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Monday, May 30, 2016

Remember


How does one say "thank you" to those who have sacrificed
their lives for our country and our freedom?

We can remember them.

How does one say "thank you" to those who serve our country?

We can pray for them.

"Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:13

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Daycation


It's not uncommon for new words to be created using parts of old words. Take the word vacation. During the 2007 - 2010 financial crisis in the US many individuals couldn't afford the luxury of a vacation. Thus, their vacation became a staycation; a period where the family stayed at home, made day trips, and returned to sleep in their own beds at night. A new word was born. Mr. H and I rarely go on a vacation or a staycation. We only take a day now and then. We take daycations!

Vacations, staycations, daycations
Don't you just love words!

Desha County Courthouse
Arkansas City, AR

So anyway, Mr. H and I went on a daycation. I have a project that I began in July of 2011. I am attempting to take a picture of every county courthouse in Arkansas. Our first stop was in Arkansas City a small town of only 0.5 square miles and a population of 366. You can imagine my surprise when we drove into town and found this beautiful courthouse surrounded by large magnolia trees. Not only was the courthouse beautiful, but there was an old high school built in 1910, a small building that looked like it might have been a jail at one time, and an old church. Three things I love a lot very close together. I don't mean I love jails a lot, I just love old buildings a lot!

St. Clements Episcopal Church
Arkansas City, Arkansas

One of the reasons I love old buildings is their doors and windows. It doesn't matter to me if the doors are on an outhouse, a church, a historical building, or a rundown shack. They're all fascinating.


Windows can be beautiful and ornate or they can be worn and rusty. It doesn't matter, I love them all.



Sometimes I find windows or doors that I can peek into. I'm not a "Peeping Tom." I only peek in windows on public property and when the place is closed; like the old high school below which is now part of the court system.

Arkansas High School, 1910

Here's the view through looking through the front door. I love the tin ceiling tiles and all the gorgeous wood.


I was also able to peek into the window of this beautiful home which is now The Ashley County Museum.


Ashley County Museum - 1918

And when I peeked in, I fell in love with those interior doors between the parlor and the dining room. I'd love to go back and tour this gorgeous home.


It seems there's always something the intrigues me and makes me ask questions, such as this old church which is now the meeting place of the Hamburg Garden Club. I wonder why the windows of this church and the above church have been painted over. Wouldn't you want to have light flowing in, especially in this church where the club meets? It's a mystery. One that I will probably never know the answer to.

Hamburg Presbyterian Church, 1871

We had such a nice day, even if we did travel 301.7 miles and were gone nine hours. I'm making progress on my project. I have taken pictures of 56 courthouses. There are 85 county seats in Arkansas and before someone corrects me, I know there are only 75 counties. Ten of those counties have two county seats and two courthouses. That leaves me with only 29 more courthouses to go. It looks like we'll be going on a few more daycations to get this project done!

Monday, May 16, 2016

On A Rainy Day



"Rainy days and Mondays always get me down."
I think of those words when it rains on a Monday. I don't know why, because Monday's are my day of rest and recuperation from the previous week and rainy days don't get me down. But, none the less, I sang those words this rainy Monday morning. In case, you've never heard them and many of probably have not, the song was sung by The Carpenters in 1971. Back in those days, the year before I got married, the Carpenters were among my favorite singing groups. Just so you know, Jerry didn't like them at all. He was more into Creedence Clearwater Revival! This really dates us, doesn't it? Anyway, back to this rainy Monday.




It made me smile to wake up and see the rain this morning. I had no plans, this being a resting day, so I wasn't disappointed by the rain. In fact, days where it's misty rain usually lead me outside with my little camera which can be tucked under my shirt to keep it dry. I don't use an umbrella, I just let the light rain fall on my head. If you've never tried that, it's rather soothing and enjoyable. One thing that intrigues me is how the water brings out the beautiful colors in everything. The browns are browner and the greens are greener.


I love water droplets, so my eyes search for them on leaves


or hanging precariously off leaves



The droplets on this lichen reminded me of syrup on a golden pancake.


In my walk in the rain I also spotted other wonders of nature;
new growth on the blackberry bushes and


the unique centers of the torenia flowers. I think the center looks like an engagement ring just ready to be given to someone's true love. Maybe the rain not only brings me joy, but makes me romantic.


It doesn't take much to make me happy.
A rainy day and nature will do it every time!

I hope whether you had rain or not,
that you enjoyed this lovely Monday!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

What Does The Word Mean - Part VIII


This is my eighth post sharing my thoughts and pictures inspired by David Whyte's book Consolations: the solace, nourishment and underlying meaning of everyday words. Since I've written an introduction paragraph for this project seven times, I can find nothing new to say. Since words escape me, I'll quote from my last blog post, "We read his thoughts on a word, form our own opinions, and then take or find a picture to illustrate the word."  That's it in a nutshell! So, here's the next five words.


* * * * *

ROBUSTNESS

The dictionary defines robustness as: "strong and healthy, successful or impressive and not likely to fail or weaken." In order that we keep our robust health we must find time to revitalize ourselves. We need to find the calm in the storms of life.

"Robustness strangely, demands we find a calm center in the midst of tumult. The quiet is what enables us to be cheerful in noise, equitable in the face of injustice or calm in the face of attack."   ~ David Whyte




* * * * *

RUNAWAY

There have been times in my life when I wish I could detach myself from what is happening around me and just runaway for a awhile. I would like to find a lovely sailboat and set sail with no destination in mind. I would like to feel the sun, see the drifting clouds, smell the salt water, and let the breeze blow my troubles away. Of course, when I have found the peace that restores me, I will sail right back home!



* * * * *

SELF-KNOWLEDGE

I wish I had the key to fully know myself or even partially understand myself, but try as I might there are parts of me that remain a mystery.

"Sometime in your life you will go on a journey.
It will be longest journey you have ever taken.
It is the journey to find yourself."
Katherine Sharp



* * * * *

SHADOW

The shadow we cast upon others is a pattern of who we are. I try very had to be a positive person. To cast a shadow of encouragement, inspiration, cheerfulness, gladness, and hope.

"Because everything we say and do is the length and shadow of our own souls,
our influence is determined by the quality of our being."
Dale Turner



* * * * *

SHYNESS

David Wythe says "to feel shy is to look five ways at once: to the beckoning new life in front of us, to the line of retreat behind us, to alternative possibilities of escape to left and right, and in really difficult circumstances the hope for a complete and sudden disappearance." Oh yes, I've wanted to retreat, to escape, and just disappear many times rather than going forward into a situation that made me nervous or uncomfortable, even fearful.



* * * * *

SILENCE

There are many kinds of silence. The Cambridge Dictionary defines silence "as a period without any sound: complete quiet." That kind of silence is fearful to me. I would not like complete quiet where I couldn't hear the words of a loved one, the ringing of a bell, the twitter of birds, the wind rustling through leaves, and the water babbling in a brook. I don't yearn for silence, although I do yearn for quietness and stillness.



This project of words and pictures is coming to an end. We have six more words; one more post. I need to begin searching for my next project as they keep me inspired to pick up my camera.

Until next time,
keep on reading and learning!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Early Morning


Early morning often finds me outside with my camera. Not too early, but before the sun has risen high and the heat of the day has come. Yes, I'm already griping about the heat! Who wants 80 degree days in spring??

Most of the spring flowers have faded and fallen, but there's still plenty to discover outdoors. Walking across the pasture I met this guy. In fact since I took this picture I've seen him almost every day. He's a quick one, not very shy, and always on the move.


Jerry spotted another turtle in the mud near our property line. He was huge; longer than my foot.


The real surprise was rounding the barn and finding this cute little bunny. I see one now and then hopping across the yard, but this one was so afraid he froze. I felt so sorry for him that I took a couple of quick shots and left him alone. As I walked away, he scooted under the barn.


We're already swarmed by insects. A mild winter makes spring even harder! The mosquitoes, bull gnats, horse flies, and wasps are out in multitudes. There's no sitting outside in the evenings now! What I need is a screened gazebo. I wonder if I could convince Jerry of that!!


And of course, you can't have spring without spiders. They seem to like the new Itea bushes I planted. I had several to choose from for this shot!


My most interesting find was this fuzzy bee looking insect. I've done a little research and can't find anything that looks exactly like him, but he does resemble the bee fly. Yes, I said fly. He's a large one about three quarters of an inch long. They are quite similar to bees. Not only to they resemble bees, they like flower nectar. I was in awe of his beautiful wings. If you know what he is, I'd appreciate knowing.

UPDATE: with the help of my good friend Leon, I've learned that this is a hummingbird moth. Pretty exciting!  Thank you, Leon!


I enjoy looking for the small creatures that we're blessed with. Well, maybe not the wasps and mosquitoes, but you know what I mean. After all, "the Lord God made them all." ~ Cecil Frances Alexander

I hope you're enjoying every moment of this spring season.

"It is in the early morning hour that the unseen is seen, and that the far-off beauty and glory, vanquishing all their vagueness, move down upon us till they stand clear as crystal close over against the soul." ~Sarah Smiley