About Me

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I love Jesus. I love my family. I love photography. I love books. I love thinking. Probably in that order. I have a wonderful husband, five beautiful daughters, a house, and a camera. I enjoy spending time talking to my husband, playing with my girls, redecorating my house and shooting things with my camera. In my spare time, I sleep.

Friday, October 31, 2008


My family really isn't into Halloween. Being a holiday that glorifies evil and also promotes large consumptions of candy...it is kind of an irrelevant event for us. We don't dress up and go trick-or-treating, nor do we decorate or party for the occasion. However, we have carved pumpkins the past couple of years. It is a fun tradition that I have fond memories of from my childhood and it is seemingly harmless. This year we also attended the Spooktacular event at our local zoo. Anyway...just thought I'd post some pictures of the very minimal Campbell Halloween fun.
The girls cleaning out the pumpkin that we got from Grandma Veda. Although, it may be October...it was in the 70s outside and therefore shirts were not a necessity.

This next photo is a picture of Russ carving the pumpkin with his tool...kinda messy!

A cute joke for busy moms

I get a daily newsletter with clean jokes everyday from "Crosswalk.com" and I thought this one was a cute commentary on the busy life of a mom...

Esther Cohen had three very active boys. One summer evening she was playing cops and robbers in the back yard after dinner. One of the boys "shot" his mother and yelled, "Bang! You're dead."She slumped to the ground and when she didn't get up right away, a neighbor ran over to see if she had been hurt in the fall.

When the neighbor bent over, the overworked mother opened one eye and said, "Shhh. Don't give me away. It's the only chance I've had to rest all day".

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Pumpkin Pics

Saturday, (as a spur of the moment thing) I took the girls out in the backyard as the sun was setting and took some photos of them with the pumpkin that Grandma Veda gave us. I even let Eden take some photos of me with my camera!

When I had finished and we came back inside, I was quite frustrated and felt as if the "shoot" hadn't gone very well. I put my camera down and didn't even look at the pictures again until tonight when I finally had the chance to download them from my camera. I was quite surprised to see how well many of the pictures turned out! Even the photos Eden took of me were quite good (with a tad bit of editing by me) so I decided to once again share what I got with you. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lessons from Tink

Today, Eden & I rented the new "Tinkerbell" movie from Redbox. Although, not a particularly spectacular movie, I felt as though it had a rather nice message that I ran through a spiritual filter.

Tinkerbell is "born" into the fairy world and is supernaturally shown what her talent is. It is revealed that she is a "tinker" fairy who has a gift for building, fixing, & "tinkering." She quickly becomes disappointed with her lot in life when she sees & hears about all the "magical" talents that the other fairies have and learns that although they all get to travel to the mainland to help with the changing of the seasons, tinker fairies stay behind. Tinkerbell decides that she doesn't want the talent she has and attempts to "learn" a variety of new talents. Every time she attempts to be taught a different talent, it ends disastrously! Eventually, after destroying all preparations for spring, she uses her "tinkering" talents to save the day. She ends up rejoicing in and appreciating the talent she was given.

I think a lot of times we as people, and we as Christians are disappointed with the talents and gifts we are given by God. We look at what we do and assign it little value and we look at what others can do and the gifts and talents that God gave them and we decide that we want those gifts instead. And oftentimes, like Tinkerbell, we try to fight against how we were made and against the spiritual tasks we were divinely chosen to perform and we try to "learn" another talent and we try to squeeze our mercy-gifted selves into a prophesy-gifted mold with disastrous results. It seems to me that many churches/Christians push certain talents/gifts/jobs over others and as a result there are many talented & gifted stewards of God working aimlessly at spiritual jobs that they were not purposed for. If God made me a "tinker fairy" and not a "water fairy" than it is most likely a waste for me to spend a majority of my time trying to put dew drops on a spiderweb. (If you catch my drift.)

In this mixed-up world we live in, it seems like we often concentrate a majority of our time trying to become adequate in the areas we are weakest when it would probably be more profitable for us to work at becoming proficient in the areas in which we show aptitude. While I think that it is often important to be semi well-rounded in our knowledge & abilities so as to be able to function well in society...I believe that to carry this idea over where our spiritual purposes are concerned is a serious mistake. God has given us all our own unique set of inherent talents when we are born and similarly, He gives us all our own unique set of spiritual gifts when we are born-again. We were not all given the same specific purposes and we were not all given the same specific talents & gift. However, just like in Tinkerbell's world, certain talents & gifts are often societally assigned more value or less value based on the outward appearance of it, but in the "Greater Picture" everyone's purpose has great value, and every job no matter how big & important or small & insignificant it seems, is very significant to the One who designed us for the task.

What I learned from Tinkerbell is that my God-given talents & gifts are a glorious thing and that if I use those talents & gifts for the purposes for which they were created, then there is no reason for me to try to be someone & something I am not.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Let's talk cinnamon

That's the latest word that Jasmine has added to her vocabulary. Pretty impressive considering I know well-spoken adults who have yet to master the word!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

30 years...

Today is my parent's 30th anniversary. They got married at noon, October 21st, 1978. In honor of this occasion, my brother, sister & I had a little cake party for them on Sunday and gave them our gift, treating them to their annual overnight anniversary trip to Rapid City. We got them a hotel gift card, a Olive garden gift card, and movie theater gift certificates. We didn't do anything special for their 25th so we felt it was a good time to honor their marriage and all that they have meant to us. Happy anniversary, Dad & Mom. We love you very much!


Thursday, October 16, 2008


Just wanted to share a sampling of the pumpkin pics I took of my girls today. Enjoy!

Oh, And as a side note...if you ever want to check out my photo site with many many more of my photos all you have to do is click on my face and it will take you there. Or the address is www.jzeena.smugmug.com

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Silly Princess Quiz...which princess are you?

(Interesting that I am identified with Jasmine...when I live with my own little Princess Jasmine!)

You Are Jasmine!
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Independent and adventurous. You don't want much; just to break out of the guilded cage society has put you in and experience life to the fullest. Following orders isn't really one of your strong points, and you would rather live a life of poverty than being forced into something that you hate.

Which Disney Princess Are You?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Strep, anyone?

Well, after suffering a couple days with a bad sore throat & a mild earache I decided to take myself over to the clinic and have a doctor look at me. Turns out I have strep throat. I hate it. (Of course, is there a sane person in the world who would claim to enjoy it?) She (the doc) told me to get plenty of fluids & prescribed antibiotics. The thing is that these stupid pills seem HUGE squeezing past my swollen tonsils. I have barely been able to eat anything because it hurts so bad to swallow. I had trouble with coco-wheats this morning and soup tonight. On the plus side I've been able to drink quite a bit of hot tea because despite the pain of swallowing the heated liquid feels relatively nice.

The other side effect of this sucky bout with strep is that I find it unpleasant to speak much louder than a whisper. It is fairly difficult for me to maintain my silence. My two children seem to insist upon hearing my voice raised and when Russ is home I have so many things I want to tell him that I have a hard time giving my vocal cords the needed rest in his presence.

And to top it all off, I'm not suppose to kiss my hubby or my babies for 36-48 hours. And while I certainly do not want this pain passed on to any of them...their sweet faces just beg to be smooched!

Anyway, just looking for some sympathy, I guess, from my dear blog readers. Hope all of you are blessed with health. Ciao!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sharing Over the Rhine

A very good friend of mine back during my college days introduced me to the music of Over The Rhine. It took me a little while to warm up to them but within a year they were my favorite and they have yet to be knocked from that position. I LOVE their music. Their lyrics are so poetic, profound, and dare I say, esoteric; the accompanying music is soulful, mystical, and alluring; and Karin's (the lead singer's) voice is just phenomenal...exquisite. While my fondness for their work is quite extreme, I have found that over the past six or seven years I have been fairly possessive & protective of them. I have hesitated to share them with people freely as I fear that they would either not be received with the proper awe or that they will become so commonly enjoyed that they are no longer special. Both of these fears I have come to see as being quite ridiculous and thus have chosen to share my favorite music with all of you. What follows are a few Youtube videos of them. Not particularly my favorite songs (since they seem hard to come by on You Tube) but a few I felt worth sharing that perhaps will prick your interest and draw you to the greatest music group of our time. Hope you enjoy them as much as me.

I thought this one was appropriate for an intro to their music. Because I don't want to waste your time with music you don't need. But I think you'll need more OTR.

This is a fun song: Trouble.


This next song is the one that I sung all last Christmas season. Their Christmas Album (Snow Angels) is unlike any Christmas album you've ever heard before. Awesome.

Okay, I can't resist putting one more on here. I don't really care for the "video" that someone put with this but this song is one of my favorites. Probably because it was one of the first songs of theirs that I heard and enjoyed.

Okay so if you have anymore interest in them check out their website. It's awesome.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cute Sisters Picture

Had to share this cute photo I took today at the park. Eden is reaching to take Jasmine's hand.

I hate to get political but...

I hate to get political on a perfectly fun family blog but this year's campaign has really been a doozy and I guess I have to weigh in before it is too late. I understand that many of you will not share my view at all and that is fine but for whatever it's worth...here is my two cents on the subject---------------

If I had to sum up in just a few words why I will NOT be voting for Obama, I would say this: He supports WAY too much government control.

A quote I found on the Sarah Palin page on Wikipedia:

"Palin has described the Republican Party platform as "the right agenda for America" because of its "respect for equality and respect for life and an acknowledgment that it is individual Americans and American families who can make better decisions for ourselves than government can ever make for us," and has stated that "individual freedom and independence is extremely important to me and that's why I'm a Republican.""

I wouldn't say that this is necessarily a universally true statement about the Republican party but it pretty much sums up how I decide my vote. I vote for the candidates who will keep the government's involvement in personal matters to a minimum and will leave me with the most freedom & independence.

I prefer to maintain some shred of independence and individual freedom. I see it slowly slipping from our hands and based on what I've heard from Obama so far in this election (in spite of his pretty politically-correct rhetoric), if he has his way the little bits we have left will quickly be confiscated by the government under the guise of improving life for the "middle class." but with all due respect to Obama and his supporters, I don't think that this is the help I need. This is not a welcomed "change."

Obama's plans for health care essentially would (as Kevin Gabriel put it) "move us toward complete government control of the health care industry and remove the individual from the decision making process." I cannot even express how much that scares me! I am quite wary of the health care industry as it stands right now but put it in the government's hands and I downright shudder at the thought of what that would look like. I appreciate being able to make choices about me & my family's health care for myself. I do not want someone with different values than me making those decisions for me.

When it comes to Obama's energy policies involving "bigger government role in fostering the development of technologies to reduce emissions and alternatives to fossil fuels", I have to say that I agree with McCain's view that "unintended consequences" can result from improper interference in the marketplace.

Obama's opinions on education are also quite different than mine in this respect. He seems to believe that it is the government's right to educate our children and it is their prerogative to decide what our children should and should not be taught and at what age they should and should not be taught these things. While I do think that every child has a right to a quality education, I believe it is the parent's prerogative (not the government's) to decide what qualifies as a quality education and therefore should make the decision as to how and/or where their child is educated.

There are certainly a lot of specific issues in which Obama & I diverge drastically (Like abortion, marriage, environmental issues) but I would say that this issue of the role of government is the overriding issue. His character, religion, values (and other things that I find relevant for running for such an important office) are questionable but the fact is, when it comes to politics you can't take anything anyone says at face value.

McCain supporters try to smear Obama's reputation and Obama supporters try to paint an ugly picture of McCain. Obama lies, panders, embellishes & omits and so does McCain. The media is no help, they lie, too. What the truth is, only God knows. But from my perspective choosing the so-called lesser of two evils, makes the McCain/Palin ticket the obvious choice. And that is (in a very small nutshell) why I plan on voting for McCain November 4th.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tag, I'm it...

Shay tagged me and so I guess it's my turn to list 7 weird/random tidbits about myself...

1) My 2nd toe is longer than my big toe.

2) In high school, I really wanted to be a foriegn exchange student to Denmark...but it never happened.

3) I don't like lotions.

4) I fantasize about having a 2nd wedding--marrying Russ in a ceremony on a beach, my hair down, light dress, outdoor reception at dusk.

5) I sometimes miss college.

6) I love hats but hate the way I look in them.

7) I would travel all the time if I could afford it.


Okay, now it's my turn to tag some people---Mom, Jill, Taylor, Amy, Anna & Lianne---Tag, you're it!

Finished Painting

Well, I finished painting the room. I ended up not caring for the brown I had purchased for the task but luckily I had a more chocolaty brown just sitting in the garage that was perfect so I used it instead...no problem. I was going to post photos but my computer & camera are currently not speaking to each other. As soon as I get them to shake & make up I'll add a pic to this post.

I wish I had a before picture but I couldn't find a single pic of the room before...except of me painting it last year. This pic doesn't really show off the colors much either but it's what I got so take it or leave it, I say.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My current painting project

When I was pregnant with Jasmine a little over a year and a half ago I painting her nursery (this was before we even knew we were having a girl.) I chose a light green with a pastel orange trim to match the crib bedding my mother had bought us for Christmas without being too gender specific. Most of the people who saw it said they really liked the colors I chose...I have never liked them. They have pretty much annoyed me ever since I got them on the walls and I didn't really believe people when they said they liked it. (How could they? It was so... uugh!) So now that it's been a year & a half and Jasmine has moved out and the room currently serves primarily as my computer room, I decided to repaint it in more neutral, Gina-friendly colors. I've noticed that my design style tends to center around natural, earthtone colors, and my choices for this room prove to be no exception. I didn't want to have to replace the curtains so I chose colors that would match those. I also wanted to be sure that the next time this room serves as a baby room that the colors would still compliment the crib bedding. What I ended up with was a color called "Bleached Wheat" for the walls (It's a yellow-beige color with green undertones.) And a medium brown for the trim. I am currently only at the half way point in the project. I painted the walls yesterday. Today I plan on taping it up and doing the trim. So far I like it. I think the wall color is great! I'm a little apprehensive about the brown but I'm pretty sure it will be fine. When my painting job is finished...It will be time for Russ to come in and build some shelves in the closet. Yay, I love home improvement projects! I'll let you know how it goes.