Natural beauty is inspiring. It's amazing and wonderful and mind-blowing.

On a recent work trip to Washington, D.C., I found that I was equally inspired by man-made beauty.

Maybe it's because I was in my all-time favorite city. Maybe it's because of the immense history.  Maybe it's just because beauty is beauty.
This photo was taken at the Environmental Protection Agency building.

I love the complimentary curves and straight lines.  I love the repetition in pattern and the movement away from the viewer. I love the marble. Marble, on it's own can seem a little cold, but when you are in a city of marble, it signifies strength, purity and timelessness.

All of these things remind me of natural beauty - especially in a photograph.  I look at this photo and it's very peaceful.  But, I remember taking it!  I heard sirens, car horns, yelling and endless car motors. 

Seeing this made the noise stop - if even for a moment. It was like a five second meditation - similar to when you're out walking in the woods and see a beautiful flower popping up through the forest floor.

These are the moments to capture, whether on film or in your mind. Beauty makes life rich, and we are all so wealthy. Beauty is everywhere. 
The first day of Spring....we've been looking forward to it. 

We woke up to birds singing and animals at the feeders.
Lilies are emerging from the ground...
Buds are on all the branches...
And the picnic necessities are ready to go...
Ok, so Winter is not going down without a fight.  That's alright.  This little winter storm wannabe isn't getting me down.  I know how to go to  I can see 50's in my future.  Regardless of this little covering of white, HAPPY SPRING!!
This weekend was convincing. Winter is on its way out. We even put the cushions on the front porch furniture.
It's so exciting to see buds on the trees!
Yep - Good riddance Winter! Bring on Spring. Yay! 

Well, I thought I felt that way.

But then, we took Mojo out for a walk in the woods. 

I think I'm gonna miss it - Winter.

I'm going to miss the shadows on the snow...
The sound of a quiet forest.
And seeing evidence that a deer has crossed the very path you're on.
Oh, I know it'll be back.  I know I'll get sick of it after a few months next time.  But it's so beautiful, and I just want to appreciate every last day of it.
Nearly everyday after work, Ella and I take Mojo out for a walk (we have to drive him to a park, because he's still afraid of leaving the house!).

Last Thursday, the sun was shining and it was beautiful.  Was the weather person right? Is Spring on its way?

I don't know....the trail was pretty snowy...
Ella tried to take her coat off when I wasn't looking....Doesn't she know by now that every mom has eyes in the back of her head?
OK, come's not that warm out.  Why are kids so not clued in to temperatures?

Ok, well, the sun shining on the water really does look very Springy. 
Nah...I'm not convinced.  Still too much snow around.   The weekend did try its best to convince me though...
Mojo and I were up before sunrise on Sunday.  We usually are.  As soon as the sky lightened enough to walk, we headed to a local park. 

It was beautiful.
It was serene.

I made this video while we were there - check it out.
Mojo and I left the car and as soon as we started on the trail, I knew we were in for calm, peaceful walk.
There's something about being in the woods before the sun comes up. Of course we were the only ones there. Who else in their right mind gets up before 6 am on a Sunday?
The sky was a blue-grey that reflected on the frozen lake and snow.  Everything was silent, except the birds and our feet crunching in the snow.
When you put yourself in places like this, it's actually easy to be 100% in the present moment. I took a deep breath and smiled. I was relaxed and joyful. I felt so lucky.....lucky to be in this beautiful space, lucky to have my family and friends and lucky to be breathing this clean, crisp morning air.   Being in the present allows you to be appreciative of things that usually go unnoticed.

And....we saw grass.  It was February 28, and we saw grass. Spring is on its way - just another thing to be happy about.
There must be something pretty exciting going on out there...Stout won't look away and his ears and tail are twitching.
Even Belle is intrigued...
Oh, hello Squirrel.  You must be causing this scene.
Or is it the cardinals?
Could be those giant blue jays...
Must be the whole gang...At least our indoor-only cats (except for Stout's escape attempts) are entertained for awhile. 

Summer and Winter, Spring and Autumn...we love our backyard friends.




I've never been to Haiti...but my heart is there.

I went to the Detroit Auto Show yesterday for work. It's full of over stimulation.  When I left yesterday morning, I knew there had been an earthquake in Haiti, but I hadn't yet heard the extent of it.

And there I was, sitting in Greek Town eating pizza after a long day at the show, when I looked up and saw the CNN broadcast of the Haitian people dealing with this horrendous event.

I couldn't eat anymore.  I could hardly breathe. There has been a cloud over me ever since...

I came home and found Ella gathering supplies for the Haiti Foundation Against Poverty - they are traveling to Haiti on Saturday.  What are they asking for? Canned food, can openers, gauze and tape. Wow.

I feel helpless and uneducated. I want to know more...about the land and its people...I want to help. 

I went to bed with a heavy heart and it's still there today.

Please send supplies to Haiti. If you can't, please send your prayers.

We tend to feel untouchable here in the's so not true.

Finally! The snow has returned to West Michigan, and I think it's here to stay. 

Christmas was cold and rainy.  Yes, I said rainy. Christmas isn't supposed to be rainy!

But the day after Christmas, it really arrived, and it is beautiful! I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful place!

I also felt so lucky to actually experience it on my vacation.  Usually, I have to look at it out a second-story window at corporate headquarters. During vacation, we walked in it and played in it. One of my favorite outings was less than a half mile from my house.
Greg, Ella, Mojo and I headed out and braved the wind and cold.

We all wiped out and were wet and cold by the end of the trip.  But was it worth it?

What do you think!? 

I bring my camera with me everywhere, because it's kind of like bringing you along.  And you didn't even need long underwear!
Have you ever looked at a spider web? I mean, really slowed down and looked at one?

They are beautiful
Greg and I took a walk early in the morning when we had our weekend away.  It was a cool morning and dew was everywhere. Droplets coated the spider webs of the forest.
Every design was so beautifully detailed. It was amazing to us.

Seeing and appreciating these natural wonders puts me a perfectly present state of mind.  I'm always so rushed and unfocused. 
I can't help but wonder what I'm missing by living such a busy life.  I love these moments  -  when life grabs you and forces you to slow down.

The key is to have those moments grow longer and longer so that you don't need reminders anymore.

If you figure that one out....let me know.
Earlier this Fall, while I was canning some peach jam, Greg called to me from the front door - "Hon, you better come here!"  Really? I'm so busy and focused (and a little slimy from the peach blanching and peeling).  Ok..........

I left my busyness to find this little guy on our sidewalk:
Our visitor (hiding an arm)
My fascination with turtles began about 2 1/2 years ago, when Greg was laid off.  We decided to start a small business (his Chiropractic office) and used up some free tickets to go to Daytona Beach to write a business plan.

Excellent Trip.

For some reason, all the turtle stuff really got to me there. I was intrigued with the slow, intentional movements of turtles.

Turtles carry so much symbolism from different cultures, religions and parts of the world. Here are just a few:

-Turtles symbolize Heaven and Earth coming together.
-Turtles represent the 'doorway' into Heaven.
-A turtle represents creation.
-Turtles represent inner reflection and peace.

Here's the lesson I get from turtles:
Patience really is a virtue.  Slow down and think before you act. Be solid, grounded and true to who you are. Reflect before acting and seek your true destination.  Use your shell for protection when needed, but in order to move forward, you'll need to stick your head out.  Things will happen - you'll get there. It just may take a little more time than expected.

This creature appeared at my front door for a reason, and I'd be a fool to ignore his message. Sometimes things show up just when you need them.

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    My name is Kristen Porter ~ I am a corporate attorney by day, and a writer/artist/renaissance-woman wanna-be by night. 

    This is my summary of life and attempt to capture small moments forever while appreciating their impermanence.  Those small moments are what make life so wonderful!

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