Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

I so enjoy hearing from you...so leave me a comment; it'll make my day!

Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Changing Your Focus

I've had my SLR camera for one whole year now. It has so many features that I've only just scratched the surface of how to use it. Even after taking a class I sometimes feel like I'm just bumbling around, trying to figure out whether to change the aperature, the shutter speed, ISO settings, etc.

One thing I really really wanted to learn was how to make that nice blurry background behind a portrait. Friends, I've stayed up half the night taking pics of my kitchen utensils in my quest to perfect the blurry background. Try as I might, everything in my pics was either perfectly in focus or totally out of focus.

Well, the other night I was feeling a little poorly so I took a steamy bath and then crawled into bed with my photography books. (This is my secret elixir when not feeling well.) So I'm lying there half asleep, leafing through the pages of "Painting with a Lens" by Rod and Robin Deutschmann when I stumbled upon the section called 'punching an image.' Eureka! Finally someone explained this so I could understand it! Holy Cow; I've been doing it all backward!

It was suddenly so simple. Here's what they said in a nutshell...

1. Find a background that you would like to have all blurry behind your subject. You know, pick pretty colors, patterns, etc.
2. Set your camera on a wide aperature and disable the auto-focus. Use a long focal length and look through the lens. Make sure your background is really blurry.
3. Now that you've figured out where to shoot for the background, take your subject and put it smack dab in front of you...as close as you can to your lens and still have it in focus. Move it around a bit until it's focused nicely. (Don't use your focus ring or you'll mess up your background. You'll focus the subject by manually moving it until it's in the right spot.
4. Got it? Now take the picture.
5. Voila!

Before reading this I spent hours trying to focus on my subject perfectly, hoping that somehow the background would not be in focus. Backwards! I need to get the background handled first.

Isn't this a perfect analogy for life? How often do we focus on the wrong thing and the wonder why the results aren't what we hoped for?

Frustrated with something in your life? Maybe it's time to change your focus. Are you obsessing on a problem when you really need to turn your attention away from it? I speak from experience. I get stuck on thinks pretty easily. It's hard for me to let go. Like when I was little and got a cut---I could just never let it scab over without picking the scab off before the skin beneath it was healed.  That's because I was focused on what was directly in front of me instead of what was below the surface. It's taken me years to learn to 'leave my scabs alone.'

I know it's hard, but maybe you need to just leave things alone for awhile. Go for a walk. Do your nails. Read an entertaining book. Take a casserole next door to your elderly neighbor. Breathe.  Stop worrying about your problem and just work on the background stuff for awhile. Trust. Believe that things are happening in unseen realms. Good things. God things.

One of my favorite verses in the Message Bible puts it this way...

“Don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.

25-28 “Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?

29-32 “What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Has anyone seen my muse?

I haven't been posting much lately. My blogging muse has been pretty silent these days. Rumor has it that she's lounging around on a beach in Maui. All I know is...I got nothing!
Except my camera; thank goodness,I have my camera. So while I wait for my muse to get back...I'm spendin' my time learning to take pics with a blurry background and a vivid foreground. 

 At first I used to try to focus on my subject, then get the background out of focus. But when I finally understood that I needed to pick my background first-making sure it is way out of focus, then move the focal subject into focus; things got much easier.

Guess I'll munch another Sugar Daddy while I wait for Miss Muse!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


This past week was my grand-daughter Kayla's 14 birthday. So today she and her little sister Kayla came out for lunch with us to celebrate. The girls picked out our restaurant...La Fiamma. It's an urban-chic little pizza place in Bellingham. After pigging out on some delicious pizza we strolled down to Mallard's ice cream shop for dessert. Sweet!

I brought my camera along, hoping to get some good pics of my pretty grand-daughters. Kayla, it seems is a little camera shy. Only got one really good pic of she and her sis...
I'm hoping when she sees this photo and how great she looks, that she might trust me to take a few more. ;)

After dropping the girls back home, we drove out Lake Padden for some quick nature photos. It was raining cats and dogs and my camera doesn't like to be wet, so I grabbed a plastic bag and fashioned a little 'raincoat' for it. I tore a little hole in it for the lens to peek through. It worked pretty well. I'm wondering how 'real' photographers deal with rain and snow...any suggestions?

One of the things I love most about Autumn in the Northwest is the topaz-y foliage contrasted against somber grey skies. Beautiful.

Maybe that's why I've chosen warm oranges and browns for my family room. It's not quite finished, though. I'm still working on a gallery wall for my photographs. On the right of this pic is a white brick wall and hearth with an old free-standing fireplace. Soon, very soon, I hope, the fireplace will be removed. Then I'll use the brick as a backdrop for my best photographs. And I'll buy or sew some beautiful floor cushions to sit on the hearth; I'm thinking kilim or perhaps some chunky cable-knitted ones.

All in all it's been a wonderful Saturday!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Love the rainy nights

It's raining, it's pouring and Hubby's off to Thursday-night bowling league, so I'm left to my own devices...

My idea of a relaxing evening alone...

Run throughTaco-time's drive thru for a veggie burrito...stop by the library, browse to my heart's content--check out 6 new books; 3 about photography and 3 about life and spirit...tune into Pandora's Spanish guitar station...settle into my easy chair and learn a few new photo editing tricks on my Android while listening to rain on the roof. 
Geeky...perhaps. But I'm a happy geek this evening!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Indian summer has come to an end! The rains have come. We've had something like 70 straight days of sunshine here in Western Washington this summer. Unheard of! It's been lovely, but this Pacific Northwesterner was almost giddy to take a walk in the rain today!

It's amazing how rain intensifies the musky smells of earth and plants. Today on our walk in the woods, the air was laden with the scent of fir and rotting leaves and dirt. Little wrens were chirping with delight...finally able to have a shower! Fishtrap creek is starting to run faster and soon Baron's swimming hole will be deep enough for him to really swim again, instead of just wading around.

I need to stop gardening for awhile. I'm ready to curl up with a good book (just read the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel...wonderful!) and a cup of Earl Grey tea...ready to make some cold-weather comfort food like beef stew and split pea soup...ready for cobalt-grey skies and mud puddles with leaves floating on them, and the reflection of street lights glimmering in them as though they were neon.

I'm ready for rain.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Law of Kindness

Note to Readers: I am breaking my own rule this time. This post is not lovely. I am writing it because I read this morning about something that should never happen. A young girl who took her own life because of cyber-bullying. It makes me so sad and so angry to hear of these things...and it brings back painful memories.

I'm a quiet person. I was a quiet little girl. So changing schools in grade 7 was torture.

It was 1968. I was about to turn 13 years old. That summer was spent mostly in the fenced back yard of our new house, listening to kids laughing and playing next door. I was too shy to go over; even though Jerry, the boy who lived there, according to my mom was the same age as me. I never argued with her when she told me to run over and meet Jerry; I just rolled my eyes and went back to my room. Go next door and meet a BOY? Was she crazy? So instead I spent lonely hours listening to Beatles records and playing with my dog, Honey.

That fall school started. It was rough. Not only was it new, but the kids were different than in my old school. Back in elementary school I had a best friend, Pam. Two peas in a pod, were we. Tall, gangly, a little geeky, kinda silly, but always together. We were 'brains.' Back in elementary, good students were usually well liked.

That wasn't the case in my new middle school. The popular girls were pretty, going steady, smoking, drinking, and even, it was rumored, 'doing it.' I wasn't even 100% sure what 'doing it' meant. But I suspected it was wrong.

From the first day I could see that it was all wrong...me, that is. My saddle shoes and pretty pink wool jumper that mom sewed so painstakingly made me feel dowdy next to Leona R's plaid mini-skirt with matching knee socks and cloggy shoes. Leona was cute and tough and saucy. I sat by her in home room. She had a pretty, new outfit every day...and she told me without any shame that she shoplifted them from the Bon Marche with her older sisters. And Leona had a boyfriend in high school. He used to pick her up after school in his panel van. Her parents protested but she still snuck around behind their backs with Calvin. (Ironically, I read in the paper this week that Leona's sister was booked in jail for shoplifting.)

One Thursday Leona told me that she was going to spend the whole weekend with Calvin. She'd told her parents that she was sleeping over with me, even though I never invited her. She figured since I was new that her folks wouldn't know mine so they wouldn't be able to call and check up on her. I told Leona that was lying.

I dunno what she did that weekend. I just know that come Monday morning back at school, when I went into the bathroom before orchestra practice, my name was written all over the mirrors in crimson lipstick. It said "Debbie M is a BI***, a WH***, and a SL**.  I was so humiliated! I ran out of the bathroom in tears, not knowing what to do. I was too naive to even put it together that Leona was trying to get revenge on me. I couldn't understand why anyone would say those things about me. No one even really knew me yet. I kept to myself all that day, and ran home ahead of all of the other kids...too embarassed to face them.

In the days that followed I noticed that whenever I approached any other girls they would turn their backs on me, whispering and laughing. The boys would look me up and down and guffaw. I still didn't understand. I kept more and more to myself...trying to be invisible. I didn't tell anyone; not even my parents. They wouldn't understand.

 I started looking critically at myself in the mirror. Was I too fat, too plain? Was it that my nose was a little big? Why did everyone hate me? I turned to magazines for answers. Ingenue and Teen Hop said I should smile more. Be outgoing. Wear a little makeup and get with the groove. So I did. Every morning when I left the house I'd carefully roll up my knee-length skirts to make them mini's. I stole mom's Cover-girl mascara and lipstick and put it on after she left for work; careful to wipe it off before I came home from school. And when I saw those kids huddled in groups by their lockers scoffing at me, I held my head up and smiled at them as I passed by;  and even said 'hello'. It worked a little. Some of the geekier girls started to at least say 'hello' back. But nobody ever ate lunch with me, or talked to me in class, or walked home from school with me. Months went by.

One day Leona and her friends were being very cruel to me. We were standing outside our classroom, waiting for Mrs. Bloom to arrive when they started calling me all sorts of awful names and laughing. They didn't notice Mrs. Bloom walking up right behind them as they were heckling me. Mrs. Bloom frowned and said nothing; she just opened the door and told us all to go in and take our seats. A little while later, Mrs. Bloom sent me on an errand to the office. I was down there for awhile. When I returned to the classroom, something was different. The kids were acting a little strange. That afternoon, lots of kids were saying 'hello' back to me when I walked past. I'm now certain that Mrs. Bloom lectured that class about kindness; and perhaps called a few parents! The next day some girls asked me to sit with them at lunch. And slowly, ever so slowly, I began making a few friends. I never befriended Leona or her crowd. I found some girls who like me, had just transferred into the school and we formed our own little group. And I was OK after that. Sort of.

But honestly, after 40 years I must say that I still feel nervous around new people. And I don't trust women very much; especially loud and agressive ones. And sometimes I still wonder if people are saying things behind my back. Yes I've done some counseling and am fine; but I still remember...

So today when I read about this sad, beautiful young girl who took her own life because of cruel cyber-bullying, I wept. I wept for her, for me, and for every person who's ever been the victim of that kind of hatred.

Luckily for me, there was a Mrs. Bloom. And years after that I met Jesus. I've found acceptance in Him, in my family, my friends and my work. My life is good; actually it's great!

That unfortunate girl could have had a great life too. If only...

If only people had been kind. That's all she needed. Kindness. It's not so hard to be kind. It's not costly. It's actually easy. Wouldn't it be great if Kindness were a law? If parents taught their children to be kind and actually modeled it in their day to day lives? How different this world would be! What if the world was full of Mrs. Blooms? 

Proverbs 31 describes a noteable woman this way:  "She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness."

Be kind today. Make your children be kind. You could save somebody's life.

Monday, October 1, 2012

From my journal; I am justified

A post from my journal dated 6/21/06...

Romans 8:33   Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect. It is God that justifieth.

In the light of this New Covenant promise; could an Old Testament Job-type incident occur again? (One where Satan comes before God and accuses Job of only serving God for his favor.) I don't believe that Satan will ever again be permitted to come before the presence of God and accuse the brethren...for according to Romans 8; God himself justifies us. How could such a nefarious scoundrel ever be allowed to stand before Jesus Christ...He who has nail-scars in his hands and feet that were suffered for us?Never for a moment think that your experience is anything at all comparable to Job's. You have a way-better covenant.



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