July Flowers (and remembering that you’re enough)

When I started editing these photos for this blog post, I was thinking I would post it as a regular photoblog. Hey, friends, hope you’re having a great summer! I am too! Look at my beautiful flowers! As I edited and admired the photos, I thought about how I felt when I took these pictures. Over the course of the summer, especially in July, our yard has blossomed with color.

When I got home from work or after a morning walk, I’d walk around the yard, admiring the flowers and taking pictures. I remember feeling surprised. Surprised that all these beautiful flowers were growing in our yard. Why was I surprised? I didn’t expect these gorgeous blooms. I didn’t think I had done enough in our yard this spring and early summer. I really felt that I had slacked during July. So, if I hadn’t accomplished enough, how could our yard look so pretty right now?

I’ve been wanting my husband, Kenneth, and I to have a backyard of our own for years. We lived in apartments and a townhouse for the first six years of our marriage. The most I could do garden-wise were potted plants on a balcony. For a few a couple summers we had a community garden plot in Columbus. It wasn’t enough to please my want for a garden and a yard. Over the years I gathered a lot of projects, ideas, and plants that I would one day put in place in our backyard.

When we bought our house last summer, we painted and planted a pollinator bed on the south side of the house. In the fall, with help from my parents and my dad’s pick-up truck, we removed the Bradford Pear tree from the front yard. Bradford Pear’s are strictly ornamental. Not only are they invasive the trees are weak and have horrible smelling blossoms in the spring. Kenneth and I replaced the Bradford Pear with two native Eastern Redbud trees. We planted a cherry tree and a pear tree in the backyard.

This summer I planted a woodland/shade garden in a corner around the back of the house by our deck. I filled the space with ferns and other woodland plants from a friend. I added hostas collected from other parts of our yard. I’ve begun creating a dry streambed in the shade garden with rocks found in the yard. We also planted our first vegetable garden since having our community garden plot. We ordered a keyhole raised bed from Vita Gardens and have begun composting as well. I took a tree pruning class and have begun pruning our crabapple trees and shrubs around the house. We created a planting in the front yard with chokeberry bushes, lavender, and thyme.

With all these projects we’ve started and finished so far this year, why did I feel like I hadn’t done enough? Because I usually feel like I am not enough. That I don’t work hard enough. That I could do more and do better. Even when I’m complimented on my work, I figure that person is only being nice. Or that eventually, everyone will figure out I’m not that great at what I do.

This feeling, constantly thinking that you’re not enough, actually has a name. It’s called Impostor Syndrome. Besides having chronic depression and anxiety, I also lack self-confidence. I haven’t been diagnosed with Imposter Syndrome, but I’m making an educated guess that I have it. It’s ridiculously common: lots of famous, very accomplished writers, actors and athletes have admitted to this feeling of inadequacy. You have maybe felt this way too.

And it’s bullshit. I am enough. You are enough. We are enough.

Our yard looks fantastic this summer – and both Kenneth and I have accomplished a lot. I harvested our first tomato this week. I’ve had fresh mint for smoothies and basil for pesto all summer. We’ve had happy bees and butterflies enjoying our pollinator garden. I grew sunflowers this summer. I think the last time I grew a sunflower was in preschool. We started them in styrofoam cups and my dad planted it in the garden for me.

I’m going to think of this ridiculously cheerful flower the next time my inner dialogue of self-doubt starts to get too loud. I AM ENOUGH. I am more than enough. 🌻

Photo Friday – July 24, 2015

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Happy Photo Friday! These photos are from an evening walk Kenneth and I took at Miami Whitewater Forest. The rain from earlier in the day was gone and the humidity was slightly improved. We heard Eastern Towhees, Northern Catbirds and Wood Thrushes and saw lots of gorgeous summer flowers, like these Queen Anne’s Lace (above and below).

I hope you have a chance to enjoy the great outdoors this weekend!

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All images contained within this blog are my own photos (unless otherwise noted). They may not be used for any commercial purpose, printed, or re-used in any form without my prior consent.

Photo Friday – July 3, 2015

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Happy Photo Friday! I took these photos this afternoon while working on some “booktography” shots for my June book reviews.

Have a great 4th of July!

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All images contained within this blog are my own photos (unless otherwise noted). They may not be used for any commercial purpose, printed, or re-used in any form without my prior consent.

Cincinnati Nature Center + Rowe Woods – Photoblog

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This post has been languishing in my drafts folder for far too long! These photos, taken at the lovely Cincinnati Nature Center and Rowe Woods, are from a trip Kenneth and I took with my Aunt Susie and cousin Emily (plus their adorable, perky dog, Cosmo) last summer.

My aunt and uncle have a family membership, so we joined Aunt Susie, Emily and Cosmo as their guests for an afternoon hike. I’ve heard about the Cincinnati Nature Center for years as it’s a favorite of my Aunt’s and has hosted one of our favorite artists, Charley Harper, many times and continues to sell his work posthumously.

This was Kenneth and my first visit and we had a wonderful time! It’s not a park that we are able to get to very often, but it’s worth a bit of a drive to explore the 16+ miles of hiking trails. It’s one of Cosmo’s favorite places too – every dog we saw looked thrilled to be there!

Enjoy the greenery below!

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ohio-120x120Cincinnati Nature Center + Rowe Woods

Address: 4949 Tealtown Road Milford, Ohio 45150

Phone Number: 513-831-1711

Hours: Grounds hours change seasonally, check website before visiting.

Admission: Children 4-12 $3, Adults $8 and Active military and Seniors (65+) $6.

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