God answers prayers in uniquely unexpected ways.
My daily meditation journal for 2005...Simple Abundance...suggested the delightful relaxation tool of clipping magazine photos that are soothing to me.....enchanting gardens, happy families, pretty scenery, lovely homes, delicious foods, a perfect rose. Whatever. Then paste my clippings into a first-quality sketchbook, and enjoy my private visual paradise.
I've savored this exercise for four or five months, and preference patterns have emerged. Patio meals of fruits, salads and crusty breads.Autumn leaves. Old wooden homes strung with white, twinkling Christimas lights. The smiling faces of children,and the warmth of families fathered around the dinner table. Rose gardens laden with pinks, whites, yellows and reds, and Mediterranean-style gardens ripe with citrus and olive trees. Cozy book-reading nooks with comfortable chairs and blankets.
And especially, simple homes with a plethora of picture-windows, looking out onto greenery, especially trees, and gentle, rolling hills. Lots of uncluttered homes with casual elegance and an unhurried, outdoorsy feel, where one can read, pray and meditate in peace. (And write.). I recently realized that I truly want to spend time in such an environment. That maybe I need to.... And the more I collected those photos, the more intense grew my desire to experience such a place.
We're on vacation right now, visiting our oldest daughter and son-in-law in their lovely home outside Portland, Oregon. They just moved here in in June. They had more-than-enough funds leftover from selling their San Francisco bay area condo to purchase a sizable Oregon home....with bedrooms for hoped-for children, a home office, and a charming guest bedroom with separate bathroom and sliding glass door onto their garden-yard.
We've toured Mount Hood and the Columbia Gorge, and seen waterfalls and forests. We discovered an artisan bread baker, and eaten in fun local restaurants. We saw an obscure art film that's never traveled to our Southern California neighborhood. Tonight, we're going to a concert in the park, on the local river bank. We grilled Pacific Northwest salmon and consumed it under the the early evening sky. We strolled the gorgeous Portland rose gardens, and browsed for an afternoon at Powells, the country's largest bookstore.
I read in bed this morning, gazing out windows onto greenery, especially trees, and gentle, rolling hills. A gentle fountain flows continually outside our room. And I felt such peace.
And I realized.....their home, with room for us to visit anytime we desire, and an astonishingly kind, open invitation to do so.....is exactly the home in the photos in my meditative sketchbook.
Exactly the same utopian home.....