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Yeah, right ... whatever

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Swallows in Love at Swallow Hallow Trail

I suppose it could get old, hearing about how beautiful and perfect things are here, in my life.

I mean, come on ... really. Could anyone's life that perfect? Actually, no. My life isn't even as perfect as my life is. Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? Actually, no.Swamp Land in Alabama New York Let me es'plain. Sunday in church, the sermon was on the subject of accepting and being grateful for your life--your life, in and unto itself, not in comparison to anyone else's life. Gratitude for the grace of one's own life. Listening to the sermon brought to mind many of the realizations I have come to over the past several years about my life, being grateful for even the ugly parts and the wrong turns (not just the good stuff). It also led me to thinking about my blog writing and the focus of the posts I tend to write. My husband once asked me if perhaps it could be that I make it all sound too perfect, too unbelievably good and perfect for people to accept at a gut level. It is a valid question. As I recalled his question Sunday during the sermon, and as I considered the focus of my blog, today's subject came to my mind. Crab Apple Trees in Bloom During Golden HourWhat is with all of this perfection, anyway? Is it real, imagined, slight of hand perhaps? Honestly, all of the perfection and beauty I speak of does exist in fact. At the same time, if my viewpoint were different, none of it might exist--being overshadowed by alternate realities. If I were to assume a different viewpoint about my life I could write about decaying barns in western New York slipping into oblivion as we sip our morning coffee and tea. I could write of a misunderstanding here or there between my husband and I. I could tell you about the fallen trees and branches littering the ground in the New York swampland ... I could, for that matter, mention the fact that western New York is basically a swamp (at least around these parts where we live). I could tell you about Blu having an accident in the house one morning, or about a squirrel that met an unfortunate end when he went one way to avoid me and my reactions led me in the same direction. I could deliver plenty of bad news. But no. Mine is a different view. I choose instead to tell you about the incredible lighting I saw on the crab apple blossoms on our tree across the road, above the river at 6:30 in the evening the past few days as God's light created a perfect setting for the delicate white and pink blossoms. The blossoms, in that golden light, looked very much like floral arrangements carefully crafted for a lovely young bride to carry down an aisle. I choose to tell you about Swallow Hallow Trail in Alabama, New York where we walked yesterday and saw pretty views of swampland reflecting blue sky and giving shelter to happy little birds. Pretty Swamp Pond Near Fireflys FarmPretty, isn't it? I also choose to tell you about a delightful little emerald pond not too far from our farm that becomes covered over in duckweed during spring and summer, where we stopped to shoot some photographs Sunday morning. Or, about the thrill I felt when I found a family of wild geese Friday evening in another nearby pond, during an outing with my dear husband and our sweet dog, Blu. Hey, I can't help it if this stuff exists, I just notice it, photograph it, and write about it. And you see, that's how life works. I made a conscious decision (and I have made a string of conscious decisions similar to it) to celebrate life and to embrace it wholeheartedly. That means I don't get to pick and choose which parts I am grateful for. This is all per my own directive to myself, not from any external source or force. I decided to choose to be grateful for it all. It is a conscious decision, and it has required real work, and at times will power, to get to where I've got it right. I choose to focus on what is right and good, and to ignore as much as possible those things which are not. Why not? Wild Geese and their young at a pretty little pondPerhaps life is a double-edged sword made up of 50% perception and 50% illusion, or something like that. Perhaps earlier in my life I was perceiving hardship and I was experiencing the illusion of hardship. That was the side of the double-edged sword I was existing on. I am certain that if my focus had been on perceiving beauty and perfection at that time that I would have experienced the illusion of beauty and perfection and ease rather than hardship. And believe me, sometimes I still goof up on it and I find myself dwelling on something unhappy or convincing myself I'm tired of this, that, or the other thing. But nowadays I am so fluent in gratitude and seeing the beauty in life that I pretty quickly come back to the beauty side of the doubled-edged sword. No matter what road you live on, whether it is in the city or the country, beautiful perfection is out there waiting for you to notice it and love it. Fireflys Hand Knit Teddy Bear Sweater Progress Beauty and perfection is in your life, available for you to notice, to get it, to appreciate it in your heart and soul. What I have found, is that when I focus myself on these things, I find my heart swelling with wonder and my mind dances with delight and I just want to shout out jubilantly, "Look what I see! Isn't this some good stuff!" When I write, I have a very definite agenda of sharing what I have focused on in my life and shouting out with joy that I see it and that I appreciate it and that I am willing to show it to others. My agenda is to share what I am seeing here with you specifically so it will inspire you to take a look around your life and see the fine things there, no matter what other realities exists, that you could shout out in joy about. No matter what else is going on around you, beauty and grace are there. Your life is beautiful, and worthwhile, and perfect because it is your life. When you actually fully embrace your life, you will see what I'm talking about. That's the secret to my happiness. You get bombarded with enough bad news on television, the radio, and the newspaper. Squabbling politicians do everything possible, with the help of the media, to keep us all embroiled in upset, upheaval, worry, disgust, rage, angst, anxiety, darkness, and just plain bad manners. Television and movie producers make sure we get more than our fill of blood, violence, depression, anger, murder, mayhem, loss, pain, suffering, evil, hatred, lewdness, and so forth. We get it, we get the point. There is ugliness in the world, there is evil, some people have very bad manners, are insanely intolerant, and so on and so forth. Blah, blah, blah. I choose to offer some relief. I figure if I keep putting out some beauty into the world through my photographs, my philosophy, my personal realizations about life, my stories, patterns, recipes, Thistleonians, and paintings, I can do my part to create a better world. I feel a responsibility to do so, because I have an ability to do so. Sampling of Three of Fireflys PaintingsIf you ever have gotten to the point with all of my blogging about how good and right and beautiful and seemingly perfect my life is where you think, "Yeah, right ... whatever," ... don't despair. Turn the looking glass of perfection toward your own life and find the many good things you have to be thankful for, shine a light on them, focus on them through the lens of a camera or merely through the quiet lens of your own private awareness. See the beauty that is you, embrace the perfection that is in your life and let that beauty and perfection outweigh and outshine all the rest.. On to other business: I have completed three paintings recently, and they are all up for auction at eBay as well as being posted on my One Painting a Day blog. There is a Vintage Button painting, Apples in a Basket, and Three Pear. The teddy bear sweater is so close to being complete ... close, but no cigar today. I am also cooking up a new batch of Knitting Thistleonians. I'll show them as soon as they are done. Tweet TweetIf you haven't read it yet, my mother's journal entry regarding her life growing up on a farm in North Carolina is available at the I Live on a Farm website. Have to run. Here's to the perfect beauty in your life, outside your own front door. Tweet, tweet. ~firefly Copyright © 2007 J.L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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