Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Latest....

Very busy week. And continues....I hosted the Presbyterian Women's Luncheon for the 3rd year in a row this past Wednesday, It's a bring a salad luncheon, always decorated tables by a hostess, and a guest speaker.  We average around 75 women at these luncheons and it's always been a fun thing for me to do. I was asked to chair the luncheon 3 years ago when I wasn't even a member of the church. That immediately prompted me into becoming a member and its been and continues to be a loving and spiritually fed relationship. I've decided to not chair again next year, 3 years is enough. I give the opportunity to someone new.

Last weekend was my friend Marti's, 5K run brunch to raise money for Purdue University Cancer Research Center. She calls it her 5K because normally she would run or walk a 5K to raise money, but she opts for a more personal and more delicious way to raise money. In order to enjoy the delicious brunch she serves, we are asked to donate money toward this very worthy cause. In the last 6 years this group of women that attend and others who donate and cannot come to the brunch have donated $21,000.

I'm off to Michigan tomorrow morning to meet up with a photography friend of mine in Mackinaw City, MI.  Winnie and I met last summer in Chicago at the photography convention held each year in June. We immediately became friends and have since been on a photography trip together, photographing the Michigan Lighthouses last September. And now tomorrow we meet again for a few fun days of photography together. Winnie is from Michigan so she will be my tour guide to all the fab places to photograph. It's a bit cooler up there than its been here. This week has been warm, almost too warm, 91 on Tuesday, and now the 80's. Checking the forecast for the trip and what to pack, it's obvious I'm going to have to bundle up and not take my 2 piece, obviously it won't be needed. Forties and fifties with a possibility of rain, so keep your fingers crossed the weather won't stop our adventures.

We have had horrific winds the past couple/3 days. It seems to be dying down to normal, but man, it was whipping the trees to the point of breaking. Lots of dead limbs fell to the ground and I think my sweet clematis which had grown so well and was full of blooms, received one too many gusts and snapped. Now the top half is all wilted, full of buds, and the bottom half seems ok. But darn, just when they were beginning their blossom season. That's the thing about nature, it gives, but it also takes away.

I'm skipping bookclub tonight. First time I have done that in a long long time. I didn't have time to read the book and I'm still in need of packing for tomorrow. Shame on me, for not being better organized. Organize seems to be a foreign word in my vocabulary, something I just don't understand.

The porch is back in service again. A big thank-you to my son-in-law, Sam. I always tell him he's my fav, course he's the only one I have. Sam arrived early Monday morning, took my Christmas boxes (yes, I had stored them on the back porch) to the basement, removed all the porch furniture, then began the cleaning process. We were (notice I said we, I did a little) done by early afternoon. I also conned him into digging up a huge hosta and moving it to a new location, getting all my pots out of the garage and placing them in the appropriate spot, and helping me to set up my little gardening fence. I've enjoyed my coffee on the porch for the last 3 days. Love my porch.

Planting will begin after my trip to Michigan. Didn't want to put anything in the ground until I return so I can baby the newly planted. Hope your spring has sprung and that you are able to enjoy the newness that comes each year.

Until next time....

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Verse That Spoke to Me...

Last Wednesday we completed our Bible study of David in the book of Samuel. David was a man after my own heart. A sinner, but never doubted the love of God. On the last day we were asked to read one of the 73 Psalms (out of 150) that David wrote and to choose a verse that truly spoke to us. Psalm 40 verses 1-3 truly spoke to me...I quote "I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God."

When my sweetie really began to decline with Alzheimer's Disease, I truly felt I was in the pit of despair, in the mud and the mire. This was not what I had imagined to develop and ruin our golden years together. I was in despair over the very fact that he had been diagnosed with this devastating disease in his early 60's with symptoms beginning when he was in his late 50's. My sweetie will be 78 years old in August. I was in despair trying to find a solution to give myself a little respite from the 24/7 watch and care that was required, I was in despair watching my sweetie turn from this loving caring father and husband into an angry man, I was in despair trying to make the right decisions for an impossible situation. But through that despair, God steadied me, he took my hand as I walked this path and set my feet on solid ground. He was there when I made the decision to place my sweetie in a care facility, He was there when I had to move him into a different place because of the extra care that he required, and He was there showing his love through my circle of friends and family.  My sweetie continues his life in a nursing home not far from our home, I find him always in good care, clean clothes, clean shaven, and regular haircuts. The nurses tell me he has no problems, and eats well. He has not been sick for well over 2 1/2 years and has lived this life in a care facility for almost 7 years.  It's been a Long Goodbye, needless to say, however God continues to steady me.

He has given me a new song to sing when I returned to my former Presbyterian faith and brought me to a church that has reached out and embraced me with its kindness and love. I have developed deep friendships, serve as a deacon, attend Bible Study, and help whenever the need arises.

He has also given me a new song to sing with photography. I began my passion for photography during the period when I had to be with my sweetie 24/7.  It gave me a creative outlet and one that I could accomplish with my sweetie by my side. Now that he is safely in the care of a nursing home, I have expanded my passion through workshops, photography trips, selling my photography thru greeting cards, calendars and framed prints.  Photography has also brought new friends into my life, people I would have never met if it wasn't for this passion of mine. So, yes, I will sing a hymn of praise to our God for bringing all these new "songs" into my life.

And yes, those verses from Psalm 40 truly, loudly spoke to me deep in my heart and soul. "Many will see what He has done and be amazed."  Amen

Until next time....

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Macro Kinda Weekend!

Uh Oh, slipped again. Not surprising is it??!!  I always have such great intentions and then I so badly fail. I think blogging is a habit that you establish and just like any habit it takes repetitive action to making that habit become a regular part of your life. About the only habit I am actually quite good at is crawling into bed at night. Not so good at crawling back out in the morning, but I usually manage to get up between 7:00 and 8:00 AM and then coffee making is an absolute must, Drinking at least 2 cups prior to starting my day, whatever that may bring, is a habit.

But I did have to rise and get moving this past weekend. I enrolled in Mike Moat's Macro Photography class months ago and this past weekend I enjoyed 2 days of listening to him and practicing macro photography. Mike is a down to earth kind of guy, t-shirt, casual pants, comfy shoes, stubble on his face, and usually a baseball cap on his head. He is self-taught, and has truly made a success of himself. Appears regularly in photography magazines, won awards, sells many of his prints, and makes a living with this and teaching workshops both in person and on the web. He doesn't use fancy equipment, in fact I have a more recent camera than he does, he still uses NIC software and Photoshop Elements to edit his photos. So he is a proven example that you don't have to have the fanciest and best of everything to be a good photographer. And he shoots strictly JPEG instead of RAW.

Look at all those little specs, I am assuming they are dust. I could go in and clone all of those out, but no, I am not doing it. I am not placing this image in a competition. Just an example of how clear and precise you can get with a tripod and your F stop set at the highest level or closed,(which always confuses the heck out of me) depending on your lens.

The thing absolutely must use a tripod to take these close-up photos with everything clear and sharp. Now I don't have a good relationship with my tripod(s). You notice that tripod was plural which means I obviously have purchased more than one on my photography journey as well as ball-heads.  I have purchased multiples of those as well. But I heard this past weekend that this happens to many photographers, so it made me feel a little less guilty over my legion of tripods. I would like to become "as one" with my tripod, but I'm afraid that's not gonna happen until my hands become so shaky that all of my shots are total blurs. I feel so restricted using a tripod, and for some reason it's difficult for me to compose a shot using a tripod. I know, call me crazy, but I'm afraid I will still only use a tripod when the circumstances are such that there is no other option.  IE; this weekend, when we were shooting at 32 and 40 F stops to have everything in focus. No way can you hand hold a camera at those settings and get a clear shot.

However with an F-stop at F/5 or F/ 8 I can get clear shots of my subject with a nice soft background without a tripod.

Most of my photography is accomplished with natural light, outdoors usually and I honestly don't want everything in focus for the kind of photography I enjoy. Night photography is a must for a tripod, so I will definitely use my "current" tripod for any night photography that I might encounter. Sunrise - sunset are also easier accomplished with a tripod.

These last few images are what's happening now in our neck of the woods. The dogwoods are in full bloom, the wildflowers are peeking out and my lilacs which bloom later than the old fashioned kind are still in tight buds. We have had a lovely Spring, more than enough rain (4 inches last weekend), some warm days, some cooler, but all in all one fine Spring season.

Have a great week.

Until next time.....