more time to just be

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I’m not sure about you and I can only speak for myself.  After having a very fulfilling weekend with close family where insecurities were shared (mine) and life’s little hills and valley’s  were talked about, I have decided what would be best for me is to step away from most social media.  I find myself wasting too much time checking up on my friends and family.  I worry about them, I pray for them, I celebrate with them and I feel compelled to leave notes of encouragement and love to many of my friends and family but this sort of thing takes time, it takes thought and when I do these things I genuinely mean the comments that I leave but at the same time it takes great effort and as a mom, friend, sister, daughter and a few other titles I carry it takes a little something from me (time being the biggest)  I find myself comparing my life to this person or that person and this is exactly what we are not supposed to do considering we are all wonderfully made (psalm 139:14)  I quite honestly  get swept up into this social life that although can be very wonderful, seeing pictures of new babies, and far away family it can take away precocious time.  And again I only speak for myself.  Others may have a good balance when it comes FB and Instagram and all the other things.  I will of course finish my commitment I have with the hours, I will not give up my blog because this is where I grow in my art and in my words.  I will also most likely limit my flickr activity although I’m not completely convinced of this.  I may just put limits on it which will be easy because I have nearly backed away from it anyway.  I want to put more effort into my walking, breathing living life.  I want to be able to focus more completely on my children my husband.  I want to have more time to sit and read.  I want to have more time to wonder around and take photographs of blessings that I find in my day to day existence.  I want more time to focus on my Creator. I want more time to exercise, more time to just be.  This is what I have decided and rather than just pull the plug without words or explanation.  I decided to make the general announcement.  And still silly of me to think it even matters to any of you that this would be what I have decided.  If I have a real live relationship, you already have my email address, or my cell phone or my home address.

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I hope to grow during this very long break.  I hope to believe in my abilities and stop comparing my words, my art, my life to anyone else but my own.  And as I like to say, the choice is mine, I just have to be  brave enough to make it.  There is so much to see and do, so much life to be lived and shared.

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And lastly, you have to know there is a part of me who feels guilty and selfish for doing this because it shouldn’t be all about me and what I want and desire but if I could only explain my heart in a more clear way.  It will mean I write more real letters, exchange real emails make more phone calls and just be in the world the way we used to exist.  It felt so much simpler then.   I’m not dropping the people I love and have established relationships with….. I’m just stepping away from the online stuff.

 

Nature begins its retreat

Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.

Walt Whitman

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*I* am “exaketededly” three inches high, and it is a very good height, in-*deed*!

- Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland).

Our assignment this time was to capture fall in its starkness, to find beauty in what one may not normally see as beautiful.  I made a conscious effort to use my 50mm lens for this assignment so I could get closer.  I don’t have a macro lens but I do have a macro setting on my camera, which I didn’t use strangely enough.  I didn’t have to go far.  I walked into my backyard.  I wanted to work in my garden.  It’s time to pull it back to bare.  It’s still hot here but the tomatoes have been producing less and less and there was more brown stems than green. I was thrilled to find this little guy on the old tomato plant.  Just as I was going to rip it from the ground there he was!  It took me straight back to Alice in Wonderland  Can you see that?  It’s all I can see! I mean minus  he is green and not blue, minus he isn’t talking to me or smoking but honestly it’s all I can imagine. This little darling creature took me back to a magical place.  And I think he or she, I shouldn’t just assume it’s a boy but anyway, I think “it” is just gorgeous in every way.  I examined it closely and touched it and basically tripped out on how completely unique this creature is.  Where do they come from?  How is it they specifically look to tomatoes for their nutrients?  I don’t see them otherwise? But this is not all I saw.  This is just the first thing I saw.

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The sky was very blue and although it was hot, if one didn’t know, they might think this a cool and crisp fall day.  That’s another thing I like about pictures.  If pictures don’t have words people can look at them and make up their own story.  I do it all the time but mostly I do this with pictures of people.  I make up their stories in my head based on how the photograph reads.   So just know, this day was warm and I spent this day on my knees in the garden.  I pulled all the weeds.  I got dirt under my nails and I have it ready for the crimson and clover.  This is my plan.

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This is my favorite from the day.  Just a few little leaves hanging on for dear life.  The golden sun shining through the otherwise dead leaves.  When I stand back and look at this tree it’s just full of crispy dry and dead leaves.  It looks sort of pitiful actually but as I walk up close this is what I see and it’s gorgeous.  I add my 50mm lens and it becomes art.  Its Gods art and it is good.

IMG_8841And when the assignment had the word specifically STARK.  This is what I found  It’s stark and it’s completely beautiful.  And for me this assignment wasn’t very hard because it’s what I naturally do.  When I feel a need for peace,  I will grab my camera, this is my tool and I walk into my very own backyard which is in the suburbs backed up against a busy street with occasional sirens and traffic, with cables stretching across the sky but in this suburban setting we planted three trees. Just three.  One for each child and only just two seasons ago.   They are sort of new trees.  I have only seen the littlest and only girl’s tree experience spring once so far and it had pink flowers!  It was perfect.  I’m not familiar with their seasons just yet.  We almost thought we were killing the boys trees.  It seemed a little too soon for the leaves to turn crispy brown but I’m thinking it may be normal.  We will see when winter comes and they will be bare and then as spring arrives we will see their new baby green buds that open to leaves. I think it will be like this. I have taken so many pictures of the kids trees it’s a little crazy but for me it’s peace.  This is all for today. Remember Christina at 22 limes because she shares this assignment with me.  I can’t wait to see what she found and what she will share.  It’s a lot like Christmas morning to me when I get to see what she will post too.

 

 

 

Sit down and Rest a While

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Assignment two.  Comfy chair.  I have a thing for chairs.  It’s not so much an addiction because I also have a person of reason who settles me down when I feel the urge to want to drag a new chair home.  It’s like coffee mugs.  Don’t even get me started on the mugs.  A slight addiction for sure on the mugs.  But since I’m not here to talk about mugs, let me tell you about my favorite chair.  It’s an heirloom.  It was my grandma and grandpa’s and I remember I loved these chairs as much as a kid as I do now.  Maybe more now because I really can appreciate the awesomeness of these chairs.  It had a male and a female chair.  One was a little bit more petite while the other was just a larger version of the small.  We only display the male because the females leg broke and it’s in our rafters.  So I love this chair with all my heart and yes, same old story.  Rich wishes we could release the chair.  I rarely sit in it because it sits off by itself but when I do sit in it.  I feel this comfort and a lot of nostalgia.  It’s naugahyde.   It’s black and it has wooden arms and wooden backing and wooden legs that spin and a matching stool.  I will have this chair until the day I leave this earth and then I can only hope one of my children love it as much as I do and will take it in.

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Here we have detail of it’s nice wooden curved modern arm.  You can tell it’s been loved, it’s a little grimy and a lot worn.

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This is the base that turns and twirls the chair.  I love a chair that can twirl.

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Here is me reading in my favorite chair:)

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And here we have an in focused picture of me reading in my favorite chair!

Remember I’m doing this project with my friend Christina who will also be showing you pictures of her favorite comfy chair  at 22 LIMES so please if you are as curious as I am, go look, please take a peek.  I’m wondering how similar or different our chairs will be??  I have decided to include a Walt Whitman quote with each of my posts that I share with Christina.

To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.

- Walt Whitman

Italian feathers!!

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My parents are back from Italy last night.  They spent two and a half weeks there with good friends. I mentioned to mom before she left…..”make sure and take selfies of you and dad!”  She just laughed.   “Maybe you can find some hearts and Italian bird feathers at your feet”  And within a few days I received in my in box a big smiley selfie of mom and dad on the train!

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Then a few days later she sent me a heart shaped rock and I said “mom, did you scoop it up and put it in your pocket”  she wrote back “lol, it was huge!”  I took a closer look and it was, it was pretty big but a perfect heart.

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Then she sent me a picture of her espresso and it had a heart on top!

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She sent other pictures too, the leaning tower, buildings and views.  It looked like an epic trip and I’m so grateful my parents have the means to do this sort of thing. Travel to see our beautiful world.  These little messages she sent mean so much to me.  She took the time to share with me things that we can share together and even though I wasn’t with her and my dad, it’s almost like I was because she was constantly on the look out for hearts and feathers so as I thought of them from here, they thought of us from there and we stayed connected in our hearts.

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Do you want to know what’s special about these feathers?  They are the Italian feathers mom found at her feet.  She got me a few other things too but she could have stopped at these Italian feathers and I would have been perfectly content.  I was already over the moon about them.  I have put them with my other feathers but they have their own little cup so I can remember which ones came from little Italian birds.

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And completely on a different subject.  We as part of our challenge were supposed to do two new exercises this week.  I tried this app called Seven, and it’s free and it completely kicked my butt.  I’m sore today!  SORE, which is good.  I think Yoga will be my other change up for the week.  Because typically I just walk lots and lots and lots during the week.   So it’s nice to do something different.  I did pay extra for the hippie trainer though.  He makes me laugh!

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And this is me after the work out!  So you see it really did kick my butt.

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I am human

weedYesterday was just one of those days. I’m sure we all have them, we must because after all we are all human. It was one of those days where my energy was low. I felt like a 2 ton elephant (like I know what that really feels like!) but I felt heavy, not just physically sluggish but mentally too.   I had received a handful of terrible news over the past few days and some of it was sad, some of it was bad and although I received the news knowing I would lift the requests up to God. I also somehow held on to the request. I held them tight. I worried about them, I felt sad in regards to them and then all I wished for is that I could fix the sad or bad situations. But I’m human so I could not.

SOME DAYSAnd yesterday I thought my answer may have been a large slice of chocolate cake, it’s what I wanted. I just wanted to order the best cake I could find and sit with a warm cup of creamy coffee and take bites of that cake, I would close my eyes and taste all the chocolate goodness and sugar in my mouth and I would smell the coco and I would really, really enjoy that cake. You know sort of get lost in it for a few minutes and it would just be me and the cake and no other thoughts would be in my head except for how good that cake tasted. Okay so I’m an emotional eater. Did you pick up on that?

However I didn’t find the best cake I could find. I came home to a package in the mail. A dear friend had sent me feathers. Not just a literal darling cute blue feather but also a feather to wear around my wrist. I felt loved and cared for.

I went on with my motherly duties, I picked up my children, I took my littlest and only girl to find new jeans and a new book to read for her AR reading and then I came home and just sort of laid on the bed for a few minutes with motorcycle man and the coolest cat on the planet, Mr. Garfunkel. I complained how I was working so hard and my pants still felt tight, I complained that I was tired, I complained that I just couldn’t’ seem to do all the things I wanted to do.

meditationWe went to Sprouts. We got all the fruits and veggies we were out of. We walked around with our free tiny cup of coffee. And when we got home it was already getting late, so I made a simple sandwich with my good bread, meat and mustard. I ate a handful of nuts and I drank a big glass of water. Then me and the littlest and only girl went on a 30 minute walk. She told me all about her day and her classes at school. And how art is her favorite because it’s relaxing. That part of my day was special. I got home to a text from someone I love who said they were praying for me. I know their prayer is what helped me get through the day. I felt totally loved and cared for. And even in my not so good days. I know I’m totally loved and cared for. I’m blessed. I don’t want to take that for granted but on my off days I feel guilty for even complaining when life is really so wonderful. It’s a gift. Yet I realize I’m human and this just happens sometimes and it happens for a reason. I need to accept this.

peace and lightI woke this morning to a scripture, it was like God was tapping my shoulder, “Hey beautiful child, just as you love your children with all your heart soul and mind, I love you even more than that if you can imagine!” “I love you so much sweet and dear child of mine that I take your burdens for you, I carry them so you don’t have to” And this is the scripture I was given this morning Psalm 68:19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who DAILY bears our burdens. So why then do I try and take on these burdens myself? As if I can save the world. I can’t save the world….only HE can. And sometimes I have not so good days so I can be reminded of this.  So not so good days sometimes are a part of our lives so we can be reminded of just how blessed and just how loved and totally cared for we really are.

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hello fall

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My mission.  Class  Picture Fall –  day one.  Fall Leaf.  I know Tracey Clark is from Southern California and she had success so I should be able to do the same.  Last week we had a heat wave and it didn’t feel like fall in any way.  It felt more like the middle of summer to be honest.  So I was thinking, this will be a challenge a real BIG challenge.  We have barely any red, orange or yellow around these parts.  Lots of old brown and crunchy and every so often a little yellow or red leaf may appear but mostly it’s brown and crunchy.  I began my walk around the neighborhood and I was thrilled to find a feather mixed amongst the fall leaves.  I like to take these shots by just placing the camera on the ground.   It’s usually a pleasant surprise when I do this.  I like the pop of pink in this one.  And what do you know.  I found a blessing!  Our fall is different but it’s still good.

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Then I happened upon this sweet red leaf.  Only it wasn’t on the ground.  I actually plucked if off a vine.  It’s sure sweet though.

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Then I took the secret path that backs up against the riverbed.  There was actually water in the riverbed and I was confused where the water had come from but the sound of it sure was nice.  I had picked up this sweet semi colorful leaf on my walk and I stumbled upon this shopping card on the riverbed and it was in the brand new bike path that just recently opened up in our city.  I stuck it in the little ribbon there and took it’s picture  I was so excited that little itty bitty heart in the sticker made itself known.  I had not noticed it when I placed the leaf there but when I looked at it on my preview screen it’s almost all I could see.  I was smiling because it was so sweet.

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And then I brought fall inside.  I picked a really big leaf off a tree also as I walked home.  I did more plucking than picking but all the better leaves seemed to still be attached to their source.  And this was my attempt at capturing our California fall leaves.  I’m so curious to see how my friend Christina fared in South Dakota?  I bet you are curious too, check it out here on her beautiful blog 22 Limes

Lastly, when I think of Fall I think of Walt Whitman and the book Leaves of Grass.  I had this book since I was a teenager and worked at the bookstore.  I don’t know why but this book always reminds me of fall.  I couldn’t find my copy this morning.  But I want to leave with a quote by him from this book.

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Way up on the Hill Top what can you SEE?

Saturday afternoon was spent running a few errands, giving the front of the house a little update and then it was time to watch the sun disappear.  A good place to watch the sun hide is on top of Signal Hill in Long Beach.  We decided to invite Papa and Mama Bear because they used to know this hill top well and  long before it became a small park that overlooks Long Beach, the Pacific Ocean and even the City of Los Angeles they knew it when there were lots and lots of oil horses and not many homes.  It’s quite a beautiful view.  We took Cherry all the way down because Papa and Mama Bear had a few memories to share along the way and I also knew this area was special to my own mom since I was born not too far from here in Harbor City.  It’s almost where I came from in a very small abstract way.  We also decided to have some fun making broom flying pictures only we let it get a little too late and it wasn’t as easy to capture what we had in mind.  Motorcycle man makes a pretty great broom rider.  So bare with me.  I’m going to just share a series of pictures of our Saturday evening on top of the hill.  Papa even did a broom ride shot, only I video taped his and it included lots and lots of laugher which is really great for our souls.  I will keep that video between family but just know it was really a good chuckle.

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home is where the heart is

So today I thought, I should paint our mailbox red and paint the words home on our front door.  So I did.

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This is what it looked like before I did what I did.  I had started to write the word home in chalk over the summer but never went through with it.

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It’s not perfect the painted words but I like it just the same.

Then Motorcycle man surprised me and bought little flowers for our front skinny planter for only 88 cents each.  He also spread some mulch.  He bought 7 bags of mulch, red paint and those cute flowers all for under 20.00 and it just sort of fancied up the front of our home a little.  My mini roses accidentally were murdered when the flea and bug spray was sprayed in the planter box.  So it was looking pretty sad.  I wished I had taken a before shot but since he surprised me I had no idea this flower planter would look different today.  The chairs in our front porch have been with us since we married over 21 years ago.  I love that and I still love those chairs.

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There was a scone on my desk! A chocolate chip One

I’m so happy its Friday. What working parent doesn’t look forward to the weekends? As perhaps most of my readers know, I’m part of a Body, Mind and Spirit challenge where I have been making really great choices now for four weeks. I have been drinking a ton of water, I exercise at least 30 minutes a day and include time in prayer, meditation and scripture reading, and each week we are given a bonus challenge. This week is was cleaning off a piled space, a cluttered drawer or cupboard. In four weeks I have lost a solid 4 pounds. So far this week nothing has shifted down. I have lost however 10 inches total when I measured myself last weekend. Mainly around the bust and hips area that nice hour-glass figure I maintain is getting just a little smaller in the hourglass. Just a smidgen.

photoGuess what I ate first?  The scone or the peach?

This morning when I got to work there was a scone on my desk. I was like “who put a delicious looking chocolate chip scone on my desk?” I asked everyone except the one person who put it on my desk. It was Mr. Dean our Vice President of Operations. His dear wife and family love this bakery in Huntington Beach, it’s called Lucci’s  and well this scone was delicious! Made at Lucci’s  picked up by Mrs. Dean and delivered to me by Mr. Dean. Of course I ate it. We don’t turn gifts away ever! Besides I get two (free) negative points a week and I don’t really ever use those 2 free points so why not? It was the BEST. Oh it was so good and it’s exactly the kind of scone I would have picked for myself because anything with chocolate chips is always better.

I will be beginning a Fall photo workshop that Tracey Clark  leads. I’m taking it alongside of a new friend of mine Christina who has a beautiful blog called 22 Limes   and what we have planned to do is post each Monday and Friday what our prompts may have been for the week. You will be able to see how our eyes see things differently even though we have been given the same exact prompt. It should be interesting and really lots of fun. I will give you a hint…our prompts involve the blessing in Autumn/Fall and since my fall will be so different than Christina’s fall it should be especially fun to see. I live in Southern California where she resides in South Dakota

See you Monday with my fall surprise! And don’t forgot to look for little miracles over the weekend.