YBOR CITY Part-1 (cigars, people, and art)

ybor city part 1

Welcome to post 1 for YBOR city in Tampa, FL.   Some of my cousins live in Tampa and it is always fun to visit them.  On this trip, cousin G brought us to YBOR city.


Here is the lady who works at one of the most famous cigar shops in YBOR. It was pretty smoke hazed in there and she said it did not bother her at all. My cousin found a table on the outside patio to smoke his cigar, and while he and my momma chatted and drank cuban coffee – I took a walk (to get away from the second-hand smoke on the patio) and started taking some street shots.


ybor city - hand rolled cigars

Hand rolled cigars in the window on a rainy night…  linked to N’s texture challenge.



…sweetheart of a guy…



ybor city cigar warppers

cigar wrappers

paulas multitude link-2

Author note: this photo was updated thanks to Feedback from restless Jo. Linked to P’s TS HERE



serendiptious art show

jose m tampa artist - update

This photo was updated (thank u CP4) – and if you want to contact the artist Jose M., please visit his Facebook page at Jose M. Tampa Artist :)


accordian player 2 of 3 jose m tampa artist

Jose told me that he made three of these “accordion man photo-paintings“-  I have a picture of the second one (below) and the first one already sold. This one called to me. The loose fingers in the clean, soft, open hand at the base of the accordion adds some finesse – gives us a relaxed feel. The fingers on the keys, with warm skin tone, suggests some culture rich song might be playing. The musician’s outfit adds much as well: the fedora is a nice touch – the cream color of the hat coordinates well with the cream in the framed doorway.  The fedora also has a fun feel with the camo-pants and high-tops. Then… a bright blue shirt- and blue of the accordion -brings our eye back to the blue in the pathway, which Jose made into chunky blocks of gray, black, and rich blue. The doors to the back—– well, for those of us who love doors—- this weathered beauty has been enriched with Jose’s photo paint to whisper of a laid back, older neighborhood that maybe sits right outside of YBOR city. Maybe this is a place where people sit and get lost in their music playing – where people chill on small doorsteps surrounded by rich wood with enough space to feel alive in the soul. Oh, and the line of the hat has some harmony with the grid in the foreground path and line in the step tiles – along with the abstract lines and shapes in the wood and pants – ti all works for me.  I could go on, but I will wrap it up with a big gracias to Jose.

accordian player-3 made by Jose M

This is 1 of the 3 accordion player art pieces Jose M. created. Notcie the pathway is different- and the farm to the door is different) – He framed with IKEA frames and priced these gems to sell!






izzy and Jose m tampa artists-jnw-mauve

Izzy’s beautiful hair reminded me of JNW’s mauve color this week.


wandering eye art gallery snapshots-yborcity-2015

Misc. shots from the Wandering Eye Art Gallery (here)



In closing, here is the Los Lonely Boys with Cisco Kid – I think it kind of fits the mood of this post.


Happy Friday everyone – and have you bought any art form a local artist lately?  If you have not, I would like to encourage you to keep your eyes out for nicely priced pieces that can enrich your life while they support the artist…

A couple more YBOR city posts coming soon…



wpc – FRESH

The wpc is FRESH this week, and here are some fresh baby chicks that were fun to observe at the tractor supply store last week.



baby chicks -2

Here is a short video I made of the chicks  –  synced to an old school song (Dick Van Dyke — Put On A Happy Face) to help us start our fresh week with a little cheer:

For those that like this song and want the whole version, here is the Bye Bye Birdie version


Over on Bytes (here), we have a nice reminder from Captain Jack Sparrow:

“The problem is not the problem.
The problem is your attitude about the problem.
Do you understand?”
so do get it?
do you understand …?
In closing, and for a bit more inspiration today, here is a fresh snippet from a library interview with Mark Barker (HERE)
(Mark is that TV pioneer I met down in Florida earlier this month)

Miss Nancy of Romper Room

“Romper Room was owned by a company up in Philadelphia and they had selected a woman who was the romper room teacher and she was doing fine, but her husband was transferred so she was going to leave the show….

Well, when I was doing that Marking Time program, I had said in one of them, “If you really want to do something, if you really, really, really, want to do something hard, write it out on a little piece of paper: I want to do this ____. And you take it with you every where you go and you keep reminding yourself this is what I want to do. In all probability you’ll wind up doing it.

Well, I’m interviewing people and Nancy Stillwell comes in to be interviewed and we’re chatting away. She reaches into her pocketbook and pulls out this ratty little piece of paper and it says, “I want to be the Romper Room teacher.” She was one of my people that I selected and she was the one that won the final thing and became Miss Nancy for Romper Room. And she was so perfect for that part. She was great! She’s a wonderful woman….” Mark Barker

more here
Hope you have a nice week.

Day 5 B &W (art and E Knight)



For Day 5 of my B & W challenge, I bring you to you the Crossroads Art Center.

Last night we went to the art reception there and I was not thinking of taking photos – really!  But it all started when I saw this guy sitting on a bench.  Walking by – I peeked in and saw this:


Here is a slightly different version to show you this room in color (notice you cannot see his pen in this second shot).

guy on bench at art show


We were not at the art reception very long – just long enough to get some art into my soul and to take about a dozen+ photos.

expensive painting of venice


metal art

collage 1

notice the different moods to the left and right… and art in the mid

I turned a few photos into gifs for a little fun.





Top Jimmy cooks, top Jimmy swings…(VH Song is here)


On the way out we had the chance to speak to one of the artists (Emma Knight – see below).   I did get some video footage, but not sure if it is usable.


I had the chance to chat it up with Emma for a few minutes right as we were leaving.  I like the feel of her work. She has just returned to RVA after living in Georgia for twenty years.  From her website here: “Knight’s landscapes are abstracted, yet the scenes are full of inferred space and very recognizable. She paints using the “indirect method” a slow process, which involves building many layers of paint. “


The top painting was my second favorite (of the night), which I was told was inspired by a fish eye lens photo her son took of the James River. I like the movement and the light. It was priced at over 3,000. The painting on the left is a walking bridge over the James River and just seeing that painting brings back many memories of walking to Belle Isle with the kids. The painting on the right, the tongue tree, was inspired by a photo taken at Maymont Gardens.


e knight paintings

For the final invite to the B & W challenge – I am going to invite Mark, Doobs, and Trent to join in.  Also, if you are looking for some fresh music – check out Trent’s new CD called Hamlet Symphony. 

Thanks again to Jo, Jill, and Aletta for thinking of me.  <3


So do you have a favorite art piece from this selection?

Would you pay 13,000 for a painting?


Hope you have a great weekend….




B & W Day 4 10 Florida Street Shots



Hello – For Day 4 of the B & W Challenge, I bring you into this little store where I bought an old Kipling book for RV. Do you see it there? It was in bad shape, but for three dollars I took a chance.

kipling book for RV of DP

And now here are TEN more of my street shots from Florida.  These are all from February 2015.


The Thompsons sat across from me on the plane. And as Thanks for the photos, I gave her that little purple box (I had it for my niece, but I had tons of other things for my niece so it was meant to be shared)



I met Cheyne and Chris when I stopped in at a restaurant I used to work at in the early 1990s. I showed them where I was standing at 10:30 a.m. on a day in late July 1990 – when my niece was born. It was fun to tell them a little about the restaurant history.  These two guys were very cool.



My Aunt was walking by and asked Marisa and Kevin if I could take their photo. But she did NOT let me know she was asking and so I got a little grumpy at first, especially because I had already asked Ralph if I could take his photo. However, it ended up being a gift and later I thanked my Aunt and told her she is always welcome to help me out!!  Grabbing a few pictures of Marisa and Kevin was a highlight – they were so personable and we just had fun. They even had a fun photo bomb in one of their photos – see the lower right? Well thanks so much to M & K <3



This is Ralph. When I asked to take his photo it was because he was so friendly and started talking to us. I also wanted to grab a photo of a snowbird – but it turns out – Ralph has lived in FL for 57 years. That is a long time to live in one place.



This is Chris, and when I saw the smoke from his vaping, I had to grab shot – and he has some nice body art. Sweet dude.


pps-306-2-2015-spca guys

I met these three guys because I walked over to take a photo of the pile of Bubble TV (below).. While there, I started talking to the two guys, Ethan and Brandon, and when they said I could take their photo, the middle guy, Orville, walked out. The timing was perfect. They look tough – but they are gentle bears. They invited me into the SPCA store to give me the address of where I could mail them a copy of their photo – and while in there – that was when I saw the old books for sale (first photo in this post).




bubble tvs

my, my, my how technology changes! And my mom and I have a joke about bubble TVs (share it later maybe) and so I had to grab a photo. This is linked to Cee’s Oddball pics week -11


A man and his car!




This awesome store clerk was also fun to photograph. I had some clearer shots, but these photos are the ones I like most. I am linking this photo to JNW’s OWPC, which is “Beaver” this week – because the brown tones in her jacket are beaver and shoes look like beaver hide.




THANK YOU Kyle – and a huge thanks to all who serve and protect freedom.





This is my niece – and her mom was the one who was born in July 1990… and last year when I was in Florida, Kaia and I decorated Vass’s box. This year we wrote words and doodled – and I taught her how to make spirals. Joy is…. time with Kaia… linked to Kan’s challenge.


I hope you have a nice Tuesday – and the blogger I link today for the B & W challenge is the muchacho Sir Spaniard Charly Priest from the Crazy Life blog. (warning – he sometimes swears and writes about adult content, and I skip those posts…)




Florida and B & W Day 3


For Day 3 of the B & W challenge, here is the view I saw every day:daily view

I still have my street portraits to share, but I am thinking about how to share them – and I also have not really had the time to go through them yet.  However, I promise to have them sometime this month.

In the meantime, because it is Monday, I thought we would join Restless Jo for a Monday walk around the Sunshine State – we will be driving for a few shots, but here are some misc. pictures I took on some of my walks in FL this year.


wall of surfbaords

A WALL of surfboards (from CORE’s surf shop)- linked to the wpc for wall this week.


light and reflection

I know some folks would crop off that small part of the retaining wall, but I like it there.


fisherman 2







This is some ground up Kava root my younger sister and I tried (also called kava-kava).  I have had Kava in Yogi tea and in some smoothies – so I thought I would give the powder a try.  It was supposed to be relaxing, but it made me wide awake and It is a bit slimy — so I did not care for it.  It  reminded me of slippery elm.  Anyhow, I found out that it is banned in some countries because it can be harmful to the liver (?) – I still have the bag of kava, but not sure if it is something I will ever consume again.  Kava root is front eh South Pacific and it is used in religious ceremony. The cool burlap bag it came in has a tribal feel to it -so this is linked to Tribe at Lost in Translation with guest Guilhem.




Can you guess what color this Hibiscus is? The original color is….( I will tell you next time)


Rollins College is considered the Harvard of the South…. well to some folks it is considered this – but not to all.  I did not get to visit their art musuem on this trip, but next year I will try and make it.

old tree-2

From 1990 to 1992, I worked at a building that sat right under this tree in Winter Park, FL. It was old back then…. and it is even older now!



train tarx

There is something about this photo I just really like – maybe the verticals – or the light/splashy feel – or maybe I like this photo because I took it after only being in Florida for a few hours.  I was happy to see my mom, the traveling was super easy, and it was fun to see revisit some old stomping ground.


swampy florida

Have you ever heard that Florida is one big swamp?


looking up at palm trees

Looking up at the Palm Trees -(linked to Debbie’s LULD- week 80)- and Bye to Florida….(for now)



paws in snow

Back at home I arrived to doggie paws in the snow!  -But as we all know, coming home after a trip is oh so sweet -even if you have to put boots back on the feet – coming home to family and to your own much loved bed – ahhhhh – maybe a bit tired, but all fresh in the head.



A special thanks to Jill here and Restless Jo here for linking me up with the B & W challenge.

The blogger I invite to the B & W challenge is Lisa (here) who is traveling the world “one ocean at a time” –

Have a great day – and thanks for dropping by.



Florida & B/W Part 2 (MCO airport and orange)

Today I bring you to the Orlando airport for my B & W photo for Day 2 of the 5 day challenge.

A view from the window on the elevated tram system.

the tram at orlando airport

For part 2 of my Florida sharing — to keep things simple — I will just share some photos I grabbed as I walked around the Orlando airport

I was early for my straight through flight – so it was nice to not feel rushed.

orlando airport

working man

notice the worker in action…



When it comes to photographing people – I think there are three ways to take “people shots” -(please let me know if there are more)

1. You can ask permission and get a few poses with consent.

2.  You can NOT ask permission and then just take different shots at different angles — without consent.

3.  You can take some very fast photos – just click as you go along – and see what unfolds.

In today’s post, most of the pictures were taken with option #3 – I clicked along as I rode the tram and strolled to the gate.

orlando airport - watching



orlando airport - beats yo

Beats – (yo?)


The weekly photo challenge is the color orange this week – and so here are some pics that connect to orange:

orange hair

This poised lady had orange highlights in her hair.



orange lights

Orange lights to the right – and an aerial view of the MCO airport to the left. Side note –  I think the worker’s gloves should come OFF when leaving the kitchen area — just sayin’ -



pps-356-3-2015-ladies on phone

orange pants with a black tank and black heels….that’s how she rolls!

orange on the counter -

I feel kind of bad about this photo – but it is what it is….



orlando airport-man walking trio

Have you ever heard of Text Neck? Check out this article here for some info about how chiropractor Dean Fishman, from Plantation, Florida-  changed the name of his practice to the Text Neck Institute – and I guess two ways to prevent neck damage is to hold your phone at eye level or prop it up while viewing so you can view with better posture.

text neck at the orlnado airport


Yesterday we saw the wooden airport benches – and today we have metal ones.

orlando benches

Okay – that is all for “Florida part 2″ and for Day #2 of the Black & White Challenge (thanks again to Jill here and Restless Jo here for linking me).

The blogger I invite to the B & W challenge is Mahesh (here) because his comment about the airport yesterday actually led to this post today.


Thanks for joining me in this post – and see you later in the week because I have 3 more B & W posts for this 5 day challenge. I also plan on combining those posts with more Florida pictures.

So…. I have 3 more Florida posts coming….

Not sure if you have ever heard of YBOR CITY in the Tampa area, but that is where I will bring you in my next post later this week – with cigars, umbrellas, and some of my favorite street photos to date!

Hope you have a nice hump day.

And if you are interested in the “art and history” of street photography – you might want to check out the cool series from from María y Bill here





Florida 2015- part 1

My trip to Florida was a lot of fun and I surpassed my goal of 50 street shots.

I have not really had a chance to go through my pictures and most are still on my laptop, but when Jill here and Restless Jo here linked me for the B & W challenge – I decided to start my Florida sharing with the B & W challenge.


Here is my B & W photo for Day 1 of the 5 day challenge.

Looking up at a palm tree.

I played with some adjustments for this shot.  I finally chose this one because of the sky – and I like the way the 4 windows in the center seem to work with the sky (in my mind at least).

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 5.24.54 AM

Palm Tree in FL. Linked to LULD #79.


The 5 day B & W challenge asks us to link another blogger each day – so for day #1, I am linking to Lia – who likely cannot do five in a row- but maybe she can do a single B & W post (or not).

Okay, so back to FL – my mother only sees her nephrologist a few times a year and while she was checking in – I meandered outside to take a picture of this long bench for Jude’s March challenge (here).



I turned around and this awesome fella showed up!


We had instant chemistry!

This is Mark Barker who is 89 years old and still going strong.


Priorhouse Portrait shot #350- (March 2015) “Mark”


I asked if he was related to Bob Barker (he is not) and then we talked about how people “used” to ask me if I was related to Richard Pryor (I am not).

I showed Mark some photos I had on my phone and he said he liked the composition of my work.  (very cool)

pps-350-3_2015-markbarker-4-with aide

This is Mark Barker and his assistant (Roxanne E. ) and she is from WNY and has lived in FL for 4 years now.


Then Mark was called in and his aide and I chatted briefly.

Roxanne told me that Mark Barker is aTV pioneer in FL.  Mark helped bring media and television (some info here) to the city of Orlando many years ago –

Also, it turns out that Mark’s assistant is originally from Western New York – which is where I started off in this world too.

It all felt serendipitous! 

Side note – Mark’s wife (only 72 yo) is currently struggling with Dementia – and so he had to move (give up his dog) and it has been a huge adjustment for him.  This sad news made me even more excited about a documentary that is currently being made called “bread head” – check it out here:


Beyond the wooden bench and beneath the palm trees, I found some typical Florida foliage.


Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 5.22.03 AM


Also for Jude’s March challenge, I noticed that the Orlando airport has wooden benches everywhere. I caught a shadow in this shot.

wooden bench

When I looked over and saw “Wally” sitting on a wooden bench, I was not really looking for additional people shots; instead, what caught my eye was how he was using an ink pen.

Most people these days are on phones or using pads – so a good old fashioned ink pen was a nice sight.

wally using a pen

Wally is with Ideawild (here), which is a nonprofit group that aims to conserve biodiversity.



Thank you Wally.


Thank you Mark.


Well that does it for my first Florida post and for post 1 for the B & W challenge.

Hope you have a great Tuesday!



33 Portrait Shots (and off to FL)

Priorhouse is taking a break from blogging while I travel to see family in Florida. I will be back to blogosphere on March 6th.

florida visit 2015

For a post that is going to sit here at the home page for a while, I thought I would share this video I made for Vass (his old blog is here).

On my trip to see family – one of my goals is to take some photos of people I meet – I am hoping to take 50 street portraits!

I look forward to sharing some of them when I return.

And finally, I thought I would leave you with 33 priorhouse portrait shots that I have not shared yet.

I have taken about 250 “people” shots since 2013 – very informal – but they are dear to me.

I am curious to know if you have a favorite.

Please let me know if you do….


The duality feel and the pops of yellow enrich this shot. The guy in the center (black t-shirt) adds a triangular shape and then the palm trees seem to flow with the hair. This is a photo I barely recall snapping – but later I found it to be a treasure.



one word: doggie!



This sweet hostess is poised. Her body seems to match the flow/shape of the number on the brick wall.


The photo of this friendly couple has good energy to me – and a culture feel – the drinks and shopping items.  I also like the lines. The verticals in the columns on the right and vertical  in their beings seem to work with the horizontals of the rail and boxes.



A mom and her babe = sweetness! I also like the #2 on the building – and the #23 on her shirt (Air Jordan still has a presence) and the stripes of the baby jacket seem to flow into the name Jordan and maybe up to the sign on the building. The gritty grain brings focus on to the cute baby a bit more… 


Cake is serious business – as Lexi pinches a small piece to share…


love the contrast – and joy…. and the details in this shot are a fav… the rings, the trim of the shirt, the leis, and the softness of mom’s hair. 



This couple had informal balance with their body placement, noses and posture. I also really liked their demeanor. I took 4 photos – and in this shot, I like the relaxed feel of young love – with his arm draped on the chair and their locked eyes.




also silly.



Colorful cultural feel with my nephew’s daughter and my niece’s daughter in Western New York.

pps-52 2-2014

This fun couple was cycling along the ocean in Florida – and we chatted it up. I suggested they go to St Augustine. They went and then later emailed me some amazing pictures of the lighthouse there.



I like how the pathway on the right is open vs. the busy feel of the art (and reflection) in the window to the left.   I feel a bit of harmony with the two flamingos in the main window – the two right above the blonde lady and the octopus above them. then the pink in the left window slightly coordinates with the door and awning…


360 pic at art show



“dude.” I like the lines in the snow that anchors the truck and the driver. The balance with lights on the truck and posts to the back right also add to the vibe. 





April is Alive!


Mr. Dapper

pps-233 - 1- 2015

This artist told me all about alabaster vases. I really liked her hat, scarf, and smooth demeanor.



one of the best photo bombs ever! and cool “running man” Mike is in the the middle…




joy is…. laughter


¿qué el…?


my niece Y and her precious boy


Lady on Left shared a free ticket….


This is a Master Scuba Diver I interviewed for a video project.


peace (note the peace sign on teen with striped shirt)



I feel mixed about this photo – but share it anyway. I did put a couple of bucks into this man’s bag as we left.



layovers…. and smart phones….



I love the green, the shadow, and also the gradation of verticals: far trees, two boys, and then large tree to the front right.


Elvis is alive – and here he is with his mum.



My step-daughter – I like the pink of her lips with the pink shirt. The one glass up and her expression gives a glimpse into her fun side. I also like the rich details of the store in the background (ceiling too) and with her in the center and some tripod directly in back- I like the vibe.



Have a great rest of February and be back to catch up in March…

If you have time, check out RG’s blog here - he has a unique take on street portraits.


saffron (and tips for parenting teens)

I am getting ready to travel to see my mother down in Florida – so I only have one more post after this one and then I will back to the blogosphere on March 6th.

back roads for karin


The other day, we had our usual drop offs and pick ups for my teenage son, which of course included a drive through the winding back roads in Mechanicsville, VA.

Mechanicsville is a rural suburb right outside of Richmond, VA.  My friend Karin loves the back roads here and so I decided to snap a photo to text her and say hello.  I like how they look at dusk with a little blur from the window.

mechanicsville va roads

The parents greeted us and shared that they had not been at this house very long  and they were still making updates.

mechanicsville, VA


The cabin style house had some textured wooden siding. This photo from the porch is linked to Narami’s texture challenge week 8texture


We had to make another stop to drop off a different friend on the way home.  Darkness had set in, but I was able to grab a photo of this old yellow muscle car.

saffron car two


It looked a bit “saffron” yellow and so I am linking it to JNW’s color challenge this week:

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 3.01.49 AM

saffron coilored car


When we got home, we went in through the garage and I looked over at this can of sea foam sitting on the shelf.  For those that don’t know – “sea foam” is a gas/oil cleaning additive for engines – and it is the best stuff around.  Last week’s JNW word was “sea foam”- and seeing that the saffron photo is of a car – well here is some Sea Foam….



Okay – so now for part 2 of my post.  

Please free to skip this part!  

I want to share a few thoughts on parenting teens.  My hubs and I are still learning so much as we go – and I like to be very careful before I share tips, but I have a few things to share that might be of value to someone.  This is just for educational purposes and this is just me informally writing to you.  It is not trying to be the list of the century – just some things on my mind this week.

So just a few things to chew on….

1. Bank account “deposit and withdrawal” analogy. 

The “deposit and withdrawal” analogy is one of my favorites – and it involves thinking of your relationship with your teen like a bank account – where you make deposits and withdrawals.  If you make too many withdrawals without depositing – well things get depleted – and so you basically just monitor the relationship by making sure you deposit enough of the right things into the relationship.  A strong relationship is fortified with a good balance of deposits to withstand times of heavy withdrawals. This is simple – but it really helps – and it could take time – like time to heal if a big withdrawal was made – or time to have some space if it is a phase where folks are butting heads.  But become mindful of the “red and the black” –  just like you would other “accounts” – and the relationship can be fortified and strong.

2. Understand LOVE languages. 

I have always liked using Chapman’s Love languages (HERE)  and even though I disagree with him on some aspects – the concept helps us to think about how we uniquely respond to each other.  People do not express love emotionally the same – and so it also helps to understand how you and your child respond to 1. affirming words, 2. acts of service, 3. receiving gifts, 4. quality time, and 5. physical touch.

I also throw in a 6th one – which is food – because in my experience – feed teen and the entire mood is improved instantly.

If one of your teen’s primary languages is receiving gifts, well a shopping trip that included talking on the way might be ideal.  If the teen valued quality time, you would tell them that you blocked out a whole chunk of time for them and then set up an activity that allowed for this time together.  The acts of service one is similar to the “love is a verb” saying – and it involves doing an activity that just serves the other person – and it can be powerful – and can lead to reciprocation.

I have written about words of affirmation before – and do not want to be long-winded about it – but remember that words can either build up or tear down – and sometimes we have to share harsh truths – of course – but too often people constantly berate those around them from sloppy or unchecked speech.

Many are anemic in the area of building up, but it can be improved.

And please hear me on this – teens soak up your words more than you will ever realize. They “hear us now, but listen later…” – and so much of what we say falls onto this absorbent sponge.  It is hard to sometimes see through a tough exterior – or through their needy ways or developing personality – but look for ways to build up your teen.  Keep it genuine – because BS never works at any age, but look for ways to use words to build them up – and all the more if this is something that is a primary emotional area for them.

Also this may change – as the teen ages.  One mom shared that an older teen was low on money for a good year – and this humbling period made that teen later value reviving gifts more.


3. Explain the process and share the thinking with the teen. 

This is a very personal tip that is one of my favs.  Explain to children how you are making decisions – ask for input about things – and make deposits into the bonding side as you discuss “their” life.  This respect for them will come back to help down the road.  Tell the teen that more than wanting conformity right now, we care about their adjustment as an adult too.  remind them that their brain is still growing until they are 24 +.  Remind them that you know there is not set formula – but you are willing to learn and explore what needs to be done.

Many parents know to “Always make sure the consequence fits the punishment” but I say BEFORE it even comes to that  – there might be some grace handed over.  Too often – especially in the Christian community – I see parents coming down way too hard on a teen with a predetermined consequence.

It is really wise to assess what is going on at that moment.

If the teen is reachable and doing well – well an extra consequence might not be needed – the situation might already be assuaged from the discussion and the occurrence – and it takes an in-tune parent to see that.

wood shingles

There is a learning that HAS to happen with people – and we need to embrace the learning without always coming down with a scold.  

Sometimes when grace is given the child learns in a way that is far more helpful that having them live out a predetermined consequence.  

4. Don’t be a big crab all the time. 

Sure, we want our kids to be responsible and to enter adult hood equipped,  but without realizing it  -some parents have made their teens lives completely miserable.  I know this is such a complex and layered topic – and so I want to be careful with my words, but this is also why I am also spending my time to share a few tips.  I see SO many parents being way too mean to their kids – when really the teen sometimes just needs a huge dose of love and some grace – along with some deposits into the parent child back account.

And the teen needs to be told this grace is happening – for example, the parent might say something like, “You know, I was going to take your phone away for this – but we have been thinking about it and while we are really disgusted and sad that you let someone take your photo while giving the middle finger like that – well we feel as if you have learned your lesson.  Also, at least it was not a shot of you mooning someone.  Seriously though, remember honey (uses term of endearment) – we talked about your digital footprint and how this trail follows you for a long time – so this is very serious.  But because I see that you are taking this matter seriously, we are not going to take your phone away. But you have been warned and so please make better choices….”

which leads to my next tip –

5. Don’t crush the child’s spirit. 

Now sure we want to help the child as best we can - but don’t lose the child in the process.  Parents, please hear me on this – teens need a whole bunch of love and grace – and they need your essence.  It might help if you remember what you wanted to be treated like as a teen.  The Bible even says to not provoke your children to wrath and to lead in a way that does not ruin them…. and to tran them up in the way they should go so when they are old they will not depart from it.  Did you catch that? It did not say they will instantly “get it” – but instead it takes time – so always remember that you are fortifying a foundation – and you may not see fruits for a while.

It might help to just lighten up and not worry so much.  Get your hands on some resources and look for tips -toss some – keep some – and use some – but know you do not have to reinvent the wheel – and there might be some challenging days – so it helps to have a few tips.


6. Find a balance.  

know this – permissive parenting can lead to floundering for your child later in life. And too strict of parenting will hurt them for a long time in ways that make them seek relief.

So find a balance, but be sure to parent!

For example, parents can say something like this: “Right now this is not about our friendship side.  I value the friendship we share, but at the end of the day-  I have a job to parent you!   I know you know this – and when you are older you will see this even more.  In the meantime, it would be easier if I could be passive here and just let you do your thing – but because I love you – and because I have accountability to parent you – well I am not letting you do such and such…. it is just something I feel strongly about and I need you to respect my wishes at this time… ” and then maybe add something else that can be compromised on… and remind the child that they have choices and also times of when you did give in fully (or something like that).

Don’t come down too hard on yourself when things do not work out exactly the way you planned.  

Because that might be a sign you are dong things right – you are keeping an open fist and not smothering – and maybe – well maybe… you are letting them be them…. in a genuine way that is also a gift.

7. Raising Leaders.

One thing that always helped me was to know that I was raising leaders.  Both of my boys have different leadership sides that come out naturally.  They are both so different – and it depends on the scenario – but leadership is innate and it is also nurtured –  (the whole nature nurture debate can get us talking for a long time) – but I believe that teens that have some power – choices – and that are respected more will have more power in general and they will make better leaders over their own lives.

It is more than saying they rise to the occasion – it is also about tapping into their strengths – opening a path for them – and speaking good things on them and letting them feel empowered.  Have you ever heard the analogy of the country dog and city dog? The country dog rolls freely and the city dog bolts out the door as soon as it is cracked.  And so as you train the child and teach (not as you beat them and stifle them with so many consequences) well as you equip them and help them find their own individuality –  well – you are equipping them for leadership in different ways.

Remember that as they respect you and respect your wishes, you respect them and they are not necessarily becoming a little clone for you. Give them space to be their own person (with boundaries).

8. Stay being you – do not apologize for it, but be humble enough to compromise because of it. 

Most people know that self-awareness is the key to health and growth.  We need to know how we come across – we need to know how we “want” to come across – and then we need to understand more about how we personally respond to this and that.  We need to be aware- this helps us know what to improve and modify.

Once we understand our strengths and weaknesses as a parent – it can really help us assess what our kids will need to have supplemented – or what we will need to work on.  Even the best of parents will still have things to work on – and growth is expected and needed – but you also are who you are.  And then kids also have different phases and stages that adds to the mix here – and then some parents do better with younger children -while others do better with older – etc.  This little tip is one that I could write a chapter about – but it comes down to owning all of your ways – without excuses and without taking too much personal – and then staying objective as you  improve - but also accept and supplement.

9. Enjoy this very day with your teen – because it might be all you get. 

We all know life is short and we do not knowhow much longer we have on our life journey – and so keep that in mind when you look at your teen – smile and love on them some more – just because life is short- and just because life is precious.

And feelings follow behavior – so when you start becoming grateful for this very day – just because it is a gift – well that gratitude permeates the whole setting – and makes life better.

cloud wallpaper

10. Don’t compare. 

Do NOT compare your teen (or family life) with others – I know there are general comparisons that can be healthy – but comparing either puffs up or slams down – and it is not a good way to measure personal progress.  Set your own benchmark for success with custom-made goals for what your family needs. And stay flexible with the outcomes because one of the gifts of being human is that we are not robots.  The very mess and angst that leads us to problem solve is the same stuff that gives rich pleasure and fulfillment.

Okay, I could go on – but I think that is enough for us all to chew on.



Enjoy your day – and if you are the parent of a teen – or parent of grown adults – or if you have anything that is unsettled – well I encourage you to lighten up and approach it with grace and tenderness – and see what unfolds.







For a February walk with restless Jo, I decided I would stroll to find find a symmetry photo for the wpc this week.

At first I thought I would find some symmetry while going out for burgers, but no luck.


I thought surely one of the free peanuts at Five Guys would have a bit of symmetry… but no luck there either.

The green beans did not bring me any closer either, but these olive oil, salt and pepper baked greens were tasty.

green beans with olive oil s and p

Next, I started looking up and around – to maybe see if symmetry could be found out there – and  this barbed wire is linked to Debbie’s LULD.

barb wire

But I only found asymmetrical swirls.

symmetry collage

Sometimes trees can offer a great example of symmetry – but not this one:

asymmetrical tree

So then I turned to some Breaking Bad for inspiration:


symettry bb joke 2-b

symmetry bb - joke 1 symmetry bb - joke 3

This was fun to do (and joy is…. having fun with BB images), but I still needed a photo for the weekly photo challenge!


I looked over and saw a bit of symmetry in this old Richmond doorway.

A kind gentleman waited so I could make the shot – and then he gave a wave.

weeekly photo challenge symmetry

So after all that – here is my photo for the weekly photo challenge:

priorhouse weekly photo challenge 2-16-2015

For more entries on symmetry –  click here.

And for more Monday Walks with Restless Jo, go here.

Have a nice Monday….



Author update:  someone sent me an email noting that the sign says “no sitting on ledge” but there is not much of a ledge to even sit on – ha!