April 21, 2017


Finally starting to use Lightroom for editing, I really like it so far. Major nod of approval to the smart people who designed that program. 

Senior pictures. :O)  
I wish I had all the time in the world for this kind of thing. More time for practice and improvement. Someday maybe. :)

Love you, dear!

March 3, 2017

The Right Kind of Dying

Just a bit of fair warning, today's post is a heavy one. I wanted to title it "Killing Myself", but for obvious reasons, I chose not to. But it probably would have been a proper title.
I think if we're honest here, most, if not all of us, have thought about harming ourselves at one point in our lives, if not actually killing ourselves. (If you are right now, please seek professional help, beyond your friends and family.) The first time I had thoughts like these, I was 11 years old. I was overweight. I was made fun of. Being of a rather sensitive nature, it left me longing to just...not be. Looking back, it's one of the experiences I'm most thankful for, as it made me a much kinder and more understanding person, but unfortunately, it wasn't the last time I would want to die. As life went on, for other reasons, there were times when I not only wanted to die, I wanted to give myself a painful death, because I hated myself that much. Life is full of "reasons", and they don't always have to be big reasons to be real ones. Sometimes we want to die because others in our lives have, and we didn't save them. Sometimes it's just because we don't feel appreciated, or accepted, or useful, or free. Right now I'm working with a friend who has about a million reasons to want to die, and she's tried multiple times to bring that about. I can't tell you, after losing my sister to suicide, how TERR. IF. Y. ING. it is to work with someone who's living on the edge of it. (And yes, she's also getting help professionally.)
So why am I bringing all of this up. I had a little personal breakthrough a while back, and I really wanted to share, because it might help someone else reading: I don't really want to die...I want to die...TO myself. I've felt, and thought, that I wanted to die, but it's not what my soul was really craving deep down. I've always known dying TO oneself is a good concept,  I've read this verse about 40,000 times: "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." (Galatians 2:20) but it's only been recently that my soul has caught up with my brain, in agreeing with it. I don't want Disney...I want Christ. It's what my soul has been craving all along, you guys!! I was unhappy, not because my circumstances were all wrong, but because I wasn't living my life like I was meant to: empty! Ha! How's that for an unpopular frame of mind. All my life I've heard things like: "You deserve more", when I needed to hear: "YOU ARE SO BLESSED!" I heard: "You should be treated better" when I needed to hear: "Humble yourself, like God did for you!" I heard: "Your needs aren't being met" when I actually needed to hear: "Focus on doing God's will." Not that having our physical or emotional needs met is bad, obviously, but it's the shift in focus that has brought me from miserable, to literally having to restrain myself from twirling in circles. We were never meant to live for ourselves, and I think that's a huge reason why so many of us are wanting to die.
Some of you might not be quite understanding what I'm saying right now, so I want to be clear, what I am NOT saying is: "If you're depressed, just take a Jesus pill and you'll be happy!" What I am saying is: I *know* something amazing: if you give "your" life over to your Creator, you will find the peace you're looking for, along the way. That's why He's asking you to do it. He knows you, He knows what you need, and He wants you to have peace. We've got to listen to Him!
I am still having ups and downs with this, I don't feel like twirling all the time. And it is HARD to die to yourself, my friends. The concept is easy, the execution is not always.

I would love it if you would ponder these things with an open heart.

Also, Sunday some friends and I are starting 30 days of prayer for my friend that I mentioned above who's having suicidal thoughts, I'd love it if any of you would like to join us! I'm even giving up coffee for the 30 days (oh my goodness, pray for MEEEE) which is purest form of love, right? ;o)

I love you, my darling friends!

February 22, 2017


Random things I am thankful for this week:

  • Presidents. Without them, I would not have had the day off on Monday. (And also, the running the country thing is a very nice thing for them to do.)
  • My bed.
  • Sticky tac. I use it all the time. What if it didn't exist?? Life would be so hard. 
  • My crappy car. You guys, our car is awful.  The paint is all coming off, the inside is literally falling apart everywhere. It's a tiny 2-door, so it's hard to get the kids out of, and if you bring two books and a lunchbox, there's no room for your feet. But! It takes us to all the places, and we don't have to walk! I'm so thankful for that!! It even has a heater so we don't get cold. Thank you, God. 
  • Larabars. Because when you can't eat cookies, and you want to trick yourself into thinking you are eating them. I'm glad someone makes them and packages them, so I don't have to!
  • Ace's nap time. ;o)
  • You

Love you :o),

February 20, 2017

Tenney Grant

Another new doll from our homegirls at American Girl!! (I'm going to have to rename this blog "Dolls & Stuff". I'm so not mad about that.) Her name is Tenney Grant, and she's a singer/songwriter who plays guitar, from Tennessee. It was tough to choose between reviewing this doll and her friend Logan-the first ever BOY doll from AG! I've always loved that American Girl was just girl dolls, but it's cool, I'm flexible with change. And he's actually so, so cute. They did a great job with him.
We were actually gone for the weekend IN Tennessee this past week at Winterfest in Gatlinburg with the youth group, and Tenney was waiting on the porch when we got home! It never gets old seeing that doll-sized box on my doorstep. My little 8 year old heart goes wild every time. :0) And God blessed me with a day off from babysitting and preschool teaching, AND perfect weather for a little photoshoot with Tenney, so we got out the horses and went to a nearby field. I love taking pictures you guys, even if it's just dolls. I'm so thankful that I have a camera!

Ok, so here's a little info for doll collectors who care about this kind of thing: Tenney is similar to Caroline's mold, but with freckles, a mole, brown eyes, and a hint of shimmery lip gloss. Her curls are looser, and a bit darker blond. Her hand mold is slightly different, to allow her to hold her guitar pick (cool!) There is no perma-underwear on my doll (thank goodness) but I did notice that the cloth on her torso is a different material than usual-a bit lighter weight, and more easy to see through, which gives it a (very) slightly less smooth look. Vinyl/hair are the same great quality as ever.

Thanks again, American Girl!! We are blowing you all the kisses!
Love you all,

January 24, 2017

New Dollies!!!! (And a Little about Racism...)

A while back, American Girl sent us their newest Beforever doll, Melody Ellison, which I was sooo happy about! I am always so excited and thankful when they send us a doll, but I had been waiting for Melody to come out especially, because I am obsessed with her!!! I was waiting for the perfect photoshoot to introduce her to you all, but I never really could find anything fabulous enough to showcase her. Oh well. She is my FAVORITE doll that AG ever made, other than Samantha, who will always be my spirit doll. Melody is from the 1960's and loves singing. Her outfits kill me dead. And her flippy little hairdo! ugh! :O)
A couple of weeks ago, they also sent me Gabriela McBride, who is the current Girl of the Year. I love her! She has the most gorgeous glossy curls. Gabriela's story is that she is into dancing, and all the arts, especially poetry/spoken word, despite struggling with a stuttering issue. I haven't read the book, but I'm looking forward to it! I kept seeing people say on instagram that she is the first Girl of the Year who is a "DOC". (Which I had to look up: Doll of Color.) A lot of girls were very excited to see themselves represented by a doll like Gabriela.

Melody has a short film available through Amazon, called: "Love Has to Win" which was pretty cute. And actually, more thought-provoking for me than I expected. Melody grew up in the 60's, when a lot of racism was openly showed, and it sort of told the unfortunate story of a young black girl having her eyes opened to that racism, yet overcoming it with love in her own way. It made me wonder what I would feel, as a young child, when I first found out that some people didn't like me because of my skin color, or anyone else who looked similar to me.
I do remember the first time I was told that racism existed. I legitimately thought my mom was kidding. As a child, I knew without a shadow of a doubt, that no one could ever be stupid enough to not like someone because of what shade their skin tone was. It just didn't make sense to me. It still doesn't. But as I grew older, I realized that it can be addicting to dislike people, and you can always find a reason to fuel that addiction. But one thing I will never understand: why skin color? Why is that the divisive factor? Why not hair color? Or eye color? Or height? Can you imagine if a redhead marrying a blonde made them a "mixed family"?? That would be ridiculous. A black person marrying a white person isn't a "mixed family" either. They're just a family. (Not that I'm offended by the term "mixed" necessarily, but you get my point.) How could anyone not think it's so pretty and fascinating that people have different skin colors? I vividly remember when I was about 5 or 6, while at the library with my mom, I saw an albino man for the first time. Full albino, with red eyes, his hair and skin seemed to be glowing white to me. My eyes must have been the size of saucers, and of course I asked my mom why he looked like that. I remember she just casually replied: "Oh, some people just have lighter skin like that. But it's pretty rare." She treated it like it was no big deal, just another beautiful person. I couldn't stop staring at him (kids are rude), but the only thing I was thinking was: "Man, I wish I looked like that..." Kids are smarter than we are about this kind of stuff. They only care what people look like if we train them to.

I'm about the last person on earth qualified to blog about racism. As the majority in my country, I've never had it pointed in my direction in a serious way. I'm not racist. I don't know anybody who is, because I don't hang out with people like that. But as a human, I am qualified to say this: Every ethnicity, every "color", ever type of human is beautiful, because God created them. If you are racist...knock it off. That's just stupid. I love you, so, stop it.

Anyway, so I love our new dolls so much! Thank you, American Girl, for making such an effort to make girls of every skin/hair/eye color feel beautiful and appreciated for their individuality. If you haven't already seen them, they sell "truly me" dolls on their website with a ton of different options for skin/hair/eye color, and I think that's so cool. You can even get a doll without hair, for girls who don't have any. Love it. We kept Melody, because I just couldn't part with her, but Gabriela found a new home with a friend of ours who wanted to get her so badly! Yay!
It feels so good to be able to share these beautiful dolls with girls who love them! That is, when I'm not feeling too greedy to part with them, haha. It's always a struggle!

Love you, beautiful friends!! Whatever shade your skin is, I love it. It looks perfect on you!

January 4, 2017

First Wedding!

My dear, dear friend flew me out to Washington back in October to photograph her daughter's wedding. Pretty much the best few days of my life! I've known the sweet bride since she was 11, and it's surreal to see her become a grown woman and wife! She met her husband on a European mission trip (swoon) and after the wedding, he whisked her away to Paris for their honeymoon, which I am still trying to forgive them for. ;o)

I've never shot a wedding before, and I loved it. Although space was pretty limited (and sadly, there were no outdoor photo options) I think they turned out beautifully, if I do say so myself. Didn't hurt that everything and everyone was insanely photogenic.
These are just a few of my favorite shots.  :o)

Ain't love grand! :o)
Love you,


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