Thursday, September 8, 2016


Pin It
"Be careful of the thorns when gathering fruit and understand when it's time to prune."
-Robyn R. Rasmussen 
This simple statement should have been at the forefront of my mind when deciding to start a business.

If you are reading this blog you have likely become accustomed to reading blogs and searching the Internet for information while being entertained.  Innocently enough my quest for business began much the same way and found it's way out in the photography world starting and ending with photographing food.

Food in it's simplicity and still beauty was and is my favorite thing to capture in pixels. Preparing a beautiful dish and then hunting for dreamy sunlight brings me joy. Sitting on my bigger behind for eight hours a day diligently editing for looming deadlines of holiday cards and high school yearbook deadlines does quite the opposite in the way of my feelings.

Photography to make money is like convincing yourself that sugar-free syrup is delicious. It seems totally possible, as the deep amber liquid flows from the bottle. It is sure to bring a sweet delicious calorie-free morsel to your mouth and then you place the first bite in your mouth it's believable. Then suddenly you get the after-taste. The slightly tangy, distinct, non-syrup, non-sweet taste clings to your tongue. You convince yourself that maybe the next bite will be better but it just never does. Eventually you get used to the unusual taste and decide that this is just the way that having pancakes calorie-free will have to be.

Year after year I was really good at forgetting the bitter taste and digging in for another calorie-free bite only to realize once again that things have not changed. Photography is just as challenging and unexpectedly hard year after year, season after season. Perfection only complicated this process as each year I held myself to yet a higher standard of skills and offerings. And much like diet food in general, my family was not buying it.

On the flip side of dieting you have exquisite four course meals at a five start restaurant in Chicago that you dream of dining at one day. There is an elite list that you desire to top. Soon you find out that topping the list means reaching high goals, long hours and sacrifices.

As I have grown in a deeper understanding of where God has placed me in this fading world I have realized that my focus as a Christian was less than Christ-centered. It was business centered with a Christ flavor. The original focus of my photography was to glorify God but in the quest to make things make sense I lost my footing. Rewarding were the smiles of a mother who has dealt with loss and then watched me photograph her new baby daughter or the gentle reassurance to the mother of a six-month-old when telling her that I would be praying for her as she was up in the night. Rewarding was revisiting children that I have known since babies and now documenting their senior year.

The moment it changed was the moment it was my sole career. I spent hours being encouraged online to make money doing what I loved. And the simple of idea of making money was what brought it all downhill. Money took control. The dollar trumped my family, my values, my weight, my health and most of all my faith.

Finally, 3 years down the road I began to realize with the still small voice of God that I was not on the path He had intended. I was wandering further and he was ready to help me gently turn back. And it was almost overnight that I decided to sell my camera and quit the photography business. I have not turned back for a moment. It has been beautifully rewarding and worth every moment.

Do I love all those clients and experiences that I had along the way? Absolutely yes, I loved every minute of it. Did I get carried away in my quest to make a greater salary? A resounding yes. Where do I go from here? I'm not sure. It is a work in progress. For now, I am focusing on my family and taking photos with my iPhone.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

First Snow of the Fall

Pin It

I have to be careful saying first snow of the year... because quite honestly we have had plenty of snow early in 2015. Drawing closer to the Thanksgiving week and kickoff to the holiday season we have been given 8 inches of heavy wet snow. And the family could not be happier!

I was supposed to be sleeping in because I work overnight tonight but much like a kid on Christmas morning I hopped right out of bed and ran out to take some photos of the first snow of the fall.

Our dogs, both Pitbull and Springer Spaniel mix, adored the snow and could run in it for hours. The tiny little puppy ran in circles with snow up to her belly and she didn't mind a second!

The older the boys get the more they enjoy it. Once they dug the snow pants and boots out they were able to completely dress themselves, a HUGE improvement from last year. And, when they went out they were happy to play for over an hour.

As I watch my boys grow I am so excited that we are at this stage in life. Memories in the making!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

PB&J Popcorn: A Healthy Game-Time Snack

Pin It
Looking for a healthy football season snack?

Stove top popcorn is a favorite in our home and I thought it would be fun to change it up to make a new flavor. While in Target the other day I found this amazing berry chocolate and started dreaming about PB&J creations I could make. With five ingredients and a couple of minutes I made a yummy and healthy snack.

1/2 cup Popcorn kernels
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
2-4 Tablespoons PB2 powder
1 Teaspoon sea salt
4 squares berry flavored dark chocolate.

Popping Popcorn On Your Stove top:
Place coconut oil in a medium pan with lid on medium heat. Once hot, add the popcorn kernels and heat, covered until you hear it sizzling. Then, leaving lid on, shake the pan as you hear the kernels popping. Remove from heat once you no longer hear kernels hitting the sides of the pan. You must continue to move while on the heat in order to keep the popcorn from burning.

Add your seasoning:
Transfer to another dish and sprinkle the PB2 and sea salt over and mix thoroughly. Then spread out on parchment paper.

Add your toppings:
Heat dark chocolate in microwave until melted for drizzling. Spread the popcorn and drizzle over the top.

I have also been known to spread the popcorn out on a baking sheet and sprinkling M&M's and marshmallows on top before sliding the mixture into an oven at 350° until the marshmallows are browned and puffy.

The seasoning is lightly PB flavor with just a kick of berry sweet chocolate. Enjoy your hint of PB&J popcorn!

For more healthy snack tips and ideas you have to visit this page

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Meet Rosie {Our newest adopted puppy}

Pin It
We have soft hearts over here. Our girl Daisy was adopted into our family 3 years ago and we just adopted a new baby girl puppy we have named Rosie. When I find out that these sweet dogs are headed to the pound we just won't let it happen. It's really a great lesson on spaying or neutering your pets. Quite simply, while we love both our girls to pieces, they both were products of neighbor hood dogs running around without being spayed or neutered.

I'm not bashing the fact that the families who had these puppies because I know that the surgery does cost money and it seems like a fun idea to get a random litter of pups. However, we made sure to save up the cash and spay our Daisy as soon as we could and we are happy we did so.

Now for the story of how we fell in love with Rosie.

Meet Rosie a mix of Pitbull and Springer Spaniel

Monday I hear my back yard neighbor telling me she "had a puppy for me". I actually thought she was joking because it's not a typical line to hear. So I moseyed over to find the cutest little baby girl puppy. I fell in love instantly. 1. because she is cute and 2. because she looks to be the identical mix of breeds as our girl Daisy. Clearly Pitbull mixed with what looks to be Springer Spaniel. This sweet little puppy has kind eyes and a little spunk to her step. She instantly warmed up to me and I was hooked.

My husband got home from picking the boys up from school about the same time. I  wanted to have the same effect on my family that the neighbor had on me so I simply told them "I have something to show you". I didn't tell them what. I knew that as soon as they would see her we would have to take her home with us. I was not wrong.

Our neighbor had also grown a bit attached so I wondered if she would be willing to let her go. The story is that a neighborhood family had a litter of pups and another girl in the neighborhood had taken our puppy home. When she got home here grandfather refused to let her keep a second dog. So, they took it back to the home of the mommy and pups and were told that they could not take it back. Now we had this puppy with no home and so my neighbor took her in to care for her for a couple of days until she hopefully found a home. Sadly without that kind neighbor and our family she may have ended up at the pound. (Which absolutely breaks my heart!)

My neighbor told us to think about it overnight. She did not want us to make a decision based on emotion without weighing out the pros and cons. We discussed it at quite some length but my husband knew that I had already made up my mind.

We have been visiting the idea of a bearded dragon for months now. We have visited pet shops, watched YouTube videos and talked with many people who have had them as pets. However my eight year old son is just  a bit on the young side to handle such a responsibility. I have never had reptiles and was a bit turned off by the feeding and cage cleaning. But, I will say beardies are the cutest little reptiles that may still find a way into our home in the future. But the child who was sold on getting a beardie chimed in "If we get the puppy I won't keep begging for the bearded dragon!". We explained to him the amount of work a puppy is but he was also decided.

The next morning when I woke up I was excited as a little kid on Christmas. I rolled over and told my husband. "I want that puppy." And not more than a couple of minutes later my youngest son walked in and I asked him what he was thinking about with a big smile on his face at 6am. "That puppy".
Mommy and Rosie. 

The wait for my neighbor to come home that day was the longest wait ever. As soon as I saw her I ran over and told her that "I want that puppy" and I'm hoping that you haven't decided to keep her! :) She was overjoyed that I had decided to keep her because our family was perfect for this puppy.

I had explained to my boys that the neighbor may keep her and that we had to be ready to accept that as I dropped them off to school for the day. Then my husband and I picked up the puppy and brought it along in the car line for school pick up. The reaction when they saw her on my lap was priceless.

After we finished our happy tears we took a couple of pictures.
Rosie curled up on mommy's lap.

Yes, he was so excited the picture was blurry and the seat belt was incorrect. We made sure to fix that before we left the school parking lot. :) 

Full of happiness and excitement we went and picked out her first collar and leash as well as getting her a couple of fun new toys and a metal collar tag for making sure people know she is ours. And then it was home again to help big sister Daisy warm up to her new little playmate and sister Rosie.
Ezra loves his Daisy! He calls her "his girl". 
I was not worried about Daisy and her reaction to the puppy. She is a very gentle mannered and kind dog. Our little Ezra did tear up when he realized that "Daisy wasn't the only girl anymore". We have been very careful to give Daisy all the regular attention she loves and encourage their friendship.

Checking out the new toys.

We all had a great evening together playing and cuddling. We even had a successful first day with only one "half" pee accident. Over all I think that Daisy is pretty excited about her new baby sister.

 Daddy & Daisy in their regular cuddle spot with their new visitor. Daisy shared her space nicely.

While we always have a little bit of homework and dinner to make we still found time to play with our sweet new girl! 

The first night went pretty well. Mommy slept on the couch next to Rosie's kennel and I had the alarm set for every two hours to be sure I woke up to let her go potty. Well, Rosie made sure I was up every 1 1/2 hours instead. She had a very good night of going potty outside and then settling right back in to her bed. 

First thing in the morning Alex was happy to take her outside for her morning potty. Although he had to learn how to manage holding a wiggly pup and hanging onto a leash while opening the door. 

Mommy then had her first successful day at work with coming home every 1 1/2 hours to let her out to potty and play. We set up her kennel to face Daisy's kennel so they won't be lonely. I have noticed that now Daisy doesn't whine when she hears me come home if she has the puppy facing her in her kennel.

Last night went much better and we have settled into a nice routine. We do feeding 3 times a day, water when thirsty, play for 1 hour and sleep for 2 hours with the exception of nights when we sleep all night with potty breaks about every 2 hours.

I'm sure you will be seeing more adorable photos and videos as well as some puppy training woes. It's much like having a newborn at home without going through the labor. We couldn't be happier and love our little family so much! 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Why Should I start Blogging? A mom's candid response to her blog of 5 years

Pin It
It's hard to believe this blog has been around for 5 years now! The things that this blog has done for me is unbelievable. I went from a mom of two little guys who just wanted a "hobby" to a blogger turned photographer turned back into mommy. :)

I stumbled upon the world of blogs while hanging outside the bedroom door of a baby boy needing to settle himself back to sleep. I remember clearly rocking my sweet baby to sleep and browsing online for anyone else who may also be forgoing sleep to tend to a baby. Fast forward 5 years and that sweet baby is now 5 3/4 years old and in school. Yes, my baby is in kindergarten and my oldest is in second grade. While I am thankful to have a bit of time back to myself I begin to miss the noise quite easily. Hence the fact that I'm revisiting this blog after being on hiatus for the past 6 months or more.

Blogging has been an interesting animal for me. While so many people have turned blogging into wonderful careers I have not seen that specific journey play out in my life. I remember furiously typing up the newest post complete with just the right photo and spending unhealthy amounts of time just to get a post out. I remember the pressure of completing just one more post to drive the numbers up. Boy do I wish I had a big "blogging" sister to whisper a gentle "slow down" in my ear.

When you look back you realize that things slow you down when they need to. Now, as I take my faith much more seriously I realize that the Lord was gently nudging me in the direction he knew best for my life. When you have to wait for your husband to complain about the amount of time spent on the computer or you have your two year old watching cartoons just so you can blog, you have a problem.

I'm a serious believer in everything happens for a reason. Especially when you are faith-driven you can look back at an entire string of events over a couple of years or a lifetime and see a bigger force than your mind is able to grasp. My string of events was mommy-hood, blogging, photography business started, marriage problems, a come-to-meetin'-with-Jesus, new-found excitement in the Bible followed by a realization that each day is a gift and writing about it with others could be a form of ministry. I told you it was a string of events! :)

With all that being said, I am seeking the Lord in prayer as to just what I need to share on here. If it's an easy family recipe to share with your neighbor, a word of encouragement to share with a young mom or just an outlet of worldly stress unloaded, my prayer is that it all be for the glory of the Lord Jesus.

Well, that's my reason for starting a blog... what is yours?