Dear Granddaughter…..

In September, we celebrated Peanut’s 9th birthday. NINE! It’s hard to comprehend it was nine years ago I was promoted to being a Nana. A lot has been packed into those nine years…sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago she was placed in my arms, but at other times, nine years seems to have flown by at warp speed.

I put together Peanut’s school photos from Pre-K to her current 3rd grade shot. While they are not drastically different, the person behind the face has transformed in hundreds of ways in just nine short years.

Since time is a fleeting illusion, I want to take a few moments and pass on some Nana wisdom to my first grandbabykin.

Dear Peanut,

You have always been and always will be loved. I loved you before you were even put in my arms as a swaddled baby burrito. That is not to say you don’t do unloveable things….and I may not like you at times….but I always love you and will always be here for you. You can bet on that and be sure to win every time.

To steal a line from the 2016 Cinderella remake, Be kind and have courage. Both are difficult to do. Kindness may be becoming a lost art in our “me first” culture. It takes a lot of work to be kind to people, especially when you don’t like them, are mad at them, or see them as different from you. Extending kindness to family members is sometimes especially hard because there are times we make more of an effort to be nice to people outside our family and save the worst for those closest to us…who love us always!

Have courage. It’s scary to try new things. It’s scary to step out of our comfort zones in the way we think and act. I know this from experience. it was scary moving to a new house and school when I was in 3rd grade. It was scary to move to a new town after Papa and I got married….a town where I didn’t know anyone. It was scary when Papa and I moved to Columbia…a town where I didn’t know anyone either. It was really scary when Papa was told he had cancer. It’s also scary to do the right thing when you think others will look at you differently or not like you anymore. This is especially hard when your friends are doing things you know aren’t right, but you want them to like you so you’re tempted to do those things anyway. Don’t. Have the courage to stand up for what’s right.

Keep your faith strong. So many people walk away from their beliefs when they get older, thinking faith is something only for children. Our culture doesn’t encourage strong faith in God. It does encourage strong faith in doing whatever we think will make us happy…or is convenient…or easy. Being an authentic Christian is hard work. It requires we believe and do the right things even when we don’t understand or see the reason. Many times you will be tempted to not make your faith a priority in your life. But, dearest Peanut, your faith will sustain you in those scary moments when the storms of life roll in and tear your life to pieces.

Trust. Trust those of us who love you that the things we do are to help grow you into someone others will respect; someone YOU can respect. Growing up is hard, and there are many times when you’ll think you know what’s best….but you won’t. I ask you trust even when you don’t agree; even when you don’t understand. It’s related to believing and trusting God has a plan for your life….a good plan….even though many times you’ll feel like you don’t agree or don’t understand why things are happening the way they are.

Love yourself. Not in a narcissistic way, but love yourself as a person of worth. It’s easy to feel like we can never measure up to our culture’s ideas and expectations. I want you to always love who you are, flaws and all. That is NOT to say you shouldn’t try to change areas of your life that need improvement. And, this is not reason to excuse bad attitudes or behavior. You are a child of the King….who loves you unconditionally. If you can love your imperfect self, you can love others despite their imperfections too.

Peanut, you are strong-willed and incredibly talented in many areas. I encourage you to use that strong will and those talents in positive, constructive ways…and never be ashamed of the things you have accomplished and will accomplish in the future.

In the years to come, you will face many challenges and ride the roller coaster of emotions. I hope by keeping these things in mind, life will be a bit smoother….for everyone involved!

Love always,
Nana

 

Advertisements

A Dragonfly Life

Magic is seeing wonder in nature’s every little thing. Seeing how wonderful the fireflies are, and how magical are the dragonflies.
~ Ama H. Vanniarachchy

Always been fascinated by dragonflies. While I love to see butterflies and hummers, my whole attitude shifts at the site of one dragonfly. So, you can imagine the thrill when I happened upon this little darling the other day.

I do love to watch my hummers, but quickly discovered they are mean little @#$%s, and extremely territorial. That said, I still love having them around and one can learn a lot by looking at their life. And a butterfly’s ability to ride the breeze always offer a sense of calm with their slow-motion flights.

But dragonflies……they are the true ballet dancers of the insect realm. Graceful and poised, the dragonfly seems to glide…but with purpose. It personifies the theory of working smarter instead of harder as it moves at about 20-30mph, flies in every direction and can hover with the best hummer….all while only flapping those iridescent wings at about 30 times per minute.

The dragonfly is born in the water and lives up to four years there as a nymph, where its sole purpose in life is to eat. When it emerges from the water, sheds its skin for the last time, it transforms into an adult…but only for a fraction of time…not living more than a few months. During that time, its focus is unwavering. A voracious predator, the dragonfly should be welcome in any garden as a deterrent for mosquitoes and other bothersome insects. And, it accomplishes its objectives with the utmost simplicity and efficiency.

But here’s the real reason I love dragonflies.

With their very short adult life spans, they exemplify the art of living life to the fullest. By living in the moment we become aware of what is important and what is not. The adult dragonfly is acutely aware of its purpose and makes the most of every second of life. Something we humans have lost sight of over the centuries. How often do the unimportant things of life crowed out our sense of purpose? How often are we derailed by events and activities that only serve to distract us from what we were really created to accomplish in life?

The way a dragonfly travels through life is an inspiration. Every aspect of this tiny insect portrays the ability to move and change at a moment’s notice….in whatever direction is needed. A dragonfly rotates its four wings independently to adapt quickly to needed changes in direction. Changes in perspectives and how we respond to life is just one of the lessons that can be learned from a dragonfly. When life throws those curve balls and plot twists, do we roll with it and adapt, or are we resistant to the point of destroying our emotional and spiritual well being?

Finally, a dragonfly’s eyes are designed to view life with nearly 360 degree vision, using about 80% of its brain to process all that it sees. A dragonfly can multi-task and calculate three things when it’s on the offensive: the distance of its prey, the direction it’s moving, and the speed it’s flying. In the blink of an eye (maybe faster), the dragonfly calculates exactly where it needs to be in order to intercept its meal in mid-air.  Did you get that? It doesn’t pursue…it intercepts. And, it has a 95% success rate. I’m not sure how we can intercept the aspirations we have in life, but intercepting those dreams sounds a lot better than merely chasing them.

A dragonfly can see a wider spectrum of colors than our human eye. Not only can it see the normal color spectrum, a dragonfly can also see UV light and has the ability to see the same way we see sun and water glare with polarized sunglasses. How cool would that be to have the ability to see virtually everything that’s coming from almost any direction and any situation, AND process it almost instantaneously.  That would definitely be a super power that would really come in handy.

The dragonfly is mainly viewed in different cultures as a symbol of change and self realization. The dragonfly elegantly controls its movements and choreographs those movements whether over water, on land or in the air, depending on its situation and environment. We should all be so flexible and intuitive in how we navigate through life…being able to change life direction in an instant. As a species that has been on the earth about 300 million years, this prehistoric-looking insect’s testament to being able to adapt and survive is unparalleled, despite the fact that many dragonflies are intercepted by predators such as bird, frogs, toads etc.

Depending on the culture, dragonfly symbolism include: power, agility, happiness, speed, and purity. A recurring theme is the dragonfly encourages us to gracefully dance in the light on iridescent wings, and embrace the on-going transformation and renewal of life.

It’s no wonder they are beloved in almost every culture.

Summer’s end and August musings

Summer is all but over unless there’s an “Indian Summer” hiding in September. And what a summer it’s been.

Entrepreneur is adjusting to his *new normal* with the chemo pills he takes every day. The Bell’s Palsy is getting better…slowly. We added a fur baby to our family in May….Cabo the Goldendoodle, who is 5 months old this month. The grandbabykins are back from seeing their dad in Alabama and school started a couple of weeks ago. We’re still taking care of Twix during the days, while attempting to do something that resembles work in our home office.

But all that pales when looking at what’s going on in our country. Today’s musings will be accompanied by a few uplifting captures from my summer garden and seasonal quotes I like. Hopefully, they will bring a smile to your face…in the face of all the ugliness of the news.

Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, TX last weekend and the devastation continues with water rescues and destruction of property. I was really hoping there wouldn’t be any looting, but the depths in which some people will descend never really surprises me anymore. In spite of those that steal and loot, there have been hundreds of stories about everyday heroes who are rescuing people with their own boats and taking them to safety. Humanitarians are trying to find and take care of abandoned pets. Below is a video of a line of cars towing boats en route to Houston to offer their help. This. Is. Awesome. These are the stories that renew my faith in humankind.

Which leads me to the Florida professor who tweeted Harvey was karma for the predominantly Republican  people in Texas. Really?! With that type of mentality, I suppose one could make a case that people living in the predominantly Democrat states in the Northeast deserved to be hit by Superstorm Sandy. Ludicrous. I was happy to read this professor was relieved of his position. Yes, he does have the right to voice his opinion (see the first amendment), but it should not shield him from the consequences of this really stupid remark.

I also believe those people who comment about presidential assassinations should be held accountable as well. Missouri congresswoman Chappelle-Nadal, who advocated President Trump’s assassination, should be relieved of her responsibilities as someone who was elected to uphold the laws of our country…which do not include assassinations. Last I read, the Lieutenant Governor has called for a special session of the Senate to expel her from the legislature.

This lace cap hydrangea grows every summer in the garden. It was blooming when we planted it years ago, but never bloomed again…until this summer. If anyone has a clue as to why, I’d love to know. I think this quote personifies the human will to survive in the face of natural disasters and other life challenges. We never know what we’re capable of until our faith, tenacity and resolve are put to the test.

Next on my @#$% list is ANTIFA. This group needs to be categorized as terrorists, plain and simple.

Terrorist
noun
1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism.
Everything I’ve seen and read about these people fits the definition of terrorist; especially in light of their assault on the peace rally in Berkley a few days ago. While reasonable people recoil at the messages of the neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, we need to be equally disgusted with the rhetoric and methods of these masked…..I don’t even know what to call them. While human beings, they react violently without any semblance of humanity towards anyone who disagrees with their views.
The only thing I can say about what’s happening in Charlottesville and other cities who have commemorated soldiers and historical figures who are on the wrong side of culture’s opinions now is that is makes me both sad and angry. I’m sad because I can understand how statues of Confederate and slave-owning historical figures can bring about bad feelings. On the other hand, this is part of our nation’s history. Whatever message is being perverted by the presence of a piece of stone will not be erased with its disappearance. Will we go so far as to rename every street, county, city, currency, school and building named after someone we disagree with in order to erase any and all reminders of our past that some find offensive? My personal opinion is if a statue has the power to destroy your psyche, perhaps you need to spend some time self reflecting on what’s really behind your rage, and how it could be channeled towards something more constructive and educational. On the other hand, if I were a Jew living in Germany, I probably wouldn’t like seeing a statue of Hitler on my way to work. Recently, I ran across an article about a brilliant response by a town in Germany where they pranked a neo-Nazi group who marched in their town every year to commemorate Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess. Brilliant, and a much better response than the assault and destruction methods that seem to be the norm now for anything deemed “offensive.” When you stop and think about it, every ethnic and cultural group has something in which they can take offense. If every one of those offenses was appeased, where would it end? And, who gets to decide which offenses are legitimate and which are not? It’s a Pandora’s Box.

So, those are my musings on this summer day. Agree or disagree, I would hope we would be able to engage in dialogue as intelligent adults and either find common ground, or just agree to disagree.

Linking up with others over at Peabea’s Pictorial Tuesday.…on Wednesday.

Beautiful Coincidence

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above[a] proclaims his handiwork.
Psalm 19:1

Eclipse 2017 is on the books. For most of the country, it was a celestial event that won’t soon be forgotten; an event many of us may not ever see again in our lifetime.

So how special was it, really?

Yes, it was an event that doesn’t happen every day, although an eclipse of some sort happens in our world more often than we realize. But every time it happens, people stand in awe. Astronomers and those with more knowledge than I say the moon is traveling away from the earth and in a few million years, earth probably will not even have the type of total solar eclipse we just saw because the moon and sun will not be perfectly aligned in size.

But for now, what are the odds of the moon and sun appearing nearly the same size from earth’s perspective? There are mathematical calculations that have to do with angular size that are far above my pay grade, but they explain the coincidence of how the moon can appear to be the same size when calculating angular size in relation to distance from the sun.

To further make your brain hurt is the statistic that the sun’s diameter is about 400 times larger than that of the moon. Add to that, the sun is about 400 times farther away from the moon. This results in the sun and moon appearing nearly the same size as we stand on earth and view into the heavens; which is why we are privileged to periodically witness a total eclipse of the sun.

The closest comparison of what we experienced yesterday may be duplicated on Saturn with one of its moons, Titan. I’m not sure that counts, as no one can stand on Saturn. Earth is the only known planet where living beings are able to enjoy this type of celestial display.

A beautiful coincidence?

Guess that depends on what worldview a person holds. Personally, I don’t believe in coincidence when viewed as events or discoveries that seemingly happen completely at random. And, I’m not talking about the person sitting beside you who is wearing a hat, or watch or the same kind of shoes. I’m talking about “coincidence” on a much larger scale. There is a magnificent order to things in the universe, our world and within each of our bodies. And, I believe, that is by design.

God is not susceptible to proofs and disproofs. If you believe, the evidence is all around you. If you don’t believe, no evidence can be enough. 
~Andrew Klavan, The Great Good Thing: A Secular Jew Comes to Faith in Christ

Yesterday’s event was jaw-dropping awesome. Unless I travel, I will probably not be privy to another one that can be witnessed close to where I live. For me, I’ll be eternally thankful that the God who set these mathematical specifications in place did so on the only planet known to humankind that could actually enjoy it.

Beautiful coincidence.

Playing along with others over at Peabea’s Pictorial Tuesday.

A summer palette of color

Love is to the heart what the summer is to the farmer’s year—
it brings to harvest all the loveliest flowers of the soul.
~Author Unknown

I haven’t played with the color palette template for a while. I find it interesting to take a photo that really appeals to me, separate out the colors and discover the combinations that makes the photo different…but you just can’t put your finder on why. This was one of those photos. Once I saw the warmth of the colors, I immediately knew it was a summer palette.

These posies were compliments of The Golfer during her surprise visit to see her dad. Arriving at 4:45am July 2nd, she let herself into the house and almost gave him a heart attack when we got up at 6am! She needed to see her dad….and he needed to see her. After all, Florida is a long ways away when major stress hits a family in middle Missouri. And, phone calls really don’t cut it.

She spent the week focusing on her dad, passing on other social invitations to spend hours chatting on the patio and watching TV in the evenings. They took a morning and went to the driving range so “her coach” could offer some pointers on her (LPGA-certified) golf swing. They floated in the pool, soaking up some Vitamin D. She spent Independence Day with us and her sister, The Recruiter. The only things missing were her god-daughters, who were still in Alabama with their dad. But she did get to meet Cabo….her fur baby little brother!

The summer palette…with the warmth of sunny yellows combined with the greens of life. No wonder I like this photo.

To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.
~Barbara Bush

 

Photo Blogging Challenge: Different Lens

While PJ’s intent over at A ‘lil Hoohaa  was to use a different camera and/or lens for this month’s challenge…that’s a challenge in itself for me. My beloved Canon SLR died on me a couple of years ago and I replaced it with a smaller, more compact Canon camera (big mistake). So, aside from the camera phone (which has challenges of its own), a different lens is not really an option for me. Soooooo…….

I’ve decided to interpret the challenge in a different way; taking a more esoteric approach to the word, “lens,” which i think fits nicely with my blog’s name, Peripheral Perceptions. So, stay with me and I hope my wanderings will become more clear.

Let’s begin with the word, Paradigm. Everyone has their own lens in which they prefer to view the world. Those lenses, or paradigms, shape how we believe things should work or be done in our version of a perfect world. We all bring knowledge and personal experiences when forming our individual worldview. But, sometimes it’s beneficial for us to look at our worldview through a different lens. In doing so, we just might be able to make a shift away from those ingrained thoughts and expectations. In using a different lens, we experience paradigm shifts that can unmask stagnant thinking and help us look at ourselves and the world in a completely new way.

To further make my point, I’ve chosen five quotes that will, hopefully, help reflect the direction I chose to go this month.

Different Lens #1
Paradigms are like glasses. When you have incomplete paradigms about yourself or life in general, it’s like wearing glasses with the wrong prescription. That lens affects how you see everything else. ~Sean Covey
Entrepreneur is having a major paradigm shift with this recent bout with cancer. The lens in which he views his life has changed…and he would not agree it’s for the better. Looking at life through the lens of brain surgery and chemo pills is affecting how he’s viewing life and how he’s contemplating his future. One thing is for sure, these two little pocket rockets are the best lens correction anyone could ask for!

Different Lens #2
Just one step. Just one mile. Just one dollar. Just one kiss. Just one person. When we look at life through the lens of ‘one,’ everything becomes that much more attainable. ~Mick Ebeling
The paradigm shift mentioned above and the different lens used right now is one of “one day at a time.” The goal being to do one thing each day that makes life feel a bit more normal.

Different Lens #3
You see things through a different lens when you have a child. ~Kevin Nealon
Photographing children forces one to look at life through a different lens and try to capture the feeling of a fleeting moment in time. It’s much more than just point and shoot…and hope something of value wanders into your lens field. And, when you look at life through the lens of a child, everything is a wonder!
  

Different Lens #4
Art is kind of the lens through which I think about God. ~Dan Colen
There are many different forms of art. Drawing, painting, sculpting, photography, mixed media, textile, writing, performing, etc…the list goes on and on. God created the universe and everything in it, We were created, so it follows logic that the need to “create” is ingrained in our DNA, and is a reflection of our Maker. It’s been that way for millions of years. Peanut realized this when we went to a museum of art and archeology where she saw artifacts humankind created dating back to 5500 BC.

Different Lens #5
In life and in politics, it’s helpful to try to perceive the other person through the most generous lens. ~Megyn Kelly
And that, unfortunately, doesn’t happen a lot anymore in our culture; maybe not in any culture. We’re so quick to be judge, jury and executioner for anyone and anything that goes against our opinions. Our current political climate is a perfect example. There is no photo to literally portray this quote, but I hope closing with something beautiful will motivate everyone to try to be kinder and more generous, and choose to look at situations from different perspectives and lenses. Perhaps in doing so, we can let go of our judgmental, critical minds and focus on looking at life through the lens of appreciation and generosity—treating all people with respect, and giving others the benefit of the doubt.

One thing for sure is we all use different lenses interchangeably when looking at life. Paradigm shifts may force us to change lenses, but it’s in the refocusing of our lens that makes all the difference.

Hope you enjoyed my interpretation of PJ’s prompt this month. Now you can visit his page and see the lens in which others viewed this topic.

 

 

Conflicted

Well, they are on their way to stay with their dad for a month. The Recruiter, Peanut and Twix left this afternoon to make the trek to Nashville for the hand off for the second leg of their trip to Alabama.

And I’m oddly conflicted.

On one hand, with all that’s happened since February, Entrepreneur and I need a break from the endless energy and incessant “whys” of a three year old. And, having both of them since mid-May when the after-school sitter left college for summer break has been both a joy and a challenge. AND, add the fur baby that arrived the beginning of June and…..well…are you tired yet? We are. We really do need this time to regroup and Entrepreneur needs this time to rest due to chemo fatigue. So, we’re down two children….but training a fur baby.

But, on the other hand, each time they leave, the relief is replaced with worry and concern. Call it parental paranoia or whatever. I’m counting the days until their return. When they hit the door again in mid-July, there won’t be much summer left before those back-to-school and after-school activities begin again. In the meantime, my house will be void of munchkin-size clothing lying around, half-drank beverages in the frig, books, crayons, pencils and toys on every surface in every room. Gone will be the bath toys in my soaker tub, and luvies within arms reach of every bed.

I feel guilty about looking forward to the break…knowing the time we have with them is a gift not afforded to every grandparent. Am I ungrateful for that gift if I’m relieved to be relieved of those child care responsibilities? What if something happens to them while they are gone? I would be devastated knowing I was looking forward to time in the empty nest…even if it was only temporarily.

Such is the life of long-distance visitation.

So we try to pack as much as we can into the few weeks of summer before they have to leave. We did picnics and playgrounds; pool time and popsicles; Peanut and I visited a museum and took in a movie; went to our church’s version of VBS (on steroids); and scheduled horseback riding lessons. Plus, we made sure there were times for just hanging out with nothing organized so the mind could wander uninterrupted.

Please enjoy a few early summer childhood captures of our grandbabykins.


A nosefull of posies.


Yes, she is that high. Zoom lens required.


Picnic pupper and his pal.


The University of Missouri Museum of Art and Archeology; artifacts and art ranging from circa 1550 BCE to the 20th century.


Pool time with Papa.


Sittin’ pretty in the saddle.


He loves me……..


An uninterrupted afternoon.


Mermaids do exist!


She was a little uncontrollable at the sprayground!


The epitome of summer relaxation.


Litter mates.

I think I got a little carried away with my pics. But, I’m sure you’ll forgive me. 🙂 I hope everyone’s summer is off to a wonderful start.

xoxo