Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature

Water is powerful. It is both gentle and strong. It makes up the majority of everyone and everything. It has a hand in many of nature’s deadliest disasters. It sustains us and our earth, without it, we are but dry bones.

Coming from Virginia, or “The Land of Mercurial Weather”, I have experienced a lot of nature’s different forces. It sometimes feels like we Virginians are at the mercy of almost any and all of Mother Nature’s various whims, with exception to maybe sandstorms. There is no desert in Virginia.

But water plays the biggest part here, as I suppose it does everywhere. From the carpet of dew outside every morning to the Summer thunder storms to the coastal hurricanes, Virginia enjoys its fair share of water. My photo here shows the small part of water that I deal with the most; it’s clinging to every surface after the downpour, almost as if apologizing for any havoc it may have caused just before.

I love that no matter what it was doing before, after it’s gone, everything looks so vibrant. Squall or gentle shower, water is my favorite force of nature.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Intricate

Intricacy is defined by its complexity or detail. A lot of things could be considered intricate even if they aren’t always outwardly so, like people. Some things are only understood as intricate by people who have an intimate knowledge of that thing, like music. I chose to show an obvious intricacy, one that is plain to see but sometimes hard to appreciate, the intricacy of old architecture.

This photo was a quick shot of some very high windows of an old building in Atlanta, Georgia. I only barely noticed them from where I stood across the street and it made me wonder why people put such effort into something so hard to actually appreciate. All the same, I’m glad they did.

I suppose at the end of the day, that’s what’s at the heart of intricacy. It’s an expression of excellence and patient planning, something whose creation is every bit a piece of art as the finished product. It almost doesn’t matter if no one else is able to see it.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above

This is a photo I took recently while out on one of my walks. I brought my camera along because it’s finally looking (and feeling) like Spring here in Virginia so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to take some great pictures.

I like this photo way more than I was expecting myself to. I took some decent shots of the flowers close up and on angles, and they were okay too, but this one from above shows off how the flowers spiral around each other as they grow, giving me a greater glimpse of natures architecture. I think it’s pretty rad.

Also, one thing I didn’t notice until just recently–there’s some kind of bug situation happening near the bottom left corner, just photobombing it up. I . . . really don’t know what is happening there.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture

Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture



1. the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc.

2. that which is excellent in the arts, manners, etc.

3. a particular form or stage of civilization, as that of a certain nation or period: Greek culture.

4. development or improvement of the mind by education or training.

5. the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group: the youth culture; the drug culture.

That is the definition of culture according to I am inclined to believe it is accurate.

Knowing this, I have to admit I am not a thoroughly cultured person. I’m pretty open-minded, I’m intelligent enough, I watched a lot of Britcoms growing up and I like to read, but I’m certainly not cultured.

This is not for a complete lack of trying though. I have traveled to the glorious city of Monterrey Mexico on three separate occasions, all for around a week long. Monterrey is gorgeous and by far one of the most awe-inspiring places I’ve seen in person–I’ll have to remember to share some of my photos with you all. Just trust me, going from small town in the east to a GIANT, mountainous city faaaaar south? Quite the “culture shock”.

But this brings me to the photo I chose for this photo challenge. Shame on me, but I don’t recall the lady’s name, probably because I don’t speak Spanish very well or, you know, at all. She was, however, one of the most memorable people I met in Monterrey, and in a city with a population of 4,080,329 in just 2010, that’s saying something. There’s a lot to take in.

I met her on my third (and so far last) trip there. She was waiting outside the hospital; her son had been in a construction accident and had been in the hospital for months. She still sat outside and waited though, abandoning the rest of her life to be nearest to what mattered. Like many others who were unsure of their loved ones fates, that’s all she could do.

We spoke, we ate, she prayed for her son and all the other people in the hospital with me, and I was able to snap this picture of her as she laughed at a joke my translator made. She may have been pretty solemn when we first met, full of concern for her son, but seeing her smile like this let me know that hers is a face that’s used to smiling.

I am not very cultured. I went to Monterrey to learn more about God, mostly I learned things about myself, but I did take away with me some of Monterrey’s spirit and culture.

I remember the bustling city, overripe with life. I remember learning how to tell someone’s wealth by what kind of objects they fortified the walls around their land with. I remember the quieter places that I got to live, hidden away between the mountains. I remember getting lime popsicles from the OXXO down the street. I remember tasting Joya for the first time. I remember eating the best oranges in my life, straight off the tree. I remember visiting all the must-see locations and bumping elbows with all sorts of tourists. I remember the giant Mexican flag flying proudly, and myself taking refuge in the shade it provided. I remember the cooling waterfall at the end of the most depressing carriage ride in existence. I remember exploring caves carved into the side of the mountains. I remember the mass graves. I remember going to the outskirts, squatting grounds and trash heaps made into makeshift homes. I remember building those people homes. I remember feeding them, playing with their children, getting to know their families, telling them stories and feeling honored to be able to speak to a group of strong, passionate women like the lady I took a picture of above.

I remember being overwhelmed and crying myself to sleep on my allotted bunk bed as I stared out into the city outside my window.

But that is not what I truly took away from my experiences in Monterrey or the experiences with the people of Monterrey. No, the overall impression I got from them and their way of life was that they were unapologetically joyful.

Despite everything, every hardship and mountain in their path, they were always capable of such intense happiness. The people of Monterrey live life, and I mean really LIVE. Whether it’s for their family, friends, lovers, their country, their dreams, or the dreams of those that they care for, the people of Mexico took all the bad thrown at them and lived each day for the good. I saw that every moment I was with them.

The joy, that’s what I think of when I think of their culture. Everyone was so open, so willing to talk and share what little they had and rejoice in what little that would be given to them, and in the face of uncertainty, they still knew how to laugh.




This is part of Dulles airport–one of the more interesting parts.

I really love airports, which is sort of an insane thing to say since most time in airports is spent being felt up by strangers and having your things thrown away. That aside, I think airports are a little magical. They’re their own little kingdoms packed full of all different people from all different places–just a giant crossroads plus a Cinnabon and a place to buy sunglasses.

I haven’t spent too much time in Dulles since I’ve never done any flying from there, only went to see my big brother off. Most of my time has been spent at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport and the mall across from it. I’ve literally spent days worth of time in there just eating I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt and riding the tram around. Good times.

My point in posting this is that I’ve been feeling a little trapped lately (more so than usual, at least) and just wanted to look out those big windows again and take off. But I’m always stuck behind the glass watching the airplanes fly without me. Hopefully that will change soon enough.


He Sees You

He Sees You

Found this handsome guy sunning himself on my back porch.

I think he saw me.

Which is fine since he’s my baby anyway. This is Loki–he’s a bit of a male model. He has the attitude of one at the very least. He kind of loves to be photographed.

Most of my cats are brown tabbies like Loki here and they all appear grey and black in most light but when they go out and get some direct sunlight you can see all the brown hues in their fur. I think it’s a kind of magical detail, really.

I named him Loki after the Norse god whose known to be a trickster and also known as “The Golden Knight“. Loki was also the right hand man to Odin, which is the name of Loki’s (the cat) brother. They do look out for each other.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense

Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense

I can’t think of anything more physically symbolic of a promised future than a bridge.

It’s an assurance that you will get from one place to another–across rivers, ravines, chasms and any other trouble we humans come across. We get together, put our minds and creativity to work and make bridges. We work so hard to create this solution, this promise, so that others don’t have to.

We are amazing.