Monday, October 26, 2009

And at the end of the Day, Life is Very, Very Good

*Angel Daughter Number Three

For all that I have been through...Must still go through...These are the faces that make it all worthwhile. My growing daughters. My Angels. Each a singular being unto themselves, but also a part of something bigger. Much, much bigger.
*Angel Daughters Number Four and Number One

Beauty, growth and transformation...

*Self-portrait of Angel Daughter Number Two

With each step towards their independence, I envision what is possible, and I take a step towards mine, knowing that our futures will forever be intermingled.
*Self-portrait of AD2

For we are all headed there anyway. Towards our futures. Even in this second, this minute, this hour, this day...So why not head there with acceptance, togetherness and joy?
*AD4 and AD1. Our cat Callie. Baking Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread together.

Creating. Working together. Learning from one another until we forget who knew it first.
*Angel Daughter Number Three

Stopping to share a moment even on the busiest of days. Reminding one another that we are family.
*Angel Daughter Number Four

Incidentally, it might be the eyes that give it away.(that we are family)

*Angel Daughters and their Dad, my Love.

Or the group hugs.

*Micah-Ten months.

Or someone's constant need to make everyone else in the family laugh.(Sorry, Micah:))
*San Clemente sunset on October 24, 2009

But at the end of the day, life is good. Very, very good. Because that is the way that I see it.

And regardless of all the background noise that sometimes tries to muck up the music, the soundtrack of my life, of our lives together, will always be We are Family(by Sister Sledge). And if you happen to be someplace with us and that song comes on, be prepared to DANCE with abandon. Because that is what we will do.

I am one very lucky woman.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Slice In-Between

In the midst of doing some household chores down at our beach house, a couple of days ago, something called my attention to the window. The day had been rather cool and grey and dreary, which to me is lovely beach weather. However, when I looked outside, something unexpectedly caught my attention. It was around six-thirty in the evening. The ocean was calm and flat. And peaking through on the horizon was a slice of orange-red sky highlighting the outline of Catalina Island. Wispy white puffs of cloud floated effortlessly throughout the skyline.
I reached for my camera, as I so often do, and a sliver of sun made its way out from underneath the dark cloak of ominous clouds which created a thick blanket of darkness across the heavens.
As I observed the transition between day and night and momentary day, once again, I realized that what I was witnessing was a segment between heaven and earth. Ocean and sky. And I stood in awe of the scene which was surrounding me.
For a moment, I had the distinct feeling that I was a small piece of it all. A fragment of something that mattered in the scene which was unfolding before me. That I, with my feet planted firmly on the earth, but with the wings of my soul struggling madly to reach up into the heavens, live on a slice somewhere in-between.

May you find your place in the "in-between" and know that it is exactly where you belong. May you take notice of your own slices of earth and sky, day and night, heaven and here. And may you nurture the feeling that you are a part of it all, and that for now, heaven is here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blogging, Blessings and Blue

I have been asked by people who know that I blog, but who do not blog themselves, what I "get" from keeping an online, interactive journal. There seems to be a sort of mystique which surrounds the blogging world. One that is not easily understood by those who have little contact with these open little alcoves in cyberspace. To those individuals who do not understand, it seems odd that there are so many of us who are willing to share the events of our lives with seemingly total strangers. And I am sure that for a time, I was more like them. I did not understand. Even when I started my own blog a bit over two years ago, I wasn't sure exactly why I was doing it. I only knew that I wanted to write and express myself through pictures. I only knew that words were very important to me. I only knew that I wanted to start somewhere.

I began writing and the words just began to pour out. I wrote about the things that mattered to me. I wrote about my four Angel Daughters, my husband and our lives together. I wrote about sea glass and my walks on the beach. I wrote about the things that brought me joy, the things that caused me pain and the things that made me think. I wrote, because it gave me an outlet from which to sort out my life. And a very interesting thing happened. People began reading. As they began reading, they began leaving me comments. I was both surprised and delighted. The words which people took the time to leave here, left me feeling energized and understood. I followed those readers back to their own blogs.(The readers who have blogs, anyway.) Something very unexpected began to occur. Over time, friendships were forged. People whom I would most certainly never have the opportunity to meet became people who I began to care about, deeply. There was a benefit to blogging that I had never even considered. It made the world a smaller, more accessible place.

A couple of months ago, I had the unique pleasure of actually meeting one of my favorite blogging friends. Her blog name is Blue and if you are lucky enough to know her, you will most certainly recognize her lovely little heart signature whenever she comments. Even without it, she would stand out as her comments are always very kind and thoughtful. One day, I got an email from Blue saying that she would be doing a quick passthrough CA with her son and that she wanted to meet me. I immediately emailed her back and told her that I would LOVE to meet her so that I could finally give her that hug in person. We made some plans to meet up the next day at the beach. Because of my illness, I am a very, very, very late riser, so by the time I woke up, my husband, Mark, and Blue had talked several times. Blue wanted to take her son to the beach, so we decided that we would meet down there. Walking down the beach, I spotted Blue, right away. It was like getting together with someone who I had met hundreds of times before. I noticed Blue in the distance wearing a lovely pink skirt, a white tee-shirt, and a floppy white hat on her head. She was barefoot, dancing in and out of the waves taking pictures of her adorable son. As I walked on the beach towards them, I noticed a piece of sky-blue sea glass on the sand. I tucked it in my pocket as I picked up the pace. Blue noticed me when I was about twenty feet away. We made our way towards one another. The hug we shared was heartfelt and genuine. For the next couple of hours, we sat and chatted as we watched her son playing in the waves. I gave her the piece of light blue sea glass that I found because it matched her eyes. Sitting and talking with Blue felt like reconnecting with an old friend. Blue's son was just precious. He was a natural in the water and talking to him made me laugh in a way that only a child can make you laugh. That pile of seaweed in the picture behind us is a pile that Blue's son collected from the ocean floor. With strength and determination, he schlepped huge amounts of seaweed out of the water and onto the sand. The tenacity of children...
When it was time to say good-bye, I asked Blue's son to take a picture for us. He took about fifteen which made us all laugh.
So how do a nice, little Jewish girl from California(New York, originally) and a sweet, loving Mormon girl from Utah(California, originally) find one another? Blogging. Surreal, somewhat futuristic, but not so far-fetched when you actually "get" it.
Once upon a time, I received the most glorious gift from Blue. After reading about my connection with sea glass, she put together a collection which she collected on the beach in Hawaii. When I unexpectedly received it in the mail one day, I was overwhelmed by Blue's kindness. For those individuals who do not understand what might possibly be gained from blogging, the answers are many. But for now, I will just start with one simple word which anyone can understand...A benefit that I, myself, never really expected, but will forever be changed by. Friendship.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Risking Growth

Recently, I took a forward stroke toward achieving something that is not only important for me, but concerns the lives of many others, as well. Involved in this chapter of my story, is a place that I never desired to go. Unchartered, untraveled territory which will require tenacity, determination, and unadulterated chutzpah, span the distance ahead of me; but I have no choice. I have done all that I could in order to sail the smoothest route, but when the shark continued nipping wildly at my toes, I had to make the decision to do more than just quietly removing my toes from the water. I had to calculate the risks involved in diving into the water along with the shark.

Risk, in itself, often carries with it a negative connotation. Risk can leave us feeling exposed. It causes us to face the unknown. It leaves us open to the elements. By avoiding risk, we might feel as if we can also avoid things like rejection, guilt, being wrong, conflict and anger, but the truth is that by avoiding risk, we also avoid growth. And to me, there could be nothing worse than leading a life that is stagnant. Without taking risks, there is nothing to be gained. We must take risks because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing at all. To gain nothing. To go nowhere. Without taking risks, how will we ever understand our own capacity for strength?

I am standing on the precipice of a decision that I, along with Mark and our Angel Daughters, have made in lieu of drowning in a sea of regrets. It is a place that not many have stood upon before us, and the view is a bit uncertain from here. But one thing is for sure. The risk is not what will eat me alive. I feel safe in my uncertainty because it would be the inaction, not the action of taking the risk, which would leave me open to the whim of this shark, and that is something which would certainly pull me under.

Take a risk, love. Look into the face of whatever shark is nipping at your toes, and make the decision to swim for your life.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Reconciliation for a Different Life

I was once told by someone who professed to be psychic, that I had spent many a lifetime with this child. In our most recent incarnation, many moons before this one, the clairvoyant described a very heart-wrenching scene. In it, I am standing on a beach wearing a grey jacket, clutching my baby, this baby, desperately in my arms. As we look on in helpless desperation, Mark(my loving husband in this lifetime, and apparently in many others) rushes out into the waves to help rescue people who have been in some sort of a boating accident. As we look on in tearful resignation, we watch as the treacherous waves consume my husband's body, taking him down with the very individuals he was trying to save. I am left standing alone
on the beach with my baby. We cling to one another, crying hysterically, as the vision of this past lifetime comes to a close. And while I am still not entirely sure that I am convinced of the validity of this past-life synopsis, my heart pounds unevenly and my hands shake slightly, as I recreate this vision.

Interestingly enough, the woman who described this scene went on to tell me that Mark and I were supposed to go on to have many other children during that particular lifetime, but that his life was cut short because of free-will. She said that one of the reasons that we got together and married young, during this lifetime, was to complete our family and to live the life we were meant to live way back when. We discussed the very intense connection that I have always had with Angel Daughter Number Two. We talked about her need to test our love in a sort of push-me, pull-me kind of way that has always created excitement within our family. And we talked about whether the pain and anguish of what happened before could cause my need to keep those I love, very safe and very close during this lifetime.

While I had this conversation with the psychic on a lark, I could not help but walk away with the feeling that she had seen something that I had long forgotten about. Somewhere, in a very deep cellular place within my body, something about this story rang a bell of familiarity. A glimmer of recognition reverberated throughout my soul, and I thought, what if? What if...

As I scrolled through the photos I shot last weekend, this one made me stop and reflect. The thing about this photo is that she is not looking at the camera. She is looking at me. My daughter, my monkey, my second Angel, my child. Pupils slightly dilated, eyes set on eyes, we are connected. The photo is what brought me back to the story.

What connects us to those we love? How do certain individuals stop us in our tracks while others pass through with barely a second glance? Why do some people feel like home? For me, there has always been so much more than what just lies in front of us. There is something that connects us on a level which we cannot even begin to understand. A level that knows without seeing and sees without knowing. A bigger picture which comes through the camera of life, but which stares right into our souls.

Does knowing this story have any real affect on how Angel Daughter Number Two, myself and Mark relate to one another? Not so much. But in many ways, it surely explains a lot.

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