June 25, 2017

Sunday Scripture...

Brynwood Needleworks via Happily Hope Blog

June 24, 2017


Hickory Hill Farm Milkweed Flowers

Thank you to everyone who read and commented on my post yesterday. I'll write individual replies to each of you who left comments for me. I admit I'm always apprehensive about writing my "soul-baring" thoughts, but each time (about four over the last eight years), you've been so gracious and kind in your replies.

I know there was a comment or two about going into a bit more depth about how I went through my "process", and I promise I'll revisit this before the end of the month to share a little more about how I arrived at this calmer and happier place in my head. Perhaps it might help someone else who is struggling on their own journey. Thank you again for leaving your notes for me. I'm very grateful.

Hickory Hill Farm Milkweed

When we purchased our farm last fall, I noticed the milkweed plants growing along the roadsides leading to our property. What I didn't see were the myriad plants growing right here on the hillside.

I'm able to see them from our kitchen window, and it's especially wonderful right now as the milkweed plants are blooming. If you've never smelled their blossom, the fragrance is heavenly. It's sweet and strong...a bit like lilacs.


In case you weren't aware of this one fact, monarch butterflies cannot survive without milkweed. Their caterpillars will only eat milkweed plants, and the butterflies require the plant to lay their eggs. Without the milkweed plant, monarch butterflies will disappear from the landscape. They're that critical to the ecosystem.

We have a few patches of milkweed plants in our grassy field to the south of the house, and more to the west, toward Andy and Shelly's woodlot above our home. As I took these photos today, there was a monarch flying from plant to plant, and then further up the hill. I'm going to be out in the field again tomorrow to try to catch one landing on a blossom. It's a truly incredible sight. I'll be doing my best to not only protect the plants we have, but to promote more of them growing here. I can't imagine a summer without the monarchs on our landscape.

We've been busy inside the house, too. I haven't forgotten that I teased you about the spice racks and cup rack in the pantry. I'll show those to you on Monday. I hope you enjoy your weekend. I'll be back tomorrow.

June 23, 2017

A Short Story...

1988 - Bryn and Me
Last night I told Handsome, "Honey. This morning I woke up with a post in my head." In his most deadpan tone he replied, "Donna, you really shouldn't tee them up for me like that." It took me a second, and then I realized another way he could have interpreted my statement...and I laughed out loud. 

I told him that this subject came to mind after we attended the concert in the park the previous night. You see, something happened. Something that reminded me of how my life became joyful. It was a conscious effort, mind you. I woke up with these thoughts running through my head, and I hope you don't mind if I share them with you today.

Many years ago, I listened to a middle-aged public speaker/comedienne who told her audience that we all have a "Committee" inside our heads. You know. Those voices from our past who contribute to who we are today. All those people who are, or were, a part of your life who told you who you're supposed to be; how you're supposed to act; or just said something that stuck with you long-term. It might be a relative, friend or just something said to you in passing. 

Here are a few examples: 
My mother told me when I was a younger woman that my laugh was "too coarse", that I should "tone it down so you sound like a lady". The result was that my laugh - for a time - wasn't my own. It was hers. Of course, one was never allowed to laugh at our family dinner table, and there was a wooden spoon to reinforce that rule. I'm convinced that some parents really have no idea the negative impact they can have on their children. (Still. Put your cell phones down and talk with them!!)
When I entered my 30s, I opened Stitches. I taught needlework classes, and traveled around the country sharing what I had learned with others. My mother liked to "brag me up" to her friends, but would always add, "I have no talent. She stole it all from me." She was the first member of my Committee.

Other members my Committee? Mom Grace told me that I "was too good for her son", when I broke our engagement. Loving her son as I know she did, that must have been incredibly difficult for her to say (even if she was right). 
Grace taught me most of what I learned to begin my journey into needlework. She also taught me to knit and crochet, although I also crocheted with my paternal grandmother. Over the forty two years I knew and loved her, I frequently thanked her for sharing her knowledge with me. Her response? "It's really a case of the student surpassing the teacher, my dear."

Granddad and Me

I have more...My British granddad who always called me "his beautiful, eldest granddaughter"; or my middle aged co-worker (at the grocery store where I worked my way through high school) who shared her "rules for getting older" and a few jokes I can't repeat here, but will never forget; and always, my husband who always makes me feel loved and cherished. I always remember his words.
Are there other bad examples? Oh, heck yes, and sometimes I have to take a stick to them to drive them away. A comment thrown like a dagger from an unexpected (and unexplained) person; a word in passing from a drunk in a parking lot when I walked with a post-op cane; and of course, there are more, but I don't let them live here anymore.

I could go on with examples (some great, and some not-so-great) from people whose words stuck with me, but I think you get the idea. It took me many of my sixty two years, but I finally drove out the Committee members who brought no joy into my life. They no longer take up space in my head.

Now, I'm sure you're wondering at this point just where I'm going with all this, and how it has the slightest thing to do with our concert night this week. I told you that the conductor was a real cut-up. He had the whole audience in the palm of his hand, and his manner of introducing each new piece, in addition to being clever, was funny. I joined the audience in laughter as he made his way through the program.

At the end of the evening, Handsome and I were folding up our chairs to leave, when the lady who sat in front of me turned around and got my attention. She said, "I have to tell you that your laugh is infectious. I wish I could record it to make me smile every day. I just wanted you to know that I enjoyed sitting in front of you." I was surprised, smiled and said, "Thank you." 

As I went to bed Wednesday night, I reflected on that old Committee member who had managed with one sentence to make me so self-conscious about the simple, joyful act of laughing...and how the woman at the concert made me feel when she commented on my laughter before leaving the park.

This woman and her short interaction with me will stay with me. I'll carry her face and compliment with me to remind me that I chose joy. She will become the newest member of my Committee, and I'm immediately making her a Lifetime Member.

The sub-head for my blog is "...thoughts on a joyful and creative life." That's why I'm sharing this with you today. I decided long ago not to lug the boulders of sadness, frustration or downright despair around with me any longer. I left them behind nearly a decade ago. Please don't waste another moment of your life clinging to that which no longer serves you. Let go of the hurt. Let go of the words that keep you from living a beautiful, wonderful, juicy and joyful life. You deserve it. We all deserve it.
I'm a big fan of the movie "Somewhere In Time". In the movie, Jane Seymour plays the actress, Elise McKenna. She has a rather rotund suitor who pays entirely too much attention to her, and it's most unwelcomed. However, she's expected to return his affection. In a scene with a fellow actor, she's asked, "Surely, there must be something you like about the man." to which she replies, "Yes. His absence." That's how I feel about my evicted Committee members.

Thanks for letting me put this out there today. I appreciate that you stop by to see what I'm doing, and I also appreciate your visits. Be well. Be brave. Choose Joy.



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