Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Not focused on Me

I've known all along that I wanted to have an foG post like this, but I'm still not sure if I can pull it off. This could very easily sound like it is focused on my glory, but I promise that isn't the intent. If anything, I hope to reinforce my gratitude to God for making me who I am. CBell is a friend of mine, and she has the BEST quote. "It's good to be me." I agree with her. She is the most amazing CBell evah!

And you know what? I like being me.

My life isn't perfect, and neither am I. (I can almost hear the "Amens!") Like everyone else, I KNOW I get on people's nerves, am sometimes rude and unsatisfied, and not always a great example to follow. But God's grace covers, and I am redeemed. Psalm 51: 1& 2

I love that God chose me to be me. I'm happy that He chose each of us specifically. One time I was standing in the kitchen with my dear friend Tina Jo and her husband. Ron is a forensic accountant. The job title alone makes my eyes cross! I remember turning to Ron and saying, "I'm SO glad God makes people like you. You make the world work." Ron smiled and answered, "Yes, but you decorate it." He told me that "people like me" make the world easier to live in. I loved that!

Am I the most creative person on the planet? Certainly not. Am I the most original. Of course not. But I do enjoy some of the silly things that pop into my head, and I recognize Who enables me to have those ideas. And being PERFECTLY honest, I love when people enjoy something I've created.

With that in mind, I want to show you a couple of pictures from the Christmas decorations I put together. My crafty ideas aren't going to win any prizes, but they sure were fun to implement.
This is one of the Christmas cone trees I made. It is sitting on the top of my grandmother's antique secretary. 

 What can you do with a little round Coca-Cola bottle? Cover it in glitter to make a sparkly ornament.

God is the giver of all things. Be pleased with who you are, and please Him with what He has given you.

And a little p.s.
As I was finishing this post, I turned and saw this image. I had left my camera like this, so I grabbed my Olympus P&S. Does anything describe this project any better?

Be sure to check out Jennifer's post HERE later today. Jef had a rough go last week, but she will be back this week.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Conversations With My Mother

Background information:
*  My mother can't hear
*  My mother cuts or burns her hands/fingers at least once a week
*  My mother makes up words (sometimes by accident)

Last week...
Me: "What did you use to press that down?"
Mom: "I used my frumbs."
Me: "Your frumbs?"
Mom: "I said thumbs!"
Me: "Uh, no you didn't."
(We both laughed until I had to use an inhaler.)

Mom: "Durn. I burned my finger."
Me: "Of course you did."

A little while later...
Me: "How's your frumb?"
Mom: "Is it ringing?" As she races to find her phone.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

focused on Glory (sunset)

There is a large field across the street from our neighborhood. At the far end sits an old shed and two dilapidated buildings. From a distance it looks like an old barn and out buildings, and I enjoy looking at them as the Sun sets behind them each day.

Once I got curious and drove around until I found the road that connects to the far end of the field. The road in front of our neighborhood dead-ends into the corner of the expanse. I found the other road, and it too is a dead end. (Funny how dead-ends keep coming while I'm foG.) I saw the buildings up close as I turned around and headed home. They are quite interesting.

Yesterday looked like it would produce a little color for the end of the day. I've always enjoyed sunrises and sunsets. They make me think of God's endless creativity. That may sound hokey, but I'm someone that delights in making something over, and over, and over, but doing it differently each time.

I grabbed my camera & tripod and put on my rain boots (which was SUPER SMART). I  stuffed three plastic grocery sacks in my coat pocket and set off across the field. Is trespassing forgivable if it is in search of God's beauty and glory?

The field was muddy! More than once I was sucked down past my ankles and had trouble lifting myself out of the thick muck. Boy am I glad I had those plastic bags. They were real leg-savers for my tripod.

I can't promise this won't be the only sunset to show up during this year-long project. I love them. It's as if God is winking at me and saying, "What do you think of this one?"

 Every time I see an old decaying building, I wonder what it was like inside those walls way back when.

 The sky was constantly changing, and so were my settings.

I wish you could see more of the hot pink on the right side.
It was so pretty!

Be sure to catch Jen's foG post here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Super Simple, Super Sweet Sugar Scrub

My mom needed an idea for Christmas gifts for her Sunday School class. She needed the gifts to be inexpensive because there are 24 ladies in her class, but she also wanted something sweet and personal. I suggested making sugar scrub. It's perfect for dry winter hands.

I had received homemade sugar scrub from a lovely lady I know, and she told me how easy it was to make. She made several types of scrubs but pointed out that a simple scrub was best to give as a gift. By simple I mean there are no scents or extra exfoliate ingredients added. This cuts down on possible allergic reactions. Personally I think a peppermint scrub sounds divine. You can also add a drop of food coloring to the sugar for extra adorability.

Mom bought two dozen half-pint jars, and they were a great deal. Each jar was under 75¢. The ingredients needed are sugar and olive oil. I told you it was simple. (Disclaimer: The pictures are frightfully bland, with bad lighting and lacking color. This was a last minute idea. Please forgive me.)

The jars came with a red gingham pattern printed on the lid. It looked pretty cheesy to me, so we covered them with thick scrapbook paper. The before and after are below.

Into each jar, I poured a 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of olive oil. I found that using a little less that 1/4 cup of oil works better. Let the oil seep into the sugar then use a fork to dig up the mixture. Don't get too excited when you are plowing through the sugar, or you will have to run a paper towel around the inside lip of your jar to clean it up. No one wants a messy gift.

If you don't chop your sugar, it looks like you are giving
a jar of oily glob.

And voilà!
24 inexpensive jars of Christmas love.
(I moved the jars outside for better lighting.)

Thanks for stopping by. If you like what you've seen then give my page a "like" creative confetti (website) on Facebook, and subscribe on the right. Feel free to pin and share via the widget to the left. I'd also love to hear from you, so leave a comment or send me an email.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Unexpected Encounter

Here are a few of the shots mentioned in the post below.

I told you! This tree is magnificent. The bottom most branches were about seven feet off the ground.  

I wanted to climb this tree SO badly. Even if I had asked permission, I still would have needed a ladder.

There isn't anything spectacular about this photo. What made it special was the sweet moment of peace
I had sitting at the edge of the pond.

This sweet horse got spooked from the click of my shutter and ran away from the trough. If you click on the photo, you will see the mismatched "lawn chairs" I mentioned. 

Here is the little one as he is about to invade my bubble. It's the best shot I could get before he got in my face. I think he is a pony.

Don't forget to check out Jenn's focused on Glory post HERE.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Saturday With a Stranger

Yesterday I packed up my camera and my Bible and headed out to take pictures for this week's focused on Glory post. I figured if I was seeking God's glory, the first place to look was in His Word. We had a sweet visit with each other, and I set off. I had asked God to show me His glory, and not just for that afternoon. In fact, this project is prodding a desire to dig deeper into the glory of God, and I'm just a little bit excited about that.

I decided to drive down a rural road I've never taken before. After several minutes, a sign indicated it would dead-end. It was a long dead-end, so I eventually turned around. Within seconds I saw something amazing. Something I had just passed.

Sitting inside a white horse fence, in the middle of a pasture, was a stunning, majestic tree. It was glorious indeed.

Now I have long been a lover of trees. Take a road trip with me and you'll hear, "Oh! That's a great tree," from time to time. I think trees are beautiful. They are magnificent creations, and I love how they spread their limbs as if they are trying to catch glory from above.

The tree I spotted wasn't alone, but it was certainly the aristocrat of the field. I contemplated taking a picture from the road near the fence, but I noticed someone walking on the other side of the pasture. So instead of trespassing like a creeper, I decided to ask for permission to shoot my pictures.

I pulled into the driveway just as the older gentleman was sitting down in his carport. He was keeping an eye on a burn barrel nearby. He was also eying me as I got out of my car. I walked up and asked if he would mind me taking pictures of his tree. He nodded. "Sure, sure. Go ahead." He pointed, "The gate is just past there." I grabbed my camera and took off, making sure to watch my step. (Come back Tuesday to see the shots I got.)

One thing is for sure. The next time I go out to capture a glimpse of God's glory, I'll be sure to throw my hiking boots in the trunk. Yesterday wasn't exactly perfect for my adorable pink and grey Nikes (made even cuter by the FAB deal I got on them).

As I was traversing the mine field, er- pasture, I noticed the owner had decided to walk over. He leaned on the gate to watch me, and we began a conversation. It was a loud conversation, as it had to travel the field. He told that he too loved the tree, and how there had been two more like it at one time. His story was peppered with bits of juicy gossip of how a neighbor had the road commission remove the other two during a dispute around 40 years ago.

As I was walking back, I asked about the unseen horses that must occupy the field. The gentleman told me he had four horses out back. He waved me toward the gate and said, "Let's go get some feed and see if we can't get them to come around."

I smiled.

We walked back to the carport, and I asked him his name. He whipped a business card from his pocket and presented it to me with an introduction. It turns out he is the retired owner of a long established business. I commented on the John Wayne images hanging on the wall of the carport and he said, "Well you need to come inside. It's a veritable showcase in there." Just then his wife came out and introduced herself. I explained the reason I had stopped, and told her about the purpose of the pictures.

Mr. R. ushered me into the room addition between the kitchen and carport. It had been made into a cozy den. Think man cave for a 70 something John Wayne fan. I have to say it was pretty sweet, and my daddy would have loved it (especially the large flat screen). I also got to meet Debbie, the dachshund. (smile)

We headed out to the back pasture with the feed and a jar full of dog food. After dumping the feed in the trough, Mr. R hurled the dog food in a substantial pond. He sat in one of three mismatched lawn chairs at the edge of the water, slumped down, and stretched out one leg. 

"It's too cold. The catfish have gone to the bottom, but maybe the bream will bite."

I sat down and aimed my camera at the water, waiting for the ripples. I so wanted to take a picture of my host, but it didn't seem appropriate to ask. The ripples from the food pellets were dying away just as the fish came to munch.

What a treat. Along the back of the pond the water was smooth and solid, with perfect reflections. Near us were soft, overlapping circles. There was a pleasant liquid plop each time the surface broke and created a new wave. Such a sweet place.

The horses strolled to the trough behind us, and we went to join them. There were three "normal" horses and one smaller variety. I guess it was a miniature. I got a few shots of the horses eating, but couldn't get many great shots because they moved too much. Horses don't listen if you ask them to stay still. The little one walked up to me and actually sniffed my camera. That made me giggle. Then he put his face up to mine about 5 inches away, and kept it there for several seconds. We were the same height. I bet it was pretty comical.

Pretty soon the horses realized we didn't have anymore feed, got bored, and wandered away. I thanked Mr. R for the delightful time and we made our way back to the house. We chatted and shared a bit of our stories with each other until we reached the back gate. I said goodbye and drove away smiling.

I had asked God to show me His glory, and wow. He definitely gave me a glimpse, but He didn't give me a picture. He gave me an encounter. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Already Cheating

It's the first week of focused on Glory and I am already a cheat. After posting the announcement on Thursday, I woke up the next day feeling ill. By the time I got home from work I knew it was bad. Bronchitis Round Three. And let's not forget Bronchy's best friend Sinusitis. I guess it could be worse. I once had this combo four times in one year.

Jennifer has had it rough too. At least I didn't end up in the ER. Anyway, I haven't picked up a camera since we made our project announcement. I wonder if the enemy is trying to discourage us from focusing on God's glory? Well give up buddy, because YOU DON'T GET TO WIN!

I decided I would delve into my archives and look for photos. An obvious choice was the Haiti folders. I found several that reminded me of God's love and power. Here are three.

The hand of a beautiful child sitting on my lap during church. Does anything shout Glory more than a child?

When our rooms filled to capacity, there were children and adults hanging on the windows and doorways to hear the Word of God.

We were able to feed an entire village for a month.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the
riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Phillipians 4:19 

Don't forget to check out Jennifer's pics here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

focused on Glory

from Jennifer @ Poderings of an Elect Exile

A while back, an idea began brewing in the back of my mind. I love photography. But some days I love it more than others. There are days that I find myself rather frustrated at the lack of progress I'm making in the technical aspects. There are days that I'm actually going backward rather than forward. And there are days I think I just need to put my camera away and be done with it completely.

Those days don't happen all that often, but lately I've had a few more of them than usual. I've learned that the best antidote for those days is to take my camera out and shoot something I love to shoot...something I don't have to pose or direct...something that gets me back to the "why" I'm doing this photography thing in the first place.

The "something", more often than not, is the birds and squirrels in our yard. A session or two shooting our resident wildlife usually gets me back in a better frame of mind and reminds me of the "why"...why I love photography anyway, and what my goal is in walking around with this thing strapped around my neck all the time. :)

There are actually many reasons I love photography, and more than one goal in my shutter-clicking. But I've realized over the past year or so that the major "why" behind my photography is this...I want to be able to capture a little glimpse of God's glory through my lens. Whether photographing nature, people/relationships, or events, I want to show God's glory through my photos. Even in capturing our family memories in photos, I want to leave a heritage for our children to remind them of the work God has done and is doing in our family "from the first day until now".

So...back to my idea, and our announcement. :) After one of those, "I need to pack up my camera and be done with it" bouts recently, I thought about advice I'd seen from more than one photographer I admire. Over and over I have read that one of the best things you can do to improve your photography and prevent burnout is to get involved in a 365 or 52 project....a photograph every day or week for a year. I don't tend to do well with those things, and I didn't know of any groups starting soon, but I really liked the idea, and began to ponder starting a personal 365 or 52 project on my blog.

I worried, though, that I needed accountability. Unlike my "Oven-Free Friday" feature, which I'm still planning to continue, but which has been on hiatus for the last few weeks, I wanted to be consistent with this. I needed someone to prod me and motivate me a bit. And then during a chat session one night, the thought hit me that I needed a partner in this venture. And who better than my friend Tauna? She is an incredibly talented photographer. She is one of the most creative people I know. She has a really cool blog called Creative Confetti. AND...she has recently opened an Etsy shop, where you will find these adorable little doo-dads...(perfect for Christmas presents for the girls and ladies on your list! :))
To make a long story a tiny bit shorter, we are teaming up to bring you "focused on Glory", a weekly joint blog feature which will appear every Tuesday on both Creative Confetti and Ponderings of an Elect Exile. We will each share our favorite "glimpse of God's glory through the lens" from the week before, and perhaps share a bit of the story behind the photo.

So...visit us on Tuesday for our first "focused on Glory" post!

from Tauna

Aperture, ISO, white balance, metering, filters, actions- it’s easy to get bogged down in the mechanics of photography, especially if you are still learning. As much as I love photography, and learning how to make beautiful images, I often feel overwhelmed with trying to get everything just right- usually to little avail. Rarely does a shot come out with the crispness, or effect I hope for. That’s not to say I want to give up, I know I will get there someday.

But if my entire aim is on getting that just right, artsy, stunning shot, then maybe I need to take a breather. Perhaps I need to pay more attention to my focus. No, not the cross-hairs in my viewfinder, but the pinpoint of my attention.

My fabulous friend Jennifer proposed a 52 week project that hopefully will sharpen our focus. She and I are going to try to capture a hint of God’s glory through our lenses. We want to concentrate more on composure than exposure, wonder over white balance, and interest instead of ISO.

That’s not to say we are going to throw what bits we know out the window. And we aren’t going to set everything on AUTO. What it means is that we are hoping to find our shots through a God filter. We want to be focused on Glory.

To tell you the truth, Jennifer is a beautiful photographer. You can see the evidence on her blog Ponderings of an Elect Exile. I've told her a few times that her wildlife photos remind me of Thase Daniel. I love seeing what she is able to capture.

If you want to catch our glimpses of glory, join us each Tuesday on our individual blogs as we post our pictures for the week. I can’t wait to see what He shows us.
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