Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Wishing you . . .

"Thanksgiving day comes, by statute, once a year; 
to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow."

- Edward Sandford Martin

Wishing you, from my family to yours, a very wonderful Thanksgiving day,
and gratitude that grows beyond one meal. I will be taking the rest of the week off
to enjoy my family and will see you next week. Enjoy my friends!

But, before we part....remember my foggy morning last week?
I'm sharing a short but important lesson I learned when the fog spoke to me.
Join me over at Focusing on life today to hear what it said...click here.

Love, Kim

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Five feet from my front door . . .

. . . there is a magical place.
It may not be a national treasure, but it's my treasure none the less.
 And I am so grateful for it.

"Nature is man's teacher. She unfolds her treasures
to his search, unseals his eye, illumes his mind,
and purifies his heart; an influence breathes from
all the sights and sounds of her existence."
- Alfred Billings Street

Sometimes it's hard to get anything done . . . because of the five feet out my front door.
When it comes to critters I seem to have an eagle eye, and you know when I was younger, I could
see caterpillars crawling across the road . . . while I was driving. Yep, that was hazardous. 

We did some tidying of the garden about a week ago and then a few days later I went out to tidy up
all the mess on the sidewalk. But, the only thing I ended up accomplishing was with my camera. This little guy
hopped across my path and started it all. Believe it or not this toad is only about an inch. Do you have any idea how hard it is to pose a toad in a small puddle and ask it not to move? And he was already feeling so defeated by our photo session that I decided I would keep to myself the fact that his nose looked like that of a cat.

I have had lots of spider webs lately too, or more like spider condos, one built on top of another and another. This web was only about 3 inches wide and the spider couldn't have been more than 1/4". Yep, I had to get within an inch of my life to get this. Did I mention it was a little windy...whew!

Oh, and these jumping spiders . . . are just the most curious spiders ever, seriously. When ever I'm outside
sitting on the front porch there they are, they just show up and always end up checking out my books, my coffee, AND, they seem to love my camera! This one, was no exception. It was so hard to get this because he/she/it kept getting closer and closer and would raise up it's front legs like they do before they jump and I would have to back off. But, at one point it was just a little quicker than I was. Yep, through my lens I watched it jump out of my frame and towards me. They usually just end up on my lens, but I couldn't find this one. He either missed entirely or ended up in my hair? All I know is that they have the cutest eyes with so much personality. You can beg to differ, that's okay I still like you! ;)

It was a total critter smorgasbord. I found this little green tree frog just chillin' between two stacked pots. I think he was enjoying the 90 % humidity that day, me not so much!

This is the ever elusive Tersa Sphinx Moth that comes out at dusk. You know, when there just isn't any viable light to take a photo. I had to bump my ISO into oblivion just to get this one. I'm still waiting on those three pupa to make an appearance into the world.
UPDATE: Right before I went upstairs to post this, I checked on those pupa like I do everyday, AND
guess what? One pupa is empty. I found it hanging on the stripped milkweed plant in the Monarch enclosure!! Whoo Hoo

And, I'm still seeing butterflies in the garden. Thank goodness for purple lantana as it has a very long growing season here. This is a Gulf Fritilary and a little hard to capture as they are always flittering. Have had some Long Tailed Skippers too but they have been hard to get as well. Still seeing a few Monarchs, and have one more chrysalis. I'm hoping it will hold out until my in-laws get here this weekend so that they can watch it emerge. Two more (the last ones) from that batch I found in my back yard are now j-hanging.

Hope you all have a great weekend. I will be getting ready for my in-laws who will be joining us for Thanksgiving. In fact this will be the first time any family has joined us at our home for turkey day. I don't dare go anywhere with my camera in the next two days, too much to do, so little time.

Until next time...
Love, Kim

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I found a place . . .

. . . where Autumn finally fell,

and, I picked it up.

"The human soul is slow to discover the real excellence of things given to us by a bountiful
Creator, and not until the shadows of death begin to gather around the object that we love, 
do we see its worth and beauty. Autumn is the dim shadow that clusters about the sweet,
precious things that God has created in the realm of nature. While it robs them of life, it tears
away the veil and reveals the golden gem of beauty and sweetness. Beauty lurks in all dim old
aisles of nature, and we discover it at at last." - Northern Advocate

{KK 411}

 For the second day in a row it was really foggy.
And for the second day in a row I went out with my camera.
Because it was so foggy I couldn't see very far at all,
which made me look at what was right in front me.
And what I found was a place where Autumn finally fell...
a blazing trail of crimson red, giving back remnants from the summer sun,
carried on the wings of the wind.

Grateful that fall has finally graced the gulf coast, even if it's a whisper!

Yes, I have more to share...no I just didn't get them finished before this morning, and I'll be heading out with my boy for what I'm hoping will be close to the last of his infusions. We will both be getting a dose of grateful...such a hard place to be for a mom and a 16 year old boy...but it is a place where you will find a multitude of blessings when you keep your eyes open. Sometimes, we just have to remember to look a little harder, and take a little extra time, to dig down deep, to find the good in the places that are the most difficult.

Because I think gratitude is much more than finding good when we aren't in the midst of a storm. It's the recognition that there are even good things among bad happenings.

With much gratitude and love, 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gratitude . . .

"To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude
means to take nothing for granted,
but to always seek out and value
the kind that will stand behind the action.
Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course.
Everything originates in a will for the good,
which is directed at you.
Train yourself never to put off
the word or action for the expression of gratitude."

- Albert Schweitzer

Today, I'm in a debt of gratitude that my daughter had someone who could drive her to the ER yesterday. And for the kind man (nurse/doctor) that held her hand when I couldn't, as getting an IV is one of her worst nightmares. As a parent, one of my worst nightmares is not being able to be there when my kids need me. This is definitely one of those times when letting go is so very difficult. She is fine, needed some fluids as she was dehydrated and we're going to just chalk up the whole thing to sometimes weird things just happen.

On a sad note, this morning when I came upstairs to the computer I wasn't greeted with the normal chirps and tweets from my lovebird . . . she passed in the night . . . and it's awfully quiet up here.

Today is my posting day over at my collaborative blog Focusing on Life. Our monthly focus is on gratitude and I have a challenge for you with a twist. I would love for you to join us over there by clicking here.

And before we part, I just want to say that I treasure each one of you. I'm grateful for the crossing of our paths, even if it's only briefly. I treasure the friendships I have made through this community and for your continual support and your kind words. 

I wish you all a beautiful day . . . 

With gratitude,

Sunday, November 10, 2013

It takes all kinds of kinds . . .

Today my husband and I went to Galveston . . . to the Greek Festival held at a Greek Orthodox Church.

And I'm not really sure what came over me either. Maybe it's because I've been sick all week, or I'm having another typhoon menopausal episode, but none the less I broke into tears when I watched a young boy join an older man dancing a traditional Greek dance. I suppose part of it could be that after doing some research on my ancestors I feel such a pull to want to know more about the customs and traditions of my own heritage.

This month I've been sharing through Facebook, my 30 days of gratitude, and today it had everything to do with this festival. Today, day 9 went like this  . . .  "Not just today, but everyday really, I'm thankful to live in a country that holds the kind of diversity in people and cultures and customs carried from generation to generation. I think it's one of the single most unique things about this country. Going way back in our family's history and immigration makes me so much more aware of this . . . different is good and should be celebrated!"

It was simply refreshing to see people celebrating their uniqueness in our society, and inviting the community to be part of it. Because it's this, the all kinds of kinds, that makes this world we live in a more interesting place to be.

We were meant to be different. All kinds of kinds different since the beginning of time.

"Now some point a finger and let ignorance linger
If they'd look in the mirror they'd find.
That ever since the beginning to keep the world spinning
It takes all kinds of kinds." - Lyrics from Miranda Lambert's song - All kinds of kinds

Finally sharing in the fun for Song-ography!

Love, Kim

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Photo-heart connection, October

(KK day)

My connection this month is so much more than a connection of the heart kind to the photo itself
and rather to an experience. This male Black Swallowtail debuted last week. Yes this has happened before,
but . . . this was different.

In fact it was nothing short of miraculous. You see, it was a chrysalis that looked much like this one
only it was on the frame of the butterfly enclosure and it had pupated there. . . 5. . . months ago!

And have I mentioned that the typical time frame for a swallowtail to emerge after pupation is more
like 2 weeks.

And honestly I think the only reason I noticed it was because I had put the Tersa Sphinx Moth caterpillars in the tent on a stalk of Pentas I cut from the plant, because they were eating faster than I could pick the leaves.

I had to wait a bit before releasing him outside as it was raining cats and dogs and after being asleep for 5 months I sure wanted to give him as much of a fighting chance as possible. It was last Thursday . . . and as soon as the monsoon rains stopped the skies parted and the sun came out. Heading out for a football game and knowing that we wouldn't be back until dark, I took him outside where he could rest until he was ready to take flight.

And much to my surprise, again, there he still was . . . completely covered in beautiful, sparkly, dew drops.
Right where I had left him. After a little photo shoot, he let me pick him up and I took him to a sunny spot on the trailing purple lantana to sun and dry himself. It wasn't long before he flew off.

Can you imagine if I had given up hope that he would ever emerge and removed it from the enclosure?

Yep, these photos, this happening, just remind me to not give up hope during those times when hope feels
lost. Not the hopeful "wishing" kind of hope, but the confident expectation . . . the trusting God for
the results kind of hope.  

Because hope is still moving forward even when you feel weary and uncertain and gives life to things that
are so questionable, an outline of sorts to things we cannot see . . . 

. . . and waiting for them with patience.

Love, Kim

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