Positive Vibes

It is not happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy!

I think I’ve finally hit the last of the archived images I had saved. I’m sure glad I’m leaving tomorrow! Perfect timing. I may drive my sister crazy with the camera, but lucky for me she’s a very patient soul.

Anyway, I just want to send out a whisper of gratitude. I hit 300 followers and to me that’s a huge milestone. More than I ever expected! I’m saying my thanks to you quietly here… because I don’t want to jinx it. I appreciate all of you out there, whether you are one of the three hundred or not. I learn a little something from you guys each and everyday. Thank you so much!!

Here’s to all of you! 

Tree of Love

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips it’s turn. Hal Borland

A dear friend of mine gave us this tree when my dad passed away, and we planted it in a memorial garden in the backyard. Needless to say, watching all of these little heart shaped leaves spring forth every year is extra special.

Have a beautiful day everyone! ♥♥♥

The Valiant Blogger Award

HALL OF VALOR

Liz of Daily Warriors  created, and nominated me for the Valiant Blogger Award.

Thank you so much Liz!

The Valiant Blogger Award is for the blogger who is brave and courageous. It is dedicated to someone who, despite being faced with the most difficult obstacles in life, chooses to fight on and never give up. It is for the lionhearted, one who faces fears and challenges, who has become an inspiration to others along the way.

RULES:
1. Post the award on your blog (Done).
2. Provide a link to the Hall of Valor (See above).
3. In 200 words or less, share about the greatest challenge in your life and HOW you got through it (See below).
4. Give one piece of advice to people who are struggling with something in their life (Look to God).
5. Thank the person who nominated you, nominate a new blogger for the award, and make sure to let the blogger you chose for the award know that you nominated them (See below).

The greatest challenge in my life, and HOW I got through it.

I’m honored to accept this award, and grateful that I have this opportunity to write about my biggest struggle: Alcoholism Belief, and HOW I got through it.

My blog is filled with my story- in several long versions, and to narrow it down to 200 words (or at least ONE post) is something I’ve been wanting to do. A challenge, mind you, but challenge accepted.

I’ll never forget what someone said to me at the beginning of my journey:

“There is only ONE thing that you need to change about yourself, and that is EVERYTHING.”

Alcoholism is a symptom, and recovery takes work. The bottom line is that I had a spiritual malady. I had no belief.

Having reached the point where I knew that I needed a power greater than myself, and after forty years of living life with no belief, I finally sought God. It feels strange to say that I had to seek Him, because He doesn’t hide. WE hide.

Coming to believe, for ME, was work. Besides prayer, I spent a lot of time learning about God- by reading Scripture, and countless books by Christian writers. Philip Yancey, for one, because he is straight forward, honest, and unafraid to talk about his struggles and doubts- and he works through those in his writing. I totally relate, because I too have found that writing is my best tool for working through all of my struggles.

What I’ve learned is that things of the world, can mold, bend, warp and shape you. The more you listen to, believe in, or act certain ways, the bigger these ways GROW. I’ve learned that I need to call out, and put a halt to MY ways (Surrender) – and turn to His ways. And this makes complete sense to me because MY ways almost killed me.

The advice that I’ll share came from another friend in recovery:

“ALL things and people will inevitably let you down, or leave you at some point. What you must find, believe in, trust, and surrender to, is the ONE thing that is constant; never changes, never lets you down, and never leaves you… and that is God- your Higher Power.”

And… as they say in the program: May you find Him now.

Thanks again Liz. I’m sorry it took awhile to write the post, but I needed to have a clear head. I tend to think that what I’ve learned since I came to believe is what I need to share, but I’ve discovered that just coming to believe is a struggle in itself…for so many.

I nominate Rick Christensen, for one- because his presence here has been a real blessing. He’s like a roaming display of God’s amazing grace. Always encouraging. In addition, each and every blogger who reads or stumbles on this post- who bravely shares the tales of their struggles and victories.

You are all valiant in my book.

 

One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you so much to Rev. B. Keith Haney https://revheadpin.org for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award! And for your lovely blog that continually lifts my spirit. The Light Breaks Through is right! I have never been nominated for an award before- so as I said– I am both humbled and excited, to say the least! Coming up with seven things to say about myself is a challenge. Since my blog contains the story of my life, it’s very hard to think of something that hasn’t been said already! I will certainly do my best.

The Rules

Thank the person that nominated you and leave a link to their blog Post about the award Share 7 facts about yourself Nominate at most 15 people Tell your nominees the good news!

7 Facts About Me:

  1. I was the pitcher for a girls fast pitch softball team for about seven years, and was voted All-Star player for five years in row- pitching several no-hitter games.
  2. I’m a bit of a tomboy (do they still use that word?). The “jeans only, no dresses allowed” rule holds true in my world. Ok, occasionally I dress up.
  3. I can eat pasta until it’s coming out of my ears. I cook a pretty mean meat sauce and a pasta with chicken, asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes and capers- covered in a lemon butter/parmesan cheese & garlic sauce. (And I’ve just made myself hungry!)
  4. I do NOT like to bake (pastries, etc.). Mainly because the flour usually ends up everywhere but in the bowl.
  5. I’ve mentioned this on comments, but I don’t think I’ve said it in my blog: I’ve always been afraid to fly. I hope to conquer that soon because I want to see the world! I flew only once, when I was about 10, in my uncle’s private plane. We flew over my house! BUT, I was young and that was before I realized what flying was. I’ve never been on a commercial airplane, but I LOVE airports. Seeing all of those people boarding and exiting planes reassures me that I can do this!
  6. I taught myself how to use a computer back in the days of DOS, and dabbled in HTML before I got my hands on website templates.
  7. I obtained my California Real Estate Salesperson license in 2007, and actually found out yesterday that it expired this month! I still have awhile to renew it- but I am hemming and hawing over it, as I’m not sure if I’ll ever use it again. BUT– time will tell. I need to pray on this one (mainly because of the fees to renew it).

I am honored and extremely grateful. Thank you again!

Naming others is hard because everyone I follow is lovely. And I follow A LOT of blogs! My nominees are ten blogs that have visually (or verbally) inspired me, taught me things, and/or encouraged me over the quarter of a year that I’ve been blogging.

https://streetsofnuremberg.com/

https://clicktoart.wordpress.com/

https://lemanshots.wordpress.com/

https://simoneteffect.wordpress.com/

https://laskowitzpictures.org/

https://discoveringandsharinggrace.com/

https://wildernesslifeblog.com/

https://onceuponanape.com/

https://healthy-people-dont-need-a-doctor.com/

https://curryncode.com/

Thank you for sharing beauty- whether it be through your photos or your words, or BOTH- with the world! –

With love,
Janet

 

2016 Reflections

What a year! My cousin posted on Facebook that she was tired of hearing people talk about how bad 2016 has been—so she listed all of the good things that happened in her life throughout the year.

It’s been one helluva year, that’s for sure! I have to say it’s been a good helluva year though. First and foremost; I got sober!

2015 was insane. If I had to count, I’d say I had about seven relapses that year. And then 2016 was my major turning point. Everything started to make sense, and life changed.

I have a very LONG way to go to rebuild anything that shows outwardly—but that’s OK. I’ve had a lot and I’ve had a little—and I have the same amount of joy no matter what!

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13

I have two Bible verses that sum up my life this year. That’s one.

So, for starters—the reflection photo is my driveway today, after the rain. The tree by the wash was reflecting in a small puddle. I thought it was cool. Something different. Second of all, I have to end this year by saying something about my friend Gil. I just love him!! For TWO YEARS that man has listened to me, prayed for me, encouraged me, and most important—I believe—has always said that he loves me- no matter what. And that God loves me no matter what. That’s something I found hard to grasp at first.

He is a husband, father… AND a Los Angeles Fireman. All of that, and he still finds time to help people—like me. He even drove out of his way on August 14th to be present at my baptism. That was HUGE.

Anyway… I just wanted to take time and say thank you to him. He’ll read this eventually.

I’m so excited about starting a new year, and I’m so grateful for discovering joy in writing and photography, and to be able to share these things with you all.

…and I love this little blogging community, and I’m so happy to be a part of it!

So, yeah… 2016 was pretty darn cool.

Oh, and the other Bible verse that sums up my life lessons this year…

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 of course!

One paragraph sums up everything I wrote in 15 chapters!

—blessings

Joy in Giving

My cousin is great at knitting and crocheting. She makes batches of scarves that are shipped out to women in shelters and she asked me to write something that could go on a card with each scarf.

The yarn she uses is nicknamed ‘Magic Yarn’ because it’s made up of remnants of old pieces of yarn—leftover scraps in a sense—so that no yarn is ever wasted.

So… I wrote a fairy tale in rhymes:

The Tale of the Magic Yarn

There once was a seamstress, who made garments of white. Everyone wore them, what a beautiful sight! She knitted, crocheted and sewed wonderful things. Hats, scarves and mittens, with tassels and rings!

The town looked so crisp, clean, shiny and bright. They all dressed the same, their garments so light! With pride they stood tall, as they strutted around. Not a blemish was seen, not a stain ever found.

Then one day by surprise, a great storm hit the sand. Thunder, lightning and winds…blew right through the land. When the chaos was over, they all came out to look. To their sadness they found, their white garments it took!

The seamstress looked up as she held back the tears. They lost all she had sewn, for all of those years! But this seamstress you see, could turn bad into good. She just had to bring joy, to this sweet neighborhood.

She collected the pieces that were split, torn and frayed. She found all that was left of the garments she’d made. Looking for answers, she let out a sigh… “I need a MIRACLE” she wept, as she looked to the sky.

In an instant she knew, she’d found help on that day. Her mind fresh with ideas, she had thought of a way! She picked up some yarn, and she washed it in soap. Then all of the sudden, it was colored with HOPE!

She stitched on another, KINDNESS tinted the string. It was awesome to watch, she’d never seen such a thing! With all of this color, the yarn came alive. STRENGTH and COURAGE brought texture, it made the yarn thrive!

She watched JOY and CONTENTMENT create glorious hues. Red, yellow and green, and the most wonderful blues! The yarn ball was growing, be it ever so big… it was vibrant and ready. She would zag and she’d zig!

She wove each piece together, with oodles of LOVE. She created a hat, then a scarf, then a glove! “This yarn is MAGIC!” she screeched with a smile. Then she went out to share, she ran over a mile!

She handed out garments to each person she found. And when word got out, they came from all ’round! Everyone called out “Your wonders don’t cease! We loved your white things but these- WOW! Masterpiece!”

So from that great day, not a soul left uncovered, with uniqueness and color…since that yarn was discovered. “Who knew that such beauty and strength could here grow?”…they sing, as they dance…

…like a giant rainbow!

The end.

The women in the shelters get a scarf and the story behind the Magic Yarn that they are made of. She shipped out her first batch this week, and she sent me a scarf.

That’s where JOY was found today!

Blessings-

(Hope you enjoyed the rhyme. I felt a bit like Dr. Seuss writing it!)

Moment of Gratitude

It isn’t pleasant to look back in time and recall the bad things; that former life of mine. It is so distant from me now that it seems like it was just a bad dream, and it has finally ended. I’m now wide awake, and this life that I now have is beautiful—and precious to me. Sharing stories and photographs, and seeing life all around me as others share their words, images, and passions… made me stop for a moment, and just be still.

A little tear finding it’s way down my cheek.

I am nothing but grateful today. Grateful to God for giving me this new life. I want to say that I appreciate every person that has ever taken a moment to view, read, like, follow or comment; whether it be past, present or future. You’re all so kind, interesting, and funny; and it’s a blessing to be getting to know you all… and see your talents.

gratitudeAnd I’m so thrilled to have this passion of mine called photography. It’s probably the one thing in my life that I know and believe is a God given passion (besides writing). It’s a part of me, and was meant for me. It’s not about perfection, or the best gadgets, or the highest quality image, it just IS. It’s just me. And I see the passion in every other person out there that shares theirs as well.

I realized today—in this moment of gratitude—that I don’t really NEED to chase ANY dreams.

I’m living smack dab in the middle of one.

Stay encouraged!

(The rainbow was shot in Phoenix, from the stairs where I lived)

New Beginnings

Well, here I am… a bit weepy again. It’s a good cry though.

It’s been two months since I started this blog, and in four days I’ll be taking a nine month chip. During these past two months—not only have I been sharing my story, my thoughts, my dreams, and my many pictures—but I’ve been semi-quietly trying to figure out just where it is I’m headed next. Attempting to lay out plans and chart my own course, as they say.

I really AM a strong person. Sometimes I think it’s a good quality, and other times I think it may be a hindrance. Mainly because that outwardly resilient woman tends to boss around the fragile young girl that hides inside (who’s trying very hard to grow up, mind you); telling her to GET ON with things! Stay busy. Make a plan! It’s very nerve racking.

Gil… my dear friend, brother, daddy figure, mentor (and so much more) said something to me when I first started putting my story together in a book-like format, and then again when I decided to morph it into a blog. He said…

Just write.

He is such a wise soul. He told me that if I used my love of writing to share my story, God would orchestrate the rest. God would see to it that the person(s) that needed to read it, or could actually learn from it—WOULD.

And there you have it. Today I got the nudge that I so desperately needed. Two actually.

There ARE people out there that can learn from my stories, my mistakes, and from the things that I’ve learned… and continue to learn. Gil was right, as usual, and I (as usual) was getting discouraged and impatient. I was ready to throw in the towel and go in an entirely different direction.

So to Rob, I say thank you again for that little push this morning, and for encouraging me to stay on course and continue to share the deeper things. And to Rebecca, I say thank you for putting those words out there: Is it His plan, or is it MINE? I put a lot of thought into that, after reading your comment, and almost saw things unfolding before my eyes.

First and foremost, my agenda here ALWAYS, was to help others by sharing my story.

So… write I will.

Blessings.