Hawk on a Pole

One Eye Open

On a beautiful day, as I scout the land…

I keep one eye open, my lens in my hand.

I look down, I look up, and then what do I see?

A beautiful creature…

Who is prospecting ME!

My backyard wanderings were pretty successful today. I was thrilled to capture this Hawk who was checking things out. When I saw the Word of the Day Challenge: Prospect, I knew it was the perfect prospect indeed. 😉

I hope you enjoy it!

—Janet

Wheatgrass

In the Jungle

If I were a flying insect…

…this might be my view as I make my way through the wheat grass.

Something is Stirring

I thought I would use this particular Garden Art piece to do a little journaling and (publicly) admit something. I’ve been wanting to share this for awhile now, but I didn’t want it to be another one of “those things” that I bring up and start… and then never finish.

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Blueberry Blossoms

Blossoms of Light

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

Alfred Austin

Back to a black and white with some more Garden Art. I thought these blueberry blossoms deserved a little illumination. They reminded me of little church bells, shining in their glory.

Bee & Broccoli

Garden Party

I visited our backyard this morning to see how the garden is growing. I may get my Garden Art series going again. My son has gone “vegetable crazy,” so we have lots of fun and interesting (and edible!) plants out there.

This is the broccoli aisle… and the bees just love this area!

I thought this would be a good submission for Brashley Photography’s Photo for the Week – 55 – Insects.

The flower doesn’t dream of the bee, it blossoms and the bee comes.

Mark Nepo

Have a Bee-utiful day!

Palm Tree Art

Word to the Wise

Have you ever noticed that many of the questions we ask start with the letter “W?”

Who, What, Where, When or Why (to name a few).

But before I go further with that, I have to mention the “W” words that continually inspire me… Water & Wind. We had some crazy rain yesterday, and an incredible wind storm last night (and today—at this very moment), so inspiration was dropped on my door step, literally.

That’s where my featured image comes in. Some peaceful palm trees blended with a rowdy radial blur. It’s kind of “West Coast Winter meets East Coast Tropical Storm.”


Words & Writing are also some favorites. Need I say more?


So… back to my introduction. Questions are important. Don’t believe everything you hear or read. Think critically! Ask questions! Check the facts! Do your own research! These words of wisdom have been drilled into my head at school.

And speaking of Wisdom; we gain this lovely lady by asking the right questions. I adore her… and I promise to love, honor and cherish her, for as long as we both shall live.

Being curious and asking questions is about wisdom… but it’s also about Wonder. And after careful review, I think that Wonder wins the prize.

Wonder is being in a constant state of awe—no matter how mundane your circumstances might be.

Wonder is magical.

Wonder is childlike.

I think that Wonder might also be about having the courage to say “I don’t know… but I’m not afraid to ask.” I don’t know, just a thought.

Wonder is the difference between an empty (taken for granted) existence, and a full, inquisitive life.

A part of me wants to go on and on about Wonder, but that’s just the Wonder in me (I wonder if I’ve done wonder justice?).

That being said, thank you for reading! I hope you found enjoyment here.

Never lose your sense of wonder.

Anonymous

Valentine's Moon

Valentine Moon

Moving on with The Alphabet Game, it’s ironic that I caught up with the letter “V” just in time (well, almost) for the Big One…

Valentine’s Day.

I’ll start with a confession. I haven’t liked Valentine’s Day for many moons (no pun intended ha-ha). It’s funny. I’m an over-the-top optimist, and SO happy-go-lucky that I’m sure it wears on people—but… when I hear that old “V” word—I’m overpowered by the urge to pucker up (my nose) and cringe.

Here’s the thing though. Valentine’s Day may be about love, but love isn’t JUST about romance. I’ve managed to list a few of the things that I love (from A to U), and so far I’ve barely scratched the surface! I guess what I’m trying to say is that I really DO love LOVE.

Maybe the bigger point to be made is that no matter how I feel about Valentine’s Day, or how it compares to how you feel about it, something we can celebrate here is the fact that we can VOICE our thoughts freely (whether they are good, bad, or indifferent), and we can do it with love.

That being said… I thought I’d show some love to Valentine’s Day by making it the centerpiece of my image. The backdrop is from my front yard… it’s the Snow Moon that I was lucky enough to capture last night. I have to include a disclaimer though—the real deal was much more majestic!

That’s about all for today. Thank you for reading!

I hope you enjoyed “V,” and I’ll see you soon for the letter “W.”

Spoiler Alert: It’s a biggie!

—Janet

To speak kindly does not hurt the tongue.

Proverb
The Village - Artwork

Trust with a capital “T”

The Story

An American business man was vacationing in a small coastal fishing village. One morning he stood on the pier and watched as a small boat docked. Inside the boat was one fisherman with several large yellowfin tuna. He complimented the man on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

“Only a little while,” the fisherman said.

“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”  The business man asked.

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Abstract-Hearts Intertwined

Hearts Intertwined

Forever & Ever Amen

I’m interrupting the Alphabet Game for a little abstract fun. A big thank you to Brashley Photography for the challenge, and for the extremely useful instructions on “How to Twirl in Photoshop.”

This is my submission for Photo of the Week-53-Abstract, and how fun it was to make!! These are a few of my favorite fuchsias, incognito, with a little country twang to help them twirl in rhythm.

Peace & Love… Keep on twirling on. 😉

Rain Dance

You are a melody,
A soft pitter patter,
A gentle good night,
Causing dark thoughts to scatter.
You are a symphony,
A marching band’s cry,
Snare drums & symbols,
A parade marching by!
A flash upon high,
Bass drums echoing low,
Earth praises your gift,
Rivers once again flow.
From foggy panes,
I watch you perform,
Our spirits connect,
You are my perfect storm.

—Endless Rivers—

The “R” word was such a breeze. I LOVE Rain. With a passion!

When I was young, I had a lot of stuffed animals. I’d bring them to bed with me at night. If I had trouble sleeping I’d pretend there was a storm outside, and that I needed to protect them. I would call roll to make sure no one was missing, and then I’d tell them not to worry—they’d be safe with me under the covers. That little game made me feel so cozy inside.

Believe it or not, I think about that game whenever it rains at night and I feel that warmth all over again. The child inside never dies!

Anyway, thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed “R,” and I’ll see you soon for “S.”

I made an executive decision this morning. Rather than fretting over my featured images I’ll be recycling old forgotten ones. This “Bird in the Rain” is from 2017. I hope it makes you feel cozy inside!

Peace & Love!
—Janet

Colorful Leaves

In the Quiet

In the Quiet,
I’m unheard, I’m unseen,
I can run, I can twirl,
If I want… I can scream.
Just me and my thoughts,
Far away from the crowd,
Dancing in color,
And singing out loud.

I wanted to whiz past “Q” tonight. I LOVE Quiet. I don’t think quiet is all about lack of noise either. It’s also about peace & tranquility—like quieting your mind. Quiet, for me, is also about solitude. It’s about delighting in your alone time, and enjoying your own company. If you can’t entertain yourself how can you possibly entertain others?!

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just old age. 😉 There was a time when the quiet made me uneasy. I couldn’t relax unless I was in the middle of the action. Things have certainly changed!

Anyway, that’s about all for now. Thank you for reading! I’ll see you around soon for the letter “R.” Only nine letters left in the row…

Now back to the quiet I go.

Art: Perspectives

Perspectives on Possibilities

I’ve had some cool insights and exciting ideas while thinking about the Alphabet Game, and I must say that the letter “P” has been one of the most enlightening thus far.

BUT… I have to back up and talk about the “M” word first… Memories. I realize now that some things really ARE worth forgetting—mainly things that I learned (or absorbed into my unconscious) when I was younger.

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People on the Beach

Nurtured by Nature

I have to be honest here. This Alphabet Game has had me stumped for days. Every time I sat down to address the letter “N” I’d get frustrated. All of the words I came across were so… wellNot Nice.

Narrow-minded Nagging with Neglect up the wazoo,
Naysayers Nitpicking and Nasty Name-calling too.

It’s so weird that “N” has so many Negative connotations! No, No, No… that is NOT good.

I starting rummaging through my summer photographs. Seeing people having fun at the beach made me think. There is mysterious magic in Nature. The ocean, the lake, the mountains… all of these places have something in common. They soothe us.

Nature makes us forget all of our troubles, even if only for an hour… and brings us back to life—Nature resuscitates us. We look up at the stars and realize that our problems, which seem gigantic, are pretty insignificant compared to this beautiful infinite universe.

So… in tackling the “N” word, I’ve come to realize how much I love Nature, and the way it Nurtures my soul.

-Janet

Peace & Love!

M is for…

One of my best friends from high school remembers everything. Whenever we talk, she reminisces about our old shenanigans as if they happened yesterday. Things that we did decades ago; things I’ve long since forgotten.

Last year, I (briefly) dated a man who reminded me of her. Our conversations were like time travel; we’d always end up in the 70’s or 80’s! Sometimes I wondered why the two of them weren’t dating. They both had this weird connection to the past—as if that past still existed.

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Love and Light

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

Genesis 1:3

It’s been too long! I think this is the craziest, busiest semester I’ve ever had. It’s all good though because I love (most of) my classes and there are only 3 weeks left before it’s over. YAY!

I wanted to pop in and share my latest portrait and add an update to the alphabet game… for the letter “L” —

Love & Light

I actually wanted to share some words about my love of lightning (I LOVE lightning), but the plan changed this afternoon since I didn’t prepare. But… I’ve been reading some books on Quantum physics and how it relates to God, Genesis, and the Big Bang Theory, and I think Love & Light are great words for the letter L, and a good way to sum it all up. 🙂

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Knowledge is Personal

Knowledge rests not upon truth alone, but upon error also.

Carl Jung

—A personal journey through the “K” word.

I think the old bumper car is kicking into overdrive. My journey through education is making more and more sense, as the fragments of information—that I’ve learned in various classes—are beginning to connect. The ‘bigger picture’ is coming into focus, and I could not be more excited!

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The Jubilant Journey

This Alphabet Game is great because it prompts me to explore words. Words link to other words and—as I follow the trail—ideas literally spell themselves out. I thought it would be fun to share my journey through the letter “J” today.

While exploring Joy—the first “J” word that came to mind—I found that one of its synonyms is rejoicing. Rejoicing is defined as: Great joy; jubilation.

There’s a word you don’t see every day—Jubilation: a feeling of great happiness and triumph. Aha! That really caught my eye. I love the word triumph. Triumph: a complete victory or success achieved especially after great difficulties, making the result particularly satisfying.

Maybe I’m filled with so much happiness and joy because of jubilation; I’m forever celebrating the victory that I’m living in. After great difficulties, the result is particularly satisfying—to say the least.

But… it’s not just the joy of past victories; it’s also the hope of those to come. New trials bring opportunities to experience new triumphs, and failures pave the way to success. It all circles back to our state of mind; our thinking—and we have the power to choose how we will think.

What a jubilant journey indeed!


Our life is what our thoughts make it.

Marcus Aurelius

The featured photo is being recycled from an old series. Homework is starting to trickle in, and it takes precedence over the creation of new images. That’s okay… I think this one works perfect! Joy is there, it’s just chilling in the shade until I’m finished with my work.

Thank you for reading. I hope you’re having a joyous weekend, full of jubilation!


Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. —Isaiah 43:18-19

Innocence

I wanted to try out another portrait, and I think this one is a great accompaniment to Innocence.

I didn’t have anything in mind when I started it, but the geometric light variations and the “children crossing” sign seemed like an interesting way to express a youngster who is innocent, but nearing adolescence (when things start to go topsy-turvy).

I’m loving portrait exploration, and am pretty confident that this is one of the avenues I want to go down after graduation. Maybe for hobby, but maybe even beyond that… time will tell!

Anyway, I don’t have much else to say; I think I’m all talked out. What I can say is that the innocence of a child is refreshing, and often humorous.


Me: So, your mom called and told me that the truck broke down this morning and you were late to school.

Grandson: Yeah. Well… do you want to hear the REAL story?


Ha! I think he was 5 at the time and I’ll never forget that conversation! What a riot. So, that’s my word for today. Innocence. I love innocence.

Have a fantastic week everyone! Keep smiling!

My 3 Keys to Happiness

Happiness. What a great word.

I perused the web to see what people had to say about the “Keys to Happiness.” It was an interesting experiment, because everyone had different opinions. People have their own ideas about what makes them happy, or what happiness even means.

That being said, I decided it would be fun to use my “H” words to express my keys to happiness (in less than 500 words). The disclaimer here is that these are ‘my own’ ideas, and I’m limiting it to words that begin with the letter “H.”


1. Honesty

Honesty is huge. In recovery, for example, you need to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself. To take that one step further, you need to admit to God, yourself, and another human being, the exact nature of your wrongs. It’s not always easy, but it opens the door to honest self-reflection.

Personally, these steps were life changing. They opened my eyes to the fact that not only am I incredibly flawed, but that—and here is an honest key to my own happiness—other people’s flaws are not my business. For far too long I wanted to fix the people around me. Not because I was a selfless individual, but because I believed that “their flaws” were what stood between me and my own happiness.

Be honest with others and—by all means—with yourself.

 “Every lie is two lies, the lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it.”

Robert Brault

2. Humor

When I’m feeling really cruddy, one of the first things I notice is that my sense of humor is missing. I’m not really sure where it goes… but it hides out. I have to go digging through the muck to find it, yank it by its leash, and bring it back into the open.

I’ll never forget a poem I read, by Frank Solanki, called Repetition. My immediate thought was “Oh my God, that’s me!” In the blogging world, sometimes I worry that my posts are repetitious.

I’m saying the same things… over and over, and changing up the way in which I say them. It’s easy to get caught in that vortex of worry. Frank’s poem made me forget my worries, and just laugh. It reminded me not to take everything so seriously.

Say what you want, and do what feels right. If you’re not tearing someone else down, or being grossly negative, it’s all good. Just remember to laugh.

“What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.”

Yiddish Proverb

3. Hugs

They say that hugs have many health benefits; they can reduce stress, improve immunity, and lower your risk of heart disease, to name a few.

I haven’t done my own research, but I know for a fact that hugs boost my happiness. I’m a HUGE hugger. Being somewhat introverted, sometimes words fail me… but I’ve never hesitated to reach out and offer a hug.

“Hugging is a silent way of saying you matter to me.”

Anonymous

So, there you have it. My three “H” keys to happiness: Honesty, Humor & Hugs.

Thanks for reading! I hope you found some enjoyment here, and that you’ve already discovered your own keys to happiness.

See you around soon for the letter “I.”

Peace & love!
—Janet

Free Spirit

Wildflower at heart,

Uncultivated and pure,

Longing for someone near.

Free spirit,

Soul dancing in the wind—

To songs of love,

Once whispered in her ear.


I’m taking a short break from the Alphabet… I guess I’m feeling a little burnout. It was refreshing to do something different. I am not a creature of habit, that’s for sure.

Anyway, I had fun working on some art… another fuchsia transformation. It’s a little more dramatic now—and a lot less pink—and it was the inspiration for my poetry. I hope you enjoyed it! 🙂

Until next time,
Peace & love!

Nothing But Grace

Before I say anything about the “G” word, I want to share where my thoughts were headed last night. It occurred to me that I need to keep these alphabet posts simple.

The idea was to use the letters as a prompt, to do some quick, fun, and easy gratitude exercises. The next thing you know, I’m writing these wordy posts about contentment and dreams. Not that that’s a bad thing, I just know it’ll be hard to stay on that path once the holiday is over.

Anyway, I jot down words that come to mind when I think about particular letters. Some of the letters are still blank, but “G” has been seeing some serious action.

  • Gratitude was a no-brainer, but it seems redundant to say “I’m grateful for gratitude.”
  • Gummy Bears and Graffiti Art popped into my head; I can enjoy both of these for hours!
  • Growth made its way to the list this afternoon and, of course
  • God has been in my thoughts throughout the entire process.

I wasn’t sure what to do with all of these options, so I did what I normally do when I’m not sure what to do. I stopped thinking about it. And it came to me. With a house full of family, too much talking going on, a whirlwind of chaos (two great nieces with their toys), and a television roaring in the background—there it was; staring me in the face.

Grace.

Can I even begin to talk about grace, and still keep my post short and sweet? Well, I can try. I found a few words by John Stott, and they are perfect words…

Grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues.

The words took me back to my post about contentment, and my zig zagging highway. Remember that soft cushion my bumper car taps when I get too far off track; the one that sends my vehicle back into the safety zone?

That is grace. Amazing, huh?

I hope you enjoyed the letter G!

God’s grace sustains us… so pass it on.


We live in a world of earning, deserving, and merit, and these result in judgment. That is why everyone wants and needs grace. Judgment kills. Only grace makes alive.

Justin Holcombe, from What is Grace?

Eucalyptus & Friends

I’m continuing with the Alphabet Game, and things are speeding up. I knew I’d start to question the whole idea, but I didn’t think it would happen this fast! I’m not ready to jump ship yet, so I’m combining some of the letters instead.


“E” was a tough one, but then I suddenly remembered how much I love the scent of Eucalyptus oil. For one thing, I’ve come to associate the smell with a relaxing spa day (which is rare but has happened in the past).

I think it’s more than that though. It just smells so fresh and clean. I’ve also just learned that the monarch butterflies roost in Eucalyptus trees, and the Butterfly Preserve that I’ll visit in December is filled with them.


“F” was easy. Family and Friends. No elaborating here because it’s pretty self-explanatory: I love them all dearly!


So… I thought I’d try another portrait for this one. My very dear friend is featured here, hiding in the shadows near the Eucalyptus sprigs. I LOVE the idea, but I’m not real happy with the outcome.

What I want to do in these portraits is hide areas of the face, so that the subjects identity is somewhat mysterious. I think I’ve done that pretty well here… almost too well. If I didn’t tell you she was there, you might not even see her! I don’t know, I’ll keep experimenting. At least I tried. 🙂

Have a beautiful weekend! I’ll see you all soon for the letter “G!”

Dreamers of Dreams

D is for Dreams

Everyone knows what dreams are, but I wanted to find a more personal way to describe them. Not the dreams we have when we’re asleep; the dreams we dream when we’re awake. I poked around google and found exactly what I was searching for:

A synonym for dream is HOPE.

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Contentment

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”

Guillaume Apollinaire

I’m on the letter “C” today and this quote is perfect. I’m starting with a word that I’m not necessarily a fan of, but I won’t make a habit of that.

Contradiction: a combination of statements, ideas, or features of a situation that are opposed to one another.

Sometimes a professor will say something that totally contradicts what another professor said. That’s confusing, and sometimes annoying, but that’s not why I brought it up.

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Blog and Butterfly

Not to be confused with Heart’s song of the 70’s, Dog and Butterfly.

Continuing The Alphabet Game, my ongoing series about the things that I love—from A to Z—today I’m on the Bold & the Beautiful letter B:

Blogging and Butterflies

I’ll skip the details about blogging (for now); you all know how awesome it is to blog. As for butterflies, they’re a bit like the ocean, lightning, sunsets, rainbows, and other wonders of nature—they’re beautiful in photographs, but seeing them with your own eyes is simply magical.

I mentioned before that it was time I started planning some things. Well, I checked into where these beauties can be found, and The Coronado Butterfly Preserve is a two hour drive up the coast.

According to their site, the best time to visit is between November and February—with peak viewing in December & January—just in time for my winter break. So… it looks like I’ve got some plans to make!

Of course, this all circles back to my love of blogging; I’ll have an interesting story to tell, and (hopefully) some amazing butterfly images to share. I’ll keep you all posted on this one.

Until later, Peace & Love!

The Alphabet Game

I thought it would be fun to do a new series while I’m on my “time out.”

I realize that sounds a bit paradoxical, but I’ve had a long weekend—with plenty of time to ponder the idea. After posting the little things, I was amazed at how it affected me. Taking the time to think about the things you love (or are grateful for) really does change how you feel.

That being said, I’m going to attempt an ongoing series about the things that I love… moving slowly (but swiftly) from A to Z, and I’m calling it The Alphabet Game. Feel free to join in anytime and add your own. Here goes the first letter:

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The Excursion

This morning I drove into Pasadena. It wasn’t a major excursion, but it was in the opposite direction of where I normally travel and everything was unfamiliar. I wish I had taken my camera. It’s the perfect place for street photography, but it was just TOO hot! I wanted to get in—and get out.

I went there to pick up the kit for my drawing class. I’m already enjoying the course. It’s not so much that I’ve learned anything yet (it’s only been two days), or that I even see the possibility of getting really good at it. It’s the fact that I’m putting aside my fear, putting the pencil to the pad, and making an effort.

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Salsa Dancing

The newest addition to my Garden Art series:

I know, I know…

It doesn’t look like it came from the garden.

Believe it or not, this image was created with cherry tomatoes. Although they’re quite tasty, the photograph was a big bore. After getting a little crazy… our ripe tomatoes on the vine have been transformed… into a brightly colored dress, flowing and spinning as the salsa dancers shake and move across the floor.

Can you see it?

Now I just wish I had added some jalapenos.

Gone Fishing

I was going to say farewell, bon voyage, hasta la vista—but I know myself better than that. It’s likely I’ll post a bit over the next week or two, while I’m getting acclimated. I need to wean myself off slowly, to avoid that weird separation anxiety. I don’t know. That sounds a little neurotic, but it’s how I’m wired. C’est la vie.

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the little things

I love…

  • morning coffee
  • to tinker; a little bit of this and a little bit of that
  • thunder and lightning, especially when I’m enjoying coffee and tinkering
  • the sound of rain on a tin roof
  • rainbows and butterflies
  • the way my body feels after doing something strenuous (rare, but happens)
  • swimming in cool waters
  • when the sky explodes into colors (missing Colorado)
  • road trips—I’ll get out there again, eventually
  • walking on sand
  • the ocean
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Karma

Whatever goes up, will surely come down;

Like a boomerang, it just all goes around.

You get what you give, or reap what you sow;

If hate’s what you plant, then hate’s what will grow.

If you want to see change; if love’s what you thirst,

Be bold with your kindness…

Dare to go first.

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On the Edge

I think the definition of artist is a bit enigmatic. I’ve never called myself an artist. I’ve said things like “this is some art I created,” or “I love to create art,” but that’s as far as it goes. I think the first explanation that pops into my head is the fact that I don’t use pencils, pens, or even brushes (although that may change after the new semester).

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