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, January 24, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Before & After: Breakfast

I am participating in a Project 52 this year. (I am posting all my entries on my photography blog so if you want to keep up with those headed over here and follow me.)  Last week's theme was 'Egg'.  This is one of my photos from that shoot.  :)  I used my Canon Rebel XT and did the edit in Jasc Paint Shop Pro 9.

Before (SOOC):

After (Edit): 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

"I sit beside the fire and think": Rereading 'Lord of the Rings'

I have been re-reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy this week and so have had the great themes that it holds heavy on my mind as of late...thoughts of great evil and great fear, of bravery & valor in times of doubt, of keeping faith when all that remains is but a fool's hope.  I have been pondering how I would stack up next to Frodo's determination, Sam's faithfulness, Gandolf's wisdom, Aragorn's leadership, and Pippin's resilience.  I have cried for them as they fight a seemingly hopeless fight, I have wept for them as they grow nearer & nearer to danger but go on because they must.  And my heart breaks because I know that while their journey is just a fantasy of words on a page...their story is full of truth.

For we too live in evil times but I fear that for the moment I am living on the fringe here in middle America just as the hobbit's were before they left the Shire...but evil will not always be far off and the day will come when I too am called to play a part in this tale. I know that each hour that passes brings us nearer to the end of this age...and while I do not grieve as one that has no hope,  I know that as the days grow darker it will be harder & harder to hold on to the hope that is within us.  But I know that even in the darkest hours Christ's purposes prevail and He will come out victorious.  It is just so hard in the meantime to keep from growing weary.  Just like the ring on Frodo's neck was a weight & burden he bore to the end not knowing whether his personal end be good or bad...the evil of this world (the violence, the sickness, the deceptions, the death)  is so often as heavy as lead on my shoulders and its power (if not kept in check by the Holy Word) wearies me considerably and I see how I could so easily despair of the journey to which God has appointed me and fall into despondency & apathetic behaviors just as Lord Denathor does in 'Return of the King'.

I pray that in the interim between the coming darkness & the Return of our king, Jesus Christ, that I would not lose sight of the part I have to play, that I would remain faithful to the end, that I would be able to discern between what is good & what is not, that I would cling to hope when all hope seems to be lost...that though a fool's hope it may seem, that I would remember that God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise...sometimes someone as unexpected as a small hobbit can be the very vessel needed to destroy the power of Sauron.

Bilbo's Song in Rivendell

I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
in summers that have been;

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.

I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be
when winter comes without a spring
that I shall ever see.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood and every spring
there is a different green.

I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Photo Shoot Friday: 1/7/11

Jennifer at A Beautiful Life is starting a new blog hop and is looking for participants...I decided to play along.  The only rule is that we (the photographers) get out from behind the camera and in front of the lens.  I just happened to have done this yesterday so here ya go...

(Is it wrong that I took the liberty of photoshopping out my wrinkles?)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Before & After: Christmas Offertory

I took this photo at church on the Sunday after Christmas during the offertory.  The light coming in the stained glass was magical and I couldn't resist.  But I snapped it off so quickly that I didn't get a chance to adjust my settings so it was way too dark.  I took it with my Rebel XT and I edited it in Paint Shop Pro 9.

Before (SOOC):

After (edit):

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Vote at 'I Heart Faces'

It's a unique week at I Heart Faces.  This week we are the judges.  Winners are chosen by popular vote.  Fun times!  I voted for my 5 favorites and now I encourage you to do the same.  If you don't feel like visiting all 839 entries...well just head on over and vote for #127.  *wink*  (That's mine...)  Click on my photo below to visit this week's challenge & vote!  Thanks everyone!

New Year...New Budget

One of the most influential books I read in 2010 was Dave Ramsey's 'Total Money Makeover'.  We have been on the plan since October.  I can't say that we've done the best we could because we clearly have some areas in which we could use some serious improvement but I am proud to say that we have made some real progress in eliminating debt and we have not spent any money we didn't have.  So...while I don't expect that this year will see us completely debt free, I do expect for the end to be in sight by this time next year.  In honor of this goal...I wanted to share this neat little video to help all of you as well in achieving your financial goals.  :)  *giggle*

Monday, January 3, 2011

I Heart Faces: "Best Face Photo of 2010"

This is Week One of 2011 and I Heart Faces first challenge of the year is to show off the best face photo that we took in 2010.  I have come so far photographically this year and it amazes me how many photos I've taken this year.  Picking a favorite from the entire year is quite a task.  I have so many favorites!  But having to choose one I settled on this photo from an engagement shoot I did in October because it is not only a beautiful photo that I am proud to claim as mine but also because it is candid & full of emotion and represents how this year has taken me from solely photographing my own family to being asked to capture the important moments in the lives of people who I may not under normal circumstances been honored to even meet.  I love the many faces of my children but the faces of new friends & the joy of capturing these precious moments of their lives is beyond satisfying and represents where I hope my photography journey will lead me in the next year as well. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The One With Tons of Christmas Photos...

Christmas is finally over.  I put up my tree much earlier this year.  Usually I wait until December but this year I got excited for the season and put up my tree before Thanksgiving.  Oddly enough it made Christmas feel less Christmasy.  I think I used up all my Christmas spirit in November.

This year we had over a week's worth of celebration.  The 22nd the girls & I made Christmas cookies to share with the family before heading out December 23rd for my parents house.

We had the traditional family meal of Danish Ebelskivers.  Christmas Eve is our big day there with my whole family & my maternal grandparents...eating, playing cards & opening mountains of presents!

Then Christmas morning our kids opened the presents from Russ & I.  (We don't 'do' Santa.)  It was a quiet day with just my parents, grandparents & us.

Sunday after church we celebrated with aunts, uncles, & cousins at my paternal grandparent's house.  That was an answer to prayer because we were afraid we were gonna have to cancel due to my grandpa's health but he was doing sooo much better Sunday that things went on as planned.  It was fun.  We had our annual white elephant ornament exchange.

Monday morning we got to eat breakfast with my best friend & her family before they headed back to Michigan.

Then in the afternoon we went to a party and hung out with Russ' cousin from Australia & his family in celebration of his daughter's 3rd birthday.  It was neat watching the kids & their Aussie cousins interact.

We came home Monday evening & brought our nephew with us.  Russ sister & the rest of her kids joined us Wednesday.  The plan was for his parents to come Friday and his aunts & uncle to join us for our New Year's Day dinner but we were hit with a blizzard and they were unable to come but the rest of us had an enjoyable week.

This afternoon they departed, and quiet settled over our house.  I took all the Christmas trappings down & put them away.  Christmas is over and 2011 has begun...

Happy New Year, everyone!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Books I read in 2010

List of Books I read in 2010
  46) 'Sunrise' by Karen Kingsbury 12/30
45) 'Always Grace' by Tim LaHaye and Gregory S Dinallo 12/13
44) 'Halos' by Kristen Heitzmann 12/8
43) 'Safe Haven' by Hannah Alexander 11/29
42) 'Saving Alice' by David Lewis 11/21
41) 'False Witness' by Randy Singer 11/10
40) 'This Fine Life' by Eva Marie Everson 11/3
39) 'Fancy Pants' by Cathy Marie Hake 11/1
38) 'Last Resort" by Hannah Alexander 10/27
37) 'A Great and Terrible Beauty' by Libba Bray 10/24
36) 'A Lady of High Regard' by Tracie Peterson 10/18
35) 'A Rush of Wings' by Kristen Heitzmann 10/12
34) 'Dear John' by Nicholas Sparks 9/22
33) 'The Total Money Makeover' by Dave Ramsey 9/4
32) 'Friends: A Love Story' by Angela Bassett & Courtney B. Vance 9/1
31) 'A Sounding Brass' by Shelley Bates 8/28
30) 'The Edge of Recall' by Kristen Heitzmann 7/29
29) 'Hideaway' by Hannah Alexander 7/12
28) 'Traveling Light' by Max Lucado 6/23
27) 'The Pull of the Moon' by Elizabeth Berg 6/21
26) 'The Wednesday Sisters' by Meg Waite Clayton 6/5
25) 'She Walks in Beauty' by Siri Mitchell 5/16
24) 'You Don't Know Jack' by Erin McCarthy 5/7
23) 'Barefoot' by Elin Hilderbrand 4/30
22) 'Bloopers, Blunders, Jokes, Quips & Quotes" by Jim Kraus 4/21
21) 'O For a Thousand Nights to Sleep' by Lorilee Craker 4/15
20) 'The Telling' by Beverly Lewis 4/11
19) 'The Penny' by Joyce Meyer & Deborah Bedford 4/10
18) 'Courting Trouble' by Deeanne Gist 4/1
17) 'How the Irish Saved Civilization' by Thomas Cahill 3/31
16) 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte 3/22
15) 'Sandpebbles' by Patricia Hickman 3/15
14) 'The Measure of a Lady' by Deeanne Gist 2/19
13) 'The Outsider' by Ann H Grabhart 2/15
12) 'Letter Perfect' by Cathy Marie Hake 2/10
11) 'The Five Love Languages' by Gary Chapman 2/7
10) 'The Still of Night' by Kristen Heitzmann 2/6
9) 'The Smart One and the Pretty One' by Claire LaZebnik 2/2
8) 'Fahrenheit 451' by Ray Bradbury 1/29
7) 'A Promise for Ellie' by Lauraine Snelling 1/28
6) 'The Mermaid Chair' by Sue Monk Kidd 1/25
5) 'The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul' by Douglas Adams 1/19

4) 'House of Daughters' by Sarah-Kate Lynch 1/18
3) 'a Time to Embrace' by Karen Kingsbury 1/14
2) 'Been There, Done That' by Carol Snow 1/12

1) 'The Girlfriend's Guide to Toddlers' by Vicki Iovine 1/12