SUNDAY POST : Captivating


Jakesprinter’s newest weekly theme is “captivating” to say the least.

The first thing I am very captivated by is a candle glowing in a dark room.  The light and shadow play is so mesmerizing.  Soft music in the background, no tech, no gadgets, no tv. Just myself, a room, music and dancing shadows.  Best way to end a day.

Other things that captivate me are things like:

Amazing architecture against a brilliant blue sky:

IMG_0804

the photo’s of others:

Certain visions embedded into music:

70’s music in general

I’m not a religious person and I don’t go to church usually, but I do love certain Christian songs and the imagery connected with them.

For more Captivating Sunday Posts visit Jake’s page.

SUNDAY POST : Plains


This week’s theme with Jakesprinter happens to be a theme that is close to my heart.  The definition of Plains is:  “A large area of flat land with few trees.”  Jake further explains that plains are important for agriculture because they support grasslands, are deep and fertile so they are great for crop production and grazing for livestock.

As I mentioned this theme is a bit close to my heart as I view plains in the same category as farming, agriculture, farmers and the depression. Sort of strange I suppose, but my grandfather had to work his way through parts of the depression and would take on odd jobs such as truck-driving, frozen foods delivery, gas station attendent and farmer.  As a child and up through my teen years I would occasionally help him bale hay, feed the horses and more often then not just watch him pitter around his “farm”.  I do wish I had some old pics of him during those years.  I might have to try to find some at my dad’s house the next time I visit.

Because I can’t show pictures of my grandfather and all of his “hay” days.. I’ll settle on farmland and agricultural areas of Venezuela.  With the temperate climate and non-stop mountains and hills it is hard to imagine that there could possibly be “plains” in Venezuela. As a matter of fact, up until the oil boom which started in the 1970s, agriculture was the main economic support system for Venezuela.  At this time only about 1/5th of the land is now used for the same purpose.

One of the most striking areas of Venezuela houses amazing plains where the horizon is the only thing you can see.  I visited Los Llanos, which makes up about 1/3 of the country, during both of its two very different seasons.  I caught the edge of the rainy season where much of the land is under water and you commute by boat to many areas.  During this time we weren’t able to see much of the wildlife because the water was sufficient in all parts to keep all the animals away from the main travel routes.  I also visited in the dry season with some friends. This was a time where the wildlife, ranging from crocs to rats (Capybaras) to all kinds of snakes, converged directly in the high traffic areas to get at the water.  Cattle breeding is the most important economic activity for this region and we were able to travel by horseback to visit much of the area.

There is also the high plains of the Andes which I hiked with my sis and her boyfriend.  This is not really considered a plains area but the population farms it as if it were flat.  It’s amazing to hike through here and travel by donkey passing farms and slanted “flatlands” where crops such as organic coffee and potatoes are grown.

Once you pass the Andes, you have the lower farmlands of Barinas with rolling hills (not really plains but so much of the milk and fruits and veggies come from this area it wouldn’t be fair to not include it here.)  Finally there is Colonial Tovar which is also not really plains either but has many hillside farms like the Andes.  It has the most amazing farmland and grows delicious fruits and veggies as well.

Pardon me for not sticking strictly to the “plains” theme.  I got a little side-tracked with agriculture and farming in general. I hope you enjoy.

Here’s the text of Paul Harvey’s 1978 ‘So God Made a Farmer’ Speech, which inspired the Ram Trucks Super Bowl ad that has resonated with so many Americans:
And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.” So God made a farmer.

“I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon — and mean it.” So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain’n from ‘tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours.” So God made a farmer.

God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer.

God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church.

“Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.'” So God made a farmer.

SUNDAY POST : Unforgettable


Jakesprinter starts out this weeks Sunday Post theme with the following sentence.

Unforgettable means never to be forgotten, remarkable in a way that cannot be forgotten such as place, events or great memories.

With this sentence I got ready to refresh my memory and attempt to remember a very specific moment in my life that I could highlight with one or two simple pictures.  I guess I am blessed at how many moments that just popped instantly into my head that would qualify to be listed under this one, simple word.

Trying to really narrow this theme down I decided to focus on the absolute ONE most important thing to me.  Friends. The one thing that is most unforgettable to me are the friends that I have made in the past and still carry with me to the present.  I’m good at maintaining contact with my friends and always seem to run into friends that have appeared to have been lost but were just no longer physically close to me.  I love making new friends, but there is really nothing like the old ones.  I’m fortunate to have had so many “lost”  friends re-appear in my life.

However, there was one very dear and important friend that I just could not find.  Out of all of my friends, this was the one person I had always wondered about.  He was someone that was always sitting at the back of my mind. Just sitting there.  A strange, empty weight. Lost to me for almost 24 years I had resigned myself to the fact that I would probably never find this person again. Yet somehow, magically I found this friend about 6 months ago.  It has been an interesting reconnection with stories of lives lived in the time that has passed since our last meeting.  Unbelievable stories that were at times incomprehensible to me.

Then there were the stories from our shared past. Back and forth went these histories with realizations and different interpretations and perspectives of the people, places and things that each of us had known in our own separate ways.  Interpretations that were at times…incomprehensible to me.  Regardless of the then and the now and the past and the present and all that is and was and.. ok you get it.. It’s been a blast reconnecting and I highly recommend everyone take the time and find an old lost friend.  It has been so worth it.  I hope you enjoy this photo from our recent get-together in Baltimore.

Photo on 2-18-13 at 7.36 PM

Ah, how good it feels! The hand of an old friend. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

A related article and a few of my favorite entries this week.

“Sometimes There’s No Friend like an Old Friend” – by Susan Krauss Whitbourne, wrote a great article about old friends being the comfort food of relationships and how to maintain these.

SUNDAY POST : Focused attention


focused attention  

Web definitions
The ability to respond discretely to specific visual, auditory or tactile stimuli..

On January 27 Jakesprinter theme was “focused attention”.. while focusing my attention on travel I was intrigued by what others were focusing on as well as things that were very unfocused.  I hope you enjoy my interpretation.

“I don’t care how much power, brilliance, or energy
you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a
specific target, and hold it there, you’re never going
to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.”
~Zig Ziglar~

SUNDAY POST :Simplicity


After about 7 weeks of mad-dashing through the holidays with family time and visits to dear old friends I made a random decision to spend a week doing just about nothing.  Slowing down and taking it all in.  Best decision ever.  Through some museums and parks and a lakeside house I was able to enjoy my time, relax with a very old friend and bring myself back to center.  I hope you enjoy my restful trip through North Carolina in response to Jake’s “Simple” challenge of Jan 20.

Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. – Guillaume Apollinaire