My Life List

This week's work in Path Finder led me to create my Life List. (Here's where Karen writes about hers.)

There are all sorts of things on the list and they are in no order of importance (as you can tell by the last item on the list). There are things that are so good, I want to do them over and over. There are things I want to do with specific people. There are silly things I want to try. And, there are wild things I would love to do, but may never get to (but wouldn't it be thrilling if I did?!?). The list may grow as I think of things. Some things may get removed if I no longer find them inspiring. I may modify items if something I do is close, but not exactly what I wrote. I may even add things to the list just so I can cross them off and exclaim, "Yes! That was awesome!"

If you do a life list, please share it...one of my life list items is to help five people accomplish something on their life list. I can't cross that off if I don't know what other people want!


Second Chance

I took the above picture one morning as I was walking on my favorite trail. I took the picture because the heron that I see every so often was in the middle of the creek. (I love that heron and I take pictures of him as often as I can.) As I took the picture, an owl lighted on a limb above the creek. (I'm a little scared of that owl. Mainly because an owl kind of attacked a runner on the trail about a year ago. Shortly after, "Nesting Owls May Be Aggressive" signs went up and I got a little skittish. He is beautiful, though.) I managed to catch them both in the picture, something I didn't know until later when I looked at the shot closer. I thought the owl came in after the shutter closed. I won't get a second chance to get that shot.
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.-James 4: 14
This week in Path Finder, we are making a Life List (or a Life Menu if the word "list" is a turnoff to you). It's a list of awesome things I would like to do in my life. (Well, they seem awesome to me.) This list, while not a bucket list, is going to be in some ways a gentle reminder that I only get one shot at this life and, heck, I need to live some of it.

This same thought process, of course, applies to the serious aspects of my life. I only have one shot at it and I definitely want to be sure to do what God put me here to do. Now, if He would light some shrubbery on fire and speak to me, I'm sure I'll get right on it. Until then, the silence thing and consulting with some wise people is what I'm going to do.


Of course, as synchronicity has it, this song came across my radar screen this week. (I think my ears were fine tuned to hear it right now.)

Peter, Bjorn and John - Second Chance

You can't, can't count on a second chance
 The second chance will never be found
You can't, can't count on a second try
The second try will never come round



In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis brilliantly uncovers many of the Devil's most effective attacks on Christians by way of a series of letters written from a tempter, Screwtape, to his nephew, Wormwood. In this correspondence, Screwtape advises his nephew on how best to convert the soul to whom he is assigned to the Devil's side. In one letter, he observes:
We will make the whole universe a noise in the end. We have already made great strides in this direction as regards the Earth. The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end.


This week's work in Path Finder guided me to think really deeply about what paths I was going to choose to take to support my word for this year (Grow) and my light words (laugh-learn-share). One path that I explored pretty deeply earlier in the week was swirling around in my mind and on the pages of my journal in an absolute frenzy on Thursday morning. I was frantic. I wanted to talk talk talk about it. I was write write writing about it. I knew I should be pray pray praying about it.

Then I opened up a link that I had read about the night before in a book that had been on my shelf for weeks, unopened. I came upon the following:
For God alone my soul in silence waits, truly, my hope is in him-Psalm 62:6

That calmed me down. I focused hard on certain words in the Psalm. WAIT in SILENCE. TRULY put your hope in God alone. Truly. Wait in silence. Wait in silence. Listen for God. Let go. (Denise, I never called you back after you returned my call. This is why. I took a deep breath and am just trying to be still for a little while to see what I might hear.)


The whole silence thing got me thinking about the many ways, including The Screwtape Letters, that I have been reminded over the years that the noise around us separates us from God.

During The Artist's Way, we were instructed to have a week of reading deprivation. Since I already know I have a lot of demons surrounding what I stick in my face and ears (TV, Internet, reading, music, morning radio shows), I grasped onto that week with vigor. I swore that I would not only not read that week (no pre-bedtime reading, no surfing the internet) but I would not listen to songs with lyrics, I would not listen to my morning show on the radio, I would only check personal e-mail once a day, and I would only watch one hour of TV a night. (I may get into that issue more later, but let's just say that if I had tried to go TV free for a week, my husband may have burned my Artist's Way book.)

The silence was deafening...but it focused things. In The Artist's Way, the reading deprivation was meant to allow you to hear your inner voice by shutting out all the other noise around you. I used it for that at that time, but I think I'm long overdue for another round of it for other purposes.

There is an excellent Nooma video that talks about our fear of silence. It is just $1.99 to watch it online. Alternatively, to my local readers, if I can find the DVD that our Sunday School class had, I'll be happy to loan it to you in person. Here's the trailer:


Sigh No More

I read once that Christians should claim all truth wherever they find it. I do that alot when I'm studying lyrics of songs. The following video is not by a "Christian" band, but they are telling a truth I claim and one which fits in with my beliefs. I was so pleased when I came home and found this video which adds a beautiful visual element to the truth contained in the lyrics. Enjoy...

Love that will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you
It will set you free
Be more like the man
You were made to be


Vision Board 2011

I'm being optimistic by titling today's post with a year...as if to say with certainty that I will have a Vision Board 2012 and 2013 and so on. But, after going through the project under the wonderful guidance of Karen Walrond (chookooloonks)in her Path Finder course, I have the tools to do this again and do it right.

Let me share the other similar projects I have done over the past year:

The first is a collage I did while in the midst of The Artist's Way. This exercise resulted in a hodge podge of ideas that were flowing through me at the time: changing my life, accepting who I was, and thinking about writing a book. It was not a bad stab at a vision board, which I didn't even know about at the time.

The next board I did was the result of a night with my Artist's Way friends.It didn't really turn out to have much vision to it and it was supposed to be a vision board. As in, I had sent the group the chookooloonks link about vision boards and said we should do one. I think I got distracted talking and painting and didn't really have much thought out about what I wanted to express. It's vibrant, but it's not full of vision.

The last thing I'll share is the project that Mollie led us through when we went on our Artist's Way retreat last month.I finished and decided that I had written down a bunch of things that didn't feel true to me. We were working with the idea (again from chookooloonks) of having a mission statement.

At that point, I knew I needed to regain some focus and that is when the chookooloonks Path Finder came about. I can tell you I signed up FAST.

So, here I am with two weeks of the five complete and I have light words for my life (laugh-learn-share), a word of the year for this year (grow) and a vision board which truly means something. (Yes, even those pictures of Ellen mean something to me.)

And, later in this process, I'll have a mission statement, too. How. About. That?


Gods in Alabama

There are Gods in Alabama: Jack Daniels, high school quarterbacks, trucks, ... and also Jesus.

As I was out running an after dinner errand last night, I was admiring another gorgeous display God was putting on in the sky. I drove by the football field with little guys and girls playing football player and cheerleader and then by our church. It made me think of the above opening line of one of my favorite books, Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson.

There is another item in her list, but it's not my style to put that sort of thing here. (Leave me a comment if that made you look it up for yourself, though.)


G is for Gorilla

Today I read that one of the gorillas at our local zoo died yesterday. It saddens me to read of the loss of any of our animals, but the gorilla perhaps most of all. When I go to the zoo, I love to sit and watch them. I could sit there for much longer than the kids ever let me, that is for sure. They just seem so human, so calm, and so deep in thought. It makes me want to take a moment and mirror that back to them.

The above picture was taken on one of my recent trips to the zoo and it is either Koundu or his son, Cenzoo. I wonder how Cenzoo is today. I imagine he feels very, very alone.

Rest in peace, Koundu.


Cloud Cover

Told you I could take pictures of clouds every single day. The sky was gorgeous yesterday when I headed out for lunch and Hipsta captured four distinctly different feeling shots of the same sky. Had to share them and a great song by This Beautiful Republic with you. Have a great weekend!

Take me up
It's my desire
Speak to me
Sun bleeds through cloud cover


C is for Cold Caffeine

I love the giant Diet Coke I get from Burger King in the morning. It's no slouch of a large drink like other places. They can't put so much ice in it that you don't get plenty to drink...the cup's just too big for that to happen. The cup is a smooth plastic, which is more pleasing to hold than the styrofoam cup from Chick-Fil-A. That cup is too full of ice and not enough drink, by the way. The cup is firmer, unlike coated paper cups at places like McDonald's and Arby's. More sturdy...won't give when you squeeze it a little harder than you do when you drink it as they hand it to you at the drive through to make sure you don't drop it. Any bigger and you'd feel like you need two hands to hold it. The material transmits temperature so you sense the icy coldness through touch as well as taste, expanding the enjoyment. The soda/syrup mix there is perfect, but I can't explain that as well nor is it as important as that cup. I think the cup is why I keep going back every morning even though they are extremely hit or miss with the cini minis. Those are often undercooked, sometimes overcooked and occasionally not ready at all. I keep going back no matter. It's like the van is on auto pilot. I just cross the highway without thinking each morning. I like...no, love...the routine of it, too. I could leave earlier in the mornings, but don't because they open at 6.

I wrote that in January near the beginning of my Artist's Way journey. It was the main part of one morning's morning pages. Clearly, I was avoiding writing something else that was on my mind that I wasn't ready to get into. I've thought back to it several times since starting this blog and taking that picture above. Nothing has changed since January about that large Diet Coke. Well, other than the BK is open at 5:30 a.m. now so I don't have to stall leaving the house and I don't drive the van anymore.

I'm currently on another journey like The Artist's Way. It's through my one of my favorite blogs, chookooloonks, and it's called Path Finder. This opportunity came up right after the Artist's Way retreat with that activity that made my head hurt. (Synchronicity, people.) Since I started on Monday. I've had to start doing morning pages again, I've started having more vivid dreams which I actually wake up remembering, and I've started to think again about what it is I want to do with the rest of the days the Lord allows me to have here.

Watch out.


Day Thirty: In Motion

Hipstamatic: Chunky lens, Ina's 1935 film

Today's photo is one from my commute yesterday morning. I have a good 30 minute drive into work and I really enjoy it. It's time to laugh out loud at my favorite morning show as I drive to work. It's time to belt out a song and dance in my seat as I unwind from work. It's alone time and that is precious.

So...there it is...thirty days done. I've enjoyed this project so much. Thank you, Mollie. It's given me a reason to blog, which I love, and I think I'll do it more often from now on. I'll probably share more music and books here and these scratchy, blurry iPhone photos are definitely here to stay. Hope to see you in the comments and on your own blogs.


Day Twenty-Nine: Purchased

Hipstamatic: Chunky lens, Blanko Noir film

When I was going through The Artist's Way with my (now) great friends in the earlier part of this year, I admitted out loud that I wanted to write a book. My husband had been working on one (or maybe two) for a while and so I had him load the Snowflake software he had been using on my computer and I started laying my thoughts out. I would think about the book as I walked on the trail. I would think about it as I listened to lyrics of songs...old ones and new ones. I thought about it all the time and then I finally started writing it down.

Eventually, I decided that I wanted a netbook so that I could work on the book wherever I was. I could write in bed, not just in the back room where my computer was. I could write on a business trip, without having personal stuff on my work computer. I could take it to work and leave the office during lunch and write.

This was a leap for me because I rarely ever do anything this nice for myself. Oh, I think about doing things like this, but I usually don't in the name of "that is too expensive".

This time, I did. After a few weeks of research and looking for the best price, Steve ordered the above beauty for me: an HP Mini 210-2170NR. I have been neglecting her lately and I'm about to remedy that. She's coming with me to work today and we'll have lunch together.

(By the way, something else I've purchased: every flippin' HipstaPak since I've started this photo challenge. Love 'em!)


Day Twenty-Eight: Daily Routine

Hipstamatic: Helga Viking lens, Blanko film
Instagram: Hefe filter

Today's photo is of my workout bag as it lies on the bathroom floor waiting for my usual daily routine to begin. Being Labor Day, it will just have to wait one more day.


Day Twenty-Seven: After Dark

Hipstamatic: Helga Viking lens, Alfred Infrared film
SwankoLab: Jerry's Developer, Grizzle Fix, and Vinny's BL04

I feel a little like Tom Bodett offering this picture of our front porch light last night, waiting for the kids to be brought home from their day with Steve's parents.


Day Twenty-Six: Something Old

Hipstamatic: Jimmy lens, Pistil film
PS Express: cropped and exposure adjusted
SwankoLab: Jerry's Developer, Grizzle Fix, and Vinny's BL04

The company I work for has been around for over 100 years. In a crossover between two buildings, they have on display these elaborate bronze elevator doors that were in the building the company occupied in downtown Birmingham from 1927 through 1976. I like that the company wasn't afraid to move forward but was sentimental enough to bring part of its past with it.


Day Twenty-Five: Sunflare

Hipstamatic: Lucifer VI lens, Kodot XGrizzled film
SwankoLab: Vinny's BL94, Vinny's BL04, and Flamoz Fixer

How about I just shut up today and let you look at the picture? Ahhhhh. But how about a song while you're here? This is a favorite of mine from one of the Twilight soundtracks. Don't be distracted by the short film clips if that isn't your thing...just listen to the music.

Lupe Fiasco- Solar Midnight


Day Twenty-Four: A Smile

Hipstamatic: Helga Viking lens, BlacKeys B+W film

Nope, not going to get me to choose one kid for this...so you get two smiles. Lizzie was fresh out of the shower, thus the towel turban. (Not that she wouldn't totally wear that somewhere because it looks awesome, right?)

Also, not going to ruin the picture by telling you the things the kids said to each other before and after the shot. (And the three others I tried before I got this one that I liked.)