Change of Seasons (30 Days of Gratitude: Day 10)

Minnesotans love to talk about the weather. It’s probably because there’s always something to talk about. We gripe when the weather turns hot and humid; we gripe just as loud when the temps turn frigid and the snow piles up.

Winter versus Fall

Setting aside the aggravations, the change of seasons brings new delights — a shift in colors, a fresh look for old landscapes. The changing seasons also bring with them a perennial sense of renewal with the comforting pattern of spring to summer, fall to winter. Always a chance to begin again …

~ Kat

 

Preserving Moments, Part II (30 Days of Gratitude: Day 8)

On Day 6 of the 30 Days of Gratitude, I recalled fond vacation memories and spending time with family on St. John, USVI … years before the devastation of the Hurricane Irma ripped so much of the island to shreds two months ago. Before we even had time to fully comprehend the damage done by Irma, Hurricane Maria barreled through.

This time, Puerto Rico took the brunt of the storm’s wrath.  The post-hurricane images showed a land barren of green foliage, wiped clean by the powerful storm. Turning to the digital archives from 2014, I gratefully recalled the moments preserved by the camera as we explored that often-underappreciated isle.

The headlines are full these days, and we cannot forget about the people and places that need our help to restore even the most basic of services. News articles from the last day or two reveal the long road of recovery that Puerto Rico has ahead of it:

The animals of Puerto Rico are struggling, as well, with updates posted regularly on the Facebook pages of Save a Gato and Island Dog, two of the hard-working organizations collaborating with others to find displaced and stray companion animals loving homes, and caring for those left behind.

Many opportunities are available if you are interested and able to donate to relief and recovery efforts. There are many doing good work, but if you need a few ideas, we chose to direct our donations to these organizations:

Thoughts and prayers are great, but Puerto Rico, the USVI, and so many other regions which took the brunt of these monumental storms need action and money to help get them back on their feet again. Do what you can, even if it is only to spread the word to others about doing the same.

~ Kat

Preserving Moments, Part I (30 Days of Gratitude: Day 6)

Photography is amazing — it allows us to capture a moment in time to revisit again and again. Some of those moments are heartbreaking. We have seen its power during times of tragedy and disaster … too many times in the recent days and months.

Gratefully, photography also allows us to revisit happier times. Even as the video footage and still photos continue to document the unfathomable destruction that Hurricanes Irma and Maria wrought this fall, I was reminded of the beauty that filled many of these locales, that hopefully will return in full force again.

St. John, U.S.V.I. was one of the tiny islands gutted by Hurricane Irma. It still struggles to recover, as reflected by some of these recent news stories:

One of the local non-profits supporting post-hurricane recovery efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands is the Community Foundation: http://www.cfvi.net/.  As described on the USVI Recovery website:

To help those affected by the hurricane, the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands (CFVI) has established the Fund for the Virgin Islands.

100% of your donation will benefit those in crisis.

CFVI is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has been operating in the USVI for more than 25 years. It has supported past relief efforts in the region and is working closely with government and community providers to identify priorities and direct resources for immediate needs as well as long-term recovery efforts.

 

The USVI is just one of many areas still struggling to rebuild after the devastating natural disasters earlier this year. Consider supporting these regions’ recovery funds, as you are able.

~ Kat

Take Time to Watch the Sunset (30 Days of Gratitude: Day 3)

We so often get wrapped up in our over-scheduled lives, with the constant barrage of technological communications and screen distractions, that we forget to breathe and just be.

Minnesota Sunset

While driving north after a commitment for work in the Twin Cities, the sky was increasingly filled with the most glorious glow of pink and orange. I was cruising along the interstate, and kept catching glimpses of it off to my side and behind me. I found the nearest exit and did just that … exited. Just a mile or two from the highway there happened to be a large pond with a parking area. It was just waiting for me. I stood as the sunset took its last breaths, and a beaver quietly paddled across the water, leaving the ripples of purple and pink in its wake. Little creatures rustled the cattails and the water grew still again as darkness took over.

Grateful for those few minutes to remind myself there is time to watch the sunset.

~ Kat

Autumn’s Last Breath — And a Peek of Winter (30 Days of Gratitude: Day 2)

The mums are still blooming, and the later-turning trees continue their attempts to embrace the palette of Fall, even while Winter tries to push in several weeks early with its monochromatic color scheme!

Cluster of Red and Gold

Blanketing the Mums

Clinging to Fall

 

Grateful that Mother Nature finds a way to make it pretty, even as we curse winter’s early arrival — the change of seasons bring new wonders! Plus, the early “peek” of winter always “piques” our interest in winter activities …. cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, anyone?!

~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge. “Peek” is this week’s theme. Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here: Peek.