March 31, 2012

For a New Beginning, Some Things Must Change

Winter: a slow freezing, dripping, hiding, melting. Cold air, cold feet. Deer and ice. Coats and hats.
Spring: already here…lavender, lime green, blue sky, birds sing, thick grass.

Last summer, Mark and I went to Petoskey, Michigan, on vacation. We loved it there. It was August and I got to wear a sweatshirt! There was a beach right on the shores of Lake Michigan. Petoskey is located in Little Traverse Bay, on the north edge of the lake, about an hour from the Mackinac Bridge. See location of purple pin (disregard blue dot).

The air was so fresh and, just like their tagline, "Pure Michigan." I could breath there in a way that I find difficult in August in Ohio (or Florida, where I lived for from 1981-1999). So, we returned home, with memories of the beach at Petoskey State Park...

And the lovely flowers, and the comfortable Bay View Inn…

We kidded each other that when we retired we'd move to Petoskey, or Harbor Springs, it's close-by neighbor around the bay. Here is a photo of the marina at Harbor Springs…

Well, one thing led to another, and it was determined moving to a cooler climate by the lake would be very good for me, for us. We figured out a way to do it and made a drive up to Harbor Springs in February to look at houses. We were there during the state junior ski championship and a nice little snowstorm came through, which I didn't mind at all. (I got a good tree photo, after all.)

We found a house we fell in love with (it was one of our top two choices from our internet search). So, we came home, discussed it further and step-by-step the house became our house. We move in nine days!

I started Appalachian Morning creativity blog in July of 2008, the month that we moved to Athens, Ohio, from a Columbus, Ohio suburb. (I'd moved from Sarasota, FL to the Columbus area in 1999, a year after starting my business.) I was so excited to be in Southern Ohio, to be in the foothills of Appalachia, to be near the caves and to have acres of woods… I have loved living here and found it to be the friendliest place I have ever lived. I will miss the friends I've made in the last four years here; but I will be back, often, to visit. We still have ties here and so will look forward to many visits back throughout the year.

Throughout this excitement, I have had some work excitement as well. The two children's books I've worked on have gone to print. One is back and I will share information on it soon. The other will be able to be talked about in May. And, I've been working on wonderful CarolAnn Garratt's third book, Upon Silver Wings III: People and Places around the World

CarolAnn is an "Earthrounder" (times three). She flies her small plane, a Mooney, around the world to raise money for ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) research and to raise awareness. We are just about done with this third book and it is wonderful--wonderful to read about her experiences going to place and meeting people that most readers can only dream about…and imagining what it is like to cross the Pacific ocean by yourself in a small plane… Learn more about Dash for a Cure and CarolAnn at this link.

In case you were wondering… yes, I will still be working from a home office in Harbor Springs. In fact, I will have a bigger office and an art room connected to it and both will look out onto woods, just like I have here. We will be in a very wooded area about five miles from Lake Michigan, high up in the hills above the lake. I will be redoing my website before too long and posting more illustrations. And, of course taking a lot of photos and sharing them with you.

But what should I do about Appalachian Morning creativity blog? Should I keep it as is and just put something about where I live now in the subtitle? Or, should I put it to rest and open a blog under a new name? Can Appalachian Morning be an attitude?

March 17, 2012

The Beauty of the Earth: Trees!

A while ago I had written on this blog about trees ("A Poem as Lovely…") and asked for others to send their favorite tree photos for me to share, with their permission. How wonderful to see these tree-friends of friends, to view what caught their eye through camera's lens, to wonder at the beauty of it all!

Here are the photographs, as well as a list of my past blog posts on trees and links to some of my favorite tree websites.

This first set of photos is by Füsun Atalay who blogs at Open Salon and is also the author of Will of My Own

Spanning continents and countries, Will of my Own: A Memoir contains the author’s life story, her unique observations, heartfelt reflections, and her once unspoken thoughts concerning her family and relationships. It describes her relentless struggle to understand and connect major events in her life in her attempt to find a new will to live in the face of losing those she loved and letting go of those she believed would never hurt her as they have.   
“I believe however, that truth, no matter how painful some of it may be, needs to be acknowledged before it can be understood and owned,” Atalay reveals. “I hoped that by facing the truths I’ve been reluctant to face, I will be able to accept them, give them their voice and release some of the ghosts I have been living with.” 

Next up, we have Kim Austin, a photographer living in Queensland, Australia, whom I think should be hired immediately by the tourism council there to do nothing but photograph Queensland, enticing others to visit, know, love, and appreciate it as well. You can find Kim's photographs on Red Bubble at this LINK. I've purchased postcards and notecards from this link and they are really beautiful and the recipients have loved the photos. You can also friend Kim Austin on Facebook at this LINK.

Melissa Kline of Golden, Colorado, the author of the YA sci-fi novel My Beginning (paperbackKindle, and Nook -- Lucky Press, 2011), is not only a talented writer and a wonderful creator of miniature scenes based on her stories, but is a very good photographer as well, as these photos of trees reveal. You can find Melissa blogging at "Reflections on Writing" and on Facebook.

Debra Hosseini of Carpinteria, California, is the driving force behind The Art of Autism, an organization that promotes the creative efforts of individuals with autism, including the artwork of my son, Bryce Merlin. Debra's eye searches out the beauty in our world, whether it be a painting to be featured in her forthcoming book, The Heart of Autism: Shifting Perceptions.

Here are links to my additional posts on trees:
Autumn Leaves in Ohio

And here are links to other websites on trees that you might like:
One Tree at a Time (not trees) on Red Bubble.
38 Magical Forest Photos
27 Gorgeous Photos of Trees from This (2011) Fall
Photographer documents relationship between people and trees…
Native Tree Society
Giant Deciduous Trees: art by Charles Brindley
Google Search: Images of Paintings of Trees
Google Search: Drawings of Trees
Spirit of  Trees: Poetry
American Forests: Protecting and Restoring Forests for Life
Ancient Forests
Arbor Day Foundation
National Tree Trust
Alliance for Community Trees Planting Memories, One Tree at a Time