Mindful

Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive. 

Thích Nhất Hạnh

After last night’s post, I decided to commit to black and whites for a while. I mentioned that I wasn’t sure why I haven’t done more—since I love them so much—but after working on the image that I’ve featured here, it all came back to me; they aren’t easy to do, and they can be pretty tricky.

Actually, I think that’s exactly what was needed right now; something to challenge me a little and push me to learn. Continue reading Mindful

Carpe Noctem

I realized this evening that I stay up much later than I used to. I wanted to work on this image tonight because I just love the trees. The next thing I knew it was after midnight again! If you ask me, I think all of the lines from the leafless branches seem to make their own art. I love how nature does that; flaunts its beauty without shame, even in the most vulnerable and unexpected places.

I was never quite sure if the trees were even alive when I took the photograph, because as far as my eyes could see, it looked like sticks… upon sticks… upon sticks! Still, it looked beautiful to me. I think it has to do with growing up in the city. When all you really know of nature is what’s in your own backyard—or in the neighborhood park—glimpses of natural landscapes, untouched by man, create a sense of awe and wonder that’s truly unforgettable. I love that.

Anyway, the later it got, the more I thought about how I’m becoming a night owl again. I’ve always loved the night. Of course, I used to love the wild night life. Now… it’s my quiet time… when I can think without interruption. That’s when I decided that I needed to add the finishing touch. Something personal. A little night owl… hanging out with the trees… just like me.

Seize the Night!

It often seems to me that the night is much more alive and richly colored than the day.

Vincent van Gogh

October Eves

Listen! The wind is rising,
and the air is wild with leaves,
we have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves. —Humbert Wolfe

After mentioning the other day how much I love browns and rust, I wanted to do something in earthy tones; something to celebrate October. I’m also celebrating the fact that we finally had rain today after that hot, HOT summer. And we actually had lightning & thunder as well. It was beautiful!

—Peace & Love to you all—
Janet

Happy Anniversary!

Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. Oscar Wilde

Would you believe that today marks exactly two years for me here on the blog? Another week and I’ll also reach two years and seven months sober. Praise God for that! Time flies when you’re busy making plans, that’s for sure.

Speaking of making plans, I had an epiphany recently. One of the students in my English class mentioned something about changing how society views a certain subject. I can’t remember what it was she was referring to, but that’s not really the point anyway—it’s what happened after. Grinning, our professor reminded the class that they were young, and that they had their whole lives ahead of them to change the world.

At first, I felt a little sad. There I sat, surrounded by teens and young adults—the oldest probably 26 years old—and I was… well… somewhere in my fifties. Somehow his words just struck me. It’s not often that I get discouraged, but the realization that I’m getting a really late start on a few things kicks in every now and then, and this was definitely one of those times.

A few days later, as the professor’s words drifted in and out of my head, I felt a little envious of those fortunate souls who “have their whole lives ahead of them.” That’s when I had the epiphany—or maybe it was that small, still voice that speaks to my heart—and I realized that no matter which way you look at it…

…I have my whole life ahead of me too!

We all do!
—Stay encouraged—

It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

Urban Oasis

Big Leaf Designs

This summer I went on an interesting hike with my son and daughter-in-law. My plan was to stroll through Ferndell Nature Trail which is basically flat, covered by shade trees, and brimming with plants from all over the world. I guess you could call it an urban oasis.

I shot this Elephant Ear there, and finally got around to working on it. I didn’t get as many photographs as I would have liked because my cohorts had other plans (unbeknownst to me), and my leisurely stroll turned into a 2 mile round trip hike up the hill to the Griffith Park Observatory and back.

Anyway, tomorrow I have a Biology exam. I’m learning about cells and photosynthesis (yawn), so plant leaves kind of fit into the mix today. After a full day of studying, I really needed a breather—so… I decided to add a little magic to the image and make the giant leaves look a little less real. What can I say, it’s Hollywood!

Peace and Love!

I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic. Andy Warhol

Goodbye Summer!

And all at once, summer collapsed into fall. Oscar Wilde

This may be a little premature—there are still leaves on the trees—but this year I’m so happy to see summer go that I really don’t care. Yahoo! It’s been a very, very hot summer. With no A/C in our house, and one that’s been out of commission in my car, some days I wonder if I’m going to melt away before I make it to school.

I LOVED summers when I was younger. I’m not sure what happened, but I can only assume that it must be an age thing.

Anyway, I was experimenting with another tree shot today and (although this isn’t what I had in mind) I thought it looked a little Halloween-ish—so it seemed like the perfect way to say goodbye summer, hello fall!

Have a beautiful week everyone—
Peace and Love!

Upside Down

Sometimes you have to let life turn you upside down so you can learn how to live right side up.

I’ve been having some weird feelings lately. I think I’d call it “lack of joy,” but at the same time I keep reminding myself to stay grateful. What I’m REALLY grateful for is the fact that I have the wherewithal to remind myself of that!

What I’ve been catching myself doing a lot lately is living everywhere but in the present, and I realized today that this is the reason my joy has slipped away. Believe it or not, I still have eleven weeks left in this semester and I’ve spent hours—if not days—trying to plan my schedule for spring. I even met with someone at the university I’ll be transferring to next year so that I could start planning ahead for those classes too!

I know it’s smart to have goals and plan ahead, that’s not the issue. For me, the problem occurs when—in making those plans—I lose sight of where I am right now. Similar to how some people go on “speed dates,” I find myself wanting to “speed learn.” Instead of looking forward to each new day and being grateful for what I GET to do, I start approaching each day as something I need to GET THROUGH. It’s like saying “I want to be there, not here.

Where’s the joy in that?!

So… I took some time to relax and let my brain recalibrate, and I went back to an old shot of our ginkgo tree. I wanted to create something that represented what’s been going on inside of me lately. I guess it’s sort of quiet and serene, with spurts of energy, moments of frustration and anxiety, and a touch of overthinking.

Oh, and it’s upside down.

Believe it or not that started as a mistake when I accidentally hit the rotate button. Not only did I think it look cooler from this new perspective, it’s what got me to thinking about my inclination to live in the future.

It was also a great reminder that sometimes mistakes aren’t actually mistakes; they’re just stepping stones to better places.

Life is good and God is great!
—Stay encouraged—

A Handful of Dew

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if that drop were not there, I think the ocean would be less by that missing drop. Mother Teresa

Greetings Everyone! It’s been a couple of months since I opened up any of my Adobe programs, so I thought I would give it a shot today and see if the right side of my brain still works. I took this photo of an orange and dew drop when I was in my photography class, so today I added the hand and used scale and some paint effects to make it look larger than life. I thought it was fun.

My second year of school starts in two weeks, and once that’s finished I’ll be just one class shy of earning my Associates Degree in Psychology, so this time next year I should be finishing up and planning for my graduation and University transfer.

I’ve been contemplating what I want to do with my blog these days. I seem to be at a place where the only thing I have to talk about are my day to day activities; not exactly exciting material, but today just happens to be my two year and five months “sober anniversary,” so that’s something I thought was worth mentioning. Time just keeps flying by!

Once I figure out a more concrete direction for the blog, I hope to be posting more. For now, I’ll just keep checking in to say hello now and then, and share any photos or art that I drum up on my days off.

Peace and Love!

Perfectly Imperfect

Even imperfection itself may have its ideal or perfect state. Thomas de Quincey

It’s the first day of “spring break” here in California, and I wanted to share a photograph I took last year, just before fall. I shot this while I was working on a project for my photography class, but I ended up changing my subject to water and I never turned this one in. The tree may look familiar to some of you; it’s the Ginkgo that sits in the backyard.  I wanted to do something in black and white today, and I’m crazy about all of the organic lines.
Tree

Everything is going really well these days! I celebrated 2 years sober on March 7th – and a full load of classes this semester is keeping me busy (and out of trouble). I’ve been exploring different majors, and have been told that this is actually par for the course; most students change their majors up to 4 times before they finally find what fits.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Easter! I’ve missed being here, I’ve missed you all, and I look forward to sharing more of my writing, photography and art again – on a regular basis.

When Evening Comes

Evenings are the beautifully sweet spot between the harsh light of the day and the dead darkness of night.

I thought I was back in action over a month ago, yet time has whizzed by and here I am- still working on homework on a nightly basis. The good news is that the fall semester is over in two more weeks!

In all honesty, the digital photography class is- thus far- a bit of a struggle for me. Something happens when I move from shooting randomly at whatever catches my eye, to going out and doing intentional shots for the class assignments! Nevertheless, I have learned a few things and I’ll never give up.

The featured image is an evening shot- no flash- that we had to do for one of our modules. I thought the Christmas lights were perfect for the fast approaching holiday. It was the first time ever that I used a tripod and I think me and the old tripod are going to become pretty good friends in the future. 🙂

Anyway, I just wanted to check in, say hello, and see how everyone is doing. It’s actually morning here so I’m going to spend a little time checking up on you all out there.

Have a beautiful day, evening or afternoon- Life is good and God is great!

Rise & Shine

I caught a bee in action this morning, in the crepe myrtle, so thought I would share! Hopefully you can spot him. 🙂

I looked up bee quotes, and really liked this one for today.

The honey is sweet but the bee has a sting. 

Various translations I found: If you want good things you have to pay the price; nothing ventured, nothing gained… or hardships are sometimes a blessing in disguise.

Happy Saturday!

A Good Start

Rise up and attack the day with enthusiasm!

It’s already 11:45 a.m. here in California, so this quote is a wee bit tardy… but it’s a good one nonetheless. And I had an extended coffee time, so it’s still morning in my eyes. 😉

I did some wandering around the backyard earlier and shot this bloom in our Crepe Myrtle. I was actually tracking a squirrel… but having camera in hand got my creative juices flowing and I decided to focus on the colorful flower instead.

I did a little Photoshop work, to mimic a painting (again). I guess I’m kind of stuck on doing exaggerated effects at the moment. It’s so fun!

I picked up another library book, called Composition: From Snapshots to Great Shots. Looking at it last night got me itching to get out and walk the streets again. I just might later this week!

Anyway, I thought I would share some Wednesday enthusiasm with you all.

Have a beautiful day!! (or evening for some of you!)

Blessings, Peace and Love!

Feeling Funky

I wanted to do something colorful tonight, so here you have it!

Writer’s block has been preventing me from writing much of anything about my study of the word TRUST. Every single time I’ve tried! So weird! Anyway… I’m surrendering on the production of that post. At least until the words come streaming in. And I trust that they will. In time.

I WILL share something beautiful that I found though! What I’ve been searching around for are the various meanings of the Hebrew and Greek words that are translated to the English word trust in the Bible- and I took this from one of my many finds.

Trust has to do with being surrounded and protected in His mercy. Trust is to distinguish that He is good, and to be wrapped and swaddled in the goodness of His everlasting arms. 

You can’t beat that. Who doesn’t love to be wrapped and swaddled in God’s everlasting arms?!? Anyway, things are going great! I’ve been going to more meetings, reading a lot, and really feeling at peace. I’ve got a couple of people keeping their eyes and ears open for part time job opportunities, and I’m taking everything one day at a time.

As it should be.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it. Ferris Bueller’s day off