Friday Favorites

I love our sunrises. Maybe it’s because we have property here and don’t live in a neighborhood but it satisfies something in my soul when I see the early morning sun breaking through the trees.

Yesterday, Claire and I made a trip into Houston for a 4-H field trip. Yep, that’s right. I drove into the city, a major city, I might add. The interstate is an fascinating mess but people actually know how to drive it which means everything keeps moving even though there is a ton of traffic. And the skyline is so amazing.

We went to the museum of natural science for the Ramses exhibit. After all our years at Trinitas studying ancient Egypt is was really interesting to see all of the artifacts and mummies.

The museum is huge and after we finished up the planned portion of the visit a group of us did the butterfly center which was super fun. I love butterflies and the museum has created a really beautiful habitat to enjoy them in. I did hesitate going in because their sign said something about free roaming reptiles and I was not sure I was okay with that. Turns out they have an iguana that has free reign of the place so it was all good.

It had been a long day but we still wanted to take a turn through the dinosaur exhibit. Those creatures really were huge.

We thought we were done at this point but then a few of the kids came running up and said we just HAD to go see the hall of gems and minerals as well as the Everyday Faberge exhibit. They were so right and I was so happy we didn’t miss them. All the sparkle 🥰

I am always amazed more and more by God’s creation activity looking at what are basically rocks that He made. The myriad of colors and textures…it is mind boggling!

I do wish they had a before picture to accompany each one. I know they don’t come out of the ground looking like this and I bet it is fascinating to see the process.

Look at this chunk of opal! Isn’t it gorgeous?

And then you can see all the incredible ways man uses these stones to make beautiful and elaborate jewelry.

These are all rings. Aren’t they pretty?

Tiaras and necklaces too, oh my!

There were also some more delicate “everyday” pieces like some very lovely cigarette cases or calling card cases.

I loved this little broach watch made with rubies. The exhibit has a tiny mirror set up under it to reflect the watch on the back.

All in all it was a good trip but our timing was off a little bit. One, I think it is smarter to spend more than one day there and two, do not go at the end of the school year. There were gobs of schools there and it was crowded.

I definitely want to go back and visit the museum district as a whole and Houston in general. There just seems like there is so much to do!

Have a good weekend y’all!

Come On Over

Sometimes I visit this space with a plethora of words and ideas that tumble over themselves as they escape my brain. Sometimes I sit down here to work through a knotty problem out loud. I talk to myself in real life too but there is something about being able to see my words and rearrange them, moving them to their proper place and finding the right order for my thoughts that satisfies.

Sometimes people read what I’ve written and agree or enjoy them and a conversation blooms. Other times a post I am particularly happy with does not get much traction. But the same thing happens with pictures so I don’t sweat it much. I realize I am not writing anything new or taking pictures of things that no one else has ever seen or taken a picture of before. There is a lack of pressure in that knowledge which allows me to slip in here as if we’re grabbing a cup of coffee and just visiting. Or maybe a better description in sitting down with a cup of coffee to read a letter from a friend.

The weather here this morning is pretty blah with a significant storm system moving through later. We took down my hanging plants and moved all my recently potted flowers onto the porch last night in preparation.

Did I tell you about my first experience with planting flowers here in my new lovely home state of Louisiana? About a month ago Rob and I took advantage of a local hardware store’s no tax weekend and bought lots of plants for me to put in the ground. Since my success with flowers and such last year I have been chomping at the bit for spring to arrive. Well, let me tell you…the ground here is nothing like the ground in Florida!

I dug and dug for about twenty minutes and barely scratched out three inches of earth. The ground is so hard here, especially it seems in the area of Carlyss where we live. I decided it would be messy to use the hose but I have rain boots so I could soften the ground with water and dig my holes.

😳

The ground is a dark hard clay that doesn’t absorb water the way the sandy soil in my old yard did. I ended up with a nice ol’ mud puddle for my trouble. Hence I now have about sixteen potted plants and Rob is going to have to get cracking on building me some raised beds.

The people we bought our home from are finally moving to Nashville and slowly but surely getting their stuff out of our pasture. Which means I am spending a lot of time day dreaming about the garden space Rob is letting me design and we are trying to figure out where to put the vegetable garden and a chicken house.

So many projects and plans! My beloved has to keep me reigned in because I can go shooting off in a dozen different directions at a time. My mind hops from flowers to looking at chicken coop plans to knocking down walls to reconfigure the apartment space for Sam now that Emily lives in Monroe. (That was a weird minute for me. Realizing that when she got back from her honeymoon she would not be coming here again. She doesn’t live with us anymore. I mean I was at the wedding. I knew this already. But it just sort of hit me.)

It’s been great having a space for friends to use when they’ve come to visit. I enjoy getting it ready and stocking the little mini fridge and having a tray of snacks ready.

We haven’t started renovating the space yet though so you can come for a visit if you like. We can sit down and have a cup of coffee and conversation in real life.

Of course my Louisiana people are welcome to stop by for a visit anytime. The door is open and the coffee is ready! Y’all can teach me how to grow things around here 😊

DPP ~ Day 7

From all of the lovely color yesterday to a nice black and white silhouette today.

Crows or ravens, I really have no idea because they look similar to me, but there were tons of them in the parking lot of the store today. The birds here in Louisiana are not shy about being on top of the vehicles either, something altogether different than the little sparrows we would see in Florida.

Just another beautiful difference in this place we now call home.

The Quiet

It is a wet gray day here. The kind of day where you probably want to just stay inside.

I have to go to the grocery store but after that my plan is to hunker down and enjoy this first day back to our routine and normal schedule.

Christmas decorations have been taken down and pine needles swept up. I’ve always enjoyed this feeling of emptiness, this sense of quiet, that comes when the colorful holiday dress has been packed away.

IMG_0012I feel like I can think a little more clearly, a little more cleanly, if that makes any sense at all.

The winding road that travels through the anticipation of Advent and the hills of joyous celebration of His arrival lead us to the summit of Epiphany when He is revealed to the whole world. The space where we stand is vast and stretches free and wide open.

This same road will eventually descend into the valley of Lent and into the darkness of Good Friday before bursting into the brightness of the Resurrection.

The rearranging caused by Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany is a way to orient ourselves to the reality of our need for Christ.

Our need for this baby is great.

Our need for Him to grown in favor with God and man is immeasurable.

Those seemingly empty spaces need to be flooded with the understanding of our need for a Savior. For One who would bear our sin and take it to the cross and defeat a foe we can’t hope to rule over on our own.

Inhale the quiet.

Breathe deeply and rejoice that Love has come.

Summer Time Fun

I have grand plans every summer of stuff I want to do while the kids are out of school and every year I fail miserably at doing any or even most of them. Time just gets away from me. At the beginning of our second week of summer break I felt myself beginning to panic that summer was almost over. Ridiculous I know but I couldn’t help it. So I took a deep breathe and did what my beloved suggested and made of list or plan of sorts. It’s really kind of a bucket list of things to do this summer and I have absolved myself of any guilt if we don’t get to everything. Trinitas is a great school and I wouldn’t want my kids anywhere else. But it’s rigorous and they work really hard during the school year so I want all of us to relax and just have fun. But I don’t want to get so relaxed that before you know it we’re back at it buying school supplies and gathering uniforms and hitting the books and we didn’t really do anything but laze about.

However, one of the things we really want to do is laze about at the beach or lake at least once a week or so. The weather didn’t cooperate much that third week of break but we have gone to the beach and the lake once already and it’s been nice to laze about on a rainy day reading and watching Merlin, America’s Got Talent, and American Ninja Warrior.

Last week Rob and I were out of town to the yearly conference for Classical Christian Schools and the kids stayed in the pool a lot. The had friends over and kept themselves busy and out of trouble.

We grew up at the beach with sand and lots of open space and big open water. Having spent most of my life here in the south with only a few trips north and northwest I have never spent any time on a river other than Blackwater. Rob assures me that a mountain lake would sway me over from beach baby to a lake lover in a heartbeat.

But as of right now with my limited knowledge I am not a fan of the river. I don’t like snakes or alligators and I kind of feel we are invading their space way more than we invade the space of sharks and jellyfish in the gulf.

So I was a little unsure how I would feel about visit to the local lake. But a couple of friends asked me about going a couple of weeks ago and since the gulf was a little stirred up from Tropical Storm Colin we loaded up and went.

The first thing some kid says to me is that somebody had just found and killed snake under the dock. Well, boy howdy that sounded dandy! But I held my panic in check and  refrained from loading everybody up and we found a good place to settle down.

We all just kind of looked at each other and just assumed, rightly or wrongly and please don’t correct me if it’s wrongly because ignorance is bliss, that with so much activity and so many people that the wild life would steer clear of our area.

We also chose to steer clear of the darker parts of the water. There was plenty of clear water near the docks and the kids had a blast jumping off and splashing around. Claire about gave me heart failure by swimming under the dock and was disappointed when I told her she wasn’t allowed to do that again.

The weather was perfect and the water was refreshing and none of us missed the sand when it was time to dry off. (They have a section with sand but we went across to the grassy side because it had more of a shallow section for wading. Otherwise you were immediately in water five feet deep.)

There is also a really nice boardwalk nature trail that was just long enough to walk so that everyone was good and dry before getting in the van. It really was a pretty place.

All in all it was a lot of fun and I think we may do it again. The kids certainly loved it.

On A Cold Winter Morning Part II

I’ve made no secret that autumn is my favorite season. 
And despite my love of the beach, winter is probably my next favorite. Maybe because my winters are Florida winters and those winters are much different from winters elsewhere.
But it does get cold here and I love the nip of the frost and the brisk feeling of my air in my lungs. 
The light is different this time of year too. It interacts with the world differently and that of course means it does with the camera as well. Or at least I notice that it does 🙂 

Winter is the time for comfort,
for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home.
~Edith Sitwell

On A Cold Winter Morning

It’s not unusual after shooting a really large even such as a wedding for me to put my camera down for a few days.

My eyes, physically as well as creatively, need to rest. Clearly, I’d never make it as a full time wedding photog!

Maybe because this wedding came on the heels of the holidays and the kids were just going back to school and Rob was out of town but I just unplugged last week. I left the computer off most days and barely even looked at my phone.

It was quite nice but I found I was having a really hard time motivating myself to do anything much less pick up the camera.

Until yesterday when the world turned cold and was all but encased in ice. Twenty-nine degrees and I get inspired to take pictures…crazy, but there you have it.

I’ll share some more tomorrow but here’s a few from the front yard where the sprinklers still came on and water drops froze and sparkled in the sun and ice crunched under foot.

Poor flowers have been confused over whether or not it’s time to bloom. I think Lady Winter cleared things up!
Frozen tears…
An icy bird bath photographs well but is less than hospitable, don’t you agree?

Beautiful diamond sparkle grass.

And my ornamental peacock looks to have shed a tear.

Hydrangea, how beautiful even in cold sleep.

Jewel crusted monkey grass lined the walkway. No wonder I was inspired to pull out the camera.

The way a crow 
Shook down on me
 The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree
Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued
~ Robert Frost