Monday, December 31, 2012

Reflections on Finishing

Here it is, the very end of 2012, and to be honest I am very surprised that I am still here on this blog. I have always been an excellent "great idea" person. I buy all the supplies I will need for this new and spectacular "great idea", and sometimes I will even start this new "great idea". But then the next visually stimulating project will come along and the first "great idea" is set aside, rarely to be returned to.

January 1, 2012 I set a few goals to complete in 2012. It was time to step up to the plate and finally become a "Finisher". My five goals for 2012 were:

1. Master Lightroom for photo editing. Master might be too strong of a word, there is still so much to learn. I do have a good understanding of the program at least. Although with my new computer I feel like I am starting back at the beginning.

2. Complete all 52 Weeks of the P52 project. This was accomplished last night. Not a week was missed, even though at times I wanted to miss a few.

3. Work on this blog for the whole year. Well, 108 blog posts later and here it is December 31, 2012. I did it.

4. Redo the Sun Porch so that it is finally a usable, functional space. Labor Day weekend the paint went on the walls and then later that week the couch was delivered. A lovely new writing and reading space.

And then we come to the last goal...

5. Finish the weight lose I started in 2011. This goal was NOT finished. Instead of losing, I gained. Not a lot only 7 pounds, but still not the direction I intended to go.

I debated long and hard about whether to keep this blog going in 2013, since I do have Paisley Rain Boots as well. Did I really need two blogs? But with goal No. 5 unfinished, the answer became clear to me what the focus of Becoming A Finisher should be for 2013.

Tune in tomorrow for the answer...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Treasures - P52 Week 52

Here it is the final P52 post...

I received some wonderful Christmas treasures from my family this year. Each treasure was given with love from my husband's and daughter's heart.

My daughter gave me this beautiful cup and some delicious Pumpkin Pie Chai Mix that she purchased at the craft fair up at college.

She knows my weakness for a beautiful cup.

My husband gave me these wonderfully warm Smart Wool gloves, perfect for photography in the winter.

The big present...a new MacBook Pro 15" with Retina Display. All I can say is...LOVE!!!!

The best Christmas treasure of all though, is spending the holidays with my family. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Anticipation - P52 Week 51

I am not sure if this is anticipation for Christmas... or boredom with all the Holiday preparations...

Either way he looks very comfortable.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Cards - P52 Week 50

I haven't done Christmas Cards in a few years. I use to hand make 50-100 of them every year, but as life got busier and time at the holidays got shorter, the art of Christmas card making fell by the way side.

This year though, I am so fortunate to be part of an awesome on-line community of bloggers and photographers. We met through some on-line classes taught by my favorite on-line instructor, Kim Klassen. We decided to do a snail mail postcard/note card exchange this fall using cards made from our photographic images. It was only natural that we do a Christmas card exchange as well.

Here are the wonderful cards and postcards I have received so far...

Cards from - Diana, Mary and Donna

Cards from - Denise, Lissa and Helen

Cards from - Viv, Roxi, Barbara and Nancy

And even I was brave enough to put my own image on a postcard...

I have to say it is pretty cool to see one of your own images in print like this.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Oh The Rush - P52 Week 49

Oh the rush to wrap the presents...

Oh the rush to make the Christmas Party treats...

Oh the rush to dress for the Christmas parties...

The rush is almost over :) Time to slow down and enjoy the season.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Reflection on a Goal - Lightroom

It is that time of year, time to reflect on things accomplished for the year...

When I started this blog on January 1st, I stated five goals, things that I wanted to "finish" in 2012. Number 2 on that list was - Master Lightroom for photo editing.

While I can't say that I have "mastered" it, I do have a fairly good understanding of the program. Some of the credit for learning it goes to reading Scott Kelby's book Lightroom 3 this summer, and a lot of credit goes to Kim Klassen's Lightroom on-line class Roundtrip.

I know that I still have lots more to learn and I look forward to accomplishing that in 2013.

Here are a few more of my personal favorite Lightroom developed far...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Giving Thanks (for a new tree) - P52 Week 48

Growing up as I did in the country, the question of where to get our Christmas Tree was never an issue. My parents in the early years of their marriage had planted young Christmas trees on part of their 23-acre property.  As the trees grew they sold some each year for a little extra spending money. There was still one for us and enough for family and friends.

Fast forward 20 years to the early years of my own marriage. Glen and I could never agree about what to do for a tree. Do we buy one from one of those tree lots? My parents own trees had long grown into a giant spruce forest.

Or do we bite the bullet and just buy an artificial one? Most years by the second week of December, we would climb into Glen's little gray Ford Ranger and head out into the evening darkness to try and pick the perfect tree from one of those tree lots. When Glen traded in his truck for a little red Plymouth Neon, that was the end of the tree lot adventures.

Finally, we caved in and bought an artificial tree. That first one met a tragic end after only a few short years. One of the cats decided to use the tree and the box that it was stored in as a litter box.

The replacement to that tree lasted nearly 20 years. Two years ago it was decorated for it's last Christmas. Too many branches were losing parts each year, so that the shape of it wasn't so nice any more.

Last year, much to our daughter's disgrace we used our 4 foot tall artificial tree for the main tree. I put it on a wooden box, that I covered with the tree skirt to give it a little extra height. We weren't having the family Christmas party at our house, so I didn't feel compelled to buy a new one just yet.

This past weekend the replacement was finally purchased. I hate spending so much money on something that sits in your basement for 11 months out of the year. But, if this tree lasts 20 years, it will work out to about $20 per year. That is cheaper than a real tree every tree, and I don't have to worry about watering it.

The new tree is pre-lite and snaps together in three easy parts, so Glen and I are both happy. I hate doing the lights and he hates assembling.

This year we went for a less cluttered look to the tree. Only the ornaments that Mallory has made or ones that we have been given as gifts adorn the tree. Along with some simple floral embellishments, that Scout has found great delight in chewing up already.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Food - P52 Week 47

I love to cook!

Now baking is another story... I can bake just fine, it is just something I don't do very often. Mainly because I don't need the sweets, and who can resist them if they are staring you in the face all day long.
The one thing I don't mind baking is cookies...

I found a new cookie recipe on Pinterest that I had to try:  Andres Creme de Menthe Chuck Cookies.

Let's just say they were "clean the mixer beater" good...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

100th Post

I can't believe that I made it to my 100th post. My goal for this blog was just to keep posting for the whole year, something I have never been able to stick with before, hence the name of the blog "Becoming a Finisher".  Now granted I still have a month to go before the end of the year, but I am very confident I will finish the year strong.

In honor of my 100th post I thought I would highlight my top three blog posts so far this year. I find it interesting that the topics are all human emotion topics: self-sacrifice, self humiliation, and personal pain. These subjects touch on the raw nerves of human kind and bind us together...




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Last Days of Autumn - P52 Week 46

This past weekend Glen and I took the dogs to Saugatuck Dunes State Park to do some hiking.

More hiking has been my goal since I turned 44 back in June. I get out plenty by myself, but it is so much more fun to go and explore together.

In the woods you would never know that Riley is 10 years old and that Scout is 9 years old. They act much more like overgrown puppies. We hiked for 2 hours and they could have easily gone for another hour.

It was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the 50's, uncommon for the middle of November. We tromped along paths heavily covered with fallen oak leaves, rarely coming across any other hikers. Occasionally the dogs got a few minutes off leash to just run full out and pretend they were young again.

We walked back to the main hiking trail along the beach. Riley our "water dog" so desperately wanted to go in. Glen let both of them get their wet feet, but I could tell that Riley was disappointed with that small amount.

Once back to the car, the dogs couldn't believe we were done already, but they both curled up on the back seat and were soon fast asleep. Probably dreaming of future hikes in the late Autumn woods.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012

Happy Halloween - P52 Week 44

I know this post is a bit past Halloween, but I did make the deadline for Project 52 for the week.

Sadly, we are the people that go out to eat on Halloween. So our porch light is off and our candy bowl is empty.

It isn't that we didn't try when we first moved to this house. The first year I had three bags of candy and was ready for all the cute little costumes. By the end of the night we had a total of three trick-or-treaters, and even they were reaching the end of their candy gathering years. That left us with a lot of left over candy, something we did not need. Needless to say, we did not repeat the next year.

Most kids now days get dropped off in big subdivisions or go to church parking lots for trunk or treat. This leaves our simple road passed by and most houses dark.

I miss the days of taking our daughter trick-or-treating and look forward to doing it with the grandchildren some day.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Leaves - P52 - Week 43

Around and around the house the leaves fall thick, but never fast,
for they come circling down with a dead lightness that is somber and slow.
                                                                                        - Charles Dickens

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Book Review - Corduroy Mansions

Corduroy Mansions
by Alexander McCall Smith

I liked this book.

I have read one other book by Alexander McCall Smith, his popular No.  1 Ladies Detective Agency which I liked as well. He has a witty way of writing and the characters are very likable. The characters in this book seemed to me to be old souls, much wiser and mature than their age in years indicates. This book as been on my reading list for a while now, but I could never find it at our local library. I happened to be at another close by library looking for a book for my on-line book club when I found it. I could be tempted to read more books in this series, because I loved the dog, Freddie de la Hey.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sad - P52 - Week 42

The loss of woods makes me sad.

The loss of woods to six new "executive style" homes along a lakeshore full of "executive homes", many of them for sale by people that realize they can't afford a second home that they visit only a few times a year, the loss of woods for this purpose makes me even sadder.

You see this corner of woods that is on our morning walking route seems like a special place to me. Many times this summer I have seen a momma doe with her two babies in these woods. And in the fall when I turn the corner of these woods that are nestled next to the bike path, my breath catches every time when I see the yellow-gold maple leaves against the September blue sky. I always think to myself "This has got to be what heaven is like".

The summer and fall will never be the same in this corner of woods again.

It is no wonder that one of my biggest dreams is to move to where there is less...less new construction, less busy, less civilization. And so much more...more nature, more wildlife, more time to enjoy God's wonders.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Book Review - You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know

You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know 
by Heather Sellers 

I Loved this book.

I had the privilege of attending a writer's workshop that Heather Sellers taught last fall. She spoke about her book for the first part of the workshop, which I found fascinating, we had lunch and then she taught us the second half of the workshop. Her story of face blindness and her dysfunctional family growing up and another dysfunctional family when she got married reminded me a bit of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls just with a more suburban setting.

The other cool thing about this book is that part of it is set in Holland, MI where she is a professor at Hope College. I live in Holland, MI so it is always fun to read books where you go "I know where that is".

When I attended Heather's writing workshop her ideas gave some fertilizer to the tiny writing seed that had been planted long ago but needed some nourishment.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cool Evenings and Warmth

The hot, dry days of Summer have given way to the wet, cool days of Autumn.

Nature's beautiful color palette certainly draws you to the outdoors. Either for a walk in the woods or a drive along a winding, tree lined country road. Get outside while you can for this season of color will be gone in the blink of an eye, to be replaced, at least in my part of the world, with a very monochromatic landscape of white and gray.

After  a day of traipsing through the wet leaves or being a bucket seat spectator to Fall's splendor of reds, yellows, and oranges, the perfect way to end the day is curled up next to the warmth of a fire with a lovely glass of wine.

Linking up today with: