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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lessons From Dan

Some day I'm going to write a book. I'm definitely not a writer, but I think that the lessons I've learned from my brother, Dan, could fill a book. And while there have been plenty of trials through the years, the joys far outweigh them!!! The recent loss of our dad has been difficult for my brothers and I, but it seems that it is really just starting to sink in for Dan. As he carried the quilt my mother made him to the car, he commented on how he wanted to cover up with it at my house instead of the sheets. On the ride home, he had lots of questions---needing reassurance that he was not the only one grieving---just as we all do from time to time.

This morning, he awoke anxious to go with me to help deliver a meals to elderly and disabled people. Then we spent several hours working in the church's food pantry, packing grocery bags, stocking shelves and helping people carry food to the car. Dan has such compassion for people---looking beyond their physical appearance to see when someone needs help and is always more than willing to help them. That trait has often led to trouble for him, too, but if the whole world was able to "give" with such abandon, what an amazing place it would be.

Then, later, after getting back home, I watched as Emmi and Dan played in the backyard. Dan loves Emmi and Emmi loves Dan. What dog wouldn't love someone who creeps through the grass with him, or lays down with them, or rubs their belly, or lets them lick their face? And while I snapped a few pictures, I smiled. Time to go fire up the grill to cook a steak and baked potato. It's been a good day!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stuff and Nonsense

Making : a decoupaged cross

Listening : to some random TV show---maybe "America's Got Talent"??

Expecting : a trip to Canton in the next month or so

Drinking : Diet Coke

Reading : my blog roll

Wanting : more time in the day

Looking: for fabric and supplies to include in the IBOL

Watching: something or other on TV (not really watching, but it's noise in the background)

Playing : fetch with Emmi

Sewing : a sock monkey for Craft Hope

Wishing : I'd already been to the grocery store--the cupboard is bare!

Enjoying : the ever-so-slightly cooler temperatures

Liking : the strips and chips from KFC (regardless of how unhealthy they are)

Planning : a trip to Atlanta to visit the girls and husbands

Wondering : how I can fit in a trip to visit Amanda in the next couple of weeks

Missing : my mama and daddy

Hoping : this weekend with Dan goes well

Marveling : at how much progress one of my students has made since I met her last year and how her mother manages it all

Needing : a few less meetings and a little more free time

Smelling : the not-so-faint smell of smoke left from the other day when I forgot about a pan left on the stove--I was boiling sugar water for the hummingbirds and walked outside to talk with my neighbor. When I came back in the kitchen was filled with smoke! Will it ever stop smelling?

Wearing : sweaty exercise clothes

Sitting : in the computer room with Emmi on my lap now

Singing : "I'll Fly Away" (Callie got that stuck in my head)

Thinking : about doing some reading tonight

Feeling : content

meme borrowed from one girl, who nabbed it from jhoanna, who got it from pip.

Feel free to grab it for yourself and make modifications to fit you!
Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hand Stitchin'

While cleaning up my bedroom closet and gathering things that need to go to Goodwill, I ran across my favorite pair of brown linen capri pants. Unfortunately, they were dry cleaned one too many times and the fibers on the inner seam fell apart. (by the way, I discovered the large hole while wearing them at work this summer---made for an interesting way to walk and sit) Rather than tossing them in the pile, I decided to re-work them into something new for my bedroom. I cut off each leg and measured each into a rectangle, leaving the original hem at one end. Then, with light blue embroidery thread (it doesn't look blue in the picture, I know), I did some free-hand stitching. First up, my favorite word---Joy. And on the other, I stitched a few simple stems of flowers. I sewed the top and bottom together on the machine, then stuffed them with a pillow form that I cut in half. These new pillows made me smile. Can't ask for much more on a lazy Saturday!

Dog Sitting Diary

Early this morning, Carol dropped off Coco on their way out of town. Coco was her mother's dog and has been adopted by her sister since her mom's death. He's been doing pretty well, but they decided it would be a bit hard on him to spend the night alone while they went to a family wedding.
Here's Emmiand here's Coco. Coco is an odd little dog---so ugly he's cute. God must have been a bit side-tracked when he created him because his eyes seem to be set a little too far apart so that actually are positioned on the side of his head. And then there's his tongue. It is too long and kind of hangs out of the right side of his mouth most of the time. With his wavy tail, he kind of reminds me of one of those Beta Fish with the "bug-eyes" and fan tails.The first hour or so, Emmi and Coco ran through the house--through the living room, into the bedroom, out the doggie door, in the doggie door, around the couch, into the computer room and then the same thing over and over again. They were so funny. Since they've calmed down, it's been fun to watch them together. Emmi is not used to sharing her space with anyone other than me, so she was not too sure about this little guy that was playing with her toys, eating her food and laying in her bed!In fact, after watching Coco for a few minutes, Emmi ran to her crate to get her "baby" and promptly hid it from Coco! Better safe than sorry, I suppose!
Neither of them can jump on or off furniture, so this is what I see each time I sit down---"Please, please pick us up!" I have a feeling that tonight I'll be watching a movie with both pups in my lap!

Round Robin - Birds

This time the Round Robin challenge features one of my favorite topics---Birds. Here are a few I've seen lately. From the Atlanta Zoo . . .
Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Remember Barbie

When I was a little girl, my very favorite toys were any kind of dolls--baby dolls, collectible dolls, Little Kittles and of course Barbie dolls. I played with dolls until I was way too old to admit it, but because one of my closest friends was a few years younger than me, I could get away with it (for her sake, of course).

When I saw this commercial posted on OliveRue, I couldn't help but remember the countless hours Kathy and I spent playing with our dolls. Although we never had a fancy house like this, we had lots of fun converting shoe boxes and constructing furniture from cardboard. My grandmother hand-sewed a complete wardrobe for my dolls and even made a couple of things for me to match my doll--we had pretty pink nightgowns and corduroy robes. In addition to Barbie, I had a Midge. Midge had blue eyes and freckles, just like me, so when my mother cut my hair into a short "pixie" haircut, I felt Midge needed the same thing. I lopped off the permanent "flip" that she had and even chopped away at her bangs (I didn't have bangs). I pretty much ruined her look, and soon learned that her bangs would NOT grow back, but I loved her anyway.

All this reminiscing about Barbie makes me wonder where my Midge is? And where is my Barbie autograph book? Hmmm. . . .
Sunday, August 16, 2009

Early Memories

Last weekend, I spent part of Saturday working on a household inventory of my dad's belongings--a tedious task, of course, but one that held some bright moments. In one cabinet I found some very old family photo albums that I've enjoyed looking at all week. A couple were my dad's when he was in the Air Force and traveling around the country as a recruiter. Who would ever have guessed that a few years later, he would settle in Louisiana, the location of several of the photos.

And then I ran across these photos of Dan and I from kindergarten. Isn't Dan the cutest thing??? We both went to Kindergarten at Noel Methodist, although we were in separate classes due to our age differences. My teacher was Mrs. Lenore and there was only one other girl in the class, Julie. In fact, it is such a small world that Julie and I discovered each other again a few years ago--both teaching preschool special needs kids here in Shreveport! Who knows-perhaps, this experience is what influenced us to become teachers?!?!I have very few memories from kindergarten, however. I remember coloring a birthday card for someone with Julie and I remember shaking cream in a baby food jar to make butter--and spreading it on saltine crackers to taste it! (hmm---my memories revolve around art and food--I think I'm seeing a pattern here. . . )

P. S. Jana, while I never noticed it before, it appears from these photos that the biting of the lip may well be a Shaffer trait that you inherited.
Saturday, August 15, 2009

Shutter School Macro Mode

Macro Mode--you know that setting on your camera that has the little flower? Even the most basic "point and shoot" cameras usually have it. The lesson at Shutter School right now focuses on using the macro mode to shoot really great pictures. I have to say, this is my favorite thing right now---I love getting really close to interesting objects. Seems that flowers are the most colorful right now, but the other day, I captured yet another dragonfly out front on the lantana bush. I love the way the macro mode was able to capture even the tiny veins in his wings, so intricate and beautiful. If you want to give it a try, hop on over the Shutter School website to pick up a few helpful hints and then post some of your photos on the Flickr site.

Summer Rules

A while back, at CCL, I noticed a set of tags in their Camp Store. I didn't purchase them then, but after I left I thought about them several times and decided that I wanted to use them to make a new album. The "Rules of Summer" seemed like a great way to document some highlights from Summer 2009. Valine picked them up at the store and dropped them in the mail to me and in the meantime, I chose various photos to print and planned my pages. I decided to adjust all the pictures I was using to be "color-tinted"---a bit of a vintage feel.

I've completed the album now and wanted to let you see what I've done. (there is one picture missing--one that was left out of my photo order, so I'm going to have to re-order it. (I think that you can click on the picture to see them larger).
Thursday, August 13, 2009

Back To School

While going back to school usually includes new clothes and new shoes and new school supplies and things like that, I don't seem to have any of those this year. And while classroom teachers are always scrambling trying to get their rooms ready for the new batch of students, this is generally a slower time for me as an itinerant teacher. After all, we can't really even check on our students yet since everyone is getting settled these first few days. On the other hand, we have a fresh batch of IEP's to write and hold in the next few days---something that signals larger caseloads than usual for this school year. So, as a little "pick-me-up" for my co-workers, I put together a little gift for each of them.

I've been saving water bottles again and doing some sewing and printing and filling and now I have gifts to bring to school tomorrow morning. Happy School Year!
Sunday, August 9, 2009

Facing Terror

Today, I heard Carrie McDonnall of Carry On Ministries speak. She was here for the first event that my good friend, Debbie hosted as part of her new ministry, Journey of Sisters. Carrie tells her amazing story in a book, Facing Terror . I haven't yet read her book, but after hearing her speak, I feel that I should. In 2004, she and her husband were serving as relief workers in Iraq when they were ambushed by terrorists. Their three companions were killed instantly, and her husband David survived long enough for them to reach medical attention.

To see her live through this ordeal is a miracle in itself. But after hearing about the injuries she sustained, and the circumstances that brought her to safety, I realize that there are so many miracles in her story. Carrie has faced unbelievable tragedy, excruciating surgeries, rehabilitation and the kind of heartache that some people never recover from. Yet, she chooses to believe that even the worst tragedy will be used for "good". Instead of feeling bitter and sorry for herself, she is determined to be sure that her story helps others through difficult times.

As I listened to her speak, I kept thinking about the fact that at the time of the attack, she was only a year or two older than Jana! Her mother was there with her today---she is facing her own battle with ovarian cancer. I don't know why things like this happen to people--it's one of many questions I plan to ask one day. But, I do know that Carrie has already made a difference to so many people.
Saturday, August 8, 2009

Round Robin -- Bottled Up

This challenge uses the theme of Bottled Up and asks us to "Show us a bottle. Is it glass or plastic? Is it old? Is there a message inside? Will the contents give you a buzz, or help you fight a cold? You decide". So, here goes (be sure to check out everyone else's photos here):

This theme immediately made me think of my daughter's wedding last summer. They were married on a July afternoon and the table decorations for the reception consisted of various bottles collected from antique shows and friends. The bottles served as vases for daisies, sunflowers and other "happy" flowers. Bottles of their favorite soda, Jones Soda, were given to their guests as favors. Each bottle had a unique label that included a picture of them, facts about them, a thank you message and their new home address. They were a hit!These are bottles of ink that I found when cleaning out my dad's office.. . .Old bottles for sale at the flea market in Canton, Texas. . . and these bottles were in the window of the farmhouse we stay in near Round Top, Texas.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009


In the midst of my morning "blog read", I stopped by I Should Be Folding Laundry and saw this. It reminded me of the the last study I did by Jennifer Rothschild, "A Thought Closet Makeover". I just love this picture and the thoughts about it--so true:


The thing is - these are everywhere, but you usually look right past them towards something brighter and you know, alive. But sometimes, looking at your skeletons or looking for skeletons, is just as necessary and just as beautiful as the obvious beautiful things in front of you.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Nature's Umbrellas

Maybe it's because I'm a child of the 70's . . . back "in the day", I had several room accessories in colors like harvest gold or olive green that featured them prominently. However, it's more likely it's just because they are so unique and interesting. I like mushrooms. Not to eat, mind you. In fact I don't like to eat mushrooms at all. But I find them so interesting.

After our recent showers, mushrooms have sprung up everywhere. Overnight! When you go to bed there are none and when you wake up, they are everywhere---fully grown and perfect. Just a couple of doors down, I caught this group. Some groups spring up in circles, as if they are about to play and impromptu game of "Ring Around the Rosie", but this one seemed to form a trail towards the street (could this be a Shutter School leading line??).
I love the ripples on their undersides and the umbrella shapes they open up to form. Each one is unique and so interesting.

Shutter School - Leading Lines

I haven't had much opportunity to practice my Shutter School lesson this time, although I do find myself looking for those lines even as I drive down the street. Here are the only ones I was able to capture this week.
Not sure if this first one fits the criteria--it may be more of a "Rule of Thirds" kind of photo, but I like the lines created by the different foliage. In this picture are the rows of soy beans and sugar cane.And here's one of the gathering storm. Yes, I know I shouldn't have snapped a picture while driving, but at the time, I was the only one on the road and I was very careful---I promise.

Where's My Shadow?

Last weekend, this is what I drove through on the way home from Baton Rouge. Well, this picture was taken as I sat on the side of the road along with other motorists, waiting for a break in the storm that would allow us to at least be able to see the road.And this is what has been on the TV almost all week long.
So, I don't have any Shadow Shots for today. Maybe this week we'll get a glimpse of sunshine.

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