You Are Appreciated!

This is a photo taken in the fall of a group of Bradford Pear trees on the property of a bank in Minden, Louisiana. It has become an annual trek; the anticipation of the breathtaking sight lures me.

Even though I’m pretty sure how they will look before getting there, I go to give them my appreciation and admiration.
It occurs to me that humans are like those glowing red trees. We may not be outstanding every single day of the year, but when those special times come around, we shine for all to see.

When you see that in others, let them know you notice it and how much they are appreciated!


Morning Made My Day

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Lucky me, to have a few extra minutes this morning to watch the first light come across the cypress trees and their lake companions.  So beautiful, and definitely set the tone for the rest of my day!

*These were all taken with iPhone 6s Plus – pardon quality, but still gorgeous!

Love ’em or Hate ’em?

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Today I overheard two of my co-workers talking about how much they dislike spiders as they shared their “horror” experiences with spiders. I am not particularly a fan of spiders myself, but in their own environment (outside of my house!), they are quite beneficial to the circle of life.

One of the few times that a spider that caused me to linger and look at it was one in this photo. A common garden spider, but in it’s dew-dotted web, it was simply a gorgeous sight. This is one of the largest garden spiders I have ever seen, and I admit to feeling a little skiddish about getting close, but it did hold still for a beautiful shot.

Announcing Guest Blogger

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ROBERT HOOPER is a one-of-a-kind lover of everything that exists. Born and raised in Louisiana, he has a connection with Nature here that is passionately deep and unique. In the past we have combined my photography with his writings to create spiritual works of art. These are the breathtaking words he wrote that paired perfectly with this photograph:

“Today, standing on the wet, sandy banks of the Red River in the misty cold, the sea gulls, a lone River Shaman (my name for the great blue heron), and I joined in dreaming.  We dreamed of peace and gratitude for all of life.  It was then that the river and a myriad of other birds and sounds joined in our dream.  We listened until we heard the voice of the One who was dreaming us…and it was Life.”

Please join me in welcoming Robert as an occasional guest blogger on my site beginning in July.





Look Closer

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This large group of cattails was nothing extraordinary until I saw an adult bird make a landing into them. I stopped the car and saw that the parent was on a nest and the bald little head of a baby red winged blackbird could barely be seen. It was delightful to watch it for a while, at first looking upward with its’ mouth open in a beg for dinner.  When it rose up out of the nest though, I realized that I had interrupted prime feeding time.  Feeling a little guilty, I snapped a quick shot and was on my way.  This photo always reminds me that even though there is always a “bigger picture”, looking closely can definitely have its rewards!

Big Joy in Small Things

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Morning delight is looking over the local fields on my AM commute. Honestly, I have come to measure seasons of my life by those fields, aging right along with the corn as it turns from seed to harvested gold. Born and raised in Northeast Iowa, I am also fascinated by how fast the corn grows and matures in Northwest Louisiana heat and humidity. This photo was taken this morning, but in Iowa, field corn is doing good if it is “knee high by the 4th of July”. Thanks to all of the hardworking farmers in the USA who keep food on our tables.

This Much Beauty In A Day

Yesterday was an eventful sky watcher’s day in Northwest Louisiana. During most of the day, huge, white puffy clouds foretold afternoon rains. Rain did, indeed fall in the afternoon; 5 inches in just over an hour to be exact where a certain large cell passed over. It rained so hard I had to pull over and wait. But Mother Nature has taught me one thing well: After a rainstorm there will be a spectacular sunset to be enjoyed!


#Cloudporn in downtown Shreveport (Caddo Parish) around 12:30 PM

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Buckets of rain falling in rural Bossier Parish around 4:45 PM

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Sunset over Lake Bistineau, Bienville Parish around 8:30 PM

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Sweet Southern Magnolia

Over the weekend I was envying my in-law’s Southern Magnolia tree again.  Not only are the huge blooms alone to be adored, but the life cycle of the flowers is gorgeous and fascinating.

Here are photos that show the process of birth, life, death, and the promise of rebirth:


Buds pop out of the tips of branches, covered in a fuzzy protective cover

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The bud grows and forces the cover off

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The bud continues growing until those foot-wide petals are ready to unfurl

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A fresh, newly opening flower with the gorgeous cane inside

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All 9 petals open wide and oh so showy with a light, sweet fragrance

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Another in the process of aging, a few petals not open all of the way and with the center cane beginning to turn colors as it ages

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Side view of the same bloom; honey bees just love these flowers!

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View from below; the sun illuminates the thick, soft petals beautifully

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The petals wither and brown, the protective stamens fall, and the gorgeous deep red of the cane is visible

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A bare but fuzzy cane in the process of aging

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The fuzziness decreases but it swells with promise of seeds inside

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In the fall the brilliant red seeds begin to push their way out!

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The seeds get 3 pics of their own because I am simply fascinated.  After the seeds drop and are eaten by small critters or are lucky enough to begin the growth cycle of their own, the canes dry up and drop to the ground.

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That big ol’ tree tolerates the grandkids well, too.

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