September 17, 2014

A New Look

Head in the Stars



I have been as busy, as always, lately. Summer may be winding down, but the chore list certainly is not. I can feel that not quite so hot undercurrent in the air, the slight lessening of humidity, that is an indicator, at least to the native Floridian, that autumn approaches. It is not anything the tourist or casual onlooker would ever notice. But summer is drifting towards its sizzling finale nevertheless, to be replaced by the wildly uncertain season of fall which may carry more than a hint at the chill of winter one day, only to be scorchingly hot the next. It is a tumultuously uncertain time of year here. We still must remain on our guard lest a late season tropical storm or hurricane form off the coast, but we know that the Wet season and our omnipresent afternoon thunder showers will soon give way to drier, and some years, even arid, days.

The garden beckoningWhile in many parts of the country gardeners race the cyclical clock to get a cool season crop finished before winter's blast, we have the opportunity to plant a second garden now. Once the heat lets up we still have ample time to plant many things that would be considered summer crops elsewhere. To that end there are flats of herb and vegetable seedlings out on the Garden House porch, as well as trays of cuttings to be potted up or put in the garden. These chores are calling even now, and I hope to get much done before the end of the week.

Tomato Flat
Even as I contemplate putting in the fall garden, and look forward longingly to the time when the grass quits needing weekly mowing, we are working on plans for the Halloween Barn Party, and trying to get organized for a garage sale early next month. Since the house we lived in previous to this one had no garage (only a partial basement area, a covered porch and a damp, drafty cellar), tools, household DIY equipment and all the sundry yet necessary items to running and maintaining a home and vehicles, were relegated to nooks and corners wherever they would fit. Having moved into a place with not only a very large garage, but also barn, tractor shed, and garden house, we were awash with storage opportunities but still short on organization. I co-opted the garden house, and there all of my yard tools, pots, fertilizers, etc., etc. have settled in. The barn, while roomy, is not as  handy to the house as the garage, and while larger and less used items occupy it along with the tractor and lawn mower, the rest of our clutter settled into the garage. Since my Better Half has always wanted a wood-working shop, he has also acquired more tools and equipment since we moved here. Until recently, it has all been scattered about fairly randomly, but with the garage sale looming and His workbenches completed, we are in the midst of organizing.

Larry's Work Bench
Larry's Workbench-- Isn't it Pretty?
Organization is an ideal very dear to my heart. Though I seldom feel that I am ever sufficiently organized, and when I do get something that way, it tends not to last very long, I never quit striving toward that particular exultant state.  What can I say, except to explain that being surrounded by a clean and organized living space thrills me no end. However, realist that I must remain, I not only know that it is transitory, but also that I do not have sufficient time or energy to make it so in all areas of my life. I saw (pinned)  a quote on Pinterest the other day that really spoke to so many things that have bothered me for some time now, and it really got me thinking about my own life and general complaints about same.
 I realized this week that I just cannot do it all. So I will choose to do what I can fabulously.    --Clinton Kelly Quote
 It is perhaps neither as profound or as Spiritual as the inspirational quotes that I usually pin are, but it is so elegantly true, hits so close to home, that I resonated with it.  So just perhaps, there is a Spiritual element to it. I can never do all that I wish too, but I should do what I can with joy, pleasure and flair. It is my Life— that makes it personal, so certainly I have a choice as to how I approach it and how I experience it. Time to smile and do It with an open, accepting heart.

Morning Glory
To that end, I have been doing some organizing, some changing, and some sprucing up in multiple areas of my life. I am working hard on my attitudethe body, mind and spirit that make up the me who has to get up every day and do it again. And in that same vein, I am in the process of doing a bit of re-organization and design updates to this blog. I will freely admit that design is my favorite part of any web project. However, in keeping with the general mood I am striving for in my daily life,  I also felt that a bit of lightening up was in order. I still have some work to do, but I hope it is more uplifting and happier in tone, and when I am done, more organized and navigable.

Another new feature I have added is the Bloglovin button in the side bar. If you do not know about this amazing site, and you read blogs on a regular basis, you really should check it out. 

All your favorite blogs in one place

Add the blogs you want to follow and you'll get all of their new posts in a feed on Bloglovin! And yes, you can add any blog.
With a Bloglovin account you can follow and keep track of all your blogs in one place, and find lots of new ones tailored to your own interests and taste. Just go to Bloglovin to follow my blog.

Veggie signs on the garden house porch
If you are a regular visitor, please let me know what you think of the new look and changes in this blog. And if you are a new visitor, hello and welcome. Come on up on the porch, grab a chair and stay awhile. Make sure and and say Hi. I would love to hear from you.

Blessings and bye till next time.

September 2, 2014

Bella Grace Blog Hop

Bella Grace-- Stampington & Company inaugural issue
Bella Grace is a brand new publication by Stampington & Company devoted to discovering magic in the ordinary. I have been following along with the posts of the contributors of this new endeavor as the links are opened, and I have already been inspired and amazed by these talented bloggers. What follows, is my own contribution to this Blog Hop.

A Magical Journey

The Journey-- photo of water lily with inspirational message

I have been a Shaman and practicing spiritual healer for more than a couple of decades now, and my Path (or Journey) began a good many years earlier. For me, magic is as fundamental, as essential to my life as breathing. I hear people debate its existence, or discuss whether it is possible or not, and I marvel that there is ever a question. How can anyone live in the midst of the unfolding drama that we call life and doubt. Whether in nature with all of Her infinite grace, wild growth, utter magnificence  and predatory savagery, or in the simple daily rhythms of human living, Magic and Miracles are what weaves together the fabric of what we experience as reality. Scientific evidence notwithstanding, there is ever so much More to what unfolds in this world.

Table-land; altered art photo of succulent on table top.
Table Land
For this post I have chosen to display some of the photos I have taken this summer. Though I take many pictures, I do not consider myself a photographer. Cameras are omnipresent these days—it is as if we, as a culture, are bent upon recording the minutiae of every living act. Though I use my smart phone camera a lot and my Nikon even more, I am always more interested in what occurs between acts, in the moments of seeming stillness, of the breaks amidst the hurried frenzy of modern life. I say seeming stillness because, though my camera freezes a single instant in time, there is no true stillness, not even for those of us who have learned to stop the inner dialogue at times.   Subatomic particles continue to dance the eclectic gambol  of creation while electrons move ever in and out of material being. Our lives are set against a backdrop of continuous motion. So, to me, the ideal photo is one in which I have succeeded in capturing a moment, of distilling it down into its magical underpinnings.

Roses- up close.
 At my previous job, I was lucky enough to be required to learn how to use Adobe® Software. Though I enjoyed using InDesign, Illustator, etc., I quickly fell in love with Photoshop. After using it for about five years now, I still do not feel that I have even begun to explore its possibilities. Before Photoshop, much of my artistic endeavor was more handiwork such as beading, crochet, paper crafting or sewing, but though I still do those things, seldom does a week go by that I am not sitting at my computer marveling at the wizardry made possible by this technology. I still love Photoshop on my full-size computer best, but I have the android version on my tablet, as well as numerous other apps for creating filters, effects and optimizing or transforming digital photos.
Endless Summer

I am not ever certain whether I have any right to call myself an artist in this particular digital medium, but whether or not that is the case, I simply love the work, and I am endlessly entranced by the process. I really believe that very often we end up doing something simply because we must. If tomorrow the entire world changed, and I no longer had access to a computer or other device to practice this arcane science, I would get over it, leave it behind with nothing more than passing sadness. But I am also certain that my life should be forever altered because of it.

As I have said, I take very many photos, but only a relatively few of them are of people actually. The ones that I do take are usually of my children and grandchildren. If for no other reason than documenting the growth, the evolution and the progress of my own family, I should continue to do so. However, only a small number of these family photos ever make it to my computer screen for digital alteration or embellishment. It is only when I discover a photo that captures what I consider to be the zeitgeist of a day or event, or that stirs me emotionally, that I will work with it. It is not in any way that I am playing favorites among my offspring and theirs (I believe them every one to be beautiful and quite unique), but there are those among them that draw the camera more than the others. And there are certain ones who the camera seems to almost form a bond with... This is me justifying the fact that my favorite human subject these days is my granddaughter Bug. 

Sun Kissed-- bug on wicker couch in the sunshine
She interacts with the camera lens as though it were another individual. In her photos, it is always her eyes— wide open, expressive and filled with unplumbed depths — that draws me to work with them. She is, I do not doubt, touched with some deep and mysterious magic I have yet to discern, so I keep searching these photos, the frozen moments that seem to hint of a timeless soul within a tiny girl.

Artography-- Gaia at the beach
 Even when I do choose to work with photos of friends or family, they are most often taken outdoors. Nature is where I find my deepest inspiration. Since returning to Florida almost two years ago now, we try to get to the beach at least every other week during the summer. My daughter Gaia, pictured at the left, would spend most of her time at the beach or pool given the choice. She is a true water spirit. She finds peace and communion at watery places. The ocean is her outdoor Mecca. Mine however, is the garden. I love water and woods, mountains and deserts, in fact, all of nature, but the casual order and organized chaos or the garden is where I am most comfortable.
Also, it is where I take the most pictures. I have file after file of herbs, flowers, vegetables and the garden structures, containers and beds they live in.

Sun Flowers-- Gaillardias in patio pot

When I am out in my own potager, though I may at times tire of the heat, the toil, the insects and the difficulties the caprices of nature can cause, I can not doubt that magic lives in the dark earth and green shoots of the garden. It is an ever unfolding adventure of the more esoteric kind. I choose to acknowledge the science behind the garden's processes, and at the same time pay  homage to the fairy kingdoms and elementals that reside there. Life itself is Extra-ordinarily Magical.

Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this blog hop, and welcome to the new Stampington Publication Bella Grace. I have talked about my passion for many of the other Stampington Publications in a past post.

Bella Grace--
  Life is indeed a beautiful adventure. 

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