search, rescue and revere lesson No. 7

search:  to find something you are looking for

rescue:  an act of saving

revere:  to feel deep respect for something

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You see I’m a bit of a collector of “things” sometimes  I don’t have to search very far to make up collections.  One summer in particular the poor Japanese beetles would live their short beautiful lives and end up dead on our backyard patio.  They are so gorgeous that I couldn’t bare toss them away, so I began to collect them in a jar.  I giggle thinking about it because that same summer my sister who is a pretty funny girl made up a song about my “dead beetles in a jar”  Then the jar became more of a collection of creation that had lost its life.  The saddest was the little hummingbird we were watching build a nest.  I had even photographed her up in her nest taking care of her baby eggs.  And then one day we found her little lifeless body beneath the nest.  Again such a beautiful and unique creature, I couldn’t just toss her.  So I placed her in the jar, lizard tail, baby tiny lizard, bee, and a grasshopper.  All the things I keep in my jar.  So to say I search, rescue and revere things fallen would be an understatement.   I also collect and gather less strange things like drift wood, feathers, rocks and sea glass….oh and shells.  But today I only took pictures of a few of these things.  I had expected to incorporate finding and gathering while on my daily walk but my daily walk didn’t happen until much later this evening so I show my collection of life lost that I happen to keep in a jar.  I hope you don’t think me too strange.  And you have to admit the Japanese beetles are stunning with their amazing color.  As usual, I’m so very curious what my creative partner came up with, what did Christina collect up for this challenge?  You can see what she came up with at 22limes.

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 “Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.”

*Walt Whitman*

The big walnut tree

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I know quite a lot of people who hate walnuts! They are probably not my favorite nut but I do happen to know they are very good for us.   Good for the brain I have been told. But walnuts are more than a really healthy nut to me. They are memories.

When I was just a little girl with absolutely no worries at all and bathed in unconditional love I would frequently visit my great grandparents on my mom’s side. They came from poverty and migrated here during the dust bowl in hopes of a better life. It was so hard for them, but they were hard working and determined people and they settled in California up north in a farming town. They had a really beautiful big walnut tree in the middle of their yard. When I was little it seemed enormous and the yard seemed sprawling. I’m not sure how many of you have visited Northern California, more inland where the farming country is but the soil smells sweet and I remember this sweet smell of the soil. Grandpa had hung a swing in that grand tree and I often would sit on the swing and dangle my little childhood feet having endless conversations with myself because I was born first to my mom and my little sister didn’t come until 11 years later. And although my mom remarried and I gained a brother who was 6 years older than me, I was mostly an only child for quite some time. So I was completely content being alone on the swing under the big beautiful walnut tree talking to myself.

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This is a real photo of my great grandparents with two of their children, I think that’s my grandpa there, the boy and the little girl is my Aunt Louise

I remember their back garden where in the far back grandpa would burn their trash every so often and it was such a treat to stand next to grandpa in his old hat and trousers as we watched the trash burn together. He was a quiet man, very quiet but I loved him so dearly because he would let me comb his hair while he watched t.v. and we would walk to the corner store together, he with his hat, hand in hand walking down the dirt path. He would quietly tell me I could pick out a toy or treat every time we went. I cherished those little trinkets so very much. I specifically remember two of the toys very much.  One was a tiny little Asian doll and the other was a small tea set.

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This is NOT a walnut tree but just some trees, pictures were limited this post but my posts always must includes pictures

At night when we would get ready for bed, I slept with grandma and grandpa slept in a tiny room that was more like a passing hall with a twin bed. I remember grandma’s clock. Tick, tick, tick. I remember the smell of Vicks. I remember the sound of distant trains and the sprinklers that go tee, tee, tee, tee. So when I hear these sounds today, when I smell the Vicks. I think of them. My mind goes straight back to when times were easy, simple and free spirited.

I could go on and on and on about my good memories with great grandpa and grandma but really, the walnuts I just ate. They reminded me of this. And each time I see walnuts this is where my heart returns. I bet you have similar stories associated with sounds, smells or certain foods? And sadly I have not too many images to share because back then we didn’t take pictures of our every days we instead stored them in our heads and in our hearts.

 

A heartfelt thanks

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The photo above represents a big, big, gigantic thank you for all the support I received yesterday.  It blew my mind and what it really had me realizing is, all my friends and family are beyond amazing and it had me feeling beyond blessed.  Is there such a thing as beyond blessed?  Yes!  No doubt, I felt it yesterday.  This photo also is in honor and memory of my Grandpa Hoff who on this day three days after my 40th birthday left his earthly body. It’s been 4 years today and that just doesn’t seem possible.  I know you know exactly what I mean.  I still hear his laugh, I still hear his greeting and I feel it an honor when he visits me in my dreams.   He loved his roses and when I see mine in bloom, the ones he gave me to plant I always think of him.  He left me his rose memories and also the white egrets, those too.  The roses I cut today from my garden were ones he called “The Abbie Rose”  He said the color reminded him of Abbie’s skin.  (photo credit Dylan)

I want to tell you all and show you some pictures from a garden tour I went on this weekend but I took so many pictures that I will have to spend some time narrowing those down.  I can’t possibly share all 177 of them.  I will pick my favorites and tell you a little about the day later on.  In the meantime I leave you with my new favorite drink. Matcha Green Tea.  It’s a fine green tea powder that’s 10 times more potent than drinking green tea and we all know just how good green tea is for us.  I ordered it first at Starbucks and it’s not on the menu so just ask.  They only charged me 90 cents for a grande and the other day during happy hour I ordered a large for only 30 cents which is crazy talk but I think they don’t seem to have a set price on the drink yet.  It’s cheaper than plain coffee and its way better for you.

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I’m also excited about the quinoa salad I threw together yesterday.  I used red quinoa, celery, carrots, red onion, garbanzo beans, black beans and cucumber.  The dressing I made included olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, a whole lemon, and just a tiny tad of soy sauce the gluten-free kind:) I made such a big batch I was able to fill up three jars to eat as the week goes on. Cause everything is cooler in jars right?

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today…..I just needed this and that’s all

IMG_1950You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it’s all going.  What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.    a quote by Thomas Merton

One might do this

When one has some free time in-between getting home from work

and picking up soccer player

and

the littlest and only girl

One might start by eating lunch

Then one might decide to strip their quilt off their bed and lay it out in the sun

Why?

Because a wise Eastern doctor told one it was good  thing to do

Every day if  possible

Which that’s not really the case for this particular one

So when this particular one does it

She feels good about oneself

Then one sees the animals all around her and becomes quickly distracted by all their wonder

One decides taking lots of pictures of them would be a perfect idea

Only the shy kitty is harder to photograph and she has to take her time slowly sneaking up

Until she got only just a little bit closer

And he runs away

This just meant,  one went on to the kitty that doesn’t mind

if one sticks the lens nearly straight in his face

All the while getting shadowed by a big dog and a little dog

All at once

She decides to also take their pictures

and sort of gets caught up in the animal photo session

Then one thinks trying out her timer

in between stripping off her bed sheets of course

would be a fun to do

Why not lie on top the dining table

it’s a better way to view the room

or the ceiling rather

One realizes just how old she is

because she feels motion sickness

As

she gets up

down

up

down

and up again to try different shots with her timer

Like real live motion sickness

as if she is trying to read her favorite magazine

While on the winding roads of the local mountains

Not a smart idea

That’s what one might do when one gets off work and is waiting for her children to be done with practices

also

to distract herself from eating tons of sweets

cause

That’s what she really wants to do

IMG_0302 IMG_0305 IMG_0308 IMG_0311 IMG_0314 IMG_0317 IMG_0320 IMG_0323 IMG_0324 IMG_0347 IMG_0348 IMG_0349 IMG_0350 IMG_0353 IMG_0354Yep sometimes one’s posts may be just this stupid but one gets chuckles out of it because who would imagine one of 43 doing these sorts of things with her days??

words and peace

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I believe in words
I believe in getting them out
I believe in reading them
I believe they heal
I believe we need them
I find comfort in them
I find peace in them

by: me

In November 2012, I took a workshop called Digging Deeper with Meredith Winn and  Kristin Zecchinelli, This class was a second course to NOW YOU and it was a gift, literally, two gals were picked to take this course free of charge. I was one of the two.  It was a gift in more ways than one and it challenged me as a photographer because one of our challenges was to take a self-portrait in public.  This can feel strange and uncomfortable but it helped slightly that I choose to be surrounded by books in a library, it’s a place where I just automatically feel at ease.  I sat down in-between the two book cases. I sat up my iPhone, much less obvious than a big camera and I used the app called camera+, in this app I have the option to set a timer.  So I did and this is the image that my phone captured with cropping and editing of course.  I decided it would also be a good time to write a poem about how I felt on this day and almost every day to be honest.  I’m really looking forward to growing as a photographer in 2014.  I was invited to a new blog which will include about 28 other really, really, really talented women.  I’m still wondering how I got into this group? I’m hoping this too will grow me as a photographer to be surrounded by talent and talent I can also learn from.   The blog has a name, it has a theme but I will share that when it get’s up and running.  I love projects, especially photo projects.  I will continue at a snail’s pace my project with my cousin.  I call it coloring with my cousin.  I also will have one more project with a dear friend who lives all the way across the globe from me and her days are always one ahead of mine.  We are not exactly sure of our exact plan but I want it to include our daughters, we each have one.  I’m very excited to collaborate with  Cathie. Super excited about 2014!!!  I can feel the change.

2013 at a glance

januaryI remember the very first day of January we spotted a hawk sitting on the fence across the street.  I was intrigued and saw two more perched in the same month, two odd spots…a tall light pole and a building top. I see them in flight lots but rarely do I spot them sitting still and grand they caught my attention for sure.  I wondered if there was meaning in the sightings?  We went on winter walks, we had a little rain we focused on our new word for the year, mine LOVE, littlest and only girl’s word was positive.

februaryFebruary always full of love!  I had my very first fancy coffee with my love and crossed one more thing off my dream list. I remember February being a month filled with walks, even with my oldest boy.  My legs I have noticed are the very best in February.  Since it will be my 5th year entering 2014, I have seen a pattern and February always gives me hope and shows promise.

marchIn March we always get giddy over the daffodils.  I fill my home with them over and over again until they stop selling them in tiny closed bunches.  This has gone on now for maybe 3 or so years.  A newer tradition.  I did a lot of reminiscing on my blog and picked up an awesome old school enlarger for only 25.00, all the trays and canisters and began dreaming of a future darkroom where I could once again develop my own film.  We played in the mud and Abbie turned another year older.

aprilIn April we began to plan for our Spring garden. The oldest became a man!  Talk about reminiscing!  We also had many of his baby videos transferred to dvd so he could finally see all the memories we had talked about.  I went on my first women’s retreat.  We paid taxes and planted a tree for each of our children.

mayMay always brings flowers! I found the most adorable shop in Fullerton and met an old friend who gave me an opportunity to show my art in her shop when the fall came.  I walked with some amazing women, survivors and brave warriors. Oh and I turned one more year older.

juneIn June our garden began to show promise. June was a very, very busy month for us.  We had our oldest graduate high school and get his very first car (the little yellow bug) our other two promoted into middle school and into high school.  We had dance recitals, school dances and  parties. Sadly my only other living grandfather passed away in this month. Yet still life goes forward and we began to get very, very excited for our summer ahead. We could taste it!

julyJuly came with lots of freedom, finding treasures, lemonade stands, mother daughter tea, a pool that literally busted at the seems, plumbing that went really wrong.  However the garden grew, hearts were spotted everywhere, we made trips to the beach and I joined a morning workout group and found some really great new friends.

augustAugust was the month we played very hard.  We took some time off and kept it local but being we are from California, keeping it local can still come with lots of fun.  We had beach trips by the handfuls, we hit up the fair, we took the kids parasailing, video arcades, ice-cream, summer hikes, sunflowers and raspberries, fancy movie theater, singing in the car and still meeting my workout buddies three times a week, very, very early in the morning. We enjoyed lots of fresh produce, we smiled a lot, our skin collected a few more freckles and sun beams.  Best of all my little sister and her two babes came back from France to live here in California once again.  Remembering August has me realizing I do love summer, lots.

septemberIn September we planted pumpkins for the fall (that didn’t fare so well) The soccer player and littlest and only girl got ready for their new schools,  I joined a book club and tried to read Jane Austen, I had my postcards made for the future art show, I experimented in wood transfers, began to watch Mad Men (basically became obsessed by it) grandpa visited me in a dream.   The soccer player turned another year older and sadly the oldest had a car crash on the very day soccer player turned one year older. Old familiar routines began to take their shape.

octoberIn October I cooked and baked a lot.  It was still relatively warm in our parts but I still yearned to make soups, cookies and pies.  Motorcycle man turned another year older, we visited Arizona for the memorial of my grandpa and saw my grandma who I had not seen in years, the boys worked on the bug, we experienced our very first Indy race courtesy of my dad who went all out on our seats, with pit passes and a meal.  Littlest and only girl tried out for her  new school cheer team and MADE IT,  Soccer player was conditioning for soccer and we were still getting comfortable with our fall routines.

november

November being the month of gratitude I had so much to be grateful for, my very first art show the very first Friday of November.  I high-lite of my year for sure.  God is so good the way he works, I’m grateful to be his child and to have the privilege to witness his every day miracles and even when things don’t seem to be going our way, God has a plan and time and time again I have seen these plans come into full bloom usually when I’m least expecting it. We sadly lost a friend and co-worker in the month of November.  We saw the most amazing rainbow in November, we celebrated our gratitude with our thanksgiving feasts and as I reflect back on the year I’m reminded that although it wasn’t always smooth sailing, we learned from the imperfect days and it had us really appreciating the really good ones.

decemberDecember is here and there are 2 days left until Christmas.  I can’t believe yet again how quickly the year flew by.  My word for 2013 was LOVE, I figured if I just loved, showed love and demonstrated love that things would feel perfectly right and they did for the most part.  Jesus walked this earth in LOVE and one reference I can give is found in Mark 12:28-31 it’s that simple.  I always think to myself if everyone just LOVED how beautiful life would be.  It’s an action word and love can transform and change, it’s just a beautiful thing.  Speaking of change, this year my word is CHANGE. I’m constantly learning and my life can use change, I can take better care of myself, my body is a gift and I often mistreat it.  It would be a good thing to strive to take better care of it.  I don’t want to list all the changes that can be made, I should just focus on one change a month as to not overwhelm myself.  I’m  good at overwhelming myself.  Maybe I should change that!  What are your plans for 2014?  Do you have a word for the year?  I would love to hear about it.

weekend

This weekend I stuck to the plan.  I had one word each day to focus on and take a picture of something to do with that one word.  Saturday the prompt was starts with .S.  and since all day Soccer player had a tournament, rain or shine.  It was easy.  Soccer became the word I focused on for S.   After his last game of the day I took a picture of his muddy cleats.  The first game it rained entirely the whole time, the second game it was just a big mud pit.  The first game they won 5 to 1, the last game they lost 3 to 2:(  Dylan’s job is keeper and it’s a trough job.  He is a brave guy.  Sometimes it’s hard to watch him because I get all nervous and frantic but he seems to handle pressure well.  He must get that from motorcycle man because it’s for sure not one of my strong points.

soccerI also was able to eat my breakfast Saturday which was also part of my seven-day intent plan.  In our intention journal each day we are to come up with three words.  I would say my three words for Saturday would be [busy, wet, cozy]  below is my breakfast from Saturday.  It was simple but it was breakfast.

IMG_6925in-between soccer tournament, motorcycle man and Oldest boy worked on the VW speakers.  The car has been running but the tunes have only been cranking out of one speaker.  They got that under control.  Now poor boy just needs a working heater.  In the meantime he bundles up.  I was also able to take pictures for family who wanted a special Christmas card this year.  I would share it here but that’s up to them to do.  I will just say, it was adorable because they are adorable and they also used the yellow bug for the photo and it turned out so super cute.  Again it helped that the props were awesome and the people were beautiful.

IMG_6932Sunday we slept in a little and I ate a quick bowl of cereal before church.  My seventh day with living with just one intent a day, the same intent for each day so the goal was not so outrageous.  Normally I’m the type who likes to pick at least a dozen goals and try my best to do all of it and when I don’t succeed in some of it, then I quit.  Picking just one thing wasn’t easy but it was important and because I picked just one thing, I was able to not feel too much pressure and also I accomplished my goal.  I also think I can continue with this intent.  It’s a simple one but so important to fuel our bodies each morning.  Below is my breakfast from today.

sun breakOur photo prompt for today was [a cuppa] at around 4 p.m. I had a nice cup of coffee and some cheesecake.  All this after cleaning and doing laundry this afternoon.  I’m excited to attend a holiday tea tonight and see some old friends.  This weekend was really a nice weekend.  I guess I’m ready for Monday.  cuppa

This weekend

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We had a wonderful thanksgiving.  I didn’t take too many pictures.  Having trouble with my camera but while cleaning this weekend I found another flash card and it’s doing better with recognizing files as I upload them to my computer but still having some difficultly recognizing all of them.  So this long weekend some really nice things happened.

IMG_6798We got a little rain

IMG_6808Which got us in the baking mood

IMG_6831We got down our Christmas decorations all before December 1st even!

IMG_6835We spent more time in our pajama’s than usual

IMG_6823We sat with family & made these neat paper snowflakes. I still say the best part was the conversations had.

IMG_6804But the best news of all!  God’s perfect timing.  December is a stressful time for us financially.  We are not savers and we KNOW each December and each April we have property taxes due.  I had looked ahead to December last month and it was going to be all sorts of tight.  We had filed a tax amendment in June for more money we were due back from the state.  It arrived this weekend,  just in time for Los Angeles County property taxes.  We have the money to pay our taxes and even a little left over.  All I have to say is this.  God is good.  

Self Discipline

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Self discipline.  I struggle with this BIG time.  In my mind I want to walk every day for 30 minutes, I want to drink at least 6 glasses of water each day, ideally I could juice my breakfast each morning, No more fast food or soda.  I have a fairly good rhythm with my morning devotions but it could be better, it could be stronger, longer and more.  It would be so great to pay down our debt.  I read a post today that really got me thinking. It’s worth a read too if you have time.  Joy’s post had a theme of “I’ll be happy when…..fill in the blank

Then my friend Holly said she likes to replace the words self-discipline with the word devotion.  That too got me thinking? God loves me exactly as I am and I also know for a fact motorcycle man loves me just as I am,  my friends accept me for who I am, my parents love me just the way I am, my children love me exactly as I am too.  I’m certain for a fact I’m the only one who has a problem with me.  Well, perhaps a few enemies may think I could use some fine tuning but for the most part I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am loved and loved for who am.  Even though I don’t drink all the water I should drink each day, even though I don’t walk for 30 minutes a day, even though I could spend more time in the word, even though I’m not the perfect weight, the ideal height….you know things like that.  Sometimes I look up and say “God, could you just change my mind, the way I think?  The way I pick myself apart for not being just exactly “right”   I know I could be better, I know I could do better but in the meantime deep breath, love who I am.  Love who I was created to be. 

The really funny part is……God gave me this boy.  This boy who teaches me and he is so much younger than me.  In fact he hung out in my womb for about 9 months, then I cared for him when he couldn’t care for himself.  I still sort of do.  But this kid, he was born with a great deal of self-discipline.  He says no to soda, he saves his money, he does push ups and sit ups for no reason at all, he runs, he gets up early, he goes to bed early, he does his homework, he does his chores he has this strange natural ability to just DO.  He just does things.   It’s a strange thing to witness.  Strange but very, very good. However he has told me off to the side “it’s not easy, but I just do it because I know I’m supposed to, I know it will be good for me”  If you have been reading my blog for any bit of time you will have heard me say this “Dylan, when I grow up I want to be just like you”  He always laughs and says “but you are already a grown up”  I tell him, “although I’m a grown up, I still have so much growing to do. ” So maybe you can tell by this post, my mind knows what’s logical and right but my even deeper soul yearns to do and be more and also at  the same time accept myself for who I was created to be.  Is that possible to have all these feelings at once.  Yes I think so.