Friday, August 28, 2015

Camera



" Every moment and every event of every man's life on earth 
plants something in his soul.  "


The day Brandon was born...
was the moment my love for the camera was also being birthed.


I think most of us mothers rush out and buy a camera 
with the desire to capture every precious moment
and every milestone of our babies life...
even when they aren't so little any more.



Little did I know...
that the camera would not only become an appendage to my arm...
it would also become an essential instrument in comfort and healing.


Lord knows, I have dark and broken pieces in my life, like each of us do.
I prefer not to focus on it...but it's there...and it needs healing.
Life is difficult.


I have NO doubt that my strength to deal with the difficult days..
 and my healing comes from God.
So this morning as I was nuzzled up with Adam and my devotionals, 
and Scotty continued his attempt to chase all the shadows out of the yard...
I felt suddenly filled with a deep feeling of joy and gratitude.


As I snapped a few pictures in attempt to capture that feeling forever...
I felt the sudden need to pray.
I couldn't recall ever thanking God for
taking my hand
and putting a camera in it.


All of these years that I have been passionate about focusing on 
the good in each day...
I have never once thanked Him for the one thing that kept me searching !
My camera.


I used to spend so much time hoping, wishing and kneeling
longing for pain to be replaced by joy.
Wanting something to soothe the gnawing 
sensations around the edges of my soul.
Unbeknownst to me it would be something so simple .


Gradually I noticed that when I picked up my camera
I had to slow down...or be still.
I had to focus on life through the lens.
I became an addict !
I became more aware of the  little pockets of beauty I would have missed on the bestest of days...
and it became the way of which I could spot the light in my darkest of days.


Taking pictures kept me from worrying about things.
It kept me grounded.
I have captured some of my greatest blessings in these photos.

Each image has left an indelible mark on my soul,
as well as a layer of memories...


 a continuous thread winding through various times and chapters of my life.
There is so much more than what meets the eye.


These photos are filled with stories of gratitude, healing and hope.
There are chapters of confusion and heartbreak, 
beauty mixed with bittersweet.
There are moments of discovery and longing...
and most of all grace and love.
Thank you God for always giving me what I need,
and for showing me life doesn't always have to be perfect to be beautiful.

XOXO




Saturday, August 22, 2015

Rain

 It's always crazy and amazing...


that we get to be a part of this beautiful life...


and what we choose to do with our days .


Playing in the rain...it's simply about finding 
 happiness in the simple things. 
XOXO

Friday, August 21, 2015

Faith



This morning I was almost giddy as I took my coffee & devotionals
out into the cool,  morning air,  to savor my favorite time of the day.
The warmth of the sun the freshness of the breeze and the birds song...it just made my heart flutter !


I was sitting there counting my blessings and whispering a prayer of thanks...
when my thoughts suddenly dashed off onto a tour of my timeline.
I didn't fight to stay focused on my prayers...
instead...I took the tour.
I was whisked away to some highlighted defining moments in my life.
One of which I felt I'd like to share.
This is a little story about me...
and I'm not going to lie...
it's hard for me to open up my heart and not worry about being judged.
 Life isn't always good...
and as much as I try to focus and always capture the good parts...
I think it is only fair to share some of the less than good moments in my life too.


Lately I have been reflecting over where I've been, where I am,
 and the battles I fought to get here.
None of which I could have accomplished on my own. 

 I started thinking back...and as far as I can remember...
 I think I have always felt that there was something in control of my life...
I never remember thinking it was me.
Life just seemed to take me where it wanted me to go.
When I was younger I:
 Didn't know much about God.
Imagined that God was a mean punishing God.
 Was very insecure.
  Became afraid to trust.
Didn't have any direction.
Always felt lost...so followed others.
Trusted that others knew more about life than me.
Didn't know myself.


With that said... 
I want to share the story of when God 
became very real for me.
Let me just say...I tried hard to believe...
but I didn't know what I was believing in.
I tried to read the Bible as a kid...but honestly
when your going at it alone...
reading the Bible can leave you confused & scratching your head in disbelief.
So I turned to sermons, devotionals, and other books on spirituality.


I was determined to walk my spiritual path...and to find my own way.
 I listened, I read, I went to church.
 I became disciplined with morning scripture and devotional readings.
 I wanted to do the right things and make wise choices.
I was a single Mom, and I had a lot riding on how I handled things.
More than anything I wanted be a good example for my son.

Well....one day the reality of all that came crashing down around me.


I remember how scared and alone I felt.
I was caught up in a maelstrom of confusion and despair.
Life was hard, money was scarce and my pride kept me from reaching out.
I was at the end of my rope...and about ready to let the dang thing go !
I ranted and raved, (at God) I screamed and dropped a few F-bombs...
I did a face plant onto my bedroom floor,
and cried the ugly cry.
I threw a hideous temper tantrum 
 pounding my fists, feet and all.
Pleading...
begging (God) ...
to hear me and give me some comfort,
 some reassurance and some hope.


It was then ,...desperate to get through the darkness
I asked myself...
" What do I really need right now ?? If I could ask God for one thing...
what would I ask for ?" (because I was going to ask !!)

Then...I answered myself (without missing a beat...),
" What would  make me feel better, if for someone to walk into this room right now,
 give me a great big hug... and say... ' Don't worry !!  I will take care of everything for you !! ' "


That is when a light switch went on.  I felt like my eyes were just opened.
That is when God became real to me.

I DID feel as if HE had walked into the room that day ! 
And it was as if he wrapped me in his arms in a big God hug and said...
" It's about time !!!! Let me help you. I AM here ! I HAVE ALWAYS been here !! 
I have been waiting for you to hear me !
Now I want you to listen, and listen good...
' Don't worry ! I will take care of everything for you ! Trust me. ' "

It's been a few years since that day, 
and when my own ideas, strengths and desires fall apart...
and I crumble into his hands.
He comforts me, He makes me smile...
and He whispers to me...
"Don't worry...I am taking care of everything for you !"

Thank you God for always knowing what I need.
XOXO


" May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith...
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given you...
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love..."


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cartoon

This is one of my favorite pictures 
of our wedding day.

Brandon and I

This is my favorite picture...
only now we are cartoonie :)
It was posted on my Facebook today.
It made me smile !



One of Brandon's friends drew this.
I love it so much Evan ! :)
Thank you for sharing !
XOXO

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Honeymoon Part #1

Last week we decided to take a road trip.
No plans.
Just go, and do, and see.

I tried to get her attention...she finally looked up. She is blind in one eye.

We thought this would be our honeymoon...
but 
we propose that a few more honeymoon sessions are required. :)

Fog rolling in on the river

Our first stop was in Mountain Home AR.
to reunite with one of Gary's college/Vet. School classmates and his wife. 


They were very warm and welcoming.  
I was afraid I would feel awkward.
Instead I felt like a member of their family.
I love it when everything feels so natural...
and you can relax and really enjoy each other.

racing is their hobby. this is his car

We were invited to spend the night at their home
and happily accepted.
It gave us more time.
It was fun learning about their interests & hobbies.
Sharing stories of our families.
Sitting out under the ceiling fans on their deck until late night...
 sipping tea, listening to the tree frogs, and reminiscing over college days
and special times.


I enjoyed hearing the stories.
And sharing stories of my own.
There was plenty of laughter, and good humor 
and moments of sheer buffoonery. :) 

Breakfast

For breakfast we dined at the towns diner
and were introduced to some of the locals.

Vinegar pie...

We tried Vinegar pie !
We made it a team sport. :)
3 forks...one pie...count of 3...and go !
Gary, Marilyn and I...
dug in for the first bite ever.
*note to self
Next visit...lets make this a tradition.

 their rescue dog Casey and Gary looking at picture of classmates.

After breakfast we stopped by the clinic.
It was busy with rescue animals , boarded pets and exams.
The animal lover in me went a little giddy.
So many furry faces to pet and so little time. :)

The sorrel mare used to be a champion barrel racer...she is 37 ! 

I was a little sad when we said our good-byes.
It was a wonderful visit with new friendships being birthed...
and old friendships rekindled.
We left making plans to return
and I can't wait to see these
sweet, sweet people again soon !!


Back on the road we listened to music and talked.
I read books aloud.
We munched on Oreo's...
thin mints Oreo's...
lemon Oreo's...
none of which made it home...
other than some tell-tale signs they left on my poochie belly.
*sigh


We stopped to take pictures
and delight in the flowers and the butterflies.


We drove up a mountain,
and ate lunch on a cliff.

used book store

We explored small towns...
and quaint little shops.
We tucked away in a used book store and enjoyed searching through
the overcrowded shelves of
juicy novels while visiting with the shop-owner about the local culture. 



We drove down country roads.
And dropped in to visit my Mom .
The timing was perfect ! 
 My brother and his girlfriend were visiting too !!
I haven't seen him in two years, and I had never met his girlfriend.
So that made me so happy !!! 
It was good to have us all together in one spot !
*love


After a few days away, we really wanted to get back home.
Getting away was good.
Every minute in the car, spending time together, taking an intermission from 
our daily routine, whether is was perfect or not...
it was good.
It refreshes and re-prioritizes things for us.
Just what a get away should do.


But it is always good to be back home...
especially when Brandon and Bun are here.





'cuz when we are all together, it makes me happy...


and I want to soak up every second !!
His visits home don't ever seem long enough.
I still struggle with seeing him go.



And...our honeymoon...

Honeymoon : 
1.  A vacation or a trip taken by a newly married couple.
2.  The month or so following a marriage.
3.  Any period of blissful harmony.

...it will continue.
We decided to have one every month.
We will go visit more friends...
take some short trips...
or hide away at a quiet little cove to read aloud and dream.
We will find more ways to make the ordinary extraordinary...
slow down more and appreciate this one 
beautiful life we've been given.
XOXO


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Branson

Over the weekend we spent some time in Branson.


Gary was invited to attend some meetings, 
and it was a chance to get away.
We pondered the idea for less than a minute.
Time away is a luxury for us.


We walked along the boardwalk
savoring the live entertainment, and watching the people.
Young and old alike,were bouncing, swaying, 
and moving to the rhythm of the beat.
Some were really feeling it ! 
They just let go ! They were enjoying themselves ! I love that !! :)


Fountains gurgled and filled the air with a fine mist..
Splashes of color were reflecting off the water and dancing in the night.
Walking under the full moon & holding hands.
Sharing thoughts with my man...stealing little kisses every so often...
yeah ! It was dreamy ! *love


Saturday was a gorgeous day !
I had an appetite to explore and a
do-whatever-I -want-day !
With my camera thrown over my shoulder, 
and a few "essentials" 
I set out afoot, to investigate the territory.


I love old buildings and the rustic charm of downtown.
The candy store lured me in.
It wasn't because of my addiction for sugar...
but for the spark of imagination that
was triggered by the timeworn floor.
My mind wandered in thought.
What activities had garnished and chipped away at that one spot ?
If only the floors could share their story...


I tucked away into a couple of Flea markets.
Normally clutter makes me a little wonky...
but the jumble of antiques and keepsakes just beckoned 
my curious explorer side
to ...
well...explore ! :)


I discovered a few gems reminding me of my childhood.
Little finds that ignited memories of simpler times.
Games, dishes, music... all pulling at my nostalgic heart strings.
Bringing up thoughts of Grandparents, family, and  home. 


The strumming of a guitar and a gentle country tune
mingled with the gentle Summer breeze and the small town charm
warmed my spirit...
like a little God *hug.

I fumbled in my bag for something to give the entertainer.
I wanted him to know that he didn't go unnoticed.

I think the world would be a happier place
if more more people would stop and listen to the music...


appreciate the colors...


and delight in the simple things.


Bask in the gloriousness
of it all.


Be in the moment.
Let your mind wander.


Take time to escape routine,
and dream.


A little get away was like a salve to my weary soul.
A perfect combination of time alone to quench my wanderlust...


and time to have fun and  flip over my husband.


It was  just the fuel I needed !
XOXO

Dazzle

" Still, what I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled - to cast aside the weight of the facts and maybe even to float a...