Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sand Art

I was up early last week-end, determined to catch the sunrise at the beach.  Of course, it was an incredibly cloudy day, and the sun didn't rise so much as the level of grey brightened as time passed.   It was still in incredible morning.  It was drizzly, and cloudy, and so there were very few people out at that time of the morning.  It was low tide, and the beach was flat and wet and moody and gorgeous.  I took photos from the pier, and then went down onto the beach, and decided to walk from Hermosa Pier to Manhattan Pier along the water's edge since it was so flat and the waves were small.  

As the light brightened, it got even more beautiful.  I have to say that even on a grey, drizzly, overcast day, I have yet to regret getting up early to go down to the beach.

As I was walking I noticed the way the water trickled back after a wave.  Since the beach was so flat, and the waves languorous, the water slowly flowed back toward the tide, leaving gorgeous patterns in the sand that lasted until the next wave came.   They looked like trees, or figures dancing on the sand.  Abstract, ever-changing, transforming art that lasted just a while and then was gone.  I took pictures, sometimes so enthralled by the figures, I only remembered where I was when a wave slowly enveloped my feet and soaked into my boots and socks, leaving me hopping from foot to foot as I rushed up the beach.  I walked from one pier to the next, and then back again, taking pictures as the light changed, and the rain eased up and the beach filled with other people walking, jogging, surfing and fishing.  As I passed two ladies walking along the water like myself, they smiled and asked me if I was taking pictures of the blobs of tar that scattered the beach and had been in the news due to their proliferation on our local beaches that week.  I smiled back but they kept on walking, and I never got the chance to tell them what I was really taking pictures of.

It made me sad that they were missing the beautiful art at their feet, walking passed or even through it without even seeing the beauty.  How much of our days are spent walking passed or through the beauty that the day brings, if only we would slow down to see it? 

So I am posting these pictures of art that was, and is no more, with a gentle reminder to look slow down enough to notice the beauty that surrounds us.

To see larger versions of these, as well as other pictures taken on the beach that day, follow this link.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Things I've learned in the first 5 months of 2015.

You’ll notice I haven’t posted in months. Months. And I started this year out so hopeful, and so full of good intentions, and so sure I was going to have a handle on stuff this year. And now it’s June 1st, and I haven’t posted in months. But I have been learning stuff, and I’ve been paying attention. This is what the first 5 months of 2015 have taught me.

  • I’m doing okay. Life is changing for me, and things hardly ever go the way I expect them to but I’m doing okay. 
  • I have so many amazing friends. I am surrounded by amazing people who love me and have my back.  I am abundantly blessed in the friend department. You guys all rock. And I adore you.
  • My kids are amazing. This is not news to me, of course, but I’m learning to appreciate and find joy in my amazing kids more and more.
  • Time passes, and if I sit on my butt, it doesn’t pass any slower. Not doing things out of fear or uncertainty or lack of confidence only means I don’t learn.  I value the lessons more than I fear the process.  Now that’s a revelation.
  • Planning is important. Planning is vital. Planning moves me forward. 
  • Sometimes you can’t stick to the plan because a kid gets sick, or life throws a curveball and you just can’t. It’s okay. You can make another plan.
  • Exercise is essential. Moving makes me a calmer, happier, better person. 
  • Feeling the feels is important. Acknowledging and feeling the emotion of a moment is important. Living in the emotion is not. I don’t have to live in the emotion. The emotion doesn’t dictate, it teaches and informs, but it doesn’t dictate.
  • Giving thanks puts things in perspective. Do it more.
  • Writing things down get them out of my head and can stop the unending replay that keeps me up and saps my energy if I let it.
  • Get in front of the camera with your friends once in a while. One day you’re going to want to have pictures of yourself with the special people in your life. Make sure you have some.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Happy 2015!

Happy New Year! We are 3 weeks into the new year already. I hope you are still feeling the thrill of a new beginning and all the possibilities that the year holds. I love the feeling of potential that is so strong at the beginning of the year. The sense that this could be a year of great things, the best year ever. It's a New Year! Anything could happen! And yet.....

This year is going to be the year my divorce is finalized. That makes this year one that is going to be tough, and sad, and the true start of a new chapter in my life. This is the year that I lose a huge part of what has defined me for the last 17 years. I will no longer be a wife. That's a big label. It's a label I'm going to take off and leave in the past, and along with the label, a lot of hopes and dreams will be left behind. When you stand before God, family and friends, and vow to love and cherish until death-do-you-part, many dreams and hopes and even beliefs are born. You dream of living life, and exploring the world together. You hope to raise kids, and weather storms, and celebrate victories together. And you believe you'll get cranky, and wrinkly and old together, and even that seems like an adventure, because you'll be together.  

Then life happens, and stuff happens, and people change, and you find yourself where you never thought you would be. And you have a choice. When you lose a part of yourself, a void appears.  It doesn't matter what that loss is - it could be a job, it could be a relationship, it could be a person. When that loss occurs, part of you goes too. And it's so easy to fall into the void that appears.  The void that can be so deep, and dark, and vast.

That void, however, can be seen from a different perspective.  It can be a blank slate.  A tabula rasa.  Endless possibilities. So that is what 2015 is going to be about.  Adventures.  Trying new things.  Going new places.  Rising to the challenge. Rising to the occasion. Rising. And I'm excited. I'm excited to share this year with you, and to explore what it brings. So Happy 2015. May your year be filled with adventures.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Life. It's a kicker.

So my last post was in January.  JANUARY!  Yeah.  Life just plain ol' kicked me in the butt.  I thought I had a handle on things, and then I didn't.  I don't know what it was.  A bunch of little stuff, and some big stuff, that just flat out knocked me down and held me there.  It does that sometimes, just kicks while you're down. You know it does, because it does it to all of us.  And it never stops.  If all we looked at are the kicks life delivers, hell, we'd live on the floor.  And I have been on the floor the last few months.  Sprawled.  Flat on my back.  Unable to move or lift my head.    I lost my focus, and could only see the stuff life was throwing at me.  All I've been doing is trying to get through it.  Waiting for it to end so that I could stagger to my feet.  But life doesn't give up, and it doesn't stop kicking.  So we need to find a way to get on our feet despite the kicks and the uppercuts and the jabs flying our way.  And it's hard. And I don't think we can do it alone.  That's where you come in, and where I come in.  We need each other.  Really need each other.  To cheer each other on, give a push here, or a tug there.  And build each other up.  Encourage.  Inspire.  Relate.

Someone did that for me last week.  Gave me the push I needed.  The kind but strong push that gets you moving without adding to the bruises you're nursing. And the results were beautiful.

The pictures are below. I think you'll agree it was worth it.

Other friends have gone out of their way to make sure I know they are there for me, with a hug and a kind word and a heart that understands.  And others have kicked me out of the room where I cling to the never-ending list of to-do's and lose myself in the impossible task of trying to do it all.  They kindly but firmly push me out the door and give me an opportunity to take a moment to breathe and get back up on my feet.  I can't do life alone, and neither can you.

So thank-you, thank-you, thank-you to the friends who have stuck by me, and given me the push and the shove and the hug and the shoulder.  I've needed it all, and I love you for it.  I'm here to do the same for you.  And if we can continue to be the gentle reminder to each other of what's important, and come alongside with a shoulder, or a hand or a word of encouragement, or a gentle shove in the right direction, then we are going to get through this life together,  stronger and better than we ever could alone.

To see higher resolution images of these photographs and others taken that morning, click this link.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

You are loved.

You are loved.  Immeasurably.  Every minute of every day.  Whether you feel it or not, love surrounds you.

Look around.  Do you see the stars?  Do you see the birds?  Do you see the flowers?  They are evidence.  Evidence of the Creator.  The Creator who IS love. And so you are surrounded.  By love.  Open your eyes and open your heart.  Rest in His love.  In the peace that comes from the sounds of the waves.  In the comfort of the heat of the sun on your back.  In the joy of the birdsong in your garden.  Feel the love that surrounds you.  It is always there.  It always will be.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

My Word for 2014

I'm sure you've come across the concept of choosing a word for the year.  The word that you choose can represent a change you want to make, an attitude you want to nurture, or simply a word that enriches your life.  I haven't chosen a word for a few years now, and decided it was something I wanted to do again for this year.  My word for 2014 is Emmanuel.  It's one of Jesus' names, and means God With Us.  It's something I want to remember this year.  Something I want to absorb so that it becomes part of who I am.  I want to remember on good days, and bad, that the creator of the universe is present.  He is with me when I'm tired, and excited, and happy, and sad, and frustrated, and impatient.  His love surrounds me all day everyday, and it is my choice to ignore it or embrace it.  I want to embrace it.  I want to rest in it when I feel overwhelmed.  I want to celebrate it and find joy.

And it is my wish for you.  That you would know the comfort of His presence with you everyday, in every circumstance.  

Anything created reflects it's creator.  Nature is everywhere, and reflects the Great Creator.  I'm going to use the beauty around me to remind me of His presence.  Everyday.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

And 2014 has begun...

Happy New Year!

I'm still in that wobbly, not-quite-found-my-feet, still-deciding-on-my-resolutions-for-the-new-year, am-I-even-going-to-make-resolutions-this-year stage.  Some years I meet head on, all gung-ho and ready to take on the world. This year not so much.  Looking at the whole year stretching out in front of me is a little daunting, so I'm attacking this year a little differently.  I'm breaking it down into monthly, weekly and even daily choices.  If I think about taking a photo every day for a year, I wonder if I should even bother starting.  So I'm not thinking about taking a photo every day for a year.  I'm just thinking about taking a photo today. And I'm not going to get all hung up about using my 'real' camera.  A selfie with a savage at bed time is still a photo.

My weekly goals involve encouragement.  I'm joining Holley Gerth's 2014 challenge called Coffee For Your Heart.  Every week I will be posting words of encouragement, as prompted by Holley, and hopefully providing someone with the words they need to hear to help get them through their day, or even just their afternoon.  I'm not good at encouragement, and I'm hoping this will help me get better.

My monthly goals will be based around a different book each month.  In January, I'm reading a book by Annie Downs called Speak Love: Making Your Words Matter.  I'm hoping to focus each month on something I want to learn, or simply be better at, whether it be speaking words that build others up or photography.  I have a few books in mind, and trust that as the months fly by, others will make themselves known.  Feel free to offer up any you recommend.

And so that's where I am, on this second day of 2014.   I wish you a year of much laughter, and happy memories.