Thoughtful Thursday – The Magic of Autumn

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Photo taken by Maria Vidaurre

Summer is officially coming to an end on September 22nd as we welcome the Autumn Equinox. Here in South Florida, we don’t really experience a change in scenery. The weather cools a bit but there is no major change in season visually.

This was a photo I had taken while hiking 10 miles on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia with my husband. The air was cool and crisp on the morning we embarked on our hike and the scent of wet leaves permeated the air. Mother nature had graciously painted a stunning canvas of yellow, red, orange and brown for us to enjoy. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking on the trail.

It was a magical hike where I found myself again and remembered what I was made of. There were parts of the trail where I had to dig deep to find courage and endurance to push on. One section had a small brook covered with leaves which were very slippery. Even though I was super careful, I ended up taking a fall but luckily it was nothing major and just ended up with a bruised knee.

The most treacherous part of the trail was a section that was covered with large boulders from an avalanche that wobbled and moved as we crossed them. This part slowed us down considerably and the sun was setting soon.

To say the least, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of getting stuck on the mountain, at night, out in the cold. I much preferred my warm bed that was calling my name back at the lodge. So with all the grit and determination I could muster, I forged on to reach the end of our hike.

As the sun started to set in the horizon, the temperature began to drop pretty fast and darkness was setting in. Just when I thought we wouldn’t make, we came to the end of the trail. I was so happy and soooo relieved. We did it πŸ˜…

Looking back on our hike I felt a sense of accomplishment and pride. It was quite the adventure and I loved every minute I spent with my husband. Time on the trail renewed my energy and sense of wonder. It was a great recharge for my mind, body and soul.

We’re going on another hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail this fall but it will be at a different section of the trail and a shorter hike. Really looking forward to seeing all the beautiful colors again!

What do you like most about autumn?

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“Notice how autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.” ~Freidrich Nietzsche

Photos taken by Maria Vidaurre

Angel of Promises

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My latest angel from my Strathmore 5.5β€³ x 8.5β€³ watercolor journal, Angel of Promises. I tried a playing with the wings a bit more. I kind of like how they turned out. What do you think?

Would love to hear your feedback.

Have a wonderful week!

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Rosie Angel Watercolor Journal Page

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My latest angel from my Strathmore 5.5″ x 8.5″ watercolor journal. Her name is Rosie. I tried limiting the colors in this one. I really like the iridescent blue that I used around the stars, in her hair and clothes. It has a beautiful shimmer. But looking at her, she reminds me of an Easter or Spring Angel.

What do you think? Would love to hear your feedback.

Have a wonderful week!

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Thoughtful Thursday – Happy July 4th!

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Photo by Elizabeth Iris on Pexels.com

Independence Day is this Sunday, July 4th. Many will kick off the day being outside enjoying fresh air, sunshine and having a good old fashioned barbecue with delicious apple pie for dessert. At night, the skies are filled with stunning and spectacular fireworks. But how did all of this get started?

Lets go back in time a bit to July 2, 1776. On this day the Second Continental Congress declared Independence from Britain but no one signed the Declaration of Independence which was primarily written by Thomas Jefferson.

July 3, 1776, John Adams one of the founding fathers and members of Congress wrote a letter to his wife Abigail which in part read:

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

Congress made a total of 86 changes to the original declaration and the final draft was completed and signed on July 4, 1776. This marked the beginning of the war for freedom and it lasted 7 long years until 1783.

Although we were at war, it was reported by the Pennsylvania Evening Post that July 4, 1777 was celebrated with demonstrations of joy and festivity. Armed ships fired a 13 gun salute in honor of the 13 colonies. Festivities included an elegant dinner, military demonstration, band performances and fireworks. These celebrations continued annually thereafter.

Hope you enjoy your holiday and have the opportunity to see a beautiful firework display. Wishing you a Happy and Safe 4th of July!

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“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has places us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation and freedom in all just pursuits.” ~Thomas Jefferson

Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

Thoughtful Thursday – Remembering Cocoa

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Cocoa (left) and Chanel (right)

I have two beautiful American Cocker Spaniel girls, Cocoa (14 yrs) & Chanel (9 yrs). They’re both sable in color but Cocoa has a brown nose and Chanel’s is black. Cocoa loved people but other dogs, not so much. She was somewhat freaked out by them. It was comical to watch when we tried socializing her with other dogs at the park. So one day I had the bright idea to get another puppy to help her get over her fear.

Long story short, it didn’t exactly go as planned. It took Cocoa a few years before she finally warmed up to Chanel. Cocoa turned 14 years old in May, but sadly she went to doggie heaven this past Saturday morning. The end came quickly but she waited for all of us that morning so we could say our good byes before crossing over.

We miss her a lot, especially her crazy antics like helping us unwrap presents, singing Happy Birthday or howling when the phone rang. She was always in the middle of family life and was a super smart pooch that was trained with very little effort on my part. I could just talk to her and she understood what I was saying. When anyone got sick or was feeling blue, she was always there to comfort you. Cocoa was my constant companion in the art studio, always at my feet the entire time I was painting.

One thing her passing has made me think about was how important it is to be in the present moment. I truly enjoyed her crazy antics and how she always had her own way of doing things. I’m so grateful that Cocoa came into our lives as she was a very special and unique girl.

Take the time to slow down and really enjoy sharing special moments with loved ones whether a furry friend or the human kind. Life is ever changing and time doesn’t stand still. So don’t miss one minute of the magic that life offers you everyday.

I know the angels have Cocoa now and it’s all good.

πŸ’– Cocoa, you are forever in our hearts πŸ’–

“Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole.” ~ Roger Caras

Liza Angel Watercolor Journal Page

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I haven’t posted an angel lately and I really miss my girls. I find such peace within when I paint them. It’s pure contentment and joy when I can get them out of my mind and on paper for everyone to see 😊

This is my latest angel in my Strathmore 5.5β€³ x 8.5β€³ Watercolor Journal, her name is Liza. I’m playing with different ideas on the wings to see how I like them.

What do you think? Would love to hear your feedback.

Have a beautiful week!

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Thoughtful Thursday – A Day at Lion Country Safari

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Lion Country Safari located in West Palm Beach, Florida was established in 1967 and sits on a whopping 320 acres. I remember my parents taking me when I was about 8 years old. And no, I’m not telling how many years ago that was, lol. But I remember thinking how cool it was that the animals got to roam free while we drove through the park in our car. They could come right up to us, and many did.

In March of this year, we did a family road trip and visited Lion Country Safari. It’s changed quite a bit since I was there last. Now they have an audio that we listened to through my cell phone that gave information about each group of animals we were seeing. The park is home to over 1,000 wild animals including lions, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, wildebeests, ostriches, and so many more.

The way it’s set up is each group of animals is in a different section, separated by a fence. This way the predators can’t get to their prey and everyone lives happily ever after 😊 Cars slowly drive through on the road and get to enjoy all the animals. As the cars exited the one section, they were all greeted by an ostrich who tapped each car’s windshield as if he were saying good bye. It was pretty funny watching him do this. Apparently, ostriches are attracted to shiny objects and the windshields were reflecting the sun that day.

Once you finish the drive through safari, you can enjoy the walk through section of the park with shops, food and more animals to see. You can even feed the lorikeets which my daughter and I did. They’re so beautiful with their bright colors.

If you have the chance to visit Florida, I highly recommend stopping at Lion Country Safari. It’s a beautiful and unique place to visit!

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“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.” ~Charles Darwin

Thoughtful Thursday – Memorial Day

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Photo by Sharefaith on Pexels.com

Memorial Day is Monday, May 31st. You know the holiday is approaching when stores start heavily marketing their upcoming sales, but it’s so much more than that. Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have lost their lives in service of the United States of America.

Memorial Day began shortly after the Civil War which ended in 1865. General John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic proclaimed it in his General Order No 11 on May 5th, 1868.

In General Logan’s order it is said β€œThe 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

Since May 30th wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle, General Logan named it Decoration Day. However in 1880, the name was officially changed to Memorial Day.

I’m grateful for those brave souls who served in our military and gave their lives protecting our great nation and our freedom and to those who fight for us today. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You!

Happy Memorial Day Images 2018| Memorial Day Pictures ...

Spirograph Watercolor Journal Page

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I wanted to try something different in my journal so I looked around my studio and found the Spirograph set. I hadn’t used it in years. I bought this for my kids when they were little and luckily it was passed back to me when they grew up.

I started this page with a watercolor wash for the background and set it aside. While that was drying, I searched my paper stash and found coordinating sheets to create a couple of Spirograph designs. I cut them out and glued them onto the page. Next I drew in doodles, wrote a few inspiring words and of course added stickles for a little bling. Last I added a little detailing with shading and highlights and that was it.

You can make some really interesting art and cards using a simple Spirograph set. Just let your imagination run wild and have fun!

Have a fantastic week!

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The Power of You Mini Book – Quote

Hope you had a great week! This is the last quote from my mini 3.25β€³ x 4.5β€³ book:

“Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you.” ~Unknown

Really love this quote. The author was unknown but it looks like it originated from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who said “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”

Hope you enjoyed these words of wisdom. Have a great weekend!

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