Fall, From My Viewpoint

2014-10-18 Fall Beauty IV and Beads 006

Fall.  What a glorious season.  Friends tell me this season makes them melancholy because it’s the “death” season.  ohmygoodness–what a beautiful way to go!  Stunning colors everywhere.  I sincerely think this was one of the most gorgeous falls I’ve witnessed.  I mean STUNNING.

2014-10-21 Fall Beauty 2014 III 009

This lone leaf caught my eye and touched my soul.  It’s not very large, compared to most of the leaves, but my eye was caught by the intensity of the vivid coloring as it hid amongst the other leaves that hadn’t found their final burst of color before falling to carpet the ground.

Not only did they carpet the ground, but there was also a warm orange glow coming through the windows in the room next to this Sugar Maple.  Yes, a glorious fall…

2014-10-26 Fall Beauty 2014 II 007

This angel is wonderfully precious, as it strokes a tiny bird with love and kindness, and is also incredibly special.  It was my mother’s day present from my preschool son, who recently turned 14.  He and I wandered through garden centers, looking for just the right little statue.  And here it is, ten years later, surrounded by the splendor of fall, still emanating the gentle spirit I see in my son.

Rather than feeling melancholy, I’m inspired to enjoy the season.  Time for sweaters, and stews and soups and snuggles in front of the fireplace… And don’t forget the baking!  Even though many of the trees are now bare, some trees are continuing to be colorful, and some, like my pear tree, still have green leaves.  This reminds me that things happen when they’re supposed to, not when we expect it.  I’ve still got the hyper-sensitivity to fragrance, still learning how to cope in this artificially scented world, and still don’t know what my “purpose” is now that I can’t teach high school.  Someday I’ll be privy to this information.  In the meantime, my job is to be open to the journey, enjoying the stunning beauty in this world.  And to remember that the moments matter.

2014-10-26 Fall beauty 2014 001

With warm wishes on your journey,

Nance

 

Simple Pleasures + 100 Happy Days = Making lists

A recent blogging “assignment” I had was to write my blog as a list. That was something different; self brainstorming, no grammar worries, a different kind of writing. Not bloggish as we think of a blog, but a list. As I wrote on May 22nd, I also recently signed up to do the 100 Days of Happy, where I take a photo of something that made me happy during my day. Every day, for 100 days! That’s a lotta happy. A fellow blogger wrote a post about 50 simple pleasures in her life. http://lyrallya.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/50-simple-pleasures-of-life/#more-3401 All of a sudden, I’m seeing a theme going on in my world.

It seems like people are trying to find the good stuff, the stuff that makes us happy, the positive influences, figuring out what’s real and important to us individually as well as universally. This is really incredible! Those moments that matter so much, and help us be genuine and true to ourselves. Wow–it’s the reason why I’m focusing on this blog; it’s really a purpose for my life. I’ve been teased my entire life for being a Pollyanna, seeing through rose colored glasses, being too happy. That IS who I am, and I’ve tried to understand why people aren’t always comfortable with me being like that. Hope those folks get over it!!! And if they can’t, it’s a true shame.

So far in my 100 days of happy, I have seen the absolute joy and love in my dog’s eyes, Gracie Jane. Next, I was awed by a big urn of pansies with their petals turned towards the sun. It was followed by my other dog laying down on the other side of the urn. A moment later, my son came over to lay down next to Spencer and laid his head on him. My heart just about overflowed with the happiness I experienced in a matter of a moment.
IMG_0828
IMG_0829
IMG_0830
The next day, my son took pictures of the young apples on the trees in our yard for me. This was so I could see the progression since I can’t get out there myself with my foot in the big old “non” walking boot and crutches. I got so excited to realize that I’d be getting to make apple pies, apple bread, apple sauce, apple crisp, apple butter… and more, come fall! We thought we might have to move for my hubby’s job, but he was offered a great position locally. We get to stay and enjoy the food our little 1/3 acre lot will produce. WOOHOO happy!!
IMG_0842
Another food related moment of happy was when Hubby was making dinner last night of grilled Vidalia doused in a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, perfectly grilled chicken and grilled sweet corn. Yep, my honey knows how to make some wonderfully tasty stuff.
IMG_0888
And today had several moments of happy for me; my hubby installing a new bunny proof (HA!) fence around the garden today, as well as going to lunch and sitting in the sun with a dear friend, finally getting out of the house!

This activity of acknowledging things that make me happy has really opened my eyes to the frequency of my happy moments. Once again, I feel so lucky, even with the fragrance and chemical sensitivities, the broken foot, leaving my teaching career of 10 years, and not knowing what the future has planned for me. Last night I was seriously freaking out due to the unknown. Tonight, I’m happy with my simple pleasures, and recognizing that even though it’s not what I had planned, everything will be good as long as I treasure the moments I’m given. Same goes for you, you know!!

With warm wishes on your journey,
Nance

Twisted sweet grass basket

Twisted sweet grass basket

A photo challenge I’m participating in today is entitled “Twist.” This sweet grass basket, with a twisted rim, was purchased in Charleston, S. Carolina. It was woven by a woman who’d learned the skill of basket weaving from her mother, sisters, aunties, and grandmothers. They’ve passed it down from generation to generation. I watched women all over Charleston, on the streets, side streets and markets, selling their wares, all the while weaving more. I was steeped in the moment, and appreciated the glimpse into living history, family tradition, and local commerce, as well as learning about the craft and the women. MY beautifully twisted, memory filled basket was chosen from hundreds of beautiful baskets I saw over the course of a week. The bits of shells are ones I picked up on the beaches by Charleston. Most people just want the whole shells, but these shell pieces are all unique, beautiful, and underappreciated. Perfect for my unique and beautiful memory basket.

100 days of happy

I signed up today to do a photographic “happy” memoire over the next 100 days. On the website, it states that only 71% of participants succeed. They don’t have enough time is the main reason. In our extremely busy lives, we forget to be HAPPY. Or we don’t have time to note that we’re HAPPY. How sad is that???!!!???

I’ve been feeling pretty low lately. There really are legitimate reasons. Hubby is looking for a replacement job since his employer lost their contract; having broken my foot 1 1/2 weeks ago, I’m wondering if I also damaged the tendon (which will then require surgery;) still trying to come to terms with my uber hyper-sensitivity to fragrance. OH — and I resigned from teaching next year, by not signing the contract. Maaaan, what a hard decision. Even though teaching is becoming more and more challenging, the threat of violence hang over our heads the whole time we’re there, and the fear of more fragrance assaults that could literally kill me, I procrastinated with my final decision until the day the contract was due. And I still didn’t notify my principal until the next day because I just didn’t want to finalize it.

With all of this going on, a friend informed me that she was signing up for this challenge of showing/finding/honoring 100 days of happy. She’s a pretty happy soul, in my estimation; life seems to be going well, she’s young and healthy. Well, heck–if Kendra is going to do this, me too!!

I like the idea that by consciously thinking about what is making us happy, we become happier, more appreciative of what’s in our life, filling our minds and hearts with gratitude. As Kendra said, can’t hurt!

Today, one of my big moments of happy came from my 4-legged daughter, Gracie Jane. She’s a spazzo, crazy, joy-filled dog. Can you see her smile? Hard not to be happy with a creature who’d never had a home until ours, is so thankful when you come back to the pack that she smothers you in kisses and talks about how much she missed you. Watch it–she’ll jump up and give a kiss on lips if you’re not watching–she’s part border collie and jumps like she’s got springs in her feet! If we humans kiss on the lips, why can’t she? I mean, we’re all family aren’t we? Yeah. no. I almost lost my cookies one time when she even got her tongue in. blech. I do love her. But no French-kissing from a dog. nope. But, she sure knows how to make me feel happy!

Gracie Jane

Gracie Jane

What was your happy moment today?

With warm wishes on your journey,
Nance

 

Recognizing That Your Moments Matter…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How do YOU make your moments matter?  I’ve been reading articles and self-help guides that say that you need to be aware of your world, your goals, your dreams all the time in order to become successful with your gifts.  I just recently recognized that I can’t MAKE my moments matter, but they end up mattering because they were a moment in my life.  Overdoing, over-planning, almost obsessing on everything being important and useful.  I found it becomes overwhelming, a waste of energy and, ha!, a waste of moments.  They happen and do matter, with or without my assistance.  When I realized this, I became incredibly appreciative and grateful for the comprehension.  I’m still wondering where all of these moments are leading to, but I’m so very glad for the realization that I had.

This ah-ha moment arrived for me yesterday, as I was taking pictures in my yard.  The flowers and the leaves are coming out like I’ve never seen before.  We’ve had an unusually long, harsh winter for central Missouri, and the plants seem as though they’re also ecstatic that warmer weather is finally here.  I was shooting pictures from different angles, close-ups, and even got some wonderful semi-posed shots of my son.  This was amazing to me, as he’s been camera phobic for a few years.  He was such a ham when he was a wee guy–even telling me to take his picture when he finally had the words to use!  When he started school, he became camera shy.  As in wouldn’t ALLOW his picture to be taken easily.  When he was little, I made sure I did not have a camera in his face constantly, as I knew that was too intrusive for all of us.  Has this happened to you, where your child made an actual choice to not be photographic?  I’m not sure what transpired in his brain, but it sucked!  I’d been taking great pictures of him for years, providing a growth and adventure history for us to look at and enjoy. Then, NADA.  It was so challenging for me since I loved catching special moments in parenthood, childhood, life adventures… I started focusing on scenery and nature shots, but missed taking pictures of my “bouy” and my hubby.  Hubby had never really liked having his picture taken, but having a son helped him relax from that aversion since we loved looking at the results so much.  Once my son didn’t want his picture taken, neither did my husband!  It was such an odd lag in my photographs, and one that actually saddened me deeply. Now, my photography bug seems to be back in full force; maybe that’s what has made it ok for my guys to have their pictures taken again.

While I’ve been off work with my fragrance sensitivity, I’ve turned my energy back toward photography.  I recognized how alive I felt yesterday, for the first time in forever!  My yard became my inspiration.  My son is my inspiration.  The results of my photography are my inspiration.  Knowing that my moments happen with or without my assistance and realizing that my true job is to simply acknowledge them not only inspires me, but also removed a large burden of finding my life success.  What’s your inspiration for your creativity, your life-energy, your moments?  I’m so excited to feel this and truly hope you can/do too!

With warm wishes for your journey,

Nance