Thursday, March 31, 2011

Seashells and a She-Crab?

A Favorite Seashell Quote
"It is, perhaps, a more fortunate destiny
to have a taste for collecting shells
than to be born a millionaire."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Seashell Shot Taken at Beverly Beach After a Storm
(Notice the crab at top left of photo)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Raindrops & Roses, Cheesecake & Cherries

I opened my door this morning to find fog! And raindrops!
when I had hoped for sunshine.
Ah!  But there were roses and bird songs!
So I added a cup of tea
and a plate of cheesecake and cherries
and made my own sunshine
in my heart.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Family Treasure Alert

Family Treasure Alert
You will find this treasure among my books someday.
Please make a note to keep it ~ for it was Grandma Staub's favorite book,
and it is definitely a favorite of mine.
The storyline is riveting and the strength of character the heroine portrays
was once so common.

My Little Grandma

 Grandma and Grandpa Staub
at their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary Celebration
They were married on April 27, 1904 in Washington, PA

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Even When I'm Not Looking...

Met my friend, Barbara, for lunch yesterday. 
After a fine meal, I followed her in my car
as we drove to Michael's with our 50 per cent-off coupons in hand.
And, lo!  On the way, several ducks and sea gulls appeared ~ calling to me!
Or so it seemed.
They preened and posed and paraded around,
just as if they were waiting for me to emerge with my camera.
What could I do?
Having my camera with me, I went back for a photo shoot.
(Note ~ I didn't say they were beautiful ~ just cooperative!)
Carla wants to know where my "avian obsession" came from
and worries it might be "contagious!"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Serenity Tree Reminder

I want this tree to remind me that serenity is a choice.
Mom and I were at a restaurant today.
She had a hankering for pancakes with strawberries 
and whipped cream.
The waitress was young and as it was the second time 
she had waited on us recently, 
we knew that she was not especially fast.  
We placed our orders and then, we waited. 
And we waited.  And we waited some more.
Finally, another waitress saw us looking around 
and came over to explain.
She said that our waitress was "having a melt-down."
Then we saw a table of several adults who got up and walked out without eating, making loud comments on their way.
A few minutes later our waitress walked by, 
red-eyed and sad-faced.
(Our food, however, was still missing in action).
Eventually, the manager brought our food out.  
And everything was cold.
Cold pancakes.  Cold eggs.  Cold toast.  Cold hash browns.
But all I could see were the eyes of that young waitress.
And then I asked myself, "What if that little waitress 
was one of my granddaughters?"
It was then that this foreign thought came to me:
"I may have cold food, but I need not have a cold heart, too."
And that is how God spoke to my heart this morning.  
It had to be Him.  Such an attitude is not second-nature for me.
P. S.
We thanked our waitress, verbally, for her service, 
and then we left a larger tip than usual.
Her sad eyes lit up.
It made me feel good to know that it was within our power 
to make her day a little better.
I'm going to print out a copy of my "Serenity Tree"
 and place it in my wallet.
I hope it will help me to recall this morning's events
the next time things don't go perfectly.
I know that I'll need to be reminded again
that serenity is a choice.
As is kindness.
(Photo taken at Eagle Landing Golf Course - 22 March 2011)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Husband's Thoughtfulness Includes Wild Turkeys

Allen is prone to tell people I have 800 pictures of birds on my computer.
He exaggerates - a bit.
In spite of that, he offered, last night, to drive me around the golf course
in search of wild turkeys.
He'd been seeing them lately and, knowing my heart, volunteered to 
escort me around the course after his golf game.
(He also works there one day a week, so they granted us permission).
These birds are wild and weird and wonderful.
They are also intimidating when on the run!
I believe they were nearly as tall as I am, and, looking through my lens,
I saw those spikey things on their legs as husband was herding them my way.
But the shots I got were worth the danger!
Thank you, Allen.  Last night was definitely a date to remember!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

If For No Other Reason...

Granddaughter, Jessi, saw this fellow floating in their pool and scooped him up.  She ran to her mother, Carla, and said, "Oh, Mom, look!"  As she opened her hands to show her mom how bleached out this frog had become, suddenly, he made a leap, and landed right on my daughter Carla's nose.  

This, above all, taught me to be prepared.  You never know when the shot of the day will leap up in front of you.  It also helps, in the great scheme of things, if one has a daughter willing to just sit there long enough for her mother to try and record a near-perfect shot or two!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

One Black Lab and a Seaside Sunrise

 I was busy taking photos of the sunrise.  
We took our eyes off of Misty for one minute,
and there she was, enjoying the dawn in her own way!
I'm guessing the odds of this not happening
were slim to none.

Photo Taken at Beverly Beach, Florida

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Moonrise Through the Trees Tonight

The "lesser" light was quite impressive as it rose tonight.
Taken through the trees in my front yard.
God's wonders abound, day and night.

Friday, March 18, 2011

An 8 year-old Starts a Family Tradition

Jessi watched a Food Network program on Cheese Blintzes 
when she was only eight years old, recorded it, made her first batch,
and started a Family Tradition.

When she moved to South Carolina, I was distraught!
Would I ever have her delectable treats again?
Yes, every Christmas we can make it up there!
Here she is at twelve, preparing to spoil us again.

Christmas 2010
At sixteen, she is still creating her masterpieces.
Thank you, Jess.  Is it Christmas yet???

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Scenes From My Beautiful State March 2011

Sunset Over the Gulf of Mexico 
14 March 2011

Bayport Park - Gulf of Mexico
15 March 2011

Weeki Wachee Springs
15 March 2011
The spring is so deep that the bottom has never been found.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Amazing Birds!

Possibly my favorite shot of the day.
He was just a squawking at me.

And then as I returned home to Middleburg, what should I find?
Another bird.
A perfect ending to a perfect two-day trip!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Friend of My Youth

Anga Lee Lived Here During our Junior Year In High School
On that balcony two seventeen-year-olds
studied together and laughed and began a friendship
that has lasted more than 45 years.

How blessed we have been.

Me and Anga Lee 
When We Were About Twenty-Five Years Old
I had gone to Kentucky to visit her ~ and this was the day I was leaving
to return to Florida.  My heart broke to leave my friend.

Today I'm off on a great adventure again ~ I'm traveling across time to meet
The Friend of My Youth
down in Spring Hill, Florida!

When we weren't dining,
my friend put up with my quest to chase down nearly every bird we saw!

More of these tomorrow!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Herculean Undertaking

Over the past few decades I have read with avidity and, as I have read,
I would underline the thoughts that touched me, motivated me,
or reinforced my own beliefs.
I would also jot them down on napkins, on bank receipts, on 3 x 5 cards,
or in a small notebook I usually keep at hand.

I remember rattling off some of the best to my daughter when she lived at home
and was, more or less, an unwilling recipient of my treasures.
One day, with a tone of exasperation, she said:
"Mom!  You have a quote for e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g!"
A few minutes later, she was looking for a button when I remembered
something Napoleon had penned.  
Carla, realizing a quote was coming, stared at me down and accosted me with this:
"DON'T tell me you have a quote about buttons!"
Indeed, I did.  Napoleon had noted that men were willing to go to war
because it got them out of the button factories. 

And this leads me to my point.  After forty years or so of collecting them,
I find it quite hard to lay hands on a particular quotation I may especially want 
or need, for myself or for others (some people actually enjoy my quotes, Carla!)
One of my favorite quotes, by one of my favorite writers, addresses this issue,
and, although I am nowhere near a scholar, I still have his problem:
"I suppose every scholar has had the experience of reading something
in a book which was significant to him, but which he could never 
find again.  Sure he is that he read it there; but no one else ever read it,
nor can he find it again."
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
And Samuel Johnson sums up my dilemma this way:
"The next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find it."

And so, I have decided to undertake this Herculean effort of not only categorizing
all of my quotes, but hand-lettering them as I go.
Granddaughter, Jessi, seems to prefer my gifts be done in my version of calligraphy.
As intimidating as that my sound, I can actually sit in bed of a morning and copy
ten or fifteen quotes by hand, while drinking coffee and listening to Josh Groban
or some good instrumental music.
To date, I have almost filled a large 3-inch binder,
and I haven't begun to make a dent in my collection.  
At this rate, I will have Volume One through Volume One-Hundred-One
before it's over.

My gift to posterity.  
My daughter must be feeling ever so grateful.

The photos above were shot through plastic sleeves and are a bit distorted,
but I'm too lazy to take them over again.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

For My Snow-Bound Northern Cousins

Your high is to be 38 degrees tomorrow, with "flurries"
What's a flurry?
Honest, girls, Spring is on it's way to Ohio!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sunset on the St. Johns River

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Psalm 19:1

 These were my gifts tonight.
Trying to live with my eyes wide open.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fifty-Cent Treasure

There was a box of used books for sale;
they looked aged, smelled old, and were all but cast offs.
However, I selected several and toted them home.
This morning I've spent several hours perusing 
one of those books,
and I've discovered the wisdom of the ages captured there
for a mere fifty cents!
The best thoughts of great men, hidden between the covers
of an old book I almost didn't pick up.
Rich thoughts of God and man, faith and fearlessness, 
of decency and overcoming despair.
The adage, "Never judge a book by its cover," has never held
more clarity for me than it does this morning.

One story was particularly inspiring.
When John Henry Newman considered those 
who didn't believe that God existed, 
he concluded that it would be
"just as if I were to look in the mirror and not see my face."

That is how I feel when I look at the world 
through the lens of my camera;
I see God's heart reflected there, 
mirroring His wisdom, power, and beauty.