Thanksgiving …

(Written on 19Nov17)

I AWOKE SO EARLY THIS MORNING—so much earlier than necessary, that I realised I’d be able to catch the sunrise for the first time in such a very long time. I grabbed my robe and slippers, trod downstairs and started to brew my tea. I watched the pre-dawn light—first light—create beautifully contrasting dark and light grey shadows just outside my kitchen window. The few clouds hanging about looked like grey wisps against a lighter grey sky.
That made me smile—sunrises and sunsets are pretty, but clouds make for a more vibrant, colourful display.

As I waited, I sipped on my tea, contemplating this chilly morning hour. Why on Earth was I even awake? I didn’t have to be at the Aromas Grange until about 9:45–which means leaving about a half-hour before. Plenty of time to do everything needed with a normal 7:30-8am rise. So, why so early? There were some very logical reasons—among others: every day I’m feeling healthier, getting more restful sleep than I’ve had in ages—both give me more energy … but I don’t think that’s the entire picture.

I try (that is a key word …) to revolve my life around God—a God-centric, purposeful life. Trying to listen to what He wants me to do, how He wants me to act, what He wants me to say … keeping my mind open to His leading whilst going about my daily life. Sometimes I fail miserably … other times, I succeed. The way I try to interact and treat others is one of the successes. I think my fantasy series is another one of these successes. So is my photography. The majority of my images are of nature—plants, animals and landscapes. This is where I shine—because He leads me to the situations resulting in lovely shots.

But, just because it looks like I’ve got the camera in my face all the time does not mean the beauty that surrounds me escapes me. My mind, my heart—it takes it all in and I do a little dance of thanksgiving. It seems I am always doing this dance. What I see fills me with joy. Sometimes, the camera takes a nice shot but my heart says what I’m seeing is too beautiful to capture in a two dimensional image. So, I simply bring the camera to rest and breathe in the scene, enjoying it for what it is—a gift to behold, to wrap myself up in. And I thank Him for the delights He brings to me every day.

So this mornings early rise was one of His gifts—a sunrise I haven’t seen in so many years … all of the beautiful blushed pinks, reds and orange-yellows popping behind the dark oak tree silhouettes.

With all of the hustle and bustle in my life lately, my heart and mind needed to see something quietly inspiring. He always knows exactly what gift to give, just like so many other times before—wonderful one-on-one conversations with dear friends, seeing someone I haven’t seen in ages and having time to reminisce, does and bucks grazing in the yard, frisky little fawns frolicking, my mocking bird with new songs to share with me, an owl carrying a conversation with another in a nearby tree … magnificently delicate blooms to contemplate … and this morning, me being wonderfully present (both physically and mentally) when the beautiful, vibrant sunrise unfolded before me.

Thank you Lord for the splendiferous abundance of beauty you provide in my life—friends, experiences … it’s all in His timing, not mind.

May He bless you and your loved ones abundantly today, on Thanksgiving Day, and beyond.


Black and White

I’VE BEEN WATCHING FRIENDS ON FB posting black and white images as part of a 7-day black and white photo challenge. Beautiful images. Some telling. Some everyday life shots. So, I decided to do it on my personal FB page … and then decided to do it on my Painterly FB business page (didn’t plan that one quite right—wanted my pumpkins to appear on the 31st … but that’s okay).

Friday is the last day on my Painterly page. The personal page challenge was done on Monday. Now, so you don’t need to search my personal or Painterly page, I’ve decided to post the combination of personal and business images … and maybe add more—just for you. I’ve posted them in no particular order.

Please remember all of these images are my property. No copying nor sharing of any of them is allowed without my written permission.


7-Day Black and White Challenge 7-Day Black and White Challenge 7-Day Black and White Challenge

7-Day Black and White Challenge 7-Day Black and White Challenge 7-Day Black and White Challenge

7-Day Black and White Challenge 7-Day Black and White Challenge 7-Day Black and White Challenge

7-Day Black and White Challenge 7-Day Black and White Challenge 7-Day Black and White Challenge

… and last, but not least and still six days away from 7-Day Black and White ChallengeHalloween (but it is now harvest time, so still works). Now, I need to add a few more from my archives … this is fun!

More Black and White More Black and White More Black and White More Black and White

More Black and White More Black and White

More Black and White … and that’s all folks.

I wish you all well this Friday … and over the weekend and the next week. Take time to pause and look around you. There is so much for you to see—whether it’s people watching, bird watching, savouring the beautiful flower in peoples’ gardens (or even at the local garden shop), feeling the wind in your face.

Take it in. Let it revive you. Enjoy. May this week be blessed and filled to overflowing with serendipitous (yes, I love this word) joy.


I’VE FOUND THE INTERNET a little on the dismal side these days … what with the Great Debate about who to vote for (with all the mudslinging), the gender bashing, the violence … you name it, it’s happening. Way over the top. And I’ve grown very tired of it.

So, I’m going to avoid all of that. I don’t need that in my life right now. I’m trying to get my head wrapped around words. Words I’ve written that need editing. And images. I need to get my head wrapped around images I’ve photographed. Images that need to become works of art. Lots of things are waiting for that to happen.

But until I can do that—and there is a glimmer of hope that I’ll be back to doing all that very soon—I decided to go for a walk on Wednesday and take snapshots of pretty things along the way. So this blog is about that — walking, enjoying, taking a moment to stop and smell the flowers—even if only as an catchphrase …

I haven’t done much walking since my surgery. I’ve been reluctant, mostly because of the exhaustion I’ve experienced after little forays into life. So, when I knew my neighbor was not going to be available to take me over to pick up my truck after it was services … well, I was a wee bit anxious about making the jaunt over on foot. I’d done it before. Many times. No big deal—but I’d also been taking two-plus mile walks on a regular basis. I haven’t done that in three-plus months. That’s a long time for muscles to atrophy, right?

So, I started out—deciding that I’d take my time, use the Starbucks as a way station on the way over (if necessary) to recoup some energy. And, along the way, search for flowers to take picture of—forgetting that we are in the midst of summer … and a drought, so there were very few flowers. Weeds, yes. Garden-variety flowers, not so much. But that’s okay. The tenacity and vibrance of “weed” flowers was welcoming. They are so delicate — yet, manage to survive where to manicured flowers fail. I didn’t take a shot of mustard — not entirely sure why, but I did get the dainty

Horseradish Flower

It’s seen better days … but still, it is a pretty little thing.

horseradish bloom. And dandelion.


Lots of these along the way …

And quite a few others. I did find a few flowering garden plants up at the shopping center … and the rock rose planted along the overpass section.

Lily of the Nile

Can’t grow these in the yard … the deer love them.

More Dandelions

Dandelions … can’t tell if they are the same, just different stages. Hmm…

The wild roses were past their prime, so I skipped them. I can never remember the name of the sturdy — and very tall — bush with yellow

Yellow ... Very Yellow

Don’t know why I can’t remember it’s name!

flowers, but it catches my eye every time I make this walk.

By the time I made it to the mechanic’s shop, I was revitalises — Rock Roseyet exhausted –from my walk. Kind of an odd combination, don’t you think? I think the fatigue won in the end. I paid for the servicing of my truck and melted into the drivers seat to recover a bit before driving home.

Diedes at the Shopping Center

Different from what grows in my garden—like mine better …

Home. And a nap.

Now, I am thinking about my story … a first glimmer of hope for the story to come alive in my mind, once again. This is a good thing.

That was on Wednesday. Thursday was to be another wanderlust day to grab more photos, but the weather and our raging forest fire rained on my parade. The fog locked in all the smoke below the marine layer and they were saying the parts per million was upwards to 500—100-300 is unsafe for us folks to be in—as far north as Santa Cruz … so, needless to say, after a mandatory doctor’s appointment, I beat a quick retreat to my safe haven of locked doors and windows at home. The smoke still filtered in a little. Today was much better, so I did some errands that I couldn’t do yesterday, driving up Hwy 68 to get back home. I’d forgotten that the fire departments had taken over Toro Park as a staging area for the Big Sur area Soberantes Fire (this is a huge fire—well over 65,000 acres and only 55+/-% contained) … and all along the road were placards, cardboard signs and fancy plastic printed signs the size of a car, all saying thank you to the firefighters. From Monterey, all the way into Salinas. Their number increased, the closer to Toro Park I got. The shear volume peppering the side of the roadway made this humble soul tear up with each sign I saw. “Thank you”. “We love you”. “You are heroes”. “We love you, firefighters” … I would love to share some of the photos of the fire—they are terrifyingly beautiful … but they are easy enough to Google. I don’t think I could have pulled over to get even one of the thank you signs, as traffic and my blurred vision (from tears) hindered me enough.

But this. This outpouring of love is what I absolutely love to see. Nature is always beautiful … but to see the magnitude of love and care put into these signs—fills my heart with joy. It truly made my day.

There is a good side to humanity. It’s a pity it takes such tragic events for it to shine so brightly. Need I say more …?

Let me wish you an amazing weekend … and a blessed week ahead. Now, I’m going to go see the newest remake of Pete’s Dragon (came out today!)


Nearing the End…

IT’S AMAZING HOW fast time flies. As I write this, the week has literally flown by and it’s nearly time for the CIVers to say adieu to each other. Most of them will be heading back to the States on Saturday or Sunday. I get to hang around for another three and a half weeks (teehee).

This blog will be fairly short, but I’m going to add a few photos from the week to you. I hope you enjoy them…

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I’m loving the rivers and lakes in the Snowdonia Mountain range. Amazing, really. The lake and the newly emerging frond are from Snowdonia. The center photo was taken along the edge of Cae Mabon. It’s like a fairytale village, really. I could spend much more time here.

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Cae Mabon (an eco retreat)-main lodge and their storyteller, Eric; lovely tree at the top edge of Cae Mabon; one of the cottages at the retreat.

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Cae Mabon beautiful vegetation, boats in Caernafron–near the Castle, (who knew I’d forget so fast where these places are??) unknow scenery along the western coastline in Wales (sorry)

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Dublin River, Conwy Castle (that “bridge” is very small) and the river I’m blanking on the town name for this one on the right.

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Two hostel bedrooms (left at the western edge of Ireland, right at Dublin), plus my hotel grounds at sunset in Malahide, Ireland

Tomorrow, we pack up from our lovely little cottage in Bryngwrang and move onto an overnight stay in Mold (don’t laugh–that’s actually the name of the town). We have to be on the road by 10 am…maybe? Since Saturday, we have managed to cover most of the coastline of northern Wales, above and below the Holyhead island, plus some inland areas–either by mistake–Marc will not admit to it and absolutely nobody is complaining (it’s always worked well into the plans) or by design. It’s nice that the itinerary is loose.

This area is magnificent. Rugged. Picturesque…and just flat out gorgeous, whether a city or town, or countryside. I’m contemplating altering my plans to visit Edinburgh and cozy up into some neat little hotel till I’m due in the London area around 8 June. I’ll have to make by decision by tomorrow night at the latest. You will find out sometime next week…

I now have another area to add to my list that I have fallen madly in love with…what’s a girl to do?