Beautiful and terrible

Quote of the day: “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” ~ Frederick Buechner

Back Yard View

I woke up to one of Mother Nature’s late winter reality checks.  Yesterday, we had rain that turned to ice during the night as temperatures dropped, and then all of that was covered with over 6 inches of wet, heavy snow.

It is beautiful–yes–and terrible.  Branches bowed to their limits, some weighed down beyond their limits, broke and fell.  Traffic in the Twin Cities was snarled with spin-outs and accidents galore. Morning commutes for some were long and frustrating.

And still it is magnificent. It is a miracle. It is a gift.

Life is like that. Take in the beauty. Experience the wonder. Don’t let the terrible make you shut out the wonderful.

The view out my window
Ice and snow coat a small tree branch
Lovely tree
My street
Icy branch
View across the pond - bowed down and broken branches



We love to love

Quote of the day: “Love is always bestowed as a gift – freely, willingly and without expectation. We don’t love to be loved; we love to love.” ~Leo Buscaglia

Tattered Heart leaf - full of light and love

Happy Valentine’s Day to lovers (of life, of beauty, of people) everywhere. A special x0 to my sweet and ever lovin’ husband.

The heart leaf above reminds me of the lyrics from a Leonard Cohen song:

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”    ~ Leonard Cohen Anthem

Heart in the Woods - for Jon

The Art of Seeing – Week 2

Quote of the day:  “Thinking sideways helps you not only to keep out of photographic ruts, but also to see subject matter you may have overlooked or not observed carefully. It enlarges your world.” ~ Freeman Patterson Photography and the Art of Seeing

The Art of Seeing
Looks like brush strokes

For those of you who are new to my blog, I’ve started taking one day a week to play with photography assignments from photographers I admire.

This week I decided to work with Freeman Patterson’s ideas on playing with camera movement, doing things like jumping up and down and pressing the shutter while jumping, swinging the camera back and forth or around after setting the timer to take a long exposure, moving camera up and down while taking a long exposure.

This turned out to be more fun than I expected.  I was outside in a wooded area at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, so my palette was muted browns, blue sky, a little green from evergreen trees, and a gray stone Japanese Lantern in the Japanese Garden.  Imagine what a very bright active background would be like if you played with camera movement.  Oh, I think I’m going to try that some day. It sounds like fun.

While I don’t plan to print any of these photos, I have some ideas for things I want to try in the future.  This type of photography feels very much like part luck and part skill since judging what shapes, colors and movements will create interesting photos takes some experience and skill and a lot of luck.  Training the eye to imagine what color, shape and movement will create is a good exercise.

Go out and play with your photography this week.  What can you do that helps you see differently?

Interesting patterns
Liquid Japanese Lantern and Tree Trunk
Shades of green and blue
Shapes and colors
Watercolor Trees and Sky
Tea House shapes

Life itself is grace

Quote of the day:  “Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”  ~ Frederick Buechner

Frosty View Across Pond

An ordinary day, doing ordinary things like cleaning the kitchen and I’m filled with the “holy and hidden heart of it.”  Dancing my way through my day, noticing the light slanting through the window, chased by the beauty of it all.

Life is good.  Where are you finding grace in your life today?

Handle of decorative bowl caught my eye while I was dusting
Reflections in water - Japanese Garden last fall
Gooseberry Falls last summer

A Gift from the Universe

Quote of the day: “Look out into the universe and contemplate the glory of God. Observe the stars, millions of them, twinkling in the night sky, all with a message of unity, part of the very nature of God.”  ~ Sai Baba

Frost covered tree

Yesterday I woke up to a winter wonderland created by a blanket of fog and cold temperatures during the night.  A thick coat of hoarfrost covered everything. Wonder! Beauty! A gift from the universe.  What gifts will the universe bring you today?

Geometry of beauty
Frost covered tree trunk

Ordinary miracles, they’re all around

Quote of the day: A miracle is when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A miracle is when one plus one equals a thousand.”  ~ Frederick Buechner, The Alphabet of Grace

Trees by the lake in the fog

Waking up, walking to my kitchen, looking out at a foggy world – an ordinary day – and it’s all a miracle!  I’ve been longing for a good foggy morning to get out and take a few photos.  This morning after exercising at the pool, I walked across the road to the nearby lake and shot these photos.  Amazing to have such mild weather still in Minnesota.  I’m loving this winter.

I am feeling so blessed these days.  After 6 months straight of back and hip pain, I am almost pain-free and it feels good to move!  What a miracle!  What ordinary miracles can you recognize today?

Foggy Point
Trees through the fog
A fine day for ducks
Little water fall at edge of lake

What is your why?

Quote of the day: “To find your mission in life is to discover the intersection between your heart’s deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger.” -Frederick Buechner

Snow Yesterday - Lovely Tree

The quote above came from class materials for an online class I’m taking, The Business Soul Sessions by Kelly Rae Roberts and Beth Nicholls.  I have to admit that I’m finding the class challenging.  The focus this week is in dreaming about the why’s of what you do in your business and eventually developing a business mission statement.  The premise is that starting your business from the “Why” question creates a more aligned, sustainable way to create a business, rather than focusing on the “What” or the “How” first.   I’ve been resisting diving in.

So what is your why?  It is a question worth pondering, I think.

Today and tomorrow I spend dreaming and focusing on the homework I’ve not done yet…   I’m a little overwhelmed by the number of students in the class, the ton of facebook comments being posted and the numerous comments posted by students on the lessons themselves — a lot of material to wade through, a ton of enthusiasm and girlish giggling going on – not sure I’m up for all of this.  This class lasts 10 weeks – yikes – if I want to get the most from it, I’m going to be quite busy!

Icons at Friend's house
Elephant Statue
Blooming Cactus

Wonder upon wonder upon wonder!

Quote of the day: “The meaning I picked, the one that changed my life: Overcome fear, behold wonder.” ~ Richard Bach

Nature's Palette and Grace


Yesterday the mercury topped 50 degrees in Minnesota, on January 10!  The day was so beautiful and sunny and mild that I had to get out and walk in the sunshine.  One of my favorite places is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.  No matter what the season, there is beauty and wonder.  The Japanese Garden especially captivated me with it’s shapes and spaces yesterday.  Wonder upon wonder upon wonder.

May your day be filled with wonder.

Sitting in the Sunshine (Mid-January in Minnesota!)
Japanese Garden 1
Japanese Garden 2
Japanese Garden 3
Japanese Garden 4
Japanese Garden 5
Japanese Garden 6

Savoring Glimmers of Grace

Quote of the day: “The winds of God’s grace are always blowing, it is for us to raise our sails.” ~Ramakrishna

Frost on Mailbox Post

This morning as I looked out the window I saw frost on the rooftop across the street and on the mailbox in front of our house.  Quick as a flash, I threw on a pair of pants, my boots, and a coat, grabbed my camera and captured these glimmers of grace early in the morning.

What glimmers of grace are blowing through your life today?  They’re there if you look for them.  The more I “raise my sails”, the more glimpses of grace I find.  My passion for photography helps me look with eyes that see grace in ordinary moments.  Even with all it’s imperfections, life is full of grace.  Savor some glimmers of grace today.

Glimmers of frost on leaves
Glimmers of green amongst brown and white
Frosty Hydrangea Flowers
Graceful Flower Covered with Frost
Early Morning Sky and Treetops

A Winter Walk on Winter Solstice Day

Quote of the day: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Henry David Thoreau

Path at Big Willow Park, Dec. 21

I took a walk in one of my favorite places yesterday – Big Willow Park in Minnetonka.  It was amazing to me to be walking through all the shades of gold and brown instead of drifts of white snow this late in December.  The weather continues to be mild and I am so glad after last winter’s snow upon snow upon snow.

There is beauty in the winter woods, even without snow. Minnehaha Creek  is mostly frozen but I found open water under the railroad bridge where the water flows fastest.  The water levels are down after our dry fall but I think the creek is still beautiful.  Trees, leaves, rocks, creek, path, bench, berries, bridge – all greeted me with beauty.  I walked with gratitude in my heart.

Rock at creek's edge
Red berries on chain link fence - nature's Christmas card to me
Minnehaha Creek View in winter
Path into the woods at Big Willow
Single oak leaf still on the tree