Monday, February 29, 2016

Cherry blossoms & artichokes.

It must be spring. I want to paint things, move wall hangings, go shopping but most of all... I want to go branch stealing.

This year was no exception.  It surely won't be the final word on branch-stealing.  I tend to justify my theft with this... "It was technically on public property... and I pay taxes... so it's sorta mine anyway."

I know.  Don't lecture me. I get it from Adrain, though after all these years, he more or less just rolls his eyes and leaves it at that. In fact, I plucked a few forsythia twigs from a sidewalk just today while walking with him.  He let it go...

Anyway.  I was out for a walk the other day, and the cherry trees were just at the peak of bloom season. I went a little nuts for five minutes, and broke an entire branch off the tree. Then I brought it home and took eleventy hundred photos of it.  I am even putting this image (above) into my shop TOMORROW, because... Yay! Spring! 

**My shop will be open for THREE days, starting tomorrow, March 1.  I close it down on the evening of the 3rd.  *I will be opening for one other week this entire year in October, and that's it for shop news in 2016, so grab what you'd like for yourself or gifting while I'm open!  (grin)**

 I also purchased artichokes because they were at Trader Joes and....Yay! Spring!  I can't help myself this time of year.

I tried my hand at roasting them which was wonderful. Trust me... do this!  I've always steamed them before.  I prepped the tops and such, (if you don't know how, just google it- basically it's just as you see here- slice off the top end, peel off the tiny bottom leaves and cut the tops off each leaf, about a quarter of an inch or so.) sliced them all down the center and then brushed both inside and outside with Trader Joe's olive oil with lemon juice.  (I'm like a walking poster board for TJ's.) A little garlic salt, some pepper and in the oven at 425 for about a half hour-ish.  So yum.

We dipped ours in butter but we didn't need to because they were amazing as they were... we just wanted to.  (Which really tells you what kind of people we are.)

Of course before we cooked them, I took way too many photos of them.  Because, have you ever seen a more photogenic veggie (er... unbloomed flower?).  I think not.

My phone camera (Samsung) captured this pussy willow image.  Seriously.  I love the little fibers up close!

Expect to hear from me a lot this week because I have plenty to say.  And share.  (I've got three more posts in half-edit.)  Side note, I've been pulling out my blue and white striped everything.  Table runner, napkins... Just feeling the season change.

Spring is my favorite.  Are you feeling it too?

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Me, right now. Heart snapshots.

I have been wanting to write a deep, heartfelt post for months, but then if I had written this one months ago, I wouldn't be writing what I'm writing today.  So there you go.  We're smack in the middle of Lent and as many of you know, that's just about one of my favorite seasons of the year.  (Yes, I call it a season.  There are five you know... Winter, Lent, Spring, Summer and Autumn.) (grin) (Also the photos are part of my February 365.  Though if I'm being honest, they are the only ones I've taken for the project so far, this month.) (Grace.) 
50mm lens; 1/60s f/4.5 ISO2000

Lent always feels like a fresh 40 day period to get my act together, figure out what sins I need to stop committing, repent for them, and basically get my heart right before celebrating Easter. This time of year, there are tons of promotions for self-examining our hearts and I tend to recoil from what I find in myself.  This season, I have found myself working in constant effort, to try and stop being so controlling of my circumstances, the people around me, and our unknown future.  That boomerangs me into a constant scrambling to quit being so angry because I wasn't in control of previously mentioned un-know-ables, not to mention what I did, said, acted like etc, when I lashed out in anger since I wasn't... uh... in control and apparently didn't like that very much.  

Or something like that.

See, the thing is, I live half my life feeling that way.  The other half  of the time, I feel afraid because I've actually started to understand, that because I'm not in control, I've got to learn a lot of things the hard way. Which means, God might have to allow hard circumstances, in order to bring me through to the other side.

That idea often makes me feel angry and then I follow that feeling up by feeling a bit out of control.

You see?  It's not a good cycle. 

50mm lens; 1/60s f/4.5 ISO2000
So I'm working on practicing that old tried and tested thankfulness thing because of something that happened last month with my Dad's Alzheimers.  I've been watching our family deal collectively with the emotions that surround and I don't remember the exact circumstances, but there was a moment... I looked at Adrain through some tears and said, "Heaven will be so much better than this."

I already know this, but sometimes I forget (especially when I'm in the out-of-control, angry, acting out because I'm angry and not in control cycle) (aka- adult temper tantrum) that no matter what God allows, good or bad or in between, it's all for an end goal of His glory, through me.  And in all things, I can say THANK YOU for every unknown and mean it... because Heaven will always, always, always be better than this.  If it's good, Heaven will be so much better.  If it's awful and my worst fears are confirmed... Heaven will be better. 

I need to write this down for me, so bear with me as I preach at myself for a sec- Its always going to be about lifting my eyes from the moment I'm in, (and myself, and how I'm feeling about it) and start being thankful for IT, in it and because of it, so that I can look to the One who holds all the control over my life and times. I know that hardship is a fact of life but God guides the way out and I can't let myself fear it so much that I try to control every little thing around me while I wait for the "what if's" to ring true.  Nobody wins there.  So just stop it, girl. 

50mm lens; 1/60s f/4.5 ISO 1000
If our unknowns end up squashing us, or life is great, then it's all been for a purpose to grow us up.  Tears will fall some days.  Good will happen other days.  But through them all, taking hands off the wheel we aren't steering anyway gives us a chance to lift them with our thankful hearts and proclaim  that Heaven will be better than this.

So that's me, right now, in a snapshot.  How are you?

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