Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Madness? DREAMS Come True!

Congratulations to David and his crew of their new surf film, "SURF MADNESS". David and surf pro, Sterling Spencer are permiering their new project this week in Florida, California and Hawaii!  The film promises to be filled with humor and fun, as well as thrilling surfing by many of the world's best!  
We look forward to the success of their film and whatever they may do next!
(David is featured in the chapter of DREAMS.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Art of Slowing Down- Gladys, Wisdom and Acceptance

Her fingers are taking a shape of their own these days.  At times, to use or move them is painful.  She can still write a letter and occasionally she can piece together a jigsaw puzzle.  She enjoys reading her Bible, however her interests are more than sedate. With the excited energy of a sports fan, she looks forward to golf tournaments on television and loves to keep up with the stats of her favorite players. 
Gladys has strong and fond memories of the earliest days of her local Lutheran church.  It was in that church that she found her calling, one to which she was devoted.  She took on a range of responsibilities and held multiple church positions before she ultimately became the designated writer of notes, acknowledgements, birthday greetings, and thank you cards. 
She brought to the task the training of her Midwest education, and a self-cultivated discipline and commitment to continue practicing impeccable penmanship.  Her skill exemplified “the art of letter writing.” 
The perfect lines, loops, and cursive lettering of her early notes appear almost like fine lace—an art form of her own design, delicate and beautiful.  Her handwriting encapsulates a legacy of excellence and attention to detail that somehow in its perfection still exudes warmth and love. To hold her hand-written note is to experience grace and beauty.
The flowers and trees outside her sliding glass door are her daily entertainment.  There is pleasure in witnessing the small changes of the seasons and the sounds of the birds that bring the outdoors to Gladys.  She is homebound with physical limitations, yet she is far from bored.  She has learned the art of slowing down and doing less. Life is simple and visitors are treasured.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Catching up with the College Kids: Meredith, Kelly, Carly, Trevor, Mike

It has been a pleasure to stay in touch with these young students who are featured in our DREAMS chapter.  I spent the some time on the tide pools with Kelly and Meredith yesterday, and enjoyed their gentle "childlike" wonder of the wildlife found in that fascinating ecosystem. They had spent hours on the pools as very young kids, however, they expressed a similar appreciation yesterday, as if for the first time or maybe it was because of the deep appreciation of the simple miracles of life they have gained in the more worldly experiences of recent years.
Kelly shared her stories of episode of the Occupy UC Davis movement and police brutality there.  Her dedication to her fellow students has her looking forward to returning to campus after a short break for Thanksgiving at home.  For Meredith, the short holiday is like coming up for air, until she returns to UCSB. She will not waste anytime shifting back into gear as a director for EENG (Environmental Education for the New Generation),  in Global Brigades (Ghana 2012), in her job at the market, and in her final weeks of class as she completes her major this winter.  Somehow, these two, and the other "Dreamers" still find time for moments of quiet, and make time for friends and fun.
Updates on Trevor, Mike and Carly to come...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Here's Jonny!

It was with a bit of daring and whim that we decided to get the cartilage of our ears pierced.  Of course the potential for pain was a factor, but the intimidation I felt about going to a tattoo parlor was another obstacle for me to overcome.  My three daughters insisted that this shop was the best in town.
Jonny met us and gave us forms to complete and asked for the required identification.  In addition to his multiple tattoos and facial piercings, Jonny’s nonchalant demeanor had me curious.
“Before we actually do this, I need to know something.” I asked, much to my daughters’ embarrassed groans.  “Are you happy today?  Are you in a good mood?”  He looked up and spoke sincerely, “Yeah!  I just got back from a vacation and you are the first customers today. I am rested and happy.  This will be easier than you might think.”
He took the four of us into his workspace, which, besides the artwork and cluttered d├ęcor looked much like a dental office complete with autoclaved instruments, sterile materials, and sparkling stainless steel.  This young man took his work seriously and treated us with sensitivity and deliberate care.  He talked us through the procedure, step by step . . . “the needle goes in as you exhale . . . it will be as smooth as a knife through butter.”
Jonny was extremely hygienic, changing gloves, materials, and tools with each person, checking for blood vessel anatomy on each of our ears to be sure he had marked the correct spot.  As each of us stood up with our new earring, and attentively listened to Jonny’s post care instructions, we were so relieved and proud!
Tattoos and piercings may be at the peak of popularity, but Jonny’s manner reminded us that etiquette, patience, respect and daring never go out of style.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Love, the Common Thread

It has been so fun to receive the many comments and personal stories of our readers.   Just recently we received a kind card which enclosed this photograph.  It is the proud and happy portrait of four generations of the ladies in a Minnesota family.  Great- grandma, Evelyn, sent this of her daughter, grand daughter and great grand daughters.  Surely there are many stories that are imagined as we look at the tiny hands, the graceful aged hands, the hard working hands and the lively, bold fingernail polish.  This is precious.   Thank you for sharing this example of family and great love,  of time and ties. 

There are images like this that get passed on through emails, and the fact that they get passed on is because we all "get it".  Our hands really do speak volumes, but the greatest and strongest theme is LOVE.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ask a Busy Woman!

       Recently, I shared another favorite quote:  "If your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt." a photo    of the amazing late artist, Chet Hill.  The same day, I met with Connie, the director of our 620 seat performing arts center to discuss a new event I had committed to inviting to our area.  That quote rang true for Connie that morning. She was beautifully dressed- with even a bit of feminine sparkle, or "bling", high heels, long polished nails, and gorgeous hair. Her manner was one of comfortable confidence and focus as we immediately sat down to work on details of the event.  This woman really knows her stuff, running the performing arts center, managing events and people, schedules and contracts. Her knowledge of budgets, marketing, and computer skills were easy to her, but obviously the level of only a pro.  As she babied her long, shiny thumbnail, she explained that she had been working already in the dark of early morning with her cattle, and one of the calves had become ornery and rough and in grabbing his halter, the nail painfully broke.  The image came to mind of Superwoman, in heels, out in the pen wrestling calves before she came to her office.  These two photos came from scenes in her office, and speak volumes about someone like Connie:  The humorous plaque and collection of coffee mugs and water bottles made me        admire her even more. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011



"Some people are just about as happy as they've made up their minds to be."  

"I think therefore I am"

Last evening, thanks to the San Luis Obispo Film International Film Festival board, we were able to get a look at the new Tom Shadyac film, "Happy".  The entire evening was inspiring as these board members, who work all year to bring an amazing week of films and creative experiences to the Central Coast, were honoring their volunteers with food, wine, and a great new film.  "Cheerful servant" was the attitude of the evening even before this moving film.

 The messages in the film and the mood of the people was of community, serving, looking outside of ourselves and finding great happiness and contentment directly from that experience as well as literally "making their minds up to be Happy"...

Times are challenging for many and sometimes the steps forward seem to slide or get derailed, but looking ahead to Thanksgiving, it is a good reminder of the little things that really are the BIG things that are not to be taken for granted...  Hoping the spirit of happiness finds its way to everyone today and everyday.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Those who say "It can't be done" should get out of the way of those who are doing it.
from Words to Live By

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Solved Mysteries: Pumpkin Crime at the Beach

Fall truly has its charm. The shadows, the colors, the warm then crisp air... Even on the Central Coast of California there are signs of fall.  The sun sinks a little lower and seems to play with the incoming clouds that are absent most of the summer...

 In our neighborhood, pumpkins of all shapes and colors have made their homes on porches and fences to announce and celebrate Halloween and Harvest!

Recently, there was an incident of pumpkin theft that, fortunately, was resolved quickly.  Our local chapel,  was the site of a lovely fall wedding, and as the crew arrived to decorate that morning, they found all of their pumpkins, about 5 dozen various sized, kinds and colors... some hand painted... were not where they left them...They had been stolen in the night.

This was so sad as the idea of harvest decorations for their wedding was so heart warming!  Within minutes, a neighbor drove by and mentioned that they saw a huge collection of pumpkins had appeared in a yard just a few blocks over... Sure enough, the dozens of pumpkins were identified as the ones stolen from the bride!   After a knock on the door and a bit of confrontation with the very embarrassed culprit,  they collected them all and brought them back to the chapel within time to happily fill the grounds with the atmosphere of thanks and harvest.  A happy ending and great story for the grandkids someday!

Beauty for Dinner?

 I have always claimed to prefer doing something outdoors and active rather than being in the kitchen.  Cooking has never been something I would boast about, although I do enjoy good food... However, as I began to prepare our family's favorite chili, something struck me that I had not noticed in such a long time.  It was the absolute, natural beauty of the fruit and vegetables in the morning sun on the cutting board.  The colors were so vivid, and variety was miraculous. Everything about this scene struck me with amazement.  God sure knows what he is doing and must have a really good time doing it.

As all of the ingredients were finally added and the flavors and scents grew, the timing was perfect as David and Sterling arrived from the Bay area, several days of surfing and filming. Tired and hungry... That great smell of cooking in the kitchen to sooth and revive the weary traveler.

Glad I know how to make a few things, besides breakfast for dinner.  I admire friends who can really get creative and passionate about cooking... at least for a few minutes I think I understood.