Capture The Moment

Have you ever witnessed a moment that seems so sweet that you feel like it should be captured in a photograph?  Watching children play, and seeing their pure joy is a frequent occurrence that leads to the thought that you wish you had a camera to catch the expression on their face.  Especially if it has been a hard or challenging day or season in life.  Seeing happiness makes us want to smile and join in on the fun.

Dan and I were walking the beach last night, and moving at a rather quick pace, since sunset was less than a half hour away when we started our walk.  We passed other walkers, joggers, and people sitting or lounging on the sand, waiting to watch the sun set.  We were strolling past a couple that looked to be in their late 20’s to early 30’s sitting on the beach.  The wife leaned in to say something, the husband smiled, and they leaned together touching cheeks, smiling towards the sun.

It was such a sweet moment that I stopped walking, turned to them and said, “Where’s your camera?  You two just look so sweet!”  The wife reached into her pocket, set her phone to camera mode and handed it to me.  I took a couple of quick photos of their faces shining in the sun, glowing with happiness, and handed back the phone.

I am not normally the type of person who randomly starts a conversation with strangers.  Dan, yes.  Me?  Not so much.  But I just couldn’t help thinking that this young couple would want that moment of sweetness and sunshine captured.  Before you think that I am too much of a weirdo asking someone for their phone, keep in mind that tourist season has started in Florida.  On sunny days, the beaches are full of visitors, enjoying the warmth, wonder, and beauty along the coast.  It is not uncommon to have a couple or group ask a walker passing by to take their photo.  And when I’ve seen a Mom or Grandma taking photos of their group, I’ve encouraged them to get in the photo and taken a few quick shots for them.

I recall my daughter telling me about when their little family was playing at a splash pad, and someone commented that they and Lila were having so much fun that their family needed to be captured in a photo.  The stranger caught the huge smiles on their faces as they played together.  It is a great photograph.

I love being able to capture a moment of happiness for someone, just like I’ve captured it in my mind.  Hopefully, every time they look at the photos, they’ll remember the fun, the happiness, the joy, they were feeling at that moment.

Dan recently sent me a photo he took when we were visiting for Lila’s 2nd birthday.  We had taken Lila to the park, and she is flying high on the swing, her hair flying up in the air as she achieves weightlessness.

swing

I love seeing her enjoy a happy, carefree childhood, filled with love and laughter.  It makes me smile every time I look at it, because it reminds me of how fun she is to play and interact with.  And it reminds me of all the times I’ve been on a swing and enjoyed that same feeling of floating while up in the air.

I’m certainly not advocating for life to be lived with a phone or camera in front of your face all the time.  There’s definitely something to be said about just savoring life, and capturing the beautiful moments in your minds’ eye.  Life is rarely Instagram perfect, and involves a lot of “cropping out” the not so pretty stuff.  But when we take the time to look around, look for the beautiful, joyous, happy, peaceful, spontaneously wonderful moments around us, we can capture memories to help sustain us during the not so perfect moments in life.  And if we can capture those moments for others, why not risk being thought of as a weirdo when you ask someone for their phone? 🙂

By all means just enjoy the power-walk, breathing in the fresh air, listening to the sounds around you.  But every once in a while you might want to stop and take a photo of the beautiful spaces, and faces, and wonders in life.

sunset 11-1-19

All The Walls

We started stripping the wallpaper in our master bedroom yesterday.  We’ve never cared for the grass-cloth wallpaper, it was on the walls when we moved in.  Like most people, every house we’ve ever lived in has been a “fixer upper”.  As time and budget allowed, we gradually improved each place, turning them into nicer homes.

Our old home of 20 years had wallpaper in nearly every room when we bought it.  From a foil print velvet floral flocked wallpaper in the bathroom, to a brown vinyl textured in the living room and kitchen (which coordinated so nicely 😉 with the brown tile countertop with an impressed grassy plant design) to the burgundy vinyl “accent wall” and plush gray, carpet-like wallpaper in the master bedroom.  It took me months to strip all the old wallpaper off, scrub down the walls to remove the glue residue, and prime and paint all the walls.  But gradually, working on it on nights and weekends, I got it done, and really improved the look of our home.

When we first moved to Florida and stayed at my Mom’s old house for three months while we house-hunted, we started fixing it up for her.  We replaced hardware and faucets, and installed a storm door on the back door.  The rotten, shredding curtains were replaced with mini-blinds.  And I stripped wallpaper.  The ditsy patterned wallpaper in the kitchen was the first to go.

ditsy kitchen

Then I moved on to the dining room and family room.  The textured wallpaper was very thoroughly stuck, and bits of drywall came off when I peeled it off bit by bit.  Which meant I had to do a lot of patching after spending days scrubbing all of the glue residue off.

scraping diningpatch dining

Eventually I was able to prime and paint, and ended up with a cute dining area in which to eat and sew.  Don’t judge- I’m sure I’m not the only one who works at their dining table!  Speaking of sewing, my Grandmother made the seaside picture on the right of the photo using trapunto, a form of quilting popular back in the ’90s.  It’s currently hung in our guestroom, and reminds me of the long line of sewists in our family.

dining

When we moved to our new home, as soon as I finished cleaning, I started painting.  I covered up the school bus yellow kitchen walls, and painted the sunroom, living room and office poo brown ceilings white.  I scraped and scrubbed the elephant wallpaper border off the walls of Dan’s office, and painted over the deep red walls.  Eventually I moved on to the main bathroom.  The metallic copper colored walls and gold ceiling had to go.  Along with the horrible wallpaper, which, one of my friends commented, looked like mold. 🙂

bath wallpaperwall mold

They must have used super strength glue, and obviously did not properly prep the walls before installing the wallpaper, because it came off in tiny little bits.  Hundreds if not thousands, of tiny little bits.

wall bits

Needless to say, after that time-consuming process, I didn’t even feel like tackling the grass-cloth in the master bedroom.  So here we are, a year and a half later, finally ready to face the task of removing wallpaper once again.  But this time I had help!  Dan helped me peel and scrape off the grass-cloth.  I started scrubbing off the residue, but it was getting late and I was tired.  So I’m maybe a quarter of the way through scrubbing, and then I can move on to priming and painting.  Yay!  And phew!

All of this talk about working on the walls got me thinking about the walls in our lives.  What kind of walls do we put up to hide, to avoid, to protect?  Protective walls can be good.  We all need shelter from the storms.  But are we putting up walls to avoid people because we’re scared?  Scared to talk to them?  Scared to reach out in friendship, or deal with a relationship?  Do we put up a wall to “block out” God?  Are we scared to have faith?  To consider depending upon someone other than ourselves?  Are we afraid of what that faith, and relationship with God, with Jesus, might require of us?

Are you thinking of knocking down some of those walls?  Of opening your heart and your mind to new relationships and possibilities?  It’s easier than you think.  Take one small step forward, crack open the door, throw open the window, and invite life in.  Pray.  It can be nothing more than a simple conversation, talking to God.  But it can mean so much more.  It can be the start, or the continuation, of an everlasting relationship.  Are you ready to knock down some walls?

 

Offer It Up

Do you ever feel like you’re walking along, flowing through life, then someone says something rather profound, and you really feel it hit you?  I don’t think that this is uncommon.  For instance, as we are working through grief after the death of a loved one, a song, a smell, or a comment can easily transport us back to thoughts of that person.  We think that we’ve bundled up that grief, packaged it tightly, and stuffed it into the back of our mind.  Then that comment or thought floats across the surface, and it’s all brought back full force.  Maybe slightly dulled, but definitely still there.

A few weeks ago I heard some very disturbing news from a family member.  They were physically hurt, their immediate family is really struggling, and they do not see a clear path out of their problems.  First of all, this breaks my heart because I love them.  Secondly, I live 1,300 miles away, and can’t be there to give them a hug or try to help in some way.  Other family lives nearby, so they aren’t alone or uncared for.  But all I could do was call, listen, and pray for them.  And of course, worry.

That worry must have been weighing on me more heavily than I realized.  Sitting in Mass two weeks ago, Fr. Charles did something unusual.  He paused before the consecration and asked everyone to “Place all your worries and troubles on the altar, and offer them as a sacrifice to the Lord.”  Whoa!  That hit me like a ton of bricks!  And it was obviously the reminder I needed to quit my needless worrying.  The tension in my shoulders eased and my heart felt instantly lighter.  Tears sprang to my eyes and I tried desperately to blink them away.

How often does God put someone in your path to help you see things in a different way?  How many reminders does it take for you to remember to pray and put your troubles in God’s hands?  I can’t magically make everything better for everyone I love, no matter what I do.  I can certainly do whatever I can to help, and I can definitely pray.  But I need to remember that what I really need to do is to put it in God’s hands.  To offer it up as a sacrifice to Him.

birds 10-5-19

Yoga Class Fun

If you follow my blog for sewing, you’ve likely seen that I sew a lot of workout wear.  It isn’t that I run, or spend hours at the gym because obviously, I don’t!  But I do love going to yoga class.  I’ve been practicing yoga for 16 years and besides walking the beach, it’s my favorite form of exercise.  Like anything else that you practice regularly, the more  you do it, the better you get.  I’m certainly not perfect, but it’s fun when I feel like I’m able to get deeper into a pose than I used to.  I’ve had some excellent yoga instructors over the years, and am happy that I’ve found a yoga studio with classes I enjoy, along with instructors and regular attendees who make me feel like I am part of a happy little tribe.

I’ve never been able to get photos while practicing, but all of the other “regulars” at Friday morning Ashtanga were on vacation, traveling, had work commitments, etc., so I was the only student.  Ashley, my favorite Ashtanga instructor 🙂 asked if she could take some photos as we did class.  I had to laugh when she said after class that she “felt like the paparazzi, trying to get all up in there, taking photos.”  Hahahahaha!  Since I am not some Hollywood movie star or otherwise famous, the paparazzi will never be taking photos of me, so I found this hilarious!

Ashley was discreet while photographing, so you’re not subjected to photos of my sweaty face, just my sweaty back!  Just for fun, here are my yoga photos:

fold side

It was super exciting to me when I was first able to get my head down on the floor during wide legged forward folds.

twisted side angle

My elbows feel like they’re pretty centered and vertical when I’m in twisted side angle, I’m almost to the center of my chest.

forward fold

There are so many variations of forward folds.

prayer hands

I really like this photo, the lighting was pretty.  Can you see the sweat dripping up my spine?  And can you tell that I never take off my cross necklace? 🙂  I need to work on getting my palms together though.

headstand

My Grandpa taught me to stand on my head when I was a little girl, so this isn’t a big deal, since I’ve always been able to do it.

headstand pike

It’s fun to be able to pike out of a headstand too.

If you’ve thought about trying a yoga class, I hope you’ll give it a try.  It isn’t all about being able to stand on your head.  It’s more about breathing, and learning to control your breath and your responses to the stressors in life.  It helps you build focus, along with strengthening and stretching your muscles.  As I’ve heard more than once, it’s a yoga “practice”, not a yoga “perfect”.  It is also a perfect time to pray.  I manage a couple of Hail Mary’s during the opening mantra, and an Our Father during the closing mantra.  Faith is an important part of life, and there’s never a bad time to pray.  I enjoy adding prayer to my yoga practice as much as I enjoy a quiet prayer while walking the beach.

Exercise, eat healthy foods, and take care of your body and soul.

If you’re curious about my workout outfit, the tights are the GreenStyle Super G’s, although I did hack the side pocket panels in this pair a little bit.  My workout top is the hack I did on the Stitch Upon A Time Titania Top, blogged here.  The Supplex, Powernet, and plush bra strap elastic were all purchased from Phee Fabrics.

 

This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission/credit if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion, because after all, it is my blog, which represents me! 🙂

 

Look Up And Appreciate The Splendor

 

We’ve all experienced times in life when it seems like everything is good, maybe not perfect, but still pretty darn good.  You may not be rich, but you’re rich enough, especially in the things that matter.  You know that you’re loved, you’ve got a roof over your head,  food in your belly, and you’re doing ok.  Honestly, most of our life is probably lived like this.

Yet somehow, we become complacent, get used to the relatively smooth sailing as we go about our daily lives.  We get caught up in the little problems and daily distractions of life.  We forget to look up, and say thank you for this beautiful life.  When is the last time you took the time to watch a beautiful sunrise?

sunrise 9-5-19

Literally watched the sky start to light up from the horizon, with a little glow of orange and coral, until the color spreads, turning apricot into pink and purple streaks across the sky in front of you?  Wow!  What a beautiful way to start the day.  Thank you Jesus!

sunrise1 9-5-19

No matter what stresses the day may bring, no matter what good news or bad gets brought to you today, life is good.  God made it good.  Appreciate the splendor, and beauty, and wonder of life.  Look with the eyes of a child at every little thing, and appreciate the beautiful life you are living.

Is life completely perfect?  Of course not, we won’t experience complete perfection until we’re in heaven.  But we are certainly blessed, and receive gifts from God every day, in the people and world around us.  Let the love into your heart, and let it shine out through the life you’re living.

Bloom Where You’re Planted

Dan and I watched a movie the other night called Passengers.  It was about a guy on a spaceship that was travelling to an outpost to start a new life.  He and all the other 5,000 passengers were placed in suspended animation in these special pods for the 90 year journey.  Something went wrong with his pod, and he woke up on the ship with 89 years still left in the journey, rather than waking up 4 months before arriving at their destination as planned.

It was a very thought provoking movie, because I think we all go through periods where we struggle and rail against how things are versus how we thought they would be.  As a child you think that adulthood will be this wonderful thing because you can do whatever you want, rather than just what your parents and teachers tell you to do.  And it is a wonderful thing, but you have to deal with your responsibilities, so it’s not as easy as your childhood fantasy envisions.

As a young couple you imagine having children, and how awesome it will be to become parents.  And it is awesome!  But you cannot fathom just how overwhelming it can be until you’re living the reality.  The complete and utter exhaustion you feel when your infant is waking up every two hours to nurse and you can only daydream about ever actually sleeping again.  The unbelievably large number of times that you will have to clean pee, poo, and “spit up” off your baby, yourself, (and any and every) nearby surrounding.  The utter defiance of your strong willed nearly two year old who no longer wants to wear what you picked out, but insists upon choosing her own outfits as she learns to assert her independence.  Thankfully, these moments are balanced out by hearing your child excitedly exclaim “Mama!” or “Dada!” as soon as they see you.  And the peace of feeling them contentedly snuggled into your arms or sitting on your lap.  And the sheer delight of hearing them laugh or giggle, truly one of my favorite sounds in the world!  And the overwhelming joy that fills your heart when they hug you, or give you wet, slobbery “smooches”, or say, “I love you”.

Don’t even get me started on how completely wonderful it is to experience these things as a grandparent.  My heart nearly burst the first time Lila said “I love you” back to me!  And the aching joy I felt when I had her giggling and laughing uproariously when we played “This little piggy” during a car ride, sustains me when we have to go months without flying up to visit.

Life can be very challenging.  We all go through tough times where we worry about our family, our friends, our finances, our health, and every other situation that tests us.  But constantly thinking that life would be better if only we lived, worked, had, or did something or somewhere else, robs us of the joy of loving where we are at.

Do you ever stop to consider that the trials you are going through are moments of learning?  They are teaching you something, and preparing you for the next moment in life.  Are you learning patience, compassion, forgiveness, and love?  Are you gaining wisdom and experience so that you can deal with the next challenge in your life?

Instead of yearning for the next thing, the next place, the next person, appreciate the wonder of this moment in life.  In other words, bloom where you’re planted!  Don’t worry, life will keep on happening.  And soon enough you’ll grow, leaves reaching toward the sun, growing stronger, and branching out.

sunrise 10-22-18

What Are You Thankful For?

We all have troubles, and things that worry us:  physical limitations and health scares; jobs (or lack thereof) and money issues; and any number of situations and problems among our families and friends.  But don’t let that become the focus of your life.

Focus instead on the wonderful things in life, the things that you are grateful for, the things that make you happy.  I am thankful for my faith.  Unbelievably thankful!  Even when there are struggles, and bad situations, it calms me to know that in the end it will all be ok.  I don’t have to worry, it is in God’s hands.  And I am constantly reminded of the goodness in life.

I can see my neighbors flag flapping in the breeze, amidst the palm trees as the sun rises this morning.  And I know that despite any political or partisan bickering and nonsense, that I am blessed to live in the greatest country in the world.

flag 7-20-19

As I reminisce about my nephew David’s wedding a couple of weeks ago, I am grateful for my family.  We all flew in from Florida, Colorado, and Tennessee, or drove across the state of Michigan to meet up and celebrate the marriage, and to welcome Caitlin into our family.  It was so much fun to spend time with people I love, to laugh and be silly!  Photo booths are designed to bring out the silliness, so you should just embrace it and have fun (which we obviously did!)

photo booth 7-6-19

I am grateful for my sweet husband, and our unconditional love.  For his good heart, his strength, and all his “handyman” skills.  For his willingness to dive in, work hard, and get things done.  Even after years of working together to turn our old “fixer upper” into a beautiful home, he wasn’t phased by the idea of tearing down a non-load bearing wall in our new “fixer upper” home to open up the kitchen.  Of course this means we’re living in a bit of a construction zone.  And since we don’t have the money to replace the flooring throughout our house, we’ll  be living with a holey floor for the foreseeable future.  But that’s ok.  We have a roof over our heads, and each other!

I am thankful for my parents instilling me with a strong work ethic.  I am grateful for the blessings of intelligence, for the creativity and sewing talents God chose to give me.

I am so grateful for my beautiful, wonderful children, and their spouse and fiancée.  I love seeing my children happy and blessed with people that they love.  And I’m so, so happy that my daughter and son-in-law brought the blessing of Lila into our lives.  This sweet granddaughter of ours is such a joy!  When we FaceTime, it’s so cute to hear her ask “Where’s Grandpa?” if he’s not nearby when I answer my phone.  She loves to have you sing nursery rhymes over, and over, and over again.  It’s so fun to hear her giggle and belly laugh uproariously when we do “This little piggy” for the twentieth time.  And to hear her sweet little voice ask for “A, B, C!” so that she can (try to) sing the alphabet with me.  I love her quick hugs, and slobbery “smooches”, and to hear her say “I love you” back to me.  She fills our hearts with joy, and I am so grateful for every moment that we get to spend with her, whether it’s running in circles around the hotel, or last minute snuggles before we checked out.

Lila Grandpa runLila Grandma 7-7-19

Do you let the wonder and curiosity and joy of playing and running in circles into your life?  Do you appreciate the awesome beauty of the world around you?  Do you pray and place your troubles in God’s hands?  Do you feed your faith by attending Mass, reading The Bible, and living a prayer-filled and grateful life?  God, gratitude, and happiness go hand-in-hand.  Open your heart, cast your troubles upon Him, and live!