Positive Social Media Experience – Instagram

Posted by @texasbirdnerd on Instagram

I am genuinely passionate about writing. There is nothing comparable to the terrifying yet freeing feeling of putting your raw truth out for public inspection. I can handle the risk of judgement or rejection because I know that so many others need to understand that no matter how dark the moment may seem, there is always hope to be found. Breaking the silence about the harsh parts of our shared human experience is critically important so we can all be reminded that it’s not just us. That we are not broken. That we are never ever alone.

Posted by @texasbirdnerd on Instagram

However the challenge that I face as a blogger is that as much as I adore writing, I can’t turn these posts around in 5 or 10 minutes. They take a good chunk of time for me to compose, and I only seem to find that time somewhere between 11pm and 2am. Sadly that doesn’t jive so well with my 5am wake-up call and kids / work / life keep me jammed for the other waking hours.

Posted by @texasbirdnerd on Instagram

Furthermore the blogging community is so interactive that I remain in a perpetual state of feeling tremendously guilty about my inability to read 99.9% of the other bloggers’ posts including those written by my closest friends. I absolutely love reading all of them – truly. But I simply can’t keep up, and it makes me feel like a literary toolbag.

Posted by a clever young photographer (my daughter) @dragondaydreamer on Instagram

But then there’s Instagram. Although there are innumerable posts each day, you go through copious information in a few quick minutes. It’s much easier to support more of the community while leaving quick positive comments encouraging others forward. Like all social media, you can stumble into a dark bummer of a depressed you have serious daddy-issues kind of rabbit hole, but you can also kick that off your feed in two seconds once you recognize it.

Posted by @texasbirdnerd on Instagram

And on that note, please trust me when I tell you to stick with the happy, the amazing, and the educational. Don’t focus on the yuck and definitely don’t feed on the unhappy. Aim for the feel goods and the awe-inspiring. Put more good in to get more good out.

Posted by @texasbirdnerd on Instagram

While I took up photography a few short months ago, I have found myself absolutely smitten with it and always end up focusing on the nerdiest of subjects. (No, not fanboys. I prefer to marry those.) In the world of photography, I’m a nature nerd all the way. And much like writing, it makes me smile, soothes my soul, and appears to do the same for others in need of a mental respite from the racetrack of daily life.

Posted by @texasbirdnerd on Instagram

Although I will continue to write whenever I can find the time, I sincerely hope to see you on Instagram in the gaps in between. If you are already there, please look me up! I would love to support your work. And if you need tips on how to get started, let me know that, too. I would be happy to send along some tips for that as well.

Posted by @texasbirdnerd on Instagram

Best wishes and hugs to all of you!

Jo Price – Instagram ID @texasbirdnerd

Posted by @texasbirdnerd on Instagram

***All photos and writing contained herein are the sole property of the photographer / author. Use is prohibited without express written permission of the photographer / author. (c) 2018 – Jo Price Photography

Pause a Moment to Take a Closer Look

***Originally posted in lifeinthespectrum.com.

world of wonder - IG

I believe that landing a lovely photograph is strikingly similar to getting to know the people around us. There is such spectacular beauty to be found if only we are willing to pause a moment and take a closer look. We constantly seek to be shown the wonders of the world, but they are already at our fingertips.

bumble bee - IGTake the smallest amount of time to notice the magic that is woven into each day that you live. Look for the beauty everywhere you go and in everyone you meet. Every shot you take may not be what you hoped for, but every now and then, your willingness to give a little extra effort will leave you absolutely awestruck.

Big hugs to all.  Jo

 

bumble bee 2 - IG

***Originally posted in lifeinthespectrum.com.

It’s Too Hot for this Chickadee

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Is the entire world melting or is it just Texaa? Don’t get me wrong. It’s a nice change of pace to be able to blame my perpetual sweaty glow on on the weather instead of my standard hormonal beatdown. Some refer to this female physiological anarchy as “The Change” but if you use those words in my presence, you will visibly see me throw up in my mouth a little. Seriously people. Blegh!

Stop. Calling. It. That.

Let’s all agree that it shall henceforth be known as “Advanced Creaky Hoo-hah Syndrome” and be done with all other terms (scientific, irritating, or otherwise). Okay?

As a quick side note for my fellow birdnerds, adding a birdbath to your yard is a sure way to attract more feathered critters. I should also mention that if it continues to get hotter and hotter, it is quite likely that you will see me splashing around in your new aquatic feature as well. You have been warned.

😉 Jo

birdbath - chickadee2 - IG

Life in the Spectrum – Nature Photography vs. Travel Anxiety

***Originally posted on lifeinthespectrum.com.

black skimmer - IG

It’s no secret that I don’t do well when I have to travel solo. Despite my issues, my company is located out of state, so solo travel lands on my calendar multiple times a year. In order to redirect my nervous energy this past week, I opted for a series of random after workday adventures. A couple of those days included the coolest of activities. Happy hour? Chillin’ with my team at the bars? Dancing the night away?

snowy egret seafood - IG with logoOooooh nooooo. Think cooler. Much much cooler. That’s right.

Nature. Photography.

Aaaaaah yes. Haters gonna hate, but I couldn’t stop the unmitigated badassness that came with lugging around a lens so ridiculous that it made my forearms ache to hold it. As an added bonus, I was able to respond to inquiries from curious passersby who repeatedly asked, “Do you get incredible photos with that camera?” with my sly response of “It’s a hit and miss given that my limited camera knowledge is derived from the patient people at Canon customer support and Google.”

landing - IG

I told you. Mad. Skills. My anxiety faded away as my native nerdiness returned to the forefront. But it made me happy, and it did calm me down. I send heartfelt thank yous to the many California locals who suggested several beautiful places for capturing lovely nature shots and to those who pointed me in the right direction once I arrived.

seal in la jolla - IGKindness is so very powerful. We often don’t realize that the people around us are struggling deeply, and the smallest of benevolent gestures can mean more than we could ever know.

As is the norm, I actually had a wonderful week. Despite a few questionable moments (to be discussed later), I survived relatively unscathed. And now I’m home once more. Back to Texas. Back to my people.

Back to me.

osprey - IG

Big hugs to you all!  Jo

*My instagram ID is @texasbirdnerd for any other nature photo nerds. Find me so I can see your pics, too. Those always make me smile.  🙂

acorn woodpeckers - IG

***I would love to know what you do to take down the stress level when you are feeling overwhelmed. Feel free to tag your relevant posts in the comments, but keep in mind that this is a family show. Please keep it G / PG rated. Sorry, but I don’t need to read any of your PG-13 and above ideas.  😉

A Place in the World Away From It All

place2

One mile over. It’s such a small distance, but it might as well be a million miles away. We moved here to get away from the standard suburban neighborhood. We had great neighbors, but we were in need of more space so we could scream at our kids in peace and quiet. We were so close that we could hear conversations happening on the other side of the fence while we were inside our home. From the back of our home, we looked across a pond at a dozen other homes. There was no sense of privacy if you weren’t hidden behind closed shades. I could never allow the girls to run free on the weekend mornings whenever I had a few precious minutes to sit quietly on the back patio while drinking my coffee (and when I say the girls, I’m not referring to my daughters). We needed more elbow room, and we were desperate for trees.

place3

So we moved a mere mile down the road. In case word has not gotten out, allow me to be the first to tell you that trees are immeasurably awesome. If you have them, keep them, and if you don’t, put some in if you can. Why in the world builders and developers continue to mow them down is truly beyond me. Perhaps our friends are all closet tree-huggers, but we have yet to have anyone comment about how terrible it must be to have our view mucked up by all that nature.

Although we have lived here for several months now, I still find myself in awe of it. I have never been surrounded by so much green. There is life everywhere I look, and I feel like I’m breathing it all in (but don’t worry – I take Zyrtec as needed).

place6

I lie in bed at night and watch fireflies flickering around our yard. Over the past month, I have seen more colorful birds behind my home than I have ever seen in my life. We see owls in the trees in the evenings and hear their calls at night. And when a storm rolls in and the wind blows through the leaves, the sound is magical.

owl house

Life continues to have its ups and downs, but the setting inherently leads us to moments of calm in the chaos. We can’t help but encourage nature to come even closer. We have set up so many birdhouses that we are contemplating implementing some kind of aviary taxation system to help us pay for them. I’m afraid to run the numbers, but I’m fairly confident that our funds going toward bird food purchases are about to lap those designated for our people food purchases. Not that my husband would complain, but I’m still thankful that I handle the bills.

birdhouse

place5

We have played with hummingbirds, spent time adding raised garden boxes, planted vines and flowers, and set up impromptu extra beds in our room so we can watch the lightning storms brighten the sky through the silhouette of the trees together. Even my hydrangeas do better here. This may seem trivial, but those who have also led countless hydrangeas to their death will appreciate that gardening miracle. Life thrives here despite my questionable botanical track record.

On the animal front, we spent several weeks trying to decipher the various tracks we would find each morning in our yard. This was especially surprising given that the tracks were inside our enclosed fence. Ultimately we turned in our Indian guide badges and bought a game cam (best $50 I spent EVER).

game cam2

game cam1

The pics above are from two separate evenings. The other one hundred plus evenings that the game cam has been in place has revealed even more animal species, and that did not include the wild hogs, deer, bobcats, or snakes (bleh) that have been seen here, too. We have since further enclosed our formerly thought to be enclosed but not as enclosed as we initially believed fence. While we still find tracks regularly in our yard, I now point the game cam outside of our fence line to the adjacent thicket of trees. I need to believe that the wild kingdom within our fence has slowed a bit and refuse to acknowledge the reality that we definitely still have a serious nocturnal zoo living in our yard.

As a side note, I would like to mention that I have discovered that raccoons and armadillos are the jerks of the nocturnal animal world. Thanks to Ranger Rick, all of my bird feeders have to be placed five hundred feet off the ground or very literally chained to their branches. If you are in need of large carabiners, don’t bother going to Amazon. I already bought their entire stock. In addition, we now have to put huge stones around all new plants to keep the leprosy kings from digging them up (Nine-banded armadillos are carriers of leprosy and are native to our area. These cootie factories with claws have been wreaking havoc in our yard every night as visions of sugar plums dance in our heads). Are these cute from a distance? Yes! Are they about to become a hat and a weird kitchy Texas-themed lamp? Even bigger yes! But once we move past the jerk animals of the night drama, it still fascinates me to know that they are so close at all times.

kids and hummingbirds.jpg

That’s just how it is here. We are minutes from our previous home, but we are light years from our previous life there. I feel infinitely blessed here, and it makes me want to talk to people about the wonders that they could see if they would leave or replant a few native trees and bushes. Maybe our little plot of magic will inspire someone around us to invite the wilderness back into their yard, too.

Image result for lorax unless

On that note, I will leave you with the final words of a book I have adored since my childhood. We read it to our own children now, and the words feel more important than ever before.

“Catch! calls the Once-ler.
He lets something fall.
It’s a Truffula Seed.
It’s the last one of all!
You’re in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds.
And Truffula Trees are what everyone needs.
Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care.
Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air.
Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack.
Then the Lorax
and all of his friends
may come back.”
― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Place in the World

Take a Moment to Observe the Beauty and Embrace the Magic Around You

painted bunting

These painted buntings seem surreal to me yet they spent several days over the past week transforming our backyard into a wonderland. They are little feathered miracles that lift my worries and make my heart smile.

So many of us live and breathe by our endless schedules. Our lists of activities go on and on, and we often forget to take a few moments to observe the beauty in the world around us.

Birds. Wildflowers. Clouds. Our children.

All are in plain sight yet we fail to notice them.

I’ve had another long day of my own and am finally finishing up today’s work at this ridiculously late hour once more. Although I am in dire need of a few solid hours of sleep, I wanted to take a brief moment to celebrate the beauty that has blessed my life this week.

I feel tremendous gratitude for the innumerable gifts that fill my world and move around me at all times. I am pausing to remind myself of the importance of reserving a few minutes of each day to simply be. To look around. To breathe in the wonder. To embrace the magic. I pray that you can do the same.

Miracles surround us always. We just have to remember to notice them.

Love, light and magic to all of you.  Joanna

Observe

Moving the Dream of a Child from Impossible to Unlikely to Reality

 

cardinal

The photos in this post were taken by my daughter who is still in elementary school. She’s a spectacular soul with such talent.

My daughter sees magic in every corner of her world and recreates those details in her countless creations. Drawings, figurines, fairy gardens, and, most recently, photographs. She sits for hours as she takes pictures of animals, interesting interactions, scenery, and anything else that she deems to be beautiful or unique. Unfortunately she gives a rather wide berth to her perception of these terms, so we are literally left with hundreds or thousands (yes – thousands) of files to review at the end of her daily shoots. As a bonus she firmly believes that almost all of those pictures are portfolio quality images.

They are not, and, sadly for her, I am significantly less reticent about deleting tons of them. I am attempting to teach her to be more discerning about what is and isn’t true quality work, but I am also a very busy mom / wife / employee who has other crapola on her plate. Consequently my daughter has managed to significantly outpace my file cleanup efforts. My sincere apologies go out in advance to each of you as she will be using up all of the internet shortly if this pace continues.

2018-05-02 hummingbird1.jpgNevertheless she has managed to capture some beautiful images. Although she is still so young, her raw talent reveals itself with every new creation. She just has that something that can’t be taught or learned. It’s woven into her soul.

But I have a something, too. It’s called being her mother, and I worry. I’ve yet to meet an artist who said to me, “I got into art because I knew that it would be an easy way to pay the bills.” I don’t need my kids to become millionaires. (Now I’m not going to lie to you. It wouldn’t suck to have a millionaire kid, but that’s not in my wheelhouse of “mom to kid teaching skills” just yet.) My goal is for my children to live in a way that will keep them generally happy and financially sound.

So I am trying once more to teach my girl how to safely leverage off of the world of technology. I posted a couple of her new photos to her blog and am looking forward to seeing a collaborative blogging effort with another brilliant young friend of hers. My dream is for our children to be able to shine by becoming the people they clearly were meant to be and executing the talents that are inherently their own. Maybe blogging will help open doors for her at an earlier point in the process.

2018-05-02 hummingbird2I want to believe that her path will forever remain clear and that she will always find her way. I want to trust without question that her unusual and beautiful perceptions and creations will invite endless wonderful opportunities into her life. I pray that these are her realities and that my involvement is more of a kindness than a necessity. But just in case, it never hurts to get a head start, and there’s no sense in wasting good internet while it’s still around.  😉

***Photo credits and tons of love go to dragondaydream.com.  Never stop making the world more beautiful my talented darling. You belong among the wildflowers, but I’m so very thankful that you are here with me instead. I love you to the moon and back bunny rabbit.

2018-05-02 rose-breasted grosbeak1

Unlikely

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