Friday, March 13, 2009

More photos & some explanation

Well, we're consistent if nothing else. This semester, just moving into the trailer, re-doing the floor, painting all the rooms & building porches wasn't enough of a challenge for John & I. So we added two dogs, a new shop and college to the mix. John is keeping his full time job at the bank & pursuing an MBA degree in the evenings. We're very blessed because Texas pays for veterans' tuition & fees, and the bank is paying for all of his books. And I'm also back in school, non-degree seeking, taking a photography class with my sister & her mother-in-law. It's a wonderful class & the reason you're seeing more photos on the blog. I've been shooting in RAW the past couple of years and while I love the flexibility the format offers, I never seem to get around to editing & printing my photos. I've learned so much about photography & photoshop in this class, even though it's very time intensive. I'm also doing my second Beth Moore study, Esther, at our church with my mom.

I'm betting that a lot of you have already done a Beth Moore study but if you haven't I cannot urge you to do so enough. I put off doing one too - it just seemed like a lot of time. But the payoff is great - I've learned so much about God, the Bible and myself through these studies, as well as getting to know some wonderful ladies. Even though most of the ladies at our church have already done some of the earlier studies, I want to go back & work through them myself and borrow the videos from the church.

This little guy was sitting in my front yard the other day. I was running back into the house to get mom to call the vet for a sick cow but had to stop & take a picture.

We had to do a fashion photo for an assignment - they really wanted us to do some high fashion poses from magazines but I went with a more rugged look because my model is such a handsome cowboy.

Everything's blooming out right now in East Texas - dogwoods, azaleas, wisteria, fruit trees, violets - it's my favorite time of the year. Right now it's 45 degrees & raining but hopefully I'll get more flower photos over spring break.

Sunset from my front door.

The view from my scraproom. It's the church where we got married. Some people think it's weird to live beside a cemetary but I say that it makes for quiet neighbors & John says it's the live people that you have to worry about.

Not a view from my house but one on the drive home. I photoshopped out the high lines - am so excited that I can do that now.

Look for photos of my backyard in weeks to come. Why my back yard? Because we signed the papers on Wednesday and construction starts on the shop, or Man Cave as John calls it, on Monday. We are so excited about this! I'm sure some of you are wondering why we're taking out a loan to build a shop when we're repainting an older trailer. Well, we can't build our dreamhome right now & since we're only planning on doing this once since we want to use the land Dad left me, we didn't want to build a 'starter' home. John's Dad gave us the trailer to use as long as we want so we're not under a rent payment but since we've downsized each time we've moved, we're bulging at the seams. John does a lot of handyman work on the trucks, on electric & plumbing, fencing and builds my stuff from wood - so we've got tools, wire, pvc, etc all over the place. Plus his Twilight bowfishing stuff. So once the shop is complete, all of that will go in it plus he's building me a storage room inside for all of my stuff, like Christmas decorations, luggage, etc. It is wonderful to finally be on our place, building the things we've dreamed about - God has blessed us so richly.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Just a few snapshots of what we've been doing:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Working on a virtue of gratitude

"We can’t blankly, inattentively, stumble through the day – mindlessly moving from one mechanical task to the next – and maintain habitual gratefulness.

And that’s what we endeavor. Not simply the feeling of gratefulness -- fleeting, that -- but the virtue of gratefulness – a lifestyle of giving thanks in all things.

The emotion of gratitude flaps about according to the weather. Obliging, sunny hours, and it basks. Stormy days and it hangs, limp and beaten. The vulnerable feeling of gratefulness falls prone to circumstances.

The virtue of gratitude, however, determines its own weather. Regardless of forecasts, skies or daily events, virtuous gratitude gives wholesale thanks. “In everything, give thanks!” The robust virtue of gratefulness rises above circumstances.

And the virtue of gratitude necessitates vigilance. We’ll have to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ."

From A Holy Experience (I wish I could write this well)

We had a lovely Christmas and hope you did too. I'm very fortunate in my job in that I get a nice Christmas break and was able to spend a couple of days working on the trailer. We plan to be moved in this week. I was going to show you some photos of our New Years trip to Las Vegas but my brand new 8gig compactflash card failed, taking with it approx. 500 photos. I'm disappointed in the loss but grateful that we were able to take the trip, enjoying each other and John's cousin, Kim & Mitch, her husband. They were our gracious Vegas guides and a lot of fun. Fortunately we took some photos with John's Christmas present, a Coolpix, so I hope to share some soon. 2008 was a rough year in many ways but we're starting off 2009 on a better foot, with a lot of hope. A new dog, who is so sweet-natured and obedient, you can't help but love. A new home on our own land. A new start at school for John, who's returning for an MBA, and a photography class for me. I pray that your New Year is as hopeful as ours.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Well, the cards are going out pretty late this year. I had just about decided not to send any out but when I started receiving a few, they were so great that I just had to send out ours. If you haven't received one from us, I probably don't have a current address for you so send it to me, please. I realized that my address book is hopelessly out of date since everyone's moved so much the past year or two. Our cards that went out in the mail feature our last new address (hopefully for good). We're not actually living in the trailer just yet but we are receiving mail there, and hope to be moved in by the first of the new year.

One good thing about the timing of our cards was that we got to include the newest member of our family, Ace. He's a 6-month-old half-Lab, half-pointer cross and he's just awesome. John is just loving finally having a dog. We've only had him for about a week but he's already learning sit & fetch pretty well. John's excited to train Ace in bird hunting.

This is just a quick update, since I'm literally sitting in the car using the campus's wireless internet access. A more detailed update to follow shortly after the break.

A very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all of you! God Bless!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Because its never too early (and because I love free stuff)!

The nice ladies over at Cool Mom Picks have assembled a Safer Toy Guide for 2008:

Safer Toy Guide 2008

I've actually looked at their guides several times for ideas - they do the internet legwork for you and find all the cool kiddo stuff. Disclaimer: No, looking at this stuff does not mean that I are pregnant. But I do have a sweet little 14-month-old nephew, and several new baby cousins. The prices on this stuff is higher than Wally World but to me, these are more heirloom pieces that can be played with now and displayed later. Here were some of my faves:


This is a bit of a random post but I've been having some weird dreams lately and wanted to document it. We don't get out much - due to lack of budget or time, but apparently my subconcious has decided that I need to. And that I need to meet new people. In the past couple of months, I've dreamed that I've visited The Pioneer Woman, Miss Zoot and Mrs. Flinger. These some of the bloggers that I read regularly. While I don't share their views 100%, I value and enjoy their writing, their stories and their sense of humor. And I guess reading about their families so much lends itself to feeling like I know them - their husbands & children were in the dreams too. Of the three, I actually came close to meeting Mrs. Flinger when I went to Seattle for a conference but we couldn't get our schedules straight. Last night, I dreamed that I was leaving her house in Seattle & driving home to Texas and that I'd decided to stop in L.A. to see Betsy from AFC. I also went to Kuala Lumpur last night and was trying to take better photos of the twin towers with my D70 but the camera wouldn't work. Anyone else visited people in their dreams? Anyone? Bueller?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

A Beautiful Life

This past Thursday, John's mother, Pam went home to Jesus. She fought against cancer for 3 yrs and she was a wonderful lady.

How do you sum up a life in mere words?

I was privileged to know her as John's mom since the 6th grade, and as a mother-in-law for almost 5 years. The two things that people say the most about her is that she loved her 'boys' and she loved people. And she did. They sacrificed so that she could stay home with her two sons and raise them, and she never regretted it. She was so involved in every aspect of their lives - every school function, every ball game. After they both were in school, she worked some as a teacher's aide & substitute but she was still there all the time. She was the one who sat with family members when they were ill in the hospital. Pam worked hard to create a home that was beautiful and comfortable for the men in her life. Nothing meant more to her than her family, except God. Pam had so much that she planned to do here - Christmas, decorating her new home, traveling with Johnny - but she was confident and at peace that she would be with God in Heaven. She fought cancer with a positive attitude and kept her smile constantly. Most of my photos are of her laughing. Pam led a full life and she was a lady with a lot of class and a little sass.

Please pray for Johnny, his days are so empty without her; for her mother, Sue, who has already lost a husband & a son; for John & Chad, they miss their mama; for Uncle David, he's lost a sister; for the aunts & uncles, they've lost a life-long friend; for the nieces and nephews, Aunt Pam was always there for them; for myself & Jamie, she had so much more to share with us.

The days ahead will be difficult but I think all of us are clinging to the hope with have in Christ and the surety that we will all be together someday in heaven. I'm no scholar, but I can't help but think that we were not created to be able to handle death. When God made man & woman, we were not meant to be separated from Him or from each other by sin & death. So when we lose someone, the agony which we experience is because we know in our souls that this is wrong, that we shouldn't have to say goodbye, that our minds & hearts are not equipped to deal with this. That is why I don't know how people who don't believe can deal with saying goodbye because all that keeps me together is God - His strength & comfort. I know that someday, I will get to be with the people I love and that I won't ever have to say goodbye again.

I'm sorry for the things that Pam & I spoke of that we didn't get the chance to do together - hosting a tea party, shopping, planning for Christmas etc. But I think we can all be proud of the last few years - we have tried our best to not put things off, to be together with family whenever possible and "making memories" as Pam called it. And I hope we continue to take this mindset into the future.

Friday, August 29, 2008


My scrapbooking desk that John made was featured on Unclutterer today!

Unclutterer is one of the home/organizational sites that I check out regularly so it was a great compliment to have them include my desk. It's a compliment to John's carpentry skills too - he did a wonderful job on my desk & I love it.

Still no photo updates because we're moving out of our rent house (have to be out by this weekend) but the trailer doesn't have electricity yet. So most of our furniture is going in the trailer, we're moving into John's folks' new house and some things are being stored at my mom's. Insane. And did I mention that the newlyweds' house isn't finished yet so they are also living with John's folks. Hopefully the electricity will be hooked up soon but if Gustav hits anywhere near Tx or Louisiana, it could be months. So we'll be in a limbo state for a while. But we won't have a rent payment next month and I'll be sending out my last permanent address in an email soon.