February 14th

Thursday, February 14th, 2019

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day used to be one of my favorite holidays when I was a kid – but probably not for the reason you think.

My horse, Tru Luvs Valentine (known as Val), was born on Valentine’s Day. For a girl in love with her horse, celebrating Valentines Day with her with love and birthdays was perfect.

She’s gone now, passed away nearly eight years ago, but as those of you with heart horses can relate, they never really leave you. Lessons learned, empathy enhanced, responsibilities shouldered, hard work realized, partnerships built, but most of all, she provided me the best example of what it means to be loyal and to deeply love.

While I do still love Valentine’s Day, now with her gone it’s a day of celebrating life and love today while also remembering life and love past.

January 3rd

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

I’m not normally a sunrise gal, sunsets are usually more my style, but this morning took my breath away.

After my post yesterday, this honey of a sunrise (gorgeous color AND great cloud texture) was like balm on my heart, a small hug from God.

That’s what great about this blog project – I feel more connected to what’s going on around me (as I’m always looking for something to photograph), so it’s easy for me to see the good. It’s easy to have my cup filled, to feel refreshed.

There is so much delight in everything around us; many times it’s not obvious, it’s small, but it is there.

October 3rd

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018

It was a warm one today!

Almost 70 degrees, and really humid; the news keeps saying that we’re going to have a forty degree swing between today and tomorrow.

You all know what that means: Storms.

Luckily for us, we didn’t get much rain. However, while there wasn’t much rain, the wind was insane.

After dinner I was standing at the sink washing dishes and I looked out the window to this. I ran for my camera and only got a handful of shots as the clouds were moving so rapidly, the rays only came through for few seconds.

September 18th

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

Our flight to Raleigh this morning was a gorgeous one. So many distinct layers of clouds, pretty ground fog, and flying into the sunrise. 

Also, who knew that North Carolina had so many trees!? That sounds like a silly observation, but the trees went all the way up to any water I could see, you couldn’t see the actual roads but could see where they go because they had to cut down thick forests to make them. At one point, I don’t think I could see any open ground, just treetops, for miles. 

From Raleigh we flew to Tampa for the night. We got in at 11:30, which was nice because we had the entire afternoon to ourselves. You guys, I know Florida is hot, but it’s mid-September and the temperature was 95, felt like 106. Paul and I walked to a spot for lunch and we were both a sweaty mess when we got there. So after lunch we went straight back to the hotel and jumped in the pool. 

After a little swim, a very light overcast layer of clouds moved in (which made the heat so much more tolerable) so we both napped in some lounge chairs poolside, and it was so lovely. After that, I am now fully ready to transition into fall weather once we get home. 

September 16th

Sunday, September 16th, 2018

Other than a “quick” break to watch the crazy game this afternoon, Paul and I worked most of the day in the patch today.

While moving pumpkins around, I looked up and saw this incredible cloud. It’s distinct shape made me think of a charging Mammoth, and after catching my attention, made me stop and appreciate the day for a few moments.

I’m tagging along with Paul to work this week, and because of the forecasted rain this week, we wanted to get as much done in the patch while we were both home and while it was still dry as possible.

It’ll be a crazy week; Nashville, Tampa, and Boston overnights right into traveling out of town for wedding #1 this month, but I’m embracing the crazy. Trying to embrace the crazy.

Anyway, here’s to a week’s worth of adventure dates with Paul!

August 3rd

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

We were sitting on the front porch at a friend’s house this evening when this massive shelf cloud ominously rolled in overhead.

Sitting facing the east with the house and 20 acres of woods behind us, we had no idea it was coming until it went dark and the cloud crested the sight lines of the porch roof. This is looking northeast, but the cloud wrapped all the way around us. I love a good storm, especially dramatic ones, so this was a treat for me.

June 11th

Monday, June 11th, 2018

I had a really cool thing happen today.

Want to hear about it?

Well, even if you don’t, you’re going to anyway 😉 It’s kind of a long story, but it’s worth it.

Right before we left for Hawaii, my car’s moonroof stopped working – while it was open. This whole dilemma wouldn’t have been an issue if it had stopped working while it was closed, but that’s a vent for another day. Anyway, it was just one more thing to deal with right before leaving, but the research we did said that replacing a moonroof motor is an easy fix – simply order a new one, pull down your vehicle’s headliner, unplug current motor, plug in new one, replace headliner.

Well, so we ordered a new motor. It came, didn’t fit right, so we sent it back. We ran out of time, went to Hawaii.

Came home, plugged in the old motor just for kicks, and it worked! But not enough to get my moonroof to completely seal. Womp womp.

So at this point, we’re on day 15 of my car not being fixed. We finally cave in and call our mechanic, and he says they don’t do moonroofs or specialty things, only motor work. They recommended we contact a body shop.

All I saw at that point were dollar signs.

But we had no choice, so we did some research on local places, and found St. Michael Auto Body. They were the closest to us, and had excellent reviews – lots of kind, great things to say about the owner. So Paul called, and just like the reviews said, the owner was really nice. He gave Paul a few options on what we could do to try and get it closed so we wouldn’t have to bring it in.

We tried those things, it helped a little, but we still couldn’t get it to seal. We call Mike back, and we get on the schedule to bring in my car for them to look at.

This was all last week. So today, on day 21 of my car not being fixed, I brought my car in for them to look at. When I checked in with Mike, he asked what my goal was with this whole situation. I told him that all I needed was for the moonroof to seal closed; I don’t need for it to work, just to be functional for me to drive in the rain. I only wanted to replace it if that was our only option. He says great, takes my keys, we part ways.

After only a couple hours, Mike calls and says he was able to get it closed! I’m super relieved, obviously, as we didn’t want to have to pay for a whole new one (talk about being between a rock and a hard place), but then he says something completely unexpected: “…and because it only took a limited amount of my time, I’m not going to bill you anything for this.”

Wait, what? I was totally floored. This man took his time, talked through options with Paul on the phone multiple times, fit us in last minute, and ultimately fixed my problem (that we’ve been dealing with for three weeks), and he didn’t even want to charge me a penny. For him, I’m sure it didn’t mean much, but the gesture was an incredibly kind one, and one we absolutely weren’t expecting. After dealing with this problem for weeks, and having it end with someone offering a solution like that, I was really moved by his generosity.

So Paul and I agreed that we would at least run to Dunn Brothers and get a giftcard for him as a way of saying thank you. Standing at the counter at Dunn Brothers, I thought how fun it would be to get a giftcard with enough on it to pay for coffee for the whole shop, so that’s what I did. It seemed the least we could do in response to his incredibly kind gesture.

I pull in to pick up my car, and as Mike hands me my keys, I hand him a thank you note with the giftcard tucked inside. I head home, relieved to finally have this issue resolved.

You may think that this is where the story ends, but oooooh nooo friends, it is not.

An hour and a half later, my phone begins to ring. It’s St Michael Auto Body. If I’m being honest, I let it go to voicemail because I knew he was calling about the card.

You guys, this man left me the sweetest voicemail.

At one point, he suggested that it was too much and that we could come back and pick it up because he felt guilty using it, as he felt he didn’t do enough work to warrant it. But if we really wanted them to have it, how much they all deeply appreciate it, and will enjoy using it.

I don’t know how to really wrap up this post today, but by saying that the generous actions of one person today made my day. What may have seemed like a small, insignificant decision to him, completely rocked my world.

If you need auto body repair work done, go to St Michael Auto Body.

 

April 30th

Monday, April 30th, 2018

When I rolled over at 6am this morning, and peeked out the window, I could not believe my eyes.

The texture of the clouds was incredible.

Now, I’m rarely out of bed at 6am, but this morning I bounded out of bed.

After photographing them, I settled down in our sun room with my bible, specifically to read the book of Ephesians. Paul and I have been trying out a new church, and their current sermon series is on “7 Words to Change Your Life.” Last week’s message/word was “Thanks,” and at the end of the message, the pastor suggested reading Ephesians for more context and guidance in being thankful (specifically to God). I’ve always loved Paul’s letters, but I hadn’t read Ephesians before. One of my favorite passages was this one:

“I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you may understand the wonderful future he has promised to those He called.”
Ephesians 1:16-18

The first verse is the ringer for me: I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly

I don’t know about you, but I can do a better job of this. The thankfulness lives in my heart daily, I see it and recognize it, but do I stop and tell God? Stop and thank Him? No, not everyday. I need to step it up; the day is never to busy, too full, to thank God.

My other motivation to the quiet time with my bible this morning was Paul. My husband Paul, not Apostle Paul, haha. The sermon yesterday was on “Help,” and it really resonated with us both. I was on the verge of tears the entire sermon, and when we walked out, I knew it would be a deep conversation starter for us.

The sermon focused not only on asking for help, but knowing when and how to give help. This resonated with Paul and me very differently, but still profoundly. On our way home, I expressed to Paul first, how thankful I was that we weren’t in need of any great help. We’re both healthy people, no loss of spouse or children, no job loss, we have a house to live in, food to eat. The only real help I’ve needed recently was help through the loss of Burke. But through that pain, God really showed me the quality of friendships I have. The incredibly special, selfless, caring friends and family that gave their time, their words, their prayers, their love when I really did need it the most. They gave me help, even when I didn’t ask for it, they just stepped up and were there.

Overwhelming in a good, beautiful way.

And then God brought me a friend who had been a key part of my healing with Burke, who ended up going through the loss of their pet, exactly one week after I lost Burke (the exact same appointment time and everything – exactly one week to the minute), and I was able to reflect that love and support back on them. God gave me that opportunity to give help after a wave of receiving help.

This all can’t just be coincidence people. I mean, really.

So after I shared my reflection on the sermon, Paul said he really resonated with the closing verses, 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

He felt inspired to dig into the Word more; he wanted to start reading his bible when he woke up in the morning, so he could pick a verses to focus on for the day.

Our cat, Finn, is always on the bed with us when we wake up in the morning; I open my eyes to him staring quietly at me, and the moment our eyes meet, he starts to rumble-purr, the sign of ultimate contentment and excitement from him. Paul said he felt like Finn was a great analogy for God; He sits on a edge of the bed, expectantly, waiting for you to wake up so together you can explore the day He made for you. For us to recognize that, and to not blow right past Him, but to stop and talk with Him.

When I was photographing the sunrise this morning, that’s all I could think about. I imagined myself sharing those awesome colors and textures with a God that enjoys our delight, and it was a wonderful way to start the day.

If you are interested in listening, here are links to the Thanks sermon, and the Help sermon.

April 27th

Friday, April 27th, 2018

Ohhhh yeah, and so it begins!

Storm cloud season.

The first rain of the spring, and not only was it beautiful, but it smelled so good! So fresh; the earth awakening from it’s slumber.

We got this one huge cloud with one large downpour, and then the sun continued to shine. This image shows how starkly different the weather was from one moment to the next.

The other super fun thing about this system? There was a small cloud that followed the large one, but the rain wasn’t reaching the ground:

04.27-2

As Paul is reading over my shoulder, he says that phenomenon is called “Virga.”

Super neat!

Welcome. spring! I sure am happy to see you.