in the quiet of the morning . . .

Life is only a reflection of what we allow ourselves to see

In the quiet of the morning I stepped outside into the brisk October air, McKenzie and I were out for our morning walk.  The day was still dark, the sun rises later this time of year. Breathing in the crisp air, taking in the quiet of the moment, I looked up and noticed how bright the moon was.  Was she looking down on all of us, or is she somewhere else living the life she should have had?

It was early Saturday morning, October 30, 2004 when she passed on. Today my mom is gone fourteen years, seems like only yesterday, but in reality it has been fourteen years.  She lived a life, I’m sure, she never envisioned when she was a child. She came to find peace that final year, retiring, moving into a new apartment she would decorate and furnish, it was all hers.  She purchased a new car and was so excited about both her new apartment and car, she would only drive it once.  She spoke with joy of the ducks that frequented the parking lot of her new home.  Just minutes from me and my family, but worlds away from where she had been for most of her life.

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 Mom (Catherine) is on the right

Being raised Catholic, we were taught to believe once you die, your soul goes to Heaven. I’m not quite sure what I believe. Heaven is most likely a beautiful place, but in my heart, I believe we are born again into another being.  Our soul becomes someone else, we live another life completely. What we do in this life, affords us better or worse in the next life.  My mom is living a wonderful life, one of tranquility, happiness and wealth.  Not wealth in the sense of possessions, but wealth as in an abundance of happiness.  She deserves happiness and peace.

As a child, I only remember her speaking of being carefree and happy once in her life. That is not to say, that she didn’t find happiness in her children, she absolutely did, my sister, brother and I were her whole world.  What I am referring to is a happiness within.  Only once, I believe, she actually found that happiness and it was while on a trip she had taken to California. This was before she got married and had children, she was young, carefree and happy.  I don’t remember her smiling often, but she looked radiant in the photos taken in California.  There were even photographs of her on a motorcycle, and at the beach, certainly not the mom I knew! (LOL)  She was young and oh so beautiful, auburn hair, a beautiful milky complexion and dressed so stylishly.

 

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Mom sitting with dark shirt/Mom in the white dress – California

This past June, my husband and I took a trip to California and I now understand why she fell in love with all of it.  An ocean bluer than blue, winding roads, beauty as far as your eye can see, and a carefree lifestyle not found in New Jersey.  Part of her will forever remain in California, where she belongs, where she knew pure and simple happiness.

I know my mom would have loved watching her grandchildren graduate from high school and college.  She would have been beaming from ear to ear with joy as her oldest grandchild was married and became a mother herself.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t here to witness any of those events.  I do know that wherever she is, she has found the happiness she so rightfully deserved.

As always, thank you for following along and sharing in my life.

Until next time. . . .

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Inspiration of the Heart

Sometimes you have to stop thinking so much and just go where your heart takes you 

The problem is I don’t know exactly where my heart should take me . . .

I seem to have lost my way lately, what do I want to photograph?  Do I even want to photograph anymore? I remember this happening several years ago, I was photographing portraits, thinking that I would make a second career from photography. The only problem was, I didn’t.  I found myself lost, frustrated and disenchanted with photography completely.  So I stopped, just stopped.  I didn’t pick up my camera for months.   Continue reading “Inspiration of the Heart”

Every Life Has a Soundtrack . . .

“When you’re standing in the moment, every life has a soundtrack.” ~ Brett Eldredge

In this hectic world we live in, there never seems to be time to slow down and just enjoy life.  As a child, cell phones, computers and social media did not exist. My sister and I colored, rode bikes, and played in our swimming pool.  My mom discouraged us from being inside, unless the weather was bad.  Instead we were encouraged to be outside and enjoy the fresh air, albeit, sometimes it was a bit hot, our only rule was to return home in time for dinner.  That was how life was thirty plus years ago.

Continue reading “Every Life Has a Soundtrack . . .”

A Letter to Me . . .

“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” – Voltaire

While listening to the radio the other day a song by Brad Paisley began to play.  The song is called “Letter to Me” it talks about writing a letter to your seventeen year old self.  It made me think about what I would write if I wrote that letter to my seventeen year old self.  Many thoughts started running through my mind.  Once I arrived at work I tucked the thoughts away for later in the day when I could really think about what I would write. Continue reading “A Letter to Me . . .”

A New Me – Sort Of . . .

“Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.”
― Germany Kent

What’s in a name, anyway?  If you are a parent, you know how difficult it is to choose  the perfect name for your baby.  If you own a business you may have been faced with the same difficulty.  It can take agonizing hours to find just the right name that will express exactly what you do, and more importantly, what your business is trying saying.

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I found this to be so true with the name I chose for my business, many years ago.  I tossed around many names and in the end I chose my own name, but never really felt  it said what I wanted it to say.  So after much soul searching, I decided to change my business name, along with my approach to what and how I portray me and the direction I want my business to go in.

~ my new name is based on my childhood nickname ~

Doodlebug Designz Logo Color SizedI hope you will continue to follow along.  I will still be posting my weekly blog, accompanied with beautiful photographs, stories and what adventure or event I have going on.  Along with my blog, will be a newly revamped Etsy site where I will begin to sell greeting cards, thank you notes and paper items.

 

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Life is a journey, sometimes we need to stumble before we can find our way. I look forward to meeting you all on the other side of the new me.

Thank you for following along, may you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving . . .

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who do I see …

when I look at me . . .

I see an older version of me staring back in the mirror, when did I become this age?

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I see a mom, to a small baby girl, who has grown to become an amazing young woman.

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I see a wife, who is married to a wonderful man, who was the absolute right choice all those years ago.

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I see a photographer, who photographs the world around her trying to find the good and pretty in a mixed up, crazy and scary world.

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I see a cancer survivor, who is missing part of her eyebrows, a daily reminder that I am a survivor, this is the person I see staring back at me  . . .

Who do you see staring back at you?

Thank you for stopping by, taking your time to share in my world, my thoughts and views.

Until we meet again  . . .

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the inevitable . . .

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.” ~ John Grogan

If you follow me on Instagram you have seen many photographs or our Westie, McKenzie. McKenzie has been part of our family for twelve years now.  I guess it was about one year after we had to put our Akita, Teddy, to sleep that I decided it was time to have a dog again.  My husband and daughter knew they wanted another dog after we lost Teddy, but I was the hold out.  I just didn’t want the responsibility of owning a pet again.  My daughter was getting older and we weren’t home much anymore for a pet. Logical, right?  Even though the logical part of my brain knew we really shouldn’t own another dog, the emotional part of me knew the house was lonely and we needed to get a dog.   Continue reading “the inevitable . . .”

Time . . . | Smithville Lifestyle Photographer

Good morning yesterday, You wake up and time has slipped away …

Time is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.”

This week my daughter and son-in-law will celebrate their first wedding anniversary.  I cannot believe one year has gone by so quickly.  Last year was so busy, so many plans and events, it’s difficult to remember all of the little details. We seemed to be living in a wedding frenzy, joyful busyness that encompassed our lives.  This year has been the complete opposite, quiet with no big event to plan.

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Cristine’s Christening – 4/28/91 1 Month old

The quote above is from a song titled “The Times of Your Life” by Paul Anka, (oddly, that song was an advertisement for Eastman Kodak) my sister played that song at her wedding when she danced with my father.  That too is so long ago, I was pregnant with my daughter and life just seemed to move at a steady pace back then.  I’m not really sure when it seemed to move as quickly as it does now, but I know that it moves much faster the older I get.  Both of my parents are gone now, just the three of us left, me, my sister and my brother, who is the youngest.  I remember when my parents brought him home from the hospital, we are five years apart and, I can remember it like it was yesterday.

This week, I started thinking about time, with Cristine’s first wedding anniversary approaching, I thought, how did it all go by so fast?  She was just a newborn last time I looked, 26 years could not have gone by that quickly, could they?  I can still see my mom bouncing (yes bouncing) down the hallway of the hospital, on her way to meet her first grandchild.  Presents and pink balloons in hand, she was so excited to be a Grandma.

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“Just one more music box Mommy”

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Maybe being nostalgic is part of getting older, you see things differently as you get older and become more sentimental about so many things, at least I seem to be.  That being said, life is a gift and it should be lived to the fullest.  Sadly, when you’re young, you don’t think this way, but as you get older, you realize how precious every moment is and how it should be cherished. Looking at photographs is one way I enjoy remembering all of those special moments, now just memories and such good memories they are! I sometimes find myself laughing when I look at how silly my daughter was when she was young and her smile, how it brings me such complete joy.   I’m sure you have similar photographs which bring utter joy as well.

As always, thank you for stopping by and I look forward to hearing some of your memories.  Until next week . . .

 

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Where from here?

Forward & Backward …

This past week I began cleaning out some old art portfolio cases I had from college.  I hardly remember those days, some 30 plus years ago now.   When I was young and had dreams, that never became a reality.  Sometimes I wonder what my life would had been like if I had gone to art school instead of college? or if I hadn’t worked in New York City; or if I moved to California when I had the opportunity.   Continue reading “Where from here?”