Monday, November 19, 2012


Be glad, O people of Zion,
rejoice in the Lord your God,
for He has given you
the autumn rains in righteousness.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before.
The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.
Joel 2: 23-24

I wasn't always a bible reader. Raised with church, pastors in the family - you'd think I'd be a regular thumper and quoter. But I'm not. Sometimes wish I was, though. The pictures are more of my continuing obsession with Fall. I just haven't lived in a place with four seasons for a long time - guess I hadn't realized how much I miss them - the seasons. I hope ALL of them, because Winter is coming...

There was a time when I denied the existence of God - or trivialized Him - into one of many...probably invented by the needier of mankind. Now I thank Him every day for his mercy and grace! I guess it's easy to not see the obvious when you are continually surrounded by it.

It takes me about 30 minutes to drive to my school everyday. About a third of the drive is on winding two-lane roads through a rural-suburban landscape. About a third of the drive is on a four-to-six-lane road - through the heart of the county government complex, past a Walmart, and the turn-off to the county landfill. About a third of the drive is on a six-lane freeway flanked by forty- to sixty-foot trees. The whole drive is through trees - oak, elm, poplar, pine, maple, crepe myrtle, dogwood. Beautiful. Bountiful. Sometimes I think I probably shouldn't be driving; I find myself staring more at the trees than the road...

Here's the thing. When I took this job, I was asked if the drive would be an 'issue'. Would I resent having to spend thirty minutes in travel? I was confused at the questions - how could I resent such a visual feast? Then I realized - it wasn't a visual feast for those who've lived here all their lives. I'm not sure they see the trees anymore. The drive that I look forward to every day is just one more trip down a concrete highway to them...

Years ago - growing up in a church-going household - I took still waters and green pastures for granted. So much for granted that I stopped believing in the Kingdom of God. I simply denied it's existence. My path was from point A to point B - on a concrete highway. I didn't see the trees. The destination was key - not the journey.

What an empty place that was! As difficult as the circumstances were that brought me back to God, I am thankful for them! He is growing me - strengthening me. ...Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me... We are meant to go through those hard times - that Valley. He leads us there and then guides us through. Like the seasons. Like trees.

Oh God - Creator of the universe - thank you for trees!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The School Answering Machine


I'm not sure I believe that this is a real message on a real answering machine at a real school in Australia - supposedly the staff voted for this at M.... High School.... but - wouldn't it be interesting if it were?

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I am somewhat addicted to Pinterest.  Awhile ago, I saw a picture that I liked.  It was a dog portrait, but not in the usual sense.  See, it was more of an outline of the breed, with the inside filled in with brightly-colored doodles.  I was really attracted to it.  Just recently, I saw some similar drawings - black and white - of another dog, one of an elephant, and another of just some doodles....  I pinned them onto my Ideas board - and then it struck me.  I bet I could make one.  It looked like the artist just needed a good outline of the subject, with maybe a couple of 'big-space' details to give it some body.  So, I decided to try it out.

First, I bought some 'art' paper and fine-point sharpies.  Once upon a time, I actually knew a little about paper and markers, but it's been I looked for the smoothest, whitest paper I could find (at Walmart...), then I read labels and found this.  It says mixed media, including wet media so I thought it would probably do.  I wish I had more colors in the sharpies, but I didn't want to spend an arm and a leg - so I settled for the pack of 24 colors.

Then I printed off a picture I had taken a few years ago.  I do love roosters....  I've actually done a couple of these now.  The first time, I printed the picture in black and white so I could see the patterns without being distracted by the colors.  This time I printed it in color so I could refer to it as I 'doodled'.  Truthfully, they both had their up and down sides - so I guess you just use your personal preference.

 Next, I used this old-school transfer method (literally old school - I think I learned it when I was in elementary school...).  You use the side of your pencil point to 'color' the back of the picture you want to transfer.  I didn't feel like coloring the whole page, so I just checked back and forth to see that I was getting the rooster part.

Then I placed my back-colored photo on my fancy 'art' paper.  I don't like centered pictures, so it's a little off-center.  I did want to make sure I had the whole rooster on the page.

Next, I traced over the lines that I wanted to transfer.  Mostly I needed outlines and block-y shapes.

You can pull the paper up every once in awhile to check that you're getting the lines you want...

Here's a photo of the finished transfer.

After transferring - I used the fine-tip black sharpie to draw the lines I really wanted.  Use an
eraser to erase any of the transfer lines you don't go over.  You can also add your own lines if you think you need to re-shape anything.  I really didn't make a lot of changes on this one.

Next - start doodling in the shapes.  I suppose you could color big blocks first and black-line doodle on top - but I wanted the doodle-lines to define some of my colors.  It was fun.  Some of the doodles look like stylized portions of the original - like swooping feathers...some just fill the space - like checkerboards and diamonds....

I really enjoyed this part.   I remember covering the backsides of all my spiral notebooks in junior high and high school with doodles like this - just three colors - black, blue, and red....

Next comes the color.  I like the saturated colors from the sharpies, but have started to think that more dimension could be added by using colored pencils....  Maybe next time.  As you can see, you can color adjacent spaces with the same color - it works...

More color - one of the nice things about the sharpies is that if you choose a color that you really don't like - you can pretty much go over it with a darker color and it will disappear...

All colored....

I like to finish the picture with a title - and more doodles around the edges.  Just me....

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Office Time

We're up early this morning - as always...  My husband's alarm goes off at 3:45 - I usually fall out of bed around 3:53 (I know, how is that around...).  Put on the exercise shoes, make the bed, and go down the stairs for a yummy cup of coffee.  He leaves around 4:15ish.  Then my daughter comes down the stairs for her coffee....and we share office time.  I'm usually on the computer - catching up on Facebook and mail.  She gets her bible out and starts reading.  I wonder - who raised this girl???

Well, the fact of the matter is - I did, with a lot divine intervention and help from family and friends....

A little background here.  My daughter has Down Syndrome.  She is amazing!  I have yet to truly know all she understands - she has some communication challenges - but what she shows me through her words and actions, makes me think she understands the world around her more deeply than I can imagine.  She is extremely empathetic.  She gives me hugs and backrubs - even when I'm trying to keep something bottled up - she knows... She is brave.  I watched her in a first meeting with a new youth group - full of tightly-knit high schoolers.  She was nervous; she was a little unsure.  But she smiled and persevered, nodded and smiled some more until they were smiling right along with her.  She is honest and lives her life with integrity.  I see it as purity of spirit.  She is every contestent and judge on American Idol; she is the winning team on Survivor; she is the librarian in our office; she is trainer-girl for our dog; she is Dr. SC; she is police girl from Rookie Blue.  Quite honestly, I can't always keep up with her.

That's why our office time is so special.  Today we were looking over her Facebook page.  I just opened one for her - with trepidation and prayer....  I set the security as tightly as I could.  (Isn't it sad that such an amazing technology for social interaction can be so potentially abused...)  So I check up on the page daily.  Today we posted pictures from her previous youth group, and added the organization to her page.  She was telling me all about the pictures as I went through my photo files to post.  Naming names and activities...  Telling me how she missed them.  Telling me what they were feeling at the time the pictures were taken - things I'd forgotten or not noticed at the time...  I love this time together, when I get to better know and understand my girl.

I asked what she was reading about in her bible.  She told me Jonathan.  I asked her what about Jonathan?  She said he was a good friend.  Need I say more???

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I've been taking pictures lately because I just can't seem to get enough of the fall colors around here.  I love looking at the trees...then I love looking at the spaces between the trees - leaves from the other side...  Then I get fascinated with the objects around me - steps and bricks.  With camera in hand, I swear I'm having focusing issues.  Oh!  Not with the camera - with my own attention span.  I keep changing my personal desktop because these pictures are SO MUCH FUN!  Anyway, I just opened a Flickr account so I can share - I think you can pull a copy from Flickr - the pics are already formatted for 'display'.  Let me know what you think!  Here's the link: