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, April 30, 2010

"thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises"

"I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness,And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High."
Psalm 7:17

"All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name.  Selah"
Psalm 66:4 

"thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." 
Psalm 22:3

There are certain worship songs that never fail to affect me.  They seem to somehow carry the Holy Spirit with them where ever they are sung.  Some would call them "anointed."   There seems to be no way to escape the LIFE that is in these songs.  Let us worship our Lord through these songs this morning...shall we?


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Another "Before & After"



I have a Canon Rebel XT & edit using Jasc Paint Shop Pro 9.
View more edits over at Pixel Perfect Blog.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm a winner!

Over the past two months I have entered several contests on miscellaneous blogs that I read.  I was so thrilled when I won two of them within a week!  But when I entered the contest I blogged about HERE and then won...well 'thrilled' just doesn't explain how I felt.  I decided to give shout outs to those who have generously allowed me to experience the joy of being a winner and to show off my prizes.

In early March I entered a giveaway from Fits and Giggles of the Hawaiian Heldts and won a t-shirt.   I can't show you a pic of that though because I haven't received it yet.

A week later I won some dipping mustard from from Thrifty Living.   I recently got it in the mail and I gotta say....."Tasty!" 

But the giveaway from Chocolate Silver Designs out of Highlands Ranch, CO just made my month.  They were giving away a handmade Family Birthstone Pendant...and I won!!  I got it in the mail this past Saturday and I think its beautiful!  It has each of my girls' birthstones and it is so light...It is something I totally would have picked out for myself!  The only problem is that Miss Acacia has recently started grabbing anything within her reach and necklaces pose too much of a temptation for her so it may be awhile before I can wear it regularly.  Don't you think it is beautiful?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eden, Eden...the cupcake maker

Eden got some money for Easter this year and has been asking us to allow her to buy a 'cupcake maker.'  She was referring to something she saw in the toy aisle at Target several months ago.  I told her we would look.  While we were out of town this weekend I took her to Big Lots and they had what she was looking for...but it required the use of a microwave.  We do not have a microwave so I told her that we couldn't buy it.  As we were shopping there, however, we also came across a real 'kitchen appliance' cupcake maker for the same price.  It is kind of like a waffle iron...for cupcakes!   We purchased it and she was SUPER excited.  Yesterday we put it to use.  It was such a joy teaching her how to bake.  Jasmine got in on the action a little, too, but she mostly just enjoyed all the sugary tastes!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Heart Faces: "Smiles"

"I will search for the one my heart loves"

" All night long on my bed
       I looked for the one my heart loves;
       I looked for him but did not find him.
I will get up now and go about the city,
       through its streets and squares;
       I will search for the one my heart loves.
       So I looked for him but did not find him.

  The watchmen found me
       as they made their rounds in the city.
       "Have you seen the one my heart loves?""

Song of Solomon 3:1-3

Russ & I are what I like to call "intellectual Christians."  And all I mean by that is that we thrive on teaching, on the details of scripture.   We like analyzing the possible layers of meaning in a passage.  We enjoy learning the history behind the stories, the meaning in the Greek, and seeing the archeological evidence.  Our type of teaching is that of men like Chuck Missler & Ravi Zacharias.  This is the aspect of Christianity that we have thrived in over the past few years and are comfortable with.  Recently, I have spent a lot of Sundays visiting my family and attending services with them, and God has been showing me more of the absolute beauty of worshiping in song & prayer and I have begun to long for more than what I have.  I have come to long to experience God more.

Here is where I may lose some of you...but I shall boldly plunge ahead.  On Easter Sunday while attending service with my parents, sister & brother's family, I felt like God gave me an analogy to help me see more clearly my current relationship with him.  He reminded me that I am his spotless bride & he is my bridegroom.  He reminded me of all the years we've shared together & all the ways he has provided for me in the past.  I reflected on how He knows everything about me...and how much I know Him.  Not only do I know about Him but I also believe that in a very real way I understand His heart.  However...He longs for more intimacy.  Just as in a earthly husband-wife relationship the woman often tends to talk more than she listens...I tend to talk to God without waiting to hear what He wants to say to me.  And just like in an earthly husband-wife relationship, our Heavenly Husband longs for us to experience Oneness with Him.  He longs for intimacy...and as the wife, we/I often dismiss this as an unrealistic expectation or as a secondary priority.  It is good for me to want to know Him...to learn his history, his hopes, his plans...it is good for me to rely on him to provide for me & to comfort me.  But it is also important for us to be intimate, and I feel as though God & I have been distant for some time.  I want to experience God...not just know all about him.  What kind of relationship would Russ & I have if I did all the talking (mostly requesting his help with stuff) but never let him pour his heart out to me?  What kind of marriage would it be if we never were intimate.  Sexual intimacy is what leads to the bearing of physical fruit (children).  So, I suspect that Spiritual intimacy with God is what leads to the bearing of spiritual fruit...and, boy, do I long to produce more of that!

Now that I have a better idea of what I want, the problem is that I still have little idea of how to cultivate this kind of relationship.  Russ & I have talked about it and we are trying to take steps in a new direction but it is a very slow process.  This is the prayer of my heart...and though my heart is willing...my flesh is oh, so weak!  So please pray with us as we are paving a new path to intimacy with our God.

"How handsome you are, my lover!
       Oh, how charming!
       And our bed is verdant."
Song of Solomon 1:16

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mischievous Jasmine

Thursday was an interesting day.  Jasmine was getting into mischief every time I turned around.  A short run down of her misadventures.

1st--She got into the lotion in mommy & daddy's room and rubbed it all over in her hair & on her face.  (See pictures below.)  As a result:  I sprayed her down in the shower.

2nd--She spilled water all over her bedroom floor & didn't tell me about.  As a result:  One of her books got completely soaked and I gave the girls another lecture about why it is important not to leave toys & books on the floor and to please tell mommy or daddy if you spill water on the floor so we can get you a towel to clean it up.
3rd--She got into the cat food bag & was "snacking" on it.  As a result:  I had to explain to her (yet again) that that cat food is only for the kitty and not for little girls.  Please DO NOT eat cat food!
4th--She got a hold of the cinnamon, took the lid off, spilled it all over the counter, all over the bar stool & ate some of it so that it was all over her mouth & clothes.  As a result: I washed her face & made her change her clothes and then had to clean up the counter & chair.
5th--She finished off my red bull.  I don't know if she actually drank it or if she just spilled it.  It was almost gone so she couldn't have had much.  As a result:  I didn't get to enjoy that last few precious drops of my liquid energy.
6th--She moved a stool over to the counter and was eating butter out of the tub & jelly out of the jar with a butter knife.  As a result:  I took everything away & had to wash her face yet again!
7th--She found a pair of my scissors & was using them to prod one of her toys.  As a result I kicked her out of the room & put my scissors further out of reach.

Some days of motherhood are just exhausting....
Have you ever had one of those days?

Friday, April 23, 2010

'Not so thrifty' thrift shopping

So recently I have been trying to live a little more economically.  With inspiration from The Frugal Girl, I started menu planning in hopes of trimming our food budget.  See post on that HERE.  I have been trying to make a special effort at not buying things I don't really need.  Let me tell you up front that I'm not living up to my expectations.   I do think I am doing better however...but one of the topics that I've thought about a lot lately (partially due to The Frugal Girl; Thrifty Living, a recent Vlog by Tiffany, & some books I have read) is that of thrift shopping.  I LOVE to thrift shop!  The thrill of the hunt is such a rush when you know that you might find a treasure and that it may actually be affordable.  I tend to shop our local Goodwill on a weekly basis. (That's often where I go in the 45 minutes that my girls are in dance class.)   On out-of-town shopping trips, we'll often fore-go the mall and browse several second hand stores instead.   I just love it!  And while I agree that thrift shopping can save a family a lot of money...I think that oftentimes in order for me to save my family money--I should STOP thrift shopping so much...and here's why.

1)  I tend to buy random things I don't really need.  Part of the excitement of thrift stores is their ever-changing inventory.  You can come back every few days and you'll always see new items that weren't there during your previous stop.  The downside to this is that you know that you can't count on being able to come back for an item later.  With thrifting the general state of mind is "now or never."  As such I often buy items because they are cheap & available and end up spending a chunk of cash on items that I could have totally lived without.

2) I buy a lot of clothes when we already have plenty of clothes.  I have three girls and dressing them is so much fun, but let me tell you...we have a lot of  clothes!  When Eden was a baby we had boxes of clothes given to us and they were lifesavers...I can't imagine how much money we would have spent had it not been for the hand-me-downs that we received.  Many of those clothes are still being worn two kids later. (And we are still being given hand-me-downs from friends & family periodically.) On top of this I was given a lot of new clothes as gifts at baby showers & birthdays.  I have gotten rid of sooo many clothes and my girls' closets are still overflowing...they can't even come close to wearing every outfit enough to wear them out...especially when they have their "favorites" which they wear 80% of the time!  But when I see a cute dress from Baby Gap at Goodwill for $1.25, I just can't bring myself to leave it behind...I don't care how full our closets already are!  So most of the clothes I purchase while thrifting just aren't necessary and thus not really "thrifty" at all.

3)  I am a book-a-holic!  Okay I admit it.  (And they say admission is the first step to recovery, right?)  Dare I admit that I go to thrift stores primarily to browse the books?    I say that I'm only going to buy books if I find ones that I really want to read.  But that darn "now or never" mentality takes over and that darn $1.00 price tag looks so good that once again I find myself having a hard time saying "no."  I hardly EVER buy books full price. (So maybe there is hope for me yet.)  There are a few rare occasions when I have bought a book at Walmart that  I've been specifically waiting to read.  But as a general rule...I get all my books second hand either at thrift stores or through Bookmooch.   It's a beautiful thing--it doesn't matter how many previous owners a book has had...unless the pages have been torn out...a used book retains all it's goody-ness!  (I think I'm getting side-tracked..."mmmm, used books, aaaahhh... *blissful smile*)  Okay...back on track.  My point here is that I really don't need the huge stack of books that I buy every week at Goodwill and thus the ten (or twenty) dollars I spend on them every week is an expense that we could easily cut by simply skipping this week's trip to the thrift store.

Okay...so while I think buying things second hand is a MUCH better move than purchasing everything new at the mall.  I am just acknowledging (to myself mostly) that just because I got something second hand,  and just because it was a good deal, and just because it looked interesting....does NOT automatically make it a thrifty purchase.  When I wanted a double stroller & then found one at Goodwill for $20...that was thrifty.  When I went to Goodwill looking for nothing in particular and came home with a $30 bag of miscellaneous...that was not.   There is a difference.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Coffee Shop--Before & After


I took this photo in March and thought it rather plain so....

I opened it up in Paint Shop Pro and tweaked it until I came up with this...

I was rather pleased with how it turned out. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Decorating with Portraits

I started following Kristen Duke Photography a a few months ago because I think her photos are beautiful & they inspire me in my attempts at portrait photography.  She has been doing a series of posts about  how to decorate with portraits and asked for submissions.  Desiring to glean some insight from her experience, I sent her a couple photos of my living room & shared my decorating strategy & struggles.  She featured them today!  See what she had to say HERE.  Thanks Kristen...One of these days I'll dare to go BIG and get the large horizontal portrait you suggested! 

I Heart Faces: "Collages"

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mom n Me Monday

Momentous Monday: Week Two

This week I soaked up the giggles of my baby; lingered in the hugs of my girls; breathed in the smell of my husband.  The moment that I cherished above all others this week however was this...

Jasmine, my second born, is my "spirited" child.  She has attitude; she is independent; she is stubborn.  She can be the sweetest little thing in the world--she just exudes sugar--but it has to be on her own terms, in her own time.  There is no forcing anything with her.   As such, the hugs are fewer, the kisses quicker &  the loving words are fleeting.  Thursday, I was sitting in the recliner feeding Acacia & Jazzy was sitting at the bar eating breakfast when I heard her say something but I didn't catch what she said.  I turned to her and asked her to repeat herself.  In the sweetest little voice she says, "You know what, Mama?  I love you."  I was a puddle.  I told her that I loved her too and that she just made my day so happy!  She smiled and continued eating.  But I...I held that moment in my heart for several minutes just soaking in the sweetness and wishing I could carry that moment with me forever.

Read other bloggers' Momentous Monday moments by checking out the links HERE.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The way to this bibliophile's heart

So...my husband is great!  For many reasons but one of the ways that he is great is his handy-ness.  Not only did he basically remodel our kitchen by himself but over the past few years he has demonstrated his love for me through the building of shelves...lots & lots of shelves!   

I am a book fanatic.  And an avid organizer.  Shelves are my good friends.  My husband is a fantastic maker of shelves.  He knows that the way to my heart is through the act of providing a way for me to organize my books and other items!  He'll try to tell you that his shelves aren't right or that they were pretty basic but don't let his perfectionistic comments deter you from acknowledging the blatant truth--his shelves are fantastic and they make my heart so happy it could burst.   Please let me show you all the shelves he's provided me since we moved here nearly four years ago....

This is the wall that started it all.  When we moved here from Colorado I had totes & totes & totes & totes full of books...my husband, my father, & my father-in-law all were a bit sorer from carrying heavy tote after heavy tote down to the basement of our new home.  After a few months I was itching to get them out of their plastic prisons & out in the air where they belong so, while I was out-of-town on Saturday shopping with my parents, Russ built a wall of shelves.  I was so thrilled!

Then when I redecorated Eden & Jasmine's room two years ago I asked him to hang some shelves on their wall.  I painted them white...he did the rest. (The brown shelving unit is a cheap Target unit that we bought before we moved here and has since fallen apart.)

I, also, decided that it would be more efficient to remove the closet doors & have Russ build shelves in there to hold totes of toys.  I was VERY happy with the results.

And because I was so happy with Eden & Jasmine's closet...as time wore on I determined that I must utilize this same system in our closet and then Acacia's closet.  And Russ lovingly accommodated me by fulfilling my requests.

During our remodel I got a hankering for some more book shelf space (specifically for the girl's books) so Russ took a break from working on our kitchen to build me a custom, movable, stand-alone bookcase.  It started out in the girls' room but when it became clear that they aren't old enough to take good care of their books it was moved into our room.  I love it!

I recently requested shelves in the coat closet and in our makeshift pantry.  As always...he came through and blessed my heart!  (The white shelf in the pantry was a pre-made thing we took off the wall of our old kitchen & screwed to the wall in our "pantry".  He built the other shelves.)

I've already put in my request for the next shelving project...more bookshelves in the basement.  (I have A LOT of books and will get a lot more over the course of the next several years as I begin homeschooling in the fall.  Plus I can't go to a Goodwill without bringing home at least one book!)

Anyway...don't I have a great husband?  He's certainly captured my heart and blesses me in so many ways...building shelves for me is just one of the things he does that makes me admire him all the more and I just wanted to brag him up!

Love you so much, honey!  I appreciate all your hard work.  *smooch*