Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Real Spirit of Christmas

Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world.—Calvin Coolidge

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Human Dream

"Is there some meaning to this life?
What purpose lies behind the strife?
Whence do we come, where are we bound?
The cold questions echo and resound.
Through each day, each lonely night
we long to find the splendid light
that will cast a revelatory beam
upon the meaning of the human dream."--Dean Koontz

Monday, October 20, 2008

Quiet Moments for Reflection

"Give yourself space by spending time in nature, taking an hour or day off, enjoying quiet moments for reflection. Take time to smell the roses. Breathe in the wonder of life and its bounty. Open so your deeper awareness and imagination can percolate through mundane thoughts and activities. Let go of both resistance and force to allow yourself to connect more deeply to life."—John and Patrice Robson www.higherawareness.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Miracles Happen

"When you are aware that you are the force that is life, anything is possible. Miracles happen all the time, because those miracles are performed by the heart. The heart is in direct communion with the human soul, and when the heart speaks, even with the resistance of the head, something inside you changes; your heart opens another heart, and true love is possible."--Don Miguel Ruiz

Friday, October 3, 2008

The True Spirit

"We should so live and labor in our times that what came to us as seed may go to the next generation as blossom, and what came to us as blossom may go to them as fruit. This expresses the true spirit in the love of mankind."--Henry Ward Beecher

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Life Blooms

"We are not here just to survive and live long...
We are here to live and know life
in its multi-dimensions
to know life in its richness,
in all its variety.
And when a man lives
explores all possibilities available,
never shrinks back from any challenge,
goes, rushes to it, welcomes it,
rises to the occasion
then life becomes a flame,
life blooms."--Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, 'The Sacred Yes'

As the long, hazy days of summer evolved into the cooler, more abbreviated, first days of fall, I lamented that my photographic opportunities were diminishing as well. Many of the multi-hued plants and interesting insects I’d enjoyed capturing over the past months were going dormant and the trees seemed weeks away from their riotous, colorful change of clothes. Little did I know that from our late summer rains would emerge an astounding variety of intriguing shapes, colors and textures. On one lunchtime walk alone, I captured seven completely different species of mushroom. Among the most beautiful was this massive golden specimen that bloomed beneath a giant oak tree.—Sue Ivy

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Strongest Oak in the Forest

"The strongest oak of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It's the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun."--Napoleon Hill

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Love and Loyalty

"Dogs come into our lives
to teach us about love and loyalty.
They depart to teach us about loss.
We try to replace them, but never quite succeed.
A new dog never replaces an old dog;
It merely expands the heart.
If you have loved many dogs,
Your heart is very big."—Erica Jong

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Life's Tiny Delights

Most of us miss out on life's big prizes. The Pulitzer. The Nobel. Oscars. Tonys. Emmys. But we're all eligible for life's small pleasures. A pat on the back. A kiss behind the ear. A four-pound bass. A full moon. An empty parking space. A crackling fire. A great meal. A glorious sunset. Hot soup. Cold beer. Don't fret about copping life's grand awards. Enjoy its tiny delights.--Author unknown

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Blooming Outside Our Windows

"One of the tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon, instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today."--Dale Carnegie

While not a rose, this pretty, petite, purple flower has a rose-like quality. I found it “blooming” along the path on one of my daily walks. In my quest to properly identify this intriguing little plant, I learned that its name is Prunella vulgaris but it is commonly known as Heal-all. It is a perennial that thrives in partial shade in low woods, thickets and pastures. Despite it’s classification as a weed, it has several healing qualities. It has astringent properties that can be used to heal wounds and staunch blood flow. It is also said to be an effective treatment for sore throat, boils, colic, and other gastro-intestinal ailments. A wondrous little weed, indeed.—Sue Ivy

Friday, August 8, 2008

Love is Always Changing

"We take love for granted. We assume we are all perfect lovers and all we need do is wait and our love will grow and blossom as readily as a flower in spring. Not so. Love doesn't grow unless we do. It takes patience, knowledge, experience, determination, and every positive trait we possess. In addition, love is always changing and unless we stay aware and change with it, it eludes us."--Leo Buscaglia

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

In Summer Luxury

"When all the birds are faint with the hot sun, and hide in cooling trees, a voice will run from hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead; That is the grasshopper's--he takes the lead In summer luxury--he has never done with his delights, for when tired out with fun, he rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed."--John Keats

Friday, August 1, 2008

Good in Everything

"And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything."--William Shakespeare

This time of year many of the rural farms of North Carolina are bejeweled with these gorgeous, pink, trumpet-like flowers. Their vivid, fragile beauty—in such contrast to the deadly nature of the towering, lethal [tobacco] plants they adorn—confirms my faith that there truly is good in everything.—Sue Ivy

Monday, July 28, 2008

An Eye for Beauty

"Give me work to do, give me health, give me joy in simple things, give me an eye for beauty, a tongue for truth, a heart that loves, a mind that reasons, a sympathy that understands. Give me neither malice nor envy, but a true kindness and a noble common sense. At the close of each day give me a book and a friend with whom I can be silent."--S. M. Frazier
This stately old tree stump silently presides over Little River Park north of Durham. It's bleached and weathered surface boasts the most beautiful, fluid lines. It brought to mind the lovely wrinkles on an wizened face.--Sue Ivy

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wind Ever Soft

Know'st thou the land where the lemon-trees bloom,
Where the gold orange glows in the deep thicket's gloom,
Where a wind ever soft from the blue heaven blows,
And the groves are of laurel and myrtle and rose?--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Cosmic Dance of Life

Creativity, connection, soul, inspiration and intuition are available only in the present moment for the present moment. We choose how actively we take part in the cosmic dance of life. We can become wallflowers, mere spectators to life, if we get trapped in the patterns and habits of the past. Or we can choose to dance by being present and open to the energies, the opportunities and the guidance available to us each moment.--John and Patrice Robson www.higherawareness.com

John and Patrice Robson’s astute insights into the realm of higher awareness have long been a welcome start to my day. Their daily quotes and remarkable teachings and have helped shape the person I am today and have truly heightened my awareness of myself and the world around me.—Sue Ivy

Monday, July 21, 2008

Immense Beauty Hidden Within

"When your inner eyes open, you can find immense beauty hidden within the inconsequential details of daily life. When your inner ears open, you can hear the subtle, lovely music of the universe everywhere you go."--Timothy Ray Miller
My attempt to capture the tiny details of nature has completely changed the way I view the world and hence has changed my life. This lovely little azure-blue feather was all but hidden in the lush grass. Had my awareness not been heightened by my photographic endeavor, I would have completely missed its fragile, delicate beauty.--Sue Ivy

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yet to Be Discovered

"Today we may face some boring task or idle conversation that feels like a complete waste of time. Perhaps next week or next year we'll understand that nothing is wasted, that in the economy of our universe even a weed is simply a flower whose use has yet to be discovered."--Mort Crim
My favorite nature park has recently been transformed. Mowing has been all but curtailed and the manicured, green pastures are now a knee-deep sea of wildness. While I sometimes miss the lawn-like expanse of grass, I’ve grown to appreciate the profusion of plant life that now inhabits the land. In my quest to properly identify the species captured by my lens, I’ve discovered many different varieties which I might have not have ever given a second thought. One of the most intriguing is the Wooly Mullein, a weed whose insidious nature is belied by its velvety soft leaves, mellow golden flowers and delicate, majestic stalks.--Sue Ivy

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Let Go and Float

"Today I know that I cannot control the ocean tides. I can only go with the flow. When I struggle and try to organize the Atlantic to my specifications, I sink. If I fail and thrash and growl and grumble, I go under. But if I let go and float, I am borne aloft."--Marie Stilkind

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Breathe in the Wonder of Life

"Give yourself space by spending time in nature, taking an hour or day off, enjoying quiet moments for reflection. Take time to smell the roses. Breathe in the wonder of life and its bounty. Open so your deeper awareness and imagination can percolate through mundane thoughts and activities. Let go of both resistance and force to allow yourself to connect more deeply to life."—John Robson

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sing the Song That Has Never Been Heard

"To sing the song that has never been heard. To write. And to live. Because we must find what we most need to say, most want to share with a world that's been waiting for the sweet rain that follows our feet."—Jim Warda

There is nothing quite as fragrant as the sharp, crisp scent of pine needles just after a summer storm. While this image cannot capture that sweet perfume, it does evoke much of the feeling. Fat, wet drops sparkle at the tips of aromatic pine needles in the newly-emerged sunlight. There they linger for the briefest moment before cascading to the forest floor. And I linger there to see them shine.—Sue Ivy

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Universe is One Great Kindergarten

"The universe is one great kindergarten for man. Everything that exists has brought with it its own peculiar lesson. The mountain teaches stability and grandeur; the ocean immensity and change. Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes-every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man."--Orison Swett Marden

Monday, July 7, 2008

We Have What We Seek

"We have what we seek. It is there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us."--Thomas Merton
For several days I’d been admiring the frilly, pink beauty of the Mimosa trees in full bloom and had been looking for a tree to photograph. Mimosa’s are quite plentiful in this area but somehow the right tree proved elusive. Either they were so large that the lower branches were not accessible to my lens or the location of the tree made it impossible to access. Then one day, I took a short cut to work and there, just steps from my office, was the most glorious tree, in full bloom. A wonderful lesson that often what you need is within reach, you just need to take a slightly different path.--Sue Ivy

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Breaking Through the Veil

"All that is sweet, delightful, and amiable in this world, in the serenity of the air, the fineness of seasons, the joy of light, the melody of sounds, the beauty of colors, the fragrancy of smells, the splendor of precious stones, is nothing else but Heaven breaking through the veil of this world, manifesting itself in such a degree and darting forth in such variety so much of its own nature."--William Law

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Our Blessed Star

"Let children walk with nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life."--John Muir