My shiny



Distractions prove to be an issue with a lot of folks, me included.  They cause a little blip in our path. They divert our attention from the goal. They sidetrack us and cause us to lose our focus.

Sometimes they are a well-needed diversion providing a respite during a difficult task. But all too often, distractions are just time-wasters that prevent us from accomplishment.

I’m usually a fairly focused person. Once I set my sights on a short-term goal, I stay the course until it’s finished. But those long-term aspirations? Not so much. I find I’m easily distracted by what some call oooh, a shiny!

We all succumb, I suppose, at one point or another, to those shiny things that call our attention away from the task at hand. Even Olympic gold medal winning gymnast Gabby Johnson admitted to losing her focus when she was quoted as saying, “It’s very tough for me to focus. I’m like: Look, something shiny! No, focus. Oh, there goes a butterfly!”

I started a long-term project a couple of years ago, and I’m sorry to confess that it is nowhere nearly completed. It’s actually gathering digital dust, so to speak, in a flash drive on my desk. Too many ‘shiny’ distractions have caused me to put that project on a shelf.

Why am I writing about distractions today? Because the past week’s photo challenge exhorts participants to capture something shiny which causes you to lose focus, something that attracts your attention.

So what constitutes a distraction for me? 

The most usual and often one is my oldest grandchild. She diverts my attention in a good way though because I adore her and love spending time with her just about every day.

My youngest grandchild lives too far away to be a daily diversion, but still, when I’m with her or looking at videos and/or photos of her, she certainly monopolizes my attention too for all the same reasons; I adore her. Those two absolutely qualify as my “shinies.” 

The negative oooh shiny is my iPad mini, and I’m a little ashamed to say that when it sits there with its cute, little flowery cover on my desk, it just begs me to open it up, tap on either a game called Trivia Crack or a jigsaw puzzle app, read an e-book on the Kindle app, and waste way too much time. Definitely sidetracks me.

But I have an oooh, shiny that occurs every day, an instance that causes me to divert my attention enough to stop whatever I’m doing immediately. 


It’s my oooh, shiny distraction. Viewed right off our backyard deck every evening, it causes me to pause and take a few minutes to watch the sun slide softly into the horizon.

Sunset grabs my attention on a regular basis.  It prompts me to scurry for my camera, step outside no matter what the weather is like, and start focusing with my eyes, my lens, and my complete concentration.

Then I store those images of my shiny things away on my computer and on rainy days, when the sunset is blurred or hidden behind storm clouds, I can click on those photos and gaze at their beauty once more.

Sometimes they even help me make connections to thoughts that become blog posts.

Ah, shiny things. I think we just need to stop and take a look at them, even if they are distracting, because you never know where they may lead. 

“Writers are magpies by nature, always collecting shiny things, storing them away and looking for connections of things.” ~John Connolly


My happy place…my own back yard


The theme for this week’s photo challenge theme is ‘happy place,‘ a subject I’ve written about before.  You can click here if you missed that post.  

I don’t have a plethora of words to impart right now.  But I do have photos.

And my happy place is taking pictures that I can share with others.  My happy place is spending time with my loved ones. My happy place is found in my faith.  

And even though I enjoy traveling and seeing new sights, experiencing new places, and meeting new people, I’m always glad to come back here.  

To my home.  To sit on my backyard deck and observe God’s creation settling down for a rest on this side of the world.


Painted with brilliant colors by the Master Artist.

In my own back yard.

 It’s one of my favorite happy places.

“Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.” ~ from the poem “Home Sweet Home” by John Howard Payne


My soul and my heart’s inspiration

Inspiration right in my own back yard

Inspiration right in my own back yard

What inspires you?  That’s the question on my mind this week and it’s also the Word Press weekly photo challenge theme. 

Inspiration and motivation have been a bit lacking lately as I attempt to get back on the blog writing cycle.  And when I saw the notice that Inspiration was the photo challenge, as usual my memory bank dialed up an old song and the lyrics to it played through my mind.

The year was 1966 and the love song was released by The Righteous Brothers.

You’re my soul and my heart’s inspiration
You’re all I got to get me by
You’re my soul and my heart’s inspiration
Without you baby what good am I?

If I take those words written as the chorus to that song and truly contemplate them, what would I replace the word “you’re” with?  In this love song, obviously the words are directed at a loved one – girlfriend/boyfriend or spouse.

You could substitute any person who inspires you into these lyrics.  Perhaps a family member motivates you – your parents, your siblings, your children/grandchildren, or another relative.

Maybe a famous person is your source of inspiration, someone you admire who has done great things for humanity and you want to emulate that amazing person. Perhaps someone like Mother Teresa motivates you. 

Maybe what inspires you isn’t a person at all but something else that’s tangible like music.  Visual arts.  Photography.  Nature.  Or it could be an ideal that causes inspiration to swell up inside you – like patriotism for your country, serving those less fortunate than yourself, pursuit of the things that make you happy, the list could be endless.

On any given day, my inspiration may change. 

One day viewing a beautiful sunset surrounded by nature may inspire me; the next day, looking into my baby granddaughter’s eyes stirs up my emotions.  

Some days listening to the rhythmic beauty of classical music motivates me.  And the next, a vivid photograph I’ve captured with my camera lens sends my thoughts soaring to wrestle with words (which are also very inspirational to me) to create a blog post.

But there is something that remains constant for me each and every day.  Something endures that proves to be a perpetual source of inspiration for me.  But I have to be purposeful in taking that item from its spot on my desk, opening it, and reading it so the insights I gain from it transfer to my daily life.  It provides my encouragement.  It provides my motivation.  It provides flashes of revelation and yes, much inspiration.

My source is my Bible.  And it provides motivation for me to be thankful for the One who inspires me the most – my Savior Jesus Christ.

I can easily insert His name into that old 60’s song. 

You’re my soul and my heart’s inspiration
You’re all I got to get me by
You’re my soul and my heart’s inspiration
Without you Jesus what good am I?

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

For me, that someone is Him.


Weekly Photo Challenge: the golden hour

The Golden Hour.

When I read this week’s Word Press photo challenge, I immediately thought of a photo I’d taken of an extraordinary sunset right off our backyard deck .

I love sunsets.  I love to watch them.  I love to photograph them.  Some of my favorite ones include those I view from my own home.  Others have been the times I was fortunate enough to sit on a beach waiting and watching as the sun slowly melted into the Pacific Ocean vista.

Whenever I observe a sunset and thank God for yet another day of life, I can hear taps played in the echoes of my mind.

I think the lyrics for “Taps” is good accompaniment for my photo. I hope you enjoy both.

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Fading light, dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.

Thanks and praise, for our days,
‘Neath the sun, ‘neath the stars, neath the sky;
As we go, this we know, God is nigh.

Sun has set, shadows come,
Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds
Always true to the promise that they made.

While the light fades from sight,
And the stars gleaming rays softly send,
To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.

May God bless you this day and not just during the golden hour.


Wordless Wednesday: Sunrise, sunset

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don’t remember growing older
When did they?
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday when they were small?

Sunrise, sunset.  Sunrise, sunset.
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze.
Sunrise, sunset. Sunrise, sunset.
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears.

Now is the little boy a bride groom?
Now is the little girl a bride?
Under the canopy I see them
Side by side.
Bless the gold ring around her finger
Share the sweet wine and break the glass
Soon the whole circle will have come to pass.

Sunrise, sunset.  Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze.
Sunrise, sunset. Sunrise, sunset.
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears…

What words of wisdom can I give them?
How can I help to ease their way?
Now they must learn from one another
Day by day.
They look so natural together
Just like two newlyweds should be
Is there a canopy in store for me?

Sunrise, sunset.  Sunrise, sunset.
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze.
Sunrise, sunset, Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears.

(“Sunrise, Sunset” lyrics from Fiddler on the Roof)

I broke the rules of Wordless Wednesday today by adding words to this photograph.  The words have special meaning for me.  Thirty-five years ago, this song was sung at Mama & Papa’s wedding.  This weekend, our oldest daughter will wed her true love – the last of the three weddings in our “Year of the Weddings.”

It’s been a wild week here as we begin the countdown to the nuptials.  Hurricane Sandy brought us a deluge of non-stop rain for several days and now we have snow flurries. But we’re grateful to be in a pocket of protection; we’ve had no high winds, no flooding, no power outage. 

Our newlywed son and daughter-in-law who live in the state most ravaged by the storm are safe and sound.  Our other newlyweds –  middle daughter and son-in-law – are also safe and sound in the state that had blizzard conditions.  Our bride is in the nest with us and the groom safely arrived here from his state last evening.

As we pray for all those affected by this ravaging storm, we also pause to give thanks to God above for that protection over our own family.   We’re hoping and praying all of the bridal party and our guests from places near and far will have safe travels to the wedding.

This morning as I prepare for the upcoming celebration and consider all the thoughts and emotions surging over me, this song came to mind.  It’s fitting for the way I feel…one season following another, laden with happiness and tears.