My plans for the Labor Day weekend were fairly simple, quiet, and creative. On Friday night Eric and I had a dinner date with our daughter and son-in-law. On Saturday night, I had an appointment at the Wizard of Paws Pet Salon with Gracie to get her nails trimmed. Tonight Eric and I had another dinner and a movie date with friends. The remainder of my weekend was free to do as I please, which was going to include a significant amount of art time and a few things I wanted to get done around the apartment.


Friday's dinner date was fantastic. We enjoyed a relaxing and delicious meal with excellent service, amazing views, and best of all was the laughter and good conversation with "the kids."


Saturday morning I awoke early. It was cool and dark, so I pulled out my favorite grey, bunny-soft blanket throw and lit some candles. I snuggled into the plush covering and savored my coffee in the stillness of the pre-dawn hours. While Eric and Gracie slept in, I listened to a little music by candlelight and I delightedly gazed at a bright star doing its twinkly dance outside our French doors.


As the darkness became streaks of soft pink light, I had the thought that it's almost time to start lighting the fire in the mornings again and watch the daily sunrise. This is a routine I enjoyed so much last year and I look forward to starting it again. In fact, I almost turned the fireplace on before realizing that the plants currently residing on the hearth will need to be relocated this weekend to protect them from the heat. This made my heart full with anticipation of Fall that has sweetly and gently begun to announce its unhurried entrance over the past week or so. It is my favorite time of the year.


I had just finished my second cup of coffee when I heard the door open and Gracie came bounding down the hallway, excited to take her place on the grey fluff in my lap, followed by my sleepy husband. It is her favorite blanket too! We snuggled a bit and then I dressed and took her out for her morning walk.


The air was cool, but didn't quite have that autumn crispness that chills the lungs and makes your breath visible that I love so much. I can't wait for that morning!! Along our walk, I encountered these beauties that may make its way to one of my sketchbooks!!


We finished our walk and were on our way back home when I noticed the acorns were full, mature and decorating the trees and terrain. A bird was in the oak tree above, noisily making his presence known. He frantically hopped about the branches, shaking the leaves and chucking more acorns to the ground. It almost seemed like he was throwing a feathered temper tantrum. It really was a bit comical!


In that moment I recalled the tiny new acorns I had discovered over the summer; their caps in place, but the fruit only beginning to emerge. I had been excited to realize we had oak trees here and that I would have the pleasure of observing its developing gifts over the weeks that would follow! This was to be an experience I'd never had and I looked forward to all I would witness and learn about this beautiful tree and its nutty goodness. If you don't know this about me already, I love nature in all its forms.


I brought a couple baby acorns home that had surprisingly fallen to the ground already that early summer day. I pondered the reason they had fallen and finally determined that a squirrel must have caused their detachment. Now I'm wondering if it may have been the birds. Those little acorns sat on my end table until the caps fell off and I eventually threw them away. At that time, they looked something like this, only the fruit was smaller even than this.



Yesterday I discovered that they are now fuller and rounder, similar to this.


Obviously, I knew they were there. I watched my steps as I walked across the street, but somehow, I stepped on one anyway, and that's when my weekend plans took a sharp turn. Suddenly I felt like I had stepped on a sea of marbles and trust me when I say that those crazy things do NOT crack or give when you step on them! My right foot promptly turned in a direction it shouldn't have and to my shock and dismay it was me that was falling instead of acorns. I was thrown to my left side and I braced my fall with a hard hit to my left hand and wrist on the pavement and my cheek hit the curb of the sidewalk that my feet had not yet reached. I've since learned that I also hit my left knee and hip and chest. I didn't realize at the time because my ankle, palm and wrist were in too much pain, but I sure know now! Everything on my left side is sore and my right ankle, well...


I spent the next few hours in the ER where I got to learn more about nature, if you consider the human body nature. This time, however, I think I would prefer not to have learned about this. The doctor ordered x-rays, then gave me a very brief education about Fibular Avulsion Fractures, because I have one. This type of fracture comes complete with a sprain. An Avulsion fracture occurs when a ligament or tendon tears and takes part of the bone it was attached to with it. This is what happened to the tip of my Fibula when my ligaments tore.


The good news is, it should heal on its own and won't need a cast. I'm just getting around in a boot with crutches. I was warned, however, that it will take 2-3 months for the swelling to go away. I will see an orthopedic doctor in about a week to have all that confirmed.


Today I feel like I was hit by a truck, and the fatigue is unreal! Everything on my left side is sore, and of course my right ankle is sore. At least it isn't in constant pain anymore.


While this was definitely not what I had planned for the weekend, and I'm disappointed to have missed spending time with friends, it has given me inspiration for my next art project. Weird huh? See, I got to learn more about acorns and oak trees, as I was looking for pictures for this blog post. I am amazed at how many different ones there are, with various shapes and colors. I am pretty sure that acorns and oak leaves will be the focus of my next art composition. Perhaps I'll feel up to getting something started tomorrow. Hey, I have to find SOMETHING good in this, right? If I follow thru with that, I'll be sure to share.


Hoping your weekend has been more pleasant than mine,

Jenene






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.