Friday, 29 October 2010

Us and Nature

This morning I've been thinking about volcanos. Probably because my husband mentioned earthquakes and tsunamis to me - and another friend has mentioned an earthquake in Alaska.

The reaction to the planes being grounded over Europe has always tickled me. Yup, you got that right. I'm very amused by it. See. A plane flying  in the area of Indonesia sees St. Elmo's Fire, engines cut out ... the plane seems to be crashing ... thankfully the engines restart when the plane drops low ... but when they finally land, they fine that the plane has effectively been, for want of a better word, sandblasted. Fine. So the cause of all that is a volcanic cloud. No problem. We just direct planes AROUND volcanic cloud in future.

But ...  NOT IN MY BACK YARD! Yup - you got that in one ... NIMBY! That's what some people who live in first world countries are ... nimbys. When such an incident crosses over into (arguably) first world countries, that's what the people living there become.

Get a grip on it ... there are several things bigger than us humans, and nature just happens to be one of them. Personally, I'll never attempt to step into an aircraft if there's a volcanic cloud anywhere nearby ... however much it costs me ... and too, I hope we never get big and ugly enough that we learn how to control nature. It's one of the few things that keeps us humble.

(most of this in reaction to people questioning why the planes were grounded in the first place)

Thursday, 28 October 2010

... shakes head ...

Last night as I was driving to visit a friend, a fellow-road user did something that really left me wondering. You see, en route to my friends house there is a toll bridge (the Swinford Toll Bridge, for those interested), the usage of which costs 5p (yes, that is five whole pennies) per pass. Seriously, it does NOT cost a lot, even if one uses it every day twice a day!!

Now, my dear fellow road-user decided that they apparently either did not have five pennies on them, or couldn't be a***d to pay any. So what do they do. Well, I pulled up behind them, and noticed that they were approaching the toll booth really slowly. Then the shot off, almost paused as they passed the booth, and then went on over the bridge. Simultaneously the occupant of the booth turned around to notice them disappearing into the distance. It was about then that I realised what they'd done. I pulled up alongside, the occupant of the booth and I shook heads, exchanged wry smiles, I handed over my five pennies, and went on my way.

My question is, why couldn't this individual just have pulled up alongside the booth, admitted to not having 5p, and then gone on their way? There was nothing the money-taker could have done to prevent them from proceeding (there is NO space to turn around), but surely a little courtesy, honesty and such like is ... decent? But no, they decided to be ... dishonest ... and just sneak past while the money-taker's back was (albeit very briefly) turned.

... shakes head ...

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

So effortless!

How do writers make their stories so effortless?

This has been plaguing me for a while. Reading the finished product, one goes 'of course' ... but the power of the imagination that drives a novel - especially scifi or fantasy - and the storytelling ability that goes into creating such a believable world .... well, I find writing a challenge - especially when it comes to a complex storyline. Give me a simple one any day!

So: hats off to writers! (excluding this one, of course ;-) )

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Do you have respect .....

... for nature?

There are two things (apart from the internet and reading) that can make me lose time: streams, and waves. A bubbling brook is a great soother, but I have to say, I just love waves. And the rockier the coastline, the better!

I always challenge myself, especially when seeing waves crashing over rocks like in the photo at left, to take a photo when the splash is at its highest point - and preferable above the horizon! As was the case with this photograph. Many many waves crashed over these rocks at Hermanus, South Africa, before I caught this moment. And I'm not ashamed to say that it is one of my best wave-splash photos ever.

Further than this though, the sea itself fascinates me. Probably because it's so vast, unknowable and dangerous. I've read many books about people who have, for example, sailed around the world. I'd LOVE to do that myself ... except for one thing. I have a built-in wariness of drowning. For me, that would be the most horrible way to die. So much so, it took years before I watched the movie Titanic - mostly because I had seen White Squall previously - I can't bear ships sinking either - although at the same time this scenario (all to real) also holds a morbid fascination.

'Fear' would probably be a better term to use than 'fascination' ... and is probably more correct. Although I dislike admitting to fear, as for me, that is something that I have been taught to not do. Perhaps a better way of putting it is 'strong sense of self-preservation' - which certainly kicks in when it comes to things of the sea. Flight would definitely take place!

Either rate, I will now go and enjoy the water that is falling from the sky ... at least that is currently a safe option :-)

Monday, 25 October 2010

Do they regret?

Just a thought for today, really. I was just looking at a list of classic scifi novels, which included Dune, Fahrenheit 451, The Left Hand of Darkness, that were initially rejected by publishers, and then went on to be bestsellers and win prestigious awards. I just wonder, do those publishers who reject books that later become bestsellers ever regret their decisions?

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Do what you can!

I think I figured something out yesterday! Taking life one day at a time is the sane way to get through it!!

Have you ever had people say to you "do this for the next 90 days" ... or worse, "you'll have to drink 2 litres of water a day every day for the rest of your life". I can bet you can identify with these statements and similar.

One of the things that I learnt a few years ago is that one shouldn't look into the future because we never know what will happen. Especially for those of us who trust in God, we very often take His presence out of our imagined future, causing a situation in which we fear the future. But on top of this ... when someone says 'you'll have to do this for the rest of your life' - what happens? The heart sinks, one quickly loses energy, and depression sets in.

So this is what I learned yesterday. As with any big task, just deal with it one step at a time - and in this case, one day at a time. We don't know what tomorrow will bring, and as the Bible says, every day has enough trouble .... so, instead of thinking about tomorrow, or any other days, just deal with today, and do what you can today.

Personally, I've found that this perspective gives me more energy to do the things that I know I SHOULD be doing every day ... I just do what I can today.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Collecting Christmas Carols, Songs and Poetry

I am busy collating a list of (and the lyrics for) Christmas Carols and songs. It certainly will not be a definitive list, but I would find it helpful if people could let me know what their favourite Christmas Carol or song is.

You will see that I haven't mentioned poetry yet, and that is because the criteria here is slightly different. I would like to have NICE poetry. For those who don't know, back in December 2004 I watched 'The Nation's Favourite Christmas Poems' on BBC here in the UK, and was bitterly disappointed at what I heard. I wrote this poem in reaction to what I had heard, I was so upset. At the time I did not consider myself to be either a writer or a poet, but I personally feel that the poem is pretty good!

If you give me any poetry suggestions, then, I am looking for poetry that does NOT include a rendition of a drunken office party!! Please. :-)

I am very grateful in advance for any assistance that I get!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Identities - chasing after the wind??

I've been thinking about identities again. This is mostly due to several things over the last few days that have pointed me back to this search for an identity. Although I think the nature of the search has been slightly modified.

By 'identity' I've realised, I don't so much mean 'who am I?' as a sense of peace about who I am and what I stand for. This has previously been sold to me in the wrapping of 'know who you are in God, place your sense of identity with Him, and you will be at peace with who you are'. However, I will admit that I'm beginning to question this.

My main reasons for questioning this perspective come right out of the Bible. If one looks at various people whose appear in the Bible, one comes across a wide range of doubters, anxiety-sufferers, depressives ... those are the few I can think of right now, I'm quite sure that the list goes on (apart from the murderers, adulterers etc) ... Anyways, what I guess I'm trying to get at is that, even though these people knew God, and in some cases, very well, they still had issues with themselves and the world in which they lived. They certainly did not perpetually radiate an aura of peace and tranquility. No, more often they spent their time questioning God!

So, I'm beginning to think that perhaps finding this sense of identity, this sense of peace, belonging, security ... is a chasing after the wind. Certainly, as an end in itself, or even a means to [whatever] end, it will not provide the sense of fulfilment desired. Ultimately, I guess, one needs to be 'oneself' - whatever or whoever that is - and eventually one will get to know oneself. I don't know. And I'm not sure I'm making too much sense either!

This doesn't mean that I discount following God and searching for one's identity in Him - I just feel that one can try to do that for all the wrong reasons, and end up getting nowhere. Hmmmm.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

AH ..... the bliss ....

... of an early night!

This last weekend I was late every night. Have you ever tried that? You sit at your computer, working away ... but as you work, the strength drains out of you. You feel your muscles getting droopy, and have to fight extra-hard to stay awake. Cheeks begin to hurt, eyes battle to stay open and your back gets tense. 

Ok, so, many people do late nights. But I find myself less and less able to do it. Especially if it's a string of them. I still don't quite fathom how I used to go for weeks on 5 hours' sleep a night at uni. Perhaps it was the midnight snack at the Steers downtown!

Ah well ... last night, it was just bliss to lay my head on the pillow at 10pm, knowing that I had done my work, and done it to the best of my ability.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Break Time

I'm taking a break from writing this weekend. In the midst of a copy-editing project, and loads of other things happening. I will try to restart next Monday. In the meantime, may you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Rest day

I'm taking things easy today. So this is a short blog post. I'm currently working on a copy-editing project, so do not have a lot of time for writing. I will, however, leave you with this thought:

"Nothing seems secure anymore."

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

They've got one out!

"They've got one out!" The shout rang out through the walkways, habitats and flyers of the planets, triggering celebrations in every corner of the Federation. People hugged their neighbours, shed a tear.

Two hundred and twenty nailbiting days were finally drawing to a close. When the exploration vessel had veered off course on a heading for the outer rim and the void beyond, a chase ship had been scrambled and sent out after it, knowing well that this was their only chance to escape gruesome death. Eventually travelling at near light-speed, the rescue attempt had used every gravity assist the experts could find, in addition to their powerful anti-matter engines, to reach the stricken vessel as quickly as possible.

Daily tri-vids had kept the populations of the Federation updated on both the stricken crew and the rescue vessel. Psychs had maintained a running commentary - peppered with sage advice - on the condition of the doomed vessel's crew, while the Senators bickered about the cost of the rescue. Ultimately, however, sense had prevailed and the Federation had done the sensible thing: what was in its power to do.

Across the screens, the tri-vid from the rescue ship briefly showed the runaway, and the slender umbilical cord that connected its crew members to life. Barely visible on the screens, the 10-kilometre long link was a mere thread, the circumference that of a slender spaceman. Then the vid shifted, revealing the second crewman pulling hand over hand towards the end of the tunnel.

Written to commemorate the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The Nighttime Rollercoaster

"Sleeping hard" just doesn't describe it. I feel like I've just stepped off a rollercoaster. I'm wiped out and the day has barely begun!

And it wasn't the tossing and turning - although there was a fair amount of that. Clearly our duvet is good insulation, because it was chilly out there! No. My dreams had me leaping from one concept to another. Lingerie modelling (do NOT ask ... lol); working in a South African Bistro (that's the only word I can think of) in London where the clients were the waiters and one couldn't understand what anyone was asking for; being chased by a shark-toothed version of Bond's Jaws (rather comical, actually. He was quite sweet); being on a coach with a guy from Terminator Salvation (who was NOT from said movie!); meeting the "cinema freaks" - a family who love Merlin ... again, don't ask; to being back at university and basically never at class (this is NOT like me) ........

MAN, where did that lot come from!! Clearly someone has decided I needed an active night so that I'd be raring and ready to go in the morning (which I almost am), so that I can get on with a mega copy-editing project that's just landed on my plate. So here goes ....

Monday, 11 October 2010

Saying "No" ...

Why is there such a problem with this two-letter word? One would think that, being one of the shortest decision-making words around, it would be a very easy one to use, but over and over I hear people saying 'I can't say "no" ...'

Do we let people down by saying 'no'? Do we miss out on a good time? Do we miss out on earning more money? Do we miss out on free time? Are we insecure about ourselves, and therefore say 'yes' all the time?

Sure, all of these things - but consider these questions: Do we build ourselves up? Do we allow others to abuse our good natures - does it become more about 'I have to do it' than 'I like to do it'? Do we take responsibility for things that should be other people's responsibility? Do we encourage mismanagement by not saying 'no'? Do we become 'people-pleasers', unwilling to upset anybody?

Regarding the last question, it's a well-known fact that one will die before one can please everybody.

Personally, I do not find it easy to say 'no' either. However, I have learnt that, when it comes to contractual obligations, there are boundaries that should not be crossed, such as working overtime without recompense; taking on duties that one has no training for; keeping quiet when one is not given the tools to do what one is required to do. These are instances that, for me, cause stress, and stress is by far the most unhealthy condition on the planet, I think. Therefore I have learned to draw the line on these points.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Immovable Object - or not?

Last week Friday this bird intrigued me so much that I had to photograph it. Now you're wondering 'Why? ... It's a common Wood Pigeon!'

You see, for about an hour and a half, this bird just sat there. It didn't budge. I had to actually watch it for about five minutes to check that it was actually alive! And that was only because it occassionally made very small movements of the head.

Thankfully it eventually did leave, long after I had started to get worried about it. I suspect it was a juvenile, and didn't know where to go next. Who knows.

How often do we just stagnate? Do the people around us have to check up on us to see that we're alive? Perhaps sometimes it's a good thing if they do ....

Saturday, 9 October 2010

A fine challenge today has been!

Well, following my last two posts, I've had a real challenge on my hands today (I'm writing this on Friday evening). I've battled to keep my anger down when I was on the receiving end of two emails that I really do not feel I deserved, at the same time as trying to remember my post from yesterday! Forgiveness has been very hard to come by ... and although I've SAID to God that I forgive the people involved, I'm still feeling rather tense and unsettled about the whole situation.

As my comment to the previous post says, I KNOW in my head that forgiving is far better than seeing revenge, but trying to get that knowledge down to the heart is a real battle. And it isn't made easier by the following, which I read today:

Don't seek retribution. Instead, '...overcome evil with good' (Romans 12:21). God said, '...Vengeance is mine; I will repay' (Romans 12:19). Don't rush to judgement.

That's not always easy when you're the injured party, but the ultimate Judge said, 'With what judgement you judge, you will be judged...' (Matthew 5:24 NKJV). Make things right. Jesus said, ' reconciled to your brother...' (Matthew 5:24 NIV). Don't wait for the other person to make the first move, you do it. Paul says, 'Make every effort to live in peace with all men...' (Hebrews 12:14 NIV). Pray for the offender. As much as it goes against your grain, when you '...pray for those who mistreat you' (Luke 6:28 NIV), God gives you the grace to forgive and see them through His eyes.

(taken from 'The Word for Today').

This is still a challenge for me as I write, but I am, thankfully, getting calmer as the hours go by, and more charitable - more willing to make allowances for things that were said.

Friday, 8 October 2010


Following on from yesterday's post ....

I just don't know right now where to completely give up on people or not. And saying as much just breaks my heart, as I'm not one to give up. But I keep coming back to a passage I read yesterday morning, which actually made me go and modify the last sentence of yesterday's blog post to how it got posted - that sentence was far more final before. Anyways, this is the post:

'Make allowance for each other's faults...' Colossians 3:13 NLT

When it comes to forgiving, you can't say it better than Tim Stafford did: 'I would rather be cheated a hundred times, than develop a heart of stone.'

The Bible says,  'Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.' You don't get to choose who you'll forgive. Love is a command, forgiveness is an act of obedience. 'He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother' (1 John 4:21 NIV). You can't be closer to God than you are to the people you love least. God sets the bar high because grudges are like cancer, and forgiveness is the laser that removes them. Bitterness chains us to the past, destroys families, divides churches and sours relationships. Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the handcuffs of hate.

Take your hurt feelings to God and say, 'Point out anything... that offends you...' (Psalm 139:24 NLT). It takes courage, but that's the kind of prayer He answers. It gets easier as you grow in Christ; in the meantime you have to work at it. As a child of God His Spirit lives inside you. You're no longer a slave to sin (Romans 6:14). God knows it's hard to forgive deep-seated hurts, but He will give you grace to do it.

To 'make allowance' means to take a charitable view and consider extenuating circumstances. People change and grow over time, so don't insist on clinging to a limited, outdated view of them. Try to see them as they are today. Most folks are doing their best based on the knowledge and understanding they have now, so give them a break!

Me again: to be honest, I'm still thinking about it. This is definitely something I'm ... thinking and praying about ... not because I don't want to forgive, becausee I do ... but I need to go past a lot of pain to get there.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Is Moving to a New Country Easy?

Well, it depends. The first time I moved to England (alone), it was quite easy. Probably because I was younger and didn't think too much about it! I made some good friends within three months of arriving, took things easy, and found a church that welcomed me in. That church became the foundation for my life here in England, and I appreciated it. I still see friends from that church on occassion.

Second time around (with my husband), however, the answer has to be a "No". Although the country is again England (I returned to South Africa - another 'new country' move - in the meantime), the situation is totally different. Some things were easy. God provided work for my husband (I came over with work intact) within a very short space of time, we had sufficient finances to cover eventualities, and we were able to eventually move into fully-furnished accomodation (plus car) thanks to some dear friends who were moving to South Africa. God does work all things together!

Beyond that, however, it has not been easy at all. We are the outsiders in the community, understandably, but we are also the outsiders in our church. This is, to me, a completely foreign situation, as my understanding of church is that strangers should be welcomed in, tested (do they believe what we believe?), and be made to feel part of the church family.

Writing this over a year and a half after we arrived in the town, I am still struggling to comprehend this. For me, the church family, not clubs and societies, has been what I have learned should be one's avenue for finding stability, friends and fellowship. I feel like I have to question this understanding, due to this figurative carpet being swept out from under my feet.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

More on Secrets

I can personally say that, bearing in mind what I blogged about yesterday, it is far easier to 'get it off your chest' than to keep quiet about the deepest, darkest things that one wants to hide away. And that if God is the only person (being?) one can turn to, then that is certainly better than having no-one to turn to. I know what it is to have no-one to turn to but God. I once made a mistake, and lost a friend as a result. It hurt, like nothing else could hurt. I was so angry at myself for being so stupid. I eventually found comfort in the fact that God knows everything about me before I even talk to him, and that he still loves me, even when I make mistakes. And he doesn't go telling what he knows to those around me. He listens when I turn to him, and does not judge me. I could talk to him about how I felt, and even knowing that he alone (at the time) knew what I'd done, it was strangely comforting.

In my friendships I do what I can to provide my friends, when they're hurting, with a safe haven. I have always maintained that 'it is always better to have at least one person one can talk to' - and if they have no-one else who will listen, I do my best to be that listener.

I think however, that one needs to include, along with these 'secrets', frustrations. I get very frustrated about things (and it's an old frustration ... some things do not change), and I rarely let people know that I am frustrated. This is because there's often fingers pointing away from me, but I then remember that there some pointing back at me too, and that makes me think. I can honestly say that I have yet to find out why those fingers point back at me.

My Mom has always told me that writing things down is the best way to deal with secrets and frustrations, because then God can work with it. It certainly is therapeutic to write, although for many years playing the piano was the therapy that would put my thoughts back on track when I was frustrated. I think the most important thing to do is, find something constructive that allows your mind to free-wheel while you're busy, and that builds you up instead of breaks you down. Playing music and writing definitely appear to be two options - for me, at least.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Secrets (2)

I am aware that this post and yesterday's are extracts from another source, and not my own personal thoughts. Tomorrow's post will be my answer to these posts, so please bear with me. I will say, however, that this particular extract gelled most with me - probably because it provides more of a visual, real-life demonstration of our need to get our darkest thoughts and secrets off our chests than the previous one does.

'...I'll make a clean breast of my failures to God...' Psalm 32:5 TM

Hidden among the sand dunes on Bird Island, North Carolina, is a postbox marked 'Kindred Spirits'. Inside are notebooks and pencils visitors can use to record their thoughts and prayers in anonymity. Author Zoƫ Elmore says, 'I'm amazed what people have written... heart wrenching confessions... their deepest and darkest secrets... prayers of desperation... People... willing to put down... things they'd never share with family or friends... and place them in a mailbox on a secluded island. These writings are an indication of everyone's need to be heard in a safe environment... to get things off our chest without interruption or condemnation. As a child of God we have a true Kindred Spirit to whom we can pour out our hearts... His name is Jesus and you just have to call on Him... He's waiting to listen to your innermost fears and private thoughts. Perhaps you have things you're longing to share; secrets you've kept far too long... I have great news... it's possible to experience freedom - without visiting Bird Island! Call on the Name of Jesus... pour out your heart with confident abandon... He's present and He's listening.' When you do that, David said, 'You get a fresh start, your slate's wiped clean... God holds nothing against you and you're holding nothing back from him. When I kept it all inside... The pressure never let up... Then I let it all out...; I said, "I'll make a clean breast of my failures to God." Suddenly the pressure was gone - my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared' (Psalm 32:1-5 TM). What a great feeling!

Taken from 'The Word for Today', by UCB.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Secrets (1)

This is a two-part post - a) to keep it short, and b) because it is originally in two parts. What follows is from my daily readings, and I feel that everyone should think about these things, as they are too true.

'...You're after... truth from the inside out...' Psalm :6

Lisa Whittle says, 'Pornography... excessive shopping... eating disorders develop in isolation... What we watch... think... how we spend our time are the "secret places" Satan uses. It's not that we don't want to be honest... but fear of being discovered keeps us... [trapped]... If Satan can get us to... bury our secret[s]... we can't be effective for God... our private sins will eat away at us, making us feel fraudulent and unworthy... The truth is we're the ones who don't love and accept ourselves, not God! "What is hidden he brings to light" (Job 28:11 NKJV) because He's "after... truth from the inside out".' So, practise honesty. When you catch yourself telling a lie, stop, admit it and apologise. It's embarrassing, but you'll think twice next time! Develop a strong faith. Make authenticity a top priority. Strengthen your walk with God through daily prayer and Bible-reading. Consider your motivation. Make sure the improvements you're working on in your life aren't just to impress others. Appreciate your God-given attributes. Make a list, stop and look at it when you feel 'less than'. Value your own judgement. Consider what you're already accomplished and the good decisions you've made in the past. Dr Edwin Locke says, 'Think independently... be mindful of what's suitable for you regardless of what the rest of the world says.' Stop trying to be perfect or look super spiritual. Openness means living without pretence and giving others permission to be transparent.  Remember, seemingly 'together people' have their not-so-together moments, and falling apart is sometimes how you get put back together. Live with a genuineness others will want to emulate. Honesty facilitates honesty. When you're real, people can tell.

Taken from 'The Word for Today', by UCB.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Heads Up

I have been at a loss for something to write today - mainly because my mind has been on other things. Instead of going with any of my existing plans, I thought I'd share with you just what my mind has been on. Well - up to a point. I am a writer, after all!

Christmas is my absolutely favourite time of the year. It has been this way ever since I can remember - probably since I was at least 4 years old - and every year is the same. Being a Christian, the story of the nativity is very precious to me, but so too is everything attached to this time of year - Christmas tree, presents, Father Christmas, Christmas carols ....

When I was about seven years old I wrote a nativity story. It was the entire Nativity story from start to finish, all the bells, whistles and carols that I could think of .... and trust me, I knew my topic. It was a LOT!  This particular venture was recorded on cassette - which has been lost over time, to my relief, as it has been both a great source of embarrasment (for me) and amusement (for others).

The dream of telling a Christmas Story has, however, not left me. In fact it has grown stronger over the years.

I have therefore decided that, over the month of December, starting at the first Sunday of the Advent, I will be posting a Christmas story on this blog. Now, please don't start groaning at 'yet another' Christmas story. I can probably guarantee you that you will not have read one quite like what I have in mind.

Now .... I'd better go and plot my course by the stars ......

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Christmas is Coming .... (slowly, granted!)

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a Newsletter template (preferably of the MS Publisher variety) that has a Christmas theme?

I received a text from one of my sisters this morning asking for a template she could use for an emailed Christmas newsletter. I've searched MS Publisher templates ad nauseum, and came up with nothing. Now I'm contemplating building one for her to use, to make my life easier! Why don't people just create templates that one can USE?

Apart from that, we have a lovely day here in England (the calm in the middle of the storms). We're looking to go out somewhere to take some photos and just catch some fresh air, so watch this space for, hopefully, some great countryside scenes!

Friday, 1 October 2010

What catches your eye?

I wanted to chat about this image - simply because it fascinates me. It is quite by chance that I took the photo. My mind was focussed on other scenes round about, and my husband had been taking photos of two juvenile ducks who were completely unafraid to come within centimetres of a human. I suspect they were expecting food!

He had just finished photographing the ducks, and we were about to leave the riverside when I spotted this leaf. I just couldn't resist snapping this shot. And of all the photos that I took that day, this is the one that, for some strange reason, stands out the most. Perhaps it's because I love streams - the running water always calms me and brings me a sense of peace - and I can sense the movement of the water around the rock in this picture. There is also the fact that the leaf stands out from the rest of the image.

What I do know is that there's always beauty around us if we care to open our eyes and look. This piece of beauty caught my eye. What catches yours?