Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Welcome it in...

The Gift

This is the gift - to have the wonderful capacity
 to appreciate again and again,
freshly and naively,
the basic good of life, with awe, pleasure,
wonder, and even ecstasy.
- Abraham Maslow

Sometimes it is so pure to - without reservation - put your hands up in the air and welcome all the basic goodness that is there for you - right there - ready for you to simply welcome it in...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

100 Pennies

Pennies of Hope

"Few people know so clearly what they want.
Most people can't even think what to hope for when
they throw a penny in a fountain."

-Barbara Kingsolver

Next time you think to toss a small penny into a fountain's waters... you might take a moment to glance at the inscription cast therein, and notice the curved etching of the "In God We Trust"... and maybe you will also notice an unspoken gratefulness in your heart for our country and for those who call this place home...

Or... perhaps like me, you will now also remember the kind woman on the evening news who within the clutch of her tiny aged hand held a single worn and crumpled dollar bill that she had found amongst the post-tornado rubble of her entirely demolished Missouri home... she was in her home at the time of the rampaging tornado's torment and mass destruction... but she had survived...with her hair askew and the shock of it all still fraying the edges of her speech, she held up her valuable dollar bill to the camera...and there in her hollow, weathered face a small smile of gratitude lifted the edges of her soul...why?... these are what I remember of her words, "each penny means an angel is watching over you...and I have found 100 in this dollar bill... 100 angels have been watching over me..."

Indeed, she had been divinely protected...

My heart and prayers go out to all of those who are being touched so deeply and profoundly by the tornado devastation... the rebuilding will be long and take courage and support...and trust...and hope...

Of course, my hope is for a hundred pennies...for each one of them...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thanks for The Versatile Blogger Award

My Thanks!

A heartfelt thank you to Linda from Delight (Link here) for giving "Simply Inspired" the honor of the The Versatile Blogger Award - which I happily accept!

The rules that go along with accepting The Versatile Blogger Award are as follows:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them.
2. Tell 7 things about yourself.
3. Pay it forward and award the Versatile Blogger to your recently discovered new bloggers.

Here goes... # 2...
7 Things About Me
1) My nickname (thanks to my sister):
Southern California gal with a blue jean heart”

2) I love my family… oh-so-much!

3) I find both the Pacific Ocean and Montana irresistible!

4) Photography is making my heart sing…
I hope to get better and better!
(This has been refreshingly sparked by my blogging
& by inspiration from my talented “blog-friends”!)

5) Creating Collages makes me so cheerful!

 6) I love to Write… love it… love it…love it…
and have for a very long time.

7) I do know the “Heart of Life Is Good”

(and I am so very grateful for my beautiful ever-widening
“circle of friends who defend the silver lining”)
thanks for the song, sarah

I am passing on this delightful award to:
  •  Far Away In the Sunshine link here  (Anyes is a writer doing a beautiful job of blooming right now… )
  • Cowparsley link here (I have absolutely no idea how I recently stumbled upon Cowparsley... but her collages are brilliant!)

In this treasured place of blogging, I feel like I am coming home to a community that perfectly understands the joy of what it feels like to open up your blog page and dashboard, and therein discover a whole magical world of heart-felt exchanges! Such a blessing!

My thanks,
- xok 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Surfer Steps

Surfer Steps

"Infinite riches are all around you if you will open your mental eyes
and behold the treasure house of infinity within you."
- Joseph Murray

Details of a day...

Today, I am still in "next step" mode, which is probably why I began to notice the varied barefooted steps surfers were taking as they entered the immense ocean... I appreciated what I learned...

The traditional overcast weather - it is called "May Gray" in these parts - along with the cold water temps, requires surfers to suit up with the protection of black seal-skin wetsuits. There were so many different surfer-step techniques - and I imagine that it changes day to day. Some surfers practiced zen offerings (it appeared to be an honoring of the divine); others did yoga stretches in preparation (some more demonstrative and convoluted than others); the most exuberant surfers rushed right into the water, splashing with abandon, throwing down their board like a black-jack table winning, securing the tie around their ankle, and confidently racing out to meet the waves without even one look back (they were making good on that well-turned phrase: come hell or high water!). Some entered the ocean in groups of six or seven - some members vibrant, some more subdued - but seemingly bolstered by the sense of community. And then there were those who looked back... often...waving at those on the shore seeking encouragement, and smiling at the interactions. What seemed to matter most about the techniques is that the surfers were comfortable with the way they were taking the steps to enter the ocean - they were being true to themselves (there was no clearly defined right way or wrong way).

I am grateful that I picked up a couple of ideas from today's surfers...
and particularly liked their lesson that the "next step" has a lot to do with simply being comfortable with (and claiming) your own "seal-skin" style as you move into the waters ahead...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Next Step

"Change starts when someone sees the next step."
- William Drayton

So much about this week has been about questioning the next step...I have heard it from others, and the echoes have also resonated for me. My conclusion is that we simply begin. It is important to be brave enough to take what seems like a pretty good next step, and then check it out... if it does not work out well, at least you know that it isn't really the next step that is good for you at this time (which is nice because then you are no longer left guessing - or worse, regretting that you never tried). Either way, it helps you get on with "the next step" to the upward climb... the sky is the limit...

Wishing you the courage to simply begin...and to be grateful for God's supporting breeze of grace...
"Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works.
You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it.
Then you do something else.
The trick is the doing something else."
- Leonardo da Vinci

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Love in the Shadows

In the Shadows
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"Love beauty; it is the shadow of God on the universe."
- Gabriela Mistral

A dear friend of mine has suffered some very difficult news this week...

love lives there in those shadows...

...in silences where a prayer is finding expression...
...in a spring bloom opening softly under a weary gaze...
...in the caressing warmth of sunshine between overburdened shoulders...
...in the co mingling tears of a gentle spring rainfall...
...in rest found beneath a guest room's crisp fresh sheets and fluffy white down covers...
...in the kindness of those who bend down to carefully pick up the scattered and shattered stained-glass pieces of a life that has profoundly changed, with the hope that a light-filled mosaic will emerge to find future artful expression... 
...and in God's grace and mercy... 

For today... love lives in the shadows...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Places to go...

Places to go...
Photographs by: Karen Holmes

"Birds are meant to fly, said Mole."
- Marjorie Newman (Mole and the Baby Bird)

Details of a Day...

A "Traveling Baby Shower" was the inspiration for these books from a dear long-time family friend. Due to distance, this grand baby girl's birth became an inpetus to create an original type of shower celebration. From all over the country, the sweet gifts have flowed in on the the wings of love and joy and kindness, welcoming this precious new life into a world that is rich with traveling possibilities.

Oh the places she will most certainly go... and love will most certainly follow her all her days...

Thank yous abound...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fullness of Being


"If we take care to honor the roots of a tree,
then the trunk and the branches will take care of themselves."
- Marianne Williamson (Everyday Grace)

Nature is a kind teacher, and ever-present really... it does not take much to unearth relevant truths if you just take the time to pause in its company. Standing in the grace of an elegant fruit-bearing tree bathed in the soft edge of early summer sunlight, allows me to dwell on the importance of supported foundations. Noticing the gnarled trunk whose roots draw nourishment from the fertile damp ground and whose branches lean toward the light, reminds me that my fruitfulness will depend on the support of good positioning and nurturing so that I may gracefully grow into the fullness of being...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sublime Strawberries

Strawberry Fields
Photographs by: Karen Holmes

"Those strawberries are delicious"
- text from my son

These are traffic stopping strawberries - literally - but oh so worth waiting in line for. The flavor is entirely sublime - they are that one succulent, drip-down-your-chin taste - the one that all other strawberry samplings are compared to...

Wish I could share some with you today...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Shell Seeker

Shell Seeker
Photographs: Karen Holmes

"The smell was deeply nostalgic, of oil paint and turpentine
mingled up with the salty wind that poured through the window."

- Rosamunde Pilcher (The Shell Seekers)

Last night I finished reading "The Shell Seekers"... it was not my first reading, but I realize that the last time I read the book I was in another place entirely. Still, across the years - like generations connecting - I read the words and turned the pages and became cradled once again with love for the sea and European gardens; the inspirational interplay of light and subject to an artist; history that lived with the fallout of war; the gift of lost love that lingered in gratefulness instead of bitterness or grief; and the strength of a woman who created a life with goodness, wisdom, generosity and regard for a slightly bohemian spirit.  

I adore how though the reading, the author - who once bravely dared to meet the empty page - meets with me like an old friend sharing a cup of tea and conversation... my soul is fed ... and I feel the comfort of kind affiliation...and there I dwell in deep appreciation...

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Grandmother's Jewels

My Grandmother's Jewels
Photograph by: Karen Holmes

"It was good, and nothing good is truly lost.
It stays a part of a person, becomes part of their character.
So part of you goes everywhere with me. And part of me is yours, forever."
- Rosamunde Pilcher (The Shell Seekers)

When I was little I loved to lift the lid of an antique jewel box that rested on the top of my grandmother's dresser. I needed to stand on tip-toes to reach the elegantly carved wooden box and then I could carefully raise the lid of handpainted flowers preserved under glass. When I opened the box there was a mirror which served to reflect the "jewels" my grandmother kept there (one of which is shown in the photo and was given to me by my grandmother). Although I never thought to ask her, I think my grandmother preferred her Wellington's and working in the garden or painting to wearing her jewels... but I do not know for sure. I remember - since she was most prone to wearing comfortable and haphazard attire to do her work - that when she did dress up and put on her "jewels" a transformation occurred... in my eyes, she was most certainly a Queen. 

I have been fortunate enough to take a tour of London's crown jewels, and, recently, I felt inspired by the tiara given to Catherine by Queen Elizabeth for her wedding day (the tiara had been an 18th birthday gift to the Queen). Within that gift was a connection to goodness of character that was being passed on. 

The adult in me is aware of the world-view value of my grandmother's jewels... but the child in me believes I have been given the jewels of a Queen... and they are my treasure... and so is she...

Happy Mother's Day to all the nurturing souls who care for us so lovingly... past, present and future...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mail Arrivals

Sweetpeas and Mail

"Hope is the dream of a man awake."
-French Proverb

There is something very special about receiving a letter or card or package with someone's handwriting enclosed. Yesterday, I received a book from a new friend, and I loved seeing the enclosed simple handwritten note wishing me enjoyment in the reading. Another friend will slip handwritten cards through my office door mail slot... kind notes that grace my day. One of my all-time favorite gifts was from my dear long-time friend who sent me elegant notecards with my name impressed above two small birds (I gingerly use those for sending very special notes). I have packets of loving letters and cards from long-ago tied in pretty ribbons and tucked away in boxes - their messages live on in my heart, but also as sweet reminders and are there anytime I choose to revisit. (Of course, the handwritten cards from my family are entirely special to me.) I am simply grateful for all of those kind and considerate connections... and the gracious words formed at the end of a pen...

(thank you for the book, lee...)

Waiting for the mail...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Summer Slipped In

Surfboard Waiting
Coming or Going? Does it really matter?
It is good to be prepared...

Summer slipped in today... this early in the game, you can never be too sure how long it intends to stay...that's the thing about life - you just need to grab hold of it and hug it up every chance you get!

Hope your day has sweet elements of "summer slipping in"... and that it begs you to play a little...and you simply said "yes!"

About Me

My photo
I have always been inspired by my Grandfather's particular generosity and encouragement, along with his love for others and nature. His spirit lives on, and the influence is quietly with me as I write and share. This is my small offering that I pray will bless others and allow them to become Simply Inspired. warmly, karen -xok.
Each day provides its own gifts.

- Marcus Aurelius

Thank you for visiting with me here...welcome.

please be courteous

Unless otherwise indicated, the photos and writings are by Karen Holmes. You may link; however, the material on this blog is copyrighted and requires consent for duplication. For permission to use information from this site, please contact Karen Holmes via email. Thank you for your consideration.