On a Sunday Drive and in appreciation of “Earth Day”!

I realize “Earth Day” was actually yesterday BUT, as usual, I’m a little late.  It took me FOREVER to go through over 200 photos that I’d taken on Sunday!  I absolutely LOVE going on little adventures with my only real goal is attaining peace, spending time with a good friend, listening to music (mostly BAD music), laughing AND (here’s the biggest goal) looking through the lens of a camera to appreciate the beauty around me.

It’s no secret that I’m not the best photographer in the world.  I just only love it.  I don’t seem to ever find the time to REALLY practice or read manuals or even go to the classes that Hubby pre purchased for me to fine tune my skills. I just want to have fun!

Here’s some of the beauty I found through the lens of my camera.  I think it’s pretty appropriate for “earth day” because, mostly, it’s all nature.  Remember when I talked about appreciating your everyday surroundings?  Like what makes America great to you?  Sunday was one of those days where I found ALL kinds of average things that I see on a regular basis but it’s also representative of what makes America special to me.

Image

Americana – this is a lot of what you’ll see everywhere in our Midwestern town.  We live in the country so this is normal and I LOVE it 🙂

Image

Just another red bud tree – When Spring begins, I can’t get enough of the vibrant colors of nature.  Soon the red bud tree buds will turn into green leaves and we won’t see the purple.

Image

Like I said, bff and I drove around looking for things to photograph.  This is a picture of her – I made her go “fix” the American flag so that it would look better so I could shoot  it. lol We didn’t know the people who owned this property… we just made our selves at home and did what we wanted!  lol

Image

As you can see, bff failed at her task of “fixing” the American flag.  Don’t worry, I fired her!  Buwahahahaha!  But here’s the little outhouse anyway.  I loved how it turned out 🙂  Another shot of Americana!

Image

Bff, Beth aka Flashychick, looking for a crawdad (or crawfish for the Yankees reading this).  This is her favorite thing to do when we walk along a creek.  She always finds them too!

Image

And like I said, she found one.  It can barely qualify as one but I’ll go ahead and give it to her THIS time.  Next time, I want to see a crawdad in a non embryotic  stage.  lmbo

Image

Not sure why I love this pic so much?  Beth and I just found a spot on the bank of a creek where we could sit and talk with only the sounds of nature to interrupt us.  I guess this pic makes me feel the peace that I felt that day 🙂  Our chairs were just waiting for us to sit and relax.

Image

The creek bed rock was solid granite.  In the Ozark Mountain area of Missouri, we have tons of granite!  I just think it’s so beautiful.

Image

Me and my chair again 🙂  This is actually funny because I was trying to practice “positive visualization” here by writing down how I was definitely going to win a lot of money on the scratch off lottery tickets that I saved to scratch off at “just the right time”.  Did it work, all that positive visualization?  Nope.  It did not.  Maybe I was supposed to write my positive affirmation BEFORE I purchased those lottery tickets and not after they were already bought and paid for?  IDK.  What I DO know is that I’m still poor.  lol

Image

Time to leave our peaceful little creek and go find MORE beauty!

Image

LOVE this one… NOT because my photography was so wonderful cause yeah, it’s not.  lol  But check out those little baby lambs running and jumping and playing!  I took about a hundred pictures of these little guys but this one the best.  This was part of a “hippie farm”.  Some old lady who I KNOW was a Hippie, back in the day, grew her own food (plus who knows WHAT else) and looked completely self sustaining.  Kind of cool!

Image

Here are the Hippie guard dogs.

Image

And here’s the Hippie bus (the same kind of bus I’m positive the Charles Manson hippies lived in) and the Hippie llamas and the Hippie chickens.  Pretty cool, eh?

Image

Traveling down the road, away from the Hippie farm, to an area called Charter Church Road.  This is a road rumored to be haunted and to have a devil worshiping church located somewhere that I didn’t want to find.  It’s kind of cool, really.  One day I’ll find the church and tell you some of the local folklore that goes with it.  Halloween sounds like a good time to do that!  lol

Image

Just a beautiful field on Charter Church.

Image

Reminds me of Little House on the Prairie where Laura and Mary Ingals are running through the prairie?

Image

Confessions of a bored housewife…  you KNOW I’m bored when a picture of wheat fascinates me!  lol  But I really did love the way this turned out 🙂

Image

Practicing shooting in macro here.  This is the prettiest to me.  It reminds me of  a Victorian garden or wedding.

Image

More Americana.  Even in Missouri, we don’t see very many old churches like this left.  Especially a church with a cemetery attached.

Image

Here’s one of my favorite barns in Jefferson County.  I could live inside that barn.  lol

Image

Bff hiding in my favorite tree in Jefferson County.  This tree is at one of my most peaceful places.  A place we call “The Slab”.  As a teenager, I used to bring my lawn chair and hang out on the bank just to listen to the water run.

Image

Here I am sitting on “the slab”.  I used to bring my baby daughter here when I was 19.  This is where I taught her to swim on some of my rare days off of work.  It feels like a thousand years ago… but then it feels just like yesterday.

Image

More of the slab.  I can’t wait until it gets warm enough for me to get into the water 🙂

Image

They try to discourage traffic at the slab now because the kids trash up the place.  It’s a shame how some people who don’t respect nature have ruined it for the rest of us.  Pick up your trash people and we can ALL enjoy the beauty again!  Even as teenagers, we knew to pick up our beer bottles… I have very little patience for people who don’t pick up their trash now.

Image

Here’s BFF looking pretty but the MAIN reason I wanted to show you this one is to show you the trash by the tree behind her.  I’ve always taught my kids to leave nature better than when you arrived there.  So, if you see trash, pick it up even if it’s not yours.  I’m proud to say that they live by this even now that they’ve left my house and live on their own.  It’s become second nature for them to keep the trash picked up 🙂

Image

Whirlpool on the way out of the slab.

Image

Goodbye slab!  I’ll see you soon 🙂

Image

I have to close down the day with yet another picture of yet another barn!  lol

Image

It’s been an awesome day!  The best I’ve had in a very long time so to celebrate, BFF and I wrapped it up with our favorite local Mexican Restaurant.  BFF won’t admit it but she lives to text 😉  So while I sit, all alone, waiting for my food, with nobody to talk to… Beth is being entertained by her phone!  Yeah, that’s just how she is!  lol  She’ll probably kill me for this but you only live once, right?

So how did YOU spend Earth Day?  Hope you all enjoyed your weekend as much as I did 🙂

Advertisements

Coming to you LIVE from St. Francois County Missouri…

Image

BFF and I didn’t know we’d end up being amateur reporters today!  We only wanted to see PRETTY things!

Have you ever just wanted to get away from everything so that you can regroup or decompress your busy brain?  Yesterday was one of those days for me!  My bff, Beth or “Flashychick”, as you will come to know her on her new blog, decided to go for a Sunday drive and just take the day to look at the beauty that surrounds us.  We were noticing that this year, the Spring colors seem to be brighter than they’ve been in more recent years.  Why not take my fancy schmancy new camera out and learn to use it!  lol  We also wanted to unclutter our minds because we’ve been discombobulated with all this badness that’s going on in the world.

Well… where ever we are and no matter what good intentions we have, we seem to always find trouble.  In yesterday’s case, we found tragedy before we found beauty.

Image

I’ve never seen a house on fire in REAL life.  Not like this, anyway.  On our way to “somewhere”, we saw this tragic sight, directly on the highway!  Leave it to me to pull over and run through the field to get some shots, right?  I was like the Pied Piper because after I pulled over, other ambulance chasers (people like me) pulled over and before long, we had a whole slew of amateur reporters getting their cell phones out to take pictures.  I could tell that people WANTED to pull over but they only got the courage to actually DO it once they saw me running through the field.  lol  When I got home last night, I saw that MANY of my Facebook “friends” had seen the same thing and posted their pictures of this fire.  It’s strange to me how whenever I see something that gets my adrenaline pumping, I lose all sense of “self preservation”.  I got pretty dang close to this and now that I’m looking at the pictures, I’m realizing that there COULD have been an explosion from propane and I COULD have been blown up with the house.

Before you judge me for talking about myself…  There was nobody in the house, THANK GOD, and I did send quite a few prayers up to heaven for the owners of this house.  This truly was a sight that made me so sad.  I couldn’t help but notice the little kids playground and tree house in the back yard.  By the time the Fire Department got there, even the playground burned.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the neighbors houses caught on fire too because the houses were so close together and this fire was MASSIVE.  I’m still shocked at how long it took for the fire department to get there.

Image

Can you see the little swing set?  Also notice how close together the houses are.  See THIS is why I want to live far away from other houses!  I never did like the idea of a subdivision and this is why.

Image

Finally, the fire department showed up.  You can see the little white fire truck to the left of the RV.  They had to call for back up from neighboring towns because this little fire truck couldn’t get control of this angry fire.  On our way back through, we noticed that the other houses didn’t burn.  Again, Thank God.

It amazes me how when I begin to think I have it so bad, I’m always reminded that it could be worse.  Count your blessings, friends!  We really have SO much to be thankful for.  Knock on wood or fingers crossed, I’ve never experienced a house fire.  I couldn’t imagine losing all my memories.  Forever gone.

Image

And to conclude our Sunday devastation report… we bring you more flood damage!  This is the main road, in and out of, Lake Timberline – where my brother and Dad live.  The road complete washed away.  It SHOULDN’T have happened.  The “Board of Trustee’s” won’t upkeep the roads.  They keep raising assessments (money residents have to pay in order to have the “privilege” of living here) but they won’t fix the roads!  They take the money they collect from the residents and apply it to their own special interests.  Like dams for the lakes.  It seems to me that basic road upkeep is a necessity and not a “want”.  If the residents can’t get into their homes, safely, without fear of their vehicle being eaten by a huge hole in the road or without fear of the road literally washing away, I wouldn’t think it matters much about beautifying the beaches or the dams.  The board of Trustee’s say they’re going to fix this though… just as soon as they raise the assessments again.  ARGH!  And this is why I would never live inside Lake Timberline!

Image

But HEY!  The “Timberline Falls” are nice, right?  lol  It’s always good to end bad reporting with a pretty picture 🙂

The Awakening By Sonny Carroll

I’ve said before, time and time again, there are no accidents.  One of my very best friends called this morning while I was struggling to write my story and purge my body of all these negative feelings and memories.  She wanted me to read “The Awakening” and really look at what it said.  It’s so very fitting and it amazes me that so many other people feel this way. I’m having this kind of awakening.  Right now.  Thank you Beth, for just knowing…

The Awakening
by Sonny Carroll

The Awakening
Sonny Carroll

There comes a time in your life when you finally get it … When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out “ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on.” And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world from a new perspective.

……….This is your awakening.

You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something or someone to change, or for happiness safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that there aren’t always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you. Then a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

So you begin making your way through the “reality of today” rather than holding out for the “promise of tomorrow.” You realize that much of who you are and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you’ve received over the course of a lifetime. And you begin to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about :

– how you should look and how much you should weigh,
– what you should wear and where you should shop,
– where you should live or what type of car you should drive,
– who you should sleep with and how you should behave,
– who you should marry and why you should stay,
– the importance of bearing children or what you owe your family,

Slowly you begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin re-assessing and re-defining who you are and what you really believe in. And you begin to discard the doctrines you have outgrown, or should never have practiced to begin with.

You accept the fact that you are not perfect ,and that not everyone will love appreciate or approve of who or what you are… and that’s OK… they are entitled to their own views and opinions. And, you come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a “perfect 10″…. Or a perfect human being for that matter… and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head or agonizing over how you compare. And, you take a long look at yourself in the mirror and you make a promise to give yourself the same unconditional love and support you give so freely to others. Then a sense of confidence is born of self-approval.

And, you stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” hungry for your next fix, a new dress, another pair of shoes or looks of approval and admiration from family, friends or even strangers who pass by. Then you discover that it is truly in “giving” that we receive, and that the joy and abundance you seek grows out of the giving. And you recognize the importance of “creating” and “contributing” rather than “obtaining” and “accumulating.”

And you give thanks for the simple things you’ve been blessed with, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about – a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, the freedom of choice and the opportunity to pursue your own dreams.

And you begin to love and to care for yourself. You stop engaging in self-destructive behaviors, including participating in dysfunctional relationships. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and exercising. And because you’ve learned that fatigue drains the spirit and creates doubt and fear, you give yourself permission to rest. And just as food is fuel for the body, laughter is fuel for the spirit and so you make it a point to create time for play.

Then you learn about love and relationships – how to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving, and when to walk away. And you allow only the hands of a lover who truly loves and respects you to glorify you with his touch. You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say, intentionally or unintentionally, and that not everyone will always come through… and interestingly enough, it’s not always about you. So, you stop lashing out and pointing fingers or looking to place blame for the things that were done to you or weren’t done for you. And you learn to keep your Ego in check and to acknowledge and redirect the destructive emotions it spawns – anger, jealousy and resentment.

You learn how to say “I was wrong” and to forgive people for their own human frailties. You learn to build bridges instead of walls and about the healing power of love as it is expressed through a kind word, a warm smile or a friendly gesture. And, at the same time, you eliminate any relationships that are hurtful or fail to uplift and edify you. You stop working so hard at smoothing things over and setting your needs aside. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK and that it is your right to want or expect certain things. And you learn the importance of communicating your needs with confidence and grace. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that eventually martyrs are burned at the stake. Then you learn to distinguish between guilt, and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to Say NO. You learn that you don’t know all the answers, it’s not your job to save the world and that sometimes you just need to Let Go.

Moreover, you learn to look at people as they really are and not as you would want them to be, and you are careful not to project your neediness or insecurities onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love and relationships, and that that not everyone can always love you the way you would want them to. So you stop appraising your worth by the measure of love you are given. And suddenly you realize that it’s wrong to demand that someone live their life or sacrifice their dreams just to serve your needs, ease your insecurities, or meet “your” standards and expectations. You learn that the only love worth giving and receiving is the love that is given freely without conditions or limitations. And you learn what it means to love. So you stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that “alone” does not mean “lonely” and you begin to discover the joy of spending time “with yourself” and “on yourself.” Then you discover the greatest and most fulfilling love you will ever know – Self Love. And so it comes to pass that, through understanding, your heart heals; and now all new things are possible.

Moving along, you begin to avoid Toxic people and conversations. And you stop wasting time and energy rehashing your situation with family and friends. You learn that talk doesn’t change things and that unrequited wishes can only serve to keep you trapped in the past. So you stop lamenting over what could or should have been and you make a decision to leave the past behind. Then you begin to invest your time and energy to affect positive change. You take a personal inventory of all your strengths and weaknesses and the areas you need to improve in order to move ahead, you set your goals and map out a plan of action to see things through.

You learn that life isn’t always fair and you don’t always get what you think you deserve, and you stop personalizing every loss or disappointment. You learn to accept that sometimes bad things happen to good people and that these things are not an act of God… but merely a random act of fate.

And you stop looking for guarantees, because you’ve learned that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected and that whatever happens, you’ll learn to deal with it. And you learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time – FEAR itself.  So you learn to step right into and through your fears, because to give into fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms. You learn that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophesy and you learn to go after what you want and not to squander your life living under a cloud of indecision or feelings of impending doom.

Then, YOU LEARN ABOUT MONEY… the personal power and independence it brings and the options it creates. And you recognize the necessity to create your own personal wealth. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart’s desire. And a sense of power is born of self-reliance. And you live with honor and integrity because you know that these principles are not the outdated ideals of a by-gone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build your life. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful opportunity and exciting possibility. Then you hang a wind chime outside your window to remind yourself what beauty there is in Simplicity.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you TAKE a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.

A word about the Power of Prayer: In some of my darkest, most painful and frightening hours, I have prayed, not for the answers to my prayers or for material things, but for my “God” to help me find the strength, confidence and courage to persevere; to face each day and to do what I must do.

Remember this:- You are an expression of the almighty. The spirit of God resides within you and moves through you. Open your heart, speak to that spirit and it will heal and empower you.
My “God” has never failed me.

Copyright © 2001 Sonny Carroll. All Rights Reserved
Reprinted here with permission