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Friday, October 31, 2014

A Little Morning Dew

"The dew-drop in the breeze of morn.


Trembling and sparkling on the thorn.


Falls to the ground, escapes the eye,


Yet mounts on sunbeams to the sky."
James Montgomery

The morning dew is so insignificant that usually we aren't even aware of it, unless it causes our shoes, to get wet and then we're irritated. I you think about it, dew is amazing. Out of nowhere it appears, almost magical. Sent to give the earth a little refreshment. I went outside in the early morning light and found the dew, sparkling like millions of diamonds. It had settled on the flowers, on the trees, on the grass, and on the fallen leaves.

Seeing the dew made me do a lot of thinking. We all need refreshment each day, just as nature does. One of the best ways to start the day off is to spend a few quiet moments thinking of all the things that we're grateful for. Tomorrow is the first day of November, the season when our thoughts turn to Thanksgiving. It's the perfect time to start the practice of daily gratitude. Won't you join me and find time in your life for gratefulness?

Linked with Kim Klassen's
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Inspired By Paintings

Inspiration can come from many sources including still life paintings. Our assignment this week for Be Still 52 was to create a still life photo that was inspired by a painting. I looked at many paintings before I decided to do the two below. As I've worked on the assignments for this class, I've tried to used nature whenever possible.

I wanted to use my large swan feather so I used a dark cutting board for the background. I've been enjoying the richness of darker tones in my photography lately.


I went with a lighter background, osnaburg fabric, for this second one.



If you'd like to see the paintings that sparked my creativity you can use the links below.


beyondlayers

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Finds and Be Still 52

This week I spent several hours at Pinnacle Mountain State Park. It was a lovely autumn day. The air crisp and fresh; filled with the smells of damp leaves and pine. It was quiet. Only nature making any sound. I could hear the rustling of the leaves in the wind, the plopping of acorns as they fell, the symphony of the birds singing, and the scampering of squirrels gathering their nuts for winter. Oh my, how blessed I felt that this beautiful world has been created for me to enjoy. 

I found delight in the morning rays of sunlight.


I found delight in the mountain ridges.


I found delight in the rich farmlands next to the Arkansas River.


I found delight in the reflections on the still quarry water.


I found delight in the enormous hundred year old cypress trees.


I found delight in the fall leaves floating by at my feet.


I found delight in a gorgeous day.
I found myself in awe of the gifts we've been given.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows."
 James 1:17 (NIV)

Linked with Kim Klassen's

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Sundries - Edition 33

If it be not ripe,
it will draw a man's mouth awry,
with much torment, but when it is ripe,
it is as delicious as an apricot.

Those are the words written by Captain John Smith  in 1624 describing persimmons. I've only tasted one persimmon and it did draw my mouth awry. I couldn't get to a glass of water fast enough! I can't imagine them ever tasting like an apricot! When I see persimmons I think of winter weather predictions.


In order to find out the prediction for winter weather you much split the seed in half.

If there's a spoon shape it stands for a shovel to dig out of the snow. A fork shape means a mild winter, and a knife shape indicates a cold icy winter, where wind will cut through you like a knife. I opened ten seeds and eight were definite spoons and two could have been spoons or fat knives.


Looks like those of us in Arkansas had better be getting ready for snow and ice!

You can read more about persimmons and other weather folklore on my blog post from last year if you'd like.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Finding Stillness


I had things I needed to be doing. I was supposed to be dropping books off at the library and going to the post office and picking up Halloween cards for the grandsons and buying groceries, but instead I skipped all the chores and went to Wildwood Park. I blame it on the car, it just wouldn't go where it should. It somehow knew what I needed: peace, quiet, stillness, alone time. It also knew I needed some comfort food to take along and pulled right into a bakery where I found this delicious Italian Cream cupcake.


This is the one place I know I can always find quiet. Usually I'm alone at the park, but this time there were gardeners working in the rock garden, an older couple strolling by the lake, and a lady walking her black Cocker Spaniel.  We nodded, we smiled, we spoke a greeting as we passed, but mostly we were all just enjoying the cool morning and the quiet. 


I enjoyed the walk along the leaf strewn pathways where I found treasures from nature.  I enjoyed sitting in the rock garden watching the dragonflies and writing in my journal. I enjoyed the breezes blowing through the trees. I enjoyed watching the sun sparkling on the rippling water of the lake, but most of all I enjoyed the swans. As I walked alone the pathway near the lake they swam right beside me. One time when I was taking pictures of a heron across the lake I looked down and one of the swans had walked right up the bank and stood beside me. I'm a little leery of them, as I know they can be aggressive and they are really big when they stand up and reach out their neck.  These two just seemed to want some company. Maybe they were lonely or maybe it was near their feeding time. I don't know, I'm just thankful that they were near and didn't mind me taking their picture.


I spent most of the the day there. I even left, bought some lunch, and came back for a picnic. The company was nice and the time was enjoyable. So what did I find besides the cupcake? Peace, stillness, quietness, and a couple of new friends.

Linking with Kim Klassen's Friday Finds.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Four Things


When my daughter was very small she loved to watch Sesame Street. One of the phrases that has never left my mind, nor my daughters, was in a short cartoon where a little girl is instructed by her mother to purchase a loaf of bread, a container of milk, and a stick of butter from the grocery store. The little girl repeats it over and over again as she merrily skips toward the store. It has become one of our "family" phrases that we still use now and then. I thought of that phrase this week as I gathered the things needed for the Be Still 52 prompt. Then like the little girl, I almost forgot one!


We had a list of four things we were to include in our image...a loaf of bread, textile, twine, and scissors. After that, we could add anything else we wanted. The scissors and the twine were the easiest of the four. I bought a loaf of bread from the grocery store and used a jar of my homemade cherry jam. I remembered the textile item at the last minute and found a cloth tag to tie on the jar.


This has been one of the hardest prompts so far. I thought about this for a solid week, before I came up with any ideas. Finally, last night as I was looking through some of my cookbooks searching for good soup recipes, I saw a picture with a loaf of  bread and a jar of jelly. That was my starting point and the rest just fell into place.  Inspiration can come from anywhere at any time!  


This challenge was hard and I almost gave up and decided to skip it.  I think L. Frank Baum had it right in his book The Patchwork Girl of Oz, when Dorothy tells Ojo...


"Never give up. No one knows what's going to happen next."

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Sundries - Edition 32


"Here on the river's edge I could be busy for months
without changing my place,
simply leaning a little more to the right or left."
~ Paul Cezanne

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Finds

The Nina and the Pinta


I found a little history in downtown Little Rock. The Nina and the Pinta arrived yesterday. I was disappointed that I missed seeing them come in. They were supposed to come up the river and dock at 1 p.m., but when I got downtown shortly after twelve they were already docked. I'm sure it's hard to keep schedules on the river. We had some storms in the area earlier and I wondered if they may have arrived early to avoid them.



The Nina and the Pinta are replicas of the original Spanish trading vessels that Christopher Columbus used on his first voyage across the Atlantic to the West Indies in 1492. Columbus sailed the Nina, which was his favorite, over 25,000 nautical miles.


The Nina is the first truly, historically correct replica of a 15th Century Caravel ship. It was build using only adzes (which is similar to an ax), hand saws, axes, and chisels, in addition to naturally-shaped timbers from the Brazilian forest. The Pinta is a larger version Caravel ship offering more deck space for tours, private parties, and charters.



Cloudy skies soon changed to blue which certainly helped the rigging to stand out better.


The ships weren't open for tours yet, so It was nice to be there with very few others and get pictures without the crowds. I had to take pictures very quickly though. Parking is not good in our downtown area. You either park in a deck which is costly or you park on the street and pay the meter. I only had a little change which resulted in exactly 48 minutes of parking. I had to rush to the river, snap some pictures, and rush back. I've been on the ships once before several years ago, so I'm not sure I'll take the tour again, but I am trying to find out what time they'll be leaving. I would love to get pictures of them sailing instead of docked.

Linking with Kim's Friday Finds.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Autumn Gathering


Autumn is the time of year when we delight in warm beautiful colors. The trees put on a spectacular show of reds, golds, oranges, and yellows. Mums in burgundy, yellow, white and orange decorate front porches. Then, you have the pumpkins and gourds adding their brilliant colors to fall arrangements. There is one color that just doesn't get enough attention during the showy colors of fall....brown....plain, ordinary brown. 


In the Be Still 52 class this week our exercise was to gather signs of fall. I tried to stay away from the showy colors and focus more on the browns, tans, and golds. Where would the world be without these colors?


Brown is a serious, down-to-earth color that signifies stability, structure and support. It is solid with strength and maturity; think earth, dirt, rocks, and tree trunks. Brown is the predominant color on the planet along with green. It can be considered dull, boring and unexciting. In fact, it is one of the least preferred colors in the western world.



American Indians believe the color brown represents the power of self-discipline.


I like the way the Japanese think about brown. They don't have a specific word for brown. Rather, they use more descriptive names such as "tea-color," "fox-color," and "fallen-leaf."


Can you imagine life without brown?  What color would your coffee be....chocolate....whole wheat bread....nutmeg?  I hope you take some time to look around and enjoy brown along with all the other autumn colors. It's actually quite spectacular all by itself!


"I never met a color I didn't like."
Dale Chihuly

beyondlayers

Thank you to Sensational Color for facts about the color brown.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Sundries - Edition 31


"Anything that excites me for any reason,
I will photograph;
not searching for unusual subject matter,
but making the commonplace unusual."
~Edward Weston

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Friday Finds


Fall has arrived and bringing with it many changes: the daylight hours are shorter, the air is becoming slightly cooler, the leaves are changing colors, the squirrels are storing food, and the birds are flying south. Of all the changes that fall brings, I find myself most amazed by the skies.


The atmospheric changes are creating the most gorgeous skies of blue. When a few white puffy clouds are added it's breathtaking. I find that every time I go outside I step off the porch and look up. Sometimes I find shapes in the clouds. In the image below do you see a blue heart in the small cloud near the center. 


It isn't any wonder that my favorite color is blue. 


I read that the color blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body. I agree, all it takes is one look at the blue skies and I feel a sense of peace.


My wish for you is found in the words of Ella Fitzgerald...

Blue Skies
Smiling at me
Nothing but blue skies
Do I see

Linking with Kim at Friday Finds
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