Tuesday, March 30, 2010

K IS FOR...

K is for KOALA

 This photo taken about 4 years ago, and yes, that is a real Koala.  We were in Queensland, Australia on our way home from a conference.  How could I pass up such an opportunity?  Trouble is I got  all of about 5 seconds before they whisked him on to the next person.

I've been trying all day to post this video clip -- literally.  It is of my favorite music group, THE KING'S SINGERS a British acapella sextet that is truly brilliant.  They sing everything from very serious to  the Beatles and the Beach Boys.  The solution to posting it was very simple really, if I'd read the directions.  If you like their music visit You Tube, there are a lot of pieces on there -- some fun ones too.



Better Luck Next Time

I've been out looking for some subjects for photos, but have not been too lucky.

We went to the Lagoon and saw very little that's different.  These two Mallards soon showed me what they thought of my interrupting their pleasant afternoon afloat.


Then this fellow serenaded me but he wasn't about to let me get any closer.  It is a very common bird -- the Song Sparrow, and he does have a very nice song -- and loud.  However you need to get a better shot than this to see the black smudge on his breast that identifies him from other sparrows, (if he isn't singing, that is.) They rarely visit our yard, so I was glad to at least see and hear him.
And that was all I got for the afternoon.  I could hear quite a few water fowl, but I didn't recognize their calls,  and they were hidden deep in the rushes.  As it was a gorgeous day we didn't mind too much.

We had decided to go to the desert on Wednesday this week, -- too windy last week. But now we are to get two days of wind and rain and dust storms in the desert.  It's a good, solid, two hour drive over the mountains to the desert floor and the scenic route is a narrow twisty road and can be very windy  when  the winds come through the canyons.  Since this trip is supposed to be a relaxing day off we will have to put it off again.  I'm afraid the desert flowers will be past their best by the time we do get there.


 But in the mean time I did not give up on my art efforts.  I don't know the name of this plant but it is one that grows all over Hawaii. It is lushly green, dark red and yellow and as I recall can grow to about six feet, with lots of foliage.

I'm looking forward to seeing which city of the world  Virtual Paintout will choose for the month of April.  The ones from Stavanger, Norway were quite varied, and I discovered what a beautiful city it is. If you like to draw and paint visit virtualpaintout.blogspot (Click) and see what others have been doing.  You also need to use Google street view if you participate.  I'm really glad I joined this group.  I was a bit reluctant at first, but it's fun and you learn a lot from many photos of the city you are visiting not to mention the other artists' renderings.


SEE YOU TOMORROW. I'M GOING TO POST ONE OF MY FAVORITE PHOTOS ON ABC WEDNESDAY.




Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Has Sprung!


The Pink Lady is absolutely bursting with blossoms all over town this year.  It must have liked the rain we had. This was taken in the middle of the day and I almost didn't take it because flowers in full sun don't usually come out too well. This is one of several out on the church patio.





The flowers on our patio are out in full bloom also.
Temperatures expected to be in the eighties this weekend.

 We think we might go out to the desert soon as we hear the desert flowers are at their best right now.



 My plumeria survived yet another winter.  We had no frosts this year.  It will not flower now until later in the year as I remember.  The dry dirt area on the bank is for the birds to take their dust baths. They love it there. Truly!  Maybe I will get a photo of them .


 So Rune, how is it in Norway?  We may have great weather but you have the greatest scenery.  This is of no specific area.  I took two photos and combined them.  (Water colors) This isn't the most spectacular scene we saw but I just wanted to draw some Norwegian-type houses. I love their bright colors and geometrical shapes.  Note that we are looking at the back of these houses (no doors) probably because the weather comes  in from where we are standing.  Like England, Norway has spectacular gardens and flowers but you can't have masses of flowers without rain.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

J IS FOR...

JOKE
My husband loves to tell corny jokes. This is one of his better ones:

An old hillbilly couple were sitting together on the front porch one evening. The husband was reading the newspaper when he turned to his wife and and said, "Ah knows you like to put me to rights when I says somethin' wrong, so now Agnes, what's this 'ere word in this paper mean -- 'propaganda'?" "Why Jed", his wife replies, "dis is somethin' you ought to know all about."
"Why's dat, ma love?" answers Jed.
"Well", his wife replied, "you knows that I was married to my first husband for five years and we done have 5 children".
"Yes, I knows that awright," says Jed.

"And you knows I wuz married to my second husband for eight years and we done had 8 children." his wife continued. "Yup," says Jed, "I knows that right enough."
"Well Jed, we bin married these ten years and we baint had no children at all." "Ah knows that too", says Jed "but what does all that have to do with this 'ere word, 'propaganda'?"
"Ah now, Jed", his worthy wife replied, "If I had all these children by my other husbands and we ain't had none, it just goes to show that I's the proper goose, but you ain't de propaganda!"
Hope you haven't heard that one before!

Moving right along now...J is for...
Scrub JAY
Such a beautiful blue -- and such a harsh screech!

...And my grandcat...
JOSIE
I should have used her for last week with those beautiful green eyes.

and lastly, coming to a Southern California street near you...
J is for ...
Jacaranda Tree

My favorite tree of all, the Jacaranda tree blooms late May early June.
They are original to Brazil and grow profusely in the San Diego area. I've also seen a lot on Maui and I hear they are popular in Australia. They need a tropical or sub-tropical climate.

*****
WEDNESDAY'S WORDS
I didn't forget last week, it was just such a busy week and I do like to give some thought to what I post. So rather than just post something hastily I decided not to do one at all. Now this one would have been good for last week as it is an old 8th century prayer from St. Patrick:
I rise today with the power of God to pilot me,
God's strength to sustain me, God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look ahead for me,
God's Word to speak to me,
God's hand to protect me,
God's way before me,
God's shield to defend me,
God's host to deliver me,
from snares of devils, from evil temptations,
from nature's failings, from all who wish to harm me,
far or near, alone and in a crowd.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A FIESTA

Last night one of our couples clubs at church hosted a special evening, led by our Spanish Church. We have had a Spanish church sharing our campus for many years now. So last night we had a special dinner and decorations as well as music provided for us by our Spanish friends. Each table was decorated with appropriate trimmings and named for a South American country.

This was our table.

The Spanish Worship Team took over after dinner.

A family quartet.


Everyone joined in the singing.



FIESTA CLIP
This is just a short clip. Wouldn't you know it I ran out of room!


video

It was a great evening!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Flamblogger: I is for...

I is for ISLAND  Rather an obvious choice I suppose, but for me it is quite special.


Who would have thought that this young, unpretentious English girl would one day be picnicking on a tiny Pacific Island and swimming in tropical seas.  This island is in Micronesia and one of many in the large lagoon of Chuuk, once known as Truk.  It is called, appropriately, Picnic Island.


 Don't confuse Micronesia with Indonesia.  Micronesia consists of hundreds of islands scattered across the equator somewhere between Hawaii and the Philippines.  Many of the islands are uninhabited, some have only one or two families on them and  two or three are large enough to have a road along one side and a small airport.  The islands we have been to are Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae.  They are beautiful, tropical, hot and humid.


 Yet in some places, still quite primitive, especially as you move into the interior. There is much poverty with little or no industry except a little tourism for diving. They were, until recently, a US Protectorate.  Most of the islanders own a small boat with an outboard motor, because that is the best means of transportation, and the boats were provided by the US.  Pohnpei used to produce pepper, but not any more.  It is taking some time for these small islands to become self supporting with a reliable form of government.
 

Our association with these islands is that my husband and I travel there several times a year (with others) to teach classes for the pastors of the island churches.  At least, I used to, but can't handle the long hours of flying any more.  There are one or two schools on the larger islands with education going up to about 8th grade.  


 The Christian church first arrived  on these islands in the 1850's and discovered prolonged tribal warfare between families or clans. After some time of settling in, the missionaries were welcomed, in contrast to the islanders' original contact with westerners, who were traders and who took great advantage of them especially through their use of the women and alcohol.

Today, the people are for the most part gentle, peaceful and happy.  They struggle with the politics and infrastructure, but love festivals with typical island dancing, singing and feasting, quite similar to Hawaii.




This is sunset on the island of Chuuk*, which we have been visiting for more than 25 years. There we  support Mizpeh Christian School with teachers, textbooks, and seminars for teachers.  The school and the churches there are now led by the Chuukese themselvesThey are in the middle of rebuilding their new church, the Logan Memorial Church, and extending the high school.

*MY mistake. This photo was taken on Phonpei but the rest of the above paragraph refers to Chuuk
ADDED MARCH 20th
 For those wondering what a US Protectorate is I have tried to come up with a simple answer without giving you a long history lesson.
Before the Westerners came along, the islands belonged to the islanders. Each family owning some land on their particular island -  "a decentralized chieftain based sytem." The Portuguese and Spanish first claimed the islands in their explorations.  Spain claimed sovereignty.  They sold the islands to the Germans, then in World War I the Japanese took them from the Germans.  Obviously all of this went on without much consultation with the islanders.  Their means of living had always been subsistence living -- growing what they could and fishing.  During WW II the Japanese used the islands as a base of operations -- especially Truk or Chuuk, as it is now known.  There was a major battle with the Japanese on Truk and today you can still find old tanks etc. covered under jungle growth and there are still Japanese planes and boats sunk in  Truk Lagoon.  After WWII the islands became part of the United Nations  Trust Territory under US administration.  I think this meant that the US subsidized them when necessary and aided them in formulating and organizing their own administration.  "In 1979 they adopted a constitution and in 1986 independence was attained under a Compact of Free Association with the United States".  Today they are known as the Federated States of Micronesia or FSM.
Quotations are from Wikipedia.

Odds and Ends

I finished this rooster several weeks ago. and though he is rather handsome, there is no way I could produce the gorgeous amber gold of his neck feathers and the iridescent sheen to his tail feathers.  Anyway if our visitor from a year ago was Henrietta, this must be Henry!





I suppose we have all seen this kind of delicate fern in bouquets, but I wonder, have you really, I mean REALLY looked at it?


 I was sitting in a meeting when I discovered this information.  I just can't sit still and do nothing -- not even to just listen!


Bailey decided he needed to make his presence known on my blog today.  Here he is with his permanently sad look on his face.  He has this look so that you will feel sorry for him and immediately give him treats! It must be the large soulful, blue eyes.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Aren't Blogs Wonderful?

This is why..........

I've been thinking often about my dear friend Jo Ellen who passed away so suddenly last month.  Then some one on a blog mentioned Hummers better known as Humvees.  That reminded me that I had taken a photo of Jo Ellen in her Humvee some months ago.  She was a Humvee kind of Grandma! It wasn't a particularly good photo but in the light of what has happened, I hoped I still had it among my pictures on my PC somewhere.

Well I looked and looked.  No luck.  Then I checked my camera because I often keep photos on there instead of deleting them right away.  No luck!  Then I remembered that I probably had taken it with my other camera before I got this one for Christmas.  So I checked there.  Still no luck. Disappointing.

Then lying in bed last night, I had a brainwave.  What If I posted it on my blog? 

So today I scrolled back pages and pages and there it was!  From a whole year ago!

Can you see her just peeking out of the window?  If only I had known  what would happen a year later.

Not so exciting to some, but to me precious!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sunshine Award from Gerald HP


[sunshineblogaward[1].jpg]

Blogger ChrisJ said...
Well thank you, Gerald. I've never been given an award before -- and a Sunshine Award has a pleasant air to it. But I think we should start a new trend --Awards, Just Because... --no strings attached. There are some people who don't want awards, probably because they get so many. In addition, to find 12 others and link would take me half a day since I'm not too savvy with computers. Then again to only give 12 might leave some of my blogger friends feeling a little left out. Oh well...I always tend to over-think things. But I do appreciate your kind thoughts.
March 11, 2010 1:38 PM

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

H IS FOR....

'H' IS FOR HONDA!

It's now four weeks since we had The Accident with our beautiful Toyota Camry.  It had only 40, 000 miles on it and would have lasted us for ever.It took about three weeks to hassle through all the details of the insurance etc.
Then we looked around and wondered "What next?"
We would have been happy to go with another Toyota except for one thing...... I was one of those people who had had problems with the accelerator.  

But that was back in 2005 and nobody believed me when I told them I knew exactly what I was doing and   I hadn't confused the accelerator and the brake while parallel parking outside the church.  I was so sure it wasn't my fault that I actually measured the distance between the accelerator  pedal and the brake .  Then I went in on the web to see if any other people had had problems with the accelerator.  Of course, back then, there was nothing.   

This was the scene that day: 

Yes, the car went over the curb, across the grass verge, across the sidewalk , across another grass verge, knocked over a back flow water valve  and through the wall of the church office which was flooded by the water valve breakage!

I don't want to benefit from other people's misfortune, but I was sure it wasn't my fault and no-one really believed me. ("Poor old soul.  She's getting a bit doddery, you know." ) Ha!!!  It's taken five years, but now some are actually saying "Wow!  May be it WAS the car!"
****


Well, with all that in mind, we decided to buy a Honda CR-V.  We took possession of it yesterday.  It is an opal green -- sort of a light silvery green. 
So 'H' is for Honda and HAH!
 ******
WEDNESDAY'S WORDS
H is also for 'Heart".  While I was getting my hair cut this week, I got into a discussion with the young man who cuts my hair.  It left me somewhat disturbed because although I know that what he said is believed by thousands of people, especially the so-called educated  and more enlightened ones, yet I cannot believe it.  He said :  "People in general are basically good and good-hearted aren't they?".  So I asked him what about the man or men who killed Chelsea King and Amber Dubois, two young people so mercilessly raped and murdered in our area recently. His response was that this man was either mentally ill, carelessly raised or made bad decisions.  But when one looks at the full scale of evil perpetrated in our world, just in my life time alone, through the Nazis, Saddham Hussein and his sons, unspeakable atrocities committed in various parts of the continent of Africa, and by other national leaders -- and to bring it closer to home, men and women in our own country and neighborhoods, how can we put all this down as just aberrations of nature?  Evil, no matter how evil it is, is still evil.

Jesus said:  "Out of the HEART proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, theft, false witness, blasphemies.  These are the things which defile a man." (Matt. 15:19).  Evil will never go away until our hearts are changed. I confess that my heart is evil, but it is in the process of being changed by Jesus Christ and I will be completely changed when He comes again to do away with all the evil that there is.

 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Some More Artwork

This is my piece for Virtual Paintout.   VP chooses a location somewhere in the world and participants have to find a scene in that location using only Google Street View.  This month VP chose Stavanger, Norway.  I really enjoyed exploring in and around Stavanger.  Having been to Norway last year, but not to Stavanger, I knew I wanted to paint one of their houses.  The lines of their houses are so geometrical, -- neat and tidy.  In addition they are often painted in beautiful colors.  However, in Stavanger itself there were many beautiful white houses and I had decided I didn't want to paint white.  I finally chose the house above because of its gables, and color.  I liked the lines of perspective too. To see other paintings on Virtual Paintout go HERE

This is just a simple Red Delicious apple done with Prisma Color pencils and a little water color on the background.  Really I was just experimenting with the depth of color of the Prisma Color pencils.

 

I did this one several months ago and didn't like it at all because I felt the color was too bold.  The shelf, I originally painted in a dark wood cherry.  The cat and the vase of greenery can be seen in different locations in my house..  I'm still not happy with it, but I don't think I can redeem it any further.  I think the painting on the wall was the wrong choice for this supposed still life.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

ABC Wednesday

I know it is Tuesday still for many of us, but for all our friends in Europe in a different  time zone, many of us publish ABC Wednesday on Tuesday.


IS FOR
GREEN AND GOLD

First, The Village Green:  Most people from the UK know what this is but many others have heard the phrase but think it is the name of a store or pub.  This is the rather small but very pretty Village Green at Bempton, a tiny village near Flamborough.

(The field of yellow in the background is a field of canola oil)

Most, if not all villages in the UK have a village green.  It is a piece of grassland, somewhere central in the village and is a 'common' for all the people of the village.  The Maypole, picnics, village fairs, Guy Fawkes' celebrations (Bonfire Night) and other community affairs take place on the green.  Often there is a duck pond, usually populated by ducks or perhaps in a few cases, swans.  Many of these village greens are really beautiful and have benches set around in different places and patches of wild flowers, helped along by the residents.  So why didn't I post a photo of Flamborough's Village Green?  Well, Flamborough is a working village.  That by itself should be explanation enough, because Yorkshire people are very proud of their hard working, rough and ready background. Flamborough does have quite a large green, but not what you would call attractive to tourists, though Flamborough has plenty of other attractions.  When I lived there in the forties and fifties there was a mere, not a pond. This was a large area of shallow water.  Sometimes in the winter you could ice skate on it, if the weather was cold enough, but it was certainly not deep enough to drown in -- or sail a boat, unless it was a toy boat. Most of the area of the green was somewhat marshy, and at some point I'm assuming it was drained when the new houses were put in on the south side of the mere.  Of course it could have just dried up, because the limestone beneath the turf is rather quirky about its water courses which appear and disappear underground, according to their own whims all over the moors.




 This is a gold sovereign.  My husband's grandmother gave it to him for his 21st birthday. As you can, see it is dated 1892 and the 'heads' side is of Queen Victoria.  A golden sovereign was a very large amount of money in its day.  There are still quite a few of them out there.  Some are 100% gold and therefore very valuable.  We have no idea if this one is 100% gold.  We've never checked. The actual coin, because you could never tell from my photos, is about 0.75 inches across.  The horseman is meant to be St. George, of St. George and the dragon fame.  St George is the patron Saint of England.

Which brings me to my question from yesterday's blog:   
What is that thing on the Welsh flag? 
Well since this is ABC Wednesday and we are at the letter 'G', it has to be a GRIFFIN (GRYFFON or GRIFFON).  To tell the truth, it may also be a dragon, but I could only find one distinction between a griffin and a dragon, and I'm not sure if it's reliable.  Some say a griffin is warm blooded and is made up of an eagle's head, wings and claws, and a lion's body. (All signifying power). A dragon is a cold blooded reptile, so they say.  Anyway since today is 'G' day I'm going with griffin.  I hope I'm not about to start a civil war with this definition.  
      To add fuel to the flames I have to admit that I'm not even truly Welsh but both my husband and I have Welsh ancestry. We also gave our sons distinctly Welsh names (not telling you what they are today, because I'm saving that for another blog).  Our last name is rather over-used, but is definitely Welsh.  As my husband likes to say, we are descendants of Adam and Eve Jones.


 
GREEN AND GOLD 


WEDNESDAY'S WORDS
G is for GRACE.  Grace is such a 'religious' word and many people don't really know the meaning of it.  When I was teaching I would give my students a deadline for turning in a piece of work. Inevitably there would be a student who for some reason or other would beg for a few extra days in which to finish the work.  Once in a while I would grant him grace,  not necessarily because he deserved it but really just as a favor, especially if it was a student who usually worked hard. 

So GRACE is UNDESERVED FAVOR and God's grace is exactly that.  

Sin deserves punishment, but God in his GRACE has freed us from the consequences of sin by allowing Jesus to take the punishment for us.  Nothing WE can do will take away the punishment we deserve.  Only the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will do it. "For by grace you are saved, through faith". (Eph. 2:8).  We cannot do anything to earn it, for it is a free gift from God.  
     But we have to accept the gift from God, otherwise it is not ours.  If I give you a gift, it is not yours until you take it from me.  All this means is that we tell God we accept the gift of Jesus' death for our sins and thank Him for it. It's that simple.  
    The hard part is acknowledging that we are sinners.