Extraordinary Sunrise: Fire on the Mountain

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “(Extra)ordinary.”

I’ll admit it. When I step out onto my front porch each morning, I have a beautiful view. It’s the main amenity that drew me to this home. And I know when I look to my right each and every early morning, I’m going to see the sun crest over the dip in the foothills in some form or another. In that respect, it’s an ordinary, daily event in my life.

Yet some glorious mornings, Mr. Sun wishes to attract my undivided attention more intensely than others. On this particular morning, I have to say, his show was stop-in-my-tracks spectacular. He truly dazzled me.

Fire on the Mountain

Fire on the Mountain

What extraordinary thing (or person) managed to catch your eye today that (who) you might otherwise have missed?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreshadow

This is our family’s youngest.

He is apparently trying to convey to us, even from the womb, that he intends to become a surfer.

(Either that or he wasn’t yet quite coordinated enough to finish signing out “I love you!”)

Hang Ten!

Hang Ten!

(And, yes, I believe this does count as my photography, since I was the sonographer who took these obstetrical images.)


Posted for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreshadow

Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpiece

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is to the theme of MASTERPIECE.

I couldn’t help but showcase the talents of my son & one of his female friends.

This first photo demonstrates his female friend’s masterpiece breakfast, showcased on Facebook one morning (with permission given for me to share here with you), and artfully designed to tantalize the tastebuds:

I've given this piece of art a tastefully simple title: "Pretty Pancakes"

I’ve given this piece of art a tastefully simple title: “Pretty Pancakes”

Not to be outdone, my son countered with his own masterful breakfast masterpiece – decorum of delicacy included:

And keeping with the simple, direct theme, we'll just name this one...er..."Awful Waffles"

And keeping with the simple, direct theme, we’ll just name this one…er…”Awful Waffles”

No, my son is not under the age of 8. Feel free to comment without regard to hurt feelings! LOL

Hope I started your day with a good breakfast (laugh),


Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour

The Daily Post Weekly Challenge was to capture “the golden hour” – either the first or last hour of sunlight of the day.

It just so happens that I’ve noticed some exceptional hours like this, just after coming in from bike rides in the evenings as of late. Therefore, both of these were taken with my iPhone camera, as I didn’t have anything better available. No matter. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss snapping these shots, as they both left me feeling golden.

The first I posted recently when explaining those serendipitous moments that sneak up on you, where setting out to capture something through photography was never the plan. (Note the bird framing itself perfectly. Of course, I told everyone it was an angel descending from heaven.)

Jokingly, I said, "And the heavens opened up & the angels sang! Or maybe I'm just delirious."

Jokingly, I said, “And the heavens opened up & the angels sang! Or maybe I’m just delirious.”

This one is from a few days ago, and was both curious and glorious! This cloud was electrified and continued on, for the next hour or so after daylight, emitting heat lightening.


I’m editing my post to add this last one from just last night (again, with my iPhone). I’m amazed at how different the sky has presented itself in the golden evening hour during this past week, though beautiful in every way.



Fly-By-Pieing: The Memoir

There was an important question that was certain to fly across all the children’s lips as they entered the church for their final night of Vacation Bible School. Which of them had won? Was it the boys or the girls? They wasted no time taunting one another about it, but – more importantly – taunting the two adults who had been volunteered as the sacrificial lambs for this messy event.

An announcement was made at the beginning of the assembly that the official count had been registered and was enclosed on the tiny piece of folded paper, gloriously raised for everyone’s inspection. Who could’ve guessed that these hundred or so kids who had been able to rumble the meditation rooms of heaven all week long had the ability to sit so breathlessly silent even for 10 seconds or so? They obviously wanted to assure there was no mistaking the outcome when it was finally pronounced.

After all, they’d brought their meager treasures all week long, dropping their cans in the appropriately designated box, whether it be the one marked “Boys” or “Girls.” They had carefully selected their mission project before the week had begun, deciding upon restocking our town’s food bank, so those less fortunate than themselves wouldn’t go hungry.

But their little eyes showed the hunger of savages, as if they were planning to take their roles in Lord of the Flies. The pastor and I stood by, exchanging nervous grins, knowing one of us was soon to be selected for – no, make that as – the sacrifice. The other, of course, would get the honor of disbursing the sentence. I felt akin to a gladiator, of sorts, come to think of it.

A slow rumble, then a chant, began from one side, then the other, as the little paper was unfolded. The official raised her hand for silence and order to be reestablished before she’d pronounce the final verdict.

Ferocious screams of triumph went up as air flew from my chest. This time…victor!

fly by pieing1

See how helpful I was being (in the competitive spirit that I hadn’t been the “winner”, per se!)

fly by pieing

Perhaps I got a little carried away in my pie administrative duties…


Thought I’d share this little event in story form as part of the Trifecta challenge this week:

This week we are asking for a 33- to 333-word response using the word:


 FLY (intransitive verb)  (3rd definition)





 Please note that the above examples of the third definition use various tenses of the verb.  For Trifecta, remember, you must not change the tense.  We need fly, not flying or flew.


  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • If your post doesn’t meet our requirements, please leave your link in the comments section, not in the linkz.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone. Please join us.

– See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.Z6jTjq6A.dpuf

Moments of Perfection Can’t Be Perfectly Planned

I’m a planner. What can I say? I keep a daily task list not just at work, but one for my personal life too. Then I combine the two on both a weekly task list and on my digital calendar. I check off those items I accomplish throughout the day, religiously reviewing and revising my list each evening. This is how I keep my busy life on track. I schedule kids’ events, work events, church events, recreational events, appointments, blog posts, and even medicinal/vitamin dosing as they should occur throughout the day.

It’s not a perfect system, by any means. Nor is it always appreciated by others.

Once a professor divided our class into groups, asking us to describe how we would each be beneficial to our team. Excitedly, I stepped up, sure I knew my answer. Light-heartedly, I introduced myself as an efficient Task Master. Before I could explain how proficient I was at planning timelines to keep a project on task, a gentleman (I use that term loosely) in the group piped up with, “You’re delirious if you think you’re going to waltz in here and boss the rest of us around!” (His name was John, by the way, in case he ever spontaneously reads this post and has cause to wonder if I’m referring to him. Yes, John, it’s you.) It was then I realized a) task master wasn’t a humorously-recognized term in all cultures (such as the culture of miserable jerks seeking company); b) humor does not have the power to break down personal issue barriers (probably not the sound barrier either); c) groups don’t always wish to operate within the realm of organization (why bother when chaos can rule?); and d) when another group position becomes available, I’m an immediate bail-out..more than happy to spontaneously say adios to a hostile teammate (who, incidentally, ended the semester with only one other teammate who made him carry the entire load).

You’d better believe I made a bee-line out – oh, and a black line through all forthcoming scheduled Group A activities. Long live Group B!

Playing within the realm of photography has best taught me that spontaneous captures are, surprisingly, my favorite life moments. That’s not to say I can’t interject a little planning along the way…but I so enjoy being surprised by that which had never originally been planned. (Pause: I don’t even rate as an amateur photographer – – I’m a picture-taker who loves to share my thoughts by creating an image of my surroundings – fiction or non.)

Sometimes the “picture” (idea) sneaks up on me when I’m not even contemplating  it. Just this week, for instance, I finished a moderately difficult bike course of 25 miles, where I had worked some tough hills and maintained my target rate. As I cruised the parking lot, regaining my land legs before I unclipped, I glimpsed at the sky and noticed a glorious site. I thought, I wish I had my camera with me. Then it dawned on me that my iPhone was tucked in my back jersey pocket. I climbed off and, with some measure of shakiness, snapped this photo:

I pronounced, “The heavens opened up & the angels sang! Oh wait. I’m just delirious.”

I knew it wasn’t going to have the resolution of my Nikon, but I was pleased with the sun ray effect I’d been able to capture. It wasn’t until I later saw it on the computer that I realized I couldn’t have timed a bird release that well if I’d tried – one I hadn’t even noticed when I took the shot! (Or was that an angel descending from heaven?!) What a great spontaneous addition!

Without sounding conceited, I also have a favorite photo of myself, though of very poor resolution – taken during a spontaneously silly moment. I love it so well because it’s 100% “me” of enjoyment. No posing, no business-like stiffness, no look-directly-into-the-camera cheesy smile. It manages to capture an unadulterated, gut-busting moment I was having.


Admittedly, sometimes I’m planning for a photo when something better than I could’ve imagined comes along. I had recently been parked at the end of a private drive, patiently waiting to capture our malaria cyclists in route with a beautiful mountainous backdrop when I heard a shot discharged into the air from the “holler” behind me and heard a man “holler” for me to get on down the road. I at least got a mountain view photo first (just for spite).


Oops. Looks like I also got the unplanned inclusion of the road sign (just in case anybody’s interested.)

Mr. “I’m not running a meth lab or a moonshine still down here” did me a huge favor, actually. I got down the road in time not only to be met by a magnificent surprise field of vibrant wildflowers, but had time to get out and frame my upcoming shot. Spontaneity in planning. I couldn’t have been more pleased. (If you follow my blog, you’ll easily recognize this recent photo as a favorite of mine.)

Riding through the Wildflowers

Riding through the Wildflowers

I’m learning to try to keep my “good camera” with me more often these days, in hopes of grabbing more spontaneous captures. Where that planning fails, however, my little iPhone buddy is always ready and willing to help. In either case, photography (okay, picture taking, if you have to get all “John-snooty” about it) is inviting me to interact with my surroundings more closely and more often, feeling the freedom to stop and smell the…geese.

photo (42)

No zoom lens here. Luckily, Mama Goose didn’t call a “fowl” on my close-encounter intrusion.

Now I ask you…how much more perfection could I possibly plan than that?!


Word a Week/Carpe Diem Haiga: Boat(load) of Curiosity


mind adrift toward distant shores

chaos acquiesced

Sunset at the Marina

Sunset at the Marina

Kristjaan at Carpe Diem taught me a new term this week for the combination of my photos and haiku: haiga.

So this submission is surely in his honor.

I also noticed that Sue at A Word in Your Ear had her Word a Week challenge out on Boat.

The two seemed to dock harmoniously together, much like these vessels resting at the marina, preparing to dream of more chaotic days to come, where the wind will again whip through their curious sails.

A Flagged Foto


This was a farewell foto before I left the beach last fall.

The view of the grass dunes just before accessing the white sand is so lovely, the blues of the water so intensely enticing…the eye (along with the body) is tempted to be drawn out to sea without even noticing the included message in the photo.

Perhaps the flags could go unnoticed (look to your right – yellow for caution regarding swim condition warnings, such as a deceptively hidden undertow; and blue for caution of problematic marine life, such as the jellyfish who were swarming).

In this case, the alerts are tucked away to the side to serve as an after-thought to the viewer, after he or she has been pulled by desire to heed the siren’s call.


WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: The World Through Your Eyes:

Earlier this week, photographer Ming Thein gave us an overview of the fundamentals of photography and talked about observing your subject or scene and what’s needed to create a good photograph. We see many excellent shots out there in which a photographer’s intent is clear: where he or she leads us to the photo’s subject or main focus — using light, composition, and other criteria — and is able to convey what they see in their mind at the moment of capture.

It’s that little extra something in a snapshot that transforms a photograph into something more: a visual interpretation of one’s vision. A story, captured in a frame. It’s that special skill that Ming mentioned — the photographer’s eye.

Some of you are active photographers, while others are only beginning to take pictures. Whatever your skill, we challenge you to take and share a photograph that shows a command of your frame. Lead our eyes somewhere. Make us focus on something.


Related Link:

Beach Warning Flags

Travel Theme: Going with the FLOW

Ailsa at Wheresmybackpack has put up a travel theme challenge on FLOW.

I spent last week away from work, going with the FLOW. One of those places was at Linville Falls

As much as I am a whitewater enthusiast, I enjoyed this flow from the bank and from overlooks through my lens, though.

As beautiful as these falls are, they don’t necessarily have the kindest historical reputation, being known as an execution site used by Native Americans because of the associated danger. Even the smaller upper falls are dangerous because of the churning rapids that lie just beneath them and that will ultimately pull a “swimmer” down into the gap between the levels of falls. If you were to survive those churning hydraulics pulling you under in the “in between,” even if they spit you out, the sharp turns that would bang you into the oncoming rocks would likely leave you never knowing you had gone over the greater fall beneath.

One kayaker has been recorded making this run and surviving, that I know of to date. (Did I also mention it would be illegal for you to try this?)


One of the upper pair of falls


The other of the upper pair of falls


Flowing from the upper pool towards the lower pool – don’t miss the higher water lines that have shaped the outcroppings over the centuries


The upper pool with its pair of falls


Churning drop in the “in between”

feeding the lower fall

Feeding the lower fall

A bird's eye view of Linville Falls

A bird’s eye view of Linville Falls