Even When I Don’t Feel Like Shining

Screen Shot 2013-07-28 at 11.13.03 AMI was given an awesome incentive to get back into life today! My blogging friend, Marsha, presented me with the SHINE ON Award! It is special in that it shows that someone out there recognizes and supports both my writing and my photography!

So Thank you Marsha

Screen Shot 2013-07-28 at 12.27.46 PMYou can click on her name and go see what she is up too!

Here are the rules for this award, which isn’t that different from many of the others that are roaming around:

1.Display the award logo on your blog page. (above)
2.Link back to the awesome person who nominated you. (click on her name above)
3.Tell seven things about yourself. (below)
4.Nominate 10 other bloggers who are deserving of this award. (below)   🙂

Here are seven things that I hope are new and interesting

1. I just got my new camera equipment and am back in business! A NIKON D800! Now if I could just figure out how to work everything!

2. I manage seven FaceBook pages for my husband and his sister’s business and my business and my word press page and a couple of personal pages! I know, overkill!

3. I had a wreck at the first of the summer so have been out of work because my camera was ruined and I’m in a BIG rut!

4. I am in the process of refinishing a couple of old dressers to use: 1. in my bedroom and 2. in my living room (as a technology storage unit) although I’ve been in this process for many, many months – see #3.

5. I’m a very empathetic person and my heart breaks when I learn of tragic stories. Sometimes this is not good as it keeps me from sleeping, but it reminds me to pray for people, so if you have a need. . . .

6. I lack self confidence something that is hard to admit – so I tend to overcompensate and drive people crazy in areas I feel I have a bit of knowledge or expertise. Don’t we all! I need to get out of my rut and get to learning more things, especially about my new camera so I can really use it well!

7. I love my family very much, and find my biggest joy in spending time with them.

My 10 nominees:

1. Leanne of Leanne Cole Photography, who is not only one of the best photographers, but also a superb teacher and a fast friend!

Leanne Cole Photography

Leanne Cole Photography

2. Paula of Stuff I Tell My Sister, whom without, I would still be posting only one blog a month!

Stuff I Tell My Sister

Stuff I Tell My Sister

3. Lily of Apron Head Lily, who makes me laugh and look at the world through a poets eyes!

ApronHead Lily

ApronHead Lily

4. Linda of Lynda Michele, who is a beautiful person, mother and fellow photographer whom I’ve learned so much from!

Lynda Michele

Lynda Michele

5. Micah, my beautiful daughter of Written and Illustrated, who helped me set up my first blog and who has been my inspiration for 28 years! She is a beautiful poet, writer, artist and photographer as well as my daughter! Go check out her page, although she is remodeling her home and hasn’t posted in a while!

From Micah Welchel's children's book, Who's That Hiding IN The Willow Tree

From Micah Welchel’s children’s book, Who’s That Hiding IN The Willow Tree

6. Lou of Lou’s Labyrinth, who is fresh, funny and fiercely passionate about life and family!

Lou's Labyrinth

Lou’s Labyrinth

7. Diane of Diane Gray Author, she is another of my Aussie friends who has become a great blogging friend! A gifted writer with dozens of published books, but she still has time to answer an email from an American!

Soul's Child by Dianne Gray

Soul’s Child by Dianne Gray

8. Ingrid of Live Laugh RV, who has taken me to places I could have only dreamed of traveling!

Live, Laugh RV

Live, Laugh RV

9. Patricia of Life of A Minister Mom, who inspires me to do better, love harder and live life with more faith!

Life of A Minister Mom

Life of A Minister Mom

and . .

10. I.T. (or Island Traveler) of This Man’s Journey, who has shown me that it is okay for men to be passionate, loving and faithful husbands and fathers!

Island Traveler

Island Traveler

And I know, that I’ve reached my 10 and that she has already received this award, but I want to acknowledge and thank Marsha of Marsh Lee, Streaming Thoughts (formally TC History Gal) for her friendship, her posts and her love of history and life. She has bestowed more than one award to me and I appreciate it so much!

Marsha Lee

Marsha Lee

There are so many others that inspire me and push me to be better as a photographer, writer, mother and friend – but the rules are for 10 nominees! I always think when I start this, “I don’t know 10 people well enough to nominate them.” Then I start going through them all and realize what an abundance of online friends and fellow bloggers that I have. I love you all and thank you for daily brightening my world!

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Daily Post: Party Animals

Even though Ethan is the oldest, he has never lost his imagination or zeal for fun. A nerf gun, empty lego bucket and a towel can transform anyone into an evil space lord.

Party Animals – Even though Ethan is the oldest, he has never lost his imagination or zeal for fun. A nerf gun, empty lego bucket and a towel can transform anyone into an evil space lord.

 

 

One more of Owen with "his" leaves.

One more of Owen with “his” leaves.

My grandson, Ethan has always like Pokemon, so his Aunt Micah knitted him a Pikachu hat. He was VERY surprised, and maybe just a wee bit embarrassed. After all, he is 12!

My grandson, Ethan has always like Pokemon, so his Aunt Micah knitted him a Pikachu hat. He was VERY surprised, and maybe just a wee bit embarrassed. After all, he is 12!

Day 7: Flashback. Again my girls when Rebekah was a senior. This was our first year to homeschool and this was early one morning before class. They are still silly.

My girls – the original party animals – when Rebekah was a senior. This was our first year to homeschool and this was early one morning before class. They are still silly. Micah, Sarah and Rebekah.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

What could be fresher than flowers after a summer rain? These were taken with my every handy iPhone using Camera+. (I do have a new camera, I just don’t have a card for it yet ran out of money)

_-fresh-1 _-fresh-2

Cha, Cha, Cha Chia Margarita????

All of us of some age, remember the catchy jingle for the ever popular Chia Pets – Cha, Cha, Cha Chia Pets!

Well, I never got one of those clay pets with fast growing “hair;” my parents thought they were stupid. Recently, I’ve added Chia seeds to my diet – amazingly high in good Omega 3s and since I NEVER eat fish, I wanted to include them. While I was grinding my seeds (they don’t digest otherwise), I spilled a handful on the counter.

Light Bulb! Wonder if these seeds sold for consumption will grow! I didn’t have any clay heads – animal or otherwise – so I threw some good soil into an old margarita glass I got at a thrift store for another project. That was Sunday night.

My Tuesday, this is what they looked like:

_chia-1

 

Look at the roots

Look at the roots

And today, Thursday, my Chia Margarita has a full head of hair!

Rapunzal Let Down Your Hair

Rapunzal Let Down Your Hair

Who knew seeds could be so fun! I wonder how long it will grow before it dies. I think I might add it to my salad tonight!

Are you skimming my life . . .

This is from a Friend’s blog (Thanks Lily) – her words speak for all of us.

A p r o n h e a d -- Lilly

Are you skimming my life as you would a book—

a book that is an obligation,

not a chosen read?

Are my anecdotes only conversation starters for your stories—

priming for your ego pump gone dry?

Or are you listening?

Truly?

Are my tears and tales only inspiration for your personal production,

played out complete with swelling music and desperate soliloquies?

Am I illusory, fodder for your dreams,

but empty of transcendent worth,

part of a script where you are the only star?

Are you listening?

Honestly?

I am your friend, your neighbor, your brushed by acquaintance.

I am your mother, your daughter, your doctor, your teacher.

I am your pastor, your co-worker, your husband, your stranger.

And I have stories to tell and a lived life to share,

but it feels like I am redundant, unnecessary to your narcissistic screenplay.

I need to be heard.

Are you listening to…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Golden Hour

Two weeks ago, we took our three grandsons to a park. They weren’t that thrilled, not enough buttons, gadgets and sounds, but they did enjoy the walk around the small pond.

Ethan and Grandpa tossing in a few stones.

Ethan and Grandpa tossing in a few stones.

Daily Prompt: OUT

Today’s prompt was OUT, for photographers, it suggested showing outdoors! Sorry, but when I go outdoors, I have to look at flowers! The colors make me happy! (these were taken with Camera+ on my iPhone)

Pink Day Lily

Pink Day Lily

Burnt Orange Day Llily

Burnt Orange Day Llily

Burnt Orange Day Llily in HD

Burnt Orange Day Llily in HD

A Child’s Desperate Need For Healing

As many of you know, I’ve been following the progress of a little boy in my community named Trey Freeman. He just turned seven, and he is in a battle for his life. The prognosis isn’t good. He has had two bone marrow transplants since he was born and now he needs a third. His little body has been put through so much with the poisonous cancer fighting drugs that I don’t know how much more he can take.

Daddy Jeremy and little Trey. Trey's spirit and faith show on his small face.

Daddy Jeremy and little Trey. Trey’s spirit and faith show on his small face.

Already, the doctors have had to remove his spleen and the cancer that was just in his blood is now attacking his skin. The problem is, the drugs for his blood make the skin worse and visa versa! This is in God’s hands; this battle won’t be won in the medical arena. I’m urging all my blogging friends to please remember to Pray for Trey! He has a special test tomorrow, and we need to see a miracle. I’m including the post his earthly daddy posted on FB. It is long, but please read it and ask God for a miracle.

Having a granddaughter that has battled cancer (and has won – she will officially be in remission on Dec. 28!), I feel so very much for what this family is going thorugh. I only know the daddy (professionally), but the outpouring from the community speaks volumes to their love, faith, heart and spirit.

Thank you! Darla

Jeremy Freeman
Warning! This is long, but important. Trey’s most critical blood test yet is coming up on Monday. Please rally prayer!
Trey's family all gathered around him before his spleen was removed. They live in Central Oklahoma, but his treatments are in Dallas, Texas.

Trey’s family all gathered around him before his spleen was removed. They live in Central Oklahoma, but his treatments are in Dallas, Texas.

For those who have been journeying with us, you will be familiar with the phrase “flow cytometry.” Trey has had several flow cytometry tests over the past 8 months. The flow cytometry test is the best way for us to see what kind of cells are in Trey’s blood stream.

As most of you know, the level of abnormal “bad” cells has been as high as 60% in Trey’s blood stream, but with the use of several different drugs and treatments since the transplant in December, the percentage of abnormal cells has been as low at 0.03%.

However, when the percentage got to 0.03 in the blood, that is when we started having problems with the bad cells infiltrating his skin. So, as we started treating the skin, this gave room for the bad cells to rise again in the blood. One drug would seem to help control the bad cells in the blood and other drugs somewhat help with the skin, but we cannot seem to control both the blood and skin at the same time. It truly has been a very frustrating journey. Just when we think we turn a corner, something else pops up.

The cancer is attacking his blood and now his skin

The cancer is attacking his blood and now his skin

When the last flow cytometry test was run a few weeks ago, the level of bad cells in Trey’s blood had risen back up to 20%. This, of course, was very concerning to our doctors and us. We had a long conversation with one of our doctors today. He is extremely anxious and interested to see what the flow cytometry test will reveal next week. If the percentage of bad cells is greater than 20%, our doctors will be very concerned about what step to take next. As our doctor said today, “We are running out of options.” Honestly, I am not sure what the next step will be if the level is above 20%. They may try Campath again, but as I mentioned above, Campath was one of those drugs helping the blood, but hurting the skin. I know our doctors do not want to do the next transplant with the percentage of abnormal cells that high in Trey, but we may be forced to proceed any way.

In spite of all he's going through, his smile shines forth of the love he has to give and is given.

In spite of all he’s going through, his smile shines forth of the love he has to give and is given.

If the percentage is 20% or less, we will all feel a little more optimistic about moving forward with the current plan of treatment, as we keep working toward the next transplant. So…the flow cytometry test on Monday is the most important blood test we have run yet on Trey. We DESPERATELY need the flow cytometry to show less than 20% of bad cells in Trey’s blood. Our doctor did tell me today that he expects the percentage to be higher than 20%, but we know that he does not determine that…GOD DOES! God is in control of everything happening with Trey, so whatever the result is, we know is His will for Trey. We have given Trey totally to the Lord.

We do ask for your prayers though. We plan to run the test on Monday and hope to know the results by Wednesday. These are critical times for Trey and we covet your prayers. Please rally any prayer support you can for Monday’s test.

His big sister makes him laugh; she donated the bone marrow for his transplant last December.

His big sister makes him laugh; she donated the bone marrow for his transplant last December.

I am asking…begging God daily for healing and long to have Trey back home with us…living life. I would give anything to see Trey healed on this earth. I would lay down my own life in a heartbeat so Trey could take up his…but it’s out of my hands and totally in the Lord’s. Please join us in asking God for a special dispensation of His grace on Monday.

Our God is in control and He is holding Trey!

Ha Ha Ha, Funny Pt. 2

This was taken at the same time as the photo of Ethan. MacKenzie’s fish face was more terrified and he refused to stand still. He had a different fish approach him, but he was still looking out for that really BIG one! The second image was taken at the end of the day in the gift shop. True to Mac’s form, he found a small, squishy sea urchin and decided it would make a great hat. Now this thing only fit in the palm of your hand, I don’t know how he got it on his head, but it is SO HIM!

Mac was more terrified and wouldn't hold very still for his shot, so I took it on the "run."

Mac was more terrified and wouldn’t hold very still for his shot, so I took it on the “run.”

Only Mac would have thought to put this small toy on his head like a hat! Kind of looks good, don't you think?

Only Mac would have thought to put this small toy on his head like a hat! Kind of looks good, don’t you think?

Star Spangled Banner

Reblogging this post in honor of the 4th of July

Through The Lens

I love taking photos of fireworks — it is the challenge that appeals to me the most. I especially love to push the envelope and see what I can do with an ordinary fireworks image to make it more spectacular. Some of these are just straight shots, others have been manipulated through the lens and not in Photoshop or other digital darkrooms. Never assume just because you don’t have a tripod that you  cannot take amazing night fireworks shots. The only limit is my imagination.

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