April Photo Challenge

And just like that….April is over and done with. Four months already on the books for 2018, and here we are again with PJ’s photo challenge. April’s prompt was One Person and I admit I didn’t really think about this until…..um….yesterday!

But, today I rallied and went through the April photo folder to make anything something work.

One Person: Entrepreneur
He’s my One Person and we’re going on 38 years this July. God knows we’ve been through a lot together. Nine moves, two daughters, four dogs, four cats (two not really ours, but The Golfer “abandoned” them to move to Florida!), and two grand girls. And now, the latest challenge….cancer…which has racked up two surgeries, 8 months of Bell’s Palsey, radiation and daily oral chemo. But he’s a fighter and we’ll face it together. As Rachel Platten’s song “Stand By You” says,
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’m gonna stand by you.
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through hell with you.
Love, you’re not alone, ’cause I’m gonna stand by you.

One Person: Peanut
The One Person who made me a Nana for the first time in 2008. Our original pocket rocket of a grand girl is now nine years old and one of the loves of my life.

One Person: Twix
And right on Peanut’s heels is her sister, who never ceases to amaze with what comes out of her mouth! Her personality is much, much larger than her little four-year-old frame. Definitely another love of my life.

Cabo’s One Person
I guess that would be me. Other people do help take care of him, but I’m the one he seeks out most often when he wants to play, or go outside, or sleep at my feet, or just thinks someone should be paying attention to him. Nothing thrills him more than when it’s time to throw the ball! He was Entrepreneur’s idea a year ago this month….so I would have company after he’s gone. So, he’s now in this with me for the long haul!

One Person: Old Man Winter
Yes, now I’m grasping for ideas. Old Man Winter has finally released his strangle hold on middle Missouri and Spring, with all her muses, has finally arrived. That means the windows are thrown open to let in the warmer air and scents of blooming trees and bushes. I have a Korean Spice Viburnum under this window, and the scent that’s drawn into the house through the window is heavenly.

I’m closing with what just might be the most famous “one person” quote of all time.

To the world you may be one person; but to one person you may be the world. ~Dr. Seuss

Check out the Photo Blogging Challenge over at PJ’s and enjoy who other’s featured as their One Person….Or would it be One People? ūüėÄ
(P.S. He’s a bit behind, so you might give him one more day before you look for his PBC post.)

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March Photo Challenge: Five

This month’s photo blogging challenge, hosted by PJ at A-lil Hoohaa, marks the fifth year for the challenge. That’s quite a milestone in the blogosphere. It takes a lot of dedication to coordinate these blog hops. I’m happy he’s still hosting the challenge and appreciate his efforts. So, the photo challenge theme for March is, appropriately, Five.

I took a little different approach to the prompt this month. I know….. you all are shocked, aren’t you? Honestly, you should be used to it by now. ūüôā So, as I was saying…..I took a different approach this month and instead of each photo containing something representing five, I’m taking the prompt as the overarching theme for all my photos. And, I’m calling it…..

Five Elements of Composition in Photography

Of course there are many more than five, but five is all I need today. Personally. I think this is brilliant since this IS a photo challenge.

Element 1/5: Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds is very common with a lot of photographers and designers. The frame is divided into nine equal rectangles, three across and three down as seen in my pic below. Instead of placing the objects of attention smack in the middle of the frame, objects are placed long one or more lines where they intersect. In this case, the flowers are concentrated in the left two thirds of the frame.

Element 2/5: Juxtaposition
What a funny word……juxtaposition. It’s explained as including two or more elements that either contrast or complement each other. This helps the photo tell a story. In this story, a sweet friend drew this mini mural at the end of our driveway on the very stressful day when Entrepreneur was to have another set of CT scans done to monitor the renal cell cancer spots in his lungs. The¬†juxtaposition between the beauty and softness of the chalk and the hard reality of the concrete and asphalt tell the story that even in the middle of life’s harsh ugliness, there are reminders of beauty and love. At least it did for me.

Element 3/5: Golden Triangles
Much like the Rule of Thirds, Golden Triangle composition divides the photo with a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner. Two more lines from the remaining corners are drawn to meet the diagonal line at right angles. This divides the frame into triangles to help position elements. This type of composition creates “dynamic tension,” which adds to the interest of the photographed subject.

Element 4/5: Perspective or Viewpoint
Perspective or viewpoint means the relationships between objects in the photo. Objects in the foreground will seem larger than those in the background even though they may be close to the same size. This type of element also refers to the position of the camera. If the shot is taken with the camera low to the ground, you have what’s called a low perspective. And, if the shot is taken higher or above the image, you have what’s called a high perspective. This shot isn’t a great example, but I think you can see where the ultrasound photo in the front appears to be much larger in relation to the newborn and rest of the strip. Well, that’s what I was shooting for anyway.

Element 5/5: Fill the frame
Filling the frame means leaving little or no space around the subject. The focus is directed at the subject without any distractions, and highlights details that would probably be overlooked if the shot was taken from further back.

You may have figured out I did a neighbor’s maternity and newborn shoot this month…only about two weeks apart. To see how others celebrated PJ’s 5-year anniversary for this photo blogging challenge, blog hop on over to HERE on March 31st. What a perfect time to join in the fun as we begin year #6?!

Photo Blogging Challenge: Simple

Simple is such a complicated term. It seems to take great effort to simplify life, live simply or even enjoy simple pleasures. So, when PJ threw out the prompt of Simple, I had my suspicions this would not be as simple as it sounded.

I should have gone in so many different directions with this prompt. Directions that could have been wildly creative. But that would have involved simplifying my overly crowded schedule to actually take time to put creative thought into this month’s challenge. And, that didn’t happen. So, when I opened up my February 2018 photo folder, I simply had to shift gears to adapt what I had to the theme! So, here goes…..

Simple 1
A simple, single valentine’s rose. Simple beauty to bring a smile.

Simple 2
The simple joy of spending time with Twix is one of the highlights of Entrepreneur’s life right now. To be able to do something “normal” like teach a golfing lesson to a grand girl is something he values.

Simple 3
Who needs complicated technology for entertainment when simply playing with a dog offers so much enjoyment?

Simple 4
This showed up in my last post, but I think it personifies how simple things can bring great joy. The simple art of swinging can be so much fun…especially when one is only four years old! And, her expression brought a smile to my face as well. And reminded me to enjoy these simple moments before they are gone.

Simple 5
Seeing new life pushing through the mulch is a simple pleasure for me every year. I so delight in seeing my daffs make their appearance just when winter starts to get the best of my attitude.

Bonus!
Cabo is a lot of things….and simple may not be one of them. But, his insistence in sitting in my lap reminds me to stop and enjoy the simple things in life. Because, 50 pounds of puppy in my lap keeps me from getting up to do a bunch of other stuff when I should be chillaxing!

All in all, this prompt was a good reminder to try and stop making life so complicated. It is truly the simple things in our lives that should be the most valued. For more simplicity, head over to PJ’s to see how others interpreted the prompt.¬†

I encourage everyone reading this to¬†consider joining PJ‚Äôs monthly photo blogging challenge. The themes are fun and offer lots of creative opportunities with a 30-day deadline! No one needs to be a professional photographer, and we all get excited when someone new joins in the fun. The only requirement is five photos…that’s it! How simple is that? The next theme will be posted at¬†a ‚Äėlil Hoohaa¬†on March 1st. Why not join us next month? It’ll be fun.

January Photo Challenge: LEGO¬ģ

PJ’s photo challenge prompt for January is LEGO¬ģ. Now, you would think with two grandies, we’d have a lot of these little bricks lying around the house waiting for unsuspecting feet to step on them. I know a gajillion kids and adults love these little plastic building sets, but we’re, evidently, in the minority. What we do have (in limited supply) are the larger LEGO bricks called Duplos¬ģ. So, I’ll be modifying the prompt a bit, and adding a bit of trivia to each photo entry…mainly because my photo skills on this one were not that stellar.

LEGO #1
Every hour there are about 2.16 million LEGO bricks being molded. That’s 36,000 every minute!¬†Approximately 19 billion LEGO elements are produced every year.

LEGO #2
LEGO bricks have been around since 1958 (it was a very good year!). It’s estimated more than 400 billion LEGO bricks have been produced over those 60 years. To further blow your mind, there are about 62 LEGO bricks per person for the entire population of the earth…that’s about 6 billion people! Do the math.

LEGO #3
If you thought the United States was #1 in the LEGO market, you would be misinformed. Germany outpaces the U.S., and LEGO is the #1 toy company in Germany. The top-selling lines in Germany are Technic and LEGO City. The United States comes in second, with the top-selling lines being Bionicle and LEGO Star Wars.

LEGO #4
I’m sure you’re wondering, what is the plural for lots of LEGO bricks? Those across the pond say, simply, Lego….while some Americans say, Legos.¬†Actually, neither is correct. “LEGO” is an adjective and, according to the company, should always be used as a descriptor. Example: LEGO bricks, LEGO building, LEGO products, etc.

LEGO #5
The best-selling LEGO set in all of history is the LEGO Mindstorms Robotics Invention System. More than 1 million sets have been sold since their debut. But, this is usually what I find when our grand girls design their sets. And, no, that is not an official mini-fig!

Bonus LEGO pics
Twix saw my post on the computer and decided it was a good time to haul them into the office and begin construction on a masterpiece.

Where did I get this fascinating LEGO trivia? Here.

So, there you have it….my five LEGO photos. Why not build on this and blog hop over to PJ’s to see more LEGO entries?

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‚Ķrepresenting each person in our county. The symbolism is each light reminds us of a person in our community that is precious in God‚Äôs 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.

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!