Thursday, June 27, 2013

In the blink of an eye- or the shutter.....

Someone once asked me, " What is it you enjoy so much about taking pictures?" It's hard to describe really, and maybe that's why I've never done it as a true profession. Because for me taking pictures is really truly more about just capturing a moment in time, the blink of an eye, the nuance of a look, the expression of a certain emotion ( whether it be human or animal) or the beauty of a particular sight that moves me so I want to share with everyone. I once read a post about the importance of taking pictures, even if you have to pay someone to take your family pictures. It was from a woman who had lost her husband prematurely in an accident. The only pictures they had as a family were pictures that she had paid to have someone take. She mentioned how no amount of money now that he was gone, would have ever been too much to pay for those memories. That because she had done so, her young children have many pictures to remember their father by. And even if they were too young to remember being kissed by him, being held by him, being hugged by him or what he looked like- because of a camera they would be able to see what all of those things looked like.

I encourage you to take pictures!!! Have your pictures taken, even if its just a friend coming over to take pictures of your family in your living room-DO IT. You will be glad, your children will be glad and  your grandchildren will be glad. You can't take a picture of someone who's not there- so while all of your family is here take those pictures and capture those memories forever.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Fifty and Fabulous~

Yes-you heard me-Fifty AND Fabulous!  I turned 50 this year, and I am feeling fabulous!  I know people may look at me and/or my life, and think, "How can her life be fabulous? She is alone at 50, and not in the greatest shape. How can THAT be fabulous?"  Well, let me enlighten you folks.  I recently read this article, and it got me to thinking. Why do we let what others think of how we look, or how we "should" look impact us so?  I am loving the 2nd chapter of my life so much. Not to say I didn't love the first, it was just very different. 50 is MINE! No matter what shape I am in, what someone thinks I should or shouldn't do, look like or who I should love, etc.  I won't let anyone take it away from me either. I may not be someone else's perception of perfect, but I only care about the opinion of One, and He loves me no matter what. 

It's so sad that we think we deserve less, or others think we deserve less because of our shape, our color, or who we love.  It's like saying "You're a really bad driver, I can't be friends with you, or love you." How preposterous is that? And think of all the things we would miss out on if we did that. Think of all the things you ARE missing out on because you refuse to give others a chance. I might wear a very different size than you-but it doesn't mean I am less. You may love someone others think you shouldn't, but it doesn't mean you are less, my skin might be a different shade or color than yours, but it doesn't mean I am less.  I know that in my dying days, if I am conscious and have my wits about me, I won't be wishing I had eaten less or more, I will be wishing I had more time. Yes folks, time passes by all of us at the same speed-no matter your imperfections (or how others perceive you). My goal in the 2nd chapter of my life is to be good, and do good. I want to make a difference, and to strive everyday to be a better human. Isn't that really what we should all want? 

Now go on out and be fabulous-you know you can!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Meet you at the beach~

For the 3rd time in my life, I have moved to a state where I knew no, or few people. When I recently moved to Charleston, my daughter was already living here. But I have previously moved to 2 states where I knew only the person I was working for. While that sort of thing might scare some people, it's holds an strange excitement for me. I am the type of person who can meet people and make friends anywhere. My good friend MW used to tell me in Atlanta, "everywhere we go you see someone you know". It happened a lot. But here, I am meeting new people, with their own stories and interesting facts to tell. Saturday, being as windy as it was, I set off for Folly Beach, sure that I would find the crazy surfers. Nothing seems to deter them, and I was in the mood to take some pictures. Behind the lens is one of my most fave places to be, and I was needing some of that therapy. But on my way I turned down a road I had seen several times, and my curiosity finally got the best of me. I thought I would find an actual fort down there, but I also saw spray painted signs saying
RHINO". I thought "Yay-an animal sanctuary!"  I didn't find that, but what I did find was a group of South African natives (not as in natives from the jungle!), but people from SA that now lived here. The organization was called Project RHINO. They were raising money to save the Rhinos from poachers. One lady I met, Judy, said that growing up in South Africa she remembered leopards and elephants walking through their yards, and seeing so many rhinos as a child growing up there. She said she never would have thought that in her life time they would become almost extinct due to poaching. Another man told me that in the US, poachers can be arrested, but there-you have to shoot them, before they shoot you. It is very violent. Such nice and interesting folks. I hope they are successful in making a difference.

So off to the pier I headed. No surfers, but several people fishing. I met 3 guys from N. Charleston, one of them spotted my camera, and asked me about it. Then he told me he was a photographer too. a COMBAT photographer! Yikes! What an interesting job!  After I picked my jaw up off the ground, I introduced myself and shook his hand. Thanking him for his service. They were very nice, and we talked for a long time. I told him I would keep them in my prayers, and hoped to see them again. I met so many people; a couple (from Baton Rouge), visiting their some and daughter-in-law-so nice!, some others who had been at a wedding and reception at the beach. People here are nice, and willing to talk-which is good for me-since I love to talk to and meet new people!

Hope everyone has a great week, and you meet someone new and interesting!

p.s. Also get to talk to the folks at Pet Helpers about photographing their adoptable animals for them! Can't wait to start that :-)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The long and winding road.......

My road has taken me many places in the last 10 months, and I will try to update you bit by bit, while not overwhelming you.  Most recently the road has taken me to a new state; geographically, spiritually and emotionally.  I will be 50 years old in 6 days, and while that was not the reason I began a new chapter in my life, it has become  a cornerstone of sorts.  My ex moved here in July of last year for work, and in October my 19 year old daughter R moved here to get a fresh start as well.

This move has been (to quote a very good friend) cathartic for me. It has renewed my relationship with my daughter, restored a bit of my sanity and emotional stability and shown me who my true friends are. We all have those moments-the ones where we are faced with the decision of which fork in the road to take. We never know sometimes until it is too late if we have taken the right one or not, we have to trust our instinct, but mostly our hearts. My heart led me down the right road this time, and for that I am truly grateful.

I have always wanted to live in a coastal town, and when my ex told me they needed me here, (because even though we are divorced, we are still family, and my daughter needed her "family"), and that he would help me find a place, it made things so much easier. He knew the area-so he told me  where to look, and where not to look.  Things were hard with the move, I will admit that. But really only because I was trying to squeeze a lot into a small amount of time, to accommodate time already scheduled off of work. But I would have moved sooner if I could have. Once the decision was made, I couldn't get here fast enough. The beach has a healing property that can't be explained. It's almost as if breathing in the waves washes your stress away.

So there's more to come about the move, life as it is now, and what I love about Charleston SC.
For now-hope your road is smooth~

Friday, June 15, 2012

Welcome back..........

WOW! Has it really been 7 months since I've written. How swiftly time moves when you are in the business of life. My negligence is a sign of how busy that life has been. Busy, stressful, but most of all blessed!  If you had told me 2 years ago, when I was fresh out of an 18 year marriage, broken, lonely, jobless and wondering with almost every breath, what God had in store for me, that today I would be so happy, I would have laughed you out of the room!  (and yes, I know that last sentence broke every grammatical rule there is, but this is MY blog, and I can write how I want). Truly, It is amazing what God can, and will do for you. I am blessed because I have a safe, secure roof over my head, a great job, wonderful friends and family, and God is showing me how to truly love others even when they don't conform to what I always thought they should be. I have met people whom I might not have given a second glance, or become friends with had God not allowed me to open my heart. By doing so, He has shown me friends I would never want to live without. I can't cover everything in this one post, it would take you all night to read it, but I will be posting over the next few weeks, maybe months on how my life has been blessed and enriched, and ways I've grown.

A little glimpse here is how I have been blessed by animals. One particular animal is named Scarlet; Last fall my daughter, Beka was living with me for a short period. She met a young woman, Hilary, who was fostering a pit bull named Scarlet. Scarlet had a rough story; she had been found, shot in the head for eating out of someones garbage, half dead. The good samaritan  that found her, took her to the vet, where her life was saved. Hilary needed a foster home for Scarlet, and my daughter offered our home. When Beka told me, I was like,"You did WHAT??"  Well, I couldn't really say no at this point, since she had already committed us (maybe I needed to BE committed!), so I agreed, and Hilary brought Scarlet over. Other than Beka's dogs Mali and Diamond, and then my dog Luna, my pit bull experience was limited. I don't know what I was expecting, but what I met was a whirlwind of energy, kisses, tail waggin hot mess! If Scarlet were human, she would be one of those people that never shuts up and is always so happy, people can't help but be happy too! 

Her antics won her many fans as I posted on my Facebook page about her antics, and daily life with her. She loved kids and humans of all ages, and would lick the cookie crumbs off a baby's hand faster than a baby wipe!  She did too! Just ask little Darby!  Scarlet stayed with us until a new foster space opened up for her. THREE girls and their attitudes was too much for my busy life, so she went to stay with Hilary, where she has taken over the front seat of the car on errands.   Things that Scarlet taught me:

1. You always have a reason to live-she did!  Even if you can't see it-by choosing not to live, literally or figuratively-you are depriving someone else of the blessing of your love and friendship.  She still wags her tails and talks crazy when I go see her.  That's a love that can't be beat.

2. Get over it-she did!  Being shot in the head? I mean, really! At least she was found by someone and saved. Most dogs in her situation die, alone and helpless. The human lesson there? Get over it! There is always someone worse off than you. So when you're feeling sorry for yourself cause your love life is in the dumps, or you've got a back ache or car trouble; Thank GOD that you have a life to live, a back to hurt and a car. Look around you and find someone to go bless-whether it be an animal-by walking them at the shelter or building them a fence (more on that in another post!), or a human-by taking them a meal, calling them to check on them, or just letting them know you care.  Opportunities to bless are all around us, we just have to see them. I miss them a lot, and it makes me angry because that means I was putting my focus too much on me, and not others.

3. Wag your tail!  Well, for us humans, this would more likely mean SMILE!!  ( Although I have been known to wag my tail, as have some girlfriends of mine that shall remain nameless...........for now) Smiling is contagious! When I went to Haiti, there was quite a language barrier (except when I would remember the random helpful French word), but a smile is a smile in any country.

So take a lesson from Scarlet-and enrich your life by digging in your paws, hanging on for the ride and spreading joy. 

Stay tuned for more random musings on things I've learned and blessings I've been fortunate enough to experience!

Love to you all~

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Your worth........

This subject of worth is weighing very heavy on my heart.  The fact that so many people try to find their worth in others, and the problems it causes in their lives is becoming increasingly more rampant. Why do men AND women think that they have to have someone in their lives, and that person's approval to give them self worth? We owe it to ourselves to find the things within us that make us valuable to God. His value is the only one that really matters. Stop trying to make others happy.  You know that saying "You can't love others unless you love yourself"?  It's true. September 2011 marked the one year anniversary of my being on my own again. It's nice, and it is good not having to answer to anyone. I would be lying if I told you it's never lonely, but it very seldom is. I am very fortunate that I know I am loved first and foremost by God, and that no one can ever take that away from me. But I am also blessed with many friends.  And even though I love them all, and love to be with them, I don't find my worth in them.  Each one brings something different to my life, and the richness they bring to my life though could never be measured. 

I have learned over this last year that different people come in and out of our lives for a reason. None of it is accident. And each one has a lesson (whether they know it or not) to teach us. The lessons are sometimes good, and sometimes bad.  So take the lessons and file them in your heart, learn from them. But more than anything, learn that you have worth! And you are very valuable to God-He makes NO mistakes. Start living your life and giving yourself value! It will make a WORLD of difference!

Happy Monday~

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Animal tales..........

I am back, did you miss me?  It's been a busy, weird, stressful but still good 4 months. I am sorry- I PROMISE never to be away that long again.

My name is Rhonda, and I am an animalholic.  I know, I don't think that's a real word either-but it fits.  It's really mostly dogs, but I love all animals-some more than others (spiders are NOT considered an animal, right??). I could blame it on my mom, but I really think my father is to blame. After all, it is he who used to raise Beagles, for rabbit hunting. Sometimes we had 30 dogs (including puppies) at once. My sister Kellie and I quickly became addicted to puppy breath. They should really just go ahead and make a body spray out of that ever-lovin stuff! Anyway-my Dad would leave for work, and tell us "Now don't ya'll go and ruin those pups." What he really meant was this, "Don't go in the pen and love on 'em, and pet 'em, let them crawl over and lick you, and make them pets instead of working dogs." He would barely be out of the drive way before we were laying in the grass being mauled and trampled by little furry, bellies-full-of-milk, happy, cute and sweet puppies!  We couldn't get enough of them.  So, yeah-it is clearly his fault.  We always had at least one dog growing up. We had one border collie who was afraid of thunder. NEVER did a dog get to come in the house, except this one, and just right inside the door during storms. My Dad was very stern with his dogs, and not until he had his last one, Katie, did he ever really have one for just a pet, and not a hunting dog. She was all of 2lbs when he brought her home at 5 weeks old. Mom said, "I am not getting attached to that dog, I am not taking care of her, it's your Dad's responsibility." I looked and my husband and he said, "Yeah, that will last a week." Sure enough, about 2 weeks later, Katie was sleeping in their bed!!!  I knew then my Dad was done for. This dog stole his heart. She was his very faithful companion; going hunting with him, fishing, to his place at Lake Seminole. They would be gone for weeks at a time sometimes. Everyone knew her-the guy at the golf cart shop, the people at the Lake where he went to eat breakfast. She worshiped my Dad, and he thought the world of her. As seldom happens, Katie outlived my father. He was taken 11 days shy of his 71st birthday by a cruel form of cancer. We took Katie to see him in rehab before he got too sick to not recognize her, then for the last time on Christmas Day 2004.  He was in a coma then, and didn't recognize her, but she knew him, and I could tell by the look in her eyes-she knew it wasn't long until he would be gone. Fortunately-during my dad's illness he was in the hospital, or rehab a lot, and Mom and Katie spent many hours together. Mom got used to having to be there to let her out, feed her, etc. It was God's way of breaking them in-and giving them time to get used to being on their own together. My father passed away January 1st, 2005. After that you would have thought my Mom and Katie had been together forever. They became the best of friends. Now that precious animal gift from God is seeing my mom through the winter of her life as she deals with Alzheimer's disease. They live in North Dakota with Kellie, her husband and their two dogs. So Mom isn't alone, but neither is Katie.  She has dog companions to keep her happy because I know that as time goes by my mother will become less attentive, due to her illness. I am glad they are both getting to enjoy each other, and thank God for my sister who is making sure they both have the best times possible right now.

Mom, Sofie, Buddy and Katie (far right)