JOY

I started writing this post January 30th, here we are on the last day of February and it’s still not posted. In fact, I haven’t even touched this poor little neglected blog since the second to the last day of January. Odd, how life works. Guess I needed time away from being an active participant of the interwebs for a while. There comes a time when you just need to take a seat and spend some time in the audience.

Anyways, on with the show…

Many bloggers have what they call a word of the year, a word that they will focus on throughout the year. And they will usually write an inspirational post about that word, and how it will be somewhat life altering. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

I on the other hand, don’t write posts with the intent of altering lives…as I selfishly indicated in this post, I write for myself. But, if any of these random words I have strung together here do touch someone else in a special way (and yes, I know what that sounded like.) then great. But in the end, these posts are for myself, to look back on. And with that in mind, and to be a trend follower in a way, I’ve chosen a word to think about as I muddle through the path set before me. And to remind myself what this path is really all about:

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I will seek joy in the small things, joy in the big things, joy in the happy things, joy in the sad things, joy in anger, joy in tribulations, and yes…I will even seek joy while I’m scraping last nights dinner off the dishes I was too lazy to do the night before.  And, I don’t only want to be a joy seeker, I want to be a joy giver, a joy bringer, I want to be the Santa Claus of joy!

Actually, that can’t happen because Christ already has that title, but I want to be as close to the Santa Claus of joy as I can possibly be. If there were one of those carnival strong man games that measured how full of joy you are, and there were a Jesus level, I’d want to be at that level. I want to be so full of Christ-like joy I ooze it onto those I encounter.

I pledge to myself, to avoid those things that I have allowed to take my joy, and if they are unavoidable, I will try to find joy in those situations. I’ll be honest, I’ve sort of failed at this lately. With some annoying health issues cropping up the past couple months I’ve found it hard to be joyful, and even harder to spread joy. Instead, I’ve been spreading the grump, it’s like a horrible infectious disease that eats away at it’s carrier and can easily rub off on those nearby. But, that’s gonna change because I can hear those bells…the Santa Claus of eternal joy is always near by all I have to do is listen.

Happy Festivus

Happy New Year!!!

I’ve been wondering when the new year is no longer new. We are nearly two weeks into 2014 and people are still wishing me a happy one. So, I guess 2014 still has that new car smell. Maybe that newness wears off when the year starts smelling like old take out and dog breath. Not that my car smells like that or anything…*AHEM*

Anyways, since the holiday festivities are over and I’ve had a chance to breathe and look through the copious amounts of photos I took over the Christmas break, thought it was time to post about them.

On Thanksgiving we went to visit my mother, it was the usual spend 5-6 hours in the kitchen cooking and doing dishes. And it was glorious, I love spending time with my mom. There’s something special about being busy at a task that makes it easier to visit. Apparently, I was too busy cooking and visiting to take lots of photos. But I did grab a few before we sat down for our thankful feast.

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Then came the Christmas season, the decorating, the shopping, the baking, the stopping to enjoy the season…it was all quite wonderful. This year, I tried to do Christmas on a small scale, no big Griswold family Christmas. Which means no big light display outside, no huge tree (which means no squirrel jumping out at anyone), no big spending on gifts. I made a conscience decision to enjoy this Christmas, not stress about all the details, but enjoy the pure joy that the season brings. And more importantly, focusing on why we celebrate Christmas.

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That nativity has been in my family for nearly 30 years. It was the first nativity my mom bought, I remember playing with it all through my childhood.  Giving all the shepherds funny voices, and making baby Jesus coo. Several years ago, she gave me this nativity to set up in my own home. Now, so many years later, I still play with the figures. I may not give them funny voices or anything, but the shepherds and the lambs get moved around a lot.

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The tree was smaller this year, I opted for a 6 ft unlit tree and added my own lights. It fit much better in the corner of our little living room this year. And in keeping with simplifying the holiday, I didn’t even worry about ornament placement. I just sort of put them where ever I felt they needed to go. Does the tree look like a 4 year old helped, yeah maybe, but I got the tree up in record time. And I didn’t have a conniption fit about having too many similar ornaments too close together.

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I’m not sure Goldie enjoyed sharing her corner with the tree though.

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As in previous years, my Christmas tree is adorned with sentimental ornaments, I never have a themed tree.

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sunroomtree

This year, I finally got to put up a secondary tree in the sunroom, and I got to use all those glass balls I’ve bought over the years. It was nice enjoying another tree in my newly furnished and private sunroom. But there’s a whole other post in the works for that.

100kmiles Before Christmas my car hit 100,000 miles. I am told this is a milestone, either it means that it’s a reliable vehicle that’s taken me where I need to go, or the resale value has dropped significantly. Let’s go with the first one.

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Bubba celebrated a birthday. The dogs thought it was fun to beg as we enjoyed his birthday dinner.

And then finally, the big day arrived, Christmas day. We went back to my mothers house for the holiday. More cooking, more visiting, and presents.

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And lots of dog, there’s always lots of dog when I go to my mom’s house. Five dogs in total, two of mine and three of hers. They get along pretty well. But it’s still lots of dog to deal with. Thankfully she has a big yard for all of them to tumble around in.

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Everyone was all snug in their bed as we humans exchanged gifts…

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Afterall, it was pretty late when we did finally open gifts. I made everyone wait while I watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special. Sorry, family, but it was an important one. Losing an old favorite Doctor and welcoming a newly regenerated one, it’s a big deal. Granted, not a big a deal as Christ’s birth or spending quality time with loved ones. But thanks for your patience.

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Not all the dogs were snug in their beds, some were hiding under the curtains. I guess not everyone enjoys the Christmas season.

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This year, I was a busy bee and crocheted 5 blankets, one for each of my brothers kids, one for my sister, and another for mom.

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Mom got her blanket the Friday after Christmas when she came over to my house. Apparently, I just couldn’t swing getting them all done before Christmas. But I’d say they were all a big hit.

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After Christmas and before New Year’s Bubba and I celebrated 3 years of marriage and 10 years together as a couple. We headed down to the place where we met and married. It was a lot of fun walking down memory lane.

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New Year’s wasn’t that exciting, the dogs and I celebrated the coming of the new year with Oreo’s, sparkling grape juice, and old Christmas movies. Bubba came in from out of town just in time to ring in the new year. New Year’s day I made sure to make black eyed peas, ya know, for luck, gotta ensure a most excellent 2014. Then, it was back to work. All in all, a great holiday was had by all. I’m already looking forward to next year.

So, if it’s not too late…Happy Festivus everyone! Err…I mean..Happy New Year!!

*Note: For those of you non Seinfeld fans, apparently festivus started as a family traditions of one of the writers. You can read more about it on wiki here.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all residents of blog world!

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I hope you are all eating lots of pie, opening lots of presents,  and more importantly, remembering why we get to eat lots of pie and open lots of presents…

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:11-14

Red Velvet Cake

Apparently, I am a once a month blogger since it’s been almost a month since I declared that  I blog purely for myself. Maybe that’s all I need is a monthly blog for myself, actually it’s not. I have so many words and thoughts I need to use up during any given day, I get twitch-y if they sit in my brain and fester. This might explain why I frequently speak before fully thinking through the implications my statement might have. I just like to hear my thoughts for the first time with everyone else.

Anyways, I’ve been trying to keep my head about me during the hustle and bustle of the holidays, actually as I sit here, I have a list of at least 20 things that either need to be baked, wrapped, or cleaned. But those can wait a little longer, I have words I need to use up. Plus, today is a special day, it’s a day that we eat red velvet cake and celebrate the day my dad was born. He passed away 10 years ago on November 30th, I missed that day to post something about him. But honestly, I think he would have preferred we celebrate his life on the day that it began. You can read a post I wrote last year on November 30th here.

Growing up, December 19th always meant a steak dinner followed by a  big beautiful red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. Because Mom didn’t like heavy chocolate cakes and Dad always thought that birthday cakes needed to be chocolate of some sort, this was their compromise. And gifts, always needed to be wrapped in birthday paper, because who wants to get a birthday present wrapped in Christmas trees? (Apparently, having a birthday so close to Christmas meant the possibility of Christmas/Birthday presents) He always made an exception for oreos in a Santa Claus tin. Those were his favorite cookies, and I always made sure to get him a pack of oreos to enjoy even after all the red velvet cake was gone. (I think my mom still has all those 256,9145 Santa Claus tins lying around somewhere) Actually, he really didn’t care about the presents, or even the food. He just wanted to be with his family, and that’s what happened. Birthdays in our house were joyous occasions filled lots of food, laughter, and memories. Now, he  can enjoy his birthday with our Heavenly Father, and I bet he doesn’t get birthday presents wrapped in Christmas paper either.

So, December 19th is a happy day, filled with memories of laughter, good food, and red velvet cake.

Happy Birthday Dad!

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Blogging for Me

It’s been a while…over a month in fact. I betcha thought I’d forgotten about you, but really how could I? Life has gotten in the way of my fun as of late, too much work, too many frustratingly mediocre tasks (so much fur to swifter!), and Netflix….just Netflix. I think that pretty much sums up my time away from the computer. And my lack of actually putting a closing statement to my 31 Days of the Nifty Fifty, which if we’re being honest, was really 13 days of stressful catching up with blog posts that I was never going to be caught up with. So, sorry if you were looking forward to a life changing closing post to that series, it’s not going to happen.

During my time away from blogging, I took sometime to re-evaluate this blog, why I blog, who is this blog for, and whose really reading it? I’ve decided, I blog for myself, so that I can get all my words out and maybe showcase photos or projects that I am particularly proud of. So, this blog is for me, as selfish as that sounds, I write for myself, and if someone else finds it interesting or entertaining, then great. But in the long run, when I look back on previous posts, they are for my benefit. For prosperity’s sake, sort of a photo album of greatest hits.  My virtual art hung on the virtual fridge.

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I realize some people blog to share some awesome tips on saving money, how to be a better photographer, or how to DIY your way into a spectacular home that has YOU written all over it. Sure, those things interest me, and I love reading about how awesome other people are, but as of late, it’s been annoying me. Not because others have done great things, and want to share in the knowledge that they’ve gained along the way, but I find myself judging them and comparing what I have to what they have, what they’ve done to what I’ve done or in most cases, haven’t done. And because I do this to myself, I’m annoyed at myself.

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If I could, I’d sigh at myself and give myself an annoyed side glance.  But instead, I’ll just be annoyed at myself for being annoyed/jealous of what I see in blogdom or Pinterest. And not feel like I can’t blog because my posts won’t be filled with tips on how to get an entire years worth of groceries for a dollar or  awesome DIY projects that are worthy of being featured in a magazine . All I can do is remind myself, that this blog is for me. And we’re gonna have fun darn it!

Shoot Happy: Sandia Mountains in the Fall

October is a month dedicated to all things nifty about the 50 mm lens, I’ve vowed to post most days this month and talk about a particular shot or a series of shots I’ve taken with my nifty fifty. You can read the series from the beginning here. Having said that, today’s picture was taken a couple years ago, and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t taken with a nifty fifty, but I loved the shot so much I had to share it.

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This sort of embodies fall scenery in the mountainous desert. Those are the Sandia Mountains, contrasted against a group of Cottonwoods. I love the golden leaves against the purple mountains. I complain about living in the desert and not having lots of trees to marvel at in the fall, but this sight sort of makes up for it. So, long as I don’t dwell on the fact that winter time is just around the corner. I’m definitely not  a winter time girl. Give me spring and summer blooms any day over cold snowy days.

Shoot Happy: Siesta

So, I blogged for 7 days straight last week, didn’t think that could happen, but low and behold it did.  Let’s see if we can keep up with the schedule this week. Although, so far, I’m not doing so well, it’s currently as I write this post, it 11:40 on Sunday night, So, I’ve already missed the first day of this 7 day week.  You see, I’m sneaky and like to schedule these posts to publish the morning after I’ve written them, so technically this post will be Monday’s post, which would be the second day of the week, since I’m using 7 day weeks that start on Sunday. Confused yet, me too, I think I need to lie down.

Oh, and by the way, this post is part of a 31 day series I’m taking part in. I’ve vowed to shoot ,or at least post some photos, I’ve shot using my nifty 50mm lens  over the month of October. You can start reading the series here.

I had planned on writing a long detailed post, but when I sat down to write it, it just didn’t sing to me, ya know what i mean? The whole weekend has kind of been like that, big plans to do lots of stuff. But then…netflix. Or in the case of this weekend…naptime.  Bubba, the dogs and I just sort of slept our weekend away. Nothing got done, aside from the dishes, laundry, and the floors, because come on, I live with dogs, you can’t just skip a swiftering  or swiffering, whatever the verb tense would be to swifter.  But ya know what, I wouldn’t change it, sometimes a quiet weekend is the best kind of weekend. There’s nothing like curling up in your favorite napping spot and taking a little siesta.

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Or throwing icy stares at the unfortunate soul who had the nerve to wake you from your blissful slumber.

Love you too Annie-Dog!

Shoot Happy: Rejoice and be glad

So, yesterday was national no beard day and national cupcake day, I’m a little more excited about the latter, but I do like a clean shaven man. There’s something about a beard that makes me wonder what their hiding behind there, plus there’s all the food that gets stuck in them…..Anyways…this post isn’t about beards and cupcakes, although riveting as both those topics may be, I’m here to continue on with my 31 days series about the nifty fifty, or the 50mm lens. You can start reading from the beginning  here.

This past week I’ve dedicated to some of my fave florals I’ve shot with my sweet fifty. And since I like to keep this interesting, I’ve added a verse to each photo. How can you enjoy God’s art without thinking on His word as well?

Today, this last day of my series within a series, otherwise known as Florals Week, I’ll be sharing a shot I took of my favorite flower (only flower) growing in my backyard. Rose moss, it’s an extremely resilient plant, and it really has to be to survive my non-watering ways and the dogs trampling ways. This annual has been re-seeding itself and growing every year for the past 3 years. And every year it grows bigger, brighter, and even more beautiful than the year before. All without me tending to it and the dogs knocking over it’s pot on a regular basis. It’s almost like, this little rose moss plant is smiling through it all, like it knows that each day is a gift from God.

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Maybe my little rose moss plant realizes something that we haven’t quite grasped. That today is the day that the Lord hath made, that today is what we have been given, this very moment we are living in right now is what the Lord has made. And you know what? We should rejoice in that knowledge, and be glad in this moment that the Lord has given us.  Worry, anger, strife, those take the joy away from our moments. It’s a matter of hanging onto the joy, even through all of those things. To live like the lowly rose moss, to smile and prosper even though we haven’t been watered in a week, to blossom and make beautiful flowers, even though we’re knocked down.  To rejoice and be glad in this very moment.

Shoot Happy: Becoming Less

While this post will be magically appearing in the morning in readers and inboxes near you, it was written pretty late last night, or early morning. But it’s right now for me…how’s that for a nice time paradox. Did I mention it was late? Anyways, keeping with the monthly post series and this weeks florals series within a series, today I’ll be sharing a shot of some pretty white roses I shot at sunset the other day, with a verse from John.

psalm330So, becoming less so that God can become greater. The way I interpret this verse is this; we have to put ourselves, aside, to allow the Lord full reign in our lives. It is only then that He can show His greatness through us.

Shoot Happy: Treasures

Over the month of October, I’ll be trying post everyday. These posts will be centered around all things nifty about the fifty, they could be about how awesome the 50mm is, or just some cool shots captured while enjoying the nifty-ness of the fifty. You can read this series from the beginning here.

To go along with this plan of a daily post about the 50mm lens or to share a shot taken with my nifty fifty, I’ve decided to set aside a week just to show off some of my favorite floral shots accompanied with a verse that I’ve found to be meaningful.  Today, is a verse taken from Matthew 6:19-21…

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In this materialistic world it’s so easy to get caught up in the getting and the taking, and the hoarding. I have a house full of stuff that I don’t need, and makes me wonder where I really keep my treasures. Are they in heaven, or am I trying to make a cheap replacement by stock piling earthly treasures.  And with that thought, I’m off to clean out a closet…