The lens we use to view the world makes all the difference. I tend to be a “big picture” kind of gal. The overall composition of an idea or a photo matters to me more than tiny details…until I tried a “macro” lens on my camera. I pointed that new lens at a glop of snow perched on our weather-worn fence and saw something I’d never seen before: individual snowflakes. AMAZING! Can you see those tiny beauties? They’re stunning, all of them. Even the ones with crystals bent at odd angles.

For me, there’s a profound lesson within this picture: if you look close enough, you’ll see beauty in imperfection.

I’m rarely so accepting of my own flaws. Too often, I allow my weaknesses stop me. I avoid risk because I’m afraid I’ll fail. I’ll avoid people, too. Do you do the same thing? Do you listen to that scared voice in your head, the one that says your bent angles aren’t good enough?

Let’s stop doing that to ourselves. In 2018, let’s look through a different lens, one that allows us to see the beauty in our bent angles. Truth is, those unusual angles catch the light and make us shine.

 

 

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It started small. I slapped an Eagles magnet on my neighbor’s mailbox when I learned he was a Steelers fan. A few weeks later, he slapped a Steelers magnet on our mailbox, complete with black and yellow streamers. Oh yes, people. I’d finally found someone who understood the pranking game.

Here are the rules of engagement: keep things funny and easily removable. ALSO, allow enough time to elapse so your neighbor doesn’t expect the prank. That’s key. So, I let months pass. At the start of the next football season, I waited until the dead of night and placed a small snowman on my neighbor’s front porch. This snowman happened to be two feet high and wore an Eagles sweatshirt. Perfect for the task. Much to my delight, my neighbor didn’t notice the snowman for days. My Eagles snowman became a proud sentry in front of the house of a die-hard Steelers fan. I laughed every time I drove by. I still snicker whenever I think about that prank.

I waited for his response. Months passed. A year passed. The 2017 football season started. This time around, my Eagles were on fire – undefeated for much of the autumn! My glee knew no bounds! Finally, we were bound for the playoffs! Fly Eagles, fly!!! The world finally made sense, except for one thing. A landscaping company kept tossing advertisements onto my driveway. Day after day. For weeks. As soon as I picked one up, another one would appear. I was the only one who got bombarded by these pamphlets. I was beginning to think my yard really needed landscaping…until my neighbor confessed that he’d collected ALL of the items so he could toss them into my driveway whenever he walked his dog.

Well played, my friend.

I let some time pass, but I was anxious to pay him back. The Christmas season arrived and temperatures dipped into the single digits. No one in their right mind would pull a prank in this horrific weather. I scurried into my basement, dusted off a HUGE inflatable snowman, and snuck to my neighbor’s house in the dark. I tried to be quiet, which wasn’t easy. Dead leaves make a huge crunch every time you step on them. Dogs pick up on those noises. Those noises get quite loud when you trip on the extension cord you’re carrying. Those noises sound like cannon-fire when you’re wrestling a gigantic inflatable snowman who refuses to stand up straight. Those noises threaten to reveal every prankster when she stubs her toe on a heavy piece of firewood. Those noises are totally worth it when you get this photograph of your efforts:

Behold, the gigantic snowman inflatable standing at the end of my neighbor’s driveway. We live in very dark woods, so Frosty lights up the place like a bright lighthouse in the middle of a dark storm. SOOOOOOOOO fantastic! Fortunately, my neighbor thought the sudden appearance of an enormous snowman on his property was a riot. We’ve been laughing about my masterful prank for the past week.

Like any good prankster, I reclaimed the snowman and plunked him in my yard on New Year’s Eve. Here he is in daylight:

If I begin 2018 by pranking myself, do you think that’ll stop my neighbor from pranking me? To be continued…

Happy new year, friends!

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In 2015, I spent a long afternoon on the computer, pasting my brother’s picture into a mock-up of Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” cover as a gag gift to him for Christmas. Imagine my shock when I opened my Christmas gift from him: he’d spent a long afternoon pasting my picture into the “Person of the Year” cover.

In 2016, I decided to order a huge blow-up picture of my brother for his Christmas gift. Unfortunately, I’d waited too long to place the order. Imagine my shock when he mentioned that he wanted to order a huge blow-up picture of myself for my Christmas gift, but he’d waited too long to place the order.

This year, I searched high and low to find a unique Christmas gift. I settled upon a T-shirt with a picture of the Periodic Table that read “I wore this T-shirt periodically.” Imagine my shock when I opened my Christmas gift: he purchased the same exact T-shirt for me.

No, we aren’t twins. I’m two years older than my brother. We live in different states. We see each other two or three times a year. We call each other on occasion, particularly when we’ve got a story to share about our kids (who are roughly the same age). Ours isn’t the type of relationship where we’re in constant contact, but if something goes wrong in my life, he’s the first person I want to call. I know he’ll listen, I know he’ll understand me on a level that no one else can, and I know he’ll say what I need to hear. What an incredible gift!

Even though I know he’s going to buy me the same Christmas gift that I’ll get for him, that’s a small price to pay for this strong connection we share.

In case you’re wondering: next year, I’m giving my brother a million dollars for Christmas.

 

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It’s December, which means SANTA.

Check out this guy.
He looks jolly, but he’s got weird taste in toys.


This poor soul caught stomach flu last night
and came to work to infect everyone else:


Next, take a look at the Santa
who knows all the words to Jimmy Buffet’s song, Margaritaville:


This next guy looks nice, but I think
he’d better check the expiration dates on his food:


This fellow made me feel naughtier than usual.
Don’t know if that’s good or bad:


This guy insisted he’s the REAL Santa.
I decided not to point out all of the other guys behind him:


I gotta say that this guy caught my fancy.
He brings gifts and fixes the leaky dishwasher.
This man is GOLD, people:

Finally, I present to you the Santa with good manners.
He covers his mouth when he sneezes:


My favorite Santa is #7. He can rock red plaid, shop for gifts,
and fix my leaky sink. Heck, he can probably even braid my hair!

HO HO HO
Which Santa is your favorite?

 

 

 

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This year, I’m grateful for all the things that terrify me.
I’m particularly grateful for friends who invite me to the library
to read an excerpt of my upcoming release to total strangers.


I’m grateful for a terrifying ride on a massive dune buggy
that rattle my teeth and make photography a huge challenge.
But we did get this shot, so all’s good…and my teeth haven’t fallen out.


I’m grateful for the terrifying prospect of releasing a new book.
It’ll be available, soon, and the cover is gorgeous.


Most of all, though, I’m terrified of being a world without readers…
But that will never happen because of people like you!


 

 

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I went to a restaurant, saw this guy, and wondered if I should talk to him.Have you seen the movie, BIG?
Do you remember what happened when the boy talked to this guy?
I remembered, yet I handed this guy a dollar bill for my so-called fortune.
The chat didn’t go well. Zoltar said I’d see some very weird things. He was right.

Zoltar also warned me to be careful.
He said I’d meet a man that I wouldn’t be able to resist.
Essentially, Zoltar said I’d step out on my husband, which is outrageous.
I mean, I’d never, EVER, touch another man or be with another man or kiss him.

Er, I can explain.
You see, ah, I’ve been cooped up in my office for months.
I happened to write a letter to Santa, and we hit it off.
We’re just pen-pals, that’s all. I swear!
And, um, here’s a flower.

This post brought to you by Lynn Kellan.
She’s weird.

 

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I saw some weird things this summer.
Like big cats in pickup trucks.

And strange joggers in department stores.

And bark faces that weren’t made by my dog.

And my reflection in a pancake.

All of these reasons are why I’m glad summer is over.
Because we’re not going to see anything weird, now.
Until Halloween.

*
This post brought to you by Halloween.
Dude, you’re gonna see lots of weird stuff all September and October.

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I haven’t been alone for twenty-one years.
In that time, I’ve had a child with me.
That will change in a few days.
Both kids will go to college.
Far away.

I’m excited for them, and for us.
But waiting for that separation is difficult.
A painful squeeze wraps around my waist like a too-tight invisible belt.
The tension amplifies every time I see a reminder of what’s about to happen.
And there are a lot of reminders around the house.

The waiting is killing me.
I’m the type who prefers to rip a bandaid off, fast.
I want to feel the quick blade of pain and be done with it.
As I wait, I wonder. How will the house feel when they’re gone?
At night, will my husband and I close the bedroom door when no one is around?
What will life be like without these two wonderful creatures in the house, every day?


I don’t know.
Life will be different.
The change will be good.
I’m ready to walk on a new path.
And so are my daughters.

So here’s to new journeys!
Let’s take the unfamiliar road that tests us,
even if we feel a too-tight belt of tension and uncertainty.
Eventually, that belt will loosen and we’ll feel comfortable again.

 

 

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We were sick of being eaten alive whenever we sat on our deck.
A screened-in porch sounded like a wonderful way to avoid bugs.
I tracked down a couple of builders for quotes to build a screened-in porch.

Holy cow. Very expensive.

So, my husband and I decided to try a screened-in sun shelter.
We found a nice one at Costco. It’s a Sojag Moreno 10′ x 14′ structure.

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It arrived in two boxes.
Above, you’ll see a picture of the biggest box.
We were able to store both boxes  in our garage.
When the weather finally warmed up, we got to work.

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My husband is a big, strong guy, so he was able to move the heavy stuff.
I wasn’t sure I’d be much of a help to him, but the two of us managed just fine.

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The directions were fairly easy to figure out.
First, we put up the rectangular structure.IMG_2824

The roof was a bit tricky, but we found a YouTube video that really helped.
Here we are, almost done. The job took us 3 afternoons to complete.
As you can see, we tackled this in March before the trees leafed out.

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Zippered screened fabric came with the Sojag Moreno shelter.
The screened fabric works VERY well. Bugs can’t get in!
Overall, the shelter is both strong and lovely.
Here’s the final result:

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We’re really enjoying our bug-free outdoor room…
Just in time for the official start of summer!

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This is what happens when I tell my dog, “I love you.”

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She looks at me with canine warmth in her gaze.
That’s what Shelties do. They say a whole lot with their eyes.

My brother’s 180 pound Irish Wolfhound expresses love in a different way.
He wants to plant his huuuuge furry butt beside yours and lean ever so gently against you.
Here he is with my nephew, who is over 6 feet tall and looks like a pipsqueak next to the dog.

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This Irish Wolfhound always wears his heart on his chest. See?
I hope you’re squished by lots of love this month, too.

Hugs,
Lynn K.

 

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