Thursday, June 28, 2012

Weekend Images

Dear friends,

A few photos from last weekend, with a focus on the artsy rather than the narrative...

Sea World (two days)....

Jelly fish
(This photo is my P52 Photo Project
entry for this week's "School's Out" theme.

Our trip to Sea World with my mom and niece
was quite the summer treat.)

Sea Turtle





Journey to Atlantis
Rain, rain, go away...

Rainy picnic in the park...

Gifts and food...

Birthday present for a toddler grandson

Made by my mother for a grandchild

Banana split

Vegan hospitality

(Please note that for privacy reasons, from here on I will not be identifying my children or grandchildren very often and I will be removing names from some prior posts.) 

Virginia Knowles

This post will be linked on Saturday, June 30 to the P52 Photo Project 

P52 with Kent Weakley

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weekend Gratitude: Father's Day 2012

Dear friends,

For Father's Day, our older daughters planned a picnic in a local park, Lake Lily, and brought Sonny's Barbecue.  My husband Thad usually cleans up a lot in the kitchen after family celebration meals, so they figured they would take that out of his hands.  As you can see, however, he still managed to clean up, consolidating the leftovers.  I edited the photo using the free download version of Picasa, and you can see the difference in the clarity of the colors. The second one pops out more, especially his face.  It is my submission to the P52 Photo Project for this week's theme of Fathers.  I chose this shot because it is so typical of my husband to be helping out with the nitty gritty of life.  I appreciate that about him.

Original photo

Edited with Picasa
Two of our sons are away at Student Life youth camp in North Carolina, but the other eight kids were there, along with our two sons-in-law and two grandsons.
It rained pretty hard while we were first arriving, but settled down to a drizzle as we ate and then cleared up to beautiful blue skies.  Joanna and I took a lot of pictures (she got some really cute ones!) and posted them on Facebook, but here is a small sample of mine.  She took the one at the end.

Two of our kids sucked the same fingers

Thad and Virginia
(photo by Joanna Knowles)

Happy Father's Day!

Other blog posts from Lake Lily:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bargain Hunting at the Thrift Stores (Featuring Goodwill & Salvation Army)

Hello friends!

Just a quick post to share my latest "thrift hauls" to be linked on Monday to


I took my younger four kids (ages 6, 9, 11, and almost 13) to Goodwill on Wednesday for two reasons: to find some clothes and to buy a cheap VCR to replace our last yard sale one that broke a long while back. (We do have a DVD player, but not many DVD's.  All of our classic kid stuff is in VHS, and it has been calling their names!) We did, indeed, find a VCR for $10 and the kids promptly put it to use within minutes of walking in the door.  Yeah, they watched three movies... 

These clothes cost a grand total of about $24.
Melody also got a lavender polo shirt which is not pictured.
The most expensive items were the new name brand jeans ($8)
and the black sweater ($6). Everything else was under $2.
All told we got quite a deal  for two pair of jeans,
two pair of cargo shorts, five shirts, and a sweater.

These shorts were on clearance for about 75 cents!
Apparently they had marked down everything with a green tag on it.
If I'd known that, I would have been looking!
But even without looking, most of the stuff we bought was marked down.
Kids clothes (above toddler size) are usually about $3.50 per item,
but most of what we bought was $1.50.
My long haired skater dude
in his shorts and shirt
And now for what I didn't buy!

I saw this Corning casserole dish and
it brought back pleasant memories since
My mother had passed along to me
other baking dishes with this L'Echalot pattern.
But I don't have them any more and don't
LOVE the style, so I didn't buy it.
I do have (and LOVE) Corning plates with the wildflower design,
(also from my mother, and used during my teen years)
and would happily buy a matching dish for that pattern.

Another dish I didn't buy,
since I was already getting so much
other stuff. It was only $3,
and it would be great for heart-shaped cakes,
so maybe I'll get it later if it is still there.
I also liked a beautiful square baking dish
in a deep blue color, but part of the trick of thrift shopping
is not having to buy everything you fancy, right?
Truth be told, I already have a lot of baking dishes!

Salvation Army

We didn't find everything we needed at Goodwill on Wednesday, so I took five kids to Salvation Army on yesterday.   We were on a mission to get what two of the boys  needed to leave for youth camp this morning.  

For about $71 total, we picked up 6 pairs of sneakers ($6 each), 6 shirts (50 cents - $3), 2 pairs of men's pants for my 15 year old son ($5 each), 4 pairs of shorts ($1-$3), 1 pair of men's swim trunks ($5), 1 pair of new socks ($1), a nice camera tripod ($4), a TV antenna ($3), and 2 water bottles (under $1 each).  The base prices tended to be lower than at Goodwill, with a larger selection, more on clearance, and everything better organized.

Truth be told, you can also get pretty cheap clothes at Walmart.  One of the boys didn't find t-shirts at Salvation Army, but got some nice new ones for $3.50 each at Walmart.  We also got two pairs of water shoes (for rafting) there for $5 each. Of course, after all that running around, we were up after midnight packing!

Skater shoes -- the ones on the left are Vans,
which means nothing to me but a lot to them.

The Many Moods of Tinker Bell

Our nature photographer checking out a tripod
at the store. He bought a different one.

Yes, I'd say I got a pretty good thrift haul at Goodwill and Salvation Army. I'm thankful that we have both stores within three miles of our house and that my kids like getting most of their clothes cheap!  That's the way they were raised, that's the way I was raised, that's the way my mother was raised, that's the way her parents were raised... It's the "Hess family thrift" passed on down through the generations.  I'm thrilled to be going to a Hess family reunion in Pennsylvania next month.  Good peeps!

Besides the thriftiness, I also want to raise my children to be socially conscious.

I recently started a new blog theme, A Worthy Cause, in which I highlight charitable organizations that are making a difference in their communities and/or globally.

This time, I would like to feature Goodwill and Salvation Army, which both operate thrift stores around the country.  Goodwill is a non-religious organization that specializes in providing job training and other services to people who have disabilities, those who lack education or job experience, or others facing challenges to finding employment.  Salvation Army is a distinctly Christian charitable organization with a huge range of services.

Goodwill (

Our Mission

Goodwill Industries International enhances the dignity and quality of life of individuals, families and communities by eliminating barriers to opportunity and helping people in need reach their fullest potential through the power of work.
Our Results for 2011
  • People served through employment and training programs:  4.2 million
  • Mission services provided: 107 million
  • People who earned a job with Goodwill’s help:  189,000
  • Estimated total earnings of people who earned a job with Goodwill’s help: $2.95 billion
  • Personal and family support services provided: 10 million
  • Total revenue generated by Goodwill organizations: $4.43 billion
  • Total revenue spent directly on programs: 82 percent
  • Total number of donors (includes repeat donations): 79 million
  • Total number of retail stores: Over 2,650 and an online auction site,
On the Goodwill web site, I found a great article: Organization Tips to Take the Stress Out of Summer Travel.  Check it out if you're hitting the road this summer!

Salvation Army (

Salvation Army's services include adult rehabilitation, housing & homeless services, disaster relief, elder care, youth camps, community care, combating human trafficking & pornography, and more.  They also have churches.  Salvation Army, founded by William Booth, has a long history of honoring both the Great Commission (words) and the Great Commandment (deeds) of Christ with a good balance of "soup and salvation."

How can you help Goodwill and Salvation Army accomplish their missions?
  • Donate items to be sold in their thrift stores: furniture, clothing, toys, bikes, electronics, household goods, etc. You can either call them to come pick it up, or you can drop it off at their stores.
  • Give money.  Simple!
  • Volunteer.
Additionally, you can donate your United or Delta frequent flyer miles to Salvation Army to help relief personnel get to disaster areas, military families to be reunited, and children with unusual medical needs to get to specialists.  You can also donate a car to be used in the adult rehabilitation program.

This post will be linked on Monday at for their Thrift Haul series and to the Homemaking Link Up on Wednesday.

Resourcefully yours,

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Evening Nature Walk in the Neighborhood

Dear friends,

An evening walk in the neighborhood, noticing and appreciating the beauty...  Even though it was 8 PM, it was still pretty light out.  I was triple-tasking -- fast walking for exercise, talking on my cell phone for community, and taking pictures with my iPod for beauty.  It was an hour well spent.

I hear the birdsong, the frogs, the crickets.  
I not only hear, I listen.
I not only see: I look, watch, observe, savor.
We have lived here for 19 years and this tree is just around the corner.
I'm sure I've seen it before, but somehow I don't remember it.
Have I ever truly noticed it - and then just forgot?
I don't know what it is. Not a tabebuia,
the other brilliant yellow flowered Florida tree
that grows here and blooms for a week or two in the spring.
Not with the fanned leaves.

(My second cousin Margaret e-mailed me after I posted this,
and suggested that it might be a mimosa. 
I am inclined to think she is right!)
A little closer...

Same tree, but now you can see
the silhouettes of the leaves against sky.
A little different perspective: from below the canopy of leaves,
you can barely see the flowers.

Pink crepe myrtle blossoms

Look more closely now.
See the red berries?  Or are they berries?
See the bud opening up in the upper right,
with triangular sepals?
See the structure of the branch, twigs, smooth green leaves?

Another street, another crepe myrtle,
this time with white blossoms.
Variations on a theme.

Sand and leaves in the gutter,
unlikely beauty in unexpected places.
It has been raining here.  The water is a sculptor.
The varicolored sands are the paint.
The shape of the sand looks like India
adorned  with a green and brown garland.

Look at the delicate green
and the frilled fringes of lichen
on a fallen tree branch...

and a circular patch, almost flower blossom shaped,
that I almost didn't see,
tucked away as it was on a live tree.
I was already thinking "lichens"
and so it popped out to me -
more variations on a theme.
Did you know that lichens are not just one organism,
but a symbiotic combination of fungus and algae?
The design of the natural world astounds me -
so much complexity bound up in the
seemingly simple beauty.

Shapes, colors, textures, however transient -- whether in a floating cloud, on a discarded branch, a quickly wilting blossom, or fashioned of gutter sediment -- still beautiful.

Take a walk.
Open your eyes and ears.
Join the feast of beauty.

What is in your neighborhood?

For a companion post, my skyscapes during storms and sunsets: Sunlight in Storms

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