Wednesday, October 30, 2013

corner view: all the small things

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 "all the small things", and comes from Babies (Slovenia).

"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together" ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Painting: "The Daughters of Durnand-Ruel" by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Photo taken by me while visiting the NC Museum of Art in Raleigh

Monday, October 28, 2013

on hanging on

Sometimes life gets hard – sometimes just too hard. Everything feels too difficult. You’re feeling too alone in the world, like it’s you against the whole world, like you want to retreat from the world. There are too many obstacles to overcome. You feel uncomfortable in your own skin, disoriented, unable to see clearly. You may feel disappointed in people you trusted, saddened by loss, fearful of the future. You may even be experiencing physical pain. You feel like you’re just hanging on.
Now is when you need to look for the most basic, smallest thing to hang on to, to feel gratitude for, some tiny light. You need to know that your bad day is going to end – you just need to hang in. You’re going to be ok. This problem/situation is going to end. Each day, the sun rises and sets. Each moment, you take a new breath. You are stronger than you think you are in this moment. Whatever heartbreak you are experiencing now, difficulty, decision or roadblock, you are not alone. Everyone hits this wall at some point in their lives. Everyone has a story.

You can do this. In fact, you’re going to be stronger when you come out on the other side, maybe a little scarred, feeling a bit damaged, disillusioned, disappointed initially, but stronger and wiser. You will find joy again and living a life reinvented, better than before.

So let your mantra for today be: it’s going to be ok. I’m going to be ok.

Friday, October 25, 2013

pitfalls of the clutter trap

Last night, my dreams were filled with anxiety, questioning, and discomforting situations. I woke only to find I was still feeling all of those things and my thoughts were much too scattered. I definitely needed a bit of reorienting this morning. I tried fighting the current for a couple of hours but as soon as I decided to let go of the struggle, to just stop fighting it, then everything became easier.
I took the time to do nothing. I allowed myself the time to just sit and watch a very adorable grouping of birds outside my window as they flitted about in unison. I got a cushion to relax my aching back, allowed myself room to breathe and in that moment, my racing mind cleared. Sitting here now with a mug of coffee warming my hands, I’ve realized that my last thoughts before falling asleep last night were worrisome, filled with uncertainty, and some amount of dread. Walking out of the house this morning I only noticed cluttered tabletops, laundry waiting to be done, repairs needing to be made.
I’m a firm believer that if we have so much clutter filling our life, our home, our car, our desk, or too many problems needing to be solved or decisions to be made, then our inner life cannot help but become cluttered as well. If we’re surrounded by clutter then at some point we stop noticing it but we also fail to notice how it affects us.  Somehow, I’ve fallen into a clutter trap. So this morning I’ve made a plan to get rid of one item a day for the next few weeks, to clean up one pile or surface a day, to face up to worrisome issues rather than pushing them aside. By making a plan and taking steps I’ll be clearing away both the external and my own internal clutter. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

corner view: sacred spaces

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 "sacred spaces."

There were so many ways to go with the theme of sacred spaces, some religious in tone but others leaning towards the definition of "highly valued or important." In sifting through the photos that I thought I might use for the post I realized that cemeteries are great illustrations of both of these ideas so I gathered photos from past wanderings. Whether you consider yourself a religious person or not, these quiet spaces are special. They're peaceful, historical, reverent, often artistic. Some are area visitor attractions, some are found in all-but-forgotten corners in town, but all are (or at one time were) highly valued, important, sacred spaces.  
A beautiful red rose. Quiet evidence that a recently lost loved one
 is still dear to someone's heart.
This family group was buried here in the 1920's.
Though that was long ago, someone continues to visit and bring flowers.
Rather than feeling sad at this marker, it feels like a happy place. Small gifts and meaningful trinkets left here are remembrances of a life that was special and is not forgotten. 
Some burial grounds, like this one in Savannah, Georgia, are beautifully maintained parks where you'll find folks strolling along winding pathways, or just sitting and reading. It's a quiet spot in an otherwise busy city. 
There's lots to be learned about the lives of some very famous people
in this very old, palm tree lined place.
"God's Acre" is a Moravian cemetery in Winston-Salem, NC with a long (dating back to the mid 1700's) and very interesting history. Here, it's all about simplicity and uniformity. There are no statues or memorials to distinguish the rich from the poor to "remind us that everyone is equal in God's sight."
What's significant here also, is that the departed are buried in the traditional  Moravian style "not in earthly families, but as they had been seated in the church,
Brethren on the one side, Sisters on the other, the choirs together,
continuing the form of the congregation at worship."
 How beautiful is this ancient burial ground in Charleston, SC? Spanish moss hangs heavily from the trees and countless birds sing to the many visitors that come here daily.
Notable features of most cemeteries are the headstones and foot stones.
Some are simple, like the cross above...
 ...and some are simpler still, like this marker at a slave's final resting place. My visit to this site was very moving and will be a feature in a future post.
You'll see, particularly in the older burial grounds, engraved words of wisdom, farewell thoughts, images of all kinds and sometimes you'll even find porcelain portraits of the beloved embedded in the stones, but beautiful angels are often seen.

Whether you have a religious affiliation or not, to visit an old cemetery is to visit a sacred space - highly valued and important.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

doxie daze

Wandering outside after Sunday brunch, it was impossible to miss the chorus of excited little dogs. We followed their song and found a local Dachshund rescue group was having a Wiener Dog Day event. Dozens of excitable dogs and their equally enthusiastic owners mulled about on the big lawn to share in games, contests, information gathering and fellowship.
this nervous little group stuck close to their human
this little girl had no fear, proudly showing off her new dress
little girl with wings was magically drawn to this winged Doxie,
who just happened to be up for adoption
Bee Girl with her....
...Bee Dog
looking for assurance from his human before entering the costume contest
the least scary alligator ever

ok, so this isn't a Doxie, but I loved how dog and her human had matching beards

Friday, October 18, 2013


"Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you,
because the greatest secrets are hidden in the most unlikely places.
Those who do not believe in magic will never find it"
~Roald Dahl~

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

corner view: last but not least

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 next week is "last but not least", and comes from Babies (Slovenia).

I wasn't quite sure how to capture "last but not least" so just grabbed my camera and went for it. Turns out, I found my subject everywhere. All I needed to do was focus!
This little puppy followed up the rear on this walk but he was curious about everything and everyone he passed. Much too cute to be called "the least."
 The last autumn leaves to fall from this tree. Beautiful, blazing red. Definitely not "the least."
Last duck standing. There must have been 30 ducks in the vicinity, all napping. Was she standing guard while the others rested?
Last of the black walnuts to fall from the tree.
A mess to deal with but the epicurious love them!
A caboose is always last - but never least.

And last but not least, the last day of the traveling carnival.
They'll wander back into town again next summer.

Monday, October 14, 2013

the passage into autumn

The slow transition into fall has officially begun. Misty mornings, gentle hints of color from the trees, farmers burning their post-harvest mounds and filling the air with smoky, woody fragrance, and stands filled with pumpkins and mums. It’s time for hearty soup, stew and chili, woolly sweaters and bedtime with quilts pulled up closely.  Autumn is not just a season, but for me it's also a peaceful, comforting state of mind.

Friday, October 11, 2013

the gift of a dance

These days, I’m dealing with continuing back pain. I’m not complaining exactly, because I’m SO much better than I was a month ago, but after 2+ months it’s kind of become a fact of life and finding a way to get comfortable is a constant. But I’m not letting it stop me, I’m just finding new ways to move through my day and distraction is a great coping mechanism. So on Sunday morning we headed out to listen to a group playing some fun gypsy-jazz and of course, I had my camera along with me. The interplay between the instruments was awesome. Looking around me I saw toes tapping and heads bobbing along with the music. Then a cute couple couldn’t contain themselves any longer and got up to dance. They spun, twirled and dipped with huge smiles on their faces, having the most wonderful time. I grabbed my camera and started shooting and as I turned to look at the crowd relaxing around me I noticed the smiles on their faces as they were watching this couple become entwined with the music. And it got me thinking…
 …everyone’s morning improved that day. The band, the on-lookers, the small kids that recognized that they’d been given permission to break free and dance too, and me with my camera, and all because this young couple broke loose in the moment. They got everyone smiling and increased the joy of the moment. The young dancers made the lawn an even happier place that morning.
So wouldn’t it be great if we decided to make a positive impact like that on someone this week? Decide to do something that might give people a smile and maybe distract them from whatever problems they are facing.  Do something, even if it’s a small something and even if it’s not directed at anyone in particular. Do something without the expectation of reciprocation. Your small kindness is liable to have a big impact, to ease a pain, to evoke a smile.  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

corner view: before & after

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.
This week’s theme is "before & after."

LEGOs are a long-time childhood favorite and I don’t know of a household with kids that doesn’t have a box of the simple, colorful bricks. Adults wax nostalgic and talk excitedly about the projects they built as a kid and you often see a gleam in the eyes of real LEGO-fanatics as they recall the many hours spent building their creations.
before: imagine the possibilities!
Nathan Sawaya is a New York-based artist who brings LEGO creations to an all-new level and we are fortunate that he is currently exhibiting some of his amazing sculptures here in Alamance County.  We’re not talking your average LEGO sculptures. Nathan transforms this simple brick into amazing, whimsical pieces. One of his life-size human sculptures typically uses 15,000 to 25,000 bricks and in his art studio he has a stock of over 2.5 million LEGO bricks.  Nathan left his job as an NYC attorney in 2004 and is credited as the first person to bring LEGOs into the art world. He is not an employee of the LEGO company, but is a professional, full-time brick artist.
after: creativity & imagination come to fruition

The “Art of the Brick” museum shows have toured North America, Asia and Australia. The current show in Alamance County runs until Oct 31 while a show in Shanghai, China runs until Oct 27, NYC, NY through Jan 5 and will be in Brussels, Belgium from Nov 22 until April 21. For more info on Nathan Sawaya, his awesome sculptures and his museum exhibitions you can visit

Monday, October 7, 2013

to be rekindled by a spark

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."
 ~Albert Schweitzer