This is what I look at everyday from my studio window. I am always inspired by the beauty of nature and my garden!
This is what I look at everyday from my studio window. I am always inspired by the beauty of nature and my garden!
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Are you trying to hold on to your youth? Your children? A dysfunctional family? A job that isn’t right for you? A marriage that doesn’t work? That D you got in trigonometry in high school?
So many of us cling tightly to what is familiar or comfortable. Others bind themselves to the past and allow it to punish them for their entire lives. Change is scary. Some just cannot picture a life different than the one they currently have. I have learned that the harder you grasp something, the more it hurts when it slips away from you. The secret to life is “letting go”. Also known as acceptance. This has nothing to do with giving up and everything to do with knowing when it is time to move on.
I had a few years of uncertainty and fear as I moved into middle age. I was panicked at the thought of my little girl out in the big mean World all by herself. My marriage had a major hiccup one Summer and I was not sure we would make it. I noticed that I was starting to lose the interest of men when I walked into a room. My body and face were aging and I did not know how to handle it. I was also very confused about what I wanted to do with my business. I considered shutting it down and taking a different path by getting back into Holistic Medicine. I call those years “the worry years”.
Slowly I started to realize that I could not hold onto all of those things that I wanted to remain the same. More importantly, I did not want to. I discovered it was safe to let go and just celebrate where I was headed. I was not only physically different, I was also mentally and emotionally transformed. At 45 I am now excited to watch my daughter leave for college and blossom into her own life. I will not be keeping her bedroom as a shrine where I can focus on the past. Instead it will be converted into a sanctuary for yoga and thinking. She will be welcome to visit anytime, but I will use that space for mediation. I have learned to work “with” my partner instead of “against” him as we weather life’s bumps. I am less selfish. I have also decided that I will not be artificially preserving my youthful face. It’s gone and no amount of face lifting, injecting or sand blasting is going to bring it back. It’s o.k. to have wrinkles and fine lines. In fact, if you allow yourself to let go of what society dictates is beautiful, you can actually admire them for what they really are: signs of a life that has endured numerous storms and celebrated many triumphs.
As for my career that is still being pondered. I have a few new ideas about what direction I would like to move in. But whatever I decide, the process leading up to it will not be fraught with anxiety. No, these are truly “the wonder years” for me. The dictionary tells us that “wonder” means: a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable. And that is exactly where I am. Bring it on life!
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Yesterday me and the hubby went on a little field trip. We found our way to the Florida Botanical Gardens in Pinellas County. Somehow in all of these years in Tampa, this gem has been hidden from me. We frequently drive down to Sarasota to enjoy the Selby Gardend, but this place was also amazing! So many flowers all out in the open to see and smell. The winding paths lead to many beautiful surprises. Plus there is a little heritage village with old houses and buildings that were to be destroyed, but were saved and moved here. What a treat!
It is a macro lens photographer’s delight. 🙂
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Another beautiful day in Florida and I was out early with my camera. We have the most beautiful aloe plants growing all around our property and the humming birds love them. I am not sophisticated enough as a photographer yet to start capturing those speedy little birds, but I did get some nice shots of the aloe flower spikes. They are so delicate. I use the aloe leaves for skin irritations and they are quite healing. I wonder if the flowers are useful? Here are some ways that the leaves benefit us humans:
Aloe Vera contains many vitamins including A, C, E, folic acid, choline, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6. Aloe Vera is also one of the few plants that contains vitamin B12.
Some of the 20 minerals found in Aloe Vera include: calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium, iron, potassium, copper, manganese.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are about 22 amino acids that are necessary for the human body and it is said that 8 of these are essential. Estimates of the amino acids found in aloe range from 18-20 amino acids, with all 8 essential amino acids.
Alove Vera also includes quite an impressive range of fatty acids. Aloe contains three plant sterols, which are important fatty acids- HCL cholesterol (which lowers fats in the blood), campesterol, and B-sitosterol. All are helpful in reducing symptoms of allergies and acid indigestion. Other fatty acids include linoleic, linolenic, myristic, caprylic, oleic, palmitic, and stearic.
Aloe Vera is a well-known adaptogen. An adaptogen is something that boosts the body’s natural ability to adapt to external changes and resist illness. It is thought that aloe’s power as an adaptogen balances the body’s system, stimulating the defense and adaptive mechanisms of the body. This allows you an increased ability to cope with stress (physical, emotional and environmental stress like pollution)
Poor digestion is related to many diseases. A properly functioning digestive tract is one of the keys and foundations of health. Aloe is known to soothe and cleanse the digestive tract and help improve digestion. The interesting thing about taking aloe internally is that, because it is an adaptogen, it helps with either constipation or diarrhea, helping to regulate your elimination cycles in whatever way you need. It’s been a great remedy for people with problems such as irritable bowel syndrome as well as acid reflux. Aloe also helps to decrease the amount of unfriendly bacteria and in our gut keeping your healthy intestinal flora in balance. Aloe is also a vermifuge, which means it helps to rid the body of intestinal worms.
Aloe Vera is a gelatinous plant food, just like seaweeds and chia. The main benefit to consuming gelatinous plant foods in your diet is that these gels move through the intestinal tract absorbing toxins along the way and get eliminated through the colon. This will help the proper elimination of waste from your body and help the detoxification of your body.
Disease cannot manifest in an alkaline environment. Most people are living and subsisting on mostly acidic foods. For great health, remember the 80/20 rule – 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acidic. Aloe vera is an alkaline forming food. It alkalizes the body, helping to balance overly acidic dietary habits
There hasn’t been a lot of studies conducted in this but there has been some research to show that Aloe Vera extract injected into the blood, greatly multiplies the oxygen transportation and diffusion capabilities of the red blood cells.
According to a study published in the 2000 issue of the British Medical Journal, beta sitosterol helps to lower cholesterol. By regulating blood pressure, improving circulation and oxidation of the blood, lowering cholesterol, and making blood less sticky, Aloe Vera juice may be able to help lower the risk of heart disease.
I think given the stresses of our daily lives, every one can use a boost to their immune systems. The polysaccharides in aloe vera juice stimulate macrophages, which are the white blood cells of your immune system that fight against viruses.
Aloe is also an immune enhancer because of its high level of anti-oxidants, which help combat the unstable compounds known as free-radicals, contributing to the aging process. (Free radicals are a bi-product of life itself, it is a naturally occurring process but we can overload ourselves with unnecessary free-radicals by living an unhealthy lifestyle) Aloe is also an antipyretic which means it used to reduce or prevent fever.
Because of aloe’s well-known healing properties for the skin, aloe is one of the primary compounds used in the cosmetic industry. It is a known vulnerary, (meaning it helps heal wounds) and is great for applying topically to burns, abrasions, psoriasis and even to bug bites. Aloe acts as an analgesic, acting to help relieve pain of wounds. It’s feels especially good to cut a stem of aloe, place it in the fridge and rub it on sun burnt skin – the immediate soothing effect feels like an absolute lifesaver. Aloe is also an antipruritic: A substance that relieves or prevents itching. Aloe Vera is an astringent: which causes the contraction of body tissues, typically used to reduce bleeding from minor abrasions.
Due to aloe’s high water content (over 99% water) it is a great way to hydrate, moisturize and rejuvenate the skin and fits within my general guideline: “Don’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat!” Aloe increases the elasticity of the skin making it more flexible through collagen and elastin repair. Aloe is an emollient, helping to soften and soothe the skin. It helps supply oxygen to the skin cells, increasing the strength and synthesis of skin tissue and induces improved blood flow to the skin through capillary dilation.
Wow, I think that covers all anti- bases. Okay, I admit, that was just a sneaky way to add in another 8 good reasons why you should keep Aloe Vera handy and incorporate it into your lifestyle. Aloe Vera’s active ingredients are sulphur, lupeol, salicylic acid, cinnamic acid, urea nitrogen and phenol which are substances that prevent the growth of disease-causing microorganisms and act as a team to provide antimicrobial activity thus eliminating many internal and external infections, also active against bacteria. It also helps to treat fungal and viral infections.
Source: Sacred Source Nutrition
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This past weekend was filled with fun and diversion from my normal routine. I spent a lovely day with a friend in Tarpon Springs eating Greek food, playing pool and hitting the vintage shops. I also got in some photography on Saturday. My husband and I headed out to Sand Key, FL and surrounding beaches to soak up a little sunshine and explore beach condos. While we were trekking about, these hot pink flowers really caught my eye. They were ground hugging beauties. He immediately identified them as “ice plants” which I had never seen in the South before. He said they grow like wild up in California where he is from. In 45 years this is my first ice plant spotting. Wow! The color is fantastic (unaltered…straight from my Nikon D7000). I find I actually “see” more when I carry my macro lens with me. There really is so much beauty in our world. 🙂
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There is no shortage of strange and fascinating flora and fauna in Florida. Luckily we grow more than mold. 😉 I’ve always been attracted to The Bird Of Paradise flower. The leaves and are boring and a dull green, but when they flower it is an explosion of color!
As I continue my photographic learning journey, I am delighted with the choices I now have. I can choose to list a pure photograph or I can process the imaged to create a unique work of art. Either way it is a joy to create!
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Macro photography seems to be all the rage these days on online fine art sites. And let me tell you, there are some really stunning images that I could only dream of creating quality wise. But everyone knows I am a dreamer…..so I am going to see what I can do with my creative eye and my new Nikon D7000 with a fixed macro lens. Thanks to a photographer friend, I also have a mono-pod on order which should be here tomorrow. She explained that it helps with stability and better image quality.
I am not a professional photography by any definition and I have always been a point and shoot kind of gal. I am not a person of patience….and have always enjoyed the quick fleeting shots. I like photographing things that move and sway. Things that disappear. Macro photography takes a certain amount of patience and diligence that I know I will find extremely challenging, but I am up for it!
I am not new to photography in anyway including macro, but it has always been more of a hobby for me. I will be the first to admit that I do not fully understand all of the jargon…ISO….white balance…shutter speed…..depth of field, etc. These are things I am going to learn.
The image above was taken about 5 years ago with my Nikon D50. I loved that camera and the zoom lens with macro capabilities was perfect for my fast moving brain. I have sold a lot of artwork and photos with that little gem including this cactus flower here. It took really nice photographs.
Getting used to a Prime Lens (fixed without zooming capabilities) is my first challenge. When I first assembled it and started shooting there was much frustration and angst. My photography buddy had to walk away….lol. Change is hard.
So here I am a professional painter and hobbyist photographer diving into the complex, challening and detailed world of macro photography for real. Wish me luck!
My first offering with the new equipment: