Light

March 1: Light

Light. I’ve found that light is very important in photos. I need to be mindful of where the sun is, what time of day it is, and how to control the light in the settings of my camera. Still learning~still learning. Sometimes light can be the culprit of a bad photo and sometimes it is the prime essence of it.
It’s interesting that this machine is able to control light settings.

I am always drawn to a sunny morning. I love to sit on a chair in my patio and soak in the warmth while the inside of the house is chilly from the dark and early morning hours. The tiles in the kitchen nip at my toes and I can sun them as the sun rises in front of me. My doggy is chasing the neighbor’s cat and the birds are waking up to the orange circle peeking through the forest trees. It is a peaceful time to gather my thoughts and pray in devotion to the Lord before the day begins.

The shot above is one of my favorite ways of capturing the sun. I love photos with the sun rays branching out of its core. Rather than facing my lens straight into the sun, I found that looking through foliage or trees and through the little square window of my camera was key to achieving this effect. The light is blocked but some light escapes through causing rays of sunlight in front of a natural backdrop.

Light is very strong and powerful. It is persistent and it will find a way to get through even the most smallest crack in a wall. If your curtain is not tacked to the wall, the morning sun still forces its way through the little sliver opening between window and curtain well into into a dark room.

What about light in a human being? Are you able to tell when someone is filled with light? Can you see behind the light in their eyes? Is it just light upon the surface or is it light coming from within? Is the light in a person so powerful that you cannot tell that there is darkness beneath or that there was darkness? Sometimes one needs to let the light control the darkness. The light is powerful enough to smother the darkness. Choose to let light in and the darkness shall flee.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”-John 1:5

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Love and Blessings Always~
Mrs Halpern

March Photo Challenge

I began a 365 day photo challenge and it’s been fun! My camera is being well used and I hope to learn more things about it for I know that there are more features that need to be uncovered.

I retold a childhood book called The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle which I will put together in one blog post soon. Having the story helped me in getting my photos going in the month of January to February. But after the story was done, it sent me scrambling for more pictures. I was thinking of doing an all flowers theme for March but then I came across another photo challenge from iHeartFaces. I found this blog when I was searching for ‘how to take awesome fruit pics.’ If you click on my 365project link, the shot of the 4 strawberries was an idea that I got from iHeartFaces. The tutorial was very easy to follow and fun to do. I had the twins help me and they were excited to see the finished photo.

The pictures that I post for iHeartFaces will be the same pictures that I will post for my 365project. As long as I have a prompt everyday, it’ll be easier to shoot with purpose. But don’t get me wrong~random shots do help too and those shots can be plugged into some of the prompts given on the challenge. I’m sure that I have some ‘green’ pics or ‘TGIF’ photos or ‘sunset’ photos. Here is the link to my 365project:
http://365project.org/mrshalpern/365
and you can also follow it on Instagram @mchalpern.

Most of my pictures will be taken with a Nikon D5300 and my iPhone. The picture featured in this post was taken with my iPhone yesterday. The flowers at work were in full bloom and I just had to stop and take some pictures so I’m glad that I have my phone camera available most of the time.

Anyone can join in the photo challenge as well too. Check it out:
http://www.iheartfaces.com/2014/02/march-2014-photo-challenge/

Follow along and comment if you would like to!

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Enjoying the beauty~
Love and Blessings,
Mrs Halpern

Pompeii~Behind My Dark Glasses

Apologies for being out of my online journaling loop in the past couple of months. I am in disbelief about how quickly we have navigated through January and February. Mehana finished a whole new awesome season of high school soccer and dove right into the track and field season. Is it really March already?!
The family New Years photo cards are still in the envelope that I received it in from Walmart.

This video is a song about a volcanic eruption over the city of Pompeii in Rome. I heard this song on my daughter’s favorite local radio station as I was driving her around town to her many commitments. This song will stick to me forever for the most difficult thing in January was saying goodbye to a dear friend. “And the walls kept tumbling down in the city that we lo-o-o-ove. Great clouds roll over the hills bringing darkness from abo-o-o-ove…”

It was something that I was barely prepared for especially since it was just too early for him to go. 30 years is really a short time to live. He suddenly left and his death could have well been prevented. As I was leaving 2013 with a sense of peace, the 2nd day of the new year brought devastation to loved ones including myself who knew this person. I’ve said this before that we can never be too sure of when we are to see each other again. Each and every person who was and is placed in my life has a special space in my heart.

It’s so hard to see the sorrow that dear friends must go through. It’s difficult to see people hurting. It is uncomfortable to feel pain and grief under such circumstances and it is something that must be dealt with and grief must take its course rather than blocking it out to cause more pain later on. “Now how am I gonna be an optimist about this?”

I dare not put on a blind eye. I want to be supportive. There is a time for everything. So when sad times come, yes, it’s ok to be sad. Take the time to be sad at the time and place given to be sad. Only God can take away the pain and aid in moving forward to the ones who walk alone from the absence of a loved one.

“But if you close your eyes…”
As I move forward without this wonderful gentleman, I am grateful for his laughter that still echoes in my ears. This person is my really good friend’s brother. I met him first when he was a young teenager (about 14). Mehana and I were in the kitchen of the Haili street house. Mehana was an infant and she was in her little play center-the thing with the swivel seat-and she was spinning around and wobbling in it and playing with all the amusing toys that were attached to it. Casey was resting in a nearby room and he too said that that was his most distinguishable memory of Rasi. My friend was already hapai (pregnant) with her now 15 year old daughter. But they both came walking into the living room that was connected the kitchen and Rasi was immediately amused by Mehana. He had a high pitched hearty laugh that kind of pierced my ears but brought comfort to my monotonous and long suffering beginnings of being a new mother. And I thought, WOW, this teenager is just amused by this beautiful baby and this beautiful baby doesn’t even know how she has brought a little ounce of joy to this teenager. As he was intrigued by my baby girl, I felt confident that this little girl was to bring abundant joy to my life and she does to this very day! And that is what he gave me. In that moment, I was given the confidence to go on and take care of my little precious bundle of joy.

I continued to see Rasi briefly at my friend’s family get togethers. He had grown into a very tall and handsome adult. He started a family and the last time I had seen him was at his son’s first birthday party 4 years ago. So basically, I saw this boy grow up and it’s so unsettling to have someone like that precede me in death.

As I struggled to find the beauty through my dark glasses that I wore to my friend’s memorial, I did find the blessing of the clear blue sky and flawless sunny weather. The perfect weather conditions that made the coconut leaves dance gracefully in the gentle afternoon breeze did not take away the feelings of missing a person that I had known so dearly. There was so much life teeming with laughter from children bouncing about in a jumping castle, radio music blaring through our ears, the murmur and voices of people conversing closely together and at the same time, a burst and shriek of surprise and laughter between friends coming together after years of being apart. Pairs and trios with arms and hands interlocked. A hand on a shoulder. The closeness. The closeness was real and the closeness was beautiful. Even behind my dark glasses, yes, there is beauty in pain and sorrow and suffering. Together we cry. Together we laugh. Together we hug. And together we heal. Together we move forward in love. Rest in Peace Rasi Summers.

“Oh~Where do we begin?”
The death of a loved one really truly breaks my heart. We are here to go on without them and deal with the absence and feelings of sorrow. The battle is long and the road is rough but God is always here to bring healing and comfort. God has an uncanny way of bringing people together, for placing the right people at your side at just the right time with the right words to say. When that happens, thank God. When that happens, praise God. Because only He knows how it feels to walk the road you’re walking right now.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
-Psalm 90:12(NIV)

Love and Blessings Always,
Mrs Halpern

Life-Giving Colors

Daily Prompt: Colors

There is color all around me. The people around me, the places I’ve been, and the events in my life add color to the darkness within my heart. The laughter, fellowship and warmth of a caring friend or family member adds depth to my loneliness and routine filled days. I see the rich hues of the rainbow polarized boldly through the eyes that God has blessed me with. My eyesight is important to me as is my heart sight as well. What the heart feels is what I see. When my heart is not right then I do not see right. The colors sometimes can be smothered up in pains and sorrow by life’s unexpected events and daily challenges. Reach out from the abyss and take hold of the colors that give me life. The life giving colors: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control with a compliment of gratitude.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”-Proverbs 4:23

“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”-Galations 5:22,23

Colors

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What are your life giving colors? And can you spot my favorite color?

Love and Blessings Always…

The Beginner Photo Challenger

One of my dreams came true this past Christmas when I received a camera from my husband and mother-in-law. I have been spending a lot of time getting to know this complex machine.

It’s like having a new baby. I have to take it with me wherever I go. Just like how I used to have to pack a diaper bag for the baby, I need to make sure that I have a back up battery, lens covers, and cleaning kit. I haven’t even introduced myself to the tripod and filters yet. I have become that person…I have a new bulky accessory. It’s a bit heavy and it protrudes out of the front of my chest. This is my new boob job. And I’m okay with people staring at it. I’ve fell asleep with it in my arms and I’ve cradled it carefully, but very clumsily as I do not dare want it to fall out of my grasp. “Why don’t you just put the strap around your neck Moooom!?!” Mehana suggests with exasperation. And that I did and life became easier.

I really wasn’t expecting this new friend to just show up in my life and I do indeed remain grateful. There is so much to learn, new terminology and many ways to step out of my comfort zone.

I follow a photography blog: DPS: Digital Photography School where they offer great tips on everything that I need to know about photography. On a recent post called Your First DSLR?-now what?! by Daneilla Bedall, I read that ISO and aperture and shutter speed, are some of the many things that I really need to understand. I still need to take the time to soak it all in because my excitement to click-click-click away is getting the best of me. The pictures that I’m seeing on my screen are just enough for me to be in awe but I know that I can even improve them more once I know more. Furthermore, the post offered even more great links like Tips for Beginners and it led me to a whole new other world of information! So to eliminate confusion on my part, I know that I’m just gonna have to focus on one thing at a time. I can’t do my best when there’s just too much information handed out to me at one time.

Next up: Photo Challenges
To prevent my new camera friend from being lonely and dusty, I’ve looked into some photo challenges available on DPS and daily and weekly/prompts on WordPress. Also, it’ll help inspire me to post on a regular basis.

The Burning Bush

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Love and Blessings….
Mrs. Halpern

God Makes Things New

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There is a different feeling in me this time around on New Years Eve. I am usually anxious and rushing around trying to get things done and organized before tomorrow. Or before 12am. But there is none of that…it is a feeling of peace. Is this the peace that I’ve longed for and prayed for? I have no unsettling or uncertain feelings. Is it because the bills are finally being paid off and I’m finally getting my finances organized? That’s still in the works. Is my laundry all caught up? No. The laundry is as constant as Lily’s shedding fur finding the corners and edges of the hallway. Did I go to the rubbish dump today? No. I can do that on Thursday.

My worries and priorities constantly change every year. Healing is evident as we make changes and let go of past hurts and sorrows. Forgiveness is the key to letting go. If forgiveness is not made in the heart, then all sorts of ungodly traits can take root and become overgrown, which in turn may block the view of obvious blessings from nature, from the people that are in my life, or from unexpected moments and encounters. I guess I’ve learned to accept the good and the bad with a grace that I can’t really explain. I refuse to be moved by things that attempt to take root in my heart in an unhealthy way. Let not my thoughts be entertained by self pity and wasteful drama. My overly dramatic traits have taken the back seat as I reflect on why my heart feels so calm and collected at the moment. As I write this, I am on my bed and the twins are using the back board as a jungle gym singing Lorde’s Royal. I just had to put in a slight glare as Hulali’s heels whap at the small of my lower back. Am I numb? Or am I well rested from being on Christmas vacation? No. No. Am I aging? Yes. Gracefully? Hopefully lol.

I’ve seen my children change and mature in ways that made my heart skip and sink at the same time. I’m so happy that they are growing and achieving milestones but at the same time I am sad that time has no patience for any human being.

The people I’ve known and the people I’ve just met do add flavor to my life. How can I learn new things when I’m around the same kind of people? Each person in my life has contributed to who I am today whether it was a good or a bad encounter. We can learn from each other in many different ways. And yet in some way, it can totally change my direction to my future.

My happiness thrives on the many unexpected moments that I encounter every single day. I love those moments. I love the moments that God has intricately planned for me that all I can really say is nothing but, “Thank You Lord.” Or “God, I love you.” Or “Praise God!” Or even: “Forgive me Lord.” Or “Lord help meeee!” God uses each and every moment of my life to seek Him and to use His grace in it. He doesn’t even need any words. God wants me to be in constant awe of Him.

Revelation 21:4,5
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things have passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write these down for these words are trustworthy and true.”

As each year brings new joys and sorrows, my heart shall be set on God’s promises. In everything that we encounter, God has the power to make everything new. Love every moment you have with each person. If you look for good things, you’ll find it. If you look for bad things, you’ll probably find that too. It’s a person’s choice to choose which one to magnify. Enjoy the time given to you with each person. You never know when it’s someone’s last hour and you never know when someone’s gonna change. You just don’t know.

Time with people continues to be important to me. People I know, people in my family, and people whom I meet through people I know. I guess I’m a people person. But as much as I am a people person, my alone time is just as important to me as well. Achieving balance continues to be something I want to achieve as well. I’m NOT even gonna label that as my New Years Resolution!!! But it is something I long to obtain.

Here’s to a new year. Aloha 2013. Thank you for being good to me. Thank you Lord for the memories. Welcome 2014!!!
Love and Blessings always…
Mrs. Halpern

December Memories 2013

Behind the Scenes at the Craft Fair

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Lily and Me

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Happy 27th Cassie!!!

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Winterball 2013

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Happy 83rd to My Aunty

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Taking a Break at the Playground

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Hula Ministry Christmas Party

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Mehana’s Soccer Games Rain or Shine

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Mommies and Children
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Antipasto with the Coleman’s

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My How Urban Has Grown!

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Christmas 2013

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Good Times with the Kloningers

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Cleaning Up For the New Year-Rainy Town

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Out with the old and in with the new! Welcome 2014-we have been waiting for you!

Someone’s Having Fun

Hope everyone had a nice Christmas…it’s been a whirlwind of shopping, get togethers with family and friends, too many holiday goodies, and the constant house and children upkeep. Thank God that His peace is always available to us even in the midst of a perfect storm.

Last night was stormy with thunder and lightning with hail on some parts of the island. The aftermath of a heavy storm causes a marshy yard and puddles in the back of our house. I let our 6 month old puppy out to enjoy the sun and this is what I get!

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Love this puppy~
Love and blessings always….

Old and New Friends

My friend Ali from Long Beach came to visit the Big Island. I met her husband (Gehan) and her husband’s cousin and wife from Atlanta Georgia and our dinner party got bigger as they reconnected with a young couple from Long Beach who now lives on the Big Island.

While I was out picking up my order from Grapes a Wine Store, they were having lunch at a nearby eatery called Hapa Mamas. The Grapes owner was hosting his weekly free wine tasting when I walked in. The twins and I ran and dodged a passing downpour as we made our way across the street to meet Ali and the gang at Wilson’s by the Bay to satisfy the twins’ and Ali’s shave ice snack cravings. Even on a rainy day, shave ice from Wilsons by the Bay hits the spot.
Reuniting and Meeting New Friends at Wilson’s By the Bay

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After the shave ice stop, we walked over to Grapes so I could introduce them to the owner. They had some tastes and Gehan’s cousin purchased a red Brunello. Then they left for their volcano sightseeing while I had the kids do their homework, shower, and I proceeded to prepare dinner for them before dinner at Cafe Pesto. I quickly made a pizza with a store bought focaccia, a pizza sauce made from a can of tomato paste, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. I didn’t have any Italian spices on hand but it’s okay. The kids can live without strong flavors.
Easy Kid Pizza
Ingredients:
1 ready made store bought flat focaccia bread
Pizza sauce
I cup shredded smoked mozzarella
Pepperoni

For pizza sauce:
I can tomato paste
Salt and pepper
4 TBSP Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic (minced)
Combine and set aside

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place focaccia on non-greased baking pan.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over bread. Add pizza sauce over cheese. Generously sprinkle last 1/2 cup of smoked mozzarella. You may add more if desired. Top with pepperoni. Bake 10m. Take pizza out of oven and let sit 5minutes. Cut into squares, serve, and enjoy.

Here are some pictures from our dinner get together at Cafe Pesto in Hilo:
We started with an Ahi Poke Bowl (chopped and seasoned raw tuna over rice) with a side of ‘ulu (breadfruit) chips. Have it separate or top ‘ulu chip with a chunk of poke and enjoy the added crispiness to the raw fish
.

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I had the Blue Ceasar Salad with a bowl of Carrot Fennel Soup.

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20131212-093820.jpgOther entrees ordered that evening was the Wok-Fired Shrimp and Scallops, Mango Glazed Chicken, Cheese Pizza, and the Fresh Catch Salad.

Good Times, Friends Old and New, Good Food and Laughter, Sweet Local Live Music

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A Hui Hou (goodbye until we meet again)
Love and Blessings Always…
Mrs.Halpern

Thanksgiving Memories 2013

Morning Run

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To Nana’s House-Volcano

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We also met up with Greg and Gail again from Earth Matters Farm and they always bring over some homemade kale chips. They are devoured by all in a matter of minutes-SECONDS! Here is the kale chip recipe that I promised to post in my previous blog:

Gail’s Kale Chips
Ingredients:
1-1/2 to 2lbs kale (despined)
Olive Oil
A pinch of Cajun seasoning
A pinch of salt
1/4-1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast

Directions:
Depending on oven type, preheat oven to 355-365 degrees.
Dry leaves completely by air drying or dabbing gently with paper towel or a clean towel.

Place kale in a large bowl.
Drizzle a little amount of olive oil on leaves tablespoon by tablespoon and turn leaves until oil is well matted. Do not drench the leaves. Add Cajun seasoning, salt, and nutritional yeast and turn leaves.

Line baking pans with parchment paper and place leaves side by side rather than overlapping.

Bake 15 minutes or until leaves are crisp. You might need to do several test batches before getting it right.

As always I find myself full of dinner to completely enjoy the many tasteful desserts that were served. However, I look forward to breakfast the day after when I can savor each morsel without feeling forced to finish a whole piece of pie. Paired with a favorite tea or coffee, breakfast is the best time time to enjoy Thanksgiving dessert!

The Christmas season is well upon us. And as usual, I haven’t started my shopping yet or my Christmas cards. I always tell myself that I need to get started at least in July…o_O Never happens! I’ll let you know when it does haha!

As I I write this, Mehana is having the time of her life with the Hilo Sunrise Athletics running club. She ran a cross country race this morning at the Foot Locker West Regionals at Walnut, CA. She came in 51st out of 104 in her heat. There are over a thousand participants and about 14 different races. I watched a bit on the website early this morning and I take it that it was a hilly course with steep inclines and switch backs. Also, the runners start out fast paced and they don’t slow down.

The younger kids spent the night at Nana’s house last night to help her decorate her tree today. It’s almost time to go pick them up. I look into my bag of Pepperidge Farm Milano mint chocolate cookies and there’s two more layers full. Mm-hm…cookies last long when the kids are not home! πŸ˜‰

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Love and Blessings Always…
By Mrs. Halpern

Butterfly Kisses

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During the Thanksgiving break, I babysat an aquarium full of caterpillars. Here is one of the caterpillars that morphed beautifully into a monarch butterfly.

It was so entertaining to observe the busy and very hungry caterpillars devouring their favorite food of crown flower leaves. Casey joked, “You love those caterpillars more than me!” He watching his favorite cooking shows on HULU and I glued to the caterpillar fest. Perfect circles are chewed out of new large leaves and within hours they are limp and few to nothingness. They get all long and chunky but that doesn’t stop them from crawling across flappy leaves and brittle twigs.

Then they find a place to dangle in a j for a day. As they do that, it kind of looks like a carefree child hanging from the playground monkey bars but with head and chest crunching forward with hands formed in prayer. Before it sheds its caterpillar coat to boast a newly formed jade green chrysalis, it looks as though its doing crunches. Does it hurt to morph like that? It almost looks like it is about to explode but it is actually getting ready to rip off its old skin. On the bottom of the aquarium, there are hollow shriveled up caterpillar masks.

The new shiny putty coat is embossed with a 24 karat gold colored line toward the top and specks toward the bottom. Then in about two weeks or less, the jade green casing turns into a black nugget. But when you look and focus close enough, you can see the formation of orange and black wings through a transparent skin. The morphing continues on by the hour then the butterfly breaks and crawls out of its chrysalis. It unfolds its wings and flaps in exaggerated slow-motion to ready itself for its first flight.

Being ever so gentle and patient, it is time to let go and free this beautiful creature of the Universe. It rests on dewy leaves and flutters in between flowers and children waiting still as a pole for butterfly kisses. Such a heavenly treasure to be close to this majestic creature. Malino worked very hard to stay still and get a grander look at the face of what once used to be a squirmy inch and a half of green, black, and white stripes. She got so close as to see its tiny little eyes jutting out of its newly formed and fuzzy polka dotted body. “Why are his eyes so black?”, she asked intuitively and she continued to study it as long as it was at close proximities. Once, it flew upon her supple cheeks and crawled over to her curly topped head and rested on a tendril close to her temple and it looked like a brand new butterfly clip. She shouted “ow!” at first as it ascended onto her face but I advised her to be still. And her sister and I looked in awe until it launched another short flight to a nearby purple orchid where I seized the moment to capture a butterfly kiss. Sight is indeed beautiful! Thank you Lord!

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Love and blessings always…