Looking back...an entire year's worth of memories. Already losing their vibrancy...but like a patchwork quilt, well-used, well-loved, the ability to comfort simply grows as time passes. Each individual piece depicts a different story. Feelings felt, places visited, challenges met, mistakes made...all leading up to this day, this very moment. And where am I? A question I ask myself over and over again. Have I arrived? Am I on my way??? Am I even headed in the right direction? No one really knows. We can simply trust our hearts...that our hearts will lead us to a place we can call home. The trouble is tuning out all of the noise, all of the distractions that living confronts us with...financial struggles, familial responsibilities, menial chores, the need for sleep even! I constantly feel as though I am in a marathon race against time! Juggling so many things at once. And I need to remind myself too, that even if all the things you are juggling are GOOD...simplify! Focus on those things that are the most important to you.
That brings me to the here and now. My New Year's resolutions. I could spew off hundreds!!! But I want to prioritize just a couple. The first of which is an emotional and physical overhaul! Rebalancing. The first step I've taken is filling out an application for the Energy Exchange program at Moksha Yoga. I volunteer at the studio for four hours a week and in return have a free membership! Perfect!!! Not only will this contribute to my emotional and physical well-being, but also give me a sense of belonging and connection to community. Next resolution...to live in gratitude. When I get caught up in the hustle and bustle...I tend to forget just how fortunate I am. In 2010 I want to be mindful of all the little things that I take for granted. One way I thought I could help myself to do this is to give back. I have culled through many of my belongings and have come up with a few boxes for Helping Hands in Winnipeg, I signed up to sponsor a woman in Africa through Women for Women International, and I am looking to volunteer at Siloam Mission.
I really hope that these changes and the choices that I make in the coming year facilitate the growth that I crave in my life. With my family, my business, my self. I want to set a good example for my son. I want him to grow up in a world full of hope and love. Perhaps if hope and love is what I choose to see all around me as well as within, he may someday follow suit.
“Look at life through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror”
There is SO much more to tell! But right now I am desperately trying to catch up on my work and get everyone's Christmas orders done in time! Seasons Greetings everyone! Good luck staying warm and sane over the holidays!
So now that I have let you all ponder my magical day in Normandy for a week...I was thinking of letting you in on a couple of secrets. We all know that the path to enlightenment is awash with many challenges from petty to considerable, and that unless you are perhaps Buddha or the Dalai Lama, these challenges do not always bring out the best in us. So after our 5 km seaside hike, we were running somewhat short of daylight for the D-Day beaches. Dan and I decided that instead of a sit down restaurant we would get something "quick". What does "quick" usually translate into....yes that is correct...we went through the "McDrive" at the "McCafe"! Somehow the French manage to make fast food sound elegant. So I order a lovely Filet royale, which is a filet-o-fish with lettuce and tomato...and I am certain that the lovely tidbit was caught fresh that morning!!! Dan, being the "McConnoisseur", wastes ten minutes at the drive through window, while the line up behind us grows, trying to describe his special order to the unsuspecting and extremely FRENCH "McDrive" window attendant. My persistant glares encourage him gently to order something that is actually on the menu. After our romantic car dinner in le parking lot we set off for the beaches. Little did we know that the seaside town of Cherbourg held an annual marathon every November 11th, and so, all major thoroughfares were barricaded off! After circling for the better part of thirty minutes, during most of which Dan cursed loudly in French and pounded the steering wheel, and I of course insisted on commenting how nice even the back streets are...we back tracked our way out and rerouted:)
The second half of our Normandy adventure had a profound effect on us both. We visited the D-Day beaches on Canada's Remembrance Day. It was near sunset when we arrived...the heavy fog obscured the light and our surroundings matched the feeling in the air. Commemorating the sacrifices which were made 65 years ago at this very locale left us stunned into silence. We both took time to unravel our individual thoughts on our own...wandering the shore both apart and together in an attempt to grasp the immeasurable ramifications the war had on so many. My Grandpa was so young when he was sent to fight. The photo of him and my Grandma at their wedding and the portrait of him in his uniform are my very favorite. I often wonder what it was like for him. I have spoken to my Grandma numerous times about what it was like for her...two years of waiting must have been excruciating! Grandpa didnt talk much about his experiences. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his performance while on duty.
I have thought much about my grandparents lives while on this trip. They came here together later on in their lives and I've always liked to look at the photos and hear about their experiences. Dan and I left on November 2nd, which was my Grandpa's birthday. He passed away a few years ago and I miss him dearly. His memory and spirit have been very close to me for these last few days. I dug out this poem I wrote for his funeral...
Our day in Normandy has been my favorite thus far! I awoke before Dan to browse the gardens and walk down the country roads surrounding Manoir Juganville. The setting had me virtually in tears...the sun rising over the distant misty fields, the sound of cows braying, a day set out before me to explore it all! I forced Dan out of bed so that we could get started! Coffee, homemade jams, and croissants were served beside the fireplace with jazz playing continuously in the background. After settling on a destination Dan and I set off to Le Nez de Jobourg! Now let me brief you all on how different Dan and I are (as far as traveling goes)...for those who don't already know of course. Now while Dan seems to prefer to get from point "A" to point "B" in a rather organized manner...I, on the other hand, tend to prefer to meander carelessly. So aside from a daily map tossing swearing "I could just bludgeon you!" temper tantrum on my part, we get along just fine.
The only route to our objective took us along the narrowest of country passages, which, of course, brought me great pleasure. I was delighted to see the fat little ponies and work horses with Hercules-like proportions grazing happily in luscious apple orchards, colorful doors and shutters lining the cobblestone streets in the smallest of towns, and finally...the coast! The vistas were more spectacular than one could ever imagine! The vast ocean crashing powerfully against the jagged cliffs and the moisture in the air that made every surface alive with greenery. There are no fences here...only massive hedges or ancient stone walls overgrown with moss! Dan and I argued as to whether or not we should take the 2.5 km walk down to the bay. I said "YES!!!!", but Dan worried as to whether we would be able to make it back up! If you don't push yourself, how will you ever know what you are truly capable of???? Who do you think won that arguement??? And guess who (at the end of it all) thought it was "alright"...(my enthusiasm makes up for his lack thereof!)
I am deeply enamored by the rural landscape here in France. The lush rolling hills and quaint little towns have made the adjustment from Paris much simpler then I imagined. Despite having my heart in my throat for the first leg of our journey due to the HIGH speeds on the highways, Dan has proved himself to be a very capable driver in France. Our first stop was at a B&B near St. Mere de L'Eglise. Manoir Juganville.....ahhhh! I already long to return! The winding country roads leading up to it, the warm welcome we received from Jean and Chantale upon our arrival, the roaring fire whose warm glow heated the house at all times, the jazz that played throughout breakfast, the friendly cats that would sit on your lap purring for as long as you would allow, the gardens...two nights just wasn't enough!
Here is the website for Le Manoir Juganville...we had the tower room...
Its been a couple of days. Now that we are on the move there seems to be so much to see and less time for blogging. I have much more to share but wanted to post some more shots from Paris. People watching, feeding the birds, sights, etc....all was blissful!
Me....well, I am 33 and still feel like a kid. I am awkward and clutzy. I love all forms of A R T and expression! I am a professional photographer but have a hard time taking my job seriously because it is so much fun! I am married and have a two year old son! The rest of my menagerie consists of two dogs, a cat, and a horse. I beleive life is what you make of it and intend to make the best of mine!!!