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Posts tagged ‘happiness’

4
Feb

Owning the Dream

I began taking photography seriously about six years ago, when I purchased my first Canon Rebel…. Read more

13
Jul

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreaming!

The weekly photo challenge for this week is “Dreaming.” Read more

4
Jun

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today

The weekly photo challenge word is was “today.”

Lately my “today’s” have been sans camera in favor of the computer and work-projects.

I shot these photos on a today that happened last month!

There’s a “today” certainty and strength in nature, especially in the sea…. it flows through every today …. the waves, so much like music…

Anyway, I love a today with ocean in it.

Click on an image to enlarge it.

19
May

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hands

The word this week is: Hands. Read more

19
May

Weekly Photo Challenge: Blue

I know, I know…. The “Blue” challenge was last week… suffice it to say, that blue week was a busy one for me – though not at all blue.  On the contrary, it was a lovely week because half of it I spent soaking in the sights and sounds of the blue sea.

I met this woman in blue on the beach.  She was staying in the same hotel I was in.

(I don’t know how to spell her name, but it sounds like Iah.)

She’s from Somalia and was so friendly, with a great smile even though I didn’t capture it fully in this photo, unfortunately.

Anyway, she saw me taking photographs and asked if I’d come across a key she’d lost – her hotel key.  I hadn’t but I offered to help her look for it until I saw how she was looking – picking up the seaweed, shaking it and shuffling the sand that the seaweed had been sitting on.

I’ve seen too many creatures in the seaweed to get too close.  So, I found a stick and helped.

We never found her key, but we chatted a bit.  She asked me to take a picture of her with a handful of seaweed.  I said sure (later I captured more photos of her scooping through the weeds that I was too wimpy to touch).

She asked if she could have copies of the picture and so I gave her my email address to contact me,. but she never has. Maybe she’ll see this post…

A Friend in Blue. Photo by Andrea O’Connell

Man-O-War creature sitting in the seaweed.  They about kill the human unfortunate enough to touch one.  I was stung as a kid – horrendous pain.

Man-Oh-Man-Oh-Man-O-War. Photo by Andrea O’Connell

Here she is using her hands to dig through seaweed with who-knows-what kinds of horrible creatures in it.

Somewhere In There is a Lost Hotel Key. Photo by Andrea O’Connell

And here’s the beautiful blue of the sea in its glory.
I’m blue now….. missing this beach.

So Blue and Inviting! Photo by Andrea O’Connell

1
Mar

the path of happiness is measured by human kindness

So the Academy Awards are decided.  I enjoyed the show and agree with the outcomes.  I don’t care about the fashion or the best or worst dressed – everyone was beautiful as far as I’m concerned.

But, I’m so sorry that a wonderful, wonderful film was not on the award list. The wonderful movie, Happy, (thehappymovie.com), may not be Academy Award material, but it’s material that says a great deal about the meaning of life.

Happy is a documentary about the meaning and the search for happiness. When I saw the film recently, it reaffirmed for me that the path toward happiness is measured in human kindness.

To be happy, to find happiness is what we all want as human beings.  The filmmakers – psychologists and other professionals, tell us that the pursuit of happiness requires us to live a life in which performing acts of kindness is so ingrained in us it comes naturally and happens often.

When artists create, or writers write, they enter what’s best described as “the zone.”  That zone is where happiness happens and is measurable.

Depression, as we know, is an illness that is talked about, and talked about, and talked about. Depression is measured, diagnosed and medicated.  Acts of human kindness result in elevating the brain chemicals and systems that produce “happy endorphins and serotonin messages.”  When the brain is stressed-out and the happy chemicals in our brains go haywire on us, leaving us low, sad – depressed, medicine can turn it around.

Scientists and psychiatrists measure the level of depression and attempt to cure it with medicine that stimulates happy brain chemicals once again.   Granted, there’s much, much more to mental health – it’s serious and important and I don’t mean to make light of the topic… Instead, I wish to illustrate what the filmmakers of Happy tell us about how to create happiness, and that it can be measured and improved, too.

The main message of this film (for me) revealed a truth that simple human kindness, being grateful, sharing and giving to others, is a critical reality for living a life of happiness.  It’s all wrapped up in empathy, compassion for others; giving of ourselves, serving others, being passionate givers and knowing the return on that investment is our happiness.

In our daily lives we hear and read about hate and ugliness constantly.   Sadly we don’t hear about happy things such as examples of giving and compassion often enough. Rather, we hear and read news reports filled with politicians and criminals spewing hate.  They seem to embrace negativity and hate with a real passion.

Nearly every day this blog is used for people to talk about the Casey Anthony case.  Remember the Casey Anthony trial?  It was about determining who senselessly murdered a beautiful little child – Caylee Anthony.

In this Orlando, Florida case about the death of little Caylee Anthony, it was pretty clear that the toddler’s mother, Casey Anthony, single-highhandedly murdered her own daughter.

But, Casey Anthony was found not guilty by a jury of twelve people.  Granted, that was not a verdict anyone expected, least of all me, the reality of the trial’s outcome is something I’ve completely accepted.

Casey Anthony is not guilty of murder in the eyes of the law.

No one can punish or try her with this crime ever again.  No one…. That includes Federal entities, too, for those who are petitioning the government to try Casey Anthony in Federal Court.  It will not happen. And we need to thank our lucky stars that our justice system gives Casey Anthony that protection.

There are too many cases of truly innocent people punished by our system, and that is wrong, too, clearly.  The facts are these: The application of our state laws and our constitutional rights are often abused by over=zealous lawmakers.  There are prosecutors and law enforcement agencies out there who don’t always care about the innocent, they want to solve cases by any means possible.  It is up to us to VOTE for lawmakers who RESPECT the HUMAN Rights of all people, who apply the LAW evenly to ALL people.  That includes immigrants AND all ARAB human beings, by the way.

There are people in this country who believe in an eye-for-an-eye justice, like in Biblical times.  There are lawmakers who feel this way, too.  In fact, there are people with political power in this country who are so twisted, they’d like to give angry mobs the ability to hold be-headings, or hangings.  There is one GOP lawmaker in North Carolina who’d very much like that to happen. Republican Representative Larry Pittman says, “Let’s round up the (so-called), abortionists, rapists, kidnappers and murders and hang-em high.”  More specifically, Pittman said:

We need to make the death penalty a real deterrent again by actually carrying it out. Every appeal that can be made should have to be made at one time, not in a serial manner,” Pittman wrote in the email. “If murderers (and I would include abortionists, rapists, and kidnappers, as well) are actually executed, it will at least have the deterrent effect upon them. For my money, we should go back to public hangings, which would be more of a deterrent to others, as well.  via North Carolina GOP Lawmaker Calls For Bringing Back Public Hangings, Starting With Abortion Providers.

As America gets dumber it’s reflected in the people WE VOTE into office.

There are Americans who feel just as Representative Pittman does about forms of punishment.  There are people who want Casey Anthony dead. These angry and sick people would like nothing better than to see Casey Anthony face the ultimate punishment, and no doubt they’d like it to happen publicly.

God help them.

God help us all if haters, in the name of religion, seek justice their way.

26
Feb

Weekly Photo Challenge: Indulgence (3 flamingos, art and evolution)

This weeks’ photo challenge word is “indulgence.”

How in the heck can I find a photo that epitomizes the word ‘indulge’ in my world?   Hah!  I constantly indulge in something, it seems.

Well, you might say that I indulge in most everything I do.  In phases.  There have to be phases because if one spent their days indulging in everything, it would be a bit much!

So, like the moon has its phases, so do my indulgences have phases.

I imagine we indulge in something because it gives us pleasure. (Chocolate, shopping, eating, desserts, hobbies and grandchildren are a few indulgences that spring to mind.)

Blogging is one indulgence that gives me pleasure.  Although I spent last week away from my blog – which is very unusual for me – it was due to indulging in the pleasure of my new job!

Tomorrow will be the start of my second week at my new job. . I’m indulging in the pleasurable sense of security and freedom from stress that this new job has brought into my life…..

However, as for capturing an image of indulgence…. Well, I had to think about this one!

Friday I indulged myself and purchased a new bike.  That indulgence is to cure, with exercise, another indulgence: Food!

I bought a pretty Schwinn 26″ bike that has 21 speeds…. Why do bikes have 21 speeds now?  I don’t need to indulge in all those speeds  But, all the bikes I looked at had 21 speeds!

On my first bike-ride I tried changing a speed and ended up locking the pedals for a few minutes…. I eventually figured out how to unlock them.  Thankfully.  I was a few blocks away from home and it looked like rain and I didn’t want to walk the bike all the way home.

Then, when I finally pedaled home and attempted to stop the bike – I fell off!

Yup!  I fell off of my new bike – skinned and bruised my knee, and bruised my arm above the elbow because I fell partly on the pavement and partly on a parked car.  (The bike is okay. The car is okay. I’m okay too.)

The reason I fell?  After I’d fixed the gear issue, I decided to adjust the saddle, but I moved it too high for my height.  It caused my feet to be nearly six inches above the ground.  Then, when I got home and tried to get off the bike, I tried to leaned to the left and land on my left foot, but the saddle was too high to allow that, so BAM!  Down I went with the bike on top of me!  (My first thought was the hope that no one saw me…. no one did!)

So, as far as a photographic representation of indulgence….  I’ve decided to illustrate it using these 3 Flamingos.  For hours I indulge my passion for making photography look like art…   I do love to sit at the computer and play with the images I photograph.

Here are yesterday’s indulgences – I was working on flamingos.

Here’s my Flamingo On End:

And here’s my Flamingo Shine:

This is my Soft Flamingo:

I’m a novice at it still.  However, I can tell I’m getting better the more I work at it.

And, one reason photography is an indulgence for me is because the work (on the photos) constantly evolves… at least for me.

Next week, or next month, when I look at these 3 Flamingos again, chances are they will change.  It’s all part of my indulgence in the learning process, and realizing there is evolution in it.  And that’s a good thing!

10
Feb

Weekly Photo Challenge: Regret

The weekly photo challenge this week is a tough one.  The word is “regret.”  I looked through all my photo archives and I found a few photos that would maybe resemble the emotion “regret.” But, not really.  Regret is a complex emotion, not easily recognizable in a photo because it could look like so many other emotions.  Regret is pensive, but pensive is not “regret.”  Regret can be sad, but sad is not “regret.”

You see what I mean?

Regret is a multifaceted emotion – layered with either a tinge or a great deal of sadness, or anger, or longing, or remorse.

Regret may consist of angst, too.  Regret rears its elusive head over things we did, or didn’t do; things left unsaid; things left undone after it’s too late to change the things we did.  Generally. saying “I’m sorry,” cures the regret.  Well, in fiction and other fairy tales that’s true.

Regret also takes the form of wishing we could turn the clock back to redo or undo things.  (If only life had the same “undo” or “redo” button that Microsoft Office and other software has.)   Wouldn’t it be nice if that”Easy” button in the Staples televisions commercials really worked?

So, I found a couple of photos that captured an element of regret.  I have a photo of a butterfly whose wings are badly damaged and who is clearly close to death.  But, when I saw that photo tonight what I felt was sadness and then I realized I regretted taking the photo.

Another photo I looked was of my niece with a sad and pensive look with tears forming in her eyes.  She wasn’t feeling regret, she was having one of those meltdowns that all kids have when they don’t get to do what they want to do.  It wasn’t regret.  Does a 6-year-old feel regret?

And then I had a picture of a Florida Panther that was really cute.  He has his forehead between his paws, down on the grass as if he’s trying to scratch the top of his head on the ground.  And I almost chose that photo because it was as close as I thought I would get to embodying regret. Of course, I know the panther was just giving his head a good scratch in the grass so it really didn’t look regretful.  And after all, the more anthropomorphically realistic our animal photos are, the more we love them – the funnier they are.  And funny is fun but it doesn’t say “regret” plus the photo is a bit blurry – horrors!

So, I kept looking for photos and nothing said “regret” to me.  I looked up the dictionary meaning, too:

Regret:

1. To feel sorry, disappointed, or distressed about.

2. To remember with a feeling of loss or sorrow; mourn.
(verb)

To feel regret.

(noun)

1. A sense of loss and longing for someone or something gone.
2. A feeling of disappointment or distress about something that one wishes could be different.
3. regrets A courteous expression of regret, especially at having to decline an invitation.

I was about ready to skip this photo challenge when I remembered what I’d bought tonight at the grocery store!!!!!   And I said, out loud, BINGO!  Talk about regret…. There’s guilt there, too….. Double whammy.

Mind you, I bought this in the grocery store tonight after I’d had a HUGE steak dinner at Outback Steakhouse.

After all, they say, it’s best NOT to go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, right?  Well I went to Publix grocery store, still full as a whale, and look what I bought and what I immediately began to eat?!!!!!

So, here’s my chocolate chip-yummy-frosting-early-valentine-to-myself-definition of regret…. 🙂

7
Feb

Love.Live.Dream

Here’s to everyone out there looking for a new job, or any new opportunity in life.

Remember this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit:

http://shop.holstee.com/pages/about

30
Aug

such lovely lovlies

These charming photos were sent to me via email and are so lovely I just had to share!  They made me smile, I think they will you, too.

I wish I could give credit to the photographer(s), but I haven’t any idea who these photos belong to.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

26
Aug

some really good news!

It was nearly six weeks ago that I attended a YMCA Board Member Recruitment luncheon.  It was a neat experience, too.

A good friend of mine, a YMCA Board member, invited me to the recruitment luncheon because he knew I was looking for a program to make a difference in kids lives – to promote change, and give back to my community. 

After the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, I felt disappointed, frustrated, and defeated.  That soon changed, though, when I heard what former Orlando Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton had to say.

Jeff Ashton, the passionate Prosecutor in the Casey Anthony v. State trial, appeared on a few television programs to talk about the aftermath of the verdict.

Mr. Ashton talked about taking the anger you feel – a palpable anger was rising in the community – and turn it into action to support children in your community.

It was a perfect idea.   Doing something like this would be a healing and healthy way to diffuse the sense of defeat – turn it into positive energy and action for kids.

I decided right then that I was going to become a force for change for kids.

I emailed and called the “Big Brothers, Big Sisters” program in my area but, sadly,I learned they have more “bigs” than kids.  It is going to take a while to be matched with a kid.

And then, the next day, my buddy Ken invited me to the YMCA Luncheon, and…..

Today, I learned that they chose me for the Board! 

I’m the newest member of the Board!

I am going to put my heart and soul into this opportunity.  I want to make a difference for the kids – for the future, for my niece’s generation.

I will be an Advisory Board member of the Broward County Children’s Advocacy YMCA Family Center.  My first official Board meeting is September 22!

If you click on the YMCA Logo (above), it will take you to the website for the Broward County YMCA.

This will be a great activity to blog about, too!

Speaking of blogging….I broke down Wednesday and purchased a new PC.  And what a difference it makes!  It’s much easier to write when the PC doesn’t crash or freeze on me.

My old computer was loaded with VISTA.  I think I am one of the few people on the planet who liked VISTA!  I really did, but it was buggy, too.

This new PC is unbelievable!  It has Windows 7, and Office 2010.

It has a real good graphics card, 8 GB of memory, and one TB of space.  TB refers to Terabyte, that’s bigger than Gigabyte or GB.

I tell ya what, this PC is blazing fast!

Office 2010 is awesome!  And, I especially LOVE Windows Live, with SkyDrive. 

The university I work for is launching Windows Live with SkyDrive – known as Live@EDU, on Monday to the student population.   And, that’s part of the reason my week was so stressful – I had an incredibly short timeline to put together the training materials for the project, which I delivered today in two classroom sessions.   The trainings went very well, so all the stress paid off.

So, today was the end of a fabulous week!

Thank you, Jeff Ashton!

19
Aug

gotta dance!

Friday night with Elizabeth, getting her hair braided

Friday finally came!

I had an intense couple of weeks at work.  I have been in the classroom for the last two weeks, all day, training the newest University Call Center employees.

I took mom to her hairdresser tonight, and Toni, mom’s hairdresser, wanted to braid Elizabeth’s hair. It was adorable!

Elizabeth is still here, entertaining us, which is why this is such a quick post!

Okay, gotta run, Elizabeth is still up and asking me to dance!

 

27
Jul

dearly departed one?

I’m going to tell you a story that you’re likely to not forget!

The story, written by Nastasya Tay, and published by the Associated Press, tells an eerie tale about a South African man who was thought to be as dead as dead can be, but was, in fact, very much alive!

The man, believed to be deceased, was carted off to the morgue, placed in a freezer only to wake up 21 hours later.  (It’s a wonder he didn’t die again from the smell.)

The story goes like this…. The “man” (he is not named in the article), after having suffered an asthma attack, for all intents and purposes, had died.

The family hired a morgue who came to take the poor man away.  The family set about to, sadly, prepare for all the things one most do when a loved one departs.  You see, the family had every reason to believe the man had died.

So, the morgue “driver” aka body-checker (slash) picker-up-of-bodies, came to the home to cart the newly departed one to his temporary resting place, in the morgue fridge.  But before the man could take that final ride to the morgue, the body-checker (slash) picker-up-of-bodies, checked to be sure the man was indeed no longer among the living.

Yes.  Dead he was, thought the body-checker (slash) picker-up-of-bodies.

Satisfied that his charge met the qualifications of being dead, the man was brought from his home to the morgue.

Fast forward 21 hours.

It was the next day when, at the home of the dearly departed, the loving family was making the sad funeral arrangements.  At the same time, however, at the morgue, the dearly departed was waking up and yelling up a storm.

Imagine how those morgue employees reacted?!

The morgue workers, wishing they had Ghostbusters on speed-dial, notified morgue owner, Ayanda Maqolo, of the situation.

Maqola, sensitive about saving face, put up a brave front for the morgue employees, snapped into action.

Later, Moqolo admitted, “I was also scared. But they are my employees and I had to show them I wasn’t scared, so I called the police.”

The brave police were not deterred, but Moqolo was grateful the police drew their guns.

And then, with the morgue workers and Moqolo in tow, the police entered the morgue with guns drawn, ready to face the ghost.

Moqolo said, “I was glad they had their firearms, in case something wanted to fight with us.”

Now, this accidental, less than merry, band of Ghostbusters threw caution to the wind, and faced the cries of “help me” from behind the freezer door of the morgue.   (Surely, it was the bravest of officers who opened the freezer door that night.)

Then, when at last the freezer door was opened, the man, looking as pale as a ghost, understandably asked, “How did I get here?”

It’s unknown what was said to the man in reply to the “How did I get here” question.  Perhaps they said, in unison, “Uh.  You. Were. Dead.”

Probably they were at a loss for words.

Later, Moqolo said, “I couldn’t sleep last night, I had nightmares.  But today I’m much better.”

Read the original article here.

25
Jul

faith hope and love

I’m feeling a little under the weather tonight – exhausted mostly.  And, I just lost all the data in my iPhone as I was trying to update the software.  I figured out how to restore it, I think.  The phone seems to be righting itself.  It’s taking a long time, though.   I’d be lost without my iphone…. I have faith it will straighten itself out….

Anyway, I don’t have the energy to write tonight.   So, I’m leaving you with a passage from Corinthians, that I have loved since I was a child.

One of the bloggers here, Faith, shared this passage today.  And, I remembered how much I loved it, and how it made me feel to read it.

I am not one to read the bible, or go to church, or pray very much.  But I do have faith – in love especially.

In truth, I have only read pieces here and there from the bible, never the whole thing.

My bible is Shakespeare, poetry, and good fiction.  My personal God lives in everything and everyone, and of course, in Nature.

The interesting thing about this passage – no two versions of it are alike.  There is a vast differences from one version to the next.   I kind of like this version:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.   ~ 1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)

I have a great story for tomorrow, by the way…. you’ll love it!

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