Body Art

It has been incredibly hot these past few weeks.  And since one of my favorite pastimes is being outside, I have felt very very deprived.   Usually I just sit on my deck, overlooking the back yard and all there is to entertain me.  Hmmmm.  Entertain has so many icky connotations, but what other word can I use?  Stick to our new heart reality, self.  Ok, so commune with.  That’s better!    But, I have to go back in time in order to finish this story.

About 20 years ago, when I was in my forties, I noticed little white blotches on my hands and cheeks.  Since I was always an outside girl and I had the usual tan that comes along with that, the whiteness was very noticeable. I probably would not have thought too much about it had it not been for my mother.   She was movie-star beautiful and had that hourglass shape so many women aspired to in those days.  Since we spent a lot of time in equatorial countries, she always had a gorgeous tan.  However,  when she was in her forties, she also noticed the white blotches.   She had the beginnings of vitiligo.   Because hers advanced quickly,  in a few years her whole body was a beautiful milky white.  Even in her advanced years, when most of us have age spots and other discolorations, her skin never changed color from the milky white.  However, she never exposed herself to the sun again without covering up.

Vitiligo is a skin condition where you literally begin to lose the functionality of your pigment producing skin cells.  It is more noticeable on naturally dark skinned people, but even on us lighter skinned folks, it shows up wherever part of your skin tans and part can’t.  It can be quite embarrassing when it first starts.    And, I was and have been quite embarrassed by it in the past.

I have been asked if I had been burned and is the white part the scar left behind?  I had my little nephew jerk his hand away from mine when I reached for his.  He thought I had some kind of crud.  I explained to him what it was and, thankfully, he just said “Oh!” and grabbed my hand.   I have since over the years let it go and accept it as part of who I am.

In these last 20 years  or so, my vitiligo has very slowly crept across my hands, up my forearms, across the tops of my feet and back.  Spatters of tan skin can be seen amongst the white and slivers of white against the tan.  I now refer to it as my native skin art, created by my body.  This is what it looks like right now…..

On my feet

On my feet

On my hands

On my hands

 

Sunburned Chest

Sunburned Chest

So, back to my story.  Part of the challenge of loving and wanting to be in my yard, on my deck, or working in my flower beds is preventing sunburn.  Because without the pigment cells that slowly turn and darken to protect your inner self from the harmful rays of the sun, you can’t tan.  Without that, you burn easily and fast.  So my main dilemma was while I sat on my deck.  Total sun, no shade, most of the day.  This is what I am talking about.  This was not working for me.  It was the only place to spread out the chairs, a little table and lay back.  The front porch? Eh!  No privacy.   The yard?  No good spots with continuous shade . (Our yard runs east/west).

Without Shade

Without Shade

A couple of weeks ago we finally decided perhaps we should look into putting some kind of awning or roof onto the deck. It took a while to find someone we knew who knew somebody that could do that for us. Well, we did and in a few days after all the material arrived, it happened.  This is what our deck looks like now.

So finally after 23 years I have shade on my deck. Hallelujah. It is so totally wonderful to be able to sit outside whether it’s sunshiny or thunder storming out. It’s a whole new experience for me. It’s like I have a whole new world to enjoy and appreciate.

Hooray! I have shade!

Hooray! I have shade!

Yesterday we received over 2 inches of rain in about 5 hours. The lightning was bright and the thunder roared and the rain came down so hard the drops literally bounced off the grass. And I was on my deck taking it all in and enjoying every second of it. How little did I realize how much it would mean to me to be able to do this. I no longer have to worry about getting sunburned while I am enjoying my view and having my communion with my little natural world that greets me as I step outside.

I guess you can tell I’m pretty excited. And yes I am. Very excited. So even though vitiligo is not the most pleasant of things to happen to oneself, I can truly say it can’t hurt me anymore just for wanting to be outside.

-Smile-

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Just a Playin’

Each day a couple of hours before sundown, we put out some hulled corn for the many deer that live in our neck of town.  Of course, other neighbors feed them as well and have been doing so for many years.  We just started this year.

Fortunately, we have a healthy forest corridor all around us with quite a few farm ponds and creeks, so our small herd hangs around still.  Unfortunately, some of that forested land may go up for sale at any time.  What is up with communities that place no value on Nature and all her creatures just to make a dollar?  And, where I live, they espouse to be “very community oriented”.  Uh-huh!  But, this is not a political post or blog, so on with my story……

Young buck

Young buck

He came to feed around 7:00 last night. He was the first one, which was probably his plan.  Once the does and the fawns show up, I am not sure if there would have been anything left for him to snack on.  Ha ha.   He wasn’t too wary, which makes me very joyful.  Our next door neighbor has two dogs and boards up to four others at a time, so needless to say, they were expressing themselves and loudly.  But, he paid them no mind.  I guess he’s used to it.

Then, he started, tail up.  Hmmmm.  What got him all excited?  Aha!  She showed up.  It was hard for me to see her at first because, there are a lot of woods for them to step out of.  But she finally came into my view coming from the woods on the west side of our property

Young doe

Young doe

And, she apparently wasn’t very pleased to see him.  He proceeded to haul butt in the opposite direction towards the pine and poke weed grove on the north side. And, she was chasing him!  FAST!  Once he was well into the grove, she paused. After making sure he had no intention of coming back, she sauntered over to the corn and proceeded to munch.

He had other ideas.  I could see him trying to stealthily head back to where she was.  He first mosied over to the base of some cedars pretending to graze on something.  Yeah, well, she ain’t stupid.  Once again, she took off after him and they ran in circles and all over my backyard, occasionally darting in and out of the woods.  Finally, he went back into the grove she originally chased him into and stayed.

I was enjoying myself so much, I could not take my eyes off of them.  There was no “yelling” or even any appearance of animosity.  I think they were just playing but she still wanted him to bug off.  In a few months, I have no doubt there will be more than just playing involved.  Though they are both young, they are not too young for love.

As if to further stick it to him, she walked over to the corn, sniffed and just walked away without taking even one nibble.  She went back from whence she had come.  She showed him, didn’t she?

I walked over to where the corn was and noticed there was still a bit left.  I guess they believe in sharing and leaving some for the next deer who come along.  Pretty cool, huh?

Lil Fawn

Lil Fawn

This little one was with its mom a few days ago.  It’s not the best picture, but still as cute as can be.  During the last month or so, we have seen two does, each of whom has twin fawns.  For those of you unfamiliar with the habits of white-tailed deer, they mate in October or November around these parts.  They carry their young for around seven months.  So, these fawns that we see now must have been born sometime between May and June.  I’m telling you, it just doesn’t get any better than this.  I could just sit on my deck or anywhere in my yard and have the most thrilling moments of a lifetime. Every day!

Between the deer families, the occasional fox or coyote (yes, we have coyotes!), and all the bird activity that I have told you about on numerous posts, we have our very own slice of Eden right here, right now.  Granted, it’s a small slice and a fallen one at that, but until I reach the end of this earthly journey, I am so grateful and will never take any of it for granted.

I pray you have opportunities as well to enjoy Nature in its natural state as I do.  And, anytime, you would like a video or pictures or even sounds from my yard (which I have a plenty), feel free to ask.  My email address can be found below.

 

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Like a Child

Matthew 18:3  “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Sometimes on this journey I feel like a child, skipping along the path, wide-eyed, giggling, alert, looking at and taking in everything. It’s a very exciting and joyful time when I am like that. I only wish it could be all the time or at least more often.

Unfortunately I get distracted a lot. Yes, I am a victim of the Great Distraction. (See my previous post).  It’s not that I really look at everything that goes by and get distracted, not at all. It’s just that my mind has a tendency to latch onto something and not want to let it go. Whether it’s getting pissed off at somebody for doing something I think stupid or something that I said or did that looking back I feel very annoyed with myself about or stubbing my toe and yelling at whatever it was I stubbed my toe on.

I know it sounds kind of like I might be too hard on myself for over analyzing what I do but it’s not that. It’s just that the little girl who likes to skip along is the one that is dancing with my heart. It’s when my heart and I are having a moment or a bunch of moments, and my communion and connection with Creation and God is real and happening right then.

The good thing for me about all of this is that I am totally aware of those times when I get distracted. Maybe not exactly when it starts or even within the next while. But I do catch myself and the little girl inside laughs at me or gets a little sad depending on the circumstance.

Oh, to be a child again!  But, wait, I can and I am.  His Child!  Breathe that in, fill up your heart and KNOW that!  Being His child does not mean being an immature or clueless person.  It means being innocent and open to all He has to offer.  It means being an empty vessel into which He may pour His Spirit and fill it.  It means His Love overflowing inside of you so that He and all His Glory can spill out onto others.  It means being able to commune at such a deep level that understanding becomes a growing, living thing that is constantly changing and adapting to that level.  It means the creation of an awareness that only you and He have.  But it’s an awareness you can share!

How absolutely marvelous is that?  It is when we start trying to analyze or figure out or logically discern something that we get into trouble.  That’s where the Great Distraction comes into play.  The war of the worlds it is: Our heart in the Spirit world and our mind in this fallen world.  They really can’t mix harmoniously.  One has to give way to the other so we are in sync.  In sync with God, that is.

I am just so very grateful that through the grace of God, He led me to people and to experiences that opened me up and made me heart-aware.  My mind still tries to rule but it only manages for a short period of time. It knows better because my heart knows best.

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Heart-less

0325161401-00 (1)Joy is blatantly absent in many people’s lives. They might be blind and can’t see it. They may be oblivious and simply miss it. They might be heartbroken and unable to feel it. Whatever the reason Joy is absent in one’s life, it wasn’t meant to be that way.

I have been blind and oblivious and heartbroken. I was blind because I was angry. I was oblivious because I was too busy. I was heartbroken because, well, for many many reasons. The real reason?  I was heart-less.

I wasn’t without a heart; my heart was with-out me.  And it wasn’t until recently that I realized that. Until I became aware of my heart and all that it means in my life, I remained heart-less. Nothing external to me has changed much. The world keeps turning, babies are born, people die, and most folks remain blind, oblivious and/or heartbroken.

I was a teenager in the sixties. Full-blown and unadulterated hippie was I. I had become aware/conscious of things completely different from that which my parents were. They were the post World War II generation. Materialism was the name of the game.  The Great American Dream was born. Having a house, a car, and kids and cocktail parties was what defined their lives. I, on the other hand, and those that I hung around with were all for “free love”,  free expression, anti-war and totally anti-establishment.

But that new awareness was still focused on this world ( people and their doings).  I was still heart-less.  God was something seldom spoke about unless you were saying the Pledge of Allegiance, in church (if you went) or cursing him for some reason or another. Yet the fears that we had in those days have all become this world’s reality. Government is in greater control, the environment has been decimated, wars and rumors of wars are everywhere and love of one’s neighbor has become passé.  Though materialism is still the name of the game, there are far fewer “haves” and many many more “have-nots”.  The Great American Dream has died.

With the most recent tragic events here in the United States, it is all the more apparent of just how heart-less our country has become. With respect to the grief and sadness and fear that all of these events have triggered, it is very obvious that someone is trying to lead us there with tactics that are working.  With our minds focused on this world, there can be no awakening of our heart awareness.  To me, it is called the Great Distraction.  And as long as most of the sheep are distracted, the wolves can come and go as they please.

Until we open our hearts to the Love and Guidance of Our Lord and Shepherd, these tactics will continue to succeed.  And without being fully heart-aware, most will continue to remain blind, oblivious and/or heartbroken.  Again, it wasn’t meant to be this way.  (See Heart Matters or Heart-Led / -Less  for more of my ruminations).

To be continued …..

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My Dancing Heart

2 Samuel 6:14   And David danced before the LORD with all his might.

And so do I, right now, with so much joy in my heart that I don’t even have the words to express it. But I’m going to try.

A few weeks ago, I took my husband to the University of North Carolina hospitals Cancer Center.  But first, let me give you a little background.

In 2005, hubby was diagnosed with stage 4 rectal cancer.  It had spread to his liver. They removed his rectum and 14 inches of his colon.  Shortly thereafter they removed half of his liver with his gall bladder. Since then, he has had many many surgeries and treatments. In January of 2014, he was diagnosed with stage 1 lung cancer and had his upper right lobe removed.  This past November, he had a CT scan and a small 4mm nodule was seen in his left lung.  We were told by his doctor that there would be a follow-up scan in 6 months because the nodule was so small it didn’t warrant invasive examination at that time.

After everything that he had been through, having to wait the 6 months had been very difficult. Of course six months does take a while to pass and it was only until these last couple weeks that the fear began to really set in.  Of course we have faith. Of course we know that everything is in God’s hands. But when you’ve been through all that we have been thru and face death on more than one occasion it becomes very difficult when it happens again.

Neither of us slept the night before the upcoming CT scan. And I’m sure it doesn’t take any explaining as to why. On the drive up not much was said other than how frightened we both were and how we had both dreaded this day. We hadn’t really talked too much about it before now. Fortunately it was mid-morning so there wasn’t a lot of traffic even though we were on Interstate 40 most of the way.

He got registered and had the CT scan within 30 minutes. Now that is amazing to say the least. And the wait to see his oncologist was not even worth mentioning. After his vitals were taken and we were shown to the exam room we only had to wait another 5 or 10 minutes and the doctor came in.  He asked the usual questions and then got right down to business and pulled the CT scan up on his computer. He showed us the scan from 6 months ago and where the little nodule was in the left lung. And then we looked at the new scan. He took us through the liver, the intestines and the heart and then he pulled the lung up. When we looked closely at the left lung where the nodule had been, there was nothing there!

Oh my, I started to cry!  How wonderful!   How exciting!  I was in awe of this incredulous blessing!

Hubby too was relieved, though, it seemed at a loss for words.  He’s like that.  Non-vocal when it comes to his feelings. I lifted my gaze to the Lord and whispered ‘thank you’ and then out loud “Praise God”.

Isn’t God amazing, compassionate, loving, merciful and so generous??!!  His blessings rain upon us every single day.   I have to admit, this was one very special one!

When I got home I had to go out in the yard and twirl and twirl and twirl. I was dancing with all my might before the Lord.

 

 

 

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Heart-led or Heart-less?

ButterflyBush2010 (3)This world offers very little to those who are trying to find meaning in their life.  I am not referring to the natural world but to all the many people that you may encounter during your daily experience whether it be while you are at work, out and about, watching television or visiting with your neighbor or friend.

If you feel as though your journey has not brought you the satisfaction in your life and the happiness that you are seeking, then perhaps you are looking in all the wrong places. There is no one person or group of people that can give you the answers you’re looking for because each of us requires an individual and unique answer that is most appropriate to us.

Without some kind of guide post pointing out where to even start, the whole process can be very intimidating and confusing. That is not how it’s supposed to be nor is it the way it was planned.

I am starting with the premise that you believe in God the Father. That He alone created the entire universe and all that is. That His Son Jesus Christ was with Him and that the Holy Spirit moved across the waters during the creation process.  And that Christ descended into this world born as a baby to show us His true nature and then gave up that life to save us from ourselves.

This wasn’t some helter-skelter plan and we were not created to live in a helter-skelter world. From the Beginning, God gave us the ability to have a heart awareness of and communion with all of creation. It was after the Fall and the centuries that followed that we lost that awareness and the resulting happiness and joy that communion provides.

Now all these thousands of years later, we live in a world that has become too complex and damaged because man has used his intellect instead to further his cause/needs/desires without following God’s Plan of Redemption.  Once we stopped following this path of Redemption and decided to define our own path, the distance between God and man grew greater.

As the distance grew, that one part of our being that is capable of experiencing the happiness and joy that Father intended us to have, our Heart, began to experience the pain of separation. This separation, because it was misunderstood by so many, became the catalyst for man to start creating his own illusions of and for joy and happiness. And so began the many religions and philosophies and theories that have been enticing and capturing the minds of many.  We became orphans, lost and alone, eager to believe/accept anything just to feel safe and loved and feel like we belong.  We became heart-less.

There is much to say about all of this and it will be said. But right now it is important that those of you who feel compelled to find something more and real beyond that which you are currently experiencing be given an opportunity to know the Truth.

 

More to come ……..

 

PS  Do click on the links, Ed Hurst (our pastor) and Falling into Grace, to the right for additional insight.

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Morning Delight

Talk about waking up to a HAPPY face!  Wow!  Best morning ever the other day.

As is my usual when I first get up, I opened the curtains to our bedroom window so I can look out into our back yard and see who all is doing what.  Of course, the chickens were squawking as usual, but that was not why my eyes were wide open.

You see, I have these flower beds off my back deck and I had purchased some perennials that REALLY needed to either go into a pot or into the bed(s).  And, both were loaded down with old plants, garden gnomes, pots and unwanted growth.  Well, at least they were the night before!  BUT, not anymore as both beds had been emptied of everything that I didn’t want in there.  Everything had been removed and placed kindly around Mama Pine Tree’s feet.  WOW!  Talk about morning delight!  Hubby had been busy while I was still nestled in bed!

Now I was able to plant all of the ones I had purchased in the last few weeks either in the ground or in large container pots until such time as my front flower bed is ready for them.

I am so excited I can’t even find the words to describe the joy. And I’m not very often at a loss for words as I’m sure many of my friends would tell you. Haha Now I just need to keep an eye on everybody and make sure that they’re watered when they need it. Some of them like my little fennel does not like to get dried out. She will do it really quickly.

I love to sit out here and watch the birds

This is how it used to look where I would sit often

Lots of creeping Jenny and potted pansies before

Lots of creeping Jenny and potted pansies before

I am inserting pictures of before and after here and there within this post just so you can get a good idea about what I am talking about.

Now a little less stuff with my new comfrey, coral bells and germander. More to come

Now a little less stuff with my new comfrey, coral bells and germander. More to come

I am sure once all of the plants have established and have grown and are blooming I will have to put another post in with more pictures so you can see the fruits of my husband’s and my labor. Can there be any greater Joy then having a garden that not only is beautiful to look at but also attracts the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds? I can just sit for hours and watch them.

Now I really must be getting back to the various chores I have waiting for me. And then, absolutely no doubt I will be back sitting on my deck looking at all of my pretties.

Now with borage, perennial salvia, creeping rosemary, penstemmon and verbena

Now with borage, perennial salvia, creeping rosemary, penstemmon and verbena

Oh, before I forget, I was looking out my window and there was daddy house finch trying to feed at one of our feeders. Lo and behold there was little fluff monster baby finch badgering his dad to get every piece of seed out of dad’s mouth before he could even hand it to him. It was funny to watch.

Have a beautiful day and may God bless you with as much joy as he does me
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