Posted in Adventure, life

A Summer Sweet and Somber

The atmosphere feels different today, and I think I know what has caused it. Summer has reached it’s final chapter and I can already see the end. The air, the sky, the ground, they all feel different somehow. I don’t think I’ve ever loved summer as I do now, thinking instead I was a cold weather creature, more at home with thick sweaters and fuzzy socks, than flip-flops and shorts. But something in me has changed, and I’ve grown to appreciate summer much more now. Though it’s blisteringly hot most of the time, especially here in the desert southwest, I can’t deny the beauty of the summer season as it explodes with life. There is nothing quiet or still about these warm days. Whether it be squirrels causing a ruckus in the backyard, birds busily chirping, children laughing and playing in the evening, or the neighbor with the constant weed-whacker running in the background, the sounds of summer life are all around me. As we are nearing the end of this season, I wanted to take a closer look at some of the things that make this time feel bright, even on a dull day.

We can’t talk about summer without first considering the sun. For without it, there would be no such thing as summer. Without that particular tilt, during that particular time in orbit, we wouldn’t even have the chance to experience summer, be it good or bad. Without it, we wouldn’t even be alive today. And by the way, how does the earth know to tilt, and become warm? How does it know to change from summer to winter? There is something divine that occurs, which can’t be fathomed, no matter how many scientists or textbooks try to explain it. I find it no coincidence that the word sun, sounds an awful lot like the word son. If you think about it, the very earth is a representation of humans, and the Son of the Most High God. Without the Son, life could not exist. There would be only a great vast, nothingness. The giver of light, and life, are they both.

I’m not sure why, but summer gives me the sense that it has a tiredness about it. The days are longer than ever, and you might think that means more time than ever. But it’s the same twenty-four hour cycle, only rearranged a bit. Summer is so busy with work, and play, and there is never enough time fit it all. And hard work is only made harder by the heat, yet it must be done anyway. By the time the sun goes down, and coolness settles in, you’ll find that it’s gotten late, and the only thing you have time left for is sleep. So you drop heavily onto your mattress, brain and bones seeking a brief respite from the day’s antics only to be met with a familiar foe that plagued even the ancients. The foe I’m speaking of is, insomnia. I don’t know why it happens, but on my most tired of days, I feel like I’ve used up my energy and ability to even sleep. Shutting off the light, as I shut my eyes, sleep refuses to come. The hours of the night tick past, and morning arrives all too soon, or maybe not soon enough. I think during the summer people might become solar powered, because I don’t know where else I get all my energy, if not through photosynthesis– since much of the time it is surely not through sleep.

And yet another summer is passing without any special trip, or event to speak of. I’m not sure where this invisible pressure comes from for us to make it “big” during the summer. Personally I see nothing wrong with a slow summer. Even if you don’t go out on some big adventure, there are plenty of ways to make the most of the season in small ways. For instance, summer is not summer in my opinion, without at least one late-night trip for ice cream. And I’m happy to report that I’ve accomplished that feat, a few times actually. And it would be a grave travesty of me, if I claim to have done nothing special this summer. It may not seem extraordinary or special to someone else, but to me, this summer has been of great interest. For one thing, I’ve taken up tennis. I’m no good at it, but who cares? I have no intention of competing in Wimbledon, so what’s the big deal if I miss the ball a few hundred times? I’ve also ridden a bike, on a ten mile excursion. I’ve waded in the the river, and watched the glittery ripples glide past. I’ve gone swimming, and experienced the horrors of public pools. I’ve had outdoor movie nights with my family and friends, and indoor movie nights at theaters. Summer has been fun, even without any big events to attend, or spectacular trips taken.

Of course the season hasn’t been without some rough times too– sad times, hard times, and times I don’t really want to think about. But I guess that’s the way of things, right? The simple, joyful moments might not even be recognized, if not for the challenging times we experience, to remind us. Optimism does not come naturally to me, so I guess that’s why I make an extra effort to remember and appreciate the happy times. I strive to see the good in everything, even if that sounds impossible at times. It doesn’t take much effort to see the bad, and the wrong with the way things are these days. So I think the best thing we can do for ourselves, is to find joy in spite of all the darkness around us. I look at it as a small form of rebellion in the face of that darkness that attempts to squeeze and crush us all. It reminds me of a certain bible verse, about heaping coals of fire onto the heads of those who seek to cause harm. Maybe we all aught to keep that in mind from now on.

Summer GIF Guide — New GIFs for 2021! | AWeber

So my friend, I hope your summer has been swell and I hope you’ve gotten lots of sunshine, and had an ice cream or two. I hope you’ve found joy, in the big things and the small ones too. And if there was anything special about your summer, please tell me about it. I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading,

Lady S

Posted in Adventure, nature, photography

A Little Bit of Adventure

Do you ever like to hop in the car, and go for a drive? Leaving the city far behind, just to enjoy the passing scenes of nature? Sometimes, if you travel far enough and the last remnants of civilization are no longer visible, you can gain a new perspective on life. No houses, no people, and not many cars. Only endless hills, and mountains stretching out farther than the eye can see. When you are suddenly outside of your normal environment, many things in life feel trivial. Arguments, grievances, or unpleasant matters feel so small compared to the vast expanse before you. It’s a lovely feeling, especially when society is pressing so hard on every side and clouding our vision, doing its very best to control our emotions, according to what it says matters. Sometimes you need to break away from all of that, and steep yourself in the beauty of God’s creation. It can help reorient your heart and mind. A few days ago, my family and I did just that. We piled into the car, and headed West for a bit of good old fashioned exploring.20200823_122112

We went to an area I’ve never visited much, so everything felt new and interesting. And after leaving the city behind, the great wide nothingness of the desert opened before us. It was a grand, beautiful nothingness, which is my favorite thing to see. After driving for nearly two hours we finally came to a town. It wasn’t a big town, just a little blip in the middle of the desert. Sadly the boarded up windows, and old crumbling architecture showed the tragic state of small towns these days. As cities grow wider and wider, the little ol’ towns that once thrived are slowly becoming extinct.

By this time, everyone was starting to feel hungry, and a little cranky (if I do say so). But in such a small town, we didn’t have many options. I’m quite a staunch McDonald’s hater, but if there is one thing I know, when you’re hungry in the Middle of Nowhere, USA, McDonald’s is pretty darn good. Needless to say, our bellies were filled, and our hearts lifted for the rest of the journey.20200829_091001

After a few more miles the terrain became steeper, and more foresty. We passed a sign that said, Ice Cave This Way, so of course we had to go. After turning off the highway onto a dirt road, we came to a stop outside of an old trading post, turned gift shop. Tall pine trees surrounded the grounds, and a few little cabins dotted the area. It was the perfect little forest getaway. I explored a bit, nabbed a couple of pine cones because I just couldn’t help myself, and enjoyed the mountain air before starting on the hike to the cave.20200823_111506(1)

“Four-hundred yards, and seventy two steps down,” the lady at the front desk said. That sounded like a breeze, until we remembered that it was summer, and there would be no breeze. Nonetheless, we ambled along the path, strictly adhering to the rules to not leave said path at any time. Even though I desperately wanted to climb across the lava rocks. Oh, did I mention the lava? Before arriving at the cave, we drove for miles through a sea of lava rock. At one point, I had to wonder if the massive volcanic eruption was what caused the dinosaurs to go extinct all those years ago. Volcanoes are fearsome wonders to be sure, and I’m glad whichever volcano once existed there, is no longer active. (For the time being, anyway.)20200823_111604(1)

After traversing some four-hundred yards, we arrived at the cave entrance. I wasn’t sure what to expect because it was allegedly an ice cave… in the middle of the desert. Pushing doubts aside, we began to descend the seventy two steps. The creaky old wood was a bit questionable, but I tried to ignore that, and seventy two steps didn’t sound terribly hard. (More on that later.)

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Something strange began to happen the lower I went.

During the first few steps the sun was beating down on us, and it was very hot—but as I stepped down one peculiar, particular step…WHOOSH. We suddenly felt an arctic wind blow over us. It was so shocking, I had to step back up and come down again. As we went down the remainder of steps the temperature kept plummeting. I don’t know exactly how cold it was, but apparently the temperature in the cave never exceeds 31 degrees (Fahrenheit), thanks to the thick rock walls, and perfect shape of the cave to capture the frigid air. When we arrived at the bottom, the cave opened up before us and there was a hug slab of green ice. Yes, green! According to the information pamphlet it’s apparently caused by Arctic algae. There’s a lot of history regarding the cave. Ancient Indians once mined the ice, and made their dwellings in the caves of the other lava tubes nearby. (Did I mention the cave was actually an old lava tube?) Many years later, settlers also mined the ice until the practice was stopped to preserve the cave. 20200823_113137

Also according to the pamphlet, the circular walls of lava rocks we noticed along the path in some of the other lava tube/caves, were remnants of the Anasazi Indians who lived in the region many hundreds of years ago. (And if you’ve never heard of the Anasazi, there are many mysteries related to the ancient tribe.) After basking in the glorious arctic air, it was time to head back to base camp. Remember when I said seventy two steps wasn’t all that bad? Well that was going down. I had forgotten that in the mountains the elevation was a bit higher than at home, and boy did I feel it. Seventy two steps never felt so far or  so painful. When I reached the top, I had to take a break and remember how to breathe normally again. My poor heart was pounding out of my chest.20200823_112145

Back in the car and on the road again, we continued our excursion into the wilds. We came to yet another town, this one even smaller than the last. My dad said there was even a lake there. But after seeing no evidence to support that fact, I doubted that his memory was serving him correctly. We searched and hunted and followed some dilapidated signs and finally found the parking lot for this evasive lake. We parked, and still saw no sign of a lake. But I knew that it must be somewhere hidden behind all of the brush, and shrubbery, so I took it upon myself to hunt it down. This time I brought my water bottle, and again, headed out into the blazing sun.

As my steps took me deeper and deeper into the thicket, I couldn’t help but wish I was back inside that dark cave where I could be nice and frozen like the ice. But just as I began to lose all hope and call this lake search a farce, I climbed up a steep embankment, and behold! A lake! A big, shiny, glorious lake! (Reservoir, to get technical.) It truly exceeded my expectations. It was still blisteringly hot, but just the sight of the water made me feel better. It smelled very swampy and, and looked a bit gooey, but I’ll take what I can get. We took lots of pictures, explored the rocky shores, imagined what it would be like to jump in, and then decided to make the trek back to the car. I’m glad I didn’t give up on my search for this hidden place, because it was a treasure indeed.20200823_132005

By this time we were all pretty tired and still had a couple hours on the road to get home so we decided to head out. But alas, we took a wrong turn on a dirt road, and ended up on someone’s “private” property. The owners were none too happy about it. We apologized as best we could, then left as quickly as possible. But not before getting chewed out for allegedly running over some plants, (which looked suspiciously like weeds, if you ask me). Unfortunately, the hostile encounter left a bad taste in our mouths, but we tried not to dwell on it.20200823_134726

Speaking of dwelling, just when we thought we’d seen all the interesting wonders there were to see in one day, we spotted some “prehistoric Indian dwellings” high up on the cliffs. A little plaque said they were some 800 years old! (Yet more remnants of the Anasazi, a.k.a., Ancestral Puebloans.) It’s fascinating to imagine what life looked like back then. To think there were whole civilizations that once thrived in these lands, and people who lived just like you and me is amazing to consider.

Eventually we made it home, and I was grateful to have air-conditioning once again, since I don’t have the luxury of an arctic ice cave in my backyard. It was a long day, but I’m grateful for all the sights and sounds I was able to experience. 20200823_130843

I hope you’re enjoying the last bits of summer, and spending time with your family, and maybe getting out of the city to enjoy the majesty nature has to offer you. It really is good for your soul! Blessings to you, my friend.

Have you gone on any adventures this summer? Or explored any ancient wonders lately? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading,

Lady S

Posted in Adventure

A Week in the Life

Hi there!

How’s it going? I thought I’d do something a little different from my usual posts.

Have you ever been curious about the way others live their lives? What does a normal day look like, for someone who lives a completely different life from yours? If that’s the case, then today is your lucky day, because I’ll be revealing what a “normal” day/week looks like for me, in a journal type format. You may be stuck at home, or you might be little affected by all of the strangeness going on right now, (at least on the outside), but whichever it is – I hope you’ll read on to see the many trials, and triumphs of my daily life.

Monday, April 27

Ah, Mondays; you either love ’em, or hate ’em. I don’t particularly hate Mondays, because I like to get back to my regular schedule, after loafing around over the weekend. Though I have to admit, Monday’s during my work season at the greenhouse, are a little more dreaded.

On this Monday, I had the morning shift at work, so it was actually pleasant. Everything went off without a hitch. And when I got home, I sat down and dug into some third draft edits on my novel. It felt good to make some progress, after not touching it for a few days. But later, I had to leave the comfort of my desk, and take my dog for a much needed walk. He’s been a good boy lately, and deserved the reward. It was a really nice evening, and we found a new place to explore. The night concluded with chocolate cream pie, and a random disco music party.

Monday was a good day. IMG_3514

Tuesday, April 28

Tuesday… my old nemesis. I don’t know why Tuesday has become my enemy, but we simply can’t get along. I had the afternoon shift at work, which left the morning completely free. With a million possibilities before me, I couldn’t make up my mind on how to spend my time, and in the end, I did nothing. Before I knew it, the morning was gone, and it was time for work.

When people hear that I work at a greenhouse, or when they visit one, they often view it through rose colored lenses. (Literally.) But I am here to shatter that illusion. On one hand, I truly love my job, because I get to work with flowers, and seeds, and dig my hands into the dirt. But on the other hand, it’s a very challenging job, physically and mentally. There’s a lot involved, and many different aspects to this line of work, which I’m not going to get into. I’ll share a few pictures, instead, to offer some insight as to what it’s like.

A: Flower arrangements that I’ve just planted.20200430_142954

B: The temperature in which they were planted.20200428_150107

Bonus: Everything in this picture was planted by hand. Impressive, right? (And this is just ONE greenhouse, of many.)20200415_170138

Eventually, I made it home to food, and AIR CONDITIONING. Not to mention, I did a little late-night online shopping, to soothe my worn out mind and body. It helped a bit. And thus, Tuesday came to a close.

Wednesday, April 29

Back to work for another long, hot shift. I planted many more flower arrangements, which turned out lovely, if I do say so myself. The day was a little more bearable, because I remembered to bring my Hydroflask, which saved my life. But even so, by the end of the day, I was hobbling out of there, because my feet hurt so bad. But in all, it was a productive day. The highlight was definitely a quick stop at my favorite ice cream shop on the way home. (Hooray for drive-thru’s!)

I was ready for bed by 8:30, but instead of getting well needed rest, I stayed up and watched random videos on YouTube. Then somehow, I wound up reading a bunch of old journal entries. (And I must say, I crack myself up.) Do you ever go back and read your old journals? It’s something I have fun doing once in a while, because I either cringe, or laugh! Then it was finally lights out, after a long day.20200503_205318

Thursday, April 30

A day off – F I N A L L Y! I was able to sleep late, but instead of feeling strengthened and refreshed, I woke up feeling like a corpse – groggy, and extra stiff. But the feeling wore off, and I felt alive again. That is, until I plunged myself into some hard-core cleaning/organizing. We currently have a lot of projects going on around the house, and since I had the day off, it was time for me to pitch in. After I got that done, another task was calling my name. My poor desk was getting more and more buried, underneath old coffee cups, shoe boxes, cookies, and other things that do not belong. It really needed some TLC, just like me.

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The rest of the day consisted of writing, editing, and some reading. I had planned on taking a nap, but things just didn’t work out. But speaking of which, I did manage to get in some exercise. A few lunges, a few pushups, and a few squats, before I called it quits. I didn’t do too, much because I knew I’d regret it the next day – and I did, but it still felt good to be moving. To finish off my night, I settled in to watch a K-Drama – and my day was complete.20200501_114034

Friday, May 1

Friyay? Not here, just a regular ol’ Friday, with nothing special to celebrate. Once again, I awoke feeling like I had been run over by a truck – a sensation that I’m becoming quite familiar with by now. Exhaustion is expected at this time of year, until the growing season is over. In the greenhouse world, business isn’t year round, otherwise, it just might kill a person! And luckily, the end is already in sight. For breakfast, I made myself a lovely egg-toast, and tea, (Lady Gray, my current favorite tea. <3). Then I parked myself at my desk, to read through some articles, and catch up on emails.

Before long, it was time to head to work. It was very busy, and very hot, and I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. (Sorry to be so graphic.) At one point, I got my finger stuck in a container, and injured it quite nicely. (It’s still sore.) By the end of the day, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to cry, or faint – but the important part is that I didn’t do either. I made it home in (mostly) one piece, and for that I was grateful.20200501_170654

Later, when it cooled off, I went outside to read, and hang out with my dog. I love to be outside when the sun is setting; it’s so peaceful with the purple desert sky, birds chattering with one another, and the sweet scent of blossoms on the air. It was a pleasant evening, but the best part was when a robin perched up in the tree dropped a squishy surprise on my sister’s head. (If you know what I mean… ;p) But she failed to see the humor, and did not appreciate the gesture. In the end, Friday was a tough day, but I’m still thankful for every minute of it.20200501_18411920200501_193512

Saturday, May 2

Work again. Today was another long shift, but I got donuts – and no matter what anyone says, ya’ just can’t beat that. It was long, and it was hot…just like every other day. But after work, I had pizza, and received a much anticipated package in the mail. Remember when I did that impulse buying? Well, that impulsive order had very fast shipping! Excitedly, I tore into the box, and pulled out the most beautiful, obnoxiously colorful pair of shoes I’ve ever owned in my life. (Actually, the most colorful anything that I’ve owned, period.) You may be wondering if I plan on wearing these bad boys out in public, and the answer is – no. But around the house, my tired feet will be very happy. And very eye-catching.20200502_184118

Later that night, my sisters and I, gathered up a bunch of snacks, and we brought out the old Nintendo 64′, to play some serious throw-back video games. Super Smash Bro’s, and Snowboard Kids, were the games of choice, and even though I wasn’t very good, it was fun to reminisce about our childhood days. But the party couldn’t go on all night, as it was almost passed my bed time. After putting the games away, I managed to read a chapter in my book, Paranormia, by Paul Regnier. Before I knew it, my eyes were too heavy to hold open a minute longer, and I checked out for the night.20200502_211249

Sunday, May 3

A day of rest, at last. After having weird dreams about tarantula’s, (don’t ask) I awoke feeling not very awake at all. But even so, I got out of bed and made some much needed, herbal tea. Then I headed outside for my weekly, outdoor Bible reading, with my sisters. When warmer days come, I always look forward to quiet mornings outside with my Bible. Surrounded by trees, and flowers in the open air is my favorite way to study Scripture. For the rest of the day, I didn’t have big plans – resting, reading, and writing were the main agenda – just what I needed.20200503_110030

Looking back, it was a very full week. I didn’t have much time, or energy to get done everything that I wanted to, but I’m thankful for what I did accomplish. And I’m happy that I survived another tough week at work.

Also, I found that I listened to a lot of the same music last week, which kind of made it the soundtrack of my week. That soundtrack was, Hoppípolla – their new album, Spring to Spring. I listened to it almost exclusively. So if you want to know what my week sounded like, and you enjoy the sound of the cello, and lovely harmonies, I think you might like them.Screenshot_20200503-125343_YouTube

Hopefully you all had a good week – working hard accomplishing tasks, or maybe just taking things slowly, one day at a time. No matter what your days look like, I hope you are well, and feeling blessed. I hope that you can find a moment to remember what you have to be thankful for, even though everything around us seems quite rough.

* * *

Thanks for sticking around, and reading about my week. If you found this at all interesting, perhaps I’ll do this again some time.

What were the trials, and triumphs of your week? Tell me about it down below, I’d love to hear from you!

Yours truly,

Lady S

Posted in reading

Autumn Reads

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As the seasons change, when the days shorten and the nights get a little colder, I so look forward to reading. My spirit begins to crave the quiet evenings, when I can settle down with a cup of tea and a good story.

Now that the busy days of summer are coming to an end, that means I have a little less on my plate, and that allows me more time for reading. I’ve noticed that in the colder months, my taste in reading materials changes a bit; and now that it’s officially Autumn, I thought I’d share some of the books that have found their way onto my list this season.

The Maine Woods, by Henry David Thoreau

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Over the course of three years, and three trips, into the yet unknown regions of Maine, Thoreau gives an account of the whys, hows, and wonders of the woods, as he sees them.

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Fall, more so than Summer, is the time I find myself most curious, and in want of something involving nature. I’m not sure why exactly, but these types of stories really call to me, and The Maine Woods, in particular sounds like a perfect fit for the season.

Wildwood, by Colin Meloy

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After her brother is abducted by a murder of crows, Prue’s life is turned on its head. Prue, and her friend Curtis, must brave the Impassable Wilderness, or what the locals call, Wildwood. There they will uncover a secret world, full of darkness and mystics, and soon they’ll learn that their mission has become something much more than they first thought.

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I don’t know much about this book, but sometimes it’s fun going into a story without any presumptive ideas or notions. I was drawn to the beautiful, fascinating cover, and I really hope that this book will meet my expectations. I’m especially excited to start this story, because the cool, fall days/nights of October, always call for something a little strange and mysterious.

Emily of New Moon, L.M. Montgomery

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After the death of her father, Emily is placed in the care of her mother’s relatives. A stranger and outsider, the family isn’t thrilled with the new responsibility on their hands. But once settled, Emily becomes enchanted by New Moon Farm, and forms strong bonds with new friends, and soon her Aunt Elizabeth will wonder how they ever got along without her.

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Fall, and classics go hand-in-hand, in my opinion. I love classics any time of year, but when the weather cools, my first choice of reads is usually a classic of some sort. Anne of Green Gables, is one of my favorite stories ever, and since I’ve not read Emily yet, it’s just the right time to fix that. I’m especially curious to read this, because I’ve heard that Emily, was actually the author’s favorite character.

The Ghost of the Mary Celeste, by Valerie Martin

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In 1857, a merchant ship was discovered off the shores of Spain, with her cargo still intact, but not a trace of her crew. The mystery sparked great interest for the struggling writer, Arthur Conan Doyle. After his story causes a sensation in America, it catches the attention of two very different journalists. As the two dive into the history of the vessel, and the families involved, a tragic story unfolds.

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When I stumbled across this book, the title and eerie cover, instantly grabbed my attention. After I skimmed the description, it was exactly the type of story I wanted to read this fall. Set in centuries past, and revolving around a spectral ship, appearing in the mist, well… I was all in.

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I kept the list short, because I know that there are going to be plenty of other shiny, new books that will inevitably, cross my path, and call for my attention. But for now, I’m going to make an effort to read these four books this fall. I’m really excited, and can’t wait to get started. Strangely too, it makes me immensely happy that all of these books have such lovely covers that compliment each other so well! Just an added bonus, I suppose.

What about you? What books are you most looking forward to reading this fall season? Leave me a comment down below, I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading,

Lady S

 

 

 

 

Posted in Adventure, photography

S U M M E R

Ah, summer, a most beloved time of year. It’s the time for exploring, adventuring, and of course, the ever-important-staple… ice cream. Though we have some time yet, before summer officially transitions into fall; I can already feel the change in the air, (despite the still-hot temperatures). The change of seasons, is such an integral part of  life, yet it still manages to catch us by surprise.  It’s mysterious and magical when a season begins to change, and in some inexplicable way, it makes me feel closer to God. My senses seem to be more heightened and I feel more aware of life, itself.
So in tribute to my love of summer, and this year’s memories, here’s a look back:

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With any season, there are certain things that you only do at that particular time of year, and as I was thinking back to what I’ve done, I was thinking that I really hadn’t done much.

I didn’t go on any extravagant trips, or accomplish any spectacular feat, (as I always dream of). But then I remembered all of the small, seemingly insignificant things that I’d done. And I had to smile to myself, when I realized I hadn’t done “nothing” at all.DSC03666

Like the fact that I went swimming, in an actual pool. I once vowed that swimming pools were off limits, germaphobe that I am. It was only going to be oceans or some other great, natural body of water. (Both of which I live very far from.) But this year, I found myself neck deep, in a public swimming pool. Not once, but TWICE! I have to admit, though, it wasn’t as bad as I feared, and I actually had fun. Especially because I was able to spend time with my friends and family. And surprisingly, I managed to avoid catching a brain-eating amoeba along the way.
Hooray!

DSC03713Another unexpected surprise, was my sister convincing me to “camp” OUTSIDE. I’ve never  been camping, and I can’t really say that I’m sorry. The closest I’ve ever come, is sleeping in a hammock, in my backyard. And I never wanted to do that again, simply because I didn’t get any actual sleep at all. Why would I make myself miserable all night, when I have a nice comfy bed, right there; the notion baffled me. Yet at 3 a.m., I found myself in the back of my dad’s pick-up truck, piled with blankets, and pillows, staring into the night. I watched the stars streak their way across the sky, listened to coyotes howling in the hills, and felt the warm summer breeze on my face. While I didn’t get a wink of sleep all night, I did have a lot of fun playing card games, and eating snacks late into night, with my sisters.

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Summer is also the time when we harvest fresh fruits and vegetables from the garden. This year happened to be a very good one for peaches. We didn’t get many, but the ones we did get were enormous, and beautiful, and exquisitely delicious. The memory of biting into the sweet, sun soaked fruit is one I won’t soon forget. Nothing beats a summer harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables! I’m just sad I ate them all.DSC04640

Something I don’t always do, yet is always a treat, is going to an all-American baseball game. Nothing else quite captures the essence of summer, like wading through swarming swathes of people, squeezing into hot crowded seats, and paying for exceedingly overpriced mediocre snacks. Though I’m not a huge fan of baseball, or large crowds, it’s nice to get out and enjoy it for an evening. Especially when fireworks are involved. DSC03170

There are dozens of other little things that filled those lurid, summer days. Like climbing onto the roof in the evening, for a bird’s eye view of the neighborhood. Or making late-night runs to the drive through for ice-cream, spending lazy afternoons watching stormclouds march across the horizon, and countless other ramblings.DSC04605

Whatever shape or size it comes in, summer is one of the most special times of the year. My life varies very little, but it’s the subtle changes that make all the difference. In a few months time, when I’m shivering beneath a blanket, I’ll be able to look back at these fond memories of the time when it was warm, and green. I hope you enjoyed seeing a glimpse of what my summer looked like this year. And no matter what you did, I hope you breathed in deep, and cherished even the tiniest, little flavor(s) of the season.

“For he who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:10-11  

How about you?  Have you done anything special  this summer? What makes it “summer” for you?

Thank you for reading,

Lady S

Posted in Art

Painting a Cottage

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Do you ever dream of whisking yourself off to a secluded corner of the world? Settling down to live a quiet life, in a cozy cottage, with only the trees for company?  I do, quite often, actually. (Can you say ‘introvert’?)

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It’s the one ever-present dream in the back of my mind….
It’s the one dream I want, more than anything else… that cottage deep in the woods (or near the ocean). I’m not sure exactly, when that feeling started, but I feel like it has been with me always.  It travels with me every day and has become part of me, and I think I will hold fast to it, always.

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So, in honor of my dream, I decided to design and paint my little cottage. I haven’t actually, water colored in a while, so I’m a little rusty.  I took this time to practice, and hone my dimensional skills both, as an artist and as a dreamer.

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I “drew” inspiration (no pun intended), from a few photos on the internet, and also a bit from the ol’ noggin. For materials, I tried out my new Prismacolor Col-Erase pencil, in the color vermilion, (which I happen to adore). It blends incredibly well with paints, and markers.

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I also used my trusty Winsor & Newton water color palette, along with Guache paints for a few accents.

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I’m pleased with the outcome, but, I still have plenty of room for improvement. I really want to work on creating more texture, and layers, but that will only come with practice. (Any tips would be appreciated.)

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This is my hand crafted depiction of my little, dream cottage in the woods, and I would happily live here, if the opportunity should ever arise.
Until then, I’ll keep the idea tucked away in my “heart-pocket”.

What about you?
What is your dream home?
Do you have any dreams tucked away in your “heart-pocket”?

Anyway, thanks for reading,

Lady S

 

 

Posted in Adventure, nature, photography

More Mountain Mishaps

A few weeks ago, I went on another mountain adventure. Or should I say- misadventure? It may seem like mountains and I don’t quite get along, but I can assure you, we like each other very much. We just tend to have a lot of mishaps, together. (Read here about my last excursion.) This time though, might just take the cake, for being the mightiest misadventure yet. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

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My sister had the day off and planned a hiking trip with a friend. It was supposed to be a hike to a ghost town. Since I had work, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go, but the prospect of seeing a real-live ghost town, was very enticing. So last minute, I was able to get the day off. Woohoo!

Unfortunately, my other sister wouldn’t be coming along due to a recent dental procedure, (I’ll spare you the details…). Though she kindly leant me her very expensive camera, to document the trip. Early the next morning, the three of us hopped in the car, and headed out to see this mysterious, ghost town.

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We were told that the hike is considered to be ‘intermediate’ and would be about three and a half miles, round-trip. I thought it sounded like a fair match for my abilities. I brought lots of water, a first aid kit, and a few other,  ‘just-incase’ items. When we arrived, it was still early morning and a bit chilly; I knew that would change later, so I enjoyed the cool air, while I could.

After only a few minutes in, we saw a serious issue ahead. The path forked. We had only seen one sign, (back in the parking lot) which had gotten us to where we were. Luckily, though, we had a book in our possessionwith “directions” to our destination. An old book, with simplistic, if not primitive, instructions. It went something like,  ‘After you pass this field, go right. And when you have passed that stream, go left.’ Clear and concise, right?

After an agonizing attempt at deciphering the directions, we did as the book suggested, and took the path to the right, though my gut was uneasy.  Nonetheless, we forged ahead, even with our doubts and uncertainties. The path was pleasant and peaceful. We passed a camp ground and a small stream,  just like the book said we would. But ever so slightly, and hardly noticeable at first, the trail began shrinking.

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Do you see a trail anywhere?

The terrain was getting more and more, rough. And at points, the trail would disappear altogether, and we’d have to wade through bushes, and ravines, to meet it again. The further we went, the more sure we were, that we had taken a wrong turn. So after climbing up a very steep hillside, and leaving the trail behind altogether, we decided we had to do something. GPS was finicky in the area, but after a few attempts, we got a signal.

Our suspicions were confirmed. We were definitely NOT on the right path. But we didn’t seem to be too far off, and thought, if we could just veer a bit to the west, we might bump into the correct trail. So we forged on, trekking uphill once more. When we checked the GPS again, we weren’t any closer. By this time we all agreed that our only option was to go back, and start again from the beginning. We had been traveling for over an hour in the wrong direction. Ouch.

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My ‘sloth’ sister.

With my energy level tanking, and several rough slides, and surfs down the mountain, I decided to employ the help of a sturdy stick, which was tremendously helpful in our slippery decent. We got plenty of scrapes and scratches, as thorns and twigs snagged at our skin and clothes along the way. Tired, grouchy, and by this time quite hot, we reached that cursed split in the trail, (another hour and a half later). After scouting around more throughly, we spotted a small map on the side of a tree, and we were shocked by what it showed. The path we had taken, was marked by a black line, snaking up the mountain. Black, indicated that the trail level was EXPERT!

I am proud to say, that I can now call myself an expert hiker, since I survived that trail. Just barely, though.

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That’s not creepy…

But the story isn’t over yet. With the help of our little friend, GPS, we started out once again, on the correct trail. It was hot, and we were tired and a bit discouraged, but we weren’t going to give up. We came here to see a ghost town and we weren’t leaving until we found it. The trail was definitely easier now, but still challenging. The path cut steadily upwards, and as we climbed higher, so did the temperature. Between the long stretches of burning hot sun, every small piece of shade felt like heaven. My dear old sister began walking at the pace of a prehistoric sloth. (I have no idea if such a thing existed, but if so, it probably would have walked faster than her.) Every fifty feet, she had to stop and take a break and would refuse to move, until I threatened to drag her behind me. Fortunately, these breaks did allow me to take some photographs. I myself, wanted to give up, but with my trusty stick in hand, I persevered. I imagined that I was Gandalf, leading the way through Mirkwood, with the help of my magical staff. That helped a little.

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My wizard’s staff.

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After another torturous two hours, of muscle twisting climbing, we saw the first actual hint that we were getting close. The “hint”, took the form of an ‘ancient red car’, as the book described. And the second hint, was an old wooden sign with the word, ‘hotel’ etched on it, and an arrow pointing ahead. With the teeny-tiny, bit of energy we had left, we forged on toward the abandoned ghost hotel. We noticed small remnants of civilization; just broken bits of debris, really. Despite the exhaustion, our hearts still stirred with some amount of excitement at the prospect of finding this ghost town. But then, we ran into another group of hikers, who were heading down the trail and, bluntly delivered the news. That pile of debris we had just passed, well… that was the so-called ‘town’.  It couldn’t be.

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…And the disappointment of the year goes to…

An old car, and some old boards, was a ghost town? It seemed too cruel to be true. But alas, the truth really does hurt. (In the knees, especially.) We had hiked for four exhausting hours, and were rewarded with a pile of old sticks. Our only consolation, was that we need go no further. We could finally have our lunch, and have a well deserved rest. Before hiking another two hours back to the car, that is.

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Worth nearly 7 hours of pain and hardship? I think not.

There you have it folks. If you thought this tale would have some kind of redeeming reward at the end, you are sure to be disappointed. But I can assure you, you won’t be nearly as disappointed as we were. The one small takeaway though, is that if you asked me beforehand, if I thought I could go on a nearly seven hour hike, I would answer with a resounding, no. But I surprised myself, and finished strong. And got some pretty good photos along the way. Yay me!

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In hindsight, it was quite a spectacular adventure and I’m glad I took it; misadventure, though it was. (I hope it was a bit entertaining for you too!)

P.S. If you happen to hear about a ghost town in the mountains, don’t believe it.
Trust me.

Thanks for reading,

Lady S

 

Posted in WORDS

What Does God Mean to Me – A Tag

Today I have a tag to bring to you! This is the first time I’ve ever been tagged, and I want to thank Chelsea, over at An Ordinary Pen, for tagging me. You should definitely check out her blog.

Anyway, let’s get on with the tag – What Does God Mean to Me…

 

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Who is God to you?

God to me…is everything. The Creator, the Composer, the Completer, the Author of the universe.

I feel that God is too big, and almighty to limit to just a few words, but I think those listed above, get pretty close.

Which Bible verse do you think has shaped the way you live?

The scripture that has been most impactful on my life is, Romans 5:3-5.

“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

For me, those three verses completely capture what it is to be a Christian. They remind me how I should live, (especially, in these insane, and scary times). It is a powerful reminder that life is hard. There will be many trials, and heartaches, but through our tribulations, we are beckoned closer to Him, and shown His magnificence and great love towards us.

Which Bible character do you identify with the most?

That’s a tough question, but I would say that someone I really look up to, is Joshua. When all of Israel turned their backs, and disobeyed God, only Joshua stayed by Moses’ side. He never gave in, or buckled and followed the masses. Despite how difficult and challenging things got, he remained faithful to the Lord. That is a wonderful reminder and something I try to focus on, and keep in the forefront of my mind.

 

What is your favourite way to praise God?

One of my favorite ways to be with God, and be grateful and appreciative for His blessings, is to just be outdoors. There, I am away from technology, and away from the distractions of the world. There, I can just “be”, in the midst of His creation, and relish in the beauty, peace and craftsmanship of His handiwork. Outside in the fresh air, is where I always feel the most connected to God; and feel such immense blessing and gratitude. I truly believe we are all meant to spend time outdoors. It can really bring our focus back to Him.

What is your favourite praise song or Psalm?

One of my favorite praise songs is, Joy, by Page CXVI.  It’s a hauntingly, beautiful rendition of a classic hymn.
I also really like, O God Forgive Us, by For King and Country. Seems I never get tired of that song, and it always touches my heart.

 

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So, I guess that’s it! I had a lot of fun answering these questions, and I want to again, thank Chelsea, for tagging me.

At the end of these posts, one usually tags others to participate, but instead, if any of you out there would like to have a go, you can answer the questions in the comments down below. Or if you have a blog, consider yourself tagged, by me.

Thank you for reading, and I look forward to hearing from you,

Lady S

Posted in Adventure, photography

Spring At Last

For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

Song of Solomon 2:11-12

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Spring has arrived, at long last. It’s become visible in the small green sprouts, poking out through the old leaves, and the small buds forming on the trees. Winter wasn’t much in terms of coldness, and snow, it was very dry and mild. Nonetheless, I’m excited to have leaves on the trees once again, and to see colors breaking up all the dull brown.

With every new season, there comes with it, its own set of tasks and duties.

One of spring’s first tasks is yard work. Lots and lots of yard work. Through the winter, the garden rests, and so do I. There’s very little that needs tending, but in the spring, oh my! The soil needs to be turned, beds need to be cleared, debris needs to be raked up, and plans need to be made. I don’t think I’ve ever really “liked” yard/garden work, but recently, I’ve really come to enjoy it.

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Another of my spring tasks, and one of the biggest undertakings of the season, is brushing out my dog’s fur, which may not sound like a big deal, but let me tell you, he has a lot of fur. Two layers, to be exact. Come spring/summer, he sheds an entire coat, (his winter insulation) and it takes me almost the entire summer to brush it all out before it starts growing back again. In the end I’m left with big bags full of ‘wool’. So much so, that if I knew how to spin, I could make enough yarn to turn it into a sweater. Who needs alpacas, anyway?

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Look at him, not a care in the world!

Spring is also very busy for me, because it means I go back to work, where my job-title is planter-in-chief. I work seasonally in a greenhouse, and in the early part of the year, we work fast, and furiously, to get thousands of flowers, and vegetables planted. All this must be done in time for folks to purchase the plants, and get them in the ground of their own gardens. Fortunately, the “growing season”  in the nursery is only about four months. But let me tell you, it’s a very tough four months! But I love my job, and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

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Each one of these has been planted, and placed by hand. (My own, and a couple others.)

Spring also means it’s my birthday, dun, dun dun. Which is both good, and bad, I guess. Good because, I get cake and presents. Bad because, who actually likes getting older every single year, and making the announcement to the entire world? This year is an especially dreaded one, because it happens to be a landmark birthday. I will be exactly two decades old. Perhaps it’s time to start saving for my funeral, and begin thinking about my will? Who will I leave all my books to?
I suppose I’ll get over my melancholia at some point. I mean, next year it’s just going to come round again, and I’ll have to bemoan the fact that I’ll be older still. I’ll never get used to this whole ‘growing up’ thing. Bleh.

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And finally, the next not so pleasant, sign that spring has sprung, is the timely arrival of my allergies. The loathsome side effect of this thing called ‘nature’. I actually begin to feel it in my very cells. Tissue and allergy meds become my constant companions. My face can get itchy, and my eyes can swell shut, but that’s just par for the course, right? Who’s complaining?

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In short, spring is probably my favorite time of year. It’s a nice in-between, where the days are warm, and the nights can be a little chilly. The trees are pink and flowery, and I can make grandiose plans for summer, all before the sweltering heat of summer sets in. For now, its time to enjoy my time time outdoors, and be grateful for my opportunity to see the world wake up.

So, just wanted to take a moment to commemorate the changing of the seasons, and what that entails for me. I hope that this spring will be a good one for you, (or Autumn, for my pals ‘down under’), and that you will take some time to touch, see, smell all the beauty that is, spring.

Thanks for reading, Lady S

 

 

 

Posted in photography

An Ode to Autumn

Oh, Autumn, you are upon us once again.
You’ve moved in so subtly, until your presence was quite unmistakable.
I could sense your arrival on the wind; from the scent of rotting leaves, smoking wood fires, and a cool crispness in the air, so tangible.
I could hear you too, in the chilly winds rustling the papery leaves, brittle, yet still clinging to the creaking trees; in the hoot of owls calling to one another, deep in the night, and in the buzz of busy bees preparing for winter.
But most of all I could see you, in the shortened days, bursting with the brightest shades of purple, red, orange and yellow, transforming every growing thing. And I could see you also, in the inky black crows, lurking amongst the trees.
It is time to bring out our beloved hats, scarves, and sweaters, which I have missed dearly,
and spend our days wandering and exploring in the brisk, exhilarating air.
And though I may be a bit sad to part with our dear old Summer, I am pleased to see you, and I bid you WELCOME!
I look forward to the many nights spent in, curled up with a warm cup of tea, and a good book or two.
And now that I’ve shared my welcome greeting, please make yourself at home; our time together will be short, as Winter is heading this way, so I hear.

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Version 2

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Yours Truly,

Lady S