Thank you all so much for your love every day and for your presence in my life. You are so appreciated and so cherished. I pray that you always know that. I count each of you as a blessing and always will. Thank you!
The spring blooms are glorious and I don't think we have ever had a bluer sky! The ducklings are so darn darling I cannot find words to describe. I found a rock in a tree on the lake with an adorable bird on it and I was so thrilled! Lakeland Rocks is a wonderful thing we have going on here - people paint rocks and leave them somewhere for someone else to find and keep or re-hide. A really neat way to spread some love and sunshine. Have I said lately how MUCH I love my town? SOOOO MUCH. Papa Goose is in his glory with his babies and seeing him so happy makes me so happy. And speaking of babies, Summer Lynn is so ready to be a big sister ...
And God willing, that moment will come tomorrow morning - Friday, February 24, 2017. My "baby" will be having her second baby and well, you know my mama's heart.
Ballet shoes. They hang on the bed in the guest bedroom upstairs that also houses Summer Lynn's "castle." - the bedroom that once belonged to my daughter who wore these ballet shoes when she danced. My daughter, who flexed and pointed and stood tall on the raw, bleeding skin of the end of her toes. My daughter, who twirled one day as a little girl with excitement to show me her latest learned dance moves to end up falling and breaking her arm. My daughter, who every single time in her life since then, has gotten UP after every single fall. No matter what. The most beautiful part of these ballet shoes to me, as her mother, is that the remnants of the earth - and its grit and determination - is forever embedded on the soul. And grit and determination define this precious human SOUL to me - who continues to dance; live; and love. Always my baby - Shannon! May you and your new baby to be - yes DANCE. ❤
Yeppers, random thoughts and feelings as I feel them.
I had Summer Lynn for a few hours last night while her mommy got her hair done in peace. She wanted to ride her little red trike down the sidewalk and back and back again. She had just recently and accidentally broken her glasses and her 4 1/2 year old hair was a bit wild -bringing out her inner wild child.
And I loved it.
Soon to be a big sister to a little sister, she is growing up so fast. As they all seem to do. As we all seem to do.
But, no, let's scratch that. We are NOT all grown up, for we are still growing and evolving for as long as we can, right?
And just like that, it is November. It is unreal, isn't it? With each passing day, I want to inhale the seconds deeper and deeper. So fast our world spins - so very very fast.
I have been cleaning closets and my office and enjoying some fall nesting in Daisy Cottage. I painted one of Papa Goose's feathers yesterday - I hope to get back into the painting groove soon! I have also had several family photo shoots in the past few weeks, including one of Shannon and her family. Baby number two is due in March, as you all know, and Summer Lynn can't wait to meet her sister, but of course! I love how she loves her already. We took these photos at a local ranch and the light was beautiful. :-) The horse came across the pasture strictly to see Summie. And the way they talked to each other made my heart overflow. She is truly an animal whisperer.
I spent this first morning in November at the lake and discovered that we have four baby ducklings! I will forever adore spending time with these precious beings .... so grateful to be able to and so VERY grateful for our special goose and his angel soul. While it is always so hard to walk away from the babies, it is easier to do when I see that Papa Goose is there.
And as our world spins I am so thankful for you. Thank you for being here and for your unconditional love. Not a day goes by that I am not blessed by you.
So hello November. May I embrace the gifts you bring.
Through the failures. Through the flaws. You'll realize.
That even as fragile as you are.
You're still unbreakable."
I don't know who wrote the beautiful message above, but I loved it when I saw it on Instagram. It went straight to my soul. As a woman, and as a human being, of course I could relate. Been there. Done that. And have lived to know. I am sure that I will fail again and again. And flaws? Hello! I am so very flawed. But I am finally at a point where I am able to forgive myself for my trespasses against others and myself - if that makes sense! Why are we always so hard on ourselves? I don't know, but we are. And it needs to stop, don't you think? We have to love ourselves ENOUGH to move on... to move on in life and to have joy. Life can be so hard and that is not a cliche but a fact. None of us escape that reality. And I know that some of you are battling heartbreaking, gut wrenching things and it is all that you can do to hold on. But you are ~ hopefully and prayerfully, because life - though, yes often very very hard - is absolutely PRECIOUS. Please hold on to that fact too - hold on to the promise of a new day, a new way, a new reason to breathe with every depth of your being. I pray that peace wraps its gentle presence around you in your fragility and in your strength and that you always know that you are not alone. Hope beats in our heart. Love flows through our veins......
Are Shannon and Austin having a baby boy or a baby girl? Will Summer Lynn's wish come true and have a baby sister?
Well they are about to find out! Family and friends gathered in my sister and brother-in-law's backyard for a delicious barbecue and the "Reveal." At their last doctor visit, the baby's sex was determined and the nurse sealed the result in an envelope. Shannon and Austin were not told. At the reveal, Shannon gave the envelope to one of her friends and she slipped upstairs to fill one of the balloons with the appropriate confetti - "Baby Girl" or "Baby Boy." Hmmm .... I wonder which balloon is the one?
The girl on the train that I am sharing is Summer Lynn - not to be confused with the New York Times best seller by author, Paula Hawkins or the movie that is currently out. ;-) Summer Lynn has loved trains forever and that's a mighty long time in a four year old's life you know! Books about trains; videos with trains; and seeing the trains pass through downtown have made her face light up time and time again and capture her attention and imagination. Well for her 4th birthday, her Mommy and Daddy gifted her with her very first train ride on the only wood burning steam locomotive in Florida! I was so excited to be able to go along and this witness made me teary behind the lens. She was so thrilled as the whistle blew and the train chugged chugged down the track. She thought she could, she thought she could ... and she did.
I don't share my photo shoots here very often, but I wanted to share this one with you that I did last weekend. This young mama is my favorite bohemian mama with her very creative, very artful, and very talented spirit. She is the one who made the beautiful floral crown and corsages for the bridal shower that I gave last February. I have taken her wedding pictures and pictures of her beautiful little girl over the years. For her daughter's 4th birthday, she wanted me to capture them as they are now - a wee glimpse into their moments and their love in the wee bit of time that we had. The summer heat was sweltering and she worried a bit about her baby girl's expressions - being only four and all and not smiling picture perfect and on cue. I told her that these four year old expressions are who she is right here and now. And that they were not only perfect, they were precious. What I didn't tell her is, that when the day comes years and years from now, as she sits down to view these photographs, her heart will most likely ache - as it remembers and as it would give anything to live these moments again. Life .... always fleeting.
My nephew married his love at the beach last Saturday. I took the image above of her the night before. Moments in time, moments of a lifetime. On the sweet verge of a new life - on the sweet verge of LIFE. Spring has sprung and its beauty is all around - in the sky and on the ground. I want to walk and walk and soak it all in. I want to feel this season in the core of my soul - the newness; the tenderness; the promise.
And I hope you do too. And I hope you get to. May we always be on the sweet verge of new life.
It has been so incredibly beautiful here and I love every bit of it. We had our neighborhood home tour yesterday, and while Daisy Cottage wasn't on the tour, my next door neighbor's home was AND if you happened to walk by and I happened to be on the porch, and we happened to "connect" with a glance or a smile or a kind word, I invited you in. It was so wonderful to do that! I met Barbara and Amy - adorable ladies, and many other sweet and fun souls AND our own dear and beautiful Gail of Georgia came to see me, along with her precious mother, Nellie, and sweet sweet sister, Linda. They come each year for the home tour and we try to see each other while I volunteer, but the last few years I wasn't home for the tour. Yesterday, however, I was and I am so thankful that we could spend time together again! I love each of you girls.... you always are a delight and a treasure and you always make my heart soar. I also was so happy and surprised to see a dear friend of mine, Jane, walk through my gate with her beautiful friend, Anita. Sigh. It was truly a heartwarming, soul-lifting, precious precious day. Love was in the air.... and I am so grateful.
Grateful for blue skies. Grateful for old and young doggies. Grateful for color. Grateful for winged spirits. Grateful for new ducklings. Grateful for Papa Goose. Grateful for flowers. Grateful for food. Grateful for friends. Grateful for all things family and home. Grateful for brand new blooms and the hope that we see when we look up.
I know we ALL are - busy busy bees - you and me! Now where is our honey to show for it?
Again, please forgive me if and when I should ever repeat myself here as I honestly don't go back and check to see if I have already mentioned something and menopause can make one forgetful - that is my excuse and I am sticking to it. And speaking of menopause, I really think it is time for that season of my life to be done! Seriously! Enough already!
Anywho .... I was sick the first two weeks of the new year with the same stuff the whole town had and currently has. I feel better now and have been working on things for a bridal shower I am hosting here at the beginning of February for my nephew's sweet bride-to-be. I am really excited to have it here at Daisy Cottage and have been having fun planning it and getting it all together. I promise I will try to take pics on shower day and share. I've also been busy making art greeting cards from some of my paintings and am slowly getting them listed on my Etsy shop. They are really cute in person, if I do say so myself, and I am happy with them. They make me smile and feel a little proud, and that's a really good thing.
When one has an event coming up in one's home, it makes one tend to freshen up and redo things a bit and I am no exception! So this shower has motivated me to play house with a few changes here and there. I painted one of those plastic gold mirrors that we see in thrift shops and that I usually paint red, aqua this time. I just used the same paint I use for the paintings and dabbed it on quickly with a brush. I found some vintage needlepoint chairs one day when thrifting with my son and will paint them white. They were only $10 each! Score for sure! Lots of work play in progress and all so fun!
The lake is simply beautiful. Sigh. I could be there all day and all night in a heartbeat.
And I could be with this one all day and all night in a heartbeat too, but she would wear me out. In a cute, and so very precious way, but of course ...
I hope you are well and staying warm and staying busy BEing all that makes you YOU and happy too.
I am finishing up some recent photo shoots and loving every minute of working on them, while doing some decking of Dear Daisy Cottage's halls - including the dollhouse. I painted Santa for a very special someone to have one day when she has her own Summie home. I have finished mailing out Etsy Christmas orders and now I think I need to focus on Christmas shopping as I have yet to begin - other than something for Summer Lynn. It will get done - it always does, right? Right! I hope you have been having a wonderful week! Is it cold where you are? Still waiting on that here. BUT the Florida December light has been magical!
I thought I'd share a few black & white images from some recent family sessions. :-) You know, as much as I love color in life, I really love black & white in photography the most. Emotions play the starring role - making the images anything but black & white and pretty much a true oxymoron. At least that is how I "see" it.
Below is one of my favorite moments captured from these sessions ... Little Dusty is 16 years old and while he may no longer see or hear very well he is so very content in the arms of his beautiful mama.
Christmas is unconditional love. May we all know of it. Merry Christmas Dusty.
"Bless the beasts and the children. For in this world they have no voice. They have no choice. Bless the beasts and the children for the world can never be the world they see. Light their way when the darkness surrounds them. Give them love. Let it shine all around them. Bless the beasts and the children. Give them shelter from the storm. Keep them safe. Keep them warm. Light their way when the darkness surrounds them. Give them love. Let it shine all around them."
As you know, I love these lyrics by the Carpenters. I love this child. I love our world even though it is broken. We will heal in time ...