In Search of the Little Things

Daffodils Popping out of the Ground - February 20, 2018 - Mars, PA

Daffodils Popping out of the Ground – February 20, 2018 – Mars, PA

In Search of the Little Things.

Sometimes we need to get down low,

Forsythia Buds on Branches - February 20, 2018 - Mars, PA

Forsythia Buds on Branches – February 20, 2018 – Mars, PA

or look extra closely,

Grape Hyacinths Emerging - February 20, 2018 - Mars, PA

Grape Hyacinths Emerging – February 20, 2018 – Mars, PA

or push some other things out of the way,

Bleeding Hearts Emerging - February 20, 2018 - Mars, PA

Bleeding Hearts Emerging – February 20, 2018 – Mars, PA

or look for tiny changes.

Irises surfacing - February 20, 2018 - Mars, PA

Irises surfacing – February 20, 2018 – Mars, PA

The little things are there…
Little signs of change…
Little hints of what is about to happen.

As I walked around the yard late yesterday afternoon in bare feet on a record-breaking warm day for February in our area (we hit 80 degrees F!), I searched for little things.  I searched for tiny changes. I searched for little hints of Spring.

And they were everywhere!  Daffodils and hyacinths and irises popping through the earth.  Buds developing on forsythia branches.  Intricate formations of future bleeding hearts.

And it made me think…
On a topic that has not left my mind or my heart…

The mass shooting in Parkland, Florida last week where a 19 year old boy/man killed 17 innocent children at school.

As the days pass, details are being revealed.
Little hints of issues.
Little signs of change.

Didn’t anyone notice?
Wasn’t anyone paying attention?

Why was this troubled young man able to purchase military grade assault weapons?
For that matter – why is any civilian legally able to purchase military grade assault weapons?
That is certainly one important issue I feel needs addressed.

But we must also be diligent.
We must also be watching.
We must be paying attention
to our children.

We must be searching for and noticing the little things…
The little changes, the hints, the signs
happening with our children…

Before it is too late.

It is up to us.


I Need to at Least do Something

I Need to at Least do Something.

Like so many
of you
my heart
has been heavy.

Heavy with grief
for the families
who have
lost a child.

A child whose life
was stolen
from the devastating act of violence
that has so sadly become commonplace.

A life
taken away
in the blink of a moment…
in the shot of a gun.

An innocent young life
with a future stolen
in an event that has become
too commonplace.

A young person
of the privilege
of growing old.

A mother’s heart shattered,
A fathers’ soul shook,
A grandparent
left horrified.

What can we do?

We all ask the question.

So let’s make it our goal –
our contribution
to life…
our demonstration of love.

Let’s do
at least
small thing.

Maybe a hug
or maybe
a shared

of how
it felt
to be
that one.

I once was
that one –
without a friend.

But I

And there
is so much
to life

Once we
get through
those difficult

we think
it is all
that matters.

Let’s tell
our stories.
Let’s share
our anguish.

And then
let’s share our joy.
Let’s share
our happiness.

Life is
so much more
than a
teenager believes.

They just
don’t know it
at the

But we can tell  them
there is hope
and there
is a future

more matters
than what
a friend thinks.

Let’s teach
our children
the value
of life.

Let’s teach
our children
they are worthy
of love.

Is it enough?
I really don’t know.
But it is something
I can do.

And I need
to do something.
I need to at least
do something.



A Tale of Two Fish

Hogfish Watercolor 16×20 #1

A Tale of Two Fish.

A friend recently asked me
to paint a fish for her fiance.

A Hogfish it was.
Lachnolaimus Maximus.

A fish caught
on a recent vacation.

She wanted it big…
Big by my painting standards.

The biggest I’ve painted to date is 11×14.
My friend wanted this hogfish painting to be about 16×20.

So I gave it
a whirl.

My first painting is above.
I never dreamed I would share it…

It was
a first attempt…

A lesson in what I wanted to do,
and what I didn’t want to do.

Here’s the actual Hogfish caught

So I tried

I painted it less realistically.
More impressionistically.

A little more subtle.
A little more artistic license….

Impressionistic Hogfish 14×22 #2

I liked my second go

but I still
wasn’t sure

about this large
Hogfish painting.

I showed Hubby my second painting
to get his thoughts.

He liked it.

Then I showed him my first go –
laughing a bit.

I explained
this was how I started.

His mouth dropped open.
He loved it….


The point I was trying to make
was look how much better it got…

He insisted I share both with my friend,
and let her pick.

So I did.

My faithful friend
agreed with me.

She liked the second one better.
A bit more subdued.

But she decided to let
her fiance choose.

So she showed
him both.

And he chose…
the first.

Just like

they are getting them both!

Cheers & Hugs,

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rule of Thirds with Bokeh

Weekly Photo Challenge Rule of Thirds with Bokeh

This week’s WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge is to use the Rule of Thirds with a Bokeh Effect.

It’s been snowing non-stop here in Mars this weekend, but I took this photo a week ago when in Florida.  I always love the way flowers look after a rain shower.  I thought this photo was a good example of the challenge effect, and it also reminds me of warmer sunny days and wonderful memories with a dear friend.

Happy Sunday!

Cheers & Hugs,

Discovering Sanibel Island

sanibel lighthouse beach bikes

Another highlight of my trip to Florida last week was a day spent with my dear friend Janet on Sanibel Island.  We started the day with a walk and some lounging at Lighthouse Beach.

sanibel lighthouse

The 120 year old lighthouse sits on a wildlife refuge and is at the southern most point of Sanibel Island.  It was a great opportunity to capture some more pictures of the beautiful birds and wildlife that make their home here.

sanibel bird

sanibel bird 5

sanibel bird 4 sea gull

sanibel bird 3

sanibel bird 2

The beaches of Sanibel Island are known for being great places for sea shell gathering, and I loved the natural flora and fauna of this particular beach.  The driftwood created natural sculptures along the shoreline.

sanibel driftwood

sanibel driftwood 2

and of course – palm trees!

sanibel palm tree

Fishing is also a past time that is enjoyed here whether on the fishing pier or right in the water.

sanibel lighthouse beach pier

sanibel fisherman

People of all ages enjoy the beach.

sanibel little girl

sanibel sand castle

sanibel jogger

sanibel baby beach

including us crazy 52 year-old BF beach bums. 🙂

sanibel jodi and janet

After a warm and sunny morning and afternoon at the beach, we found a cute little restaurant, the Island Cow, where we sipped on White Mango Sangria while dining alfresco where I enjoyed an amazing paella and Janet a crab-stuffed grouper.

sanibel island cow white mango sangria

It was a great place to hang out with colorful adirondaks…

sanibel island cow adirondaks

And even beach-themed corn hole.

sanibel island cow corn hole

Today is Janet’s birthday.  We celebrated for an entire week.  The trip was a birthday gift for me from Marty and a celebration of a lifelong friendship.  Happy Birthday my dear friend Janet!

I love you, and I sure am missing you and that beautiful 70+ F degree weather!

Our high was 0 (yep – that is ZERO) degrees F yesterday in Mars, and most of the day was in the negative category!

Only makes me appreciate it all more.  I am smiling while snuggling in with my hoodie and sweats sitting by a warm fire fondly missing and reminiscing…

at Life in Between.

Cheers & Hugs,


Discovering Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve

boardwalk 1

Weekly Photo Challenge – Symmetry

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Fort Myers, Florida last week was an afternoon spent wandering around the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve.

In 1976, a group of Lee County, Florida students studying the role of forested wetland in Florida’s ecology became alarmed at how fast these environmental treasures were disappearing to private interests.  The students, known simply as “the Monday Group,” envisioned a place where visitors could stroll amongst majestic cypress trees and catch the whisper of Florida’s primordial past.  They sought an oasis where guests could observe the vast array of plants and animals that can live in a place which is sometimes land, sometimes water, sometimes both.  In such pristine surroundings, they hoped that people could begin to learn how wetlands provide priceless, but often hidden benefits such as water purification and storage, natural flood control, and wildlife habitat.  Knowing the Six Mile Cypress Slough (pronounced slew) was under imminent threat from logging in the channeling away of its water, the Monday Group launched a daring campaign to save it for future generations.  Lee County, Florida voters responded overwhelmingly by increasing their own taxes to purchase and convert the Slough into a preserve.*

quote 5

Along the beautiful 1.2 mile elevated and fully handicapped-accessible boardwalk, there are a number of observation decks that shoot off the beaten path with benches for sitting still, relaxing, reflecting, communing with nature, photographing and contemplating the thought-provoking quotes posted along the way.

tree water reflection

I hope I captured even a snippet of the beauty and grandeur of this 3,400 acre, 11-mile long wetland to share with you here,  and it encourages you to visit if you are ever in the area.

gator in water

This gator was enchanting to see swimming nearby…

croc 1

…but this 12-footer across the lake was really something to see!

croc 2

There were dozens of species of songbirds, wading birds, and birds of prey – including many which are threatened or endangered.  The Slough also serves as a resting spot for many migrating birds.

bird and turtle


I watched this snowy egret successfully fish for lunch,

snowy egret


and turtles sunning and warming themselves.

turtles 2

There was no way to take it all in, and I am certain that one could walk it every day of the year and experience something new each time.

tree up


The Slough offers guided tours if you like.  I chose to take it at my own pace, meeting and chatting with others along the way, including an avid unofficial tour guide, who showed me tracks and rubbings and explained much of the plant and wildlife.

quote 2

What a wonderful way to spend a Tuesday afternoon in February… with a great friend… in the warmth of sunny Florida away from the wintry, snowy weather of home… and enjoying nature – at Life in Between.

Cheers & Hugs,


*from pg 23 of Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve Explorer’s Companion – History of the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve

**Boardwalk Photo:  Weekly Photo Challenge – Symmetry

Feeling with the Heart

quote 3

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I am sharing a beautiful sign I saw along a walk I took this week at Six Mile Cyprus Slough Preserve in Fort Myers, Florida.

I am on my way home to my valentine, and I am leaving behind a dear friend – both who fill my heart to overflowing.

Look forward to sharing more soon.

Cheers & Heartfelt Valentine Hugs,



The Little Things

sheltering tree and hello life

Isn’t it true?  It’s the “little things” that mean so much!

Next week at this time, I will be in (hopefully) sunny, warm Florida with one of my besties, Janet, celebrating “the little things” that have sustained our friendship for 40 years!  And seriouslyI’m not sure how that is possible when I am [ahem] barely past 40, but Janet is my oldest – really meaning “longest” together – friend.

I can’t wait to just spend time with my sweet friend doing the “little things” that have sustained our friendship through the ages, miles and miles, and extended periods of separation (Janet lived in Alaska for about a million years).

Janet is my sister and her family is my family. 

My hubby, Marty, gave me the BEST birthday gift this year.  He’s sending me off to spend time with someone I hold so dear.  And I can still hear the squeals when I called her on New Year’s Eve (my birthday) to tell her the good news.  And we are going to get to celebrate her birthday, which is just a few days after my visit.

We will talk, walk, laugh, likely cry, eat, drink, reminisce, reflect, discover, and just “BE.”

No matter how much time or space has separated us, we have always enjoyed “the little things” that make life and our friendship so precious.

So this card I created is dedicated to my Janet.

It is made from the Stampin Up Sheltering Tree and Hello Life Stamp Set.  It is clean and simple (CAS), because the message is so powerful:  Love the little things – for they are what make up the greatest joys in life.

Wishing you a wonderful day filled with many reasons to celebrate “the little things.”

Cheers & Hugs,