Tuesday, December 30, 2008

December Challenge

This month it's my turn to choose the Photo Challenge. I thought the theme FAMILY would be appropriate for this month. So, put your thinking caps on and put your finger on the shutter button and click away. Show us who your family is or how you feel about your family.

Jan approved the new posting times:

30th 12:10 AM Original Challenge Topic Explanation
12:09 AM Emmy
12:08 AM Jan AKA Wammy
12:07 AM Kathy
12:06 AM Leigh Ann
12:05 PM JP
12:04 PM Gina

Ellis Family...Revisited

I was searching for family shots and realized that we don't have many. That could be my New Year's Resolution...take more shots of the family as a family. Two January's ago when Trevor, Cassie and Ellis were here for Christmas we had one of Cassie's friends from college drive up from Lexington to take pictures. Mark chose the park and we all met there. I only remember it being dreary, overcast and COLD...none of us had heavy coats. Let me just stop here and tell you what a fun time it is to get all these yahoos together for a picture. None of us really like having our picture taken.
John is a very patient man. He tried so hard to capture the family. He must have taken a hundred shots. I don't think there is a single shot where all of us are looking at the camera and smiling at the same time.But he did manage to get a few different shots of Michael. Now, there is one who HATES to have his picture taken. It is like pulling teeth. But if you take a picture of something he has made and sneak and capture him admiring his masterpiece...that's a way different story. I love this one thru the wall of the bridge. This one makes me smile...so I will leave you with that. And promise when Cassie and crew are here in a few weeks to take more family shots and post them later.

The Prytz Family

This is how Bob and I started out, on 5/2/1964, the second half of the collage is us, this year at a minor leage ball game. The joys of our life are our daughters, Carrie and Sharon. In the collage, at 2 & 4, dressed for Halloween, then at 16 & 14, posing for me with their braces still on. The bottom row are current photos, Carrie and Sharon.

Here are some photos showing how we grew, as a family. The first on is about 1986 at a LAPD Christmas party. Sharon, Bob, me, Carrie.

This one is about 1 1/2 years after Carrie had married Ole. They met on a blind date, set up by mutual friends. They were seniors at different high schools. They were put together because they were both so shy. During the first date they barely spoke to each other, but never dated anyone else. Their friends were pretty smart.

This last photo shows our family, as large as it got. It was taken about 1 year after Sharon married Marcelo. Marcelo isn't legally part of our family any longer, but he is very active with our extended famiily, because he's Odens' father.


ok...i know i'm late, but posting anyway. my family is truly a gift for which i am very thankful. we are not perfect by any means...but we are family! :)

i only have a couple of photos and they are old. the top photo was taken Christmas a couple of years ago and pictures myself (front, 2nd from left) with my 4 siblings and parents.

here are our grandchildren. this was taken last year and one wasn't in attendance. since this time, we've added another, and next year we'll have yet another addition. i jokingly told my dad last year that they needed to buy a bigger house as theirs was getting smaller every year. :)

this has made me realize that we really need to try and get everyone together for more family shots.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

GAG #9: Giving Thanks

We have just ventured into the season of thinking about our blessings. We come from so many different backgrounds that I thought it would be interesting to see and hear how different families mark the coming and passing of Thanksgiving. Maybe a picture of who was seated around your table...a memory from you childhood...or your favorite dish, including the recipe to share. The sky is the limit on this one.

Thanksgiving Memories

There was a time when we got up at 4AM and drove to KY to stand out in the cold and help people with the preparations for the Thanksgiving Day Race. We would work the race and then we were off to O' Charley's or TGIFriday's...somewhere where someone else cooked the meal and cleaned the mess up after. When I was a little girl we would drive all night to Indiana to my Great Uncle and Aunt's house. All the cousins would show up. We would sit down to dinner with about 25 relatives, so I knew and some I didn't. It was always warm in the house because there was a really big fireplace...one that you could almost stand up in. Uncle Paul had an old barn with donkeys and an indoor pool. The men would go out rabbit hunting and the rest of us would play games, sleep, watch TV or go outside to see what we could get into. Before those years we would go to my grandparents house with all our cousins and have dinner. I have always been surrounded by lots of family members at Thanksgiving. Except for those years we were in WI. This year we had to put only one leaf in the table (we have four...so you all are invited next Thanksgiving). We had the traditional meal, a whole turkey that Emmy doctored up which turned out really good...my speciality mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing requested by Bryce, Emmy's green bean casserole, my favorite sweet potato casserole, Miss Connie's cranberry salad (Mark's favorite), warms rolls, Michael's favorite, corn and carrots...Michael's special requests . Sarah's all time favorite, pretzel salad, and cranberry sauce in the can (yuck, but Em and Tini love it), an apple pie, a pumpkin pie and a new dessert made for all those that don't do well with sugar, a layered chocolate dessert and the all time favorite... sweet tea. I was going to post a picture of the pretzel salad but when I went to take the shot the dish was in the dishwasher. So I guess I'll jsut share the recipe without the picture...

Pretzel Salad
2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup melted butter
4 tablespoons of sugar
Mix all of the bove and press into a 9X13. Bake at 400 degrees for 6 minutes. Cool completely.
Cream together 1 (8oz) cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 (10oz) cool whip
Spread over cppled pretzel crust.
Mix 1 large strawberry jello
2 cups boiling water
Add 2 (10 oz) bags of frozen strawberries to jello. Stir until slightly thickened and pour over cream cheese mixture.
Cover and place in fridge for 2 hours .
We missed having Cassie and her family with us...but they are going to get to come in January, so our table with be full to overflowing. Let the chatter and endless ribbing begin!


On my table were two favorite dishes that my family feels deprived if I don't serve them on both Thanksgiving and Christmas. The first is the jello salad that my Mom always made, served in the bowl she always used. The bowl is over 65 years old. It's one of those dishes that you know how to make by osmosis; orange jello with pineapple, carrots and celery. The second dish is Upside-Down Pumpkin Cake. This is a fairly new recipe for me, the last 5 or 6 years. I decided to serve my apple cake last Christmas and my grandson, Oden, was very disappointed; not that he didn't like the apple cake, but he REALLY wanted the Upside-Down Pumpkin Cake. This year I introduced a new recipe, Corn Casserole, I believe we have a new favorite. It was a real hit.

This year my table is pretty plain. We started with only 4 planned for dinner, Bob and I, and Sharon and her son, Oden; then my oldest daughter flew in from NC, for a surprise visit; then my Mom cancelled her plans so she could join us, too. She hadn't seen Carrie for 4 years! So we became 6; Jan, Bob, Carrie, Sharon, Oden

Jan, Oden, Carrie, my Mom, Bob

Jan, Carrie, my Mom, Bob, Sharon

My favorite memory of Thanksgiving is from the first Thanksgiving dinner I cooked after I was married, I was 21. I invited my sister and her husband, my parents, Bob's parents and sisters, and my sisters' in-laws. So there were 12 of us for dinner in our small one bedroom apartment. Every thing was going well; I made my pies, both pumpkin and apple the night before, and done most of the prep work. The turkey was roasting, about half-done, when the heating element on our electric oven stopped working; (and I'm having 12 for dinner). I knocked on a couple of neighbor's doors, until I found some one home, who would loan me their oven to finish cooking the turkey and cook the yams. Good neighbors are truly priceless.

I'm actually thankful for many things. If I had to pick one thing it would be my family, I'm very lucky, we're a unit. When my daughters grew-up and spread their wings, they never left us behind, we're still part of their lives and I'm very thankful for that.


Thanksgiving is usually at Mom's and Dad's. All of us bring food, but Dad smokes the turkey and Mom makes the cornbread dressing and sweet potatoes. This year half of the family wasn't going to be present for one reason or the other, so Dad smoked a turkey breast.

Dad has always been particular about how things are sliced...he likes it even and just the right thickness...so he generally does the honors.

I've noticed over the years that their house has gotten smaller and smaller...the grandkids have gotten married and are now bringing great grands in...so we got in the habit a few years ago of serving buffet style.
I love Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for and it's one of the few times that most of our family gets together in one place at the same time. As I mentioned, this year there were a few missing, and I always hate when everyone isn't present, but for those who were there, it sure makes it special. Here are 2 of my grandchildren.

This is my 3rd and newest grandchild...he is 4 1/2 months old and such a happy baby.

Here is my son. He usually goofs off when I'm trying to take his photo, but I was very pleased with this one. I may even frame it.

One of the main things I am most grateful for this year is my Mom. She has been sick a lot this past year and is finally feeling better and getting some strength back. I am so happy to have another Thanksgiving with her. Here she is pictured with one of my brothers.

We had a wonderful Holiday, and I hope all of you did as well. God Bless you all!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Photo Challenge #8: churches

All last weekend I took pictures from the car as we would pass an old country church on the back roads in Amish country. They all for some reason tended to be a little blurry...DUH. This was the best shot I could get. I love the darkness of the entire picture. They weather that day was so overcast. But yet there is a brightness for the fall season in the browns and oranges in the shot. The door and stoop are dressed for the season. Very inviting don't you think? I wonder what the pews look like? I imagine them being darn warn oak with no padding for comfort. I can only imagine what the stained glass windows look like on a bright day. Can you hear the congregation singing Amazing Grace or the Doxology being accompanied by the piano? And what about he choir...maybe ten ladies and three gentlemen? I can hear some babies crying. And I can also hear the strong voice of that country pastor telling the wonderful story of salvation. Wonder if anyone will come forward to be baptized on the Sunday?

Feel The Love

Emmy has chosen the topic for this months photo shoot...churches. I think back to all the churches we have been members of. And then I think of the all the wonderful people who are the churches I have 'grown-up' in. There is the church not far from home that I attended when I was little and later on was married in. The church that I attended with Mark where I became serious about all this God stuff. The church not far from my first church where I was baptized. And where the church family let me spread my wings and try things with their children. Then we moved away from our roots and moved to Ohio where we searched and searched for a church home. We finally decided to bloom where we were planted. This was our home-away-from-home-church. I was also privileged to be able to work with the children and youth of this church. And again...it is the people that make the church not the four walls and the steeple. Once again God uprooted us and we had to find a new church home far, far, away for all those we hold near and dear. Our new church was not like anything we had ever experienced before. The hugeness of it was so unfamiliar. But the love shown was the same. Friendships that are everlasting no matter where we go to sleep at night. And one last move to our church now that is on the other side of the city. All that to say that I wanted to show you all of these buildings of churches but unfortunately, that is not going to be possible. But I want you to feel and understand that it is defiantly not the church building that makes the church. It is the people within...that love you no matter what, that will drop whatever they are doing if they know you need anything, those that share even when they don't have much left for themselves, those who will cook for you when they know you need it most, those who will give the shirts off their backs, that will drive hours to surprise you, love your children as much as you do, make you feel like family, call you just to check in, will send pictures of their kids and grand kids because they know you care, contribute to a whim, call to invite you to important gathering at their churches, who will cry on the phone with you, will give you a hug with no words because they are hurting just as much as I was...I could go on and on. I love my 'church people' more than they will ever know.

P.A. Churches

I could have easily submitted some photos from Salt Rock U.M.C...the country church I grew up in. But I did spot a few neat ones on a recent road trip to Pennsylvania. There's this one spot right off the busy interstate that always catches my breath. I love it! I believe it is in Cumberland Maryland. But its in a quick turn and no quick simple access off so all I can really provide is non-quality photography. Its a fast drive by hang out the window type photo shoot so its more about quanity than quality with this one. Look at all of those churches! I don't even think I captured the other ones nearby. I just love that quick view. They all sit nestled in a valley.

The last photo is somewhere? in Pennsylvania... I have no idea where-it was just right on the way to our destination. What you must envision with this picture though is that the church sits a top a hill...all alone with the cemetery. Its just plopped right there on the side of the road with the autumn hills all around it. The hill side kind of reminded me of God's outstretched arms around that little simple church. It was very quiet and still with a subtle breeze there. So serene. And so welcoming to just "be still".

This was a fun category. I didn't have a lot of time to put into it but can you just imagine a portfolio of all of the churches and their beauty! They are everywhere. And there is something about a church. I think its because people know there's so much more than the building. Its a safe haven. It represents love and unity and most of all...it is God's House.

*I like the silence of a church, before the service begins better than any preaching. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mission San Luis Rey, Oceanside, California

I thought I'd show a church that is uniquely Californian.  We have 21 missions in California, founded in the 1700 and 1800's by Spanish priest.  They worked their way up for South America, through Mexico, to California.  Some of the history of the missions is very negative, but today, we are left with the current beauty.

This is the front of the church. Built in 1798, San Luis Rey is the largest of the 21 California Missions.  It's nickname is "King of the Missions"; it covers 56 acres.  It is a historic landmark, and is operated by the Franciscan Friars.  They receive no funds from the Catholic Church or State or local governments.

These are the flags of welcome, at the Mission, U.S.A., California, Mexico and Spain.

This is the entrance and interior of the graveyard at the Mission.  There were some interesting sculptures, and a lot of trees.  Most of the trees had small wind chimes in them, to catch the breeze.  That made the environment very serene.

The Mission has all types of native plants this collage shows types of cacti and succulents.

Once a week the Indians that lived at the Mission walked down all these steps, to do their laundry.  The water flowed out of the two gargoyles.  Scary stuff.

The grounds of the Mission are full of wonderful flowers, too.  Most of the flowering plants survive on little water, this is arid California, after all.

I hope you enjoyed this mini-tour of the Mission San Luis Rey.


i love old churches. here are a few i've collected. this is a replica of the tabernacle of the Old Testament period....taken this summer on a tour of the Holy Land in eureka springs, ak, on the grounds of the Great Passion Play.an old church in germany....i wish i could remember how old. :)st louis cathedral on jackson square in new orleans...i wonder how it fares today after hurricane katrina.... i liked this old quaint church in nw georgiaa pretty wedding chapel in the great smoky mountainswhen we were in the san diego area a couple of years ago, we passed this beautiful church several times. it was just off the interstate. i thought 'ethereral' every time i saw it...especially at night when it was all lit up. i had to snap quickly as we drove by...after several attempts, i finally captured a shot i liked.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Photo Challenge #7: Strange Things In Nature

I have learned and finally understand that God has sense of humor. Just look at all the different and unique things in nature. For example...I have never ever seen a mushroom like this as long as I have lived or been digging in the dirt. Come along and see what Emmy, JP, Kathy and Leigh Ann have come up with on this strange category.

You can check out their blogs if you click on their names. I'm sure they would love the company and you could even leave them a comment.

Nature is the art of God. ~Thomas Browne, Religio Medici, 1635


So I still don't have a working battery for my camera, yes, I know that I am lazy. So I went throuhg my pics that I took from the plane window on the way home Seattle last summer. I don't really know that it is really to strange but I so think it is pretty cool. I think that it looks like those relief maps that you have in elementary school, (onlya prettier)

Amazing Glories

I didn't think I would have too much trouble with this category. Oh, but yes I did. And I was the one that came up with this brilliant idea. Okay, strange things in nature. Maybe I should consider taking a picture of everyone in this family, including the dog. We are a strange bunch around here...just ask the neighbors...they will tell you.
One morning when I was walking the dog around the yard...our morning ritual when Mark is out of town or I am up and moving while he is taking Sarah to school...
I was checking on the status of the bottles. We had a little bit of wind the night before and I was checking to see how many bottles on the bottle tree had survived. And this is what I found.
There were several bottles with morning glory vines inside the bottle. I guess they were trying to keep warm and knew that if they went into the bottle it would be like living in a greenhouse. I really have no clue or understand the reason that the flowers grew and bloomed inside the bottle. Strange for sure. I decided not bothering them would probably be the best bet. Today after working in the yard, I went back to check on the bottles again. I counted five bottles with flowers blooming inside. Really...amazing.

Grody Beetle Thingy

For some reason I had great difficulty with this category. God knows theres tons of strange things in nature! I even considered snapping a picture of myself...after all I am a creature made by God. But lucky for me the other night in the church parking lot was something strange. Leigh Ann was even there to witness it in "real life". And she can vouch for its gross-ness and strangeness. In fact, she was the one with the handy camera in her purse to help me out with this entry. It is very strange...I have no idea what it is but it did get crunched by our sweet youth standing around looking at it after our little photography session with it. In the car as we left Nathan asked Aly (who contributed to the bug crunching fun) "What did that little thing ever do to you?" Okay it wasn't little and it was so nasty. But guess he has a point...it is one of God's creatures...just like us.

"It's not a bug - it's an undocumented feature.”

spiders are our friends (?)

this is a category i'm sort of prepared for. i'm always seeing something in nature that i find interesting or amusing or amazing or breathtaking or even disgusting..and, yes, even strange. God, the Creator, only does things all the way. so there's always something to discover Him in. and it seems to me that even if i've seen a thing a thousand times, it can be new - can be seen in a different light. the past month or so i've been watching a spider outside my dining room window. i'm not a big spider fan. usually when they're around me they end up smashed or flushed. my aunt linda always says "spiders are our friends"...i guess that's true, but i'm not in love with them. i've left this one alone, though. it has fascinated me. busy busy busy all the time, building and rebuilding a web connected on one side to the edge of the roof of our screened in porch and on the other end to my grandmother's rosebush. spinning and spinning over and over again. gives it a place to be. gives it a way to get what it needs to live. sometimes there's nothing stuck in the web. sometimes it hits the jackpot. this picture was taken on a jackpot day....it had whatever the green creature is (looked like a grasshopper to me) and some daddy longlegs to wrap up for later. after that it was back to work, repairing the rips in the web that its sustenance had caused. it's interesting to me that the very thing it needed is what tore down what it had been working for. hours of labor taken down by what turned out to be a blessing. spiders seem to take it all in stride - they're just doing what spiders do. if my 3 boys were reading this right now, at least one of them would be saying, "i know, i know...there's a spiritual lesson in this."....guess what? they'd be right!! so now i'm asking myself if i live my life like that. do i just do what a leigh ann does? work and labor and build on this life i'm given. some thing or some circumstance or some one flies in and tangles things up. instead of seeing it as tangles...as inconvenience...do i look at it as a blessing? or at least try to find the blessing in it? if i can't recognize the blessing, do i at least see the lesson? God has a reason for it all, good and bad. so i believe there is something to learn from everything that comes my way. everything that flies into the webs of people i love. doesn't mean i have to like it. just means i need to pay attention and learn. this is not a new lesson for me. but i seem to need reminding. maybe spiders (at least this one) really are my friends.