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, December 24, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My 'top 5's': 2010 reading

Monica at Pixel Perfect recently posted her top 10 book list for 2010.  I love to read and I adore books so I thought to myself...that's a good idea.  While most of her books were Christian nonfiction...most of my reading list consisted of light-hearted Christian fiction.  Although I have certainly read my share of secular fiction this year as well and a few nonfiction.  I just get bored with non-fiction books really quickly and they take me way longer to read.  On the other hand, I can breeze through a fiction book in a day or two. So far this year I've completed 45 books and am working on number 46.  (You can see my complete list on the sidebar.)  Not quite as lengthy a list as last year but considering I added a child and began homeschooling, I think I did pretty well!

I would say that the top 5 books that I would recommend to others would be:  (All lists are in no particular order.)
-'Saving Alice' by David Lewis
-'The Penny' by Joyce Meyers & Deborah Bradford
-'False Witness' by Randy Singer (Almost like a christian John Grisham...I got a advance reading copy so it isn't even quite out yet but an excellent book.)
-'A Great & Terrible Beauty' by Libba Bray (Secular author...a bit unsettling but it hooked me.)
-'The Total Money Makeover' by Dave Ramsey (Lifechanging...everybody needs to familiarize themselves with the Ramsey makeover!)
The 5 books that I most enjoyed were:
- 'The Edge of Recall' by Kristen Heitzmann
-'Saving Alice' by David Lewis
-'The Still of the Night' by Kristen Heitzmann
-'The Measure of a Lady' by Deenne Gist
-'Letter Perfect' by Cathy Marie Hake (I really enjoy christian historical girl fiction.  WhatcanIsay?)
And the 5 books that were most influential on me were: 
-'The Total Money Makeover' by Dave Ramsey
-'Fahrenheit 451' by Ray Bradbury (A classic...)
-'A Great & Terrible Beauty' by Libba Bray
-'Five Love Languages' by Gary Chapman (My top two are 'words of affirmation' and 'physical touch'. fyi. )
-'Saving Alice' by David Lewis (Hmm...made all three lists, but I wouldn't necessarily call it my favorite...Very interesting read, however.  Pick it up.)
The 5 authors I read most this year:
-Kristen Heitzmann (4)--Found her this year and LOVE her.  Have 4 more of her books on my shelf waiting their turn!  Her writing is a nice mix of faith, intrigue & romance.
-Hannah Alexander (3)--A husband/wife writing team.  Also a faith/intrigue style.
-Deeanne Gist (2)--christian historical romance
-Cathy Marie Hake (2)--christian historical romance
-Karen Kingsbury (2)--specializes in heartfelt tearjerkers

There you go...hope I gave the other readers out there some books to consider.  Now...what books and/or authors would you recommend for my 2011 list?  I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Oh...and if you are a bibliophile like me, you may want to sign yourself up with Bookmooch.  I ADORE this site.  Trading books with people around the world for FREE!  It's a great community.  :)

Happy reading, bloggy world!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mama M: Holiday Gift Guide Blog Hop--Gifts for Gram


I wanted to share with the blog hoppers over at Mama M's My Little Life the successful gift I've gotten for my grandparents several years running. (I think they've come to expect it now.)  I make them custom calendars at Snapfish.  Not only do they feature adorable (if I do say so myself) photos of my girls (their "favorite" great-granddaughters *wink*) but I also custom fill each calendar with photos marking all the birthdays and anniversaries of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  It is a neat and personal gift that they get to enjoy & appreciate all year long. And they have told me again and again how much they love it!  So...there you go.


Oh and by the way...if you like my idea...Snapfish is having a deal on those calendars through Dec. 15th.  Using code MERRY1215--get 3 for the price of 1!  Just sayin'...

Groupon Deal: ScanDigital

So this weekend Russ started the project of finishing our basement sheetrocking the walls and adding outlets on the outside walls and so I needed to clean up some down there and came across all our VHS tapes.  Since VCR's are nearly extinct and ours is no longer attached to a television I decided that we may as well get them out of the house.  They are pretty much useless.  But I also came across old family videos.  I can't get rid of those...but I currently can't enjoy them.   We actually have several tapes of home video of Eden as a baby that I would love to have on my computer or dvd. 

Providentially this morning one of the Groupon online deals was for $100 worth of video digitalization (or photo scanning) at the price of $40.  I was psyched.  The problem is they need to sell at least 20 in order for the deal to be on and so far I am one of only 3 people.  So...I am encouraging you all to grab this deal too if you have old videos that you'd like to preserve or boxes of photos that need scanned.  I think they even do slides!  So take advantage of this deal today and/or pass it on!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Before & After: Christmas Girl Framed

Before (SOOC):

After (edit):

My process:
I took these two photos.  Opened them in Paint Shop Pro9.  Upped the contrast & lowered the brightness on the first photo.  Copied & pasted it as a new layer on the second photo.  Erased out the background.  Merged image.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Helping spread awareness...

Recently a huge portion of my friends on Facebook have been changing their profile pictures to that of a classic cartoon with the following message:   "Change your FB profile picture to a cartoon from your childhood. The goal? To not see a human face on FB till Monday, December 6th. Join the fight against CHILD ABUSE. Copy & paste to your status to invite your friends to do the same."   My first thought was, 'How is changing my profile picture going to prevent child abuse?"   Same goes for all those people who "like" the group "Turn Facebook Pink For 1 Week."  Seriously, what good is that going to do?   But I get it.  That isn't the point.  The purpose of such campaigns is to raise awareness.

I am kind of a cynical person.  I'm not necessarily proud of that but...it is what it is.  As such I have a lot of societal pet peeves.  And one of them happens to be the trend of  "spreading awareness."  I think people already are "aware" that millions of women are diagnosed with breast cancer.  I think people are already "aware" that thousands of woman & children are abused every day.  I think it is pretty impossible that people are unaware of the fact that we live in a world in which we are surrounded by evils--disease, abuse, war, corruption, depression, death, general badness.  I am quite aware of it.  Yet, so what? Are we doing anything about it?  Do we care? I don't think so.

I think awareness campaigns are a joke.  They are a way of making people feel like they are doing something good without causing any real change.  And for many of us...they breed cynics like me because of our lack of FAITH in the systems that are promoting them. 

Now don't get me wrong...I know all the arguments for awareness.  And I agree with the sentiments behind some of them.  I agree with the idea of spreading knowledge.  Without knowledge there won't be change.  I think that it is important that people know the truth about things.  People need to spread TRUTH. (Although what that means has become awfully fuzzy to some people these days.)  And I agree with the idea of fostering & showing support to those dealing with these hardships.  Without support many individuals are left feeling hopeless and unloved.  People need to spread HOPE.  People need to spread LOVE.  But awareness?  Pshh.  What good does that do.  

We don't need to spread awareness.  (Especially with silly things like facebook profile pictures--which from a practical sense are totally useless.)  What we need to spread is TRUTH, FAITH, HOPE & LOVE.  These are things that can affect real change and make a real difference.  If people spread TRUTH than people may start having FAITH again in our ability to actually make a difference.  And if people had FAITH that a difference was or could be made then those who suffer would begin to have real HOPE that they wouldn't have to suffer forever.  And if people got involved and had the truth, faith & hope then people would again begin to show real compassion, charity and LOVE.  And it is really the lack of LOVE that is tearing our society apart...certainly not the lack of awareness.

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."  (1 Peter 4:8)

And I say this as a person who really struggles in this area.  In many ways I have tried to avoid getting too close to any suffering so I can avoid the overwhelming sense of hurt that these situations cause my heart...because I don't want to feel compelled to do something because I don't think I can really do any good anyway.  I guess you could say that my cynical heart suffers from a serious HOPE deficiency.  At least when it comes to the ways of the world.

"A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save." Psalm 33:17

"Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD." (Psalm 31:34)

I suppose this really says something about my current spiritual condition.  I know the ultimate TRUTH, and I have the ultimate FAITH which produces the ultimate HOPE but I so easily let myself be bogged down by the LIES, TREACHERY & DESPAIR of the world and it blinds me to what living in Christ's authority really means.  

"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."  (1 Corinthians13: 12-13)

I guess what I'm saying is that it may be fun to post a picture of Strawberry Shortcake on Facebook and to show others that you are morally against abuse...but don't forget that this is not the same as really helping those who really suffer.  And I pray that I, too,  may learn to view the world with more compassion and to become acutely AWARE of how powerful my position and HOPE in the LORD JESUS CHRIST really is.

Photo Freak: "Sepia"

Aurora at Photo Freak is having another fun photo contest...this time with the theme "Sepia"  I enjoy converting to sepia to give a photo a more timeless artistic quality.  Therefore I have TONS that I love... making it super hard to pick one for this but I think I finally decided on this photo of Eden from last year sporting her butterfly wings...

I just love this picture.  It's great in color too! 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Before & After: Mistletoe

On Thanksgiving I did an experiment with my family and this is one of the things I ended up with...

Before (SOOC):

After (Edit):

You can see more of my "Thanksgiving Experiment" on my photography blog.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving snapshots

How was your Thanksgiving? We spent the day at my parents house. We ate slightly later than usual so we could wait for my new brother-in-law to get off work. My parents led a communion and then we feasted! After the meal we talked, played games & just enjoyed each others company. I also took some family photos while we were all together. (Look for some of those on my photography blog soon.)  It was a very good day.  We have so much to be thankful for...Praise the Lord!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving thought...

A verse for thought today...

"When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them,and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God."

Deuteronomy 8: 10-14

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My photography blog is lonely...

Hey.   Be sure to follow my photography blog so you won't miss out on seeing treasures like this little cutie who I recently photographed in a recent family shoot...

I can hear crickets chirping over there! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Family: The Spearmans

Just want to send you all over to my photography blog again...

Check out a few of my shots of Spearman family.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Heart Faces: "Paper"

My grandmother is an amazing woman and one of the coolest things about her is the way she is willing to play with children and not only play but to find creative ways to interact with them & to give those little hands new ways to be productive.  My entry for "I Heart Faces" this week is a photo of my daughter's excitement & anticipation as she waits for Grandma to finish cutting out paper dolls from an old newspaper.   A lesson from my grandma's book of tricks...it is usually the simple things that bring the most joy.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Five Question Friday: 11/12/10

I decided to participate in 5QF this week with my favorite Minnesota mama, MamaM

1. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?
I've been pretty blessed to have a relatively pain free childhood.  Giving birth to my children ranks up there at the top...but in college I suffered with IBS and I gotta say that it could be nearly as painful as contractions...the pain just didn't last as long.

2. How much sleep do you get at night?
Well, I suppose I average about eight hours...from about midnight to eight.  I know, I know...but my kids sleep in, too, and I home school so...nanny nanny, poo, poo!

3. How long did you believe in Santa Claus? How did you find out that he does not exist?
I was pretty old...I can't say exactly how old (maybe eight-ish)...but I remember just thinking about it one Saturday morning while watching cartoons and just went up to my mom in the kitchen and asked and she told me.   My brother, on the other hand, was traumatized by the discovery...he had to be told on Christmas Eve one year because "Santa" wasn't going to be bringing him what he asked for and my parents decided he should know the truth.  I remember his discovery pretty vividly as well. 

4. What was the last movie you saw in a theater?
Dear heavens!  I'm not sure...it's been so long!  I think the last movie we saw was "Avatar" which I hated!  It's possible I've been to one since then but...I don't think so.  It's just too hard with kids, no baby sitters & no money!  But we have considered taking Eden & Jasmine to "Tangled" Thanksgiving weekend when our parents could watch Acacia.  We'll see.  I won't be shocked if it doesn't happen.

5. What do you wear to bed?
T-shirts & loose pants.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"I’ve been entertaining thoughts...

"I’ve been entertaining thoughts
Of what I’m gonna do...
I wish that I could say that I’ll have no regrets
But I may have one of two"

If I were to write a bucket list...naming one by one the experiences that I would wish to have during my life, one would be seeing Over the Rhine in concert. 

"Gonna put on my favorite dress.
Put my hair up too...
...Say farewell to the confines of my own back yard." 

Over the Rhine is my favorite.  I am enchanted by their sound, their versatility & the poetry of their lyrics. It makes me feel artsy, clever, profound.  It is edgy & sensual.  It makes me want to dance, sing & pray.  It makes me FEEL, period.  And I love it.

"Sweet intoxication
When your words
Wash over me
Whether or not
Your lips move
You speak to me"

I have in many ways defined myself by my love of their music and to see them in concert would help me reconnect with the part of myself that isn't just "mom" & "wife" but the part of me that is simply "woman".

"give me strength to find the road that’s lost in me
give me time to heal and build myself a dream
give me eyes to see the world surrounding me
give me strength to be only me"

During my first year of marriage, Russ & I actually bought tickets to see OTR in concert in Colorado Springs but a day before the concert (One stinking day!) the show was canceled so that Karin & Linford (the couple who IS Over the Rhine) could take some time off to work on their marriage.  Thus leading to this long seven years of trying to find another opportunity to enjoy their music LIVE.  For the longest time they never came anywhere near here for a show...then the last couple of years they have done shows in Denver at the Soiled Dove but the timing has just not worked in my favor.  Last year I was pregnant and in the middle of a kitchen remodel...and this year we already had plans the weekend of their show.  I am hoping & praying that they will be back again next year and that my cute little butt will be warming one of those seats!

"Put your elbows on the table
I'll listen long as I am able
There's nowhere I'd rather be"

I know it seems like a silly little thing.  There are so many grander things I could put on my bucket list.  This is one of the most reasonable things...I know that it is totally within my grasp but yet it is also one of the things I would most regret missing if it never happens for that very same reason.  Seven years this silly little wish has eluded me...I dare to hope that will not be the case forever.

"but tomorrow i can’t imagine
how am i supposed to know
what’s yet to go down"

"if nothing else I can dream
  I can dream"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I Heart Faces: "Orange"

Photo Freak: "Best"

I don't know if this is the "best" picture I've ever taken but it is certainly makes the top of my favorites...
I took this in October 2008 and I just fell in love with it!  Looks like they are telling secrets and the expression on Jasmine's face is priceless!  Hope you all like it, too.  :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Letters of Intent: "I want my husband back!"


Dear Husband's Employer--

As much as I appreciate the fact that my husband has a steady reliable job with you, and as much as I salivate at all the extra overtime pay...I just have to say that I just can't take this much longer.  You have got to give me my husband back!  It is just not cool that I am stuck at home alone with three very young energetic children all week long...several weeks in a row.  My mental health is declining at an overwhelming pace at this point.  It is bad enough that he's working five days a week, 2 1/2 hours away...spending his evenings in a lonely motel while I wrestle grumpy little daddy-starved monsters into their jammies every night, but then when he does make it back to town for the weekend...you drag him off to work Saturday morning as well.  Geez!  I realize that my man has mad skillz and he is a valuable member of your company.  But sometimes I wonder if you really understand & appreciate that.  Because if you don't...I just can't see any reason to keep living this way.

Don't get me wrong, I know better than anyone that my husband has his weaknesses...but do you even recognize all of his strengths?  Do you acknowledge what kind of hours he puts in for you?  Do you realize how important it is to him that he does a job efficiently & effectively?  Do you see how frustrated he gets at himself when he does make a mistake?  Do you appreciate his honesty & reliability?  Do you see the work he put in during his off time to make his job & yours go more smoothly in the future & do you respect that extra effort at all?  Or is he just another employee to you?  Because, I gotta say, I used to think that we were privileged to be a part of your company...but I'm starting to wonder if we really matter to you at all.

It sure seems like he gets run down for measly little mistakes and yet his effort, innovations, hard work, neatness, thouroughness & dedication barely get a nod.  It's hard to maintain a good work ethic when it appears to make little difference.  It is hard to imagine that if my husband was sloppy, lazy & unmotivated, him being treated any differently then he is now.  Certainly appears that his work has no effect whatsoever on his pay...except in the number of hours he puts in.

Oh, Company, perhaps you really do appreciate the work my husband does and you just can't afford to acknowledge that financially.  I can respect that. But you could at least give him an "Atta boy!" every now and then.  A sincere accolade really goes a long way in keeping up morale.  If not for him...then at least for me.  I need to know that there is a reason for these long lonely nights.  I need to know that if I can't show my husband here at home how much he is loved & appreciated that he is at least being appreciated for the work he is doing while away from me & his girls.

When is this crazy schedule going to end?  He is a good man and he has a loving wife and three daughters who adore him at home so you better wise up and send him home with a treat or else this grumpy, tired, overworked, underhugged wife is going to flip-out,   'Cause my man is special and I'll treat him right whether you do or not.  And he deserves it!

The lonely over-worked wife of Mr. Mad Skillz Campbell

Mr. Mad Skillz, himself

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Before & After: Cool in Blue

Before (SOOC):

After (Edit):

Photo taken with my Canon Rebel XT & edited with Paint Shop Pro 9.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Before & After: Daddy Love

Before (SOOC):

After (Edit):

Taken with my Canon Rebel XT & edited in Jasc Paint Shop Pro 9.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Munchkins :D

Yesterday I took some fall photos of my darlings with their pumpkins.  Thought I'd share a few.