Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Cheer!

Hello to all and a very Merry Christmas to you!  I feel blessed to be able to say that in my blog since our congressmen are not allowed to wish anyone a Merry Christmas in any emails or letters - how crazy is that??  But I digress (quickly!) - let's keep things cheery today!

Of course, I have the obligatory pictures for this post - why not?

Little children always seem to want a puppy for Christmas.  Well, what about having a dog who pushes the tree skirt aside and puts herself under the tree?

And then there is the tree itself - not sure why I haven't done this in the past but I've never taken a picture of the tree when it's lit!  Egad - I've been missing out! 

Two years ago we bought some after-Christmas poinsettias at the grocery store for $5 each.  My husband planted them after they had done their time that season and here is how they look now!

who lost their duck lips??

 And of course, Christmas in Florida wouldn't be the same without SOME kind of flamingo reference!!  Here is a card I made for a friend:

Last, but certainly not least, I have two YouTube videos to share.  The first is a poem written for our men and women who serve us every day - please remember them in your prayers!!  poem for our servicemen and women

The second one made me laugh out loud - I know I've sent it to many friends but here it is again:  digital announcement of the birth of Jesus

Christmas has been Christmas for thousands of years - why have it be ruined because of a few loony tunes?  So go on - wish your friends, neighbors and strangers a Merry Christmas and see how they respond - I'll bet they'll be happy you said it so they can respond in kind!!  :-)

Have a loving, beautiful and sweet Christmas - see you after the new year begins!

Warmest regards, VG

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas and crafting!

Hello to all and a Happy Day to you! 

Things get a little squeezed at this time of year but I wanted to note just a couple of websites you might want to peruse. 

First is the Tim Holtz "12 Tags of Christmas".  Even if you're not a "crafter" per se, this guy has more ideas in one sitting than I've had in a lifetime!  He works for Ranger and comes up with beautiful tags each year at this time.  Check out his website for more ideas!  (and, of course, he has several lines of products that are amazing as well!)

The next site I want to mention is  Oh my goodness gracious - if you're interested in, well, ANYTHING, you can find it there.  Start a Pinterest board and when you find something you like online, pin it on your board!  Others can re-pin it, comment on it, etc.  I've started one but don't have a lot on it yet - but it's only been a few days! 

Over the past few years I have enjoyed receiving (and sending) Jacquie Lawson cards.  Gee - could it be because she uses Chudleigh the dog as one of her characters??!  They're sweet, animated cards that can be used any time of the year.  This year my friend Lisa sent me an Advent calendar that comes in the form of a snow globe.  Each day I open up the snow globe "village" and see what comes to life.  They have one for the USA and one for London as well (for your friends in the UK!). 

And last, for today anyway, I HAD to post this picture of my friend Jennifer holding a prairie dog (we visited an animal sanctuary over the weekend).  These little guys are TOO CUTE (but DO NOT get/give them as pets - they will DIG right through the floor of your house!!!)  The owner of the sanctuary was kind enough to let my friends hold one...can you tell that it was nervous...NOT!!  I thought it went into rigor for a second...

Off to run the pup - have a wonderful evening and see you again soon!

Fondly, VG

"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

Friday, November 25, 2011

The holidays are coming...!

Good Morning all - I just checked the Tim Holtz blog and yes, the 12 tags of Christmas are just around the corner!  If you don't know about the tags, Tim creates each one the night before he posts the pics/instructions, so each day's tag is a wonderful surprise!  See his blog to be inspired...

Had an awesome Thanksgiving with family and friends - so much for which to be thankful!!  Hope all of you had the same.  God is GOOD!!

Can't leave without posting at least a picture or two, so here are some recent ones from the Naples Botanical Gardens.  It is a beautiful venue - well worth the visit!

an alien pod...light from within (almost!)

A view across the pond to the mozaic

water lily

closeup of the lily

Have a blessed weekend!

Warmly, VG

1Thes. 5:16-18
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Out with the new, back to the old!

Hello all - It seems that the pictures look warped in the newest version of the blog template so I've gone back to the old one, temporarily at least.  Will have to sit down and design one of these days - for now, it's late and I'm off to veggie-land (i.e. the couch!)  :-)

Have a beautiful tomorrow - remember, He loves you!!

Yours, VG

"The heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness too..."
Psalm 89:5

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A little update to my blog...

Hello all - I've stepped ahead and changed the format of my blog.  Since I've done it and don't have the ability to add my bison picture to the header, I'm going to insert the picture here - it just makes me smile!

heading out of Yellowstone...

Let me know what you think of the new format - since I'm a picture-taker I figured you could browse the pics if you don't feel like reading the content!

Happy day, everyone - it's a beauty here in SW Florida!


"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
love and fathfulness go before you."
Psalm 89:14

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Welcome to October!  Here in Florida the leaves don't turn colors, but it does start to cool off - thank goodness!  It's still hot but the mornings and evenings are tolerable.

The other evening we were out with friends and my friend asked me what's new.  I said, "Nothing - we are the boring couple!"  To which she replied, "That's great!  It means you're alive!"  I'd never thought of it that way, but it's true - so what if I'm not off on some exciting trip or doing something TV-worthy.  I'm still here, living life to the fullest (albeit not in a spine-tingling way!) and enjoying what God gave me.  Touche, my friend!

Have a beautiful day and thank the Lord above for your boring life!!  :-)

Hugs and smiles, VG

"My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."
Psalm 121:2

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A little of this, a little of that...

Hello!  It's been a few weeks and I've got more pictures.  OK - so over the past few months of writing this blog I've realized that photography is kind of my passion!

This year we were fortunate enough to stay once again at the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin for a conference.  The courtyard of the hotel was filled with flowers, and bees pollinating those flowers - it was mayhem and I loved it!  I found a bee with the biggest "pollen pocket" I have ever seen - it was ginormous!  :-)  It's always a challenge getting that close to the bees but they don't seem to mind me so I just keep clicking away...

Pollen pocket is the big orange "poof" on left rear leg

I also loved the incredible lilac-colored amaryllis (I think that's what they are) - I've never seen them that color before.  And the hibiscus were huge as well - they must use some mighty fine fertilizer up there!  The morning after the conference ended it was bright and the flowers had lots of droplets from the sprinkler system - just right for some photos - it was a great year for pictures!

     The droplets magnify what look like the flower's "petalprints"

As my husband returned me to the airport bright and early last week it looked like the sky was on fire - what a picture!  Sorry I haven't had time to edit out the telephone wires and lovely construction barrels, but hey, you get the idea!

Have an awesome day and enjoy His creation!

Fondly, VG

"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:24

Monday, September 5, 2011

Soooo....Happy Labor Day, everyone!  I hope you are all relaxing and enjoying a great day with family.  We have had family here from up north - they didn't realize that their humidity and our humidity are two different weather environments!  Swimming in the pool is a wonderful way to spend the day...

So here are James and Elizabeth decked out for fun...who likes goggles?

Off to swim some more - happy day!!  VG

"Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture."  Psalm 37:3

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Flowers and more flowers

As most of you know, I am a flower fanatic when it comes to beautiful arrangements.  We were fortunate enough to have gotten to Vail, CO this past weekend and they know how to do flowers!  We felt as though we had stepped into a little European village as we sat down for lunch in Lionshead.  These were just a few of the splendiferous offerings (outside a pizza place no less!)  

In the courtyard of the village at Lionshead

Next to our table at the pizzeria
One of the many window boxes

I had to smile at the Billy Goats Gruff guarding the village square: 

And, of course, one of my favorite shots, a macro of a flower of which I don't know the name:

It's a beautiful time to be out west!

Happy trails, VG

"Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies."
Psalm 36:5


Saturday, July 30, 2011

A shout out to our military

Hi all - as I was walking my dog among the "sand dunes" near the golf course maintenance area today - in 96 degrees and steaming humidity and wearing long sleeves and pants (no sun for me!) - I thought of the men and women who have chosen to serve our country in the Middle East.  They spend ALL DAY, EVERY DAY in this kind of heat!!  They wear layers of clothing, heavy boots, helmets and heavy packs, and they're always on alert, usually carrying some kind of heavy weapon for protection.  They are on guard for hours upon hours, protecting our freedom by stalking the terrorists who want to take it from us.  I am overwhelmed at their heart for service and want to say "thank you!!" to them for their incredible job.  No matter how you feel (who LIKES war???) we need to support them and what they do.  Can I get an "AMEN"? 

With much gratitude, VG

Colossians 3:16
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly...singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Quick post: Our Cosmic Turn

Hello all!  Ahhh - quarterly reporting has wound down and I am once again free to blather on about things...oh goodie!  (insert whatever emoticon comes to mind here...)  :-)

In my last post I had just been on a plane over Florida when the shuttle was launched.  This morning I was awoken at 6 a.m. by the house shaking from a sonic boom - the shuttle was re-entering for its landing, right over Naples!  How cool was that? 

As I walk my dog at night I have a lot of time to think about random things, but one thing that keeps coming back to me is something my friend and I talked about last week:  our cosmic turn.  Whether it ends up being good or not, we each get our "turn" - all the stoplights are green (or red) on a particular day, our physical ailments lay dormant (or flare up) for awhile, our lives are simple and quiet for a time (or crazy with crazy people for way too long) - you get the idea.  Job 1:21 says, "...the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away."  We each get our cosmic turn - what has yours been lately?

I will leave you with this thought:  It is not possible to skip without smiling!  (try it sometime)

Have a great weekend!

Skipping and smiling,  VG

Numbers 6:24-26
 “The LORD bless you
   and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine on you
   and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you
   and give you peace.”

Friday, July 8, 2011

Shuttle launch and flowers

Hi everyone (all 5 of my friends - wahoo!)  ;-)
I was on a flight today leaving from Florida when the pilot said that the people on the right side of the plane would have "the view of their lifetime".  We didn't realize that meant being able to see the last shuttle launch from Cape Canaveral - wow!  We could see it as it went up and left the trail - 


That was a memorable sight!

We bought some flowers for friends and I had to take pics of them (of course!).  

One of my faves - a Gerbera daisy
A rose for you!
Not sure what this is but I thought it was pretty!
Last week as I talked with my friend Anna about blogging she pointed out that it makes one live with intention.  Smart girl, that Anna!  We talked a little about what we blog about and why we do it, and blogging has definitely brought my interests into focus.  I have actually noticed that I'm not quite as scattered as I thought (though there's still plenty of variety in varietgrrl!).

That's all for now - just wanted to post these things as I thought about them...

Happy weekend!  VG

Ephesians 1:18
"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people..."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Art and dogs

Hi!  Well, art and dogs don't really have anything to do with one another - that's just what I'm thinking of today as I decompress from the hectic-ness of work...  

Yesterday I received a catch-up call from Regina, the owner of one of my favorite shops in Fort Myers - The Owl and the Pussycat.  This shop is my "candy store" - everything in it, though not edible, is deliciously beautiful!  Regina hosts demos on Wednesday mornings at 10:30 where we learn the art of fine art (and usually some art history as well!).  She also teaches art classes every Saturday morning and many days during the Florida "season" (Jan.-April).  Classes range from making fine art cards to book-making and everything in between.  If you are looking for a way to boost your creative juices, this is the place to visit (and stay for awhile!).  Regina and the talented ladies who show up each week will inspire you to push yourself out of your comfort zone and go make art!

On the dog front, I have a golden retriever named Sammy who turned 6 yesterday - Happy Birthday, Sammalamma!  (The first time I met her 5 years ago she was Sammalammadingdong - it had a ring to it...).  She makes me smile every day.  If you have a dog you know what I'm talking about - how can you not smile at them at least a dozen times during the day?  They love you when you come home after being gone, be it an hour or three weeks, and all they want is your attention (and ANYTHING EDIBLE (or even NOT edible...see below!!)).  At least, that's Sammy anyway...

My girl who likes to eat rocks!
Look at that smile...

While out for a walk last evening the sprinkler system was on.  Have you ever watched a dog "attack" a sprinkler to get a drink?  It makes me laugh every time!  Sammy attacks that spraying water as if she needs to beat it back with her mouth - and she keeps going after it, as if she can make it stop.  I love to watch her and tonight she was in fine form - her whole head was in that sprinkler and she could have cared less - she just wanted to "get it"! It's the little things...

Other things that make me smile:  Sam loves the spa when it's hot - she has the "belly up to the bar" down pat!  And when my friend gave me the mug with a golden retriever in the bottom, I had to use it for my daily milk chug - I just liked the nose sticking out, that's all!

Where's my umbrella drink?
A little milk with my Golden...

Upon closing, seeing that it's the 4th of July weekend, why not read the Declaration of Independence and find out what our founding fathers were thinking and going through so many years ago.  It will open your eyes and make you think -  I guarantee it!

Stay safe and play nicely with your neighbors!  God Bless America and all of our fine men and women serving around the world so that we may enjoy our freedom!!!

Cheers and smiles, VG

Mark 12:28-31
"...One of the teachers of the law came and heard (them) debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”  “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ha! I love to laugh at...

...just about everything!  Yes - here is another bunny trail...

We weren't married very long when I completely lost it (aka: laughing uncontrollably - like, I couldn't stop if I tried!) while watching some inane TV show.  My husband looked over at me with a confused (and bemused) look that showed me he was, in effect, thinking, "Who ARE you?  Who did I marry?  WHAT IS SO FUNNY????"  I'll admit it - I really couldn't tell him exactly what set me off, but 23 years later I did it again (that means it was just last week...).  And do you know what it was this time?  A birthday card for my mom.  Yes, you read that right - IT WAS FOR MY MOTHER!!  I'm a horrible daughter - I get my mom the goofiest cards - not a lot of sap in here - sorry!!  :-)  I literally laughed uncontrollably AGAIN not only while I was in the store but as I stood in line to purchase the card and as I got into the car where, yes, my husband was waiting for me...It happens, folks....  :-)

One more bunny trail:  Check out the Daily Puppy (below right) - how CUTE is that??!!  I love getting an RDA of puppies!!

On to ozzer itemz...(a leetle French pops out once in to love Paris!  but that's for another post...)

I have digressed long enough from Jackson, WY that I MUST at least go back and mention the Amangani resort where we got to enjoy a few (very) precious nights.  Warning:  This will not make your budget list.  But we stumbled upon it in Jackson and decided to make the stay a birthday/anniversary gift to each other this year.  Save up and go stay, even for a night!  I promise it's worth it.   Most of the Aman resorts are in Indonesia but we have 2 in the States: Wyoming and Utah.  'Nuf said.

I think I said I'd post more about our trip (yes, a few posts ago...).  So, after mentioning Utah a few times, I must say that Bryce and Zion were amazing!  Two completely different parks but awesome, nonetheless!  Pack the bus, take the kids and watch them wear themselves out running up those (steep) trails!  (Watch the dropoffs...)  Then sleep well at night  :-)

Here are a few more pics of what's in store for you:

Bryce in the morning

On the way to Angels Landing, Zion National Park

On the way down from Angels Landing, Zion

Moon over Sedona, AZ

Sculpture in Sedona

Sunset in New Mexico (from the car!)

Moon over NM, from the car too!

Oops - OK - I put in a few I took from the car - but the moon and sunset were too good to let pass by!

Nighty night for now - have a beautiful 4th and I'll see you on the flip side of mid-July (work calls for a few weeks...)  

Cheers and happy days!  VG

Ephesians 2:4-5
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Flowers and more flowers!

Hi all - My friend Anna helped teach me how to put links into my blog and to show the websites/blogs I like - yay!  Thanks Anna!  

So of course I had to put this link in my blog since my friend Laurie and her husband Kevin team up to take the most incredible pictures!  Look at their other pictures of birds, flowers, scenery, etc. on their website - Enjoy!

I know - I'm off on another bunny trail but that's blogging, right? I love to take pics of flowers and birds as well and after downloading the pictures from our trip I realized that many of them were of flowers!  Taking macros is something I'm always working on - getting up close and personal can be daunting but it's such a great challenge!  No shaking allowed!  :-)

Here are just a few from Jackson, WY and the parks in Utah:



I always seem to do this late and night so I'm signing off for now.  Will try to get one more post in before quarterly reporting takes me away for a few weeks - aaaaagh!  :-)  Have a great day tomorrow!

Cheers and smiles, VG

Ephesians 1:13
"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation."