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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Broken

 
Our world may be broken, but there is always hope.
Hope for a brighter tomorrow.
 
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
~ Romans 15:13 ~
 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Walk and Click Wednesday ~ April 24, 2013

Well, I'm late again.
I feel like the rabbit from Alice In Wonderland!
"I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date!"
I'm so glad linky parties are kept open for more than one day!
 

If you read my post yesterday, you know I visited the new Children's Library in town. If you haven't read it, I hope you'll take a few minutes and check it out. It's a pretty marvelous place!  Yesterday I showed you inside, today I'll take you for a walk around the building.
 
 

The side that faces the parking lot is single story and unassuming, and the full height and style of the building is only visible from the rear, where children can roam the grounds.
 

The grounds themselves are made up of features intended to represent various topographical areas in Arkansas. A drainage creek that meanders through the area has been repurposed to create “wetlands”.
 
 
The 6-acre site has walking paths and bridges so that families can come out here and enjoy themselves. It is a fun place that kids can run around and play and adults can enjoy a beautiful walk.
 
 
There are several benches overlooking the water. It's not exactly a quiet place to sit and reflect. The interstate is just behind the trees, but there is an abundance of birds and I enjoyed watching the water flow.
 
 
At the top of the hill is a greenhouse where children are taught how to grow and harvest vegetables. Along the rock ledge of the building are pots of tomato plants. I can just image the excitement of these children as they watch them bloom, bear fruit, and take home the tomatoes.
 
 

 
There's also a small amphitheater for outdoor learning.
 

A lot of planning and work went into this library and all the effort certainly paid off. It is an enjoyable place to spend a few hours.
 
laf Custom Designs
 
This will be the last Walk and Click Wednesday link-up. Lissa at LAF Custom Designs has decided to no longer host it. I will miss visiting different parts of the world with this group, but I understand that Lissa has others plans for her blog.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Guessing Game


Can you guess where I am?
No?
It's brand new, just opened last week.
Let me show you a few details.

 
There's a staircase.
Does that help?
Not really, it's a cool staircase with lots of details and textures,
but it could be any were, couldn't  it?
 
This won't help you solve the mystery,
but do you see the little girl with her mother way at the bottom.
She was such a cutie!
All she wanted to do was climb the stairs.
Up and down
Over and over
Her mother patiently held her hand.
 
Here's a few more things I saw.
 

 
There's a kitchen and cute little chairs.
Thinking day care?
Nope!
When the structure was built, the design team polled groups of children on what they wanted to learn.
 
“The No. 1 thing was learning how to feed themselves.”
 
That's pretty sad isn't it. So many small children are left at home alone and have to fend for themselves. That information led to the development of a teaching kitchen. The kitchen will offer cooking classes that will help children understand nutrition.
 
Here's another hint.
One of the ways you can get here is by school bus.
 

Thinking school?
Nope!
 
With this peek of the outside, do you see how this slightly resembles a barn? When architect Reese Rowland designed the structure he "drew on childhood memories of dusty sunlight filtering through the slats of his grandparents' barn, winding forest creeks and fortresses made of crates and ladders. These themes of exploration and inspiration informed the building's design."
 
You can wander into one of the rooms and play.
 
 
Community center?
Nope!
 
You can just sit a spell and rest.
There's a chair just your size.
 
 
Haven't figured it out yet?
I'll show you something else you can do there.
 
 
It's such a bright, cheerful place. Susan Gele, assistant director for public relations at Central Arkansas Library System says, “the colors inside are so vibrant and child-friendly that when you come in as an adult, it’s hard to be sad here. It’s hard to be distressed. It’s a hopeful, happy place.”
 And, it is!
I was smiling the whole time I was there.
There are frogs and turtles on the bookshelves and chairs.
There's a caterpillar bench and
rows and rows of books, just kids books.
There are toys, puzzles, games, and
computer terminals for the older ones.
Who wouldn't have fun here??
 
 
 
It's a library especially designed for children.
 

 
This is the most wonderful library I've been in!  Most of the children's sections in the other libraries around town are pretty boring. A few computer terminals, stuffed animals thrown around, and maybe a few pictures on the walls. Oh wait, one of our libraries does have some kites hanging from the ceiling. None are as spectacular as this.
 
I hope you enjoyed discovering this place as much as I did. It was fun to capture in pictures; from the small details to the overall picture. There's still more; outside walking trails, ponds, and a greenhouse. If things work out, I'm going to try and post some of those images tomorrow.
 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Third Thursday Challenge ~ April, 2013

 
Okay, I am aware that it is past the 3rd Thursday. Thank you, Brenda for keeping this link open for several days. As I mentioned in my last post, I've been spending time with family and our newest grandson.
 
 There aren't a lot of requirements for this challenge, only that we try something new.
I did that!!
I really did that!
I tried the horrifying, stomach-clenching task of
PEOPLE PHOTOGRAPHY!!
 
You may remember the small sculpture garden where I took some pictures several days ago. (You can read about it here) Anyway, while I was taking pictures a couple of city workers were adding fresh mulch to the flowers beds along the street. I got brave, whipped up my camera, and took this picture. Notice he's not looking my way, but, hey, that's fine. I captured a real moment in his day.
 
spring cleaning
 
 
That was easy enough, so I turned around and saw this lady. Once again, she's not looking, still fine with me! After all, this is pretty new to me!

headed up town
  
 
Now to the good part. This gentlemen (same one as above) began to talk to me and tell me some interesting spots around the area that I might want to photograph. He called himself "the tour guide." He has been working in this area for two years and knew lots of great information. We talked for a few minutes and then I did it.
I asked him!
Yes, that's what I said!
I asked him!!
I opened my mouth and out came the words...
May I  take your picture?
He was happy to pose for me. He even picked out the window he wanted to pose in front of! He was super excited that "Oxford American Magazine" will be housing it's business offices, a restaurant, and holding special events in this building. He wanted me to go peek in the windows and see how the construction was coming along and look at the original tin roof. 
 tour guide


That worked so well, I tried it again. I asked the lady in the hat if I could take her picture and she said, of course. Her name is Laverne Davis, she is the Master Gardener that keeps this little park beautiful.
 Master Gardener


That was all the courage I could find. I only asked two people.  I took a picture of these girls in line at a small restaurant. They look like they've been playing tennis and decided to grab some lunch. Not one of them is paying any attention to me.
 lunch with friends

 
After purchasing my lunch to go, I wandered back to the sculpture garden to eat. Several people must have also  thought it would be a good idea to get outside during lunch on this beautiful day. They were milling around and chatting or on their laptops and cell phones.
 meeting friends at the park


I captured a few of the locals going about their everyday business.
 crossing the street


Lastly, I captured a little bit of the transportation in downtown...a city bus and the bicycle. I didn't think anyone was watching until I got home and uploaded these to my computer. The bus driver is really staring at me! Glad I didn't see that when I was there!
catching a ride


Will I do this again?  I'm not sure!
Did it get any easier?  Absolutely not!
But, I did it and I'm rather proud of myself!
Truthfully, I'm surprised any of these turned out!
I was shaking so badly!
 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Blessed Beyond Measure!

 

This past week "Gramma's  Guys" went from four to five. Five precious grandsons!  Isaac was born on Wednesday, April 17. He weighted in at 8 lbs and 6 ozs. We've been a little busy around here welcoming this newest addition to our family. His cousins came to meet him and as you can tell, they were full of excitement and smiles. Big Brother, Aaron (in the brown) has been beyond excitement. So much so that he's just worn out. Although, there's not a smile on his face right now, I can assure you that he is very glad that his new brother is finally here!!  He's sad in this picture because his cousins are getting ready to leave for home. They all have such great fun together and he just wants them to stay longer!

This is the "new guy."  He's less than 24 hours old in these pictures. Before you say "your pictures are beautiful," I will say "I didn't take them." They where taken by a professional photographer at the hospital. How cool is that!!  My kids first photos were in  hospital shirts against a solid background and compared to these, pretty boring!  Not my kids, just the photos. I treasure their first photos, but wow, these are so much better!

I wish there were new, special words that I could use to describe my feelings of the past few days, but there aren't. These feelings aren't new, many of you know exactly what I'm feeling and it's just indescribable!

 
I feel blessed that we have five healthy grandsons.
I feel awe when I hold this new precious life.
I feel love, abundant love.
I feel responsibility to be an example for our grandsons.
I feel joy, overwhelming joy.
I feel grateful that Isaac is safely here.
My heart sings!!
 
 
For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD;
I sing for joy at the works of your hands.
How great are your works, O Lord
~ Psalm 92:4,5 ~

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Walk and Click Wednesday ~ April 17, 2013



We had a wonderful weekend with our grandsons. They've been sharing illnesses, the flu, stomach viruses, and strep throat, so we haven't all been together since Christmas. That is way too long!  For them, I'm glad this winter is over and I know they're mommies are, too!   We needed to celebrate four birthdays, Valentine's Day, and Easter.  Let's just say we had one big PARTY! 
 
Since I'm a little tired from all the celebrating, I've stayed pretty close to home this week.  I spent some time working in my shade gardens where my azaleas are beginning to bloom. They haven't bloomed well for a couple of years, although I fertilize them right on schedule. I think it's the results of two very hot, dry summers. I tried to keep them watered, but the heat was relentless.


When I walked each day I didn't wander further than "my woods" behind the house. They really don't belong to me, but I have staked my claim on them. My pathway is an old railroad bed. We've had trouble in the past with people driving their cars down the gravel bed and dumping. But, slowly the woods are taking over and after this winter's ice storm cars can no longer get through. That is certainly one good thing that came out of the storm.


The only thing I didn't enjoy was the massive amount of pollen in the air. I do mean MASSIVE! When the wind blows there are clouds of pollen swirling through the air. There are little yellow dots of pollen everywhere, even on my camera lens, so I have to keep a cleaning cloth in my pocket!
 

It's clinging to the fruit of the maple trees. Don't you just love their color? They look like pretty little blooms. The fruit is a "samara" which means the seeds grow "wings" to help in seed dispersal. They remind me of little helicopters when they float to the ground.
 
 
The dogwood leaves look gritty instead of soft. I wanted some pictures of the dogwood flowers, but they were all way above my head.
 
 
Thankfully, I don't have allergies.
I'm able to get out and enjoy spring although it feels like summer!
It has been in the mid 80's and very, very humid.
Actually, it's been miserable!!
 
Thanks for walking with me!
I hope I haven't made you sneeze!
 
laf Custom Designs

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Walk and Click Wednesday ~ April 10, 2013


 
Oh my, it was hot around here yesterday. Reaching 85 degrees was way too hot for me! On top of that it was humid, which will be causing storms later today. Hopefully no tornadoes!! I find it very fascinating that I don't notice the heat as much when I'm with my camera.
 
And, with my camera I was. I'm taking another class with Kat Eye Studio called "A Sense Of Place."  I don't go to faraway places, but I do want to learn how to better tell the stories of the places I visit. One part of our exercise was to go on a photo excursion. I decided I'd just combine that with Walk and Click Wednesday.
 
 
I had recently read about a small sculpture garden (only 100 x 150 feet) in an area of downtown Little Rock know as SoMA for Southside Main Street. The garden is a juxtaposition of nature and man made creations. Anita Davis, an investor, bought this whole block of South Main. One of her first projects was to turn an empty lot into the Bernice Sculpture Garden.  Master Gardener, Lavern Davis, tends the native plants and landscaping.
 
 
The sculpture "Comfort" may look soft, but those beautiful textured pillows are made out of concrete.
 
 
Some of the sculptures are permanent like the mosaic above. There are four of these mosaics scattered about the garden. Many sculptures are only there for a year. Mrs. Davis  hosts a sculpture competition to bring new sculptures into the garden.
 
 
She stresses the use of recycled or reclaimed wood and metal for the garden and the sculptures. The concrete slab, which is the foundation of a past fast food restaurant, is covered by a canopy. (shown on the left below) The structure catches rainfall and funnels it into a cistern. (shown on the right) The collected water is then used to water the plants. The cistern is faced with reclaimed wood from a slave building once located on a nearby plantation.
 
 
This pathway is colorful and eye catching, especially when the sun is shining on it. The mulch is made with recycled tumbled glass. There are no sharp edges. I had to put my hand down and test that out. It's true, no shape edges. It certainly will last much longer than wood mulch.
 


I even tried out the local cuisine. I ate a most delicious burger from The Root Cafe. They feature fresh seasonal ingredients from small farms in the area. The meat, bread, cheese, and vegetables are also locally grown and produced.


When I arrived at the garden I saw how small it was and didn't think I'd be there much more than an hour, but I wound up staying in the neighborhood for four hours! When I got home the first thing I did was take a nap!   All that fresh air and exercise made me sleepy. I can tell I was a little more sedentary this winter, my arms got tired from holding the camera to take so many pictures. I think I might need to start lifting weights!  Just a small reminder when you're out and about, don't forget the sun screen. I got a little pink, but it could have been much worse. 
 
Enjoy your day!
If you're in the path of these storms, take care!

laf Custom Designs                

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Book and the Light

Happy Monday to you!!
 
I'll start with the person who's name was drawn for the book Home Run. Mr. H obliged me and drew a name out of the pot.  I'll be sending the book to Beth. Beth, if you'll shoot me an email with your name and address, I'll get it in the mail to you. I hope you enjoy the read.
 
Now on to the light!
 
I don't seem to be doing as much reading lately, I've been outside the past few days. The rain has stopped for a while. I'm not complaining because I understand we're going to have a very dry summer. We need all the rain we can get before then. But, on the other hand it felt good to see a few days filled with light. I've had fun playing with back lighting.


 
Back lighting brings out lots of details.
 
 
It makes things look translucent.

 
Sometimes you get pretty bokeh in the background.
 
Sometimes, when it's on the right thing (like my grandson) it makes you smile and your heart swell with love!
Thank you, Aaron, for posing for me!
 
I hope you're getting a little touch of sunlight!

Our job is to record,
each in his own way,
this world of light and shadow
and time that will never come again
exactly as it is today
~ Edward Abbey