Friday, September 26, 2014

Before My Eyes

At church last Sunday, our education
minister, Allen, spoke of focus
as a preface to his explanation
of that service's scripture.

Most of the week, he explained,
our focus is inward, upon the
ME list that spins us through
our days, and all that we are
attempting to accomplish:

dealing with work
managing our home
taking care of others
handling our health
pursuing hobbies 
enjoying leisure activities....


But, for sixty calm minutes
on Sunday, those of us sitting
in the pews together experience
an outward focus on 
gratitude, blessings 
and love.

{Which probably explains
why I'm prone to tears when
when we lift our voices in song, 
the lyrics underscoring that
very precious focus.}

I always leave with a sense of
peace, a smile, and feeling
joyously optimistic about life.

Allen finished his portion of the
service by challenging us to carry
this outward focus into our week,
even though we'd be swept into
the current of busy reality as
soon as our feet crossed the
church's threshold.

His words have rested softly
upon my shoulders as I 
attend to the business of life, 
endeavoring to weave that Sunday 
focus into my Monday through 
Saturday lens.

Sometimes my church is four
walls and a roof.  Sometimes
it's the quiet of a garden.  Other
times it's the ribbon of trail spread
before me on a bicycle, or the
tranquility of our silent house 
in that hour right before dawn.

But attending a church service
gives me an entire hour to truly 
still my my heart and consider 
how very thankful I am just 
to be alive.

Time to be grateful for the
ones I love, and grateful, too, 
to be loved in return.

Time to be contented for my
little spot on this great big earth,
especially in light of the strife 
currently present in so many other 
nations across the globe.

Walks in the golden light of early
fall evenings are also a wonderful 
way to shift the focus from daily
life to daily blessings, entering into
my own sweet reverie, if only for
a short while.

Birdsong, leaves rustling in the
trees, the laughter of neighborhood
children--a different type of music 
from church, but a beautiful tune 
that buoys my spirits, nonetheless.

The do-more-not-less 
mentality that pervades our modern, 
technological society, and the noise
and constant activity that goes with 
it, leaves little space for expressing
gratitude, counting blessings or
treasuring our loved ones.

Let's shut out the noise
and make room.

Sometimes I live so much
in my mind that I forget
what is right before my eyes.

~ Anna Quindlan, Every Last One


all images Privet & Holly


Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Beautiful post, Suzanne! I've just started reading a book about Mary and Martha, and the importance on focusing on time for worship. My brain can be so full...I am going to frame that last quote.
Your words and photos are so beautiful and calming to me this morning...thank you my friend...xo

Anonymous said...

Oh, Suzanne! Your lovely words and images remind us all to take time to notice the beauty, love, and blessings right before our eyes. I always focus outward so easily when I spend time in the garden or walking in nature. Anna Quindlan's quote is the perfect reminder! There are so many of your posts that I save to visit again and again. This is one of those wonderful lessons! Heartfelt thanks!
Autumn blessings!

Anonymous said...

As always, beautiful, contemplative, uplifting...thank you.

Jeanie said...

Beautifully stated, Suzanne, and lovely photos that so express whatyou have to say. I had an extra smile with the Pilgrim Hymnal -- I grew up in the Congregational Church and have my very own Pilgrim Hymnal from our original church, which burned to the ground in 1970s. Some of the original hymnals were rescued before they were destroyed and later, when new hymnals were purchased, sold to help raise funds. It's very special to me.

Deborah said...

Beautiful Suzanne! Its so nice to visit here!
Yes to more quiet moments and just linger on the simple pleasures and drawing closer to Him in it all.
Im off soon to do a photography session for my sisters family shortly. The leaves will be ablaze for us...its like a summer day here! Heavenly!
Blessings lovely friend!!!

All my heart,
Deborah xo

"Create Beauty" said...

I loved reading your post and viewing your photos. I am inspired and blessed!!!!!

Thank you for sharing your insights and thoughts, your heart....

~ Violet

June said...

You know how much I love your writing Suzanne, but this post really speaks to me. I try to continue my reverence and worship through as much of my week as I can, because it feels like an armor to me. I feel we need it more today than ever before. We need more hope, more joy and more gratitude to fight all the negative in today's world. This was a joy to read today my lovely friend.
hugs from here...

Lucy martin said...

Agreed again and again...
truely blessed! thank you for this.

michele said...

inspiring words full of life and what it means to put life into our years rather than years into our life. my church service attendance is not the greatest, but my spiritual practices are consistent and earnest and fruitful. as a writer, i love that anna quindlen quote!

pretty pink tulips said...

I realized it had been ages since I popped over for a visit. Life seems to have gotten so busy with my boys that I can barely get through my real life to-do list.

Love your new blog look --- really beautiful. And, I love that your photos are even larger, as they are always such a beautiful accompaniment to your words.

Be well!
xoxo Elizabeth

Just a little something from Judy said...

I hurried through my busy day, then with a few quiet moments, I decided to visit your blog. Once again, I found a beautifully written post that inspired me, and had me suddenly thinking about my own focus this past week, and in quiet prayer, asked God to redirect that focus, to what is truly important. I am thankful for you and for the loveliness I find here. Thank you!

Farmgirl Paints said...

this. so calming. i'm taken back girl when we learned how to use our big girl cameras. man that seems like a million years ago!

Katherine said...

Beautiful words, as always x

Bonnie said...

Beautiful and meaningful. My heart is warmed and my nose is stuffed up. You have the gift of words that calm, inspire and heal. Blessings to you today, Suzanne.


Taking Sunday into the rest of my week is sometimes a challenge. I am always glad when it works.

Happy Sunday tomorrow.

Fondly, Glenda

pve design said...

I had a similar day to yours, taking all the beauty and blessings in that surround me and giving thanks.
Read "Living Beautifully, with Uncertainty and Change" by Pema Chodron.
Love the looks of your blog and of course it's so you.
Always admire your images and words.

Low Tide High Style said...

Simply stunning pictures my friend! And I love the sentiment of this post, and that last quote...a message we should all embrace!

xo Kat