Reflections on 2017 and Best Photo

The blog challenge this week has asked us to share our favorite single photo of the year.

This is mine. 

Eight reasons as to why I chose this photo (this also counts as my 2017 in Review post):

  1. I like the vibrant colors
  2. Like the texture
  3. This photo was taken on the little patio table that holds my journal and bevs. A special place for me (when the weather permits) to get sun, write, think, etc. Our black Lab also loves this time out there. He loves when we toss a ball or a stone and he chases the shadow of the item.  Just the other day he was wagging his tail (all excited) when he saw me grab my journal and reach for the door (like a cat hearing the can opener) – however, I turned back inside because it was just a little too frigid with arctic air this week. But he did get a few minutes out there. 
  4. Another reason I like this pic has to do with the sheriff art. I bought the sheriff wood painting because I liked the mood of the man and the wood. I was also reading Louis L’Amour at the time – after hearing about L’Amour since 1994  – 2017 was the year to finally dig the spurs into some of his paperbacks. I am not really a country gal (Kenny Chesney’s music doesn’t always count) but I am a fan of good writing and some of L’Amour’s beautiful paragraphs are still with me. The sheriff art piece does not feel like a piece I will keep long-term, I might, but if the right person comes along and wants it – I would gift it to them.
  5. The above photo also reminds me that birds have been special to me this year. Brought me comfort from grief. Many readers know that my nephew passed away in February 2017.
    nephew in Oct. 2016

    Sometimes when I see birds soar, I feel his essence. It has waned now, but the birds and grief relief started the day after his funeral. We were visiting Niagara Falls and there were a few birds flying near the rapids. One bird soared, in a captivating way-  kept doing his own thing – sometimes going off alone and swerving back – gliding – soaring free.    Maybe all that grief energy allows the mind to get lost in things more, but I needed to feel that bird glide that day.

    And Haystak’s Sail On song (here) played in my mind:

    “Nothin’s guaranteed, take advantage
    of today, ’cause you never know when
    your life will be taken away.
    And when I go, just let me slide
    across the sky.
    Because you gotta know, baby, even
    bosses die.
    Just imagine me on streets of gold,
    ridin’ chrome.
    Think of it like this: daddy called me
    I ain’t gone, I’m right here you just
    can’t see me.
    But we can still talk, why you think I
    made them CD’s?
    I’m as free as a bird, now.
    And this bird you cannot change.


  6. Now back to the photo.  When I took the photo of those little craft birdies, it reminded me of so many bloggers. It would take too long to link the various bird posts I have enjoyed this year, but some bloggers have bird photographs and insightful posts that are masterful works of art. They allow us to see our avian friends in ways we would never be able to see otherwise.  I am very grateful that through their lens I can see such beauty and wonder. The blogging community has helped me appreciate birds more and more each year. In fact, that leads to the next reason I like this photo…
  7. I wrote a book this year that had more than 40 bird-themed poems: Avian Friends (here).  It was an unplanned project and years ago if you would have asked me if I’d ever write a book with bird poems I would have laughed!    And now here it is. I have not had the chance to promo it yet (in time, in time…) and so for now I just enjoy the delightful experience or putting it together. Here is one of my favorite poems from Avian Friends:   


Crunching leaves

beneath my feet

ice cracklin’ below

red, freezing nose


hoodie pulled close

waiting for the dog to get relief

looked up

what did I see?

bright red cardinal

looking at me –

such a treat

such grace

black face

majestic red crest

sitting stately

on the fence for a rest

I was enjoying

this color abrupt

until my pup

figured out what was up

with a “Woof,” and wag of the tail

he chased away

the cardinal male

Crunching our way back home

skills of the Master Artist were shown

colorful avian beauty

pigmented me


pup from fall crunch is one on right

8. Another reason I chose the bird photo as my favorite of 2017 had to do with the community we see with birds. Perhaps the little yellow one is teaching, leading, or giving some kind of talk.  The other three –  are not all even in their row and so we can feel some casual discussion or relaxed listening. Or is it a skit? 

That same community sharing is felt with online sharing and Pommepal said it just right: “I consider blogging to be a very positive, global activity. Long may it continue.”

Side note: If you are relaxing the day away and want to peruse a few more blog posts , here are a few posts to peek at:

Bushboy’s “Something happened in 2017”: Here

#Modes of Flight (themofman’s blog) DocumentaryPhotography: Here

Reena Saxena’s post about New Year’s Resolutions: Here


In closing….

let me wrap up with another poem from Avian Friends (there are more than 40 poems in that little book- and I will share more about at another point) but this next poem might encourage someone – because it is about a time when I opened the back door

– in winter –

and hope flew in.

I stopped what I was doing to just enjoy the unexpected sounds of birds that cold late-winter day. Pausing to be  — and able to feel moved by the return of birds –  priceless.

Wellness is the sum of many parts and “hope can fly your way” from the smallest of things – so be sure to stay open to it.


Stood and listened

to birds tweet and whistle

had breakfast to make

day to begin

stuff to shuffle

and standing

in winter chill

at the back door

harmony stopped me

hope flew in

melodious infusing during a winter chill

trees still bare

yet birds were there

             dulcet air

                     momentary loss of care

cold days

soon to part ways

winter hard exiting

more birds returning

spring soon erupting

green grass, pleasant breeze, flowers, butterflies, bees

replacing freeze….


I shut the door

 musical deliverance once more


Now if that didn’t offer encouragement, maybe this next verse will ((and PLEASE skip this part if Bible verses are not your thing)) – but I heard a Lauren Daigle song and the words lingered – – and maybe someone needs to keep this in mind as 2018 rolls in: “…wait upon the Lord to renew strength; he will help you mount up with wings as eagles; you shall run, not be weary; you shall walk, and not faint.”


Happy New Year and thanks for reading.









41 thoughts on “Reflections on 2017 and Best Photo

    1. Thanks so much themofman – (I used to call you Moff man) and I first heard of your blog with Paula’s feature of you a couple years ago – and somehow lost touch – and so I am glad to reconnect this last year and looking forward to 2018.


  1. You did select such a fun photograph. Since we moved here, we’ve got a bird feeder out back and your post reminded me that at least several times a week the most gorgeous bright red cardinal appears and lingers for just a while. The birds are so entertaining. You do write such lovely poems, Y! Happy New Year! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh lucky duck – to see them regularly – when we had a water feature out back – the day a cardinal showed up I knew it was a good bird attraction. But we had to get rid of it (water feature) because too many birds were leaving a big ol mess and the dogs were putting paws in it – etc.
      but it was fun for a while –

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  2. I am so happy that our paths crossed this year. Wishing you a Happy New Year. Sorry about the passing of your nephew, I bet that bird had something to do with him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi – wow – gives me chills to read your comment cos I feel like that bird did – and I saw a lot of birds for months afterwards.
      For example – one day driving down a road where I never see large birds – there was one right there – flying – and little stories like that –
      but it has waned and it seems like that is no longer a connection I have….
      and my biggest prayers are for his parents and their grief – ugh
      and ok – on to happier things now
      – I am glad to connect with the rebel team and really glad we crossed paths. I follow enough photography blogs and not sure how I found your and RG’s stuff – but glad I did and looking forward to connecting in 2018

      Liked by 1 person

      1. An owl showed up at Rebel Guy’s moms house the night of her funeral. I had never seen one there before. It showed up two days in a row. Then left the day we did. Supposedly it never showed up after that.

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        1. I couldn’t imagine the grief of losing a nephew. Not something I would ever get over. It is just not supposed to be that way. 😦

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        2. Yes – I agree –
          and just a little side note on your comment – one of the things we learn with grief (grief 101 perhaps) is that losing someone is not something we ever get “over” – instead – we move on and adapt with the loss the way someone copes and moves forward with the loss of a limb.
          we try to adapt and try to adaptively cope in ways that keep us healthy.
          also- for me – I am a believer in heaven and I haver that assurance that we will see each other again some day and that this is not our true home down here – we are to embrace this life with richness and make the most of it – but I believe we were built for another place and it is an anchor of hope.

          oh and side note – I was reading in Victor Hugo’s les Mis about something worse than losing a child –
          and it is to have your child do mass evil – ugh.
          I thought of that after I saw the interview of the mother of the guy who killed people in charlottesville.
          anyhow, thanks for your comment 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I hope you are right about heaven. I want to believe it. It does give people hope and that we need some form of that when living in this world right now. There has to be something better to look forward to, right?
          Oh, mass evil, yes, that would be horrifying. That would be hard to deal with, because you would have trouble not loving or standing by your child. People would also always associate you with their actions.

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        4. yes- and then I assume the parents have guilt – ugh – -such a horrible thing – but the death of a child or nephew/niece is a very long road.
          For me – only saw my nephew once a year – I know it would have been much harder if I saw him every day. My prayers are ongoing for his parents – siblings – closer family – and as noted – I also know that i will see him again in heaven. we shared the same faith and the day after he died – I was painting some chairs and had this quick little snapshot of him up there (saying it was awesome) – i shared it with some folks – but it was actually a point of conflict for someone because they don’t share the same belief in heaven –
          and that is the last thing they want to hear as they are pissed – angry – mad – hurt – shocked – frustrated -etc. –
          I also have learned more about grief this last year than ever before.
          I have taught grief counseling workshops (back in 2001- 2002) and have even helped developed curriculum to help people find adaptive coping styles – so it was an area I knew something about.
          however, after attending three funerals in nine months (and having 4 deaths in 13 months) I saw first hand how people respond to the crisis and trauma of death is directly impacted by what unresolved stuff they might have before hand.
          So if someone has buried anger issues that have been unattended – this layered issue is seen in their response and seen as they start coping.
          sadly, our culture does not empower and equip people enough with everyday coping skills – and too many people cannot afford basic counseling and then resources can be difficult to find. Not everyone has someone they can call for counsel – or they are viewed as weak if they cannot figure things out. Oh this is getting long- sorry – but pride and anger and trying to be too self-sufficient – combined with lack of awareness is a “killer” –
          and lastly – I am grateful for this site that has free worksheets (and tools and articles) because it offers some fodder for those in need.

          and their grief resources are AWESOME:

          “Grief is a natural process that’s painful, personal, and normal. Grief allows a person to come to terms with a significant loss, and make sense of their new reality without a loved one. In most cases, grief will resolve itself with the passage of time, and psychotherapy is unnecessary. Other times, grief can become complicated and fail to resolve…

          and this one for working with kids:

          Help children and adolescents begin to process their grief using the Grief Sentence Completion exercise. Starting a conversation about loss can be difficult for anyone, and this worksheet will allow your clients to begin expressing themselves more easily with the help of prompts. Example statements include: “The thing I miss most about the person who I lost is…”

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        5. I took care of someone in their home that was dying of cancer and was right there when she passed (in our home) and it changed me for life. For the better. She was Catholic and was not afraid or bitter because of her faith. That made it easier on me taking care of her. She didn’t make it a bad thing, so I was able to deal with everything else. It also made me better prepared for the passing of my grandparents and Rebel Guys parents. Had it not been for her, I doubt I would have managed like I did.
          I remember a friend of my sister, her husband died, when she came here with my sister, not quite a year after, she was surprised I asked her about it and we talked for a long time about caring for them. She thanked me because I was the first person to talk about it openly, she said people didn’t know how to talk to her after his passing and she could sense their feeling awkward. People tended to avoid the fact that he passed and being able to talk made her feel so much better. Death comes to us all and people need to talk about it.
          You are so right when you say things and issues are so important to resolve and if they haven’t been in life, someone to get you through it is so important. You are a wonderful person for doing this. People like you make a difference in this world!

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        6. oh that was so beautiful to read. Thanks for sharing RG. seriously…
          It sounds like you really have a heart for people and that tenderness-
          sorry to hear about the grandparents and RG’s parents – and you are right – it can be so helpful to talk about it – and how that can help – not hurt – it is when it gets buried that it could lead to maladaptive coping and just keep things weird and all.
          and this is a side note –
          but what I grapple with – and what kind of pisses me off – is why such wonderful people die young and then cold hearted jerks get to live long lives – ugh – seems to be unfair – but I do not go down that path because it could be too annoying – but it is not fair and my nephew was one of those cool guys and a great light went out – his obit said he had “many, many friends” and it was an understatement – and his love for people (he was a chef and he liked to cook for folks – and once he let a homeless guy sleep in his car and his mom didn’t know and called the police – lol – it all worked out – but that was how much he thought of others) and so it just seems NOT fair….
          but I do believe that God knows the future as clear as we know the past (even with free will) and I also believe ‘all things work for good” and my nephew will be on my welcome team when I get to heaven –

          and your friend that you cared for will be on your welcome team – she sounds like she was at peace and like she had such spiritual insight – and you noted that you were changed for good – well what a gift you were to her (cancer sucks).

          lastly – check out this video that grabbed me last week- when I heard this singer talk about her view of death (and her gf passing)- it resonated with me:

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        7. I was able to cope because they all had an illness and we knew the outcome. But someone young and unexpected, I do not think would be something I could deal with. In fact, I know I would not be able to. Or my own parents. Losing one of my nephews would devastate me.

          She was my husbands great aunt, still a friend, but a long life, and well lived.

          The link did not work.

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        8. you are so right that the prep time helps and the shock/unexpected aspect makes it way harder. and sorry the link did not work – I will check again
          in the meantime – good day to you (and RG)

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  3. I sure did like the poem about the cardinal. We have them aplenty, lots of ecounters, but how to trap them with a lens eludes me.
    I liked the picture again 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. well I am jealous that you have them aplenty- I think we have them plenty here, but not where I am – I can count the times I have seen a cardinal up close – and it usually has a striking feel – which I tried to capture with words and so thanks for the feedback.

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  4. It’s a lovely photo, Yvette! I love the colours and textures and of course the little birds. 😊 And I do get your feeling about birds functioning like messengers for your nephew’s presence. Many people experience the same. It’s interesting to chose only one pic though, I’m not sure I could do it, so maybe one for each month 😉
    Happy New Year! xoxo


  5. Yvette, I was saddened to read about your nephew last year and touched how the birds specially entered your life at the time. It is soothing and healing when this happens and can bring a certain peace and sense to the desparate loss. The photo is wonderful… virbrant colours full of life.

    Wow! You’ve sneaked out a book of poetry and barely mentioned it – congratulations! I love your poems here and wish you best of luck with your book. I would like to take a closer look at it soon. Xxx


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