Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mini-Vacation Photos Part One

I took somewhere around 350 photos on our mini-vacation to Pittsburgh. We traveled up through Tennessee (Chattanooga, Knoxville) through a tiny bit of Virgina (Bristol) and then through West Virginia. We normally stop over for the night in Beckley, W.V. but this time we left early enough that we decided to drive straight through. Ten hours in the car with only short a long time for these old bones!

I've selected a few of the trip up to Pittsburgh and next week I will post some taken in Pittsburgh and on another day I'll post some from our trip home. 

Some of those on the way up were taken through the car windows...some were taken at places we stopped.

The next few photos were taken at the Virginia Welcome Center. A very nice
facility that has picnic tables and beautiful trees and clean restrooms and no
trucks. There is a separate facility for trucks a little way down the road. 
Not that I have anything against trucks...really, I don't! 

Love the trail from the jet, the sun spots and the brilliant blue of the sky!

There's a corn field in the distance on the other side of the fence. I tried to capture
the way the sun was shining on the stalks. Didn't turn out.  I love the yellow
leaves against the brilliant blue of the sky in these photos.

I had to work on this photo in Photoshop. The sun was really bright and caused
a haze over part of the tree. This is a not a "technically" good photo but I kind of
like the way it turned out after playing with it a bit.

I love yellows and blues together and this tree was really breathtaking against the sky. The wind was
whipping around a bit and I tried to capture the falling leaves in a couple of shots but only managed to
get a couple of leaves in the them. They were moving very quickly! 

I walked back down the exit to take a shot of the welcome sign...just in
case we forgot where we took the photos..kind of touristy but I like it.

This little girl was so cute entertaining herself by playing in the leaves.  We ate our picnic lunch here and she played the entire time. She would gather up leaves into a big pile and then jump in it. Then she would pile them up and throw them up into the air. She was having a grand time using up her pent up energy while her parents were resting.

We stopped at the New River Gorge. This is one of my favorite places to stop on
our trips to Pittsburgh. I have photos from summer and winter but this is the first
 time we've made the trip in the fall.  We missed the color peak  but it was still very
beautiful here. 

View of the New River bridge. I don't have any of the statistics about the gorge or the
bridge but you can go here and here and find out all about it!

There were still some pretty trees...with late afternoon sun shining on them.

See the tree growing on the rock? There cannot be more than a few inches of
soil for those roots, yet there it stands! I never cease to be amazed by nature!

A nice contrast...beautiful poppies growing in the median and the autumn leaves!

One of my favorite things about being in the mountains is seeing the shadow of clouds on the mountain tops!

At first glance it appears that there is color in the rock where the mountain was cut to make way for the road. Nope,
the color is from trees in their autumn finery, growing in a bit of soil that has accumulated.
Nature always manages to recover from man's intrusions. 

Dark, stormy sky and sun shining on the mountainside..beautiful! Love the way the houses are nestled into
the mountainside.

Stormy sky and sunlit mountainside...stunning!

An early moon rise over the  mountain peak with the sun's last light illuminating the trees!

One of the many tunnels in Pittsburgh. I always take photos when we are going through. It keeps
my mind off of the fact that we are riding through a mountain. I am always so very happy and
thankful to come out on the other side of the mountain!!!
I like to experiment with photographs of  lights at night. This is the Pittsburgh skyline...
looks a bit like pagodas to me. A little fun!

Well, that's the end of selected photos from day one. It took a couple of hours to narrow it down to these. 
Tomorrow is Silent Sunday...I may use one of the photos from the All Saints Catholic Cemetery as the background for tomorrow's scripture...I think it will be appropriate for All Hallows Eve! 

Thanks for taking the time to stop by...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fingerprint Friday - Surprise Party

Fingerprint Friday was started by Beki, at The Rusted Chain. It was inspired by the song by Steven Curtis Chapman that contains the line..."when I look at you, I can see the fingerprints of God." To participate and/or visit all of the blogs that do, go to the Fingerprint Friday Post on Beki's blog and follow the instructions.

J. and I took a mini-vacation to Pittsburgh to see his sisters and celebrate his oldest sister's 90th birthday. She won't actually be 90 until February '11 but the weather is so bad at that time of year, they didn't want to risk trying to have it then. It was a surprise birthday party and we were a little concerned with surprising her a bit too much, because she has had  a bit of trouble breathing lately and is on oxygen. So, they asked J. to greet her to put her at ease, but still she was a bit confused because she was having difficulty seeing. The lighting was a bit dim.When she realized what was going on she said, "I need to sit down."  She is an amazing woman and handled all of the excitement extremely well!  The party was held at the Greensburg Country Club in Jeanette, PA.  A lovely setting for a lovely party! I believe there were between 65-75 guests. The food was excellent, there was a champagne toast, open bar for beer and wine and there were many, many great walks down memory lane. It was fun to see photos of a woman who was "one of the guys" back in the day. She went hunting with her spouse and his friends and even bagged the biggest deer! She played golf up until a few years ago, is a champion Parcheesi player and loves to travel...she has never been known to turn down a trip to anywhere...she is always set on "go!"  There were lots of stories and much laughter and a few tears!  

Many comments were made about how she continues to correspond with everyone with birthday cards and letters. She was astounded by the number of people who came from all across the country to celebrate with her. She is such a beautiful and humble person, she did not "understand why all these people think I'm worthy of all this."  But worthy she is!  That is why I chose, my dear sister-in-law Dorothy as today's Fingerprint of God!!  
She certainly does not look 89, does she?  There are only three of the 8 siblings left and their ages are 69, 79 and 89 this year!!! Dot was still living in her own house until earlier this year when she decided on her own to move into a beautiful assisted living apartment. She wants to enjoy the rest of her life and not have to worry about maintaining a house.  I am certain that she is the life of the party in her new home and I know she  has made many new friends there! I sure hope that if I live that long, I will be as healthy, active and downright fun as she is!!! Happy 90th, Dot! We love you!!!

Note: I was lazy and took J.'s little camera and it doesn't take the best photos...thankfully, there were several really good photographers who took many, many good photos to capture this lovely event!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Favorites of the Week - Memories: Yellow and Blue,Sun and Sea

Favorites of the Week(FOTW):  Each Monday I feature a number of items on my FOTW page. I might choose 8 favorites or it could be 28. A portion of those items will be featured on the Home page on Mondays. The favorites for each week will remain on my FOTW page until the following Monday. Hope you enjoy. I'm sure these shopkeepers would love for you to visit their stores and see their other great items! ♥

Today's favorites were inspired by the colors of three of my favorite things: The sea, sun and sand.  These lovely offerings are all handmade and all from Etsy shops.  Enjoy!!

romantic olive mint green rose blossom flower brooch
Romantic Olive Mint Green Rose Blossom Flower Brooch 
From: Aya Wedding  $9.00

Blue and Green Hydrangea
Blue and Green Hydrangea 
From: Laura Trevey  Bright Bold and Beautiful  $67.00

Sweet No. 3
Sweet No. 3
From: Michelle Pryor Art $42.00

Locket necklace vintage antique necklace gold tone-- Little Blue Fox in the Rain -- Original design
Vintage Antique Necklace with Original Design Little Blue Fox in the Rain
From: Birds of Oregon  $24.00

Sea Glass Pendant
From: Mermaid's Tears Jewelry  $28.00

NEW Lovely Bag in Mustard Yellow - everyday purse -
Lovely Bag in Mustard Yellow
From: Bayan Hippo  $29.00

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Silent Sunday - What's in a Name?

SILENT  SUNDAY:  None of my own words will appear on Silent Sunday, a Bible verse or an interesting quote and one or more photographs will be all you will find here on Silent Sunday.  Every girl needs to keep her mouth shut sometime and we all need to be still and know that He is God. 

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fingerprint Friday - Jekyll Island Fire in the Oaks

Fingerprint Friday was started by Beki, at The Rusted Chain. It was inspired by the song by Steven Curtis Chapman that contains the line..."when I look at you, I can see the fingerprints of God." To participate and/or visit all of the blogs that do, go to the Fingerprint Friday Post on Beki's blog and follow the instructions.

I named these first two photos "Fire in the Oaks" because of the flaming orange of the small trees sitting among majestic old oaks, covered in Spanish moss.  These were taken on Jekyll Island last December. Warm days linger long on the island and it always strange seeing this brilliant orange and the green of the oaks scattered about,  while all of the historic "cottages" are dressed in Christmas finery. 

Fire in the Oaks I, Jekyll Island, GA December 2009

Fire in the Oaks II, Jekyll Island, Georgia December 2009

Villa Marianne,  Jekyll Island, Ga. December 2009

I chose these for Fingerprint Friday because I think they illustrate the variety of God's creation: the delicate little trees in their brilliant, orange glory; the mighty, old oaks with their still green leaves and gray moss; the ornamental cabbages with spring like flowers and green lush grass at Villa Marianne-- all  living in harmony in winter, on a sandy, little island off the Georgia coast!  

I shout praises to God for the glory of his creation!  Hope you have a great day and wonderful weekend. 

Links to information on Jekyll Island, Georgia:
June Hall McCash , gives an in depth look at the families that created the historic cottages of Jekyll Island in her book, "The Jekyll Island Cottage Colony."

Jekyll Island  website
Jekyll Island /Revitalization/ Revitalization Sites/Conservation Programs
Support Jekyll Island Development

Visit Jekyll Island from Jessica Malnik on Vimeo.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday's Favorites of The Week - Featuring L. Janine Abbott

This week’s Favorites of the Week all come from the same wonderful artist: L. Janine Abbott. Janine is a freelance journalist, former English teacher, artist, breast cancer survivor and the dearest and kindest friend that one could have! I am truly blessed to have her in my life and am more than delighted to be able to share her beautiful art work right here on my blog.

In addition to being a truly gifted, self-taught artist, Janine is a gifted writer who will, no doubt, be on the N.Y. Times Best Seller List in due course. In the meantime, you can read her sometimes funny, sometimes heart wrenching, always touching, beautifully written, hope filled and thought provoking posts at her blogs: Sniffles and Smiles and Been There, Done That. If you love God, life, beauty, honesty, with a bit of hyperbole and humor thrown in for good measure, I guarantee that you too will soon be a huge fan of the incredible woman who is L. Janine Abbott.

All of Janine’s work--blog posts, poetry, photographs and paintings--speak to the heart. Her paintings embrace and celebrate life! Paint comes to life as it flows over her canvases and light dances to the rhythm   of the patterns she paints. Janine is always the storyteller. Sometimes the story is in words, sometimes in paint but there is always a story and  it is always worth the hearing. The slideshow, below, of Janine's work is just a spoonful off the top of the soup that is her work. To savor the real flavor of the soup, click on any one of the paintings and it will take you to her Bubbling Brook Gallery where you may view the full painting, read its story and savor and even purchase the work of this talented and lovely woman!  ENJOY!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Silent Sunday-Faithfulness

SILENT  SUNDAY:  None of my own words will appear on Silent Sunday, a Bible verse or an interesting quote and one or more photographs will be all you will find here on Silent Sunday.  Every girl needs to keep her mouth shut sometime and we all need to be still and know that He is God. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Life Keeps Happening!

Once again life is happening and my blog is not getting much attention this week either. I have a sick and pitiful dog to care for today.  So, rather than leaving this space empty, I am reposting a post from a couple of years ago. Actually, it was my very first post on Graceful Moments! I have revised it a bit to make it current and added a few photos.

Last week's favorites will just continue to be this week's favorites, which is fine...they were all beautiful choices!

New Month, New Season - Revised and Revisited

October! A new month and a new season on the way and it's one of my very favorites!

In the South, the promise of the cooler weather of autumn is always graciously welcomed after a hot and humid August! This past summer was definitely a scorcher and it stayed that way through September. 

Most of us start thinking about lovely autumn weather long before it actually arrives in mid to late October.
It starts in September when the pace of life picks up speed with a flurry of activity brought on by school starting and the promise of football season kicking off. The vacations of summer are over and there is a revival of church activities - Bible studies, youth programs, picnics, outreach events and church suppers.

When October finally arrives there seems to be a bit of excitement in the air. Autumn breezes and crisp, cleaner air push away the inactivity of the lazy days of late summer and encourage us to head outside and plant a shrub, weed the flower beds, take a walk, go on a picnic, paint a porch or play a little touch football with the kids.

Parks and pastures are filled with apple festivals, arts and crafts shows, county fairs and fall rodeos. Neighborhoods become village markets with tag sales, garage sales, yard sales or whatever your particular region calls them. Houses are filled with the smells of home baked breads and pies and jellys and jams as we work to enjoy and preserve our late summer harvests.

Blankets and quilts are brought out of storage and aired out in the fresh air to be ready for soon to come cool nights sitting in porch swings. Firewood is cut and stacked and ready for the first cozy fire of the season.

The pumpkins are fat and are harvested  for pumpkin pies and Halloween. The fragrance of fresh mowed hay brings to mind hay rides, campfires, spiced tea and s'mores! The trees are being painted in glorious hues of reds and golds and yellows to usher in our Thanksgiving observance and the Advent season.

It is a time to reflect on our past and our future and to recognize that no matter what our circumstances we have much for which to be thankful. It is a time to come together with family, friends and/or strangers to share our bounty and to offer up our praise and gratitude to God for all of our blessings.

It is a time of expectation and excitement as we await the day that has been set aside to honor the birth of the Savior of the world!

It is my sincerest hope that your fall season will be filled with a bounty of gratitude, family, friends and opportunities to serve, but most of all I pray that it be filled with the everlasting peace of knowing Jesus Christ.
Love and Blessings,

Monday, October 4, 2010

Giveaway at My Heart and Welcome to It

Great Giveaway at My Heart and Welcome to It!  Check out details on my Giveaway Page or go directly to the giveaway by clicking the link above.  You can always find great giveaways on my Giveaway Page!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Silent Sunday - Psalm 61 Our Refuge

SILENT  SUNDAY:  None of my own words will appear on Silent Sunday, a Bible verse or an interesting quote and one or more photographs will be all you will find here on Silent Sunday.  Every girl needs to keep her mouth shut sometime and we all need to be still and know that He is God. 

"It is for the sake of man, not of God, that worship and prayers are required, not that God may be rendered more glorious, but that man may be made better,--that he may be confirmed in a proper sense of his dependent state, and acquired those pious and virtuous dispositions in which his highest improvement consists.
-Hugh Blair

Psalm 61-Our Refuge from Psalms: Music to Soothe Your Soul, 
Deirdre Neely Close (author) and Tabitha Fair(performer)
copyright 1997 Essential Records.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fingerprint Friday - Seasons

Fingerprint Friday was started by Beki, at The Rusted Chain. It was inspired by the song by Steven Curtis Chapman that contains the line..."when I look at you, I can see the fingerprints of God." To participate and/or visit all of the blogs that do, go to the Fingerprint Friday Post on Beki's blog and follow the instructions.

And God said, "Let their be lights in the expanse of sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark the seasons and days and years."  Genesis 1:14  NIV

With all the beauty and incredible colors of nature that we find in this temporary can one even begin to imagine the magnificence of heaven?

Happy Fingerprint Friday...look around, where do you see God's fingerprints?