The Filters We Use…

I am now on my second week of the program…it is a day-to-day process…no miracle 10-pound loss…no great influx of dizzying energy…it has just been a slow and steady…consistent documenting everything I eat so that I can make sure I stay within the allotted calorie amount…and I am hungry most days…

The first week was a 4-pound loss…mostly water…I am sure…it will be interesting to go to my appointment next Monday and see what the real numbers are…the actual fat loss versus muscle loss versus water loss…

I was learning new photoshop skills for my photography competitions…and an interesting thought popped up…how what filters we use to view the circumstances in our lives…can change our world immensely…

These two photographs are really nothing special and even dispiriting…old relics of a time long past…left to rust in the sweltering aloneness…a blank screen with broken panels and years of grime as it’s only covering…the old car rusted with the rust of neglect…and empty headlights like the blank empty stare of nothingness…forgotten in the background of swirl of life going on in the distance…

I don’t know about you…but I have felt like that at times…more often than I would like to remember…forgotten, neglected and useless as everyone around me twirls and swirls in their busy lives…

My options…sit morosely in the dark corner of life and have a pitiful party…I’ve even had a couple of times like that now as I watch people around me eating all the sweet and crunchy flavors that I enjoy…I’ve made banana coffee cake…bought lemon cheesecake for a tea…none which I partook of…and I am proud of that…but I didn’t partake because it is such a slippery slope for me… a shot of insulin in my system with the rush of sugar or refined carbohydrates will cause an avalanche that would set be back further than the bottom of the mountain…

Today has been difficult…had a training session at the gym…then had to walk in the heat to the store…frustrating trying to figure out an electronical remote trigger and speedlight😣 with only a very small breakfast…and it affected my mood…but it is part of the journey…and it’s only a short space of time…this too will pass…and I haven’t lost footing…maybe my mind, but that’s pretty much par for the course…

So how do I view days like this…trying to filter with gratitude…it is a pretty rosy filter that helps to reframe the moment…not the filter of past dark negative emotions…and no matter what the current angst…it can immediately be changed…by reframing and filtering it through the good that we do have and experience…

Steve Maraboli - Steve Maraboli added a new photo.

One day at a time…and if needed…sometimes it’s only a moment…

Make something new out of all the old pieces…it’s really kind of fun✨

Laughter and Love❣…remember you’re not alone…we’re all in this together…just “walking each other home”…

Misty Morning

“Life is foggy; always try to see what lies behind the fog!”

― Mehmet Murat ildan

That dream-like state…you know you’re awake but then maybe not…the path is a little unclear and the mind feels dull and full of cobwebs…the days feel like you’ve been holding your breath because you forgot to breathe…and you might pass out any moment…that’s been the past several weeks…

I’m waiting for the sun to burn off the fog… yet I am enjoying this misty magical feeling…keep looking for the fairies and the unicorns to arrive any moment…

It’s been 2 1/2 years since my replanting to this beautiful South Africa…like any movie…adventures galore…some heart pounding, breathtakingly scary and some amazingly magnificently beautiful…but all I hold tightly in my heart…

Let’s see…

The last few months…not including the pandemic…cancer surgery, chemo…canceled trip home…we’ve recently renovated the house…and are still in the process…although we can now use the kitchen…had a helper quit unexpectedly…Mr. P’s crown and implant…6-month cancer checkup…my request for renewal of my visa application that was delayed due to the pandemic…which meant I couldn’t leave even if I needed to…applying with immigration for a wedding registration…YES!!!! Mr. P and I are getting married…nothing big…casual and very small❣

In two weeks’ time, I will be married to the man of my dreams…after a millennium of dreaming and believing…and more often than not…telling myself I was stupid for hoping that I could still find a knight in shining armor…often joking that at our age…the armor has a few dents and dings…but then my ‘damsel in distress’ robes are a bit tattered and torn…and everything is viewed through the lens of love and care…and that changes everything…

When I write it out…it sounds hokey…but it is a true as the sun rising and setting…we had wanted to get married with family in the us and Europe but all that was nixed when we couldn’t travel last year…we will be blessed to share the day with a small part of our South African family to celebrate with…and now we can party all next year when we meet up again with others…

Which brings me back to trying to put it all together in a country where I don’t know who to use for catering, cake, or flowers…although everything will be wonderful no matter what…sometimes the most memorable events are those where things didn’t go as planned…

I wish for you the same magical life in the midst of living the day-to-day…wonder and wander like a child…get lost in dreams…in your hopes…never ever give up…connect to the moment…to what is…to yourself…to the universal energy that flows through everything…find gratitude until it overflows your cup…play…in everything play…doing dishes…dance to the music of life…

Dance Like No One Is Watching Pictures, Photos, and Images for Facebook,  Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter

Embrace the mysteries of who you are…make wishes and believe that they will come true…I will warn you that probably not when you want them too…but they do…be crazy in love with life…it is short…to short not to live in joy…for breath, life and love…My life changed when I became content with what and where I was…happy…just plain delighted to be alive…when you find happiness and joy where you are…sharing the magic of the now…you would be amazed at what happens…

Sending love, laughter, lots of magic…don’t forget to dance…it is quite liberating…

Umbulo the Dung Beetle Extordinaire…Part II

Lately the world seems like a heaping pile of poo with the ongoing Covid pandemic, riots, insurrections, political infighting and unrest, the climate crisis, unrelenting conflict and…and on and on and on…we often become numb to the magic that is at our finger tips…yet there is still wonder and amazement to be found in a every day moment…mysteries to marvel at…gifts that God hands to us in our human existence for us to open…

“traveling on the edge of a vast, floating whirlpool of stars”, alive and conscious, walking and talking on a big rock circling a bigger burning ball of gas…nearly fourteen billion years after the cosmos bubbled into being”

(Rick Hanson, Ph.D.)

In honor to the small gifts of life, and Mr. P’s request…here is the “rest of the story”…

A outstanding planetary citizen preforming a vital function…heads down…bottom ups

Umbolo climbs to the opening of his burrow squinting in the early morning spring sun…It’s October and winter has decided to bid adieu for the season…catching the “bok-bok-mak-kik” of the shy and skulking large yellow Bokmakierie with his black collar…off somewhere pecking for his breakfast of insects, small lizards, snakes, small birds and frogs….uggggg….gross and nauseating to Umbolo….shrugging…but to each his own…

Precious green thickets of spekboom with its small, star-shaped dusty pink buds doing its job of helping the environment by sponging up the carbon dioxide…and surreptitiously providing an ingredient to his own nutritious meals served by the elephants…the Acacia thorns with its conspicuous paired white long thorns 10-25 cm (4″ -10″) that would soon to a mass of sweetly-scented golden-yellow puff balls…

The karoo was definitely in nursery mode…and romance was in the air💕… Spring was here!!!!

Grumbling…his stomach reminds him that the first order of the day is nutrition…there is always such fierce competition between all his friends, relatives and competitors at the self-service take out…sometimes hundreds congregating…❓don’t know why❓…after all one elephant shares up to 150kg (330 lbs.) of poo every day…and with 600+ elephants…well, you do the math…that’s a lot of food…but like all buffets…the best parts are dried up or gone quickly if you arrive too late…

Raising his antenna with its incredible sensitive sense of smell….awww there it is…the delicious smell of fresh gourmet poo…after all he was a very fussy eater…he needed and craved the tiniest particles of the protein-rich nitrogen source needed to keep his muscles strong💪…clicking it up a notch for fast mode to the elephant provided buffet…he’s off…🏁

Yes, Umbolo arrived early enough…food still warm and fresh…but no time to slow down…he was at risk of being assaulted by Isela or one of his gang of thieves…they were relentless…although Umbolo was quite a strong defender of his poo balls…he had lost his prize several times before…..and had been relieved of his precious haul…he had to head off again to find a new fresh source of his edibles and gifts for a potential girlfriend…and just maybe a “baby” nest💞…hopefully not this time…

All hail the underdog!

Umbolo’s long, thin, outwardly bowed hind legs were well suited for running and wrapping around the accumulation of the poo…clinging to the ball as he was forming it…he was able to maneuver a ball 50x his weight…Hercules of the dung beetles..

“Like a bag of money dropped in the street, “everyone would grab as much as they could, get it somewhere safe, and then come back for more.”

Max Barclay

Umbolo quickly gripped the ground with his mid and hind legs and cut into the warm buffet with his front legs. He began then patting bits of food on his new ball with the rakelike extensions on his front legs…definitely not a day for creating the most magnificent of balls today…too much competition…pushing against the buffet table with his head, Umbolo separated his takeaway…and started rolling…quickly…before it was stolen by his rivals…

Beating a hasty retreat…in the most expeditious and efficient way possible…in the most direct route…a straight line…head down…butt up…propelling his meal with his hind legs, he moves backwards with his head pointed to the ground…Off to the races…navigating away from the fray…

No GPS or Google Maps needed here…not confused where to go at all…he has celestial powers too…an internal celestial compass for orientation and skylight cues…he stops, climbing on top of his booty and rotated around to orient himself…detecting the symmetrical patterns of polarized light…climbing back down and pushing his treasure again…the reference point of the sun giving him the way to beat a hasty retreat home…

He had made it to safety away from the scrimmage safely this time…digging in the soft soil under his precious ball…he pushed the dirt up around it until it sank into the ground…no need to bury it too deep…the nursery ball would definitely need to be buried deeper….he was in a hurry…his hormones were kicking in and the girls were waiting…

Uswiti was so incredibly frustrated…MEN…they were all alike…the handsome beetle Indoda had duped her that very morning…enticing her with his strong masculine essence…she had fallen for it and followed him into his burrow…the thrill was short lived…nothing to see there…no brood ball in sight…a lazy one… must be part of the gang run by Isela…feeling a little full of himself, he tried a little funny business…the full wrath of Uswiti ensued…kung foo expert…she left him in in the most most vulnerable position…upside down on the floor of his burrow…

She was not giving up…she had spent a lot of time rounding out her curves…getting ready to find a nice man and have a family…after all, that’s all this girl really wanted..in the meantime…curves to be maintained…off to find lunch…

She had wasted a good part of the morning with the scamp…lunch was going to be a quick pick up and go…being around noon now…packed up with all the nutrition needed…she was quickly out of the rowdy crowd…the sun being at its zenith…it was unreliable to discern East from West…no time to wait for afternoon sun guidance…she toggled on her internal wind compass and off she went…headed toward home…to dine in peace…

The late morning fiasco had caused an additional complication… hot…hot…hot…the unrelenting sun searing the surface of the ground…at this time of the day, even the trees were seeking shade…the waves of the afternoon heat were blistering the soles of her feet…she felt herself starting to overheat…a few minutes reprieve…Uswiti climbed on top of her food packet to cool her feet…

Times like this made her extremely jealous of her relatives…the Scarabaeus satyrus family…they took to the air (no walking for them) at dusk…working in the cool of the evening…no need to contend with the heat of the African sun to find the straightest way home…out and about at night…navigating and orienting themselves using the beautiful stars of the Milky way…picking up the polarized light they used this as a map to keep themselves on course…oh, well…that was not her lot in life…back to hot-footing it…

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

Oscar Wilde

Umbolo’s breathing was getting a quicker and his heart was beating just a little faster…his anxiety level had increased with each beat of his heart…the gift of a brood ball was all of completed…the lovely romantic gift was unwrapped so it could be seen and all his work fully appreciated…would he be accepted today…

Well, here goes…another headstand…supporting his body with his head and four front legs…he rubbed his belly with the brush on his back legs…first one leg and then the other…back and forth…his enticing manly essence was released with a puff of fine white powder…the pungent order that hopefully enticed the ladies…he had a juicy prize to give…

Uswiti felt herself being enticed toward another tempting manly smell…maybe this one would be a more suitable partner…and she headed off to check it out…one never knows…she spotted Umbolo’s beautiful brood ball…such a homey and roomy nursery…she came a little closer and Umbolo relinquished his headstand and raised his forelegs in greeting…his dream come true…advancing on Uswiti he extends his antennae…would she accept him…

Dung beetles prefer human faeces to those of wild animals | The Economist

Hesitantly…Uswati lowers her front legs…Yes!!!!!!…letting him know that she thinks he’s a mighty fine dung beetle with his exquisite offering…she climbs a top his gift and clings to the ball as Umbolo starts to roll the ball away as quickly as he can…now he needs to get her home before Isela or one of his thieves tries to steal both his woman and his brood ball again…

No, such luck…there he comes…thinking he’s the cat’s meow…not this time…Umbolo knew Isela would be relentless…determined to roll off his prize…being bulky had it’s disadvantages…and ground warfare was the only option with no wings…his strength in the battle was his strength and this was a matter of survival…he had experience in all the techniques to viciously fight for his claimed prize…

Umbolo is on the top, now he’s on the ground…now Isela is on the top…Umbolo comes back…not giving up and much like a wrestler flings that would-be thief right off…it’s a big fight…each trying to throw the other off…one more time…Umbolo throws Isela off…Isela is temporarily helpless upside down…deciding that this time perhaps it might be easier to find a less determined target…

Victorious…Umbolo starts off again with Uswiti until they come to an acceptable location for the nursery…Umbolo crawls underneath the ball and starts removing the soil underneath while Uswiti clings to the top…gradually the ball sinks lower and lower into the ground until the nursery is hidden from view…and Uswati lays one egg inside of the soft ball and the ball hardens making a protective layer for the baby…the inside is softer and provides all the food that their babies will need to grow and thrive..

The next generation will emerge from the soil after the first summer rain when the temperatures are warm enough and the soil is moist enough to break free…Umbolo prevailed and future generations of exemplary planetary citizens…he is truly a Dung Beetle Extraordinaire…

***Although this is a work of fiction, I tried to stick as close to the facts as possible. The information as to the behavior of dung beetles was taken from scientific articles mentioned below…

Evan Nicole Brown ‘When the Sun is High, Dung Beetles Navigate with the Wind’ Atlas Obscura

Matt McGrath “Dancing dung beetles navigate with ‘sky snapshot” BBC News

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/beetles-fight-over-dung-ball

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-humble-dung-beetle-180967781/

Paw Prints on Our Hearts🐾

It’s 5 o’clock and I catch myself waiting to hear the clicking of her toenails as she abruptly skids into the kitchen…asking for her dinner…but there is only the silence…Mr. P thought he caught a glimpse of her in when he was working in the garden…she loved being outdoors

No banal platitudes or trite quotes…words feel meaningless or at least extremely inadequate at the moment…with an inability to convey the heaviness and tumultuous of emotions…

Summerstrand, PE

Arriving in South Africa in July 2019…often I felt lost and alone in a place where everything was unfamiliar and devoid of family and old friends to hold unto…Mr. P and the lady Whiskey were my saving grace…

…when I arrived here last year…she & I started out with a common bond being two old ladies…well, I should say…just more mature…with bum left hips🤣…when Mr. P would go to work…I talked or cried…and she listened…and she understood…we became inseparable…where ever I went…she followed and laid down beside me to keep me company…it was as if she knew that it was her job…she was my friend…

Mr. P was of course her first love…her alpha…she had been with the family for almost 15 years…he trained her…took her for her favorite walks…she really adored him❤ and he loved her❣

Two worlds swirled together…creating a love that doesn’t make a lick of sense to the rational part of our brain…but somehow it touches the dreamy and devoted parts…our heart…and that is where she’ll always be…

…I wish she could have stayed just a little while longer…at least until Mr. P completed the chemo…and I think that she tried…when she ran limping down the hall her last morning to say good morning and give her love greeting…

People (and Pets🐾) come into your path for a reason, a season or a lifetime

When you know which one it is, you will know what to do with that person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.

They have come to assist you through a difficulty…

To provide you with guidance and support…

To aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually…

They may seem like they are a godsend, and they are.

They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die…

Sometimes they walk away…

Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand….

What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled…

Their work is done.

The prayer you sent up has now been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON.

Because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.

They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.

They may teach you something you have never done.

They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.

Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons.

Things you must build upon to have a solid emotional foundation.

Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

It is said that love is blind, but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a part of my life…

Whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime

–Unknown author

Most everyone and everything in our lives is often transitory…and life is brief…with your whole being…embrace the sweetness of life…and even the pain for it teaches and imbues with wisdom (if we let it)…fill each moment with gratitude, passion and purpose…forgive, forget and release each transgression quickly… relentlessly pursue joy…and never bypass a moment to express your love…

Prayers that your day will be filled with love, much laughter and the magic of life.

Day 125…Rather the Night

“The pale stars were sliding into their places. The whispering of the leaves was almost hushed. All about them it was still and shadowy and sweet. It was that wonderful moment when, for lack of a visible horizon, the not yet darkened world seems infinitely greater—a moment when anything can happen, anything be believed in.” ― Olivia Howard Dunbar, The Shell of Sense

…sometimes the only thing that we need to change is our perspective…our focus…it will change our whole world…and more importantly…it will change our experience of that world…reality may stay the same…but the experience will be totally different…

The time difference between the two photographs was only a short span of time…and a slight turn to the left…from exactly the same point…

Yet…in those few minutes…the lit house directly in my line of sight…seemingly impeding our view…was “poof”…gone…and the evening seemed to be strewn with diamonds and shiny pieces of glass…shrouded in elegant black velvet filigree…

That is what gratitude does for me…it changes my perspective…what I focus on…reality doesn’t change…but my experience of the moment does…

There were days at the office when the girls and I were ready to scream…the boss was unhappy…customers were screaming and needing everything right now…at this particular moment…and all at the same time…our teammates were not being cooperative in helping to find solutions…in a nutshell…swirling dust devils of anger and frustration…

The only thing that gave us perspective was…to take a gratitude break…I would stop and ask, “OK, what are we grateful for?”…it would help to break the negative emotional downward spiral that we were on…the irritation..the exasperation that we felt building…

…working close to work…having a job…flexibility in leaving if we had an emergency…not grandiose ideas…but enough to change the momentum in a breathe or two…

It is the same here…living in this new environment…when the loneliness and frustrations arise…I soften up and breathe…sit in the moment and count my blessings…Mr. P first and foremost…my not dealing with the incredible stress and frustration of my old life…the beauty that I am surrounded with..all of the new experiences that I have the chance to encounter…the dreams and creative and artistic endeavors that I now have the opportunity to explore…

“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?”
― C. JoyBell C.

people walking near steel rack
…awww yes…perspective really is everything
Photo by Drew Patrick Miller on Unsplash