May I Make You a Card?

Hello, friends.

So. I had an idea that I want to float by you. Perhaps it came to me while imbibing on a bit too much whisky, but since it still sounds like a decent notion this morning, I’m going to roll with it. 😀

My idea came about because of a conversation I had the other day with Mr. C. I was telling him about a couple of pen pals that I had when I was in junior high. You know, in the days of snail mail before the internet was even invented (yeah, I am that old!). I had a pen pal in France and Australia, and I can still remember how excited I would get whenever I received a letter from them. Do kids these days still do that?

And then we talked about how we both currently have so many international connections. Me, because of WordPress, and him, because of his job. Just the other day, he was on a video call with three others – one in Canada, one in Paris, and the other in China. He said it was such a surreal experience.

This year, during the pandemic, I took up a new hobby – card making. My cards are not terribly fancy or professional, but I receive so much joy and satisfaction from making them. Trouble is, I actually don’t have that many people to send them to! That’s where you come in. By the way, I am operating under the assumption that this note will mainly appeal to the folks on here who have known me for awhile (and hopefully see that I’m not some terrible nut), but some of you who don’t know me may be interested as well. That would be amazing! Anyway, I would love to send you a homemade Christmas card! (Or holiday card if you do not observe Christmas.) I don’t expect anything back in return. This is just for the joy of creating something for you, my international blogging friends. (However, if it turned out I gained an old-fashioned pen pal or two from the exercise, I wouldn’t mind.)

The internet has made our world feel much smaller, and communication has never been easier. But I often feel we are lacking a more personal human connection that typed words on a computer screen or a video call cannot provide. So, if you trust me enough to give me your address 😉 and would like to receive a card, please send me an email with your information to: myplaidheart17@gmail.com.

I do hope I hear from a few of you! Have a terrific day, everyone.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: A Quiet Moment

For this week’s challenge, I am sharing a photo that I took near Farr, Scotland. It was one of those sweet, precious, quiet moments where all you can think is, “Be still my heart.”

I haven’t posted much lately, as I’ve been crazy busy planning and overseeing home renovations. But, I promise you an article on Corse Castle sometime this week! Have a fantastic day, friends.

A Prayer for True Justice

Hi friends. Wow, I hardly know what to write. It has been a difficult couple of weeks in America (the world), to say the least. Shoot, it’s been a difficult four months! Who could have ever in a million years predicted that this new decade would look as it does?

I think we all recognize that our world is not the same as it was at the start of the year. Our world is not even the same as it was two weeks ago. In the blink of an eye, everything is different. Life is different.

We are different.

I am different.

My emotions (and likely yours) have run the full gamut – everything from fear, sadness, anger, despair, and disbelief, to feelings of encouragement and hope.

Hope. Let us never lose hope.

Even though I am a Christian believer, I don’t like to get preachy on here. This is a blog about my love for Scotland, after all, and I respect that not everyone shares my beliefs. But sometimes, a person just has to express what’s on their heart.

YouVersion is an online mobile Bible platform that I sometimes use to read Scripture. Today, they published a ‘prayer for true justice’ that resonated with me. I hope they won’t mind that I am republishing this. I hope that you won’t mind that I am sharing this with you.

For all of the George Floyd’s of this world, for the marginalized, the trivialized, the overlooked, the unloved, for the despised and hated and persecuted people everywhere, I pray this prayer.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Delicate Colours

I love this week’s Photo Challenge. Ann-Christine has asked for photos with delicate colors.

One of my favorite things about Scotland’s scenery is the way it looks in the ever-changing light. There is something so magical and lovely about it. Sometimes everything is bright, crisp, and clear. Often, it’s moody. And sometimes the light casts the land in perfect, soft, almost pastel hues.

Here are three selections I chose from my archives for today’s challenge.

The ruins of St. Anthony's Chapel in Edinburgh, Scotland.

After the rain: the ruins of St. Anthony’s Chapel, located in Holyrood Park in Edinburgh.

A rugged coastal hill and the Stonehaven War Memorial in Scotland.

Stonehaven War Memorial as viewed from Dunnottar Castle near the town of Stonehaven.

A stone wall, green grass, and the Firth of Forth.

Looking at the Firth of Forth from inside the grounds at Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh.

Have a great Sunday!

Canceled Plans

Sadness permeates my heart this morning as I sit in my den, sipping my coffee in the quiet and the dark. Mr. C and I were supposed to be on our way to Washington D.C. in a few hours where we were to have caught an evening flight to London and then another to Glasgow. This time tomorrow, we would have been in our little rental car, traveling north on the A9, our stomachs fluttering with the excitement and anticipation of arriving at Muckrach Castle, our very own Highland home-away-from-home for two full weeks.

Instead, like most of you, my day will be spent at my own home – just another day in the Great Pandemic of 2020.

We are extremely fortunate that we didn’t lose any money in this whole situation. Savills, the agent that represents the castle, was kind enough to let us push our reservation out a year. Our travel insurance company gave us a voucher, and after two calls and (only) about two and a half hours of phone time, I was able to secure a full refund from British Airways.

Still, here it is. Friday, May 15. The day I have looked forward to for a year. I can’t help it if I feel a bit melancholy.

So to console myself, I think that later today I will spend some time in my garden. Drink a little whisky. Maybe listen to some Celtic tunes. And dream of next spring, when I will once again be free to be back in the place that I love.

Cheers,

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Cropping the Shot

Hey guys! Happy Sunday to you.

For this week’s photo challenge, Patti asks us to show how we crop our shots to “improve an image and create a desired effect.” I like the quote she shared:

There is a vast difference between taking a picture and making a photograph.

– Robert Heinecken

I’m sure most of us have a selection of photos that we are quite proud of – the ones that require little or no editing – taken in that moment of magic when every photographic element fell into place. But what about all the others? All the other crummy shots that we hardly look at twice. And let’s face it. If we’re honest, we all have loads of “the others” in our files.

Something that challenges me is to take a photo that isn’t good and try and improve it. Or to take a REALLY horrible picture and try to find something – anything – within it that is salvageable. For today’s exercise, I looked through my Scotland photo archives for just those sorts of shots. Here are my examples of “cropping the shot”.

Before:

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Day 30: Words of Encouragement

And last but not least…

One of my favorites.

Friends, thank you for tagging along with me these last thirty days as I diverged from my regular blogging routine in an attempt to provide a little hope and inspiration. I hope I wasn’t too cheesy. Eh, who the hell cares even if I was.

When I began these “encouragement” posts thirty days ago – on March 20 – there were (according to WHO) 266,097 cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 11,000 deaths. Italy’s death toll alone had topped 4,000, and Spain was close to surpassing the number of deaths in China. Numbers in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Iran, and Turkey were all beginning to climb rapidly. Fires were being lit all over the world.

Here in the U.S., the virus had already spread to each of the fifty states and 255 people had died. President Trump had declared a national emergency, and California became the first state to set mandatory stay-at-home restrictions. March 20 was also the day that New York City was deemed the United States outbreak epicenter.

Today, just one month later, the worldwide Coronavirus total stands at 2,160,207, and the number of deaths is at 146,088. In the U.S., there are currently 665,330 cases and 30,384 deaths. Ghastly, horrific numbers.

The fire continues to rage. However, there does seem to be a glimmer of hope now that many nations may have reached their peak. God willing, we will start to see a significant decline in numbers of new cases and deaths in the days and weeks to come.

Now that I have reached the end of these thirty days, I feel that I’m ready to get back to normal blogging. It’s time to live in the happy and not constantly dwell on the sad. We may not be able to travel right now (sob), but we can still see and share the world together through our computer screens. I think that’s an amazing thing.

I will continue to pray for those afflicted and their families. I will pray that you stay safe too.

Love y’all. x