Thinking about Christmas in July?

July quotography72

But here I am in July, and why am I thinking about Christmas pudding?
Probably because we always pine for what we do not have.
The winter seems cozy and romantic in the hell of summer,
but hot beaches and sunlight are what we yearn for all winter. 

~Joanna Franklin Bell,
Take a Load Off, Mona Jamborski

Here we are in July; smack in the middle of summer. It’s hot here in the middle of land-locked Missouri….with the heat index some days in the triple digits. It was the same during our recent trip to Florida to see The Golfer. But somehow, it never seems quite as miserable when one is at the beach! Funny how that works, isn’t it?

Playing Quotography along with Kelley at The Road Goes Ever On

The month in photos: June

June 2016

How did it get so late so soon? 
Its night before its afternoon. 
December is here before its June. 
My goodness how the time has flewn. 
How did it get so late so soon?
~Dr. Seuss 

So, add June to the list of months that sped by without slowing down. I’m getting a little tired of looking backwards at the calendar, wondering where the time went.

June began easy enough with pool time and popsicles with the grandbabykins. The Recruiter finalized the purchase of a house and interior demo began the day after signing. As with any older home, a few unexpected surprises have surfaced that was not anticipated. Welcome to home ownership! But, she is excited to finally be out of our lower level and can unpack all her “stuff.”

We anticipated a visit from The Golfer who flew in for our godson’s (her cousin’s) wedding…which provided a rare photo of all of us together. Peanut and Twix were super excited to see her and KW. Unfortunately, their visit lasted only four days.

We celebrated Dad’s Day with Entrepreneur’s family a week early since we were scheduled to take the grandbabykins to Alabama for their summer visit with their dad. Peanut’s visitation is supposed to last 6 weeks, but since Twix was only to stay two weeks, we drove on to Florida to see The Golfer again. Coincidentally, our stay coincided with some outdoor projects that needed to be done, and help with a junior golf camp. I ate entirely too much food during those two weeks and am now paying for it. Florida has some excellent restaurants!

So we’re back from traveling, sans one Peanut, and back into house reno mode again.

I did find time to get re-acquainted with my camera…now I just need time to do something with them.

I hope June was a good month for everyone. Can you believe the year is already half finished?! I should probably start thinking about Christmas shopping.😉

Participating with others over at Mona’s Picturesque and her Month in Photos.

Quotography: Freedom

Independence Day Eagle 72

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.
We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream.
It must be fought for, protected, and
handed on for them to do the same.
~Ronald Reagan

Happy [official] Independence Day United States! Kelley’s prompt for Quotography this week is, appropriately, Freedom. Yesterday, I posted some interesting stats about our nation’s birth with a photo I took while on vacay in Florida last week. You can read it HERE.

Aside from our nation’s flag, the other symbol of our country is the bald eagle. Adopted by the Continental Congress in 1782, it was selected among other symbols but maybe not unanimously. It’s rumored Benjamin Franklin was opposed to the eagle, preferring the turkey as a more appropriate symbol.

So why an eagle to represent the freedom of the newly-formed nation?

Eagles have been used by many empires throughout history. Roman and Egyptian cultures used eagles in their banners. Native Americans thought eagles represented great power and eagle feathers were worn by many tribal chiefs to represent strength. Eagles appear in early Christian writings as a sign of hope and salvation. And, of course, in the Lord of the Rings, we all cheer when we see the “eagles are coming”!

But why?

The eagle commands the skies. It flies higher than all other birds….even turkey vultures. Its majestic appearance gives it an aura of courage and strength…as its sharp talons and beak suggest. An eagle’s vision is up to 8x keener than a human and it perches high to survey a wide view of everything below. This could also be why eagles are associated with visionaries.

Even if Ben Franklin had persuasive arguments for the turkey, I’m glad the eagle was chosen as our national symbol. On this day of celebration of our freedoms, I hope we all:

• Have courage to stand and defend our freedoms and liberties.
• Have strength to reach new heights and stretch our abilities.
• Remember that with great power comes great responsibility.
• View where we are in life and develop vision in order to soar to new heights.
• Perch high so we don’t miss opportunities that come our way.

And finally, I hope we all realize that, like the bald eagle in 1940, without serious effort to preserve our freedoms, we may be susceptible to extinction.

Playing Quotography along with Kelley at The Road Goes Ever On.

From sea to shining sea

from sea to shining sea 72

July 4th is celebrated as Independence Day in the United States. As with independence of any sort, it was born out of conflict and ended in a revolution from the status quo. Since I’ve been short on time, most of the rest of this post is taken from one done in 2013, titled American Independence by the Numbers….with a few current observations thrown in for good measure.

Let’s begin with an interesting Q&A on the streets. Spoiler alert: this is 6 minutes and 45 seconds of shocking answers to questions that should have been super simple for any American over the age of 16. Clueless would be an understatement to describe these poor souls…except for the last two interviewees who nailed it. And I wonder, has our education system failed so completely that most people are completely devoid of knowledge of the birth of our country? Or, do they just not care? Either way, it’s truly a sad state of affairs. And I also wonder, since they know so little about the events and circumstances surrounding why patriots fought so hard, would there be any desire to defend our country’s freedoms to that extent in the future if necessary. Or, would they simply roll over and surrender in oblivious and blind allegiance to any tyrannical group that tries to eliminate what our founding fathers/mothers fought so hard to obtain? Truly a head scratcher.

So, with that piece of misery out of the way, let’s review some basic American Revolutionary War history.

4.19.1775
The day the first shots were fired in our nation’s quest for independence from England. It happened that morning in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Do not fire on them unless they fire first, but if they want a war, let it begin here.
~American Captain Parker, Battle of Lexington

13
The number of colonies that fought in the Revolutionary War.
Yesterday the greatest question was decided… and a greater question perhaps never was nor will be decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states.
~John Adams

217,000
The number of troops that were engaged in the fighting.
The die is now cast; the colonies must either submit or triumph…. we must not retreat.
~King George III, In a letter to Lord North, 1774

1,546
Number of military “engagements” during the war.
We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall hang separately.
~Benjamin Franklin at the signing of the Declaration of Independence

10
Age of the youngest members of the Continental Army, serving mainly as cooks and messengers.
The battle, Sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.
~Patrick Henry, 
speech at the Virginia Convention, 1775

4,435 or 6,824 (depending on the source)
The number of colonist casualties during the war.
Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
~Patrick Henry, speech in the Virginia Convention, 1775

24,000 (Approx)
Total British casualties from battle and disease in the Revolutionary War.
I never saw such fighting, since God made me.
~Lord Charles Cornwallis, Battle of Guilford Court House 

1783
The year Great Britain acknowledged America’s independence with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. The treaty established the nation’s northern boundary along the Canadian border and the western border as the Mississippi River.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
~Thomas Jefferson

Our Founding Fathers risked everything to make their idealistic view of freedom from tyranny and oppression a reality. Their resulting actions were a burden on not only them, but their families as well. But they held firm to their beliefs, regardless of personal well-being and even death.

Posterity — you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.
~ John Quincy Adams

As we all celebrate Independence Day with picnics, fireworks, pie, ice cream and other festivities, may we always remember the great men and women who sacrificed, at great personal loss, to achieve the freedom we sometimes nonchalantly take for granted today. May we continue to preserve the rights and freedoms of this country for generations to come.

 A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy…While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader…If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.
~Samuel Adams
I believe Sam spoke very true words, that are as applicable today as they were 200+ years ago. And, I’ll take this a step further and compare the recent Brexit vote as one where the British people took a stand not totally unlike those previous British subjects.
Freedom and independence is painful. It’s a gift many people in the world will never receive under their current government. It’s messy and complicated.
And totally worth it.
I wish every American a Happy Independence Day, and hope there is an opportunity to pause and reflect on both the blessings we have because of our freedoms, and the responsibilities we haven to preserve them.
Sharing today over at Lisa’s with Life Through the Lens.

June Photo Challenge: Baseball

photo blog challenge

Here we are again with PJ’s photo blogging challenge. June’s prompt was baseball….since PJ is a huge baseball fan! Unfortunately, I’m not a huge baseball fan, so this was a bit of a head-scratching exercise for me. On a side note, I like movies about baseball….Bull Duram, The Natural, A League of Their Own, Major League 1, Field of Dreams, Angels in the Outfield etc. ….but to sit at a baseball game is not my idea of a great time.

The caveat to the above statement is when one of our hometown teams is in the World Series playoffs or final games; then, I’m all in.

Since this prompt was difficult for me, and the month (like the last two) got away from me, I only got four shots. My apologies, but it’s the best I could do.

Baseball #1
This shot is an unconventional take on the game; an improvised game with a pool noodle and beach ball.pool baseball

Baseball #2
The Dollar Store is a plethora of items and a couple of them proved helpful for this month’s challenge. Probably not the highest quality balls or bases, but then what do you expect for $1?
dollar store

Baseball #3
A couple years ago, we bought The Recruiter a new purse. Her requested pattern. Her sister, The Golfer, has a matching one in a Cardinals motif.
royals purse

Baseball #4 and  possibly #5
While I don’t religiously follow our state’s baseball teams, I do get updates on my phone on their games. Since I live smack in the middle of the state of Missouri, I can claim both the Royals and the Cardinals as my team. Since these were two screen shots, I’m counting them as two entries….oh yes, I can.:-)
team updates

And that’s the end of the inning. Swing on over to PJ’s for more June baseball-related photos.

The months keep rolling by

April came and April left. Then it was May. And now it’s June!!

Honestly, I have no idea how the months seem to fly by. Obviously, I’m way behind on the calendar thing. Thinking back, April was sort of a blur. The weather warmed just enough to tease us into thinking winter was gone. But we were misinformed. I was still running the furnace for much of the month. But there were a few stellar days, as shown in the collage below; just enough kite-flying, flower-budding, tree-climbing, kick-up-your-heels-and-run-across-the-grass days to keep our spirits hopeful.

April 2016

If April was a blur, May was a watercolor caught in the rain of events and activities. Mother’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays, weddings. You name it and we probably went to it. Oh, yeah, add in the end of school paper blizzard and Memorial Day celebrations. The irises a friend shared with me bloomed (much to my surprise) after being thrown into the dirt last autumn. I thought there’d be time to catch a breath once May was finished, but we now are preparing for a visit from The Golfer and our godson’s wedding this weekend. Then, on to Kid’s Club, our church’s version of vacation bible school with 600-700 kids and almost as many volunteers. Not sure June will slow down at all. Maybe July?

May 2016

Hope you all are doing well in your respective worlds, and your summer is warm and wonderful.

Sharing with others over at Mona’s Picturesque, A Month in Photos

Out of the box…all the time!

photo blog challenge

May was Out Of the Box (OOB) month over at PJ’s photo challenge. In my world, May is always May-hem so it wasn’t easy to take time to do much out of the box thinking on this one. But, here’s my best effort for the month.

OOB #1
I’m an adjunct instructor for a university strategic communications department. I work with graduating seniors on their capstone project. As student agencies, they work with “real-life” clients on designated projects requiring them to draw on knowledge learned from previous coursework. The end product is a professionally-developed strategic plan, complete with formal presentation to the client for approval. This year, one team won an award for best campaign strategy….an award they would not have won if they had not thought outside the box on their approach to the problem.
campaign toast

OOB #2
These two require out-of-the-box thinking more often than you might realize. Motherhood the first time around was a challenge….and now, my Nana Nanny skills have been honed even further by these two pocket rockets. You’ve heard necessity is the mother of invention? At our house, (grand)mother is the necessity of invention!
Peanut Twix 2016

OOB#3
This may not look like an out of the box photo, but believe me when I tell you it is. This birdbath was in desperate need of a makeover. Entrepreneur took it and had it sandblasted and then primed it for a new coat of paint. And that’s where our opinions diverged. He is more of a standard color type of guy….and I wanted it purple, which was more than a bit out of the box in his view.
purple birdbath

OOB #4
Peanut just finished first grade and what a year it was! While kindergarten was fairly easy for her, first grade pulled her out of her comfort zone and made her think outside the box in a lot of areas in order to succeed. She is good at thinking strategically to get what she wants….sometimes to her detriment.
Peanut end of school

OOB #5
Creativity at its best. Peanut’s out-of-the-box thinking about roller skating had her sister pulling her with a jumprope. This can only end one way.
roller skate idea

OOB Bonus photo
Well, what do you know!? Just when I though I was going to be a photo short on this challenge, new foto fodder came my way. When Field Day at Peanut’s school was  rainy and cool, the teachers had to think outside the box in order to entertain a couple hundred antsy children for the afternoon. Classroom stations were set up with games and activities to help make Field Day a success.
field day

There’s my selection for Out Of the Box. Please click on over to PJs and check out the other OOB thinkers as well.