Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday Morning Coffee

Oh what a beautiful morning!
Oh what a beautiful day!

Yep - it is. The sun is coming up and this mama has a full heart. What a great weekend we had!

Last week was Snowcoming at our high school and it is a crazy, busy week. But it was a fun one! Every day is filled with lots of activities and Friday is always overflowing with school pride and spirit.

Friday morning our administration held a celebration breakfast for all of our students who went the full semester without any referrals due to behavior and/or attendance. I believe almost every student was included - a great number!

They pulled them from their classes and the kids were served an amazing breakfast by our kitchen staff and they were then given time to just chillax. I had set up my camera and props and the principal took care of the "photo booth".
I was pretty busy all weekend & didn't have much time to go through all the shots, but this one caught my eye and I immediately fel lin love with it. The candid shot, catching the laughter of those few, just made me laugh out loud myself!

After school on Friday I came back to take the court pictures. Our King & Queen were so cute!
Both are top notch students and just a lot of fun to be around. So happy they were selected by their peers to represent!

Dream Boy met up with me & we stayed for the games. I haven't been to a game in forever, so it was fun to watch the student section cheer on their teams!

Saturday we spent the day running errands. We had our taxes done, went out for lunch, did some shopping for the house - coming home with new bedding! We also did the grocery shopping and returned home several hours later. 

S&D1 picked up pizza that night & brought it over for us all. It was great to spend a couple of hours with them - we haven't seen them for a bit, so the time was wonderful. We had invited them for the Super Bowl, but they were going over to some friends' house and for a party with their group!

Sunday started off at church and then out to breakfast with a family from church. They told Dream Boy they were headed out to the little cafe by our house, so we surprised them and joined them. It was a wonderful time with them, we thoroughly enjoyed it!

Soon we headed home and I got busy on making dinner for our Super Bowl gathering. We originally invited our Pastor, his wife & their 2 daughters, along with another couple from church. 

Pastor Steve came out early & he & Dream Boy headed out on the bikes for a ride around the lake.

The other couple had texted on Saturday and said they were just going to stay home for a quiet night, but after some coaxing at church Sunday morning - I even promised her she could come in her jammies if she wanted to, no judging here, they agreed to come out for dessert.

By the time 4:00 rolled around, we went from 6 of us to 13 of us! Our house was filled to the brim with people and food. I can tell you if you left our house hungry last night, then it was your own fault! Oh.my.goodness! We had nachos, pulled pork, macaroni & cheese, guacamole, spicy cheese dip, potato chips, cupcakes, and cherry cheesecake dip.............my belly was so full.

The main event - half time - soon came on & we were all there to watch the performance. What a great show it was, do you agree? But as it was when we had little ones, once half time was over, everyone packed up and headed home. 

But my heart remained full and is still brimming with delight this morning as I look back over a very busy weekend, but a weekend spent enjoying this life that God has given me!

Thanks for stopping by for coffee this morning - I hope you have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Benches

Life is forever changing. It begins and it ends.

A new normal to be found when it ends. Only memories to carry us through, the sound of their laughter, the knowledge they imparted upon us and the love they carried for us.

It is our turn to carry on their memory & their legacy. To share who they were with those who come after they are gone.
I have learned in my life that death is as much a part of life as birth. I have also learned what it is to find the "new normal" when that space is now empty. The chair where they sat at the family dinner table is no longer filled.

I have learned in the past 2 days about the loss of an uncle and a very good family friend - who we consider family.

My Uncle Bob didn't live close by and was my mom's last surviving sibling. I was in his wedding, once upon a time. I remember him living at my grandma & grandpa's when I was a little girl and always flipping his silver dollars - just begging for me to try and catch them & run away! 

He soon married and moved to Indiana, and then later to the Grand Rapids area where he was a teacher. Maybe he's where I get the love of my job from?

It's bittersweet to know that my mom's family is gone and that my sisters, cousins & I are now "the family". It is up to us to carry on their legacy and share the stories and the memories and the love our grandparents instilled into their children for God.

The other is of the mom of our very close friends. She is pictured above on the right in the beautiful floral jacket & long black skirt. 

Linda was a beautiful soul who loved life and loved her family unconditionally. She enjoyed laughing, reading, cooking (I love her stuffed peppers) and she loved the beach. Kindred spirits she & I were in that area! 

She battled cancer for the last year and sadly, lost that battle early this morning.

I have been quietly reflecting all day of these two wonderful souls. I am so very grateful to have known them both and that they were a part of my life. They blessed me in so many ways.

I sit and listen to that quiet laugh of my Uncle Bob in my mind. How his whole face would light up when he laughed and the how he would grab that silver dollar just as I thought for sure it was in my grasp. The quiet demeanor of him when we were together as a family at Christmas' past. The hug he embraced me in when he came to the hospital to see my mom & I had walked him out to his car so he didn't get lost in the hospital.

I hear in my mind the laugh of Linda and the stories she would share of the alligator who lived in the pond behind their condo. How she was upset, yet hopeful, that when they came to remove him, he would be taken alive and set free where he should be.

I see her face glowing at the wedding of her grandson and the joy she held in her heart having her whole family together not only at the wedding, but for Christmas that year as well. I remember her telling me how long it had been since they had all been together for Christmas and how her heart was overflowing with happiness to celebrate together once again.

Life changes every moment of every day. It changes so fast.

So I choose to reflect, record in my journal and in my mind, those moments to cherish later in the still, quiet space of my heart.

Uncle Bob and Linda - you are gone from this earth, but your memory is carried on in the hearts and minds of so many, mine included. I thank you both for all that you were to me and that God honored me with the chance to know you.

May we all reflect and be still and remember those that we cherish most and never forget who they are in our life.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Monday Morning Coffee

So - it's the 1st of February, already! 

Our second semester starts today - whoa! It seemed to fly by, yet at times it also seemed to drag. Like last week........I swear it was a full week of Monday's, even with 3 half days due to exams. It.just.dragged.on.....and on.....and on.

The weather here has been not a typical January as of late either. We've had swells of warm weather and rain. We've had very little snow this winter, which is okay I guess. I'm a Michigan girl & I like Michigan winters......this in-between stuff is just no fun. 

I spent a couple afternoons last week revamping my website. I made a decision the 1st of the year to take a very in depth look at my photography "business" and I've been doing a lot of research and reading and I am feeling compelled to make it an "official" business.  You know, registering - licensing - the whole shebang. So I've been working on a business plan for the last several weeks, still working on that, and changing my pricing and packages. There is still room to tweak and play with that, but at the moment, I am confident in what I've decided based on my business plan. 

Did I tell you that the "business" side is not my favorite side of all this? Can you tell?

Well, it is what it is and I am determined to move forward. I love what I do and I want to make it grow. So I am also working on many ideas for photo shoots and expanding my senior model program.

Dream Boy and I spent the weekend close to home. Friday night we watched a couple movies and Saturday we went to a 40th birthday party for a teacher I used to work with. It was great seeing him again, it's been a few years. 

Following the party we headed to church for game night. I'm not much of a game player, so I watched, which is what I really love to do. I absorb and what is going on around me, much like watching people for my photography. We went out with some friends afterwards for coffee and beer and time to have a few laughs.

Sunday was drizzly and just plain not pretty. We headed to church and then dropped off our taxes - yes, our taxes - and then came home where we just lazed and napped the afternoon away. We had a congregational meeting after church that took up most of the early afternoon, so there really wasn't much napping time left. Oh well - it was still a great day!

So here we are again at Monday. A new day, a new week, a new start!

Make it a good one!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Morning Coffee

Hard to believe we are in the last week of January, isn't it? It's also the final week of our 1st semester of this school year, with exams scheduled for Wednesday through Friday.

While the east coast seemed to be pummeled all weekend, from pictures I've seen streaming through Instagram and Facebook, it was a fairly beautiful weekend here. 
We spent Friday night in, and Saturday spent our morning cleaning and puttering around the house. I had some things I needed, so Dream Boy & I set out in the afternoon to run some errands.

The sun was shining brightly all afternoon, but the temps didn't reflect the warmth the sun was trying to share. But in spite of that, the sun sure lifted our spirits and it felt so good to be out and about.

We ran our errands and ended up stopping at Goodwill. I had been looking for a new pair of jeans, but was not able to find any that I like or wanted to pay top dollar for. I never, well hardly ever, pay full price for anything. While browsing through the jeans at Goodwill, I came across a pair in my size and they looked long, so I took a chance and tried them on. Whoa - they fit AND were long enough and were Silver Jeans and were only $9.99. I looked them up online when I got home and they normally retail for $99.00! I was so excited to find a pair of jeans that fit at Goodwill AND they were talls - added bonus - but then to realize the original cost & what I found them for. Major bonus!!

Saturday night we spent bowling in our living room. Ha! Yes.....once upon a time Dream Boy & I belonged to a bowling league and bowled every week with my parents. It's been ages since I've actually bowled, but Dream Boy noticed on his new Apple TV that there was a bowling game, so we downloaded it and bowled 3 games. He beat me on all 3 - oh, was he excited! You see, when we actually bowled, I took after my dad & was quite good at it, usually beating Dream Boy most games.

But don't put us on an ice rink, because he'll skate circles around and around me.

Sunday morning we headed off to church before returning home where Dream Boy took a bike ride in the basement. When he was done, we packed up and headed to the shoreline of Lake Michigan to South Haven. I've wanted to go to the beach in winter for ever and it's silly that I've never done it before this. While past winters have seen the lake frozen over, this year we've had a much warmer winter & so the water is still very open. 

But the ice formations and the beauty and power of the Big Lake were amazing. We were not disappointed.
Absolutely breathtaking. 

It was something to listen to the water move back into the channel and the sound of it pushing the ice away from the pier and even cracking in places where it had frozen solid to the piers.

The power that this water possesses in the summer, when everyone is carefree and happy and frolicking in the waves, was even more evident to me while standing here amongst the frozen tundra and listening to it.

So what did you do this weekend?