Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Self-Portrait or Not allowing the Waves to Drag You Down

Standing on this rock, yesterday, I looked down at my shoes(my very favorite beach shoes because they are great for climbing rocks) and watched as the ocean breathed in and then out, in and then out.  I felt somewhat safe and anchored from on top of my little perch which protected me from the oncoming movement of the tide.
The chilly saltwater gently approached my little haven of momentary security and settled at my toes, but only for a few brief seconds.  
It brought with it a foamy layer which carried surprises in from the sea.  I watched as this went on for a fairly long time, the ocean's steady breathing.

I thought about how most everything in our lives can be mimicked by nature.   Breathing, birth, loss, miracles and even calculated risk.  "Calculated risk", something I have often tried to teach my four Angel daughters about and have tried to balance in my own life, as well.  Knowing when to step forward and when to retreat.  Trusting your own instincts so that you don't end up falling on your bottom, soaking wet with sand down your pants.  Or worse, taking a step too far and being dragged out into a rip-tide, unable to recognize which end is up or down.
So as I waited for the water to retreat, once more, I jumped off of my rock and began to scurry happily(and still quite dry) away from the impending crash of the waves.  And as I stopped to snap just one more picture, there was the water where my toes once held their ground.

May I take this moment to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of my readers.  May I say thank you for the beautifully thought-out comments that you leave for me, and for the silent prayers and well-wishes when you don't.  I treasure every word, every prayer and every positive thought that is sent my way.  May you always find a safe place in which to weigh the risks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Reflections on What Must be

My youngest Angel got ahold of my camera and decided to take some pictures on her own the other day.  I must have reprimanded her several times about not wanting to have my picture taken because I wasn't wearing any make-up, my hair was a mess, blah, blah, blah.  And then I stopped.  I stopped because I remembered that none of that truly matters.  I stopped because I remembered that turn-around is fair play and I certainly take enough pictures of my children when they protest.  I stopped because I got close enough to my husband to feel drawn into him and what we must deal with as a constant and solid team.
We are on the precipice of making some very important, life-altering decisions right now.  Decisions I never even dreamed that I might someday have to make.  Decisions that require the right amount of strength, patience and solidarity.  Decisions that fill me with equal amounts of fear and steadfastness.
But I have never been one to back down from what I know is right.  And Mark has always believed in justice.  And we have always taught our Angels to stand up for what they believe even when the journey upon which they are about to embark is something that might change the course of their lives as they have known them.
Looking back on these pictures, I no longer see a moment when I was worried about how I looked on the outside.  I see a moment captured by our youngest Angel as we walked along the beach.  I see a moment of unsureness mixed with resolution.  I see a moment of solidarity which assures me that everything will be okay in the end as long as we stick together as a team.  As long as we stick together as a family of six.

Yesterday, someone asked me if there was anything, anything at all that I wouldn't do for one of my children.  Without a second thought, my answer was an absolute no.  Now I must apply that same answer to a situation which is only one step further out, but just as close to my heart.  I must put my money where my mouth is, so to speak.  And as I ask myself why?  Why bother, why put myself and my family through this?  Why not turn a blind eye and just go about my own life?  Screw 'em.  The answer comes crashing hard into my heart and mind.  Love.  Devotion.  And being able to look at myself in the mirror whether I have make-up on or not.

Now those are some thoughts that are worth holding onto, long after the photos will be forgotten.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chasing Seagulls

Having teenagers and a twenty-something means having children who have lives of their own.  My younger two Angels, ages fourteen and sixteen, are still caught between the simplicity of childhood and the complexities of turning the corner into adulthood.  Honestly, I love to observe the young women that they are all becoming but it is also very hard on me at times, to accept that there are things that they would sometimes rather do than hang around with their dear old mom.  We have always been a very close-knit family that enjoys spending time with one another.  Yet even after having experienced the "separation phase" between the teenage years and young adulthood twice before, I still find it somewhat jarring when my daughters enter into that period of their lives.  And although I know that it is entirely healthy and necessary for parents and children to separate from each other, my soul sometimes still longs for the days when I had four little ducklings living at home in the nest.

Today, Mark and I decided that we would go for a walk on the beach to hunt for sea glass.  With my illness, it is very easy for me to isolate myself inside of the house, but since we started spending our weekends at the beach, I just cannot justify not getting out into the salty sea air.  The pull of the ocean beckons to me like an old friend and I must do all that I can to motivate my achy body into getting the heck OUT of the house.  I suppose this is one of the many reasons that I decided to begin collecting sea glass.  It wasn't something that I knew anything about, nor was it anything that I had ever done before, but one day something from within my spirit told me that I needed to start hunting for sea glass.(Might it have been one of those quiet God Whispers?)  Mark has been a VERY good sport about my treasure hunts.  Not only does he sometimes accompany me, but he searches for sea glass as well.  This is one of the many, many reasons I love him even more than I did twenty-eight years ago.  He never questions my creative endeavors.  He compliments me and encourages me to do the things that call out to my spirit.  He is all man, yet he has no problem combing the beach for dainty little pieces of sea glass.

Today we decided to recruit our two youngest Angels to join us on our hunt.  They were a bit reluctant at first, but finally agreed to come along.  There are always lots of Seagulls on the beach and when I spotted them, I told the girls to do something that I might not normally suggest.(I love animals and feel bad about disturbing them, especially when I'm infringing on their territory.)
I told them to chase the Seagulls!
And the ten year old Angels in them came bounding forth as they sprung into action.
There they were, chasing the birds until the birds turned around and decided to show them whose territory they were messing around on!  The joy, the laughter, the camaraderie of sisters came charging forward.  How easy and natural it was for them to revert back into being the silly little care-free girls that they were, only a few short years ago.
Pure, unadulterated JOY!  They laughed, I laughed, Mark laughed.  I think I might have even heard the Seagulls laughing.
Watching them run across the beach made me realize that part of my job as their mother, no matter how old they get, is to always remind them of the children that they once were.  And part of my purpose as a woman, is to remind myself to honor the child who was once me.  We all need to play more.  A life that is too serious is a life that has become devoid of joy.

May you remind yourself and those you love, that running, laughing and playing are just as important as getting that laundry done, those bills paid, that room cleaned, etc.  May you think about the things that brought you joy as a child and find out if maybe, just maybe, those things might be worth another look.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Treasure Hunting

I've been spending quite a bit of time searching for treasures lately.  Treasures in my family, treasures in my friends, treasures in our furry and feathery family members, treasures in my beliefs and treasures in the most unexpected of places.  

When my brother died eight months ago, I felt an almost desperate need to make a deeper connection with the earth and also with the heavens.  I experienced a deep-seated need for quiet that was unmatched by any other period of my life.  That need for quiet, a sense of being removed from any unnecessary background chatter, has carried over into today.  I crave it in the same ways that I crave air and food and sleep.  I need to be able to hear the small, quiet whispers of my soul speaking to me from a place that only God can truly understand.  And so, I began searching.  I began looking towards the ethereal places in the clouds and the hard, rocky surfaces of the earth.  I paid more attention to the whispers.  I listened for the quiet.  I allowed myself the space that I needed to search for treasures.

The simple rock that my oldest Angel is wearing around her neck is an example of one of the treasures that made its way into our lives.  I found it on the beach and looked at it as an interesting rock with a hole burrowed through it.  Angel Daughter Number One viewed it as a talisman meant to be corded with a string and tied around her neck.  To me, the hole symbolized a small circle of empty space.  To my daughter, the hole symbolized an area that needed to be filled.  To each of us, this rock is a treasure.
The Pacific Ocean is filled with treasures.  Some of them wash up onto the shore and are discovered during a quiet, soulful walk on the rocky sand.  Others float in on the soft, invisible breezes which drive the waves that crash upon the shores.  Some of those treasures are experienced from the sand, but others must be discovered within the wind-driven waves.
Or sailing upon the undercurrent of the breeze.
Using the unseen as a treasure to glide upon through the salty waters of the ocean.  Using the treasure of the unseen to take flight from the sea.  
Treasures that can solitarily be found in the company of quiet.  
Treasures that can bring you back to the true meaning of why we are here and what most of us spend so much of our lives searching for.  Each search is different, yet the treasures are surprisingly similar.

As I walked along the rocky beach alone with as much silence as my mind would allow, I once again searched for treasures.  As usual, tiny pieces of sea glass and broken sea shells stood out to me and I collected them, one by one.  With each treasure that I discovered, I was able to experience a deeper sense of quiet that set my spirit into a sense of calm.  A seemingly unimportant hunt for something that could tangibly represent my desire to honor my need for some quiet space.  And then I spotted this heart-shaped stone and I knew that within all of the quiet, most of the answers that I find revolve around something fairly simple and organic...Love. 

May you allow yourself the quiet space that you require to search for treasures.  Treasures that inspire your spirit, treasures that move your soul, treasures that help you to listen to your own small, quiet voice.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Because I Love Them

Because I love them, my heart has grown to four times it's actual size in the past twenty-one years.  Because I love them, I love that they love each other.
Because I love them, I take great pleasure in the sisterly bond which binds them together for life.  I love that they are incredible individuals who take great strength in being one of four.
Because I love them, I want to know about their dreams and aspirations.  I want to see the world through their eyes.  Because I love them, I want to know their hearts.
And because I love them, I want them to learn how to set their own spirits onto the wind.  I want them to learn how to take flight.  Because I love them, I always want them to know where home is.  Because I love them...

May you take pleasure in the shear joy of loving someone else.  May you love someone enough to observe their flight with admiration and awe.  May you always be happy for what they accomplish because you love them...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wandering into the Lives of a Few Blogging Friends

Sometimes when I am wandering around with my camera in hand, I spot things that remind me of some of my blogging friends.  In the time that I have been blogging, I have come to consider so many of you as my friends.  I pop in to check on you, as you do me.  We read about each other's days.  We laugh at each other's jokes.(thank you, Ms. TJ)  Our hearts ache with one another's pain.  As I was going through some of the photos that I recently shot, I found some that were taken with a particular blogging friend in mind.  I am going to share some of those with you here.  This is something that I hope to do more of in the future, as you all mean so very much to me.

This first image was taken a few days ago from the front yard of my beach house.  It is a picture of Catalina Island at dusk.  I cannot always see it as there is usually a lot of marine layer(fog) which hides the island from view.  Catalina Island is off the coast of Southern California.  It is a tourist destination, but much of the island is uninhabited.  The small town of Avalon is filled with small shops, restaurants and other sight-seeing opportunities.  The only way to get to Catalina is by boat or helicopter which makes it fairly remote.  This photo was taken with JoJo
in mind.  She once wrote about her "bucket list" and how she would like to take her husband to Catalina Island.  I snapped this picture with JoJo in mind, but I am posting it for anyone who has ever wished that they could run off to a remote island.(even for just a few hours!)
As I was wandering around the quaint streets of San Juan Capistrano, I spotted this beautiful Madonna statue.  Although I am Jewish, I admire the iconic beauty of various religious figures and what they stand for.  One of my dear blogging friends, Kathleen, often refers to her connection with the Madonna.  When I spotted this one, I just had to take a picture of it.  I felt a sense of calmness just looking at it.  

This photo was also taken in San Juan Capistrano.  There are so many lovely, old homes lining the streets of the Los Rios district.  When I stopped to admire the color, shadows of light and the angles on this home, I was reminded of the wonderful paintings that Catherine Holman creates.  Cathie's creations and her stories illicit a sense of calmness in this often crazy world that we live in.  Looking at this little house made me stop and think about Catherine.  She paints such lovely places to hideaway inside of.
Another one of my favorite bloggers recently wrote about shells and butterfly wings.  I recently spotted this beautiful Monarch butterfly, perching on a plant.  It was kind enough to pose for a quick photo.  It made me stop and think about Roxanne at River Garden Studio, and how she constantly inspires me to be more creative.
And finally, there is this gorgeous little lady.  Mark and I saw her flitting her way down the street in Laguna Beach.  She went from one shop to another, collecting her daily snacks from the shop keepers.  Please check out her toenails.
I swear her owner was wearing the same color nail polish on his toes.  I suppose that's what love is all about.
Ness, Hallie and all of my other Doxie loving blogging friends, this little baby is for you.  There aren't many people that I think about when I see a Doxie in a pink-leopard tutu with matching pearls.  That is a category all unto itself.

These are just a few of my wonderful blogging buddies.  There are so many more.  I have linked the sites of these special people up to their names.  If you get a free moment, stop by and say hello.  It's interesting because I find that all good bloggers are connected to one another, somehow, so you may already know these lovely individuals.  I feel very lucky to have connected with each and every one of you.  If I wasn't able to include a picture that made me think about you, I will in the future.  Friendship is like that.  The simplest things can cause us to stop and think about someone we care about when we least expect it.  It's always a welcome surprise!

May this day spark thoughts of the people you care about.  May you find a way to tell them how much you care.
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