Weekly Photo Challenge: Illumination

I am a wee bit behind in posting and reading blogs……at least it feels that way.

I don’t have an excuse. I just get distracted very easily. Sometimes, my attention is here, then it is there. I just go with the flow. It makes my life less chaotic. If I tried to over-analyze it, I’d probably end up with a diagnosis of ADD or bi-polarism.

The truth of it is……I just lack organization and planning skills.

Plus, I’m interested in too many things and can’t fit them all in.

Oh, but I try……and there’s the rub.

What does this have to do with illumination? Well, understanding myself and trying to get where I want to be. It is illuminating.

Accepting myself – flaws and all – gives me a sense of peace.

Resolve was the theme for Project 52 last week.

Fitting for this time of year. My resolve is to be more positive. So, I took a photograph of our wind chime outside.

© Angelia's Photography

Happy, sunny, smiley, and all glowey. It’s perfect, no?

But it wasn’t. It wasn’t perfect at all. Something was distinctly off about that representation.

I stared and stared at the image. Trying to pinpoint what didn’t fit. I wanted to be happier, right? But happier didn’t seem to ring true.

I am happier. Even depressed, I am happy. I am very laid-back and easy-going. Oh, there are certain times of the month I get wound up, most especially, if I have just taken a dose of steroids for my gigantic hives. But mostly, I am content.

I love my life. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful.

But there are times, when the darkness of my past….when the sting of bad decisions…..and all the wrongs of the world…..threaten to take me down.

Sometimes, I let them.

And it is not a pretty place.

So my resolve, the one that fit the most, and called to my heart…is to always shine, even when the days are dark.

Just like my Christmas Cactus….

This flower is engineered to come alive when the nights get longer. See, it only blooms when it has so many hours of darkness – about 12. That happens to coincide with the time change, and the winter months. When our days get shorter….and darker.

Click on any image to display a larger slide show of images.

Not only are they gorgeous blooms from a dry old cacti plant, but there is something special about them.

An inner glow. An illumination. Do you see it?

That is what I strive for.

No matter how dark it is…..open despite the darkness and shine from within.

© Angelia's Photography
The photo above I submitted for Week Two of Project 52. It was chosen as a top ten artist of the week. You can view the feature on Daphne’s blog: Ellenburgh’s Photography.

Maybe, just maybe….I’m on the right path here.

In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present. -Francis Bacon

For more illumination, check out The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge.

Love and Restriction

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of love and restriction is food. Yes, food.

Hey, it’s better than my second thought, which was the time I got grounded from my first car, a week after I got my driver license. Not for one week. Not for two. It was for SIX MONTHS of restriction. I have videos of the car set to the song, “Cry Little Sister” from the Lost Boys soundtrack. It was THAT bad. What kind of parents do that to a teenager after giving them a CAR for their 16th birthday? Apparently mine, because the LOVED me.

Longest six months of my entire life. Still painfully clear twenty-three years later. So you see? Forget the second thought, let’s go with the first one……contemplative cuisine; the snacking, shoveling, and wolfing of it.

I LOVE food. Any kind of food, in any way. An array of delicacy to have affairs with.

Pasta, seafood, sushi, steak, bread, chocolate, dairy, fruit, fast food, slow food, and any kind of mexican – any kind of bakery goods. Fried, baked, buttered, battered, or grilled – doesn’t matter. Like I said, any kind; any way.

I can’t even cook. I am a foodie at the mercy of the many fine chefs mastering in their nummy kitchen heaven in the comfort of their domains.

God love em’.

By the way, my sixteen-year old daughter wants to be a chef when she grows up. Coincidence?

I read somewhere that you only savor the first bite or two of jubilant noshing, and after that you are just eating on auto-pilot inhale. Not me. I savor every morsel. Every one. With pleasure. With rapture. With complete and utter devotion to the chew.

Love…

Restriction…

See, here is the scoop. Food lovin’ makes me gain weight. My tummy bloats. I get heartburn. It clogs my arteries and gives me muffin top. Well… bigger muffin top; like my muffin top eats your muffin top for breakfast, or my muffin top is pregnant with triplets kind of muffin top. So although, I’d like to eat a gazillion calories a day. If I did that, I’d be movable by Mack truck only. So, I restrict myself. Sadly. Tearfully. Does anyone feel my pain?

That’s my restriction – the love of nummy, yummy food.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I hear a Reese’s cup calling my name.

*Originally a guest post on The Scoop on Poop, re-post today, as I really need to drop some pounds before D-Day the BIG day – when I shouldn’t be too “big” eh?

*Images by Google.

Sliding moments

Have you ever seen that movie, Sliding Doors, with Gwyneth Paltrow?
1998

It’s about a girl who loses her job. She goes to catch the tube home early. In one instance she makes the train, but in another (parallel) instance, she watches the doors slide close, and she misses it. The movie follows both scenarios.

This movie fascinated me on the scale of what if? The what if moments we miss. The what could happen moments, or might happen, with a different decision, or circumstance.

How many times have we been delayed at home by missing keys? By the time we find them and get down the road, there is a horrific accident with twisted cars. Do you wonder if that might have been you?

What if I hadn’t signed up for Facebook? Would I have met Jason? Or so many others online that I adore from ediets, myspace, sparkpeople, and blogging – most recently Queen of the Dogs – Peedee, and her daughter Lauren.

My favorite Cowboys fan living in Florida.

What if my mom’s summer fling in 1984 hadn’t ended, and we had stayed in San Diego? Would I have started Junior High wearing OP and carrying a surfboard? Would I have lost my hick accent they all adored? What if my brother and I had lost the fight against the jet stream we had gotten caught in at Imperial Beach? Would the lifeguards have reached us in time? We could see them on the beach with their lifebuoys in hand. We swam to exhaustion, but did in fact land on the beach without help.

What if I hadn’t gotten on plane when I was four years old, and then at thirteen? Would I have fallen in love with travel? With flying? With seeing the world? Or if Eastern Airlines hadn’t gone off strike, and I had actually shipped off to Clearwater Beach, Florida for flight attendant training when I was hired in 1990…..then afterward lived and worked based out of New York City? Would my life had turned out different? I can’t even imagine. I would have been so scared, but I would have gone, no doubt in my mind. And what if I hadn’t left Oklahoma and stayed in that small dusty town? What would I be doing?

What if my mom hadn’t named me after my Uncle Angel? Could I have claimed my name fame via Richard Marx in the 80’s?

And yes, this is how my name is officially pronounced. However, in Oklahoma it got slurred to ANGE-UH-LIA. Rather than, ANGEL-LIA. Meh. Potato – Patato. Besides, I grew up being called Angie, because everyone in our family was not called by their birth certificate names, but by nicknames; Dortha – Deedy. Gary -Lonnie. James – Jay. Angelia – Angie. In highschool, I insisted on spelling my name ANGE. Why? Because it’s the first part of my name and isn’t that what mom did? Just dropped the LIA. I still said it was ANGIE, just spelled ANGE. My brothers gave me hell for that.

Then there was the plethora of animals we had the joys of raising; a skunk, a hog nosed snake, a pet squirrel, multiple rabbits (heh), dogs who had puppies, several cats who had kittens, and don’t forget hamsters, fish, and sheep. Yes sheep. My brother showed them in FFA. In fact, I showed once or twice. They even had baby lambs every spring. Now, we did eat one of the babies the following year. Apparently, that is what you are supposed to do. Gee. Just seems wrong to eat your pet sheep named Reefer. True story.

My parents loved animals, great and small. If they hadn’t, would I still love animals? Would I have three dogs?

So many small things that add up to big things…life things…moments that slide past and do we really even notice them?

If I could change something about my life in one of those moments, do you know what it would be?

Nothing.

Not a thing.

Without each of those moments, happening at just that time, I wouldn’t be who I am. Me and ya know? I’m finally okay with that.

This post was inspired by
Mama's Losin' It

What would you change about your life if you could?

Now, if I had a moment, when say……I won the lottery. Then, I’d reconsider that last statement. 🙂

I had a dream….

A dream to WIN. A dream to walk that runway and seize the marks of the judges, and steal the hearts of all my new fans. A dream to be Miss Tigerette. She was the beauty and talent of a small town in Oklahoma. She rode in the parades. She represented all the young girls ages six to eight to be a model of great pride and poise. She smiled. She waved. She ruled for one year, the title, Miss Tigerette.

I could do it. All it would take was my best dress, my best patent leather white shoes, my best swimsuit, and the boldest brightest smile in the world. It was all within my reach.

And I had a lot going for me. The paper was taking pictures. The Ada Evening News. They MUST have the inside scoop. My mom was a former Miss Ada beauty queen. How could their pick be wrong? I had the genetics. Pageantry ran in my veins.

Just look at all the prep work entailed.

Why just a few days before I had wowed the judges with my six year old intelligence. When asked, “Why I wanted to be Miss Tigerette?” I rather incredulously answered, “I want to win!” The answer still resounds in my head ringing in all it’s simple truth. Why else people? Why else?

The judges got quite a laugh out of that answer and I KNEW I was solid. I had it in the bag.

Who could resist my best blue ruffle dress. My hair curled and prepped by the great former Miss Ada, who even got a runner up in the Miss Oklahoma pageant.

My winning smile, even though I had a black tooth. Yes, it’s a black and white photo and a black tooth. My oldest brother whacked me in the mouth with a swing. Hey, it gave me character. Right there you can see where I learned – beauty is on the inside.

I strutted the stage like a champ.

I pulled my ace in the hole at the swimsuit stage. Check out those sweet sunglasses, that stylin’ suit. No other six-year-old had fashion with such passion.

Like I said, I was a winner, but I didn’t win after all. Shannon won. Shannon won every year. The agony!

Ah, but I got over it. My picture graced the paper. I got flowers from my parents. I was PROUD and happy. All in all, it was a great experience for my mom, and for me, even though I did not get my crown. I did not win that, but I did win.

However today…..today totally makes up for that loss. Today, I finally get my crown. Oh yeaaaah!

Confessions from a Working Mom

I am QUEEN for a week. As your queen, I promise to uphold my values, but just note a few things have changed. No more blue ruffles. Just good ol’ blue jeans, usually the fat pair (that’s too small-ahem). No more curly hair, I just blow dry and go. No more swimsuits with holes, like any where. Hey, gimme a break, 32 years is a long time to wait for my crown. I’m not all that and bag o’ chips anymore. But, I’m going to enjoy it anyway, just a little more worn is all.

My black tooth did fall out (after my first grade picture mind you). Now, I only have a slight gap. I still smile with all my heart. I still want to win, just not against the Shannons of the pageant, but only against myself – to be the best I can be.

Please no pictures. Let’s all NOT eat cake. How about we just cheer with all our hearts gratitude for the wonderful experiences that make us whole, complete, and true even when we don’t win. Sooner or later, we all get our crowns – in Heaven.

“You were not born a winner, and you were not born a loser. You are what you make yourself to be.” Author-unknown.