Sunshine & Whiskey

sunshine1My girl loves horses – I’ve said that once or twice before.

For those of you who’s kids are at school for their first year know how important it is to see them at about the six week mark. It’s when homesickness sets in, when they become weary with classes and perhaps roommate issues begin to rear its ugly head. It’s why colleges plan parents’ weekend for about that time, they have the kids’ best interest at heart. In the case of the our girl, well, she’s been home the majority of the weekends since she’s been away so we’ve seen her quite a bit since she left. We love to see her – but we want her to begin to feel more comfortable at school. The social experience at college is almost as important as the academics when it comes to personal growth.

The husband suggested that we give her chores to do and feed her frozen pizzas and perhaps she would come home less. Ha!

Anyway, she is doing well overall and she and her roommate are getting along, classes seem to be going fine, and her homesickness has lessened but we felt that it was important that we see her in her element at school. We went to a football game, but there was not much else the girl wanted to do that weekend. She didn’t want to do the chili cook-off or run the family 5K through the town (we didn’t either). She did however, research a trail ride through the mountains. Which means I had to get on a horse.

Of course.

sunshine2Hmmm, which one shall I pick? The nicest one I hope.

sunshine4As it turns out, I don’t get to choose, I get the horse chosen for me. His name is Whiskey.

sunshine5The girl rode Sunshine – which makes our duo, Sunshine & Whiskey:) I love that song!

Here it is – love that Frankie Ballard!

sunshine3I was a little nervous, I admit it but Whiskey knew exactly what he was doing. What a good horse! The trail leader said to watch out for wildlife so after a period of time I was comfortable enough to actually do that.

sunshine6It’s hard to take photos while you are on a horse don’t cha know.

sunshine9I did see some wildlife. If you look close enough you’ll notice some things called – humans. They blend right into their environment.

sunshine8There are some more of that species.

sunshine7The girl saw this first, a deer in the woods. She was laying down and trying to be inconspicuous.

That my dears, is the extent of our wildlife sightings.

It was a nice weekend and it’s always great to see our girl! I’m leaving you with one more photo from that weekend. It’s God on display.

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These Three Things

squinch1First Thing: I shot this photo of my pastor in his office and it turned out quite good if I do say so myself. He’s very photogenic as you can see but he was using a strategy that he says many celebrities use called squinching. I’ve never heard of it but he said that people who make a living in front of the camera know all about it. So I googled it and I found this video by photographer Peter Hurley. Check it out below.

iphone1Second Thing: We purchased the girl a new phone last week when she was home for fall break. She’s been known to to break the screen on her phone once or twice (or three or four) times so I threatened her with my flip phone – as in that’s what she’ll get if she breaks her new one. I’m still using the phone from three years ago, an iPhone 4 – at the time it was cutting edge. When Apple’s highly anticipated roll out of the iPhone 6 didn’t go as planned – as in it was totally unviewable for the first 20 minutes, it occurred to me that even the best tech people in the world have to deal with funky technical issues. It was probably embarrassing for Apple but we all did get a few chuckles out of it with articles like this –

Twitter reactions to Apple’s Livestream

It probably would have been funnier had I done this right after the livestream but – still a good Monday chuckle.

smashcake1Lastly, Third Thing: Little Benedict turned one year old a few weeks ago. His parents are very strict about what they feed this little man. All parents are with their first child. That all changes when the second kid comes around, which will happen in about six months for them. Anyway, Benedict has not eaten any processed sugar – yet – so I made him a healthy smash cake. The recipe is below.

What You Need:
– 5 ripe bananas
– 1/2 cup organic apple sauce
– 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp nutmeg
– 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 8 ounces cream cheese
– 1/2 cup concentrated apple juice

smashcake2What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Smash the bananas together and then mix in the apple sauce and vanilla extract and set aside. In another bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda together. Fold into the banana and apple sauce mix. Place in a loaf pan or in this case, I used individual disposable baking bowls. Bake for 25 minutes or until done.

For the icing, whip together the cream cheese and concentrated apple juice together until creamy.

smashcake5Some of the party guests said it was quite delicious and would be a great breakfast pastry sans the icing. Benedict ate about 1/4 of his piece but he did lick off all the icing.

smashcake3What a cute kid. Happy birthday!

 

What The Hackers Will See

snap93I wrote about Snap Chat before and it’s been reported recently that photos and videos from the app were hacked and are now in the possession of unscrupulous hackers.

It just goes to show that nothing placed online is sacred and nothing is ever deleted. It’s there forever. Young people are should know and be aware and if there is a doubt about how your content will reflect on you – just don’t do it.

There are times when I should take my own advice.

I knew that content on Snap Chat were never “deleted”, they are just renamed so that you can’t see them again but they’re still there – the FBI and hackers can still get to them. I wondered how secure my account really is from the beginning. I only have three “friends” on Snap Chat but when I made my first account, somehow a total stranger became one of my friends – and I have no idea how. An photo with a profanity laden message showed up and I was shocked – shocked. I asked the kids if they knew him and they didn’t. The girl said I made friends with the wrong person – but I didn’t mean to. I didn’t know how to delete him – and I just made a new account.

We’re not safe – the best thing to do in order to play with and still enjoy social media is to post things like this.

snap1No matter what he sends me, I love getting snaps from the boy.

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Here is a screen shot of a video of Roommate John cleaning the table. I know it’s juvenile, but I had to laugh. I find the boys funny.

snap9They hung their clock over their sink and when I got this from the boy, asking us how we liked their handy work, all I could think was, “Wow, look how clean that sink is.” Impressive.

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This is a video of them singing to someone called Tay Tay – oh right, it’s Taylor Swift gone pop.

snap4I was watching a video of the boy in the car and I asked him about it – this was his explanation.

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I play on Snap Chat too. I like to send the kids things like this early in the morning. Well – it wasn’t that early, I was at work but to them it was the crack of dawn.

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The boy sported new sunglasses, a gift from our neighbor. He’s so handsome.

snap8Really, really handsome. I tell you, he cracks me up.

It’s all innocent fun, and I don’t worry about my kids putting inappropriate content online anymore. I know there’s a balance but social media is in our lives to stay. We just have to set boundaries for our kids. It can make parenting harder, but it’s life and they will thank you for it!

 

October 13, Playing Through For Crohn’s Disease

oct1When your friends ask you to help in an effort like raising awareness for a disease that affects their child, you just can’t say no. My friends Greg & Melissa have a son, Hayden, who is dealing with the effects of Crohn’s disease at the young age of seventeen. He was diagnosed a few years ago and since then, Greg & Melissa have been active in raising awareness for a cure. Hayden is blessed by caring and loving parents.

Greg asked me to photograph their golf tournament to raise money for the local chapter of Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America that Greg founded last year and, well, of course I will. It was a wonderful afternoon, the weather was great, and one of the young men who suffers from the disease drove me around the golf course so I could shoot.

golf8Josh is also seventeen and is on the same lacrosse team as Hayden. They remain active and in good spirits, even with all that they have to deal with every day. I was honored to spend the afternoon with such a courageous and courteous young man!

There was a great turn out, over 120 golfers and many wonderful sponsors of the event. An early estimate of funds raised was over $20,000 – an amazing gift! golf5There was a concert that evening and the opening band consisted of young high school guys. I loved that the entire day included young folks who worked the event.

golf4We should all be proud of the next generation! These are Hayden’s friends who came to support him and Josh. They served the food, drove the golf carts, emptied the garbage, and were a joy to be around.

Here is the website if you want to read more about these fantastic young people, http://www.calvertcrohns.org/.

So much work went into the event but it was done with so much love. Below are some more photos of the event. It was a fantastic day and it was an honor to help my friends.

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golf3   golf6

golf7  golf9

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Life Through My iPhone

It’s time for another compelling edition of Life Through My iPhone – because my life is so compelling.

Here goes . . .

iphone01I purchased this skirt through a site that sells used clothing called twice.com. When I arrived I tried it on and though it was slightly snug, it fit. Then I think it was washed and I tried it on again – and I couldn’t get it past my knees. What the heck. I gave it to Jackie-girl and she gave it to her mom and then sent me this photo. Yep, I hate her.

She does look great in it though . . .

iphone1Our church is going through an expansion of our auditorium and I snapped this photo of some of my co-workers and volunteers in front of the unfinished staged. It’s not going to look like this much longer and I’m all about preserving the “during” as well as the “done” so I love this.

iphone3The husband was on a trip and ran into our doctor who he ended up flying to the west coast. What are the chances? He sent me this photo. I love it.

iphone4I was minding my own business when my brother sent me this photo of one of the most favorite things that my mother makes. It’s also a favorite of the girl. I immediately got so hungry that I went to the pantry and ate about 6 Oreo cookies. Why does he do this to me?

iphone5I was photographing a charity golf tournament a couple of weeks ago and these gentlemen bought me a drink. They were doing a little bit of drinking themselves. Anyway, they asked if they could buy me a beer and I said, no thanks, I don’t drink beer. So they asked me if they could buy me a glass of wine, and since there weren’t any wine glasses at that particular bar (yes, I hang out at sophisticated establishments), I declined again. But they insisted and asked me if I even drink alcohol. I said yes, I do so they insisted I have a crown and ginger, whatever that is. The bartender took sympathy on me and said I should get a crown and coke, I would like that better. I said alright, I’ve never had one before – and the jury is still out. Anyway, I thanked them and took this photo and they said, “Hey – a selfie!” Alrighty.

Anyway, they asked me where I was from – and the conversation continued to go downhill from there as you can imagine.

iphone6And I was exhausted from the encounter that I came home and took a nap, along with all of the other animals in the house.

Update: I read this post again and I realized that this could look like I had to take a nap from drinking a half a crown and coke (I could only finish half) but this was the day I cycled 50 miles – yes, 50 miles. It was the longest I’ve ridden and I was very proud of myself, and relieved to have gotten off the bike seat . . .

iphone7Our culinary school had a final test in at the end of another session and the staff was the benefit of some pretty awesome pancakes. I love it when they have a test. I gave them an A!

iphone8Another beautiful sky. It reminds me that God is always present – always.

iphone9They boy and I share a photostream and every once in a while one of his photos will pop up. I don’t know who these folks are though I love seeing him.

iphone10When we went to parents’ weekend at the girl’s school last weekend we stocked up on gas (as much as you can stock up). It was only $2.99, I haven’t seen that in a long time. It’s not that way here at home, we live in an expensive state. Not a political statement, only a very hard reality.

iphone11We try to stay at relatively clean hotels when we travel to see the kids but these sticker was on the headboard in our room and I wondered about it. I mean, it should be a given that they are clean right? Do we need a sticky note reminder?

Things that make you go hmmmm….

iphone12We took the girl on a drive in a national forest when we went to visit her and this was among many of the really beautiful vistas along the way.

jonny1This young man just asked out the love of his life and she said, YES! He’s been in love with her for about three years – yes, true. He came into the office to tell me and I was so excited for him that I took a snap chat and sent it to the kids. It was only afterward that I realized it looks like we were going out. Oh well, it’s why digital communication will never replace one on one conversations.

iphone13I took the dogs to the beach yesterday. It was so early that it was almost completely dark when we arrived. The days are getting shorter – and I needed a flashlight.

Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend. The girl is coming home for fall break, weeee! I’ll get some photos -