Saturday, November 2, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

100 Gifts

I've been reading the book "One Thousand Gifts", by Ann Voskamp.  Ann was given the challenge of writing down 1,000 things to give thanks for, and the book is about her embracing the challenge and the way it changes her life as the spirit of gratitude becomes a habit.

With it being November, and the month of Thanksgiving, I am giving myself the challenge of writing down 100 things to give thanks for this month.  That's about 3 things a day.  While it seems pretty easy to think of 3 things to be thankful for, I think the challenge is the consistent intentionality - taking the time to notice, and be thankful for, the blessings that would otherwise be overlooked or taken for granted every day, consistently, for 30 days.  My intention (there's that word again) is to post throughout the month sharing the blessings in my life that I'm taking the time to acknowledge.  Some will include pictures, some won't.   Join me in the challenge if you'd like, and if you do, write a note in the comments, and we can give each other support and encouragement along the way.

So to begin the challenge, here are the first 3 things on my list:
I am thankful for:
1. Sunshine on my face.
2. The sound of a child at play in an imaginary world.
3. Getting through the days homework without drama.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

What I've been up to.

It's August 31st, and I have been noticeably absent from my blog page.  Ha.  To say the least.  I have been busy, however.  I have updated my SmugMug page, and would love to show it off to you.  Go see it here.  Let me know what you think.

I have entered 2 exhibits in the Tamron Garden Macro Contest.  Follow this link.

And I've been taking photos.  Lots and lots of photos.  These are some I took at the Getty museum yesterday.  





Saturday, July 6, 2013

Fourth of July Fireworks.

Some pictures from the July 4th Fireworks show at Torrance Beach.  The first picture was taken with a fish-eye lens.  I had the idea of taking pictures of the fireworks with a fish-eye lens, but we were too far away.  I ended up taking the fish-eye off and using just my wide angle lens.









Monday, June 17, 2013

Unexpected beauty.

Abalone Cove.  The name alone elicits visions of blue seas, shimmering beaches and rock pools teeming with life.  While the sea was a magnificent color that day, when we visited Abalone Cove, there was no shimmering beach, and we were there at the wrong time of day for rock pools.  It's not a pretty beach.  It's covered in rocks worn smooth by the ocean waves.




We found a delightful little plant we'd never seen before.  A nondescript little plant, covered in what looked like blisters.  And while we got a few pictures of these curious little flowers, those were not my favorite pictures from that day.



These are my favorite pictures of the day.



Unexpected beauty.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring blossoms.

Spring is here.  Officially.  And how do I know?  Our peach tree is full of blossoms. The day I wake up, open the blinds, and see blossoms on the peach tree is the day I consider the first day of spring.  I'm always amazed at how fast the tree fills with the beautiful pink blossoms, each a promise of a sweet, juicy fruit.  The blossoms appear long before the green leaves start appearing, and so the branches are bare but for the bursts of color that paint the starkness with pink.







Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Love...

When Dylan was about 4, he said something to me that has stuck with me, and that I think about often. We were in the car and his little voice piped up, "Mom, God is love, right?"
"Yes, Dyl, God is love."
"And God is everywhere, right?"
"Yes.  God is everywhere."
"Then that means..." he said in his soft thoughtful voice, "then that means that love is everywhere."

Wow.  Out of the mouths of babes.  I had never thought about it like that before.  It makes perfect sense, so much so that my 4 year old could see it.  And yet it was a completely new thought to me.  A new perspective, a brand new way to look at the world.

I'd like to say that I absorbed that lesson on that day, and I've seen love around me ever since.  I think it's more realistic to say that I am more intentional at looking for the love around me, and I'm better at it on some days more than others.

Since last week was Valentine's Day, it was inevitable that the theme for Project 52 was "Love."  So many ways to photograph love.  A look, a hug, a kiss, a cuddle. I thought I'd take a page from the "Love is all around you" book, and look for the typical symbol of love, in not so typical settings.  I looked longer and harder than I thought I might have to, but I found it.  A clover leaf, a stone on the bike path.  Not typical locations for the signs of love, but it was there non the less, because love is, after all, all around you.




Monday, February 11, 2013

Texture

The theme last week was texture.  It's really easy and really challenging all at the same time.  It's not like you have to hunt around for textures.  Texture is everywhere.  Everything has texture.  How do you isolate just one thing?  I fell back on an old favorite, and took a picture of raindrops on my windshield.  It doesn't matter how many pictures I take after the rain, they are all different. Sometimes the drops are big, sometimes small, sometimes a blend of both. Sometimes they seem to fall into a pattern, and sometimes they are completely random, but they are always beautiful, and they always have texture.

I gave some thought to the subject of texture while I was still deciding on my shot.  Everything has texture.  Everything.  Even intangible things.  Words can have texture.  Music can have texture.  A look can even have texture.  So I guess at the end of the day, our lives have texture too.  What is my texture?  Am I soft, gentle, fuzzy?  Am I hard, prickly, unyielding? Does the texture I convey to others and to the world around me reflect who I am?  Is my texture one that attracts people, or does it tell others to stay away?  My thought for the week.



Saturday, February 2, 2013

My Morning Muse

The theme for Project 52 this week is "Morning".  Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a morning person.  I am generally more a night owl.  But, the last few days I have been getting up earlier, and while it's only day 3 of early mornings for me, I am finding it quite beneficial.  Once I get over the physical challenge of lifting my body out of the warm cocoon of my bed, I'm golden.  I've exercised early, and gotten that task out of the way early in my day - always a good thing for me.  Today I saw the sun rise for the first time in I'm scared to admit how long.

I wanted to get a picture of the beach at sunrise for Project 52, and so my plan was to get up before sunrise.  Not too difficult considering sunrise today was at 6:50am.  Both kids voiced their eagerness to join me on my quest, but the pull of the duvet cocoon was simply too strong for Lily, and so it was just Dylan and I who ventured forth at the break of dawn.   We admittedly got to the beach a little late.  The color of the sky on our car ride to the beach was simply spectacular, but by the time we had parked, and walked out onto the pier, the red-golden glow had faded.  We had a great time though.  The dolphins were out playing, and if I had had my zoom lens with me, I would have pictures of them to share with you.  I had only one lens with me, and it's my newest lens, and one I have the least comfort with.  It was a gift from my hubby for Christmas, and it's the Lensbaby Muse.  It's an interesting lens, to say the least.  Focus is manual only, and when I mean manual, I really mean manual.  I won't go into the logistics of the lens, but if you are interested you can find out more about it here.

Essentially, the lens has a sweet spot of focus that you can aim and manipulate with your fingers.  I really have no idea what the best application for the lens is, or how to use it to the best of its ability.  I sometimes intentionally go out on a 'shoot' with only one lens, as it means I have to make do with what I have available, and it gets the creative juices flowing to get a good picture.  While I would have loved to have gotten some pictures of frolicking dolphins, the lens I had was simply not going to get the job done.  So instead of lamenting and wallowing over the picture I knew I couldn't get, I played around with my new lens to find out what it could do, and what pictures I could get with it. Sometimes we feel like we are losing out because we don't have the perfect lens, or the perfect shoes, or the perfect job.  If only we looked like so-and-so. If only we had her talent in that area, if only we made as much money, if only, if only, if only.  It's easy to get lost in 'if only'.  I'm trying to be intentional about making the best out of what I have, and so today was a good mental exercise for me.

Dylan and I stayed at the beach for significantly longer than I had initially expected.  The day was overcast and so there was no sunshine.  The morning was hazy and the light muted.  I honestly love the beach in winter.  The blues and grays are soft and the colors are delicate.   You will notice in each picture that only a portion is in focus.  That's the Muse.  Let me know what you think - I'd really love to know your thoughts on the pictures.










Sunday, January 27, 2013

Delight

I know it is almost the end of January already, but I have finally decided on my Word for the Year.
Delight.
Such a lovely word.  It makes me think of the joy of children. Squeals of delight.

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."  Psalm 37:4

I'm going to focus on seeking delight, finding delight, taking delight.  There in delight in the sound of the rain, delight in the sunshine through the clouds. There is delight in raindrops on leaves, delight in misty nights.  There is delight in the questions and stories of children, and delight in fresh-made rusks. Delight can be found in everyday events if you are open to seeing it, and I want to see it.




My sunshine on a rainy day.  Finding delight.

And the theme for week 3 in Project 52 is Dream.



Saturday, January 19, 2013

We have much to hope from the flowers.

"Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers.  All other things, our powers, our desires, our food are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance.  But this rose is an extra.  Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it.  It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers."

Isn't that a wonderful sentiment?  God's goodness is seen in the flowers.  The beauty of flowers - their smell, their color -  make our life better.  They aren't necessary for life.  They are a sign of a gracious God who gives us extras like flowers simply because He desires to embellish our lives with something beautiful.

This quote comes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes in a story called The Naval Treaty. It's got nothing to do with the story line, and is simply an aside - an observation made by a fictional character. And yet the author saw fit to add it to his story.  Can we take time in our everyday routine to notice the flowers and how they serve to show us God's goodness?

My computer was in for repairs this week, and so my weekly posting is a little late, but it's here!  The theme for week 2 of Project 52 was Color.  What better way to represent color than with a flower?





Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Week 2. Already.

Honestly, I'm impressed to find myself at my computer posting my second week of the New Year.  My New Years Resolutions usually don't make it passed day 5.  Ha.  No really, I'm serious.

Amazingly, I have made progress in each of my resolutions so far.  In terms of moving more and eating better, I have gotten up early and exercised, gone to the gym, and committed to 30 days of green smoothies.  And the 'green' in that statement is no misnomer.  These smoothies are green.  Spinach green.  And today was number 8.  And I like them. And I may even continue beyond day 30.

With regards to my Picture 52 project, the first theme posted was Self-Portrait.  I am not a fan of self-portraits.  I feel like an idiot, setting the focus and delayed timer, and then rushing around to the front of the camera while the little beeper is going off like the Countdown of Doom.  It really doesn't help that the warning beep gets faster and faster near the end, while I'm trying to fling myself in front of camera at the exact right spot so that I am in focus, and then look all relaxed and chilled before the shutter goes off.   I got a picture, finally.  I can't say that I like it a whole lot, but it was the best of the batch I created.  This one involved a dark kitchen and the light from my cell phone.



So here we are.  First week of the year gone already.  I hope the New Year is treating you well.  And if you have already fallen off the wagon of your Resolutions, don't panic.  And be kind to yourself.  Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and jump back on.  One day at a time, one moment at a time.  Every day is a new day.  And if you can make today even a little better than yesterday, you've made progress.



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!   2013 is going to be a good year, I can just feel it.  I love the feeling of anticipation and potential that occurs on the first day of the year.  I know every day is a new day, and there is no reason why one day should be any different to all the others, but the first of the year just seems to hold so much more possibility.

Any New Year Resolutions?  I have a few.  There is the usual desire to eat better and exercise more.  Since this is the year of my big 4-0, I have a goal weight added in just for fun but I'll keep that number to myself for now.  Ha.

I have also taken on a Project 52.  I'm trying to be realistic with my goals this year, and 52 pictures is much more doable than the big 365.  So essentially, I am committing to blogging and posting a picture every week.  It sounds good in theory, we'll see how I do in practice!

And speaking of pictures, 2013 is also the start of a SmugMug site where I will post my favorite pictures.  There is a small collection of photographs already, and I will be adding to it on a regular basis throughout the year.  Go check it out.
www.bevcrawford.smugmug.com or Click here

So, here is my first picture of the year.  I'll admit it's nothing spectacular.  It was taken with my iPhone outside Martha's 22nd Street Grill in Hermosa Beach, where we stopped to have lunch after a leisurely bike ride.  What a way to start the year.