The Rudolph Sort of Hope

ihaveacoldMy least favorite Christmas gift this year… a cold.

Can’t return it. Can’t exchange it. Can’t re-gift if. ( wouldn’t if I could.) Can’t seem to shake it, either.

When you have a chronic condition like I do, simple little things like the common cold are anything but simple. Plus, we RSD’ers seem to do everything on a grand scale.  With immune systems that are already functioning out of whack , fighting a common cold can really tax our bodies. Sometimes that taxing causes our disease to “flare up” = not so much fun.

Who knows, maybe they’ll let *me* join in some reindeer games !?

( if I’m up to it. )

 

 

The Jolly Sort of Hope pt 1.

Ever since I started dating my husband, the last Sunday before Christmas was always one of my favorite days. His mom and step father host a party that is filled with family and food and children. Santa even comes to personally give all the little children their “early drop-offs.” Everyone gets a chance to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they wish for and/or have their photo taken. For as long as I have been married ( 16years) there has never ever been a shortage of small children in this family. They are the joy of Christmas for me. How wonderful it must feel to be able to host such an event! Sadly this year, for the first time in my life with my husband, I couldn’t even make it to the end of the night. Thank you RSD.

Normally we arrive way before everyone else and stay way past everyone else. It’s time we don’t often get to spend with some of the people at the party. Plus I always felt like I needed to help my MIL as much as I or my family could that day. It’s a huge undertaking for one person. But I’m sure worth every moment once you see the smiles on the children’s faces as they see Santa come down the stairs. Last year I positioned myself perfectly to take pictures of just that. The little children as Santa arrived. Sheer Christmas magic!!

This year I photographed the event with my broken 18-105mm lens. The focus doesn’t always focus and the zoom doesn’t always zoom.  Challenging at best. Like many of my mentors, I don’t shoot with flash. Indoor lighting and I are not the best of friends. That being said, I’m not too terribly disappointed with the results. It can sometimes be like a mini press conference when the children hop on Santa’s lap. But I did get most of the kids as they sat on the guy in the red suit’s lap. Some didn’t stay long enough for my fickle lens. Some did. Some families looked at other people who said “say Cheese” and  sadly you can’t go back and get a do-over.

So as my BFF has been heard to say to her 2 boys ” you get what you get and you don’t get upset.” ~ In any event, I hope no one get’s upset. My in law’s Christmas party never fails to help make me jolly. Holidays are about families and love.

Merry (after) Christmas!

The Sort of Hope Who Should

I should be shopping. I should be wrapping. I should be writing Thank You notes. I should be talking to my brother. I should be petting my dog. I should brush the cat. I should strip the beds. ( oh their embarrassment!) I should dust. I should be scrubbing the shower. I should phone a friend. I should take out the trash. I should sort the mail. I should be baking Christmas Cookies. I should be editing photos. I should be putting laundry away. I should be *doing* laundry. 

I should not be writing a blog. 

I should figure out why this is typing in blue….  stockingswerehungIf memory serves, my younger sister Rachel emailed that cartoon to me back before I even had a fb acct. ( now that’s a long time ago.) It  just never gets old for me. Must be the balls 😉

Though my most recent photo session with Kevin of Soul Imagery looks more New Year’s Eve than Christmas, I still felt like sharing it with my favorite Christmas cartoon. I get so excited when I see his name on my messenger list. That part feels a bit like Christmas. I love to see the results of our work together.  Just got 2 more photos back from the day we spent at Adrienne’s Inn at Center Park. Still hoping to get to shoot there again~hopefully while I still have these long locks!

Hope” But if you’re thinking

about my baby,

it don’t matter

if you’re

black or white    ~ Black or White, Michael Jackson

Hope

I should go to bed. 😉

http://soulimagery.zenfolio.com/portraits/h4f081874#h4f081874

The Sort of Hope Who Helped Make Spirits Bright

Hello Blog world friends

I haven’t been able to blog much since the happenings in Newton CT last week. Haven’t been myself. Haven’t felt joy, or love, or even much  ‘hope’. Until just these past few days.

However, I’m beginning to feel  a tad bit better. I’ve witnessed at least 4 things that I’ve found noteworthy that have helped to change my opinion of our world. Things that I felt were worth sharing.

  • Unbeknownst to me, I had a high school classmate who teaches in that very school district. Her name is Bonny. After the tragedy, Bonny began something called “The Snowflake Project”. She posted on FB that she wanted all of her friends help in making snowflakes to hang in the hallways of the new school (which was an old, no longer used school) where all the children would now be attending.  Thanks to the power of social media, Bonny’s project took on a life of it’s own. Everyone shared her status, myself included. My friends who don’t even know Bonny went on to share and act on Bonny’s project! It went completely viral. We were even making snowflakes here in the elementary school in little Oley, PA.

That made me feel a little bit better. Gave me a little hope back.

  • I have a younger cousin who lives in all the way in CA. She had twins a couple of years ag0- one of each flavor.( I was so jealous! )She is also a lawyer who is married to a banker. Very successful. So proud of her.  She is my Godmother’s daughter. My Godmother was a wonderful woman who was taken from this Earth far before her time. She sent me an incredibly generous gift. A new lens. It’s a size that I had but it functions better than mine *and* it does Macro. It’s smarter than me right now, but have no fear, I’ll get there. When I sat down to edit some photos I took yesterday, I had to do little to no post processing. It was amazing- what a hand saver!! But what meant more to me than her benevolence, was the letter that she also sent to me. Her words. I actually contemplated sharing them, but just couldn’t. They are too personal for me. Too special. But I hope she knows how very much they will always mean to me.

More hope restored. People who do things for no reason.

  • Then for the second year in a row now, I was lucky enough to be involved in something called “The Cups of Compassion” in downtown Reading, PA.An event that feeds the needy, the homeless in our area.

Got involved with it last year through Nick’s baseball organization. Due to a rainy fall season, and one fall snow-out, we had a bunch of left over food that we decided needed to be donated somewhere. Long story short- we found the somewhere.

I submit to you the letter that the President of Berkshire Baseball wrote which summed up yesterday so beautifully I couldn’t even begin to write another myself:

So today was my Christmas Day, my wife sometimes tells me that I am a scrooge, but that really isn’t a true statement. I really do love Christmas, I just hate the commercialization of Christmas that we experience in 2012 and really for most of my lifetime. Christmas isn’t about trees and lights and presents and gift cards and crazy crowds at the mall fighting over the latest video game or camping out to buy a $180 pair of sneakers.Christmas is about peace, love and joy. Christmas is about true giving. Not the giving of material things, but the giving of real things. Giving a hug. Giving a smile. Giving your time. Giving a meal. Giving to those in need. Giving because you as the “giver” receives as much joy from seeing the true joy that your gift brought to someone else. Whether that someone is a friend or stranger, you can touch someone’s life without running up your credit card debt.Today I was honored to be part of a community that has been labeled as the “poorest in the U.S.” and if a stranger stopped at 5th & Penn today, they would have sworn that we were the richest city in the union. There was no wrapping paper, no gift receipts, no disappointment in what we received. There was no pushing in line, there was no complaining.What there was, was love, joy, peace and giving. There were hugs, there were smiles, there was spirit. There was patience and understanding. There were burgers and dogs and soups and fresh fruit and cookies and coffee and hot cocoa and blankets and hats and even ice cream. There was black and there was white and there was music and it all blended together to make a perfect harmony and a beautiful sound.For about four hours today in this great city, we were all one. The size of our bank account didn’t matter, what we drove didn’t matter, the size of our house didn’t matter, the color of our skin didn’t matter.The only thing that mattered was that we were all there, together. Helping each other with what we had to share. Some gave time, some gave food, some gave money, some gave talents and all gave smiles.For two years in a row now, the true spirit of Christmas came to this city. For two years in a row, I have been able to celebrate my style of Christmas.I am humbled and grateful to be a small part of a great event with such wonderful and caring people.I showed up this morning to give what I could and again walked away this afternoon feeling as though I had received.Thank you to everyone who helped again to make “Cups of Compassion” reflect the true spirit of this city and this season. ~ Dan Clouser, President Berkshire Baseball

I am so lucky to be a part of an organization like Berkshire Baseball that fosters an environment of  compassion and community spirit. More hope restored. People who do things just because.

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And finally,

  • Today at work, an elderly lady was telling me when she checked out that she couldn’t keep her next few appts to get her hair shampooed and set because she was behind in her doctor bills. She went on to explain that her insurance didn’t cover regular doctor visits and it cost her $200 every time she got checked. She wanted to make her appointments just for a set ( which is cheaper). We talked for a while longer. I listened and I als0 told her I understood completely because of my condition and the treatments I am currently undergoing. When she left, I shared her story with my boss. Without hesitation my boss said we were going to make her regular appointments happen for her even though she can’t afford them. In fact, she said, we were going to take it one step further and send her a Christmas Card informing her that she had won our drawing for 6 months of free shampoos and sets!

We are just a small salon. Things like that can’t be easy for my boss to decide to do. But she does. All the time. Without hesitation. And she never turns anyone away it seems. I am so lucky to be a part of that environment. More hope restored. People who do things just because. Difference makers.

~”why can’t every day be like Christmas?”

my apologies.. I’m getting past my limit physically right now and sometimes my mind struggles with coherent thoughts when my physical self reaches it’s max. It’s a constant battle between what I want to do and what I can do. 😦

http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=438336

The Return of Hope

“Entertain great hopes” ~ Robert Frost

1hopeI’m back!

Hoping to return to our regularly scheduled blogging as soon as am physically able. Will know if treatment worked within a week or so.

In the meantime, I didn’t want to be forgotten. – so here’s a short story .

christmasnick98

I always preferred white lights at the Holidays. Thought they were so classic. So clean.

Then, when Nick was about 3 or 4 , he told us that he thought Santa couldn’t find your house unless you had decorated with red lights. You know, to match Rudolph’s nose. So, like every good parent would, we proudly decorated our house inside and out in nothing but hundreds of  red lights. So Santa could find us. ( and prayed every night that no one thought that they were in Amsterdam.) Nick would look out the window  nightly to make sure that “Rudolph’s noses” were on. He was hopeful. We still don’t know where he got that idea, but it certainly has come to be one of our favorites.

We continued that tradition for quite a few years.

We’ve graduated to all colors now, but that is a story that will stay with our family forever. How we joked about our own little Red Light District  and if our toddler would only know what we were doing to appease him.

I suppose those are some of my favorite parts of Christmas.

The traditions, the stories, the families the love, and yes, the hope.

The sparkly snowflake

Wishing a very special friend of mine the best of birthdays today! ❤

The Compassionate Sort of Hope

Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.  ~Jesse Jackson                                                    As someone who , due to circumstances beyond her own control, has had to be on the receiving end of the giving, I know all too well that life doesn’t always go the way you intend it to. So when October dealt us a snow storm last year, and left our organization with quite a bit of leftover concessions, I offered up the suggestion to donate the goods to a local shelter. As a board member of our local visitors bureau, our  President took that suggestion one step further. I baked cookies, took a giant caraffe of coffee for our table of visitors, signed my daughter out of  school, grabbed our smiles and off we went. The end result was nothing short of the best Christmas gift I have ever received!  I can’t wait to be a part of it again this Christmas.  These photos are from last year’s Cups of Compassion. (again, I didn’t know a whole lot about how to use my Nikon back then.)  If you are ever feeling bad about your lot in life, all you need to hear is someone ask if they may have a slimjim to take home to give to their daughter for her Christmas present. It brings a whole new perspective to your situation.  I wish more of the world would be grateful with what they had and less worried about what the Jones’ were doing…http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=354010   http://www.bctv.org/special_reports/basic_needs/cups-of-compassion-in-downtown-reading/vmix_cb56409e-2b4b-11e1-a938-0019bb2963f4.html