Serenity in the Midst of Turmoil

There is a lot of unrest in America following the recent election.  So many are worried about the future of our country.  Social media is full of opinions on both sides of the fence.   It is easy to get caught up in the turmoil.  And yet, we must remember that our God is in control.  He holds us in the palm of His hand.  He watches over us and our country.  He offers peace and rest free for the asking.

One of my favorite activities is to go out for a walk and enjoy the beauty of nature.  In this way, I reconnect with God and refresh my spirit.  I see the incredible world that God has made and I am at peace.  I enjoy fresh air, beautiful vistas, a bit of exercise, and photo ops.  Hope you will enjoy these pics from a later afternoon hike in the woods near our home.

Ridley Creek
This old stone wall (maybe a damn) is in the middle of the woods

As you contemplate natural beauty, allow your soul to be at rest and allow peace to invade your spirit.  Take time to enjoy the world around you.

Opting Out – Outdoors That Is

Tonight I am meditating on:

  • Work
  • Play
  • Sabbath

and the connection to:

  • Mind
  • Body
  • Spirit

Are the short walks that I take a mini form of Sabbath?  Taking photographs, noticing the beauty of creation is similar for me.  Reading is at times also restful for me.  I was studying a bit more about StrengthsFinder tonight and noticed the connections between introspection and Intellection.  Reading is, at times, also restful for me.

I paused to read Michael Hyatt’s post:

Why Going Outdoors Makes You Smarter, Stronger, and More Spiritual

and was struck by the similarity of our thoughts.

Serene living-1

Are there practices that rejuvenate your spirit in a similar way?

Serene Living

Snowpocalypse 2016 is in progress as I write.  We’ve enjoyed a snow day here in Pennsylvania.  So far we have over 23” of snow in less than 24 hours.  It’s beautiful to look at.  This quiet Saturday has been spent reading, cooking, eating, and cross country skiing.  I love when I am home on a weekend with no particular agenda.  My favorite thing is to sit on the couch in my living room.  The sofas are old, but their blue, green, and white large floral pattern makes me happy, as does the design and architecture of this home.  From the couch, I can see the snow falling outside the four sliding glass doors and piling up on the back deck.  This quiet house in the woods is my respite.  I am so blessed to enjoy this beautiful home.

But it’s my attitude and my choices that make it a respite.  First, I try to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness every day.  In this I am encouraged by Ann Voskamp.  I believe in God and choose to give thanks for big and small things daily.  I’m still working on my list of 1000 Gifts and will continue – probably I’ll be making lists all my life.  But a thankful heart is a content heart.  Remembering that I have things to be thankful for helps me keep life in perspective.
Secondly, I choose to cultivate ‘down time’ – time for me, in the midst of a busy life, it is easy to be constantly on the go.  I am intentional in making time for quiet in my life.  I try to spend some time every day with a book or going for a walk or simply enjoying a cup of tea.  There are many ways to add serenity to your life.  Time outdoors, even in the middle of a blizzard, is always life-giving to me.  Something about fresh air, seeing the sky and trees, always perks me up.  I love to go for a ten minute walk first thing in the morning.  I am forever stopping to take pictures – the scenery is always changing – even if the walk is the same.  I take lots of pictures of clouds.  Clouds inspire me.
It was snowing hard when I took this picture
It was snowing hard when I took this picture
What brings you serenity?  Let me know in the comments.

My One Word

I remember where I was when I got my One Word.  It was early January of 2016 and I was just leaving the doctor’s office on a cold winter day, and I paused just outside the door to look at a bush.  There in the midst of winter was a tiny bit of green.  I was reminded to slow down and admire the beauty around me. And it came to me, Serenity is my word.  It defines me.  It is how I live my life.  And it is partly my temperament, but it’s also intentional.  Like the choice that I made to stop and admire the landscape, not just hurry on to the next thing (or back to work).  It’s about choosing to see and notice the beauty around you.  A life lived in a rush does not leave much room for serenity.  But slowing down can be hard.  Stick around, see how I cultivate Serenity.Winter Beauty

Outdoor Art

This outdoor artwork turned our front entryway from drab and dull to absolutely stunning. We love it. The ‘water’ just shimmers. The piece has movement and light and gorgeous color. It was everything we hoped and more. As the artist recommended, we are planning to put up a light for nighttime viewing.   I’ve been considering outdoor art for quite some time and finally took the plunge after lots of looking around. So glad I did!

The canvas in the sky is ever changing

An interesting architectural feature.  This is in a medical building, if I remember correctly [or was it a museum] … anyway, I loved being inside, but being able to look up and be connected to the outdoors.  It provided a sense of connectedness even though I was sheltered from the elements.

I always love to watch the sky, to see the ever changing cloud patterns.