Friday, February 27, 2015

Think About It....



 Sometimes a quote... or a verse... can make us think....

Sometimes praise will pull us out of a slump.... and that praise should go to God....

Sometimes a word of warning or rebuke is helpful....
 Sometimes we need to be reminded of certain truths...





Sometimes we need a bit of encouragement... I hope you have found some here today. :)

















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Monday, February 23, 2015

Hidden In The Holly Tree....



We noticed this guy out in the holly tree outside the window... and it was fun to watch him. He stayed on that branch for a bit and I was glad to get some pictures of him.




 The red berries are about all gone off of the holly tree.... before they were gone, the birds would perch in there and eat the berries... and it was a pretty sight. :)

It is amazing to see the birds quickly moving, flitting and flying around. God's creations continue to make me very aware of His creativity. 

It was a nice treat to see this bird today... a cheery sight. God sends those once in a while... and I am so thankful. 

















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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Two More French Braid Hairstyles



There are so many things to do with hair and we have been discussing braids.  We have talked about pigtails and double french braids, about wavy hair from braids and today's topic is a single french braid.


If you would like to read the first 2 posts, you can do that here:

Pigtails and French Braids

Easy Wavy Hairstyle





For my daughter, we like to start with freshly washed hair that is still damp.  I make sure it is all combed out nicely with no snarls.



Starting up near where the bangs are, just gather a portion of the hair, divide it into 3 parts and begin braiding them.... just pull a bit of hair in each time you cross the hair.  Continue straight back on the head and if the hair is long enough, finish out with a regular braid at the bottom, as shown here.

 You can see that it pulls the hair back and it is all woven together into one long braid.

If you are dealing with hair that is not all one length and if it doesn't all stay in place... combs or bobby pins can be used to help hold it.

If you would like, you can put some gel on the hair before braiding and it will help hold it. We don't use the gel at all because I don't like the hair getting stiff, sticky or heavy.... or having a hard time brushing it out afterwards, but if that works for you, go ahead and try it.

The style can be neat and tidy... a bow can be put at the bottom to cover the hairband, if desired... or when my daughters were younger, I sometimes put a big pretty bow up on the crown of the head, with maybe a thin matching hair ribbon at the bottom.  They probably wouldn't like that now. :)  


A french braid can also be done on dry hair... it still needs to be all brushed out with no snarls.



   The braiding is the same.... although the process is done differently when you do it on yourself. :)  

Some mentioned that they don't know how to french braid... and it can seem quite intimidating at first, if you've never done it.  It isn't very hard, though, once you get the hang of it... and practice will really help.

I taught my kids to braid with yarn... and ropes.  :)  It works for adults too.  The rope would only really work for a regular braid, and the yarn could work for french braiding. If it doesn't work right at first, just keep trying... it is a skill worth knowing.  Practice a little at a time... do a simple small braid on your hair... or a daughter's hair... and you will start to get the feel of doing it. 


Up close, you can see how the hair is gathered and woven into the braid.


As a completed french braid, it can be worn like this... just left down with a band around the end. It is great for keeping the hair out of the way when working, tending to children, gardening, cooking or whatever. It can help keep you cool in the summer and can also help to keep hair from getting as tangled in the wind.


That same braid from above, can be changed into a different hair style, with just a few bobby pins. 

I just rolled it up and tucked it under, then held it in place with hair pins. Sometimes I wear a hair decoration in it, usually not. This can be used for around the house, or for dressing up.

There are so many things to be done with hair... and it is fun to change styles sometimes. I keep my hair long enough to be able to braid, although sometimes it is several inches shorter than it is here... and I usually have it layered into long layers, as well.  The braiding still works.

Thank you for visiting today.  Do you use braids for the children? For you?  Have a great week. :)


































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Friday, February 20, 2015

Baby Squirrel Out of The Nest.....



I have a "bit" of an attitude toward squirrels... they are certainly a nuisance and can cause damage... and they steal my tomatoes!!!  

This little guy caught our attention, as he was much smaller than the adult squirrels... and though he is a rodent, he was cute....



 He moved quite fast, but seemed a bit unsure of himself. We stood out there and watched him.

We have too many squirrels and they are such pests. Our squirrels get to be about 18" long or so. I read that squirrels range in size from 5" adults (African Pygmy Squirrel) all the way to almost 3 FEET long!!!! (Indian Giant)  Wow, that's a big squirrel and I am very glad we don't have those here. I didn't realize there were any squirrels that big....and they can jump 20 feet.

 Our little guy was much smaller.... and not of the same kind, thankfully.

 He zipped up the tree and down it... then back again.... he had originally come from the pines, which is where we think the nest was.... and it seemed that he wasn't sure where to go on the Birch tree.  He was extremely hyper, taking little tiny jumps and almost falling sometimes... then running some more.

This was one of his quieter moments... watching us watch him. He didn't stay like this long... and then he was back to racing here and there... taking little jumps... then more running.


The first (and last) picture on this page.... reminds me of a koala bear except for the head. Strange and interesting. 





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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Beauty of Being "Known"


My husband brought this rose home... I am enjoying the soft delicate pink color. I know that many people like the dark dark red roses.... and he has given me many of those over the years-not often, but now and then. I appreciated them, but something about those dark, almost black velvety roses grew tiresome for me. When asked, I expressed a preferance for pink roses... dark or light pink... or peachy pink.... or creamy pink two toned..... or yellow... or light red... or something other than dark red, but dark red was the main color I received... and they were beautiful and I enjoyed them.  Sometimes there would be a few roses... and a few pinks among the reds and sometimes just yellow or pink.
 Don't get me wrong.... I appreciated any of the roses he brought...and I told him so. This one is special though, because... he gave me something that I really like.... rather than what he wants me to like... or what he thinks I should like or what he knows is the color "they" say, is the love flower.

This gift went way beyond the flower... and the sweet baby's breath with it.... this one said that he knows ME... and gave a gift to me, for me. Precious.
 See.... the deep red roses are the flowers of "love"... so he was expressing his love to me and I am thankful.... but when he knows me and gives me a flower... in a color that HE wouldn't choose, but does because he knows I like it... well, that is special and I feel much more loved as a result. Silly, huh?  You know what else is funny? I enjoy those dark red roses so much more now, if they come... or any other color... or none at all... because he knows me more than he used to... and expresses that love sometimes. If I had all pink roses, I am sure I would get tired of them... I guess I enjoy variety also.

It takes time to get to know someone... and marriage is a good place to do that, but sometimes we shy away from being real... from expressing strongly what our desires are... and try to just please our mate. That isn't all bad... but it does make it harder for our mate to really know us.  At the same time, life isn't all about "me"... and it would never be right to expect a list of my likes to be consulted before any gifts are given... that would be silly. Marriage takes a lot of work... of negotiating.... of learning... of caring and adjusting... of loving... no matter what.

I have had to learn many things about my husband over the years... he does NOT like saurkraut.... gets nauseated from the smell. The kids and I like saurkraut... and it is so good for us. Early on in our marriage, I helped him to eat in a more healthy way... and he found he likes more than just the foods he thought he would like. There were a few though... saurkraut, sweet potatoes, and more... that he hated. Some he has adjusted to... others he tolerated.... he has recently said he loves sweet potatoes. :) I don't cook them with sugar and marshmallows, but rather just as baked sweet potatoes with butter and cinnamon... or sweet potato casserole with pineapple, butter, cinnamon, onions and apples....and he liked that, but it took years before he realized... he "loved" sweet potatoes. :)  Saurkraut will never fall into that category... and I stopped trying a long time ago. We have saurkraut for lunch when he is at work and when the smell will be totally gone before he gets home.

I did not want to have a budget early in our marriage... I resisted it.... and he insisted. I didn't like it... but finally grudgingly went along with the idea.   I finally gave it a chance... and found that a budget was so freeing. I had thought it would mean that I would be restricted even more than I already was... but found that knowing exactly how much I would receive for the time frame... was very freeing. I found that I liked knowing what the parameters were of what I needed to work with for groceries, household expenses, clothes, etc instead of him just giving me some money to use and having to ask him if there was enough for this or that.

We keep learning... and accepting.... and loving .... and growing. I am thankful for the beautiful pink rose... but even more than that, I am thankful that my husband showed he loves ME... in a sweet and special way.  God loves us even better than that... and His love is always perfect. Do we always see or recognize it? No, but we should... and we need to look for it... and we will find it if we look.



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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Easy Wavy Hairstyle



We don't like to wear the same hairstyle all of the time.... there are many things that can be done with the hair... leave it down, pull it back, ponytails, braids, curls, etc.  I really like getting 2 hair styles out of one.... and here is how we did this one....





We started with French braids..  If you are interested in seeing the first post about it, you can see it here....

 Pigtails and French Braids


 Day 1
We started out with freshly washed hair.... and when it was still damp, it was french braided quite tightly. It lasted well and looked nice all day long.


Day 2
It still looks nice... a few hairs loosening, but not bad.

Day 2... after she is dressed...

The hairstyle is looking a bit "tired"... but it is still okay.

Up close you can see that more hairs are coming loose. We were at home and didn't have any special activities, so this worked out fine. 
 Day 3

We need to change the hairstyle....


It is pretty obvious up close that this one is done... and needs to be changed.

So... we took the braids out... don't the waves look nice? 

We pulled the hair back and her hair looked nice all day.... and yet was a new style for the week. We don't always let it go this long, but we had been home all week and hadn't been doing any dirty or sweaty work, so it was fine.

The fun thing is that this daughter's hair is not curly, so these waves are really fun for her. No, I didn't put any gel in... but you could if you wanted to be sure the waves would hold.

It was nice to get 3 days out of braiding the first time. Yes, she did sleep with the braids each night. She doesn't have oily hair, so waiting to wash isn't a problem. 

By the way, I did not brush the hair out after I released the braids... that makes the waves last longer.  The next day we brushed the hair and put it in a ponytail. :)

Thank you for visiting... I hope you have a great week.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Searching For The Elusive....


A quick walk in the park shows many interesting things that lend themselves to interesting pictures.  Though it was a rather quick walk,  I still had to take my camera... and my eyes kept searching for possible scenes to record. 

We took a walk in this park in the summer and it was easy to see lots of great photo possibilities. If you would like to see some of our shots from then, they are in this post:
A Day At The Park...In Pictures

 This time was different... no green grass or leaves... no pretty flowers... no butterflies... lots of brown grass... and dormant trees.  Anyway, we figured there would have to be SOME things we could photograph, so the search was on.      

These ducks look so placid at the moment, but they had been swimming around and I had to work to get this picture. I loved the shimmering green on the head of the male mallard duck.



These tall weeds were broken over at the top... they were about 7 feet tall, but with the sun shining behind them, they looked interesting enough to photograph. 

This is not what I would normally choose to focus on... but I liked it.. I like the light, the shadow and the play of both against the blue sky. They were just tall grasses... but interesting all the same. 

This feather was blowing in the wind... and with a little maneuvering, I was able to get the light behind it...





The bridge below made a picture that would look great on a jigsaw puzzle....




A creek through the woods, reflecting the blue sky, was pretty... and big rocks close by to throw into the creek made for lots of fun for my guys.  They did it several times as some of us tried to capture the splash. :) 










The splash happened quickly and I loved that I was able to catch a few of these at a good moment. Some of them I clicked too fast or too slow.... but these turned out just fine. 


As you can tell, we did quite a few of these. :)  


 The creek, all by itself, was nice also. In the winter, when there is not much green and all can look rather boring, we have to look harder for the beauty... but it is there.  The challenge is to find it.

 All of these ducks were so funny.... look at the mallard above who looks like he is dancing or something...... or maybe the ice feels cold on his feet and he is moving his feet. Not really... but it is funny to see.......

 and then these sillhouette ducks also looked funny... it looks like the second one is sneaking up on the one in front of him.  :)

We have been to this park before... and we will probably go again... it is a beautiful park. It is also surprising how many interesting things appear when we look diligently for them.... especially this time of year. The elusiveness of the pretty vistas makes them all the more special when they are finally found. We can train ourselves to be more observant... to be creative in setting up a shot... to notice the unusual... and the results can be rewarding. 

This works well in photography.... I am thinking it also works well in life. It is easy to see the bright and obvious, whether it is a bit of scenery... or a person... or a situation... but what about when it seems that there is "nothing to see"?  Do we just give up and wait for another time? Maybe.... but what if we look a bit deeper? What if we take time to talk with that person who seems to be unworthy of our time or attention? What if we invest in them and search for more?  Sometimes, we can see a person open up like a flower uncurling its petals slowly in the warm sunshine.... and we see a wonderful sight we would have missed had we just hurried on by. 

What about hard situations.... especially those that are not good at all? Do we just shut down, assuming that all will be bad, so we no longer look for anything good or interesting?  What if we still notice the little blessings God sends in the midst of trouble? Little things like a person offering a shy smile... someone holding the door... someone rushing to pick up another person's papers blowing in the wind...  Such things are blessings... and though they don't change our hard situation, looking for those can help us not to sink into the mire of believing that "everything is bad!" It is part of taking our thoughts captive.




 I think I will be more deliberate in looking for things to be thankful for... I know they are there... I plan to watch for them... notice them... and thank God for them. :) I hope you will join me in doing this... there is so much ugliness in our world... but there are also things worth praising God for... we just need to look.   Thank you for visiting today. 



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