Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter

Many faces of winter.

Who wants to come here?

It’s really cold and there’s no one outside to enjoy the lakeview.

The sky is gray and the clouds come along.

The benches are empty and the seagulls fly around trying to get one more fish.

The temperature keeps droping, and the sense of emptiness grows.

And then, they there are. Wonderful roses that have managed to survive the restless winter that still can’t decide how cold it would be.

Some roses haven’t survived, some others, in full bloom lie right there over the bench canopy waiting for someone to come around and sit down there, ready to enjoy the magnificent view despite the cold, to challenge the silence that has taken over the place.

Who wants to come here? The wind seems to ask… Who will visit us? The roses agree.

And then, a golden sunrays shyly appears, crossing with a big effort the heavy silver clouds that cover the scene.

“I want to stay,” says the sunray. “There’s nothing more peaceful and beautiful than this lakeview.”

The sunray stays all the day long, enjoying the lakeview, comfortably seated on the benches cover by the canopy full of roses, some in full bloom and some others not, listening to the wind humming around him and seeing the seagulls peacefully flying around, wating for the last minitues of the day to take him back home.

The sunray doesn’t want to leave just yet. But the sunset is close, calling him back. He has to go. But now he has a new place to stay every day until the spring comes back and takes him to beautiful places to shine again.

(A story by Nora Vasconcelos)

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As the year goes by…

A new year's reflextion.
Last year, around this time, the idea of posting once a week sounded quite tempting. The challenge came right on time to support my desire of posting more often, as I hadn’t had the chance to do it so the first months after I started with my blog in July 2010.

To be able to go on with the challenge I chose a topic I really love that is books. I read a lot and writing about what I read is something I really enjoy. At the begining chosing the books I’d write about first it was the most time consuming thing, but after that it seamed to take its own rhythm.

Then I focused on the design of the blog. I wanted to keep it simply but attractive at the same time. So I started adding some photos and getting some more color into it. It took me some time to get used to it, but now it’s something I like.

Then I started to receive positive comments from my fellow bloggers and that’s something that has really motivated me to keep on going and also to start exchanging ideas and comments with them. And this is something I’m really thankful for.

After one year posting once a week I feel really happy because this commitment has made me feel really satisfy and has given me the opportunity to write regularly about the things I like. So, I’m totally ready for a new year full of wonderful posting experiences.

Happy 2012! πŸ™‚

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

All what you can see.
Every now and then I find wonderful scenes like this one that seem they have come to live from a painting. There are so much detail in it and so many things to see that one can almost feel that can get inside of it. πŸ˜€

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An unexpected Christmas celebration

Text and Photo by Nora Vasconcelos

Happy Holidays Season!
John Grisham is a very well known author whose works is often linked to suspense stories in which lawyers are involved trying to help deseperate helpless people. But this time, the author has prepared a surprising story in which Christmas is the main character.

Skipping Christmas is not a classical seasonal story as it reflects all the stress that people can get while getting ready for the holidays season, from buying the right tree to fighting the crowds in order to get the right ingridients for Christmas dinner and the exact presents for everybody.

As the story goes by, one family manages to come up with an ingenious plan to skip the whole celebration, thinking that this will not only help them find some relief from the stress that they get every year, but also to save some money.

What they don’t have in mind is that John Grisham has prepared a completely different plan for them, and as much as they want to forget all about Christmas, it keeps coming around their lives.

One obstacle after another will appear in their lives until the very end of the story, when suspense and emotions are the main ingredients of their very own Christmas celebration!

Happy Holidays! πŸ˜€

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Self Portrait

A look inside.
The first thing that came to my mind when I read this week’s challenge it was Vincent Van Gogh, whose self portraits are well known around the world.

Then, I thought about the Italian painter Raphael, whose face can be seen in several masterpieces, and the dutch artist Rembrant who painted about 14 self portraits in his life.

That’s why I’ve chosen for this week this unique photo that I find at the same time immensely relaxing and really inspiring, so much that can bring enough peace as to make a mental self portrait of who we are.

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Miracles are coming to town!

Text and Photo by Nora Vasconcelos

A time when everything can happen.
Mrs. Merkle is a sweet lovely nosy old lady that appears unexpectedly when something needs to be fixed.

Nobody knows where she comes from, or how even she manages to appear right on time, what everybody notices is that she’s there and that she’s called Mrs. Miracle.

Everybody asks why? How so? Is that her real name?

She smiles and then she simply says that she’s Mrs. Merkle, but there has been a mistake and that she has been called Mrs. Miracle. And then, she carries on with watherver she’s doing.

This charming character is the main character of two books written by Debbie Macomber, Mrs. Miracle and Call me Mrs. Miracle.

In Call me Mrs. Miracle, Emily Merkle appears just in time to fix Christmas for a group of people who have lost their faith and go on with their lives, trying to regain the joy that comes with the holiday season.

Mrs. Miracle, of course, reaches everybody’s sensibility with her nosy-pushy sweetnes and makes them think about what life has to offer and how some things that might seam simple can be lift up the spirits of someone who’s looking for some hope.

As the story goes on, things starts to change and the characters get another perspective of Christmas, up to a point when they start getting aware of how wonderful this time of the year can be.

In the end, Mrs. Miracle achieves what she has come for and gets ready to make more people happy.

As long as she’s needed, she’ll be there!

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In Dickens times

When this year started, a book came into my hands. It was The Last Dickens, by Matthew Pearl.

The novel caught my attention right away when I first saw it at the book store. Of course, I couldn’t pass by the shelf without taking this book into my shopping basket.

Then, when I read the first pages I didn’t want to stop reading it. The passages describing the old Boston, took my mind immidiately to this wonderful city of which I’m totally fond of.

The mystery of what it would happen once the publishers in America undertook the task of publishing the last work ever written by Charles Dickens, and the sober taste of England, kept me going, creating all sort of images in my mind as the novel advanced.

Throughout the passages of the book I could almost feel that I was right there, side by side with the great Dickens, which I’ve always admired, but who I mainly knew through his work and some biographies, but it was this novel which gave me the chance to see a very lively Dickens, in the times when he was a celebrity and traveled around some American cities, while trying to keep up with his writing.

Suspense, adventure and literature accompany the English author along this novel that recreates in an amazing way those old times in the 19th century, when the publishing houses had to wait for the ships to come to the harbour to get their manuscripts, and the authors got into the teathers to read their work among frenetic fans who could do anything in order to be a part, even if for a short moment, of their favorite author’s world.

From the begining to the end, I absolutely loved this book! πŸ˜€

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration

Let's the fun start!
The holiday season is just around the corner and it’s time to get ready for the celebrations to come with warm colorful clothes, joyful souls and hopeful hearts!
Let’s the fun start getting reunited with good friend, getting inspired by great books and getting ready to all that delicious food that’s about to get to the table. πŸ˜€

When the time to face lost comes

Finding peace.
Ever since the last time I watched the movie You’ve got mail , with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, a phrase has being echoing in my mind, it said that when people says that change is good it’s in fact a way to say that something that you didn’t want it to happen, has just happened.
As I’ve being trying to figure it out, another movie came along that has kept me thinking about how unexpected things in life appear to make us face change and lost. The movie is called The Note, and it’s base on a novel written by Angela Hunt.
The story revolves about the questions “what would you like to say, and to whom, if suddenly you found out that you only have a few more minutes to live”.
Although the topic is a though one, the author manages to develop an amazing tender story in which a reporter undertakes the task of finding the person to whom a letter from a passanger of a doomed plane was left, addressed only as T.
As the story goes by, feelings and reflexions appear making the reader/viewer, be part of the story, filling the ambience with hope and love.
All in all, these two stories take serious aspects of life that one way or the other, we eventualy encounter in our life time, and their message try to focus on the idea that facing lost is something we may be able to deal with hope and strenght, even though we’re going through a painful time.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

Endlessly waiting.
I was recently walking throughout this park in Prague when I came acrooss this path, then I saw it, it was a perfect scene with the colorful trees and the two benches right there, silently waiting in the middle of the way for someone to come along or to come back. The possibilities where endlesss, people who had fell in love there, people who have say their last good byes, people who find themselves there. I just could’t helped it. I totally fell for this scene.

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