Sunday Stills: The #Future Is Ours

College graduates walk at commencement

The future, the Sunday Stills theme this week, asks us to think about what this means to us. Nothing says “future” like a commencement ceremony.

Jubilant student graduates from University

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the college graduation of one of my students (who was also a long-time employee of mine and one of my daughter’s best friends). I also witnessed several students from previous classes walking toward their futures!

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Malcolm X

The smile on her face (the one in the middle in the white glasses) says it all. Her future is exciting because she moves out of state to be with her husband who serves in the Air Force.

Students graduating from Sacramento State UniversityThe College of Health and Human Services at Sacramento State University, where I teach, had over 1200 bachelor and master candidates for graduation for Spring 2018 out of a university total of 6,600! Impressive when you consider this includes majors in recreation and parks, criminal justice, physical therapy, kinesiology, nursing, and social work.

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves. William Shakespeare

These women and men are our future!

College graduates walk at commencement

Today’s theme was chosen by Hugh.

Remember, you can always refer to my Sunday Stills page for the monthly themes always posted in advance. Your posts can be published any day of the week! The link-up is optional, but if you do link-up, please visit a couple of bloggers.

What does “future” mean to you?

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Sunday Stills: #Furry and #Feathered Friends

Sunday Stills Fur and Feathers Graphic

Today’s Sunday Stills theme is “fur and feathers” but feel free to add photos of your scaled and slithering friends as well.

Aero loves going to the delta
Aero loves going to the delta
Boykin Spaniel Brodie loves the water
Boykin Spaniel Brodie loves the water

Did you know today is National Animal Rights Day? Many organizations dedicate themselves to the betterment and loving treatment of ALL animals.

According to Christian author Gary Kurtz, who wrote Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates: A Book of Hope for Those Who have Lost a Pet, he writes that “pets are God’s creatures…merely on loan to us.”

With Biblical support, Kurtz suggests that all animals have eternal spirits. As a Christian myself, I believe this to be true, which gives me great comfort knowing that my past, present and future dogs, cats, birds and even fish have a place in God’s eternity. On some spiritual level, I shall see them all again.

Almost every day, I read online from friends and family who grieve a pet who has died. I often recommend this book and have been surprised at the positive responses from those who have read it.

Regardless of your own beliefs in an eternal afterlife, or not, we must treat all creatures on Planet Earth with care and respect.

Of course, I will swat a mosquito or kill a tick that crawls on my skin. Believe it or not, even pesky bugs have a place on Earth.

To illustrate my point, while camping with family two years ago, I almost fell over as I watched my little nephew stomp on an unsuspecting beetle while hiking in a national park. I asked him why he did that, and he replied, “because he was going to bite me.”

I told him that all critters and animals are protected in a national park and he could go to jail for killing bugs and animals (yes, a teeny white lie, but bear with me here). I then asked him, “What if you were just walking along one day and a giant walked up and stepped on you?” His eyes widened with the realization that his eight-year-old imagination allowed.

A little leisure education hurts no one.

Bewildered swallow looking for its nest
Bewildered swallow looking for its nest

This swallow and her mate decided to build their nest in our neighbor’s windsurf sail shed. One of the other fellows who keeps his sails in the shed noticed the partially built nest and knocked it down with a stick, complaining about bird droppings (my word, not his). Luckily it was still under construction, so no eggs or birds were harmed.

It was an abrupt decision, one that I both disagreed with and supported.

On one hand, these swallows build their nests here on Sherman Island in the delta and there are plenty of safe areas in which to build them. On the other, these skittish birds would not have succeeded trying to hatch eggs in a noisy area with us walking in and out of the shed.

In the long run, I guess there is no right way to move a bird nest. They can quickly rebuild one in a safer location.

But these incidents beg the question, how much have humans encroached on natural habitats in the name of progress, lifestyle and leisure?

To what extent do we continue to banish native animals from their own environments due to urbanization?

It is a little sad to think we need organizations to protect Earth’s creatures from harm and violence, mistreatment and misuse.

So, let’s support our fellow creatures today by posting a favorite photo of yours for Sunday Stills!

Please help me promote Sunday Stills so that we can have more talented bloggers participate in this photo challenge, now that the long-time WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge posted its final theme this week.

Sunday Stills Fur and Feathers Graphic

Link up here:

A hearty shout-out to May Sunday Stills Photo Challenge participants!

A Day In the Life
Adventures in Weseland
CactusCatz
Cee’s Photography
Debbie Scott Photography Digital Art
Field Notes From Over The Hill
Feel Purple
Heaven’s Sunshine
Hugh’s Views and News
Idaho Bluebird
IScribler
Light Words
Living with My Ancestors
Misty Roads Blog
Mucho Spanish
NorCal Zen
Now at Home
Proscenium
Retirementally Challenged
Terry’s Desk
This, That and the Other Thing
YasminKhanBlog
zestnzealblog

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WPC: Thanks for the Photographic Memories

Dragonfly nymph sheds into adulthood

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has been a staple on my blog since January 2015, when I began submitting to its new theme each week. 

This is the last week that the weekly photo challenge will prompt bloggers like myself to stretch our imaginations and take a photograph that depicts the theme. The last theme, appropriately is All-Time Favorites, where we are to share our favorite images from past WPC posts.

This was one of my first entries into an amazing world of photo blogging! Expressive Dock Eagerly Awaits Visitors

Lake-Natoma-Dock
Lake Dock

Not only did this photo pop, but it was one of my better attempts at a decent blog post title.

Here are a couple of fan favorites and one of mine:

Legs cast shadows and reflections
Reflections and Shadows
SpaceX Launch
SpaceX Launched 10 satellites into space from Southern California
Dragonfly nymph sheds into adulthood
Dragonfly nymph sheds into adulthood

These photos are different in nature but all seem to have unusual features: a downward focus to catch both shadows and reflections; a fleeting moment in space, or a macro shot of Mother Nature in action. This is the creativity the WPC inspired in me,  to think and see like a photographer every minute of the day.

The weekly photo challenge was responsible for providing me with hundreds of followers over the years and was instrumental in improving my photography over the last three years, and I credit it for linking me with so many other amazing bloggers who share their photos in posts each week. I will seriously miss this blogging event!

I must give a special shout-out to a fellow blogger and Northern California neighbor, Frank at Petaluma Spectator Blog.

Lumix cameraWhen I began shopping for a REAL camera, I reached out to Frank by e-mail asking what camera he used for the WPCs. Not only did he share the information on his favorite camera (Panasonic Lumix FZ300, which I purchased), he sent several messages with the links to good photography practices. And he even sent me a hard copy photography book!

Without Frank’s help and inspiration, this amazing world of photography I find myself in would not be the same. My photography has certainly leveled up all because I developed a relationship with a fellow blogger on the subject.

 

To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them. Elliott Erwitt

Although I hate to see the WPC go, I thank the WordPress team at the Daily Post  for the support and prompts to help new and veteran bloggers stretch our wings and soar!

Stuck for ideas? Why not join these photo challenges hosted by your fellow bloggers?

Cees Photo Challenges 
Thursday Doors 
Tourmaline Jennifer Nichole Wells 
Sunday Stills (hosted by me)
Visit this WordPress Daily Post Community Event page for more blogging events!

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Sunday Stills: #Aroma

Mouthwatering Aroma of canapes

Mouthwatering Aroma of canapes

While the U.S. celebrates Memorial Day this weekend (holiday observed Monday), my co-host Aixa at Mucho Spanish chose the theme “aroma” for the Sunday Stills photo challenge.

Memorial Day weekend is the traditional “unofficial” kick-off to the summer season here in the Northern Hemisphere. I, myself, am at the Sacramento Delta for a long weekend as this publishes. Part of the tradition includes backyard BBQ filling the air with mouthwatering aromas of chicken, salmon, tri-tip (my hubby’s specialty) and other grilled treats!

The above image shows an array of canapes perfect to whet your appetite!

Deepest gratitude to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.

Last week as I rode my bike around the neighborhood, I noticed many folks preparing their RVs for a long weekend excursion.

Here in Northern California we are within two hours of either the Sierra Nevadas (Lake Tahoe, Gold Country, and Yosemite just 4 hours south east) and the San Francisco Bay area and the ocean. In between are countless campgrounds, lakes, rivers and other wonderful leisure places.

Each with their own, distinct aromas.

In one of the classes I teach, we study a concept called “smellscape,” sort of an exploration of the senses. Students are asked to think about their favorite leisure places and identify the scents, smells, odors and aromas associated with them.

For me, my favorite scent is the blast of pine that fills the cool mountain air as you enter the forest. As kids on our long drive into Yosemite from the Mohave Desert along the Eastern Sierra Nevada, we rolled down the car windows and drank in the scent, as soon as we reached 7000 feet elevation and saw the trees.

Morning glow on I-5

Similarly, there is such a distinctive smell associated with the ocean as soon as you pull into the parking lot at the southern California beaches.

The salt air, sun-warmed asphalt and sidewalks, BBQs, sand and ocean air create a cacophony of smells that announces “you are now at the beach.”

the beach is calling

So, take a moment, close your eyes and think of scents that bring you joy and remind you of your favorite leisure activities.

What are your favorite aromas? Please share photos that represent them!


May is National Water Safety MonthBeing that this post publishes during Memorial Day Weekend, I am compelled to share one more Water Safety post. 20+ years working in the public swimming pool and aquatics industry will do that to a person!

ABCDs of Being Water Safe

 


Too busy to post because of the holiday? You are never too late to post and link-up. Join us anytime!

Terri_sig_palm2

 

Twisted Twitter

Yellow birds perch on twisted wire

Curved and straight lines appear in nature and in items made by humans. In the WordPress weekly photo challenge, those curved or Twisted lines are the theme for this week.

Yellow birds perch on twisted wire

In Hawaii last January, we encountered so many colorful birds! These two Saffron Finches were happily enjoying the sunshine. The one on the right really contorted to get those feathers preened just so!

Other twists are going on in the photo, too. Can you see them?

Drop by my Sunday Stills Photo Challenge page any time to add your photos and links to the fun! The June calendar is up, so start planning today!

Enjoy the start to your Memorial Day holiday weekend to those who celebrate.

Terri_sig_palm2

 

Sunday Stills: #Recreational

recreational fishing on Hilo Bay

recreational fishing on Hilo Bay

This theme is right up this blog’s alley…that’s right, when you’re the host of a photo challenge, you get to pick them! I know you will love it though, since recreation and leisure are essential in our lives.

I bet you find yourself participating in something recreational or leisurely every day. Why not share what you do for recreation for the Sunday Stills photo challenge?

In the above photo, I watched as these two fishermen enjoyed their experience on Hilo Bay juxta-positioned against the backdrop of the apartments. It was a Friday, a school holiday, and these fishermen shared the beach with several young surfers.

And I’ll bet you didn’t know that today is also “National Take Your Parents to the Playground Day.” Playgrounds appear in parks and in swimming pools.

Pool Playground

I would be remiss (as a former aquatics director) if I didn’t include my annual plug for May is National Water Safety Month.

May is National Water Safety Month

For more information on keeping yourself and your family safe in and around the water, visit these links:

Together We Play

National Water Safety Month

and a previous post: Is a Life Jacket in Your Beach Bag

Speaking of Liquid, this is also submitted for the Weekly Photo Challenge! I love it when this happens!

Don’t forget to link up your fabulous recreational-themed photos this week! You have all week to link up and I will share your posts!

 

The Nature of #Liquid

Fish appear to be floating in air

The weekly photo challenge offers a seemingly common theme Liquid. What we as photographers do with it remains to be seen.

My favorite leisure spaces are all about water, but today I wanted to give you a new way of looking at this most important element of life.

While on a blogging break I posted this photo on Instagram of a tiny droplet of water hanging from a rosebush.

House in a droplet

What do you see inside the droplet?

In this next image, taken from an open window in the Ponds Hilo restaurant (famous for their koi ponds), I saw the koi swimming just below us. I’m sure they were waiting for random food crumbs to fall, as they slowly circled around.

Fish appear to be floating in air

Illuminated from above and below, they appear to be floating in an ethereal liquid rather than ordinary pond water. Hard to tell where the air ends and the water begins.

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Sunday Stills: Embrace

Brodie's home and missed his orange pillow.

This week’s Sunday Stills theme falls on Mother’s Day celebrated in the U.S. The theme is embrace (thanks to Hugh for the great theme idea)! 

To get you started, is my interpretation of embrace.

Brodie's home and missed his orange pillow.
Brodie’s home and missed his orange pillow.

A photo of me and my dog Brodie last summer when we brought him home after two days in the Emergency Vet Hospital. Out of the blue he got extremely sick and was tested and diagnosed with a mild case of canine parvovirus, potentially deadly in young puppies and senior dogs.

I thought I would not see him alive after the veterinary staff took him away into isolation. His case was mild because he’d had a full round of vaccinations but still got sick.

When he came home that day, I clasped and cuddled him close to me. I love both my sweet pooches! Almost a year later and I cannot hug him enough!

Of course, you can interpret the theme any way you choose, and it does not have to have the sub-theme of mom. Here are some ideas to get you thinking from Dictionary dot com:

Embrace: to put one’s arms around and press tightly

  • Synonyms of embrace: bear-hug, clasp, crush, enfold, grasp, hug,
    Words related to embrace: clamp, cling, cradle, grab, grip, hold, entwine, fold, lock, cuddle, fondle, nestle, nuzzle, pat, pet, snuggle, stroke

Embrace: to surround or cover closely.

  • “The stone walls that embrace the monastery serve to symbolize its function as a retreat from an unquiet world.” Encircle, envelop, wrap

As a verb, embrace can mean accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically: “besides traditional methods, artists are embracing new technology.”

  • synonyms: welcome, welcome with open arms, accept, take up, take to one’s heart.

In this photo, my sister-in-law embraces her soon-to-be adopted daughter as we open Christmas presents.

A young mother's embrace

We have embraced little EM and her sister into our family as our newest nieces!

My own mother is 500 miles away. I hope my family nearby can hug her for me.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Who or what will you embrace this week?

Don’t forget to link-up!

My Place in the World as a (Leisure) Educator

University students blow bubbles to prove that spontaneity in leisure is rewarding.

University students blow bubbles to prove that spontaneity in leisure is rewarding.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela

I spent 35 years in the world of public parks and recreation providing clients with quality leisure experiences. The last 13 years before I retired in 2014 was spent as the aquatics director overseeing 15 public swimming pools and several sports facilities.

Back then, my Place in the World consisted of training lifeguards and staff in how to save lives, teaching kids and adults to swim and providing a cool, refreshing respite from the hot summer days found here in Central Northern California. It was also chatting with families, youth and adults about programs and activities in which they could be involved.

What is the role of a leisure educator? Simply to encourage and provide individuals with quality leisure experiences and activities to improve their skills and knowledge.

One teacher can change the world

Although I enjoyed my career in public recreation service, I knew I could contribute more to the goals of wise use of leisure time. And a little extra money wouldn’t hurt.

Following the lead of some of my colleagues, who were teaching part-time as lecturers in the parks and recreation departments at various universities, I got a master’s degree at the age of 50 and began my second career teaching students the values of leisure and sharing my 30 years of knowledge in management, communication, marketing and human resources.

What started out in 2011 as teaching one three-unit night class per semester, grew into teaching 15 units a year once I retired a few years later.

My place in the world grew to include teaching and mentoring hundreds of university students.

In the featured image at the top of the post, is my leisure education class experiencing spontaneous play by blowing bubbles on the Guy West Bridge on the Sacramento State University campus. Selfies and smiles, what’s not to love?

This past spring saw me temporarily putting aside the blog to focus my energy on creating relevant curriculum for a class new to me.

As this week marked my last class, I shared with my students that it has been an honor to be their instructor and that I am proud of what they accomplished with their assignments and quizzes. I say this on my last day of classes every semester and I am still amazed at their applause.

My reward is to see them graduate and to hear about them in the future as a recreation and leisure professional.

The last night of class, I was surprised to see a dozen students lingering around chatting among themselves. Many came up to me to thank me as well as inquire about other classes I’ll be teaching.

As we said our good-lucks and goodbyes, I recall several messages from students over the week:

“This is the only class this semester that is supporting my growth as a student!”

“Thank you for a great semester! I really think that our program will benefit from your instruction of this class from now on. You have brought a lot of valuable and relevant information to the course which will set students up for success in their future careers.”

“Thank you, professor Terri, it has been an honor learning from your courses.”

I am humbled.

Truly this is my place in the world.

I hope we can all express gratitude to those who teach our children and grandchildren, or those who teach in adult education. I worked with many dedicated and tireless volunteers who taught for free just to give back skills in photography, art, music and sports.

For those new to my blog, you may be interested in reading an older post Reconnecting with my High School Teacher.


A great teacher inspires!


Do you like these quotes? I was nominated by A Momma’s View, a long-time blogger friend, for the 3-Days, 3-Quotes Challenge. I’m cheating a bit because I have three quotes in this one post, and I won’t be able to post consecutively. Here are the rules if you would like to play along–the rules are simple:

  • Thank you to the person who nominates you
  • Post one quote per day for 3 consecutive days
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

I’m nominating anyone interested in this challenge!


It is not too late to thank a teacher today!

 

Sunday Stills: Refreshing

Hans & Brodie on SUP

Welcome to the inaugural post for the rebirth of the popular photo challenge Sunday Stills! Aixa at Mucho Spanish and I are thrilled to co-host this weekly feature!

What is different about this reincarnation of Sunday Stills is that we have added a link-up using InLinkz. Link-ups are a popular way to share your posts with others. We ask that you participate in the link-up and read others’ Sunday Stills posts. For now, this will be a continuous link-up. If it grows into a large link-up, we may change it to a weekly link-up.

May 6th’s Sundays Stills theme is “Refreshing.” Refreshing can have many meanings from sipping a cold beverage* on a hot day to diving into a cold mountain stream. The act of refreshing can also manifest into just sitting and enjoying a sunset after a long day working or playing!

The photo below is a macro view of my St Patrick’s Day green margarita. It was very refreshing!

Macro view of green Margarita

(*according to the National Days Calendar, today is also National Beverage Day and the first Sunday in May is “National Lemonade Day!”)

In the next photo, my hubby is stand-up paddling with our Boykin Spaniel Brodie on a hot, windless, July day at the Sacramento River Delta. With no wind, it can be rather warm (temps can get to 100 degrees), so hanging out in and near the water is a must for campers.

Hans & Brodie on SUP

Simple Rules for Linking Up Your Post

SundayStills_blogbannerYou are invited to participate in Sunday Stills, but you do not have to link your post to the link-up.

However, linking up is a great way to show off your fab photos to other like-minded bloggers and maybe meet some new friends!

  1. Have fun and meet other bloggers!
  2. If you link a post, please stop by one or two other blogger’s links and spend a few moments reading, commenting, and sharing. Isn’t that what building a blogging community is about? You are not expected to read every post shared, but try to find a few that look interesting to you and leave a meaningful comment.
  3. If you share yours or others posts, please use the hashtag #SundayStills
  4. When linking up be sure to consider these two important steps:
    • When entering the URL, do NOT link up to your homepage. You must link up to a SPECIFIC blog post.
    • Where it prompts you to include “Name” do NOT enter your name! Use the title of your post here.

Click here to see the themes for May!

What is refreshing to you? Show us in a photo!

And don’t forget to link-up here:

“Filed Under ‘Unlikely'”

SpaceX Launch

SpaceX Launch

What is the likelihood of watching a live satellite launch appear above your family home? Unlikely perhaps, but as you can see by the photo it was real!

On December 22, after just arriving in San Diego after a long road trip, we piled into my daughter’s new car preparing to meet the rest of the family for dinner.

As we pulled out of the driveway, suddenly, my daughter exclaimed “What is that?!” We could not believe our eyes as we saw this sight.

I leaped out of the car and took several photos and texted one to my other daughter (she’s an Aerospace Engineer) and asked her.

Of course she knew that Space X launched 10 satellites from Vandenberg AFB in the Palm Desert area of Southern California just moments before.

The small object in the middle of the jellyfish-like shape is a system navigator that eventually burned up. It spun and shifted adding to the incredible sight.

I shared this photo on Instagram. As it moved quickly through the sky it appeared just over my neighbor’s house.

Space X satellite or Santa

I figured it was Santa taking a dry run to break in some of his new reindeer.

“In infinite space, even the most unlikely events take place somewhere.” Max Tegmark

If you are old enough to remember the original Twilight Zone episodes hosted by Rod Serling, oftentimes he would sign off the end a show by saying, “filed under … in the Twilight Zone.”

Yes, I’m back to blogging, unlikely as it may seem! Watch for this Sunday’s post for the brand new Sunday Stills Photography Challenge!

And to continue the spacey theme, “May the Fourth be with you!”

Prolific Poppies

Happy spring poppies!

As a blogger, do you ever get a sense of deja’vu with that nagging feeling that you have posted something similar before?

When I saw the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme ProlificI remembered this word and something to do with poppies. And guess what? I searched google and found my own post from three years ago! 

What better way to celebrate this theme than with photos of native California poppies? The beautiful orange flower is indeed prolific in March and April and adds beautiful pops of color along the freeways and in neighbors’ yards.

Prolific-Poppies
California Poppies

Poppies are California’s State flower. 

Prolific-Poppies
California Poppies pop up everywhere in the spring

I planted poppies from seeds a little too late for them to bloom this spring, but since they are annuals, I hope to see their little golden heads in spring 2016!

**Update** they never did grow. I’ve read you have to plant poppies in late Fall. Better put it on my to-do list then if I want my own poppies.

Happy spring poppies!
Popping Out!

I refreshed this post today from April 2015 when I participated in Ed’s Sunday Stills Photography Challenge. Wildflowers were the theme.

I enjoyed Sunday Stills so much that I am bringing the photo challenge back with it’s launch on May 6th! Visit my page   for more information!

Enjoy the prolific poppy flashback!

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Wanderlust and Wonderment

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