Tag Archives: Favorite

Christmas in July

It’s been a while. It’s been a time. It’s been a season. I have found myself many times simply at a loss for words. More moments of the day than not, my heart beats faster than I ever knew it could. Sometimes it scares me just how quickly it beats. But I’ve come to the conclusion it means: I’m still kicking.

This morning started early. Most of the time, I feel like I’m constantly racing from one second to the next. I don’t want to let anyone down and am not really in a place to ‘slow’ any part of my life down right now. I feel like I’m constantly in a state of inhale (not even sure the last time I actually exhaled). When I do exhale, it’s intentional. I’ve had to remind myself, breathe out.

With the season of life I’m in, I talk to God a lot. Recently, I’ve caught myself talking to Him even more. There’s a lot going on. And this morning on my drive to work, wasn’t any different. As I finish my little chat, I continue playing the Eagles Greatest Hits CD.

Somehow, I find myself thinking about fall and how it’s my favorite season and that I can’t wait for the last 3 months of the year. The feel of that time of year: crisp, colors, comfort, warmth, snuggles, joy, love, bright; always creates an excitement within and I am like a ‘kid at Christmas’.

Just as I’m finishing my ‘I can’t wait for’ thoughts, I hear the keys of the beginning of a very distinct Eagles Christmas tune and then, “Bells will be ringing…” a smile immediately forms. The irony isn’t lost on me. He wanted to spread a little cheer this morning. I graciously accepted.

And I couldn’t resist sharing. So here’s a little holiday cheer for anyone else that may need a little Christmas in July today.

Eagles – Please Come Home For Christmas (youtube link to song)

 

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Glowing Great+Full

As I opened my blinds this Thanksgiving morning, the freshly-wet-from-rain, brown-orange-golden view made me pause. Millions of leaves lay disarray covering the ground in their final resting place. A few still clung to their branches, the trees almost appeared to be aching for them to finally let go. Each piece prepping for dark and stillness. Until next year…

The scape was simply stunning. The leaves going out with a bang. The scene made me recall a quote I had come across recently: “What are you going to do with all that dark?” “Find a way to glow in it.”

This year has been a life altering year. Having been put in situations I would have never dreamed of, there have been some dark moments. It’s been a time of crumbling, a time of changing, a time of letting go of a tree I was so deeply rooted in. Much of this year I have felt like a withered fall leaf floating, bouncing around controlled by a strong wind, trying desperately to find the ground – someplace firm to land – to finally rest.

Sipping my morning tea while trying to enjoy my favorite coffee cake and the view, I feel a sigh escape my body. In no way do things remotely resemble how I imagined them to be. It saddens my heart. I feel full. Full as in ‘that’s enough, please no more’. I need a breather. Can someone else tag in for a bit?

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As those feelings are toying with me, I glance down. My wrist reminder pulls me back. ‘Athas’ the Irish word for ‘Joy’. A token from a trip I took this year. A reminder. A saving grace. A word I fell in love with years ago. That word makes me crack a smile. I love when I see it pop up in life. It always makes me pause and take another look.

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So I look again and when I look this time, instead of full I see great. My beautiful view. My little boy. My favorite coffee cake. A beautiful fall. The smell of a turkey smoking. My family. Pictures I adore that make my heart smile. A sweet four-legged little girl. The amazing ladies I work with. Trips with fun and fabulous people. Laughing. On point memes. The sun shining. My favorite tea in a mug that warms my heart. The massive amounts of texts of love and support I receive daily. My tribe. My fierce tribe. I am greatly full.

The year has been a harder one. Autumn is not an easy season as it is for my family. And where I am ‘full’ things are still ‘great’. My current state may be floating aimlessly through the dark in an uncontrollable wind, but there is still spark and color. I see it. I feel it. And I will find a way to glow in it. So many ‘great+full’ moments still ❤

A Good Dump

Definition Dump:

noun
1. a site for depositing garbage; a place where a particular kind of waste, especially dangerous waste, is left; a place where weapons and other military equipment is stored; a heap of garbage left at a dump; an unpleasant or dreary place; an act of defecation
2. a copying of stored data to a different location, performed typically as a protection against loss; a printout or list of the contents of a computer’s memory, occurring typically after a system failure

verb
1. deposit or dispose of (garbage, waste, or unwanted material), typically in a careless or hurried way; abandon or desert (someone); sell off (assets) rapidly
2. copy (stored data) to a different location, especially so as to protect against loss; print out or list the contents of (a store), especially after a system failure.
3. tackle (a quarterback) before he can throw a pass

Let me preface this piece by saying I’m going to spill some guts here. If you can’t handle a little of life’s sliminess, this read isn’t for you. If you are okay with some unbridled truth mixed with a tad of crass humor then I will do what my body does best by urging you to read on…

Sometimes we all need a good dump. Emotionally or physically, it can help release something internally or externally that just needs to be purged from our body.

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Hi, my name is Carrie, and I’m addicted to my toilet. Well, I’m not, but my rear end is. To me, it’s the best seat in the house.

I have been fighting a battle I have kept publicly quiet about for over 5 years. I will share about it one on one with folks, but to voice it and put it out there like this – is hard (much like I wish my bowel movements were). The bathroom is a private place and that’s where most of my story on a daily basis takes place. To say I’m emotionally spent doesn’t begin to cover it. My IBD yearns to remain active enough to keep causing me daily grief, but not ‘bad’ enough to warrant surgery (not that I want the kind of surgery ‘bad enough’ would offer at my ripe young age of almost 33). I live in limbo of, What should I do next?  My body gives a whole new meaning to “Don’t beat yourself up.” And it’s completely out of my control. Per my autoimmune disease, I’m the only one bad enough to kick my a$$.

Previously, I touched on the outskirts of the emotional journey of having an IBD. The words Alone, Isolation and Misunderstood were at the center. Also, checking in on those ‘blessings in disguise’ they are not always easy to find because they’re coming in a pretty nasty, debilitating and frankly sh*@#y disguise…

So much in and of life gets taken for granted, and most of time you don’t even realize you take it for granted. It is only when something is taken away do we truly realize its value.

A toilet. I love a freaking toilet. Period. I often wonder how long IBD has been around and cannot imagine living with this in the days of an outhouse or less. Plumbing is such a wonderful thing. Heck, our internet was down for a few days recently and all it taught me was a good pioneer, I would not make. How did they survive without social updates…especially if or when they were under the weather and isolated? Can we say first world problems?

Flushable wipes. Oh. My. Goodness. Toilet paper is easily my very own version of the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. Don’t get me started on crappy, cheap toilet paper. On the other hand, too soft tears too easily creating a ‘fun’ (and I use the word fun about as loosely as my stools like to stay) mess. Flushable wet wipes are ‘juuussst right’ and my hiney’s personal BFF. They’re even more lovable when you’re super irritable down there with an agitated hemorrhoid or two.

A good night’s sleep. Who doesn’t love a good night’s sleep? I get it. And there are many out there with sleeping problems. Having an IBD is like living with a newborn every night except you’re the one you’re constantly changing. It leaves room for little rest.

A good meal. I have always loved food. Eating is such a social function too. Food can be an IBD patient’s worst enemy and many times unpredictably. There are many moments I am forced to choose to not eat because it’s just not worth the pain and disruption (and sometimes eruption) afterwards. It’s hard to sit around and watch everyone else indulge wishing you were delectably indulging with them.

A quick carpool line. Now, I’m fully aware most any parent enduring a carpool line at school enjoys when it moves along efficiently, but on carpool’s swift days, my butt is eternally grateful. The anxiety of crapping myself in carpool line (or any traffic for that matter) is always a fear. Urges are unpredictable and when they hit I can give the game of hot potato a run for its money. You may think, Okay. At least you’re in your car and you can get home and change…but what about the smell when someone is assisting your child into the car? Can’t exactly hide that wonderful stench. How embarrassing.

The sunshine. IBD takes an emotional toll. Days of no sun makes it harder. When that sun shines, soaking it in (as long as a bathroom is nearby) is beyond refreshing. Something going in rather than coming out…ahhhhhh 😀

A coca-cola. I finally caved and gave up alcohol a while ago (won’t deny, I was in denial about no longer enjoying an adult beverage especially after a long day, and it’s another social activity others enjoy that gives me a run for the toilet), but to have to give up my favorite little red labeled drink – I may have shed a tear or two. It’s become a celebratory drink. Maybe that makes it even more special.

Healthy food. I was also in denial about what our foods do to us. It is still something I am exploring and learning about, but when I eat as green and clean and as organically as I possibly can, my explosions are not quite so explosive, and I LOVE that.

Meditation. Oh, what peace. Yoga, body stretching, mind relaxing, I love it all. The feeling of being centered again gives you somewhat of a feeling of ‘control’ even if it’s just mentally. You can’t be too modest though…if we are in a class together and you hear a noise that makes you want to giggle – it was probably me 😉

The compassion of someone who gives a damn and shows you they do. It’s easy to feel judged, misunderstood, and forgotten when you have an IBD. I fiercely cherish those who have remained close to me despite my shortcomings. We all need to know we are thought of once in a while. Human connection is imperative to a joyful soul. My gratitude to those still centered in my life comes from the deepest parts within ❤

A good poot. I cannot even begin to describe how delightful it feels to expel gas and not be afraid of needing to be inches from a toilet or worrying if you’ll need to change your underwear. I absolutely relish when I’m able to let it rip (and usually am grinning when I get to do so).

Energy. Fatigue is part of having a chronic illness. You are naturally just ‘give out’. When you are having a good day you want to bottle it up and run with it. You get to take your kid to school without freaking out about how long the carpool line is. You get to make plans and not break them. You get to indulge a little more than you would normally allow yourself. You shine a little brighter that day with big smiles at your significant other.

A good dump. I take great pleasure in a nice firm movement. They feel SO GOOD. Consider yourself beyond blessed if you are regular, firm and healthy in the pooping department. I envy you!

Our digestive system is so intricate. It baffles me. The fact digestive disorders are on the rise is concerning. What makes them even scarier is they’re different and affect everyone differently. No IBD patient is exactly the same. Some medicines work for some while they don’t for others. Some foods send some people into severe pain while those same foods don’t affect others. It almost makes an actual cure seem impossible.

If I can heed you any advice – take care of your body. It is your daily life temple. When your health is taken away it affects your life in just about every aspect possible. I pray steadily for a cure or remission – to regain some regularity to my life. And I will always savor those ‘good’ days. I hope you remember to do so as well.

If you’re still here, I thank you kindly for the dump. It felt really good. And if I see you and it’s a good day, let’s share a coke. Just put a splash of rum in mine. After all, the fact we’re simply ‘feeling good today’ is cause for celebration 🙂

My Monkeys, My Circus

“This is what I like about photographs. They’re proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect.” Jodi Picoult

I have always loved pictures. I have always loved a camera. So it came as no surprise when I fell in love with being a photographer.

I love capturing memories for people. Nothing beats giving them something tangible to look back on. It makes my heart swell. Life is full of busy-ness and a photograph is life’s pause button ❤

When I look back over all of the special occasions I have been privileged enough to be a part of: from on-the-shoot proposals to weddings to baby showers to maternity to newborns to families to pets to head shots to birthday parties to sporting activities to foster pups and adoption stories, and so much more, I am humbled. My heart feels full at the end of each session.

Candid shots of families and friends in the moment with each other are the best. It is when an instance of real life is arrested in a photograph. These are my absolute favorite pictures. Life is messy and hard and goofy and sad and crazy, and sometimes it’s all of that at once.

When these times of chaos occur they are what I tag the ‘Gag Reel’. It is in the midst of trying to seize an instant of a perfect pose that pandemonium breaks loose. These fleeting moments tickle me. It is when we learn to laugh when we probably feel like crying. It is learning that happiness happens when we learn to let go of what we think our life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is. Things feel silly, out of control, and sometimes frustrating. They always make the BEST pictures because it is real life. That is the day to day. Those are the moments we actually live in.

With Christmas card season upon us, and everyone trying to capture the perfect family shot thought I would share my family’s experience trying to get a good picture with all four pet dogs. Yes, there is a decent picture and those who have seen it tell me how adorable it is. I smile and say, “Thank you. It was an event.” because I don’t remember getting the perfect posed shot. I remember how the minutes were really spent and the recollection always makes me chuckle. It was crazy, frustrating and fun.

When I saw the images I laughed until I cried. Having the moment of the chaos captured is priceless because it is an honest depiction of my life. Being able to laugh in life (and sometimes at ourselves) is so important for our soul.

So when you have an overly active five year old and two dogs who look like they have lost their marbles and a little dog who lives in her own little world and your husband is no longer sure what to do about the situation or when life is more like the dog in the back to the left (will leave it at that) remember to “embrace the glorious mess that you are” (~Elizabeth Gilbert).

Even though a photo can make everything seem perfect, life is perfectly imperfect and since every picture tells a story don’t be afraid to tell yours truly. Because the truth in my world is, if chaos is a work of art, then my life is a masterpiece.

From my circus to yours ❤

Walton's

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things (11-20)

Finding a masterpiece by nature.
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The smell of a fire burning in the country.12 -smell of fire

The peaceful sound of some favorite wind chimes in a slight wind.13

The refreshing sound of running water in a cool place on a hot day.14

The anticipation of the right time to pluck a growing melon.
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Going on adventures with my boys on their boat.16

Remnants of baseball practice in the backyard.17

The smell of mint when walking on the front walkway.18

A collection of sea treasures on the front porch.19

A basket full of memories.
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Eucharisteo

Images copyright Bourne & Abell Photography, LLC.


These Are A Few of My Favorite Things (1-10)


The ‘pop’ in the color of the old, sometimes forgotten, shells after being rinsed by rain.
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The smell of a favorite scent burning.
2

The kitchen windowsill that displays the current season harvest.
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A candle illuminating a dark space.
4

Catching a glimpse of a hummingbird’s feeding time.
5

Finding an empty cocoon.
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When the light & dark meet in the sky.7

The smell of a pot of stewing homegrown tomatoes.8

Fresh eggs collected from the hen house.
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Completing a challenging yet stunning puzzle.
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Eucharisteo

Images Copyright Bourne & Abell Photography, LLC.