It’s Been Way Too Long, Blogland

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A few years ago, I really enjoyed blogging. And then I just…fell off the boat. So many things have happened since then.

Our beloved dog, Hannah, had to be put to sleep. My sweet grand baby, Kole, moved clear across the country with my oldest son and daughter-in-law/best friend. My middle son and his girlfriend – also the mother of my two granddaughters – split up, and he became a full time busker and van dweller, traveling all over the country with a little Chihuahua named “Killer”. My youngest son graduated from college and proposed to his lovely best friend. A few billion visits to Pinterest later, there was a gorgeous wedding in downtown Wilmington, complete with all of our family and friends, and they now both live and work in Wilmington. My step daughter graduated from high school, started college, failed to discuss any of the financing with my husband until after the fact, resulting in a painful and on-going rift.

Last year, my father, “Pa Bill” died after a two year battle with lung cancer. My Aunt JoAnn, dad’s sister, succumbed to bladder cancer. And my father-in-law, the indomitable Pete Ebert, gave up a lifelong fight against mental illness and the accompanying debilitating effects of long term lithium use.

My mother and her husband moved into my neighborhood, in fact, two doors down. My mother-in-law has been in and out of the hospital several times with a mysterious malady that comes and goes. My Uncle’s wife of 30 years up and left him high and dry and he relocated from sunny Florida, where he had moved to retire, to – tada! – my neighborhood. My stepfather, a.k.a. “Sweet Old Bob”, had heart surgery and survived against insurmountable odds.

We decided that our lives were way too lonely without a furry friend, so we found another Rottweiler breeder and bought  a  new puppy. This one has got her paws firmly attached to our hearts. Her name is Hattie, which means protector of the home in German, named after my great grandmother. Shortly after we brought her home, our 20 year old cat, Pixie, went to sleep for the last time.

Owning Hattie has been an adventure all unto itself. Her father is a schutzhund champion, so her high energy level has happily resulted in us making many new friends. We have an adorable couple who walk her for us on a regular basis and she goes to “Doggie Day Care”, where she has her own following and we get to share her glory with some wonderful ladies. Puppy training classes for her were a must, and we met one of the best, not to mention most entertaining dog trainers on the planet.

Several road trips in the corvette have happened. We have been to Key West to party with our best friends, Dunkirk Maryland to visit those friends, the Outer Banks, St. Augustine… several times…loved it!…,  Savannah, Myrtle Beach and Asheville to play a final round of golf with my Dad. We flew out to Seattle to visit our grandson and got to experience a whole different part of the country – not to mention our first long flight together. We discovered the beautiful mountains of Georgia and rented a few log cabins up there for a few – much needed – scenic getaways. We think we have discovered the place we want to call home when we are, someday, able to retire.

We bought mountain bikes and have started to introduce our old bodies to a new sport. And yes, I have taken a few rough tumbles. We traded our 15 year old SUV in for a big four wheel drive truck, so we can take Hattie camping on the beach this summer.

Some things have not changed. My husband and I still work the rotating shifts at our job and live for our seven day breaks. We are still  best friends and count every day together as a blessing. We still love to take millions of photos with our dueling cameras and bore all our family members with them. We still spend every day that its warm enough on Wrightsville Beach with a couple of Bloody Marys in our hands and our toes in the sand. Our bond of friendship with our “forever friends”,who we met through an online forum for step parents, has deepened and we hope that we all get to live closer one day.

I have made a few New Year’s resolutions and one of the top ones is to resume blogging. So, although this post is a tedious update and a conglomerate amount of stuff, I hope some of my old readers will re-connect with me and that I will connect with lots of new readers and friends in 2015!

Happy New Year, Y’all!

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Birthday Wishes

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My mother, long ago

This is my mother, at about age two.

 

This is my youngest grandchild, Isa. She is one year’s old today.

I have only seen her one time, when this picture was taken. I am one of the legions of grandparents across this country who are not part of their grandchildren’s lives. I think about her, and her sister, Freya, every single day.

And it hurts.

I hope you are well, sweet baby. I hope you know that you have my blood coursing through your veins. I hope to hold you again….someday.

 

Ahhh….Summer!

Nothing says “Summer” like a day at the beach, y’all.

These photos were taken on Memorial Day at Wrightsville Beach, NC. My husband and I had the rare holiday off and decided to spend the morning in our beach chairs with a couple of  Bloody Marys and our camera. We had fun taking random photos of people of all sizes, shapes and descriptions just relaxing and hanging out at the beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is for a meme called Summer Stock Sunday. It’s been gone for a while and I’ve missed it!

If you’d like to participate, post a picture of anything that says summer to you, and link back to Around the Island so that other folks can find you. Have fun with it, and take time to visit the other blogs to see what summer looks like all over the world.

 

 

The Uncomfortable Truth About Blogging

Blog: a place to have a voice and connect with others.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why people blog. More specifically, why I blog. Or not.

The truth is, I have not been blogging, y’all. Oh sure, I have posted probably thousands of photos, with a few comments about them. I guess that makes me a “photo blogger.” But, I have not been posting my thoughts. And isn’t a true blog really about posting your thoughts?

When I actually examine this, I have not posted my thoughts since I started this blog. I have, here and there, shared a few personal things. But those type posts have been extremely rare. And as time goes by – rarer and rarer.

In January, I decided to join the WordPress Post a Day Challenge, and I did pretty good for a while. But then the wheels fell off and I found myself reverting back to taking the easy way out and just posting photos.

I ask myself, Why? Why is it so hard to write out something personal, and hit publish? There’s a myriad of reasons.

Fear. Fear that no one will want to read it. Fear of being ignored. Fear of being rejected. Fear of being criticized. Fear of making somebody mad. Fear of being laughed at. Fear of exposing a flaw, or a flawed relationship. Fear of being misunderstood.

And the biggest fear? Fear of humiliation. A fear that was instilled in me as a child, by family members who firmly believed (and taught) that our family did not hang out our dirty laundry – for all the world to see.

Then there’s time. Taking the time to write clearly means stealing time away from more worthy endeavors (folding laundry, paying bills, walking the dog, reading emails, and the big time waster – catching up on Facebook!) It takes time to sort out your thoughts, time to find the right words, time to edit it all into something more than verbal diarrhea.

Indecision. Not knowing what to write about. Or how to start it. Or whether to strive for informality, or humor, or clarity, or fluff, or substance. Do I want to entertain or inform? Vent or teach? Amuse or inspire? Should the post be short and to the point? Or long enough to engage the reader?

There are a handful of bloggers out there, who I admire very much, who write fearlessly. They share personal details about theirs lives and they bare their souls to the world. I want to be like them. I want to write something that is real, real enough to make you want to come back and read what I write tomorrow.

Real enough to make you want to laugh along with me, cry with me, and maybe share a few uncomfortable truths of your own.

 

 

 

Last Night’s Full Moon

Last night we went outside to take pictures of the huge “Super Moon.” My husband set up the tripod for me and I took about a dozen shots before it had gotten so far up into the sky that it was no longer “huge.”

This photo was the first one I took, and this is “straight out of the camera”. I took it before he had the tripod set up for me, and this was the automatic setting with a flash, which I was sure would not turn out.

Funny thing is, it’s the best shot I got. I guess I still have a lot to learn about photography. And that’s why it’s such a challenge, so engrossing and so much fun, y’all!

Describing Wilmington, North Carolina

Today’s topic on The Daily Post is to describe the town where you grew up.

I was born in, and grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina, where I still live today. I wrote about how much I love my hometown in a post titled Going Home. It was recently featured on Freshly Pressed, much to my delight, y’all.

Wilmington is a diverse city, made up of all kinds of people. It is a college town, a thriving port, a retirement relocation for many folks of the Northern persuasion, a historic southern city with roots going back to the Civil War, a popular travel destination, a beach lover’s paradise and a golfer’s dream.

It is home to the USS NORTH CAROLINA Battleship, the Azalea Festival, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, the UNCW Seahawks, and the Wilmington Hammerheads. It offers a large  historic district on the riverfront, horse-drawn tours, an authentic riverboat, quaint shops, elegantly restored southern mansions, and  Thalian Hall – one of the oldest working theaters in the nation.

The city has been given the nickname “Wilmywood” since it became a major center of American film and television productions. Films such as A Walk To RememberBlue VelvetTeenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesEmpire RecordsCape FearBlack Knight28 DaysThe Crow (death place of Brandon Lee), Nights in Rodanthe and the controversial  film Hounddog were produced here, in addition to television shows such as MatlockSurface,  Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill.

I love my city; the sights, the sounds, the smells and the people. With my camera, I constantly try to capture  images that can showcase the essence of it – the customs, the food, the oak trees, the historic buildings, the battleship, the gardens, the salt air full of screaming sea gulls, and the lonely river that flows through it all.

Because I think a picture is worth a thousand words, I hope you enjoy this slideshow of some of my favorite photos that I have captured.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Abundance

Give and it shall be given to you, good measure, pressed down shaken together and running over shall men give into your bosom. And with the same measure you give it shall be given to you. Luke 6:38

Katie Lloyd Photography has a weekly photo challenge  that starts on Sunday  – Scripture & a Snapshot. And his week’s photo challenge on WordPress is “Abundance.”

I think the above photo that I snapped in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina illustrates the abundance that is available to us when we give freely. I think there are a lot of folks who do not understand this law of giving. They think they are being generous, but will only give to “approved” causes and only when they can receive a tax write off.

I think God would have us give whenever we see a need, without judging and without thinking of what we will get back in return. Just give and let God figure out who and how to reward! I love the concept of receiving a blessing that is pressed down, shaken together and running over. I’d rather have that than a receipt for my taxes any day, y’all!