Be Patient

Be Patient

I will admit that patience is not always the easiest of character traits for me to embody and project. I have certainly gotten better at it over the years but I think it’s interesting how we can sometimes believe we’ve come so far in one aspect of our life, like patience, when another test comes along. What’s even more interesting, to me, is how we may have had similar situations that occurred over and over till we finally got it but the same test shows up, yet again, wearing different clothes or wrapped in a different situation and as the event unfolds, there are nuances that are inevitably, entirely new and as such, so then is the lesson.

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This of course leads me to the question of; how deep and wide does the characteristic of patience go? Then I think…do I really want to know? Ha! Probably not. Especially if it means undergoing a relentless amount of trials that seemingly exceed my capacity for this particular virtue. Raising 4 children as a single mother was test enough and my idea of a nice retirement, at that point, was a room with 4 padded white walls, a straight jacket and hopefully an IV of some fantastic cocktail, if I made it that far! Two are now grown and two will both be in high school next year, so I’ve made it and no longer have the need for the padded room fantasy.

Now, it seems, that as my tests of patience have graduated, so have the tests themselves, graduated to new levels. Now I see that patience, like any virtue, is as deep as an abyssal trench or as vast as the Universe, which is ever expanding. It is a strange concept to attach to something so intangible as a quality of character, but it is precisely because of it’s intangibility that gives any quality of character it’s unfathomable depth. Think in terms of love, hope or compassion…they are all only bound by the very limitations we, ourselves, place on them. In reality, they are as boundless as the Universe itself.

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Ah yes, my patience, as of late, has been under attack by forces beyond my control. I will eventually share these experiences, however, now is not the right time. This inaction is an act of patience itself, I suppose. It reminds me of a quote from Mia Angelo;

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.”

I can only take comfort in knowing that I am working on it and that the story will be told. In the meantime, I can only work on my projects, take care of myself, wait and practice the art of patience.

I have come to understand that no amount of worry, frustration, despair or rushing about intoxicated by panic or impatience will speed anything up or diminish the unknowable. The unknowable is just as vast and dark as the origins of patience, therefore, common sense tells me to stay rooted in the present. I can be patient with this very moment and in doing so I will find the strength to continue moving forward, one tiny step at a time.

Journey on,
🍀The Crazy Celt 💚

Beyond The Veil

Part 5-Love Letters to Life

Dear Life,
I think it’s pretty common to think about death as we get older and even when we’re younger, after having children. Of course no parent can fathom anything happening to their child but I also remember fearing something happening to me and not being able to be there to protect my kids as they grew. Thankfully most of those entertained thoughts were fairly fleeting but I definitely recall have anxiety over it and ALL the things I have no control over. I suppose being in the Fire Service and dealing with life and death every shift keeps the reality of human fragility close to the surface, although the thick skin we have to grow works for a while, there are always “those” calls that linger and rattle around in the brain when it’s least expected. The sights, the smells and the sounds of patients that seem to peer through the eyes of my own children. The highlight of every shift is coming home to their shining faces and the necessary reminder that we still have the gift of time to share with each other. It truly is priceless and goes far too fast.

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Easter is such a big symbol of death and resurrection and the measure of what a purposeful life can mean. I dont make New Years Resolutions, however I do think it’s fitting to do a reassessment of my own life, on or around my birthday every year. I may be a year older but am I a year wiser….that’s the goal. I firmly believe one should always continue learning and setting new goals, regardless of age. I can’t imagine not having passion and curiosity for my own life. I want to know that I’ve done enough, that I’ve given all that I can.

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I know that one day I’ll be a distant memory but as I take my last breath I want to know that I’ve lived and loved and cherished every moment in between. I don’t think it’s possible to fully live if there is a nagging fear of death looming over every action or inaction we do. I also don’t think it’s possible to fully live if we’re oblivious to death either. Somewhere there is a balance that allows us the freedom to live joyously and be at peace with what’s beyond the veil of this life. Whatever beliefs, traditions or faith, I think it’s safe to say that this messy, intricate thing called life is pretty spectacular and such a precious gift.

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🐣The Crazy Celt 💚

Hope

Hope

Hope

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Image of my dad’s Martin Acoustic Guitar, a promo poster and the album cover (art work by my dad) and an image of the group.

There has been a photo assignment looming over my head for almost 2 weeks, called Sights and Sounds, through National Geographic Your Shot. I knew what I wanted to do but it made me confront the difficult feelings of missing my father, who died of brain cancer 10 years ago. The most important thing for me was making sure I honored his memory. This is a story of my process, getting it done and it’s profound affect on me.

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Image of Hopes #1 single,
‘Where Do You Want To Go’, written by my dad and a reflection of his guitar and promo poster.

First, I’ll share a little history….
My Father was Wayne C. McKibbin and was the lead singer and guitarist in a group called Hope, which became my middle name when I was born in April of ’71. They were incredibly successful, recording a couple singles and consequently their #1hit, ‘Where Do You Want To Go’, with Coulee Records in LaCrosse WI. The group then went on to record an entire album with A&M Records, which was copyrighted in ’72.

My dad went on to become a Minister, which led us to California. Quite a change, I know but my dad continued to write music and there is a treasure chest full of beautiful memories of going home to Wisconsin and the group, always reuniting for amazing Jam Sessions.

It’s no surprise that I would naturally gravitate to guitar and singing and songwriting, although my dad was never one to coddle me. He showed me some basics and I ran with it. Of course the first batches of music always only had 3 or 4 chords in them. I was still proud and wrote some decent stuff over the years.
That, truly was the beginning of my passion for writing.

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On July 4th in 2005, my father passed away from brain cancer, after struggling through surgeries and experimental treatments for nearly 5 years. It was with a very heavy heart that I inherited his Martin Acoustic Guitar. I had a difficult time playing it for a while. I could never make her sing the way my dad did but I did eventually start playing again.

Today, I occasionally take her out and play her but I’m ever mindful that she is older than me and if you follow my blog, you know that I’ll be turning 45 very soon.
The guitar has so much rich history and a deep sentimental value to me, hence the reason I was having some, initial, difficulty with the photo assignment. Ultimately, it provided an opportunity for me to reminisce and mull over many beautiful memories.

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Today I took out my Martin and a bunch of memorabilia from my dads recording days. I took great care with the lighting and angles of the shots. As you can imagine, I took a large quantity of photographs and then took my time breaking them down into a handful of favorites. At that point I did some minor editing, wrote a short narrative about the
history of my father’s music and how it touched my life and something brief about what each image was. Ultimately, I was happy with the outcome and believe my dad would be too.

The candle in the photographs is a symbol of my father’s undying light. His music lives on and his Hope, became my middle name and later the first name of my first daughter.

Hope is so very precious and a light we must always carry within and share with others. My father lit that flame in me a lifetime ago, as this photo assignment did today. Thanks for letting me share. I hope you enjoyed the photographs, as well as, the story.

🎶The Crazy Celt 💚

Get Lucky/Be Lucky

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Well, the title alone could have so many connotations, and that got me thinking…
What is “luck”, really?

I’ve never considered myself a “lucky” person, although my guardian angels may want to smack me for saying that.
Honestly, they’re probably taking a smoke break and splitting a pitcher of green beer, saying, “We’ll show her what unlucky is…..she should be happy she’s alive!”
Hee, hee😉

Anyway…
I decided to write down some other words that I would consider synonyms of ‘luck’ and then cross reference with a Thesaurus.  Here are some of the words; karma, opportunity, serendipity and fluke. The dictionary defined luck as, ‘The force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person’s life.’ “The Force”! ha, ha..
I absolutely loved that one!

Now, after doing this, self assumed, exercise, I thought further about it (at my own risk, of course) and I theorized that luck must go hand in hand with gratitude.

Gratitude has a way of making what we have, enough.
It makes a house, a home
A meal, a feast
Work, our contribution
A breath, the gift of life
And so on….

So really, if a person is grateful, then they must also be lucky. Again, like so many other things, it is a choice.
What an awesome gift ‘awareness’ is. ☺

Don’t get lucky,
BE lucky!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
🍀The Crazy Celt 💚

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White Eyelashes

White Eyelashes

Part 4-Love Letters to Life
( and all the things I’ve been meaning to say for the last 45 years. )

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Dear Life,
I still have so many questions and I don’t foresee that ever changing. It seems that the older I get and the more I learn, the less, I realize, that I actually know. This only leads to further curiosity and the more curious I become, the more I want to learn. Socrates said, “wisdom begins with wonder.” If wisdom could be counted, like pearls, then I could only imagine that it would be infinite, like the salt in the ocean or the stars in the Universe; boundless, unending and expanding. Would it, not then, be an impossibility to gain all the wisdom that exists? I tend to believe it would be because you are as dynamic and fluid as the cycle of water….always in the process of change and as hard as we try to keep up with our own expanding knowledge, it too is growing and changing at an exponential rate. So, it seems that no matter how hard we try or how much we learn and discover, your secrets will always be lingering in an ungraspable future.

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It seems odd that my moments of clarity and deep understanding, don’t come when I’m desperately seeking or chasing an answer. No, those moments of clarity, more often, come when I am able to find my stillness and quiet surrender. I could compare it, in like, to the daunting task of catching a butterfly. Butterflies are so fleeting and unpredictable, one can never tell if they have a purposeful direction or if they are floating with the changing breeze. I suppose it could be a bit of both…but their unpredictability make them a difficult capture. How ironic it is that when the intention to entrap this, colorfully winged creature, has disappeared, and submission to afternoon yawns finds me dozing on a carpet of green, I may open my eyes to find a butterfly or two, nestled in my hair.
When the grasping is gone, the answers come.

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Maybe the deepest wisdom comes in knowing that not everything is meant for our understanding and we should take comfort in that knowledge, but isn’t it the very boundaries of our minds that drive us to push past our own limitations? However, if we can’t ethically keep up, due to unknown variables, don’t we then become, not the disaster waiting to happen, but the disaster that is happening? It’s inevitable. Yet, it is in our very nature to adventure and go in pursuit of new discoveries. Maybe it’s all about the intention behind our actions that really matter? The ‘why’, the motivation that drives us to any action, should always be taken into consideration and with great care and responsibility.

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Like plucking out an eyelash…..
Who does that? It’s not normal! Unless, of course, you are me and have a disturbing discovery of a single, white eyelash, that seems to have appeared out of nowhere. Ah yes, I’ve already come to terms with the silver strands upon my head, but a single, very long, white eyelash was a bit unexpected. What did it mean? Am I something “special” because I have one?
Well….thank you so much for helping me see that, in fact, I am nothing special, because many people have them and indeed, it does have meaning…..
It’s a big, flapping in my face, reminder that I have reached the lovely destination of “middle age”. Oh YAY! (sarcasm)
Then I thought of all we’ve been through together…..A LOT! Some of it has been horrifying but most of it has been amazing and I, truly, wouldn’t change a thing! Not even the white eyelash!
So, after doing the unimaginable, by plucking out an eyelash…..I’m very happy to say that it did grow back and I’ve finally made peace with that white eyelash, as well as, the unknowing of the ungraspable future.

Forever in wonder,
📚The Crazy Celt 💚

Plucking a Martin by the Fire

Sights and Sounds Photo Assignment
Click the link below for image

After my father passed away I inherited his Martin Acoustic Guitar. It is a way for me to remain connected to him. I set the shot prior to sitting down to play.

Source: Plucking a Martin by the Fire

B&W Nature

B&W Nature

I’ve always loved Black and White Photography. The clean lines and simplicity tell a story of their own.

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This is an image of fresh fallen snow on Christmas Day 2015. At the end of South Fork Dr. in Three Rivers, there is a campground known as Ladybug. It’s small and not widely known and is nestled in the Sequoia / Kings National Forest.

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An image of the south fork of Three Rivers. After several years of drought conditions, making river rafting nearly impossible, the community is looking forward to a healthy river season this year.

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Looking out over a snowy Ladybug Bridge and up the South Fork River.

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An image of one of the many trailheads in Ladybug. Mount Denison and Homers Nose are just a couple summits in the area. The John Muir Trail and PCT are both accessible from Ladybug. These trails are not well taken care of, so I don’t recommend these for the inexperienced hiker.

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A foggy day in Posey CA. I was stationed at one of the 4 resident stations, in the Tulare County Fire Department, for a little over a year. The Posey Fire Station is located at 5000 ft in the Southern Sierras. It is a beautiful area, thick with Oaks, Manzanitas, chaparral and Pines.

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A storm was rolling in, in late February and the temperature had dropped enough that the rain turned to snow. I snapped this shot of my sister dancing in the snowfall.

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On a foggy morning hike up Rocky Hill I took this image of the sun just coming up over the hill. I loved the way the fog looked almost like it was cloaking the sun.

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An image of Mount Denison, which is situated up South Fork, in Three Rivers CA, on a stormy day.

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During a winter hike at Kaweah Oaks Preserve, just outside of Exeter, CA, I came across this gigantic Oak Tree. I loved the enormity of the tree and the way the brambles enveloped it.

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The lonely amphitheater. I can only assume that at one time Rangers would tell stories and give the history of the preserve. I always wish the Oaks could speak.

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The February Snow Moon 2016
Handheld shot taken with a
Nikon D5500 Nikkor 18-300mm Lens
1/250 f6.3 ISO 100