I'm posting this on January something, 2011
but dating it December 31, 2010.

How did the year end?
Some comments and photos follow.

I think I've determined the reason this blog
gets so many hits on the September 20th post.
I named my bendable car companion "Bob",
but there is also a Sponge Bob which is bendable.
So, searches on "Bendable Bob" list that post.

I read a total of 53 books in 2010.
The book count isn't particularly important,
but since I've been logging my books since 1986,
it's easy to make a count at the end of the year.
This is a fairly typical count;
my highest is somewhere over 100,
my lowest is in the 20s.

I've given myself permission to
end my Blessing cards project.
Very freeing;
it was becoming a chore, not a pleasure.
Instead of 100, I have 75.
An acceptable number.

I didn't post to this blog every day of 2010 as planned.
I quit on December 19th.
Just quit.
And didn't miss it.

Also, I've almost totally quit taking photographs.
I think I will resume; I just need a break.

I got my ears pierced on December 30th
(my first and probably last piercings)

Anne and I got tattoos on December 27th,
her third, my second.
We have identical tattoos
and we can add accessories with marker as the mood strikes.
Happy faces, anyone?
( Jan ???? )

Most everything else that's happened this year
was posted as it happened.

Here is a final "You are here" . . .

and a close-up of the oil spot . . .

A reflected good-bye to 2010 . . .

The end.
Thanks for reading.


Ian's snowman . . .

Theresa reading "The Polar Express" to Ian . . .


Walked to the mailbox this morning;
took some photos on the walk back down the drive.

When I copied them to the computer,
this one stood out (no edits) . . .

With CoffeeShop's Grainy B&W action . . .

With CoffeeShop's Lustrous Pop action . . .

With CoffeeShop's Orton action . . . my favorite . . .


Anya explores . . .

Leftover faces . . .


CoffeeShop Blog posted a Grainy B&W action.
These photos are from Spring Mill this past October . . .


Walking to work this morning,
there were little ice motes falling from the trees . . .

Looking directly into the sun . . .


Sent to me (on my cell phone) from Emma.
In the drip tray of the coffee machine . . .


The tree went up on Saturday afternoon.
Ornaments . . . 

were hung with care . . .

The result . . .


I went searching for a cup hook to add to
the seven cup hooks already on the mantle.
Then I remembered that the toolbox has needed straightening
for a  l.o.n.g  time.

The toolbox and the supply box . . .

The toolbox had become a jumble of tools, parts,
and items of questionable value.

After a bit of work and a consultation with Vince,
the toolbox now contains only tools.
All the plumber, electrician and carpenter supplies
will be added to an existing box of similar things in the cellar.

The supply box only has items
which might be used by me
such as picture hanging supplies and felt protective pads.
The trash will be taken out.

The result . . . toolbox, box going to cellar,
supply box and trash bag in the back . . .

Why was I looking for a cup hook?
Because yesterday evening, I finished this . . .


Theresa and Ian made a village of gingerbread houses . . .


The Christmas cards are here!
And they should be mailed tomorrow . . .

We used Vistaprint this year.
The ~5"x7" cards are printed on the glossy finish (which is standard)
and come with envelopes.
The paper itself is a heavy photo paper; it feels great.
So instead of using the envelopes,
we are going to mail these as postcards
and save on postage.

[Update:  5x7 is too big to qualify for postcard rate;
we had to buy First Class stamps.]


Two faces sent to me . . .

from Lee this morning:
"Looked down and saw this. good morning mother"

from Theresa in a restroom . . .


No edits on this;
I just leaned out the car window when I stopped at the end of the drive.
It was a gorgeous sight as I was leaving to have dinner with Anne and Lee . . .


When she was 4 . . .

Today, she is 19.
Happy birthday, kiddo.


Theresa made sugar cookies on Saturday evening . . .

Aren't they pretty?
Goal for this month:
finish the five partially-read books on my book stack
and also read my book group's selection for this month,
"Traveling with Pomegranates".

January can start fresh without any in-progress books.


Snowed yesterday,
but here are my last four autumn photos.

All have ShadowHouse Creations textures . . .


Ian walked to the mailbox with me this morning . . .


Food for thought from "Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller:

If you don't love somebody, it gets annoying when they tell you what to do or what to feel.  When you love them you get pleasure from their pleasure, and it makes it easy to serve.

It is hard for us to admit we have a sin nature because we live in this system of checks and balances.  If we get caught, we will be punished.  But that doesn't make us good people; it only makes us subdued. ...  The genius of the American system is not freedom; the genius of the American system is checks and balances.  ...  It is as if the founding fathers knew, intrinsically, that the soul of man, unwatched, is perverse.

I am the problem.
I think every conscious person, every person who is awake to the functioning principles within his reality, has a moment where he stops blaming the problems in the world on group think, on humanity and authority, and starts to face himself.  I hate this more than anything.  This is the hardest principle within Christian spirituality for me to deal with.  The problem is not out there; the problem is the needy beast of a thing that lives in my chest

I know now, from experience, that the path to joy winds through this dark valley.  I think every well-adjusted human being has dealt squarely with his or her own depravity.  I realize this sounds very Christian, very fundamentalist and browbeating, but I want to tell you this part of what the Christians are saying is true.  I think Jesus feels strongly about communicating the idea of our brokenness, and I think it is worth reflection.  Nothing is going to change in the Congo until you and I figure out what is wrong with the person in the mirror.

What was more frustrating than the loss of exhilaration was the return of my struggles with sin.  I had become a Christian, so why did I still struggle with lust, greed, and envy?

I love to give charity, but I don't want to be charity.  This is why I have so much trouble with grace.

A few years ago I was listing prayer requests to a friend.  As I listed my requests, I mentioned many of my friends and family but never spoke about my personal problems.  My friend candidly asked me to reveal my own struggles, but I told him no, that my problems weren't that bad.  My friend answered quickly, in the voice of a confident teacher, "Don, you are not above the charity of God."  In that instant he revealed my motives were not noble, they were prideful.  It wasn't that I cared about my friends more than myself, it was that I believed I was above the grace of God.

I lay there under the stars and thought of what a great responsibility it is to be human.  I am a human because God made me.  I experience suffering and temptation because mankind chose to follow Satan.  God is reaching out to me to rescue me.  I am learning to trust Him, learning to live by His precepts that I might be preserved.

Andrew is the one who taught me that what I believe is not what I say I believe; what I believe is what I do.

Authenticity is an enormous value at [my church].  I love this because by being true I am allowing people to get to know the real me, and it feels better to have people love the real me than the me I invented.

Bill set down his coffee and looked me in the eye.  "Don," he said, "If we are not willing to wake up in the morning and die to ourselves, perhaps we should ask ourselves whether or not we are really following Jesus."

My friend Julie from Seattle says the key to everything rests in the ability to receive love, and what she says is right because my personal experience tells me so.  I used to not be able to receive love at all, and to this day I have some problems, but it isn't like it used to be.  My eye would find things on television and in the media and somehow I would compare myself to them without really knowing I was doing it, and this really screwed me up because I never for a second felt I was worthy of anybody's compliments.

He was saying I would never talk to my neighbor the way I talked to myself, and that somehow I had come to believe it was wrong to kick other people around but it was okay to do it to myself.  ...  I would not let myself receive love from myself, from others, or from God.  And I wouldn't receive love because it felt so wrong.  It didn't feel humble and I knew I was supposed to be humble.  But that was all crap, and it didn't make any sense. ...
And so I have come to understand that strength, inner strength, comes from receiving love as much as it comes from giving it.  I think apart from the idea that I am a sinner and God forgives me, this is the greatest lesson I have ever learned.

I think the most important thing that happens within Christian spirituality is when a person falls in love with Jesus.


I'm taking Jessica Sprague's free class, Inspiration Everywhere.
First assignment:  make a cover for your art journal.
I decided to retrofit my existing one . . .

Happy birthday, Em!


Two faces Anne found while home on Thanksgiving break . . .

p.s. It's snowing!#@!!#%!  And staying on the ground.
Is it officially winter now?


I had three of my photos printed 16" x 20"
at the local UPS store.
(Bonus - it's right next to the Starbucks)
They have a new large-format printer . . .


This morning's sunrise . . .
(straight from camera, no edits)

In person . . . awesome.
The closer a cloud was to the sun, the more vibrant.
The closer we are to the Son, the more vibrant.

Last song sung in church yesterday:
Great is Thy Faithfulness

So true, so true.


Yesterday was my family's Thanksgiving at my house.
I loved seeing all of you.

Abigail received her Christmas stocking . . .

Anya fell asleep on Vince's leg . . .


Thanksgiving was at Jeanne and Barry's house.

Door greetings from Jackie, Marci, Holly and Justin . . .

Some of the desserts . . .

The main course fresh from the oven . . .

and carving by Barry . . .

The ever-lovely Miss Jen
moonlighting as Lady Liberty . . .