Some people could be given an entire field of roses and only see the thorns in it. Others could be given a single weed and only see the wildflower in it. Perception is a key component to gratitude. And gratitude a key component to joy. ~ Amy Weatherly

March 4

This morning, as I watch the world come to life out my window again, I am filled to overflowing with gratitude. Today, I am grateful for perspective. God has given me a moving art piece to watch, of pink and blue streaks across the sky with a low lying puffy grey-blue cloud blanket that lies just beyond the mountains. There are tiny sheer purple clouds bobbing across the foreground as though in procession. The trees are swaying to an upbeat wind as the hummingbirds gracefully fill their tiny bodies with nectar.

I am grateful for the beauty of this day, but I realize I would be equally grateful for a rainy day. There was a time I would have been disappointed to find that it was raining because I would "have to" take Gracie out in it. It would definitely be an excuse to not go out and take a walk in it for longer than necessary.

Now, although I love the rain-free mornings, I sometimes find it to be just a touch disappointing to my heart when it is not raining. I love the smell of the rain, and the freshness on my skin. I first realized this when Eric recently told me it was raining and 34 degrees and to my surprise, I got excited, knowing that I "got to" go take a walk in it! I know that when it's raining, all the beauty I enjoy when it is not raining is being nourished.

And it all comes down to perspective. One can either feel and smell the rain and see it as life-giving and something to be experienced... or dread getting wet. I find this is true of most things in life, including the people in our lives. I am grateful that God taught me about perspective and that I was open to learning. If not for perspective, I would be missing out on so much that is precious to me, including the opportunity to love even those we may have once deemed unlovable. There is only so much time we all have to live on this earth, and I would rather spend it loving and learning from what is put in front of me (both pleasant and not so pleasant) and finding the positive where I once saw only negative.

March 7

Today I am wrapping up a 40 Day Sugar Fast with one of my sons and one of my daughters, but I am no where near "done." Living a sugar free life has become a desirable choice that I fully intend to continue beyond these 40 days... and that in itself is a changed perspective. It's not like I'll never eat anything with sugar again, but it will be reserved for rare occasions, and I LOVE it that way. If, on January 27 when I started this, you had told me that on March 7 you could eat a bowl of chocolate ice cream in front of me and I would prefer my yogurt and blueberries, I never would have believed it. Sometimes miracles do happen, even when you don't expect them! So, I celebrated the last day of the fast and the first day of a lifetime of health with a hike. It's the first one I've taken in probably 20 years... and it felt amazing!!

Please enjoy some pictures, presented in random order, that I took while walking and hiking this weekend, below. I hope you've had a restful weekend, and that you'll have a joyful, productive week filled with positive perspective.

P.S. If you know what the pink flowers at the end, please let me know. I've never seen them before and would like to know what they are.

Ah, 2021, you have arrived like a thunderous cacophony. I would like to send you back from whence you came, but I have decided that you are only a small snippet in my life and you are microscopic in the grand scheme of things.

It's not possible to ignore you because what you bring is far too significant. However, it is possible to mute the blare of your pandemonium and turn my focus toward proactive measures that calm and soothe the soul.

You see, I focused on you for a week and found myself in the throes of a mini-meltdown yesterday morning. As I felt the anxiety levels rising, I read of your shenanigans more and more and more until I found they (anxiety levels) had risen to flood stage.

That's when I knew that I needed to do something different, but was finding it difficult to do. I turned to my husband and poured out my heart about you, every little thing that was bothering me, why it was bothering me, and what I feared for the future you may bring came tumbling out until I was sitting in a mud puddle with it under me and all over me.

He listened quietly, letting me pour out every word until there were no more words left. Then, in all his gentleness and wisdom, he pointed me to God, to my faith, to scripture... after scripture... after scripture. He said many things, but the one that struck me deeply was that in giving so much of my focus to what's going on in the world I've sacrificed time that could have been spent in prayer and reading God's word. In so doing, he said, I've lowered my shield of faith and have allowed the arrows of the enemy (fear in this case) to hit me in the face. (Ephesians 6:16)

Wow! Was he ever right! And, thank you God for the gift of a partner with such steady faith. I talk a lot about my faith and it's definitely real, but I'm easily distracted and need to be reeled back in from time to time. He, on the other hand, is a man of few words, yet seemingly unending and unwavering faith that is resistant to distractions that I struggle with at times.

The rest of the day was much more harmonious for me. I turned my focus toward prayer and scripture, and engaged in a few of my favorite things that bring me a sense of calm, joy, pleasure, serenity, peace, and awe. With gratitude to my husband, but ultimately to God, I share some of them with those of you who have chosen to read this far.

1. One of my favorite things about living on Cougar Mountain is literally watching the fog roll in, especially at sunrise. Not 10 minutes before I took this picture the sky was clear with just a few stray clouds. I watched what appeared to be a lone cloud come dancing along the tree tops followed by others, and soon they inhabited all of the visible lower atmosphere with a golden glow of the rising sun behind it.

2. The sun shining through the glass above our French doors. The photo doesn't do the shine justice, but I'll share it anyway.

3. The whistle of my new Le Creuset tea kettle that Eric gave me for Christmas (and the Le Creuset salt & pepper shakers back there too!). And just an aside - I LOVE having a gas stove. There's something special about cooking over a flame.

4. The beautiful tea cups my daughter, Jessica, gave me for Christmas. They are the perfect size and shape to cup your hands around the bottom and feel the warmth of a hot cup of tea on chilly fingers.

5. My new crystal honey pot that I bought for myself from my Christmas list after it wasn't gifted to me, but I will thank my Aunt Carolyn for them since she gave me the gift card that paid for it. I also love my new tea... thingy, for lack of a better word. It was inspired by my step-daughter Sarah during a recent visit to her lovely home in Antoine Creek. She has something similar.

6. Watching the steam waft above my cup and listening to the musical sound of tea taking occupancy.

7. And last, but not least, rediscovering old favorites. This is the very first tea I ever truly enjoyed. I hate to admit, but it was probably 40 years ago when I worked for a restaurant that served it. I've discovered many more teas that I love over the years, but this is one that I still enjoy that brings back comforting memories.

It is Day 7 in our new home on Cougar Mountain. While it is an apartment community, you get the sense that you've been gently tucked in behind a boundary of evergreens, their protective boughs fanned wide. Perched high, all around us, they assuredly stand watch. There is an abundance of peace, a soothing natural artistry, in surroundings that plant gratitude that has already taken deep root in my soul.

In the still, dark quiet of morning...

I close my eyes...

I breathe...


And I thank my Maker for His infinite gifts.

I open my eyes to discover day overcoming night! It appears with an illuminated crown of gold resting softly on rounded crests. Colors briefly, yet magnificently, overtake the sky, and my heart fills with joy like that of a child. I race across the room to step barefooted from carpeted warmth to an icy chill that greets me beyond the white French doors. I pay the frigid sensation little attention, as I passionately focus on capturing the new morning images.

And once again...

I close my eyes...

I breathe...


And I thank my Maker for His infinite gifts.

Photo and video below taken from our deck.

November 21, 2020