Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Few More

This is another file created by blending several images and layers of text and a quote. Simple blending and text is fairly easy to do with the right images.
(click image to see a larger version)
This is a recent work that was done to complete a challenge in one of my graphic groups. It involved several techniques and the use of multiple filters / plugins and loosely following a tutorial to get a particular result. I loved the graphic of the baby's face. Again, this is a stock photo and does not belong to me, although it reminds me of my own children when they were that age. My children all had big blue eyes with long dark lashes.
(click image to see a larger version)
This one was also created from several images and involved different techniques and multiple layers. I did this one based on something I saw and worked to duplicate a similar result with my own touches added.
(click image to see a larger version)
This is one of my favorites. I did this one based on a graphic I saw on the web that I loved. I tried hard to create a similar effect while trying to make my own creation and not just a copy of someone else's work. I normally display this file on a more suitable background but placing several images on a blog post presents a bit of a problem with that unless I want to do a bit of work. I don't wanna do a bit of work so here it is in plain vanilla form.
(click image to see a larger version)
There are more to come somewhere down the line but this will have to suffice for now.


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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Creating With PSP

I created this image earlier this year utilizing various effects to get the results I wanted. I found the quote about prayer and tried to create the graphics in a way to best display it. The image of the child was supplied as a stock photo and does not belong to me.

(click image to see a larger version)

I created this calendar in March of last year, using a photo of my granddaughter Emily riding her horse, Tinman, as her birthday is in March (as is mine). You can tell I like blending images to get the results I want and also the use of quotes.

(click image to see a larger version)

This image was done using a supplied photo of a Ferrari and giving it a pop art effect and a frame that was created from the image itself. I messed up on the extended line of the "F" in that I didn't make it long enough. I could go back and change it but I just never felt it important enough. I will probably think it important enough the day I drive my new Ferrari into my garage. ;-)

(click image to see a larger version)

These are a few of the things I've created. There are many more, trust me. Lots more... more than you would want to see and some that I would never show as they turned out to be more of a learning experience for me than anything I would call art.

I hope you enjoy what I've posted here so far.


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An Update and Plans for Blog Posts

I thought I would give a brief update on Margaret's condition, which has improved since last Saturday's very difficult post. She is a long way from being out of the woods and I would say that her condition remains volatile. Her family is finding hope again and is once more talking cautiously about the possibility of getting her to Baylor. I keep their hopes and mine at the forefront of my prayers as always and ask that you do the same for my friend.

I realized that I have done very little posting of the work I have done in Paint Shop Pro (PSP) and I would like to start a series of posts that feature some of my graphics. It is an outlet for me, another form of expression that unfortunately, I am not always good at following through with. I have been in a bit of a creative slump recently, probably in part due to the emotional upheavals and travel in my life the past year or so but I do have many things I would like to share here.

So I'm off for now to look through my collection to see what I can put out here for viewing.


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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Friendship and A Change of Plans

Saturday morning update -- Things have taken a bad turn for the worse with my friend Margaret's condition as she has started bleeding into her lungs. The decision has been made to leave everything in God's hands and to pray for peace and comfort for Margaret. She has fought the most difficult battle with horrendous infection for the past three months trying to get to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas for a second bone marrow transplant. The first transplant was successful, giving her 5 strong years, cancer free before her bone marrow gave out late last fall.
While cancer has not lived in her body for over five years, I will always know that it is the cancer that is responsible for her condition. How I hate that disease.

Please pray for her comfort and for peace for all those who love and care about her.

Thursday afternoon update -- Margaret was weaned off of the ventilator today. As I understand it, they are confident that this relapse was due to changes in medication that affected her heartbeat as well as allowing the infection to re-establish itself. They were able to start her back on the protocol she was on before the relapse and she is responding well at this early stage. As tenacious as this infection seems to be, apparently it is not as strong-willed as Margaret is. They will work to get her out of the CV-ICU and into a regular room before trying to transport her to Baylor by air ambulance, possibly by the middle of next week. Once she is safely at Baylor, I will feel comfortable about proceeding with my own plans. I am very appreciative of the prayers spoken for my friend and grateful to the gracious God that hears us all.

As quickly as the good news came the other day about Margaret, the bad news came just as quickly early yesterday morning that she had relapsed and was back in the CV-ICU of the local hospital where she has been off and on for the past three months. Before they were able to release her Monday for the trip to Baylor Medical in Dallas, her infection returned with a vengeance, attacking her so severely this time that she was placed on a ventilator during the early hours of Tuesday morning. At that time, they were also discussing the possibility of getting her to the Baylor facility by air ambulance but they later decided that was not a viable choice at this time.

When I got the call, I was preparing my list of the things I needed to do before leaving for Indiana and my annual trip with Mom to Tennessee for the Memorial Day weekend. As I got more information about Margaret, it made me re-think my plans.

While I didn't want to miss the trip with mom, as I believe this is likely our last time to make the trek together, neither did I want to leave with things up in the air about Margaret. I considered some alternatives. One being that my sister might want to do this trip with mom, as we had discussed the possibility of her coming to meet us anyway. The other option would be to cancel the plans for the holiday weekend and make the trip later. After discussing the situation with them, we chose the second option, since time was short for my sister to get arrangements made to get up to mom's and then on to Tennessee. I will go up to mom's as soon as I know Margaret is stabilized and we will simply make the trip at a different time. My sister can still come to meet us if she wants to. Sometimes things just work out for the best.

As for Margaret, well today things sound a little better. They're talking about the possibility of weaning her off of the ventilator starting tomorrow. Even after she gets off the ventilator, she will be back where she was at a month ago, so this is a real set back for her. The situation is serious but we have to believe that she can still get to Baylor and have a successful transplant.

Thanks to all who may choose to utter a prayer on Margaret's behalf or have done so from one my previous requests here or here.

(Now playing: I'm A Survivor by Reba McEntire in honor of my friend Margaret who is and will continue to be a survivor.)

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WOW - or How To Increase Hits On Your Blog

I logged onto my blog late yesterday afternoon and found that the number of hits had increased significantly beyond what I usually get. As I was considering a new and serious post, the hits kept coming and I'm going WT- (I'm trying hard to give up that using that particular letter/word to express myself... so you fill in the dash... and no, I'm not always successful at avoiding the use of colorful language... okay, so I'm not perfect). Anyhow, it only took a quick trip to my favorite blog to see why.

There on the front of Kristie's blog was my name and a link to my pathetic little blog and a quote of a comment I had left on one of her posts. Ohmigosh... I've been quoted by Kristie. My heart started pounding, my head began to swell and for about half a second, I felt very important!

The truth is, I use this blog as a release for me. If someone reads what I write and enjoys it, I think that is great. If not, well I am seasoned (read old) enough to handle that too. I welcome your comments or simply your presence but I will never consider what I do to be in the same league as my favorite bloggers. You'll find a partial list of my favorites with links on the right side somewhere.

Kristie is my favorite because of her openness and willingness to share who she is and her life experience honestly and with great humor. I've followed her family from the pre-blog days of her caringbridge site for daughter Kendrie. What an amazing story Kristie has to share, not only about Kendrie's cancer, but also that her husband Blaine suffers from cancer as well. Even how she and Blaine became parents to their three children will have you laughing and crying, sometimes at the same time.

So check out her blog and let's just see how fast we can run up the number of hits on her site! uh, the 2 or 3 of you who didn't get here from her site in the first place that is!

(I do have a serious post about a change in my plans and my friend Margaret planned for later... I just haven't been able to find the words just yet but please keep Margaret in your prayers.)

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Sunday, May 20, 2007


A number of blogs that I scan have posted this link to Bono's acceptance speech at the NAACP Awards ceremony. Whether or not you like him or his music, even if you don't agree with his personal views, you can't doubt his passion.

I normally find actors, singers or any famous personality highly annoying when they try to fob their opinions on me simply because there is always a microphone and a camera at the ready to capture their rantings. I do believe Bono to be in a different league than most of them are. He doesn't come at me from any particular political stance but as a true humanitarian. We seem to be in short supply of those today.

He calls us to task on the issues of AIDS and poverty and questions whether we are living out God's command to us.
"Love thy neighbor is not a piece of advice, it is a command. And that means in the global village we’re going to have to start loving a whole lot more people, that’s what that means." Bono
Amen Bono... amen!

(now playing - Gospel - Lean On Me by Kirk Franklin featuring Bono, Mary J. Bilge and R. Kelly among others.

[Bono] Oooooohhh
[Kirk] This is for that little child with no father
For that man that doesn't have a place to stay
For that little boy living with AIDS
[R. Kelly] Can I tell you a story, tell you a story
[Kirk] You can lean on me

[R. Kelly] There's a man (oh yes)
Standing on the corner
He has no home
He has no food
And his blue skies are gone (yes it is)
Can't you hear him cryin' out

[Crystal Lewis] And there's a girl
Searching for a father and a friend
Praying that the storm someday will end
But instead of walking away
Open up your heart and say

[Choir] I am here
You don't have to worry
I can see...
[Kirk] I can see your tears
[Choir] ....your tears
I'll be there in a hurry when you call
[Kirk] Yes I will
[Choir] Friends are there to catch you when you fall
[Kirk] Here's my shoulder
[Choir] Here's my shoulder, you can lean on me

[Kirk] halleluia
[Mary J. Blige] Ooooohhhhh
[Kirk] Listen

[Mary J. Blige] Oh, there's a child
Who is sick and begging to be free
But there is no cure for his disease
He looks up to his mother and

[Choir] As she hold (holds), his hand (hand)
[Bono] Prayin' that someday
The sun will shine again
[Kirk] And the pain?
[Choir] And the pain will end
[Kirk] Pain will end....Come on

[Choir] I am here
[Mary J. Blige] I am here
[Choir] You don't have to worry
[Mary J. Blige] You don't have to worry
[Choir] I can see...
[Mary J. Blige] I see...
[Choir] ....your tears
[Mary J. Blige] ....your tears, yeah
[Choir] I'll be there in a hurry when you call
[Mary J. Blige] I'll be there in a hurry when you call
[Choir] Friends are there to catch you when you fall
[Mary J. Blige] I'm your friend and I'll catch you when, when, when you fall
[Choir] Here's my shoulder, you can lean on me
[Mary J. Blige] Here's my shoulder, you can lean on me

[R. Kelly] Tell me, how can I, how can I love Jesus
When I've never seen His face
[Bono] Yeah, I see you dying
[Crystal Lewis[ And I turn and walk away

[Crystal] So hold my hand
[Mary J. Blige] Oooooohhhhh
[Bono] Let me take you to a friend of mine
[R. Kelly] He's waiting just to ease your troubled mind
[Kirk] Yeah, yeah, He loves you more than you'll ever know
[Bono] 'Stead of walking away
[Kirk] Open up
[Crystal Lewis] Open up your heart and say
[Kirk] Come on

[Choir] I am here
[R. Kelly] I am here
[Choir] You don't have to worry
I can see your tears
I'll be there in a hurry when you call
[Kirk] Alleluia
[Choir] Aaaaaaah
[Tamila Mann - Family] When you call, friends will be there to catch you when, catch you when you fall
[Choir] Here's my shoulder, you can lean on me
[Dalon Collins - Family] Thank you Jesus, yeah
[R. Kelly] OhYeah, oh yeah
[Choir] Here's my shoulder, you can lean on me
Here's my shoulder, you can lean on me
[Bono] You can lean on me
[R. Kelly] Lean on me, yeah, yeah Intro
[Bono] Oooooohhh
[Bono] Here's my shoulder you can lean ooonnn me

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Friday, May 18, 2007

The Face Of Friendship

Late yesterday evening, I got good news about my friend Margaret. Her husband left a message on my answering machine telling me that she would be released this coming Monday morning from the local hospital where she has been almost continuously over the past three months battling a serious lung infection / pneumonia. They will leave that afternoon for Dallas to admit her to the Baylor Medical facility where she will complete her rehabilitation and start the preliminary testing towards the Bone Marrow Transplant she desperately needs. This will be her second BMT.

I won't go into all the details here as I have already posted them in an earlier entry. Read that entry here if you have the chance. I warn you that it is lengthy, but gives much of the background on our friendship and her need for a second miracle in her life.

This picture, which admittedly is not one of our best, shows us at a time when we were both struggling with injury (me) or disease (Margaret). I had been in a serious car wreck with three of my granddaughters and Margaret was still undergoing treatment for cancer that led to her first BMT just a few months after this photo was taken.

Please keep Margaret in your prayers for the continued rehabilitation of her lungs and to regain her strength so that she may have her second transplant and that the transplant will be successful. Please be sure to mention her family and the donor as well. To any or all who have given this precious gift of life to someone in the past or may be on a list to do so in the future, know that you are a miracle, not only to the person you are donating to, but to all who love and care about them.

Margaret, Dave and I are packing our bags and waiting only for you to recover so that we can make that trip to Chicago to see Oprah!

(leaving the song Miss You as I am indeed missing my friend and will until she recovers fully)

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I am all over the place in my musical taste. Three of my favorite artists from the past are James Taylor, Carole King and Jim Croce because their music takes me somewhere. They set a tone or enhance a mood or tell a story. I love Lela James (great R&B singer and I will feature her music on a future post), The Beatles, Earl Klugh (terrific Jazz guitar), The Eagles, Eva Cassidy and Tina Turner just to name a few and I do like some of the newer music, although honestly, I'm not that familiar with it. I like Contemporary Christian, R&B, Jazz, Soul, Rock, Crossover Country (not twang... NEVER ! EVER ! TWANG !!!), Oldies, Classical... even Opera on a limited basis.

In my cd player right now are disks including a mixed Christian artist cd, Jackson Browne, Lela James, Elliott Yamin, The Eagles and the Phantom of the Opera sound track. I have music from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s converted for use in my mp3 player.

I am only sorry that I have zero ability to sing. How I wish I could sing... but I can't! I'm so bad that I tell myself to stop singing! (but do I listen? noooooo... I go right on wailin' out with whatever I happen to be listening to at the time) I took piano lessons when I was young but was too lazy to practice enough to get good at it. I played the clarinet in band during my school days but never touched it again after my high school graduation. As an adult, I've tried the guitar with limited success, telling myself it is because my hands are small and it is just too hard to make the spans for the chords (hey, it's a valid excuse). In reality, I just don't have whatever it takes to become really good at any of those instruments, whether what it takes is desire or talent.

So I guess I just have to work harder at listening. That seems to be the only real musical skill that I have. That and clapping... I clap really good!

Now playing Miss You by the Rolling Stones. They aren't my favorite group, but the songs I do like by the Stones are ones I will love forever.


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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all! We had a beautiful rendition of Ava Maria in church this morning, as I am sure many services did this day. Thanks to Bobby and Keith for their fantastic version of this holy song. Not bad at all for two Methodist tenors!

To my children and grandchildren, I love you all and thank you for the love shared with me today and always.

To my own mother, I love you Mom. There is none better!

In honor of all mothers, here is Celine Dion singing Ava Maria! I tried to get Pavarotti but was unable to locate his version.

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Monday, May 07, 2007


Ginger is my constant companion. She goes almost everywhere I go. She loves to ride in the car, even on very long trips. If I don't take her on trips with me, she still wins as my son John takes care of her and she loves John as much as she loves traveling and as much or more than she loves me.

She is by far the smartest dog I've ever had. She is half Australian Shepherd and half Border Collie. She does tricks and loves to perform. My granddaughter Emily loves to set up obstacles and jumps for Ginger when she is here. She has had Ginger jump well over four feet high many times.

Ginger is a beautiful and loving dog. She is easily bored and a real prima dona. She loves attention and expects it from everyone. She is jealous of Mr. Woody K. Nibs, the kitten I brought home after Dad died last year. She tolerates him well most of the time and will even kiss him if told to do so but he is not allowed anywhere near any of Ginger's possessions, especially her food and water bowls. If he comes to me for attention, Ginger immediately gets a ball or other toy for me to play with. She loves to chase him and often tries to herd him which is deep rooted in her nature. He has nothing to do with that of course.

Ginger tries to dominate other animals so strongly that she scares me sometimes. I always give her a lot of time to get used to other critters. She is terrific with people though, including children. I think she sees herself as an equal to us and above the animals she works so hard to intimidate.

Ginger is now 3 1/2 years old, a Christmas gift from John the year I retired.

Isn't she beautiful!

(now playing - Elvis Presley Hound Dog)

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