Helena's Photo Blog

Where Pictures Tell the Story

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Blog Started 06/26/06
Total entries 117
Blog Age 5209 days
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Swing Dancin' Time!

Mon Jun 08, 09 10:50 pm

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OK, I'm changing the first sentence in this blog entry because nobody has even LOOKED at it yet, let alone commented. -sniff- I attribute it to the boring first words. People, there are PICTURES in this post! LOTS OF PICTURES!! Smile

In the middle of April, me and my siblings met up with several other HSAers in Bishop Hill, IL for a Swing Dance-- put on by some friends of ours. Excellent dance instructions, live band, friends...what more could one ask for?

A live band has gotta be the best thing to dance to.

Kelli H. and I attempt the "pretzel". Do you think we'll become un-entangled?

My sister Johannah and Jill W. at supper time. Ahhh, did I mention there was food there too? Smile

Karen and Andy Fuzak, our awesome dance instructors. They taught us several Swing steps, and also short introductions into waltz, foxtrot, tango (so fun!) and other types of dances.


The Many Faces of Kelli and Helena.

Here you just might be able to pick out Ava & I dancing, as well as Mr. & Mrs. Hemmer and Faith & Melody Hemmer.

Adam and Johannah. Awwwww.

A highly improvised and lively dance with Kelli. Smile

Desi and Hans. Desi has such a cute smile.

Faith Hemmer and April Brown.

Mr. and Mrs. Fuzak share a laugh.

Nine-piece band.

Before leaving, we head out to admire one of the four raccoons my sister Ava is raising this Summer.

Desi tries to snip my nose off.

Jill and Greg. One more thing brothers are useful for: a hiding place from a prying camera.

A street in Bishop Hill. How cool is that?!? Smile

Posted By: Helena
6 People Made Helena Happy/ Make Helena Happy

Many Adventures Part 2--Dance, Notgrass Wedding and OK Trip

Tue Jun 02, 09 6:57 pm

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This is all old news now, but I thought better late then never--so here we go. Smile
I apologize in advance for the poor quality of most of these photos. They were taken with my iPhone. You'll be able to tell the few ones which ones were taken with Nathan's Marvelous Camera. Smile

In early March, my sister Ava and I went to a dance held at a "castle" in northern Illinois, put on by some friends of ours, the Hemmers.

I finished my dress the night before. Smile

Ava and I with Faith and Melody Hemmer. All in medieval garb.

The castle was so neat to explore. It was complete with hidden passageway leading to the chapel.

English Country dancing into the night.

I found my knight in shining armor. Smile

The castle event continued on to Saturday, but since Ava and I wanted to meet the rest of our family down in St. Louis for the Notgrass wedding, we left early Saturday morning and made our way down there.

It was such an honor to be there. The ceremony was amazing and God-honoring. John and Audra were so much in love. Smile

With Laura Curran and Ava.
(I'm only posting these two photos from the wedding since I am not sure which ones we have the rights to)

After the wedding, Ava and I drove down to Missouri to pick up Katie and Emily West and to head in a Westerly direction to....

Visit the Covingtons in Joplin! They took us down to a peaceful river where we watched the fisherman and walked on the rocks.
(Ava, Abigail, Angela, Katie, Me, Emily, Amber and Hannah)

Gotta get a "triplets" pose. Smile

After staying there one night we headed further West to....

Visit the Naylors! It was a long awaited and much anticipated visit since we had been talking about doing it for a very long time. Here we are relaxing at a coffee/chocolate shop.
Sarah, Tera, Sage, Katie, Emily and I (Ava was taking photo).

The Naylor's hospitality was simply amazing. They made each one of us feel so at home and treated us like royalty. We even got our own little cozy guest house to stay in! Here we are on St. Patrick's Day. You might notice a smidgen of green. Razz

Spring comes earlier for Oklahoma than for Illinois. It was wonderfully warm. Here we are on a walk in the park.
(Tera, Ava, Katie and Sage)

Bubble tea! Anna and I had been talking about getting bubble tea for a very long time....and here we are, finally getting to do it! Bubble tea is tea with huge tapioca pearls in it. Yummmy!
(Sarah, Emily, Anna, Katie, me, Ava and Tera)

After staying three nights at the Naylors, we had to tear ourselves away because we knew our little vacation could not last forever. -sniff- We drove back to Belleview, MO to drop the West girls off...

Willow and D.C. were glad to have their masters back.

...and on Friday Ava and I drove the rest of the way back home.

It was a great trip. Smile

Posted By: Helena
6 People Made Helena Happy/ Make Helena Happy

Many Adventures Part 1--Eric and Noelle's Wedding

Fri Apr 03, 09 9:58 pm

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At the end of February, my brothers, our friend Desiree and I headed down to Arkansas to attend Eric and Noelle Van Vleet's wedding.
We found many more signs of Spring down there than we had up here. It was great. Very Happy

We stayed at a really neat old hotel with winding hallways, disconnected stairways and unexpected courtyards...we won't talk about the room service. Razz
Here's Noelle when she first came down.

They got a few photos there in the lobby of the hotel...
(me and Noelle)

...then headed over to the gorgeous capitol building to get shots of the bride...

...and bridesmaids.

Back at the church, the groom and groomsmen were looking quite dapper.

Pamela VanVleet waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Hans and Desi. Smile


And they're off!

We gathered some people for supper at a delicious Mexican restaurant, then hung out at the hotel for a bit.

Next morning, we took some photos in the lobby...

Me and A&A, otherwise known as "the triplets". Smile

...then the guys did a bit of rock climbing before heading home...

...while us girls amused ourselves with taking pictures. Smile

(the good photos in this entry were taken by Nathan, the bad ones by me Mr. Green)

Here's a few more photos from the weekend--on the Covington's blog:

Posted By: Helena
5 People Made Helena Happy/ Make Helena Happy

The Many Adventures of Helena Bluedorn

Sat Mar 21, 09 11:47 am

San Antonio Independent Film Festival Photos!

Thu Feb 05, 09 11:38 pm

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The second week in January was an awesome week. It held the San Antonio Independent Film Festival! I'd been looking forward to this trip for various reasons: getting to see old friends and make new ones, getting to FLY again!!, WARM WEATHER!!!, seeing cool films, and enjoying the atmosphere of the beautiful River Walk.

My brother Nathan flew in to San Antonio on the previous Monday, to attend the Film Academy....where they learned about...


...and how to do your own stunts. Smile

Of course, Nathan kept the Facebook world up-to-date on all the things that were going on.

Thursday arrived...

and so did the Film Festival! Hans and I flew in this day (having to get up at 3 in the morning to do so -yawn-).

That afternoon members of Christian Filmmakers met at the park and had a pizza picnic. I was not a member, but snuck in anyways. Smile

?, Heather and Monica Tull.

Stephen Nasby (who came all the way from the North Pole..err...Canada Smile, Tera D., Danielle M., Sage D., Mandy M., and not sure who the last person is.

Friday was spent watching films, talking and eating. Smile

Stephen Kendrick, the producer (or director or writer or whatever it was Smile) of Fireproof, here with his little boy.

Doug Phillips, the originator of the SAICFF, with two of his sons.

Gator More, the little star of the winning film "The Widow's Might".

Hans, depicting "bird in flight".

In the evening, we were able to enjoy a short concert by the Von Trapps, the great grandchildren of Maria Von Trapp.

And Kirk Cameron told the story of how it was his real wife that he kissed in "Fireproof". Awwwww. Smile

Saturday was spent in much the same way as Friday, with the awards ceremony in the evening.

Nathan doing what he loves best, networking. Smile

Me and the twins! Love these girls!

The entire Duggar family made an appearance at the awards ceremony. Wow.

Some of the cast and crew of "The Widow's Might", which won the $101,100 grand prize. It was an excellently made film, and beat Fireproof, which got second place.

All in all, this was a fantastic trip which exceeded my expectations, and if I weren't making this blog entry so late at night, I'd probably sound more enthusiastic about it. Smile

Posted By: Helena
10 People Made Helena Happy/ Make Helena Happy

25 Random Things

Thu Jan 29, 09 11:14 pm

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I really an truly am going to blog about SAICFF as soon as I get the time, but in the meantime.....

I usually don't do the tagging game, but this one was tempting me. So here's 25 things you never knew you didn't want to know about me.

And I tag anyone who wants to do this game too. Smile

1. I naturally have only one wisdom tooth. And please, no jokes on the subject. I've heard them all.

2. I LOVE wearing skirts. Don't ask me how many I have. Smile

3. I got my ears pierced a little over a year ago. Ava and I decided we'd better do something wild in our old age and settled on pierced ears.

4. I love to travel to new places.

5. I'm going to be an aunt (Lord willing) in June!!

6. I didn't start school until I was 10 years old.

7. I don't like keeping secrets. (so don't tell me any! Smile)

8. I am so scared of severe storms that it's not even funny. Something I really need to work on conquering.

9. I love to cook for appreciative people.

10. This Winter has been the best one in my life.

11. I am known to laugh at very odd things.

12. I cannot say "Irish Wristwatch". Can you?

13. I can be very forgetful. WHEN was your birthday again?

14. I LOVE LOVE LOVE flowers. Every single one is an amazing creation.

15. While experiencing a sugar-deprived childhood, me and my siblings would lick the spilled sugar off the grocery store shelves. Yummmmm. We now resist the temptation, as best we can.

16. I ask "why?" A LOT. You heard the phrase "trouble's his middle name"? Well, "why" is my middle name. At least it's my middle initial. Smile

17. I would love to eat at the Peacock Ally in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York City some day.

18. I took my drivers test in an extended van. And spun my wheels on ice when trying to get out of the parking space. When I finished, the driver instructor said "you deserve it" as I passed the test.

19. I like to decorate. And I am a messy painter. Very Happy

20. God gave me the assurance of faith I'd been seeking for a long time just last month. Praise God!

21. I think my love language is Quality Time.

22. I am a die-hard old fashioned girl. Yay for calico ruffles and chivalry.

23. One of my best friends outside my family is approximately twice as tall as I. Well, she's almost 6 ft, anyways. Love you Emmie!

24. In the words of Emily: "You measure a Tablespoon of ketchup when a recipe calls for a Tablespoon of ketchup". SOME cooks "dump" ingredients. How uncivilized.

25. I am 25 and 1/3 today. I expect presents.

Posted By: Helena
6 People Made Helena Happy/ Make Helena Happy

New Year's Eve--Japanese Style!

Sat Jan 03, 09 11:01 pm

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First I want to say, thank you to everyone who commented on my last blog entry--you were a great encouragement to me!


Every year we have a new year's eve party at our house. We've had different themes over the years--Narnia, Charlotte's Web, etc. This year was a Japanese theme (so we could use our nifty little Japanese lanterns again Smile)

Nathan begged me to try my hand at sushi-making since he likes the stuff. I was a bit wary, but willing to try.

And it turned out to be tons of fun to make!

Avocados, smoked salmon, cucumbers, wasabi....

All rolled into rice and toasted seaweed.

Wetting the edge so it would seal.

Voila! The general consensus was that it tasted good, but was a bit "chewy" Smile. Guess I didn't have the right kind of Nori. But Nathan was pleased with the outcome, so I was happy.

Ava and I under the mistletoe. Ava dear, that is NOT a wistful look! Wink

I hung Japanese lanterns from the dining room ceiling. It made a very pleasant glow for the short time the batteries lasted.

Everyone who came brought some food, so there was plenty of delicious edibles.

I found this posted on the door of our *only* bathroom. It really was almost true. Smile

Chopsticks, of course, were the eating utensil of the evening.

I found that I really don't like sushi.

Then we played a game involving marshmallows....


...and seeing which team could build the tallest tower with said articles.

Team 1 tower--which was toppling.

Team 2 tower--the winner!

Then came the pea-eating contest. Six victims offered themselves to see who could eat peas out of a cup with chopsticks in the least amount of time--no tipping of the cup allowed!

Everyone had their own method of eating it.

Some mashed...

...some scooped...

...some just picked them out one by one.

And Bruno was the winner!

Jason brought Spencer with him to visit. Ava had raised Spencer from a kitten and gave him to Jason a few weeks back. He sure had grown!

Mr. and Mrs. Fender stealing a kiss under the mistletoe.

Any party has to include a game of Apples to Apples.

This is Adam's favorite game.

Greg carefully chooses his card.

Cool Hand Helena?

Josh is in a constant state of happiness.

Late in the evening, Greg somehow convinced the guys to watch an old Japanese film with him. It was in Black and White. With subtitles. I thought for sure I'd fall asleep if I attempted to join them.

One of the games we played was where everyone gets a piece of paper, writes a sentence on the top, passes the paper to the right, the next person will draw an illustration of that sentence, fold the paper over so that only the drawing shows, passes the paper on, the next person writes a sentence describing the drawing, folds the paper over so that only the sentence they just wrote shows, etc. It's kinda like telephone, only with drawings.

It is hilarious to unfold the papers and read them at the end. The story can change quite a big according to people's imaginations! Here's a couple examples:

And at midnight we blew our little noise-making thing-a-ma-bobs (does anyone know what these are called?).

Anna R., laughing too hard to blow.

But the party didn't end at midnight! Some of us stayed up 'till 2am.
We are still recovering. Smile

Posted By: Helena
23 People Made Helena Happy/ Make Helena Happy

Glory be to God

Thu Dec 18, 08 3:21 pm

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I am going to break from my usual blog format of mostly photos just this once. I am fairly bursting with joy and just had to share it with you all!

I was baptized last Sunday! And I'd love to tell you the story of how I got there....

For several years I have been praying for assurance of faith. God had been convicting me of my sins and putting in me a deep desire to be one of his and to live my life for His glory. But I never felt sure that I was---certainly not sure enough to ask to be baptized. I believed in God and I WANTED to be his child more than any other thing in the whole world, but God had not made it clear to me that I was one of his.

I thought I was waiting for a feeling. A "feeling of assurance", and that I would know when I had it. But then I started thinking---if I wait for just a feeling, then my assurance will be based in myself! So I went to the Bible to read all the verses promising salvation.

1John 1:7 "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."

1:9 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

2:5 "But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him."

And the whole of chapter 5, but especially:

"Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"

Romans 8:14 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God."

The second half of John 6, but especially verse 39 and 40:

"This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up the last day."

And 47: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life."

There are so many verses like this that I could fill pages, but these were the most poignant to me at the time.

So, on December 4th, as I was reading these verses, and others like them, God gave me faith to believe what they said. They were suddenly all talking about me! I was clearly shown that, as little as I deserved it, I was one of God's children. I was so happy! Very Happy And humbled at the same time. I had been wanting this assurance so much and for so long, that I was afraid I was imagining it all, so I prayed that God would affirm this in my life--and he has, every day! God used SO many things in my life these past few years to lead up to his finally giving me this assurance of faith. God is amazing. I don't understand his timing, but I accept it!

It was a feeling, but much different than I expected. It was an assurance entirely from God--God gave me the faith---me and my sinful self had nothing to do with it.

So, on my parents 35th wedding anniversary (December 14th), I was baptized. They threatened to break the ice in the pond, but instead Dad used the "pouring" baptizing method in the comfort and warmth of our living room. Smile

Here's some photos from the day--the anniversary party and my baptism.

Spencer is joining in on the festivities (on my sister Ava's lap).

Dad likes anything Cubs-related. Smile

Mama with the butterfly painting I made for them.

Another gift for Mama.

Then we had dinner. Adam said "do you have a wide-open-mouth-eating photo yet?". We do now! Laughing

Our dear friends the Fenders, friend Desiree and also Adam and Johannah were there that night.

The baptism.


Trying to get a photo with Mom and Dad....

...but Dad is being difficult. Razz

Married 35 years!

You can say "awwwwww" now. Smile

BTW, this is my 100th blog post!

Posted By: Helena
20 People Made Helena Happy/ Make Helena Happy

35th Anniversary

Sun Dec 14, 08 6:00 pm

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It's my Mom and Dad's 35th wedding anniversary today!

Mom and Dad, 35 years ago.

Posted By: Helena
9 People Made Helena Happy/ Make Helena Happy

Chicago in December

Mon Dec 08, 08 5:58 pm

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I apologize in advance for the poor quality of these photos. Nathan didn't come with us on this trip, and though he offered me to take his camera (yeah, I know, I have a generous brother), I didn't want to lug it around. These photos were taken with my iPhone.

On Friday (also Nathan's birthday!!) Hans, Ava, friend Desiree and I drove down to Bloomington to go to an English country dance.

Sisters together again! Ava, Johannah and I.

Faith H, Danielle M., me and Melody H.

On Saturday we drove up to Chicago to hear a concert at Moody Church. First we did a little window shopping downtown.

Here we are at Macy's. Ava and I bought the hats that we are wearing there because the temperatures were frigid outside and we wanted to keep our ears. Smile
Left to right: Greg Wallace, Rachel West, Desiree F., Dan West, me, Hans, Ava, Susan M.

The carriage ride seemed like such a relaxing thing to do. Maybe next time I'll try it. Smile

A very poor photo of Moody church. The live music was beautiful.

On Sunday we went back to the city for the morning and did a little more looking around.

City streets.

Ava and I outside the Hancock Building.

An accidentally-taken but sort of artsy photo. Can anybody tell me the deeper meaning behind this?

We had lunch at Gino's Pizza. Yummm!

What is this world coming to? This was a totally un-posed photo. Greg also had his phone out, but whisked it under the table when I got my phone out to take a picture. Smile

Greg re-enacting Nate-F's-pizza-eating-photo from this Summer. Smile

Posted By: Helena
8 People Made Helena Happy/ Make Helena Happy