Category Archives: Call to Action!

Weekly Photo Challenge #4

So last week’s photo challenge was SPRING. Thanks to those who sent in some images to add to the slide slow!  Isn’t this a great time of year! Let’s look at some of this week’s slides:

In Germany, by ArdenDogwood, by RoseViolets, By BarbaraOpeninBuds, by BarbaraYellow Trillium in W. Asheville, by ArdenFiddlehead heartBy RoseIn Germany, by ArdenIn Germany, by ArdenBloodroot, By BarbaraRed budsPinkAzaleaRedbudsPetalsArt in one dropTulipsMay appleFramed in pinkMy backyardDrop of rain on DogwoodBrand newBeautiful VeinsFoggy ForestIn Biltmore gardensHerald of spring--a spring peeper!DropsCurvesHoneybeeCherry blossomMagnolia blossomDogwoodAzaleaRed and pinkFirst flowersNew leavesTiger swallowtail

Speaking of spring, if you live in western North Carolina, here’s a special invitation for you to come out and join me this Friday for our first Game Night. On the last Friday of each month  I am going to be hosting a unique version of Jeopardy–a game night for adults! The focus will be getting together with some new friends, having fun, and learning something about the monthly topic–this month it is Signs of Spring. Have you ever watched Jeopardy on TV? Well my version will be just like the TV version–up on the “big screen” with lots of animation to keep it interesting. There will be photos, and sounds and lots of great interaction.

You don’t have to be a nature whiz or a walking encyclopedia!! You just have to enjoy having fun!

Won’t you come out and join us? To learn more and to RESERVE your spot, see my Meetup Page.

Next week’s photo challenge is: SKY TV

tv-That’s the title of this image which I took on the first day of my 5+month thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Do you think it’s a good title? How will you interpret that? Send in your images to my email at, then tune in on Wednesday to see the collection! Have fun looking UP for GREAT examples of SKY TV!

See you again soon. Have a great week!

Happy Earth Day!

Hey all, Happy Earth Day to you! And happy Saturday and weekend too. It’s not every year that Earth Day falls on a weekend, but when it does, it is nice. Here is a post I wrote another year, about the history of Earth Day and also some things YOU can do to make a difference.


Saturday is usually the day I do my puzzler, but I am going to hold off on that until tomorrow. Did you know that as Earth Day is being celebrated, there will be more than 500 locations around the world where people will be marching in support of Science?

Why are all these people getting together for Science?  And why on Earth Day?

Because a really lot is at stake, not just for the United States, but for the world.

What we do here impacts the world and other countries expect us to set a high bar and then uphold it.

Scientists agree that the climate of the earth is changing. Our clean water and clean air are something we take for granted. But what if 5 decades of environmental progress is taken away with one executive order? What if our precious National Parks are opened up to mining or drilling for oil? What if pesticides that have been deemed dangerous by dedicated scientists are allowed again? What if the chemicals from fracking are allowed to pollute our waters? What if the very institutions that we depend on to keep the water and air clean are eliminated? What if the research scientists have worked on for decades, is no longer being funded, or worse, erased?

Despite what some think, this is not a political issue. It doesn’t matter if you are a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent or other, these decisions have the potential to affect you and generations to come.

From the Science March website: “Scientists work to build a better understanding of the world around us.

Science is a process, not a product — a tool of discovery that allows us to constantly expand and revise our knowledge of the universe. In doing so, science serves the interests of all humans, not just those in power.

We recognize that inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility in science are critical to ensure that science reaches its potential to serve all communities. We must protect the rights of every person to engage with, learn from, and help shape science, free from manipulation by special interests.”

Science is part of our daily lives. For instance, did you know without SCIENCE we would have none of these things?

  • Medicines that keep us healthy
    • antibiotics
    • insulin
    • vaccines
  • cell phone
  • alarm clock
  • tv
  • computers
  • the internet
  • radio
  • photography
  • weather reports
  • clean water
  • clean air to breathe
  • food
  • electricity
  • cars
  • dental floss
  • plastic
  • organ transplants
  • transportation, from buses,cars,trains, airplanes,boats, etc
  • newspapers
  • fans and air-conditioning
  • heat

Of course this is only a small list, but you get the idea! I am going to be spending my Earth Day marching in support of Science…. how you will spend yours? What does Earth Day mean to you?



As always, I’d love to hear from you! Use the comment box below to tell me your thoughts.

See you tomorrow for the puzzler!

Weekly Photo Challenge #3

So last week’s theme was SERENITY, which I admit thinking was about the easiest theme ever as so many photos of nature could be interpreted that way. Special thanks to Arden for sending in a few photos. I know I was supposed to publish this yesterday, but I held off, hoping I might get a few more images from someone out there.

I have about a million photos that depict SERENITY, but when I got going with this, I really didn’t want it to be about me, I wanted it to be about YOU, my readers. Even so, I have put together a short slide show.

Siesta Key, Floria by ArdenSiesta Key, Floria by ArdenSiesta Key, Floria by ArdenSavannah National Wildlife Refuge, by ArdenWest Asheville, by ArdenSelf portrait at Lewey Lake in the AdirondacksThe A.TAlong the ParkwayAlong the John Muir Trail in CAWard Pound Ridge Reservation, in NYAlgonquin, CanadaWhat a sunrise!A glorious morning!Canoeing in the Great Swamp of Eastern NYQuiet musicIndian Lake in the AdirondacksSunset

I will try one more theme–but maybe will give it a few weeks for people to get outside and capture it, rather than publishing it next Wednesday, though I suspect it will then be “out of sight out of mind.” But I will try anyway.

The next photo challenge theme is: Spring. Have fun with it! There is so much you can do with that! I can’t wait to see what you come up with. Just email your images to me at Hope to hear from you soon!

Weekly Photo Challenge #1

Hello again and welcome to the first ever weekly photo challenge! I hope you are as excited as I am about this new weekly blog category! I think it will be interesting to see how other people interpret and capture the themes.

The only limitations to this weekly challenge are:

  • That the photo has a NATURE THEME and
  • is taken OUTDOORS.

So if the theme is RED and you just installed a new backsplash in your kitchen featuring a field of RED tulips, this may be beautiful but it doesn’t fit the challenge guidelines.

…drum roll please….. the first weekly photo challenge theme is: SHADOWS


You don’t need to have a fancy camera or be the most amazing photographer ever–you just need to interpret the word/phrase and capture it in an artistic or creative way on film. I will take all of the photos that come to me, add some of my own, and then put them in a slideshow and publish the post on the following Wednesday. You can send many (up to 10) or you can send one.

Won’t this be a great addition to your Wednesday? Every week you can look forward to seeing what other readers from around the country have captured. It will be great fun! And a great reason for you to GET OUTSIDE and begin to look more closely at the world around you.

Email me your images at  Don’t forget to include your NAME and LOCATION, (just the place/park/city/ and state because it will be fun for other readers to see where these images were taken and if you don’t want to give your last name, that’s up to you)  and if you want, a title. Please shrink your image, if you can, to a more suitable size, like 500-800 pixels for the longest side. (If you don’t know how to do this, I can do it for you.) Your images will never be used for anything other than a one-time use in a slide-show that I will feature the following Wednesday in a blog post. Each photo will have a label identifying the photographer and location.

So let this motivate you to GET OUTSIDE! and see what interesting shadows you can find. I can’t wait to hear from you and see what you come up with! See you again soon.

Hello Again!

peacockkale-Greetings friends!!

Thanks for being here with me again after my three month break. I am happy to be back and anxious to fill you in on some decisions I’ve made during my absence. Are you having a great day? Excited that spring has arrived?

Since my last post I have been busy! I spent 3 weeks in Costa Rica. I participated in a flash mob dance with an organization called One Billion Rising.  I read some amazing books, some of which I will tell you about soon. My husband and I made plans to sponsor a bat conservation project in southern Florida and Panama with renowned photographer and bat biologist, Merlin Tuttle. I created a Meetup for Asheville folks called Share Nature More.  I scheduled some inspirational and educational programs at a local community space. (If you are local, I hope to see you there!) I am working on getting an Etsy Shop up and running and am excited about finally having a venue to sell my work. (I will let you know when this gets ready!)  I brainstormed some ways to make my blog more interactive and came up with some regular categories that I will be adding in the coming weeks.

So wow, I am super excited about all of these things.

Have you seen the Geico commercial with the guys in the office asking what day is it and the camel walking in saying in a deep voice “It’s hump day!” Well I thought I would start a new challenge to give everyone here something to look forward to about Hump Day.

The addition to my blog that I am most excited about is one I’ll call the Weekly Photo Challenge. As you know I am always talking about getting outside and looking for spots of beauty. I frequently post pictures that I’ve taken, especially during the summer when I regularly add collections of photos into slideshows that you, my readers, can enjoy. But I was thinking about this recently and wondering why I am the one who gets to have all of the fun. I am certain there are many of you out there who enjoy taking pictures.

I intentionally chose to call this site Nature For My Soul because I wanted my readers to think of it in that way–Nature for MY soul.

In the months leading up to my hiatus I questioned this title and pondered how I could make my posts more fitting–Nature for MY soul. The Weekly Photo Challenge is one addition  I came up with. I will feature a new one every Wednesday, starting tomorrow…so stay tuned to learn more!

I will see you tomorrow! Until then, have a fabulous day!


4 Things to Remember this Holiday Season

Several years ago I wrote a post in December called 5 things to remember this holiday season. If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you may remember this post. It was one that I really liked and wanted to reshare, especially with my new subscribers who may not have been reading then. (By the way, my favorite from that list is number 2; what is yours?)


I won’t repeat those 5 things, but I will add 4 more, in honor of THIS December and THIS moment in time.

So here then, 4 things to remember this holiday season:

1 Don’t compare yourself with others.   This is a hard one because we see examples of “perfection” everywhere we look–on Hallmark cards, friends’ Facebook posts, TV commercials, photo cards sent to us from family members. Remind yourself that this represents a few seconds in time. No one’s life is perfect; no one is immune from struggle, from challenges, from day-to-day stresses. Appearances aren’t everything–just because someone looks happy, doesn’t mean they are. Family and friends and people around you may be thinner, taller, shorter, smarter, richer, more attractive, more fit, more busy, less busy, more ambitious, may have a “better job,” or “better house,” or “better situation,”, etc, but that doesn’t make them BETTER THAN YOU. Stop comparing yourself to others and you will be so much happier.

2. Joy comes from within.  We sometime think, and are led to believe by tv commercials, billboards and other media differently but this is TRUE. We all have the power to be happy or not be happy. It is whatever we decide. The poorest people in the world are not the saddest, nor are the richest people the happiest. Having money and things does not equal happiness. Instead, happiness comes from being grateful, from being able to focus on our blessings rather than our wants, and from being at peace with who we are and on what road we’re on in life. If you are not happy, try doing something nice for someone else –because making others happy often makes ourselves happy.

3 Make time for YOURSELF. If you are a giving person, it is so easy to get caught up in all of those lists and commitments. You rush from one thing to the next with barely any time to breathe. Slow down and remember that YOU ARE IMPORTANT TOO! Give yourself some pleasure this holiday season by making time for things that bring a smile to your face and a feeling of contentment in your soul. It could be a walk in the woods, lunch with a special friend, a trip to the salon… whatever it is don’t let it slip away–YOU deserve to be on your Christmas list too!

jen-09934. Keep making new memories.  All of us have collections of memories, of fond times that we have stored away in the corners of our brain that we can bring up, close our eyes and relive. But maybe we need to think of those memories as having a shelf life. Just like that can of corn or that jar of pasta sauce needs to be replaced when the expiration date comes, so too we need to think of replacing our old memories with new ones. And you don’t usually make very many memories sitting on your butt on the couch! So get out and DO SOMETHING! Go sledding, go hiking, go backpacking, go bowling, go to a new country, play with your kids, go visit your friends, invite friends over for some fun games, sign up for a new class… the list is endless. Maybe instead of a New Year’s Resolution we should make some lists of all the things we can do and learn in this coming year. We must remember to KEEP MAKING MEMORIES!  

Want to know one way to do this? Have you heard of a Bucket List? Well how about instead of–or in addition to–making a LIFE Bucket list, why not make a monthly bucket list? At the beginning of every month, sit down with your spouse/family and write a bucket list for that month. What are some things you’d like to do? Write them down and post them on your calendar–this will help remind and hopefully, motivate you!


Good luck and do let me know how it goes and if you have any things you’d like to add. I always appreciate hearing from you!

Happy day! See you again soon. Oh, and here’s a post about some meaningful gifts that won’t break the bank or one about some gifts for Mother Nature that make a giant difference.

Earth Day Inspiration, Plus 5 Ways to Help our Planet


Happy Earth Day, friends! Are you doing anything special today? Will you spend some time outside enjoying this beautiful planet that we live on? Will you make any changes to protect Mother Nature?

In honor of Earth day I want to share with you some moments I have captured in the past week. As I’ve said again and again, We live in an amazing world! And beauty really IS everywhere. On this Earth Day and always, I hope you take time to BE outside and that you help spread the word about just how amazing our world is and how much impact each of us has.

Spring blossomsNew leavesPretty in pinkUnfurlingErect TrilliumHairstreak on tulipWater artTrunk decorationsPerfection!New leavesSimplicityHanging heartsMagnolia blossomSpring waterJapanese red mapleFoam flowerRainTulipsTulip reflectionCinnamon fernRed buds

Did you know Earth Day was the idea of a US Senator from Wisconsin named Gaylord Nelson? He says, “For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country…Suddenly, the idea occurred to me – why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment? “After seeing the devastating effects of an oil spill off the coast of California in 1969, Gaylord helped the United States celebrate the first Earth Day in 1970. In 1990 the day was recognized and adapted worldwide.

Here are some cool facts about Earth Day, taken from

  • In 2009, Earth Day was officially renamed by the UN to International Mother Earth Day.
  • On Earth Day 2012, more than 100,000 people rode bikes in China to reduce CO2 emissions and save fuel.
  • Organizers hope to plant 7.8 billion trees during this year’s Earth Day activities.
  • Earth Day has its own flag. It features a picture of the Earth taken from the Apollo 17 spacecraft on its way to the Moon.

And finally, here are 5 simple things YOU can do to make a difference:

1.Take your own bags to the grocery store. I bet, like me, you have seen plastic bags stuck in the top of trees along the road. Think of the difference we could make if EVERYONE brought their own bag to the store! In some countries, like India, Rwanda and New Zealand, stores don’t even provide plastic bags! Customers must provide their own, or juggle all of their purchases. Bringing your own bag is not hard, especially once you get in the habit. Just keep a handful of cloth bags in the back seat and remember to carry them into the grocery store. (Read more facts about plastic bags HERE.)

2.Recycle! It is amazing how much of today’s “stuff” can be recycled. Where I live we recycle plastic,glass,metal, cardboard,junk mail,newspaper, and much more. (Learn more HERE) Learn what materials are recyclable where you live.

3.Be conscious of packaging and choose wisely. When you are in the grocery store, choose products with minimal packaging. Yes, that melon, cantaloupe, orange, and pineapple might be easier already cut up, but buying it that way encourages unnecessary waste. Choose products with minimal waste.

4. Stop using Round-up and other harmful chemicals in your yard. These have a devastating impact on wildlife, including butterflies and bees.

5. Bring your own water bottle rather than buying bottled water. Like the reusable grocery bags, it is simply a habit to get into–once you do it a few times, it will be easy to remember. You can start today! (You can bring your own coffee mug too)

Here are 40 more things you can do! Or HERE are 10 SIMPLE things you can do to help the planet.

Before you go! A last reminder--If you live here in western North Carolina and want to plant MILKWEED in your garden this summer, or buy some ground covers, come out to join me tomorrow, April 23rd at the French Broad River Garden Club Foundation’s annual plant sale. This event features 20 local vendors who will be selling a variety of shade-loving, full-sun and deer resistant ground covers. From 9-2pm at Clem’s Cabin at 1000 Hendersonville Road in Asheville, I will be there talking and showing pictures and videos about Monarchs and Milkweed and selling a few things including greeting cards and my new blank notebooks. I hope to see you there!

Have a wonderful day! What changes have you made to contribute? What things can you add to these lists? As always, I’d love to hear from you!