We're up in the Great Northwest again. Drove two long 14-hours days to get here. You might think from the pictures below that we drove thru a bunch of snowy landscapes. But we didn't. That snow below? We hit it just outside of Los Angeles. Not more than 100 miles from our front door. And never saw any more snow on our way here.
No white Christmas this year. :-( No sledding. No snowmen.
But look at this little doll. Can someone please take my adorable niece away from Big Dude pronto? I don't want him to get any ideas ...
Speaking of Big Dude ... This heard on the car ride up:
BD: "You all play nice now and take turns killing each other or we'll take those DS's away." ;-)
[last post in series chronicling some of the witnesses to the beginning days of Emmanuel, God with us: Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, and this one with Simeon, Anna and the Magi]
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."
The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."
There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. Luke 2: 21-40
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
" 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. Matthew 2: 1-12
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
Ok. Here's a neat trick. You can see the sun/light is behind my son (backlighting), but his face is still nicely exposed AND the background isn't blown out (like it usually is when I expose for faces that are backlit). Wanna know why?
It's because I have a big, huge, natural reflector right behind me that is lighting his face (ignore my goofy, squinting face --I'm facing straight into the sun --, I just want to show you where I was and what was directly behind me):
The bright rock acts as a reflector. Look for such reflectors when you're out and about. It can be a large wall, sand, snow, mirrors, slides at parks, etc.
Here's another example of my youngest son climbing on a bright rock. It's reflecting light right back onto him. Natural lighting at its best. :-)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - typical page-turner-thriller, fairly predictable, but fun. my only beef: it's one of those serial books that doesn't really have a satisfying conclusion, just a to-be-continued feeling ... (and the series isn't finished)
Ida B by Katherine Hannigan - delightful in every way. poignant, witty, a well-developed "voice" that harkens back to Anne of Green Gables but feels more modern. simple but powerful story. highly recommended.
The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - I liked Zafon's Shadow of the Wind. This was the continuation, and I hated it. One of those books where I kicked myself for reading to the end. A complete waste of my time. Felt like a sophomoric Faustian copy. ick. blech. phtooey.
I love this next author so much that I even read his cookbook cover to cover. He just has a beautiful way with words. Until this book, that is... A title that is like a Direction of a Certain Infamous Street in a Rich Community in the South by P. Conroy. I can't even put into words how much I despised this book. I wish he'd never written it, because it has forever tainted Conroy in the corner of my heart reserved for my favorite Southern authors. Horribly contrived soap-opera-ish & distasteful storyline, grossly stereotyped characters (and in case I forgot each one's stereotype, Conroy hit me over the head with it over and over and over again), and a hugely implausible plot - so much so that I couldn't suspend my disbelief any more than I already had. So I'm not linking or listing the real name of the book, in some little way to protect Conroy, who, tho tainted, still has a tiny corner of my heart. But gosh, I really really wish he hadn't published this dawg.
So, of this batch of books, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and Ida B will be added to my Favorites list.
[and finishing with the view from my room. the fog was doing neat tricks this morning]
Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. "This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."
So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.
The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
Isn't this a fun idea? The Nester is hosting a Christmas Tour of Homes! And you don't have to brave the elements, or get stuck in traffic, or leave your muddy shoes at the door. ;-)
Here's a peek of some of the decor here at Casa de Kellers... look closely and you'll see Middle Dude's arrangement of "his band" of musicians. Littlest Dude liked that whole theme idea and clumped all the airplane ornaments in close proximity. He called it his "ARMY of Jets." And to my credit, I've not rearranged any of their ornaments (NO! it's not because I'm lazy; it's because I'm soooo mature!).
Click on the button below to enjoy more of the tour ...
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
But when he thought on these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins.
Now all this is come to pass, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying,
Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, And they shall call his name Immanuel; which is, being interpreted, God with us.
And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took unto him his wife; and knew her not till she had brought forth a son: and he called his name JESUS.
I like the sooc just as is, but I also like experimenting just for fun. Here's the recipe I lifted and adjusted from TRA's recipe page: Lux soft 30%, Boutwell Magic Glasses 30%, Troy 30%, Vignette & Blur fast 35%, Slice like a Ninja. The border idea came from IHF's tutorial by the very-talented Michelle Johnson.
Here's another experiment from a recent session:
Recipe: Oh Snap 45%, Get Faded Winter 12%, Highlight Separator, Pool Party 24%, Vintage Dream Sequence V (overlay mode) 76% (from Patti Brown's Kaleidoscope Collection) and Slice like a Ninja 50%.
A note containing my TOP FOUR LIST. The top four things I'd like you to know about your photography experience with me: (and this note also contains some sneak peek pictures from my session with the ever lovely Leslie and her precious family).
#1: Don't worry if I move FAR from you. I'm trying to capture God's glorious creation and plop you right down in the splendor of it all.
#2: Don't worry that everyone must be looking and smiling at the camera. Just be together. Laugh together. Feel free to ignore the camera. I'll get your attention if I need it.
#3: Please, wear color. I L.O.V.E. color!
#4: And finally: Fear not the flare! It's fun. It's quirky. It's psychedelically artsy.