Saturday, August 31, 2013

In No Uncertain Terms

Lest you be confused,

This is NOT Buzz Lightyear, the space ranger who came to save the galaxy.

If you ask him, he'll tell you who he is

In no uncertain terms. And that's what I love about him.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear August,

With only one and a half days left in the month, I must say you have been a major disappointment. You started off so promisingly and while I don't blame you for everything, I would have hoped that I would have more to show for the last 30-days. Thankfully, as long as I wake up in the morning, there is hope for a good day so I'm looking forward to what September may bring.

Dear Whittier Health Partnership,

I so much enjoyed attending your brunch and the opportunity to meet other breast cancer survivors as we created our works of art against the back drop of the bras. Thank you for allowing me to bring my mom who has given me the strength I need at the moments I need it most. I am a fighter, I am a survivor and I'm thankful the love and support from women like you.

Dear Honest Person,

It's not a pleasant experience, that moment, when you realize that your wallet is not tucked in your purse where it belongs. Driving back to the last known place I used it, I was thankful that I could go online and see that no one had used my cards, still I didn't take any chances and canceled my bank card just to be safe. You can't imagine my immense relief when the clerk at the Pie Hole handed me the wallet that just 30 minutes earlier they said was not there. Not only was it there, but all cards intact. Thank you for turning it in. I hope and pray that you will be rewarded some day in the same way for your honesty.

Dear Neck,

Stop. being. a. pain. After a week of this, I need some relief. I need to know this is just a stiff neck and not anything more serious than that. I want to be able to turn my head from side to side, up and down without any thought at all. Is that too much to ask?

Dear Jill,

After all these years, its been such a blessing to find you again and catch up, you, one of my oldest friends. Who knew two girls in 2nd grade would still be able to span such time and distance and still be able to connect.  I wish I would have been better at maintaining friendships so we wouldn't have such lost time between us, but I love how we seem to be able to pick up where we left off so many years ago.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I know that He's there

It's been a rough week. It makes me appreciate the simplest things. The kinds of things that most people do without a second thought. And though I know I may never know, I always try to understand the why. Perhaps if I learned my lesson quickly, I will be restored. I grasp for what may never be, but still I reach out in my prayers, begging, pleading and even when I finally come to rest in His peace I never give up for He says we can ask and ask and ask again. 

It breaks my heart because my energy is sapped, rendering me useless to all, going through motions until I can collapse, hoping never to get up again. But then I read my devotional and hope is my friend again. The words I read so perfectly sooth my soul. Is it a trick? How does the message answer precisely the cries of my heart? It must mean something. It must.

I know that He's there. I know that He hears me. I know that He can heal me. I pray that He will. As I drove home this evening, I cried out to God, just those words, "I know that You're there. I know that You hear me. I know you can heal me. I ask that you take pity upon your child and answer my prayers." Over and over, again, I spoke those words. Not in anger, perhaps in desperation, and it felt so good to be able to go to him and say those things. 

Because I know that He's there.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Pop,

Thank you for sending me the daily devotional book on Tuesday. Wednesday morning as I drank my coffee, I opened the first page and there in two sweet paragraphs were God's words to me. They were so fitting, I took a screen shot so I could absorb them over and over and over again. The word that struck me the most was wholeheartedly. It made starting chemo easier today.

Dear Eliz and Liz,

Your prayers and text messages meant so much. I know the devotional and your prayers were the reason I could walk into a new cycle of chemo without the angst I was feeling for the last two weeks. I thank God for your love and support.

Dear Old Towne Grinder,

Your selection of pop is second to none. Your staff is personable and fun to talk to. Your float recommendations make for bubbly perfection. But your chili cheese fries are a big disappointment. I don't know what that was that was placed on the mound of fries, but that was not chili. And the cheese? Where was it? Next time, I stick to ice cream and soda.

Dear Cupcakery,

Mom said the chocolate cupcake I bought for her was one of the most delicious cupcakes she's had. It did look mighty tasty in your window display which is why I don't understand why you put the cupcake in a paper sack. Sure the paper sack was white and had a cute sticker on it, but it didn't make it to the car without tipping over. Also, what's up with the No Photo Shoot sign in your window?

Dear Fatigue,

I don't mind a little of you, but please stop taking over my weekends. Enough is enough.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear little lizard,

I don't know who was the most scared, you or me. Without a doubt, Belle was the most excited as she tried desperately to claim you as her trophy. How you got into the house, I wish I knew, but the fact that I last saw you scamper through the small crack under the pantry creeps me out. Be warned, if you show your ugly self again, I won't hesitate to sic Belle on you.

Dear Max,

You melted my heart when you scampered down from your chair last night and kissed me, not once, but TWICE, on my leg. You have no idea how much that meant to grandma. I love you soooooo very much! It was so much fun reading books even if you got to "the end" and beat me every time. I wish we could have spent the night. Next time :)

Dear Aurora,

Is there anyone sweeter than you? I think not!

Dear Fatigue,

Is it ironic to say that I tire of you?

Dear LA,

Let it be said that I'm planning an invasion. With my trusty new book, The Bests Thing to do in LA, I'm going on an attack to explore more of the area with my camera, fatigue be damned.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Decade of Destiny

Twelve days into August and I feel like time is slipping through my fingertips. I waste so much of my free time not really doing anything. This must not continue.

The other day, I took the list I wrote on this blog on the first of August and wrote it down again in my notebook. I need the focus. When I wrote the list, I didn't expect to be able to cross everything off the list, but I expected to make a good effort. So far my effort has been sub-par. I don't want another weekend like last weekend. I want another month like July and I know that it's up to me.

For this reason, last Wednesday at Union Station did me good. Walking around with my camera in my hand, sharing the adventure with Acki, gave me the kick that I needed. I didn't take a lot of pictures, but I was pleased with most of the ones that I did take. It felt good, too, to take a different camera and a different lens. Scary, but good.

Scary because I know now what to expect with my 50mm on my Rebel, I've been using it for so long. The last few times I've taken out my 40D and my 80mm lens, the results have been so-so. Not Wednesday. I even got the shot I wanted of Acki for my photo project (another thing crossed off my list). And, no, that picture below of her isn't the one for my project.

I might have thought Friday was a failure. I meant to make it Film Friday, but turned around on my way to Samy's camera, deciding NOT to buy the roll of film I needed to make it happen. Then I nixed any idea I was nursing of heading to the beach when my car found its way going North on the 55. And instead of continuing on to Old Orange as my last minute stand in, I decided to stop at the Barnes and Noble on the way there. Barnes and Noble may not be the photo opportunity capital of the world, but I did enjoy my time there pursuing around the store and treating myself to a cup of joe and a cupcake.

Just when I thought I was going to leave the bookstore empty-handed, I ran into this little guy. The text on the spine did me in. Ok, little planner, if you say so. I may be grasping at straws because I know ultimately what I do with my life is up to me, not a little book, but I'm hoping that writing things down on paper will keep me focused and motivated.

On the drive home, dad called and asked if I would join him for dinner. Why not? I wasn't feeling tired and I didn't want to go home and procrastinate, plus it might give me the chance to talk to Aunt Sally about going with me to LA and to ask dad if we could go visit Uncle Frank. And it did!

Traffic was on the heavy side as I drove to dad's so I took the opportunity to call Sharonda and talk to her about coming out to visit. I felt at peace as I pulled onto dad's street. I was actually getting things done.

Saturday morning my devotional suggested that I said this prayer: God, I want to listen to you, not the voices of doubt. I want to hear you, and I promise then to obey you. I want to be one of the people that you can use and bless in the next ten years. I want those years to be a decade of destiny for me and my family.

Oh, man, that prayer spoke straight to my heart. I said that prayer, not once, but three times in succession. I said that prayer now, as I typed them onto this blog. When this all began, my mom asked for 15 years for me. For three and a half years, I believed her prayer was answered, but last year, I wasn't so sure. It's been almost five years now and to read this today and for it to say, "I want to be one of the people that you can use and bless in the next ten years", gives me that hope again.

Hope to live a life that pleases God. Hope to live a life that loves upon other. Hope to see my children follow and live out their dreams. Hope to see my grandchildren grow strong in the Lord. Hope to fulfill my own dreams of becoming a writer.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Acki,

Thank you for humoring your friend's mom and going with me to explore Union Station with a camera. I'm so glad you trust me enough to let me show you a few things about photography. It's fun to share what I've learned with others. Just remember what I told you, photography is an art. It takes time to learn, just like it takes time to learn to play the piano or guitar, just like it takes time to learn to paint or play baseball. Can't wait to see where this hobby takes you. Looking forward to the three of us exploring Old Towne Orange and hopefully New York City in January.

Dear Jonathan,

Your article today not only made me laugh, but it made me see you not just as a chef, but as a writer. If you keep this up, I can easily see you writing a book one day. A book that will be published. A book that will lead to another book. I believe in you. I hope you do too.

Dear Union Station,

I may have already told you this, but I am in love with your light, with your ambience, with the scores of people that travel through. You never fail to enrapt me with all that you offer this want-to-be photographer. I know there may come a day that a ticket will be required to enter your building. I pray that day never comes.

Dear LA,

Sometimes I feel like a voyeur when I roam your streets. Like an outsider who doesn't belong. I live in the suburbs and drive through the area with my windows rolled up and doors locked tight because that's what I've been taught to do. You fascinate and scare me at the same time.

Dear Belle,

Have I told you lately that I love you? Thank you for keeping me company this past week while mom and Brie were gone. I would have been so lonely. When Brie gets back I'm going to make her give you a nice bath (sorry, you smell) and a nice long walk.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear LA Arts District,

You. Complete. Me.

Dear Mom and Charmaine,

What a lovely time I had with you on Sunday. I knew we would have fun, but I didn't we would have as much fun as we had. You surprised me with not just your willingness to explore, but your desire to explore. I ended up seeing more because of your adventurous spirits.

Dear Andrew,

I can't believe you're 20-years old. 20 YEARS OLD!!! That's crazy! And moving to OKC? That's even crazier?!?! Everyone is going to miss you so much, but I'm proud of the steps that you are taking to make your dreams happen. I'm praying that they come true.

Dear Grant,

It was so good to see you again. It was so good to see you at Andrew's party. It makes me wish, once again, you all still lived down here because I miss your beautiful smile and your loving ways. I know Brie misses you, too.

Dear August,

So far so good. Let's keep it going.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Making the Most of It

July turned out to be a nice surprise.

Mild weather throughout the month.

Fabulous new finds in places to go.

Unexpected photo shoots.

Quality time with family.

Unplanned time off.

Makes me want to make the most of August. Makes me want to list some goals, some realistic, some stretch, to push myself as much as possible.

  1. Take Brie and Acki to Old Towne Orange for a photo shoot
  2. Line up and shoot at least five loved ones from my photo project
  3. Write for two hours at least three days a week
  4. Read at least one chapter of the bible a day in addition to my daily devotion
  5. Work on my prayer journal at least five times a week
  6. Go to San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano or Carlsbad
  7. Shoot film every Friday
  8. Take the metro
  9. Shoot at least five strangers 
  10. Thoroughly clean out my room
  11. Thoroughly clean out my car
  12. Be kind to the co-worker at work that drives me crazy
  13. Make a video for Max and Aurora
  14. Bake a cake
  15. Call two people I haven't called in a long time
  16. Buy a bathing suit and go swimming
  17. Plan my vacation
  18. Eat more fruits and vegetables
  19. Shoot a self portrait with my DSLR
  20. Work on two scrapbooks