brown and night (photo challenges)

I know some folks do not like combining challenges, but sometimes we just have to – especially when themes connect so naturally. So in today’s post, I link up with Paula’s “of the night” challenge, JNW’s chocolate brown color, and Kan’s Joy is….


I have this chocolate brown lamp…

It is artsy and has some nice woven texture.

It serves as a night light at the base of the stairs.

warm glow - priorhouse - 2

Right above this lamp, is a metal art sculpture that I bought locally in 2009.

This metal art piece has 16 fish on three iron rods – and it has some faith symbolism to me, but that is for another time!

For now, I wanted to just show you how the uplight highlights this metal work of art.

warm glow priorhouse 3

As most know, light placement is so important when it comes to art and I used to have an oil painting above this light, but I wanted to have this fish piece in a more prominent place and so I moved it here just to see.  It worked.

Side note about light and art.

Did you know that the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. changes affect depending on the light source?

lincoln memorial in dc with different light sources

Source: Core Knowledge Foundation: Downlight on the Lincoln Memorial gives us a thoughtful contemplative look, whereas uplight exudes a surprised and softer feel. The artist (David Chester French) intended for the figure to be viewed with downlight.

Additional Lincoln Memorial info HERE and  HERE


I am not sure if you remember my bulls’ eye art target post, but the bridge in this next photo is just down the trail from the art wall in downtown RVA.

We were here the night the bridge reopened after some construction and the lights in this shot have a special “of the night” feel….

lights in rva - bridge in trail walk

This next of the night photo has a silhouette of one of RVA’s “dog art” figures.  Our city has these dog art statues that can be seen all around town.

lights in rva - at station 2 restaurant

Lastly, these night pics have some chocolate brown in the wooden booths and beverages, but they also remind me of what a joy family is….

joy is dinner with family - priorhouse 2014

Joy is… dining out with teens!

In closing, let’s end with some more Switchfoot!

I want to share this awesome Isak Dinesen quote from the Switchfoot Fading West movie:

“The cure for anything

         is salt water –




the sea”

Lastly, two people have told me that Slipping Away was their favorite song from Switchfoot’s Fading West album, so I thought I would include this song, just in case you have time to listen:

Also, the words fit into the feel of this post:

Remember coming home at four in the morning
Before the sun was up
Back when the east was a fire of gold
Just waiting for the rest of the sky to fall in love

Our hope is just a metaphor, of something better
For all of our dreams tonight
And fear is just a shadow of the things that matter the most
And I fear that I’m losing hope tonight

Oh oh
I feel like I’m dreaming
Oh oh
Staring up at the ceiling
Oh oh
It’s four in the morning
I can’t sleep and it feels like a warning…

Have a great day. :)

Check out these links for more challenge photos:


joy is…

paulas challange

of the night…


chocolate color…

WPC- Refraction – mon torero

The WPC is refraction this week, and so to join in, I had some help from Señor Torero.

mon torero - refraction photo challenge - priorhouse 2014

Refraction 1 ( amo a mi torero)

bullfighter jacket colors in candlestick refraction photo challenge - priorhouse 2014

Refraction 2 (amar los colores)

Today is also Singing Saturday over on Love Happy Notes…


and so to join in on her challenge, I would like to share a Switchfoot song. This band reminds me of two bloggin’ friends: K from Vastly Curious – and T from Other Side of the Trees! :)

We just watched a show about Switchfoot’s Fading West album and the Goo Goo dolls singer, John Rzeznik, was interviewed about Swicthfoot and what a small world it felt like.

Anyhow, here is probably my favorite song from Goo Goo Dolls – you know, because it is Singing Saturday after all.

Have a nice weekend – and to see more refraction pictures- go HERE.

Fiesta after Siesta (Dreamy and Throwback Thursday)

For Throwback Thursday and for the “Dreamy” weekly photo challenge, I started with this chandelier photo taken ten years ago at the Jefferson Hotel in RVA. The clouds are so dreamy… dreamy chandelier from jefferson hotel I also stumbled on this old photo from ten years ago – and I had to laugh – because the kid’s are pretending to be asleep and the whole feel of the photo is “dreamy” to me.

I can’t recall all of the details of this day – but we had friends over and after swimming, doing stuff, and having lunch – the children had to “take siesta before they could have fiesta” – And isn’t this important life wisdom to live by… “Fiesta after Siesta!” ha! Part of our fiesta this day included these cookies: cookies for fiesta after siesta These cookies in particular will always remind me of that summer because in early June of that year, there was a HUGE sale on some all natural cookie mix KITS, which included the gelatin gummies and frosting too.  So we made shortbread cookies a lot that summer – and this is my favorite kind of baking – just add butter and eggs – and then find the right pan. (Side note, knowing what I now know about refined sugar – well I would not have bought these kits and would instead have maybe had chocolate covered fruit – coconut caramel goodies –  or something with some “sweet and nutrition”  ….)

Anyhow, this last photo also says “dreamy” to me too. It’s the one bracelet I really like, which was a gift, and it says mother in seven different languages.

dreamy mother bracelet

I took this photo last spring, when the bracelet was just sitting on the sideboard. The way it was sitting there caught my eye and it gave me a little smile. :)

Well that’s it – I hope you find something “little” to smile about today. And remember – fiesta after siesta! ~ If you have time and want to check out some other “dreamy” photos, go HERE. ~

Light and Shadow (Rembrandt – Henri Nouwen)

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I wanted to share a few quotes from Henri Nouwen:

“Being is more important than doing”

“The heart is more important than the mind”

“To give and receive love is at the center of humanity”

“It is better to be together than to be alone”

the return of the prodigal son rembrandt - priorhouse 2014

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt, 1669


I finished reading Henri Nouwen’s book, The Return of the Prodigal Son, this past weekend and when David Crowder’s “Shadows” song came on, well it all lined up so well I had to use it in a slideshow:

Normally I do NOT like religious art, especially the excessive paintings from the Baroque period (just not my preference), but Nouwen’s writing gave me a new appreciation for The Prodigal Son –  the painting and the story.

henri nouwen's book

In his book, Henri Nouwen reflects on and critiques Rembrandt’s painting of the lost son who comes home – and he uses the story to discuss changes in both Rembrandt’s transformed life and his own.

 “When Rembrandt painted the Prodigal, he had lived a life marked by great self-confidence, success, and fame, followed by many painful losses, disappointments, and failures.

Through it all he had moved from the exterior light to the interior light, from the portrayal of external events to the portrayal of the inner meanings, from a life full of things and people to a life more marked by solitude and silence.

With age, Rembrandt grew more and more interior and still. It was a spiritual homecoming.” (p. 64)

Rembrandts 1636 etching

Rembrandt’s 1636 etching of the prodigal son


Nouwen shares about his own homecoming:

“The return was also from my complaining, comparing, resentful self to my true self that is free to give and receive love.

And even though there have been, and undoubtedly will continue to be, many setbacks, it brought me to the beginning of the freedom to live my own life and die my own death.

The return of the “Father from whom all fatherhood takes its name” allows me to let my dad be no less than the good, loving, but limited human being he is, and to let my heavenly Father be the God whose unlimited, unconditional love melts away all resentments and anger and makes me free to love beyond the need to please of find approval.” (p 83)

Rembrandts 1642 drawing

Rembrandt’s 1642 drawing of the prodigal son

Nouwen also shares that the Father of the returning son carries a new and mysterious light by which he sees.

“It is an inner light, deeply hidden, but radiating on all pervasive tender beauty. 

This inner light, however, had remained hidden for a long time. For many years it remained unreachable for Rembrandt. Only gradually and through much anguish did he come to know that light within himself, and through himself, and in those he painted. Before being like the father, Rembrandt was for a long time like the proud young man who ‘got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money.” (p 30)

Although Rembrandt would never become completely free of debt and debtors, in his early fifties he was able to find a modicum of peace.” 

Rosenberg writes that as Rembrandt aged and was sculpted through hard times, “he began to regard man and nature with an even more penetrating eye, no longer distracted by outward splendor or theatrical display.” 

Have a great day – and remember – we all go through hard times and each of us will have different things to endure and work through – but quite often the setbacks and hard times are a gift – because they can humble us and allow us to see — and appreciate — what really matters!

Beautiful Waterfront- Buffalo, NY- (JMW)

For my walk with Jo this week I am taking you on a little stroll along the beautiful waterfront in Buffalo, New York.

priorhouse walk with jo - buffalo new york

These photos were taken in 2007, when my husband and I took a sunset stroll in downtown Buffalo.

walk with jo in buffalo - 2

Buffalo is famous for snow, steel and chicken wings…

but it is also noted for some other things!

like gorgeous sunsets with pink in the sky…

and a waterfront area that is warm in July

walk with jo in buffalo 3

walk with jo in buffalo

The origin of the name Buffalo is from the French words beau fleuve, meaning beautiful river.

And there really ARE days in this town when you do not shiver….

priorhouse walk with jo - buffalo ny - 3

There are other theories about the origin of the name, but I like beautiful river because it highlights the great water access, as well as the important role that Lake Erie played in the early development of this city; in fact, the major streets all radiate from the downtown waterfront area – see the maps below:

buffalo ny streets radiate from downtown

Buffalo’s waterfront is also home to several decommissioned US Naval vessels, which are part of The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park.

priorhouse walk with jo - buffalo ny - 1


And for the last part of the walk with Jo – in good ol’ Buffalo -

I have to share a story from this quick summer before I go-

One of the days we took a group of kids to this playground that was in a “decent” neighborhood.

We noticed there was some graffiti in a few spots, but overall things looked pretty good…

priorhouse walk with jo - buffalo ny - 4

Seven of the cousins were playing that day- while we were chatting with grandma in the shade.

Suddenly, we heard my nephew “sounding out” some inappropriate terms.  We did not realize that there was swear word graffiti up on the slide and once we realized it – we left!  It was time for lunch anyway, but this photo reminds me of how much we laughed that day – because my nephew was confused – he was a new reader at the time and he was completely bewildered as he was sounding out a few of the words… and we were shocked by what we heard….


In closing my walk with Jo this week –  HERE is a song by Buffalo’s Goo Goo Doll’s – called Broadway- and this street is one of those major arteries that radiates from downtown.  I also bought my first car from a used auto lot that was on the corner of Broadway and Bailey (that lot has gone for a long time and there is now Tim Horton’s coffee shop there)

For more walks with Jo – check out her blog HERE, where this week Jo takes us to visit Studley Royal.

Also, did you know there is another city with crazy weather that can also be quite beautiful too?  Well Jill takes us to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand – where I guess it rains horizontally and has the “sort of weather poets fill anthologies with…” more HERE

Have a great day!

early morning nature…

To join in with Kan’s “joy is” challenge this week, I had to share some bird sounds from out back.  The bird chirps were a pleasant sound when I opened the door to let in some early morning autumn air….

Here is what I heard:

Check out “all about birds” for identifying bird sounds -


The early morning chirps reminded me of a few other blog challenges this week:

There is a nature theme over at “lensandpensebysally” -

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 3.45.33 PM

This sweet visitor was captured thanks to having quick access to an iPhone

and this single leaf connects to NW frame of Mind’s One World Project:

the single leaf on ground = nwframeofmind one world project

go HERE for more 10 a.m. shots


and lastly, to join in on Cee’s Wednesday Which Way challenge, here are two phone photos I grabbed while walking part of Richmond’s pipeline trail (more about this nature trail here)

RVA's pipeline trail - priorhouse 2014

On part of the pipeline trail in RVA, you actually walk right on top of a pipe!

Have a great Wednesday and get out there and enjoy some nature….

WPC: Signs (Jazz band and Speedy)

I went to the store to buy some Aztec clay

different bulk clays for sale

I saw “street sign” furniture along the way

table made out of recycled signs tables made from old signs


Then I met Speedy, who was willing to say “Hey…”


While some musicians were wrapping up informal play…

musicians out to play


here is a short video I made:


I hope you have a nice day-

and click here to see other “signs” today.






pink petunia gift…

I have really enjoyed the colorful pictures going around for JNW’s fuchsia photo challenge this week.

As we were leaving the house to take my son to get his cast taken off of his arm today, I looked down at the front path and realized I had some garden flowers that would fit right into this pink challenge!  Here is a bit of the beauty:

priorhouse flowers

I like perennials because they come back every year and I have had the Sedum Autumn Joy since 2008. However, sometimes with Virginia’s mild winters – annuals will also come back each year – and the fuchsia Petunia (bottom photo) was a gift of a flower to me this year because this little ol’ annual showed up in a very barren area of the garden in early summer.


priorhouse flowers in pink - growth is not always visible

When this little pink petunia started growing in this bare spot, it reminded me that sometimes we just do not know what is going on beneath the surface.

Sometimes many great things are happening when things seem rather plain!

So remember… we should NOT be moved by what we see on the surface because many times growth – or change – is not always visible to the naked eye!


Have a nice day!

For more fuchsia entries, or to join in with your own photos, go here.

Street Photos from Charlottesville, VA

On Friday (9/26) – we went to Charlottesville, VA for the day. After rainy and damp weather all week, the sunny blue skies in this lovely mountain town were an extra treat.

First, here is the video I put together – the song is called “Songbird” by Forty Foot Echo:

Now – a Dozen Street Shots:

street portrait - 10- harmonica street musician charlottesville va 2014 - priorhouse

Street Portrait #1 Street Musician

street portrait-1- girl matches flowers charlottesville va 2014 - priorhouse

Street Portrait #2: A young lady named Hope – look how her beauty matches the flowers!

street portrait-3-man in doorway charlottesville va 2014 - priorhouse

Street Portrait #3 – I was taking some doors photos – and when I saw this employee standing to the side of this large doorway, his coordinated yellow shirt called to me. The line of his shoulders works with the line in the doorway and his apron works with other rectangles. I also like the 3 little lights above him and the fold of the paper in his hands seems to work with the lines in other areas.

street portrait -7 lady walking in back of sign street portraits seven

Street Portrait #4 -I like this shot for a few reasons and one has to do with roles. The silhouette art features a woman with a child in tow – and if you look to the center, we have a working woman with briefcase in tow. Love the contrast and both roles are great!

street portrait-4- sales guy with dreadlocks charlottesville va 2014 - priorhouse

Street Portrait #5 – This dude was just way cool.

It was a little sad during our visit because there are signs everywhere for the missing college student Hanna Graham. For those that do not know about this story, Hannah went missing on 9-13 -14 –  she was out partying and decided to walk home alone.  She got lost on the way and was sending texts to her friends.  Video surveillance was able to help track the last person she was with (big Brother has perks) and there has been an arrest as well. We are all praying for her.


However, with all this media coverage about this case I wish someone would be sending a “wake-up” call message to viewers.  I know it may not be the best time because the focus is on finding Hannah and trying to get tips coming in…

But listen up, this is another example of how drinking impairs abilities and can leave us vulnerable.  This is likely another example of what is called a “crime of opportunity” and it is sad!   I have a few more thoughts to share about alcohol, but for now I just want to remind all of us to drink responsibly – or how about not at all and let the cells in your body get a healthy break.

But seriously – college kids and teens need to be reminded of the dangers of getting wasted.

And if you are using alcohol to cope with – well start thinking about other ways of tackling issues.  I know it is not easy and habits and patterns get set, but there are resources out there and it starts with becoming aware of how you are coping.  Alcohol in itself is not necessarily bad, but when you use it for coping it robs you of real growth and at some point you will have to sober up and deal with things.  Nobody ever said: “Yeah, I had a lot of problems and then I started drinking everyday and everything got better.

I am not trying to judge your alcohol consumption – I am just saying think about it! And monitor all you do with wisdom –  because you’ll know when things are not in balance – and wellness is rooted in awareness.


On Friday, I also met a few more folks – including the Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo.

street portrait-6 - Timothy J. Longo police chief of charlottesville va 2014 - priorhouse

Street Portrait #6 – Timothy Longo police chief of Charlottesville, VA He is a passionate dude!

street portrait-5 - dc camera guy filiming hannah graham sign charlottesville va 2014 - priorhouse

Street Portrait #7: This is a camera guy from D.C. – also in town to get footage on the Hannah Graham case. I ended up talking with the D.C. news anchor, and after we parted ways I realized that I should have taken her photo too. Oh well…

Street Portrait #8 -

Street Portrait #8 – A couple and their dog. We ran into them a few times during the day..

Street Portrait #9 -Man on the phone - look at those windows Dawn!

Street Portrait #9 -Man on the phone -(look at those windows Dawn)!

street portrait-2-mexican woman charlottesville va 2014 - priorhouse

Street Portrait #10A – These two ladies were some of my favorite people from the day.

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 12.26.36 PM

Street Portrait #10B – This is my favorite picture from the day. I like it because it captures the essence of Charlottesville! We have the cool employee making healthy guac – we have a Mexican lady (her words) who is smooth and classy and casual. Then, the lady to the right has the “I love NY” t-shirt on- and the pumpkins all over highlight the “joy” of the Fall season upon us!


Street Portrait #11 Taking a shot of this Asian door I realized a window duster was there too.

charkottesville lunch priorhouse 2014

Looking Down at a pumpkin latte and Asian dumplings for Lunch! Check out the free sample of CALM on the table.  I recently bought a huge bottle of CALM and it was on back order – which shows how much people love it.  I highly suggest everyone try this awesome product. There is a reason that it has won awards for the last 3 years -because it is a highly absorbable magnesium and most people in our culture have insufficient magnesium levels, which leads to all kinds of body imbalance. Try some…

street portrait -11- three guys walking charlottesville va priorhouse 2014

Street Portrait #12 – 3 guys walking the brick path in charming Charlottesville, VA.

This is linked to Dawn’s Lingering Look at windows week #39, Kan’s Moment of Joy week #9, and Debbie’s Look Up Look Down Week week 58

For more Monday Walks with Jo – go HERE where Restless Jo wanders Santa Luzia with her camera in tow.

triple shot friday – wallace stevens poetry and pics

Happy Friday Everyone! For triple shot Friday – I have some poems to share – but first – I dedicate this song to a fellow blogger who is going through a rough patch – and so this song is for you amigo:


And for some reason, the poetry of Wallace Stevens keeps coming up this week – my son had to write about the Anecdote of the Jar, someone I admire said that Of Mere Being was one of their top five poems, and then when I read the Death of a Soldier (more here) it was just obvious of what I had to share – so I also picked 3 pictures form my digital library to go with each one.


Anecdote of the Jar by Wallace Stevens

I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.

The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in air.

It took dominion everywhere.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.


Do you see these jars of tomato sauce?  Well they are filled with “red gold” from my sister’s husband’s family who live in Niagara Falls, Canada.  They LOVE to share!



Of Mere Being by Wallace Stevens

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor,

A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.

You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

cocoa beach country club

Some palms from Cocoa Beach, FL – Feb. 2014

~~~ #3

The Death of a Soldier by Wallace Stevens

Life contracts and death is expected,
As in a season of autumn.
The soldier falls.

He does not become a three-days personage.
Imposing his separation,
Calling for pomp.

Death is absolute and without memorial,
As in a season of autumn,
When the wind stops,

When the wind stops and, over the heavens,
The clouds go, nevertheless,
In their direction.

one of my heroes

This is an old picture of one of my brothers – – I love you and thanks for your service my friend, thanks!

The solider poem is what led to this post – partly because the words match the feel of the week – with the autumn air blowing in and then Stevens’ human perspective on time – it just got me thinking about the brevity of life (again) and then I was filled with gratefulness to fallen soldiers, to active soldiers now, and to all the Vets that have served!



credit: G’s Pacific Paratrooper’s blog:


Wallace Stevens

photo credit -

photo credit -Russell Boyle

“Though he did not receive widespread recognition until late in his life, Wallace Stevens—whose work is known for its imagination, whimsy, and relation to both the English Romantics and French symbolists—Stevens is now considered one of the major American poets of the century.”

Thanks to Russell Boyle for the poems.

 Thanks for reading and Have a great Friday!