Unexpected Enchantment

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When I read words like simple, and good old days, delight and wonder I knew it was time to pull Raggedy Ann from the top shelf of my closet.  You will see in the photographs below that she was well-loved by me.  I have had her since I was born.  My great-aunt Oletha had Raggedy Ann and Andy both hand-made for me by a friend of hers.  I only have Raggedy Ann left though because I was told by my mom that I left Andy up north on one of my summer visits to see my birth father.  I feel so grateful that my mom kept her for me, that she thought to give her back to me when I got married.  I could never part with her.  She is special to me although not on display anyplace in my house.  She just stays up on the top shelf of my closet.  I will never wash her either, the suck marks on her little mitten hands were made by me.  Instead of being attached to a blanket or my own thumb, I was attached to Raggedy Ann’s mitten hands which I sucked for comfort.  I felt she was more than worthy to be photographed and shared.  And of course I’m wondering what Christina will come up with, what did she feel was special to her and worthy to be shared and photographed? IMG_0424 IMG_0425 IMG_0427 IMG_0429

A moment in time

“How often do we find ourselves too busy to pause long enough to really enjoy life? No matter what your schedule is like today, take some time to slow down your pace and enjoy a moment or two (or three) doing something you love.”  Tracey Clark

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How about a Sunday drive with the top down, next to my best friend.  Nothing technical about this shot.  Fully manual and capturing a moment in time.  One of my most favorite things to do.  Oh and by the way, Mr. Motorcycle man is all about Movember.  Mens Health deserves some attention too.

Opps,  in my big rush and shortest post ever I forget to direct you to see what Christina did in terms of relaxing this weekend, taking some time out:)

Preparations

“Something in the kitchen that brings you joy”  It didn’t take very long for me to immediately think of my littlest and only girl.  She LOVES being in the kitchen next to me.  And my boys, they did too when they were little but I believe her love will last longer.  She lights up when I say, “lets bake cookies, or a cake”  She really is a little baker.  She prefers to bake over helping with dinner, although she is also a big help when it comes to dinner preparations.

My images are really just so/so today.  I’m feeling under the weather but I didn’t want to let my partner down, Christina who will be showing us her kitchen thing that brings her joy over at 22limes.   

I again worked on keeping my settings on manual and it’s much more difficult capturing moments as they naturally unfold so far because I’m not as quick as I can be twirling that dial to make it just right.  Lots to think about but I’m sure with practice just like everything else it will become easier.

She always seems to spill just a tiny bit of flour and somewhere in the archives I have smaller chubbier feet in a similar predicament.

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Keeping it Simple and using the Light…Natual light.

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ISO 2000, 5.6 1/5000

Sometimes being a mom, a part-time working one who works half the day then takes the other half to pick up one set of kids at 2 and the other at 3, it doesn’t leave too much extra time to take photo’s then write about them plus, cook, clean and find time to be healthy.  So these pictures are certainly simple and for sure taken in my own backyard and in the bathroom, and kitchen window however as boring as these images may seem there is a story behind each one.  Not only is there a story but I’m rather proud of myself with this prompt because I shot on full manual.  When I went on the PNW retreat Deb also shoots a Canon so she showed me how to shoot on the BIG letter M.  I mean I have shot on M before but just sort of half crazy cause I will dial this way and that until it looks decent and sometimes it can take lots of dials to get it right.  Oh, the revelation!  I just need to center the line inside the light meter, just place it in the middle and all is good.  And these my friends are straight out of the camera, no touch ups or photo editing which hello is not really my expertise (yet) anyway.

The first image is of a special pierce of jewelry.  It was a gift from my mom and it was bought while she was in France visiting my sister.  My mama knows I love birds and well, it has a bird on it.  It also has some very powerful words in French.  I had no idea what the words meant until my little sister came home for a summer and interpreted them for me.  In English it interprets “Little of us have the strength to change the story”  And these words are powerful and true.  Do you have the strength to change your story?  Think about that?  It takes enormous strength to change your life story, rather than just take it for granted living it with no real effort is far easier.  Now I love the necklace even more.  And I took this image in my very own backyard.  I hung it from a tree branch and the wind kept swaying it back and forth so long story short…was not easy to shoot this on manual and manual focus!  But this one looks pretty decent in the natural backyard sun light.

These next two images were taken in our down stairs main bathroom.  We have two bathrooms in this house but this is the family favorite.  All five of us prefer it and use it most often.  It has a nice deep tub, beautiful natural sunlight, sparkling white subway tiles (when clean) and now perfectly deep black walls.  It’s kind of dramatic now that it’s been painted black.  So I took a pretty red rose from one of my rose bushes grandpa left me.  The smell, oh how I wish you could inhale this rose, it’s perfect.  I took it using two settings.  I show you both.

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ISO 2000, F4, 1/2000

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ISO 2000, F/20, 1/60

My last images are at my front kitchen window.  In the morning it gets the very best light but by late afternoon which is when I took these images the lighting isn’t as spectacular yet still it’s okay.  I use this window when I bake in the afternoons and I shoot photo’s of my food.  And it’s of a feather that I have stuck inside of a potted plant.  Because if you know me.  You know I also love feathers.

image 1ISO 2000, F/29, 1/6

image 2ISO 2000, F/8, 1/25

And this is my version of the lesson natual light, which technically is more of a photo prompt than anything else and if you want to see how two people who live in two very different places view things in natural light, visit my friend Christina at 22limes

search, rescue and revere lesson No. 7

search:  to find something you are looking for

rescue:  an act of saving

revere:  to feel deep respect for something

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You see I’m a bit of a collector of “things” sometimes  I don’t have to search very far to make up collections.  One summer in particular the poor Japanese beetles would live their short beautiful lives and end up dead on our backyard patio.  They are so gorgeous that I couldn’t bare toss them away, so I began to collect them in a jar.  I giggle thinking about it because that same summer my sister who is a pretty funny girl made up a song about my “dead beetles in a jar”  Then the jar became more of a collection of creation that had lost its life.  The saddest was the little hummingbird we were watching build a nest.  I had even photographed her up in her nest taking care of her baby eggs.  And then one day we found her little lifeless body beneath the nest.  Again such a beautiful and unique creature, I couldn’t just toss her.  So I placed her in the jar, lizard tail, baby tiny lizard, bee, and a grasshopper.  All the things I keep in my jar.  So to say I search, rescue and revere things fallen would be an understatement.   I also collect and gather less strange things like drift wood, feathers, rocks and sea glass….oh and shells.  But today I only took pictures of a few of these things.  I had expected to incorporate finding and gathering while on my daily walk but my daily walk didn’t happen until much later this evening so I show my collection of life lost that I happen to keep in a jar.  I hope you don’t think me too strange.  And you have to admit the Japanese beetles are stunning with their amazing color.  As usual, I’m so very curious what my creative partner came up with, what did Christina collect up for this challenge?  You can see what she came up with at 22limes.

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 “Nothing can happen more beautiful than death.”

*Walt Whitman*

day 6 – monochromatic

 

 

 

“Resist much, obey little” Walt Whitman  I didn’t really obey very well for this lesson.IMG_4973

I took this shot a few years back.  I turned it black and white.  Looks monochromatic to me

“Filling our frames with monochromatic subject matter (all one color) can be captivating.”  These words were in the lesson.  And when I think of monochromatic I think of Martha Stewart.  I feel like so much of her decorating style would be described like this, at least from my point of view.  I happen to like that.  It’s peaceful and soothing.  It’s not what I have chosen to do in my own home but I can truly admire it in others.  Encouraged to not find all one color as boring Tracey suggests we focus on the textures of our subject. So turns out this week has been very busy and I thought about our lesson lots but I was swallowed by my day-to-day things and the only thing I kept looking at were my beautiful pomegranates that my Sister Sarah brought me from her home, from her tree.  However I missed the mark here because the bowl is blue and I adored the one little green leaf that was left on the steam so that pretty much blew the concept of monochromatic. Here it is anyways because they are just interesting and they are so good for us to eat and drink.

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 nope, this will not count

Then I was fiddling with my manual settings and I’ll be darned.  The dang shutter was super slow and open for an eternity so I got the next image, which can barely be made out, but I like it.  I just do.  So you know trial and error.  I’m so clueless with my new camera.  I had to have it then it turns out to be much more complicated than my old 20d which I knew so well.  And heck, I may be saying it all backwards my photo langauge.  I have issues with remembering how to technically speak about photography.  I just like to say, I love photography, I have a decent eye for it and I have so much more to learn.

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The last photo I share is also from a few years back.  I apparently don’t seek out monochromatic themes.  This one below seems to sort of count for it.  Okay, this lesson was hard for me.  I wonder if Christina had better luck on this lesson.  Maybe she totally got it.  Like it was no big deal for her.  I promise I like Martha Stewart, I do.  I just also live in a home with explosions of color and eyes that are attracted by the burst of multi colors.  Stop by and visit my friend Christina at 22llimes.   Let’s see what she thought of this lesson.

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Words WE need to hear, read, see

“Re-examine all that you have been told… dismiss that which insults your soul.”

Walt Whitman

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I’m a BIG time word person.  I have them running though my head constantly, even in my dreams.  I have more words inside my head than actually make it out.  So again when I see lesson number five has to do with words, I’m excited.  I took way too many pictures of the words that are all over my home.  It was really hard to narrow them down to just a few because I hold words so dear.

IMG_8988Each year I choose one word to be my theme word.  Well, when I say each year I should really just say the last few years I have had words. The word I picked for 2014 was CHANGE.  I picked change because it requires action to change.  I have so much room to keep learning, growing and changing. I think striving towards positive change is a good thing.  I want to be healthier, filled with more knowledge, more love and also grow and change in a positive way spiritually.  I found the word change in my house and I didn’t even realize it was in my house.  I see it every day when I do the dishes.

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When I work at my computer I look up just above me and I see lots of words of inspiration, filling my bulletin boards, also pictures of things that fill my heart.

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I even recently painted the word home on our front door.  As if we needed that reminder but you know Pinterest and its endless ideas.

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And when we walk out our front door, this is what we all see “it is what it is” Words are near and dear.  I hold them close and cherish them deeply.  I can’t imagine a world without words.

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And as always I’m so very curious what my friend Christina will post?  What word or words does she hold dear?  If you want to know also, please visit her here at 22 limes.

Nature begins its retreat

Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.

Walt Whitman

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*I* am “exaketededly” three inches high, and it is a very good height, in-*deed*!

– Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland).

Our assignment this time was to capture fall in its starkness, to find beauty in what one may not normally see as beautiful.  I made a conscious effort to use my 50mm lens for this assignment so I could get closer.  I don’t have a macro lens but I do have a macro setting on my camera, which I didn’t use strangely enough.  I didn’t have to go far.  I walked into my backyard.  I wanted to work in my garden.  It’s time to pull it back to bare.  It’s still hot here but the tomatoes have been producing less and less and there was more brown stems than green. I was thrilled to find this little guy on the old tomato plant.  Just as I was going to rip it from the ground there he was!  It took me straight back to Alice in Wonderland  Can you see that?  It’s all I can see! I mean minus  he is green and not blue, minus he isn’t talking to me or smoking but honestly it’s all I can imagine. This little darling creature took me back to a magical place.  And I think he or she, I shouldn’t just assume it’s a boy but anyway, I think “it” is just gorgeous in every way.  I examined it closely and touched it and basically tripped out on how completely unique this creature is.  Where do they come from?  How is it they specifically look to tomatoes for their nutrients?  I don’t see them otherwise? But this is not all I saw.  This is just the first thing I saw.

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The sky was very blue and although it was hot, if one didn’t know, they might think this a cool and crisp fall day.  That’s another thing I like about pictures.  If pictures don’t have words people can look at them and make up their own story.  I do it all the time but mostly I do this with pictures of people.  I make up their stories in my head based on how the photograph reads.   So just know, this day was warm and I spent this day on my knees in the garden.  I pulled all the weeds.  I got dirt under my nails and I have it ready for the crimson and clover.  This is my plan.

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This is my favorite from the day.  Just a few little leaves hanging on for dear life.  The golden sun shining through the otherwise dead leaves.  When I stand back and look at this tree it’s just full of crispy dry and dead leaves.  It looks sort of pitiful actually but as I walk up close this is what I see and it’s gorgeous.  I add my 50mm lens and it becomes art.  Its Gods art and it is good.

IMG_8841And when the assignment had the word specifically STARK.  This is what I found  It’s stark and it’s completely beautiful.  And for me this assignment wasn’t very hard because it’s what I naturally do.  When I feel a need for peace,  I will grab my camera, this is my tool and I walk into my very own backyard which is in the suburbs backed up against a busy street with occasional sirens and traffic, with cables stretching across the sky but in this suburban setting we planted three trees. Just three.  One for each child and only just two seasons ago.   They are sort of new trees.  I have only seen the littlest and only girl’s tree experience spring once so far and it had pink flowers!  It was perfect.  I’m not familiar with their seasons just yet.  We almost thought we were killing the boys trees.  It seemed a little too soon for the leaves to turn crispy brown but I’m thinking it may be normal.  We will see when winter comes and they will be bare and then as spring arrives we will see their new baby green buds that open to leaves. I think it will be like this. I have taken so many pictures of the kids trees it’s a little crazy but for me it’s peace.  This is all for today. Remember Christina at 22 limes because she shares this assignment with me.  I can’t wait to see what she found and what she will share.  It’s a lot like Christmas morning to me when I get to see what she will post too.

 

 

 

There was a scone on my desk! A chocolate chip One

I’m so happy its Friday. What working parent doesn’t look forward to the weekends? As perhaps most of my readers know, I’m part of a Body, Mind and Spirit challenge where I have been making really great choices now for four weeks. I have been drinking a ton of water, I exercise at least 30 minutes a day and include time in prayer, meditation and scripture reading, and each week we are given a bonus challenge. This week is was cleaning off a piled space, a cluttered drawer or cupboard. In four weeks I have lost a solid 4 pounds. So far this week nothing has shifted down. I have lost however 10 inches total when I measured myself last weekend. Mainly around the bust and hips area that nice hour-glass figure I maintain is getting just a little smaller in the hourglass. Just a smidgen.

photoGuess what I ate first?  The scone or the peach?

This morning when I got to work there was a scone on my desk. I was like “who put a delicious looking chocolate chip scone on my desk?” I asked everyone except the one person who put it on my desk. It was Mr. Dean our Vice President of Operations. His dear wife and family love this bakery in Huntington Beach, it’s called Lucci’s  and well this scone was delicious! Made at Lucci’s  picked up by Mrs. Dean and delivered to me by Mr. Dean. Of course I ate it. We don’t turn gifts away ever! Besides I get two (free) negative points a week and I don’t really ever use those 2 free points so why not? It was the BEST. Oh it was so good and it’s exactly the kind of scone I would have picked for myself because anything with chocolate chips is always better.

I will be beginning a Fall photo workshop that Tracey Clark  leads. I’m taking it alongside of a new friend of mine Christina who has a beautiful blog called 22 Limes   and what we have planned to do is post each Monday and Friday what our prompts may have been for the week. You will be able to see how our eyes see things differently even though we have been given the same exact prompt. It should be interesting and really lots of fun. I will give you a hint…our prompts involve the blessing in Autumn/Fall and since my fall will be so different than Christina’s fall it should be especially fun to see. I live in Southern California where she resides in South Dakota

See you Monday with my fall surprise! And don’t forgot to look for little miracles over the weekend.