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Monday, April 23, 2012

Creative Thursday ~ me @ 35

Well, I missed another Thursday, so I'm just posting as I just finished this page.
Soooo far out of my comfort zone: rainbows, all-about-me AND splatters! all inspired by The Nook...

Realized, after a convo at The Nook, that I haven't done tutorials - at all or in a very long while. So today I have two How-To's - or How I Do's! The first is adding a color overlay, the second is making a rainbow overlay. I hope to work on the page How-To over the next few days.

Color overlay 101

Step 1
Choose & edit your pic to black and white (either by a filter or by Image>Mode>Grayscale in PS CS2).

Step 2
Merge layers if applicable; Add a new layer on top of your photo (in PS CS2, Ctrl/Shirt/N).

Step 3
You may have to put your canvas back into RGB Color.

Step 4
Select a foreground color - start with a bright color, you can always adjust it later.

Step 5
Use your paint bucket tool to completely fill in the top empty layer.

Step 6
Adjust the Opacity to obtain your desired effect. I chose an opacity from 30% - 50%.

Step 7
Repeat steps 5 & 6 with different colors. You can create new layers (and turn lower layers invisible) or open new windows.

(flash forward ahead to creating steps 5 & 6 with all desired colors):

Step 8
To prepare a document to print, create a new window the size of your printer (mine doesn't print 1/4 in on all sides so I open a doc 8"x10.5").
Add in bottom layer and one of the colored layers. Merge color and photo layer.

It may look something like this:
 Last step
Print, cut and enjoy!

Rainbow Overlay 101

Step 1
(Please disregard the previous layers with other colors - they are turned 'off', or are invisible, as you can see, and have no baring on the following tutorial.)
Copy and paste original/black and white into a new layer.
Select the Gradient Tool (often close to your Paint Bucket Tool).

Step 2
Select the rainbow (or desired effect).

Step 3
"Draw" a diagonal line through photo - drawing in different directions and angles will effect the gradient in the next step.

You should see something similar to this:

Step 4
Just like in the Color Overlay tutorial, adjust the Opacity of the gradient layer.

...and voila! Rainbow You!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Scripture Sundays ~ 2 Corinthians

So if you've been reading with me for a while, you know I've been
on 'free'. I couldn't put my thumb on what it was or even why it was. 

Last week, it all came full circle.

I am blessed to be the table leader of a wonderful bunch of ladies for our MOPs meetings. This is my last year in MOPs but my first year as a leader; I try to put my all into the task, even though it's so far out of my comfort zone! So this table of ours is about 90% military. Remember, here, that I was born and raised military for the first twelve years of my life. I can tell you that it sticks with you if you think twelve sounds a little young. These ladies are wonderfully warm, willing to open, and bless my life bi-weekly. 

So two meetings ago, some of our table was late because of an accident. I learned that it was a fatality of someone from West Point and it broke my heart, since that's where most of our table comes from. 

Forward to a few days from then, I'm cleaning the house with the iPod on and the song below comes on and nearly brings me to tears, mop and all!

I immediately sent it, in prayer, to my table and felt a wonderful sense of calm right afterwards. 
So I think the journey with 'free' has come full circle, and this is how I wrapped it up:

2 Corinthians 3:17
Now the Lord is the Spiritand where the Spirit of the Lord isthere is freedom.

This song is playing today, but feel free to turn off my Playlist (all the way at the bottom) and enjoy
Phillips, Craig & Dean's 

Freedom's Never Free

Lyrics to Freedom's Never Free by Phillips, Craig & Dean

Standing on a hillside

Where the river meets the sea

White crosses without number

Line the fields of peace

And each one a silent witness

Staring back at me

Every cross a story
Of another place in time
Where young men thought it worthy
To give their life for mine
And for the sake of honor
Left their dreams behind

And for the price they paid

I'm forever in their debt

Their memory will not die
'Cause I will not forget

I will stand and hold my head up high

I will dedicate my life

To the glory of the ones who had to die
I will live, live what I believe
If for no one else but me
To remember
Freedom's never free

It was on another hillside

Outside the city gates

The battle lines were drawn
As soldiers took their place

The Father watched in silence

As a cross was raised

With freedom drawing closer
He took His final breath
He drank our cup of guilt
And took the sting from death

Heaven's Finest Soldier

clothed in human flesh

And for the price He paid
I'm forever in His debt
The cross will never die
'Cause I will not forget

I will stand and hold my head up high

I will dedicate my life

To the glory of the One who had to die
I will live, live what I believe
If for no one else but me
To remember that
Freedom's Never Free

I will walk free

I will stay free

I will live free
I will die free!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Photography Fridays ~ Opening Day

Baseball season is upon us. We love baseball!

She did great at her first 'big girl' softball game!
"Hardly any playing in the dirt." =)

What a difference a year makes. Nicely matured kids this year. Overheard by an opponent:
"We played the Cubs yesterday. They were good. Really good." =)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday Weigh-in ~ 5 weeks

I'm so glad I started this post days and days ago. I'm finding out what it's like trying to lose weight while being super busy. I've been busy or worked every day this week. Homework and quick kitchen clean after school. Spring sport season just started and we have been running for days. Opening day of little league was Saturday and we ate out. I can't even remember dinner. A sport every night this week - including a Yankee game on Monday (and was I really supposed to say no to Yankee nachos? Especially when they offered guacamole with it?!)
Softball - Tuesday.
Baseball - Wednesday.
Football - Thursday.
Friday's practice was cancelled, thank goodness, but we have 4 games this weekend.
And we haven't even started swimming yet.
Find time to plan? When!?

So I went back to 3 meals a day and the last one is usually the oatmeal trail mix of sorts. It is good because I rarely eat what everyone else eats and can make them yummy food which makes the family happier. =) I just have to make sure I have snacks or meals on hand in the case of a quick eat out at a local fav pizza joint at which I should eat nothing (instead of my request: Subway)!

In any case, at least I broke my plateau this week and today I'm 15 lbs down (15 to go). I'm hoping for a few more this week. Today I have to tackle a full grocery trip. This weekend I return my heart monitor. Monday, the 31st I have my next doctor's appointment and blood test. C'mon Cheerios. C'mon Quaker. Do your job!

This is what I put together last week:

Some thoughts on substitutions.
instead of this:                                         I go with this:

Moral of the story: find an app. Stick with it!
instead of this:                                         I go with this: 

Moral of the story: Leave the bread. Whole grains do a body good.
instead of this:                                         I go with this: 

Moral of the story: If I just have to have a carb, I try to make it something at least a little worthwhile.
instead of this:                                         I go with this: 
Moral of the story: Unnecessary calories - leave 'em! Water...and LOTS of it.
instead of this:                                         I go with this: 
Moral of the story: Sweets for sweets. Just watch the sugar and calories is all.
instead of this:                                         I go with this: 

Moral of the story: Yes, I know they're yummy. I miss them. But I can't think of a more empty calorie. Cheerios. Fighting cholesterol. Good for the heart.
instead of this:                                         I go with this: 
Moral of the story: I contacted Quaker myself and they answered. Dry oats have the same cholesterol-lowering benefits as cooked. I eat it like granola and mix it with nuts.
instead of this:                                         I go with this: 
Moral of the story: Nuts have cholesterol-lowering benefits, too. Don't go overboard, though.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, eating about a handful (1.5 ounces, or 42.5 grams) a day of most nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachio nuts and walnuts, may reduce your risk of heart disease. Just make sure the nuts you eat aren't salted or coated with sugar.
instead of this:                                         I go with this: 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Musical Mondays ~ I am her Sunshine ☼

This is my mom's song. Her song to me. Her song to all of her grandkids. Enjoy. ☼

The one you hear on my Playlist is 'You Are My Sunshine' by J.C. Wilson. I'm such a sucker for anything with a ukulele in it, I've considered doing a ukulele series of Musical Mondays...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Photography Fridays ~ another Easter story

Sometimes I think I save Photography Fridays for my most profound photos, like they are sacred posts or something. I guess that's why I don't post every Friday?

Well, these may not look like profound photos, but sometimes it's the moment that's profound.

I'm posting these in reverse order of which I took them to help tell the story.
I know selective color can be lame, but you'll get why I just *had* to do it, right? =)
Last Sunday, I had the absolute privilege of teaching 3rd graders and a large group of K-5 on Easter (and it was a privilege being struck with a 24-hour stomach bug the day before, I was afraid I wouldn't make it in! The Lord heals, thank goodness.)

In our small third-grade classroom of about 10 kids, we were chatting about Easter traditions. One child asked how jelly beans have anything to do with Jesus. Miss Lesley & I took this opportunity to explain the Salvation Story in terms of colors. We then went on each attributing something Easter with Jesus's story. Easter eggs, colors. Easter eggs, filled & empty. Jelly beans. The Easter Bunny himself. And more.

(Warning: Proud Mama moment:)
My own Matthew said dying Easter eggs reminds him of Jesus as well. Fully expecting him to go into poetic conversation about colors, he says: When you die the empty Easter eggs, you have to push them under the liquid, but when you let them go, they rise up like Jesus did.


Repeat, please?

Rise up like Jesus did.


John 2:19 ESV
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

Now I would have teared up at any student figuring this out, but surely it's a bit sweeter when it's your own.

Romans 8:11 ESV
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Weigh-in ~ 4 weeks

Ugh. Major cheat week. Stuffing Easter eggs. Easter dinner. Chocolate... well... everything. You'd think, during the very week that we watch Jesus Christ walk Himself up a hill to His own death, I could have a little willpower. Nope. Proves, once again, that I am human and unworthy. I accept that.

Stupid jelly beans.

Moving on.

I did hit a 16-lb weight loss, with the help of a weekend stomach flu; but I know I didn't stay there, thanks to Cheat Week. or Cheat 3-days. That's all it takes. So I'm not even getting on the scale today, not until I'm back on track.

People have been asking me what my secret is (that is, when I am on track and am losing weight.). It's no secret, but I'm willing to share. I'm no fitness or wellness guru, I'm just an average, normal, overeating, wrong-choice-making gal trying to get healthy.

Going through this process got me thinking about the DON'Ts I've encountered lately.
I think they're fact enough to share, so here we go.
  • DON'T expect to lose as much weight every week as you did in the first week. It just ain't gonna happen.
  • DON'T give up after 1 week or 2 weeks. That's my previous mistake. (Revelation 2:3)
  • DON'T have weekly goal. Stick with the overall goal. Ending goal.
  • DON'T have a time limit. Time frame, yes; time limit, no. Add two weeks to that time frame, too. =)
  • DON'T cheat for a full day (okay, okay, or 3). It will set you back, or at least slow you down, especially if you're battling old bad habits. I take my cheats in bites or sips only. Maybe a meal. Make sure your willpower is set to high, though, because you will have to be able to walk away and say stop by yourself.
  • DON'T think dieting is a quick-fix or a money-making scheme. If you're promised results in a small amount of time, run away. If you have to pay an arm and a leg for a meal or an exercise dvd, run away.You'll probably lose the same amount of calories running from it and it won't bust your wallet. =) ((p.s. I AM a fan of weight-loss programs that teach you how to eat real foods. Sometimes it's just a matter of redirecting your portion size or learning about nutrition.)) 
  • DON'T think of losing weight as a diet. Do think of it as a healthier lifestyle. A lifestyle change. It is a fact that being in shape is better for the health of yourself and everyone around you. Even ten or twenty extra pounds could mean the difference between a clean bill of health and a problem.
  • DON'T think that your old ways are going to get you there if you're stuck at a weight or a lifestyle.Be ready for a change. Be ready for new way of living. 
  • DON'T think you can do it on your own. Do your research. Find an app. Use a friend. Join a group.
  • And lastly, DON'T think those old yummy foods or sweets are going to get less yummy as you eat healthier. That ain't gonna happen, either. As a matter of fact, they will probably taste even better (at least at week 4 they will). But at an end time, at the end goal, the rewards will be sweeter when you've earned them.
Hmmm, that sounds familiar... 
26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— 27 that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’[b]—just as I have received authority from my Father. 28I will also give that one the morning star.
Revelation 2:26-28

21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Revelation 3:21

Sigh. Stupid jelly beans.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Musical Mondays ~ Edelweiss

So my dad will probably kill me if he knew I was spotlighting him, but I thought I'd do two musical weeks devoted to my parents. My dad is pretty amazing. He's got a heart of gold. He's got a heart for Christ and a heart for faith. He rarely expects a thank you yet he taught us to say it all the time. Most of my personality comes directly from him, probably my forehead, too (thanks, Dad). He's not afraid to make mistakes. He rarely misses a teaching moment. He never sensationalizes anything unless it's the truth. He always seemed to know everything about everything - he's still the one I go to for answers I can't find anywhere else.And yet, as a former pilot for 40 years, he was the one who had me convinced that he knew every type of airplane flying in the sky, no matter how high or small, simply by calling it a B-1-R-d; and yes, it took me until I was about 21 to figure that one out...

I also don't know why this song reminds me of him. Not sure if he sang it to me. Not sure if it's because he plays guitar (self-taught, I might add). Not sure if it's our European living experience when I was little.

I invite you to turn off my Playlist (at the very bottom of my blog) and listen to this YouTube version of Julie Andrews and John Denver singing Edelweiss - it melts my heart!

So here's to you, Dad, my number one fan. I appreciate you more than you'll ever know!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Scripture Sundays ~ Mark 16, His Resurrection

The awesome, true ending to Friday's story... 

John 3:16 
For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.

The Resurrection

Mark 16:1-8
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back— it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

John 20:30-31

30  Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31  but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Photography Fridays ~ blessed moon

We had a stunning view of the moon from upstairs in our house last night. What a spectacular Holy Thursday way to start the Easter weekend. Yes, these are the same photos you may have seen on my Facebook yesterday; I just couldn't keep them under wraps, I had to share!

Please ignore my dirty window - this one is center and too high, I can't get to it!
Camera:Nikon D5000
Lens:AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G
Shot at 20 mm
Exposure:Auto exposure, Not Defined, 2.5 sec, f/3.8, ISO 800
Flash:Auto, Did not fire
Focus:AF-A, at 1.4m, with a depth of field of about 80cm, (from about 29cm before the focus point to about 51cm after)
AF Area Mode: Auto-area
Date:April 5, 2012   8:18:05PM

This one was taken with a broken and very cranky 200. =(
Camera:Nikon D5000
Lens:AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED
Shot at 200 mm
Exposure:Auto exposure, Not Defined, 1/10 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800
Flash:Auto, Did not fire
Focus:AF-A, at 18m, with a depth of field of about 1.8m, (from about 83cm before the focus point to about 92cm after)
AF Area Mode: Auto-area
Date:April 5, 2012   8:30:05PM

I never knew Easter and the moon were related.

Here's the true story:

Mark 9:30-32

30  They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, 31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” 32  But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.

Mark 15:33-47
The Death of Jesus

33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39  And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said,“Truly this man was the Son of God!”
40 There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

Jesus Is Buried

42  And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. 46 And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47  Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.

Please, please come back Sunday for the awesome, true ending to this story. Have a wonderful, reflective Easter weekend. Sunday is a party!