Adjusting the Focus

seedpod on snow

A wise (if fictional) man once said that life was “like a box of chocolates,” because you never knew what you were gonna’ get. While Brother Gump’s description has merit, I’ve been thinking of my life lately as more like a camera lens – what you get depends on where and how you focus…


When I started blogging more than four years ago, my focus was pretty scattershot. My youngest child had just started college, I was no longer working, and the garden season was winding down…A blog sounded like fun. Food, gardening, some personal stories…

Why not?

snow and stream

Some of those early posts are pretty cringe-worthy. The blog needed a theme…a flow… It took a couple of years to find the right voice, the right mix of topics. Not preachy-sounding tutorials, or recipes with too many process photos (badly done photos, too, I might add), but an easygoing mix that simply represented Life, and a fun bunch of folks out there around the world to share it with.

Focus narrowed. Adjusted. Refined.

winter wildflowers

Then came Angel.

Shift focus.

Out the Front Door

Out went the Travel posts. In came more grandchild-friendly activities and recipes. We watched the wild animals that wandered through our yard. Picked blueberries. Ate tomatoes. Established routines, and gave her little life a Structure. The garden was scaled-back that first year as she learned to listen and help. We were ready to go full-strength last year.

Widen focus. Adjust. Refine.

Then came Niko.

Through the trees

Stop! Turn around. Aim the lens somewhere completely different.

With a pair of preschoolers in the house, things are very different now. The garden is sort of on the back-burner while I spend much of my time coming up with fun and educational activities for them. Thank goodness there are plenty of websites out there with ideas and suggestions, because it has been a long time since I had little children.

South Sky 1-6-14

I guess my point (if I have one) is that sometimes, you have to re-focus on something that’s in front of you. Other times, you need to swing all the way around and see what’s behind you…

Like this:

North sky 1-6-14

These last two photos were shot from the same spot, one right after the other. The first one is looking South, the second, North. All I had to do was turn around.

And focus.


43 thoughts on “Adjusting the Focus

  1. Lovely essay. The little bike on the wagon in the snow…perfect (I almost wrote “priceless” but that adjective belongs to the bike’s rider).

  2. This post is certainly a snapshot of life for all of us “if” we are real. Most of us don’t have award winning gardens – we grow tomatoes and cucumbers. If we sew or quilt, we’re lucky to get in an hour or so – we don’t complete a quilt in one day. And, when we prepare dinner it normally doesn’t include five courses, good china, and a nice bottle of red or white wine depending upon the entree. I’ll continue to read, enjoy and chuckle as your journey continues with these two special little people. 🙂

  3. I loved this post Marie… you really hit the nail on the head. Sometimes it’s hard to turn around, but that view is still there. Wishing you all the best, and some time for focusing on different things now and then too!

  4. Beautifully written but I think most of us who follow you are on our own journeys too – and the road is never straight and smooth. A few bumps and turns and dead ends add to the delight of travelling!

  5. Great post Marie – I really like your approach to life, instead of getting bogged down with how life should be, you refocus on how life is… and get on and enjoy it as best you can. We should all learn to do this more. Lovely snowy photos too!

  6. Some of the most beautiful nature photos you have poisted, Marie – thank you! And since I arrived later on your site was happy to read how and when Angel and Niko arrived on the scene: a heartfelt story and I am certain now you would not want to have missed those experiences for all the proverbial tea in China 🙂 !!

    • Thanks, Eha. It looks like Angel will (God willing) be with us for the duration…but Niko and his Mama are working towards being back in their own place, even if it takes a while. While there are a few experiences I would have gladly missed (never thought I’d have to potty-train another generation!) there are certainly enough of the Other Kind to make up for them 🙂

  7. Oh my darling friend .. this is the most brilliant comment on modern life, and probably ancient life, that I have read.. sometimes we really do have to do a complete 360 to see what is really there, and life is always throwing those curved balls… Lucky you are a good catch! In more ways than one, I hope your children know how lucky they are to have you as their mother.. there are not many of you around.. c

  8. It’s all quite the adventure isn’t it? And sometimes the best adventures are without maps, with delays, obstacles, and surprise treasures. Angel and Niko are lucky to have such a thoughtful and caring grandma.

  9. I loved this post, Marie! Like you my blog has finally evolved to a much better place…but in learning all things we must start. Starting is usually rough and rugged and full of unclean lines and well, you understand. Today we are all part and parcel of a good great blog friendship….. we’ve been together through all the posts of change and growth and are still there to clap and encourage and praise.

    Your children are very lucky to have you as a parent…the grandchildren are lucky to have a wise and thoughtful set of Grandparents!

    Two Thumbs up for an outstanding post and for teaching us to remember to turn around!


  10. This is a fabulous post, Marie. It’s life. The universe. And everything. I will tell you a secret… I sometimes envy you, that you have so much contact with your grandchildren. And I sometimes envy them, that they have such a wise and wonderful grandmother.

    • I always wanted to be the Fun Grandma, the one who baked cookies and taught them how to play in the dirt and climb trees…but then sent them home at the end of the weekend. The Not-Fun part is having to be the Disciplinarian too… But Life Happens.
      …and the answer is 42…somehow… 😉

    • I wish I could say that it’ll get easier with practice, but for most of us, it doesn’t. Battered and bruised, we just keep running into the same obstacle over and over without even considering changing direction…Then it seems like an epiphany when the light finally dawns…
      Best of luck with your blog (and the rest!)…and welcome aboard!

  11. I think this is one of your best posts EVER Marie
    We’ve all come a long way from 3 -4 years ago haven’t we? We’ve shifted, learnt, moved along, stopped every now and then. But you are right, to stop look and then look back. Some of my literal favourite views on walks are from stopping and looking back over where I’ve walked. So it will certainly be interesting to see where life takes you next. I just need to apply it to my life !

  12. You are so right, Marie, about the importance—the *primacy* of POV. You are so right, as well, to choose the focus when and as you have done. What beauty you have given your little loves, what comfort and education and marvels and delights. And in sharing this journey with us, you have shared those gifts with us as well. Thank you. Sheer loveliness, this.

  13. You know I could stare at these images all day today. I wish that is what I could out my window right now.
    I think you have done a brilliant job with your life changes, and I think what you are doing for that little is so special, she will always be so grateful to you.

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