Pocket Scrapbooking with Project Life

Cultivate a good life and record it.



documenting the beauty all around


Maryland is where I was born and raised. I grew up next to the Potomac River in a rural area with rolling hills, dense trees, and green, green, green. While I don’t so much love the humidity factor in the summer, I do love that beautiful part of our amazing world. Brunswick will always have a piece of my heart and I’m grateful for 17 life-shaping years there.

I’ll never forget my first time to the southwest as a teen. Aside from the cactus and dry, dry, dry earth… everywhere I looked, people had rock in their front yards! ROCK!! Welcome to the desert, Becky. Not everyone has rolling cornfields and farms in their community.

Nearly twenty years ago, I ended up marrying a man from Arizona and we moved to David’s home state where he attended medical school for four years. I’ll never forget walking from our little house to the mailbox in the summer and I honestly felt my skin sizzling. I swear the sun was literally cooking my body. What is this heat? Who can stand this? Apparently I can because I just sort of got used to it. I can’t say I ever grew to “love” the heat. I’d be okay if every day were in the low 70s. But my body adapted.

After those four years, we lived in Cleveland, Ohio, for four years (David’s anesthesia residency training) where the climate is quite similar to Maryland and then back to Arizona where decided to stay indefinitely. So now I can say I’ve lived here in the desert for about 13 years. I don’t think our area outside of the city will win any awards for being the “prettiest” part of the desert. There’s a lot of brown, that’s for sure. It’s all relative, so compared to other desert areas, we’re actually quite “lush.” Compared to New Zealand, we’re bone-dry in every way.

Photographing the desert | BeckyHiggins.com

But here’s the thing. I have always tried to find the beauty around me. For me, it’s part of cultivating a good life. At first glance, the desert… or that shrub… or that dead log… or that stagnant pond… might look uninteresting or even ugly. But when I change my mind about it, I do see the beauty and that beauty becomes clear-as-day. And you know what? When you get a little closer to something, you do see amazing things. The key is to get closer. (Total analogies in that for life and people, by the way.)

Nature is really just amazing — truly. As a little girl, I used to spend what felt like hours laying on the ground looking for four-leaf clovers. To this day, I feel like I could get lost looking at the detail of a flowering bush or a cluster of leaves or the bark of a tree. Paying close attention to details makes me feel more awe and gratitude. The same goes for the bigger picture. When I step back and look at the vast sky (particularly as the sun is setting), how can I not feel immense gratitude for this amazing world? Know what I mean?

Photographing the desert | BeckyHiggins.com

In my ongoing quest to find the beauty around me, I’ve always photographed nature. The most exciting thing is the technology today that makes it possible for us to take amazing, detailed pictures with our cell phone! I use the iPhone 6 Plus and the little built-in camera is remarkable. I’m constantly snapping pictures of everything (not just nature of course) and am thrilled with the results because of improved camera optics. This is my way of preserving visual snippets about what I love about the desert that I have grown very fond of.

Photographing the desert | BeckyHiggins.com

Kara joined me in the desert recently to take some pictures. These here in the blog post are all taken with her big, fancy dSLR. But you don’t need a big camera to get pretty pictures. To see the results of what I captured with my iPhone, search #BHLovesArizona on Instagram.

TIP: Be sure to check out this blog post where I shared how I use my current favorite photo-editing app, PicTapGo.

Photographing the desert | BeckyHiggins.com
Photographing the desert | BeckyHiggins.com

My challenge to you

Capture the beauty that is around you. You can think that you live in the prettiest place and this might feel like a piece-of-cake challenge, but at least you’ll be getting pictures that perhaps you haven’t been getting lately. If you are less-than-fond of your surroundings, get close. And then a little closer. Use whatever camera is on you. Most cell phone cameras (I think — I can only really speak for iPhone since that’s what I use) are designed so you can get close to something, tap on the screen where you want it to focus, and that will create a lovely depth-of-field effect where the background is blurry. Try it!


Let’s take this challenge one step further. Post your picture(s) on Instagram and tag me (@BeckyHigginsLLC) with #BHBeautyAllAround. I’m going to check them out and I’m going to choose a few favorites to share on my own social media! Can’t wait to see the beauty that is all around you. There are dozens of countries represented in my blog readership. This is a big, big world. I’m hoping to see glimpses from all over.


3 Responses

  1. Nicole says:

    I absolutely adore the beauty in the desert (I miss AZ every day!). Now in the Midwest, there is also beauty, just different. What a fun challenge.

    • Nicole says:

      Oh, and one question… do you use a case for your iPhone? Getting in all that nature photography could get an iPhone dropped… not that I speak from experience :)

  2. Kimberly Warnick says:

    I am like you, Becky! I grew up in beautiful, green and lush, Virginia! The only thing I would ever complain about was the humidity, too! Now, it’s been almost 14 years here in Utah. Although I miss the green of Virginia, I am loving the beautiful mountains and dryer weather!