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.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I Heart Faces: Pets




Feel free to enter my Grateful Giveaway here.

Momentous Monday: Adoration


A few days ago at bedtime I walked past the girls' room and Russ was tucking Jasmine in to bed and as usual they were begging for him to stay and "make up stories" with them.  It is something he started one night and they loved it and now ask for it on a regular basis.  I love that they have a daddy who is willing to sit with them and tell them stories.  I love that they are learning to use their imaginations instead of always relying on what someone else has written.

Anyway--when I walked past and saw them together I stopped & watched.  Jasmine was looking up at her dad with such love & adoration on her face!  It made me so happy and yet in a way was bittersweet because I know that this won't last.  And I know that we don't cherish it as much as we should.  Before we know it our little girls will begin to see and recognize our flaws and our failures and that unadulterated affection and that unquestioning worship type love will erode.  It is only natural...it is the way of life but for this moment our girls see us with pure unfiltered love and I want to hold onto that while I can.  The look on my daughters face as she smiled up at my husband is priceless and I just close my eyes and savor it...mmm....

I wish it could last forever.


PS...Don't forget to enter my Grateful Giveaway that ends Friday. 

Friday, June 25, 2010

My First "Grateful" Giveaway

Yesterday I got my 30th public follower and this post is my 300th post!!  Yay!  So I decided that in order to celebrate I would do my first giveaway.  I'm calling it my "Grateful Giveaway" because I am feeling blessed & grateful today.  

This week I had some dental work done.  I had a front tooth that was chipped and one with a lost filling.  I only had enough money to get one of them fixed.  When the dentist was numbing me up to work on the one tooth he asked me if it was okay if he went ahead and fixed the chipped tooth as well...no charge!!  And because I paid cash upfront...he also set me up with a free whitening kit ($70 value!)  I am feeling quite blessed...God also spoke to me while I was being worked on and practically gave me the giggles while the dentist had his fingers in my mouth...God has a sense of humor.  (But perhaps that's a story for another time.)

Anyway...in honor of God's many blessings and the milestones of 30 followers and 300 posts I am giving one lucky blessed person a new copy of Max Lucado's book "Traveling Light: Releasing the Burden's You Were Never Meant to Bear" (which I just read the other day) and the "NewWorldSon" cd!   


In order to be entered you just have to post a comment telling me of a recent blessing that you have experienced or something that you are particularly grateful for this week.  (Make sure you enter because odds are good that you may be the only one and will win by default...*wink*)  You can get another entry by going out of your way to bless someone else in some way this week and leaving a comment telling me what you did. 

You can also get extra entries by linking to my giveaway on your blog and posting another comment telling me you did so and/or by Facebooking about my giveaway and leaving me a comment telling me you did so.

(Remember to leave each entry as a new separate comment)

Let's give God glory this week by counting our many blessings & paying it forward!  You have a week to enter.  I will be announcing the  lucky blessed person next Friday, July 2nd.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Before & After: Blowing Dandelions




Before:

After:


Taken with my Canon Rebel XT; Sigma 18-200mm lens; and edited with Jasc Paint Shop Pro 9.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I Heart Faces: "Celebrating Teens"




Happy Father's Day to my Mr. Wonderful

Mr. Wonderful

He started out as…
Mr. “Cute new guy ”
Mr. “Wanna play ping pong?”
Mr. “Charming”

He quickly became…
Mr. “I can’t wait to see him again”
Mr. “Stay up all night talking”
Mr. “Sweetest boyfriend ever”

Not long after that he turned into…
Mr. “I love you”
Mr. “The One.”
Mr. “Will you marry me?”

A few months later he was…
Mr. “I do.”
Mr. “Honeymoon heartthrob.”
Mr. “Rock my world”

Over the last seven years he has been…
Mr. “Work hard for the money”
Mr. “Fix-it”
Mr. “Father of my children.”
Mr. “Diaper changer”
Mr. “Love of my life”
Mr. “Russell Pea Campbell Soup”  (Mmm…mmm…good!)
Mr. “Hold me when I cry”
Mr. “Daddy, let’s make up stories.”
Mr. “Helps a lot around the house”
Mr. “Her photography is my retirement plan.”
Mr. “Always makes me laugh”
Mr. “Nobody gets me like he does”
Mr. “I can’t believe he’s mine”
Mr. “He’s so great I could go on forever”

Read it and weep girls because he will always, always be…
My Mr. “Wonderful”!


Dear Russ--
I love you so much!  I am a blessed, blessed woman to have you as my husband.  I couldn't ask for a better daddy for my girls.  Your worth is beyond measure.  Thanks for being such a great person.  I thank my Father in heaven for giving me you.  Happy Father's Day!  You deserve all my best and more.  Our children adore you and so do I!
Love Always--Gina



Saturday, June 19, 2010

Jasmine's 3 year portraits

Today I finally got around to taking Jasmine's 3 year portraits.  She did great!  What a sweetheart!  See full gallery HERE.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Disappointment & Discontent: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."

I have been in kind of a funk this week.  I had been so busy the last couple weeks and when Monday came I was free and yet instead of embracing this brief interim I allowed it to stagnate.  And I hate that!

The funk was born out of disappointment.  My brother invited us to join his family on their vacation to Orlando in August. Russ was up for it and I got all excited at the prospect of a real vacation with my family to a place near a beach!  Then Monday I began doing the research and quickly came to the realization that even with my brother covering some of the expenses--a trip to Orlando significantly exceeded our budget and we would have to turn down his generous and fun offer.  It was a huge let down.  I have inside of me an insatiable desire to travel and to photograph things that cannot be found in western Nebraska.  But travel is a luxury that practicality hasn't allowed me to indulge in with the exception of my honeymoon.  

It was within that initial disappointment that I allowed negativity to get an upper hand and begin to grow other feelings in me.  I used my sister's recent engagement as a catalyst for self-pity.   While she & my mom were discussing wedding dates & dresses,  I was sitting at home just waiting for an email or phone call updating me on the plans. And when I didn't hear from anyone, I felt left-out and ignored.   In the midst of my brother's vacation plans & my sister's wedding plans...I allowed myself to wallow in unhealthy selfish feelings of discontent, loneliness, and self-pity.  I'm not proud of it...but it is what it is.  I said things like, "I wish I wasn't so practical."  "I hate doing the same stupid things over & over with no end." (like laundry & dishes)  "I feel gray.  Just blending in & boring."  "Nobody is interested in me right now...including myself."    I was mourning unfilled dreams & aspirations and  I was feeling left-out & unneeded while at the same time (paradoxically) feeling uninspired & used. 

The whole time I'm feeling this way I am frustrated with myself for such pathetic self-centered-ness on my part.  I know I am blessed.  I know am loved.  I know I have worth. I know that the present is not a good indication of what the future may be.  I know that if God closes a door...it is for good reason and that I can trust in His perfect timing & His perfect plan for my life.  My joy is not dependent on what I have or don't have; what someone else says or doesn't say.  But in those moments I choose to let those lying feelings dominate me and I push aside (and yet still acknowledge) those truths that I know.  I choose to focus on me and my disappointments and hurts instead of creating ways to edify those I love in their journeys.

I have discovered that disappointment has always served as an opening in my life for the enemy to get a foothold.  I acknowledge this here publicly now as a way to stop this pattern in the future.  Last night I started reading Max Lucado's book, "Traveling Light: Releasing the burdens you were never intended to bear--The Promise of Psalm 23"  I got through the first four chapters and chapter 4 definately spoke to where I am this week.  It addresses 'the burden of discontent" and he closed the chapters having us repeat to ourselves, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."

As much as I hate visible vulnerability in myself.  I am challenged to show you that side of myself.  I do cry.  I do hurt.  I am selfish.  I get disappointed.  I have pity parties.  I yell when I shouldn't.  I say things I don't really mean.  I am stupid sometimes.  I have the wrong answers and there are a lot of things I don't know.  But I am a child of the King and I am trying to be more others-focused without forgetting that I do matter and was created for a purpose.  I just let myself slip from remembering God's perfect provision sometimes and just need reminded occasionally that "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."

Before & After: Spring Flowers



Before:

After:

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

Monday, June 14, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Letters of Intent: Dear cell phone company

I am participating in a different blog hop this week called 'Letters of Intent" where we get to express our joys, frustrations &  feelings from the week  in letter form to those to whom it may concern!  Hop on over to Foursons and check it out.




Foursons


Dear cell-phone company:

You stink.  You are predatory, opportunistic, ravagers of our bank accounts.  Perhaps you think people like me are a bit out of touch but I really don't need half of the 400 minutes I am allowed each month on your cheapest contract plan but I couldn't stand the thought of spending the same amount of money for half as many minutes on your really ludicrous pay-as-you go plans...so here I am obligated to stick with your stupid service for two whole years or else pay your very unholy "early termination fee" which basically cancels out any savings we might have by eliminating the monthly bill!  Ah,  you think you're so clever feeding on the masses of people who want to enjoy the benefits of living in our technological culture but who really cannot afford your exorbitant prices.

You offer so-called "discounts" & "rebates" on phones (when you sign up for a two-year contract) but if a person like myself has her phone die from unnatural causes (like a swim in the porcelain pool) you insist that my phone (which was the cheapest model you had!) costs over $200 to replace.   Are you kidding me?  Am I the only person who sees through this game your playing?   Charging that kind of price for a crappy piece of electronic plastic that was probably made in some impoverished foreign country for a fraction of a penny per dollar is just plain extortion!

Maybe I could overlook some of these things if that was my only beef with you...after all we do live in a capitalistic society and I did agree to the contract and the ridiculous prices you insisted upon in spite of my reservations.  If I really wanted to protest I could have continued living my happy (yet not always convenient) cell phone-free life and not subjected myself to your fascistic control.  But you couldn't just leave it at that...you had to allow outside companies to take advantage of me without taking any responsibility for it.  It should be illegal for companies to trick me into being charged $10 a month for something that I didn't want and didn't agree to.  All I did was open and read a text I had received (which looked like gobbley-gook trash to me) and you have the audacity to take "their" side and say I "agreed to receive them" and therefore I am responsible for paying the $10 fee for it!?  Really?  I understand that it was not you (my o-so-benevolent cell phone company *heavy sarcasm*) that sent me these texts that I am now paying for but perhaps you could have warned me.  Perhaps the logical thing to do would be to block this type of text as the default on new accounts and if, for some reason,  I (your money source) want to utilize these services--then activate it at my request.

But I suspect that you don't mind so much-- because so many cell phone users will just pay whatever you (their cellphone gods) demand without so much as blinking an eye as long as they can text their friends from anywhere in the US and check the latest sports scores in real time on their iphones or Droids.   And that, of course,  means more profit for your evil wireless empire. And isn't that all you really care about, anyway?  I do believe so.

With extreme disdain,

Gina

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Before & After: Mr. Quonset



Before:


After:


I used my Canon Rebel XT and edited with Paint Shop Pro.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Looking after orphans

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  
James 1:27

My bloggy friend, Tiffany from A Moment Cherished, and her family are in the beginning stages of adopting a child from Ethiopia.  Courtney from Storing Up Treasures has already adopted four children. (Two from Russia and two domestically.)  I have felt very pulled to support their cause and am here to enlist your help as well on their behalf.  Courtney & her husband (the Rockstar) are leading a campaign to raise funds for 26 families who are in the process of adopting.  Their goal is to raise 10K in 20 days.  Tomorrow is the last day and they are still a couple thousand dollars short!  If you can,  please donate as much or as little as you can to help them meet this goal!  Click on this 10K in 20 days to donate or the button below. Or if you'd rather, you can support Jim & Tiffany's adoption directly by going to her page and clicking on the Chip-In button on the sidebar.  (They also have a coffee fundraiser if you like coffee and a T-shirt fundraiser, as well.) 


I pray that you'll seriously take a minute to check out what these families are doing and pray about what you may be able to do to help.  One of the most tangible ways we can help orphans is by giving them a family and a loving future and you know that makes God smile!


I Heart Faces: "Barefoot week"


This week on I Heart Faces they are raising awareness for Soles 4 Souls,  an organization that gathers shoes and gives them to people around the world who do not have and need shoes.  This is a non-competitive week so we can show off more than one photo featuring feet/shoes.  I am a sucker for cute little feet and little shoes so I have a LOT of photos to choose from.  Here are a few of my favorite shoe/feet photo that I have taken over the past few years.  Please take the time to check out Soles 4 Souls' website.  Blessings, all!









Happy Barefoot Week, Everyone!

Don't forget to go to Soles 4 Souls.org