Time Spent

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I hope you’re enjoying time with your loved ones.

Peace,

Jill

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The Most Amazing (Amateur) Christmas Light Display!

Right around the corner from our house is a home that has the most amazing display of Christmas lights I have ever seen on a private residence.

IMG_3532From a distance, you can see it lighting up the night sky! It looks like every inch is covered in lights!

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There are all kinds of stuff! A buffalo statue, the Statue of Liberty and this display of uniforms.

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There’s even a pumpkin. I don’t get it. But it’s festive! IMG_3544

Crazy!

Hope your holiday is merry and BRIGHT!

Peace,

Jill

Backyard Birthday Party!

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My daughter-in-law’s birthday party was fun! I told you in a previous post that she had sent me a few photos and said she wanted hot dogs for her birthday. I picked up on the vibe and ran with it. I think she really liked it!

We had gotten a lot of rain which brought cooler temps, so our backyard was rather cold and swampish. The wood got wet, and a few of our guests could not make it, but we managed to “puddle” through, haha!

It was just a small, family get-together but so much fun!

I’d like to give a shout out to my son, Joel Libramento, for taking photos. The top 3 are his work.

Peace,

Jill

Snowed In!

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This is a photo of my house this past weekend. Haha! My house is really under all that snow somewhere. We’ve not had this much snow in the years that I’ve lived in Georgia. It was pretty and amazing and now it’s all dirty slush because the temperature shot back up pretty quick.

We were without power for 24 hours which was not too bad considering some of my friends in neighboring areas were without it for 67+ hours! We got along fine with the wood stove and I pulled out my inner pioneer woman and made soup and hoecakes and eggs every way imaginable on the woodstove. The Huz made quesadillas on the woodstove. He thought he was something else! We put select items in the snow on the back deck to keep them cool. It was fun for a minute.

But I have a bad case of screen addiction (and that is how I make my money now as a social media manager) so I was jonesing to get back into cyberspace. So, actually, 24 hours without power was good for me.

Here are a few more photos for your enjoyment, unless you live near me in which case you are sick and tired of looking at snow photos.

For those of you who are used to snow, remember this is a novelty for us down here in the South!

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Peace,

Jill

Why I Love Virtual Photo Walks

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I’ve mentioned Virtual Photo Walks before and I’ll probably keep mentioning it because I think it is SO great!

When I was in my 30’s my older sister was diagnosed with a terminal heart condition and given a few months to live. Being a stubborn, disciplined person, she did everything the doctor told her to do and she lived 6 years longer than they expected. I was one of her main caregivers. Having 2 small kids and caring for her was quite a challenge. My kids spent much of those 6 years in waiting rooms, hanging out with my sister as she gradually became housebound. We watched a lot of TV. We watched all of the O.J. Simpson trial. All of it. (Can you detect my sigh and eye rolling?)

Fast forward to 2015. My best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. Like my sister, I walked by her side until she passed. Again, I spent many hours and days in waiting rooms and hanging out at her house watching TV and dreaming of trips we could take if we could.

I don’t know how I forgot about Virtual Photo Walks, but I did. Too many things on my mind, I think.

I remember when I initially found it I thought, “This is the greatest idea ever!” And when I ever have time I’m going to volunteer to be a photographer for them.

Since I’ve “retired” I have started volunteering with them and I want to spread the word, that’s why I’m writing another post about it.

What Is Virtual Photo Walks? 

VPW is a non-profit organization run by volunteers who are passionate about giving those isolated by illness, age or disability the chance to “escape” their isolation and travel the world!

John Butterill, the founder, organizes the walks through a video conferencing app called Zoom. Photographers from all over the world work with John and plan walks and visits to sites from archaeological digs in Russia to volcanoes in Hawaii to sites in Japan. John sets up the video conferencing meeting and connects the participants who may be in their homes or rehabs, day care centers, nursing homes or are in the hospital and they connect with their computers to participate in the walk.

“The Secret Sauce” 

The magic of Virtual Photo Walks is the live, real time interaction the participants can have with the photographer and also the others who are on the walk with them.

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The participants can talk to the photographer, ask questions and make requests like, “Can we see what’s to your right?” or “Can you take a photo of that tree?” Everyone laughs together and are amazed together in real time. It is a completely different experience than watching a video.

I joined a walk to Yosemite a couple of weeks ago from my office. It was so moving to be with the other participants as we saw the mountains and a beautiful waterfall together. On another walk to an archaeological dig in Russia we had participants from Israel and Japan. It was so interesting.

What VPW Can Do

I remember spending endless hours, days, months and years indoors with my sister and later, my best friend. Too weak to go out and sometimes even to leave the bed. Both of them had to restrict their exposure to germs so even though they might have felt okay, it was too dangerous for them to go out. It was isolating! They were lonely!

Virtual Photo Walks can give people who are isolated a chance to travel to another place and do it with a community of people! Nobody cares what you look like – you can cut the camera off to yourself so no one sees you if you’re worried. Everyone is just glad you joined. And away you go to some beautiful or interesting place together to get away from your bed or hospital room for an hour.

It really does carry you away for a while. It’s magical.

Please Share! 

Here is a great video about VPW. Please share with people you know. Share on social media!

As I said, VPW is a non-profit organization. It’s free to join. The participant just needs internet access to their computer.

You are required to make a request to join because John makes sure all the participants are safe and he protects their privacy.

If you or someone you know would like to participate in a walk, you can join here: 

http://www.virtualphotowalks.org/be-invited-to-virtual-photo-wa/

If you’d like to volunteer to be a photographer and share the beauty of the world around where you live or where you travel, you can volunteer here:

http://www.virtualphotowalks.org/sign-up-to-be-a-vpw-photograph/

You’ll need a smart phone, a good data plan and a tripod.

If you’d like to donate, that would be amazing! Please share with businesses who could possibly donate to help provide equipment and internet access. Donate here:

http://www.virtualphotowalks.org/donate/

Thanks for your help in this very worthy cause!

Peace,

Jill