Thursday, November 30, 2017

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Refusing to be stuck in the past

"Some situations, places, hobbies, and people have expiration dates. As you grow and change, so do your needs. Staying in situations that no longer serve you will only keep you trapped or running in place. Give yourself permission to break free of what’s holding you back." ~Marc & Angel Hack Life

Gate in downtown Saugatuck / Cindy La Ferle

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Staying in touch

"The single biggest problem in communication 
is the illusion that it has taken place.  ~ George Bernard Shaw

"Give me a call"

Vintage toy telephone / Cindy La Ferle


To view additional content on this blog, please visit the home page of "Things that make me happy."

Monday, November 27, 2017

Snail mail

"I love the rebelliousness of snail mail -- and I love anything that can arrive with a postage stamp. There's something about that person's breath and hands on the letter." ~Diane Lane

Cindy La Ferle

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thoughtful people

"Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." ~Marcel Proust

Flowers from George / Cindy La Ferle

To view additional content on this blog, please visit the home page of "Things that make me happy."

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Quiet desperation and the digital age

"A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind."
~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Red Oaks Nature Center / Cindy La Ferle

Last week I was talking to a friend who also has a love-hate relationship with her iPhone. Like me, she forgets to check it sometimes and has to be reminded to put the thing in her purse -- which seems to annoy other people. Not carrying a cell phone is now considered an act of civil disobedience.

We agreed that smartphones have totally changed the way we live, in positive and negative ways. Life has taken on a sense of immediacy like never before. With phone in hand, everything is at our fingertips, including a current list of showtimes at the local movie theater and a roster of friends we can contact on impulse any time we're bored or lonely. And yes, in a true emergency, a cell phone can be a lifesaver.

The way I see it, however, there's something OCD about folks who can't eat, drive, shop, or take a walk without texting, talking on the phone, or checking social media. If these people weren't such a hazard, I'd feel sorry for them.

Whenever I'm in the car, for instance, it's rare that I don't see drivers using cell phones. En route to the grocery recently, I made a point of watching other drivers each time I stopped at a traffic light. Three out of four were jabbering on cell phones or texting. I'm willing to bet these are the same clueless fools who've veered into my lane or nearly run me off the road more times than I can count on one free hand. No wonder the stats for serious traffic accidents are on the rise. 

Once I arrived at the market, I also noticed a few shoppers conversing on their cell phones -- as if selecting a can of vegetable soup in mindful silence was unthinkable.

Unlike my hero, Henry David Thoreau, I can't even take refuge in the woods to escape any of this. On the nature trail yesterday, several hikers on cell phones interrupted the tranquil sound of autumn leaves rustling on the path. 

Of course, I immediately thought of Thoreau's famous line about the mass of men leading "lives of quiet desperation." Then again, the desperation of modern life isn't remotely quiet. ~Cindy La Ferle

To view additional content on this blog, please visit the home page of "Things that make me happy."

Friday, November 24, 2017

Black Friday in perspective

"Sometimes we forget that the best things in life aren't things." ~Art Buchwald

Cindy La Ferle

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Giving thanks

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Pumpkin harvest at Brys Estate Winery, Old Mission Peninsula / Cindy La Ferle

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Finding blessings to count

“In the moments we are awake to the wonder of simply being alive, gratitude flows, no matter our circumstances.”
 ~ M.J. Ryan
Gratefully Yours / Cindy La Ferle

This has been one of the most difficult years I can remember. On a personal level, too many dear people I know are grieving unspeakable losses or (like me) facing worrisome health challenges. Lately it feels as if we're all wandering through a bad dream -- and there's no plausible way to put a Norman Rockwell holiday spin on any of it.  

And unless you binge on nothing but Masterpiece Theater episodes, you can't watch much television without being shocked, disappointed, or completely disillusioned. It takes every ounce of fortitude I can muster to remain calm while staying reasonably informed of national politics and world news. 

In the midst of so much heartbreak and upheaval, I'm all the more grateful to the folks who've given me reason to believe there's still an abundance of hope, goodness, beauty, and light in this world. I'm blessed with the most loving family and supportive friends anyone could ask for, and I'm indebted to all of you

Wishing you many blessings of your own to count this Thanksgiving. ~CL


To view additional content on this blog, please visit the home page of "Things that make me happy."

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Sharing our gifts

"When you are truly thankful, what do you do? You share." 
~W. Clement Stone

Cindy La Ferle

Monday, November 20, 2017

What good friends do

“We sometimes choose the most locked up, dark versions of our story. But what a good friend does is turn on the lights, open the window, and remind us that there are a whole lot of ways to tell the same story.” ~Shauna Niequist

For Debus / Cindy La Ferle

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Using what we have

"Today is a new day that has been handed to you for shaping. You have the tools, now get out there and create a masterpiece.”  ~Steve Maraboli

Vintage culinary equipment / Cindy La Ferle

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Being good for something

"Do not be too moral. You might cheat yourself out of much life. Aim high above morality. Be not simply good; be good for something." ~Henry David Thoreau

Maples at Meininger Park / Cindy La Ferle

Friday, November 17, 2017

Fall boots

"My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud." ~Henry Rollins

Cindy La Ferle

Among the many delightful things that make me happy in the fall are great boots -- lots of great boots. For me, boots aren't just essential footwear; they're works of art. If you've been following my posts for a while, you know that I love to photograph boots as much as I love to wear them.

Cindy La Ferle
I've been collecting all sorts of boots for years -- hiking boots, gardening boots, riding boots, suburban cowgirl boots, snow boots, walking-the-dog boots, and more. 

Aside from the fact that they provide warmth and protection from the elements, boots empower the wearer. Consider the pop hit, "These Boots Are Made for Walkin,'" written by Lee Hazlewood and recorded by Nancy Sinatra in 1966.*  When Nancy wore her boots, she kicked butt. (Lately that song's been playing in my mind continuously. Maybe I'm riled up from watching too much cable news.)

Of course, guys love boots too. Right before he moved from Michigan to Texas, an old college buddy told me that he planned to shop for a pair of "shit-kickers" as soon as he got off the plane in Dallas. 

Whether they evoke romantic images of cowboys or mutineers, boots have their own mythology. With or without high heels, they make you feel taller, more confident, more resilient, more badass. When you're wearing a favorite pair, you feel as if you can accomplish anything. And you're telling the world that you won't put up with just anything. Are you ready boots? Start walkin'. ~CL

*Click here to view a vintage video of Nancy Sinatra's hit. Yes, it's a hoot.

Cindy La Ferle

To view additional content on this blog, please visit the home page of "Things that make me happy."

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Looking for the light

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. Above all, I believe that love is stronger than death.” ~Robert Fulghum

This is for you, Jean / Cindy La Ferle

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Embracing our contradictions

"I won't apologize for my contradictions. A photograph doesn't apologize for the blacks and the whites, the hundreds of grays. In the end, they make the picture." ~ M.H. Clark, Today, Tomorrow & Every Day

Vintage cameras / Cindy La Ferle

Monday, November 13, 2017

Support and friendship

"Each day brings us new opportunities — to be there for others or bring a little light into someone's day. Be grateful and live each day to the fullest.” ~Roy T. BennettThe Light in the Heart

An autumn bouquet from Kathy & Jim / Cindy La Ferle

Friday, November 10, 2017

Kicking the need for approval

“We're high on the adrenaline of feeling, even though we know it's fleeting. And we're getting worse -- checking texts and emails and Facebook every five minutes -- always searching for that next hit of feeling, that next morsel of approval.” ~Deborah MeylerThe Bookstore

"Addiction" / Cindy La Ferle

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Honoring our boundaries

“When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice.” ~BrenĂ© BrownThe Gifts of Imperfection

Cindy La Ferle

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Autumn afternoons

“I do not understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.” ~Anne Lamott

In Traverse City / Cindy La Ferle

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Recovering from surgery

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~Jalaluddin Rumi

Lake Michigan sunset / Cindy La Ferle

On Thursday, I had surgery for the removal and biopsy of a lesion on my lower right eyelid. It was the fourth time a surgeon sliced into my face for skin cancer -- so you'd think I'd be used to this sort of thing by now. 

This time, however, the problem was right next to my eye, making the procedure more creepy -- and me more nervous -- than usual. And this time, I knew I'd be knocked out with anesthesia, which added another layer of complexity. As my ophthalmic surgeon explained, she would be cutting "a wedge" into my eyelid, removing the lesion and surrounding tissue, then sewing it back together. A week before surgery, I lost several nights of sleep while my imagination worked overtime: How far had the cancer spread, if it was cancer? Would the surgical scar interfere with my vision or leave me disfigured? 

Arriving home a little groggy after the surgery, I was bone-deep relieved to have the ordeal behind me. As is typically the case, it wasn't nearly as awful as what I'd anticipated.

Luckily, too, my surgeon told me I can expect minimal scarring. (I've decided not to worry about the biopsy results until my follow-up appointment.) As instructed, I'm dutifully obeying a few restrictions and applying ice packs once every hour for 15 minutes. The toughest part has been trying to type and read while wearing a gooey layer of antibiotic ointment in my right eye. 

Still, there's something luxurious about being told to do nothing but rest and shuffle around the house in bedroom slippers for a few days. It's an opportunity to reflect and take stock of what matters. 

A post-surgery selfie

It has occurred to me throughout the weekend, for instance, that serious surgery makes even the strongest among us feel anxious and vulnerable. No matter how old we are -- and especially if we've lost our mothers -- we all want to be nurtured and comforted when we're in pain. 

And sometimes it takes an unexpected challenge or roadblock to remind us that we shouldn't take our blessings for granted. Over the years, my surgeries (hip replacements included) have underscored how fortunate I am to have loved ones I can count on. 

For starters, my husband, Doug, is always ready to run errands, fill prescriptions, and make domestic chores easier during recovery. While I was in surgery Thursday, Tilda, our longtime neighbor and family friend, came over to let Coco outside -- and left a container of her world-class minestrone for our dinner. Thanks to other dear friends, neighbors, and my mother-in-law, we now have a fridge packed with enough delicious soup, vegetarian casseroles, salad, and coffee cake to keep us fed for a week. I feel deeply nourished and grateful.

Emotional support is nurturing, too. I've also appreciated every thoughtful card, text, and email message from friends and family, each one wishing me luck and cheering me onward. Thank you so very much. 

Knowing that others care is the light that heals our wounds. ~CL

Friday, November 3, 2017

Finding your way when you're lost

"Pay close attention to your inner compass. If you stop steering by your own compass, you'll hit a rumble strip. Don't panic. Just question your assumptions and you'll be back on the road in no time." ~Martha Beck

Cindy La Ferle

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Owning our experiences

“Each experience in your life was absolutely necessary in order to have gotten you to the next place, and the next place, right up to this very moment.” ~Wayne Dyer

Pausing in the moment / Cindy La Ferle

It's hard to believe that today is the first of November already. Last night, a friend and I were remarking how quickly time evaporates as we get older. How is it possible that more than 30 years have passed since we met? Are we really old enough to retire? It's so important to savor even the most ordinary moments before they too become history. 

Looking out at my frostbitten garden this morning, now buried under a colorful tapestry of leaves, I'm overflowing with appreciation for every season of my life. Let the month of gratitude begin. ~CL