Category Archives: Photography

Doing Something I Love

Last week, I had a meeting on the main medical campus and took the bus there from my office. On the way back at the end of the day, I got extremely nauseated – I just wanted to curl up in the fetal position and die. Instead of commuting home right away, I thought to take some photos of the fall leaves in the Arboretum. But there was no great place to park, and I wasn’t up to a lot of hiking, so I eventually decided to go to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens instead, with the idea of walking through the woods there.

I didn’t make it that far. I went into the Conservatory, and started snapping away with my iPhone. I’ve photographed Matthaei a bunch of times, but I always enjoy it. Here are (some of) the fruits of my afternoon:

I even edited my photos, uploaded them to an actual album on Flickr, and made them into a photo book via Blurb. It’s nice to do something you love to do, every now and then. 🙂

Clawson Fireworks

Every year, Clawson puts on the best fireworks display! 🙂 I love living close enough to be able to walk to the park (and miss the gridlocked traffic after the show)! This year, I got to share the evening with Ross and Chelsea.

Here are a few of my favorite images from the evening:










































As always, you can see the rest of my photos on my Clawson Fireworks Flickr page.

Fun at the Zoo Boo!

Sorry, everyone…. I’ve been quite sick lately, so EVERYTHING has fallen off my plate. Pretty sure I dropped the plate, too. I’ll try and catch up, if I ever get better. 🙂

Krystin invited me to the Zoo Boo with her family. It was so cute to see Evie as a bee, especially when she would tell us that a bee says, “Buzz!” Dad Jerad was quite the trooper, carrying his little girl most of the way. It’s always awesome to be around parents as excited and involved as Krystin and Jerad. 🙂

It was raining on the way over, but by the time we parked, the rain had stopped and we could see some blue sky peeking in:

The Detroit Zoo had set up a short walking course dotted with candy stations manned by Zoo personnel in various Halloween costumes. Along the way, we got to look at tons of carved pumpkins and other visual delights.

Look at the cute Kutler family! Ready to get CANDY! 🙂

Evie-Bee getting ready to get candy at the first stop:

She looks a little unsure, but Daddy’s right there to keep her safe!

Then, she took off running!

We found a maze made of hay bales and chased Mommy through that.

On the way to MORE CANDY, Mommy and Daddy helped their little bee fly!

Treat Station #2

Oh, Look! Another bee!

And a Snowman Pumpkin!

They didn’t seem to be as interested in looking at all of the pumpkin sculptures on the side of the walkway — at least not as much as I was. 🙂 These things were CUTE!!!

Okay, this one was kind of freaky…

Cheezing for the picture:

A family stroll:

The Toy Story characters were there…

Getting a family picture…

The Reptile House was set up like a Haunted House of sorts. Really, they need to get creepier?!?

Now, it was starting to get dark, but we were still able to take a look at the camels and deer.

See how Daddy picks his Evie-Bee up?! 🙂

Mommy and Daddy leading Evie to the next candy station:

Glow sticks — sold for a King’s ransom. Needless to say, we didn’t buy any.

Aww! Polar Bear Pumpkins!

I like this picture:

They needed to have this drink station more in the middle of the walk, not the end….

Zebra and Giraffe and Elephant Pumpkins!

Yay! This was a fun Zoo Boo!

The penguins watched us leave….

Goodnight, Zoo!

Stunning Sunrise

This morning, I’m struggling to compensate for how much pain I’m in, so I have cute clothes on, hair arranged, make-up on, got an iced chai at Starbucks and blasted happy music all the way in to work. God apparently went along with this plan, because He gave me an amazing sunrise to watch. I mean, just LOOK at these colors!


The photo is grainy and stuff, but when you are merging from one highway to another and working with a point-n-shoot…. 🙂

Here’s another “lovely” shot…


And here’s an “action shot,” taken over my shoulder out the window. 🙂


Finally, I pulled into the parking lot of a nearby hotel and walked as close as I could to the highway to get a clear shot.

I’ll give you some more shots, so you can enjoy it, too. This is straight out of the camera — no edits.


This is also straight out of the camera, but I started playing with some of the color settings. 🙂




Hope you have a blessed day!

A Blessed Day

I’ve been wanting to go to confession for several weeks now, but at every turn it seems that something would come up. The longer I went, the more I wanted to go. I used to go about every 2 weeks to my pastor for confession, but lately have been going to confession Friday evenings after work at Christ the King. However, after being frustrated in my attempts for so long, I wanted to go to confession to a special place.

Don’t get me wrong, God’s grace is God’s grace no matter the location or the priest who channels his grace.


I’m not the kind of person who *feels good* after confession. I don’t feel “light as a feather,” or anything like that. I just feel like me. Although, when I go to St. Bonaventure’s for some reason, I feel God’s love and mercy more than usual. It’s not uncommon for me to exit confession crying. For some reason, there I have a better sense of my sin, and therefore an increased humility and gratitude for what the Lord is willing to forgive me.

After confession today, the day just seemed to … slow down, in a way. I lingered over sights and appreciated everything that I encountered.

First, I spent some time in prayer before the tabernacle.


Then, as I was exiting, I noticed a garden space. At first, the door to go in was locked, but one of the priests saw that I was trying to go in and opened the door for me. The flowers inside (outside? The garden was an interior courtyard with no roof) were beautiful.







When I first arrived, there was no one in line for confession and no priest in the room, so I had about 30 minutes to kill before the next scheduled confession time. I wandered through the exhibit on Fr. Solanus and then wandered through the gift shop. I ended up getting a rosary bracelet and a couple of postcards.

On the way out, after my confession, I took a couple pictures of the door.


The building stone:

And Sister Death, which is a sculpture of this twisted black piece of a tree.

The sense of peace, quiet joy and reflection stayed with me throughout the day. It was wonderful. I felt His love surround me wherever I went. And I kept receiving signs of love throughout the day. I wish I could hold on to that feeling forever. 🙂

South Haven 2012

Yesterday was the family reunion, and from the time that I heard it was going to be so close to Lake Michigan and South Haven, I wanted to take some time and head over there. I love being by the water and 15-20 miles is NOTHING to me! 🙂 The only question was if Mom would go for it.

We spent the night in Paw Paw. In the morning, I dragged her to St. Mary’s Catholic Church for Sunday Mass. It was a cute little church right by the court building that we had looked at yesterday. All around the church, the sidestreet parking was clogged. We managed to find the last parking spot in the tiny parking lot, but people were already creating a middle line of cars where it wasn’t legal to park — just to be able to get in to Mass! A good sign, right? 🙂

We were a little bit late, and so we took a seat in one of the back pews, like any good Catholic would do. After Mass, I snapped a couple pictures to prove I was there and grabbed my Mass ticket (parish bulletin). I was surprised to find that it was only 4 pages long! At both my parishes, it’s usually more like 12!


Next, we headed out of town. I didn’t have a lot of charge on my phone, so instead of using the GPS, I just found my way to M-43 and headed west. I wasn’t going to stop until I hit water! We had heard that there was a Blueberry Festival in South Haven this weekend and thought it would be good to check that out. We pulled into town and ended up on Phoenix Street. Just past the downtown area, right before the road dipped down to go towards the lighthouse, there were barricades for the festival. Luckily, there was also on-stree parking RIGHT THERE! We couldn’t have asked for a better spot!

We were on the southwest corner of the intersection, and on the northwest corner was this sign:

I liked looking at all of the boats in the marina. If I could, I would love to live on the water and have a boat (or two or four) of my own!

As we were walking down to the pier, we saw this big, pink flower. It was huge! Probably 7-8 inches in diameter! Even though it doesn’t really look that big in the photo.

And, finally, THE BEACH!


And the lighthouse:


With sailboats on the water!

We read all of the graffiti on the lighthouse. I saw one that said “Hannah was here” and wondered if it belonged to Hannah Ekblad…
Hannah Was Here

I even got Mom to take a picture…. And she was happy that I didn’t push her in the water! 🙂

I tried taking a self-portrait, although it turned out a little funny because I kept squinting in the bright light.

We didn’t take the time to actually swim on the beach, but I did sit down on the edge of the pier and dangled my feet over the side!

More pictures of kids playing in the sand:

Seagull footprints:

Even though I had my good running shoes on, I still walked across the sand to take pictures of the waves. These are tiny compared to the waves of the ocean, but I will take what I can get! 🙂

All of the water and boats actually looked like this:
I added contrast to most of the other shots, but it was kind of cool as they were normally, with almost nothing to tell you where the sky ended and the sea began….

Like me, you might be wondering why my mom was looking at her feet so intently. Well, it appears that where she was standing, when she took a step, the sand would shift and “crackle out” about 12 inches away from her foot.

The Ubiquitous Seagull Shot:

Another look of the beach, pier and lighthouse:

I took pictures of some treats for Erwin:

And for Lindsay:

Amy had suggested that we eat at the Phoenix Street Cafe while we were in town. So, after browsing through a couple of neat little shops, we did just that! I’m not sure if my brother or my dad would have enjoyed it as much as we did.

Here is Mom’s Asparagus Sandwich:

And my Spinach Burger (no meat was harmed in the making of this burger!):

Right next door to the Phoenix Street Cafe was The Blueberry Shoppe. I got 5 pounds of blueberries to take home, some mix to make Blueberry White Chocolate cookies, blueberry jerky, blueberry truffle, and we each tried a blueberry drink.

Mom got the Blueberry Lemonade (which was the better-tasting of the two):

And, although I would have preferred the Blueberry Lemonade, I opted to try something different and got the Blueberry Jelly Belly soda.

Our quick vacation to South Haven was now complete, and we headed back home. Plus, our 3 hour time limit for parking was about over…. 🙂

Independence Day Fireworks!

This post is going to be rather picture-heavy. 🙂

Yesterday was quite warm, so I spent most of the day inside in the air conditioning. My 4th of July tradition is to go up to Clawson to watch their fireworks display. For a small city, they put on quite the show!

Since I live only about a mile away, Lindsay and Erwin met up with me at my house and we walked up to the park (expecting a gridlock of traffic post-fireworks and wanting to avoid that). We met up with Brian, whose grandparents have a house in Clawson. By this time, it had started to rain. When we made it to the schoolyard across from the park field where the fireworks were to be fired from, we were soaked.

Luckily, the rain stopped in time for us to lay down our sheets and blankets and get ready for the show! The ground had been so dry that it soaked up all the rain and wasn’t soggy, although we remained damp for the rest of the night. We did get to enjoy some ice cream, while we waited for it to get fully dark. 🙂

Here is a small sample of what we got to see. The full set of pictures can be found here.




















We decided to have dinner at Friday’s to conclude our evening. Food, fireworks and friends: who could ask for a better Independence Day? 🙂

Fruit and Veggie Presents!

I love getting deliveries to my house. I always feel like I’m getting presents, even when I’m the one paying for them! Add this to the fact that I hate to go grocery shopping, and you can see why I’m so excited about getting fresh fruits and veggies delivered to my door by Door to Door Organics! I currently have only selected to get their Bitty [smallest] box once every two weeks to try it out and see how quickly I eat it up.

Today, I got my first shipment!

First, you know it’s going to be quality stuff when they send it bearing works of art [Crayola drawings on the shipping label]. How cute is that! 🙂

When you first open the box, they have a little envelope, welcoming you. Inside: a magnet for my fridge!

They must know that I like to put stuff on my fridge:

Here’s the first real peek inside the box:

Big, green lettuce:

A perfect mango:

A couple of tomatoes and an avocado:

Cute little potatoes:

Two Gala apples and a lemon:

Green beans:

And corn!:

You can also buy various grocery items. I added these things to my order: Ground turkey:

Chick peas, diced tomatoes and pizza sauce:

You can kinda see it under all my food, but they also sent a picture for me to color! 🙂 Super fun!

Now, all I have to do is come up with ways to prepare these goodies! More photos to come! 🙂

A Great Mother’s Day!

Although my little peanut is in Heaven, I still had a pretty good Mother’s Day! 🙂

Before I go into my day, why don’t I post a nice, old-school photo of my mom with her two little monkeys:
image 25-1-2009 (5)
We’re so cute, aren’t we? 🙂 Okay, we now return to our regularly scheduled blog posting…

I started the morning dancing to a new song I downloaded to my phone. 🙂 So much so, that I missed the 10:15 am Mass and had to attend the 12:15 pm Mass. No matter, it actually worked in my favor because I hadn’t uploaded my photos for printing yet. See, my present for all of my moms this year is prints of some of my favorite flower pictures. I usually get them *live* flowers, but the competition this year was pretty steep. I mean, at the Riccardo household alone, one of my brothers had already sent flowers, days ago, so he got the award for being first. Two of my sisters got flowers also, so I would not be original in my present. But then I thought of it. A photo of flowers! That way, they’d never die! That means I win, right? 😉

I spent time selecting photos for each of my moms: Mom Riccardo, Mom Duffy and Mom. I sent them off to the printer and headed to Mass.

After Mass, I had to stop to put gas into my car. Just as I was finishing, I heard, “Excuse me, miss?” I turned to see a guy in his early 20s from the car at the pump behind me. He asked if I would buy him a gallon of gas, as his card had declined. A girl about the same age was in the driver’s seat. Typically, I put money onto gas cards (to get the extra points), and had been using that for this fill-up. It had about $15 on it, so I gave it to the guy. 🙂 I love it when I get a chance to do something nice for someone. 🙂

I then went to Somerset, picked up the prints, got a yummy Starbucks, and bought a dark chocolate-covered strawberry for Mom and Mom R, as well as a chocolate raspberry cup and espresso truffle for myself from Godiva.

Armed with all my goodies, I stopped first at Mom Riccardo’s house. I had made some extra prints for Mom, including 2 of me so that she could put them on the fridge! 🙂 Heeheehee… She had just laid down for a nap (Yay!), so I dropped off the presents with Dad and tiptoed out of the house.

On the way to Mom’s house, I passed by the Dairy Treat. I know that years ago they had a Mounds flurry that she liked, and it was one of the only places that had this. So I stopped in and checked. Sure enough, they still had it! I grabbed a small one for her and a small Turtle flurry for me. 🙂

At Mom and Dad’s, Clint wasn’t feeling very well and spent the evening on the couch. We watched the Food Network (some things looked good, others made me nauseated) and had Chicken Shack for dinner.

I’m back home again with a few hours left in the day to prepare for the work week ahead of me and relax. What a beautiful day it was!

Happy Mother’s Day!

(Oh, and here are a few of the pictures that I printed for my moms!)





I love the heart-shaped cacti!

7 Quick Takes: Friday the 13th!

— 1 —

God’s grace has been enveloping me this week. I am in awe of the gifts that He gives me and the way in which his is protecting me from my own sinful nature and deformed will, so that my heart may be conformed more closely to His. I supposed I shouldn’t be *that* surprised, since I pray for this all the time, but seeing Him answer that prayer is simply amazing!

— 2 —

Garden of Gethsemane

The most beautiful sight of the week has to have been the sight of my priest praying, prostrate, in front of the empty tabernacle on Holy Thursday evening. I stumbled upon this scene by accident, but it took my breath away. I couldn’t help but think of our Lord in the garden of Gethsemane, praying to the point of sweating blood — for us. To see my priest doing the same thing… What else could I do, but to be one of the apostles? So, I stayed some distance away and prayed (I *didn’t* sleep!). I prayed for him and for our parish, but I also spent quite a bit of time in prayer just to the Father. If he was praying in the place of Jesus, as an alter Christi, then I wanted to unite my prayers to theirs (his and His). I prayed at a bunch of altars of repose that evening, and I participated (as best I could) in many wonderful liturgies and events during Holy Week, but none captured my heart so much as those few quiet minutes of prayer in the garden.

— 3 —

Just a little bit of medical irony this week…. I had my follow-up appointment with my Pulmonary Medicine/Critical Care doctor yesterday. I was tachycardic, my blood pressure (instead of the nice 106/70 that it was last time) was 131/91, and my O2 sats had dropped from 99 to 93 (although the nurse, after trying a couple different fingers, saw it blip up to 95 momentarily and back down to the 93 it had been for about 5 minutes and recorded the 95).

So, even though my numbers were worse, apparently I was “good enough,” because he walked in and said that “healthy people can’t stay,” and told me that if I continued to do as well as I have been, I can stay out of the clinic until NEXT YEAR! 🙂

— 4 —

Wall of Books

Hi! My name is Jenn, and I am a book addict. I recognized this truth about myself this morning as I was walking in the dawn light to my parish’s library to return a book. Typically, I run up book fines like crazy, but I am trying very hard, at this library anyway, to return my books on time. Nevermind the fact that I am currently reading something like 40 books. Or that I already have 2 other books checked out from this library, one on loan from the book exchange at work, about 7 checked out from the library at my other parish and several books at my house which I haven’t finished. Nevermind all that. Because when I stepped into the library this morning, aware that I was there not 12 hours previously (and I read 2 books at that time), I had the urge to check out yet another book

— 5 —

Writer’s Block… Who would have thought that it would happen on a 7 Quick Takes??? I know that a lot of things have happened this week, but when the time comes to put them into a blog post, I end up staring at the computer screen for an uncomfortable period of time. Does this ever happen to you, too?

I have been thinking that it might be helpful to keep some Sticky Notes on me, so that I can write myself a reminder during the week to prepare for Fridays…

— 6 —

Is it odd that in this highly digital age, having several computers and a smartphone, that I am still enamored of Sticky Notes? I have them everywhere in my house, in my books, in my purse… And, even though I have a Kindle, for books which are not purely for pleasure-reading (which is most of the books that I read these days), I prefer to have a physical book in hand. I used to be very anal about keeping my books looking as pristine as possible, but it seems like I have entered the phase in my life where I want to underline or highlight things which strike me and am enjoying the idea of having books which look “lived in.”

— 7 —


Speaking of Addictions…. I also seem to have a love for photography, which is perhaps not surprising to those of you who know me. I used to instruct photography. Probably the most useful Christmas present which I have received lately is a small point-n-shoot digital camera that my parents got me. I had mentioned wanting to get a small camera which I could keep in my purse, so that I always have one on hand.


So, I now have a small, purple Nikon that I take with me everywhere. Granted, it’s a point-n-shoot, with all of the weaknesses of such a camera (which is occasionally frustrating), but the ability to take photos at any time is so awesome! Like yesterday, while I was visiting the parish library, and happened to notice all of the flowers… 🙂 Photos will be coming… As soon as I get home where I can download them! For now, you can see a few I took with my phone (the day before, when I had left my purse in the car… while visiting (again) the parish library… 🙂

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!