So Where’s The Chocolate?

“Chemically speaking, chocolate really is the world’s perfect food. ”  ~Michael Levine

I don't think anyone loves chocolate as much as my Mama...here is my father watching her eat chocolate! I think I inherited this love from her!

I don’t think anyone loves chocolate as much as my Mama…here is my father watching her eat chocolate! I think I inherited this love from her!

A fun and yummy tidbit I ran across is that tomorrow (September 13, 2014) is International Chocolate Day! Yay, I don’t think there could be anything (food wise) better to celebrate except maybe caramel. I looked it up and oh no, I missed that day! And beer day, too! In fact I missed a whole bunch of great food celebrations. Click here to see what you’ve missed and what’s coming up!

Little gets me as excited or delighted as chocolate! (Except caramel!) In celebration of this most delicious day I have six chocolate brownies in the oven…YUM YUM!

“Strength is the capacity to break a Hershey bar into four pieces with your bare hands – and then eat just one of the pieces.”  ― Judith Viorst, Love & Guilt & The Meaning Of Life, Etc

“Will looked horrified. “What kind of monster could possibly hate chocolate?”  ― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”  ― Charles M. Schulz

“Can I come back and see you sometime?”

“Long as you bring me some chocolate,” Gramma said, and smiled. “I’m partial to chocolate.”

“Gramma, you’re diabetic.”

“I’m old, girl. Gonna die of something. Might as well be chocolate.”  ― Rachel Caine, The Dead Girls’ Dance

Telling The Secrets Of Our Souls

Water is the one substance from which the earth can conceal nothing; it sucks out its innermost secrets and brings them to our very lips. — (Jean Giraudoux, The Madwomen of Chaillot)

Water is the one substance from which the earth can conceal nothing; it sucks out its innermost secrets and brings them to our very lips. — (Jean Giraudoux, The Madwomen of Chaillot)

The manner in which we live can be viewed through our simplistic or extravagant lifestyles. I once read if you followed your money flow you’d discover much about yourself. I promptly pulled out my receipts and reviewed my expenditures. Turns out I enjoy spending time at the grocery store. Well, that’s not exactly true. Grocery shopping is not a thrill for me, but feeding others is a pleasure. I love cooking and sharing meals with others.

While how we spend our money does say much about us, I think how we spend our time says more. It is the greatest indicator of personality and passion. Sure we attend events for the sake of others and even do things or purchase items which are not of utmost interest to us, and it is almost akin to wearing your heart upon your sleeve.

That said our lives might not be as secretive as we think. Though much might be left unsaid and yet undone, everything we say and do is indicative of who we are. We wear priority like an identification badge, and yet it’s all a matter of perspective.

Do you ever wonder if people know what you’re thinking? I suppose my skin is as transparent as water. My feelings are written all over my face and are revealed through body language. I can’t fake others out when it comes to what moves me. How about you?

Is it possible to hold secrets from yourself?  When you can no longer read the writing on your bones, you only need a glimpse of your childhood to refresh yourself. What is it you enjoyed doing? What interested you? What did you read? What did you play? Who did you dream of being? Does this sound far-fetched? I don’t think so. As a child I designed and sewed Barbie clothes. I played in the woods. I experimented in the kitchen. (My poor dad ate many a weird concoction with a smile on his face!) I collected rocks. I wrote. Now: I design and sew art quilts. I hike. I experiment in the kitchen. (Though my family, at times, is not as graceful as my father was at being the guinea pig!) Instead of the kid with rocks in her pockets, they are all over my house, and occasionally in my pocket or purse. Yes, rocks still catch my eye and find their way into my heart. And yes, I still write. Oh, there were years I spent away from these loves while I was attending to other loves, but yet they came back to me. What does this mean? Do you see a similar pattern in your life?

Are our innermost secrets visible to others? If stifled or neglected do they remain with us? The passions within us, secret or visible, stay with us. I’m going to tell you a little story about this. When my father died my sister and I found a guitar and a CD about learning to play the piano. We were going to toss them out and our mother told us not to. Upon inquiry we found it was something she always wanted to do and still hoped to someday. We teased her a bit, but left the items intact. A week ago my mother gave me a book (it was a fill in the blank question and answer book about life) I’d given her to write in about her life. In this book it asked what you dreamed of as a teenager. Her answer was to learn to play the guitar and piano. She has had the same dream her entire life. She is almost eighty-one, and thinks it is too late…I’ve made a few calls today and am hoping her dream can be fulfilled.

Once we become aware of the longings within, we choose whether or not we will share them. Some of us reach for those dreams. Some of us fear them and pretend they don’t exist. Some of us don’t make them priorities. Some of us think we are too busy to make those dreams become our reality. What do you do?

People who follow their spirit emit a certain vibe. There is both calmness and energy about them. (It could be that is how one wears peace and happiness.) They seem to shine from the inside out. They are living the secrets of their souls. Others flock to be in their presence. They want a piece of positivity.

The heart whispers the mysteries of peace and happiness all of our lives.

Don’t tune out the voice of guidance.

The secrets of your soul are waiting to be heard.

Spin Cycle: Secrets

Writing The History Of Our Lives

Sometimes it is better to lose and do the right thing than to win and do the wrong thing. ~Tony Blair

sunrise under the pier

There will be days life will let you down. You will feel disappointed. And yet even if your heart hurts and you can look yourself in the mirror without shame, it has still been a good day.

There will be times you hold others to your own standards and they don’t live up to those expectations. Is it fair to expect others to be morally conscious?

The thing about honesty is when someone reinvents the truth enough times it becomes his reality, and even so the truth, not his or someone else’s perception, will follow him throughout his journey. The lesson will repeat itself until it is learned.

The greatest lesson I’ve ever learned was by the example of my father, to do the right thing even if it comes at a personal cost to you. He taught me the value of people and relationships. It is basically a matter of integrity…you either have it or you don’t.

When I am dissatisfied with my own thoughts or actions, I know the fault lingers within me. I take action to change my view or behavior. I work on becoming a better person, not just for myself but for others. Because this is important to me, I hope it is important to others. I have faith in humanity.

Every morning the sun rises and we are given another chance to do what is right. What a wonderful world it is to be given opportunity after opportunity to rewrite the history of our lives.

Peace Like A River

If you' re not beside a real river, close your eyes, and sit down beside an imaginary one, a river where you feel comfortable and safe. Know that the water has wisdom, in its motion through the world, as much wisdom as any of us have. Picture yourself as the water. We are liquid; we innately share water's wisdom. — (Eric Alan, "Meditation Draws Its Power From the Water," The Oregonian (September 11, 2005))

If you’ re not beside a real river, close your eyes, and sit down beside an imaginary one, a river where you feel comfortable and safe. Know that the water has wisdom, in its motion through the world, as much wisdom as any of us have. Picture yourself as the water. We are liquid; we innately share water’s wisdom. — (Eric Alan, “Meditation Draws Its Power From the Water,” The Oregonian (September 11, 2005))

I carry an inner peace. I am able to feel calm in the midst of storms. Recently I began to feel a growing agitation within. At first, I thought I’d allowed outside forces to disrupt my harmony.  I realize we are each subject to a certain amount of negativity and chaos, and I was quick to blame my lack of serenity on that. Once I began to soothe my soul, I discovered it was my own lack of spiritual practice which had caused my unrest.

How simple it is to slip away from the things we need the most, and by things I don’t mean material means. I’m talking about meditation, prayer, solitude, rest, and whatever it might be that feeds or comforts one’s soul.

I suppose it could be said a spiritual life is as important to overall balance as an aligned spine is to physical health.  Have you ever felt out of whack and realized you held the solution in the palm of your hand? Unclench your fist, and read the writings of your heart.

Here’s wishing you enough…

Enough time alone, and enough time with loved ones

Enough quietness to hear the voice within

Enough insight to see the beauty before you

Enough touch to feel the love surrounding you

Enough awareness to feel the wind in your face

Enough fortitude to stop long enough to enjoy the fragrance of the day

And

Enough sensitivity to taste the zest of life…

James River State Park, Take Two

 “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”  ― Rachel Carson

Sunset over the Tye

 

We made a second trip to James River State Park while on vacation. The Tye River Overlook was so pretty we wanted to catch it at sunset. It did not disappoint.

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This time we walked the river and wetland trails, taking in the beauty of the wildflowers.

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On our last visit, we enjoyed the river from the banks at the picnic area. This time we ventured onto the beach. The sound of lapping water and wind whistling through the trees drew a soothing solitary scene for us.

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Someone before us had created stone art.

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The wetlands, woods, and brush provide cover and food for the birds, bees, rabbits, and deer.

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As always, we enjoyed our walk through nature and snapped a few shots here and there.

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The Nature of Negative Emotions

“The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves.” ~Sophocles IMG_5725 Negativity gnaws at the spirit leaving the soul stripped and tangled. Our challenges become problems. We focus on what is wrong rather than solutions. Negativity obscures the benefits of learning and growing from overcoming obstacles. It is one thing to make this an internal choice, but quite another when we deliberately share this with the world. When pessimism spreads it is not good for anyone.

Opportunity hides in the solutions of negativity. When we rise above those low vibrations we find there are good things waiting for us.

Peace does not live in the midst of negative emotions. We have the power to live a positive life. Traveling the road of optimism leads to fulfillment. Living a contented life opens the doorway to lasting happiness.

Most of us know at least one person who thinks the world is out to get him…it seems nothing ever goes his way. Doesn’t being around those types of people weigh you down? The influence of a bad attitude can surely ruin a good mood. Try to avoid them. If you can’t, don’t allow them to suck you in.

Negative thoughts are ego based. The spirit offers affirmation you are enough just as you are. Spirit allows you to be you and to reach for your dreams. You will constantly battle with ego while you settle into the peace of spirit.

Protect yourself by allowing the negative forces to pass by.

Focus on the good things in life.

Be grateful for who you are and what you have.

Love greatly. Laugh often. Live your dreams.

“Be too large for worry; too noble for anger; too strong for fear and too content to permit the presence of trouble. Be so powerful that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.” ~The Optimist Creed

The Courage To Continue

suzicate:

On the eve of the 45th anniversary of Camille, I remember as many of my Nelson County friends and relatives.

Originally posted on The Water Witch's Daughter:

It was the night of August 19, 1969 and the early morning of August 20th that death and destruction intruded the land and lives of Nelson County, Virginia. Hurricane Camille came quickly, and it’s strength and greed took everything within it’s path. An excess of twenty-five inches of rain in a five hour period of time pounded the land and the hearts of it’s people. These are my people. The people I love and respect. These are people of courage. People of love. People of hope.

My husband's grandfather's house.

They clung to life through the night in tree branches and on rooftops swept into an uncontrollable surge of water . They called to family members separated by swift rapids until the only sounds left were one’s own heartbeat and the roar of the water. Daylight brought annihilation of life and land they had never encountered or envisioned in their lifetimes. The morning sun brought…

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The Beauty Of An Ordinary Day

“I do believe in an everyday sort of magic — the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we’re alone.”  ― Charles de Lint

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There are days you stumble across extraordinary beauty. And then there are days you realize even the most ordinary is beautiful in its right. We walk in beauty daily, but often are too caught up in our thoughts to be aware.

The beauty of life shouldn’t have to be so overwhelming it has to catch our eye. When we sink ourselves into living we find it everywhere. Beauty doesn’t have to be seen. We can hear it in the nature’s melody. We can feel it in a touch, taste it in a home cooked meal, and smell it in the trees and flowers. Beauty is what pleases you. When you begin to see the ordinary in an extraordinary light it can take your breath away.

Today I invite you to experience life and beauty. Look around you. What do you see? Take a deep breath. Look again. Now, what do you see?

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Saint Mary’s Wilderness, Take Two

As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can. - Quoted from Muir Journals (undated fragment, c. 1871) by Linnie Marsh Wolfe, Son of the Wilderness: The Life of John Muir (1945) page 144.

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The trail hugs and all but crumbles into the creek in some places so you have to cross the water several times. The water was much lower than when we hiked Saint Marys in 2011, just as gorgeous but thankfully, less eventful. (Click here for the version of Saint Marys, Take One) I’ve hiked many Virginia water trails, but this is the prettiest and most serene. The terrain is not like other local trails, but reminds me of the landscapes out West.

Whether walking the creek or trail, you are surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Whether walking the creek or trail, you are surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Trees cling to cliffs.

Trees cling to cliffs.

Life depends on the nooks and crannies of the rock for shelter.

Life depends on the nooks and crannies of the rock for shelter.

There are many caverns ard holes in the rocks.

There are many caverns are holes in the rocks.

Within view but off the trails are many screes (rock slides down the mountain).

Within view but off the trails are many screes (rock slides down the mountain).

There are many sets of falls along the route.

There are many sets of falls along the route.

This rock slide along with the large falls with the pool below is another swimming destination for many.

This rock slide along with the large falls with the pool below is another swimming destination for many.

This photo puts the scoop to scale.

This photo puts the scoop to scale.

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At this point, Wylie was dog-gone tired!

At this point, Wylie was dog-gone tired!

Indian Pipe along the trail.

Indian Pipe along the trail.

What’s On Your Mind?

IMG_6653 You got something to say? Spit it out. Do you feel misunderstood? Are you afraid of what people will think? Is it too painful to bear?

Can you write the words you cannot speak? The unspoken heaviness upon our hearts can often be written as poetry, song, or fiction if not in a journal. It provides a release.

Have you ever heard a song that said exactly what was on your heart? Have you ever heard music that stirred your soul? Have you ever looked at a painting and felt you knew the artist? The power of art is the connection between the artist and the viewer.

The desire to create is a strong urge. Does it begin with love, anger, or pain? Or even confusion? I think art evokes emotion because it was created with emotion. What do you find inspires you to create? Think of a song or piece of art that has aroused a strong response from you. What is the similarity between your response and your desire to create? What is different?

Sometimes we need to speak without saying a word; we just need to let it out. We all have outlets to soothe our souls, and many of them come in forms of creating.

I’ve been writing, sewing, and creating art in one form or another since I was a child. At times I wanted to be seen or heard. Other times I disappeared within my creations. There have been times I’ve thrown my anger into written word or my love into a quilt. My confusion has reared its face upon pieces of fiber art, and wonder has worked its way into the stitches. I’ve even created just to tear it to bits.

And then there’s graffiti. How do you feel about it? Does it depend on whether you see it on a bathroom stall, bridge overpass, or alley way? Does it matter more what or how something is written? Personally, as long as the language is not offensive to the public, I think the colors and styles of script found on bridges etc. can be quite pretty. Why do people write graffiti? Is it because they want to be heard? Does it promote inner healing? Graffiti, is it art or vandalism? What say you? IMG_6656