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Way to go, Jim!

JimCook1Looking good there Jim Cook!! Getting ready for the big ride leaving Houston on Sunday, April 16th and arriving at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Tx on Wednesday, April 19th. With his well equipped electronic bike that holds his oxygen tank firmly next to him, Jim will make this ride in efforts to raise awareness to Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis lung disease that he lives with daily. Today Francoise and Benny were gearing up for the big day, as well!
If you want to be a part of the ride, come along! Or meet us in Austin on the other side of the ride!

                             WAY TO GO, JIM!

To follow Jim’s journey, you can visit https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/cookjames/journal

 

 

 

Thanks for the Show Big Guy!

IMG_WhaleAfter several trips on the whale watching boat at Dana Point Harbor in California and seeing numerous pods of whales over the years, I finally got to see my first breeched whale!  This humpback definitely gave us a show!  He was a real character!  I’m pretty sure he was out to impress a lady whale swimming around beneath us.

The one thing I did not expect was the moment when he came to the surface and decided to empty his lungs!  Yes, it was REALLY cool!!  Then…..the oohs and ahhs and laughter turned suddenly into one big UGHHHH!!  The taste and smell of what was just inside the lungs of that whale was now inside mine!!  Ohhhh, the pungent smell!  Leaves you covering your nose and your mouth for at least a minute or two.

Easily forgiven and forgotten though.  He was magnificent!  This enormous creature gave such a spectacular display, breeching over and over again, and leaving such a huge splash every single time!  It was as if he was waiting for us.  He gave a few waves with his big flippers and slapped his big whale tail as he swam around us.

It’s never a boat ride without some of the oceans most amazing and magnificent creatures coming up to the surface to say hello in their own special way!

The Voice of an Angel

SeaLion3.6MB Okay, so it wasn’t necessarily the voice of an angel…it was more like a giant beagle barking into a bullhorn!  Nonetheless, it was a spectacular afternoon at the cove in LaJolla Beach, California where dozens of seals and sea lions made their home upon the huge rocks that lined the shore.  This was definitely an unexpected adventure for me.  The entertainment was endless!  Waves would come crashing upon the huge rocks, giving them an extra boost as they slid right out of the water onto their platform.  Their playfulness with each other was ongoing and watching them become territorial over a spot they claimed as their own became very comical!

This sea lion obviously caught my attention.  I found this amazing creature to be somewhat intriguing!  He wasn’t equipped with the worry of criticism or judgment.  (of course none of them were!)  He sang his song loud and seemingly proud with a boisterous attitude that day, and I’m sure every day before that and every day after that!  I remember thinking how awesome it would be to be that carefree.  Oh, trust me, I’d rather keep myself the way I am…you know, being human and all!  But to feel joyful like this guy did at that moment and to give expression to that great emotion!  He expressed his happy self without hesitation or inhibition!  I actually felt empowered by the concert he gave!

If there’s a beautiful moment to be shared or something wonderful to say, then I want to be able to say it, to share it, to live it!  There will always be others on the other end that will most definitely appreciate it!  To share something beautiful EVERYDAY, without hesitation!  It eventually becomes natural and rewarding!

Perception is reality, they say…and today this cute little fella, in my eyes, was expressing himself with a beautiful song!  There was entertainment all along those rocks amongst these beautiful creatures.  It was this day that I gained a little more joy for life from a sea lion.

EVERYDAY is a great day to be entertained by the unexpected!

Out of Focus

Nothing is ever really clear until you explore the options that lie ahead!

IMG_CanadaUnfocusedIt’s out of focus! I know 🙂

Since I haven’t traveled much lately, I decided to look through my photos tonight and live vicariously through my ’10-15 yrs ago’ self. I set my travels aside for a short while thinking I should get more grounded, more focused. (yep, it’s a philosophical moment!) (I have many!) I probably drive all of those around me crazy!
This photo was taken about 15 years ago. I was in Canada, in a place unbeknownst to me, and believe it or not, it was about 10:00 at night. I will never forget that feeling I had when I turned the corner, saw what lied ahead of me, had this enormous fear come over me, picked up my camera from the passenger seat, put it to my eye, and snapped the photo. I knew I would not get that chance again so fear got put aside for a split second! Got the pic! Now back to ‘what if I got lost…there’s bears in this place! Cell phones don’t always work up in these hills!’ And here I was in need of gas! So….I think I’ll take this as a philosophical moment!

I continually remind myself that I have to grab the parts of life that I’ve been putting aside, even if it’s out of focus, all worries aside, and give it the vibrancy that life is meant to have! The best part about that unknown path is that I can always add my own special touches along the way, knowing that it’s up to me to reach my destinations and fulfill my own dreams of a vibrant life that lies ahead of me!

Life might sometimes be out of focus, but I do know this…..every path that I am on will always become clearer with each step that I take!

Bridging the Storms

IMG_BridgingTheStorm2Ever wish you could flawlessly get through every stormy part of life?  That every tough decision had a one day life span?

A friend once told me that if you’re facing a difficult circumstance or a difficult decision that you should try your best to view it from the other side no matter what it is, because you’d gain a much greater perspective on the situation.   I remember the day that I had to  drive to the other side of the city to visit a friend in the hospital.  I took the long way around the city just to see if my metaphorical mind could grasp ‘seeing things from the other side’. It’s a big city! What if I did not like the other side? What if I did? Would I actually base a lifelong decision on something so analogical? Even before I could reach the other side of the huge circle that surrounds this city, it became more pleasant, less chaotic, more peaceful. The view was much clearer in every direction! I couldn’t believe how this had such a huge impact on my mind! I called my friend and was happily telling her how I was in a place of clarity and headed in the right direction.

I know that there really is no way of physically seeing what the future will be like by reaching out for some metaphorical sign to give you the right answer.  Sometimes it helps to use analogies, yes it does!  But you just have to know the consequences, good or bad.  When we’re so desperate for answers, every answer that we want to hear seems right and every thing and every person seems to be placed in our path on purpose.

EVERYDAY I continue to see beauty and meaning in so many ways when I’m photographing even the simple things.  I have learned to use their depth and inspiration for my good in an attempt to perform life in a positive way.  That brings a much greater feeling of gratitude for whatever path I am on.

The day that I took this photo of the bridge over the gully, it had stormed heavily, and the water had crested beyond it’s banks.   It was a little frightening as I considered walking over it with the rushing water below and higher than I had ever seen it.   So….laughing a little to myself at the memory I had of driving to other side of the city, I stepped back, took this very nice photo, and decided that I was happy staying right where I was!

It’s a rainy night in Times Square

IMG_NewYorkCityNightLittle Red Umbrella!

Ok, so why NOT stand in the middle of the street for a photo? In Times Square? In the rain? At 3:00 in the morning?…. Well, probably because it WAS 3:00 in the morning!  No taxi cabs blazing around the corner, no horns blowing, and no officers blowing a whistle at us to get out of the street!  As crazy as it sounds, it was a fun night of running around Times Square posing in the rain and taking photos with our phones.  And NO crowds!

There is plenty of time to take that sunny day photo!  This day, however, was about making fun, laughable memories….along with the occasional eye rolling ones!  When the rain began that evening, I pulled out my cute little red umbrella that was meant for a photoshoot the very next day (one that was postponed because of the rain).  It sure did come in handy for something other than it’s intended purpose!  My friend, Dianna, threw out that great pose in the middle of Times Square as I captured her playfulness!  It’s one photo, but that one photo holds a great memory for us!

EVERYDAY will eventually be a memory!  Metaphorically speaking, I have my little red umbrella tucked away so that when that rainy day comes along, I’m well equipped to still make it a memory worth keeping.