BLESSINGS IN TIMES OF TROUBLE

Yesterday I shared just a few good things that happened then I asked what good had happened in my friend’s day?  I’m so glad I asked because their good stories added to my good day.  And I think I want to do more of that.  Focus on the good things and listen to other good stories.  

Remember that wall that came crashing down last week?  Like literally a wall, a block wall.  California really needs rain and it has been coming in buckets and even though it took down our wall I still love the rain.  The very day the wall came down I was baking cookies and filming the pretty rain scenes.  Just maybe 10 minutes before we hear a HUGE CRACKING THUNDER SOUND, I had filmed out the back window into our yard and a little of the once standing fence is in that clip.  I was going to make a sweet little rainy day video.  Then the wall came crashing down and yeah, we were a little in shock to say the least.  Rich looked like he was standing on another planet for a few minutes.  It was like “is this a dream?”  “um, did that just really happen?”  So weird.  He began going into immediate action…moving motorcycles, draining our pool, putting tarps over the sliding mud.  Rich's dad and brother came out to help lift the fallen wood fence.  I called the city and insurance within minutes of it all happening.  We just started doing what had to be done.  At one point I looked at Rich and said “I know there will be good that comes of this, blessings will happen”  He looked at me like I was a little bit crazy, he even questioned me “what good is going to come of this?”  I said “you’ll see”

Turns out insurance doesn’t cover the damages, the cost.  Nothing.  That’s OK though because like I mentioned yesterday in a post, we have endured far greater. 

WE USED TO TAKE PICTURES IN THE MIRROR THAT ONCE HUNG ON THE FENCE THAT ONCE WAS THERE. 

WE USED TO TAKE PICTURES IN THE MIRROR THAT ONCE HUNG ON THE FENCE THAT ONCE WAS THERE. 

May I share just a few blessings that have already occurred?  Brotherly hugs.  A neighbor stopping by with donuts for Rich and his dad. Lots of offers of physical help more than I ever could have imagined.  Yesterday when I got home Papa had transplanted Abbie’s tree into a bucket.  It was hanging on the edge with its roots exposed.  I don’t think it would have made it too much longer in that condition.  We are hoping it makes the transplant. That gesture alone had me filled with such gratitude. 

But the thing that got me the most yesterday was the neighbor who lives about 7 houses down who knocked on our door.  You see this man almost lost his life recently.  He was hospitalized for a very long time and everything that could have gone wrong went wrong.  I don’t know all the details but I know he was very close to not making it.  He has two very young daughters and a wife and they had not been in their house for very long before this happened.  New neighbors. He is still in major rehabilitation and he walks every morning and every night.  He even has been working on speaking again.  He lost a lot.  He stopped by to let us know he would help us with the fence.  He is fighting his very own battles each and every day and he knocked on our door to offer help.  These are the blessings I’m talking about.  Yes my dear friends and family have also said they will help but when a stranger knocks on your door, that’s impactful beyond words.  These are the blessings.

Today when I got home from work, guess who was shoveling dirt behind our house?  Papa and Vincent our neighbor 7 doors down.  All I could think to do was pour two tall glasses of really cold water and tell them my heart was full.  These are the blessings.  In lots of ways it feels very hard to accept.  We want to just conquer this on our own.  "we got this"  "thank you but no thank you"  I keep reminding myself things like, "you know how good it feels to help others....let them help you" "accept help, say yes"  It's a little bit easier for me, much harder for Rich. But if we don't open our hearts and accept help we will be missing out on the blessings.  

We all have battles.  Some are much more difficult than others.  We are not supposed to compare our battles and think maybe mine is less, yes, it might be less but as a wise friend once told me….it’s all relative.  I’m finding that if we focus on the good in our tough times that it makes it much more bearable to endure.  When we do for others in the midst of our own struggles it makes our heart glad. When we accept the help of others it goes beyond glad...it becomes a big blessing so big it's hard to explain and it may even bring tears of joy. 

I did it!! 30 days of no soda!!

January is nearly over can you believe that?  I had a few goals in January.  One of them was to stop drinking soda for 30 days.  I did it! Tomorrow is day 30 and I completed my goal.  I can say this because I know I will not blow it tomorrow.  I kind of don’t even miss it.  I wrote down this goal and also wrote down a reward for accomplishing this goal.  You know that record player I have talked about getting for years?  And yes my dear kind friend Lisa gifted me the most beautiful old, old record player but I can’t play Simon and Garfunkel on the Victor.  I received payment for an article I wrote and some of that money will go towards the new record player…which will be delivered to my work tomorrow if it’s on schedule.  That’s called having faith in myself. 

I was more mindful of being mindful.  I ate breakfast every morning and I fit in some intentional walks this month. These are just some of my January goals.  Abbie and I took our mother daughter photo in January. I finished a couple books.  One of them called “29 Gifts”  in which I began practicing 7 days ago.  

Now for February.  I’m not a planner.  I’m late for birthday’s and I forget things kind of often and I dig in my feet when it comes to making schedules.  However, that being said, how about turning over a new leaf.  Or at least giving it a really good try.  I sat this weekend and looked ahead for February, so much so I thought I was already in February.  There was a satisfying feeling about it.  I know a few friends with birthday’s this month…They may just get their cards on time this year.  I even know when the next full moon is. 

I have some February goals too.  I decided to practice just two yoga poses I’m hoping daily but I won’t beat myself up over that either, if I do it just three times a week it will be more than what I was doing.  The two poses I will practice will be downward facing dog and cobra.  I can’t at this time do downward facing dog flat footed.  I’m so excited to see if by practicing more often this month if I will improve on my flexibility and my feet will be able to go flat.

Tomorrow I’m staring a study on the Song of Songs.  Just two weeks of daily reading on this romantic book.  Then a few days before Lent begins I will be reading along in a Lent study with “She Reads Truth”  This will last until Easter.  I have not decided what to give up for Lent. 

I also met a new friend who was kind enough and brave enough to send me a message when she read my blog recently.  She has invited me into her book club. It’s my style too because it’s a nice simple book that my kids actually read in elementary school called “Tuck Everlasting”  We will read a chapter a night, the chapters are like 2 and half pages.  So DOABLE.  I love DOBALE.  And it’s not crazy fancy over my head kind of reading.  I wonder if she knows I collect children’s books?  

I will continue my crane folding obsession because it calms me down.  I love finding things that calm my spirit down.  I have really also wanted to try cross stitch.  Maybe in March.  It also seems to be a calming practice. 

If you have any goals for February tell me about it.  I would love to hear from you.

 

being alone

Mostly because I just love to write I want to share my day yesterday.  In fact our prompt had something to do with written letters.  I didn’t follow the prompt.  I followed my heart. 

I decided that yesterday since I didn’t have the responsibility to pick up Abbie from school that I would exchange a gift I had bought in uptown.  I had been told about an Assistance League in Whittier and wanted to see what it was all about.  I ended up finding a nice set of Christmas stationary with matching envelopes for a great price.  I walked to my car when I was done and looked up into the sky where I say this (below) and although it’s kind of blurry because my eyes saw this much better than I can show you here, I was totally intrigued and yes, mesmerized, I think I can honestly say I was mesmerized because it was just completely awesome to witness tons of birds just flying above me like this.  

I then headed off to the store I had a gift to exchange.  I parked where I don’t normally park and because of this I saw a charming old home, I think built in 1901 that was a store and a B&B all in one.  Of course I had to see what it was about.  A really beautiful woman owned this B&B and shop with her daughter and it was a dream of hers to do this and her daughter helped make that dream come true.  She had only lived here in California for 3 years total and this was a really big dream you know.  Rachel was her name and she was so kind, she even told me if ever she needed help she would call me to help her work at her shop, she also gave me a sweet tiny angel just because.  The entire experience was a good one.  I bought a few sweet things from her shop and her prices were reasonable, it was more of a consignment shop with interesting odds and ins.  

I was crossing the street to my car when I looked down right in the middle of the street was a heart made from blue tape.  I had to be careful not to be hit by a car when I shot this picture quick.  But I had to take the picture, it’s been a while since I shared a heart found. 

I finally got to the purpose of my trip and exchanged that gift and decided to buy a cup of coffee because I love being by myself and sitting in quite and I really love good coffee drinks.  While I ordered my coffee the darling gal behind the counter was helping a younger boy with his math while she also helped me with my coffee.  I asked her if she loved math, she said she really loved math and so I said, you must be good at it.  She said she was good at it.  Then I asked if she tutored because I had been looking for a math tutor for our littlest and only girl.  Guess what? She tutors math.  I got her number and I like to say…God found us our math tutor.  I also drank a very good latte and to me the drink had an angle on top.  Looked totally like an angel to me.  

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I popped in another unique shop on my way to the used bookstore at the top of the hill and decided to take a (head shot in the bookstore with all the posters they had on the wall) and I thought their window display was exactly right up my alley.  

Today was GOOD and as I walked up to the back of my car to put in the packages I had in my hands, I saw my own little message on my window “Everything will be OK”  and you know life is not perfect and there are a lot of really terrible things that may happen.  A house caught fire in my neighborhood today, which really gave me a heavy heart and I thought it was such sad news to hear that Alan Thicke had a massive heart attack and passed away at such a young age the day before.  I don’t exactly understand why these kinds of things happen but I do know life is beautiful, hard, sad at times, full of lots of joy at other times and I have learned that it’s all a part of how this life is engineered and it’s on purpose.  It’s important that we experience it all.  

 

Lastly, I know that my batteries were re-charged by my purposeful outing yesterday.  That as an introvert I need alone time.  It’s important.  Make sure and set aside what’s important to you, it makes a difference in your day.

Day 13

Today it was all about a view.  I figured I would just take a picture out my front kitchen window but instead I was in for a treat when I decided to run an errand in uptown Whittier this afternoon. I went to one of my favorite shops up there called LOCAL FIXTURE They have such cool stuff and now they even have a coffee bar inside.  When I drive to Whittier it's almost as comfortable for me as when I drive into my home town of Fullerton.  I basically spent a lot of my teen years in Whittier since I attended high school up that way.  Not to mention when we lived up there for three years in a charming old apartment when Austin was a baby. There is a park up there that if I'm passing through I will almost always stop.  Today I was so glad I did! While many of my friends and family are experiencing snow right now in much colder winter wonderland climates, California looks more like a crisp fall day BUT not everywhere just certain spots that have the beautiful colorful trees.  My favorite old park happens to be one of those places.  My view from my car window was AMAZING.  

I had to get out of course!  I walked around the park taking in the beautiful colorful trees.  I tried hard to be patient and wait for the subtle wind to blow down leaves, where I tried to film a slow motion leaf fall.  I'll see if I can also include that in the end. 

 

Please visit my friends Christina and Victoria who are also a part of this daily Christmas photo challenge.

Day 2 Sparkly Lights

We shall find peace, we shall hear the angels, we shall see the sky sparkling like diamonds.
— Anton Chekhov
Abbie's Sparkly Lights Image Day 2

Abbie's Sparkly Lights Image Day 2

Today our prompt was to take a picture of sparkling lights.  Abbie found our tiny tree and took a sweet image and if you look hard you can see her in one of the silver bulbs. 

I know white lights are so classy and clean but there is a part of me who LOVES color so I will usually hang colored lights around the two front windows on the inside so we can enjoy a little bit of color too.  

My sparkly lights image Day 2

My sparkly lights image Day 2

 

I’m not sure if Christina found her sparkling lights because as of last night they had not yet put up a Christmas tree.  However there will be days we may miss from time to time and I’m not posting on the weekends so there is that.  

Hope you have a really wonderful relaxing weekend, catch you on Monday. 

December 1st!!

I’m very excited to begin this month with a new fun project.  I was invited by my good friend Christina  otherwise known as 22 limes to participate in a photo a day for December with daily prompts. I just need to add that Christina is so very good at helping to keep my creative fires burning because she has wonderful ideas and very often invites me to join her. This first day of December is focusing on GRATITUDE.  While I spent all of November writing down each day my gratitude I’m so happy to begin the first day of December like I ended the very last day of November…with great THANKS.  I’m hoping my littlest and only girl will also be participating with me in this project, I have invited her and she was very excited but this is outside her comfort.  She is so brave. 

I went to bed last night with whirling and swirling thoughts.  What amazing thing might I share through an image that would explain my gratitude for today’s prompt.  And wouldn’t you know as I sat at our kitchen counter sipping my hot coffee that motorcycle man faithfully brews for us each morning, I already felt blessed so very blessed to begin my day.  I was alive!  I was breathing!  I was drinking the best coffee possible, the kind made with LOVE.  I sat and filled in my December calendar with all this month’s photo prompts and I also paid our water bill.  I’m happy we have the money to pay our water bill which was very reasonable and our usage was down from last month which is always nice to see.  And as I sat at the kitchen counter in my most favorite chenille moon robe that I have had since we first married in 1993 I looked across the dining table and the morning light was so beautiful so I took a picture of it.  This is my moment! Nothing spectacular really but as the saying goes, “if you are happy with what you already have, there is no want for more.” (Or something very like that)  I’m happy that we have these creative orange walls around us, the chips of paint on the corners show life is lived here, kind of hard sometimes.  The plant in the center of the table was Jerry’s plant at the office, when he passed on it almost passed on so I took it home and wanted to give it back its life, now I can’t part with it, it’s a piece of Jerry at the heart of our dining table.  I love the runner that I got from cost plus, Austin noticed last night as we face timed him (another blessing) he says “I like your runner mom”  I mean, gosh, that’s enough to make a mom proud, he even knows it’s called a runner not to mention he noticed something new in our familiar home!  I love the pictures we have hung on the wall, they all hold a meaning, either art from others or family images.  It’s all such good stuff….none of which matches but I’m so OK with that too.

Today Abbie texted me this "I'm grateful for my friends"  She just happened to be dressed alike with one of them today and she sent me that picture. 

 

 

subject LIGHT

This year my friend Christina and I have been making videos.  We think of a theme and go from there.  We decided on the theme light for this video collaboration.  I’m nervous to share this video because I speak in it.  To hear my voice is not something I especially like and I recorded it on my iPhone and this makes it especially non-professional.  I’m not a professional video maker I’m a memory maker so it’s OK.  

I was excited when we picked this theme of light because as a photographer light is my favorite subject.  Shifting light is like a meditation and I’m grateful for light.  I truly can’t imagine this life without it.  Light gives life and I wanted to honor that in my video.  I was happy that when we decided to make this project our son would be in town visiting and he could be a part of the memory.  My most favorite part is the ending of this video, it features all three of our gifts.  They are by the sea and in the light together.  This in itself makes a mom’s heart glad. I can’t wait to see Christina’s video of light because she is always thoughtful, artful and her videos move me.  We normally do not follow many guidelines.  We can use whatever recording device we wish, we edit with different programs and we live in completely different states which is so interesting to me.  I love to see her surroundings.  I have never been to her state.

I hope you will enjoy what we have to share.  It’s an honor to be able to share freely what I believe and what’s important to me with my friends and family.

It’s a video protected by a password.  You probably already know what it is.  Just type in the word love and you can view it.  The song was discovered about 4 years back, it’s called “so long, lonesome” by Explosions in the Sky.

 

 

love deeds

Sometimes when bad things happen it’s hard to understand. So many questions go barreling though ones mind.  I’m a feather finder and heart seeking girl.  It was a learned behavior.  Taught by other feather finders and heart seekers.  Once they opened my eyes to it, it’s all I could see. 

Recently I have been able to witness a really powerful group of LOVE.  Big, beautiful giving, caring hearts.  I couldn’t think of anything other than a hand stitched imperfect heart to contribute. I’m not a wizard with a needle, I can barely sew on a button but a heart is all I could imagine as my love deed.  No time to waste, the very day I found out I paid a visit to the fabric store after I got off work.  I picked out a simple piece of fabric and red thread.  I got home and tried to stitch that heart.  I unstitched it too because it just wasn’t exactly perfect.  I ended with an imperfect heart anyways.  Even with trying to make it perfect, it turned out wonky.  It reminded me of life and of people so I left it.  Then I looked down and the red thread was a heart too, it made me smile.  

I keep checking the page to see how much money has been raised, how many pieces of mail have arrived.  It’s beautiful.  It’s a really good thing. 

This morning even I looked down and there was a heart in my coffee.  You know that little weird film that can float on top.  It was a heart. 

It seems since I stitched the heart my eyes have been opened again to those little hearts that leave themselves in my path.  Even in the mall last night, motorcycle man spotted a tiny gold heart sticker stuck to the malls floor. I was happy that my motorcycle man is a heart seeker too.