Thursday, December 31, 2015

Six Sentence Story: Resolve

I'm linking up again with Six Sentence Stories.  This week's prompt is "resolve."  Being brave takes great resolve, as demonstrated by my daughter in this story, based on fact:

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Six Sentence Story: Snow

I'm linking up with Ivy's Six Sentence Stories again.  This week's prompt:  Snow.

Ten Things of Thankful: Christmas Edition

I'm sitting on my couch in the quiet early morning hours, trying to transform the peaceful contentment I am feeling into words. Minutes tick by, and I am still basking in the calm, wishing that words were not required to convey the serene sense of security. Drexel awakens, and greets me happily, but not frantically, his tail's soft thump thump thump providing background accompaniment to the morning's natural song.  

If I could bottle this up, I would.  

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December 2015 Visiting Teaching Message

I've never published a visiting teaching post for the current month so late in the month, but this month's visiting teaching message is perfect for Christmas, so I'm going to go ahead anyway.  This month's lesson is: Divine Attributes of Jesus Christ: Compassionate and Kind.  

When I read the quote by President Monson ("Let us open the door of our hearts, that He--the living example of true compassion--may enter") I knew I wanted to create something indici a door.  I printed this image on a 4x6 piece of photo paper, with a landscape orientation.  Then I folded the sides in, to meet at the middle, and cut the top and bottom, to form a heart.  I glued red cardstock on the back of the photo paper, and wrote the quote on the front.  

Photo:  the front of the handout, a red heart with the caption, "Let us open the door of our hearts, that He--the living example of true compassion--may enter."

Photo:  the inner part of the handout, a photo of baby Jesus smiling up at Mary and Joseph
Doesn't that message about sum up Christmas?  Jesus Christ came to earth to show compassion on all of us.  His mission opened the door to salvation--and if we open the door to Him, we can receive his wonderful gift.  

Merry Christmas!
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Thanks for Jesus Christ.

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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: 'Twas a Week Before Christmas Edition

Well, technically only 6 days now, but who's counting?  (Ha ha--millions of people are counting the days!)  This week's list will be as scattered as my to-do list, and with no time to spare, let's jump right in:

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Sisters Edition

I've been offline a lot this past week, for a very good reason--my sister traveled all the way across the country to come visit me!  We did touristy things all week and had a really nice time just spending time together.  

Friday, December 4, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Time Stretches Edition


Have you ever had the experience of having tons to do in not a lot of time, and yet, time seems to stretch to accommodate all that is required?  That has been my experience this week.  My thankfuls might read like a to-do list, but I am so thankful that I could accomplish them (with help from above and friends!) 


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Willow Update

I can't believe I forgot to mention this in Friday's TToT post, so I will mention it now (and count it for 10 thankfuls):  

Willow has been matched to a client, and will begin in-home training on December 7th!!!!

Most clients travel to the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus to receive their dogs and training, but sometimes, for various reasons, a dog and trainer will travel to the client's home.  Such is the case for Willow.  I don't know if the client will choose to attend a graduation ceremony or not.  While I think it would be fun to attend a ceremony, I'm really just very happy to have been able to participate in raising a guide dog.  If the client wants to, I would be happy to stay in touch and hear how Willow does as a working guide.  

Here's a photo of Willow taken in March of this year:


Photo:  Black lab guide dog puppy-in-training Willow
Hopefully Deedee can follow in Willow's paw-steps!





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Friday, November 27, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Thanksgiving Birthday and Other Things


Do I need to say that I love Thanksgiving?  Though there were only 13 around the table this year (plus a baby), the house was full of love, laughter, and food.  Let's jump right into the list for the week:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Firmoo Glasses Review

I was recently contacted and offered a free pair of glasses in exchange for a review of the glasses from firmoo.com.  Having recently "graduated" from dollar store reading glasses part-time to wearing progressive lens full-time, I thought, "Why not?" 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Thoughts on Thanksgiving


I've been pondering lately about thanksgiving--not only Thanksgiving the holiday, but thanksgiving, the action or trait.   I'd like to start this TToT with some insights on thanksgiving before I move into some specific thankfuls for this week.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Dose of Deedee--Thirteen Weeks Old

Last week, Deedee had an appointment with the veterinarian for her (Deedee's, not the vet's) next puppy shot.  She (again, Deedee, not the vet) also was weighed:  24 pounds of puppy!  When I got home, I pulled out Drexel's records.  While Deedee weighed 24 pounds at 12 weeks, Drexel weighed only 21 pounds--and he is a big boy!  I'll be curious to see how Deedee grows, and just how big she gets.  

Deedee's insight for this week:

John and Kristi were remarking about how much better I was getting with housebreaking.  Do you know what this means?  They might expect more of me!  I decided to spend the past 8 hours reminding them that I am still just a little, cute, helpless puppy. See?

Photo:  A close-up of black lab Deedee's cute face
Kristi again:  Cute, yes.  Puppy, yes.  Little?  Not really.  Helpless? Oh, she'd like me to believe that.  Deedee has made more progress forward than backward, and I know that one or two steps of regression is nothing to worry about.  She has no idea how much fun she will have once she has the housebreaking thing down, receives her rabies vaccine, and puts on a vest!  She's going to be a good worker!

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Thanks for a cute puppy!

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: No Matter What, We Can Be Thankful

Sometimes events are so overwhelming, so tragic, so emotional, that it is hard to concentrate on anything else and, in fact, it seems somehow wrong to speak of anything lighter or happy.  My heart certainly goes out to those who are intimately affected by the recent events in France.  As we keep them in our thoughts and prayers, though, and support them however we can, I think it is also imperative that we continue to see the good in the world.  We cannot let fear keep us from feeling thankful.  And as we share our expressions of gratitude, hopefully the world will seem a little brighter, a little calmer, and a little more peaceful.  

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Autumn Edition (I'm Serious this Time!)

The swamp coolers got covered up this week, and the thermostats got turned back on.  The heater has been blowing warm air into the cool house, and I have started wearing sweaters again.  Summer might make an appearance here and there in the next few months, but for the most part, I think it's safe to say that it is now fall.  I love fall!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November 2015 Visiting Teaching, and Ten Things of Thankful

For the month of November, visiting teachers are to select a message from the October 2015 General Conference talks. Sometimes it is hard to pick just one talk!  November is also the month of Thanksgiving here in the United States.  I thought, "Why not combine the idea of Thanksgiving with messages from conference?"  The result is a Cornucopia of Conference.  


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Halloween Edition

It's Saturday night, and I finally have a chance to sit down and write. However, I know that if I sit still too long at night, I will fall asleep.  This Ten Things of Thankful post is going to be quick!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Photo Blogging Challenge: Closeup


When I read about October's Photo Blogging Challenge theme--"closeup"--I went no further than my own backyard for inspiration.
Fortunately, the roses are putting on a last-minute show before colder weather sets in.  I didn't use any fancy equipment, so the photos are not as closeup as they could be, but I had fun with the challenge.  
Photo:  Closeup look at center of yellow rose

Photo:  Closeup look at end of rose hip

Photo:  Closeup look at center of pink rose

Photo:  A fly rests on a white rose petal

Photo:  Two blossoms of a blue potato vine


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Thanks for a photo challenge, that inspires me to look at things just a little bit differently.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Dose of Deedee, Day Two

As a Richard Scarry story begins, "It is the morning of a new day." Deedee's learning continues.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Dose of Deedee--Monday, October 26, 2015

If you read my Ten Things of Thankful post this past weekend, you know that I'm co-raising a puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind.   Deedee got off the puppy truck on Friday, spent the weekend at Donna's house, and arrived at my house today.  

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Puppy Delivery!

I heard someone say recently that the older one gets, the faster time seems to pass.  That is certainly true!  It seems to me that I'm posting every day, but to the younger people out there, you might think I'm only posting about once a week.  I have an idea to help me post more frequently--stay tuned to see if I can pull it off! 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: When It Rains, It Pours

Right now, I have rain on my mind, but before I talk about the weather (and it is exciting, I promise!), there are some other huge thankfuls that I need to mention.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I'm Finding Treasures as I Look for Something Else

I'm looking for the Personal Progress book I used as a teenager. (That link is to the current program; the program of my youth has been updated a time or two or more over the years!) I haven't found it yet, but I've stumbled across some letters that my siblings wrote to me when I was in college.  You might find them as funny as I did.

Monday, October 12, 2015

October Visiting Teaching Message

This month's visiting teaching message topic is one of my favorites. It's really the heart of the gospel, the driving force behind everything.  When Jesus Christ was asked, "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?" he answered, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." (Matthew 22: 36-39)

This month's topic is charity and love as a divine attribute of Jesus Christ.  Charity is the pure love of Christ.  


We are taught in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon that charity is the greatest of all.  1 Corinthians 13:13 says:
 13 And now abideth faithhopecharity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
 Moroni 7:46-47 supports Paul's writings: 
 46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
 47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
 As we remember Christ, as we cleave unto His love, we will be granted a portion of that love, and will be able to start to feel that love for others.  

Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone's actions were driven by pure love?  

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Thanks for the perfect example of Jesus Christ.

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: We Stopped the Mouse from Zooming, Part 2

Last week, my post title referred to the fact that I figured out how to stop my computer from (seemingly) randomly zooming.  This week, John told me I could just recycle my title.  

Friday, October 2, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: I Stopped my Mouse from Zooming and Other Thankfuls

Life can't be Disneyland and the zoo every week.  This week I settled down to more serious business. I'm thankful. . . 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Photo Blogging Challenge: Happy

I'm linking up with A 'lil Hoohaa for September's Photo Blogging Challenge.  The theme for September was "happy," and I just knew this would be an easy theme for me! 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Fall, Friends and Family Edition

The calendar says "fall," but the temperatures scream "summer!"  It's OK, though, because I know the days will cool off soon (within the next two months, hopefully!) and a nip will return to the air. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Six Sentence Story: Axe

I wasn't sure I could come up with a Six Sentence Story to this week's prompt ("Axe"), and then it came to me:

I Believe (Final Post in Series): A Warning Voice


Today marks the 20th anniversary of The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  As readers have commented throughout this series of posts, occasionally the comments have been of the ". . . but that's not how things actually are in some families" variety.  The final paragraphs of the proclamation acknowledge that truth.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I Believe (Part 8 in a Series): Mothers and Fathers as Equal Partners

Over the past few months, I've been writing posts based around The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.   This week marks the 20th anniversary of that document.  In honor of that anniversary, I'm going to finish my series of posts about the proclamation this week.

Today's topic explores the roles of women and men.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Summer is Waning Edition

Temperatures are still in the 90s, but autumn is on its way, and that makes me happy. With no more of an introduction, here are things that made me smile this week:

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

September 2015 Visiting Teaching Message

The attribute of Jesus Christ that the visiting teaching message discusses this month is "Powerful and Full of Glory."

Photo:  The face of the Christus statue, with the caption: "The Savior uses His power to redeem and empower us."


Monday, September 14, 2015

Six Sentence Stories: Perfect

She forgot to pack shampoo, so she washed her hair with bar soap.
His tuxedo was misplaced, so he was late for photos.
The order at the restaurant was mixed up, so the waiter was apologetic.
The drive to the reception was long, so they were nearly late.
The bouquet to toss was overlooked, so a quickly-picked, foil-wrapped handful of pansies sufficed.
But truthfully, it was a perfect wedding day, so the couple started their happily-ever-after.

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Thanks to Ivy of Uncharted, for hosting Six Sentence Stories, and thanks to John.

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

I Believe (Part 7 in a Series): Happiness in Family Life

I've been writing a series of posts explaining my thoughts about family, based on The Family:  A Proclamation to the WorldIf you missed the previous posts, they can be found here:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6

Today's post focuses on a portion of the proclamation that provides a blueprint for a happy family:



Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.



Saturday, September 12, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: The Blogging Edition


I seem to have misplaced my blogging groove.  I'm hopeful, though, that I will find it again soon, like I did my lost diamond.  I know it's around here somewhere! 

Posts yet to be written are piling up in my brain.  Ideas are swirling around, waiting to come to fruition. 

This past week was going to be my settle-into-a-routine, catch-up-on-blogging week, but life doesn't always cooperate.  Like the proverbial camel, one little thing after another has required my attention and slowed my progress.  (And let me make it clear that I'm talking about things, not people!  Time spent with people is time well-spent.) The straw that really slowed the blogging down was the demise of my computer, and the subsequent efforts to revive and ultimately replace the laptop. Then the replacement was reluctant to connect to the internet, and I fought frustration. 

I didn't even make it to all of the TToT posts last weekend before my computer died.  I apologize if I didn't comment on your post. 

Despite my frustration with (my lack of) blogging, I have much to be thankful for, and it's the weekend, which means it's time for the Ten Things of Thankful!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Opposites Edition

This has been a week of contrast, but that lends variety to life, and helps me appreciate the routine weeks more.

Last Sunday in Relief Society, I suddenly realized that my wedding ring was missing its diamond.  I slipped out of the room and went back to the Sunday School room, but I didn't find the diamond.  I retraced my steps, checking the chapel, hallways, and library.  No luck.  I thought maybe I'd find it in the car, or at home, but still no luck.  I thought I might have lost it for good, but on Monday, we decided to go back to the church building and try one more time to find it.  

Youngest daughter asked if I had prayed about it.  I told her that I had, but it never hurt to pray again.  She asked me to join her in a prayer.  She offered a simple prayer of faith that we would find the diamond quickly.  About 2 minutes after she prayed, John came into the chapel with a smile on his face.  He had found the ring in the Sunday School room! (The seminary class had met in the room that morning before high school, and none of them had noticed it.)

(1) I'm thankful for a lesson in prayer and faith.  While not every prayer is answered in the way we hope, prayers are always heard, and always answered.  
(2) I'm thankful the diamond was found, and we won't need to spend money to replace it. 
(3) I'm thankful that I'll be able to resize the ring when we get it repaired.  I was able, with some effort, to get the ring off, but I'm pretty sure that after a week of not wearing it, I shouldn't still have an impression on my finger where it was.  Perhaps losing the diamond prevented a future loss (of a finger!)

Monday night, as we were rejoicing in the found diamond, I got a phone call informing me that a friend from church was in the hospital, and it looked like she had had a stroke.  Fortunately, she was able to be discharged from the hospital after a few days, and is on the road to recovery.

(4) I'm thankful for the power of prayer.  
(5) I'm thankful for the reminder of how precious each individual is, and how important it is to take time for relationships. 

This week was the first week back from our long western-states driving extravaganza, so this was the week to "recover" from vacation.  The proverbial, "When it rains, it pours," applied, though (except for in the literal sense--I would have welcomed some of that kind of rain!) I found that there were several opportunities to put aside some of my own plans, and to do something better. 

(6) I'm thankful for the reminder that happiness comes from helping others.
(7) I'm thankful that taking time daily to read scriptures and pray helps keep balance in my life.  It seems that whenever I take time for those two things, the hours in my day stretch to meet the demands on my time.  

Today, John and I ran the Disneyland 10 K.  Due to a schedule change in our plans, I went down to Anaheim by myself on Thursday, and John and youngest daughter drove down together on Friday.  

(8) I'm thankful I had some time by myself to catch up on blogging a bit.  I had fallen behind in reading blogs, as well as in writing. I'll never get completely caught up, but it was nice to spend some time reading and writing.  

(9) I'm thankful for exercise.  I've been thinking more lately about just what a gift bodies are, and how I should  do a better job taking care of my physical self.  I know that I feel better when I eat healthy foods, and regularly run.  I have room to improve in both areas.

(10)  I'm thankful for John--the Carl to my Ellie.  We had a great time on our Disney run adventure this morning, and I couldn't ask for a better running partner, friend, and husband!


Photo:  John and I, dressed as Carl and Ellie from the movie, UP, after completing a 10 K race at Disneyland

What are you thankful for this week?  (Another thing--I didn't list it, but I am thankful for it--is that guide dog puppy Willow is now in phase 5 of formal training! I won't breathe easy until she graduates, but I'm thankful for each step of progress.) 



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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

August Photo Blogging Challenge


I really enjoy participating in the monthly photo blogging challenge hosted by a 'lilhoohaa.  This month's challenge was "Rule of Thirds."  Apparently this is a basic rule in photography composition.  It was different for me to think about a rule, rather than just eyeballing the photograph.  I'm still not sure I followed the rule precisely, but here are five photos that might at least partially comply: 

Photo:  The St. George Temple, between two trees
Photo:  The front of the St. George Temple 
This next photo could have followed the rule of thirds better, but I still liked the shot:
Photo:  A sunset appears to be just above the road.
Another shot that should have been more off-center:
Photo:  Sunset in smoky skies, with fir trees in bottom third of photo.

Photo:  A tree forms an arch over a path in the Hoh Rain Forest in Washington state.
Be sure to go visit a 'lilhoohaa to see the other photos in the link-up!  

Do you use the Rule of Thirds in your photos?

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Thanks for photography, and learning new things.

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Time for an Oil Change Edition

Two weeks ago, the minivan had an oil change.  Today, it's due for another one.  The past two weeks have been a massive western states road trip:  California, Nevada, Arizona (just a few miles), Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Oregon again, and back to California.  I already told you about the first week, which I spent in Utah for Education Week.  That accounted for the California, Nevada, Arizona (just a few miles), and Utah part of the trip.  This week's thankfuls will cover the second half of the trip, the leaving Utah, then Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Oregon again, and back to California part.  So grab a seat and enjoy (?) the 2015 version of the vacation slide-show of yesteryear!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: BYU Education Week 2015

The challenge for this post:  to limit myself to ten things.  The only way I will succeed will be to not count each thing individually, but instead combine my observations into broad categories, and count the groups.


Photo:  Buildings at Brigham Young University, with a painted Y on the mountain behind


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Very Short, Hopefully Sweet Edition

I'm writing this from a hotel in St. George, Utah.  Tomorrow I arrive in Provo for Education Week at Brigham Young University. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Six Sentence Story: Reservation

Linking up again with Six Sentence Stories.  This week's prompt: Reservation.

I Believe (Part 6 of a Series): Marriage Benefits Children

The latest data I found on the CDC website says that 40% of births in the United States are to unmarried women.  There are numerous studies that show the disadvantages children have when they are born to unmarried parents.  Princeton and Columbia Universities formed the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study and, after extensive research, determined:
In conclusion, children born to unmarried parents are disadvantaged relative to children born to married parents in terms of parental capabilities and family stability. Additionally, parents' marital status at the time of a child's birth is a good predictor of longer-term family stability and complexity, both of which influence children's longer-term wellbeing. (link to source)

Before I continue, please let me say that this post is not intended to condemn unmarried parents.  I am not speaking specifically to anyone's individual situation, nor would I want to judge anyone. I have known unmarried mothers who have placed babies for adoption, others who have remained unmarried but raised their children, and others who have married the father.  It is not for me to say what should happen in a particular situation.  No one is perfect, and we all just do the best we can.  This post is, however, an essay in support of what some would call "old-fashioned" values.  I speak of marriage that precedes pregnancy.  

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Wait, is it the Weekend Already?

I am rather strange.  Whenever there is a deadline, or a significant marker in time, I feel the need to have everything organized, in place, completed.  August/September is back-to-school time. Granted, I no longer need to pack lunches or buy backpacks, but there is still a part of me that thinks, "OK.  Changing of the seasons.  I need to settle into a better routine, and it needs to be done now." Never mind that August is one of my least "routine" months of the year; August is the month that my brain tries to remind me of all the little (or big) tasks that are "desperately important".  I should:  organize the foods in the freezer, and write out a month-long meal plan; make home-made Christmas presents; have my walk-in closet look like something out of Better Homes and Gardens; run harder/longer/faster; have blog posts pre-written and ready to post daily. . . . That is just the short list.  

Fortunately, I've been around long enough to realize that life continues even when we eat breakfast for dinner, when Christmas presents are just an idea, when "walk-in" is a misnomer, when a day goes by without a run, and when blogging takes a backseat.  

Breathe, Kristi, breathe.  

There are certain practices that help me focus on what really matters.  Prayer, scripture study, service, gratitude--thinking outside myself makes life rewarding.  Last week, I taught a lesson in Relief Society on Sabbath Day observance.  In preparing for that lesson, I came across the idea that Sabbath Day observance is similar to monetary tithing.  That rang true for me.  I know that my financial situation is seemingly illogically, but truly, better when I donate 10%.  Similarly, my time stretches and I get more done when one day out of the week I set aside the worldly do-to list and concentrate on worshiping and serving the Lord.  

And so, with that long introduction, I'm ready to look back over this week and consider the things that made me pause and count my blessings.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

I Believe (5th in the Series): Family Duty


Previous posts in this series have prompted some readers to point out that some children do not live in the best of circumstances.  The Family: A Proclamation to the World  has something to say about how family members are to be treated.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Ten Things of Thankful: Bye-bye, July

Seriously, is it August already?  July went by so quickly, and I'm crunched for time this weekend, so I'm going to make this a short-and-sweet, photo-free post.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Photo Blogging Challenge: Patriotic


"Patriotic" is the perfect theme for July's Photo Blogging Challenge!  And what better to show patriotism than flags?


Photo:  Folk-art statue of flag-waving angel, dressed in red, white, and blue dress, and carrying a basket with a cat angel