Moments of Joy: February 2016

Blessings abounded last month, as they always do, but it was nice to share my awareness of them with you.  Any time you get the chance, it’s beneficial to meditate on the good things around you.

This month has gone so fast for me, even with an extra “leap” day added, that as I begin this post, I’m not sure where it will end up…Hmm…I’m thinking back over February.  I have several possibilities in mind to share with you…

How about we enjoy an “aaawww” moment this month?  Oh, and maybe a little laughter, too.

pink collage of Valentine photos, with the words "Family, Friends, Love, Kindness, Laughter"

My hubby started a tradition many years ago of cooking a special meal for me on Valentine’s Day.  When our daughter was quite small, she began donning her favorite apron and “helping” him prepare the meal.  Now she is a teen, and her cooking skills are improving all the time — she’s especially good at making bread and rolls!

The last couple of years, she and her best friend have completely taken over preparation of the traditional Valentine meal, and it has grown to include all the grandparents, too.

It’s quite an undertaking these days: everyone is banned from the kitchen the morning of the meal as the girls bustle around the room prepping the food (making messes?).  The table is complete with special decorations, including long-stemmed glasses with hearts all over them.  This year, caramel-filled chocolates are scattered across the table for a splash of color.  I’m a big fan of that one!

The sound of clanging pots and pans echoes through the doorway to the living room.  Occasional shouts of “Oh, no!” catch my attention, followed by “Don’t come in here!”  The girls giggle and laugh as they set the table and place decorations.  Good smells begin to waft through the house. The dog paces back and forth, smacking her lips, and staring meaningfully at each one of us.

When the meal is set and everyone is assembled, the most entertaining part of the event begins: attempting to take the family’s annual Valentine photo.

Why is my daughter’s plan of taking a photo so funny?  You see, dabbling in photography has become a bit of a hobby for me.  So, I often play around with my camera’s settings for different types of lighting and shots; yet, every year we forget this fact when my daughter sets the camera up on the tripod for our family photo.

(You will be able to view samples of my efforts in a week when I participate in the WordPress Photography 101 class…again.  You can click on the Blogging University symbol in the sidebar on the right side of your screen to learn more about the different WordPress classes; they are fun and free for anyone to participate.)

Sometimes we notice this fact while attempting to take the photos, other times we get a surprise.  For example, we also take a photo of us at the table for Thanksgiving.  When we pulled last year’s photos up onto the computer screen, we saw that I had apparently been playing with the shutter speed.  Each family member who moved in any way was blurry, while those who smiled politely and sat still were in perfect focus.  In one photo, my mother-in-law looked like her face had been smudged out for the witness protection program or something.  (Hey…I’d better keep a closer eye on her!  ha ha)

On this Valentines Day, it is the timer delay which has been altered.  My daughter carefully aims the camera on the tripod and indicates who needs to scoot in or out to get every face in the shot.  She pulls out the chair closest to the camera so she can easily sit and smile before the shutter goes off.

“Everyone ready?”  She pushes the button, steps toward her seat, and the camera says “Everyone say cheese!” followed a split second later by “Click!” as the camera flash nearly blinds her.

(When I first got the camera years ago, I discovered a setting where you can record a sound and replace the camera’s typical notifications.  I’ve had a laugh several times when people around me would suddenly look my way and say “Did your camera just say ‘Click’?!”)

“What?!” my daughter laughs.  Obviously this is not the 10 or 15 seconds we were expecting to elapse before the photo was taken.

She messes with the camera to adjust the timing, but the family is hungry and neither one of us can remember how to get to the correct menu on the camera screen to add more time.  “I’ll make it work!” my daughter exclaims while everyone is giving her advice at the same time.

A second attempt is made by clicking the button and leaping into her chair.  Her rear is almost in the seat this time before the photo is taken.

She checks the results.  Everyone is smiling and seated perfectly, except for my husband who is half-hidden behind me.  And except for the fact that my daughter’s hair was still in mid-spin and is standing straight out from her head.  It looks like she was having a severe static electricity problem, or maybe that a freak windstorm had brewed up just around her chair.

“No, no, I can do this!” she laughs while prepping for the third try.  She pokes the button while simultaneously twirling toward her seat with a slightly-manic smile already plastered on her face.  Yes!  Success?

This one is better, but we have a little problem getting my husband in the right spot.  It seems that no matter where my daughter places me to get out of his way, he leans that same direction during the photo.  What a mess that man is!  Lol  Finally, my father grabs him and bear-hugs him to hold him still. That particular photo is one of the best ones!

After a few more attempts, everyone is turning bright red and falling all over each other with laughter, so we give up and start the delicious meal:  baked pasta, homemade bread, special fruit punch in our new punch bowl…Yum!

Best of all is the celebration of the love of our friends and family.  That is something to cherish every day of the year.  Oh, and my husband even did the dishes afterwards — score!

~~~~~~~

Sharing that story has made me hungry, so I think I’ll go have lunch!  Thanks for reading!

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