Monday, March 30, 2009

Poppies ~ Beautiful Poppies

While we ate our lunch on Saturday, Charlie suggested that we go for our drive after we got done eating instead of Sunday like we had initially planned. At first, I was a little hesitant because I didn't think we would have enough time to enjoy ourselves and would have been too rushed. He talked me into it and I was so glad that he did! When we woke up Sunday morning, the temperature was cooler and it was also windy.

Charlie grabbed the ice chest and threw in a couple of bottled water's for each of us and off we went! It was a gorgeous day!

The canyon looked as if someone poured an orange crush soda over it and the liquid flowed down the hills. I couldn't believe how beautiful it was! The view was like that for at least five miles. At one point I heard myself saying out loud in the voice of the wicked witch in The Wizard Of Oz, "Poppies, beautiful poppies."

It truly took your breath away!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mmm... Saturday Morning ~

During the week, I start my day with an early 4:30 wake up call and I am off running before the sun rises. I really enjoy my Saturday mornings and try to stay in my pajamie's as long as I can. It is something I rarely get to do.

With the weather getting warmer, you can hear the humming birds making their familiar sound in the yard. I can see them every where! I plan to go to a Native Plant sale where you can purchase flowering shrubs and perennials that attract butterflies, hummingbirds and insects that are beneficial to your garden. In addition, they are also low-maintenance and drought-tolerant. I am looking forward to this!

I hope your Saturday is off to a great start!
Enjoy ~

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Gardening Table

This gardening table was handed down to a great grand-daughter who is a friend of my daughters. They were going to tear it apart and she said, "Absolutely NOT!"

I thought that this one was so unique! Notice the old antique french door (or could it be a window?) placed on its side to serve as the back panel on top of the table? Beautiful!

This garden table is in a favorite store that I like to go to and the table is huge! I love how they incorporated it indoors.

This one is the one that I built myself (with a little help from Charlie).

I had been looking for a gardening table for a couple of years. The only spot that I could put it was on the side of our house. The problem with that was, it had to be narrow enough so that we could still walk with ease. Well, I found one last year at the same time we found out that Charlie had cancer. He then started getting his chemo treatments and was in no shape to put it together for me. It sat in the garage for four months. One day, I tried putting it together myself and right away, ran into complications with not understanding the instructions. I put everything back the way that I had found it. I needed Charlie to help me.

That was a hard time for me. I hadn't realized how much I depended on my husband for so many things. I remember one time while he was in the hospital, our water heater had stopped heating the water. For the entire week, Diandra and I were taking cold showers. It was horrible! In addition, my car needed the oil to be changed, Diandra's car battery died (twice!), our taxes needed to be filed, and now reflecting, it seems my list could conintue, neverending. It felt like every time I turned around, I needed Charlie because I didn't know how to do something. I didn't like feeling that way. Under the circumstances, it was plain ol' scary.

I got tired of the box with the picutre of my gardening table staring at me everytime I went out to the garage. It just reminded me of what I could not do, which further made me feel incapable. I pulled my car out and I cut the box wide open this time, so that I couldn't put everything back in it. I continued to lay out all of the parts to my gardening table. I read the instructions very carefully to myself, so that they could be comprehended. After about four hours, Charlie came out to the garage and pulled out a chair to sit and watch me. He instructed me how to put the rest of table together where I was having problems.

Every time I use my gardening table or even walk by it, I can't help but think of what it felt like after I put it together. I feel a bit of pride for teaching myself how to complete a task which I felt overpowered me.


Monday, March 23, 2009

A Productive Day ~

We didn't get to go for our drive yesterday as planned, although we do plan on going next Sunday as the weather will be much nicer. The storm came through in the night and even though we woke up to the sun shinning and the most beautiful fluffy clouds scattering the sky, it was just too cold and windy! If you went outside, it felt like it was just cutting right through you. With Charlie weighing in at only 150 lbs. and having absolutely no insulation on him anymore, he really feels it! We had our wood burning stove going all day.

I did manage to go through some papers and was able to throw away two garbage bags! I also got some laundry done; which doesn't really count because that never really gets done. It can pile up on you though, so it's good to stay on top of it. I also did some chores that needed to be done around the house. I got caught up with my mom (she just came back from a weeks vacation in Hawaii!). I threw away old catalogues. It feels so good to purge the house of things that have accumulated over the past weeks/months.

I think that I could have gotten a touch of spring fever yesterday.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It's A Game Plan ~

I went for a drive today in the late morning, just to get out of the house. It was wonderful! When I left, the weather was gorgeous! At the time, it was a little hard for me to believe that we had a storm coming in later today. Unfortunately, hour by hour, I could feel the temperature drop as the clouds moved in. I was disappointed because Charlie suggested that we take a drive tomorrow and have lunch. He is insisting that we go anyway and sets the bait by saying, "You never know what kind of pictures you might get."
I am grinning.

The school faculty and the students have a saying about the month of March, "It is the longest month!" If you looked at our school calender, you would see that we do not have one day off during the whole month. I am lucky enough to get some time off, with the upcoming spring break that all the kids get. I am really looking forward to it! I have quite a bit planned for eight of the ten days and might have to scale back a little. I have noticed that the older I get, I need some "down time" to recuperate.

Oh well, what ever happens was meant to be.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

To Own It ~

Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.


Have you ever had a reaction with specific feelings because of something that happened? Has this reaction and thought process ever continually reoccurred in your life? Coming from a divorced family, I have plenty of "connectors" or "triggers" that have in the past and from time to time set me off. I can usually figure out where it comes from. Once I have done that, I understand what is going on inside of me and I try not to "react" to the connectors or whatever triggered that feeling. Eventually, I can work myself through it and the feeling usually dissipates. In the past year, I have had one feeling which I just can't get a hold of. I end up reacting to it and as a result, look like a crazy lady. It is the feeling like I am not worth it. As I get older, I have noticed that I am able to express myself more. Usually, I keep things bottled up and can let it go, or learned to pick my battles. This particular connector has been coming up a lot in the past three weeks.

Charlie mentioned over dinner the other night how content he feels. I just sat there wishing that I felt similarly. He looked at me and said oh so peacefully, "Don't you feel content?" I plainly said, "NO." He just looked at me puzzled and said,"What is going on baby?" I explained to him how I was feeling about the "not worth it feeling" and went on to say, I feel like I take it and take it until I am backed into a corner and ultimately come out swinging (not literally) yelling "I AM WORTH IT!" He just looked at me as he listened intently and said, "Well, hit em' hard the first time so they get it. In my experience, it only took one swing." I started busting up laughing. He lightened what was feeling so heavy to me.

I was reading a certain passage in a book called Ordinary Sparkling Moments yesterday. For some reason, it shed some light on what I was trying to process. The feeling of being loved.


On a snowy January day in the Midwest I visited a cemetery, and came across a grave marker peeking through the snow. All that could be seen was a portion of the word LOVED in gold letters, a tiny piece of evidence of what lay beneath the expansive carpet of glittering snowflakes crunching beneath my feet. As I stood among the bare trees and inhaled deeply, I contemplated all the ways our lives become uniquely empty when a loved one passes on, how we create these testaments to make sure the world understands how deeply loved those closest to us were. It is this one particular piece of a person's life that most people want remembered above all else: that they were Loved.

I want to be loved enough to know that I was worth it. Deeply loved.

I know that I am loved... don't get me wrong. But, I am an "actions speak louder than words" kinda girl and like more than lip service. It is really big with me. My mind understands actions and can wrap around them. I started thinking back to when this feeling started, and could pin point it right away. I didn't feel like this when I was little. It was when we moved into my step father's house. In a divorce (at least this was my experience) you get pushed aside, your really not wanted, or you're left to feel less important. You fall between the cracks. I was a girl who needed her mom at an already tender time, and she was trying desperately to make a second marriage work. It wasn't anything like the Brady Bunch and I knew the true meaning of the wicked step siblings. I eventually moved in with my dad; it was where I had felt wanted. To quote Lily Owens from The Secret Life of Bees, "My whole life has been nothing but a hole, where my mother should have been. It always left me aching." It is just one of the repercussion's of divorce. Either way, there was a hole where one parent wasn't. To be fair, I know now what it takes to be a step parent; it is hard. I went into my own marriage knowing first hand what it was like being the child of a step-family, thinking I had enough love to make their world better. I was so wrong. They had hurts of their own, feeling as if they were abandoned, and my love and attention only was a constant reminder of what was not in their life; their mom. The love I had to give, felt as if I was pouring salt into their wounds. Divorce is hard, period.

Note* Things are now good between me and my step-dad.

Later that day, in a conversation with my daughter Diandra, she understood what I was trying to express with her. I felt relieved because I was trying to understand it myself. Diandra then said, "We all strive in life to beat the feeling of worthlessness and inferiority, and search for acceptance. When we realize that what we're fighting against is a concept trying to diminish our God given, intrinsic value, it becomes easier to dismiss and stand our ground. We no longer need to subject ourselves to this inferiority complex that tries to suppress us from living our life in freedom to just be.
Be who we are, without conditions.
We're all running around doing the same thing: fighting off these labels, ideas, and concepts about who we are and what we may become. The mere fact that we fight makes these concepts inadequate, null, void of any truth. We are the opposite of what we fight. No one can take this away.
Your fight for example: You are worthless.
The opposite, intrinsic value: You are worth.
No matter what, we are, it can't be taken away with any label.
It is truth."

I just stood there, in awe that I gave birth to this young women who spoke such wisdom. Whether she goes into psychology of the mind or the brain, I know that she will definitely make an impact whatever she decides. I am so proud of her!

I went back and forth whether or not to post something so personal. I want to stay true to trying to be authentic to who I am. I really am in a good place. Life is a process and I am moving forward not backwards.

I am of worth ~ It is truth.
I have to own this.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

still shots in movie houses

It is early in the twentieth century, and movie houses are springing up all over the country. During this time, nickelodeons were being replaced by a new industry. The emerging movie houses were given regal names such as the "Majestic," the "Imperial," and the "Plaza." Patrons were happy to pay the price of a movie ticket, usually 10 cents, to see the latest moving picture show. At first, single reels of film were projected onto the big screen. By 1907, multiple reels of film were spliced together and presented as feature films. Early audiences were lured into the movie houses not only by the western feature shown every Saturday but also by the promise of seeing still shots of themselves up on the big screen.

Traveling photographers earned a living, moving from town to town, taking photos of local people, especially children and nearby scenes of interest to show on the screen of the local movie house. The photographers were paid not only by the movie house owner who knew that local shots would be popular attractions, but they were also paid by the parents for the children's photographs. Eventually, these still shots of local people and places were replaced by newsreels of current news events, such as the world wars in Europe. These newsreels, precursors of the evening news now watched nightly, showed flickering images of real men going off to battle. The reels played before the main feature and were eagerly awaited reports of current events in the world.

I think it would have been absolutely fascinating to be a photographer back in that time!

If your interested in this kind of thing, you can check out the history on the Monterey State Theater highlighted in this link.

When Charlie and I are in Monterey, we always try to see a movie in this theater during our visit. It is truly beautiful! Do you have any special memories of a particular theater?

* I want to thank those of you who commented on my previous post for all of your kind words.

Muah ~ it was heart felt!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

i want to feel again ~

I love The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer and have posted it on my blog several times. When I read it, I always think of someone else; as if it was being read to them. Today I read it to myself. At times, I have come to realize what an effect this last year has had on me. For instance; I am attending an English Language Arts class and we were asked to write a poem about our self. I couldn't believe how hard it was. It was time to take a break and I sat at my desk wanting to cry. I kept coming up empty. I realized that I felt numb and quite safe there. I want to feel again. I know that I am on my way with each layer that is being peeled back; one by one. With each life experience, it has left me feeling pulled and stretched and has given me room to grow.
I am getting reacquainted with myself ~ little by little.
Learning new things.

The Invitation

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your
fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful
be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.

If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn't interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after a night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Taking A Detour...

When we discovered Charlie had cancer at the beginning of last year, we knew that it was going to be a rough road and felt uncertain about what the future held for us. It was scary. Additionally, the economy was in trouble. Now a year later, there is no doubt that we are in a recession. Charlie has his own business in construction. So far, with the economy as it is, we are amazed that he has had work throughout all of this and we know how fortunate we are. Under the circumstances, we also know that can change at any time.

I work for a school district and with the budget cuts in effect, we already know where the cuts have been made. There will be more to come next year. Some of my close friends in the department and I had coffee after work last week and we were discussing the change of attitude we are experiencing from our fellow colleagues. It has become a cut-throat world. As soon as one walks away, they are getting stabbed in the back. We are hearing discussion on who should get cut and why. It is sad and I also find it interesting how in such a short time, you see people turning on each other. I don't want to think that everyone is showing their true colors in this name of the game. I truly believe that the fear of losing jobs and how it will affect lives is the result of this kind of behavior.

Okay, enough about that. We have had some road construction around the town that I live in and when I saw this sign, I couldn't help but think about what my husband and I have went through with his illness, as well as what we are all facing with the economy now. Metaphorically speaking, the road has closed for some and now we have to take a detour. We have to make some changes in the plans that we had for ourselves. I know for myself, I don't like change. I have a hard time with it. With the road being closed, what can we do? Either sit there or take the detour. We have to be confident that it will all work out; make that change and see where the road takes you/me.

For the road is closed, but we are given detours and another road is open.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

quiet time

Last week was a bumpy one. There were a couple of situations that came up at work that needed to be ironed out this week. We had a meeting today and I am glad to say that all is well. I came home feeling tired, but also wanting to get some things done. Rob is coming home tomorrow, mainly to see his lovely wife, but I will get to visit with him a little too.

Our dishwasher is not working and I have been playing phone tag with the repair man. The earliest he can come to fix it, is on Monday (we have yet to set a time). I washed the morning dishes and wiped the counters down, watered my plants in the kitchen window thinking, 'I am going to have to move them soon. The sun has been coming out more and they will burn if I don't... where am going to move them?'

I started thinking about lunch and what I was going to fix myself? I looked into the pantry; nothing looked good. I went to the refrigerator and opened up the door to see a container holding some leftover deviled egg salad that my daughter made her dad for lunch. I smiled, knowing that she always makes enough for me too. I cut an apple into wedges and sat down to eat my lunch, occasionally sharing with the girls. My stomach was satisfied. I took a shower, ran a comb through my wet hair and put on my Harley Davidson sweatshirt, faded jeans and pulled on my fatbabys. I was a little cold and decided to make myself some Chai tea. I sat outside, while the warmth of the sun was felt by my body. As I sat, sipping my tea, a little bird was singing a song; I suppose that it was happy too! I felt very blessed in that moment. I didn't feel alone, but was very comfortable being by myself. I felt content and happy to be me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Conversation Overheard

I recently had to fill in for a fellow co-worker at another school and overheard a conversation between two First graders:

boy ~ Are you going to sit by me today?
girl ~ NO!
boy ~ (Sad) Why won't you sit by me? I want you to.
girl ~ You know why I won't sit by you.
boy ~ Please, I won't do it!
girl ~ No, I don't trust you.
boy ~ Please, I promise not to do it. Please, I want you to sit by me.
girl ~ (Hesitating) Okay... BUT, if you do that disgusting thing, I am going to move and NEVER sit by you again.
boy ~ (very happy) I won't! I promise! I won't do that disgusting thing.

I wanted to ask the girl what he had done that was so disgusting, but could only look around to see if anyone else had heard the conversation that I had just heard.

I just giggled as they left the serving cart.

Too cute!

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Secret Life of Bees

“…the world is really one big bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places: Don't be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don't be an idiot; wear long sleeves and long pants. Don't swat. Don't even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates, while whistling melts a bee's temper. Act like you know what you're doing, even if you don't. Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved.”
Here are some more of my favorite quotes from The Secret Life of Bees... read if you would like to.
"I feel I'm where I'm supposed to be. I really do. I just need time to figure out why."

"... there is love all around you."

"Don't ever be afraid, we are enough."

“There is nothing perfect,” August said from the doorway. “There is only life.”

Later, Lily finally begins to consider forgiving her mother. The next morning, Lily and August head to work on the bees. Because one hive is missing its queen, they must get it a new one. August reveals that she was hoping Our Lady would stand in for Lily's mother, just as Lily had imagined she would. August then explains the nature of Our Lady, how she is a presence in every part of the world and not an actual being in heaven. She explains that Lily must find a mother inside herself, and she should not expect an outside force to mother her. August explains that the mother acts as a power inside of her, one that she can rely on when she is feeling weak or alone, sad or tired. Lily appreciates this sentiment and takes it to heart. It comes in useful almost immediately.

"You think too much. It would do you a world of good to stop thinking and just go with your feelings once in a blue moon."

"Is it the wounded places down inside people that seek each other out, that breed a kind of love between them?"

"... something everybody wants is for someone to see the hurt done to them and set it down like it matters."

"... when it's time to die, die, and when it's time to live, live. Don't sort-of-maybe live, but live like you're going all out, like you're not afraid (of dying)."

"Bee hum... It was the oldest sound there was. Souls flying away."

"There's a fullness of time for things... You have to know when to prod and when to be quiet, when to let things take their course."

"... you can't talk yourself out of anger. Either you are angry or you're not."

Lily Owens: [to T. Ray] "My whole life has been nothing but a hole, where my mother should have been. It always left me aching, but I never thought about what it did to you."


Lily Owens: If your favorite color is blue, why did you paint the house pink?
August Boatwright: [chuckles] That was May's doing. When we went to the paint shop, she latched on to colo called, "Caribbean Pink." She said it made her feel like dancing a Spanish Flamenco. I personally thought it was the tackiest color I had ever seen, but I figured if it could lift May's heart, it was good enough to live in.
Lily Owens: That was awfully nice of you.
August Boatwright: Well, I don't know. Some things in life, like the color of a house, don't really matter. But lifting someone's heart? Now, that matters.

If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, I encourage you to.
If you have, How did this movie or book touch you?