Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fun with Fotos of my Friends

Original shot

Temperature adjustment (if you click on this, you'll see it's much more vivid than the original.

Saturation adjustment


Saturation adjustments for both of these but special effects added to the shot below.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Family, Friends, Food and Thank FULLness

My very own Alton Brown

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gratitude is the Best Attitude

Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace,
the celebration of work and the simple life...

a true folk-festival that speaks the poetry
of the turn of the seasons,
the beauty of seedtime and harvest,
the ripe product of the year -

and the deep, deep connection of all these things with God.
~Ray Stannard Baker (David Grayson)

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them,
is the true measure of our thanksgiving.
~W.T. Purkiser

Gratitude is the memory of the heart. ~Jean Baptiste Massieu, translated from French
(La reconnaissance est la memoire du coeur)
My cousin's farm in North Dakota is past the harvest stage and into winter. But I know they stop and rejoice in the way God provides for them from year to year.

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home

This is my favorite family book we read at Thanksgiving. It's by Barbara Rainey. The kids love the stories of the Pilgrim's journey and sacrifices. The hardships they endured to establish a new nation. And we also love the CD it comes with.

Click on the book to go to an online reader.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Scrabble and Cousins

Jefferson really wanted to make his own bow and arrow.
And convinced cousin Jack to join in.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It Might be a Trip, but It's not 'Vacation' for Mom

I was recently in the studio with Donna Otto again with Homemakers by Choice and she wanted me to talk a little about traveling with children. The preparation, the trip and what to do when we arrive. How much freedom should a child have in packing and unpacking? But Mom's job is never done, the planning, the preparation, the packing and when we get there. It's rarely a 'vacation' fo mom, but it is a time away. It's a new environment, what will your children get into? What is safe? What is there for them to do? Do we need an agenda or not? And when we get home, what about laundry? When can kids do their own? Donna really seemed to love my laundry system. Smile.

Click here to get to OnePlace to download it for free!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

I have had a little more time since Sunday to think about the upcoming holidays. In years past, it seemed that from Halloween on, we jumped into light speed. Getting the house ready, finishing school work, many rehearsals for recitals, musicals, special events, menu planning and buying, not to mention buying gifts. We also used to think that shopping early (earlier than Thanksgiving) wasn't as fun as doing it during the holidays. And if we had out-of-town family come, where to put them? Who moves into whose room, cleaning linens and dresser tops, not to mention closet space. What traditions to do this year? What books to read? What colors to decorate in? As the kids were growing up, all of that mostly fell to me. Until one year, the kids finally spoke up and said, "I used to love it when we had that creche there, with that book by it" or I always liked reading "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" through the season. Or can we carol our neighbors this year? I love to try new things, and so every Christmas, we tried something new!! But traditions aren't that. Traditions are something that is 'handed down, from generation to generation', a continuing pattern. Especially a belief system or custom. Something from which to build memories. How can they build memories if we keep changing how we do things or never repeat any of the wonderful things we've done?

I just saw a meaningful, informational, challenging video put out by Advent Conspiracy. Their mission is simple this Christmas:
Worship Fully
Spend Less
Give More
Love All
(they also have a worldwide clean-up-the-water campaign that is amazing)

The spend less and give more is something I know sounds like a dichotomy. We're not just talking about money, but about relationships and time. We always enjoy making gifts and receiving homemade gifts. But we don't always take the time to plan for it. And spending time with family and friends, doing something together, is so much more meaningful than opening a useless gift. Inviting others to our home for a meal shows how much we care rather than dropping off a wreath. I know there's a place for those, but I'm just hoping to make whatever we choose to do have meaning. May this holiday change the way you think about Christmas and bring you closer to Him, the reason for Christmas.

Monday, November 17, 2008

If You Don't Stand for Something, You'll Fall for Everything

Billy Graham's Prayer for Our Nation:

'Heavenly Father,
we come before You today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek Your direction and guidance.
We know
Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good, ' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.

We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.

We have abused power and called it politics.

We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.
We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen!'

Monday, November 10, 2008

You Won't Believe This!

Yes, my iPhone is an instrument!!

Click here for more about Ocarina from Smule.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This is Not Our Home

I needed some perspective. Thank You Lord. You are on the Throne. You reign. I am just passing through. My allegiance is to You, not the red, white and blue.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Our Co-Op

I love my iPhone. I took this picture just as Connor was showing his classmates where he had pulled his front tooth. They all gathered around and were so excited for him. Aren't they adorable??? Cole, Zion, Jefferson and Connor. I love these kids.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Day of Well-Earned Rest

Derrick and Dexter worked so hard on our herb garden. They completely redid the sprinklers and replanted the herbs that'd died, and added a few new ones. We have Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Oregano, Sweet Basil, Thai Basil, Lavender and even some broccoli! How fun is that? It's in the courtyard along the wall pictured above, I just didn't get a shot of the finished foliage.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Male Bonding

Men bond shoulder to shoulder. Working on a project. They may not even talk, but when they're done, they enjoyed their time together and yes, had fun!!!

Women bond by talking about everything under the sun. Our men, kids, clothes, shoes, fashion, hair and makeup tips, recipes, diets, what's on TV, books we're reading, favorite artists, family issues of all kinds, vacations, the list is endless. And we multi-task. So while we are painting our toes or doing each other's hair. There is an ongoing dialogue.

Vive la difference!