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Every morning I wake up to a kiss on my cheek from my husband.   Nothing like starting off the day feeling gratitude. Such a treasured moment.

Little moments. Big moments.   Sharing love in simple ways. Random acts of kindness.  It only takes a moment to show someone you care.  A hug.  A knowing glance.  We have all been touched by someone else’s care.  And we all know what it feels like to show care.

Each day is a series of moments that can link us together or divide us.   What we do with each one matters.  We can look at life through appreciative eyes, or we can just motor through it not noticing the effect we have on each other. I happen to love noticing the gifts of others and the impact they make each and everyday;  like the person in the drive through window who told me to have a good day and I believed her!  Some people are just like that. She has no idea how much she inspired me.  I am between jobs right now and I would like to work in my field but she taught me that if I was doing her job, that I would want to be just like her.  She has the ability to make people smile just simply being herself.

People are extraordinary!  I am inspired by good service, especially when they authentically want to serve you well.  I sometimes find myself paying attention to  nametags  so that I can tell their boss what a difference they make.  One such incident; I recall a lady who went above and beyond the call of duty to serve me at a clothing store.  She was so genuine in her excitement to see that I left her store happy with my purchase.  Her boss was so pleased by what I had to say about her employee that she asked me to contact their head office to tell them.  Ooooh,  there’s that ripple effect again!

If I were to rewrite this blog entry totally the opposite way it is written…it might look something like this:

“I woke up this morning to the sound of my husband yelling at me to hurry up and get my lazy ass out of bed.  I then went through the drive through and the lady barely acknowledged my existence as she handed me my coffee.  The salesperson at the clothing store could care less about her job and didn’t give me the time of day. Etc. Etc.

You get the picture.

Chronic negativity is “people repellant” and it can suck the life right out of you if you are around it a lot.  But a positive genuine attitude is a “people magnet” that has such a powerful effect that enhances our life. We truly need to pay attention to the way we treat each other, or what we say about others.  Moments are powerful opportunities to build someone up, not tear someone down..  Every interaction is a significant opportunity to make an impact. We all have the power within us to make a difference in the lives of others.  And we have that same power to allow others to make a positive impact on us. It is an energy that needs to travel both ways.

I am so grateful for how my day starts feeling  gratitude each and every day with that kiss on the cheek from someone who loves me dearly.  But even GRATITUDE  is a choice.  Let’s not take life for granted.  And let’s use the power of each moment to make a difference.

Every Moment Counts!

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It’s a beautiful September Sunday afternoon.  My Garden Artist husband is sowing seeds from the flowers and getting ready for next year.  Where did the summer go??   ‘Time flies’  is not a cliché statement in my world. It DOES fly.  It makes you really appreciate those other not so cliché statements;  ‘Live each day to the fullest’,   Life is what you make it,  When life hands you lemons make lemonade,  Keep the faith.’

For some, these common statements lose their validity because we hear them all the time.  We are all challenged by life circumstances that we have no control over.  That’s just reality.  But what if we chose to live by those statements when we are met with unwelcome change?    We cannot always control what comes our way but we can decide what to do about it when it does happen.  One choice is to roll over and play dead.   Can’t even imagine going that route.  Another option is to just go with the flow until it resolves itself.    But that doesn’t always work either.  One thing I often say is “We’ll figure it out”

I feel like I am in limbo.  I am in waiting mode for a possible work contract. If that doesn’t pan out then I have to reinvent myself career wise.

Figuring it out doesn’t have to be complicated unless you choose to make it so.  I am inspired by others who go back to school at  unconventional times in life.  How cool is that when people in their 40’s and 50’s take that plunge!  I met a lady the other day who has done a complete 360!  She was out jogging.  That in itself is inspiring. She stopped to talk to me about going into her third year of Post Secondary Education.  She is moving forward in her life. I am certain that taking this plunge wasn’t an easy one. But she looked radiant on the inside and out. She is truly taking care of herself spiritually, physically and emotionally.    She shared with me about a 57-year-old woman going back to school for her PhD. Why not!

As I sort out my own direction I will continue to do what I love.  Man, these misty mornings have been AWESOME with my camera. Getting out there grounds me and stirs my soul in such a gifted way.  I am so Blessed to love photography. It impacts my whole way of being.

Meanwhile I hold on tight to these simple truths found in our everyday vernacular;  if life hands you lemons make lemonade.  Live each day to the fullest. Life truly is what you make it.

And most of all….Keep the Faith!

Kathy

 

This has been a weekend of gratitude,  sadness,  excitement,  joy, anger, and feeling awestruck.  Welcome to the ebb and flow of mixed feelings in such a short time span.

We are excited about the graduation of a loved one into the Police Force. Sad about the departure of our dear Pastor  who is moving on to another Parish.  Happy to have started a DIY project. This weekend is laced with so much gratitude for people, for nature, and for our loved ones both near and far.

Let me start with the  HAPPY death of the embarrassingly old green carpet now lifted off  our living room floor.  The sanding of the hardwood  will begin later on this month. Hopefully sooner than later, but we are doing this in manageable small bites to make it easier. We have a life to work around. For sure it will be done before the end of September.  Already it is a huge improvement. It’s going to be STUNNING!  We love the character of our old home.

It’s a beautiful long weekend and we aren’t going to enslave ourselves entirely to indoor work. It is LABOUR DAY after all.  Ripping up the carpet has only taken about an hour from start to finish with clean up.  It is barely making a dent into our precious time off.

I had a brand new experience while roaming around near the creek with my camera yesterday. It was an absolutely stunning Sunday morning.  I snook out for a couple of hours before church.   Nothing grounds me like my mornings outdoors with my camera.  It was so awesome. This day as an amateur photographer is one that I will never ever forget.

I still can’t believe that I didn’t run when I  heard the  typical Wow/Growl/Warning sound of a  huge wild cat of some kind in the distance.  I say huge only because I could tell by the sound that this wasn’t some stray barn cat left out to fend for itself.  This was a much larger animal.  I stood very still to determine where it was coming from.  I was more intrigued than frightened…which kind of blows my mind now that I am writing about it.  I heard it at least three or four times and then it stopped. Was it watching me?  I don’t think so.  My guess is that it was further away than that.   What a privilege to hear such an incredible sound.   I calmly walked to the sanctuary of the car and collected my thoughts before losing myself again in the rays, the roads and the rising mist.  In a previous blog I shared the bear poop story and how I have adapted my way of thinking to accept that there are sights and sounds that belong out in nature.  This was no exception. I don’t profess to be the bravest person out in the wild.  I am not. But I have developed an incredible level of respect for nature, and for those who inhabit it.

This level of respect is not shared by everyone.  I cannot understand why there are those who think it’s okay to drop coffee cups or garbage anywhere they please.  People who do this:  WHAT ARE YOU THINKING??  I challenge anyone to tell me what is okay about this abhorrent behaviour.  The garbage disturbs me much more than the roar of a wild cat. I know this is a small percentage of the population that do this but man oh man, I would love to have a discussion with some of these people. It is just so upsetting to see garbage among the beauty.  It not only makes me angry,  it makes me sad. It is one of those things that ought not to be , and yet so easy to NOT do.  But people still think it’s okay.  I don’t get it.

We can’t control the actions of others. But we can lead by example. We have passed our respect for the outdoors on to our children and we have no doubt they are passing it on to our beautiful grandchildren. We have so much to be grateful for!  I am having a moment of missing my son and beautiful daughter-in-law and our adorable grandsons!  We are so very Blessed with the best. As I have blogged before; we truly do have it all.

The carpet is gone, the sun is shining , the BBQ tank is filled.  We are filled with gratitude for our family, our friends,  our home, and all the sights and sounds of the beautiful outdoors. Time to kick back and take a break.   Maybe close the day with a sunset hike on Manitoulin followed by an ice cream stop on the way home.

Who wouldn’t want the good life!!!   The  secret is simple.  Love who you love, and do what you love!  It’s all good.

 

 

 

Love. Breathe. Eat. Drink. Pray. Sleep. Pay the bills. Run errands.  These are a few of the basics of  day-to-day life.   It is VITAL to take some time to do something you LOVE to do.  At the end of life you want to be celebrating what  you DID, not  lamenting with regret for the things that you wished you had done  You deserve nothing less than that.  Life is a gift and it is meant to be lived to the fullest. It’s no one’s responsiblity but our own to make that happen.

As promised I am posting a photo from my morning out yesterday.   What a fantastic outing!  I went to a few locations to get a taste of the forest and then on the way home I took a detour for a walk  along the riverbank.  It was hard to choose which image to share with you tonight.  I have a couple of beautiful keepers from both locations.  I settled on “Coming In For a Landing” This heron kept me entertained for such a long time.  It was wonderful.   Such a majestic creature!

My sale with homesav and posterjack is coming to an end in a couple of hours.  The week flew by.  It’s been such a GIFT to participate in this.   I cannot believe the number of visits that have come to this blog!  Thank you so much for leaving your comments,  “liking”,  or just coming by to read.  I don’t look at this as an ending but a time of new beginnings.  An exciting time indeed!

Meanwhile I will continue to love, eat, pray, drink, run the errands, and oh,  that other fundamental of my life…I will continue to do what I love. Doing what we love  should be included in the ‘basics list’ of what it is to live this experience called life.  But it is often the one that is most overlooked.

I hope this inspires some of you reading this to include something you are absolutely passionate about into your ‘Basics List’  Life is a gift that is meant to be lived to the fullest.  We all have challenges.  All the more reason to find yourself, your passions,  your goals and aspirations. And just go for it.

I don’t know why, but I can’t stop thinking about  my photo, “Handmade” tonight.   A simple, yet intricate spider’s web. Just doing what needs to be done to get by.  We all have to do what we have to do to live.  I don’t know about Praying, but at least the spider doesn’t have to pay bills!  One can only marvel at  the value and beauty of such hard work to survive.  Talk about the master of web design! Every picture tells a story.  It is such an honour and privilege to be given this gift to enjoy and share with others.

It is my hope that my photography speaks to your truth as it does to mine.  Good night everyone!

Until next time,

Kathy

 
Coming in for a Landing

Each time I write about one of my photos, I relive that whole experience of when I actually captured it.  The photo “Almost Missed It” was similar to the Rear View Mirror story when I captured Follow Your Road.  Through my written words, I keep trying to articulate what is like out there when I am doing my thing.  I could go to the same location three days in a row and each day offers something fresh and new. It never results in  that “same old same old” feeling.

I was on my way home.  Thinking I was done for the day something drew me back for one last look.  I went up and down the road a few times and when I saw that light hit that corner…WOW.   If it wasn’t for the tangible evidence of the image file that I have  then this would feel like a dream.  I still feel that feeling of being totally awestruck.  I almost stopped breathing a few times.  How does one articulate this! It was one of those defining moments in life when I knew that I would be forever changed.  I remember whispering out loud;  “What did I ever do to deserve THIS?”   It was that beautiful!  And then the answer came to my mind almost as soon as I asked the question;  ‘You showed up.’

Honestly it is truly humbling sometimes.  I showed up.  Wow.  And to think I  Almost Missed It!  Or did I?

We all have times in our life that we examine our belief system.  I know that I was meant to be there that morning.  And I know that I am meant to do what I do.  I don’t fully understand it.  But maybe we don’t have to get it all the time.  All we have to do is just show up.

Almost Missed It

How can we not be captivated by the sheer spirit of an Olympian?  My hope is that each and every one of them, whether they come in first or last;  whether they stand at the podium for a medal ceremony or not;  that they realize the true enormity of this great accomplishment;  that getting there is already a dream come true.  It’s not the end result but the journey.  Easier said than done I am sure.  But wow, how can we not marvel at their true grit and determination to get there!

I can’t even begin to fathom what that is like.  Every sprain,  every bead of sweat,  every torn muscle,  all of that and more  is what it took to get them where they are today.  Many many months and years of training to get to a level worthy of the olympics.  It’s all about making it one step at a time. Every competitive win was a stepping stone to the next level.  A series of mini dreams come true to get to this huge one.  The spirit and heart of a determined athlete is truly awe-inspiring.  And to see them realizing the dream of being a part of this globally unifying event is quite remarkable.

When a hope is realized and when something unbelievably good happens; something you have strived for actually comes to fruition;  wow that is a dream come true.  That sought after degree leads to the dream job,  which leads to the purchase of that first house,  one dream building on another.   And so it continues.

Some dreams arise from sheer blood sweat and tears and unbelievable determination (a nod to my son-in-law).  Those are the dreams where the journey really challenges us.  Other dreams are the result of the luck of the draw like a lottery win.

Some of my realized dreams have come easy.  Childbirth?  Ha, not so easy, but honestly exhilarating!  Becoming a grandparent?  Easy Peasy!   We didn’t have to work to attain that dream.  They are a true God-given gift who have enriched our lives in ways that can never be topped.

Some dreams arise from utter passion.  I am living out a dream as we speak.  To think that potentially millions of people will see my work is a true dream come true. Capturing beautiful images doesn’t just happen.  It’s not a matter of running out taking pictures and you magically have something worthy of framing.  When I wake up in the early morning and it is still dark outside, I often want to roll over and go back to sleep.  But then it happens; that feeling bubbling up inside and calling me out the door.  Sometimes I get to the window and think “nah, I am going back to bed”  but then that feeling  kicks in again and before you know it I am out the door waking up with the birds and the rising mist.  It is INCREDIBLE to experience this.

I have to believe that no matter what the outcome is from this win,  I truly know that I am already living my dream.  It is meaningless if I don’t love what I am doing.  We all have an invitation to live life out loud; to be fully engaged in it.   Or watch it from the sidelines.  We make those choices each and everyday.

Thanks for the inspiration from all determined Olympians! The photograph in this blog entry is entitled “Believe”  Another little nod to our family.  When we believe  there is nothing we can’t do!

Kathy

Spontaneity is the spice of life!   We made the sudden decision yesterday to load up our cooler and cameras into the car and head to beautiful Manitoulin Island.  I am in hot pursuit of some new Wall Art for our spare bedroom and I am looking for “THEE” perfect picture for the spot above the bed.  I love adding to our Home Decor with some of my own work and this was a perfect day to go out for it.

First stop;  the gas station. Just as Mike was putting the gas nozzle into tank we heard this raging man screaming literally to the tops of his lungs.  The profanity he was using were among my top hated curse words. (MFA for example) You figure it out.  We had no idea what he was so mad about. I guess he snapped while waiting in line.  We sure didn’t see that coming.

My first instinct was to get out of our car and teach that man some manners!  I was SEETHING! He doesn’t even know my husband; the gentlest kindest man on the face of this planet; the kind of guy who offers others to go ahead in line ups. GRRRR, I wanted to let this raging bull have it right back!   But instead I took my hubby’s cue as he nonchalantly went about his business of filling the gas tank.  Eventually the guy gave up his rant and took off spinning his wheels. I still haven’t figured out what we did wrong.

After I calmed down inside I realized that anyone that reactive  over having to wait for a tank of gas can’t be very happy. I hope he figures out his life for his sake and for the sake of the lady that was sitting beside him.  Somehow, I doubt that this is an isolated incident for him.  We had to let this whole thing go and not let it ruin our much-anticipated trek to the island.  Turns out we had a stupendous day!

Our first stop was beautiful Bridal Veil Falls in Kagawong where we set up ‘house’ overlooking Mudge Bay. Our outdoor Home Decor was something to behold with our little camp chairs and blanket.  It was our own little oasis to read , do the crossword puzzle, and watch the boats coming and going. Then we headed on to Providence Bay where we had a picnic and swim.  We took time to laze around with a good book while waiting for that magical evening light; perfect conditions for photo opportunities on the way home.

We stopped at the place where I captured my winning photo “Rainbow Sun“.  To see the glistening sun on the tall golden grasses took my breath away.  It brought me right back to that serendipitous moment when I was there the first time. It was special to relive those feelings again.

I am so glad we didn’t let the incident at the gas station ruin our day.  I used to let that sort of thing get to me. But when you really think about it his rage belongs to him and has nothing to do with us.  I hope he finds his way.  This gift of life is meant to be LIVED!

Kathy