Sunday Stills: We Are #Thankful Through it All

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As folks prepare for Thanksgiving in the US this week, it will be a completely different holiday this year. As we navigate through a pandemic that has sickened millions and taken the lives of loved ones, we stand in fear of continuing the spread of the Covid virus by reducing our time spent with family and friends. Some have found it difficult to be truly thankful.

For Sunday Stills, this week, let us all reflect upon the things for which we can truly be thankful.

Our road trip to San Diego this past week was emotionally and somewhat physically taxing. We needed to bring some boxes of items to our children and grandchildren while picking up a few things to take back with us. Our plans were not just to visit with our families, but for me to say goodbye to our family home that was recently sold and to visit my mom’s commemorative brick placed in a local city park.

While driving, we had phone conversations with family. I have two younger brothers; one still lives in the San Diego area and the other recently moved to Arizona. When I mentioned that a few of us were going to visit my dad next week in his rural town in Northern California, the oldest brother chastised me pretty good by stating, “if Dad gets Covid, he’ll die! Do you want to lose both parents in 2020?”

“Umm, no,” I answered contritely (my mom passed in March of this year). Sadly, many rural areas of California are seeing a rise in Covid cases as new people merge with locals, who haven’t practiced good social distancing.

To protect my 84-year old father who has COPD, I had to be the one to tell the family over the course of days that we were not going to converge at his home for Thanksgiving.

Despite the disappointment, it is better to miss one Thanksgiving in order to enjoy many more in the future.

Thanks for the Memories, San Diego

I was born and raised in the San Diego area in southern California. I moved north to Sacramento when I was 20 and never moved back. I am thankful many family members still live there and I can visit most any time.

My brother and his family want nothing to do with COVID-19 and to see them, we stayed behind their driveway gate while they sat on the other side a few feet away. I brought some books and other goodies for them. No doubt my brother will spray everything with sanitizer, but we enjoyed family time. Better than Zoom for sure!

No covid allowed here!
Thankful for family!

It was time to say goodbye to the family home I had lived in since I was 10 years old. Once my mom entered the nursing home in 2010, my brother moved in and lived there for a while. We eventually rented it to my stepson and his family, and once Mom passed this year, we opted to sell it earlier this Fall. We drove over to the house and the owners had not moved in yet, so I was grateful to get this pic of me hugging the house goodbye.

House hug
Hugging my family home goodbye

The next day, I met my childhood friend in the park to visit my mom’s brick and we shared a few memories of days gone by. This image was set up by my daughter and shared in an earlier post.

Mom's Brick

Thankful for Home

The week prior to us leaving for San Diego, we listed our house in Sacramento and potential buyers visited Saturday through Monday, while we were away. By Tuesday we had several offers and decided to go with one, in particular, that was solid and over the asking price!

After signing several online disclosures, my husband and I are grateful that a young couple is excited about the house and wants to start a family in it, just like I did 32 years ago.

Before the family home in San Diego was sold last summer, my daughter transplanted my mom’s favorite roses into two pots for me to take. My mom would be happy knowing her roses will continue to bloom in another state.

Mom's last rose

I dropped off my beloved plumeria plants to my daughter since they will not grow well in the cold North (Spokane, WA). I had just planted four plumerias from stalks in 2019 and one flowered. I will ever be grateful I got to see these plumeria grow. For some reason, the same plant did not produce in 2020. Here is one shot from 2019.

Unexpected Plumeria blooms

Autumn is finally in full swing in Sacramento. My Japanese maple frames one of the last looks at the front of my house, soon to be occupied by a new family.

Japanese Maple Fall

This is submitted for Dawn’s Festival of Leaves. Flowers and leaves are shared for Cee’s Flower of the Day.

My daughters are visiting over Thanksgiving to eat a small meal and say goodbye to their childhood home. We are keeping it simple and ordered a turkey dinner from a nearby grocery store. Trust me, with few dishes left in the house, I’m thankful someone else is doing the cooking!

And I’m sure this suburban turkey is grateful it escaped this year’s Thanksgiving table and my Boykin Spaniel’s greedy jaws. Submitted for Lisa’s Bird Weekly Challenge.

suburban turkey
Turkey in my front yard

Thank You to My Fellow Bloggers

I want to thank you all who continue to support Sunday Stills and share images every week, and those who continue to read my ramblings.

I have a long list of loyal bloggers who post every week for Sunday Stills, but I also want to acknowledge bloggers who took a break and are back to share their talents!

And a hearty shout-out to Joe at Easin’ Along and Hugh Roberts of Hugh’s Views and News who often share their photos of the themes in the comments! Not that easy to do!

Please show us what you are thankful for in 2020. There is more than you might think. We’ve all had our ups and downs, but we will prevail!

Have a wonderful week and if you celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday, please stay safe and make the best of these unprecedented times in which we live.

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Sunday Stills: Holiday #Décor with Optional Red and Green

As we near Christmas and other traditional holidays, no doubt you have managed to decorate your home or yard.

Yard decor for Winter Wonders
Neighbor’s Christmas Scene

I adjusted my holiday travel plans a bit which means I combined this week’s theme, Holiday Decor, with what would have been next week’s theme, Something Red or Green. See end of the post for more details.

Since being with my husband for the last 10 Christmases, I don’t decorate much since we travel to Southern California to spend time with our family, including our combined five children; four who now live there. We also travel for another two weeks since we both can easily take time off from our jobs in January. Taking down Christmas decorations in mid-January is just wrong, although I know many folks who keep their holiday décor up through epiphany 12 days after Christmas and beyond.

Even my university campus decks its halls with holiday décor. Ginkgo trees adorn many areas of campus, and I’m told their small, fan-shaped leaves fall in big batches. The campus groundskeepers and interested alumni team up to rake the leaves into interesting patterns. A red Jump bike and festive flag add to the festive scene.

Campus Decor For Fall

This year, with Thanksgiving arriving later in November, many holiday decorations were already up and gracing the homes of friends and family. My sister-in-law hosted Thanksgiving and had a house full of people, so she put hers up early.

I took some photos of her wonderful décor to share. She has room to display her whimsical miniature villages. The key to capturing these creatively is to get very close with your lens to get the sense of being inside the village. I applied the Painnt filter to the first and third images.

Christmas Village
Inside a Christmas Village
Christmas Village
Nostalgic, snowy scene

These miniature toys decorated a friend’s house last Christmas. Doesn’t it remind you of the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV Christmas special and the island of misfit toys?

Miniature Christmas Toys
The island of misfit toys?

Then, of course, there are the lights!


Please welcome a new blogger to Sunday Stills, Life is Great!

I don’t often get to link with Weekly Lens-Artist Challenge; “display” seems to fit the theme this week!

This week, show us your creative holiday decor with optional red and green!

Christmas red berries

Due to our Winter Road Trip Do-Over, today is the last Sunday Stills post of 2019. I will be taking a blogging break beginning this week through January 17, resuming Sunday Stills on my blog on January 19. Thank you to all who have contributed to the Sunday Stills Photo Challenge in 2019!

Fellow blogger Hugh Roberts is graciously hosting Sunday Stills on January 5 and 12, so be sure to visit. January themes are posted here.

I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a glorious start to 2020!


© 2019-2020 Copyright-All rights

#Thankful Thoughts for Sunday Stills

Sunday Stills Thankful

This week I have much to be thankful for as I prepare for Thanksgiving.

While we were on the road over the Veteran’s Day holiday weekend visiting family in Eastern Washington, I learned from Facebook about the devastating wildfires raging in northern and southern California.

We experienced the first snow of the season in Spokane while we read about the fire’s devastation 90 miles north of where we live in California. As some friends marked themselves safe, others posted about friends and family members evacuating and losing their homes.

The young woman who stayed at our house to dog sit at the last minute texted to tell me that her extended family evacuated from Chico area and lost their homes to the wildfires.

Within minutes of reading this news and responding to inquiries about our safety, I read about the passing of my favorite high school teacher Mrs Lee, with whom I celebrated her 90th birthday party in 2016. Read my previous post here.

Meeting my high school teacher 38 years later

Shaken at all this distressing news, I simply sat and quietly wept.

We flew to Spokane to visit my mother-in-law we call Mama Hella. My husband recently heard of the passing of his Aunt (father’s sister) who lived in Germany. He felt compelled to fly up for a visit to see his mom and the rest of this family.

son and mother

Mama Hella is 87 and lives in a care home. Her health has declined dramatically since my husband saw her a year ago. He visited her every day while we were there, and all three brothers got together for photo ops with her, perhaps the last ones.

Grateful quote

It is so easy to take our everyday lives for granted.

I’m thankful to our family for hosting us on this hastily planned trip north.

I’m thankful for the last-minute dog sitter.

I’m thankful for the teacher who dedicated her life to educating and inspiring generations of students.

I am thankful for being able to see my mother-in-law, and soon my father at Thanksgiving and my own mother at Christmas time.

I’m thankful to God for my own life and the time He has given me to spend these last days, weeks, months, years with our parents.

My Thanksgiving is perpetual.

As you share the theme “thankful” for Sunday Stills this week, what are you thankful for?

Autumn SIGNature

The Transformations of Dogs and Trees

Transforming from puppy to adult dog right before our eyes

Brodie's First Water ExperienceSitting around with my family this morning after yesterday’s Thanksgiving celebration, I’m reminded of just how much transformation effects all of us, and even while in uncertain situations, we remain positive and thankful.

This year, many of my family members have been impacted and no doubt, transformed, by unique life events, such as moving to new homes, changing jobs, breaking bones, announcing not one, but two pregnancies, and for the little ones, growing up and moving on to adolescence.

Transformation, the theme for the weekly photo challenge, also affects nature and animals.

My daughters and I took a nice morning walk with our dogs and exclaimed over the continuing show that Autumn has put on over  the last few weeks.

Like people, dogs grow up quickly. In the featured image above, Brodie experienced his first water adventure, transforming him into the duck-hunter/retriever he was bred to be. No ducks for Brodie, but fetching a stick in the waves, or riding along on our stand-up paddleboards is enough for him!

In case you are wondering, Brodie is a pure-bred Boykin Spaniel. Similar to my other dog, Aero, I discovered the breed through another blogger, Joan, at MVObsession, whose daughter loved and owned a beautiful Boykin Spaniel. I am thankful that I saw this post!

I would be remiss if I didn’t share a photo of Aero telling Brodie how things will be. A little canine socialization leads to transformation for both of these cuties!

Aero coaching Brodie on the finer points of a dog's life
Aero coaching Brodie on the finer points of a dog’s life.

We got Brodie in late January 2017 as a 7-week old puppy, and now, at almost one year old (Dec 10), he has transformed into a loving, mature, young adult dog, yet still playful and full of character. For what’s left of my shoes I’m thankful!

Transforming from puppy to adult dog right before our eyes

While walking, my mind immediately thought of how trees transform all year round, and I remembered some older posts from Cardinal Guzman’s Monthly Photo Challenge feature, which is still going strong!

Once again, my Chinese Maple Tree:


Transformation is a process for which to be grateful.

Transformation is a journey without a final destination. Marilyn Ferguson

In your life, are you open to transformation?

My signature

Photography 101: Mysterious Twilight Stroll

Mysterious night

Mysterious Night
Mysterious Night

Have you ever been for an evening walk as twilight settles in for the night?

With two days before Thanksgiving (late November), there seems to be an air of mystery as twilight is poised in anticipation of families getting together. I love the random, little Christmas tree and how the streetlight splashes a pool of light onto the street. The dusting of snow on the ground affirms how cold the night air is.

We had just traveled from Portland, OR to Spokane, WA during our Thanksgiving holiday last year. After a six-hour drive, and kisses hello and some unpacking, I had just enough time to take 30 minute power walk. I happened to have my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone with me and managed to get this shot.