Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas Pictures

Christmas is over and I'm feeling a little bummed. It's not because I didn't get what I wanted or that there was too much stress or anything like that. In fact, we had a very nice, peaceful, stress free Christmas. The food was delicious and the presents appreciated. The activities I did this season were also fun. The time spent with family was wonderful. Did I say Christmas was peaceful? Well, not quite all the time, but the noise was much loved!!

(You may notice I'm one boy short in this picture. He had to leave early. Since he's a teenager, I'm sure he really didn't mind missing out on the picture!)

So, what's the deal with me being bummed? Photography! I'm bummed about my photography this season. For the last two years, I have not wanted to take pictures of my tree, decorations, presents, candy canes, or anything else related to Christmas. I took a grand total of fourteen pictures this December of Christmasy things and I forced myself to take those. That's just sad!

I had good excuses . . . it's been dark and dreary . . . I really don't have time . . . I'd rather read a Christmas book or work a puzzle. . . I need to get outside for awhile. When I'm truthful with myself I know these are just excuses. There's a deeper problem . . . it's comparison. I've been intimidated by the beautiful, simply gorgeous, amazing pictures of Christmas on social media. I would look at my things and know that I couldn't take any pictures near as wonderful. So, I just didn't take any.  I simply didn't have the heart to compete with what I was seeing.

I thought I would take pictures this week after the hustle and bustle was over, but I'm just not feeling it. So, maybe I won't. Maybe I'll let another year pass without taking pictures of pretty light bokeh, sweet candy canes, colorful stockings, and delightful Santas. Maybe I'll just sit by my tree for another few days and take pictures with my eyes. I'll look at each ornament or decoration and remember the stories behind them. Maybe that's all I need this year. Next year, maybe I'll take a break from social media throughout December. No, that won't work. If I did that I wouldn't see all the beautiful things you post and I really love seeing them. What I need to do is to have a good, long talk with myself. I need to remind myself that comparison is not healthy. I need to remind myself of what is important to me and what I want to take pictures of is my choice. There are all types of photographers out there. I'm a nature photographer. Setting up those lovely Christmas vignettes stresses me out, so why spend time doing that. 

Thanks for being here and for listening to me as I've shared my feelings. It has helped me. I'm no longer feeling bummed. In fact, I'm headed outside where I'd rather be anyway!

I want to wish you all a very happy New year.
I'm looking forward to what 2017 may bring.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Wishing you each a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Visiting With The Animals

If you were expecting a Christmas post I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I wanted to tell you about an outing I went on recently with my sister. On a warm day, we decided to visit the Little Rock Zoo. I haven’t been to the zoo in several years. In the past the zoo was not exactly a nice place. I felt such sorrow when I visited. The animals were kept in extremely small, unnatural cages! The tigers and lions had only a small area that went from inside to outside. I remember how they just paced between the two. The zoo itself was a lot of concrete, no trees, and unappealing. I knew some recent improvements had been made. I’m happy to say that if one has to have a zoo, then this zoo is finally a place where the animals have room and where their areas are more natural to them. The whole zoo has changed. The walkways are lined with trees, bamboo, shrubbery, and even several waterfalls were created. It is so much better!

We were much more excited to see the animals than they were to see us. Many tended to just ignore that we were there.

Some tried to hide.

A good number of them turned their backs on us.

Some were too busy eating to notice us.

We even bored a few!

Some kept their eyes on our every move. They made me glad there was a great distance between us.

There were also a few that lay there perfectly still as if posing for us.

(This is my favorite shot of the day.)

I’m not a real fan of zoos. I’m grateful that I was able to see these beautiful animals, but I don’t like to see them in captivity. At least now they have a nice place to stay and are well fed.

I hope you enjoyed this little break from the busyness of Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas At The Mansion

The day may have been dark and dreary, but inside the Arkansas Governor's Mansion it was bright and cheery! This was my second year to attend the Christmas Open House at the Mansion. This year's theme was A Tribute To Handel.

As you enter the front door the first thing you see is a gorgeous tree adorned with gold and copper ornaments, a festive garland draped on the beautiful staircase, and the magnificence chandelier.

I thought you might like to take a tour with me through the rooms which were decorated with nativities, angels, musical instruments, and crowns in celebration of Christ the King's birth.

Between the house and the Grand Hall was a winter wonderland.

The Grand Hall was transformed into a Renaissance-style cathedral. Cookies and hot apple cider were served. As we ate George Frederic Handel gave us a short history of his life. Then organ music filled the room with an excerpt from Handel's Messiah. We got to meet the organist, but I can't remember his name. All I know is that his playing took my breath away.

As we left we were wished a
Merry Christmas by Santa.

I'm grateful to the Arkansas Governor's Mansion Association and all those who volunteer their time and energy decorating the mansion. I can't even begin to imagine how much time this took. The theme for the open house was chosen by the First Lady of Arkansas, Susan Hutchinson. The Mansion Association has several fund raisers to raise money for any additional decorations to fit the theme. The beauty of the mansion certainly put me in a joyful holiday mood.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Where Do They Fall

"And softly through the altered air
hurries a timid leaf."
~ Emily Dickinson

Not all those timid leaves fall to the ground.

Some fall among bare branches.

Some fall among the thorns.

 Some fall on top of berries.

Some fall on top of leaves.

Some fall behind the fence wires.

Some fall on top the barbed wire.

Some fall into sticky webs.

Some fall into prickly needles.

Wherever they fall,
they take my breath away!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Give Thanks

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heav'nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
~ Thomas Ken, 1695

Wishing each of you a blessed Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Seeking Color

I anxiously await as I go through the long hot summer for cooler days and the brilliant colors of fall. Only this year in Arkansas, it didn’t happen. There are a few trees that have some color, but overall we didn’t get fall colors. We’ve had an abnormally warm fall and have been very dry which has caused the leaves on the trees to just turn brown, curl up, and fall to the ground. As far as fall colors go, this year was a bust! So, I had to turn to other things for autumn color such as pumpkins and mums. I knew just where to look for them . . . Garvan Woodland Gardens.

Not only were there pumpkins and mums, but the azaleas were blooming and the coleus was beautiful.

Notice in the picture below how green everything is. Of course, the garden is watered daily, but my goodness this is the middle of November and everything is still so very green. The plants are loving the warm temperatures.

It was quite a busy day at the gardens. I almost waited too late to see any fall colors, they were quickly being replaced by Christmas lights and decorations. The garden begins its Christmas light show this week. It was quite a challenge to take autumn pictures without Christmas lights in them. 

The Camellia trail was quite beautiful and led to the end of the garden where there’s a spectacular view of Lake Hamilton.

Well, I finally got my fall color fix, so I’m ready to move on. In fact, after watching with fascination, the Christmas decorations being put up I’m ready to go back and see the lights. I’m going to wait a couple of weeks, hoping it will be colder. It just doesn’t seem right to walk through a Christmas wonderland of lights in a T-shirt, capris, and sandals!

"I go to nature to be soothed and healed,
and to have my senses put in order."
~ John Burroughs