More Macro on a Monday

How was your weekend? Mine actually had a head start with a visit from our Sarah with the added surprise of her bringing my mother to see me! It was a super quick visit with them coming in late Wednesday evening and leaving early Friday morning but it was still good for my soul to have both my girl and my mama here. After they left I had some time to drive around some of our backroads taking pictures. There is so much beauty in the landscape of Louisiana and I hope to share them later in the week so that family and friends in Florida can see more of where we live now.

A lovely dinner with a sweet young family from our church that evening, and a beautiful Saturday morning walking around some of downtown Lake Charles while Claire and her friends solved the CluedUpp murder mystery. This is the second time they’ve done the geo mystery game and it is always a lot of fun. The company does them all over the country and we actually gave two of them to people for Christmas, one that takes place in Pensacola and one in Monroe.

We are so grateful for the sweet friends Claire has found here!

This was followed by Claire’s first formal dance with the homeschool coop we belong to. She takes weekly dance lessons in Lake Charles so it’s fun to actually get to go somewhere and do the foxtrot and Virginia Reel.

Then Rob and I actually went on a date, something we realise we haven’t done since sometime like September? We went to a restaurant called Calla and oh boy! was the food delicious. We started the meal with blue crab beignets and the meal just went up from there…the brussel sprouts were divine!

Everything wrapped up with a wonderful Sabbath full of spiritual food (I found Rob’s sermon to be particularly beautiful) and good rest.

There was a beautiful mix of fog and pink skies this morning when I took the puppies out. A quick phone picture is all I captured but I think I may need to keep my camera handy tomorrow for a real picture.

There is so much to be thankful for and I’m looking forward to whatever this week holds. Everything is not always rainbows and butterflies I know. Last week was mixed with deep sorrow over the loss of a faithful minister and friend of Rob’s who passed away suddenly. There were text conversations with friends that I miss seeing regularly. But God shows Himself so faithful even in the midst of those things and then the extra portion of grace given in such sweet good things can only cause me to either weep with joy or sing His praise.

It seems like a good place to begin a Monday, don’t you think?

I almost forgot the macro picture! I’m not calling it macro Monday every week but right now it is a fun departure from regular photography and I hope you enjoy seeing things up close and personal. I actually find taking macro pictures to be very relaxing and if I feel stressed or a bit chaotic it helps to take a moment to lean in and narrow my focus for a bit.

I think this last one was my favorite from the roses.

Friday Favorites ~ The Etsy Shop

Today’s Friday favorites comes to you via a wee bit of unapologetic self promotion.

For the longest time I would have people look at my photography and encourage me to make cards and other things with it. Then with the advent of etsy people would suggest starting my own shop so in September or October of last year I did just that.

And of course we promptly moved to a completely different state in November and I put the shop on hold because that is just the way we do things around here. But as I started the new year part of my prayer was asking God if that was an avenue I needed to keep investing my time in because honestly that is the biggest part of it. Posting the items is a minimal cost, it’s the time and work put into creating images and making something out of them that is the bigger commitment.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the process and obviously I would still be creating the images at least whether I have an etsy shop or not. I cannot seem to help taking pictures and my post a few days ago gives some insight into what motivates me that way.

And to be perfectly honest, I do love seeing people buying and using my cards and images to encourage their family and friends. It’s a bit of a thrill.

All of that is to say why today’s post is a glimpse into a few of my favorite things in my shop and I hope it will entice some of you to pop over and check out what all is available. Sure, go ahead and make a purchase too (obviously ūüėČ ) but also, I would love to hear ideas and suggestions of things you would like to see in the shop…maybe a particular Scripture reference in a card or thingamabob. But don’t worry, just because you suggest something doesn’t mean you are obligated to purchase it.

I hate buying commercial greeting cards because typically I might like the picture on the front but hate the words or just cannot find one that says what I want to say. Making blank cards to personalize for the person I wanted to send the card to became my answer to that problem. I offer an assortment of cards that may just have a picture on front and others include a Bible verse but the inside is always blank so you can say exactly what you want. There are a variety of sizes and styles and, I believe, something that will suit you.

A few of my favorite sets are the wisdom trio and this duet I call floral reading.

And the sunflower tea is a popular set.

In the last year I have fallen in love with the landscape of Louisiana and two of my favorite tiles in the shop are watercolor versions of pictures I took of a bayou in Monroe. I’m really looking forward to exploring our area with my camera and I am sure you will be seeing more offerings that capture the beauty of our new home state. For now Solomon’s Porch and Down By the Bayou are available and make lovely accent decor.

And I only have two sets left of the new premium flatlay Valentine’s Day cards and there is still time to ship your order before February 14th!

Go ahead and nose around and see what you like. All of the images can be made into prints of various sizes so if you see something you would like hanging on your wall let me know. As always shipping is free and I work to get your orders shipped or hand delivered as quickly as possible.

And for those of you who have bought something from me already, thank you. Your patronage is appreciated! Leave a review and spread the word ūüôā

Happy Friday, y’all! Have a great weekend!

Think On These Things ~ Psalm 77

I cry aloud to God,
    aloud to God, and he will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
    in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
    my soul refuses to be comforted.
When I remember God, I moan;
    when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah

You hold my eyelids open;
    I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old,
    the years long ago.
I said, ‚ÄúLet me remember my song in the night;
    let me meditate in my heart.‚ÄĚ
    Then my spirit made a diligent search:
‚ÄúWill the Lord spurn forever,
    and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
    Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
    Has he in anger shut up his compassion?‚ÄĚ Selah

 Then I said, ‚ÄúI will appeal to this,
    to the years of the right hand of the Most High.‚ÄĚ

 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
    yes, I will remember your wonders of old.

 I will ponder all your work,
    and meditate on your mighty deeds.
Your way, O God, is holy.
    What god is great like our God?
You are the God who works wonders;
    you have made known your might among the peoples.
You with your arm redeemed your people,
    the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah

When the waters saw you, O God,
    when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
    indeed, the deep trembled.
The clouds poured out water;
    the skies gave forth thunder;
    your arrows flashed on every side.
The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
    your lightnings lighted up the world;
    the earth trembled and shook.
Your way was through the sea,
    your path through the great waters;
    yet your footprints were unseen.
You led your people like a flock
    by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Macro Macarons On A Monday

On Saturday the ladies of my church came over and we enjoyed a lovely brunch and fellowship over a discussion on Psalm 23. It was my first time hosting a group since we moved here and it was so fun to have them here! God has indeed been so gracious to us in this move.

And the food. Breakfast foods are some of my favorites and we had a veritable feast to savor and enjoy. As an afterthought I picked up some frozen macarons, partly because they are yummy and, being completely honest, partly because I knew if there were any left over I could take pictures of them ūüôā

And there were so I did and now we get to enjoy the fabulous alliteration of macro macarons on a Monday and if that isn’t just a fun way to start the week I don’t know what is. In all seriousness, I realize it may seem a silly thing to do and really a lot of the pictures I take may seem that way. I mean, these probably aren’t going to grace anyone’s walls just like the ones I did of an artichoke or the cheerios. But to me these pictures, the ones that so delight my soul but will never be hung or even printed, are small acts of beautiful resistance.

I have an online friend that I have been following for years and this morning she shared some of her heart struggles while living in China as the government there begins to push another lockdown due to covid. She talked about how Japanese-Americans were forced to live in internment camps during WWII and as an act of resistance they took to gardening. “They made rock gardens and ornamental gardens, vegetable gardens and gravel gardens. They refused to give in to the desolation. They preserved their culture and humanity. They resisted the harshness of their condition, and they did it with beauty.”

Christine went on to write that as she read Psalm 23 with that thought in mind it was as if God himself is known to create these beautiful acts of resistance…I have prepared a table for you to sit and feast in the midst of your enemies.

So, I ask you dear friend. What beautiful act of resistance will you commit this week? What small beautiful thing will you do or make that tells the world Christ is King?

Me? I think I am going to pick up my camera and see what unexpected and often overlooked beauty I can find to photograph.

Friday Favorites ~ Birthday Edition

My birthday was Wednesday and turning 51 was a lowkey event and lovely. The kids gave me a beautiful Willow Tree figurine and it seems I am finally going to actually start collecting them and that makes me happy.

Rob got me a thingie called an expo card that helps set accurate white balance when taking pictures and I am looking forward to working with that but what I am most excited about is the set of extension tubes he gave me. They are a poor man’s answer to a macro lens and they worked so much better than I expected! A good dedicated macro lens is going to range in price anywhere from $400 to $1200 and while it would be nice to have one I just can’t see spending that kind of money on “nice”.

Enter the extension tubes. They work great for a macro hobbyist who is just doing occasional up close work. Metal rings that attach to the camera, literally extend your lens so it can function as a macro. The set came with three different sizes and what is pretty cool is that they can be stacked to achieve different focal lengths.

I took around 275 pictures yesterday morning just getting a feel for them. Any macro lens gives you an incredibly narrow depth of field which means focus can be hard to nail. Pardon me while I geek out, but it was just so much fun to play around with!

This was one of my first successful shots.

I received some beautiful birthday flowers from friends and they came in quite handy as a practice subject.

And of course I needed to see how cheerios looked through the tubes.

I braved the cold (winter has arrived in Louisiana!) long enough to do a couple of random outside shots.

I’m hoping that as I practice I will get really good at macro work. There is something special about focusing in on the very small details that we usually just glance over. Almost like God is sharing a secret with us. Not sure what the secret in cheerios is but… ūüôā

Always happy to get suggestions for photo ideas so feel free to share any you have.

You can use this link to check out some really amazing macro photographers who are most likely not using extension tubes ūüėČ

Think On These Things ~ James 5:13-16

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

~ James 5:13-16

A Friday Favorite

Wasn’t yesterday simply glorious? The weather was so perfect! The only issue I had with it is that the perfect spring day really shouldn’t show itself in early January but what is there to do other than enjoy it?

The puppies had a great day and Rob worked on building them a sort of dog run/pen that will be great for them. It is amazing how quickly they are growing and running out of good space in the laundry room. (While I am somewhat sure they could safely be inside the main part of the house without accidents now they have no self control around the cats. We tried. We will not be doing that again anytime soon.) They love being outside though so the space Rob is making for them will be perfect. Plenty of sunshine but around a tree and safe from scooting under the big fence into the horse field behind us and eating things that ought not to be eaten by anyone.

I took advantage of the beautiful weather to repot some house plants I recently bought. Over the last five years or so I learned that I could actually keep plants alive but unfortunately when we made the move from Florida I didn’t have room to bring all of them with me. I brought a few of the ones I had had the longest and now I am working to add more to our home. I love having fresh flowers in the house but I also really enjoy nice green plants. They add such a touch of life to a home, don’t you think?

I rescued this little guy from the clearance section at Walmart a couple of weeks ago. I’m not sure where I am going to put him yet but I am sure I will find the right spot.

Even though I have been working with houseplants for a few years I still consider myself a novice. Because of this if I am not careful I end up honing in on one or two types of plants and only using them but I really want to broaden my green thumb. I didn’t have one of these (Please don’t ask its name…I forgot to keep the little plastic thing that came with it with that information.) I choose it because of the variegated greens on the leaves. It’s so bright and lively.

It found a nice home in our entryway which is still a work in progress. Rob is going to paint it using the same color he put in our bedroom; and we are looking for just the right table or hall tree to be a focal point. Then a rug and stuff on the walls but we really don’t want to rush just to have something there so patience is called for. But until then I wanted something to make it look less empty and undone.

The last plant to be potted is one that I already have that does well. He adds just the right color and look to our fireplace ledge. Most of the time I stick with white pots but this little guy came with the additional turquoise~esque one and it ties in nicely with the couch pillows so I decided to use it.

I’m thinking there might still be a few things to tweak yet here but I like how things are right now so I am content to make changes only when the right thing shows itself. I’m learning the value in waiting even as I balance my nesting and the desire to have everything settled and done.

I think one of the reasons I love house plants so much is the simplicity but gentle vitality they add to a room. Someone once said that having a beautiful plant is like having a friend around the house. I like that thought, don’t you?

Think On These Things ~ Psalm 112

Praise the LORD!

Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,

who greatly delights in his commandments!

His offspring will be mighty in the land;

the generation of the upright will be blessed.

Wealth and riches are in his house,

and his righteousness endures forever.

Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;

he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.

It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;

who conducts his affairs with justice.

For the righteous will never be moved;

he will be remembered forever.

He is not afraid of bad news;

his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.

His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,

until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.

He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;

his righteousness endures forever;

his horn is exalted in honor.

The wicked man sees it and is angry;

he gnashes his teeth and melts away;

the desire of the wicked will perish!