Weekly Photo Challenge: Quest

weekly photo challenge

These photos were taken on my 30th day to Caroline’s Sunrise Photo and Health Challenge. My companions to this super early morning walk were my mom and my youngest son. We were out in quest for the perfect sunrise.

We climbed a hill in order to get the best photo. However, dense clouds topped the beautiful sunrise.

weekly photo challenge

I ended up taking photos of the beautiful landscape.

In response to Weekly Photo Challenge: Quest

Summary And Finale of My Participation In Caroline’s 30 Days Sunrise Photo And Health Challenge

Finale! At last I am on my thirtieth day. Wahoo!

Caroline's 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge

So how does it feel to be here? I will answer this question lastly. Let me relate again, how I started. I have read Caroline’s challenge from my reader feed. It was just random browsing. Upon reading all about it, I said to myself, oh, this is just easy because the sun always shine in our country summer or not. With the health part, I have been doing yoga, though I consider myself still a beginner. At least I am doing something that is good for my health. I was just hesitant because Caroline was already on her fourth day. However, she emphasized that the period covered would be from July 14 to September 1. That makes more or less forty-five days to do. Since the required number of days is only 30, there would be lot of allowances for unexpected events whereby one could not perform the challenge in a day. Then and there, I was on it.

Later did I realize, the sunrise is not visible from my home. Moreover, I need to get up earlier than my wake up time if I were to catch the sunrise. I then slowly begin to doubt myself: could I really do this? I already have started. Should I stop? If I stop a heavier toll is on me. I have tried doing certain projects in the past without finishing most of them. This time I must never ever stop. What if I just do this one day at a time without overthinking about it? I did moved on, anyway the rules of the challenge are wide open. Besides, it only takes a five minute walk from my house to get a view of the sunrise.

My first two days in the challenge I used old photos. I was already days behind so  I tried to catch up. The third day was my first experienced of having a view of the sunrise. It was a bit cloudy but the clouds gave more dramatic effect on the sunrise. I then slowly noticed the freshness of the air and the bits and pieces of nature around. Caroline started to comment. That gave me much motivation to go on. I was inspired by her photos too.

Day four was so cloudy. Day five was still cloudy but I loved that photo so much. The clouds looked like an eruption of a volcano with the sun’s rays scattered behind. Day six is my most loved of all. I had been in another island. From there the sun rose from the sea. With the sea giving a reflection of the sunrise, it was all perfect for me. Day seven is my second most loved. The sunbeams passed through the mango trees that grow at our neighbor’s yard. The effect was made complete by the morning fog.

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On day eight it rained because there was a typhoon looming at the other part of the country. I just used an old photo. On day nine I started to notice grasses and butterflies. That was the first time I included their photos in my post. On day ten it rained again. Good that the sun showed up at 7:00 A.M. I then took photos of the things where the sunlight fell.

On day eleven I was chasing butterflies. It was a cloudy morning and the sun did not show any trace. Later when it showed up I took photos of it peeking through the branches of trees. Day twelve was an interesting one. My youngest son accompanied me in my early morning walk. We walked for forty minutes then. On day thirteen I meditated with nature. I was too tired to take my morning walk because my son got sick the previous night and I had minimal sleep. It was a perfect moment for meditation for me because the weather was windy and the smell of the grasses was so refreshing. I just missed Caroline’s comment and wondered why she had not posted anything on her blog. However, I still went on with my goals.

On day fourteen it was me who got sick. I felt I had overworked myself and over-eaten foods that are not good for my body. Again I used an old photo. It rained on day fifteen. When the rain shower stopped and the sun finally showed up I took photos of it through thick leaves. I was surprised, the effect was awesome. On day sixteen my morning activity finally sank in. I slowly noticed that I began to fell in love with the sunrise. I even wondered why had I not started this activity early on when I was surrounded with nature. Despite that, I began to get worried why hadn’t Caroline commented on my posts. She had not even updated her blog. I then questioned myself if I should continue with the challenge. I just thanked myself for being resolute enough to go on.

On day seventeen my son was with me again. We climbed up a hill. I then felt in myself the good effects of walking. So I wrote the benefits of it in my post. On day eighteen I was so immersed in nature. I did not take a walk farther, but took notice of everything around me: from flowers, to butterflies, to spiderwebs. I started to appreciate these things. I felt I was seeing things with new eyes.

We were a team on day nineteen. My two kids and my mom joined with me. I included in my post the benefits of bonding with family. I was alone on day twenty. I shared the benefits of “me time” in my post. Day twenty-one was supposedly a good time for sunrise photo taking. However, I woke up a little later. The sun was so bright when I took a ten-minute brisk-walk. In my post I shared how I re-aligned my health goals. Day twenty-two was a rare one for me since I started this morning routine. I was surprised to see the moon still out in the sky. The previous night I took a photo of it. And in the morning it was still there! I was just amused.

Day twenty-three was a breakthrough. I and my youngest son almost reached the top of the hill. For the first time we walked for one hour. On day twenty-four the clouds covered the sun again and occasional rain showers fell. I again used old photos and shared the beautiful things I learned in this journey in my post. Day twenty-five was still a rainy one. I used an old photo and shared the eight benefits of sunlight on us. I was flattered Caroline reblogged my post. Yes, she was back a few days ago. She got sick that was why she was offline for a longer time. But she is catching on with the challenge.

On day twenty-six it rained very early. By 6:45 A.M. the rain stopped. I managed to take a photo of the sun’s light that fell on the branches of a huge tree outside of our yard. It was an amazing sight! On this day I shared in my post the eleven benefits of rising early. On my twenty-seventh day I was still awed by the sunrise. The sky was still reddish-orange and tiny clouds spotted the sky. That was a “wow’ moment again. It were the seven things to do to rise up early that I shared for today.

On day twenty-eight we took on a different route. My youngest son and my mom were with me again. This day I was inspired to share my thoughts on living life one day at a time. On day twenty-nine I took photos of flowers in our yard. My son got sick the previous night and so I had a sleepless night. I went outside to refresh myself and just inspired to take photos of everything beautiful where the sunlight fell. And I shared some meanings of the number twenty-nine.

Thirtieth day: finale!

Do you know that I have a very beautiful plan for this day? I plan to take a sunrise photo at the beach with me doing yoga in front of the sun. However, my son got sick. There was no way I could do this since I plan to end this challenge on the last day of the specified period. I proceeded to option 2: walk up the hill and catch sunrise there.

The next day I executed my plan. I woke up so early, past 3:00 A.M. I was just excited. Well, two of my loved ones woke up too and asked to join me – my mom and my youngest son. It was still dark when we started. We were off at 5:06. Minutes later a reddish sky greeted us. Wow! I thought to myself:  a promising sunrise awaits us.

But when we started climbing up the hill, I was slowly disheartened. Clouds started to cover the sky. Just a pale light from the sunrise was visible. I then decided that we must see where the sunrise was more visible. It means we have to follow a driveway to a friend’s house that curved a little around the hill. We did just that. When we reached at the end of the way, Oh, we were greeted by an open field with a cow grazing, a sunrise over the mountain with thick clouds on top of it, wildflowers sprawling and a view of the sea. It was such a beautiful sight for me. All the photos on this post were taken on this day. Please say with me: Amazing! Little things just make me happy. My spirit just danced. The view was enough an award for me for having arrived this far and able to complete the challenge. Cheers!

By the way, we walked today for a total of one hour and twenty-seven minutes. The first time we did. We climb down the hill excited and happy. And I thanked the clouds for not hiding the sunrise from us completely.

So how was I after the thirty days? I changed a bit. I find myself more joyful, more beautiful inside, more loving, more aware of my surroundings, much healthier, less prone to stress and a certified amateur photographer as well. Moreover, I felt my energy to be slowly coming back.

In 2014, I got sick and soon believed I wouldn’t be healthier and energetic again. I thought my youthful years had been over. I am so thankful I am slowly able to tinker around my garden again. I am so grateful I participated in this challenge. And more grateful to Caroline for coming up a challenge like this.

I may have completed the 30 days challenge, but deep within my heart says my journey to sunrises is not yet over. In fact, it had just begun. It would never be because from here I birthed my morning magic routine.

As for the health challenge, morning walks has been and would be a part of that magic routine, my yoga practice included.

If you love nature and have access to nature, this challenge would work great for you too. May you be the next participant.

You may access Caroline’s 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge here. You may also access each of my post about this challenge in this page.

Thank you for reading this far. Have a great day!

~Nezel

 

Spiritual Journey (Caroline’s 30 Days Sunrise Photo And Health Challenge:Day 29)

Caroline's 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge

My plan for this morning was to take a forty-minute walk and take sunrise photo. However, my little darling has had fever again. Consequently, I had a sleepless night. I woke up at around 6:30 in the morning and was so tired to get up. I stayed on the bed for a longer time. At 7:00 I got up and treated myself with a cup of coffee. I went outside to catch some fresh air and soaked myself in the freshness of the morning.

As I sat quietly outside, I felt the sunlight fell upon me. A thought dawned on me to get a photo of my cup under the sunlight. From there I was inspired to get photos of the blooming flowers where the sunlight fell too. I felt a bit energetic after I have done what I loved to do.

Caroline's 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge

I am now on my twenty-ninth day! I felt so blessed to have arrived here.

Months ago, I saw on the national television show a host telling that an age that has a nine on it, is a critical age. It is a year that requires much prayer for the one having such number of his age. I then got the idea to search online what the number 29 means. One site, Angel Numbers says number 2 brings Divine life purpose and soul mission. Number 9 resonates spiritual enlightenment and spiritual awakening.

Caroline's 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge

It further states Angel Number 29 is a message from your angels. Some of these messages are the following:

  • that you are to have faith in yourself and your angels as they are encouraging and supporting you in your spiritual endeavours. Trust that you have all the skills and abilities required to fulfill your Divine soul mission and life purpose so be prepared to serve others with humility and heart.
  • to have faith and trust in your intuitive messages and impressions as these messages and promptings are urging you towards and along your Divine life path and soul mission. Take positive action in the direction of your intuitive and angelic guidance, and look to ways of achieving small goals on a daily basis to reach your spiritual potential.
  • that you are to take positive action in the direction of your Divine life path and purpose as your natural lightworking abilities are much needed by others and the world as a whole. Trust that you have all the tools and talents you need to fulfill your destiny soul mission.
  • if you are inclined to pursue a spiritually-based practice, career and/or profession, now is a most auspicious time to begin. It is time to accept and develop your spiritual gifts and use them to benefit yourself and others in a lightworking capacity.

One of the reasons why I shared these messages here, is because I felt this is the sixth sign I received from God. I am now in the middle of a spiritual discernment. And for four days in a row I have been receiving the same messages from different people and from different things. I feel after completing Caroline’s challenge I would be embarking on a new, much challenging journey. I considered my participation in the challenge a foundation of something bigger that God prepared for me.

With that, I love much what AmazingWord has to say. This site tries to interpret the Bible pattern, number and symbolism. It has historical explanation of every number that contains the number 9 in the Bible, much of which are the verses. Let me share an excerpt from the site:

The number 29 in the Bible is very consistently related to the symbolism of the return of the Lord when he comes to free his people. As impossible as it sounds, the Bible’s DNA like perfection in numbering reveals that chapter and verse numbers of the Bible can be taken together to have a direct correspondence to messages contained in the text. I often look for common patterns in like referenced verses to understand a number’s symbolism. Since I have found many historic dates that seem to have numbers that associate to those same numbers in Biblical symbolism, I recently decided to look at the Bible’s nineteen verses that have chapter and verse 11:29 to see if their theme somehow relates to the 11/29/1947 date when Israel took their first step to become a nation. The evidence of these verses being symbolically related to this historic event seems compelling and this article will hopefully demonstrate this possibility. On November 29th, it appears God was clearing the way for Israel to become a nation, and in the Bible’s 11:29 verses we see many instances where the Lord seems to be, in various ways, calling and delivering his people.

It also cites 19 verses, having a reference of chapter 11, verse 29. Among those verses, this is what I love the most:  Deu 11:29 “It shall come about, when the LORD your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it… (The Lord leading the people out of bondage…to save them).

Thus, I am so much grateful to have come this far. May I taste God’s deliverance and enter into the Land of Promise flowing with milk and honey.

Have a purposeful day!

~Nezel

(You may visit Caroline’s 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge here.)

 

 

7 Simple Things To Do To Become An Early Riser (Caroline’s 30 Days Sunrise Photo And Health Challenge: Day 27)

At five-thirty this morning this was how the sky looked like. Old folks say that if the color of the sky in early morn is red hot, it is going to be a hot day. With much of their experience, it may be true. As for me, I could not say anything about it  because for many a year I have been in an air-conditioned office most of the day. Whichever, I am so much grateful for having gone outside in time to witness this magical hues, for the clouds changed color in just a matter of minutes.

With this photo the golden clouds seemed to be a flying eagle turned upside down from afar. I really was so glad to be under such a magnificent sky at the moment. Marvelous!

To think I am on my twenty-seventh day of the challenge, and I seem not to have had enough of everything that an early morning walk has to offer. And honestly, there are still some mornings when I could not get up to my desired time, especially on chilly ones.

So, what are the things to do in order to get up early? Here are what I get from others’ and my own experience as well:

  1. You don’t have to make drastic changes. Start slowly, by waking just 15-30 minutes earlier than usual. Get used to this for a few days. Then cut back another 15 minutes. Do this gradually until you get to your goal time.
  2. Allow yourself to sleep earlier. I used to write and read late in the evening because it is the time when complete silence settles in the house, when everybody is asleep. But I slowly cut the habit off. I began to sleep thirty to one hour earlier than my usual time just to wake up early. There are just some privileges you have to give up in order to receive one much better privilege. I then do my reading early in the morning. And it worked out just fine.
  3. Put your alarm clock far from your bed. When you get up and hit your alarm clock off, you will probably wake up. As for me, I never use an alarm clock. I don’t want to wake up everybody else so I don’t use that one. I am just used to going to the bathroom at four o’clock or a little later; then there are the cock’s crowing. I just have to look at the time and decide whether to return to bed or not.
  4. Do not rationalize. But then it is better not to listen to your self urging you to return to bed. When you get up that is it.
  5. Have a good reason why you get up in the first place. Focusing on your “why” makes it easier for you to move on and get the thing done. For me, I keep telling myself: I just have to do this.
  6. Make waking up early a reward. Seeing the sunrise down the horizon and being soaked in nature is more than a reward for me. For you, it might be treating yourself with a cup of coffee, or opening a good book.
  7. You have the time to take advantage of all the extra time. You have the chance to plan up your day, check out your goals and do the things that that are on your priority list. Do not make it a time for checking blogs or reading emails. It is the best time for meditation too. For me, I go out in time for the sunrise and my 10 to 30 minutes brisk walking and some photography sessions along the way. I then prepare the kids for school, then do my yoga.

(You may visit Caroline’s 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge here.)

11 Priceless Benefits of Rising Early (Caroline ‘s 30 Days Sunrise Photo And Health Challenge: Day 26)

The weather is still not so fine this morning. But at 6:35 the sun peeked brightly through thin clouds. I quickly went outside and took some shots. I found the sunlight beautiful upon this tree outside of our yard.

As I was about to enter our gate, this butterfly pea flower which climbed over our wire fence and a bug caught the corner of my eye. The sunlight was shining through it and made a dramatic impression. So I took some shots of it. The weather has not been so perfect, but everything that I see seemed perfect. Truly, when you go out to seek beautiful things, beautiful things seem to call on you. I am still grateful though for being able to breathe the freshness of the morning in such short minutes. After around thirty minutes rain-showers start to fall again.

In connection to Caroline’s 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge, let me tackle today the benefits of rising early. Rising early is one requisite in witnessing the sunrise. It is much better to even rise before the sunrise. This post also gets some points from Leo Babauta of Zenhabits.  We happen to share some views on the priceless benefits of rising early:

  1. Greet the day. Rising early gives me ample time to think beautiful thoughts to prepare my day. It is a good time to thank God for waking me up to another day.
  2. Amazing start. I used to wake up late and found myself tired even before getting out of bed. When I started the challenge, oh, there is no better way to start the day early and have much time to get things done.
  3. Quietude. I so love taking my morning walks seeing only very few people. It seems I own the place. Especially, when what I hear are only cocks crowing, birds chirping, and breeze softly whispering. It may not all be silence, but a total quietude settles within me.
  4. Sunrise. I feel much more in love with the sunrise ever since I joined the challenge. You may read here the eight benefits sunrise has given me.
  5. Breakfast. Other people are still good even when they skip breakfast. In our family, breakfast is the most important meal in the day. Rising early gives us much time to prepare for it.
  6. Exercise. The best exercise I discovered other than yoga, is taking a walk in the morning catching the sunrise. I have a friend who also gets up early to jog. He looks fit with his age.
  7. Goal time. Others like Leo, do their goals early in the morning. I do my goals in the evening. Now that I get up early I am learning to make some just for the day.
  8. Commute. For others who live farther than their workplace, rising early is a must, especially when traffic is a problem. In my case, we live in a secluded place. Traffic is never a problem. It takes only ten minutes for me to arrive in my workplace.
  9. Productivity. Most writers spend early mornings in writing. There is even a study conducted that says we are most productive two hours after we wake up. This may sound true because I almost always get better ideas in my shower time.
  10. Nature. I love nature. I live in a place surrounded by nature. It is easier for me to rise early and be with nature, immersed in nature and be one with nature. It is a kind of meditation for me.
  11. Prayer. This is the best ritual to start a day. Nothing beats negativity more than a heartfelt prayer uttered by an uncluttered mind. When the spirit is strong, the body is strong.

Tomorrow I’d be posting on how to rise early.

Have a purposeful day!

~Nezel

(You may check Caroline’s 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge here.)

 

 

8 Surprising Benefits Of Sunrise (Caroline’s 30 Days Sunrise Photo And Health Challenge: Day 25)

The sun again did not show up this morning. Our weather was governed by occasional rain-showers and a windy day due to strong south winds.

So for today I used an old sunrise photo taken a month ago at 6:05 in the morning and limited my physical exercises indoors.  But still this did not hinder me from having a beautiful day.

For today, I love to share with you the benefits of sunrise on our health. Sunrise as we know it, is the source of all energy. Its rising in the morning make all life forms thank the Maker. It is the awakening of every new beginning. The most beautiful thing is, it is free. So if you could, try to wake up early and bathe its light that you may reap all the benefits it has to offer:

Natural Source of Vitamin D.  In humans Vitamin D changes to calcium in the body which encourages the hormone endorphin production. Endorphins give you that feel good feeling which causes happiness and satisfaction which prevents depression. The most notable benefit of exposure to sunlight is its ability to boost your body’s vitamin D supply. The NIH says at least 1,000 different genes that control every tissue in the body are linked to be regulated by vitamin D3. Vitamin D is produced by the skin’s response to UV radiation primarily through sun exposure, which affects 10 percent of the genes in the human body.

Sunlight is good for the nervous system. Lack of sunlight is now linked to PTSD. Exposure to the sun can reduce anxiety. I proved this to be true because I used to depend on my B complex supplements. According to my doctor my nerves needed it. But after I exposed myself in the sunrise regularly, I slowly limit my intake to two to three times a week. And I still feel good and energetic!

Enhances Your Mood. Regular sunlight exposure can naturally increase the serotonin levels in your body, making you more active and alert.

Lowers Blood Pressure. Skin that is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays release a compound, nitric oxide, that lowers blood pressure. In a recent study conducted at Edinburgh University, dermatologists studied the blood pressure of 34 volunteers under UV and heat lamps. In one session, the volunteers were exposed to both light sources and in the other session, the UV rays were blocked so only the heat affected the skin. The results of the study showed a significant drop in blood pressure after exposure to UV rays for an hour but not after the heat-only sessions. It is important to note that the volunteers’ vitamin D levels were unaffected in both sessions.

Awesome Beauty. The most beautiful moment of the sunrise is what they call the golden hour. It is the period shortly after sunrise. I have witnessed such beauty and it is beyond what words can say. Everything around is beautiful and literally golden.

Unadulterated Peace. Being bathe with the sun’s light feels like being one with it. It is so calming. And all sunrises always bring tranquility around.

Enhance Spirituality. It is lifting up the spirits. The light seems to permeate deep within. Maybe because of the beauty and the tranquility that the sunrise brings, you become more aware and in tune with your self. Because you are surrounded by nature, you come to meditate with nature.

Lasting happiness. When you start the day right, the whole day feels right. When you start with good feelings and enhanced mood, negativity seldom beats you.

So, what are you waiting for? Go out early in the morning and greet the sunrise with arms wide open. It only seems difficult at first, but when done regularly, the experience is worth the effort.

Have a sunshiny day!

~Nezel

(Caroline’s 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge is a good start to love the sunrise).

 

Beautiful Things Start To Happen. Caroline’s Sunrise Photo And Health Challenge: Day 24

sunrise photo and health challenge

This morning the sun was covered by clouds and occasional rain-showers fell. So no morning walk just yet.

I just uploaded these two photos which I took on different days weeks ago. These roosters belonged to our neighbor. They are for game fowls. The one below seemed to enjoy sun-bathing while curious enough to look at the camera.

sunrise photo and health challenge

On the health part, I did my yoga routines later in the day because we have to attend mass at eight o’clock.

Aside from the health benefits sunrise has given me, it also taught me many things:

  • learning to take photos of the rising sun directly
  • taking photos of it taking a peek through the trees
  • taking photos of the sunbeams which sometimes produce a dramatic effect
  • taking photos of the sun penetrating through the leaves of flowers
  • taking photos of flowers where the sunlight fell
  • taking photos of sunlight on trees and on tree stump.
  • learning that sunrise do lift my spirits up

 

There are endless things we could do with the sunlight. These are the things I never learned in my youth.  Because when I was younger, I was full of fears, always depressed and anxious.

Now that I dedicate my life to complete healing, beautiful things start to happen. One is this sunrise photo and health challenge. I discover, it is not enough to plan and execute it when the occasion calls for. I really have to go out and do things that could lead me to discover life and have fun with all of it. I become more aware of God’s creature and everything beautiful around me. Like a child, I now see, breathe and feel all of life. I know, this is only a scratch on the surface of everything beautiful God has created.

My youth may seem a not so well-lived life, but the remaining years ahead of me brings a promise for me to behold. It is never too late then to live life to the fullest.

By the way, the above photo is taken this morning when I strolled around the garden. It is a bee sipping a nectar from the coconut flowers. I walked a few minutes around to warm myself up and be ready to face the day.

Have a purposeful day!

~Nezel

(Please do visit Caroline’s sunrise photo and health challenge. The experience is fun and so helpful.)

(WP Daily Prompt: youth)