A Couple Of Random Happenings And A Transformation

File this under “I Can’t Believe We Did That”: We knew we were having lots of extra guest at church this past Sunday (out of state friends were visiting one of our church families.) So, wanting to make sure there was plenty of food for our church wide meal, I made a huge bowl of homemade potatoes. That were placed in the microwave to be warmed up. And were then forgotten and they never made it back to the table to be eaten. Thankfully, we realized this after we got home and bless my poor husband’s heart, he went back to the church and brought them home. And I now have eight pounds of mashed potatoes in the fridge.

Can you freeze potatoes?

One other random happening: Our Walmart parking lot got repainted recently. The parking spots and white pedestrian lines are all super bright. I think it’s because they are nearing completion on the liquor store they’ve been adding to the main building.

Saturday saw lots of people helping us lay sod in our yard, front and back, as well as our neighbor’s front yard. In just under three hours our yard went from this:

To this:

There is some slight concern that my beloved is going to become one of the crotchety old men who yells, “Get off my grass!” now that he finally has a green yard. (FYI, the yard was not normally a huge brown square of dirt…that was from all of Rob’s prep work. He could just never get grass to actually grow in the yard no matter what he did so we just had patchy green spots and lots of weeds.)

It’s been kind of a sad process as every tree in the yard had to come down…two due to rottenness and my beautiful Bradford Pear was almost completely uprooted in a storm a few months back. Rob has been researching and plotting what kind of trees we’d like to plant next year though and in the mean time we spent all day yesterday working in the back flower bed and some time in the front bed.

Those two large rose bushes were transplanted to another spot along with one of the hydrangeas from the front. We’re keeping our fingers cross that they all survive the relocation.

I love container gardens and Rob agreed to using pots this year so we had quite the adventure picking out plants and pots at the Home Depot yesterday. What I learned? It is very easy to blow your budget and I have no sense of space when it comes to this kind of thing. I thought we would be cramming everything in to our little old garden bed. Rob laughed at me when I said that. He knows things.

Because we spend a lot of time outside we wanted to do as much as we could to deter mosquitoes so after doing some pinteresting I found out which herbs can be a deterrent to the irritants. Along with the Mexican Heather (one of my favorites) and the flowers we also planted some rosemary and lavender, both of which mosquitoes do not like. And since we like the functionality of herbs we also planted some mint and cilantro.

On the left side of the before picture of the flower bed you can see part of one of the two pots of the lemon grass (also a mosquitoes repellent) that we have by the gazebo.

We’ve a little more work to do out front still but we ran out of day light. For now I think we’re ready to grill, don’t you?


Living Life Without Complaint

I have a friend that, for the past ten years, has been the embodiment of all that a godly friend should be. She has been not just the hands and feet of Christ to me, but the heart and mind of Christ…she has been Truth to me and for me.

I found out Friday night that she is moving away.

I cried. Three days later and my heart still hurts at the thought and I can hardly stand it. I was sort of praying and sort of bemoaning her move when I realized I sounded like I was mourning her death. Like she was gone forever and never again would I be able to see her.

God granted some insight into that moment for me and showed me how foolish, indeed how ungrateful I was behaving. Is it a sad thing that my friend will not be here close by? Yes. But my goodness, I just face timed last night with another friend that moved to Japan three months ago! Susan will only be five hours away…we have phones, and we can text, email and even slap a stamp on an envelop and as old fashioned as it may be, mail letters to each other. I think we can even manage a two and a half hour car ride and meet up with each other somewhere in the middle of her new home and mine.

Is it sad that I will not see her everyday as we drop off and pick up our children from school or have the occasional breakfast together? Yes. But not only have I been given the gift of her friendship but I live in a time of great technology that will allow us to continue our friendship almost undisturbed.

The whole situation with my friend has shown me how spoiled I am to some very simple and convenient aspects of my life.

It’s like complaining about what a pain doing laundry is when I am doing it in the comfort of my cooled or heated home and basically tossing clothes from one machine into another. I’m not outside washing them by hand and hanging them on the line to dry. And I have so much laundry because God has been abundant in His provision for my family. Of course I have a lot of laundry…He has granted me five children!

Later today I will do my grocery shopping. Normally I can begrudge the process of picking food up off the shelf, placing it into the buggy, going to a register, unloading all the groceries, picking up bags of groceries and putting them back into the buggy so I can go out to my car and unload them from the buggy just so that I can get home and unload them from the car and carry them into my house and take everything out of the bags and put it all away.

But to complain would seem to despise the gift of having not only plenty of food to eat but the ability to go to a store and get a buggy full of groceries so my family can eat in the first place.

It would show a heart that is ungrateful. It is the same with my laundry and my friend moving away and any number of ways I could so easily find to complain. Instead I want to celebrate and rejoice over the gifts God has granted me for no other reason than He delights in doing so. By doing so I will be shining a light into a world dark with ingratitude and selfishness.

May you look for ways to celebrate what has been given to you by a generous Father who grants blessing and favor in big and small ways.

Do everything without grumbling and disputing,
that you may be blameless and innocent,
children of God without blemish
in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation,
among whom you shine as lights in the world,
Philippians 2:14 &15

And The Winners Are

Each year the school has an art contest and it really is fun to see what all of the kids, not just my own, come up with.

Claire entered her autumn collage she made in class at the beginning of the year. It really is lovely and she was so proud of it! I was rather proud of myself for not loosing it since she brought it  home in December. I sort of have a reputation for putting things somewhere “safe” and then not remembering where the “safe” place is.

The other three usually enter the photography portion…no surprise there I guess but I do not do much more than hand over my camera. I have a hallway that I think is going to become a gallery space for their pictures. They’re pretty good.

Abby actually one second place for her age division! I really liked it’s homey, almost folk arty look.

Sam also took a picture of Milo, who was being more cooperative as a model than Tom. Which is a bummer because Sam was hoping to enter a picture of Tom, whom the kids enjoy calling Tubby Tubs, so that the school would announce that the winner is Tubby Tubs which they find to be hysterically funny for some reason.

Although Tom Tubby Tubs didn’t have his picture entered into the contest Sam did, in fact win. He actually won first place and we were told that his smile was huge and his happiness with that honor was quite visible.

Emily didn’t place this year but she did put in two images. One she took when she second shot a wedding with me and a neat macro shot.

I really enjoy a good macro shot and this one up close and personal of a push pin is fun.

They all did great and we’re looking forward to being creative this summer. Only two weeks left!


Until He Returns

Rob had jury duty a few weeks ago. It was a major inconvenience with him having been out of town the previous week and him directing the school play.

Rob, convinced by conscience as well as having been admonished by the courts, did not discuss the matter with me or anyone else while it was taking place. But it was a hard case and it was clear that he was disturbed by it. When it was finished and his role as a juror was completed he still did not go into detail but briefly explained what kind of case it was. It was the kind of gross ugliness that, thankfully, falls outside of our normal everyday lives. The kind of gross ugliness that happens somewhere else but not here. Not where I live.

But that kind of ugly does happen in my town. In the city where I live people do horrible things. And horrible things are done in the city where you live. Probably in our own neighborhoods and right down the street from us.

We live in a fallen world.

We live among sinful fallen people.

We are fallen sinful people.

God’s timing and providence are amazing and I marveled at Rob being selected for this particular case after the sermon he preached on the eighth day of Easter.

John 20:21 “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

That was his main point of text. The Great Commission in sixteen simple mind blowing, life changing words.

He granted peace, gifted it, because He knew what we would encounter. The perfect, holy son of God had come and dwelt among us, the dirty sinful and wicked humanity that would demand His death.

Peace be with you.

The Father sent Him to bring light to a dark world.

Healing to a broken people.

Death so that life would come.

As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.

We are to bring light to a dark world.

Healing to a broken people.

Seek the death of our own comfort and naivety so that life, true life found in Him alone, can come.

That means sometimes we have to see the gross ugliness of humanity. Sometimes we have to know about the horrible things people do to themselves and each other.

It’s not enough to be horrified and sickened by the things that go on in our cities and neighborhoods and down the street. Wringing our hands and crying, “Lord Jesus come quickly” sounds great but it doesn’t really accomplish much.

We don’t live the Christian life so we can avoid the worst of the suffering brought about by the worst of the sins. We don’t live the Christian life so that we can avoid hell and go to heaven when we die.

We live this Christian life, if it is to be lived at all, so that we can declare with Him that His Kingdom has come. That there is forgiveness and healing. Restoration and reconciliation are what we have been called to do until He returns.

I recently read this quote on a friend’s facebook page: “We will feel our fallenness until the day we die. But the key is this: you and I keep coming. We keep fighting. Forgiveness is real, and grace is more powerful than anything in this universe.”

Would that we would boldly believe this…live this…in our families and in our communities.


I’ve got a project I’ve been working on. I had hoped to share it last week but the final part just isn’t coming together the way I wish it would. My sweet kiddos, specifically my girls, have been quite the troopers though and a few weeks ago agreed yet again to be in front of my camera. It was quite the adventure with the first couple of locations not working out…possible snakes in tall tall grass, gang sign graffiti making me think we should probably move on no matter how pretty the filed, a bee in the van, and wondering if we were trespassing. It’s never boring that’s for sure!

If any of you have pinned this kind of shot before know that the photographer worked hard to get it…I’ve learned that “blowing” face are pretty much the definition of a herp derp and not very photogenic and it’s harder than one would think to get a flattering shot. We had a good laugh before we deleted a bunch of shots and settling on this one being ok to keep.

Sam was with us and cooperated for a couple of shots too.

He doesn’t mind really as long as he gets to play Temple Run on my phone in between pictures.

I don’t do very many group shots of my kiddos. Individually we’re great. Small pairings can be fine too. But for some reason I can have the patience of Job with other people and their kids but a full on session with my five as a whole is stressful for all of us. I’m always mystified that something I have so much fun doing for other people is a hurry and get this over with thing with my own. I’m usually like, Hello? Do you guys realize that people actually give me money sometimes to do this? But about once a year we spend a few days talking ourselves into it and it usually works out. And the result makes my heart smile.

The First Week of May

The first week of May came and went before I could post my pictures but I did take them each day so here they are 🙂

May the first…

The second day…

The third day…

The fourth day…

The fifth day…

The sixth day…

The seventh day…

With school ending this month I kind of feel like the month is practically over already and it hasn’t even really started. I was once told that the days are long but the years are short and I am finding this to be very true. Hoping to hold onto some memories this summer in these monthly “first week” posts that will stretch time a little further.

The Wrong Way To Do A Gender Reveal

I love shooting for the same family over the years, capturing various major events in their lives like weddings and gender reveals, and newborn pictures.

It helps to have a strong lengthy bond with the family when you stick your foot in your mouth and accidentally tell the mama to be what sex the baby is before doing the actual reveal. And you do it in front of two friends that you’ve gloated to that you knew what the baby was and and they didn’t. Pride, indeed, goes before the fall. And man that landing is hard!

Thankfully the mama is one of the most laid back and gracious people I am blessed to be friends with so all was forgiven and much laughter was had. (Agh, you have no idea how mortified I was…I am, though!) But we still got some really sweet pictures of Daddy and big sister finding out so all’s well that ends well.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Psalm 127:3