Facts So Romantic

Reality provides us with facts so romantic that imagination itself could add nothing to them.
— Jules Verne

I might just beg to differ, dear Mr. Verne.  But I will do it with tongue in cheek and a light hearted grin, since you are a poet and I am a dreamer.  But ahhh, are they not one and the same?:)

If you asked me who I'd like to have dinner with that I have never met... it would definitely be Bruce Lipton. I SO dig these scientific minds.  Which moment... which reality are YOU in?  Bathe me in quantum weirdness.  I just can't get enough!  I think some of the finest minds in the world, are those that blend science and art nearly seamlessly. 

Children of the Day

I still remember the night I stood here watching the sun paint all those glorious colors into the sky.  It was breathtaking and I felt such peace.  I was holding my flip flops and my sweater in my hand, digging my toes into the soft, cold sand.  It was one of those perfect moments of just being, where there was no need for talk. Such a little oasis in the center of a crazy busy place, where entertainment can be found around every corner, in every nook and cranny, and long past daylight.  And yet it was here.. where I wanted to be. In this quiet place full of waning light and color. That is so representative of my being.  Of who I am at the core.  I find solace in solitude. I need it, in order to function in any kind of healthy fashion.  But I am coming to understand that there is a very fine line between seeking solitude in order to recharge and reconnect more meaningfully, and self imposed isolation whose only design is to separate. One is full of light and peace.  The other is wretchedly dark and dismal.

I received two letters this week from women I have come to deeply respect and admire.  It's ironic you know.. After a very frustrating couple of months, in my anger, I had just finished telling someone that Christians (myself included) are some of the most self absorbed, miserable people I know.  How incredibly self centered (and totally wrong) that was.  Those letters were proof and they were a balm to my heart.  I'm quoting the last words of one here, not only out of respect for the woman who spoke it, but so that I will remember them, later this year, when I will undoubtedly need them again.  

Religion will fail you, people will fail you, but God won’t. There have been plenty of times I have thought that He has forgotten me only to lift me up higher than I thought I could go. I get tired and want to give up but then I think of that story of the Footsteps and know He is carrying me when I can’t do it myself. ...please don’t let.. this world dim that wonderful free spirit of yours. ..I do hope you know that you are not alone.
— Elizabeth Smith

You know what?  I do know that.  Because there are a few of you out there, who continue to remind me that there is kindness and goodness yet in the world, if I will only take my eyes off myself and turn them outward and upward.  I guess this is just my way of retracting some hastily spoken, selfish words and replacing them with something more beautiful.  And it is my way of saying thank you to every one of you (and you know who you are) who have reached out to me in friendship this past year and said in your own precious ways... "We're not letting go." You've taught me more about unconditional love and faithfulness than I could ever.. have imagined.

The Things We Carry and The Places We Carry Them To

Have you ever been to a place where you feel simply like yourself, nothing more, nothing less? Not like somebody's mom, or sister, or friend, or wife, or daughter?  Like who you were in the past was irrelevant, and who you might be in the future would be different because you had been there?  There is such a place for me.  It exists in a small home on a quiet stretch of beach in a little town on the windward side of an island.  It looks out over the ocean, blue water as far as the eye can see.  I know I will return there as often as I can.  I remember lying in bed listening to the sound of waves rolling onshore and to the wind, causing the fronds of the palm tree outside my window to bend and scrape gracefully, casting shadows in the moonlight on the wall across from where I was sleeping.  And there was peace in who I am.

It was in this place, that I began to know myself.  Not as Roni and... anyone.  Just Roni.  It's where I first began to face all the truths of who I am from my own perspective, and no one else's... accepting all of it, not just the good and "pretty parts" but the broken and burning bits too.  Here I am a year and a half later doing the same thing from another table, another window, looking out over other waters.  And there is peace in who I am.

With It, An Eternity...

It’s essential to listen to the messages from your heart. These messages are your soul’s desire. They communicate to you what you are meant to be doing at any given time in your life. If you don’t follow these messages, you will inevitably be straying from your life’s path.
— Jon Gabriel

I've never been much for a traditional office.  I have one, but I don't spend a lot of time there, unless I need my main computer for photo and video editing.  I've finally completed my zen space at home and it is where I choose to be for the bulk of my day.  It is where I go to meditate, to create, to think, to design, to read and listen to music, to be still, to cultivate gratefulness, to dream, and to commune with nature.  The sun travels from east to west as the day meanders across the river, leaving trails of sparkling diamonds in new patterns for me every day.  The old oak trees stand like sentinels on all sides and their leaves whisper and sway in a dance I can feel inside of me.  I really really love these things.  I finally found the table I want for this space too.. a long wooden one that will expand to seat ten people for holidays, extended family dinners, photography related workshops, classes and projects and all the things I like to surround myself with, to help me work and play more effectively. Someone approached me again recently about offering a workshop for beginners or those struggling with pulling their cameras out of Automatic mode.  I feel like I now have a space that will accommodate that in the near future.  I'm behind on my goals by about six months to a year I think, but these months (and the coming ones) are an important healing time for me, and what's the rush after all?  Each day in itself brings with it, an eternity... 

But it isn't just the things I am surrounded by in here that bring me peace and this quiet feeling of tranquility.  It is the echo of people who have been in this space with me.  And it is the echo of those who have yet to be in this space with me.  People I know personally and many I don't.  People I love, people I have invited into my heart and life, whether for only a brief time, or with more permanence, on the computer, or beside me in the rocking chairs.  My friend gave that tiny little zen garden up top to me for my birthday. It has little pits of sand that everyone seems to enjoy diving into (we are such tactile creatures it is lovely being invited to touch, isn't it?).  Four bright candles glow in it whenever I am in here and I smile and breathe deeply every time I look at it. Trust, acceptance, love, kindness... it reminds me of the blessings of true friendship. 

There is a lot going on in my mind, body and heart these days.  For the longest time, I kept trying to drag myself away from sharing what is personally going on behind my eyes, and just remaining detached and professional, removed and at arm's length, only letting you see one layer.. the top shallow one.  That is never going to work for me because it goes directly against my nature.  I am a highly emotive empath... and it is that very aspect of my personality that makes it so important NOT to do that.  

So why the heck am I blogging about this on my photography website?  Because trying to live creatively when your mind and body are out of balance is like trying to drive a car that ran out of gas about six miles ago.  Don't ask me how I know.;-)  

Sometimes, I just make it way too complicated, when it's really very simple.

More Delight, Than Fifty Common Years

I held my arms out to him without a word and wrapped his silence around me, carefully smoothing the folds that were closest to my heart.  And when he left, I dried each tear with the edge of my own silence... until there was only music. - Isabel

Thank you for reminding me, John {Keats}...   How I love your romantic heart.

It Is Well With My Soul

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There are some things in my life I find it very difficult to talk about.  They live in the darkest regions of my heart and I don't often revisit them.  But I want to tell you about someone beautiful today, and I can't do that, without reaching into those stormy parts of myself, so you'll understand why it all matters so much to me.  Why I think what she's doing is so very moving and important.

Before my oldest son was born, I dreamed often of being a mother.  I imagined it probably like many women do.  You work your life plan out and then it just happens, when you decide you are ready to make it happen.  But sometimes, life isn't like that.  Weeks turned into months. Months turned into years.  And no baby filled our home with laughter and new responsibilities. I watched my friends get pregnant and held each child, rejoicing and continuing to hope.  After about 3 years, my husband and I decided to seek the counsel of a fertility specialist and then spent a year, and many  long months implementing the doctor's plan.  I could never express in words, the feeling I had when that test came back positive.  It was indescribable and beyond amazing.  Jimmy was born a month early and there were a few minor complications but in the end, all was well and he came home and has graced our lives with his presence for nearly 17 years now.  We were happy, and I thought, "This is it."  I've arrived.  I'm a mom...yay!:)  All was well.  We thought it would be nice to have one more child so we returned to the doctor, but nearly 4 years went by with no results so we thought we were done.  We settled into a comfortable life ... the three of us found a rhythm that worked for us and we marched to it quite nicely.  But when we found out baby #2 was on the way, we were ecstatic and I started making plans and cleaning out the guest bedroom almost immediately.  I had two ultrasounds early on, due to previous complications and everything looked fine so we joyfully told all our family and friends.   I believed the baby was a boy and started calling him Samuel, right from the start.  In the mornings when Jimmy would crawl into bed with me, he'd touch my belly and ask if he could talk to Sam.  My heart was full.

At 13 weeks, that all came crashing down.  During a routine exam, my midwife was unable to find the baby's heartbeat.  That's not always unusual, so they scheduled another ultrasound, which revealed that my little Sam had not progressed beyond 10 weeks and was in fact, no longer alive.  I barely remember the minutes and hours after that.  Somehow, I managed to get dressed and follow my husband to the car, and I don't think I spoke a word for the remainder of the day. It was honestly one of the most painful experiences of my life and it will stay with me forever.  I have three beautiful sons now, but there are still times I pause and think of who he might have been.  I mourn for a child whose spirit lived within me for only a very short time.  He was joined later, by our twins, who also left us at 13 weeks. 

I am often amazed and humbled by extraordinary women who rise up from the ashes of the most profound grief, and create rainbows, where storm clouds might otherwise linger.  I met one such woman recently, and the work she is doing is moving to me in ways I couldn't begin to describe to you.  Her story will squeeze your heart, but her subsequent actions, will make you cheer.  I hope every one of you who reads me, will read Heidi's incredible story and then share it with others.  I believe so strongly in what she is doing.  I urge you to visit and like her Fan Page and to like and spread the word about her  charity: Butterfly Kisses .  This is so important to me.  If you ignore every other link I post, please do not ignore this one.   Here's what Heidi's blog is all about:  Buttons and Butterflies

And Heidi, I want you to know ... I think you are extraordinary.  Truly.

Word to the Wise:

Think about re-examining those dark places in your soul and let a little light in there.   If Heidi can rise up, so can we.  And if the man who penned this hymn during such terribly painful times can see the light, perhaps we can all reach down and do the same.