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.
When I was a pre-teen and teenager we lived near Long Island Sound. In the summer, my dad would go out fishing just about every morning. We had a little run-about that was old but steady. I would often go with my dad. We would wake up at 5:00 a.m. and creep out of the house so as not to wake others and grab a quick bite before heading to the dock.
I went along primarily to see the sunrise.
It was so peaceful out on the water. My dad is a quiet man, so few words would be exchanged. From time to time I was allowed to drive the boat. We would cast in one spot, and then, if nothing was biting, we’d motor over to a different spot. Fishing involves intuition. You just KNOW where the fish might be hanging out. We’d be back home before seven, in time for dad to catch the train to NYC for another day of work.
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.
What brings you serenity? Let me know in the comments.
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.
I’m meditating on this One Word for 2016 and woke up early this morning with ideas running through my head, so I got out of bed and began journaling. Here are the preliminary thoughts of things I want to write about:
Quiet or margin
These are things that feed my soul. I especially like to get some daily time outside to see the sky and connect with my Creator. The fresh air stimulates my mind. In the coming weeks, I hope to explore these topics in more detail … stay tuned!
Here’s a working title for what God has been speaking to me about in 2016 … if you know me, you know my name fits me – my parents named me well. I’m feeling a nudge to share my serenity with the world and think I’ll start a new blog. I’m polling ideas for a title on my FB page.