Just because

One of my two male ruby throated hummingbirds keeping his eye on me.

One of my two male ruby throated hummingbirds keeping his eye on me this evening.

I wear a sterling silver key pendant with a small heart set sideways at its end. It was a gift from my mother several years ago and I’ve been wearing it every day since. At night I tuck it under my pillow so it’s close by and easy to put back on when I wake up.

It is the key to my heart and thus far, I haven’t found the right one to claim it. It is also a symbol of my eternal belief in love and that someday the right man for me will find me. I do not spend my days obsessing over said man (I used to) because that does no good. When the time is right, he’ll come into my life. Until then and even after that, I am grateful for all the blessings in my life. I have two beautiful daughters, I’m in good health, I have a great family, I own my own home and I’m making a career as a writer. I am not incomplete but there is something missing.

Though the key pendant was a gift from my mother, it makes me think of my father too. The key unlocks my heart but is closely guarded by my father’s spirit. He knows that it will take a good man with a great heart and a man as unconditionally loving of me as he was to win my love. He and I both know that I deserve nothing less.

For reasons I don’t entirely understand myself, I recently felt compelled to make a beaded chain for my key pendant. A very understandable reason was that my current silver rope chain and clasp kept pulling out my hair when it gets caught. But as that’s been happening for years, that’s not really the reason I created my own chain. I did it just because. Just because I felt in my heart that now was the right time to do it.

I knew I wanted it to be made with silver themed beads but that’s all I knew. When I was visiting my mother on Wednesday, I sat down in one of the chairs of her sunroom, pulled out my beads and just started working. The design came to me pretty quick. I chose silver mirror bugle beads interspersed with cobalt blue seed beads, all worked up with brick stitch. I could’ve simply strung beads onto thread or wire and been done with it but I wanted something woven, made with care and 100% unique. I was quite pleased with the end result!

My new beaded chain, key pendant holder and funky clasp design.

My new beaded chain, key pendant holder and funky clasp design.

I used a lobster clasp to hold the key pendant so I can change out charms or put the key on other chains I design. Oh yes, I’ll be making more chains, this is just the beginning!

When my project was finally finished, I went out onto my deck to take some photos of me wearing the new chain. As I sat out there, I heard the hummer approach and I then remained very still. One of my two hummingbird males came and landed, drank a little, looked at me, looked around, drank some more and left.

He's such a proud little thing!

He’s watching me again.

Handsome profile!

Handsome profile!

I smiled as I watched him. After he flew off, I took a couple photos of myself and then just sat there for a while enjoying the relative quiet of the evening.

Wearing my new beaded chain and my key charm.

Wearing my new beaded chain and my key pendant.

When I came back inside and started writing this I heard a hummingbird land on my feeder. I turned to look and was elated to see that it was a female hummingbird! I saw her for the first time earlier today but didn’t have my camera handy. This time I was ready and snapped a picture before she flew off. I’m guessing all of her hummer babies have now left the nest so hopefully I’ll be seeing more of her from now on.

Female hummingbird. Note the lack of ruby-colored throat seen on males.

Female hummingbird. Note the lack of ruby-colored throat seen on males.

I took seeing her as a very good omen of course and higher power approval of my latest creation. I adore my new chain and I’m proud of myself for creating exactly what I wanted even though I didn’t quite understand why I wanted it. As July draws to a close, I’ve decided I’m going to venture into the new month doing more things “just because” my heart, spirit and/or the powers that be tell me too.

With this post I’ve made up for missing one entry this month so I’ve now accomplished my task of writing in my blog every day in July. At least that’s how my math works πŸ˜‰

Just a day

One of my favorite pics of my dad and I

One of my favorite pics of my dad and I

I don’t speak for anyone else who has lost their father, I’m only sharing how I feel. Father’s Day is hard for me. My dad died in October of 2009 and I miss him every day. He and I were about as close as a father and daughter could be and he loved and accepted me unconditionally. His passing left a hole in my heart so big I’m surprised I can’t hear the wind howling through it sometimes.

Seeing all the commercials and advertisements for Father’s Day hasn’t made things any easier and I’ll be relieved when they’re done. When my father was alive, I happily celebrated him with gifts and cards and he appreciated whatever he received, even if it was just a hug. But now Father’s Day is just a day I do my best to get through by remembering my father fondly without shedding too many tears.

I encourage everyone who still has their father to cherish every moment with him, hug him tighter and tell him you love him as often as possible. Never take anyone you love for granted because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, all we can be sure of is today.

Visiting my father's marker, 10/21/2012

Visiting my father’s marker, 10/21/2012

Living the Moments

My girls playing hook the hula hoop on the tree.

My girls playing hook the hula hoop on the tree.

Could I cram more work into my days? Sure. The biggest reason I don’t is because I prefer to spend time with my girls. I work as much as I can when I don’t have them so I can be as present as possible when I do have them. During the weekdays that I have them I cram work in while they’re at school so I can be done when they get home. On days I don’t have them, I work all day long. That doesn’t mean I’m working every single moment though. I do like to stop and breathe now and then and take breaks to enjoy the nice weather outside. I don’t think this makes me a slacker in any way, it makes me someone who believes in living the moments.

I don’t want my girls looking back on their childhood and thinking “Mommy was always working.” I want them to have happy memories of the fun times we all had together. Fun times like baking together, going for walks, making Halloween costumes, painting artwork and so much more! I want to be a good role model for them. I want them to see that a woman living on her own is capable of anything she puts her mind to. I want them to see that there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big and that you don’t have to sacrifice time with your family to do the work that needs to be done.

I’m not someone who believes that the moments I miss out on now can be made up later. I don’t think that it’s okay to sacrifice time with my friends and family now for the “greater good” of the amazing later I’m trying to achieve. I’ve learned that I have to make it all work together somehow. I have to keep taking steps toward my future while living in the present because I don’t want to look back on the past with regret. It’s a tricky task living the moments of the present but when it’s all any of us really have, I find a way.

My Peeps aka Bird Watching

A gold finch and a purple finch at my feeder

A gold finch and a purple finch at my feeder

Finches feeding 3

Goldfinch keeping an eye out

Finches feeding 2

Both finches checking either direction

Finches Feeding 4

The finches eating side by side with a slate colored junco on the ground

I love feeding the birds. I have three bird feeders around my house so I can watch them from my kitchen window, living room window and deck. It’s fascinating watching the birds with their aerial displays and feeding tactics. I’ve learned what birds flock together, what their songs sound like and how their appearance changes depending on the season.

When I first put out a new bird feeder it usually sits untouched for a day or so. Eventually a scout chickadee will appear and I know that shortly after that the feeder will be covered with goldfinches, house finches, purple finches, cardinals, sparrows, blue jays, juncos, tufted titmouse, nuthatches, grosbeaks and the occasional bluebird. If you click on any of the bird names I just mentioned, it will take you to Audubon’s website with interesting facts about them, what they look like, what their songs sound like and where they live.

The finches and sparrows will eat together with only the occasional squabble and the juncos tend to remain on the ground and eat the fallen seeds. The cardinal couples usually come separately but now and then both male and female share the perch. Nuthatches and tufted titmouse flit quickly in and out without lingering and when the blue jays come they always make a lot of noise about it. Red winged blackbirds visit sometimes but starlings, cowbirds and grackles travel with them too and I don’t like having a huge flock hogging all the food.

I learned a rather surprising life lesson one day while watching the birds. I was sitting out in a chair in my yard watching several gold finches eating happily when suddenly a red-tailed hawk swooped out of the hedgerow and snatched one of the little yellow birds. My mouth literally dropped open. I felt bad for the little birds and they were traumatized for quite a while after that but eventually they returned to eat. That was certainly a vivid display of the circle of life and I am no longer surprised when I see hawks circling in the sky above my yard. The hawks need to survive too and my bird feeders fulfill that need in a roundabout way.

Springtime is an amusing time to watch my feeders because the male goldfinches are ridiculously combative during mating season. They perform aerial duels circling up into the sky before flying off in a huff. Meanwhile the female finches with their less vivid plumage sit contentedly eating at the feeder as the males compete in vain for their attention. I don’t think even female birds are impressed by macho, show-off males. The cardinal couples are always sweet to each other with the male feeding the female and sometimes coming alone to fetch food for her while she tends the nest.

Chickadees are the bravest and often fly right up to the feeder shortly before I fill it. I’d love to have them eat out of my hands someday but we all don’t know each other well enough for that yet. When I sit out on my deck and watch all the birds they often land on the railing or the electrical wires and chirp at me curiously. They’re not shy when it comes to getting their food and I am always humbled and comforted by their trust in me.