Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grateful: Day Four

I wasn’t able to go on vacation this year. In fact, I really didn’t have much time to take even a day off because of all the issues life threw at me. There were many days I just wanted to go away and forget about everything. While I physically didn’t get away, I will say there were chunks of time I was able to escape mentally. I was able to do this through reading. I didn’t read just any books. I would grab my favorite books by my favorite author. Today I would like to express my gratefulness to Diana Gabaldon.

Diana is the author of the “Outlander” series.  The story is set mostly in the late 1700s. The main characters are Claire and Jamie.  I won’t really get into what the story is all about because there are so many stories within stories that I would be typing all night. I will say that basically it’s a story that is about life and love and everything in between. I will add that Jamie is Scottish and sometime wears a kilt (grin).  I love these books. I have a love of early American history, especially the mid and late 1700s, so when I read, I am transported to that time. I feel as if I am reunited with old friends. I become so immersed that I forget all about the present and whatever crisis is happening.  Diana Gabaldon is a true wordsmith and her storytelling has given me much peace and happiness throughout this trying year.  For this I am extremely grateful!

Photo by: Heidi Blanchard

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grateful: Day Three

Jonas and Momma are my two cats.

Three years ago, I adopted both of them from a local shelter. Momma was an abandoned beauty, and  Jonas was just a kitten. The first year was a little rough with Momma. She had trust issues and also had to have life saving surgery. Momma is now a happy, content kitty who is loved dearly by everyone in my family.  Momma is more my husband's cat and Jonas is mine. So while I am thankful for both my kitties, today I pay special tribute to Jonas.

Here are a few reasons why Jonas is special to me:
Jonas is a goofball.

Jonas makes me laugh.

Jonas is very handsome.

Jonas makes me smile.

Jonas is very silly.

Jonas is my superstar.

Jonas brings me joy.

For all these reasons and more, I am grateful that Jonas is my cat.

Photos by: Heidi Blanchard

Monday, November 21, 2011

Grateful: Day Two

I, like most people, usually hit snooze when the alarm goes off in the morning. Also, like most people, I need two cups of coffee before I am able to function and speak coherently. After that, the day begins with all of its normal hustle and bustle and static noise.
However, there were times this past year when I awoke way before anyone in the house or in my neighborhood. These were my quiet times; times of solitude.  I would take my coffee and slip out to my deck… and I would breathe deep.
There were days during this past Winter that snow would be falling, the world was silently white, and the cold blast of air would awaken my soul. Winter may be a time of dormancy but in those early quiet moments, the day was vibrant, alive and crisp.

In the Spring, I would catch glimpses of newly sprouted greenery and hear the chirps of the early birds catching the worm. The light breeze with hints of renewal caressed me as I sat and absorbed the rebirth of nature.  My father-in-law was really struggling with his illness at this time so I spent many of these mornings pondering life’s complexities.

The Summer brought sun with all of its radiant warmth.  Spiders busily spun webs among my geraniums while a hummingbird, a rare sight in my neighborhood, fluttered its wings speedily to sip the nectar of the flowers.

I was a spectator to a pair of cardinals who had nested in my lilac tree and produced two baby birds. When the birds were taught to fly, they promptly left their parents behind. I reminisced about how quickly my own children had grown and wondered if the cardinal couple experienced the same bittersweet feelings of being proud and heartbroken simultaneously.

I especially relished the chilly Fall mornings.  The lingering smell of burning wood from chimneys would mingle with my steaming cup of coffee as I would close my eyes to listen to the wind rustle through the leaves of the willow tree that engulfs my tiny backyard. I also befriended a squirrel who would cautiously eat the nuts I put out for him while I eyed him with delight. We even had a conversation one day. Actually, the fuzzy little rodent did all the talking. I am still not sure what he said but he made me laugh with his clicking noises and dramatic body language. 

During all of these soothing moments, I realized how majestic yet simple life is. Today I am grateful for early mornings.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Grateful: Day One

 “I can’t wait for this year to end” is a common phrase I have heard often during 2011. Much of my family, friends, and coworkers were affected by the loss of someone close to them, the loss of love and trust, and the loss of jobs.  So many lives were affected by illnesses; CANCER seeming to be the theme of the year. My family lost my dear father-in-law this past June after a courageous battle with cancer. So I do agree with most; this year has been a tough one filled with a ton of sadness.
However, through all the sadness, I personally was able to find truly beautiful moments. For that I am grateful.  This week I am dedicating a daily post to these wondrous observations.
Today I am thankful for hands.

My Mom had open heart surgery in September which went very well. When the surgeon came out to tell the family she was recovering, I thanked him and shook his hand. I realized that my Mom’s heart had literally been in his hands.  At the moment, the feel of the doctor’s hand in mine created a rush of light and clarity. One of those moments where it appears as if the sky has opened and light engulfs you.  I was overcome with such a sense of amazement as to how precious hands are.
 Later that night, I looked at my own hands. I never gave them much credit. They have always looked old (thanks to my Dad’s side) and tend to crack and bleed in cold weather. I would berate them! One would think that I, as an artist, would realize their importance.  I had been taking my hands for granted! That night, I promised I would never do that again. I would allow myself to appreciate what my hands give to me. Now I recognize that my hands allow me to experience things as I never have before. I constantly touch things to see how they curve and move around my fingers and palms. My creative side has been empowered by this realization, and art has become more sacred to me. My hands are amazing and for that I am grateful.  

Photos by: Heidi Blanchard

Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Birthday to My Friend!

I baked these cupcakes for a friend of mine who is celebrating her birthday today.
The cupcakes are as sweet as she is! 

Even though we both have busy lives and are unable to hang out like we want to, I want to let her know that she is cherished!

Photos by: Heidi Blanchard