Saturday, November 1, 2014


30 Days of Thankful - Day 1 - HOME
I've lived in my house for 20+ years.  It's not all fancy--a very ordinary house that is rather small in comparison to those of many of my friends.  It's an older house that seems to always "need" something---more storage, bigger bathrooms, new paint, repairs to the ceiling.  The list goes on and on.  Since Ron and I married, we sometimes talk about moving---it would great to have something a little bigger when family comes to visit.   But, in the meantime (and quite possibly forever), we've worked to make it better.  And if I'm really honest, deep down, I don't want to leave it because it feels like HOME to me.  It's safe, and there are great neighbors and it's where I raised my girls.  There are bigger places and nicer places, but they aren't HOME.

What is HOME to you?  Is it a building?  Is it a town?  Is it a feeling?

Be sure to tag your photos with our special hashtag #30DaysOfThankful.   Thanks for joining me as we celebrate the wonderful parts of our lives.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Welcome to 30 Days of Thankful

Welcome to "30 Days of Thankful", an Instagram photo challenge among friends that begins tomorrow.  It's easy and fun and we hope you'll join us in a month of appreciating a few of the things that we sometimes take for granted.  Of course, there are plenty more wonderful things in our lives, but this list will get us started noticing the little things around us.

The rules for the challenge are quite simple:  There really aren't any.  Each morning (hopefully), you will receive an email prompt of something to be thankful for.  As you go about your daily activities, keep your eyes open for opportunities to interpret the prompt with your camera.  I personally use only my phone camera for these challenges, but you are welcome to use whatever you wish.  Sometimes, I will give you an example to get you thinking, while other times, I may just list the prompt as a reminder.  I plan to post the prompt here on the blog each morning, so if for some reason the email fails us, just check here.

I know that sometimes life gets way too busy and other things are much more important than an Instagram post, so if that happens, don't despair.  It's fine!   You can catch up later, or not at all.  Like I said, there really aren't any rules.

Well, actually, there is one rule---please be sure to tag your posts with the hashtag #30DaysOfThankful2014.  I generally try to list the prompt itself in ALL CAPS in the caption, along with the hashtag.  Many of you already know each other, but others live in other parts of the country or are "friends of friends".  But, we now all have something in common---this challenge--so click on the hashtag from time to time and see how others are interpreting the prompts.  You might even find a new friend to follow! (There are several people that I follow and have never actually met)

And for those of you that like to know what is coming up so you can plan ahead, here is a list of the prompts for November.   I actually write the emails and posts so far ahead of the time that I can't remember when they are going to actually be posted, so each morning is a surprise to me!
If you want to join us for the first time, leave your email and Instagram username in the comments below and I will add you to the email list.


Fall FUN 2014 - Day 31 - SPOOKY
Halloween, Halloween
SPOOKY, kooky Halloween
Kids in costumes, what a sight
On Halloween tonight!
What SPOOKY sight will you conjure up today?   

Don't forget to check back tonight to see the brand new prompt list for November!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Celebrating an Anniversary

Community Renewal International began about 20 years ago in Shreveport, LA with the vision of one man to change communities, on neighbor at a time.  I've been involved in it for many years in some small capacity, but have always been so inspired by the vision behind this wonderful organization.  Block by block, communities have turned around in this area and in recent years, the concept has gone nationwide and now internationally.

At the beginning of 2014, after interning with CRI last year, Callie left her job as youth director to begin working for this non-profit agency.   Tonight, they celebrated their 20th anniversary with a night of music, fellowship and inspiration and Callie was able to get tickets for us to attend with them.   The event was held at the historic Municipal Auditorium, noted for featuring Elvis Presley at the Louisiana Hayride many years ago, and had I known that cameras would be allowed, I certainly would have brought my Nikon rather than depending on my phone camera!
There were dignitaries from the area, the nation and even from other countries.  But, the majority of the audience was comprised of folks that work on the front lines of this organization making a difference in the lives of children and families throughout the city.

The program was filled with inspiring music and recognitions.
But, the best part of the evening was the keynote speaker, former President Jimmy Carter.  One of the memories I will take with me wasn't captured by my camera, but I was watching him behind a group of singers as they performed "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic".  With his eyes closed, he sang along with every word.
He is now 90 years old and since leaving the presidency, has accomplished so much in the area of humanitarian efforts.  With his strong faith leading him, he is quite amazing, actually.
Just as we left the building,  the street was cleared and the motorcade left, whisking Carter and his entourage away.  Callie, while I know you "just missed" your opportunity for an individual picture with Carter, I was able to get you in the same shot as his motorcade.  Does that count?!?!


Fall FUN 2014 - Day 30 - MOON
When Callie was little, she had an obsession with the MOON.  I think it might have stemmed from the fact that she could easily spot it from her carseat, but she also loved the color blue and often commented about how she loved "blue moons".  No month of Halloween/fall prompts would be complete without one dedicated to the MOON.   While I long to be able to capture a great MOON photo, so far that has eluded me.  Recently, there was a beautiful Harvest Moon, however, that I was able to capture from our backyard.
Who knows what the MOON will look like where you live today, but perhaps you'll be able to capture a shot of it.  Or maybe you'll find another way to interpret this prompt.  

Be sure to let me know if you want to be taken off the photo prompt email list.  Otherwise, I will assume you want to continue to receive a daily email of some sort.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fall Memory

Fall FUN 2014 - Day 29 - FALL MEMORY
I have several fun FALL MEMORIES--some from my girls' childhoods and some from my own. I remember raking leaves into big piles, shaping them into forts and having leaf battles with my brothers.  I remember LOTS of games of "tag football" in the backyard with neighborhood friends (one in particular that ended with a pair of teeth in my scalp and a bit of blood on both of us).  And I have some vague memories of trick-or-treating with my brothers.  The only costume I really remember was the year I was a "hobo", when I was about 6 or 7 years old.

But, I remember almost every detail of my own children's costumes, whether it be for Trick-or-Treating or for a school play.  There was a witch, Dorothy, a Madeline, clown, a candy fairy, Laura Wilder (from Little House on the Prairie), a jester . . . the list goes on and on.   In fact, I still have many of them.  The one pictured below is from Jana's 3rd grade Halloween play---as you can tell from her sign, she was Mrs. Pumpkin Eater.
What is your favorite FALL MEMORY?   Is there a something today that brings it all back to you like it was just yesterday?  Or maybe you can capture something today that will become a FALL MEMORY in the future.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Fall FUN 2014 - Day 28 - COZY
The word COZY conjures up a whole host of images for me---fireplaces, a cuddly blanket, flannel pj's . . . Last fall, Ron and I went camping at Tyler State Park.  Carmelle, Chad and the kids met us over there Saturday night, but Friday night it was just us.   We arrived just before dark and set up our tent.  Then, but the light of a headlamp, Ron built a fire.   I heated some chili over the campfire and it was so yummy.  We sat and watched the fire, all cozy in our jackets and camp chairs, and listened to the sounds of the woods.  Just thinking about it makes me want to go back!!!

What does COZY mean to you?  Is there a special sweater or a special chair in your house that makes you feel especially warm and COZY?