Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

Scarlet Ibis by Liz GrayWhere do you fly away to when life becomes too stressful?  Let me tell you about a beautiful place in NC that can only be described as one of my personal “Seven Wonders” of my world at least.  It is a waterfowl sanctuary in Scotland Neck, NC called “Sylvan Heights Bird Park”.  It is the largest waterfowl sanctuary in the world and is twenty-six acres of sheer beauty.  You will see beautiful birds and flowers and everywhere you turn  you’ll see beauty and have a chance to see the birds.  If you go to the Landing Zone, you will have an opportunity to feed them as well and let them land on you, and believe me they will land on everything: your shoulders, your head, and your shoes, especially if you have laces.

If you are an avid bird watcher or a professional or hobbyist photographer, this is one of the nicest places I’ve ever seen.  It takes about a half day to really appreciate it and you will love the personal attention from the staff towards you and the birds.  Put this  place on your bucket list!

IMG_0034I took this picture of a peacock thru a chain linked fence. He displayed his beautiful feathers for about 10 minutes!

IMG_9888Flamingo in The Landing Zone

IMG_9828My young son had up to five birds land on him in The Landing Zone






Illumination (Weekly Photo Challenge)

These are a few photos taken from our recent  Christmas Vacation to Disney World last month.  We visited all four theme parks:  Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.   I rented a “luxury lens” for my DSLR camera and took over 1200 pictures.

Sadly, my good camera was stolen on the LAST night of our trip.  I was devastated.    However, I am finding more joy day by day in what formerly would’ve been called the “crappy” pictures.  These are the pictures I took with my little old point and shoot when I was having a moment of lazy and just wanted to whip out the P&S from my pocket, or the battery had already died on the good camera.  Am I ever thankful now for THESE photos!

Each time I look at these pictures, I am filled with more and more joy.  They were not the BEST photos I took, but they are the photos of the BEST VACATION we ever had.

And Christmas at Disney?   Well every night the entire theme is Illumination–from the Spectro Magic Parade, to the ever-changing illuminated Castle, to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights at Hollywood Studios.  It’s all amazing!

My ILLUMINATION moment on this vacation was thisIt’s about the NOW, this MOMENT, this memory, even more than the pictures.   Enjoy what I salvaged regarding illuminations:


The Magic Kingdom’s Castle


EPCOT at dusk


The Monorail arriving inside The Contemporary Resort


My son painted as a Tiger at Tomorrowland Speedway – Magic Kingdom

Illuminations 121612 HS

I loved these light shades above me at Hollywood Studios

(I think it was inside The Great Movie Ride)


I love this one of both my boys at EPCOT’s Mexico – San Angel Inn

If you have never experienced a Disney Christmas, make sure you put this on your bucket list!  Everything is just so beautiful, and the ILLUMINATION of all the theme parks with their holiday decorations is what makes it so spectacular.  It is like no place else on earth!

I also posted a video link I took of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights at Hollywood Studios here:  (Keep in mind this video does not do it justice — they even pipe in “snow”, to enhance the Christmas feeling.  Best of all, the temperature never dipped below high 60s at night while we were there!)

And if you’ve ever lost pictures from a treasured event, or something of significant sentimental value, I feel your pain.  I wrote about this loss at my other blog here:  http://u2areloved.com/2013/01/14/slow-fade-confessions-of-a-memory-hoarder/

Thanks for checking out my pictures and blog!