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When I was little, my father would say my prayers with me every night. He would start, with “Now I lay me down to sleep…”, that familiar prayer that was a staple of so many childhoods. But he altered the words “If I should die before I wake, I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take.” I suspect he found it to be an unthinkable thought, and didn’t want us to think it as we went to sleep. Our version was “All through the night, may angels spread protecting wings above my bed.” I still find that prayer a comfort, along with the spontaneous ones I now have as an adult.

Our world needs many prayers these days. Tonight, I am sending special prayers to the people in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. 53,000 people have been evacuated from that city due to an explosive wildfire. The fire has moved into the city. Whole neighborhoods have been destroyed. There is no more gas in the city. People are running out of gas and getting stuck in traffic, or by the side of the road, as flames move ever closer.

May I say, as I listen to radio coverage from Edmonton, and phone interviews with high school seniors, fire chiefs, and other citizens, that everyone sounds so calm and polite and well-spoken and pragmatic that it just makes me want to hug them all. Or go be a Canadian.

We in Colorado, particularly those  in the Colorado Springs area, went through a similar disaster a few years ago. I remember watching live coverage on the news, and truly, it looked like my vision of  hell. The earth and the people still hold the scars. Here, we pray for enough snowpack to help prevent wildfires, but not so much as to cause floods such as the devastating one we experienced in 2013.

So tonight, and tomorrow, and likely the next day, please join me in saying a prayer for the people of Fort McMurray and the brave firefighters and first responders who risk their lives to help keep others’ lives intact. And if you’re otherwise inclined, a little rain dance wouldn’t hurt.

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Iglesia de San Miguel, Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “The way sadness works is one of the strange riddles of the world. If you are stricken with a great sadness, you may feel as if you have been set aflame, not only because of the enormous pain, but also because your sadness may spread over your life, like smoke from an enormous fire. You might find it difficult to see anything but your own sadness, the way smoke can cover a landscape so that all anyone can see is black. You may find that if someone pours water all over you, you are damp and distracted, but not cured of your sadness, the way a fire department can douse a fire but never recover what has been burnt down.”   — Lemony Snicket

Daily gratitudes:
MKL’s eyes
A beautiful day
How green can fill my eyes
One working lawnmower in the family
The toddler playing in the dancing waters with her golden retriever trying to bite the streams

 

Another curious and entertaining doorway. I suppose the residents of this little duplex tell visitors to go to the right or the left of the cat.

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San Miguel, Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “If you want to believe in something like Fate, she’s a capricious character. Sometimes she stand there blocking the doorway you were born to pass through, and sometimes she takes you by the hand and leads you through the minute you poke your nose out. And the stars gaze down and keep their counsel.” — John Avide

Daily gratitudes:
Pussy willow
Pie with my sweetie-pie
Stark white seagulls agains barren fields
Intrigue in the early morning
The first blooms of a dwarf weeping cherry tree

 

 

 

As a woman of my word, I promised to show you the secret in the door. And so I shall. It was a hard-to-spot blessing, but that’s often how blessings flow. Love to you all.

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San Miguel, Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.” — Audrey Hepburn

Daily gratitudes:
Kisses at the 105th meridian
The woman leaning over the fence to get dog kisses
Little girls in pink cowboy boots
Roger and Gertrude Carolotta
My free painted rock from The Street Boutique fashion truck

I love shooting doors. There’s a magic to doors that is both obvious and mysterious. You don’t know what’s behind a door, and you don’t know how passing through a door may change your life or otherwise transport you. Doors themselves can be imbued with their own stories, as shown by their wood, their weathering, their color. Of all the interesting, quirky, and colorful doors I shot in San Miguel, this one was my favorite. From this shot, it’s hard to see the very best part of this door, but I thought I’d present you with the challenge, and then reveal the perfect little element tomorrow. So, if you can see it, let me know in the comments, but don’t give it away!

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San Miguel, Cozumel.

Quote of the day: “No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.” — Helen Keller

Daily gratitudes:
A visit from Joy
Being barefoot outside
Strawberries
Learning Spanish, little by little
Emotions

Prayers for Pakistan.

That title makes as much sense as the mural, but that’s okay with me. I love the mural. And I miss Cozumel. Especially after shoveling 23 inches of snow. We’re debating the merits of renting a chainsaw or having someone come out to dispose of the tree (I’m getting an estimate tomorrow). I feel virtuously healthy after all the shoveling, and was pleased to discover that I was less out of shape than I thought. Yay – just in time for the next round of snow.

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San Miguel, Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “The restlessness and the longing, like the longing that is in the whistle of a faraway train. Except that the longing isn’t really in the whistle—it is in you.” — Meindert DeJong

Daily gratitudes:
My first robin of spring, which may be nesting in the back
Blue skies
Not hurting myself today
When Kelsea calls
Springtime bathrobes

Should you think that we did nothing but park ourselves on a beach during our sabbatical, you’d be mistaken. MKL, wonderful, indulgent husband that he is, drove our little VW bug into San Miguel for me to take pictures of the architecture. Although the driving was insane, MKL did a wonderful job. I loved San Miguel. We mostly avoided the tourist district, which is populated primarily by disrespectfully attired people from the many cruise ships that come into port each day, and  vendors using whatever line they could think of to make us stop (“Hey, Mr. Mustache!” was my favorite). Exploring the fringes of San Miguel revealed amazingly beautiful murals on building after building, as well as the small details that my photographer’s eye automatically seeks out. This piece was painted on the side and loading dock of the mercada, and our blue friend appears to be taking a sniff of the pink flowers. Oh, how lovely to see green and flowers and sunshine at the beginning of Februray.

Blue ManSan Miguel, Cozumel, Mexico.

Quote of the day: “I dream my painting and I paint my dream.” — Vincent van Gogh

Daily gratitudes:
16 days until SpringContinuing to fight the battle with depression
My bed
MKL
Sun

 

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