Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I've just finished reading an excellent book called Streams of Contentment, by Robert J.Wicks. It is chock full of simple wisdom, things I sort of already knew but needed to be reminded about.

I've been going through a little bit of a trying time and for some reason, I thought of this fig photo that I knew I wanted to use for a "thang." I played with it in Photoshop Elements, got it fixed up like I wanted and then sat to try and figure out what I wanted to say. I couldn't think of anything so I picked up Streams of Contentment to see what might catch my eye. I've underlined a ton of things in the book but this was the first thing I saw when I opened the book and by golly, it fits.

A softened soul is as delicate as a ripe fig.

Having a softened soul is a scary thing. There is the very real risk of being bruised by others (sometimes by "others" who love and care for us very much).

Caring for a softened soul requires a delicate touch. You cannot grasp a softened soul with a tight and rough fist without the risk of damage.

Still, a softened soul is a beautiful and desirable thing.

I don't want to run in fear of having a softened soul.

I don't want to hold too tightly to the softened souls I know and care for.

(And I just decided this fits the 52 Photos theme of the week, "Delicate")

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Missed Your Plane?

Started reading a new book today and found this quote, which is a quote from one of the characters in a Walker Percy novel. It's an interesting question....

Last night in church, there was a young man sitting in front of us and the back of his head looked almost exactly like the back of my son's head. He was not quite tall enough but otherwise, the similarity was enough to take my breath away. He even stood there ramrod still in spite of the rockin' music, just like my son would have! 

Things like seeing that guy pierce my heart.

But losing him, and facing colon cancer have enhanced my determination not to miss my life. Each day is a new opportunity to live my life.

And I am grateful for new opportunities.

But sometimes I am a slacker about taking advantage of them.

I'm trying to do better!

Friday, July 27, 2012


The theme this week at 52 Photos Project is "white." I took this one recently on the grounds of the former Jesuit college in Grand Coteau.

Sometimes it feels like that is all there is to life: loss.

And yet, life goes on.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I heard a priest say he tries to leave room for mystery when he preaches. I like knowing there is room somewhere for mystery.

The reason the "still small voice" says "Chill" is because I heard a preacher say that he often senses God telling him to chill. Some of those preacher types can be rather intense! Sometimes, I think if I'd quit fretting long enough about what it is I am supposed to be doing, I might also hear God hinting around that I too need to chill!

I was in a lecture on the Serenity Prayer with a Cajun priest who interspersed his talk with common Cajun terms that I vaguely understood, but could not spell here, and he said, "Some of y'all need to lighten up" and while he was saying that he pulled his shirt up to show us his t-shirt with the bright yellow smiley face on it and a Bible verse!

I don't know what direction I am going with this blog. It most often seems to work best when I just open the window and start letting words flow.

I've been thinking again about putting my blog "out there" on Facebook. It seems like a growing thing for me to do. When I do it, I will certainly have to get over worrying about what people think about what I say or do here. I'll simply have to get over myself, won't I?

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I'd been thinking about growth, this week's theme for the 52 Photos Project and didn't have any idea what I'd use. I found the skeletal leaf in this photo and did some work on trying to capture its unique beauty. I'm somewhat disappointed with the results.

But it was fun seeing how the afternoon sunlight made shadows and how those shadows changed when the sun went behind the clouds. I found myself standing around staring impatiently at the sun while waiting for the light to come back! I'd taken a bunch of pictures and had forgotten my camera was set on "RAW." I don't have a way of converting those photos so my computer can't open them at the moment. I changed the setting and went out to get more photos. The one above is one of the last things I tried. The leaf is resting on a background canvas that is covered in old dictionary pages and painted. It is sitting on the railing of my patio. The sun was shining down on my right side as I took the photo. This, to me, seems obvious here, but I have had to learn how to look to the shadows to find the direction of the light.

My first photo setting choice was on an old cedar stump that is a leftover from Hurricane Rita. The tree was blown over and we cut the stump but we never dug it completely out. Now a small oak tree is growing tenaciously up through a crack in the trunk. I'm waiting to see how that is going to work out for the oak tree!

The shadows seen in the photo are the shadows of the young oak tree that is growing through the dead cedar stump where the skeletal remains of the leaf are sitting. There is much pain and loss in life. And growth is sometimes a costly commodity but it is always worth the price of the ticket.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


It's been raining here and I've not gotten out with my camera this week. I couldn't think of anything circular in my collection of photos. I am sure I have some, I have been in some sort of creative funk lately. But I remembered the photos I'd taken when we went to the country on July 4th. There are circles galore in those photos!

These are late huckleberries. They are related to blueberries. When they are ripe they are a dark bluish-purple color. They are smaller and very tasty. We only saw one bush of these growing (wild) but we made plans to coddle the bush for the next year and look to see if any others are coming up nearby. We want a good and delicious crop of huckleberries!

These are chinquapin nuts. They won't be ready to eat until sometime in the fall, around September, I believe. They have a prickly outer covering that finally cracks open to reveal a small nut. You have to kind of bite them open and then extract the nut. I have fond memories of walking in the woods with my grandparents and my family, looking for these trees. We have three or four that are growing in the woods near us.

And these are muscadines! They make good wine! They are also useful for making jelly. The grapes will not be ripe until the fall. They aren't all that good to eat right off the tree because the outer grape skin is very tough. Also, the vines are useful for making wreaths and other vine crafts. But you can't gather them until winter when all the leaves are gone.

I was going to acknowledge that the butterfly is not round, but he/she does have tiny little round spots on top of the wings. I just happened to catch this shot when we were up at my aunt's house in the country. There must have been twenty butterflies darting in and out of the flowers. This was the only orange one though, and he was tough to get!

We are making slow progress on working on the house. We were going up there this week with a friend who was going to bush-hog and the rain stopped that plan. I'm excited about it all and still hoping everything works out and we can have the house habitable before too much longer. I grew up in town but I have so many good memories of being in the country visiting family--grandparents, aunts and uncles and such. It is a place of peace and rest for me.

You can go here to see other circle photos.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Censors and Gremlins

Some people might refer to this "voice" as their "gremlin." Censor, gremlin, doesn't matter. It seems like everyone has that voice (or sometimes, those voices) that tell them things that just are not true. It's important to be aware of that voice and to know when it is speaking so that we can acknowledge it and move on to do whatever it was we were going to do.

(I'm working with a group through Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way. I did this on my own many years ago and got out of the habit of doing some of the practices she introduces in the book. I am looking forward to picking them up again.)

Friday, July 06, 2012

Bittersweet Times

I spent a little time tonight visiting with a few of my son's friends. One of his best friends, the one he working with in Pennsylvania when he died, came down for a few days and so there was a good little group gathered to see him. We hadn't seen him since the funeral in December. Another of his friends was there who recently became a father to a precious little baby girl so I got to hold and admire her. There were others around who matter to us and it was good to see them all. One of his friends has a younger sister who is expecting a boy in September. Everyone is kind of hoping the baby will arrive on my son's birthday. It was/is all a bittersweet reminder that life goes on.

These are some of the photos I took in the graveyard at Grand Coteau.

A melancholy angel.
Rows and rows of Jesuit priest graves.
The shadow of a cross reflected on on vault. 
And a tilted cross...

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Different Pathways

Today's 52 Photos Project prompt is "A Different Pathway." Someone offered the quote above in their comments on the 52 Photos Project blog. It spoke to me in a deep way. There are so many ways I've done exactly this--dreamed of new paths and yet, still continue to walk the old ones.

But there are also many new paths I am traveling on. Being open about my grief and not hiding it away is one of the the new paths I walk. Trying "new to me" spiritual practices is another. Working on our beloved "Little House" in the country is another new and scary path. Seeking the company of like-minded creative people is yet another new path I've begun to walk. I've joined a Facebook group where we will be taking a year to work through Julia Cameron's book, The Artist Way. I've found a small group of photographers participating in various "photo adventure" excursions and I'm slowly building a few bonds there, making plans to meet up locally to take pictures.

We met up last Sunday evening and took pictures at the St. Charles College in Grand Coteau. They are remodeling the facilities so we were limited to photographing the grounds, the big yellow barn and the cemeteries. I saw on the website they have a labyrinth but I did not see that when we were there. I would have liked to have gotten photographs of that. Maybe another day! I had a good time and got some good pictures. I've posted a few of them below. There may be more to come.

(In case you're wondering, the ladder looking thing in the photo above is a stile. We had to climb over that to get into the pasture where the barn was located. We only actually saw a couple of young calves but we saw plenty of evidence on the ground that indicated cows still hung around in that pasture. And the fences were electric. The photographer who had set this all up remembered to tell us this later, after I'd already observed the little connector things and had made my own mental note not to touch the fence!)

The barn was huge! We were not able to go inside but there was still plenty to see.

This is the back of the barn. There was a feeding area and a water trough behind me.

A corner at the back of the barn.

One of the many doors.

One of my favorite photos of the day.

There were many more photos of other things. But these are the best of the big yellow barn.