September 13, 2015

One of those moments...

As I'm trying to focus on staying in the here & now, not worrying about the future or reliving the past, I try to appreciate things in the moment. I had one of those moments recently courtesy of a hose, a Bird of Paradise flower and a hummingbird.

I was out watering the newly planted Plumerias early in the morning. One Plumeria is down the hill, beyond the Bird of Paradise bed. Water drops from the arc of the hose spray fell into this Bird of Paradise, creating a tiny bird bath. A hummingbird found it to be a great place! He drank some, then started taking a bath. Flipping minute drops from his beak onto his back, he then ruffled his feathers & shook out the water. It was so much fun watching him preen. He kept it up for probably four minutes. I couldn't stop smiling.

And of course, I couldn't stop watering in that area. That tiny bird, one of the smallest of God's creatures, was taking advantage of the water I was sending down the hill. It has been very hot & dry here, and I think he found a bit of paradise in an early morning bath with fresh water.

I didn't want to stop to try to get the camera to catch him at his bath. I know he would have flown away once the water spray stopped. I would have ruined the moment to just stop and enjoy it if I tried to capture it. So I shot this photo of the Bird of Paradise to always remind me to stop and enjoy the moment!

Needless to say, the Plumeria below was well watered and I had a great start to my day.

May 15, 2015

God bless the rain

It rained here yesterday and this morning. And the rain brought much needed moisture, and a rainbow!! It was spectacular! So much so that I had to stop cooking dinner, and run outside (with my camera, of course) to soak up the beauty. Because when God blesses you with such a beautiful display of color and amazing light you just have to   stop. Well, some of us need to photograph it also, but mostly just stop   and enjoy. Take the time to really see what is in front of you.  Then you can run up to the next street to see who was so lucky to have the rainbow end in their yard - and look for the pot of gold!!

Even with my widest angle lens & moving as far back as I could on the veranda, I still couldn't get the entire rainbow into the frame. The new cover picture on the blog is my wide angle view of the rainbow. This one is a closer view of it ending over the hill.

P.S. The Project 365 page has been brought up to date through today's photo. I've also added some onto the Favorites page! Enjoy!!

April 16, 2015

Better Late than Never!

Oh My Goodness!!!!

I can't believe how long it's been since I posted to the blog. Or updated my Project 365. I'm now on day 106, so there will be a lot to catch up on!

My life has taken on a new phase... retirement!! I'm so blessed to be able to retire at a young age. I hope we will have many, many years to travel, do house projects, play Grandma & Grandpa, travel (oh I said that already, huh?), and just spend time sipping coffee or vino out on the veranda every day.

I will be working part-time for a while, but - due to circumstances beyond my control - that didn't happen right away. So I have had a couple of weeks without work. And guess what... I love it! Sleeping in a bit later is heavenly! But I will need to find a routine for my days. Having just another cup of coffee while reading in the morning is just too easy. But we will find the balance between hanging out & getting out and about!

So, here's to a new phase!! Oh, yea... and more time for photography!

March 8, 2015


I knew that the Project 365 would be a challenge when I decided to start this. It's been 67 days and I've taken a photograph a day - usually lots & lots more until I get the results I see in my mind! I think there has already been a lot of growth in my photography. I know that I am thinking about so many things before I press the shutter button; things I never thought of before.

Before the Project 365 I was scared to move the dial to Manual mode. I thought I was doing good to get off automatic and move to Aperture priority! Then I only had to make one decision - what "f" stop do I use? I learned I liked low aperture - wide open shots to get the blurry backgrounds and sometimes foregrounds. Sometimes I liked everything in focus. I pretty much pointed the camera at my subject and clicked. Often there were unintended consequences... like the tree coming out of someone's head. Sigh...

Now I primarily shoot in Manual Mode and have to adjust the aperture, shutter, ISO; focal point & type of focus, white balance; I think about composition; and to take responsibility for everything in my shot (still have trouble with this and see things I either missed when looking through the lens or was too lazy to move when I took the photo). Let me be honest - this is a lot more work. But the results are worth it. Even if the photograph would have looked exactly the same if I shot on automatic, I know that I DID THIS! I created the shot not just in my head but through every step of the process. I have a very long way to go until I feel like I know what I'm doing, but I am certain that I am headed in the right direction and that I very much want to keep going!

March 1, 2015


No, not that kind!! My photo prompt for today from the bethadilly challenge is "my passion." I had to think about this one more than I thought I would. I have a lot of things that are really important to me... my family being at the top of the list. My faith, the ocean, a good handbag. But "my passion?" I finally decided that I'd look for something that has been with me a long time, something that I love, something that I would be hard pressed to live without. Here's what I chose...

Books. Reading. I'm not sure I can remember the time before I could read, at least not very well.

I DO remember spending hours on the floor, or the couch, or my bed with a book in my hands. I remember reading with a flashlight under the covers. I remember reading while walking to elementary school (I was walking distracted at an early age!). I remember crying over the story of Black Beauty. And sluething along with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. The longer the book, or the more books in a series the better. I love Harry Potter - oh wonders of wonders: a series with a great story, books over 300 pages and a lot of them. Sigh...

Then came the Kindle. I didn't think I would like it, but I do. Carrying one little device with a multitude of books - can it get any better? I still love to hold & read a paper book; yet the Kindle makes traveling so much easier. Not to mention reading those really big books just before I go to sleep in bed. No books landing on my face when I fall asleep holding it!

Luckily I met & married a man who loves to read. This photo is two of the bookcases in our house. There are so many books that some are shoved in sideways on top of the others. The third bookcase is even worse! I seriously think we are addicted - I CANNOT walk out of a bookstore with only one book. We share some interests in our reading which is wonderful, until we fight over the new Harry Bosch novel or the latest Lee Child. Even if there were a Readers Anonymous I wouldn't go.

So I have to say that books and reading are probably my greatest, life-long, forever passion. What's yours?

February 23, 2015

After the Rain

It's amazing what some rain can do! Today the skies are beautifully blue, the clouds are brilliant white, the ocean is sparkling... I love how rain washes everything clean and makes our world shine again. Would that we all had that ability!

I was thinking today about the church season of Lent, which started on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18th. It is often referred to as a time of renewal, a time to change things, a time to reflect. Sort of like a day of rain. The rain falls & changes our world. We can stop to reflect and evaluate where we are headed, change course if we need to and change our world.

Here are a few pics of my rainy, reflective day on Sunday.

February 15, 2015


This year we decided not to do the traditional go out to dinner with a zillion other people and spend a ton of money for Valentine's Day. Even though I LOVE to go out to eat, it just wasn't what I wanted to do. So we invited some close friends over & had dinner here at home. What better day to celebrate love than with good friends good food, good wine, good conversation and strawberry shortcake!! It was a wonderful day preparing food for us and a fantastic evening! Thanks to our friends... you know who you are!!

February 9, 2015

Stop and Watch the Sunset

One of the things I struggle a lot with is living in the moment. Enjoying what is going on right now. It is so easy for me to dwell in the past (I should have.... Why didn't I....) or to worry about the future. Being in the moment takes a bit of discipline. And being willing to slow down to see what is right in front of you. I won't say I've made great strides but...

Last week I was driving home from work and I'm sure I had a lot of things on my mind, especially that "To Do" list that runs rampant in my head. I saw the sun over the ocean near work and thought, "That's pretty," and continued driving. About half-way home I couldn't ignore the beauty any more, turned right, drove down by the cliffs and got out of the car. Luckily I have been carrying my DSLR with me. I did spend some time enjoying the semi-foggy sky, the clouds, the play of the sun on the water, the set of waves coming ashore. The darker it got, the more the cliff stood out in dark relief from the water and the sunset. I was happy to be able to capture (a lot) of photos while enjoying the beauty. This is one of my favorites from that evening.

Sometimes, the dialogue  in my head just needs to be put on silent mode long enough to enjoy the silence. Seek out the beauty in your silence.

January 31, 2015

Yikes! Manual Mode....

Since I did my Project 365 photo early in the day, I had some time to just play with the camera. I decided it was time to put my toes in the water & try Manual Mode. I mostly shoot on Aperture priority - which is a step up from Auto. I want to learn how to control Shutter, Aperture, Exposure, etc. to make the concept of the photo that is in my mind begin to match what I see when I take the picture.

I won't fool you... there were some photos that were way too dark and some that were so light they were completely blown out. I really struggle with the how the shutter numbers I see in the viewfinder translate to what will show up when I hear the "click" and have taken the picture. Then, I remembered something I had read in a post on Click it up a Notch blog about the light meter that I see in the viewfinder. When I stopped worrying so much about the shutter number and worked with the light meter I had much better results. It was a good moment. Here's a link to that post.. Click it up a Notch - How to Shoot in Manual Mode.

I also learned a little bit more about Lightroom & worked with exposure and some presets. I still have a very log way to go with Manual Mode & Lightroom, but everyday is progress.  I'm happy with the results.

These are a couple from today. Let me know what you think!!

January 22, 2015

Weather the Weather

The prompt from my Project 365 Photography Challenge (bethadilly) for today is "weather." Darn it! See I live in Southern CA and as they say, it doesn't rain here (once in a while it does)... or snow, or ice, or get blustery (not really); we don't have tornadoes or hurricanes and only the occasional mudslide or earthquake - which isn't really "weather." So what on earth could I photograph about the weather. It was a little windy this morning, but that died down. Besides, I'm not sure I could photograph wind.

I started thinking about life and how we all have ups and downs. We need to find a way to "weather" the downs & enjoy the ups. That brought to mind some of my tools for "weathering the weather" of the not so great times.. You can see them my photo below. The foundation is my faith - represented by The Hymnal 1982 (Episcopal); my Faith & Blessing bracelets from My Saint My Hero; a custom bracelet from SpiffingJewelry that says "tune my heart to sing thy grace"  is sitting on my Worry Bag (more on that later); and last, but in no way ever least, a photo of my husband.

I have sung in choir in my church(es) since I was about 7 years old. The words and music from The Hymnal speak to me often and I find myself humming (or singing!) the hymns. The custom bracelet is inscribed with the 2nd line from Hymn 686 "Come, thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace!" (Words: Robert Robinson, Music: Nettleton, melody from A Repository of Sacred Music, Part II). I seem to have a constant battle to find the grace in everyday and not let the little frustrations knock me down. The Faith & Blessing bracelets are physical reminders to be thankful for the blessings in my life and to keep the faith when things are hard. My greatest blessing is my husband and his love is a solid rock that I am always grateful for. This photo is also posted on the 2015 Project 365 page.

Now... about the Worry Bag.

In 2002 my husband wasn't feeling all that good & wound up in the ER at our local hospital. He spent over a week in the Intensive Care Unit after being diagnosed with cancer. Before we got the diagnosis and especially after, I found it very difficult to relax and sleep. But I knew I needed sleep desperately. One night I imagined taking all my worries (about his health, his recovery, our finances, the dog, anything at all) and putting them in a little bag. This bag was small but could hold all of my worries, no matter how many or how big. Once I had put each worry in the bag, I visualized closing it and tying the ties. Then I handed the bag to God to hold for me. That way, God had all my worries and I could sleep, knowing that He was taking care of them while I rested to face what would come with the new day.

After a few days I purchased a small bag and tied it to the headboard as a reminder that God could free me from my worries.

I am convinced that handing God my bag of worries is part of how I was able to do all the things that needed to be done while my husband was so ill. It was another way that I found strength. comfort and renewal in a time of great stress. When my husband came home I shared my worry bag with him. It's still there, tied to the headboard almost 13 years later. And still one way I "weather the weather" of life.

The good news... my husband has been in remission since November of 2003!!!

I have shared a Worry Bag and my story with others going through a particularly difficult time.  If you feel the need to share this story and a worry bag with family and friends, please do! But please remember where the story came from and the true author of our grace.

January 18, 2015


This was my first 5 day work week after the holidays. By Friday I was ready for some down time! Saturday was a total relax day - didn't even get out of jammies until about 2:30 in the afternoon when we got ready to go to the movies. We hardly ever go to the movies on a Saturday, but the crowds weren't as bad as we had expected. We saw Unbroken. It was a very good movie and I told Steve after that it makes me want to be a better person. If it makes everyone feel the same way the world would be a better place.

Them it was dinner at Ruby's for fish & chips! I had been craving them for a couple of weeks and we finally satisfied that with some fried fish. Yummy!!

My Project 365 was a bit of a struggle this weekend. I wasn't inspired at all, either in general or by using the bethadilly challenge. But I finally found some subjects. The new photos are here and also posted on the 2015 Project 365 page, with all from this year.


17|365 leading lines

18|365 relax

January 11, 2015

Hello 2015!!

January 11, 2015

Happy New Year !!

I am starting off 2015 by committing to a project 365 project again this year. I know, I know - I didn't get far last year even when I went to a project 52. But, a new camera makes me want to try again.

And I'm following the "bethadilly challenge," from bethadilly photography - she has prompts for the month which gives me a subject for the day. And I can think about it in advance so I have an idea of what to shoot for that day.

View the 2015 Project 365 page to see the latest!

I hope you enjoy!! More later...