Saturday, December 31, 2011

Favorite Photos of 2011


New Year's is one of my favorite holidays. I love beginnings and clean slates and goals and projections. I love my life and am happy, but, like most people, I have an inner drive for betterment. The quote that has been at the top of this blog for almost five years now, perfectly sums up one of the tenets I lean on in this life.
"Not what we say about our Blessings, but how we use them, is the True Measure of our Thanksgiving" -W.T. Purkiser
There are two pieces that I love about this quote. One is gratitude. To be thankful is one of the most important qualities a person can have. I am very conscience about this. I try to be a good role model of gratitude for my children. When you come from a place of gratitude it colors your view. My children will never have some things--a father, their cousins living next door, a beach house in Maui. But they have so much. They have more than many. They have a wonderful Grandpa and a Papa and a slew of wonderful men who love them. They have cousins they can visit with several times a year in fun places. They live down a dirt road where they can see things like fox squirrels, bald eagles, indigo buntings, wild irises, and dogwoods blooming so pretty in the spring it looks like it has snowed out in the woods. We can look at what we don't have or we can look at what we do have.

The second piece of the quote brings up what we do versus what we say. We can talk all day long but talk is easy. What are we really doing to refine our talents and blessings and gifts? For a long time I was confused by the parable of the talents. I related to the man who buried his talent. At least he knew he wouldn't lose the one thing his master entrusted to him. But now I see it differently, more in line with how others read the parable. When the man buried his one talent, even he didn't have possession of it anymore. The talent was of no use to anyone. We must use what we are given. We must grow it, refine it, polish it, share it, cultivate it, study it.
At the beginning of 2011 I chose a word to live by, a word to continuously contemplate. I chose intention. I think I am going to stay with that word for 2012. I want to be more intentional. When we are intentional we are being active and engaged. Even if the choice is to sit down for 10 minutes and drink a cup of coffee, to be intentional makes the choice an event, more important. To be intentional is, I believe, to use our talents and appreciate our gifts. To be intentional makes us participants in our own lives. We engage with the gifts and talents we have been given. To engage and interact then increases our measure of our thankfulness.
Happy New Year to you and yours.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mazie, Photographer

A different perspective. Through the eyes of a child. Mazie gives these gifts to us often. She is our photographer. She is always hijacking one of our phones to take pictures. She started out preferring her own face but she has learned how to look outward and capture people and sights around her.
The three always want to see the picture after it has been taken.

Monday, December 12, 2011

This is Us

One of my favorite love songs is "This is Us" by Mark Knopfler and EmmyLou Harris. A couple is looking back through the photo album of their life, reminiscing all the fun, crazy, wonderful times they had. Here are some of my favorite photos from the past months.

We have a bald eagle hanging out at our pond. He is beautiful and majestic. We are all so happy when we get to see him. He loves to sit in trees, and he is a very good fisher. We hope he stays for a while.
Grancy came for a visit and we had a lovely time with her.

Like you, we have been busy and enjoying life. As our small town life affords us, we've had several fun parades. We were most excited about the Christmas parade as we get to glimpse the big man in the flesh.

Lu was all about riding in the fire truck with her Bee. We tried to get her to march with the baton girls but she thought the rescue truck would be more fun.
We picked out our Christmas tree at our favorite farm over Thanksgiving weekend.

The three love taking scissors to just about anything. The netting on the tree was lots of fun. We had a gift left on our fireplace the morning after Thanksgiving. An elf we've named Tucker. Our favorite thing about Tucker is finding him in the morning.
Lu went to a dance camp one Saturday morning and had a great time.

We went to a lovely fall farm wedding. Everything about it was wonderful, especially playing on the round bales.

Halloween was fun. We were mermaids and a diver. Everyone did a good job manipulating their costumes.

We have acquired quite a few cats. The children love them to pieces.
My sweet girl Mazie loves fairies and mermaids.
The girls love drawing and all things art. Below Mazie has drawn a picture of "Lucia when she's older."

We went camping for the first time to help a good friend celebrate a big birthday.

We played soccer for the first time this fall. Mazie wasn't sure she wanted to play. She sat out the first practice but then decided she wanted to play with her brother and sister. I loved seeing their personalities. Mazie, who I often think is quite shy, was very much into the performance aspect of the game. Every time she touched the soccer ball, or even got near it, she would run over to us to make sure we saw or turn and wave to us.
Elliott would at times get into the game but he could easily be distracted by an ant hill or an orange cone or the moon coming up over the trees.
Lucia got the game the most. She really seemed to see the big picture of what was supposed to happen. She was intent of doing well but also had fun.
H and I really enjoyed watching them improve during the season. I think we will play spring soccer also.
My sister and her family came for a visit. Isn't this little Landon adorable? He is just as happy as he is cute. He has a lot of my dad and my dad's brothers to his look. We loved getting to spend time with him and getting to know his personality.

If I was to look for a silver lining in the dark cloud that is living so far from my sister, I'd say it would be getting to share novel aspects of our lives. When we visit Avery, we get to experience pieces of her life in Southern California that we don't have. When Avery visits us, we try to give her the Gulf and country experience. Avery really got into collecting cicada shells this visit. She also enjoyed feeding the goats and horses. We planted acorns in hopes that they would grow into big trees. We tried to lure the fox squirrel with a variety of nuts. We can't wait until we get to show Avery and Landon more of our world.

Below is the first photo of the now five grandchildren. Come back and see us soon, Tia Karen, Uncle Jon, Cousin Avery, and Baby Landon. We miss you every day.

Lucia loves to change clothes. She changes multiple times a day. Often she will wake up in different pajamas than she first went to bed in.
We were going to go to New Orleans to celebrate the three's fourth birthday but a storm decided to come through. So, we stayed home and celebrated on our own.

Below: My girls on their first day back at dance. The three with their new kittens--strays H found in town. One-Eyed Jack came first and then H found his sister in the same spot a few weeks later. Her name is Jill. My Mazie, caught under her bed with my make-up, trying to look like one of the most beautiful women the world has ever known. And, lastly, my sweet Bubby man, bringing me a bouquet of gardenias.

Sorry the pictures are a bit out of order and jumbled. I am, apparently, out of practice with uploading photos onto the blog.