Friday, January 30, 2009

Open Door Fellowship Ladies' Sneak Away

I think I mentioned before that I was in charge of coordinating all the food and refreshments for our ladies' (in town) retreat last weekend. We met on Friday night and much of the day Saturday, so we served dessert and snacks Friday, lunch and dessert Saturday, plus beverages thru-out, of course.

Everything went very well, from my perspective. Since it's been years since I've done an event for 120+ people that wasn't at a hotel or somewhere that had serving staff, I didn't plan for quite enough help for the physical labor. So unfortunately a few people (Wende - Thank you!) had to jump in and do things when they should have been able to just relax and enjoy. But otherwise the food and refreshments were well received. My friend, Michelle Mozingo was the chef and made AMAZING food. Here's a peek at the menu on Saturday. Yes, she made everything from scratch, except the breads! She really needs to start a catering business, which she kind of already does with her friend Beckie Ellis, but they just don't call it that yet.

French Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup
with Grilled Gruyere Cheese, Tomato and Fresh Basil Croissant

Jewish Grandmother’s Chicken Noodle Soup
with Grilled open-faced Baguette of Jack, Gorgonzola Cheeses, Pancetta and Apple

Irish Beef and Toasted Barley Soup
with Grilled Pumpernickel, Smoked Gouda Cheese and Parsley Tarragon Mustard Sandwich

Spicy Asian Shrimp Soup
with Fried Crab, Ginger and Cream Cheese Wontons

On Friday night she made some amazing dips with chips for snacking. Her Artichoke Lemon Basil Dip makes my mouth water just thinking about it. I have the recipe and am going to try making it for Super Bowl Sunday. I'll let you know how it turns out.

And for dessert on Saturday, Michelle, her husband Rand and the rest of the kitchen crew made a delicious puff pastry with rich chocolate ganache topped with a touch of mint sauce. Wow! It was good!

Plus my dear friends, Linda and Beckie Ellis, and 7 other ladies of all ages and seasons of life shared for about a half hour each at the event. The theme was Jeremiah 29;11 and you can see more about that on Linda's post here. I also got a similar necklace to the one shown on her post.
I was in and out of the room a lot during the speaking times because of my tasks, but from what I heard, there was laughter, tears and huge amounts of real life stories with vulnerability shared in that room. I heard the messages were awesome. I can't wait to download them all and listen to what the Lord had to say thru these ladies. You can find them all here to download. I would highly recommend them!

Unfortunately, since I was busy with the food, I didn't have time to take any pictures. The room looked gorgeous though with a black, silver, white and seafoam green color scheme. Very modern and clean. All in all it appeared to be a success all the way around and now they're planning a retreat at Lost Canyon Camp in Williams, Arizona this Fall. It looks like a great location and should be a blast.

But now that our ladies event is successfully finished I need to move on to some much needed projects at'll see a little of what's on my list on my next post. Right now, I need to ignore everything else and work on the book that I'm giving as a thank you gift. Can't say much about it now, but will show it later. It's coming along well.

Note: Last night we went to a Suns game and had a tour of the arena with Alvin Adams! Ginny, dad will be excited about this one. I got his autograph and a picture taken standing with him. That will be coming soon. Have a great weekend everyone, if I can't get back to this before that.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Check out this adorable video!

All I'm gonna say is that it has cute little puppies.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Follow up on the last post:

Just a couple of responses to the comments on the last post. Thanks for those who read my blog. I guess sometimes I just get insecure and you know me, I love a good conversation so the comments really motivate me to do more.

Re: the philosophy of touch up vs. not touching up a photo. Here's what I read in a photo magazine that kind of made sense to me. If you make slight changes in a portrait especially of a significant event in your client's life, (nothing extreme, just things like removing a blemish, evening out skin tones, removing stray hairs that might be in the wrong place, taking a few unsightly bulges off here and there) your subjects will feel beautiful when they look at your photos of them. They will see the most complimentary photo possible and will then want to have you do more photos of them and their families in the future. Plus, those who see their photos will feel the same way and want you to also do photos for them. As long as the changes aren't extreme, it feels to me like you're just putting together everything in the photo as if it was the perfect shot. These are pictures that people will be looking at for generations and you want them to be represented in the best possible way, but still represent who they really are (on their best day). Of course, you wouldn't do these kinds of edits on every photo. Just a few of the significant ones that could be hung on walls, etc.

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Am I alone?

No comments on the last 3 posts. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm writing this just for myself or maybe it's just that my content isn't interesting. Let me know. Of course, Ginny tells me that she reads it to Terry's dad, but she doesn't comment, so I guess there's one person out there reading sometimes.

My crazy busy weeks are starting to settle down and hopefully I'll catch up on posts soon. Of course, I'm a social person, so may need a little confirmation that I have at least a small audience out there.

Linda, I'll try to get the Mozingo ones posted soon for you.

Fun news! I've started taking a Photoshop Elements (non-credit) class thru Scottsdale Community a few hours a week. My work is paying for me to go during work hours as long as I go back and teach it to two of my bosses, which will give me good practice anyway.

It was not a good sign that I was probably the youngest person in the class and it moved pretty slow with the "older" folks trying to follow along on their computers. But it appears that the teacher knows a thing or two at least about the technical aspects of Photoshop Elements. I looked at his website (here) and overall it's pretty average. He's quite a traditional portrait photographer, but hopefully has good knowledge of Elements tools.

My main goal is to get familiar with the various tools and how they work, so I'm hoping this will help.

The first class was excrutiating in pace, but hopefully they'll get that under control in the coming classes. After the overview and intros, etc. the teacher showed us a few quick processes that were pretty cool. Amy, he had some tips on making people look better in portraits, which was great! Things like fixing someone's eye that was half closed, doing a little nip and tuck with the extra bit of fat along the jaw line or waist line, enhancing color in the sky when it looks too washed out. You may already know all of these, but if you ever want to hear what I found out, let me know. There might be some tips that you haven't learned yet.

The assistant in the class is Diana Gunning. I looked at her site and she has some interesting photos in her "Pets" & "Cards" categories. Some cute, some strange, some a bit disturbing...especially the ones of the tarantula. Really! I do like some of her photos in the "Artwork" section. These are more representative of some of the creative things you can do with photos, hopefully with Elements.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to this class and an upcoming full day Nikon class in February. I get really excited when I have time to play with my photos and do creative things with them.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Can you believe it? Neither can I! No time to post any details, but here are a couple of pics that my friend Julie took of our group at the Cardinals game yesterday.
You know, the game that they WON and qualified them for the SUPER BOWL? It's still unbelievable!
If you click on the tailgating picture and look in the background, that guy has a satellite dish and plasma TV in the back of his truck. Pretty funny! But he wasn't even one of the most hard core fans. You'll have to come back to see some of them.
We had a blast with some of our great friends and our seats were awesome! It was well worth the money. Wish we could go to the Super Bowl, but that's pretty much impossible unless we were to win a contest or something.
Come back to see more details soon.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cardinals update:

We were able to sell all the tickets to friends, so the 8 of us (Thrushes, Faddis' and Jones') are going to the game early to tailgate and take in the excitement. We're told that they should also have about an hour of pre-game festivities in the stadium so we're excited to see what you don't get to see when watching the game at home.

As mentioned before, it's a busy week so I may not get pictures up right away, but after the 23rd it's smooth sailing for a while and I can get caught up on my blogging!

Hope someone is still left out there to read them.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sharon's journal from Kuwait (Part 5)

I've got a busy week coming up! (Nancy, not Sharon - although I'm sure she's busy too.) She's busy helping soldiers in much less happy ways than I get to help people around here. I'm glad she's there to help.
  • I helped with a 1/2 day event at work today
  • Planning a (post-holiday) Ladies' New Year dinner for 13 for Monday night
  • Coordinating all the food for a Ladies' Sneak-Away local retreat at our church for around 120 next Friday/Saturday.
Needless to say, there's a lot to be done. Pray for me for stamina, focus, creativity, attention to detail and lots of volunteers. I didn't plan it this way, they just all kind of fell close together on the calendar. So instead of writing more about me, I thought I'd post a new journal entry from Sharon in Kuwait. Here are a couple of pics that she sent too.

Outside the wire there is nothing. Nothing but dirt, dust and sand, nothing. The perimeter wire is a very tall fence topped with razor wire, like the ones surrounding prisons. Inside the wire is more sand, dirt, dust topped by concrete buildings, beige tents, blast walls, bomb shelter bunkers and military tactical vehicles.

But there are small signs of life. Underneath a camouflage net, a little way from the bunker, a watermelon seed grows in a pot placed on a homemade picnic table constructed from scrap lumber. I am told that a soldier who planted it now lives at Walter Reed VA Hospital as a Wounded Warrior. He was so desperate to see something grow he dug the seeds from his watermelon at lunch one day. He found a pot and some dirt and planted the watermelon seeds. He nurtured and watered the seeds, until he got wounded and was sent to the hospital.

His battle buddy found the plant while cleaning out his friends hooch after he was injured. He brought it down to the table for sunlight, where he waters it regularly. The watermelon plant is now 3 inches tall and growing here in a war zone, in the middle of the barren desert, inside the wire of Camp Arifjan. There is a sign of life here now. A sign of growth and nature. A thing to be nurtured and cared for and coaxed into creation. A seed of Hope and Faith . A spark in this place of dreary lives and landscapes. A seed is growing in this place. Imagine that, a seed growing, so tiny and fragile.

Growing the way all of life and hope begins, from a tiny seed.

Quite a different world she lives in right now, huh? Pray for her as well, for stamina, creativity, compassion, patience and that she continues to see God's beauty in such a desolate place.

If you want to read more about Sharon's journey go here.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


And we are going to the game on Sunday!!!

I have 9 drafts of various posts still to complete but this one had to rise to the top of the pile because I'm VERY EXCITED about it!

For those of you who don't watch pro football, you may not be aware that this seems to be a year of upsets in the playoffs. Our underdog AZ Cardinals beat the odds yesterday by winning against the Carolina Panthers on the East Coast where they hadn't won all year. And today the Philadelphia Eagles beat the top-seeded NY Giants, so they're coming to Glendale to play the NFC Championship game on our home field.

We have never been to any AZ Cardinals' games since we moved back nearly 5 years ago. In fact, the last time we EVER went to a pro football game was on our honeymoon in December 1977, when we saw the LA Rams play the Atlanta Falcons. (I know, I know, what an awesome wife I must be to go to a football game on my honeymoon ;-)

Anyway, it's been a long stretch in between, BUT Terry and I decided that this is probably a once in a lifetime chance to go to a playoff game and watch the Cards, so we took a huge gamble and Terry got online at 2:59 pm today (for the 3 pm sale) and bought 8 tickets in the end zone - row 17. Andy and Julie are buying 2 of the tickets and we're in touch with a few other friends to see if they want to buy the other 4. We're really looking forward to an amazing time with a tailgate party and all!!!

The good news is that the game sold out in SIX MINUTES and we have 8 of those seats. So, if we don't sell the tix to friends, we'll put them on the ticket exchange where our area is selling for about triple what we paid for them. Woohoo! Of course, Terry's still worried that we won't be able to sell them, but he worries about all that kind of stuff. I'm sure we'll be fine.

By the way, did you catch the article about Kurt Warner and his faith in the AZ Republic this week? What a cool guy! Definitely someone that worth cheering for.

So if you're going to watch the game on Sunday keep an eye out for us in the end zone, row 17. We'll probably be wearing Cardinal red like everyone else. LOL If you miss it you'll be able to catch my recap with photos and all right here soon afterward.

Another amazing bit of trivia...if they win they're going to the SUPER BOWL! That's unbelievable.


Friday, January 09, 2009

Christmas Sunday
As mentioned before, we waited to do our Christmas until Amy & Andrew were there on the weekend.
Notice Shredder in one of her favorite sunny spots. Her tail kept knocking down the trees on the window sill. She's so funny and oblivious.

Terry and I opened our Christmas Eve PJs and ornaments on Weds, but stockings and the rest of the gifts waited until Sunday. This is me in my new soft flannel pajamas, not too heavy so I can wear them longer in the year.
Amy & Andrew opened their Christmas Eve gifts on Saturday afternoon. This is Andrew's pirate ship ornament. He really likes pirates! Amy posted a pic of the camera ornament that we gave her on her Teegan Photography blog here.

Here's also a photo of Amy's new pj's and some new socks that Andrew's mom gave her. Doesn't she look cute and comfy? Then she's modeling her green cardigan from Julie, her mother-in-law and her red slippers. Classic Christmas colors!

Kevin called on Sunday and we gave Amy most of the time to talk to him, since she hadn't spoken with him in quite a while. She was excited to get to spend some time with her brother. We had time to talk to him on Christmas day, so we were happy to share. It was sad not to have him here, but at least we got to hear his voice and catch up a little with him. More to come about him in another post. We did find out that he's in Afghanistan now, and not Iraq. We miss him!

I thought I'd show you an example of one of the tags that Terry wrote. He started the tradition of the creative gift tags and Kevin and the others have carried on the tradition. There are some standards that I always get, from Terry like: To Lady, From the Tramp, or he'll write the name of the artist on a CD like: To Nancy, from James (on a James Taylor CD). So it's always fun to try to guess what's inside based on the tag. Kevin's tags are much more random and unpredictable, but lots of fun too.

Terry was fortunate to find out that he gets a $400 reimbursement from his employer each year for any money he spends on fitness related expenses. Could be things like gym membership, exercise classes, even Wii Fit. This year he chose to buy himself 2 new golf clubs, so they were like Christmas presents, but we got reimbursed for them. Cool huh? Now he just needs to get out there and actually golf. Note how close his club is to the overhead light. Fortunately he didn't break anything.

We all got great gifts! Way too many to list here. I especially like my digital picture frame and can't wait to get pictures loaded and take it to work. I also like the book on how to use exposure in photography. I've started reading it and have signed up for an official Nikon 1-day photography class that's coming to town. I also got permission to attend a class on Adobe Photoshop Elements during work time, since I can use that for some of my projects at work. I'm very excited about learning and using my photography more for gifts, projects, etc. this year!

Later in the afternoon I tried a new recipe for a seafood chowder that turned out pretty well. We served it in bread bowls with a green salad on the side. Mmmmm I'll post pictures on this later.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

White House Week:

We have been watching a week's worth of multi-hour shows that were on C-Span a few weeks ago all about the history of the White House.

We had a chance to tour the White House up close and personal when we were there about 10 years ago. I'd love to go back to DC any time and spend a lot more time there. It's an amazing place.

Wathcing these documentaries has been so interesting to learn about all the physical changes in the White House over the years, the inside story of the rooms, how things work there and all the wonderful historical artifacts that are accumulated and even used on a daily basis there.

We saw interviews with people who work in the White House flower shop, chocolate shop, pastry shop as well as several of the Chief Ushers, who basically run everything behind the scenes there. I find it so interesting and would love to hear more stories from the staff about daily life.

One position there would be just perfect for Kevin. It's the position of White House Military Social Aide. Social Aides serve as an extension of the President and First Lady in their roles as official host and hostess of the United States. They help to ensure guests have an enjoyable experience at the White House by assisting with introductions to the President and First Lady during receiving lines, the guests' seating, and the overall flow of events. The program averages 40 Social Aides from all five military services. Basically it's a person that assists any guests that come to the White House and just helps them to feel comfortable. They answer questions, ask questions to help relax the guests. Kevin is so good at making friends with anyone that I think he would have a blast doing this. Imagine the people he would get to meet! Wouldn't that be cool? Not that he couldn't do much more challenging positions in the White House, but I think this one might actually be fun for him.

We also just watched a 2 hour show about the Lincoln White House and a Q & A afterward with the author of 31 books about Abraham Lincoln, Harold Holzer. Can you imagine writing 31 books about one person who lived long before you were born? Wow! Talk about a lot of research. Now there's a reading list for you.

There are things about good ole Abe that remind me of my dad. He was also quite tall and thin and I imagine Abe with similar mannerisms. Kind of quiet, but intimidating with his strong silence and careful choice of words. What an amazing man Mr. Lincoln was! He overcame all kinds of adversity, educating himself and becoming one of the most important men in the history of our country. What an inspiration!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Blogging Trivia:

Interesting note for the beginning of the new year : I posted 136 times in 2007 and 141 in 2008 (an increase of only 5 posts) and I wasn't even keeping track. I averaged a post every 2.58 days. I wonder if I can do better this year?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Christmas Week Activities continued...

6 different gatherings in 10 days - 4 of them at our house from Christmas day thru today.

Yes, I'm pretty exhausted and really not too excited about going back to work tomorrow, but there's no way I'd complain with all the time I've had off in December. I was really pretty conservative on the photography this season, but got a few good ones, I think.

I already posted about our delayed Christmas Eve on Saturday, 12/27 when we got to hang out with Amy, Andrew and a few of our dear friends. I actually missed posting our Perkins Christmas gathering on the 26th but will do that now, for those who want to keep things orderly.

We went to my sister, Diane's house, since we did Thanksgiving and most of our recent Perkins gatherings at our house. Her place was pretty "cozy" (read small) and we didn't even have everyone there. I think next year we should do Christmas either at our house or Sharon's since Diane's place is just too small with the tree and all. It also made a difference that it was too cold to go there was no place to really spread out. But we made do with what we had and I think everyone had a good time. Diane's boyfriend, JD (pictured with the red & green gift bag) made pans and pans of lasagna and even made a veggie one for Ashley. How nice of him. A few of us brought other side dishes and we had a great meal.
Some also brought little gifts for Hope & Steve's "little" ones who are not so little anymore, Kassidy, Jacob & Joshua. It's strange to think they I am their Great Aunt. I thought Great Aunts were always like 90-something. I think they're always confused about my role a little anyway, since they have another Aunt Nancy also. Anyway, it's so fun to see them enjoying their gifts. The little game that Kassidy is so excited about above is from an activity book that we got for her. Makes me happy that we picked something they's so hard to know sometimes.

We also did a white elephant (food related) gift exchange and came away with a few goodies to share with friends.

We had a random group of folks this year. Good news was that my brother, Pat was in town for the first time in a while and Bunny dropped by as well. Sad news was that Sharon, Dustin, Steve, Kevin, Amy & Andrew and others weren't able to be there this year, so we missed them.

We also learned that Lisa and Hope's grandfather (Diane's former father-in-law) passed away on Christmas Day, which was hard on the whole family since they were all very close to him. He will be missed by everyone. He was a dear man.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year!
Yes, the holidays are technically over, although we have a Friend's Get together tonight and one last Christmas Gathering with Terry's family tomorrow night, then my mom's 85th Birthday on Sunday. I'm going to be exhausted when I go back to work on Monday.

Tell me what you think about the new look of the blog. Is it too much? I think the dark color brings out the colors in the photos. What do you think?

I posted a link to a few of my Maui Favorites on the on it to take a look at the slide show.

So I'm starting to research the possibility of printing a book of my blog, just for historical keepsake purposes (ie. grandchildren may someday want to look at it and all the photos I take won't go totally to waste). My research so far indicates that you can't do it easily with Blogger, so I may switch over to TypePad so I can do it. We'll see...let me know if you've heard of a good company for this.

I'm also working on a book of highlights from our Maui trip thru Blurb. I LOVE their software! It's so easy and looks so professional with tons of template and color options. Once I'm done I'll post the link so you can see what it looks like. I'm on page 30 or so and I'm only about half way thru the vacation. It's going to be awesome!
Note from Sharon in Kuwait (Part 4)

Laying in bed one morning, peacefully sleeping in my pod/cell/closet and I hear the camp-wide loud speaker screaming...
"Wha, Whaw, WHAW"
"Put on your gas masks. Put on your protective gear."
"Put on Your Gas Mask! Put on Your Protective gear!"

While I am stumbling and fumbling around my pod wondering who is screaming at me and why and where the hell is my gas mask and gear. Wondering if I am dreaming and thinking it may have been a good idea to take the gas mask out of the box and try it on previous to this
insanity. My heart begins to beat a bit faster and I am now fully awake.

The next voice I hear says, "This is an exercise. This is only an exercise."

What a rude awakening! I cuss to myself and go back to bed. I return to my sleep thinking about what kind of crazy life I got myself mixed up in this time.

More posts about her adventures here.