Friday, September 30, 2011

My Photography Top 10 and Book Winner!

Yesterday I got a kick out of Paul Harwell's blog post entitled, "Top 10 Signs You Just Might be a Wildlife Photographer". Boy, could I relate! So I thought I'd try to come up with my own Top 10 for photography addiction.
My daughter took this of me in Portland.
One of my first outings with the 400mm lens.
You know you're a photography addict when:

10. Just the idea of going outside with your camera makes you giddy.
9. Your camera bag is with you more than your purse.
8. You are keenly aware of how light is bathing an object even when not shooting.
7. You spend more time editing photos on your computer than with the family.
6. A gentle breeze is now considered a nuisance.
5. If an outing doesn't involve photography or isn't favorable for photos, you're not interested.
4. You feel naked without your camera.
3. If you go more than a few days without shooting, you dream about it.
2. When watching a sporting event you are more interested in the camera lenses on the sidelines than in the game.

And the #1 reason you know you're a photography addict:

1. You would rather have camera gear than nice clothes or jewelry.

What about you? Can you add to the list?

And now for the winner of the Jesus Calling book: NADINE, Chewy & Lilibell!! I have been so excited for this give-away. Nadine, please contact me with your mailing address and I'll have it shipped to you asap. Congrats! I hope you'll be as blessed by it as I have been. :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

In Gratitude

Yesterday I wrote a light-hearted post on reaching a compromise with my son and our (seemingly) neverending war. War of words, war of wills, you name it. If I had described just how serious the problems are you would get depressed with me and I certainly don't want that. While we still have a ways to go, at least things are stable for the moment. After all, each moment is all we really have, and I am learning to be content with that.

Today, I'd like to publicly thank God and those who have been so faithful in prayer for us. I'd also like to recommend a book that has helped me tremendously called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It instantly spoke to me from the first page. Not only did it speak to me, the comfort I have received from it is beyond description. This book is a little different from other devotionals in that it is Sarah's personal journal of God speaking to her. So each day it is as though Jesus is talking. Here's an example of the entry for August 23 that I kept going back to during The War:

     Entrust your loved ones to me; release them into my protective care. They are much safer with Me than in your clinging hands. If you let a loved one become an idol in your heart, you endanger that one--as well as yourself. Remember the extreme measures I used with Abraham and Isaac. I took Isaac to the very point of death to free Abraham from son-worship. Both Abraham and Isaac suffered terribly because of the father's undisciplined emotions. I detest idolatry, even in the form of parental love.
     When you release your loved ones to Me, you are free to cling to My hand. As you entrust others into My care, I am free to shower blessings on them. My Presence will go with them wherever they go, and I will give them rest. This same Presence stays with you, as you relax and place your trust in Me. Watch to see what I will do.

Related Bible verses: Genesis 22:;9-12; Ephesians 3:20; Exodus 33:14

So, with a grateful heart, I would like to give away a leather-bound, deluxe edition of this book. Maybe you are not all that religious, but you know someone who could benefit from its wisdom. Christmas will be upon us before we know it and I think this would make a lovely gift. Since receiving this book in June I have already given away 4 copies, all received with the same amazement at how it comforted and spoke to them.

This is not a ploy for comments, but obviously I do need you to leave one to be eligible for the prize. You can simply say "hi!" or share how God has helped you or whatever you're comfortable with. Contest ends at 3PM, Thursday, 9/29/11. I will use and announce the winner on Friday, Sept 30. Have a safe and blessed weekend, my friends!

Comments are now closed.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Maxine, Boudreaux, and a Compromise to the Rescue!

Some days, Maxine really nails how I feel.

My eldest son and I have been locked in a battle for some time, and things all came to a head this week. Finally, in a last-ditch effort to stop the madness he called last night asking if we could just start over from scratch. Forget the past and move forward. Me, immediately latching on to that offer said, "That's the best thing you've said all day. I'll take it. Deal!" Then we exchanged some lighthearted text messages and I finally slept the sleep of babes.

Earlier in the day someone had sent me some new Maxines (which I love), and the one above couldn't have been more perfect. Then my aunt sent me a Cajun joke.

Boudreaux was in New Orleans. He was patiently waiting and watching the traffic cop on a busy street crossing. The cop stopped the flow of traffic and shouted, "Okay, pedestrians!" Then he'd allow the traffic to pass.

He'd done this several times and Boudreaux still stood on the sidewalk.

After the cop had shouted, "pedestrians!" for the tenth time, Boudreaux went over to him and said, "Ain't it 'bout time ya let the Catholics across?

If you're not Cajun you may not get it, but it put a smile on my face. Here's one more and I'll let you go:

Pierre looks out the window and sees Boudreaux standing out in his field. Pierre tells his wife, Marie, that he is worried about Boudreaux.

The next day he looks out his window and he sees Boudreaux still standing out in his field and tells Marie that he's REALLY worried about Boudreaux.

The third day he looks out and Boudreaux is still standing out in his field. Pierre says, "Marie, Boudreaux has lost his mind and I need to go help him!"

He walks over to Boudreaux and says, "What the hell are you doing, Boudreaux?"

Boudreaux says, "I'm trying to win de Nobel Prize."

Pierre says, "Mais, how you plan to do dat?"

Boudreaux says, "I saw a show on TV and dey said if you want to win de Nobel Prize dat you have to be out standing in your field."

Thanks for humoring me. Hope everyone has an awesome weekend! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lost In Translation

My grandfather, born in 1907, was apparently quite the player in his day. My dad found these photos after the death of his parents in 1986. Looking at some of these women made me realize that my father and I might never have been born if my grandfather had chosen to marry someone besides my grandmother. 

So strange to think about, isn't it?

I was able to translate the first two photos, but the others I'm not too sure. My grandfather spoke Canadian (Quebec?) French, which may be why I can't get proper answers from Google Translator. In fact, the writings may actually be a combination of Canadian/Acadian/Parisian French. If anyone knows what is written on the "Marie" and "City Park" photos, I'd be very appreciative! Merci beaucoup!

Thankfully, in English :)

More of Ray's bevy of beauties. Some of them look like saucy little tarts. :)
on the back: Ray and Rowena
She has quite an air about her, doesn't she?

 I call this one Betty Boop. Look at the mischief in her eyes!
It's like she's saying, "Wanna see what's under my skirt, you randy boy?"

Girl in the grass

Girl and her shadow

I think this is the same girl as above without the hat and gloves

 Girl in the sand. Looks like she's had a few too many...

Girl in bathing suit. Back when it was
okay to have some curves. :)

Even more curves! Trixie on the Model T (I just made that up)

Cigarette girl on ladder

My grandmother is on the left, hugging my grandfather; not sure why the other girl
is also hugging him just as tight. :/ I know who won that battle! :)

My grandparents are off to the right and seem so close.
The poor girl on the left looks like she's about to get
smacked by the flag. Being a third wheel never works out. :/

Monday, September 12, 2011

Badly Needed: God's Grace

Two people who actually know me [in real life] have stated that they miss reading posts about "me". I think I've been subconsciously hiding behind photography for over a year, so I think I'll give it a shot today.

Warning: some of it is not pretty.

I'm still loving the worship at St. Matthias, despite the fact that our beloved priest was forced to retire early due to his wife's Alzheimer's, and there is one parishioner who openly dislikes me. Recent case in point: last Sunday when I offered to help clean up after a function I had no idea where to start, so as "Mrs. Tortoise" walked by I asked her what task I should do.

She tossed out the following words rather rudely as she scurried by, "Go ask someone in the kitchen; they'll help you."

I wanted to shout in front of everyone, "WHAT DID I DO TO YOU?!" For this was not the first instance I was on the receiving end of her being rude to me or worse, being completely ignored.

Remember Evelyn Couch, the character in Fried Green Tomatoes? The scene in the grocery store parking lot where she's carrying all her bags to the car and a young punk slams into her, knocking all her groceries to the ground? That's what I felt like in the Great Hall of our church, like timid Evelyn Couch whimpering, "Why are you being so mean to me?"

Like the bully in the store parking lot "Mrs. Tortoise" didn't even try to hide her disdain. I felt hurt, angry, and rejected. There she is, politely having discussions with other people, but never once has she introduced herself or even smiled at me. Oh, there was that one time that I forced her to, when I made eye contact and smiled at HER in front of others. She replied with one of those tense, fake've seen 'em; lips stretched straight across in a tight line, eyes completely devoid of friendliness.

She might as well have flipped me off with that pathetic effort.

After I acknowledged the hurt that her cavalier response to my question caused, I became angry. I wanted to go up to her face--which is strikingly similar to a turtle that ate a sour apple--and inform her that she is not being very Christian.

Yes, my turtle comment is blatantly unchristian.

So there it is: my ugly side. I am aware and working very hard to rectify it. I'm a pretty nice person unless you hurt me for no good reason. In my youth I would have said what I thought about her to her face without stopping to think. These days I still have the ugly thoughts, but at least I stop and think about the consequences before I open my mouth. Now that I'm 50, I'm pretty good at the practice, but sometimes I just want to let it would feel so good, wouldn't it? Yeah, for about 5 seconds. :/

After I think of several different ways to confront her, The Lord's Prayer comes to mind (forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us) reminding me that no one is perfect (even though some may think they are just because they are polishing the marble altar down to a glare-inducing shine), and I ask God for grace.

And I try to concentrate on the people who seem to like me.

"Mrs. Tortoise" and people like her really make me want to stay home on Sunday mornings. But the worship at St. Matthias is so beautiful I've decided that one sour apple will not keep me away.

So I continue to ask for God's grace.

It's become a mantra.

Have you ever encountered such a situation in church? If so, how did you handle it? Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Zoo Challenge

Texas finally received a break in the oppressive heat last weekend. By Monday, Labor Day, it was too beautiful to stay indoors, so Double D suggested we take the DART train to the Dallas Zoo. The frequent stops are kind of annoying and some of the folks looked sketchy, causing me to white-knuckle my camera bag, but other than that, it was a pleasant, leisurely way to travel.

As a nature lover, I do not really care for zoos, but I do understand and accept their place in our society. Being an amateur photographer, I do enjoy capturing part of God's creation that I will never see in my neck of the woods. Now you'd think that taking pictures of zoo animals is super easy, like catching fish in a barrel or something. Not! I think the biggest challenge was all the kids! The other one was wires, fencing, plexiglass, etc. Further adding to the difficulties were the animals themselves refusing to pose for me. The nerve!

I started out with the 55-250mm lens. Because of the crowds, I was unable to get the reach I needed, so when I finally gave in and decided to change to my 100-400mm lens, I got lots of stares as well as comments. People would move out of the way, parting like the Red Sea, when I came to an exhibit. I did feel rather important, and while I didn't exactly enjoy that feeling, I embraced it pretty quickly, using it to my advantage. I'm always chasing the elusive "perfect" photo, after all. Is there such a thing? I won't stop trying; I'll continue to try until I have arthritis in my fingers and can no longer press the shutter button.
Saddleback Stork
White-headed Buffalo Weaver

Side view
Baby Giraffe
Marabou Storks
Penguin basking in the sunshine
Collared Lemur
Golden Palm Weaver
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Today I am getting a set of Kenko extension tubes so I hope to have some interesting photos to share next week! Thanks, Lisa, for the advice!

Update on extension tubes: Amazon sent the wrong ones. The particular vendor they contracted with will only issue refunds.  I can reorder but since the box was incorrectly labeled I'm afraid the same thing will happen again, so I've put the tubes on hold for now. :(

Monday, September 5, 2011

Tessa Mae

My sweet friend's 13 year old Great Dane, Tessa Mae, passed away on Friday. Tessa was a special, beautiful, sweet girl, living much longer than the average Dane.  I think her longevity is a testament to how very much she was loved and cared for by her family. This is the slideshow my friend created to celebrate Tessa's life, which she gave me permission to share here. Rest in peace, beautiful girl.