Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A letter to the one who didn't destroy me.

You tried to. Oh how you tried to.

Sharing the details of me with basically a stranger. Details of us. Behind my back. Think about how that feels to me today. You say you were not looking - and yet you gave into divulging the details. I wonder just how many you shared. I'm sure there was sympathy and (since you were already weakened in your commitment to me ) then responses carefully replied to make the grass look so much greener. Maybe she played you --- would you even recognize it if she did?

It's one of the questions, I need no answer to. I did need it --- but no longer.  See, I came to terms with the reality this week. It may not be your reality, but it is mine.

When you destroy trust the way you did, it not only destroys the trust in you, it destroys the ability to trust forever. My future is not nearly as bright for the next relationship. That person will have to work so much harder because the walls got so much reinforcing. You, however, have the bright and shining promise of this much better relationship you "fell into".

Think about this too --- she knew you were cheating on me --- so WAY in the back of her mind, will she always wonder if it could happen to her?

I've learned a lot in the last three weeks. Knights in shining armor --- well they need to keep that armor polished up. This means honoring their word. Being the person they profess to be. Not having hidden frustration when some simple (maybe difficult) conversation could help or even fix it. (actually that falls under honoring their word) Above all I thought you were a man of your word.

I've learned that hatred doesn't fit me at all. Nor does anger. Bitterness, Vindication.

Forgiveness - that fits. Grace - that fits. Accepting that "it is what it is" -  that fits. And those things will let us remain friendly.

I laid in the floor for two fucking weeks ---- I puked at every thought of your for those same two weeks. I petitioned my case with your girls - you sister --- I even tried to bargain with God. All while giving you permission to be happy. And I really do hope you are happy. All those days, she's gone. Will you wonder? Will she worry?

Then the hatred from others - the ugly texts - that made me realize that your girls actually blamed me for SO MUCH DRAMA over the last seven years. Nope - not taking blame for that either.

You have so much fallout around this. I kinda really wouldn't want to be where you are.

Let's look at me ---

Aside from the new walls I put up after you dumped me for her

1. I was 100 percent faithful to you - to my path - to my committment.
2. I am doing the work to protect me from the hatred of my ex and my children. It ain't easy work but it is important and worth it in the long run.
3. I partnered with you.
4. I prepared for so much.... and the one thing I never thought I would have to prepare for - you cheating - I wasn't  --- well that shit won't happen again. I will forever be prepared (see the note about walls)
5. Your age - your vision - your health .... none of those scared me. I signed up for the long haul --- Sorry it turned out to be a short trip.
6. I kept you updated about were I was - when - how. Well - we know how well you did that.... Winder Waffle House --- does she drink a lot of coffee too.
7. I recognized the challenges - you weren't prepped to meet them. Strength of character or commitment?  I'm not sure. But I was committed to you completely. And I was much stronger in my commitment

That's enough comparison --- it doesn't fit me well either.

Here's what does feel right.

1. I now know your children disliked me (and you) I am so sorry for that. You got big work to do there buddy. I no longer have that burden.

2. Thank you for teaching me to take good notes. Deep in the core of my being, I knew. You were not as good at hiding her as you thought. Trust me - even you are not that good. So I did have a bit of prep work done before I asked those questions.

3. Thank you for all the good memories. For the laughter. For all those times that we were so damned good. I hope you remember those too.

4. There were moments when starting over might have worked. But as each day passes and I realize you are telling her all that you told me, well I deserve better than all this. OOH  the colors are brighter. You feel so much younger. Guess it really depends on who you point it at. Yeah --- I remember - Heard all of that.

5. Those nights when she is gone who knows where. You'll think of me and wonder. Let me assure you that I will be doing just fine. When your health is an issue and she's no where around. I'll be just fine.  When you are lonely and need someone --- think about this --- I committed to the long haul and you took me out like so much garbage.

Apparently you needed more...... I don't know what more.

Here's the scoop. You've made me feel less than her. You've made me feel less than a lot of things. But that feeling didn't last very long.

I am smart.
I am capable.
I am funny.
I am far from perfect.
I am a survivor.
I am so many more things that you lost sight of.
I loved you --- yes it is now a past tense format.
I went out of my way to be your partner at every turn.
And hear this loud and clear.

I am stronger than you ---- I can say that because I was able to guard what was precious to me. I guarded your heart. I kept mine away from temptation. I guarded us with the same fierceness a mama guards her children. You failed to do that. Yes you failed me --- you failed us --- you failed your word - you failed yourself.

That makes me stronger. That makes me hold my head up with a grace and dignity that no one will EVER TAKE FROM ME.

And I will continue to do the right thing. To handle things as RIGHT as I can. And in the moments where I fail --- I will be a decent person andI will apologize and try to make it all right.

I will do the work to preserve my relationship with my children. I will do the work do preserve a friendship with my ex. I am not at all afraid of the work.... and I am woman enough to do it.

You may feel like you aren't enough of a man...well now is the time to find out.

I will survive your destruction. I will rise again. You will see me and know. You will KNOW... I was a hell of a loss because you couldn't be a man of your word.

You don't get to UNHURT me --- but you will get to watch while I walk through life without you --- and you will realize that yours was a huge mistake.

Have you told her - you've not paid all the divorce settlement? Have you told her you sat on settling your daddy's affairs for years because you were afraid to move forward?  Have you even told her about the economic effects on your life? Have you told her about_______ about________ about_______? For all your talk about being a friend to have them, you certainly chose not to be a partner and your partner should be your very best friend.

I'll go into the future with full disclosure --- including how I got my heart battered, because "he said I took too long doing the right thing by my children." No sir --- not your decision. My children were at the center of my goals --- and no amount of time spent doing right by them was or is too long. You should ponder that with your children. It's important.

So many failures to honor your word. So many mistakes. So much disrespect from you to me. So you hurt me. You did not destroy me. You are not enough man to destroy me. Think about that.

I loved - I lost - it hurt - I will heal - I will survive - I will thrive. You may not --- that part is up to you.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 A look back --- and forward from here

My OneWord for 2017 was RE-FOCUS. 

Whoo - hoo did I do that. 

My biggest refocus was financial. 
I set a goal to pay off a particular debt in 2017 and tomorrow morning, I will do that. 
(just in the knick of time) 

I also have made major progress on paring down - getting rid of - organizing and all that kind of stuff. 

I am calling it a good year. 

Now for pretty pictures ---

When I was pregnant with my oldest, I was terrified. 

Would she be ok?

Would I be ok? 

I didn't have clue about being a Mom, and yet there I was expecting a child. 

I had a dream about her. 
In the dream, she was an adult and was walking up the driveway at her Grandparents house. 
A tall, thin, dark headed adult.
I never worried about her reaching adulthood again. 

Fast forward - 27 years - 

She and Abby out taking pictures at Grandmother's house. 
Me quietly watching the antics. 
Suddenly there it was -- a deja vu moment.
I was taken back to that dream. 
The one I wrote in my journal so many years ago. 
Oh my - heart stopping. 

The photo here is the EXACT image from the dream so many years ago. 

God moments --- He knows the plans. 

God ------ thank you for all those beautiful moments with her and with her baby sister.

I also captured moments in 2017.

Beautiful images that defy explanation of why I find them beautiful. 

Leaves along a wall.
The play of light and shadow. 
Tiny webs of decay.

I love the outdoors.

This image from a deer stand in central Georgia.

That moment when the sun is setting and a shaft of light illuminates the one leaf. 

It feels as if this was a performance made JUST FOR ME. 

I know the same thing would have happened if I wasn't there, but it just seems like a moment of praise is the perfect response to this happening. 

Life is crazy beautiful --- Look for the moments.

My poor MaggieGraceCreates blog has been sadly neglected a lot.

Mind you - MaggieGrace has been creating.

to the tune of 50 crochet finishes this year.

That's a whole lot of hooky time. 

It's also been a year for being STASHSOURCEFUL.

I've made cards, invitations, tags, journals, crochet items.

So it has been a really good creative year. 

And so far it looks good for next year as well. 

The year has not been without challenges though. 

The, now adult, children are back home. 

This has required adjustments on everyone's part. 

We are learning to live together as adults instead of parent and children. 

So the above photo kind of represents how we may all be all over each other, but find some peace and beauty among the chaos. 

So we all know I love a good cemetery photo.

These are from a church cemetery in Mitchell, Georgia.
The entire place was COVERED in this MOSS overgrowth.

And brings me to my biggest challenge of 2017.

In November, I was diagnosed with GRAVES DISEASE.
Auto immune and attacks at the thyroid. 

I am on a medication designed to push this into remission.
The side effects are aggravating, but bearable.
The biggest issue is avoiding the contact with sick people since we are artificially manipulating my immune system. 

But this too is simply a challenge to learn to live with. And I'll be just fine. 
I'm using the hashtag #upfromthegravesshearose for my posts associated with this journey. 

I continue to collect sunrises and sunsets. 

I had an Instagram conversation with a friend about repeatedly posting similar images and "boring" followers. 
I am so far beyond worrying about that kind of thing. 

I love sunrise.
I love sunset.
I am taking the pictures.
I'll continue sharing them. 


God sees fit for me to have another day here.
I praise him for that gift. 

And last but not least, there is this guy. 

He's a Red Shouldered Hawk. 

I consider him "my" hawk.

Here he is in the field. 

I have a special affinity for Raptors, and a very special affinity for Hawks. 

For a long time, this one kept a huge distance from me at all times.

Of late, I've been seeing him closer and closer in. 

I hope this closeness continues.

According to the lore of Spirit Animals, this closeness is a sign to focus on the future. 
To Pause and pay attention to your thought and direction. 
I like this symbolism a lot. 

No having recapped the year, I want to share my word for 2018.

This has become my only true New Years tradition.

I really don't do the whole resolution thing, but I do put a lot of thought into what I want to focus on as each New Year approaches. 

I'll research words and synonyms. 
I'll carefully look at where I have been and where I want to go for now. 

I'll look at areas I consider weak and areas that I consider myself strong. 

I'll ponder and pray. 

Through all of this process, this year, I've decided my word will be....


Here's the context I sent my sweet friend who understands this practice 

I'm choosing FULFILL as in do,complete,accomplish, finish, clear, achieve, satisfy, effect, execute, implement, meet, obey, observe, perfect, realize. 

This one has lots of room for growth. 

Happy New Year my friends.
I'm off on Friday to do some serious self-care. 

See you in the new year. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

It's Quiet in the Woods (not really)

I am an adult novice hunter. 

That sounds a bit strange, but I have not had a long gun in my hands since I was 15.

My dad passed away then and all of that kind of thing went away. 

I've been going to deer camp for several years now.

Going with someone. 

Sitting in a stand with someone.

Taking my camera.

Enjoying the peace that comes from spending time in nature. 
(all kids need to do this --- I repeat ALL kids need serious time away from electronics and indoor stuff) 

A conversation last fall started a series of events that found me,  in the pre-sunrise hours on Saturday morning, putting on camo/safety orange and climbing on a four wheeler to drive myself to my own stand in the woods. I've a new gun slung across my chest. A pistol at my side. A backpack with water, camera, flashlight, extra ammo, a notepad and my crochet project.

I do not consider myself a hunter. It is still about photography for me. But this property also is home to feral hogs, coyote, and you never know, maybe a trophy buck.  Crusty Old Guy insisted that if I am going to the woods by myself, I need to be armed. So the process proceeded. 

And here I find me.

Sunrise in the woods.
I find my stand. 
Get situated. 
And I sit. 


The woods are peaceful in this time. 

There are sounds of the critters beginning to stir. 

I barely see a rabbit scurry out of the open plot. 

Then my newest friend shows up.

Go here to hear what I listened to for a solid three hours. 

A woodpecker - I never saw him, but he/she was sure hammering on the trees. 

That was it. 

My phone died for reasons unknown. 

There were moments when it was SO STILL that I could hear my hook pulling through the yarn. 

But in those still, even noisy moments, I was able to THINK. 

I did not see another critter.

Thinking about everything, and nothing. 

About the man who had given me this gift.

The gift of  recognizing beauty in nature. 

My Daddy. 

How the accident that took him from me had changed everything. 

About the Crusty Old Guy, giving me a new version of this gift, by allowing me to work into this position this morning. Slowly. I have inconvenienced him all this time by going with him and there are locations that two people cannot comfortably or practically go. 

I find myself pondering my health -----

I find myself pondering my path ------

I crochet and I have these conversations in my mind. 

I have nothing to kill but time. 

My phone is dead. I have no idea what time it is. But I stay three washcloths and a coaster for the morning hunt. 

On the way back to the campers, I see those flowers above and I think of my Nanny - she called them "frost flowers" because they bloom just before the first frost of the season.

Although I have been by the tree below hundreds of time, I never noticed that the "cross" branch is not the same species and yet it goes through the tree. This is the kind of natural occurrence that I find fascinating 

An afternoon of busy. 

No nap this day. 

Decisions about hunting locations are discussed. 
I can choose any one of  a number of places. 
But I decide to go back to the same one. 

Again - me - my stuff - my crochet - my thoughts. 

Some of them are very personal. Some are just absolutely fun. Some are very much worthy of sharing. 

I feel a bit lost right now. 
My health is an issue.
I am uncomfortable with joint inflammation a lot. 
The thyroid issue seems to be at the root of my weight problem. 
I am not sleeping well. 
I feel anxiety building in me. That is an unfamiliar feeling. 
I go with it and see where it leads me. 
When I find it leading to a seriously negative place, I make a deliberate decision to back off.

"for I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

This verse follows one of the more familiar verses (Isaiah 41:10), but  I find the 13th one to be the one I recite to myself often. I like the image of God holding my hand. 

Just as I am holding this prayer meeting over myself, this little guy steps into the food plot. 


Unicorns do exist. 

This guy is in no danger from me. I reach for my camera, not my gun. 

And I proceed to be aware of my breathing, my heartbeat, my every motion, in order not to startle him away. 

I want to watch him as long as possible. 

He ambles.


There is such peace watching him. 

He scratches, flicks that tail with the "all is well" motion. 

Yes buddy, all is well.

I can't decide if he has broken that second antler off or if it hasn't developed. 

It doesn't seem that he is injured at all. 

But in those moments, I am fully aware that being here is the best "self care" I can give myself. 

I find myself again lifting gratitude for this encounter. 

For 40 MINUTES, he ambles and grazes. 

40 BEAUTIFUL minutes.

He had a squirrel friend join him and that was fun to watch as well. 

Running - gathering - chittering. 

I'm telling this as a chronological story. 

It was a beautiful moment for me. 

The profound part of the story was not really seeing this guy. 

The profound part was realizing just how much my life has changed since I did not die in 2010 from renal cell carcinoma. 

I also realized that, no matter what the outcome of this next health challenge is, I will be surrounded by beauty and by beautiful people. 

God is good - so good.

I have been allowed to experience this guy up close. He literally walked straight to the stand. I looked down from the window and could have easily been able to spit on him. 

Such a beautiful moment. 

All photos are mine. 
I am creating a "tales from the woods" tag for tracking these stories.
Hopefully there will be more fun stuff under this heading. 

Life is crazy beautiful.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Here I go again

In early September, I had my yearly wellness visit. 

I've been struggling with some issues and I brought that up. 

The issues seem so insignificant.

But since I am so aware of how my body feels everyday, I knew something was up. 

I have the most amazing medical team and sweet Sarah added some additional labs to the work up.
A Rheumatology Panel, an extra Endocrine panel. 

Both came back with some concerning numbers. 

The inflammation numbers were high, but for now, this is discounted because as a singular kidney patient I cannot that anti-inflammatory meds and the endocrine results show that I could have some issues that cause those. 

So deeper investigation on the endocrine side - aka more tests. 

Well tumor markers were high. 


Thyroid numbers at all levels were off. 

So off to the imaging labs, I trekked. 

We have discovered a little issue.

Hello everyone. Meet NORMAN. He's a thyroid nodule, we suspect that he is my troublemaker. 

This discovery has me scheduled for a biopsy later this month with an Endocrine Specialist. 

Thus the reason for this title.


Spending money on medical stuff. 

Searching for answers. 

This is a path all too familiar for me. 

And yet, I do not feel anxious. 

Wait - what? - did I just type that? 

Yes, I do not feel terribly anxious.

Frustrated? - yes

Had a minor pity party? - yup, it lasted all of about 3 minutes. 

Anger? - that's my most common expected response - but it's more about the inconvenience.

But I have not even thought - Why me? 

BLESSED? - so very much. This is my reality. 

Prayers surround me - I feel them - blessed.

The day I got the results of the scan, a phone call to my partner in crime brought the phrase "need me to pack up and come on?"  - blessed

Family, girlfriends, buddies, customers, co-workers supporting me?  - full on - blessed

Fantastic medical team? - blessed

Job that will not have an issue with dealing with whatever this is? - blessed

Faith that no matter what this is, I will be okay? - blessed

Being blessed and grateful for that gives me a relief from anxiety, and I can genuinely say, I am okay. 

so for right now here is where I am ---- I have a nodule in my thyroid - it may be cancer - we will find out - I am blessed beyond measure to have a fabulous support network. 

We will simply do the next right thing. 

I refuse to jump way ahead in this process. 

Mostly, I just want to feel better. 

Life is crazy beautiful. 

Yes all photos are mine --- that scan photo is mine (I paid for the danged thing so I'm claiming it. )

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

On rising above -----

Not once yesterday did I think about surviving cancer ----- not even once.

I thought about beauty.

I thought about gifts.

I thought about laughter.

I thought about intimacy.

I thought about strength.

I thought about gratitude.

I thought about love.

I'm calling that a beautiful day.

(honestly they all are beautiful - this one just had that extra gift)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The thing that cost so much ------

Sunday was Easter.

The sunrise service was beautiful.

Breakfast was amazing. ( Methodists can really cook - and they take a potluck seriously) 

The cantata was harmony. 

The lunch was delicious.

The nap was then fretful.

And the awakening from that nap was wretched. 

Because Sunday was also the anniversary of  the Renal Cell Carcinoma surgery that took my left kidney. 

The day of my surgery is the day that cost so much. 

See, I woke from that surgery with my Aunt and Uncle there with me. 
I love them both dearly and I am forever glad that they were there.
Otherwise, I would have awakened alone. 

There was no intention of harm to my soul, however it happened. 

He knew I was to be okay. 
The doctors had covered the surgery and outcome with him. 
He was relieved. 
He left the hospital and me in the quite capable hands of my loved ones. 

It cost me dearly - that decision. 

I was once again for a major medical issue - ALONE. 

Previous to this - I had pursued the follow up for breast cancer - alone.

Every damned mamogram.
It was just me and the medical people who covered it all. 
Every damned scan. 

And Sunday - as I woke from the nap - there it was again. the memory of alone. 

Twice since then - he has attended church. 

he would have attended at Christmas, but my anger over this reared it's head and there was a confrontation about it. 

And so - on Easter Sunday - the pews filled with new Easter clothes covered families - I wore black and sat by myself. 

Like so many other Sundays. 

But this time I know I am not alone. 

He is with me. 

He brings joy.

He encourages me.

He recognizes me.

Calls me by name. 

Jones Chapel UMC loved me through so much. 

God has loved me through so much. 

I am tired.

Cancer took so much from me. 

It's time for me to take some of those things and move forward again. 

Hold on to your hats people. I made a decision on April 16, 2010.

I think seven years is long enough to be patient. 

I almost wrote "don't you?"

But it is time for me to stop the worrying about what YOU think.

I'm picking up the pieces. 

And --- I know who I can lean on to help

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Note - I am an amateur phtographer - all photos on this post are mine - there may not be specific commentary on them, but they represent moments that were important to record.

My 2016 word was PROGRESS. 

It was a year of that kind of thing. 

I made PROGRESS in a lot of areas. 

But I was not really very proactive in pursuing PROGRESS.

This year is different. 

I've chosen REFOCUS as my word for 2017.

And I am already making my plans for a strong year.

Financially - Emotionally - Mentally - Creatively - Serving Others

It's difficult to put where I am in these areas into words.

Things are fine, nothing is wrong, I just have no real way to describe this "place" where I am. 

So I'm doing the hard work of putting something indescribable into words and a plan. 

Look at that statement and say it.

Bless Her Heart -- (insert southern clucking sounds here)

I've taken to handwashing my dishes. Doesn't take that long. Gives me a feeling of control when I see the stack on the drain tray. Yes, tray. When I handwash, I have a silver tray by the sink. One I would rarely use other wise. It is so pretty and I want to be surrounded by things that I like to see. 

For years - the counters were cluttered - and I didn't even realize that it bothered me. But the coffec maker was there and the plants and this and that and --- and ---- and.

There was NEVER any prep space around the sink so I worked in a tiny little 6 inch edge in front of all that crap. 

This time I've placed things better --- there's a NICE cutting board that I almost hesitated to use because it is so damned gorgeous. But as I chop vegetables - I find myself looking and getting fully lost in that activity - I also appreciate that beautiful craftsmanship with every cut. Call it a WIN for living beautifully. 

Add one silver tray - lined with a tapestry placemat -- use hand crocheted dish cloths and hand embellished drying towels - YES THIS FEELS beautifully authentic me for some crazy reason. 

Oh and the coffee maker is still there - complete with my upside down cup waiting for the next fully savored cup to be made - it's is covered with a handkerchief drape to keep the dust at bay. Makes me happy too. 

Simplicity - that's a craving I've identified. 

It doesn't mean living without things.
It means living without excess things.

I sort through the years of stuff. This has a use. This has a place. This is damned gorgeous and thus with be given a place.  This has emotional ties. Then "why the hell do I have this?" 

Those WHY THE HELL? things are easier now than they were - I've sold some, gifted some, donated some trashed a shitload of them. 

It's that last category of things that baffles me. The ones that don't fit any of the above categories. So I have a box for those - a copier paper sized box. I put those in the box as my mind freezes on what to do about those. And they wait. But only until the box is full. Then I get my mind settled to DEAL with the contents of the box. I dump it out - I touch those things - I try to REFOCUS on them and I try to give them a place. It's slowly allowing me to gain ground in the simplifying process. Some make multiple trips through THE BOX. But such is life and the hard work of being authentic. 

Photographs - preserving a moment in time so that one can revisit the image and be reminded of the moment. 

When I see that picture above, I smell salt water, I feel the breeze coming off the ocean, the sound of the surf as it crosses the sand. There's a bird or two. There's even the sound of the pool pump. The scrape of chairs as others emerge into the morning. I hear laughter among our little group. I smell coffee. I hear the traffic along the street out front. 

Just to the left of this image - there's a shrimp boat. If I zoom way in with the lens, I can see the crew on the deck, working, to bring fresh shrimp for someone's dinner tonight. 

To the right - on the sand - a couple walks slowly - stopping to pick up something occasionally. The rental guy drives along the beach - putting out the chairs and umbrellas. Joggers - bicycles. It's all there. 

But you can't see all of that - you have a horizon sunrise over the water. Some clouds at the horizon line. A fun shape silhouetted against the sun. 

Is my FULL PROCESS image better than your PRETTY image? 

Or does the image bring a moment to your mind and fill in those missing parts for you? 

These things are in my head as I see the image I want to capture. Am I photographing for me? Or am I photographing for others? 

And how do I reconcile the stories into an image I will share? 

Also, how best to share the images? 

Should I pursue postcards - some have suggested that? 
Note cards?

Would my images be marketable?

Do I want that to happen?

Or do I want to simply be here and reminded of why the image is a time record of a special moment for me? 

Just questions.

Molly - my sweet child. The one who change my name and my heart to Mama. 

Molly was blindsided by her husband deciding that he wanted out in 2016. 

Let me tell you how difficult that is for a MAMA. She was devastated. 

Then perspective started to happen. See, Molly was a sick little girl. She was not eating right for the kind of training she was doing. She was running a LOT. She was in a horrible stressful situation in her post graduate program. And after the fact, we learned that the stresses of her home situation were astronomically larger than that. So she lost weight. She cried. She didn't sleep. She withdrew from family situations. It was horrid for this MAMA to watch. 

Then the bottom fell out from under her. 

She came HOME. 

That has been my goal in everything with my girls, To give them a safe place to land while they are exploring their wings. 

She soon discovered that she was not ALONE. 

That she was loved beyond measure by so damned many people. 

Snippets of our conversations from the past several months.

"look at these Facebook pictures Mom, Hello, I KNOW I was there - but am I included ?--- No just him and her."

"I think in your twenties, you think you know everything, then as you gain life experience, you realize that you don't know a damned thing."

"I will NEVER make you and your sister choose."

It has been so hard --- and it has been so beautiful - and it has been so challenging. 

But in the photos around the Holidays, I can see the light coming back on in her eyes. 

She's so much healthier. and a little bit wiser.

And, just like her MAMA, she is trying on who she really is. As she is finding what fits, those are the things she is keeping. 

I do think she is gaining some wisdom. Don't you?

I wear so many hats at work. My actual title is Showroom Manager. But I sell at the counter. And I manage the office and inventory. All the paperwork. All the management reports.

I clean the bathrooms - take out the trash - sweep the sidewalk - etc. 

Lest you think it is a one person operation - there is a counter/warehouse manager and a delivery driver.

We are a small store - and we work really well together. 

But as a result, I get really scattered. 
I have the showroom and that office. I have the management office. I have the counter and warehouse area. 

And my damned pen and / or coffee cup could be anywhere in any of those areas. 

It's a problem - sometimes - but I am slowly learning to keep up with things in many different ways. 

Folders - files - lists. This plan. This report. UGH. 

I do want to display a more professional appearance here, but still keep it well in my personal style. 

Again - I am so unsure of where / how to proceed with that project. 

For just today, I think I'll clear the 2016 POA files and get those packed away.......

Then I can get a fresh start on those tomorrow. 

Life is so damned complex -- being authentic AND professional actually confuses me so much. 

Give PEACE the chance.

I took the picture above on the way home from the beach.

Beautiful graffiti.

But that word resonated within - at that moment and several more times.

My friend - Patti - upon suddenly finding herself lurching forward from a very negative situation, sums it up for me.

"I want to come home, come into a place of peace, and not have to worry about what's going to trigger an argument or how careful I have to be about what I say"

That's me - I want to be surrounded with PEACE.

Simplicity and PEACE.

I want my surroundings to feel serene, secure, simple, peaceful.

I want to feel like I can create and welcome others readily.

I want to be a part of something that feels connected, but not stressful.

I want to lay down every night with the thoughts that "I made a difference in some way today."

I want others to see and feel that I am at PEACE with who and where I am.

St. Augustine sunrise.

We detoured early that morning. I wanted to ride the ferry at Jacksonville.

The intended breakfast stop was not open yet. 

We decided to stop later. 

Little did we know that LATER was to be a LOT LATER in Jacksonville at a McDonald's. 

Oh but the laughter - the coastal beauty as it was dark, then gradually gained light and finally as the sun began to rise. 

Story telling. 

Beauty appreciation. 



Felt like adventure. 


We still had a great morning.

God, how I adore hawks.

From when I was pregnant with Molly, I've been enamoured with them.
See, every morning of my pregnancy, I spotted the same one in the same area of my trip to work. 
It gave me comfort to spot him. 

Now I actively seek these stunning birds of prey. 

My love for them has me learning about them and other birds of prey. 

I know this guy was a RED TAILED HAWK. 

And he (or she) seemed to sit patiently for me as I tried settings on the camera. 

The internal conversation I was having was affirming in this moment too. 

I am moving on into a season of satisfaction with who I am and where I am. 

My health is improving because of these things.
Less stress is ALWAYS a good thing. 

I will praise Him for every sunrise and every sunset. 

I have upheld that promise I made on April 11, 2010.


You can say you will not be defined by it.

But in many ways I am.

That diagnosis and recovery changed me. 

I hope those changes made me a better person. Actually, I know those changes made me a better person. 

As strange as this sounds. 
Being a cancer survivor brought me HOPE. 

Because by surviving, I got another chance to change things for the better. 

Let me tell you --- I smile and laugh a whole lot more now. 
I love a whole lot bigger.
I forgive with no expectations of the other party. 

Cancer --- life altering for so many reasons --- you get to choose whether those alterations are positive or negative. 

Just so you know ---- there was no gold at either end of this --- I checked.

Beauty --- I sat and watched this form and then I stayed and watched it fade. 

It was the afternoon of a visit with someone who may not survive cancer. 
Instead of sadness, she generates so much peace and joy. 

So this promise sign spoke and said that we are NEVER alone.

Worthy of watching and recording don't you think?

4 wheeler views.

These come with time spent in nature.

Watching - breathing deeply - relaxing.

Firepit time.

Great sleep.

I even dressed me and spent lots of time in the stand.


This is new again for me.

See my Daddy hunted, but since he died I was not exposed.

Crusty Old Guy has reintroduced me to that activity.

I hunt with my camera. Pistol with me as a defense only.

But it sure is fun.

I laughed the first morning.
Very cold.
I bundled up.
Onto the 4 wheeler.
and remarked how Daddy is probably laughing right now about this.

I'll be continuing that little project.

Blogging has changed.

Almost replaced by instagram and other social media outlets. 

But folks, I like it here. 

My little online journal. 

Where I can spill me and return for visits with my past self. 

I can see improvements in my photography.

I can see the growth that is happening.

It's interesting to re-read the entries. 

As part of my REFOCUS, I want to find a way to add to my financial stability utilizing my passions for creating and photography. I have no desire to become a photographer, but yet I would like to share my photographs in a low key financial manner. But I am not sure how. So more thought will go into that direction. 

The photo above is a favorite. 

I have no idea why silhouettes are so drawing to me. 

But they are and I scan the horizon as I drive or walk looking for those types of images.

I am still looking for the perfect church steeple one and the perfect wind mill and water tower too. 

Funny - I can't describe what those are, but I am quite sure I will KNOW it when it appears. 

I do plan to spend time on backroads this year, looking for fun things to photograph.

My mama likes to go, so maybe I can sucker her into a few of these trips.

Birds are hard to photograph. They just will not sit still. (insert smile there) 

This little guy is a steady visitor, to the pecan trees out back. 

Christmas Day was gorgeous and I sat at the patio table ALL afternoon. 
Listening to his soft little hammer as he searched for food.

Once I spotted him, I started the photos.

The first one - obviously he's found something. 

And then I was patient --- waiting for him to stop for just a minute. 

That patience paid off.

Just look at that second picture. 

Cardinals are supposedly the presence of angels around us. 

And everyone spots those bright, colorful, males.

The females are less obvious, but look at those gorgeous colors. I really would like to have a blanket in those neutrals with just an occasional red, dark blue, and orange bit of color.

Isn't she stunning.

My thoughts here are much more philosophical.

I thing we are all waiting for beautiful moments. 

When I get out of school.
When I retire.
when I get out of debt. 

How about we go HUNT those moments. 

SEEK them out. 

Then maybe, just maybe, we will slow down.

The photo above is my newest screen saver. 

That gorgeous light.

I was walking across the yard, and the light was simply stunning. 
Soft and golden.

I wanted to see if I could capture the "wish flowers" in silhouette. (see above commentary) 

That did not happen - but that soft and ethereal photo did happen. 


I went looking for beauty in my definition and found something totally different. 

Yes --- that --- that is what slowing down and simplicity is. 

Lets' talk about this big guy. 

He made an appearance here  and here .

I consider him MY hawk.

He's a big - red shouldered guy. 

And he oversees Serenity Field.

It gives me great pleasure to spot him in the tree line. 

I'll often just sit or stand and watch him. 

I ALWAYS thank God for the gift of seeing him. 

And I pray for Crusty Old Guy to be able to continue seeing everything.

He has macular degeneration and also some other vision issues that have cropped up since his cateract surgery.

We have yet another appointment with a specialist on Tuesday January 24.

Please lift us up as we chase down these issues in the hope that we get some improvements in his sight. 

I cannot imagine losing mine and it hurts me to see him struggle with his. 

Last photo.

Last thoughts for now. 

That is a Brown Thrasher. 

He's beautiful, but is often hidden by staying in and under dense brush. 

I spotted this one by listening to the songs he was singing and the rustle of leaves as he rummaged through the leaves. 

Maybe that's what we are doing. 

Hiding under and behind so much, that others have a difficult time seeing us. 

Maybe we also have a hard time seeing others, because we are unwilling to listen for the songs. 

Maybe if we all listen and share and seek, we can expand love and respect for us all. 

Because we are all beautiful

Just some thoughts.