Monday, October 29, 2007

FIFTEEN!!!!!

My oldest granddaughter, Erin, has a birthday today. It is so hard to believe that 15 years have passed since she was born. I've been wanting to do a post on here, dedicated strictly to Erin first, then one on each of the other granddaughters in their birth order but time eludes me as does the ability to find the words and resources I want to use to define them to the world... well at least to the people who visit my little space on the Wx3.

So for now, it will just have to be enough to say

Happy Birthday Erin!!!

    Erin,

    I hope this day and this year are everything you could hope for. I pray for you every day, for your happiness, for your soul, for the choices you make, for the people you choose to be a part of your life and most of all for you to know how loved you are.

    Sweet sixteen will be here before you know it!

    Love,

    Mimi

This also happens to my brother Jim's birthday as well. He is the oldest in our family and turned 65 today. It is so hard to believe that we are at THAT age when I so clearly remember us at Erin's current age!

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Friday, October 26, 2007

For Emily

Love you Ems! You are one of my 'everythings'!

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More Playing With Paint Shop Pro Effects

These files are of two of my favorite subjects.

The first one is a sketch effect I applied to an old photo of Sarah Grace, who is now 11. She was maybe 4 or 5 in this picture. What a girlie girl she was in her feather boa!




The second one was a little more complicated. It is of Emily and started as a black and white shot that I selectively added color to. I added green to her eyes and a sort of soft reddish pink to her lips and a light brush of the same color to her cheeks. I duplicated layers of her photo, created one with a gradient fill to dramatize the original bw then applied blend modes to get the end result. I really just played around until I got tired of messing with it I was happy with the result then added simple line borders to finish it out.


Either way, I seem to be coming out of my creative doldrums a bit. Maybe I'll eventually get more creative with the entries to this blog!

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Friday's Feast #166







If you want to participate in Friday's Feast click here.


Appetizer -Name a great website you would recommend to others.

hmmmm... so many to choose from. Amazon.com seems to be one of my favorites as I continually go back and place orders on a regular basis. Scrapgirls.com is another I go to daily. Melissa's site, scrappyexpressions.blogspot.com, is another favorite.

Soup -On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 as highest), how often do you dream at night?

A very low number ... probably 1. They tell me that I dream even if I don't remember them, but I seldom have dreams that I remember these past few years. I used to dream (and remember them) all the time.

Salad -Did you have a pet as a child? If so, what kind and what was its name?

We had a dog (that actually was given to my brother on his birthday but she became a family pet), named Susie for about 10 years. She was part cocker / part mutt and a gentle loving creature. She was all black with a white patch on her upper chest. My first cat was all white and I named him Snowball. He was special to me and a gift from a farmer who was a friend of the family.

Main Course -If you had the chance to star in a commercial, what would you choose to advertise?

I would choose something that my granddaughters could do with me so anything that would be appropriate for them to be in.

Dessert -What is your favorite kind of hard candy?

I'm not a huge hard candy fan. I love Tootsie Roll Pops though, that combine hard candy with the soft tootsie roll center if that counts. If I have to pick something else, I guess I would choose plain old butterscotch.

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posted by Marsha at 11 Comments

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lensbaby Effect


I used an effect called lensbaby on this photo of my niece, Melanie, taken after her wedding. I followed a tutorial that was written for Photoshop which I don't have so I adapted it for Paint Shop Pro. You can find the tutorial here.


click photo for larger view
The effect is done to emulate a photographic technique used by professional photographers, through the use of software. I'm sure with practice I could do better at applying this technique but I was happy with it for a first attempt. Lensbaby produces a graduated 'dreamy' or porcelain look as it focuses in on the subject, which I had a hard time leaving alone. I wanted Melanie to stand out completely so I didn't apply the effect as fully over the image as I could have. The edges were then selectively darkened to add more drama to the photo. I added the old photo style frame and titling after the lensbaby effect was completed for my personal taste. I tried this effect on a black and white version of this image but didn't like that as much as the color version you see here. I do think that on the right black and white photo that the final results would be even more dramatic.

The main reason I think this one turned out as well as it did is the subject. She is beautiful! Love you Mel!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Brrrrr!!! (still)

It's now 1:30pm and still only 52°F the rain has ended but the wind has picked up to 15mph. Ginger does not want to go outside! Me, I'm just sitting here wrapped in my blanket, whining about the weather! ;-)



Dang! I'm freezing... I've been in the deep south too long!

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Shooting Stars

I'm not an astronomer, not even an amateur one. But every now and then, even someone like me can read a blurb in the news section online about a meteor shower and manage to catch sight of a rare meteor display.

A junior version of the famous Perseid meteor shower is scheduled to reach its maximum before sunrise on Sunday morning, Oct. 21. This meteor display is known as the Orionids because the meteors seem to fan out from a region to the north of Orion's second brightest star, ruddy Betelgeuse.

After peaking Sunday, activity will begin to slowly descend, dropping back to around five per hour around Oct. 26.


I've been outside several times this morning and managed to catch a glimpse of 7 meteors streaking across the sky. I'm both awed and a little disappointed. While catching a glimpse of even one shooting star amazes me, I was hoping to see more of a show. The first time I went outside, admittedly a little earlier than the predicted peak time, I caught glimpse of only one. That one was the second brightest and longest track of the seven I've seen so far. The most impressive one I just saw a few minutes ago. It's still pre-sunrise here in northeast Louisiana and I will try again in a few minutes. When I went out at around 5:30 local time, I witnessed 5 of them within the space of a few moments, then the action stopped as quickly as it began. I'm certain there were those I missed in one section of the sky as my attention was focused on another area.

Ginger thinks I am crazy, running in and out at this time of day and wonders why we're not still sleeping. She may be right. But I'll answer her thoughts later -- after I go out to check the skies again!

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Civic Duty

** Update ** Bobby Jindal will be the next governor of Louisiana.

It was election day today in Louisiana. This was actually a primary election, an open primary, which means all candidates for office are on the ballot, regardless of party affiliation. If a candidate for a particular office gets a clear majority of votes on this day, then that person is elected to that office. If no one receives a majority of the vote then we have a runoff election in November between the top two vote getters for those offices. I am watching the results roll in now to see who may have been elected outright, who will be in runoffs and which, if any, of the issues we voted on passed.

We know that we will have a new governor, regardless of who wins, whether by a majority today or in a runoff next month. Kathleen Blanco, our sitting governor, chose not to run for a second term. It was a wise choice. She made many mistakes after the Katrina disaster, mostly huge political mistakes that cost our state some early relief. She has not been forgiven. She was however, a far more effective governor aside from the Katrina debacle, in my opinion anyway, than many of her predecessors. As a matter of fact, if it were not for her total downfall after Katrina, I think she was a solid governor and would have been a shoe in for re-election.

Louisiana is a tough place folks. It is totally unique in how it has been governed since the days of pirate rule, long before statehood. It has been riddled with fraud, run by criminals and good old boys and much of the natural resources have been destroyed over the years by waste, poor management and political rape. What we didn't do to ourselves directly, we allowed the federal government to ruin indirectly by not taking care of our own business. This state has so much potential but somehow always manages to come out last or near last in every measurable category of social, political and cultural area of life. Our infrastructure is poor. Our educational system is poor, we continue to lose jobs that we only gained a few short years ago. Yet this area is truly beautiful and unlike any other state in the union. It has a proud and diverse background and heritage. I wish you all could see the best of this state, unfortunately the worst of it is what usually hits the national news.

The numbers are getting interesting here so I am off to see if we've elected someone or if we will wait until November.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Ethan


This sweet baby boy can use your prayers as well as his family. What a monster cancer is!

http://www.ethanpowell.com/

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Friday's Feast #165





If you want to participate in Friday's Feast click here.





Appetizer -If you were a dog, what breed would you be, and why?

A Cocker Spaniel because I think they are the most lovable breed. The eyes make me melt.

Soup -What does the color purple make you think of?

Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey were the first to pop into my head, then my nephew Michael, who gave purple kisses when he was a little boy. I would have to reload him from time to time as he would run out.

Salad -Approximately how long does it take you to get ready each morning?

Get ready for what? (I love being retired!)

Main Course -How many cousins do you have, and are you close to them?

I have 12 on my dad's side of the family and 14 on mom's side. I have 6 step cousins also. I care about them all, but I'm not as close to any of them as I used to be.

Dessert -Take your initials (first, middle, last) and come up with something else those letters could stand for.

MRM First / Maiden / Last (which I normally use) Mildly Romantic Mammal
or
MEM First / Middle / Last (seldom use my middle name) Mischevious Enigmatic Miss

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Irresistible Revolution


'... but then came the religious right with evangelical faith going public, but not in the ways we had hoped. Christian concerns were reduced to only a few "moral issues" (most having to do with sex and the dominance of Christian language in the public square), and pacts were soon made with the economic and political agenda of America's far right. After thirty years, America became convinced that God was a Republican, and the enduring image of Christianity became the televangelist preacher.'

'... Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution is the best evidence so far that a new generation of believers is waking up and catching on fire with the gospel.'

'... This book is a manifesto for a new generation of Christians who want to live their faith in this world and not just the next. Read it and your hopes will rise. God is again doing something new.


Taken from the forward (written by Jim Wallis) for The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne.

I am barely into this book and loving it so far (I started it a week ago but got sidetracked and am just getting back to it). I was afraid that it would be too 'young' for me, too idealistic for someone my age to relate to, that my mindset is too practical these days for yet again another 'revolutionary' approach to life. I was wrong. This book so far epitomizes my own beliefs and how I believe Christianity should look to the world. The book came to my attention by a young man in our congregation who plans on going into the ministry and preached two sermons at our contemporary service in the past few months. On both occasions he referenced material from this book and the last time, it prompted another order being sent off to Amazon.

At this point, between Shane Claiborne and the other founding members of The Simple Way, along with the young man in our church and my niece, Morgan, who is studying in Israel right now, my hopes for the future are lifted. I am impressed with them all and how they choose to live their lives... not so much shouting Christianity at people as just being authentic in living out their faith.

I will do my best to post a full review when I've finished reading it. If any of you are familiar with the book, I would like to hear your thoughts on it.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Common Thread

Three things that I was exposed to this week gave me pause for thought. On the surface, they seemed unrelated but upon reflection, I found a common theme running through them that was a good reminder for me of what I should look like.
  • an old interview with Katherine Hepburn on cable

  • a devotional that came to me in email

  • today's sermon by a lay leader

I always admired Kate Hepburn. I liked her intelligence, her straightforward approach to life, her slightly defiant attitude toward established principles if they got in the way of living her life. In this old interview with Dick Cavett, she was asked about religion and stated that she was not a religious person. That she found people in church to be rather boring in how hard they seemed to try to be something that doesn't really make a whit of difference in their lives since God gave us grace as a gift and all we have to do is to accept it. Nothing in all the 'trying' to be a Christian and trying to live a 'Christian life' is going to get us anything that God hasn't already given us. I was surprised (I'm not sure why) that she was very well versed in Christianity and scripture. She may not have been religious but the lady knew her stuff.

The email devotional I received, admonished the reader to think about what we are doing in church; are we so involved in doing and trying to be Christians, that we forget that being a Christian has more to do with 'looking' like Christ than in how hard we work at acting a certain way. I think you are beginning to see the common thread.

Our sermon this morning was not a sermon, per the lay leader who delivered it, but simply talk between friends. Our scripture came from Matthew and our talk had to do with sowing seeds. My friend and former neighbor, reminded us that we are not required to achieve goals to assure our salvation. That all we are called to do is sow seeds of love and kindness, seeds that impart knowledge of Christ and then stand back and let God reap the harvest. Oh... there's that thread again!

My conclusion is that maybe, sometimes, we try too hard and perhaps in our effort, we become resentful or think we are deserving of something we could never earn in the first place. We try to measure our worthiness or we judge our efforts against the efforts of others, far too often deciding that one of us is falling short. And it is all meaningless. God loves us regardless of our human condition and we only have to accept his love to receive the greatest gift in the world.

Help me Father, on this day, to simply do my best to 'look' like Christ... to live the life I am called to live and help me put away the foolish notion that I have a better idea of what I should look like than the perfect example you gave me.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Uncle Jay Explains The News

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Friday's Feast #164





If you want to participate in Friday's Feast click here.





Appetizer -When was the last time you were surprised?

When I was asked to be the chairperson of the Mission Team at my church. After a good bit of soul searching, I agreed to accept it. It is a major responsibility.

Soup -Fill in the blanks: My eyes are ________, but I wish they were __________.

My eyes are near 20-20 since having lasik surgery, but I wish they were still able to see close up because I hate having to use reading glasses. (I know, I've whined about this before.)

Salad -If you were a Beanie Baby, what would you look like and what would your name be?

I would be a set of twin lambs and my (our) name would Ewe Two and we would sing and play backup for Bono.

Main Course -Name two things you consistently do that you consider to be healthy habits.

I drink a lot of water and I eat a low fat diet. I can name a couple more... I quit smoking almost 12 years ago and Ginger and I are walking again every day now that the temperatures have cooled back down a bit.

Dessert -What brand of toothpaste are you using these days? Do you like it? Why or why not?

I've used Colgate for years. I have used others at different times but I always go back to Colgate so obviously I like it. I guess I like the way it tastes and it leaves my mouth feeling cool. I'm wondering though why anyone would use a toothpaste they don't like.

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posted by Marsha at 16 Comments

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

You Lift Me Up Award



Linda at This and That was kind enough to give me this award. One of the neatest things about the WWW is finding friends that you would otherwise have never known. While I may never meet Linda IRL, I have come to hold her in high regard and would say that she has certainly done much to lift my spirits on many occasions. Thank you Linda!

I am passing this award on to Diane at Faith In Community. Diane never fails to make me think about how we are intended to live and she very intelligently defines a life that calls to me. She leads by example and through her genuine nature.

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posted by Marsha at 3 Comments

Friday, October 05, 2007

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month


In honor of my friend Betty who has just undergone a double mastectomy and will be starting treatment shortly and for several other friends and the thousands of women I don't know who are or who have battled breast cancer.

ribbon is courtesy of Carol Sutton

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

adding these important notes to this post Saturday, October 6, 2207 at 4:30pm

CONTEST!!! -- Be sure to go by 5 Minutes for Mom to get on the latest giveaway that is tied to breast cancer awareness month. They are giving away a pink digital camera from Casio. I've put a link up in the contests section to take you to the digital camera giveaway post.

IMPORTANT!!! -- Be sure to click on the Click Every Day logo found in the sidebar to go to a sponsor site that will provide free mammograms for women who might not get one otherwise. All you have to do is click a link when you get there to participate.

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Friday's Feast #163





If you want to participate in Friday's Feast click here or on the image.





Appetizer -On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you look forward to your birthday?

I really don't care that much about my birthday anymore. It's really just another day to me. My kids generally make it special in some way, which is nice so that makes it a 5 instead of a 0.

Soup -What is one word you don’t like the sound, spelling, or meaning of?

Words that are used to demean or lessen the value of others. They are not words I use and I see no point in publishing them here.

Salad -Do you wear sunglasses when you’re outside? If so, what does your current pair look like?

Yes, I do. They were made more necessary after lasik surgery several years ago. Mine have a dark copper color frame. The lens are frameless, a sort of coppery brown gradient, darker at the top and lighter at the bottom. I like them.

Main Course -If you were to write a book, to whom would you dedicate it?

That would depend on the book. Most likely it would be someone in my family... one or all of my children or grandchildren or perhaps my mother.

Dessert -Name a beverage that you enjoy.

I really like Minute Maid Light Lemonade. I also drink a lot of water and I'm not averse to a good bloody mary.

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posted by Marsha at 8 Comments

Monday, October 01, 2007

Autumn Blessings Tag

Note: for whatever reason, blogger seems to have a problem occasionally with images and I am having to reload this file. It seems to work better when I store them elsewhere on the web so we'll give that a shot. This is a slightly different version than the previous image because I'm still playing with my new PSP X2 software every chance I get. The only new credit to give is for a brush I used on the background from my friend Lori at TOMH, where you can access some of her brushes and other items for free. Lori moderates the Yahoo group Nothing Cute Here and also designs digital scrapping resources for Scrap Girls. [Tuesday 4:30pm]



God of the seasons, there is a time for everything; there is a time for dying and a time for rising. We need courage to enter into the transformation process.

God of autumn, the trees are saying goodbye to their green, letting go of what has been. We, too, have our moments of surrender, with all their insecurity and risk. Help us to let go when we need to do so.

God of fallen leaves lying in colored patterns on the ground, our lives have their own patterns. As we see the patterns of our own growth, may we learn from them.

God of misty days and harvest moon nights, there is always the dimension of mystery and wonder in our lives. We always need to recognize your power-filled presence. May we gain strength from this.

God of harvest wagons and fields of ripened grain, many gifts of growth lie within the season of our surrender. We must wait for harvest in faith and hope. Grant us patience when we do not see the blessings.

God of geese going south for another season, your wisdom enables us to know what needs to be left behind and what needs to be carried into the future. We yearn for insight and vision.

God of flowers touched with frost and windows wearing white designs, may your love keep our hearts from growing cold in the empty seasons.

God of life, you believe in us, you enrich us, you entrust us with the freedom to choose life. For all this, we are grateful.

Amen.


The Autumn Blessings Special element is from the Autumn Bliss Collection by Kerry Veale. The background leaves are made from a stock photo found on the internet. Background and design are by me using PSP X2.

Autumn Prayer found here.

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posted by Marsha at 2 Comments

Ginger



This photo of Ginger is SOOC other than minor cropping on the right side. I couldn't believe she sat that still looking right at me for so long. I got several shots of her this way but liked this one with just the end of her nose showing. It draws you into her soulful eyes.

She is usually contrary when I am trying to photograph her.

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Last Lecture



A dying professor gives his last lecture.

'Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want.'

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