Introducing a new little family member

Well, I know that you basically just get a ton of silence from me here and then suddenly I just pop out of the woodwork and dump a bunch of unrelated pictures on you. I can’t help it. I’ve been less writerly, more picturely and just generally more busy with life and there is no way around it. I will eventually write more again and I look forward to when it starts to happen. But in the mean time I’m just going to keep popping in and saying hello and unloading a random smattering of photos upon you. I posted these on my professional photography site earlier but wanted to share a few here too!

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On a side note, we are now really considering ourselves cat people. Truth be told, I’ve always been a dog person. Like deep, down in my soul of souls, I’m a dog person. But since moving here and having kids grow up into teenagers, re-entering a place where winter lives, etc. etc. it’s just not in the cards for us to be dog people again for what I think will be a really, really long time. So Charlie is sort of my little notice of acceptance of this change of reality.

But I have to say… we still miss Bruce the most.

Right Now

Resurfacing.

My writerly muscles have atrophied. But I have to say it’s not because nothing has been happening and it’s not because I have nothing to say.

We have moved! Shawn has returned to full time church ministry and is now Associate Pastor of Youth and Family Discipleship at Hope Presbyterian Church in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Never imagined I’d be a Jersey Girl but here I am. It’s a crazy tale how we came to be here. It weaves through Facebook and online friendships that predate Facebook. It’s been an amazing journey.

We arrived here in late March with a place to live all lined up. But that fell through quite suddenly. We had to put all of our belongings in storage and look for another place to live and we have have been living with friends ever since. We are so excited and thankful for how God has provided.

We are supposed to close on our new-to-us house (almost 100 years old!) in just about a week. We will have a number of projects to do to get it to be homey. Since I really want to start blogging and writing more, but can’t figure out just how to begin, I’ll just begin with the making of a house into our home.

Here is the place.

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I love it.

Meanwhile, we’ve been loving getting to know our new home on the East Coast.

Mercer County Park

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My first time in New York City.

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The kids doing chores at The “Lippincottage.”

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Loveliness on a morning walk.

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The boys have practically lived in the creek that runs behind The Lippincottage.

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Our first time to the Atlantic Ocean!

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Backyard bubbles.

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Love you like a bunny

Shawn, I love you
Today like I always do,
Like as unto a little bunny.
Your hair is fluffy,
Your ears are cute,
And when you’re a nut,
I call you Honey.
Shawn, I love you today like Nacho
Loves Encarnacion.
I’ll crunch toast with you,
Write you love songs too
And everything you love
Are my favorite things too.
And when we’re together
And you’re on your phone
I slap it and say with grace,
“Come to my quarters for toast and Get that phone outta my face!!”
Shawn, I love you today
Like a snowpocalypse
Or like a zombie apocalypse
Or like an enormous
Pair of lips.
Though they seem really different
And juxtaposed, I love
That you love me for wanting
To make them all rhyme
And then including a word like juxtaposed which can only, at best, have a near rhyme like,
Decomposed.
Shawn, I love you like
A hundred years
And like an hour.
I love you with dinners
And poems and flowers.
I love you with much
And I love you with little,
(And as an aside, I’m glad our kids are learning to whittle),
I love you with weakness
And I love you with strength,
I love you with depth
And I’ll love you at length.
I love you today and I’ll love you tomorrow.
And I’ll love you in joy
and also in sorrow.
I love you when the skies are purple and blue
And I love you when the skies are pink and orange.
How cruelly beautiful is it to end this rhyming poem with a word like orange?
And a question?

Gratitude

At work, my title is “Well-being Specialist.”  This year I have been researching “what is wellbeing and how is it promoted and recovered?”  I have personally and professionally been all too familiar with unwell-being.  We hardly know what we should target as health!  I have been helped tremendously by the insights of UPenn psychologist Martin Seligman and have summarized some of his insights and “homework” towards well-being in an article on Gratitude that I wrote for our US Staff.

 
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Gratitude by Shawn Doud, Well-being Specialist fh.org

“Billy, tell Auntie Beth thank you for the pink sweater!”  (Urged by Mom’s orders and an arched eyebrow, Billy grunts “Thank you!” and sulks off embarrassed)

“Your altitude is determined by your attitude of gratitude.”  (Coming to a refrigerator magnet or embroidered couch pillow near you!)

“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Paul to the Romans

Whether it’s your mom, Hallmark, or the Apostle Paul, gratitude is billed as a powerful thing.  It fosters loving relationships, affects our outlook, and the lack thereof can spell a descent into a dark, destructive selfishness.

In this month of giving thanks, we can move our gratitude beyond a meal into a healthy habit that we can practice year-round that encourages others, honors God and builds a sense of satisfaction and blessing into our often discouraged mental space.

Psychologist Martin Seligman made it his life’s work to study human misery. Obviously, this proved quite depressing.  Even with all the treatments/drugs for suffering and depression, he had to be honest with himself.  These were treatments, not cures.  In search of a cure, he founded a movement called Positive Psychology.  In his book, Flourishing, Seligman highlights a clinical study he performed with sufferers of severe depression.  Seligman and his colleagues offered the test subjects either Positive Psychotherapy, traditional therapy without drugs, and traditional therapy with drugs.  55% of patients in Positive Psychotherapy, 20% in “treatment as usual”, and 5% in traditional therapy plus drugs experienced a remission in their symptoms of severe depression.

What did Seligman “do” to get this 55% result?  Among the homework assignments given were these:

1.  Write a gratitude letter to someone you have not previously thanked and deliver it in person.

2.    Practice being satisfied with the “good enough” vs. the “perfect/just as I wanted or planned”.

3.  Keep a blessings journal and write down three blessings you experience each day. Similarly, (in another experiment) Write down 3 things that went well today.

Seligman has landed on a “true truth” (to borrow from Francis Schaeffer) as he’s studied human nature (which we know is made in the image of God.)  When we become reflectors of God’s goodness and given to praise and gratitude, we are lifted out of our ever narrowing self-focus and out into a world of affirming relationships, healthy habits and positive emotions.  

Try one or all of these 3 “therapies” and let me know how it went!!  

Also, if you are an iPhone user, there is an app created by The Headington Institute (a key humanitarian well-being support think tank) called Examine, where you can journal your day and highlight the blessings you have seen and received.  

Thankful to be discovering God’s blessings with you this season,

 

Shawn

Canvas Print from Signazon

Just by virtue of being a blogger, I get a lot of requests for product reviews. I have a policy of only reviewing stiff that I have an actual interest in.

Signazon contacted me about reviewing any of their large variety of products. Initially I was going to decline their offer as I was not in need of any signage. But when I saw that they did canvas prints, I decided to see what they had to offer.

The order process was very simple and their staff was very helpful. I decided just to order a favorite snapshot of our family on a hike in the mountains.

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As you can see, I’ve yet to hang it up as I need to get mounting hardware.

The print arrived as ordered. The print quality was fine. It has a matte finish and neatly tucked corners (I ordered it gallery wrapped.) The back is covered with craft paper.

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I am not likely to use Signazon for fine art canvas prints in the future but I would not hesitate to use them for advertising signage and promotional prints for Nan D Photography.

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