Welcome To My Morning:)

One of the best things I did in our new home was to create a coffee station upstairs in the sitting area of our bedroom. Every morning, I wake up, turn on the coffee maker and throw open the curtains to a brand new day. There always seems to be some new delight, a rainbow, a shaft of light hitting the colorful trees just right in the fall, a mama deer and her fawn, and once in awhile… a gorgeous pair of bald eagles. It feels like a hug good morning, from the God of my heart. Such a lovely way to start the day. I don’t often stray far from that window until after my coffee but on this beautiful Saturday morning I could not resist. I threw on my sweatshirt and my boots and made my way down to the river’s edge, trying my best not to disturb the pair. It’s a real treat when I find them together. They didn’t stay long… but long enough for me to feel grateful and to count my many blessings. Our home is at the top of that list. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it is good to really feel that. Thankful.

Do you think much about the routines and rituals you build your life around? Are they good ones that edify and lift you up? Fill you with light? Or do they instead, fill your head with darkness and fear? Do you know peace and breathe deep when you are in your surroundings? If not… maybe it’s time for a change. Sometimes the scariest leap of faith, is the most rewarding one.

But remember this. Sometimes a break from your normal routine, is exactly what you need. Out there in the dark and cold; in those scary and sometimes lonely places outside of your comfort zone… that is where the magic can happen. Don’t ask me how I know. ;-)

Life On A Small Town River

It's difficult to tell you in words what living on a small town river does for one's soul.  I'll think about it this weekend and come back and tell you when I figure out how.  For now, perhaps a picture is worth a thousand words... though I'll probably change my mind tomorrow.  I do love words, after all.  I'm gonna leave this gallery up for the next week or so on the blog so I can keep adding to it.  Eventually, I think I will give it, it's own space here.  And I think to myself... what a wonderful world. :) 

Men of Honor... I Remember

Today I watched my son and two of his closest friends paddle off down the river and I thought of just how much I have to be thankful for.  This Memorial Day, I sat on my bench surrounded by flowers and blue sky and water and I took a little time to remember a few men who are very special to me.. men who sacrificed that very pleasure on more than one day like this to serve in our nation's military, so that my family and I can enjoy this beautiful peace and freedom.

Brian, Freddy, Dad, Bunny, Rob, Trevor, TJ, Grandpa, Darren, Paul... every one of you crossed my mind today. I'm thankful for all that you've done to ensure that we live in peace and safety.  I remember each of you, more often than you know.  I don't know anyone personally who has lost their life in service to our country.  But I know how I would feel if any one of these men had.

They are men of highest honor in my heart.

For Better or Worse

It's not easy to tell the difference between male and female Canadian geese.  But if I'd have to venture a guess... I'd say the female is the one in back. Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

They mate for life like swans do.... I think that's so cool.  If you listen carefully, the female will make a "hink" sound along with her honk and if you look closely, her neck is likely a touch more slender.  The male is usually about ten percent heavier than the female, but their size difference is negligible.  They have the same markings, and unlike other wild birds, the male does not have more colorful plumage than the female.  These two have seven little goslings and I call them the Seven Dwarfs.:)  I wonder where they are hiding...

I took this shot just a fraction of a second too soon and missed catching her tail and a bit of her right wing in the frame.  But it made me smile anyway.  He seems like he's resolutely flying faster and she's nagging him good about something.  But in truth, she was by his side nearly neck and neck all the way down the river and I just happened to catch them when he pulled out ahead.  Ah, the magic of time and perspective, hmm?  It's all in the way we see things and the timing in which we see them.  For better or worse.;-)

Exercising the Creative Muscle

We have so many tools available to us today in the photography world.  I'm really grateful for that because I imagine it's much like what having a jar full of brushes might be for a painter. People ask me all the time what digital painting is and I suppose if you asked ten different artists, you'd get nearly as many answers.  For me, it is a way to express myself visually, using the computer tools and camera skills I have acquired over time.  I select different digital tools to create an effect in the same way a painter selects a brush.  It starts with my camera and it gets all mixed up with my emotions, abilities, light sources and digital tools.  

I've been reading a lot about nutrition and wellness lately and one thing keeps coming up over and over again.  It doesn't take a lot to be well.  Not nearly as much as I thought it did, for a long time. Simple, clean foods, fresh air, sunshine, a quiet walk in the woods at a gentle pace, a massage, learning to actually feel my breath again and to hear my own inner wisdom, along with taking some time to slow down and recharge.  To simply sit and listen.  Just listen. 

By the same token I have given a lot of thought to how exercising the creative muscle doesn't need to take hours on end every day either.  It doesn't take agonizing, forcing ourselves to practice repeated and ridiculously bland ways of doing things because we think we're supposed to do it like that, because we've always done it like that.  That's the equivalent, in my own mind, of hours of endless running on a treadmill.  I am not a hamster!  

Pain stopped me from picking up the camera for months, and the fear that I might have to stop doing this entirely slowly took root in my spirit.  But somewhere along the line, I realized that I can certainly shoot one or two images worth keeping and I can spend just an hour at the computer and still create something lovely each day.  And I've also found that the same practices I am now using for body and mind, are also very good for my creative muscles. Breathing deep, relaxing muscles, appreciating life, slowing down.... how good it is, how important it is... to the health of my creativity.