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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Welcome to December Details 2014

Welcome to "December Details 2014", an Instagram photo challenge among friends that begins tomorrow.  I'm writing this in the car as we drive to Atlanta, and am not quite sure why the colors above are so "neon", but perhaps it is just an optical illusion.  Who knows.   Anyways . . . .It's easy and fun and I hope you'll join us in a month of documenting the daily details that make up the month of December.  It really can be "the most wonderful time of the year!"

There really aren't any rules for this challenge, and the procedure is quite easy:   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 of course, 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.  Feel free to use "throwback photos" as well if they fit your interpretation---this is a time to appreciate the holiday season.  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.

Please be sure to tag your posts with the hashtag #DecemberDetails2014.  On my posts, I generally try to list the prompt itself in ALL CAPS in the caption, along with the hashtag, so that it is easy to see which prompt I'm capturing (just in case the photo itself doesn't make it obvious).  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) If you are new to my blog, and want to join us, leave your email address in the comments section below and I will add you to our daily email prompt list.  (don't worry, I only use it for this challenge).

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 December.   I usually write the emails and posts so far ahead time that I can't remember when they are going to actually be posted, so each morning is a surprise to me as well!  I will also send it by email in PDF format so that you can print it out, if you'd like.


30 Days Of Thankful 2014 - Day 30 - LOVE
LOVE, in any form that it takes is one of God's greatest creations.  What does it mean to you today?   What scene will capture it best for you?

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
-1 Corinthians 13:13-
This is the last prompt in this series.  Tomorrow begins the new December Details 2014 Instagram challenge.  You can check back here for the list of prompts later tonight.  If you are new to the challenge, leave me your email in the comment section and I will add you to the list for daily email prompts (that helps me stay on track).  As always, there are no rules---post when you are able with the hashtag #DecemberDetails2014, and don't stress about it when you can't.  Hope you'll join me!
Saturday, November 29, 2014


30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 29 - SELF
Today, instead of focusing on the pounds we put on at the feast or the wrinkles that have slowly crept onto our faces, let's get in front of the camera (or in the mirror) and capture ourSELVES, just as we are today.
Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.

-Golda Meir-
Friday, November 28, 2014


30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 28 - JOY
As a teenager, I was very shy.  Painfully so, at times.  I had several close friends and lots of acquaintances, but I seldom went to parties or even dated much.  Although I acted like it didn't matter much to me I secretly longed to have a date for Homecoming or the Prom, but it never happened.  On one such occasion, I remember my mother quietly passing me a note with the following scripture on it:  "Though weeping may last for  a night, in the morning, there is JOY."  Psalm 30: 5b   I never really acknowledged it to her, I don't think, but it stuck with me for a lifetime.  It spoke to me then and many times since then.  I'm so thankful for JOY and for the healing it provides when your heart seems to be broken.   And I'm thankful for my mother, whose heart was most likely breaking for me, as well, and for the JOYful example she set for me.
Where will you find JOY today?   How will you capture it?

November is coming to a close, but I'm planning to continue with prompts through the end of the year.  I will be participating in the December Daily Project, as well, so I am hoping that the prompts I've chosen will help me to complete that album as well.   If you'd like to be taken off of the email prompt list, just send me a quick email to let me know----otherwise, I will continue to send out daily prompts as well as posts on this blog.  If you know someone who would like to join us, give them my email address or send theirs to me.  

Thursday, November 27, 2014


30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 27 - RELAXING
As you read this, I will most likely still be traveling and not quite able to completely RELAX, but I think that one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving Day is the chance for RELAXING after the meal is over and all is cleaned up.  With the dishes done, the food put away, football games on TV or music playing, that turkey-induced RELAXATION comes over many of us.  (Sorry Callie & Jordan, but this old picture was just perfect for this prompt).
I'm so thankful for time to RELAX and savor moments like this.  How will you be RELAXING during the holidays?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Family Member

30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 26 - FAMILY MEMBER
Thanksgiving is a time for FAMILY and friends and a time that we often come together to relax together amidst the busyness of our lives.  Today, I will be busy preparing to leave town.  In doing so, I first need to drive down and pick up my brother, Dan, and bring him back to Shreveport.  We will then pack the car and wait for Ron to get off work so that we can drive to Atlanta to gather with other FAMILY MEMBERS for the holiday weekend.  Because my brothers and I (and our children) are scattered around the country, it will be the first time we have all been together since my daddy died almost 6 years ago.  I can't wait to see everyone!!   And the cousins can't wait to be together again.
Some of you are probably already surrounded by many FAMILY MEMBERS while others may be preparing to see someone special or remembering a particular FAMILY MEMBER.   Who will you choose to highlight today and why?  Why are you thankful for that particular FAMILY MEMBER?
Tuesday, November 25, 2014


30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 25 - WATER
There is something very peaceful about being near water.  Whether it be a lake, the ocean or a rushing waterfall into a river, the sound and sight of these bodies of WATER remind me of nature and I find peace in them.
We are so blessed in our country.  Most of us have plenty of food to eat, safe shelter and clean WATER at our disposal by just turning on a faucet.  I am so used to these conveniences, that I often forget about the thousands and thousands of people throughout the world, and some even right here in our country, who have no access to these basics that we take for granted.  So today, I am thankful for WATER and turn my attention to ways that I can help to provide that for others.    For more information on ways we can help, you can click here, here or here.
Monday, November 24, 2014


30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 24 - TRADITIONS
Holidays are a time for family, food, fun, and TRADITIONS.  Each year for the last 10-12 years, we've had some sort of Thanksgiving feast at my house.   It was always our TRADITION to have turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes and lima beans at the meal.  That salad and desserts might vary, and there might have been an additional side item, but those things were standard.   When Ron joined the family, things changed a little.  His family meal TRADITIONS were a little different from ours, but basically the same--turkey and dressing and mashed potatoes, but lima beans were exchanged for green beans and ham was added to the menu.
What TRADITONS do you have this time of year?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

One Little Thing

30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 23 - ONE LITTLE THING
Life is full of little things---babies, toys, doll houses, acorns and much more.    There is a quote about photography that reminded me of this Instagram challenge that we're participating in together and the value of capturing the LITTLE THINGS: 

One more LITTLE THING to leave you with---a video.  This one focuses on the LITTLE THINGS in a romantic sense, but who knows where you might find inspiration?

Saturday, November 22, 2014


30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 22 - EMOTIONS
The last few months have been a roller coaster ride of EMOTIONS for several people that I love and care about.  Having been in similar situations before, I know how unsettling and just plain draining it can be to swing from joy and happiness, to worry and sorrow.  It's easy to be thankful for the times that we feel EMOTIONS of love and happiness, but not nearly as easy to be thankful for sadness.

A few months ago, Ron and I were delighted to learn that Jana and Rob were expecting their first baby.  She sent me a package with a "Grandmother's Memory book" along with a message and then placed a Facetime call to watch me open it.  Little did I know that they were capturing MY reaction on camera.  I had just returned from a day at the lake, so I look terrible, but there is no mistaking my EMOTION!
 Right now, in light of what some of you have been dealing with, it seems rather insensitive to talk about capturing EMOTIONS on our cameras.  Yet, I know that in the midst of hard times, there are often gentle reminders that joy will soon return, whether it be through happy memories, the antics of a child or the comfort of a friend or pet.
Friday, November 21, 2014


30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 21 - FLOWERS
My mother was a gardener.  She grew up helping on the farm since her dad was a sharecropper in Missouri and Illinois, but she also was one of those people that was born with a green thumb.  As a child, I remember her working in a vegetable garden each year in our backyard and always carefully tending the flowerbeds surrounding our house.  She loved FLOWERS and made it look so easy.

I love FLOWERS as well, but it seems that I did not inherit that gift for growing things.  Maintaining a FLOWERbed and growing a garden are things that I enjoy, but it doesn't come easy for me.  I don't seem to have that same innate sense of what things need and how to do it as I do for sewing or crafting.  Years ago, when my parents moved from my childhood home, my mother dug up a small sprig from her miniature rose bush for me to plant in my own yard.  For 20+ years that tiny bush has thrived here, despite my lack of garden skills, spreading into a huge bush that has to be pruned to keep it from taking over the entire flowerbed.  I have to believe that it is because it came from her!
Are you a FLOWER lover?  Do you grow your own or enjoy them from afar?   What FLOWERS will you see today as cold weather approaches.
Thursday, November 20, 2014


30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 20 - GADGETS
Some people are and some people aren't, but I am.  I'm a GADGETS person.  I love technology and enjoy playing with it and learning how to use it.  I'm married to a GADGETS guy as well, so between us, we have 3 phones, 2 laptops, 3 iPads/tablets and one printer.  And those are just the things that are hooked up and working.  I also have a computerized die-cutting machine and new sewing machine is billed as a "Sewing Computer".   In fact, I can easily get swept up in whatever GADGET I'm working on and have hours pass without me even realizing it.  Of course, I like it best when my GADGETS are working well, but around my office, I'm often the one that is called to troubleshoot the tech problems.
Are you a GADGETS girl?  Do enjoy the challenge of a new device or avoid it at all costs?
Wednesday, November 19, 2014


30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 19 - PLAY
While yesterday we focused on work, today, our focus is on the opposite--PLAY.  I don't know about you, but I have several hobbies, most of which I've enjoyed for quite a long time.  When I have no pressing work to do (or when I want to avoid housework), I generally choose some sort of creativity as my PLAY.  I love to PLAY with paper, pens, fabric and even computer programs.  As with many hobbies, the supplies are almost as fun as the activities itself.  And, I seem to need to spread things all around me before I can become inspired enough to PLAY with them--which isn't too much of a problem unless it is spread out on the dining table.  ;-)
What do you do away from work and responsibilities?  How do you unwind?  How do you PLAY?  I hope that you find this Instagram challenge a bit of PLAY--I do!
Tuesday, November 18, 2014


30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 18 - WORK
A well-known quote from Confucius states that "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to WORK a day in your life."   I have been fortunate enough to experience WORK that I love, both in the home and out of it.  With both, there have been some days that are better than others.  With recent education reform here in Louisiana, the difficult days as a teacher seem to be much more frequent than they used to be.  Because I teach very young children, I tend to have more freedom in choosing what works best for my students, but am alarmed by the growing trend of teaching to pass tests at any age.  After all, there really is no greater WORK for a child than his play.

I WORK in a variety of different settings as an inclusion teacher, so I spent a lot of time in my car, as well.  That, too, has its ups and downs--like when it is cold and rainy outdoors--but for the most part, at this point in my life, it is a welcome change from being in one classroom all day long.  
What does WORK mean to you today?  Do you WORK from your home?  
Monday, November 17, 2014

A Moment

30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 17 - A MOMENT
It is often the little things that mean the most.  That fleeting MOMENT when something happens and you feel so blessed to have been a part of it.  Sometimes, it is hard to capture it on film because you never know exactly when it is going to happen, but those little bits of time are forever etched into your mind and memory and you are thankful for.  The MOMENT when you say "I Do" . . .when a song comes on the radio at just the right time . . . when your tiny newborn makes his first cry.  There have been lots of those MOMENTS for me, but one such moment was captured by our photographer friend, Stan, right after our wedding ceremony and we'd exited the "altar" area.  I love this picture!
Do you have a favorite MOMENT today?  Or perhaps there is one that recently happened that just took your breath away.  Thanks for sharing with us all!-

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Favorite Place

30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 16 - FAVORITE PLACE
When I began thinking about my FAVORITE PLACE for this post, I kept thinking about one of my favorite songs as a child.  Long before DVD's or VHS movies, the major networks would air some of the classic movies once a year, like "Peter Pan" with Mary Martin, "The Wizard of Oz" and "Cinderella".   I loved them all, but especially loved Cinderella.   I thought Lesley Ann Warren was beautiful and her dress when she goes to the ball---Oh my!--Gorgeous!   My favorite song from the movie was "My Own Little Corner" and Kathy and I often sang it as we played and pretended.  It reminds me of those special places that you can be totally yourself and dream about the future.

(Just in case the embed doesn't work, here is a link to the video clip:
Where is your FAVORITE PLACE?  Are you like me and have so many that it's hard to choose?  What makes it your favorite?
Saturday, November 15, 2014


30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 15 - ADVENTURE
Are you an ADVENTURE-seeker?  I love the idea of an ADVENTURE, but I'm not exactly a dare-devil, by any stretch of the imagination.  Several years ago, Valine and I set out on what we called our "Thelma & Louise ADVENTURE"--a side-trip to the Grand Canyon prior to our stay in Las Vegas.  Since I had just broken my arm and had surgery, our plans were turned topsy-turvy from the very start, but we didn't let it stop us.  After we picked up our rental car, Valine drove while I assumed the position of navigator.  One of the first things we did was stop by an old deserted ghost town, Chloride, AZ, with the intention to see the wonderful cliff murals.  We followed the signs painted on the rocks until we wound up on a rugged, dusty road that seemed to lead nowhere.  Our ADVENTURE began to spook us a bit and we finally turned around without ever seeing the murals, but we did end up with some great photos and another fun story to tell.
What does ADVENTURE mean to you?  Is it striking out on the "road less traveled", exploring a new antique store or going in search of something?  Can't wait to see your interpretation of the prompt and learn a little bit more about your life.

Can you believe we're halfway through this month?  There is so much to be thankful for, isn't there?
Friday, November 14, 2014


30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 14 - EXERCISE
Over the last few years, I've begun a semi-regular EXERCISE routine.  I say semi-regular, because I get into the swing of working out regularly and then something seems to happen to put a kink into my habit.  Sometimes, life just gets busy and other times, there have been illnesses or injuries that get in the way.  But ALWAYS, once I get out of the routine, it is so much harder to start again.  While last year, I was working out with weights a couple of evenings a week and running on a couple of other days, this summer I pretty much stopped all of it after injuring my wrist.  (I know my wrist doesn't doesn't really affect my running but, . . .)
This fall, I'm getting back in the habit of EXERCISE.  I've started running again and am now looking for somewhere to get in some upper body strengthening workouts.  I'll keep you posted . . .

What does EXERCISE mean to you?  Is it something you do regularly, or something you wish you did regularly?
Thursday, November 13, 2014


30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 13 - CHILDREN
When my girls were young, they had annual opportunities to get together with their cousins.  Being the oldest of the bunch, they generally spent lots of time preparing for the visit by planning activities, plays and craft projects for them all to enjoy.   Each of them has their own unique personality, yet they have always enjoyed being together so much.  They are now mostly grown and are even beginning to have CHILDREN of their own.  We don't get together much anymore either since distance and time get in the way, but I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again during the Thanksgiving Break.  Hard to believe how much time has passed since this picture of the CHILDREN was taken on one of our family vacations.
I'm so thankful to again have young CHILDREN in my personal life (I've always had them in my work life).  Marrying Ron made me an instant grandmother and I love it!!  It's becoming more and more fun as I get to experience their births now, too.     What CHILDREN are you thankful to have in your life?
Wednesday, November 12, 2014


30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 12 - FUNNY
Humor is a bit like beauty:   What I find FUNNY, you might not enjoy at all.  I shared this on Instagram the other day, but as I was driving to work, I pulled up next to this truck.  In the bed of the truck were 3 tall wooden giraffes.  I have no idea where they were headed, but for some reason, it just struck me as FUNNY.
As a sort of inspiration for your photo-hunt today, here are some quotes about humor and FUNNY things.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


30 Days of Thankful 2014 - Day 11 - HEALTH
It seems that the older we get, the more aches and pains we experience.  I used to roll my eyes as the conversations of mature adults revolved around their ailments, or the ailments of their friends.  But. . . now I'm there.  In the last few years, I have had both broken and sprained wrists, torn ligaments, a stress fracture, a broken toe, had at least one bout with vertigo, and well, you get the picture.  The list continues to grow.  My HEALTH becomes the focus of my thoughts more and more these days.  I've been very fortunate to not have suffered from any debilitating illnesses, like some in this group have, but I have visited the doctor more times than I would have wished.

These days, I'm trying to resume a regular running/exercise program as well as a more conscious effort to eat healthier.  I know that not only do I look better when I take care of my HEALTH, but much more importantly, I feel better.   (this little Doctor was writing out a prescription for me last week)
In what ways are you thankful for your HEALTH?   Do you have some regular habits you've implemented to be HEALTHIER?  Are there things you avoid to improve your HEALTH?
Monday, November 10, 2014

Bucket List

Whether or not it is actually written down on paper or just committed to your memory, I think most people have some sort of bucket list, things that they want to do "someday".  There are places to visit (Alaska, for instance), things to accomplish (run a 5K without stopping and learn how to use my camera in manual mode) and so many more things.

One of the things that has been on my "someday" list has been to take watercolor painting lessons.  I've experimented a little on my own, but until recently, had never had real lesson.  Last weekend, I had a chance to have my first actual class in watercolors.  It was held at my church through NCAP, our community arts program.  Originally, one of my friends was going to join me, but she was under the weather, so I decided to go it alone.  The class was designed to be an overview of watercolor techniques and not an in depth course, but it was fun.
We used alcohol, salt, straws, crayons and of course, paintbrushes to create samplers of the different techniques.
Then we were turned loose to create some sort of tree painting, using some of the techniques we'd been introduced to.  Everyone did something a little different.
 I chose to depict the four seasons with mine with a crayon resist for the winter tree.
For the other seasons, I used washes for the backgrounds and created leaves on the trees with dry and wet brush techniques.
Of course, one of the great things about art is that there really is no right or wrong to it.  Everyone had a chance to experiment with the different techniques and try their hand at a painting.
This was just a taste of watercolor painting.  It was fun and in a very short time, I learned enough whet my appetite to learn more.

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