For all you love struck, sappy people celebrating Valentine’s day, here is a fun collection of Valentine’s day cards just for you. Starting with a kittytine, of course!
Me, myself and I am not celebrating Valentine’s day this year, but in the spirit of not being jaded towards those who are, I thought I’d find you some cute Valentine’s day cards. I’ll be the one buying the half off chocolates the day after Valentine’s. (Cause why pay more, when you can pay less, amirite?)
So ya’ll have fun now and don’t go breaking any hearts!
For all of you people out there looking for Valentine’s gift, I thought I’d make it a little easier for you with my Valentine’s gift guide. Fun little gift ideas for your significant other plus a whole lot more in my shop tab. So many cute heart products out there right now – it’s hard to choose just one! I hope you find the perfect one for your special sweetheart!
I do love me a good bokehlicious bokeh! I’m surprised I waited until so close to Christmas to decide I really needed to get some wonderful bokeh pictures, capturing all the holiday lights before they are gone. So off I went on a walk around the neighborhood. I had to play with my camera a bit to figure out what size I wanted my bokehs. Too big and the outline of your subject becomes a blur, too small and it just looks like you couldn’t commit to taking a totally sharp photo or just going for the bokehlicious bokehs.
You can laugh at the word bokehlicious all you want. It’s actually a hashtag on Instagram. To see more of my photos, follow me on Instagram!
This has been a tough year for me, so I thought I’d at least try and end it on a fun and whimsical note. To me, bokeh’s are a lot of fun, so I hope you like them, too. And if you’ve had a bad year like me, chin up, buttercup! There’s a new year just around the corner. Let’s make it a good one! Time to blur out the bad things from this year and turn them into beautiful bokehs!
And of course, there’s always the wonderful bokehs of the Christmas tree lights indoors as well. I didn’t get motivated to take those until Christmas day. Last year I was trying to do them as soon as we had the tree up!
Do you ever have those times when you’re choosing thankfulness while still asking for more? Even though you’re thankful for what you’ve been given, you’re still aiming higher. And yet, you have to stop and remind yourself to be thankful for what you’ve received that’s less than what you were aiming for. Sometimes I feel like I aim for the stars and then find myself utterly disappointed when I end up lower than what I’m aiming for. Maybe my goal is the red carpet, but I’m walking on a beautiful red or golden carpet of leaves instead. And I stop to capture the moment with my camera. Because I am truly thankful for the beauty I find around me. (And isn’t a leaf carpet way cooler than a red carpet any day?)
With my mom’s cancer, I’m praying for a miracle. We Need a miracle. What we’ve received is a modern medical breakthrough in treatment for her type of cancer. I was hoping this would be the miracle we needed. I’m finding out that really, a person on this new type of chemo just has less of the chemo side effects, and the average person in their clinical studies made it 10.3 months longer than someone on other types of chemo. While I’m grateful for this new drug – just FDA approved a little over a month ago, I found myself being bitterly disappointed that this was not, in fact, going to cure her, just prolong her life. I was putting my hopes in the newest medication out on the market only to have them dashed to the ground.
Does that mean I didn’t stop to take the time to thank God for the small medical breakthrough we received? No. I keep thanking Him for it almost every day. Most of the times with tears streaming down my face because I know it’s not going to cure her. Just buy her time. But I thank Him anyway.
Does that mean I stop praying for a miracle? No. I know modern man and medicine can’t cure her at this time. I have to remind myself to put my hope in God, not in man. Does that mean I’ll get my miracle? Not necessarily. It just means that I’ve set my sights higher.
Sometimes we need to make a choice to be grateful even when we don’t like what’s happening around us.
Don’t like the new president? Well, just be thankful we don’t have a dictatorship type of government and that ultimately, the president doesn’t have the final say in how this country is run. He has to get all of his ideas approved through congress. Be thankful for that.
My father didn’t get to go back to Papua New Guinea for the dedication of the mini Bible in our village on the 25th (which will be our Thanksgiving day over here as they are a day ahead of us.) I’m sure he’s disappointed that he’s unable to see the culmination of a project he’s been working on for over 30 years of his life due to my mom and his own medical issues right now. …I am thankful we’ll all be together for the holiday.
There was a time in my life when I felt like I had nothing good to be thankful for. My ex-husband was abusive and and I was always walking on eggshells, never knowing when he might blow up. I would sing the song ‘To God Be The Glory‘ – sometimes through clenched teeth because I was so on edge. Mostly through tears. I didn’t really know what I was thanking Him for or why I was thanking Him. I had no reason. I was making a choice during the worst time in my life to thank Him anyway. I think there’s something poignant to God in those moments where you choose thankfulness, knowing you’re in a bad place and need something more. You’re making a decision to give thanks despite whatever awfulness is going on in your life. That moment you’ve come to the end of yourself and surrender it all back to Him.
Whatever is going on in your life, good or bad, choose thankfulness.
I’ve been wanting to go see the Witch’s Castle for a while now and finally got to go see it – right in time for Halloween!
While the Witch’s Castle has never had any witch’s actually living in it, it is near the spot of a love story gone wrong. Back in the 1800’s, a man named Danford Balch owned the property the stone cabin was on. He hired a man named Mortimer Stump to help take care of the land. Mortimer Stump fell in love with Balch’s daughter Anna and asked for her hand in marriage. After Balch refused to give Anna’s hand in marriage to Stump, the two eloped.
They came back to the stone cabin a few week later. Danford Balch was furious and shot Mortimer Stump in the head. Balch claimed that his wife, Mary Jane, bewitched him. Balch was arrested, then escaped. Eventually he was caught again about six months later, was tried, found guilty and eventually hung in October of 1859, becoming the first legal execution held in Oregon. Mary Jane Balch, the ‘witch’ in our story, continued to reside on their property.
Although the stone house was not the original site of the Balch’s home, it was built on their old property in the 1950’s as a ranger station.
In the 1980’s, high school and college students started using it to hold parties on Friday nights and named it the Witch’s Castle because of it’s rundown appearance and remote location in the Upper Macleay Park. (Which explains the two busloads of college age students being dropped off as we reached the top of the trail while rushing to get to our car during the sudden deluge of rain that started pouring down on us while out at the Witch’s Castle.)
The Witch’s Castle is located on the Wildwood trail near the junction for the Lower Macleay Park trail in Forest Park, a huge wooded area in NW Portland.
* To any of my praying friends out there, please keep my mother – also a Mary Jane, who oftentimes dresses up as a witch for Halloween – in your prayers. The doctors have discovered her cancer traveled to her lungs. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she is preparing to start chemo soon.
With Papua New Guinea’s Independence Day just around the corner, I thought I’d give a shout out to the country I spent a part of my growing up years in as a missionary kid – Papua New Guinea, ples bilong mi, kantri bilong mi.
Meh. Enough of that. My Pidgin English sucks because they spoke English as a second language in the part of PNG where I grew up in.
I invite you into their rich and beautiful culture as they celebrate 41 years of independence this year through the photos below. If you know the national anthem, join with me in singing. Men, in big booming bass voices, women – sing through your nose. Nice and nasally now! Make it real, peeps!
Fathers are there for us when we get stung by a pack of angry wasps that your sister decided to pour Elmer’s wood glue on to glue them into their nest in the garage door frame. They board it up again and make it safe to step over the door frame into the garage again.
They find you amusing and encourage your entrepreneuring side when you decide to set up a stand to sell lemonade, or stuff like your Halloween candy, to gullible college students passing by.
If you want to wear special clown make-up with your pajamas for Halloween, a father will help you put your face on so you’re ready to go.
Father’s are there to record embarrassing moments on camera when you be minding yo own business, playing in your little kiddy pool and your diaper’s hanging half off yo bottom lookin’ all ganster style. Long before it was in.
Fathers take you on nature walk – telling you what all the plants are and letting you taste all the ones that are edible.
When you come back from your own nature walk with your sister using your Golden Nature Guide tree book and star book and tell your dad you found lots of leaves, but you didn’t find any stars, father’s let you know that some day, you could actually find your stars, too.
Of course, we’ve all heard about the tradition of the Maypole, though many of us haven’t seen it. But, when I was a child, for May Day, we used to go gather wild flowers, make a tiny, usually sad looking bouquet, leave it on our front doorstep, knock on the door and then Run as fast as we could out of sight so our mom wouldn’t see us when she opened the door. She could probably hear us out of breath and laughing around the corner though.
This tradition seems to have gone to the wayside, but it was such a fun one for us as kids, it really should be brought back. Growing up in Michigan, we didn’t have a lot of spring flowers blooming yet, but we just gathered what we could find, tied a bow around it and called it our May Day bouquet.
In France, the lily of the valley became a symbol of May Day after Charles IX received one as a good luck charm on May 1rst. The lily of the valley is one of my favorite flowers, and always brings back memories of my grandma’s house – sitting beside the lily of the valley overflowing around the big trees in her yard, imagining they were tiny little fairy bells. Perhaps a tiny sprig of Lily of the Valley would be a nice gesture this year…
Spring is a time of new life, new beginnings. I am waiting for my new life to begin… Perhaps it already has and I’m waiting for the really amazing stuff to start happening. In the meantime, I’m trying to live in the now. Not looking back at the bad stuff behind me, not looking forward at things that could be. Just being here. Right now. In this moment. If I can just keep living in today, then mostly what I realize is that things are good. Not great. Not terrible, but really okay. And I can live with that.
Happy Easter to all.
Spring adds new life and new beauty to all that is. Jessica Harrelson
I always enjoy taking photos of my cats around the holidays. By the tree, in the wreath, near the lights. With Santa hats on, or bows if they’ll let me. The always seem to make the season brighter with their cute little inquisitive faces. And I enjoy looking through photos of everyone else’s Christmas cats as well. Here’s to the pets that make our lives merrier! These were some of my favorites cat photos this year. Merry Christmas to all!
As we approach Thanksgiving, we’re reminded to be grateful. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot to be grateful for and sometimes we’re overflowing with wonderful things to give thanks for. I’m falling somewhere in between this year. I have a wonderful work from home job that isn’t going very well, so I started applying for jobs outside the home. I interviewed for, and got a holiday job working in the call center at the Made In Oregon headquarters here in Oregon. I am happy I got the job, but still wishing the work from home job that I love doing, that isn’t doing well anymore, would just start looking up so I don’t have to figure out what to do next.
Sometimes, we’re in those in between phases of life – not sure what’s going to happen next, not really wanting to have an uncertain future, unsure what to feel grateful for when good things aren’t good anymore. Those are the times we need to give thanks, anyway. To remind ourselves we really do have a lot to be grateful for. This year, I’m grateful for the holiday job I just started working for. It means I have more time to figure out what to do next. I’m also grateful for the employee discount I didn’t think I’d get as a seasonal worker, but actually do get to use while I work there. Third, I’m grateful for auditions to go to, whether I get the job or not, because they help me get better at auditioning. What are three things you’re grateful for today?
I love vintage cards, and these Victorian Halloween cards are no exception. So fun and whimsical! It’s always fun to see things people did in days gone by, to see where our customs and superstitions evolved from. To see which ones we don’t even follow anymore like the mirror one below, or the way they put an apostrophe in between the two ee’s in Halloween, or how they spelled words like ‘fulfil’ with one ‘l’ instead of two on the end. Have a safe and happy Halloween! Or should I say a Merry Halloween? Or Halloween Greetings? A Jolly Halloween? Halloween of days gone by sounds Christmas-y to me…