Wednesday, July 5, 2017

7th Annual Photography Challenge Contest!!!

It's time for all that hard work to pay off!!! Before we get to the contest this year, I wanted to take a minute to thank you all for participating. Every year, this challenge gets bigger and bigger...and YOU get more and more talented. It is always hard to choose photos for the contest with so many wonderful submissions! Thank you, everyone!

These are the 20 nominees for the contest this year.  Each will be captioned and then numbered, at random.  To vote, please click on your favorites in the poll.  It is on the left margin of the blog.

<======= Over there

You can vote for more than one picture if you'd like, I will set it up so that you may vote for one or all of them. The only way for votes to be properly counted is to register them in the poll. Leaving a comment isn't enough. The poll may only be visible on web editions, not mobile. If you are on a cell phone, click the link at the bottom of the post to "view web version", which will allow you to vote. The voting will end at Noon MST, Wednesday, July 12th.

Anyone who visits this page can vote, so get your friends to join!

Also, if you're on a web version, you can click the images to enlarge them and scroll through them easier.

The prizes you are all playing for are listed at the bottom, with links to the amazing sponsors. Please show them some love and good luck!


1. Lighthouse
Jennifer Tallman

2. Firebreather
Holly Rexroad

3. Irises
Kelly Ceschin Acker

4. Bubble
Kate McAllister

5. Gravity
Carolyn Mears

6. Snail
Angie Simas

7. Prom
LaTonya Davis
8. Ocean
Maureen Corcoran Maslauskas

9. Blacksmith
Sarah Hovey Bouvier

10. Bee
Katie Duff

11. Rays
Mark Rodriguez

12. Bamboo
Heather Fleshman

13. Feline
Paula Gill

14. Wheel
Gretchen Chateau

15. Reflection
Melissa Zamora

16. Tracks
Tiffany DeHart

17. Barn
Angela Linton-Canfield

18. Horse
Davis Larsen

19. Shinedown
Deb Nelson

20. Ashley DeBie


SLOMBIE from The Crumb Diaries
$100 credit from Heather & Arick Reese
Custom Personalized Funko Pop from Alicia Belden
Jewelry from Penny Jules

Handmade Hoop Art by Punkin Monkey Boutique

I Just Want to be Perfect, courtesy of Chrissy Woj

Orange Essential Oils from Young Loving,
courtesy of Magan Sattler

Salt/sugar bath bomb sets from Dreamscents Parfumerie

Corn heat/cold therapy bags from Mom Cave Designs

Handmade washcloth and Sampler Set from Elysium Botanicals

Pampered Chef items from Jen Cooke

Custom family cross stitch from Rhiannon Sykes Jordan

Wonder Woman Jamberry set from Rhiannon Sykes Jordan 

doTERRA Serenity oils from Camie Kirkevold

Beer infused beard oil sampler from Beer'd

Twin Peaks, The True Story

Nail polish from Bad Bitch Polish

Custom Tumbler from Team Burns Designs

Custom Tumbler from 5K Kustom

LEGO earrings from Maria Ostrowski

Pearl bracelet valued at $90 from Jessica Wilson, Vantel Pearls
$35 store credit from Erika's LuLaRoe VIPs
Super Surprise Box of Awesomenessfrom Cheese Doodle Dad
Jam/pickle/chai sampler from Nikki Ewing

Also up for grabs:

- Coffee and wine basket from Sammie Prescott  at Raising Taters!
Prizes are subject to change because life happens. 

Thank you again to all who participated and contributed prizes!!!! GOOD LUCK!!!!!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

summertime and displaced writing

I should be writing here. I think about it almost every day. Honestly, I do.

And then I will open the blogging platform and stare at some blank screens for a while, delete some spam comments promoting erectile dysfunction implements and close it again.

I don't know why I'm not writing, but I know that I should still be here pecking away at the keyboard. It helps.

There is a direct correlation between my overall mental health and my writing. And well....I've not been writing a lot, so you can imagine how I am doing.

Not great.

I mean, it's not as bad as it was a few months ago when things were really, really, really bad, but it sure isn't fantastic, I'll tell you that much.

Then I read things that other people write and I miss it so badly. I want to get back here. I want to be funny and sarcastic and observant and analytical. I do.

I'm just tired of arguing with people, and it seems like just about anything I write anymore reads like an open invitation to the internet that says something to the effect of COME AND TELL ME 147 DIFFERENT WAYS IN WHICH I AM WRONG AND CALL ME SOME NAMES AND MAKE SURE YOU TELL ME THAT I AM FAT AND TOSS IN A FEW INSULTS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES THEN MAKE A LAUNDRY LIST OF ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT ME AND DEFINITELY SHARE MY WORDS WITH YOUR BIGOTED MISOGYNIST FRIENDS.

Was I yelling?


It's fucking exhausting.

Civility has gone down the shitter lately. The internet is mostly a steaming cesspool of ugliness and I almost can't tolerate my so-called white liberal ally friends as much as the openly homophobic racists because "let's get back to posting pictures of babies and happy things only because I can't handle reading about police violence and Muslim girls being kidnapped and murdered because it's ruining my weekend, you guys" is seriously almost as bad. Maybe it's even worse, because at least the openly homophobic racists let you know where they stand. They don't pretend to care as long as it doesn't put a damper on their BBQ plans.

Holding a sign that one time and wearing a safety pin (but only in places that you'll be congratulated for it) isn't really being an ally.

That word even annoys me anymore, because it's become a badge of honor for people who want to be outraged as long as it doesn't actually affect their lives.

Don't claim to be an ally. Dismantle the system that requires them in the first place.


I've been spending most of my time working on real tangible work locally. Volunteering, organizing, showing up. Not because the social media stuff doesn't matter - because it absolutely does in many ways - but because I need the tangible stuff to ground me in this world right now.

I need to make lists and attend meetings and figure out work arounds of how we are going to get shit done to protect people from the real and legitimate harms in this twisted world, the one getting more dangerous by the day.

That, and in my entire lifetime online, I have witnessed exactly one person evolve in their thinking about any of this stuff. One.

You can scream into the void only for so long before you realize you're hurting your vocal cords and not making a damn bit of difference.

Besides which, there are so many people who aren't who they pretend to be online anyway. (FFS).

I unfriended someone this past week when I caught them celebrating the denial of last rites to dying gay Catholics.

There was glee in that fucking comment. Glee.

This particular someone would NEVER post about things like that on their own wall because they like to pretend to be the compassionate Christ-like person that can claim moral superiority and shit...but hey, the wonders of social media have a way of revealing who you really are. The ironic part of it all is that this person called me intolerant more than once.

A difference of opinion is just that - related to opinions. It's not about determining whether people are deserving of anything based on who they are, what color their skin is, what they believe in, who they love. No. Accept people. Love them. Fight for them. Period.

You don't get to have an opinion about the humanity of other people. You don't get to question the legitimacy of someone's identity or orientation. You just don't. Be a compassionate human and love and support them and fight for them. Period.

You don't get to claim some false equivalence between working for a paid job (even if it's a really shitty job) and slavery. Not on my watch. (I honestly wish I could tell you this was a one time thing...) Study some goddamn history. Unlearn what you think you know about how this country was formed and FFS stop trying to tell people that the Civil War was about state's rights. It was about the states allowing people to own other human beings.

You don't get to muse about the gay agenda. Not around me. I will literally call that shit out immediately in the most vocal way and play a one sided game of 20 questions your bigoted ass can't answer in front of your friends. There is no agenda. The LGBTQ+ community just wants the same rights as everyone else. Full stop.

I try the best I can to make people understand. Really, I do. But if nothing else, these past few months have crystallized in my mind the truth that there are just people who care about others and people who don't. Most of our issues in this society right now today can be boiled down to that sticky debate at the bottom of the pot. And the fact that it's even a debate at all makes me question the legitimacy of whatever progress we think we've made.

And this is why I don't write much anymore.

Plus, summer sucks for me. This summer sucks a whole bunch right now, and I'm focusing on keeping my head above water, so do with that what you will.

For now, I have to go. I have some more research to do and a photo challenge contest post to write.

Fight me.

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