our mindful eye

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This week it’s this simple. I spent the greater part of this past Saturday cleaning. The kind of cleaning that’s not the ordinary, or at least not my ordinary. I was walking into the kitchen and realized the kitchen floor felt grimy under my bare feet. I should sweep and clean my kitchen floors, which turned into cleaning the whole down stairs. My house isn’t very big which makes this very doable. I washed baseboards, doors, walls and all this on top of the “regular” kind of cleaning. The kitchen floor feels so good under my feet today! I sometimes choose to do yoga in the kitchen but I will only do it if the floor is clean. Maybe I can practice in there this week. While I cleaned I rearranged some plants that sit by the kitchen window. I took this little love spoon handle out of another plant that sits on top of the fridge and I can’t see the love handle all the way up there so I brought it down to someplace I can see. My friend Cristin Spriggs gave me this spoon handle and I really love it! I have so much LOVE in our home. It’s like I don’t want anyone to forget that LOVE lives here. If you were to visit my home, you would see love on the front door, on mirrors, on cork boards, on the door leading to the garage…pretty much EVERYWHERE. I also just recently purchased the most adorable and comfy sweatshirt from Kate Flowers which reads LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS over and over and over again. Today in church we are beginning a study of John and in John it talks of LOVE too. If I surround myself in love it reminds me to….Just Love. I try hard to do this but sometimes I fail. I call it the practice of love. Practice and never give up practicing and with practice comes a more natural behavior or even habit. Practice love and you will not be let down.

My creative partner Christina posted two posts last week and I was double happy to be able to see two of her creative images and to hear her heart. I hope you will be able to visit her blog too, it often inspires me to be a better person. I think its important to surround oneself with people who inspire us to be better people, she is one of those kind of human beings.

Our Mindful Eye

Isn’t it amazing
the way beautiful
things find us

climb into our laps
without warning

intimidate the worst
parts of our day

and only ask that we
notice them
— rudy francisco
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You may think there is nothing very spectacular about this image. It does seem pretty ordinary but my favorite things are usually ordinary. The things that we may take for granted like the wood fruit bowl that sits in the center of the table. Sunday morning I woke up earlier than I usually do on a weekend day. I was the second person up. The first already gone for work for the day. When I walked down the stairs from our room I immediately was taken by the light shining on the dining room table. It was a gift to wake up to. My eyes saw it far better than this image can portray. This is just a snapshot and idea of what my eyes saw Sunday morning. I notice from the memories that Facebook will pop up that it’s this time of year exactly that most my images are shadows and light. It’s the fall golden light. Southern California doesn’t quite get a true colorful fall, but we do get a beautiful golden light that is noticeably different than that of summer and spring. As I’m becoming older I notice I have definite patterns in the course of a year.

I hope I never stop appreciating the gifts that surround me. The faithful creaky wood floors, the light that moves through a room in the morning sunrise and also in the evening sunset. I hope I never stop noticing the sweetness of a crisp apple, the hot cup of coffee that feels especially right in my hands. I find such comfort in the walls of this home we have had for the past 20 years. I think about moving to a place that has less traffic and more nature but for now I find the beauty in this place, the place I am now.

I started this project because Christina invited me to pick up my camera and find the beautiful things that surround me and remind me to be mindful in the things that I do, the images I share. I’m really grateful she invited me to do this project. It makes me happy to know that she is appreciating her moments so very much that she has not had a chance to share them lately. Her last image made me laugh because it was simply a wide eyed owl that read, “do you ever feel like this?” Yes. Yes I do.

mindful eye

We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of your hand
— Isaiah 64:8
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For many years now I’ve been interested in those who shape clay into unique and especially beautiful and useful pieces. While I was pregnant with my first baby just over 23 years ago I took a pottery class at the Adult School with my mom. I remember wearing my overalls and having a cute little belly with my first son growing inside of me. We had such fun in that class my mom and I. I made the most awful things. I made this hand shaped coffee mug for motorcycle man and we still have this oddly shaped mug to this very day. I think they let us on the wheel just one time I can remember and it was so much more difficult than I had imagined it would be and the clay felt abrasive when I had imagined it would feel soft. After I had Austin I was extremely busy raising a baby while working full time and 3-1/2 years later I had his little brother Dylan and felt even more busy, raising two boys and working full time and also deciding to purchase our first home that was quite a large undertaking. It was 3-1/2 years after second born son arrived and we were trying to make our little fixer upper house a home that our littlest and only girl came into the world. Needless to say I’ve been busy the past 23 years. I’ve managed to pick up my camera and keep a blog and do some of the creative things that matter to me but I’ve always wanted to return to the clay creations. I even recently checked out a book at the library about an interesting, lively and creative woman who made her life in pottery, her name was Beatrice Wood. I pin pottery in Pinterst, I admire other women I know on social media who dabble in pottery as well. I try and support those artists with encouraging words or buying things they might have for sale. The cup in the photograph above is a recent purchase, I bought a pair actually and I couldn’t wait for them to arrive. They landed on my doorstep on Saturday late afternoon just in time for afternoon coffee and then later that night I poured a cup of red wine in the same cup. It felt so perfect in my hands and it felt special to know this was a handmade one of a kind. When I picked up the cup to wash it today I noticed the wine drips and I found it to be pretty and real so this is what I decided on for my mindful eye to see. If you might want to take a peek at the selection of pottery Camille has you can click HERE.

Fall is finally here and I’m excited to use this pair of handmade cups for hot cozy drinks and night caps and maybe even a darling bundle of flowers to display. I find the pair of cups/vases to be multi purpose and I love that. It’s important to build others up and support them when we can. Speaking of creative friends, I always wonder what Christina will share in her blog space. I really love that she invited me to be a part of the mindful eye project because it keeps me at the very least posting once a week.

the mindful eye

It must be a great disappointment to God if we are not dazzled at least ten times a day.
— Mary Oliver
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We made it to the beach Saturday evening and I’m so happy we did. We love to just sit in the sand and take it all in. Watching the sun as it quickly slides away and gives us the most tremendous show as it waves goodbye, it says to us “It’s been a lovely day, completely amazing however I need to visit the other side now and let my moon friend shine for you tonight, I’ll be back tomorrow. Promise.” It’s always a privilege to send our sun friend off to the other side, the sun has done such good things for us today. It’s provided a beautiful light for us to see, it gives us some much needed Vitamin D, it helps our plants and trees grow, it warms our earth and provides life to so many things. We are thankful. God knew how important it was and created it first, the very first thing:)

I also planted the poppy seeds in the front garden. I can’t wait for them to grow and bloom. I hope it’s as simple and turning up the soil and just sprinkling them in sort of like I salt my food. Just sprinkle a little here or there and let nature do the rest.

Last week Christina talked about working on her creative self and she shared a prayer that included little old me and I feel so honored and I want to pray the same prayer. Christina’s prayer for us so completely authentic and heartfelt and I really appreciate that she prays for us and I know the words to be true. I began my creativity this weekend by not being creative at all but rather admiring God’s creativity and being inspired by His handy work. He has inspiration all around me and I realized that lately I have not been noticing as much as I sometimes do. It was really important that I sit still this weekend for a little bit to just take some of His wonders in. Sometimes I think that’s all we need to do. Just stop for a little bit in our otherwise busy days and just sit still under His sky and on His earth and just listen and see.

life and water

What a chance, what a surprise! My will has chosen life
— Holly Hunter's character (Ada McGrath) in the Piano
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This film came out in 1993, the year I got married.  I was 23 years old.  I remember specifically the theater I saw this movie at, it no longer exists.  It was the theater in La Mirada that had black and white pictures of old time movie stars on its walls and I went to a  matinee with a friend of mine whom I’m no longer friends with.  I remember being deeply touched by this movie and in the 25 years since the movie came out I will play back one of the last scenes over in my head from time to time.  The part where Ada deliberately puts her foot inside the rope that is going overboard with her piano. In that instant she is choosing death as she deliberately places her foot in the middle of the coiled rope that is quickly running out as the piano plunges deeper into the ocean.  She believes she would rather be in the depths of the quiet ocean with only her piano than to live. However she surprises herself when she slips off her shoe to rise to the surface for breath, for life!

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How many times have I also fantasized about plunging into the depths of the quiet beautiful under water world?  Where  in the water I can do things I can’t do on land, in the water that is a peaceful meditation to this otherwise noisy, crowded sometimes crazy world.  How many times have I placed my head under the water of the bathtub just to listen the the underwater noises, my heart beat, the blood rushing through my veins? How many times have I walked to the back yard and fell into the pool just so I could float on top of the water and again listen to the world in an entirely different way?  It’s peaceful. It’s quiet.  It’s liberating.  WATER. 

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WATER.  We need it to live.   Half our bodies are water.  A baby is surrounded by fluid while developing in the mothers womb. 71% of the Earth’s surface is water.  I was made for water. I feel at total peace while in water or being near  water.  This is why this particular scene of this movie touched me and has never left my memory after all these years. To sink into the depths if only for a moment. I would like to think my will would also choose life if given the choice. 

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