#loveyourselffirst

I haven’t posted in a LONG time — my world has felt too dark, too sad, too heavy to share. But tonight, I found joy in a picture I took – of MYSELF, and I wanted to share.

Long story short — I have always disliked the way I look in photos. I never felt that I looked liked ME – (the ME I see in the mirror when I’m having an awesome hair and makeup day) – even in “selfies”.  When I understood that the ‘whole world’ saw me the way a photograph captured me, I was stunned. For most of my life, I thought that what I saw in the mirror was what others saw when they looked at me. A photography lesson said otherwise — a  mirror image is different than a frontal image. So tonight, I tried to capture what I look like… to me. And I wanted to share…

a selfie

 

and a closer selfie

I took these selfies first  — and wasn’t really ‘happy’ with how I looked in them. As usual, I didn’t think that was  how I looked…in the mirror.  Got ready for bed – caught myself in the mirror– and snapped a few more — but this time through the mirror.

Maybe it’s my perception, but I think I look different in the 2 sets of shots. It’s not lighting, or settings, or anything else… the second set of photos is how I see myself… EVERY DAY!  I genuinely like what I see in the mirror  -as opposed to the first set of photos which show how ‘everyone else’ sees me and/or what I see in photographs, which I’ve been hyper critical of.

The other weird thing is — I think other people look EXACTLY the same in pictures, as they do in “real life” (or through my eyes or however you want to say it). I guess that’s  because the camera lens is simply a way to capture – while a mirror is a reflection.  They are always beautiful – in person and in pictures.

Therefore, so am I.

And so are you…

The bottom line —

I hope you feel beautiful – every day.

I hope that you feel loved – every day.

Perception IS Reality

Only YOU can change YOUR Perception

#loveyourselffirst  #mirror  #amicrazy

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Tiny Spring Things

My Dad died last month.

And ever since, I’ve been stuck in a cycle of grief, and anger, and uncertainty, and guilt, and everything negative and overwhelming. My wheels have been spinning, but I’ve been getting nowhere — the hugeness of life in general, as a parentless child, has been suffocating.

But yesterday – as I walked around my yard, I remembered my Mom’s lesson…and I LOOKED. I looked for signs of spring, signs of renewal, fresh starts and promises, signs that life goes on and can still be beautiful and full. And I found these….

and these….

and these….

and I took some tiny steps forward.

And even treated myself to an obviously much needed manicure…LOL.

I’m getting there.

Weekend Wandering #1

After much talk, acquiring a more comfortable traveling vehicle, and a few false starts – Gary and I enjoyed our first Weekend Wandering.  We left home Saturday morning and headed south to Walnut Ridge – hoping for lunch at the “local legend” Polar Freeze BBQ – which , unfortunately, was closed. So, we continued south and had a late (and very unremarkable) breakfast at IHOP in Jonesboro. On the ride down we saw numerous flocks of geese over, in and around the flooded fields – speckle-bellied, snow and canadian – but none were close enough to get any really good pictures.P1050432.JPG

We continued south to Parkin Archaeological State Park – home to an archaeological dig and preservation of a Mississippian Era (1400-1650) Native American village. There were tools, pottery, jewelry, and other artifacts on display and some very interesting educational displays that we looked over, but we were actually there for something completely different.

Drum roll, please ………

We are the newest Certified Volunteer Frog Monitors in the Northeast Arkansas Chapter of Frog Watch USA!  We participated in a 3 hour workshop – listening to frog calls, eating frog decorated cupcakes, learning how to choose a monitoring site (for us, that means sitting out on the screen porch), and passing a certification test. Every week during frog breeding season (Feb 1- Aug 31) we will submit data on the weather conditions and the frogs that we hear during a 3 minute time period. This will help Frog Watch USA collect all kinds of scientific data on the frogs in Arkansas. What can I say, many couples have weekly date nights – we’re gonna have Frog Nights!

After the program was over, we headed west toward Searcy, AR. The weather had changed drastically while we were inside, and we had rain for the duration of our weekend. The weather limited wildlife sightings and the camera stayed on the floor of the backseat, but we still saw some cool stuff — migrating storks in a field, more snow geese landing in the fields like white tornadoes, LOTS of roadkill opossums, pintail ducks swimming at the edge of an unharvested cotton field and several new calves with their mommas.

We ate at Sladers Alaskan Dumpling Co – a unique little place in Searcy, staffed and populated by college students – and were pleasantly surprised by the chicken and beef dumplings served with melted butter, cilantro, curry and sweet sriracha sauce, and then checked in to the LaQuinta for the night.

Sunday morning was even wetter than Saturday – but we stuck with the plan to take an alternate, back road route home- and switching drivers, (so Gary could look out the window without giving me a heart attack every time). We stopped at the Bald Knob National Wildlife Refuge – only to discover that it is closed to the public during the heaviest duck migration months (Nov – Feb) because, after all, it is a refuge (duh, Krisellen!) Back on the road home we saw a flock of wild turkeys (with a few white ones mixed in), more dead possums, more geese and even a flock of trumpeter swans….P1050445.JPG

We didn’t see many cars on the road….because every church parking lot we passed was FULL (and there are A LOT of churches in AR.) We ate lunch at the Old County Seat Store and Cafe in Smithville, AR – beating the after church crowd by mere minutes – and ordered homemade pie to go. We found ONE place open – 2 minutes from home – and stopped there to browse the “trash” looking for treasures, but didn’t find any. We got home early enough to enjoy the football game, and even do some “home stuff.”

It was a fun weekend- and with a few minor tweaks, future wanderings will be even better! Stay tuned!

 

 

Tricolor Heron

While I was in Fort Myers Beach I discovered a small backwater pond and this tricolor heron fishing in it. P1040608.JPGI used the opportunity to try out several different settings on my camera- trying to compensate for the glare from the sand, the shadows of the mangroves, the extremely bright sunshine and his fast movement.

P1040512.JPG

His colors were fabulous – and he was almost machine-like in his ability to stalk and catch minnows.(I watched him eat at least a dozen while I was there.)

Although the minnows put up a good fight….

all of them ended up like this….p1040599p1040601

It was neat to watch him having lunch and I got to learn a little more about my camera and post editing too.

Pileated Woodpecker

Looks like one of the oak trees near the lake is entering it’s final stages – transitioning from a provider of oxygen, shade, and acorns to a source of insects and new soil amendments. There are Pileateds in the woods all around me – heard and seen as they travel around, but infrequent visitors to my yard and never seen on my feeders since I moved here. I did see a Mom and “baby” scoping out one of my trees late last summer, and obviously it stuck in someone else’s memory bank, because this morning Mr. P spent some time getting breakfast.P1050127.JPG

He was there for quite a while – in the fog – hammering at the tree and the log near the base. After he left, I went down to survey his handiwork.

Pretty impressive pecking….