The next day, the last Friday of the school Christmas holidays, we had planned to take our dog, Amber, for a nice 3.5 mile walk out in the countryside in a place we had never been to before. We prepared well; map, phones all fully charged, food and drink, appropriate clothing. The walk was described as a 'gentle' walk which can get a little muddy at times.
Well, it all started off OK, but we didn't seem to be progressing very far on the list of stops along the way despite walking for ages and encountering rather more mud than we'd been led to expect! We thought about turning back fairly near the start but it was so beautiful once we got into the forest part that we wanted to carry on a bit further. BIG mistake!
Amber was loving it of course! There was a little stream full of muddy water crossing the first part of the walk and she decided to jump (or fall not too sure!) in not once but twice! Coat and all! Once in the forest she was loving scenting out the squirrels.
At one stage she disappeared off quite far away from us (not something she usually does) and didn't want to come back until our youngest daughter, Evie, went to fetch her. I joked that maybe she's trying to tell us we should go that way. I wish I had listened to that nagging little though thought, as she was probably correct!
We pressed on looking for the turnings in the directions, and we did exit the forest eventually - out into massive fields with a beautiful view. That was when we really started paying attention that the sun was setting! Amber however, took advantage of our need to rest a while and shot off into some enormous bushes that had dense twigs and branches covered with 2 inch long spikes. We could hear them scratching on her coat - the new coat, rather expensive too, that Evie had chosen for Amber for Christmas! When she finally managed to get out from the bushes, Amber was minus her coat!
What to do? The day was drawing in and it was becoming darker, so time was of the essence; the bushes were so dense there was no way for us to get in there and locate the coat; hubby tried to use the big rucksack to push a way through but the bush was too strong...so we had to leave the coat there and comfort ourselves with the thought of some wild animal having a nice new lining for its den or burrow!
Basically from then on things became more hairy. We had to trudge back through half the forest, off in a different direction, through massive fields, up hill and down, sodden grassy fields at that! Through narrow patches of forest and out into more fields. The directions said to go diagonally across the field, but when we tried the field was so muddy and so churned up there was no way we could have walked through it. So we had to follow the edge of the field round the outskirts of the forest to reach the top of the hill. This was the point where we all almost despaired.
Evie's boots had so much of the clay-type mud stuck to them she could not physically lift her feet from the ground any more. Hubby tried to break off a branch to scrape with and almost fell into the mud! Our eldest daughter fell over and had stinging nettle rashes everywhere it seemed, as well as pain in her knees, especially the one that was operated on a few years ago, causing great concern for us all. I had been walking along praying and trying to just be thankful for the almost-full moon that was shining and the lack of any black clouds in the sky! But at this point, I was almost in tears with how hopeless it seemed that we would ever find our way back to the start of the walk and the safety of our car!
Then something just came over me, and I said firmly to everyone that we needed to just FOCUS! Pray and focus and put one foot in front of the other and just walk. Didn't matter if it were slow, just keep going. And that's what we did!
Eventually we came to a bungalow in the middle of an enormous field and knew we were on the right track! After passing by that and more field walking, we came to a bridge and could then see the concrete of the long lane that would lead to the main road! Yay!
We must have looked a sight as we came out through the trees into the lane but we were past caring! Even from there though it was about another 15-20 minutes walk back to the car! This alleged 3.5 mile walk that shouldn't really have taken more than a couple of hours at most had taken almost double that! Exhausted we drove home, picking up a take away on the way, and collapsed together in front of the TV to try and forget it all!! We did vow never to go to a new place to walk the dog ever again - whether we hold true to that only time will tell!!
I was still up quite early and before everyone else on the Saturday morning, and decided to read again the Take Me Deeper prompt. I read my notes from the Logos365 prompt to remind myself what I'd written, and was amazed to see that a quote within the Take Me Deeper prompt actually described perfectly the three points I'd made! That was when I knew that my word for the year was going to change from Mindful to be FOCUS! Not a word I'd use much generally day to day, and yet it had come into my head on the walk when we were despairing, and it was a much better, more proactive word than mindful for what I wanted for my year!
As I read the Take Me Deeper prompt about being transformed, it all just seemed to come together that this was what I'd been asking and hoping for this year with the help of these projects - to be transformed and focus more on deepening my faith and understanding. It was actually amazing - the choice of Transformation as the first TMD prompt; the word Focus in my head on the walk and actually helping us to get out of those fields and forests!; and then the quote summing up so perfectly what I had written before I'd even seen it!
So I opened up Photoshop and started to create. I wanted to use all these feelings and the amazement and sheer perfection of it all coming together within my page but had no real idea how I was going to do that! I started creating something to represent the dark forest. Then I almost stopped and started over as it seemed too dark - as in depressing! But somehow, among all my playing with blend modes and light effects, the glimmer of an idea I'd had in my head started to appear on the screen! Getting the light right gave me problems and then suddenly, what I wanted just appeared after changing the order of a few layers! I'd had no idea that effect would happen but it did! his spurred me on and although it did take about 4 hours to complete, I ended up with a page that I love; that illustrates for me the events of those 2 days, and a page that I feel I can't take any credit for as mostly I have no idea how I created it LOL!!
So, after that long chunk of my story, here's my Take Me Deeper page, and also my Logos 365 page. I decided to make the Logos365 page in keeping with my TMD page, and think I may get all the pages printed into a book at the end of the year. So we have the representation of the dark forest, the light for us to FOCUS on, and the butterflies signifying many different ways I can be transformed if I just allow the light to lead me on. (By the by it was only later, after looking again at my cover page, that I realised the theme of warm light leading me in started even there, I just hadn't realised how real it was going to become! Nice!!)