Quote by Louis S. Strong
Quote by Louis S. Strong
I collect hearts. I look for them in unexpected places. I love heart art where people create simple or elaborate pieces of work. I love photography where people have captured them in clouds, flowers, architecture, shadows, or any random find. I am always in a search for hearts. I love to create them in a variety of mediums. Hearts speak to me.
February is heart month. Lots of people are bothered by the Valentine holiday. Fabricated hearts can be found everywhere. You don’t need to go far to find one. Does there need to be a day set aside to tell someone you love them? Perhaps. But that is not what February is only about for me.
It is a time to look for hearts. All kinds of them.
It is a month to answer the question,
What kind of heart do I want in the present?
Then begin your search.
Hearts are everywhere. Everyone has one. If you begin to notice you will be quite amazed what you find.
I get the rare treat of visiting Fort Bragg, North Carolina on occasion. I am here now. Besides being an eye witness to extraordinary human beings and sacrifices no one ever considers there is a crazy wonderful phenomenon that exists here when the sun comes out. Even in winter! It occurs no place anymore and it involves the children. The children here at Fort Bragg
Picture a moment in your childhood when you cared about nothing. It is that time in your life when the most important thing is you and play. You feel completely free. There is nothing planned. There is no scheduled “play date” with a time limit or arranged activity. It is pure spontaneous time with stuff or friends—OUT. (Friends used loosely. Stuff used loosely.). Stuff someone pulled out of somebody’s garage. It’s a pick up basketball game that’s altered because somebody’s kid sister wanted to play and use her pink ball. It’s kids wearing a mixture of super hero costumes, princess dresses, sports gear, and army stuff with an occasional cowboy holster or hat. It’s found bugs and sticks made useful. It is pure children.
They all come out! No matter what. They come out in hoards from every house. They all know each other. They know every mom and dad. The sun calls to them. They play in the middle of the street, running from house to house wearing mismatched shoes, rain boots, bear feet or wet grimy socks because that was the quickest thing to get on before the temperature drags them back indoors.
I stare like I’m in a movie script from Sandlot. I stare because I can’t believe what I am witnessing! I stare because I love it way way deep inside me
A door inside my soul opens up wide when I come to Fort Bragg for many reasons. A door that has opened my eyes to things I never knew before. Practice bombs and artillary sounds are part of the daily noises. Taps is played everyday. Soldiers are everywhere practicing, working, preparing…honoring.
And when the sun comes out I feel that same spontaneous beautiful urge to put on some cardboard armor, grab somebody’s football helmet, pick up a stick and charge into the middle of the street, barefooted, where it feels completely free…
Have you felt the Christmas spirit this year, yet?
Don’t you wish we could go to Costco and buy some Christmas spirit in the freezer section (North Pole) and put it the microwave until it gets toasty and warm and then drink it up and we would feel that warm glow of Christmas.
Or, we could Google up Amazon and order it to be delivered (free shipping) to our house in a day and it will be on our porch waiting for us in a brown box with a smile printed on it, to unwrap and put on for the season. And we would feel warm and happy.
How about this idea…
Get out your phone.
Find your flashlight button and turn it on.
Wouldn’t it be perfect if we could push this “light” button that we carry around with us everywhere we go, and when we need Christmas spirit we shine it out, only a touch away. It’s always with us…
I’m choosing that one as the best idea yet.
But it doesn’t work like that does it.
Christmas spirit comes with some sort of feeling…of warmth, and participation right?
It comes naturally for kids, but for adults it ebbs and flows; up and down..or not at all.
The Christmas spirit is one thing we can’t order or buy, dang it.
So how do you get Christmas spirit?
I am going to tell you.
We have to want it.
We have to come to the big huge wonderful virtual Christmas door…
and we have to open it.
The key word is “COME.”
When you open that door, there will be a flood of senses which make you “FEEL” things. Your senses are intensely magnified. FEELING is a piece of Christmas spirit.
Do you know why we are distracted so much? It keeps us from “feeling.”
When you walk inside that Christmas Door you are choosing to be a participant of Christmas.
Here is how it works:
I am going to read a part of true story written by a man named Michael Drury which is called Christmas has a secret.
Outside a village church in Switzerland one cold winter night, a tired man waited for the evening service to begin. He had come a long way, and the church was dark. He began to wonder if any service was planned–despite the ringing of the bells that had lured him there.
But then through the forest he saw pinpricks of light bobbing and moving toward him. The congregation was assembling, each group carrying its own lighted lantern. After a few had arrived, the weary man followed them and sank down on a pew in the shadowy church. As more and more people came, each hanging his lantern on an iron hook in the wall, the shadows retreated and the church began to glow with light.
After the service the traveler stopped to ask the pastor about this unique method of illuminating the church.
“But it is the only means we have, monsieur,” the clergyman replied. “In the fifteen hundreds when many of these churches were built, it was too costly for the church to supply candles. It was usual for each family to carry a lantern. Our church has chosen to carry on the old custom. if someone does not come, we all feel it. The church is darker by one lantern.” He paused and looked sharply at the visitor. then he added, “We are called the Church of the Lighted Lamps.”
The traveler thanked his host and went away, knowing at last what he must to do to regain his joy in living. He had to light and carry his own lamp.
Those iron hooks can still be seen in the walls of the church in Switzerland…
(Mr. Drury goes on to say:)
Christmas is good only because we make it good–for no other reason. That is part of its message. It is up to us.
It may sound absurd to say that anything so public as Christmas has a secret, but it does and this is it–the necessity to light your own lantern in the darkness. The customs must be kept guarded, cared for if Christmas is to take on life for us. The elements are there, but they must be given the breath of life–your life, not someone else’s. Your breath is what does it. (Unquote)
That is hard sometimes.
But it is the only way…
Those three words give me a little thrill.
It feels like every single day more options become available to wait… less.
Instant lights on…
Instant air freshener…
Instant up and down tall buildings…
Instant parallel parking with no hands…
We are training ourselves to become “instant fanatics.”
We are the I WANT IT NOW generation.
But, there is something about “the wait” that captures things inside our souls that we long for.
A simmering pot of chicken soup…
Lighting a candle menorah…
Warming up cold sheets with your feet…
Christmas Eve count down…
The first opening blossom of spring…
That first touch of a hand by new love…
A long ride to see loved ones far away…
We rush for convenience.
It’s a pain to wait!
But our senses miss
and thinking about
There is so much
sensory filled happiness
Christopher Robin asks Pooh about his favorite things to do:
“Well,” said Pooh, “what I like best–,” and then he had to stop and think. Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.
(Part of Joyful anticipation by Ingrid Fetell Lee)
Simple ways to live life creatively
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