Weekly Photo Challenge – Wall

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Rio de Janeiro 069

When I saw the topic for this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, I immediately thought of the impressive street art on the walls in Rio de Janeiro.  I absolutely love the simplicity of the figures and the way they capture the essence of the beauty of Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro 055There were several of these paintings on walls throughout the city and each time I saw one, I couldn’t help but smile.  I hope you enjoy them too.  Make sure to click on the above link to take a look at the very creative submissions from others participating in this challenge!

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Forgiveness – The word is much simpler than the action.

I think the first step is to understand that forgiveness does not exonerate the perpetrator.  Forgiveness liberates the victim.  It’s a gift you give yourself. ~ T.D. Jakes


A beautiful bridge in the rainforest of Puerto Rico

I struggle with forgiveness sometimes.  We have all acted in ways that hurt another person.  When we do, a simple “I’m sorry.” can go a long way.  I truly believe that we should treat other people the way we would like to be treated.  I try to live my life by that standard and when I fail, which is more often than I would like, I apologize for my words or actions that hurt the other person.  Admitting that I have made a mistake is not always easy, but I believe it starts the healing process and can eventually bring me to reconciliation with the one(s) I have wronged.

What happens, though, when we don’t have the satisfaction of receiving an apology from someone who has wronged us or hurt us deeply?  Does this mean that because forgiveness was not asked for, it should not be given?

Most of us need time to work through pain and loss.  We can find all manner of reasons for postponing forgiveness.  One of these reasons is waiting for the wrongdoers to repent before we forgive them.  Yet such a delay causes us to forfeit the peace and happiness that could be ours.- James E. Faust


Lovely steps in the rainforest of Puerto Rico

I think Faust said it perfectly in the above quote.  Perhaps the individual that sees no wrong in his actions or words never will comprehend the extent of the hurt he has caused, but by holding on to that hurt and pain, we hurt only ourselves and not the other person.   Of course, forgiving does not mean we must subject ourselves to additional pain.  There is no value in setting ourselves up for misery by remaining in situations that drain us or around people who tear us down.

By that albeit difficult step of letting go of grievances and forgiving, we make progress toward our goal of being the best person we can be.

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Why I finally “ate that frog”.

For those of you who are now wondering what in the heck I am talking about, this is a little bit of wisdom from Mark Twain.

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”― Mark Twain

The frog just read Mark Twain's quote!

The frog just read Mark Twain’s quote!

Of course, Mark Twain was not talking about actually eating a frog, but this was an analogy for the “worst” task that lies in front of you.  If that task is taken care of, those left don’t seem quite so bad anymore.

My frog happened to be changing my last name to my new married name.  While I am head over heels in love with my hubby and am proud to take his last name as mine, the process itself had me digging in my heels and doing my fair share of whining and complaining. (Hey, I’m not proud of my behavior, but there you have it.)  Before we were married, I insisted I would keep my name, the name I had taken WAY back when I was married to my first husband, the father of my three children. This was also the name I have used my entire adult life.  I was first married right out of college, so all my credit, my documents, my license, all my credit cards and my passport were in that name.

My (then boyfriend) expressed his opinion and desire for his (hypothetical) wife to take his last name.  Since we were not at the point of marriage back then, we agreed to disagree on the matter.   Once our relationship developed to the point that marriage was a likely probability, we had to figure it out.  Since I could tell it was very important to him, I came to the conclusion that he was well worth the perceived “hassle” of changing my name.  Being the stubborn person I am, though, I insisted that I would change it AFTER he finally was done with his faraway job and back home with me.

From our wedding date July 3rd until the day he was (finally) home with me on October 18th, I pushed that “frog” to the back of my mind, but once he was back I had to start thinking about it again.  I decided that I would use my “old” ID until after the election in November and then I would have to take action.  I did send in for a new social security card before the end of October, but finally last Friday, with the help of my handsome hubby, I tackled the DMV and got my new license and then on to the bank to change my information there.  After that, most things have gone fairly smoothly.  As with everything else in life, just starting is sometimes the most difficult part.  That Mark Twain was quite an intelligent guy! :)

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WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime

Everything becomes magnified at night.  Sounds travel in a different way, it’s dark, and everything seems far more spooky. ~ Jo Brand

Cemetery at Old Town, San Diego.  Taken while on a walking tour with Old Town's Most Haunted

Cemetery at Old Town, San Diego. Taken while on a walking tour with Old Town’s Most Haunted. – I love how many orbs I captured in this photo! Appropriate that I would get them at the cemetery!

 Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me.  Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me. ~ Steve Jobs

For the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge this week, the theme is “Nighttime”.  For the challenge, I’ve put together a bit of a hodge podge of some of my favorite nighttime shots. I hope you enjoy them!  When you have a minute, do yourself a favor and check out the fantastically creative submissions from other bloggers by clicking the link above!

One of my favorite pictures of Todd and I.  Totally relaxed and having fun together! :)

I love the way the streaks of light dance across this photo!

 I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day. ~ Vincent Van Gogh


Disney’s Electrical Parade – A perfect nighttime way to wrap up a magical Disney day!



Pete and Elliot in Disney’s Electrical Parade!



What could be a better way to end a delightful Disney day than with the nighttime fireworks?!



It was a chilly nighttime for our bearded dragon last October when we were without power for a little over a day. I managed to keep his body temperature up with heat from candles next to his tank.


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Let the Countdown Begin!!! (In which I ramble ruthlessly about my handsome hubby’s homecoming!!)


Being goofy in the gift shop at the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado


We survived “Run or Dye”. This is the “before” photo!


Holidays are so much better when you’re with the one you love


Getting closer to the top during the annual Crazy Horse Volksmarch

Happily Ever After........Coming VERY soon! :)

Happily Ever After……..Coming VERY soon! :)

The time is fast approaching when my handsome hubby will finally be home with me again!  Our “married life” to date has consisted of us being together for short (too short for me) periods of time, usually vacations.  Soon real life will begin and I am very much looking forward to that.  I will have my “movie buddy” back again!  I will be able to snuggle at night with more than just my pillow ;)  When the kiddos aren’t here, I will have someone to eat lunch and dinner with and someone to talk to besides Romeo.                                         

I am lucky to have found someone who I truly enjoy being with.  Of course he is not perfect, which is good because I am FAR from perfect myself.  Our small idiosyncracies balance  out, though, and when we are together, life is truly good!

I am looking forward to making more memories and having more fun as the years go by, as they certainly will and probably far too quickly.

We have had our share of challenges, but we do a great job communicating with each other, which is essential in any relationship.  Because this is the second marriage for both of us, we both bring a bit of baggage, but with that baggage comes experience and knowledge.  We have a clear picture of the path we want our life to travel on and our expectations of what we want from our marriage had been laid out long before we said our vows.

No, neither of us is perfect, but we are truly “perfect for each other”.  I am looking forward to starting our “happily ever after” together!

One of my favorite pictures of Todd and I. Totally relaxed and having fun together! :)

With Daughtry and 3 Doors Down....gotta LOVE that!!

With Daughtry and 3 Doors Down….gotta LOVE that!!

Riding the Rock-n-Roller Coaster at Disney Hollywood Studios

Riding the Rock-n-Roller Coaster at Disney Hollywood Studios


This is happiness!


Our magical, memorable wedding day!


July 3, 2014 – Our Wedding Day in Key West


Riding the cog train to see Cristo Redentor

On the Selaron Steps in Rio de Janeiro

On the Selaron Steps in Rio de Janeiro – Just one of the many amazing places we have had a chance to visit together!

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I control ME and that is all…..and that’s enough :)


Beach near Rio Sheraton - Rio de Janeiro

The beautiful beach near the Rio Sheraton in Rio de Janeiro

At the end of the day, you’re responsible for yourself and your actions and that’s all you can control.  So rather than be frustrated with what you can’t control, try to fix the things you can. ~ Kevin Garnett

So much truth to this simple statement.  I need to take these words to heart and to remember that so much is not within my control and that the best thing I can do is to control my reaction to circumstances!


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Thank You!

SugarLoaf Mountain

I am TRULY thankful to have had the chance to see many beautiful sights in Rio de Janeiro during my visit in August!

If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is “thank you,” that would suffice. ~ Meister Eckhart


Twin Brothers Mountain in Rio de Janiero. I’m grateful to have been able to see this amazing view!

I have been thinking a lot about the above quote.  Lately, it seems, I have been inundated with people, movies, articles and posts that tell me and others the “right” way to live, act, think and even worship.  I believe now more than ever that the Golden Rule is of utmost importance and that before we act, the most important question to ask ourselves is, “Would I like it if someone did that or said that to me?

Nobody knows for certain, of course, what happens when we are no longer drawing breath on this earth.  I think it is arrogant at best to proclaim to the world that our beliefs are the only ones of value and the only ones that are valid.  It is my humble opinion that the world would be a much better place if we all worked on bettering ourselves and gave less concern to the faults of those around us.  While I am not as knowledgeable as I would like about scripture, I do recall something about being less concerned with the splinter in our neighbor’s eye and more about the two by four in our own. Those of you similar to myself will want to see the “correct version” now, so here it is:  “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:3-5

I believe if we take Eckhart’s words to heart and learn to be thankful for what we have we will be much happier.  Everyone alive on this earth has challenges and we have no idea what another person might be going through.  By showing compassion for those we encounter and by being grateful for our joys and our trials (aka leaning experiences ;) ) we can inspire others to do the same and can make at least our little corner of the world a bit better. :)


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