Beauty and Wonder

Look for the light

Sunset walks on the beach are my favorite.  Although people frequently come out to enjoy the show, we sometimes find ourselves on a nearly deserted beach.  As I walk I often contemplate the beauty and wonder around me.  It’s hard not to with this scenery, right?  God gives us sunsets, day after day.  Do we always take the time to look at the sky and appreciate them?  Of course not.  Life is busy, it’s not always convenient, it might be raining, the sky is overcast and you can’t see the sun, the list goes on.

But the sunset is constant, it happens every day.  It is like God’s love for us.  It’s there, it’s constant, but sometimes we just don’t see it.  We get busy, we don’t take the time, the clouds of grief or anger seem to hide it, or we let a bad experience or another persons point of view keep us from looking.

crane 9-24-18

Sometimes we might feel like we’re standing alone in the world, in society.  And that’s okay, because in reality, we’re not.  There are others like us, people of faith, who believe in God’s goodness and love.  We may not be the loudest voices in the chatter of the daily stream of information flooding the airwaves, but we stand strong in our faith.

double rainbow 9-21-18

God gives us constant reminders that He is there.  Looking up at the sky after a rain, with thunder still grumbling in the background, Dan and I saw a beautiful double rainbow.  It’s a reminder that although we might be showered with problems, and the voices of discontent are grumbling in the periphery of our lives, there is pure shining light in the world.

Am I looking at the thunderclouds and worrying about the storm, or am I looking toward the light and appreciating the beauty and wonder?

 

Yoga and Laughter

Settling in and finding a new yoga home

I have practiced yoga for over 15 years, so it has become a part of my life.  Dan and I joined an athletic club at the end of 2002/ beginning of 2003 and enjoyed working out there.  One of the first classes I tried was a yoga class, and I was hooked.  Yoga became my motivation to go to the gym.  I found that driving straight to the gym after work was the best way to be consistent and attend class regularly.  I got into the habit of going to the gym Monday through Thursday, with yoga 3 nights a week and 1 evening of cardio.

I had the opportunity to learn from some great teachers and truly grow in my practice.  I was always sad when one of my favorite instructors left the gym.  Some moved on to teach at gyms closer to their home, and some moved on to start their own yoga studios.  It was a challenge to adjust to a new instructor- everyone has their own style, and they don’t know the skill levels of the students yet to adjust their teaching style.  Of course stepping into the place of a beloved teacher has to feel challenging to the instructor as well!  Sometimes it took a few weeks to get into the groove of an instructors style, sometimes they were just “meh”, and attendance was merely routine because of the class time availability.  Other (most) instructors grew to become my favorite instructors when they settled into a familiar groove, and they challenged everyone to grow in their practice.  And of course part of yoga is being able to ignore the irritations in life and breathe through it!

When we made the move from Michigan to Florida it took a while before we found a gym that offered a lot of yoga classes.  I have to note here, that yoga in Florida doesn’t seem to be at the same level as it is in Michigan.  I was used to more challenging, “hard-core” classes, and really feeling the Zen by the end of class.  This was not the norm I found.  There were a few good instructors at the new gym, but one young lady kind of stood out.  Yesenia was newly certified, having taken her teacher training in India only months before.  But Yesenia had the Zen.  It oozed off her and filled the room, and her joy and enjoyment of yoga bubbled out of her.  When the gym cut out most of their yoga classes to focus in a different direction, I followed Yesenia and another instructor to a new yoga studio.

I loved the new yoga studio.  It was a sunny, happy place.  Being young, Yesenia occasionally showed up late to the 6:30 am sunrise yoga class.  But she had the good grace to apologize, and continued to grow her skill and teaching confidence level.  I am sure she will become a great yoga teacher, I could see it in her, and encouraged her as much as I could.  Our original move to Florida was a temporary place to stay while we looked for a “forever home”.  When we found said home and moved away from that city, leaving that yoga studio and Yesenia’s fun personality was the hardest part.

After settling into our new home, it was time to find a new yoga studio.  Dan noticed a yoga studio near the barbershop he found and stopped in to check it out.  He brought me a brochure with their class schedule and said it seemed like the kind of place I would like.  I went to check it out and decided it was a great choice.  The clientele at the studio is mostly women of my age, which could be because I attend classes in the morning, or because the average age of people in this area is our age! 🙂

There is a group of “regulars” and it’s nice to recognize familiar faces and feel welcomed by the friendly instructors.  Being women “of a certain age” there is a comradery as we chat and discuss common concerns after class sometimes.   This is such a welcome feeling when you are a bit shy, and somewhat new to a community.  I think that’s one of the things I like most about the yoga community.  It’s easy to feel welcome and comfortable in your own skin.  I have always tried to make new people feel welcome and encourage them to keep coming back to class.  Yoga has helped me find balance in life, in more ways than one.  And I want to share my love of yoga with others.

That photo above?  That’s me and one of my yoga instructors, Tina, playing around after class so that I could have a fun photo.  Anything that brings balance and laughter into your life is a good thing in my book!

PS- If you follow my page for sewing, I will note that the workout top and capris I’m wearing are me-made.  I also made matching capris for my daughter and granddaughter.

matching pegs

Namaste!

Take a Walk

I love walking the beach.  My favorite part of visiting the beach when it took over two hours to drive there was taking a nice long walk along the shore.  Now that I live much closer to the ocean, walking the beach is a more frequent occurrence.  I am happy to walk anytime of day, but my favorite time is at sunset.

I enjoy walking with my husband, it’s a quiet time where we can chat about what’s on our minds.  The distractions of work, chores, social media, etc. are gone, and it’s just us.  The conversations aren’t necessarily profound, but it gives us a chance to connect and talk or just walk in companionable silence.

When he is travelling on business, I use my sunset walk as a time to think and ponder.  Walking has always been a way for me to work off stress, to think and figure out solutions to any problems in life.  When we lived in Michigan where winters are snowy and cold, and it was dark by the time I drove home from work, I walked the track at the gym.  If I had a stressful day at work, I seemed to walk pretty fast around that track!  By the 8th or 10th loop I had worked it out and could slow down and just let the endorphins flow.

The beach is my happy place and I love seeing the ever-changing waves, feeling the soft sand under my feet, and breathing in the fresh, clean air.  You may not live near the ocean, but I encourage you to get outside, and soak up nature.  There is always something beautiful to see, from the green grass or the leaves on the trees, to the flowers in your neighbors garden.  Maybe your view includes icicles and snow, or fields of crops awaiting harvest.  Getting outside and appreciating God’s beautiful creation can change your view in more ways than one!