live and love deliberately

i've got so much to say. right now i am flooded with warmth {which is ironic, considering it is only six degrees outside and bitterly, biting cold }. but i'm so overwhelmed with this warmth that comes from excitement and encouragement and inspiration and ideas and hope and people {friends and family }... or just from this time of year in general.

i know that the new thing is to not set resolutions, because we'll just set ourselves up for failure, right? so now it's trendy to say it's all about goals or lifestyle changes or other different ways of putting it. it's almost like resolution has become a bad word as of late. but i still like it! yes, i've often made resolutions and not followed through with them. but i love the root of this word resolution... resolve, to resolve.

i'm a bit all over the place right now, because as i said, i feel a bit overwhelmed with creativity and inspiration. i've just returned from a friend's boutique. {she makes handbags -- very beautiful bags, i might add.} she is slightly older than i am, and she is an amazing business person, goal setter, hard worker, loving mother and wife, creative and artistic soul, and just all-around lovely and thoughtful person. i think she has no idea what an inspiration she is to me and her family and everyone who meets her and knows her.

we have so much in common, yet we are opposite on a lot of things, so getting to talk to her for a half hour or so is so inspiring and uplifting. every time i talk with her, i leave feeling like i have all this creativity bubbling up inside me that i want to get out. and although she seeks to be a friend to me, without knowing it, she is also a mentor. she is quite beautiful inside and out, so i feel lucky to know her and learn from her. she's got some fresh ideas for her year and life ahead, and as usual, she's left me feeling encouraged and invigorated about being a creative person from my outer shell to my core

anyway, i say all that, because today has been a sort of theme for me in that area. i see her story and her words all over the blogosphere. i saw it today at the blog of one of my bloggy-friends. jen is in a very similar place that i am. and i've seen a lot of you in this place, too. on the cusp. on the verge. in transition. awaiting something new and exciting.

i wrote to share with you the two very encouraging words that my boutique-owner friend shared with me today. she told me that her two words for this year are this... "live deliberately". oh, wow! i love that. now that's a resolution! i like it, because it reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by emerson... "we are always getting ready to live, but never living." now i know that there are just some things you have to do, no matter what. but how many of us go through motions or get caught up in the things we have to do, forgetting to do the things we want to do. it's okay to want to do things that are different from the things we have to. it really is.

as far as i know, most of my readers live in the freedom to do just that... anything we want. anything we set our hearts and minds to. if you've been following my blogs for a while, you know i'm on the edge of something new and different, in transition, in waiting and open to new things... to change... to going for it.

i'm still uncertain what lies ahead for me. but here are a few things that will be happening very soon. not only can i feel them... taste them... but i am working on them. some very generous people gave b. and me some money for christmas. whether or not we use it to directly buy a new computer or pay off bills so that we are free to buy a computer, that money is making this dream more doable. also, my sister bought a new camera and has offered to sell me her old one {which is an s.l.r.} for a very good price. a camera upgrade??? i thought it would be years before i could do that! those are just two small things, but big when i consider the impact they could have on the "what i want to do every day" part of life. and i know they will only improve my ability to live creatively and widen my outlet for that creativity. thirdly, i'm going to enroll in a photography class, a business class and maybe something crazy, fun and out-there... like cake decorating or skiing or guitar lessons. i don't know. something just to stretch my brain {or limbs in the case of skiing } and get me out of my comfort zone.

i love the feeling of thinking and knowing i was born to create. that is one of the feelings i am overwhelmed with right now. that's a good way to start out the new year. with that said, there is only one other word i can think of that i would like to focus on this year. LOVE. i want to be better at loving people. love is a choice and an action. it's not a feeling. so i guess i could say, not only do i want to follow my friend's inspiring words and goal -- LIVE DELIBERATELY -- but i also want to LOVE DELIBERATELY. loving is deliberate by definition.

i want to do some volunteer work in my community to show {or rather give } love to the world around me. i want to put my family first and learn to love them more. they're the only family i've got. i want to be a more loving wife and friend. i want to love myself more... treat myself better by being more disciplined and taking better care of myself. i want to learn exactly what it is that i love to do and do it. i want to love what i do and do what i love. and one more biggie. restoring my love for and faith in God. many of you might look me in the eye or comment here and say, "well, unless that last one is where it should be, none of the others will be right. when that one is right, all the others will fall into place." that may be true, but the hard part for me is believing and trusting enough to get to that place. others of you may not say anything like that at all, perhaps because you don't believe in God or because you are in a similar place. but that's just where i am at right now. i don't talk much about my faith here. not because i am ashamed, but for many other reasons. so this has been a big thing for me to even say this much. anyway, it's just part of my thoughts right now.

okay... so a lot of things i've said are nothing new. they've been said by a lot of people many times before. but i had to get this all out. i told you i was a bit all over the place. somewhat scattered in my thoughts. i just wanted to vocalize some of them as 2010 unfolds.

lastly... since this is a photo blog, afterall... i will share some photos with you. most from the end of '09. one being my very last photo of 2009. one being the first in 2010 -- the only one i've taken so far this year. there's no continuity to the bunch except that they are all in and around the '09 to '10 transition and are all photos i love.

this was the last shot i took in '09. not a very good picture, but it was flippin' cold out there! i was shivering so much that even the image stabilization feature on my camera could not correct my shakiness. this is the beautifully decorated historic square in woodstock where i grew up. i took this on new year's eve from the spot where my husband proposed to me exactly 10 years to the day earlier.

the gazebo where he proposed and where we got married 10 months later is the structure in the lower left corner of the photo {with all the christmas lights hanging around it }. the "love" shot at the top of this post is a zoomed in view of the branches on this tree. i was trying to get bokeh, but i was shaking during that picture, too... so the bokeh turned heart-shaped. i liked that.

going back a few days prior... we spent christmas at a resort in wisconsin with my husband's side of the family. our condo did not have a christmas tree, so i brought a little silver table-tree that i bought from pier one imports a few years ago. it served as our festive decor. but the lack of a real tree was made up for by the ginormous tree in the hearth room of the resort. it had to be at least twenty feet tall. i was drooling with photo-opp anticipation when i saw it, but i did not get many shots that i liked except the bokeh-ornament photos above.

here is a shot of the fireplace in the room. notice how high the ceiling is. this should give you an idea of how large the tree was.

here is a view of the lake from the resort -- a pretty view -- one that i'm sure is equally breathtaking during the other seasons of the year.

since i did not get to spend christmas with my side of the family, i was happy to know that i would see some of them two days after christmas at my older sister's house. my aunt and uncle were in town, as was one of their sons {who lives in california and i had not seen in about twenty-five years }. we all gathered at my sister's house for a mini-reunion. my mom was there, too. this was my purposeful attempt at a blurry shot of her tree, which is always so colorful and packed with lights.

this is one of my favorite photos of the day. my sister was kneeling down next to my aunt to look at a photo album with her. i think my mom put together some photos for my aunt, which is what they were looking at here. it was a special moment, and i was glad to capture it. my aunt has parkinson's disease, so it was so good to see her looking, to me, as beautiful as ever. they used to live close-by, but they have moved to where it is warmer, and i really do miss them. this is my dad's only sibling, so she is very dear to me. i'm so glad i made the trip to see them.

here was my other favorite photo of the day. everyone was snapping their cameras to get a family photo of my older sister and her husband and kids in front of the tree. i never got one with them all smiling or with all their eyes open. so i just intentionally went with the "between posing for the camera" shots. i like these kind more, anyway... more candid. more real.

on new year's eve, i went back to the spot where i took some fall shots a few months back. i remembered how magical it was in autumn, so i figured it might be just as magcial this winter after a snowfall. i was right.

remember this shot and this shot? same view, different season. i plan to go back in spring and summer to capture the very same view.

i also drove around in the country during sunset on new year's eve. i've so enjoyed taking sunset pictures in 2009, so i thought it appropriate to get the last sunset of the year. this shot is looking east... away from the sun, but into the evidence of its setting as it set the countryside aglow.

and here is one looking toward it. hard to believe that big ball of fire that makes us sweat in the summer was not keeping the temps from dropping below zero. but still, it keeps us alive, and for that i am glad.

anywho... thanks for letting me get this all out. i'd love to hear your thoughts. can you identify? have you some advice? i'm always reluctant to put wordy posts out here, because i know when i see a lengthy post, i'm instantly overwhelmed by the amount of reading. we're all busy people! so if you've read this, thank you for taking the time. {see what happens when you stop blogging every day?... you get back on and ramble!}

i wish you all a blessed 2010. i hope it's off to a grand start for you! i hope it's a prosperous and fulfilling chunk of days among the many you've lived and are yet to live.

i end with my first photograph of the year. nothing special. just the snow in my back yard. but i love the long tree shadows cast by the bright sun.


S. Etole said...

I had so hoped you'd be back soon and here you are! It's good to hear you bubbling over with new ideas and goals and anticipation. My one resolve didn't make it very far as you saw, but I do resolve to be encouraged to embrace each day. Blessings on your new year.

smith kaich jones said...

I am laughing out loud in such a good way - your energy and enthusiasm is the best ever and those heart shaped bokeh! Oh my! I can just feel your happiness as I read this - it is just fizzing out everywhere and I love it!!

Cannot wait for the year to unfold for you!


Grey Street Girl said...

Glad you're back! I actually have "Live deliberately" taped to my desk at work. It's so hard to do for me, but it's still what I resolve to do every day.

I wish you the best in all you strive to do. You're such a creative person and so full of life and good things are going to come your way because of it!

Heather said...

Yes, yes, yes! I can absolutely relate -- the being on the cusp of exciting changes, feeling inspired, perhaps a little hesitant but certain that you'll go forward regardless. And I appreciate your honesty about the difficulty of finding the sweet spiritual spot -- "believing and trusting enough." And it is good, isn't it, to have friends that inspire and encourage you to be your best, most authentic self! I am blessed with a friend just like you've described:)

It will be exciting to follow your journey this year!

Char said...

i need to bottle your excitement and energy for a quick boost - i need to hibernate when it gets so very cold.

i love your journey - dance along the path woman, dance! :)

Hi Kooky said...

Wow - you are bursting at the seams! (Thanks for the nod :)) Yes - so much bubbles up sometimes, doesn't it? And figuring out how to make it all mesh with real life is the challenge. Carry on! I'm glad you're back with postings. :)

beth said...

I made it all the way to the end of your post...and wow...you are full of new year loveliness and excitement and happiness and I loved it !

I'm so happy for you in so many ways, but the best part...is having met you, having seen what your face looks like with a great big smile on it and picturing it now as I read your words....

happy 2010 and YES...I will see you at the flea !

slommler said...

I too made it to the end of your post!!! It was such an exciting journey! I could feel your enthusiasm and your resolve to "love deliberately"!n I totally understand about the "faith" issue. What to say, how to say?? Especially when you are still searching and reaching out. My path in faith is changing and I too am unsure as to what to share about it. So I don't. I am waiting for some sort of revelation., Some sort of understanding deep within my heart and mind. One thing I do know...He Lives!!
Hugging you
PS Love your photos! Esp the one with the three trees in the snow. Powerful!

Peter Tschirhart said...

Wow what can I say, Thats along post.
There's no way I'm gonna read all that! :) I liked the pictures though.

Is he kidding...is he?

Dani said...

dear georgia,

i will admit that i saw your post last night and while i wanted to curl up and read it, i had to wait until this morning because i had to get the laundry done from our trip. but i am glad that i sat down and read it this morning because as always, you are amazing! i love your words for 2010. i think the whole truth is that living is a choice. that's why we say we're going to lose weight or or do this or that because we're making a choice. whether we follow through with that or not is another story. i love all the opportunities you've planned for yourself to grow. to know that there is this and that out there, things you want to work and focus on. and whether we chose words or write out goals, we're all doing the same thing, wanting to grow and be better people.
i think that while we never know what any time span has in store for us, it's always good to hope and dream, to put our feet in the direction we want to go and then take everyday one day at a time. at least that's how i've grown with god, with love and with my ambitions.
anyway, we're heading down to tuscola today. everyone is walking out the door without me. thanks for sharing all your 2010 thoughts and ambitions. i can't wait to see what this year brings for you...and what you bring for yourself!

Toni said...

Wow! You've got a lot going on in that lovely head of yours, Georgia. I'm trying to get caught up with blog reading, but I think you just put me behind again! Ha!! Just kidding, but you sure did have a lot of great things to say. I'm so excited for you, because you've got a lot of great things happening. All the best to you in 2010.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for a wonderful 2010, Georgia. I read all of your post, too. I like the words you've chosen, I haven't chosen anything, resolved anything, or made any goals. Nothing quite works for me...

Lisa said...

hey georgia! it is so awesome to see you back here. i hope this means you are here to stay??? pretty please? hehe. anyways your new years resolutions are so wonderfully simple. i love them. thank you for sharing, and for these lovely photos! my eyes have been starved for your beautiful pictures.

oh and i wanted to let you know, i started a new blog! i am very excited about it, and it's where i will be posting from now on. i hope you'll check it out!


happy holidays! here's to a wonderful new year. i really hope you get your new computer and camera upgrade very soon. that is sweeeet!! :)

Alicia said...

that heart bokeh is a beautiful accident! i always love how you find the best ways to make every photo beautiful!!!

looks like you had an amazing holiday with family! and i love your direction for the year of living and loving deliberately!!

2009 was a great year!! can't wait to see where 2010 heads!!

ps: i love when you post long posts after breaks of being away!!

Sandy K. said...

You have made me smile, laugh and reflect, all very good things! I am trying to regain access to the lives of all those I have neglected due to work commitments -something has to change!
Thank you for spewing forth your enthusiasm and good cheer, sharing your wishes and dreams. I have not been posting much lately and didn't even know you'd been out of the loop for a while - so it's good to be "back," and see you "back"..... Yes, living deliberately is what it's all about - well done!

EnnythingGoes said...

this is really nice. you are very talented. very.