pictures, words, food, adventures and once in a while, something random

Posts tagged “Black & White Photography

Live a simple life – Day 8

 If you kick a stone in anger, you’ll hurt your own foot.  ~Korean Proverb

Live a simple life day 8   - Copyright Christine Sternfels

To live a simple life… pick your battles and keep calm.  This reduces the time and energy you spend being angry and frustrated, thus giving you more time to be focused, pleasant and happy.  Have a great weekend everyone!

About these ads

Life according to Charlie

You’re not gone… just on another great adventure. ~Christine Sternfels


Today, I picked up Charlie’s ashes and paw print.  First I cried, then smiled, then cried, then smiled.  Passersby were starting to look concerned (or scared).  I finally got myself together, wiping the tears and snot from my face then I started to think about how life is according to how Charlie lived.  Thought I’d share…

According to Charlie…
Life is simple. If you have to think too hard about anything, you’re just making it complicated and your brain cells are dying in vain. Love abundantly and shamelessly.  Family is so precious, never take them for granted.  Lick their faces if they’re mad at you.  If you want friends, be one.  If you don’t have friends, you probably need a bath.  Be grateful.  Be kind.  Live simply.  Want nothing beyond your needs.  Smile, and it’s okay to drool at the same time.  Give without wanting anything in return, maybe a belly rub now and then.  Dream.  Chase other dogs in your dreams.  Dream about chasing other dogs in a dream.  Take long naps.  If you start snoring, tell your boss it’s nasal therapy.  Work hard.  Play harder.  Change happens, go with the flow.  If the kid gives you a tacky Mohawk, she loves you.  Don’t sweat the small stuff, there’s better use for that energy. Cry if you have to.  Laugh out loud (literally… none of that lol text stuff).  Hug.  Sing (or in my case, howl).  Dance.  Be silly.  Have compassion.  Reserve barking for when it is really needed. Wag your tail even when you’re sad.  Don’t be sad too long.  If it doesn’t smell right, don’t lick it.  Not everything is edible.  Be yourself.  Let life teach, then learn.  If you weren’t born to chase squirrels, don’t.  Different strokes for different folks, opinions don’t always have to be shared.  Don’t judge.  Don’t be a bully, it’s dumb.  Be gentle.  You don’t have to chase the ball just because that’s what the other dogs are doing.  Balls can be admired from a distance.  Relax, I’m just smelling your butt… there is no way I’m eating that!  Listen when someone’s talking.  Do no harm.  Don’t hold grudges.  Get along.  I want world peace.  If you have to explain, you probably should have done it.  Be honest.  Be true to yourself and to others.  There is always a bright side.  Look for the good in everyone.  You don’t have to understand everything.  Wealth is not always measured in gold, money or possessions.  Usually it’s how often you get hugs and belly rubs.  Be remembered for the love you gave.  Love.  Love.  Love.  If all else fails, lick their faces.

Random acts of kindness – Day 29

Have you had a kindness shown? Pass it on; ‘Twas not given for thee alone, Pass it on; Let it travel down the years, Let it wipe another’s tears, ‘Til in Heaven the deed appears – Pass it on.  ~Henry Burton

Random acts of kindness day 29  - Copyright Christine Sternfels

What act of kindness will you pass on today?  I’d love to hear about them!


Random acts of kindness – Day 21

Eventually you come to realize that most people aren’t looking for a fight but for someone to surrender to.  ~Robert Brault

Random acts of kindness day 21  - Copyright Christine Sternfels

Today’s exercise is to make peace with someone you have a disagreement with.  Pick up the phone, don’t text, IM or email.  It’s not a matter of who’s right or wrong, whose fault it is, who started it.  What matters is you mend what’s broken.  And if you have nobody you need to make peace with, I’m sure you have someone to call, text or email to let them know how much you care.  Have a beautiful day everyone!

Random acts of kindness – Day 19

Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.  ~Jesse Jackson

Today’s exercise is to help fix something, pack or unpack boxes, carry groceries to the car.  The goal is to give a helping hand to someone.  Have a beautiful day everyone!

Random acts of kindness – Day 15

A fellow who does things that count, doesn’t usually stop to count them.  ~Albert Einstein

Today’s exercise is to write to someone to remind them how special they are.  Whether you mail it, drop it off or hand it to them, it will be a nice surprise.  Have a great week everyone!

Random acts of kindness – Day 14

The true essence of humankind is kindness. There are other qualities which come from education or knowledge, but it is essential, if one wishes to be a genuine human being and impart satisfying meaning to one’s existence, to have a good heart.  ~Tenzin Gyatso (The 14th Dalai Lama)

Today’s exercise is to encourage someone.  Here’s a poem I’d like to share to help encourage you on days when you feel like quitting.  Have a great weekend!


When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
… And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

- Author unknown

The little things… day 26


Memory is a child walking along a seashore.  You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things.  ~Pierce Harris, Atlanta Journal

I’m grateful for…
Moments I can reflect upon, that warm my heart and lift my spirits.

I’m letting go of…
Holding on to painful and bitter memories.

I don’t think any of us had a perfect childhood, but some have defined themselves the person they are now; because of it.  A scent, a place, a song… those are triggers you have no control of.  We can’t pick and choose what we remember and how we feel about it, but it’s still up to you to use them in a way that benefits you most. 

Life is what you make of it and that includes how you process what happened to you as a child.  Sometimes even happy memories can make you resentful, if you let them.  I wish I can encapsulate those good feelings and take a dose when needed or stumble upon a time machine in my backyard and go back to those happy moments.  But hey, not all of us want to be Peter Pan because growing up is just as beautiful as childhood. 

The not-so-pleasant memories can give you strength, instead of a cold heart.  It can make you wiser, not rebellious or angry.  It can make you see the difference between good and bad, not a victim.  Then some memories are best left alone in the past.  You don’t have to analyze everything all the time – it’s one of those “it is what it is”.

When I think about the many wonderful moments of my childhood, I smile (or cry, it depends what time of the month).  When I think about the sad moments, I give my self a moment to process it.

My childhood was great with sad moments and I have found “counter memories” to be helpful.  For example, the memory of my grandmother’s passing is sad.  Then I counter that memory of mornings with her watching the sun rise before tending to her garden.  As I work on my collection of counter memories, I cannot believe how many great and wonderful childhood memories I have, for that I am grateful.

What are your happy childhood memories?

The little things… day 25


Out of 86,400 seconds we get each day, I think we can spend 10 of it counting our blessings. ~ Christine Sternfels

I’m grateful for…
Time I am given each and every day.  Time to pray, time for myself, time for my family, time for work, time for leisure and time to do absolutely nothing at all!

I’m letting go of…
Wishing there were more than 24 hours in each day, I would probably be exhausted everyday if that were so.

First of all, I’d like to apologize for reducing my daily blog down to a weekly post.  That is temporary.  I’ve been putting so much time on finding ways to raise funds for my non-profit organization that I’ve forgotten about my love…  pictures and words.  Oh well I guess the kids and hubby too!  In addition to being so focused, I’ve neglected to set aside some time for my family.  Can someone please kick my behind?

Time… It’s the one thing you can’t buy and holds more value than the most expensive possession you’ve ever had.  It’s also what most of us take for granted and should be more mindful of more often.  It isn’t something we can ever get back.  It moves too swiftly, yet not fast enough for others.  We are all given this, how you use it is up to you.  So now, I will take some time away from the computer and spend it with my family, under the stars, in front of the bay and away from my crazy routine… Have a great weekend everyone!

The little things… day 23


I wept because I had no shoes, until I saw a man who had no feet.  ~Ancient Persian saying

The quote says what I am grateful for and letting go of.  Simple, but says a lot.

This past weekend, we volunteered to help Child United pack over a hundred over-sized boxes of clothing, shoes, books and toys for kids affected in the recent typhoons that devastated parts of Central Philippines.  These shoes were donated by a child who still wore them, they still fit him.  I was told that one of them was his favorite pair… but he donated them anyway, because he knew another child thousands of miles away (a child he doesn’t even know) needs them more than he does.  I am also thankful for big and kind-hearted kids who do these amazing things.

Look at your shoes, reflect on all the journeys they have been through with you.  Be they sweet or bitter memories, there are always blessings to be counted.

Have a great week everyone.


The little things… day 18


If you’re doing your best, you’re not failing.  You only fail if you quit or don’t even try at all because you were too scared to fail. ~ Christine Sternfels

I’m grateful for…
Lessons learned from the many, many failures I’ve succeeded in attaining.  Strength gained from pain I had to endure from all my failures.  Love and support my family continued to give in times of my lowest low.  Some wisdom from having to experience one failure after another.  A chance at a fresh start.

I’m letting go of…
Thinking that finishing last is failing.  Giving too much thought to what people might think if I failed.  Success is too far away because I’ve failed too much.  Being discouraged to get up every time I fall.  Giving in to defeat just because I had a weak moment.

Failure is something that happens, not you.  So get up, brush it off and start all over again… now.

The little things… day 16


Ever wonder where you’d end up if you took your dog for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash?  ~Robert Brault 

I’m grateful for…
The use of my legs, allowing me to go for walks.  My daughter, who drags me out on a beautiful day to take a stroll.  My dogs who look at me, begging to be taken out.     

I’m letting go of…
Being too lazy on a beautiful summer day, choosing to stay inside instead of going for a walk. 


It really is amazing how many wonderful discoveries we stumble upon when we venture out on a path, in the woods or a trail. What’s even more amazing is how clear my mind gets after a good walk and how much better my mood and creativity gets.  It has been proven that walking is good for you, but just like eating veggies and healthy treats… I don’t know why it’s such a chore!  Ok, going for a walk now.  See you tomorrow.   

The little things… day 13


 As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.   ~Audrey Hepburn


I’m grateful for…
The use of my hands.  With it, I can hold my husband’s hand when we go for walks… paint my daughter’s toe nails, while she paints mine… make a feast, toast to life and hold a wine glass… unwrap chocolate… caress a baby’s soft cheek… comfort a friend… close a business deal… take pictures… draw… paint… create… give… I can keep going!

I’m letting go of…
Taking my hands for granted and take care of it better.

It’s amazing how much value you find something to be when you think about what it would be like without it.

The little things… day 2


Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts.  ~Author Unknown


I’m grateful for…
The nuts in my families.  The one I was born to, the one I married into, my cyber family from all my social networks and blogs and the friends I’ve adopted.  Someone’s comments or actions will make me smile today.

I’m letting go of…
The disagreements over things that won’t matter soon, if they still do.  I can’t help it if I think differently.  Let’s agree to disagree because some things aren’t even worth being upset about.


The re-discovery of happiness … day 29

For every minute you are sad, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.  ~Author Unknown

Want to see the rest of this series?  Click here to start on day one.


The re-discovery of happiness … day 25

Tears aren’t always sad. ~Christine Sternfels


CLICK HERE to see the rest of this series.


The re-discovery of happiness … day 20

Once in a while, look at your life through a child’s eyes.  You’ll see more color, have more hope and find it easier to be happy.  ~Christine Sternfels


CLICK HERE to see the rest of this series.


The re-discovery of happiness … day 16

Some say there are 7 steps to happiness

Think less, feel more… Frown less, smile more… Talk less, listen more… Judge less, accept more… Watch less, do more… Complain less, appreciate more… Fear less, love more. 

What are your steps?     



CLICK HERE to see the rest of this series.


The re-discovery of happiness … day 14

When you look for the bad, expecting it, you will get it. When you know you will find the good—you will get that…”  (Quote from “Pollyanna” by Eleanor H. Porter)


CLICK HERE to see the rest of this series.


The re-discovery of happiness … day 4

Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it.  ~Jacques Prévert



The re-discovery of happiness … day 2

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
~Robert Brault



Advice to my younger self…

A child can ask questions that a wise man cannot answer.  ~Author Unknown

“If I knew then, what I know now.”  How many times have you said that to yourself and what would that knowledge change?  Here’s my top 10:

  1. A penny saved is a penny earned.  Don’t be an emotional spender.  Learn to be frugal.
  2. Listen to your parents, they want what’s best for you.  Rebellion comes back to bite you, when your kids are teenagers.
  3. Don’t light up that first cigarette.
  4. You are an amazing person, you’re not a failure.
  5. Learn proper nutrition and learn to love exercise.
  6. It’s not always about you.
  7. Don’t worry too much.
  8. Joy is about balance, not things.
  9. Your family comes first, the promotion can wait.
  10. God’s got your back… always.

I don’t know if knowing all that when I was younger would have made a difference.  Well… maybe a few extra zeroes in my savings account, but I think that learning as I went through life is what made me who I am today.  The woman my husband is crazy about, the mom my kids love (although she’s the neighborhood nut), the girl my parents respect and the person I like (most of the time).

What’s your advice to your younger self?

You’re not alone

Life is simple, it’s just not easy.  ~Author Unknown

When life gets to you and you feel like walking away from it all, remember… you’re not alone.  If you think you’ve run out of solutions and your problems are too much to handle, remember… you’re not alone.  Although you’ve hit the bottom, and climbing back up seems impossible, remember… you’re not alone.  If there is no one else to turn to and you feel no one will understand, remember… you’re not alone.  Have you forgotten about me?  Has the world taken you so far, that we’ve become strangers?  I want you to stop… breathe… listen to your heart beating… give me your burdens and rest.  Tomorrow is a new day with new possibilities.  Live to love, give, serve and be thankful.  I am here to keep you steady and strong as you face the most difficult days of your life.  I am always with you, remember… you’re not alone.  Love always, JC

Got Faith?

Faith… hope is its brother, trust is its sister, belief is its partner and reason is not required.  ~ Christine Sternfels

I was raised Catholic.  I married a Jewish man.  I have friends who practice Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Mormonism, Paganism, Taoism.  Some are Christian, Protestants, Baptists, Anglicans, Agnostic and Atheists.  Today, my husband, daughters and I are Christians.  I don’t go to church all the time, but I try.  I can’t call out quotes from the bible, but I own one and read it.  I am not religious, but my faith in God is steady most of the time.  I’d be lying if I told you my faith can’t be shaken.  It has been tested over the years, but I can’t say I’ve ever lost my faith in God.

I am human – not perfect, not without sin and definitely not without fault.  Love and compassion are the baseline of my actions, and when you read about the message that different religions have, it boils down to those two words.

Faith is an essential part of my life.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 484 other followers