Happy Friday: Photo Scavenger Hunt

Look at all the happy I found this week, even amidst my own grumbliness. It makes me want to cheer.

Jamie sent us Happy Book participants on a photo scavenger hunt for things that depict the following words: circle, tree, smile, sparkle, heart, clean, treasure, red, fresh, sky, yum, toes, morning, and home.

These were my finds:

The circles were left behind after I moved potted grape vines to their new in-ground location by an arbor my husband has been building this summer.

The tree is a waist high oak that started a year ago from the tiniest, most pathetic looking stick I’ve ever seen. We weren’t sure it would survive, but it’s been growing strong.

Smile felt like a self-portrait was in order. I almost used my growing belly as circle, too!

Sparkle comes from my magic wand, given to me by an old colleague who thought it might help me solve all those “need it yesterday” requests.

Yesterday I opened the windows and let the breeze air out our home, so the blowing curtains represent clean.

At the zoo last weekend I was lucky to capture a photograph of a mama and baby giraffe sharing a moment together. This perfectly encompassed treasure in my mind.

Red and morning are represented by the hummingbird feeder on my deck. Each morning when I’m eating my breakfast, the hummingbirds are having theirs, too.

I doubled up again for fresh and yum after collecting produce from the local farmer’s market and grocery stores. Is there anything better than fruit in the summer?

The sky was a beautiful mix of cheerful blue and ominous gray yesterday as wind moved in and cooled the air.

And yes, those are my toes happily propped up enjoying a peaceful moment.

Our well-worn doormat in the shape of home plate is the first thing that greets us and our guests as we enter the house.

Last but not least, I drew the center picture a few weeks ago using pastels to show the love I feel for this new little bundle of happiness growing inside me. I gave him a big heart because, well, isn’t that what we all want for our children? Hopefully all this happiness is rubbing off on him.

Happy Friday everyone!

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Wishcasting: Less

Wishcasting badgeOn this glorious Wishcasting Wednesday, Jamie asks, “What do you for less of?”

I have so many answers to this, but they pretty much all condense down to three things: stress, negativity, clutter.

For me clutter is the easiest of these to reduce. I go through waves of massive declutter several times a year. No matter how much I get rid of, it seems I can find more to clear out soon after.

The stress and negativity are a little harder to tackle. It’s other people’s negativity that causes a lot of my stress, so those two kind of go together. I’d be fooling myself if I thought I was negativity free, though, so I also have to include myself in that.

Since I can’t change other people, the best I can do is try to avoid negativity in myself. Where other people’s negativity is concerned, I can make a concerted effort to change the subject or walk away.

As for stress, making quiet time to be alone, even for just 15 minutes each morning and night can make a world of difference. That’s why my wish last week was to begin a ritual that would help me do just that.

Jamie sure knows how to pose questions in a meaningful order! What do you wish for less of?

Happy Book Challenge – Mascot Magic

In the first Happy Book shake-up challenge posed by Jamie about a week ago, we were to choose a mascot and photograph it along our weekly travels.

I chose to use my doll from a set of four doll Christmas ornaments I gave to my closest friends last Christmas. Unfortunately I didn’t do too much photographing of her last week, but I did manage to take a couple of photos.

Once at Chick-fil-a with their tasty lemonade…

doll with Chick-fil-a lemonade

…and another day at my husband’s softball game. Here she sits on the game ball in my bag chair.

doll with softball

What I thought most remarkable, however, was what happened at the end of the week. This weekend we went to the Philadelphia zoo with some friends. I was looking at some animal or other when one of my friends said, “Wow! A butterfly just landed on you! They must really like you.” Still trying to process what I just heard, I turned to my husband and caught sight of the butterfly just on the back of my shoulder.

The remarkable thing is that the butterfly is my kindred animal spirit. You might say the butterfly is my actual mascot. And there one was just resting on my shoulder. I felt like Cinderella.

butterfly on Sherri's shoulder

Good Food, Fun Art, and Words of Wisdom (all from a little tex-mex joint)

Finding decent Mexican food has been a challenge since leaving Arizona for New Jersey almost 7 years ago. Today I was excited to stumble across a hole-in-the-wall wonder called Tijuana Flats in the middle of a bland looking shopping center. I’m almost sad I haven’t encountered this little franchise before.

My lunch was delicious, but I was even more captivated by the decor. Visit the Tijuana Flats website for a taste of their bright comic book atmosphere.

A manifesto adorned one wall and all of the tables proclaiming their “anything goes approach to food, wall art, hot sauce & life in general.” Among their words of wisdom were these little gems (in no particular order)…

  • Embrace the strange & unexplained, if at first you don’t understand it, maybe you never will
  • Next time, order a chimichanga just because it’s fun to say
  • Lighten up or leave
  • Accept all kinds of people, even those that use mild sauce

I’m betting they’re right when they say, “we don’t like to brag, but there’s a good chance we’ll be seeing each other again.”

Tijuana Flats manifesto

Tijuana Flats manifesto

Wishcasting: Begin

Wishcasting badgeIt is Wishcasting Wednesday, a wonderful day when we can cast our wishes out in the world and support everyone else’s wishes with positive energy.

Today Jamie asks, “What do you wish to begin?”

I wish to begin a daily ritual, either in the morning or at night (or both!). Something quiet and calming to get myself in a good state of mind.

On Monday I started my day with tai chi which left me feeling peaceful, yet energetic- ready to take on the world. I haven’t done it since and I’m not sure why. It might be a good way to start each day.

Last night, I spent about 15 minutes washing my face and putting lotion all over. I felt clean, refreshed, and relaxed- ready to ease into bed.

Making one or both of these things a daily ritual seems like it would make my life richer and they’re really not that hard to do. Now the challenge becomes finding the dedication to keep these appointments with myself.

What do you wish to begin?