Monday, March 29, 2010

Finals this week.....then time to play!

Lots of things will be shaking out this week.....this is finals week and I will be making some big decisions about where to finish up my schooling. Please send all kinds of positive energy my way so that I make the right decision.


Friday, March 26, 2010

For you...Happy Weekend!

Grateful, just plain ol' grateful.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Coralside....some more

The drive was helping to clear her head. She kept flashing back to the last thing they talked about, “why do you have to leave?” He asked. “I told you, it’s time for me to be my own person.” He looked at her with that stare that drove her crazy, the one where it made her feel like she was less than, like she couldn’t think for herself. She knew he would never get it, nor would he ever try. It didn’t matter anymore anyway, her home was gone and she needed to make a life for herself unencumbered by the guilt and the burdens.

As she curved and wound through the low hills, cresting and sinking again into the valleys she started to feel lighter. Maybe it was the light scent of the ocean the wafted through the open windows as her hair blew all around her. She kept thinking she should have tied her hair back, but felt like the only way to be truly free was to let it whip around her, dancing as she wished she could. She was getting closer, the salty air was getting heavier and she could see seagulls off in the distance and the cypress trees were beginning to appear on the horizon. She did not call ahead, but figured it was the off season and she could get a room at Cove House, where she stayed before. Cove House and her mistress, Josephine, offered her solace and comfort when she lost her Grandmother and then again when Leo walked out.

When she pulled up outside of Cove House, it was as if everything that was weighing her down was suddenly lifted from her shoulders and she could move and breathe without restriction. She shut the engine off and just sat with the windows down, breathing, slow, full, deep breaths. Again, she became lost in thought and wondered what she was doing here. How did her heart know to come here, to Cove House, to the ocean and this little town?

She was so lost in thought she did not notice Josephine sitting in her rocker on the porch, lemonade in hand, watching her. When she regained herself, she got out of the car and stretched, pulling out a big yawning stretch, arms in the air, body twisting “uuuuahahhhhnnnnn, waaaa, uugghh.”Josephine laughed, heartily, “Girl, WHAT are you doing here?” Startled from the reverie of her yawning stretch and Josephine’s exclamation, she giggled, and ran for the porch, “I’m here to start my life, my real life. Feel like being my coach?” she asked. As she landed at the top steps, at the south end of the porch, sunlight dancing in her auburn hair, Josephine laughed with more gusto and told her, “You don’t need a coach; you are the best coach you’ll ever need. But, I’d be happy to watch you stumble along and bandage your scrapes.”

She sat down in the rocker next to Josephine’s and began to cry, big, racking, snot pouring sobs. Josephine reached over and put her hand upon Ryleigh’s hand, squeezing just so, every couple of seconds. Ryleigh cried for what seemed like an hour and when she had no more left, not one single tear, she suddenly felt very tired and sleepy. Josephine wasn’t the kind of person who pried, when someone was ready to tell her what they needed to purge themselves of, she just listened. Ryleigh wasn’t ready yet but in the morning, after some rest and a meal, she would be ready to shed the past and begin sorting out who she really was and deciding what she really wanted.

Josephine looked her over and smiled at her, a very soft, knowing, kind smile and grabbed her hand and said, “Let’s get you inside, feed you and put you to bed for the night and in the morning you can tell me what you need.” Ryleigh followed, in an exhausted stupor, through the screen door into Cove House. The house smelled of the ocean, salty, sandy and fresh and of gardenia and lilac. The house had been around since the early 1900’s and over the decades each new generation of Josephine’s family added their little touches to the property. Her aunt before her loved gardenia and lilac therefore she planted both under each of the ground floor windows. This made for a lovely kind of room freshener only Mother Nature could provide.

Ryleigh had the presence of mind to know she needed to grab some things out of her car, so after a light dinner of fresh basil and tomato salad, dressed in balsamic vinegar and olive oil and crusty homemade bread she went back out to get her things. It was still light outside and now that she was a little more in control of her awareness, she noticed a few changes around the grounds. Set behind the main house was a smaller cottage with a big screened sun porch on the west facing side, where you could see the ocean as she lapped at the shore. It was just getting to be dusk and there were lights on in the cottage, she never noticed anyone use the cottage on her previous visits, in fact, she thought it had been boarded up. She found herself staring at the cottage, the glow of the interior lights soft and warm, thinking how nice it might be to have a little place just like that to call her own.

She grabbed her suitcase, her camera bag and her computer and headed back into the house. Josephine had already prepared a room for her, pulling down the bed covers, filling the water jug, and opening up the windows. It was the same room she stayed in on all of her other visits, on the west side of the house, facing the ocean. It wasn’t right to stay in a place near the ocean and not be able to gaze upon it from your room. Josephine understood Ryleigh’s love of ocean and always made sure to put her in this room.



(from the archives)

To Brandi Kay:

Furious, you were
always feeling slighted
never in the spotlight
where you belonged

Curious, you were
always disassembling your toys
never content with just an explanation
searching for the answers

Bright, you were
always excelling at all you touch
never holding back
showing us where you belonged

Abandoned, you were
always left behing
never included in the drama
where you belonged

Shining, you were
always angry with me
never able to forgive
resenting your birth order
but saved from mine
Strong and healthy
Peace ♥♥♥♥

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain,
tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you,
those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire!

May God grant you always....
A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering angel, so nothing can harm you!


Peace, too

Monday, March 15, 2010

Do - over please.....

I feel guilty for using yet another PINK flower for my post....yet, I have nothing in the old portfolio that inspires me at the moment. I really need to get out and shoot some inspiration.

It seems like it has been almost half as long as I have been blogging since I wrote a good post, since I really just wrote honestly. I chew on a lot of stuff and think, "I should write about that" and then for some reason decide I don't want to invest in what I was turning over in my head. Maybe because most of it seems like a rehash.

When I find myself rehashing the same stuff over and over again I find that it is because I'm avoiding something else and that I have plateaued with a particular issue and decide to hang around beating it over and over again because whatever else it is I'm trying to process is scarier (or more disappointing) than what I just worked through. See? Rambling to avoid moving on......

School has not turned out to be as wonderful as I had hoped and I am contemplating another place to continue school. I am only in the 2nd quarter of school at the place I am going and am already so disappointed and dissatisfied that it pains me to go every day (I know, melodramatic). I was so excited to be back in school and to learn new things and meet new people and challenge myself.....blah, blah, blah....

Turns out I'm getting totally fleeced and it is taking FOREVER and I've just been sitting around letting it happen....I've been very grumpy lately and I know it is because I feel like I made a bad decision and will look like a fool if I change direction now.

When examining my initial decision I realize I did the best I could with the information I received up front and now that what I was told is not really turning out to be the case, I am pissed off at myself for not digging deeper. I am impulsive some times and I keep reexamining my earlier decision to see if maybe I was being impulsive....but I don't think so in this instance.

Anyway, the place I chose to go to school is really not a great school, not even a good school and specifically the curriculum and administration are questionable. for the amount of money I am paying to get what I thought would be an education is turning out to be a way for someone to get a lot of money for very little effort on their part.

I have made inquiries into another option for school....I have to work out a way to get the tuition, since I'm all tied up with the other school in student loans that I will need to negotiate out of or at least make sure what funds weren't used go back to the right, in a few days I should have that worked out....I should feel better then....knowing that I can change direction and the damage won't be too severe or irreparable....

The new schooling option will have me done by end of November, instead of next Spring...I also feel like I need to get school done and over with and get back in to the work force, to be taking care of myself and not relying on unemployment....and to be able to get medical insurance again....I'm without insurance again and that just scares me to death.....

So, that is what I am chewing on tonight.....just trying to negotiate my life....whew!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Taking a Survey....please stop by and cast your vote....PLEASE

I know, lame, right? But, seriously, I need your help, AGAIN. I have a 'research project' due in Psychology and I need to survey a group of 50 people and I cleared it with TEACH and she said I could use my blog to reach a wider audience! Yay....I hope.

The Survey question is:
Of these cookie types, which is your favorite?

Chocolate Chip

Oatmeal Raisin

Peanut Butter

That's all.....just let me know your favorite cookie and I will be eternally grateful!

An Appeal......

I am working on a project for my Sister.....I would like to request your help.....if you would be willing to share a photo with me.....I am looking for pictures of Peace signs. If you have one in your portfolio and would be willing to share, I would greatly appreciate it, would you please email it to me? If you do not already have one, while you are exercising your photographer muscles, could you stage a Peace sign photo, something really creative and organic and share it with me? As I work on my project I will be give photo credit to each one of you....noting that your photos are a gift of love and peace.

My project is large and I will need many, any time you shoot, find, see or stumble across a Peace sign photo, I would love it if you shared it with me.

Thank you.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What is your heart focused on?

My Heart is focused on Hope.....

My Heart is focused on Miracles....

My Heart is focused on Faith.....

My Heart is focused on Peace.....

My Heart is focused on Love.....

My Heart is focused on Gratitude.....


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Check the list.....Horse is on the list

I spent the greater part of my day today in "sidewalker" orientation....yep, pretty fun sounding, eh? YOu ask, "what is sidewalker orientation?" It is a volunteer position at a local Therapeutic Horse Ranch. My job will be to walk along side of a horse securing the safety of the rider. The students at this ranch are developmentally or physically disabled and the lessons they receive help them to gain mobility, self-esteem, muscle tone, confidence, and many other therapeutic benefits. The facility is beautiful and is nestled in the midst of town, not too far from my house. I found about this place through Volunteer Match when I was looking for some kind of volunteer opportunity in my area.

My previous post was an essay I recently wrote for school about volunteering and all the benefits people get from giving back. As I am not anywhere near finishing up with school and have begun to get itchy for something to do that would be along the lines of helping people in some kind of 'medical' way, (especially kids) I thought volunteering might fix my need to DO something. I love horses and hope to someday to be a seasoned rider and own my own horse, so I searched Volunteer Match in my zip code with the keyword, Horses....and viola! This opportunity came up.

There are opportunities to do much more at this facility and I am interested in helping any way I can. I even approached them about doing some photography. I am hoping that the photography thing works out because I would love to share with you, gentle readers, the beauty that is horses in action.

They also take in horses as therapy horses (many people in my area have had to give away horses because of the economy and turning the horses over to a therapy center is a way for good horses to get great care and a job).

I've signed up for Thursday afternoons and Saturday mornings, I start this next Thursday. Stay tuned!



Thursday, March 4, 2010

We must be the change we wish to see. Ghandi

This is an essay I wrote for my English class last week. We had to stand up in front of the class and read it. Kind of a public service announcement.

We must be the change we wish to see. Ghandi

It is just two hours a week and the benefits all around are a huge return on your time. People look around at their lives and think, “I don’t have any spare time to help.” Perhaps they could find the time if they knew that volunteering would make them happier and might even help them have healthier and longer lives.

Volunteerism is often considered an altruistic endeavor and ultimately, that is what makes a volunteer feel good. However, volunteering has some other benefits. The tangible benefits are that of helping a volunteer be more successful in their working life. Volunteering can help a person gain a new skill, open up networking opportunities with like minded people, show potential employers that you have a sense of teamwork, dedication, and are flexible. The possibilities of skill building in volunteering are endless, if helping to plan an event; you could acquire the skill of managing a group of people, the skill of planning and executing the design of how an event will happen, the skill of training others for like endeavors. Research has shown that 73 percent of employers are more likely to hire someone who has volunteer experience on their resume. (WVW) That fact alone is a tangible benefit of volunteering.

Looking at volunteerism from other angles shows the intangible benefits of volunteering. Participating within ones community gives a sense of belonging, giving back to the place where one lives. As a volunteer a person can gain a sense of accomplishment and find motivation to do more. Volunteering provides opportunities for social connection, making new friends and meeting different people. With little risk or expense (maybe none) a person can gain new experiences, such as building a house, spending time with animals, learning a new art form or craft and many other activities outside their usual demographic. Volunteering is also a way to set an example for people around you; it is a way to inspire others to give back.

The benefits of volunteering have even been realized by Corporate America, as large and small companies alike have implemented volunteer programs for their employees. Toyota Motor Company founded their VIP (Volunteers in Place) program in 1994, offering their employees donation benefits to their favorite charity based on the employee’s volunteer hours. The development of this program was prompted by the employees. Many employees were already volunteering outside of work so it was simple for the human resources department to get behind a volunteer program companywide. Not only do the employees and their charity benefit, but it is good business, the company experiences benefits as well, turnover, productivity and morale improved after the program was implemented. (Leonard)

Not only do adults benefit from volunteering, but our youth can reap the rewards of their participation, too. It has been shown that students who volunteer have a higher grade point average, are more successful in their social skills and show a greater respect for their community. While youth participation does happen on its own, the studies show that a young person is more likely to participate in volunteerism if a parent or sibling also participates. It probably doesn’t need to be mentioned, but a youth involved in constructive activities is less likely to find themselves in trouble.

The greatest of the benefits of volunteerism is likely to be that of health and mortality. All of the previous tangible benefits mentioned certainly contribute to a person’s health and well being but research shows as a person ages, volunteering helps them to have better health and to live longer. Aging can find a person losing friendships, (due to matriculation), finding that one can’t get around as well as in their youth, retiring and finding they have no purpose, and an empty nest, all of these things can contribute to decline in well being. Volunteering provides mature adults with opportunities to make new friends, find activities that they can do, give them a sense of purpose and provide them with social interaction to keep them busy. (Robert Grimm) Research has shown that these factors contribute largely to longevity and that when folks contribute with their volunteerism, they are more likely to live longer.

There are ways for everyone to contribute, to participate in their own communities with vast opportunities to do things one could never imagine possible. Locally there a plethora of volunteer organizations that need help, simply by plugging in the word volunteerism in your web browser you can find tons of amazing things to do. Heald also promotes student participation in volunteering in order to help students with their resume. As a result of my own desire to volunteer I found a website that will match a person up with a volunteer opportunity right here in our community. On Friday I begin training to become a ‘side walker’ at Saddle Pals Therapeutic Center in Orangevale, where I will be assisting clients with physical and developmental disabilities ride horses for therapy. As I am working in the MA program and want to work with children and animals this opportunity offered many facets that will assist me in my goal, not to mention the good feelings it will generate!