Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween & Funny Cat Pictures

Moose the cat wasn't as cooperative as usual for her Halloween photo shoot this year but I thought some of these photos were hilarious. I hope you get a smile from them too.
She shook off the skirt faster than I could click the camera but it took her a bit longer to shake off the orange headband wig.
 Baby cat mostly just wrestled with the skirt. She eventually took great relish in destroying it.
Moose the cat got a little tangled in the skirt and hair but I made sure she was amply rewarded with treats after the photos were finished.
 If you click to enlarge this photo you can see Moose the cat's eyes peering outward from under the skirt.
Moose may not enjoy the costumes but she loves her orange basket (which I got at a thrift store for $1!).
Happy Halloween from our home to yours! May God bless you!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Breast Cancer Awareness Haiku and Prayer

Pink rose in honor of those who are, have or will battle breast cancer
My heart goes out to everyone affected by breast cancer. In October, breast cancer awareness month here in the USA, it tends to be on our minds more often. But for those dealing with the disease or the loss of a loved one due to it, it's almost always on their mind. I pray for an end to all cancers, all suffering and all disease. There's breast cancer treatment center that calls all of it's patients survivors from the moment of diagnosis. I like that positive label so I tend to use it in my writing. Whether you're on the first day of your battle with breast cancer or you're in your 20th year of remission, you're a survivor! While researchers labor to find a cure and end this terrible disease, I cannot offer such concrete help. But I hope my little poem and prayer offerings can bring someone a moment of awareness, comfort or peace.
Breast Cancer Awareness Haiku
One in nine women
will fight breast cancer in her
lifetime. We need a cure!
Prayer for Breast Cancer Survivors
Dear Lord, please be with all breast cancer survivors, comfort them, heal them, guide their medical team so they receive the best human care possible. Guide the researchers so a cure is found soon. Grow the faith of those who know You so others can see Your love in their hearts, even as they battle breast cancer. Show those who love breast cancer survivors how to help them on their journey and open channels of communication so their relationships grow stronger despite the challenges. Let Your peace reign in the hearts of all breast cancer survivors and their loved ones. Lend your strength to weary shoulders. Provide divine healing so You might be glorified on earth as You are in heaven. In Jesus' name, Amen.

May God bless, keep and heal you!

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Free Tests - Limited Time

For a few more days,'s certification tests are free! They're also giving away prizes and having international competitions. So, not only do you get free certification tests and a chance to win prizes but you can help your country (and, at least in the USA, state) in the competition when you successfully complete certification exams. Note: while the exams are free and you can create a public transcript, if you want pretty certificates there is a fee.

In my last traditional job my supervisor was highly impressed by my certification list (I'm one of those rare people who thinks taking tests is fun) so I'm sharing in case these certifications might help you too. Other than as a customer/member, I'm not affiliated with Brainbench in any way. Even though I'm my own boss these days I do like to keep certifications current and the free certifications during Brainbench's annual "Bench Games" is a great time to do it. The 2013 Bench Games end on October 25th at 5:00pm EST. If you miss out in this year's games, be on the lookout for next year's games.

According to their website: "Brainbench certifications are used by 15,000 leading employers worldwide to support their daily hiring and promotion decisions. By partnering with Brainbench, members across the world have advanced their careers, finding better career opportunities, more interesting work, and are earning more. You can do the same."

May God bless and keep you!

Personal experience

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Scott Cole's "Qigong Wakeup Call" Affirmations

This morning I was blessed with the opportunity to attend fitness legend Scott Cole's Qigong Wakeup Call class in Baltimore. Scott radiates kindness and a healthy, helpful energy. His classes are my favorite part of AAAI/ISMA's annual fitness conference.

My beautiful classmate, Heather, kindly agreed to model the end of class four-step affirmation poses Scott shared with us. Above is step one, strength. The key to this affirmation pose is to have relaxed power in your muscles and keep your fists lose (versus tight and clenched).
The second affirmation is self acceptance. It's like hugging yourself loosely and it doesn't matter which hand is on top.
For the third affirmation pose you just reverse which hand is on top and bottom in your self hug. I am not 100% sure but think this affirmation was awareness.
The fourth and final affirmation pose, with your arms joyfully held wide, is openness (to experience, to helping others and being vulnerable enough to be your true self). To Scott, "that's what life's all about."
Hearty thanks to Scott and Heather for a fantastic class and graciously allowing me to photograph them! May God bless them and may He bless you too!

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Autumn Maryland Garden Flower Photos

I'm not sure of the source but I have October 11th on my calendar as the average first frost date for my area of Maryland. We still haven't had a frost yet this year so I'm enjoying each extra day of flowers as it comes and hope these photos brighten your day as well. Above is a bee savoring an orange tithonia flower.
A close up of one of our yellow chrysanthemum plants.
Possibly our last "strawberries and cream" rose of the year. A dear friend's description of her own plant has me wanting a "Mr. Lincoln" rose for next year so we might have an addition to our rose garden in the spring.
One of our dinner plate dahlias. Once I see frost on the forecast I'll cut all the stems that have buds and bring them inside.
A light apricot chrysanthemum. It just started blooming this week and the bees and butterflies are already enjoying it. I love seeing butterflies in October even if they are too fast for my camera.

May God bless you this October and always!

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Peaceful Pond Trail Photos & Haiku Poem

Peaceful Pond Trail With Fall Foliage
My husband and I were blessed with a short walk on the "Peaceful Pond Trail" at Patapsco Valley State Park on a recent autumn day. There was rain and drizzle on and off and we had the trail completely to ourselves, except for the wildlife. We spotted many birds, including at least one cardinal, bluejay and titmouse as well as squirrels and a chipmunk. There was something swimming in the pond but we couldn't tell if it was a large fish, turtle or something else. It was truly a peaceful and enjoyable walk and it inspired me to write this little haiku poem.

Peaceful Pond Trail Haiku
A short wooded hike
loops around a peaceful pond
with fall foliage
Peaceful Pond Trail Scenery photo by Ben Wheeler, used with permission
 My husband took the scenic photo above. I like the different shades of green and the curly vine.

I took the photo above at the far edge of the pond. I thought the different fall foliage colors and shapes of the leaves were interesting.
The birds enjoyed this red berried bush but wouldn't stay still long enough to be included in the photograph (my pictures were taken with a point and shoot camera which has a significant delay but is convenient and fits in my pocket).

I hope you enjoyed my mini tour of the Peaceful Pond Trail. May God bless and keep you!

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Delightful Dahlia Close-Up Photos

Yesterday I shared some overview photos of the Philadelphia Dahlia Society's flower show and today I want to share some macro (close-up) photos of my favorite dahlias from the show. The one above had a striking contrast between the bright yellow center and fiery red tips.
 This dahlia's coloring is less dramatic but still gorgeous with its peach to yellow petal coloring.
I loved how the red is more of a petal outline in this dahlia as well as the lovely overall shape of the giant flower.
This struck me as the most unique dahlia bloom. Not only did the petals curl upward and in different directions but they appeared to be little hollow tubes with the inner tubes and tips bright white, the main flower color yellow and red stripes of varying widths to engage the eyes.
I think this is a "mars" dahlia. We have this same variety in our garden (so of course I'm partial to it) although the one above is lovelier than those we produced. I see how people get addicted to growing dahlias and want more and more varieties every year. There's so much diversity within the dahlia species and, once they start blooming, they provide a lot of flowers. Even now in October I'm still getting new blooms every day. Once we get a hard frost that will end but I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

May God bless you this October and always!

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Philadelpha Dahlia Society Flower Show Photos

Assorted Mixed Dahlias by Ben Wheeler, used with permission
A few weeks ago my husband and I attended the Philadelphia Dahlia Society's flower show at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. The variety and quality of their dahlia exhibits were a feast for our eyes. I hope you enjoy this mini photo tour of the dahlia show. My husband kindly donated the photo above for this post. The flowers were part of a humongous all-dahlia arrangement at the entrance to the show.
Above you can see some of the top prize winning dahlias from the show. The Philadelphia Dahlia Society's members have some of the healthiest, largest dahlia blooms I've ever seen.
 The show also showcased dahlia themed floral arrangements.
This is one of my favorite dahlias, the "Pooh" variety. We actually have one of these in our yard but it just bloomed for the first time this week. I was so excited I wrote a haiku about it, even though it's form is not as perfect as the one pictured above.
Here's an overview of the main floor of the show, which was held in Longwood Garden's gorgeous conservatory (the arrangements and top prize winners were in other nearby areas of the conservatory). I love seeing so many dahlia varieties and hearing people exclaim over the various amazing blooms. I try to keep to 5 photos per post but I have some more macros I'd like to share so if you love dahlias or beautiful flower images, be sure to visit again soon to see the close up dahlia photos.

May God bless and keep you!

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Government Shutdown Haiku Poem & Tips For Furloughed Workers

Image by hotblack
Government Shutdown Haiku
Eight hundred thousand
furloughed workers wondering
how long will it last?

My heart goes out to everyone affected by the government shutdown. Please join me in praying for the furloughed workers and their families, that America's leaders will make choices that honor God and are in the best interest of our citizens and that God's blessing will return to America.
Here are a few furlough survival tips for saving money, being frugal and living with less (with links to other blogger's posts about how to implement them).
Some of my favorite frugal resources are The Tightwad Gazette (book), The Dollar Stretcher (blog) and Be More with Less (blog).  Whether you're affected by the furlough or not, I hope you enjoy some of these money saving ideas. May God bless America and may He bless you too!

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