Crumbling but still strong

Jerome was virtually abandoned for decades in the mid-20th century until artists and entrepreneurs resurrected and revived it. To their credit, they left the old buildings, even if all that remains is a solitary wall.

It has a face!

It has a face!

See the trees growing through the window...one behind and one in front?

See the trees growing through the window…one behind and one in front?

Spirit Trykes

I took a solo mini-vacation this past weekend, spending part of it in Jerome, AZ. A blessing of traveling alone is that you have the opportunity to meet people, which doesn’t happen much when you travel as a couple, because you tend to focus on each other.

Jerome is a ghost town. To be more accurate, it is an old mining town that became a ghost town, virtually bereft of inhabitants. Enter the artists, musicians, and enterprising restauranteurs. Jerome now is a destination for tourists and Phoenicians aching for an escape from the heat.

IMG_0341-Edit-EditSaturday night, I met Tim, who operates Spirit Trykes Rides. Tim built that bike (er, tryke) and gives rides around Jerome for tips.

I am not sure why I was so dense about this. On Saturday night, Tim said he’d give me a ride on his Spirit Tryke, and I thought, “Oh sure, like that’s gonna happen.” I saw him again on Sunday, chatted with him and some other bikers (owners of some sweet Harleys) who told me that I should let Tim ride me around town and I could get some good pictures. I commented that it didn’t look safe. When I got the images on the computer I saw some details I’d overlooked. Duh! He does this for tips (read: income). Had I realized, I would have taken the ride and tipped the guy (who really had some interesting stories to tell). Maybe next time.

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.)

“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.