Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Mississippi Medina's,

Oh, how I wish we lived driving distance closer, like step outside of my house and I'm staring at your house closer. When I'm with you, it reminds me of how much richer life would be if we could just hang out more. Still I'm thankful for the times we have and how we do make the most of them. Not that I don't enjoy the company of others, too, but it was so nice not to have to share you. It meant so much too to have you take me to special places that you knew, just knew, I would love. And I did. They were the type of places I store in my heart and will go back in my mind over and over and over again. I love you.

Dear Traveling me,

I did it! All glory to God and thanks to all the prayers being sent in my name. And as each leg of my trip would pass, I would thankfully and triumphantly say, "I did it".

Dear JetBlue,

Is there an airline out there equal to or better than you in service and in comfort? I think not. Southwest does a pretty good job, but they cram passengers in so tight, they need a can-opener to get everyone out. The extra leg room is always appreciated, as is the team of friendly flight attendants you have. And you get extra bonus points for flying out of lovely Long Beach airport.

Dear Shar,

One of the best parts of the trip was spending alone time with you. We need to make sure to do that from now on, no matter how many Medina's are around. We WILL do it again if you and Vic are able to make it out for the holiday's. We'll have mom, be grandma, and watch Mason, and I'll take you to my favorite coffee shop where we can sit and chat a while.

Dear Cracker Barrel,

Why can't we have one of you out here? Of course, that would probably make it less special when we visit the South, but truly, if there were one chain that I covet, it would be you. Your pancakes with warmed syrup are the BEST.

Dear Mary,

I am overwhelmed by your kindness, by your faithfulness, by your willingness to act as God's servant and pray the healing prayer. It is working, I can feel it. I felt it the next morning, I've felt it each morning and throughout the day. I hope one day to be such a servant to the Lord,

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Lord,

Words cannot express how truly grateful I am for the daily miracles you provide to me. The results of the bone scan came as such a relief. Later that day as I was thinking of Brie’s response the night before to the gift I gave her, I was thinking of you and all you do and how paltry our thanks must be. I must shout my thanks from the mountain tops, just as the woman at the well did, the lame who walked did and the blind who could see did. This morning, I awoke, feeling stronger than I have before and I know it is only by your grace and mercy. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Father, for restoring my strength, for giving me hope, for giving me peace. 

Dear Christie,

Sunday I was able to witness not only your proclamation of faith, but the proclamation of nine other teenagers. To watch by the river side as you stepped into the water and testified that it was your decision to follow Christ is a moment I will treasure in my heart and soul. I pray that as your Aunt, I will help you stay true to that commitment, through encouragement, through example, through prayer. I pray that you will be steadfast in your journey, staying on the path that God has created for you, then your live will be filled with joy and peace with promises of God.

Dear Brie,

I couldn’t wait to see your face when you opened your early birthday present from me. One thing that I have always loved about you is that you know how to show your thanks and appreciation when given a gift. I know you will get a lot of enjoyment out of the tablet, but most importantly, continue to stay focus on school (which is why I got it). I’m proud of the work and effort you’re putting in this semester. Keep it up!

Dear Coffee Republic,

It was good to see you and your cinnamon buns again.

Dear Eliz,

Thank you for taking care of me while I was visiting. I could not ask for a better sister. I love you so much and pray that one day, I can do for you what you have done for me.

Dear Thursday,

You were the one day this week I was looking forward to the least. How could it be that you turned out to be the best? Good news at the doctor’s, the fastest chemo appointment ever, more energy than expected, quality time with my mom and daughter, and to top it off, time in the kitchen baking. Yet as I type this, I know that it wasn’t your doing, but the day was a true gift from God.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Camera Wielding Crazy

She must think I'm crazy as I run around taking pictures of obscure things around her house. I love that she doesn't ask me if I've lost my mind, but just goes about her business as though she lives every day with a camera-wielding crazy in her house.

But in the morning, there are pockets of beautiful light throughout her kitchen that are too lovely to resist.

Giving ordinary, mundane, every day things such beauty that it makes me ache to hold on the fleeting moments. But like life, it's impossible to hold on to moments no matter how wonderful they are.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Very Good Day

This morning I decided to take back my life from this hazy fog that has held me captive for the past two weeks. It was as if the cool breeze that wafted past me as I opened the sliding glass door breathed new life into me in the process. After the last few days of heat, the coolness in the air was a much welcomed relief. It was, without a doubt, the first sign of fall and it stirred me to life, filling me with much gladness and gratitude.

I made it to another season, my favorite one at that. Fall. Soon there would be an undeniable change in the air that would last for the whole day. Yes, we may not experience as they do in the East, but it still makes it way here, too, bringing new promises and carrying so many memories of the past.

In appreciation, I stepped outside to fully bask in the feeling, thankful that I was working from home and could start my day enjoying the songs of the birds, the rustling of the leaves and fullness that my heart felt. Belle ran from bush to bush, burying herself deep into the green vegetation in hopes of finding a lizard. I watched her prance about playfully, as content as I had felt in a long time.

As the sun began to fade, Belle and I ended our day much as we had begun it. Outside, in the backyard, as the air began to cool again. My back tired, I walked about the yard, willing my strength to return, my mind turning to vacation plans. God willing, I will take two weeks off in October just to write and work on my photo project. God willing, I will go to NYC in January where I will wander the street, exploring with my camera.

My plans took flight giving each step more purpose. If I want to roam the streets of NYC, I will need to build my strength. I am determined. I will do it. I will overcome.

It was a very good day.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ordinary Every Day Beauty

Saturday morning, on the phone with my sister, I was sharing with her my dilemma. After a week in which most of it was spent held captive indoors, in part due to the weather, but in larger part by the failures of my own body, I wasn't sure how to best approach the day. Should I stay in and rest for one more day in hopes of continued healing or should I move my body, willing it back to health?

Sometime in the middle of the week, I had already waved my white flag, giving up my 365 photo project, not just once, but twice. I would have thought it would have mentally defeated me, but I've been unhappy with my output anyway so I was willing to give up quality over quantity. I don't know that taking a photo each and every day is a necessity to anything but my own over-inflated ego.

The inability to feel that I can go out on a photo walk and do what I love to do grieves me the most. I miss moving effortlessly without thought the most. I went to bed on Friday, resigned. I awoke not knowing what to expect. I gingerly pulled myself out of bed, turning back to grab my glasses from my nightstand. It was then I saw the light peeking into the little corner by my bed calling to my senses in a way I had never seen before. 

How many times had I walked from my room without a second glance at that little corner? I grabbed my camera, with a burst of energy and childlike excitement that I had not felt in more than two weeks. For a moment my aches and pains were forgotten as I moved around trying to capture the beauty that I saw before me. 

I still long for healing enough for a trip to the streets of New York where I can click to my heart's content, but I must not forget there is ordinary, every day beauty in front of me, if I stop long enough to open my eyes. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

You Gotta Have it

It's what keeps me going on those days when the seeds of doubt kick in... gotta have it. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday's Letters

Dear Lord,

Thank you for your healing touch, the peace that truly passes all understanding and all those you have put in my path that are praying for me. I know it is by your awesome power that I finally feel some much needed relief from this neck ache I've had. Please Lord, don't stop there. My bent body wearies me. I so long to walk without being aware of each step. Please straighten my body if it would be your will.

Dear Arlie,

When we spoke on Tuesday, I wasn't sure that I would be able to finish decorating my bra as I promised. Just the thought exhausted me and with my neck in the shape it was in, I knew it would take everything I had to finish it by Thursday. But God answered prayer and touched my neck in such a way that I was able to sit at my craft table and finish it. As I worked on it, I wished I had been able to work on it sooner and put more thought into it. But overall, I was much more pleased with the final product than I expected. I hope others are inspired by the journey.

Dear Aunt Sally,

What fun I had taking you to my little section of the Arts District on Saturday. It's those unexpected, spur of the moment trips that often make the sweetest memories. It's been such a long time since it's just been the two of us together. I loved every moment of it. I'm glad you liked the pie, too!

Dear Charmaine,

I'm so glad mom has found a friend in you. A friend that likes to go out and enjoy the moment. It means so much to be able to share those times with the both of you. I just wish I had more stamina this time around. I like that you like adventure...and Home Goods.

Dear Starbucks,

I loved the pink touches you added at your shop to launch the addition of La Boulangerie as your pastry provider, but really, I don't think the extra cost is worth it. The portions are now smaller and the taste isn't any better so why should I pay more. If I'm the darn-good baker I think I am, I'm going to start making my own treats from now on.

Dear Matt and Ashley,

Has it truly been four years since you were married? On the one hand, it seems like just a short time ago, but on the other, so much has changed. Two babies, a new house, a new car, job changes and though it all, I have watched in awe at the way God has continued to bless and provide for you. I know it's been tough at times, but I believe this just makes your bond stronger. The most important part in a marriage is forgiveness. Always remember the love you have for one another and choice to forgive. The next thing you know, you will be celebrating your 50th.

Dear Evergreen Cemetery,

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Goodbye August

This is the post that I wrote on August 31st, but never published. Better late than never...

It’s the last day of August. After a wonderfully cool start of the month, the last few days have been typical summer fare, oppressive heat that attacks from all sides, the cover of the night bringing no relief. After a week of hiding out in the house, I ventured out, fully anticipating the wave of warmth that would surround my every move. I embraced it head on, I cannot let it stop me. I’ve already fallen victim to too much of the month already. My list of failed to-dos taunting me... "You’ve had 31 days and this is all you’ve done?" I don’t bother to list my excuses in reply. What do they matter? Failure is failure.
Yet it seems a small victory to end the month on a positive note and overcoming the heat is my punctuation mark on the month. Take that August! And all the crud you dished out, I will not be defeated. I will not concede the loss. September is now just one day away and with that brings new promise. I will take all that I have learned and with the strength of God, do all that he has willed me to do. 
I will continue with my photography, making sure that God comes FIRST. That HE is served through this gift. That this does NOT become my idol, but is used somehow to serve HIM. Just by being here today, I feel vindicated. Just by typing these words, I feel stronger. When it is time to rest, I will rest, but when it’s time to move, I will move. 
Today, I will be more positive, be more kind, reach out to those that I love. My unfinished list of goals will not be my failure no matter how many things I am unable to draw a triumphant line through. I'll make a new list tomorrow. Some of the things I didn't get to will be included again. Others will be dropped off without a second thought. I look forward to another month, another chance to make a difference with my life.
Goodbye August. Even though you weren't all I hoped you would be, this last day made up for all the others that weren't so hot.

Monday, September 2, 2013

If I Love You...

You'll know that I love you if I take you to the Pie Hole in LA.

It's a wonderfully deliciously little place in the Arts District that serves scrumptious pie that warms both heart and soul. 

There's something magical about the place from the moment you first walk in. But it's the pie that keeps me coming back. 

Doesn't matter what type of pie you order, you will not be disappointed. The crust alone, is a masterpiece. 

The filling is perfect, just the right amount of sweet. 

I've been there almost every weekend since my first visit in July, taking a different loved one each time. 

I swear I think it's my mission in life to bring people there. 

It's like spreading goodness and joy through a slice of pie.