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.

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I sure love that he jumps with me. that he lays on the groud with me and takes my picture in the dirt, that he suggests I climb on top the jeep for my facedown and then gives me a peace sign in his reflection, that he will jump real high and play air guitar, that he is my partner in so many ways, like all the good ways. He is my motorcycle man whom I adore with my whole heart.

IMG_0534 IMG_0535 IMG_0536 IMG_0539 IMG_0544 IMG_0550 IMG_6751And if you scrolled this far you will find out….motorcycle man fixed our plumbing last night after work. He got home crawled under our house and worked on our plumbing for about two hours.  He fixed it!  We got showers last night and we could use the toilet!  He finished the job and he was so filthy dirty and as he was getting ready to take a shower he said “I wish a big tall, icy McDonald’s coke would be sitting right there on the counter when I get out of the shower, just sounds so good right now”  That’s all he had to express, his true desire for a bubbly coke and lets face it, McDonald’s in my book is terrible however they have the best soda’s on the planet.  So when I got back from McDonald’s, this is what I saw…..and he swears this spray paint will peel right off.

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Loving God, Loving People

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Seek out the message you need to hear most today. Something that reminds you that you are exactly where you are supposed to be and that it is enough.   Note: Sometimes what we need to hear the most, we can stumble on (I love Divine intervention) other times we need to gently remind ourselves with handwritten affirmation. When you’re open to listening, you’ll get the message loud and clear.  Tracey Clark

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We are half way through the fall project and as it is half way through we are to pause, find a message we most need to hear. I thought this would be easy.  I see words everywhere.  I’m a word girl however in the busyness of my week I had a hard time pausing.  I actually had to contact my partner in crime, Christina and ask for an extra day.  When the extra day came and went, I asked for another couple of days and just hoped with all my heart that I would find a “message” in the desert.  We had planned to visit our family in the desert and I thought I may find it there.  I did.  It was in my sister-n-laws bathroom window.  The word FAITH.  it was there.  I snapped a real quick picture and wondered if I might find even more “messages”.  The next day Sarah took us around a nearby desert town to see some sites. We parked and walked around, I saw someone had made a heart of rocks they collected.  I stood inside the heart and thought about how I’m surrounded by LOVE in my life and how if I didn’t live by faith, the faith I have in Christ, I’m not sure where I would be?  It all began to make sense.  Faith and Love are the two words and actions I needed to hear this weekend.  I needed to be reminded of my faith and to recognize that I’m loved.  Deeply loved.  We had a busy week but we had such a wonderful week.  As Friday approached we had a big family dinner at our house, we ate, we laughed and we loved.  We got up the next morning and met up with more family. We had breakfast out, we ate, we laughed and we loved.  We drove out to the desert we hung out with even more family, we ate, we laughed and we loved.  What is important in this life?  For me it is my Faith and it is LOVE, love of family, friends and people.  Loving God, Loving People.  For me this is life, this is living. These are the messages that found me, I wonder what messages found Christina. 

I’m thankful for these hands

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I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

I’m very grateful for these hands. They mostly do very good things. Sometimes they do bad things. But still I’m grateful.
I hold his hand
I hold their hands
I write poems
I write words
I write letters
with these hands
I can create
with these hands
I push the shutter
with these hands
I hold
many things
in these hands
I can touch the sand
the grass
the water
the soil
with these hands

Forever grateful.

This week has been unusually busy.  It has been filled to the brim and although I just desire rest right now, I’m still grateful for the opportunity to raise money for Containers of Hope and I’m hoping someone can take what I find to be special and beautiful and in turn give to these children.  It all goes to them.  Otherwise I have decided putting a price on what I love is something I don’t want to do. This will happen tomorrow at my friends shop in the town I grew up.  I’m grateful I can try to help in some way.  And this picture was prompted by a class I’m taking.  What part of my body am I thankful for and appreciate?  My hands but so much more than that.  I hope your week is going well.  Sending out love.

Keeping it Simple and using the Light…Natual light.

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ISO 2000, 5.6 1/5000

Sometimes being a mom, a part-time working one who works half the day then takes the other half to pick up one set of kids at 2 and the other at 3, it doesn’t leave too much extra time to take photo’s then write about them plus, cook, clean and find time to be healthy.  So these pictures are certainly simple and for sure taken in my own backyard and in the bathroom, and kitchen window however as boring as these images may seem there is a story behind each one.  Not only is there a story but I’m rather proud of myself with this prompt because I shot on full manual.  When I went on the PNW retreat Deb also shoots a Canon so she showed me how to shoot on the BIG letter M.  I mean I have shot on M before but just sort of half crazy cause I will dial this way and that until it looks decent and sometimes it can take lots of dials to get it right.  Oh, the revelation!  I just need to center the line inside the light meter, just place it in the middle and all is good.  And these my friends are straight out of the camera, no touch ups or photo editing which hello is not really my expertise (yet) anyway.

The first image is of a special pierce of jewelry.  It was a gift from my mom and it was bought while she was in France visiting my sister.  My mama knows I love birds and well, it has a bird on it.  It also has some very powerful words in French.  I had no idea what the words meant until my little sister came home for a summer and interpreted them for me.  In English it interprets “Little of us have the strength to change the story”  And these words are powerful and true.  Do you have the strength to change your story?  Think about that?  It takes enormous strength to change your life story, rather than just take it for granted living it with no real effort is far easier.  Now I love the necklace even more.  And I took this image in my very own backyard.  I hung it from a tree branch and the wind kept swaying it back and forth so long story short…was not easy to shoot this on manual and manual focus!  But this one looks pretty decent in the natural backyard sun light.

These next two images were taken in our down stairs main bathroom.  We have two bathrooms in this house but this is the family favorite.  All five of us prefer it and use it most often.  It has a nice deep tub, beautiful natural sunlight, sparkling white subway tiles (when clean) and now perfectly deep black walls.  It’s kind of dramatic now that it’s been painted black.  So I took a pretty red rose from one of my rose bushes grandpa left me.  The smell, oh how I wish you could inhale this rose, it’s perfect.  I took it using two settings.  I show you both.

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ISO 2000, F4, 1/2000

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ISO 2000, F/20, 1/60

My last images are at my front kitchen window.  In the morning it gets the very best light but by late afternoon which is when I took these images the lighting isn’t as spectacular yet still it’s okay.  I use this window when I bake in the afternoons and I shoot photo’s of my food.  And it’s of a feather that I have stuck inside of a potted plant.  Because if you know me.  You know I also love feathers.

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image 2ISO 2000, F/8, 1/25

And this is my version of the lesson natual light, which technically is more of a photo prompt than anything else and if you want to see how two people who live in two very different places view things in natural light, visit my friend Christina at 22limes

words . details

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what would a self-portrait class be without a self-portrait.

Before I get to the meat of things.  Which will take much thought and careful consideration.  I want to share what is always dear to me.  I find beauty in the details.  In the little tiny small details that surround me.  One of my most favorite things to do is to slow down.  To look around with intention.  To take in the blessings that have been showered upon us.  They are everywhere and often get missed.  Not on purpose but sometimes people and this means me too get busy and they just don’t notice.  I like to take deep breaths, inhale, exhale, touch, give honor to.  It has not always been this way.  It’s a learned behavior. (not always… because after all we are born with it)  When my babies were little I barely had time for a moment of quiet.  I missed so much.  I mean I documented their moments with video and pictures but so often I just rushed through my days, just trying to make it to the next.  Now the most amazing thing has happened and largely  due to the fact that I have  watched and learned from women wiser who have taught me to embrace to take in each moment as if it could be my last.  And it’s working for me.  It has me thankful and gratitude creates good attitude, this is true.  So below I share some details of my weekend and I send my deepest gratitude to our teachers Kristin and Meredith who put their brilliant heads together and came up with an idea called NOW YOU workshop that has touched the lives of many women now, not just touched but changed and also it has grown real live friendships.  This one single idea.   Ideas change lives, ideas should never stop happening.  You may think it’s all been done before but always always it’s worth trying because as Salvador Dali says “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” it is so true.  later I will share the people, the love, the relationships but now I share the details.

IMG_9523lately it’s been about the blessing of feathers, I will always smile when  they are in my path.

IMG_9520hearts have held that special spot, His calling cards

IMG_9651as I spoke to my little sister about our Aunts quick passing, I was gifted with yet another touch of love.

IMG_9657For me this place has previously only existed in movies and books

IMG_9507I could barely believe this was on my same coast

IMG_9529Even the wood pile was photo worthy

IMG_9517and the mossy streets filled with puddles

IMG_9535the  heart is always in the kitchen.  nourishing meals where made here.

IMG_9519It was gray but I found color

IMG_9531the sandy shoes left at the door caught my attention

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the gift of a notebook couldn’t be more perfect for me, I was jotting notes from the moment we got it.

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IMG_9504and again I end with my last self-portrait.  As we were taught.  PROOF…I was there and not just proof of my feet but my face that is changing with each day.