California Dreaming- Part One

California dreaming

Greetings from SoCal!

Even though the reason I am here is difficult, there are still many happy memories to be made!

Thank you for the positive interest from the pictures I’ve shared on Instagram. Would you  enjoy a peek into what I “see” when I come home to visit?

Since last night marked the biggest snowfall of the year where I live, perhaps a photographic reminder of approaching spring, will cheer sweet blog readers up in the frigid late winter regions.

Today, for Part One, a few shots of the details that come to mind when I think of my childhood origins. They are found by walking my parents yard. No story, just a peaceful offering.

Story specific photos will come to fill out the remainder of our California Dreaming series, until things resume to normal in my blog home . In about 1 1/2 weeks. Enjoy!

California Dreaming

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IMG_4836 California dreaming pictures IMG_5012 IMG_5089

If you enjoyed these, please consider sharing them? Now, with California Dreaming comes some myths. Today though, enjoy every sweet dreaming moment. Because so many of them, are magical.

Just Below The Surface

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Things are not  always as they appear. Our eyes see what is obvious, yet we don’t understand what is below the surface.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week.

If you saw a snapshot of my life last week, the images would show a joy filled visit to sunny SoCal. Beaches and Disneyland and Friends and Family.

walking on the beach

It was perfect.

Those were the mountaintop moments. But under the surface, under the layers of fog, there was a mountain of worry.

The burnt trees in the outer edge of my photograph represent well the briars of our family’s reality.

fog www.christasterken.com

My mother has breast cancer.

Under the fog, we knew in a few days that she’d be undergoing major surgery. All we could see was the tip of the mountain, no idea what was lurking under the surface.

And then, the blurry lines of the horizon began to dissipate. Clearing views showed a beauty previously hidden from us.’

mountain view

For our family, that meant a good report from the surgeon.

The fog of reports and waiting and fear of the hidden are fading. The success of the surgery and their findings are painting us a new picture.

And I dare to say, nothing colors our life like hope.

Nature Photography {Pelicans}

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Here is what you need to know about these pictures I share with you all. There are some, um, surprises that come with the territory.

So this pelican… [Read more…]

Why Money Has A Hold Over Me, And How I Need To Let It Go

money

It started innocently, I guess.

Trying to tuck away a few extra dollars here, a ten dollar bill there.

Then we switched to the cash envelope system after taking a Dave Ramsey class years ago. Cash in, cash out.

When it is gone, it is gone.

Theoretically of course.

So the truth comes out today. [Read more…]

What REALLY should be on my “to-do” list today

to do list

It’s almost dinner time. My desk has various lists on it, competing for my attention.

I am feeling a bit agitated right now, trying to choose the best thing. I am not agitated because of the never ending to-dos…

Instead, my list needs a different kind of attention today. I am setting aside the tasks in favor of some heart maintenance.

The kind of stuff that is cluttering up my mental work area…my point of view. Because what we think on? It determines who we are.

How we act.

And I can’t afford to waste that space on the wrong sort of things. Therefore, a revision. [Read more…]

5 Easy Ways To Record Your Family History

recording family history

I am captivated with my family genealogy.

Thankfully, my Grandma has been working on this for many years, making it easy for me to enjoy. I can take her labors and create, in my way, pages to honor these people I did not know.

But I imagine them well

[Read more…]

Holy Guacamole! How God Used An Avocado…

holy guacomole

 It was a few minutes after noon on a Monday when the text flashed across my phone.

I’m thinking of making you some guacamole, are you able to swing by?

I sighed.

After weeks of careful and meticulous planning, this was to have been the kick off day. Where all those details became the hours of my Monday.

Nothing had gone right yet. What was intended as a day to stay home and focus on what really mattered (according to my freshly penned plans) had been a run-around mess. [Read more…]

A Morning Prayer

Morning prayer www.christasterken.com

This book is not my normal style of reading, but I took a chance and am really enjoying it.

This prayer is from Yours is the day, Lord, Yours is the night by Jeanie and David Gushee.

Have a blessed and fulfilling day…

Christa

Is Goodwill The New Nordstroms?The Trend Of Thrift Store Shopping

I have a confession to make.

My closet is full of thrift store clothing.

The truth is that I am more comfortable at Goodwill than at Nordstroms.  

And I am not alone. [Read more…]

Finding Inspiration {Frost}

finding inspiration www.christasterken.com

I am getting antsy to stretch my photographic muscles. The landscape appears stark and barren in the Midwest this time of year.

For a challenge, I took my camera out to see what I could find. Our yard is a simple rectangle, dotted with a few small trees.

But, for those who look deeper, interesting patterns begin to emerge. [Read more…]