Friday | I’m thinking…

sleeping with daddy-1
that this [missed] picture of  the Boy contently sleeping next to Daddy will always make me smile when I look at those sweet little six-year-old lips and the little-boy hand that isn't so little any longer.

And it will always bring the full vision of both of them snuggled there together, sleeping heads turned toward each other. If I could draw an imaginary line around their heads and hands, finishing it off with a point. You would see my heart wrapped around them.
On my way out of the house for a shoot, I tried too quickly to capture the moment; I had the 50mm on and didn’t want to disturb them as I held the camera high over my head.

I missed.

But it still makes me smile.

What friends are thinking today...

happy weekend.

Thursday | I’m Thinking…

even though he’s got the whole Smee-thing going on, that’s still just a nightcap on the top of his head.
Santa on a Pirate-themed vacation, maybe?
Just sayin’.

More thinking going on


I’m thinking there is still time to share your thinking.

Wordless Wednesday | I’m thinking…

The Guy I Dig-1
that the Guy-I-Dig is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Thoughtful Friends Below

Wordless Wednesday Here and Here.

Tuesday | I’m Thinking…

fork in the road-1
that sometimes a fork in the road is just that.
A fork in the road.

More Thinking Friends…
See you tomorrow.

Monday | I’m Thinking…


That I need to spend a lot more time right here.





Renewing my tired Soul.


Check out what my other blogging friends are thinking today.


Come back all week to see what we’re thinking.
And join us if you like.


What are you thinking this week?

For the Love of the Craft | Tilt Shift Photography

When I started moving back into photography a few years ago, I spent a lot of time experimenting in photo editing software starting with Microsoft PictureIt, then Photoshop Elements and finally professional versions of Photoshop.  But as, business and life took priority, I accidently left behind learning and experimenting with  my photos.  

As the Cardinals moved into the World Series last week, I remembered some photos I took while up in the top of the St. Louis Arch last Christmas. Photos that, shamefully, didn’t make it to my blog. But after recently reading a blog post about tilt shift photography (the process of making a life size image look like a miniature model) I was inspired to revisit them!

Cardinals Stadium
St Louis Tilt shift
Obviously, I don’t have a tilt shift lens, but revisited these images in Photoshop with a very easy tutorial that you can find here, gave them a new life that I love. I honestly think I took them with photoshop in mind - I don't get to shoot from this perspective often and I'm happy with how they turned out! You can see the originals here and here.

I’m going to have to go through my archives and see what else I can fake into a tilt-shift photo.

But that’s for another day.

Wordless Wednesday | Tea Time

Working from home can be challenging at times;  but when my paperwork is piling up, the deadline is looming and I start to get grumpy-flustered; it’s nice to walk up and see this waiting for me. “You need a tea break”, he says.

tea time

Suddenly everything is put back in to perspective.


Happy Wednesday.

They had me at “Fresh”


On our wedding day, I had promised the Guy-I-Dig that I would learn to cook – it was written down on the little index card that was clutched tightly in my joyfully, nervous hand – my vows {in addition to  traditional vows} that I read to him like a laundry list: I promise to always cheer for Florida State, I promise to laugh at all your jokes, I promise to learn to cook for you...
At that moment I think I heard a chuckle rise in unison from those sitting in the church who knew me too well, as if saying , “yeah, like that will ever happen”.

But let me clarify, I really did KNOW how to cook.

For the most part.

My mother was a great cook and had taught me a thing or two in the kitchen,  my brother is also a self-trained chef and I picked up some tips from him along the way.  And I love cooking.

Until I HATE it.

So skip ahead a decade from that day to four weeks ago today.  I came home from a long day at the office - tired, with no plan for dinner, no back-up… and NOTHING in the freezer to fall back on in a pinch.  An all too-common phenomenon in recent months.

I was in a bad way

I served up a nice heaping on the self-loathing, guilt and shame for myself; but that doesn’t feed the  family.  Although a quick trip to Del Taco by the hubby did.  {But let’s NOT go there.}

You see, I  STINK at meal planning…  and forget it if I don’t have a recipe in front of me for anything other then spaghetti!  I’m a rules girl – give me EXACT measurements, please!

So as I sat down and got online that Friday evening, over-stuffed from Del Taco burritos  - I stumbled onto a blog, that led me to another blog that led me to a website that moved me to a different website and that’s when I discovered it…  The Fresh 20. [insert angels singing here]

I really wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said the Fresh 20 saved my life! (Okay maybe just a little… but not much.)
I had checked out other meal planning services in the past, but they just didn’t capture me. I either didn’t want to pay the large  fee or I didn’t like the how the planning was laid out.  Then I would forget about the whole idea of pre-planning meals for the week and continue my fantasy of winning the lottery and paying a person to cook dinner every night.

But let me tell you when I got to this website, they had me at Fresh. It’s a clean, inviting website with pictures of beautiful food in the home page. [I LOVE pictures of beautiful food!] They offer Classic plans, Gluten Free and Vegetarian Meal plans. I love the convenience of the shopping list that breaks down the items by what day they are used and an estimated price. The menu page includes a prep guide that can be done ahead of time and then the recipes for 5 days.  All this for a great LOW price! Best of all, REAL ingredients, REAL food, no short cuts.

I had been CRAVING, I mean CRAVING!,  more vegetables in our {my} diet. We had become so sloppy in recent months with our eating – not UN-healthy,  just not healthy enough.  And with the exception of an occasional roasted asparagus, vegetables had been reduced frozen green beans or corn. 
We have moved into our fourth week of planned dinners, the Guy-I-Dig darts into the kitchen excitedly asking, “what’s for dinner tonight!?” Harrison has tasted everything, complained less and eaten more plus I have been completely stressed-free in the kitchen, even enjoying the process of  shopping for and preparing my fresh ingredients for dinner.

In fact,
I think I LOVE cooking!{again}

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Eighty {+ One}

August 8, 2010 would have been my dad's 80th birthday - had he lived a full life. Wow, that is hard to believe. As it is, he passed away, far too young, two days after my birthday and only one day after his own birthday.  I realize that I don't talk about my dad much. It's not for lack of thinking about him; it's just that - it really has been a lifetime.

The anniversary of his death quietly comes and goes each year on the tail end of my own birthday and I admit, I tend to not be the type to dwell on anniversaries of deaths. But the other night my son asked me questions about his grandfather and I owe it to him to record what few concrete memories I have left of my relationship with my own father.

The funny thing about memories is that as we grow and age our memories become memories. Those childhood memories I had are faded and blurred themselves; like a mist that I once walked through, dimly real, yet not tangible.

So what is left of that little girl's memories in this grown woman's body? Fragmented moments in time, like little chunks from an 8mm movie reel or a stack of well worn, much loved postcards capturing images of long ago... pieces of what was once.
  • My dad chasing me around and around the house until I was hysterical in laughter, giving him just enough to stop and hide then jump out to scare me with a "BOO!" only to finish with a hug.
  • He was a carpenter of sorts, he BUILT me a doll house, a play house and a sand box - I remember faintly going with him to a rock quarry to pick out the sand.
  • I remember how he took the time to fix up an old swing set, that came with the house my parents purchased, with red & white candy-cane stripes and new swings. I was very reluctant to let that swing set go when my mom updated it a few short years later and can even still see the monster-ish trash truck crunch and bend the candy-cane poles in it's large iron jaws.
  • I loved going to his appliance shop with him and playing with the neighbor kids behind the store, or playing hide-and-seek amongst the appliances.I sometimes wonder what happened to those kids.
  • He served in the Air Force and took pride in serving his country and I was so proud of him. I wanted to marry someone in the Air Force.
  • I loved having my birthday right next to his.
  • My dad loved children and children loved him. He was an only child and wanted a big family even though it wasn't meant to be. 
  • I found out later in my life that he went to school at night, studying to become a History Professor. He loved history and I now understand where Harrison and I both got the same love and curiosity for history.
  • I love that he loved my mom more than anything in this world and that he asked her to marry him the very night they met.
  • I'm thankful that when he swerved to miss a dog, but hit a tree on their honeymoon, God wasn't ready to take them home that day.
  • I love how my dad absolutely adored his in-laws and that they loved him like their own flesh and blood. My grandparents lived on a fairly nice sized parcel of land and offered to give our family a few acres to build and live on; but my mom didn't want to love deep in the hills of South Dakota. Sometimes I wonder where would the road have led had our family taken that route?
Fragments and pictures are all I have had for so long that as I read through this post - trying to express what is left of a little girl's experience with her father, I find my words here fragmented and disjointed. Albeit, I'm leaving them here because they are all a part of who that little girl became... of who I am today.

And I'm happy with that.

So no, I don't talk about my dad often, but do I think about my dad, I love him greatly, I miss him always, I wish he were here. I wish he could have met my prom date when I was a teen or attended my high school graduation, walked me down the isle on my wedding day or held his newborn grandson in his arms. I have wondered what my life had been like with my dad in it. What direction the road would have taken. But I don't dwell on those thoughts long.

I just don't.

All The Rage..

A few months ago I discovered it’s a perfect platform to make and keep inspiration boards - without a gazillion bookmarks that I never seem to refer back to again. I can pin my own pictures, inspirational photography, pictures from yummy recipes, of home decorating, crafting ideas – you name it. I love it.

my pinterest close up

You can also browse and re-pin images from other Pinterest members. 
Such was the case last month, right before the Fourth of July when I stopped by one afternoon and was greeted with ONE very popular pinned picture. 

Apparently some pins are super-uber-popular…

most popular pin today
I can honestly say I didn’t follow suit by pinning it; but then I don’t think I’ll ever have a problem finding this picture again.
As for the person who made this image, I’m pretty sure they are feeling the LOVE! 

If you are want to know more about Pinterest, Megan over at SortaCrunchy (I love that name because I’m sorta crunchy- but not…)  wrote a post on the beginner's guide to Pinterest.  And if you want an invite, leave me your email in the comments, I’ll send you one.

BTW, I have started responding to comments within my comments (does that make sense?) Because it’s the best way I can respond quickly and efficiently. Something I should have done long ago when I had more than three readers; but hey. I’m moving forward from here!
Happy Wednesday!

Crafty Tuesday–I Don’t Need No Silly Sewing Machine!

So the sewing machine is gone from it’s little corner of the dining room for a couple months now.  But that hasn’t stopped me from crafting from fabric.
It also has been no secret that moving was hard on all of us; but I’m a believer of making lemonade out of lemons. At least I try…  Along those lines, I needed to make something cute and cheery for my circa 1970’s kitchen (I am of the belief that the 70’s was  not a good decade in the way of Kitchen design… although I know there are some who love avocado green appliances). 
So to give my little 70’s apartment kitchen a little pizazz of it’s own (that doesn’t include the badly needed cabinet redux) I made more bunting flags – because they really make me happy.


Since I couldn’t sew them, I folded my fabric in half and cut triangles at the fold and then ironed double-sided fusing to the inside, I folded them over twine and ironed them again to seal them and they were ready to hang.

I love walking into the bright light of the kitchen and seeing those little fabric bunting flags hanging over the sink.



Redondo Beach Child Photographer | Crafty Tuesday - Only 39 More…

I had the pleasure of offering a photography based fundraiser for Harrison’s preschool this Spring (something that had been discussed with the parent committee since last year while Harrison still attended)and delivered 39 3x3 accordion books to the parents. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these little accordion books! I have three for Harrison now and I order them with a magnet closures which make them perfect for a mom or grandma to pop in her purse.


They were a HUGE hit and I plan to offer again next year.  Plus, a couple of parents have ordered additional books for family members from this year.


But… I wanted to add a little something to them, something to deliver and keep them in; but still cost effective since this was a fundraiser. I looked online and locally for a little bag to keep them in to no avail.

So what did I do?

I bought fabric in the color I liked and sewed not 10, not 27, but 39 little gift bags! 


The bags are so simple – just straight lines – I cranked them out within a couple hours including breaks.  And just in the nick of time, I might add, because  the day I started the bags the owner of my loaner sewing machine called and asked for the machine back .  Her four-year-old decided he was ready for a home-made cape! Can’t argue with that!

I guess it’s time to invest in a new sewing machine…


Wordless Wednesday | My Style

People often assume I'm this:

Although I always secretly wanted to be this:


in reality...

I'm this.

Just Sayin'

More WW here and here.

Crafty Tuesday

So a few months ago I had this eleventh hour, light bulb idea to sew gift bags for all of Harrison’s birthday party guests… not just make goodie bags; but personalize each one with the letter of their first name. Crazy. I know.

But they came out great and I only ended up with two extra. (Mainly because I didn’t want to take a chance on two people who RSVP’d “maybe”). Now I admit I am not savvy enough to come up with these on my own (let’s not forget my sewing machine woes) but I stumbled on them at Lovely by Design. And if you haven’t heard of Lovely by Design, go over and visit her (or her store) because it really is lovely.

I really wanted to make something that was reusable and personalized, something special for the day (especially since I had no control over any other aspect of a party at Chuck E Cheese) that could be used in the car or in some other way without quickly landing in the trash and off to the landfill.

 party gift bags web20110302-IMG_1250party gift bags-web-2

Inside was a pencil, mini composition book, a pencil sharpener [because I can’t tell you how many pencils we received this year!], Trader Joes fruit bar and a couple other small things.  They were a hit and really fun to make!

Oh, did I mention I made 27 of these puppies!!

Happy Crafty Tuesday!

Not Even the Crickets Stuck Around

I know, I've been absent, too absent. Even the crickets stopped chirping and the spider webs dissolved from neglect. (can spider webs dissolve?) Let's just say all signs of blog life had diminished.

But I came to the root of my problem!

I no longer have a laptop. It won't even start. 
This isn't new, it has been over a year since it's last big hurrah.

Yet that, my friends, is what truly started the downward spiral of my blogging existence. I try, really I do. But when I spend all day on the computer for everyone else, by the time I sit down to compose the blog post to go with the pictures I took, or share an experience or thought...  We'll let's just say it gets ugly in my mind's eyes.

Even now, I'd rather go eat hand fulls of Pringles chips rather then sit at this desktop another nano-second and type. Although that sofa over there is looking comfy...

I want my laptop back!!

What is even harder to believe is that Winter and Spring both blown through since I last blogged; and it's not like nothing is happening around here. On the contrary, much has happened, and I want to share, I will share.

I just want to tell you from the sofa.

Redondo Beach Portrait Photographer | Creating Beautiful Music

Kelby Bruno has an incredibly beautiful voice and a mighty love for God. We met during MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) at our church; she is one of those few people that make you feel at home – like an old friend - from the moment you first meet her.
And true to that sweet spirit she exudes, I felt immediately loved and embraced. 
Kelby Bruno
So I considered it a privilege when she asked me to help her with her latest album.
Not only did I provide the photography for her; but I actually took on the task of the CD case layout. Wow, what an experience.
Kelby Bruno Just Add Color PhotographyKelby Bruno Just Add Color PhotographyKelby Bruno
Not so bad for my first official CD case layout. Not sure I want to start doing them regularly; but it was a great experience and it gave me an opportunity to use my gift to bless a very talented person who uses her gift to glorify God and bless others. And I’m all about  giving God, my maker, the glory.
I encourage you to check out Kelby’s music here, it’s well worth it!

Me and You

To the Guy-I-Dig,

On a warm, Spring evening 13 years ago I got a message on my machine about a job offer. I didn’t call you back right away because I had accepted a different position and who were you to call me months after I applied anyway? (yah, I’m groovy like that some days.)

Only you weren’t who I thought you were. I found that out when I finally called back to be polite and let you know I wasn’t interested. That’s when I found out you were calling for a completely different reason – because my friend had referred me to you and, well,  I had forgotten.

We hit it off on the first phone call.

Then I met you in person, you were handsome – I could see that right away – even through the sunglasses and ball cap.
Oh, and I how had this thing for ball caps!
But what threw me was when I shook your hand,
it was like… MAGIC.

Every corny movie, every annoying spoken cliché {that I so hated} came flooding in at me like a tsunami and I immediately dismissed it. Then, the next week I saw your eyes for the first time. Your captivating, beautiful, green eyes.  And my heart skipped a beat. I can only assume that must be the “I knew” moment people often talk about.  Only, I’m a skeptic.

But God knew.

Me & You

God knew the only one for me was you.
…and 13 years later you are still the only one for me. I love you more than ever and I’m So Happy {we’re} Together. 

And boy, am I glad I called you back 13 years ago.

the girl-you-dig

New Every Morning

Last year was a wash, really. Only I didn’t become conscious of  it until one week into 2011.


I almost coasted through the holiday season illness free. [Unlike last year when I spent over two months with one infection or another.] But then it happened. The day after Christmas I felt it – a  tightness in my chest, an inability to breathe deeply; within days I was antibiotics for walking pneumonia.  And we were out of town. Ugh.

As it goes, the {bed}rest required for recovery gave me ample time to read, ponder and pray… Only that light bulb didn’t go off in my head until I was almost well again. Right about the same time I had an epiphany about my year.  I blew it.

True Story.

When the light bulb turned on in my head as the epiphany was still ping-ponging back and forth between my ears, I picked up my devotional that evening and it started with Lamentations 3:19-23.
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; how great is Your faithfulness.
The original translation I read is from “The Message”. It reads, “I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope”. The words hit me. I read them and reread them; and the impact of the words rushed over me like an open floodgate. Hitting bottom. Not like an alcoholic or drug addict would; but rather, over the previous months I had slowly, quietly shut down and/or sabotaged a parts of my life over and over again.  Ouch.


I knew 2010 would be a challenging year yet I started out in a sprint forward with hope and perseverance. But I soon lost speed with disappoint, bad news, loss of friends & loved ones and… FEAR. I took my eyes off the prize, I disqualified myself from the race, so to speak, and I didn’t even consciously realize I was doing it. It is very humbling to wake up and count the {really stupid choices and} mistakes you make (mistakes so easily avoided) and to admit that somewhere along the way you walked right off the path and kept on trudging along – the hard way. I’m not going to expound on the details of my journey through 2010 or the events that propelled me forward, some were posted here through the pages; but this year I believe I had more blog drafts than I had published posts. Another clue to a year thrown out of alignment.

It was no mistake you know…  getting sick with the one illness that makes me STOP.

Literally – Stop.

Obviously, that’s what I needed to see I wasn’t on the path I wanted to be. To see that I wasn’t fully trusting my Father in Heaven enough. To see that I was living through the fear of “what could or couldn’t  be” rather then living in the faith of  “what IS”.

My affliction and my wandering…yet the passage continues –

Because of the LORD’s great love
we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning.


NEW Every Morning.

Not once a year. But – Every. Morning.
No regrets.

Here's to a new morning. 

A Non-Traditional Newsletter…

For years I have sent out Christmas cards that often include some type of newsletter about our family - whether it be a tongue-in-cheek version set to the 12 Days of Christmas, Dr. Seuss or Barney; or a more straight forward, albeit short, version – I would put our year into words… counting the blessings.

But like so many, we have been affected by the recession and tanking economy and I often found myself looking at the ‘glass half empty’ when it came to writing  traditional Christmas newsletter.

Then as this year’s Christmas postcards slid from my fingers into the mailbox, I realized I was thinking of our blessings – about everything that went right. I hadn’t written about our year because I think I was still, personally, floating in murky water. I admit, I didn’t get everything accomplished that I wanted to in 2010.  Sometimes that just happens. It is what it is.

dreaming of vr1 final

What happened during 2010? We moved. A difficult move, yes, but now we walk Harrison to and from school EVERY day – rain or shine. A blessing. And Harrison started Kindergarten, he is beginning to read and is absolutely loving the entire school journey. A blessing. Big Brother started his SECOND year of college. Blessing. He finished his first year on the Dean’s List. Blessing. Business was much better for the G.I.D.(guy I dig). Blessing. I safely traveled by plane four times last year and although one time was to say goodbye to someone I love, it was still a Blessing. Because of social media, I was reacquainted with some dear friends I had lost contact with years ago. Blessings.  I got to take Harrison back to South Dakota for vacation (and a wedding). Blessing. We had a visit from old family friends from New Zealand. Blessing. The GID’s parents came out to visit us in October. Blessing. In turn, we were able to spend Christmas with them in St. Louis, MO. Double Blessing! Harrison got to experience snow on Christmas day, build a snowman, go sledding, have a snowball fight and make an snow fort! Blessings! I had incredible photography clients this year. Blessing. We have our health. Blessing.  A home over our heads and unfailing hope on our Lord. Blessing. Needless to say, we had countless opportunities to spend time with our friends and family throughout the year which is always a Blessing.

Each day we wake up to a new day - and I am truly Thankful. For Every. Single. Day.

christmas 2010 b&w

I hope this finds you well and [long after the craziness and stress of the season have passed] your holidays were filled with peace and joy.

Only time will tell what 2011 will bring. But I do hope one thing - that it will be filled with as many, if not more, blessings than 2010 held… even in the unknown murkiness of life.


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