Seeking Stillness at the Lake

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Imagine a comfortable warm afternoon at the lake. As you sit on the beach, you dig your toes in the smooth sand, getting lost in the luxurious heat. The lake smells of a fresh earthy scent, yet there is a faint musty odor as well. People smell of sunscreen rubs and bug spray. Wet dogs shake their hair upon emerging from the lake.
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Many families are spending their vacation here, at the Mountain Lake Campground, nestled in the northern mountains of New Hampshire. Laughs ring throughout the beach, an indication of content families basking in vacation togetherness.

 

 

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I sit by myself reading a book. A few years ago I would’ve been on edge and not truly relaxing. The boys would’ve been swimming in the lake, racing to the dock a few yards away while I worried if I could help them if they struggled. I’ve never been a good swimmer and almost drowned when I was 8. This still haunts me today, especially if I’m in charge of little ones in the water.

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This day at the beach is a stark difference. The boys are not here and are working this day. It’s my mother in law’s and my twelfth year camping together but the first one without children. My husband has a busy work schedule in the summer with his lawn business and part time job for the town, forcing him to skip most of the camping trips. There were a few times he could camp and so we would race away for the weekend, towing the pop up camper with two excited boys.

 

This beautiful day as I sit in my quiet reflective thoughts, I thank God for my body being still. I really have a hard settling myself and giving in to relaxation. This moment at the beach is pure serenity, stillness that is unmatched. I also praise Him for giving me the gift hearty laughter of the families and my ability to enjoy it and smile with them. I am genuinely happy for them.

 

The silent lake holds the key to my stillness and serenity. The water calmly ripples ever so gently from a kayak cutting through it. In the left swampy corner, one can spot a sea of white, water lilies creating a beautiful scene. Overlooking the glossy tranquil  water stands strong stately mountains, guarding the lake with clusters of pines and firs growing around its circumference. I wonder which animals congregate within them.

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When you clear your mind of racing thoughts and jarring problems, you’re on the path to stillness. Open your heart to peace and acceptance of the moment. It’s a must that you give your body complete permission to allow it to happen, to enter relaxation and let go of everything. Maybe you can’t visit the lake and beach often and that’s okay. Seek a peaceful spot in your yard, perhaps under a special tree. Use that spot to be still and with that, your every being will cherish the peace.

 

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All My Best,

 

Heart and Soul ❤

 

The First Time

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Photo credit, Facebook.com/BEGINWITHYES

 

Upon seeing this Facebook post, I sat down and thought about it. Since I’m a creature of habit and don’t try new things all the time, it was a difficult task to recall the last time I tried something new.

About a year ago I attended an art class in my hometown and painted an outdoors scene with birches and scattered rocks. It was an amazing learning experience and my first time I really painted aside from Kindergarten projects. What stays with me is not the painting itself or the class, but the fact that I went alone. I had planned to go with my sister but she couldn’t go in the last minute. Worried thoughts plowed through me and I even contemplated attempting to get a refund. But what stopped me was a need and want to go. I had my mind set that I would have a great class. I’m proud of myself for entering that class of laughing and talking women in groups of two or three and stood alone optimistically. That was the first time that I set my mind to attend something alone and I walked away triumphant!

 

Another first this summer is it’s my first time growing corn! In previous years Tom planted it and I really had nothing to do with it. He got discouraged because of raccoons and other critters ate a lot of it. Now we are trying it again, many years later and God willing, our plates will be full of corn in a month or so.

Think about this, friends. Share when was the last time you did something for the first time?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

 

 

A few months ago I read somewhere that “comparison is the thief of joy.” Ever since I keep revisiting that thought. It stuck with me because truthfully I’ve compared my life to others, when I was younger. Haven’t we all compared our life to another at one time or another? Maybe you’ve had fleeting thoughts of that how unfair it is that a person gets all the good breaks. How come that person seems anointed with luck and you continue to receive the short end of the straw? 

 

 

It all stemmed from insecurities and what seemed to be competition from others. I think I, like many people, have developed a strong sense of self and with that competition and comparison has thankfully fizzled! As that maturity ages like a fine wine, my realization has been that engaging in this is a negative act.

 

 

I know some people who compete with others in everything they do and fortunately I’m not made of  the same cloth. I’m just me and live the way I want, free of that whirlwind race. It shows how unhappy some people are and how comparisons can be toxic and damaging to their lives. 

 

 

 

I try to think of it this way, EVERYONE LEADS A DIFFERENT LIFE! You have been led on a unique path, a collage  of all your experiences that have happened to you. Have faith in your path and remember that your journey is entirely unique.

 

 

 

 

Stop comparing! Be happy with what’s dealt to you and refrain from toxic comparing. Sometimes it seems like others have a free ride, but you don’t know the whole story and they may not be happy. What matters is your joy and truly loving your moments, without longing for someone else’s life. Feel the joy in your life and cherish those special moments without comparing. Once you LIVE and LOVE YOUR life, there’s a freedom and a let go of comparisons.

 

 

 

Relish the joyful times and stay strong during the rough bumps. Maybe you’ve had a hard period and times have tested you but it WILL end. Stay positive, pray for guidance and be happy for people. You will join them in your own blessings soon enough but for now it’s a test. Do you have the strength to pass? I think so!

 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

Be Still

 

Life in modern times is a go-go- go marathon crammed  full of workdays, commitments, and appointments. As an empty nest mother my routine has changed a bit and slowed down, but not as much as I expected. There are still work and house chores that must be met and then the rush takes over, especially when I’m working five days a week. Now summer is upon us and with that is the joy of our youngest son home from college. Summer days will run slower than the school year but even so there is always work and commitments to fulfill.

 

 

There are times I have to remind myself that the rush of life isn’t healthy or meaningful. We all need to practice being still. Just existing without being entertained or worked is difficult because we are not taught this. It’s an essential habit that we must learn. I am working on living this and it’s not easy because I’m used to loudness and being busy.

 

 

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I notice that our American culture is focused on entertainment and keeping busy. Just look at most families and their practices with their children. Many families schedule clubs, sports and commitments intertwined with school. Ballet classes, soccer games, karate meets, and the list goes on!  With hectic schedules, what are we truly teaching our children? That they have to be scheduled and entertained? That being on the go is much more valuable than being still?

 

 

I disagree with this mindset and wish that mothers and fathers would wake up. I do realize all this activity is born out of love for their children but is it healthy? What will our society turn into if no one is taught to be still and live in the moment. Is it such as bad thing to stay home on weekends and sit in the grass or look up at the clouds? How about simply listening to nature or reading a book?

 

 

 

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Here are some small ways I’m attempting to live in stillness and live with meditative intention:

 

Be still in the wee early hours of the morning. Drink your coffee or tea in peace. You don’t always need to talk, just savor it and quiet your mind. I like this time of day to pray or quietly reflect on life.

 

Be still when you are sick. I have a hard time with this one and don’t always  listen to my body when I should.  When you are sick, you need to rest. Everything else can wait, including work, family and  commitments because if you don’t rest, then it’ll take longer to join the rat race.

 

Be still in silence when praying. Clear your mind of that day’s happenings or what someone said to you in haste. Focus on your prayer intention. In the silence of the evening I practice prayer for family, friends and people I don’t know who need to be lifted up with His promise.

 

Take this tranquil pill everyday when you can take the time for you. It doesn’t matter when it is, whether it’s in the early morning or late at night. Close your eyes. Clear your thoughts and judgements. Breathe in and out, listening to your chest inhale and exhale. Simply be quiet and you will feel relaxed and reenergized. It’s a time of renewal for yourself….to just be. Do it for your well being everyday!

 

Sometimes it can be a true challenge but I attempt stillness in different ways everyday. It’s a form of meditation that’s good for your body and soul!

 

All My Best,

 

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

 

No Worries

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Shared from behave.neTt

 

 

 

 

In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength and my refuge, is in God.

Psalm 62:7

 

 

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.

Psalm 63:8

 

 

 

My grandmother Gould (who I called Nanny) was a constant worrier. She worried about car accidents and snow storms. A mere rain shower would unravel her composure and she wore the little plastic hats over her hair because she was worried about her hairstyle being messed up. Even though I remember all this, I also reflect on happy and joyful times with her. 

 

 

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First photo is of my mom, myself in my early twenties and my nan Gould. Second is of my mom, brother David, myself and Nan at the pancake house in North Haverhill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It seemed to consume her and I really noticed it once I grew up and after my grandfather passed away. I think I’ve been passed down her worry genes! I remember even as a little girl worrying about things. Once when my mom was bringing us home from my favorite aunt and uncle’s house , it was really foggy and I opened the car door to get my mom’s attention. (stupid, huh?) I was worried about her driving but looking back, I’m not sure why I thrust the door open…what would that accomplish?

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s taken me years to recover from and control it but I believe I’m doing it. I am aware that I’m not the only one with the anxiety fight. Many people crawl their way through life with the constant cloud hung over them, worry. It surely affects decisions, plans, relationships and adventures. How can one truly enjoy and indulge in an adventure if worry taints it? Spontaneous adventures are meant to be carefree and fun, without pressure, anxiety or stress.

 

 

 

 

 

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My boys and I

Now when I start to worry about my boys and what they are doing, I put it out there and then squash it. Instead of dwelling on it, I hand it to God and pray. Then all the negative worry and energy transforms into positive thoughts. I let Him shoulder the weight and He pulls through for me EVERY TIME, in one way or another.

 

 

 

 

What a relief it is…to let go of worry and channel it into something healthy and good! I only wish that my nanny would have done this…let go of worry and trusted the Lord instead. I write this post thinking of her, despite her worry she was a champion of grandmothers and loved me dearly. As a matter of fact, I was named after her. 

 

 

My latest motto is  “no worries!” It’s a blessing to say it and pass it on when communicating with others who are worried or apprehensive about their situation. It also conveys the message to “don’t sweat the small stuff.” Instead give it to God.

 

 

 

All My Best,

 

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

 

Love is What We are Born With

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The innocence of children. 

 

 

From Marian Williamson’s book, A Return to Love

 

 

 

“Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learned here.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have early memories of innocent and courageous times, the moments before you were taught fear?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a dynamic characteristic of most children that I’m in awe of. They live with a carefree and free fall fearless attitude. The reason is that the harsh world hasn’t taught them fear yet. If only children could keep that precious courage and use it to thrive in life.

 

 

 

In my new life I’m striving to live with an innocent clean slate. Trying to reinvent myself, I want to truly LIVE in love and light and without fear. With God’s help, I’m living with a brave spirit now and it makes life richer than before.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤