Monday, November 18, 2013

Ocracoke Treasures, Peace, and Thanks to Linda D.

"Ocracoke Treasures"
"Magical" isn't a word that I use lightly, and it's interesting how frequently my time on Ocracoke Island is described in exactly that way.  Our last trip there in October felt long overdue.  Life at home was stressful, and we were anticipating our visit with even more enthusiasm than usual.

On the day of our departure, we left home at 2:00 in the morning so that we were sure to arrive at The Cedar Island Ferry in plenty of time for the first crossing of the day.  Tired and happy, we landed on Ocracoke a few hours before our rental home was ready.  Ken indulged me in my need to immediately feel the sand between my toes, and I indulged him in his need for a nap.  

While he was snoozing in the truck, I made a beeline for the Pony Pen Beach.  It was just what the doctor ordered!  It was a perfect breezy fall afternoon.  With the sun on my face, I walked in solitude in the surf for about twenty five minutes before beginning my return trip. 

Because I'm not truly happy on the beach until my pockets are overflowing and my hands are filled to capacity, I picked up oodles of treasures along the way.  Then, just when I thought that I couldn't squeeze one more morsel into my collection, I spied a flash of color on a piece of driftwood that I'd passed earlier.

"...and let it begin with me..."
Imagine my surprise when I drew closer and found these.  I quickly realized that they were even more precious than I'd imagined.  "Peace" was exactly what I was seeking on Ocracoke, and to find such a physical manifestation of it within hours of my arrival can be defined as nothing short of Magical.

Thank you, Linda D. for sharing your talents in such a generous and selfless way! Your gift touched my heart, and I hope that your time on Ocracoke was every bit as Magical as ours.  (If you happen to be reading this, Linda D., please let me know. I would love to be able to thank you more personally.)

Friday, November 8, 2013

What A Difference A Day Makes

From the crispness in the air to colored leaves to pumpkins, I love the Fall Season.  This year my travels took me from Pennsylvania to New England and back to North Carolina.  The time on the road allowed me to experience nonstop autumnal beauty for weeks on end.  Here at home, fall arrived softly.  I live in The Sandhills, home of the majestic Long Leaf Pine.  While they offer stunning beauty year round, they just don't provide a whole lot of fall color.  ;-)
This photo is similar to one that I posted on Facebook.
Notice the heart shaped hole in the leaf on the top left.
About a week ago, I noticed that the small maple tree in our front yard had begun to turn brilliant orange.  As the days passed, I appreciated it as I gazed out the window or drove in and out of our driveway.  Then two days ago, as I rushed home after an appointment, I paused to visit the tree in person.  It was awesome!  Its leaves were rustling gently in the breeze; bees were languidly resting amidst its branches; and the Carolina Blue Sky provided the perfect backdrop for its vibrancy.  I posted a photos of the tree on Facebook that day, and I was amazed by the positive attention that it received.

Yesterday dawned to mist, fog, and gray skies as I made my way to yet another doctor's appointment.  When I returned home, I was stunned to see that our beautiful little tree had shed almost all of its leaves overnight.  If I hadn't paused for those precious moments the day before, its beauty would have existed only in my mind.   

I know that there's valuable lesson in this experience, and it's one that's been on my radar for the past few years.  Our time here is precious and fleeting.  We need to make the most of it; we need to appreciate those we love and the beauty that surrounds us; we need to focus on the things that matter most; and we need to do it right the moment and amidst the chaos.  Life is beautiful, and I for one want to fully appreciate every last drop of it!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Broken Shell Beauty

I love surprises. 

Today, when I placed my hand into my jacket pocket, I came away with a sprinkling of sand from my most recent visit to Ocracoke.  It instantly brought a smile to my face, and mentally carried me away to my all time favorite beach. 
One of My Favorite Things...Broken Shells.
When I reached into my other pocket, I was rewarded with these three beauties.  I found a number of perfect shells during my visit...a scotch bonnet, a sand dollar, and a variety of others...but I continue to be drawn to the parts and pieces.  These shells have survived; their strength is apparent; and they have a history that I can only begin to imagine.  Worn smooth by their journey, their beauty is beyond compare. 

For now, I've returned them to my pocket.  They'll live there with the sand for a while; both serving as a gentle reminder that these words are a true for us as well.

Monday, November 4, 2013

My Personal Pause

One Perfect Pause...taking time to appreciate the little things. 
(Ocracoke Island, North Carolina)
Lately I’ve noticed that I have an increasing need to pause.  From the briefest of pauses to more long and leisurely ones, at times the desire to pause overwhelms me.
Pausing quiets my mind. It provides me with time to consider my options; it allows me to reflect on the consequences of my actions; and it permits me to respond to various situations instead of reacting to them.  This may sound like a subtle difference; but it’s made an enormous improvement in my life.  In the ever increasing rush around me, pausing centers me.
Sometimes I silently summon a personal pause in the midst of chaos.  This type of pause tends to be transparent to those around me.   At other times, I verbally declare my need to pause.  I wasn’t even aware that I did this until a friend noticed it.  When she brought this behavior to my attention, I realized that the gentle act of pausing is one manner in which I care for myself. 
Rushing through life is overrated, and I’ve done it for far too long.  I’m now ready to embrace my personal pause.  Care to join me?