Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Let #Jesus Grow Up After #Christmas

Many people who do not believe that Jesus is our Savior still celebrate Christmas. It's easy to celebrate by exchanging Him for Santa Clause or keeping Jesus a little baby and making it into a great big birthday party.

But Jesus did not come to stay a child, but to teach and to become a sacrifice for us, to be our Savior.

We cannot keep Jesus a baby in our lives, or we will remain babies in our faith. We cannot grow and represent Him and fulfill His purpose for our lives until we accept Him for everything He was and is. A baby born of a virgin, God come to earth as a man, the Creator of the Universe and our individual lives, the angry man who cast the money changers out of the temple, and the forgiver of the sins who dined with tax collectors and prostitutes, and the One who meets us after we die and sends us to the left or to the right. and the One who understands we can never do what He asks of us on our own and therefore does it for us, through His Holy Spirit.

Mary knew. Everything about Jesus' life was pre-planned from the beginnings of the earth. Everything about Jesus was prophesied in the Old Testament.

Did Mary know who this incredible, miraculous baby was? Mary knew. Do you?

Heather J. Kirk

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Christmas Highway - Does it ever arrive at my heart?

How do we get ourselves ready for Christmas?

From Isaiah 40:3 "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God," Reverend Tim Smith suggests we "Make a highway for Him into your lives. Your Deliverer comes." (http://www.waterfromrock.org/2012/12/03/monday-december-3-advent-devotional-2012)

It makes me wonder about the path to my own heart.

Is it an open highway or a narrow winding pathway. Or, I must consider, is it an impossible maze or littered with obstacles and debris?
Heather J. Kirk

Monday, December 3, 2012

California Prop 37 Opponent Funders inadvertently have labeled their own foods as GMO for us!



Good to know, since California fails to protect us - votes no on Prop 37

California, known for being well ahead of the curve in protecting our health, failed to pass Proposition 37 – which required labeling GMO foods.

As of Wednesday morning, 94.8% of California’s Election Day votes have been counted. Here’s where Prop 37 vote totals stand (from the California Secretary of State):

·       ·        Yes (support GMO labeling) – 4,194793 (47%)
·       ·        No (oppose GMO labeling) – 4,723,681 (53%)

“Nationwide polls consistently show around 90% of Americans support GMO labeling, and a month ago California polls showed over 60% supported labeling.” So how could this happen?
It appears that enough Californians were swayed by money – I mean commercials.


Then, large food conglomerates pooled their funds to oppose to the measure and outspent the citizens Right to Know campaign nearly 6-to-1 ($45 million to $8 million).

Here is the list of the top donors that opposed labeling:

Company                                                 Amount

MONSANTO COMPANY                                  $8,112,069
E.I. DUPONT DE NEMOURS & CO.                  $5,400,000
PEPSICO, INC.                                             $2,145,400
GROCERY MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION    $2,002,000
BASF PLANT SCIENCE                                  $2,000,000
BAYER CROPSCIENCE                                  $2,000,000
DOW AGROSCIENCES LLC                            $2,000,000
SYNGENTA CORPORATION                           $2,000,000
KRAFT FOODS GLOBAL, INC.                       $1,950,500
NESTLE USA, INC.                                      $1,461,600
COCA-COLA NORTH AMERICA                      $1,455,500
GENERAL MILLS, INC.                                 $1,230,300
CONAGRA FOODS                                       $1,176,700
KELLOGG COMPANY                                      $790,700
SMITHFIELD FOODS, INC.                               $683,900
DEL MONTE FOODS COMPANY                        $674,100
CAMPBELL SOUP COMPANY                           $598,000

Supporters of what was originally a grassroots effort are, not surprisingly, individuals, natural health companies, organics food companies and family farms: Mercola.com, Organic Consumers Fund, Kent Whealy, Nature’s Paths Foods Inc. Fine Natural Food Products, The Stillonger Trust, Dr. Bonners Magic Soaps, Lundburg Family FarmsGreat Foods of America, Alex Bogusky (Fearless Revolution), Amy’s Kitchen, Big Hen Group, Clif Bar, Cropp Cooperative Inc. Organic Vally, Ali Partovi, Organic Consumers Association.

Sources:  (An important note - articles seem to deceivingly use pictures of tomatoes. Most if not all tomatoes are definitely hybrids, but very unlikely to be GMOs.)




Heather J. Kirk

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

#Healthcare Workers in #Colorado dont want #Mandatory #Vaccines

"Flu Shot Being Forced on Health Workers"
See article at : http://healthfreedoms.org/2012/10/19/flu-shot-being-forced-on-health-workers/

Heather J. Kirk

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My thoughts on #Arizona 's #Propositions. Remember #Constitutional #Amendments make it really hard to get rid of bad ideas!

Some people have asked for my input on Arizona's Propositions, so I thought I'd write it up here. I can't imagine how people with full time jobs and families have time to read everything - proposition details, arguments for and arguments against, then do additional research. So if you want some assistance - my choices as well as my reasoning, I'm glad to help.
 
To give you a bit of my background, I worked in elementary schools as a drug and violence prevention specialist for 12 years. I also am an artist and a graphic designer, with my own (really, really) small business.

Scottsdale Unit No. 48: Yes. I trust Scottsdale School District, but not other "education" money requests that don't actually make it to the schools or students. Scottsdale School District's additional funding is about to run out. They create very specific budgets. I believe in local control that includes true accountability. (See also Prop 118.)
Prop 114: No- Not appropriate to remove rights completely (in any situation and therefore not let courts and a jury decide) based on one stupid court decision that would not even fit under this Constitutional change. What about a feud between two people and one takes advantage to harm a thief knowing they are protected?

Proposition 115: No - Too many completely different issues in one proposition. Even if you like one, you have to vote for others. Also, if people vote based on judges decisions, then judges could start making decisions to please the populace and get votes to keep their jobs, being instead of based on laws and constitutionality.

Proposition 116: To help small businesses to invest and update their businesses. Machinery purchases increase economy through purchases and job creation for machinery. Spreading high costs out over several years helps keep them afloat, so they do not go out of business due to high costs of regulations and environmental restrictions. They can potentially comply and stay in business.

Proposition 117: No - Looks like this may not only affect taxes but also actual assessment or valuation of the home itself. I think current complex formula is an attempt to balance out both situations - when home prices are too depressed AND when home prices are overinflated. It also would keep income to state depressed for indeterminate amount of time in the future, based on current very low home valuations. This is an attempt at price controls, to keep the valuation of homes down, while pretending to be about keeping taxes low.

Proposition 118: Yes - Previous formula based on returns and not on endowment made funding for education drop unrealistically low and to be very unpredictable -unable to plan appropriately for education budget. This will stabilize funding, while not adversely affecting a very large endowment that cannot otherwise be used for education. Arizona funding was already very low per student. This hopes to keep it at approximately pre-recession levels, not huge, but not outrageously low as is the case now. While nationwide dollar amount does not automatically mean better schools or test scores, in Arizona, it really does correlate in public schools. Scottsdale is a better school district for many reasons, but one reason being they get bond issues approved from voters (homeowners) in the city to get more school funding. (This is also a justification for yes on Scottsdale School District question.) While other districts may try, homeowners do not appear to approve increased taxes for education - either because they don't want to pay more or they are not capable of paying more. Other proposition preys on the desire for increased education funding without actually guaranteeing it - as well as being harder on the poor because it is a sales tax. The endowment in this proposition makes use of already available funds and does not increase taxes at all!

Prop 119: Yes - Necessary to protect military bases and national security.

Prop 120: Yes - booklet seems to make it all look like environmental issues, on both sides. Yes vote arguments – ability to properly thin forests to prevent forest fires that are at great cost to state. No vote arguments – State wants to avoid any EPA Regulations. Really, sovereignty says states chooses which things under 10th Amendment it wants to take over sovereignty for and what it agrees to Federal laws for. But this is a state's rights issue in general as well as states currently being forced to enforce or implement federal mandates without federal funding. Sounds a lot like taxation without representation. 10th amendment rights issues. i.e.) healthcare, gun laws, education, federal parks, EPA and to some a negative (me, and therefore the only risky part of this proposition) –medical marijuana.

10thAmendment Rights: ''The Tenth Amendment was intended to confirm the understanding of the people at the time the Constitution was adopted, that powers not granted to the United States were reserved to the States or to the people.”
Source:
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment10/01.html#2

Prop 121: No – While two party system may not be perfect, it at least provides people of both parties a chance in unbalanced districts for both parties to be represented. This proposition pretty much eliminates this possibility. It seems to actually reduce, instead of improve, the democratic process and opportunity for a minority group (of any kind) to make it onto the final ballot. It is actually happening right now in California and people are not very happy about it.

Prop 204: No – Makes a promised temporary increased sales tax increase long term. Takes away the ability for the legislature to adjust the budget based on actual needs. Takes away the power of the elected legislature – and puts budget decisions into a special interest group. It also places the budget formula into the Arizona Constitution and therefore makes it very hard to change if (when) we later find out it’s a bad idea. The money appears to go to administration and not outcomes, though it is written to appear it is based on educational outcomes. They are counting on you not reading or understanding the whole thing. they make it sound like this is the best way to fund education, but you have another option through Proposition 118. And each district's individual Bond issues.
Heather J. Kirk

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fans' love for #PrinceRoyce #Unconditional / #Incondicional

Fantastic concert last night by Prince Royce at Arizona State University. Though I have to confess I did have to plug my ears a few times...the eruption of thousands of girls shreiking at his entrance was possibly the loudest noise I've ever heard. (Not even Romeo's female fans were louder, but my guess is that Prince Royce's female fans are even younger.)

https://azstatefair.com/event/prince-royce


Video of my favorite song by Prince Royce: Incondicional

Heather J. Kirk

Sunday, October 21, 2012

#Sugar Beets are #GMO too? I had no idea and I think I've been had...

So much for me switching to sugar-based soda instead of corn-syrup to be a tiny bit healthier... But no, GMO (genetically modified organism) foods are not labeled - in fact CANNOT be labeled. (Unethical law in my estimation.) I knew that most corn and soy is now genetically engineered, but not beet sugar. And I do research. If I don't know, do you?
I wish there was a way to know if it was made from cane sugar instead of sugar beets.  Pepsi Throwback (my poison of choice) uses both, so I'll never know. Wish I could quit!
"...the latest USDA data shows that 95 percent of the sugar beets, 93 percent of the soybeans and 88 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. are genetically engineered. They mixed in federal data revealing that 79 percent of the salad oil consumed in the U.S. is soybean oil, and 55 percent of the sugar comes from sugar beets. The grand total? Americans are eating an average of 193 pounds of genetically engineered food per year."


Heather J. Kirk

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We have "Truth in Advertising" laws. I suggest that we create "#Truth in #Politics" laws.

We have "Truth in Advertising" laws. I suggest that we create "Truth in Politicizing" laws. If a candidate or PAC lies about a candidate during a debate or a commercial, they would have to 1) pay for a commercial on which 2) they say they were wrong (I lied, I misquoted, I misunderstood...) about 'x', 3) but the truth is that my opponent...
 
Maybe then we would not have so much garbage going around and so much spinning in a way that it could hardly be called the truth anymore. Take it out of their campaign funds!

In a debate like tonight’s with each calling the other a liar over and over, how can we ultimately know the truth. Do you just stick with your Party? Do you wait and see how the media spins it? Whoever wins the poll? Do you check on sites that pretend to tell the truth but are highly politicized themselves, like MoveOn.org, FactCheck.com or BarackObama.com/TruthTeam. Just a hint here - his website is going to say he told the truth. You can't trust each candidate to check themselves.

We need outside sources. Go to statistics, to economic indicators for more than the past 4 years.  Go to newspaper reports or radio interviews - listen to the whole thing, not just the sound bites; look at governmental records.  I bet you can look up a whole lot of things stated in the debate that was immediately  contradicted by the other, go beyond the sound bites to the whole context; look at governmental records. I bet you can look up Licenses for drilling on Federal Lands somewhere. The question is not should we or should we not, but what is true about drilling there based on what these two (angry/frustrated/contradictory) men said.
Lot's of "Talk to the Hand" going on...

Too much work? Don’t want to do all that research? Then go ahead and vote on who is cuter, or who the news says wins the popularity contest, vote for who is more charming. None of that will matter in the Presidency, but what the heck. Even a straight party ticket without knowing the parties’ platforms is pretty worthless.
Or, if doing a little research is too much for you, then please, don’t vote.


Heather J. Kirk

Saturday, October 6, 2012

#MittRomney Can't Put #PBS or #BigBird Out of Business - Even as President...Unless Listeners Stop Giving

Will Mitt Make Big Bird Disappear? Turns out cuts in federal funding would hardly make a dent. But why do so few listeners and watchers donate? I don’t have the answer, but let’s take a look at a few of the facts and a real life example.

Mitt Romney “threatened” to cut funding for Jim Lehr and Big Bird – or actually for PBS, but Big Bird has been used as the mascot to upset children around the country.
A silly example:
 
Would we really lose PBS if it did not get federal funding? (Note: there is a difference between federal and “public” funding)

National Public Radio (NPR) faced a similar situation not too long ago...and it is still going strong, because people who listen (the 'public' in ‘public radio’ and ‘public broadcasting’) are the largest portion of donors, and there are many other sources of funding.

I even heard Republican David Schweikert (Arizona Congressional District 6) say in an interview on KJZZ (our local NPR station) say that while he voted to cut national spending, he gives personally to KJZZ. I was impressed, especially since only 8% of listeners do.

I think people should look at and understand the way funding works before they fall for the gimmick (lie) that a lack of federal funding will put public broadcasting under. Government funds only account for 4.6% of NPR funs -real life example -down from 6% in 2009 - which means that 1.4% constitutes the reduction in NPR’s total budget by the cuts in federal funding).

Here’s a great visual: http://www.npr.org/about/aboutnpr/publicradiofinances.html   If we want Public Broadcasting so badly, we should be willing to pay for it - and in fact we do! At least 8% of us do - providing 39% of the budget. And by the way, "big bad corporations" also donate a good-sized chunk to National Public Radio (17%) - much more than the government in fact.
 

“Disclaimer: I do listen and I do give to public radio. I do not watch PBS – because I can’t receive it with my rabbit ear antennae. Which means I don’t “give” to cable either. Interesting that ao many people are up in arms about cutting federal funding to PBS, but don’t give to PBS, while they do give LOTS to commercial cable or satellite companies. Go figure…

Heather J. Kirk

Monday, October 1, 2012

The image says "#New York Times" at the top and has a quote that discusses "#Veterans' Jobs Bill Block in the Senate" on #Facebook

Facebook is a great way to share information with friends - but can also end up passing on false or partial information. Therefore, just like e-mails, I encourage people to check things out!

The image says "New York Times" at the top and has a quote that discusses "Veterans' Jobs Bill Block in the Senate". Since at first blush, it does not seem to be a good move politically for Senate members, I got curious and decided to find and read the article it came from – and why they would not pass a bill to help Veterans.

It appears that things like Snopes, Fact Check or Truth Team are not as unbiased as they used to be. So it's good to go directly to articles quoted, bills discussed or full context of quotes.

I use this example because it is very current and I have seen it many times and decided to do a little research..

#1: It appears to be from a blogger on NYT on-line site. Though not just a random person but a regular NYT blogger, this TruthTeam quote comes from a combination opinion piece /news piece blog. It’s important to understand that blogs and editorials are created for opinions to be expressed, based on the news and current events, but not necessarily unbiased news reports.

#2: It’s always good to read things in context, and get opposing views. So here is a link to the article. http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/veterans-jobs-bill-blocked-in-the-senate/

The overall tone is not a whole lot different from the quote, but according to the article, Republicans voted against it specifically because the $1 billion bill was not funded. There does appear to be an expected source of funding, but possibly not attached to this bill. Also saw that the $1 billion would be to create up to 20,000 jobs. That's a minimum of $50,000 to create each job - not even the actual income veterans would receive.

My goal: To encourage people to not just pass along little snippets that sound good. Instead to get involved in the political process by educating and informing themselves. This is just one example of how I chose to do that.

Heather J. Kirk

Friday, September 28, 2012

We know your vote counts - make sure it's logical too!

We know your vote counts - make sure it's logical too!

Political ad writers COUNT ON YOU TO NOT THINK FOR YOURSELF and to not know how your own government works. Here is my rant of the week - not against, or for, any candidate, but about putting on our thinking caps - and knowing what we are talking about before we speak!
An ad against Vernon Parker says he told Tea Partiers he wants to get rid of the Department of Education (yes, he did say this), and therefore Arizona will lose $800 million dollars in educational funding. This is NOT A LOGICAL CONLUSION!

The DOE basically says 'teach what we tell you to, or we won't give you federal money for education. We don't care if you want to teach to the needs of your students and your geographical area. No local control of curriculum allowed." (My own words.)
But if there is no DOE, the DOE can't take away our funding for not doing what the DOE says we have to do. (See how that works...)  So the claim is ILLOGICAL.

Later (not in the ad), it appears that to cover up for this lack of logic, the ad writers say there will be no Pell Grants for college without the DOE. Who says there will be no college grants without a DOE? Not Vernon Parker. In the video quoted, he says that the DOE educational rules have resulted in kids who can't read at a third grade level and don't know history - - responding to charts and a presentation obviously made before he started speaking, about poor test scores, something very few will disagree with.
Clearly the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, creators of the ad, did not learn critical thinking in school either.

Here's a link to a Press Release (not news, but Public Relations), accusations related to the quote, and oddly the entire video of Vernon Parker's speech, which does not support the accusation. I guess they are counting on you to not actually listening. http://azdem.org/news/releases/Vernon_Parker_Cuts_Education_AZ_CD9/

 Heather J. Kirk

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Metal Prints and Chicken Soup Finalist...

An essay of mine titled "Thin Places" about my experience in the Dominican Republic, and the need to live by faith, has made it (so far) to the final round for an upcoming anthology titled Chicken Soup for the Soul: Finding My Faith. I'll let you know how it turns out.

I have previously had a limited number of metal prints up to 13 x 19. Now introducing Metal Prints up to 32 x 40!
All metal prints ship within 2 - 3 business days and arrive "ready to hang" with a hanging wire, mounting hooks, and nails. Grab a hammer... nail the mounting hook into your wall... and you're done!

Find new image "Dominican Cigars Being Made by Hand" in the Poster Prints Gallery or directly here:


Photo copyright by Heather J. Kirk
 Heather J. Kirk

Friday, May 18, 2012

Do "all things" really work together for good? Even the tragedies we cannot see our way though?

Just tonight I prayed with a friend going through an extended difficult trial, the familiar verse: Romans 8:28 "
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." I try to be careful with this overused quotation, unless I have already explained to someone my own interpretation...that God does not cause bad things to happen just so He can turn around and make them come out 'good". We live in a world that falls (very far) short of perfection and bad things happen. But in spite of those things, God has the ability bring some elusive, and sometimes even amazing, good thing out of it.

Then I listened to a book tonight that addressed exactly this issue, and I'd like to share it with you, as the author seems to know the original Greek words used in the text.  And, I happen to like the visual image of a pattern of light falling over, and changing, a foundation of darkness. Heather J. Kirk


From Absolute Truths: Church of England Series, Book 6 by Susan Howatch, Conversation between Asgoth and Charles, mediated by John. Begun with Charles:

“The correct translation of that passage is actually, ‘All things intermingle for them that love God.’ I know you think I’m a lousy theologian, Charles, but at least my New Testament Greek is sound.”

I flexed my memory to recall the verb under discussion. “Uh, but what’s the point of the alternative translation?”

“It gives you a better impression of synergy – of the process where two different things are put together and make something quite new. If you just say, ‘All things work together for good,’ as if the good and the bad are all stirred together like the ingredients of a cake which later emerges from the oven smelling wonderful. Then the man who’s dying of cancer will want to punch you on the jaw because he knows damn well you’re understanding his pain and are playing fast and loose with the reality of his suffering by implying that his disease is the end of a good thing. But if you say ‘all things intermingle for good,’ you’re implying that the good and the bad remain quite distinct. There’s no question of well mixed cake ingredients which emerge from the oven smelling wonderful. The bad really is terrible and the good may seem powerless against that terrible reality. But, when the good and the bad intermingle, not merge, but intermingle, they form a pattern,” said John. “As I pointed out a moment ago, the darkness doesn’t become less dark, but that pattern which the light makes upon it contains the meaning which makes the darkness endurable. Do you remember telling me Charles that when you were a POW you found that human beings could endure almost anything so long as they believed their suffering had meaning. What they couldn’t endure was the possibility that there was no meaning which would allow the suffering to be redeemed.” …

“I’m going to pull myself up by my bootstraps, and…”…

“You meant that your new knowledge has given you new power. The pattern of redemption is now clearer to you, and your recent suffering will be given meaning by the new life which begins for you today.” (John)

Monday, April 30, 2012

#Insanity – The #FitTest and then trying to get off the floor

Insanity Fit Test: My numbers were not too bad. Fairly close (though less than) what the actors said their first week's numbers were - that is until I got to the upper body, push-uppy kind of things.



See those guns on me?? Looks like my arms would have a t least a little strenght, right? All bark and no bite. Worthless! I actually wrote "10 LAME pushups". 'Lame' means that I did not dip more than one inch - seriously. Hopefully on my next fit test I can remove the lame, even if the number count is lower.

The fit test was so incredibly exhausting that I could not get up off the floor afteward for 20 minutes. Perhaps I never would have gotten up off the floor, except that the incredibly repetitive music that plays over the intro screen to each Insanity DVD would not stop unless I crawled at least to the remote control.

Shower. Bed. We'll see what comes next.

Heather J. Kirk

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Remembering #HenrySantos concert in Scottsdale

I attended a fantastic concert on April 21, 2012, at Ocean7 in Scottsdale, Arizona, by Henry Santos and band (all of them fantastic musicians). As you can tell by the photo, all the men were relegated to the back rows as the women pushed to the front and tried to get a touch of Henry.




Henry obliged, touching and kissing hands, waving and smiling, telling anyone who yelled out "Te amo!" - "I love you too." And while sweet and flirty and allowing people up on the stage for various reasons - he kept the women under control, but happy, with chaste little kisses and one pretty-sexy bachata dance. Although he teased about taking off his shirt (it had been 100 degrees that day and still pretty hot on stage at midnight), he never obliged the screaming masses on that one.



Which reminds me - no one was able to understand my mom's comment on the video I posted of the Romeo Santos' concert. What she said after Romeo's third wardrobe change was, "I had hoped he'd take more clothes off, not put more on!

Getting back to my point… Henry is a consummate performer and I am glad to have been able to attend the concert. Blessings Henry - I'm looking forward to seeing you do more amazing things.

Content and Photos copyright by Heather J. Kirk

Saturday, April 28, 2012

My #Insanity Fit Test - and the delaying tactics I employed first.

I put this off the Fit Test for as long as I possibly could.


1. I scanned the exercise calendar and made it big enough for me to see. Graphic Designers should know this, but because we can blow things up to view on line, they sometimes forget to be realistic to the naked eye. Business Owners and Designers, take note: white text on black background is not the most readable. Neither is 8 point font.

2. I read the eating plan again. Again, not interested, though it clearly would help, but I don't have time to make and eat 5 meals a day. I already am the slowest eater in the world and always last to get up from the table. Can't spend more time there.

3. I put the DVDs in order according to the calendar. (See how adept I am at delaying the inevitable?


4. Took pictures of my biceps. I know, this is silly, but since they already are big, I wanted to get an idea of the contrast afterward. Will they get more defined and stronger, yet smaller. That would be my ideal.


Can you tell that I cleaned the mirror before I took the picture? This is exactly the reason why my cleaning woman asked me not to clean myself before her visits... this time I mistakenly used Tilex instead of Windex. Clearly it does not work on mirrors!

Last time I had the clever idea to use Rainex on the mirror, figuring that if it made water run of car windshields it would also run off my mirror - splashed daily with calcium-rich spotting water. Hint - it does not work, and created a film that makes it both harder to clean your mirror and frustrates yourself or the cleaning person...

Woops, look at that - I'm at 297 words. Have to tell you about my Fit Test next time...

Heather J. Kirk

Friday, April 27, 2012

Vote to Help Heather Kirk Win Nationwide Art Advertisement through #FineArtAmerica - such as my photos from #Sedona, #OakCreekCanyon and #Scottsdale #Arizona and #Bermuda


Help Heather J. Kirk get 250 votes per photo!


(You may have to sign up as a collector or artist. Sorry, but it is an easy registration!)
Clink on links to find my photos and Vote. Thanks to All!


Fully Reflected by Heather J. Kirk (Oak Creek Canyon / Sedona, Arizona)

Open Voting - Now through May 31st, 2012
During open voting, visitors to FineArtAmerica.com are able to view all of the contest submissions and cast votes for their favorite photos.


Golden Fall Reflection by Heather J. Kirk (Oak Creek Canyon / Sedona, Arizona)


Juried Voting - June 15th, 2012
All photographs that have received at least 250 votes from the general public will become eligible for final selection by a jury of FAA staff members and industry professionals.


  http://fineartamerica.com/contests/national-tv-photo-contest.html?tab=vote&artworkid=1668390
Orange Glow by Heather J. Kirk (Scottsdale, Arizona)

The Prize:
Five winners will be chosen to appear in our next TV commercial which is scheduled to begin airing in July 2012. The commercial will air nationwide throughout the United States and is guaranteed to reach a minimum of 10 million viewers during the month of July.

Photos Copyrighted by Heather J. Kirk

Thursday, April 26, 2012

#HenrySantos mentioned #Insanity from the stage and I thought "I just bought that"!

Though I suppose the word "just" is an understatement. I bought it 3 (or maybe 4) weeks ago, read the booklet on the meal plan, and became afraid. That's right, I chickened out before I even looked at the DVDs!

I'm afraid of this exercise program. Very afraid.

My brother was impressed I'd bought it thinking I'd done other BeachBody programs to build up to Insanity. Uh oh.... Was I supposed to do that?

But hearing it mentioned was a reminder to me that it is time to stop using a "diet" being too hard (which it really is not) as an excuse to not to start the exercise program.

My brother also said that the people he knows who completed the 60 day Insanity program came out looking fantastic, but very few people stuck with it.

There it is. That's my challenge. I seem to do much better with really hard than with "it's an easy lifestyle change for the rest of your life". Let me get the intense part with Shaunt (Mr. BeachBody himself) down first - THEN I'll decide about the rest of my life!

By writing this here I am holding myself accountable to you - my readers - to DO THIS. Every few days I'll check in with you to let you know how Insane Insanity really is.

Here is my motivatihng picture:

I know, I'm a girl and this is a picture of a boy, but it's the best example I could find. Let's do this!

Heather J. Kirk

Memories of music and dancing in Santo Domingo (#republicadominicana #dancing)

Setting Up the Son Party in Colonial Zone - Every Sunday Night!





I love these photos of this couple's feet dancing the Son - which is a very complicated dance and I only tried once, unsuccessfully, to learn it, as the demonstrator said "Just follow". HA! And men in white pants - very Caribbean! I didn't see many women in white pants though - almost exclusively blue jeans.






Content and Photos Copyright Heather J. Kirk

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

All of Aventura in Arizona (separately) within a few months

April 19, 2012 (Obviously written before Henry Santos concert O7, Scottsdale, Arizona)


So, on the way home from the Romeo Santos concert I told my mom I wish I could go to one of the small shows in New Jersey or New York where Henry Santos was playing clubs. What an amazing opportunity to see someone of such talent up close. About a week later his concert was announced for Scottsdale. See, once again I am prophetic! And better yet - I don't have to drive all the way across town to Glendale like I did to Jobing.com Arena.

Kind of strange - I had been deprived of live Dominican music since September of 2010 when I left Santo Domingo - and then within a span of a few months, all three spin offs of Aventura will have played Arizona. I guess Arizona is awake after all. Welcome Henry and crew.

P.S. To my readers - I did not invite my mom this time. I plan to dance!

by Heather J. Kirk

Hanging out in Home Depot due to Arizona heat!

Last few days have been so hot in Phoenix/Scottsdale (100 – 105 degrees) that people are hanging out in Home Depot’s floor fan section!

by Heather J. Kirk

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

5000 promises to conserve water and SRP gives a $5000 grant to Homeward Bound!

SRP's Promise (what's yours?):  When you pledge to save water, you're joining other thoughtful Arizona residents who want to make a difference. What's more, your support helps Homeward Bound.


When we reach 5,000 pledges, we'll celebrate by giving Homeward Bound a $5000 water-saving makeover. It'll help them reduce their water costs so they can assist even more Arizona families.

http://www.togetherweconserve.com/

Homeward Bound assists homeless and domestic violence families with children achieve economic independence, and secure long-term, safe housing. They also work to break the cycle of homelessness and domestic violence. Homeward Bound started in 1990 with one family and one house. Today, they manage 155 housing units and help nearly 600 people – 400 of whom are children. Click here to learn more about Homeward Bound.

Discovered by Heather J. Kirk

The missing blog…


I stayed up late last night and wrote a fun, fantastic blog, then dreamed about a blogging seminar, woke up in a panic and rushed to take it down.

Blog Rule Number 1: Keep them short: 250 – 300 words.
My personal opinion is that it’s difficult to develop an interesting article, and make an educational, philosophical, spiritual or humorous point in so few words – but I’m a writer. I like to start with a theme, go what appears to be wildly off course, and then bring my reader back to where we started making a purposeful point.
Two phrases pop into my head when I tell stories – although the source is only one person and I should get over it. But maybe they apply in the blogging world.

A) Your stories are too long. B) You are too hard to follow. And from others: “Your humor is a bit dark” or the “I don’t get it” look.

Yet writing classes say “Don’t spell everything out. Trust your reader to be intelligent!”

As I write I find this to be a bit dull. So why write it? Because there may be a lesson in it for other business owners.

Ultimately the decision came down to the fact that what I say personally can affect me professionally.

Rule #2: Once something gets on the web it is difficult to impossible to pull it back.

Rule #3: Humor does not always translate well in the written form or across cultures (in the widest sense of the word).

So what I thought was hilarious at 3 am before going to bed was potentially not as funny to those reading it at 8 am at work. (Nah! It was really good and the five of you who got to read it are lucky.)

I’ll cut the missing blog into manageable sizes in future posts – with backdating - including the meat of the story, but leaving out the ‘random acts of thinking’. (329 words – not bad…for me)

by Heather J. Kirk

Friday, March 30, 2012

Desert Botanical Gardens and Scottsdale Artists League "Paint Out"

Desert Botanical Gardens and Scottsdale Artists League "Paint Out"



The Scottsdale Artist League and Desert Botanical Garden 'Paint Out," has been going on all month, and special events are planned for the conclusion, at 1201 N. Galvin Parkway Phoenix, AZ 85008.



I've been at the gardens every Saturday, and as a photographer I've wandered not only to shoot but to preview the art being painted. Lots of beautiful paintings - including small sizes so you can buy several. My photography will also be available (of course). Buy early - three matted prints sold last Saturday!



Show and Sale March 31 and April 1
Location: Stardust Foundation Plaza at the Garden (near the cactus and succulent pavilions)
Saturday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m
Sunday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Artist Meet and Greet
Saturday March 31 4 - 6 p.m. But the open bar begins at 2 pm!




Bounty of Barrels by Heather J. Kirk

Throughout Garden - artists will continue to paint this Saturday and Sunday
The Desert Botanical Garden and Scottsdale Artists League will co-sponsor their 17th annual Spring Paintout. As visitors walk through the trails, they will come across 50 of Scottsdale Artists League's best landscape painters capturing Garden scenes. All the artwork from the Paintout will be on display and for sale for the final weekend. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Desert Botanical Garden and the Scottsdale Artists League's Scholarship Fund. For more information visit http://www.scottsdaleartistsleague.org/?utm_source=Desert+Botanical+Gardens+SAL+%22Paint+Out%22+Sale+-+Heather%27s+Arts+Newsletter&utm_campaign=DBG+Paintout+%231&utm_medium=socialshare

Heather J. Kirk

Decay in the Foundation

A friend who works in a dental office had told her son he needed to brush very careful all around his braces, so he didn't end up with decay under the metal bands. He took the advice very seriously, and paid special attention to keeping his braces extremely clean. When he got his braces off after two painful years, the dentist did not find a single cavity...near the bands. Instead he found several small cavities on the chewing surface. You see, he had paid so much attention to the braces, he forgot about the most obvious part of his teeth - where he chewed his food.


This is such a profound metaphor in our day to day lives. How many of us spend an inordinate amount of time focused on things like our jobs, being there for our friends, even serving in church - none of which are bad things - only to find we have completely neglected the foundations of our lives - family and God. And the result is that our lives begin to decay at the core.


Maybe it's time to brush up on the basics!







Heather J. Kirk

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Coolest Mom in the World is Going to Romeo Santos Concert With Me

Wednesday Night I asked my mom to go to the Romeo Santos concert with me this Friday, March 23rd, in Phoenix. (Romeo is the lead singer of the band Aventura - gone solo). Bachata music is from Bronx, NY / Dominican Republic. Bachata is the hottest Latin music and dance trend since Salsa.

Don't know who Romeo (or Aventura) is? Get with it Arizona!




"The Formula Vol.1 album by Romeo Santos is the #1 Latin Album in the country for 16 weeks now! (source: neilson soundscan)" and "Congrats to Romeo Santos for winning 'Latin Songwriter of the year' for the 2nd year in a row at the ASCAP Latin Music Awards."

Still don't know who he is? Okay, he does the duet with Usher called Promise - he's the one who sings in Spanish. Hot video here - (parental advisory suggested ... I'm only partially kidding!)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3XyWhrZnqE Now do you know who he is?

My mom asked, "Can't find anyone else to go with you?" "Nope." She wheeled and dealed with me. I had to agree to go to the American Idol concert with her in order for her to join me at the Romeo Santos concert. I don't mind, I went with her last year and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it!

My mom asked, "Will there be very many old, blond ladies there?" "Nope, it's possible there will be only two blond women there - you and me." How do I know this? Because I've been going Latin dancing lately, and I'm often the only blond in the house. I've also seen pictures of the HUGE lines of women who line up to meet Romeo (and Henry), get their CDs signed, and take a picture with them at various events around the country. ALL young Latina women. If guys want to meet women, their odds would be incredibly good at one of these CD signings or concerts.






Mom getting her daily cappuccino in Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo, DR.

Anyway, did the likelihood that we would stand out like two American tourists on the inland-side of Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, scare off the coolest mother in the world? No way. She spent the first two weeks with me on my 8 month stint in the Dominican Republic - being exactly like that!

I love you mom! Heather
Heather J. Kirk










Me and friend Kilvio at the inland (non-tourist) Adrian Tropical location.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jesus' Mardi Gras


As you know, I've been posting photos of a DR Carnival Parade, and here I post a few more. "But Fat Tuesday is over!" you exclaim. Not so in every part of the world...




I recently received an e-mail from a friend I met in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. She is an American who took the step I considered, but did not choose. She moved there permanently - bought a house, and has a job teaching math in a high school. She was going to La Vega for the first time.




I was invited to attend by a friend who worked for an ad agency, so I would have had prime access for photography. But I had a previous commitment - a bit odd because the first month or so I was still meeting people and did not have a "full calendar". While I always regret having to say no, I am not one to be fickle and cancel on someone because something "better" came up.




I don't even remember what I did instead - though it seems I could check my calendar to find out, there is one catch. La Vega (in the interior of the island), is "the place to go" for Carnival. Every weekend for a month or more they have huge parades, festival, parties. The costumes are amazing. It is a tourist attraction, not just for foreigners but for Dominicans as well.






Each city in DR has a Carnival, and award winners participate in a final parade in Santo Domingo. Here's what interesting as I check my calendar for 2010. Ash Wednesday was on February 17th, meaning the end of the party - at least in New Orleans and just about anywhere else. But my photos were taken on March 7th, along the Malecon (the name for most coastal roadways in Latin American cities), in Santo Domingo also known as Avenida George Washington. (Go figure.)

Is celebrating Carnival after during Lent blasphemous? Irreverent? Sacrilege? Or if Jesus were alive, would he be right there with them?



I would guess the latter. And here's why:



Matthew 9:14-15 'Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.'



I'm not saying Jesus would approve of the drunkenness or licentiousness that Mardi Gras has turned into in most places around the world. (Mardi Gras = Fat Tuesday = the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, when Lent and fasting begins.) But as far as I can tell the Dominicans don't consider Carnival that way anyway. It's a time for family, festivities, celebration, healthy competition, food, and yes a few cervezas. Actually quite similar to our 4th of July as their Independence Day is February 27th.



Am I saying we should not observe Lent? Of course not - the 'bridegroom' is not currently with us, and Lent is a way to look forward to his return. Something to really celebrate! And with Christ comes Independence at the fullest level - spiritually.


Text and photography copyright Heather J. Kirk

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quotable: Now that Valentine's Day has worn off

Heather J. Kirk has listened to The Ballroom on Magnolia Street by Sharon Owens

A fun quote on how to catch the man you want - and that no system is perfect!

Quote, getting ready to go out to a dance club and see a man Shirley is attracted to:

That’s what I’m trying to tell you, it’s our destiny.”

Destiny nothing, Shirley, you fancy him. Don’t try and dress it up as something from a higher level. You’ll just have to attract his attention. Men are very visual creatures. Everyone knows that. Show him a bit of shoulder...”

"No...it’s something spiritual... When two people are right for each other, when the chemistry is right, Mother Nature ...will bring them together. It’s something in nature that pairs people off you see, knowing they have complementary qualities that will help them to survive in the chaos of the world...”

You’re cracked Shirley Winters, what about Bonnie and Clyde? Mother Nature slipped up badly the day those two met, didn’t she?”

It’s not a perfect system...”


This book can be found at Audible.com

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