More of and Less of…with Light

Today I turn 45…what I consider to be the mid-point of my life.  And I feel immensely grateful to have reached this milestone…sure, with some bruises and scratches (both inside and out), but overall I’m well…and still breathing.  It’s so good to be alive.

Yesterday morning I woke up thinking about the things that I want to do going forward, in order to live a richer and more meaningful life.  This list includes things that I want more of as well as the things that I want less of.  For me, making changes in both ways (doing more of and less of) will lead me closer to sustaining personal fulfillment.  And I would like nothing more than to radiate this sense of peace and happiness out into the world…in the form of light and love, and perhaps through the things that I create, whether it be in the form of actual art projects or through photos and words.  This is what I intend, and this is what I hope my blog will also convey.

Okay, to my list, which looks like this:

More of:

  • deep breathing, meditation and yoga
  • non-judgement
  • widening my comfort zone
  • deepening awareness
  • community service

Less of:

  • worrying about what’s next
  • mindless eating and overall consumption
  • unhealthy relationships

I’m sure that if I think more about this subject, I could come up with many more things to add to my lists.  However, sometimes it’s good to not over think things.  I wonder, what things might you include on your lists?

Beginning August 5, Oprah and Deepak Chopra are offering a free 21-day guided meditation focusing on relationships. I’ll definitely be doing this and if you’re interested, more details can be found here.

BTW, for my birthday each year Bill helps me with designing a new blog banner.  My birthday is the anniversary of my blog, which I started four years ago.  Throughout these years I have enjoyed getting the opportunity to meet so many of you.  I feel that there have been some real connections made.  And I am thankful for the good energy that you bring and leave behind at my blog.  Please know that your comments and emails are so sincerely received.  Thank you.  Thank you for the encouragement and light.

See light, feel light, give light…be light.

Growing Forward and Together

Bill and I had an easy-relaxed and joyful time together in NYC last weekend.  On the way to the city, we decided to only do new things together in New York on this trip…although this wasn’t very easy since we have some favorite old spots that we like to visit.  Anyway, the reason why I came up with this idea to only do new things is because I wanted to create new memories for us.  I wanted to focus on looking forward rather than looking back.  Luckily Bill agreed so we went with the new plan to experience a new New York together…and it was perfect!

Something not so perfect though was that for a couple of weeks before our anniversary, Bill and I were off.  It seemed we were out of sync.  Life was rolling along and we were kind of tumbling along with it…and it felt terrible to be so out of tune with my Bill.  This sort of thing doesn’t happen very often between us, but when it does, sometimes the disturbance lingers way longer than I’d like it to.

With these thoughts in mind I made Bill an anniversary gift using this shell that we found together at the beach this past Father’s Day.

Here’s a look at what the outside looks like after I altered it.

And here’s a look at the message that I wrote for the inside.

The message is about what happens in life…

…and it’s about how I want Bill and I to evolve and grow.

And speaking of growing and togetherness, Bill and I will be going to the Kripalu center this weekend to attend a Deepak Chopra gathering. For years I’ve been a big fan of Deepak Chopra and I’m excited for this opportunity to see him in person, but most of all I’m excited that I’ll get a chance to share this experience with Bill.

Wishing you growing togetherness also…may you be in harmony.

Changing Light…and Love

I’ve been outside a lot…mainly at the beach.  It seems I’ve traded in studio time for outside adventures instead, and I’ve simply been enjoying the changing light from the coast of Maine to the shores of Massachusetts.

I love watching it go from this…

…to this…

…and this…

…to this.

I also love it when I can spot a sun star.

The magic in these moments is brief, but enough.

And when the day closes, the night begins…sometimes gently.  This easing of the earth into night has a way of slowing and steadying the breath.

Tomorrow I’ll be heading off to another adventure with my honey Bill in New York City (Brook’s been away at camp, and will be having her own fun for the duration of 5 weeks).  Today is our sweet sixteen wedding anniversary which makes the perfect excuse for us to hit the town together.  BTW, our early romance days began in NY/NJ (where we met and where I grew up) so I’m sure that we will enjoy revisiting the memories together.  A lot has changed since we met, both around us as well as ourselves.  Just as the light changes, life changes…this is how it goes right?  And as it goes, and goes and goes, as long as you have love in your life, it’s all good…and enough.

Too Quick Quebec

We got back from Canada (Quebec City and Montreal) last Saturday, and I’ve been caught up in getting things back in order.  So far this summer has been especially busy with extended family visits, vacation, connecting with friends, work obligations, regular home life as well as some unexpecteds…I’m not used to this fast pace, and it doesn’t really suit me.  How about you, have you been running round and round also?

Okay, back to our recent trip.  The drive up north started off smooth and slow (just the way I like it), and we were lucky that the sky was showing its most beautiful side.

And we were also lucky to have found a resting spot in Magog, Quebec, that serves delicious chocolate croissants (this definitely set the French mood).

As soon as we arrived in Old Quebec we saw more welcome signs which added to the excitement of being at such a beautiful place.

It was wonderful taking time out to see the historic sights…

…smell the roses…

…and to eat farm fresh berries (during a side trip to Ile d’Orleans – a rural island near Quebec City).

While staying in Old Quebec we took another side trip to nearby Montmorency Falls.

Although the rush of water was spectacular to see, I found myself fearful of the chaotic force and immense explosion at the bottom.

There were more explosions in the form of fireworks while in Old Quebec – these were more my speed.  However, there was a part of me that craved the stillness…

…such as what I found at the aquarium.

I love the calm and beauty of the slow.

And I love coming across unexpected sights such as this sweet birdie graffiti. The English translation of the message is “Are you listening? The birds sing for you and me…”   Isn’t this the perfect tweet?!

Roaming around freely, and preferably slowly, allows me the space that I need to be in the moment…and to maybe be inspired by the moment.  As happened when we had the opportunity to see an outdoor and free(!) performance of Cirque du Soleil.

As I watched the performers, especially the brave and graceful acrobats, I heard myself thinking “I should try to move outside of my comfort zone more”.  Maybe I should try things that feel scary…maybe not every time, but once in a while would be good.  I’m sure that this would never lead me to fly around upside down on a swing way up in the air, but I could begin by taking small risks…little leaps of faith towards enriching my life and increasing self assurance.  Sometimes I get stuck in what feels familiar, and this isn’t always good for me…both in my personal and creative life. I feel a change coming. And now I just have to figure out “what” exactly. I wonder, have any of you been contemplating any big changes for yourselves as well?

After Old Quebec we moved on to Montreal for a few days before coming home.  I’ll soon be putting together a post on that (it might include a craft project that I came across while reading the local morning newspaper at our hotel).  I haven’t had a chance to try out the project yet, but if it comes out good I’ll certainly share it.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ve all been enjoying the summer so far.

Signs of Love

Just popping in to share with you some signs of love that I came across recently…such as this one.

And here’s another one (a fallen leaf from the rose bushes from my previous post).

Also while at the beach I came across two pieces of rocks that, when put together, form a heart.  These two rock halves are like my Bill and Brook, and together they fill my heart…they are my heart.

Today our family will be heading to Canada for some quality time together so I’ll be away from here for about a week or so.  I’m looking very forward to this little adventure…wishing you some fun new things too.  And I hope you’ll see signs of love everywhere you go.

Rosy Thoughts

Last weekend our family escaped to our Maine place for some sea air.  On Saturday we biked and ate, and napped and ate, and lolled around some more…it was decadent.  And the next day for Father’s Day we went out for brunch on the waterfront, topped off with a leisurely stroll along the beach before heading back home to Massachusetts.

During our beach walk we came across several bushes bursting with pink blossoms (I think they’re beach roses).  And actually, thinking back I remember that it was the strong, sweet fragrance of the blossoms that first drew me in to stop and enjoy.  The air around these bushes was heavily perfumed with the smell of roses mixed with salty sea air.  All of this lushness definitely awakened my senses.

And with my senses heightened, I noticed that there were a few blossoms that had already dropped their pretty pink petals.  Upon taking a closer look at what remained, I noticed that there was a star shape at the base of each blossom.

Here’s another view of the star.  Seeing this made me think…each one of us is a star.  And even when our surface beauty fades with age (as when the petals begin to drop), our core still remains…true and strong and unique like a star.

And who can deny the feeling of optimism that comes when you look at a baby bud?  To me this sight says potential, and hope and adventure…it makes me think that anything is possible.

Whatever stage we’re at…budding, blooming or beyond, we are all stars at the core.  And together, we can light up the world with vibrant and loving energy.

String of Sunshine

On a recent trip to the craft store, I only planned to grab some glue, but as soon as I spotted this spool of yellow string I just had to have it.  To me, this string sings sunshine.

I used these cheerful strands of hemp string to make a tassel.

And then I used the tassel to make a necklace.

I ended up making two necklaces…one to keep and one to share.  So if you’d like a little bit of sunshine to wear around your neck, just let me know by leaving a comment to this post (the first one to claim it can have it).

Wishing you all a happy weekend with bright, beautiful sunshine.

Red, White and Blue…and Freedom, Love and Peace

Once again it took me longer than expected to get back here.  I’ve been in a slump…thinking and worrying about all the terrible things that have been going on…tornadoes in Oklahoma, terrorism domestically and overseas and, basically, the injustices that have been occurring seemingly everywhere.  There is no doubt that we live in tough times.  I am grateful that for the moment my family and I and our loved ones are okay, but I still feel very weighted down by all that’s been happening around us (sometimes I’m too sensitive for my own good).  Sometimes feelings of compassion can be overwhelming…but I’ve been working on trying to see the bright spots in spite of all of this.

And speaking of bright spots, this past Memorial Day our family went into Boston for some leisure and simple togetherness.  We went to Quincy Market to window shop and people watch.  While we were there we saw some very talented street performers who gave us extra reasons to smile.

Our flag with blazing colors of red, white and blue was at center stage.  Seeing this made me feel proud and patriotic.

On that same day we also went to nearby North End for some Italian food treats.  While strolling around I happen to spot some more red, white and blue.  I love that this old neighborhood still hangs on to the traditional.

The flag below says it well -  it reads peace and freedom to me…which is something I’m pretty sure we all want and need.

And here’s a tranquil scene, graced by a single flying flag.

Sometimes a single statement is enough…like this one big, white star, which serves as a beacon of hope (the center piece at a place of worship in the North End neighborhood).

And speaking of stars, here are my own two (Bill and Brook are my very own personal beacons of hope).  I took this photo of them while we were at our favorite seafood shack in Maine a couple of weekends prior.  BTW, it was purely by accident that Bill and Brook matched the red, white and blue surroundings.

Switching gears a bit…I only recently felt up to looking through my photographs from Hong Kong.  This took me a while since I’ve been afraid of facing these photos (my emotions are still fragile as I’ve been processing the passing of my father).  I know this is normal and I know to give it time…yet it’s still very hard.

Okay, back to the photos.  As you’ll notice in the photos below, I’ve chosen ones that have colors of red, white and blue.  I love that signs of freedom (in our culture) are across the world…showing up in unexpected ways and places…

…hanging from above…

…stacked up in neat piles…

…and near the ground and underfoot.

Red cabs grabbed my eye as we sped by in our own taxi.

And I love that there were blue ones two, also speeding by (behind Brook and me).

Life speeds by. Some things we can control and some things we can’t…this is life.  And in this life we need freedom.  We need freedom to work, play, create…and love.  And through love everyone can be healed, happy, united and in peace.

Wishing you all freedom, love and overall peace.  May you feel it everywhere you go (and also within).

Fast and Forever

It’s taken me longer than usual to make it back here at my blog…Spring has been flying by fast!  The season seems to have come and blossomed all too quickly.  However, I did manage to capture quiet, little moments like this one from inside our home looking out…don’t you just love the morning sunshine?!

Brook is almost through with her first year of high school…wow, where did this year go?  It’s so true that as each year passes, time goes by faster and faster.  And the faster it goes by, the more I feel I need to hang on to it…it’s hard letting it all go by, knowing it’ll be gone forever.

However, I’ve come to realize that some things do last forever…love does.  Even after our kids leave the nest, and even after our time on this earth is over, the love still remains…in memory and in our hearts.  Love can last forever.  These are some of the thoughts that led me to create matching necklaces (1 for me and 1 for Brook).  BTW, I just planned a summer trip for our family to visit Montreal and Quebec.  Originally, I wanted to go to France (especially Paris) but flights are so expensive this time of year.  Luckily for us, Canada is just a car ride away, where we’ll get to experience some French culture for less time and money on travel.  Sometimes it makes sense to be practical.

Here’s a look at the necklaces. Toujours means forever in French, by the way.

And here’s a look at the altered box (Altoids tin) that I made for Brook.

I placed the necklace on some tulle that rests on top of some shimmery mica flakes (which I first adhered to the inside of the box with craft glue).

And of course I had to include a special feather find.

One pretty white bead for my one wonderful girl.

Every time I wear my necklace I’ll think of Brook and how much I love her.  And I hope that every time Brook wears the necklace she’ll think of me…and how much I love her.  Wherever she is, and ends up going in the future, the love will travel with her…forever.

Two Pearls for Two Girls

This week both my sister (Lisa) and her daughter (Stephanie, who turned 21) celebrated their birthdays.  Back in February, while I was in Hong Kong, I scoured the Jade Market looking for pearl earrings for each of them.

I found these pretty, pale pink ones for my sister (pink’s her favorite color).

And I found these tiny creamy-colored ones for my niece.  As you can see, I created a special mini canvas for each of them.  I think these canvases make a lovely presentation.  And I like how you can express your thoughts to the recipient on the canvas…like how I see Stephanie as a bright star (“Star light star bright”).

Here are the two canvases together.  Two pearls for two girls, with warmest happy birthday wishes to both.

Creating a gift to present a gift…I like layering the love.