Holiday

Sparkle on!

,I’ve been sick for the past week with a cold and it definitely has dulled my sparkle a bit. I pull out of it a little bit every day, but wow, am I sick of being sick at this point. I did not going to chemo today with my mom – they don’t want sick people in the chemo ward getting the people on chemo sick because their white blood cell count gets knocked out by the chemo and they have a harder time recuperating from illness than the rest of us do with all of our white bloods cells still intact to fight infections. And I should probably sit outside at my parents tomorrow for out 4th of July BBQ so I don’t bring my germs in the house. Bleh. Being sick is no fun at all!

However, today I was having fun browsing through sparkler/firework photos on free stock photo sites online. One really about summed up what I feel like today. A hand lifting out of the water with a sparkler in it. Yeah. That’s me. Can’t breathe real well right now through my stuffed up nose so I feel like I’m underwater, but tomorrow’s a holiday, so sparkle on people, sparkle on!

Happy 4th of July!

 

Sparkle on through life's difficulties ~ Photo by Kristopher Roller
Sparkle on through the life’s difficulties ~ Photo by Kristopher Roller

 

It only takes a spark ~ Photo by Cristian Escobar
It only takes a spark ~ Photo by Cristian Escobar

 

For two are better than one... ~ Photo by Ian Schneider
For two are better than one… ~ Photo by Ian Schneider

 

Sparkle on! ~ Photo by Kristopher Roller
Sparkle on! ~ Photo by Kristopher Roller

 

If it rains, make an umbrella. ~ Photo by Sarah Zucca
If it rains, make an umbrella. ~ Photo by Sarah Zucca

 

Seattle Space Needle sparkling on! ~ Photo by Nitish Meena
Seattle Space Needle sparkling on! ~ Photo by Nitish Meena

 

 

It only takes a spark,

to get a fire going,

and soon all those around 

can warm up in it’s glowing.

That’s how it is with God’s love,

once you’ve experienced it.

You spread His love

to everyone,

you want to pass it on.

 

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16 gifts for mom under $100

With Mother’s day just around the corner, if you haven’t yet figured out what you’re getting for mom, here are some great ideas under $100 for mom. Of course, it helps if you know what kind of stuff your own mom likes. My mom tends to ask for things like cheap cologne (perfume) and powder and lotion all the time. And sometimes bird seed. Yep. You heard me right. She has actually put that on Christmas/Birthday lists before so she can feed the birds. And then she goes and buys all the stuff that would actually make cool gifts to give her for herself, so all we’re left to buy are the same few things over and over again. Makes for a hard time shopping for her!

So happy shopping for mom this week. If you’re really still stuck by the end of the week, there’s always flowers and chocolates!  😉

And Happy Mother’s Day to all you mom’s out there! I hope you’re spoiled rotten by your family this coming weekend.

 

 

 

Fun gifts for mom
Fun gifts for mom

 

 

Gifts for mom
Gifts for mom

 

You can shop these items here:

 

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Easter Pets

Just a quick post before the Easter weekend begins to wish you all a happy Easter! I have a busy weekend ahead as I get ready to start filming on a student film that’s been rescheduled five times so far. Fifth times a charm, right? (And hopefully I didn’t jinx it by saying we were finally starting up.) Then Easter dinner at my parents house on Sunday.

Hope you all have fun coloring eggs, doing Easter egg hunts, Easter service, Easter dinner and all that jazz.

On the other hand, how cute are these Easter pet photos I found?

 

Easter bunny
Easter bunny

 

Depression in pink
Depression in pink

 

Bunny pig
Bunny pig

 

Little fella
Little fella

 

Funny pug Easter bunny
Funny pug Easter bunny

 

These are my eggs!
These are my eggs!

Hope you all enjoy the holiday, whatever you’re doing!

 

photo credit: wigerl – herwig ster Easter Bunny via photopin (license)

photo credit: Gatorgoon Depression in Pink via photopin (license)

photo credit: Plastic_Bat bunny pig via photopin (license)

photo credit: Negativexpositive Little fella. via photopin (license)

photo credit: DaPuglet Funny Pug Easter Bunny via photopin (license)

photo credit: somewhereintheworldtoday Easter Bunny via photopin (license)

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Love is in the air! #valentinesshmalintines

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!

 

Kitty Valentine
Kitty Valentine

 

I love you more than coffee
I love you more than coffee

 

You send me right round baby!
You send me right round baby!

 

You make me float
You make me float

 

Be mine, kittytine!
Be mine, kittytine!

 

Be my cupcake
Be my cupcake

 

Love you to the moon
Love you to the moon

 

Be my star
Be my star

All cards designed by Freepik. Links below

Kitty cards: Designed by Freepik

Rocket/Moon Cards: Designed by Freepik

Watercolor cards: Designed by Freepik

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Valentine’s Gift Guide

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!

Valentine’s Gift Ideas

 

 

Romantic gifts
Romantic gifts

 

 

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Bokehlicious Bokehs!

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!

 

Bokehlicious gingerbread house
Bokehlicious gingerbread house

 

Green and blue bokeh tree lights
Green and blue bokeh tree lights

 

Reindeer lights
Reindeer lights

 

Reindeer by the tree
Reindeer by the tree

 

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!

 

Oh Christmas tree!
Oh Christmas tree!

 

He played his drum for me a rum pa pa pum...
He played his drum for me a rum pa pa pum…

 

 

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Choosing Thankfulness

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?)

 

The yellow leaf road
The yellow leaf road

 

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.

 

Moody Hellebore
Moody hellebore

 

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.

 

Gorgeous red vines on a fence.
Gorgeous red vines on a fence.

 

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.

 

Autumn Reflections
Autumn Reflections

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.

 

Autumns glow
Autumns glow

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.

 

There's beauty all around us, if only we open our eyes to see.
There’s beauty all around us, if only we open our eyes to see.

 

Whatever is going on in your life, good or bad, choose thankfulness.

 

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The Witch’s Castle

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.

 

The trailhead leading to the Witch's Castle
The trail head leading to the Witch’s Castle

 

The Witch's Castle
The Witch’s Castle

 

The Witch's Hat
The Witch’s Hat

 

Looking through the Witch's Castle
Looking through the Witch’s Castle

 

A lonely witch's hat
A lonely witch’s hat

 

A forlorn witch who lost her broom and can't go out and play today.
A forlorn witch who lost her broom and can’t go out and play today.

 

 

* 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.

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Papua New Guinea ~ Independence Day

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!

 

Papua New Guinea

O arise all you sons of this land,

Let us sing of our joy to be free,

Praising God and rejoicing to be

Papua New Guinea.

CHORUS

Shout our name from the mountains to seas

Papua New Guinea;

Let us raise our voices and proclaim

Papua New Guinea.

Now give thanks to the good Lord above

For His kindness, His wisdom and love

For this land of our fathers so free,

Papua New Guinea.

CHORUS

Shout again for the whole world to hear

Papua New Guinea;

We’re independent and we’re free,

Papua New Guinea.

 

 

Part of the Simbu 'tainim het' group at the Goroka Show '04. Goroka, PNG.
Part of the Simbu ‘tainim het’ group at the Goroka Show ’04. Goroka, PNG.

 

The Goliath Birdwing is a birdwing butterfly found in New Guinea, and is the second-largest butterfly in the world.
The Goliath Birdwing is a birdwing butterfly found in New Guinea, and is the second-largest butterfly in the world.

 

Tree Kangaroo
Tree Kangaroo

 

Rainbow Lorikeet
Rainbow Lorikeet

 

Clown Anemone Fish
Clown Anemone Fish – Yeah. Nemo lives in the coral reefs of Papua New Guinea

 

Cassowary, meanest bird in the world!
Cassowary, meanest bird in the world!
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What fathers do for us

What do fathers do for us? An ode to my father:

 

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.

 

There's something on this tree...
There’s something on this tree…

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.

 

Tattoos for sale
Tattoos for sale

 

 

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.

 

Rainbow clown
Rainbow clown

 

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.

 

Any man can be a father, but It takes someone special to be a dad.
Any man can be a father, but It takes someone special to be a dad.

 

Fathers take you on nature walk – telling you what all the plants are and letting you taste all the ones that are edible.

 

Father taking his kids on a nature walk.
Father taking his kids on a nature walk.

 

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.

 

 

When it rains, look for rainbows. When it's dark, look for stars.
When it rains, look for rainbows. When it’s dark, look for stars.

 

 

 

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A May Day Tradition

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…

 

Cute little bear with purple flowers
Cute little bear with purple flowers

 

May Day bouquet
May Day bouquet

 

Lovely lilac bouquet
Lovely lilac bouquet

 

May Day basket
May Day basket

 

Lily of the Valley
Lily of the Valley

 

May Day Door Hanger
Bouquet Door Hanger
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New Beginnings

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

 

Is my food ready yet?
Is my food ready yet?

 

Little chick
Little chick

 

Baby deer
Baby deer

 

Sweet baby ducklings
Sweet baby ducklings

 

Calf & lamb
Calf & lamb

 

Sweet baby lamb
Sweet baby lamb

 

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Christmas Cats

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!

 

She's a sly one...
She’s a sly one…

 

Cat in a rustic wreath
Cat in a rustic wreath

 

Santa Claws
Santa Claws

 

Holiday cat
Holiday cat

 

Cat in front of a Christmas tree
Cat in front of a Christmas tree

 

Miyako copying Santa Clause
Miyako copying Santa Clause
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Grateful

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?

 

Life can be as glorious as we choose it to be. Gratitude changes everything. ~ Bronnie Ware
Life can be as glorious as we choose it to be. Gratitude changes everything. ~ Bonnie Ware

 

The greatest source of happiness is the ability to be grateful at all times. ~ Zig Ziglar
The greatest source of happiness is the ability to be grateful at all times. ~ Zig Ziglar

 

Your ability to see beauty and possibility is proportionate to the level at which you embrace gratitude. ~ Steve Maraboli
Your ability to see beauty and possibility is proportionate to the level at which you embrace gratitude. ~ Steve Maraboli

 

Grateful
Grateful

 

 

I am grateful for everything I have in my life. What I have now, what I will have in the future.
I am grateful for everything I have in my life. What I have now, what I will have in the future.

 

 

Live simply.
Live simply. Dream big. Be grateful. Give love. Laugh lots.

 

 

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A Victorian Halloween

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…

If in the mirror your lover is seen, you'll surely be happy on Halloween.
If in the mirror your lover is seen, you’ll surely be happy on Halloween.

 

 The time has come for the witches dance, and the spooks from far and near will gather and make merry, for Halowe'en is near.
The time has come for the witches dance, and the spooks from far and near will gather and make merry, for Halowe’en is near.

 

Halloween
Halloween

 

Hold your candle steady and keep a sharp lookout for back among the shadows you'll see goblins peeping out.
Hold your candle steady and keep a sharp lookout for back among the shadows you’ll see goblins peeping out.

 

Halloween Greetings
Halloween Greetings

 

Friendly fairy,witch or fay fulfil the wish you wish today.
Friendly fairy,witch or fay fulfil the wish you wish today.

 

 

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