Saturday, September 27, 2008

Invitation to An Amazing Show

Sunrise over West Grand Traverse Bay

I want to share with you all an invitation to the most amazing and brilliant show I have ever seen.  It doesn't cost any money to attend, and you decide how long you would like to be apart of the audience- arriving and departing within what is convenient for you.  I can't guarantee that the content of the show will be consistent, since it is unrehearsed and there are many factors that play a role in the outcome of the display you will be witnessing.  Perhaps I should tell you there is a role that you will be required to play too.   There are some interactive elements to the show, but don't worry because it is only your perception and attendance that matter the most, especially if the show happens to offer a more solemn version on a particular morning or evening. There are only two showings offered on a daily basis.  Plan to get up early if you are one who usually sleeps past daybreak.  You can also try to catch the evening display, soon to be a matinee in the next few months (as we approach the depths of Autumn) if that works better for your schedule.  Whatever the show provides on the day you decide to attend, keep an open mind and try to see the beauty of its design and creation.  Applaud, whether in the form of a smile, a standing ovation, or even just an acknowledgement that you see the creativity and unique way everything has been organized.  Please understand that the final act arrives when you choose.  

So here is your invitation to take the time to watch the sun rise, or the sun set sometime soon.  I pray that you will be able to watch this gift of warmth and light in the morning- or if you decide to catch the evening show, then finality and closure of a day, with a mind that has appreciation for God's ultimate design in the effects of our daily and earthly existence.  If we can be certain of one thing on this earth it is that the sun will rise and set with each new day. This show has unlimited performances!  Sometimes the morning show is filled with a collage of colors and sometimes there are clouds, but the light of the sun will surely shine.  The lights will most definitely dim during the evening show, but there is a good chance you will witness a fiery glow, with a sprinkling of early stars peeking though the atmospheres layers.  Take the time to sit and enjoy the quiet beauty of the earth awakening or saying good night- and just realize how amazing it truly is that our earth steadily revolves on its axis, never wavering and always constant.  Providing a place for us to exist, to love, and to appreciate the blessings in our lives.  A brand new day is always upon us, and a new chapter to our lives starts with each sunrise.  May we be thankful for the opportunity to experience all that God graciously provides!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Something to Savor

Something to Savor

Sunset over the Sheffer Household in Autumn

Nothing in the entire wide world of edible possibilities could possibly compare to the golden treasure I retrieved from my oven this evening.  In all its simply naked glory, with only a dusting of cinnamon and a drizzle of sweet honey, my treasure from the downtown farmers market, an acorn squash about the size of a football delivered a sensation of happiness I had been in need of desperately all day, maybe even all week long!  I actually flirted with this beautiful miracle of earth's bounty during last Saturday morning's stroll through the market.  I walked by the squash, picked it up and asked the farmer how much, and then set it down and walked away thinking I still needed to see what everyone else had to offer first.  Maybe I would find something at a better price....  10 minutes later I was on a mission to get back to that first stand as fast as I could, hoping someone else hadn't discovered my jewel.  The farmer smiled upon my return, and even mentioned that he knew I would be back.  Apparently he had sensed our connection before I had been able to finally comprehend it myself.  So I picked up my prize and took it home, and for an entire week it sat on my counter top, the sight of it reminding me daily how eager I was to taste the golden flesh it had concealed underneath its velvety green and orange skin. 
And then tonight I walked in my house, turned up the oven to 375 and prepared that lovely orb to be my dinner.  My locally grown and harvested, beautiful creation from sun, soil and water quite easily fulfilled all my fantasies of what I wanted to savor and enjoy.  My week has had a lot of ups and downs and somehow just taking this one thing, this thing that was all mine and taking the time to enjoy it was exactly what I needed to reset my mood, my emotions, my outlook for the days ahead.  Keeping it simple, is once again all I need to do.  Everything is what it is, the world doesn't stop producing for what we need- it is recognizing this and then quietly being appreciative for what God has allowed me to have and finding peace it this truth.  I am thankful for my jewel of the earth, so yummy and perfect food for the soul!  

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yuck! Creepy Crawlers

Look Out- Spiders are coming inside for the winter!

This was actually one of the smaller ones- still big though

Coming to get me!

Cool Toad!  He was squeeking and purring like a cat

An earth worm of many along the asphalt

I really hate to admit this truth about myself.  It is a weakness that is a little embarrassing, but nonetheless it is a real fear that I have.  I have discovered that this fear has continued to grow with each experience I endure with these creatures and I think it is safe to say I am truly Arachniphobic!  I really don't care for this particular group of God's creatures.  While they are fascinating with their abilities to create magnificent works of art in the complexities of their webs, and also their abilities as predators, the characteristic that I simply dread about these creatures is that they seem sneaky.  It seems like they are masters at hiding, which is probably why they are successful predators.   I just can't stand the thought of a spider hiding in the vicinity of myself, and the worse part is when they accidentally reveal their presence to me or I uncover one unexpectedly!  

I had gone to one of my office cleaning jobs in the evening instead of the usual time scheduled for the mornings.  Automatically I am a little more cautious within the building because it is dark and shadowy this time of day and some objects an be had to identify on the floor.  What I mean is what may seem like an innocent piece of cardboard lying on the floor, just inside a shadow, can metamorphasize into a giant, 8 legged monster instantly.  I was already on alert because I had gone through the mental process of imagining what possible outcomes should arise if I decided to clean the office in bare feet.  Why would I do that you ask?  Well I had gone out to dinner with some girlfriends before going to clean and had worn my heels- thinking that I had remembered my tennis shoes to change into afterwards, but apparently I forgot them this time and so I had to make the choice to walk around for three hours in heels cleaning or go barefoot.  (Both scenarios in my opinion very unhealthy for my feet)  So I chose heels because heaven forbid, what if I stepped on a SPIDER!  Thank goodness I had this foresight because as the night went  on I ran into not just one but a whole troop of the most monstrously horrific spiders I have ever experienced and they were all  little stealth bodies darting out with warnings to leave them be- well they didn't have to worry about that since I was clearly going to stay as far away as possible!  One of these monsters was the size of my palm!  I still have goosebumps just thinking about it now!  As the night went on the spiders weren't the only creep crawlers I ran into- but the others don't bother me at all and the toad was especially cool.  

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sydney Sheffer
12/28/95 - 7/9/08

"A gentle soul overflowing with love"

I pull in to my driveway and I no longer have a greeter, that friendly smile that was a constant for such a large part of my life.  I open the door to walk into my house and there is no longer this large moving obstacle to walk over.  I no longer can sense the feeling of a soft nudge into the side of my thigh, a touch that is flooded with unconditional love and devotion and also communicating to me "I'm here."  Together forever on earth was something that was not meant to be, but I never really realized that type of reality until the time came to say goodbye.  

She was my confidant, she never complained and was always grateful just to be acknowledged.  She was a brave girl who traveled near and far with us, and taught me the real rules about responsibility for someone other than myself.  She was a gentle spirit, always content to just be apart of whatever the family was doing.  When she was young, she knew how to be a  sassy little thing, and yet she grew up to be a very enjoyable presence.  Sydney, my sweet girl, sometimes pain in the neck girl, but always reliable and patient girl.  Saying goodbye to you this summer was quite simply the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life.   You never complained once and you let us know when you had to move on from this world- we just didn't ever realize how hard that goodbye was going to be.  Riley still wonders when God is going to let you come back home, and we remind him that you are in heaven now with an important job to be looking out for us from up there now. 

 I know I complained a lot about the hair you would leave all over the place, but now that you are gone I have come to learn just how messy Lauren and Riley really are- there are food crumbs all over this house and no one to clean them up!  I'm going to miss Autumn nature hikes in the woods with you running way ahead of me on the path, and seeing your foot prints all over the fresh snow covered yard.  I might not miss Spring yard clean-up and all your evidence of not taking the time to go out into the woods to do your duty through the cold winter months.  I will miss muddy paws, and wet doggie hugs after a swim in the lake.  The slider door hardly opens anymore, I have no one to share my left over cookies and pizza crusts with.  I didn't realize how much food I tossed to you until I have caught myself now repeatedly standing in the kitchen with the urge to toss pieces of random food up in the air... you are not there waiting eagerly to catch them. 

 For over a third of my life you were a large part of my happiness.  I miss you so much Syd, but I am not going to be sad- instead I am going to be grateful for the time we had together.  You were a blessing to our family and we will always have a special place in our hearts for you.  Thank you for your love and doggie hugs.  Thank you for the e-mail too- it truly helped me especially to grasp the ability to move on, I know that is what you wanted.  I love you Sydney, you have left pawprints on my heart and the memory of your unconditional love will always be to me my first experience of the truest form of affection I have ever known.  

A letter that  I received from Sydney by e-mail the day after she passed away:

Hi Momma!!!
I just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know that I am doing good and to not worry about me.  I woke up this morning feeling just great!  My belly does not hurt anymore, I lost all of my gray and I have so much energy!  I do miss you though.  Momma, remember when we stayed at Mimi and Papa's house by ourselves?  I was so scared but I wanted to be brave for you.  Those were the good ol' days.  We had so much fun together.  I am sorry for being difficult at times.  Chewing up picture frames, eating your car visor, running away on sundays just to make you late for church and most of all, all of the hair, poop and pee I left for you to pick up.  You gave me the best life a dog could ask for.  Even when I caused trouble you loved me unconditionally.  I am a bit worried about you though.  Who are you going to confide in?  Who is going to give you hugs when you are sad?  Not that darn cat!!  She is much to selfish!  I know, Daddy can do it!  I know you can count on him!  Lauren and Riley should be able to help too.  I feel comfortable that I have left you in good hands.  Do you remember when you told Daddy that you were pregnant with Lauren?  I did not know what was going on at the time but I knew from Daddy's face that it was something big.  And then before I knew it you came home with Lauren.  If that was not enough, not long after came Riley.  Our pack crew by 2 in less than 2 years.  I am going to miss those two kids.  They got into more trouble than me!!  They gave me good loving though and I will miss that.  Well I better wrap this up.  I have some squirrels to chase.  Plus I have to go potty.  There is a nice stream just outside my house that will be perfect to take care of that.  I am not sure I will have time to write you again but I will be watching over you.  Remember, do not be sad that I am gone.  Be happy that we were fortunate enough to have the time we did.  You are the best momma in the whole world!!  I love you.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Putting on The Brakes!

Back to The 
Basic Details....

It seems like lately I have been taking an inventory of "Stephanie" details.  I guess what I mean is I have been redefining what are my priorities, responsibilities, major personality traits, and ambitions truly are.  Get used to seeing the word "Ambitions" with me from now on because that is the word that was gifted to me most recently right from scripture.  What it all comes down to is that I am a person who is usually an optimist, and I try my best to find the bright side in every situation I encounter.  There are so many things I have to be thankful for in my life to this point.  Daily I am learning to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me and my family.  I am constantly looking for ways to simplify everything- even walking to my car in the rain today- I stopped myself from thinking about being cold and wet and instead tried to watch individual raindrops fall from the heavens to a explosive splash onto the surface of the planet- ok, I mean the parking lot- anyways why I am sharing this moment is because this is one of my details I am working on.  The detail is to slow it down whenever possible.  I tend to get going in my day, and before too long I am going 110 miles per hour and surely missing some of the beautiful scenery because that speed does not always allow time to focus on the surroundings.  That speed is sometimes a portal to irritability, memory loss, exhaustion and an empty feeling that I am disappointed upon recognizing when it happens.  Generally the picture I painted in the last sentence is a place I seldom experience, because fortunately I have adapted ways to handle that faster pace when it happens.  So when I do hit it, I am usually able to catch myself before spiraling down too deep.  Oh, but when I slow it down and take my time to organize where I am going and what I am doing, there is a peace in my mind body and soul that is so delicious.  It is these times that I see and hear and have even experienced some of the most precious moments of my life.  Watching my children's curiousity carry them, everything that is still new in their young world, they find it all purely fascinating!  Hearing leaves rustle in applause at the lovely songs of evening crickets and frogs is one of my favorite songs that beats any tune on my Ipod, hands down!  Experiencing the beauty of friendship.   Just listening, and being quiet, when being quiet is the anecdote for too much of whatever is just too much at that exact moment.  These are the details that I want my life to made up of.  If I make it my ambition to be quiet and be more aware of this world I live in, then maybe I will be fulfilling my life's purposes that God has hoped for me.  That is all I can truly hope for in the end.  Details- so many- I feel like I have only scratched the surface of trying to capture these thoughts that reside inside of me.  Patience and persistence, making sure I take the time to preserve these details is something I will be striving to do- so that once I have identified all these details I can defend them and keep them healthy.  In the end all I am trying to accomplish is a personal definition of myself that is honest, and true with no question of what is important to me and where my love and priorities are.  So I am putting on the brakes and enjoying the view, smiling and praising God for all the blessings in my life!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

She's Back!

I'm Back Baby!!!  And Better than Ever!!!

Why don't I just state the obvious- I have been on another planet for the past few months and it was apparently a planet that did not involve any access to writing on my blog.  Otherwise I would have been able to share so many stories, insights and moments from this past summer that have been nothing short of amazing!  To sum it all up within one post would be unjustifiable, goodness I have so many things to share, I don't even know where to begin.  You may have to bear with me as I recount certain moments that are pivotal to pointing in the direction I am now currently traveling in- some of the most important things that have happened are actually discoveries about myself and the meaning of my life here on earth.  (Those will be some of the deeper sessions, but I know they are meant to be shared)  Some of these moments that I want to recount are as simple and sweet as my children discovering baby snails one evening after dinner in the little jar terrarium we made for "one" snail.  The snail Riley had found on a walk one morning with our dear friend Rachael earlier in the summer.  We learned snails can make babies without the need of another snail, and now "Slimy" the snail will be let go this coming weekend. :)  

All in All I hope you are prepared to join me in my journey.  I just turned 30 years old only 2 weeks ago and I finally feel like I understand my purpose- not completely- I still have so much to learn, but it sure is nice to have a direction, a goal, an ambition to fulfill daily, weekly, yearly, eternally!  I guess I will wrap up my short preview for tonight now- I have to be mindful of my sleep now more than ever!  I am extremely thankful at this moment- even though things can be tough, as it has been lately.  It is in those moments that I have learned more about myself and God's plans for me than any other time in my life.  One step at a time, thankfully never alone...

See you again shortly from today!  xoxo- Stephie

P.S. I am still a major food-a-holic so you plan on hearing the conclusion to my four part series, along with more recipes, ideas, and eating experiences, each with  deliciously satisfying details communicated from my heart and soul!