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Posts Tagged ‘Sunsets’

Sometimes we ask, “How does this end?”

But does it really ever end? Or are endings really new beginnings?

Here are some of my favorite “endings” that actually opened the most amazing doors to new beginnings:

The first evening of my mother’s “running away” from dementia, that helped her feel both at home and free from home, all at once.
Soiled toes after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. We thought our beaches would never be the same, but God was gracious to restore in due time, as He always does.
What sea stars do when they free themselves from their captors out of children’s beach pails and escape back to the sea, alive and free again!
The end of a rum runner schooner from 2 centuries ago…nobody has the $ to rescue it, so it just keeps eroding on a remote beach, a treasure to the few who frequent the far reaches of the peninsula, a legend to those from afar…

2014-02-27_18-29-59_630_thumb.jpg

The end of a virtual fantasy and the beginning of an indestructible, eternal bff-ship.
The end of life as we knew it pre-Katrina…once the grief passed, the rebuilding was mostly emotional, projected onto the current landscape should you visit NOL.
The end of David’s life, 6 weeks in a coma and no hope…but the doctors had us sign papers to authorize unorthodox treatments and I stood glued to the wall praying as they applied said treatments in the form of laughing gas and yelling at him to hang in there and stay with us….and he did, and turned 19 last month.
Hurricane Ivan’s destruction, 2004, year before Katrina – rocking my baby in my lap singing hymns as our ears popped when the winds hit 130 and we could no longer hear trees falling around us, but had to trust totally in the Lord..our kids remember that night and our faith and serve God with gratitude to this day.
The ending of a century-old era, my Cubbies losing. Oh, ye of little faith! God delivers if You sit tight and see what He has in store!
Elizabeth died some days after this 93rd birthday…but her death was the beginning of a new legacy of strength, courage and untold creativity….Just open your heart to what lies ahead.
Death of hips – yeah, finished the marathon in David’s honor, but was sidelined early in life with titanium and polyurethane shortly thereafter….pace thyself!

The end of anonymity – red flag hair day unexpectedly revealed last Sunday. God reigns in all things!

Thank You, God, for endings, which usher in brand new opportunities and beginnings. You are the Omega and the Alpha, and everything in between. You’ve got this! May we all embrace endings as we would beginnings….both bring new life and growth.

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Fire dances, mesmerizes and consumes. It can quickly go from subtle, romantic and soothing, like my evening candle of ambience, to raging maniacal destruction, as I witnessed earlier this year in the aftermath of the horrors of the deathly California wild fires.

Somehow this fire display on my trip to Costa Rica last month, felt safe and calming, when surrounded by water.

Set fire to the sky, the sea and the spirit…

The Fire Dancer seduced the audience with her sultry moves, her body ever-changing with the beat of her soul

Thank You, God, for setting fires which refine and redefine, through death and rebirth. Thank You for new beginnings and for hope on the other side of destruction. Help us to always know that new growth only comes through the tests of fire.

Happy Easter, y’all!

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Depth is critical. Without it, life is two-dimensional and only has length and height.

3D, however, is by far richer because it adds depth. And depth adds dimension, perspective and soothes the mind, heart and soul because it helps bring things to life, and life into focus.

Similarly, in photography, depth of field allows us to discern distance between what is in focus while keeping an eye on what lies beyond.

Note that neither concept embraces looking back.

Ironically, last week before this post came out, I had captured a shot down by the bay that I’d sent to my blogging buddy, Mr. 3D, for his feedback, since he has a really good eye for photography, creativity and all things beachy keen.

My mother’s favorite flower was the camellia, a flower she paid handsomely for to enjoy in her native Chicago, but which grows abundantly here where she chose to live out her last years with me. So I always think of her in the winter when the camellias bloom so beautifully like this.

Some of you may be aware that I laid my mother to rest, summer before last.

Or so I thought!

In an odd and truly unusual religious turnaround, the priest sought me privately after church last week and made a very unexpected confession. “Er, I believe we found what appears to be more of your mother’s ashes, back in the sacristy. What would you like us to do?”

You see, the priest had been hit by a drunk driver the week before mother died (fortunately he was alright after a few weeks of recovery), so the interim priest did the funeral and interred her ashes in the church memorial garden.

I know mother was buried because I and my family was there in vivo to participate in the solemn event. We wept. We joined hands. We sang hymns and prayed. The children scooped grandmother into the earth. Rites were performed.

We said goodbye. Forever.

There was apparently some miscommunication about a second box that turned up long after what the rest of us thought was the actual second box, had been dispersed to the places her ashes were scattered over water. Somehow, the funeral home had created three boxes and delivered them to the church and with the main priest out of commission, nobody knew about Box 3.

Until this week. They’ve been doing a head-to-toe cleaning of the church as they prepare for the regional Diocesan Convention to descend upon our church later this week.

Mother was a photographer and she also had a great sense of humor, so I’m sure she was LHAO from all points beyond, when we learned she had actually been haunting the church for the past 18 months.

So when the priest asked me what I wanted him to do, for a split second, mother’s funny story about what to do with her ashes (pre-death) danced across my mind.

At some point in her 80s (she died at 93), some funeral home solicitor kept calling her every week trying to get her to buy a funeral plan. They were, as pesky solicitors are, relentless.

So one day mother, anticipating their call, decided to rig up a sure-fire way to get them to stop calling. Sure enough, the phone rang that day and she answered with a wry smirk on her face and when they asked yet again she’d decided yet to buy a plan with them, she said without skipping a beat,

“Yes, I’ve finally decided what plan I want. I want to be cremated and for my ashes to be divided into four. Each one of my children will get a portion of my ashes to keep in the trunks of their cars. That way, should they ever get stuck in the snow somewhere, I can still be of help to my children.”

The hapless funeral solicitor never called back. And I decided against suggesting this to the priest, although I might save the story for him for a lighter time in the future.

So yesterday, mother was officially laid to rest with the rest of her ashes, in the church garden where we thought we’d been going to visit (all of) her all along.

The garden happened to have many different-colored camellia bushes behind the memorial section, so I picked one for mother this morning and located her plot, which was newly disturbed with broken grass and unearthed dirt.

Rest finally in peace, Elizabeth Anne – and may you take some awesome photos in Heaven!

Thank You, God, for the gifts You have given me through my mother – love never ending, a happy spirit, an abundance of laughter, a zeal for learning, an eye for Your creation, a passion for seeking You…and for 3D and depth of all fields.

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I love a good window to the world, whether it’s a window of opportunity, a window to the future or a window of wood, as below:

Peek-a-boo pier

Sunset on Mobile Bay

Columbia River Gorge

Thanks, God, for the glimpses of heaven You give us through the windows of Your creation here on earth. Let nothing separate us from You…may the windows be flung open, that we might climb through and know and live the beauty we see on the other side.

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I had every intention of posting more along our journey to the West Coast (which ended yesterday)…but our trek took us into treacherous and remote places along the way daily, with internet service ranging from spotty-at-best to nonexistent.

But I’m glad to have waited, particularly seeing this week’s challenge topic, since there are now many “on the horizon” shots to choose from. Here are a few of my favorites:

Fog rolling into San Francisco Bay, two nights ago

Crescent City, California

Central Oregon Coast near Newport

Columbia River Gorge, looking towards Washington state

Orchards near Mount Adams

Mt. Hood eclipsing the sun

Between cloud banks on the flight home yesterday

Thank You, God, for the privilege of travel, for affording us new world views, for reuniting with old friends and for rekindling family ties. Your artwork is amazing, Lord, the way You paint each horizon with unique beauty and passion.

Most of all, thank You for the many blessings which continually abound on each new horizon of our lives.

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This week of Thanksgiving in the U.S., I decided to begin a few new traditions.

Research shows that you can improve both mood and health throughout the day by identifying one or more (different) things you’re grateful for, first thing in the morning. No more than 1-2, however, since studies also show that listing 5 or more dilutes the gratitude and its benefits.

So in that predawn hazy zone of waking up and just before I open my eyes, I then count a blessing or two.

(I wonder if saying a gratitude just before drifting off at night would yield better slumber and/or dreams?)

Our longstanding Thanksgiving family tradition is to walk off our feast down at the town pier at sunset. We are always thankful for the friends and beautiful scenes we see:

Cast netting…he might bring up crabs, mullet, shrimp, shark, eel or redfish

Colorful kayaks await tomorrow’s paddlers

A pelican under a wavy ribbon of clouds

Crimson Tide

Quiet fishing

Mother/daughter bonding through texting?

Roll, Tide, Roll!

Contemplation? Praying? No, hunched over texting…

Nautical Christmas spirit!

Serenity indeed…

Life is good at this latitude!

Thank You, God, for a holiday with a sole purpose of gathering to give thanks and gratitude for blessings past, present and for blessings to come. Thanks for the privilege of life, the bounty of love and the gift of mercy.

Thanks for beauty everywhere…for precious time…for forgiveness…for laughter…and for those people and things You that touch our lives in ways that make the world a better place along our journey.

May we never take these gifts for granted and always be grateful.

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Where I live, the concept of a New Horizon draws many a soul each day. 

They flock to these shores resolving to make a fresh start, a golden retirement, a new identity or a temporary escape from their reality.

Living by the sea, however, still necessitates daily grind. Laundry and dishes don’t go away, things break and need fixing and, bless our hearts, there is no escape from this fine, white sugar sand tracked into the house daily…but I am NOT complaining!

So my new horizon for 2017 will be to to see my world anew through the eyes of our visitors – to actually pause to BREATHE deeply during the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. To be more mindful of the beauty surrounding me. To engage the 5 senses and escape back into my world here, anew.

2016 has been a year of tremendous transition in my life, and I bet in yours, too! 

I invite you to join me in rediscovering yourself and your calming peace in 2017….let us look through the lens together and see nothing but awe-inspiring beauty in the year to come.

Let us get out of the grind and into the moment!

Thanks, God, for an amazing year, for getting us through 2016 and delivering us to the doorstep of 2017. Thank You for all the things You’ve shown us and taught us. 

And most of all, for all the gifts, promise and beauty surrounding our lives. May we never get caught up in the grind and always see each moment of each day as a “present” from You. 

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Home is definitely where my heart is…and Local is my focal:

Polo At the Point Classic 2016

Downtown

Famous Southern writers get famous here…

Special Needs Softball – Run, Forrest, run!

The destination IS the journey!

Spectabulous sunsets at the pier…applause is the custom

Rose garden by the bay

Church while you kayak!

A place like no other…


Thank You, God, for the special places You give us to live, to visit and to enjoy. Thank You for our differences and all manner of various cultures and customs. And thank You for being in each and every one of them!

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The Master Artist strikes again for this week’s Photo Challenge:

But At the End of the Day...

Hey, God, thank You for your masterful artistry, for creating colors and painting canvases beyond our wildest imaginations.

A good work of art for us takes time, but You crank them out with ease in a moment’s notice. And sometimes just as fast as You create them, they’re gone, *just like that.*

Like the Tower of Babel or a boat to try to walk on water, we can always use the skills and means You gave us to attempt to be like You, to create like You, to please You, yet the very best we can offer still falls short of Your glory.

You show us Yourself time and again in your daily artwork. There is no end to Your creativity.

Thank You for making us in Your image, that we can dream and create and be messy and spill paint and track it around and screw up and create again…

…And, thanks to Your Son, it’s still all good in Your eyes.

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One Eskimo:

JAMES CHUKCHI SEA sunset

Arctic Circle Sunset
Chukchi Sea, Northern Alaska
~Courtesy of James Unrein~

To see more of One, please click here

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