Tag Archives: flowers

Taking a Day Away from Cancer

Do you take a day away from cancer? Where your cancer is not front and foremost in your mind? I do. Actually, I take lots of days like that. It isn’t that I ever forget that I have cancer, because I don’t. Always, in the back of my mind is the fact that my body is hosting an intruder that could decide to kill me at any given moment. But, while the knowledge is there, I refuse to dwell on such thoughts.

I have a philosophy about cancer. I figure that if I don’t let it rob me of my life while I’m still alive, then I win and it loses. I might someday “lose my battle against cancer,” but I’m going to win all of the little skirmishes along the way!! I won’t give it any more of my time on this earth than I absolutely must.

I keep my calendar pretty full of activities that I want to do. Unfortunately, some tasks that I need to do, but don’t want to do, do not make it to the calendar. Things like cleaning house. Or cooking meals… I wish I had enough money to hire a maid and a cook!!

One of the things I love to do most is go to the Dallas Arboretum and take pictures. I don’t know if I will accomplish my goal or not, but I am hoping that I will make it out there at least once every month. I want to document how the garden grows throughout the year.

I have never been that it isn’t beautiful. Of course, here in Dallas, our winters are fairly mild usually … but our summers can be brutal. It is amazing that the master gardeners who keep the arboretum growing are able to keep it gorgeous even when the unrelenting sun beats down and temperatures soar to well over 100 degrees for weeks on end. But, they do!

This month, a friend and I spent about six hours exploring the property. We went places I have never been, but we missed a lot of places that I usually see. I am nearly certain that I could visit the Arboretum every single week and still miss seeing areas. Everywhere you look, there is something worthy of your attention. Have I said it? It is incredible!!

When I arrived home from our visit, I immediately popped my SD card into my computer so that I could begin to download the pictures I took this visit. I knew I must have taken a bunch. For the first time ever, I exhausted the battery to my camera. Sure enough, there were nearly 900 pictures waiting to be transferred!! A few were blurry; a few were basically duplicates; but mostly, they are worth keeping.

Last month, the tulips were in bloom. Everywhere. They were splendid. Absolutely gorgeous. This month, the maples are awesome and the azaleas nearly beyond description. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture with my camera just how beautiful the azaleas were. So many colors and in prolific bloom. Somehow, my pictures just do not do them justice. For that, I am very sorry.

Besides the plants, the structures and features of the Arboretum never fail to fascinate me. Most of them I see every time I visit, but they never bore me. And, then there are the birds, the squirrels, and the bugs, particularly lady bugs and bees, that capture my attention. Many of the birds and squirrels are so accustomed to humans that they nearly pose for the camera! Even the bees are so busy collecting pollen that they ignore the fact that I’m sticking a camera lens into their space.

This year, I have documented every visit to the Arboretum with a little video made from some of the stills I took. I’ll post the three that I have made so far here, in case anyone wants to watch. I hope some of you will enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed making them!

I saw someone else’s video yesterday that I really liked much better than mine, so next month, I will be trying something a little different. If I remember … gotta love chemo brain. Stay tuned.

At any rate, taking a little time to watch will hopefully take you away from any cares and troubles you might have for just a brief moment. God’s magnificence shows in every picture.

(I actually didn’t decide to document every month of the year until it was too late to go to the Arboretum in January. I did the next best thing and visited very early on in February!)

February 3, 2016

The trees are still mostly bare, though some are beginning to bud, despite the fact that it is still wintertime. Our weather doesn’t support the calendar month! It has been unseasonably warm the entire season. That doesn’t bode well for us, I am afraid, when summer hits.
Despite the fact that many of the trees had no leaves, there were plenty of pansies, daffodils, and roses to lend color to the gardens. And, you can tell that it won’t be long before the beds will be aburst in color.

March 2, 2016

The tulips were phenomenal. At every turn, you wondered if it could get any more beautiful. Just amazing!! Among the tulips, daffodils waved and hyacinths spread their sweet perfume. If you don’t watch any other video, watch this one!

 

April 1, 2016

I actually did two videos of the April visit. There is a bit of duplication between the two, but not a lot. I shared the first video on my Facebook page. It is a little longer than the second one … and it doesn’t have as many azalea pictures. I did a second video because I wanted a shorter version to share on WhatNext. When I went through the pictures again, I mostly chose different ones than I used the first time. I should probably make a decision and share only one of the two videos for the April 1st visit, but I will leave it up to you which to watch, if any. (This is what happens when you come home with so many photographs that you simply can’t choose which are favorites!!!)

Video 1. It is over 5 minutes long. And has music (which I love). It also will have ads because of the music… There were lots of robins on the grounds this visit. I love robins so I took lots of pictures of them! And, even though most people think of grackles as pests, I like them, so I take their pictures, too! Squirrels fascinate me as do bees, so you’ll see plenty of both here. And, oh yeah!! You’ll see tulips, pansies and petunias, azaleas, and much more. There are also more of the water features included in this video than in the shorter one (below).

 

Video 2. No music. And a minute shorter! 🙂 There are more pictures of azaleas here and fewer pictures of birds and squirrels (though, there are some! – the animal lover in me could never leave them out entirely).

Happiness and HOPE

I have been so busy this December that I have had absolutely no time to sit and blog. That’s both a blessing and a shame. I love documenting my journey here. It is interesting to me to look back and see where I have been and what I have been doing.

One side effect that you always hear about when you hear about chemo is chemo brain. Well, I have it! My memory sometimes doesn’t last through a thought, much less an hour or a day! If something isn’t documented on my calendar or on Facebook or here … it might as well have not happened. Sad, but true. (Some tell me that this is not a symptom of chemo and is, rather, a side effect of getting old…)

I am waiting on my son and his girlfriend to arrive now. We are going to go to Texas Discovery Gardens and see the butterflies and maybe the gardens there. It is a fun place to visit. I haven’t been for quite some time so I am excited. I’ll no doubt be posting pictures of butterflies soon!

The Butterfly Garden at Texas Discovery Gardens is kept quite warm. Fortunately, it is not supposed to get very hot outside today … and, at least at the moment, it is overcast. The butterflies are usually not as active when it is cloudy so I hope it remains grey outside! (Sorry to any sun lovers out there!!)

The purpose of today’s post is to put up some pictures I took a week or two ago at the Dallas Arboretum. I met a friend there and we spent hours and hours – daylight and night-time – walking the gardens. It is gorgeous, especially right now. There is a huge display for the 12 Days of Christmas. You have to see the displays to believe them, but maybe later I will post some of the pictures I took.

Kim and I had so much fun taking pictures. I came home with over 1000!! Yes! One-thousand plus! I finally looked at about three-quarters of them yesterday. And now I am getting ready to go take lots more pictures. I may never catch up!

Today’s post, though, is for my yellow flower and bee pictures! I was thinking about them while I was getting ready a few minutes ago. I love yellow flowers. They brighten my spirit. In fact, I love the color yellow (except when the sun is beating down yellow sunlight and heat … I hate Texas heat). So, what I was wondering about while dressing was why I always say my favorite color is blue. It doesn’t lift my spirits like yellow does. Oh, the things one thinks about while putting on mascara!

Hope

God’s creations give me hope. Especially God’s creations that are yellow! 🙂 Just joking, mostly.

The bees and flower pictures send me in search of quotes. Keep in mind that these pictures were taken in mid-December. The flowers do not look like winter flowers, do they? And, I don’t really expect to see bees in the wintertime. But, these bees were prolific and very, very active. Just the fact that the flowers and bees are a bit of an anomaly in December imparts hope to me. Does it affect you that way?

Finding Rick Warren’s quote (above) about hope was perfect. Because, absolutely, God’s grace is the reason for my hope. Every single day. Every single moment. Even when we don’t know what is in His Master Plan, He knows. He is in control. No matter what. He has us in His Hands. That knowledge gives me great peace. I have no reason to worry. God’s got this! No matter what “this” is.

 

Now, I have no clue who Robert Green Ingersoll is, but I liked the quote … I felt like it was appropriate for this picture.  Don’t you know people who go through life without hope? They see the negative in everything. They drag through life. And, you have to wonder how they can make it through each day. Or, I do.Complainers and those who are just never happy make me nervous and stressed.

I can’t imagine always looking at the dark side of life. I prefer to look to the positive. And, those are the people to whom I gravitate. I have friends who are facing tremendous challenges. Their lives are hanging in the balance as lung cancer battles to take them. And, yet, they brag on how wonderful their lives are, how special their friends are, how lucky they are.

I love them. I pray for them to win. But, in reality. They’ve already won. Their cancer is getting very little of their time and attention. They aren’t allowing it to steal a single moment of their happiness or contentment while they have breath.

One of the friends I am thinking of now has published a book about her journey with cancer. She is such a wonderful person, a true advocate for lung cancer awareness.  She looks on the bright side of life. Someone wrote a heartbreaking comment to her on Amazon. They told her they couldn’t believe anyone could be so upbeat while facing a deadly disease. And, they criticized her for expressing joy, accusing her of making other cancer patients feel bad if they don’t share her upbeat attitude.

Really?? The note’s author would rather read depressing tomes about lung cancer and its effects. I feel pity for him or her. And, I feel even sorrier for the person he knows that is battling cancer. A downtrodden attitude, in my opinion, allows cancer to win. And robs the person of life while they are still alive.

Well … I choose Happiness and HOPE. Now and, hopefully, until I breathe my last breath.

Below, I am just going to post more happy yellow flowers and bees. There probably won’t be much more commentary so, unless you want to see the pictures, you can probably stop here!

 

 

The trees have lost their leaves, but these flowers spring forward, offering color and nectar.

 

 

 

 

Notice the huge leaves at the bottom of the tall stalks! I wish I had gotten the name of these flowers. I would like to have some somewhere at my house.

 

 

 

 

Sharing

 

I think the leaves look like lily pads!

 

 

 

Gorgeous maple trees provide the background to these lovely yellow flowers.

 

These flowers are a different kind … but yellow, nonetheless!

Make today a joyful day!

HOPE

I just got back from New Mexico where my husband and I went to visit our son. I drove 2,158 miles from Friday to Thursday. I’m a little tired now … having trouble recouping from a busy, busy week!

But, I can do this!! And I am proud that I can!

It is so funny. While we were in New Mexico, I had a burning desire to write a blog. I had several in mind that I couldn’t wait to get onto paper.

Here I am now. Sitting at the computer. Trying my hardest to remember even one of the ideas I had. All I can remember right now is that they were really good ideas!

Ugh!!!

New Mexico

I love to go to New Mexico. Where our son lives, it is very majestic. It is also very dirty. Dirt is everywhere. There is barely any grass or anything. Just dirt. Everywhere!

Taken from the parking lot of our hotel in Las Cruces. Beautiful.

 

A park in or near Cruces.

 

At the Valley of Fire

Darn it all! The pictures make it appear that there IS grass. Maybe you just have to trust me … there is NOT! I didn’t think about taking pictures of the desert. I spent more time taking closeups of flowers that I found. Hopefully, next time, I will remember to take some pictures that show how desolate and how much dirt there is. Everywhere.

 

These were taken on a little dirt road off of I25 and beside Denny’s. My son asked me to never go here again. Apparently homeless gather nearby and there have been several murders. Oops.

I imagine by now anyone who has read my blog knows that I love to take pictures of flowers. I found some beautiful ones out in the desert. It meant a lot to me to find them. I am a big believer in HOPE. The flowers that manage to grow in these dire conditions – heat (it was over 100 every day we were there), drought, sand – give me hope. Because despite dreadful odds, they thrive!

 

Purple cactus. Isn’t it beautiful?? I’ve never seen anything like it! According to Wikipedia, the color results from stress due to  drought or cold. Trust me! It wasn’t cold!!!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opuntia_macrocentra

 

 

Whatever this tree is, it is blooming. (See above for closeup of bloom)

 

Pecan trees are thriving here. There are orchards and orchards of them in New Mexico.

I took pictures of both native plants and those that were growing at our hotel in Las Cruces. Here are some of the pictures of the plants at the Staybridge Suites where we stayed one night (GREAT room for a really good price). We arrived there from Dallas at about 1 AM. I discovered how pretty it was the next morning (or, actually, later that same morning!) when I woke up! Majestic; looking out and seeing the mountains in the distance!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The flowers were flourishing, despite the intense heat. I was pretty surprised at how beautiful they were.
But, there were others that were thriving without any help from man. I took the pictures below in Elephant Butte/Truth or Consequences or Valley of Fire.
This is technically probably not a wild plant. It was planted in the parking lot of the Comfort Inn and Suites where we stayed in Truth or Consequences. I took LOTS of pictures of it because I love to capture bees.

 

Soon, there will be sunflowers here!!! I think sunflowers are happy flowers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A cone flower!!! Just growing out in the desert!

 

 

Birds liked this plant with its berries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some from Valley of Fire. There weren’t many where we were. If we had gotten to go on the hike, we doubtless would have come across more, as well as lizards and other wildlife. As it was, the most I saw were some birds and butterflies … and grasshoppers. And a bee/wasp or two.

 

You can’t tell by the photo, but this was huge! It was really pretty!

 

The bees or wasps sure liked this little flower.

 

 

 

 

A butterfly on this prickly cactus! You would think it would get stuck by the needles!

 

New Mexico has some awesome scenery. As I drove through it, I had to wonder how someone can look at those majestic, mighty mountains and not believe in God. What a creator He is!
One geologic wonder is Valley of the Fires in Carrizozo, New Mexico. As you are driving through the desert on US Highway 380, you suddenly look around and notice a lot of black rock that looks like lava. At first, you think you must be seeing things. But, soon, you are in a huge field of what just has to be lava.
The trail is visible behind the rocks.

 

 

 

It is incredible!!! You drive for a few miles and the black molten rock is all around you. But, just as quickly as you entered it, it ends. It is really something! I’ve been there three times and I remain amazed!

According to the BLM:

Approximately 5,000 years ago, Little Black Peak erupted and flowed 44 miles into the Tularosa Basin, filling the basin with molten rock. The resulting lava flow is four to six miles wide, 160 feet thick and covers 125 square miles. The lava flow is considered to be one of the youngest lava flows in the continental United States. http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreation/roswell/valley_of_fires.html

If you are interested in learning more, I think this link might be one of the better ones:
https://geoinfo.nmt.edu/tour/landmarks/carrizozo/home.html

If you have a chance to go, visit New Mexico! It is a beautiful land. It is a very impoverished land, as well. However, I saw evidence of HOPE throughout my visit. Whether it was from children growing up in an RV park, living in a tiny travel trailer, but smiling and having a blast or a flower growing out of rock, there was joy, there was hope. Cancer feels real small when you’re standing before a gigantic mountain.

Pictures from the Backyard

When I was diagnosed with lung cancer, I had to quit doing my most favorite thing in the world – playing agility with my dogs. I simply didn’t have the strength or the stamina for it. It broke my heart because when I quit doing agility, I also quit hearing much from the people I thought were my friends. Unfortunately, there are lots of things about cancer than cause pain besides tumors. Losing your friends, or those you considered friends but who turned out to be acquaintances, is one of the hardest. I’ve been fighting this battle for over 2-1/2 years and it still hurts.

But, that’s not what this post is about. I quit doing agility, but I was determined to have something to do to occupy my thoughts. I refuse to dwell on the fact that I have lung cancer. I spent quite a lot of time in my backyard. It is a peaceful, happy place. I love it back there. I bought lots of pretty flowers and hung bird feeders.

The flowers brought color to my world and the birds that visited my feeders brought joy. I didn’t have any energy, but it didn’t take any to sit in the backyard and enjoy what God has created. In fact, spending time relaxing in all of the beauty rejuvenated me.

Pretty soon, I decided I wanted to capture the memories so I brought the camera out. With the help of an excellent photographer friend of mine from Midland, I practiced using the various settings on the camera. What I haven’t learned – then or now – is how to use any of the software that allows you to REALLY enhance your work. I know I need to learn, but I always put it off. Chemo brain dissuades me from doing many things that require a great deal of learning and concentration.

I seem to be getting distracted a lot tonight. Tonight’s post is titled “Pictures from the Backyard” and that’s what I want to talk about!

Throughout my journey, I have snapped a lot of shots in my backyard. I am a prolific picture taker and I am not usually inclined to get rid of any of them! I have thousands and thousands of pictures. Don’t start groaning! I don’t intend to post them all here!

But, I took some today that I want to share because I enjoyed taking them and I enjoyed seeing them when I loaded them onto the computer. I hope you might enjoy them as well.

Abstract! I did this by spinning the lens while the shutter was open. I like it!

 

This is the flower that is in the center of the spin art above. It is a Dahlia.
This bud will ultimately open into a bloom like the one above. Beautiful!

 

 

Canna and Asiatic lilies — bring joy to my life!
Close-up of the canna.
Asiatic lilies. They are gorgeous, but they really don’t last very long. I enjoy them while they are blooming!

 

I take lots of pictures of the little lemons. They fascinate me!

 

 

A butterfly weed

 

Another butterfly weed
A close-up of the bud above. I love all of the teeny flowers!

 

A third butterfly weed. The three butterfly weed plants are supposed to attract monarch butterflies and give them a place to lay their eggs. Unfortunately, I have seen not one butterfly on the plants. Lots of flies and bees though. You’ll see those later 🙂

 

 

A beautiful  dianthus bloom. Right after a rainstorm.

 

More dianthus. I love these little flowers that just keep on keeping on.

 

 

This picture and the one above are lemon tree blooms. You have missed a true blessing if you have never gotten to smell lemon tree blooms. They smell so good! And, they’re beautiful, I think.
Close-up of a marigold. My marigolds have not enjoyed the torrential rains we have had lately.

 

 

 

Cool Shots

 

I love playing with the camera. The following shots are me playing. Just practicing and playing!

 

 

A raindrop about to fall)

 

Flies and bees love this flower.

 

Flies? Bees? Very lovely green color, whatever they are!

 

This flower is supposed to attract butterflies and bees. Instead, there are flies, flies, and more flies!

 

 

 

Same for these flowers. They are supposed to attract butterflies/hummers. Instead, I get flies and whatever the green bug is!

 

 

 

 

 

This butterfly just happened to fly up when I was outside taking pictures. Think he is pretty (in a dull sort of way) so I followed him from plant to plant taking his picture!