Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Assortments

These are just some pictures I took during our outreach & show on the 16th. I like to play with photoshop, so most of these are manipulated; a couple are "as is." Interesting composition is what I look for in photo ops.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Lessons in Giving

Tonight my hubby went with a friend to take food & toys to some people who are struggling, like a lot of people, this Christmas.

It reminded me of something I saw my Dad do when I was little.
My grandmother worked at a toy factory. She often brought home "seconds" for us. Toys with little flaws that kids wouldn't notice, but they didn't pass quality control at the factory. Dad had a friend who was struggling that year. I overheard him say, "Mom, can you gather up some toys at the factory that I can take out to him for his kids?" Our family wasn't well off either, but I remember seeing him leaving the house, laden with toys and food for that family's Christmas.
For over 20 years, my church has helped people at the holiday, too. My husband coordinates this annual major outreach and gives his heart & soul to it. As you can imagine, I admire him for it because of the example my father set.
People get to spend about 45 - 60 minutes of peace, away from their worries, listening to Christmas music, hearing a message of hope, being personally prayed for. Some years, the church has given big boxes of food & a ham or turkey.
The last few years, we've done a little smaller box of food, but added toys. People really, really want to give their children something fun, bright & colorful on Christmas morning, so the toy outreach is a big success. People love to buy toys to give away, too, and our congregation really gets behind this!
Our volunteers sort the hundreds of toys and display them by age groups for boys & girls. The parents can leisurely "shop" while their kids are being entertained in the children's building. A local outreach minister taught my husband that it's important for parents to choose the toys and it's important for the children to realize their parents, not some agency, provided for them.  It doesn't matter that they didn't purchase the gift with their own money. They purchased it with their care and time. It still comes from their heart.
Parents make deep impressions on their children, usually when they don't even know the kid are watching. My Dad went to heaven just a few days ago. He's there now with Mom. They both loved Christmastime! I miss them terribly but am so grateful for the memories and lessons they gave me.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The "Real" Grey!

I thought this was a fun picture of Blu's curly tail and all the shades of grey in his coat and the fence. Goodness, he does need grooming, though! (And no, I haven't read the book. I read the excerpts in the reviews and thought it looked boring & cheesy.)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Choose Wisely

We're going to paint the kitchen. Believe it or not, this yellow was very pretty and cheery at one time. Funny how something that looks so great one day leaves you shaking your head a few years later. Color trends, fashion, hairstyles - they do have a short shelf like, don't they? In a couple years I'm sure we'll be looking at one of these blues & wondering what were we thinking?!

But there's one decision that is not a slave to trends. How will you spend eternity? It's a hard choice for some people (although I can't imagine why). Just a simple "yes" to Jesus Christ. No rules. No sacrifices. No fine print. It's easy and your future is secure forever. How could anyone say 'no'?

Choose wisely.

Romans 6:23
Romans 10:9-10
2 Corinthians 5:17
Joshua 24:15

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sharpen the Saw

Usually this time of year, we try to take a little road trip somewhere to enjoy the fall foliage, even if it's just for a few days.

(tunnel in the Smoky Mountains, vacation 2011)
October is my very favorite month! In fact, our wedding anniversary is coming up in just a few days. It was a perfect fall day...seems just a short time ago, too :)

(Fall in the Smokies, vacation 2008)

 (Branson, MO 2010)

(Branson, MO 2010)
This year we're staying in town and using vacation days to do some work on the house. And that's ok. It feels right. Putting time & effort into the home we're blessed to have feels good and productive. But that doesn't mean I'm not taking pictures! I looked at hubby's electric saw & thought, "there's art in that..." The shape, the shininess, the simplicity, the power to create.
But when I started to post just this picture, I wondered what profound paragraph could go with it. Would you believe, a Google search turned up an analogy called "Sharpen the Saw"?
There must be different origins of this metaphor and different ways of telling the story. One goes like this: Two men are in a contest, racing to cut wood. One man relies on his sheer strength & will to just keep at it, sawing and sawing and sawing. The other man stops at regular intervals. The first man believes his win is assured because he hasn't stopped at all. When time is called and the wood stacks measured, the second man has won. The first man is astounded! How could it be? The other guy kept stopping!
What was the secret to the second man's success? He stopped to sharpen his blade, therefore the saw cut faster and much more efficiently.
The moral of the story is that we need to keep the tools of our life sharpened. I really can't say it any better than these two authors. Plus they each have a different application for the lesson. Click on the links. These short articles are worth your time.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Evening Ride

We've finally had a break in the weather. With a rainy weekend being forecast, we took an evening ride last night. Never let it be said I'm a slow learner....this time I brought the camera - just in case!
OK, so no spectacular sunset was happening. But still, cool looking sky.
I just snapped pix of things as we passed by or just random shots. Sort of a drive-by documentation of an August evening ride. Pictures will obviously get a little darker as we go on.

This is a view of downtown Tulsa from the I-44 bridge. As you can see, we really need the coming rain.

Heading south on Riverside now. There's a small airport nearby.

Can't stop here. Wouldn't look good, you know.

Everyday things make interesting pictures, I think.

Guess where we stopped for a little treat? :)
And just for fun, I did some photoshopping on the skyline picture. Love that software for taking a not-so-great picture and making it artsy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

More Van Buren

As promised, here are some more pictures from that one ittybitty town.

The building architecture was so satisfying; a bit of the old midwest. I'm glad they preserved it.

I'm curious what these initials stand for. (Notice the freemasonry symbols.)

 Train depot where you can catch a ride on an excursion train.

I just love urban grunge walls. Funny how what used to be a run-down eyesore is now considered art. Like I always say, "it's all perception."

And here is where I had to manipulate the photos in the current trend of high-contrast, darkly vibrant, textured look. Why 'had to'? Because they're perfect for that style. I wonder how much longer this trend will be trendy?

This door would make a fantastic portrait backdrop!

I can get a lot of photo-op-mileage out of one street, haha!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Day Trippin' in the Ozarks

So last night, hubby said, "let's get out of town for a day...just drive over to Arkansas!" And so, we got up early, got a Starbucks for the road and enjoyed a cool morning drive, ending up in...

Van Buren, AK is an old little town that's reinvented itself as quaint. It has a colorful street of turn-of-the-century buildings that have been cleaned up, (for the most part) painted and repurposed into artsy little shops and cafes.

I wasn't in the mood to shop but happy for the opportunity to take pictures.

 Don't you think of the Old West when you see this bank?

I can't imagine what this bank (below) was thinking when they designed their building. Seems like it would have been a tad outrageous for it's time.

Nope, not a real owl.

Probably his job is to scare away the pigeons. Clearly, the birds are on to him.

The weather was so nice today after weeks & weeks of desert-like heat. A pleasant time of day-trippin'. I have a couple more pictures for next post. Check back!