Tag Archives: nature

Half the Battle

I think I’ve mentioned this before but a recent blog (cravesadventure – Recess Time) reminded me that photography is my playtime.  With camera in hand, I look for beautiful and/or interesting things to photograph.   I love to freeze the moment so I can look into it closer and sometimes study it.  I often research things that I don’t understand.  Then I’ve preserved a reminder, for years to come, that God is amazing and kind in His creations.  He provided beauty and interest and food to enrich our lives, not just for our mere existence.

Spike Bull Elk
Spike Bull Elk

This yearling bull elk has a healthy coat this summer.  His diet is given away by the grass hanging out of his mouth and the grass seeds on his forehead.

I love seeing the incredible-timing photographs of wildlife.  I know how lucky you have to be to get those.  I’ve captured some of those without my knowledge until I’ve gotten back home and downloaded my camera to my laptop.  Half the battle is being in the right place at the right time.  The other half is having my camera pointed in the right direction, and in the right mode, when the incredible happens.  The two yearling elk (in the photo below) stood up on their hind legs and pawed at each other.  I could hear their hooves click as they hit each other.   It lasted 15 seconds and I couldn’t convince them to do it again after I was ready.  Here’s half the battle:

Elk Battle
Half of the Elk Battle

sigh: video of the whole battle would have been more fun

This blog is more of a scrapbook for me than for anyone else.  When I am old and unable to get outside, maybe this blog will be my playtime.  Although, recently, a music artist (Twilly Frost) asked if he could buy rights to one of my photos for his album cover; so that was unexpected and (I admit) flattering.

Becoming Comfortable with Beauty

Last week’s SS lesson talked about gaining knowledge. The teacher asked “why do you think it is important to ‘read out of the best books’ ?” He pointed out that the scriptures are The best books and we should read from them daily.  But there are others that we should also read.  So, here are my thoughts:

I think our brain is like the rest of our body: Garbage in, garbage out. If we eat harmful things, it will starve our organs of necessary nutrients to function properly. Some substances (like harmful drugs) can actually target certain organs and cause damage quickly. Likewise, we can take harmful things into our mind that will slowly starve it (lack of learning) or even damage it quickly (pornography, hate-speech).

Mom with her Osborne Computer
Mom with her Osborne Computer, 1980-ish

I’ve always liked the analogy that we are each like a puzzle piece that fits into our family puzzle; immediate and extended. We are shaped by those around us and by the choices we make. As we grow older, we have more control over our “shape” as we make more of our own choices. And I’m not just talking about our body shape. 🙂 Our “shape” is who we are comfortable spending time with and the places we are comfortable in. And by “comfortable” I guess I mean “easy.” Routine is comfortable.

When I first moved away from my parents home I remember how good it felt to go back home for a few days. That’s where my shape fit best. The whole environment felt like a warm blanket wrapped around me. I remember years later, after I’d been married for a few years, we weren’t able to be with my parents for Thanksgiving. I not only missed the time talking to them, I even missed falling asleep on the couch after dinner with the sound of the football game on the TV. I’ve never been one to turn on a football game but I did on that Thanksgiving Day.

I know many smokers who want to quit smoking. It seems like the routine of smoking may be harder to quit than the physical addiction to nicotine. My husband was successful when he replaced his smoking routine with a painting routine. He painted a mural at his workplace instead of going on smoke breaks. He broke the pattern of where he walked and how he used his hands during breaks. The mural only took so long, though, so his desire to quit kept him motivated to find other ways to create new patterns and routines.

We don’t have to like the routine we are in for it to be comfortable. Change is hard. It may be the biggest reason an abused person doesn’t leave the abuser. They’ve gotten into a routine. It is comfortable in the sense that they know what to expect; not that they like it but they don’t know anything else. Maybe they don’t think they deserve anything better or they don’t think they are capable of anything better. When we change our shape, some of our closest relationships won’t be as comfortable. Those people either choose to change their shape or leave.

Yes, change is hard but it is so worth it! In the past, I was trapped in a shape I wanted to change. I could see that the men I was attracted to were toxic. I was successful in my career though. And I had good relationships with my family and friends (as far as I know-lol). It was just this one type of relationship that I had trouble with. I had to change my shape. I changed the way I thought about myself. I had to practice seeing the beauty in others as well as in myself. But that also meant I needed to learn to recognize what was harmful to me. I am now blessed with a kind, loving and supportive husband. I’m not done yet. Life is not over. I’m still working on my shape.

lake-house-nighttime
The pathway home

Change is hard. But we CAN change our shape! God created us in HIS image! (Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” also: Moses 2:27, Abraham 4:27, Ether 3:15, Alma 22:12, D&C 20:18)

I think one reason to “read from the best books” (D&C 88:118) is so we can fill our mind with beauty; so we are comfortable hearing beautiful speech. When we look at beautiful scenery and artwork we grow comfortable being in beautiful places. Aren’t we trying to shape our puzzle piece to fit into God’s family puzzle?  Don’t we want to be comfortable in the beauty of Heaven?

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Spring to Summer

It’s amazing how fast the temps change on the Oregon Coast; even in the Spring.  I believe it depends on which way the wind blows.  (Maybe that’s obvious to a meteorologist.  hahaha)

swallow nest
swallow nest

We had a long, wet spring and it seems like the wildlife cycle is a little late.  That’s not a scientific fact; just a feeling.

very ripe salmonberry
very ripe Salmonberry

The wild berries also seem a little late.  I love the Salmonberries when they are a little over-ripe like this one.  And I think they are the prettiest when red rather than the earlier school bus orange.  I’ve found that the Salmonberries that get more sun aren’t as sweet; no matter how ripe they are.  So look for a bush that is mostly shaded during the day.

Mink vs Mallard – Act II

How lucky are we to see this again!!

I saw 2 groups of Mallard ducks across the river.  They stopped to look at something on the riverbank of the Alsea River.  I saw a very small mink running along the bank so I started recording.  Mama-Mallard kept her 5 babies safe again!

If you watch where the duck is looking you’ll see movement under the brush.  That’s the mink.  He dives in after them and Mama scatters her ducklings.  This is a larger mink than I saw at first so I’m wondering about a mink family living nearby???  How cool is THAT!

Click/tap the link to watch the YouTube video:  https://youtu.be/9T_Nh9kePiA

Mink waits for opportunity to snatch a mallard duckling
Mink waits for opportunity to snatch a mallard duckling

Thankful Thursday #thankfulthursday

I have so much to be thankful for…my awesome husband, children and grandchildren, my parents, siblings, in-laws and friends are at the top of my list!

2nd is the beauty that surrounds me in simplicity and wonder.

Mule Deer Buck
Mule Deer Buck with unequal antlers
Merganser Young'uns
Merganser family stick close together
Lazy leaf floating through the reflections
Lazy leaf floating through the reflections
Crescent Moon
Crescent Moon – men walked there
cedar waxwings
Cedar Waxwings stop to chat

and the beauty even feeds me!

Apple tree is stressed from a dry summer but still producing
Apple tree is stressed from a dry summer but still producing

Grandeur is Sometimes Small

We’ll soon be moving away from the beach.  Although it will only be a few miles, I will miss walking out my front door to go for a walk and listen to the rhythm of the waves and to “see what I can see” (to quote a childhood song).

Sunset Distance
Sunset Distance

As I think about that, it’s only reasonable that I’m reflecting on what I’ve learned over the last several years on the beach.

I love the vastness of the ocean.  How many miles am I actually seeing?  What is it, 15 miles until the curvature of the earth removes the horizon from our view?  But I can see the sun on the horizon!  So I must be able to see light-years away. 🙂

I like to stare away into the distance even at the stars in the dark sky over the ocean; seemingly into eternity.

Sand Pattern - Water Drain
Sand Pattern – Water Drain

But, honestly, I can’t really do that for long.  I don’t know if I’m ADD or just “normal”.  But something, closer to me, always catches my attention.

When I see the flat, shell-less, beach for miles ahead of me, it is a beautiful beach.  But if I look at what is right around me, I am pleasantly surprised by the beauty in the details.

Seagull Yoga
Seagull Yoga

I like the contrast of the dark fog bank, the blue sky and the diamond-like shimmering sunlight on the water.  But I thought the seagull added a personal touch to the beach.  This is his home too; longer than it’s been mine.  I didn’t really think I’d catch him in his morning yoga ritual.  But I’m glad I didn’t disturb him.

Blustery Day Beach Drawing
Blustery Day Beach Drawing

There are times when the beach inspires me beyond my capabilities and I cannot resist adding my own touch to God’s creations.   What I add is not beauty in everyone’s eyes.  But maybe it is at least humor.  And if not humor, maybe contrast so the real beauty is emphasized.   🙂

Island in the Sand
Island in the Sand

Most of the time, God gives me these special, beautiful, gifts; right in front of my face.  (Like the people in my life.)  I’m not inspired to change or add to it, just to admire it and let it change me.

Although I can’t imagine where I will spend my morning walks away from the beach, I am sure I will  continue to discover (or re-discover) more beauties right in front of my face.