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

Beauty above and along the Columbia River Gorge

In last week’s post, I took you on a tour of Portland’s International Rose Test Garden. This week, I’m inviting you along for a trip to Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge, a short drive outside of Portland.

As I write this, California’s Central Valley is facing yet another day of brutal, record-breaking heat. I can hardly believe that just two weekends ago, I was standing at the foot of snow-covered Mt. Hood.

Staring up at Mt. Hood

If I could teleport myself there now, I would lie in the snow and make snow angels.  Continue reading

Something new for November

I’ve never tried NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but this year, I’ve gotten excited about a writing project and am going to try my hand at some fiction for a change. Whether it ends up being a novella or a novel remains to be seen, but I’m looking forward to a bit of a break from the project I had been working on. (Those of you anticipating that project, don’t fret. I’ll pick it back up in December, and I’m hoping it will be with a renewed heart for it.)

Given that I’ll focus on the novel writing, this month’s posts will be short (unless you consider that a picture is worth a thousand words). Each week, I’ll share a few photos I’ve taken during the week—each one a favorite because of the image itself, the place I took it, or the emotion it evokes.

Enjoy!

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A common sight in November’s trees

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A hard time of year to stay inside

Fall here is beautiful in its own way, not in a familiar North Carolina way, but in a way that catches my breath nonetheless.

The salmon are beginning their run, and happy fisher people (mostly fishermen) are daily swarming the river, giddy with the prospect of catching a big fish. A happy man popped up from the riverbank just this morning, a large, pink fish swinging from his side.

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Why do you think they fish all together instead of spreading out?

Rain came back in a big way, too, over the weekend. More than two inches over four days. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Continue reading

Love of place (and a Lenten challenge)

Before I launch into today’s post, I want to thank those of you who responded to last week’s post, The obsession with our scales. I enjoyed the range of comments you emailed and wanted to encourage you to take the season of Lent (which starts today) to consider whether you need to shift the way you think about food and weight. Lent offers a time to repent of sins in preparation for Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, and it’s a season that Christians traditionally give something up as a way of focusing more on Christ.

Maybe it’s your scale (and the anxieties that accompany stepping on it) that you need to give up to God this Lent. Could you put it away in a closet and not look at it again until after Easter and spend the time you would normally stand pondering the number on the scale instead reading a Bible verse or saying a quick prayer? Or maybe you need to change some eating habits (too much sugar/alcohol/caffeine, not enough vegetables/fruit/water) so you’ll have the energy you need to get up five minutes early every morning to spend time with God. I’d love to know if you’re giving something up or adding something in this season of Lent, and if it’s extra challenging, I’d be honored to pray for your success in this area. Just let me know by emailing me or commenting below! And now for today’s post …

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Love of place
I spent this past weekend in the mountains, a place that is home away from home for my husband and me, a place that sometimes feels most like “home,” though we don’t live there permanently, a place so wrapped in natural beauty that I feel closer to God when I’m there.

We had been away for too long, and I was giddy at returning, proving that the adage “Distance makes the heart grow fonder” doesn’t apply only to people. This place has wound its way into my heart.

I took some time simply reacquainting myself with this place, walking its trails, skirting its places still icy with winter, sitting in a favorite restaurant filled with laughter and the unforgettable smell of a wood-fired oven, driving to catch the best moments of setting sun.

So on this eve of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to honor this place I love so dearly by sharing some photos of it with you.

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Ducks and ripples in a part of the lake without ice

I discovered a few fallen friends along the trails I walked, victims of wind and winter.

I discovered a few fallen friends along the trails I walked, victims of wind and winter.

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I saw these ice crystals and wondered if earlier versions had inspired the first chandelier makers.

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More chandelier inspiration; I love how many colors show up in this photograph, proving that winter isn’t all gray and brown

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Time for reflection — both mine and nature’s

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A broad horizon at sunset

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Layers of blue ridgelines as the sun sets

Perhaps you understand? Maybe you, too, have a deep and abiding love of place? What place grips your heart this way? What about it feels like “home” to you? Why not send it a little Valentine in the comments below?