Friday, September 30, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Someone You Miss

As I end this 30 Day Photo Challenge, I feel like I need to post a picture of someone that is most on my mind these days. Someone I MISS. My friend, Jen, said it perfectly when she said "This is going to be a year of FIRSTS for the family"....and this picture says it all. It will be the FIRST family holiday where both sides of our family gather and Ed won't be with us. I will miss so many things on that day: the care he puts into making his famous Horseradish Beet sauce that we put on our turkey. I'll miss how he and Zofia would tell a story together. But, mostly I'll miss him smiling at me across the table as if he is saying "Good Job, Ashley! Everything looks beautiful!" We love you Ed Fordonski!

Death is nothing at all....

I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other,
that we still are

Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way
which you you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh, as we always laughed
at the jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without affect,
without the trace of a shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolutely unbroken continuity
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you,
for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just around the corner.
All is well.
~Henry Scott Holland

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Yesterday

Yesterday was one of those days where I just needed a break. Between the  the computer, the phone, the TV, the hectic pace, frantic energy and NOISE of my life...I had to put a STOP to it.  So I came home, took lots of deep breaths and just went outside.  I laid on the ground, looking up at the blue sky through the trees and soon Charlotte joined me.  We found these beautiful acorns and started taking pictures.  It was so nice to just sit and take notice of our surroundings.  But then we had to rush to Lacrosse and the feeling quickly vanished, going straight back into the fast pace frenzy of our lives.  By the end of the day, it was so nice to come home to the dinner table and Pete's wonderful, Italian Chicken Gnocchi Vegetable Soup. Pete's soups are the definition of "Cozy" to me!

"In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.  Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth".  ~Mahatma Gandhi

30 Day Photo Challenge: Something You Made

 For years, I carried around two labels from The Jones Soda Co. I fell in LOVE with the pictures and promised myself I would frame them to put on my wall. These particular ones are so nostalgic and it gives you the best feeling when you look at them. JSC is SO cool because all of their labels are from actual photos sent in from fans. I FINALLY framed the labels and they look AWESOME on my wall. 

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” — Henry David Thoreau

30 Day Photo Challenge: Something You Collect

 I collect glass bottles of all kinds. When I was a little girl, my mom would take me along while she went "antiquing" and she'd find these beautiful, old apothecary bottles. I love glass bottles because they have a history. Many were made between the early 1800's - 1950's. Back when Pete and I were living in our FIRST home, my mom came over to help me decorate. To my surprise, she brought her bottle collection and thought it would look perfect on my green shelves. It now sits on top of my cabinets in my kitchen and I swear...nothing warms up a room like an old bottle lit up from the sun shining through a window. I have added to my collection over the years and every now and then, I look up to see these gorgeous colors and it makes me smile!

Monday, September 26, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: From A Distance

This is a picture of Charlotte when she was 2 1/2 years old. It was after an ice storm and the first time she had ever seen ice or snow. We are out next to our GORGEOUS Cherry Blossom tree (in our old house) and you can see the swing Pete made out of an old Coke crate.
"From a distance we are instruments marching in a common band. Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace. They're the songs of every man. God is watching us. God is watching us. God is watching us from a distance". ~ Julie Gold (original writer of "From A Distance")

Sunday, September 25, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Close Up

These are two pictures of Charlotte at the end of a wonderful day. She played, danced, laughed, screamed and now it's time to just chill. I love these quiet moments.... talking, cuddling and just being together. I am hanging on to times like this before they disappear....her teenage years will be here before you know it!

This is another Audrey Hepburn quote I like (I adore her, ya know!)

"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles". ~Audrey Hepburn

30 Day Photo Challenge: Something You Made

This is my picture for DAY 5,032. Please don't kill me for posting 8 BILLION pictures for this challenge over the last 24 days...I only have 6 more pictures left and I can't give up now! But back to me...I like to give framed art as gifts and this is my latest gift that I have given to my sister and my parents: YOUR NAME with the letters shaped liked interesting objects in nature, art, fashion, design, old barns etc. You can buy them for over $100 or I MAKE THEM! Today, I decided to give a gift to MOI and I just LOVE all the letters. My mom and Dad named me Ashley because there weren't a lot of "Ashley's" back in 1968 and they wanted something unique. ASHLEY is an Old English name that means "A Grove of Ash Trees"! Trees are symbolic of love, wisdom, rebirth, strength, redemption, friendship, bounty and encouragement, so I will take that!

I love this quote about your name....

"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”

30 Day Photo Challenge: Hands

This is a picture of the hands of Charlotte and her cousins. Molly and Meg.  Every summer, at Folly Beach, I bring my big bucket of nail polish and I give the girls "Mani's and Pedi's" before we go on the beach.  Together we create bright colors, stripes and dots on their fingernail canvases!  We have been doing this fora long time and It has become our summer tradition.  Years from now, this picture will change.  Their hands will grow, their fingers will elongate and some will even have long nails.  It will be the hands of young ladies.  Hands that hold boys hands, hands that dial phone numbers and text.  Will they still allow me to create masterpieces on their grown up fingernails?  I really hope so....

"It will be gone before you know it. The fingerprints on the wall appear higher and higher. Then suddenly they disappear. - Dorothy Evslin"

30 Day Photo Challenge: Something You See Every Day

This picture is a wedding present given to us by my Aunt Frances and my cousins and I treasure it! I look at it every morning, in my kitchen and I am reminded of the amazing story attached to it. This poem was originally stenciled on the walls of a Scottish Castle. When one of my relatives was visiting this castle (I believe her name was Lucy Holladay), she fell in love with the words and wrote them down. She was so inspired that she stenciled this same poem around the foyer of our historic family home, Prospect Hill, in Mineral Virginia. I think it was very uncommon for women back then to get up on ladders and paint, but evidently, she was an extraordinary woman and she had a vision. Our old family home is now "The Littlepage Inn" and is rich with history.

The poem, the story and the history have inspired me to make my own wedding and birthday gifts for my family and friends. My version has a pen and ink live oak tree and the words around it. This truly is the gift that keeps on giving and it all started in a Scottish castle!

30 Day Photo Challenge: Eyes

My great grandmother woke up one morning and realized she was blind. Can you imagine? Our eye site is something we don't think of, often, but we do SO much with our EYES. Our day begins by opening our eyes to a new morning, we read, we stare at computers, we watch our children, we cry, we love, we witness daily life and miracles everyday and then we close our eyes for sleep at night. I love what Audrey Hepburn says about the eyes:

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides".

30 Day Photo Challenge: A Picture in Black & White and then Color

You know how much I love sitting on the front porch, having cocktails, listening to music and being with friends. My sister gave me the tablecloth and my friend Tracy just gave me the cutest twinkle light lanterns. This picture makes me very happy!

"I want to inhabit my life like a porch" (from Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood - Rebecca Welles)

30 Day Photo Challenge: A Post It With Something Written On It

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it destination full of hope.  ~ Maya Angelou

30 Day Photo Challenge: Sun Flair

"The beach, at sunset is the most beautiful time of day. Sitting in beach chairs with feet dug in the sand A cool drink in your hand as you watch sun kissed children with windswept hair laugh and dance in pools of water. The lighting is dazzling, the air is soft, Your mood is peaceful. It is the time when you reflect on life’s blessings And you share your dream of this becoming your daily ritual. Someday you would like to spend every sunset in your chair, on the beach" ~ from my blog "This Color But Blue", written in 2007.

30 Day Photo Challenge: Sillouette

This is a picture of a shadow on a wall of Charlotte and I holding hands. Charlotte and I have the same hands and I saw that right away when she was born. The same shape, same fingers...same hands. We have a special way we lace our fingers when we hold hands and they fit perfectly. When we are in the car and she is upset or hand finds it's way back to hers and we drive like that until she calms down. I still find myself throwing out my hand out to her when we cross the street, although, she is not a little girl anymore, she is almost 10 YEARS OLD. And she always grabs mine least for now. I don't think I will ever stop wanting to hold her sweet hand.

30 Day Photo Challenge: Shoes

And here you go...our shoes! This is on our way to Charlotte's first Lacrosse game and Charlotte set up this shot. I have nothing inspiring to write and refuse to say something corny like "A journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step" or "Just put one foot in front of the other", but I do like the way the shot turned out. Shoes!

30 Day Photo Challenge: Someone You Admire

I mean, who doesn't admire Linda Evans, she was Krystal Carrington for God's sake! I guess my Mother In Law admires Linda Evan's too because she bought her "Facial Toning System" for $9.99 and it is in our basement. Thank you Linda for your 80's Nolan Miller gowns and shoulder pads, for slugging that witch "Alexis", for loving Yanni despite his music getting on my nerves and for just, well....being you!

"I just fell in love with his music. I thought Yanni was Japanese. I didn't have any idea what a Yanni was. I just thought I was in love with a Japanese man who wrote beautiful music". ~Linda Evans

30 Day Photo Challenge: A Picture of A Person You Have a Lot of Memories With

I have known Pete since I was 18 years old. October 12th, we will be celebrating 20 YEARS of Marriage and SO many memories! Pete is my rock, my partner in crime and my best friend. I know you are rolling your eyes. I mean, who says that...but it's true! He is creative, an amazing Chef, funny, compassionate and so smart. We are a FANTASTIC pair with entertaining. His creative dishes and my table decoration extravaganzas, invitations, mood lighting and MUSIC, make for party perfection! Our dream is to move to coast (after Charlotte goes to college) and open up a Bed and Breakfast. We would be SO GOOD at that job! Seeing how much he loves his parents and how he is taking care of his mom, now that his dad is gone has really added another layer of love to my heart. My sweet Pete!

30 Day Photo Challenge: A Picture That Makes You Laugh

I still laugh at this picture we took back in December 2001. Charlotte is only a few weeks old and Molly (my sister Sarah's daughter and MY niece) is almost two months old. I am in a chair with the red blanket over me as the backdrop, holding the girls. They were falling asleep, the Christmas tree wouldn't stay up. I think we were laughing the entire time. We always joke that they look like they are Mafia men, hanging out at the Pork Store. Good TIMES!

30 Day Photo Challenge: Self Portrait and 10 Facts

1. I am a mom to a beautiful, almost 10 year old girl named Charlotte.

2. I am married to my college sweetheart, Pete, and we have been married for 20 years (this October). He is truly my best friend.

3. I am scared of whales - seriously, I have bad dreams about them. Would you want to be in the ocean on your raft and a whale swimming next to you? I think not!

4. I am PASSIONATE about music. I forget how much I need it and how therapeutic it is to my soul. The best music is in my car, singing at the top of my lungs.

5. Family is the most important thing in my life and I have and will continue to make sacrifices in order to be with them as much as I can!

6. I am a singer. I studied voice in college, performed in musicals, sang with numerous bands over the years and recently sang with a band that really challenged me vocally. I have dreams of being a studio singer for a living. Just working all day long in one of my MOST favorite places: the recording studio.

7. I LOVE words. You probably already figured this out. My grandfather and my mother loved them too, and we share our love of poetry. Words have so much power to make us feel so many emotions. Combined with music and you have a masterpiece!

8. I HATE those stupid juice box wrappers that stick to your feet because your child doesn't know where the trashcan is located. Every time I step on one and it clings to my shoes I feel like Barney Fife when he gets stinkin' mad! BIG PET PEVE OF MINE!

9. I have a few claims to fame: My family is related to the Clark of "Lewis and Clark". The movie "Giant" was filmed in my Dad's family's childhood home in Charlottesville, Va and I dated Chris Robinson of "The Black Crowes" in high school. Oh...and I once shook Melissa Sue Anderson's (Mary Ingalls - Little House on the Prairie) hand in a parade and it felt like a cold fish.

10. I lOVE to laugh. My mom said one of the best days of her life was when she realized I had a great sense of humor. If you enjoy music, words and will be my best friend! I have a very humorous family and I grew up with a lot of laughter in the house. I plan on continuing that tradition in ours!

30 Day Photo Challenge: My Most Treasured Item

This is my bunny and I have had her since I was a baby. My grandmother gave her new "clothes" by sewing new fabric over the old, but I loved her so hard that her stuffing is falling out, her nose is gone and her ear has fallen off. At one point in my life, I thought she was lost and all we had left was her missing ear. And let me tell you...that ear has been EVERYWHERE! My mom brought me that ear for GOOD LUCK on opening night of one of my college plays. I gave that same ear to Sarah when she was pregnant with Molly. She split the ear for the both of us when I was pregnant with Charlotte and each half was sewn with baby fleece fabric. The most wonderful surprise was when my mother's dear friend painted a watercolor of my bunny to put in Charlotte's nursery...but the very best, was opening a box and inside was the bunny I thought I had lost. My mother FOUND HER! She now sits on my dressing table next to her portrait.

30 Day Photo Challenge: A Childhood Memory

This is a ukulele and it was given to Charlotte and her cousin when they were little girls, by my Father! Every time I pass by this little toy, I am flooded with memories of my childhood. My Dad learned to play ukulele when his family was stationed in Hawaii and since that time, he has been entertaining everyone with his music. Music IS my Dad. There was always music playing in the house on his Hi Fi Stereo, rehearsals with his IBM Club trio and late night "sing alongs" for parties, reunions or just family. He had TWO "Ukes" he used for different occassions (not sure why). "Uke ONE" and Uke TWO". He can play it HARD for 50's Medley's or SOFT for sweet songs like "Scotch and Soda". It makes me smile looking at this picture!

30 Day Photo Challenge: From a Low Angle


"As the soot and dirt and ash rained down, We became one color. As we carried each other down the stairs of the burning building, we became one class. As we lit candles of waiting and hope, we became one generation. As the firefighters and police officers fought their way into the inferno, we became one gender. As we fell to our knees in prayer for strength, we became one faith. As we whispered or shouted words of encouragement, we spoke one language. As we gave our blood in lines a mile long, we became one body. As we mourned together the great loss, we became one family. As we cried tears of grief and loss, we became one soul. As we retell with pride of the sacrifice of heroes, we become one people". ~Cheryl Sawyer

30 Day Photo Challenge: Something Pink

Today we celebrate our 28th Season at The Studio Atlanta Dance and this week, I have the pleasure of witnessing our youngest dancers take their very FIRST dance steps, in their little PINK outfits and wiggly bodies!   It truly IS one of the BEST parts of my job!

God respects us when we work,
but he loves us when we dance.
~ Les Blanc (also attributed as a Sufi saying)

30 Day Photo Challenge: Technology

THIS is the Fordonski "Control Panel" ...we have the computer, the Ipad, the Itouch, the cell phone and why don't we watch a little TV at the same time. Pete's cell phone is the next to the bed and the lap top is in the family room. There's routers, printers, stereos, TV's, boom boxes, ipod docks and boxes of chords, adapters and more. One Word: Ridiculous!

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity" ~Albert Einstein

Saturday, September 24, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Something You Want To Change

I LONGED to change the color of my front door. And I did this morning. They say a red door is symbolic of many things. Luck, Good Fortune, energy and Faith. The Scottish say this is a sign that the mortgage has been paid. Wouldn't this be wonderful! 

"The Door to Happiness opens OUTWARD"

30 Day Photo Challenge: Something You Have Too Much Of

That would be Lotions and Creams for me....and this is a fraction of what I actually own. KERI is just TOO VERY in this household. I love this quote on beauty 

"The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years". ~Audrey Hepburn

30 Day Photo Challenge: Someone You Love

My sweet, funny, smart, sensitive, creative, athletic, wonderful daughter Charlotte. 

"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new".-- Rajneesh

30 Day Photo Challenge : Something Green

I found this leaf on my front deck, on the summer table cloth and noticed how hard it was trying to hold on to it's summer green before turning a golden Fall color. 

"How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days". ~John Burroughs