Tuesday, April 30, 2013

p is for ...

My first pug, Chynna
After I stopped thinking she looked like a fruit bat.
Chynna again, with her daughter, Crystal above her.  Angel was the cat's name.
Crystal, always laughing.
Crystal, many years later.  
Tink was my next pug.  This was taken the first November I had her.
Our first Mother's Day at the beach
Trooper adored Tink. 
Tink.  
Henry and Trooper right after I adopted him.
He is so freakin' cute.
A rainy February in Texas.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Saturday, April 27, 2013

selections # 118

Friday was the first really nice day this spring and almost summer.
I took the dogs to the bay by the house to swim for the first time this year.

Trooper has been wanting to go swimming since forever.
If we ever move to a piece of property with a pond or a pool, he will be very happy.
A beautiful day for sailing, it was.
Annie was mid-shake.
I tried to explain to her that shaking off the water while still in the water was a little pointless.
Trooper is more interested in fishing, while Annie is trying to decide if she wants to investigate the sailboat.
Later after a bath, Annie strikes a very Rubenesque pose...
[while sitting on Trooper's foot]
Yes, we knows we is loved.

Sunday Selections was originally started by Kim, of Frogpondsrock ,as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files.
It is now continued by River at Drifting through life and Sue at The Elephant's Child. The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent. Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.

Friday, April 26, 2013

5 minutes: friend

GO:

Last night was the first night of a book study for the women's group at church.  Afterwards, we did prayer requests and talked about our lives.  For some reason I shared how hurt I was a few weeks ago when I felt like I had to walk out of the ladies' craft night event because I could not face the hurt that hit me like a sledgehammer when I saw two former friends there.  These women don't usually go to my church, they were guests, and because one of them I know once professed to be an atheist, I left rather than do anything that might make them uncomfortable.

I gave up my comfort zone to them.

Once upon a time I considered them more family than friends.  We held game nights two or three nights a month, I spoke to them daily.  They knew all my hopes and dreams, and also all my nightmares.  They were all that I had here in town after my father died.  They were my sisters.

Something happened to change that, and I don't know what it was other than I left for a job and they stayed.  Because of that, everything changed ... except for the hole in my heart where they used to be.

Late last night, after my tears dried, a thought occurred to me that was so powerful that I had to write it down.

"Often God will take us out of our comfort zone so that we will turn to Him for comfort.  How blessed would our lives be today if we turned to Him first for comfort before we turned to the world?"

I've been out of my comfort zone for a long time now ... reaching my arms up to God.  Not only has He always been there for me, even when I felt alone, He has been putting new friends in my life to fill that hole.  He is my comfort.

STOP
5 minute Friday

Thursday, April 25, 2013

full moon ...

This image of tonight's full moon doesn't do it justice.
As I sat at water's edge tonight, watching the reflection of it on the water,
the moon seemed close enough for me to reach out and touch it.
I saw the craters that made up the "Man in the Moon's" face,
Saturn so bright to the left of the moon as I watched it,
doesn't even show in this image.
Parts of the world will see the partial lunar eclipse in tonight's sky,
but not this part.
~*~*~
I think of the dreams I had on last April's full moon.
Spring flowers did chase away last winter's gloom.
I have a new life ... with new hope ... and a second chance.
Love ... true love ... a true romance.

The dreams I'll tend on this new pink moon,
An opened heart with lots of room,
A healed soul and a life with grace,
Family, friends, and His smiling face.
I've gained so much more than what I lost,
All because He paid the cost.

tattle tail

Stunt Double Image Source: WeHeartIt.com
To protect the identity of the accused,
since she is of a minor age,
a stunt double was used for this image.

Details of the crime are still coming in,
however, the informant, Trooper, was duly rewarded for reporting this crime.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

today ...

  Today has been one of those days where every time I read one of my devotionals or study books, there was something that hit me right between the eyes ... like a V-8 Juice smack down ... or Gibbs smacking Tony on NCIS.

  It began with this sentence from my Jesus Calling devotional ... "Your fear often manifests itself in excessive planning."

  I've had this devotional for almost two years.  I have read today's page at least once before, maybe even twice.  I don't know why today those words hit me the way they did.  I do know that I've always been a planner though.  I used to get my calendars as soon as they appeared in the store, then I would go through them and mark all my plans for the coming year.  In ink.

  The very first time something did not go as planned, I would throw away the calendar, buy a new one, and plan out the remainder of the year.  In ink.

  To say I was mildly obsessive compulsive about it would probably be an accurate statement. To be honest, it was probably more than just a "mild" compulsion.  But I realize now it was probably due to the fact that my life never really felt like there was anything solid under my feet.  Nothing I could count on.

  My father was military, so we packed and moved about every two years from the time I was born until the time I was fifteen.  Just when I felt like my life would have some ... solid ground ... my parents divorced.  We moved again.  And again.  I moved.  Married.  Divorced.  Married.  Moved.  Divorced.  Moved.  

  You get the picture.  I was like a rolling stone ... without the music.

  All along, I was planning away my life on calendars ... as if writing out my plans [my hopes and dreams] in ink would give me a sense of security or make me feel safe.  As if that ever elusive "tomorrow" was guaranteed.  I should have bought stock in White-Out for a few years, but then began writing in pencil when I saw that my compulsive planning was becoming expensive buying new calendars every three months.  

  I grieved for friends and family who passed away.  I grieved for relationships, friendships, and marriages lost.  I ... matured ... and realized ... there was no tomorrow that was guaranteed.

  These days, I don't plan on my calendars.  I record what I did yesterday in ink, but I pencil in appointments and important dates just for the month or a few weeks ahead.  I haven't yet looked at July, or even December.

  But now I make lists of things I want to do, or "plan" to do.  Yesterday I got disappointing news that completely disrupted long term plans I had written "excessively" the day before.  I was crushed.  Those old fears came crashing down on me and I felt lost ... hopeless ... helpless ... afraid.

  Until this morning when I read those words and recognized the old pattern of planning my life away.

  So I spent the day facing that fear.  Challenging it.

  I know that there will still be days when I slip.  But today, I feel stronger for letting it go.  I can rejoice in the gift of this day.  And if I'm lucky, I will rejoice in it again ... tomorrow.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

selections # 117

 there was an artist i admired when i lived in california
he painted clouds that were so incredible
if you stood in front of one of his paintings
you could almost feel the wind blow

thursday was one of those cloud days
and i could feel the wind blowing me back in time
Source

Sunday Selections was originally started by Kim, of Frogpondsrock ,as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files.
It is now continued by River at Drifting through life and Sue at The Elephant's Child. The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent. Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.

Friday, April 19, 2013

5 minutes: jump

GO:
this afternoon i watched my 8th grade autism students enjoy the mysteries of dry ice in a science lab.  as they learn what happens when you enclose dry ice ... as it "sublimates" and evaporates back into its natural gas state, the pressure builds up in the container, causing the lid to pop off ... i jump the first time i hear the loud bang.  lids hitting the undersides of desks and students laughing hysterically at the teacher and i each time we jump.
when i come home, mentally exhausted, ready to jump into the weekend after a stressful week of FCAT testing for the students, my dogs instead want to jump on me and go for a run in the field across the street.  their stress relieved, or so i think, i sit down to unwind for a few minutes and plan out my evening and weekend plans.
annie, however, has different plans.  she is the recently rescued beagle, age unknown but obviously still very much a puppy.  she drags her flat basketball to the top of the stairs then releases it so she can chase after it.  i jump up, hearing the loud thudding down the stairs, thinking that she has fallen, only to see her grinning ~ as much as possible with a basketball larger than her head in her mouth ~ as she runs up the stairs and jumps onto the bed.  a face fight begins between her and the big guy, trooper, until finally energy spent, she jumps down and onto her own bed.
STOP

i am jumping into Five Minute Fridays with Lisa-Jo Baker
  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

dear me ...

  i love listening to Wally in the mornings.  Way-FM is the radio station that saved my life.  literally.  this morning Wally asked "If you could send a letter to yourself back when you were growing up, what advice would you now give?"

  i've actually been thinking about this quite a bit lately.  in just over two weeks is my 51st birthday.  my 50th year was the worst year of my life.  worse than all of my divorces combined into one big ugly mess.  worse than 10 years in an abusive relationship.  worse than when my dad died.  worse than when my dogs have died.

  but it was also the best. it was better than watching six pug puppies being born.  it was better than Christmases in Germany ... in Austria ... and in Alaska.  it was better than my cat Oreo waiting two years for me to come home to him ... it was better than hearing that the cancer, for now, was gone.

  this past year i was at my lowest of lows ... and then another six feet lower ... but because it wasn't a literal six feet under, it was also the highest point in my life [so far].

  so this is the letter i would write to my younger self if there was some way to send it back in time.  it isn't filled with advice on surviving my parents' divorce [forgive them] or surviving middle school and high school [don't worry, the cheerleaders will get fat].  it isn't filled with financial advice [buy stock in Yahoo before anyone knows what it is].  it isn't filled with marriage advice [wait on love, don't rush into it].

  it's the kind of letter that if my younger self could have read it wouldn't make sense, but then as life happened, it would make all the sense in the world and save me from so much heartache.

dear cindi:
people might fail you.
God never will.
love,
me

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

lighten up ...

WeHeartIt.com
tho it may be difficult at times
we cannot forget to laugh
it is joy that keeps life going
laughter that keeps us healing

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

n is for ...

not

as in
"not without sin"

~ John 8 ~
6-8 Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.
Source
new

as in
"forgiven"

~ Galatians 6 ~
1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.
MSG


Saturday, April 13, 2013

selections #116

looks can be deceiving
on the surface, all you see is brown weeds
a little green here and there
a building project left uncompleted and bankrupt




but if you take the time to look beneath the surface

you can sometimes find unexpected treasures

people are like that too

Sunday Selections was originally started by Kim, of Frogpondsrock ,as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files.
It is now continued by River at Drifting through life and Sue at The Elephant's Child. The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent. Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.

James 3:13

James 3:13-16 Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom. It’s the furthest thing from wisdom—it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others’ throats.


It is easy when times are difficult to want to find short cuts to get what we want ... what we need.  
We sometimes think that no one will know ... no one will see.
But there is One who sees all ... knows all ... 
and there is another who will use that hidden secret of ours to corrupt us and lead us astray.
The path of right living is narrow.
Difficult at times.
Challenging.
But worth it.
Oh, so worth it.

1 Peter 5:8-11 Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.
~ The Message ~

Friday, April 12, 2013

when worlds collide ...

Source
i had different plans for tonight.  but then my old world collided with my new world and the discomfort it caused me was more than i could deal with and i had to leave.

you know that feeling you get when you run into an old friend ... someone you haven't spoken to in years because the last time you spoke, you got your feelings hurt by the things they said and did ... and didn't say and didn't do?

you wish you could go back to how things were "before" that feeling, but then you realize that they aren't going to, and you are left with that awkward, uncomfortable pain in your heart that you can't explain ... or understand.

you've moved on ... and it's pretty obvious that they have too ... and now you're left with ... i don't know what.  you clearly aren't friends anymore, but you aren't enemies either.  you aren't strangers ... but there is no longer that familiarity either.   you can be gracious, polite, and civil ... sincerely glad that they appear to be well and happy ... do the one-arm-hug-your-neck-hello-how-are-you-good-and-you dance ...

but you hold your breath and hope that they don't ask you anything more because you don't want to lie and you also don't want to open that door again and trust them with anything more.  like reaching out to grasp the hand of a cactus ... knowing you are going to get hurt ... flinching before you even stretch out your own hand.

there are no hard feelings or wishes of ill.

there is just the pain of missing what once was ...

and the pain of knowing it will never be again.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

i have a theory ...

like all conspiracy theories
this one is based on some facts

spontaneous human combustion

80% of the "victims" were female
Source: WeHeartIt.com
I think they were women in menopause
in the summer
in Florida
on a humid night
with no air conditioning

Just sayin'

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

tending ...

spring has finally arrived
i've been tending to a small herb garden
in pots on my upstairs deck
cilantro
oregano
basil
rosemary
lavendar
Source
wishing i had a garden like this to tend
 
i've also been tending to my soul lately
reading
writing
sleeping
praying
 
wishing i had a garden like this to tend
 
i'm wishing today along with others at Jamie Ridler Studios

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

blocked by darkness ...

the darkness was closing in again
i did well to keep it outside my door
until yesterday
when it caught me off guard
and drove me to my knees in tears
making me nauseous in the process
...
i finally pushed it outside the door
closed it
locked it
shuttered the window
...
i had been trying to write again
[here]
but when i hit that wall of darkness
i could not
think
i could not
feel
i could not
write
the words were struggling to be set free
to escape
to escape
to escape

and i realized that it was
me
that wanted to be set free
to escape
to escape
to escape

and i realized what 
the wall
was for

it was to make me
think
to make me
feel
to make me
write

that story will be finished another day
because today
another one
escapes

Saturday, April 6, 2013

selections # 115

mystery flowers  ...
I think this is a wild version of a Cotton Ball Lamb's Ear plant ...
It is soft and velvety.
I've never seen them in bloom before.
These red flowers come in varying shades of red and pink, and also some as light as white.

These are drying in my garage to see how well they hold up as dried flowers.
Both plants grow in the sandy soil ~ almost beach sand consistency ~ across the street.
Since the only water they get is when it rains, they are obviously drought resistant native plants that would be wonderful if I could get them to grow in my front yard!
This is a flowering tree I saw while driving home from work.
I have no idea what it is, but it is beautiful.
Sunday Selections was originally started by Kim, of Frogpondsrock ,as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files.
It is now continued by River at Drifting through life and Sue at The Elephant's Child. The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent. Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.

Friday, April 5, 2013

i'm in 11th place!!!!

at the school where I am a paraprofessional
the autistic students occasional get a "P.A.T." Friday.
personal activity time

topping the list of things to do on those special Fridays
are playing on the Wii
wheeeeeeeee

today I got to watch a lesson in good sportsmanship
taught by my shadow
Source: WeHeartIt.com
he was playing with another student
who struggles with "sharing"
and who always has to be first
and better than everyone else.
a student who gloats when he wins
and laughs at other's misfortune.
Source: WeHeartIt.com
he plays quite well because he plays quite frequently at home
where as an only child, he doesn't have to share anything
and his skills are much better than my shadow's are.

yet every time my shadow lost,
he celebrated wherever he placed in the race,
because even if the other racers were just game avatars
he still wasn't last.

see
winning isn't everything
but sometimes just finishing is.

when every day is a struggle to just fit in
or to just understand the work placed in front of you,
even if you finish last,
you still win.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

day dreaming...

For as long as I can remember being in Panama City ~ as a child and as an adult ~ 
I have always loved this particular stretch of road for the trees that hang over it.
Old oak trees that I'm sure could tell many stories.
There once was an old house off to the right where that mail box is.
I day dreamed about buying it and living there.
Oak trees and wild purple wisteria.
There aren't any streetlights on this stretch of road.
I bet it is really creepy at night.
Wild white wisteria.
The property has been listed for sale for a while now as a proposed housing development.
23 acres for less than what a house would cost in some areas of town.
I would love to be able to buy it, and turn it into a shelter for abused dogs.
I would call it "Annie's Acres."
Fenced in and underbrush mostly cleared,
a place for unwanted hunting dogs to run and be loved.