Monday, December 31, 2007

Looking Back

As we close up shop on the year 2007, take a look back and acknowledge what went well. What are you proud of accomplishing? What gives you pleasure when you think back on it?

For me....

The year went well, creatively speaking. I spent several months working on a novel. Not only fun, but satisfying as well. And just as satisfying was putting the novel away to concentrate on homeschooling Nathan's junior year.

Kites need both the wind and a string to hold them in order to fly. 2007 was a year in which I got to be the string for my family. While they stretched their wings against and with the wind, I tried not to rock the boat. Listen, that's harder than you think. LOL! Especially for someone like me.

There were new challenges in my life and I think I rose to the occasion. I've learned a lot, that's for sure. I hope I'm a stronger, smarter, wiser, kinder, and better person for having lived this year.

Take a quick peek in the rear view mirror at 2007 before it recedes into the night. What memories give you a warm glow of pride? Accomplishments that bring satisfaction? Anything you can carry over into the coming months? List those things in your comment or link to your own blog if you answer there.

Thanks for taking time to read Creative Soul. Your comments and emails make my day!

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Today would have been my mother's 68th birthday.

She's been gone for thirteen years. Hard to believe because I can close my eyes and see her smile and hear her laugh. I worried that I would forget those things after she died.


If your mom is still among the living, give her a hug.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas From Our House To Yours

May your day be merry and bright!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Let's Talk Photography

Christmas is almost here. With it comes numerous opportunities to photo our children and other family members. Here are a few tips to help you get the most from your photos.

1. Get Close. Those precious faces are the main thing you are going to want to see in your print. If you want a photo of your entire living room, do one. Both don't try to get a cute photo of your toddler opening a gift AND the living room. Choose one. I love having a zoom lens on my digital. Wow. I began in photography without the benefit of zoom. For years all that moving around was how I kept fit. If you done any scrapbooking and had to whack three quarters of the print away to get to the image you really wanted, you understand what I'm talking about. While we are at it, when photographing a child, get down on their level.

2. Let Your Subjects Get Close. Cheek to cheek is fun and usually makes folks giggle which makes for great expressions. Hugs, hand-holding, and leaning on each other give warmth and casualness to your photos. Even a slight lean towards each other makes family members look like they like each other. A miracle.

3. Take LOTS. The best part of digital is the delete button. Charge up your batteries and snap, snap, snap away. Then, choose only the best of the best to keep.

4. Watch the Background. Sure it looks funny to have a curtain rod or branch coming out some one's ear, but think about it, what if this is the last time you get to photograph Grandma? Do you really want that thing sticking out her head?

5. Be an Equal Opportunity Photographer. I don't know how many times I've focused too much on one couple or one particular child and not gotten enough of everyone else. Another advantage to digital is being able to take a quiet moment and review what's in the memory.

6. Hand Off. Occasionally hand the camera to someone else so they can photograph you. I don't care if you need to lose twenty pounds, dye your hair, and have cosmetic surgery on the bags under your eyes. Someone in your family loves you and they want photos of you. Besides, none of us are getting any younger or prettier, are we? Fluff your hair, dab on some make-up (as appropriate) and suck in your tummy, but do this now.

7. No Target Practice. Many photographers have the distressing habit of putting their subject's face dead center in the image. Like the center of a bull's-eye target. You aren't there to execute the subject, so allow the faces to be in the upper third of the photo. In fact, imagine a tic-tac-toe board over your screen. Place your point of interest where the lines intersect. This is called the 'Rule of Thirds' and helps your photograph be much more interesting to look at. More on this another day.

8. Book 'em, Danno.. Within a few days of Christmas, upload your images to your computer. Sort into labeled files. Send the chosen ones to the printer for hard copies. Scrapbook them within the month. You'll love yourself if you keep up with this chore in a timely fashion. Others will love you, too, because they get to enjoy the photos.

Photos stir our memories and with it our hearts. Sparkling eyes, the flash of a smile, the baby soft skin of a Grandmother and her newborn grand child. These portrayals are worth so much more than a thousand words. Create lots and lots of memory images this Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Little Christmas Tour, 2007

Join me for a little Christmas tour.

The fireplace and Christmas tree
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Every ornament on our tree has been collected over our thirty years of marriage. In fact, we have an ornament from our first year of dating. The Pilot Guy made one for us at a fund-raiser at the college we attended. That blue ball is precious and often the first ornament we hang on the tree.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Naturally, we have an ornament for each son every year, too. Some years have more ornaments representing them than others. During our travels in Europe we collected all sorts of things to use as ornaments from each country we visited. Key chains were pressed into service often, but we also have our ski lift passes from skiing in the French Alps, and an authentic Austrian cow bell.

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Ornaments that are hand made are very special.

I made these red fans with my mother. We were outside the isolation chamber my dad was in while in the hospital in Houston.

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Popsicle airplanes we made when Kevin was nine and Nathan was four.

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One of my most precious possessions is this Santa face. My mother drew and colored this guy when she was pregnant with me. This Santa is celebrating 51 Christmas's this year.
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Thanks for taking a bit of a tour this morning. It is pouring rain out, so no outdoor decor for the moment.

By the way, today Karla over at Karla's Cottage is having a party. If you want to see more holiday blogs, hop on over and check it out.

Thanks again for visiting!

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Notecards

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The notecards turned out great! It was such fun to create them.

Need an extra stocking stuffer for someone?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Do It Now

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Daylily 'Congeniality'
The blossoms last from morning until night, then are gone.

I shall pass through this world but once,
Any good therefore that I can do, or any
kindness that I can show,
let me do it now.
Let me not defer, not neglect it,
For I shall not pass this way again

Do it now.

I'm a champion procrastinator. I've made a sport of putting off until tomorrow....or next week....or next year, things I want to do. I'd like to pride myself on being a seize the day kinda gal. But, too often, I'm not.

This Christmas season, I'm regretful. A friend living in California won't live to see this Christmas, much less the next one. Her health took a sudden, frightening, and unexpected nosedive this fall. For the past two summers, I've thought about visiting, but never quite pulled the trigger on the plans. Now, unexpectedly, it's too late. As final and quiet as a door clicking locked. Too late to make memories together. Too late.

This is but one more incident in a lifetime of missed opportunities. Add to that the death of my sister in law, several acquaintances and a friend or two this year. So many tables will have an empty space this season. Many of them unexpectedly so...but car accidents and sudden health crisis happen all too often.

My advice (and my motto at the moment)Do it now. Especially in this Christmas season. Give the gift. Send the card. Say the words.

Seize the opportunity to tell someone how much they've meant to you. Focus on the positive. Express gratitude. Celebrate the good things. Forgive the hurts. Seek to understand someone else's point of view.

Develop a legacy of laughter, gratefulness, and loving, even in the face of challenge and difficulty.

Do it now. Whatever has popped into your head while reading it now.

After all, next Christmas it may be you who is missing from the feast.