When the Wind Whispers of a Simpler Time...

I don't know about you but life was so much simpler when I was a child.  I look around today at children and sit in wonder at everything they have at their fingertips.  And then I ask myself, "Is more better?"

I have always loved the quiet.  Opening my windows on a cool day and listening to the water tumble over the rocks in my back yard.  There are many benefits of living in the country and one of them is being able to just sit and listen to the sounds of nature.  During the day birds fluttering around talking to one another and at night the bullfrog and crickets serenading me with their symphony.  And often times as I sit in the shadows of the fading afternoon sun, with a slight breeze in the air,  I can hear the voice of the wind whispering my name, taking me back to simpler times of my youth.

It's funny how memories assault our senses.  A sound or smell or just the way the shadows hit the ground in the different seasons of the year can bring us back to a time in our past.  As a little girl I was fortunate enough to be raised in the country, although I wished to be living in a neighborhood full of other kids to play with.  However, as I grew older I began to appreciate the solitude of country living.  I was practically an only child, with my only sibling being fifteen years my senior, so obviously there was no fighting or rivalry going on to occupy my time.  I, instead found my pleasure in reading books or coloring with broken colors that were kept in an old shoe box.

On this particular day in mid-January,  when other people are bundled up with coats and hats, I sit here with my windows open to the breeze that flutters in on this 60 degrees day that feels more like autumn than winter.  It's one of those days where daydreaming is called for and it brings to mind a time when I was just a child preparing for an adventure.  Putting on my sweater and Keds tennis shoes.  Striking out for an adventure that consisted of picking up pecans.  My mother and  I would drive over to my aunt and uncle's pasture that boasted of more pecan trees than it did horses.  If I close my eyes, I can still hear the tires of our white Pontiac rolling over the gravel driveway that would end at a place that I knew well.  A place where I learned to feed sugar cubes to ponies and then  hefted up for a little ride.  But on this day's adventure we would show up with plastic ice cream buckets in hand and would wander around for the entire afternoon in the shadows of the pecan grove, seeing who could fill their bucket to the top first.  By today's standards it doesn't sound like a very exciting adventure because of course, there was no one there to entertain me,  but oh how I love the way this memory makes me feel.  It invokes feelings of a carefree, simpler time of peace and happiness that things cannot afford.



I recently read a book entitled, "No Other Gods" which truly opened my eyes to what things have become for us in today's society.  It begs the question, "What are your gods?"  And if we take an honest look at ourselves, with motive to change for the better, we can find many of them I'm ashamed to admit.  Reading this book has helped me step back and show gratitude not for things, but for people and the memories I can make with them.  For in the end, it is the fond memories that will bring a smile to our face, a laugh in our belly and comfort to our heart.  Ask yourself again..."Is more better..."
Snapshot of me with my uncle sitting atop this little Shetland pony which I referred to as "mine".  It was at his pasture where my mother and I picked up pecans.

1

When Redbirds Appear...

For those of you who know me well or have been following my posts for a while, you will remember that I have been waiting to see "my redbird" since the death of my mother.  If you are not familiar with this, I will fill you in.  Apparently, the saying goes:  When a cardinal appears in your yard, it is a visitor from Heaven.  I had never heard of this before my mother passed away last November, however, once I did, I became very impatient for a redbird to appear at my window.  Even made it a habit of looking desperately for one in the early days after her death. And then someone said, "When you are missing her most or on a special occasion, your redbird will appear.  And so months went by and I never forgot, but I quit looking so hard for one daily.  And then suddenly, as I was told...it appeared!  And she wasn't alone.

July we would have been celebrating my mother's 90th birthday.  It should have been a weekend of festivities for us and I had been anticipating this huge milestone for her.  But things didn't work out that way and I found myself not having a party to plan or gift to buy.  So Hubby and I set out for our lake house, about 45 minutes away.  We were to spend the weekend there with two other couples and I was busily getting ready for their arrival when I noticed just outside the window in the den, a bird's nest.  The nest had two baby birds in it but as far as I could tell their mommy was nowhere to be found.  Now I love see the birds come up to my window and eat from the feeders but truly, I couldn't tell you the different types of birds like my mother could.  So I smiled that these little baby birds were tucked safely in a nest just outside my window and thought that perhaps I would get to watch them try their wings out while I was there.

I mentioned the baby birds to my husband and our other guests in passing but I had no idea what was to come the next morning.  I slept in a bit while the others awoke early and had their coffee on the back porch while watching the fog lift slowly from the river.  Whenever my husband came to wake me, he said, "Get up, your redbirds are here!"  Those words had me jumping out of bed quickly and heading out to see them for myself.  Sure enough, there was the mama sitting in the bushes right where I had seen the nest the previous afternoon.  The babies had flown away but there she was, as though waiting for me to see her.

I was truly excited to see these birds and they put a tear of joy in my eyes for it was as though my mother was visiting finally after all those months of waiting.  And on her birthday weekend, no less.

Over the past year I have made two purchases for myself.  They are both redbird bracelets.  The first one I purchased right after the death of my mother and found that it gave me comfort to wear it.  The second I bought this year during the holiday season when I found myself missing my mother.  This particular bracelet has not only a redbird dangling from it but also the quote I mentioned earlier.

I've only seen a couple of redbirds since and they have always fluttered around in my backyard, close to the window I frequently peer out.  They make their entrance and capture my attention as though to say, "Hello, we're just checking on you" and then off they go.

These redbirds will forever be a gift to me.  They seem to come in pairs so I think of them as my parents visiting, peeking in on me.  I know that they are happily united again and I often think of that reunion as such a joyous occasion for both of them.  She filling him in on everything he missed while she lived here so many years without him.  And the both of them deciding to take flight here to let me know everything will be alright.

3

Finding Your Purpose in Life

As I sit here with this New Year, a clean slate so to speak, in front of me, I can't help but think back on the past year.  The lessons I've learned and how it has clarified life for me.  Often times we run from thing to thing, keeping ourselves so busy that we never understand our purpose in life or the things that truly matter the most.  I lost my mother a little over a year ago, my aunt a month after my mother and one of my lifelong best friends this fall.  Death clarifies things for you.  It's as though there is this imaginary line in the atmosphere moving around with you.  You never cross it until someone you love passes away.  On the other side of that invisible line your vision becomes 20/20.  It's like the scales have fallen off of your eyes and you suddenly understand things you never did before.  And from that point on you never see the world the same again.

I've been purposely absent from writing for a while but for a very good reason.  Whenever I stared this blog it was for one purpose only.  To share my life and feelings with others.  To hopefully make them laugh and cry and realize that life is not perfect for anyone.  It was to keep an account of my life and the happenings in it.  Somewhere along the way I got lost.  I was approached more and more to write sponsored posts for other people or companies and at first I liked it.  And then it became something I felt obligated to do.  And finally, I began not wanting to check my email because there might be another request for me to write for someone or something I wasn't passionate about.  And that's when it dawned on me:  I needed to write about what mattered to me.

So, starting off with this blank canvas of a year in front of me I have decided that write for me and hopefully somewhere along the way people will be interested in what I have to say.  And perhaps they will also attempt to find their purpose in life.  I also decided to take up a new mantra this year; The Serenity Prayer...The unique version below.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can 
And the wisdom to know the difference

Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace
Taking, as Jesus did, his sinful world as it is, not as I would have it
Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
                                                                     AMEN
                                                                Reinhold Niebuhr
 courageouschristianfather.com



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