Friday, November 10, 2017

As Thanksgiving Nears These Photos Remind There's No Greater Blessing Than Family

Photo of a family around the Thanksgiving table
There would be no argument from anyone these days that these are tumultuous, interesting and unquestionably scary times in the world. From the threat of nuclear war, to the political maelstrom swirling around the right and the left, to mass shootings and turbulent weather, there is unquestionable uncertainty and concern felt by many.

At the end of the month, however, residents of the United States will be celebrating their Thanksgiving. There is probably no better time to be reminded that despite the chaos there is still so much for which people can be thankful.

Always first on my list is family.  As we celebrated our Thanksgiving here last month (Canadians count their blessings in October) I looked around our dining table at my kids and the six beautiful grandchildren they have given me. The first of the latter came into our lives 18 years ago and it was like the already brilliant sun began to shine a little brighter. Becoming a grandparent was better than I could have imagined and I was eager for more little ones to join our family.

Our offspring, however,  were in no particular hurry it seemed. We waited almost 13 years before we were able to smile down on our second little sweetheart. Since then though our kids have stepped up their game and we are blessed to have six grandchildren in total now.

It is to them I go when life's miseries seem to be winning, when disasters and tragedies strive to engulf us. Only in a wonderful world, I remind myself,  could I be in a place where these little darlings are with me.

Photo of grandparents and grandchildren in the forest
Not that I don't have many things for which I'm grateful. I very much do. I live in one of the greatest countries with all the benefits that accompany that. I have health, employment and enough money. I have terrific friends, as well as supportive extended family members. And last, but most definitely not least, I have the pleasure of being married to one of the best guys I've ever known.

But, for me, and many others, all of that good can get weighted down from time to time. When a day is dark and dreary, when we've spent too much time listening to the headlines, when something nasty has come our way, we might need a lifeline to grab onto and stay positive. Thinking of my family and focussing on the endearing faces of my little grandchildren is sure to lift me. Every time.

On Nov. 23, Americans will have their turn to break from the regular workday routines and gather with family, to set aside woes and worries and celebrate the bounty that this life has brought.  In film the holiday is typically portrayed with people representing assorted relatives of diverse age as they prepare and descend upon the home of the family home. There is then, the house filled to the rafters with guests who congregate in the kitchen, around a laden dining table or in front of the television for football. The interactions are defined by teasing, laughter, love and, because it's Hollywood, some type of conflict.

Though the actual storyline might require a leap of faith, the message of this holiday is clear — surround yourself on this special season with the people who know you best and love you anyway. From them the inspiration to find, and focus on,  all of the blessings that come your way will thrive.

Since most would agree that family is the most important thing any time of year,  but certainly during the festive season,  we offer this collection of wonderful photos depicting that subject in all of its amazing  configurations: Pictures of Family

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

You're Sure to Love These 5 Collections Featuring This Week's Top Downloads from

Clipart image of a yin yang symbol featuring day and night
"I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort where we overlap." Ani DiFranco

My husband and I enjoy many of the same things in life and most certainly share the same values.  We have a rather far-left view and can both be a little impatient with those who even tilt right. Compromise generally comes easily in decision making since we both recognize when it might be wise to concede on a particular issue.  And for both of us, family is always first.

However,  we do differ a bit in our interests. While we both love classic Mopars,   his passion for vintage snowmobiles is a wonder to me. I read books voraciously; for him it's newspapers and magazines.

We share a mutual love of music. However, what we want to listen to at any given time can be at opposite ends of the genre spectrum.  Though I tend to select a playlist to suit a mood or time of day; jazz for a quiet dinner, for example; he plays to suit his mood. AC DC blaring out of speakers on a gentle Sunday morning, early enough that I'm still  sporting bed head, is not unheard of.

There are elements of our personalities that differ too. Many, truth be told. He is yin to my yang, north to my south.

Entering a room full of strangers, my guy will walk in with confidence, making his way through the mass, making new friends along the way. I will stick to him like glue, quiet in the extreme. Where he seeks out that person with whom he might find something in common, I hope they find me.

He's never been to a party he wanted to leave; I would generally prefer to stay home. He's a touch bull-headed (he admits this) and will strike with passionate defence of his  perspective. I am a true Libra who wishes everyone would just get along. It all works, of course, because the differences support us as a couple.  For example, he is my comfort zone in social settings: I'm the one who reminds him the next day will come early and it's time to go home.

It's an individual's tastes and traits that make them the special person they are. We might be puzzled by another's choices but they're not ours to understand.

In business, too, polarity is obvious. For instance, putting together promotions with a team can be an interesting endeavour as complete consensus on what looks good is unlikely.

Also, working in the online clipart industry it can often be an eye-opener when my colleagues and I take a peek at the most popular downloads. Though there is likely to be a commonality in a theme,  the styles can differ significantly from what one of us might choose.

I thought it might be fun, therefore, to take a look at the five top downloads for clipart for this week from one of our websites, then share the collections of which they're a part. Below are the results.  The strength is in their differences, though the upcoming holiday season seems to be high on everybody's list.
Clipart image of a cartoon turkey wearing a Pilgrim hat for Thanksgiving


Clipart image of gold Christmas bells with holly

Clipart image of green holly swirls

Clipart image of a Christmas wreath