I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.

20 Sep

RIP willie :: when a carnival fish dies

Posted in our family, pets, piper, random, taylor

23 Aug

2010 summer in review

As summer comes to a close and the girls prepare to start school this week, I thought I’d share some of the things we’ve been up to the past few weeks.  And please … if you think you lucked out of seeing my thousand-some photos of Ireland … think again my friends!  I will be boring you with those later this week.


We were supposed to go on a camping trip last week, but I begged asked CJ to let us just stay home and chill.  He agreed.

And although we’ve had some activities in these few weeks … we mostly have been pretty chill.  And peaceful.  Exactly the feeling I wanted to get out of this summer.

I’ll start off with mention of a fun afternoon with this sweet friend and her kiddos coming up to visit and swim with us for the day.  And would you believe we didn’t take a single photo!?

And … remember these little guys?  This summer, we turned our garden into a turkey-growing-pen … and then had a turkey-release-party to let them go into the wild.  We live on a lot of acreage and actually have other wild turkeys {naturally} on the property.  Anyway.  That was 3 weeks ago and they still won’t leave.  They sit right outside our windows and doors … I’m certain if we invited them to, they’d gobble strut right in!

Do you remember this post?  Well … we had this event a few weeks ago and it was nothing less than amazing!  I feel truly honored and blessed to have been a part of it.  A Friend in Need is an organization raising money to help an AIDS stricken area in Africa.  There are 63,000 orphans living on a mountain in the Swaziland area.  63,000!

The founders of AFIN used some of their images from Africa showing the poverty and desperation … and next to it was one of my images, contrasting the image from Africa.  It really helped tell the story.  We had an incredible turnout, raised amazing awareness, and were blessed by the funds received.

I can’t wait to see how God uses me next in this ministry … which just may include a photo session in Africa! ;)

Next up … a lemonade stand!  The girls woke up one morning asking if they could have a lemonade stand.  I gotta admit … I was so not in the mood, but agreed anyway!  And as per usual, I’m so glad I did.  The girls “designed” the stand by themselves, complete with a bowl of lemons and flowers.

We live on a pretty busy state road/highway, and it was nearly impossible to get people to stop.  Can I make a plea to y’all?  If you ever see a lemonade stand … please stop!  The girls were waving, hollering, holding up lemons … it broke my heart to see car after car just drive by.  Some would honk, some would wave, but most drove by.

We had maybe 5 people stop … we charged .50/cup … and the girls made 19ish dollars.  Math doesn’t quite compute?  I let them use my change jar to make change … so someone would give them a 5, they’d put it in their profit jar, but take the 4.50 change out of my jar.  Yeah … I’m sweet like that!

But the best part?  The girls donated their profits to this worthy cause!  So proud of them …

We didn’t end up doing too much crafting this summer … but something we did do and are in love with, are these little prayer books.  We had a linkup at MODsquad recently asking our readers how they teach their daughters to pray.  One particular linkup caught my eye and I couldn’t wait to do it with the girls.

I also really liked this post in using the letters of PRAY to help guide the girls as they’re praying.

We still have lots of pages to fill and I think this prayer calendar is the perfect next step for us!  But for now, they filled in some pages with people they want to pray for or requests they have for themselves {ahem … daddy, looks like one of your girls wants a horse!}.  You can download our printout here {sorry, girl colors only}.

I’m also excited to put together my own prayer calendar … I think it’ll really help me combat the weariness I talked about here.

I think one of my highlights of the summer was this s’more fest and outdoor movie night.  Have y’all seen these giant roasting marshmallows?  They’re almost as big as the candy bar!

We were all cuddled in pj’s and blankets, watching the movie … as it got dark and the 4 year old fell asleep in my arms … I couldn’t help but thank God for blessing me.  The smell of Off and smoke in her hair as I gently kissed her head.  The Big Dipper above us … the kindling embers behind us … if that’s not a feeling of peace, I’m not sure what is.

One sad end of our summer, was the loss of our beloved Ariel.  We got her as a fluffy {Newfoundland} pup … Taylor was just 4 year old.  Her breed is known as the “gentle giant” … and that described our Ariel to a tee.

Ariel was the sweetest girl … she loved water, she loved our girls, and she loved her sibling dogs {we have four others}.

She’s been sick the past couple of years and extremely thin.  We just couldn’t keep any weight on her.  We found out this past summer that she had had some kind of parasite in her system, but we never knew about it.  It ended up being something we couldn’t get rid of.  That wasn’t necessarily the cause of her death, but I think it certainly was a factor.  The last couple of weeks Ariel had gotten weaker and weaker.  And the last few days, she could get up anymore or move.  We talked to Taylor and decided it was the best thing to let her go.  It all seemed to happen so quickly.  We decided around 4:00 Friday night and by 5:00, it was done.  We were able to have a vet come to the house … God forbid, but if you ever find yourself in that place, I wouldn’t recommend it any other way.

We fed the girls dinner and turned on TV.  They were occupied, so had no idea what was going on.  We went around to the other side of the house and had Ariel outside.  We prayed over her {at CJ’s urging} and held her as they administered the injection.  Ariel was terrified of storms, and just as she was passing, thunder clapped in the distance {honest}.

We told the girls the next morning and planned to bury her in the yard.  They didn’t want to see it happen, but we all went out and said a prayer at her burial site.

Yesterday morning, I brought the girls into church with me {they’re usually in their own classes} and when a call was made to come up for prayer, the girls wanted to go up and pray for Ariel.  And last night at prayer time, Hunter informed me that we’re going to pray for Ariel every night from now on.

Just another sweet reminder of the power of prayer and faith.  I couldn’t be happier that my girls have that foundation to stand on.

Sweet Ariel … we’ll miss you girl …

{Taylor & Ariel decorating the Christmas tree. Ariel’s wearing a santa hat :: 2008}

{Wynter & Ariel at the swimming pool :: 2007}

{Piper & Ariel at our lake house :: 2007}

I pray you all had a blessed summer … were able to feel some peace … spend some chill time … enjoy family, friends and sun!

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Posted in family photos, our family, random

25 Dec

merry christmas & happy new year!

Each year, I put together a year-end video for CJ’s holiday program.  This is basically our year in review … in photos.

We’ll be heading south of the border for a little R&R, and not sure how much I’ll be blogging while gone.

It’s funny … I always feel a little like I’m letting my “readers” down when I don’t post for a couple of days.  And had recently expressed that to my sister … fully expecting her to say, “oh no, you don’t have to post everyday.”  Instead she says, “I know … I always feel a little sad when you don’t have a new post.”  Thanks sis!

Anyway.  That being said, I may check in here and there … but that’ll just be bonus right?  ;)

Merry, Merry Christmas everyone!  And if I don’t check in before New Year’s … I wish you the happiest and most blessed ever!

Posted in christmas, movie, our family

16 Oct

have you heard the news?

exuma bahamas

We’ve decided to take a family sabbatical to Exuma {in the Bahamas}!!  I am beyond excited … it’s been a dream of mine for the last twoish years.  I finally decided, we. are. just. doing it!  Enough with the excuses!

You could do a category search here on my blog {there are too many to link} to learn all about the treasures Exuma holds for me.

How long you ask?  A whole month!!

And as you can see … it’ll only cost us $8 smackers!  :)

When Wynter had a travel unit at school and came home with her “ticket” … I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to share my news with y’all!

As excited as I am … I’m feeling a tad nervous as well.  You know in that “the thrill is gone kind of way?”  No?  I’m being silly you say?

I know … but let me explain.

There is nothing to do there.  Nothing.  The place is deserted!

Sounds like heaven you say?  Well, true, it is.  And there is nothing better in the world than spending time there … in paradise.  For a week.

But for four?!?  Will we get bored?  All over each other?  Cranky?  Homesick?  Sunburned?  ;)


{rainbow from the dock by the house}

I’ve talked to all the girls teachers and they’re all on board.  In fact, I have an on-slaught of teacher conferences starting shortly and we’ll be going over everything we’ll need to work on with the girls while we’re gone.

I seem to always have the best intentions … which seem to always find their way to the wayside.

But my intention is to spend every morning after breakfast doing “school.”  I’ve already brought down some educational games and things we’ll need.  And I’ll be heading back in a little over a month and plan to bring some more things down.

I feel super blessed at this opportunity.  I know, and don’t take for granted, how blessed we are.

My husband’s family has had a house here for the last 20some years.  My husband also works mostly from home.  I’ve sold my business.  The little girls are … well … little.  Taylor’s school is super understanding and allows for online work.

How can we not take advantage of this opportunity?

Tell ya what?  I’m grabbing it by the horns and running with it!  You would too … :)

And I can’t wait to tell you all about it … share my little piece of heaven with you.


{view from our backyard}

But for now, back to reality.  Although, not that mundane!  Miss teenager and I are off in a few hours for the bright lights, big city of NYC.  A little mommy-tay-tay get away … can’t wait!

Happy, blessed weekend to you all!

Posted in exuma, our family, vacation, wynter

21 Sep

behind the lens!

It was our turn to get behind the lens!  I’d been fretting for weeks about what we’d wear to our session {I promise to post on my yummy finds soon!} and couldn’t wait for it to get here.

I enlisted Marianne Drenthe of Marmalade Photography to come up for a visit … we headed over to the property I’ve been photographing at this summer and had a great time capturing memories that, I know, will last me forever!

No pressure … but she finally posted a sneak peek on her blog and I had to share asap!  :)

Do you love my babies?

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Posted in family photos, our family