Life’s Staircase

By the end of the year, I find myself looking back, reminiscing of the year, and years back. It is an exercise I welcome; it opens one’s mind and perspective. Whether good moments or less than good moments, it all makes up the big picture, an entire year that turns into memories. It makes me think of life as a staircase. You either go up or down, or sometimes you get tired and rest in the middle. Sometimes, you take one step and back up many, and sometimes, it feels as if you never took one single step, even when you have taken many.

Some people have more steps to take or climb than other people, or it seems. Once you take the first step, you want to go up, even when you don’t know what awaits. During the climb, one defines the staircase, its shape and style, its design, or maybe it has been already defined in part, and our job is to climb it, putting our own print and style on it with the decisions and indecisions we make. It may be winding or straight up, see through or solid, wide steps or narrow. It reminds me of a line from the old TV show The Honeymooners. Norton said, “Be nice to the people you meet on your way up, because they are the same people you will meet on your way down.” Falls hurt, ones more than others. Stumbles are scary, especially the further up you are.

One thing brings comfort. If you don’t like where it is going, it is ok to turn back down. Eventually, you will reach the last step, and inevitably, you will think of the first, and all in between.

“I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.”

Psalm 119:45

Fearless

Fearless – Without fear; brave. (American Heritage Dictionary)

The word fearless has been overused, thus becoming a “fashion” word, a word that people tend to use without discrimination, a cliché. It has become almost meaningless, just as the word love, used with disregard and abandonment (of meaning).

The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as “without fear.” Without fear does not mean in the absence of fear. One can be truly scared of something or a situation, and be/act fearless in the presence of the object of fear. There is no “fearless” without having known fear. It is a word that I take seriously, rather than “in fashion” because it pertains to something deeper than the outside persona, but more of the internal self, of the condition of the soul, and even spirit.

Fearless is rooted in spirituality, in the condition of the heart. I have been truly scared in some occasions but fearless at the same time. It has only been possible because my strength has come from Jesus, and not from my own efforts or disposition. Faith has a lot to do with being fearless, but also knowing that your supernatural strength comes from God, and that changes the whole meaning of the word.

“For God Had not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7

Photo by M.A.D.

October’s Treasures

I try to find beauty in the ordinary, the day’s in and outs. A walk to the mailbox across the road while an everyday task is ever changing. I think it amazing and beautiful that a simple daily short walk is never the same when I care to look. God’s presence is in the little details that surrounds us, and the more I care to look, the more grateful and in awe I am. Here are some October’s treasures I found the other day.

A lovely array of colors at my doorstep.
Ms. Spider protecting her egg sack. Look at the interesting detail.
A flower that wanted to be green.
The lovely yellow of friendship and hope. That shade couldn’t be more perfect.
Another one of nature’s perfect shades of color, and one of my favorites.

I am sure that there were more treasures to be found, but I was just in and out, picking up some mail. God is good.

A Bit of Yesteryear

From time to time, my husband will make a wooden piece reminiscent of old days gone, when things seemed simpler, and things were handmade. It ends up on our shop – The Owl, Book & Candle. He loves working with wood; I think it is his call, although he loves everything about cars as well. His pieces are truly handmade. Over the weekend, he made this adorable pull toy, a kitty cat that he painted like one of our cats. All materials for this piece are recycled, the one thing that we try to do with most of our pieces. I am liking this one very much. When he retires, I can visualize him tinkering with pieces of wood and creating an array of lovely pieces reminiscent of yesteryear.

Cat pull toy.

Above his desk, he has this picture and another one of the love of his life, not me, but a 1987 Fiero GT.

Vintage wooden picture of a young carpenter, Jesus.

Fulfillment comes in many ways, and different for many people. Sometimes, we listen to the voices of the world telling us do this or do that, pursue this not that, and so much more. Sometimes, we become confused and feel purposeless because of this (I have been there at one point). To God, everyone of His children is important. Every person has something to give. The more we learn by living and by faith also, the more we are able to give and bless others, no matter the size of the contribution. In God’s eyes it is all valuable when it is given out with love and care.

Autumn Ready

A few weeks left of summer … welcome Autumn! I am ready, and over the past few days, I have enjoyed a few cool days and nights around here. It has motivated me to do a few things around the porch, transitioning seasons, as well as a delicious meal using what we have collected from the veggie garden, although it hasn’t been much this year due to the hot and dry weather.

My husband made this sign for me from recycled wood. It is what we named the place. Plenty of crows around here year round.
Even during this downpour they are enjoying themselves. No other birds around playing in the rain.
Across the road, what looks like a portal to another world/dimension.

Gardening was challenging and not bountiful this year, and many plants are done by now, hence why transitioning to autumn is a natural next step for me, as there seem to be less chores around here for some reason. There were fewer cuts of grass; it just wasn’t growing fast, but my husband was happy about that I guess. In the meantime, there are a few projects that are up in the air, waiting to be done as time and money allows. I will share a few here. Hope you enjoyed this post.

The Day I Had a Tiny Glimpse of God’s Love

It happened on New Year’s Eve, years ago. My husband was in the living room and we were about to watch the New York ball drop on T.V. (No, we were not drinking). It happened in a matter of seconds, very fast but very profound. As I stood in front of the kitchen sink, about to finish up and join my husband in the living room, suddenly, I was hit with an immense feeling of joy and love like I had never experienced before. It engulfed my whole being. I felt as if I was part of the entire universe, of everything that surrounded me, even the material. I was everything and everything was me, but all of it was engulfed by this immense love, unlike anything else. I heard this voice in my mind, but not audible, just present in my mind, and apart from my own thoughts – “Hold on to the feeling,” the voice said. In an instant, I was back, and I could not explain what had happened. A very small part of that feeling remained in me for the next couple of days, almost like a side effect. I kept thinking about the voice – “Hold on to the feeling” – but I could not recapture it. The greatness and oneness, the immensity of it is hard to explain with words, even today, as I recall the experience.

Much later on, that memory helped me through a very rough time. I knew that I was never alone. I don’t know why, or how, but I think that I was given a tiny glimpse of God’s love and oneness that day. I don’t think that my being would have been able to take all of it; it was sublime, supreme, great and indescribable. Today, I think about that day, and I share it here with the hope that it speaks to anyone who might be feeling alone, unloved, or unworthy. That it speaks about how much God loves us, and His immense kindness and care. You are not alone, God loves you, and you are valuable to Him. The entire planet seems a big giant ball of twine these days. The events happening around the world might be overwhelming to some people; I know these have affected me, however, even when I cannot recapture that feeling today exactly, I reminisce of it, and know that I am not alone, and neither are you.

Photo by M.A.D.

Whispering Wood

Sometimes, you just don’t know what pieces of wood are going to tell you. The other day, I was looking through some pieces of scrap wood that my husband saved for me to use in future projects. I came across a couple of pieces that whispered to me what they wanted to become. As soon as I looked at them an image in the wood grain appeared; so I listened.

This piece of wood was telling me a story, one of a seaside landscape, and happy summer days at the beach. If you look at the wood grain, it is almost painted there.
It became “Seaside Dreams.”
The second piece of scrap wood spoke of babbling brooks and mountains, of days in the wilderness. I listened, and a little house appeared at the mountain base. Soon, I was there.
It became “In the Wilderness.”
Here the wood is whispering of a place far away.

It became “Mountain of Hope.”

You never know what wood is going to whisper, might as well listen. Hope you enjoyed this post.

Life Goes On

Everywhere we look, there is life going on, even at the microscopic level. Spend a few minutes outdoors and look around. From foliage to tiny critters moving around and about, our existence is full of life; isn’t that wonderful? I have been observing a Mama Bird caring for her babies for the past three weeks or so, and I have avoided using the side entrance so I would not disturb them. At first, I thought there were two abandoned nests in each of the flower pots hanging at each side of the entrance, although one of the nests seemed as if it was started and left halfway through undone. It is a shady and cool area, and I have not been able to grow anything on those pots despite several attempts, so this year I placed artificial flowers inside. I noticed that the halfway done nest disappeared and the other one seemed bigger and fuller. I assumed it was being built, and the nest material was being used, so I let it be. Later on, I would see Mama Bird flying back and forth, and chirping; later on, I heard a few chirps but did not want to go near the area in fear that I would scare the birds. On Saturday, I did not hear anything, or see any movement, and on Sunday, I discovered an abandoned nest. Wanting to preserve this lovely memory, I sat down and attempted to paint the flower pot with a few watercolor pencils I have around.

The nest is behind the artificial foliage.
My rendition, although I did it by memory. I thought the flowers were purplish and fewer, and the pot ornament is the one on the opposite flower pot, which have fewer flowers. I guess age creeps on you.

It was relaxing, and I preserved a beautiful memory. I used to draw and paint when I was a kid, and for some reason that I cannot recall, I suddenly stopped. As a young adult, I tried to get back to it but was hesitant for some unexplained reason that puzzles me and I cannot comprehend. In my late twenties, I even bought an easel, several types of paints, and other materials but always felt something stopping me, and it all sat waiting for me to pick it up. I carried the stuff from place to place. On my last move, I got rid of 70 percent of my stuff, but for some reason, I could not let go of the painting materials. I had attempted a few drawings and paintings, on and off, but It wasn’t until a few years back before my last move that I started, and I pushed myself to paint something, despite my “hesitation.” It has been very diluted and sporadically, rudimentary, but I am feeling a bit more at ease with it. I cannot recall why I stopped, or anything negative associated with painting or drawing, other than a teacher in third grade making a big deal in front of the class because I painted blue hair on a coloring book. Another teacher telling me in class that it wasn’t me who did the drawing on a novel we were reading in 7th grade (we were supposed to draw or paint a scene), even when it was all me. So I have no clue as why I stopped painting suddenly, but I intend to keep on painting something from now on, and enjoying it. For some reason, it feels as if I picked up where I left off. No Picasso here, just the joy of it. Life goes on in ways more than one.