Category Archives: happy

I have abandoned Facebook …

cut all ties.

Deactivated my account.

Yes, it is true, and in doing so, I find that I have taken my life back.

I no longer debase myself a dozen (OK, that is conservative) times a day to see what is going on with people I don’t even know.

I no longer look for absolution from those I do.

I don’t look to see who has been checking in with me even as I am checking on them while they are checking on me.

It had become a bit like an out of control spy ring where everyone needed to know everything and I wanted to tell things but didn’t want anyone to know what I wanted to tell.

It was pathetic, really, the importance that I had begun to place on seeing who was where and why.

I can’t remember a specific time when I felt so entirely like my life was my own.

Freedom.

In spades.

I have no-one to impress, nobody to account to or, for that matter, to account for.  When I have something to say, I write it in my journal.

My journal is so happy to have me back as a regular contributor that it has congratulated me.

Delusions of grandeur?  Possibly.

Seriously, though, it has been a freeing experience to find that what I think, like, know and experience is my own to think, like, know and experience.

I don’t need anyone’s approval to think thoughts or hear music.

When I am manic, it is OK, when I am feeling low and depressed, it is OK.

I need no validation or congratulation or adulation or any other “ation” for any of my actions.

They are mine and mine alone and the need to have someone else understand them has passed.

I understand them and what anyone else may think or have to add has become irrelevant.

Glory.

And glory again.

The first couple of days felt awkward, but after a week, when I wasn’t missed, I realized that I had begun to think way too much of myself.

Many of the people on my “friends” list have my phone number and could call or text anytime they felt like it.

They haven’t.

Others on my “friends” list have my email address and could send me a message anytime they felt like it.

They haven’t.

It was important for me to realize how little importance, in the grand scheme of things, I really have.

I was beginning feel something that I have never, not in any space of time in my entire life, felt.

Conceited.

Egotistical.

Self-centered.

That is not who I was, who I am nor who I ever want to be.

It was freeing to realize that nobody really thinks about me on a daily basis.

That would be weird.  Seriously weird, if people thought about me all the time.

I will admit that there are ones those that I think about much more often than is good for me, but I have cut those ties as well.

I am a solitary introvert.  I always have been and pretending to be otherwise did not serve me well.

I know what I want, what I hope for and wish for and nobody, other than myself, need to be privy to such privileged information.

During my facebook run, I trusted some people I shouldn’t have, thought about ones I had no right to and was well on my way to becoming obsessed with being liked.

I don’t care about being liked.

That is old news, teenage stuff, high school drama.

I don’t care if people like me or not.

I  like myself and that, in itself, is quite the accomplishment.

Will I go back to Facebook?

I honestly don’t know.

I feel so good not being a part of something that had the distinct capability to make me feel bad about myself that I doubt, quite seriously, that I will go back.

If I do go back, it won’t be in the same frame of mind that I left.

It will be a more confident, self-assured, know where I’m going because I’ve been where I’ve been mentality.

In the meantime, I’m reveling in realizing who I am, who I can trust, who I thought I could trust but can’t and what my purpose is.

It is an adventure that, although daunting at times, has proven to be the ultimate learning experience.

I am happy even when I’m not.

There is power in that realization.  The knowledge that I am happy simply being myself without any extraneous notions.

I can be happy and cry at the same time.

I have set my Sagittarian spirit free.

Mind-boggling in ways I never imagined.

I. Am. Free.

And I find that I like it that way.

solitude

When the wheel never stops turning …

life can become more of a trial than a joy.

The thought process becomes so discombobulated with the inundation of information and images that simply focusing on what is relevant becomes a near impossibility.

My family and friends know that some of my blogs are about them.  They are about life as I live it, so how could they not be?

This particular blog is about photographs that aren’t my own; photographs I want to take.

It is about images I want to see with my own eyes, not through someone else’s.

It is about the words that surround the images.

It is about the music I play that enhances the images and the words that describe them.

It is about the the things I dream of.

These statements alone make me sound like some kind of fanatic, but I’m not a fanatic.

I am a photographer.

I am a writer.

I am (somewhere in my soul) a musician.

I want to see, write and hear for myself.

Experience the heat, the cold, the adrenaline, the magic, the music, the inspiration, the awe.

I work for a living so that I can traipse around to places I want to see, photograph them and then write about them.

It may sound as though I am putting down the importance of nursing, something I have done for 25 years.

I’m not.

Just today, a patient made me cry when he told me that I was a bright spot in his day and he looked forward to my visits more than he did meal-time.

If you have ever been in the hospital, you know that meal-time is one of the highlights, and so I felt very moved.

But I wanted, more than to speak with him and encourage him, to photograph him.

I have been on a photographic journey, teaching myself, learning from others, finding God in the creation He so beautifully paints, for more than 30 years.

It is my center.  My sense of self.

My life is made up of images.  They rotate through my head like a never-ending carousel .

Image after image after image after image.

And the words.

Mrs. Campbell in eleventh grade gave me the courage to have  confidence in my words.

She was my favorite teacher and the one, above all, that I remember the most.

And yet, I digress. (But thanks, Mrs. C)

I can’t even begin to explain, with all of my words, what the words, when coupled with the images, does to me.

It shatters me on a level that is the most perfect shattering a person could ever hope for.

I wonder sometimes if I am vain.  I certainly don’t think much of myself, so that kind of vanity is out, but the images … I like them.  I want others to like them.  I desire, not to be famous, or even rich, but to simply be able to live out my life doing what I love.

I don’t think that is too much to ask, but therein lies the vanity.

I look at myself and see nothing special … I look at the images I see through the eyes God gave me and I see great things.

I don’t mind, particularly, sleeping in my car.  I don’t need much more than toast-chee crackers and an occasional diet Dr. Pepper.

But I need to see.

To experience.

To feel.

I want to know what a North Dakota winter looks like, what a New Orleans Summer smells like, what driving along the coast road from California to Washington State feels like.

I want to see the beauty, to feel the air, to see the endless flat road of Kansas extending out in front of me.

I want to taste the fog of San Francisco and breathe the vastness of a Montana sky.

I used to think that I wanted too much, but a wise woman (my mamaw Daphne) told me “some people want the simple and others want the extravagant  … wanting is wanting whatever the dream may be”.

She taught me to not be ashamed to want the things I want and dream for the things of which I dream.

If I can see the things I want to see, I won’t need others to show them to me and if I can play the piano myself, I won’t long for someone else to play for me.

So my dreams are this … to see my country and then see Ireland, to play the piano and to have a jeep, preferably red .

That is the extent of the the dreams I have for myself …

I have much deeper and greater dreams for those I love and cherish, but myself?  It is the simple things that stir my heart.

I have hope.

I have faith.

Nothing else is required.

It will happen when it happens.

And it will happen.  Of that, I am certain.

Until next time, be well, my friends … be well.

And don’t forget to dream.

flowersfornini

Learning from Gracie as she contines to grow …

is an experience in humility.

She has Down’s Syndrome, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to or watching her.

She runs, plays, swing, argues, wrestles, loves, hugs, manipulates and somehow ends up being the center of attention wherever she goes simply because she has a larger than life personality.

She knows what she wants and how to get it.

Usually by putting her innocent-looking, pixie-faced, tinkerbell eyes on her Papaw.

He can deny her nothing.  He says he can, but he can’t.

Or maybe won’t is the better way to say it.

She has him wrapped as tight as Dick’s hatband around her little finger, her forefinger, her middle finger, her thumb.

He is wrapped.

Period.

Ice cream, Papaw.

Okay.

Pretzels, Papaw.

Okay.

Murder the neighbor and bury them in Louisa’s spring, Papaw.

Okay.

It is a joy to watch her as she learns to manipulate the ones she knows are easy marks.

I, on occasion, an am easy mark, but for the most part, she knows that Nini means business and expects her to act like a human child; but even I have my limitations when she flashes that smile and says “I love you, Nini”.

I am, after all,  human.

She is growing up so fast.

It seems like only moments ago that she was in the NICU with lines and tubes and a tiny body that looked as though it would break with a look and shatter with a touch.

But she passed the shatter stage a while back.

She is a pistol, is our Gracie, and as tough as nails.

She doesn’t take no for an answer, asks a million questions one after the other and could give Flash Gordon a run for his money when she feels like it.

I think we have all chased her (and lost) at some point, while she laughs and skips and eludes our efforts to catch her.

She is a bit like the gingerbread man.  Catch me if you can, she says, knowing we are too slow to be any real threat.

She went back to school this week and loved on all her classmates as though they had been cruelly separated for years.

I don’t know much about anything but I know this … a hug from Gracie can make the worst day, the most difficult moment, the hardest trial seem as nothing.

She has way about her.  A being, an aura, a spirit … call it what you will, but it is irresistible and it is life-altering.

She has a way of making you feel, at the moment, as though you are the most important thing in the world; and the ability to make you believe it unequivocally.

I cannot imagine, and will not imagine a world without Gracie for it would, without doubt, irrevocably break my spirit.

She is the epitome of sunshine.  I’m pretty sure when Jimmy Davis and Charles Mitchell wrote “you are my sunshine”, they did so because they had a premonition about Gracie.  God is cool that way.

She is a bright spot in the lives of everyone she come across.

It would be my great pleasure for all of my friends to meet her, to know her and to benefit greatly from one of her “I love you even if you are an idiot” hugs.

She doesn’t take into account how smart, how talented, how boring, how nerdy, how geeky, how crazy, how messed up, how depressed, how out of touch or how indifferent you are.

She changes lives, just by being, by smiling, by living.

A smile from Gracie, unless you are the devil  himself, will melt you like warm chocolate.

She is, unto herself, an entity.

There really is no way to avoid the beauty that enters your person when she hugs you tightly and puts her little face into your neck.

She is a gift from God.  A simple truth.

She sees life and people  in one dimension and that is unbiased love.  She doesn’t understand anything else (except the occasional temper tantrum that makes the Kraken look like a goldfish).

But we’ll save that tidbit for another day.

For now, by proxy, be encouraged by Gracie. She is a power to be reckoned with and it is wonderful to be a part of this precious child’s life.

“It’s Nini” she says, as she runs with her arms outstretched to me.  Every other thought in my head dissolves for it has no power against such beauty.

I am thankful for her.  I am grateful for her.  I am indebted to her.

May God continue to bless our sweet Gracie.

She is beautiful and she makes everything and everyone around her beautiful as well.

like a mermaid, she take to the ocean ... free and beautiful

like a mermaid, she takes to the ocean … free and beautiful

no matter where she goes, she will always be her daddy’s girl

Sometimes, only a papaw will do …

Here comes the rain …

as it has for the past several days and, if truth be told, off and on during the entire summer.

I have heard much complaining and lamenting about the rain but I am not one of those lamenters.

Lamenters, for those who are shaking their head and saying that Gina is making up words again, is a real word.

I love the sound of the rain.

The song it sings, the  music it makes, the symphony it employs, the instruments of nature it brings into its midst; wind, leaves rustling, grass shuddering, thunder bellowing.  There are few things more magnificent than the first drops that fall only to be followed shortly by a cacophony of sound that only God can make.

And soon, it will be Autumn and the leaves will be, much in part due to the gratuitous rain, brilliant.

Anyone who lives in the mountains where seasons meld one into another knows that a rainy summer brings on an awe-inspired, much-anticipated, brilliant beyond imagination, much sought after, Autumn.

I shiver in anticipation of October.

Tit for tat.

It can’t all be perfect.  Can’t all be just exactly what everyone wants for everyone wants something different.

My dreams are different from a hundred others’.  Their dreams are different from mine.

But with patience, they all come to fruition.

Patience is the key.  That and faith, which makes the patience less daunting.

James Taylor sang “I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end’.

I feel like that sometimes.

Feel that if there isn’t rain, or a storm or some wind and some lightning that I will simply wither away into nothingness and everything I ever hoped to accomplish will be in vain.

I need the rain.

I need the thunder.

I need the storm.

Without it, I am insignificant.  And I don’t want to be insignificant.

Embrace the rain.  Stand in it and let it saturate you to the skin.  Revel in the wonder and magnificence of water falling from the skies.

It is beautiful if you let it be.

So let it be.

Play in the rain.

And be joyful.

without rain, an impossibility

without rain, an impossibility

Warm weather means one thing to me …

convertible top down!  OK, maybe two things, at least once my sister’s pool is operational, that is.

There is nothing like driving along with the convertible top down and the music loud to ease every care from my mind.  A balm to my spirit, it is.  And I love it.  Every minute of it.

I don’t mind that I get crazy looks as I gaze toward the sky and clouds as I’m driving along.  They bring me comfort and ease and I feel as though I am one with them.  Who doesn’t, I ask, want to be one with the sky?

One with the clouds?  One with the birds?  One with the stars?  One with the moon?

The music varies widely and can go from Ozzy Osbourne one minute to Bach the next to Styx the next to Wagner the next.  There is no rhyme nor reason, only joy; pure unbridled, joy.

Today, the temperature reached 92° and I was in my own personal Heaven.  The sun beat down, warm on my skin and in my eyes.

I was sun-kissed and it was awesome.

I spend way too much of my time thinking of things, places and people that I aught not be thinking about and my convertible time empties my mind.  It sets me free in a way that I cannot explain.

I am myself.  My thoughts are my own and if the tears fall, they are my own as well.  I still think of things and of people, but they are are freer, more beautiful, somehow.

Open and wonderful, without guilt, without compromise.  Simply mine.

I am me.  I am a Sagittarius.  I wish, I want, I will things into being and then, when they don’t suit me, I may mourn for them, but ultimately, let them go.

On these occasions, I am nothing more than a petal spiraling in the wind, wishing wishes and floating, as though weightless, above the earth.

The hay grass dancing.

The lightning bugs flickering.

I am a part of nature and it is spectacular.

Life.

The ultimate roller coaster with the ups and downs, unexpected and exhilarating,with its realistic to the point of detriment, dreams.

And I, from this moment forward, plan to enjoy the ride.  And, when the dreams, sometimes plain, oft times erotic and breathtaking, filled with music, come, I plan to enjoy them, too.

I will embrace them and become part of them, immersing myself in them.

I will thrive in the dreams that I dream and know that I, after all, am still me, with my hopes, longing  and desires.

Human.

Still me, always me, and relishing that which comes int0 my mind.

I intend to waste none of this magnificent existence, whether real or imagined, dreams or reality.

I’ve wasted too much time, already.

Beemer, a sweet Great Pyrenees, shows his Hollywood

Here, lately …

I’ve felt like singing most of the time.  I have to admit, while I really like the way I feel, I am perplexed by it.  I can’t say, for certain, that I have ever felt as I do now.  Happy, but in a normal way.  Exuberant, but in a normal way.  I have the ability to keep a thought in my head and to make sense when I’m talking; even if it is only to myself.

I find myself smiling for no particular reason and being excited over simple things; like coming home at the end of a long day.  I find that irritations come less frequently and the ability to reason and converse like a human being is functioning properly.  It feels pretty good, actually.  The joyous feeling of contentment that I didn’t have to work for; a quietness within myself that I didn’t expect.

I prayed for a peace in my mind.  It is so difficult sometimes, to focus on the most basic of tasks, but complex and comprehensive ones come easy.  I don’t feel that way tonight.  In a way, I feel like I am seeing my life, with few responsibilities and much freedom, for the first time.  I don’t know how long this feeling will last or if it will ever come again … but I am hopeful.

There has been a change of some kind, though at the moment, I can’t put my finger on it.  Something uprooted?  Something planted?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that I am not the same as I was a few days ago; I am less fearful and that in itself makes me stronger than I was before.  I don’t know what happened, but whatever it was, I prayed for it.  I thank God for His faithfulness.

beach_birds-321