from the bottom of my heart

peace to bethThe heart is where the beauty of the human spirit comes alive.  Without the heart, the human would be sinister.  To be able to feel is the great gift.  When you feel for someone, you become united with that person in an intimate way; your concern and compassion come alive, drawing some of the other person’s world and spirit into yours. Feeling is the secret bridge that penetrates solitude and isolation.  WIthout the ability to feel, FRIENDSHIP AND LOVE COULD NEVER BE BORN.  All feeling is born in the heart.  – JOHN O’DONOHUE

Today I got home to a package on my porch.  I thought “I have not ordered anything?”  “I wonder what it might be?”  I opened up this beautifully wrapped package and inside was this framed photograph of a far a way friend of mine.  A friend whom I have never met yet the connection is so real.  She had posted this image and I asked if I might buy this print from her.  I fell instantly in love with it.  It was her and it was peace.  She said she would send me a copy.  I expected it might be a print that would arrive in the mail and in a flat envelope that I would then frame.  She went above and beyond sending me a print.  She had it framed.  I’m overwhelmed with how someone I have never met would do something so nice for me.  Yesterday I was down about my own little skin issues and I wrote a frustrated poem about it.  Today I came home and I can’t stop smiling and it doesn’t mater that I still have sores on my legs, it doesn’t matter at all.  Today I have gratitude in my heart from a far away friend.  Thank you Beth for your kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity.  I will hang your art in my dining room with the rest of my favorite images.  It will look just right there.

visits to grandma

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“We were sent into the world alive with beauty. As soon as we choose Beauty, unseen forces conspire to guide and encourage us towards unexpected forms of compassion, healing and creativity.” (John O’Donohue)

We had a whirlwind weekend.  We got up just before the sun Saturday morning to travel a distance away to see my grandma.  She will be 85 on Tuesday.  I sadly have not spent very much time with this grandma but it’s never too late.  I decided and with the support of my husband that we would drive to see her, to give hugs and kisses, to cook with her, to grocery shop with her and then sneak off to her favorite taco stand. We left before her big party was going to happen but for me it wasn’t about the party it was about hearing her sweet voice, as she jingled around the kitchen “grandma? where are you hiding those bells?”  She giggled and smiled (she is good at that) “I’m not-a tellin”  then she spilled the beans….”they are tied to my socks”  We made her famous home-made blue cheese dressing and shrimp cocktail and some deviled eggs.  Her name is Joy, I have mentioned her before.  She is her name.  She smiles  and laughs often, her blue eyes twinkle and she tells the best stories.  We stop at her door and she opens it wide and she says “welcome to my casa, please do come in!”

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ordinary . extraordinary days

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“May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder”  John O’Donohue

You see as I made a deal with myself to enjoy December and not get all caught up in the hustle, bustle holiday chaos, I have decided to slow down.  Release Control.  Be quiet.  Enjoy.  In making this choice, things have happened like this, playing cards by the fire with littlest and only girl.  I have decided after much thought to just leave the tree bare with its simple white lights.  The tree in itself holds such a simple beauty.  And I’m grateful to Michelle who gave me the idea to create 31 envelopes with 31 ideas.  Playing games was yesterday’s envelope.  Today we get to try a new food, something we have never had before.  Our envelopes are filled with things to enjoy together along with random acts of kindness.

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If you look closely you will see, littlest and only girl doesn’t even pull these cards in any particular order (another area I had to release control of)  I found this LOVE at Target the other night.  I wasn’t looking for it, it was just there! I could not pass it up.  I have a weakness for these things, anything that lights up, coffee mugs and chairs. So we do have this little bit of decoration up.  I will most likely keep it up for the long-term because LOVE is a powerful thing and I think it’s power should shine all year-long.

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just a few of my favorite things

Remember when Oprah used to have her Christmas show and she would share some of her most favorite things then ALL the audience members would get what she loved? That was so awesome. I recently read a blog from a writer whom I admire very much, Emily P. Freeman and she shared some of her favorite things which are also simple gift suggestions. The funny thing is…I really truly love some of her favorite things and have similar things on my list. I even own the same book and coffee mug she has on her blog, only my mug has a letter (t) on it.

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Earrings – just yesterday I picked these up for myself and I don’t normally buy earrings very often. I have to really, really, really love them and then I will wear them day in and day out for years to come. My most favorite pair broke this year and so these are officially my new favorite pair. I got them at my friend Lilly’s shop Share and Do Good. It’s a wonderful store in down town Fullerton, a giving boutique for great causes.

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John O Donohue book – This book was recommended to me a few years ago by a friend of mine I met in my photo world. She and I were talking on the phone one night and she asked me if I had ever read any books by John O Donohue, the late John O Donohue was an Irish priest and philosopher. I was reading his take on our hearts last night, it’s a wonderful book and not sure why it took me so long to order it. Thank you Andrea for your wonderful suggestion.

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Bible – I look to this book for peace, for uplifting, for living advice, it’s the best manual I have found for my life. It has all the answers and it comes with a living God who I can actually talk to. I have about 4 Bibles. One was given to me by my parents when I graduated the 8th grade, it’s a New American Standard version, then I received one as a gift from my sister-n-law one Christmas and it’s the New King James Version and I have a really big pretty one that my parents got Rich and I our first Christmas together and it has our name engraved on it, it’s a King James version and lastly my New International study Bible that I got for myself. I love how most my Bibles are gifts from people I love.

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Candle – Lilly also sells these amazing smelling candles. Aren’t they just beautiful too? They are going like hot cakes so if you like the look of them I will guarantee you will love the smell of them and with each candle you buy it will feed a child.

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Pandora – I love music and I used to have a collection of records when I was a girl, then it went to tapes and from there I graduated to cd’s and then it was iTunes and what I had on my iPod and now it’s all about Pandora. I LOVE Pandora. Music is a crucial part of my life, I listen to it when I cook, clean, walk, drive and work.

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Typewriters – my new treasures!

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Camera – my tool. I have been into photography since I was a girl, yes girl. Probably Jr. High. I have always been the girl who has a camera in her hand, or even a video camera. I used to make videos when I was in Jr. High and High school. My mom and dad were trusting enough to let me tote around their old-fashioned VHS video recording camera. I would direct fashion shows, interviews and little skits. I also would just document my teenaged life. Let’s face it…it pretty much was my camera even though my parents owned it. They were generous with it. I would love to have those tapes transferred one day. I think my parents still have them. So I rather adore how my Canon 70D takes gorgeous photos and video too!

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Clementine’s – oh the smell! The taste! The vibrant color. What’s not to like?

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Essential oils – A sort of new passion. They are good for all kinds of stuff. So I have a small collection I use for things like, my allergies, children tummy problems, headaches and also for preventative measures.  I deal oil….just sayin.

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Vanille pefume. Oh how I love this perfume!!  It’s the best smelling vanilla I have ever smelt.  Okay, not bragging or anything but I think the one thing people most tell me is…”you are so sweet”  Yes sweet.  Of all things.  It used to tick me off, because I wanted to be edgy and I always considered myself a little bit of a rebel ,why can’t anyone else see what my inner self sees?  I’m learning to accept my sweetness so I decided if people think I’m sweet, mays well smell sweet too. I buy mine at Roadkill Ranch, my favorite clothes store in Fullerton.

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Handwritten letters – The art of writing letters in cursive. The lost art. I want to re-visit my calligraphy days. When I was a teenager my mom had me take calligraphy one summer. The story with that is….I snuck out one night and got caught. So my parents decided I would write 500 times in calligraphy “I will not be deceitful to my mother and father anymore” My mom recently gave me the stack of my hard work. Good practice right?

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Feathers – the feathers that I find, the feathers that are mailed to me from different states or even countries. It’s a gift it really is and I feel so blessed each time I find one.

And these are a  few of my favorite things!

 

balance

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Let me let you in on a secret. Yesterday when it was around 6:30 P.M. and we were at Target picking up the basics, milk, butter, cat food, dog food and lights for our tree, I realized as my stomach felt hungry that I had forgotten to eat lunch. Not only did I forget lunch…..check out what I did eat. Breakfast, black coffee and one glazed doughnut. Lunch a Slim Jim and a few Charleston Chews. And that’s it. That is exactly what I ate all day long. Does that sound nutritious and all kinds of good for my body and my brain? Duh. NO! And I will do this sort of thing on a regular basis when I have “fallen off the wagon so to speak” When I’m on the wagon, I’m insane. I will walk every single day and drink tons of water and eat every few hours but that my friends takes a lot of effort, a lot of thought and I will burn out every single time and especially when I do it 8 weeks in a row. They say 21 days forms a habit but obviously a solid eight weeks doesn’t even seem to work for me.

Trying to find balance is a true challenge for me. And as I type this I realize my word this year should be BALANCE. That’s it. Just made up my mind in mid sentence. My word will be balance.  Because as I type this I realize like most of us gals we take it all on, not just the favors asked and the every day kinds of things but then we pile on top of that “perfection”  Let’s see if I can juice every single day, buy the best whole foods for my home, cook really healthy dinners each  night, keep a clean and tidy house, the laundry, the kids, the animals and hum, lets see if I can work out an hour a day, and pray/meditate and maybe I can even read a book that will help me be a better person, and perhaps I can take a few on-line courses, and write letters to my friends and family, and pay my bills on time and remodel my dinning room, and make really cool things that I see on Pinterest and plant that new garden from seed alone. I would love to learn to stand on my head and be the most romantic and loving wife on the planet.  Balance is a great word.  It wins hands down and I wasn’t even looking for a word on this particular post.  crazy!  crazy cool!   I found my word for 2015!  BALANCE it is.  Will you be picking a word for this year? A word to keep you on track, a word to reign you in, a word to grow you a little, a word to make you more aware…just a word.  I would love to hear what you might choose.

No lights, no stockings but we do have a tree

IMG_6932Sometimes we make choices and the choices we make affect certain outcomes.  Like for instance I found it much more important to shop with my mother-n-law and aunt for the first part of Saturday and make cookies with my mom and other aunt the second part of Saturday than I did putting up Christmas lights and hanging up stockings.  I almost left the cookie baking/decorating early so we could buy our tree but mom thought it would be nice if we all went to dinner together.  I so rarely get to spend time with my thoughtful Aunt who has made me and my kids the most beautiful quilts through the years and who I spent so much time with as a child.  So I made the choice to go to dinner. The Christmas tree could wait.  Then my aunt asked if I would be sending Christmas cards this year and I said “no”  The past couple years I have decided not to spend my money or even make the time to gather the 5 of us in one spot to take a family photo.  I never did take a professional family photo of the five of us before Austin turned 18 like my dream list had wished for.  And isn’t this funny being I’m a “photographer” and I know lots of talented photographer friends.  I suppose sort of like the cobbler who has holes in his own shoes! Or again the family who never put air or heating into their addition but they work for a heating and air company! (yep us)  Anyways, she got me thinking.  She said “she looks forward to our Christmas card each year”  She even shared with me that she remembered especially the one I dressed our first son as an angel and will never forget that one.  I was happy cause I told her that one was a labor of love, that one I did when I only had one child and I rented a dark room and developed each print one by one for each card that I sent out that year. I was border line insane if you want to know the truth!  And as all things work out!  We got our tree on Sunday rather than Saturday as planned and I thought why not use our sweet (now up and running) little yellow bug to haul the tree, and let’s call Aussie to see how long he would be at work and would he be willing to meet up for a family picture.  He was more than willing.  This year I will have a Christmas card but only a few will receive it because also to ease up the stress of Christmas and how busy it can get and how often we forget even the true meaning because of all the hustle and bustle, I only ordered a few.  I will mail out a few to close family this year but I will post all our outtakes and a photo  in a future blog so you can see what they looked like:)  I want to get them first and mail them out before I reveal the “card”  And it’s not all perfect and matchie matchie, We all wore what we wear on a daily basis nobody got especially spruced up but it’s all of us….all five in one spot by the coolest car ever. IMG_6935Our tree still needs to be decorated and we still need to put our stockings up and maybe even, possibly put lights on our house…..maybe and then we will be festive at the very least. I released control too and let littlest and only girl pick out our tree entirely.  I’m trying very hard to just release and it actually feels really nice.  Better than I ever imagined. Our advent envelope said “make a meal, whatever you want and we will buy the ingredients and cook together” Abbie picked sushi and California roles.  Dinner was top-notch last night and she did so good on her roles (no picture opps) I do have the sushi though:) FullSizeRender

it happened….it finally happened

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Yes!  It really did happen, I found not just one good old-fashioned typewriter but two! Saturday morning I got up to hit up a few darling stores in Bellflower with Mama Bear and Moon Mama when we happened to drive past an estate sale.  Not just one estate sale but two on the same street.  A darling street with darling old homes and so of course we stopped.  Counting these two estate sales, I have only been to three in my life and although it can be interesting, it’s also very sad.  Just so sad that all these strangers are rummaging through someones life.  All their earthly positions there for the taking.  It’s a strange feeling to me it really is.  It’s like I want to know more about the people who lived there.  The first house clearly lived an artist.  I didn’t find anything there though.  A few houses down was the other estate sale.  It was on its third day and everything was 50% off.  I walked in the very first room and immediately spotted a Royal typewriter, I pointed and said “I need that, how much for that typewriter?”  The gal said “$30.00  and today everything is half off, so $15.00″ she gave me my little ticket and I wandered up stairs, totally stoked on the typewriter when I spotted yet anther one that even seemed older also for 30.00 but half off that.  I got two vintage typewriters for the price of one. The gal wondered if I might be making jewelry out of the keys.  I told her “no, I want to use these for actual typing”

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I came home and looked them up.  The Royal seemed to go for around $270.00, and  I think is about a 1949 model, the LC Smith & Corona seems much older than that even and is very unique in that the roller is very small/short, like it was made to type out small labels or something and the number keys are in double, no dollar sign or percent sign or any of those characters, just double numbers??  I can’t find anything like it on the internet and I can’t even find a serial number or more information on the actual typewriter?  It has me really stumped.  The Royal had ribbon already and it works really pretty great, the Aa sticks but I’m going to try rubbing alcohol on the top or some may say bottom of the keys and see if it unsticks it.  Needless to say….I’m really, super excited about my typewriters.

FullSizeRender (1)IMG_0742  That’s not all, as I was paying, Moon Mama spotted a belt buckle that was engraved with RICH, hello!  I had to get it, just had to.  It was only $2.50 and it meant the guy who lived there was named Rich!  I wish Rich was there to talk to about those typewriters, I think he would have been glad someone was buying them to actually use and not tear apart for jewelry. When I got home I presented it to motorcycle man and he got a big old grin but since he doesn’t wear belt buckles, we decided I could just wear it.

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31 Days of December

IMG_0727My friend Michelle just posted the coolest blog post and idea and she is so wonderful, she doesn’t keep ideas all to herself, she shares them and I love that about her.  I read her blog post a few days ago and thought it was just the best. So even though we are three days in, we made these little envelopes last night and tucked a note card inside each one with little ideas and random acts of kindness to do throughout the month of December.  We made nearly all 31 days of ideas but Abbie only got to decorating 10 of the envelopes so far. She is doing such a gret job decorating these.  The cool thing is….our church is also doing something very similar for this month and they have created a calendar with ideas too.

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Let me tell you something else too while we are on the subject of perfection or should we say not perfection.  Normally, had I heard of this idea three days in I would say, “oh forget it!  I’m too late” but this time in the spirit of imperfection I thought, “no way.  We are doing this.”  It only means we get to open a few on some days until we catch up.  That’s not all, normally I would have stayed up till the sun came up until all 31 days were complete and hanging on the string but  also in the spirit of not being perfect, I decided we will hang them up as they get decorated and that will be that!  Seriously people, this is a big deal for me.  I’m just accepting this as it happens and this little project has me already enjoying the month of December.  Heck, we are already caught up, we opened up three this morning!  Oh, and one more thing, these envelopes, they have a story too!  I didn’t buy anything for this project, we had all this stuff already here in my craft cupboard.  Those envelopes are 20 years old and left over from our wedding thank you notes!

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rain dance

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One would think we never have seen the rain,  it’s a rare sighting these days in our parts however we have always been rain girls. When it rains.  We play outside.  Littlest and only girl thinks this is what happens, rain comes, we play in puddles.  So today that’s what we did with the help of cousin Laynie. It was just a slight mist when we began and just beginning to get dark, the rain decided to really come down when the sun went down. Naturally I let them play into the darkness because these are the sorts of things they will remember…at least that’s what I think.  The first batch of clothes came in completely muddy, they went through the garage so they could immediately put their clothes in the wash, then they got dressed again, only to continue the rain play.  This time they promised they wouldn’t play in the mud….just the rain.  The second batch came in soaking wet…SOAKING!  So I did two loads of laundry and they got in a toasty bath and came out to hot chicken and dumplings with warm bread and butter. It was a perfect kind of day.  California kids play in the rain, we taste the rain, we feel the rain and we are always thankful for it.

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