Just to see you smile..

There are people who seem to never have a bad day, never complaining or showing the stresses of life.  But honestly, we all have stress and worry sometimes. We all have bad days where it seems giving up and throwing in the towel seems easier than pushing forward, overcoming our obstacles. However, for kids, understanding that bad days will pass, that there is something great right around the corner can be tough. I believe small reminders of their importance can get them through those tough days. That inspirational sayings or quotes might be the boost they need to finish that day on a great note and remind them how influential and important they are to this world. Simple notes and inspirational messages are a way to do just that. Lunch box notes are an easy way I am incorporating that in the lives of the people I love. I want to make an effort to lift their spirits and see them smile. Every day!

Abundant Sunshine!

How beautiful was today? The sun shone brightly ALL DAY! It was like a warm gift handed to us, with plenty to go around. Everyone seemed a little friendlier, sharing a smile more eagerly. Unlike the cold winter months when everyone seems to hurry past, rushing inside for warmth, today was different. People took their time, strolling through their day as they soaked up the sun. There are blessings to be found in each day. Sometimes we have to look harder than others. Today it was easy. We had the blessing of abundant sunshine to warm our faces. This was enough to slow us down just enough to appreciate our surroundings and the people in our world. It was also enough to make us eager for tomorrow! I am ready.

Solace

The road is tucked away, among the trees. It is quite possible to drive right by it if you aren’t looking for the telltale signs–the slight incline, or the old school bus parked in front of the small white house littered with trash. The dog knows where to go, his nose poking out the window, an anxious whine as we near the turn. And there it is, the long, lazy gravel road. As we take in the beauty in front of us our senses are assaulted, much like that of a sudden summer rain, a warm solace so inviting. Kicking up clouds of dust as we slowly roll along, we leave the weight of our everyday lives behind. This is the road to relaxation and discovery, where there is no sense of time, but all the time in the world. The cows lift their broad heads to gaze with glossy, doleful eyes in the direction of the car, perhaps to question this intrusive procession, or simply to welcome our return . As we roll down the windows to breathe them in, the smell of the country air is all encompassing, so foreign yet familiar .

We take it all in at once, the beautiful, unaltered landscape, soft, rolling hills, as far as our eyes and imaginations can evoke, the hay fields unfolding like a sea of feathers bowing to the warm breeze that commands their attention. The cows grazing on the grasses, a sea of lush green velvet, unfolding in waves for acres, while orioles and hummingbirds flit from tree to tree, followed by a dance of yellow butterflies. We are reminded as we ascend why we return over and over again. Taking the turn down this country road we are consumed by the seemingly effortless ceremony taking place around us, we become part of this landscape, void of worries or concerns, much like the wildlife that know nothing else. To say we are surrendering ourselves to this land and what it has to offer us, we would first have to make clear. This road is both an exit and entrance, taking us from one life to the next, from city to country, a journey we welcome.

As we reach the end of this road, slowly ascending the soft turn, we see the house, our house. An old, welcoming farmhouse, the original, has survived the evolution of the land as much as the land owners themselves, is now over 100 years old. It sits in the distance, waiting for our arrival, as tall and strong as the conifers surrounding it. “We are here, there it is!” we proclaim each time, as if it is the first rather than a number we can‘t claim to know, changing quickly, much like the seasons. The feeling is always the same. While this is not our home, we are home at last.

    Almost before the car comes to a lazy stop, doors are flung open in eager anticipation. Gone are the travel-weary children, restless from a seemingly short, yet punishingly long car ride. Instead, like tumbleweeds sweeping down a dusty road, they bounce out of the car, not a second of freedom to spare. Falling over each other in organized chaos, their steadfast agility only to be outdone by their four legged friend, they land on the plush, warm grass. This bucolic scene is not lost on the children. For we all take pause to feel the carpet of grass beneath our feet, thick from one hundred years of tilling and farming this land. The years of love and patience put into this earth beneath our feet still apparent by the dense blanket of grass like none we have known in our well designed circle cities.
     Across the sun kissed lawn the children dart, the dog barks in excitement and anticipation. He, as well as the children know what awaits them. We follow the path of conifers that guide our way up a hill dotted with clover, kissed by honey bees. The hill is expansive and inviting, stretching like a soft blanket awaiting it’s need, while knowing ours– perhaps a picnic, an afternoon nap or a waterfall of giggling children rolling lazily down. The children race to the top, hurried to see what they know awaits them. To reach the top is like reaching our destination, our journeys end only to find the journey is just beginning and seemingly endless.. This is what draws us back each time, to remind us of the beauty of Nature’s gifts, given so freely, so unselfishly.
       The lake reflects like a mirror, the horseshoe of tall pines that seem to have no end. Standing majestically, they resemble a proud family holding hands in unison. Their tops sway gently in the warm air, as if to wave their welcome, their soft branches reaching out to us like reassuring hands on our souls. The trees ask nothing of us, want nothing from us, they stand strong and fragrant, simply content in being. They provide unselfishly, for that is all they know. Shade to escape from the hot sun, a soft bed of pine needles to cushion bare feet, a place for squirrels to nest and birds to perch. We take this in, our minds remembering, recording this feeling. This feeling comes as naturally as the brilliant blue sky above us.There is a sense of calm in knowing this place is ours to return to, at our leisure, season to season, year after year. A place to escape the whirling of life that slips through our hands like water, only to be scooped up again with the same hurried furor. Here we become part of this land, the road that greets us, guiding us forward, the grass like a soft, gentle hug, the lake as clean and fluid as the air we breathe and the pines, their branches like outstretched, welcoming arms.
     Each time we visit, we are reminded of the gift we have been fortunate enough to share with Nature and each other. The vast expanse of beauty we see can quickly be changed by Nature’s request, or simply the hand of man. We must enjoy this time and place, paint a picture of this landscape in our hearts and minds, for we know not what tomorrow will bring.
 For a moment we wonder. Do the trees miss us when we are gone? Standing straight like soldiers keeping watch over our hill? Do they wave goodbye as we leave, then patiently await our return? They must, for each return is a reunion, a welcome always the same, so joyful and familiar . As we laze on the grass of the hill, we watch our children run, roll, laugh and chase. How beautiful they look with the sun shining on their upturned faces, the happiness they feel reflecting in their eyes and in their smiles. Many things remain uncertain, life does not give guarantees. On this day on our hill however, one thing is certain. While this is not home, we are home at last.