Path – First Path Photograph of 2017

The Woodland Path - January 6, 2017
The Woodland Path – January 6, 2017

I recently blogged about “The Path‘ series of photographs I took a few years ago. The object was to take a photo of the same stretch of woodland path once a week. I was very diligent through the winter, but slacked off when Spring arrived. This year I chose an area that is a five minute walk from my home. I hope to take a photo once a week and post it on the sidebar of this blog.

Project – Charcoal Sticks

IMG_7455

When straight wind storms blew through this year, they brought down hundreds of small sticks from the trees surrounding our yard. We collected these and used them in a campfire. Forgotten, the remains lay in the fire pit and weathered for a few weeks. Oh my! Imagine my surprise when perfect sticks of charcoal for artwork caught my eye.

IMG_7456

A quick autograph of my initials on the surrounding fire pit bricks assured me they were art-worthy.

IMG_7457

I collected a good amount and brought them into the house.

IMG_7500

Although I haven’t created art with charcoal in years, I’m eager to give the homemade sticks a try. There might be a bit of frustration involved since the thinner sticks break easily, but hey, it’s an endeavor that won’t cost me more than a sheet of paper.

A good example of charcoal art can be viewed in the following video:

Purpose – Plucking the Moon & Stars in 2015

WordPress Photo Challenge: “Possibility. Opportunity. Potential. As another year gets underway, let’s celebrate the new.”

reachforthemoon

“It’s the first photo challenge of 2015, and the theme is ‘new.’ Cliché? Perhaps, but clichés develop for a reason. For many of us, the year’s beginning is time to take stock of the past and plan for the future; this week, let’s get excited about those plans by celebrating what’s new.”

I know, I know…another cliche`, but sometimes cliches` are “Just what the doctor ordered.” (Discerning in advance much eye-rolling here from post readers.) Yes, I’m going to say it…one of my goals is “Reaching for the moon this year” (More eye-rolling and cheesy grin too!)

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Why let your heart be earthbound my friends? Reach for the heavens, open your heart to the Father of Creation. Raise your arms to the sky and let your first goal be praising the Lord every day. Hallelujah!

“Let us lift up our heart with [our] hands unto God in the heavens.” 

Lamentations 3:41

Photograph taken at Turkey Point Lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay.

Paths – Who We Really Are

 

What might surprise many of you about me is that in my mid-fifties I grew to love many of the late Bob Marley’s songs. My husband would affirm the fact that I have said to him many times, “I think Bob Marley’s song “Three Little Birds,” is almost Biblical. This is my favorite of all his songs. When I am stressed, I sing the song to myself, usually out loud. I don’t care who hears me. When I play the CD both of my grandchildren, who are babies still, raise their arms to have Nanny lift them up and sway with them to and fro while the sweet music plays.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27

You might also laugh a bit if you knew that at times I compose a self-portrait of myself in my mind…a pre-painting daydream, and I am in Jamaica, sitting in front of a little blue cottage with a lavender door, snapping a bowl of green beans. I’m wearing a long colorful skirt and bright top. My feet are bare and my hair is white and waving in crazy bends and dips all around my head. (If I don’t dry my hair it does exactly this…it is not white yet, but it is changing over in a hurry) There are goats nearby keeping the grass down. Chickens are running all over the yard, and of course there are lazy cats on the windowsills and at my feet. There might even be a little donkey in the picture. There is an amazing garden, full of flowers and vegetables, and most important, three little birds upon my doorstep. If you listen closely, beyond the sweet singing of the birds you can hear the soft waves of the ocean. Someday, even if I never live out the vision in actuality, I am hoping to paint my daydream, a little slice of who I would like to be.

So, a bit of a surprise perhaps about who the writer of this blog is in her heart. Here’s a little known fact about Bob Marley’s life:Bob Marley Converted to Christianity

Paths & Phavorites – Creative Fun/Lunapic

I’m going to start off by giving you the link to this terrific site. It’s free and you will become addicted to altering your digital photographs with the filters and effects it offers. The sites is called: Lunapic You can reach the site by clicking on the name.

I started with a picture of a hibiscus flower I took in Jamaica.

IMG_0781

Here are some of the ways I played: Create a Border

hib1

Use stars for a border:

hib2

Create a unique dollar bill:

hib 4

Design a Christmas ornament:

hib 5

Put in some lightening streaks:

hib 6

A filmstrip is a nice look:

hib3

Even a kaleidoscope is possible:

hib 7

Pardon my cliche, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many creative ways to “doll-up” your pic. Give it a try!

Paths – Heislerville, Delaware Bay, Bird Nesting Grounds Part Two

IMG_0962

We enjoyed this terrific bike trail that led along the river/bay. Cedar trees stood in a row like a line of sentinels guarding the pathway.

IMG_0963

We stopped when we glimpsed fish jumping out of the water. You can just barely see the outline of the fish in the photo. It is spawning at the edge of the little peninsula of land jutting out into the water. The fish were quite large. A passerby told us he thought they might be Stripers. They appeared to be making nests in the shallows.

Information on Striped Bass

IMG_0965

This enormous cedar tree was at the end of the trail. I thought it look magical, the root system had risen out of the ground creating a look of antiquity. I would love to know how old the cedar is. The lot it stands on is for sale, oh my, I would buy the whole lot just for the tree if I could. If you ever visit this area of southern New Jersey bring your bike and binoculars.

Paths – Heislerville, Delaware Bay, Bird Nesting Grounds Part One

IMG_0943

We camped last night and traveled on today to Heislerville, NJ, on the Delaware Bay. As we approached we were intrigued by an odd looking island of dead trees. As we drove closer we realized the strange growths on the tree limbs were actually nesting herons and egrets. I have never seen a sight quite like it in all the years of my life. There were bird-watchers along the road with large cameras and binoculars. It really was a spectacular sight.

IMG_0942

Here is an example of one of the birds nesting on the island, a great white egret.

IMG_0945

IMG_0946

There were other birds in the vicinity too, some lovely swans, and smaller shore birds. Also, as always, the ever-present gulls and their raucous cries. The experience of the shore would not be complete for me without the sound of gulls in the air.

IMG_0948

IMG_0964

IMG_0957

Paths & Pets – Paths of Joy/ Cat Grass

A path in life that often leads to joy for many people is having a pet. I have two cats…one a large, very large, Maine Coon Cat. The other, a golden/orange tabby, is named Hans. I want to keep them as healthy as possible through what I hope are very long lives. When the younger cat begin biting the leaves of my philodendrons I knew he might be craving greens. Philodendrons are a definite danger to animals. Ingesting them can poison their system.

IMG_0896

Available alongside flower and vegetable seed packets at this time is oat grass, or as it is sometimes labeled, cat grass. I sowed the seed thickly in three four inch plastic pots. Covered with plastic wrap, it sprouted in a matter of days. I placed a pot alongside the cat’s dishes, and was pleased when they seemed to appreciate my efforts.

IMG_0901

I consider the photo below evidence of a successful endeavor!

IMG_0894

After the plant is nibbled down, I replace it with another pot and place the “mowed” grass in a sunny window to hopefully recover. Here is a link explaining the “science” behind a cats need for greens.

Pet MD/Why Do Cats Eat Greens

Paths – The River Path, Martha Brae River, Jamaica

IMG_0704

On a recent vacation to Jamaica my husband and I took a river rafting trip down the Martha Brae. The river water is normally a bit clearer, but due to heavy rains was a bit stirred up and cloudy. Captain Spence, who has worked on the Martha Brae for 40 years, was our guide. It was a delight to sit back on cushioned bamboo and listen to Captain Spence’s stories of the Martha Brae and his history with river rafting.

IMG_0727

As he poled us down the river Captain Spence explained the technique the captains use in building their own rafts. He also pointed out different plants and sights along the trail of the river. I loved seeing the banana trees growing along the banks while the tropical bird cries serenaded us with sweet songs.

IMG_0759

There were many little souvenir stops along the way, but there was no pressure to buy, just an offer of merchandise if we were so inclined.

IMG_0720

The trees formed a beautiful canopy above us. I was completely awestruck by the size of the mimosa trees. These grow in my part of the USA, but they stay rather smallish, the mimosas in Jamaica appear as large as oak trees.

IMG_0742

These gravestones along the way were removed from other areas of Jamaica as a historical display. They are quite old according to Captain Spence.

IMG_0740

The only drawback to the trip was the size of the raft. We went with our friend Crystal, but only two people can fit on each raft.

IMG_0732

The captains of the rafts carve calabash gourds in their spare time while awaiting their next passengers. The gourds are amazing with many intricate details. We were happy to bring one home with us. It is already one of my favorite treasures from Jamaica. Thanks so much Captain Spence.

IMG_0888

Information for rafting the Martha Brae: Rafting the Martha Brae

Paths – Theme Word for May

I read Bible verses in Psalms each day. As I read, I jot down phrases that I like alongside my to-do list. When I cross off errands and tasks from my list my eyes will fall upon the words from Psalms. I immediately feel renewed and recharged by the promises and blessings contained in this beautiful book of the Bible. Try writing a snippet of a Bible verse or an uplifting quote alongside something you will see several times throughout the day. The instant pick-me-up will do you good. 🙂

IMG_0874

At the end of the month, from where I am reading in the Psalms, I choose a word of virtue to study and try to incorporate into my life in the coming month. I will search out additional verses in the Bible that also speak of the same virtuous word and list these to read and study. Some of my recent words have been: faith, joy, hope, purity…whatever word I land on, that is the word I study.

For the month of May 2014 I felt led to take a bit of a departure, instead of a virtuous word, I chose a virtuous action to study: following the path God leads me on. Sometimes that path is hard to discern, but I have faith that for those who love and have given their life to the Lord Jesus Christ, he gently leads us, time and time again, to what is best for our life.

I’ve decided to also make PATHS and PATHWAYS of all sorts a theme for my blog this month. We’ll see how many trails and detours I can come up with to fill these days of May.