Monday, September 29, 2008

POE Team blog feature

I was asked to participate in a POE Team blog feature called "Inspirations". I chose two photographs - one of mine, and one by another POE team member and wrote about both photos. For my photo, I chose "fleeting":

I chose "The Monk and the Monkey" by Chris of ancientartizen for the second photo. This photo can be seen in my post here on "Diversity."

The feature was posted today - pretty exciting! You may see it here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I was arranging items from the dress up closet to use as a backdrop for the photos of my new mini cards, and as I worked with the cards, nothing really seemed to look right. But as I was arranging, the combination of a fuzzy lion costume, a pair of ruby slippers, and an emerald green purse caught my eye. This is what I saw:

"An Evening in Oz" can now be found in my etsy shop.

New listing in my Etsy shop: Halloween mini cards!

I finally finished these cute little Halloween mini cards. I am happy with how they turned out! Hopefully others will like them too!

Happy Halloween!

Need a treat today? Try a pluot!

While we were living in California, a routine trip to the grocery store turned out to be a treat for all of us. We noticed a beautiful fruit we had never seen before - a beautiful deep red with flecks of gold. We were talking about how georgeous this fruit was, when a produce manager overheard our conversation. He told us this fruit was a pluot, a combination of a plum and an apricot. He asked if we would like to try one. We said, "Oh, yes!" He sliced a pluot, giving us all a piece to taste. We immediately fell in love! They taste a bit like a plum, but with a little bit of tartness. When we moved to Alabama, I was worried that we wouldn't be able to find them, but one day we were shopping, and there they were! Happy, happy! So, if you need a treat today, give a pluot a try!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Habib Koite's Din Din Wo (little child)

This song is beautiful. It makes me happy. (Psst..turn off my playlist so you can hear this one. ;)

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I am awed every day by my children. It is difficult on some days in some moments not to cry - they are growing up so fast. Everyone tells you that, but it didn't truly sink in for me until I could really feel it.
It is wonderful and so much fun to continue getting to know them, to learn what they like and are interested in , to listen to their thoughts and ideas, to see what they create. Their creativity and humor and compassion amaze me. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of their lives.
Our oldest child told me yesterday that she can tell I really love being a mommy. Her words were a kind reassurance that on some days, in some small way, I am getting the message across to them that they mean the world to me.
There are some moments I find myself wishing I could make everything stop, and just hold that moment. Feeling that little hand in mine, hearing that laugh I love so much, watching her dance, and hearing her tell that joke again, watching him take his first halting, unsteady steps. I hope and pray every day that they will be safe and happy and feel loved. And I want them to know I am there for them always, no matter what, and that I love them to the moon and back, and even more than that.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Quotes for Sunday

A few random quotes that mean a lot to me. Hope everyone has a great Sunday!

"Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potentail to give something back if they only had the chance." Princess Diana

"How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world." Anne Frank

"Distance does not decide who is your brother and who is not." Bono

"Press on, MacDuff." my father

"Lighten up, Frances!" Anne Lamotte

"I cannot live without books." Thomas Jefferson

"We need never be ashamed of our tears." Charles Dickens

Thursday, September 18, 2008

POE feature...."Diversity"

Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day. Anonymous

If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. John F. Kennedy

Experiencing the diversity and richness in others around us is one of the most awesome things about being here, I think. The differences in us are something to be respected and appreciated and enjoyed. Here are a few of my favorite photographs from the very talented POE, which illustrate my feelings perfectly. These photos are moving and amazingly beautiful. A sincere thank you to Chris, Mady, Darryl and Jen for sharing their photographs and their stories with me.

This wonderfully intimate photograph was taken by Chris ( Chris's comments:

"The Monk & The Monkey" is one of my favorite shots and hands down the best moment I've ever caught on camera. It was photographed at the famed Temple of the Tigers near Kanchanaburi, Thailand. The temple monks rescue endangered animals including Tigers and the monkey shown in the photo from the black market trade near the Burmese border. I had the opportunity to capture this moment while visiting the monestary during a backpacking trip across Southeast Asia in 2002.

Any POE member (really any etsy member) has probably seen this incredible self portrait by Madelaine (

This awesome photogaph was taken by DarrylGlade ( Darryl's words:

The story of the second line photo is an interesting one. Hurricane Katrina decimated my home city of New Orleans. Katrina not only exposed the city's hurricane defense weaknesses, but it also exposed deep rooted race relations issues. It soon became apparent that these race relations issues existed not only in New Orleans but throughout the United States (including Washington D.C.).Towards the end of 2005, a huge second line was organized. For those who do not know, a second line is associated with a jazz funeral here in New Orleans. There is a "first line" which consists of people integral to the funeral, such as family and friends. Following the first line is the "second line." The second line is made up of onlookers and people who are attracted to the music being played. Lots of dancing typically takes place in the second line. These days, second lines can take place independently of funerals and can mark the observance of a certain event or even just to show pride in one's culture. This is, of course, a very shortened explanation of what a second line is. Whole books are written about them!Anyway, there was this huge second line planned to mark the "rebirth" of New Orleans. Literally thousands of people took part. There were people as far as the eye could see. Many different brass bands and many different types of people all came together and paraded through the city that the love. Of all the pictures I took this day, this one means the most to me. I think that it encapsulates the entire message of that second line. First of all the most obvious...Rebirth Brass Band is playing (one of my favorite brass bands)! The next is that the entire frame of the picture is filled up with people of all different races parading right next to each other and supporting each other in their fight to survive this difficult time. Lastly, while the picture may feel a bit chaotic, most everyone is ultimately moving in the same direction...forward.

This beautifully detailed photograph was taken by Jen ( Jen's description:

This photo was taken at a Masai village in Kenya. I was drawn to taking this photo because of the vibrant colours of the beaded jewellery especially against the red cloth garment.We learnt that the beaded jewellery is quite an important aspect to the decoration of the masai women. There is much meaning to it from the colours that are used to the style of jewellery that is worn which can depict the different stages in a womans life and even their position in the village. The Masai people at this village were wonderful and friendly. They gave us a little insight into their lives and culture which made this journey fantastic.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Featured POE (Photographers of Etsy) Artists - Theme of the week: boats

This is the first installment of a weekly series on my blog. I have enjoyed being a member of the Etsy POE team so much, and I want to highlight some of the amazing talent from POE members. Each week, I will assemble a group of photos from POE artists, with the theme changing weekly. For those of you familiar with Etsy, it will be like a treasury, but smaller. I will include my thoughts on each photo, and then ask each photographer to comment on their own work as well. I hope you enjoy this beautiful work by some of the most talented photographers out there.

POE boats:

Help thy brother's boat ashore, and lo! thine own has reached the shore. Hindu proverb

This first photograph is by JudiFitzPatrick. You may find her etsy shop here: . I was drawn to this photo for several reasons. The colorful boats against the almost black water was the first thing I noticed. Also, the angles of the boats made this a very interesting photograph. I also love the colors of the boats together. The water is almost glass-like, making it a very peaceful scene.

Judi's thoughts about her photograph: Being a pisces I am always drawn to the water, so I am always visiting places to photograph with water in them. As for why I was drawn to this scene - the bright colors of the boats, the overcast sky making the water appear black, and the contrast between these was one reason. Another was the random direction the boats were heading - it seemed more interesting than those where they are lined up side-by-side like little soldiers. Nothing very deep (no pun intended.) Just seemed like a pretty and peaceful image.

This second photo is by mystiqueisland. I was struck by the way my eyes were drawn up from the bottom of the photograph to the top - up to the beautiful sky. I also think the contrast between the angular lines of the boats and the whispy clouds makes this a really beautiful photograph. You may find mystiqueisland's shop here:

mystiqueisland's thoughts on her work: I was in love at that time with the boats. As you know, that kind of boat is rarely seen. It's a hundred-year-old boat. The boats were HUGE, as you can see in my other boats' shot, you will see on the second boat, a man was standing there, he is so tiny, isn't he? And at that time also I saw the clouds were beautiful, it looks like water.

This final photograph is from ArtyAllsorts (etsy store: I was amazed at how the boats seem to be suspended almost in air, the water is so clear. It also looks so peaceful and warm - definitely somewhere I would love to visit.

ArtyAllsorts' thoughts on her photo: It was a tiny little cove over on the far side of Zante from where we were staying. Our waiter (who was a keen photographer too) marked a map for us of some pretty places and this was one of them. He didn't warn us about the very steep, twisty and narrow road though so it was a complete relief to hubby once we got to the bottom and could breathe normally again!I think there were only 4 or 5 boats in the cove, 2 Greek fishermen tidying away their nets and us. We walked along the quayside and took photos of the anemones and starfish in the water but it was only as we were walking back, that I saw the 'picture'. I only took the one shot like this, the others focussed on the individual boats and details but this is definitely the most spectacular of them all.

Thank you, Judi, mystiqueisland and ArtyAllsorts for your participation! You are all so very talented!

Monday, September 1, 2008

As some of you already know, my mother died this past April. She had suffered quite a bit in the years before her death, and so, for her, this is a blessing, and I know that she is at peace now. When she became sick this last time, I prayed that God would be merciful, and I know that He was. On some days, I just feel sorry for me. When she died, I almost immediately felt very, very alone, like a part of me was gone. A feeling, I have learned now, that is very common when one loses a parent.

As I have been going through her clothes, dishes, photographs, books, it has amazed me how finding something from my childhood can take me back there immediately, so that I can see and hear and smell everything. During this process, I have felt almost compelled to photograph some of the things associated with my most vivid memories of her.

My mother and I shared, among other things, a love of nature, travel, music, birds and especially photography. So taking photographs as I move through my grief really seems to make sense. I will post here some of the photos I have taken during this time, as well as a few of my wonderful, beautiful mother and me. I hope you enjoy them, I think they are beautiful.

Natasha's Famous Rice

This is one of the best recipes that has ever been shared with me. My good friend, Natasha, invented this delicious and healthy dish. Everyone I have made it for absolutely loves it, so I thought I would share it with you. One of the greatest things about this recipe is that you can tailor it to suit your own tastes and change the ingredients to include whatever you have on hand. I will start with Natasha's original recipe, and add a few of my variations at the end.

Rice - 2 cups
onion - one red
carrots - three large ones
olive oil (or vegetable oil) - enough to saute the veggies
bay leaves

Preparation: Chop onions and shred carrots. Warm up the oil in the big pot (I use a dutch oven.) Add carrots and onions to oil and cook until golden. Add rice and water (enough to cover the rice). Add salt, pepper and bay leaves to suit your taste. Place pot into oven, and cook at ~ 350 degrees for about 30 minutes (until rice is done).

Variations: If you want to add meat, chop it into small pieces and saute it until done with the veggies in the oil. Other tasty additions: chopped tomatoes and cilantro, asparagus (or any other veggie you love), red pepper flakes (one of my favorites! Yummy!). It also turns out well with brown rice.

*It is possible to do all the cooking on the stove top, but having tried it both ways, I think the flavors are more well blended when it is cooked in the oven for a while.

I'd love to hear how you liked this dish and about the individual touches you add to it!