Bee

red and yellow zinnia with bee

Bee

The bright red color of this zinnia is what originally caught my eye, but once I noticed the bee buzzing around it, I began shooting away hoping to get a decent shot of it at work.  This image was taken with a new lens, and I really like the way the petals seem to pop out of it.  Once again, I am reminded of the simplistic beauty of my surroundings!

Chapel at Tlaquepaque

sedona chapel

Chapel at Tlaquepaque

Located in the beautiful and serene red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, is a fabulous little arts and crafts village known as Tlaquepaque.  It is a life long vision and creation of Abe Miller, who sought out this perfect location for a living arts community which would reflect the beauty and perfection of its natural surroundings.  The word Tlaquepaque is from the ancient language of the Aztecs, meaning the “best of everything.”  This small sanctuary is known as the Chapel at Tlaquepaque.  It is beautifully peaceful amid all of the shops and restaurants in the village, and its grounds offered much appreciated shade on a hot June afternoon.

 

Navajo Pup

chain up dog on car hood

Navajo Pup

So I am, for sure, in and out of commission this week due to the massive wind storms we have had in Virginia.  No power or water at my house, and nothing but hot, hard manual labor to be done, so I’m grabbing time and connection wherever I can.

This dog, a Navajo pet, has somehow gotten accustomed to being chained up outside in the 102 degree heat.  This is, sadly, how many dogs on the reservation spend their days.  This particular pup is fortunate to have a car hood to seek shade under when the sun gets unbearable.  As I picked up his children for Bible School, they told me his name is Bear.  I guess he is pretty lucky, as far as Navajo dogs go.

Sandia Sunset

albuquerque new mexico sunset

Sandia Sunset

The last night of our mission trip, I got to enjoy this beautiful sunset, with great friends, from atop Sandia Peak near Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The terrain and views from the tram were breathtaking as we traveled up the 2.7 miles of cable to the observation area at 10,378 feet.  It was a peaceful ending to a wonderful trip, and an experience I won’t soon forget.

Quintessential Cowboy

cowboy on bench in santa fe

Quintessential Cowboy

As friends who were with me could attest to, it took several attempts to capture this image of a waiting cowboy in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  He was interesting to me, with his yellow shirt and matching boots as he sat, kicked back, waiting for his shopping companion.  I didn’t want too much background distraction, and it was a busy day in the square, but I finally lucked upon a scene in which he was the only character.  I am fairly happy with the result, as I think it portrays the true feeling of Santa Fe.

Frog (guest post by Ashley Waite)

Frog in a pond in vermont

This photo was taken almost two years ago to the date, while my family was on a vacation in Canada and Vermont.  While exploring the grounds of the house we were renting, I saw this frog by the edge of a pond.  He was huge and not intimidated at all of me teetering on the edge of his pond with my camera lens in his face.  My favorite thing about this photo though is the memory it evokes of my husband coming up minutes later and catching (and then re-catching) this frog as it leaped around the yard.

 

Southwest Sunflower

sunflower against bright blue desert sky

Southwest Sunflower

This sunflower, one of several in the area, towered over my head as it stretched toward the bright blue early morning sky in Bluff, Utah.  It seems amazing to me that these can grow this tall and strong out of nothing but sand and red dirt.  It was a welcome relief to the eye from the dusty reds and browns of the surrounding scenery.

Margarita (guest post by Kyle Moore)

Margarita in Cinque Terre, Italy on the Beach

In the fall of 2011, I had the opportunity to study and travel in Europe. One of the first and most memorable weekend trips I took was to Cinque Terre, Italy. The steep cliffs seem to be no place for homes or businesses, but the beauty of the area is too good to pass up. I enjoyed this margarita just outside of the most southern of the five (Cinque) lands/towns (Terre), Riomaggiore at a restaurant perched atop the Mediterranean Sea.

 

First Star

star in the desert southwest sky

First Star

The stars… one of the best reasons to visit the isolated areas of the desert Southwest!  From the minute the sun sets behind the unique rock formations, the dusky sky becomes littered with tiny twinkling lights.  Certainly, the same event happens night after night anywhere you are, but the ability to really see and appreciate it is something truly phenomenal where the sky is as wide open as it is in the Four Corners area.