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Posts Tagged ‘joyful’

I’ve heard the commentary many times. This morning I took it to heart. “How do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time.” The question and answer were dancing around in my mind as I worked.

It wasn’t the first time I had decided to do it. In the past, I’ve tried negative scanners and flatbed scanners and completely overwhelmed myself with trying the do-it-yourself route a couple of times. I would work really hard on it for a little while and then wander off because it really wasn’t easy the way I was doing it. Then I had a hard drive crash that lost them all.

I reminded myself of the end result I was looking for: I want to digitize all of the negatives from my days of 35mm photography and before. So that I can share them with my children and even my ex husband. There are a lot of moments in those snapshots.

I broke it down into steps. First I called the local Walgreens and asked them “What does it cost to have you convert a 36 roll of film to digital format?” She checked and replied “It’s about $6.22 per roll.”

I wrote the amount on a post it note and stuck it where it was in my view all the time. Every time I looked at it, I thought about what I wanted to do.

I tossed around various ways and means to accomplish my goal. This morning, I broke it down.

Step 1: Determine the number of rolls to be digitized.
Step 2: Calculate the cost per and then total cost.
Step 3: Break it down into manageable pieces.

This is how I attack elephant projects, always. I see the picture of the end result and then work my way backwards.

I started counting…. first there was the album of negatives from 1985. All neatly in sleeves with a typewritten page folded in the bottom. 3/85, Brandon’s birth…..2/86 Jacob Gibbons baptism…. moments and memories in carefully typewritten notes. I was impressed with my notes. I must have really had it together then.

I counted all the rolls in that album. Somewhere around 60 from the mid 80’s. Then I collected the two tupperware boxes bulging with negatives. I counted out the rolls in the first one. Somewhere around 50 rolls. I looked at the second box and decided to estimate. To complete my task I would have to process about 200 rolls of film. I punched up the calculator. $1244.00. Whew!

This could be an expensive undertaking. I then looked at how many rolls I could do each week and not hurt myself. I had originally estimated 10, today I decided to be conservative and say 5ish.

I pulled the first page out of the album and also gathered the few strays that never got returned to their places and drove up to Walgreens. The gentleman behind the counter was slightly whelmed when I told him what I needed. He wasn’t sure of the cost. I told him “It’s 6.22 for each 36 roll.” He looked suprised. I explained to him what my project is and noted that he’d be seeing me every week for some time. He sorted the negatives into about 7 rolls and handed me the slip.

Hesitantly, he asked “And when do you want these back?” I told him there’s no big hurry, tomorrow would be fine. After all, these negatives are close to 25 years old, another day won’t hurt.

And so it begins, this task of eating an elephant. One byte at a time. Or, in this case, 7.

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Flashback to the last big snow. . . .December 16, 2007

I woke up this morning to a snow covered world – it was beautiful and peaceful and the snow was pristine – having floated from the heavens and landed softly on the yards, trees, houses, cars & fences all over my neighborhood. There were no tracks in it at all – not even dog prints. Herc had begged to come in last night and spent the night in the garage next to the radiant heater. Sorry, pal, it’s the best I can do for the moment.

Two hours later, much of the snowfall was stll intact. Our front yard, however, was obviously the scene of an all out war. Tracks led here and there, hither and yon. Big holes of empty air had replaced much of the smooth blanket of snow, where children (of all ages) had scooped up the snow, pressed it into a snowball and launched it at one of the others doing much the same.

By noon, Jordan and Chaney had been invited to join – and the yard and driveway looked more and more like a war zone. I left to get a soda and made a secret stop at KMart where I bought the last sled they had – 66″ of plastic toboggan. The luge sled, it was labeled. And hats, and gloves so that when the ones we were wearing got soaked, we could throw them in the dryer, put on dry ones and just keep having fun!

Two cars were required to go to Ellis school – I took the sleds – the new toboggan, the little yellow disk sled left over from Brian’s youth (WOW, say the children THIS YELLOW ONE GOES FAST!). And three from Jordan and Chaney’s house.

Mike took all the children – Derrick, Bradley, Makayla, Jordan and Chaney. And the sledding adventure began. It had to happen, you see, because I found out this morning that Mike’s children have NEVER been sledding. Never. Bradley is 10 years old and today was his first time to ride a sled down a hill in the snow. I tried to wrap my brain around it – remembering my children on sleds going down Ellis hill before they were even old enough to attend the school. Brian in a snowsuit, 2 years old, sitting on his mother or father’s lap down the hill.

Derrick was perhaps the most fun to watch – awkwardly – arms and legs flailing here and there down the hill as fast as he could make it go, leaning this way and that trying to turn it. He took over the toboggan – it was big enough to hold his sixteen year old body and fast enough to please his 4 or 5 year old mind.

Bradley took the yellow one. Of course, it goes fast. And Makayla took the little red disk with the built in handles on the side. I got a shot of them running, dragging their sleds behind them, towards Ellis hill. Except for Bradley, he was too close to me to get in the pictures. I did my best to stay at the top of the hill and get pictures of them streaking down the hill. Mike is prone to belly flopping onto the sled and launching it as fast and far as he can. I tried it, with a lifetime of memories flooding through my brain. Trying to imagine my life without sledding. I can’t.

I am thankful for the snow. I am thankful for the people in my world that put me on a sled and launched me down a hill when I could barely walk. I’m thankful for this day in time, when I can pass that on to the Fabulous Five children in my world. Apparently Chaney and Jordan aren’t very experienced sledders either.

And so, if you haven’t done so lately, I highly recommend grabbing a sled, or a snow shovel, or a piece of flat plastic anything and standing at the top of a big hill, throwing yourself onto the sled or whatever and careening down the hill. It is still fun!!

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It’s one of those details I notice in life:  the background music.  My son Brian, the musician in the family, has noted the “coincidence” many times of just the right music playing at just the right time.  He refers to it as “the soundtrack of my life”.  I have to agree.  I remember times when music saved me from moments of deep despair.  “The River” by Garth Brooks was constantly playing in the months during my divorce so long ago.

When I say constantly, I’m not kidding.  I made a tape that was just that song over and over and over.  And I played it.  All the time.  The lyrics resonated with me on a deep level and propelled me forward through the tough times.

It’s always been true in my life that music has affected me.  I’ve had great learning over the last few years as my son Brian pursued his studies – music theory and music history and the soundtrack became interesting and beautiful.

I’ve studied Pat O’Brien and Joe Vitale’s “clearing audios” that are designed to open up your mind to the possibilities.   I’ve often started my day with Pat’s 7 minute buzz just to test the theories he presents.

This morning, I was showering and a song started playing in my head.  It was a song that melded my past, my present, my future all into one and I found myself singing it loudly, testing the voice I haven’t properly exercised or cultivated in years.

I was alone in the house and free to make whatever noise I chose.  I chose a joyful noise.   A bold and happy rendition of one of the hymns from yesterday’s church service.  I stretched to reach the higher notes and listened as my voice strained to reach notes it likely hasn’t touched in years.

As I sang, I could hear my cousin’s voice singing along from my childhood.  And my mother and grandmother and aunt and the rest.  “He Lives!  He lives!”.  I’m not certain how it sounded, but it FELT GOOD!  “You ask me how I know he lives…….. he LIVVVES within my heaaaaaaaaart!”

This morning, I have a deep appreciation for the music in my world, in my soul and spirit.  And I ask you this “What music is playing on the soundtrack of your life these days?  Are you making a joyful noise?  Or are you singing the blues?”  And I’ll add this reminder – if the music that is playing on the soundtrack of your life isn’t bringing you joy, perhaps it’s time to change the channel!

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Make it a great day!

It’s a simple shift from the “Have a nice day” that we’re used to hearing. I’ve never liked the phrase “Have a nice day” because it implies that it’s something that happens TO you. In my opinion, you can make every moment of every day of your life as great and as happy as you want.

Make no mistake about it, it’s always a choice. And the choice lies within you. In any given situation, you choose your response. Things go wrong, stuff happens that can push your buttons, you react.

That’s the key part of it, how do you react? How do you choose to respond?

Do you lash out in anger? Do you sit down and cry? Do you exact your revenge on those who have wronged you? Do you give up on your dreams? Or do you take a deep breath, choose your response and move on? Do you blame someone else for making you upset?

I know that this may sound simplistic to many who believe that life is complicated and they are victims of some sort and they have no control over their destiny. To that I say “Bull”. All the choices you’ve made throughout every moment of your life have brought you to the moment you are in now.

Every moment of every day you have a choice in your thoughts and actions. Sometimes, I realize, it doesn’t seem that way. I myself have battled with situations in life that left me feeling frustrated and helpless and powerless. And it wasn’t until I learned to empower myself and choose my experiences that my world changed.

If you want to change your life, start with yourself and your attitude. Choose your response in every moment of every day. While we all need to occasionally wallow in self pity, it should be temporary, not a lifestyle. You are a powerful being. You have a unique set of talents and skills and characteristics that combine to make you. Be thankful and hold onto only those thoughts and attitudes that benefit you and yours. Focus loving energy on everyone you encounter. Hand out smiles to strangers. Sing. Give away gifts – money, food, books…… Tip generously. Maintain an attitude of gratitude for even the smallest of miracles.

Make every moment of every day count for something, count for you.

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