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.



October Photo Challenge: Oh, The Places I’ve Been

October is finished and it’s time again for PJ’s photo challenge. This month’s prompt is Oh, The Places You’ll Go. This is so open to interpretation, but I chose the traditional route because….It was a very busy month! But, since I sometimes don’t do well with rules, a couple of these have more than one photo. So, without further delay, here’s my five (or seven) for October.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…
~Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Place #1
Yes, it’s a Disney baby shower, and we all were required asked to wear mouse ears in honor of the mommy-to-be. She books tours/trips to Disneyworld and loves all things Disney, so it was a very appropriate theme. Here are six pseudo-Disney princesses having some family fun together.

Place #2
I went with Peanut’s 4th grade class to the St. Louis zoo in early October. The calendar said October, but the temps believed it was still August.

The day turned out to be almost 90 degrees. Her friend’s mom and I checked our daughter/granddaughter out at the end of the day to save them from a hot, two-hour bus ride back to school. Of course we went directly to the ice cream stand…and then to the “bug house.”

Place #3
And, in just a week or so after the zoo, the temps dipped back to normal just in time to spend a chilly morning at the Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival. This sleepy, little river town has a population of just over 100 people. But every year during their pumpkin festival, the town swells to about 50,000. Vendors offer everything from fine art to homemade crafts. In true Autumn spirit, you can find apple butter, homemade pies and candy, kettle corn, turkey legs…and, of course, tens of thousands of pumpkins and gourds for purchase.

Place #4
Just when I’d thought I’d had quite enough of pumpkins, Twix’s preschool class went on a field trip to….you guessed it….a local pumpkin patch. We spent most of the day feeding barnyard animals, playing in a corn crib, riding a hay wagon, and picking our own pumpkins. Picnicking  with six four-year-old preschoolers was an interesting experience.

Place #5
The end of October is usually go-time for the trees to begin shedding their leaves. So when Peanut had a day off school, we let Twix play hooky from preschool, grabbed the camera and headed to a local nature area and park to capture some Autumn memories before they grow up any more than they already have.

Those are my pics for the places I went this month. Hop on over to PJ’s to see where others went this month.

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!

May Photo Challenge: Outdoor Activities

The month of May-hem is finished. It’s a miracle I got any photos to use for this month’s challenge with all the indoor activities that went on this month….birthdays, our niece’s high school graduation, Mom’s Day, student presentations, final grades and semester wrap up, end-of-the-year awards for Peanut’s school….plus, I had to cover for an employee who took some vacay days.

Whew….bring on June. But before that happens, we’re to share our May photos for PJ’s monthly challenge. This month was Outdoor Activities. Now, I could have provided tons of indoor activity pics this month, but let’s see what’s in the May file for outdoor fun.

Outdoor #1
The very first outdoor activity I look forward to in the spring is watching the hummers return to middle Missouri. As soon as I see a couple hovering around where the feeder should be, I quickly mix up the nectar and find the feeders that were so efficiently packed away for winter.

Outdoor #2
Next on the list is usually hauling out the fairy garden furnishings and setting up the village with Peanut. This year, we have a new resident to the fairy garden area. He’s yet to be named, although we have some great choices via a Facebook poll. Artemis? Howard? Gizmo? Elmsworth? Waldorf? Ashford? Timber Who? Winston? George? Professor? Snoops?  Which is your favorite?

Outdoor #3
I mentioned our niece’s high school graduation. The ceremony itself was indoors, but her after party offered an opportunity to take a few photos outside to commemorate her milestone event.

Outdoor #4
Something has been busy with outdoor activities in our yard. We have about a dozen of these holes in the back part of our property. Another Facebook questionnaire resulted in everything from armadillos to earth nostrils.

Outdoor #5
Beware small children welding water guns. This favorite outdoor activity is in full swing now that temps have warmed and Missouri humidity has increased. Cabo is their favorite target…much to his enjoyment!

Outdoor activities will abound the next few months. To kick off the season, blog hop over to PJ’s on May 31st and see what other outside activities happened this month.

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? 😀
(P.S. He’s a bit behind, so you might give him one more day before you look for his PBC post.)

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.

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’s 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 ‘lil Hoohaa on March 1st. Why not join us next month? It’ll be fun.