Friday, August 31, 2012

Dragonfly and Butterflies on Flowers at the U.S. National Arboretum

Dragonfly on water lily photo by Phyllis Wheeler
Happy floral Friday and holiday weekend to you! My husband and I took these photos at the U.S. National Arboretum and we hope you enjoy them. I felt blessed to be able to capture this dragonfly on the water lily because the insect was moving around rapidly.

Butterfly on orange zinnia photo by Ben Wheeler
 A rare untattered swallowtail butterfly. Most of the ones I see are kind of raggedy (but still beautiful).

Future butterfly on white flowers photo by Ben Wheeler
This insect isn't yet a butterfly but hopefully will be soon. I liked how my husband caught the caterpillar wrapping itself around the flowers and stem of the plant in the herb garden section of the National Arboretum.

Butterfly on orange zinnia photo by Phyllis Wheeler
This butterfly looked more blue in person and was moving about even more rapidly than the dragonfly. Isn't God's creation amazing? May He bless you today and always!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cheetah Cub Update: Wild Wednesday

Cheetah cub ready to pounce
Photo by Phyllis Wheeler

My husband and I enjoyed a trip to the National Zoo this week and found the cheetah cubs to be highly active and entertaining. They also appear to have grown quite a bit in the last few weeks (you can see previous photos here and here). I hope you enjoy our pictures of their childlike antics.

Cheetah cub holding object in mouth
Photo by Ben Wheeler
My husband got this great shot of one of the cheetah cubs holding something (bark?) in it's mouth while running around in its habitat. So cute! (PS You should be able to enlarge the picture by clicking on it.)

Cheetah cub paw to face
Photo by Ben Wheeler
He also snapped this playful paw in face photo of the two cheetah cubs playing.

Cheetah cub chase
Photo by Phyllis Wheeler
They two baby cheetahs already zoom around speedily and appeared to have a great time chasing each other up and down the hills, through the grass and around the trees in their habitat.

Hope you enjoyed our wild Wednesday photos. May God bless you!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bellowing Lion Movie Clip

Luke the majestic male lion has apparently had enough male-female lion segregation. Sensing his mate on the other side of the wall (their habitats in the National Zoo are adjacent to one another) he started bellowing loudly as you can hear in the video. Maybe he should be renamed Luke the lonely lion.

The bellowing / mating call was even louder and more impressive in person but I hope you enjoy this little clip. God sure was creative in coming up with so many amazing animals for our plant. May He bless you and yours!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Flower Paintings for Floral Friday

Happy floral Friday! Today's post features flower paintings displayed by talented local artists at the Montgomery County Fair. I love the dogwood blooms in the above photo.

If I remember correctly, the photo above was one of the best in show winners for teen entrants. With the black eyed Susans, monarch butterflies, yellow-orange moth and vibrant green foliage it was even more striking in person.

 This painting may not have won any fair ribbons but I'd award it a cheerfulness ribbon.

I loved how all the little dots came together for a bright and fun scene in the above painting.

This (presumably watercolor) poppy painting drew my eye and reminded me of the gorgeous poppy displays at the U.S. National Arboretum.

Happy weekend and may God bless you!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Toilet Decorating Contest Photos: Wild Wednesday

Welcome to wild Wednesday! Usually I post animal photos but this week I'm giving you a different kind of wild in the form of toilet decorating contest photos. I've mostly included individual toilet photos but there's an overview photo of the whole contest at the end of the post. I took these photos at the Montgomery County Fair and hope you get a laugh out of them.

Looks like this decorator was going for a riding in style theme. I'd guess that this was the most expensively decorated toilet.

Flushing tribute to the Caps.

 I'd award this toilet most likely to scare off non pirate users.

 Can you tell that there's a toilet under that giant chicken?

Surprised to see two jackpot toilets and no crackpot toilets.

An olympic themed toilet also surprised me. Of course, just the idea of a toilet decorating contest is kind of surprising.

Here's the overview of the toilet decorating contest.

Hope you're having a wonderful wild Wednesday! May God bless you!

Monday, August 20, 2012

How to Log Your Volunteer Hours With My Army Once Source / VMIS: Screen Shot Tutorial

Everyone who volunteers on an Army Installation should be logging their volunteer hours monthly. Logging your volunteer hours helps the Installation's Volunteer Program (also called the Army Volunteer Corps) demonstrate the importance of volunteers to Installation leadership and shows that the Volunteer Program is a vital part of your community. It is also helpful for the volunteers to have an easy way of verifying volunteer service records and contributions.

If you've already registered with VMIS/the Army Volunteer Corps website (formerly called and now and applied for and been accepted for your volunteer position, then following the steps in this article is all you need to do. If you haven't yet registered with here is an easy guide to the registration process. If you haven't yet applied for a specific volunteer position then here is an easy guide to the application process. Your volunteer application must be approved before you can log volunteer hours. Each organization's approval person (OPOC) sets his or her own schedule. Personally, I aim to approve all applications within a business day of their submission (so if you're applying for a position where I'm the OPOC and you aren't approved within a business day please let me know).

Step 1
Log in to and then move your cursor over the family programs tab. A columnar list of options will appear. Slide your cursor down to volunteering and across to volunteer tools option and then click on it.

Step 2
Click on the service history tab (I know that it seems more intuitive to click on hours but that option only shows you what hours you've already added; it doesn't allow for adding new hours).

Step 3
Click the yellow edit volunteer activity button.

Step 4
To the far right of the volunteer title for which you are logging hours, click the blue hyperlink where it says hours.
Step 5
Click the yellow add for open dates button towards the bottom right of the screen.

Step 6
When the calendar window opens add your hours (a number of hours for each day volunteered, rounding up to the nearest whole number) in the boxes beside the days of the month that you volunteered. In the example above, Liz volunteered one hour on August 20th so she put a "1" in the box for that date. You do not have to add a zero for days you didn't volunteer. Click the yellow save button.

Congratulations! You have now logged your hours in VMIS at Right now, as in the above screen shot, your hours show as "submitted."

Once your OPOC certifies your volunteer hours they will show as "certified," as in the above screen shot.

Thank you for volunteering and making a positive difference in your community!

Special thanks to my friend Liz who let me take and publish her screen shots.
This article was adapted from one I originally posted here

How to Apply For A Volunteer Position With My Army Once Source / VMIS: Screen Shot Tutorial

This post explains how to apply for an Army Volunteer Corps position (that term usually covers any volunteer position on an Army Installation, whether with the Chapel, Child and Youth Services, USO, Army Community Service, Library or any other organization). Essentially, this is part two in the process of logging your volunteer hours. Part one is registering with, covered in this easy tutorial. Note: When you register with you are essentially also registered with VMIS (the Army Volunteer Corps' Volunteer Management Information System). VMIS is part of  
Step 1
Go to then move your cursor over the family programs tab from the main website. A columnar list of options will appear. Slide your cursor down to volunteering and across to click on volunteer tools.

 Step 2
Click on volunteer opportunities (if not already highlighted), then click on your state and then click on your nearest installation. In this example I clicked on "Maryland" and then "Fort George G. Meade."

Step 3
Search for a volunteer position that appeals to you (or the one you are already doing). You can search by military community, address, group (this is a collective group of organizations; e.g. ACS, Red Cross, Spouse Groups, etc.), organization (this is a single organization, such as the Army Family Team Building program within ACS or a specific single military unit), or keyword. The military community, group and organization sections have drop down menus from which to choose; the others have you type your selection. Chose one of these options and then click the yellow search button. In this example I chose to search by "organizations" and then selected "Chapel Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC) and then clicked search."

Step 4
A list of volunteer position options should appear and it may have many pages through which to sort  Once you decide which position you desire, click on the blue hyperlink that is the position title. In this example I chose "General Volunteer."

Step 5
A copy of the volunteer position description should appear. Read through the position description. If you decide that it appeals to you click the yellow apply button towards the bottom of the page (if not, you can click the yellow "back to search results" or "back to opportunity locator" button and start over from there).

Step 6
The next screen you see should include a privacy act notice and volunteer position application. The VMIS system should automatically fill in the information you provided when registering with All you need to do is read the privacy act information and then fill in any fields that have asterisks (although you're welcome to supply more information) and click the yellow submit button.

You should receive a message something like "volunteer application sent". Congratulations! You have now successfully applied for a volunteer position using VMIS.

The organization's Official Point of Contact (OPOC) for volunteers will receive an email that s/he has a new volunteer application. OPOCs usually contact the volunteer if they have questions or once they accept the application. Once your application is accepted you can then start logging your volunteer hours using VMIS (this process is covered in my next post).

Bless your heart for volunteering! The world is a better place because of great volunteers like you!

Thank you to Liz for kindly letting me use her screen shots.
This article was adapted from one I originally posted here.

How to Register With My Army Once Source / VMIS: Screen Shot Tutorial

All Army volunteers (including anyone volunteering on an Army installation) should be logging their volunteer hours at through the Army's Volunteer Management Information System (VMIS) but many volunteers find the process confusing or intimidating. This post (and the next two which explain how to apply for a volunteer position and actually log your hours) is designed to make it easy for you and your volunteers.
Note: If you have previously registered with, your old registration login should work at too.

Step One
Go to and click Register on the upper right hand side of the screen).
Step Two
Click the yellow join now button towards the lower right hand side of the screen.
Step 3
Fill in all the required information (marked with an asterisk) and then click the yellow continue button.

Step 4
Click the yellow register button.

You should receive a screen similar to the above screen shot confirming your registration.

Congratulations! You have now registered with and VMIS.

Special thanks to my friend Liz who let me take and publish her screen shots.
This article was adapted from one I originally posted here

Friday, August 17, 2012

Floral Fair Photos, Art and Arrangements

I took this week's floral Friday post photos at the Montgomery County Fair. Montgomery County has some talented artists! There were so many great floral photos that they'll need two posts so watch for another post with floral fine art creations from the fair. The above moth and flower photo was a definite eye catcher.

 And this is about as perfect an orchid photo as I've ever seen.

 I thought the Olympic rings were a touch of genius for this floral arrangement.

And this prize winning Montgomery County Fair floral arrangement incorporated the Maryland state flower as well as some colorful vegetables.

The above photo is a blue ribbon winning photo frame decorated by hand made paper flowers. It looked nicer in person than in the photo.

If you enjoyed this week's floral Friday photos I'd love to hear about it. May God bless you today and always!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Yellow Finch Feeding on Black Eyed Susan Flowers for Wild Wednesday

Find the yellow finch
Happy wild Wednesday everyone! I was blessed to see this yellow finch feeding on one of our black eyed Susan plants. Can you find the finch in the overview photo above? What first caught my eye was the bird's movement. It took me a bit to realize it was a bird in the blooms. Close up photos are below. PS If you're viewing this directly on my blog you should be able to click any of the images to bring up a larger slideshow version of them all.

I love the little legs and claws on the yellow finch.

This bush is like yellow finch camouflage.

 The bird was just pausing between munches but I think of this as a peek-a-boo shot.

Here you can see the yellow finch digging for seeds. Hope you enjoyed this week's wild Wednesday photos! May God bless you!