Nature's Heart

Nature's Heart

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Where does the time go?

Romans 15:13
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I have been drawing a lot of strength and comfort from these two verses lately and have actively been pursuing embracing more, calm and quiet as a necessary part of my schedule. Do you run your schedule or do you let your schedule run you? I am notorious for this...sometimes living out of two or more planners at a time...trying to juggle every time commitment and forgetting that I can be just as productive by leaving some of those spaces blank in my date/calendar book to simply take a breather. So far this year I have been doing significantly better at this and I think that it has finally clicked in my brain that "Holly Time" or downtime is just as important in my life to being productive.

I have been finding so much joy especially when I get lost in the moment...where time gets away from me...
It's so important to just enjoy where you are, remembering to breathe and count your blessings.
I went walking on my lunch break and got pleasantly distracted by playing on the swings at a nearby playground. The next thing I knew my lunch hour had passed and I had to head back to work.

That got me to thinking, "What are the things, or moments that allow me to lose track of time?". Firstly, I recognized that those moments are when I am involved in something that I actually enjoy! What a concept right?!? I know this might seem like a no-brainer but it's a lot easier said than done sometimes. The second thing that I noticed most often occur when I am able to give it my full attention (tunnel visioning if you will) and refusing to multitask.

Here are a few of my personal "Lose track of time" moments/activities:

A good book
Baking or cooking
(I recently made a lemon, poppy seed and coconut bread and it was a complete success!)

Going to a live performance particularly the ballet, symphony or a musical
Editing photos...or for that matter taking photos
Singing...whether for a show or singing during praise and worship at church
Going for a walk or hike on a beautiful day
Spending time at the beach
and last for this list (but certainly not least) is Painting and drawing

 (A recent attempt at picking my watercolors back up)

What activities or moments allow you lose track of time?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Perspective, Choices and Reactions

What do you see? I often hear people commenting on what kind of person they are, using this glass half full/half empty analogy but I have to say that often times I like to just focus on the fact that there is something in the glass…and to recognize that it is more important to ask one’s self…what will you do with what’s in the glass??? If you don't feel that there is anything in it that means that there is room to fill it…if it’s overflowing share it…and if it’s empty what better container than to collect more? Also when your container is empty what better opportunity to clean it!

I’m sure you have thought this as the weekend comes to a close, “I HAVE to go to work”...but what if we switched it up a little and look at the other side of the coin which would be, “I CHOOSE or GET to go to work”. What a powerful way of switching up the thought process into a more positive and truthful point of view.

I have been reading the book, “The Element” by Ken Robinson who encourages the reader to ask, not how intelligent are you?... But rather, how are you intelligent ? By a simple rearranging of a couple of words it brings a whole perspective to this question! What are your strengths? It is important to focus and remember what our strengths lie, especially when improving in other areas that make you feel as if you are on more shaky ground or those days that feel especially tough. This is a positive way of looking at things while allowing truth and thus a healthy perspective to shine and empower us.
I came across this quote by Charles R. Swindoll that says, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”  We hold the power of our thoughts and focus. We have control over so much when we really think about it...why so often do we allow ourselves to believe that it is the other way around? To be helpless or to decide that there is nothing that one can do to improve a situation in some way also a be passive, proactive, reactive these are all still choices that begin with ones thoughts. Where do you choose to let your focus and thoughts land?
(NIV) Matthew 6:35 states, “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Today I felt that this scripture verse is really an examination of faith. To worry is often to fret about possible and often worst case scenarios that haven’t even happened yet! If we are worrying, this means that we are not trusting that God is in control of all including our well being. What do we choose? I don’t know about you but I would much rather adopt God’s (who is in control of all things) view of my life scenarios rather than the more lonely and often limited world’s perspective. It is important to keep ourselves in check...A good reminder to give God our concerns because He is the only one who can take care of our tomorrows. What an amazing relief! This gives us freedom and an ability to appreciate and live in our “now’s” much more fully...and it is also a much better use of our time and energy! Such a nice thought... again, our perception is such a powerful choice...and what an incredible opportunity it is to choose.
A real life example of this positive life outlook, occurred recently when I was sitting in my office and I overheard an amazing conversation develop between two clients in the lobby.
Working at a chemical dependency rehab center I am surrounded by many people who have “messed-up” and are looking to go through the various programs either willingly or court ordered and often begrudgingly.

These two younger gentlemen were waiting for group to start and going back and forth at how important it is to speak words of positivity and how when you, do it’s amazing how positive things begin to happen in your life. Their view of why they were here was also positive realizing that God put them here for a reason. A way of filtering out the bad (in many different forms in their lives such as drugs and also relationships). Rather than wallowing in how much they didn’t want to be here and were fighting the “system”…they were looking at these struggles as an opportunity to improve their lives and the lives of those they love as well. A starting point…

What a good reminder and dose of perspective that I needed right in that moment. It was convicting yet refreshing.

Our choice of words and thoughts are powerful!
What do you choose…mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually?
What words are you choosing to fill up on and proclaim for yourself and over your life?
Robinson also mentions that, "The way that we think can either imprison us or liberate us"...So I must ask myself daily and now ask you, what are you choosing to build with your thoughts, actions and reactions?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Grand Canyon Views

I cannot begin to express how utterly breathtaking and beautiful the Grand Canyon was! Hopefully these pictures will speak for themselves. I am definitely going to be going back and spending much more time here.
I was so happy that I caught this bird in flight! It's been a while since I have picked up my camera and I'm feeling a bit rusty...but hopefully it's like riding a bike. Just gotta dust it off and have fun!

Every step we took along the South Rim of the canyon opened up to a whole new view.

Factor in the sun's placement/time of day, the scenery was in a constant state change. Illuminating rock faces and peaks were constantly being revealed as new shadows surfaces cast their shadows showcasing brilliant shades of color and muted tones simultaneously.

 This trip was so special...we couldn't have asked for nicer weather at this time of year. I have wanted to come here for so long and then to finally be here I felt like I needed to pinch myself to make sure it was real!
 We came across this little guy at the information center. Haha! Had to take a picture of him...he looks so happy!
 I feel so fortunate to have been able to share my first trip to the Grand Canyon with the Love of my life. What a way to start celebrate and start the new year!
Snow and layers

 Someone got a hold of my camera.

All along the rim and pathway, various pieces of canyon rock had been cut out and displayed with tags identifying what type of rock/mineral and where in the canyon they came from and this was by far my favorite one. 

 Approaching sunset...yet again the canyon revealed a whole new scene and impression.

Look at that view!!! Oh yea and the canyon and sunset aren't bad either!

With every minute that passed the sun continued lower and dropping with it was the temperature...This picture was my best attempt to not look cold as my Benjamin surprised me by putting himself in this shot. Haha! Gotta love a good photo bomb!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

100 Things Cleaning Spree

I have been going through a bit of a cleaning frenzy at my, fixing and clearing out. In the past week I have:
Installed a real door sweep and got rid of the towel...

 Tinkered a bit to get the fan unit and light working above my stove...

Replaced the rubber feet grips with new rubber covers for my shoulder rest on my violin...

And I began to re-organize dresser drawers and closet space...

I also came across this really neat article that just further encouraged me to continue my cleaning streak but it took it a bit further...challenging me to fine 100 things to get rid of. I liked having more of a clear and defined goal with cleaning rather than getting rid of a few things here and there. Now I had a goal which pushed me to be more strict and intentional with how I was looking at things...and more importantly the WHY I was holding on to things.

So...could I find 100 things???

After all, I was already on a cleaning spree…I have so much and I don’t want to just keep accumulating THINGS! Experiences yes…memories, definitely…but going back to an earlier one of my posts…I want to be a better steward of the things that I already have!

So far I have gotten rid of (by giving items away, throwing things out, returning, selling or donating) the following:

Dress Me:
3 pairs of shoes
1 pair of VERRRYYYY worn flip-flops
1 green sweater
1 summer dress
4 shirts
1 gray blouse/tank top
1 purple zip up sweater – given away
1 white cardigan
1 old ARMY zip up/turned paint hoodie
1 sweat pants
1 blue AE cardigan
1 Pink square neck top/blouse
2 undergarments
2 v-neck t-shirts
1 blue striped shirt
1 prom dress
1 dress cape
2 pair of boots –tossed…they literally had holes in them…HOLES!! Why do we hang on to some of the things that we do?!?
1 butterfly necklace
1 child Taekwondo uniform and 6 belts
2 racing/swimsuits
1 broken goggle strap
3 exercize shirts

1 tube of old mascara
1 old practically fossilized bottle of lotion
1 old bottle of moisturizer that I couldn’t get anything left out of…yet it was still sitting on my shelf…why?
1 container of old bobby pins and clips

1 vinyl record
4+ books
2 DVDs
A stack of burned DVD’s and CD’s (I lost count with how many…but definitely more than 5 item)
2 CDs
4 playbills from operas and musicals

1 Large Tupperware salad bowl with lid and broken handle
5 Tupperware containers
1 Kindle cover
1 Travel mug
3 calendars
1 wine glass (still in the box)
1 ripped backpack
2 yellow pages books
1 very chocolate bar
1 old cleaning sponge
1 pair of needed to be retired cleaning gloves
Multiple cardboard boxes of various sizes
1 pair of garden sheers – broken
1 broken window blind
Recycling a bag full of …grocery bags
1 bottle scrubbing brush
6 day vitamin holder
1 Metal vegetable steamer
2 strawberry de-stemmers
2 jewelry boxes

1 old dried up glue stick
2 architecture rulers
2 bars of paint brush soap
A pile of old photos
1 roll of tulle
Old bubble wrap packaging material
Old art work assignments, drafts and work

Items borrowed and finally returned:
4 blankets
1 can of disinfectant
1 violin learning CD
1 IPhone case

I think that covers my "100 things" goal (that I remembered to write down) but the good news is I'm still going strong! I’m pretty sure that my house is happier to get rid of the weight and clutter of it all…I am also enjoying the emotional weight being lifted more and more with every piece that I get rid of.