Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunshine Morning in Asheville

We are all in our places with sunshining faces. I heard my father sing this many times - it was the song he had sung every morning as a boy in school. It started his day with joy and happiness. These buildings are singing the same song - Jackson, Vance, Pack, BB&T, I.M. Pei sailing with joy into the morning.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012


A foggy morning and birds over Asheville, the promise of a beautiful day. 110 years ago, my grandfather was born in Franklin. He departed this life at age 95, with birds he had chosen that said going home. Hallelujah

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

You've Got a Friend in Me!

Fog in Asheville is so delicious - comforting, like a summer blanket on a cool morning. It's like an old friend. Last Saturday, a friend and I got together early and took pictures of Asheville in the early morning. How joyful to do what you love with a friend. And I am reminded when you've got lemons in your life, get together with your friends and make lemonade. And then have a party.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What Wondrous Love is This!

Sunday, I spent the evening in the garden behind the Basilica. It was one of those days when I missed my father. When we were kids, we spent time in Munich Baptist Church which had a garden in the middle of the church. I felt so much peace in the garden. And then on Sunday I looked up from the garden of the Basilica and saw a brilliant sunset. How Wondrous!

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Find the Path of God's Desire

A couple of weeks ago, I photographed a flower that was hugging itself, closed, as if it were hiding its light which it could not do as beautiful shoots of light were beaming out. Now that flower has bloomed.

This week my child has gone to camp, a place where girls play, sing songs before breakfast, before lunch, at dinner and listen to taps before bed. And I don't sleep for a while. But like the flower, they are blooming, learning to be independent, to care about one another, to take risks with counselors guiding them, just beside in case they should fall. They learn to let their lights shine and let the fruits of their spirit flourish.

They are like this flower, strong, beautiful, always full of light. They are finding the path of God's desire, joy and gentleness, strength and kindness.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Rose Delight

Sometimes in the mornings, I want to go to the Basilica's garden and smell the roses. And yet, I don't. But I realize the flowers are not waiting for me. They have a beautiful rich life all of their own. And I am the other.

When our souls need refreshing, come enjoy the roses in front of the Basilica. When my father was wheelchair bound, I would drive him by just for the sight and joy of the flowers. He would smile, both of us refreshed.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Light Upon Light!

Today we dropped Vanessa at camp for 2 weeks, and it is bittersweet. It is a time when the kids bloom and we rest. Like these flowers, my favorite because here they bloom at the end of July, the light shines through the girls and shows off their beauty in the fruits of the spirit.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

When the Dew is Still on the Roses

The sweetness of watching the flowers is like watching children change day by day. A couple weeks ago these flowers were closed with beautiful shoots revealing their beauty. Outside Carolina Day, they are like the kids, blooming day by day.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

You Can Sleep When the Day is Done

Sometimes in the midst of warmth and summer fun, we are reminded how fragile life is. When we lost Andy Griffith this week, I remembered the Dillard Song "There is a Time."  Fall comes and winter, too. And our loved ones go on to sleep. Maude, Don, Kathryn, Andy, James, Pearl, Beuford, Nora, Lucy, Teresa Shiflet, and many others. And others go on to wander when life is new for them.

Photo: James Wells by Billie Wells

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

But There is Love and Love is Warm

Is not our main purpose to give joy to others? I cannot but enjoy the beauty and poignancy of this flower which lives here in Asheville. It is at once closed but with elegant leaves shooting out like long beautiful bells of joy. 

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

I Come to the Garden

I came to the Garden this morning, alone. And was refreshed. It felt as if the flowers were more than just flowers. They were friends, they were inspiration, they were singing glory.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wheelchair Patiotism

Yesterday, my daughter spent one of her best days this summer, volunteering at an adult day care. While she danced an Irish jig for the participants, I saw this man, his wheelchair all decked out for the 4th. His chair is a reminder that all those who served still find ways to remind us of their patriotism and service.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Play Misty for Me

When the storm hit the other night, we huddled together as it seemed the lightning was just outside our window crackling and crumbling the trees around us. In the heat and the storms, it's easy to forget that just as night slips into light, the mist and the morning are just giving us a peak into their inviting beauty.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Come to the Quiet

Last night, I was reminded that Sunday for me is a time of coming to the quiet and re-energizing my soul with silence. At sunset, Lake Susan in Montreat reminds us that we are joyful creatures who want to live in beauty and love. And an inner quiet. My friends, Kirk and Deby Dearman, create beautiful calming music that uplifts the soul and brings us to the space of calm and quiet (Come to the Quiet) - just like Lake Susan.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

It's Another Saturday Night!

We look for her singing - her voice is mesmerizing. Last night, she sang "Change Gonna Come." Best Version I have ever heard.

And man, another Saturday Night in Asheville - just wonderful. We ate cake at Karen Donatelli Cake Design on Haywood St just up from Malaprops. Tiramusu, cupcakes, creations to die for. Even the water is sweet. I think you come out a changed person, sweeter and happier.

It might be another Saturday, and if you ain't got nobody, we've got sweet cake and heavenly music in Asheville.  Donatelli Cake Designs

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

When all You Can Do is Crawl, Smile

What is so amazing about Asheville is the people, many who came from farms and factories to become a people so strong and yet so tender.

When I was 6, my father became disabled, starting 40 years of when he said his legs felt like sticks. When I was 10, he crawled to bed - with a smile on his face. And in the morning he arose with pure joy bubbling over. 

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Splash Down at Sliding Rock!

Splish Splash I was taking a bath - or cooling down at Sliding Rock!

Yesterday he was in mid slide and today ready to splash in. You all need to go - when it's 98 degrees the water is always cool, no it's cold there! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hot fun in the Summertime at Sliding Rock

There's so much joy to be found in the mountains here - and cool (literally) fun! Sliding Rock in Brevard will certainly cool us off as the temperatures reach 90 today.

It's really Hot fun in the Summertime here!

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Good Morning Sunshine

Ever have one of those mornings where you wake up like Tigger, ready to bounce all through the day?

I had one this morning, but I think these flowers have them every day!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blood Red Sun

Last night, the sun in Asheville was a red ball of fire. It felt at once as remote as it could get, like something from the Twilight Zone and yet as friendly as a 3 year old's bright shiny red ball.

Sunsets here remind me that the mountains are like me, ready for bed but the sky has not finished with the day yet. They have one more spectacular show to put on for us.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Waiting for You

Early morning always holds a special place in my heart. It's when the world is new and our dreams still linger in our minds. It's when anything is possible and joy and peace abound in our souls.

Here early morning is waiting for us to join and greet a new world of peace and possibility.

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Meadow of St. James

My daughter and I want to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela - the Way of St. James. But I think we already have. This is my father's meadow in Leicester - bright fallow fields. When Vanessa was born, we became servants, learning by washing his feet. From him, we learned humility and joy. We learned how to lose your leg and still dance in your wheelchair. We found our way just as my dad, James did.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Rose

The Secret lives of Roses. The Beauty. The Smell. The Touch. Always inviting. Just as summer is a feast for our senses, so too are roses. They abound in glorious abundance in front of the Basilica of St. Lawrence downtown.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Havana Nights

Wonderful thing about Asheville now is that you have the world at your fingertips - Havana, Jerusalem, Thailand, but we're still in the same beautiful place we grew up in. There's nothing better than the reflection of lights from the colorful windows. And music. And the streak of car lights. I know I'm not in Havana, but the other day when I passed by, I saw Havana's owner, I think, on the street corner laughing and talking to a hot dog car vendor. For a moment, I felt like I was in Havana.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bells of the Basilica

Sometimes when we are deep in our grief and thoughts, there's a reminder that hope exists. Last night, I was sitting on my porch totally exhausted from disturbing news, and I heard the bells of The Basilica of St. Lawrence. It was a reminder that all is well with my soul.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Wow of Clouds

Transcendence is supposed to be this big event, perhaps occurring in meditation or in some ashram. But for me the most amazing moments happen sitting on the porch or walking out of Ingles. Last night, we walked out of the Ingles on Tunnel Road and this display of beauty in color and light took my breath away.

Too often I have squandered the beauty of nature - either totally ignoring it or treating it like a backdrop to my life. But doesn't nature ignore me? And even if I exist for nature, am I not secondary to its mighty show of glory and force. If I drink in Nature, I feel peace, sometimes distress, sometimes indescribable joy but always alive.

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Blue Jackson

One early morning, my favorite time of day, I watched the sun rise from pitch blackness at my house in Montford, to the street lights in the darkness at the Vance Monument to the changing blue sky behind the Jackson Building. It is amazing how many shades of blue there are, some actually a bit disturbing, a bit messy. Sitting with that feeling and color reaches deep into our minds, the air stirs with morning approaching  and then the blue changes - to a blue like this one behind the sky, full of smoothness, a sense of aliveness, and a promise of bright joy to come.
But then I don't know, are the gargoyles friend or foe?

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Looking Glass Waterfalls, Majestic Joy

Looking Glass Falls, in our backyards, was created to manifest glory and Joy.

It's like a reflection of our souls, joy and light pouring out. I am reminded of the song "This Little Light of Mine." Odette did a wonderful version in which she recites Marianne Williamson's poem, "Our Deepest Fear." In it, we are reminded that  "We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone." 

When I saw Looking  Glass Falls, I had a momentary pang of fear. That I am playing small.

                               Your playing small does not serve the world.
                               There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
                               so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
                               We are all meant to shine, as children do.

As, the poem says, we are all bright shining lights of joy, just like Looking Glass Falls, right in our backyard.

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Asheville Skyline from Grove Park Inn

I love visiting the Grove Park Inn and seeing the huge fireplaces, listening to the live music and looking at photographs on the wall of all the famous people who have visited here over the past 100 years. One of my fondest memories is of taking my father on year just before Thanksgiving to see the Ginger Bread Houses, he in a wheelchair. But the irony is that my favorite part of the Grove Park Inn what encircles it. It is the skyline of Asheville and all the mountains that circle our peaceful valley. While in earshot of all the hustle and bustle of the patrons eating and laughing on the patio, you can separate yourself off and drink in the beauty of nature and the vision of man.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Vance Monument at Night

Asheville on Friday - a huge party. But this was taken early one morning just before 5am, my favorite hour when all is quiet and still before the world wakes up, the hour before the birds sing, when the blackness of the night seeps into your soul, giving you peace and the air just barely wakes up, refreshing you for another day.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Waiting for the Night

From the yellow house to the side porch, at night, there's a sense of longing and waiting. There's nothing like sitting on your porch at night, watching fireflies and feeling the darkness as if it were a being, an old friend, comforting and peaceful.

This one was taken a while and I had another picture in mind, but an overwhelming urge to put this one on took over. Tomorrow is the girl's 13th birthday and there's a sense of her waiting - impatiently and brooding.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

You Can Go Home Again

It's funny how life goes. As a kid, I remember reading Thomas Wolfe and being told by my parents about places mentioned in the book. Some that had changed, some that were gone, and some that were exactly the same. When I came back to Asheville after many years away, it snowed. I stood at the intersection of Carrier and Salola just a block from Rumbough where the park is and I listened to the quiet. Gone was my grandmother and my grandfather at 94 had just had to move from his house. Now 15 years later, parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles have gone on.

But you can come home again. The intoxicating smells are there, the comforting quiet of an early morning at home and old and new memories waiting.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

In the Valley of Love and Delight

Every morning as we got ready to go to school, I saw these two chairs and trees with a backyard that invited me in. I photographed it at different times of the morning to get the light right. Whenever I saw the two chairs beckoning me, I was transcended. To what I don't know. Maybe it's that lingering memory of my grandparents, born in 1902 and 1903, both sitting in their backyard together, he in is railroad overalls and her in a housedress and straw hat. They sat in lawn chairs together.

The story is that my grandfather was one of nine children who lived way out in Franklin and one day he laid down his hoe and started walking to Detroit. To join all the boys who migrated to make cars when cars were new. But he couldn't stay away. One day when back home he saw my grandmother, a woman with big bushy hair. He fell for her and eventually took her back with him to Detroit. My mother was born there but not long after they settled back home, in Asheville on Salola Street where they lived for 50 years.

These two chairs carry me back to a memory of a backyard where I saw my grandparents evening after evening for many years.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Asheville Enchanted

I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Often, I have criticized people who live in the shadow of the Mountains here who bitterly complain about life - if they just looked up, they would be inspired and grateful. But recently I realized I've been doing the same thing. Moaning about being a single parent, bills piling up, laid off and then hired only to have the position eliminated before I start. All those are real concerns, but...

But here's the big but. This morning as I prepared for the day I started doing exactly what I criticize others of doing - complaining with the backdrop of the most gorgeous mountains in all of the world. I have stood and listened to a friend in North Turkey Creek complain about things that don't matter to a hill of beans and behind her laid a garden of fresh vegetables and a mountain of green that rose as majestically as any in Switzerland. And lately I've been doing the same thing.

But today, I meditated and heard the birds sing and the streetlight illuminate a patch of trees, a sweet kiss of green light. That's what this photo does for me, reminds me that the sun I saw when I took this photo is bending down to light our day and show us how beautiful life can be... if you only see it as it really is. So today I choose joy and choose Asheville Enchanted.

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

From Whence Cometh My Strength

At home in Asheville, this glorious, magical place

One bright morning last week, I looked up to the sky and thought about that beautiful verse all of us from Asheville were taught as kids - I lift mine eyes to the hills - and as I remember it - From whence cometh my help. 

I am not the deepest spiritual person, but in this area where we see beauty all around, it's hard not to remember how joyful we are and how great and mighty life is.

Here in this place honeysuckle and jasmine mingle and greet you with sweetness. Here we wish all the world can experience the same beauty and peace. 

This is Warren Wilson in Swannanoa on a bright and magical morning in June.