A Photo a Week Challenge: Christmas Memories

Growing up, Christmas was always filled with amazing smells. My mother and both of my grandmothers would bake and make candies and various treats to share with neighbors and at family parties. My favorite were the spider cookies. They are semi-sweet and butterscotch chips melted then mixed with crunchy Chinese noodles and peanuts. Then you drop them by the spoonful onto wax paper and let them harden (or chill them in the fridge if you don’t have the time). Salty and sweet and crunchy all at the same time. I recently made some for a church party, and when I bit into one (to test and make sure I got it right), I closed my eyes and was instantly in my mom’s kitchen, nine years-old, and hearing my mom and my grandmother talk about everything that still needed to be done before Christmas.

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE ONE OR TWO OR MORE PHOTOS OF YOUR CHRISTMAS AND/OR HOLIDAY MEMORIES.

Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Each week, I’ll come up with a theme and post a photo that I think fits. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Thursday, when the next photo theme will be announced.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “A Photo a Week Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.
  3. Come back here and post a link to your image in the comments for this challenge.
  4. Follow nancy merrill photography so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements.

Thankful November 26th: Love

There are many things that we can live without: extra money, going to movies, a house as big as the Jones. There are some things we can’t live without: food, water, air, and love. Studies have shown that without love, newborn babies stop thriving. There are so many different ways to show love: spouses and partners, friends, family, even complete strangers. The Beatles said all we need is love, and to some extent, they were right.

Thankful November 17th: The United States of America

In January, my husband and I started a class on the United States Constitution. It included the history of the American Revolutionary War, the Constitutional Congress, and many of the writings from the men (and some of the women) who helped to create my country. We studied the entire Constitution, from the Declaration of Independence through all 27 amendments and what they mean. It was a fascinating deep-dive into history and government. It made me eternally grateful for my country and the men and women who put everything on the line to fight for its beginnings. All things being equal, the colonists should never have won the war. Britain was the greatest empire in the world with the strongest navy and best trained ground troops. King George V hired the best skilled mercenaries from Germany to fight for him as well. The colonists were out-manned, out-armed, and under-trained. Many miracles happened over the course of the war that ensured the colonists would win, and in his Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789, George Washington covenanted that this nation would serve the God who had preserved it. I love history, but I especially love the history of my own nation.

Thankful November 14th: Flowers

I love flowers. I love smelling flowers. I love looking at flowers. And I especially love photographing flowers. My maternal grandmother had the most amazing flower garden: roses, lilies, snapdragons, daisies. Each summer, her small yard was transformed by colors and scents that transported us to a fairy world.

Thankful November 11th: Veterans Day

Today, the United States of America honors its veterans. Many other countries are celebrating Armistice Day and Remembrance Day today. One of my grandfathers served in World War I (yes, I’m old), several of my uncles served during the Korean Conflict, and many more nephews and nieces have served or are currently serving in the armed forces. As a nation, we can never thank them enough. The gratitude of the nation should never be in doubt.

So, thank you to everyone serving to keep our country and our world a better, safer place.

(The images are from the Punch Bowl Cemetery in Honolulu, Hawaii.)

Thankful November 3rd: Wonderful Parents

My parents are wonderful. My childhood was somewhat amazing. We didn’t have much money (my dad was an elementary school teacher when I was younger and finally retired from the United States Department of Agriculture; my mom was an office manager), but we always had enough. My mom and grandmother made a lot of our clothes, and friends would ask me where I got many of those clothes. My father was a hard worker. When he quit teaching, he took whatever he could find to support his family before getting a job with the USDA Arial Photography Field Office. I had more than one friend tell me that they wished they had grown up in my family.

But more than just providing for our physical needs, my parents instilled in each of their five children a love for family. When we could afford to travel, we drove across America seeing amazing things, learning crazy travel songs, and playing every travel game you can think of (license plates, alphabet match, I see). My parents also loved each other fiercely. They loved holding hands, sitting next to each other, and sharing a quick kiss no matter who was watching.

When my father was at the end of his life, my mother did everything she could so that he could stay at home and not have to go to assisted living. When it got to be too much for just her, hospice came in the mornings to help, and we took turns helping her at night. Dad didn’t always remember which of his kids was there helping, but he always knew when my mom was near him.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for a wonderful example of selfless love and devotion.

A Photo a Week Challenge: Unexpected Windows

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Have you ever walked pass an opening in a wall or barrier and suddenly an amazing view opened up? I love unexpected windows. It’s like viewing a whole different world, even if it’s your own backyard through your backdoor.

This photo was taken from the William I Monument in Koblenz, Germany looking north up the Rhine River.

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO (OR THREE…) USING AN UNUSUAL WINDOW.

Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography. Here’s how it works:

  1. Each week, I’ll come up with a theme and post a photo that I think fits. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Thursday, when the next photo theme will be announced.
  2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “A Photo a Week Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ and “Photo a Week” tags.
  3. Come back here and post a link to your image in the comments for this challenge.
  4. Follow nancy merrill photography so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements.