Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Just See What Happens

Here's another pearl of wisdom from Carrie Bradshaw from HBO's "Sex and the City":
Sometimes we need to stop analyzing the past, stop planning the future, stop figuring out precisely how we feel, stop deciding exactly what we want, and just see what happens.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Placing the Pieces

Even though I loved HBO's "Sex and the City," I'm not one for quoting its lead character, Carrie Bradshaw, who was played by actress Sarah Jessica Parker.

Of the four girls, Carrie was my least favorite. I admired Samantha's confidence and boldness. I loved Charlotte's optimism and fierce loyalty. I shared Miranda's ambition and vulnerabilities. But, I always perceived Carrie as the least likable character in the show. Carrie was often selfish, self-interested and so wrapped up in her own dramas that her friends seemed to carry her more often rather than the other way around.

In spite of her failings, Carrie was used by the show's writers to be the literal voice of the show. It was always Carrie's voice-over throughout each episode that provided viewers the relationship lessons learned by the four women.

While I hate to admit it, Carrie did share insightful observations at times that are worth remembering and incorporating into our own lives. Here's one of my favorites:
Eventually all the pieces fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moment, and know that everything happens for a reason.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Be Confident

While it is not known who said today's quotation (it's attributed to unknown), I'm happy that someone did and shared it:
Be confident. Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to others and wishing to be something we aren’t. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses, and it is only when you accept everything you are -- and aren’t -- that you will truly succeed.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Temporary Home

While California is usually defined by its beaches and palm trees, the flowering vine, bougainvillea, should also be included on that same list.

Bougainvillea can be seen everywhere in the state. When in bloom, its vines are full pink, red and purple blossoms that cover fences and buildings this time of year. The blooms appear suddenly, like a burst of energy, and then last a few weeks and then disappear again.

Like the bougainvillea flowers, we too may only have a short time to bloom. So, we must make the most of our time and be bold, bright and beautiful as we pass through. It was fitting that the country club where we held the reception following my aunt's memorial service yesterday was lined with blooming bougainvillea.

They remind me of a poignant song by Carrie Underwood, "Temporary Home." It's all about how we are only here temporarily.

People are like these temporary bougainvillea plants. We bloom for a season and then die, marking another stop in our life cycle. And yet, there is always the promise of the blossoms' return next spring, just like our promise of reuniting with those we love who have moved on from their "temporary home" in this existence.
"Temporary Home"
Performed by Carrie Underwood

Little boy, 6 years old
A little too used to bein' alone.
Another new mom and dad,another school,
Another house that'll never be home.
When people ask him how he likes this place...
He looks up and says, with a smile upon his face,

"This is my temporary home
It's not where I belong.
Windows and rooms that I'm passin' through.
This is just a stop, on the way to where I'm going.
I'm not afraid because I know this is my
Temporary Home."

Young mom on her own.
She needs a little help, got nowhere to go.
She's lookin' for a job, lookin' for a way out,
Because a half-way house will never be a home.
At night she whispers to her baby girl,
"Someday we'll find our place here in this world."

"This is our temporary home.
It's not where we belong.
Windows and rooms that we're passin' through.
This is just a stop, on the way to where we're going.
I'm not afraid because I know this is our
Temporary Home."

Old man, hospital bed,
The room is filled with people he loves.
And he whispers don't cry for me,
I'll see you all someday.
He looks up and says, "I can see God's face."

"This is my temporary Home
It's not where I belong.
Windows and rooms that I'm passin' through.
This was just a stop,on the way to where I'm going.
I'm not afraid because I know... this was
My temporary home."

This is our temporary home.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Wish for Us All

Today, my family says goodbye to a very special person.

Aunt Kathy and I shared many loves. We loved family. We loved talking about movies, fashion and the latest plays. And we especially loved music.

We constantly swapped our favorite CDs and introduced each other to new sounds and artists. We even would sing to ourselves when we thought no one was listening.

In honor of our shared love of music, it is fitting that I look to song lyrics to express what I hope Aunt Kathy felt she achieved in her shortened life, and what I know my aunt always wished for me.

Although my wish for more time together was not fulfilled, I'm wishing now for all of us to live lives full of everything we want it to be.

Don't wait for your life to start. Begin it now. Dream big. Worry less. And live a life full of giving and receiving love.

It is the perfect way to honor our loved ones no longer with us physically, and the best way for us to live life to the fullest.
"My Wish"
Performed by Rascal Flatts

I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow
And each road leads you where you want to go
And if you're faced with the choice and you have to choose
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you

And if one door opens to another door closed
I hope you keep on walkin' 'til you find the window
If it's cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile
But more than anything, more than anything

My wish for you
Is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold

And while you're out there gettin' where you're gettin' to
I hope you know somebody loves you
And wants the same things too
Yeah, this is my wish

I hope you never look back but you never forget
All the ones who love you and the place you left
I hope you always forgive and you never regret
And you help somebody every chance you get

Oh, you'd find God's grace in every mistake
And always give more than you take
But more than anything, yeah more than anything

My wish for you
Is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold

And while you're out there gettin' where you're gettin' to
I hope you know somebody loves you
And wants the same things too
Yeah, this is my wish, yeah yeah

My wish for you
Is that this life becomes all that you want it to
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold

And while you're out there gettin' where you're gettin' to
I hope you know somebody loves you
And wants the same things too
Yeah, this is my wish
(My wish for you)

This is my wish
(My wish for you)
I hope you know somebody loves you
(My wish for you)
May all your dreams stay big
(My wish for you)

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Day Life Begins

Fortune 500 consultant Bob Moawad once said:
The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours -- it is an amazing journey -- and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Front Row Seat for Spring

Bestselling author and humorist Erma Bombeck once said:
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blossom Umbrella

Actress and UNICEF ambassador Audrey Hepburn once said:
For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Finding My Words

Last week, my family suffered a great loss. My Aunt Kathy, who I've blogged about previously, passed away after a year-long battle with colon cancer. As my cousin so beautifully phrased it, she fought cancer with great courage and grace and in the end, died surrounded by love.

It's hard to find the words when dealing with such grief, which is why I've been absent from Via My Viewfinder the past two weeks. Preparing for her passing, and then finally facing it, no topic felt right to talk about. Not even my photographs inspired me to blog.

I'm still not ready to say more, so I hope you can forgive me if I share the wisdom of others on the next couple of blog posts. Eventually, I'll find my voice again. Until that time, I hope you enjoy my new photographs paired with the inspirational words of great thinkers.

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's Poetry, America

The best commercial during the Super Bowl didn't advertise a product, but a new way of thinking about America and our future.

Narrated by Clint Eastwood, Chrysler's Super Bowl ad sought to inspire a struggling nation to regroup during this "halftime" in our history and rally for a better America. What made the ad copy sing was written like a poem, instead of traditional advertising copy. Paired with simple images, Chrysler let the words sink in to viewers' minds and soar.

Here's the transcript of this remarkable TV commercial as shared by The Inspiration Room™:
It’s halftime. Both teams are in their locker room discussing what they can do to win this game in the second half.

It’s halftime in America, too. People are out of work and they’re hurting. And they’re all wondering what they’re going to do to make a comeback. And we’re all scared, because this isn’t a game.

The people of Detroit know a little something about this. They almost lost everything. But we all pulled together, now Motor City is fighting again.

I’ve seen a lot of tough eras, a lot of downturns in my life. And, times when we didn’t understand each other. It seems like we’ve lost our heart at times. When the fog of division, discord, and blame made it hard to see what lies ahead.

But after those trials, we all rallied around what was right, and acted as one. Because that’s what we do. We find a way through tough times, and if we can’t find a way, then we’ll make one.

All that matters now is what’s ahead. How do we come from behind? How do we come together? And, how do we win?

Detroit’s showing us it can be done. And, what’s true about them is true about all of us.

This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our engines. Yeah, it’s halftime America. And, our second half is about to begin.
According to The Inspiration Room, "The Halftime in America" ad was developed at Wieden+Kennedy, Portland, by executive creative directors Mark Fitzloff and Susan Hoffman, creative directors Aaron Allen, Micahel Tabtabai and Joe Staples, copywriters Kevin Jones, Smith Henderson and Matthew Dickman, art director Jimm Lasser.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

America the Beautiful

One of my favorite parts of the Super Bowl is the singing of the national anthem. Even though "The Star-Spangled Banner" is sung before all athletic events in the United States, when it is sung at the Super Bowl, it is taken to a new level. The result sounding more majestic and magnificant.

Since the September 11 attacks, a new song tradition was added to the Super Bowl. Before the singing national anthem, the song "America the Beautiful" is sung. This year's Super Bowl, country singers Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert sang it as a  beautiful duet.

If I had my way, "America the Beautiful" would be our national anthem. Where "The Star-Spangled Banner" celebrates America's faith, strength and bravery, "America the Beautiful" describes America's history and breadth.

In my humble opinion, "America the Beautiful" is a better representation of us. Not to mention, it is so much easier to sing.

In case you are not familiar with the lyrics of "America the Beautiful," here's a refresher. Sorry there isn't a bouncing ball for you to follow as you sing it to yourself.
"America the Beautiful"

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassion'd stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness

America! America!
God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

O beautiful for heroes prov'd
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country lov'd,
And mercy more than life.

America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears.

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Talking with Quiet Confidence

Leafless trees are the perfect example of stillness. Yes, a breeze may force a tree's naked branches to move, but for the most part, trees in winter are very still.

It reminds me a quote I recently shared on my Life Truths board on Pinterest:
Talking with quiet confidence will always beat screaming with obvious insecurity.
Wouldn't the world be a better place if we learned to speak like winter's leafless trees with stillness and "quiet confidence"?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Giving Trees of Life

Looking at this tree makes me think of the children's book, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

At the end of the book, the old man who as a young boy would ask his tree to give and give and give, finally realizes that at the end of his life, his needs are very little. In the end, all he desired  was a place to rest and the company of an old friend.

These days, I feel like that old man; all I need to be happy are beautiful landscapes and places to explore and the company of good people. The rest is just icing on life's cake.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Unedited Entirety

This week, I discovered a new photographer in town. She specializes in landscape photography and shares her collection of beautiful photographs of the Washington, DC area on her website.

As much as I love her images, they look too perfect. Color and other image elements are digitally corrected and enhanced to create her final spectacular compositions.

While breathtaking, I prefer my own photographs to be untouched and more honest. I try to post images on the blog straight from my camera memory card or iPhone with no alterations or enhancements.

These images, like today's post, are just as I saw them through my camera's viewfinder. They may not be perfect, but at least it captures the moment in time in its unedited entirety.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sorry & Perspective

So, today's image is all about perspective, which has been a running theme in conversations this week.

In a revealing conversation with my sister today (which by the way, I love that she and I have them frequently), we talked about our perspectives on apologies and forgiveness.

I mentioned that saying sorry has lost it's meaning. Instead of people using it to express regret, apologize and/or willingness not to repeat past mistakes, it is used as a new pause button during disagreements and transgressions. At times, "I'm sorry" is said just to end an act that may be repeated again later. Sorriness can be part of a frustrating cycle of people saying it to stop a disagreement and then not resolving them.

Instead of sorry, I prefer for people to just be different, learning from the past and choosing better choices in the future. I desire more action over words.

Being different and acting differently has nothing to do forgetting what's happened. We don't actually ever forget, but through action, through forgiveness, we can let go and move forward. Forgiveness is a process. Forgiveness can't be given automatically, but evolves once the decision is made to start its journey.

At the end of the day, life is all about forward motion. Our words, thoughts and actions should propel us forward, progressing and evolving.

"I'm sorry" can hold great power in our relationships, if we truly mean them and embrace its promise to be different. Elton John sang that "sorry seems to be the hardest word." That's because when said with meaning, it can be difficult to say, difficult to really mean it. But when we really mean it, our lives can really change. We free ourselves to be different.