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Friday, October 31, 2014

Welcome to 30 Days of Thankful

Welcome to "30 Days of Thankful", an Instagram photo challenge among friends that begins tomorrow.  It's easy and fun and we hope you'll join us in a month of appreciating a few of the things that we sometimes take for granted.  Of course, there are plenty more wonderful things in our lives, but this list will get us started noticing the little things around us.

The rules for the challenge are quite simple:  There really aren't any.  Each morning (hopefully), you will receive an email prompt of something to be thankful for.  As you go about your daily activities, keep your eyes open for opportunities to interpret the prompt with your camera.  I personally use only my phone camera for these challenges, but you are welcome to use whatever you wish.  Sometimes, I will give you an example to get you thinking, while other times, I may just list the prompt as a reminder.  I plan to post the prompt here on the blog each morning, so if for some reason the email fails us, just check here.

I know that sometimes life gets way too busy and other things are much more important than an Instagram post, so if that happens, don't despair.  It's fine!   You can catch up later, or not at all.  Like I said, there really aren't any rules.

Well, actually, there is one rule---please be sure to tag your posts with the hashtag #30DaysOfThankful2014.  I generally try to list the prompt itself in ALL CAPS in the caption, along with the hashtag.  Many of you already know each other, but others live in other parts of the country or are "friends of friends".  But, we now all have something in common---this challenge--so click on the hashtag from time to time and see how others are interpreting the prompts.  You might even find a new friend to follow! (There are several people that I follow and have never actually met)

And for those of you that like to know what is coming up so you can plan ahead, here is a list of the prompts for November.   I actually write the emails and posts so far ahead of the time that I can't remember when they are going to actually be posted, so each morning is a surprise to me!
If you want to join us for the first time, leave your email and Instagram username in the comments below and I will add you to the email list.


Fall FUN 2014 - Day 31 - SPOOKY
Halloween, Halloween
SPOOKY, kooky Halloween
Kids in costumes, what a sight
On Halloween tonight!
What SPOOKY sight will you conjure up today?   

Don't forget to check back tonight to see the brand new prompt list for November!
Thursday, October 30, 2014

Celebrating an Anniversary

Community Renewal International began about 20 years ago in Shreveport, LA with the vision of one man to change communities, on neighbor at a time.  I've been involved in it for many years in some small capacity, but have always been so inspired by the vision behind this wonderful organization.  Block by block, communities have turned around in this area and in recent years, the concept has gone nationwide and now internationally.

At the beginning of 2014, after interning with CRI last year, Callie left her job as youth director to begin working for this non-profit agency.   Tonight, they celebrated their 20th anniversary with a night of music, fellowship and inspiration and Callie was able to get tickets for us to attend with them.   The event was held at the historic Municipal Auditorium, noted for featuring Elvis Presley at the Louisiana Hayride many years ago, and had I known that cameras would be allowed, I certainly would have brought my Nikon rather than depending on my phone camera!
There were dignitaries from the area, the nation and even from other countries.  But, the majority of the audience was comprised of folks that work on the front lines of this organization making a difference in the lives of children and families throughout the city.

The program was filled with inspiring music and recognitions.
But, the best part of the evening was the keynote speaker, former President Jimmy Carter.  One of the memories I will take with me wasn't captured by my camera, but I was watching him behind a group of singers as they performed "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic".  With his eyes closed, he sang along with every word.
He is now 90 years old and since leaving the presidency, has accomplished so much in the area of humanitarian efforts.  With his strong faith leading him, he is quite amazing, actually.
Just as we left the building,  the street was cleared and the motorcade left, whisking Carter and his entourage away.  Callie, while I know you "just missed" your opportunity for an individual picture with Carter, I was able to get you in the same shot as his motorcade.  Does that count?!?!


Fall FUN 2014 - Day 30 - MOON
When Callie was little, she had an obsession with the MOON.  I think it might have stemmed from the fact that she could easily spot it from her carseat, but she also loved the color blue and often commented about how she loved "blue moons".  No month of Halloween/fall prompts would be complete without one dedicated to the MOON.   While I long to be able to capture a great MOON photo, so far that has eluded me.  Recently, there was a beautiful Harvest Moon, however, that I was able to capture from our backyard.
Who knows what the MOON will look like where you live today, but perhaps you'll be able to capture a shot of it.  Or maybe you'll find another way to interpret this prompt.  

Be sure to let me know if you want to be taken off the photo prompt email list.  Otherwise, I will assume you want to continue to receive a daily email of some sort.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fall Memory

Fall FUN 2014 - Day 29 - FALL MEMORY
I have several fun FALL MEMORIES--some from my girls' childhoods and some from my own. I remember raking leaves into big piles, shaping them into forts and having leaf battles with my brothers.  I remember LOTS of games of "tag football" in the backyard with neighborhood friends (one in particular that ended with a pair of teeth in my scalp and a bit of blood on both of us).  And I have some vague memories of trick-or-treating with my brothers.  The only costume I really remember was the year I was a "hobo", when I was about 6 or 7 years old.

But, I remember almost every detail of my own children's costumes, whether it be for Trick-or-Treating or for a school play.  There was a witch, Dorothy, a Madeline, clown, a candy fairy, Laura Wilder (from Little House on the Prairie), a jester . . . the list goes on and on.   In fact, I still have many of them.  The one pictured below is from Jana's 3rd grade Halloween play---as you can tell from her sign, she was Mrs. Pumpkin Eater.
What is your favorite FALL MEMORY?   Is there a something today that brings it all back to you like it was just yesterday?  Or maybe you can capture something today that will become a FALL MEMORY in the future.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Fall FUN 2014 - Day 28 - COZY
The word COZY conjures up a whole host of images for me---fireplaces, a cuddly blanket, flannel pj's . . . Last fall, Ron and I went camping at Tyler State Park.  Carmelle, Chad and the kids met us over there Saturday night, but Friday night it was just us.   We arrived just before dark and set up our tent.  Then, but the light of a headlamp, Ron built a fire.   I heated some chili over the campfire and it was so yummy.  We sat and watched the fire, all cozy in our jackets and camp chairs, and listened to the sounds of the woods.  Just thinking about it makes me want to go back!!!

What does COZY mean to you?  Is there a special sweater or a special chair in your house that makes you feel especially warm and COZY?
Monday, October 27, 2014


Fall FUN - Day 27 - CARVING
Ron loves knives.  I guess it's a guy thing that I don't completely understand, but it doesn't matter if it is large or small, a display of knives will always get his attention.  (I guess he doesn't really understand my fascination with fabric either, for that matter).   When we were in Alaska, there were several opportunities to browse fancy knives.  In the end, I purchased this beautiful scrimshaw knife as a gift for Ron and he was thrilled.  I don't know if he will actually use it to do any CARVING, but he loves it just the same.

October is the perfect time for pumpkin CARVING.   With no young children here, I most likely won't do any CARVING this year, but I'll be on the lookout today for something that captures the prompt.  What about you?
Sunday, October 26, 2014


Fall FUN 2014 - Day 26 - COSTUMES
It wouldn't be October without some sort of mention of COSTUMES.  I've already done one post about some that I recently made for Michael and Adellelyn, and I've posted photos of the ones I made last year.  But, this year, I was able to make one more.  Something teeny tiny, for a sweet little boy!  Something Black and white and dear to his mama's heart.
By the way, when I went into my tiny sewing nook to begin the construction, I found a special treat awaiting me on top of my new machine!!  Thanks Ron!
If you have young children, this will probably be an easy prompt for you.  If not, I hope that you'll get creative and find something that would be a suitable COSTUME---maybe you'll even dress up in one yourself!!
Saturday, October 25, 2014


Fall FUN 2014 - Day 25 - ROUND

Probably most of us have seen them numerous times.  They pop up in my yard when it has been especially wet outside without enough time to dry out between showers.  The tops are often ROUND and the underneath side is full of texture.  For reasons unknown to me, they seem to grow in a ROUND formation in my yard or around a tree.   When that happens, they are sometimes known as a "Fairy Circles".  As a child, it was quite fun to think of fairies dancing ROUND the tiny umbrellas.
This season of Fall is full of interesting shapes.  Can you find something ROUND today?  Perhaps it is something you see all the time and never really paid that much attention to. 

It's time to begin thinking about the November photo prompts and letting me know if you'd like to continue.  I'm planning to do a "30 Days of Thankful" theme.  Again, no pressure either way, so if you'd like to be taken off this list, just let me know.  If you want to continue, that's fine as well and feel free to invite someone else to join us.  If you are new to the blog, just leave your email in the comment below and I'll add you to the list---it's kind of fun!
Friday, October 24, 2014


Fall FUN 2014 - Day 24 - SCARF
Besides boots, I think my favorite fall accessory is probably a SCARF.  I would love to wear them year-round, like the fashionistas out there seem to do.  But, they obviously don't live in Louisiana, where the humidity and heat make it pretty stifling at times.  I have several favorites, but it seems that there is always room for one more!!  When I pass a rack of them at the store, it is so tempting to run my fingers through them or sneak one into my buggy.

Do you have a favorite SCARF?   Are you wearing it today?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Weekend In The Hill Country

Last weekend was a busy one, but fun.  Ron and I both took off the afternoon from work and headed south to see Tyler in his school play.  With all of the traffic, we arrived just in time for the play to begin.  Tyler did a great job in "Moon Over Buffalo", a comedy in which he was a leading man.  Since he was busy with his cast after the play, we arranged to have breakfast with him the next morning.  We headed to IHop and celebrated his upcoming birthday over eggs and pancakes.  (excuse the horrible iPhone pictures)
And since it's always fun to embarrass a teenager, when the waitress asked if we wanted them to sing to him, I told them "definitely!"
While he pretended to be embarrassed, it was obvious he loved it as well!   The waitress offered to take our picture in the horrible lighting, just as Tyler smeared whipped cream all over my cheek!
From there, we headed to Kerrville to visit Terry, Jaylynn and little Archer.  Archer has grown a lot since I last saw him and was at such a fun age---crawling and cruising everywhere and babbling the whole time.
Sunday morning, we all loaded up and drove to Vanderpool, TX to the Lost Maples State Park.  I'd never even heard of this park, but it was very pretty and lots of fun.  After strapping Archer onto Terry's back, we set out on the East Trail in search of changing leaves.
He had on sunscreen, but we forgot his hat, so Papaw let him wear his cap. . .
. . . which slid progressively lower as we walked along.
It was still quite warm in that area, so the leaves were still mostly green, but we enjoyed the hike together.
We saw the Monkey Rock--which really did look like a sock monkey.
Nearby, these rocks looked pretty animated as well.
It was a moderate hike with just enough challenge to keep it interesting and enough easy sections and places to rest to make it enjoyable.
There were interesting stone ledges along the way. . .
lots of butterflies. . .
cactus . . .
bees . . .
and leaves that were JUST beginning to change colors.
We were all pretty pooped when we made it to the top, but there were great views once we arrived and we enjoyed taking it all in.  Everyone except Archer, that is.
We even had time to take a few pictures.
We were all pretty hungry as we made our way back to Kerrville, but we braked for deer sightings.  Ron and Terry got pretty excited about seeing this buck in a field.
The next morning, we all went to eat at their favorite breakfast spot, Del Norte, before we headed out.
We decided to go back home via Stephenville.  Carmelle and family have been so busy and stressed with all of them in school right now.  It had been a while since we'd seen them, so, we decided to surprise them by stopping by for a couple of hours.  We timed it so that the kids were just getting home from school.  The way they shot out of the car to hug us when they saw us made it all worth the drive!!!  It was a short visit, but a needed break for all of us.
What a whirlwind weekend!  We put lots of miles on the car, but were able to see all of Ron's kids and grandkids and put lots of smiles on our faces!

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