How Do You Begin Anew?

Photo by M.A.D.

For many, the start of a new year signifies a blank canvas, a new opportunity, a fresh start, a chance to do better than in previous years, a hopeful outcome. It is a chance to start anew, new beginnings, a chance to erase, to forget, to try once more, to take inventory of one’s life, and to view the new year with fresh eyes. It is why so many people receive a new year with joy, new hope, and a refreshed outlook. Somehow, it signifies leaving the past behind and moving forward. Rarely one views the start of a new year with a gloom and doom outlook; most likely, it is viewed in a positive way, hopeful.

For me, this year represents much of that but also, the opportunity to look at different areas of my life and be humble, honest, at answering crucial questions: What works? What doesn’t? What would I like to change? What doesn’t fit my lifestyle anymore? What should I simplify more? What are new areas of interest? What would I like to learn? What needs improvement? What needs to be left behind?

These questions can be applied to any areas of one’s life, even projects, or household management. The answers will vary and change throughout a lifetime because we are always evolving. These simple questions help me focus on the year ahead, but also free me from remaining stuck in something that doesn’t “fit” anymore, and also, in not viewing issues as failures thus bringing discouragement into the new year. I do what I can, my part, but also rely on my faith to seek direction/guidance from God when things might not be as clear. For me, starting anew is asking the question, answering honestly, and following through in faith.

Happy Beginnings

Happy Beginnings to all of you. I am grateful and excited to start one more year. I have chosen a few pictures from 2021 and this new year to share on this post, kind of a rite of passage into the new.

2021

Last year displayed some beautiful colors. This photo has not been altered.
And lovely fiery red evenings.

A new friend has been showing up since the end of last year.

I never get tired of watching them. Black Crow Cottage is still a good fit, as I named the place.

One of my favorite delights thanks to my sister who has made it a tradition for me. Heavenly. Totally understand why the Narnia kid went along with the winter witch at the mention of Turkish Delight.

Made a recycled wreath to receive the season.

Our historic little town was ready for an old-fashioned Christmas and so was I (and my kitty cats).

2022

The year started with some snow, rose gold mornings, and many critters (and man) prancing through the snow.

And through all of it, I saw the hand of God and His love.

Hope you enjoyed this post.

The Greatest Gift – A Simple Call

Christmas is just around the corner, the best season of all. Even in darkness Christmas makes everything better. The true and only meaning of Christmas happens to be the greatest gift of all – Jesus Christ the Lord. It is the reason for celebrating Christmas. Many might advocate for a “christless” Christmas but there wouldn’t be a Christmas without Christ. When I think of all the gifts that I have received throughout my entire life, and even the ones that I will receive during my lifetime, there is nothing that would compare or be better than the gift God gave us because of His immense love – salvation through redemption, and that can only be done by believing in Jesus Christ. When you and I believe that Jesus came for you and me to give us the eternal life (and benefits) that was stolen from us in the beginning, our closeness to God, and that He sacrificed his life for you and me, thus paying the price for us, and when we accept that sacrifice in our hearts, with repentance and desire to start anew, that is all it takes to be a part of God’s family again, and be closer to Him once more. God’s love is that huge, but it is also simple. Believe in Jesus Christ, be truly sorry in your heart, and you will be restored. Many might want to make it complicated, full of human pomposity, restrictions and requirements, but God made it straight clear so you and me could come back to Him. Jesus doesn’t equal religion (a most misunderstood concept). There is nothing on this planet I can compare to the love of Jesus Christ, and there will never be anything like it.

So why am I getting all “holy” on this post? Because soon it will be Christmas. So this Christmas, while we celebrate the season with our loved ones, think about this amazing gift, and see if you find space in your heart to accept it. It is a gift exchange between you and Him. It is a simple call.

Many blessings to you and your loved ones. Merry Christmas and a beautiful Holiday season to you all. I will be back blogging next year.

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.

A Few Culprits

There have been a few rainy days, two good soakers, and cool weather seems to be settling down. It seems that the veggie garden is done, not a good year; most plants died or did not produce. While collecting the last of the veggies, I spotted a few caterpillars that have made the garden their home. We cut the stems and relocated them to another part of the property, not wanting to harm them.

The end of the tomato plants. The caterpillars had a good breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
We counted four large ones. I have no idea what the white egg-like things in their backs are.
A closer look at one almost cute caterpillar.
The last of the cucumbers and carrots.
Believe it or not, some of these are supposed to be full size tomatoes that did not grow to their full potential, and a few grape ones.
And turning the page, I move on to welcoming Autumn, in its dance of light and shade, one of my favorite things.

And as one season ends another starts, and for me, the end of a dry spell. The other day, while sitting, I had an urge to write, almost as an urgent call, so I grabbed pen and paper and was able to write an entire chapter; it has been quite a long time, but the dry spell is broken.

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.