Autumn Night

One night when we were out and about, and riding through parking lots, I noticed that the night sky was jet black and cloudless. The foliage on the trees looked amazing against it (just as foliage looks amazing against brilliant, blue skies).  The trees were also lit by the parking lot street lamps, which really gave them some drama and impact. Of course, I had to take some pictures.  (I carry my camera EVERYWHERE. Even to the grocery store. You just never know.)

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Fall-tography Adventures

We have had a very fun and photography-filled fall! More pictures from our recent adventures:

On Halloween, we happened upon our first real-life Wienermobile sighting. It was everything we dreamed it could be, and more, because it had “Happy Hallowiener” written on the side.

We had so much fun doing a photo session for these lovely sisters. Love them!

One cold night, as we were riding through the Kroger/Amstar Theater parking lot, we saw this little guy.

He was sitting on a median and seemed scared and lost. I rolled down the window and meowed at him. He meowed back, and we pulled into a nearby parking spot to see about him. (Before you think I’m cray-cray for meowing at him, you should know that cats typically only meow at people. Since there are feral colonies living at that shopping center, I wanted to see if he was feral or tame–a feral kitty wouldn’t be that close to people, first of all, and secondly, he definitely wouldn’t meow at me.)

We gave him some kibble, and he ate voraciously. Poor baby was starving. And he was very tame and loving, although a little defensive because God knows how long he’d been out there, scavenging for food and seeking help. It made me mad to see the people who rode by and didn’t pay any attention to him. People are so self-centered, for the most part. We didn’t have a carrier with us, so we left him to go home, five minutes away, to get one. We decided that if he was there when we got back, that it was a sign for us to take him and help him.

We got back with the carrier and he was there. So, he came home with us. We posted him up for adoption on Facebook, and asked around, but have since had no interest from anyone to take him. So I guess he will become part of the fold here. We got him neutered and vaccinated last week, and he had a sore on his head that has healed up nicely.

Ugh. We are total suckers.

We also recently photographed this beautiful family. Love.

We frolicked all around a nearby cotton field (ok, you don’t really “frolic” in a cotton field) and I got a few pics there, too.

Finally, at Target recently, Brian tried to rock a Walter White/Heisenberg vibe with a hat he found in the Dollar Spot.

Somehow, he doesn’t have the same scowl as Walt. But that’s a good thing. 😀

2013 Country Living Fair

Wow, what a busy Autumn it has been! I have been a bad blogger and have not kept up with everything going on as it happened! This will be the first of at least a couple catch-up posts!

The last weekend in October, Brian, Ginger and I braved some of the first really cold temps of the season and ventured about an hour and a half north, to Stone Mountain, for our very first trip to the Country Living Fair! This fair is put on each year by Country Living Magazine, and it is advertised as the magazine’s pages “come to life”! And it certainly was. There was so much to look at! Here are a few of my favorite pictures from our day. And I took hundreds!

We got there a little early, and the line to get in was already very long. But the Country Living Fair crew was super-efficient in getting everybody’s hands stamped and getting us in! It hardly took any time at all, and we were walking through the gate and into the fair!

This little beauty came home with me.

After we left the fair, we went exploring around Stone Mountain Park, and there were some gorgeous sights to behold!

A lovely area with a covered bridge and lots of beautiful fall foliage.

SUCH a fun day!! We can’t wait till next year’s fair!

Let Go, But Hang On.

One year. The passage of time. Today is one year since our sweet baby kitty, Augie, died suddenly and unexpectedly from a horrible disease. His death began an ordeal for us that we are honestly still trying to recover from, mentally, physically, emotionally, financially. The backstory can be found here.

It seemed that his death set off a year, a chain of events that sent us into darkness. A year of tragedy, of trials, hardships and challenges. Pain, grief, and struggle. I could go back even farther, though, to three years ago tomorrow, when Brian’s Aunt Kris (to whom we were very close) died unexpectedly and tragically. October. What is it about October?

I feel like I’m standing still in October. Everyday for the past year has been tinged with, overshadowed by, October. But the world moves on around me. And this year milestone has loomed over me.

Let go, but hang on.

How do you do that? How do you make your flawed heart, your broken and grieving heart, begin to try to cling to the light along the edges of the darkness? Light and dark have become a rhythm of our daily life, a presence we are constantly learning from. This ever-circling presence forces us to be patient, to be present, and to surrender and accept. You can still grow in the darkest of corners, and eventually, you may be able to see the beauty in your wounds. One day, I may realize that I’ve moved past something without realizing I’ve turned. Maybe one day, even October’s clouds will show me their golden lining.

It is a hard road getting there. And I’m still traveling it.

I will always love and miss our sweet Augie. You see, losing him was the equivalent to losing a child, for Brian and me. We don’t (and won’t) have human children, so from our perspective, and from our experience, this is it. Loving, nurturing and bonding with him, only to have him taken away. I will cry and grieve him and miss him for the rest of my life. That’s what love does to you. He was important, and he mattered. I grieve because he mattered. He always will. And in his sweet memory, we continue on for the rest of our cats, our babies. We let go, but hang on.

“If I never see you again
I will always carry you
inside
outside

on my fingertips
and at brain edges

and in centers
centers
of what I am of
what remains.”

–Charles Bukowski

Now For October Eves!

“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is filled with leaves; we have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!” — Humbert Wolfe

I created a festive fall mantel using items I already had on hand, a few art pieces I made myself, and some thrifted items. I love how it turned out!

I painted the “2” canvas because I love numbers in home decor, and the “2” is for Brian and me.

This large “g” was done in a word processing program, then cut out and adhered to some patterened paper.

Here’s a mixed media art piece I made and framed in a thrifted frame.

Over by the door, I created a little fall vignette on our entryway/game table with a jar of branches with paper leaves, some owls and a couple other things I had on hand.

And I kept the front door wreath very simple.

Happy October!

Hello, September.

September is here and though the days are still hot and humid, we are excited for the transition into fall, which is Brian’s and my favorite season. We love to go out and explore and take lots of pictures once the weather is cool.

We had a pretty good week. Here’s the recap.

Sweet Lord Jesus, I laughed until I cried at this picture I found on Tumblr:

Some of the babies posed for pics for me:

Brian had a training class most of the week, so we were both ready to get out of the house for a bit and have an adventure. Yesterday, we decided on a whim to go exploring some local thrift stores. We found some great treasures!!

We got all this stuff for $28. $28!!!!

I was stoked to see the “Currier & Ives” on this $2 print!

Some cloth doilies for 25 cents each:

I bought 7 frames for less than $10! I intend to sand and paint/refinish them and frame some of my artwork to sell. I loved this one because it’s a large square, and those are rare.

When I turned it over, however, I was sad to see this on the back and to know that this picture was now for sale in a thrift shop. I hope that wherever they are, Paulette and Brenda are ok and are still forever friends. I am going to remove the artwork and the backing so I can reuse the frame, but I will save them in honor of this friendship. Something like this is very meaningful to me. Even if they aren’t friends anymore, this gift that Paulette gave to Brenda is a special marker in time. Even though Brenda had her reasons for donating this framed artwork to a thrift store, it’s a relic of sorts, a frozen moment when a friendship was special. This writing has a special, positive energy of love and it is now mine for safekeeping.

The frames I found, and some 25 cent twine.

And this super-large spool of thick white twine was only $3! I see many buntings being made with this!

In another store we went to, which was like an indoor flea market, we found an old jukebox with my name on it! Cool!

After shopping, we walked around downtown Forsyth a little and saw this old fire truck.

And steam engine.

We had such a fun day and can’t wait to go back! Planning another trip for the end of the month!

Letting Go

What a difficult time it is in this life, when we must cry, must grieve, and must let go of something precious.

On July 25th, we said goodbye to Brian’s daddy, Harry. He had been struggling with his health for several years, had excruciating pain with his back, and recently, he had had a very lengthy hospital stay, supported on oxygen for pulmonary fibrosis and severe lung dysfunction. We kept hoping that he would pull through, would go home, perhaps with an oxygen tank, but that he would go home. Instead, in the late afternoon of Thursday, July 25th, he left this world on his own terms and in his own time. While the decision to aid him comfortably in this journey was put on our shoulders as his family, we didn’t have to follow through with that painful decision. He went, all on his own, and in a way, that was very comforting. No what-ifs, no doubts. A final, amazing gesture of love for his family. We were all there, at his side, when he peacefully slipped away. I must have cried a river of tears there at his bedside, as did everyone else.

The days leading up to his death were very difficult and emotional. I so wanted to believe that he would pull through, that he would go home and even with some special accommodations, with oxygen and support, that he would be ok. We would have him a while longer. We went to see him the Monday before he died, and it tugged at my heart to document these moments between him and Brian. At that point, Mr. Harry was still able to communicate some, and mouthed “I love you” to Brian.

Time is the caretaker of life. Each beat of our hearts is a moment of time, a moment of our lives that slips away. These pictures document precious life, precious time. I felt compelled to photograph it. I am glad I did.

That following Thursday, after he passed away, we followed Brian’s mama home to make sure she got there ok, since she lives about an hour from the hospital. It was nearing dusk, and had been raining. From the passenger seat of the car, I looked up to the sky to see a big, brilliant, beautiful rainbow. I have never seen one like it. It followed us from the time we left the hospital, until we turned towards Brian’s mama’s house. Since we were following her and didn’t want to stop, I took a chance on rolling down the window and snapping a picture from the moving car. I didn’t expect to be able to capture a clear image. Several days later, when I took the images off my camera, I found this.

A clear, beautiful snapshot of that glorious rainbow. And about halfway down, there appears to be a cloud-shaped figure, walking. Maybe it’s nothing. But maybe it’s him. Following us home, letting us know he’s ok and that we will be, too. That’s what my heart sees. I believe that there is an interval where we are separated from our loved ones, only briefly for a time and space. We will see him again, and he will be standing upright, with no pain, and breathing easily. He will be whole again.

There are no things, no people that we get to keep forever here on Earth. But, thankfully, God promises us that we will be reunited with them in Heaven. Until then, our hearts keep beating out our time here–moment by moment–and we find hope and comfort in the memories, the promise, and the love. Those are ours to keep forever. And they are everything.