The Shine of Genuine

“There is no such thing as a “broken family.” Family is family, and is not determined by marriage certificates, divorce papers, and adoption documents. Families are made in the heart. The only time family becomes null is when those ties in the heart are cut. If you cut those ties, those people are not your family. If you make those ties, those people are your family. And if you hate those ties, those people will still be your family because whatever you hate will always be with you.” ― C. JoyBell C.

Old homeplace

Circa 1825: Where it all began

It was a celebration of life and love, of a life well lived. Family, friends, and even a few strangers gathered to share memories, socialize, and break bread. My father wanted us to have a party in his remembrance, a pig roast at his birth place to be precise.

We followed the red clay road up the hill to be welcomed by blue, sunny skies and outstretched arms of the ancient trees. It was a busy day but when I was unable to mingle I looked, listened, and learned about the life all around me.

“Life is a balance between hanging on and letting go.” (Thanks for that quote, Rudri.) When we let go of the deceased we’re not letting go of their love for us or ours for them. We’re letting go of their physical presence and hanging onto the love through memory and legacy.

“We can never get a re-creation of community and heal our society without giving our citizens a sense of belonging.”-Patch Adams On more than one occasion you’ve heard me say how much I enjoy solitude, and I do; but this weekend reminded me of how important it is to share our lives with others.   It takes a community. It takes the sharing and caring of a community to live a life well lived. It takes the interaction of a community to create memories. It takes a community to remember the many facets of love which stemmed from one person. It takes a community to carry the legacy. Treasure your community.

“Your family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing.” -Jim Rohn There will always be differences among members, but superior attitudes and petty quarrels should never cause divisions within the unit.There will be times annoyances occur, but the key is to focus on the love and contributions of others. Minding our own business is essential as well as leaving negative vibes behind. If disagreements must be expressed it can easily be done in in a respectful manner.

We sometimes think our families are the hardest on us, but it isn’t true. They expect more from us because they believe in us even when we don’t believe in ourselves. The people who love you are the ones who have your back. They will pick you up when everyone else disappears. Regardless of failure or success, they love the real you.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” –John F. Kennedy This is the basis of a life well lived. I have never been more proud than to watch the next generation of my immediate and extended family in action. They are authentic and loving young people steeped in good moral values. They pitched in without being asked. They treated their elders with respect, and the children with kindness. These are my family’s future. They are farmers, tradesmen, business men, hospitality workers, holistic healers, lawyers, and educators. They are our hope.

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage.” — Lao Tzu A dying man will regret not loving, but won’t regret having loved or having been loved. Love is free. The only restrictions are what one imposes. It is unlimited, timeless, space less, and can even be effortless as it comes naturally. It is not merely an emotion, but energy with unlimited benefits including the capacity to repair relationships, heal the wounded, and bridge the gaps in life. When love is experienced, the genuine soul is exposed. Nothing shines brighter on a person than love.

Family where life begins & love never ends.

On my wedding day with the first man I ever loved. Daddy gave me away, but he never let me go.

On my wedding day with the first man I ever loved. Daddy gave me away, but he never let me go.

To The Center

“We all get lost once in a while, sometimes by choice, sometimes due to forces beyond our control. When we learn what it is our soul needs to learn, the path presents itself. Sometimes we see the way out but wander further and deeper despite ourselves; the fear, the anger or the sadness preventing us returning. Sometimes we prefer to be lost and wandering, sometimes it’s easier. Sometimes we find our own way out. But regardless, always, we are found.” — Cecelia Ahern

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Today I woke up sad. As the morning wore on I became angry at myself because I couldn’t shake the sadness. Then I became grumpy.  My attitude took away my gratitude for the day. See, I was missing my dad. Today would have been his 84th birthday. I missed calling him and singing to him. I looked at photos which just made me miss him more. I focused on him not being here rather than all the wonderful years I had with him. I then tried to force myself to be happy. The thing about faking is your soul knows the truth…and then I came across this quote:

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” — Carl Sagan

Somehow, this made me feel better. Just knowing, I am here where I am supposed to be, feeling what I needed to feel helped me reach inside and give myself a hug. Earlier I’d opened an email blog post  about getting out of your own way. The contents sort of slapped me in the face, mostly because I totally feel unproductive today, and I realize I am often my own worst enemy. But I also know today is a day I need to rest, not to concern myself with production but with nurturing. I’m going to be gentle with myself.  So, today instead of getting out of my own way, I’m going to step right into the center of me. I am who I am, and life is what it is. I choose to be here, right now.

Happy Trails To You!

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness. ~Charles Spurgeon

DirtMan and I enjoy exploring the terrain in which we live. There are so many interesting places nearby; it’s often difficult to choose where to go. We enjoy hiking both the coastline and woodland areas. It is truly a delight when we get to do both on the same hike. We made the trek to Eastern Shore, Va this past weekend. We scoped out several areas for future hikes and canoe trips. The place we enjoyed most was Savage Neck Dunes State Natural Area Preserve.

We were happily greeted along the trail.

We were happily greeted along the trail.

From woodlands to the bay.

From woodlands to the bay.

50 ft. dunes

50 ft. dunes

Ancient tree carcass

Ancient tree carcass

Sea scene

Sea scene

...and the beach goes on.

…and the beach goes on.

Beach skeletons

Beach skeletons

Maritime forest

Maritime forest

Ghosts of the maritime forest

Ghosts of the maritime forest

We all are ripples in this lifetime.

We all are ripples in this lifetime.

We passed through nature's tunnel and back into our world.

We passed through nature’s tunnel and back into our world.

These pictures provide a hint of the beauty of nature exploration. This is why we love doing what we do. What about you? What do you enjoy doing? Whatever it is, happy trails to you.

Wasteland

“I thought of the wilderness we had left behind us, open to sea and sky, joyous in its plenitude and simplicity, perfect yet vulnerable, unaware of what is coming, defended by nothing, guarded by no one.” ― Edward Abbey, Beyond the Wall: Essays from the Outside

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Living authentically exposes us to the wilds of our surroundings. It opens us to the adventures of life and subjects us to the endless joy and peace which is ours for the taking.

When we settle into ourselves we don’t ruminate over what has been or worry about what is coming. We find comfort in what is.

When we deal from a place of love we need not defend our actions nor guard our hearts. We need only be.

What appears to some as a wasteland is often life in simplicity. All that is needed is within and is provided. We need not look past ourselves, just within.

Possibility

“The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.” – John Sculley

FOT2284There is something magical about watching a baby delight in his wonderment. He will look at his hands and feet with amazement, almost as if he truly knows the miracles of his appendages and is dreaming about where these legs will take him and what his hands will touch. He approaches his world with hunger and curiosity. He is not afraid to reach out for what he wants. And once he grabs hold he isn’t quite sure how to let go.

Imagine our lives if we incorporated a few of these baby qualities back into our lives.

Imagine if we truly looked at life for the miracle it is.

Where have your legs taken you today? Did you use them to travel? Did you take a walk or run? Did you dance? Did you enjoy what your legs did for you today?

What are the textures your hands have touched? Did they feed you? Did they wipe the tears from your eyes or someone else’s? Did your fingers point the way for someone? Did your hand hold another?

Live life in childish wonderment. Study and ask questions about that in which you’re curious. Never stop learning.

Grab onto your dream and don’t let go.

Tree Therapy

I posted a bit of sea therapy a week or so ago, but those who know me know my heart resides in the mountains with a river running through it. While the sea soothes my soul, the joy can’t compete with those of trees. I seem to breathe them in from roots to sky. While the energy from the sea is strong and vast, the energy of the trees is grounded yet unlimited. Perhaps, I’ll just always be a country girl or a hippie-wanna-be; at any rate, enjoy the photos and quotes.

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.  ~Willa Cather, 1913

I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do. ~Willa Cather, 1913

I never saw a discontented tree.  They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.  They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!  ~John Muir

I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far! ~John Muir

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.  ~Robert Louis Stevenson

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

“At night I dream that you and I are two plants that grew together, roots entwined, and that you know the earth and the rain like my mouth, since we are made of earth and rain.”  ― Pablo Neruda, Regalo De Un Poeta/ Gift Of A Poet

“At night I dream that you and I are two plants
that grew together, roots entwined,
and that you know the earth and the rain like my mouth,
since we are made of earth and rain.” ― Pablo Neruda, Regalo De Un Poeta/ Gift Of A Poet

Trees are much like human beings and enjoy each other's company.  Only a few love to be alone.  ~Jens Jensen, Siftings, 1939

Trees are much like human beings and enjoy each other’s company. Only a few love to be alone. ~Jens Jensen, Siftings, 1939

I hear the wind among the trees Playing the celestial symphonies; I see the branches downward bent, Like keys of some great instrument. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I hear the wind among the trees
Playing the celestial symphonies;
I see the branches downward bent,
Like keys of some great instrument.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“And see the peaceful trees extend their myriad leaves in leisured dance—they bear the weight of sky and cloud upon the fountain of their veins.” ~Kathleen Raine, Envoi

“And see the peaceful trees extend their myriad leaves in leisured dance—they bear the weight of sky and cloud upon the fountain of their veins.” ~Kathleen Raine, Envoi

We all travel the milky way together, trees and men... trees are travellers, in the ordinary sense.  They make journeys, not very extensive ones, it is true:  but our own little comes and goes are only little more than tree-wavings - many of them not so much.  ~John Muir, Scribner's Monthly, November 1878

We all travel the milky way together, trees and men… trees are travellers, in the ordinary sense. They make journeys, not very extensive ones, it is true: but our own little comes and goes are only little more than tree-wavings – many of them not so much. ~John Muir, Scribner’s Monthly, November 1878

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. ~Abraham Lincoln

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. ~Abraham Lincoln

Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky, We fell them down and turn them into paper, That we may record our emptiness. ~Kahlil Gibran

Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.
~Kahlil Gibran

 

 

 

 

Uncharted Territory

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~Andre Gide

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When we stumble upon things that make us think or people who inspire us, we delve into new prospects and in the process find parts of our hidden selves. How much knowledge, emotion, and opinion are held within our hearts and minds in which we aren’t even aware? Sometimes the strangest things trigger a flood within us, and in no time we are on a voyage.

Have you ever set out to do something or go somewhere and are pleasantly rerouted? Perhaps you even attempted to do something for someone else and found it was more for your benefit than theirs. That often happens in the essence of giving time and service.

This stumble or rerouting is much of how I came upon most of my creative venues. It’s also how I’ve found jobs and made many friends.

We inspire others as well. I enjoy making jewelry, but it leaves me with painful, swollen fingers so I rarely do it. Nor do I excel at it. However,  I posted some photos of my creations on my Facebook page. A long-ago friend contacted me with a ton of questions which I answered. Before long, she’d gotten in touch with beading communities, bought supplies, and she was off. She had a talent for jewelry making and launched a thriving business. It’s interesting how we are accidentally thrust into situation that move us forward or change the direction of our lives.

Have you ever been the catalyst to someone else’s success? Have you ever had someone else pave the way on a portion of your journey? Tell us the story of your once uncharted territory.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ~Marcel Proust