Monday, December 31, 2012

I looked at the clock

and realized that today is the last day of 2012. That after today, 2012 will just be a memory and that we will be day one into the new year. Wow! Where did this past year go? It went screamin' past if you want my opinion. I guess it's true what they say. As you age, time seems to pass faster. That's got to be some type of illusion because I know I get the same 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year that younger people get. But somehow, my days seem to burn out as quick as a comet.

I've got to confess that I have been about as lazy as one can get these days. It's taken me several days to undecorate from Christmas (sshhh... the boxes aren't even in the attic yet). And I've spent way too much time watching television or playing word games with friends. (I think it's time to step away from my phone for a while, to be honest.) But some of the time has been well spent, like talking to Hannah and my husband, cuddling with the dogs, cooking a little more than usual.

I got out my big girl camera a few times over Christmas break and decided to see what type of bokeh effects I could achieve. You're probably tired of Christmas photos by now, but here's one more....

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to get my house back in order. And I'm really ready to declutter. Too much "stuff" seems to be weighing me down. So that may be how I spend my last day of 2012. What about you?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Some years, I've watched people scurrying around and questioned where our hearts were during the Christmas season. We seem so intent on shopping and buying and giving and receiving that it seems the true meaning is lost amidst wrapping paper, ribbons, and the empty boxes left behind. This year was different. Although I know the scurrying and buying were as rampant as ever, I didn't feel as cynical and actually enjoyed being a part of the crowd.
Today, on Christmas morning, I loved seeing the surprised looks on my daughter's and husband's faces when they opened their gifts. But even with the wrapping paper piling high, my thoughts drifted back to last night's candlight service at church. There, where faces were bathed in a soft, golden light, the sounds of guitar, violin, and piano filled the air and our voices sang pure ... and I felt peace, love, and happiness envelope me.

Feelings of happiness aren't guaranteed 365 days a year, and for some, today may be in contrast to the traditional "picture" of the holiday season. The loss of loved ones, relocating and uprooting your family from beloved family and friends, may make this Christmas bittersweet.

But it is my hope that on this special day your heart will be a bit lighter. Merry Christmas....


Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas, Friend!

Look who I've spotted here and there
and everywhere!

Who would have known that Santa cheers for
the University of Alabama football team....

Or that he had time to visit another small town
just a week before Christmas.

be honest,
I think the football
 fan Santa is the real one.
I bet his boots are even real.
Plus, he's had time to get home,
load his sleigh, and get ready for a

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Finally, that feeling...

Even though I've been on Christmas break all week, it wasn't until Wednesday morning that I truly felt the feeling that I had been waiting for. That moment of total contentment as I walked into the kitchen and began to wrap presents. That moment when our home is decorated, the Christmas tree lights are twinkling, and I am home doing those Christmas-y things that I want to do.

Bliss. That's the best way I can describe it. And the nice thing is that it stopped me, at that very moment, so I could recognize it for what it was.

My mother-in-law and I went on another little excursion earlier in the week. I found this Christmas banner made out of chipboard. I had planned to use it over the fireplace, but this spot worked out better.

Before we can continue with Christmas, there's always a special birthday to celebrate...

My sweetheart of a daughter turns 17 today. Yikes!! She was just a toddler it seems a few days ago!

She had a few close friends over to help her celebrate. I enjoyed making a few appetizers and dinner for the girls. It was so sweet to hear them talk and laugh together.

P.S. Happy birthday, sweet girl! You're still my little Peanut.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Trying to Get There...

step by step. I know I'm not the only person who feels like they start each day at the bottom of some long stairwell. Looking up at all of the steps that need to be climbed. Wondering how in the world I'm going to get there. And truth be told, life is good right now. It's just that each day is so busy with my to-do list that I forget to enjoy the little moments sometimes.

Bottom of the steps. That's where I am at the moment. Maybe I'll make it to that landing by Christmas break. And to the top by January 1. Now that will feel good, won't it?

Monday, November 26, 2012

We've made up...

this girl and I. When I first created her, I just couldn't get happy for some reason. She showed no emotion, the color palette didn't seem to gel. I just wasn't satisfied. Period.
But I kept working on her a little at a time. I redid her mouth and worked a little more on her eyes. Added elements like the birdcage and the banner... Found "her" words inside me.

We may not be finished with each other, but we're getting there.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Keeping the Tradition

We live near my husband's parents, so Thanksgiving for us takes place at their dining room table. Usually there are six of us there: My husband and daughter, my mother- and father-in-law, and their other son who flies in from California. This year, he's going to be a day late, so our Thanksgiving dinner with the family will be on Friday instead. I was ready to roll with the flow, but my daughter had strong ideas of her own.

"What?! We're not having Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving? But it's our tradition!" she exclaimed in desperation. Not only was it marking the end of a tradition for her, but it was also jeapordizing her plans for a little Black Friday shopping.

During the past few days, my kitchen has transformed. A few items stockpiled around the stove. Grocery bags laying empty and ready for recycling. A pile of groceries and a stack of recipes commandeering the counter top.

We will still have Thanksgiving dinner with my husband's family. But my husband made sure the tradition of a Thanksgiving feast would not be lost in our household. My daughter and I will sit at our kitchen table with the chef of the family and enjoy our Thanksgiving meal. On Thanksgiving, by the way, because a bountiful Thanksgiving meal is a tradition. (Just ask my daughter.)

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope your day is full of blessings and good food, too! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Telephoto Tuesday: Canyon Hopping

My mother-in-law and I went on a road trip yesterday to visit a canyon.

Although much smaller than the one out West,
it was still pretty amazing to find this out
in the middle of nowhere.

Then we stopped by a former prisoner-of-war camp and National cemetery.
"Peaceful" is the best word to describe the cemetery today
although it was a place of sadness and death
during the Civil War.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Something's not right...

Chaos. Bad energy. I don't know what it is, but emotions are running high around here. Maybe it's because I have a teenager in the house, or that I'm a slightly neurotic worrier with a teenager in the house, or that I have too much work on my plate, which may be spilling into my home life more than usual. Whatever it is, I'm ready for peace and calm to return to my home.


Good karma.

On another note, my computer does not have a treasure trove of fonts at my disposal, so when I need words for my mixed media art, I end up using picmonkey. I have to upload a photo, cover it with a rectangle, then type the words. It's annoying, because I'm never quite sure what size fonts I need. The final step is to open a Word file and insert the "picture." The word art above is from two different pieces of art I was working on. I just add more to the space until I run out of room. The bad thing is, my printer is crap and won't print color well, at all. So, I couldn't actually use the cool background that shows up here.

It is the weekend, at this very moment at least. Enjoy yours! I'm going to try to shove all the negative energy that's flying around here under a rug somewhere. Or under the house if it will fit.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

But That Can Wait

I've had words tumbling over in my head during this past week, but I'm just not ready to share them yet. Words about family and grief. Loss. Old wounds that haven't quite healed. Coming to grips with what was and what wasn't.

I'm not even sure that they belong here on my blog. Those words. Because for the most part I have kept the feelings associated with them at arms length, not really letting them be a part of my life. But there comes a time when it's okay to share and let the feelings go. Truly go. But for now, it can wait.

I stopped by my sweet in-laws' house today and saw that my mother-in-law's roses are still blooming, bigger than ever it seems. She and I gingerly stepped into the garden to get closer to the flowers, swatting bees away when they seemed a little too interested in us.

Summer, it seems, doesn't want to leave just yet.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Telephoto Tuesday: Early Morning

It's amazing how beautiful the world looks
when you wake up with it!

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


As I sit in my studio typing, I hear a mixture of sounds. My daughter's music plays in the room beside me while the crispy sounds of leaves rustle in the wind outside my window.

Summer turned into autumn today. Just like that, in what seemed like a blink of an eye, the temperature cooled down and leaves began to hurl themselves downward like kamikazi pilots. The leaves here are not the fiery shades of fall, yet. But the lushness of the greens are losing out bit by bit to the yellows, which will soon turn into the oranges and the reds of the season.

I've been thinking a lot lately. Maybe too much or maybe not enough. But my thoughts keep turning towards life and what we make of it. For some (me included), we spend our days working and doing and sleeping just to get up and do it all over again. Others somehow know how to balance their time better, so they can enjoy the moments so much more.

That's what I want to do. Balance my time and enjoy the moments more. That's the plan anyway. One day. Soon. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

She's still a stranger to me

but I'm trying awfully hard to get to know her.

She's still a work-in-progress.... This girl.
And I'm not too happy with her yet.
I may never be. Shhhhh.
Don't tell her.

But she started out as a "Halloween" girl,
then for a brief moment entered my mind as a "teacher" girl.
Then went on to become this girl.
And I don't know her story yet.

She does look a bit pensive though.
Which is pretty much the way I felt all day.

Here's some detail from her dress.

Let's hope she speaks to me soon.
I want to tell her story.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Telephoto Tuesday

If it's antique or vintage or just plain old, I usually have a place for it in my heart and sometimes in my home. Like the quilts I bought when I first got married. Old and tattered but still useable. Their softness created from years of use. Old typewriters and their ribbon tins. A Victrola. Handbags and hats. Jewelry. Aprons.

But on Saturday something else found its way into my heart. And home. This old Ball mason jar with a zinc lid and practically brimming over with colorful bobbins of thread. Blue, green, and purple. Perfectly me. So I bought it and carried it home.

And unwrapped it. And gave it its own little photoshoot.

My bobbin jar wasn't the only thing that caught my eye although I did practice restraint when it came to buying anything else. There was a Royal typewriter, which was royally priced at about $170.00. Rolling pins (yep, I have a few of those, too), and photographs that I may go back for.

It was fun poking around old things again. So, how did you spend your Saturday?

Saturday, September 29, 2012


My daughter is sixteen. With this rite of passage comes so much worry for me that sometimes I forget to breathe. Like yesterday. She had plans. Plans that didn't include me or her dad. Plans that included friends and her car and night and interstate driving.



I struggled with worry before she turned sixteen. I'm a worrier. Not sure why, but I just am, so any little thing can set my mind into a frenzy. Whether it's questioning something I said or something I did or didn't do. Whether it's worrying about the past or the future or today. Give me anything to worry about, even a wisp of a worry, and I will claim it.

So I'm having to learn how to live in a home that includes a sixteen-year-old daughter with keys and car. I'm having to learn how to give her space to grow up and to be independent. I'm having to trust that she will find her way to her friend's house, in the dark, and that she will be back here the next day. Safe and sound.

I do turn things over to God. Often. Sometimes I pull the worry back from him and stew in it for a little while. But then I send it back to him on angels' wings. When I do this. When I send my worries to God and place them in His hands, I relax. My mind is free from worry. I find peace. I breathe.

And I continue to trust Him with her precious life and tell myself that everything will be okay. I have to, so I can breathe.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Telephoto Tuesday: They Can't Stand Still

these girls! Even here, in this picture, they're a bit blurry. These are some of the girls on my daughter's volleyball team. They've bonded so much this year. They've won some, and lost some, but overall have gotten stronger with each match.

Confession: A student took this photograph. I wish that I had. I'm thinking about getting the girls to let me take some fun photos of them. Hopefully, they will.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


It's the weekend, again. Thankfully. I am so tired by the time Saturday rolls around that I feel like a limp dishcloth just laying around the house. There's school work to do, clothes to wash, and a house to take care of, but instead I sit here on the computer, saying hello, loading photos from my phone onto my computer, and wishing I had more energy.

I'm still searching for balance in my life. I need to exerise, to breathe fresh air, to enjoy the beautiful world around me, but I spend way too much time on work. I often wonder how other teachers do it. So if you teach, please share your secrets. A ten-hour work day isn't enough time for me to get everything done. And that, in itself, is a bit ridiculous I think.

Last weekend I tried to capture hummingbirds in flight but ended up with these instead. I was using my Canon but had a difficult time focusing on the bird in flight. I would focus on the bird feeder, instead, thinking that would be close enough, but the hummingbird was always out of focus. I may try again tomorrow.

It took a while for them to feel safe with me around. I pulled a chair up pretty close to the feeder and waited. They would flit past so fast, I could hear the beating of their wings easier than I could see them.

Happy Weekend!

Sunday, September 16, 2012


years they've been married. This month. And they are as sweet as ever.

Yes, they both are University of Alabama football fans.
Hence the crimson t-shirts with the big A and the big football.

and gardeners.

And wonderful parents to three children.
And to me, their daughter-in-law.

But to my daughter, they are Mano and PopPop.
The names she gave them when she was a tiny thing.
And they stuck.

Happy 67th Anniversary to the most precious couple I know!


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Right Around the Corner

and not too far away from my house is this river. I steal glances to my left and right every time I cross over it. Sometimes, like today, I have to stop, park, and walk back to the bridge to really see the river the way I want to. To see the way the clouds seem to hang, suspended, in the air above it, like they too don't want to leave. To see the way the trees are reflected in the water. To see the ripples from the current as it flows downstream. To imagine what it would be like to take a picnic down to the water's edge... right over there in that clearing.

When I looked down into the water I saw ten turtles sunning themselves. Then, one by one, they splashed into the water. I saw them swimming and coming up for air. I wondered if they had made plans before they jumped in. Were they planning to meet again on the other side of the bridge to sun on those rocks for a while? Or was it time to go home?

It's moments like these that stop me in my tracks and make me appreciate this world. To appreciate the everyday beauty that simply waits to be noticed. And beauty is everywhere. In the city where a lone flower may break free from the cement and stretch toward the sun. And here, in my little corner of the world, where sun-dappled rivers beckon me to stop and see.

Saturday, September 8, 2012



Getting ready to jump many, many years ago.
In my youth.


I've joined Alyce at At Home With Books for Saturday Snapshot.
If you'd like to see more photographs or link up your own, click here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

To be a bird...

I keep finding myself
looking up at the sky.
And remembering...

That I used to fly in my younger days.
Beginning first by jumping off the roof of our house
when I was a little girl.
This an attempt to convince my parents
that I was too much of a tom-boy
and needed to take dance lessons
so I would act more like a dainty girl.

As a teenager, I longed to fly.
Knowing then that jumping off the roof
wasn't going to get me very far,
I began calling the airport
and asking about flying lessons.

Always too much money involved.

So I waited.

But would call every year, probably close to my birthday.
Always being told how much it would cost
and always realizing that I might never have
that kind of money.

Finally, one year, after hearing the same story,
I asked about skydiving.
It was cheaper.
So I did. Skydive.
Nearly 500 times.

And that was flying.
My body zipping through the air
at break-neck speeds.
Turning flips and linking up
with others to create kaleidoscope designs in the air.

One of my earliest jumps, replete with round chute and Adidas high tops!

I also kept asking about flying... airplanes.
And found out that I could work for flying time.
So I did. Work and Fly. Airplanes.

I gave it up when I had my daughter.
Too much time required to
satisfy my thrill of flight.

On pretty days I still look up at the sky
and think about those times
when my body tumbled
through the air.

In an
Free falling.

I've linked up with Heather at the Extraordinary Ordinary to Just Write.
You can read her latest Just Write post here and find out more about Just Write by clicking here.

Monday, September 3, 2012

I Can't Complain ...

about football season. You see, I knew way back when that I was marrying a die-hard college football fan. Namely, a die-hard University of Alabama football fan. In fact, he chose a football weekend to propose -- at an Alabama game, no less, with his parents in tow as they celebrated their anniversary. By saying "yes" at the game, he pretty much assured himself that I couldn't complain about football season. It just is what it is, so to speak.

Before our daughter was born, I went to all of the games with him. I started off this new interest by watching the TV crews and commentators on the sidelines until finally I picked out one of the players and started following his movements on the field. Stacy Harrison. #1. Because of his enthusiasm, I became more enthusiastic. Enthusiastic enough to even learn their fight song and sing it with gleeful gusto.

I rarely went to games when our daughter was young, but she still has grown up to love the Crimson Tide and these fall football Saturdays. She and I usually travel to Homecoming with him and every now and then we'll take off with him on other football excursions. Like this past weekend when we watched the Crimson Tide face off against Michigan in the Dallas Cowboys Stadium. (That jumbotron is HUGE by the way!)

We just happened to be staying at the same hotel as the football team, so my daughter was spotting players left and right. We even spotted this guy, Gene Stallings, who happens to be one of Alabama's greatest coaches of all times.

This will probably be my only tribute to the University of Alabama this fall. But I thought it was only proper to kind of bid my husband a friendly adieu. His mother understands. She has a pillow in her house that reads, "Pardon Me, This Marriage is Interrupted by Football Season."

Roll Tide!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Sugar, Sugar...

If you've never eaten a Krispy Kreme doughnut, you are missing out on some major deliciousness! Oh, my, they're good. Hot glaze... and the donut is very light, yeast, not a "cake" type of donut. Pure heaven.

I had to stop by and pick up a few dozen of these babies this morning on my way to work. Even though I sat in a room with a box nearly full, I only ate one. Yep. Just one. That's something like 200 calories. Not bad if you're needing a little sugar, sugar....

As of today, August is officially ending. That means payday! Hip-hip-hoorah! And four weeks of teaching are already history. Wow. Time really does have a way of dashing off when you're not looking. 

I have plans this weekend that include family and friends and a little college football. I'm hoping to get all of my work done before Monday, so I can enjoy the Labor Day holiday. I feel like I'm deserving of that one at the moment. Really deserving. So, kick up your heels or kick back and relax! I may do a little of that myself.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sometimes, I just need a little pretty...

Usually, when my husband is driving, I'm either asleep or reading, but I happened to look up just in time to see this scene flash past my window. I spun my phone into position and began snapping.

And today, I just needed to sit back and look at it... Or maybe contemplate what it would be like to be riding a horse across that field or sitting with my back against the fence post with a good book in my hands. Or just laying down and napping with the sun on my face and a little bit of hay in my hair. 

Because I'm tired.

I love teaching. I really do. But this year things are a bit different. We have the reaccreditation process to go through and new standards to implement and sometimes people like to reinvent the wheel, which is really pretty pointless since wheels tend to work just fine as long as they can roll on to wherever they are going.

Luckily, my students are pretty much terrific just as they are. They're sitting through 75-minute classes this year, which still doesn't feel like enough time to get everything done. But they've been troopers.

Tomorrow, I'll miss my Teachers as Advisors class for the second week in a row. (We've only met twice, and I've missed them both due to meetings!). And I'll miss all of my classes while working on some school and district goals.

And while I complain a lot little, I know it's going to work out just fine and that I'll be with my students many more days than not this year.

But I do hate meetings.... really, I do.

P.S. After reading Relyn's post, I thought I would add a bit of gratitude here, so you won't think I'm always crotchety. Today after school, I was creating comprehension questions for an article I'm asking my students to read. I had typed about 12 questions and was away from my room when our power flickered off and on a few times during a storm. When I got to my room, my computer was still on and the unsaved document was just waiting for me to click "save." Now that was a moment of gratitude!

P.S.S. I've linked up with Heather of the EO to Just Write. I'm just a day late though.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Yesterday ...

I dropped my husband off to meet a friend and then took myself on an artist's date.
I hadn't planned to do that. In fact, I was in the middle of grading.

But at the last minute, I turned right
and found myself at one of our city's most historic cemetaries.

I walked and then drove and then walked again.
Looking at beautiful statues
and reading the tombstones,
which go back to the 1700s
and maybe even the 1600s.

Then I looked up and saw her....

and thought she was gorgeous.

As I walked,
I came upon a grave that had been carefully tended
and saw that it belonged to a wife, mother, grandmother.
They had left presents for her and pretty things hanging from the tree limbs.
A big ribbon that floated in the breeze and a dream catcher.

At times I was sad and missed my mother.
I missed going to visit her and watching as she and my daughter
had tea parties in the living room
and went to feed the ducks
at the lake together.

But, even though I was a bit sad yesterday,
it felt good to be out with the sun on my face
and seeing the past and the heartache and knowing
that life goes on. And that we don't know when our last day will come.
So we really have to eek out as much joy from each day that we can.
Even when we do have

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blooming Love

I have always loved our Hibiscus blossoms,
but this year I've fallen totally in love with them.
I find myself practically standing on my head to get a different angle or view.
I love the colors, how the varying shades mix and mingle....

I also love them in black and white.

I had linked up with Susannah Conway's August Break to post a picture a day....
I wasn't able to continue with it daily,
But it has gotten me in a creative spirit
and given me a bit of a break from
grading and planning
and worrying.

But more about that later.
I really don't want to worry the flowers....

Friday, August 10, 2012

Finding Laughter

Earth laughs in flowers.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I loved that quote when I came across it,
and it seemed perfect for these roses
that grow in my mother-in-law's garden.

She's always been a flower-tender,
my mother-in-law,
with beautiful blossoms
and leafy green plants
growing in her yard.

Even at 86, she's still out there,
tending the flowers ~

Digging in the dirt.

And happy to be there
where laughter springs forth
from the Earth.

My husband's parents (who treat me like I'm their own)...
have been married 66 years! Precious, aren't they?

I'm taking part in Susannah Conway's

To check out other photos from The August Break, click here.