I haven’t left the house other than to walk to my mom’s for some sausage balls and homemade chocolate chip cookies left over from last night’s New Year’s Eve celebration. But not leaving the house on such a dreary, rainy, wonderful day doesn’t mean that I haven’t accomplished anything. I did a lot of thinking. I thought about taking my Christmas tree out today. Since it was, however, so rainy, cold and dreary outside, I decided I could handle looking at the lights for one more day. I’m going to miss that beautiful old tree when it’s gone, but nothing can go on forever and while I love the tree, I have missed the view out the window.
Besides thinking, though, I got many things in the house done. General cleaning, straightening and taking stock of my pantry. It seems that I have some baking soda, a few bottles of spices and a bag of flour. Not conducive to cooking anything of any substance. I’d like to try to get back into cooking, otherwise, I may have to break my cardinal rule and eat a hot pocket.
Besides coming to the conclusion that there is no truly edible food in my house, I’ve been getting my hiking gear oiled and cleaned, ready to get back to weekends in the mountains. I am confident that when I see the Orthopedists in a couple of weeks, he will clear me to get back to the trails and hard places that I love to go. I was complaining a few days ago about the belligerent 9-year old I had to wrestle into submission in order to obtain a flu swab, but I think he did me more good than harm. I actually believe he helped put that pesky, out-of-place bone back where it belongs. Guess I owe the brat a thank you.
I cannot even voice how much I miss nature, the mountains, the rocks and trees, the waterfalls, the arduous climbs and the smell of the earth in every season. So far, I have missed Winter completely, but lucky for me, Winter really only officially began a few days ago. I long for the bare branches of the trees as they stand sentry over a barren earth, biding their time until she blooms again, bringing forth life and a different kind of beauty. She calls to me; Mother Nature, that is. She calls to me as the light changes, shifting over the mountains, shadows forming and dissipating almost in the same moment. I long for the adventure of what I will find at the top of the next hill, around the next turn, behind the thunderous sound of water falling for hundreds of feet. I dream of standing alone with nothing but the glory of nature surrounding me and find myself nearly trembling with anticipation to get back to it.
While I have been out of commission, I have exercised at home, keeping my legs and thighs strong and ready for the hikes and climbs that I so dearly love. Yes, in a couple of weeks, I think I will be able to stop those mind-numbingly boring, in-home routines, strap on my heavy backpack without feeling like my shoulder will detach itself from my person, grab my tripod and head out with my trusty Pentax to see what I’ve missed while I’ve been gone. I wonder if my favorite places have missed me as much as I’ve missed them. I’d like to think so.
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is, second only to Good Friday and Easter, the singularly most important religious holiday that is celebrated. It is true that Christmas, to the secular world, has been commercialized with thoughts of Santa, spending money and giving gifts that may or may not have any bearing on the holiday itself. It has become a day about getting, getting more and then being disappointed in not getting enough. But to those of who hold Christmas in our heart for what it truly means, it isn’t about getting at all, but giving. It is the celebration of the Virgin birth of the Christ child. Now, it is no surprise that there will be many who will scoff at this. That is not unexpected or taken in offense. I know, in my heart and soul, what I know in my heart and soul. It brings me great pleasure to honor Jesus at the celebration of His birth. To revere Him for the Savior that I personally know Him to be.
It is a beautiful image in my mind to think of a sweet little baby, wrapped in swaddling clothing, lying in a manger that is normally used to feed farm animals. As it has been taught to me by wise teacher, swaddling clothes were usually reserved for females in order to depict the suffering that they would endure through childbirth. To find a male child wrapped in swaddling clothing was simply not done. But Jesus, more than any woman bearing a child, would suffer. And not only would He suffer, He would do it willingly.
I can think of none of the children in my life, not my daughter nor my nieces, that I would sacrifice for anyone, much less a sinner, a murderer, child molester, thief. Not a chance. I would sacrifice myself before I would offer up any of those little ones dear to me; and only then as a trade. But willingly? I cannot fathom. Nor can I fathom knowing the day and the hour that I would have to turn my back on any one of them, leaving them to fend for themselves while I remove myself from from their suffering because that was the only way to obtain the redemption that their death would bring. It would be hard enough losing a child unexpectedly, but to know, day after day, that the time was drawing near. I cannot fathom. Were it up to me, it is quite obvious that mankind would be doomed to die in their sins for at the last moment, I would balk. I am, after all, only human.
I find it, therefore, an honor and privilege to revere the Christ Child and the Father who was willing to sacrifice Him for my sins. I’ve heard it said that God is callous and cruel, but what an enormous amount of love it would take for mankind in order to make Him turn His back on the Son He loved just so that we might be redeemed. Nothing callous about that. It is, without doubt, love in its purest form and I can only hope that, as I go along this life I’ve been given, I can give as unselfishly as my Father and my Savior.
2 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered
.7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
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is my middle name. Deadlines mean nothing to me. In my mind, they are made to be broken. I used to think that they drove me, but realize now that they loomed more than drove. This year, though, even I have given procrastinators a bad name. For the past two months, I have done nothing but put things off. Relationships, projects, issues … name it and I have procrastinated it. It is four days until Christmas and I haven’t bought wrapping paper or tape. I have considered putting the few gifts I’ve bought so far into Target bags and leaving it at that. They are red and white, and festively the color of Christmas, so why not.
Each day I have told myself that I have things to do, shopping to complete, cards to send and a myriad of other tasks that I have put off, some forgotten completely. I’ve done little to no shopping and haven’t sent a single Christmas card. I am a greeting card designer, so that, in itself, speaks volumes. I know that in times past, I have put things off until the last minute. I’ve spent many times burning the midnight oil to complete a paper that is due the next day, one I started the night before. I’ve been told it is because I am an “artsy” type, a dreamer and a writer that I do this. I don’t know if that is true or not. I know that when I was in school and had a creative writing project, I could take two or three words written on the board and have a three page story written in twenty minutes; never made less than an A+ in that class. Of course that was a few decades ago, but I was a procrastinator, even then, just not when I was writing.
I can’t even begin to imagine how crazy I must have driven my parents. My sister, who is a singularly driven individual, is so different from me that if I didn’t resemble my dad so much, I would swear with blood and oath that I was adopted. I can’t think of another person in my family that takes such a laid back approach to life. In my mind, it will happen when it happens and if I miss it, maybe I’ll catch it next time. Funny, though, how I always seem to catch meteor showers, waterfalls after a rainy season or the high mountains when the rhododendrons are in bloom.
I can’t count the number of times every day that I have to remind myself to focus simply so I can complete the tasks that I have to complete in order to not be fired from my job. That’s not to say I’m not good at my job, because I think I am, but it doesn’t come easy. I talk to myself (out loud) and find that more often than not, I am behind on at least one thing. Usually more than one thing, but at least one.
In my heart, I am a photographer and writer. As such, I find it a burden to march to the drum the rest of world beats, but in order to make a living, I have little choice. The problem is that my own drummer beats louder than the world’s and I find that I’m following it and, as usual, procrastinating. I could make a New Year’s resolution to change, but have been there and done that. I just put it off. Imagine that. So, to all the procrastinators out there, you are not alone. But, in my life, it seems to work for me, so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing … I just think I’ll do it tomorrow.
Posted in blog, choices, dad, daydreamer, dreamer, dreams, facebook, feelings, Greeting Cards, Hiking, laughing at myself, Life, life experiences, Mountains, Nature Photographer, Photography, procrastination, story, Time, words
Tagged blog, Christmas, dreamer, dreams, family, gina minton kearns, gina minton kearns blog, Gina Minton Kearns Photography, greeting cards, life, mountains, nature, procrastination, procrastinator, Through the Eyes of the Spirit
a Christmas tree is in my home. I don’t really know what to feel about it. There are so many emotions swirling through my mind and heart that I find it nearly impossible to separate them. There is, first and foremost, the pure joy of having a lighted tree in my house that I am moved to tears, over and over, moved to tears. The smell of cedar permeates the very existence that I know. The lights blink, fade and flash, making me wonder if perhaps I am having a spell of some sort. I have only lights on the tree as anything else seems to take away from the beauty. I am enamored and find myself staring, nearly hypnotized by the purity of that which is before me.
I hadn’t really planned on having a Christmas tree. It has been so long and the thought made me feel sad and anxious along with a myriad of other emotions and to be perfectly honest, I was afraid. Afraid of the thoughts it would provoke and the memories it would invoke … but as I look at and dream with the lights, I realize that it is not made of things past or memories best left unearthed, but perfect beauty. I am awed by what I see and know that the memories I am making are my own, not those that are carried over from time past, but mine. I don’t know that I have, before now, had memories that didn’t include someone else, memories that, in my heart, belonged only to me. But now I do, and so I will cherish them. I can’t say for certain that when Christmas comes around next year, I will have a tree, but I hope I will. I hope for many things and hope is a good thing … maybe the best of things. As long as hope is alive, no good thing ever dies. I am grateful. I am thankful. I am content. I find that being content is, without doubt, one of the greatest feelings ever. Yes, there are people I am missing in my life, friends that I seem to have lost touch with, loved ones who are far away, but contentment is something that comes from within. It has little to do with the outside world and everything to do with how I feel when I am alone. Being alone does not have to be coexistent with being lonely. I am not lonely. I am, at times, confused, and possibly discombobulated, but not lonely. I have everything I need right here. Yes, I am content; a beautiful thing indeed.
Posted in blessings, blog, Christmas, contentment, dreams, emotions, faith, fear, friends, from my heart, Holidays, joy, Life, life experiences, Photography, story
Tagged beautiful, beauty, blog, Christmas, Christmas tree, content, contentment, courage, emotions, faith, fear, feelings, gina minton kearns, gina minton kearns blog, Gina Minton Kearns Photography, life, love, memories, photography, spiritual encouragement, Through the Eyes of the Spirit
you probably have the flu. It is that time of year. Actually, it’s a little early, meaning that the season will be in full swing by the time everyone starts traveling to visit with family and friends during Christmas. There will be many who will have a fever and feel as though they have been beaten nearly to death with a hammer, but will travel anyway because, hey, Great Aunt Ethel will be disappointed if she doesn’t get the pair of socks they spent two minutes picking out. They will hack and cough, sneeze and sniffle, wipe their eyes and forget, at times, to cover their mouth, touch everything and leave their germs behind for dozens of others; kind of like paying it forward, but in a bad way. Unless they are walking around in a bubble, they are going to give it to many unsuspecting people, who will in turn, give it to many other unsuspecting people.
Imagine yourself on a plane, closed in with a few hundred others, a third of whom may have or have been exposed to, the flu. Breathing the air, touching the surfaces. There isn’t enough soap or hand sanitizer in the world to protect you. Now imagine yourself on the subway platform with all the same scenes. Now imagine yourself on the train, or at the rest area, or in a restaurant, or at the mall … I could go on for pages, but first, multiply the above by a hundred thousand or so. If you or someone you know hasn’t yet tested positive, just give it a little more time.
The flu virus can live outside the body anywhere from a few seconds to 48 hours and on your hands for about an hour. The vaccinated have a better chance of avoiding the flu than the un-vaccinated, but there are no certainties either way. It is important to wash your hands or use sanitizer between every contact with every surface. Will it make you feel like the skin on your hands is going to fall of? Of course. What can you do about it? Use lotion. That will make you even more susceptible, but at least your nails will look good.
Jesus is the reason for the season, but flu is the reason for the sneezin’. Try to stay well everyone …
Posted in blog, christian, Christmas, family, Flu Season, friends, Holidays, humor, Influenza, Jesus, Life, nurse, Photography, Time, travel
Tagged blog, Christmas, family, flu, flu season, friends, gina minton kearns, gina minton kearns blog, holiday travel, illness, influenza, life, sickness, travel
never have been, thankfully. I’ve always been the type of person that was so very happy for anyone doing what it was that I wanted to do; experiencing the things that are on the list of things to do before I die … important moments that I can only hope to be a part of. That is no different now. Although being in New York City and seeing the tree at Rockefeller Center on my birthday is on the top five things to do before I die, I could not be more happy for my sister. She is there. She and my brother (my sister’s husband), walking the streets, looking in the windows, stopping to listen to the saxophone player and then putting a bill in his case because he is just damn good.
And though I don’t see her walking into the seedier part of town just to get to a little hole-in-the-wall Italian joint, (I do, however, remember this place in China Town with a secret door and weaponized thugs where she tried to have me killed over a purse), a place that treats a tourist like a tourist and a local like a local; a place that I would do my very best to make friendly so that, even though I was a tourist, they would treat me like a local. I’d have my camera out, hoping they, whoever they at that particular moment would be, would grace me with a few moments of their life in my lens. I have so many lives in my lens. I look back at the photographs sometimes and simply sob with gratitude that I was allowed to be a part of a life moment, at some time, in some place.
Yes, I hope she is having the time of her life, she and her husband, as they enjoy the beauty of New York with the drab streets and bare trees. I hope she takes a photograph of the “virtual billboard” in Times’ Square, not really because she wants to but because she knows I would. I hope she enjoys the subway and takes in the sounds and sights as she flies through the tunnels. I hope the late Autumn, Christmas ready New York is everything she hoped it would be. I hope, beyond all rational thought, that she has the best time of her life. We may not always see eye to eye, but when it comes to the sticking point, I know who to call.
another of my many mottoes ~ Wherever you are, whatever you do, do it for yourself; otherwise your life will always be lived vicariously and the real experience will never be your own. Dreaming is dreaming, irregardless of the dream.
Posted in Birthday, blessings, blog, Christmas in NYC, dreams, emotions, facebook, family, friends, from my heart, God, joy, Life, life experiences, love, New York City, Photography, sisters, story, Time, travel
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