Fabulous Hawaiian fauna (mostly birds)

Did you know that of all the states in the US, Hawaii has experienced the most species loss? That’s probably no surprise, given the exotic/endangered/rare flora and fauna that only lives there.

Today, I’d like to share some of my favorite animal pictures from my recent trip to Hawaii. They’re mostly of birds: some you’re accustomed to seeing in the continental US, and others you may not see anywhere else in the world.

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii and want to see amazing birds, check out the Hawaii Audubon Society website for tips on where to visit for the best bird views on each island. On Maui, the majority of our bird sightings happened at the Keālia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, and its Keālia Coastal Boardwalk. On Kauai, the lighthouse at Kilauea is a must-see area for an amazing array of birds. Even in cases where I haven’t identified the bird, I will identify which island.

The not-so-humble rooster is ubiquitous on roadsides (and pretty much every else) in Kauai.

While you might be tempted to think the rooster is the official bird of Kauai given the fact that roosters are everywhere there, the state bird is the endangered Nene goose: Continue reading

Glittering eyes and the magic of this world

When I was in my twenties, my mom took me with her to Hawaii. Before that trip, I had never heard of the green flash at sunset, not even in my college meteorology class. Then again, my professor was most interested in avalanches, and so maybe the green flash didn’t figure into his lecture notes.

I didn’t see the green flash on that trip with my mother—though we watched many sunsets hoping to see it—and I tucked the idea of the green flash into one of the corners of my mind. From time to time in the intervening years I would wonder: Is the green flash a real thing? Is it a myth? I didn’t know.

Fast forward to the beginning of this month, when my husband and I stood on a mountainside in Kauai looking west.

When we first got out of the car, we realized we had a bit of time before the sun would “hit” the ocean. Should we wait? Continue reading

The joy animals give

Continuing with my promise to deliver images here that offer hope and break through despair and cynicism, today is all about animals.

Animal antics can amuse us, spellbind us, and move us. I hope you’ll enjoy these animals. May they lighten your spirit as you imagine what their next move may be.

I shared this first one with you last year, but it was the image for my August 2017 calendar. Though I’ve set aside August for one of my favorite months, I’m a little reluctant to put away this image. (My September calendar photo is a silhouette of a tree at sunset. It’s pretty but lacks the emotional appeal of this sheep.)

This next photo may not at first look like animals. My husband and I were driving past a meadow and saw what appeared to be sticks among the grass. Continue reading

Scenes to keep despair and cynicism at bay

In last week’s post, I made a promise to share images with you that inspire hope or serve as an antidote to despair or break through a cynical heart with their beauty.

With apologies to Texas friends who are understandably sick of too much water, today’s post shares some beautiful places along the northern California coast, where sea and fog meet rock and land. You’ll find these places (though never the exact same view) from Trinidad, California, north to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

While Psalm 23 talks about the restorative powers of still waters, sometimes you may need the ceaseless rush of the tide waters to recharge your soul.


Last week, I pondered the question “Will things get better?” By now, you’ve probably seen countless images of the devastation in Texas from Hurricane Harvey, but you’ve also likely seen moving photos of people helping one another.

A minister of mine once said that one of the best ways to beat the blues is to help others. Even if you aren’t in Texas, there are ways you can help from wherever you live.

  • UMCOR (the United Methodist Committee on Relief) is already there helping. Please consider donating to their efforts (this link takes you directly to the donation page to keep relief supplies flowing to Hurricane Harvey’s victims.).
  • The Red Cross is also on the ground there.
  • The Houston Chronicle offers other ways to help, too.

Will things get better?

I visited with a young friend of mine in the Bay area this past weekend. I have had the privilege of watching her grow into a phenomenal person, and now that she’s a young adult and living not too far away from me, we try to get together when time and schedules allow.

As we wandered through a bookstore, talking of books and more, she asked something along the lines of, “Will things get better?” I don’t remember her exact phrasing because the question caught and jangled around in my brain for a moment before I realized what she meant. Continue reading