Friday, March 31, 2006


I went to bed tired last night and woke up tired. After hot tubbing and getting dressed for the day, I decided to have a more substantial breakfast (still staying on the low carb diet). I also wanted to spend time outside this morning, so I took my breakfast, a cup of hot tea, binoculars to watch the birds, and my morning devotional materials.

Yesterday I had been some birds along the fenceline that I wanted to identify. One of them had come up near the house. I've been hoping for bluebirds and this one had blue coloration, but not that of a bluebird. After consulting the bird books yesterday, my best guess was that this one was a female bunting of some sort. It had definitely done bunting behaviors in the grass by the fence.

This morning, I had my binoculars ready. When I looked at the bird perched on the fence, I was SO excited. It WAS an eastern bluebird!!!!!!!!!!

Now you may ask, why did that make me so excited?????? I've had bird feeders out now for several years - I have the tall cylinders of bird seed that last several weeks. I have a bird feeder with both seed and suet. There is a ground feeder out in the yard. But last spring, I had seen some info on bluebirds and we put out two blue bird houses. I did see a sparrow come out of one of them last year, but otherwise they had been pretty unoccupied. I had put out a little of the suet snacks that are supposed to attract bluebirds . . . but they just went stale in the sun.

But now I have a real bluebird in the yard!!!!!!!! On today's agenda is to go get the mealy worms and a new package of suet treats!

And my scripture for today:
He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth.

God's provision . . . . . . seeing the bluebird has cheered me up and helped get me going today!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Words from the Father

When I take time to spend time in God's word, I often find that the scriptures or study books that I am using often parallel what is currently going on in my life. With Gene going through the final stages of the aging process, my scripture reading jumped out at me today:

From Psalm 71
Be my rock of refuge to which I can always go . . . .
Do not cast me away when I am old;
do not forsake me when my strength is gone . . . .
Be not far from me, O God . . . .
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God . . . .
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
From the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.

Such a wonderful reminder of the new life we have waiting for us beyond the grave.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


We are heading back to Hutto today. We've been reading about the wildfires up in the Panhandle. Fortunately, the persistance of the firefighters and an area wide rain have put these fires out. But the aftermath - over 800,000 acres burned, homes gutted, people dead, animals either dead or with no forage -this is a huge disaster. Since it was not too far off our path, we decided to detour and get a look at the damage from this powerful force of nature.

I've seen fire damage before. We drove through an area burned during the horrible California wildfires several years ago. Periodically we have grass fires in our area of Texas. In Central Texas when we have grass fires, the ground is left black. We have visited Yellowstone after the massive fires there. We learned about how fire makes mosaics - where some areas burn more than others, and some areas are left untouched. Even so, I was startled by the fire damaged area in the Panhandle.

We first saw fire signs along I-40 where there was an area where the fire burned along the right of way and in the median, but somehow they were able to keep it from burning any of the pasture, the burned area ended right at the fence line. We saw a service station set back from the road that was totally burned - flattened.

We found a road to head north where we were hoping to drive through miles and miles to get a sense of what the fires had done. We were in the "breaks" along one of the forks of the Red River. The fire had burned through some of the canyon areas where it would be difficult to fight. In some places, the ground was totally scoured - not black from fire, no blackened grass, just dirt and the remnants of yucca. We could see where they had replaced telephone poles because the bases had completely burned through. There were fences . . . . .some had the wooden posts partially burned, but in other areas nothing was left of the posts - nothing. All that was left of the fence were the strands of wire on the ground. But the mosaic effect held true. You would have a quarter mile or so of wires on the ground - then a few fence posts that were only partially burned. You would see fences that were mainly the metal t-bars that had wooden posts evey 10 posts or so. Some of these wooden were burned all but the top foot that was still hanging from the wires.

There was an area of sand dunes. Normally these have vegetation growing such that you might not realize this was sand. Now it is barren. For the land to be this devoid of anything living makes me think the fires were very hot. It also has me a little concerned that the topsoil may have been damaged from the heat - which could make it more difficult for the grass and prairie to recover.

We've seen that in Michigan. On the upper penninsula there in an area called the Kingston Plains, there are areas that used to be forested that are now barren because the topsoil was "sterilized" by wildfires over one hundred years ago. The only thing that grows there are spongy cladina lichens. The stumps from the massive logging are all that remain of the forest. I hope that the soils here in the Panhandle do not have that kind of damage.

In retrospect, I also realize that while I saw remnants of yucca, I did not see remnants of prickly pear cactus or cholla cactus. I know from past research that fire is one of the recommended ways to get rid of unwanted cactus. So . . . . . .if the land recovers there may be some blessings . . . . . later.

However, we also saw human tragedy. In some places the fires came right up to people's yards on their farms and ranches. The firemen obviously did a great job saving the structures. But some were not so lucky. We saw houses with nothing left but the foundation. We saw silos where the roofs now sat on the ground - all that was left - the metal roof. We saw what must have been barns totally destroyed.

I know from the news reports that both cattle and horses died in the fires. We saw some cattle grazing on areas that were spared. They were the lucky ones. On much of the burned areas, there will be no pasture this year. For those that had surviving herds, they will have to be moved or sold. And we did see where fresh round bales had been brought in.

Farming and ranching in west Texas is difficult. Rainfall is scarce, the aquifer that provides water for living and irrigation will some day be depleted and there are storms every year that bring damaging hail to someone's land. I fear that some of these ranchers may not have enough reserves for their agribusiness to survive this kind of devastation.

However, the generous nature that God gave people is also kicking in. People are helping each other. When I went in to exercise at the Curves in Amarillo, there was a sign talking about the collection of money to help those who had been affected by the fires. Ranchers and hay growers from other areas are trying to get feed in for the herds.

Henry and I hope to go back to see how quickly this area recovers. Fire is a natural part of God's care for the earth. Just as we learned a lot about the role of fire in nature with the Yellowstone fires, we will learn the benefits of prairie fires.

Death and Dying

I can say I have good news about Gene for the moment. After a very scary day Sunday where he was SO helpless, Monday he rebounded. From being hardly able to reposition himself in a chair, he is back to walking easily, to being alert, and able to do some care for himself. Such dramatic changes occurred over just a four day time frame. From being good, to being very ill and incapacitated, to being good again.

I try to read from scripture on a regular basis. It is especially helpful when life crisis occur. My readings over the last few days have certainly been relevant. On March 25, my reading from Psalms 68 led my focus to God's goodness: father to the fatherless, defender of widows, setting the lonely in families, leading forth prisoners with singing, and giving abundant showers, refreshing a weary inheritance. This was Saturday, Gene was home from the hospital, walking was tortuous. How could I see God's goodness in this situation? As I reflected and struggled with this concept, the thoughts came in my mind, that Gene is already on the road through the valley of the shadow of death. That this life struggle is really just the means God is using to transport Gene to the place that Jesus has prepared for him. My sister-in-law reminded me that our arrival into this world as babies requires a painful and traumatic struggle through a small birth canal. While I don't fully understand why some people go quickly and relatively painlessly through death and others have sometimes years of illness and struggle, I do believe that God appointed our time of birth and death before we were ever born. As humans, God gave us a strong desire to live. So many people live longer than we expect in their final stretch of life because of that strong will to live - whether it be to a desire not to desert loved ones or an actual fear of dying. Sometimes it is the family's prayers that keep someone alive, until it finally becomes apparent that it is time for the suffering to end. Both the dying person and the family have to come to a point where it is time to let go.

Yesterday's scripture read before I saw how well Gene was doing seemed so appropriate to our situation. From Psalm 69:

Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck,
I sink in the miry depths,
where there is not foothold.
I have come into the deep waters,
the floods engulf me.
I am worn out calling for help,
my throat is parched.
. . . . . . .
But I pray to you, O Lord, in the time of your favor;
in your great love, O God, answer me up with your sure salvation,
Rescue me from the mire,
do not let me sink,
. . . . . . . .
Do not let the floodwaters engulf me
or the depths swallow me up
or the pit close its mouth over me.
Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of your love;
In your great mercy turn to me.
Do not hide your face from your servant;
Answer me quickly, for I am in trouble,
Come near and rescue me.

From Sunday's reading:
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens.

And today's reading????
Words of praise also from Psalm 69
I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving
. . . . . .
Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and all that move in them.
for God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah.
Then people will settle there and possess it;
the children of his servants will inherit it,
and those who love his name will dwell there.

How can one not be encouraged by these words from God, even in the midst of the pain of losing a loved one?
In many things over the last few days, God has sent things to bring joy and peace in the midst of the grief.
Yes . . . . . God is good!

Saturday, March 25, 2006


While we are grateful Gene was able to come home from the hospital today, it looks like we've had a serious setback. Two days ago, he was getting around the house well - even without the walker. He was agile even when getting up from the floor. Today each step is tediously slow and painful. He is not as bright and alert either.

We've known since the health problems in November, that our plans could change in an instant. When we came up for Evelyn's cataract surgery, I packed as though we could be here longer than originally planned. I brought the stuff I need to pay my monthly bills, all my photo files, my income tax records, etc. If it were just Evelyn, we could head home. Her cataract surgery has gone well. Using Mary's reading glasses, she can position things so she can read. She feels pretty good about her surgery. But with Gene, life is revealing how futile it can be to make plans. Last week, we could reasonably make plans a few weeks into the future. Right now it feels as though we can only plan for today, as tomorrow may have a new emergency.

But good things in life, also go on. At NANPA, I got to visit with one of the editors from the National Park Magazine. I presented an idea to her that she found interesting: A couple of years ago, Henry and I went back to visit a place from our dating years - Lake Meredith and Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument. We were disappointed at the time, because when we got to the National Monument - it was all locked up - tours had to be arranged in advance- the small portable building also locked and deserted - and the lake felt empty and lifeless. Even the surrounding communities had that dried up dying look to them. We mourned and decided that perhaps it was too painful to come back. My article idea was to research what had happened with this seemingly forgotten monument.

I had arranged a tour for Thursday, but the weather was very poor for a hiking excursion - very cold with snow on the ground. So I signed up for a tour on Saturday when the weather forecast was more promising. So . . . . . this morning we got up early and headed out.

The trip took much less time than we anticipated so we explored one of the roads into the recreation area. I got some good road runner shots and some good shots of ponds with birdwatching opportunities. We arrived on time for the tour - and found that our tour guide was delightful. He had worked full time for over 25 years and is now a retired volunteer guide. When I returned to Evelyn's, I was delighted to see that my photos look good and that I have most of what I need to produce an article! I've done some research via the internet (THANK GOD FOR INTERNET RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES - you can find almost anything you need to know on the internet!) and now I'm in the process of beginning the article. Let's hope she'll like it.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Life at 86 has its ups and downs. One day you are feeling pretty good, getting around fairly well, and life is pretty good. The next day one part of your anatomy begins to scream for attention, you can barely walk, and you get to make a run to the emergency room.

We have been so blessed that my father in law has done so well since his hospitalizations in October and November. I truly believe that all of the prayers that have been offered up on his behalf have made a big difference. In November we were told that his kidneys were only functioning at 32%. At the time, the doctors did not seem to think that it was likely to get better. The kidney function test run in the last couple of weeks showed functioning at 60% - almost normal for his age! "Mona" (our nickname), the amazing medical machine that allows Evelyn and Gene to check his vitals every morning and send the data to the doctors via the phone lines, has been showing fairly stable life signs and an oxygen reading that is within the target range.

Last night, Gene's leg got very painful. The prescribed pain med did not dull the pain enough for him to get comfortable. The inevitable "panic" that pain often brings creates its own cycle - you feel excruciating pain, your body tenses up, your anxiety level increases, you move to get more comfortable, feel more pain, your body increases the tense muscles, the anxiety level increases . . . . . you get the picture. So after trying to get the feet up, a gentle massage of the painful areas, attempts to get him to sleep, a call to the doctor on call, the application of moist heat - when none of these worked - we managed painfully to get him into the car, out of the car, and into the emergency room.

Thankfully, the emergency room is relatively quiet after midnight. They got him into one of the rooms fairly quickly. A sonogram, blood work, and a cat scan did not reveal anything helpful to the doctors. While the morphine did not work immediately, by morning, I am thankful to say he is resting peacefully again. We have some theories from the doctor as to what is going on. For now, the hope is that after being observed until in the morning, we will be able to get him back home tomorrow.

I found that I got my best "rest" meditating on familiar Christian songs - those thankful ones. "For all that you've done I will thank you . . . . ." "This is the day, this is the day that the Lord hath made . . . I will rejoice, I will rejoice and be glad in it," etc. As I tried to dose in upright chairs, these words and tunes kept my mind occupied and somewhat free of anxiety. Henry found a more comfortable waiting area - and when it was my turn, I lay down on the sofa and once again began my song mantras. I feel pretty deeply asleep even though the sofa was a little short. When we finally got Gene to a regular hospital room, the reclining chair allowed me to finish my "night's" sleep. At 11:30 today, I feel much more rested than I deserve.

And the good news, both Gene and Evelyn are sleeping pretty soundly in the room next to me! Thank you, God!

Cataract Surgery

The marvels of modern medicine! Not only is cataract surgery quick and painless these days, the family can watch part of it! My mother in law had cataract surgery this week. You don't get to eat breakfast and surgery is not till almost noon. But once you are at the surgery center, they have you out complete with plant, drops, and instructions within two hours. While we did not get to witness the extraction of the lens with the cataract, we did get to watch both through a window and a magnified TV screen the implanting of the new lens, Evelyn's distance vision is pretty good without wearing any glasses, but it is obvious that she will need reading glasses - which won't officially come until a few weeks after the second surgery. The other new addition to the daily routine is 3 sets of drops - 2 delivered 4 times a day and a third one only 3 times a day. I can't help but wish that they all had the same delivery schedule- it would be SO much easier!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Wedding Photography

I am primarily a nature photographer by choice. I love getting outside, enjoying the landscapes, flowers, and animals. There is not a lot of pressure, because if the photos don't come out good enough, I can always go back and reshoot.

I shot my first wedding back in 1972. It was for the brother of a friend of ours. I was only 20 at the time. Iremember how nervous I was, because you only get one chance - you want the photos have to come out good because you can't "fix" it - you either get them . . . . .or you don't. And you want the bride and groom to have those photo memories of their important day. And that was in the days where all photography was film - so you did not know until you got them developed whether you had gotten the shots you wanted.

My next wedding event was a reception to honor a newly wedded couple. It was held indoors under incandescent light. I did not know to use a blue filter . . . . . . When I got the prints, I was very disappointed, because everything had this yellow cast. Fortunately, a trip back to the developers allowed them to do color correction (using a blue filter in the print process) and the photos were OK. I immediately got the appropriate filter so THAT would NOT happen again.

I think I did a couple more weddings - one that I videotaped.

This was all during the time frame where I was doing photography for fun and for memories of the things my family was doing. I had a few photos enlarged from some of our trips.

Most of you know that for the last three years, I've been much more serious about my photography - trying to get good skills, habits, and higher quality photographs. I'm much more sensitive to the details in a photograph. So wedding photography now has a new set of challenges.

The only weddings I have done have been small, special ceremonies for people that I feel close to. Weddings where I know that my work will be "good enough." Weddings that I try to do my best, but where if they are not "perfect," it will be OK.

The good part, I shoot digital - so I know right then if a shot is exposed properly and if I need to reshoot. But even so, I never feel confident about my work, until I have it up on my computer, where I can examine it for "noise", sharpness, exposures, etc. My current camera does a much better job capturing the images to begin with, but with digital there is still post processing. Once it is on my computer, I can see what worked . . . . and what did not.

Because I enter competitions with my work, I will notice things and wonder how the "professional" photographers deal with them. Both of the weddings and reception I shot recently were done in places that are used for other things. In the wedding in October, there was a bulletin board behind the table with the wedding cake and punch - NOT a "clean" or attractive background for the photograph. For that wedding, I spent a lot of time after the fact cleaning out electrical wiring and wall seams out of the wedding photographs. Things that were part of the scene, but from my current skill level were elements that would pull your eye away from my bridal pair subjects. At the wedding Sunday, I did try to find ways and angles to shoot that removed some of the distractions. But in most weddings the photographer can not control how things are decorated, where they are placed in a room, etc. I saw another photographers wedding shots - it was a daytime wedding and the reception table had a window behind it - so . . . . .not a clean background for the festivities.

And last of all (but very important) - lighting is an issue. You don't want to use big studio lights at a wedding, but to use the low ISO's for less noise, pictures come out blurred. So with my first wedding last fall, I looked at what my shutterspeeds and f/stops were at the lighting levels . . . . . I swallowed hard . . . . and shot at ISO 800. Between the new camera and Noise Ninja, I was pleased with the results. I also used flash . . . . . which introduces another undesirable element - unwanted shadows. I shot at high ISO's on Sunday also. And even so, a couple of shots were motion blurred.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

God's Provision

Most of you know I hurt my shoulder falling on ice in a parking lot while in Colorado. Once we got back to Austin, I got started with a chiropracter to do some therapy to recover the full range of motion. Last week he gave me an exercise to do with a full milk jug to try to gently pull the bones apart in the jammed shoulder socket.

I needed to run to Galveston to check the condition of the condo there in preparation for some new furniture and to attend the annual homeowners' meeting. To my dismay, when I walked in the room, it had not been cleaned after the previous occupant (hopefully my sister-in-law, Martha rather than a stranger.) I called down and got a new set of sheets and towels brought up. The sheets were the wrong size, but I was able to make them work - no pillowcases, however. It was easy to get grumbly when it is late and you are tired and things are not going smoothly.

But . . . . . .I have to say I also see God's hand in this situation. I had not brought a jug with me to do my exercises. And what was sitting on top of the kitchen counter . . . . . . . . A gallon jug of water. I was able to do my exercise for my shoulder before I went to bed last night. I did not go to bed grumpy.

(Of course, I set the alarm and it woke me for some unknown reason in the middle of the night . . . . . . but I am posting this to remember to keep my thoughts on the positive things . . . . . Even though a little tired today, I refuse to be grumpy!!!!!!! God is too good!)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Today . . . . .

Let me say upfront, I am not usually good with things that require daily disciplines - I am too easily distracted and usually have many things or projects going on in my life. But a practice that I try to keep going, however irregularly, is a "quiet" time with God. As part of that time, I have a journal. When I browse through the pages and realize how irratic it is . . . . I grimace inwardly.

The Bible I use with my daily time is a One Year Bible with scriptures set up to read an Old Testament passage, a New Testament passage, a Psalms passage, and a verse or two from Proverbs. I started in January trying to read all of them in the hope that I would make it through the entire Bible this year. I found, however, that I was just reading it - without having time to contemplate on the meaning for me, today, at this point in my life. So, I've gone back to reading the Psalm passage for a given day. If a miss a few days, I go ahead and read the passage for today's date. I start with the Psalm - and if I find meaning for my life, I may highlight or underline the verses that resonated with me. Because I've been doing this several years - coming back to a marked passage usually reinforces what had special meaning for me.

On a few rare days, the Psalms passage does not have a verse or two that jumps out at me - so I search in the other passages for the day. Generally, I find something on which to focus my thoughts. Today was a day when nothing in the daily passages really leaped out at me, leaving me searching through other back-up resources. My book on Abundance is one that I added yesterday for further enrichment. But today I was still searching . . . . I thumbed back through my journal, happy that over the last several months, I have more entries and more pages, a hint of a little more consistancy. But then I found the thoughts that resonated . . . for today. I found them in prior pages in my journal from perhaps a couple of years ago. Sometimes I note where I found what I journaled - this time I don't know whether I was writing from a source material, or if these were my own thoughts. But they were encouraging to me, and I am posting them here, because I think they might be helpful to others:

Each day is a new beginning, an unwritten page, a clean slate, unspoiled.
Nothing that happened in the past can be changed.
In God's book, it is in the past, forgiven, forgotten.
The past should not be allowed to spoil a new day.
Each day brings new opportunities.
Each day should start with joy:
"I am ALIVE!"
"I have a chance to make today beautiful!"

While there may be times when I need to bring out something ugly from the past to examine it or to understand it, for today, I will keep it in a mental "box" - so that I can enjoy the present.

Today I will look for beauty.
Today I will spend time with God
Today I will be joyful.
Today I will be optimistic - not letting little things obscure the big picture.
Today I will be courageous, trusting God to meet my needs and protect me.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Soap Box

I found this link over at Karen's Blog. For all of us who are a little tired of receiving those emails where you seem to be expected to forward to at least 10 people or have some dire fate await you . . . . . you will enjoy this link: Soapbox. Be sure to allow it plenty of time to load and have your volume turned up. This even brought Henry into my office and gave him a good laugh!


It is so easy to get frustrated and worried when you don't see immediate solutions to life's daily challenges. But abundant living through God's provision is a solid Biblical concept. My morning's devotional from "The Art of Abundance" by Candy Paull reflected living life with that faith and hope that God IS going to provide the things we need. We put away our fear and open our lives and hearts up each day to experience God's gifts for today.

At the macro workshop, Nancy Rotenberg , made a comment that really spoke to me of abundance. Instead of previsualizing her shots for a day, she goes out and sees what shows up. She said that it was her experience that if you went out and waited, something usually presented itself as a photographic opportunity.

Today is a day that I need to get one or maybe two submissions out the door and in the mail. I have asked God to help me get past my fears - both known and hidden- and to help me experience the gift of His abundance in my life today.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Congratulations, Jeremy!!!!!!

I just got word that Jeremy's film, "High Score" won a popularity award at the Southwest Film Festival in Austin!!!!!!!!!!

Here is the link to see a report of the Film Awards at SXSW. Looks like Jeremy won an Audience Award in the category "Emerging Visions."

I'm so excited and happy for him. A lot of hard work is paying off.

Way to go, Jeremy!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Visit to the Past

One of my long time friends is Jane Mack. She lives in San Antonio and has three children. One of these children, Jeremy, has always been artistically creative. Last night I got to see his latest endeavor, a documentary, "High Score." It has two showings at the Austin South by Southwest Festival.

This is a great film about a young man who set out to beat a 25 year old record score on the original arcade game, Missile Command. The star of the film shows amazing determination as he faces the obstacles inherent in dealing with older, outdated equipment.

As a friend of the family, I got to spend a short time getting to visit with both Jeremy and Bill. So I have some inside information as to why some things happened as they did.

If you live in the Austin area, the next showing is Thursday night at 7:15 at the Convention Center. It shows my age, but watching the game action brought back memories of not only playing this game, but memories of at time when this was considered "high tech" gaming. How far we have come . . . . .

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Search for a Dress

While there are many special occasions in life, a wedding is one of the most important. It is a day where a woman truly wants to look her very best. It is also a day where most women do look their most beautiful. Finding that special dress can be elusive.

In Debra's young years, she loved dressing up. There were days we went through three or more changes of clothes. We had all sorts of creative dress up outfits. And, of course, we had sentimental clothing stored in the attic. When we discovered the Renaissance Festival (along with the Science Fiction Conventions), costumes became an important part of our lives. I even have Renaissance outfits.

When Debra was in high school, finding a prom dress for her senior prom was a challenge. We searched all the shops in the Austin area with no success. We had travel opportunities to Dallas and Los Angeles where we went looking. We looked on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and some other posh stores. Why do they think that only women with size 9 figures want to look pretty? It was frustrating. Fortunately, Debra finally discovered a store in Austin and the "perfect" prom dress became reality.

So when it came time to shop for wedding dresses, I knew that finding the right dress might be another challenge. During the fall we went through a very intensive dress shopping effort. All the bridal stores in Austin became familiar places as we haunted them trying to find "the dress." We made a jaunt down to the Renaissance Festival to see if it was to be found there. No such luck. And then Debra got sick . . . . . . the search for the dress got put on hold.

The search for "the dress" began anew this week . . . . . . and I can report "the dress" is found! She will look beautiful on her wedding day!

Thank you, God!

Writer's Block

One of my goals in coming home is to start getting my work out to photo editors who might buy my photographic work. What I am finding in the quest to be a professional photographer is that it is EASY to go out and get your photos. It is fun, exciting, rewarding to get out in the early morning hours, to sit and wait for wildlife, and to create beautiful photos. But it is a very different thing to get work sent out.

Step One - Figuring out which in a set of photos are the "best" ones. Which photos are going to please which editor? The self doubt - are these good enough, sharp enough, well processed enough? So the first hurdle is to choose which photos to send to a particular market. This one can be hard for me - requires a lot of intense decision making. As well as post processing the final candidates.

Step Two - To which market should a particular photo go? Should it go to Alamy as a stock image? Should my flower shots go to a card company or to stock? Should I send my Lost Maple fall shots to Texas Highways or Texas Parks and Wildlife? Which photo project should I work on and finish first?

Step Three- Writing captions or even short articles to go with the photos. On the articles, I'm finding that I have a hard time getting the words started on the computer. They are whirling around in my head, trying to come out. I remember Henry talking about this . . . . I think the answer is going to be a discipline issue - just make myself sit down at the computer and start typing. Editing it can come later. Even my blog has fallen victim . . . .

If I am going to make it as a professional photographer and writer, I've got to overcome these issues.

Coming Home

We got home with a wintry, icy weekend - so we enjoyed a weekend around the fireplace resting and enjoying spending time with Debra and Jonathan. It was a nice transition from the travel days to being home. I've cocooned a little also. Since October, life has been very busy with many transitions, lots of activity, lots of photo opportunities, seemingly constant activity. Having a couple of peaceful, restful days was a good beginning.

We've been home two weeks. I have found that after I've been gone for awhile, it takes a few weeks to get "back on track" at home. For one thing there is mail . . . . .tons of mail. Then there are the chores . . . . And the home routines are different than the travel routines. Plus we had a dishwasher that had gone out and a water line to the icemaker leaking . . . . etc. We still have work that needs to be done on the pool. A day spent just getting laundry caught up. Even with two weeks passed, it feels like I have a lot left to do.

When we were home for a few days in December, I tried to get together with as many of my friends as I could. This time, I've taken things more slowly, trying to get a handle on my projects, and trying to get rested. I thoroughly enjoyed our Ladies' Retreat in Salado. It was a good chance to get reconnected at church. I got together yesterday with my friend, Debbie. We went to San Antonio, eating at one of my favorite places, the Carriage House at the Botanical Gardens. Then we went over and saw a travelling exhibit at the San Antonio Museum of Art. I look foward to getting to reconnecting with my other friends over the next couple of weeks.