Thursday, February 28, 2013

Traveling Light

Just a little, easy and light post that incoporates homework from Day 5 of Beyond Beyond...the newest e-course from Kim Klassen.

This Day 5 was jam-packed with content...but part was a challenge to add light to your photos...

Treasure the Moment - 2B Day 5

Now, Kim has the luxury of an old antique home with large windows and a second story floor high above anything in her neighborhood that would block the glorious daylight...

This poor schlogger, and some of my other photo friends, aren't so lucky...standard size windows, bad natural light, or not even being home when there is the best light...

So rather than crying in our beer coveting Kim's house...she gave us some secrets to overcome this little obstacle.

All Things New - 2B Day 5
But I cannot share these secrets...or my gangsta Kim Klassen groupies will find me and cut know who you are! <smile>

True Rest - 2B Day 5

My "studio room" is a light gray with white beadboard...but these original wooden mini blinds from the previous owner HAVE to go...

So...instead...I ordered some MarthaWindow (ooooooooooooooooooooooh) sheer grommet-top panels from JCPenneys and some great hardware to "go with"...a nice airy look that will provide some nice light diffusion in that room.

With a Grateful Heart

I'm stoked...inspired...ready to rumble...but first...

Quiet Observer - 2B Day 5

a cup of coffee...and a tiny dish of mocha mudslide ice cream...the cheap brand (Great Value) from Walmart.  It is to DIE for...  Just look at these stars!

Until next time (gotta run and get my OLW vision board done!)

Monday, February 25, 2013

One Little Word ~ One BIG Task

Who thought when I signed up for "One Little Word" with Ali Edwards that it would turn into such a big task?

Embracing is HARD...

We live in a world filled with sarcasm, cynicism, thanklessness, and irreverence.  It's as if nothing is sacred anymore.  It becomes "the norm"...without realizing how it effects us at all.  We are hard on each other and on ourselves.

This month I'm to be focusing on my health...which really means, to me, several things:

1.  Spiritual health
2.  Emotional and mental health
3.  Physical health

I'm not sure where this month would lead...but it was not what I expected...

It was suggested to me several years ago that I may have a form of adult ADHD.  It came from someone whose opinion I respect and thought it was worth looking into. 

At the same time, my father died six months after a terminal diagnosis.  I was in a new, demanding job (where I currently remain) and found myself lethargic, unable to focus, and really pressured to perform, despite my losses.  In other words...I was still on "proving ground."  I had just entered into a new marriage and was now totally responsible as my mother's power of attorney...with stacks of mail and on the fast track to learn Medicaid and Medicaid Part D and a multitude of other legalities...some with very strict deadlines...aiyiyi!

I was prescribed 20mg per day of Adderall.  It wasn't a miracle drug...but it did make a difference.  And being the only social worker at the time...I needed to focus and produce.  (I did not connect that a lot of this experience was normal grief reaction.)

But then I began to hear these words in my head of late, "I've not been the same since my dad died."  Now we're going on several years. 

Last week I had an correlated with when I started taking Adderall.  My experience was telling me that my job was so draining that I was useless once I got least for any kind of social interaction beyond my husband, or take advantage of opportunities for fellowship or Bible study.  I had even said to someone that part of the sacrifice made for my job that I believe is a calling has been outside personal relationship.


I started seeing the faces of kids I counseled when I did child/adolescent therapy in inner-city Cleveland.  I always saw them after school.  I would see these big yawns the size of the Grand Canyon as they were coming off their Adderall they took for school.

My curiosity over this became too much...I just HAD to google...

I found an article, 5 Signs That You're Ready to Quit Adderall.  This article is about taking it as prescribed, as I had been...not abuse.

The number one reason people wanted to quit Adderall:  To get back a piece of myself that feels lost.

Hmmm...kinda similar to "I've not been the same since my dad died..."

So, I have three weeks under my belt...

It's a journey that is a marathon, not a sprint. 

It is an adjustment to find a new "normal"...and getting through the dopamine deprivation, the fatigue and sleepiness that is always at my heels...but it will go away over time.

But my words is "EMBRACE"...and I want to EMBRACE the real me...the person God created for His use and His glory.

Embracing is hard...when it takes a difficult journey as part of the embrace...

But I am reminded...

Your God is present among you,
a strong Warrior there to save you.
Happy to have you back, he’ll calm you with his love
and delight you with his songs.
Zephaniah 3:17 (The Message)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Not Your Average Valentine's Day Card

Well, Edster drives me to work and picks me up after work nearly every day...I don't usually go out once I'm home so I can get some time with my camera, my photographs, my writing, blah blah blah...

Suffice it to's a challenge to go out by myself with him not being, what's she scheming?

Very hard to surprise with a card on this Valentine's Day...but have no fear...!!!!

Paper Coterie to the rescue...

Check out this little freebie (I'll have the download link for you at the end here)...LOVE NOTES!!!!

All these little notes where you can write your own messages, personalize them...etc.  I think they're meant to spread around...but my Valentine is all deserving

So after work Edster went to Sam's...I got to work writing them out and putting them all over the mirror.

(Sidenote:  The spot healing tool is great when you don't have time to clean the mirror first!)

As of this writing...the Edster has yet to see it.  Men have it easy...they can pay the water bill without turning on the light...

But now I have it lightly next trip he will not be able to miss it...

His at 11.

And as promised,  you download these love notes here...I printed mine on a medium white card stock...

Happy Valentine's Day and lastly...

I am grateful for my wonderful valentine who is proof of Ephesians 3:20...
Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us—

Monday, February 11, 2013

Queens for a Dinner! else did I recharge during my time off?  Get more green back in my world...?? one little word for the year if you remember is 'embrace'...

And the focus for February is Embrace My Health...not just for February...but I pick it up here...

Mental, physical, spiritual, emotional...(big task).  Just taking time off was addressing my mental health...but I bumped it up a notch...and went to  dinner with a friend...

but not just any friend...

(I'm also including photos from my Beyond Beyond - Day 3 class)
This introvert loves and adores people...but one-on-one, in small groups, or Edster and me out with another couple or two, at the most.  And I'm somewhat discerning (partly because if you enjoy people but aren't needy for people as some kind of way of filling up the empty parts of can choose to spend quality time with  those you truly enjoy...who nurture you.  This is not to be equated with people you minister to or serve).
This friend I have spoken with and communicated over the past year...but it had been a long time since we were out together.  A long time...and if you knew both of our lives intimately you would understand why...(we both could be contestants on "Queen for a Day.")  (Sidebar:  for those of you who are aren't a baby boomer -- that was a game show where a women (about four) would come on and each give their sob story...and the audience would vote by applause for the most pathetic one.  The winner would be named Queen for a Day.  And what did she win?  New washers, dryers, pots, pans, kitchen appliances...and even wrong on so many levels.  If think I'm can check it out here.)

So both of us were Queens for dinner...our prize was quality time.
And where do we begin to catch up...our last names were both different, our children (who grew up together) were in different vocations, and yet...
In many ways, it was if no time had passed...because the connection remained...
Our greatest connection is our love for our Savior...the foundation...
But additionally...
...we had a long history of inside jokes...
      ...we both have random senses of humor...
             ...there's a depth that has come from adversity we've experienced
                  ...and we weaved in and out between sorrow and laughter easily and naturally.
So...we left...both of us...wanting more.  There were tons of questions and things I was curious about such as, "How did your daughter get into photography?" or "If you could do it all again would you change any of it?" or "What have you learned?"  or "Do your still really need more cowbell?"...
This was fellowship...this was nurturing...this energized me...quality over quantity will always be the theme of introverts in personal relationship...
It is these kind of relationships that we EMBRACE (there's that word)...
And just as if things couldn't get better...
I ordered Edster a sub sandwich to go...being from near Phillie, he's a connoisseur of after a night out with my fellow queen...he says, "This is the best sub I've had since I moved to Ohio..."
So I guess he was good with our time spent together, as well...


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Do Not Pass the Palette...Do Not Collect $200

I sit at my laptop gazing out the window...not sure how to write what the "committee in my head" has been mulling over the past few days...

I did something this week I rarely do...take PTO (paid time off) in winter...not just one, but TWO days...

Simply because I knew I needed it...the battery of this cordless screwdriver was running on mere fumes (do batteries have fumes?)...  Empty, joyless, trying to run with cement shoes on.  Barren...

And yet, something told me, "Don't waste these days..."  I guess you'll be hearing more about how valuable this time has been over a series of posts.  Who wants a long read, right?

First off, "My name is Denise F. and I'm an introvert..." (a parody of an AA meeting), so how do I recharge? 

Rather than list those ways...I'll have you see some of those ways in my posts over the next few days.

I went into my studio (our third bedroom that has desks and cupboards and supplies...but no bed) not really knowing where my time would take me.

We've been studying the book of Hebrews in church...parallel to that, another congregation is as well whose podcasts I download...Beth Tikkun Messianic Fellowship (which means "place of restoration").  I thought I would listen to the introduction to Hebrews from their pastor, L. Grant Luton.

He was using an analogy of an artist, an artist's palette, and a painting as a way to introduce what Hebrews is all about.  And my mind drifted back to a song/poem I had heard a long time ago as a teenager...called The Brush...the songwriter wrote it about his life:
Life started out like a canvas,
And God started painting on me,
But I took the paintbrush from Jesus,
And painted what I wished to see.

The colours I painted kept running,
And the objects were all out of size,
I had made a mess of my painting,
My way now seemed so unwise.

Then I gave my painting to Jesus,
All the colours, all the pieces so wrong.
In the markets of earth it was worthless,
But His blood made my painting belong.

He worked with no condemnation,
Never mentioned the mess I had made.
Then He dipped His brush in the rainbow,
And signed it, the price has been paid.

When I gave the brush back to Jesus,
When I gave the brush back to Him
He started all over life?s canvas to fill,
When I gave to Jesus the brush of my will.
Words and Music by Chuck Milhuff
And here is that songwriter and the song sung by Ben Speer of the Speer Family:

Now...I love today's praise and worship music, but the eloquency in these lyrics, along with its truth, moved me to tears.  And I'm finding that the richness of the words (and the truth they hold) in the older hymns that have survived centuries have a special way of nurturing me, as no modern songs the one I featured in this post.  But I digress...

Have you ever seen a painter's palette?

It is messy, chaotic, seems to have no redeeming value, no meaning, not a place where paint wants to remain...

And yet, we are born into this world as fresh as brand new tubes of oil paint and we want to somehow go from the tube straight onto the live a beautifully perfect painting of life.

But, as Pastor Luton illustrated...we cannot take a detour past the pallet...but our journey must go through the pallet.  God wants to squeeze us out and mix light with dark...and to us it looks like random chaos.

C. S. Lewis wrote in a letter dated December 20, 1943 (when England was in the middle of The Blitz, and they had no idea of the outcome):
The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's own or real life. The truth is, of course, what one calls interruptions are precisely one's real life. The life God is sending is one day at a time. What one calls one's real life becomes a phantom of one's imagination. This is what I see in moments of insight, but it's hard to see it all the time.
I don't know totally what my phantom "real" life was dreamed to be (but some things I would have gladly left out), but the fact real life is the palette.  I've seen the chaos, the sin, the randomness, the heartache, the dark colors, the bright ones, the failures, the struggle to find meaning of it all at times, and how, when I take the paintbrush, I make things an even bigger mess...and some of the chaos is a necessary sign of the Painter's love.

So, what a blessing when God steps in and corrects you!
Mind you, don’t despise the discipline of Almighty God!
True, he wounds, but he also dresses the wound;
the same hand that hurts you, heals you.
From one disaster after another he delivers you;
no matter what the calamity, the evil can’t touch you Job 5:17-18 (The Message)

God rescues the afflicted by their affliction;
He instructs them by their torment.  Job 36:15-16 (HCSB)
But often, if I step back, I can see the hand of the Painter...other times His hand is still hidden...

But I trust the Painter...and how He can turn the mess into a masterpiece...

And the meaning of the palette is it is the history, the story behind it all...what it took for the Painter to make me His masterpiece.

And the theme of Hebrews is to persevere on the palette...the Painter knows what He is doing.

Quality time spent so far...and it might just be me...

...but I'm starting to see a little green...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Simple Pleasures

Already the second week in Kim Klassen's Beyond Beyond class...or has she is changing it to 2B class.

Focusing on aperture (or f-stop), we were challenged to do a still shot with a variety of apertures.  Mine ranged from f1.8 to f4.  The lower the number, the greater amount of light allowed into the photograph.  All photos were taken in my "gray" room.

Here are mine...and I chose to pair them with quotes focusing on the theme of simplicity. 


Simple and Wise


Honest and Truthful


Changing Lives


Courage and Risk


Pearls Slipping Off a String


Art of Simplicity

Wonderful lesson...and great use of this pale aqua ceramic bowl from one of my favorite and reasonable stores for props...TJMaxx...$2.99.

I'm grateful for a simple post, nothing heavy or complex...with a subtle undertone of the way to live life.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Never Lose Hope

Well, thank you for allowing me to unload a difficult day last time...I'll try not to do that too often.  But it was wonderful to have a place to put it.

So, on an Ohio day that felt like April in January this week, I was walking King Arthur after work.  I noticed a pussy willow.  And I found myself camera-less...  The next morning, Thursday, still dark--I walked Arthur down the was a white out, snow blowing, in the 20s...I remembered that pussy willow...AND my camera...


And it was still there...along with some others I had not spied.  And it was a good reminder...

Even though that morning the hint of Spring was gone...reminders were still there...

Never lose hope...

The storm will end...

The sun will shine again...

And the warmth will return in spite of your storm.