Sunday, September 30, 2012

31 Day of Looking for Beauty in the Everyday

Last year I enjoyed the Nestor's 31 days series.

(Links to 31 days posts. . .)

Day 2 Homemade Bread,  Day 3 Beauty in Concrete, Day 4 Lunching with a Friend  Day 5 Beauty in fall leaves,  Day 6 An Unexpected Opportunity to Create, Day 7 The Beauty of Being a Goat at Thanksgiving
Day 8 The Beauty of Family at Thanksgiving  Day 9 Surgery Today Day 10 My Recovery Nest Day 11 Beautiful, Helpful, Big Boys  Day 12 Getting Ready For Halloween Day 13Another Sneak Peak at Concrete Leaves  Day 14 The Process. . . Concrete Leaves  Day 15 A Fall Visit to Wellington Garden Center  Day 16 The Beauty of Acreage Fresh Eggs

Day 1

This year I was determined to participate as well, because this year, I had a topic close to my heart and I was very excited (and a little scared. . .) to write about it.

This past year has not been an easy one. Approaching menopause caused my hormones to start doing a crazed version of the Hokey Pokey a few years ago, leaving me with serious anxiety as a result. (did any of you know that hot flashes are not the only symptom of changing hormones??? I sure wish I had. . .) I was having anxiety attacks out of the blue and had to constantly question whether my feelings were reasonable or  a result of the Hokey Pokey going on in my body.

Driving a bus load of school kids through one construction zone after another became a real challenge and I was so very grateful when my youngest graduated last year, as that meant the end of school fees which allowed me to retire, beginning a long held dream of  putting my Master Gardener's certificate to good use by going into business for myself.

 Of course, the fact that I was no longer in a stressful job didn't mean that the Hokey Pokeying had stopped.

 It just gave me something else to be anxious about. . .

When I left bus driving, I  left my bus kids and their parents with a  bit of a problem.  A lovely young woman was willing to drive the bus for that year but she had small children and was only able to provide a shortened version of the bus route. That meant most of the parents would have to drive to and from a common pick up point rather than getting the near door to door service they were used to.

Guilt and anxiety seem to go hand in hand for me. I spent months feeling guilty, which in turn caused more anxiety. . .

A lot of it. And not just about retiring. About everything I did.

I baked bread? But I didn't bake cookies. We ate store bought.

 I grew lettuce? But half of it ended up in the compost because I didn't make a salad with dinner. (or worse yet, I threw it into the garbage because it was quicker.)

 I started flowers from seed? But half of those ended up in the compost pile when I waited too long to transplant them.

The year I had looked forward to for so long was just. so. hard.

So I prayed. And prayed. And searched God's word. And prayed some more.

And then. . .

Slowly. . . quietly. . .  I began to see beauty again.

In the midst of a hard day something small would catch my eye, and the simple beauty of it would wash over me, leaving me certain of God's power and majesty right there in the everyday.

More and more, I would see beautiful bits of everyday:

 Seeds that sprouted. . .

  Light shining through the kitchen window, throwing a magical glow on a pot of tulips. . .

The astounding color found in the yolk of my farm fresh egg. . .

 A bear hug from one of the boys. . .

 The gleam from a freshly washed glass cake stand.

Dog walking became a favorite activity as Jada and I would jump into the truck, making a quick drive to a spot in the city filled with gracious old houses, well tended gardens and a view over the river valley.

 God spoke to me in these beautiful bits of everyday, reminding me over and over that He was in charge. He created the world and everything it and he wants and commands me to live my life joyfully, not filled with anxiety.

I look for beautiful things now.  Through the lens of my camera more often than not these days.

A few months ago God threw a new challenge my way.

 I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma.

I spent two months waiting for answers. Answers came. At least, some of them. So far so good. . . 

Next week's surgery and the resulting biopsy report a few weeks later will, God willing, give us the whole story.

Beauty in the everyday has become even more precious.

And. . .

Odd as it sounds, my anxiety has slowly slipped away to be replaced with a deep down certainty that, come what may, God is in control.

 I never was.

He never meant for me to live a life of I should and I must.

God gave me life to live to the fullest, talents to use for his glory, and love to pour out on everyone he sends my way.

However long or short that life might be.

Because really. . . any one of us could get hit by a bus tomorrow.

All we ever really have is today.

And I intend to spend  a part of every today I am given. . .

 Looking for the beautiful.

Check back each day this month as I post on Looking for Beauty in the Everyday. (at least. . . I hope I meet the challenge of posting everyday. . . !)


Anonymous said...

It's hard to to get anxious about our sins and feel guilty. The wonderful thing the Lord gave us is His mercy and promise to wipe our slate clean everytime we ask for forgiveness. And knowing that we are all not perfect and He still loves us. We may sin but what matters is the struggle, and the good we try to do. The best part is seeing that what you do really affects other people. I love saying goodmorning to people when i see them or saying hi and i love the smiles i get bck. I love when someone who isnt a morning person or someone who didnt seem fond of me at first starts saying hi back with the same happyness in their voice. I love making people smile. You gave us an amazing warm safe house full of love to grow up in. You are always there for us and both you and Dad have shown us how to live as Christians. Hey at least you put the lettuce in the compost! :P You try very hard mom, you make your own bread! You can only make tine for so much, it's impossible to have enough time to do all the right things. We wouldn't stop moving and have any rest if we did. No one would get to enjoy a nice cup of tea on the porch. You are so right, we need to see the little things in life, I wake up in the morning and see the beautiful green grass, and the sun shining, and the birds flying around and i thank the Lord that i get to see that beauty. And my caramel machiotto :P I love you so much mom, i love that you taught us not to value money and see the beauty in the little things. :) The Lord has truely blessed us with you as our mom and with Dad.

Anonymous said...

*it's hard not to

Anonymous said...

Ah!! I forgot to say, your photography is beautiful! Where did you learn to take such gorgeous pictures?

Evelyn in Canada said...

You haven't posted for so long, but that was worth the wait. Beautiful post from a beautiful person!

Chandra said...

Rosa, thank you for that beautifully written post, and for your openness with your readers. My heart caught in my throat for a second, as we lost my father-in-law to malignant melanoma 15 years ago next month. But each year we are more amazed at the advances in treatment that are being made, and are so happy for those for whom that diagnosis no longer means what it did back in Dad's days. I wish you well and will be keeping you in our prayers!

Chandra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosa Veldkamp said...

Love you too Crystal!

Thanks Ev. . . :)

Thanks for your lovely comment Chandra. . . and the prayers. They mean a lot.

Anonymous said...

Dear Rosa: Thanks so much for this post written from your heart. You touch lives through your blog in ways you may not realize. It is so refreshing to read of your honesty and posts dealing with back to the basics of Christian living. May God be near you as you deal with health challenges and continue to give you peace.

From another gardener and bread baker :-)


Rosa Veldkamp said...

Thank you ck! :)

Chandra said...

PS Just realized my FIL had multiple myeloma, not malignant melanoma. There's a big difference there! :)

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