Creative Quest

DSCN5708

“You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.”
~Steve Jobs

 

 

 

Recently, I took part in a week-long Photo Quest (#celebrateARTlife ), put together by Whitney Freya.  I find when I take part in photo challenges, I really reach deep inside and touch my creative soul.  So I was excited to participate.

Each day we were given prompts, and then asked to look at the symbolism of our subject.  I liked the idea of the symbolism, as it revealed much about me, and where I am on my journey.  

Initially, I posted these photos and narratives on my Facebook Page, but I wanted to combine them and post them here too, where I like to showcase what I am creating.  I hope you enjoy the Photo Quest as much as I did…..

 

 

day1 garden maiden

On Day 1, we had to post a picture of a favorite piece in our house that has special meaning for us.  I chose my Garden Water Maiden statue.  Here is what I wrote about this photo:

 

As a long time gardener, she has special meaning for me. I feel she symbolizes gardeners like myself who cherish the land and the critters who live there. She has made her home in my house for a number of years.

And the water jug she carries symbolizes healing water.

Water also symbolizes friendship and love connecting us to the world. It is vital for life, and is a feminine element. Water is also the element of emotion, purification, intuition, mysteries of the self, compassion and family. Water seems to be the perfect symbol for me now as I work on healing and connecting. And we could all use a bit more healing with cleansing water in the world!

 

 

day2 pink

On Day 2, I had to take a picture of my favorite color at the moment.  I was surprised with my choice:

 

Right now pink is catching my eye. I don’t have much pink in the house, but I have a few key pieces like this lovely rose quartz box that belonged to my mother-in-law. It is special and means a lot to me.

Pink has special significance for me right now too. It has very special meanings that are an important part of my healing journey. Pink represents unconditional love, hope, compassion and nurturing. Pink is intuitive, and shows kindness. And pink can signify good health. What a luscious color in my world right now.

 

 

day3 star

Day 3 we had to take a photo of a shape or pattern that was catching my eye.  I thought it would take a while to zero in on one, but I noticed my shape right away:

 

It seems stars are shining for me at the moment. This one is of particular significance; a gift from a dear friend in NM.

Stars have wonderful symbolism and shine the light on our self-reliance. They also symbolize navigation; for me it is navigating a new path with retirement and writing. Stars seem to be guiding my way to my passion and dream, and suggesting I take some bold steps. And this particular star has the Native American lizard symbol on it, also significant for me right now as it represents healing and survival.

 

 

day4 echinacea

Day 4’s prompt was perfect for me, as we had to take a photo of a flower that was most attractive at the moment.  I wasn’t sure what flower I would choose until I went into the garden:

  

Echinacea purpurea, also know as coneflower, is a native wildflower growing throughout my garden smiling on me every day. 

It is a special flower as it represents Strength and Health.  And it is said that Echinacea helps remove whatever is holding you back allowing you to let go of stagnate energy.  It also supports transitions to new ways of doing things.  You should use Echinacea when your self-image is beginning to change, but you haven’t completely become your “new” self.

It is interesting that this flower is capturing my attention as I continue on my journey of retirement, change and healing.  A good flower to keep around me!

 

 

Day5 mandala

On Day 5, we had to create a mandala with materials found inside or out.  I had so many ideas, but when I happened on these materials:

 

I thought about flower petals and stones outside.  But it was hot and humid, so instead I noticed some California poppy petals curled and dried on my little bench indoors.  I gathered some little stones and some live petals from a hydrangea flower in a vase, to add to the mandala.

I am combining materials from the indoors with outdoors for my mandala.  And if you look closely you will see both live and dead materials.  The live or current ringing the past.  And there is much pollen left in those long dead petals, which seem to represent my past life.  These seem to say to me that I have learned so much from my past, and it has propelled me to my current place now.

I also found working with such small materials to represent the minimalism and mindfulness that I am adopting these days.  All in all, this seems to be a pretty significant mandala that I created today.

 

 

Day6 altar

Day 6 had us displaying our sacred space.  I have one inside and one outside, so:

 

I thought I would show a peek at the altar in my sacred space indoors.  It holds many cherished memories and mementos.  It is where I go to relax, to meditate, to read and reflect.

The picture is one of water lilies to remind me of my pond and cleansing water.  The bowl is from a friend filled with last year’s rose petals….the parts of me I am letting go.  The cloisonné bell was a present from my parents that was given to me in my former life as a teacher.  In the right hand corner you can see a bit of the Georgia O’Keeffe comparative stamps given to me by a dear friend and a picture of my dad.  And the vase of fresh white flowers represents my outdoor sacred space, my garden.  White is significant as it symbolizes light, goodness and safety. 

I painted this sacred space a bright vibrant green, a very significant color as green is the color of life, renewal, nature, and energy.  It also represents growth, fertility and environment. All the feelings important to cultivate in my sacred space.  When I enter there, I have the feeling that I am home.

 

 

day7selfie

Finally on Day 7, we had to take a selfie of ourselves doing something we love.  What a way to end the quest, with the most challenging prompt:

 

Those who know me well, know I do not take selfies, but I certainly am up to the challenge.  I decided to take a picture of myself doing something I have loved to do since I was very young….reading.  I spend hours a day reading for pleasure.  And my favorite spot is in my sacred place in my rocker next to the window.

This summer I have been reading more self-help, motivational books that have helped me connect to my inner source.  And this personal growth is coming out in my creative self especially through my writing and poetry….and now in my photography with this challenge.

This is our last day of the photo challenge, and I am feeling a sense that I will miss this creative time as it has energized me.  But I am sure I will stay connected through my creative endeavors in some way.  I want to thank Whitney Freya for a most marvelous adventure!

 

 

echinacea

What creative quests have you been on lately?

 

 

 

********

 

 

Special Note:  

The echinacea in the mosaic and at the top of the post were the rest of the photos I took for Day 4.  it was hard to choose from all these fabulous shots of an amazing native plant that grows all throughout my garden.  You can learn more about echinacea in my garden post.

 

The photo below is another perspective of the mandala I created.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about creativity and my inner fire.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

inner fire

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Learning Everyday

DSCN4746

“It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see.”

~Henry David Thoreau

 

 

 

Many times when I look at nature, around me in my garden, I see one thing.  And when I look again at the pictures I take, I see so much more.  I see deep into these scenes, and each one teaches me something daily.  So I thought, why not share some of the things I learned by watching nature in late spring….

 

 

Starting with the top picture, we are watching the baby bunny who was born here in our garden, and now visits.  He is adorable, and I noticed I captured more of his shadow, than of him, as he scampered about.  He was tasting the weeds and plants between the bricks as he is learning what he likes.

 

 

 

sunrise

Seeing the sunrise, is a glorious event that gets better as dawn unfolds.   I have learned to have patience, and take time to see the sun rise completely….you will be glad if you do.

 

 

 

DSCN4383

And don’t forget sunset.  Even through the clouds the view can be amazing!

 

 

 

DSCN4442

I love wandering in the garden early in the morning.  The light playing off and through the plants can take my breath away.

 

 

 

DSCN4377

And even on a gray day I can see beauty.  The water lilies shine against the dark water and lily pads

 

 

 

orange flowers

I am noticing the orange flowers showing up now.  Orange poppies, first daylily and the Geum.  They stand out against the sea of green and purple blooming right now.  And this little bit of bright color, adds so much to my view.

 

 

 

DSCN4335

These ox-eye daisies are an non-native plant that spreads all around my garden.  I used to see them as a nuisance. but now I love the surprise of their blooms ever year.  And at night, you can see them shining all over the garden like beacons.

 

 

 

DSCN4456

Like many native plants, this Zizia aurea has seeded itself around the garden and meadow.  And as you can see it is a pollinator favorite.  I picked a few for a vase, and learned they not only have a beautiful, long-lasting flower, but they have an amazing citrus fragrance too.  I can’t get enough of them.

 

 

 

DSCN4419

Looking closely at a plant, can give you a special surprise.  I love seeing the unusual petals I might not notice unless I took a closer look.

 

 

 

What are you learning from Nature these days?

 

 

 

********

 

 

Special Note:  

I am moving my Thursday posts to Wednesday starting in July.  I will still have my poetry posts on Sunday, with maybe another poetry post midweek each month.  The little fairy house, below, was made by a neighbor and friend…..isn’t that just the sweetest gift.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words learning everyday.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

learning

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Beyond Words: Spring At The Lake

DSCN3681

“Silence was the cure, if only temporarily, silence and geography. But of what was I being cured? I do not know, have never known. I only know the cure. Silence, and no connections except to landscape.” 

-Mary Cantwell, Manhattan, When I Was Young

 

 

I wanted to wrap up this series with another trip back to the lake across the street.  Several months ago, I started this series called, Beyond Words.  I wanted to showcase different spots I find, in pictures, with as few words as possible.  I have been focusing on the lake across the street; already seen in late summer, late autumn and winter.

 

 

Now as we are full into spring here, I thought it would be interesting to see how spring unfolded in late April at the lake.  It was chilly still in April.  Some days were warm, and many nights freezing cold.  But still life moved along, and the leaves just started to show up on the trees.

 

 

So let’s see what early spring looked like, at the lake.

 

 

 

DSCN3650

This is the iconic view as you pull up to the beach.  Picnic tables and grills to the left in the trees, and the playground and bathhouse to the right.  Of course the still lake in the background is always a peaceful sight…..when there are no swimmers!

 

 

 

beach collage

The beach wasn’t much different, just a bit greener as the grass grew quickly through the sand in spring.  Soon the machines will be there to dig up the sand, sift it and get it ready when the beach opens this weekend.  For now, geese and gulls are making the beach their home.  And watch out for those cigar-sized goose droppings.

 

 

 

DSCN3662

Closer to the shore you can see all the grass and wood debris that continues to wash up on shore, all needing to be cleaned up too.

 

 

 

jetty collage

Looking left toward the jetty we can see it is just beginning to green up, and tall grasses will grow out into the lake soon.  Mallards are likely nesting along the shore.

 

 

 

woods collage

Again looking toward the little cove, we see all the tall grasses and weedy plants, along with small trees greening up too.  I love how the lake was still and calm making it a reflecting pond.

 

 

 

DSCN3666

As there were no fishermen on the lake or boats yet, I turned around toward the woods that were alive with activity.

 

 

 

tree collage

Looking up we can see visitors stopping by.  I was unsure who this was….perhaps a sparrow.  And I was checking out the woodpecker holes to see if anyone was claiming them as a home.  And you can see the maple trees were first to leaf out.

 

 

 

bench collage

I decided to walk the path to the bench.  It looked a bit lonely at the edge of the grassy beach.  Lots of bright glaring sunlight around mid-morning.

 

 

 

DSCN3682

I turned back around toward the right again, and saw clouds were beginning to roll in, almost giving the long view, out to the point, a foggy appearance.

 

 

 

DSCN3686

As I walked away, I turned back to look through the woods where the sun was still shining….this view will remain etched on my brain.  I will not be back to the lake for the rest of spring or summer, as it will be overrun with people soon….basking in the sun and splashing in the water.

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed these trips to the lake.  I am not sure what spot I will pick next to highlight, but I’ll let you know.  But for today, I am out celebrating as I turn a young 59!  With this post, I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.

 

 

 

********

 

 

Special Note:  Oneida Lake is the largest lake entirely within New York State.  It has a surface area of 79.8 square miles, and is located northeast of Syracuse and near the Great Lakes.  There are several parks, marinas and beaches along this lake that spans several counties.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional thoughts about celebrating life.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

celebrate life

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Crocus

DSCN1514

 

 

 

Crocus

 

 

Petals unfurl,

with shouts of joy!

A youthful gladness-

finally enjoyed.

 

 © Donna Donabella 2012

 

__________________________________________________________

One of the first bulbs to bloom, early in my garden, are the snow crocus pictured here.  They shout spring with splashes of color all over the garden.   Wishing everyone a joyous Easter!

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog. Please visit to read some more wonderful verse.

crocus collage

I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles 2016.

 

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about first spring crocus.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

crocus

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

3/5/12

Poetry Sunday-Perennial Life

DSCN7870

 

 

Perennial Life

 

 

A beautiful spring.

Next a strong summer,

Moves to a waning fall

As blossom and leaf are shed.

 

To winter slumber,

Emerging slowly.

Renewed with the warm spring breezes,

To flower once more with vigor-

Begins the cycle again.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2016

__________________________________________________________

As a gardener, I often see my life’s journey as parallel to the seasons in the garden.  This poem was written after one of those reflective moments.

 

Pictured here are Oriental Poppies and their seedheads.  They have such a unique look, and I am struck often by their mandala tops.

 

 

poppy collage

These are the same poppies in bud and flower.  I love the crinkly, papery petals resembling crepe paper.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and with Gillena@Verses for her Monday WRites link-up.

poppy seeds

I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about a perennial life.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

perennial life

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Retreating to Spring

DSCN1400

Retreating to Spring

 

 

As I reflect on the garden these days,

I find my mind retreating

to the spring colors,

of bulbs popping up-

the subtle greens emerging

and dotting the brown wet soil.

Of beginning again…always a new start.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2016

__________________________________________________________

March means spring is on its way…even if the weather is cold and snowy.  We know it isn’t far off.  And as spring approaches, the bulbs start to pop up with the snow’s retreat.

 

With our unusually warm weather, the snow retreated already and bulbs are up.  I am renewed each spring as if my life has the beautiful gift of starting over…..nothing is the same, and I am ready for all the new wonders about to be shown!

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  I am not sure if this poem fits with the ‘Faith, healing’ theme, but the new growth of spring is my healing…it is where I find my spiritual place!

sprouts collage

Please visit these fabulous poetry blogs to read some more wonderful verse.

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about retreating to spring.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

retreating to spring

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

End of Month Potpourri-February 2016

DSCN2275

“Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger. She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.” ~Hugh Macmillan

 

 

 

With scenes like this, I feel a sense of peace and calm even in the midst of a snow storm.  There is a feeling of being wrapped in a blanket, cocooned in safety as I watch this swirling magical world descend.  There is a beauty and magic to winter we miss when we just think about the negatives of snow.

 

 

It’s cold, the roads are a mess and I hate driving in it, I can’t garden or get outside….the list can go on and on.  But when I think of the time I spend indoors in winter, I feel glad to have this special time to rest, recharge and reconnect with my inner self.

DSCN2123

 

 

And I do make time for the outdoors almost daily in winter….it is a renewed commitment to being out in all seasons and experiencing what they bring.  I absolutely love walking outside, even in cold winds, because it is refreshing.  I can give it many other terms:  bracing, invigorating, stimulating, energizing, exhilarating, reviving, restorative, rejuvenating, revitalizing.…well you get the picture.  And these words also describe how I feel about winter in general.

 

 

So I thought I would show you a few more pictures of winter this year…..most of it has happened in just one month, January.  Very strange to not have snow for at least 3 months, but I accept each month as they come.

 

 

 

DSCN2329

When winter falls on the meadow, it is a breathtaking sight especially when the cold frosty morning meets the sunshine of the new day.

 

 

 

plants

Each plant, coated in frost and snow, shimmers with the sunrise.

 

 

 

DSCN2350

The fresh snow sits like cotton balls dipped in glitter.

 

 

 

DSCN2001

And as the sun rises, I am intrigued by the bokeh effect on the landscape.

 

 

 

snowy branches

The display changes from different vantage points and lighting.  One reason I love to wander around after a snow fall, is to capture the different effects and views.

 

 

 

DSCN1881And  even on the grayer days, there is a beauty to the snow.

 

 

 

DSCN2239

New snowy white flowers appearing where there was once only a seedhead….I call them winter flowers.

 

 

 

winter clethra collage

As the gray lightens or darkens the effect on the garden does too.  This Clethra bush is stunning when it is splashes with some snow.  It completely transforms under a heavier coating.

 

 

 

DSCN1968

I hope you enjoyed this little look into winter in my own backyard.  We don’t have to venture too far to see the beauty of nature, frosty and sparkling under the winter snows.  You can also see some additional winter scenes with, winter at the lake, just a 10 minute walk from my door.

 

 

I will be away from my blog for a bit, and won’t have a Thursday post until March 10th.  I’ll see you then.

 

 

 

I leave you with a bit more sentiment about winter.   Feel free to download the photo and share.

winter

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-16.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Beyond Words: Winter At The Lake

DSCN2017

“You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one; each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.”  ~Paulo Coelho

 

 

 

So we are back again to explore a beautiful spot that lies just across the street….a mere 10 minute walk from my front door.  Several months ago, I started a new series called, Beyond Words.  I wanted to showcase different spots I find, in pictures, with as few words as possible.  I have been focusing on the lake across the street; already seen in late summer, and again in late autumn.

 

 

It was time, now that winter was here, to venture across the street after our first big snowstorm, and a foot of fresh snow.  In autumn I visited on the unseasonably warmest day in November.  And on this winter’s day, in early January, it was the coldest day.  I was in many layers bracing myself against wind chills near -20 degrees.  It was so cold I couldn’t stay out for more than 15 minutes without my fingers turning numb, even though I was wearing gloves made for this severe cold.

 

 

But regardless, I was drawn back to this beach, this place, to see its beauty now in winter.  So let’s go to the lake…….

 

 

 

DSCN2018

It isn’t surprising that no one is here.  I did find a few footprints of another brave explorer.  How desolate it looks, yet very calm and serene.

 

 

 

DSCN2020I have never walked on a snow-covered beach before.  I felt a bit giddy, and just like when I was a child seeing the beach spread out before me….drawing me in.  Knowing I could stay here forever.

 

 

 

DSCN2019Oh the soft feel of the sand beneath the snow….such a different experience.  Looking to the right, is the area where I saw the soft grassy jetty in late summer.  Now it’s icy and snow-covered, but it appears someone is visiting.  Let’s look closer.

 

 

 

geese collageThe gentle waves have frozen in place close to the shore, but there is open water near the jetty.  The wind has stopped and the lake is like glass.  A flock of Canada geese are feeding here in the warmer open water.  They will soon leave as the cold air and winter weather are finally settling in.

 

 

 

DSCN2044And if I shift my gaze a bit to the left and close up, I see the grassy shore now draped in its wintry cloak.

 

 

 

DSCN2045As I pan back, I can see more of this beautiful cove with the pristine beach.  I didn’t want to walk on it.  So instead I shifted back to face the water, and moved a bit forward.

 

 

 

ice collageAnd I took in the view of the lake in front of me.  Snowy beach meeting frozen water’s edge.  Frosty frozen water meeting ripply waves caught in winter’s icy grip, then open water, more ice and the deep blue lake beyond still not frozen.

 

 

 

more geese collage

And out in that open water are more geese.

 

 

 

other shore collageIf I stretch my gaze to the other shore, I see a foggy haze out in the middle of the lake where the warm water meets the frigid winter’s air.  One of the amazing sights on this day was all the blue.  The blue of the sky meeting the many shades of blue of the water.

 

 

 

snowy bench collageAnd as I shift my gaze left again, even the snow in shadow is blue.  Do you remember this bench from the last post?

 

 

 

DSCN2050It is already getting too cold, so I turn to go.

 

 

 

DSCN2048I’ve left my own path….my tracks in the snow here today.

 

 

 

frozen beach collageThere are no children playing on this day as there were in autumn.  I couldn’t resist photographing this sign again.  The thoughts of swimming here are farthest from my mind on this day.

 

 

 

DSCN2015One last look before I hurry to the waiting, warm car.  Soon enough this picnic spot will be filled to capacity with people celebrating the coming of beach weather.

 

 

 

DSCN2051Before I get in the car, ahead of me I see the sun blazing off the snow, almost blinding me as it illuminates the trees far on the other side of the parking lot.

 

 

 

DSCN2053As we were driving away, I was struck by the beauty of the trees no longer colored in their magnificent yellow and orange autumn cloak.  Now instead, they sparkle in their winter jewels.

 

 

 

DSCN2054Each scene more wondrous….

 

 

 

DSCN2055My soul drinking in every awe-inspiring view as we wound our way to the street, and back home.  It is amazing what wonders lay just 10 minutes away, waiting for us!

 

I’ll be back to visit this spot one more time in spring to give you a glimpse of its splendor, before the beach opens.  With this post, I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday.

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

 

********

 

 

Special Note:  Oneida Lake is the largest lake entirely within New York State.  It has a surface area of 79.8 square miles, and is located northeast of Syracuse and near the Great Lakes.  There are several parks, marinas and beaches along this lake that spans several counties.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional thoughts about nature’s heart.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

nature-winter lake

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

An Interview with Catherine Drea@Foxglove Lane

Frost on the lane

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

 

 

 

It is time for another interview post.  I have been getting into a routine every couple of months now, interviewing amazing bloggers who have influenced me.  As you might remember, after receiving and award from Julie@Gardening Jules, I had promised to do several interviews of some amazing bloggers and share them with you.

 

 

I decided to nip across the pond for this visit.   I met this amazing blogger through, Vision and Verb, a wonderful website of talented women.  Although I think I knew her a bit before I wrote for V and V, my recollection is fuzzy.  I know I felt a kindred spirit for Catherine@Foxglove Lane immediately.  Perhaps because her photos are soul refreshing, and her words penetrate me to my core, bringing joy and understanding.  Or maybe it was because she lives in Waterford, Ireland.  I have only been to Ireland once, 7 years ago, but I fell in love with my ancestral home of Ireland immediately (I am half Irish).

 

 

foxglove lane header1

 

 

 

So let’s whiz across the Atlantic and meet Catherine……..

 

 

Pilgrimage

 

I’m Catherine Drea, a blogger, photographer and facilitator (www.foxglovelane.com)  I studied art, psychotherapy, have a Masters in Business Studies but my current love is Contemplative Photography.

I founded a social organisation 20 years ago (www.frameworknet.ie) where I still work part-time.

I live down a long green lane in Ireland with my husband and I have three grown up sons.

 

 

 

IMG_8880

 1. Catherine, why did you start blogging?

 

It was a typically Irish grey and wet Sunday about 5 years ago. I had just discovered the world of blogging. I guess I was suddenly inspired to have a go! I didn’t think about it or plan anything. I just sat down and figured out how to do it and in a couple of hours there it was……. my first blogpost!

 

 

 

The exuberance of summer is summed up in the buzzing and dancing of bees in foxgloves on the lane.

2.  I love the name of your blog.  What is its significance?

 

I chose Foxglove Lane that first day. It is literally the name I have given to our boreen, so full of foxgloves in June. It is home, freedom, peace to me……

 

 

 

IMG_8737

3.  It sounds like heaven to me.  Your blog seems to extend the heaven of your home and Ireland, and others have recognized its wonder through the Ireland Blog Awards you have won.  What do these awards mean to you, and what keeps you blogging?

 

As blogging has become so much more commercial and competitive I am always amazed that my blog, a labour of love (and not about fashion or beauty!) manages to win. I have very mixed feeling about competitions at the best of times, and yet I have benefitted from winning for sure.  

What actually keeps me blogging is probably more complex. It is a creative habit, a form of discipline in a way. It helps to keep my creative muscles fit. Without it where would I be, I live in the absolute middle of nowhere on a tiny island in the Atlantic? Through blogging I have been able to share my work, connect with others and create an online home where I can meet people….

 

 

 

IMG_8462

4.  And this creative home seems one of the reason many of us keep blogging.  So how do you define creativity? What does creativity mean to you?

 

I was an Art teacher and I always felt that creativity was about much more than just artistic attainment. It is about a sense of self, a way of relating to the beautiful mysteries of the world, a way of engaging with your own potential. It is for each of us to find our own way to express that. Creativity for me is an essential part of everyday life……when I start humming I know I am in the zone!!

 

 

 

IMG_3081

5.  Oh I love this idea of creativity as an essential part of everyday life.  Do you have a favorite space or spot that is sacred in or around your home where your creativity flows?

 

I am lucky to live in a beautiful and tranquil place in a wild and untamed couple of acres. I think my favourite spot is at the desk in my studio which looks out on it all. I am constantly distracted especially in winter by the birds, animals and wild weather changes rolling in from the Atlantic. Home is precious for humans,  enabling us to thrive and I feel so lucky to have a roof over my head and a room with a view.

 

 

 

IMG_4617

6.  I have traveled to Ireland, and loved its beauty?  What makes your piece of this special island nirvana for you?

 

Ha! Nirvana it is definitely not! I say that because Ireland has been through an economic crash that has been a real struggle. There is nowhere on earth without it’s challenges and we have had so many. However, Irish people are essentially happy go lucky and can embrace the dark side without too much trouble. I remember John O Donoghue saying that if you ask an Irish person “How are you” they will shrug and say “Sure not too bad!” or “Pulling the divil by the tail” Light and dark are part of us……So I suppose the special magic  is in the resilience and good humour of Irish people.

 

There is no downside to the beauty of the land and sea, it is stunning….just keeping it in pristine condition for the next generation is our challenge….

 

That is what I experienced when I visited…the good nature and humor of the Irish people….

 

 

 

Patrick Ryan's

7.  Tell me what famous person or not so famous person you would like to meet?

 

Well if I wanted to swoon it would be Leonard Cohen, if I wanted to chat it would have to be Elizabeth Gilbert and I would love to have a coffee with a group bloggers including yourself Donna…..I think it might just happen some day…..

 

 

 

Coumenoule Cafe

8.  Oh I would love to have that meet up one day!  So let me shift topics a bit Catherine.  What is or would have been your dream career or job?

 

If I wasn’t doing what I’m doing now I think I might have liked to run a seaside cafe in the South of France. Well who wouldn’t!! A lot of Irish people emigrate. It’s a big part of the culture. I was lucky in many ways to be able to stay in Ireland but if I had gone, it would have been to the Mediterranean and the sun! My amazing Grandmother ran a restaurant in a small town in Ireland, long before women had their own businesses. So I think cafe management could be in my genes!

 

 

 

IMG_1271

9.  Oh that sounds like an amazing dream.  And emigrating to the Mediterranean sounds perfect.  I know you love to travel.  What are some favorite spots you love to travel to and why?

 

I have a fierce touch of wanderlust!! We can get a ferry across to mainland Europe from Ireland and after that we can drive anywhere to get off the beaten track. (A gift for island dwellers) I love France and last year followed 5 rivers cascading through a very traditional part of central France. Recently we spent a month in the Peleponese in the South of the mainland Greece. The small town of Kardamilli there is a blissful spot. New York where I worked as a student is a favourite city, as is  Stockholm where I have family. It can be short or long trip, in wild Ireland or further afield…..any change of scene is inspiration to me!

 

 

 

hares 2

10.  Photography is such a big part of your life.  You have an extensive portfolio on your blog where folks can purchase your photos. What is your creative process, and tell us a bit about contemplative photography?

 

I have always taken photographs. My Dad gave me a camera at the age of 10. I study the surroundings of where I live in minute detail and take every opportunity to learn. Contemplative photography is a more soulful approach. I find it is something a lot of women photographers relate to. Although I am committed to fairly complex day job I usually get time to follow some creative instinct every day. Then on my days off I delve deeper into projects. Working from home helps too. I don’t work well under pressure, for prestige, or for money!! It doesn’t suit my muse! As she is a mother earth sort of character I have to be true to myself and my roots or she will squirm about and fail utterly to co-operate.

 

 

 

IMG_1341 (1)

11.  I love that you are so connected to your muse and so true to her.  What are some words of wisdom you have for those of us who are still learning about photography?

 

Find and follow the joy in what you do. Linger in those moments because photography is endlessly fiddly and years later your taste will have totally changed and what you adore today you will shun later!! I have gone through a lot of glorious colourful phases and find myself longing to return to the simpler days of black and white….you just never know which way you will be drawn…..I think if you are not “feeling it” something is missing……

 

 

 

IMG_7935

12.  Perfect words of wisdom my friend.  So what new form of arts or crafts would you like to learn now?  

 

I saw some incredible forest yarn bombing in the Basque country once and it remained with me. Crochet and knitting are huge again here and maybe that would be a way to that?

 

 

 

sunset 2

13.  Catherine you recently wrote a wonderful book, “Seek light, embrace shade, live colour”.  Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to write this book?  How does it fulfill part of your soul’s journey?

 

People are very “helpful” and everyone told me that  I “should” Looking back I wasn’t ready at all to make a book and it was actually quite hard to deal with the attention it brought. I had a hunch that people who are not very active on line would finally get to share my world in an actual book…..and that proved to be the case….My soul’s journey is an everyday thing….if the truth be told putting myself “out there” always scares the pants off me!!!

 

 

 

IMG_5098

14.  Oh I can relate to that and it “scares the pants off of me too”.  Can you tell us anything about the process that you went through in creating your book that was a great lesson or an aha moment…words of wisdom?

 

The process was simple and I loved making the book. Blurb is a very easy platform to learn and work on. I decided to use my Instagram Gallery as the book was square format and tiny 7×7. The writing part as usual were inspired by the images I selected. The great lesson was when the book went out there, the first edition had 12 spelling mistakes!! Living in rural Ireland with a wonky internet connection meant that the corrections didn’t always get saved. So when I thought I had fixed them, they remained unfixed. I nearly had a heart attack when I discovered on the day of the great launch and after a number of sales that I would have to replace the first books. Blurb were totally unsupportive and my aha moment came when I realised that they really have no back up if something goes wrong. Also Blurb don’t share the names of your  buyers so it is hard to give good customer service. A serious draw-back…….on the other hand once a book is done it is there forever and that’s a plus.

 

 

 

Buy this image by clicking on the small shopping cart symbol above and browsing prints and products.

15.  Very helpful information for those of us contemplating creating a book.  What new projects are you working on you’d like to share?  What are your inspirations for your work?

 

I would love to create an archive from my first photos aged 10 up to the present day. I might also include some great photos taken by other photographers in the family. I also want to concentrate on making more physical manifestation of my work, I’m not sure what that will be but I hope to pursue a year long woodland study and shoot some video.

 

My inspiration will always be the light and shade of the day. I watch weather and conditions all the time…..nature is she who must be obeyed, so you just need to be ready to heed her. I also love studying the work of other photographers, poets and artists.

 

I love the idea of a woodland shoot.  And there is that kindred spirit again …..nature.

 

 

 

IMG_7888

16.  Is there anything else you want to tell us about your life, and what might be next for you?

 

Donna I will be 62 in 2016!!! How did I get here and where am I going to? One thing is sure, none of us is getting out of here alive!

 

I am not ambitious as such, more hopeful and steadfast. And I know that every moment counts!

 

 

 

IMG_7081

My goodness you are still so young my friend, and I love your words of wisdom….every moment does count especially now as I am moving to the other side of middle age….59 for me this year.

 

It was such a delight talking with Catherine.  Learning about her philosophy, her spirit and her creative process.  It renews me as does her beautiful photography.  One of the reason I enjoy these interviews is the connections I make on such a deeper level with amazing, gifted, talented and inspirational folks.  I hope you enjoyed getting to know Catherine a bit more.  I know I certainly did!

 

cdrea-foxglove lane

Please make sure you visit Catherine in all the amazing places she hangs out.

 

 

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Photos are the sole property of Catherine@Foxglove Lane and their use in this post is by permission of the photographer.

Creativity Sunday-Holiday Views

DSCN0828

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”  

~Norman Vincent Peale

 

 

It has been almost 18 years since the passing of my father….40 years for my husband’s father, when he was just 15.  And 10 years ago, his mother died leaving a huge void in our lives.  Our traditional family gatherings were no more.  We seemed a bit lost trying to find our way.

 

 

We had just moved to our new house a few months earlier, but I just couldn’t open the boxes of decorations I had lovingly used in year’s past.  We didn’t cut down a tree.  Instead we put up a ceramic tree and a little faux tree, and lit them nightly. And I took whatever new decorations I was gifted, and scattered them about.

 

 

DSCN0983But this 10th year in our new house, I found a renewed energy…maybe because I was less stressed and had been retired now a year….maybe it was just time.  This past February, I went through all my Christmas decorations, and saved only those I cherished and might want to use this year.  And I promised myself to open those boxes, and put up some Christmas decorations.  Those I did not use this year would go in the pile to give away.

 

 

So in early December, the 4 boxes and our 2 little faux trees came out of the basement.  As I opened the boxes, a rush hit me, and I went about creating new scenes.  Three hours later, the house took on a holiday feeling, and the spirit of Christmas seemed to pour from every corner.  And you know what?  I used every single decoration….coincidence, I think not!

 

 

So I wanted to share some of our holiday scenes this year, that mean so very much to us!  With as few words as possible….

 

 

 

tree collage

Here’s one of our little faux trees.

 

 

 

ornament collage

With some of my favorite old decorations…..some as old or older than me.  The background is our ceramic tree that once belonged to my mother-in-law.

 

 

 

DSCN1030

Sitting at the base of the tree, is this wonderful container of more old ornaments and garland.

 

 

 

DSCN1032

This little tree graces our front hall.

 

 

 

garden tree ornament collage

It is also decorated with old ornaments, and my cherished garden tool ornaments given to me by a very dear, dear friend.

 

 

 

DSCN1043

My favorite of these garden tool ornaments is the old-fashioned watering can.

 

 

 

DSCN1045

And what better accompaniment for this tree, than my Christmas Garden Fairy.

 

 

 

mantel collage

The mantel was completely redone this year.  I brought out our wonderful Mr. and Mrs. Claus stocking holder and our stockings…..they were missed.  The wreath is one given to me by one of my thoughtful teachers when I first became a school administrator….I adore it.

 

 

 

DSCN1005

Here’s another view of the mantel.

 

 

And a couple of more lovely scenes….

 

DSCN1068

 

 

 

 

DSCN1089

 

 

 

DSCN0867

I leave you with a view from my front windows looking onto the porch…the glow of candlelight keeping the Christmas spirit bright!

 

I hope you enjoyed these holiday views.  I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and with I Heart Macro hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.

 

 

 

I leave you with a bit more sentiment about Christmas.   Feel free to download the photo and share.

christmas is

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-15.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Beyond Words: Autumn At The Lake

DSCN9960

“When you sit tranquilly, you set a great example to the people who rush around in panic and thus you show the crazy waves the beauty of being a calm lake!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

 

 

 

In my Seasonal Celebrations post, on my gardening blog, I talked about what I wanted to focus on for autumn, and I decided to take in more of the world around me through some local  field trips.

 

 

So a couple of months ago, I started a new series, called Beyond Words.  I wanted to showcase different spots I find, in pictures, with as few words as possible.  For my first post, I traveled the short 10 minute walk to the lake across the street to see it in late summer.

 

 

And here we were again, at the lake in mid-Autumn, to see how the views had changed.  It was unseasonably warm in November, so there was lots of color and activity at the lake.  And little did I know when I wrote this, that December weather would also be warm and still looking like fall with no snow.

 

 

So let’s go to the lake…….

 

DSCN9956

Children were playing on the beach and playground as it was 75 degrees, and a perfectly clear day.

 

 

 

geese collage

Beyond the children were hundreds of geese spread out from shore.  A few ducks and seagulls were mixed into the group, but the ducks are few and far between as it is duck season.  Many mornings, at sunrise, we can hear the loud gunshots.  Poor ducks.

 

 

 

autumn fisherman collage

And the fisherman were out on the lake still.  There were about 6 fishing boats I could see, and this lone fisherman who had waded into the shallow water.  In my last post, there was a fisherman who had waded in.  I wonder if it is the same fisherman?  This time the water was cooler so he was wearing his waders.

 

 

 

DSCN9957

One of the first things we noticed, besides the trees, was the sandy shore.  It was now covered in grass as the beach grooming stopped in August.

 

 

DSCN9961

And with the lack of beach grooming, there was lots of grassy debris along with seaweed and leaves stretching at least three feet up the beach from the edge of the water.

 

 

 

DSCN9959

The grassy jetty that had reached out into the water in late summer was now gone, along with the plants along the shoreline.

 

 

 

DSCN9986

Continuing to scan toward shore, you can see the grasses declining and the barren woods giving you a view of the water on the other side of the jetty.

 

 

 

DSCN9992

And if we come ashore we can see this lovely path ending at a bench to take in the views from either side…..let’s get in closer.

 

 

 

DSCN9991

I love this peaceful view.  A spot I must remember to visit more often.

 

 

 

lake woods collage

As I turned from the water, I saw this magnificent sight of leaves in their full splendor….still hanging on.  There is a mix of American Tilden, White Ash (already leafless) and Maple trees here.  The woods are so dense in summer and early fall…..a wonderful shady spot now partially barren, and blazing with the early afternoon light this November day.

 

 

 

DSCN0004

This is our first view as we get close to the lake, and it is also our last as we turn to walk back.  If you look at the summer post from Oneida Lake, you can see some of the dramatic changes that have taken place during autumn at the lake.

 

I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and Kara@A Spirit of Simplicity for her new meme Tuesday Afternoon.

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

 

********

 

 

 

Special Note:  Oneida Lake is the largest lake entirely within New York State.  It has a surface area of 79.8 square miles, and is located northeast of Syracuse and near the Great Lakes.  There are several parks, marinas and beaches along this lake that spans several counties.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional thoughts about lakes and how they can draw us in.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

lake

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

An Interview with Beth@PlantPostings

November

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”  ~John Muir

 

 

 

It’s time to bring you another interview with an amazing person I have grown to know in the blogosphere.  As you might remember, after receiving and award from Julie@Gardening Jules, I had promised to do several interviews of some amazing bloggers and share them with you.

 

 

So for today’s interview, I am talking with Beth@PlantPostings.  I met Beth over 5 years ago when I started my garden blog.  We seem to connect so easily.  We both gardenlessonsgardened in Zone 5, and my weather was very similar to Beth’s in Wisconsin.  We both enjoyed native plants, and quickly started a shared seasonal meme…really Beth started hers first, Garden Lessons Learned, which inspired me to look at seasons differently.  And from there, Garden Lessons Learned spun off Seasonal Celebrations.  I love how both these seasonal memes have enriched my life.  And both will be starting for the new season around December 1st.

 

 

Beth is a wonderful writer, photographer and gardener…and she has other hidden talents too.  So let’s meet Beth……..

Beth

 

Hi, I’m Beth. I call Southern Wisconsin home, but I have a bit of wanderlust so I enjoy traveling when the budget and the calendar allow.

 

I’m a mom (of two wonderful young adults), a wife, and a communications consultant. I’m also a lifelong gardener, a Wisconsin Master Naturalist volunteer, and an amateur photographer.

 

I’m often distracted by wildflowers, pollinators, and scenic overlooks. My husband and I both enjoy hiking, so we spend many weekends on Wisconsin’s amazing trails.

 

I like to experiment with plants—pushing zones, playing with microclimates, and practicing companion planting. My garden is organic. For at least the past decade, we’ve found natural ways to keep garden pests, invasive plants, and plant diseases at bay. It’s actually a fun challenge!

 

 

 

1.I really love this picture of you Beth!  Let me start by asking, why did you start your blog?

 

It’s a very long story, but I’ll try to be brief. My career has always included writing and editing as part of my job description, and I’ve been a gardener and plant-lover my entire adult life. When my kids were young, I came across a software package that was an encyclopedia, of sorts, of plant life. So the interest has always been there. But I guess the turning point came when I realized how to merge the writing with the curiosity and love of plants. I started tracking all the plants in my garden and learning the details about them. I inquired about writing for an online gardening publication. The editor accepted some of my work and suggested I start a gardening blog. I haven’t looked back since.

 

 

 

plantpostings

2. Beth I really enjoy my visits to your blog, and have always been intrigued by its name.  What is the significance of the title of your blog?

 

Thanks, Donna. This is the embarrassing part. Starting a gardening blog became a “must do” very quickly for me. I didn’t want to spend months or weeks analyzing it, because I was afraid I wouldn’t do it. So, I started researching names that were already claimed and those that were available. When I found out “PlantPostings.com” was available, I grabbed it (registered the URL web address)! I couldn’t believe no one had used that simple URL for a blog. Since then, I’ve always been a little sheepish about the simplicity of it, but someone at the Garden Bloggers’ Fling said the nicest thing to me—in effect, that she liked it, and that it was easy to remember. I shared plans to potentially change it, and she said she thought it was perfect the way it is. 🙂

 

 

 

January3. So what keeps you blogging?

 

I can’t think of any other thing I’ve done (besides being a mom) that has been more rewarding. The combination of gardening/botany with photography, writing, and making friendships with like-minded people around the world has truly changed my life. I occasionally need a break from it, but I always want to start back up almost as soon as I start taking a break. It’s not something I have to do; I don’t get paid for it. Instead, it’s a hobby … or maybe it’s better described as an avocation. Perhaps that’s what motivates me—I enjoy it, so I do it!

 

 

 

February4. I couldn’t agree more with you Beth.  I like your description of blogging….it does feel like an avocation.  What are some of your creative endeavors that make your heart sing?

 

I was going to pass on this question, and then I recalled situations—not really creative endeavors—that have happened through grace. These are the moments that fill my soul with joy. I think of them as gifts from God. When I happen to be in the right place at the right time to witness small miracles of light, of natural occurrences, of interactions with other species … those are pure moments of bliss. I get the feeling most gardeners experience these moments from time to time, because we’re so aware and appreciative of the world around us.

 

 

 

 

5. Beth, I really love how you expanded the question….yes creativity, nature, small miracles and bliss.  As you are immersed in the creativity around you, what is your creative process?

 

Ha! Well, I have about 10 blog post ideas rolling around in my head at any one time. Some of them come to me in those moments of grace mentioned in the previous answer. Others relate to other aspects of my life that seem to spill over into the blog. Finally, when I’ve tried a gardening technique or had experience with a particular plant, I like to share it just as I enjoy reading about other gardeners’ experiences. Some of the ideas stay in my head a very long time until I have the courage to share them. I may never muster the guts to post some of them, but then maybe that’s a good thing. 😉

 

 

 

April   6. Let’s stick with the creativity theme a bit longer, and explore what new form of arts or crafts you would like to learn?

 

Good question! I always like to try new things. But one thing I’ve always wanted to do is play the harp. I’ll probably never do it (too expensive), but I have this romantic notion of being a harpist in hotel lobbies, at weddings, and for other events. I like the idea of sort of being in the mix of activity—setting the tone and being on stage, while at the same time sort of being in the background.

 

 

 

May7. Oh I love the idea of you playing the harp, Beth.  You never know, you might find someone willing to give you a few lessons.

Let’s shift direction a bit.  I know you have traveled to many wonderful places, so where would you like to travel next?

 

My next trips will revolve mostly around family events in California and Arizona—both wonderful destinations and I’m thrilled to be able to attend. But, there’s also a very special trip on the radar for 2017! I hope it will materialize. I’ll keep you posted on the blog!

 

 

 

 8. I also have family in CA and AZ….beautiful spots to visit.  And I look forward to hearing about the special trip!!  OK, here’s a fun question….Tell me what famous person or not so famous person you would like to meet?

 

Another great question, and there are so many people! The current Pope is pretty awesome. I would have loved to have had a discussion with John Muir. I also find people like climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe fascinating. She’s brave enough to share her strong religious faith and at the same time her understanding of science and the impacts human activities have on our shared planet.

 

You brought back John Muir to me through your blog.  And I wanted to celebrate your appreciation for him, so I did include one of your favorite quotes at the top of the post.

 

 

 

July

  9. Beth, what is or would have been your dream career or job? 

 

I’m living the dream now. Making a living as a communications consultant and having a gardening blog on the side is pretty nifty. Maybe I can combine the two someday in a plant-related book. 😉

 

Now that would be wonderful!

 

 

 

August10. As gardening is a great passion of yours, what is your creative process when gardening?  Do you have a special type of gardening or garden style you love?

 

I’ve been blessed with some wonderful garden mentors who’ve practiced various styles of gardening. Regarding my own style and process: I try to start with the big picture. What ecosystem am I dealing with? What plants are here? Which plants will grow best in this location? How can I make it aesthetically pleasing with “curb appeal” and still keep it wildlife-friendly? My gardening projects vary with the seasons, my budget, and my curiosity.

 

 

 

September11. I really like your thought process Beth…we have a similar style.  I know you love native plants and wildlife.  Can you tell us how you came to learn about native plants and what about them inspires you?

 

I’ve always been fascinated by native plants and wildflowers. I love to hike and photograph the plants I see along the way. Also, a large section of our property is woodland. We’ve chosen not to develop it. As far as I know, it’s never been developed. It’s always exciting to see what plants pop up naturally every year. We do try to remove invasive species, but that job continues every season. We want to try to support the native plants that are naturally here because they best support the native pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. With that said, some sections of my garden include non-native plants, but they’re mostly located near the house.

 

How special to have a woodland on your property.  I have always wanted to own woodland to preserve it.  

 

 

 

October12. Is there anything else you want to share with us?

 

The garden blogger community is such an inspiring group of people. I feel blessed to be part of a global community of individuals who, like me, love plants, and share a mission to make the world a better place.

 

 

Didn’t I tell you Beth is an amazing person….I hope you enjoyed her fabulous vision of life and creativity.  And yes, these are her incredible photos of her garden and surrounds.

Isn’t her love of wildlife, and passion for gardening contagious?  And she is just an all around really nice person; generous, caring and so helpful.  I count myself lucky to know her through this virtual world.  I hope one day we will meet up, and share some time in a garden setting maybe with a bit of harp music!

 

 

I leave you with another one of Beth’s favorite John Muir quotes:

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”  

 

 

 

Here is where you can find Beth….please make a point of visiting her.

Blog: http://plantpostings.blogspot.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/PlantPostings-118115634923181/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/plantpostings

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/plantpostings/

 

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Photos are the sole property of Beth@PlantPostings, and their use in this post is by permission of the photographer.

End of Month Potpourri-October 2015

DSCN8970

“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.” 

~Jim Bishop

 

 

 

The morning of the full moon in September, the sun promised to rise in a glorious fashion.  The last bright star still glowed as the sun peeked over the horizon.  So I went out into the garden to see the sunrise from different vantage points.

 

 

 

DSCN8975

It was such a magnificent experience to bask in the first rays of light…..

 

 

 

DSCN8972

…..with the colors expanding across the sky!

 

 

 

sunrise collage

Yes the inset is a later close-up.

 

 

 

DSCN9006

I spent quite a bit of time near the back fence watching the sunrise over the meadow.

 

 

 

meadow sunrise collage

I shifted to capture the pergola in the sunrise.  I thought it would be a great backdrop.

 

 

 

grasses at sunrise collage

As would the grasses waving to greet the day.

 

 

 

sunset foliage collage

Then watching the sun setting later in the day, I saw the glory of the fall foliage on fire in the golden light of the setting sun.

 

Fall is one of the most beautiful times in nature and in my garden.  I hope you enjoyed this glorious day with me.  I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and with Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) photo linkup party at image-in-ing.

 

I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Kara@A Spirit of Simplicity for Tuesday Afternoon where we are invited to celebrate a nice slow day in a busy week.

 

 

 

I leave you with a bit more sentiment about creativity and joy.   Feel free to download the photo and share.

fall foliage

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-15.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Beyond Words: At The Lake

bench

“Teach me to go to the country beyond words and beyond names.”  ~ Thomas Merton

 

 

 

After participating in the photography challenge in August, I was inspired to move beyond my comfort zone and branch out with my camera.  Not so much with moving off the auto button….that will come in time and with practice….but to move to different spots, and explore them with camera in hand.

 

 

In my Seasonal Celebrations post, on my gardening blog, I talk about what I want to focus on each season.  For autumn, I want to take in more of the world around me.  With surgery side-lining me last year, and an injury this summer, I am anxious to break out and explore…take a few field trips.

 

 

So I am starting a new series, that I hope will be monthly, called Beyond Words.  I want to showcase different spots I find in pictures, with as few words as possible….not easy for me as I love to talk and write.

 

 

For the first field trip I didn’t have to venture far from home.  Just a 10 minute walk across the street to the lake…Oneida Lake.  It is an amazing spot, that I will talk more about later.  It was a perfect time to explore the lake.  When we visited, the beach had just closed a few weeks earlier in late August.  So let’s see what’s happening, at the lake…..

 

 

fishermen

As you can see in the top picture and here, I made a beeline for the beach.  As it is not getting a daily cleaning from all the bird poo, I chose to wear shoes. This lake is considered a top fishing spot.

 

 

 

man fishing collage

It is shallow enough near the shore, that you can even walk right out and fish.

 

 

 

feather

The beach was littered with gull feathers still glistening with mid-morning dew.

 

 

 

clothes on beach collage

I loved this end-of-the-summer beach statement someone left.  You never know what you will find at the beach.  As a matter of fact, I did have one very big surprise….

 

 

 

monarch on the beach collage

Monarchs!   They were all over the beach, which is starting to grow grass and other plant life, as it is not groomed now that the swimmers are gone.  I wasn’t sure if they were getting moisture from the wet sand or the goose poo.

I am joining Anna@ The Transmutational Garden for her Butterfly Bucket List meme the 4th Sunday of the month.

 

 

lakeshore

The water’s edge was a bit mucky, in areas, with grass, plant material and algae washing ashore.

 

 

 

park benches

The picnic area was very quiet with no one around.  A perfect spot to sit and relax even if there is a nip in the air.  I think perhaps we will bring a picnic lunch here in the future.

 

 

 

beach tree

One last look as we turned to go.  I hope you enjoyed our little excursion, to the lake, at the end of summer.

 

 

I am linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and with Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) photo linkup party at image-in-ing.

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

 

********

 

 

 

Special Note:  Oneida Lake is the largest lake entirely within New York State.  It has a surface area of 79.8 square miles, and is located northeast of Syracuse and near the Great Lakes.  There are several parks, marinas and beaches along this lake that spans several counties.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional thoughts about lakes and life.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

lake

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

An Interview with Jen@The Light Laughed

Selfie in golden field

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  ~Walt Disney 

 

 

 

This month I thought I would bring you another interview with an amazing person I have grown to know in the blogosphere.  As you might remember, after receiving and award from Julie@Gardening Jules, I had promised to do several interviews of some amazing bloggers and share them with you.

 

 

So for today’s interview, I am talking with Jen Vandervoort@The Light Laughed.  You might know Jen from her days blogging at Muddy Boot Dreams.  That’s where I met Jen, when she lived on the coast of British Columbia and created magic in her pictures and prose.  I think that was over 5 years ago now.  Since then Jen has been on many new paths, and I have enjoyed seeing her bloom and grow.  She is an inspiration for me in so many ways….her photography, her blogging style, the way she creates community through her blog and her willingness to keep creating new ideas.

 

 

So let’s meet Jen……..

JEN BLOG PROFILE SHOTS 2015

Hi I’m Jen, chasing a laughing light through the Okanagan, camera in hand. Photographer by heart, blogger by day fan of Instagram, and Pinterest for their visual appeal. Weaving words among my images, sharing stories, and exploring the world of blogging with a focus on midlifers.

I believe in being our own personal best as bloggers no matter what level we aspire to.

I’m a co-founder of a FB group for bloggers who’d like to grow, share, and support each other through blogging, we’re always welcoming new members, and have been working on a few interesting changes to roll out in soon to make the group even better.

 

 

 

 1.  Jen it has been such a pleasure knowing you.  As I said I am inspired by your blog and your style of blogging.  So why did you start blogging?

 

I discovered blogging about at the same time digital cameras became affordable. I’d been sharing digital photos with friends, and on Flickr, so when I discovered blogging it just evolved. There is something in all of us that seeks affirmation for our creativity, and blogs allow us to share our lives so easily.

When I came across The Pioneer Woman’s blog it changed my life in so many ways, she introduced me to blogging, and Photoshop. I happily realized that I could start to build a community of amazing people to surround myself with who would share their work, and appreciate my work too.

 

 

Wet garden and cat

2.  I bet there is someone who we can say inspired all of us to blog.  What inspired you to recently change your blog?

 

I moved from Blogger to Word Press because I was feeling hemmed in, and had too many issues with being shut down without reason. I like my content, and images to belong to me, not to the whim of some computer nerd tucked away.

Word Press allows me to own my own content, it’s self hosted, and Blogger can no longer shut down, or remove my blog.

 

 

 

3.  I understand wanting to own your own content.  So Jen, what is the significance of the title of your blog?

 

The Light Laughed reflects who I am now as a blogger, and photographer. When I’m out there with my camera, I’m searching for the light, where does it come from, what is it doing? Have you ever watched the light drifting through the branches of trees.  It settles, flits, laughs….that’s how I got my blog name…wandering down the country road in my new life, camera in hand, watching the light laugh.

We’ve reached our Muddy Boot Dreams, it was a long journey of almost 12 years, and it’s wonderful to be here, but the name just didn’t fit anymore.

 

 

Bare branches at the side of the road

4.  I love what you say about the light.  I too found inspiration in that light.   What keeps you blogging?

 

My community of blogging friends, and an urge to share these small wonderful moments of everyday joy. The way you’d point out something interesting while you’re out with friends is how I want to blog. We all have a story to tell, to share, to read in the comments that my readers felt like they were there with me, that it touched their hearts…that’s what keeps me blogging.

 

 

Feathers and acrons

5.  I couldn’t agree more about the blogging community.  What are some of your creative endeavors that give you pleasure?

 

Photography is my most beloved create endeavor right now. I am also writing more, and exploring the exciting world of short videos.

 

 

 

6.  Your photography is incredible…more like art to me.  It speaks to my soul.  Do you have a favorite space or spot that is sacred in or around your home?

 

My garden is an organic, natural space, where wildlife and birds wander, and my heart lives there, it’s where I find my peace.

 

 

Bokah daisies

7.  Nature and gardens do that for us, don’t they?  I know you have moved to your dream spot.  What makes this place nirvana for you?

 

Each time we had to leave to go back to the coast I couldn’t help but cry during the drive back, an intense feeling of having left a piece of my heart behind. The day we moved up here it was as if I was given it back. It’s not just being surrounded by family and friends, it’s a homecoming.

It’s where we belong, and are flourishing.

 

 

 

8.  So let’s shift a bit.  Tell me what famous person or not so famous person you would like to meet?

 

Ansel Adams…The Group of Seven, Emily Carr, to all of them I would have liked to say, thank you for changing the way the world looks at art and photography.

 

 

Primrose in post and birds nest

9.  I would love to meet and just observe Ansel Adams.  And I can see why he inspires you through your photography.  What is or would have been your dream career or job?

 

I think I’m living it now. But if I had to choose, a small shop, selling stationary, beautiful flowers, books, and gifts, tea and scones…that would be my dream.

 

 

 

10.  And I would love to frequent that shop especially for a cup of tea and to read a special book.  If it is possible to pick a favorite book, what would you choose?

 

I love to read, and of each good book I’ve read the latest would be one of my favorites. Being immersed in the pages, reading the words, the tactile dragging of fingers over good quality paper while turning the page.

Visually stunning photographs that transport me into others worlds, where I get to walk among the characters, sit on chairs in beautifully decorated rooms, smell the flowers in the gardens…

 

 

Old bus in yard[6]

11.  What are some spots you love to travel to and why?

 

New Zealand is on my list for a repeat visit…it captured my heart, if I didn’t live here, I would try to live there.

 

 

 

12.  Photography is such a big part of your life. What is your creative process?

 

Creativity’s an intense feeling in my heart…[ I know I talk about hearts a lot ] …but it’s that feeling inside that drives me to create. When something is evolving creatively in me it’s almost as if it takes over and won’t be silenced until it’s made. You just have to go with it.

 

 

Echinacea pink

13.  The pictures here are all incredible creations of Jen’s.  Aren’t they just stunning?  Jen, what are some words of wisdom you have for those of us who are still learning about photography?

 

The most important thing you can do is practice, everyone improves that way. Learn the basics of composition, and technique, challenge yourself to move beyond the Auto button. Constantly compare, not to others but to your own older work, so you can see how much you are learning and how your style is evolving. That’s what is going to inspire you the most.

 

 

 

14.  Ah yes that Auto button.  I am still working on moving beyond it.  Someday soon I think…..What new form of arts or craft would you like to learn?

 

I would love to learn to create encaustic art with found items and my photos. Something about working with bee’s wax makes me think it would be very interesting.

 

 

Spring mockup

15.  Well that is a new one for me, encaustic painting.  It sounds fascinating.  Is there anything else you want to tell us about your life, and what might be next for you?

 

I’m eager to explore more about designing websites, creating digital goods, and video, that’s where my heart seems to be headed lately. I think the journey has just started…and it’s going to be interesting.

 

 

Fence and cloudy sky

Jen, I know I will be anxiously awaiting your next creative steps…..

 

I hope you enjoyed this little talk with Jen Vandervoort.  I love learning a bit more about the creative people who touch my soul, and inspire me to move beyond my limits.  Jen you are definitely one of these inspirational people.  Please make sure you visit Jen in all the wonderful places she hangs out.

 

Here are her most popular links…Although Jen is on Twitter and G+, she says she doesn’t really visit there too much.

Email: muddybootdreams@gmail.com

Blog: www.thelightlaughed.com 

FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Light-Laughed/145926472105260

Instagram: https://instagram.com/jen.thelightlaughed/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/muddybootdreams/

 

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Photos are the sole property of Jen@The LightLaughed and their use in this post is by permission of the photographer.

August Break Completed

smile

“A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.”

~ Denis Waitley

 

 

 

I promised I would finish up the photography challenge,  The August Break, the creation of Susannah Conway.  Today I have the last 4 prompts, and my interpretations.  These last few words seemed even more of a challenge, but I practiced patience and waited as the inspiration took hold.  Some came to me days later, and I changed the images that didn’t seem to work for me.  So here we go.

 

The first picture above is Day 30-Smile.  Yes that is me, or what I was willing to show of me as I wanted to emphasize my everyday smile.  Just a hint of a smile always on my lips as my mouth upturns and my cheeks puff out.  This photo was actually taken on my Mac computer using the application, Photo Booth.  The camera on my Mac is easier to use for taking self portraits.  And I love some of the effects that this application has.  The effect I used for this was picture is called, Color Pencil.

 

 

 

In The Bag collage

Day 28-In My Bag  This particular prompt had me stumped.  I had many ideas none of which I liked.  As I was going by the pond, I noticed the yellow waterlily finally blooming at the end of summer, which was late.  And I remembered it grows in a cloth bag at the bottom of our pond.  The cattails have all but crushed this waterlily, but I was happy to see it was not going to be pushed out.

 

 

 

in my bag collage2

Then the next day, I saw the new bag of my favorite coffee waiting to be opened and ground.  And it hit me!  I opened the bag on our kitchen table and let it spill out.  And here are 3 views of the coffee beans (that was in my bag of coffee) spilled on the table.  I love these images and can still smell the coffee.

 

 

 

listen2

Day 29-Listening  I knew I wanted to take a picture of our, almost antique, receiver.  My husband has had this receiver for a long time, even though we no longer have the turntable.  We have a CD changer still hooked up to it, and we love to use the radio.

 

 

 

tree frog

Day 31-August Was….  Full of Discovery.  Everywhere I looked in my garden, the smallest creatures seemed to bring delight.  And I continued to see more and more special scenes like this one.  This a Gray Tree Frog.  They are more gray when they are living closer to our trees, and green when in the garden.  As I walked by the stalk of a plant, this tiny green blob caught my eye.  Only an inch long, they are hard to see, but they make a mighty song in high summer when mating.  The pictures were processed a bit differently to highlight this little creature.

 

At the end of the post is another little creature hard to see when they rest in our big ash trees, on tiny branches.  Of course I am talking about the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.  This is either a female of juvenile hummer.

 

 

 

So there you have the photos from days 28-31 of  The August Break challenge.  Here are the links for the my other posts from this challenge: Days 1-10, 11-20, and 21-27.

 

I am linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and with Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) photo linkup party at image-in-ing.

 

 

 

I leave you with a bit more sentiment about creativity and joy.   Feel free to download the photo and share.

create joy

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-15.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

End of Month Potpourri-August Break Highlights 2015

real life

“When the creative impulse sweeps over you, grab it. You grab it and honor it and use it, because momentum is a rare gift.”  ― Justina Chen

 

 

 

 

I am continuing my participation in the photography challenge,  The August Break, the creation of Susannah Conway.  Today I have the next 7 days of words, and my interpretations for you.  This week seemed to be quite a challenge as I tried to capture so many images interpreting the latest words, many which are very common.

 

The first picture above is Day 21-Real Life.  This is my everyday work area with my laptop front and center.  I liked the picture better in black and white, as color was not an important aspect of the picture.

 

 

 

curves collage

Day 22-Curves  I had many different pictures picked out for this word.  But it was when I was outside sitting, that I noticed the curves in my garden hat.  This hat is a prized possession, and I had a lot of fun capturing the curves.

 

You can see another picture of my garden hat in the last picture.  This was an impromptu picture taken while I was sitting outside enjoying the garden.

 

 

 

water collage2

Day 23-Water  One of my favorite spots is the pond in our garden.  The sound of the waterfall is relaxing.  I wanted to capture the waterfall as it flows down the rocks.

 

 

 

distance2

Day 24-In The Distance  This is the beginning of the wetlands about a couple of miles down the road.  It is acres of cattails that end at the woods edge, in the distance.

 

 

 

green distance

Day 25-Green  The cattails end as the wetlands open up.  And you can see this amazing Chartreuse green algae covering the entire surface of the water.  Isn’t it stunning?  Especially against the pinkish-purple flowers of the purple loosestrife plant that has invaded the wetlands.

 

 

 

door3

Day 16-Door  When I originally was thinking about this word, I wanted to capture our front door.  But then as the day went on, I wanted to look at a few more doors around the house and garden.  I especially love the view through the door on the gazebo.  Isn’t it inviting?

 

 

 

door collage

Our purple front door is bottom right, the door I originally wanted to capture.  And then I experimented with opening the door to a couple of rooms and capturing the view as you enter.

 

 

 

recipe collage

Day 27-Favorite Recipe  During tomato season, we love to make sauce.  This is a special recipe from a garden friend, Kathy@The Violet Fern.  It is called Summer In A Jar, and you can read more about it here.  All the ingredients, basil, garlic, cherry tomatoes, were grown in our garden this summer.

 

 

 

 

So there you have the photos from days 21-27 of  The August Break challenge.  I will have the remainder of the words, for days 28-31, in two weeks.  Next week will be another Wildlife Lesson post, always on the first Thursday of the month.

 

I am linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and with Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) photo linkup party at image-in-ing.

 

 

 

I leave you with a bit more sentiment about creativity.   Feel free to download the photo and share.

creativity artist

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-15.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

August Break Continues

edge vase“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.”
~Hugh MacLeod

 

 

 

I have been enjoying the photography challenge,  The August Break, the creation of Susannah Conway.  And today brings another 10 days of words, and my interpretations.  This creative challenge continues to tickle my creative muscles as I play with ideas, composition and perspective.  Again I am including a few collages of pictures as they make for interesting photos too.

 

 

The first picture above is actually Day 11-Edge.  I was looking at this vase that was sitting on the windowsill of our back windows that angle out.  And I saw how it was peeking out from the edge of the wall.  I thought it was an interesting shot.

 

 

 

edge collage

Part of the same vase contained Queen Anne’s Lace which I just love to photograph.  And it is especially stunning in up close pictures emphasizing the Edges!

 

 

 

yellow

Day 12-Yellow  There is so much yellow outside in the garden, so I was searching inside for something yellow I wanted to showcase.  I spied our yellow hummingbird teapot that we bought in Santa Fe, NM.  It was perfect next to the same vase of declining sunflowers (also yellow).

 

 

 

last year

Day 13-Last Year  When I searched through the photos from last year, one special event that I just loved was the twin fawns that visited nearly every day.  Surprisingly, we have not seen any fawns so far this year.

 

 

 

favorite smell

Day 14-Favorite Smell  At this time of year, my favorite smell is fresh picked tomatoes sitting here on the kitchen counter.  They are a favorite treat as well.

 

 

 

art collage

Day 15-Art  This word was a challenge until I looked out at the garden in the morning light, and saw this hardy hibiscus glowing.  The incredible details of the huge flower petals are truly a work of art.  I thought I would make the inset picture into an actual painting, and then compare them in this collage.  I can barely tell the difference between the two….both Nature’s art.

 

Speaking of Nature’s art, I have a picture of a monarch, at the end of the post, that has been visiting my garden for several days.  I consider monarch’s and their beautiful wings, with the stripes and spots, artwork!

 

 

 

fire3

Day 16-Fire  The early morning light coming into the garden creates so much magic.  And as it touched the red and orange sunflowers recently, it looked like the flames of a fire.

 

 

 

fire collage2

I absolutely love these sunflowers because of their color, and they have about 50 flowers on a 7 foot tall multiple branched sunflower.  And this sunflower is a volunteer from last year’s plant.  .

 

 

 

books collage

Day 17-Reading  I have so many bookshelves filled to overflowing with books.  But my absolute favorite is this Stickley glass-fronted bookcase.  I keep very special books in this bookcase with special artwork.  The tile and the pottery are both from NM.

 

 

 

look up

Day 18-Look Up  The days have been hot lately, and the sun around midday washing out all the color.  As I sat on the patio step and looked up, I shot a bunch of pictures.  And to my surprise, I caught some interesting spider webs being constructed in the Sanguisorba officinalis.  It is always good to look up!

 

 

 

DSCN7584

Day 19-Sweet Delight  What better sweet treat on a hot day than a popsicle.

 

 

 

sweet collage

I left it out in 85 degree heat and photographed it melting from many different views.

 

 

 

two final

Day 20-Two  I was not sure what I was going to do for this word as I already had a few pictures with 2 items in this post.  Then Tuesday, we had severe thunderstorms that snapped many of my beloved sunflowers in two.  Those same beloved sunflowers above set ablaze by the sun.

 

 

 

two collage

Now they are in a vase a bit bedraggled, and dropping petals….these two petals were my inspiration!  It seems sunflowers have been an ongoing inspiration for me during August.

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed these photos from days 11-20 of  The August Break challenge.  I am linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and with Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) photo linkup party at image-in-ing.

 

 

 

I leave you with a bit more sentiment about creativity.   Feel free to download the photo and share.

aug break create2

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-15.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

August Break Begins

talisman

“Non-judgment quiets the internal dialogue, and this opens once again the doorway to creativity.”

~Deepak Chopra

 

Last August I participated in a photography challenge called The August Break, the creation of Susannah Conway.  And I was excited when I heard she was doing it again this year.  Each day is a new word, and you decide how to show it.  So for Thursdays in August, I will be showcasing my pictures from the challenge.

 

 

I love this challenge because it is simple, and allows me to be in the moment and to be creative.  I thought I would break it up into thirds and show you what I came up with in 10 day chunks.  I am truly a novice with photography still using the auto setting on my point and shoot.  But I am enjoying composing the images daily, and looking for different perspectives.  I have included a few collages of pictures as they make for interesting photos as well.

 

 

The first picture above is actually Day 10-Talisman.  This hand-blown glass rabbit has been with me now for about 30 years.  I bought this at our local Renaissance Faire as I was told it was a special animal spirit for me.

 

 

 

bfast collage

Day 1-Breakfast  I took a few different perspectives of my breakfast plate; in more light and then less light.

 

 

 

air

Day 2-Air  This was a bit challenging to decide what to shoot, but when this dragonfly perched on the tip of this tiny plant right in front of me, I knew this was my shot.

 

 

 

cuke5

Day 3-Skin  I wanted to find something besides the obvious human skin to shoot.  So when I saw these cucumbers from the garden, I was drawn to their skin which can be smooth or bumpy.  They also make great pickles!  YUM.

 

 

 

numbers collage

Day 4-Numbers  I took this day to go around the house looking for interesting numbers.   And then I thought about how I would compose the photos of these ordinary objects.  The first is of an antique crock.  Next is an antique kitchen timer.  Both antiques belonged to my aunt and uncle.

The last photo is of a ceramic clock we bought on our honeymoon in Italy.  I love this photo because even though the numbers are Roman Numerals, the number 4 is incorrect.  It should read IV as a Roman numeral.  It gives this clock more personality the way it is written as tally marks instead.

 

 

 

citrus views

Day 5-Citrus  There isn’t much to tell here.  Again I was playing with perspective when shooting the lemon next to this vase of flowers from my garden.

 

 

 

notebook

Day 6-Notebook  My notebook is my journal.  I opened to the next blank page and took a picture.  I liked working with the perspective and angle of this shot.

 

 

 

5 things

Day 7-5 Facts About Me  I had no idea what I was going to use for this day.  As I was sitting on the couch and looking out the window, the sun was streaming through this little display on the windowsill.  The screen was up so the garden in the background was more pronounced.  I loved how the scene glowed and I knew this was the picture.

So what are the 5 things about me:  Love to garden, love to pick flowers and arrange them, love New Mexico where I bought the glass tile (and wanted to move there at one time), my dear friend (who lives now in NM) bought me the 2 figures and the gourd is an inspiration to me for many things including gardening, and I am fascinated with Native American lore, history and archeology.  In another life, I might have studied Native American tribes as my career instead of being an educator.

 

 

 

smooth contrast

Day 8-Smooth  So many choices here, but I decided on the lily pads in the pond that are still occupied by many frogs who love using them as lounge chairs.  When I was leaving the pond area, I caught sight of the native cactus I have growing in the stones on the side of the waterfall.  The contrast struck me, and I added it to the picture.

 

 

 

earth4

Day 9-Earth  Again the possibilities were endless, but the sunset that night was too beautiful not to use here.  The atmosphere of the Earth working its magic here and in the last picture below.

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed these photos from the first 10 days of  The August Break challenge.  I am linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.  And I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

 

I leave you with a bit of a sentiment about courage and creativity.   Feel free to download the photo and share.

aug break creativity

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-15.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

End of Month Potpourri-April 2015

DSCN2412

The potential of the average person is like a huge ocean unsailed, a new continent unexplored, a world of possibilities waiting to be released and channeled toward some great good. ~ Brian Tracy

 

 

For this month’s potpourri, I am continuing my thoughts about self-love.  Self-love and self-care are things we are not routinely used to considering…we are not brought up to think about ourselves first….it is thought of as selfish.

 

 

But in reality it is the most self-less thing we can do to care for ourselves….I feel if we don’t care for ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, then we cannot adequately care for others.

 

 

Part of that self-care is making time for ourselves….not easy in our busy lives, but essential.  It is important to connect to our inner core….to find ways to replenish ourselves.  I disconnect from the world for chunks of time.  It gives me space and solace to think or not think…to go with the flow or put my ideas down on paper.

 

 

But the best thing I do somedays is to celebrate.  With the coming of May, I find it a perfect time to celebrate as it is my birth month.  It is a standing joke that in May….I don’t have a birthday, but I celebrate my birth month.  But that joke has really become a reality for me, as I think it is a perfect idea.

 

 

And while this is something I do in May, I have begun to realize that I need to celebrate more….not just the big occasions, but the smaller moments in my life.  A glorious day….a perfect sunset….the return of a beloved flower or bird to my garden…..a mother rabbit nursing her young.

 

 

These times don’t need a big celebration…they just need to be noted in a journal, or for me with my camera.  So as I look back at some of these special times this past month, I thought I would celebrate them here with you as I saw them through my camera lens.

 

 

 

DSCN1417

As the snow finally began to melt in the beginning of April, fog came to the garden.  This was the foggy sunrise that met me on that glorious morning.

 

 

 

DSCN2203

The willow trees outside my front door, capture the droplets of rain and hold them making sparkles and reflections.

 

 

 

DSCN1746

And those same trees are a perfect perch for many bird visitors seeking shelter, a home or just a spot to watch the sunrise on a foggy morning….like this Junco.

 

 

 

DSCN2219

The first flowers of spring were a daily occurrence as the snow melted to reveal them already blooming.  And with spring rains, the flowers were bathed in more beauty.

 

 

 

DSCN2198

The first daffodils shimmered like the snowdrops above.

 

 

 

DSCN1970

As the ground warmed, and the bright spring sun shone down, more flowers bravely bloomed for me…Iris reticulata here…..Chionodoxa in the first photo.

 

 

 

DSCN1991

And Crocus tommasinianus blooming through the new green grass.

 

 

 

DSCN2299

This Scilla siberica is finding the first light of the new day…what a glow it is giving off that is captured here and in my heart forever.

 

 

 

DSCN1929

And finally the silver maple flowers are blooming already as the spring sunlight makes them shine like diamonds on the branches.

 

 

These are the celebrations I see each day…and so many more I hear with each new bird’s song.  Each a delight…each renewing me helping me to SOAR higher.  Each and every day now I am making time for me…I take it slow with no set plan…just kindness, gentleness and a child’s curiosity regained.

 

 

 

Note:   Each photo was taken on my daily walk around the garden in the month of April, 2015.  Some required me to lay on the soft, wet ground and see the flowers from a new perspective.  Oh what breath of life I found there as I reconnected with Mother Earth.

 

If you like gardening, and want to see more pictures of my April garden, I have a monthly journal post at my garden blog, Gardens Eye View, the first Monday of each month.

 

 

 ********

 

 

I leave you with more thoughts about self-love and giving love back.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

heart

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.