Crystal Writes A Blog

A place to read what Crystal writes

Photo Fun–A Gift for My Sister


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Welcome to my Friday blog post where, sticking with my pattern of daily alliteration in my titles, it is time for Fun and Flourishing Friday. Since I’m planning on Fridays being posts of fun, photography, family, etc., this one lines up perfectly with edits done to a picture of my sister and her husband. Plus, the fancy frame even allows for the definition of flourish.

I had a great day where I got a bit more exercise and activity according to my Samsung SHealth app. As part of that activity, I took a bunch of pictures in my front yard, and while I was working on some creative edits, I changed my mind midstream. I’m kinda known for doing things like that. It’s a woman thing and an Adult ADD thing, so…oh, look, another idea popping in.  🙂 Not really, but really. My mind is always racing with new ideas and running down a variety of rabbit trails.

Anyway, I remembered I had a picture from my little sister’s recent vow renewal ceremony out in Arizona. She and her husband celebrated their 33rd year of marriage, and since I couldn’t be there for the event, I asked for a lot of pictures.

Well, Candie is normally the photographer for her church, but as the subject of the photos, she couldn’t be the one to take them. I don’t know how many people she passed the camera to, but she ended her day with a variety of nice pictures. Unfortunately, only a few were of just her and her hubby Steve together. The best one also had half a word and some wall decor behind them. That’s the first image in the slideshow above.

I cut the image to a size that would print for an 8 x 10 landscape, but I had not yet been successful in removing the letters and design. I’m not practiced in using the cutting tools to cut and paste an image yet, but the new Photoshop Elements 14 has a “refine selection” tool that makes a big difference, so I hope to use that method in the future. For this one, I simply copied and pasted plain wall portions over the decorated wall. I use the free software from Irfanview for simple editing, so shadowing and colors aren’t perfectly even, but a little work with the cloning tool took the square lines out. From there, I opened the image up in my KVADPhoto+ Pro desktop app from the Microsoft Store. (Note: links are for ease of reference only unless they link to Amazon where they include my affiliate info.)

Image two in the slideshow reveals the heart bokeh I placed over the walls to soften the background and add some color. That took two different effect filters, and half the fun is seeing what an image looks like with the different filters until I find one or two that seem perfect. For this, white hearts and then colored hearts worked well together. In addition to that, I added a simple frame to make the picture printable as an 8 x 10 for my family that doesn’t use the Internet. The frame is perfect because it includes some dainty lace, and my little sister loves all things lacey and Victorian.

The last image was the simplest, though I went through a variety of frames to get to it. For that one, I surrounded the previously edited and framed image in another Photo+ frame that I thought would look good for when my sister wants to share her pic online. We’ll see which one she likes best, and feel free to comment on the one you like best too.

Shabbat Shalom to all my readers, and may this fun and flourishing Friday finish your week in peace and joy.

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August 5, 2016 Posted by | Creativity, Fun & Flourishing Friday, Nonfiction, Photography | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Party God’s Way


image

Hamburger cake my friend Julie made for her husband on his 50th birthday. I'm amazed at her talent with fondant.

Did you know that getting saved does not mean we must stop having fun? As a matter of fact, I’ve had more real fun since I started serving God than when I served my own selfish ideas of fun. See, a lot of people defend their right to, as was said in the days of my youth, party hardy, but you’ll never hear them defending the right to pay the hardy fees that follow the party. Anything we do to excess comes with an excessive price tag. And if we’re not willing to pay the associated costs, we’re not only looking to party, we’re looking to do it selfishly, and that’s where the problem starts.

In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 14:22 through Deuteronomy 14:29, we will learn about how to party God’s way. We begin with instructions on an annual tithe that God says to take to a specific place and eat in His presence. And right there is your first hint that God isn’t trying to create a miserable people. He wants us to enjoy even that which we would give as a sacrificial tithe.

As the reading goes on, we learn what God says to do when the place of sacrifice is too far away for the people to get to. In that case, God tells them to take their tithe to another location where He sends them, and once there, they are to sell their tithe in exchange for money. With that money, they are told to have a good time with their families. They can buy whatever they want, including intoxicating liquor, as long as no one is left out–especially the Levites on their property since they do not have their own inheritance.

The last instruction for the tithe of the people is to take a tenth of their produce every three years and store it in towns for the Levites, the orphans, and the widows.

What I find amazing is how the tithe that is set aside for the Levite towns is only a tenth of what comes in for one out of every three years. From that, the ministers must also share with the widows and orphans. In the other two years, the people are supposed to find joy in their own tithes. Imagine telling most of our modern preachers to live like this. :-\

I see a running theme in all of this, and what I see is simply that no one should live selfishly and unto himself. People should share with ministries, ministries should give to the needy, and everyone should make sure that no one else is forgotten. And something tells me that if we all lived that way, all provisions would be taken care of.

Even our fun and celebrations should include sharing and not selfish drunkenness. They should never include drugs because drugs put the mind in places that are only self-focused. You can’t think of others, or of personal responsibility, when you can’t think clearly. But, if everything we do, including partying, is done with God and others in mind, and if we stay fully aware and responsible no matter what we do, we can have fun and still not bring harm to ourselves or others. And that is how to party God’s way.

August 13, 2014 Posted by | Bible Study, Nonfiction, Torah Commentary | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Wandering Kings–A Fun Story with Christmas Carols and Songs


Merry Christmas, Everyone. Here’s a fun story as my gift to all of you. I wrote it as a challenge for our local writer’s group. I’ve also included it as an attachment at the end in case anyone would like to download and/or print it. Enjoy…

Christmas Graphic

THREE WANDERING KINGS

(by Crystal A Murray)

We three kings knew we had a long journey ahead. We started on a silent night, but it turned out that many joined us along the way. We happened upon Good King Wenceslas, who asked us where we were going. Since we weren’t exactly sure yet (at this point we were just following the yonder star), I just hem-hawed around and finally answered, “Oh…little town of Bethlehem, I reckon.”

We continued on down the road when one of our road mates stopped and said, “Do you hear what I hear?

I answered, “Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel; tell us what you heard.”

And then Melchior spoke up and said, “I didn’t hear anything, but I saw three ships come sailing in as we passed the harbor.”

“If you already saw the ships,” I said, “then it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

“Well then,” said Melchior, “go tell it on the mountain, so everyone will know!”

“But who will tell Grandma?” asked one of our younger travelers.

“We will,” announced a group of teens who had joined us. As they ran out of sight, I heard them singing what sounded like, Hi ho, hi ho, to Grandmother’s house we go. It reminded me so much of my childhood that I could practically see our old homestead decked out with the holly and the ivy, and I could smell the chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Oh those memories of days spent rockin’ around the Christmas tree were so wonderful. I hate that it all had to end when Grandma got run over by a reindeer.

I was almost crying when someone broke into my thoughts. “I think I just heard the silver bells.”

“You mean you heard dinner bells,” I joked because I knew we were all starting to get hungry. Never-the-less, we trudged along until it dawned on us–well, it wasn’t morning yet, so no dawn, but it came upon the midnight clear that the star was leading us to a barn in the middle of a field.

As we approached the barn, someone shouted, “Bring a torch, Jeanette Isabella,” and we all sprang forward to view the baby who had been tucked away in a manger. At that, the little drummer boy who was traveling with us began to play a special tune that sounded more like sleigh bells or jingle bells than a drum. (I don’t know how he did that.) Anyway, it was magical and made me wonder, what child is this that can turn even the sound from a child’s toy into such beautiful orchestration. And that’s when I heard the bells on Christmas day, and then we all exclaimed together, “Oh holy night!” Continue reading

December 25, 2013 Posted by | Fiction, Humor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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