everyday thoughts on all things. you know... why is the grass green, the sky blue? why don't people use their turn signals? did i really mean to say what i just said? what are dust bunnies? fun things... little things... everyday things... simple ponderings...
isn't it fascinating that 2010 has rolled to an end already? that a whole other year is beginning? i remember when years used to just drag on and on... it seemed like time took forever to pass... i had all the time in the world to get things done or do whatever i wanted to do... now though - tick tock, tick tock... i must hurry up or it's going to just whip by me before i know it.
how does that happen and why as we get older? shouldn't it be the other way around? slow down as we age? doesn't quite make sense to me but it's only one of many things.
what does 2011 have in store for you? many blessings i hope and pray...
"so they hurried off and found mary and joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. when they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. but mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising god for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told." luke 2:16-20
don't you just love it when children tell stories? the perspective they have? the words they use? the innocence? they just say it like it is.... here's one version of the christmas story. it is precious beyond words...
this little story was forwarded to me and i thought it was worth passing along...
too many times we get caught up in the hustle and bustle at this time of the year... we worry about the exchange of gifts - what to get for whom, what we're going to get from whom.... do we stop for a moment to breathe, to reflect, to realize the true meaning - it is the birth of baby jesus - and to give pause that really it shouldn't be just at this particular time of year we should be doing these things but throughout the whole year? we should be nice to each other, give gifts, pray for peace, share blessings, bestow generosity, be thankful... if only...
this will make you ponder...
An excerpt from
The Simple Blessing of Christmas
by Mark Gilroy
Norman Vincent Peale, noted minister and author from the previous century, tells the story of a young girl from Sweden spending Christmas in big, bustling New York City. She was living with an American family and helping them around the house, and she didn't have much money. So she knew she couldn't get them a very nice Christmas present - besides, they already had so much, with new gifts arriving every day.
With just a little money in her pocket, she went out and bought an outfit for a small baby, and then she set out on a journey to find the poorest part of town and the poorest baby she could find. At first, she received only strange looks from passersby when she asked them for help. But then a kind stranger, a Salvation Army bell-ringer, guided her to a poor part of town and helped her deliver her gift. On Christmas morning, instead of giving them a wrapped present, she told the family she served what she had done in their name. Everyone was speechless, and everyone was blessed - the girl for giving, the wealthy family for seeing others with new eyes, and the poor family for receiving an unexpected gift.
All of us have opportunities both large and small to show kindness, especially at Christmastime. We can help strangers by delivering gifts to needy kids or serving homeless families at a soup kitchen. Or we can simply look for everyday ways to be kind, like allowing someone to go ahead of us in a lengthy line at the department store, or giving that bell-ringer a little change and a few encouraging words.
Maybe it's because we're in gift-giving mode anyway that giving to others becomes so important at Christmas. Or because we're more aware of our families and friends and communities. Or maybe it's because two thousand years ago, the earth received the most perfect, most loving gift of all, helping us to understand true kindness.
Whatever the reason, don't let Christmas pass you by without showing kindness to someone. Because it is truly more blessed to give than to receive.
the weather was beautiful today...warm and sunny. as i was making my home after a mid-day appointment, i was driving by the park and happened to glance over and saw geese just lining the grounds. hmmmm.... i thought to self. what a wonderous opportunity for photos. i wondered how close they might allow me to get to them. so in i drove and parked. at first, they seemed fine but i was keeping my distance being pretty passive. as i moved closer, they got a bit restless but still appeared okay so snap, snap.
then suddenly, they began this quick line up to march away. it was so funny to watch. they didn't go in a flock...they literally lined up in a single file, heads bobbing as they waddled away from me as fast as could be. but not before i'd captured some pretty decent shots.
and then i heard the honking - immediately overhead and the swooping began. in waves... wave upon wave for about 10 minutes they came. in big formations and smaller formations, a site to behold. do you know how difficult it is to capture moving geese even though they are rather large birds? but i think i did okay with them... i was fascinated with how they moved, the lines they kept, how they all seemed to have their place within their bird-community. it was fun to observe these geese patterns today on the ground and in flight if only for a very small moment in time.
today is a day of giving thanks... why just one day? why not every day? i think we should set aside moments of our every day to be grateful for what we have - as human beings, as americans... to be thankful and to say thank you to those that matter... for what we have, for those we know, for the things we have.
i was driving through the city the other day running errands and was at a stop light. i happened to look up at the sky because it was starting to cloud up a bit and this is what i saw...
it reminded me then and now today how grateful and relieved i am, that i can worship freely in this country and proclaim unabashedly of the love i have for jesus and his saving grace for me. for that, i am very thankful.
i am also thankful for...
a loving family
a multitude of friends
those who freely give of themselves to protect our country
god's provision for me
god being far better to me than he has to be
holy scripture - that i can openly read every day
the list could go on and on... i need to remind myself to be filled with gratitude always... "...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is god's will for you in christ jesus." 1 thess 5:18 it will help to set my day - and yours too if you so choose to view it that way. that would be my prayer for you this thanksgiving day...
here is a small piece of creation specially designed for you this day... flowers are one more thing i am thankful for...
we get a variety of birds around the area... i was visiting a friend and yay... with rather warm temps out i was able to sit on the deck enjoying the mountain scene. the bird feeders were full so there was no shortage of the wee little - and larger - ones flying quickly in and out. i was trying to sit quietly, snapping shots with my camera hoping for good pictures.
mostly though i was marveling at how quickly they were able to grab and go. isn't that just like us humans? we grab and go with everything we do these days, don't we? barely stopping to enjoy anything... or pause to breathe... to take it in... to simply embrace what life has to offer us, be it good, bad or otherwise. we just grab. and then we grouse, because we haven't paused long enough... taken the moment we should have taken. once these birds did their grabbing, they flew off to a nearby tree to sit for a minute and chomp on the seeds they'd gotten. and to trill a little message to friends letting them know where the good stuff was at so they, too, could come and feast - take part in the eating.
i was blessed to be so near to god's itty-bitty creatures... see their markings, tiny faces glancing at me but too focused on the want of food to be afraid, the bold ones who dared to make direct eye contact... so cool.
relive some of the journey with me...
some of the top pics are of mountain black capped chick-a-dees. the one bird who has the very sad looking eyes - which i think is because i told him i only wanted to take pictures of "pretty birds" - shame on me... is a house finch, i think. it's not his fault he's on the dull side and actually "he" might be a "she." and i'm not sure what kind the "groucho marx" look alike is...perhaps someone can help with him. the ones towards the bottom are morning doves. they weren't in any hurry at all... weren't going anywhere as they just sat in the food for quite some time. you can tell because in the black and white doesn't it appear the little bird is having a bit of a chat with the doves? as if to say, "ummm, hey fellas...don't ya think you've had enough already? now it's my turn?" i think that's just too funny. i had quite the experience....
i spotted signs of spring today... yes, even though we're in the midst of fall. i had to laugh. for i thought these little bugs were only out mostly in the spring time but i've been wrong before. and then i wondered...maybe they aren't the bugs i think they are after all... you see they're green, not red... huh?
green lady bugs? i always thought that lady bugs were red. right? but these are green. they look just like red lady bugs but perhaps they're a different sort of beadle. hmmmm.... i suppose i could've googled it to see because that's what people do these days with all that's out there on the information highway. but i decided not to... to let it stand...believing in my mind that green can be red.
see what you might believe...
aren't they just the cutest little bugs? whether actual lady bugs or not, watching them navigate the flower petals together was a fun site to behold.
this time of year it's difficult to miss the changing colors of the leaves on the trees.... the reds, yellows, oranges, bronzes all melding together. the sunlight bouncing just so causing your mouth to involuntarily make the sounds of "ooh" and "aah" as you drive around.
fall... autumn... whatever you choose to call it, is one of my favorite seasons second to spring time. the cool crisp of the air, the hurried scurry of squirrels as they gather food for winter, pulling sweaters and hoodies from the closet yet still being able to keep the tootsies free in flip flops for just a bit longer.... the soon-to-be smell of pumpkin pie, bobbing for apples and harvest festivals. all so hard to resist isn't it?
some of my favorite leaf studies so far this year...
found a stray flower i thought was the coolest looking thing....
although temperatures are dipping into the 40's at night, blossoms are continuing to hang on...yay! i don't know what this is but obviously took liberties with some editing.
then on my way home, i stopped at a local coffee shop - drive through because i was feeling lazy - to order a tea. while waiting, the barista got to chatting about apples of all things. he asked me if i knew who was the greatest apple planter and i guessed johnny appleseed...of course being correct. here's the rub, though. apparently, johnny didn't plant regular apple seeds as we know them. he planted mainly crab apples that were then used to make apple cider. isn't that an interesting tidbit? i love apple cider and this time of the year is perfect for it. the chill in the air and with apple picking and harvest, makes you think of bobbing for apples, too. i remember once seeing apples go through a huge press for apple cider...total yum! i may have to buy some.
the barista was a cutie, had this great gap-toothed smile and since i had my camera with me, asked if i could shoot his picture for my blog....said it would be great to put it up with this story. he grinned saying "sure."
hard to pass by simple beauty when it's staring at you.
gracie is continuing her late night adventures in the bathroom sink as well. i don't venture to understand her reasoning. i merely grab the camera as soon as i hear the thump, thump if i'm near enough knowing i might be presented with an opportunity... mostly, i find myself giggling at her twirling around in the bowl doing her little dance.
after i snapped awhile, i thought they were just all looking the same. it wasn't until i downloaded them and was scanning through that i saw this one and was amazed at my good fortune. i'm surprised i was able to capture it at all considering the angle... if i was positioned a little better, it would've come out a bit more even but as it is, it's a wonderful reflection...
brrrrr....it's been cold the past few days. and there's snow on the peak...a sure sign that winter is around the corner, sweater weather is finally here and the time for my tootsies to remain free in their flip flops is drawing to a close.
but imagine my surprise as i was out running a few errands today and came across this little gem....
...a dandelion! aren't they only around in the spring time? i couldn't believe seeing it stretching it's head toward the sun - and all by itself, too. no other dandelions around to keep it company...just the one.
i've always seen other pictures of them but had never taken my own before. it made my day to see the little puff ball patiently waiting for me to go snap, snap so i could add it to my portfolio. yay!
i thought since the weather has started to cool down, that gracie was over her little escapades in the bathroom sink. apparently not. the other night i heard a thump, thump - went to investigate and found her turning around in circles in the bowl... not sure if she was looking for something or expecting something to happen or what. grace stayed there for about 10 minutes before jumping out.
this morning i heard the same thump, thump. i grabbed my camera on the way to check it out. there was gracie, head down, rear end up in the sink. when i asked her what she was doing, she just looked at me like i should know better. uh-huh!
i started snapping away which didn't bother her any. grace did her little dance of turning around and around in the bowl again - looking up to the ceiling, looking left, looking right and then it appeared that she was going to jump out. during this whole time i, of course, was giggling....okay - it was more likely snorting.... i couldn't help myself. it's not like it was hot outside. it was downright chilly this morning. anyway before i knew it gracie had planted herself into a sit down position and was looking around again. and then, i managed to snap this...
she was singing a new song... i depressed the camera button, started to laugh... and then she jumped right out of that sink!
many people i know use an editing software called picasa... makes me think of chicken picasa which is a wonderful italian dish...yum! i must be hungry -
anyway, i finally downloaded it since it's free - and free is good... then i noticed a cute pair of rose hips that i couldn't avoid snapping.
although these days anything within sight is fair game, let me tell you. i took a picture of grass the other day because it had rained and i thought it was so pretty with the little droplets of water still on the blades. but i couldn't quite capture it the way i've seen others do it... boo! i've got a lot of practicing to do yet.
but i experimented with the hips and this is what came of it....
i've been experimenting with different styles of editing of pictures i've taken. these are of a couple of roses that had withered on some bushes out front. i didn't even know they were still there - i was only seeing the rose hips... and then one day i saw a flash of red and to my surprise there were these tiny little, not quite there roses still hanging on for dear life.
after i processed the photos, they looked pretty ragged. but once i started playing around, i thought maybe i could get them to looking like a painting or something... a bit creative - artistic, artsy-fartsy, you know? i figure it's my playground, or canvas, i can do whatever i want. i also want to share it - what do you think?
do you pay attention to what's going on around you? really? would you notice if the person you were talking to suddenly changed into someone else? we all like to think so, don't we? derren brown did a person swap experiment. when i watched it, i couldn't believe people's responses. take a look for yourself...
i was especially dumbfounded by the last example! this is something i hope never happens with me... that i am always aware of what is going on around me. pay attention to your surroundings at all times...
the wind was blowing up everything in sight that wasn't nailed down today... skirts, hair, dirt, leaves, pollen - whew... it was something else. and then i saw the most intriguing plant. as per usual, i've no idea what it's called. perhaps i should walk around with a plant/flower book like one does with birding. then when i see something, i can stop to look it up. however, that might take me all day to find it...who knows...an idea though, huh?
but i digress - what i saw was some sort of grass i suppose... kind of looked liked wheat maybe blowing in that strong wind? you can judge for yourself - give it your best guess, let me know what you think or you may know the name of it. it's not exactly a flower but a cool plant. diversity is a good thing. just as in life, diversity is a good thing; it improves us, makes us more tolerant and compassionate, too, in our individual existence.
still admiring fall flowers... can't help myself since winter will be upon us soon enough and we'll be finding ourselves wishing for greenery and blooms. i'm taking plenty of shots to hopefully savor through through dull, barren months when the leaves have left the trees, too, to remind us of the days to come.