Empower Yourself. How To Connect With God While Watching Clouds
It’s been busy at my house. We undertook a major home renovation that required us to move furniture out of 3 rooms. We were redoing the plaster work in the living room in my almost 100 year home.
And with plaster work comes dust. Our living room is attached to 3 other rooms.
And every opening to every room required plastic sheeting to prevent the dust from getting EVERYWHERE else.
The renovation took 3 weeks and the result is beautiful. But this upheaval – even though exciting – was stressful.
And my dear Cairn terrier Elroy, who was 16 ½ years old, had to be put down right after we finished.
He stood with me through thick and thin, but suffered seizures at the end. We knew it was time.
Putting a dog down is a choice that we as caretakers have to make.
So when I tell you we needed a vacation after the home improvement was done – I want you to hear me. We NEEDED a vacation. We didn’t even reassemble the rooms. We just left to recharge.
Usually we would’ve rented a cottage, but this is the second year we went camping instead. We hadn’t camped in over 25 years thinking those days were long gone. But Covid changed a lot of things. And this was one of the good things that happened because we experienced the simple pleasure of camping again.
My husband Dan perfected the art of sleeping in a tent by creating a portable sleeping platform. He used IKEA bed frames for support. We now had pretty comfy sleeping quarters. That was probably the biggest objection to why we didn’t want to camp.
I also insisted upon hot showers being available wherever we ever camped. The second biggest objection was also overcome. We created a master list last summer of everything we needed to make camping comfortable. Most of it was boxed up from last year. So it was relatively easy breezy to pick up and go.
One of the first places we stopped was Holland, Michigan – on the western shore of Michigan. It’s a fairly short 2 ½ hr drive from our home in the Chicago area. The western shores of Michigan benefit from prevailing westerly winds crossing Lake Michigan. It’s generally 10 – 15 degrees cooler than Chicago during the hot sweltering days of 90 degree plus weather.
Holland has a spectacular sandy beach. It’s complete with a beautiful red lighthouse at the exit of Lake Macatawa flowing into Lake Michigan. There is generally a lot of boat traffic – both motorboats and sailboats going by. There is always a lot to look at and always a lot of space. Our first destination was to go to the beach.
Now I’m very fair skinned and don’t generally just lay on the beach. It’s a sure ticket for getting a burn. But we laid under a beach umbrella. My husband dozed off for an afternoon nap. I was wide awake on my back wondering what I should do. I looked up and saw mostly blue skies with occasional fluffy clouds going by. I became mesmerized.
I watched clouds change shapes. I felt the summer breeze across my body, the warm sand underneath me, hearing the seagulls from a distance. This transported me back to my childhood. I remember summer days lying on a blanket in our backyard with my mom. We watched clouds together. We took turns naming the shapes. We’d see the white jet trails making lines across the sky, listening to birds, feeling the grass. We were present to what was. And it was beautiful.
What struck me was the wonder I felt, then and now. A great deal of love and tenderness welled up. I felt the loss of my dog that I put down 2 days earlier. But I also felt the presence of God, of infinite love and support. Everything was good. Everything was beautiful. I was being recharged.
Is it easier to step out of your normal reality, and go to a beautiful place and slip into the moment? Absolutely! But we can take time everyday to just be. Even at home. To step out of the grind and let our senses pick up the beauty around us. We just had to take the time to notice and let go of the busyness of the day.
I do my best to support myself in all my senses. I savor beauty. I have plants and flowers around me. I have a diffuser that fills the air with a beautiful scent, and listen to background music while I work. I do take breaks and walk in my neighborhood without my phone. Just noticing what is. And in doing so, I get a mini-recharge.
We are meant to enjoy life everyday. Life is not supposed to be a grind. Do I always make time to recharge? I’ll be honest and say no. But I feel so much better when I do. And when I do go on vacation, I seek out nature. It has so many answers.
How do you recharge? What tips can you share? How do you appreciate the moment? Where do you go? Let me know in the comments below.
Audrey is a stress transformation coach.
I love this Audrey! Life is indeed magical and we’re supposed to enjoy it and relish in it!
Yes. It’s noticing those little things and just letting go of busy mind chatter to appreciate them. Thank you.
Remodeling is stressful, but so worth it! How are you doing with Elroy being gone? He was such a handsome doggie! Our 17 1/2 year old cat is on her last legs. Some good days and some not so good. Soon we will have to help her transition. TO answer your question, “nature” is always my way to recharge, de-stress and come back to myself.. Love you!!
Elroy is still missed. The little sounds he would make, the friendly greeting, the excuse to go for a walk. Helping our fur babies transition is so much more difficult than I would’ve thought. It’s the power you don’t want to have. But life goes on. I’ll be getting another dog – but not yet.
Beautifully written Audrey! We forget to slow down or even pause to feel the universe around us! I feel like going camping after reading this.. and renovating ! You are awesome!
Awww you are making me smile. Yes – I thought camping days were done. But not yet. When you camp, you can be in some pretty spectacular locations. It’s worth it. And I’m enjoying the renovation too – at least the end result.
You are exactly right when you say we were meant to enjoy life. Our work should support our enjoyment not take the place if it.
So glad you got away.
thank you Karen. Yes we plan on getting away again at the end of the month to enjoy leaves in Kentucky. We are too busy right now to get away and commune with nature – except in our back yard.
Great message. I’ve viewed the beauty in the outdoors for many years, whether it is a bird singing, a breeze blowing, a Fall leaf I pick up on a walk or a bike ride to meditative relaxing music. It is a great way to re-energize and appreciate all the gifts God has created around us.
Nature is so recharging. We just need to stop and take it in.
Sadly my husband has never felt the joy of being outdoors, so camping is out. Loved following your day Audrey made me feel relaxed. Plus your words (since I know your voice) are very calming. So sorry about Elroy – those are really tough decisions. We relax by getting on our motorcycles and ride somewhere. Our best trips have been with just Jim and I packing up and heading somewhere together.
We should do a girls trip. Not necessarily camping but getting out in nature. It is my go to when I need to relax. Nice to hear from you.
You were on my side of the lake! West MI is a great place to live and recharge. We’re lucky enough to live on an inland lake. The beauty is ever-changing. Golf is one of my favorite recharge activities.
If I didn’t have family here, I would move to your side of the lake! Close to Lake Michigan. An inland lake that is close to the big lake sound perfect to me!
Hi Audrey, my solace space is anywhere there is water, lake, stream, pond, river. I sit, relax and reflect on life. I could spend hours there. I’ve spent several birthdays at St. Joseph’s Beach watching the sunset. My other great solace and calming place.
Life by water is just better for me too. I grew up in Northern WI where the roads are straight because there are soooo many lakes.
Thanks for letting me see things a little different, ie the clouds and including thinking of God when I look at them.
That makes me so happy that you had a shift. I did too.
Hi Audrey. Thank you for sharing. We also had to say goodbye to our dog Chase this year; he was an amazing rescue and had a good life but it was his time. They will stay with us always in our hearts. I too watch the clouds; on a car ride or just being outside, I look for the shapes, many times I see animals and know God is sending a message. Thank you for the photos and your stories, they brought back good memories.
That”s a big feel-good for me. Thank you!