Category Archives: Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

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Choose between the middle and the outer biscuits.

“Time is the longest distance between two places.” Tennessee Williams

Biscuits, though close together on the pan, are very different depending on the proximity.  My mother makes the best homemade biscuits, and in return requests the middle biscuit.  She likes its texture, I guess.

I have wonderful memories associated with biscuits.  Christmas with the family will mean biscuits and gravy during some part of the day.

Like biscuits on a pan, families, though very similar in look, surely have differences.   Some are the middle biscuits–soft and mushy.  Others have a kind of outer shell.  They’re harder to break into.

This Christmas, I’m on one continent and my son, my parents, and my sisters are on another.  I’m used to this distance, but It’s not always easy.  Though we are all connected in many ways, there is a great distance between us today.

Merry Christmas to you all.  I miss our time together.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Self-Portrait

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Say "Cheese!"

“Every man’s work, whether it be literature, or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.” Samuel Butler

This week’s photo challenge was quite a stretch, and I thought I wouldn’t participate. Thanks to Photoshop, I came up with something.

This year, I’ve snapped pictures more than ever trying to find something original for my daily posts.  These pictures do represent me.  I like art, hence the Marc Chagall handbag, and I like having fun.  The portrait is from my night out with a bunch of girls at the Hairspray Sing-along.

What would you include in your own self-portrait?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration

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Life is short: celebrate often!

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” Tom Peters

Today is our yearly Christmas concert.  It is a difficult time of the year for the students and teachers because everyone spends hours sitting “somewhat” quietly in the auditorium between scenes.  Students get a load of commands barked at them within the few minutes they are on and off the stage.  “Quiet!”  “Sing Loudly!” “Quit laughing with your friend!” “Smile!” “Walk softly!”  “Stop running!” “No hitting!”

Is it worth all of the time and effort, and for what reasons do we celebrate?  Yes, it’s worthwhile, and here are a few of my reasons for celebration.

Children learn when they perform:  Each time children perform, they gain confidence for future endeavors.  Putting a child on stage helps build the whole child.  I’ve seen some brilliant adults who were never taught to perform.  The result is an awkward presenter, with an even more awkward audience.  That’s one reason I love to put children on a stage.

Parents see the culmination of the learning: The Christmas celebration at school allows children to express themselves in a different way than normal.  Some students who are unable to show their talent on a written test, might shine on the stage.  When parents get a chance to see the whole picture of their child, including their abilities in the arts, they can better understand how to help prepare them for the future.

The reason for the celebration is important: Ultimately, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, who spent His first hours in a simple stable.  It was not the usual arrival of a king, but that is the way of God’s kingdom.  Shepherds celebrated his birth, and that lowly birth allows us to celebrate life.

As you prepare for Christmas day, remember why you are celebrating. Watching performances, completing Christmas shopping, and spending time with your family and friends can all be celebrations.  May His gift of life shine through you as you move through each day of the season!  It’s time to celebrate life!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

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Waiting allows time to consider the plan of action...

“To stay ahead, you must have your next idea waiting in the wings.” Rosabeth Moss Kanter

After ten days of waiting, I found myself slightly frustrated.  An innocent bystander kindly asked when my baby was due, and I remember giving her a special look while answering, “Ten days ago.”  Waiting for an overdue baby is a frustrating event understood by those who have experienced it.  Yet, when our baby arrived happy and healthy, we knew that the wait was certainly worthwhile.

Waiting can be difficult but sometimes strategic.  Many of the best things in life come when we are waiting.

We can be productive while we wait.

1. Look for opportunities.  We had the privilege of knowing a wonderful couple.  Because of health reasons, they were delayed in our city.  They didn’t let it frustrate them.  Instead, they looked for opportunities to help those around them.  Watching this couple taught me so much about looking for ways to bless other people.  Waiting can be a perfect time to serve those in need.  

2. Work toward another goal.  When we know we have some time to kill, it’s best to learn a new craft or skill.  Usually, there are things we’ve been wanting to try but haven’t had the time for it.  A new challenge can encourage us as we wait.

3. Appreciate the present.  So many times in life, I’ve let the present pass me by because I was pining away about something in the future.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate the short time and moments we have to enjoy our family and our friends.  Life is more fun when we give attention to each person God sends our way.

Most of the time, I find that wait time decreases if I’m enjoying myself.  How do you spend your waiting time?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

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My Family

“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” George Bernard Shaw

As a child, I determined that I would grow up to have a happy family.  I’d find a wonderful man, and we’d have these amazing children.

Now I am that grown up, and I cannot be more thankful to God for our family!  I pray that all of us will continue to grow closer to God and to walk worthy of His calling!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Breakfast

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The lettuce and carrots at Bake and Bite defer your thoughts about heart failure.

“When you have something for breakfast, you’re not going to be starving by lunch.” Bruce Barton

Today’s breakfast was a warmed over hotdog with sauerkraut on top.  I guess that wouldn’t be the best photo for the breakfast challenge, so I’ve submitted this picture taken last March.

When we visit the North, we love to stop for breakfast at Bake and Bite in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  We often eat outdoors in the afternoon– not at breakfast time.  Regardless of the time of day, it’s worth a try.  The cost is reasonable and one can choose a most healthy or unhealthy combination.

(It’s not brain caviar, but it fits the challenge.)

What’s your favorite breakfast?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wonder

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One can wonder if he doesn't lose that sense.

“An empty canvas is a living wonder… far lovelier than certain pictures.” Wassily Kandinsky

The boat rolled from behind a curtain and with it the coolness of dry ice that hovered over the audience.  You could say I was in a state of wonder when I first saw a professional stage production.  At an early age, I was absolutely hooked.

As a college student, I attended most productions on campus.  I once embarrassed myself snickering uncontrollably in the show Our Town, which was both serious and about death.  Otherwise, I’ve never moved from the wonder of the stage.

As an adult, I sometimes walk onto the stage just to smell it.  I’m still hooked.  “You can take the girl out of the play, but you can’t take the play out of the girl.” (mine)

Sometimes we forget to stop and allow ourselves the experience of wonder.  Did you stop and enjoy a sense of wonder at something you saw or felt today?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Windows

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Would you like to work behind these windows?

“I believe in the imagination. What I cannot see is infinitely more important than what I can see.” Duane Michals

Windows are more interesting when we can almost see inside.  I’ve been surprised at the changes I’ve made since the opening of a hotel out our back window.  Until recently, we lived in a fairly secluded place, but now, I have to keep in mind that someone might be watching even as I write this post.

In the beginning, the guests didn’t realize that their tinted windows were see-through.  Unfortunately, we had several unexpected shows going on in the windows that opened to our back yard.  Now though, it seems the hotel has made the guests aware that we would rather them keep the curtains closed when privacy is needed.

Windows give a view that feeds the imagination.  I actually find windows important, especially at work.  When I was younger and working in the San Francisco Bay Area, I worked in an office with a wall that was a window onto a small waterfront.  It was a beautiful place to work and the scenery inspired me.

Windows bring in natural light.   As a teacher, I’ve found myself in five different classrooms in the last seven years.  Each time I get the keys to my new room, the first thing I do is open all of the windows.  Letting the light in frees the imagination and helps our brain cells.

Windows allow us to see enough to imagine something more.  Several years ago, we’d eat weekly at a Sizzler that overlooked a set of executive apartments.  From week to week, we’d see just enough of an apartment to make it interesting.  We’d imagine how the bedroom must look.  We’d see changes in furniture and seasonal decor.  Seeing just a bit made the apartment more interesting than if we had been able to see the whole thing.  Now that I’m in the house that’s being viewed by guests, I have a different appreciation for the viewers.  After all, now I’m the one that can’t go on the back porch in my PJ’s.

Windows are needed for several reasons, but let’s not underestimate how it allows us to view the world and others to view our world.

What window has allowed your imagination to run wild?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Opportunity

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Opportunity can be disguised in a cup of water...

“I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity.” John D. Rockefeller

The way we look at a disaster makes life interesting.  Today, we think about water again.  Will we have enough?  Will we have too much?  It’s a paradox.  With a flood on the horizon, we hear rumors that the water supply will be cut.  Too much or too little, which will it be?

We have an opportunity to stay or to go.  We have an opportunity to partake or to take refuge.  Opportunities stay with us, but will we notice their disguise?

…But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.  Joshua 24:15

Day 295: Teaching An Old Dog A New Trick

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Can this old dog learn a new trick?

“Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails.” Max Eastman

We once had a good dog named Biscuit.  As time has gone on, she has lost some of her goodness.  We live on the second floor and she pretends to be in too much pain to climb the stairs.  As a result, she decided to quit going down the stairs to do her number one business since it takes so much effort to come back up.  Having used all of the tactics we used on our quite obedient children, we were not at all successful with our ten-year-old dog.

Last week we decided to have a new dog door installed so that at least she would go out the back door to do her number one business instead of going on the front porch.  This door is different from the last, allowing her to give a simple push since it’s only held down by a small magnet.  For the life of us, we still haven’t finished training her to go through the back door.  Instead, she stands in front of it, looks out, and barks.  We then come behind giving her a push and sending her on her way.  We’ve managed to avoid a swift kick in the bottom, though we’re coming closer to that option.

I'm sure she'll get it this time!

We’re sure that the passing of Biscuit is not too far in the future, but it would be nice if she could learn another trick before her passing in order to avoid an untimely one.

I suppose we should remember all of the joy she’s brought to our family. She welcomes our guests with love and care, barking only to announce their arrival.  If we’re in the house, she’ll bark if she knows we’ve seen her notice a cat.  Otherwise, I think she’s lost her desire to make an effort to bark, but she doesn’t want to lose face.  Above all, she announces when there is a storm on the horizon.  She runs in circles, pants loudly, shakes all over, and barks from time to time until it is over.  Though she’s brought a lot of love and laughter to our family, it still seems that she ought to learn a new trick to appease us.

In order to save you some pondering time, I’ll just let you know that the old idiom is true, “You can’t teach an old dog a new trick.”