Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Time to Play and a Time to Share (Featuring Hannah's Hope)

Dear friends,

I love holidays just because they are an extra excuse to gather the family for a meal.  One daughter was out of town with her husband, and one daughter was at work, but our other married daughter came over with her family for Memorial Day.  My husband did an amazing job grilling burgers, hot dogs, teriyaki chicken, and corn on the cob, as well as broiling salmon in the oven.  We also had delicious potato salad that Lydia made.  I didn't do much other than run to the store for a few last minute items and load the dishwasher.  

A Time to Play

The theme of the P52 photo project this week is Playtime, and my almost two year old grandson and my six year old daughter made the perfect subjects.  Oh, and then there is the cutie baby grandson, but he wasn't playing much.

Thumper the Bunny

 I keep a bin of toddler toys in our storage room
 for when my grandsons visit.
I have fond members of a certain toy-filled dresser drawer
in the guest room at my Grandma Hess's house in Pennsylvania.

We've had this pop-open toy for years.
It's great for learning to push, twist, toggle and flip switches
and then see a favorite zoo animal pop up!
The black and gold vest is from somewhere in Central Asia,
a gift from my globe-trotting father-in-law
when this little guy's mommy was born.
It's gotten a lot of use in 25 years!

This is the photo I am submitting to P52. 
I like the aerial perspective.  He has such soft hair, too.

He loved the toy so much that we let him take it home.
I can share!
The beauty?  It's one piece!  Less mess!
Daddy likes that!

Baby and Aunt

Making melodies.

I found the umbrella stroller on a
neighbor's curb with a free sign on it.
"Free" is my kind of Thrift Haul!

My little girl is always ready to tote around 
her favorite bear in it!
I had a larger stroller in my van
for when I have the grandboys,
but I' just donated it to Hannah's Hope (see below)

now that I have a smaller one to tuck under the seat.
A Time to Share:

Welcome to my new "A Worthy Cause" blog theme, in which I highlight charitable organizations that are making a difference in their communities and/or globally.
Like my sweet grandsons, all babies are precious!  But babies are also vulnerable and need protection!

Hannah's Hope is a crisis pregnancy center in Casselberry, Florida.  They compassionately care for women and their babies.  I always enjoy talking to the new director Elaine Deer (left), and today I also met office manager Amy Del Pozo (right) and another staff member Marty Finlayson (not pictured).
From their web site: 
Hannah’s Hope Pregnancy Care Center exists to glorify God and offer hope, resources, support and encouragement to women who may be facing an unplanned pregnancy.  Hannah’s Hope was founded on solid Biblical principles of hope, forgiveness love and compassion.  We believe that all life is precious and of great value including both the life of the unborn child and the life of the mother.

At Hannah’s Hope we treat each client with dignity, respect and courtesy.  As we listen to each share her story, fears and struggles we hold all information shared in the strictest confidence.  We offer the hope found In the scriptures and the resources that may be available to meet each individual clients needs. No one is turned away from our center based on race, age, or religion and all of our services are offered free of charge.  Hannah’s Hope has been blessed with a growing network of resources that assist in providing baby items, job assistance, food and clothing, prenatal, early childhood and marriage enrichment education as well as hosting an Access Site for streamlining needed government services such as Medicaid.

Hannah’s Hope offers our services in a safe, loving and nurturing environment.  No appointment is necessary.  We consider the women who enter our center as valuable to God and therefore valuable to us as well. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness….to give you a future and a hope, “ Jeremiah 29:11.

Words of grace on their wall...


A few recent donations,
including the stroller I brought
Models of unborn babies used
in educating pregnant mommies
about the reality
of life in the womb.
Hannah's Hope is a marvelous organization, and they gladly take donations of diapers, gently used baby equipment, baby clothes, money, etc.  They also need volunteers to help sort clothes, do computer work, send out mailings, etc.  Maybe you have a teen who needs volunteer hours for scholarships?  If you don't live in the Orlando area, why not find another local crisis pregnancy center to pass along what your children have outgrown or to volunteers?

Virginia Knowles

This post will be linked Saturday morning at:

Project 52 – P52 with Kent Weakley

You can see my other P52 photos here: P52 Photo Page


Simple Design's Share Your Thrift Haul

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Disney World with My Little Princess

Dear friends,

Though we've lived in Orlando for nearly 20 years, we rarely went to Disney World until this past year or so.  It's just so expensive to take a large family!  The big difference now is that one of my adult daughters is now in the employ of  "The Mouse" as a photographer, so she can bring in two or three of us at a time for free!  She took the boys last month, and was planning to take the little girls next month, but as it turned out, I had the opportunity to go with just my youngest little Princess this time and do the things that this six year old diva wanted to do, which meant NO ROLLER COASTERS!  (Sigh!)  Yeah, she got to do all of the little kid things like standing in line to get character signatures and riding on Dumbo.  It's a good thing that I brought an umbrella stroller for her, but she got very hot and tired.  We were guzzling water since it was in the 90's.  We managed to do about 20 things in 13 hours, and I took hundreds of pictures.  Here are just a few... Well, maybe 19?

Winnie the Pooh is my favorite
Disney character.
I like honey, too!

Yes, I stop to see the flowers!

I always notice little things like water, too!
This is at the Dumbo ride.

Donald Duck
Backstage with Mickey, Minnie, Melody and Mommy

It's a facade, actually a vinyl cover for the building,
which must be under renovation.
Main Street still has to look purty!

After several hours at the Magic Kingdom, we took the Monorail and the bus over to Animal Kingdom.  
As we arrived, we found we were just in time for a parade!

Melody wanted to know
how Mickey Mouse got over to
Animal Kingdom so fast when we
had just seen him at the Magic Kingdom.
I guess he took the bus!
(Shhh, don't tell!)
A cultural experience!
Disney tried to keep the atmosphere of
the different continents authentic!
Macaws on a nature walk --
my favorite tropical bird
Love the raft ride!  And we got soaked!

Rhino on the safari, which was our science class for the day.

"What is hiding there?" a woman whispered
as she saw me aiming my iPod camera at a rock wall.
"Nothing.  It's just rocks.  I like rocks."
I am odd like that.
Visual patterns intrigue me!

Back to Magic Kingdom in time for
a musical show at the castle stage.

Just in time for Memorial Day!

I hope you enjoyed our pictures!

Virginia Knowles

This blog post will be linked at the P52 photo project
The theme of the week is "Favorites."
I submitted the vibrant flag photo above.

Project 52 – P52 with Kent Weakley

You can see my other P52 photos here: P52 Photo Page

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Knowles Family Photo May 2012

My mother requested a new family photo with my husband and I, our ten children, two sons-in-law, and two grandsons so she could bring it to my 97 year old grandmother.  Happy to oblige!  We pushed two couches together and set up Joanna's camera on a self-timer.  Sixteen people and everyone smiled!  Gorgeous, huh?

The Silly Version
(Photo by Joanna)

Last year's pics, including plenty of candids: Mother's Day Pictures 2011

On my other blog today: Knowing That She Hath Wings
Virginia Knowles

P.S. My children gave me a frame with individual pictures of all ten children and handwritten captions.  They also fixed a delicious chicken dinner with biscuits, salad, fruit, chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting, pudding with Nilla crackers and bananas, and fresh squeezed strawberry-lemonade.  Pictures and recipes later! 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Weekend Gratitude: Still Life

Dear friends,

Saturday morning, I sat in my favorite chair in my bedroom, and noticed the silhouette of a bird fluttering back and forth outside the window.  I grabbed my iPod and quietly went outside and rounded the corner of the house, trying to catch a picture.  The bird was gone by then, but I realized I had been wanting to photograph our magnolia tree, and several new blooms had appeared.

First I tried photographing them on the tree, pulling the branch downward and snapping photos with one hand.  Then I climbed up a ladder and Naomi climbed the tree.   Finally, I decided to pick the one bloom I liked best and bring it inside to put in a float bowl, as I often do with flowers.  Just in time for the P52 photo project theme of the week: Still Life!  The first several photos are of the flower in the bowl, and the next several, though taken before this, are from outside.  Why so many?  Because even though magnolias are smooth white with just a tiny bit of yellow, the shadows add in an entirely new dimension, especially with the reflections of glass and water.  I just couldn't stop.  I actually took dozens more...


After playing with magnolias for a while, I hadn't had enough fooling around, so I tried on my daughter's Minnie Mouse bride hat and her sunglasses.

Outside OMA
My other grand plan for the day was to take some of my kids and some of our neighbors to the Orlando Museum of Art since I had heard there was free admission there and at 150 museums around the country if I presented my Bank of America debit card on the first full weekend of each month.  Unfortunately, when we got there, we found there is free admission only for the cardholder, not for their guests.  I had seven kids with me (two of my daughters, two of my sons, and three neighbors, and it would have cost a total of $35 to bring them in, so we left.  I'll go back by myself soon. 

Leaving the museum, I couldn't help but notice
the flower beds next to the drive lanes.
I especially liked the effect from my side mirrors.
What do you think?
Abstract art?

Since we couldn't go to the art museum, I figured we would at least stop at Lake Lily on the way home to walk around the lake and enjoy the playground.  It turns out there was a festival for people with Crohn's disease and colitis, so we were able to enjoy the bounce house, balloon animals, and a bit of food.
This duck walked right up to me!

I also noticed that the Waterhouse Residence Museum at Lake Lily
was open for guests.  We had to wait a half hour since there was a Girl Scout troop already touring it, but we enjoyed our time there. Built in 1884, it is furnished Victorian style.  Generations of the Waterhouse family lived there until 1989.  Since we have a Maitland address, admission was free; otherwise it is $2 for kids and seniors, and $3 for adults. The museum is open Thursday - Sunday, 12-4 PM. I'll do a separate post later for my Florida Field Trips series.

Another beautiful still life, this time in the Waterhouse Museum.

My son Andrew turned 15 today.  Four friends joined him for dinner and youth group, and two of them from our home school co-op are spending the night and going to class with us in the morning.  Tomorrow is the last co-op day of the year!

My daughter Mary and her husband Ryan brought their two boys over.  I didn't get pictures of Jacob (who turns 2 next month), but here are three of baby Isaac, who is almost 3 months old.  After the boys left for youth group, I enjoyed a chance to chat with Mary.  I don't see them often enough!

Things didn't always go as I planned this weekend, but sometimes the detour is the sweeter path.  It's still life! 

As John Fischer used to sing...

I used to dump the puzzle on a table
And put it back together in a day
But now it sits undone
The table's overrun
With pieces no one showed me how to play
In one hand I've collected all the answers
With the other I'm just trying to survive
Living on the ledge
Hanging on the edge
Is keeping every ounce of faith alive

It's still life
But not as still as it once seemed
It's still life
And I never would have dreamed
That the answer
Would have so many questions
He's the same
And it's still life

It's been a great weekend, but morning is coming all too soon!  Tata for now!
Virginia Knowles

This blog post will be linked at the P52 photo project.

Project 52 – P52 with Kent Weakley

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