“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature…I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” -Anne Frank
It always amazes me when you sit outside and notice the tiny details all around.
A couple days ago I noticed in my Maple tree hundreds of lady bug casings. At first my heart sank as I thought these little bugs had gotten stuck in the sap and perished. Then I looked closer, on other leaves there were little black and red, fuzzy-like caterpillars. I had my husband come to see if he could understand what was happening—was it a tree of transformation?? We googled the lifecycle of a ladybug and sure enough…We have a ladybug tree!! Thousands of eggs gently laid on the large Maple tree leaves. You can see the life stages throughout the tree. Miraculous!!
Just like transformation–Life changes can be hard. My husband is still going through the process of job jumping and it is not getting any easier. It is hard to see him frustrated by how long things take, how many interviews need to be done, the assessments, the call backs…
But then I see these details in nature and I am quickly reminded—everything has a perfect timing, everything grows and changes, the flow of all that is—is perfect. Nothing is left undone or forgotten. There is patience in growth. There is wisdom in waiting. There is challenge and struggle in all things. There is hope held within a new day.
If we can continue to remember this— everything happens with PURPOSE. everything moves in perfect TIMING. everything is given with GROWTH in mind. everything grows in OPPORTUNITY. everything is clear and clarity is given within the PRESENT of this moment. SEEK. LISTEN. FIND the ANSWERS within. We will begin to understand ALL is as it should be right NOW.
God just wants us to stop and seek Him. He wants us to move from doing to be open to seeking His guidance. He knows what is best for our life. He is just waiting for us to trust in Him and His guidance.
Everything around us is being done, the sun rises, the flowers bloom, the streams flow, the wind blows, the moon appears. When we are willing to stop trying to do everything on our own and have the faith that He is listening and waiting patiently to help us do anything and everything.
We must try to have a little FAITH in that!!
This reminds me of a beautiful song “Have a little faith in me.” I am going to put a couple links to a couple video clips of people singing this song. These two versions were my favorites. Just close your eyes and listen to the words. It correlates to having faith in someone else–whether it is someone you love or I also like to think that it is having faith in God & knowing he is there through the good, the bad, the dark…etc.
This is a great version by Charly Luske
Here is another version + video of Mandy Moore singing the same song
Well, that is my thought for today. I hope it helps you in anything and everything you do. Best wishes for a beautiful day. -Heather
It is a wonderful thing to know that their are no coincidences, that life gives us signals we need, stops us to listen, helps us to begin to notice the things we truly need. Again I was gifted a needed coincidence. I had been feeling like I needed to watch the movie Eat. Pray. Love. I had not seen it since it came out in theaters, so I was curious to understand why I was being drawn to it. I was having a bit of a down, migraine day, so I put the movie in and watched it for about 20 minutes before the idleness began to wear on me, the thoughts played that I had too many things to do, so I got up. I decided maybe a walk might shake things up and get my blood flowing. I walked, I listened to a podcast of someone I had never heard before, she took a call from a caller who began to parallel her life with the life of Elizabeth in the movie Eat. Pray. Love. Now, we all know this movie has been out for years, so this struck me as a gift, I knew I needed to go home and finish what I started and see what spoke to me through this movie. Here are some of the things I took away…
Pray: with your heart. Her desperation led her to her knees. “Prayer is a relationship; half the job is mine. If I want transformation, but can’t even be bothered to articulate what, exactly, I’m aiming for, how will it ever occur? Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention. If you don’t have this, all your pleas and desires are boneless, floppy, inert; they swirl at your feet in a cold fog and never lift.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
Dolce far niente—In Italian means “the sweetness of doing nothing.” In America we do not take advantage of this, we work, we work until the day is done, we rarely have moments of “doing nothing.” I am not sure how we have become so accustomed to this way of life, but each and every one of us need to learn something from the Italian culture and enjoy more moments of sweet nothing. “Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure.Ours is an entertainment seeking-nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one….This is the cause of that great sad American stereotype- the overstressed executive who goes on vacation, but who cannot relax.” -Elizabeth
Express yourself with gestures: I loved this!! Everyone kissing, giving thanks for delicious food with the “Muah!” May we all “Muah” everything we have.
The Augusteum: This was a meaningful moment in the movie because it was a place of great ruin. Elizabeth began to see the parallels of ruin as a gift in life, the road to true transformation.
Master your thoughts: let it be. “At some point, you gotta let go, and sit still, and allow contentment to come to you.”
Give selflessly to others: Elizabeth’s gift to the young Indian girl who was getting married into an arranged marriage was a gift of selfless beauty, a genuine gift. There was another sweet gesture when Elizabeth had friends and family send money in lieu of her birthday & she was able to build a home for a single mother in need.
Tutti: I just loved the meaning of the little girl’s name “Tutti” which means “Everyone.”
Forgive yourself: let go of the ocean of regret. “There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
God dwells within you as you: When you shine, you are doing His will. You are the true essence of who He created. “We don’t realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.” -Elizabeth Gilbert “Your treasure – your perfection – is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the busy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.” -Elizabeth
Have faith: “There’s a reason we refer to “leaps of faith”–because the decision to consent to any notion of divinity is a mighty jump from the rational over to the unknowable, and I don’t care how diligently scholars of every religion will try to sit you down with their stacks of books and prove to you through scripture that their faith is indeed rational; it isn’t. If faith were rational, it wouldn’t be–by definition–faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be…a prudent insurance policy.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
Finding balance: Balance is not allowing someone to love you any less than you love yourself. There was another great moment…Elizabeth says, “I couldn’t keep my balance.” Ketut responds, “Sometimes losing balance for love is part of living balance in life.”
“Zen masters say you cannot see your reflection in running water, only in still water.”
Avoid fear: Fear leads you to run away from all the great possibilities of your life.
Choose happiness: “I’m choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I’m making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
“I keep remembering one of my Guru’s teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t you will eat away your innate contentment. It’s easy enough to pray when you’re in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
The Quest–the journey: “I’ve come to believe that there exists in the universe something I call “The Physics of The Quest”- a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: “If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting(which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments)and set out on a truth-seeking journey(either externally or
internally),and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all -to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself….then truth will not be withheld from you.” Or so I’ve come to believe.”
There were so many gifts that seem to be hidden within this movie. I hope you seek to find gifts and gems in everything you do. Peace and love to you. -Heather
“It takes a fearless soul to live in the mystery.” -Elizabeth Lesser
To me this says—you have to FEAR LESS to truly believe in the faith of something greater…bigger…the whole of all that is. The awareness that you are Divinely connected to a God that wants what is best for you. From that Divine connection comes a guidance, a belief, a faith that all that is mysterious, unanswered, feared can be hushed with a whisper from the guidance you hold within.
To be able to fear less we must be patient and have a simple understanding of who we are seeking to become. We are little children in spirit, we seek to be better, but our smallness leads us to believe that our greatness is hiding. While we play this game of hide and seek, we must daily seek to understand our deepest needs.
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” -Rainer Maria Rilke
Seek to do things that will bring you closer to what your soul needs, to the higher aspiration of yourself. When we begin to strive to “LIVE EVERYTHING” the things that help us grow, the moments that challenge us, to have patience with the questions that are unanswered, to jump, to sing, to love, to live…we will begin to be who we are meant to be. Like a child, we begin to shine.
Here are a few ideas to help you on a quest to nourish your soul:
Listen to your feelings: I cannot say this enough. You have inner tuition and guidance that is a gift given to you, but if you do not listen, it is of no use to you. Begin to feel and notice things that are given to you as a direction. Ex: If you are drawn to a book to read–buy it, read it. If you feel you are meant to call someone, do it. We often receive a little nudge to do something, but how often do we do it. I have a great story that goes along with this. Last week my husband was going on a little day trip & I had this feeling to suggest the audio book, The Traveler’s Gift. He came home in ah of what he had listened to & began to explain the parallels of our life and the character in the book—guy who just lost his job, is married to a brunette, they have one daughter, the main character gets to a point where he tried to take his life…& then the story begins to help him with different life lessons from men throughout history. My husband loves it!! He is listening to the rest of it this week. No question—it was inspired for this time in our life. Listen to the needs within. Allow yourself to be guided & you will begin to see the gifts these directions hold.
Self-worth: Do you have limiting beliefs about yourself that is holding you back. Not loving yourself is a tough place to do soul work. I know I do have limiting self believes and I know it is a process of working through insecurities to get you to a higher place. We often see and focus on our personal inadequacies. Dove did a great campaign that illustrates how we personally see ourselves in a more negative light than most people around us. Here is a link to the “You are more beautiful than you think” Real Beauty Sketches…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=litXW91UauE It is very powerful, so take a look. We need to begin to focus and appreciate our personal strengths and the beauty we truly hold within.
Do things that light you up—things you love: Fill your day with as many possible moments of something you enjoy doing. Whether you love reading to your kids, being with your family, riding a bike, listening to beautiful music, talking with good friends, eating good food, being creative, going on a walk, do something that sings to your soul. Your soul needs nourishment and pleasure, so if you just fill your day with stress and worry, what does your soul have to feel good about.
Get quiet: Turn off the television. Take a break from the world. Take a nap, meditate, yoga, breathe. Quieting your world does wonders for everyone. I have been chopping television out of my daughters routine. Yesterday, I sat with her quietly and told her she could draw, color, listen to calming music and have some quiet time. She sat there with me for a few minutes and then said, “This is stupid. I hate this.” I calmly shared with her the options again and we decided to snuggle up together and fall asleep. It was nice to see her rest. Her little body goes and goes, so the sleep was just what she needed–she awoke refreshed and relaxed.
Plant something: Everyone has there “something” that nourishes the soul. The other day I was having a conversation with my mom and she was quite emotional. She has been living in my home for nearly two years, after someone swindled my parents out of their retirement. She was having a moment, missing her home, wishing she had more money…I looked at her and whispered, “what do you really need?” She began to cry even more, “Peace.” She then began to talk about how she missed her yard, how she missed planting flowers, tilling, watering and how it was so nourishing to her soul. I smiled, “we have a whole yard you can plant flowers or we can get you a big pot to container garden.” She smiled. Everyone has that little something that helps to nourish within. Seek to find those moments and do little things that will bring you hope, that will make you laugh, that will hold you close to the divinity within you.
Most of all…LOVE. Love reminds us of all things. It heals, it helps, it circles, it connects, it remembers where we truly came from.
Peace to you. Have a beautiful day. -Heather
“Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. That is the ultimate.” -Chuang Tzu
I just got back from a walk, the weather was rain when I started, so I began it with a attitude of enjoying the rain. While I was walking a woman approached me who was just starting on her walk, she asked me, “Is it getting better or worse?” I smiled, “it comes and goes, you just need to embrace it and enjoy the fresh smell of the beautiful rain.” She hurried on. I literally stopped and felt how this moment was like life, we have to enjoy the flow, whatever may come.
On my way back I pondered about my husband and how hard it has been on him mentally to begin again, to look for a job. I began to pray for my little family, knowing that God knows what is best for us. He knows what flow will be the right current that will take us to where we need to be. I continued to pray for His guidance, to help us allow what we need into our life.
Sometimes it is very hard to remember that he has a plan for everything. That there are not coincidences, only moments of grace. That he can guide, direct, change everything in a moment. That is where our faith needs to step in, to allow, to listen, to look for His direction.
We read this beautiful story before bed last night—it is amazing. It illustrates this whole idea beautifully. Enjoy.
The Tablecloth by Richard Bauman, from Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul
A young minister had been called to serve at an old church that at one time had been a magnificent edifice in a wealthy part of town. Now the area was in a state of decline and the church was in bad shape. Nevertheless, the pastor and his wife were thrilled with the church and believed they could restore it to its former magnificence.
When the minister took charge of the church early in October 1948, he and his wife immediately went to work painting, repairing and attempting to restore it. Their goal was to have the old edifice looking its best for Christmas Eve services.
Just two days before Christmas, however, a storm swept through the area, dumping more than an inch of rain. The roof of the old church spring a leak just behind the altar. The plaster soaked up the water as if it were a sponge and then crumbled, leaving a gaping hole in the wall.
Dejected, the pastor and his wife looked at the defaced wall. There was obviously no chance to repair the damage before Christmas. Nearly three months of hard work had been washed away. Yet the young couple accepted the damage as God’s will and set about cleaning up the damp debris.
It was a depressed minister and his wife who attended a benefit auction for the church youth group that afternoon. One of the items put up for bid was an old gold and ivory colored lace tablecloth, nearly fifteen feet long.
Seized with an inspiration, the pastor was the high bidder at $6.50. His idea was to hang the tablecloth behind the altar to cover the ragged hole in the wall.
On the day before Christmas, snowflakes mingled with the howling wind. As the pastor unlocked the church doors, he noticed an older woman standing at the nearby bus stop. He knew the bus wouldn’t be there for at least half an hour, so he invited her inside to keep warm.
She wasn’t from the neighborhood, she explained. She had been in the are to be interviewed for a job as a governess to the children of a well-known wealthy family. She had been a war refugee, her English was poor and she didn’t get the job.
Head bowed in prayer, she sat in the pew near the back of the church. She paid no attention to the pastor, who was hanging the tablecloth across the unsightly hole. When the woman looked up and saw the cloth she rushed to the altar.
“It’s mine!” she exclaimed. “It’s my banquet cloth!”
Excitedly she told the surprised minister its history and even showed him her initials embroidered in one corner.
She and her husband had lived in Vienna, Austria, and had opposed the Nazis before the Second World War. THey decided to flee to Switzerland, but her husband said they must go separately. She left first. Later she heard that he had died in a concentration camp.
Touched by her story, the minister insisted that she take the cloth. She thought about it for a moment but said no, she didn’t need it any longer, and it looked pretty hanging behind the altar. Then she said good-bye and left.
In the candlelight of the Christmas Eve services, the tablecloth looked even more magnificent. The white lace seemed dazzling in the flickering light of the candles, and the golden threads woven through it were like the brilliant rays of a new dawn.
As members of the congregation left the church, they complimented the pastor on the services and on how beautiful the church looked.
One older gentlemen lingered, admiring the tablecloth, and as he was leaving he said to the minister: “It’s strange. Many years ago my wife–God rest her—and I owned such a tablecloth. She used it only on very special occasions. But we lived in Vienna then.”
The night air was freezing, but the goosebumps on the pastor’s skin weren’t caused by the weather. As calmly as he could, he told the man about the woman who had been to the church that very afternoon.
“Can it be,” gasped the old man, tears streaming down his chicks, “that she is alive? How can I find her?”
The pastor remembered the name of the family who had interviewed the woman. With the trembling old man at his side, he telephoned the family and learned her name and address.
In the pastor’s old car they drove to her home on the other side of town. Together they knocked on her apartment door. When she opened it, the pastor witnessed the tearful, joyful and thrilling reunion of husband and wife.
Some people would call it an extremely lucky chance happening, the result of a hole in the church wall, an old tablecloth, a pastor’s ingenuity in solving a problem and so on. But the combination of events was far too complex for it to have merely “coincidence.”
If one link in the fragile chain of events had been broken, the husband and wife might never have found each other. If the rain hadn’t come, if the church roof hadn’t leaked, if the pastor had decided not to go to the auction, if the woman hadn’t been looking for a job or standing on that corner at just the right time…the list of ifs is virtually endless.
It was simply God’s will. And, as it has been said many times, He works in mysterious ways.
I hope you enjoyed this beautiful story. I hope it touched your soul and will set you in a good place for your day. Peace, Love and Joy to you. -Heather
The word “Grace” derives from the Greek, chars. In Secular Greek, chars was related to chair, “to rejoice.”
Over the years I have learned to look for the tiny signs, the details that may lead me to a moment of grace, a moment of quiet rejoicing, in finding that I am truly not alone in this world.
I want you to think of a time where life was painful or you felt alone or you needed comfort and someone showed up, or you received a phone call you needed to hear or a special song played on the radio just for you. I want you to think about the smallest threads that have held you together when you felt like things were unraveling around you. It is through these moments that we can find that quiet place of grace.
I have been very blessed with little moments when I need them most. It’s as if at my lowest points there is a glimpse or shimmer of something bigger than me. When I need an answer more than ever, I am handed a gracious gift. They may seem small and insignificant to you, but to me they are cherished jewels that I can string together and hold on to.
I wanted to share a few of these moments with you, so hopefully you will look all around you and see a moment, a sign, a gift of grace…
Just the other day I had been thinking and praying to know what is going to happen with my husbands professional career…would he find a job, will he be able to handle the pressure, will we have to move? I had been feeling very anxious, needing to know what lies ahead, wondering if we will have to move again, concerned about how my daughter Kate will handle such change…on and on the worries played.
Then, that night while we tucked our daughter into bed we were debating if we should listen to music, read a story, etc. I lifted up our little children’s devotion book and my daughter grabbed it out of my hands and started flipping through the pages. She said, “lets do the day of my birthday.” We had practically missed almost every day in February, so I was fine going back to her special day. We began to read and I instantly knew the message was for me, for all of us. It read…THE FUTURE IS MY SECRET…Sometimes you think it might be nice to know the future, what to expect, how things will turn out. There are even some people who claim they can tell you the future. But the future is a secret. It is my secret. When you try to figure out the future you are reaching for something that is Mine. My keeping your future a secret, I am teaching you to depend on Me. Trust My promises to care for you, to look out for you. I will show you the next step you need to take, and the one after that, and the one after that–one step at a time. Don’t try to rush ahead of Me. Just relax and enjoy the journey to your future–one day at a time.
Another moment was a time when my husband was leaving town on a business trip. He had been really stressed with work, had not had time to physically work out and things were really getting to him. I was worried, really worried about where he was in his mind. He had been very emotional. I stood in our driveway with our little girl and we watched him drive away. I had this terrible feeling come over me and I was filled with more worry and concern. I felt like we may never see him again, that something was going to happen. I grabbed my daughter’s hand and told her we needed to say a prayer for Daddy. She asked me why and I told her I was a little worried for Dad and that we needed to pray for him to be safe. We said a prayer and I still felt a little unsettled. I saw Louise Hay’s affirmation cards and I grabbed one from the stack, it read, “I move through life knowing that I am safe—Divinely protected and guided.” A wave of calm ran through my body and peace filled me and I knew he would be okay.
One last moment I will share was this last summer when my little family was deciding if we should make a special trip to the Oregon coast. I have wanted to go visit the Redwood Forest for years and my husbands job was constantly taking him to Washington and Oregon, so we were thinking this would be a good time to go. I began planning, looking at costs, trying to figure out if it would be good timing when my daughter ended up in the hospital a few months before with Pneumonia. Thankfully she was there only a couple days and got better, but then the medical bills came, our car had some issues and the Redwood trip looked like it should be pushed back to another year. The day we had decided the timing was not right I had a couple of moments of grace…that same day I was looking through my book collection for a book to include in a teacher appreciation basket. I came across a book called “The Woman’s book of Confidence.” I began to flip through the pages to make sure there were not any notes or markings when I came across a page titled, “Deep Roots.” I was curious and began to read, it was all about this women’s trip along the coast and the Redwood forest. I knew this was a sign. I immediately called my husband and told him we needed to go. Later that same day I took a walk through the forest near my home. I was smiling to myself thinking about the amazing coincidence that had just occurred when a voice in my head said, “it’s about time you got it!! I have been trying to tell you, I even had you move to Redwood Drive.” I laughed out loud at this funny moment. There was definitely inspiration about!! It is a good thing we took the adventure to the coast because now my husband will not be traveling to Oregon or Washington again. Thank heavens for that amazing trip. I am glad we listened.
Well, inspiration, grace, whispers, feelings, thoughts, all echo the same song…that you are not alone, so look for the little signs, pick up the books that seem to call you, fill your heart with wonder, look for the magic in all things and know you are not alone.
Lots of love and grace filled moments to you. -Heather
I just had a tear filled conversation with my mother-in-law about one of her grandchildren who are in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). She was filling me in on the details that have happened the last couple of days—spinal tap, surgery to put in a pic line that feeds the little one through a small tube, pneumonia, lung collapse…
It was heart wrenching to imagine this little child that was born not quite a week ago, going through such pain. Then I envisioned her mother (my sister-in-law), the new mother of triplets and the pain I know she is going through, feeling like she isn’t bonding to this child, while the others are doing well, wondering what she is doing wrong as a mother, looking at the nurses with envy as they speak to her baby and having thoughts of her baby possibly dying…
Then my thoughts went to my mother-in-law who had lost two sets of twins after they had been born. I asked my mother-in-law how she was doing. She broke down and said, “We are trying to be positive. It is hard, but Lacey (her daughter) doesn’t want to be alone and neither do I, so we are sticking together through this. Everything will be alright.”
She was holding on to hope and faith, like any good mother, knowing in the back of her mind it is essentially not up to her. That anything can and will happen. She had been there many times.
Yesterday my sister-in-law was having an especially tough day, so I sent her a letter and some inspiring quotes to post around her house to help her remember she is not alone and that this experience is a time for growth, hope and faith. One of the images was the one above–I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
When I saw this image it reminded me of the humility we need to have through life. Every day, every moment is a gift that we are given. Life experiences may be scary or cause us to be fearful, but through those moments we learn so much. Through these experiences we learn the important things like faith, hope, true love, empathy, gratitude, sacrifice, etc. We learn the lessons our soul seeks to devour. It is through these faith building moments that we know we are not alone and that God is there to hold our hands. That fear can turn to an ah-filled wonder and that is where we find grace and humility.
I want to send her my best wishes and blessings. Please send her a blessing if you have a moment. Thank you.
Blessings to you today. -Heather