God’s Timing

Before I start in on today’s theme, I must say how ironic I find it that my last entry was about priorities and for the last week, I have let things slip. (just an interesting observation)

prov-3_5-6  Today’s reading was a lesson that I needed. Yes, I have always believed tht “God’s timing is best”, but I am usually more happy about that AFTER THE FACT.

Today I was pointed to the story of Abraham and Sarah and how they had to wait until old age before they had their first child.

If you want to work with Me, you have to accept my time frame. Hurry is not in my nature.

At the end of the reading, the question was asked. “What are you hurrying for?”

Unfortunately, I had a ready answer, and I must admit it’s very much on the selfish side.

An empty nest…

I know, I know, but My husband and I are approaching our 32nd anniversary. It’s my first marriage, but his second, and his daughter was almost 6 at the time.  A little over a year later we had a daughter of our own.

In an effort to keep this short, I won’t be going into all the details. At this point, both girls are still living at home. More accurately, they are both living here again.  The younger one went off to college and the older one moved back in a few months later with her daughter after her divorce.  That was ten years ago.

There is often a lot of drama, not to mention extra expenses and don’t get me started on how crowded it feels so much of the time.

Our older daughter got married again, but her husband moved in with her here. Our granddaughter is now 16 and I always wonder what it would be like to have a grandchild come to visit so I can spoil them.  I sometimes feel cheated.  The younger daughter is 30 and still single. She moved back in before finishing college due to medical expenses and is still trying to make ends meet.

Yes, it is a selfish desire. My initial thoughts were not about my girls. To be honest, I am thankful that I don’t have to worry about where they are and what they are doing most of the time.  I am sure they all have their days when they wish that they had their own place as well.

I said I was going to keep this short, so I won’t go on and on about our situation. I included a picture in this post of a sign I saw at our local Hobby Lobby, and it could not be more appropriate.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart.  Prov 3:5

but I can’t ever look at that verse without thinking about the rest of them

and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.

Trusting in the Lord is a must when it comes to His timing. I know there is a reason for all our circumstances, and I certainly have difficulty understanding what those reasons are.

The Bible also tells us in Ecclesiastes that there is a “Time for Everything…”

There will be a time when the girls have their own lives away from home, if that is what the Lord has planned. Until then, this is me, being thankful that all are happy and safe.

I STILL believe that God’s timing is best,  it’s actually PERFECT!




Priorities and Peace

I’m sure some of you are thinking.. “What a strange title”, but I have discovered that there is actually a correlation between the two. Let me clarify: It depends on ones activities. For me; I find myself at my computer playing mindless games and doing things that let no thoughts f2bc2fa3a9586e2c7c89ef257ba70b79of God and his peace in. Concentration on the games is so great, there’s no room for such thoughts. I’ve even been known recently to get so upset that I think words that have almost never entered my mind before. “Damn” is certainly not a peaceful word. I haven’t actually said it, but we all know that thinking it is just as bad.

This is where priorities come in. If I was prioritizing my life in a wiser manner, the other things I have to focus on also leave my mind open to God and His thoughts toward me, especially if I take the time to read his word before I start my day.

Today I guess I got a little more focused on myself instead of what I could share with anyone who might read this. If there is something here, though, that benefits even one person, then it was worth the effort of tapping these keys.

May God bless your day with Peace as you let Him help you set your priorities.


P.S. With Christmas fast approaching, I’ve got a lot of better things to be doing anyway.

It all begins with Thanksgiving…

…and I don’t mean the holiday.

Today I want to talk  about giving thanks. This idea has been building since Thursday.  In my Devotional Journal (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young) the topic for these last few days has been laced angel-on-a-shelfwith giving thanks.  This is definitely something we need to do EVERY day and not just on a holiday designated for it.

  1. Sit quietly in his presence, let him fill your heart and mind with thankfulness. This is the most direct way to achieve a thankful stance. Focus on His love and all that He has done for us.
  2. Thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity.  We’ve all gone through hard times; whether it be losing a loved one, not getting a job that was desperately needed,  and the list goes on…  Being thankful for what we have (or the memories of what we had) changes our focus and yes, takes away the sting and helps us to move on. 
  3. Thank him frequently throughout each day. This is a whole new approach (for me) to the idea of “praying without ceasing”. If we are serious about learning to pray continually, the best approach is to thank Him in EVERY situation. 
  4. The more we thank Him, the more we are made aware of things around us we have to be thankful for. We live in a fallen world, blessings and sorrows intermingle freely. We cannot focus on adversity and let it defeat us. If we thank Him at all times, we can walk through our darkest days with Joy in our hearts because of His presence.
  5. A life of praise and thankfulness becomes a life filled with miracles. Instead of trying to be in control, we need to focus on Him and what He is doing.
  6. Every time we thank Him, we acknowledge that He is our Lord and Provider, and then we can Cast ALL our cares upon Him, knowing that He cares for us. Join me in taking him the sacrifice of gratitude, and watch how He blesses you.

What I have written above in blue is a paraphrase of what Sarah has written for the devotional journal. 

I do find that if I am thankful for what I have and for what He has done for me, it is easier to go to Him with my needs. In so many novels I have read over the years, people are afraid to come to Christ because of the life they have lived. They feel that they are not deserving of it. None of us are, but that’s the beauty of it… While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us and he doesn’t want ANY of us to perish without Him.  How can we not be thankful for that?

Take a moment and look around at what you have to be thankful for. It could be big things, or even little things, but start today and let this practice build in your life and you will be more and more aware of Christ in your life and that is what you can be MOST thankful for.

Have a blessed day.


Tears, tears, and more tears…

Yesterday was a very long, hard day.  I recently made contact with someone from the past who wanted to pay an amazing tribute to my Dad on his Facebook memorial page.  It was quite long and very touching. It brought tears to my eyes.  But it didn’t stop there. Several people posted comments and the tears flowed again and again. (I’ll give tribute to him another day).

If that wasn’t enough, we discovered that one of our dogs was very sick. She’d been totally lethargic for over a day and it was decided to take her to the vet.  She was much sicker than any of us realized and she had to be put down. More tears… she was only three years old. 

I wonder sometimes how people can go through life and seem so heartless. I’ve been accused of that myself, especially when it comes to animals. Yes, I can get attached, but sometimes, I feel that they are “in my way” and that’s the way it was with Ashe. There are five other people in this house that were/are devastated. Yes, I cried and I was sad, but I found it quite easy to move on. I do, however, feel sad for the rest of the family and even for the dog that we still have, he is definitely missing his companion. I can and will be supportive of everyone but they may or may not see it a enough. 

I am one of those who chooses to see (and look for) the good things ahead.  Yes, Ashe will be missed, but I am thankful for the memories she gave us. She really was a good dog, she was just big, and it seemed I was constantly tripping over her (literally). But she brought joy to my family and I hope and pray that after their tears, they will be able to move on as well. 



rainbow-vector-1 This is obviously not my picture, but it serves the purpose for today’s topic.  I would have used one of mine, but apparently I don’t have any, and if I’d had my camera with me the other day, I would have had multiple chances to take a shot or two.

My husband and I were on our way to the coast on a particularly misty day, and spread across the sky was a bright rainbow. After looking a little closer, we discovered it was a double rainbow. The position of it was such that it looked like we would actually be driving under it. We enjoyed it for awhile and then went on about our day.

Later that day, as we were heading home, we were blessed to see another one. Although it was not a double, it was just as beautiful. Still later we had to go out of the way before going home and were privileged to see one more. I remember thinking, at the time, how thankful I was for God and his promises.

God’s promises are something he always keeps. it’s in the Bible; Psalm 89:34 – “I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered.” NIV

To me, that is His promise that covers all promises. I don’t know where to begin when it comes to all he has promised us. In looking for some inspiration, I came across a blog that is dedicated to his promises.  Check it out here:  365 Promises.com

Before I close, I must submit one of my favorites…  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

That is so assuring, no matter what my circumstances, I know that God will not let me down, which actually brings me to another promise…

We have but to “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.” Luke 11:9   God’s promises are all around us, I plan to seek more and I just KNOW I will find them.

In Him,



Be Kind

Be Thoughtful

Be Genuine,

But most of all. . . be Thankful



“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever”  Ps 118:1

In my devotional reading this morning, I read something that made SO much sense. As a Christian, I should have been aware and thought along these lines a long time ago.

When we give thanks to God (no matter what our feelings – and there have been times when I honestly didn’t feel like it), He gives us joy (regardless of what we’re going through at the time).  It is often very difficult to give thanks when we are broken hearted or hurt by those we love, but “Give Thanks” is a command that is found throughout God’s Word. (This particular verse is found 8 different times) It’s a matter of obedience and when we obey (or disobey) there are consequences. When we obey, we are blessed even though the circumstances don’t immediately change.

So much of the time I find myself asking for things from God instead of praising and thanking him for what I already have. Circumstances don’t always change immediately, but if we add thanksgiving to those prayers, God changes us in such a way that we are more accepting of our circumstances and find them less of a struggle to get through.

“In EVERYTHING give thanks, for this is the will of God, in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thess :18

“Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.” II Corinthians 9:15


So, no matter where you might find yourself today and through the Holiday season, take a moment to remember all that Christ has done for you and give Him the thanks He so richly deserves.  — Be prepared to COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS!!


(This is not a photography post – but God’s grace is alluded to throughout…)

You have heard it said that Solomon was a man of wisdom.  In chapter 6 of 2 Chronicles we find a prayer by Solomon…

21 Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive.

22 If a man sin against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house;

23 Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.

24 And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house;

25 Then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers.

26 When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them;

27 Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance.

28 If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be:

29 Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house:

30 Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:)

31 That they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.

32 Moreover concerning the stranger, which is not of thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name’s sake, and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched out arm; if they come and pray in this house;

33 Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name.

34 If thy people go out to war against their enemies by the way that thou shalt send them, and they pray unto thee toward this city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name;

35 Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.

36 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before theirenemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;

37 Yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly;

38 If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name:

39 Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.

40 Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.

41 Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.

42 O LORD God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant.

Seven times Solomon beseeches the Lord to “hear from the heavens” the prayers of his people and to forgive…

In answer to this prayer…. 2 Chronicles 7:14


The Bible is filled with promises, I am most thankful that they are not EMPTY promises. My friend and I were talking on the way to church on Sunday about “cause and effect”  God’s promises are often in that form.  You see in the above verse “IF my people. . . THEN I will hear…”
 Too many of us have turned away from what we know to be true and right.  We need to turn from our wicked ways and seek God humbly.  “If you want change, PRAY!”
 This nation was founded on prayer and Christian principles, it’s time we got back to our first love.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
     As we talked about cause and effect, my friend and I were leaning more toward parenting and I realized that the cause and effect I often put to my girls was of a negative sort….  If you DON’T do this….  Then you WON’T get this.  I wish I had realized long ago that God’s way was better.  No regrets, just a long overdue observation.
My challenge to each of you (and myself) today is to humble yourself, seek HIS face and PRAY!  It’s not too late.

Apple Reflection Technique (a PSP Tutorial) further instructions.

It has come to my attention that not all who have Paint Shop Pro are familiar with scripts. I am going to attempt to write out some instructions that I hope you will find helpful.

  1. go to View/toolbars and select script.  A toolbar will pop up on your screen.

Script Toolbar

I use mine all the time, so I dragged it to the top of my screen and docked it,  

Image3Whether you dock it or not is up to you.  The following picture shows just two of the buttons on the script toolbar. These are the only ones you will be using at this time.


The circled button is where you will choose the script you want to use. In this case prepforstitching. 

choose your script

Once you have chosen your script  you can then execute it by clicking on the blue triangle.  There is a lot more to scripting than what I have here, but that is a lot more complicated and for another time.  Here is a link to a YouTube video that I hope you will find helpful: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOT2k2wlCG8  (update: I just viewed this and it’s a little slow-going at first, and after awhile it gets a bit complicated) be watching and hopefully I will find something that’s a little more clear.  Sorry about that.

I hope this will make things easier for you. 

Until next time,

Simply Sharon

Oh, before I go.  If, for some reason, you are not able to find prepforstitching, there is an alternative that is a bit tedious and time-consuming, but it is possible to come up with the same results:

In the earlier blog I mentioned using 5 images, but for time purposes, I would suggest using 3 images instead.

Start by choosing 3 images and resizing. And for calculating purposes I suggest resizing to 1000 pixels wide (with aspect ratio checked, you don’t have to worry about the height).

Now, open a new image and make it 3000 pixels wide and the same height as your images. Copy and paste each of your images into the new image. Arrange them as you would like to see them in your finished project and continue as instructed in previous post.

I sincerely hope that clears things up a bit.  Good luck to all.

Apple Reflection Technique (a tutorial in Paint Shop Pro)

First and foremost, I must ask you to bear with me. This is only my second (real) tutorial that I have attempted.  I first found this technique in a tutorial for Photoshop and I really wanted to give it a try, but alas, I have Paint Shop Pro.  It is such a shame that the two are so very different and often times it is extremely hard to convert the ideas from PS to PSP.  The terms are so different and certain things are not available in one that are in the other.  (But PSP is at least affordable 🙂 )

That being said, here goes….

I’m using Corel Paintshop Pro X7 – you should be able to use earlier versions.

        First of all, pick your 5 images. (3, if you want to start small) It is not absolutely necessary, but it makes it a bit easier if you open them into PSP in the order that you want them to be in your final image.

        Once you have your images, make them all the same size.  I like 1024 x 768.  I tried it once with smaller images, but the final product lost some of it’s clarity. 

         Here is where the fun begins….  In your script drop down, find PrepForStitching*  Before going any further, let me clarify, there cannot be ANY other images open (or even minimized) when you do this.  This will stitch your images together as seen here:


 There will be a pop up window asking if you want to delete the current layer, go ahead and select yes.

If your pictures are in the order  you want them, proceed to the next step, but if you want to rearrange them you can as they are each a seperate layer. Leave them that way for now.

Now you will need to resize your canvas without changing your pictures. To do this go to  Image/Canvas Size.    In your new dimensions type in 6000 wide and 2500 high, making sure you are working with pixels.  This will be a big image, but you’ll be resizing it when you are all finished.                             

 Background transparent, placement center; don’t worry about the numbers on the right, they are automatic. After you have resized your canvas, it will look like this: 


Each of those images are still separate layers.  At this point it is a matter of preference. I like to put a narrow (usually white) border around each image.  I do this by selecting the layer (magic wand/all opaque) and adding a new layer. From Selections menu, choose modify/expand  and add 15 pixels. (More or less, depending on how wide you want the border). Make sure your new layer is below the image you are working with and then flood fill  with border color.  Select image layer and merge down. Deselect and repeat for remaining images.

Once you have the borders applied,  go to the view drop-down and  select  “grid”  (ctrl+alt+G) , you will now want to resize the grid.  From view drop-down, select “change grid”.  Again this is a matter of preference, but I resized the current grid to 100 x 100 pixels. This is just to give you some guidelines.


Starting with the layer 1, hold down shift and press the left arrow 6 times to move image to the outside. Do this again with layer 5 and the right arrow.  Move 2 and 4 toward the outside, but press the arrow only 3 times.  Your images will now be evenly distributed and easier to work with. You may or may not want to add drop shadows to each image before going on. I find that with dark images, it doesn’t work as well.

 Now choose pick tool, set at perspective.  If you used the same sizes for your images and the same settings for your grid, then you can do this with the following steps: 

Beginning with image 2, grab upper left corner and pull it up two grid-lines.  With image 1, use the inside corner, pull it up two lines, and then on the outside corner by three lines.  Do the same with images 4 and 5. Once this is done, you can deactivate the gridlines in the view menu.


 If you want to leave the bottom of the images in alignment with the bottom of the center image, use “Free” instead of perspective, being careful to keep the vertical lines straight.

 Now  you will be moving the images closer together.  Just do this so they are where you want them.  Make sure the center layer is on top and the other ones are tucked underneath prespectively.  Once you are sure they are where you want them, merge visible layers.  Move merged layer up so it’s off from center.  Duplicate layer.  Making sure you are on the bottom layer, flip vertical, and move it so it’s just under the edge of the top layer.


 Add new raster layer and flood fill with black.

Select the bottom set of images and got to:

Effects/Photo Effects/Graduated Filter:   Select the far left style and the top preset.

If the shadow is not on the bottom as seen here, press the arrows  


 Keep adjusting until you have it where you want it. You may have to select okay and go back and forth until your image until it looks the way you want it to. You can do this by dragging the line up and down. (bottom blue pointer).

Once everything is the way you want it ,  you can resize (I set the width to either 1024 or 1500; lock aspect ratio, checked.

Here is my finished product.


 Below you will find my first and second attempts: (leaving bottom edges straight) 



The final image, as you can see, I had something different than the black background. I played with the blending modes until I got what I wanted and then added a couple of picture tubes.

I hope this is helpful.

*some versions might not have prepforstitching ( I can’t remember which ones, because I have continually upgraded) but if you don’t have it, I believe it can be googled and found.  If not,  then there is a lot more work in this process.  

See my next blog for the alternate process and a short tutorial on scripting.

Good luck and have fun!

Simply Shar♥n

You (2014) say Goodbye, I (2015) say Hello!!!

What a year!

January:  On the 16th, exactly one year after Gretchen left for her one-year Bolivian mission,  I arrived in Bolivia for a 6-week visit.  Half way through the year she decided she was going to make it a two-year stay.   It was both a long and a short 6 weeks, if that makes any sense.

February: It seemed like it took me forever to adjust to the different culture and when I did the rest of the time just flew by.  It was a once in a lifetime experience, and I’m glad I got to share it with my daughter.  It was the first year that Ned and I were apart on our anniversary (#29),  but we survived.

2014-02-01_0074 2014-01-31_0092

Similar to American Walking Stick?
Similar to American Walking Stick?
Large (but not the largest we've seen) Ant Hill
Large (but not the largest we’ve seen) Ant Hill

2014-01-31_0173 2014-01-27_0012 2014-01-27_0005

Typical Dress of the La Paz Señora
Typical Dress of the La Paz Señora
Proof that I did it!!
Proof that I did it!!
Local Culture
Local Culture


March:  Talk about jet lag…  I think I slept for two weeks after I got home.  Our oldest turned 35 and I’m feeling old.

April:  8th (I think) That morning Ned had decided to stay in the house instead of work on his new chicken coop.  It was a good thing he did. Long about mid-morning there was a crash in our bathroom.  The last thing I remember was looking in the mirror and thinking “I don’t feel so good…”  Ned called my name a couple times and when I didn’t answer he went looking for me. I had passed out and was laying in a substantial pool of my own blood.  In the process of his looking for head injuries, I woke up and vomited even more blood. That explained it.  After a day and a half in the hospital all we knew was that I had a bleeding ulcer.  We heard rumors of a bacteria called H-pi-laurie (spelling) that I could have contracted during my stay in Bolivia, but we didn’t get confirmation one way or another until two months later.

May:  After several weeks of weakness and dizziness, I finally was back on my feet enough to go on a road trip.  We went to Yellowstone and down by the Grand Tetons.  We didn’t see many animals, but we saw a lot of ice and snow.  Yellowstone Lake was mostly frozen over.  It was a beautiful sight.

05-19-2014_0404 05-19-2014_0360 05-19-2014_0461 05-19-2014_0470 05-19-2014_0558 05-19-2014_0565

June thru August:  Summer came and went rather quickly.  I will admit that I much prefer our NW summer to the South American Summer. It’s much drier, (less sticky) and there’s a significant lack of mosquitos and other creatures here at home. 

September:  Our granddaughter started High School.  We also started looking in earnest for Gretchen’s return trip tickets.  Oh, and another road trip; this one was limited to Oregon, in search of ghost towns:

IMG_0055 IMG_0065 IMG_0074 IMG_0110 IMG_0113 IMG_0123 IMG_0183 IMG_0252

October:  It was about this time that I let other things take precidence over photography.  I still had my camera, but without my PC and my laptop in the shop off and on for the last several months I guess I just “set aside” my hobbies for awhile.  With November coming and preparation for a table at our church candy sale and bazaar, I was busy with several other crafts.

November:  We spent Thanksgiving at the Church with several other members of the church and community. It was a very nice day.   The candy sale and the bazaar weekend went fairly well.  Saturday was cut short because of the memorial service held at the church for a very dear member and friend.

and all of the sudden it is…

December:  4th,  we were to pick Gretchen up at the airport around midnight, but her arrival in Mexico City was delayed by an hour, making it impossible for her to meet her connecting flight out of Houston for Portland.  The airlines provided a motel stay for her in Houston and we picked her up around noon on the 5th.   She has been home for 4 weeks, now, and is still acclimating to the change in the weather.  But she’s here and we couldn’t be more thankful. It was so nice to have the whole family together for Christmas again.

This next picture in a lot of ways sums up our 2014:


2014 seeemed to weave back and forth all over the place.

These aren’t exactly new year’s resolutions,  (I’ve never kept one, yet),  but my hope is to establish a better routine in so many ways.  With Gretchen home, she and I are working together at losing weight.  We’ve established a shared responsibility in keeping up with household chores and I hope to get back to my photography as well as finish the quilt I’ve been working on for over a year.  No guarantees that I will be back here every day,  but I will definitely give it  good try to be here more often than I was over the last year.

Welcome 2015!