Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge: Broken

When I saw the subject for this week’s challenge, unfortunately I had the perfect photo for “broken”.  Two weekends ago, I realized later on Friday evening that the sump pump in the crawl space of my home was broken.

Timeline of sump pump disaster:

Friday night: It’s broken. Let’s fix it. We’ll buy a sump pump. Done! Oops….the hose won’t connect to the sump pump. Call oldest son to help.  I know, we’ll use duct tape.  That should work.  Oh, look, it’s working!  It’s pumping the water out!  Yay!  Oops….the tape burst.  Repeat.  Oops again.  Repeat. <*#swear word#*> It’s not going to work.  At midnight, admit defeat and give up for the night.  Saturday morning: Call plumber.  Plumber can’t get there until Monday morning.  Hubby leaves town.  Rain starts again.  Borrow shop vac.  Suck 20 shop vacs full of water from crawl space.  Sunday: Praise God, no rain!  Monday morning: Plumber blessedly arrives and fixes sump pump connection!  All is right with the world! 🙂

All sunshine makes the desert.
~ Arabian Proverb

A wise man adapts himself to circumstances as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.
Chinese Proverb


While the rain wasn’t appreciated much by me when the sump pump went out, my flowers greatly benefitted from it, proof that there is always good to be found! 🙂

I cultivate my garden, and my garden cultivates me. ~Robert Brault

Many unique and creative entries for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge can be found by clicking this link!

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WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Enveloped

“Hugs should be available at the medical stores 24/7. Sometimes, they are the best healers for almost everything.”
― Minhal Mehdi


When I saw the theme for this week’s photo challenge, I immediately thought of the cute little monsters that are on my desk at work.  Every time I catch a glimpse of them enveloped in their group hug, they make me smile.   I love the quote above and surely agree that a simple hug from a friend or loved one can go a long way towards healing anything that ails us!

Here are a few more good “hug” quotes!  Hope you like them!


“One word can end a fight; One hug can start a friendship; One smile can bring Unity; One person can change your entire life!”
Israelmore Ayivor

“A hug makes you feel good all day.”
― Kathleen Keating

I will not play at tug o’ war.
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.

Shel Silverstein

 Have a positive, productive day and check out the awesome entries for this week’s photo challenge at WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.

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Accountability, or “Why I am a ‘mean’ Mom”

Accountability breeds responsibility – Stephen Covey


More and more lately, I see examples of the consequences of a lack of accountability in members of today’s society.  I am reminded of “The Little Red Hen”, a story I learned as a child.  In this classic folktale, the little red hen wants to make some bread and each step along the way she hopes to enlist the help of the other farm animals.   When she asks the animals for help with planting the wheat and harvesting and milling the wheat, the answer from each of the animals is “Not I”.  She tries again when it is time to knead the flour, mix the dough and bake the bread and is once again told “Not I” when she asks who will help her.  After completing every step alone, she takes the mouth-watering bread from the oven only to see the other animals greedily eyeing the freshly baked bread.  She asks who will help her to eat the bread and finally receives an affirmative answer from every one of the animals.   At this point, she tells the lazy animals that because she completed every task alone, she and her chicks will eat the bread all alone as well.

Every accountable child of God needs to set goals, short- and long-range goals.  A man who is pressing forward to accomplish worthy goals can soon put despondency under his feet, and once a goal is accomplished, others can be set up. – Ezra Taft Benson

The ant and the grasshopper is another tale of the consequences of laziness and irresponsibility.  The grasshopper sings and dances through the summer when food is plentiful while the ant steadily works to build a storehouse of food for the leaner months ahead.  The grasshopper laughs at the diligent ants, but finds later on that the ants had the right idea when he is left to starve when winter comes.

I wonder if these stories are shared much anymore.  I know I read them to my children when they were little and tried to lead them to the moral of the stories; that when a reward or goal is desired, effort must be put forth in order to achieve that goal.   While my children certainly were not lacking for anything, including toys, I did not feel the need to provide them with every thing their hearts desired. I know that when we have to put forth effort in order to obtain something, we value it more than when it is just handed to us.  Allowing our children to work for the items they desire assures that the items will be well cared for because a part of them went into obtaining these items.

An essential part of teaching children to be disciplined and responsible is to have them learn to work. – James E. Faust

When children are old enough, certainly by high school, a part-time job is an excellent way to teach them responsibility and accountability.  Through working, children learn how long it takes to earn a dollar and are therefore less likely to spend that dollar on frivolous things.  It is amazing how frugal a child can be once the money she spends on items comes from her own pocketbook.  I am a strong supporter of holding children (and everyone else) accountable for their behavior and actions.  Both of my boys held jobs during high school and at the present time, and my daughter will do the same when she is old enough.  I firmly believe that the best gift we can give our children is our time and our knowledge.  If they want the latest gadget or fashion, they will work until they have money to buy the coveted item.  By being a “mean mom” and limiting the material gifts and money I give my kids, I hope that I am teaching them to value people and experiences more than things.  I hope the legacy I leave my children is to have truly given them wings of responsibility and accountability to soar with rather than an open hand waiting for a handout.

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WordPress Weekly Photo Challange: Afloat – Amalfi Coast

Afloat in Amalfi


The theme for this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challange is “Afloat“.   Here you see a small sailboat afloat on the very calm ocean near the Amalfi coast in Italy.  I am going to devote a bit of time to looking at the great entries to this week’s challenge.  I’d recommend you do the same!  Always some great, unique perspectives to see!

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WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Blur


A flag stands perfectly still and clear through the blurred trees at the American consulate in Rome, Italy.

 Einstein, in the special theory of relativity, proved that different observers, in different states of motion, see different realities.  ~ Leonard Susskind


A lovely but blurred flower in the El Yunque rainforest of Puerto Rico



At the Butterfly Sanctuary in Key West, FL, butterflies flitted freely about, making anything BUT a blurred photo nearly impossible!

Seth and Noah battle with punching balls

Two of my nephews thoroghly enjoying their punching balls!

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for this week is “blur”.  We are directed in this challenge to, “…keep your camera out of focus to achieve a blurry photo, or take a photo of something in motion.”   In this digital age, the majority of blurry photos I take are quickly deleted, but I did find a few that I thought completed the challenge very well! This week’s challenge is a fun one and there are some awesome entries, so check them out at the link above!! 

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WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – “Ephemeral”






The theme of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge this week is Ephemeral, a word that refers to something that lasts for a very short time.  Writing on sand, to me, fits this definition perfectly since it lasts only as long as the time it takes for the tide to roll back in and wash it away.  The first two pictures were taken while on a family vacation to San Diego, CA.  We only lingered long enough to write our names in the sand and move on.  The last picture is from my wedding day last July in Key West, FL.   The ocean can be seen in the corner, and it took less than a minute for the names to be washed away, remaining only on the photo and in our minds and hearts.  Make sure to check out the other awesome entries.  Make sure you have some extra time because there are a lot of great entries!  It’s almost impossible to stop once you get started! 😉

DSC08061 BethToddHeartSand

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Wall

“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Rio de Janeiro 069

When I saw the topic for this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, I immediately thought of the impressive street art on the walls in Rio de Janeiro.  I absolutely love the simplicity of the figures and the way they capture the essence of the beauty of Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro 055There were several of these paintings on walls throughout the city and each time I saw one, I couldn’t help but smile.  I hope you enjoy them too.  Make sure to click on the above link to take a look at the very creative submissions from others participating in this challenge!

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Forgiveness – The word is much simpler than the action.

I think the first step is to understand that forgiveness does not exonerate the perpetrator.  Forgiveness liberates the victim.  It’s a gift you give yourself. ~ T.D. Jakes


A beautiful bridge in the rainforest of Puerto Rico

I struggle with forgiveness sometimes.  We have all acted in ways that hurt another person.  When we do, a simple “I’m sorry.” can go a long way.  I truly believe that we should treat other people the way we would like to be treated.  I try to live my life by that standard and when I fail, which is more often than I would like, I apologize for my words or actions that hurt the other person.  Admitting that I have made a mistake is not always easy, but I believe it starts the healing process and can eventually bring me to reconciliation with the one(s) I have wronged.

What happens, though, when we don’t have the satisfaction of receiving an apology from someone who has wronged us or hurt us deeply?  Does this mean that because forgiveness was not asked for, it should not be given?

Most of us need time to work through pain and loss.  We can find all manner of reasons for postponing forgiveness.  One of these reasons is waiting for the wrongdoers to repent before we forgive them.  Yet such a delay causes us to forfeit the peace and happiness that could be ours.- James E. Faust


Lovely steps in the rainforest of Puerto Rico

I think Faust said it perfectly in the above quote.  Perhaps the individual that sees no wrong in his actions or words never will comprehend the extent of the hurt he has caused, but by holding on to that hurt and pain, we hurt only ourselves and not the other person.   Of course, forgiving does not mean we must subject ourselves to additional pain.  There is no value in setting ourselves up for misery by remaining in situations that drain us or around people who tear us down.

By that albeit difficult step of letting go of grievances and forgiving, we make progress toward our goal of being the best person we can be.

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Why I finally “ate that frog”.

For those of you who are now wondering what in the heck I am talking about, this is a little bit of wisdom from Mark Twain.

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”― Mark Twain

The frog just read Mark Twain's quote!

The frog just read Mark Twain’s quote!

Of course, Mark Twain was not talking about actually eating a frog, but this was an analogy for the “worst” task that lies in front of you.  If that task is taken care of, those left don’t seem quite so bad anymore.

My frog happened to be changing my last name to my new married name.  While I am head over heels in love with my hubby and am proud to take his last name as mine, the process itself had me digging in my heels and doing my fair share of whining and complaining. (Hey, I’m not proud of my behavior, but there you have it.)  Before we were married, I insisted I would keep my name, the name I had taken WAY back when I was married to my first husband, the father of my three children. This was also the name I have used my entire adult life.  I was first married right out of college, so all my credit, my documents, my license, all my credit cards and my passport were in that name.

My (then boyfriend) expressed his opinion and desire for his (hypothetical) wife to take his last name.  Since we were not at the point of marriage back then, we agreed to disagree on the matter.   Once our relationship developed to the point that marriage was a likely probability, we had to figure it out.  Since I could tell it was very important to him, I came to the conclusion that he was well worth the perceived “hassle” of changing my name.  Being the stubborn person I am, though, I insisted that I would change it AFTER he finally was done with his faraway job and back home with me.

From our wedding date July 3rd until the day he was (finally) home with me on October 18th, I pushed that “frog” to the back of my mind, but once he was back I had to start thinking about it again.  I decided that I would use my “old” ID until after the election in November and then I would have to take action.  I did send in for a new social security card before the end of October, but finally last Friday, with the help of my handsome hubby, I tackled the DMV and got my new license and then on to the bank to change my information there.  After that, most things have gone fairly smoothly.  As with everything else in life, just starting is sometimes the most difficult part.  That Mark Twain was quite an intelligent guy! 🙂

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WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime

Everything becomes magnified at night.  Sounds travel in a different way, it’s dark, and everything seems far more spooky. ~ Jo Brand

Cemetery at Old Town, San Diego.  Taken while on a walking tour with Old Town's Most Haunted

Cemetery at Old Town, San Diego. Taken while on a walking tour with Old Town’s Most Haunted. – I love how many orbs I captured in this photo! Appropriate that I would get them at the cemetery!

 Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me.  Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me. ~ Steve Jobs

For the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge this week, the theme is “Nighttime”.  For the challenge, I’ve put together a bit of a hodge podge of some of my favorite nighttime shots. I hope you enjoy them!  When you have a minute, do yourself a favor and check out the fantastically creative submissions from other bloggers by clicking the link above!

One of my favorite pictures of Todd and I.  Totally relaxed and having fun together! :)

I love the way the streaks of light dance across this photo!

 I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day. ~ Vincent Van Gogh


Disney’s Electrical Parade – A perfect nighttime way to wrap up a magical Disney day!



Pete and Elliot in Disney’s Electrical Parade!



What could be a better way to end a delightful Disney day than with the nighttime fireworks?!



It was a chilly nighttime for our bearded dragon last October when we were without power for a little over a day. I managed to keep his body temperature up with heat from candles next to his tank.


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