Saturday, March 31, 2012

Photo Selections...

     I thought this weekend I would post some creative fun as I join up with Kim at Frog Ponds Rock [yes, I know she doesn't put spaces in it, but I really like the spaces because I think, like she does, that frog ponds do rock] for her Sunday Selections meme.

     These are all different views of the same thing, and the last photo is the pieces all put together.


THE Phantom Warrior designed by artist Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday Travels ~ Grewingk Glacier

     I thought I had posted already about my trip to Alaska in May 2008, but apparently not.  Wednesday snuck up on me, and with all that has been going on this week... I almost forgot about Thursday.

     These are photos from my trip to see my cousin.  We spent a wonderful weekend near Homer, AK, hiked a mountain, saw a fresh bear print in the mud, traversed an alder plain, kayaked out to Grewingk Glacier, and then hiked back.  It was incredible!

View from our cabin at Hideaway Cove Wilderness Lodge near Halibut Cove and Homer
We stayed the night before the hike.  So beautiful!

Stairs up to a point then hiked up and over the mountain.
Bear print in the mud.
Going down the far side to enter the Alder (tree) plain.

We've got to hike how far?????

A cairn we added to when we got closer to the glacier.

This was after we kayaked around the lake to a spot that was about a mile away from the glacier.
We could hear the glacier groaning and popping... a mile away!

The water temperature according to our guide was "3 minute" water.
Three minutes before you'd be in excruciating pain.
We had waders on over our clothes and heavy jackets.

The red line marks our hike, and the yellow where we kayaked.
Image is from Google Maps.
 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Snow...

Snow falls quietly
Night sounds hush.
Owls watch silently,
Winter's cold rush.
~ Cindi ~ 2012 ~

Image Source

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Be strong and courageous...

     Church this morning held a powerful message for me.  While I don't think that Pastor Angel wrote the message "just" for me, I do believe that his words and choice of scriptures [Joshua 1:6-9; Psalm 42:11; Psalm 43:5; Hebrews 10:19-25; Acts 14:21-23; 1 Corinthians 9:24-25; James 1:2-4] were not a coincidence... any more than I believe his knock at the door last Monday night was a coincidence.

     I'm one of those who believes that ALL things happen for a reason.  That our lives are intricately designed for higher purposes and the people who come and go in our life, places we travel to, things we experience... the good, the bad, and even the ugly... all work together to make us into the person we are called to be.

6 "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
7Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 
8 "Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 
9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
~ Joshua 1:6-9 ~

Be strong and courageous.  Be strong and very courageous.  Be strong and courageous.

     This message was so important that it was said three times in the same chapter.  We were then told to not be afraid... to not be discouraged.

    When we face trials... tribulations... challenges... pain... losses... it can be so easy to become afraid and so easy to get discouraged.  To just say "I didn't realize it was going to be THIS hard. I don't know if I can do this. How am I supposed to keep my faith when I'm under attack, when the night is darkest, when everything seems to be going wrong."

    We can't imagine facing those times with "pure joy" and the last thing we want to hear is that we might face many hardships, trials, and tribulations before we finally get Home.

     But we know how the story ends, and we know that when we do get Home, we will never have to want for anything... or anyone.  There will be more love for us than we could ever hope to experience in a lifetime.  In a thousand lifetimes.  Because that is His promise to us.  That He will be with us wherever we go, that we will never lack for anything... and all we have to do...

     ... is be strong and courageous... do not be afraid... do not be discouraged.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Five on Friday... Click-Clack

     It has been a roller coaster ride this week, so I'm dragging out the rose colored glasses again and putting things into perspective... *Maxabella loves... is blogging on being grateful for still being able to rock the school yard in her glam girl heels.  Yeah, I'm envious...

Monday...  A horrendous thunderstorm lasted all night, which managed to make up for the drought last year.  Big dog (scared of thunder) kept waking me up all night to open the spare bedrooms doors, front, back and inside garage doors because he was convinced there was someone in the house.  He's such a good dog.  Click-clack... the sound of Trooper's nails on the floor as he paces from door-to-door trying to bravely protect me from the thunder.  My big baby, God, I love that dog.

Tuesday... Both dogs have decided that it will be okay for them to take up most of the bed at night when they sleep.  Thankfully, my night sweats make it convenient for me to hang my butt out from under the little bit of comforter that they leave me.  Another plus... glow juice is not toxic and washes out.  It's a good thing.  Click-clack... the sound of me trying to switch the lights on when there is an obvious power-out issue going on.  Oh well, it doesn't hurt to try, does it?  The sound is also of me opening and closing drawers in the pitch black trying to find matches, a lighter, flashlight... anything to bring light into the darkness.  Damn!  There's the chair by the hall... oh my toes.  I'm so grateful for glow-in-the-dark paint, key fob flashlights... and neighbors.

Wednesday... the normally dry creek bed near the house remains a river even this afternoon and it hasn't rained since yesterday morning.  I attempted to give a 60-day notice to the landlord, but they said unless I found another renter, I'd still be responsible for the rent until September... fortunately, I may have someone else to rent the house.  Click-clack... the sound of the tires on my co-worker's car as we drive to work this morning on the overpass.  I'm so grateful for these people willing to go out of their way to help me.

okay... might need to dust a little...
Thursday... imagine a world with no internet... no email... and you've imagined what today was like at work.  It was actually pretty nice, and while I didn't get some things accomplished, I was able to start inventory on the files in my cube and get them sorted for closeout or working issues.  Click-clack... the sound of the keys on the keyboard tonight when I get home from work... ahhhhhhh... internet fix....  mmmmmm.... yes, I survived and can reconnect with the world again.  Hello, friends...

Friday... missed-communication allows me to tend to myself this morning as the stress of the week has rolled into an unpleasant physical ailment.  Some days it can be a good thing to just take some much needed time to stop and think about what I want.... because right now everything has just come crashing down around me.  Click-clack... click-clack... click-clack... the sound of the roller coaster in my brain going along the rails, around and around in circles... fast... slow... angry... sad... I'm grateful for the awareness of my emotions and the fact that I do have options...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Travels... Tip Toe Through the Tulips...

     Spring always makes me think of the tulip gardens in The Netherlands.   While I would love love love to visit Germany in the spring, a real dream vacation would be Uniworlds Tulips & Windmills cruise.
Dutch Windmills
     This year's tour includes an excursion to Floriade 2012, a world flower show which is only held once every ten years.

Beautiful...


Monday, March 19, 2012

Storms in our lives...

     It is thundering quite loudly outside.  Trooper is at my feet, shaking from fear.  Even when the lights went out for about 20 minutes and we could not yet hear the thunder, he began to shake, as if sensing the approaching storm.

     Earlier this afternoon, a guinea fowl appeared in the yard.  Most likely caught and blown in the rising wind from a farm somewhere.  The neighboring dogs were all eyes watching it run along the fence line in a panic, while one of the neighbors asked if we had gotten a new pet.

     No... maybe dinner if we can catch it... but not a pet.  Fortunately it flew to the top of a neighboring house and disappeared.

     Watching it run from me tonight as I tried to get close enough for a picture, and then watching it fly off... made me think of myself and how I've been running in a panic the last few weeks.  Oh, but to have the luxury of being able to fly away from it all.

     Storms come and go in our lives.  Literally and figuratively.  We may panic when the wind, rain, lightning and thunder begins, but we know that there will come sunlight and rainbows eventually.  Yet... when the figurative storms in our lives hit, we seem to forget that there will come brighter days.  Days when we will have wings to carry us away from the things we fear...

     Even when we don't have wings of our own to carry us... we are carried by angels who guide us.   This is one of those days... one of those times for me.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Selections... Türen Teil 2/Druhá časť dvere

     I'm linking again to Kim at Frog Ponds Rock's Sunday Selections meme of those obscure photos we all have lurking around on our computers.  Time to dust them off and share them by linking up to her page.  Join us!

     These are the doors from my Danube River trip in 2008.







Saturday, March 17, 2012

"May good fortune be yours, May your joys never end."

May there always be work for your hands to do.
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine on your windowpane.
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
WeHeartIt.com

Wherever you go and whatever you do,
May the luck of the Irish be there with you.
WeHeartIt.com

Wishing you always...
Walls for the wind,
A roof for the rain
And tea beside the fire.
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all that your heart may desire.
WeHeartIt.com

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday Travels... Where is your heart?

     If home is where your heart is... where is your heart?

     Where we feel at home can vary.  It can be with the people (or dogs) we love... it can be where we grew up... where our best childhood memories are... where our parents are.  Home can be a feeling... a place... a time... an event.  Home can be a comfort ... a smell ... a sound ... a touch ... a taste.

     I grew up in a rather transient, military brat way.  I missed out on getting to know family ... grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles ... because of it, and I think if there is anything that I regret about our moves as a child it is that fact.  When I've met people who grew up in the same town they were born in, the same town that all their family lived in ... I'm secretly jealous.  All of my grandparents are gone now, and I can count on one hand the times I got to see them before they passed away.  I didn't meet most of my cousins (at least that I could remember) until I was an adult and traveled on my own to see them.  We always have such a blast on those rare visits that I feel I missed out on so much growing up by not seeing them more often.

     I have only two or three that I've known since my school days, and most of our friendship has been based on letters... which became less frequent with the rise of the Internet and email.  Now... I seldom hear from them at all.  They have busy lives just as I do, and geography separates us.  If we lived closer, I know we would get together for coffee... or wine... on a regular basis.  I've missed that with the friends I lost when I left Florida ... the potluck game nights of shouting Balderdash, Scattergories, Taboo, Catch Phrase, or Pictionary answers.

     In my heart, I've always felt like Florida was home for me.  Even when I was in California for fifteen years, it never became home for me. I'd only lived in Florida for eleven years before I left. 

     Germany has always felt like home.  We lived there for four years when I was a child and it's magic never left me.  I've traveled back on vacation a few times as an adult and still find the country just incredible.  I think I would love to live there if I could just figure out how to get Trooper over without him freaking out in cargo.  Do they let dogs fly first class?  What about slow boats?  Henry would need to go on a diet to fit under the seat in front of us... unless it was first class.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What do you wish for your future?

     Jamie Ridler prompts us this Wishcasting Wednesday morning with a question that has been heavy on my mind for quite a while now.  She always seems to have a knack for doing that.

     Yesterday, someone at work asked me what I was going to say for my going-away shindig at work.  I had originally decided that I didn't want to have any sort of going away party because I really didn't want to have to smile politely at all the nice things being said by people I knew didn't really think them or believe them.  I didn't want to have to choke back the bile on office politics.

     But then I changed my mind ~ less for myself and more for the handful of people I will truly miss.  So my co-worker was convinced I had something to say that will shake things up. 

     Some of them asked if they could have one of my "balls" when I left because of how I worded my resignation letter (yes, I was polite, professional  and politically correct).  So I've been handing out ping-pong ball eyes.  I am, afterall, Ciclops.

     I hadn't planned on a speech, but now I guess I'll have to think of something witty with a thinly disguised message.  I'll post it the afternoon of my going away shindig to share it with you.  I think it actually came out quite well.... considering.

     Lately I've been thinking of all those stories I've read of people who wake up one morning and realize they've hit a wall in life.  Corporate politics no longer thrills them.  They feel empty, unfulfilled, dissatisfied.  So they walk away from it all and start life over. 

     Or actually... they start living the life they were meant to live.  They pursue dream jobs, volunteer, start businesses.  They wake up looking forward to the day ahead, rather than counting down how many more hours until they are home again, and how many more days until the weekend.  They feel fulfilled, satisfied, and happy.

     My wish for my future is really also a wish for all of the people I work with now, and ... all of you.  My wish is to be happy... to be fulfilled... to be satisfied with my contribution to the world and to know that it is a lasting one.  I don't need medals, awards or monuments of stone or bronze.  But to know that one person, just one, was helped or changed by my words... that makes all the difference.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Love bonds...

      This is an add-on post to the one earlier this morning on 1 Corinthians 13:13.  Because the greatest of all things truly is love...
Love bonds...
     This morning on msnbc.com I read an incredible story about a little boy and his dog (Lucas and Juno: Special bond of a rescue dog and dying boy).

     It was this picture that really struck my heart and almost brought me to tears.

     The boy (Lucas) really loves his dog and you can see that in how he holds and kisses the dog's nose.

     And the dog... Juno... aside from being an incredible angel... loves the boy also.  You can see in how he is allowing the boy to pull his head closer, and how he leans his entire body into receiving Lucas's love.

     Their story... their love story... is a touching one.  So too is the story of how much love Lucas's parents have for him that brought these two together.

     While I've never had a child, I'm quite certain that losing a child is probably the most painful thing a parent ever has to face.  Harder still would be knowing that your child is going to die and that there is nothing you can do to prevent it.

     I can't imagine the pain.

     But instead of giving in to despair, Lucas's parents have become brave soldiers on his behalf, fighting to bring their son what happiness they can, in what time he has.

     I am humbled by all of them.

1 Corinthians 13:13

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
      Swans are one of the few animals that mate for life.  Genetics have shown that while they occasionally have an 'extramarital' dalliance... they return to their original mate.  They theorize that the 'affair' is not because they desire another mate, but when natural procreation isn't happening, they find a 'sperm' donor or 'surrogate' in order to ensure survival of the species.

     Humans claim to be the superior species because we can think and reason.  Use tools.  Communicate.  And yet we do more to destroy ourselves and others than any species.

     So really, who is the superior species?  The one that does what it must to ensure survival?  Or the one that destroys itself?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Smokin'....

Smokin'
     I didn't sleep last night.

     I want my hour back for starters, and I want to find the off switch to my brain so that it stops churning all night long.  The 'committee' has been discussing all the "What if's" that are ahead of me, and trying to make lists of Plan B's, Plan C's and what is going to go into the 'Leap of Faith' pile.

     I've been looking for jobs back in the southeast areas since last October... close to Mom, close to the water. But so far the only jobs that have shown an interest are ones that are just gathering eligible applicants 'just in case' they get a funded position.

     "Just in case."

     Well, I'd like to have a back up plan 'just in case' I want to eat.

      So for the past week, the committee has been coming up with ideas of what I can do to have an income.  "Just in case."

     I keep think of these stories that I've read about people hitting that "significant" year of age (hmmm, like my 50th coming up) and decide they've had enough of the corporate world insanity and take that leap of faith to start their own business... pursue a dream job... volunteer with the Peace Corp... or just... be happy.

     So I'm taking notes while the committee is spinning in my head... just in case.

Spring forward...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Feelin' crafty...

     I've been trying to get my BTR (Bermuda Triangle Room) purged, organized and packed and found a craft project that I had set aside and made notes on three years ago.  I finally decided to stop and get 'er done.

I had this empty cigar sample box that I'd been carrying around since the late 90's.
Like I said... the room is a BTR.

I had enlarged and cut down one of my favorite beach shots to go inside of it,
but had never gotten much farther on the project.
My notes said to make it a "beach in a box" for a friend I've since lost touch with.
Finished project.  It was fun!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sunday Selections...

     Linking up with Kim at Frog Ponds Rock!  We all take a lot of photos and most of them just sit around in folders not doing anything. She created a meme to share them, so check out her page and join in the fun.

     I became intrigued with doors when I was on my Rhine River cruise in 2007.  I took more pictures in 2008 on the Danube, but my dream project was to take pictures of some of the beautiful Southern doors I saw in Florida.  That will have to be a future project...