Kali and I just returned home from the Georgia NCFCA Qualifying Tournament. The NCFCA (National Christian Forensics and Communications Association) is a Christian homeschool speech and debate league. This is Kali's third year competing. Above you see my beautiful daughter's look of pure joy shortly after it was announced that she had taken first place in the Lincoln Douglas Value Debate Speakers category. This is based on speaker points given by each individual judge during the debaters six debate rounds. There were so many talented speakers at the tournament, Kali was blessed, and honored, to receive this recognition.
The top eight speakers, you have to look at them from right to left because we loaded the platform backwards. Sorry.
During the actual debating, Kali took third place.
Kali also competed in Impromptu and took sixth place. Impromptu is a limited prep category. The speakers draws three slips from a spread of face-down papers, which have a variety of random topics printed on them. The topics might be random words like: lampshade, ears, watermelon, machinery, basically anything, or it might be a compilation of quotes. The timepiece begins when the student touches the first paper. They get two minutes to decide which topic to use, and to prepare a five minute speech on that topic, which they then give on the spot. They are not allowed to use any notes when giving their speech. Kali has been getting better with this speech category and placed 6th, the highest she's ever gotten with it. She made it all the way in to the finals round.
At this tournament she qualified in debate and impromptu to compete at the regional competition, which will include three states. She also qualified in Humorous Interpretation at an earlier qualifier. Way to go, Kali! Great job!
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Over Christmas vacation, we were driving around the Cashiers, North Carolina area, checking out the scenery when we came across this beautiful waterfall.
We saw a sign on the highway, so we stopped and hiked into the woods a short distance to find this site.
You wouldn't even believe the steps Mark had to take to get out on the rock in the middle of the water. Good thing he didn't fall in, or slip, because the temperature was in the twenties that day, as you can very clearly see in these next photos.
I've never seen anything quite like this and I grew up in Canada. It was a solid wall of ice, right along the roadside.
I shot this from across the street so you could see how close we were to the roadway.
We were pretty impressed with the massive amount of ice.
I like the angle in this shot. Kali was catching some closeup shots of the ice.
Then, Kali took some pictures of me in front of the ice wall.
Cars coming around the corner would pass by so close to us. You could feel the wind from the cars as they passed.
It was so beautiful in North Carolina. I still have other pictures to post. Sometime soon :).
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Since September 11, 2001, my email signature has had an added line requesting prayer for our great military. I grew up in the military, my dad was career U. S. Navy. I know first-hand what it means to be the ones left-behind when my dad left for yet another sea-duty assignment. We were blessed to have had one wonderful tour of duty in Newfoundland, Canada, that lasted many years and we were able to live - together - as a family for quite some time.
That's not always the case when you are a military family. This morning as I checked my facebook page, I saw that a friend had posted the above video with a "happy Valentine's Day" message for her husband. No doubt Mike is overseas - again. I've watched this family for several years, as Mike goes, and comes home, and goes again. I can't even tell you how much time I've spent in prayer for this family. They are such a blessing to me. Not that we spend any real time together, for truly we mostly speak online, but I appreciate so much the sacrifice Celeste and her children have made, do make, on a daily basis so that my family and I can live, and excell, in freedom.
So. Today. Please lift a prayer for our service men and women overseas. Please lift a prayer for our civilian men and women who are overseas working alongside our military so that you and I can live where we do, and live as we do.
Please enjoy Toby Keith's American Soldier. (And if you're anything like me - get your tissues ready before you watch.) May God truly bless and protect our great military!
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power
that your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing the praises of your name.”
Come and see what God has done,
his awesome deeds for mankind!
He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the waters on foot—
Come, let us rejoice in him.
He rules forever by his power,
his eyes watch the nations—
let not the rebellious rise up against him.
Praise our God, all peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
He has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
For you, God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
You let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.
Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened
and has heard my prayer.
Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!
Psalm 66:1-12, 16-20 (NIV)
All photos were taken at the Episcopal Church of the
Incarnation in Highlands, North Carolina, in December, 2010.
Friday, February 11, 2011
This young man lives a little over 800 miles from where I live. Recently, his mom and I were trying to figure out how I could shoot his senior pictures when we live so far apart from each other.
I was looking into traveling to them, when it dawned on us that the Institute For Cultural Communicators' winter retreat might be a convenient time, since we'd all be in one place at the same time!
The retreat was held at Cedine Bible Camp in eastern Tennessee. We got there shortly after a huge snow and ice storm, and the grounds were so beautiful covered in snow. I could have done without all the ice, though.
He was there to work - as a potential intern. They got to do all the behind-the-scenes grunt work of facilitating the retreat. And, he was a blessing to many.
His sense of humor brightened the day for many of us that week!
When I asked him what his favorite scripture was, he assured me he never ran out of scripture, that he had many favorites. A tell-tell sign of what this young man is, of WHO he is.
Of whom he belongs to.
For this young man is a man after God's own heart.
This is evidenced in his actions, in his mannerisms, in his character, in his words, in the way he treats others.
He is a blessing to many. He is an example for the younger students. He is an example for his peers.
He's a caring and loving son. He's one awesome big brother!
He's someone you can depend on, and count on.
A man of God.
A man of God who memorizes and lives by the Word.
He is a man who isn't afraid to take a stand for God, to take a stand for his beliefs, to take a stand for eternity and for making a difference. And right now, he is a Senior! And I got to shoot his senior pictures! Whoot! Whoot! Congratulations! Remember your roots and grounding in your faith, and go out and Be Awesome for God!
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Above is a photo I took on a day when the sun was really bright, reflecting off the snow. It pretty much rendered this photo unusable. In photoshop, I have several actions I could run to improve the photo, but even when I did that, I didn't get the quality I wanted. So, I decided to play with it and salvage a cool picture in a different way.
In photoshop, I boosted the contrast all the way up, then took the brightness up a small amount. What I got was a mostly white background with an awesome silhouette of this young man. I really like the way you can see the white line of his shirt collar.
Then I took that photo,ran the saturation up all the way and sharpened the picture. That really brought the edges of the silhouette into focus.
Lastly, I ran the Burnt Edges I action from mcpactions.com, the low res step, which resulted in this last photo. This popped some color in a framework around the photo and salvaged my bad photo.
Monday, February 7, 2011
This week's challenge at i ♥ faces is hearts ♥. I immediately thought of this photo I took at a debate tournament. I have the honor of being the regional photographer for these events. As we entered the hall for the finals round of debate - the round that would determine the winning team - this group of students called out to me to take their picture - sweet! These are my "kids" - every single one of them! To check out the other Heart photos, go to i ♥ faces here.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Some wonderful friends invited us to spend Christmas in North Carolina. When we went to bed on Christmas Eve, the ground was clear. When we woke up on Christmas Day, it was snowing.
As the day went on, the snow got deeper and deeper. What a great and awesome Christmas gift - - - nine inches of snow!
I loved the way it sat on the limbs.
The limbs got so heavy with snow. You could pull down on the limb, let it go, and it would bounce up throwing snow everywhere. Fun!
I loved this bird feeder. So beautiful in the snow!
This gazebo was in front of our room. The Christmas lights looked really pretty in the snow!
It got a little buried in the snow - haha!
And it became the site of snowballs being thrown at the photographer.
Which made for some pretty awesome pictures!
No photographers or cameras were hurt in the making of these photographs!
Regular snowballs . . .
. . . and specialty snowballs!
A special snowball that we kept safe in our hollow tree trunk.
Then we had an awesome day of playing in the snow!
It was a great day in the snow!
And still the snow came down!
What a great way to spend Christmas Day!
These photos were taken at the Laurelwood Mountain Inn in Cashiers, North Carolina. You can visit their website here. So beautiful! We had a wonderful visit. There are more pictures further down in my blog, if you want to look.