Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

Change, who represents it better than the transformative chameleon?

I should mention that when taking these photos, I witnessed a papa chameleon feeding on a butterfly; unfortunately, I wasn’t able to photograph him in action. Enjoy!

Chameleon 1 Chameleon 2

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Change.”

WPC: Reflections

Reflection2

When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror? I mean really, truly connected with the person staring back at you. Did you smile back and say, “Hi there good-looking?” Or did you quickly turn away, uncomfortable with your reflection?

Today, while at the mirror, I decided to look deeper. I pushed past the gnarly white hairs and acne scars, and mined deep.

Truth is, I don’t like mirrors or cameras; I’m not one to post selfies.

Then again, I’ll catch my daughter connecting with her reflection: chatting away, high-fiving, and even blowing kisses at her mirror self.

So where did I go wrong? When did I lose my fierce self-confidence, or was it never fully developed?

Yes, I’m Addicted to Endorphins

Top of the world

High on life

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live ~ Jim Rohn

Running is a passion of mine. Always has been. I love what running does for my mind and body.

Granted, my dreams of becoming the next Maria Mutola, Meseret Defar, or Caster Simenya, are just that—pipe dreams. Still, I will enjoy the same euphoric “runner’s high”: that flood of endorphins, which keeps me craving for more and more, even when my body screams enough!

Running takes me places—physically and emotionally. It transports me to higher planes. To zones where I feel so liberated, I could take off and fly. With unveiled face, I commune with nature, basking in the glory of its Creator. As I inhale the fresh crisp air during my predawn runs, my body awakens. Giddily pulsing with freshly oxygenated blood, my cells relay bliss and joy from head to toe. I sweat out my worries, burdens, fears, and shame. And feed my spirit with endurance, potential, and an “I can do all things” mentality.

When I run, I’m fearless … and so I keep coming back for more, encouraged by the great cloud of witnesses who have run so boldly before me.

What “healthy highs” do you crave?

Check out the Weekly Writing Challenge: Fit to Write, to read what others have said.

WPC: Masterpiece

from the ashes I will rise
like a phoenix reborn
renewed, I will emerge
from fiery hot ashes
scarred, but not charred
leaning on Christ
who makes all things new

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpiece

10 Traits I look for in a Blog or Blog Post

This post is inspired by the WordPress Daily Prompt: What makes a blog great? What makes you follow a blog or “Like” a post?

Genius baby

Reading posts, liking posts, commenting on posts, following blogs … all of this takes time. Because time is precious, I’ve got to be smart about where and how I spend it. So I asked myself, What key traits do I look for in a blog or blog post?

1 − Purpose

Before following a blog, I like to know whom I’m connecting with: Who are you? What’s your vision? Why this blog?

For me, the “About” page can be a deal breaker; if I find generic content in an About page, I tend to get irritated and leave (confession is good for the soul).

2 − Authenticity

Authenticity is a game changer when deciding to follow a blog. I’m drawn to bloggers who keep it 100 in their blog posts and commentary section. I have tremendous respect for bloggers who show interest in their readers by responding to comments and engaging in dialogue. Such people are downright personable and approachable.

3 − Enticing blog post title or photography

You had me at the title. Sometimes all it takes to get me hooked on a blog post is a fantastic title or breathtaking photography. The first few sentences of a blog post are also important for gauging whether I’ll continue reading or click “X.”

4 − Inspiring, challenging content

The bloggers I tend to follow are those who have something insightful to say, and it shows in their blog posts. Their content is intelligent, witty, and thought-provoking. It inspires me to write better and do better.

Shh — Don’t tell anyone, but I also weed out blog posts based on their word count: I’m intimidated by anything > 750 words.

5 − Personality

Blogs have personality, after all there is a real person behind that monitor. Personality can be expressed through:

  • A playful and relaxed voice or writing style
  • Fun images or photos
  • Telling sincere, engaging stories

I’m more likely to follow a blog or “Like” a blog post that leaves me feeling blessed, encouraged, and knowledgeable.

6 − Passion

Passion oozes. It’s infectious. It’s attractive. It’s motivating. It drives me to click “Like” or “Follow.”

7 − Consistency

If I’m going to invest my time following a blog, I’ve got to feel like the blogger is committed, at least for a little while. It can be disappointing to be wooed in by the charm and content of a blog only to realize after a couple of weeks that it’s no longer active, and without a goodbye. I find that consistent, quality content goes a long way towards building relationships.

8 − Appearance

Yes, looks do matter. I enjoy visiting blogs whose designs are clean, colorful, and inviting. A blog’s appearance is important for readability: clutter, poor color choices, and inappropriate images can tarnish a blog post, even if it contains good information.

9 − Shared interests

Iron sharpens iron right? I tend to like blog posts that resonate with me at a personal and spiritual level.

10 − Navigability

Navigability is important. I enjoy blogs that are easy to navigate; where I can quickly and easily find additional content. An organized blog with meaningful pages and a structured sidebar is attractive.

What traits would you add?

Read what others have written here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says

Signs. Funny, poignant, symbolic, incorrect, informative, foreshadowing … there are so many signs in the world.

One of my favorite places to get poutine—a Quebec dish made with french fries, topped with brown gravy and cheese curds—is a fantastic family-owned restaurant called Grégoire.

Funny thing though, at the entrance to Grégoire is a conspicuous sign:

  • VÊTEMENT OBLIGATOIRE S.V.P

Translated, this means, “Clothing mandatory please.” Wonder what prompted that signage!

Restaurant Gregoire, some of the best poutine in town

Restaurant Gregoire has some of the best poutine in town

“PROPRIÉTE PRIVÉE. DÉFENSE DE PASSER” translated “PRIVATE PROPERTY. DON’T TRESPASS…” anytime someone tells me “DON’T” I get tempted. I swear the geese at this farmhouse were beckoning me to come play. No worries, I didn’t break any laws.

Although this sign said

Geese at play. Wonder if they’ll break loose from the sign

What signs have tickled your fancy?

For more offerings, check out the Daily Post.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Snacks From Above

Travelling in Tanzania is always an adventure. Whether in a taxi, bus, or airplane, you’re guaranteed a unique experience.

A recent bus trip through the Tanzanian countryside was no exception. Hot and cramped like sardines on a so-called luxury coach, we were eager to see the end to this arduous 12-hour plus journey.

You can imagine our excitement when we spotted these hawkers reaching above our window to sell refreshing goodies. Granted, their food selection pales in comparison to your typical roadside convenience store, it was welcome sustenance nonetheless.

TZ bus crisps

Captured this merchant selling crisps from above my bus window (Tanzania)

Captured this merchant selling drinks and other goodies from above my bus window (Tanzania)

This post is part of the Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above. The challenge was to share a photo of a subject that you shot from directly above.