Weekly Photo Challenge: Angular

In this week’s photo challenge, we are to show a photo that demonstrates “angular.”

What does angular mean to you? It might mean the corner on which you live or the intersection of sea and sky at a 180 degree angle. Angular also offers a chance to shoot from an entirely new perspective: from above, below, or even from the margins of the fray. Above all, have fun!

I’m using a picture my youngest son took in Texas, where he went for Karate Nationals a few years ago.


Gail ♥

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Minimalist

This week’s photo challenge is entitled “Minimalist.”

I am using a photo my son took this summer in Alaska.

Humpback whale fluke in Valdez, Alaska

Humpback whale fluke in Valdez, Alaska

Gail ♥

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Happy 22nd Birthday Son!

Dear Son,

My mind just can’t seem to grasp the fact  that you are really 22!  Wasn’t it just yesterday that the obstetrician laid you on my belly right after proclaiming, “It’s a Boy!!” and then gently guided your dad in the severing of your umbilical cord?  I remember the obstetrician before he left the room, congratulating us, shaking dad’s hand, and telling him to “keep the boys coming!”

Awaiting your birth.  Your brother and cousin were both very excited too!

Awaiting your birth. Your brother and cousin were both very excited too!

Your birth

Your birth

Right after your birth with your dad and my mother looking  on.

Right after your birth with your dad and my mother looking on.

A few minutes old

A few minutes old


Your proud dad taking you to the nursery for weighing and measurements

Your proud dad taking you to the nursery for weighing and measurements


I wrote details about your birth story here  so I guess I don’t need to repeat myself in this post.  But there are so many things I remember about that day that are so special. One that stands out in my mind is that evening after everyone had left and your exhausted dad had gone home to sleep and take care of your three-year old brother.  I had been moved from the birthing room to my private room and was alone for the first time since about 5 am that morning.  I remember a nurse walking in holding swaddled you in her arms, looking at me and saying, “Someone wants his mommy.”  I had not been alone with you until now and I was eager to meet you and get a good look at you– to spend some time alone with you.  She placed you in my arms and I held you close.  I smelled the sweet smell of new babe and started unwrapping your tiny body.  Yes, I counted fingers and toes!  I examined every inch of you and as all new moms do, proclaimed in my mind how perfect you were.  I remember holding your tiny feet in my hand and marveling at your tiny red toes and skinny little heels.  Marveling over the fact that these tiny feet had been what had given me some pretty swift kicks in the abdomen the past several months!  I held you up under my neck and thanked God for the miracle of giving you to us to take care of and nurture.  I patted your back, kissed you all over as I held you close and I remember thinking I never wanted to forget that moment.


You were born on a Thursday at 3:22 pm, weighed 7 lbs. 15 oz., and were 21 inches long. You were born 10 days before your due date (I was induced because your doctor was going out-of-town and he and I were in agreement that we both wanted no one else to deliver you).  I had been dilated to a 3 for what seemed like forever and I was ready to meet you.  I was to go home on Saturday, the standard two days after giving birth.  It was quite the busy day!  I remember the pediatrician coming into my room late that morning to examine you before we were discharged.  The phone kept ringing off the wall!  So many happy well-wishers calling to say they couldn’t wait to meet you.  I would no sooner hang up and the phone would ring again.  I remember asking the pediatrician if she thought it would be against the rules to yank that phone plug right out of the wall!   She smiled her meek and gentle smile and then told me that she always felt sorry for the new moms who went home from the hospital on Saturdays and that she hoped I could get some rest!  She told me you were just beautiful (I already knew that)!

Leaving the hospital 11/7/92

Leaving the hospital

Other than a slow start in you learning to nurse and latch on to the breast properly, your first days both at the hospital and at home were smooth ones.  On the way home from the hospital, we stopped by the nursing home where my father, your grandfather, was a patient in the stroke rehabilitation unit.  He had recently been diagnosed with colon cancer and had a massive stroke on the operating table during his intestinal resection and anastomosis.  I was criticized by a few people for taking you, my newborn baby, into a nursing home, but I wanted your grandfather to meet you.  I would not deny him the privilege of that because I knew him and knew that if he hadn’t been laid up in that nursing home and sick, that he most definitely would have been at the hospital for your birth.  He was SO excited as he gleamed at you while I pinned the “I’m a New Grandpa” pin on his shirt.  I laid you, still in your car seat, in the bed with your grandfather so he could get a good look at you.  He cried.  I got all teary-eyed too.  It was a special moment that I will never forget.  And it made me ever so thankful that I had taken you.  He kissed you tenderly on your bald head before we left.  Only 5 days earlier on Halloween, we had trick-or-treated at the nursing home with your brother and cousins in tow and he had patted my then very large pregnant belly, saying, “It won’t be long now.” When he came home from the nursing home, he spent a good part of his time in the bed, and some days I would lay you in the bed with him.  The two of you would snuggle and he would pat and rub your bald head and talk to you and I saw with my own eyes how your love helped ease his pain– the pain that cancer was bringing to his body.  You were only 18 months old when the cancer took him.  How I wish you could have known him but it wasn’t meant to be.

Stopping at the nursing home on the way home to meet your paw paw.  He was there for stroke rehabilitation but would soon come home.

Stopping at the nursing home on the way home to meet your paw paw. He was there for stroke rehabilitation but would soon come home.

Snuggling with Paw paw.  You were 3 months old

Snuggling with Paw paw. You were 3 months old

The night you came home from the hospital.  Your grandparents came to visit and see you

The night you came home from the hospital. Your grandparents came to visit and see you

In your early years, there were health issues we had to deal with.  You didn’t talk until you were 4 and so there were many tests and evaluations to undergo during your second and third years of life.  Since you couldn’t talk and therefore couldn’t communicate with us, you became very frustrated and threw temper tantrums.  Your mother and father were frustrated too.  We wanted nothing more than to know how to communicate with you.  After a multitude of neurological tests, pediatric visits, speech and language evaluations,  hearing tests, and genetic tests, your final diagnosis was verbal apraxia. Since you were born with a tongue-tie, you had a frenulectomy performed at age 3.  This was not an easy surgery and if the truth be told, I regretted putting you through it because in all actuality, while your tongue-tie did probably make it harder for you to be able to learn to latch and made it harder for you to learn to breastfeed, it probably was NOT related in any way to your speech/language delays.  Try telling that to some people though.  After consulting with your pediatrician, we decided to bite the bullet and go ahead with the surgery.  It was major surgery (a little more than a quick snip of the frenulum) and it was very hard on you, a three-year old toddler.

First Christmas 12/25/92

First Christmas

you at 8 months

you at 8 months


You started pre-school at age 3 mainly so you could get speech therapy.  You loved pre-school and loved your teacher.  When kindergarten came, you cried before we ever got out of the car, because you knew your new teacher was no longer going to be the pre-school teacher that you had grown very attached to for the previous three years.   Thankfully, while driving you to school that morning, I spotted a box turtle in the road leading up to the school.  I stopped the car, got out and put Mr. Box turtle in the car and we carried him into the kindergarten classroom. The teacher had a box and he soon became the center of attention.  That turtle helped to dry your tears (as well as many other reluctant first day kindergarten students!) and I was thankful.  At recess time, the class let Mr. Box turtle go free in the woods next to the school.  He had served his purpose well.

You and Mrs. Hines, your kindergarten teacher

You and Mrs. Hines, your kindergarten teacher

Kindergarten graduation. You and your best bud, Danielle (Dani)

Kindergarten graduation.
You and your best bud, Danielle (Dani)


Even as a toddler, you worked hard on your speech and language therapy both in private and group therapy.  You excelled.  Once you started talking at four, you just kept right on talking and making up for lost time.  When you were in 3rd grade, they decided it was time to discontinue your speech therapy.

Your first place ribbon for your "Halloween Bat" drawing

Your first place ribbon for your “Halloween Bat” drawing


You grew to be a sweet, polite, and kind little boy, always considerate of others.  You could always make us laugh with your fun personality.  But you could also be very serious.  I remember a time when you were eight years old and sitting in church next to your grandmother.   The collection plate was being passed and you reached in your pocket and pulled out a $10 bill.  My eyes grew wide as I had not known you had raided your piggy bank before we left home.  You said something to your grandmother (inaudible to me) after the plate had passed and you had dropped your money in.  After the service, she told me you had whispered to her that you wanted to help feed the poor.  That day I saw that sincere heart of yours….  my heart swelled that day with love for you in that moment that your eight year old self acted as an example of godliness for all of us adults to witness.

You worked hard to achieve success in school your whole life and have always made us proud.  I enjoyed seeing your passion for martial arts develop and how hard you worked at getting your black belt.  You never gave up.  I can’t wait to see what you’ll accomplish in the future.  You can do big things when you work hard.

You and Sensei Danner

You and Sensei Danner


You and Sensei Danner  Your orange Belt Exam

You and Sensei Danner
Your orange Belt Exam

Son, I pray that you  always know the love I have for you in my heart and that I’ll always be here for you.   And I hope you know that God will always be with you too and that He will never, never, never abandon you.  I pray that you will feed your soul with His word every day and that you will always follow Him.

Now that you’re in college, I don’t see you much anymore.  I miss talking to you.  I miss seeing you.  I will miss celebrating your birthday with you this year as we’ve celebrated together for 21 years.  I found a few pictures of you growing up and a few of past birthday that I wanted to share.  They made me smile.  I hope they will make you smile too.


First birthday cake 11/5/93

First birthday cake

Your personal cake.  Once you got a taste of that icing, you wanted more!

Your personal cake. Once you got a taste of that icing, you wanted more!

First birthday 11/5/93

First birthday

Celebrating your 5th birthday with your preschool friends

Celebrating your 5th birthday with your preschool friends

Your 5th birthday cake

Your 5th birthday cake

Your 7th birthday party- opening gifts

Your 7th birthday party- opening gifts

Your 8th Titans birthday cake

Your 8th Titans birthday cake

Dad and you at your Titans football party.  He led you and your friends in some fun football games.

Dad and you at your Titans football party. He led you and your friends in some fun football games.

Your 9th birthday cake

Your 9th birthday cake

Your 11th birthday cake

Your 11th birthday cake

Your 12th birthday cake.  You loved playing the saxophone.

Your 12th birthday cake. You loved playing the saxophone.

Your 13th birthday cake.  We laughed at this cake because someone at the bakery goofed!!  Remember that?

Your 13th birthday cake. We laughed at this cake because someone at the bakery goofed!! Remember that?

You on your 13th birthday

You on your 13th birthday

Sweet 16.  Another Titans cake

Sweet 16. Another Titans cake

Your MJ Bears 17th birthday cake

Your MJ Bears 17th birthday cake

17th birthday

17th birthday

Happy 19th birthday! Your first birthday away at college.

Happy 19th birthday! Your first birthday away at college.

Your 21st birthday!

Your 21st birthday!






Happy Birthday son.

With much love,


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Monday’s Question

Question:  Do you get snow where you live?  Do you like it or could you do without it?

My Answer:  We don’t get much snow at all where I live in the Southeast United States.  We USED to get snow but it is a rare occurrence now.  What we get mostly now is ice and just snow flurries or “dustings” of snow.  And when it doesn’t even cover up all the blades of grass, I don’t even consider it a snowfall.  I miss the snow.  I have happy memories of snowfalls growing up as a kid– building snowmen, having snowball fights with the kids in the neighborhood, sled riding with friends, making snow cream, and walking in the snow at night (I love how the moonlight shimmers on the snow).  So I love snow and miss it.  I can understand how people who live in the north who get heavy snow all winter would get tired of it and the cold temperatures that come with it.  I wish for some snow this year.


Gail ♥

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A Stroll Through the Woods in Late October

I enjoy walking in the woods anytime, but especially in autumn when the leaves are changing.  Autumn seems late in these parts and there isn’t as much color for this time of year–not many reds that I’ve seen so far– but still, there’s not much that makes me happier than walking in the woods in the fall.

These pictures are from an October 3oth hike hubby and I took which just happened to be a lovely sunny day.  I would estimate that we saw 30-40 deer.  Most were grazing far off in a field as we were leaving the park at dusk, but there was a group of five (2 does and 3 little ones) grazing in the woods that got very close to us.  They didn’t seem to mind us snapping their pictures, so we did.  I love seeing God’s handiwork …. the beauty of His splendor grandly displayed!
























Gail ♥

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Descent

This week, show us your interpretation of descent — experiment with your point of view and angle, or go even deeper with the theme.

Fall Creek Falls



Gail ♥

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Halloween Nostalgia

Tonight candles are lit and the house is decked out in orange and black decorations and orange lights.  A jack-o-lantern sits on the front porch and there’s a full bowl of candy sitting on the foyer table.  An occasional spook knocks on the door and holds out a trick- or-treat bag.  Our hilly neighborhood is not real trick-or-treat friendly so we usually get just a handful of kids on Halloween.








My mind wanders back to childhood.  How my mother always made chili and grilled cheese sandwiches on Halloween night.  How my sisters and I were practically frantic with excitement in trying to get out the door before the sun barely had a chance to go down.  I remember the hectic pace of the night– trying to get on costumes, make-up or masks, wigs, etc.  How our mother would help us in between stirring her chili and popping another grilled cheese in the skillet.  She would stay home and hand out candy on Halloween night while my dad would take us trick-or-treating.  I remember how she would smile and laugh when we would later come knock at her door and how she gave us and our friends a little extra candy.  It was fun getting to pretend and dress up and be anyone you wanted to be for a night.  I miss my mother on Halloween.

I remember my dad always carving a pumpkin the night before Halloween.  And how three little girls hovered around him and that pumpkin.  He’d ask  us if we wanted that jack-o-lantern to have a smile or a frown.  After he carved it, he would place it on the marble-topped table in the living room in front of the picture window.   People often displayed jack-o-lanterns in living room windows back in the 60s.   My mother would put a candle in that pumpkin and I can still smell the candle burning and warming up the orange stringy insides of that pumpkin.  I miss my parents on Halloween.


Halloween was a night that we were guaranteed our dad would be home from the airport before dark to take his three daughters trick-or-treating.  He loved Halloween as much as we did.   There was just something about Halloween night and how it had a feeling like no other night.  How the leaves crunched under our feet walking through yards.  How the fall chill would be in the air which would cause those old plastic scratchy masks from the 60s to form condensation inside of them and how your upper lip would be wet and dripping in just minutes of being outside and eventually your whole face would be wet from your hot breath forming condensation inside that mask.  My dad would walk with us and all our friends from the neighborhood and stand at the street while we ran up to knock on doors.  Sometimes while standing up on the porch, I would turn around to look for my father.  He was always there smoking his pipe or his cigar.  I could see him in the distance and see the light from the cigar or the light from the match as he was constantly relighting his pipe.  And I remember ole  Mrs. Hibler two doors down who always   dressed as a witch on Halloween night.  She sat on her front porch and she never said a word.  Just sat there and beckoned us scared kids to come get the candy from her bowl.  I would grab my father around the legs but he would laugh and reassure me that I was safe.  With gentle prodding by my dad, I found my courage to go up to sweet Mrs. Hibler who wouldn’t hurt a flea but darn if she wasn’t all scary in that witch costume.   I miss Mrs. Hibler  on Halloween.

Mrs. Hibler on Halloween

Mrs. Hibler on Halloween

There was the usual caramel pop corn balls that our next door neighbor, Mrs. Baldridge would hand out every year.  She was an elderly woman who probably slaved away in her kitchen for 2 days making those homemade popcorn balls for us every year.  And there was Mrs. Hamilton down the street who would set up a card table in her living room and invite us in to walk around that table taking whatever we wanted.  Mrs. Hamilton always had a variety of full-sized candy bars which was quite a treat.  And there was Mrs. Byrne diagonally across the street who always gave out apples on Halloween.  It’s funny the things you remember.   I miss my old neighbors on Halloween.

There was the year my Halloween sack dragged the ground and busted.  My seven-year old self  stood there like a fool sobbing and stomping my foot as I looked down at all my candy sprawled right there all over the road.  My father taught me that the world doesn’t come to an end just because a trick-or-treat bag busts.  I miss my dad at Halloween.

My sisters and I would come home at the end of trick-or-treating with full bags of candy. We’d sit in the middle of the living room floor, dump out our sacks, sort our treats into piles and the candy trading would begin.  My father would not allow us to eat any candy that wasn’t wrapped and so that had to be discarded.  We would finish our candy trade-off and put our Halloween bags next to our beds.  I remember many times when my sisters and I would wake up to the sound of our father rummaging through our sacks.  I’m sure he was after his favorite treat– licorice.  I miss my dad on Halloween.

And when I grew up, married, and had kids of my own, I would take them to my parents’ house on Halloween to trick-or-treat in the old neighborhood.  It was a tradition.  And two doors down would be ole Mrs. Hibler, still dressing up as a witch after all these years and handing out candy.  My mother would take a little orange mini pumpkin and draw a jack-o-lantern face on it and give one to each of her grandsons.  I remember my oldest sleeping with his squash on Halloween night.  Yep, found him snuggling that tiny squash in the bed one Halloween night just like a kid would snuggle a teddy bear.  My heart smiled and my mother laughed the next day when I called her on the phone and told her the boy had slept with his squash.  I miss my mother on Halloween.












I had a sack of children’s Halloween books and I would read those books to my sons in the weeks before Halloween.  It was a tradition.  We’d lay on the bed and read those crazy stories and laugh ourselves silly.  We would decorate the house both inside and out and we’d all get into the Halloween spirit.  We would carve jack-o-lanterns the night before Halloween.  We’d go trick-or-treating and when we’d get home, the kids would sort their candy just as my sisters and I did.  There was that same Halloween chill in the air and the sound of leaves crunching under our feet.  Sometimes we would visit pumpkin farms and go on hay rides or visit corn mazes.  We would bake Halloween cupcakes or make spider cakes.  My children are grown now.  I miss my children on Halloween.

Gail  ♥


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