Butterfly Wonderland

This might be my favorite.

This might be my favorite.

When a friend suggested that a local butterfly atrium would be great place to take pictures, I was eager. Knowing how difficult it is to take shots of butterflies, I figured this would be the perfect place for me to practice. I was at Butterfly Wonderland yesterday before it opened its doors at 9 AM and did not leave until after 1 PM. I was captivated. I sat and absorbed the quiet beauty, I watched people in their delight at the exquisite creatures, and I took hundreds of shots. It was a wonderful day!

Here are a few of my shots. Do you have a favorite?

(Click on any for a larger image and greater detail.)

An Ordinary Day

IMG_7631Many bloggers focus their blogs, concentrating on photography, for example, or poetry, political commentary, educational issues, or dietary advice.

My blog is entitled Ramblings: Exploring the Ordinary. It is just that: a rambling assortment of photography, writing, explorations, musings. It is an eclectic mix of this and that, and it focuses on the ordinary aspects of life with an extraordinary event thrown in for spice.

What could be more ordinary, and EXTRAORDINARY, than children?

If you’ve followed this blog for even a few months, you know that I treasure my granddaughters, who are now 3 years old and 6 months old. One of the best things about retirement is that I have the wonderful opportunity to spend time with these two delightful little human beings.

IMG_7602Of course, I have been convinced that they are brilliant, precocious, and advanced far beyond other children (not to mention just flat out cute). It’s been 31 years since my sons were this age, and I haven’t hung around many children in the interim, so I really do not know what is typical for a 3 year old or a 6 month old.

Can you imagine my surprise (and a little dismay) when I read a handout from the pediatrician today about the normal development of a 6 month old baby?

IMG_7490According to the doctor’s literature, she’s right on track! She’s not leaping tall buildings or soaring above her fellow babies. But, you know what? That’s wonderful. She’s healthy, she’s happy, and she is developing just fine.

Today was the first day I caught her sweet little smile on camera. Previously, she’d laugh and giggle, and just when I’d put the camera to my face, she’d stop and so seriously study the absurd box I’d put between us.

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Her older sister has always been my favorite model, but I believe that I now have two favorites.

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“If a little flower could speak…”

The celosia, which loves the sun, brightens my patio and home.

The celosia, which loves the sun, brightens my patio and home.

I frequently look for quotes to accompany my photographs. Tonight, while searching for quotes about flowers, I was stopped by the power in St. Therese of Lisieux’s words, which caused me to consider my own words and actions.

How often do we deny our God-given talents and gifts under the guise of humility? Why do we diminish or belittle ourselves? Is it because we hope that someone else will compliment us, build us up, and tell us that we are worthwhile?

When we do this, are we saying that God has not blessed us with skills and talents? Or worse, are we saying that we do not accept His gifts and that we do not wish to develop our talents? Or could it be that we simply feel that we are not good enough?

I think that I could learn a lesson from a little flower…and from all of God’s nature. Read St. Therese’s words. What do you think?

“If a little flower could speak, it seems to me that it would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it, without hiding any of its gifts. It would not, under the pretext of humility, say that it was not pretty, or that it had not a sweet scent, that the sun had withered its petals,or the storm bruised its stem, if it knew that such were not the case.”

St. Thérèse de Lisieux, Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux

I need flowers in my life.

I’m a country girl in a big city. Last week, I moved into a small suburban patio home; it’s a sweet little place, just the right size for my cocker spaniel and me. It has a patio and a back yard with desert landscaping, which means rock and dirt, punctuated by a cactus, a mesquite tree, and an acacia tree. The Midwest country girl in me needs green grass and flowers. There’s not a chance of growing grass or planting flowers in this place because the ground is as hard as concrete, but that doesn’t mean I cannot have beauty in my back yard.

IMG_6350I’m still stumbling over the chaotic mess of opened boxes, but I had to stop in order to add some natural beauty to my space. Although I cannot plant a garden or even put in a flower bed, I can plant POTS of FLOWERS! Strong flowers that can hold up to the Arizona blazing sun! Vinca is just perfect.

Grandmothers

I did not spend much time with her. I wish I had. I wanted to tell her about my granddaughters back in the states and ask about her life in China. She looks as if she is about my age, which means that she probably lived through the Cultural Revolution. I wanted to find out what she was doing when I was capturing fireflies in the Mason jar and sitting on the crank ice-cream maker … the burlap bag covering the cold…ever so cold ice…while we awaited the sweet most delicious treat in all the world…….. Did she have that? Was there a time when she sat with her grandfather in eager anticipation of that fabulous reward? In those few moments, we shared an unspoken joy…a love of our grandchildren. IMG_9284