Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wyatt is 8!
We had a little family fun yesterday because his party is going to be this Sunday. We picked up some cupcakes and he received one of his presents and we just hung out together for most of the day.
 I'll do a complete run down of some of the party highlights this weekend but I couldn't wait that long to post an update.
To my crazy, drama boy,
You keep the world on its toes and a light shining bright in our home.
Love you buddy.    


Friday, July 20, 2012

 Arizona Highways Friday Foto

Yesterday I submitted this photo to AZ Highways Friday Foto.
I've never submitted any photo there before, but I found it extremely satisfying to see my photo on their blog today.
I was actually stalking their blog all morning because I love a good monsoon photo.
Did you actually believe that last line?
From the looks of things they pretty much showed anyone who submitted a photo.
But who cares! Hundreds if not thousands of people are going to see it. Yeeeee HAWWWWWW!
One of my dreams is to actually have a photo in their magazine. It's something that I'm striving for.
Have a great one.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

On Saturday a group of 12 kids from on church came back from Fuge camp in Glorietta NM.
I was asked to "sponsor" one of the girls that went. Sponsoring is my way of saying that I provided a care package filled with goodies and inspiring cards for everyday she were there. I also had to connect with my young lady and pray with her before she went.
Oh and wouldn't you know it, I forgot to take a picture of the cards I made.
I wonder if she kept them? I'm gonna ask.
Anyway on Sunday the kids came back all filled with Holy Spirit and just charged from the camp.
One young lady in particular really caught my eye. Normally she is standing there watching everyone as they sing during worship. She doesn't usually smile and I don't think I have ever seen her sing. This time she was standing on a chair rocking out with this huge grin on her face.
Now most people would be totally aghast with standing on a chair during service but if the good Lord led this young lady, I say You Go Girl!

After services I was talking to her mother, and told her what I saw and how I wanted to tell her daughter how awesome she was but I was afraid of how it would come off, so I said I would send her a card. Her mom and Rob encouraged me to tell her but I wasn't confident enough and when I mentioned the card she said that was a fabulous idea because that is her daughters language, that she also sends her daughter notes.
With that in mind, me being me, I procrastinated a couple of days but yesterday I knocked this card out. I must say this is one of my favorite cards I've done. It's all my idea, not scrap lifted and one that I'm very happy with.

This card also represents my idea from a YEAR ago about using all my cricut cartridges. Considering that my cartridge number is now over 170, I better get my butt in gear.
This card used Nifty Fifties for the background, Rock Princess for the young lady and Phrases cart for the You Rock.

Oh and I forgot, yesterday afternoon I found out that I can download my cricut handbooks to my Kindle Fire! Oh yeah, baby. I spent most of the evening downloading handbooks from the library and then going into the shopping area to download the digital handbooks. Now I just need to go through my list and see what handbooks I'm missing and the ones that I waiting for cricut to update. To find out how to download the books just google it, there are lots of videos.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's the second wettest July on record but can you believe that its the first one I was able to photograph? And I almost decided not to go out and shoot.
Thanks goes to my children for driving me crazy enough that I looked over at Rob and said, "I'm gonna go shoot."
So glad I did.
My main priority is to be safe and once I was trying to find the storm I realized I didn't have a lot of time to get far enough away.
Granted this storm was miles away but lightning can strike up to 30 miles away.
I pulled up next to the airplane graveyard and got out, watching the sky, set up and got two shots. The second one made me nervous enough that I packed up and drove further east.
On Houghton rd, I pulled over by some dieing saguaros and tried to take a picture standing in the back of the truck. The wind was blowing enough to rock me so this second picture is kinda cool with the crisp lightning and the double exposed cactus.
I jumped down from the truck, set up again and hit the shutter button. I was just about to release it when I got this bad boy. My favorite of the group.
I was feeling like the storm was headed right for me so I scooted down the road to get a little more south.
The bad part about driving farther down Houghton is that there isn't any saguaros to help your composition.
That's where I took this zig zag, down here.
It was also the last bolt of the storm.

Looking back over my lightning photos from the last couple of years my best ones came from storms in August and September. My monsoon season isn't over yet!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I'm sitting at the desk checking emails, I hear birds chirping and the hawks screeching.
The next thing I see is this little bird bounce off our screen door and fly off but hot on his tail is a hawk coming in with talons out front and he's trying to stop before he runs into the door. I get up an look out the window and the hawk is now sitting on the top of our porch swing before he flies into our tree.
I grabbed the camera and came outside just hoping to get a better picture. I obviously got just a bit too close because he flew over to the block wall.
 My hands were shaking so bad I was lucky to get this clear shot. As the camera was snapping away the second hawk flew onto another wall and then flew off. This guy proceeded to hang out for a bit.
He flew off the back wall and came over to the front wall and was now closer to me. I know he was still searching for food but it was cool to see his markings.
Eventually he flew up onto our neighbors fence. He turned his head to look at me and I could have sworn he was checking to see if I was still following.
withing seconds he jumped down between the gap that is between our fences and I didn't see him come back out so I'm wondering if he caught anything. Maybe he decided to eat it right there. I have no clue.
I'm just happy to show some crisp pictures of these guys, I know there are three but I have no idea who is male or not and I should give them names instead of hawk 1 and hawk 2. The third was is noticeably smaller, so he is easier to identify.
Hm mm....what should I name them?


Friday, July 13, 2012

 I posted on Facebook last night that since I've had no lightning to chase I'll be hunting the hawks.
Last evening the pair were in my neighbors pine tree and then in this dead one. I was cruised over and at one point one of the hawks started making their noises and they met in the air in the middle of our road and you could see the mouse clutched in one of its talons.
Last night I was telling Rob that I needed a faster lens to get better pictures.
Just to clarify, I have the 75-300 you know the one that is only like $200? It is slower than molasses unless that is what your taking a picture of :0
We started talking about which type of lens I would need and the cost. HAHAHA! I don't see buying a new lens anytime soon unless we win Publishers Clearing house.
Plus, if I could buy a new lens, it would be a debate over a long lens, ultra wide or macro and lately I'm leaning toward the macro. I will continue to make due with what I have and do the best with it as I can.
So I will continue to follow this bird family and hopefully get some awesome shots.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

When your in a hurry you don't always get the best shots.
Sunday morning right before church, our local hawk landed on our wall trying to catch my lizards.
Hey, I like my lizards, they keep me entertained.
I scooted outside to take a picture when the second hawk flew up. I just kept my finger on the button hoping one of these would look OK.
They both flew away within seconds. I occasionally see them flying down the alley  like bullets about chest high off the ground.
Now fast forward to this morning.
I was out shooting the sunrise when I heard the familiar chirps of the hawks. I watched as they flew from light post to tree chasing the doves around.
Then the pair completely freaked me out.
I'm standing in my driveway, in my jammies, barefoot, when the pair decided to head straight for me, and then flew up into my palm tree. Seriously, they were maybe 6 ft from my head. I had both cameras in my hands and my adrenaline was rushing so bad I never thought to point it up until one of the hawks flew off the tree over my head away.
I was so pumped after that, that all my shots were pretty blurry from camera shake. As Rob and I talked this morning we were watching the skies we saw a third hawk. It looks like we have a family. I do know that their nest is only 4 houses away.
 I'm really hoping to get some awesome shots of these guys that I can frame for the house.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

 Here is the story of the peacocks.
I apologize for the bad photos but you get the idea and I wasn't sure how my flash would affect the birds, it didn't.
One of the nice gentlemen that worked at the monastery told us after dinner on Saturday night that around sunset the peacocks put on a show.
Every night around sundown all the peacocks would come over to this wall, one by one they hopped up to this wall. Then he said it was like a pecking order each one would fly up into the huge tree in the meditation garden.

At first all of us women waited but as it got darker and the birds were just walking around most of the ladies gave up and went back to our rooms.
I think the peacocks were waiting for us to thin because shortly after they began to fly up to the wall and then fly up into the tree.
I had know idea peacocks did this.
All of a sudden you would hear this whoop, whoop like a helicopter blade and then the bird was on the tree, or you would hear them flying up to higher branches.
It was just so cool and not something everybody gets to see.
The next morning I went on another walk about because I had a few pictures that I really wanted before we left for the day.
As I was nearing the meditation garden I looked up and there were still a couple of peacocks and peahens in the tree!
How cool!
I'm hoping that sometime this fall, when it gets a little bit cooler to take the kids and Rob to explore.
I remember years ago, before kids, Rob and I would go on road trips and we would pass this place, a place I only knew from the 70ft cross you could see for miles. To know that you are free to explore and appreciate their beauty is awesome.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

 A week ago I had the pleasure of helping facilitate a women's retreat called Learning to Love the Master. The premise of the retreat is to reflect and journal your God story. Where has God been, from your earliest memories. It is an amazing journey.
At this particular retreat we tried out a new facility, The Holy Trinity Monastery in St. David, AZ.
What a beautiful location. Upon arrival we were surprised to see peacocks roaming the grounds.
The following morning my friend Annette and I set off to explore. We found 3 ponds with bullfrogs and dragonflies galore, ant hills everywhere, and wonderful nooks, crannies, gardens and trails. We lost count of how many peacocks and peahens are roaming around but believe me you hear them.
It was such a peaceful morning and Annette and I walked and talked for over an hour. Our favorite part of course was photographing all the peacocks. I was floored with how many displayed their feathers. We even had one that we could hand feed and he let us touch his feathers! So soft, so awesome.

I have always loved peacocks, they are right up their with flamingos so this was just a beautiful display of color.
After a day of reflection, journaling and sharing all of us ladies went on a little Saturday evening.
I'll leave those photos for another post because I have some cool peacock info.
If you are looking for quiet, peace, solitude, good food and gorgeous views, this is your place. I'm sure our church will be having more retreats here.