Monday, July 26, 2010

The beauty all around us

Dan and talked a lot this weekend about God and when we feel close to Him. For both of us, the beauty of Nature fills us with the knowledge of Someone bigger than ourselves. It's different for each one.....Dan loves the mountains and longs to live where he can walk out his front door and see a vista that takes his breath away. For me, it's the beach. Just the smell can transport me to a place of joy and reverence. We haven't gone to the beach much this summer. It's so hot and I feel some measure of sorrow about all that has happened in the Gulf. Instead of reacting the way many Floridians have, by going there while they still can, I have felt more that I don't even want to see it. But we did go down to Little Harbor last weekend and the magic is still there for me. So even my relationship the the beach is complicated! How like life.....

Just like God is always there, in the midst of the sorrow and struggle, to remind us of the joy and peace, so too are the sounds of the ocean. The swish of the waves rushing to the shore, the seagulls crying and the deep, rich smell of salt water, fish and suntan lotion. And I am reminded that the presence of God is constant and I need to allow myself to experience His touch, in the midst of everything Life throws me. "Be still and know that I am God."

Friday, July 23, 2010

More sidewalk finds....

Dan stopped by last week to have lunch with me, so we strolled down to Centro Ybor. We had a lovely salad at Fresh Mouth and I was telling him all about the interesting things I see when I walk to lunch. I looked up and this is what I saw! "Just like THAT!" I said. Of course, I had to take a quick picture to share with the world. It just brightened my whole day. Well, having lunch with Dan was pretty day brightening but add a little cup man to observe...... pure bliss!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dolphin Adventure

We wanted to give my in-laws a taste of our beautiful (and HOT!) beaches so I arranged for us to take a sunset cruise from Clearwater Beach. Breanne and Derek joined us. The skies were clear and the person at the tour desk told us they had been seeing lots of dolphins. I never would have believed we would have seen so many dolphins! They were leaping out of the ocean and frolicking in the wake of the boat. It was incredible! Breanne got some great action shots.I shot a video that really shows how playful they were. I totally recommend taking the Little Toot tour.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Walk in Ybor

I walked down to Centro Ybor today for lunch. I usually see something interesting while walking along the red brick roads. I came across this example of guerrilla art stenciled on the sidewalk and couldn't resist snapping a quick picture. It made me think, although I couldn't come up with any real explanation of what it could mean. Any ideas?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Finding treasures

Yesterday I was somewhat desperate to get my back porch cleaned out before my in-laws come for a visit today. We have a wicker table and chairs out there that I just have never really loved. I got it for $20 bucks at a garage sale and so, felt like it was good enough. The problem was, it was really too big for the size of our lanai and it just collected dirt. Last summer, I had big plans to re-paint it. That never happened. Soooo, it was late Sunday afternoon and the garbage collection is Monday. I debated on whether or not the garbage collectors would actually take it. Dan suggested we just put it out by the curb with a FREE sign on it. I wondered if this would work, as it was getting dark and our street doesn't have a whole lot of traffic. But, hey, it was worth a try. We drug it out to the curb, cushions and all. I was picking up some other trash and went around the corner about 10 minutes later. There was a gray pickup truck at the curb loading up the set. They even took the cushions! I was ecstatic. Not only did I get rid of my "problem" but someone else was feeling happy that they found a treasure. What a total win-win! I love it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Everyday adventures

I was out today running errands before I had to pick my mom up to go to the library. As I was coming out of Old Tyme Pottery Barn, I noticed a huge banner advertising the Grand Opening of an Oriental Grocery store. I decided, what the heck, this should be interesting.
Which it totally was! There were bins and bins of produce that I never
seen before. There was a deli, with squid and octopus, as well as dried seaweed. There were about 20 kinds of tofu available....Publix has three. The bakery food was even exotic. There was a place to purchase fresh fish...I mean, really fresh fish....they had them in tanks! The colors seemed so vibrant on the packaging. I'm sure our grocery stores probably look just as colorful but I really have never noticed.

I loved the names of things.... Happy Promise Choco Pie. Makes you think something wonderful will happen as soon as you bite it. Much like Willie Wonkas golden ticket.
While I was busy taking photos of everything, I noticed this guy following me around the store. He looked like maybe he owned the place and wasn't so sure why I was taking photos of food. I get that reaction about a lot of the photos I take! Anyway, he followed all the way to the checkout counter. I was waiting to see if he was going to ask about the pictures, but I guess he thought I was harmless.

I'm not really sure about Red Bean and Mung Bean popsicles. If I had been able to go straight home, I probably would have bought some of these, just to try. I'm sure I'll be back.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stepping out in Faith

When you walk to the edge of all the light you have
And you take the first step into the darkness of the unknown;  You must believe that one of two things will happen.  There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly
- Patrick Overton

I was commenting on another blog  (meant2bme) and shared this quote. I was reminded of all the times in my life when I have been scared and unsure of what I needed to do next. Sometimes I had to remind myself to just breathe and sometimes I had to simply commit to taking the next step. It wasn't big but I had enough faith to just take the next step. I read something once that said you can take an entire journey with just enough light to illuminate your next step. And, really, that's all you need.....just enough to take one step, and then the next, and then the next.

I remember vividly a time in my life when I was devastated. I felt totally alone and unable to bear the thought of a lifetime by myself. Sobbing dramatically, I sat on my outside deck and cried out to God. "I am so lonely, I can't stand this loneliness. How will I endure a lifetime of this?" And a small, still voice answered back "Can you be lonely with Me for just one day?" Yes, I could hold on one more day. So one day became the next, and the next, and the next. Until one day I realized I wasn't lonely anymore.

This moment is all we have, step out in the light you have..... you'll land on something solid....or you'll learn to fly!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Trauma Informed Care

I spent the day today at a training sponsored by the Department of Children and Families addressing the subject of Trauma Informed Care. The main speaker, Tonier Cain, was a crack addicted, homeless, prostitute until someone cared enough to help her heal from childhood sexual and physical abuse. She has been clean for the last six years and works with the National Center for Trauma Informed Care, advocating for change in our systems of care. Her enthusiasm is so encouraging. In a field where the professionals often get burned out and bitter, hearing her story of hope was like a breath of fresh air. She is the subject of a documentary titled "Healing Neen" and has a Facebook fan page at . This approach is something I can see transforming the way our programs are run and ultimately effecting the success of every participant who walks through our doors.

"Healing Neen" Trailer from Thom Stromer on Vimeo.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Life Itself is Grace

"Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace." Frederick Buechner

I was just over at the Well of Creations ( Robin, a friend from Kelly Rae Roberts Flying Lessons class) and she had posted this quote. Isn't that just the most beautiful, most true thing ever? "Life Itself is Grace" I almost want to tattoo it across my heart because I so often forget that. I get so caught up in the minutiae of life, worrying about dishes and work and laundry, that I forget to look around at the ineffable beauty of life. I'm blessed that I have a husband who reminds me to breathe, that there is time to do those things but also to relax and enjoy the moment. I wish he had been around earlier, when I often was so busy doing, I forgot about being.

Getting back into art, painting and creating, have helped me look at the world differently, as well. I am trying to see through the eyes of art, to notice the shapes, colors and smells. To think with my creative heart, not necessarily my linear brain. It's working somewhat. With every painting I create, I get a little better at it. So today, while I have lots and lots to do, I'm going to take it a moment at a time. I need to sit and have coffee with Dan, savor the morning. And tackle each chore today with grace.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy to be a girl

Yesterday was the kind of day that makes you happy to be a girl! It was the day the cleaning fairies descend on the house. I love coming home to a clean house, especially one I didn't have to clean. I struggled for years with this concept and have had help on and off. There's that evil gremlin part of me that argues that real women have it together enough to keep their house clean without using hard-earned cash to accomplish it. But truly, my real thought on the matter is.....I dislike cleaning the house (although I love a clean house). If I can pay someone else to do it, why not? I can also add, I feel good that I am providing a job for someone. Maybe that's a cop-out but it doesn't feel like one. So, back from my guilt ridden rant and on to why it feels good to be a girl.....

I also had a pedicure yesterday. Alia, Breanne and I went and got our "piggies" done. I love it. Again, I have a love/hate relationship with acrylic nails (maybe I'll talk about that dysfunction some day) but getting a pedicure? Pure bliss, no guilt!

Third and final, "gotta love being a girl" moment.... unexpected flowers from Dan! What sweet surprise. Gorgeous as usual. He goes to this florist in Polk County (yeah, who da guessed!) who uses a beautiful mix of unusual flowers. This one had lots of sunflowers, which my DH knows I love.

So there you have it, all in one day. How lucky is THAT?

Friday, July 2, 2010

When we were touring around the island of St. Kitts, there were signs like this with similar sayings posted along the road. I questioned our guide, Royston, about them and he said that local churches were responsible for posting them. They were all concerned with the idea of fostering community. I didn't take photos of all the other signs (because Royston was flying around the island like a madman!). I went to do a search about the signs, hoping to find out who or what was behind them. I didn't discover much but I did discover that this is the beginning of the "The Four Way Test" used by the Rotary Club (which, by the way, has chapters all over St. Kitts!).
The Four Way-Test
“Of the things we think say or do:
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

So, regardless of who posted these and what thier intent was, I know they got me to thinking about them. I love the idea behind this and hope to remember this next time I am tempted to speak up about something.