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This is where I am….blissfully, incredibly written by someone else. Anyes Pourtaghi, Writer and Photographer crafts her blog FarAwayInTheSunshine.com, for which I shall be eternally grateful. It’s nice to see it in writing, this odd place of being. I share this here, on my poor neglected blog so that I’ll not lose it, or her. Recognizing and naming a thing means I’m halfway there, yes?

Originally posted on Far Away In The Sunshine:

The bruised self I have been for the past year or so, is filled with hurts, sorrows and lacking joy. Still weak and searching for strength, I find myself reflecting. How long will it be till I find the zest for life I used to have? My poor camera sits on the side lines waiting expectantly for me to grab it as I used to. My notes books are spread all over the table waiting to feel the soft caress of the pen on their pages.

The thoughts in my head are jumbled and keep coming and going. Alternating between fear, sadness, anxiety and bursts of hope my moods are all over the place, so I kept quiet. Not wanting to burden the screen with a story that does not bring anything to anyone. Yet I find myself here knowing that by pushing a bit more I will get back…

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Beach Nourishment


Preparations (C) 2015 by Debi Bradford

Instead of simply posting pretty photos I think I’ll tell you a little tale about beach “nourishment.”  Before moving to a beach front community I’d never heard of this process.  First, we began noticing a nearby public access being loaded with equipment.  Bulldozers, pipes, Bobcats, trucks and whatnot.  Eventually, Bobcats moved pipes out onto the beach.  Bulldozers followed.  This began an education process for me that was as fascinating as it was horrifying.

Beach nourishment is a process by which a dredge ship sucks up a particular type of sand from the bottom of the ocean and disperses it onto a beach.  Bulldozers create a hole for all the new sand, then level it as it’s being piped in.  The process repeats all the way up the beach.  This builds the beach far out and flattens it for the tourist trade.  It also keeps buildings that were built too close to the sea from falling into it.

I took photos throughout the process and have shown some of Facebook.  Folks have encouraged me to create a photo exhibit of the process but I’m not sure a) I have enough or b) they’re decent enough and c) there’s interest.  So I’ll post here and gauge reactions and thoughts.

This first image is a golden dawn light striking the beached equipment.  I welcome comments and thoughts.

How Time Flies


Spiderwort buds

I’ve been away, embroiled in family issues since well before Christmas.  First, a dark issue in Alabama, dealing with death of my beloved stepmother and helping my father who has health issues of his own.  I was gone entirely too long, but it was a necessary chapter in the book of my life.  Most of us have been there in some capacity.  It’s not easy but I was grateful for the assistance and love of my siblings. I returned home Sunday night to learn of another imminent family issue, but this was a much more joyous one – the birth of a grandchild.  This meant another trip when I was needing nothing but rest.  However,  there was no way I was going to miss out on an event we’ve been anticipating with glee.  So off we went for a week to welcome Emma Kathryn Cargol Bradford into the world!  Although weary, being around palpable happiness, cradling this new life in my arms and kissing her head, inhaling the pleasant aromas that arrive with babies, gave my soul a much needed boost of Joy and Vitality.


White spiderwort

Returning to the beach last night I’ve decided to allow my body and soul the gift of TIME to simply rest.  There is comfort in cleaning and routine, and peace in bringing order back into daily living.  There’s also time, now, to properly mourn and properly rejoice each occasion deeply.  In doing so, I’m likening this gentle time to the coming Spring.  A rebirth.  An opening up.  A celebration of simple pleasures.  Nature has a way of soothing like nothing else.  I’ve not yet made it down to the beach but tomorrow promises sunshine.  Today, I celebrate Life with the beautiful, simply spiderwort that is blooming within the undergrowth of our lane.  There are deep purple spiderwort, lavender spiderwort and this luscious white spiderwort.  All wild and free, planted by Mother Nature.  I suspect birds had something to do with it as well.


Almost blue spiderwort

Yuletide Customs of Old Scotland


Three Chairs (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

We leave soon, traveling to spend the holidays with family elsewhere.  I won’t be blogging while gone, of course, but want to leave with a Scotland holiday theme.  The above photo was used on my Christmas cards and I thought it perfect to begin this post.  Seeking Christmas customs in Scotland I found a website called “The Christmas Archives” by countess Maria Hubert von Staufer.  Here, I found a delightful page titled Yuletide Customs of Old Scotland.  I’ll share some of the passages with photos from some Scotland abbeys and cathedrals as my Christmas gift to you.


Iona Abbey Window (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

“The name “Yuletide” comes from the Scandinavians, for whom ‘Yultid’ was the festival celebrated at the twelfth month, being the twelfth name of Odin, who was supposed to come to earth in December, disguised in a hooded cloak. He would sit awhile at the firesides listening to the people, and where there was want he left a gift of bread or coins. (Strains of Father Christmas here!)

Christmas was often known as Nollaig Beag , Little Christmas. The custom was to celebrate the Birth of Christ with all solemnity, the festivities began a few days later, and spilled into New Year and Twelfth Night, which was known as ‘Little Christmas’. However, the French often called Christmas colloquially, ‘Homme est né’ (Man is Born) which is thought by some scholars to be the origin of the word, ‘Hogmanay’, steaming from the time of the ‘Auld Alliance’.”  (The Christmas Archives)


Stained Glass (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

“All of the Celtic countries have a similar custom of lighting a candle at Christmastime to light the way of a stranger.

In Scotland was the Oidche Choinnle, or Night of Candles. Candles were placed in every window to light the way for the Holy Family on Christmas Eve and First Footers on New Years Eve. Shopkeepers gave their customers Yule Candles as a symbol of goodwill wishing them a ‘Fire to warm you by, and a light to guide you’.”  (The Christmas Archives)


Door of St. Magnus (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

“It was and still is the custom for a stranger to enter the house after midnight on New Years Eve/Day. There were taboos about the luck such a stranger would bring, especially in the days of hospitality to travelling strangers. A fair haired visitor was considered bad luck in most areas, partly due to the in-fighting between the dark scots and the fair Norse invaders. However, in Christian times, a fair haired man was considered very lucky providing his name was Andrew! Because St Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland. A woman is considered taboo still in many areas!

The Firstfooter must make an offering, a HANDSEL. This can be food, drink or fuel for the fire. The ritual which have grown up around this custom are many. An offering of food or drink must be accepted by sharing it with everyone present, including the visitor. Fuel, must be placed onto the fire by the visitor with the words ‘A Good New Year to one and all and many may you see’. In todays often fireless society the fuel is usually presented as a polished piece of coal, or wood which can be preserved for the year as an ornament.”  (The Christmas Archives)


Italian Chapel (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

Black Bun. Originally Twelfth Night Cake. It is a very rich fruit cake, almost solid with fruit, almonds, spices and the ingredients are bound together with plenty of Whiskey. The stiff mixture is put into a cake tin lined with a rich short pastry and baked.

This takes the place of the even more ancient Sun Cakes. A legacy from Scotland’s close associations with Scandinavia. Sun cakes were baked with a hole in the center and symmetrical lines around, representing the rays of the Sun. This pattern is now found on the modern Scottish Shortbread, and has been misidentified as convenient slices marked onto the shortbread!”  (The Christmas Archives)


Celtic Cross at Iona (C) 2014 by Debi Bradford

I wish each and every one of you a blessed and peaceful Christmas and send hope for the New Year.  As they say in Scottish Gaelic, Nollaig Chridheil agus Bliadhna Mhath Ùr (Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!)