12/30/09

Camera fund!

My sweet husband has started a new camera fund for me! Isn't he wonderful? We're saving up for the next step in my camera evolution. I've been working with a DSLR-ish Fujifilm camera for quite a while, but have been salivating . . . err . . . I mean, uh, dreaming of the next step toward my dream camera. I'm looking at Nikons and Canons, but am open to other brands. I'd love to hear what you all use or recommend. I am definitely going to want something with a telephoto lens and possibly a macro lens (if the camera itself doesn't have a great macro setting), and OODLES of megapixels! :o)

What are your suggestions or tips? Since I'm such a bargain shopper, I'd be interested in how to do all of this as cheaply as possible, too!

I'm so excited! I'll keep you all posted.

12/28/09

I love the holidays!

I'm taking a short break until after the New Year. More photos to come!

12/23/09

South Haven Pier Light

South Haven Pier Light
South Haven, MI

My husband and I took a weekend to getaway in South Haven, MI, several years ago. While we were there, we took the opportunity to do a bit of snowshoeing and sight-seeing. The snow was just beautiful. The South Haven Pier Lighthouse was covered in ice and snow, and I had to stop and take some pictures. I took a lot of them! This is definitely one of my favorites. I had to snap them really quickly, because the wind off Lake Michigan was extremely cold, and I had to duck out of it after a few pictures to get feeling back in my hands.

12/21/09

Point Betsie Foghorn in Winter

Point Betsie Fog Signal Building in Winter

This fog horn is located in one of my favorite areas in Michigan—Benzie County. The day I took this photo was a beautiful, crisp, winter day. It was the kind of day where you see your breath, and you bundle up before going outside. After being out for a while, you love the thought of getting into the warm car and going home for a nice warm cup of hot cocoa. Ahhh . . . I love winter!

According to www.pointbetsie.org, "Renovation of the Fog Signal Building, which sits immediately north of the lighthouse, is also complete. It, too, was returned to a look not seen in many decades. It’s exterior siding replicates the original iron needed to house the steam boilers that powered the fog signal in pre-electricity times. The exterior and metal interior walls were restored in 2008, enabling the building to house the lighthouse's Sesquicentennial exhibition of juried works of art inspired by Point Betsie's structures and surroundings."

12/19/09

On the Empire Bluffs Trail

Empire Bluffs trail

Earlier this Fall, my mother-in-law and I went on a short hike on the Empire Bluffs trail in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It's a hilly, 1.5 mile (round trip) hike through beech-maple forest, fields, and dune plants. The day was perfect—blue sky, mild temperatures, light breeze, and blue, blue water. We had such a good time being outdoors, and taking in the wonderful fresh air. This was the only sunny day during our week-long visit.

12/17/09

Happy 1st Birthday!


It's my daughter's first birthday, today! She's been out of my belly for a whole year, and I just can't believe it. She has brought such joy to our lives. So, happy birthday to my sweet little girl!

12/14/09

Grass


"But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?"
—Matthew 6:30

I can't remember where I took this picture, and I actually didn't like the original that much. But, after I played with it in Photoshop a bit, I was happier with it. The grasses were really pretty with the stream, but it just didn't seem to come through in the original picture. I hate it when I see something beautiful that inspires me, and I just can't seem to capture it the right way.

11/1/09

More to come . . .

I just returned from some recent travels, and will be posting more pictures soon. I was hoping to get more images of Fall in Kentucky, but it hasn't happened, yet. I missed the tobacco fields when they were bright yellow, and was pretty bummed about that. They were harvested before I could get out there. However, the colors are still really beautiful down here, and we're suppose to have a sunny week, which could make for some pretty shots. The leaves have been falling these last couple of days, so the ground is covered with them right now. I have to admit, I've been pleasantly surprised at how pretty the fall has been down here. I've really been wanting to get out to Natural Bridge and Royal Gorge, but it hasn't happened, yet (full-time job, family, and all). :o) All that to say, there will be more pictures coming in the next couple of weeks. Happy Fall, everyone!

10/31/09

Happy Halloween


My little Tigger . . . now, I'm off to watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown".

10/24/09

The Mouth of the Platte

The mouth of the Platte River, where it empties into Lake Michigan


We've been traveling a lot lately, which is why I haven't had regular posts. We first traveled to the Alabama Gulf Coast, then up to North Michigan. I'll be in Illinois next to celebrate my grandparent's 70th wedding anniversary. Then we have the holidays coming up, too! Whew!

This photo was taken when we were with my husband's family in Northern Michigan. My daughter had never seen Lake Michigan (even though she's 10-months-old and won't remember it), so we had to take her—if only to get pictures of her there. The Michigan side of Lake Michigan is so beautiful! It definitely smacks of home for me. This particular day was very cloudy (as you can see), but the reflection on the water was amazing! It's hard to believe that this is where a river empties into a Great Lake—it's just too serene. You can see Sleeping Bear Dunes in the background. Even though there was no blue sky, it was a beautiful day to see the Lake.

10/21/09

Apple Picking


One of my favorite things to do during Fall is apple picking. I love it! We picked a good day to do it this year, too. It was a bit crisp, the sky was a beautiful blue, and the sun was shining. It's been so rainy lately, that we ate up the wonderful, clear weather. The day we went was really busy, but it was fun seeing all the families eating caramel apples, cider donuts, drinking cider, picking apples and pumpkins, and having fun. We walked away with a 1/2 bushel of various apples, an apple pie, a dozen cider donuts, and a jug of cider. Mmmmm . . . I love Fall!

9/25/09

Back in a week

Headed on a little trip (maybe some new photo opps!)—will be back in a week. See you then!

Smokies at Sunset


This photo was taken several years ago now, when we were vacationing in the Smokies. I can't even remember where I was standing, but I remember seeing the layers of mountains and being fascinated. I loved the subtle hues of the sunset, and the way the mountains took on different shadowy shades. What a beautiful place!

9/23/09

9/21/09

Perdido Key Sunset


We were recently on vacation in the Florida panhandle and Alabama Gulf Coast. It was wonderful!! I've loved this area for a long time. I grew up vacationing there. It holds a special place in my heart. This year was special, since we were celebrating our anniversary while there, but also because it was our first family vacation with our daughter. It made it even more special having her there. The water was just as warm as ever, and the air was just as salty, but it was all enhanced by having my family with me—my husband and my daughter. I'm very blessed, and very thankful.

9/19/09

Anniversary flowers

Vyking Mum
Chrysanthemum morifolium


My wonderful husband brought me this beautiful bouquet on our anniversary. There were also some other flowers in it, and I'll post more photos of them later. It was just beautiful! We were married in September, so I loved getting these flowers in warm Fall colors. They just made me feel cozy. We were on vacation when we celebrated our anniversary this year, so we put them out on our balcony and enjoyed them the whole week.

9/17/09

Lone Maple Leaf


I'm so excited! Fall and Winter are on their way! I really love this time of the year. So come on leaves—hurry up and turn!

9/12/09

"The grass of the field"

"For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.

Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!

And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?

Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you?"

9/10/09

Mystery plant


I have no idea what this plant is, but I like the picture. If you know what kind of plant this is, please let me know. I took this picture on a nature trail near where we use to live in West Michigan. I do remember that it was a beautiful Fall day. The leaves were almost finished dropping, so the forest floor was carpeted with crunchy leaves. The sun was streaming through the bare branches, and the air was crisp. Ahhh, how I love fall in Michigan. I'm sad to miss most of it this year, but I'm looking forward to enjoying fall colors and traditions in Kentucky.

9/8/09

Amori della mia vita


I love my life! I'm married to the most wonderful man—I'd be lost without him. We've been married 8 years today, and it brings tears to my eyes knowing that we've made it this far. We've had many joys and many heartaches through the years, and I'm so thankful to still be by his side. When I met him fifteen years ago, we were teenagers. We quickly became friends, and after over seven years of friendship, God made it clear that we were meant to live the rest of our lives together. We married on September 8, 2001. While we've stumbled along the way at times, I would happily do it all over again! I'm madly in love with him!

My love, thank you for sharing this life with me. There's no one I'd rather walk beside. You make me feel so loved, and I'm just in awe of what God is doing in our lives. You are an incredible dad, too. I'm in awe of how naturally you've become a dad. Our daughter is absolutely in love with you. I love your compassionate spirit, your love of the outdoors and of having fun, your love of our daughter, your enthusiasm, your willingness to push yourself, your desire to know God's grace intimately, and the grace you have for others. You blow me away! I love you! I can't wait to celebrate another 8 years with you.

8/26/09

A Grain of Wheat

John 12:24
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,
it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."

8/24/09

Lake Superior Rocks

This was taken in September 2004. We were taking a vacation in Northern Michigan (makes me think of the Kid Rock song . . .), and decided to take a day trip up to Whitefish Point and Tahquamenon Falls, in the Upper Peninsula. Our first stop was Whitefish Point. I was amazed at all the beautiful stones along the Lake Superior beach! There were so many amazing shapes and colors. We spent a good while just rock-hunting. The water was chilly, but once you were in it you got use to it really fast. We got right in and were just amazed at all the different, beautiful rocks. I could have spent hours there. We did tour the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum while we were there, as Whitefish Point is known as the "Graveyard of Ships." Fascinating place!

8/22/09

Wildflowers in the Smokies


These Black-eyed Susans (I think) were on the trail up to "Ol' Smoky" (a.k.a. Clingman's Dome) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Some of them were as tall as we were! Whenever I see wildflowers like this, I always think of these verses from the Bible . . .

Matthew 6:25-30
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?
And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!

8/20/09

View from Point Betsie Lighthouse





The Light-Keeper
by Robert Louis Stevenson

The brilliant kernel of the night,
The flaming lightroom circles me:
I sit within a blaze of light

Held high above the dusky sea.
Far off the surf doth break and roar
Along bleak miles of moonlit shore,

Where through the tides the tumbling wave
Falls in an avalanche of foam
And drives its churned waters home
Up many an undercliff and cave.

8/18/09

Smokies

"How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! "
—John Muir


This picture was actually taken at sunset, not sunrise. But, I love the way this stream is in the shadow of the Smokies, and you can see the sun on another mountain in the background. These woods and mountains are so diverse, they fascinate me. What a wonderful piece of Creation! The Smokies always remind me a bit of Hinds' Feet on High Places, and the journey of "Much Afraid." I can't help thinking about that story whenever I'm there.

"From the heights we leap and go
To the valleys down below,
Always answering to the call,
To the lowest place of all."

8/16/09

Red Dahlia



Dahlias remind me of my grandma. For as long as I can remember, she's had these fabulous gardens, full of marigolds, dahlias, zinnias, roses, and a multitude of other gorgeous flowers. But, I always loved dahlias. This particular one was in my mother-in-law's garden. With a dahlia, you could try to count the petals, but you would soon become frustrated. They have so many—they are so detailed! And I love how they are curled up close to the center. Ah, the wonderful detail and minutia of Creation!

8/14/09

Cherry Orchard

I love this cherry orchard. Gosh, I wish I could remember what road this is on. All I know is that it's on the way from Honor to Leland, MI. But, when the trees are in bloom, it's well worth a stop—even if you're not taking pictures. It's just so beautiful!

8/12/09

Northern White Cedar

White cedar
(Thuja occidentalis)

"To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment."
—Jane Austen

I remember taking this picture on a trail in Northern Michigan, in Benzie County. I can't remember what trail, but there was a wetland along the way. I don't live in Michigan anymore (at least for now), but I miss the woods of Northern Michigan. Cedars are a fascinating tree, and they abound in this particular area. The needles are flat. Gwen Frostic's shop wraps your purchases in her specialty paper and they garnish the packages with a Cedar sprig. I think the needles are really . . . I don't know . . . fresh, clean, woodsy, soft, and pure.

8/10/09

Wild Blackberries

Ripening wild blackberries
(Rubus laciniatus)



"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

8/8/09

Bourbon

Charred virgin white oak barrels of Kentucky straight bourbon at the Buffalo Trace Distillery

8/6/09

White Trillium

Trillium grandiflorum






"I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers."
—Claude Monet

8/4/09

Sunrise on Intermediate Lake


For years, my in-laws have taken a Fall vacation in Northern Michigan on Intermediate Lake, in the Jordan River Valley and Chain of Lakes area. Usually, the whole family (whoever can make it) joins them. This particular year (I believe it was 2007), my husband was not able to join us, but I was able to go. I made it a personal goal to get up before sunrise each morning to catch the sunrise and journal by the lake (and get one of the first showers—hehe). The morning in this photo was a particularly beautiful morning, and I had to snap the shot. I even heard a loon on the lake that morning! It was so amazingly beautiful and peaceful.

8/2/09

Robin's Eggs in Spring

This Spring, my husband and I were taking a walk in a local park. As often happens, he stopped to do a little birding and I started snapping photos. I was carrying our daughter in a wrap, and found this Robin's nest in the brush nearby. It was tricky, trying to pull twigs out of the way, so my daughter wouldn't get poked. But, I ended up with this shot, in the end. I love the blue of the eggs against the neutral colors of the nest. There's just nothing that says "Spring" like a Robin's nest.

Today is also my Mom's birthday, so "Happy Birthday," to her!

7/29/09

Petoskey


I love Petoskey, MI. They have the cutest downtown area that's right on the water. My husband and I love to have lunch in the downtown area, then bike around a bit, and wander down to the waterfront. It's a really relaxing place to be. They have a beautiful waterfall system that runs straight through the town and empties into Lake Michigan! And, I don't have any pictures of it! Can you believe that? The picture above is actually of the clock tower near the waterfront.

7/27/09

Lake Michigan beach


Unfortunately, I can't remember where this is along the Lake Michigan coastline! It could be Grand Haven, but it could also be Pentwater. Who knows? I've taken so many pictures along Lake Michigan, and I've done a terrible job of cataloging them! Oh well. I love sand fences. Don't ask me why . . . I just do. I think seeing these in Michigan reminded me of the sand fences you see along the Alabama Gulf Coast—where I grew up vacationing. The Gulf Coast is almost like a second home for me, and seeing these in Michigan was nostalgic for me.

7/25/09

Cherry Blossoms



On a quiet back road in Benzie County in Northern Michigan, there's a hidden cherry tree orchard, and in Spring it pops when the trees bloom. This area of Northern Michigan is well-known for its wine and cherries. The climate is ideal, with the warm Lake Michigan breezes. When I noticed this orchard in bloom last spring, I had to stop and take some photos.

7/23/09

Queen Anne's Lace

Queen Anne's Lace
(Daucus carota)


Just this past weekend, we visited Raven Run Nature Sanctuary (just outside of Lexington, KY), and went on a nice hike. Part of our hike included a beautiful meadow. We stopped so my husband could do some birding, and I snapped wildflowers. I've always like Queen Anne's Lace, so capturing this image was a treat. I don't have a camera with the kind of resolution I would like yet, but this one does the job for now. Wildflowers are so beautiful, aren't they?

7/21/09

Serenity by The Big Lake


I love how the sand has covered parts of this bench on the Lake Michigan beach at Point Betsie. This was such a gorgeous day in April 2008. The sky and water were amazing, and I was there with my husband and some wonderful friends and family. I'll always love this spot in Northern Michigan.

7/19/09

Grotto Falls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

We took a short hike into Grotto Falls in the Smokies. We spent quite a bit of time here, playing in the water, snapping shots, looking for salamanders (there are tons!), eating lunch, and relaxing.


The falls are fairly easy to get to (some list the trail as "easy", others as "moderate") from the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. It's well worth the short trip in.

7/18/09

Point Betsie Light

I love the Point Betsie Lighthouse! It's one of my favorites along Lake Michigan. This particular photo was taken in April 2008, while my husband and some family members were in the area for a weekend getaway. We took a long walk on this beach, and this shot was taken on our way back toward the lighthouse. Yes, the sky was actually that blue that day! The water was really that color. It was an amazingly beautiful day!


"The Point Betsie Lighthouse, Benzie County's most famous landmark, is located on the Lake Michigan shore of the county just south of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and just north of Frankfort, Michigan. Point Betsie is the second most photographed lighthouse in the USA, and likely the most visited attraction in Benzie County. Watching the sunsets from Point Betsie is a long-standing tradition."

7/17/09

Barn in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A barn along the Cades Cove loop in Great Smoky Mountains National Park


I don't know much about this barn. If you do, please fill me in. I did read somewhere that it's a bit newer than some of the other older buildings along the Cades Cove loop, because it has a metal roof and was built with milled lumber. But, that's all I know. I just liked this view as we traveled along.

7/15/09

Alum Cave Bluff Trail bridge

A couple of years ago, my husband and I spent some time in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for our vacation. One of the trails we did was the Alum Cave Bluff Trail. There are two bridges you cross early on in the hike, and this is one of them. I loved the light . . . not too bright. It made for a very serene location to snap pictures. I love bridges, for some reason, and this one captured my fancy.


The trail is 2.2 miles to the bluff, and well worth the trip. It's a beautiful trail, and goes through a number of interesting rock formations, and through some incredibly beautiful forest. At one point on the trail, you might be able to spot a Peregrine falcon nest, if you know what you're looking for.

6/1/09

Spring 2009, Pink Dogwood

Awake, thou wintry earth—

Fling off thy sadness!

Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth

Your ancient gladness!
—Thomas Blackburn
"An Easter Hymn"




5/28/09

My little girl


This is one of my favorite pictures of our little girl. She was around 3 months old at the time. I didn't even know I had captured this, until I uploaded the pictures from my camera. It just goes to show that if you snap enough, you sometimes get lucky. :o)

"Up North"

These were taken on our vacation in the Leelanau Peninsula, last September.


The view from Willow Vineyards




The Grand Traverse Lighthouse



The view from Pyramid Point in the Sleeping Bear Dunes NLS



On a trail in the Sleeping Bear Dunes NLS

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