Over Hill and Dale

The last two days in the Lake District our hiking boots toughed out a rugged workout over hill and dale. We followed two separate walking trails wending our way over jagged, steep, and often slick, rocky stretches for a total of 10 miles—4 miles the first day and 6 the next. We were thankful for sturdy, waterproof hiking boots that kept our feet dry and comfortable, while providing critical ankle support.

Admittedly, both trails were challenging for us and I’m happy to say we completed what we set out to do. The scenic beauty, the solitude, and the refreshing mountain air was worth each and every single step upward.

Could we have accomplished more? Yes! But we weighed our desire against the risks and chose to be satisfied with what we achieved. We could have climbed higher but  the trail grew increasingly more dangerous so prudence prevailed and we decided it was not the time to throw caution to the wind—one misstep on a ragged, slippery rock could have meant an unpleasant end to the magnificence of our adventures.

The first day we hiked high above Windermere for a breathtaking view of the Lake.

We stopped a short distance from the highest viewpoint of the Post Knott walk due to the dangerous conditions of the steep trail but even the elevation where we decided to stay offered a fantastic panoramic view.

Our last day in Cumbria was nothing short of magical and invigorating. We rode to the village of Grasmere on the top deck of an open-air, double-decker bus. Arriving at the village, we paused for coffee before embarking on a 6 mile hike over hill and dale to Easedale Tarn, high up the mountain beyond Easedale waterfall.

On the way we traversed lush green pastures where we roamed through flocks of grazing sheep who would stop chewing momentarily to stare at us, curious but seemingly unconcerned by our intrusion.

We crossed narrow bridges over babbling brooks. We climbed over wooden stiles, we opened metal farm gates and secured them behind us. We were mesmerized by the multitude of slate dry walls sprawling like patchwork over miles of green meadows. We followed the winding way alongside the sparkling Easdale Beck which flowed from the waterfall high above us, tumbling over small rapids here and there, loudly singing its melodious song all the way! We trudged over steep gravel trails and plodded along rocky paths. We paused often, breathing in the pure fresh air, all the while marveling at the indescribable beauty of our surroundings.

Truly beyond the din, we were immersed in nature, surrounded by God’s artistry. It’s exactly what we needed and desired—a device detox and a break from routine. We are so grateful for the multitude of meaningful moments. 

We didn’t quite reach the tarn itself—the narrow, rock-studded trail forward was wet and slimy with moss so we thought it best not to risk climbing farther. We left the final steep part of the hike to those fancying themselves a bit more goat-like!

We rested beside the waterfall for half an hour fascinated by a sheep—at first glance we thought it was a goat—perched on a high ledge. The cool air was invigorating. We inhaled the breathtaking panoramic views hoping to forever permeate our souls with the moment before slowly winding our way back down the rock-strewn fell and into the village pub for a welcome, and well-earned pint. Guinness for me, Peroni for Chuck.

Grasmere is renowned as the home of Romantic Poet, William Wordsworth. He described it as “The most loveliest spot that man hath found.” Positioned near Grasmere Lake, the village is encircled by a panorama of fells and mountains providing atmospheric inspiration to writers, poets and artists. For sure it inspired us. Thank you Lord for the gift of this wonderful and unforgettable experience.

Then came the bus ride back to the Old England Hotel in Windermere where we would spend our last night, before traveling by train to visit dear friends in Mixtow, Cornwall, where a new adventure beckoned.

Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher — William Wordsworth

Just Show Up

Just Show Up! Three simple words that are powerfully freeing. Take them to heart. Remember them for the times they’re needed.

Life today can be overwhelming. We’re bombarded with information from all our devices. We overload and overcommit ourselves as we’re pulled and shoved in different directions simultaneously. Some of the burden is thrust upon us, much of it we’ve invited! We have “musts” and “want-to’s” all competing for our precious time, money and attention. It can be stressful.

When you hit the wall, you might feel like giving in or giving up. Paralysis takes over so you do nothing. I hope you don’t fall into that trap.

Instead, decide on something! Take the first step—just show up.

💚 Can’t drink the whole shake? Drink half
💚 Can’t walk for 30 minutes? Walk 10 minutes
💚 Can’t clean the whole house? Clean one room
💚 Can’t complete everything on your to-do list? Complete one thing

You get the gist. It’s okay to not be superhuman all the time, or even at any time simply because it’s expected, or asked of you. Be discerning in the way you commit your time and energy. Both are precious, and finite. Whatever it is you choose from your to-do list—just show up in some small way. Feel good about that!

The world demands we’re busy “doing” all the time. I could provide example after crazy example of unrealistic expectations imposed on us—by ourselves, others and our culture. What we should do, how we should look, and who we should be, are constantly thrown in our faces on social media platforms. Browsing the posts is like ADHD on steroids. It can fry your brain, and crush your soul. 😳

Resolve to take time to breathe. Be still. It’s your life to live your way. Be patient. Pace yourself. Be kind to yourself. Walk with God. And remember, there are times when just showing up is enough. 🤩

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing —John 15;5 (NIV)

A Few Sips of Wine

Meanwhile back at the ranch. It’s early evening. Sparkling sun rays beam through the whispering oaks, beckoning us to sit amongst them on the deck.

There, engulfed in nature’s green vibrancy, we relax with a small glass of juicy wine, gleaming deep red in the stemless glasses. Not a full glass, not even half full—just a few flavorful sips to awaken the taste buds.

So grateful for simple pleasures in life. Time to just be. Meaningful moments with my love. Small chunks of quiet togetherness carved from the distractions of a noisy world. Stillness. Sounds of nature. Serenity. A heart full of gratitude and a soul that sings. 🎶🎶

A few sips in my glass, yet my cup overflows. Find joy in the moments. What simple pleasures fill your cup?


Simply Content

See here’s the thing! You may attain a certain stage of life where you are simply content. You are comfortable in your own skin, at peace with who you are, and proud of how far you’ve come. You are satisfied with all you’ve accomplished in life to this point. You are happy with your choices. You’re calm, clear and confident in the reasoning that prompted those decisions.

You feel content and serene.  Continue reading →

Higgledy-Piggledy Thoughts and Words!

I know this sounds strange but this actually is a very profound statement. It’s so true of me.

Let me ask you a question. Do you ever have a rush of thoughts that flit around your mind like a flurry of snowflakes whirling in the wind on a wintry day? Such flashes of elusive thoughts are hard to capture in your head, so I find it helpful to write them down and organize into some form of meaningful expression.

As a writer, I do it all the time! I call it creative writing!! I convert higgledy-piggledy thoughts from my head into written words to make more sense of them. Then, after reading those words, I can clarify precisely what I was thinking. Make sense?

Try it sometime!!

A Dream Within a Dream

Tony Shipperlee 2008, at the Fleet Air Arm Museum beside a Supermarine Walrus.

Perhaps the only thing more rewarding than fulfilling your own dream is to bring the dreams of another to fruition. A generational dream—or a dream within a dream.

Several years ago, I read Chase the Lion, an inspirational book by Mark Batterson, where he introduces the concept of generational dreams. His words are compelling. The concept he shares lodged deep-down in my memory bank, and only surfaced when a set of circumstances aligned, reminding me of his words and bringing them to life.

It always amazes me how orderly life is. Even amidst the chaos, time and sequence of events are relevant. Let me put it another way—God’s plans and his timing are always perfect. We may be perplexed. He is not. Continue reading →

Magnolia Smiles

Oh joy! As we welcome May, the magnolia buds are bursting into bloom, and as their pearly petals shrug off the last droplets of April’s rain, the month of May ushers in the promise of sunnier days. And the magnolias smile as if to say,

“Cast off the fears and tears of yesterday and make way for tomorrow’s hopes and dreams.”

I hope you enjoy this short poem by Sara Teasdale.

May Night—

“The spring is fresh and fearless
And every leaf is new,
The world is brimmed with moonlight,
The lilac brimmed with dew.

Here in the moving shadows
I catch my breath and sing—
My heart is fresh and fearless
And over-brimmed with spring.”

Cotton Candy Skies

We sit outside at dusk by the spreading oak tree. On the deck, beneath its canopy of gnarled boughs, we savor quiet moments to unwind after a busy day at the ranch.

Rustling leaves seem to sing in concert with whispers from the oak’s branches, as they sway softly in the evening air, lulling us into a sense of calm. Continue reading →

What Calms Your Soul?

I snapped this scene with a screen shot from my iPhone. It’s the view of our sunny deck at the ranch, as revealed by my security camera app. A sense of calm rushes through me at the serene sight. Though not physically there, the image helps me recapture the sense of peace I feel whenever I am at Whispering Oaks Ridge. There, nestled away in the countryside, surrounded by nature’s beauty, my soul rests. I find solace. An unspoken assurance conveys a clear message that all will be well. Continue reading →

Light in the Darkness

Happy beautiful Sunday!

In times such as these, darkness has a way of creeping into the world—black shadows that encircle our lives, flooding our souls with foreboding.

I shot this photo at the ranch a while back, while star gazing on a cold night. As I marveled at the strange cloud formation, in the frostiness of the eleventh hour, an eerie chill swept through me, and I shivered.

Then, quite suddenly, as I moved toward the warmth of our cozy house, bright moonbeams broke through the mottled dark clouds, bathing the sky in brilliant light, reminding me that clouds do have silver linings. Continue reading →