I often try to be present through out my day. I try to watch my breath, to be still, to savor moments that fly by so quickly. And when I am present, when I am still, and my breath moves consciously, then I see differently, I feel differently, I love differently.
My life is an amazing Journey and I am grateful that I am learning to be present for the Journey. The best way to enjoy the ride is to be here, in the moment, present, fully!
My grandson, Tucker, explained to me that "gas" at the dentist feels like you are flying. So I asked him if he felt like an Angel when he was flying, and he said yes. That's kind of how it feels. It makes me want to go to the dentist! But even more, it makes me appreciate these children who appear as Angels in my life.
Tonight I have been crafting bat wings for Rollin's Halloween costume. And I have been thinking how grateful I am to be here in the middle of all this fun. It has been a very long time since we spent Halloween with all of them and we are looking forward to seeing them enjoy a holiday tradition that always brings pleasant memories of our own childhood and memories of our daughters' childhood.
Of course Jim is looking forward to scoring some good candy come Sunday night! I am looking forward to kisses and hugs from a Ninja, a black bat, and a black eyed baseball player. Savoring the ride and knowing that Life is good with wings and things!
Last night as we tried to sleep, we heard the wind blowing and howling around the house. The front door was whistling at times, and I kept waking to the sound. I was excited to hear the wind and could hardly wait for 4:30 to roll around so that I could walk. The sky was dark with clouds when I left the house and I could not see the moon or stars. The wind was so strong that at times I had to brace myself to hold my balance. Yet, walking in the wind is one of my favorite things to do. I feel so blessed to feel the wind push against my body. To feel it brush my face and blow my hair straight back. I always feel close to something that is bigger than me when I stand in the wind. I feel so alive in the wind.
Tonight the air is calm and I know we will sleep better. But truly, I would give up a good nights sleep to hear the wind and know that tomorrow I would again walk in the wind.
Today my oldest grandson, Tucker, called and invited me to his house. When I got there he ran out of the house and all the way to my car to hug me. He recently lost his second tooth and all the way back to the house he told me his story. When we got inside he quickly seated me on the sofa, ran to get his phonics book for my review and began to read to me. I spent the rest of the day with the boys and I have been invited back for tomorrow. There is no better way to "spend" time than with grandsons! This is Joy.
Jim and I spent the weekend at Tennessee State Parks. Saturday we stayed at Natchez Trace State Park and on Sunday we visited Pickwick State Park. We are learning that we love being outdoors, in the woods, hiking trails, sitting by the lake.........standing still and listening to the wind in the trees.
On Saturday we spread a blanket at the top of this hill overlooking the lake but surrounded by beautiful pine and oak trees. On Sunday we sat on a stone bench at the top a Shiloh Indian Mound that was built over 750 years ago. Both times we sat in quiet meditation and appreciation for the beauty of our surroundings. The beauty of Nature. The beauty of time together. The beauty of shared love. The natural beauty of life.
Rollin spent the afternoon with me while his brothers went to the dentist. I had a carrot cake in the oven when he arrived, and we quickly made plans for him to ice the cake. Of course, once he finished the icing and had licked everything clean, he wanted to decorate the cake. It wasn't anyone's birthday, but he insisted on flowers and candles. So we decided that we would celebrate "A Beautiful Fall Day".
When his family came to pick him up, I packed up five pieces with flowers and candles and sent them home for dessert. When they light their candles tonight, they will be celebrating "A Beautiful Fall Day" and this wonderful creation that Rollin and I made will bring Joy to them and serve as a reminder to all of us of the beauty of this day!
It's so easy to see the beauty of the day with grandsons to help you look! Pointing the way! Enjoying the moment! Loving the ride!
I have spent the afternoon with Tucker, Rollin and Fynneus. I learn so much when I spend time with these magnificent little boys. Before they went home this evening, we gathered flashlights, put on our jackets and hiked around the neighborhood. Looking at the moon, telling stories, shining our lights on beetles scurrying across our path, then checking out paw prints in the sidewalk. Everything is so fascinating to them that I can't help but get caught up in the wonder of their moments.
Earlier this afternoon they played in the sand with some of Jim's tools that I let them use. They were so grateful and excited to have "Poppa's tools" to play with. They created all kinds of things in the sand with the Joy and enthusiasm that only children seem to have.
I learn so much from these little guys. These truly are the wonder years for them and for me.
I met a friend for coffee this morning and we didn't stop talking for two hours -straight. I am enjoying this Tennessee ride!
Tonight Jim and I joined the Douglas clan for Family Skate Night. I'm not much of a skater, but there is Joy in sailing around the roller rink. There is even more Joy sailing around the roller rink with family!
Jim and I went Kayaking at the Big Hill Pond State Park in Pocahontas, Tennessee. This is a man made lake as you can see by the stumps and trees protruding out of the water and we had to navigate our kayaks around these obstacles. I was amazed to see the stump above with full fall color in the middle of this lake and could not resist paddling close enough to get this fabulous picture.
Jim paddled around fishing and I took the opportunity to read a wonderful book that I had brought along just for this setting. I spent some priceless time in the middle of the lake meditating. I have discovered that meditating when I am outside, surrounded by the beauty of the Universe, sends my soul soaring and fills me with Joy. I feel so connected to Source, to God, when I sit in nature watching only my breath. I came home feeling revived, refreshed, re-energized. Life is good riding the kayaks in Tennessee.
Today marks one year of writing my Journey of Joy Blog. I looked back at my first blog in which I made clear that it was with more than a little trepidation that I began the challenge of looking for, creating, and writing about Joy in my life every day. As I look back now I see that I missed writing many days, but I know in my heart I saw Joy every day of this past year. Not a day goes by that I do not pay attention to Joy in my life. I catch myself pausing in my day to take in the Joy, to savor the moment - a beautiful sky, a touch from Jim, a smile from my grandsons, a conversation with my daughters - so much Joy!
And still, some days I feel like I fail to describe Joy. I look up the definition again and again and I look for words to compliment the word Joy and I feel inadequate in my description. I affirm over and over that Life is Good - yet how do I write this "Good". How can I make others see in my heart and feel the feeling that grips my belly. I want you to feel the intensity of Joy that I feel when I am standing silently at four in the morning and gazing at the stars. I want you to feel the intensity of the smile when any of my grandsons say "Nanna, I love you." I want to describe accurately the intensity of Jim's love for me. So I keep looking for the words. Beautiful words to weave around my Journey of Joy.
As I wrap up this first year of Joy blogging, there is no more trepidation. I am confident now that Joy will show itself to me everyday. I promise myself that I will write my Joy as often as I possibly can, but most importantly, I will look for Joy in every moment of my life. Because we all know The Joy of the Journey is in the ride! Enjoy the ride!
I have many thoughts going through my mind tonight. Tomorrow is my one year anniversary for my Journey of Joy blog. I have been thinking about the Joy that I have experienced this past year, and where this Joy has led us. I am amazed and delighted at my many discoveries of Joy. Learning to look for Joy seems to create so much more Joy in my life and I can hardly wait to see what the next year will bring. I know that writing this blog has changed my life. Writing my Joy, almost every day, has been a blessing to me and I hope to others as well.
I truly know that Life is Good! I truly know that looking for Joy makes a very Good Life indeed!
Late yesterday afternoon as I was tying on my tennis shoes for a trip to the gym, I lay my right hand over my wedding diamond, a habit I have had for many years of just checking the ring. I realized immediately that the diamond was missing...........
I have searched and searched since yesterday, and so far no luck in finding the diamond. Many times today I have seen a sparkle on the floor, and as I get closer, I realize it is just some glitter that Rollin scattered yesterday when making a love picture for his mom...........
Today I have felt my hand many times, only to find an empty spot where my rings have been for so many years. Jim gave me the diamond for my 19th birthday and we were married 4 months later. And while this diamond is small and may not have much value to a fine jeweler, this diamond is priceless to me. I do hope I find it.......
In the meantime - I am so happy that I am still married. I am glad that a lost diamond does not end this relationship of love and respect. I am glad that, even though the ring was a "symbol" of our love, it is not our love. Our love goes much deeper and is much stronger than any diamond..........
I feel like I am still getting settled from our vacation and at the same time like it happened a long time ago. I watch a slide show each day of all our pictures, and smile inside and out. I look at the sky and remember the mountains that we gazed at just a few short days ago. And I am happy. I am at peace. I am filled with Joy again!
Last night of vacation. We drove all day and ended on the Beach in Old Orchard, Maine. Jim is smoking his last vacation cigar and talking on the cell to Jenn. Reminiscing our past two weeks and preparing for the lobster dinner we will be having later that evening. This is the good life! This is my life! And I love it!!!!!!!
Jim and I have waited a lifetime to visit the east coast. We were not disappointed. The beauty of New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York is beyond words. Although I collect dictionaries, I cannot find the words for this beauty, this majesty, this miracle. Someday I will know the words and I will tell everyone. I will write it, I will shout it, I will make others feel it! Life is so very beautiful.
Last Sunday Jim and and I took the gondola up Mount Killington then hiked the rest of the way to the peak. We were over 4000 feet up and enjoyed a panoramic view of Vermont. A lady saw us sitting out on this ledge and asked to take a picture with our camera. I'm so glad she did. This beauty truly was breathtaking and we sat there without talking for quite some time. Both of us just soaking it in.
Last night as we drove home from Liz's house, Jim told me that he misses looking at the mountains - And I absolutely have to agree with him.
We are leaving Maine early tomorrow morning and driving straight to the Boston airport. This has been the most amazing two weeks of discovery and beauty - EVER!
Jim and I enjoyed a Maine lobster dinner late this evening before checking into our hotel for the final night out. We began the day in the mountains of Vermont, crossed over to the mountains of New Hampshire, and before the day was over we were walking by the Atlantic ocean - hand in hand - taking it all in. At least trying to. I have dozens of pictures, and I hope that they have captured some of what we have experienced over the past two weeks. It is so beautiful here.
I have a new appreciation for this beautiful country of ours. I love being a part of this time space reality and I love being a part of this beauty.
We have been driving through the mountains since last Thursday and loving every minute. Tomorrow we are going to be heading out of the mountains and moving closer to the airport. Jim and I enjoyed lunch at a road wayside just so we could continue to gaze at the mountains. We stood by the car and ate sandwiches and drank cokes with our eyes fixed on the mountains facing us.
I want to find the words to describe the feeling of standing in this grandeur. Jim asked me if I thought I could get tired of looking at mountains and I cannot imagine ever tiring of seeing such beauty.
And yet I am beginning to look forward to going home. For there is much beauty there and I know I will appreciate that beauty even more for all that I have experienced these past days.
We have spent the day touring Vermont. We found the second highest mountain, Mt. Killington, and rode a gondola to the top of the lift and then climbed the rest of the way to the very tip top. Someone offered to take a picture of Jim and I sitting on the edge of the mountain and I can't wait to post it when we get home. It was amazing to sit at the top of what felt like the world and look out over the beauty of the earth. There were only more mountains for as far as we could see.
As we drove thru mountains today and sat at the top of Killington, I have been trying to think of words to describe the beauty of this place. Last week I bought a Websters dictionary at an antique store. The dictionary was printed in 1934 and I search through it for the right words - and they do not come. Amazing! Beautiful! Breathtaking! Gorgeous! Yet none of these words describe the gold and red and green we see looking at the forest. It doesn't even come close to describing the feeling of touching the top of a 100 foot pine tree as we climb the mountain. I stood in the forest today by the Quechee Gorge and layed my hands on the bark of a tree. A tree that has been there for more than 80 years. With deep grooves in its bark. With years of growth and beauty and strength. And I marvel at such beauty. I feel just a flash of the strength that stands before me. And I think of how lucky I am to enjoy this right now.
And I think back to pieces of God. All of this beauty that has at times stopped both me and Jim in our tracks, surrounds us completely. And I know that I am a piece of this too. I know that I am blessed for seeing this. I am blessed for feeling this.
Jim and I drove north on New Hampshire Hwy 16 along the Androscoggin River all the way to Errol, NH. The mountains and the colors were breath taking. We stopped and took several pictures and watched closely for moose and bears. There is a "bear alert" posted for this area, and signs are posted every where that say: "Brake for Moose - it could save your life." We are going to Washington Mountain tomorrow and then are heading south to wrap up this week.
This area is so beautiful. I am so grateful to experience this beauty, this expansion.
Yesterday we left Freeport Maine and drove across the state to New Hampshire. As we neared the White Mountains, Jim turned the driving over to me and what fun! The road was winding and lined with all the fall colors. We drove by mountain streams and lakes and at times we could see the mountains on all sides, and sometimes they completely disappeared in the mountain mist. It was the most beautiful drive that I have ever made! When we crossed the NH state line we stopped at a rest stop and information center. (nestled in mountains) They had a flyer that simply says (in big green letters) I love it here! And all I can think is ditto, ditto, ditto!!!!!
We are going to explore the White Mountain National Forest today. We're packing a picnic and we'll be stopping at the store for rain ponchos. Although it is rainy, it is still gorgeous - and I'm so glad to have seen the beautiful East coast of Maine and now the mountains of New Hampshire. Life is good!
Loving it here! And with a big sigh of happiness.....MOUNTAINS!