i searched for words as i crossed the short distance between our houses. the last time i saw her, she was in her housecoat, in bed, fighting pain and the cancer that caused it. i fully expected her to be the same, if not worse, and i just didn’t know what to say.

i climbed up the steps to her back door and knocked twice. almost immediately, the door opened and there she stood, one hand still on the door. she was dressed in jeans and a button up blouse. her hair was held back in a headband, and dangly earings, her signature statement piece, flitted as she spoke. 

Hi, Patty!! 

her voice was happy,



i asked, whaaaat are you doing??

she motioned me in, waving her canning tongs toward her kitchen, and as i passed by her, hugging her, of course, i noticed the boxes. thirty pounds of tomatoes. and the jars, and the pots… this was clearly a project, and she was right in the middle of it.

canning tomatoes! what else?

this was not the woman i had seen weeks before, but definitely the woman i had known since the day we moved in next door. she was stubborn and willful, resilient and so full of energy. she not only canned tomatoes (and everything else good under the sun), she grew them. and then she made delicious meals with them and shared them with the neighborhood. 

i just expected… it’s just that… the last time…

i stammered, stuck between the initial thoughts that escaped my mouth before i could stop them and wanting to express my concern for her well being.

i’m canning tomatoes – because what choice do i have? i can lay there in bed and wait, … or i can can tomatoes. i’m canning tomatoes.

so let this be her legacy. to inspire any of us who face a challenge to not lay in wait, but to live fully. to continue to do what we love to do. to not give in. to be resilient.


in sweet loving memory of my neighbor and friend


Make Good Choices

i spied him through the drive-thru window… dark-rimmed glasses sat heavy on the bridge of his nose, bleached tips at the ends of his short, dark, spiked hair and big holes in his earlobes, filled with black plugs. he was maybe all of twenty years old. maybe.

he smiled as he took my cash, and handed over my iced coffee. we exchanged pleasantries, and as i began to pull away, he rested his hand on his countertop, made direct eye contact with me and said,

make good choices today!

his words sat with me all day. it’s what we always told our children when they were little, make good choices. it gave them power over their day. my husband especially, would say, you ARE going to have a day. this day is happening. you can [pout/be angry/be sad/be sick/etc], or you can make it a good day, but this day is still going to happen. make good choices.

and i wondered as i made my way through my day, sipping my iced coffee, how i forgot that, the most simplest of instructions, the most basic building block of a good day. focus on the little choices. understand that there ARE choices-that i am never trapped. as an adult, i know that there might not be a great choice, but one choice will always be better than the other and there is always, always a choice, even if the choice is simply my disposition in the face of chaos.


*all photos taken at the salt flats in salt lake city, utah

Southern Gal - August 24, 2015 - 10:27 am

Yes, this: “as an adult, i know that there might not be a great choice, but one choice will always be better than the other and there is always, always a choice, even if the choice is simply my disposition in the face of chaos.” As an adult, I have the ability and responsibility to make good choices each and every day. Thanks for sharing this, Patty!

(We always tell our children to make good choices. And we add, “All choices have consequences. Good or bad, choices have consequences so think them through clearly and carefully.” Am I telling myself that? Hmm.)

Julia - August 25, 2015 - 9:45 pm

I was just thinking about you today. So I pulled up finding serendipity. And here you are :-) Gorgeous photography. Good choice of pictures :-) and words!
So true- thank you for sharing- Good to see you on here again.

lisa - August 26, 2015 - 7:51 pm

Oh my, the only thing more beautiful than your photos are the wise words that accompany them. I wonder how many people were told the same thing but dismissed his advice based on his appearance or age. Wisdom comes in many forms….and from many sources. Yes, we all need to think about the choices we make. For ourselves and the little eyes that watch us.

Liz - November 25, 2015 - 2:40 am

You were on my mind today as I haven’t seen anything from you in my blogroll. I miss joining up with 1440 but know there must be a reason.

Wise words and a great post. I hope to see you back posting soon! :)

Hello August

hello, august.

you’ve been dangling in front of me, the golden carrot that urges me on, for months…

once the building is finished
once we move out
once we move in
once we’re up and running
once the boys are home (or once they go back to school)
once she’s driving
once the fourth of july is past
and the refrigerator is fixed

you know… in august.

in august, the sun shines bright and warm

the flowers are mature, and grow rich in color and weave tendrils deep into stakes and stone

in august, the grass is green, as green as i can remember, and smells of childhood, happy and limitless

the water is warm and sky, well, the sky – the august sky – she is so lovely

it’s always the New Year to me, august     and i think long and deep about resolve and resolution     opportunity excites me again and refreshes the tiredness that comes from day-to-day monotony

and i dream big

*all photos taken with my very full so very slow iphone 5s  
and edited in camera+ ap

Southern Gal - August 14, 2015 - 11:12 am

Hello, you! August holds much promise and some disappointment as I look back at all I had planned for the summer. I didn’t get nearly any of those things done, but I do have a 13yo who prayed last night thanking the Lord for a good summer. That changed my perspective a little. 😉 I pray you find that place in the Lord where all you can see, feel, taste and hear is Him.

Gorgeous phone photos!!

Julia - August 25, 2015 - 9:42 pm

Patty- these pictures are just stunning! Beautiful! Do you ever sell any of your images? For peole to use for cards or to frame? How could I go about doing that?
Thanks so much- Julia

Weekly Wanderings – Pierced Wonderings - August 24, 2015 - 10:00 am

[…] Hello, August – Finding Serendipity. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed these posts. I can just breathe it in and feel the relaxation and joy spread through my soul. I want my photos to feel like that. […]

March On, #StrongGirl, March On

Alice::  How long is forever?
White Rabbit::  Sometimes, just one second.
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland


i stretched and yawned and tried to figure out where i was. and how i got here. it was my bed in my room in my house, and yet, it was so unfamiliar. it seemed… clear. correct. as it should be. it had been so long since i could see it this way that it seemed new and crisp, like someplace i was seeing for the first time.

my bedroom. my bed. the things that are most intimate to me and still, unfamiliar. is this what they mean when they say the fog has lifted, clear your eyes, see rightly?

i love believing we create our own reality. it gives me power to make my life beautiful. but every now and then  i see things as they really are… crisp and clear. reality smacks hard. steals my sunrise. then seeps back into the crevaces from which she emerged. and i don’t know that i’m brave enough to face it. owning the truth requires strength,  crazy strength, to endure what breaks us, to believe in the worth of picking up pieces, to march on.

forever is gone in a second, and suddenly we know.

but we march on, anyways. we always do.

what else is there?


Southern Gal - May 21, 2015 - 10:50 am

I pray your journey is full of God’s blessings, especially when you can’t see them clearly. And when you can, I hope the boundlessness of His love keeps you in awe. Hugs.

Julia - June 12, 2015 - 2:10 am

I loved this so much-
Thanks for sharing. I think your photography is gorgeous!

Liz - July 18, 2015 - 4:19 pm

I can totally relate to this… In fact, I had been missing your posts and linking up with 1440, that I came to see if you were back posting.
I have had my own huge crash to reality over the last 5 years and I have been feeling so incredibly lost of late, and hoping that I would wake up and discover it was all a dream… But alas, this is now my life and I need to adjust and accept that this is my new “normal”. I hope and pray that you are blessed beyond measure.

Southern Gal - August 3, 2015 - 11:30 am

Missing the view from your camera, Patty.


did you happen to see the movie Twilight? the part where bella falls into a deep depression after edward leaves her? the camera pans around her and in what i think was brilliant filmography, demonstrates the passage of time through her bedroom window. as the camera spins, we see her walls and then her windows, and then her walls and then her windows again… each time the camera passes the windows, the names of the months appear and the scenery changes… the leaves change color, then fall from their branches, then it snows… and so on.

i look back on this past year and my memories are like the scenes in bella’s windows. april, may, june… prom, graduation, summer… glimpses of a life, as i reach my toes to the ground to stop the room from spinning.

A  P  R  I  L


M  A  Y



J  U  N  E

J  U  L  Y

A  U  G  U  S  T

S  E  P  T  E  M  B  E  R

O  C  T  O  B  E  R

N  O  V  E  M  B  E  R

D  E  C  E  M  B  E  R

J  A  N  U  A  R  Y

F  E  B  R  U  A  R  Y

M  A  R  C  H


APRIL || austin’s senior prom; final soccer game

MAY || a special trojan train, a life too soon taken, and #communitylove; austin’s high school graduation

JUNE || paddle boarding with asia; confidence workshop with girls from the boys and girls club; early summer morning in my neighborhood and a stuggle with light and dark

JULY || cleaning and prepping the pool; roasting marshmallows in the rain {it seemed to rain a lot last summer}; a neighborhood creature, my morning friend

AUGUST || both boys left for college, leaving an unfillable, overwhelming space in my heart house;

SEPTEMBER || click away photography conference, salt lake city, utah :: temple square, silver lake, a delightful click-away model & the salt flats

OCTOBER || my beautiful daughter and an autumn sunrise

NOVEMBER || my son teaching my father chess over thanksgiving; an autumn sunset

DECEMBER || christmastime

JANUARY || i turned 50. my husband sent my best friend and me to a special place to celebrate

FEBRUAY || fashion week nyc & a sweet sixteen; my son boxing

MARCH || snowbird utah



i hope to be sharing these stories in the weeks to come… to put down the memories here before they become soft and indistinguishable with time.

{and then maybe we could consider ourselves caught up, hm?}



meanwhile, you can see what’s been going on at my photography blog ::

and at pearls for girls, now referred to as GeGe’s ::

nic - March 25, 2015 - 8:44 am

Your photograghs are stunning. ♥nic

Stephanie - March 25, 2015 - 10:19 am

Nice to see you again! As usual, gorgeous shots.

Southern Gal - March 25, 2015 - 11:46 am

There you are. 😉

So, so happy to see your beautiful photos and words again, Patty.

Happy 50th Birthday…late. Sounds like an amazing time your husband planned for you.

I’m so sorry for the loss in your community.


Jarek - April 24, 2015 - 5:12 am

Stunning photos. Congrats

Julia Perry-Sullivan - May 11, 2015 - 11:53 pm


Liz - July 18, 2015 - 4:03 pm

Such a fabulous collection of images!! You have a true gift!

Weekly Wanderings – Pierced Wonderings - March 29, 2015 - 11:08 am

[…] April-May-June-July-August-September-October-November – Finding Serendipity. Patty remains one of my very favorite photo bloggers. Someday, when I grow up, I want to be like her. […]

R e s t o r i n g   J a n e
S e l f - E s t e e m