Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thankful Heart coming your way (finally….sorry).

Thanks so much to everyone who entered this little giveaway!   I loved reading through all your comments.  Really, it’s worth going back and reading those comments.  So many great idea!  I was so inspired by so many of them and have tried to incorporate some into my thanksgiving season.  I really feel like my week has been so much happier.   Thankfulness and happiness are indeed inseparably connected. 

I’ve probably thought about what Angie said 50 times this week as I’ve tried to enjoy the rays of light I see and the loud (sometimes happy) sounds in my home:

This time of year, I always think of Helen Keller. She wondered "what would happen if a ray of a ray of light" came into her darkness, or a sound rang through her silence. "What would happen?" she thought many a time. "Would my heart stop beating for very excess of happiness?"  We seldom give pause to give thanks for everyday blessings. 
count your blessings.

I picked two winners at random.  Drum roll please………


Blogger taggteam said...
Life is crazy with kids, but I learned about gratitude from a companion on my mission. Her prayers were so beautiful and so full of gratitude about the simplest things that I would often take for granted. Now, at dinner we all share something that we are grateful for. At times, my kids have to really think about it until I mention about their bed, or our yard or our 3 bathrooms. (We just moved from a tiny apartment in NYC.) Also at night I will tell them why I am grateful for them. Granted, it's harder on some nights than others, but it changes my heart and brings me closer to them.
9:32 AM

and


Blogger Monica Geary said...
I am always saying quiet 'grateful prayers' when going about my busy day and try to keep a gratitude journal throughout the year. We also do a Thanksgiving tree as a family which has always been fun to look at the answers over the years.
4:20 PM
Please email me at saydriaatgmaildotcom with your address so I can get the books shipped out to you asap. 















Wednesday, November 12, 2014

peace like a river – sneak peek

IMG_1185I loved meeting and photographing this family.  These twins and their little sister were radiant.  Full of energy and light and goodness and love for each other.  And I am completely in love with their back yard.  The light, the colors, and, oh, there’s that river running through it.  Life just feels more peaceful in the presence of a river.

We had a great Halloween afternoon, playing to keep warm while I snapped away.  IMG_1193 IMG_1198 IMG_1239 IMG_1281 IMG_1294 IMG_1321  I’m trying not to comment too much on these photography posts….because I don’t even know these people.  But I really think you can tell a lot from a photograph, and I sense a pretty unique bond between these two twins.  Made me think of me and my little brother Jonah.  We always used to pretend we were twins.  IMG_1338 IMG_1341 IMG_1452 IMG_1578 IMG_1590  IMG_1637 IMG_2247IMG_1957  IMG_2070 IMG_2153

IMG_1637  IMG_2060   IMG_1919

IMG_2234

Aren’t families beautiful?  I am in love with family life, especially through the lens of my camera.

I  really do love my job. 

(one of these days I’ll find the time to figure out how to easily post these to my photography website….)

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Thankful Heart {giveaway}

Tips from a Typical Mom: 21 Days of Gratitude Challenge- Free Thanksgiving Subway Art Quote Printable

Life is pretty crazy around here this time of year.  I feel strings pulling me in every direction.  My heart wants to be out frolicking in the leaves or hiking the fells with my kids, but my body and brain need to be tied to the computer editing pictures, or doing laundry or keeping up with the whirlwind that is our life these days. 

So, since I can’t stop the storm, I’m trying to take a step back and recognize the beauty in it.  My mom always talks about how, with nine little kids, she tried to be the eye of the hurricane.  How in the heck?  I haven’t mastered that one yet --instead I’m often the wind that seems to set off the hurricane.  So I’ve decided to start on a more basic level – just get above the storm enough to see that there is lots to be thankful for in this messy chaos.  Seeing each ordinary experience with childlike wonder--lessons in Nature, or virtues of character like kindness that turn the ordinary into the extraordinary--stories waiting to be told.

It seems hard to see the beauty in the everyday, because we see it every day. 

“Gratitude does not lead to happiness; gratitude is happiness in its most obtainable form." – Richard Eyre

I know, I’m quoting my dad….but I firmly believe this is true.  Gratitude is happiness.  I know that the times I’ve been the happiest in my life are the times I’ve been focused on the good, grateful for what I have, able to see the extraordinary in the ordinary.  But, obtainable dad?  How, in this crazy mess of motherhood can I obtain that thankful, happy perspective?  Some days it feels beyond reach.  But I do believe he’s right, it is obtainable, with effort.  Nearly everything worthwhile takes deliberate effort.

So, here are some things I’m going to try this season in honor of Thanksgiving:

  1. Take time each day to be present for just 45 seconds with each person in my family. I am thankful when I am present, drinking in the now.
  2. Write down three things I’m thankful for at the end of the day.
  3. Stop to pray at least once during the day when I notice something particularly beautiful in my life to thank God for those little, often unnoticed beauties.
  4. Limit social media.  And when I do check in on friends and family on Instagram let their images remind me of my own blessings (such great friends and family) rather than make me covet theirs.  And post things I’m thankful for.  (see power of mom’s thanksgiving challenge here).
  5. Write a few thankful emails to friends and family and encourage my family to do this on November Sundays.

My parents just published a new book all about Gratitude.  It’s sitting on my coffee table and makes my kids feel like rock stars since there are lots of pictures of them in it.  It’s such a great reminder than this is the season to really bulk up my gratitude muscles.  And I get to give one away!

Here’s what my dad and mom have to say about it:

In our family, Thanksgiving has always been the "key" holiday.  So many of our traditions have centered on Thanksgiving, and we always felt it was the perfect lead-in to Christmas and the perfect harbinger of the holidays.  After all, what could be a better precursor to Christmas and to celebrating the birth of Christ than all kinds of gratitude and Thanks-Giving!

Early in our marriage, we decided that rather than get into the Christmas Card frenzy, we would jump the gun a bit and send out a Thanksgiving Card each year.  We have done that now for 44 years, and the cards actually tell the story of our family.  The pictures that went with the cards each year show the growing up of each child, and the poems we wrote to go with the photos trace the pattern of what had happened each year and where our gratitude was centered.

Finally, as Thanksgiving continued to mean more and more to us, we decided to write a book about gratitude, and about the connections of Thanks-Giving to Joy, to Peace, and to family security and unity.  Since much of what we wanted to say was about feelings, we felt the book needed to be as much about pictures as about poetry and prose.  Luckily, we have some great photographers in the family, and we were able to use their work to illustrate the book.

As it was finished this fall THE THANKFUL HEART has become not only a how-to book on the ways to enhance and magnify gratitude, but a kind of short hand history of the Eyre family (Eyrealm as we call it) and we could think of no better way to start "getting it out" than on our wonderful daughters' blogs.  The publisher has agreed to a little give away where you can comment on this blog and go into a drawing for free copies.  And for those who don't win a book (we've never won a drawing in our lives) it is now on sale at Amazon HERE.

Hope you love it,  Linda and Richard Eyre

I get to give away one copy! And if you’ve made it to my blog you’ll have a much better chance of winning thank you would on my sisters’ wildly popular blogs! (I don’t think many people make it this far into the eyrealm :))

To enter the giveaway, post a comment sharing one thing that you do (or want to do) to cultivate gratitude, to rise above the chaos or mundane and see the beauty in it.

I’ll announce the winner on Thursday, November 13th so we can get that book to you well before Thanksgiving.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

magic in the fells

 IMG_0889Whenever I get together with Eva there’s magic.  Something about her awareness, her ability to soak in beauty and express joy makes Eva radiate magic.  I’ve never had a bad time with her.  Maybe it’s that we always plan to be together in our favorite, most beautiful places.  It’s so soul satisfying to be with someone who loves what you do.  Eva loves all that I love with 10 times more passion.  She just radiates light.

Anyway, so yesterday was forecasted to be beautiful.  Whenever I see an unusually beautiful day coming up I try to get together with Eva.  She was game to come down our way so that I could take her to my favorite spot in the Fells (a giant patch of conservation land near us where I often run).

This place was ablaze with autumn light and color.  We, both with our cameras in hand, drunk it all in. 

I’ll let the pictures try to share with you how beautiful the day was.   Too bad they can’t capture the warm fall breeze, the smell of fallen leaves, the crunch of them underfoot.  IMG_0866(of course, since we both love photography….there were a lot of pictures happening)IMG_0868 I love her little Skye.  She’s quite a bit younger than Hazel, but they love exploring together.  All of Eva’s kids are full of curiosity and childhood wonder.  She home schools them in the most full of life way you could imagine.  IMG_0880 Peter raced around those trails with his tongue hanging out like a happy dog.  Thankfully Eva’s boys were happy to race him…..I couldn’t keep up. IMG_0882 IMG_0886There were these florescent ferns, going out toward winter in a blaze of color.    IMG_0892 IMG_0897 IMG_0904 Lots of rock throwing and investigating.  IMG_0908 IMG_0914 IMG_0916 IMG_0920 IMG_0921 IMG_0924 I love how Eva’s shirt matched the ferns.    IMG_0932 IMG_0935 IMG_0936 IMG_0937 IMG_0941 And then we walked into the magical woods.  It’s like Narnia in there.  IMG_0944 IMG_0950 IMG_0963  IMG_0971 IMG_0980 IMG_0985 IMG_0990 IMG_1000 IMG_1005 IMG_1008

IMG_1013 Here’s Hazel’s I feel alive pose.  Maybe my most favorite shot of it ever. IMG_1014 IMG_1017 IMG_1025 IMG_1026 Eva and I sat here on the cushiony pine floor and talked about all kinds of ideas and new things as the kids made little lean to shelters.  They wanted to stay all day.  We all did……in a place like that you start to feel like time should just pause for a long time until you have time to inhale it all.   IMG_1042 IMG_1047 IMG_1050 IMG_1055 Hazel was up for taking pictures yesterday (which I’m always happy to take advantage of, since it doesn’t happen all the time).  Isn’t she getting so big?  IMG_1057 IMG_1059 And whenever I get the camera out for Peter he insists on whacking something or making some kind of tough guy face.  IMG_1060 IMG_1072 We had our little budding photographer Hazel take a picture of us before we headed back into the real world.  After being with Eva I’m always reminded that there’s beauty in slowing down and taking it all in, but there’s also beauty in the real world.  You just have to train your eyes to see it.  Check out her beautiful fine art photography here.  IMG_1079

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