Artists Inspired Blog Circle: June | Turquoise

Thalassophile (n.):  A lover of the sea; someone who loves the sea, ocean.  THAT’S ME!  It’s possible that I love the ocean more than I love pizza (which is a LOT).  There are loads (loads!!!!) of articles online about the psychology of color (feel free to Google it, AFTER you read my blog). But, I don’t need to read any of them to know how this month’s color, our final color in the Artists Inspired Blog Circle Color Series, affects my mood. Turquoise makes me calm and happy all in one fell swoop. It’s the color of my favorite parts of the ocean, it’s the color that comforts my soul when we live too far from the sea.  It’s summertime, it’s vacation, it’s a mental-escape.  Turquoise represents communication, clarity of thought, balance & harmony, calmness, idealism, creativity, compassion, healing & self-sufficiency.   In fact, if a soul can be defined in color, mine is the same color as the Caribbean, the tropical Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico.  My soul is turquoise.

Rather than going on and on and on (and on and on and on) about how much I love this color, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite images and quotes instead and a heart-felt thank you for reading this series each month!  We’ll pick this blog circle back up in the fall with a new inspiration theme!

PS. All images were taken on Anna Maria Island, a glorious little hide-away located just south of Tampa, FL.

 

IMG_4846
“The sea always filled her with longing, though for what she was never sure.” ~Cornelia Funke, Inkheart
IMG_4877matte
“The ocean is everything I want to be.  Beautiful, wild, mysterious and free.”  ~Unknown
IMG_5210
“I just want to live happily ever after, every now and then.”  ~Jimmy Buffett
20160713_064025
“I go to the ocean to calm down, to reconnect with the creator, to just be happy.” ~Nnedi Okorafor
IMG_5779
“It takes no more time to see the good side of life than to see the bad”  ~Jimmy Buffett
IMG_5124
“To go out with the setting sun on an empty beach is to truly embrace your solitude.” ~Jeanne Moreau

 

Now that you’ve finished reading my take on this month’s theme, click here to make your way to Elizabeth Willson’s blog to see her interpretation of the color Turquoise.  Once you’re done, continue around the circle to see how other artists’ have been inspired by this color!

Blog Circle Badge1

The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.

Artists Inspired Blog Circle April | Black

There’s a simple black fence surrounding the perimeter of the backyard at my new house.  At first glance, it’s nothing special–just a tool to keep the children & pets corralled in one space where they can play and run a little more freely than they were used to.   Truly, when we knew we were going to move into this house, it’s the only consideration I gave this fence.

As it turns out, there’s a lot more to that simple black fence.  A. LOT.  In the chaos of moving in, we were far too busy to pay much attention to the backyard, other than to acknowledge that it was certainly larger than what we’d previously had (to call our former yard “small” would be deeply generous).  But, once all the boxes were unpacked and all the furniture was arranged, our backyard beckoned and we answered the call.  Soccer balls were spread out for the girls to run and kick, tennis balls tossed around for the pups to play fetch, sprinklers and bubble machines set out for everyone.  A picnic table for family dinners on the patio was set up and pots and pots of flowers, that would hopefully entice bees & butterflies, were planted.  Spring was returning to Northeast Florida and, with it, a feathered friend here and there would land on that boring black fence that was meant to contain children and pets.  Their visits didn’t go unnoticed and, soon, at the urging of my children, up went a bird feeder and with it, more and more and MORE birds came.

I never really intended to become a bird watcher; while I enjoy nature, birds never really piqued my interest until we lived in this house, with it’s, as it turns out, not-so-boring black fence.  To my great surprise, it’s equal parts calming and entertaining.  I have no idea what species of bird I’m looking at most of the time (save for the obvious bluebirds, cardinals and, yes, ducks who squeeze their plump bodies through the fence to rest in my grass), and they don’t need me to know what they are, either.  They’re not here for me.  They’re there for each other and for themselves (and for the food).  They’re there to chatter, to eat, to fight, to sing, to mate, to rest, to play.  And, as much as I’m enjoying watching the cacophony of activity, my children and pets are enjoying it even more and watching them watch it gives me the biggest thrill.  My cat, who has absolutely no use for the outdoors what-so-ever, watches the backyard with a newfound and laser-focused interest.  My eldest comes home from school and eagerly checks to see if the feeder has plenty of food for our evening visitors.  My youngest rushes to the fence-line in the mornings to check on the ducks, egrets, herons and cormorants in the pond just behind the fence, as her ever-loyal pup follows by her side.  My husband lingers on the patio, checking to see what kind of activity is happening at any given time along the fence and I, armed with my camera, sneak out into the yard and hope that they all ignore me and my constant click-click-clicking as I document it all.  And, whether we’re home or not, throughout the day, that black fence serves as a meeting place, or a resting spot, for which ever feathered friend stops by for a visit.

Not too long ago, someone mentioned to me that my new interest in birds made me weird.  But, truth be told, it all seems pretty normal to me.  A normal that I never really knew existed before since we’ve never really had this kind of access to nature, but a normal that I would sorely miss now.  What’s really happened is that, in the middle of a busy life, we’ve slowed down and looked around.  This plain, boring black fence is the backdrop for something wonderful and beautiful and fun.  My backyard is alive with nature now, and every single person in my house benefits from that and my heart is happy as a result.

IMG_2743_edited-1
The sun rising over our simple black fence.
IMG_3194_edited-1
Morning ritual.  Off to check on the birds, and maybe telling a story or two on the way.
IMG_3115
I *do* know what kind of bird this is.  And I’m thrilled with his visits!
IMG_3141
Ok, so we didn’t expect ducks.  But, nonetheless, they’re welcome.
IMG_2903_edited-1
No idea what this is.  But, it’s cute!  And, more importantly, it tolerated me and my camera.
IMG_2910_edited-1
A sweet little bluebird, hard at work preparing for a new family.
IMG_3181
My eldest, making her afternoon trip to the bird feeder to make sure it’s fully stocked.

 

PS.  Should I decide to dress up as an old lady, adopt a British accent, make my way into the backyard with a bag of seed and start to sing “Feed the birds” from Mary Poppins, we can happily revisit the discussion of what may or may not be weird where birds are concerned.

Now that you’ve finished reading my take on this month’s theme, click here to make your way to Elizabeth Willson’s blog to see her interpretation of the color Black.  Once you’re done, continue around the circle to see how other artists’ have been inspired by this color!

Blog Circle Badge1

The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.

Artists Inspired Blog Circle~March | Green

So after all that delicious pizza from last month, now we’re back to colors that aren’t inspiring to me.  haha!  At least, not initially inspirational.   This month, I knew that I didn’t want to write about spring (#alltheallergies #passthekleenex #somuchpollen), and I definitely didn’t want to write about St. Patrick’s Day (#notirish #oradrinker #itsthehangover #imreallyoldforhangovers), so….green was proving tough.  So tough, in fact, that this blog got written 8 hrs before it was set to publish.  Talk about last minute.

Which begs the question….what exactly was I gonna write about this month?  Well, the answer was waiting for me in a folder of images that I took a couple of weeks ago.  Images that I was initially really stoked about, but had forgotten about because life just got in the way, as it tends to do.

Last month, I turned 40 and, I just really didn’t want a party.  At ALL. I’m one of those in-my-pajamas-by-7pm kind of people sooooooo…..yeah.  No party.  What I did want was an adventure.  I love adventure and, as a busy mom to two VERY active kids, that opportunity doesn’t exactly come around that often.  So, I left it up to my husband to plan it and was game for whatever he came up with.  What he came up with took my breath away.  A day on Cumberland Island, in the southeast corner of Georgia was exactly the adventure I needed.  This quiet, minimally developed, oak tree-covered barrier island was, unquestionably, paradise.  Folks, I don’t use this word lightly because, my idea of paradise generally leans toward tropical islands covered with palm trees, not buggy islands covered with oak trees.  Nevertheless, the peace here, the tranquility here, the untouched BEAUTY here all equaled paradise in my book.  Time sort of stands still, there’s no hurry to be anywhere or do anything, noise pollution (if you can even call it that) comes from the rustle of the palmettos as an animal scampers through the woods or from the birds chirping in the branches, or from the wind blowing through the trees or from one of the nearly 300 wild horses, neighing in the distance.  Not from cars, or planes, or trains or from people and, best of all, not from cell phones.  Paradise, unplugged.

And, so, my ode to green this month as a part of the Artists Inspired Blog Circle is just a small glimpse into a wildly peaceful, beautifully rugged adventure that my soul had been craving for far too long.

IMG_1925watermark.jpg
The main road (called Main Road) on the west side of the island.  A Robert Frost poem come to life.  
IMG_1987colorwatermark.jpg
Our mode of transportation around the island.  Equal parts romantic….and exhausting (peddling through soft sand for hours on end is no joke!)
IMG_1938
The Dungeness ruins.  Eerie and captivating, it made for a SUPER fun backdrop for a picnic.  Hit Google to see what this place looked like in it’s hey-day.  It was spectacular.
IMG_1998watermark.jpg
One of the locals.
IMG_2046.jpg
A pretty dapple enjoying a mid-day snack.

Now that you’ve seen a bit of my birthday adventure tinged in green, click here to follow this circle on to see how the wonderfully talented Elizabeth Willson, of It’s Still Life Photography, has interpreted this month’s theme.

 

Blog Circle Badge1

The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.

 

Artists Inspired Blog Circle: February | Red

Welcome to my monthly, color-inspired, entry as a part of the Artists Inspired Blog Circle.  FINALLY, a color that was easy for me!!!  With this blog being published on Valentine’s Day, and then shared to social media shortly thereafter, it was pretty clear that I should dedicate it to my one true love.  The one who makes my heart go pitter-patter.  The one who is the subject of at least 75 of my thoughts on a daily basis.  The one for whom my heart (and stomach) hungers.

PIZZA!

Don’t worry–my husband and children are a close second, but what can I say?  The stomach wants want the stomach wants, and mine wants pizza.  All. The. Time.  For my birthday later this month, my family knows what’s up.  Don’t bother with a cake.  Just bring me a pizza with 40 candles on top.  I’m a purist and pepperoni owns my heart so, today, I give you my photographic love letter to the most perfect & delicious food in the universe:  Pizza (featuring the AMAZING pizza at Via Napoli at EPCOT.  Yeah, you read that right–EPCOT serves up some of the best pizza in Orlando, folks.)

img_0904
Ain’t nobody got time for this.  Bring out the star of the show.  (Just kidding, it was a delicious salad.)
img_0909_edited-1
I’d *planned* to get a shot of the whole pizza, but we ALL love the pizza at Via Napoli so we dug in first.  My youngest’s face sums up my feelings.  Laser focus on the task at hand.
img_0922a
Get. In. My. Belly.
img_0925
Hello lover.
img_0910
Utter sadness as the last piece slides off of the plate.
img_0926_edited-1
We don’t fool around with crusts.  That just takes up valuable real estate in the tummy that pizza could occupy.
img_0930
I’m a proud member of the Clean Plate Pizza Club.  Every time.  And, as for salad, well….I do my best.  But it’s not pizza.

Now that you’ve read about my deep and abiding love for this incredibly delicious, wonderfully perfect food, and before you go order some, head on over to my friend Elizabeth Willson’s blog at It’s Still Life Photography and see how she’s interpreted this month’s theme!

Blog Circle Badge1

The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.

Making Change

It comes in all forms, big and small.  Change your hair, change your clothes, change your address, change your life, etc. Some people love it.  Some people loathe it.  Some people live somewhere in between the two.  It’s the change your address one that I’m most familiar with.  Change is part and parcel of being a member of this family since we move, on average, every 2.5 years.  A new home, city, state, and, maybe even a new country.  If I’m an expert at anything in this life, it’s change.  Generally, I embrace it.   Generally.  Quite unexpectedly, change has happened again.  But, this time, it’s off schedule and out of sync with our “norm.”  Through various circumstances, we’ve moved—again—and this time, not because my husband’s job dictated it, but because our rental home situation, with very little warning, changed.  It’s the change-your-address kind of change all over again, but with a twist.

As a mom of two girls who are 10 years apart in age, change seems to affect my kids in drastically different ways, and yet, if I really look at it, they’re actually worried about the same thing.  To my 13-year-old, change means leaving friends, school, social activities…..everything she knows and loves in this stage of her life.  Usually, she rolls with it really well (to her credit, MUCH better than I would have at that age!) but this time, the idea of moving away from her friends and her school, yet staying in the same general area, broke her heart.  To my 3-year-old, change means the possibility of leaving stuffed animals and toys behind in the old house (despite the fact that I reassured her, at least 48 times a day, that we would pack every single one of them).   When I stop and really listen, though, they’re both worried about the same thing.  Will their “normal” come with us?  That’s a tall order for a mom to answer sometimes, since I don’t always know the answer myself.  This time, I was able to say, without question, that it would.  I was able to say this with such certainty because this time we, quite literally, moved into the home next door, thanks to a little bit of serendipity and some truly wonderful *neighbors who intervened on our behalf in order to keep us in the neighborhood.

So, this time around, our normal just shifted to the left (or the right, depending on which way you’re looking at the houses!).  A literal laundry-basket move; it was exhausting.  My eyeballs hurt at the end of it and my in-laws and I made so many trips back and forth between homes, we wore a path in the grass.  Though everything we own is finally inside the new house, things aren’t quite in all their places yet and everything is waiting (and waiting….and waiting) to be hung on the walls.  Furniture is in different places, rooms are in different locations, nothing is the same but our normal is here.  Nothing changed with my 13 year old’s social life and every single stuffed animal made its way to my 3 year old’s new bedroom and, at the end of the day, that’s all that matters to both of them.  We’re still sitting down for dinner as a family at night and waking up as a family in the mornings, which is all that matters to me.  And, really, it’s what I want to give them:  A soft place to land in the midst of uncertainty and a life that feels “normal,” even if it’s really not.

IMG_1556.jpg
Playing amidst the chaos of packing up the old house.
20170127_112124
Moving into her new room
img_1567
Enjoying a little bit of playtime during a break
img_1573
A long, empty room with a hardwood floor is a HARD thing to pass up

img_1572

img_1586
Work, work, work, work, work
img_1588
Making sure the beds are set up properly
20170204_172707
Reclaiming a sense of normal and baking a birthday cake for their dad
img_1684_edited-1
Back to a routine….

img_1607_edited-1

img_1641
Nap-approved
img_1631
A new yard to play in has been a definite perk!
img_1658
Work space:  Check!

img_1680

img_1714
The attack cat, standing watch.
img_1655
Yep.  Back to “normal.”

Change is a great way to have your life turned upside down.  It’s a great teacher, too, and I find that I always learn something from our change-your-address kinds of change—even one where we didn’t really go very far at all.  So here is what I’ve learned this time:  My kids are more alike than they realize.  Having great neighbors who want to go to bat for you is priceless.  The house that we called home for our first 2 years here was not feeding the soul of my family.  A home filled with sunshine & light, both figurative and literal, is a wonderful place to live.   And, though I learned this a long time ago, it reveals itself to me with each and every move:  A house and a home are not the same things.

*Side note:  That part about my neighbors working to keep us in the neighborhood is kind of huge.  When you move as much as we do, you don’t often feel embraced as a part of a community.  More often than not, people don’t go out of their way to get to know you because they know you’re temporary and, if I’m being honest, it’s easy to fall into the trap of not getting to know neighbors for the exact same reason.  To be embraced by a group of neighbors as we have here has been one of the greatest gifts, and experiences, of living in this area.

Artists Inspired Blog Circle: January | Grey

Hello, dear reader!  Every month (as you’ve likely noticed), I write a blog as a part of a broader blog circle and, each month, we share our take on a different color.  When I started this blog as a whole, I planned to write MORE than once a month.  Then….well, you know the saying.  You make plans, God laughs.  Boy, did he laugh.  I must be a straight up comedy routine at this point.  Life has, more or less, kicked me in the teeth for the better part of 5 months and I’m *still* trying to sort out what His plan is in all of this.  It must be good….or, that’s what I keep telling myself.  So, here we are–a once a month entry (if that!), hoping for something better (more prolific, more profound, even?) in the months ahead.

Grey is a very appropriate color for me these days.  If I could apply a color to how I feel, grey would most definitely be it.  You know that part in Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy steps out of her house when she lands in Munchkinland and the world goes from black & white to glorious color?  Well, that’s me, but the opposite.  Way back in August, I was caught up in a proverbial (and seemingly non-stop) tornado and my world went from color to black & white for a bit. Much like another very famous saying, $hit happens.  And, it kept happening.  “Overwhelmed” might be a good word to use for it, if one were to need a label.  Originally, I’d planned for that to be the focus of this month’s blog (I know it seems like it probably is already!), but, considering that *I* am still trying to figure out what the big-picture plan is here, it didn’t make much sense to try to rationalize it in blog-form just yet, with pictures attached, no less!,when I’m still sitting and waiting and looking and hoping that all the color will soon return.

So, neither myself nor my mess of a life are the subject of this particular blog (because, frankly, that’s just me whining and that’s kind of boring.).  Instead, I did a u-turn and chose to focus on something I love:  the beach.  Which, as it so happens, can be a pretty freaking awesome metaphor for life kicking the crap out of you.

I love (LOVE) a good beach day and I’ll take it any way I can get it.  Of course, most people assume that a “good” beach day is warm and sunny and those are great!  I do so love laying on the sand and soaking up the rays in the warm, warm sun. Ha.  Just kidding.  I’m a mom–I never get to lay on the sand and soak up rays, but you know what I mean.  Good beach day = postcard weather.  To a crazy person (me) with a camera (still me), though, a good beach day means big waves and a moody sky.  There’s a peacefulness that comes with watching the tide ebb and flow, the waves crash on the sand, and the clouds swirl above as they morph into a new shape in the blink of an eye.  There’s also that metaphor:  a day can start out calm enough–a greyish sky, some gentle waves–and before you know it, you’re out in the water, caught in the swell with the clouds deepening and the wind picking up.  You pretend you’re ok, even though it feels a little bit like you might drown.  But, if you’re lucky, you get your feet back on shore and you see that the wind has calmed, the clouds are parting and the sun is returning again.  That’s where I am right now (I think).  Back on the shore.  Taking a breath.  Ready to turn my face to the sun again.

img_4944watermarkimg_7922aimg_7836aimg_3287bwimg_6120bwimg_6020bwimg_5897bw

PS.  I’m aware that I referenced God & swore all in the same blog post.  I’m imperfect.  He loves me anyway.  ❤

Next up in the blog circle is the incomparably talented Elizabeth Willson of It’s Still Life Photography.  Click here to see her take on this month’s theme and then make your way around the circle to see how each of our talented artists tackled this challenge!

Blog Circle Badge1

The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.

Artists Inspired Blog Circle || December || White

Well, hey there!  Have you missed me?  It’s been a minute and, this time, NOT because of writer’s block (trust me, I’ve had plenty to say).  Instead, my long absence from blogging has been much more to do with a whirlwind schedule of a life these past few weeks (months!).  I won’t bore you with the details, especially since some of them are pretty boring.  Nevertheless, I’m back just in time to write for this months Artists Inspired Blog Circle!

This month, our color inspiration is white and if I lived in the northern states, this theme would be super easy and I’d be blogging photos of snow (duh!).  If I lived on the Gulf Coast of Florida, it would *also* be super easy, because I’d tell you alllllllllll about that beautiful sugar-white sand and would have found every excuse in the world to take my camera to the beach.  However, in this corner of Northeast Florida, where it does not snow and the sand is not white, you have to get a little creative when you’re looking for something white AND seasonal to write about (yes, white sand is, in fact, always seasonal, in my opinion).

So, with the absence of white snow and white sand, what’s a girl to do?  The answer was a lot easier than I thought–there’s a whole lot of white associated with Christmas, so I decided to document how much my littlest is enjoying the holiday season, from trips to her favorite candy store, Sweet Pete’s, to a trip to visit Jolly Old Saint Nick where, for the first time, she finally worked up the nerve to talk to him and ask for a bike.  I hope you’re doing the same for your family!  Capture those memories!!

This time of year truly is magical and from me & mine to you & yours, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

img_0598_edited-1img_0553_edited-1img_0591img_0588img_0571img_0614_edited-2img_0683edit_edited-1img_0676edit_edited-2

The Artists Inspired Blog Circle is made up of an exceptionally talented group of photographers from all walks of life, from all over the world. They are wives, mothers, friends, daughters and visual storytellers who draw from their own experiences to create art that is inspiring, unique, beautiful and thought-provoking.  Please click HERE to continue on through the circle and see how the lovely and talented Elizabeth Willson from It’s Still Life Photography interpreted this month’s theme.  ❤

Blog Circle Badge1