Friday, December 20, 2013

advent photojournal - december 20th

Shop window, downtown Burlington, NC.

our hearts grow tender...

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” 
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder
photo by Derek Gude

 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

advent photojournal - december 18th

Peppermint cake pops - oh my!

corner view: hobbies

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane (Spain) and curated by Francesca (Italy), where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. The theme this week is "hobbies", and comes from Kristin (Germany).

I think I've always been expressing myself as a creative person. Even as a small child I was looking for things to make and tried my hand at all types of activities. I taught myself some of the arts and crafts. Some, like embroidery, knitting and crochet, I learned while sitting beside each of my grandmothers and I loved exploring one grandmother's basement studio to see how she was transforming a canvas with her paints and brushes, or to lift the plastic from her latest clay sculpture to see a work in progress.

Music has also been a creative sideline for me for my entire life and is something anchored pretty strongly in my family. It's something we've always shared and in many different forms. 

I've also been a collector. When I was very young, natural objects like beautiful bird feathers, shells, sea glass and interesting stones were valuable treasures, and frankly, they still catch my eye.

Through the years, my creative avenues and collections have changed as I've explored and my interests broadened, but one thing that remains the same is my love for reading. My parents would catch me reading under my bedcovers late at night, with just the beam of the flashlight to brighten the page. Rarely does a day go by when I don't take some time to escape into a good tale, pour through a cookbook or take in new ideas from self-help books filled with encouragement. Historical novels such as the Outlander series, Fantasy adventures like the Harry Potter series, Southern writers, Travelogues, I love them all. I live in an area that is rich with well-known, published, prolific writers and I adore delving into the special section in bookstores that is set aside for them. My home is filled with books. I know that e-readers are becoming increasingly popular, but I personally treasure the soft pages and worn, cloth bound volumes. It's a tactile experience that adds to my enjoyment of an engrossing yarn.  


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

advent photojournal - december 13th

Christmas 1988

on not buying into the myth

This is an especially tricky time of year for many people. The television, the advertisements, the radio, the carols, the sermons, the storybooks, they’re all telling us that life should be a certain way. They’re trying to illustrate and direct what your holiday should look like, your tree, your dinner table, your gift exchanges, your family gathering, and on and on. The truth is, life isn’t perfect and many people are hurting. More accurately, everyone is struggling with something; it’s just that some people are pretty good at hiding it. You don’t know what is really going on though, so don’t pass judgment on the other guy. Don’t make assumptions about what they are thinking, what they are needing or why they act/react the way they do. Don’t presume to know what is in the heart of another person. Yes, there are some people that will have the courage to speak up, to define their limitations, to ask for what they need, and if you are one of those people then you are among the strongest of us. In fact, if more people spoke up about their pain and problems then we all might be better off because we’d better realize that we’re not alone in our struggles, that we’re not in the minority, and that we don't have to measure up to someone elses ideal. This season, let’s practice empathy, compassion and a bit of understanding. Don’t presume you know what’s going on with your neighbor, friend or family member or what they need. This holiday season, try a little kindness and most importantly, give yourself a much needed break. That life that the greeting card companies and the media are trying to feed you…that’s not real. Your life? Now that’s the real deal and you are not lacking if your holiday doesn’t look like the one in the magazines.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

advent photojournal - december 11th

Downtown dresses up for the holidays.

corner to corner

In 2009, the Corner View blogging group was started by Jane in Spain, where bloggers from around the world post once a week on a pre-determined theme and participants get to see, through photos and words, that particular aspect of life means/looks like in each other’s country. What developed was an international group of friends.

In 2011, Joanne in Japan created a beautiful tenugui cloth, wrapped a small gift inside and sent it to Francesca in Italy with this message:

“When you get it, you 'wrap" something small in it, and send it to the next person on Corner View. Then that person can either take your something or add something small, 'wrap' it and then send to the next person on Corner View...etc etc.  People can take or give and then send it on, keeping it always 'wrapped' in the tenugui I sent you. So we would send this tenugui all around the world, as a kind of fun game of giving, receiving, sharing, and then at some point I will get it and at the 'end' of the tour you will get it!!!”

Since then, the tenugui has been traveling to many corners of the world including Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Faroe Islands, Switzerland, UK, US, Canada, Belgium, France, Basque Country and Poland. Last week I was excited to receive the package, all the way from New Zealand!
gift tags added by each recipient as the tenugui travels around the world
Thank you Karyn for the beautiful bookmarks. I love them!

This weekend I picked out a gift, wrapped it in the lovely tenugui and now will send it on its way, this time to Dorte in Spain.
At the end of it’s journey, the tenugui will return to Francesa and the collection of gift tags that have been attached and traveled many miles through the years, will return to Joanne.

I love being a part of this group of creative bloggers and it was touching to be able to thumb through this collection of gift tags and the package that has traveled such great distances.   

Monday, December 9, 2013

raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

I couldn’t help but overhear the conversations of some folks who gathered at the coffee shop this morning. As the Christmas carols rang out over the system overhead, they began complaining about how overwhelmed they were, getting ready for the holidays.  It’s only the beginning of December and already they were feeling exhausted just thinking about the shopping, the cooking, and the events on their calendars. Newspaper flyers covering the table, some of them were thumbing through the pages and ruefully noting how high the cost of everything is, even though these were supposed to be “sales” flyers. 

As Julie Andrews sang out about her favorite things I began to think about my own simple pleasures, those unexpected moments of happiness. They’re priceless and free!  After a while I noticed my mind had been wandering and realized that this little “time-out” is a perfect way to escape from what can be a chaotic holiday schedule. So if you find yourself feeling run-over  by your hectic holiday calendar, clobbered by the commercialism of the season, and maybe even feeling stressed out about finances this month, perhaps you too can take a mental break, grab a cup of hot coffee and go over in your mind your very own list. It may not include “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,” but I bet you’ve got a few good ones!

Here are a few of my favorite things: 

  1. Finding a text from a friend or loved one first thing in the morning. 
  2. Correctly guessing an old password or username. 
  3. The way the sun turns everything a beautiful shade of gold just after sunrise and just before sunset.  
  4. Finding money in your old pair of jeans. 
  5. Getting an unexpected compliment. 
  6. Bubble wrap. 
  7. Feeling the rush of the wind when you hang your hand out the window of a moving car. 
  8. Seeing two elderly folks holding hands while they walk. 
  9. A certain song or smell that takes you back to another place or time. 
  10. Crossing items off your to-do list. 
  11. A good stretch after a long night’s sleep. 
  12. Running warm water over your hands when you’re chilly. 
  13. Random good-hair days. 
  14. That weightless feeling you get after a really good cry. 
  15. Finding rainbows when a sprinkler is running. 
  16. After uploading your photos you find you’ve taken the perfect picture. 
  17. When a YouTube video plays without putting you through an advertisement. 
  18. When your birthday falls on the weekend. 
  19. Turning to the cool side of the pillow on a warm night. 
  20. Making the first footprints in new snow. 
  21. Being enthusiastically greeted at the door every evening by your dog and/or cats. 
  22. When you see your loved one’s name flash on your cell phone. 
  23. Making the first scoop into a new jar of peanut butter. 
  24. The smell of brand new Playdough or a newly opened box of crayons. 
  25. When you hear “yes” when you thought you’d hear a “no.” 
  26. The smell of someone’s woodfire as you’re driving down a country road. 
  27. When you hear the thunk of a well hit tennis ball, the sound of rolling thunder, a far-off train whistle or the cry of a blue jay. 
  28. Finding something you thought you had lost forever. 
  29. Feeling like you’re flying as you walk up a moving escalator. 
  30. Seeing a shooting star, an owl fly overhead, or a dolphin swim past. 
  31. Putting on clothes that are still warm from the dryer. 
  32. The worn cover of an old book. 
  33. Stepping on crunchy fall leaves. 
  34. The joy of hearing a baby laugh. 
  35. Sitting in a room lit up by the glow of Christmas lights. 
  36. Those first few moments when the sun warms you to your bones after you’ve been sitting for too long in a too cool, air conditioned room or car. 
  37. Friends you’ve known since your childhood. 
  38. Finishing a fantastic book and knowing there’s a sequel. 
  39. Waking up with your childhood sweetheart - 39 years later. 
  40. Seeing a loved one’s handwriting years after they’ve passed away. 
  41. Finding out that a loved one is safe and well. 
  42. When the blinker on your car blinks at the same speed as the song that is playing on the radio.
  43. Getting into bed when you’ve just put on fresh, clean sheets. 
  44. Slipping off your shoes and spreading your toes wide. 
  45. Looking up at a clear night sky seeing it filled with stars. 
  46. Wrapping up in a warm quilt on a chilly night. 
  47. When a friend does something that makes you smile, and it was exactly the moment you really needed a reason to. 
  48. Ocean breeze or cool mountain air. 
  49. Being recognized for your hard work, efforts and achievements. 
  50. Finding something nice on your Facebook page. 
  51. When your pets follow you all over the house. 
  52. Downing a big glass of cool water when you’re really thirsty. 
  53. Singing along with 25,000 other people at a Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young concert. 
  54. Having a sibling that is also a really good friend. 
  55. Waiting until nobody is home, putting your favorite song on repeat and then twirling and dancing all over the place. 
  56. The crackling sound of a fire-barrel on a chilly night. 
  57. Waking up from a dream and realizing you’ve just had a really great visit with someone you haven’t seen in a long time. 
  58. Having your parents tell you they are proud of you. 
  59. Putting thick wooly socks on your cold feet. 
  60. Breakfast food for dinner. 
  61. Discovering that others are going through the same issues that you are. 
  62. Kittens. 
  63. The moments after you’ve taken that big risk and finding that your effort is appreciated. 
  64. Finding the thing you need and it’s on sale. 
  65. Afternoon naps.

advent photojournal - december 9th

A hand-made Christmas, Saxapahaw, NC.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

advent photojournal - december 5th

Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go!
Me (13 months) Dad (20 yrs) and Mom (19 yrs)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

advent photojournal - december 4th

Collection of hand-blown glass ornaments.

corner view: view on my street

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane (Spain) and curated by Francesca (Italy), where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. The theme this week is "view on my street", and comes from Kristin (Germany).
The view on my street isn't terribly remarkable, but when it snows I grab my camera and get outside to document a winter wonderland. In my early years I lived in a part of the country that saw a good amount of snow each winter. From there I moved into the mountains and life in the winter was all about snow, snow and more snow. Now that I'm living in a warmer climate we don't get the wonderful white stuff nearly as much, but when we do...it's just gorgeous! The best view on my street is when we have a nice snowfall.

Heading to the pond, early in the morning, you can catch the mist rising as the sun hits the water and the ice on the trees makes everything shimmer.

Monday, December 2, 2013

advent photojournal - december 2nd

Old Salem, NC. The scent of newly baked bread, warm cinnamon,
 and freshly-cut pine filled the air. Heavenly!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

advent photojournal - december 1st

I thought that this year I'd give myself the fun project of creating a photojournal for Advent, so beginning today and for each day until Christmas, I'll be posting a new photo that captures a little bit of holiday spirit. Taking the photos has been a lot of fun so far!
Beautiful horse wearing a jaunty Santa hat at our local Christmas parade.

Friday, November 29, 2013

not perfect, but pretty darn good

Today you get to bask in the glow of a job well done! So with the leftover mess from yesterday’s Thanksgiving celebration, the dirty dishes still to be washed, the uneaten food that needs to be turned into leftover creations, the spilled wine, the tipped over plant, the thank you messages to be sent and maybe even the miles to travel, you were part of a great event! There were probably family squabbles and maybe even some notable drama. There was probably some dish that was over-cooked and maybe someone’s favorite dish was missing from the table, but you know what? Perfection is way over-rated. Life isn’t perfect, none of us are perfect. Martha Stewart’s perfect Thanksgiving is a myth. Your Thanksgiving, now that was real. So at some point today, take a moment, take a breath, close your eyes, sit quietly and be happy. Be grateful for the family craziness, be grateful for the gifts of food that were offered, be grateful for the gathering and the day. It wasn’t perfect, but I bet when you’re sitting peacefully today you’ll come to realize that it was pretty darn good.  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

corner view: pets

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane (Spain) and curated by Francesca (Italy), where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. 
The theme this week is "pets", and comes from Kristin (Germany).

They're the best companions when we're lonely, sad or sick....
they bring down our blood pressure, raise our spirits, help us to relax....
they bring life and love into every household....they turn a house into a home....
we put up with the stray hairs on our clothes, occasional painful scratches, early morning wake-up calls, the puddles of drool and the litter box duty.... because we love them...
they're members of our family.... 
and even after they're gone.... they remain in our hearts forever.