What does your chill time look like?

What does your chill time look like?

Chill. Relax.

Chillax.

Where, or when, or how, or with whom, do you find this place?

That’s what Nikki over at Flying Through Water has asked us to ponder this week.

Originally, I thought I’d say yoga.

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I shared a little about how yoga has been transformative in my life in this post. My practice mainly consists of Bodyflow classes at my gym, which is similar to some power yoga that I have taken.

I’ve been considering doing more with my practice after finding that I really enjoyed my Pilates class that focused on breath work. I don’t often practice at home because I like the verbal cues that keep me focused on the present moment. I’ve even thought I would enjoy teacher training, not because I have any desire to teach, but because then I would learn more of the depth of yoga from somebody with knowledge.

Yes. I do find my chill in yoga. My moments in savasana center me.

But I also have other places that I find my chill. And recently, I spent some time pondering them. I know some people going through some heavy stuff and sometimes after turning their heavy stuff around in my mind (because turning and turning is what I do), I find myself needing moments to analyze the meaning of life.

To examine my life.

To just be.

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And so yesterday… I just was.

I came home from Pilates and made Miss Sunshine breakfast. As I popped open the can of biscuits, I thought about how I should learn to make biscuits so there wouldn’t be all these strange ingredients. I watched as the bacon sizzled in my cast iron pan, waiting for it to get to the crispy, almost burnt way Miss Sunshine likes it. I cracked open the egg, popped its yolk, waiting until I knew the moment to flip it over. I put it all on the biscuit for Miss Sunshine.

I helped Miss Sunshine gather her things to meet some friends. I dropped her off.

I came home and made my late riser, Mr. D, some breakfast. I watched the bacon sizzle, remembering to take it off well before my crispy preference. As I placed it on the plate, I watched as it still sizzled. I cracked two eggs into the skillet, careful not to bust the yolk, watching for that moment to flip and finish out the over-medium eggs.

I did not go on Instagram (which for me is rare) and spent little time in the blog world. I needed a break from the pressure of trying to achieve. I was very open in this post about how part of my blogging journey was about discovering a passion that would eventually yield some form of income. And sometimes, I need to step back and reassess if I’m still walking and spending time on the path that feels like a soul call.

I did not do any of my 20 minute bursts of decluttering.

I read and read and read.

I studied some subjects of interest online and climbed deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of my insatiable thirst for knowledge.

I stood on my back porch while the puppy played with sticks and blew bubbles. I watched as the wind carried them and the sun made the magentas, and blues, and greens swirl round and round.

I was reminded of two photos taken while in Scotland.

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An evening stroll took us onto the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. In the pedestrian area there were people everywhere. And amongst them, a man creating giant bubbles that the children loved to chase.

Bubble blowing of this magnitude is unusual to me. I do not live somewhere this is commonplace, and yet I also saw a man creating the same gigantic bubbles in Vondelpark while I was in Amsterdam.

For me, these moments create a connection in humanity.

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That wherever we are, we find beauty and joy in something as simple as a bubble floating on the air.

As I thought about where I find my chill, I realized I find it in the little moments.

The moments where I am fully present.

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The little moments that take my breath away.

The little moments that make me grateful to be alive.

Yesterday somebody looked through quite a few of my old posts. I don’t know if they actually read them, but I went back and read quite a few of the ones they clicked on.

I can see how I’ve grown.

I can also see how I’m the same.

Ever deep in thought…always seeking the simplicity…learning to find the beauty in the chaos.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Murals of Glasgow

Murals of Glasgow

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I’ve already shared that I absolutely loved Glasgow.

But in case you missed it… I loved Glasgow.

My time there was much too brief.

If you are new to my blog, during my week in Scotland, two days were to be spent in Glasgow. However, they were mainly to be a home base for some genealogy interests in some nearby small towns. After a train disruption, a change of plans was made for the Friday that we arrived. That afternoon my mother and I visited the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which I shared about in this post.

The next morning we boarded a train to Shotts to watch the Highland Games. We thought that would be a nice trip because we have genealogical ties to Shotts [my 3rd great grandfather, Hugh McLachlan, who was born in 1835 in Glasgow was living in Shotts on the 1861 and 1871 census. He was listed as an Iron Miner, and a Coal Miner, respectively. I will also note that his sons Hugh, age 14, and James, age 12 are listed as coal drawers on the 1871 census. A coal drawer, or hurrier, transported the coal that had been mined to the surface.]

Upon our return to Glasgow, we decided the best way to see as much of Glasgow as possible was to take a sightseeing bus. We chose the hop-on hop-off version. I’m not big on tours where there is no escape. And that was when I discovered that some of the buildings in Glasgow have Street Art murals.

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From atop the bus, I was only able to capture this giant mural in two separate shots.

The mural is called The Swimmer by the artist Smug. It was commissioned to commemorate the 2014 Commonwealth Games. It’s located at the Kingston Bridge.

Just a teaser, but Smug is also the graffiti artist who painted my favorite mural.

However, I’m saving that mural for last.

We exited the bus at St. Mungo Cathedral because I love a beautiful, old church. As was the case in two out of the three churches that I tried to visit, I just missed seeing the inside of the church. After viewing the outside, my aunt decided to catch the bus back to our starting location. I convinced my mother to walk through part of the  Necropolis with me. The Necropolis is the cemetery next to the church. Modeled on the Peré-Lachaise, it is estimated that 50,000 burials have taken place here.

But I’m getting sidetracked, and those places are a different tale.

We decided to head back to George Square to meet my aunt. We opted to walk…and I’m so glad that we did!

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I did not know that Glasgow has numerous murals painted around the city, so each one was a delightful surprise for me.

My walk only included a few of what I later discovered was an entire trail of murals throughout the city.

I’m taking you in reverse order because I’m saving my favorite for last.

The mural above is called Hip-Hop Marionette. It’s located on John Street and the artist is Rogue-One, in collaboration with Art Pistol.  It draws its influence from the Beastie Boys and Run DMC.

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The University of Strathclyde commissioned Wonderwall to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of its Royal Charter, which conferred its university status. Covering more than 1,000 square meters and several stories, it is the UK’s largest mural.

The artists are Rogue-One, and EJEK, in collaboration with Art Pistol.

This mural is on the Graham Hills building at 40 George Street.

This particular mural is titled The Lecture Theatre.

I spent some time trying to research the murals that I came across, but was not able to find the details for the mural of the acrobats?? to the left.

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The mural, which is a collage of sorts, across the front of the building caught my eye with its many layers. I’m sure that the portraits are of notable people, but I’ve yet to discover who they are.

If you look across the bottom portion of the mural, you will see the T.A.R.D.I.S, which is a nod to the fact that the university archives hold papers of Verity Lambert, the founding producer of Dr. Who. The wall itself has its own hashtag listed on the mural, #strathwonderwall.

This girl blowing wishes upon a dandelion is what originally stopped me to photograph this mural.

I probably am just not looking for the right search terms, but I have not found what this represented. I will state that I thought she was blowing seeds that appeared to be the “X” on the Scottish flag and that the colors were the same as the Scottish flag. However, I have not found anything to verify this.

This mural, The Land Ship, depicts a mock up navigation bridge which was once used to teach at the School of Navigation in the Royal College.

Up next, is my favorite mural. Granted, I missed so many murals because I did not know about the City Centre Mural Trail until after I returned home and looked up the names of the murals that I did see. Seeing the rest is always a great excuse for a return trip!!

I first spied this mural while atop the sightseeing bus.

Saint Mungo.

Its located on High Street and the artist is Smug.

This mural captured my heart. I didn’t even know who it depicted until I began my google search. I just knew that I loved it and wanted to walk past it to get a closer look.

St. Mungo (his birth name is Kentigern) is the Patron Saint of Glasgow.

This mural is a depiction of a modern day version of the Saint.

I’m not sure which parts of his heritage are fact and which are folklore, but according to a manuscript held at the British Library his mother, Teneu was a 6th century princess. She became pregnant after being raped by Owain mab Urien.  Her father had her thrown off Traprain Law, but she survived. He then set her adrift in a coracle, which made landfall at Culross, and where Kentigern was born. He was raised by St. Serf who called him Mungo, which means “dear one”.

 

 

In order to be a Saint, you must have performed miracles in your lifetime. St. Mungo is said to have performed four miracles which are remembered in a poem:

Here is the bird that never flew

Here is the tree that never grew

Here is the bell that never rang

Here is the fish that never swam

This mural depicts the first miracle. St Serf had a wild robin that he had tamed. Some boys killed the robin and tried to blame it on Mungo. Mungo is said to have restored life to the robin.

What first drew me to the mural was the kindness expressed in his face. The creases at the corner of his eyes and the indentation of the cheek, pointing to the fact that if you could see underneath his mustache, I would suspect the corners of his mouth would be upturned into the beginning of a smile.

His red nose gives me comfort because I am almost always sporting a red nose. In the winter, I am Rudolph… In the summer, the slightest bit of sun goes straight to my nose. Quite often, I am annoyed by this traitor who makes my skin tone uneven. Since I rarely wear makeup, the redness shouts to the world about my sensitive skin.

He reminds me of a fisherman that you might see upon the docks on a cold, winter day. He looks like a hard worker… weather-worn, a bandage on his finger and yet has a soul gentle enough that a bird would alight upon his finger.

I did not know he was a Saint.

But he did speak to me up on that wall.

I recognized a man full of compassion and kindness.

And isn’t that the type of person that we should all strive to be?

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Let your light shine!

Amy

* You can read about the other miracles here. This was my source for his birth story. Google will yield numerous sites with similar information. I have included links to those that I found to be consistent with all else I read.

 

 

 

 

 

The Millennium Clock at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh

The Millennium Clock

Time.

“Time and tide waits for no man”

Or as my husband is fond of saying: “Time waits for no one.”

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Nikki at Flying through Water has asked us to think about time this week and the Weekly photo challenge is collage (an assortment, a collection).

While I was pondering what would photograph might best represent this, I was reminded of this piece of art at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The Millennium Clock.

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The museum label for The Millennium Clock states that it was made in Glasgow in 1999.

It is a collaborative effort of sculptor-mechanic Eduard Bersudsky, sculptor-furniture maker Tim Stead, Glass Artist Annica Sandstorm, Clockmaker Jürgen Tübbecke, and Illustrator Maggy Stead Lenert, under the artistic direction of Tatyana Jakovskay.

The piece commemorates the human suffering of the 20th Century.

It further explains that there are four sections: The Crypt, The Nave, The Belfry, and The Spire.

In the crypt, an Egyptian monkey turns the wheels which imprison an ancient spirit.

The Nave depicts humans caught up in the wheel of time, progress, war, politics, belief, and disappointment.

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Above the figures of Lenin, Stalin, and Hilter (which act as a reminder of the worst aspects of the 20th Century), a pendulum swings, supporting the figure of death. The are also character which celebrate better times.

In the Belfry, there are twelve figures, each representing a calendar month. Each figure also represents a hardship or tragedy that has afflicted humanity…war, famine, slavery, persecution…

The Circle of Death.

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The clock face, contemporary in its glass design, stands in stark contrast to the rest of the piece.

I don’t have a photo of the top, other than looking closely at the the first photo. The final component of the clock is The Spire.

Atop the spire is a female figure holding a dead man. It symbolizes mourning and compassion for humanity.

The clock chimes every hour on the hour. I’ve included the video if you care to watch. Originally, I planned to share it on my Instagram story, so that is why it is not filmed in landscape.

Time is a finite things for us humans.

I think it’s best spent being kind.

I think it’s best spent practicing gratitude for the positives in your life instead of dwelling on the negatives.

I think it’s best spent offering love and smiling at every opportunity.

The next breath is not promised.

Time is a precious commodity.

How are you using yours?

Let your light shine!

Amy
 

 

 

 

 

Friday Faves -Edition 21

Friday Faves – Edition 21

I can’t believe that I’ve already been back from the beach for a week! Time flies when your a mama to three teens and new puppy!

Time for my weekly round-up of faves!

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One of the items that my hubby found made his and Miss Sunshine’s trip across the bridge and to the seashore much easier. It was a SUP/Surfboard carrier strap. It made it possible for them to distribute the weight and not have to try to get their arm under it or carry it over  their heads.  Miss Sunshine commented numerous times on how wonderful this addition was for her toting of her surfboard.

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This fave is more about my journey toward body positivity. It was the main bathing suit that I wore for my week at the beach. The bottoms are DKNY from a tankini set that I have and the top is J. Crew that I picked up at the J. Crew Clearance Store (which has sadly closed) a year of two ago.

Wearing a bikini has been a journey for me. I loved my body from ages 17-21, maybe even before that. I was a late bloomer, but wasn’t overly bothered by that. I had the Big Mr. (my firstborn) at 22, Mr. D (my 2nd child) at 23, and Miss Sunshine (my 3rd child) at 26. I really didn’t think much too much about my body changes. Yes, there were some stretch marks and my belly didn’t look exactly the same, but it wasn’t until I saw a photo of me in a bikini playing with an 18 month old Miss Sunshine that I was bothered by my body. I decided at that point that I was not going to wear another bikini in public. At 30, I took out the belly piercing that I had worn for the past 10 years, and decided my belly would never be seen. Not in a midriff and definitely not in a bikini.

Last year, after having been on my health and yoga journey for about a year, I began to feel more confident in my body.  Sure, the stretch marks are still there and I still don’t like how my belly looks when I stand sideways to the mirror, but not wearing a bikini because I felt ashamed of my body began to bother me more than anything. And so last year, I wore a bikini in public for the first time in about 10 years. And this year, I wore it more.

It is still a journey. You will not find photos of me in it. There were some last year and when I saw them, it brought up feelings that I don’t want to have for myself. So I choose to feel confident and continue the process of beginning to love my body… where it is today… strong.

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While we were down in Carolina Beach, we took a day trip over to Southport. Since we already knew that we would be picking up Maverick, our new GoldendoodleMiss Sunshine wanted to find him a collar. We found this collar at a little boutique. Unfortunately, somebody was a little eager to clean out my Jeep and threw away the business card that named the maker of this cute Starfish dog collar.

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After I posted on Monday about our new puppy, I went to check our mail that had been delivered after week on hold.  In it, I found this card. Our veterinarian’s office had made a memorial donation in honor of Kiwi. The back of the card tells about the mission and reads: “Around the world, people depend on their animal for income, nutrition, labor or companionship. For 40 years, Christian Veterinary Mission has equipped veterinarians to serve in communities that need animals the most, using their expertise to build sustainable livelihoods and express Christ’s love through veterinary medicine.”

It was such a touching gesture. For the dog we lost and and receiving it so shortly after the one we’ve gained. But also because we sponsor two boys in Africa. One through World Vision and one through Compassion. And I see what a difference animals make in their lives. The project that the boy we sponsored for many years through World Vision reached the point of no longer needing World Vision last year. I will never forget the photo that I have with him and a cow and supplies for a school, showing that even the smallest things we do make a difference in people’s lives.

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I also returned to the library for some more books to encourage my simplicity / minimalism / decluttering journey. I have some on hold, but these are the two that I am currently reading. I started two because SoulSpace by Xorin Balbes encourages a process of going through spaces in a way that isn’t accomplished in a day. I’m also reading Simple Matters by Erin Boyle, who I discovered upon reading the book, also has the blog Reading My Tea Leaves.

Interestingly, her intro begins about talking about how many minimalists narratives begin with too much. And about how hers did not. I found it interesting because I am beginning with too much, but I also feel like my desire comes from the roots of my childhood where there was enough, but never too much. A very simplistic childhood filled with imagination and days in the sunshine.

So my song this week is back to the roots of simplicity:

I hope you all have an amazing weekend filled with love and sunshine!!

Thoreau quote "Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify." Ocean background

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Independence Day

Independence Day

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We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. -Thomas Jefferson

Today is the day that the United States celebrates its Independence.

Independence that would set in motion freedoms that I would take for granted when I was born a little over 200 years later.

When I think of celebrating the Fourth of July, often what comes to mind are the parades. And of family and friends gathering to enjoy an outdoor celebration filled with barbecued foods and the sweet taste of watermelon. And the culmination of the evening fireworks.

And we can’t forget : Red, White, and Blue.

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This year I will be spending the Fourth at my home in Roanoke, Virginia tending to our new puppy.

But if I had to guess where one of the places is that will be in full celebration mode…

I would say…

Southport, North Carolina.

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Southport is located on the northwest bank of the Cape Fear River.

It has such an idyllic vibe as you stroll along its streets.

Almost as though you are walking along a quintessential southern coastal town.

Like one that you might see in a movie.

Well if you were thinking that… you’d be right.

Numerous series and movies have been filmed here.

Dawson’s Creek anyone?!

Or fans of Nicholas Sparks? A Walk to Remember. Nights in Rodanthe. Safe Haven.

I shared a few other names that were filmed here in this post that I shared last year for Thursday Doors.

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When we vacation in Carolina Beach, we take the ferry across from Ft. Fisher to Southport.

I love to stroll along and admire the historic homes.  These photos were captured from our visit last year. This year, I just admired and enjoyed the gentle breeze that was absent on my visit the year before.

Located at 114 Moore Street, the Julius Newton House, circa 1886, was built for a Cape Fear River boat pilot.

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Many places display an American flag.

And this year as we strolled along, there was even more red, white, and blue displayed.

That’s because Southport is expecting nearly 50,000 visitors to celebrate the Fourth of July in their town.

In fact, yesterday Coastal Living announced that Southport is considered the Best Seaside Town for celebrating July 4th.

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If you are celebrating the 4th today, I wish you a joyous day filled with good weather and lots of laughter.

To all my other readers, I hope your day is just as amazing!!

 

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As for me, I will spend today practicing gratitude.

Thankful for being born into a time and place where I have independence.

Thankful that with each change, transition, passing of time… I can embrace this truth:

 

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Beaches

Beautiful Beaches

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This should come as no surprise, but…

I am a lover of the beach.

The smell of the salt air.

The sound of the waves crashing on the beach.

It is here that my soul finds peace.

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All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.

– John F. Kennedy

So I found it fitting that as I prep our gear for a family vacation to the beach, this photo would show up on my timeline of memories.

The three loves that I gave birth to standing at the ocean’s edge.

And then it’ s as though the water gods came together for a perfect combination with some challenges that I participate in… Nikki at Flying Through Water has a creative prompt this week of Love and the new photo challenge for the week is Transient.

Most coastal towns have a tendency to be transient in nature. People coming and going.

But also the beaches themselves are transient when you consider it from the definition of  always changing or moving around.  Whether it’s a change in the sand at the shoreline, the seashells left upon the shore, the view at low tide or high…

Always changing.

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Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air… -Ralph Waldo Emerson

A quick background on me, in case you are new to my blog. I spent the first 30 years of my life in Naples, Florida.  Naples is located on the Gulf of Mexico and famed for its powder white sand and millionaires. My family has lived there since the 40’s, back when it was still a sleepy little fishing town. Before 5th Avenue and 3rd Street became worldwide shopping destinations and before Port Royal and Aqualane Shores were synonymous with the rich and famous.

However, if you think Naples is filled with only the rich and famous, you would be mistaken.  There are plenty of people who are working hard to make ends meet and getting to relax at one of the beautiful beaches is a lucky perk of living in its proximity.

Of course, another of Naples’ claims to fame is the fact that since it is located on the West Coast of Florida, there are gorgeous sunsets at the beach.

The water tends to be warmer than the East Coast and I swear there is more salt because I float so much better in the Gulf.

 

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The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. -Jaques Cousteau

In 2008, we moved to Okeechobee, Florida for 2 years (where I met some great people, but sorely missed the smell of saltwater) and then we moved over to Sewall’s Point, Florida (with local beaches including the photo above) and lived there for the next 2 1/2 years.

One of the thrilling things about moving to the east coast of Florida was that this was the Atlantic Ocean… meaning there were waves. What the East Coast lacked in soft, powdery sand, it made up for in power. We frequented the beaches of Jensen Beach and Stuart and learned how to surf. These were pivotal ages for my children and there is still a piece of them that considers this home.

The town has a very laid-back vibe and is filled with friendly people. Perhaps that is why  in 2016, Stuart was named America’s Happiest Seaside Town by Coastal Living.

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Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think. – Robert Henri

When we moved to Roanoke, Virginia four years ago (in case you are doing the math… I’m turning 40 in September), I knew that trips to the beach would be necessary for my soul. This would be the farthest I had ever lived from salt water. We visited Virginia Beach and perhaps it just so happened to be the weekend we traveled there, but it was too crowded for my taste.

So we began looking at the Carolinas.

And we stumbled upon Carolina Beach, North Carolina (pictured above).

One trip there and we were in love.

It has been the destination for our family beach trips for the past three years.

Last year we almost bought a beach house there, but then the thoughts of the rapidly approaching college expenses for three teenagers made us reconsider.

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I need the sea because it teaches me. -Pablo Neruda

Being from South Florida, I had never experienced the sight of tidal salt marshes or sand dunes.

When I cross those dunes and feel the ocean breeze upon my face, I feel a slowing of the frantic pace of life.

That is not to say that it is a quiet town. We originally chose it out of those along the Carolina Coast because it has a boardwalk and we thought that lively spirit might hold the interest of our teenagers.

And it did.

During the summer, the town has music, carnival rides, fireworks, movies at the lake… there is constantly something happening.

As with many coastal towns, there are shops along the boardwalk and in the town that close their doors when the hustle and bustle of summertime comes to an end.

Even then, that doesn’t stop the breeze from carrying the scent of saltwater.

It doesn’t stop the ocean from kissing the shoreline.

And it doesn’t stop my soul from finding peace in its presence.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed the views from some of my favorite beaches.

I have many more to explore, but these three will always hold a special place in my heart.

Do you have a favorite beach?  What makes you love that beach?

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Let your light shine!

Amy

How Focus Make A Photo

How Focus Makes A Photo

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Lest my title give the false impression that I’m an expert when it comes to photography, let’s be sure to clear the air.

I am an amateur photographer at best.

And if there are levels of amateur, then I am near the bottom.

HOWEVER….

I do love photography.

And I am learning.

Even if it sometimes feels like I’m learning at a snail’s pace while I give my primary focus to raising teenagers. 🙂

I’ve participated in the weekly photo challenge every week this year so I can broaden my creative skills. When it comes to lighting, I still have a LONG way to go in understanding how to set the camera to capture the scene exactly as I see it.

And while I’m sure my composition doesn’t always follow the “rules”, I do tend to think about it a lot when composing a shot. The challenge theme this week is “focus”. Last week, I shared some photos of Doors of Edinburgh that I thought captured a detailed focus.

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When I think about focus, I think about where I want to draw the eye.

Sometimes I follow the rule of thirds (the imaginary grid where you align the subject at intersecting points of a photo divided vertically and horizontally into thirds).

And sometimes I don’t.

There is a lot happening in the photo above. Composition-wise… I would assume that your eye begins at the ferris wheel, travels past the Eiffel Tower, then past the Luxor Obelisk, moves toward the foreground to the statue and lands on the girlie taking a photo of the Eiffel Tower at sunset. And of course, the colors of the sky and the setting sun appearing to light up the lampposts add to the ambience for me.

What is your opinion?  Do your eyes travel in the same fashion as mine or does something else catch your focus?

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The shot above was also taken in Place de la Concorde. I used the wall to the Jardin de Tuileries and the lampposts to lead your eye down the journey that the girlie was contemplating.

While many of my flower shots tend to show my preference for a shallow depth of field, (which I think sets off the subject) given the events of yesterday, I decided to share some of my thoughts around my personal composition using only photos from my trip to Paris this past April.

 

Never trust your fears. They don't know your strength. -Athena Singh . .I came back from the store today to hear the news about Paris. We were just there in April, staying less than 1/2 mile from the Champs Elysses when the shooting of that police officer happened. My first time overseas…and traveling with my children. This scene with my hubby pointing out sights to us as we crossed a bridge over the Seine. And then I was in Scotland when the terror occurred in London. I shared in a moment of silence with the country while sitting at a library in Airdrie doing genealogical research. And then there is today. I am beginning to hear people say they don't want to travel. I find myself wondering if I should listen to fear. But then I find strength. There is a magnificent world to see… in my back yard and beyond. . . . .#visitparis #passportready #optoutside #roamtheplanet #sheisnotlost #stayandwander #wearetravelgirls #doyoutravel #theglobewanderer #theoutdoorfolk #livefolk #liveauthentic #lifeofadventure #exploringtheglobe #exploretocreate #travelblogger #lifestyleblogger #modernoutdoors #pocket_allnature #rsa_outdoors #darlingescapes #fromwhereistand #thehappynow #loveparis #neverstopexploring #ipulledoverforthis #naturehippys #amazingtravelbeauty #water_captures

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Even in the photo above, I like this shot because even though I’m not centered on the canal, there is something in the foreground (a hand in this case), leading your eye down the river.

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If you’ve been following my blog for sometime or even on Instagram, then you know that I have a love for framing a photo with something in the foreground.  For me, it adds dimension to the photo. Since most of my photos are outdoors and I love nature, that tends to be what I use to frame the shot.

Here I took a photo of the Musée d’Orsay, which is located on the left bank of the Seine. We were walking to Notre Dame when I saw the building through a break in the trees and liked the way that it appeared.

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Another reason that I often compose my shot with framing is that I’m trying to create a scene that is perhaps slightly different than the millions of photographers who have captured the same spectacular attraction.

A building is quite different than the sunsets I like to capture. The sunsets are fleeting and rapidly changing and it’s less likely that somebody will have a photo that looks just like mine.

In the photo above, I chose to frame Sacré Couer between the trees and the carousel that were located much closer to street level than the basilica itself.

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I’m still playing quite a bit with depth of field and learning how I prefer my images to look.

This was taken the night after the shooting that took place while I was in Paris in April. We decided that we would not let fear hold us in our place.  I had planned all along to visit Ladurée on the Champs-Élysées for their world famous macarons. So the hubby and I walked there, bought some, and returned to our hotel.

I decided to try my hand at a little creative photography.

A tripod would have been wise since I was shooting with only one hand…and my non-dominate one at that! 😉

Do you have a preference for a certain photography style?

Are you drawn to crisp mountain scenes? The tranquility of long exposure waterfalls? Bokeh (google this if you don’t know what it is… I had to not so long ago… it’s quite stunning and I typically only achieve it by accident at this stage in the process) in every photo? Do you like a macro shot or a spanning vista?

Do you prefer architecture? Or nature? Or people? Or animals?

Or perhaps you are like me and love it all!

And quite often I love photography because it says so much without saying a word.

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Let your light shine!

Amy