Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Well, its almost here! Just a couple of days until Christmas. Fortunately, I'm finished with my Christmas shopping and most of my gifts have been wrapped. Now I just have tons of house cleaning to do to prepare for my visitors on Christmas Eve.

Whenever you are entertaining friends and family in your home, there is so much preparation. From cleaning the house to preparing the food, there is just so much to be done. Sometimes it can be stressful, but I really enjoy having my friends and family in my home, so it is worth the work. I'm trying not to let myself get frazzled thinking about all I need to do between now and Wednesday.

Christmas has always been such a joyous time for me. As a child I can remember feeling sad on Christmas Day after the gifts were unwrapped. When you are a child, you spend all year counting down the days until Christmas, and then it is over before you know it. As an adult, I am able to appreciate the entire day spending time with my family.

I've been frustrated for the last few years around Christmas because the "politically correct" mob is trying to take Christ out of Christmas. They want to remove any reference to Christ, so now they have "Holiday Parties" in school instead of Christmas Parties. My mother works for the YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) in their Childcare Enrichment Program, and they aren't even allowed to put up a Christmas Tree unless they also put up items celebrating Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. The YMCA is a non-profit Christian organization, and even they have cowered under the pressure from the PC mob. Why would anyone be offended to see a Christmas Tree if they have enrolled their children for childcare at a Christian organization?

The PC mob wants to remove all references to Christ and/or religion from the public eye. We have to stand up and let them know that in this country we have FREEDOM OF RELIGION as well as FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Don't let them remove every reference to Christ from the public eye. I encourage you to tell others "Merry Christmas." I know that I would never be personally offended if someone wished me a Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa. So why should they be offended if I wish them a Merry Christmas? We have to stand up for our Religious Freedoms before they are taken away from us entirely.

This problem has been really bugging me more and more in recent years. I won't let the PC mob take away my freedoms, and you shouldn't either, regardless of your personal beliefs.

Okay, so I've had my rant for the day.

Christmas will be over before you know it, so make sure you take some time to appreciate the joy of the season.

Have a Merry Christmas!
Waves Crashing

Waves Rolling In

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why Does the Cold & Flu Season Coincide with the Holiday Season?

The past two weeks have been pretty miserable for me. I'm just getting over a terrible cold and now my husband has the same cold. Why does cold & flu season have to coincide with the Holiday Season? Last year, I was very, very sick over Thanksgiving weekend. This year I'm sick right before Christmas. It is difficult to get everything done when you are mentally and physically exhausted from being sick. I'm sure I'll make it through somehow.

Other than being sick, another thing on my mind this Christmas is the economy. There are so many people out of a job this Christmas. I just pray that the economy will improve soon. My husband and I are fortunate in that we still have jobs; however, we have been affected by the economy also. I don't think either of us got a salary increase this year. My company dropped our annual Christmas luncheon and Christmas bonus this year. Normally, we get a 1/2 day off work and the company pays for everyone to have a nice lunch together. We also usually get a $100 Visa gift card. We aren't getting those things this year. Two of my close friends were "downsized" recently, so overall the atmosphere in the office is pretty depressing. My husband usually gets a Christmas bonus too, but that isn't happening either.

Even though our pockets are empty this Christmas, I can still be thankful for for many things. I'm thankful for my wonderful husband. I am thankful for my family and friends. I'm thankful that I have a job and transportation to get to my job. I'm thankful that I have a warm bed to sleep in at night, food to eat, water to drink, and clothing to wear. I'm very thankful for all of these blessings and many more.

I am most thankful for the greatest gift that was ever given, and that is Jesus Christ. People often get so wrapped up in the gift giving and receiving that they forget the real reason for Christmas. This year, take some time to appreciate the gift of eternal life that was given to us by Jesus. He sacrificed is own life so that we could spend eternity in Heaven with Him. We shouldn't take that gift for granted as we celebrate His birth.

Merry Christmas and God Bless!
Grazing Deer

Kentucky State Bird

Cardinal Framed by Tree

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Survey

I was reading a blog that I frequent ( and she had a survey regarding Christmas on one of her recent posts. I thought it was a great way to get to know people, so I'm posting it here as well.

Eggnog or hot chocolate?
Hot chocolate. I've never been a fan of eggnog.

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa wraps them unless it is a really large gift, like a bike. Those gifts he just leaves unwrapped under the tree.

White or multi-colored lights on tree/house?
I love multi-colored lights on my tree and house.

Do you hang mistletoe?
Sometimes. I didn't this year, but I did last year.

When do you put your decorations up?
The day after Thanksgiving. My mother, my sister, my aunt, and I get up early on Black Friday and do some shopping. I usually come home and take a nap and then I put up the tree. However, this year I got out the tree and the decorations but I was too exhausted to put the tree up. I put it up on Saturday morning instead.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I think I was around 7 or 8 years old. We were living in a small two-bedroom apartment (we being my parents, my sister, and myself) and my entire family was sleeping over for Christmas (entire family being my grandparents, my mom's siblings with their spouses, and their children: about 12 additional people). All of the kids were sleeping in my room on the floor. The adults were sleeping on the beds and sleeper sofa. It was a packed house. We usually did this every year, but we rotated between our house, my grandparents house, and my aunt's house. I was really excited waiting for Christmas morning to arrive. I couldn't sleep so I got up and went to go get something to drink from the kitchen. I saw my parents and my aunts bringing presents in from the cars outside. That is when I knew there was no Santa. I was completely crushed! I guess I must have suspected it for a while, but when I saw them carrying gifts and the surprised look on their faces when they saw me, it confirmed my suspicions.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Multi-colored lights, gold garland, various glittery ornaments along with a few traditional, solid-colored balls, with a gold, glittery bow with streamers as a topper.

Snow! Love it or dread it?
Love it. I live in Kentucky and we have fairly cold winters here; however, we don't get a whole lot of snow. We'll have flurries a few times during the winter and maybe two or three times we may actually get 2 or 3 inches of snow. Once every few years we might get 4 or 5 inches. About every 10 years we'll have a good snow of 8 to 10 inches.

Do you remember your favorite gift?
My favorite gift was my camera, but I got that for my birthday. My favorite gift as a kid is a tie between my first bicycle (with a Pink Panther banana seat) or my first computer (Commodore 64 - remember those! lol You had to purchase an external floppy drive that used those big disks to really do anything with the computer).

What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Getting together with my family.

What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Pecan Pie with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Yum!

What is your favorite holiday tradition?
I love all of it. My family used to do a gift exchange on Christmas Eve. On Thanksgiving Day everyone would put their names in a bowl and each person would draw a name. This gift would be opened on Christmas Eve. I think our grandparents devised this as a way to keep the kids from asking over and over if they could open "just one gift." When my sister and I were kids we would wake up early in the morning and go stare at the Christmas Tree. We had to wait until 7am before we could wake up my parents. We also had to have a pot of coffee brewed for my Mom and a Diet Pepsi for Dad. My sister would wake up really early and then she would wake me up. I would start thinking about opening the presents and I couldn't go back to sleep. There were a couple of years where she got up around 4 am. Waiting 3 hours when your a kid who wants to open gifts seems like an eternity!

What tops your tree?
A hand-made bow with streamers that extend down the length of the tree.

Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?
Everyone love to get gifts. I love to give, especially when I've picked out a gift that I know someone is going to be excited about getting.

What is your favorite Christmas song?
I love them all! I burn an mp3 CD with over a hundred Christmas songs by various artists and play it over and over in my car. While I'm at work, I listen to a local radio station that plays Christmas music all through December

Candy canes?
I have a couple on my tree but I don't usually eat them (unless they are chocolate or fruit flavored).

Favorite Christmas movie?
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - hands down.

What do you leave for Santa?
When I was a kid we would leave out cookies and milk. Since I don't have any kids right now, Santa doesn't come to our house so I don't leave anything for him.

I'd love to hear about your Christmas traditions.

I've been really sick this week with a severe head/chest cold with a sore throat and an ear infection in each ear (happens every time I get a cold or sinus infection). It has been a real bummer. There were some things I wanted to get finished this week (like maybe doing some more shopping and wrapping a few gifts), but I've been too sick to get them done. I hope I get well soon so I can really enjoy the Christmas season!

My Christmas Tree This Year

Poinsettia Ornament

Bow Ornament

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Grand Canyon

On February 14, 2006 (my wedding anniversary), my husband and I took a drive from his parents' house in Tucson, Arizona to The Grand Canyon in Northern Arizona. My husband was born and raised in Arizona, so he had seen The Grand Canyon. Although I lived in Tucson for two years, I had never ventured more than 100 miles from Tucson. Being a photography addict, of course I would want to photograph The Grand Canyon!

We drove approximately 350 miles to Tusayan, Arizona (just south of the park entrance) and checked into the Holiday Inn Express. Then we started driving towards the park. I was so excited to see The Grand Canyon. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. As we got closer to the rim of the canyon I caught a glimpse of it through the trees. My heart began to race. We parked and walked to the edge of the canyon. I remember standing there, looking at the immensity of the canyon with tears glistening in my eyes. The view was breathtaking. I took hundreds of photos.

We drove back to Tusayan where we watched an IMAX movie about how The Grand Canyon was found by explorers. After the movie, we walked outside and noticed that the sun was setting (see the photo titled "Sunset in Northern Arizona" under the post titled "Clouds."). I decided to drive back into the park to take some photos of the canyon at sunset. After taking a few hundred more photos, we went back into town and had a romantic dinner at a nice restaurant adjoining a hotel in Tusayan. I had bison for dinner. I don't recall what my husband had. During the dinner there were Native Americans performing traditional dances and playing music. It was an amazing day.

The next morning we drove up to the rim of the canyon so I could take more photos (of course). It was freezing cold with gusty winds and I was dressed in carpi pants (which are totally suitable for Southern Arizona weather in February, not so much for Northern Arizona weather!). I could hardly pull myself away. I took photo after photo even though my hands were numb from the cold. My husband had retreated to the car. He finally had to come and coerce me to get back in the car.

I will never forget that first glimpse of The Grand Canyon. That moment is forever etched in my memory. As a photography addict, I live for those moments when you are able to capture something so amazing with the lens of your camera. I want to share that moment with you.

The South Rim of The Grand Canyon

Red Canyon Walls

The Cliff's Edge

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sinda the Tiger

I was reading a sad story yesterday about Sinda the Tiger. Sinda was a tiger at the Louisville Zoo. They had to euthanize her because she had an inoperable oral cancer. It is very sad, however; Sinda was 17 years old, which is considered pretty old for a tiger. In 2004, Sinda gave birth to two tiger cubs, Anya and Irisa. Those cubs now reside at the Columbus Zoo. I was browsing through some of my photos last night and I came across a photo of Sinda that I had taken last summer. I thought I would share that photo with all of you.

I really enjoy going to the zoo. I always take my camera and I usually end up taking hundreds of photos. The animals have such personality and I really enjoy photographing them. Along with my camera, I also usually take my nephew, Connor, with me when I go to the zoo. He makes the experience more enjoyable. He enjoys the zoo as much as I do.

I thought I would share a few photos today of the animals at the Louisville Zoo. As you view these photos, please don't forget that the zoo is usually open year-round and they need your patronage to pay for the animal feed.

Naptime for Sinda the Tiger

Inquisitive Meerkat

Pile O Meerkat

Feeding Time at the Zoo

Gorilla Snacktime

Proud Lion

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Taking Myself Too Seriously

I've been reading some of my recent posts and I've decided that the election really overwhelmed my thoughts for the last few months. My posts got entirely too serious. And while I love a good discussion about religion, politics, current events, etc., I think I will take a more laid-back approach to my posts for a while. We are getting into the heart of the Holidays and I want to have some fun! Are you in?

I find that the closer it gets to Thanksgiving, the more I begin to anticipate Christmas. I truly love Christmas. I love decorating the tree and listening to Christmas music. I love giving gifts (although I'm not a big fan of shopping). I love getting together with family and friends and having good conversation and good food. I especially love wrapping gifts while watching Christmas shows and movies. I started thinking about the shows and movies I always watch every year and I decided that I would list them for you, so here you go:

1. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas
3. Dr. Suess - How the Grinch Stole Christmas
4. It's A Wonderful Life
5. A Christmas Story
6. Scrooged
7. Home Alone (1 & 2)
8. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
9. Frosty The Snowman
10. A Smokey Mountain Christmas
11. Mickey's Christmas Carol
12. Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
13. The Santa Clause
14. Elf
15. The Grinch
16. Miracle on 34th Street (both the 1947 & 1994 versions)
17. Jingle All The Way
18. Deck The Halls

I'm sure there are probably more that I can't think of right now, but these are some of my favorites. I think there are a great many people who may not have seen #12 on my list, Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. I saw this when I was a little girl and I've never forgotten it. It always stuck out in my mind. There have been some years where it wasn't on television during the holidays and I would be bummed. I never understood why this particular program stuck in my mind so much. I mean, it is a really sweet story, but I just didn't get why it stood out in my mind so well, even when years went by without seeing it.

For those of you who haven't seen this adorable little program, let me summarize the show for you. First of all, the program is done in claymation (like Rudolph). It is about a little donkey named "Nestor" who is born in a manger somewhere in Israel around the time of Jesus' birth. He is born with abnormally-long ears and he always trips over them and falls on his face. His mother is always saying, "Your ears, Nestor" and he will try to be careful to not trip on his ears. He is also ridiculed by the other animals in the manger. One day all of the animals are picking on him and his mother tries to defend him and the owner of the manger throws Nestor and his mother out in the cold. That night Nestor and his mother get caught in a blizzard and she uses her body to keep him warm during the storm. In the morning Nestor wakes to find that his mother has died. Nestor ends up at the market place for sale and a pregnant woman and her husband are looking to buy a donkey to carry the pregnant woman to Bethlehem. They don't have much money, but since Nestor is defective with his long ears, they get him cheap. Nestor carries the pregnant woman (Mary) with her husband (Joseph) all the way to Bethlehem without once tripping over his ears. He is there to see the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a beautiful little story. However, this still doesn't really explain why it stood out in my memory since I was a little girl.

One day when I was a teenager, my mother came in and I was watching Nestor. She proceeded to tell me a story about the first time I saw this sweet little Christmas program.

When I was 3-years old, I watched Nestor with my mother. When Nestor's mommy dies in the snowstorm, my Mom said I cried for hours. Nothing she could say could ease my pain. I was so distraught at the idea of Nestor's mommy dying that I just couldn't quit crying. My Mom said that it took so long to calm me down that she swore I would never watch that program again. Finally, a few years later she let me watch it again and the crying was far less severe that time.
I just wonder how many other mothers went through this same ordeal with their tender-hearted little girls.

What is your favorite Christmas program and why? I'd love to hear your stories.

Frosted Bushes

Snowy Limbs

My Christmas Tree

Monday, November 17, 2008

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

I have often heard the phrase "Every cloud has a silver lining." I've always understood that the saying meant that even during difficult times there could be some good to come of out of it. I just didn't understand why they said that clouds have silver linings. It wasn't until one day I was looking at a cloud with the sun shining directly behind it that I understood where the phrase come from.

After the election this year, this phrase came to mind. I wanted John McCain to win the election because I feel that Barack Obama is too liberal when it comes to issues of protecting innocent life (abortion). However, in my own personal disappointment, I can still see the silver lining. There were a couple of "silver lining" results in this election.

Firstly, Americans demonstrated that perhaps they are starting to put this country's history of racism behind them. When Barack Obama was giving his acceptance speech and recited the phrase "Yes We Can!," I was reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King. I remembered back to Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. I wasn't alive to see Dr. King's speech in person, but I have heard it numerous times and it never ceases to bring a tear to my eye and goosebumps to my flesh. I felt that same feeling as I listened to Barack Obama give his speech that night. I can only imagine how Dr. King would have felt if he had still been alive on the evening of November 4th, 2008, when he saw a black man nominated as President of the United States of America.

Secondly, Americans got out and voted in record numbers. Young people got involved in the democratic process that makes this the greatest country in the world. Americans are starting to understand that they do have a voice and in this great country they can use that voice in the voting booths. I still think that too many voters don't do enough research on the candidates and their positions, but at least they are getting involved in the political process. Hopefully, Americans will continue their interest in the political process and vote in every election. I also hope that Americans will do the necessary research and not just rely on liberal media and political ads to decide their votes.

I may not agree with all of his political beliefs, but I will support Barack Obama as my President. We all need to stand up and support our President and pray for him to make wise decisions for our country. We also need to pray that God will work in his heart so that he will protect ALL human life, both born or unborn. May God Bless You and may God Bless America!

Sunset in the Park

A Hint of Blue Sky

The Silver Lining

Monday, November 03, 2008

One Final Thought Before You Vote Tomorrow

Are you a Christian? If you are a Christian, I want you to think about something before you vote.

We know that Barack Obama is the most liberal candidate we've ever had on the ballot. We also know that he is also the most pro-abortion candidate that has ever been on the ballot. We know that John McCain is pro-life (as well as his running mate, Sarah Palin). We know that some of the ideas Barack Obama has regarding health care and the economy sound pleasing to the ears (if you are poor or lower-middle class). We know that John McCain believes that hard work should be rewarded. By now there are lots of things we should know about the view points of these candidates. Most people will be considering these view points before they cast their ballots.

However, if you are a Christian, the thing you should consider is this: If you were to stand before Jesus today and have to account for the way you voted, would you be able to look him in the eye and say that you voted for a candidate that you know does not respect human life (which is created in the image of God) because you thought it would be better for your wallet?

If you are a Christian this is something you should consider before you mark your ballot tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fall Has Arrived

I love fall. I love the exuberant colors of the foliage in shades of orange, red, and yellow. I love the sound of leaves crunching under my shoes (my husband doesn't enjoy that so much because he knows he is going to spend endless hours mulching the leaves in our yard). I love the cooler temperatures. At this time of year I always start thinking about things like carving pumpkins, kiddies in costumes, and a good pot of chili. Those thoughts lead me to thoughts of turkey and Thanksgiving and family and Christmas. All in all it is a wonderful time of year. Everything is wonderful until around January 2nd. Then it is back to the day-to-day grind until the next holiday season.

This past weekend I kicked off the upcoming holiday season with some good old-fashioned Halloween activities. On Saturday evening my husband and I went with our friends, Angie and Todd, to a horror-movie fest at the local drive-in where we watched the 1974 release of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre along with a couple of newer movies, Quarantine and The Strangers. It was pretty cool outside and we only managed to sit outside through one movie, but we had a great time. The drive-in had hired actors to dress as famous horror-movie characters to frighten the patrons with chainsaws, knives, machetes, and all of the other standard horror-movie instruments of mayhem.

Sunday afternoon we took my nephew, Connor, to the Huber Family Farm in southern Indiana so he could pick out a pumpkin. We took a ride on a hay wagon on the back of a tractor out to the pumpkin patch. He insisted that we had to get a pumpkin for his baby-sister too. He was checking every pumpkin he could find to try and get one just the right size for her. We finally convinced him to let us buy a smaller pumpkin for her at the market. We really had a fun time.

Before you know it Thanksgiving will be here! What will you be giving thanks to God for? I know that I'll be thanking him for blessing me with family and friends.

Isn't the Holiday Season wonderful?

Pumpkin Pile

Lazy Pumpkins

The Pumpkin Desert

Blog Inferiority Complex

So, today I've been taking some time to read some of my favorite blogs (see my blog list for reference). I've come to realize that I'm neither funny nor witty and it is depressing me. I've also realized that my photos aren't nearly as good as I'd like for them to be. I know art is subjective, but when I look at other people's photography, I get a serious inferiority complex. I can only hope that my blog is interesting at this point. I haven't had a comment posted in weeks (however, they may be due to the fact that I haven't posted anything new recently - I've just been too busy) so I feel like no one is reading my blog at all.

Do you find my blog interesting? If so, why? What could I do to make my blog better? I need feedback.

By the way, I'll be posting some new photos tonight or tomorrow so stay tuned if you are interested.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ignorant Voters

Research has shown that most people decide who to vote for based on television and radio ads. It is amazing how ignorant people are of a candidate's positions on real issues. Howard Stern went out and interviewed people on the streets and asked them if they liked Obama because of his pro-life position or because he wants to keep the troops in Iraq to finish the war (neither statement is true). It was disheartening how many people would say, "I'm voting for Obama because he's pro-life." or "I'm voting for Obama because of he wants to keep the troops in Iraq until the war is finished." It is frightening to think that uninformed people like this are deciding who should run our country.

I don't care who you vote for, but please know why you are voting for that candidate!!!! If you don't know what the candidate believes, do some investigation. Their web sites will usually tell you. Here are a few helpful sites if you are still looking for information on the candidates:

People should know by now that the television and radio ads are only partial truths that are mixed with lies. Find out the truth before you vote.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

How Will You Decide Who To Vote For This November?

I am registered to vote as an Independent. Many of my viewpoints probably align more with the Republican Party. However, I really hate being stereotyped by everything the Republican Party stands for because I don't agree with everything on their platform.

Yes, I am a Christian.
No, I don't think abstinence only sex education is helping the teenagers across the nation make wise decisions about their bodies. Of course I think that abstinence is always the wisest choice, but children are not known for making wise choices. They are children and most of their decisions are based on emotion, hormones, and peer pressure. I believe that knowledge is power and our children need to know about their bodies and how they function, they need to know about sex, and they need to know about sexually-transmitted diseases. They need to know these things by the time they get into high school. My personal opinion is that sex education should be taught in junior high because that is when teenagers are most likely to become interested in sex. Parents also need to be more involved in teaching their children about sex (or anything else for that matter).

Our children need to be taught both the theory of Evolution and Intelligent Design. Let them learn about both theories and decide for themselves.

Teachers are entitled to have their own opinions, but I don't want them cramming their opinions down my child's throat and telling them its the "truth." There isn't much in the universe that can be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. I don't want my children brainwashed by teachers with a liberal agenda. Our children should be taught multiple view points on a subject and not just the teacher's view point. Give them the information they need so they can make their own informed decisions.

Yes, I believe in global warming. I think there are many things that we do that are harmful to the environment. It isn't reasonable to think that all of the hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide we are pumping into the air doesn't have an adverse effect on the atmosphere. We need to pursue alternative sources of fuel such as hydrogen, solar, wind, clean coal, and nuclear power.

No, I don't think homosexuals should be able to get married. I believe that God designed marriage to be a lifetime union between a man and a woman. If American citizens were to vote to allow homosexuals to have civil unions that would give them the same legal benefits as marriage, I would be fine with that decision.
No, I don't want the US Government to be a theocracy. However, I do want the laws of the land to reflect the opinions of the majority of the citizens and not just the opinions of liberal judges.
Yes, I think divorce is a sin. I would love to see the divorce rate in America decline. People take marriage too lightly these days, especially Christians. When things get tough, instead of sticking it out, people give up. No one ever said marriage is easy. There is a reason the vows are "for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for good times and bad, till death do us part." And to answer your question before you ask it, no I don't believe you should stay in an abusive or violent marriage, especially if your spouse is unwilling to go to counseling.

Yes, I wouldn't mind seing the US go to government funded healthcare. It works in Europe and Canada, why can't it work here? The healtchare system is in serious trouble and most Americans can't afford insurance. And even if you do have insurance, it is still difficult to pay the premiums and co-pays that the insured is responsible for. The insurance companies are getting rich off the working class of America. While we are struggling to pay our health care premiums and co-pays, the insurance company CEOs are denying our claims and taking our hard-earned money to give themselves multi-million dollar bonuses.

Yes, I think there is too much corruption in Washington D.C. Maybe most politicians begin their careers with noble intentions, but they are soon lured by the trail of money that leads to the pockets of lobbyists and big corporations. The politicians soon forget they are there to represent the citizens of their state and they sell their votes to the highest bidder. We need to wipe out corruption in Washington. We also need to keep the government from spending our money like a kid in a toy store with moms credit card. I want checks and balances in the budget to make sure they are making wise decisions with our hard-earned money.

Yes, I agree that Barack Obama is an eloquent public speaker and an intelligent man. It would be uplifting to see this country begin to leave racism behind by nominating our first black president. However, I can't vote for him because it comes down to a simple choice for me: Does he protect the sanctity of human life? NO. That is the most important question to me. Even though my bank account is just as empty as everyone elses, I can't put my money woes ahead of my respect for human life. It is a simple decision for me. It is difficult for me to understand why people are more concerned with their bank account than they are about saving a human life.

Barack Obama has shown time and time again that he is more concerned with the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned than he is about protecting human life, even babies that are already born and alive (see his voting record on IL Born Alive Infant Protection Act and you'll see where he stands on this subject.)

Yes, I am pro-life. I believe that no unborn child should have to pay with their life because their mother was irresponsible. And that is what it comes down to in most instances, irresponsibility. There are too many contraceptives readily available for any woman to unintentionally get pregnant. People like to say, "what about those who were raped or a victim of incest?" Statistically, the odds on those types of pregancy are very rare. The only instance I can see where an abortion could be warranted is if the mother's life is in danger.
I believe that abortion is murder and there is nothing anyone could ever say to me to make me feel differently about this. Every human life is important and deserves respect and protection.

There are many of us Independents out there who are fiscally Democrats but when it comes to things like abortion, we fall more in line with the Republican party platform. If the Democratic party would nominate a pro-life candidate, I would gladly vote for a Democrat.

I often hear the argument that George Bush has been in office for eight years and abortion is still legal so that should encourage me to vote for a Democrat. I realize that the President doesn't vote on the laws. He can only sign or veto the legislation. However, the President IS RESPONSIBLE for nominating the Supreme Court Judges. That is where the decision to vote Democrat or Republican becomes extremely important!

I want a judge that is going to read the constitution and interpret the laws voted on by Americans. I don't want a judge that is going to try and make his/her own moral decision about what he/she thinks is right and pass laws based on those decisions. I don't want a judge that is going to look to European court precedents (which do not reflect the views of most Americans) to make his/her decisions. We don't need judges who legislate from the bench. That is why I have to vote Republican in most instances. The Democrats tend to nominate liberal judges who like to legislate from the bench. The role of a judge should be to interpret the law not create new laws based on their own opinions.

I believe everyone has the right to believe what they want to believe. This country was founded on freedom of religion and freedom of speech. I believe these freedoms are vitally important to this country. I respect that you have your own belief system and I want you to have the right to speak about your beliefs openly without fear of persecution. I also want the same rights for myself. We must do everything in our power to protect these freedoms.

Every American will never see eye-to-eye on every issue. In those instances, we should always be able to agree to disagree and let our votes determine the outcome.

I think the one thing that most people should agree on is that children are one of God's most precious gifts (and I think even if you don't believe in God, you can agree that children are wonderful). There is nothing like the joy that a little child brings to my heart. I have been unable to have children of my own but I spend as much time with my sister Wendy's children, Connor and Raelee, as I possibly can. I also enjoy spending time with my best friend Angie's daughter, McKenna. These children have brought me more joy and laughter than I could ever describe.

How could anyone look at these beautiful gifts and say they aren't worthy of being born into this world? How could someone ever see a child as simply an inconvenience that must be eliminated (murdered)? That is something I will NEVER understand!

Connor With An Orange-Stained Face

Raelee's Precious Smile

McKenna On Her 2nd Birthday

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wind Storm 2008

As promised, I'm posting some photos of the damage in my neighborhood caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ike, which our local media started calling "Wind Storm 2008!"

Our electricity went out on Sunday, September 14th at around 1 pm and it was finally restored on Sunday, September 21st at around 6:15 pm. It was a long week, but we managed. We lost about $300 worth of groceries and a tree fell in our back yard, but other than that, we survived the storm pretty well.

Now that we have electricity and groceries again, I will try and get some new posts up soon. Stay tuned!

Downed Tree in Our Back Yard

My Cousin's Car

My Cousin's Smashed Car

Wind Debris

Tree Broken in Our Yard

My Neighbor's House

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Posts Forthcoming

I just wanted to let everyone who follows my blog (the wondferul 2 or 3 people who actually do read and post comments on my Blog) that new posts are forthcoming. It has been a crazy couple of weeks with the electricity being out at my house for about 8 days and things at work have been really busy. I just haven't had any time to post any new photos or though provoking posts (haha).

I'll get something new posted this weekend so PLEASE stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Everyone is talking about Hurricane Ike. Normally, I would be watching the news and finding out how the people living in the Gulf Regions are doing. However, something interesting happened on Sunday. Hurricane Ike came to Kentucky.

We knew the remnants of Hurricane Ike would be in Kentucky and the news was reporting 30-40 mph winds. However, their predictions were incorrect. We ended up with 50 mph sustained winds with gusts up to 80 mph. On Sunday we got hit hard. There is tons of tree damage. We haven't had electricity since Sunday afternoon and they are saying it could be up to 14 days before all the electricity coverage is restored. There were over 300,000 homes without electricity in the Louisville area on Sunday and hundreds of poles and power lines were down. There are still about 152,000 homes without electricity (mine included). I'm writing this post at work during my lunch break because I can't do anything at home except stare at the candles while the food in my refrigerator spoils. I had to throw away just about everything in my fridge last night despite my best efforts to keep ice on everything.

The damage was widespread. A neighbor's tree broke and fell in my back yard. (Once my electricity is restored at home, I will post photos of the damage.) It bent my chain link fence but it didn't hit my house or garage, which is good. However, my cousin wasn't so lucky. A tree fell on her car and caved in the roof, busted out a window, and buckled the frame so she can't open the passenger-side door. It's a complete mess. There are power lines down everywhere.

Honestly, I can deal with living without electricity until I get hot. If it is too hot in the house, I can't sleep. It has to be 70 degrees or cooler in the house before I can sleep. Sunday night it was around 75 degrees in the house and I was absolutely miserable. I guess I've been spoiled by my air conditioning and ceiling fans for too long.

You never fully appreciate the little conveniences provided to you by electricity until you have to go without them. I forget that the electricity is out so I keep flipping on the light switch expecting something to happen. It's very tricky trying to shower, dress, and put make-up on by candle light. My co-workers were surprised to see that my hair is naturally curly since I couldn't use my hair dryer or flat iron. My cellular provider has been having problems since Sunday. Calls won't go through or get dropped even though your phone shows you have coverage.

You also notice sounds you usually tune out like crickets, cicadas, and dogs barking. You have a lot of time to think about things without the distraction of the television. A friend of mine whose elderly mother lives with her told me she has had more conversations with her mother since the electricity has been out than she ever has. And that is probably a good thing. Maybe we should all "unplug" for a week and discover a few things about our family, friends, and world around us.

I can definitely better understand the feelings of those whose lives have been completely derailed by Hurricanes like Katrina and Ike. I know the aggravation I am going through now is nothing compared to the struggles they have had and still have. We must always remember to keep others in our thoughts and prayers and help in any way we can. You never know how some small act of kindness can affect someone who is going through difficult times.

May the Lord bless all those who have been affected by natural disasters and give them comfort in their time of distress.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Jenny The Bloggess

The other day I had a strange conversation with my husband, Cameron, on the way to work. It made me think of Jenny "The Bloggess." Whenever I read her posts I always think, "I never have funny or interesting conversations like she does." After this morning, I began to rethink that...

Me: I had this dream last night that you had come in from jogging and you were all sweaty and you tried to hug me and I ran away. You chased after me trying to get sweat on me because you thought it was funny. I hate sweat. It grosses me out.

Cameron: What if someone peed on you? Would that bother you?

Me: Not really.

Cameron: Why are you grossed out by someone getting sweat on you but not grossed out by someone peeing on you? They are essentially the same thing.

Me: Pee is sterile, so it really isn't the same thing. Sweat gets mixed in with all of the germs on your skin. It's gross.

Cameron: It's still the same idea.

Me: I'd rather have someone vomit on me than sweat on me. However, baby sweat doesn't bother me. Like when Connor (my nephew) falls asleep on me, he sweats but that doesn't bother me.

Cameron: You're weird.

Me: I don't mind baby sweat or baby vomit even. I'd rather not have an adult vomit on me, but I'd rather they vomit on me than sweat on me.

Cameron: This is a strange conversation we are having this morning.

Of course this isn't verbatim, but its pretty close. It also probably isn't as witty or funny as Jenny would write it, but it was funny to me at the time. (If you aren't offended by a little profanity, then you MUST check out Jenny's blog! )

It just makes me wonder how many similar conversations Cameron and I have had in the last 10 years. I think I'll pay more attention from now on.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Flowers and Friends

Flowers are a staple of my photography. Everywhere I go, I'm always looking for flowers to photograph. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a gardener. I just document the gardening skills of others. However, these particular photos are actually from my garden. They are flowering bushes, which don't require any real gardening skills. Just water and sunshine. Just the way I like it!

I recently signed up for an account on facebook. I had heard about it before, but I had never visited the site. A friend from work had mentioned that she had a facebook page and she began telling me how she was able to locate some friends from her high school and college years using facebook. I began thinking about how I would like to speak to my friends from high school and see how they are doing, thus, this is why I now have a facebook account. I'm still learning how to use facebook so I don't have a whole lot going on there yet.

I remember being in high school wishing that I was finished with school. Now that I'm a little older and a little wiser I look back and have fond memories of my high school days. I would never want to go back to high school because it was a difficult time for me. It was also a lot of fun at times and I had some great friends. I still remember the excitement of the first day of school and wearing new clothes, new shoes, and carrying new school supplies. I remember how nervous I always was on the first day of school. Thinking about thinks like: would any of my friends be in my classes, would the teacher be boring or interesting, and would I be able to make new friends. After a week or so, the anxiety and excitement would go away and then I would just be frustrated at having to get up early in the morning.

I think getting up early is the thing I hated most about school. If school had started at noon, I think I would have been a straight A student my entire school career. I'm a night owl and I like to stay up late and sleep in. I work an 8 to 5 Monday through Friday job, so I try to be in bed by 11 pm. It is really difficult for me though. On Friday and Saturday nights I am usually up until 1 or 2 am (or later). More businesses should accommodate people like me who would rather work from 10 to 6 or 11 to 7. That would be awesome! Oh well. I guess I'll just have to settle for 8 to 5 until I can pursue photography as a career.

Here are some examples of my amateur photography skills. Some day I'll get a degree in photography and then I can do the thing I love most and choose my own schedule.

Pink Bundle

Hot Pink Blooms

Friday, August 15, 2008

Feeling Prickly

I've been so busy that I haven't had time to create any new posts. I usually try to post something new each weekend, but I just didn't have the time this past weekend. Forgive me for taking so long to post new photos.

I chose these cactus photos today because I'm feeling a little prickly. The main reason I'm feeling prickly is because of something I heard on the radio yesterday. I was listening to a Christian talk radio show called Jay Seculow Live. Jay Seculow is an attorney with the American Center for Law and Justice ( They are kind of like the ACLU, except they defend religious freedoms that the ACLU tries so hard to curtail these days. Yesterday their discussion was about a new organization the United Nations is trying to setup. The purpose of this organization is to prevent Christians from discussing the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, & Holy Spirit) in public because it may offend Muslims. I can't tell you how tired I am of hearing such and such may offend so and so, so you can't say that anymore. WHO EVER SAID EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT NOT TO BE OFFENDED?? I just don't get where this mentality comes from. It is time for people to stop trying to sue everyone just because someone said something that offends you. So what?! Are you going to drop dead because someone offended you? I sincerely don't think so. I believe there should be laws to prevent discrimination based on sex, religion, age, disability, race, sexual orientation, and weight (which isn't in the law books, but should be). However, I don't think we need any laws to protect us from being offended by something someone else says. If people continue on this path of thinking that they have the right not to be offended, then this country will soon lose the right to free speech. What is worse, being offended by something someone says, or not being able to express your opinions at all for fear of offending someone and therefore breaking the law? If the United Nations is able to create this organization they are pushing for, then Christians (especially in the middle-east) may no longer to be able to discuss their religion in public. In some countries, breaking the law by speaking openly about the Holy Trinity (which some say offends Muslims) will be punishable by death! We need to work together and be proactive to promote free speech for everyone in all countries. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and every other religion should be able to discuss their religion openly without fear of persecution. Even if we disagree with someone's religious views, that doesn't give us the right to prevent them from speaking in public. Thinking about how ridiculous and thin-skinned people are becoming has really got me feeling prickly today.

Aloe Cactus

Prickly Cactus Spines

Sunday, August 03, 2008


Water is one of the most important things to life. Growing up mainly in Kentucky, I never thought much about how important water is. Louisville normally gets plenty of rain and it also sits along side the Ohio River, so water was never much of a concern for us. Even during a drought, the Ohio never goes dry. When I moved to Arizona, I learned how important water can be. Once you've lived in a desert area, you really begin to appreciate water. Don't get me wrong, we always had water running from our tap, but it may not rain for months there. Tucson uses groundwater for drinking water. Sometimes so much water would be pulled from a certain area that the ground would literally drop a few feet in that area. My husband would jokingly tell me how the government tried to prevent using too much groundwater by creating The Central Arizona Project. The government dug a trench beginning at the Colorado River in northern Arizona and ending near Mexico. They lined the trench with concrete and diverted water from the Colorado River to this trench. He said it was the most horrible tasting water you've ever tasted and soon the citizens of Tucson lead a revolt. The government relented and began using groundwater again. They now use the water from The Central Arizona Project and use it for irrigating farmland and to replenish the groundwater. After living in Arizona for 2 years, the things I missed most were an occasional rainy day, green trees, and especially running water. If you head up into the mountain areas in Arizona, sometimes you can find a running stream. Here are a few photos I took in the mountains of Arizona.

Sabino Canyon in the Catalina Mountains

Ramsey Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains

Thursday, July 31, 2008


My husband and I have been trying unsuccessfully to have a child for several years. Since we don't have children of our own, I live vicariously through my sister's children. My sister Wendy has also had her more than her fair share of difficulties having children. She has had two miscarriages and she had a daughter, Alexis, who was born prematurely and passed away after 3 days. When my sister got pregnant for the fourth time, my entire family was on pins and needles. Thanks to many, many prayers answered by the Lord, my sister gave birth to her son, Connor, in March 1995. My whole family was overcome with joy at the birth of her healthy little boy. Connor has been one of the most joyous things in my life. I look forward to the times when my sister calls me for my babysitting services. I also enjoy taking Connor to the zoo whenever I can. I try to see him every weekend. In early winter last year, my sister called to inform me she was pregnant again. I was extremely excited and also scared out of my mind. She didn't have any complications with her pregnancy and on July 1st, my sister gave birth to her daughter, Raelee Alexis. Again, our cups are overflowing. The Lord's blessings are abundant. Here are some photos of the lovely blessings my family has received.

Connor's Sweet Smile

A Ride on the Train

Raelee Alexis

Precious Sleeping Princess

The Proud Big Brother

Saturday, July 26, 2008


So, let me tell you how little I know about flowers. I'm familiar with things like roses, daisies, carnations, tulips, sunflowers, and lilies. I can usually pick those out and give you the correct name. However, once I get past those few flowers that I recognize, I'm lost. I've seen these flowers in gardens all over the place. I really enjoy photographing them. I wanted to post a couple of these photos on my blog, but I didn't want to post them without naming them. Here is where my problem lies. I didn't know what they were called. I spent 20 minutes trying to find the name of this particular flower. All I have to say is thank goodness for Google and or this post would have just been titled "Unknown Pink Flowers." After doing a little research, I can now proudly post these photographs of Echinacea.
Echinacea Standing Out From The Crowd

Echinacea Party

Monday, July 21, 2008

Black & White

Some photos just look more beautiful in black & white. I took the first photograph shown below in Virginia Beach. I saw a mother and her two young sons at the beach. It just reminded me of days past when children weren't consumed with video games, iPods, and text messaging and they actually spent time outdoors enjoying nature. I wanted to capture the innocence of the children playing and I thought black & white would better convey the innocence. The photo of the cabin was very rustic looking in both color and black & white, but I enjoyed the black & white photo more.
Family Enjoying the Beach

Cabin in Ramsey Canyon