Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #103: Surprise


The only thing that should surprise us is that there are still some things that can surprise us.~Francois de la Rochefoucauld

I love those moments of surprise that make me laugh out loud…like the morning we were on the road and I went downstairs for breakfast and saw inspirational messages written on the bananas.

Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.~Thomas Hardy

Or, the time when I saw this marvelous illustration by Odilon Redon in the Kröller-Müller Museum in The Netherlands.  Can you imagine your surprise if your soft boiled egg opened its eyes and stared at you one morning?

Sometimes surprises can be adorable like this cat we discovered sleeping on a motorcycle parked on a street in Florence.

Cat Nap, Santo Spirito, Florence


The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.~Ashley Montagu

Here’s another example of “adorable” from earlier this week when we were taking our morning walk. I spotted a dog getting a ride on a paddle board and shouted to his owner:  “He has the life, doesn’t he?”  She agreed.

How ridiculous and how strange to be surprised at anything which happens in life.~Marcus Aurelius

Some of my favorite surprises occur when we’re traveling…like the time I saw this beautiful birth announcement on the door of home in Florence. I love the welcoming heart and ribbons more than the traditional “It’s a Girl” or “It’s a Boy” posters or balloons in America.

Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.~Alice Walker

My last travel surprise comes from London.  Every time I visited the city I could never figure out the purpose of these green shops which appear in various locations.  They have no signs advertising the shop’s name.   Often, when I spotted them, the shop was closed.  Peering through the windows provided me with no clues.   Finally, I spotted one open for business.  Inside the shop, a man was sitting at a table drinking tea.  Part of the mystery was solved.  Then, we went on a local walking tour and I learned (at last!) that these little shops provide food and rest areas for taxi drivers in the city.  It was a wonderful a-ha moment.

There’s another surprise, the type we are all experiencing right now during the pandemic.   It’s a surprise that shocks us out of our complacency and makes us realize that life is fragile and most definitely it isn’t under our control.   That’s why Ann-Christine’s theme this week is wonderfully apt.  Like Ann-Christine, I want to make plans for the months ahead.  I want to have some kind of schedule and feel I am in control.  But, Mother Nature is giving all of us a very different message.  A humbling one.  A shocking one. So, once again, I am trying to learn the tough lesson that life is full of surprises, and unexpected twists and turns, which can upend our lives, our plans.  But one thing is certain–how I respond to this pandemic is in my control.  It gives me a purpose and a direction.

A special thanks to all of you who shared your quiet moments in last week’s challenge.  You gave all of us many wonderful moments of blissful peace.  Once again, a sincere thank you!

We invite you to join us again this week for Ann-Christine’s “Surprise” challenge.  Don’t forget to use the Lens-Artists tag in your post.  If you don’t, we’ll have trouble finding your posts in the Reader and we’d hate to miss them!

Looking ahead:  The team has a special “surprise” for July.  We will be hosting the theme “Seasons” for the entire month, and are announcing the sequence in advance. The schedule will be:
July 4    Amy  Summer
July 11  Tina  Spring
July 18  Patti  Autumn/Fall
July 25  Ann-Christine  Winter

And finally, I hope you are staying well, staying safe, and finding creative ways to respond to the Covid challenge.

72 replies »

    • Hi, Tina. The bananas are a hoot! Come to think of it, it would be fun to write messages like that for kids in their lunchboxes. 😊😊. We were so happy to solve the mystery of the green houses! It had a wondering for a while. I’m looking forward to your surprises, too.


  1. A beautiful sequence of surprises Patti, I especially love your adorable image of the cat sleeping on a motorbike 💚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a wonderful surprise series, Patti. Inspirational messages written on the bananas– my favorite, and the birth announcement is so sweet. I love the idea of providing food and rest areas for taxi driver in these little shops. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love all these surprises, Patti, but the bananagrams have to be the most creative. I would certainly have laughed out loud at those. I love the little green tea building at the end as well. Thanks for all the smiles today.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. What great photos — and great surprises. I love the bananas — might try that myself sometime when we’re having company. And the green houses? I had no idea what they were for — a great surprise and a great gesture for the taxi drivers. What a colorful, fun post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely reminders of travel suprises. And I totally agree with that last thing: this surprising year, when I had travel planned out all the way until December, and it looks like I’ll have to cancel every last one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Meikah. Four of us are leading the challenges. We take turns posting at noon every Saturday. You can see the schedule at the bottom of my posts. Tomorrow it’s Amy’s turn. If you subscribe to our blogs, you’ll get the post in your email. 😒


  6. Those bananas cracked me up. What a marketing tool! I loved your other choices – the green buildings…and solving the mystery too :). Yes, I agree, these times are challenging and difficult – especially for those of us who are planners. Patience is essential, but sometimes elusive.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Patti. Wow, such delightful surprises you have shared with us. The breadth of your selections is amazing and I bet you have been saving up some of those gems for a long time, just waiting for the right time and place to post.

    Here’s ,y submission for this week: Unsurprisingly, another Great Blue Heron

    Thank you for the inspiring photos and commentary.
    Best, Babsje.


  8. Great post and wise words, Patti!

    It is true, it is in our hands as we respond to the surprises that life gives us. Precisely today in the blog I speak of the acceptance of changes.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a lovely article with your beautiful pictures. I loved the quote, “Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.” ~Alice Walker Your comments on COVID inspire instead of give off a political scent. It is a surprise. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed cooking during lockdown. I am surprised at the vitality my blogging gained when I started doing it for fun and to support others. I am so excited to host the four of you on my blog. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi, Marsha. Lovely to see you here. Thanks for your kind words! I have for several years attempted to find a middle ground between the polarized groups in the USA, so you’re right–I am trying to be more inspirational than political! Thanks for the opportunity to do the interview and reach a wider audience. I appreciate that!


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