, I couldn’t get my mind to shut off.  Having recently returned from England, I was already full of happiness after seeing my family again after a month. Though I laid there trying to sleep, I found myself humming a Christmas song and feeling like a child full of excitement. 

Nope, there would be no sleeping for me.  I threw back the covers, pulled out the Christmas decorations, put on the music (quietly so as not to disturb my upstairs landlady) and began to put them up feeling a bit giddy.

Season of Light

With each unwrapping, I couldn’t stop smiling.  Every ornament and decoration held beautiful memories of family and friendships and love.  I hadn’t opened this particular box for several years and I had forgotten.  I put on one of my favorite Christmas CD’s and the familiar music brought tears to my eyes.  I felt joy bubble up inside of me and could only describe it as pure gratitude and love.

The Savior and the child

Gratitude for nature in all of its glories.  Gratitude for my own small home and the peace I feel every time I open the door and step inside.  Gratitude for each and every miracle of love I have received over my lifetime from my family and friends near and far.  And most of all, gratitude for my Savior, Jesus Christ, whom I celebrate with joy and wonder this season.

How could Thanksgiving not be interwoven with Christmas?  A grateful heart finds joy in giving and a giving heart finds joy in selflessly serving with love.  For the recipient, the act of love warms their lives with gratitude.  The circle is complete.  So for those who wish to put up their Christmas decorations alongside their Thanksgiving decorations, you are really just celebrating the joy that comes from the Season of Light, Love, Gratitude and Giving.  What could be more wonderful than that?

Night and Thanksgiving

In the Meantime…

In the Meantime…

Patience Melissa…patience.  The words are whispered into my heart yet again.  The reminder comes as my weary heart waits.  Waiting for the promises that have yet to bear fruit.  But in the meantime, I find purpose in lifting aching hearts and heavy hands.  Words of comfort that have lifted my own burdens find their way to my memory in time to help another.  As I battle with the everyday, struggling to achieve my long-held dreams, inspirations come and I find myself walking a very different path.

Our individual missions are unique, but each one is so important.  We are each struggling to find our destiny, but in the meantime…fulfilling it in every way.  Sometimes our journeys make little sense, but they make perfect sense to One who sees the puzzle piece we are in the bigger picture.

I did not write these lyrics nor this song below, but every word speaks to me in a way few songs do.  It is aimed at women, but it can include all of us.  We all have dreams to be so much more than we are,  but in the meantime, we are becoming exactly who we are meant to be.

Sending my love to you all.

In the Meantime – Jenny Jordan Frogley

In her heart she holds the dreams…
That she’s carried since the day she turned 13.
Of all that she would be when she was grown,
Of all that she would do when she was finally on her own.
She dreamed she’d fly…
She’s still waiting for the chance to try,
But in the meantime she’s a mother, and a daughter, and a wife…
Doing all she can to stay above the daily grind
And she wonders when she’ll ever have more meaning in her life.
She doesn’t know she’s being molded and refined…
In the meantime.
Someday she’ll go back to school
When the carpools and the soccer games are through.
Because deep inside, she’s still the girl
Who always felt the fire to make a difference in the world.
She dreams she’ll soar…
When she finally has the time to do more.
But in the meantime…
She’s a sister and a teacher and a friend.
Hours turn into days that turn to years that never end.
And she wonders when she’ll ever really find herself again…
She’s becoming one on whom God can depend… 
In the meantime.
Heaven feels the joy of every victory in her life.
And heaven hears her heart before she cries…
But somewhere in the middle of the triumphs and the trials,
she’s becoming sanctified.
But in the meantime,
She’s an answer and a blessing and a gift
To every empty, aching heart that only she can lift.

Still she wonders if she’ll ever get to see where heaven is.
If she could only see her mansion waiting there.
If she could only feel how much her Father cares…
She would know she’s being perfectly prepared…
In the meantime…

The Light Will Come

The Light Will Come

“The message of this moment is so clear
And as certain as the rising of the sun
If your world is filled with darkness, doubt, and fear
Just hold on, hold on, the light will come…” (Song by Michael McLean)

This song (which will be posted below) was written over 20 years ago.  The first time I heard it, it lifted me up in a very difficult time.  In the past few months, I have been wading through some very painful, personal struggles.  I have been spending a great deal of time in reflection and struggling with inspirations I had that didn’t seem to make any sense.  My head was fighting with my heart and I didn’t even realize it.  I had made some decisions that seemed practical  and logical, but why then did I grow sadder and more upset and angrier with each passing day?  My cynicism and bitterness began to grow and I began not to care much about anything around me.

This just came to a head a few days ago when I felt in complete despair.  I knew in my mind that the feelings I had of hopelessness and heaviness were obviously from a dark force, but they wouldn’t go away.  Finally, during a quiet moment, I remembered a strong answer to prayer that I had received and I paused and began to think about it, remembering other promises that had been made to me by Heavenly Father.  I then laid my head on the table where I was sitting and prayed.

And then it came…light, peace and sweet joy.  I had impressions so strong that there was no doubt in my mind where they came from.  Every dark and negative feeling was literally washed away…just gone and I couldn’t even remember them.  I was given direct answers to questions that had been plaguing me and direction that I had not thought of taking, but the moment I heard it, I knew it was right.  I felt (and still feel) both excited and peaceful, as if some great burden has been lifted off my shoulders.  How and when these things will come about, I do not know, but I know this…they will come.

The light will always come.  Always.  Often you have to fight through the darkness to get those answers, but oh…when that sweet relief comes, all I want to do is get down on my knees and thank God for it.

As the song says…
“If you feel trapped inside a never-ending night
If you’ve forgotten how it feels to feel the light
If you’re half-crazy, thinking you’re the only one
Who’s afraid the light will never really come
Just hold on, hold on, the light will come…”

Hold on, my friends…that sweet joy and peace will once again become yours if you seek it. It may not come instantly, but it WILL come. That’s a promise.

In His Eyes…

In His Eyes…

I ran across this in an article I was reading the other day and it resonated so deeply with me that I cried while reading it.  I wanted to share it with all those who wonder if we are “enough.”  Yes…we are all “enough” and so much more in His eyes.  I hold this knowledge close to my heart when the world tears me down.  I hope it helps lift you, too.

Out of all the phenomenal and unbelievable creations God made, He took the time to make me. A small, seemingly insignificant, ordinary human who didn’t realize how extraordinary she actually was. A human uniquely set apart from all others. A human who was given her own, specific plan. A human with boundless potential and a divine destiny.

Me.

It was this moment when I finally and full-heartedly believed that “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God”. I realized that He truly thinks the world of me, and I have just the right amount of “enoughness” in His eyes.’

~Chakell Wardleigh~

 

“In England’s Green and Pleasant Land”

“In England’s Green and Pleasant Land”

Corfe Bridge

“And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon Englands mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In Englands green & pleasant Land.”
~By William Blake~

As most of you know, I have been back and forth to England many times over the past 9 years. People have often asked me what it is I love about the place and why I always wanted to go back.  There are many reasons, but I believe the main one has to do with this beautiful feeling of being “home.”

The Priory

As a child, I grew up in the Spokane, Washington area among rolling green hills, mountains and lakes. I spent many happy memories wandering through farm fields, playing by streams, and going to the park.  I was happiest laying on the grass under green and leafy trees on a warm summer’s day.  The scent of sun-warmed blossoms drifted on the breeze and in my imagination, I adventured through many distant lands.

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When I first stood on a hill overlooking “the green and pleasant” countryside of England, I felt as though I had found those “distant lands” that I once imagined as a child.  My soul felt at home in a way I hadn’t felt for a long time.

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But why?  I had never been here before.  Why would I feel at “home” in a place that I had never lived in?  Over time, I concluded that it was because I must have wandered its lands as a spirit before I was born.  Had I rambled the pastoral hills with my ancestors? Had I lived in those ruins that so spoke to my soul?  Had my spiritual feet traversed the beaches, fields and moors?

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Was that why the flowers in their ethereal blues and sunny yellows were so familiar to me?

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When I stood upon the ruins of a castle wall, is that why I felt as if I had somehow been there before?

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Is that why I felt such passion when I tenderly caressed the ancient stones?

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When I walked along coasts of jagged rocks and watched the ocean crash on the shore below, is that why I felt a longing for something I could not put a name to?

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Was it the mystery of history that spoke to my romantic soul? Was it me or my ancestors that whispered “Welcome home…”

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Though that chapter of my life is now closed, I will continue to carry with me the memories of extraordinary adventures, dreams fulfilled and lifelong friendships made.  I will always treasure my journey in “England’s green and pleasant land…” and maybe one day, I will once again traverse the well-known paths with those who have gone long before.

(All pictures by me in England, Wales and Cornwall 2015, 2018 & 2019.)

Beyond the Horizon

Beyond the Horizon

Walking barefoot in the sand
Carrying white sandals in my hand
The cool water tickles, teases
and nibbles my toes…
Calling “Come play!”
But I am deaf to the laughing waves.

The heart of the sun
breaks light into glorious prisms
Dancing in a glittering panorama
of wordless joy…
But blindly I only see
the painful and negative memories…
listening to lies.

Caught up in my melancholy
I stare out at the horizon
beyond the cerulean sea…
Trying hard to build
new castles in the air…
Failing and feeling nothing but despair.

Yet the ocean is calling…
“Come to me Melissa
and be carefree…
Let me carry
your heavy burdens
And lose yourself in my infinity…”

A wave gives me a gentle nudge
And I finally look up
Seeing for the first time
The sunset colors in painted rhyme
Across an ocean of possibilities.
I am awakened by its boundless beauty.

As the evening star appears
My mother’s voice comes through the years
“You are enough…” she whispers.
I wipe away an unbidden tear.
The wave responds with
a gentle splash and I laugh
seeing my future glimmer once again
Just beyond the horizon…

The Man in the Moon and I

The Man in the Moon and I

I sought to walk in the shadows
My heart crying it’s silent tears
The noise of loneliness drove me
The empty walls and unspoken fears. 

I sought to hide my sadness
In the dusk of a quiet night
But his laughing smile found me
The Man in the Moon and I. 

My ethereal friend and my poet
Under cover of night we walk
He sings my soul a lullaby
The Man in the Moon and I. 

What need have I for earthly gems
When cosmic stars are my pearls?
He is my knight in luminous armor
Throughout the waiting years.

Once more his wise and kindly eyes
Have heard the whispers of my heart
Once more he soothes my heavy sighs
The Man in the Moon and I

He gives me strength to start again
So I blow a kiss to my forever friend
I pause and softly say goodnight… 
To the Man in the Moon and I.

Out of the Ashes (Dedicated to Notre Dame)

Out of the Ashes (Dedicated to Notre Dame)

I wrote this post a few years ago when an old church I cared about had burnt down.  It seems just as relevant today with the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral.  Since Easter is this Sunday, this post seemed a good reminder that we can all rise out of the ashes to become something better than we once were.

And so today…this is for Notre Dame and all that it has meant to the many over the years.

FRANCE-FIRE-NOTRE DAME

Everyone has been through their fair share of disappointments in life.  I have yet to talk to a single person who has said that their lives turned out exactly like they thought it would.  Even talking with people in their early to mid-twenties, I have found that they say the same thing.  They thought life would be…different.  No matter your age or place in life, you will experience disappointments.  It’s just a part of life.  How we handle these disappointments, though, is what develops our character.  Coming through the disappointments and learning how to handle them can be what makes or breaks us.

Recently, I was reading an article about a local landmark that had burned down a couple of years ago.  It had been used as a church and a meetinghouse for various activities for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Through an accident, the place was practically burnt to the ground with nothing but a few blackened walls and stained glass windows remaining.  It was heartbreaking for all of those who had loved the old building and had many memories of it.  The frame stood empty for a while until those who owned the building could figure out what best to do with the land.  It was announced later that the old landmark was going to be rebuilt into a temple to be used by worthy members of the church.  The building that had been used for Sunday meetings and various other events was now going to be used for a higher purpose.

As I read that article, I thought about my own life.  I thought of the number of disappointments that I have been through in my life and especially in the last few years.  I began to wonder if I was like that burnt-out frame.  After a very recent devastating disappointment, I had decided to just stop dreaming for a while.  I was tired of getting my hopes up to have them crushed again.  But while reading through that article, I began to realize that maybe, just maybe, God had a different plan for me.  Here I am trying to build a nice, comfortable life, but maybe He’s trying to build something grander.  I don’t know what He has in mind, but it’s a beautiful thought: to think that, with His help, that my life might mean something greater than it does at the moment.  He knows so much better than I.

So out of the ashes, we begin to rise once again…

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A Gentle Hope

13253078-a-little-girl-sing-and-dance-in-a-field-of-ryeI walked with my head down and my hands in my pockets, deep in thought and trying desperately to keep the tears from falling. I felt weary and worn out by the world.  Problems that seemed to have no answer were made more complicated by my wavering feelings.  Regrets from the past weighed down my hopes for the future.  Too many broken dreams made it almost impossible to dream again.  I felt old and tired.

She danced across my path then.  I was walking through a green field and there she was.  A young, innocent little girl with a flower in her sandy, brown hair. She had a few freckles spread across her nose and she sang as a kitten chased after her. She was laughing to herself at some inner joke that only she could hear.  She stopped just a few feet away and looked up at me.  Looking down into her blue-grey eyes, I saw hope, joy, daydreams, love, innocence, but something else.  I saw wisdom…wisdom beyond her years.

She stepped closer to me and put her little hand in mine. “It’s ok, Melissa.  I’m still here,” she said as she laid her hand softly on my heart.  Then she stepped back, turned away and disappeared laughing with the breeze.

I looked around me.  The sunlight poured down warm and gentle, the spring green of the willow branches dipped and swayed while the blush-colored blossoms of a nearby flowering tree filled the sweet air.  Birdsong and children’s laughter echoed nearby.  Life, love and laughter were everywhere around me, but most importantly of all, they were still inside of me.

I laid my hand over my heart.  “Thank you, Melissa…” I whispered.

bambina-nella-mano-di-sua-madre

 

Be Still My Soul

“Be still my soul”

I sat in my bed listlessly staring out at the raging storm. The winds fiercely whipped the trees, stripping off the last of the dead leaves of winter. The rain pelted the window and the house creaked and moaned from the intensity. It perfectly suited the storm in my heart.

Another night…another heartbreak…another hope buried. Another door shut. This one had cut deep. I could do nothing but lay down on my pillow and cry myself to sleep.

The next morning was church. I rose with a heavy weight on my soul. I dressed and went and sat quietly in the corner. As the speakers began, I closed my eyes and no matter how I tried, I could not keep the tears from spilling over. For a while, I didn’t even care. I just let them slip quietly down while everyone else’s attention was on the speaker.

Bitterness began to seep in and a litany of negative thoughts from past inner battles took up their refrain. “You’re not good enough.” “Who would want you?” “Give it up.” At this point, the tears threatened to choke me, so I got up and found a quiet room and shut the door and let the tears just come.

A prayer came then in whispers. “I can’t do this anymore. I’m not strong enough. Please help. I feel so…broken.” I stood there feeling very small and utterly lost.

Moments later, the help came. Somewhere, behind the tears, I heard a quiet voice say “Peace be unto thy soul. Thine afflictions shall be but a small moment…you are not alone.” A peace that did not come from me stole softly into my heart. The lump in my throat disappeared. The tears dried and I felt calm. It was my own private miracle.

As I rejoined the meeting and focused on the speaker, the same words I had heard minutes before were spoken “Peace be unto thy soul. Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment.” I caught my breath. The Savior was speaking directly to me.

He knew.
He understood.
He loved me.
It was enough.

“Be still my soul
Thy best…thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways…
Leads to a joyful end.”

Just Another Shell

Just Another Shell

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Another beach…another shell 
Another memory of my life saved
Wrapped inside the fragile cover
Of a small miracle of nature.
Caressing its delicate edges
I am moved by the richness of color
And it’s unique imperfections.
Like the scars in my life
It’s small lines and broken edges
Cannot discount the beauty of the whole.
For it is with each rough wave
That I survive…
Still marred…
Still imperfect…
Still beautiful.

Why I Celebrate Christmas Early

Why I Celebrate Christmas Early

winter-1927427_960_720As my family well knows, I am a lover of Christmas.  When I was younger, I used to drive my siblings crazy by playing Christmas music in September.  As an adult, I still do this at times.  By the time Halloween is over, Christmas is in full force in my house.  The twinkling lights are up, the soft, sweet music is playing, the warm glow of candles are flickering, the cinnamon cookies are baking and I am planning out the Christmas presents to buy.  I do not ignore Thanksgiving, for if you look, you will see my Thanksgiving decorations mingled with my Christmas, because I’m a firm believe that gratitude is in every way a part of this beautiful season.

But why do I do this?  Why do many people do this?  Others might have different reasons, but this is mine: because it is the season of light, of giving, of sharing, of kindness and love. beautiful hugs

When the daily news is filled with the most evil and depressing of acts (like the shooting last night in California), I want to counteract that with everything I have in me.  I want to spread more kindness, more love to strangers, more love to my family and friends…more light.  I want everyone to know they are loved.  I want to hold a friend or family member or even a stranger until their tears are washed away.

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I wish I could do this…I wish I could somehow get this message out to every person…You Are LOVED! How different it would be if all people understood this one thought: you are loved by the most perfect person who ever walked this earth.  If you are worthy of that kind of love, then wouldn’t that change your perspective about your life, your purpose and your actions?

The-NativityIt is the season to celebrate the Savior, the Son of God, and to remember not only His birth, but His life and who He died for.  I celebrate Him and his perfect life all year, but everything about Christmas from the lights, to some of the beautiful music, to the Star and the small manger scene under my tree…everything reminds me of His perfect love.

Love…to me that’s something worth celebrating all year long.

 

(My Christmas playlist for this year…sending you all long hugs and so much love!)

Civility, Kindness, and Love

No act of kindness...These days, watching the news and headlines, I have become more and more saddened and horrified by the awful things that people say to each other.  Anger, vitriol, name-calling, violence, terrorism, shootings and threats seem to have washed over most of the people in this country and around the world.  Common sense has taken a backseat.  Every evil act seems to be splashed over every news station, radio show and internet site. With the midterm elections coming up, we see the hatred grow…and it breaks my heart.

I do understand, because I have watched myself get pulled into these arguments as well, yet when I pause, I realize that most of these people want the same things I want. These people are my brothers and sisters in humanity.  They have the same feelings as me: they feel sadness, happiness, pleasure, love, pain, anger, frustration, depression, and joy.

Young, middle-aged or elderly…we all have something unique and wonderful to offer. Let us seek the greatness in each other and stop letting our differences divide us.  I know my words are nothing but a small drop in an ocean of negativity, nevertheless…maybe my one small drop will join others until we can fight back the rising tide.

And on that note, to spread a little more positivity, below you will find pictures of everyday acts showing the best in humanity, not the worst.  Seek and ye shall find…

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URUGUAY/
Strangers link arms to help each other across the street in a torrential storm.

shoes

Pizza delivery
A man delivers pizza in a flood to stranded people.

showing love to allflowers

Gratitudeeveryone everywhere download

Daughter of the Storm

Daughter of the Storm

I have felt a strong connection to Nature since I was a young child.  I have been blessed with the opportunity to witness dramatic sunsets, white-sand tropical beaches, lush green mountains, hidden dark forests, sunlit red rock arches against a twilight blue sky and so much more.

Yet there is nothing that inspires me like watching a thunderstorm.  When lightning flashes across a sky or an explosion of thunder bounces off the surrounding mountains, I feel so connected to nature…to the power and majesty of it.  Even during a typhoon, I was the (slightly crazy) woman standing strong against the winds just to feel the rush of adrenaline as I faced a force of Nature. Climbing a wet hilltop in March and feeling the fierce storm blow as I take in the glorious view is more exciting to me than anything that man can think of.

meI’m not sure where this started, but I remember as a young child that my mother actually had to call to me from the house to come inside during an electrical storm.  I just couldn’t take my eyes off the approaching lightning and thunder.  Every moment of it was an adrenaline rush.

Since that time, my passion for Mother Nature’s storms has only increased.  When a hurricane approaches, I watch the news and videos like a weather forecaster (even when I live nowhere in the area).  If a thunderstorm approaches, I will stand outside or at a window and watch the brilliant display until it fades away.  I watch tornado videos and am fascinated with the first snowstorm of the year.

watching the stormI have come to conclude that I am a daughter of the storm.  I was meant to ride the winds.  As lightning streaks across the sky and the thunder shakes the ground I stand on, I feel a sense of power surge through me and I am at one with Nature.  I am not afraid…I am alive!  Alive with a vibrant energy that only comes when the wild winds whip my hair and fly fiercely around me.  It is in that moment that my spirit feels most connected to the powers around me…reminding me of my own inner strength and that I, too, am a force of Nature.

Forget Me Not

Forget me not

So small…barely noticed…I only found you because I was looking down at my feet.  There you were, among the mossy green blades of grass.  You were no bigger than the head of a pin.  I would have walked on by, like all the others, had I not been meandering slowly deep in thought.

You did not stand out like the red poppies, the delicate orchids or the bright sunflowers.  No, you had a quiet loveliness.  But you were there…steadfast and enduring and graceful.

I knelt down and gently touched your petals.  Though small, you were perfectly formed.  Each petal exquisitely colored in a lavender blue with a bright spot of sunshine in the middle.  Tiny mirror images of the heavens above.

You seemed to say “Look at me.  I am here.  I know I don’t stand out like the glorious rose, but I will be there in your darkest moments, growing gently and persistently at your feet.  Giving  you something to smile about…even when you are looking down.”

For some reason, I wiped a tear away as I lovingly touched the blossoms.  “I see you,” I whispered and I realized that you were, in your own small way, perhaps the most beautiful flower of all.

 

Becoming a Peacemaker

BusIt was just a normal early summer Sunday in London.  I had just finished church and I was feeling so calm and peaceful as I walked to my bus stop.  It had been a good day visiting with and hugging lots of friends. I hummed a song quietly as I waited with about 40 other people while cars, people and life passed hurriedly by.

While waiting, I turned to see a woman, probably around my age, take her very large and heavy purse and hit a young man walking by her in the head with it.  It was obvious she did it on purpose and I have no idea why as I didn’t hear what had passed before.  It was a shock and he and his friend both looked furious and looked ready to hit her back.

I felt a surge of emotion go through me, one that I did not understand.  I also felt determination and some instinct to protect both the woman and the young man.  At this point, I did something I have never done.  Seeing the anger on the young man’s face, I quickly stepped in between him and the woman.  I lightly put my hands on him and said quietly “It’s not worth it.  Let it go.  Just walk away.”

He was very angry (and rightly so) and said “But she hit me!!” And he looked as though he wanted to do the same.  The same calm, firm spirit came to the forefront.  “I know and she was wrong to do it, but it’s not worth it. Let it go.”  He still managed to reach above my head (he was very tall) and hit the woman lightly on the side of the head.  I stepped again between them and said “No!  It’s not worth it, let it go!”

At this point, he finally turned away with his friend and walked away.  The woman remained on her cell phone the entire time trying to ignore them.  Eventually I saw tears well up in her eyes and she too, walked away.

I returned to my waiting spot for the bus while a multitude of feelings washed over me.  I felt relief, fear, embarrassment, and even trembled as I realized what had just happened.  But most of all, I felt again that sense of peace and calm return.  As I continued to wait for my bus, my mind raced.  Why did I do that?  What prompted me to step in between them?  That was most definitely not my normal instinct to interfere in such a situation.

Later on in the day, watching the sun set from my bedroom window, I thought about it. I realized that I had been used as an instrument of Heavenly Father to prevent something that could have become very ugly.  Who knows what could have happened in the lives of those two young men and that woman had violence been the answer?  And finally, I identified that feeling that had surged through me.  It was simply love.  Love for two strangers whose lives were about to be hurt by rash decisions.

And then I understood.  A peacemaker is someone who simply loves his/her fellow man and wants to create a better world for those around them.  It isn’t easy and we often have to leave our comfort zones to do it, but even one act of kindness can change and bless the lives of many if we have the courage to act.

Jesus with a child.