Hope Springs Eternal

As I mentioned in my recent post, Spring: A Season For New Beginnings, springtime is a season that fills us with a sense of renewal.  I believe it also fills us with a sense of hope – for some there’s hope for glorious weather, productive gardening and the end of the school year.  I love all these hopeful possibilities that come with the feeling of spring as well.  However, my biggest hope this year is that the season will spring forth in me the eternal desire to spread peace.

Peace Pilgrim, Hawaii 1980

Peace Pilgrim. Photo credit Benick at en.wikipedia.

In my blog post, Love In Your HOME, I discussed how I was using the word “Love” as a verb for the month of February and so I was actively participating in the giving of affection to others.  As part of the exercise I put a “Love Quote” on LIPH’s Facebook Fanpage each day to visually cue others to actively participate in spreading love.  While researching enough Love Quotes to last me the 29 days of February, I happened upon a woman that called herself “Peace Pilgrim”.  Intrigued with her, I began to research everything I could about her that was available on the web.  Over a month later, I still think of her every day – she was that inspiring.  This woman, Mildred Lisette Norman began a walk for peace on January 1, 1953.  She walked for 28 years throughout the United States.  One of her quotes that really hit home with me was,

“In order for the world to become peaceful, people must first become peaceful.” 

I get that loud and clear.  In order for peace to reign we must first have peace within ourselves.  And Hallelujah, I know absolutely, positively I have it after my own long and arduous walk down the road to reclaiming my essence after a chance encounter in 2006.  Now like never before, I’m ready to spread the word and the hope for Peace.

With that said, I can’t even begin to commit to the life she chose in 1953.  I couldn’t leave my David.  I would have to beg him to travel with me in a Gypsy Wagon of goods that are on my “must have” list like my Ipod, my Ipad, my scented candles, my lotions and potions, my blow dryer, my dental floss, my tweezers and most importantly, my Maybelline mascara.  Then there’s my Chocolate Lab, Moe, my kids and grandkids and of course, God’s Littlest Angel – Ansley.  Gosh, I’d need an entire caravan!  Peace Pilgrim carried nothing, needed nothing and wanted nothing.  Nothing at all.  All she had and all she needed was what she was wearing.  She walked until someone offered her food and/or shelter speaking to whoever would listen about peace.  Wow is all I can say whenever I think of her quest, her commitment and her hope for peace that continued until her untimely death in 1981.

Although I don’t have the gumption to do what she did, her message of hope for peace has resonated with me in a way that stays with me every single day.  I even find myself constantly listening to a song by The Rascals popular in the late 1960’s called, A Ray of Hope.  Working out every day at the gym I listen to it over and over and over allowing the words to fill my body, my heart and my soul to the point that my body pulses with the desire to shout out the words I’m listening to.  Doesn’t everyone need to hear them?!?

“I know a lot of people who think like me

That this world can be a place that’s filled with harmony

First there’s a lot of things we’ve got to rearrange

Put an end to hate and lies

So peace can come and truth shall reign”  A Ray of Hope

Adding to all this, several weeks ago I had a “religion” discussion with my daughter-in-law, Kathleen.  Besides working fulltime she has gone back to school at night.  (You go girl!)  One of the courses she’s taking is a World Religion class taught by a Methodist Minister.  One of her assignments was to take an online test (Belief-O-Matic on beliefnet.com).  She took the test and scored exactly where she thought she would.  Her husband, (my son) Ben also took the test.  He scored in a “religion” I had never heard of that once I researched did accurately fit his belief system.  So  – curiosity got the better of me and I took the test.  Good golly Miss Molly- I scored totally differently that I though I would.  What the heck’s Jainism I wondered?  I had to look it up…

After looking it up and reflecting on it and discussing it with Kathleen, I realized it did fit me well as I really do love all creatures great and small and I abhor violence.  Then my stepson, Danny and his wife visited a couple of weeks later.  Both Orthodox Jews, I told them about the test and so they took it themselves.  They both scored just where they expected to. Interestingly enough, all of us that have taken the test have scored differently and this just proves my point about living in perfect harmony.  We can all choose to live peacefully.  And, regardless of our religious persuasions, we can all do our part in making the world a better place where people can live in peace and harmony as a collective humanity.  That’s why for me I strive for inclusivity rather than exclusivity – I believe there’s room for all of us so long as we agree to get along.

“We’ll pray for a day when all men are free

And people can live like they’re meant to be

Meanwhile it’s up to you and me

Start working together towards this dream”  A Ray of Hope

My mission, my calling and my hope might be tiny compared to what others like Peace Pilgrim have done.  But, it doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that I understand the need to live peacefully – within myself and with each and every person I encounter.  After all, just like the song, “Let there be Peace on Earth” it just flat needs to begin with me…

To Peace and the hope that it springs eternal…

Please take the time to check out Peace Pilgrim by going to www.peacepilgrim.org.  Give peace a chance ~ within you and to all those you encounter.

Let Nature Restoreth Your Soul (And Your Home)

Tree changing colors in autumn

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

My David and I were taking an early morning walk in nature this morning.  The moon was spectacular and the breeze gave a slight chill to the air.  Awwwww, the hint of autumn!

I couldn’t help but be excited.  With my senses alive to this feeling of fall I said to myself, fall is the best season of all.  Then I laughed  because I say this at the beginning of each new season.  The truth is that I love each of the four seasons.  Each one carries with it special meaning, fond memories and a renewed sense of anticipation for things to come.

The first day of fall just happens to be tomorrow.  Let us all welcome the beauty that this season brings us by allowing it to restore our souls.

We can do this in many, many ways.  At the same time, we can bring autumnal feelings into our homes.

Letting nature restore you

I believe that nature has the ability to restore each of us time and again, season after season.  In my post, These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things I quote one of my favorite Psalms from Ecclesiastes, “To everything there is a season.”

Autumn is the time to restore ourselves with feelings of warmth and comfort.  Autumn’s purpose is to ready us for the coming winter.  It gives us the chance to focus inward and prepare for the coming changes winter is sure to bring.

Beautiful tree in autumn

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

With autumn comes a myriad of opportunities to embrace the season.  For many people autumn is all about football.  Others explore the wondrous beauty of the changing leaves by hiking and biking in nature preserves and greenways.  Regardless of the activity, fall is a perfect time to be outdoors.

I have learned the medicinal properties of nature personally.  I call nature the best tonic on the market.  And, it’s free!

When David and I moved to the Chicago area a little over two years ago I found a lot of free time on my hands.  Plus, I didn’t know a soul so I had days to myself to explore.  Who would have guessed that moving to the city would produce so much nature for me to immerse myself in?  I began to walk, hike, bike and even snowshoe (now my favorite hobby for sure) by myself.  Slowly but surely I began to notice a change in my attitude.  (OK, David did first but so what!)  I began to let things go, calm down and relax.  What an amazing transformation!

I even noticed that my music choices I made on my IPod while walking and hiking changed.  For a while I listened daily to all my faves- from the 1950’s to today.  Before long I realized I was only listening to soothing selections that you would normally hear while getting a massage.  Now, more often than not I don’t take my IPod on my walks at all.  The only music I want to hear comes from what nature provides- birds chirping, frogs croaking and the ducks quacking to each other on the water creates an awesome symphony.  Walking in silence brings the music of nature to an incredible volume!

Brilliant red tree in autumn

Photo credit: Susan Muehl

To say that getting back to nature restored me just doesn’t do justice to the truth of it.  Getting back to nature has done so much more.  I am walking, talking proof of its tonic!

So, I challenge you to find ways to give yourself daily doses of the outdoors.  It could be as simple as eating lunch outside while at work, walking your dog, doing your exercising outside (instead of the treadmill) sitting on the porch or taking off to the woods.  A small dose of nature’s elixir will go a long way!

Nature has mental, physical and spiritual benefits just waiting for you!  Give yourself a chance to reap from it all!

Bring the glory of Autumn inside

I have espoused time and again in recent posts such as Two Colors Every Homespace Needs the importance of bringing nature inside.  As I have said before, we humans have distanced ourselves from nature and have created a false reality.  Our homes and offices are full of gadgets and gizmos that have nothing to do with nature.  What a travesty to ourselves!

Loving color

Photo Credit: Susan Muehl

By bringing nature inside we allow ourselves to stay connected to it.  It is that simple.  And, it is simple to do.  My “fall line-up” of posts will give you lots of ways to achieve this.  Look for Becky Balzer’s post on the best indoor plants for the home environment.  Chef Ryan will treat us to his idea of a great tailgating party.  Hector Benetiz will offer you suggestions on outdoor exercises to coincide with the season.  I will be sharing many different ways to infuse nature in your homespace through decorating.  And, that’s just the beginning.  Stay with us and enjoy the season of autumn!

Think color…