12 December 2010

More December Views!

Yesterday, we took our traditional trip to the tree farm to pick out our tree. This is something that I enjoy doing every year. I go back and forth in my feelings to how eco-friendly this is, but have pretty much settled on this being the best option for us. First, it's a tree farm, so they get cut down and are grown on a specific tract of land that is used only for this purpose. Second, artificial trees are made of who knows what and use resources that we don't need to use for this purpose. Third, I'm supporting a local business.

Besides all of those reasons, my children thoroughly enjoy it. As do I. From driving back to the farm, walking through the many rows of trees with their distinct smells, cutting it down (which, the boys did all on their own this year!), dragging it out to the vehicle, setting it up at home and decorating it....it's all just very heartwarming to me and something that I plan to continue doing.

This year, we listened to the Nutcracker while decorating :) We all picked each ornament out, carefully choosing it's perfect location, while singing and dancing around.
One of many handmade ornaments hanging on my tree, this angel was a gift from a co-worker about 8 years ago.
This ornament was a gift from a very close family friend, given to me last year, as it was the first Christmas we spent without my grandmother and my father.
Another handmade ornament :) I love these! We couldn't find a perfect spot for this one so we hung it on the wall behind the tree.
I'm thankful that we chose yesterday to get our tree. It was one of the warmest days we've had in the past couple weeks, with the sun peeking out of the clouds. Today it's raining and not at all good weather to spend any amount of time outside.

10 December 2010

December Views - first and not last!


I participated in www.hippyurbangirl.com/december-views/ last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. In the past, I had felt very dry in my photographic mojo during the cold, seemingly colorless winter months and often my camera would sit for weeks as I anticipated the beautiful blossoms of spring to bring me back to my passion. But in the past couple years I’ve found that winter holds just as much beauty as all the more colorful, bright and fragrant months of spring, summer and fall. The skies are just as blue in the winter and the contrast of the snow against it brings my creative side out. What I most enjoy now, as the weather tries to push us inside with it’s icy chill, are the trees. They appear to be devoid of life, but the way their limbs twist and spread out against the deep blue sky is just as beautiful to me as any blossoming flower. Every branch seems to have grown in perfect symmetry with each other and they take their perfect shapes.

I’ve looked forward to December Views this year also, but have been so busy editing photo sessions from the fall that I haven’t had time to pick up my camera. So this morning, on my way in, I snapped the above photo with my phone as I crossed the river. Most of my commute is spent in traffic as I head into the city, and although I’d rather be at home in my rural surroundings, I’m always in awe watching the sun rise over the waters of the Susquehanna. The colors of a winter’s sunrise will never cease to captivate me.

This weekend, my children and I will be setting up their bedroom as the remodeling is finally finished (well, mostly finished except for a bit of painting). And most importantly, we will be getting our tree. So expect my postings to increase this weekend as I make up for the past 9 days that I’ve missed out on this project.

And please! Go visit www.hippyurbangirl.com ! I've been enjoying her blog for quite a while and always look forward to this time of year and the many other blogs I end up finding through those who participate in this! Many thanks to her for including me in this fabulous project!

04 November 2010

three days ago i picked up my great grandfather's guitar and decided to teach myself to play it. so far i've learned three chords; the d chord, the a chord and the e chord and tonight i started working on switching between them. last night i got the d and a chords down pretty good and i started to switch for a bit and my fingers were really hurting by that time. so I stopped for the night.

about an hour ago I picked it up & my fingers found the d chord with suprising ease. and with the first strum it felt like I kind of knew what i was doing. I strummed a few times and there was no icky sounds, and it just felt so natural. So I switched back & forth between d & a for a while and then went to the e chord. this one seemed like the easiest to learn so far. and while my fingers did start to hurt a bit, it eventually got to the point that i wasn't even noticing it. like they were either numb or i was just a bit excited about actually playing.

it's amazing what it feels like to play. to hear the melody coming from me, the motion of my hand, the movement of my fingers across the strings, the feel of the neck in my hand as I flow from one chord to the next and back to the previous. it's relaxing, refreshing, and i almost feel like i'm sitting with an old friend.

01 November 2010

breaking open

I find myself in a constant state of reflection lately. Looking deeply at the things happening in my life, past events that have brought me to where I am now, the many paths I’ve taken and what role they all played in teaching me the valuable lessons I’ve had to learn. I’ve gone through some crappy times and have spent many a moment wondering why things had to be so hard, why life couldn’t just throw me a ball that I could see coming and allow me to easily whack it out of the ballpark.

I still find myself asking those same questions. Why can’t things just be a little easier? Why does every day have to be filled with stress? Work-stress, stress from a situation that just doesn’t seem to be going away, frustration with someone who says too much, frustration with someone who doesn’t say enough, stress from being overwhelmed with clutter and remodeling dirt. All I want to do is sit on my balcony listening to the birds, watching the sun set and feel the cool air refreshing my soul as the stars pop out one by one, showering me with their brightness, washing away the dirt of every day hardships.

I am aware that I should be looking at it from another perspective, as there are important lessons that I could be learning.

Perhaps the home remodeling is a perfect metaphor to my own internal remodeling. Perhaps I’ve been just as torn up inside as my house currently is. One by one, I need to examine each room of my soul, tear down some walls and put them back up a little more sturdy, carefully brush on a fresh coat or two of paint, re-wire the hardware, clean out the pipes.

Perhaps the stressful situation isn’t going away because I haven’t learned the lesson it’s trying to teach me yet. ……….and perhaps I’ve spent too much time listening to the person who doesn’t know when to shut up that I can’t hear the one who doesn’t seem to be saying anything.

Either way, I’ve been down deep in the muck, and I have spent a lot of time just trying to stay afloat, feeling like I’m running under water. But it’s starting to hit me, as I’ve made the attempt to just try to *be* more lately. There are many things I can’t control, but one thing that I CAN control is my attitude towards life. The more I crawl into a hole the worse I feel. The more I sit around and feel sorry for myself the further in the hole I will fall and it will just take that much longer to crawl out of it and start to brush myself off.

I don’t, by any means, have a perfect life. I hate my (day) job, I’m pretty much living paycheck to paycheck, I’m struggling with many of the things that most single mother’s struggle with, and there are many things that will happen in the coming months/year that are going to continue to tax my emotional stability. BUT….I can CHOOSE to stop allowing myself to be defined by what HAPPENS to me. I can choose to stop allowing all of this stuff to dictate how I feel. Many friends have tried to tell me this too, but I just poo-poo’d them, knowing that I had to come to this realization on my own. Knowing I had to see that the light is still there, and that the goodness comes from inside of me and it’s shining down into my hole in the form of a rope…a lifeline.

I think we all have a cave that we crawl into when we’re feeling drained. Everyone deals with their stress and baggage in their own way, and I think that we have to crawl into that cave to build up the reserves again so that we can be good for ourselves and for those around us. It’s in that cave that we do the reflecting, the rebuilding, and the analyzing. And I think it’s because we don’t go into that cave often enough in our every day lives, even when things are good, that we end up falling into it when things are bad.

13 October 2010

imperfect


I’m late in joining Brene Brown’s weeklong “Perfect Protest”
http://www.ordinarycourage.com/my-blog/2010/9/26/the-perfect-protest.html
but it’s something I need to do. For someone who spent too many years putting up with emotional abuse, I’m well aware of how imperfect I am. But I’m ready to embrace it. I’m ready to admit the many things that are “wrong” with me and say “who cares”. So here goes

I walk heavy. Amazing how such a short person can make such noise.
I haven’t washed my vehicle in over a year…possibly closer to two.
I allow my children to eat in the living room.
I sometimes forget about leftovers and produce in my fridge.
I have weeds growing up around my mailbox.
I often leave clothes laying around.
Sometimes I’ll pull laundry out of the dryer and it will sit in the basket for a few days.
I don’t brush my hair every day, and often just wash it and throw it up in mess on my head.
I change my mind a lot.
I wear my heart on my sleeve.
I worry, a lot.
My friends have many wonderful things to say about me, but I rarely believe them.
I’m not as strong as people think I am.
I’m about 35 pounds over weight.
I don’t exercise enough.
I sometimes leave the dishes in the sink.
I often take things personally.
I’m afraid of my feelings.
I edit myself even when I’m writing in my journal.
I have a hard time letting go of regrets.
I’ve written a few more things but hit the backspace key and decided to end here.

01 October 2010

early thirties


today i turn 34. this is, i guess, the last year i can officially say that i'm in my "early thirties". these last four years have gone by rather quickly and i can only imagine how fast the next four or so will go by.

i decided to follow the masses and create yet another seemingly popular list. 34 things to do before i'm 35. i have a "life list" which i think needs a little tweaking or adding, and i have the 101 things in 1001 days list....this one needs revamped as there are many life list things on it that aren't really feasible to do in 1001 days.

anyway, i'm heading towards digressing here, the 34 before 35 list....travel is a huge love of mine and there are so many places i want to see. it's really easy for me to want to add all these amazing places to every list i make, but in a year it's not likely i'll get to more than one or two of them, so i had to try to keep it realistic. and i still have about 10 items to add. i've tried to make it about personal growth; things that my soul wants to experience as she's a little neglected these days and needs to be pampered. when i finish the list i'll add it here, but for now, here's a little sneak peek :)

1. Learn to knit - i plan on buying a book and taking this task on under my own instruction. i've wanted to do this for quite some time, but just never made the time to do it.

2. get a regular yoga routine going - i've needed this for a long time. yoga does amazing things for me both physically and mentally but finding the time to incorporate even a 15 minute practice into my day has been challenging. i'm aiming for 3x a week.

3. take a ghost tour in Gettysburg - this has been on my to-do list for years too. and would require very little time and planning. no reason this can't be crossed off my list!

4. research my maternal grandmother's mother's side of the family tree - this is the side we have the least amount of info on but i have a lot of interest in discovering more.

5. polaroid - there are at least two of these floating around in the attic so if they work i'll be playing with those, if not i'll be purchasing one

6. buy a MAC - i've been wanting this for about 4 years. it's definitely going to happen now though. as soon as my upstairs is done being remodeled i'll have an office space to set this up so this won't be a tough one to cross off either.

7. spend a day in bed watching classic movies - i rarely ever take time to myself to just do nothing, and i've been really enjoying older movies lately. i finally got Rear Window and fell in love with it. also have picked up a few old Clint Eastwood westerns and have been swooning over those. i grew up with a lot of these movies. my mom was a huge Clint fan and my dad loved all the old westerns so this might be one thing that I cross off two or three times!

I think the biggest thing on my list, however, is to drive 101 in California. i've wanted to do this for as long as i can remember and it looks like it's going to finally happen. i've never been to the pacific coast and the original plan was to start somewhere around Seattle area and drive the entire way down to San Diego. not really feasible time-wise right now...someday perhaps. for now i will settle for a week with my good friend d in an rv from LA to San Francisco.

one more project for the coming year....i'm doing my own 365 photo project. starting today i'll be taking a photo-a-day. perhaps i'll use that to get me posting here more too.

24 September 2010

ramblings


I’m a walking contradiction.
I want to be alone – yet I want to connect.
I want to be perfect – yet I know there is no such thing.
I know myself so well – yet I have no clue who I really am.
I am insanely happy – yet there are so many things I want to change.
I want to run away – yet I want to keep my feet planted firmly here where the roots have been growing my whole life.
I’m stronger than I ever felt possible – yet I’m completely sensitive and delicate.
I know what my gut tells me is usually true – yet I continue to make myself vulnerable.

I think so deeply
I feel things much further than the depths of my core
It’s hard to be such an emotional person
And still guard my soul
It’s a challenge to see people for who they really are
When you constantly question their intentions

I believe that our perceptions are typically based upon half-truths. People only allow you to see what they feel comfortable letting out. When you only have half of a picture it’s difficult to judge a situation fairly. Yet we continue to keep ourselves closed off from opportunities to connect. The baggage holds us down. It guards our tender hearts and keeps us from the whole truth and clouds our perceptions. When you only have half a picture your mind is left to make up the rest of the picture.....often leaving us to base those assumptions of what we don't know on our own insecurities.

Imagine how different our connections would be if we were all real. Genuine. In every sense.

20 September 2010

my bubble

I often feel as if I’m floating through life. Like, I’m going through all the motions, yet not really experiencing any of it. Whatever I may be doing at any given moment, my mind is in a million other moments. Constantly ahead of the next task, constantly thinking about the many struggles I have going on…..and mostly I’m thinking about how calm and free I will feel whenever I’m over all the struggles.

I often think of the piece of writing that goes around in emails every once in a while; the one that tells us to ‘live now’ and not to wait until “the bills are paid off” or “the house remodeling is complete” and that there will always be something to keep us moving. And it is so true, and I know it is true, but I also know that I’ve been completely unable to stop and really live through everything I have on my plate right now. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a calm existence. It’s been many years since I’ve felt at peace with the things in my life (other than my children of course, they are the one constant source of peace I have).

The past year and a half have wreaked havoc on my soul. I have been shaken to the core and tested beyond what I ever imagined I’d be. I’ve had to deal with two major and terrible losses in a very short amount of time. Losing my grandmother….a woman who was a rock in my life for 32 years; and three very short months later….not even being close to understanding her departure from this earth I lost my father….another rock. My ability to grasp the why’s of each of those losses and their timing, and the way each happened…..well, I still have a hard time understanding it all.

There have been other stressors....and at this point, I can say that I am still standing at a crossroads. But the big, important part here is the fact that I am very slowly moving. I feel like I’m starting to take steps in one direction. This direction may have other crossroads, but it’s a direction that I’ve been avoiding for quite some time. It’s a place that I never thought I would come to, nor did I want to admit that I needed to come to it.

Everyone has their vision of where they *think* their life will go. I always had a vision as a child….one where I met the perfect man, had the perfect wedding (with my father walking me down the aisle and my grandmother sitting right in the front next to my mother), brought my beautiful children home from the hospital with the same loving husband by my side and continued to spend years providing them with the same close, loving family surroundings that I grew up with as a child.

My father will never walk me down the aisle; my children spent their first three months of life in the NICU and while they are perfect and loved by all beyond anything imaginable, their father and I will never be happily married. My grandmother will never again greet me when I walk through the door at the end of the day…..but I am starting to come to terms with the fact that I have to be okay with this. I have no other choice than to accept that this is my life. In all the imperfections, all the things that have gone the total opposite of what I expected, they are all the hills and valleys that were meant for my life. Someone upstairs has chosen for things to go this way, and rather than fall on the floor and kick my legs like a tantruming toddler, I must stand up and firmly plant my feet in the soil beneath me and gain strength from the struggles.

I don’t really know for sure who I am right now. I don’t know for sure where I am going or what I will further discover about myself, but I think I’m ready to find it.

03 August 2010

stuck

I find myself at a crossroads, standing idly amongst the many options, feeling completely paralyzed and unable to focus. Each route enticing me with brightly colored, flashing billboards, touting their lists of glorious outcomes while the one road that I’m on flashes it’s own consistent sign warning me that those other outcomes are empty promises and that there is security in continuing to stay on route.

I stand here, wanting so for the road that I’m on to suddenly build it’s own brightly lit billboard with all the wonderful things I’m wishing for it to contain. I’ve spent a long and quite frustrating time wishing these things to fruition and I’m pretty certain that most of these things are never going to appear on this road. I’m becoming more certain every day that this road will always contain the same depressing scenes with the same status-quo experiences and if I stay on this road I am certain to come to the end of it and look back in regret at the options that I’ve passed up.

Life is never easy, and I’m not expecting my road to be full of roses, blue sparkling lakes with amazing mountains reflecting in them. I know I’m going to come across a desert on occasion, dry and void of color; and it’s going to be a struggle to stay hydrated as I find my way back to the sunlight. But it seems that the road I’m on is destined to continue through barren land.

If I were to leave this road, I would leave most of this barren land behind, but I would also be leaving a bag full of 33 years of existence behind me too, and that bag contains many things that I don’t know how to let go of. The bag is tied tightly in unsolvable knots around my waist, growing roots around me. Roots that are important and strong, but slowly starting to weigh me down.

So here I continue to stand, twiddling my thumbs while I wait for an epiphany.




13 June 2010

the simple things

These feet are almost six years old and I still have the urge to grab them and kiss them just like I did when they were baby feet.

03 June 2010

Spring is here. It's here and while there has been plenty of rain there has also been plenty of blossoming beauty all around. It's been completely therapeutic to get out with my camera and capture all of it.
I missed the peak on these beauties, but in a strange way I still find beauty in it's death. The contrast, the fragility, the still amazing, bright colors continuing to hold out in the paper thin petals.
And there's nothing like taking a photo with a specific subject and realzing that there are actually two amazing subjects combined to create depth and contrast. It never ceases to amaze me how I can compose a photo so carefully and still find a new point of view when I load it on the screen.

Photography continues to help me find beauty. It continues to remind me that even though the rain falls and dark clouds shadow over us at times, life still pushes through the much and there is still so much to be thankful for.
And if you've taken the time to read my little blog, please post a comment and tell me where you're from and how you found me. I may be tempted to neglect my poor little blog a little less if I know someone out there is appreciating it :)

05 May 2010

random thoughts


I'm very inconsistent, yet I'm a creature of habit and thrive on routine.

I love being spontaneous but again, with the routine.

I love the smell of fresh lilacs and think they bloom for a much too short period of time.

I've love to mow the lawn, even though I have to use a riding mower due to having nearly 8 acres of lawn to mow and it really makes me cringe to think of the addition to my carbon footprint....especially when added to the fact that I drive an SUV, but it's a 12 year old SUV and I justify it not only by the fact that I need 4wd, but that it's also 12 years old and I plan on not sending it to the scrapyard til it's absolutely on it's last leg. I digress, back to the mowing......I find it relaxing and it's one task in my life that actually can be finished, if only for a couple days til it needs done again.

I usually don't care about capitalizing the first letter in a sentence, yet I'm a bit crazy about being grammatically correct and can't stand to misspell words or use improper punctuation.

I have had some really unimaginable things happen in my life yet I've found my ability to smile again and can still find beauty in the world around me.

I love to write and have so much to say, but as is noted to anyone who actually reads this blog, I don't often make the time to write as I'd like to.

05 April 2010

long time no blog

My poor little neglected blog. I'm so sorry I've not been paying attention to you lately. It's been busy, to say the least. I think mostly, though, I've been doing more actual living in the moment and less contemplating. So haven't really felt much like writing.

Today, though, I am so thankful for this beautiful weather. It was an absolutely lovely weekend. Much sun, many snuggles under the sun with my little ones, and even a little color to my pasty, pale, covered under the cold of winter skin. It feels great to have my toes out, even if I haven't yet had the time to paint them.

08 February 2010

Cold

Really, seriously tired of this weather. The snow is beautiful, but I've had enough already. Little more than one month til spring is here. And it can't come soon enough. I need flowers blooming, birds singing and warm air.

21 January 2010

lunch

went out at lunch today and shot some photos, for fun. it was a beautiful day, if a little bitter, the sun was shining and it just felt really good to be outside.







13 January 2010

What brings me simple joy?

A recent post by Dancing Mermaid http://dancingmermaid.com/blog/2010/01/12/what-brings-you-simple-joy/ begs me to post today. To answer her question, "What small things bring you so much joy?" I'll make a list :)

1. watching the sun rise during my morning commute
2. when my boys walk up to me out of nowhere, throw their arms around me and say "I Love You, Mommy!"
3. a warm bowl of Amy's Organic Chunky Tomato Bisque
4. having great friends at work to help me escape when it gets stressful
5. meeting with a potential wedding client who tells me that she really wanted to meet with me because she likes my style.
6. standing outside my house at night in the complete quiet looking up at the stars.
7. fresh flowers
8. an empty laundry basket (which doesn't happen often)
9. an empty sink (which happens even less often than the laundry)
10. the color blue
11. listening to Hank Williams Sr. and remembering my dad playing his guitar and how he used to sing along.
12. Seeing my mom still able to smile and laugh after all the sadness of 2009.
13. watching flowers bloom in the spring.
14. discovering a new and really really good flavor of tea
15. the fact that I'm able to even make this list after 2009.

Thanks McCabe, for your creative assignments :)

06 January 2010

New Year

Clean slate, fresh start! A chance to make resolutions and feel good about moving forward. But also a chance to beat myself up about things that don't "stick". Setting unrealistic goals with strict guidelines is just setting myself up for failure.

So, my word for the year being "acceptance", I'm going to go further than originally planned with this. Not only am I going to accept the things that have occurred in 2009 and find a way to move on from the grief and sadness in them, I'm going to also add "acceptance of myself" to this list. Sure there are things I want to change but rather than trying to ignore them & hope they go away I'm going to accept these things and look them in the eye and make friends with them. I'm going to say "oh, hello there procrastination, I see you're visiting again". Then I'm going to say "could you come back later? I really don't have time to indulge you right now".

With a new year, I'm bringing a new approach. I'm done making excuses and allowing myself to feel badly about every mistake I make. I will make them, surely, but I will also be moving on from them and not allowing them to hang around. Like the gremlins that take up way too much space in my head, it's time to go!

About Me

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40. mother. earth lover. mover. creater.