Jun 26, 2012

The Perfect Gardener


I recently was at a friend's house and had the privilege of picking small apples off her apple tree. It was her first "crop" and while the apples were small, I was excited to pluck them  off, one by one, and put them in my very old European potato harvest basket. (I am sure apples will work just as well in it as potatoes.)

The apples aren't quite sweet enough on their own (some are, but only a few), so I will most likely cut them up and either sugar them and freeze them or maybe make several apple pies. I will let you know.

But having spent some time last week with my two friends, Anne and Debra, and having a day with my camera at the classic car show, I was inspired by my time spent with Anne and I shooting together and just wasn't ready to put my camera away. When I got home after my apple picking, I put them on my table, as it was late in the day with just a little sun left. I got out my camera and played with all sorts of settings on my camera and thought I would share with you my images. No tripod, just faded light, and playing with around with some camera settings. 

Nothing says summer than a really fresh apple. As I set up the apples on the table and admired the natural light on them, as the sun was leaving the sky for the day... I was lost in my thoughts, as I turned an apple this way and then that way in the light...

I realized after a bit, I was absent-mindlingly looking for the "unique" apples. Something a little quirky. Digging in my wire basket, happily, I found a "runt" stuck in the between two grown apples. I hadn't noticed it when I plucked out of the tree.

I looked up the word "runt" on the computer dictionary and it basically says, in addition to the smallest animal in a litter, it is also: "A derogatory term, weak person."

I didn't think that term fitted this beautiful little apple, nor many circumstances in which we may refer to as a "runt." 

At times in my life, I have felt like the "runt." Weak. Not important. Maybe "plucked" too soon to really do any good. I think most have felt this way at one time or another.

But as I turn each apple into the light and "pose" it for the photo, I realize something...

I personally hand-picked these myself. So how could any of these little apples be but anything but perfect? No runts in this batch, if I had any say about it. 

And if little ole me can do a good job and hand-pick perfect apples, then just think what a perfect job our creator, Christ, did when he hand-picked you (us). 

Then it stands to reason that if a perfect Christ does a perfect job in handpicking us...then that can only mean one thing...

...we are perfect just the way we are. 

And in His eyes we are because we belong to Him, and that is good enough for Him.

May you always know you are important and loved. May you know that you were hand-selected because you are one-of-a-kind and never let anyone make you feel any different. 

If you doubt me, let me ask you this...have you ever seen a flower garden in full bloom? Are there two flowers exactly alike in that beautiful garden? And as you walk by to admire that beautiful flower garden, are you more likely bend down and pluck a flower and enjoy the wonderful fragrance? Or would you ignore the beauty and just point at a flower and criticize its petals?


And God is the perfect gardener...

I hope you enjoyed the images as much as I enjoyed taking them. 

From my house to your house,


Jun 19, 2012

Super Fine Women Weekend

Hello my friends!

I start this post with a classic car side mirror because I want to look back for a moment at some very classic moments with some very classy ladies.

I had the honor and privilege to spend the weekend with two friends that came into town just to see me.

I must say, before I continue, I must brag a bit about them. I am sure you have heard of them, and if not, then shame on you!!  :-)

Please allow me a moment to introduce (or brag) about my dear friend, Anne Lorys of Fiona and Twig.

Please check a very wonderful blog and blogger....you won't regret it! Click HERE!

Well, this talented, Texan gal has apparently been "stalking me" and been accused of having a "blogger crush" on me from way back when. I had no idea for years. I am very oblivious to so many things...especially to love-crazed stalkers...  :-)  However, I believe one day, and I don't remember exactly how long ago, (quite some time) I left a comment on Anne's blog and then one thing led to another, and then we began to email each other over time. And soon, the texting began, then the phone calls...

...and sigh....

She VERY SOON realized I wasn't such stalking material after all. However, we remained very close friends anyway.

As you peruse her blog, it is obvious that she is one very talented woman with a big heart. Her eye behind the camera is something else, and she has been published in numerous publications and I am sure this is only the beginning for her. I feel honored to be a part of her life.

The second woman that I had the pleasure to spend some time with this weekend is Debra Oliver of Common Ground

Please check out Debra's blog...she has a lot to offer on many topics. She is a woman to admire. Click HERE!

Debra is a blogger that I met several years ago, just briefly, and since then, I have been a faithful reader. She is a talented woman, loving mother, wife and Christian teacher with a way with words that has helped me through some very hards times over the years and she doesn't even know it. I am very grateful to have her in my life.

So how did this weekend come about? I get a call, not too long ago, from the lovely Anne, excitedly telling me she and her husband, James are coming to St. Louis, from Texas, just to see me and Debra (who lives in Springfield). I am so touched that she would come all this way just to meet me! Anne and I have never met in person before. Debra has a daughter in St. Louis, where they both stayed.

Sorry about the quality - cell phone photo take by barber husband. He did his best with three laughing women....

This photo shows our love and happiness and more...which was cropped out. I may explain/show later.

I will explain something - when I am with people that I love and enjoy, I tend to forget to shoot us. I am busy gabbing. Or, I only bring my point and shoot because I hate lugging around my big camera and usually hand off my little camera to someone to take a photo (or use the cell phone). It isn't until later, when I download my photos, do I wish I had taken more photos. But in the moment, I am happy that I spent so much time laughing and with my friends.

Our adventure began at Debra's daughter's home when I arrived on my little scooter. I had to stop and stare for a while at my new friends in person. We hugged and laughed. I don't ever carry my camera on my scooter, but I wish I had a photo of Vinnie, Debra's daughter's and son-in-law's French bulldog, jumping up and down, over and over again as I played with him. He was like a pogo stick! All four feet straight up and down, up to my chest, up and down, up and down. Hilarious!

We are off to lunch, me, my beautiful girlfriends and James, Anne's husband - cutie pie and a VERY good sport. A very loving husband, who loves his Anne dearly. I could tell that all he wanted was his Anne to have a great time. We three gabbed and gabbed. They followed me as I drove my scooter and head over to Winslows, a great little lunch place just down the road and we gabbed and gabbed.

Great place for lunch and a wonderful store on top of it! Click HERE

We then go just a few minutes up the road to my house where I put away my scooter and they wait for me on the porch and I let them in for the nickel tour. Our house is really, maybe 1100 sq ft. on a good day. 

Again, I was so excited to see them and to gab, I never even thought to take a photo of them in my house! I was so upset at that when I downloaded my photos and realized it! I am sad about that. But we just gabbed and gabbed and I had some little presents for them, but mainly we just couldn't get in enough talking and laughing. It was fun watching Anne walking around and snapping photos...I told her to photoshop out the dust...

Then off to Big Bend Barber Shop where my barber husband was going to give James a buzz.

It was fun to watch my barber husband go to work and those two  hit it off immediately....I wonder why? Maybe because they had something in common???

As Anne puts it...they had a "bromance" all weekend. They both married later in life, no kids, have the same "no-hair haircut" and both have very intelligent and talented wives....  :-)

We then went to a couple of little antique malls across the street while my barber husband closed up shop and went home to take a nap and I spotted these nesting kitchen bowls that I just loved and Debra snapped them up and said, "You must have them...they will look great in your kitchen." And so she bought them for me. And as I type this up, my barber husband is using them to mix meatloaf in one of them! I like hearing him beat the egg in it...I can pretend I am in France....sigh...

These bowls, on the bottom, say they come from the Cordon Bleu cooking school in France - yes it says "France" on the bottom.  How cool is that? 

Anne and Debra said something about wanting to see the Lemp Mansion - or so I thought. And I made reservations. Then I was corrected and Debra wanted to see The Stables. It turned out it went out of business, so the reservation stood and it turned out great. Click on the link for more information. The history is very interesting and little morbid...good reading. The Lemp was a very large and upcoming brewery back in its day....

Dinner was wonderful but it seemed the ladies bathroom was the real hit.

You know how women just can't go to the ladies room alone? We always have to go in a group. Well, Debra and Anne take that tradition to the extreme. The bathroom was huge - even a shower in it as, it was the mansion's old bathroom. 

Well, I heard all this giggling as I was putting on lipstick and then a hush, and I round the corner and I see these two looking really guilty, and shying away, and Debra looking down....

And suddenly I hear a door shut from the other side of the stall and a woman comes out and leaves! We had NO idea that anyone was even in the bathroom and that is when what looks like Anne copping a feel from Debra and I discover that those two were in the other stall and snooping to look over the stall's wall to "see what's on the other side of the wall" only to discover another woman doing her duty.....or rather...."dooty" in this case.

We all thought the other "stall" was a closet or something, as we all tried to open the door and it was locked. No one said anything from the other side, and we didn't hear a peep. I mean, come on, if I was sitting in there and heard three giddy broads come in, and opening all the doors, laughing and they grabbed my door handle, I would surely say something, like, "I am in here, but I wish I was out there with you all!" But nope, not a peep.

And as you can see below...we had to check out all the doors to see what's what...and when the one door wouldn't open...well what else could one do, but look over the wall and see what's inside?

After we left the bathroom, we actually talked the guys into checking out the ladies bathroom! Yes, they actually looked in and my barber husband came back claiming he would love to have that shower - so I know he actually went inside! I swear, you can't take us anywhere.

After that adventure we take them to a St. Louis tradition  eating frozen custard at Ted Drews. I'm not from here, but for some reason, it is a tradition to eat this in the parking lot, as cars drive by and honk at you - since 1929. 

The next morning, Sunday, we took Anne and James to the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis for mass. It is just beautiful and filled with mosaics of gold and brilliant colors. Click HERE for more information and a virtual tour. All visitors should visit this beautiful building. 

We got a little late start, but we went to tiny town of Kimmswick, MO, the oldest town, west of the Mississippi for the Father's Day Classic Car show and to eat at The Blue Owl for lunch. 

Debra is so little...look at how cute she is!!

I loved being with my girls. It was a hot day, but it gave us a chance to get out our "big-girl" cameras and shoot the "big boy" cars. I look down the way and there is Debra giving me a big smile as she was watching me enjoy myself with my camera and as you can see, Anne was enjoying herself with her camera. 

Both Anne and I walked side by side taking photos of some of these beauties and how fun it was to watch her take photos and yet, she was curious how I was taking my photos. But her knowledge of camera, equipment, and the workings is way beyond mine, so I found it funny how was curious about what I was doing. Mainly, I was a happy camper to have her near me, curious.  Here are a few of my shots:

Both Anne and I were busy shooting the classic cars, and yakking and as she walked down the road, I turned to shoot her and she turned around and caught me...so we shot each other at the same time. And then Debra caught us shooting each other and so SHE wanted to shoot us shooting each other, and soon it looked like a shootout at the O.K. Corral! 

So while the shootout was taking place, I turn around after it was over and discover that the "bromance" was still in full bloom over what else, but a candy apple red corvette.  Nothing like a vintage corvette to bring out the little boys in men.  Big Boy Toys...always bring out the smiles...I love that my barber husband did all that he could to make my weekend special. And it makes me so happy to know that perhaps he may have made a new friend as well.

I take a photo of the lovely couple (Anne and James, not the bro's) on the steps in the little old town before we head out. I want to make the day last as long as I can. I really love these people.

We finally make it to The Blue Owl (after a long hot wait) but have a wonderful family meal and then head on home where we girls are in the back seat and the big boys are up front. Lots of laughter and a pretend "glass partition" going up between the front and back as we girls tell very funny "female problem"  stories that make most men start going "la-la-la-la" as they cover their ears.

Well, we finally made it back and we all knew our time was coming to an end. We kept talking and laughing, but eventually, we made it to the front porch. And, here we are, three photographers, and what do we use??? Our cell phones - we hand them to our hubbies, as we don't dare hand them the big boy cameras. So, sorry for the low res photos.  

But remember this photo at the beginning of the post?

Here is the uncropped version:

You are not a true girlfriend until you copped a feel.

And all real girlfriends just know that is just the way it is. 

(I got Anne in the Mansion bathroom...right after I saw she copped Debra...we got to know each other very well this weekend...)

Anne just sent me this photo via text. I realized I had so few photos of us and I am glad to have this. Isn't she just beautiful? I just love her. 

Anne bought me this vintage seam binding from one of the little stores in Kimmswick. I was telling her and Debra how I miss sewing and how I am thinking of buying a sewing machine. Another story for another time. She bought this for me and I placed it with my other treasures in a giant silver bowl I have.

I think it says how the entire weekend went for me:

It truly was a superfine weekend with some superfine women.

And I am EXTRA blessed to have such superfine women enter my life and welcome me and give me a sense of belonging in a world that isn't always so welcoming. God has been extra good to me this weekend.

And may God bless you with a very superfine week with your friends as well. Thank you for allowing me to share my weekend with you.

from my house to your house,

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