Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Autumn 2011 Pumpkin

I have grown up with savory childhood memories of love, laughter and creativity.  My family carried on our own traditions, miniscule to others but expansive in my life.  Halloween marked for us some fun traditions such as our pumpkin hunt.  My brother and I would get very excited for this and we took it quite seriously. 

Typically it would be a weekend day and my parents would take my brother and I to a huge field spilling with bright orange pumpkins of all shapes, sizes, shades, inclusive of imperfections and mud.  It was always such a treat to pick our pumpkins.  We would drive about 30 minutes to get to the best pumpkin patch.  Seemed like everything my family did included driving a distance, and only added to the precious time of togetherness.  My brother and I would step out of our car and gaze into the field, each of us already having an idea of what we were looking for and off we rushed into this field of orange.  It had to be round, it had to lean in the right direction and have a good surface to reflect our pumpkin carving designs.  We learned quickly not to pick it up by the stem, only to ruin a perfectly good pumpkin.  What’s a festive pumpkin without a stem? 

Derek and I would call for our parents to check out our finds; to “ooh” and “ahh”  in amazement and encourage our excitement and belief that we did in fact have the two best pumpkins in the patch.  After much praise, pride and approval, we would hold our pumpkins close to our chests, wobbling to the farm stand as if we were holding boulders and with grins we were off to carve.  We gutted and Dad carved.  He made the most intricate designs and we were proud.

Today, where we used to pick pumpkins stands a new church building, but every time I pass it, I will never forget all our pumpkin memories. 

My friend and I decided to have our own pumpkin carving party.  I went to a small farm and gazed across the field.  Sure enough, the perfect pumpkin caught my eye again.  This time I carved the pumpkin and enjoyed the creative day with a sweet friend.

What designs did you choose this year?

Happy Carving

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fullness of Life

“We are often tired, but I believe it is a result of the abundance of our lives.  It is not busy, but it is full.”  These are the first lines I read of a letter received from close family like friends.  Profound, wouldn’t you agree? 

What are we doing with our lives?  What am I doing with my life?  Are we living abundant lives, and what does this look like?  So many questions, so much time to ponder, but I do not believe the answer is that difficult to find. 

I’ll be honest with you, I have been blue lately and can easily blame my frustration on where I am in life.  Comparing myself to others is like second nature and often I long to be on my neighbors green grass.  True, my work life makes it difficult to be consistent with friends, family and in service opportunities, but I have an option of reactions of heart.  How do I choose to make my life full and how does that fullness manifest itself in my life?  Maybe looking to where fullness comes from should be the first response in the search.

We all have searched high and low for this answer to fullness in life and I believe my friend has described it well, “it is not busy but full.”  It’s not necessarily about filling all of your moments with something to do, but our innate nature, our souls know there is more to it than this, no one can deny this.  There is a value to our lives that we give, a longing for something deeper, a desire for connection, and when we are missing it in our lives, it reflects, and differently for each person. 

Psalm 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

I love the Psalms; they are beautiful expressions of truth.  Beautiful lyrical expressions of souls that are poured out by writers shared with their readers.  And they are most wonderful because they are of the inspired word of God.  We are told that there is fullness of joy and that God knows that path of our life.  This is only one verse of the Bible proclaiming this truth, but God has not left us with one verse, but with truths occurred, testimonies of lives lived, encouragement through parables and stories and words spoken by a God who loves and lives the Gospel.  He is different and says come

So how should I make my life full?  Truthfully, I miss people; I have a heart for people and a need to be around them, to meet new people, to share in their stories and to love them.  That is just who I am and when I cannot do this in conventional ways, searching for unconventional ways almost makes me wary.  Do you ever feel like you are not doing what you are meant to?  I do.  But is that pride?  I don’t know, but I know God and friends teach me and counsel me to help shape and make me better.

Ultimately, your and my fullness must come from the source of the One who knows our path of life.  Only in His presence is their fullness of joy and fullness of life.  So quickly, very quickly, I look left and right and see what I think is greener grass, only to be fooled by a mirage in the desert, pulling me away from trust in the One who knows my path.  Sometimes the path seems to have long flat moments.  I’m not sure if they are supposed to be flat or we are supposed to seize opportunities along the path; I’m thinking the latter.
This path is not as long as I’m making it out to be so I have to keep my eyes on God who knows and serve along the way.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sounds of the Cicada

Children calling for one another down the block, the whizzing of a bicycle and summer wind whisking through crisp, green leaves, splashing of pools and roaring ocean waves are all sounds of summer to me. One sound of summer in particular sends me as if time traveling back to my childhood summer ease; the Cicada bug. Oh, these insects are nothing short of creepy, crawly, extraterrestrial looking creatures, but their buzzing crescendo puts me in a place of magical summer memories.

Summertime to me meant vacation in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, where the only sense of time I had was judged by the suns rising and setting. I knew when I began to hear the call of the cicada that it was soon time to leave for North Carolina, just as if the insect was itself a seasonal alarm clock.

The night before we left was always a frenzy at my house. My mom would have us lay out our weeks outfits for the trip, making sure we had all we needed (and extra for those bound to happen watermelon stains). Vacation was not a time for laundry! Boxes of spices were packed for cooking, the umbrella was rolled tightly and ready to shield us from heat, chairs were folded neatly, their creaky hinges in need of summer moisture and PLENTY of sunscreen for us very fair folk. My brother and I packed our small canvas bags for the long 12 hour journey to our seaside haven filled with coloring books, gameboys, books to read, and our favorite toys. Last but not least, the camera and kite. What’s an Atlantic Beach Vacation without sending a kite souring as high as the string allows and appearing as small as an ant up in the sky? I’d say it’s incomplete.

“Alright you two,” my mom would say, “Off to bed.” Of course these were the worst words a child could hear right before leaving on an exciting journey. Having shared a room, my brother and I would talk about all the things we planned to do in Atlantic Beach after we were sent to bed. We’d talk about last year, and how we were more excited than ever this year (and every year we had that conversation), about the new things we wanted to try and the old things we didn’t want to do any longer. The morning seemed like it would never come, and tiredness never seemed to set in. But before we knew it, Mom and Dad were tapping our shoulders with smiles, “Hey kids, it’s time to get up for vacation.” I think those smiles they received were the best gifts we could ever give to them.

Our 3am departure time meant it would still be dark, which for some reason was very exciting. It seemed like no one was up, only truckers on the highway, and that we pretty much ruled the roads. I remember once asking my Dad if I could scream out the window because I was so excited; he obliged and it was thrilling. There was no other way I could show my excitement better than that at the time. Every state we passed through was one step closer to our own little paradise, but even when crossing into North Carolina, it was not yet “vacation.” Our vacation mark came when we crossed the bridge leading us to Atlantic Beach. The tires beating against the cement road creating rhythm as if it was our personal anthem leading us to our dream.

“Finally, we’re here,” we’d shout as kids with our parents joining in our silliness. We’d pass Wings and Eagles (the ocean chachki department stores), we’d pass the hotels and the piers, the restaurants and our favorite children’s theme park called Jungle Land. The best moment of it all was opening up our condo door, running through the house to see if there was anything new, which of course there was not, and then as if we were about to explode with excitement ask, “Can we go see the water?” My Dad would take us down, and it only took 7 minutes before we were completely soaked in our full clothing, because obviously there was no time to unpack any bathing suites; the ocean might run away if we did that. The week was just beginning and I had the Cicada to thank as my seasonal alarm clock, counting down those minutes to arrival.

I’m so thankful that my parents invested so much into us as children. Their time and attention was the best treat, gift and language of love anyone can show.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Featured Artistry : JULY : Meli Nadia

As promised, I have begun a new blog subject entitled “Featured Artistry” in which I will focus monthly on one artist whom I enjoy and admire. This will be anything from music, to art, photography, crafting, landscaping, pottery, etc.

July’s artist is Meli Nadia Photography

{An International Wedding & Lifestyle Photographer}

Her blog states “She loves the feel of memory,” and that memory is what drew her towards photography. She is based in Germany, but proudly supports her passport to Italy.

I found Meli Nadia via facebook from a German friend, and was captivated by her work from the moment I clicked through the photo albums. Her photography is whimsical and full of life. Love and joy exudes from her work and she truly has a skillful eye. She captures the little moments full of grandeur emotion. She knows when to snap the shutter to capture the memories that will forever be in people’s hearts.

If you liked these two photos by Meli Nadia, check out her blog and the Meli Nadia Facebook Page. She wants nothing more than to share memories.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Featured Artist


I once heard a lecture discussing the relativity of beauty, and the question has it been lost? I think there is beauty everywhere; lost is not the problem, but sometimes we are missing it in our lives. A beautiful God created beautiful things. Nature, talents, personalities, people. Beauty is just dancing around us and often we do not take time to notice.

My intention, in part in this blog, is to bring your attention to beauty as my eye sees it. I'm going to begin a monthly series focus on an eye capturing artist and share their talents with you. I hope your eye will begin to appreciate the beauty I see.

Can't wait to share the first artist. Just waiting for her permission to be featured. Hang tight.

Loves in Ohio: Pt. 5

Time for a Wedding

When I first met her in third grade, I told her to get out of my seat. She went home and told her mom that there was a mean girl at school that yelled at her to get out of her desk. And that was the beginning of our friendship.

Ironically our names are both Cassandra, though her name is pronounced with a long 'a' sound. And yes, there is a difference. We had spent many fun years together in NJ, playing with dolls, using our imaginations and riding bikes down to the corner market for slurpees. These were our epic adventures.

The college years came along, as did boys, one in particular captured her heart. He treasured her and loved her more than himself, and she did the same. From the moment she mentioned him to me about how he treated her, I could tell there was something different about him for her; that he might possibly be the one for her. Two years later they were engaged to be married.

The wedding ceremony and reception were in a lovely location called Franklin Park Conservatory; just divine for a summer wedding as the roses bloomed and the greenery was lush and vibrant. They were married as the sun began it's setting, the perfect setting. It was the beginning of their life together.

Congratulations to my sister and brother-in-law.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Loves in Ohio: Pt. 4

A Bride to Be Bash

My childhood friend was getting married, and as the Maid of Honor, I had a responsibility to make the bride to be bash a fun night.

Being all the way in NJ and having only graced Columbus a few times in my life, I was on the internet hunt to search for a fun restaurant to celebrate.

I'm quite the adventurous eater, as some of you may know, but it was important to find a place snazzy, delicious and appealing to everyone. Italian seemed to be the best option, but with an upscale venue rather than family atmosphere. Due Amici in downtown Columbus was right on target for what would be appealing to all. They serve everything from pizza to tender and juicy steak. The mixed drinks were classy and the wine list was not too overwhelming.

We dressed up for this special occasion. The bride wore a hot pink dress and did look hot! Sorry men, she's taken. He liked it and put a ring on it.

Dressing up is quite fun