Sunday, December 16, 2012

Answering the Question: Where Was God?

Where was God?  Was that the question Neil Cavuto asked Mike Huckabee after the tragic murder of 20 first graders, their principal, and teachers?  God was right there in the midst of them, right there with his wings around them comforting them as He lead them into His kingdom.  God was there when each of those teachers sheltered the rest of the students.  God was there when someone turned on the intercom so that the rest of the school knew something was wrong and to act immediately to save the children.  God was there when the custodian ran through the halls yelling that there was a gunman and to hide.  God was there when the principal and the teacher rushed the gunman to try to stop him.

Jesus Himself said "There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  These people in Sandy Hook Elementary School who immediately put their own bodies in between the shooter and the children were the hands and arms and feet and bodies of God.  Sandy Hook Elementary School, we are told, has 700 students, not counting the teachers and other staff.  The heroism shown by those teachers and the principal and janitor, as well as whoever it was who turned on the intercom so the rest of the school was on the alert immediately built a wall of defense the very best they could.  Twenty-eight lives were lost if I got the latest count. Over 672 lives were saved by their heroism.  Don't forget that.  We don't know yet what all happened in that school or why the shooter finally stopped shooting at everyone else and shot himself instead.  God is always working in our lives unseen but so few of us want to acknowledge His presence or His miracles.  Could you not choose to look at this event as a miracle that more lives were not lost?  That somehow, someway, it all occurred in just that one small location in the school and so many lives were spared IS a miracle.  That the killer chose guns rather than strategically placed bombs, or even a car bomb could be considered a miracle.  How much more damage would bombs have caused?  How much more loss of precious life?

Mike Huckabee said it right when he said that we are a society which has systematically removed God from our culture.  Here's the big mystery of our culture today.  People don't want to acknowledge that God exists, that is until something tragic happens.  But then instead of calling out to Him to invite Him back into our lives, we choose to blame him and question him and doubt Him. We never once remember that there is also a fallen archangel formerly named Lucifer but now known as Satan who is out there to destroy us in any way he can.  If God is real, then what He has said is real.  And God has told us that Satan roams the earth like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.  But it's so much easier for us to put the blame on God instead of putting it where it belongs, on Satan.  This world is full of both good and evil.  This world is at war.  Spiritual war between good and evil, between God and Satan.  It won't be much longer until the war ends and God wins.  But until then, Satan is getting in his best shots.  And there will be fallout.  Innocent lives get hurt, damaged, or killed in wars no matter what kind of war.  But God will win.

And God WAS with those children and their teachers.  He was with them just as He was with me when I was being molested fifty years ago from the ages of three to seven by old men who were neighbors, and teenage boys and girls who were neighbors, or the children of friends of the family.  How does a child get through that and live?  God. Now I am not going into any details.  Suffice it to say that was the late 1950's to early 1960's and people did not speak of such things.  But during at least one of those incidents, I apparently must have lost consciousness and woke to find myself in different clothing standing with Jesus Christ.  I felt nothing of the molestation.  I only knew what was happening right before and right after that evil incident. Instead I was being comforted by God.  So why didn't God just stop it from happening at all? Because He gave humans free will so they can choose who to follow, Him or Satan.  But He protected my life out of the incident.  He protected my mind and spirit.  And I absolutely KNOW God was with each of those children and their teachers Friday.

Those children died in a way that none of us ever want to even have to think about our children dying. But they were in the arms of God through it all, whether they could see Him or whether He kept Himself unseen.  The Bible says that God knows each and every sparrow that falls to the ground and that we are of much greater value than many sparrows.  You can legislate God out of our schools and out of our public lives to where you don't think He is there.  But God is everywhere and God is still in school.  Especially when someone overtaken in evil for whatever reason attacks God's precious little ones.  Your laws cannot keep God out of school.  They may force people to be silent about God and not read our Bibles in school.  But those of us who carry God in our hearts take God everywhere we go.  Yes, even into the schools.

So for anyone who is wondering where God was Friday morning, remind them that God was giving strength to the heroes and heroines at Sandy Hook Elementary.  Because that's what He was doing.  As long as evil still exists in this world, we will have to deal with it.  But God is always right there ready if we call out to Him for help.  He is always there giving us strength and courage when we are weak and afraid.  And God is there for anyone even now who needs Him and sincerely calls out to Him for help right now.  And as tragic and sad as it is that 20 young lives were ended on this earth, God escorted them with His angels into His presence for all eternity, to be missed on earth, but to be reunited later with those who choose to believe.

This shooting along with the mall shooting earlier will no doubt be brought up later as political fuel to fan the flames of the heated gun control battle.  It's shameful and embarrassing that our political leaders would stoop to such manipulations to try to force their agenda into the spotlight.  Gun control would not have prevented such tragedies.  As we have been reminded, the Oklahoma City bombing wasn't about guns.  It was about fertilizer.  The terrorism of 9-11 was not about guns.  It was about airplanes, and box cutters.  Shortly after that fears at the airport caused everyone's shoes, open drinks, and even shampoo bottles to be things to be searched for possible bombs.  You can legislate everything until there is nothing more to legislate.  But as long as there is evil in the world, there will still be murders, molestations, crime, hate, and everything else that leads to destruction.  Only God brings peace, love, and true freedom.  And no matter how much you try to legislate God out of the world, for those of us who believe, He will always live in our hearts.  I guess that's why the Bible prophesies that eventually, since legislating everything else doesn't work to get rid of God, killing off the believers will do it.  Hitler tried it with the Jews and those Christians who reached out to help their Jewish brothers and sisters.  Hitler did a lot of damage.  But Hitler's plans failed.  God is still here in our hearts.  God will always be in the schools and anywhere else this world tries to remove Him from.  He created this world.  You can't take Him out of that.  You can't take God out of the beautiful sunsets, or the majestic ocean waves.  You can't take God out of any of His glorious creation.

Those 20 beautiful children are His creation as well, along with the school staff who also died protecting the children.  So, the next time you ask, or you hear someone else ask, "Where was God?", you tell them what I said.  Or give them this article.  I believe over time as healing begins in Newtown, we may begin to hear more and more stories of the miracles happening that kept people alive.  We will hear more and more of the bravery and heroism of the staff who kept the children hidden and safe and calm.  Managing to keep 628 elementary school students safe and calm in that situation had to be a miracle in itself.  It was God's guiding hand helping the teachers and staff know what to do, when and how to do it.

Psalm 33:12 says: " Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance."  You want to know where God is?  Right here waiting for us to invite Him back into our lives and our culture.  But He isn't interested in puppets who love Him with a fake love.  He wants real love from His real creation--us.  That's why He gave us free will.  Why is there evil in the world?  Because too many are enticed away by the devil to choose Satan's lifestyle and corruption.  It's our choice and has always been our choice to invite God into our lives or send Him away.  But if this country continues to send Him away, don't expect to be blessed.  Stop singing God bless America and turning around and locking Him out of yet some other part of our society.  We've locked Him out of far too much already.  It's time to open those doors, admit we were wrong, and invite Him back.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Catching Up With Squidoo

Lately I've been putting in a lot of time writing on Squidoo. You can see many of my Squidoo lenses listed on the sidebar here.  But I keep writing more and more and just don't seem to keep as caught up here as I would like to be so you can see what I have been doing.  So this post it to give you more information about Squidoo in general, and especially information about my lenses.

Squidoo is a website where you can write and earn money by including various sales modules that sell items related to your topic.  You can also add your affiliates in come cases as well.  The thing about Squidoo is that as Squidoo makes money, you make money too.  Squidoo knows that if you were not writing there, they would have no page so they make sure you have a chance to do your best.  You can obviously click the link provided here to go to their site to learn more.  For now, I want to do a little review of some of my most recent lenses.

Well, the big news is that I have just recently become a GIANT SQUID which means that I have written and published at least 25 quality lenses. I actually have 37 published and a few others that are still in the working stage.  There are some perks to being a Giant Squid such as being able to give other lensmasters 25 points when I click that I like their page, instead of 4 points.  I like that best.  Then I also get some creative perks as well.  One of the requirements of becoming a Giant Squid was that I had to have a lens about me which I really wasn't all that inspired about writing.  But I gave it a few days thought and finally I came up with this one.  Who or What Is a Capirani? is one of my newest lenses.  The cool thing about this lens is that it really does tell you (hopefully) in an interesting way, who I really am.  Oh I don't go into real personal areas, but it ended up being fun to write.  I hope you take a look and post a comment to let me know what you thought of it.  

Another thing I have done is joined the Squidoo Book Club.   Members of the Book Club create specific lenses related to books and twice each month Squidoo has a topic competition and any members wanting to participate can by creating a lens falling into the categories listed for each competition.  Then people, including other Squidoo lensmasters, and any of our friends or family we ask, get to vote on the best lens posted in that category.  The winner gets an Amazon gift card or a choice of a free book from that contest's category.  I've entered twice so far.  Here are the two lenses I've created for the Squidoo Book Club.  

Scrambled Eggs Super by Dr. Seuss was written about one special book by Dr. Seuss that I discovered while visiting at a friend's home.  I got to read it to her kids and my kids that night and had all of us rolling with laughter while I tried to read Dr. Seuss' made up poetic words without getting my tongue tied in knots.  I wrote this lens for the category of Best Children's Fiction Book.  I didn't win.  But I did get a lot of attention which is another way of winning since being in these contests helps drive traffic to us and therefore helps us maybe make more sales.

Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing The Will of God Workbook was written for the competition for favorite non-fiction book.  I would have done one on The Bible but I knew others were going to write about the Bible and I wanted to have mine be different.  Although I did not win, I got a lot of really nice comments from those who went to look at my lens.  But Bible study books ARE my favorite of all non-fiction books and I do believe this one tops my list.

The other night after talking to my grandson, the idea for this lens popped into my head.  Collecting John Deere Toys was the result.  That boy just loves his toy farm equipment and he came by that as naturally as anyone does.  His father and grandfather have been avid collectors of John Deere toys for many years.  In fact I think his grandfather began the collection when he had his only child, the young man who married my daughter.  He also collected the toys so combined now, my grandson has more than I would ever be able to guess.  My son-in-law died in 2008 and at that time in their house there was one whole room just dedicated to the toys.  I have no clue what toys were at his father's house too.

Shortly after that I had the idea from having just done that lens, and also from seeing a photo of a vintage camera that I could do a lens about collecting cameras, and that's exactly what I did.  Collecting Cameras is the result.  I found a lot of interesting information about the history of cameras and photography as well as got to see quite a few interesting models of old vintage cameras.

To get to the complete listing of all of my lenses, you can visit this site here which is my personal Squidoo profile.  This lens list shows everything I've done so you can explore and really get another look at who I am through the words of my lenses.  They are all about the things I am most interested in at the time I am writing them.

As I said, I have 37 active lenses and most of them are listed here on the sidebar.  Please feel free to share the links on your pages.  I'll gladly reciprocate as long as the links are family-friendly.  That's about all the news for you tonight. 

Jonah and I say goodnight to you all.  As you can see here, he's resting while my friend Sara puts up my Christmas tree.  He may believe he's guarding the branches.  Jonah is such a good dog.  He's in his winter hair cut.  But I am going to have to do something about the hair around his eyes.

Keep Going.

If you get off-track in life, check your GPS (Godly Positioning System--The Bible) to get going in the right direction. Believe me, I've gotten off the path many times in my life and still sometimes miss a turn here or there. More times than I can remember or can count. Thank God He gave us His map, His love letter, The Bible, to help us find our way. Nobody is running the same exact race, so we don't need to look at someone else to see how they are doing or how they might be measuring up. We are responsible only for the race we each are running. When we fall, Jesus is there to pick us up. All we have to do is ask. I might be the last one over the finish line. I might be the slowest one or the most clumsy. But as long as I keep going, I will win my race. My race (and your race) is not dependent on what anyone else does or their progress. Just keep going. Keep checking with the GPS God gave us. That's the only way to win this race.

If you are discouraged today, remember that those who have finished the race before us are cheering us on as are the angels, and God Himself. You are going to make it.

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Philippians 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

2 Chronicles 7:14 What Does That Look Like?

2 Chronicles 7:14 "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

What that would look like???

People everywhere who are calling themselves after the Name of God:
1. Humbling themselves
2. Praying
3. Seeking God's face
4. Turning from their wicked ways

"THEN..." God says...

"...then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

This Christmas season while we are out there complaining because we have to see "Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings" everywhere instead of Merry Christmas...this season when we are fighting for the best parking spaces so we don't have to walk far, pushing and shoving to get the best items on the shelves...(so we will be loved by our children and family and friends, right? Or so they will love our gifts better than any of the other gifts?)

This season when we are upset about having "Big Government" and "Big Brother" watching our every move...but we want that same government to deal with all the poor people, the homeless, the sick, etc...that same government ruling a country that is divided with over killing unborn children and gay marriage...while we spend our time with sports, shopping, cooking big family feasts, decorating our lavish homes...yet we still send the poor to the government for assistance (all the while complaining about them even needing assistance) while we expect the government to do all this without raising our taxes...well this could go on and on and on.

2000 years ago there was no room in the inn for a poor man and his very pregnant wife to lodge for the night.  It wasn't that they didn't have money to pay.  The innkeeper just had no more room left. (Wondering...could he not have opened his own room to a woman about to deliver a child instead of sticking her in a dirty barn?)  It's our sinful human nature that makes these choices.  We wonder today why people don't like church...why the church turns people off instead of drawing them least in America.  In other poorer countries around the world, the churches are overflowing.  How do we respond to that?

John 13:5 "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
John 13:34 "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."

What does this love look like?  Apparently not what we are showing others who really need to see Jesus. 

When the Christian Church sends people away rather than helping them...when the Christian church is more concerned with business and building bigger, better buildings, and lots of good programs within the church...but shutting those in need out...when they make money such a big issue that people feel ashamed if they don't give even what they can't instead they stay away...and when that money they do give isn't really reaching the poor or the people Christ wants it to go to help...

 How can we expect to get rid of big government until we change?  How can we expect God to bless us until we change?

Well...back up to 2 Chronicles 7:14 again...what DOES that look like?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Just Something To Think About...

When I was younger, and stronger, way before I got married and had to be responsible for myself as well as a family, I was studying The Bible and especially the prophesies about the end times. Now just mentioning that, many of you may decide to not read the rest of this post. That's okay. It's your right not to read it just as it is still my right to post it. But for all of those who do read it, this is something to be thinking about.

There is no doubt about it, most Christians agree, we are in those end times now. We have some division about how it is all going to play out. I think most Christians believe there will be a pre-tribulation gathering of believers (The Rapture) while others believe mid-trib or post-trib, while some Christians don't believe in this gathering at all.

But regardless of your beliefs about the Rapture, The Bible predicts a time when the world leaders, and especially one world leader, will require that anyone who wants to buy or sell anything including food, homes, clothing, cars, whatever, will have to have a certain "mark" in their right hand or forehead. Prior to this time of advanced technology, many of us did not really know what kind of mark that might be. I have heard many ideas over the years from some type of tattoo which may or may not be visible to the eye, may be like a bar code of some type, to the current idea that it will be some type of computer chip that is implanted. I remember thinking way back then that I was not going to ever get a credit card, never have anything to do with computers, never be involved with direct deposit or payments drawn automatically from my bank account, or do anything that even closely resembled this type of thing. I still do not have a credit card and hope never to have one. But I do have a debit card and I use it like a credit card. I still remember the first job I got that required my paycheck be direct deposited. I own two computers and use at least one of them every single day. But I have always been wary of the day when it would get closer to people being marked in any way for any purposes of identification, banking, buying and selling. It started innocently enough with pets being computer chipped in case they get lost. Then the first I heard of it in humans came shortly after 911 when people started allowing themselves to be computer chipped for emergency reasons.

Now before this gets any longer, I know many Christians are also concerned about this and hoping that before it happens, before we have to refuse to be marked in any way such as the Bible predicts. Today I was thinking, and knowing that we are really aware that all these things must happen that are predicted, we really don't know when or how. We don't know when there will be some type of regulation coming that will require us to be marked to receive our paychecks whether from our jobs, or retirement or whatever. We know it will happen, but we don't know when.

We do know that The Bible says this world leader will command the whole world to be marked. But have we thought about the possibility that only parts of the world will be marked leading up to that day? We don't know if this might happen prior to the Rapture. If it does...are we ready to refuse?

We vote. We talk. We say what we believe. Sometimes we don't because we fear the repercussions of speaking about our faith. Our world has become such that even in this country where religious freedom was born, Christians are not free. More and more our own religious freedoms are being stripped away. Are we prepared to look at our children and grandchildren and say NO to being marked so that we can feed them, put nice clothes on them, give them things they want in this material world, and even provide a safe shelter for them? Are we ready to refuse the mark if it comes at a time when we are still waiting for Jesus to come and take us home? Would we even know what was happening or are we becoming like the pigs in the story that tells how to capture wild pigs...put out the food, the bait and day by day as the pigs come and get more and more used to the surroundings, put up one wall...gradually putting up all the walls until the pigs look up and realize they've lost their freedom.

I'm not young and definitely not strong anymore. Everything I do is pretty much direct deposited or with my debit card except for a very few things. I would not survive. I have no land where I can plant my own fruits and vegetables or raise my own animals. I have no ability to travel to some place "safe". I admit it. I caved in. Over the years I let myself be wooed somewhat by the material things. I let myself be convinced that as long as I maintained control over what I was doing, I was okay. How do I know when and where to draw that line? Do any of us know? Are any of us ready?

Just something to think about.

Rev 13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
Rev 13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Extreme Couponing

So far I have not been involved in extreme couponing.  I have tried to learn how to save enough money to be able to get things free, or close to free, but since I have some major limitations to being able to get out and shop when and where I want to, it hasn't worked for me--so far.  However, realizing that it has been a year now since I got a small bundle of toothpastes for free and still have several of them left--and realizing that means I have not bought and paid for toothpaste in well over a year--I am getting more serious about learning just how to do this, and especially, how to adapt it to work for me (as well as other shoppers dealing with disabilities.)

To get started, I have revived my Squidoo lens-- Couponing--Going To Extremes just now by adding some very new information.  I added the RSS feeds for at least 4 excellent blogs about extreme couponing as well as a link to the Krazy Coupon Lady's page for beginners.  You will just have to go visit my lens to find that page.  But in the meantime, maybe you can find something interesting and helpful in this guide.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Zukes Mini Naturals Dog Treats

Ever since Jonah's come to live with me he's always got yummy treats waiting for him.  His favorites are the treats I use when I want to train Jonah to do something new or to change his not-so-good behavior into good behavior.  You know...minding his manners.  So today I want to talk to you about these really good treats.
They are called Zukes Mini Naturals and they are so good.  I've only gotten him the roasted chicken flavor so far but we really like them.  They are easy for him to chew with his few good teeth.  They make him feel like that big cartoon goofball dog Scooby Do because just like Scooby will do anything for a Scooby Snack, Jonah will do just about anything for a Zukes treat.
They are easy for her to carry just a needed amount in my pocket so I don't have to take a bag or box of treats outside with us when we go for walks.  I also don't have to keep them refrigerated like I would have to if they were homemade chicken treats.  Oh I've made those homemade chicken treats for Jonah before.  They are good too.  Nothing beats homemade, right?  Except those have to be kept refrigerated.  Zukes can stay on the shelf in the resealable zipper bag.  Even though they are small treats, about the size of an average pencil eraser on the end of a pencil, they can be cut in half to make the treats last longer if needed.
You might be able to get Zukes at your neighborhood pet store or grooming shop.  But it might be even easier for you to get them online.  Your dogs will love them too.


All About Genealogy

I've created a couple new Squidoo Lenses on the topic of genealogy.  I would like to share both of them here with you. 

The first one is about my personal journey into my family genealogy following my Kelly lineage.  If you think you might have connections to my Kelly lines, please let me know.  I've gotten closer to the members of my Kelly lines and trying to know who they were, what their lives were like, etc.  This website is a brief historical account of my specific Kelly line.  You can find that webpage by clicking this link.

The second page is a tutorial for anyone just starting out in studying their family tree.  This one has step-by-step instructions as well as other good tutorial information.  The page is Digging Up The Roots of Your Family Tree.

Along the right side of this blog you can find a listing of the major surnames I am researching in my family history.  If you have any connections, just leave a comment for me to contact you.  In the meantime, enjoy digging up your roots.

Jonah's Been a Busy Boy

Jonah wanted his own blog.  He thought since he has a Squidoo page he should have a blog too.  He also wanted a Twitter account.  So that's what we've been doing.  Getting all that set up. 

Jonah is on Twitter @JonahShihTsu

Jonah is on Squidoo with his own Doggie Shop atSquidoo.

His new blog is at The World As Jonah Sees It.

I hope you'll take some time to check it out.  He would really appreciate it too.  And if you are looking for any kinds of supplies for small dogs, you can find it at Jonah's Doggie Shop.  All proceeds go to helping take care of Jonah.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Someone Else Using My Name

Today I found out that there is another Capirani out there.  Now knowing exactly HOW I have come to use this name makes me very curious about how there can be someone else using the same name.  Those who know me personally know what my name means but no one outside of that personal group would have any idea.  So it bothers me somewhat.  I'm not sure how many of you ever Google your own names just to see what you find.  I've done that over many years using both my real name as well as my "business" name which is Capirani.  I've never found anyone using Capirani over the years other than myself.  However, today now I have found at least two or three others with this as their username.  One is on YouTube.  I DO have an account on YouTube but it is not with that name.  So if you see anything posted on YouTube using Capirani, know that it is NOT ME.  I use a totally different username on YouTube.

As of right now, the only places that I am using the name Capirani is here on my blogs and on Squidoo.  If any of you ever has any questions about finding my name on some other account, please be sure to ask me directly and I will tell you if it is me or someone else.

What bothers me most about this is that having been involved in the past with a romance scammer and then having spent 2 years volunteering with online support groups for survivors of romance scams, it makes me wonder if I am once again being targeted in some way.  I hate the feelings of paranoia that romance scammers create in the people they try to manipulate.  I am not going to let this get to me, however.  Just know, if you see the Capirani name anywhere other than my blogs or my Squidoo lenses, and at Twitter, check back here to see if I have added anything new using the name.  If you happen to see anything posted anywhere online or otherwise using this name, check with me.  I know the reasons behind the name.  If this is an imposter out there attempting to steal my identity somehow, they will NOT know why I use this name.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Squidoo, Photography, Graphic Design

The past few weeks I've been very busy and enjoying most of it.  I've spent a lot of time working on creating graphic designs as well as working on my photography.  I've also been getting more and more involved in working on my Squidoo lenses which is another creative outlet for me.  It allows me to pick a topic and not only write about it, but it's more than just writing.  Yes there are modules that include advertising which will hopefully in the long run earn me some extra income.  But in the arranging of the modules and the types of modules you put on your lens along with the writing itself is also creative. This is my Squidoo profile which lists all of my current Squidoo lenses I've made.  Making these lenses can be so much fun.  It usually takes me just a couple hours to make one lens.  As long as the first complete draft looks good to me and there are no empty modules, I will usually click the "Publish" button.  I know that updating the lens regularly is something that search engines look for so I purposely don't worry so much about it being perfect on the first go round.  This leaves some room for adding modules, moving modules around if some of them would work better in a different arrangement, writing more, and even adding photographs of my own.  I enjoy trying to make a finished layout that looks colorful and appealing so that the reader does not get bored with the content.  As of today, unless I decide to create a new one later tonight, I have 27 completed lenses.   I never really know from one day to the next if I will create a new one or maybe two that day.  On days I am not making new lenses, I am usually spending some time updating some of the ones that need a little work, or a change here or there.  Otherwise I spend a lot of time working on the photography and the graphic design. 

Graphic design is something I got very interested in about twelve years ago when I first started making my own webpages.  Back then we all called them "homepages" and it seemed like it was the big fad of the decade for awhile.  But it was one thing to find graphics online to use on your homepage.  It was something altogether different to be the one who created those graphics to be put on your homepage.  I got really interested in learning how to use photos for backgrounds as well as dividers on the page.  But even more than that, I wanted to learn how to make the pretty graphic designs you could find in so many places online.  I knew there were places that sold designs and I thought it would be something maybe I could learn how to do.  But then I lost my computer and my internet for a few years.  When I finally got back online I started gradually working on this goal and now I've been spending a lot of time with it.  It's something important to me and I don't want to find myself a few years from now with regrets that I didn't at least try.  So that's why I spend so much time working on all of this. 

You can find my photography blog here. and from there it will take you to a second blog that I ended up starting because the first one is filling up so quickly.  On the second blog you will find at least one tab of graphic designs I have made from scratch.  The difference between those and all the others is that the others have all been made using actual photos, mostly bad photos.  I've stopped rejecting blurry photos and bad shots in favor of seeing if they will turn into interesting graphic designs.  Once I am done doing that, then they end up in the recycle bin.  But in this second blog, I've been using the graphics program to design my own artwork without any base other than what I come up with using the program.  No photos, no clipart.  It's almost like painting, yet totally different.  But when I finish a design, I feel like it was my creation.  The program is just an extension of me in much the same way that a paint brush and tube of paint is.  It's just a tool I use.  It feels like playtime for me.  Not work.  I am sure others think I am just playing.  If I succeed in any of this, maybe I will be taken more seriously.  Maybe not.  What's important here is that I am enjoying all of this and I am trying.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Baby Boomers

Tonight I'm wanting to talk about Baby Boomers.  Hey that's me too.  I got in on the tail end of the Boom Line when I was born way back there in the mid-fifties.

First tonight I want to share with you all a neat (we said "neat" in our day) website about Baby Boomer-ettes...that's us lady boomers.  It's called The Feisty Side of Fifty and I just love that title.  The first article I read on the site today is about whether or not any of us ladies are suffering from AAADD.  Now what's AAADD, you ask?  It's Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder and the website has an article explaining all about AAADD that I believe you will enjoy reading.

The other thing I want to talk about tonight is about a friend of mine who has been totally screwed over (yes we boomers say that too) by her daughter and her mother, although I believe it was more the daughter than anything else.  This friend of mine is one year shy of being able to collect her Social Security benefits.  For most of her life she has spent it taking care of her son who had Muscular Dystrophy and passed away at the age of 20.  During that time she also cared for her grown daughter's children when the daughter was unable to do so.  After my friend's son passed away, my friend continued to care for the other kids as well as help her aging mother.  Having been so busy taking care of everyone else in her life, she didn't really have time to make a life of her own outside of her home and family.  Eventually her daughter was able to take care of her own children again and moved them all several hours drive away from her mother and grandmother.  In July the grandmother turned 96 years old.  She, herself was still quite feisty from what I knew of her.  My friend turned 64 yesterday.  So here is what I want to discuss now that you have the back story.  The past several weeks, my friend's mother has not been feeling so well after having a fall.  She didn't break anything but she didn't really complain too much of anything being wrong.  My friend has stated many times over the past couple of years that her mother did not like doctors and would never agree to go see a doctor about anything.  Well a couple weeks ago she surprised my friend by asking her to get her to the hospital because she did not feel right.  So my friend got the ambulance and off they went.  After some time and tests, the doctors determined that my friend's mother had several medical issue but the most pressing one was a skin cancer. My friend had pushed her mother to go get it checked but she always refused.  As it turned out, the tumor was the size of a tennis ball when it was removed the other day.  Skin grafting surgery was also performed a few days later.  During all this time, my friend, who has no transportation or money for bus or taxi, has not been able to visit her mom.  Her daughter made a trip to visit after being away for 6 years and suddenly decides that she is going to take over grandma's care by whisking her over 4 hours away instead of keeping her there in town where she has been living.  She manipulated the mother in her poor medical state to agree and together, in the process of making this move, have left my friend totally out in the cold, so to speak, without income, job, to be possibly homeless in the very near future, and now without her family.  The way this young woman has treated her mother has been despicable to say the least.  There are so many things I could say at this point, so many details I could talk about here, but none of that will serve the purpose.  Just know that the whole situation is bad and the daughter and mother have behaved in a totally heartless manner.  My friend was half-heartedly invited to go with them and live with the daughter, but after the abusive way the daughter talked to my friend, she has no intention of going.

So here we have a 64 year old woman who can take care of herself, but it sure would have been a lot more decent thing to do to give her more time so she could get closer to getting her Social Security.  This lady has had jobs before but mostly before her son was born.  After that she has spent the rest of her life taking care of her son, her daughter's children, and her aging mother.  We have spent the past few days going over every possible thing we can find where she might be able to get help while she goes out and finds work.  Her landlord is being very helpful and caring as he knows she and her mother were very good tenants so he is going to give her time to get on her feet.  Those of us who care about my friend are just in shock and trying to deal in our own minds how a daughter can do such a thing.  We do have our ideas but I won't say what those are right here and now.  This daughter has put the grandmother into danger by insisting she make the over 4 hour trip so soon after her surgeries and ended up having to take her by car as the ambulance transport cost too much.  Imagine, a 96 year old woman who just came through cancer surgery and skin graft surgery being forced to ride in a car for over 4 hours.  The daughter refused to even take her grandmother's clothing, purse, or any other personal belongings with them and told her mom she would not be coming back but that she was welcome to come up there and live.  There are good reasons not to go up there to live, with the basic one being that there is no room in the small apartment along with all the other people who live there.  After the way the daughter treated my friend, she said there is no way she will ever go live with her now.

What is happening to people today?  I know the Bible predicts that in the Last Days, people would be rising up against each other in anger and fighting, but whenever I see it happen, it just shocks me.  As hard as it can be to find a job at 50 or 55, think of how difficult it might be for someone who is 64 and doesn't have much of a work history to fall back on because she spent her life doing the right thing taking care of her family.  Then her family turns their backs on her like this.  Finding any services available to her is difficult as well.  It's going to be a rough road for her this next year plus.  But she has one thing going for her besides her landlord being willing to work with her.  If she can't make it where she is, she is welcome to come stay with me and start over here.  I just can't see a friend of mine end up in the street, especially at her age.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Today when I took Jonah outside for his afternoon/early evening duty there was a pretty little kitten on my porch.  Of course Jonah wanted to catch it, I hope to play.  But the kitten ran straight up one of the walnut trees out front.  It didn't climb up far and as soon as I got Jonah to a safe distance, it actually came down and tried again to get close to the porch.  Jonah did what he had to do and then kept trying to get to the kitten who hid itself in the shrubbery of the flower garden.  Jonah tried to get to it even though he never did.  The cat was not disturbed at all as it seemed to know it was safe.  It sat there and posed for me while I took as many pictures as I could.  It was so cute.  I have posted all the best of the photos on my Capirani Photography Blog but I just have to post at least some of them here too.  It was almost like he came to me just so I could photograph him.  Later on I did not see him around.   As I said in the other blog, sometimes I think God brings things to me to photograph since I have problems getting out to go places where I can get some nice photos. So I just want to say Thank You Jesus!

   I tell you I could not have posed this kitten any better than what it did on it's own for me.  It would not let me pick it up or really touch it, but it let me get in really close with the camera and behaved like this was totally normal while the whole time Jonah was barking and trying his best to get close to the kitten too.  Jonah got groomed today so he was looking especially spiffy for the photos too.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

See You In September...Oh It IS September!

Busy, busy, busy.  Okay so not as busy as most of you out there, but for me this past few weeks have been busy.  This year has been so different than last year was.  It's hard to believe this is the middle of September already and the end of the year is nearing.  Some believe the end of the world?  (Mayan calendar and all that.)  Okay well I am not going to get into talking about that.  

I have resigned from the Scams of the Heart group and since then I have found so much time to be doing things I have been wanting to do.  Don't get me wrong.  I still support the group and believe in what is being done there.  So if anyone reading this needs help because of romance scams or friendship scams, that's the place to go for help.

In the past two weeks I have spent more time with my family than I have in months and that is the best change of all.  Last year my family and I spent a lot of time together.  This year was different in so many ways, but it seems to be back to the normal routine and that makes me very happy.  

Working on my photography and now adding graphic design to it all has kept me pretty busy too.  I've updated, remodeled, changed, and even deleted blogs I had here.  Some needed work, and others just needed to be gone.  All the ones that remain got worked on and hopefully improved.  

In addition to working on the photography and the blogs, I have also been busy at Squidoo updating existing lenses and creating new ones.  In the past few days alone I have created three new lenses.  You can see all my lenses as well as all my blogs in the right-hand sidebar on this blog.  The lenses I created the past few days include one about cookies, one about Star Trek and Stargate television shows and movies, and one about what a pescaterian is.  I used to have a blog about being a pescaterian (spelled pescatarian and pescetarian but not the way I spell it--LOL) but I removed it and decided later to create a lens about the subject instead. I also created a lens about how to use Corel PaintShop Photo ProX3 to change bad, blurry photos into good graphic designs.  So I guess I counted wrong and have actually created four new lenses in the past few days.  I haven't made any money yet with Squidoo but prior to this I haven't really had the time to devote to the project.  Now that my full focus can be on that instead of other things, maybe I will start making some progress, as I know it can be done.  

Tonight will be my first meeting at our local art center's Camera Club which I am excited about.  I've wanted to try this group for a long time and finally got the chance, thanks to my daughter who had them include me on her family membership.  Hopefully I will learn some good tips to make my photography better.

In addition to all this, since the weather has gotten much nicer, Jonah and I have been spending quite a few mornings sitting outside enjoying it all as well as some afternoons too.  It's nice to finally be able to get outside and breathe some fresh air and enjoy some sunshine without roasting.  All I can say about this past summer as it comes to a close is that it has been absolutely brutal.  The birds and squirrels are really hungry right now too, it seems, as they are eating up the bird seed a lot faster than they did the rest of the spring and summer.  I can't keep up with them.

Oh I can't forget this.  I uploaded my first YouTube videos this past weekend.  My grandsons each have a robot-type toy called a Turbo-Fighter and the adults at my one grandson's birthday party went wild letting these two toys battle it out.  Have a look before you leave my page.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Capirani Photography

Summer is almost over and for this Midwest gal, I couldn't be happier.  Don't get me wrong, I've always preferred the warmer months over the cold winters.  This year has made me look forward to seeing snow in ways I haven't wanted to in the past.  Thankfully the past week has been really nice and I've finally gotten to enjoy some time outside in the mornings.
My late summer hours have been filled with creativity with my photography and using my photo editing programs to create some very interesting, and I think very pretty graphic designs.  I've removed the connection from my regular blogs to the photography blog also so that it will be standing on its own in a more professional manner.  To see my photography blog click here click here. I've really had a lot of fun creating my first portfolio of photographs and graphics.  Tomorrow I will be starting on the more difficult task of looking for the markets and making contact with them to try to sell my work.  
My Squidoo lenses have been neglected for awhile but I've been busily updating those this past week as well.  I have to admit that several of them, if not all, need some work.
The county fair is coming up in a few days and I've been offered a ride and someone to push me in my wheelchair on Labor Day.  The problem is, the people are total strangers to me and that bothers me.  Of course they are from my area and could very easily end up being new friends.  It's just that I am a little bit frightened by the thought.  However, if the weather is not suitable, meaning it's raining or it's way too hot for me to be outside, I won't be going anyway.  Also, I really hate bothering people with helping me.  Of course it's my fault as I requested help on a local area Facebook page and if I didn't want help, I should not have asked for help in the first place, right?  Another problem with the whole thing is that I was trying to put aside a little money for the fair and a couple other festivals that are also coming up soon but computer problems got in the way of that and all my extra money went to fixing the computer.  The computer has to be a priority for me if I am to use it to try to improve my life in any way.
Now I'm not sure 100% that I will even make any sales of my art, but I am going to put my best effort into it.  Ever since I was in junior high and high school I have wanted to be a writer/photographer but even though I was published in my local newspaper right after graduating high school, I never really followed through with writing or photography other than as a hobby once I got married and had children.  Now is the time for me to try.  If I don't try, I would have regrets and beat myself up for not trying.  But in no way do I expect to get rich overnight and I have to start slowly enough that I can manage my earnings to balance within the limits of what I can earn legally with my other benefits.  I don't want to get into a political topic here, but when people like me end up stuck in the system for our income and medical benefits, the government makes it very difficult to break free of that or do a whole lot to improve our situation.  There are certain financial areas where earnings conflict with benefits and you end up having to make a hard choice whether to trust the earnings to continue at the same level and give up the benefits or give up the earnings and stick to the guaranteed benefits.  It would not be so difficult a choice if the income limits were higher before they started to reduce the benefits.  It basically keeps us locked into our situations whether we want to be or not.  So any attempts I make to become professional at my writing and photography/graphics will be a risk.  But either way, my computer is a necessary tool for me to take that risk.  When it comes down to whether I have money to go to the fair or festivals or have money to fix my computer, the computer has to come first.
Other events coming up that I am really interested in attending are the local Hot Air Affair which is a hot air balloon festival that our area used to hold every year until for whatever reasons they stopped doing it.  This year it's back and I really want to go.  Years ago I took some really nice photos at previous festivals and really want that opportunity again.  The other event is not until October so I may still be able to save some money for that, however in September I also have another computer expense that has to be dealt with.  Sometimes it feels like the problems are never ending and the solutions are so far out of sight that I don't have a hope of finding them.  The October festival is our local Apple Festival and there will be some wonderful photographic opportunities for me there if I get to go.  I did decide that these generous people who have chosen to take me to the fair will be offered outdoor style portraits taken by me in return for their generosity.  Studio photography is not my style and I don't really do a lot of taking pictures of people except family.  But the right situations can make for some really nice outdoor portraits.  Who knows?  Maybe that will also be a future part of my career as a professional photographer.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Drought, Heat Wave, Vacation, Drought

This spring and summer so far have been extremely out of the normal for the area.  First, spring arrived much earlier than it normally does, by a whole month.  Then it left briefly and came back giving us very nice mild temperatures and lots of nice sunshine.  But very little rain.  Granted I did not miss the storms, but this spring for the first time in more years than I can count, I had flower gardening plans.  My daughter and grandson helped me out by helping to plant and water a LOT of perennial seeds of all kinds of flowers.  I was really looking forward to having them to take photos of after they bloomed.  But even watering them didn't help.  Without rain only a few of them have survived and they are so far behind in growth that if they manage to bloom, let alone survive, it will be a miracle.  We planted so many beautiful flowers and so many colors to attract all kinds of butterflies and hummingbirds and none of them grew at all.  I was so disappointed!  I was so excited to think that so many beautiful butterflies would come to the flowers and I could get photos of them.  The bird feeder is the only thing still out there attracting any nature at all and it seems like even most of the birds except the usual sparrows, robins, and mourning doves have disappeared.

In addition to the drought, summer hit us with a vengeance.  The heat has been almost unbearable with 90's and 100's in F degrees for much of the summer.  It's cooled down a bit now but still no rain.  During the heat wave we got a massive wind storm I had never heard of or seen in my lifetime before.  It's called a derecho and is a straight-line wind storm with a bow-echo effect shape that is connected to certain thunderstorms.  It devastated much of the US from Chicago to Washington D.C. with wind damage and total losses of electrical power along it's path.  You can read more about the storm here and here.

A few days after the derecho, my daughter, grandson, and I left for our vacation.  This was my second vacation ever in my life.  Unfortunately with the heat wave, and some unplanned on storm damage at the location, we all had our plans changed a bit.  For my daughter it just meant no hiking the trails as they were all closed due to wind damage and they had not had time to open them.  For me it just meant that I stayed in the cottage almost the entire time because unless I went out in the mornings, the rest of the day was too darn hot for me to handle.  So for me, there were very few photo opportunities apart from right at the cottage itself.  Also because we requested the cottage with the least amount of stairs, we got one with no view of the lake at all so it was pretty boring for everyone.  My daughter invited a couple friends to join us since the cottage sleeps 6.  They all went out swimming most of the time, either in the lake or in one of the pools at the lodge.

After a very hot drive back home from vacation, the heat wave finally surrendered to much more normal temperatures in the 80's, but still no rain.  We have a slight chance of thunderstorms this weekend, but as the weatherman says, along with the thunderstorms is a big chance of high winds since we are live in this environment we are stuck in.  I don't think anyone is ready for anymore wind right now.  

What I want to know is what happened to all the nice summer rain showers we used to get all the time?  We didn't get nearly as many thunderstorms as we get now and we got regular nice soaking rains, some overnight and some that lasted all day long.  I remember how as kids we used to go outside on hot days and play in the rain and the puddles since it wasn't storming.  Now it's like every time we get a weather report of any rain it is in a severe thunderstorm and we wait to find out if we have to head to the basement once again.

I am ready to move.  Any ideas where I can go to escape this???

Monday, June 18, 2012

August Rush, The Movie

Not that I think anyone reads my blogs regularly, if at all, but maybe, somewhere out there is one person who totally gets it when I say that the movie August Rush says things that come from my heart that I could never put into words.  And with that, for this post, nothing more is necessary.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

It's All In The Music

Sometimes mere words just can't speak what I want to say.  This is one of those times.  So hopefully the music will tell the story today.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Roses and Bird Feeders

Today is Mother's Day, or it was still an hour ago.  I got a beautiful surprise yesterday from the neighbors across the street from me.  They are a cute 80-ish year old couple, the wife of which was my roommate when I was in rehab after my second knee replacement surgery.  Yesterday the husband of said couple knocked on my door for the first time since I got home from that surgery and in his hands he had a bouquet of freshly cut long stem pink roses.  They are gorgeous!  It's been years since anyone gave me a bouquet of roses and never have I had any fresh cut from someone's yard.  The funny thing about it was that I was occupied when he knocked on the door and by the time I got there, he was about to leave.  He didn't have the roses in his hand immediately.  He said "Oh, just a minute," and he went into the apartment next to mine.  I could hear him talking to the lady there.  She's probably in her 80's as well.  What I heard was, "I'm going to have to be an Indian-giver..." and then he was back with the roses for me.  Her family was visiting her at the time so I let it pass.  I guess he thought if I wasn't home he would just give them to her instead, but when he saw I was home, went and retrieved them for me.    It made me laugh, smile, and wonder at the same time...did he have more and split the bouquet so she could have some too?  I hope so.  I'd hate to be the one who got roses and had them taken away in the same instant.

My daughter and grandson got me a bird feeder for my yard.  Since they got me my dog I have been outside a lot more and they helped me plant a lot of flower seeds this spring.  I thought a bird feeder or two (or three?) would be a nice touch.  I mean if I can't get out to see nature for my photography, let me bring nature to my own yard.  So they got me my first ever bird feeder.  I figured they would get me one since they asked me what I wanted.  But I didn't figure it would be such a nice one!  I don't have a shepherd's hook yet to hang it on so for now it hangs in the cluster of small maple trees in my back yard.  Eventually I may move it, or I may just try to get at least one more to put in the front flower garden so the neighbor (yes the one who had the roses taken away) can see and enjoy the birds too.  I told her about all the flowers that we planted in the flower beds and she seemed pretty happy about that.  The flower beds have been needing attention for the past couple of years.  I can't do much about it and neither can she.  Maybe at least the places the new flowers will be growing will help it looks better.  My mom loved feeding and watching birds in the years after she retired and she got me interested in it too.  Hopefully this summer I will have some photos of both the flowers we planted and the new birds attracted to the yard.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Living Life

I just wanted to check in since it's been awhile since I've been here.  Mostly I've been busy with my continued "work" with the online support group I belong to Scams of the Heart and starting a couple new blogs here and lenses at Squidoo.  I've also just finished reading the Hunger Games trilogy and loved it!  I won't attempt to see the movie until when and if they complete movies for all three books.  My daughter and grandson spent yesterday afternoon, after a nice lunch at one of my favorite local restaurants, planting flower seeds for perennials around the flower beds and big yard here where I live.  I live in a big old house that was turned into a tri-plex and this is the first chance I have had to really enjoy being outside since I moved here 3 1/2 years ago so I can't wait until the flowers grow and start blooming.  Once they do, you can surely expect some new photos in my photography blog here.  Overall I am looking forward to getting out more this spring and summer.  My newest blog may be one that I keep updated much more often than the rest for awhile.  It is about my weight loss goal for this year. I really think that blogging about my goals will help keep them fresh on my mind and help me reach them as well as make them fun.  

So there you have it.  If you don't find me updating one spot as often as you would like, check out the others because you will most likely find me there.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Irish Recipes For St. Patrick's Day

Recently I created a new Squidoo lens as a "quest" project to earn extra points on Squidoo.  The quest was to make a lens about some type of Irish recipe for St. Patrick's Day.  Instead of just one recipe, I made my lens about a variety of Irish recipes and cooking ideas.  Also included are several Irish blessings, videos, and more.  This lens was one of the more fun ones I have created.  You can see it if you click here. I hope you enjoy it and also find something good to cook for St. Patrick's Day.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pretending to Be an Artiste

A couple of weeks ago I found a new local business for local artists when they created a Facebook page.  It inspired me to pick up my paint brush, dig out my acrylics that I haven't used in years, and see if I could do anything least to me that is.  Ever since I saw paintings that one of my cousins created when I was still in my teens I have loved blending the paints to see what kinds of magic that could be made.  I've always loved drawing and doodling with colored pens, pencils and anything else I could find to use.  I'd never tried acrylics before seeing his paintings.  After that I also tried creating pictures with colored chalk which I found easier to control than paints and brush.  Abstracts seem to be more my style although I am rarely satisfied with anything I paint.  I don't draw very well, and am such a perfectionist that my self-criticism outweighs the enjoyment of just creating something and having fun doing it.  But this past couple of weeks it has been different.  Maybe age has caused me to be less critical and to allow myself to just paint and see what happens.  

With the internet available and people putting how-to videos on YouTube, it is possible to find instructional videos on just about any subject you want to find.  This gave me the opportunity to watch videos about painting as well as videos on using other media such as oil pastels, and even crayons!  I've also found quite a variety of Squidoo lenses on the topic of art, painting, acrylics, and other creative subjects.  

I don't consider myself to be very good at artwork.  For me it is just fun and a creative outlet.  I have no idea what to do with anything I've painted once I am finished with it.  I've got collections of sketches, paintings, and chalk art that I've done over the years and this past week or so have added a lot more to the pile.  The most fun thing is sharing painting with my daughter and grandson.  I wish my son and his wife and kids had more time to join in, but they are a full house with lots of activities to keep them busy.  It would also be nice to have a special location where the kids and I could paint, or use chalk, or whatever we feel like using without the worry of making a mess.  Ha!  That must be the child inside of me talking.  I remember seeing artists on television in the distant past setting up studios with big draping sheets of plastic, huge canvases, and lots of paints.  Then they would take their brushes and load paint on them and literally throw the paint at the canvas.  To me that would be such long as I don't have to deal with the cleaning up afterwards.  

I would like to share some videos that I have enjoyed watching, and maybe some Squidoo lenses that have inspired me to dig out my paints.  Maybe I will even share some of the paintings here as well.  One question though:  even if it is not very good, is it still called art and are they still called paintings???  Maybe this is why so many of the famous artists of the world lived as starving artists.  I know I could never make a living from what I paint.  Honestly I don't care if anyone ever considers what I've done artistic after I am gone either.  I'm better with a camera than a paint brush.  But it's still fun.  It's also been very soothing to do this painting so I hope to keep at it instead of putting away the paints and brushes again and forgetting them for years at a time.

This was the first video I watched and really enjoyed painting my own version of the flowers, especially scratching texture into the painting with the other end of the paint brush.  I'd never seen that before.  I've found Karrie's paintings fun to look at and her style fun to try myself.  Here is another of her videos I enjoyed watching.

Here are some of the Squidoo pages that I found on art and really enjoyed.  If you like to dabble in painting or chalk or any other kind of artwork, you may enjoy these.

Those are just a few of many Squidoo lenses I found on art, painting, and letting your creative side flow. 

These are a few of the paintings I have done over the past week or so.  Sharing my own art is difficult for me because I judge myself so harshly and I figure others will judge me just as harshly.  But again, maybe age has changed me so that I can share more of myself than I used to.

 This week after watching a video of an artist creating a painting with odds and ends, objects instead of brushes, I did a little experimenting of my own.  I don't have photos of those results to share yet, but it was fun to do.  Ask yourself this:  If you have ever painted with sponges before, have you ever tried to use a copper scratcher that you use for cleaning pots and pans?  Now that was interesting.  Maybe I will share those next time.