Honor & Celebrate

IMG_2457That is what we did 10 days ago as we laid our brother to rest. As a Marine Veteran who had served in the Vietnam War. He was buried with full honors. Our sister Darlene made sure of that.

IMG_2456She was with him when he began his eternal journey, and she was there to make sure he was buried with honor; as a veteran, as a brother, a son, a father, a grandfather, and Uncle.

IMG_2448Our sister shared stories of of him; his guitar playing, his painting, and how he loved to surf. It was a beautiful service, something Ted would have appreciated.

Then we celebrated

Celebrate_Ted's-Funeral_webWe danced and sang and danced some more. I think Ted was dancing with us.

Thank you dear sister not only for making sure Ted was honored and celebrated, but for bringing us all together and showing us that though we may be flawed, we are a strong family.

Sending love and light out into the universe,  in honor of Ted and the legacy he leaves behind.

xo

 

 

 

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Expectations

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We were traveling along the highway on Whidbey Island over the New Year holiday when we ran across this mailbox. We passed it, then on the way back I asked Brian to stop so I could take a picture of it. As we stopped, another person was there and took a picture of it. When I got home and posted it to my Flickr feed, it made Flickr Explore with over 16,000 hits and over 260 favorites.

Now, I know this image isn’t great, nor is it popular for my technical skills as a photographer, but I think I have an idea as to why it resonated with so many.

We all have hopes and dreams about what we want more of in our lives and the wise owner of this mailbox understands that though he or she may not get everything they ask for, they understand the power of asking the universe for it. I imagine people will rally behind this person’s wish for the mailbox to be filled with love letters only. I for one am writing one that I will drop in that box the next time we are on the island!

What are your expectations for your life? What would you like to see more of? Have you asked the universe yet? How long has it been since you’ve written a love letter? Have you written one to yourself yet?

Thanks so much for stopping by.

xo

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Be Still – Hanging Around

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Actually the title of this week’s assignment was “Hanging Bottles”, but the one and only place in my house where I could possibly hang anything was the bi-fold doors that hide the washer & dryer! Anything I would hang there would have to be very light weight. So, after some thought I remembered I had some vintage sheet music that I could make some paper cones from. Tied with a bid of string and filled with some of my dried flowers and, well, there ya go! These are so lightweight that I simply used scotch tape to “hang” these sweet cones, which kind of remind me of the Victorian days when nosegays of flowers would be given in paper cones.

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I am also rather smitten with the titles of these pieces of music “Song Without Words” and “Songs My Mother Taught Me”. Makes me wish I could play an instrument so I could play these out to here what they sound like.

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All in all a pleasant afternoon spent in the breakfast room playing with these.

Hope your day is going well.

Cheers to you!

xo

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Be Still – New Beginnings and a look back

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In last week’s lesson we were asked to create a little still life that would reflect a fresh start to the new year. I immediately thought of bulbs. Every year after Christmas I head to our local nursery where they always have some paperwhites on sale. I have specialty containers for forcing bulbs, but this year I went with simple canning jars. Brian likes this look so much he told me I should do it this way always. The jars are sitting in an old film can lid covered with a napkin. I don’t even remember where the little chalkboard came from, but this is the first time I’ve used it. Kind of fun. This display sits on our breakfast room table for us to enjoy daily.

Kim also asked us to look back on our photos from 2014 and pick a few favorites. Such a great exercise to look over my year and see how far I’ve come and to my surprise I actually did have a few favorites. Here are my first 3 favs:

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The picture in the middle is from a Be Still exercise (inspired by a painting), of course this looks nothing like the painting but it did provide a jumping off point for me to land here. I’m having an 8″ x 8″ canvas print made to hang in the kitchen. The photos on either end were self-assigned projects. I’ve had the fish in the glass vase image in my head for two years! The smelt image on the far right was inspired by an image by Art Wolfe. I’m having this made into a 20″ x 20″ canvas print for the breakfast room.

And my second 3 favs:

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The tomato image up top was inspired by an article I saw in a Martha Stewart magazine this summer about heirloom tomatoes. Got me thinking! The middle image is from a Be Still assignment (Cookies & Milk). I went a little crazy with that homework! The image on the bottom is also from a Be Still assignment (Butter & Eggs). This image also made Flickr Explore if you can believe that!

So there it is…some of my favs from 2014. So looking forward to learning more at Be Still and also in the new class I am in entitled The Studio. Promises to be inspiring!

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Wishing you all a wonderful 2015, filled with love, laughter, creativity, and fun!

Thanks so much for stopping by.

xo

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Happy New Year!

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Kim Klassen’s waterfront 19 applied at multiply, 54% opacity

We wanted to ring in the New Year quietly so the family and I decided to go to Whidbey Island for a couple of days. New Year’s Eve day we drove to the ferry dock in Mukilteo where a 30 minute ferry ride would take us to the island. We got there early so had the opportunity to take some pictures of this old lighthouse, a historic landmark in Mukilteo.

I was just as excited to find a dried hydrangea blossom behind the lighthouse

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Kim Klassen’s Waterfront 2 applied at soft light, 90% opacity

Then we boarded the ferry and headed out. This ferry boat is new to the fleet. Really nice.

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We stayed two days at the Boatyard Inn in the City of Langley on the island.

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We’ve stayed here before. It’s decor reflects it’s location on the water

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I spent hours watching the birds and walking the dock

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You can see the Cascade mountain range in the background in the image above.

Walking the shore was a special delight with log “sculptures” scattered about with the sound of water gently sifting the sand.

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Though it was sunny, it was quite cold. Frost covered the logs

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I came across this frozen still life that must have been arranged there during warmer days

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But our loft was warm and comfy. We each took turns cooking for each other and spending lots of time reading as well

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When the New Year dawned, this is what it looked like

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Kim Klassen’s Waterfront 7_magic 2 applied to the text only at multiply 38% opacity

After much reflection, I’ve decided my guiding word for this year is Listen. Not just with my ears, but with my eyes to observe that for which there are no words. I want to listen with my heart to feel the quiet places within. Listening to others – not just what they say, but listen to their intent. Listening to my own voice as well. After these few lovely days on the island I’ve come to the conclusion that good listening begins with creating quiet time, both externally and internally.

To help me with my journey, I will be reading Mark Nepo’s “A Thousand Ways To Listen”.

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I must confess it is taking me some time to get back into the swing of things. I deliberately stepped away from posting to enjoy the holidays and didn’t even look at any of the other blogs I follow. Today I decided to look at a few of my favorite blogs and was inspired to go ahead with this post, though it wasn’t my plan to do so. I’m grateful for my blogging pals for helping me get back in the groove!

Linking up with Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesday today. If you have a moment, check it out!

Hope your new year is getting off to a good start. Thanks for stopping by.

xo

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Gather Up the Old and Welcome Up the New

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A lovely sentiment from a greeting card I received this year:

Looking ahead there are many things to see and to do. We’ll gather up old things and welcome up the new.

But, before the holidays pass and winter turns into spring, let us all take a moment to reflect on some things.

Let us count all our blessings; hug all those that are dear. And, wish each other

Happy Holidays & a Happy New Year!

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My heart is full of gratitude; for a loving family and kind friends. Thank you all so much for your love, your support, and your inspiration. Looking forward to our journey together in the new year.

xo

PS – will be away from blogging for the next several days in an effort to quietly welcome the new year and savour all its potential.

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Gettin’ Figgy With It

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While at the Gather retreat I picked up a new cookbook at Petals and Pop called Sunday Suppers by Karen Mordechai. The book is full of lovely photographs and recipes. One recipe attracted my attention – Fig Tart with Honey. I absolutely love figs so decided to give it a try this week. So I picked up some figs

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but before I sliced them up for the tart, I just had to play around a little bit with them. I’ve had these little heart shaped tart tins for years but this is the first time I’ve used them as a prop in a photograph. It won’t be the last!

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After this round of play, I did get the tart together.

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It was super easy to make. Basically you make the pastry shell and bake it.

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After the pastry shell cools, it is filled with a mixture of cream cheese, creme fraiche, lemon zest, and lemon juice. I found the filling a bit tart so added a tiny bit of Agave syrup to the filling as well.

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Then you slice the figs and layer them over the filling.

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And as a final touch, honey is drizzled on top

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Then it’s ready to serve! I had a lot of fun playing in the studio this week and I find that I particularly like working with food in my photography, though it can be a bit of a challenge sometimes, like trying to drizzle honey while taking pictures! Basically I placed the camera on a tripod, set the camera to rapid fire and with my cable release in one hand and the honey wand in the other, I went for it! Kinda proud of myself as I didn’t make too much of a mess while doing it!

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Oh, by the way – the tea towel in the pictures is also from Sunday Suppers. Thanks so much for stopping by. I am linking up with Kim’s Friday Finds today. Hope you have an opportunity to stop by there as well.

Have a great weekend!

xo

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With Gratitude

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Taken w/ 35mm @ f/3.5, ISO 500 @ 1/400 second. Applied Kim Klassen’s ‘pinit10′ texture @ multiply 63%

Just a quick post to express my deepest gratitude to my family, friends, and friends in my online community for all of your kind comments, virtual hugs, and real prayers sent my way regarding my brother’s passing. Your kindness and compassion has touched me deeply. Bless you all.

xo

ps – hooking up with Kim’s Texture Tuesday. If you have a moment, please do stop by. Cheers!

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Be Still Homework – 3 Things

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Taken w/ 35mm @ f/4.0 ISO 800 @ 1/10 second.

This last week I was blessed with some quiet time. Brian was out of town on business for several days and I took advantage of the stillness to play with my camera. Before my brother passed on Thursday, I had been working on this week’s Be Still assignment – 3 things: a chair with or without a subject, next to a window, backlit. At first I was like “I don’t really have a window available that is big enough to accommodate a chair, it’s winter and there’s not enough daylight for a backlit shot, and my favorite – I don’t have a cool white chair like Kim!” But then I realized the studio has a sliding glass door which would certainly be big enough so I headed out there. Looking around I spotted an old wooden folding chair that I had completely forgotten I had so out it came. I started setting things up and then I saw it – beautiful natural light – even on this gray day. To capture it I did have to bump up my ISO and reduce my shutter speed, but there it was! I took lots of pictures, changing perspective and moving things around.

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Taken w/ 35mm @ f/4.0, ISO 800 @ 1/13 second.

But before I had a chance to process the images, news of my brother came through and I needed time to simply sit, eyes closed, and reflect on him and family. So, yesterday afternoon I decided to open Lightroom and see what I had done in the studio. I must say I’m pretty darn pleased and believe it or not these images didn’t need much processing at all, just a little white balance adjustment. I did try some presets on some of the images, but in the end I appreciated the natural look.

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Taken w/ 35mm @ f/4.0, ISO 800 @ 1/20 second.

So, the lesson I learned is the one I seem to need to learn over and over again – appreciate what I have. We in the Pacific Northwest are often complaining about the darkness of winter, but as you can see, we do have beautiful light, even in December. I’ve also complained about not having a big window, but, turns out I do. I just had to look at things differently – in this case a door is my window! And I may not have a cool white chair, I do have this old beat-up wooden folding chair that worked just fine. Appreciate what we have. I think I need to post that quote on my bathroom mirror!

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a beautiful weekend.

xo

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Finding the Christmas Spirit

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I have a confession to make. It’s been years since I’ve felt the Christmas spirit. I’ve gone through the motions; decorating the house, listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, baking cookies, getting together with family and friends. And though all of it has been lovely, I did not feel the spirit move within me. Now I’m not a religious person, but I am a spiritual one so I do believe in a higher power, something larger than ourselves. But it has been difficult to feel that when I see Christmas marketed for it’s retail value or watch people on the news trample over one another to get “the deal” at some big box store. Clearly something is missing here. But then, this week something happened.

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My brother Ted passed away this week. He had been fighting a losing battle with cancer and spent his last days in the hospital trying to manage the pain. Thankfully my sister Darlene was able to be there at his side. And though most of us could not be there, we did send him letters via email, which sis read to him. But she did more than that. She gave each of us a gift also. She sent all the letters out so that we could read what everyone wrote. As I read each one, my heart filled with joy. These messages spoke of Ted’s kindness, his generous heart, his beautiful smile, and his creative spirit. He was an inspiration to each of us on so many levels. Those loving words of my family for Ted has reawakened the Christmas spirit in me. After all, the spirit of the season is really all about love and family.

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From now on I will think of Christmas as Ted’s day, with his love and light shining through each of us.

May the spirit move within you this holiday season and keep with you all of your days.

xo

ps – linking up with Kim Klassen’s Friday Finds. Hope you’ll have a chance to go there as well.

Posted in holiday, Inspirational | Tagged | 9 Comments