just my thoughts

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still life

Day 26 of NaBloPoMo prompt uses the theme STILL LIFE. When you use your camera to shoot still life, it can include any inanimate, or nonliving object. Still life is one of my favorite subjects, but I also like shots that include a message, whether it is implied, or stated straight out and in your face.

Today has been an “in your face kind of day” after a long, lazy three day weekend. So I skimmed a few hundred photos, and my eyes were caught by this photo. There are so many people who cause me to smile in my life. Smiling and laughter are the best kind of medicine for whatever might ail you. Today I am sharing this, for all the people in my life who make me smile.

…thank you, for making me smile. ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter

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my saturday friday reflection: 5 things i am grateful for

This week, as I read the post written by Janine on her blog reflections from a redhead, I found myself nodding in agreement (again) with the wisdom she shares, and has learned at such a young age.  I looked at the prompts and the following prompt jumped out at me:
life is the dancer, you are the dance. eckhart tolle

Write about 5 things you are grateful for this week.

It immediately hit my mind.  The reason I have been smiling all week, and feeling so relaxed and unstressed, is gratitude.  Lately I had been thinking a lot, about my life for the past several months, about how I approached problems, about how I had lost my ability to pick through the detritus surrounding a situation and discover the truth in it.  I was bogged down, losing interest in many of my favorite things in life, crying a lot, and my hair was falling out again.  At one point I began to wonder if I was depressed.

Then I rediscovered a favorite book of mine.  I’ve read it at least 4 times since 2006 or 2007, so I added it over to my audio books list and began to listen to it (I have it in print, digital and audio form).  And what I heard amazed me.  The answer to my question was right in front of my face.  EGO.  I had become entrenched in my own ego, and was thinking and feeling from that standpoint.  I was responding to situations and people from the ego inside, and viewing things in a distorted way.  

As soon as I began to see that, stop over thinking and just be present in the moment, I found a change taking place. I began to relax.  I could feel my shoulders, which are almost always tight and hurting, begin to let go of the tension knotted in them. My hair stopped falling out. My face looked less tired. Most of all, the anger I had begun to feel, and the building resentment inside me, just went away. Just went away. By letting go of the need to feed my ego, and fully experiencing each moment as it happened, I began to experience a shift, and began to find happiness again.

When a friend told me at lunch this week that I looked happy, the realization hit that what we carry inside us shows through us to others. Things I thought I had hidden well, I discovered weren’t so hidden after all. And so, the first thing I am grateful for this week was rediscovering the book that changed my life so dramatically several years ago:
My first gratitude: A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. The title says it all.  

As I reflect on my life, and this past week, my thoughts go to my family.  The love I feel for them. The gratitude I have for each and every one of them.  And I am not talking just about my kids, grandkids, sisters, mother, husband, etc.  I include in laws, cousins, aunts, uncles and ALL my family. We are all connected by blood, or love, or both. But most of all, we are all connected by our human nature. It is the common tie that we share with all of humanity. I am grateful that for many of us, we have rediscovered connections that had gone dormant due to distance and years, and can maintain contact more frequently now, through social media. Being able to keep in touch has brought me joy, laughter, and reignited good memories.
My second gratitude: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media. It is the tie that helps bind my extended family together.

A friend and I were discussing the fact that some people seem to flounder in life, and others find purpose and achieve goals in life. It is my belief that human beings are happier when they are productive. We do better when we set goals for ourselves, and keep a positive attitude about reaching them. I believe that people with no purpose in life languish, and miss a lot of joy. I’ve seen it too often. People who wake up every day with nothing to do but eat, sleep, and pass the hours sitting and doing nothing end up with a bleakness of spirit and body that often manifests in physical or mental illness, or both. 
My third gratitude: my job. I am not my job, and my job is not who I am, but it gives me purpose in life, and lets me help others.

I’ve been reflecting on friendships.  Friends are different from family. You are not bound by blood, you are bound by love, and a commonality of interests or personality that lets you connect.  If you are lucky to have wonderful friends, as I am, you learn from each other. You experience new feelings, ideas, and the friendship helps you grow in new directions. Not all friendships I have had have been positive experiences, but I have learned from them, and it has ultimately helped me understand myself, through their eyes.
My fourth gratitude: friends.  Positive or negative, they teach me more about myself.

My final gratitude may sound a bit strange, but as I tried to put my thoughts into words, I realized I could refine and narrow that thought down to two things. My hands and my eyes. Because of my hands and eyes, and their connection with my brain, I can put what I think or see onto paper with a pen, pencil or brush. I can look through a camera lens and see a story, and share that story. I have seen several stories in the news this week about people with amputations, and how they have overcome the challenge and met goals they set for themselves (refer here back to gratitude #3). It has made me keenly aware of my own blessings and good health, and also more grateful than ever that I am blessed with hands and eyes that can share what I see and think through my art, photography and writing. And so my last gratitude this week:
My fifth gratitude: my hands and eyes, that give me the ability to share my thoughts and feelings through my art.

Stop and reflect on your week. What are you most grateful for?
I want to thank Janine Ripper at reflections from a redhead and Mackenzie Granville at reflections from me for sponsoring this weekly blog prompt. I encourage you to visit their blogs, and read, comment, or join in the weekly reflections.

…laughter and life are good. ~cathy 
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter


giving thanks

Nothing deep on my mind today, no wisdom to share or funny story to make you laugh.

Just me, being thankful.  For my family, for my job and home, for the joy and beauty I see all around me  and the ability to be able to capture a small part of it through my camera lens and on a canvas.

Thankful for being able to occupy my small space on the blue marble.  What a marvelous ride it has been.

I am thankful for what is right in the world.  We see the negative and ugliness of humanity and what we are capable of every day.  But we are also capable of astounding goodness, and I see evidence of that every day all around me, and I am thankful to be witness to it.

For social media (YES!) I am thankful.  The people I have come in contact with, and learned from, and laughed with, and marvelled at, have been an epiphany for me.  I am glad every day that I stumbled across Twitter, Blogger and Facebook, Instagram and Flickr, Tumblr, BlogHer and Stumble Upon.  What amazing things I have seen and learned, and shared.  I am a better person for it.

For you who take the time to stop by and read my thoughts; and those of you who take the time to make a comment that brightens my day.  For all of you, I am thankful.

life is truly good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter