December Photo Challenge: Holly Jolly

With December’s photo challenge from PJ, we say adios to 2017. This month’s challenge is, of course, Holly Jolly in celebration of the holidays….which come the same time every year….yet I’m never fully prepared.

But, here are my five for December.

Holly Jolly 1

We kicked off the season with a holiday concert at Peanut’s school with lots of fun songs about the season. My favorite was Zoot Suit Santa, compete with “shades” and attitude. Peanut doesn’t normally like to be the center of attention, but seemed to enjoy herself as much as we enjoyed watching her.

Holly Jolly 2

The tree went up the day after Thanksgiving and I was a bit concerned it would be down by the first of December because of a very excitable 50 pound, 8 month old pupper. But he didn’t mess with any of it! The closest time came when Bridget, the kitty, ran under the tree….it was a bit touch and go for a few minutes, but it still stands.

Holly Jolly 3

Two little grand-elves, Peanut and Twix, celebrating the season of giving. I laughed when I saw the photo with the upside-down Ho Ho Ho paper. I think it may work both ways. At 9 and 3, they are growing up too fast.

Holly Jolly 4

It came the morning of Christmas Eve. White stuff falling from the sky just in time to ensure a white Christmas. Cabo’s first Christmas and first snowfall. He had a jolly time outside.

Holly Jolly 5

This is a Magic Tree. It’s one of a few trees like this around our town, but definitely the biggest. Our church created it from an 85 foot tall Sycamore on the grounds. There are 38 miles of lights on this tree, with 200,000 bulbs…representing each person in our county. The symbolism is each light reminds us of a person in our community that is precious in God’s sight.

As with each bulb on this tree, may we all strive to be points of light in the dark places of this world….especially when it looks like all the other lights are out. Our love can shine in the darkness and light the way.

I hope everyone had wonderful holidays filled with lots of Jolly Holly moments. Please take a few minutes and visit PJ’s place to enjoy more jolliness.

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November Photo Challenge: Blue

Another month has come and gone…can you believe it’s one day away from December?! Yikes! PJ prompted us this month with finding photos that represent Blue. This prompt may seem a bit strange among the orange, crimson and gold colors of Autumn, but there is a method to his madness. Blue is the color for diabetes and November is National Diabetes Month. And, November 14th was World Diabetes Day.

So here are my five, lovely blue selections to bring attention to this battle many people fight on a daily basis.

Blue #1
I know they’re around all year here in middle Missouri, but I see  blue birds more in the winter than any other season. I’ve occasionally seen blue, indigo buntings with their iridescent, neon blue feathers. But this little guy posed so nicely on the feeder hook, I had to take the shot.

Bue #2
This is my go-to mug when I’m feeling a bit blue. It holds a lot of hot chocolate and just enough Bailey’s Irish Cream to make a blah morning a bit better.

Blue #3
I bet you thought this was a piece of artwork by world renown glass artist, Dale Chihuly. Well, you would be incorrect. It’s a wine topper…made out of pony beads!

Blue #4
This is a blue dish, handmade by an artisan in Cabo San Lucas. The colors are every bit as bright as they look here. No photo manipulation at all.

Blue #5
I swore I wouldn’t opt for blue sky shot, but couldn’t resist this one. While most might see the vibrant orange of the clouds at sunset, my eye first went to the aqua blue of the sky.

There’s my five for November. Be sure to visit PJ’s place and see what colored everyone else a bit blue this month.

It only takes a spark……

I found a new photo blogging community called Sparks, and this is my first link up with these folks. It’s hosted by Annie at McGuffy Reader. I have to say I love her concept:

I believe we are meant to be lights in this world. If we allow our light to shine, we can see where we are going. It is then that we can begin to truly see each other clearly. Together, we can light up the entire world!

How cool is that concept? Be the light instead of contributing to the darkness. There are so many people who only want to contribute to the darkness of this world; so many who have nothing positive to say; so many that find fault with everything and everyone.

You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way. ~Walter Hagen

I have to admit, the darkness seems to be winning in my world lately. Hard as I try and maintain a positive outlook in the face of Entrepreneur’s renal cell cancer and oral chemo regiment, it’s a frustrating road. And, while friends and family sympathize and are oh so very emotionally and spiritually supportive, few can really empathize with the mental exhaustion that accompanies this type of situation.

But darkness cannot overcome a shining light. it pierces the blackness of despair and hopelessness and provides a focus for those wandering in the dark. If we would all choose to be a shining light, perhaps we could guide each other through this messy thing called life.

…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. ~Matthew 5:16

I hope to be a regular contributor to Sparks. Not so I can enjoy reading comments (even though I really do!), but for my own sanity.

I hope everyone has a sparkly day!

 

 

October Photo Challenge: Photographer’s Choice

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

You might think phrase as a bit odd for October….when there isn’t a jingle bell or snowflake in sight…at least in middle Missouri. But PJ’s prompt this month is Photographer’s Choice, sooooo my choice is to feature my favorite season of the year…Autumn.

Use what you have, use what the world gives you. Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter’s deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself. The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world’s oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white silence of winter.
~Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way

Based on this quote, who wouldn’t love Autumn? So here’s my five (with accompanying quotes) for October’s photo challenge.

Photographer’s Choice #1
Wouldn’t you just luuvvv to spend a warm Autumn day creek stomping along this waterway? It’s not fancy or especially gorgeous, but when I happened across this scene, it struck me as extremely inviting.

Photographer’s Choice #2
Summer’s blue sky doesn’t hold a candle to an October blue sky.

Photographer’s Choice #3
The trees are ablaze with color now thanks to a few nights in the 30sF, but Autumn color is not always in the trees.

Photographer’s Choice #4
This might just be my favorite Autumn quote. Doesn’t it conjure up a delicious image…and you can almost smell the brown sugar and cinnamon!

Photographer’s Choice #5
I completely agree. I’m totally bewitched by Autumn’s colors, aromas and cozy textures.

There’s my five for this month. Please take time to visit PJ’s on October 31st and see what other photographers chose for this month’s enjoyment. Better yet, play along with us next month!

 

 

September Photo Challenge: Selfie

Oh my. PJ really pushed me completely outside my comfort zone for September’s photo challenge with to prompt of Selfie!

Love them or hate them, the selfie is here to stay. Interesting how people respond to selfies. Some believe it’s an outcome of our increasingly narcissistic society. Others believe it’s simply an offshoot of the self portrait. Is there a difference? Some say yes, as you will read HERE. Selfies are easy to take, so why was this challenge so difficult for me?

First of all, I don’t think I’m very photogenic. Call it self consciousness or whatever, I don’t really like having my photo taken. Like looking in a mirror, I see every flaw and imperfection magnified 100 times. I suppose I’ve succumb to our culture’s ideals. Sad, I know.

Because of my head trash, I tried to approach this month’s challenge a little unconventionally. The first two shots are the only really, true “selfies” I took this month. The first one is unretouched, SOOC. The second is the result of playing with PhotoShop filters. The rest….well, you can decide.

This next one is technically a selfie, but I tried to make it represent an aspect of my personality. Some might call it an un-selfie. It does include my face, so I’m thinking it falls within the parameters. it was a lot harder to achieve this idea than I thought.

Technically, in our culture, a “Selfie” is a photo taken of yourself with some type of digital camera and shared on social media. Since you must know the rules in order to properly break them, I think we should expand the definition and have a Selfie represent an aspect of our individual Self. Some people think of this as an alternative self portrait….without the portrait part. So, these next two shots represent part of my-SELF… without my face! Perfect.

This “Selfie” represents the aspect of my Self that loves to read. My interests cross all genre of the written word. As you can see here, my collection includes high fantasy, apologetics, science/theology and, represented by the open John Grisham book, novels that range from legal thrillers to historical fiction. I own just about every John Grisham book ever written. If there’s not a book or magazine at arm’s reach, I’ve been known to read a cereal box. 🙂 And curling up with a good book is only made better by accompanying it with a beverage.

And speaking of beverages, this photo of my-SELF represents my love of the fruit of the vine. Like books, my tastes span from budget-friendly to stupid-expensive selections. But, mainly they’re always red. Did you know W.I.N.O.S actually means Women In Need Of Sanity? Yep, for sure.

So there’s my five September Selfies. The bonus one below really is not a Selfie, but I was on a roll and had some fun with PhotoShop to share a bit more about my Self. It hope you can get a better sense of what I’m all about with this alternative un-Selfie portrait.

Please take a few minutes and check out the Selfies over at PJ’s. I’m sure most everyone else played by the rules!

 

 

August Photo Challenge: Summer Fun

I think PJ threw us all a bone this month with his prompt of Summer Fun. The only problem I had this month was whittling down the photos to only five! So what did I do? Well, some would call it cheating. I call it being resourceful.

With Peanut and Twix back from Alabama, we worked on packing in as much summer fun as possible before school began mid-month. I’m always astounded when school begins mid-August. Just doesn’t seem right.

But, anyway, here are the five I chose to share with you for August’s Summer Fun.

Summer Fun #1

Twix turned into a water bug this summer…and is working on her tree-climbing skills. What? Doesn’t every girl climb trees in a skirt?

Summer Fun #2

August began Cabo’s Walk/Heel 101 classes. I’m happy to say at 5 months old he can walk two miles before he is totally distracted. Heeling is more of a challenge, but he’s starting to get it. It’s going to be nice to have a walking buddy again.

Summer Fun #3
You would think after those two-mile walks, Cabo would be exhausted but Noooooooo. He can come home and play like he’s slept all day. Fetching the ball is a favorite any time of day. And, his Golden Retriever roots show every time water is present. Yes, that is HIS baby pool. 🙂

Summer Fun #4

Peanut is a vociferous reader and summer vacation is no exception. She does take a few breaks, but her love of books is only rivaled by her Nana.

Summer Fun #5

If you were in the path of totality, all eyes were on the heavens August 21st for the eclipse. Peanut watched it at school, but Twix, Entrepreneur and I hung out in the backyard to experience the event. I’m not sure how much Twix will remember, but she thought her eclipse mask made from a paper plate with a pair of eclipse glasses taped to it was pretty cool.

August is now ending and pumpkin spice everything is just around the corner. Our weather feels more like late September than late August with cool nights and below-normal temps during the days. Please stop by PJ’s place to enjoy some more summer fun before it’s all gone.

 

Photo Blogging Challenge: Point of View

July is over! Can you even believe half the year is gone already? From my point of view, it’s a bit scary how days seem to drag but weeks and months go by at the speed of light. And speaking of Point of View, that’s PJ’s prompt this month.

In keeping with last month’s post using quotes, I decided to continue that trend for this prompt.

Point of View #1
Nothing’s beautiful from every point of view.
~Horace
I kept these seed pods because I thought I’d do something creative with them in an arrangement…..in my spare time. By themselves, they’re probably not very beautiful from most people’s point of view. But I love the warm, aged color of the pod.

Point of View #2
Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst of it but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance. ~Charles Lindbergh
Life is messy…especially when we’re in the middle of challenges, crisis and struggles. Sometimes it helps to distance ourselves from the emotion of the moment and see the bigger picture. Sometimes looking at it from that point of view can offer some clarity. It’s like the difference between being in the middle of the lake versus sitting on the bench, looking at the entire landscape.

Point of View #3
There are three sides to every coin (Heads, Tails, and The Edge). Your ability to understand contrasting points of view and your ability to glean what information you believe to be valuable from each side is a crucial skill.
~Robert Kiyosaki
Now, some may look at this and believe it’s just another excuse for sitting on the fence and not making a decision. But, what I’ve learned in 50+ years of living is situations are rarely heads or tails….black or white….rather, they are shades of gray. And, to have the wisdom to discern useful information from contrasting points of view is the secret to compromise and a more peaceful existence.

Point of View #4
From the dog’s point of view, his master is an elongated and abnormally cunning dog.
~Mabel Robinson
Do you ever wonder what goes through a dog’s mind when they look at us? Do they see another strange-looking dog? Or, do they really care what we are as long as what they are looking at plays with them and feeds them? How do they decide whether you’ll be the “alpha dog”….or not!? Cabo is coming along nicely, but I will say he’s a very opinionated puppy!

Point of View #5
A unicorn is just a horse with a point of view.
~Ron Sexsmith
I couldn’t resist this quote! It really makes no sense when you think about it, but it’s a good excuse to use a photo from the point of view of this little filly. I’m sure she wishes she was a unicorn with a horn. Or, maybe this quote refers to having a magical perspective on life?! 🙂

I hope you enjoyed my point of view on PJ’s Point of View prompt. Please visit A “lil HooHaa to see all the other points of view for July.