You Had Me At Aloha

I went shopping and out to lunch with a friend today. I haven’t done that in a long long time. Now I find myself surrounded by a whole lot of things that make me feel more like … me. It’s lovely.

Not long ago, I was struggling with something hard and I was given a mantra. “Just this day.” I have repeated it to myself for many months now, willing myself to live in the present moment as often as I possibly can. Isn’t it amazing how a treasure chest full of sparkling diamond, “Just this days” can string together into a whole strand of something beautiful in time?

Welcome To My Morning:)

One of the best things I did in our new home was to create a coffee station upstairs in the sitting area of our bedroom. Every morning, I wake up, turn on the coffee maker and throw open the curtains to a brand new day. There always seems to be some new delight, a rainbow, a shaft of light hitting the colorful trees just right in the fall, a mama deer and her fawn, and once in awhile… a gorgeous pair of bald eagles. It feels like a hug good morning, from the God of my heart. Such a lovely way to start the day. I don’t often stray far from that window until after my coffee but on this beautiful Saturday morning I could not resist. I threw on my sweatshirt and my boots and made my way down to the river’s edge, trying my best not to disturb the pair. It’s a real treat when I find them together. They didn’t stay long… but long enough for me to feel grateful and to count my many blessings. Our home is at the top of that list. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it is good to really feel that. Thankful.

Do you think much about the routines and rituals you build your life around? Are they good ones that edify and lift you up? Fill you with light? Or do they instead, fill your head with darkness and fear? Do you know peace and breathe deep when you are in your surroundings? If not… maybe it’s time for a change. Sometimes the scariest leap of faith, is the most rewarding one.

But remember this. Sometimes a break from your normal routine, is exactly what you need. Out there in the dark and cold; in those scary and sometimes lonely places outside of your comfort zone… that is where the magic can happen. Don’t ask me how I know. ;-)

The Harmony of Balance

I so often find myself amazed at the passage of time and how the older I get, the quicker it seems to fly by. We’ve been here for two springs, two summers, two winters and three fall seasons now and every single day I love it more. Every season holds a different delight. In spring, we experienced the magic of helping to raise 3 wild baby bunnies. This summer, we planted a new trough garden full of herbs, tomatoes, strawberries and flowers and we continued to watch our koi fish pond grow by leaps and bounds. In the fall, we discovered how it feels to be parents of an empty nest (that feels anything but empty) and this winter holds the unfolding of some new secrets I can’t wait to share. Thanksgiving this year will be at my oldest son’s home. What a beautiful blessing! I’m looking very forward to the holiday season with loved ones both here and an hour and a half away in Rochester. Half of us are here this year, and half of us are there. But we keep finding ways to be together and it is always very special. I treasure those times more than ever before.

Jim came home with some lottery tickets last night because we had been talking earlier about what we could possibly do with a billion dollars. Our ideas were endlessly fun and truly generous. We would love to give to every person who has ever touched our lives. If you’re reading this, you are probably one of them. I love you… have I told you that lately?;-) The dearest thing to my heart was this…Neither one of us would leave our home right now. We love our lives… right where we are. Jim has a great job. I stay busy taking care of this place and my little Cheyenne. And here we are, two years later, and I have finally completed the inside of our home. While I do not subscribe entirely to all philosophies that relate to the practice of feng shui… this part absolutely resonates with me.

Feng shui is sometimes thought to be the art of placement—understanding how the placement of yourself and objects within a space affects your life in various areas of experience. It is a complex body of knowledge that teaches us how to balance and harmonize with the energies in any given space—be it a home, office, or garden. Its aim is to assure good fortune for the people inhabiting a space. Although regarded by some in the scientific community as a pseudo-science, feng shui has had an impact on the aesthetics of interior design and the architectural layout of living and working spaces, both in its native eastern and, more recently, western cultures.  
— Rodika Tchi

There are so many things I love about being here. The way the water sparkles on a sunny and windy day. How we can run down to the dock in our own backyard and hop in the boat and take off as far as we choose. How when it gets cold we can choose to flip a switch and have a fire, or go slower and gather wood so we can hear the crackle. The giant willow tree by the pond that looks like a big head of long hair, swaying in the breeze. The little gazebo where we can watch the sun go down and listen to the cricket chorus at dusk. The various shades of blue in every room inside and how they look like the levels of color in the ocean, from deep azure to the lightest aquamarine. I feel peaceful here. In a crazy chaotic world, that is a warm and lovely thing.


Empty Nest? Nah... ;-)

I love to travel to new and interesting places but I really really love coming home.  I live on a small town river in Central New York that is teeming with all kind of wildlife and it is such a treat to interact from afar... and once in awhile, even up close.  I keep a lot of flowers around our property and one morning, we found my gorgeous red verbena in shreds, all torn up and dead on the ground beside its flower pot.  I couldn't imagine what might have done it.  Until we went to clean it all up and found four little baby bunnies all snuggled up together in the den their mother had made for them.  I have to say, I think she was rather smart.  A lot of times they make their dens on the ground and the babies' chance of survival against lawn equipment and other dangers is very slim.  

They are about eleven days old now and I have been watching over them since the day after they were born.  We lost one a few days ago and I was just heartbroken but yesterday, two of them opened their eyes for the first time and blinked up at me.  I just stood there grinning from ear to ear.  That was so special.  First time ever in my whole life, that I have had that pleasure.  I got to look into those little eyes, even before their mother did.

It's been raining a lot this week, so I covered them with an umbrella.  They're still cozy as can be.  It's a common misconception that the mother won't return to nurse them if you touch them and I admit to being unable to resist stroking these tiny little miracle balls of fur.  Mama comes back for about 15 minutes at dawn and 15 minutes at dusk to nurse, and I sit at the top of the stairs in my hallway, where I can watch in awe, without disturbing them.  It's lovely really... this beautiful world I live in.  So full of wonder. 

So far this summer, in the early hours just after dawn, I have kept company with a doe and her baby deer, a bearcub-sized beaver, a family of four minks, eighteen mice, (For awhile I felt a bit like Cinderella waiting for her ballgown and affectionately named the first one "Gus-Gus" ;-)), two beautiful pairs of yellow finches and one pair of cardinals, at least four nesting house finches and five different FULL nests and all their baby birds, hummingbirds,  mourning doves, chipmunks, squirrels, a skunk, blue herons in the yard and on the riverbank, kingfishers, falcons, osprey, eagles, ducks, geese, mergansers, swans, snow geese, cormorants, and one crazy little Havanese puppy named Cheyenne.:)  We also have a pond filled with about a hundred or more of the most beautifully colored Koi fish and a freshwater tank inside.  There.  I don't think I left anyone out.;-)

As we begin the new school year and my last child heads off to college... it occurs to me that my nest is not really so very empty after all. x

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When Waves Wash Over

Watching, praying, sometimes feeling so helpless.  My heart feels it... this volcanic act in progress.  There are some things we cannot stop.  This is one.  

It just aches... to watch it all from afar.

Be still and know that God is still God.

Sending a wave of Aloha.

As Your mercy falls, I raise my hands, and praise the God who gives, and takes away.  And though my heart is torn, I will praise you in this storm...    

A Little Bird Told Me

I have heard it said, that if you want to take great pictures, then you should stand in front of great things. I certainly feel like I do a good amount of that. But for some reason... my own heart always returns to the little, ordinary moments of my life again and again and as a result, so does my camera. I have seen some extraordinary things; the magic of skyscrapers, the swell of an ocean, the magnificence of a pride of lions, the spray of a whale and her baby, the vast expanse of a desert, the stimulating nightlife of Las Vegas, the grandest of canyons, the birth of babies and the mind numbing beauty of a Hawaiian sunset.

But do you know what still moves me the most? The feather details of a small bird, the swirls of a single flower about to give up its last breath, the way dew looks like a rainbow of diamonds first thing in the morning, the shadows cast by something standing in the light, the way wet rocks shine, the way a robin somehow instinctively knows that if it shoves its beak into some healthy wet grass, it will inevitably find some breakfast, without too much effort.

The truth is, I really don't think there is anything on earth that couldn't be classified as a "great and extraordinary thing." And these in between moments ... what I sometimes think of as "valley moments" are where I often find true greatness shines. That is a very good place to spend prepping for what I perceive as peaks. And I often wonder if we have it backward; if our valleys are really our peaks.

"Remember the little things, for one day you may wake up and find that they were the big things." - Robert Brault