Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I Finally Got One!

Sorry, I know it has been a few days. I wanted to be regular at this, but I just spent over an hour at the Apple Store learning that my computer is dying. Thankfully a slow death, so I hopefully will be able to back up all of my important data like over 5000 songs and over 7000 pictures. Scary isn't it.

Well I have been trying to get this post out because I am so excited that I finally got some pictures of one of the hawks that hovers around here. Here he is ...

Isn't he such an amazingly cool looking bird! He wasn't very happy with me taking his picture. As I was driving home from 'Wegmans' (yes that is my FAVORITE grocery store on the planet!) I kept my eye up in the trees when I reached his turf. Oh, I have seen him many a time, soaring thru the sky. I actually have been stalking 3 different hawks, hoping to get some good shots. So I started carrying my camera with me. It paid off, cause there he was on the power line. Yeah I know it would have been cooler had he been in a tree, but what am I gonna do, I live in suburbia!

I pulled off on the side of the road, and started shooting. Then I got a little more daring and pulled up right across from him. I was nervous with the window open, cause he was giving me some scary looks. Finally he just let go of the wire and flew a few feet further away from me.

Oh I was so mad when that electrical line got in the way, but wow! I loved the red in his feathers, thus the name Red Tailed Hawk. He landed, I drove up ... took some more pictures, he flew again ... I followed and got this one ...

He started to land again, look at those claws! I am going to post these on my flickr site, if I can get to it. There you can click on the 'all sizes' button and view it close up. Nah, I know they are not the greatest pictures, but for my first try at shooting a hawk, I am a bit excited by the outcome.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Squirrels and Nuts and Life

Aww, isn't he cute!

And this one, having a snack on a park bench.

We have a lot of squirrels in our area. Not just the greys, we have the red ones too. They are everywhere. The grey ones don't bother me so much. But those red ones, boy, they sure can they be mean. They are smaller than the greys - yet chase them out of their territory. No, I do not like the red squirrels, especially when they think their territory is inside my attic, but that is a whole other story.

I want to get back to the squirrel on the park bench. He is having a little snack. Yeah ... he is cute! He is much like my sons, and doesn't pick up after himself. How do I know? I went to check out the area after he had finished his lunch and found this ...

The remains of a black walnut. These things start off as big green balls on the trees. As the summer turns to fall and the wind begins to blow, we hear them dropping on the roof of our house, on our wooden deck and even the driveway. They make a very distinct PLOP! noise as they fall. They are especially loud in the middle of the night, when they fall on the porch roof, right outside my window! My husband makes a great effort to go out and pick them up to dispose of them, but you have to be careful, they have this inky gook inside them that stains your hands if you get it on you.

As fall gets closer to winter, these green balls begin to shrivel and we start finding them, under chairs, in corners on the deck, even in the planters. You have heard of hiding in plain sight? Well the squirrels are not too bright. They do have enough sense to store their food for the winter, but oh, the places we find these black walnuts. Okay ... let's fast forward to Spring and those leavings.

It is pretty cool when you seen them up close. The meat inside is completely gone. You'd think the squirrel had a straw! Completely cleaned out. I guess that is why they have those sharp and tiny teeth. It is pretty neat. It is so dead looking. These black walnuts are actually the 'seeds' of the black walnut trees. If one of those green balls doesn't get picked up, and if the squirrel forgets where he hid one, those dead seeds spring back to life. Kind of like this one ...

No, this is not a black walnut. It is a chestnut. We didn't even know we had chestnut trees in our neighborhood, but we must. A sweet, dear, little squirrel must have hid one of these baby's and then forgot about it. Cause guess what ... that dead nut came back to life.

I guess that is why I love Spring so much. In the winter we all hibernate from the cold. All the life outside leaves. No leaves on the trees, my pink cone flowers die and the birds eat the seeds while scattering some. But then comes the Spring. All of those seeds that were dead, now burst forth with life and bring beauty and sweet fragrances to the earth once again.

It is only perfect then, that we celebrate Resurrection Sunday in Spring. Christ died and was buried. He was gone. No life in Him. Then he rose from the dead bursting forth with beauty and promise for the world.

Remember the parable of the wheat seed? John 12:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
And so in order for us to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God, we too must die, but it is our sinful nature that dies. Galatians 2:20 comes to mind, I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

I hope I haven't made a mess of what I am trying to say. This morning as we reflect on the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord, I hope the season of Spring that surrounds you, is a potent reminder of the abundant life God has waiting for us, when we surrender ourselves completely to Him.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Sunday Morning in March

March 8th. The fog was rather thick, as I dropped two of my sons of at the church for a warm up with the worship band before services started. I passed by the park next to the town hall and thought the pond looked so beautifully still with all the fog. I had a bit of time, so I stopped back home and grabbed my camera. I probably should start carrying it with me. Anyway ...

It was so very peaceful. The fog completely covered the area. You couldn't even see the road and the cars passing directly behind the trees in this shot. The peace and quiet (when the cars weren't passing by) was so calming and relaxing. Then all of a sudden I heard the squawking. Oh my goodness the Canada Geese around here are so loud. I didn't see them for a while until they broke thru the mist aiming straight for the pond.

The water was so still it made a mirror image of their landing. Such a contrast it was. Peaceful, quiet, restful and calm ...

The birds bodies were reflected in the still glass of the pond, until they landed ...

Not only was the water disrupted, but the peace and quiet was gone. I was thrilled to see the birds so close up and to have been able to capture their landing, but they were so loud. Actually it was only one of them that was loud. And it wouldn't stop squawking. I don't know what the other goose did to deserve such a tongue lashing ...

And it was a violent tongue lashing. As I reflect on this event, I can't help but make the parallel my family has shared with me. Every once in a while, I will go out shopping on a Saturday morning. The house is peaceful and quiet, so I am told, until I come home and start squawking to everyone to "put this away" and "why isn't this done" etc..

Wow - after experiencing this bird's tongue lashing and breaking of the peace ... I hopefully will remember how awful that disruption was on that Sunday morning at the pond, before I create a disruption of my own at home.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Solid Rock

The image above should be a familiar one. It is Niagara Falls. It is the American Falls at Niagara Falls, viewed from Goat Island, USA. There are 3 falls at the park, American Falls, Bridal Falls and of course the Horseshoe Falls. All of them showcase the mighty power of the Niagara River as it rushes over the edge.

Have you seen it from this side. This is the river moving towards the drop. The mist is that of the water crashing to the rocks below. The current is strong and mighty. It is very dangerous.

Now lets turn and face the river as it approaches that point. Small rocks create tiny waterfalls, in anticipation for the big one. But wait, what is that I see on the rocks? Seagulls? That is what they are, and they are standing on the rocks in the mighty, powerful, rushing Niagara River. I have to zoom in on this ....

Here we are, one bird, on one rock, with the overwhelming strength of the river surrounding him. How on earth is he accomplishing this? He is standing on a rock. You knew that was coming didn't you. Yep, in the midst of the torrent and deluge of water, that bird is standing strong and is not shaken. The foundation he stands on is strong and powerful and rooted to the core. It doesn't matter how strong and powerful the river is, the foundation that bird is on is stronger!

This morning I am writing this more for me, than anyone else. In the midst the torrent of life, the overwhelming flood of to do lists, the pressures we have coming from every direction, we can stand strong and firm in who we are, if we are standing on the Rock of Jesus Christ. He is our firm foundation. He is our Solid Rock.

We can make good decisions, if we stay rooted on our Rock. In Matthew 7 we read about the wise man and the foolish man who each chose a different foundation with which to build their houses on. Verse 25 says, "The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."

As I try to make the right choices in my life today, I want to remember this bird. It weighs but a couple of pounds, and yet, standing firm and solid on the rock, he is not tossed and carried over the torrent.

He is confident.

He is not afraid.

He is steadfast.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Flight 3407, It's Been Almost 2 Months

With the exception of 3 years in Virginia, all of my life I have lived near the Buffalo International Airport. For the last 11 years I have lived under the approach or landing path (depending on the weather) of the same airport.

I've always been completely amazed how such huge and heavy aircraft, stay a flight. I have always looked up in awe as they pass overhead. I've loved the sound and the power. I loved watching them approach thru our back window, hearing them overhead and then quickly disappearing from sight.

Personally, I hate to fly. When you experience turbulence, there is nothing you can hold on to, that makes you feel secure and safe. I can't believe it has been almost 2 months, since Flight 3407 dropped from the sky in Clarence Center. Much too close to our house. I thank God that many of the sounds of that night, especially the plane coming overhead, have dimmed in my mind, and I don't hear it over and over again.

The work at the site was completed so quickly, although when the weather is warmer, they have more restoration work to do such has planting grass and such for the people in the neighborhood whose lawns were destroyed by all of the heavy equipment and such, brought in to deal with the results of that horrific event.

Our lives have gone on. It is tragic to say. Although there are still moments during the day when I dwell on it and the magnitude of the loss for so many, things for my family have continued on in this 'new normal'. I hate the sound of the airplanes at night now.

There are two houses missing on Long Street. There is a billboard of sorts at the end of the road by the fire hall. There continue to be fund raisers to help the families and for the memorials. They still have road signs, saying the road is closed, but that doesn't stop people from coming to see what remains. On the weekend the traffic is noticeably heavier for our small community. The cars slow down and then turn around to go back. Our amazing first responders are still dealing with emotions and traumatic shock. The families of those who left this life are desperately missing their loved ones.

On the morning of Valentines Day, I walked out in my backyard. The tail of the plane was still huge from the rubble about 150 yards away. I walked back to the creek that runs right by the crash site before passing thru my yard. What I saw brought tears to my eyes. Ice had formed on all of the brush on either side of the creek. It looked like huge tears. I ran into the house and grabbed my camera and started taking pictures.

So many were so deeply affected by this tragedy. To me it looked like even nature was responding. The bible tells us in Luke 19:40 that if we don't praise God, the rocks will cry out in praise. If nature can praise, then nature can weep. That is what I concluded when I finally got the pictures on the computer.

Yes ... Even Nature Weeped for the many who left us on February 12, 2009.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

About Composition Life - How it all began ...

Back in April 2009, I really began to enjoy reading blogs. Pioneer Woman was the first one I really experienced. I loved her banter, her recipes, and her photographs. I began to follow MckMama and the journey of her son Stellan. I was so impressed and encouraged by her candor in sharing her faith. The same faith I have, that has helped me thru some very difficult chapters of life. Her blog made me think how perhaps if I had a blog of my own, I too, could be an encourager to someone, somewhere out there in cyberspace.

At first I wasn't sure what to even write about. Did I really have anything to share? But every time I sat down to the computer, I felt led by God to share certain thoughts with certain pictures. It reminded me of all the years I led worship and tried to put thoughts together. But, not every post is inspirational. Sometimes I am bragging about my boys. I can't help it. God has blessed me with 3 awesome sons and a wonderful loving husband.

I have met some awesome and inspirational folks in these last few months.

are just a few of the sights that have inspired me to continue and strive to be better. Since then I have met and have joined in following MANY bloggers who have so much to share. I have a lot of them listed on the side bar under Blogs I Follow. It's been a lot of fun. Not sure where it will take me, but the joy is in the journey isn't it?

I Love To Take Pictures

My mom took tons of pictures and movies of us growing up. I guess her love of preserving the family thru photography rubbed off on me. I love to take pictures! My first camera was one of those polaroid camera's that you pulled the photo out of and let it set for 60 seconds. Poof - there was the picture! From there I got my Kodak instamatic 110. Eventually I moved on to a 35 mm. But the expense of buying film and getting it developed was always tough for me. Not to mention that when my pictures came back, there were always more going in the trash, than being kept.
5 or 6 years ago I finally went digital. I started with a a pretty simple point and shoot. Then I moved to a Kodak EasyShare Z650 and I started taking pictures of my son's baseball team. The EasyShare was a great little camera. I still use it for video's. I just found that it wasn't fast enough to get the important shots at baseball, and I couldn't do much about the lighting. So last year we moved up another level. I say we, because my husband has been a great encourager all
along the way. He gifted me with a Canon Rebel XTi for Christmas 2007, and then a combined gift for Mother's Day and my birthday (both in May) was a 70 -200mm
f/4L lens. I have been having a ball ever since.

I am such an amateur, but I am loving the journey, and the practice. I guess shooting the baseball games is one of my favorites. I have gotten some great action shots. I am not very good at planning shots and getting them right. I've have been taking a lot of nature shots, now that spring has arrived. I post many of my shots on my flickr page , I'd be curious what you think. I will post some things here as well. The butterfly and bee shot at the top of my blog thrilled me to
no end, when I captured it. And I guess that is why I keep shooting. And then there is this mink ...

He lives at the back of my yard, and he is ever illusive. I want more than his back side, but that's about what I have gotten so far.

All I can do is keep trying.