The Power to Choose

Sunday morning on my balcony!
My favourite place to be as soon as it's warm enough to sit outside!
I'm surrounded by window-boxes and big tubs of flowers
and there is birdsong in the early morning.
I can see trees from where I sit when I turn by back to the road.

I am happy, not only because of all these lovely things, but because I choose to be!

Whatever happens to us in life, whatever our circumstances,
whatever our state of health, we have the ability to choose our attitude
to every single thing in our life.

The book in the photo is a new one that I have recently started.
It reinforces my belief that we are able to develop our resilience
and rise above the hard knocks in life.
Of course, some things are more difficult to bear than others,
but however hard things may seem, our attitude is everything.
We are not the victims of our lives,
but we are the creators of how we want to live.

I love books like this, 
they make me feel empowered.

May and June have been busy months, both with birthday celebrations
and creative occupations.

On the creative side, out came my crochet hook and some new red cotton
which I recently obtained from a local store.

Forty-two crocheted hearts have been made as part of a table decoration
for my son's wedding this August in Switzerland.

I found this lovely rose in the exact same tone of red as the hearts.

There's such mystery and beauty in the heart of a rose.

The weather is already hot and humid
with daytime temperatures reaching 26C but it feels much hotter
because of the high humidity.
Storms have been building up towards the evenings.

This could be the start of a very hot summer¨
It will soon be time to get my ventilators out of the cellar!

Reaching for the Sky

A recent stay in Lavey-les-Bains for three days in a Spa Hotel
I was able to get wonderful views of the surrounding mountains.

These were taken just as the first rays of sun were touching the tips of the mountains
in the early morning.

These lovely shots were all taken from the balcony in my hotel room

It was certainly very beautiful watching the rising sun illuminate the mountains

There was still a little snow, but most was melted.

I know that these two tips which are part of a mountain called
La Dent de Morcles

As the sky lightens, the green trees become visible

Fluffy clouds are always somewhere to be seen

This one almost looks like a volcano

A daytime shot from the park adjoining the hotel

Such a beautiful place to walk and the grass was dotted with buttercups.

The early evening sky brings in a red hue across the mountains

A charming crescent moon becomes visible

and for a few minutes, the sky takes on a shade of royal blue

Back to the moon again through the side window of my room

As night descends, it's time to put away my camera until those first rays
of sunshine illuminate the mountains again the next morning.

***

This thermal spa is at the foot of the Alps.
It is fed by the hottest springs in Switzerland.
Temperatures vary between 32°C - 36°C, depending on the season.
It is indeed a beautiful place to stay for a few days.
The mountain views are spectacular.
There is also a lovely park with many trees that runs along
the Rhone River nearby.
The fast flowing water can be heard from the hotel rooms.

I would love to go back there for a short stay in the autumn again!



A Milestone Birthday

May seems to be a busy month this year.
Celebrating my birthday on May 15th seemed  like a good time
to look back on those years when I was growing up.
This first photo dates back to when I was about three years' old.
It was certainly taken in a studio and the photo coloured afterwards.

My father liked to ride,
as soon as he thought I was big enough, he sat me on a pony.
Here I am, aged five, sitting on quite a highly-strung little pony
called "Mousie". I remember her well and how she liked to have her own way, 
which wasn't always the same way as her rider!

By the age of twelve, I was a fun-loving schoolgirl.
I still loved riding and had my own pony. A grey called Miss Muffet.

Then came the teenage years.
I was seventeen in this photo and quite dreamy and idealistic
and a tad romantic too.
I loved to read and went to the library a lot.
I kept a diary in my teen years, but kept none of these writings.
I wonder what I would think of them now?

I remember always wanting to see the best in people.
I think I was always striving to becoming someone better,
more compassionate, more understanding, more forgiving.

It became apparent to me, quite early on, that I was simply a work in progress
and that my life, in whatever form it took, would form the person
that I would become.

It isn't only life, and what happens to us, which forms us,
but how we react, digest and rise above it all which counts.

So besides all things philosophical,
there is the reality of how we live each moment,
with or without sunshine,
alone or in good company.

My birthday was not sunny and it was cold with heavy rain showers, 
but I spent it in good company with a breakfast out in a traditional, old-style
tea-room in the town of Lausanne.

Here is the little tea-room
We had a delicious Birchermuesli (they do the best in town)
and an Apple Turnover with coffee.

Look what caught our eye before we left the tea-room!

A Chocolate Truffle Cake
as light as a feather!
This little beauty came home with us for tea.

I was thinking about the important things in life and decided to make a collage
to give my children and grandson.

BE
Be amazed
Be joyful
Be playful
Be kind
Be thoughtful
Be loving
Be content
and most of all...
Be yourself!

Here is the last slice of birthday cake, so good with fresh raspberries.
The lovely peonies I received and three of my beautiful cards. 
The others stand in honour on my sideboard where I admire them every day!
I received very thoughtful and generous gifts from both my children
and a wonderfully detailed drawing from my grandson.

Today, the sun returned.
It feels so wonderfully joyful.
This is the scene that greeted me in my kitchen this morning.

Sunshine and blue skies
Sweet early morning birdsong
To nourish my soul.

All these simple things are so good for the morale, don't you think?

Where Are the Stories?

She looked out through the confines of where she was hiding.
She knew the world was waiting for her to make the effort, to take the first step.
There were other human beings out there, living life.
Was she living hers? 
She wasn't sure anymore.
She sometimes felt like a little mouse in a cage,
going round in circles, but not exactly getting anywhere.
How had that happened?
Was she doing anything to change that?

She tried looking at things from another point of view.
She felt an inner smile bubbling up from deep within her
and she felt her confidence grow.
"What strange creatures we are", she said, almost out loud.
"We allow ourselves to be influenced by mere thoughts that we have created."

She felt her face becoming relaxed and her breath came slower and calmer.
She could feel the sparkle coming back into her eyes!
There was even a feeling of lightness about her again.
She smiled and knew exactly what she had to do
and felt a tingling of excitement at the sheer thought of it...

This is a fictional story.

***

I did my first self-portrait course five years' ago when I turned a big birthday.
It was quite a challenge, but I so enjoyed the story-telling
and the role-playing we did.
That course was called "Now You".

This year, I decided to do another self-portrait class, to celebrate another birthday!
They do seem to come round rather quickly, don't they!
This time it's with Vivienne McMaster.
She's so encouraging and full of fun.
You can see her website here
***

Today is Sunday
and it's a perfect day for relaxing in the sunshine.

First of all, I just need to show you this gorgeous blossom in my neighbourhood!

After an early morning walk,
I had breakfast on my balcony and then read for a while
enjoying the spring flowers in my window boxes and pots.

Campanula or Bell flowers, just beginning to bloom.

I came across this advertisement for a film I would like to see.
I read the book, which was really good, sometime ago.

I've been having fun with double exposures, so here is one with my grandson!
He gave me permission to use this photo of us both.


See you all soon!

An Explosion of Petals

These photos are taken from a lakeside park in the town of Morges.
Every year there is a magnificent Tulip Festival.
The choice of flowers is immense and I had to choose just a few of them here.

Some of the centres of the flowers quite take my breath away.
The flower photos need no accompanying text,
just scroll down and enjoy them!















The fresh green leaves of spring are reflected in the water

The faraway view was a little hazy, but if you look directly above
the post on the left, in the dip in the mountains,
the well-known Mont Blanc mountain can be seen.

This is the main path which goes alongside the lake and all around
the whole park.

I rather liked this very unusual green tulip.

Fresh green leaves which have just unfurled


Today, Sunday, there were barrel organs and singers dotted around the park
giving a very joyful atmosphere!

These were my favourites!