Happy New Year Best Shot Monday!

Elliott and girls-1

Happy New Year! We've been home in Jacksonville for the Christmas break, so we're enjoying all the things we love to do at "Home Home," as we call it. One of those is going to the shelter here to photograph the shelter pups, and I had helpers this week!

Elliott and girls-2

Usually my girls volunteer with the cats or behind the scenes at the shelter - whether in Jacksonville or Tallahassee - so it was fun to have their help with the dogs. Sarah is pretty hesitant with big dogs, but clearly Elliott won them both over. I love this series of shots. Such happiness here. From all three of them! May your 2020 be filled with just as much joy.

Elliott and girls-3

Elliott and girls-4

Elliott and girls-5

Elliott and girls-6

Best Shot Monday: Where Does the Time Go?


I was going through some pictures this weekend and came across this. Good Lord, where does the time go? How it is possible that these two are juniors in high school and driving themselves around. One of my students works in my office as my assistant, and she just turned 21. We were talking about my girls and driving and cars and I said, "Ya'll just grow up too fast." She said, "I know!  I'm 21 now!" So I guess those doing the growing up sometimes feel it too. 

I was talking with my girls about college and where they might live, and we were talking about dorms vs apartments. Sarah seemed a little concerned that I didn't mention just living at home. When I told her that, who knows, I might head back to Jacksonville full time when they start college, she said, "Oh no, Mama. I may act like I don't want you around sometimes, but ya know, I really still need you to be in the same town at least." That was a biggee for that one to admit!  Liv, she'll be the first to say that she wants to be wherever I am, but Sarah is far more independent. Yep, they grow up too fast. (and yes, that bunny is still around...)

Best Shot Monday: Toodles!


Meet sweet Toodles. As adorable as she is, she's getting overlooked in the shelter. Can you believe a dog this cute has been waiting for her forever family to find her for more than two months? Outside, she is really a dream. She has great leash manners, sits super sweetly for treats - as demonstrated by this photo! - and she takes her treats very gently.  So why hasn't seen been adopted?  She's just a little over enthusiastic in her kennel, so people are walking right by her. So remember! When you are walking through an animal shelter, don't overlook a dog because she is a little hyper in her kennel.  Depending on the shelter, that dog may only get out of that kennel for 10 to 15 minutes a day, if that. There are dogs in shelters that hardly ever get out for walks. Adopt, don't shop and you'll meet super sweeties like Toodles!  As of this post, Toodles is still available for adoption at the City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center.   

November Free Bling Friday!

November 2019 Free Bling
Hello there and welcome back to Free Bling Friday! Congratulations to Kristi in New Jersey, a new newsletter subscriber, who will be adding October's Free Bling to her mailbox. Thanks for putting your name in the hat by following along, Kristi! This month, I wanted to share something that might bring a little sparkle to the upcoming holiday season. I've topped pretty green glass briolettes with Swarovski crystals and sterling silver accents. These little briolettes are a little differently shaped than the ones I normally use for this style. This style of earrings is one of my most popular!

To get your name in the hat to win these little lovelies, leave me your first name, city and state, and a way to contact you in the comments below no later than midnight EST Thursday, November 28. If you haven't already subscribed to my monthly newsletter, click here to subscribe and you'll receive a reminder each month for Free Bling and another entry. Newsletter readers get a Free Bling entry simply by replying to my monthly email as well as access to subscriber only discounts in my Etsy shops over there in the right column and my website. Share this post on social media and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for one more entry for a total of three chances.

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date and either "no comments" or a number of comments depending on when you're checking in. Click on the "comments" and a comment box will open. Giveaway open to U.S residents only. I would love for you to help me spread the word and share this post with a friend or two! Thanks for stopping in! 

Best Shot Monday: More Puppy Sweetness


The Daily Dose of Awesomeness and I try to help out Tallahassee Big Dog Rescue with photos at least once a month or so. It's hard to work into our schedules at times because TBDR only does adoption booths every other Saturday. Throw in my work travel schedule and the girls busy marching band and social calendars, and it can be challenging! TBDR is a fully volunteer-run organization, and all their animals are in foster homes. They are a great bunch of people, and their founder DeeAnn Maxfield is a wonderful woman who helped us search for our Molly when she went missing a few weeks back.

Thankfully, we found a recent Saturday that worked. And we photographed a lot of puppies! Several of them got adopted that day, including this little cutie, Zimara. This is one of my favorite ways to photograph small dogs when my girls are helping me. We don't get the best background when we are volunteering with TBDR because their adoption booths are at PetSmart, so we have a little spot behind the store.  And, as you might guess, there have been many people who've said things like "Oh, you have to adopt that one! She matches your daughter's hair!" My girls have also started volunteering at the City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center with me, so they are working hard on earning their Bright Futures scholarship hours!  

Presence ...

Presence page

Sometimes little messages come to you without even realizing it. Ever have that happen to you? When I was pulling this journal page together, all I knew at the beginning was that I wanted to use the big sunflower I cut out of a magazine and some napkin bits. I had both those parts pretty much coming together and felt like it needed a little somethin' somethin', so I dug though my scraps pile and found that presence scrap. The word and the definition were actually together on a vintage flash card type thing, but the spacing didn't work right so I cut them apart. I was just "looking" at the words, not really "reading" them. Does that make sense?

It wasn't until I was completely done with the page that the full meaning and the use of flowers jumped out at me.  And that gift of presence! After reading that, I realized I could quit beating myself up for not getting my website updated (ya know like for months now, given that I finished my #100daysofshinythings project in July)!  I hadn't made the time to do it because I was too busy being present.  So I was actually a little proud of myself.  Like I mentioned in my last post, I tend to stretch myself a little too thin, but I do my level best to be as present for my girls as possible. Since I have so much work travel, that time at home is precious. So things like getting my website updated tend to take a back seat.  I'll get there!  Working on a few uploads each week!  Hop on over and take a peek. I finally listed a few of my handmade journals, which I've been promising for months!   

Best Shot Monday: Because Sometimes You Just Need to Hold a Puppy....


Meet Harry. Of course, he really didn't need a glamour shot because puppies are always adopted quickly, but sometimes you just need to hold a puppy, you know?  I've been in one of those states for about six weeks now.  I try to teach my girls about social media and remind them that all that perfection they see on Instagram is not real ... those people have real challenges, too, just like everyone else. 

Mamas fall prey to this sort of this thing, too, though for me, it's not so much social media comparison of my life that gets me. I think I feel that part more in real life than I do on social media. Some days, I know I just can't keep up! I don't spend a whole lot of time on Facebook - I have a few of my favorites set to see first, and then I get out of there ... so much negativity at times. And even though I usually try to just keep doing "me" and try not to worry about keeping up with everyone else, there are those days when the overwhelm hits and you - I - wonder how those "other moms" do it. (And then because you are so run down trying to keep up, you get the flu ... but that's a whole other story ...)

I try to remind myself that I'm juggling a whole heck of a lot, but I'll admit to getting a little jealous of mamas who don't work a full-time job outside of the home (though, yes, I know, those mamas have their own challenges, too .... I'm not trying to start a battle here ...). But we still try to do it all though, don't we? And heck, I'm 53 years old, quite a few years older than most moms with kids my age. I should know better! We're supposed to be older and wiser, right?!  Model by example, right?  I want my girls to strive to be their best and I want to be a role model, but sometimes I don't want to them to try to do everything I do. They don't need to hold down a full-time career, run a part-time creative small business, and hold down two volunteer gigs, on top of being be a mama and wife. It's funny though - my extras (my volunteer gigs and my creative endeavors) are what make me the happiest. The full-time career just pays the bills! So maybe that's another lesson to teach them?  Finding a career that doesn't feel like work is a magical thing ... I know I had something very close to that when I was still working on campus.

So back to that puppy ... which I get to play with through one of those volunteer gigs I love. Sometimes we all have those days, don't we? I admit that sometimes I get a little frustrated with people who come into the shelter who are clearly there just to play with dogs because they take volunteers away from those people who are there to really adopt, but now that I think about it, I get it. Sometimes you just need to hold a puppy ... they kinda make you feel like everything is going to be all right. We all need that every now and then, don't we?