1/1 - John and Madison
John and his lady Madison left to go back to Ole Miss today. They were a little ragged from a night of New Year's Eve celebrating in town, but they still look so cute together.
1/2 - Wonderful Memento
The best picture frame EVER, from my talented brother-in-law Steve. He made this from a piece of wood that he and Frank took from the water while fishing in Maine this summer. The black metal frame is secured with magnets which adhere to 4 screws sunk into the faces of the wood. There's a frame on the other side, too. Ingenious! It's a striking display and a very happy memory.
1/3 - Jacob
Meet Jacob! He and his twin Jonathan were born on Christmas Eve, and I was involved in the quest to find their perfect home. They found it: the Ponders family will add them to their three daughters! Jacob came home from the hospital today, and is staying with another family at the church until the Ponders get back from vacation. Jonathan is still in the hospital. Love!
1/4 - Critter Mix
This one's a two-fer. First, check out this greedy Blue Jay, shoveling in seeds and corn from the "critter mix" I just put out on the back wall. He's got three seeds in his mouth at one time! Second: look what's coming up on the left side of the picture. Spring is already beginning to show its promise!
1/5 -Dad is 80
Happy 80th birthday to my Dad! Here he is doing what he loves best: fishing! He also enjoys fine cuisine, and authors a daily humor email, the Daily Chuckle for an ever-growing list of friends and family. Love you, Dad!
1/6 - Epiphany
Today is Epiphany, so here are the three kings visiting the Christ Child in my santon creche. These little clay figurines are made in France, using molds developed over the last 80 years by a single artist, Marcel Carbonel. All the figures in this picture were purchased in Provence by my parents in the 1960s. I have added to the set over the years. BTW, I totally cribbed the idea for this photo of the day from my friend Dianne Hylton.
1/8 - Fiber Optic Flowers
Our Christmas cacti are in bloom, and I love their quirky, variegated blossoms. The pistils look like the inside of a fiber-optic cable! God must have had such fun creating all these different flowers!
1/9 - Pretty Girl
This pretty lady cardinal is just one of a host of birds who were attracted by our new seed mix.
1/10 - McKisson Boys
Kathy Hoppe hung her new one-woman show in the art gallery at Mt. Bethel today, and it's really good! One of my favorite parts is this group of paintings of the McKisson boys. I love how each picture really catches the personality of the boy. From top left: Shane, Alex, Alberto; Bottom left: Joseph, Jonathan, Michael, James.
1-11 - Visit from Linda
It was great to have a visit from Linda today. No picture, so my Facebook post will have to do it.
1/12 - She Can't Hear!
Today we realized that our beloved Blizzard has gone almost totally deaf. Vet says it's just old age. She seems OK with it, and is still mesmerized by a tennis ball. The good news is, she's no longer terrified by thunder, since she can't hear it!
1/14 - Promise
It's a rainy winter day, and almost nothing in the garden is in bloom. But this rose bush has teeny shoots that promise spring blooms to come.
1/15 - Ouch
I hear this is the latest style of hat in Europe…Fell on the ramp to patio this morning and put a 2-inch gash in my forehead to the skull (ewww). Four layers of stitches, but nothing broken, no concussion, and I missed all the major blood vessels. God even watches over fools like me!
1/16 - Squirrel Proof?
Our new squirrel-proof feeders, well, aren't. It's been raining for three days now, and even the critters gotta eat.
1/17 - Comfort Food
The ultimate comfort food for a week that won't stop raining. Chicken barley soup, and every bit of it is healthy. Recipe here:http://bit.ly/VdnSAV
1/18 - Shadows. Finally!
Nice-looking cardinal, but that's not the star of this photo. The star is her shadow. We haven't seen the sun in almost a week, and today is bright and sunny. It's nice to see shadows again!
1/19 - Deconstructing Christmas
The Bain family (and Kate) came over this morning and blessed us by packing up all of our Christmas stuff and taking it back up to the attic. When they arrived, the tree was still up and the shelves behind them (and a few others) were packed with knickknacks. All clear in less than two hours. This is a family who knows how to "live generously!"
1/20 - "Roddy White"
John and his lady are suitably dressed for today's activity: NFC Conference Championship game at the Ga. Dome. I'm excited for them and happy that we got a surprise visit, even if only one night.
1/21 - Dr. Chapman
I got my stitches out today. Here's Dr. Chapman, the God-sent doctor who had the skill, and took the time, to sew me up so expertly that I will be good as new eventually.
1/22 - Opening Our Doors
Tonight, my church opened our doors to 87 homeless guests, to give them a nutritious meal, a shower, clean clothes, and a warm place to sleep on a very cold night. My life group decided to serve here, instead of meeting at our house for dinner as planned. Here is cerebral, reserved, Steve, talking with a guest. It's obvious that the two men have found a common ground, as their wry expressions show.
1/23 - Cardinal Stare-Off
Yet another cardinal. This guy looks as though he is staring me down.
1/24 - Birthday Flowers
Pretty flowers for my birthday!
1/25 - Camellias
Before they go, I have to give a shout-out to the beautiful camellias. They have been in bloom since December, providing the only color in the garden.
1/26 - Godly Women
Today I attended, and shot, the Women's Retreat. I enjoyed spending time with amazing, Godly women of all ages. I chose this picture because each of these young women is such a blessing to me in a different way, and I loved the sight of the three of them worshiping together. All the retreat pictures: http://smu.gs/X5KZtg
1/27 - Ms. Vickie's House
This is Ms. Vickie's house near Warm Springs, GA. It sustained massive damage during the tornado that came through in early 2011. Frank and I were part of the Mt. Bethel team that came to help with clean up. Since I was nearby at the Women's Retreat, I drove by to check it out - and it's looking good. New roof, new siding, a new fence, and the broken trees neatly trimmed. I didn't stop in - that felt like intruding - but I hope she is well. Pictures from 2011: http://smu.gs/X5SfVP
1/28 - Warm Springs
I stopped by Warm Springs Georgia this weekend, and walked around their quaint downtown. I loved the juxtaposition of this sign with the expression on the face of the deer statue.
1/29 - Yellow Brow
Pretty wren with a nice yellow brow.
1/30 - First Daffodil
Look what's in bloom in our garden! The first daffodils are here.
2/1 - Cute Surprise
Frank got me this adorable pen holder as a just-because gift. I love that he finds cool things online and surprises me with them!
2/2 - Gopher Day
Today is Gopher-Day in our family, the day we celebrate the birthday of our beloved rescue dog. He definitely saw his shadow today, so I guess that means 6 more weeks of him inspecting every inch of "his" yard. We've had Gopher for 12 years, and we think he's 14 today. Happy Birthday, old man!
2/3 - Living Generously Challenge
As part of our Living Generously series, we surprised our congregation by placing envelopes containing $5 or $10 bills under many of the pews. Those who received them were challenged to use the money in some "giving" way, and to report back on the experience. Of course i knew about it, so I was positioned to capture some of the surprised looks. Fun.
2/4 - Rapt Attention
2/4 - I took this picture yesterday at church. Here is Rev. Diane Parish making a perfect connection with a little preschool girl during the "children's moments" part of the service. I love the expression on everyone's faces, even that of onlooker Rev. Wil Parker.
2/5 - Ground Feeder
Pretty female towhee foraging on the ground below one of our feeders.
2/6 - It's Raining Wren
This poor wren is getting rained on as he scavenges for seeds.
2/7 - Experiment
I read an article about how "store brand" canned goods may not be a good deal, because they substitute juice for some of the contents. So I did an experiment. As you can see, the Dole brand pineapples look much better, but there is about the same amount of pineapple in each can. I counted. 50 pieces in the Dole can, 49 pieces in the Kroger can. So if it's just going in a smoothie, Kroger is fine. Fresh is even better.
Stunning male towhee - perhaps the mate of the female I shot the other day.
2/9 - Happy Birthday, Sis!
Happy Birthday to my sister and lifetime best friend, Debbie!
2/10 - Scouting Sunday
Today was Scouting Sunday at church, and our local scout troop set up a fun monkey bridge for the kids to play on after church. I liked this boy's expression and careful foot placement.
2/11 - Daffodils in Rain
Another rainy day. At least the daffodils like it!
2/12 - Paper Mill
This is the ruin of a paper mill that gives our main street (Paper Mill Road) its name. It's right next to Sope Creek about 1/2 mile behind our house. I stopped by on a rainy day hoping to get great shots of the creek, but this was my favorite.
2/13 - Gopher Haircut
Gopher looks so dapper in the kerchief he got at his grooming today! The cut is nice, too.
2/14 - Drew Here
We had the unexpected treat of a short visit from Drew, in town on business. Blizzard was thrilled to see him (if not too thrilled to be picked up). But we put him on a plane this evening, so he's on the way home to see his true love before St. Valentine's Day is over.
2/15 - Happy Birthday, Alex
Today is Alex McKisson's 9th birthday. Alex has 8 siblings, but he is one of a kind, and always has been. Cheerful, optimistic, and willing to try anything, he is everyone's friend and ringleader of fun. Happy Birthday, Little Buddy!
2/16 - Still Standing
Yesterday, I went up to Adairsville, GA to shoot a team of 20 youth from St. Philip UMC, who gave up their school holiday to clear away debris spread by the recent tornado. I got some pictures of the damage, and this one is a favorite. This old tree is split in the middle, and has many broken branches, but it still manages to look stately and beautiful. Sort of a metaphor for some of my favorite people! All the pictures:http://smu.gs/YqiLKa
2/17 - Promapalooza
Today was Prom-a-Palooza, the wonderful event where girls in foster care can get dresses, shoes, accessories, and makeup for their proms. I love shooting it, and I love watching the girls open up as they see how pretty they can be. This girl was lucky enough to find a pair of royal blue shoes in exactly the same color as her dress, and in exactly her size. How cool is that? All the pictures here: http://smu.gs/YFlhwt
2/18 - Rosemary
Our profuse rosemary bush is in its annual bloom right now. Pretty purple flowers now, and plenty of aromatic spice year 'round.
2/19 - Better than a Pigeon
I imagine city-dwellers have quite enough of these guys, but I love the rare occasion when we have a mourning dove (aka, pigeon) on our feeder. When we see them, they're usually not he ground. Look at all the subtle color in this guy. Talk about 50 shades of grey!
2/20 - Back Pack Blessings
Every week, a dedicated team of volunteers packs 350 backpacks for chronically-hungry children in a local elementary school. On Wednesdays, they unpack the items and place them in bins. On Thursdays, they pack them into backpacks, and on Fridays, they deliver them to the children at school. Today I shot the staging, including this shot of my friend Ginger's daughter at her regular duty station - unpacking the pudding cups.