Friday, December 27, 2013

W is for Weight

This weeks'  blog hop is sponsored by the letter "W"
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Twelve measly pounds! Since last January, I've needed to lose 12 pounds to reach my  goal weight. An entire year has gone by, and I did not lose those last twelve pounds.        
I never did figure out why I self-sabotaged. I was up and down in weight all year round.  Mind you, I've lost 63 pounds since January of 2011, but just struggling to reach those last few pounds. It's the goal weight my doctor set for me, and it is doable and livable, but to reach it has been unachievable! 

I thought I was motivated enough. The weight loss support group I'm in-TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) has been helpful and holds me accountable to the scale. But even the dream of attaining goal by the last weigh-in of December, so that I could participate in next years' state convention was not enough for me.

It doesn't help that I cannot exercise much, due to the chronic pain of my hip being bone on bone. I am having replacement surgery within the next 3 or 4 months; just waiting for a date. I used to walk 20 miles  per week- now it's painful to walk 20 feet. I do have the option to swim- yet I wimp out because it's too chilly. I know- excuses, excuses! 

Okay, so another January is about to roll around. Come on, Barb, get yourself together and lose those last 12  pounds!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

V is for Victorious

This weeks'  blog hop is sponsored by the letter "V"
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No matter the trials that come my way, I am reminded that I am not a victim, but rather, VICTORIOUS!  We are More Than Conquerors and that we have Victory in Jesus!
vic·to·ri·ous [vik-tawr-ee-uhs, -tohr-]    adjective
1.   having achieved a victory; conquering; triumphant: our victorious army.
2.   of, pertaining to, or characterized by victory.



Friday, December 13, 2013

U is for "Under the bus"

This weeks'  blog hop is sponsored by the letter "U"
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I've often heard the phrase that someone was Thrown under the bus or She threw her under the bus. In fact, I've been the recipient of being Thrown under the bus many times.    :(
I get the gist of the phrase- that someone is trying to or has achieved getting someone in trouble; but I was curious as to the actual definition and how this phrase came to be.

 My research first led me to the Urban Dictionary                                 

                   Throw under the bus:

1.  To sacrifice some other person, usually one who is undeserving or at least vulnerable, to make personal gain.               He'd throw his mother under the bus if it'd mean he could beat the rap.

2.  One is thrown under the bus when they are made the scapegoat or blamed for something that wasn't their responsibility in the first place. A cover-up for your mistake.                                                                                                             Ruby Red, I didn't have time to do the business report, so I threw you under the bus and told the boss it was your job instead

3.  Physically throwing a person under a big, smelly city bus is the perfect metaphor for the act of positioning someone to be ground up under the wheels of the ever rolling omnibus of society in your stead. The bus carries people. The people's weight is what crushes the victim. This setting up of a patsy has an earlier, more agrarian beginning in "throwing him to the wolves." Someone is going down, it's not going to be you, so you select a candidate to feed into the system.
                    Every time the president gets in trouble, he'll throw another cabinet member under the bus.

4. You get thrown under the bus when someone (usually a co-worker) reports some wrongdoing or slacking off to a superior or other influential person. Sometimes used with the suffix "Vrooooom!" to simulate the noise the bus would make as it passes by at a high rate of speed                                                   "Dicky George, I can't believe you just threw me under the bus."

These are some very disturbing definitions and I was curious about the origination of the phrase. However, the online research brought up many different versions of how the phrase was coined, and most were within the last 20 years. They range from sports related, to something sung by Cyndi Lauper, to a radio station DJ. In each different case, the basis was that one person caused another person to be the scapegoat for something they did, or didn't do.
Whatever the reason, it's not a very nice thing to do!

I hope that I've not been guilty of throwing someone under the bus-even if unintentionally! 

Have you ever been Under the bus

Friday, December 6, 2013

T is for "Tie My Shoe"

This weeks'  blog hop is sponsored by the letter "T". 
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An online friend has just published her first book- a child's picture book titled "Tie My Shoe"

I first met Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom a few years ago when browsing the forums of the Faithwriter's website. We've never met in person, but a connection was made because she lives in upstate New York, near the town where I was born. Shann has a lot of medical issues yet has a heart of gold. 

This blurb was take from the website where the book can be purchased:    "Tie My Shoe is a whimsical look at a day in the life of a kindergarten class. Rhymes and colorful illustrations make it an ideal book for children ages three to six. The ABC format will help kids learn each letter of the alphabet. As parents read the repetitive verse aloud, the child will soon be able to boast, "I can read this all by myself!" Hidden on each page is the adorable Bow Bug." 

If you have young kids in your life, try getting this book. It will be good for the kids and good for Shann!         :) 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

S is for Skies

This weeks'  blog hop is sponsored by the letter "S". Click on the link below to read more about the meme  and join in on our blog hop

Whenever I'm outside, I'm usually watching the sky, in the hopes of witnessing some of God's artistic splendor. Even when my camera is no where near me, I watch the heavens. I'm not disappointed!

Driving into work early one morning a few months ago.
The sky appeared to be on fire!
A sunset viewed through my south facing window
Rainbow during late afternoon  thunderstorm
 viewed out my east facing bedroom window
This was a sunset viewed from my living room just last week!
A blimp passing through a brilliant sunset.
 December 2011
Icy skies had a tint of colors to the clouds
Murky sunset
Sun Dog
This was a super moon or such taken from niece's previous home
 in Colorado Springs - May 2012

On my drive home from work, I pass by the airport, and there is often incredible views of the sky and clouds, and it's very frustrating because I want to photograph it, but  not allowed to stop alongside the road!  Even when I don't have my good camera with me, I do carry a small point and shoot camera, and of course, the camera in my phone. Life is full of beautiful things to photograph and the sky is just one of those blessings.

Am I the only one who is always looking heavenward? What do you like to watch for?

Friday, November 22, 2013

R is for REESE'S Peanut Butter Cups

             When life gets crazy, or disheartening- eat chocolate!

 My favorite  chocolate candy happens to be Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  Granted, it's a treat for me, and I don't eat it whenever I desire, but sometimes, it seems more of a need than a desire!

 In the past, my favorite candy was Butterfinger  and then M&Ms, which I still like, but those peanut butter cups are my go to choices for the drug of chocolate!

 I bought bags of miniature cups for my group homes to give out to Trick or Treaters, but did not get any for myself. I was good!  These pics were taken a couple of months ago, so have not had any in awhile.    


I sometime prefer eating them by biting off the sides, then the top and bottom, and then save the peanut butter filling for the finale.

So tell me, what is your favorite chocolate candy, and do you have a special way to eat it?
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Q is for Don't QUIT

Some times, it seems no matter how much I try, I just can't become successful in my endeavors. I've been struggling with losing the last 10 pounds for over a year and a half now. Last week, I was ready to walk off the job, because I cannot be everything to everyone and end up getting in trouble. I sometimes wonder "Why bother?" Why bother trying; it seems I will only fail. I feel like I'll never become employee of the year, and I rather doubt I can reach my goal weight anytime soon.  There are other areas, but these are the biggies right now.

Then I remembered about this poem, and Googled it. Such sage advice! 

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

G. Haughey

Maybe I can do this.  

Have you had a victory just after wanting to quit? 
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Thursday, November 7, 2013

P is for Press On

Like comfort food  to the heart,  this song is a comfort to my soul.
 Press On, by the group Selah, is as an embrace by God.
I've had a hurtful week at work.


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Thursday, October 31, 2013

O is for "Oh Fortuna"

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Many of you already know that I like classical music. I'm not really educated in it, but still enjoy its' beauty and timelessness. There are many pieces that I really love and can name- such as Bolero and Clair De  Lune. Then there are other tunes I enjoy but don't know the title. Today, I learned the name of one such piece, and it happens to start with the letter "O"-this week's alphabet meme!                                                           
 The song is called Oh Fortuna.
This piece originated as a medieval poem and is basically a lament about fate and fortune in Roman mythology. It was set to music in 1935 by a German composer named Carl Orff, and  was a movement of a cantata called " Carmina Burana"  I like it because it starts off so soft but then builds to an exciting climax, followed by a softening of the voices and an abrupt ending.
 It would seem that singing this would be exhausting! But the singers all seem to be very poised, whereas the conductor is physically into the music!
 I bet this would be awesome to hear in person.
What do you think- have you heard this before- perhaps in parody on the internet?  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

N is for Night of floating lights

Last December on the Sunday prior to Christmas, I met up with some co-workers and their families and we participated in the Christmas lights boat parade out of Newport Beach, California.

Finding a place to park was exhausting, but once on the boat, all was peaceful. What was being paraded were elaborately decorated boats of all shapes and sizes which  moved in a circuitous route around the marina. Some were decorated in a theme, many had music blaring, and several had parties going on. They looked like fun!  The boat we were on was actually one that cruises the harbor and goes out on whale watches. We were not partying- just watching the parade while being in it! I spent my time at the railing, as it was a pleasant evening out. I was eager to  practice night photography, yet was not feeling all that great. Did manage to get a few decent pictures.

After a couple of hours, we disembarked and sped to the other side to  the beach to watch the fireworks show. That was cool and a perfect finale for the evening of holiday lights show at sea.

 I would love to do this again!
 Have you ever participated in a Christmas Parade?

This week, the Alphabet Meme is sponsored by the letter "N." Check out the link and join in on our blog hop!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

M is for Missions Trips

 Growing up in the church, I've been on a few missions trips over the years. I recall when in high school, our youth choir went on tour a couple of times. One time, up the coast to Northern California. We slept in churches or retreat centers. We sang, sometimes did a dramatic skit, and had a short sermon. Always, we had a Vacation Bible School type program for kids. I always loved that part!
Another memorable trip was to an Indian reservation in Arizona. We sang in their tiny church, and played with the kids. Some very special personal memories from those days!

When in the College Career class at another church, I went on a day trip to Mexico. I believe we went into Mexicali, and helped build tiny houses in the area known as" the dumps". What an eye opener! It was hard physical labor  and emotionally  draining. We toured the Christian run orphanage, and of course, fell in love with the kids!  (Unfortunately, I did not retain the photos taken during any of these times)

The last missions trip I took, was in 2000, and was also my most favorite of all. I was a short term missionary for a family retreat with the Joni Eareckson Tada ministry.
Joni and her husband, Ken, were at the retreat. They are the nicest people and Joni is as sweet in person as she is the radio. I even got to dine with them one time!

 Volunteers had to pay their way to this week-long camp, as well as work it. We arrived on a hot July Sunday, and had orientation and training. Each volunteer was assigned a family that had a special needs member. This camp is for the entire family, no matter the age. I was assigned an eleven year old boy who had cerebral palsy, a trache and had to use a wheelchair. I was matched with him because of my  career experience working with people who had disabilities.  The kids had planned activities while the adults and youth had their own life-renewing meetings and activities. Always, the Word of God was being shared.

William was a very outgoing young man with a smile that lit up the room. He soon became very popular with the other  Short term missionaries (STM) and camp participants.  He could not walk, but he was able to move on his knees, so he wanted out of his wheelchair as much as possible! He was non-verbal, but his facial expressions did all the communicating for him! He enjoyed everything! He especially loved riding the horse. I was constantly with William, and even had to suction his trache a few times, and deal with his other medical and physical needs. At meal times, I dined with him and his  family. It was a precious time. In the evenings, there was group meetings in the church building where we sang and learned more about God.

The campground  is a Calvary-Chapel owned Conference Center in Murrieta Hot Springs, California. There actually was a hot springs contained in a giant pool spa. The water was warm and after the church meeting, it was free time for STM's. We usually hung out in the spa. The families did too. The highlight of the retreat was near the end of the week when there was a time of baptism in the hot springs spa. A little talk was given explaining what baptism meant, then it was asked if anyone wanted to be baptized. Several folks did- participants, their families and even some STMs. Near the end of the evening, the offer went up again and William's hand shot up! The pastor spoke with him and asked if he really understood what it was about. William's face was aglow as his head bounced in understanding. Two men lifted his small body and baptized William. (I tear up just remembering that night!) WOW- what a finale! His mom and dad were watching; mom with tears, and dad still trying to get a grasp of what being a Christian is about.

These two photos are from a newsletter that was sent out to supporters of the ministry. I did not get a good pic of Joni and I feel that I should not post photos of William and his family without their permission.

That week was physically and mentally exhausting, and used a week of valuable vacation time, but so worth it. I kept in touch with William's family for a short while, but then we lost touch. I often wonder how they are doing. William would be a grown man now. I think I would like to serve again as a STM someday, when I'm not so physically handicapped myself, but for now, I  know God will use me where I'm at!

Have you experienced any memorable blessings as a result of a missions trip?

This week, the Alphabet Meme is sponsored by the letter "M" Check out the link and join in on our blog hop!

Friday, October 11, 2013

L is for Lavender Festival

This past June, I met up with two women who are Facebook friends on a photography group I'm participating in. Barbara, Susan and I  met face to face for the first time and Susan brought her husband and two daughters. We "clicked" right away and had a pleasant time photographing the event.

Rows and rows of lavender bushes in bloom- the fragrance was powerful and bees were having their own gatherings!

There were exhibits on how to make beverages from lavender- I believe one was wine, and many types of food made from the flower. We sampled lavender ice cream. It tasted just like it smelled. I would not care to consume an entire serving! There were also breads and cakes made with the bloom, but I did not try any. I love lavender as a body wash or air freshener, but not for eating!
Other booths displayed crafts made from the flower, and were quite attractive.

There were two sets of hay wagons trotting around the grounds giving tours and educating folks on the wonders of lavender. I did not take the ride, but enjoyed the beauty of the horses!

It was cool seeing several  fellow "artists" at work! We had permission to photograph them and they seemed pleased to be included.

We really had a nice time together. The weather was pleasant and the atmosphere was relaxing. There were several booths selling food so we had a nice lunch in the shade of pine trees.

I really enjoy photo safaris and it's even more fun when going with like-minded friends! I hope to be able to do something like this again in the future. (But only after my hip replacement has been completed!

          Does your hobby provide the opportunity for meeting up with new people?

This week, the Alphabet Meme is sponsored by the letter "L"  Check out the link and join in on our blog hop! 

Friday, October 4, 2013

K is for Knott's Berry Farm

Promoted as California's first Theme/Amusement Park, Knott's Berry Farm had a humble beginning  as a roadside fruit stand  in 1928, by husband and wife  Walter and Cordelia  Knott.

Photo credit: Orange County Archives / Foter / CC BY
Knott's is associated with the development of the boysenberry, which was a cross between a blackberry, red raspberry and blackberry, and the berries were a popular item at the farm. Cordelia helped out  by selling jams and jellies made from the berries. Eventually, she began providing home made pies, biscuits , sandwiches and  fried chicken dinners. It was then that she started becoming known for her chicken dinners that eventually evolved in the well-known restaurant- Mrs. Knott's Chicken House.     

To keep the customers entertained while waiting their turn for a meal, Walter developed the Ghost Town. Over the years, things were added to the old west themed area.
I have memories of visiting Knott's  as a kid in the 1960's and really enjoying the ghost town in the days before carnival-type rides were added. It was also free. The minimal entrance fee was later added to deter unsavory real life characters. There was a jail that housed a life-sized figure of a prisoner known as "Sad-Eyed Joe." When you peeked into the jail, he would talk to you like he knew you! Several years ago, I lived in an apartment where one of  my neighbors worked at Knott's Berry Farm, and he often served as the voice of Joe. There was an area off to the side where he was stationed, and could see the guests coming around. Knowing friends or family members could give him the scoop on the unsuspecting person, and really get them confused!  The summer Stephanie moved in with me, I took her there, but did not tell her about Chuck working at the ghost town. Boy, we had a ball with that- she was just 10, and could not figure out how this obviously fake prisoner knew all about her!

There was also a functioning stage coach that had real hold-ups. So did the old-fashioned steam train. My neighbor worked these areas, too, but was not "on" when we rode them.
The ghost town also had a Chinese laundry display, where an old-time version of the workers was posed.

There is a cemetery known as Boot Hill, that had "graves" with goofy tombstones. There was one particular grave that when you stood on it, you could feel and hear a heart beat. That was really cool to both kids and adults! There was a sign saying why the beat could be felt, but I cannot remember what it read.

I also  recall a seal pool, and an organ grinder with a monkey who collected money. I still remember how the man with the monkey said not to give pennies because it was not good for the monkey's health. Yah, I did not believe it either- I thought he wanted more money. :)

There was also a man-made volcano that actually rumbled and smoked. If you moved behind the volcano, you came across a mechanical devil-like character cranking a device that  caused the volcano to sound so realistic.
I visited Knott's Berry Farm this past May, when Stephanie and family visited. I had last been there on new year's eve of 1998. A lot had changed over those years. Why is it that fond memories of my childhood have now become "politically incorrect?"
 Sad-eyed Joe does not talk, the Chinese laundry vanished, and the heart-beat grave is silent.
 The seal pool, organ grinder and volcano disappeared so many years ago, along with other attractions I did not list.
What still remains is Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner restaurant, and I just love the boysenberry pie! So worth the trip! 
Have you had any history with Knott's Berry Farm?

This week, the Alphabet Meme is sponsored by the letter "K" Check out the link and join in on our blog hop!