New Adventures-Take the Risk


Many things have been changing in my life lately. No small things either. There are a number of large tasks to do at work, and a potential job change at one of them. I am buying my first home. I am transforming my workout and eating habits through a trainer. And…I just stumbled into a new romantic relationship. So a number of life-altering changes that could either drive me crazy with anxiety or fill me with excitement.

I chose to feel excitement and to look at these changes as adventure. If I couldn’t, they might be overwhelming, especially when compiled together. Of course that is all easier said than done at times though. So I wondered what has brought me to the place where I can look at things in the light of opportunity and adventure as opposed to stress and work.

I think the biggest factor that helps me is my view point. I look at life as a series of events, something to take step by step. Like a bug crawling across a flower, I don’t really know what is in store for me. It is up to me to keep moving around, see all that there is to offer. It is my choice to find the best vantage point and opportunities for support. If I don’t explore the unknown, I may never realize the beauty of the whole flower and all that it has to offer. And there is a certain kind of wonder to be found in all the different angles.

Glory of Rain


I find nature to be utterly amazing with its endless variations and countless wonders. Large and small creations in the world create nearly the same level of wonder for me. I can appreciate a magnificent canyon as well as a drop of rain on a leaf. To me, they both hold beauty, meaning and value.

Like most things in life though, each piece of nature can be interpreted and viewed in multiple ways. For some, rain can be looked at in a negative light. It can ruin planned events like a cookout, wedding or beach day. To others, it can hold an entirely different and positive view. For example, rain can be a farmer’s answer to prayers on a drought or a Native American’s symbolic meaning for renewal, fertility or change. So like most things, beauty (and value) is in the eye of the beholder.

Generally, rain is a good thing for me. Of course I don’t want it to rain every day. I love the sunshine just as much as anyone else. However, I can respect the rain and what it brings. I can appreciate its power and elegance.

Take a look at these simple iPhone pictures that I shot while wandering through the woods on my horse. They are tiny little wonders that caught my eye and required me to dismount. Once stopped, I crouched down staring at the details, the way the light reflected off the raindrops. I loved the way the raindrops placed themselves around the bud and leaves. (Which shot of the bud and leaves do you prefer and why?) These views made me think about life and change – more of the Native American view I suppose.

I think of rain as necessary, even magical. It cleanses away the dirt and pollen. It nourishes plants, animals and humans. It creates stunning landmarks. It holds an elegant grace while at times, a fierce power. There is something about water itself that I am drawn to. I find that I am quite mesmerized by rain. When my kids were younger, I remember a day where we started running around in a fairly heavy, but warm rain. We acted silly and laughed until tears as we shampooed our hair outside in our driveway. Once when I was dating, I recall a romantic slow dance out in a gentle rain. Even last night, I stood on my deck watching the heavy rain fall. It was a sense of awe to watch the wind and rain whip things around. Even though that combination made two decent-sized trees fall at my house, my sense of wonder did not diminish. If anything, it raised my level of fascination. It only reinforced my belief that nature is something that must be respected for its splendor as well as its authority. We cannot control nature. We can merely study it and prepare for it.

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For this week’s nature theme on Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge. If you are not familiar with the challenge, make sure you click here to check out Sally’s post today. Every week there is a different theme to play with.

Finding Strength


April has had some incredibly hard and terrifically fun moments. I thank God for the balance. If I didn’t have it, I can’t say for sure I would be sane right now.

Balance and variety are keys to happiness, at least for me. I find that in the roller coaster I call my life, the low points are somehow more survivable by the mere fact that I know I will rise another day. It may not be much higher than my valley, but if I hold out and have faith, it will get better – eventually. When I am low, I try to remember it can always be worse and that I have endured more difficult times in the past.

If I cannot pull myself out of the slump, I get active. I go outside. I seek comfort in nature. Recently, I have learned to kayak. I adore the calm waters of slowly paddling down the river. I watch the water and how it parts from my path. I observe the raw beauty of the riverside. I notice the fish jumping and the birds flying. It is very calming.

In the last few years, I’ve noticed I crave variety in my activities depending on my mood. I enjoy everything from painting to cooking to running. I certainly am not a master at any of these hobbies, but I enjoy them regardless. My paintings assuredly have no art value or applied art techniques, but I find peace in the process. When I try new recipes, they don’t always turn out as I want. Sometimes they are even bad, but my kids are gracious enough to say, “Mom, this one was not your best.” When I run, it is not even fast enough to qualify as running on fitness applications. I say, “whatever” to those judgmental apps, lol. The fact that I am putting one foot in front of the other is good enough for me. I feel my blood pumping and enjoy the fresh air. After doing these hobbies, I tend to feel more alive, more hopeful and more ready for the next challenge.

I suppose that is the main purpose of hobbies/downtime – finding things that help us maintain our strength and hope. So regardless of whatever is happening in your life, I hope you take the time to find your strength. Go try new new things. Retry old things. Attempt activities that you think you might enjoy even if you are not great at them. Find your smile in the little things around you. Life is too beautiful to lose hope.

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Little Things Hurt or Make All the Difference


Earlier this week, I was on a trail ride with my horse and dog. I adore these times as we are just wandering through the woods and fields. It is quiet and relaxing. Frankly, it is time that really centers me back to what is important. It’s the time when my thoughts are most clear and I often talk to God.

I find that I am very present in the moment, aware of all that is around me. I feel the breeze on my neck and the sun on my face. I see how my horse and dog interact with each other. How they look at all that is around them, always aware of everything in the area. Or at least try to be, lol. There was a time when we were near a pond and I saw this huge fish near the edge. I was watching it slowly move about. It had to be at least a foot and half long. It realized our arrival with a sudden dash to deeper waters. You would have thought my horse just saw a giant the way she jumped! After clinging onto the saddle in the abrupt movement, I laughed at how big horse was scared of a fish. I thought, how is this possible? But then I realized, it’s the little things, the things that sneak up on us that throw us off, scare us, or hurt us.

Think about it. Little things like a splinter in your finger, dust in your eye, or a little bee sting seems so small and yet, they can disrupt your day greatly. As I was riding, I noticed this little bee. He was just there on a tiny branch, and I managed to get a few shots of him with my macro phone app. As I snapped several shots of him, I kept thinking how beautiful he was. And yet, this tiny little beauty could cause so much pain. (Which picture do you prefer of him?)

This little bee made me think of relationships and the little things we do, or don’t do, and how those things can hurt others. A tiny little careless word or gesture. The lack of a courtesy. Silence when our loved ones needs comfort. They are tiny things, almost insignificant things. Yet, together and over time, these little things can hurt. The opposite is true as well. Little things can mean the world…and make all the difference. Does your loved one ask about your day? Do they look at you with kindness? Do they remember little things you mentioned that are important to you? Do they offer you gentle, loving touches? The list of little things, both good and bad, could go on.  And, they are different for every couple I imagine. The point is, details are important.  Just as the little details build upon each other in nature, they do the same in relationships.

As I walked away from the little bee, I wondered… maybe if we treated each other with some love, respect, and space and more little signs of kindness, we could appreciate each other without getting stung.

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Hunt the Good Stuff


Resiliency is a hot topic in the military the past few years. With several deployments, budget cuts and ever-changing situations, everyone, not just Soldiers, needs to strong, patient, and resourceful. I have been through some hard times in my life, but I have also been quite blessed. I am sure there are stories out there of someone having it worse and someone having it better. But here is the thing, I am not in a competition. I don’t care to ‘one-up’ people with my stories of dispair or success. All I can do is tell my journey.

Dealing with your own journey is a key step in being resilient, at least for me. I can only live my life. I can’t fix others, change my past or take back my mistakes. All I have is today. And, if I am lucky, the day after. So dealing with my present gives me hope for my future.

I also find that when I am stressed or irritated, I find balance in certain things. I enjoy reading, writing, and taking pictures. And often, I like to do these things outside. I find myself more at peace in nature. I become more aware of the world. I see how I am just a tiny piece of this huge planet. The world continues without me, does not revolve around me, and it doesn’t even slow down when I am sad. Go figure.

When I am outside, I get a break from the problems. It grounds me to what is important. I can even say, it opens my eyes to the wonder of life. There is endless beauty in world. Sometimes it is as tiny as the little raindrops on leaves or the little berries on bushes, but nonetheless, it is there. Yeah sure, there is plenty of ugliness too. Sometimes that is overwhelming as we can’t control those with evil hearts and personal agendas. But, I can control me and refuse to contribute to the ugliness.

To do this though, I have to be resilient and hunt the good things in life life. No matter small they may be, they help center me, give me hope. And with hope, all things are possible. No, I am not in a position to solve world hunger or stop political ridiculousness, but, in my little corner of the world I can do a lot. I can share stories that may give someone hope or laughter. I can be a caring and loving mother. I can be a worthy friend. I can stand tall as a Reserve Soldier and carry myself to the expected standards. I can work hard at my civilian job and earn my pay. I can take wonderful pictures for people, giving them treasured memories of their loved ones. I can be a kind stranger to those I pass. I can hold my tongue when what I think will not help the situation. I can refrain from acting out of anger and spite. Overall, I can be a good person.

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For the Phonegraphy and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally. Challenge guidelines can be found by clicking the badge below.

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