3 Surprising Reasons Why Birding Can Help You

Birding and Alzheimer’s Prevention During my impressionable growing up years, my mom ran a respite care business in our home. The ladies she cared for introduced me to the problems with aging: forgetfulness, fading memories, and loss of dignity through dementia and Alzheimer’s. I didn’t know many kids my age who could identify ‘Alzheimer’s’ as a proper noun, and not a Southern rendition of ‘Old Timer’s.’ Ever since those days, I thought that memory loss and odd behaviors went hand-in-hand…

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Beauty Lurks in Unexpected Places

Beauty Lurks Beauty lurks in unexpected places hoarfrost springs from a shriveled red berry beneath a subzero sky Beauty hovers at wood’s edge speckled fawn twitching elegant ears, blinks slowly in dappled sunshine. Beauty hides behind dark clouds sunrise stretches fingers out across the water filled with snowy geese. Beauty peeks from angry eyes, of a girl too young to carry life’s burdens on slender shoulders, itching to escape Beauty manifests hope as a young man reaches out a hand…

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Have You Ever Regretted Taking a Trail?

Hitting the Wall at Eight Thousand Feet “I think I’m going to barf! I need to lay down.” “Seriously?” Sarah slowed to a stop and looked back at me. “Shouldn’t have eaten those cherry-flavored licorice vines,” I muttered as I dropped my camera pack to the ground. “My throat is killing me. I need water.” “I have about a teaspoon left,” Sarah said as she handed me her water bottle. “You can have it. I feel fine.” “Thanks.” I sank…

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Let Light Transform You From Bleh to Beautiful

I love hummingbirds—small, speedy, colorful and difficult-to-photograph birds that measure from 2.75 inches to 5.5 inches in length. These measuring-spoon sized avian acrobats act like California Condors when defending their territory from foreign invasion (i.e., other birds approaching ‘its’ feeder). I feel tired just watching a hummingbird. Their hearts can beat up to 1260 times per minutes (a cardiologist’s nightmare). They excel in foreign acquisitions (they build expandable nests out of insect and spider silk). A hummingbird can consume up…

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The Things that Motivate Me to Leave My Comfort Zone

Can a Bird Motivate Me? “There’s a rare bird in Anchorage,” I said. Pedro rolled his eyes. “It’s a hawfinch,” I explained. “They live in Europe.” Pedro may have sighed AND rolled his eyes. “I suppose you want to go look for it?” I grinned. “Absolutely! While you hang out with Laura, Louis, and Abel, I’ll just pop into Anchorage and pick up some things at Costco and look for the bird.” “What about the weather?” he asked. “No snow…

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All About Art: Ten Quick Tips to Improve Your Photography

Pho-tog-ra-phy•noun: the art, process, or job of taking pictures with a camera. For a long time I thought I couldn’t do art because I didn’t consider myself artistic. But art plays an important role in our lives. God created us to create; therefore, we need to express ourselves artistically. Not everyone can draw, but everyone CAN do art. Some people find artistic expression in needlepoint or counted cross stitch. Some people take photos. Photography IS Art You’ll notice that Merriam-Webster’s…

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Find Your Pod, Tell Your Story

Sto-ry • noun: an account of incidents or events We can nurture ourselves through story—both by sharing our story and listening to other people’s stories. Find Your Pod, Tell Your Story The captain of the whale-watching tour ship called out over the loudspeakers, “Look to nine o’clock and you’ll see a bottlenose dolphin!” The passengers rushed to the port side and crowded eagerly around the railing. “Do you see it?” I asked one of my students. “Over dere,” he said,…

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Overlooking the Plain is Overlooking the Plan

A Plain Bird I spotted a bird sitting on the curb across from my house as I headed out the door for a run. Never one to miss a photo op with a bird, I ran back inside for my camera. I thought that perhaps the resident juvenile Cooper’s Hawk had dropped by for a visit. Focusing the lens, I called out to my youngest daughter. “Sarah!  It’s not my hawk, it’s a roadrunner!”  We took turns looking through the…

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Birder’s Paradise? Or Birding in Paradise

Texas in the Summer I clutched the dripping Gatorade bottle with one sweaty palm and unscrewed the cap with trembling fingers. They might call Texas a birder’s paradise, but it felt a little more…hotish, shall we say? For the past three hours, I had wandered the trails of Resaca de la Palma State Park—on a toasty 98˚ with 80 percent humidity July day. Most people enjoy the World Birding Center parks in the fall or spring. The weather turns balmy…

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The ‘Other Lessons’ that Inspire (aka, When We Don’t Get What We Want)

A Journey to Inspire Me The boat rocked back and forth as it rose and fell with the swells of the ocean. The deep blue of the water vied with the sky for my attention. On the horizon, thunderheads piled up between us and the receding shore line. I couldn’t wait to discover the secrets of the open ocean and let them inspire me in some creative way. The hot wind whipped my curls into my eyes. I didn’t bother…

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