January Blogging Challenge: Books

Oh my goodness! I love PJ’s prompt for this months photo challenge! So many books….so little time. As an avid reader, I’ve been known to even read the back of cereal boxes in a pinch.

The written word….the tool in which language is expressed….has been with humankind for millenniums. Writing systems date back to the eight millennium BC with tokens and pictographs. The development of alphabets and phonics emerged around the second millennium BC.  The written word is a powerful tool that brought us such documents as our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. While oral history is important, it’s the written word that is capable of spreading ideas quickly and documenting history in preservable detail.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a frigid, January winter day than curled up with a good book and cozy afghan. So, hope your enjoy this peek into my library and passion for all written words. While I gravitate towards High Fantasy (think Harry Potter, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings etc.), the genres in my library span a multitude of topics, authors and styles.

Books #1
Starting off the list is my favorite novelist, John Grisham. Don’t even ask me what I want for Christmas if he’s published a new book. There are a lot of great novelists out there, but the way Grisham weaves details, plot twists and unexpected turns throughout his story is genius. Most noted for his stories revolving around the legal system, he has written some lighter books like Playing for Pizza and Calico Joe that are entertaining, summer, pool-side reading.

Books #2
In a previous lifetime, my BFF and I owned a book design studio. We worked with university press houses across the country and turned author manuscripts into books. This photo shows a few of the books I worked on during that time. This experience forever changed the way I look at a printed book from the cover design to the very last index page. Knowing what goes into designing and compositing a book, I vowed to never again whine about the cost of the written word.

Books #3
I’ve not completely jumped on the e-reader wagon, but did install our local library’s app on my laptop to see what was available. I did download an e-book on the recommendation of a fellow blogger for test drive. I much prefer a bound book, but this will do in a pinch, especially when I don’t want to purchase the book to keep.

Books #4
Apologetics and books relating to different worldviews are a passion of mine. This is just a sampling of the books I have on this topic squirreled away around the house. I especially think books written by scientists addressing the relationship between science and faith are fascinating. I also have quite a few books by C.S. Lewis, including a set of The Chronicles of Narnia.

Books #5
Dovetailing with the above is the book that surpasses all books in print. The bible clocks in with 5 billion books printed since 1815. Add to that, all the hand-scribed copies prior to the invention of the printing press. Many of you have issues with its written words. I encourage you to read what I wrote about the bible HERE. It’s the Big God Story that is filled with poetry, Hellenistic biography, documented history as well as inspiration and comforting words. It’s a book that reflects our messy lives. Because of our circumstances, I’m spending a lot of time in Psalms….usually accompanied by diffusing essential oils and hot tea.

“Check out” the other books over at PJ’s for January’s prompt of Books.

And, in keeping with Thankful Thursday over at Brian’s Home, I think it’s safe to say I’ve been thankful for the written word since I was old enough to pick up a book. I’m thankful this passion was not lost on my daughters. And Peanut, at age 10, has been assessed at a 7th grade level for reading comprehension. I would be thankful if Twix, who is learning letters and basic words, follows in their footsteps.



Photo Challenge: Feliz Navidad!

I missed PJ’s photo challenge last month so I wasn’t about to miss this one. After all, the theme is Feliz Navidad! And, there’s no shortage of photos for this time of year. Shortage of time. Yes. Shortage of photos. No.

December is always a mixed bag of activities. This year, along with gift shopping, we also were getting ready for a much-needed family vacay to Mexico. Add to that, the usual Christmas season activities, and you get a very. busy. month.

So, here’s my Feliz Navidad five.

Feliz Navidad One
We hadn’t had a family vacay since 2016 due to Entrepreneur’s brain surgery and chemo regimen. His 90-day chemo holiday was coming to a close and he was very much looking forward to enjoying himself before the next set of scans. I’m conflicted about vacationing during the holidays. It seems to add that much more to an already busy schedule. But, it was now or nothing so we rolled the dice, booked it  and, by the grace of God, were able to all be together for a week of sunshine and fun. We contacted the same photographer who took our family pics in 2015 for an updated one.

Feliz Navidad Two
For the past few years, I’ve taken a photo of Peanut and Twix in Santa hats under our tree. The days drag but the years seem to fly.

Feliz Navidad Three
After returning from the warmth of Mexico, we jumped into Twix’s Christmas program at preschool. Sporting Mexican braids, she fully embraced the performance, singing the loudest and overall enjoying herself, sort of oblivious to what was going on with the other children. I think her eyes were on Papa the entire time.

Feliz Navidad Four
Peanut’s 4th and 5th grade Honor Choir performances hit a week later with caroling visits to two businesses and a veterans home.

Feliz Navidad Five
It was nip and tuck, but we finally visited the jolly elf before he took off for the North Pole for his Christmas Eve ride. Peanut figured out Santa this year, but went along with everything so Josie could enjoy the magic. The look on Twix’s face is a precious reminder of the magic and wonder of the season.

There’s my five for PJ’s December photo challenge. This monthly photo challenge is very easy; PJ selects a theme, we take five pics during the month and post. That’s it! Won’t you join us in 2019?

I hope everyone’s holidays were merry and bright. Don’t forget to visit the others over at A ‘lil HooHaa for more of the month’s festivities.

September Photo Challenge: Colorful

As we eagerly await autumn’s full-blown colorfest, PJ’s prompt for September was Colorful. Still not ready to completely let go of summer, September teases us with just a taste of autumn…not yet fully ready to commit to pumpkin spice and wooly sweaters.

This month was a mixed bag of photos. But, all colorful.

Colorful 1
The goldenrod was in full bloom earlier this month around town. Its bright yellow color looks like it belongs more to spring and not the end of summer/beginning of autumn. But, that doesn’t stop this colorful bug from burrowing for that last bit of nectar. No, I have not a clue what sort of bug this is.

Colorful 2
Peanut celebrated her 10th birthday early in the month. Her theme was outer space and the party centered around the movie, E.T.: The Extraterrestrial. We turned our family room into a movie theater for a party of fourth graders. One of the themed party food was galaxy rods, which were pretzel rods transformed by swirling melted candy melts over pretzels and sprinkling a variety of candies over the top. What? You don’t understand my directions? Check it out HERE. They were such fun to make.

Colorful 3
My colorful go-to binge candy….M&Ms. We don’t really need to say anything more, do we?

Colorful 4
It’s almost here. There are twinges of color in some of the trees now. While Autumn’s color won’t be in full regalia for a few more weeks, the nights are beginning to get cooler and the days shorter, so it won’t be long now. My sassafras tree is always first in line to show off her new autumn outfit.

Colorful 5
Some of you saw this one in a previous post. You can read about it HERE. This photo really doesn’t do the scene justice, but it’s the best I could get with my camera phone from the car. In reality, there were more colors in the prism caused by the rising sun and morning clouds. The sun (to the left and out of the photo) was throwing its light over to some neighboring clouds as it rose into the sky. Even though it’s hard to picture, the sun in not actually behind this cloud. I’ve never seen this happen before outside of a rainbow after a storm. I hope I am fortunate enough to see it again some day.

There’s my five colorful photos for September. Blog hop over to PJ’s to add some more color to your day. I do wish more people would play along. It’s easy peasy…..take five photos related to the monthly theme and post! What could be easier? C’mon….let’s play!!

August Photo Challenge: Photographer’s Choice

August is over? Really? Wow.

And with that thought, it must be time for PJ’s monthly photo challenge. August was Photographer’s Choice. Which is a synonym for Anything Goes. This usually results in an eclectic collection of photos and interesting commentary.

August was (thankfully) easy for me. Seems like I was always on the back end of the viewfinder for some reason. Not that I’m complaining at all! My August photo folder is awfully large, and I did have a bit of a struggle paring down the options. So, of course, I adapted and pushed a few boundaries. Whaaaaattttt?????

Photographer’s Choice #1
Love is the greatest gift that one generation can give another. ~Richard Garnett

The month began with a neighbor’s request to come to their home and capture a few moments with three generations of fathers and sons. The youngest son is 5 months old and the oldest father is in his 70s.

Photographer’s Choice #2
Family is what happens when two people fall in love.

Next on the list took me to the botanical garden in town to recreate some wedding portraits of our daughter, her husband and their blended family. See my two previous posts for more on this event.

Photographer’s Choice #3
Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

We took the grand girls on a whirlwind tour of SE Missouri for a late summer vacay trip before school began. We stopped at a park called Elephant Rocks State Park in the St. Francois Mountains of the Ozark Plateau. These granite boulders are millions of years old. I was going to crop this top photo, but changed my mind as it gives some perspective to how large these boulders are in comparison to a human. And, these were the smallest ones.

Photographer’s Choice #4
Sometimes it feels so good to just sit by yourself, relax and not to talk to anyone. ~Kristen Butler

Peanut got in some last-minute relaxation time before beginning her 4th grade adventure.

Photographer’s Choice #5
Meanwhile, on the other side of the pool……
Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called “All Things That Could Go Wrong.” ~ Marianne Williamson

Bonus choice
Learning is a treasure that follows its owner everywhere. ~Chinese Proverb

Yes, there is a bonus photo because I could not keep to just five this month (obviously). School officially began a couple weeks ago for Peanut. We take these shots for the first day of school and it’s amazing to see how she changes from year to year. Twix will begin Pre-K after Labor Day so we’ll start documenting her school years next month.

Those were my choices for this month. Please blog hop over to PJ’s to see what other participants chose. Better yet, join us and link up!

Awww Monday and a little Quotography

We don’t stop playing because we grow old;
we grow old because we stop playing.

~George Bernard Shaw

So, it’s been like for.ev.er since I’ve participated in Awww Monday. So long, in fact, that I’m probably considered a newbie again! But that’s how my summer has gone……and, it’s literally GONE!

This quote really hits home since Entrepreneur cannot do a lot anymore without paying for it with extreme fatigue afterwards because of the daily, oral chemo he must take to keep the cancer at bay. So, his situation is a little different than most. He wants to go and play…..but physically, he just can’t go 90 miles an hour with his hair on fire like he did before.

Now me, on the other hand….I feel like I’ve aged 10 years this past year. And, most of that is because I’ve not “played” much. So, I completely understand this quote.

Cabo luuuuvs to play. At all hours of the day. In fact, his most favorite time to play is when I sit down for the evening to decompress. It’s not uncommon to find this 50 pound pupper in my lap with a ball of some kind in his mouth. 🙂

I guess he fully believes it’s his job to keep me from growing old!

Blog hopping today with Sandee and her crew over at Comedy Plus/Awww Monday.