(Links to 31 days posts. . .)
Day 2 Homemade Bread, Day 3 Beauty in Concrete, Day 4 Lunching with a Friend Day 5 Beauty in fall leaves, Day 6 An Unexpected Opportunity to Create, Day 7 The Beauty of Being a Goat at Thanksgiving
Day 8 The Beauty of Family at Thanksgiving Day 9 Surgery Today Day 10 My Recovery Nest Day 11 Beautiful, Helpful, Big Boys Day 12 Getting Ready For Halloween Day 13Another Sneak Peak at Concrete Leaves Day 14 The Process. . . Concrete Leaves Day 15 A Fall Visit to Wellington Garden Center Day 16 The Beauty of Acreage Fresh Eggs
This year I was determined to participate as well, because this year, I had a topic close to my heart and I was very excited (and a little scared. . .) to write about it.
This past year has not been an easy one. Approaching menopause caused my hormones to start doing a crazed version of the Hokey Pokey a few years ago, leaving me with serious anxiety as a result. (did any of you know that hot flashes are not the only symptom of changing hormones??? I sure wish I had. . .) I was having anxiety attacks out of the blue and had to constantly question whether my feelings were reasonable or a result of the Hokey Pokey going on in my body.
Driving a bus load of school kids through one construction zone after another became a real challenge and I was so very grateful when my youngest graduated last year, as that meant the end of school fees which allowed me to retire, beginning a long held dream of putting my Master Gardener's certificate to good use by going into business for myself.
Of course, the fact that I was no longer in a stressful job didn't mean that the Hokey Pokeying had stopped.
It just gave me something else to be anxious about. . .
When I left bus driving, I left my bus kids and their parents with a bit of a problem. A lovely young woman was willing to drive the bus for that year but she had small children and was only able to provide a shortened version of the bus route. That meant most of the parents would have to drive to and from a common pick up point rather than getting the near door to door service they were used to.
Guilt and anxiety seem to go hand in hand for me. I spent months feeling guilty, which in turn caused more anxiety. . .
A lot of it. And not just about retiring. About everything I did.
I baked bread? But I didn't bake cookies. We ate store bought.
I grew lettuce? But half of it ended up in the compost because I didn't make a salad with dinner. (or worse yet, I threw it into the garbage because it was quicker.)
I started flowers from seed? But half of those ended up in the compost pile when I waited too long to transplant them.
The year I had looked forward to for so long was just. so. hard.
So I prayed. And prayed. And searched God's word. And prayed some more.
And then. . .
Slowly. . . quietly. . . I began to see beauty again.
In the midst of a hard day something small would catch my eye, and the simple beauty of it would wash over me, leaving me certain of God's power and majesty right there in the everyday.
More and more, I would see beautiful bits of everyday:
Seeds that sprouted. . .
Light shining through the kitchen window, throwing a magical glow on a pot of tulips. . .
The astounding color found in the yolk of my farm fresh egg. . .
A bear hug from one of the boys. . .
The gleam from a freshly washed glass cake stand.
Dog walking became a favorite activity as Jada and I would jump into the truck, making a quick drive to a spot in the city filled with gracious old houses, well tended gardens and a view over the river valley.
God spoke to me in these beautiful bits of everyday, reminding me over and over that He was in charge. He created the world and everything it and he wants and commands me to live my life joyfully, not filled with anxiety.
I look for beautiful things now. Through the lens of my camera more often than not these days.
A few months ago God threw a new challenge my way.
I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma.
I spent two months waiting for answers. Answers came. At least, some of them. So far so good. . .
Next week's surgery and the resulting biopsy report a few weeks later will, God willing, give us the whole story.
Beauty in the everyday has become even more precious.
And. . .
Odd as it sounds, my anxiety has slowly slipped away to be replaced with a deep down certainty that, come what may, God is in control.
I never was.
He never meant for me to live a life of I should and I must.
God gave me life to live to the fullest, talents to use for his glory, and love to pour out on everyone he sends my way.
However long or short that life might be.
Because really. . . any one of us could get hit by a bus tomorrow.
All we ever really have is today.
And I intend to spend a part of every today I am given. . .
Looking for the beautiful.