Thursday, March 29, 2012

Another time, another place

Take one look at this street and you might think you were magically transported to another time.

Feel the heat from the cobblestones under your worn shoes, smell the fresh baked pie sitting on the windowsill cooling, say hello to your neighbor passing by, hear the horn from the BMW parked down the street.  SAY WHAT????

Welcome to Elfreth's Alley, the oldest residential street in our nation's history.  Dating back to the 18th century, Elfreth's Alley was home to butchers, bakers, candlestick makers and many other artisans. 

Strolling down the street today you are immediately taken back to a time that was much simpler and quieter.  Walking down the alley you quickly forget this street is in the middle of busy downtown Philadelphia. 

The street commands certain feeling of peacefulness as you admire the details found in each house along the street.

Take a look at this light...old meets new?

However, even with all this charm, some people can't help but wonder if there is more to see.  So they peek through the windows, doors and even gates to see more. 

So Kathy, what was behind that door?

I could have stayed on this street for hours  The texture and details were so amazing. Living on this street can be yours for $630,000.  For that price, you not only get a charming house full of American History, an prestigious address with bragging rights and a cobblestone driveway, you get a street filled with lots of people visiting your neck of the woods every day.

Next time you are in Philly...take a step back in time and visit this amazing street.

Focusing on Him and pulling my blinds closed,

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Good Night Philadelphia

Goodnight Moon:
...Goodnight room
Goodnight moon
Good night cow jumping over the moon
Goodnight light
And the red balloon
Goodnight bears
Goodnight chairs
Goodnight kittens
And goodnight mittens
Goodnight clocks
And goodnight socks
Goodnight little house
And goodnight mouse
Goodnight comb
And goodnight brush
Goodnight nobody
Goodnight mush
And goodnight to the old lady
whispering "hush"
Goodnight stars
Goodnight air
Goodnight noises everywhere.

~Margaret Wise Brown

I spent the past four days and night exploring Philadelphia.  While I was here for work, I was also able to enjoy the many sights and sounds as well.  I started my week with an amazingly talented group of women I met through the blogging community and I ended my time in Philadelphia with one of my amazing students and her family. 

Let me tell you a little about C.  C is in second grade and has a heart of gold.  While the cards she was dealt in life may not have been all aces, she faces each day with a smile because she knows God loves her and made her so very special.  She faces her challenges knowing God is always by her side no matter what. 

C. and her family live outside of Philadelphia so when I knew I was going to be staying in Philly for a week, I called C.'s mom and asked if we could meet one night and have dinner, since I probably wouldn't get to meet her any other time.  C. was so excited and couldn't wait to come into the big city!  I was probably just as excited as she was! 

C.'s dad, Matt was super insistant that he get to come along and meet Mrs. Sharpe too!  So they all piled into their car,even little sister S.,  and met me in my hotel lobby. 
It was such a beautiful night we decided to walk to dinner.  Wow...I could get used to this! How awesome is it that we can walk a few blocks and have our pick of resturants! 

C. and S. have never seen the Liberty Bell or Independance Hall so since they were on our way, we took a quick peek at the bell from the outside, since it was already closed for the day.  After all, the teacher in me can't let a good teaching moment slip through my fingers! (Make sure you log that time mom!)

After dinner, which I might say was specatalar, we started our walk back to the hotel.  We stopped to take a few pictures along the way.  We admired all of the American flags waving in the breeze...I believe I counted four in a one block radius! 
C. and her family stopped by Independance Hall for a quick family photo.  While I captured a few more pictures!  I learned that C.'s dad used to work at the US Mint after he graduated from college.  He was surprised to learn you can still take tours of the mint and hopes to return to show his girls where he once worked.  Across the street from the Mint is Ben Franklin's grave site.  We of course had to stop and pay our respects.  The girls each tossed a penny on his grave and of course posed for a picture! 

I was sad to see our time come to an end as I was so enjoying spending some time getting to know C. and her family.  I am so blessed to have the opportunity to work with C. and her mom.  I will miss talking to her next year when she moves on to third grade.  I know God crossed our paths for a reason and hope to never lose contact with her.  She, as well as her family will always have a special place in my heart.  Before I end my post, I want to share something C. said to me this evening.  After we said our goodbyes in the hotel lobby, I told C. I was going to walk with them to their car. 
C. turned to me and asked, " Mrs. Sharpe, will you be ok walking back to the hotel?"
Her concern for me almost brought tears to my eyes. 
Let me remind you all...she is in second grade!

C. and S. and mom and dad too,
Thank you for making my trip to Philadelphia complete.  I am so honored you wanted to have dinner with me.  I enjoyed getting to know you and your family.  In fact I learned so much more than I could ever imagine!  I never knew South Africa was a country...did you Dad? :) 

Good night sweet family and Good night Philadelphia.  I've enjoyed my stay and am sad to've almost turned me into a city girl!  I don't think I could ever truly be a city girl but it was sure fun while it lasted. 

Focusing on Him,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


"Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan.  The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines." 

~Leviticus 25:10

 What does this have to do with the Liberty Bell...?
In 1751 The Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly ordered a new bell for the State House.  The bell was commissioned to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Penn's Charter.

I'm spending this week in Philadelphia for work. While my kids and husband weren't looking forward to it...I sure was.  On Sunday I met up with some of my blogging buddies:

 Shay, Kathy B. and Kathy L.,  for a big city adventure.  

My daughter had one picture request...she wanted to see the Liberty Bell.  Unfortunately the line to the bell was extremely long so we didn't get to see it on Sunday.

The good news is my hotel is two blocks away from the bell so I could just pop on over there after I was done working for the day.  So on Monday, I did just that.  I grabbed my camera and headed out for another big city adventure.  

Since it was a Monday, there were very few people waiting to see the Bell.  
In fact, I was able to walk right in, well after I went through security. 
 And for the record ladies, I had to unzip, lift and turn yet again!  

Ever wonder why Pennsylvania is spelled wrong on the Liberty Bell.  To be honest with you I didn't even know it was.  I noticed it when I was editing this picture, so I looked it up.

  This is what I learned from the website "the spelling of "Pennsylvania" was not at that time universally adopted. In fact, in the original Constitution, the name of the state is also spelled "Pensylvania. "  Wow you learn something new every day!

 The next time I visit, I will stay awhile and read the signs, but in the mean time, check out this site or this one for more information about an important piece of American history and when you do, you'll see more about how the Bible verse at the beginning of my post relates to the bell!

I continue to be amazed at the workmanship that was put into creating this American symbol of freedom.  Yes it may have a crack but take one look at it and you are quickly reminded of all that it represents.

Thanks for stopping by!  

Focusing on Him,

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Determined to Perservere

When I started blogging a few months ago, the intention of my blog was to work on my photography skills.  It was not to brag about myself or my children.  However, today I have to do a proud momma post.  Please bear with me as I explain!

Kelsey loves to play sports.  She has played sports since she started kindergarten six years ago...since then she has played or participated in some type of sport.  She started off in soccer and then gave T-Ball a try.  Then she thought she'd give cheerleading a try.  She even squeezed in a season of swimming.  Yes she loves sports!  She gave up cheerleading last fall in order to revisit soccer. 

Not having played in a few seasons she was a little rusty but quickly got the hang of it.  She decided she wanted to try out the position of goalie.  oui vey!  I was always nervous when she was defending the goal!  She mastered that position and only allowed a few balls to go in.  Her team didn't win any games that season but they learned to play as a team and all became better soccer players.  

Fast forward to last spring when twelve girls took the field for the first time under Coach Mike.  Coach Mike and his girlfriend took the girls from a group of individuals to a Team.  We all know there is no I in Team and Together Everyone Achieves More!

Kelsey started out in the goal but quickly decided she wanted to learn a new position and turned the net over to two of her teammates.  She started out as a defender, (guarding the net) and then played the front line a few times.  Kelsey was determined to score a goal.  I promised her I would buy her french fries if she scored a goal.  Sadly the season ended with no goals or french fries, but wasn't for a lack of trying!  Kelsey had a few assists and one near miss.  In her near miss, the ball hit the side of the net and bounced out...I mean that kinda counts right?
 However, remember when I said Coach Mike taught the girls to play as a team and not individuals?  Well his strategy paid off big time as the team went on to become undefeated.  They only allowed two goals to be scored all season.  They were the only team to be undefeated in their division.  

Move ahead one more time.  Spring soccer 2012.  Same coach and almost same group of girls.  When they practiced for the first time two weeks ago it was almost as if they never stopped playing.  
Today was their first game.  Of course, today it had to be 60 degrees and pouring down rain.  It's been so nice all week why did it have to rain today?  The girls however were super excited to play in the rain and prayed the game wouldn't be cancelled.  Kelsey was a little more excited because she was playing her cousin's team.  
Kelsey took the field and was playing the front line.  She had many good blocks and kicks and even an assist or two but no goal at the end of the first half.  I reminded her she could score a goal if she put her mind to it.  I also reminded her she had to tell herself she was going to score.  

The second half was just as intense as the first half with Kelsey stopping the ball, turning it in the other direction and passing it to her players.  Then it happened...
a shot on goal...and guess what it missed but she got it back and tried again and the ball when in!  I have never been so proud of her in my life.  She was determined to score and she did!  The joy in her eyes and smile on her face was so bright I am sure everyone in York saw it.  
After the goal, she was determined to try again!  I have never seen her play harder or more determined.  She stopped a ball with her stomach, which I am sure hurt as I heard the hit from the sideline, and then dribbled the ball to the goal to take another shot as soon as the ball hit the ground.  It almost went in but just missed!  

The funny thing is right before she scored her goal, I turned to my friend and said, "You watch today is the day she is going to score a goal since I don't have my camera."  And wouldn't you know it, a few minutes later she scored.  For the record I did have my camera but it was raining too hard to take it out and try to shoot while holding the umbrella at the same time!

I am so proud of your perseverance and determination to score a goal.  Never let anyone tell you that you can't do something because the girl I saw on the field today proved to me that you can do anything you want.  I love you and am so proud to call you my daughter. 

And in case you are wondering if we got 
Glacier Flakes...technically we did not.  We went out for dinner instead.  However, her assistant coach stopped by a little while ago with a cherry Glacier Flakes just for Kelsey.  Thanks Coach Frank! 

Let this be a lesson to all of us who are ready to give up...persevere and never give up...Keep your eye on the goal and you will score.

Focusing on Him,

Friday, March 23, 2012


This week marked the first official day of spring, however, we have been enjoying spring weather for many weeks now.  The flowers are in full bloom and the trees are budding or flowering.  
Spring is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love the new beginnings of the flowers and trees.  It's like God's way of wiping the slate clean and letting us start over...just like when He died for our sins. 
 I've been focusing on learning more about photography over the past few weeks in an effort to improve my pictures.  This week, my photo bud Shay, discovered how to add texture to her pictures. 
Oh and did I mention that it was time to upgrade to a new version of Photoshop?  So this evening Shay and I hung out and played with textures and Photoshop!  It was so awesome to visit with my bud and share our love of photography.  Here's hoping someday we will take that love and turn it into something else!

 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Random Thoughts

So my photo bud, Shay, has been harassing me all day.  
She's been begging me to create a post, since I haven't done one since Scavenger Hunt Sunday.  Doesn't she realize I've been busy?  I've been proctoring state testing all week and haven't been getting home till close to 5 every night and have been greeting my pillow by 8:30 most nights? 
I've also been trying to walk three times a week.  (So far I've logged 5.42 miles this week!) 
So needless to say I've been too tired to do much else!  I did manage to take a few pictures but again, way too tired to do anything with them.

I promised Shay I would do a post today.  At the time, I had no idea what to write about as I already mentioned my week consisted of state testing and walking!  Then it hit me...I took lots of pictures of the beautiful spring flowers that are blooming in my yard.  So today's post includes some of the pictures I took this week.  
The following three pictures are unedited and straight out of the camera.

The following is straight out of the camera as well...other than cropping!

One last picture to share with you today...Shay excitedly shared with me how to add texture to pictures.  So I of course had to play.  This is one of my favorite pictures from this week.  

I'm headed to Philly on Sunday with Shay, Kathy and Kathy!  Keep your fingers crossed the rain stays away and the sun shines bright!   I am so excited to meet up with and learn from some of the best in photographers in Pennsylvania!  

Thanks for stopping by and taking time to "smell" the flowers...OK so maybe you can't smell them, but take my word for it...they smell awesome!

In focus on him,

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

On the hunt again!
It's Sunday so that means another week has somehow slipped by yet again.  I didn't have much time, well I had time, I just chose to spend it other ways, to grab my camera and take pictures.  The weather has been incredible all week.  That means, bike rides to the park, long walks, hanging out with the neighbors, blowing bubbles and over all just enjoying the fresh air.  I don't think I slept this good in a long time!  I can't believe it was in the 70's  on March 17!  

Well enough of my commentary...and on to what you stopped by to see...this week's interpretations.  


I couldn't decide which picture I liked best so I shared them both! I have to admit, I struggled with this prompt and at 10:00 on Saturday night I remembered my Great Grandma's necklace and earrings in my jewelry box.   When it was time for my Grandma to move out of her house and in with my mom, all of the grandchildren were asked to pick a few things we wanted.  When we discovered this set, I knew I wanted it.  I doubt I will ever wear it but I just thought it was really cool.  I am sure Great Grandma looked awesome when she wore it! 


This picture is from my archives.  A few Saturday mornings ago, my son and I visited the Farmer's Market in Lancaster.  As we were walking back to our car, I discovered this wall.  I thought it was really cool, even though I have no idea what it says or what it was advertising!


Last week, my husband asked me to go for a walk with him during my lunch break.  I grabbed my camera and laced up my sneakers and headed out with him.  We headed to the park that is beside our house.  The park has a trail that runs beside a creek.  I love to walk on that path because you never know what you are going to find.  On this particular windy afternoon, I saw this leaf blowing in the wind.  I was struck by it's beauty.  There were leaves all over the ground but no other ones on this branch.  


On Friday night, my neighbor had a gathering at her house.  You can read about it and see other pictures from the evening here.  When it was time to leave, the kids decided to get silly.  I asked them to pose for me for a picture of people!  I guess when you get seven kids together and ask them to pose for a picture you never know what you are going to get!  
One of the other adults suggested I take a picture of the kids spelling out the word people...we tried but only I knew that's what it said, so I scrapped it and went with this crazy picture!  My daughter is one of the ones NOT wearing green...apparently she didn't get the memo it was green day at school! 


There were so many pictures I could have chosen for this prompt, so why did I chose a tree?  
That's an excellent question!  
I stumbled upon this tree a few weeks ago when I stopped at a park in Lancaster.  I thought it looked like the tree was smiling at me.  I didn't realize there was something in the "mouth" until I got home and loaded my pictures into the computer. 

That's all for this week.  I hope this nice weather continues and it's safe to say spring it upon us.  My daffodils are in full bloom and are adding beautiful color to my otherwise drab landscaping.  On Saturday I noticed my hyacinths are in full bloom as well.  I just love this time of the year!  

If you want to join in on the fun, stop on over to Ashley's site and check it out.  Check out how everyone else interpreted the prompts...once you start, you can't stop!  

Thanks for stopping by.  I'd love to hear your comments...tell me what you  think!  How would you interpret this week's prompts?

Till next time, Focusing on Him,

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Strike a pose...

Last night our neighbor hosted a  kid's book exchange.  
The idea was to save money by exchanging the books your child has already read with books another family has already read.  Great idea right?  How cool is that?  So K gathered up some of the books she has already read and we headed up the street to H's house.  We walked in to a plethora of books!  K exchanged her books for new ones and then proceeded to "hang out" with her friends.  I took my camera along in hopes of capturing one or two pictures for this week's scavenger hunt!
As we were getting ready to leave, H's little sis L, noticed I had my camera.  L, never one to miss a photo opportunity started to strike a pose.  I turned my camera on and started snapping away.  Little did I know this would attract all the other kids at the party!  So I pretended to be the paparazzi and encouraged the kids to strike a pose and model for me.  I had as much fun capturing the attitudes and abilities of all the kids at the party as they did posing!  The parents were standing behind me laughing at all the crazy things their kids were doing.  Now you will notice in the pictures below, the two oldest kids, H and K, did not want to strike a pose and walk the runway with the others!  I guess when you are their age, 10 and 11, it's not fun to pose in front of the camera unless it's their idea!  
L, H2, C, H3, E, I had so much fun capturing your playful side...let's do it again sometime.  
And Big H and Big K when you want to walk the runway and strike a pose for me...just let me know I'll be there with my camera to capture the fun!  





And one  last picture to remember the night...

The night was filled with good food, good conversation and many laughs...I am looking forward to the next one...!

Friends are the most important part of your life. Treasure the tears, treasure the laughter, but most importantly, treasure the memories.
 - Dave Brenner

If you would like to know more about the book exchange please let me know.  It was tons of fun and an inexpensive way to get new books for K to read.  

Thanks for stopping by!  I'd love to hear your comments!

Focusing on Him,