Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Benches

Life is forever changing. It begins and it ends.

A new normal to be found when it ends. Only memories to carry us through, the sound of their laughter, the knowledge they imparted upon us and the love they carried for us.

It is our turn to carry on their memory & their legacy. To share who they were with those who come after they are gone.
I have learned in my life that death is as much a part of life as birth. I have also learned what it is to find the "new normal" when that space is now empty. The chair where they sat at the family dinner table is no longer filled.

I have learned in the past 2 days about the loss of an uncle and a very good family friend - who we consider family.

My Uncle Bob didn't live close by and was my mom's last surviving sibling. I was in his wedding, once upon a time. I remember him living at my grandma & grandpa's when I was a little girl and always flipping his silver dollars - just begging for me to try and catch them & run away! 

He soon married and moved to Indiana, and then later to the Grand Rapids area where he was a teacher. Maybe he's where I get the love of my job from?

It's bittersweet to know that my mom's family is gone and that my sisters, cousins & I are now "the family". It is up to us to carry on their legacy and share the stories and the memories and the love our grandparents instilled into their children for God.

The other is of the mom of our very close friends. She is pictured above on the right in the beautiful floral jacket & long black skirt. 

Linda was a beautiful soul who loved life and loved her family unconditionally. She enjoyed laughing, reading, cooking (I love her stuffed peppers) and she loved the beach. Kindred spirits she & I were in that area! 

She battled cancer for the last year and sadly, lost that battle early this morning.

I have been quietly reflecting all day of these two wonderful souls. I am so very grateful to have known them both and that they were a part of my life. They blessed me in so many ways.

I sit and listen to that quiet laugh of my Uncle Bob in my mind. How his whole face would light up when he laughed and the how he would grab that silver dollar just as I thought for sure it was in my grasp. The quiet demeanor of him when we were together as a family at Christmas' past. The hug he embraced me in when he came to the hospital to see my mom & I had walked him out to his car so he didn't get lost in the hospital.

I hear in my mind the laugh of Linda and the stories she would share of the alligator who lived in the pond behind their condo. How she was upset, yet hopeful, that when they came to remove him, he would be taken alive and set free where he should be.

I see her face glowing at the wedding of her grandson and the joy she held in her heart having her whole family together not only at the wedding, but for Christmas that year as well. I remember her telling me how long it had been since they had all been together for Christmas and how her heart was overflowing with happiness to celebrate together once again.

Life changes every moment of every day. It changes so fast.

So I choose to reflect, record in my journal and in my mind, those moments to cherish later in the still, quiet space of my heart.

Uncle Bob and Linda - you are gone from this earth, but your memory is carried on in the hearts and minds of so many, mine included. I thank you both for all that you were to me and that God honored me with the chance to know you.

May we all reflect and be still and remember those that we cherish most and never forget who they are in our life.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Monday Morning Coffee

So - it's the 1st of February, already! 

Our second semester starts today - whoa! It seemed to fly by, yet at times it also seemed to drag. Like last week........I swear it was a full week of Monday's, even with 3 half days due to exams. It.just.dragged.on.....and on.....and on.

The weather here has been not a typical January as of late either. We've had swells of warm weather and rain. We've had very little snow this winter, which is okay I guess. I'm a Michigan girl & I like Michigan winters......this in-between stuff is just no fun. 

I spent a couple afternoons last week revamping my website. I made a decision the 1st of the year to take a very in depth look at my photography "business" and I've been doing a lot of research and reading and I am feeling compelled to make it an "official" business.  You know, registering - licensing - the whole shebang. So I've been working on a business plan for the last several weeks, still working on that, and changing my pricing and packages. There is still room to tweak and play with that, but at the moment, I am confident in what I've decided based on my business plan. 

Did I tell you that the "business" side is not my favorite side of all this? Can you tell?

Well, it is what it is and I am determined to move forward. I love what I do and I want to make it grow. So I am also working on many ideas for photo shoots and expanding my senior model program.

Dream Boy and I spent the weekend close to home. Friday night we watched a couple movies and Saturday we went to a 40th birthday party for a teacher I used to work with. It was great seeing him again, it's been a few years. 

Following the party we headed to church for game night. I'm not much of a game player, so I watched, which is what I really love to do. I absorb and what is going on around me, much like watching people for my photography. We went out with some friends afterwards for coffee and beer and time to have a few laughs.

Sunday was drizzly and just plain not pretty. We headed to church and then dropped off our taxes - yes, our taxes - and then came home where we just lazed and napped the afternoon away. We had a congregational meeting after church that took up most of the early afternoon, so there really wasn't much napping time left. Oh well - it was still a great day!

So here we are again at Monday. A new day, a new week, a new start!

Make it a good one!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Morning Coffee

Hard to believe we are in the last week of January, isn't it? It's also the final week of our 1st semester of this school year, with exams scheduled for Wednesday through Friday.

While the east coast seemed to be pummeled all weekend, from pictures I've seen streaming through Instagram and Facebook, it was a fairly beautiful weekend here. 
We spent Friday night in, and Saturday spent our morning cleaning and puttering around the house. I had some things I needed, so Dream Boy & I set out in the afternoon to run some errands.

The sun was shining brightly all afternoon, but the temps didn't reflect the warmth the sun was trying to share. But in spite of that, the sun sure lifted our spirits and it felt so good to be out and about.

We ran our errands and ended up stopping at Goodwill. I had been looking for a new pair of jeans, but was not able to find any that I like or wanted to pay top dollar for. I never, well hardly ever, pay full price for anything. While browsing through the jeans at Goodwill, I came across a pair in my size and they looked long, so I took a chance and tried them on. Whoa - they fit AND were long enough and were Silver Jeans and were only $9.99. I looked them up online when I got home and they normally retail for $99.00! I was so excited to find a pair of jeans that fit at Goodwill AND they were talls - added bonus - but then to realize the original cost & what I found them for. Major bonus!!

Saturday night we spent bowling in our living room. Ha! Yes.....once upon a time Dream Boy & I belonged to a bowling league and bowled every week with my parents. It's been ages since I've actually bowled, but Dream Boy noticed on his new Apple TV that there was a bowling game, so we downloaded it and bowled 3 games. He beat me on all 3 - oh, was he excited! You see, when we actually bowled, I took after my dad & was quite good at it, usually beating Dream Boy most games.

But don't put us on an ice rink, because he'll skate circles around and around me.

Sunday morning we headed off to church before returning home where Dream Boy took a bike ride in the basement. When he was done, we packed up and headed to the shoreline of Lake Michigan to South Haven. I've wanted to go to the beach in winter for ever and it's silly that I've never done it before this. While past winters have seen the lake frozen over, this year we've had a much warmer winter & so the water is still very open. 

But the ice formations and the beauty and power of the Big Lake were amazing. We were not disappointed.
Absolutely breathtaking. 

It was something to listen to the water move back into the channel and the sound of it pushing the ice away from the pier and even cracking in places where it had frozen solid to the piers.

The power that this water possesses in the summer, when everyone is carefree and happy and frolicking in the waves, was even more evident to me while standing here amongst the frozen tundra and listening to it.

So what did you do this weekend?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tuesday Tea

As I look out my classroom window this morning, I see the beautiful break of dawn. The heavy gray snow clouds have moved, if only for a moment or an hour or two, I will take the magnificent oranges that are breaking through. The silhouette of the tree line giving a sharp & dramatic edge to the promise of a new day.

The last 4 or 5 days have been a typical Michigan winter. Bitter cold temps, the snow, blowing, drifting and swirling. Winter weather advisories for almost 2 days have once again reminded us that we live in a winter wonderland. While it is cold, and the snow seems to bite the tip of your nose as you walk from here to there, it is crisp, clear & refreshing. It seems to bring a newness to the landscape surrounding us. I do love this part of winter, the freshness that comes with a new fallen snow.

Our weekend didn't start out with snow though. Friday was gray.....and wet. Lots of misty rain & fog - melting almost all the snow we had from a previous snow earlier in the week. But the rain just makes things muddier and browner and uglier. At least this time of year. 

I know in the spring my heart will sing a new song with the rains as they bring on a freshness and newness and promise of a different beauty in the daffodils and tulips and trees budding. The birds return and the mornings are filled with their song.

Our weekend wasn't filled with anything crazy, major or too exiting. But instead, it was a relaxing, stay at home, get caught up on this or that and just chill. We snuggled in with a warm fire in the wood burner because after the rains came the snow & chill. 

We watched movies On Demand, we cooked dinner at home, Dream Boy continued to work at mastering his new Apple TV in his basement bike shop & I worked on my business plan for my photography. We went to church on Sunday morning and after a quick stop at the grocery store, we headed home & hunkered down again.

Just what we both needed. No rushing here or there, but just enjoying a quiet, do as we please type of weekend.

So here we are on a Tuesday, not Monday, but a Tuesday. Because life is like that sometimes. Not in a rush, not in a hurry, but taking each day as it comes. Living in each moment that presents itself and breathing in the life that God has given me.

I hope you have a beautiful day, and an even better week!

Thanks for sharing your tea, or coffee or whatever it be with me this morning!