Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Story in My Fifth Face

It's the face I wasn't sure was going to happen. When I was little, I remember thinking that when the year 2000 came, I would be 39 years old and that seemed old to me. Needless to say 50 seemed ancient. But three years ago my life changed when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. From diagnosis to mastectomy to learning that it had metastasized because my hip broke was less than a month's time. My whole right side of my body was foreign to me. My world was spinning out of control and yet I clung to the fact that my life was ultimately in God's hands. I clung to the fact that he knew me and my children and I had to trust that no matter what was ahead that he would be control of those plans.

It wasn't easy, but slowly, slowly a new norm began to surface. And in it came an appreciation for what I have, for those I love, for the every day, for the special days. I still let too much time slip between my fingers and I don't know what tomorrow will hold in store for me, but I know that I have been blessed beyond measure, became a grandmother to a beautiful boy with another grandchild on the way and my children seem happy. And for that I am thankful.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Twelve on Tuesday

  1. Didn't watch the Academy Awards on Sunday and from I read in the papers, I didn't miss much. 
  2. Looks like the little groundhog was right again. There was a cold winter storm yesterday and right now it's downright chilly. I'm loving it.
  3. I don't, however, like driving in the rain. I admit it. I'm one of those timid drivers who slows down to a crawl when the rain drops start falling. In my defense, I became that way after I hydroplaned across three lanes during a rainy drive to work three years ago. I know I should get over it.
  4. Found a really good Fodor's book called Essential Italy in which they just happen to highlight the three major cities that we want to visit, Rome, Florence and Venice and all the places in between that we've been considering such as Sienna and Verona. Still not sure if it's best to rent a car or find public transportation between Rome, Florence and Venice, but I'm getting excited about planning the trip.
  5. While looking for the travel book, I ended up getting a planner. I thought it was a little different than what it was because I thought it was a cheaper version of Listography which I find intriguing. It turned out to be an expensive day planner...just what I didn't really need. I would have been better off getting Listography like I wanted in the first place.
  6. Conducted my third major training session of the year for work. Been feeling really good about the presentation, but the reality may be that I just have a swelled head. It's been a lot of work preparing, but it's been a lot of fun, too. Fun at work, how novel is that!
  7. For the past week, I've been a bit of a couch potato after I've gotten home. I need to get back on my game. I have until tomorrow to finish a craft project for the month. It's going to be a close call.
  8. Got an awesome offer from Adobe It's a $400 savings off Photoshop C5. I know I'm going to kick myself, but spending $299 on a program that I'm going to have to learn doesn't seem to make the most sense right now especially considering that I'm going to want to spend another $250.00 on rad lab actions. Can't wait for tomorrow to come so the offer ends without me throwing my money away.
  9. Doctor visit this week. Can't wait for it to be over. Praying and expecting things to be status quo.
  10. Thought I would be able to make this a Twelve on Tuesday, but turns out that life is so boring, I could barely come up with 10 so it ends here!
  11. But just remembered that I dragged Brie to the car show at church on Saturday. So glad I insisted that she join me. The cars were cool, the weather was awesome and I enjoyed spending a few hours with just the two of us.
  12. And now this is really the end.

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Story in My Fourth Face

I'm in my early forties and finally, finally embracing life...ready and willing to do it alone, but only because I know that I'm really not alone. I have accepted Jesus as my savior and I'm no longer looking for someone else to fill my life. In many ways I regret the mistakes I made along the way, but in many ways I embrace them because they have brought me to this point.

I've learned that when things aren't going right that I need to consider that I might be part of the problem. I've learned to find joy in the every day. I've learned to be thankful for what I have instead of longing for what I don't. I have peace as I have never had before. Not that life is perfect, not that I still don't make mistakes, but I don't languish in them and no one's life is perfect so I stop comparing.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I happened upon Ashley Sisk's blog that has a photo challenge called Scavenger Hunt Sunday.  Each Sunday, she puts up a little list of 5 things to photograph for the week and then we can share our photographic findings the following Sunday.

This week's list is as follows:

  1. Crossed
  2. A glimpse
  3. Handwritten
  4. Bliss 
  5. Gray
Sufficed to say, some words are easier to find than others. Here are my shots:

I had all sorts of ideas for this one...none of which came to fruition, but yesterday while I was roaming the streets of Claremont, I took a photo which simply by chance filled the spot. I love the way the street name crosses the pizza sign in this picture.

While driving to store on Friday, I met a train that was heading in the same direction. The train was pulling a heavy load and was soon just a glimpse in my side mirror.

For some reason, I feel like this was cheating a little bit, but as I was thinking about what type of photo I was going to take for this item, I remembered that I had written the scavenger hunt items on a piece of paper and decided that this list would fit the bill.

Planning a trip to Italy...need I say more??

It must be the new blue because surprisingly enough, there are gray objects all over Target right now.

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Story in My Third Face

I'm in my thirties and suddenly I can seen the small tell tale signs of my youth beginning to leave me. I backslide in my confidence for a few years, devastated by my dad's infidelity, something I would have never thought possible in my youth. The family I once knew is gone and we struggle to find a new norm.

I become pregnant; still not married. It's harder the second time because this time I know what's in store for me. I'm a little wiser, asking the father to at least be a part of the baby's life. Slowly, slowly I truly learn to accept my life for what it is. I let go of my dreams and in the process really truly become happy. Happy in my singleness, happy with what I do and don't have. I begin to scrapbook and find enjoyment in making things. A new journey begins.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Story in my 3rd Face

I'm in my mid-twenties. It's a decades of ups and downs. Some may think it's my lack of self-confidence that made the ride bumpy, the truth is it's the lack of relationship with God during this part of my life that made life harder than it had to be.

Thankfully, God is forgiving and he turned my sins into a blessing that I could not have imagined. By this time, I'm a single mom. That mistake probably saved my life from becoming a bigger mess. I had to get things together if not for my sake, then for my son's, my Matthew, my precious gift from God. I was afraid that I would resent him, but that couldn't have been further from the truth. I never once felt that way. From the moment I decided to keep him, I embraced motherhood and all that came with it. And I was blessed with his presence in my life.

With Matt's birth, I knew that I was responsible for ensuring that he has an opportunity for salvation. And thus began my walk back with the Lord. My biggest regret was that my mistake cost Matthew a relationship with his father, but as my best friend told me, I could cry over split milk or work with what I had. Slowly, slowly, my confidence grew. It grew enough to say no to a marriage that I knew would be a mistake even though I knew I was giving up financial security.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

  1. Long morning at work today, but gained an hour back when a 4-1/2 hour long meeting ended an hour earlier than scheduled. Those are always the best.
  2. As a reward, I treated myself to an Oreo 31 Below at BK. It was the worst one I've ever had. The Oreo's were stale which really bothered me because I kept thinking that if the Oreo's are bad, what condition is the rest of their ingredients.
  3. That didn't stop me from eating almost the whole thing without complaining. It's the middle child in me to suffer in silence. All I kept thinking was I should have gone to Haagen Dazs like I originally wanted to.
  4. My brother, Vic, is in town from MS on his way to Barstow. We went to BJ's for dinner which was pretty delish. I got a little carsick on the ride back, fiddle on my phone as he drove home. Maybe I'll just move to Australia.
  5. Got a call from Brie's school today with the list of announcements for the week. I was grinning almost the whole time as I listened to instructions regarding next school year, realizing that this is it for me as far as primary school goes. Hip, hip, HOORAY!!
  6. Finished my taxes last night which I'm so happy about because I had that feeling that it was now or never. I owe $80 to the Feds, but will be getting enough back from the state to pay that and the rest of my camera balance. I always get that anxious nervous pit on my stomach as I prepared and submit my taxes. 
  7. On the subject of crossing things off my list, I also submitted my expense report for my trip to Austin AND made my doctor appointment (finally) so all I have left on my list is check out Fullerton college classes for Brie. I'm starting feel back on top of things.
  8. Want to be sure to work on my bible study tonight. That's what's really the most important thing of all.
  9. Looking forward to having the morning off tomorrow so I can just hang out with my little brother. And sleep in a little. Except I have to get Brie up for school. At least it's late start.
  10. Or maybe, just maybe I'll try to get up early enough to watch the sunrise. Or maybe not. We'll see.

Monday, February 20, 2012

i heart faces photo challenge|hugs and kisses

This picture was taken this last weekend at our local park. My son and his wife were going out on their date night so I took the opportunity to get a few shots of their little family.

I love how they love on this little guy and how willing they are to share him with me. And we're so excited that they'll be adding a girl to their family in just a few months.

This photo was submitted to the I Heart Faces photo challenge –

My Story in My 2nd Face

I'm introverted, unsure, lacking in self-confidence. I'm overweight (not big boned as my mom would often tell me). The pimples, glasses and braces didn't do much to help with my self-esteem either. Looking back I see that I wasn't alone in feeling like a social outcast, but at the time I felt like the only awkward, geeky girl.

By this time I moved 9 times, lived in three different states and three different countries, if you count Puerto Rico as a country. My freshman and sophomore year, we lived in Esfahan, Iran. The first month there I cried almost every day, but I came to love the land and most of the people and I cried like a baby the day we left. The political climate there was such that I knew the likelihood of me ever going back would be very, very slim.

The older I got the harder it was for me to fit in. I had no idea how to control my curly mane and I was horribly shy so I ate for comfort, gaining weight and pimples as my reward. If not for our extended family or my first job, I probably would have been in more despair. In Iran I had countless friends, in California, I could count them in one hand. If I had tried a little more, gotten a little more involved, I know now that would have changed. Luckily for me I was about to leave my teen years behind.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Story - In Six Faces

I stole this idea from a story in the Parade magazine in today's Sunday paper. The author started her article with a quote from George Orwell:

"At age 50, everyone has the face he deserves."

Is that so? I wish I knew that long ago, perhaps I would have done things not spend so much time basking out in the sun, ignoring all the experts who were telling us that this would cause skin damage. Or pouting about things that were or weren't not to come.

But at least I stayed away from drugs, cigarettes and alcohol because all in all I think my face at this point in my life isn't quite so bad, even if there are times I'm a bit shocked when I glance in the mirror. I'm not as young looking as I think I am.

Instead of being limited to a one page article, I'll tell my story in six days. A story a day, a story a decade.

I'm in Kindergarten, still in my (forgive me) cute stage. The little Debbie of my family, little Debbie Doo to my grandfather. Beyond excited to follow in my sister's footsteps and begin my career in school. I still have a face that strangers love to smile at, cheeks that family members love to pinch and kiss. From what my mom says, I still have a baby voice with baby speak until I start school and I realize that my classmates aren't as likely to coo over the way I say words such as three (tree) and I quickly drop the act. What this doesn't show is that already I have learned to keep secrets, having been molested by an older cousin. And so begins the life of me. My first decade, full of love, family, ups and downs.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Streets of Austin

Things I want to remember about my trip to Austin.

The little pizza place I ate at the first night I was there. It looked interesting and smelled so good when I first walked in. It was delish.

How incredibly invigorated I felt in the morning when I walked from my hotel to the office. There as a nip in the air, but it just made me feel more alive. It felt good to start the morning with some exercise. 

The joy I felt to realize that the Starbucks I found near the office was also near the Capitol. For some explicable reason it pleased me immensely.

The way the barren trees looked against the brick facades, the sky, the Capitol. I couldn't get enough of them.

The wackiness of 6th Street.

The guitars of Austin.

The daringness I felt at taking pictures regardless of who was around and what they thought.

My walks to and from the office always took a little longer because I was constantly stopping to take pictures.

The lovely church that I passed to and/or from my way to the hotel/office every day.

The funny things I found along the way. Things I would have missed if I had rented a car or asked someone to pick me up. (Whoever you are that put that there, you made my day!)

The fact that my Starbucks app never, ever lets me down.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Problem with Pictures

Last week while in Austin, as I walked around downtown after work, I was struck not only by the sights of my surrounding, but the sounds and even the smell of the city. I remember wishing there was a way I could bottle it all up.

The problem with pictures is that it only records the sights we see. Lost are the sounds and the smells which probably probe those deeper parts of our memories. On this night I ventured out to the infamous 6th Street. The night was cool, but the sounds of music blared out from the open doors as I passed bar after bar. There were also street musicians adding to the cacophony that reached my ears. As beautiful as this picture is, it doesn't convey any of the other sensory perceptions I experienced as I walked up the street.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

10 on Tuesday

  1. Time to get back on the saddle. I was in Austin last week and blogging from the iPad isn't really my cup of tea. It was a good, good trip for many, many reasons.
  2. I meant to blog over the weekend, but I was still catching up from my trip and blogging is like exercise, once you stop it's hard to get started again.
  3. I also meant to decorate the house for Valentine's Day which didn't happen. Well, Valentine's Day did happen, but the decorating...not so much!
  4. Looks like the little groundhog was right. Middle of February and it was downright cold today. It was also sunny with blue, blue skies. I was happy from the get-go.
  5. It's the first Valentine's Day in the longest time that I didn't go to dinner with mom and at least one of my children. I ended up a Panera's all by my lonesome. 15 years ago, I would have been having a pity party, but I'm much older and wiser now. I was good company.
  6. The emails and text messages I got earlier in the day helped. I have a lot of people I love and a lot of people who love me. 
  7. A tripod is high on my list of things I want to get for myself. Been trying to stave off that feeling that I have to go get one NOW. 
  8. Still struggling with ways to serve God. Really praying to find my mission and serve God more faithfully (hence holding off on the tripod)
  9. Found the cutest little pink polka dotted blanket for baby girl Medina. She can't come soon enough!
  10. Made sugar cookies last night with a new recipe for frosting. I was a bit nervous about changing. Brie wasn't too impressed because the frosting was more of a buttercream which she isn't too fond of, but I was rather pleased with the results. These were dedicated to the ones I love...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Photo Heart Connection|January

I can't remember how I stumbled upon Kat Sloma's blog. I'm pretty sure it was when she had a Shutter Sister guest post. What she wrote about photography spoke to my heart. I started off wanting to take good, if not great, pictures of my children and those I loved and it's morphed into more than that.

It used to be that if a picture didn't have a face in it, it was hard to for me to really relate to it. As my children grew older, I found that I was forced to take pictures of inanimate objects. This has stretched me in ways I would not have thought possible.

I find myself being more aware of my surroundings, how the light touches things and how a single object can come to life just by being at a certain angle or at a certain place at a certain time. So when we were challenged to select just one photo that we touched in January for which we had our strongest connection, I wasn't surprised that it wasn't one with my children because the truth is my connection is with them, living...breathing...the warm of their touch...the sound of their voice. No matter how perfect a picture I take of them and no matter how much I smile when I see one that brings a flood of memory, it can't compare to the real living, breathing them.

So my choice, the one that speaks to my heart, is one that was taken on a perfect January day. It started off overcast and dreary and somehow the clouds broke sparking a drive to Old Orange where I took this picture. It wasn't until I got home and began editing the photo that I made my connection. There is something about the beautiful, rugged brick facade contrasted against the blue that drew me in. I added some texture to give it a bit of a dirty look because life is messy sometimes.

Then I see the warning not enter. But I just might enter anyway because sometimes we need to heed the warning, but we need to understand if there is really danger up ahead or if it's our own reservations holding us back.