Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day Thirty - The Future?!

This video game at our church youth facility made me laugh
Apparently 2015 is the "future"!
Does anyone else feel old?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Overcoming Public Fear

I do not like to take photographs in public.
There, I have said it.  Pitful, isn't it?
I don't know why I feel this way.
I absolutely love being on our farm with my camera where it is quiet, isolated, and calm.  I can breathe.
I love taking pictures of food on my counter.  There I am free to climb on chairs, turn the lights on bright, move to a window - be creative.
When I "have an audience", I can't breathe.  I want everything to go quickly and perfectly.  I don't want to draw attention to myself.  I find it difficult to be creative.
I really am not like this in other areas of my life.
I teach in front of people all the time.  Sure, I get nervous, but in a good way.
I have been watching you fellow 365er's who take these cute pictures of your families at the park or the mall or the cupcake store.  It has brought out a strange mix of envy and determination in me.
I want to get over my dislike of taking pictures in public places.
With that in mind, I took my camera with me on our family outing to Blue Coast Burrito this evening.  And I used it to take some pictures. 

Mind you I didn't stand on any tables or get ultra-creative, but I did take some pictures.  That is a step for me.
If any of you have dealt with this fear, I would really enjoy hearing how you overcame it.  Or maybe it would just be nice to know that I am not the only one...

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day Twenty-Eight

One of the ladies in the Bible study I host on Fridays is a vegetarian.  This has stretched my culinary skills greatly in the last few years.  This week I was determined to try a recipe that I would normally look past.

I saw this recipe for Butternut Squash Soup on the BakedBree blog.  Throwing caution to the wind (pretty dramatic for squash) I whipped up a batch for lunch.  Oh my, can I just tell you that you must try this recipe?  It was creamy and just a little sweet and warm and delicious and EASY!  Go - now- buy squash.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day Twenty-Seven

I am so very excited about the package that just arrived at my house:

my notebook for the Karen Russell Photographer's Workshop.  I am auditing the course and it starts next week!  The notebook is full of details that make me smile:  she signed my name and her's inside the book, she included a pen, and it matches perfectly with the website.  I am giddy with anticipation.  Of course, it helps that I have a general passion for three-ring binders.

On a side note, how often (or do you) change your blog layout?  When I started this blog in December, I had no idea where to begin.  I don't want to change it too often, but I was getting tired of the dark brown and wanted something a little more cheery.  I took the title photo this morning and just loved the colors.  I wanted to incorporate it into my blog because it makes me smile.  The quote on top of the picture was the song playing on my ipod while I worked.  For a person who doesn't like change very much, I seem to be doing lots of it lately.  I have even changed how I do laundry

Do those of you who have been blogging for awhile have any pointers for a newbie?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 26 - Chocolate Yumminess

I am posting a comfort-food recipe that made our family's evening.  I have tried many of these chocolate cobbler recipes and this is the best one I have found.  It is super easy and has just basic pantry ingredients.  Don't let the "runniness" make you nervous.  It bakes up nicely on top and finishes with a lovely chocolate sauce.  I hope you enjoy it sometime soon!
Chocolate Cobbler
From Taste of the South Winter 2007
1 ¼ cups sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons cocoa, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 ½ cups hot water
Garnish:  vanilla ice cream or whipped cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, stir together ¾ cup sugar, flour, 3 tablespoons cocoa, baking powder and salt.  Stir in milk, butter and vanilla; mix until smooth.  Pour batter into an ungreased, 8-inch-square glass baking pan.
Stir together remaining ½ cup sugar, brown sugar, and remaining 4 tablespoons cocoa.  Sprinkle this mixture evenly over batter.  Pour hot water over top – do not stir!
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center of cobbler is almost set.  Let stand for 15 minutes.
Spoon into individual dessert dishes.  The cobbler makes its own chocolate sauce in the bottom of the pan.  Spoon sauce over each serving and garnish with ice cream or whipped cream.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day Twenty-Five

One of the fun photography things I do involves promotional work for a local store.  It stretches me to photograph inanimate objects (sometimes much more enjoyable), shoot indoors under poor lighting, and figuring out ways to capture their creative displays while also showing details of the items they are selling.  Today I got a shot that I really liked. 

Again, I must say "thank you" blog friends for your encouragement to stick with this project.  I already feel like I am understanding more about the creative and technical sides of photography.  Through sharing your photos and your comments, I am growing.  And that was the goal all along.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 24

Kate cut this out of her school paper this afternoon:

I love that she loves organization things, too.
I also find it funny that she marked out "pack your lunch" and "set alarm".  Wonder why?  :-)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Twenty-Three Reasons Why I Hate This Coat Rack

Just kidding...I am not going to list twenty-three reasons why I hate this coat rack.  But I could if I wanted. 
I have to say, I love our house.  We bought it eighteen years ago (it was my engagement ring, for goodness sake!) and it has been through too many major remodeling projects to count.  We have invested so much of ourselves in this place.  It really is home.
Having said that, I am frustrated at the moment by this little gathering spot of clutter at our kitchen door.
I am fighting the urge to completely change the whole area.  However, it involves moving my large desk with all my computer gear, the internet connection, etc.
How do you deal with inside-the-door clutter?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day Twenty-Two

Poor Sig.
He was hit by a car late last year.  He is now doing physical therapy at the vet's office twice a week.
How funny is that?  I have a dog in physical therapy.  We drive a dog to the vet's office and leave him all day for physical therapy.  Twice a week.  Are you getting the picture?
Here is Sig's main problem:  he thinks he can't use the leg that was hurt.  The vet says his leg is fine, but Sig isn't listening.  So, in an effort to make him use his bad leg, which is really a good leg, they wrap up his good leg and make it a bad leg, forcing him to put weight on the bad/good leg.  
(Are you keeping up?)  And it really works.  He uses the bad/good leg just fine, as long as the good leg is bound up.
But...Sig is not fond of this process and wastes no time chewing through the bandaging to release his good leg.  At which point he begins limping again.  So guess what the vet's answer was yesterday:

I bet you could see that one coming - the lampshade.

Sig's predicament made me think about one of my favorite scriptures:
Cease striving and know that I am God... (Psalm 46:10)
It's probably one of your favorites, too.  It's on a lot of plaques and journals and cards.  (I am thinking of taking a field trip to my local Christian bookstore and counting the number of times this verse appears.) 
But here's the kicker:  I don't really live this verse out.  I just think it sounds nice.  I'm more like Sig on most days.  I chew and gnaw on things; causing problems for myself with all my worrying.  God says, STOP striving and KNOW that I AM GOD. 
I wish He would just give me a lampshade.

All our fret and worry are caused by calculating without God. - George Muller

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day Twenty-One

Just one of those moments today...

Sibling harmony does not occur everyday in our home. 
But yesterday was just one of those days where I could sigh and remember that they really do love each other.
Kate has had a difficult week.  She has had a more difficult time recovering from this sickness than Sam.  He went to school yesterday while she stayed home to rest once again.  And she did not have a good day.
When I gave Sam the update as I picked him up from school, I was really warning him to stay quiet and keep his distance from his pre-teen sister.  In other words, please don't start anything.
He didn't stay away from her.
Instead, he stayed right next to her all evening and made her laugh with crazy impersonations and silly jokes that are only funny between siblings and teenagers/soon-to-be-teenagers.  He never left her side.  She had not smiled that much all week - and certainly not all day.
And I was overwhelmed with the compassion I saw. 
Sometimes we just need someone to sit next to us.  And make us laugh.
God, help me remember this the next time a friend is having a difficult time and I am at a loss for what to say.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day Twenty

We really don't know what each day will bring, do we?
I am a "Type A" personality.  I make lists.  I write things in my MomAgenda.  I plan.
I was reminded today that only God knows what each day holds and my number one priority for each day should be to set my heart on pleasing Him, no matter what may come my way. 
There are so many days that I miss the whole point.
This morning as I awoke, the sun was coming up over the hill behind our home and painting the sky beautiful shades of red and indigo.  (Trust me, it was much more beautiful than this picture portrays.)  It was only there for a brief moment and then it was gone.
I didn't know when I snapped this shot what the day would hold. 
(It was a weird one.  I shall spare you the details to protect the innocent!)
But God knew.
So, as I sit here this evening exhausted and somewhat dramatic, I am thankful that each day has a beginning...and an end.  And God knows what will happen in the middle.
And when days are weird and challenging and frustrating and tiring, I can rest on that fact.
And be thankful that I can go to sleep.
And hopefully remember tomorrow to trust Him more than I did today.
     So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. 
Each day has enough trouble of its own. 
Matthew 6:34

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Caution: Determination at Work (Day 19)

Maybe this post should be titled "Caution:  I'm Feeling Very Wordy Today".  Consider permission granted to look at the picture and move on to more important things in your life.  Like watching paint dry.

We use a curriculum at church called 252 Basics.  It is a scriptural, high-energy program distributed by the Rethink Group.  Each month the elementary students study one virtue that translates into Christ-like living.  For example, this month's virtue has been "Determination".  When I began thinking about how I would capture 365 photographs of my life this year, I decided to keep in mind each month's virtue.  I would look for ways that the virtue showed up in our family's daily routine.
Some days have been a stretch...
Some days my subjects have not been on topic...
(Maybe I should be determined to stop using "..." so much, but I just love them...)

That being said, I felt like this photograph captured the definition of determination more than any I have taken.

Determination:  deciding it's worth it to finish what you've started.

Snow has reaked havoc on our schools this January.  Once you add in the sickness in our family this week, it means that Sam has yet to attend his first two classes of this semester.  These classes just happen to be Biology and Geometery.  However, his geometery teacher is one of my best friends.  She was kind enough to bring his materials by yesterday afternoon and walk him through what he has missed.  (I love that woman!)  I was struck by Sam's determination to stay caught up.  No, I was PROUD of his determination to stay caught up.
You see, several years ago Sam was diagnosed with a severe convergence disorder that greatly effects his ability to process information visually.  In the years leading up to this diagnosis and even following, school has been a struggle.  There have been many times that I have questioned God's wisdom in allowing this impairment. 
Then I saw this moment last evening.  God reminded me of our determination focus this past Sunday.  We read Paul's words to the church in Corinth:
     The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.  And God is faithful.  He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.  When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Thank you, little blog and photography project, for reminding me to slow down and see God at work in my life's moments.  Thank you, blog friends, for your encouragment.  I pray that this project is more than another "to do" on our endless lists.  Instead, I pray that it inspires you to see your life from God's perspective.

Bless you for listening,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 18

I think it was Mrs. Toliver that mentioned my painting self-portrait and my avatar were different. 
I hadn't really thought about it, but they are.
And since my kids are sick and I am trying to maintain a quiet house...
And it's raining outside...
I decided to try another self-portrait today.
Boy, it's hard. 
Keara was talking about flaw-picking this morning...
How true that is.
Anyway, here's one I finally settled on being "okay".  I was aiming for no funky processing, just some general levels, etc.  It's tempting to want to hide behind some soft, muted colors or vintage look.
But, I didn't.
So I'm going to post it.
Really, I am.
Here goes...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 17

Comfort food makes everything better.

Thank you all for your sweet prayers and comments about Kate.  Her older brother returned from a weekend ski trip with our church. Guess what?  He has a fever, too.  Both kids are in bed.  I guess tomorrow will be a day of doctor's appointments.  So much for the first day back to school in a week. 
In honor of the sickness in our house, I made macaroni and cheese.  If you don't have a good mac n' cheese recipe, I highly recommend this one from Baked Bree!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 16

My "little one" has a slight fever.
I love that she has her fingers wrapped around her much loved pink terrycloth baby doll.
I love her.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Determined to take a food photo

A few days ago I saw the Pioneer Woman's tutorial on food photography and her contest for the best food photos.  I really wanted to participate.  However, I have encountered a problem:  the time of day that I normally cook does not jive with the time of day when the lighting in my kitchen is the best.  So, in an effort to thwart my perfectionism (another "determination"), I am submitting this photo anyway.  (I wonder if it gets me extra points that the beef stew in the crock pot is actually the Pioneer Woman recipe and the post processing is her "Seventies" action with an added "Quick Burn the Edges"?) 

Here is the link for the photo assignment:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Determined to feel better

Window light photo shoot - out.
Lighting a candle in hopes it would make me feel better - in.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Window Light Determination

Confession:  I avoid taking photos inside. 
There, I have said it. 
But the Creative Mama has inspired me.
Check out their tutorial and challenge
Bet you'll be inspired.
Any advice?  I am hoping to do a more "formal" shoot today.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Not a 365 photo

This is the chair that is sitting next to my bed.  I bought it right before this shoot!  Ended up loving it. 

Day 12 Determined to

Inspired by those of you who take self-portraits, here is one of me finishing the painting project
I don't know if I can do one every week, but thank you for pushing me to do this more. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Determined to finish a project that was hanging over my head:

Monday, January 10, 2011


The goal of taking a picture each day is not only improving my technical skills, as I had desired, but also causing me to take pictures of things that I normally would forget.  After looking at these photos, I am so wishing that I had been participating in this project last year when we did our major kitchen remodel. 
Anyway, taking a photograph each day is really forcing me to appreciate the moments more.  So thank you, fellow 365'ers for your encouragement and inspiration.
Thanks, too, to Kate for helping paint trim:

And here's a quick before of my bedroom.  I had already piled all the new stuff on top of the bed to get ready to paint.  I really loved this color for many years (French Toast - Porter Paint).  However, I found some bedding I liked more on sale at Crate and Barrel last summer.  It has been living in my closet all this time as I collected pillows and accessories to complement it.  As part of my month of "determination", I was determined to finish this project - even if everything wasn't perfect.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Winter Storm Prep

Most people go to the store for milk...or bread...or a movie.  Not me:
Happy snow day!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

8/365 Saturday

I did accomplish a few things earlier today...
(The bright blue in the window is the snow.)

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Morning View and Friday Clean-Up

This was the view of our table as I drank my coffee this morning...

I love how our Bibles are stacked one on top of another.

And here's my Friday afternooon routine that sometimes carries into Saturday:

This is the pile of dishes waiting to be washed following Friday Bible study and prayer group that I host in our home each week.  I cook lunch for, pray and study with six of the most amazing women. The clean-up is very worth it!  On a photography note, the picture I took of my lovely non-dripping faucet was SO under-exposed that it ended up full of noise after tweaking the RAW file.  I was proud of myself for doing better with the exposure on this one!  (Yay for manual!)  Have a great weekend, friends!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Determined to Try New Things

I am reading a great book by Gretchen Rubin titled The Happiness Project.  Gretchen is a happy person who sets out on a year-long experiment to be happier.  One of her monthly challenges was to try new things and push her boundaries.
I was inspired.
First of all, I must say that for the most part, I am spoiled.  I am blessed with an amazing husband who takes care of SO many details in my life.  However, I find myself taking for granted and relying on (dare I say "expecting") his courtesy.
Enter the dripping faucet.
Following a kitchen remodel project last summer our kitchen faucet began dripping.  And it was irritating.  Everytime I turned it off I spent several seconds attempting to get the handle in the exact position that would stop the incessant plinking of water.  I think in the back of mind I just assumed this was a project for my Man.  (I know, I never would have made it as a feminist.)
But, wait...Here was a perfect opportunity to "push my boundaries" and try something new.  I would fix the leaky faucet.
And I did it!
It wasn't easy.  I googled "leaky faucet fixing".  I watched several YouTube videos.  I called the Delta faucet hotline (yes, there is one and they are pretty nice).  Come to find out, breaking through the mineral build-up on the faucet parts was the most difficult part.  Once all the parts had been sufficiently doused in vinegar they loosened up.  I found the parts that my research indicated were the most likely cause of faucet drips - the seats and springs.  I made a quick trip to the local hardware store, bought the parts and reassembled the whole thing.  I hesitantly turned the water supply on and lifted the faucet.  Water came out - but then that was not the original problem.  I turned the faucet OFF and guess what?  No more drips!
And you know what, it made me very happy!
Here's a picture of one of the last drips from my drippy faucet:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Schedule Change

Wednesdays are my busy day. 
The snow changed all that.
And it is beautiful.
The snow.
And the quiet.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I must begin with a confession:  I never thought I would be one of THOSE people.  What kind of "people" you ask?  One of those women with a "foo-foo" dog.  You know what I'm talking about.  Those cute little dogs that belong in purses and wear sweaters that cost more than people versions.
In September of 2009, our family lost our beloved Golden Retriever, Chipper.  We were devestated.  As the one who spent more time at home with the dog than anyone else, I quickly realized how much company a dog was to me.  Enter Spud. 
I knew I couldn't get another "big" dog right away.  I began my search on the local sales website.  Three days after Chipper died my amazing husband, who puts up with my crazy ideas, drove me to a nearby town to see this puppy I had decided was to be ours.  Spud was supposed to be a miniature Maltipoo.  There's not much miniature about him.  Especially concerning his fur.  The first Tuesday of every month he takes a trip to the Dog House of Beauty.  Here's a before and after from Spud's day at the spa:

We call him "Spud" because we decided he looked like a little tater tot (and my husband refused to go out in the yard and call for "Cinnamon"). 
So anyway, go ahead, make fun.  I am one of THOSE people with a silly, fluffy dog - who happens to fill a spot in my heart left by a one-hundred pound predecessor.
(Be it so noted that in my determination to notice the little joys in my life, I photographed a dog in the car.  Consider first Tuesdays of every month documented!)
I am hoping there are other animal lovers who can appreciate a good dog makeover today!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Beauty In Unexpected Places

One of the things I am determined to do during 2011 is slow down long enough to see the beauty in everyday things.  In an effort to begin getting back on schedule and because the dog had to go to physical therapy (a story for a different post), I got up early this morning.  I suppose we had what meterologists call "ice fog" last night.  There were these little crystals clinging to the roof of M's truck in the driveway.  The way the light shone on them made them sparkle like little diamonds scattered everywhere. 

See?  Isn't it beautiful?  Who knew?  Maybe I should get up earlier more often!

On another note, today I planned all of our family dinners for the month of January!  Woo-hoo!!!  New year here I come!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Determined to get the tree out - photography- Livingston, TN

I was determined today to get the Christmas tree out of the house.  The ornaments were starting to slide off the limbs and the lights haven't been on in days.  Also on my list was getting all the boxes out of the hallway and the screened porch (leftovers from presents and shipping packages).  This led to a bonfire in the backyard to torch above mentioned items.  Thirty minutes of sweeping pine needles and the living room is starting to get back to "normal" - whatever that is!

I am sure that tomorrow will bring more projects and cleaning and organization, but can I just say that I enjoy the rhythm of school breaks?  I am not looking forward to my kids being gone all day.  It seems that the days just fly by when they are at school.  I am reminded that my years with them are passing quickly.  God, help me enjoy the moments that I have with my family.  The moments may not always be picture-perfect, but they are from You and a blessing.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

What causes us to lose our determination?

It's a new year and the possibilities seem limitless.  On this day next year, what will I be thinking?  Will I have achieved the goals that feel so important today?  Will other things steal my time?  Will I let some things go out of necessity?  I find myself so determined today - to pray more, to be a better photographer, to re-organize what three weeks of kids and holidays have undone...Will I lose my determination to accomplish those things or will I run the race with endurance?

If dieting were high on the list of my goals for the year (it's not, thankfully), today would have caused me to lose that determination.  My Granny's house on New Year's Day is a definite determination killer!

What causes you to lose your determination?