Wordless Wednesday - Metal Sculpture

metal sculpture

For more wordlessness, check out Gabriel's blog and the WW hub.



My day started out somewhat crummy. I was up a few times during the night, my head still hurt this morning, and my knee seems to be a little worse again today (probably too much up and down the stairs). To top it off, I'd spent no time preparing for the week before the alarm went off this morning. Nothing like flying into the week with no specific plans.

But God.

But God doesn't want me to be hung up on my circumstances, focused on them to the exclusion of HIM. In fact, the teaching at church on Saturday night was very much about that. It's not as if I'm unfamiliar with Paul's letter to the church at Philippi. It's one of my favorite books in the Bible.

In light of Christ and all of eternity, what I'm dealing with today is minimal. Compared to what many others live with all the time, this is hardly worth mentioning. Yet it's so easy to focus on that which is uncomfortable, bothersome, or annoying. But it's fleeting. Really, all of this life is fleeting.

Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. James 4:14

And then I remember.

Ann at Holy Experience hosts the Gratitude Community each Monday. Exactly the perspective adjustment I need. What am I grateful for? Focus upon those things and the other, more bothersome things will fade to the back.

#1. a husband who loves, supports, and encourages me

#2. beautiful & inspiring piano music of David Nevue

#3. sons willing to help when I need to rest my knee

#4. meeting a new friend last week

#5. plenty of work for John

#6. bills that are paid

#7. playing Liverpool Rummy with Mom & Dad

The goal is to reach one thousand gifts - one thousand things for which to be thankful. Seven isn't very far, but it's a start. I plan to jot these down throughout the week and post each Monday. Here's to a lifelong search for gratitude.

holy experience


Very Good Morning

It has been a very good morning, indeed. Not because of McDonald's. But I did have to chuckle at their sign because it certainly described my morning.

I was up earlier than normal, heading across town to meet a new friend.

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Pardon the periphery, but it's a beautiful site to see Pikes Peak and the full moon just as the sun peeks over the horizon. It even makes traffic and the surrounding urban-ness fade away when you have this type of scenery available on a regular basis.

As I went farther west, I was able to capture part of Kissing Camels (in Garden of the Gods) with the moon. There were a lot of people stopping at the side of the road for similar shots.

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Those are the real colors, no Photoshop adjustments. It's just that gorgeous here.

And another one with Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, and the moon.

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All so I could meet Sarah for coffee.


That would be Sarah Danaher, of Ampersand Photography.

Sarah is lovely, friendly, authentic, and sweet. When I discovered that she's teaching a photography workshop here, I emailed her to see if she would want to meet. Her schedule's packed, but she squeezed me in early this morning. We had a wonderful time visiting and getting to know a little more about each other. Then it was back to work for her and back home for me. What a joy to make a new friend, particularly a sister in Christ.

It was a very blessed morning, indeed.


Did You Ever...

...wake up in an Alfred Hitchcock movie?

I did this morning.

The noise you hear? It was louder than my alarm clock which was about two feet away from my head. Our window was open less than a foot.

Pardon the poor video, it's my point & shoot. I have no groovy Flip or any such thing.

The Birds from Dianne on Vimeo.

Talk about a very strange thing to wake up to.


Out of the Mouth of the Lion - a Book Review

I recently had the opportunity to read and review a book from Salem Ridge Press, entitled Out of the Mouth of the Lion. This book was written by a Victorian children’s author, Emma Leslie, and originally published in 1875.

The story follows the lives of Flaminius, a high Roman official, his wife, Flavia, and her sister, Sisidona. After attending the sacrifice of Christians to a lion at the Coliseum, Flavia is profoundly affected by the faith of these believers, even in the faith of such a horrendous death. Flavia ultimately comes to faith in Jesus Christ, putting herself and her family in a precarious situation as the Roman persecution of Christians continues to escalate. Fearing for his wife as well as himself, Flaminius obtains a transfer to another city. As the persecution continues to spread and intensify, Flaminius and his family are forced to move a number of times, ultimately traveling to the seven cities mentioned in Revelation. Each city is living in the time of the letters written to them. Throughout their journey, Flavia prays in earnest for her husband to come to a saving knowledge of Christ. Flaminius is repulsed by Christianity, and although he loves his wife dearly, he decides that the only way to remain with peaceably with her is to agree never to speak of her newfound faith. He remains adamant in his belief and worship of the Roman gods until something happens that causes him to question not only all that he has believed, but also that which his wife believes.

As this book was published over 130 years ago, the language is rather archaic, however, when republished, the unusual vocabulary words were included on the bottom of the pages along with their definition. Because of the wording, I wasn’t sure how well my two boys would manage, so we used this book as a read-aloud story. I found it to be a fascinating and intense story, as did the boys. It was very powerful to read of the faith of the characters as they remained true to the Lord, in spite of the threats and persecution of Christians. It was interesting to read about the cities in Asia Minor, and look at how the way they were commended and rebuked might have actually played out at the time the letters in Revelation were written. It’s refreshing to read a book where Biblical truth is maintained.

Salem Ridge Press was founded by Daniel Mills, a young man who is a homeschool graduate. Because of two old books which Daniel read while still a teen, a desire to republish similar books was born. Salem Ridge Press is a family-owned business in Pennsylvania and Philippians 4:8 provides their underlying philosophy. Daniel strongly believes that what we put into our minds contributes significantly to our character. As such, he seeks to provide reading material that fits the qualifications outlined in the Bible. Not all books published by Salem Ridge Press are specifically Christian, but they all have strong moral values and encourage positive character.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

You can read other reviews of not only Out of the Mouth of the Lion, but also other books by Salem Ridge Press at the TOS Homeschool Crew blog.

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of Out of the Mouth of the Lion to review. The opinions stated here are my own.


Wordless Wednesday - Late Night Dinner

chipotle night

For more wordlessness, check out Gabriel's blog and the WW hub.



Yesterday we were bowling with some friends and suddenly my knee gave out on me. I did catch myself, but it definitely hindered the rest of my game. It was incredibly awkward to walk up to the line and throw the ball with no momentum. It pretty much felt like something was out of place in my knee. Once home, I took some ibuprofen, elevated and iced it, with no results.

Random photo - has nothing to do with anything here, except that I love Apache Plume
apache plume

Unfortunately, it still hurts today. So I'm gimping around and trying to decide who to see about this. My primary care doc? My chiropractor? Someone else? Fortunately, I have an expert friend who's very helpful in these situations so I asked her input. She mentioned that one possibility is that I could have a torn meniscus. I searched that a little and it sounds terrible. So I'm praying that it's not the case. I'll be seeing the chiropractor tomorrow, so we'll see what she has to say.

In the meantime, I'm very tired. Having a jacked-up knee has completely worn me out today. It's incredible how much pain can wear a person out. Not that I don't know that, but I tend to forget when I'm not regularly experiencing it. My heart goes out to people who live that way all the time. It's particularly frustrating because, while I've had knee issues on and off with my right knee over the years, I've never had anything bad with my left knee. Until yesterday.

Of course, it's just a reminder that if I weighed less, this could be less of an issue. On that note, I joined Weight Watchers awhile back and got off to a terrific start. Then I become complacent. It's a vicious cycle - motivated, exercising, eating well, and losing weight and then back to sort of caring, but not really, eating & drinking the things that don't help me. I've thought about blogging about it, but then I'm more accountable. Oh yeah, accountability is what I need, isn't it?

The stache and fedora really do it for him, don't you think?
his stache

A few weeks ago, we had a couple of nights that dropped into the 40s and I didn't have anything to cover my garden out back. The watermelon that was growing by leaps and bounds? It stopped. Completely. I'm so sad. I was really looking forward to our own watermelon. We had two that were well on their way to being a yummy, summertime treat, as well as two little new melons trying to play catch-up. Even if that was all we got, that was fine.

watermelon harvest

I continued to water the melons, cover them and the tomato neighbors at night, and hope that they would take off again. Yes, living in denial is ever so ridiculous. Not surpisingly, the melons never did get any bigger. I finally conceded defeat and harvested the little cuties. They were pale but a little sweet. Although there wasn't really much to eat.

On a happy note, the tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapenos, and one cucumber are all doing well. Although I have no idea how to know when tomatillos are ready to be harvested. Any help? I'm still hoping to get some fresh green tomatillo salsa made.

I'm not really ready for fall, or autumn if you prefer, even though it's one of my favorite seasons. It probably has something to do with the fact that we had practically no spring this year - at least not the nice part of it. We still had cold, rainy weather in the middle of May. I know we have shorter summers here in Colorado, but the last two years have been void of spring. That would be the reason I didn't plant my veggies until nearly the end of May. I will be a little more prepared next year.

Goodness, I really am terribly tired. I think I shall go to bed . . . long before midnight or 1:00 a.m. for just a change. Sweet dreams.


Vocabulary Cartoons - A Review

We’ve recently had the opportunity to review Vocabulary Cartoons – SAT Word Power from New Monic Books. First of all, I have to say that this has been the most fun vocabulary program I have ever used with the boys in our homeschool. Each vocabulary word has a cartoon and a linking word or phrase to help remember the word and its definition. They have a great sense of humor, and having teenage boys, humor goes a long way to help them pay attention and remember.

The words are in alphabetical order and after every ten words, there is a review. The first part is a matching exercise and the second portion is a fill-in-the-blank with the best word exercise. There are a total of 290 words, so you could use as many or as few as you'd like each day or week - whatever works best for you.

We just cover two words per day (and review the rest of the words from the week), so my boys love its brevity. That also makes it easy to fit in most anyplace in our daily schedule. I write the words on the board each day and at the end of the week, we have all ten. It really is a nice break from longer high school subjects to have something that's short and sweet...and fun! And because it's so much fun, I would venture to say that they know the words from Vocabulary Cartoons much, much better than any other vocabulary program we’ve used in the past. Had I known about this before now, we’d have used it every year.

There is one Vocabulary Cartoons book for the elementary level and two of the SAT Word Power books, so you can get something for your kids, no matter their ages. I'll also let you in on a little secret . . . you may find your own vocabulary increasing in the process.

Check out what other TOS Crew member had to say about this book here.

Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of Vocabulary Cartoons – SAT Word Power to review. The opinions stated here are my own.


Wordless Wednesday - Hitchhiker


For more wordlessness, check out Gabriel's blog and the WW hub.


Buckskin Joe's

On Labor Day weekend, our family headed south to Buckskin Joe's, an old west town which was built back in 1958 as a movie set. It was once known as the filming capital of Colorado. You can go here for a list of movies that were filmed there.


Located next to the Royal Gorge Bridge (America's highest suspension bridge), it's been a tourist attraction for many years. Apparently I was there when I was a young girl, but I don't remember much about it, just a few snapshot memories. John & I have talked about taking the boys there for quite awhile, but we just never made it.

buckskin joes-5

Then my mom shared some very sad news with me. Buckskin Joe's had been sold. Not just to a new owner who would continue to run it, but someone who plans to disassemble all the buildings and move them elsewhere. I believe it will still be in Colorado, but no word as to what will be done with them when they're relocated. One of the nice things about its current location is that it's an arid climate which has helped to preserve the buildings for these past 50+ years.


So with a week left until it closed forever, we made the drive down on Labor Day. We got to see a couple of gunfights, check out the town and buildings, walk through a (allegedly) haunted mine, and enjoy lunch at the Silver Dollar Saloon.

silver dollar


They do a number of different gunfights with real firearms loaded with black powder. Everyone lines up along the boardwalk on the south side of town, looking for some shade in which to enjoy the show. Main Street's a couple blocks long, so I had no idea where we ought to sit, but we managed to get a seat very close to the action.

buckskin joes-2

The first gunfight we watched was a comedy, which was a lot of fun and laughs. Later in the day, we saw a gunfight that was a reenactment of a real fight from years past. The actors did a terrific job, but it was kind of sad, knowing that it had actually happened.

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buckskin joes-1

buckskin joes-3

gunfight 3

gunfight 4

There's a horse-drawn trolley which you can take a ride on to see all the sites of the old town. We passed on that and just saw it on foot.


You could get an old fashioned photograph taken, so we headed on over there after lunch. The boys weren't too thrilled at first, but if they didn't cooperate, their Pa might challenge 'em out on Main Street. So they gave up that argument and donned their faux old west clothes.

z costume

Somehow, I only got one son and my man. Not sure how that other wily son eluded me in costume. And yeah, they're blurry, but I don't think they really wanted me taking pictures in the place where they get paid to take pictures, know what I mean? Speed was of the essence. Clarity was a secondary maybe.

john - costume

old time photo

This old town even has a mayor. He's a donkey. For real. I'm not just insulting someone. He's a pretty laid-back kind of mayor.

mayor donkey

After visiting a few more shops, we decided to head over for a ride on the Royal Gorge Scenic Railway. The little tourist train click-clacks along the 15" wide track to Point Alta Vista (must mean the viewpoint with major altitude), which overlooks the Royal Gorge Bridge and the Arkansas River. There's also a very nice train which runs alongside the Arkansas at the bottom of the Gorge which we hope to take one day. It's amazing to look at that bridge and consider what a feat it was to have built that in five months back in 1929. I think we would find it amazing to be built today, let alone over 80 years ago. You can read more facts about this incredible attraction here.


the gorge

royal gorge bridge - tram
See those teeny tiny things on the bridge? Those are people walking across. Gives you some perspective on the size of things, doesn't it?

There's also a tram (America's longest single-span aerial) that runs across the Gorge next to the bridge, America's steepest incline railway, and America's scariest skycoaster. We didn't go over to the Royal Gorge, but got to see the bridge, gorge, and tram from the lookout point.

BTW, if you're an adrenaline junkie, you should definitely check out the Skycoaster. It's about 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River. I think my stomach would do flip-flops watching other people ride on that!

We had a wonderful time and I'm so grateful that we made it down there before it's closed and gone. I'm also very sad that it will be closed and gone - there's a lot of history there. Much, much more than what I've shared here. Personally, I'm hoping the new owner will make it available to the public again, although I sure wish he'd have left it where it is. But at least we can say that we saw it when it was here.

I'll leave you with my rascal husband getting burned at the stake.

burned at the stake


On a Roll

When I began blogging {almost four years ago}, I wrote maybe a few times a week. Along the way, I got into a pretty good groove and posted more often than not. Then I fell into a rut where I only posted for Wordless Wednesday. Once in a great while, I'd get another post or two up in a week, but I lived in this blogging rut for quite some time.

Around the middle of August this year, I began posting again. And now I look back over this past month and see that I have posted almost every single day. It's just flowing - I really haven't had to struggle to find something to write about. I even had posts written beforehand and scheduled to post - something I always wanted to be able to do, but never managed very well. It has been wonderful to post regularly - even when few people, if any, read it. Like overcoming writer's block or something. As if I can breathe deeper.

Last night and this morning, I had no idea what else to write about. I always feel that my daily life is so...well, DAILY. Who wants to read such drivel?

Cue the film noir music...

I got up late, yet again. Started the day with my usual iced chai latte and toasted English muffin. Opened My Utmost for His Highest and partook of breakfast while hearing from the Lord.

I didn't bother with a shower or changing out of my pajamas. I settled in at the sewing machine to whip out some more...

See what I mean? Terribly boring.

But I can't stop writing now. I just can't. I may fall back into the dreadful rut.

Then I read Melissa's post wherein she says, and I quote:

I always tell my blog friends to write even when they don’t feel like writing. That the daily habit of writing actually keeps the juices flowing better than anything.

So here I am. Writing.

And there you are. Reading.

It's an interesting arrangement, don't you think?

It's a fox. Standing on our fence. I didn't know they could do that.
Shot with hubby's Droid X and emailed to me.

I haven't posted one of my randomly rambling posts in awhile, but this may become one. But back to sewing. I'm making a bunch of goodies to sell at a craft fair. My son is making more clay sock monkeys. They really are the cutest things ever. Since we're moving into holiday craft season, he's also making some lovely snowflake ornaments. I can't really describe them, so you'll have to wait until they're done and I can show you pictures.

And speaking of pictures . . . and photography . . . thus cameras . . . (that's the most coherent linkage I've had in awhile!), I've been using back-button focus for a week or so and I really, really like it! For anyone who is a photographer (paid or not), who has actually stayed with my babblings, have you ever used back button focus? What do you think about it?

And one last thing. Remember that ShootSac I won? It ROCKS!!! I am SO loving it. I am SO grateful to have won it. I took it to the Balloon Classic & Buckskin Joe's last weekend. Speaking of Buckskin Joe's, I need to write a post about that. Sweet, I've got Sunday covered. Even though this is so late, it nearly qualifies as a Sunday post.


More Balloons

Since I took over 650 pictures at the Balloon Classic, I figure I'll share a few more.

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more balloons-4

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My handsome honey, not a balloon.
more balloons-john

more balloons-7

more balloons-1

more balloons-2

more balloons-3

You can also see a few more here.
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