About hopesquires

I've left behind the daily grind to write full time and to figure out what my own flourishing tree looks like. I'd love to help you flourish and grow along the way, so that you, too, can cultivate a life that pleases God.

Muscovy red for a gray day

I’m not complaining about the weather, but we have had a longer than usual string of gray, dreary days. This week’s photo offers a pop of color to go along with all that gray.

I believe this is a feral Muscovy duck (though I’m open to other suggestions). Not wild, but feral. It’s a distinction birding experts make about Muscovy ducks.

I love the play of white and gray feathers and white and gray streaks in the rock, but mostly I love the bright red of the duck’s beak and eye area.

What’s your favorite pop of color when you need a break from gray days?

Winter respite

We’ve had much-needed rain here the last few days, and this afternoon is the first time blue skies have peeked through clouds. Many of you have come through more than a week of unbearable cold and/snow snow. I thought we could all use a bit of respite from winter today, and so I’m sharing reminders—photos from last summer I didn’t get to share with you then—that summer will be here in a few months:

A little flower known by many names: Clematis viorna, Northern Leatherflower, Vasevine

A Carolina lily, North Carolina’s state wildflower

Here’s an interesting article about telling the difference between a Carolina lily and its very similar cousin, the Turk’s cap lily. Just so you’re prepared if you see them this summer.

How do you find respite from winter when it turns dreary?

A joyful 2018

Happy New Year! I hope this week is bringing you joy so far. Joy is my word for the year, and I’m hoping to find ways to experience more joy. Not necessarily epic ways, but more day-to-day moments that bring joy.

Because of a crazier than usual first few months of this year, I need to make some changes here at the blog. Posts will be shorter (most weeks) and will contain maybe just a photograph or two that I love and want to share with you. This week’s photo brings me joy, and I hope it does the same for you.

An otter plays–and poses–in the water.

By the way, the brain teaser in last week’s post about Christmas gold relates to today’s post. The card says, “I am joyful.” The “I am” is spelled out in the stem and leaves, and the “joy/ful” is spelled in the tulips.

What brings you joy?

Revisiting the colors of Christmas: Gold

I hope your Christmas was wonderful. You may still be visiting family, or still cleaning up Christmas bows and boxes, or dealing with post-Christmas blues, or maybe you’re traveling home today. Wherever today finds you, I hope it’s a golden day for you.

The light this time of year seems especially magical, and I love to take in winter’s golden sunsets, just like yesterday’s:

Today’s post revisits the color gold: golden stars, gold haloes, gifts of gold. I hope you enjoy reading it.


Merry Christmas! I hope you’re enjoying time with your family and friends, as well as taking time to ponder the great gift of Christ’s birth and promise of His return. Continue reading