Night Lights And Small Town Charm

Dirt Man and I did a bit of night shooting. Both photos are taken from the Portsmouth boardwalk. The first one shows Norfolk Waterside. The second is a stitch of two shots, Portsmouth shipyard and the boardwalk.

IMG_0103_1

IMG_0105_106_1_stitch

Aside from the photography lesson, I took away these two tidbits: We can often see two perspectives and neither are where we are at the moment. Even when no one notices us, we still shine from the very spot we inhabit.

My camera has an HDR setting. Here are a few shots taken in Smithfield. DirtMan took these…he likes my camera, too!

IMG_0082

IMG_0085

IMG_0086

Navigating The Fog

IMG_0054

 

It was cold and drizzling. The fog was low and thick crawling through the valleys, over the mountains, and across the river. It was a petulant bully, teasing us with glimpses of the mountains only to return to block our view. We had miles to travel, but decided to take a few minutes to step out into the mist and use this as a photo opportunity.

 

IMG_0050_1

 

As often in life, our vision was not clear. Navigating through the fog is part of the journey.

IMG_0058

 

It is when we reach the other side of the bridge our vision restores.

IMG_0055_1

 

For every step across the bridge, we settle into life. And in every breath, life settles into us just as the fog settles until it immerses. For we are just a breath in this life, so make it deep and all-encompassing.

Chasing The Fires

“Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.” ~Hardy D. Jackson

IMG_0003

I had a really nice point and shoot camera. The more I enjoyed photography the more determined I became to learn the ins and outs of my camera. I’ve been taking photos in my manual setting for quite some time on my simple camera. Now, I’ve stepped up to a better camera, and it’s a whole new ballgame. I am intimidated by the settings, but I refuse to settle for the auto button. Above is my first shot. The focus is not perfect, however I like the softness.

I love learning, even when I feel I’m in over my head. I’m sure it will take me a while to “get it”…but oh the fun (and stress) in store for DirtMan and me as he teaches me!

IMG_0006

Wylie was a great sport.

IMG_0007

Kitty was not impressed!

IMG_0012

Even the birds cooperated by leaving a few berries on the Pyracantha for me to shoot.

IMG_0032I have many interests. It is the passion for each that directs my pursuit. What about you?

“Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted… unbidden… it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us… passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have?” – Joss Whedon,

“Our passions are the winds that propel our vessel. Our reason is the pilot that steers her. Without winds the vessel would not move and without a pilot she would be lost.” ~Proverb

“Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark.” ~Amiel

 

Sparkles Of Life

“I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.”  ― Barbara Brown Taylor, Learning to Walk in the Dark

route 56

In this broken world of ours, people are hurting, in need. So much seems to be wrong. Yet, when I look long and hard so much seems to be right. I refuse to allow my perspective to overshadow the good I know and feel. I am not ignoring reality…I am choosing to be at peace with my own life and my place in this world regardless of conditions and beliefs surrounding my inner sanctuary.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the drama of everyday life, even that which doesn’t affect me directly. Am I being apathetic or selfish by refusing to be involved? Perhaps I am. I choose to call it self-preservation.

I have faced times of darkness and witnessed the trials of others. I’ve learned hope resides in the midst of obscurity. When the answers are clear it seems the lessons are of less significance. I don’t focus on the darkness for fear I will miss the stars.

I am drawn to people who sparkle. I don’t mean those decked in jewels and glitter. I’m speaking of those whose reflect an energy of love, those who make you feel good inside. I am a better person simply for their presence in my life. I want to be the same type of person to others.

These days I am attempting to act with highest intention. I am resisting rash choices and learning to react with thoughtfulness. I see the light in which I walk. I experience the love within and around me. I am finding peace.  I feel the twinkle of living within my soul.

And always, I reach for the stars no matter how far in the distance they shine.

 

 

Ties That Bind Our Hearts And Souls

Traditions are the guideposts driven deep in our subconscious minds. The most powerful ones are those we can’t even describe, aren’t even aware of. ~Ellen Goodman

?????????????????????????

Memory has carved her signature upon my soul. I remember the warmth of love radiating from smiling faces, laughter tickling the walls of the house, and foods of childhood comforting the voids within us.

This time of year is steeped rich in tradition, making it bittersweet for many. Our traditions have evolved through the years. I prefer not to say they’ve died because they still exist but not in the context of the past. People die, move, estrange themselves…still, time moves on and love builds bridges. While I long for gatherings of the past, I am encouraged to birth new moments of deep connections.

As I plan menus, choose gifts, bake desserts, and write lists, memories sweep in and out. At first, I felt a shadow upon me knowing I can’t recreate the past.  Now, I realize my preparations are merely the setting for future memories. More important than cherished memories are enjoying the moments as they are happening and I hope to make that my focus.

While DirtMan and I are now empty nesters, we find distance to be an issue. Neither our adult children nor our widowed mothers are in close proximity. We find ourselves traveling often to visit, and welcome their presence into our home. We treasure these moments as they slip away all too quickly.

When it comes to family gathering, I no longer look at it as entertaining the masses but loving the individuals. And I so look forward to doing that.

This year we get our children for Thanksgiving, and we’re on our own for Christmas. Youngest and his longtime girlfriend will arrive tomorrow. Oldest and my mother arrive a few days later. I anticipate their arrivals like a giddy child on Christmas Eve. I plan to savor the moments as I do the flavor of my food.

It is time to focus on what is, not what isn’t. I wish each of you memorable moments of love, good food and drink, and infinite joy. May your tummy and heart be filled to capacity. May you have enough. Remember always, you are enough just as you are.

Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world. ~Susan Lieberman

Coming Home To Yourself

IMG_7117

I have a simple philosophy: Fill what’s empty. Empty what’s full. Scratch where it itches. ~Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Once upon a time I thought life was about who had a bigger house, sportier car, higher paying job…

Then, I decided life surely had to be about who loved deeper, lived harder, gave more, fell softer, and learned quicker.

Sounds more accurate, but is it really true?

Now, I’ve learned, life isn’t about WHO. It’s not about comparing yourself with others.

Life is about YOU. Measure against your own capabilities and desires.

Are you living and loving enough? Are your senses awakened?

Life is not only about knowing others. It’s about knowing you.

A serious question I ask myself is “Am I living the message I want to send the world?” This helps me define not only who I am but what I want to be. It brings my values and priorities to the surface. Am I living what I believe? If I am, then I know I am on the right path for me.

When I set my intention for the day to giving rather than getting, I am satisfied when my day is done. But better yet, when I set my intention on being rather than doing I find I accomplish both.

What I have been has brought me into who I am now and this will shape me into who I will become. The same holds true for you. I love that we are ever learning and becoming…and that is the true purpose of life.

The depth and breadth of my living comes down to the capabilities of my heart…where is it leading me? It comes down to the fine line between holding on and letting go, the ability to find success in the midst of failure…only to realize there is no failure, only lessons learned.

They say life is what you make of it. I find it to be true. In being, that is my life. Who can assess the accomplishments of one life by the standards of another? My journey is not yours; nor is yours mine.

Where is your focus? Time, energy, talent…is your life more about what you use or what you waste?

I ran across this the other day, and it continues to speak to me. “Just keep coming home to yourself. You are the one you’ve been waiting for.” ~Byron Katie

I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.  ~Joseph Campbell

When Autumn Calls My Name

“Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance. What man can stand with autumn on a hilltop and fail to see the span of his world and the meaning of the rolling hills that reach to the far horizon? ~Hal Borland

IMG_7102

While I love the colors of Autumn, specifically October, I think what endears my heart the most is it teaches me the continuity of life. I see the beauty in maturity and death, and the hope of another cycle.

IMG_7142

When I witness the brazen burst of color upon a subdued landscape I feel as if I’ve come home; I see in nature what I feel inside.

IMG_7106

Jeweled trees dancing in the breeze and the crunch and rustle of leaves beneath my feet awaken the gypsy within me.

IMG_7166

No matter where that road may be it always seems to be calling me home.

IMG_7119

I find myself on that familiar path of home, the one tugging on my heart.

IMG_7171

The mountains whisper my name, their messages traveling in the wind until I answer.

IMG_7138

I settle into the soft hues of the meadows I call my own, and I am content.

The Little Rocket That Couldn’t

DirtMan and I hustled to the oceanfront in hopes of getting some great photos of the Antares rocket launch. Though launch was at Wallops Island, we knew we could get a glimpse from Virginia Beach.  He chose the 13th street locale so we could include the pier in our shots. We quickly set up with only a few minutes to spare. We heard a loud boom and assumed it was some Navy training since they were flying in the vicinity. We waited until the ten minute window was over, assuming the launch had been cancelled again. A passerby informed us of the epic fail, telling us of the explosion upon launch. At least, it was a beautiful evening to be at the beach…the air was warm with a slight breeze, salty scent of the ocean…

IMG_7183

IMG_7184

IMG_7186

IMG_7192

IMG_7193

IMG_7204

IMG_7190

Pick Your Poison

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

Your values become your destiny.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

IMG_7149

We each have a thing. You know the thing that prohibits growth, keeps us stuck. It could be anything…fear, materialism, greed, addiction are examples of habitual obstacles.

What does this photo of persimmons have to do with this? Well, you see my childhood memories of persimmons are bitter. Yes, the mouth puckering kind. DirtMan told me to try one. He swore they were sweet. I picked the firmest one I could reach. Oh my, the inside of my mouth drew up like a dried prune. He told me to try a soft one, the mushy ones that looked like they were about to rot on the tree. I was hesitant but complied. It was sweet, juicy, and downright delectable. Some things in life take time to mature. We go through many phases before we come into our “goodness”. It is mostly a matter of awareness and the desire to want growth.

When we focus on our poisons, we gnaw away our insides until it clearly shows on the outside. When we don’t allow the blossoming of our souls we become bitter like that persimmon. Listening to our needs and following what insures growth permits us to sweeten.

DirtMan casually mentioned downsizing now that we are empty nesters. How dare he? This house holds my memories. It is my comfort zone. He claims we need to think about settling into a one story because one day those stairs will be killers on our knees. So, he has a point. I don’t do well with disruptions to my routine. I fear change…yes, the big word here is FEAR. I don’t like my security compromised. Here I am looking at what could be a new and exciting adventure as an end to my life as I know it. See, it’s all in how one looks at things. I could get used to the idea and go with it…might take me a while, but I’m sure I’ll come around.

The inability to let go; yep, that’s my poison. What’s yours?

The Stillness Factor

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.  Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.  ~Mahatma Gandhi

IMG_5600

Have you ever noticed wisdom enters by the way of silence?

A Knowing of the soul occurs.

Mysteries are explained, problems solved, and creative urges born.

Answers wait in silence. As I learn to listen and decipher, I hear more than I ever did with my ears.

Have you ever experienced an epiphany?

These sudden realizations come to me after times of deep contemplation or sleep. These understandings even make appearances in my dreams.

Insights aren’t always clear cut. They can arrive in bits and pieces, like puzzles I must ponder to see how I fit into the equation.

If I enter a quiet time so focused on finding an answer my mind fills with chatter. When I empty my mind, I rise refreshed and observant. A simple switch in perspective is often what I need.

Refraining from speaking has been a lifelong challenge for me. I’m finding more and more how good silence is for my soul.

The first step in the acquisition of wisdom is silence, the second listening, the third memory, the fourth practice, the fifth teaching others. ~Solomon Ibn Gabriol