Thursday, July 24, 2008

Playing with Pictures

On one of the blogs that I read, the author mentioned that she had recently found the program Smilebox. It allows you to create photo albums for your blog (complete templates -- all you have to add are the pictures). I thought that sounded kind of cool, so I've been playing around with it some.

Here is my experiment...

Click to play Me and Dave
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook

Monday, July 21, 2008

Family Portraits

In celebration of my grandmother's 85th birthday this week, my extended family gathered in the great metropolis of Raleigh to celebrate, but of course, no Wilkins/Garrard family gathering is complete without a few family portraits. This year, we went all out, even requiring immediate family groups to color-coordinate. The Canady clan wore red. The photo "session" was hot, but the pictures turned out pretty great.

The grandkids and great grandkids. I think this picture turned out great! Our moms/aunts usually make us take this kind of picture on a staircase (a tradition that started LONG ago!), but I think this one looks just as good...especially since there are so many of us now!
Grandkids and great grandkids

The Canady clan.
Family Portrait

Three generations of Wilkins/Garrard women. Grandmother with her three daughters and three granddaughters.
Three Generations

Me and Dave. I feel like we're posing for prom pictures. :-)
The Kunys

My new favorite picture of us.
Self Portrait

And, finally...playing in the gazebo!
The gazebo at Brighton Gardens

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


So, it's no secret that I've lost quite a bit of weight. In many ways, following the Weight Watchers plan has changed my life. My body has changed dramatically over the past year and a half, but really, the journey has just begun. One of the big pulls of Weight Watchers is that it is a lifestyle change, not a diet. And I've embraced that whole-heartedly. I know that I am going to have to track what I eat for the rest of my life. Sometimes that seems like a lot to deal with, but then I think about the benefits of sticking with it, and I realize that it's completely worth it. Weight Watchers has become a part of my life -- I think about the plan, I read message boards from others involved, I take time to plan out my meals, I talk to others about it. Just this morning, I was talking with a co-worker who was discouraged about her weight and encouraging her that it is absolutely possible to do something about it.

As I was thinking about that exchange, a thought struck me. If I'm this passionate about something as silly as weight loss, shouldn't I be even more passionate about my faith? Following Weight Watchers has helped me improve my health and fit into smaller clothes, but following Christ has saved me from eternal damnation and blessed me beyond belief. I mean, it's not even a comparison, is it?

And yet, it seems so hard to live that way sometimes. But I want to. I really want to. I'm reminded of the story of the child who reasoned that if God was bigger than everything and He lived inside of us, then shouldn't He stick out? So, that's my prayer today: that God would be so big inside of me that He sticks matter what size my body is.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Independence Day

Hope you and yours had a lovely 4th of July. Ours was nice -- family, good food, and a little kids parade. The little kids in my parent's neighborhood decorated their bikes and hot wheels and power wheels (the hummer was my favorite!) and paraded down the neighborhood streets. The parade was short, but it was cute.

The best part about the parade was that it reminded me of my childhood -- the neighborhood I lived in in elementary school used to do the same thing. My friends and I would spend days decorating our bikes with streamers and balloons, planning out our most patriotic outfits, and painting our fingernails red, white, and blue (alternating, of course!).

Since that time, the way I celebrate the 4th has changed a little. While I hated fireworks as a kid (WAY too loud), I love them now. One of the best displays I've ever seen was in Richmond one summer when I was in college. That was the first time I had ever seen fireworks in the shape of a smiley face. Very cool.

Other years have been a little tougher to celebrate. In both 2000 and 2003, the 4th holiday arrived not long after I returned to the U.S. from living in another country. Reverse culture shock can really mess with your head.

These days, I'm glad to be in the good 'ole U.S. of A. We have so much to be thankful for and so many brave men and women to be thankful to.

This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. ~Elmer Davis

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism. ~Erma Bombeck