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Friday, November 30, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude ~ Days 23 - 30

"We can only be said to be alive
in those moments
when our hearts are conscious
of our treasures."
~Thornton Wilder
 
I saw this quote recently and it touched me. During the thirty days of November I have made a conscious effort every day to be grateful for the treasures I have; from small things to big things, from family to appliances.
 
This daily practice has made a difference!
I feel different!
I feel blessed!
I feel overwhelming joy!
 

Day 23
My dishwasher went out two days before Thanksgiving. I'm so grateful to my husband who insisted we purchase one on Thanksgiving Eve and then proceeded to install it just in the nick of time for all those dirty Thanksgiving Day dishes!! I'm sure my daughter and daughter-in-law where just as thankful as I was!!  We gave this new baby a hard test; four loads on Thanksgiving Day!!
 
 
Day 24
I'm grateful for warm, cozy quilts. This one was is a scrap quilt made by my  mother! It's bright, it's cheerful, and it keeps me warm every night! 


 Day 25
 I'm grateful for the beautiful sunset reflecting in my neighbor's pond!! The sky seems to be blazing!


Day 26
I'm grateful for my Mom's teachings. She taught me to sew when my feet barely reached the pedal. She helped me make my first apron and nine-patch quilt blocks. From there I went to skirts and later made my first three-piece suit. Today my sewing consists mostly of quilt blocks and decorating projects. Just the sound of my sewing machine brings back many memories.


Day 27
 Thankful for the food we have and the ease with which we are able to obtain it!
 

Day 28
 I'm grateful that my camera has taught me to see through different eyes!  I'm also grateful to all of my online friends that have encouraged me,  inspired me, and taught me so much. I would never be where I am today without each of you! I'm sending a special thanks to all of you who follow my blog!  I love when you stop by!
 
 
Day 29
Grateful for music that fills my home and soothes my soul!
 
 
Day 30
I saved a very big gratitude for this last day of November. Words cannot express how thankful I am for the wonderful man I've been married to for 40 years!!



I have certainly enjoyed my 30 days of gratitude documented with 30 photos.
 
I've been blessed to take part in a flicker group where we posted and shared our daily gratitude. If you have some time, stop by and see all the blessings that have been recorded! This project helped me spend the month of November in thankfulness.
 
 "O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good;
for his mercy endureth for ever."
1 Chronicles 16:34

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Beauty In The Sky

This is short tonight.
I just wanted to share some beautiful skies with you.
I'm so glad I looked up!!



 I counted thirteen contrails crisscrossing in the sky!





How sweet to be a cloud
floating in the blue!
A. A. Hodge


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Colors Are Fading!


Every time I go out the door there are less leaves on the trees and more on the ground!  There are only a couple of pretty trees left, most are bare or only have brown shriveled leaves on them. Fall always passes to quickly for me. I didn't seem to have enough time this year to get out and capture it's beauty! I went out yesterday determined to find  any color that was left. I wasn't disappointed at all. Color is still there you just have to look for it!


I spied a little leaf that had floated down and was resting on the bough of a cedar tree. It won't be long though, until the all the leaves have fallen and the trees will be bare. I'm thankful we have several cedar trees around to keep a little color in the landscape.

 
If there's one flower that just shouts "fall" it would have to be a Chrysanthemum. My plant is three years old and has never been planted in the ground. I can't make Mums grow once they're transplanted. They just curl up and die!! I usually just enjoy them, they die, and I buy more the next year. The first year I had this Mum it bloomed almost till Christmas. We were having company so I stuck the pot out of sight and forgot about it all winter. I was amazed the next spring to see that it had survived and it bloomed again that fall. The next year I protected it a little better and here it is again. She's a persistent little lady and has brought me much joy! I keep her sheltered on the porch where I can see her each time I go in and out. I wonder how many years she'll continue to grow in the that pot!
 

That's about all the color left in my yard, so I went up to my mom's. The cascading berries on her Nandina bushes add a bright spot along the side of her house.


She planted a small Chrysanthemum and Pansy garden this year where I found some pretty little pansies dancing in the wind. I can't wait to see these blooming in the snow! Come on snow!! Don't hate me, but I do love the snow!! I could spend hours tromping around in the snow covered woods; just me and my camera!!
 

My mother also has yellow roses still blooming. I hope this one opens before the frost gets too it. There have been several very frosty mornings lately! I need to get out and take some pictures of it's crystal beauty, but can't seem to make myself get dressed and go out that early! I love the cold, but I'm a little lazy in the mornings!! 
 
It was a little harder to find color, but it's still there for a few more days anyway.  Hmmm!!  Wonder what I'll find to photograph after the leaves and flowers are gone.  Stay tuned, I'll be looking at things a little differently!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday ~ November 25


This week has been full of family, food, fun, laughter, and love!!  My children, their spouses, and their children spent the week with us. It's a fun and rowdy place when you have four boys below the age of ten all together in a rather small house!
 
I did find some time to search and take photos for Scavenger Hunt Sunday with Ashley at Ramblings and Photos.
 
This weeks prompts were:
home or thankful
in the kitchen
couple
bubbles
trees
 

Thankful
Let's be thankful each day and bring joy into our lives!


In The Kitchen
I can't tell you how many dish clothes I used on Thanksgiving Day!


Couple
A couple of my camellia blooms.


 Bubbles

 
Trees
An eagle's nest among the trees.
 
 I hope your Thanksgiving week was special and full of wonderful memories!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Third Thursday Challenge ~ November

Each month Brenda over at  How To Feather An Empty Nest challenges us to get out of our comfort zone and try something new. I know I'm pretty stuck on nature photography, so it does me good to train my eyes to look for something different. Brenda is the queen of architectural photography. The angles, lines, and shadows in her photography are amazing!  She also captures stunning window reflections. Click on the link above and see some of her gorgeous work. She also has beautiful images in her flickr photostream. Since her images intrigue me, I thought I'd try my hand at architectural photography. It's was definitely a challenge for me.
 
Brenda has done a series of "pie in the sky" shots.  I had a really hard time getting mine symmetrical. They're still a little off!
 




I've been visiting several small towns in Arkansas lately. Walking around the older parts of town and looking for interesting buildings. I love looking at the textures of bricks, rocks, pealing paint, and weathered windows. I also love the old original glass panes that have endured through the years.


Not only are the widows fascinating, but so are the unique doors.
 

Architecture is so different than nature! I found it hard to make the images look alive and not flat!  But, it was fun getting out for the day and looking at buildings in a new way!
 

Friday, November 23, 2012

30 Days of Gratitude ~ Days 16 - 22

As I thought ahead about my gratitude photography project for the week of Thanksgiving, I thought I'd look for small things each day just as I had been doing. After all, it's a given that I'm thankful for my God, my family, and my home. I wanted to look for little things that are sometimes overlooked as we busily hurry through each day.  That just wasn't in my heart this week as all my family arrived. My heart was full of gratitude for my amazing family! This gratitude post is all about them!
 
As the boys played, gramps raked the front yard.
A pile of leaves + four boys = fun, fun, fun!!!
A pile of leaves + one gramma = gramma slipping and landing flat on her back, camera flying through the air, miraculously missing grandson's faces!!!  All is well, gramma is fine and so is camera!!  Thank goodness for the pile of leaves!!

 
I'm thankful for the spot in the pasture that will not grow grass. I'm thankful for that good, old sandy dirt that makes a great place for the boys to dig, build roads, and play with their cars.


I'm thankful that we have trees with limbs low enough for climbing. Just so as you know (Drew says this and I love it) his mommy is right beside him!
 
 
I'm even thankful for my Cricut. The boys cut and pasted for hours the morning it was too cold to be outside. You can't see it on the paper, but Drew had just cut out a large roller coaster and it was pretty awesome!!


I never thought I'd say this, but I was thankful for the TV and movies when two of the boys began running a fever!  Aaron and Josh (on the left) are the sick ones.  Drew (with the remote) changed the movies, controlled the volume, and pushed the buttons as necessary. Much to the dismay of the others, he likes to pause it a lot!! Josh finally had to go to the doctor; he has strep! Just a few doses of antibiotic and he was feeling much better!  Aaron had a fever and upper respiratory symptoms. We're just waiting to see if any of the rest of us get strep!  So far, so good!!
 
 
Thankful for board games that kept them busy when we had to stay indoors and for gramps that is teaching Josh how to play checkers with his older brother, Jake!
 
Every little second that I'm with these boys and my family is a blessing. Josh, who's five, wrote this note. He wrote "we went to" and then I would spell the last words in the sentences. The last line makes me cry tears of joy. He was writing about our many adventures together.
 
 
We went to the lake.
We went to the park.
We went to the zoo.
We went to Rush.
We went to church.
We went to the library.
We went with gramma.
 
Oh, the memories we have made together!! Each one a special blessing!  I'm so thankful that the time we spend together is not only special to me, but it's special to my grandsons.
 
The boys said the blessing at each meal this week. I love the way they pray from their hearts and with innocence. I wish I could remember every line from every prayer. Here's just a small sampling of their prayers.
 
Dear God,
Thank you for mommy and daddy.
Thank you for gramma and gramps.
Thank you for memaw and pepaw.
Thank you for Aunt Patty, Uncle Jacob, Aunt Aimee, and Uncle Randy. (We regularly went through every one's name that was at the table!)
Thank you for cousins.
Thank you for this beautiful day.
Thank you for toys. (and any object that was in sight; we don't always keep our eyes shut)
Thank you for all being together.
Thank you for bread or hot dogs or ham (or whatever).
Thank you for this beautiful food.
 
Oh and we must not forget:
Help the Pilgrims and Indians.
Help us be good and pleeeeeeese no sin!
 
And so it went, little boys full of thankfulness!! Their prayers brought smiles and tears to the rest of us! I'm thankful that their parents have taught them from a very young age to pray.
 
I hope that your Thanksgiving was full of special memories and thankfulness; mine certainly was!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Exploring With A Camera ~ Chiaroscuro

 
The exploration with Kat at Kat Eye View this month was a little difficult for me. We explored Chiaroscuro in photography. For one thing you can't just set up something and shoot it. You have to wait for the light to be just right. Chiaroscuro is a study of contrasted light and shadow created by light falling unevenly or from a particular direction on something. Kat gives a wonderful definition of this type of photography and has some great photo examples on her web site above.
 
Here's what I came up with...

The morning sun illuminated this bench which was sitting in the shade of a tree creating shadows with a dramatic feel.


I used a flashlight to illuminate the shell in a darkened room.


I love the light coming through the window shining on my youngest grandson. Of course, this is my absolute favorite!
 
 
The light and shadows creates a feeling of  quiet and peacefulness in this church.



Here, light filtering through the forest illuminated the spider web. I read something about spiders this week. Did you know they weave with two types of silks; one that is sticky to capture their prey and one that is not sticky so they can move about their web without getting caught in their own web!  I've never really thought about how a spider climbs about it's own web! 
 
This was an interesting challenge that took some thought. It's a reminder how the different uses of light can change an image.
 


"Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows,
the light and dark which that thing provides."
- Junichiro Tanizaki

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Busy Thirty Days

It's seems I've been neglecting my blog lately.  It has been incredibly busy around here with lots of fun things!  Let me just recap a few things I've done. How about the top 10 things I've done in the last 30 days!!
 
1. Attended a scrapbook retreat with a group of beautiful friends. We spent three days together talking, laughing, and scrapbooking. It's so great to get away with good friends!


2. Spend three days in Wilburton, OK at a street-rod show. The show is at the beautiful Robber's Cave State Park which kept me busy with my camera.


3. Met my grandson and daughter in Mountain View, AR for Jake's school field trip at the Ozark Folk Center. It was a special day as we wandered around the village learning about the pioneers lives and their crafts! Jake and I are riding on a mule-drawn swing!  I think this was his favorite part! 


4. Enjoyed a wonderful day with my mom, dad and sister at Rush, AR near the Buffalo River.


5. Walked around a couple of small towns photographing historical buildings and homes.
 
 
6. Made a trip to my daughter's to eat lunch with Drew and Josh on Grandparent's Day.


7. Explored two more small towns. Small towns in Arkansas have some of the most interesting buildings. This pretty rock structure called the Castleberry Building in Salem, Arkansas was built in 1913. It has been used as a bank, a hotel, and a mercantile, but sadly now stands empty.


8. Went on a day trip with my daughter and her boys back to Rush, AR. We had a wonderful time walking the trails, playing near the water, and exploring this old ghost town! This was my third trip to Rush. I blogged about my first trip here.
 
 
9. I kept my youngest grandson while his mommy and daddy worked. We spent a lot of time outside together.  He got a ride in Gramma's green garden cart.
 
 
10. Then there's all the other things that fill up our lives. I got my annual mammogram. I'm so thankful for the technology that allows early detection of breast cancer!!  I encourage you to take care of yourself, do your monthly self-exams and don't forget about your mammograms!
 
I'm afraid things are not going to slow down, since we're fast approaching the holiday season!  I will try to be a little more attentive to my blog and make the time to visit with all of you!!