The last two photos for the December Photo Project...feeling pretty proud that I didn't miss a day. It was fun and I briefly considered starting a 365 project in the new year instead of my normal 52 weeks but I just don't think so. For one thing, I've been pondering ideas for the weekly project and I am kind of attached to one and I want to do it. More about that next week. Secondly, I just don't think I'd keep up with one a day and I  don't want that kind of pressure in my life :-)

However, since my beloved gave me the awesome lens kit for the iPhone I am sure there will be more photos happening. The macro one in particular is just fan-stinkin'-tabulous. The zoom is pretty sporty and the fish eye is just plain fun. I used it for my last image in the project.

Day Twenty-four ~
Life with cats has been interesting. They eat everything and are more nocturnal then I realized. Totally get the reputation for being quirky though. They thoroughly enjoyed Christmas...boxes, paper, ribbons, and the tree. It's like a cat dream come true.

DPP 2014, Christmas. cats holidays

Day Twenty-five ~
Check it out...the fish eye lens is totally cool, isn't it? Please note the lack of ornaments on the bottom half of the tree. Like I said, a cat's dream come true.

DPP 2014, fisheye, holiday, Christmas

So, that's it for my fourth year with the DPP. See y'all next year!


This is the first year I have not missed a day in the December Photo Project.  I'm pretty pleased by that.

Unfortunately, I haven't posted or shared them each day although I have still enjoyed seeing everyone else's offerings on the facebook group page.

In order from the last five days:

Day Nineteen:
I think I found this bowl at a dumpy old resale store and fell in love with it. I use it a lot at Christmas and Easter.


On the 20th we went to Chipley and celebrated Christmas early with family. My niece's family has a new home and they were wonderful hosts. Her tree was particularly pretty.

Day Twenty-one:
When Rob and I married I carried white tulips. It makes me quite happy every year when tulip season arrives because they are forever connected to one of the most joyous moments in  my life. I couldn't resist snapping a quick photo with my phone at the bunches for sale in Sam's Club the other night.

Day Twenty-two:
Sunset at my happy place after a photo session. The view from my corner of the world is pretty spectacular.

Day Twenty-three:
I didn't buy the tulips the other night but a sweet friend gifted me a lovely bouquet the other day. The light over our bar gets rather dramatic in the evenings and I couldn't resist another picture.

So only two more days to go before we wrap up this year's photo challenge! Surely, I can manage two pictures and actually complete the series :-)


Don't worry, I didn't eat them all!


DPP

I had to unwrap them so I could make these delicious cookies...one of my very first pinterest test kitchen's and a favorite recipe. Did I mention they're also simple to make and perfect for a holiday cookie exchange? Really! You should go check them out and make a batch. Your family will thank you.

I wish I could just say that I am so on top of things because today's picture ready and it's barely eight o'clock in the morning. Truth be told though, the moment just came early today :-) My mother-in-law is staying with a us a few days and Milo just curled up on her lap first thing this morning and it was such a peaceful moment that just needed to be captured with the camera. And just like that DPP for today is done!

DPP 2014 milo kitty



There was a wedding, some Christmas cookies were baked, and spent some time with a precious little newborn. That's a busy three days but full of such goodness!

Day 13 ~

DPP 2014, wedding details, bridal bouquet, flowers

Day 14 ~
Taken with my cell phone and not nearly as lovely as Saturday or Monday's picture. But after shooting a large event like a wedding I have to give my eyes a break :-)

Day 15 ~ But today my eyes weren't as tired and the thought of lifting my camera didn't make me wince. Plus I still had the fabulous 35mm 1:4 that I had rented for the wedding and it shoots like a dream and oh my I wish I could keep it forever and ever. And then of course there was this sweetness going on.
newborn portraits

Just so precious. The wedding was beautiful and Emily's cookies were tasty so I guess we can count these three days as a success.





Pretty enough on their own...but not as lovely as they will be on our tree...their beauty is best seen when they're connected to something else.

Kind of like us...we may do okay on our own...and as the image bearer of God there is beauty seen in each of us...but we're not made to be alone...and our beauty shines brightest when we're a part of something else...when we adorn the lives of those around us.


DPP 2014 Day Ten Christmas Advent


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
     Everywhere you go...

Finally! I realize it seems ridiculous to feel like I am late in getting my Christmas decorations up and it's only December 9th but for some reason I just feel like I am running behind. And really, I'm not. I never start putting things out until December.

True story. All my life we'd start decorating within the first couple of weeks of December and Christmas night it would all get taken down and put away.

Gasp!

Until we started celebrating Advent I did the same thing. I was ready to get my house back in order...ready for calm...and blank space. Decorating comes slower now though and somehow I just don't mind the tree being up until Epiphany. Although I will admit that when it's all said and done I am glad for the quiet barrenness that inevitably follows.

This year has been different in that I couldn't wait to get the stuff out of the attic so I was pretty happy to at least get the mantle decorated today. It's also been different in that I may or may not have actually listened to Christmas music before Thanksgiving...a major rule I have enforced with all the gusto of a drill sergeant with new recruits on the first day of basic training. I will neither confirm nor deny this though, lest my children find out and I never hear the end of it.

DPP 2014 Advent Christmas



Advent. It still seems new to me...this practice of celebrating the season of Light. I feel a little bit like the toddler that can walk but is still somewhat unsteady on their feet. A little wobbly yet in the fullness of my understanding and in our practice but steadily gaining ground. We came to it late, my family, but by the time our children are grown and in their own homes my prayer is that it will just be their way...this recognizing the Light that came to earth...but not just remembering...not only reminiscing about the sweet Christ child...but also living in the promised hope that He will return again.

Because these were taken within a few minutes of each other and I had a hard time choosing between the two I am going to share both. The first for today's DPP and the second for my weekly black and white project.

DPP 2014 Christmas Advent

photo b/w advent Christmas


This is pretty much how it goes each year for the December photo project; most of the Monday's find me sharing a double catch up post. I count it good that I still take the images on each day :-)

Saturday wasn't very eventful around here but it also didn't see me putting up decorations like I had hoped. And I had planned to attack the mountain of laundry we create on a daily basis (and having missed doing any wash on Friday meant that it was a pretty significant mound) but the door of washing machine broke and will not stay latched. With a front loader this can be a problem. So I spent some time here:

DPP 2014 Day 6 Day 7

It only took me about half an hour each time and as you can see I kept myself entertained. To Kill A Mockingbird is one of  my all time favorite books. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it.

Sunday was a lovely day of worship and eating with friends afterwards. I didn't get to stay and visit for long because I met up with some other sweet people to take some pictures. Then I finished up the day picking up a couple of Christmas presents. Lesson has been learned that when I see it I should buy it because what I originally wanted to get Sam is out of stock now. I found something I am pretty sure he will enjoy  even better I think though so it's all good.

As was the beautiful sky as the sun set.

DPP 2014 Day 6 Day 7


In yesterday's post I mentioned my love for fresh flowers. Rarely do I go for roses but occasionally the little ones catch my eye.

This morning I finally had a minute to put away all of my autumn decorations. My intent was to snap a quick photo showing a clean white mantle with lots of negative space before I start decking the halls around here.

But somehow the sweet little roses once again caught my eye and filled up my viewfinder so for the second day in a row my picture is a flower.

Real creative I know but still pretty and part of my December day.

DPP 2014 Day Five


I enjoy having real flowers in our house. They add such charm and beauty and just an overall cheerfulness.  For years it has been part of my weekly grocery budget to pick up a bouquet usually to sit on the piano or mantle.

Over the last year I have branched out (See what I did there?) and have three plants in my living room that I haven't killed. It's a source of pride that I have managed to keep both them and the children alive.

Last summer while at Home Depot I snagged a couple of succulents and a cactus off the clearance rack figuring they'd be great in our bathroom and be low maintenance. I am totally fascinated with this type of plant and would love to have more of them around our house.

A couple of days ago I noticed that our cactus had sprouted a tiny little flower. It made me smile to see the soft pale yellow petals amid all of the pokey white needles. I had no idea our cactus would ever flower so it was a lovely surprise.

DPP 2014 Day Four



It's that time of year! All kinds of baking and sweet treat goodness will be coming out of kitchens across the country over the next five weeks as family and friends gather to celebrate the holidays.

I love  every part of it. The actual baking and cooking as well as the sharing and of course indulging in the goodness. I like recipes that make a statement and take time to create but I also like the quick and easy because sometimes that's all the time I have. Or I need something simple for little hands to put together.

This falls in the simple, quick and easy category. And anything made with the buttery tastiness of Ritz crackers has got to be good right?

candy, rolo, ritz cracker, chocolate, sweet treats

What you'll need:
1 bag of Rolo candy,  unwrapped 
Ritz crackers (two for each sandwich)

milky way candy, caramel, chocolate, ritz crackers


What you'll do:
Lay Ritz crackers face down on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Place a Rolo candy in the center of each cracker.
Heat in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes until the candy is soft but not completely melted.
Top with another Ritz cracker.
Enjoy!

I have a friend who isn't a huge fan of Rolos and she suggested using something different. At the grocery store yesterday I came across a bag of those little unwrapped Milky Way minis and thought they'd be good to try. I also realized that my Ritz crackers this time were shaped like snowflakes and look so cute mashed together with melted chocolate caramel sweetness. Tasty and cute makes for the perfect holiday treat to share.

And that's where my photo for the DPP comes in. I love taking pictures of food.

photo project December Photo Project

 Someone also suggested using mini Reeses which would probably be awesome. If you try it be sure to let me know!


I took a lot of pictures today just for the sole purpose of having one I really liked to share for the first day of the December Photo Project. It was fun to grab shots of random things for a specific purpose. It was nice to be pushing myself to look for beauty.

First, I was drawn to the way the early morning light glittered and glistened on the graceful arch of this plant. I thought it was fitting as we enter into the Advent season remembering that the Light of the world has come and we eagerly prepare and wait for His return.







And of course we are pet owners this year which means there is no end to the photo ops of kitten cuteness. But can you imagine the good natured ribbing I'd get from my beloved if my first DPP photo was of one of the cats?

There would be no end to the crazy cat lady jokes. (I am sure they will probably make an official appearance though. I mean seriously, how cute are they?)


Then this afternoon Emily was playing the piano and practicing for the school Christmas concert that will be on Friday evening. She's playing one of my favorite Christmas songs, What Child Is This, and it's so lovely to listen too.


But the one image that I couldn't get away from...the one I choose to start off this year's DPP  I also took this morning. I hesitated because my last post was of something similar...those glorious beautiful Bradford Pear trees in our area.

This one is in my own front yard and as it stood there in all it's autumnal glory under the bright blue morning sky I was reminded that the seasons are given for our good. That we need life to slow down and go dormant...we need the coming season of death so that new life can begin again with all it's promise of hope.

DPP 2014


Since our HOA decided to rip out the beautiful row of Bradford pear trees that once lined the entrance of our neighborhood, (I am only slightly bitter) I have to go hunting for fall color.

I don't know if Bradford's are inexpensive or just hardy in our climate or if, like me, people just really love their autumnal glory but there are a lot of them around Pace. I may or may not pull off the road or into parking lots just to grab a few pictures :-)

But how pretty are they?





Sometimes we begin a journey and have no idea where it is going to take us. Most of the time I think we actually may believe it's one thing and God surprises us by leading us somewhere new...somewhere we may not have thought of.

This comes to mind as I share a session of a sweet family from our school. Did they realize when their daughter started at the school that mom and dad would both end up teaching there this year as well?


Our family has the joy of walking part of this journey with them. She's Claire's teacher and we love her! She is fanning the flame of loving to learn in Claire. I've also had the opportunity to visit in his class and his love for the students and what he's doing is evident. And because older students are always paired with the younger students, both of our older girls have spent some time enjoying their sweet little girl.

Pensacola, children's portraits, downtown Pensacola, photography

They laugh a lot together...delighting in the family God has given them. Her with her little toothless grin just brings a smile to your face.


But what I really noticed was the way they live out God's instruction to parents in Deuteronomy six. Loving God with all their heart, and soul, and might and teaching their daughter of who God is, His ways and character. And not just in a book learning kind of way but in that "...you shall teach them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way..." kind of way.

Pensacola, downtown, family portraits

So, I'm not sure if they had any idea where God was leading them when they first came to our school...all that He would do for them and through them. But what a lovely journey it's been so far!

"Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD,
and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in Him and He will act. 
Psalm 37: 3-5



Catchy title, isn't it?


It came about like this. I saw the recipe and pinned it of course. Then last week while I was making my grocery list I wrote down the ingredients, knowing I was changing out oatmeal raisin cookie for snickerdoodle, and then while at the store decided to swap out the regular boring caramels for the cute little round ones. The point being that I was thinking through the recipe several times.


I felt comfortable with the recipe. Felt like I understood it...like I got the essence of it.



Turns out I missed a few key parts to actually making this recipe. Like you are supposed to use the giant cookie squares but that really wouldn't have made much difference since I only eat raisins in trail mix. But the biggie I missed was that I should have melted the caramel and drizzled it over the cooked cookie bar.

Still, I came home with an empty dish and everyone delighted in the snickerdoodle caramel apple something I made...not cake like at all but not really a bar either. (I still cut it in squares but you definitely had to eat it with a fork.)



What you'll need:
2 packs Snickerdoodle break apart cookies
1 can apple pie filling (I used my scissors to cut the apples up into smaller pieces)
1 bag of caramel bits (These are the sole reason I was drawn to this recipe...not gonna lie.)


What you'll do:
Take one package of break apart cookies plus three rows of the other pack and press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
Top with the pie filling.
Break apart the remaining cookies and tear into little pieces, scattering them over the pie filling.
Sprinkle with caramel bits.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes or until the cookie is a golden brown and the edges are bubbly.
Allow to cool completely before cutting.

As I said, this was well received but I will probably give the original recipe another shot. You know...actually follow it. Except for the snickerdoodle cookie part. Because frankly, snickerdoodle is much more fun to say that oatmeal raisin.

cookie bar, snickerdoodle, caramel apple




Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever; Psalm 136:1-9


Psalm 30 figured prominently in Lisa and Dave's wedding.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
Psalm 30:11-12



It's a beautiful testimony of God's faithfulness to grant life where death once reigned...to restore and put back together that which had been broken.

And for the newly wedded couple and their friends it was literal. These people danced! And the smiles and laughter spoke of garments of praise and gladness.

They had a fantastic dj who really knew how to get the people on the dance floor. A friend out did herself in preparing the food and of course the decorations were just beautiful.

It was a celebration to remember!


I absolutely adore this photo of Lisa's mother...so happy!




Such a beautiful couple.


DJ extraordinaire on the floor.








Yee haw!


Dancing, laughing, celebrating the good gifts of our heavenly Father...what a gorgeous night!


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