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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

AUGUST PHOTO CONTEST, "NIGHT" THEME

Awww Ma do I really *have* to????

Some photo contests are easy to choose my 3 entry shots, basically because I have to struggle just to *get* 3 entries. And other contests are completely the opposite where I have about 5 or 8 entries and it's sooooo hard to cut any of them! LOL


The one we're working on now is "Night" shots, and I have a few that I had to leave behind when I picked my 3. Here's a sample of what didn't make the contest, and only because we can only have three. *wink*

1.



2.



3.



4.



5.



6.




(fellow contestants, read 'em and weep! Mua hahaha!!!)

What's going to be even worse is the contest after this one, "Cemeteries". I'll hazard a guess that I must have about 20 I'd love to enter! I might have to use the highly scientific and technical system of "eenie meenie" for that one.......

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This coming weekend our "Night" theme contest will be ready to go folks, so stay tuned! I'll post it here for you then.

Have a good 'un, and take good care of each other.

PEACE!
Love Jude

Thursday, August 21, 2008

THE HIPPIE CHICK ~ IN A WORD

The time of Vietnam and all of the slogans and protests that went along with it. "Make Love Not War!" The era of bell bottoms, hipsters, flowers in your hair, and the beautiful peace sign. The music that first paved the path for hard rock and heavy metal. Groovin' out to the Beatles, The Doors, The Stones, Cream, Steppenwolf and Led Zeppelin.

I am a product of that Hippie era, though a year or 2 too young to have partaken in any of the movements I dressed the part and rocked to the tunes. It's a part of me in a very big way, and those years hold memories for me that define me partly as to who I am today.

Growing up in a household with a loving but strict father in the military (and one who worried over the drug craze), even if I had been old enough to drop out and trip on the free love, I never would have just because of my upbringing. Still, I snuck out of the house bra-less when going out with friends (burn the bra!!) and yes I even tried marijuana and alcohol, although I didn't like them and immediately discovered they weren't for me.

It was exciting times. I wish I could live them all over again, I would!







Now 40+ years later and being a Hippie Chick at heart, my life took me in all sorts of directions; joy and deep pain, hard work and play. The learning of karma and life experiences (the School of Life is in reality the School of Hard Knocks sometimes) and I grew physically, mentally and spiritually. My life's priorities can be summed up with the 3 "F"'s: my Faith, my Family, and my Friends. And temporarily, that 4th. "F" which is "f*cking mentalpause"!

11 years ago when I had my "Naming Ceremony" (like a baptism) into my Spiritualist Church, I was named and given the meaning of my name. "Give thanks to God for the many blows of pain that drive you back to Him in harmony. You grow from pity and compassion, sorrow and grief, to your destiny in the Summerland. This is where you will find the joy of understanding ~ to walk with the growth of nature between your toes, to have the fields be your companion and to know your heart. Fulfillment will come when wisdom is your friend." I can't even begin to tell you how so much of that is already a Truth for me!

It IS the hardships that first brought me fully into my faith and my connection with it. And now it is even the joys that bring me closer. I actually "feel" more deeply and my eyes tear up more easily, often in a good way.

And because I know where serenity and peace are, I can find them so much faster when I need them. Not to say that I'm not human; I still react the same as I always did but I can find comfort where I couldn't so easily before.

I laugh easily, and enjoy the little things so much more! Yes, I FEEL more, I FEEL deeper, having discovered the depths of me that I never used to know were there. And it's wonderful.

If you want to know about who and what I am, think of someone whose heart cries out in pain for those who lose a loved one or a beloved pet. Think of someone who cries tears of pain and rage for a defenseless child or animal who has been abused. Someone who gives silent thanks for every beautiful sunset and for the sound of the breeze in the leaves of trees; the wonderful fresh scent when it starts to rain.

Think of someone who cherishes her loved ones and feels such humility at being loved by them and by her Maker in spite of her shortcomings. How can it be so??

This Hippie Chick is so blessed!


Take good care of each other, we're all that we've got!

PEACE
Love Jude

Saturday, August 16, 2008

CONTEST WINNERS!



Congratulations Mindy, you got the winning shot! (expect rotten tomatoes and cream pies in the face, any time now) *wink*

And congratulations also to the 3 runners up, Fullmoondolphin, Debs (et moi!) ~ who were all one vote behind the winning shot.


Thanks also to all the entrants for some truly beautiful photography. In essence you are all winners! And our appreciation to the voters for participating, the end of this month will mark the next contest which will be "Night Shots".


Stay tuned!

Hope you all have a good weekend, take good care of each other!

PEACE!
Love Jude

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A REQUEST FOR HELP

With her permission, I am bringing this to my blog and therefore making it "public" as it were.

My sister Brenda just found out that the tests from her recent surgery came back as positive for breast cancer. They have told her that they "got it all" in surgery and that it is it's non-invasive and low grade. Whatever that means.... it sounds hopeful though doesn't it? She is waiting to hear from the Cross Cancer Institute here in our city for information about what follow up treatment she will need. She mentioned the possibility of radiation.

Breast cancer doesn't "run" in our family so this is startling to say the least. Brenda has 2 children (well 4 with her step sons) a wonderful hubby, and 3 of us sisters all giving her lots of support. Today I am taking her as a surprise to a Spa near my place for a massage to soothe her nerves. Hell, I'm going through some minor (compared to her) stresses in my life right now so *I'm* getting one too. They've booked us into a "couples" room so that we can get a massage side-by-side and enjoy it together.





I am a firm believer in the power of prayer, and I'm asking for some help here in that regard. If any of my readers are so inclined, please would you keep Brenda in your prayers? Even just sending some positive and healing thoughts in her direction would be most appreciated.

I thank you all so much!

I will keep you posted......

Take good care of each other.

PEACE!
Love Jude

Friday, August 08, 2008

SELF PORTRAIT IN GRANITE

It's been nearly a year since my camera and I have been to my favourite type of place with my photog-partner, and last weekend sister Pammie and I hit a *new* cemetery. Groovy cool!

**Click on the pictures for a larger view, but use your "back" button to return here**

We've spent a lot of time at St.Joachim's Cemetery here in our fair city and it's still our favourite one, but so far this *new* one (new to us!) is a second place runner up. It's HUGE. And we spent somewhere around 4 hours I think (with a half hour for a picnic lunch included) slowly wandering around in one end of it; I'd say about 1/6 of the entire cemetery. There's so much more to explore there yet!
















As in all cemeteries of course there are far too many childrens graves, always a tear-jerker. In total I took 433 photos on this trip. Many of the shots I took this time I have had fun using some Photoshop effects like Blur, Soften and Glow. I've also used some desaturation (take some of the colour out) and done some black & whites. You will notice some of that in here. For me, the softening and glowing effects added a 'heavenly' quality here and there.

The weather on this day was perfection. Not too hot, a mix of sun and cloud, and it was windy to keep us cool. You may be able to tell how the wind gusted just by my flying hair and jacket in the first self-portrait shot.




There is a very large Canadian Military Veterans section that we spent quite some time in as well. (the other end of the cemetery which is many city blocks farther down, has yet another veterans's section!) I've got shots of stones from the RCAF (Royal Canadian Airforce), RCA (Royal Canadian Army, formerly 'Artillery') and even a NWMP (Northwest Mounted Police, which in 1920 became the RCMP ~ Royal Canadian Mounted Police). As with everything else here, I'm only sharing a wee portion of all the shots I took.











There aren't many places (other than just being out in nature itself) where I find so much serenity and a sense of beautiful peace. Cemeteries have a draw for me, and sister Pammie as well. It's one of our favourite kinds of places to be, and we can always feel it the moment we step out of the car.

My first experience with that takes me waaaay back to 1976 when our Dad passed away at the age of 49. The burial service itself was very difficult and sad, but afterwards when the day was over and everyone went home, my Mom and sisters and I found solace by going back to the gravesite and sitting in the grass by Dad and all the flowers; just reminiscing, talking to him, and finding support in each other. It was surprising to me then just how much peace and serenity I was feeling just being there. Being only 24 then and quite inexperienced in life, I didn't understand it. Today, I do.










Using the different Photoshop effects lends an interesting quality to an otherwise "normal" shot, and in this one what I used gave just the effect I was looking for.... "Angel Wings".

There are other beings in cemeteries too, many times we run across rabbits, squirrels, and many types of birds. This one, a gull, has earned it's own angel wings. I hope its journey Home was swift.

On this particular day we saw a lot of spiders, bees, crows and magpies. And the crows and magpies we heard too! I think that unlike the people who reside there, the crows in particular are never too keen on our presence.








It was a day well enjoyed, and we are both looking forward to heading back there soon. In another 3 weeks I am on vacation (staying home) and hopefully we'll get back here (and some other places) with our cameras again.











And lastly, if you haven't done it yet you can still head on over to Stardom Awaits! to cast your vote for the "Skies" theme Photo Contest. There's one week left of voting folks!

I hope you all have a great weekend, take good care of each other!

PEACE!
Love Jude

Friday, August 01, 2008

PHOTO CONTEST JULY 2008!

It's that time again folks, over at Stardom Awaits! July's theme was "SKIES" and we've got them all posted for your perusal!

There are some awesome shots and I know it may be a difficult task for you, but please choose ONE favourite photograph and click on the "Vote Caster" on the right hand sidebar to vote for your own choice.

The voting will be ongoing for about 2 weeks, and I will let you know here once we have our winner.

As always, the winner will be the recipient of large sums of money and golden trophy's rotten tomatoes and cream pies thrown in the vicinity of their noses by the rest of the photographers, LOL! Head on over to Stardom Awaits! and cast your spell vote!

Enjoy!


Peace,
Jude