Spotting two new birds I've never seen in person... a great way to end 2012, in my opinion



When December rolls around, I begin to fill the bird feeders. I don't have to until then. The birds are busy feeding on bugs and seeds from the rest of the garden. But about December is when the bugs go into hiding and the seeds from the plants get sparse. So the sunflower seeds go into seed feeders and suet goes into the suet feeders.

It is about this time of year that I often see birds I'm not used to seeing here. Because our winters are milder than only just a few hundred miles north, we get visitors that we don't see the rest of the year.

Today, I got the treat of getting to see and photograph two new types of birds that I haven't seen in person before. It was a real treat to see these rare visitors.

Yesterday, when I was sitting on the deck getting sun and giving the garden kitty lots of affection and attention, I spotted a bird and couldn't figure out what it was. I didn't have my camera with me so I had to go off of memory when hunting through my Birds of Northern California book. I couldn't find anything that looked like what I had seen. I felt like one of those people that claims to have seen Bigfoot but didn't have their camera with them. It was maddening.

Today I went out to get my bit of sun for the day (and give attention to the garden kitty) and remembered that I should have my camera with me. So I went back inside, mounted the telephoto lens on my camera body, and headed back out. It wasn't any time at all before I was rewarded with a sighting of a white-breasted nuthatch climbing around on things in a gravity-defying way. I was so excited! On the packaging of the suet I buy, there's a picture of a nuthatch. But I've never seen a nuthatch in my garden... until today!

Then as if on cue, the same kind of mystery bird I saw yesterday flew down and landed not far from the nuthatch on the fence. They were both negotiating who would be eating next from the cylindrical suet feeder with the "peanut butter and jelly" flavored suet (the exact suet with the nuthatch on the packaging). I was so excited! I would finally have photographic evidence of this mystery bird. Hallelujah! I wasn't in the "Bigfoot camp" anymore!

After I uploaded the shots to my computer, I started hunting through my Birds of Northern California book again. It was maddening. Again, I couldn't find one like it. It's often hard to identify birds from my book because the pictures are artist renderings and not photos. Then I spotted one that might be a possibility. I googled the name "yellow-rumped warbler". Hazah! That was it! The photos on the internet look very different than the one artist rendering in the book. I'm surprised I figured it out. 

I read about the yellow-rumped warbler and my book says, "Although [they] do not breed in northern California, they are commonly seen along the Pacific coast in the migration and during winter." Okay! That explains my sighting perfectly.

What a great way to finish out the year, I say.


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Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Each and every one of you are important to me and Hubby. We send you the very best wishes for a Merry Christmas full of love and laughter and the making of happy memories.
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Finding blood oranges, bird feathers and periwinkle in the garden today




With the sun shining brightly today, I went out to refill the bird feeders with black oil sunflower seeds. The birds waited somewhat impatiently perched on the limbs above my head as I filled each one. Back and forth I went from the garden bench where the big sack of seeds sat to the branches of the cherry tree--taking down each feeder, filling it and then putting it back up again.

On the flagstones under my feet I noticed a feather. I usually don't find fallen feathers (the birds like to keep them for themselves) so it caught my eye. And the beauty of the striking markings on the feather caught my eye as well.

Every time I walked by the feather, I was careful not to step on it.

After I was done filling the feeders, I stooped down to pick up the feather and examine it more closely. It looked like it may have come from a scrub jay... or maybe a mockingbird. The silver grey had a slight blue tinge to it.


I carried the feather with me as I took one last lap around the garden with my gathering basket slung over my arm. I picked a few more mandarins that felt soft to the touch and ready to enjoy. I checked the lemons but didn't find any soft enough to pick. I stopped and took a look at the crop of blood oranges growing on the dwarf Morro blood orange tree and found only one soft enough to harvest.

On my way back up the path to the house, I noticed that a single periwinkle blossom was out--its brilliant blue striking against the other greens and greys of the bed it was nestled in against the fence. Many more blossoms will follow so I decided to pick it and bring it in with the rest of the "precious" things I'd gathered in my basket.

Bringing in the treasures I'd found, I felt a bit like a little kid. And I felt even more childlike wonder cutting open the exotic looking blood orange with it raspberry colored juices dripping out. As I opened the fruit and held it in my hand, the afternoon sunlight streaming in the window reflected off every facet of the ruby innards of the fruit. And I knew I had to photograph it.


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There's the idea of the magic of a white Christmas and then there's the reality



I will readily admit it. When it comes to snow I'm a total wimp. I hate it. No... loathe would be a better word. 

Snow sounds very good in theory. The thought of a white Christmas seems so magical. Maybe if I could have snow on just Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (snow that didn't kill all my sub-tropical plants in the garden), I'd like it. But once Christmas was done, I'd want someone to come and roll it all up and take it away, giving me back the mild climate I've grown to love here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

If I really want to see snow, I only have to drive about 3 hours and I'll be in the winter wonderland of the high Sierra Nevada mountains where snow bunnies and snowboarders flock to ski slopes throughout the colder half of the year. Sometimes, even our own mountain and hills are capped in lovely white so that when I crest the hill on the road that takes me out of our little niche, I see a majestic white peak dominating the panoramic scene before me.

But I don't want snow anywhere near me or my garden.





I tell people that I did my time.

Years of my childhood were spent in the harsh cold that envelopes the Rocky Mountains. At well above a mile high in elevation (almost 8,500 ft to be exact) snow could come as early as September and as late as June. I walked to and from the school bus stop in it for a half mile every school day as a little girl. I spent several Easter Sundays hunkered down inside as a blizzard raged outside keeping our family home from church. I spent many nights with my family huddled around a fireplace burning kerosene lanterns because the power was out from downed power lines due to heavy snow. As a little girl I read Laura Ingalls' book "Little House in the Big Woods" for the first time and could relate very well. Snow was real. It wasn't magical. It was a harsh reality for 9 months out of the year.

Yes... I did my time in the snow. I am not wistful for the proverbial white Christmas. I'll take the foggy Christmases of the Bay Area any day.
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Tis the season to harvest sweet and juicy mandarins off our tree

The delightful smell of mandarin peel oil has been on my hands all afternoon and evening. There's no way to hide it. I can't possibly sneak around pretending that I didn't eat the first fruit of the season harvested off our little dwarf Kinnow mandarin tree. I'm like a kid with chocolate all over her face after eating a Hershey's bar. There's no way to be sneaky or deny it with this sweet pungent goodness wafting from my hands.


I harvested the first mandarin and ate it right there out in the garden--tossing the peels in the iris bed at the base of the olive tree.

I was making sure the fruit was ready before picking any others. Honestly I was.

After I determined that the mandarins were ripened to perfection, I harvested the two largest ones and brought them inside for Hubby (he loves them).

With one in each outstretched sweetly pungent hand, I immediately said, "Look at what I have for you!"

He was appropriately dazzled by my offering. He didn't notice that I smelled of evidence of my "crime".  The mandarins were set in a place of honor on his cutting board in the kitchen to be enjoyed after dinner.


Later in the day I decided I wanted to photograph the two I'd harvested (they were so beautiful I couldn't help myself). When I was setting up to photograph them, Hubby had to make a quick run to the hardware store. While he was gone I finished my set-up and started shooting the photos. I couldn't complete my shoot unless I had pictures of a peeled mandarin. Without hesitation I peeled one of them and that wonderful aromatic oil squirted all over my fingertips.

Ahhh... heaven.

Of course I had to eat a slice that wasn't being used in the staging. I had to. Okay, it was two slices... or maybe three.

Hubby came home before I was finished and passed by my studio doorway. "It smells like mandarins in here," he exclaimed and peeked in to see what I was doing.

"I'm just taking photos of your beautiful mandarins, Honey," I said, "I had to peel one of them to get the shots."

I failed to tell him I'd eaten some of his precious mandarin--the loving offering I'd ceremoniously brought him just a few hours before.  I feel a bit guilty...

...but it was so good.



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Instead of "breading" the cat, we prefer "Abe-ing" the cat. It's far more dignified.


Click here to find out

DISCLAIMER: We think breading isn't a very nice thing to do to a cat. However, "Abe-ing" Dee Dee for this photo was something she thoroughly enjoyed. She sat and watched me make the hat while Hubby narrated to her what I was doing. She was quite excited to get all the attention. I cut out spaces in the brim of the hat for her ears, so she was unfazed once we set the hat on her head for a quick photo shoot with the iPhone. She's such a diva that she loved being cooed over.
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Filling our home with winter whites and fresh greens


It's been a few years since I've felt up to decorating for Christmas. Usually, Hubby gets out a few select decorations from the attic that will add some festive feeling to our little home but won't require a lot of clean-up once the holiday season is over.

This year I'm feeling peppy and also inspired by some of the ideas I've found on Pinterest. I discovered that every time I saw a photo of Christmas decorations with live mini trees and fresh greens, I was pinning it to either my December board or my Pale Pretty Christmas board. I was particularly inspired by a photo from A Cottage Nest (click here to see it).

I finally asked Hubby if we could depart from getting out the same-old-same-old from the attic and do something different based on what I'd been liking. He was totally up for it.

In fact, it was on Hubby's suggestion that we spend our Friday night date night (the last day of November) hunting for exactly what we needed, so I could decorate on Saturday. I'm telling you, I'm married to a total sweetie!


We hit several stores on Friday evening (I'm a power shopper that gets in, looks, and gets out rather quickly from a store). We were really happy that we were able to find all the sweet little trees at super low prices as well as five of the seven containers we needed at discount stores (two we already had). We even found a beautiful new mirror at an unbelievably low price and then got an additional 20% off because it was dinged a bit on the corner. Sweet!

On Saturday, we hung the mirror over the mantle first (I measured and Hubby set the anchors). Then we headed out to find the last few little items we needed including greens, a bag of cinnamon-scented pinecones and a set of sparkly silver LED candles (an open flame would be a fire hazard among the trees).

We picked up the fresh greens at a local tree lot that had extra branches from trimming the trees they had sold. Once we got them home, I wired together the larger boughs to create the garland for the hearth and a swag for the front door. I used the smaller sprigs to tuck around and between the tree containers on the mantle.

The cats were loving all the fresh greens. I let them sniff, chew, and lick the boughs before I started constructing anything with them (yes, Dexter licks evergreens--even fake ones). Lucy went nuts for the bag of cinnamon pinecones and rubbed all over it like it was catnip. She didn't give up her claim to the pinecones for quite some time. She finally got bored and wandered off after a while so I was able to place the pinecones last. I left some down low for them to sniff and enjoy.

The cats don't climb up on the mantle, so we can have these Christmas trees without incident. This is a wonderful alternative to having a cat in the Christmas tree multiple times a day from now until New Year's Day. We get the wonderful smell of Christmas in our home without the hassle of having to redecorate the tree every morning after a night of feline fun with the enticing baubles and sparklies they can't leave alone.

Now it really and truly looks and smells like Christmas here in our little home! It's been great starting out December like this.


Trees from largest to smallest:
"Dwarf Alberta Spruce" (Picea glauca 'Conica')
"Ellwood Cypress" (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Ellwoodii')
"European Tree" (also marked Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Ellwoodii' 
but looking very different than the taller cypress)
Center "tree" is a rosemary plant cut like a Christmas tree
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"A room without books is like a body without a soul" ~ Cicero


Today is a rainy day... a pouring-down-buckets-of-rain kind of day.

Many years ago, I fondly remember another day just like today when a dear friend said it was the perfect weather for Jane Austen and introduced me to Pride and Prejudice.

This image is dedicated to her and the wonderful literary-themed experiences we've had. I cannot think of Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, opera, or the above quote without thinking of her.

This is for you, Holly.
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The permanence of a handful of tiny white shells


When I see the small white canister covered in scrollwork on my shelf I know what's inside--tiny little seashells as big as my pinky fingernail. All of them are a pearly white except one.

This little canister has been around for as long as I can remember. And I've always known what it contained. It has always been so.

I remember it being one of the precious treasures found in one of my mom's dresser drawers--the jewelry and scarf drawer. This treasure, along with a solid cedar jewelry box full of sparkly baubles priceless only to a child, fascinated me. I never got in trouble going into the drawer and poking about. I usually left things the way I found them once I was done. I loved the woody-musky aroma of cedar that permeated everything in the drawer--especially the soft chiffon scarves I would wrap around my head or neck or hold up to my nose to breathe the scent in deeply. Often, I would pick up the canister and lightly shake it to hear the faint rattle of the shells inside. Very rarely, I opened it to see them. I was mostly satisfied just knowing they were there.

I don't know where the shells came from. I don't know how old they are. I just know they've always been there.




Now the canister is mine. It sits on a shelf in my studio above my head as I type this. It is a silly treasure only precious and priceless to me.

I rarely open it. I sometimes shake it lightly to hear the shells inside. I'm satisfied knowing they are still there.

Yesterday, I opened them and gently let them spill out onto my worktable so I could photograph them. One fell on the floor, and I couldn't see it right away. I searched for it frantically as if a 2 karat diamond had fallen from my grasp. I found it camouflaged in the pattern of my area rug. Whew! I placed it with the others. I took the photographs and then carefully put them all back in and screwed the top on tight.

Now I can look at the shells any time I want by looking at the photograph. Or I can reach up and gently shake the canister on the shelf above me. Either way, I'll be content knowing they are there.



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Culinarily speaking... there are my dreams and then there's my reality


I am always discovering new recipes in vintage cookbooks, pamphlets, magazines, books and, now, on Pinterest. The thought of making culinary delights thrills something deep inside me and makes my heart skip a beat. I just got a new copy of Frances Mayes latest book The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen and it seems that every page I read makes that flutter inside my chest happen.  It all sounds so wonderful... the process of making something with my own hands and then giving it to loved ones to enjoy and savor as we chat, laugh, and create memories while sitting around a big table laden with the dishes that once held my culinary creations.

There's just one problem... I don't cook.


I've resorted to creating a board on Pinterest called "Want to Try It (Food)" (which is really code for "Honey, can you make this?").

Hubby is a culinary genius in the kitchen. Early in life he aspired to being a chef and has the skills to be one of the best of the best. But he also dreamed of having a wife and family and made a conscious decision that being a chef would require hours away from that dreamed-of wife and family that he wanted more than he wanted the dream of being a chef. So he became a technology guru instead, and I (the wife that finally came along) now get to enjoy all his chef-i-ness for myself.

I'm spoiled. I'll admit it. I rarely have to cook dinner. And most of the time Hubby even plates my dinner like I've ordered it at a restaurant. His talent for creating a beautiful plate of food is amazing. I always want to photograph his plate after we've gone through the line at our favorite salad bar restaurant, because it's so beautifully arranged and colorful.

I guess we have a sort of partnership (at least I like to think we do). Like a bloodhound, I go out and find the recipes to inspire him, and then Hubby makes the recipe come to life in a mouth-watering way I cannot begin to achieve.

I've tried. I really have. I love Olive Garden's chicken fettucini alfredo. I found the official recipe for their alfredo sauce online through Pinterest. I decided I was going to make it. Hubby was skeptical (cream sauces are daunting). I charged ahead with a full head of steam and all the ingredients laid out on the countertop. How hard could it be? As long as I have the recipe, I'm golden, right?

Wrong.

The resulting dish didn't taste like Olive Garden's creamy divinity that I love. It tasted like eggs.

I gave up after that.




This last week, Hubby kindly made a bacon and cheese quiche recipe I had pinned on my Pinterest board. Well, actually he used the Pinterest recipe as the base for a recipe that he made up on the fly that would be more healthy for me to eat. In the end, it was beyond fantastic! I had never tasted anything better... until a couple of days later when he remade it with a couple more tweaks (the addition of swiss cheese and green onions). Holy cow, it was even better than the first one!

Oh yeah... I am SO spoiled!

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Sometimes it's hard to believe some things are possible

I've long been a fan of digital collage artists and designers such as Wendy Paula at Mulberry Muse (I've admired Wendy's French-inspired work for years), but I never had the courage to try my hand at it... until today.

Possessing the technical knowledge (and tools) necessary to build a collage piece hasn't really been my issue. The process of finding just the right vintage illustrations to combine together just always seemed daunting. I just didn't believe I could actually do it. I finally decided last night I should just try it--determining that if I failed, I could fail privately and no one would know the difference.

I really wanted to do something Christmas-y. I found a lovely antique fashion plate of a woman in gown trimmed in red. That was a good start.


Then I had to put in her a setting. I wanted something a bit on the whimsical and fanciful side. I thought it would be neat to have her walking through a snowy forest. I went over the Graphics Fairy blog to hunt around and see if she had anything I could use. She did! What I found was a bonus, because I had also envisioned incorporating a reindeer or moose image too.


As I set to work on the long process of digitally restoring, enhancing, and altering the antique images, a story began to form in my mind. Here's the story that unfolded as the digital collage came to fruition...
On Christmas Eve, the annual festive holiday ball was being held at the estate of one of the wealthiest families in the county. Close to midnight, the belle of the Christmas ball walked out onto the veranda for some air. 
Just off the veranda was a pretty-ish sort of wilderness. The newly fallen snow reflected the light of the full moon and glistened back at the twinkling lights of the ballroom.  
As the belle stood alone at the edge of the veranda, she thought she heard the soft jingle of sleigh bells coming from within the forest. Her ears must be deceiving her, she thought. The horses and sleighs that had carried all the guests to the ball were housed in the stables far away on the other side of the estate. 
The belle was flushed from dancing and the glowing fire in the hearth of the ballroom. She didn't feel the chilly nip in the air on her bare arms as she stepped off the veranda into the edge of the woods to investigate.  
Only a few steps into the snow-covered thicket, she was greeted by a timid yet curious reindeer. She should have been frightened, but she was not. Why she wasn't, she didn't know--she just knew she was enveloped by a calm serenity. The reindeer lowered its head and gently nuzzled the belle's outstretched gloved hand. 
Just then the belle heard a rustle and the faint jingle of sleigh bells again. From behind a tree not far away, she thought she heard a soft and jolly baritone chuckle. 
"Could he really be real?" she asked herself, "Can I really believe?" 

Free ecards or invites


Personalized Christmas cards
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The phenomenon of autumn and winter roses

"Montezuma"


Each rosebush in the garden is a little different in its tastes and preferences as far as sun and water go. Each one blooms at its preferred time during the year as well. When I first embarked on planting roses, I had no idea that there would be so much diversity in blooming times--nor did I anticipate the majority of the roses would be giving me an "encore bloom" as the outside temperatures cooled toward the end of the year.

Consistently every year, as the dryness and heat of summer slips into the toasty days of September and early October the roses begin to look a bit peaked and tired. My brain is okay with that because it is turning autumn after all.

But then the first autumn rains come and something miraculous happens to the roses... they bloom as if it's May again.

Mystery rose (was mislabeled as "Sterling" when I bought it)

After 12 years of watching this phenomenon happen, I'm beginning to expect it instead of being surprised by it. It still seems like a miracle to me though and never ceases to delight me.

The temperatures continue to get cooler and cooler throughout the month of November (our overnight temps are now dipping into the 40-45F (4-7C) range. But the roses seem to get happier and continue to bloom and will continue to do so until Christmas Day when I've learned I can always count on roses in bloom for the holiday.

"Janice Kellogg"


There are subtle differences between the autumn and Christmas blooms and the earlier blooms of spring and early summer. The autumn buds are smaller and tighter--often darker in color. The buds take longer to open and when they do the petals are often more crepe-like with variegation and patterns that weren't there in the spring.

"Sheer Magic"

I have one rosebush (a mystery rose that was here before we were) that refuses to bloom all summer. It loses all its leaves as if it was winter. Then when autumn rolls around, it begins to get foliage again and by December and January it is putting out its lovely pale pink teacup-sized blossoms for me to enjoy in the midst of a fairly dormant winter garden. It is really delightful to have that special gift every year at a time that is hard for me because the days are short and the sun often hides behind a low marine layer of clouds.

This is what I still have to look forward to as Christmas Day draws nearer...

The winter-blooming pink mystery rose on Christmas Day 2007

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We know winter is not far away



When a pointy-nosed energetic kitty
Takes time to stop her playing and cavorting
To hunker down on a warm lap
Under a fuzzy blanket...
We know winter is not far away.
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Being a stationery designer means I have to think about a holiday long before everyone else does


I've said it before... I love designing stationery. There's only one downside to it. I have to be thinking about a holiday LONG before everyone else. I have to be in a "Christmas-y mood" months before I necessarily feel like it.

I try to release at least one new design for every major holiday every year. This year I've had a design in mind for my 2012 Christmas release for quite some time now. The problem was the more I mulled it around in my head, the more elaborate it got. After I discovered the fantastic paper art of Kevin Kidney, the design in my head got even more elaborate (click here to check out his great blog post on making a Christmas poster). It reached a point where I intended on handcutting every element of the design out of paper, mounting it just right, lighting it just right and then photographing it.

Then visions of trying to do all of this with the "help" of my feline studio companions, combined with their stray hairs and the inevitable creative meltdown that would ensue started to pervade my thoughts.

I was at a creative standstill (it happens to me often). So the design wasn't getting done and the time to release something in time for people to use it for the 2012 holiday season loomed closer.

Yesterday, I finally decided to break down and just do it. I figured I could create a similar look digitally (it wouldn't be near as cool as Kevin Kidney's, but OH WELL!).

I ended up visualizing the pieces the same as if I was going to cut them out of paper, except I created them as digital vector shapes instead. I did all the letters in Illustrator (a major feat for me) and then brought them into PS3 and did the Santa shapes with the rudimentary vector tools in PS3 and was just as happy with the result (if not happier).

Once I had finalized the art. I started incorporating it into various layout versions for different stationery styles.

First, a simple no-message layout for sending as a free ecard at pingg.com (for an added fee you can have it delivered in a cute digital envelope like the one below):

Then I did a layout to send as a free photo ecard at pingg.com so people can add their own photo to personalize it:
I did another version of the layout so someone could include a personalized message on the free ecard at pingg.com:

Pingg.com also does a cool printing and mailing service called "postal pinggs" (click here to learn more about "postal pinggs"). So for people who want to send out printed Christmas cards, all my above pingg layouts can be sent that way by pingg.com.

And, finally, I did a layout for a printed photo card for my zazzle shop, Rosehaven Cottage Stationers:

If anyone is interested in a DIY personalized printable file, I will make that available too.

Now my 2012 Christmas design is finally out of my head and available for other people to enjoy. You can't imagine what a huge relief this is for me. Now I can sit back and look forward to Thanksgiving instead of being haunted by visions of paper Santas being pawed at and chewed by naughty kitties... just a tad different from the sublime visions of sugar plums dancing in one's head.
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Blogging and the joy of looking for "ladybug moments" in my life


My good blogging friend Jen at Muddy Boot Dreams asked three blogging questions in a recent post. Her questions are:
1. The main reason I blog is _____________________________? 
2. Blogging is part of my life, how much of a part is it? _____________________. 
3. I use blogging to ______________________________ in my life?

After reading her questions, I started thinking... a lot.

"What are my answers to these questions?" I kept asking myself.

With these questions swirling around in my head, I went on throughout my day doing the things I needed to get done on my "to do" list. One of my "to do's" was to send out inspirational letters to women in my church congregation that are unable to join us regularly. I have three women that I write to on a monthly basis as part of the visiting teaching program of the women's Relief Society in our congregation. Every month I hunt for a quote that I feel will resonate with them in some way. Sometimes I write the quote in a store-bought card and sometimes I create the card from start to finish. It's always a bit of a challenge finding the right quote. I always search with a prayer in my heart.

I found the quote I wanted (above) and then decided to pair it with a photo I took 5 years ago on a short trip I made with my mom to find some fall color north of us. We were winding up a less-traveled highway through a canyon filled with brilliant colored fall leaves. At one point we pulled over so I could take some shots. That's when I found the ladybug walking on the brilliant orange leaves of an oak tree sapling. It was there as if it was waiting for me to take the shot.

As I continued working on the card I would print and send out, I reflected on Jen's questions as well as the quote and the photo. The swirling thoughts began to come together. By the end of the process, I had my answers to Jen's questions.



The main reason I blog is...
The main reason I blog is to capture those moments that have made me feel grateful and brought me true joy. The moments are fleeting and can be easily missed--just like seeing a tiny ladybug crawling across an autumn leaf. I photograph things the same way. Here on my blog I write the words that are in my head about the moment I tried to capture photographically. If I don't write it down, it can easily be lost in the bustle of life, and then it's gone. That glimmering feeling that made my heart sing with pure joy for just a second or two would be lost if I didn't write it here.



Blogging is a part of my life... how much of a part is it?
Blogging is a constant undercurrent in my life because I approach it a lot like journaling. I try to capture vignettes and "ladybug moments" that are real and special so I can share them with my Hubby who is often at work when these moments happen. He's my best friend in the whole world and most of my blog posts are for him so he can feel connected to this place we love and cherish.



I use blogging to ??? in my life
I use blogging to stay grounded in what matters most in my life. The exercise of capturing those moments of joy and then showing my appreciation by recording them here on my blog keeps a sense of childlike wonder alive inside of me. In the New Testament of the Bible in Matthew 18:3-4 it says:
"...Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
I believe that there is so much God wants to bless me with including insights into my real potential from His perspective. I am His child. He is my Heavenly Father in every sense of the title "Father". I believe that if I strive to see my life as if through the eyes of a child, He can share so much more with me than if I get bogged down in being a grownup.

Somehow trying to capture "ladybug moments" to share with Hubby keeps me from getting too bogged down in the mire of being an adult. Finding the magical moments to embrace, cherish and then share them with Hubby (and everyone else who reads my blog) in the hope that he (and you) can embrace and cherish those moments too, keeps that childlike spark alive and flickering inside me despite the winds and storms of life that try to snuff it out.

Come what may, I will continue to look for "ladybug moments" wherever I go. If I have my camera, I'll photograph the moments as best I can to capture the essence of that special blip in time. And I will continue to record them here on my blog... if for no one else than for me and Hubby.




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The rains have come... autumn has officially arrived


After much anticipation, the rains came late Sunday night. And suddenly it is autumn.


The refreshing moisture comes in big drops, 
washing away the dust of summer and leaving everything clean and shiny bright.



Roses the size of teacups become teacups themselves
as the rain collects in the curves of their petals.



Every divot, nook and cranny turns into the tiniest of reflecting pools.


The sun-loving bougainvillea finally gets a chance to feel raindrops on her 
before her leaves fall at the first sign of frost.


The tropical beauty of the canna lily leaves get the same privilege as well.


The sun peeks through as one weather system moves past us to the east--
possibly bringing snow to those much farther inland than we are. 

Then the garden waits for the next rainstorm to blow in off the Pacific.

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