Triumph Is… (From the Birds of Wakodahatchee Wetlands, Florida)

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Triumph is so many things, big and little, but mostly I believe, it’s a person’s attitude towards life. Triumph is reflected in how we live, our beliefs, priorities and goals, how we overcome the myriad of challenges that come our way, and in how we treat others.

Initially, I wanted to post a gallery of people whose triumphant attitudes have influenced me. Well, that presented just a few problems.

First, I don’t have photos of all of those who have been participating in Photo 101 and have been incredibly creative, supportive, and great fun to meet and learn with and from. We have triumphed together – THANK YOU! I’m going to miss you and this class. Hopefully, we will share other photo adventures in the near future.

Second, I started looking through photos of people whom I consider to have or be living their lives triumphantly: grandparents, parents, siblings, husband, son, nephews, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, the people I work with, our clients, mentors…you get the picture (:-)). Far too many to post and then there is the not-so-small issue of consent forms.

My triumphant solution is the slide show above. Last June we visited the Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Florida. It is an amazing place hidden in very urban Palm Beach County. The name, in the Seminole Indian language means “created waters.” It is used to reclaim highly treated wastewater, that is further filtered naturally at the rate of about two million gallons a day through the wetlands and then used for irrigation purposes.

Over 140 different types of birds have made the wetlands their home. Thanks to a large SD card and extra batteries, I took hundreds of photos of birds as I clicked my way along the three-quarter mile board walk that meanders through the different eco-zones. Breeding season was over, but the chicks (some still in nests) and juvenile offspring were everywhere! It was paradise. Every few steps there was something new to see and photograph. I can’t wait to go back!

This afternoon, I revisited Wakodahatchee Wetlands and, with great difficulty, pruned the number of photos, assembled those that best express facets of “Triumph” into a slide show.

Please enjoy!

Nature’s Pops of Color!

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Freezing rain and thunder storms this morning had me thinking that I might have to wait and look outside for “Pops of Color” tomorrow. Feeling deflated and sipping my morning tea, I started watering my African violets and there they were – right there on the petals and leaves! I snapped a couple of photos and splashed off to work.

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By the time I left work, the rain had stopped, but the skies were creepy gray/black. Mother Nature surprised us all with a “Pop of Color” over Lake Murray just before full dark! People pulled their cars over to marvel at this gorgeous end to a wet, cold, gray day.

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Sunset on Lake Murray, SC

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South Carolina has all kinds of water – streams, rivers, ponds, waterfalls, the Atlantic Ocean, and lakes. This photo, taken with my iPhone 5s is of one of my favorites, Lake Murray.

Located near the center of the State, it is a man made lake created to provide electricity for much of the surrounding area. There are still buildings, churches, and homes gradually decaying under the water. The water is held back by one of the longest earthen dams in the country (recently reinforced for earthquake safety)

Fortunately, I get to drive across it most evenings and enjoy lovely sunsets. This photo is taken from the east side of the dam. Warm fall evenings entice folks to take their boats out, fish off the docks, picnic, and stroll or jog across the dam.

Thyme for Parsley, Sage & Rosemary

I love combining different herbs into teas that suit what my body or my soul needs at that moment. These four herbs are at the top of my favorites list and enhance my ability to muse.

Teas are a gentle way to help your mind and body function at their best. Herbal teas complement rather than being a substitute for medical care, a doctor’s prescription, or for healthy living. DISCLAIMER: Always talk to your medical professional about what you are considering using before starting to make sure there won’t be issues with any medications you are taking or other health issues.

Usually, I pick these herbs fresh from my container garden just before brewing. There is nothing that can compare to the scent the herbs emit when I roll them between my palms to break them up before brewing! Dried herbs work just as well and are easy to brew in a tea ball. The total amount of dried herbs per cup should be one teaspoon. Double the amount for fresh herbs. Truthfully, I just eyeball the amount of fresh herbs, rinse them, break them up, toss them in a mug, cover with just boiled water, and brew.

An excellent resource for learning about herb teas is “20,000 Secrets of Tea” by Victoria Zak. The information below is from her book as well as other resources.

Parsley, also known as the “green goddess,” cleanses your system and helps keep allergies at bay.

Sage is the herb of “wisdom and longevity.” It is antiaging and improves vitality and the ability to think clearly.

Rosemary symbolizes “love and remembrance” and helps your heart and mind work better and improves memory and concentration.

Thyme is an herbal antiseptic, antiviral, antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibiotic. It keeps you healthy and able to do the things that are important to you.

Any of these herbs make great teas by themselves, and are awesome when two are combined.

I like to use a half rosemary and half sage combination before bed. When I feel like I’m starting to come down with something, I mix parsley leaves and thyme, also half and half. For both of these teas, the flavors combine beautifully and I don’t

Herbal teas are wonderful both for solitary, meditative moments and for sharing with friends. Brew a cup and enjoy!

Home With The Birds

Pair of Downy Woodpeckers

Pair of Downy Woodpeckers

Home is where I sit with my tea and my husband with his coffee and enjoy the wildlife that visit regularly! Every morning, my husband and I begin our day in the sun room – renamed the birdwatching room. It is our quiet time together before the day gets crazy and we each race off to our own worlds and responsibilities.

At different times of the year, different birds arrive for breakfast first. In the summer, the hummers and tufted titmice are the early risers. Now, in the fall, the cardinals are first on the scene. A bit later the downy woodpeckers arrive followed by the much larger red breasted woodpecker. The downy woodpeckers are sociable little guys. They cheerfully share the suet with the chickadees, tufted titmice, and finches. Shortly after the birds begin chowing down, the squirrels start dashing around, picking thru the seeds the birds have dropped under the feeders and gathering the corn my husband puts out for the deer. Then come the deer – does with their fawns, the young adults, and sometimes the bucks! It is a great way to start the day.