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.

Advertisements

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.

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

Give Me The Gold of the Setting Sun–Artists Inspired Blog Circle

Our blog circle theme for the month of September is Gold.  I’m not gonna lie, inspiration didn’t exactly wash over me.  It didn’t even trickle over me.  I had to wait.  And think.  And wait (and wait and wait and wait) some more.  “What. The. CRAP. am I gonna write about and how am I going to tie that to the color gold?” is basically what kept running through my mind.  (Incidentally, the possibility of running out of things to talk about is exactly why I was hesitant to start a blog to begin with.  And, look at me, writer’s block just 3 entries into it.  Impressive.)  So, I pushed this theme and project aside.  I got up from my computer (since it was being an uninspiring jerk, anyway) and I played with my kids.  I read a book, I watched some trashy TV, I went for a run (that I am definitely not in good enough shape to do), I decided to never go for another run again, I played with my kids some more and I watched some sunsets, which is just about my favorite way to end the day.  Hoooooo-leeeeeeeeeeee Crap.  The sunset is GOLD!  The angels sang & inspiration finally arrived!  I LOVE SUNSETS.  I am so fully mesmerized by the things that happen at sunset; the way the day eases it’s way into night, they way people on a beach, busy with everything, become silently captivated, the way backyards become more inviting, the way the neighbors meander out into their driveways so the kids can play, the way the neighborhood comes alive with conversation and laughter and fellowship….the way life becomes so, SO beautifully lit!  At the end of the day, give me the gold of the setting sun.

 

Give me the gold of the setting sun,

The sky on fire,

The horizon ablaze.

Give me the breathless moments,

The watching,

The waiting,

The anticipation of the day’s last gasp.

Give me the golden hours,

The golden days,

The golden moments,

The golden years that soon will pass.

And when it has finally set and gone,

Give me the glorious colors of the

Day that is done.

Give me the gold of the setting sun.

IMG_4481IMG_4502

Click on any (or all!) of the images above to see full-sized versions and then, once you’re done, click here to see how the wonderfully talented Elizabeth Willson of It’s Still Life Photography has interpreted this month’s theme.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and this month’s theme was chosen specifically to support that initiative and if you continue far enough into this circle, you’ll see, through the eyes of a very brave Momma, what it’s like to watch your child fight through this battle.  Want to know more about ways you can help?  Click here.

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.

A story about the color blue…..

I have a confession to make.  I am a brown-eyed girl.  Actually, not even brown.  It’s really more of an amber color.  In my younger years, I didn’t exactly love the color—at all!  And, as most brown-eyed girls are wont to do, I spent a good chunk of my adolescence wishing for blue eyes. In fact, I went through a spectacularly classy blue contact lens phase in the 90s.  It was……terrifying.  At the time, though, I truly believed I was living on the cutting edge of high fashion.  To my great dismay, pictures tell a MUCH different story.  The reality is, I was just meant to be an amber-eyed individual.  Truth be told, now, as an adult, I love my eye color.  It isn’t one that you often see, and I fully embrace the uniqueness of the color (even if a boy did once tell me that they were the color of diarrhea.  Hopefully he’s since improved his compliment game.).   I certainly didn’t arrive at this level of acceptance quickly, though.  In fact, I didn’t get over myself until I had a child of my own. Continue reading “A story about the color blue…..”