Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-four

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” ~Maya AngelouIMG_2249

 

June 10

Creativity: writing and reading about writing

Gratitude: a light work day, hubby got home a little earlier than usual

Joy: dinner out at a neighborhood café with DirtMan

Awareness: Read a wonderful essay about authenticity. While it’s good to be who you are (depending on who you are, I guess), the author states we don’t have to say or share everything about ourselves, but feels being sincere is utmost important. During a discussion a friend stated he felt being the best version of ourselves is the right way to be. I agree.

June 11

Creativity: Stained glass (soldering and completing project)

Gratitude: slept in, mowed grass, grocery shopping, and laundry done as well as down time to read and relax, texts from my goddaughter

Joy: Surprised an old friend by dropping by and picking her up to go to wine tasting with me

Awareness: Mindfulness vs. Mindlessness: I’ve always heard chores are more joyful when one is mindful. Two chores I am always mindless (yet creatively prolific) when doing are vacuuming and mowing. While doing both of these I seem to get my best writing or other creative project ideas.

June 12

Creativity: Designed stain glass patterns, watched youtube videos and learned some great shortcuts to implement in some of my upcoming stained glass projects, can’t wait to try them!

Gratitude: requests to order some of my stain glass pieces, went shopping for one thing and ran across a bargain and got that instead! DirtMan ordered me a new battery for my laptop as mine has experienced “permanent failure”!

Joy: mango mimosas in the back yard…trees, breeze, and birds, and most importantly it does not feel like 97 degrees! After plans for dinner out with friends who had to cancel we ordered in pizza…did not feel like cooking today.

Awareness: As much of an introvert as I am when I have plans I look forward to I am terribly disappointed when they are cancelled…I really do enjoy being with people when they are ones I love!

June 13

Creativity: Writing, mind mapping.

Gratitude: My sister is alive! She was hit by a car while riding her scooter, no broken bones but a small brain bleed, hospital keeping her for observation.

Joy:  Texts from my sister, proof she’s going to be ok. Book Club! Need I say more? (And I actually went to B&N and did not make a purchase…what a miracle! Or would that be a travesty in the eyes of a book lover?) Oldest’s sense of humor.

Awareness: Helplessness is not a good feeling…oh, how I wish I could be in two places at once. How I wish I had the power to remove pain from those I love and the world in general. Sending all the healing energy I can muster.  I don’t think that is the draining part; it is the physical sensation of stress, the crushing of the chest, the weight of the soul, the beauty of love. I am not complaining; I am acknowledging. Love leads the way.

June 14

Creativity: Stained glass design, otherwise stuck in my head daydreaming

Gratitude: My sister was released from the hospital tonight!

Joy: My sister’s voice!  My first orange daylily has bloomed. There are usually silver linings in grey skies. A yard of birds and flowers! Phone call with Youngest! A lovely, inspirational FB post shared by my nephew.

Awareness: Realization unexpected things happen for a reason even often unbeknown to us.

June 15

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Updating some files and tedious work I usually put off

Joy: Writer’s group! Friendships and communication.

Awareness: Enjoying the gifts of nature from inside my house: the scuffle of scurrying squirrel feet across the roof, wingtips soaring past the picture window, beautiful birdsong, early morning sunlight filtering through the tree limbs, the sweet scent of gardenia sifting through an open window…and then add the melody of wind chimes and colorful garden flags waving.

June 16

Creativity: Writing, photography

Gratitude: A husband willing to change plans in the blink of an eye for me.

Joy: Having a good friend who knows what to say and when to say it and when to just listen, and best of all how to make me laugh when I need it most.

Awareness: Some things are completely out of our control, and it’s a good thing if we really think about it…after all, we never really know the complete picture beforehand.

 

Define and Design 2016, Week Twenty-three

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Like life, this Yucca is filled with sharp edges. However, if you focus on those you’ll miss both the beauty and the sweetness. The aroma of life,let it fill your lungs and sustain you.

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Our maiden trip with Pearl, the new car. (We let go of the Oyster and got a Pearl! Naming our cars? Yes, we are silly like that!) We made it safely to the mountains…traveled through torrential downpours where we could hardly see in front of us. At least I couldn’t so it’s a good thing I wasn’t driving.

Joy: A mountain weekend with DirtMan, the sound of tree frogs in the night.

Awareness: No matter the clouds, the sky still sparkled with scattered stars…now that is just one delight of country life.

June 4

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Again, reaching our destination safely. We were traveling over a mountain during another storm; torrential downpours, lightening, flooding, mudslides…mowing (five hours of it) was completed before the storms hit.

Joy: Early morning porch sounds of the creek bubbling at the edge of the field, a train whistle in the distance, and the birds singing. Dinner and drinks out with the hubby after visiting the MIL.  A beautiful lightening show throughout our passage of the mountain …the black sky changes from black to blue to white in seconds, and the streaks and flashes add a bit of pizzazz.

Awareness: When the banks fill and water carves a new route…never underestimate the power of water…it will cut through what it must to move, and it will take out whatever it must to get where it wants to go.

June 5

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: Waterproof boots, Indian Pipe (Monotropa uniflora, also called ghost plant) was everywhere we hiked along the creek. This was my dad’s favorite plant and we were walking the land he walked all of his life. I felt as if he was walking in spirit along with us. Hiking and photographing the family homestead and property with DirtMan….and we didn’t come across any snakes, yay!

Joy: Breakfast out with my mom and DirtMan. A rainbow after traveling through a downpour. Porch sitting, enjoying nature and cloud watching with my mom, especially delightful was hearing a Bobwhite in the mix of birds. Rusty horse shoes hanging on the side of the weathered barn and workshop.

Awareness: Most breathtaking-watching the early morning fog lift from the mountain range. Beneath the rising ghosts peaks of blue and green emerge.

June 6

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: work day ending early

Joy: First two blooms on my gardenia bush

Awareness: I am the captain of my ship. I often make up excuses to myself why I’m not doing something when in reality I am the only one who can do the things I can and need to do. It is not up to anyone else to complete my goals or fulfill my dreams.

June 7

Creativity: Nothing specific, at least not in the “arts”. However, I did read some reference material on the craft of writing.

Gratitude: managed to run some errands after work

Joy: Cuddle time with the fur babies

Awareness: I had forgotten to take my amaryllis out of the shed in early spring. Last week, I took it out and it already had a bud on the stalk but only an edge of a leaf was visible. Today it has a beautiful triple bloom…however no leaves yet. How often are we lacking one thing in particular and think the rest of our assets aren’t enough to carry us through? Remember you are beautiful. Remember you are enough, just as you are!

June 8

Creativity: Baking biscotti

Gratitude: the end of a rough workday

Joy: Sunshine! Visiting with some friends I haven’t seen for quite a while

Awareness: A cool, brisk breezes brushes against my skin, sweeping across my soul and lifting me up, up, up…

June 9

Creativity: stain glass (foiling), writing

Gratitude: early morning accomplishments, a lighter workday than yesterday

Joy: The pursuit of dreams (mine and others)

Awareness: There are things we learn in life we forget, or perhaps we simply lose technique. After a few attempts it all comes back, kind of like riding a bike.

Define and Design 2016, Week Fourteen

“For example, the wind has its reasons. We just don’t notice as we go about our lives. But then, at some point, we are made to notice. The wind envelops you with a certain purpose in mind, and it rocks you. The wind knows everything that’s inside you. And not just the wind. Everything, including a stone. They all know us very well. From top to bottom. It only occurs to us at certain times. And all we can do is go with those things. As we take them in, we survive, and deepen.”  ― Haruki Murakami, Hear the Wind Sing

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This has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but I love this macro shot I took when I was in the mountains.

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: I hugged a tree today

Joy: Blooms on my lilac and Carolina spice bushes

Awareness: I was standing on the driver side of my car spraying the oak pollen off. I felt a breeze about the time I heard a whoosh as a limb flew over my head and hit the car roof snapping the branch in half and with a thud it landed on the ground on the passenger side. I realize as I try to be cognizant of my surroundings, some things can’t be predicted. The wind has blown warm and hard all day, and the clouds have festered into dark, angry mobs as the impending storm rolls this way.

April 2

Creativity: Quilting

Gratitude: I got caught in the pouring rain, and the chill against my skin felt fabulous, frizzy hair and all!

Joy: An evening wedding at the best venue ever! Have I told you how much I love weddings? And champagne! Oh, and cake! Celebrating love, happiness, and friendships is a blessed event.

Awareness: Sopping wet I sat down with a cup of hot herbal tea. I leaned back and closed my eyes, feeling the hot liquid go down my throat and warm my body. The rain pounded on the roof, as soothing as a shower massage. I opened my eyes to see the rain spraying sideways across the yard. Sprinkles splattered as they hit the base of the squirrel feeder. A rivulet ran beneath the base and slowly dripped only to disappear into the soil.

April 3

Creativity: quilting

Gratitude: The hubby did some updates on my phone and laptop

Joy: I slept in this morning (9:00 is sleeping in for me) and my coffee was ready when I got up.

Awareness: I had sugar last night and some today along with processed food, how sluggish I have felt.

April 4

Creativity: writing and designing

Gratitude: Back to clean eating today… Restricting processed food from my diet has resulted in more energy, clearer thinking, and better quality sleep.

Joy: Phone call with Youngest

Awareness: The sunshine hugs my face as I walk outside and the wind invites me for a ride. A cardinal darts into the gardenia bush, rattling the braches and shaking the leaves like a feather duster.

April 5

Creativity: Making homemade bread and spiffing up the recipe

Gratitude: home cooked meal, leisurely evening, reading

Joy: laughing at some silly jokes, my sister has the same humor; funny thing is we could have been the butt of the jokes, but fortunately not

Awareness: The howling wind caught my attention. I looked out to see what appeared to be huge snowflakes. I assumed it was actually the whirly birds of the oak tree traveling with the winds current. I focused and realized it was indeed snow, flowing and dancing, and melting in thin air. And yet the sun was shining, no rainbow but somehow I pictured Mother Nature smirking.

April 6

Creativity: All I can claim on the creativity front is reading and cooking Asiago Chicken for dinner.

Gratitude: I can call or text my sister and she always gets me

Joy: Seeing my friends at my favorite gourmet wine store and there was a particular wine they have that my friend has wanted to try; they had two bottles of it left so I bought one for her and one for me!

Awareness: Music has been my friend today, traveling in and out and perhaps directing my mood, comforting me and energizing me. Without it today, I would have been not just lonely but lost.

April 7

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: The expected morning rain was only a bit of a spit early in the morning and that was it, yay!

Joy: the fresh scent of clean laundry

Awareness: The heat upstairs was a bit much while I exercised on the elliptical so I opened the windows. The wind howled, competing with the whirl of the elliptical, airplanes whooshed through the sky, and wind chimes clanged and battered the tree trunks. Cars and trucks revved up and down the boulevard. All this noisy activity while the sun quietly vied for her place in the sky. She drifted in and out of clouds and smiled each time she came in the lead. The sun peeked through the eyes of a metal dog yard décor hanging from a pine, casting a shadow against the tree trunk which looked like an owl head with four dangling bell-chain legs…funny how shadows can appear to be something they are not at all.

Refine and Design 2016, Week Thirteen

March 25

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Saddened to hear of Earl Hamner’s death yesterday, but grateful to have known him and shared a hometown, a birthday (though 40 years apart), and a love of simplicity, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. And a love of words. In case you don’t know who he was, he was the creator of the television series The Waltons, among other series, and a wonderful writer.

Joy: A short but sweet surprise visit from my godchildren

Awareness: The trees gently sway their bodies and wave their fingers to the clouds saying, “Come on, we’re thirsty.” The grey clouds move over the cotton puffs and across the expanse of denim sky as if they are slowly reaching out to the beckoning limbs while deciding if they care to share. And then the sun pops out as if to say the joke is on them. Perhaps it will rain in the sunshine and give us a rainbow.

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March 26

Creativity: writing, photography, lots of macro

Gratitude: The Scenic Route

Joy: Hike along the Pedlar river to Panther Falls

Awareness: I sit on a large rock above the falls. An eddy forms a cluster of ever expanding foam that drifts along a gorge in a boulder. The water waves and ripples as it rolls over, around, and beneath rocks and limbs. The river hums, whistles, sloshes, and roars. I close my eyes and listen to her sing her way home.

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March 27

Creativity: photography, lots of macro

Gratitude: my husband taking care of some things for my mother

Joy: Laughing with my sister and mother, coming back in town to a manicured lawn courtesy of Oldest

Awareness: Beautiful Flowering and Budding Trees of Spring – Whites, lavender, purple, pink, scarlet, yellow, and various shades of green applaud us as we drive by. Redbuds are adorned in a million tiny amethysts while the red oak is dressed in rubies. A huge red oak appeared to be cloaked in tiny scarlet birds lifting their wings to flight. Bradford pears danced in sweaters of snow while the apple and cherry trees wore lacy pink layers. All the trees in their various shades of green buds rose to wave their jeweled fingers at all who passed their way.

March 28

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: a light day

Joy: Not getting bonked in the head by any flying pinecones while in the backyard…love windy days

Awareness: As enjoyable as it is to open a window to feel the breeze and listen to the singing birds, it comes with a price…a coat of yellow pollen throughout the room, a bit of sneezing, and building of a headache…oh, how I wish I didn’t have allergies because dusting is worth the ambiance of nature, but a headache isn’t.

March 29

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: finally had time to start this month’s book club selection “Euphoria” by Lily King

Joy: phone call with Youngest

Awareness: The lone crow strutted up and down the road pecking in last night’s rain. The early sun glossed brightly against his back, feathers shining an iridescent blue. He straightened his neck and tilted his head back as he swallowed and followed with a caw caw both front and back as if to ward off anyone cutting in on his buffet.

March 30

Creativity: drawing

Gratitude: Feeling healthy and energetic, managed to get in a good workout

Joy: Got off work two and a half hours early which enabled me to shop for a wedding and birthday gift and do my grocery shopping. This means I’ve freed my Saturday morning!

Awareness: The aroma of coffee permeates the air as I watch the steam rise from my mug. The rings on the shower curtain scrape against the rod. Feet thud across the floor above me as the birds chirp in the still dark morning. I pop a fresh raspberry in my mouth and the sweetness fills my soul. It is a blessed morning.

March 31

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: arrival of another squirrel buster bird feeder…no they don’t keep out the squirrels completely but I don’t have to refill daily

Joy: The cool rush of stepping barefoot into the early morning dew-soaked grass

Awareness: Breakfast Berries: My tongue pushes the raspberry against the roof of my mouth and the melody spreads. Blackberries squirt as the tiny seeds pop between my teeth, adding more sweet notes to the chorus. Strawberries break up with a tartness to liven up the ensemble. Fruit in the morning is incredibly refreshing.

Define and Design 2016, Week Eleven

Azalea Bloom

Week Eleven

March 11

Creativity: daydreaming was the extent of my creativity today

Gratitude: I was able to rest in bed all day and heal (Yes, I got that nasty virus!)

Joy: a neighbor who brought me saltines and bananas…the only thing I could keep in my body

Awareness: Amazed how heavy my legs grew at the increased necessity of my rising from bed…incredibly surprised at the noise in my neighborhood during the day. In noise I mean the business of life; the singing cardinals, foraging squirrels, barking dogs, laughter of playing children, and hum of vehicles on the street. I suppose the noise of the day inside my house usually has me unaware of the average day noise outside. It was a rare daytime occurrence for my house to be quieter than my yard.

March 12

Creativity: I did a bit of preplanning some future projects

Gratitude: I felt half alive after getting a hot shower

Joy: I was able to eat and contain a bowl of chicken noodle soup

Awareness: While being sick the dog has been excessively vigilant of neighborhood activity and has kept her eye on me, and the cat has been a constant companion for snuggles. I think animals sense when their family is off balance and tries in their own way to do their part to comfort or restore familiarity.

March 13

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: another day of peace and rest

Joy: Reading “The Prince of Tides”. This is thoroughly enjoyable. I usually don’t enjoy books that interrupt story with beautiful prose (poetic writing), but the story is enthralling and writing style places you in the setting and makes you love the South Carolina marshes as much as the characters. Most books like this I’d classify as literary novels, but not this one; while it is character driven it has many story lines covering many years. I’ve never seen the movie, but I want to now. Not to be disappointed but to see how all of it could actually be included or to see what was chosen to be excluded as I find all of the links necessary at this time.

Awareness: Listening to the rain playing music on the roof. It started suddenly, hard and fast and slowed for a while and sped up again. The song ended and started again in reverse order, or so it seemed. With closed eyes I allowed the melody to wash over my soul, absorbing it like the parched ground outside my door.

March 14

Creativity: Writing and art quilting

Gratitude: Pleased I was able to ride the elliptical today, even if it took me almost ten minutes to do two miles. At least, it’s a start. And I am able to eat today. I’ve missed real food!

Joy: Book club(we have lots of laughs in that group) and purchasing the new Flow magazine and a few other art mags

Awareness: The gardener’s grey cloak hangs over the neighborhood as the hungry robins peck at the damp ground in search for breakfast worms. The air pulses with the chirps and tweets of birdsong while a lone cardinal, bright as a begonia, flits between the gate post and the tallest limb of my neighbor’s overgrown hedge and sings a welcome to the day. A mourning dove in her taupe suite and rotund vest of pearls sits a spell on the gate while she assesses the yard activities. A squirrel, tail puffed out like a parachute, glides from pine to pine. Amethysts and opals rest upon the garden’s emeralds while searching for their friend, the sun.

March 15

Creativity: Writing and perusing art magazines

Gratitude: Ability to throw a quick dinner together

Joy: Running into an old friend and picking up where we left off

Awareness: Feather in the Bush – It was stretched across a leaf on the Azalea as if it was sunbathing. The tiny tendrils fluttered like dandelion fluff while the brown feather tip held together, strong as an otter’s tail. In case you’re wondering, it appears to be an owl feather.

Feather in the bush

March 16

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Television sitcom reruns…pulled my back out this am so not able to do much

Joy: unable to attend writing group due to back injury I found the joy in a purring feline who felt it her duty to stretch across me as a vibrating heating pad

Awareness: Rising of Dawn on a Foggy Morning – A dark curtain suspended in the air; no separation of heaven and earth. Slowly silver ghosts floated through the thick trunks of the tall pines and created the appearance of large chalk-smudged finger paths down a colossal black board.

March 17

Creativity: writing

Gratitude: Ibuprofen, with it I’m functional

Joy: My neighborhood…a terrific yearly St. Paddy’s Day party but I don’t feel like going…I can still enjoy the music of the band and bagpiper and laughter of frolicking party goers.

Awareness: Crows caw in the distance. There must be a dozen different bird calls and songs dancing through the sunny air. I’m writing with an open window by my desk, and I smile. I look out the window hoping to see some cardinals. With all the chatter going on I’m surprised not to spy a single bird. It’s like a bird city in the trees!

Define and Design 2016, Week Ten

Wiggins Spring Road

Week Ten

March 4

Creativity: Baking and designing

Gratitude: I have been seeking direction on which way to head or looking for timing and questioning myself. I love it when the answers fall into place.

Joy: A last minute escape to the mountains

Awareness: As we were driving along the dark curvy roads I found myself leaning into the curves. I commented it being a natural phenomenon or common tendency. The husband says it’s learned, something people who ride motorcycles and ATVs or race do. What say you? Do you do this? I did ride motorcycles when I was younger and still love the feel of air in my face and against my back on an ATV.

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March 5

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: timing…got in all we planned for the day and more!

Joy: Being able to celebrate (a day late) with my MIL for her 84th birthday, hiking

Awareness: This day was a gift in many ways, but I will only highlight a few moments of our hike. We were heading to a tower to take sunset pictures. As we headed up the mountain, we began to spot patches of snow here and there throughout the woods before we knew it we reached the height of the mountain with a few inches of snow on the ground…beautiful and untouched by human feet. We veered that way rather than following the people to the tower. As we crossed one meadow to follow a path to another we listened to the calls of a great horned owl, “who who who cooks for you?”  Suddenly a huge wing span (we weren’t sure what bird it belonged to then) flew over us and landed in a nearby tree. It was a barred owl. We stood and watched in awe (and took pictures of course) as he opened and closed his eyes and turned his head around watching whatever he heard and snoozing in between. DirtMan moved within twenty feet of him for some close up photography. The shots are amazing. We couldn’t believe we got so close to him. It was a humbling few minutes. He was gigantic and his speckled wings, ringed eyes, and triangular nose were amazingly beautiful. As we left him we came upon the first spring we had to leap over. We arrived at the headwaters where it ran directly out of the hillside and followed a rocky trail to another creek. As we were walking we heard a rush and looked up to see a dozen or so white tails slicing through the air against the bank of a snowy mountainside…yes, deer! In the meantime, the sky was doing amazing things. Clouds were transforming into magenta and purple against the darkening horizon.  The low light of the sun lit the grasses and tree trunks into a magical wonderland. As we were waylaid with all these natural gifts we didn’t make it to the tower for sunset….and it was so worth the miss.

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March 6

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: A day with my mom and sister, lots of laughter

Joy:  Uploading the photos from my camera to find great results with my new lens, better than the last outing

Awareness: The change in attitude of the cat after being away for a few days. Her nonchalant demeanor changes to one of adoration, can’t get enough of me!

March 7

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: Realized I’d let my CPR and First Aid Certification lapse and was able to enroll in a class for this Saturday.

Joy:  Being able to go to bed early when I am tired.

Awareness: I feel the air travel in and out of my body. I wave my hand in front of my face and I feel the air sweep across my cheek. The air and I and are friends. While I often step outside my box this days. I’ve chosen this moment to step back into the box of my body, this frame in which I exist. I seek the safety of my interior. I glance at the four walls of the box of my house that surrounds me, and I continue to inhale and exhale. There are times all I want to do is breathe and feel safe.

March 8

Creativity: drawing

Gratitude: I am able to work from home, and it is a comfort to me.

Joy: Energy! I have more energy today than I’ve had in over a week…time to dance…even if people are looking, ha!

Awareness: The cat is sitting in the window with the early morning sun filtering, casting her shadow upon the sofa where I am sitting. I watch her shadow puppet show. I glance between the cat and her shadow to realize though her shadow mocks her, I can’t see all of her movements. Therefore, what I think she’s doing and what she’s really doing are not necessarily the same. How often do we think we know what others are up to, or how often are we accused of doing something we aren’t. Perception is an interesting theory.

March 9

Creativity: Writing

Gratitude: I have a hard working husband and both of our sons have his work ethics.

Joy: Reading

Awareness: When I am extremely tired the darkness envelops me like a warm, fuzzy blanket….no thoughts, just simple comfort as I melt into my being.

March 10

Creativity: Concocting essential oil blends to clean hard surfaces and carpet, gentle enough to be used around children and strong enough to kill the vomiting virus (Norovirus?)

Gratitude: After cleaning multiple times (after each vomit case until infected child left and then the next) after they all went home, I deep cleaned my carpet and recleaned all hard surfaces and every single toy, and did multiple loads of hot laundry items…the gratitude is not in the contagious atmosphere but that my house it clean and the disinfecting I needed to do is complete…and now, I’m drinking a glass of wine and praying I don’t come down with it or the other children…don’t want a repeat tomorrow!

Joy: My work day has ended and I’m going to call this an early night.

Awareness: Super clean, well-worn hands shine as nicely as freshly polished cherry furniture.
Sorry, but that’s all I got at this point unless you want me to describe how I feel or things look as I finish this glass of well deserved wine!

Hog Camp Gap

Hope you enjoyed these photographs by DirtMan.

Define and Design 2016, Week Nine

Mother's Day weekend 2012 028

February 26

Creativity: writing and drawing

Gratitude: Even though my day didn’t go quite as planned I still accomplished what I needed

Joy: dinner and drinks out with DirtMan and Oldest

Awareness: At ten months old she decides she is ready. She steadies herself and lets go of the chair. She carefully places one foot in front of the other with her arms stretched in front of her…one, two…all the way to seven step and then she steps onto a toy and tumbles to the carpet. She crawls to the book case and pulls up. She looks around and lets go. One step..tumble. Pulls back up…seven steps…she falls. Over and over she does this all afternoon. She doesn’t give up. She’s my little hero. I think there’s a lesson in this for me.

February 27

Creativity: watched some applique videos

Gratitude: lots accomplished early in the morning

Joy: a day with my friend at the quilt show

Awareness: Tired, stiff bones seem much heavier than normal.

February 28

Creativity: Photography

Gratitude: started cleaning up the yard debris and made a small dent in the mess, delivery pizza

Joy: a beach hike and nice weather, 70 degrees!

Awareness: I could taste, smell, and feel the sea salt in the air as the waves crashed upon the shore. The wind whipped across the water, tangled my hair, and tugged at my shirt. White caps rode the surf, bubbles clinging to sand until either the sea called them back or the grit ate them.  Seagulls quickly scouted to see if the sea had sent treats. The sun looked down in admiration.

February 29

Creativity: drawing

Gratitude: was able to get in two of three needed errands at the end of the day

Joy: 75 degrees and sitting in my backyard swing listening to birds, squirrels, dogs, and playful children.

Awareness: Some days I have to remind myself to breathe…I know it’s automatic, but purposeful breathing helps maintain my inner peace while chaos ensues around me. I can only control my own actions/reactions and there I times I forget this.

March 1

Creativity: writing and quilting

Gratitude: morning walk, did my civic duty of voting

Joy: an hour of early morning quiet time, surprise text from goddaughter saying “I love you so much”

Awareness: Walking in the brisk morning air while a cloak of darkness still lingered and most of the world was fast asleep, the cardinals serenaded the hope of morning and the sparrows’ shrill call joined the invitation.

March 2

Creativity: crazy quilt videos

Gratitude: light at the end of the tunnel…a long hard day is over…and I’m still somewhat sane, ha!

Joy: Love. When all else fails there is love.

Awareness: Everything comes down to choices…usually between acting and reacting. There are times all I can do is breathe. Today was one of those day.

March 3

Creativity: working on design for art quilt panel series, drawing, and writing

Gratitude: My mother was only slightly bruised and banged when she took a tumble, less serious than the last fall.

Joy: The abundance of back yard feathered friends, lots of cardinals and robins.  Found something I’d been looking for all week…I’d apparently tucked it away in a “safe place”, ha!

Awareness:  Air traffic is unusually active tonight. And loud. Sounds like a gigantic vacuum cleaner sweeping through the sky over my house. I almost miss the sounds of the boulevard traffic. Even though the whooshing is loud, it’s a soothing lullaby…or maybe, I’m just really tired.

 

In Celebration of Rivers

The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare to let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure. — (Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah)

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There are many ways to salvation, and one of them is to follow a river. — (David Brower, Foreword to Oregon Rivers by Larry Olson and John Daniel)

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Keep your rivers flowing as they will, and you will continue to know the most important of all freedoms—the boundless scope of the human mind to contemplate wonders, and to begin to understand their meaning. — (David Brower, The Foreword to Oregon Rivers by Larry Olson and John Daniel)

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Wild rivers are earth’s renegades, defying gravity, dancing to their own tunes, resisting the authority of humans, always chipping away, and eventually always winning. — (Richard Bangs & Christian Kallen, River Gods)

Let the mountains talk, let the river run. Once more, and forever. — (David Brower, Let the Mountains Talk; Let the Rivers Run)

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Sit by a river. Find peace and meaning in the rhythm of the lifeblood of the Earth. — (Anonymous)

The song of the river ends not at her banks but in the hearts of those who have loved her. — (Buffalo Joe)

****I spent Independence Day riverside, peaceful and free….a little photography (these shots are long exposures with no editing) and a lot of love make for a perfect day…even with a few rain showers. I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

On Death and Rebirth

“When love awakens in your life, in the night of your heart, it is like the dawn breaking within you. Where before there was anonymity, now there is intimacy; where before there was fear, now there is courage; where before in your life there was awkwardness, now there is a rhythm of grace and gracefulness; where before you used to be jagged, now you are elegant and in rhythm with your self. When love awakens in your life, it is like a rebirth, a new beginning.” ― John O'Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

“When love awakens in your life, in the night of your heart, it is like the dawn breaking within you. Where before there was anonymity, now there is intimacy; where before there was fear, now there is courage; where before in your life there was awkwardness, now there is a rhythm of grace and gracefulness; where before you used to be jagged, now you are elegant and in rhythm with your self. When love awakens in your life, it is like a rebirth, a new beginning.” ― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

We die and rebirth aspects of ourselves time again as we discover our true selves. We let go of conditioned beliefs as we begin to think for ourselves. People leave our lives and new ones enter throughout the seasons of a lifetime. Our experiences bring wisdom to our souls. There is a peace about us when we learn to accept what we once didn’t.  When we love ourselves, we see the beauty of life and find joy in the simple state of being. At stages of our lives we take things for granted, and later have a great appreciation for them. I experienced one of these moments this past weekend.

I was sitting on my mother’s porch (out in the country) early in the morning drinking a cup of coffee. While it seemed the world was sleeping, people that is, life around me was in full swing. Cardinals and blue jays were singing and the squirrels were rustling about the oaks, cedars, and maples. I could hear the train keening over the mountain. Once the echo disappeared in the distance I heard something I’d never heard from my position. The gurgle from the small creek below the property played like a lullaby upon my soul. I spent much of my youth perched upon the bank or rocks in the creek writing poetry while listening to that very sound. It was such a joy to hear this at the house. I wonder if I could hear the flow of the creek because the water was up from recent downfalls or because I was quiet enough within to listen. My point about death and rebirth within ourselves is many years ago my mind was filled with chatter. This morning meditation filled my heart with love and set my day with graceful intention, a balance I welcome.

Tell me your story of a newfound appreciation.

Instant Gratification or Fulfillment?

It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit ~Denis Waitley

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I’ve been thinking lately. Dangerous territory, huh? How often do I choose instant gratification instead of long-term fulfillment? In reflection I see I do it much less than in my past. I used to chase happiness while thinking things would fill that void. I now know those type of jollies are fleeting. Today I am happy in simply being. Finding contentment in nature and connection with others may seem simple, but love, peace, compassion, and abiding joy soothe souls. That to me is long term fulfillment.

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It is of little significance how I get where I’m going or even where I end up. I find what I encounter along the way touches my life in deeper ways.

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Life is budding everywhere. You are flowering as well.

I hope today you encounter simple beauty soothing to your soul.

I hope you take in vast blue sky and stretch of life, whether lush and green or concrete and steel, and know this is where you are supposed to be at this minute.

I hope you hear the robins sing and crickets chirp.

I hope you smell the sweet fragrance of spring hyacinths.

I hope you feel the silkiness of flower petals upon your skin or the soft bristle of a fallen feather. I hope you experience a gentle breeze that fills your lungs with life.

Wherever your journey takes you today, I hope you taste the sweetness of life.

Within the heartbeats around you, I hope today your life speaks to you.

I ask you…Instant gratification or long-term fulfillment?