1266. Man is never out of range of surprises! ~Mehmet Murat ildan

Life is so full of unpredictable
beauty and strange surprises.
~Mark Oliver Everett

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I’m not a professional photographer, but over the years I have and still do take some pretty good photos. However, when I go out on a photo shoot, I’m so focused on the object I’m trying to capture that things often appear in the background that I didn’t see or anticipate. Most of the time it means I have to toss those photos out because something has marred their beauty, but every now and again the unexpected surprise does create a thing of beauty. Such is what happened this morning while I was trying to capture morning glory images. It was very early and a few times my flash popped up, and I don’t really like to take close-up photos in nature with a flash because I find that it distorts the color and in others, the background remains too dark. Then when I edit them and try to lighten the dark background up, bad effects occur on the object(s) in the foreground. But this one above, I really liked because the flash picked up the adjacent neighbor’s pool slide and other objects around his pool that together with the two morning glories created what I think is a nicely colorful vignette.

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This second one was taken several years ago at an indoor rodeo. The barrel racer I was trying to capture was riding extremely fast of course and alongside a railing decorated with American flags which in the camera’s eye created wavy bands of red, white, and blue along with yellow bands from the artificial lighting as well as double visions of her. My daughter and I loved this one so much that as a gift to her I’ve had it blown up and created into what looks like a painting. Surprises like what’s in these 2 photos and other ones I’ve taken are the reasons I’m so passionate about taking photographs and gardening. And I’m fairly sure that I am not the only one surprised and intrigued by strange and unexpected sights.

So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” ~Exodus 3:3  ✝

1250. A vignette-a small illustration or photograph that fades into its background without a definite border. ~New Oxford American Dictionary

For summer there, bear in mind, is a
loitering gossip, that only begins to talk
of leaving when September rises to go.
~George Washington Cable

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Ah summer, barbarous in the sun’s rays,
the sands in your hourglass remain but few
and yet your closing hours have not cooled.
Days now shorter still bring too large a measure
of treacherous heat amid high levels of humidity.
What once were colorful, flowery arrays fade
more and more into backgrounds blurred by eyes
weary of squinting from the blinding rays of sunlight.
There is only a mere tidbit of vignettes of what
once was the garden’s grandeur on an unequaled scale.
So, Rilke, I pray your prayer, and may the Lord
hear my pleas for summer’s heat to come to an end.
~Natalie Scarberry

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Lord, it is time.
The summer was very big.
Lay thy shadow on the sundials, and
on the meadows let the winds go loose.
Command the last fruits that they shall be full;
give them another two more southerly days,
press them on to fulfillment and drive
the last sweetness into the heavenly wine.
~Rainer Maria Rilke

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. ~Isaiah 40:29  ✝

**All photos taken by me in yard; collages by me; and I deliberately blurred the edges of them. 

354. An angel can illuminate the thought and mind of man by strengthening the power of vision. ~St. Thomas Aquinas


Have you been pleasantly surprised lately?
The very gift of life is a surprise.
When we stay alert, we notice how astounding
even the simplest sensation can be:
the tapping of fingers on a keyboard,
sniffing the fragrance of lilacs,
savoring a fresh, juicy strawberry,
hearing a convocation of crows,
seeing the sun pierce through a leaf on the windowsill,
being captivated by an angelic vignette.
~Edited passage from a newsletter
from http://www.gratefulness.org

For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways… ~Psalm 91:11 ✝

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you save, you heal, you restore, and you reveal Your Father’s heart to us! You have captured me with grace and I’m caught in Your infinite embrace!