Tuesday, April 28, 2009

kasey's photo challenge

People often times ask my why I take so many pictures. What on earth do I do with all my pictures? Isn't it a hassle?

I have so much to learn regarding my beloved little canon.....& would love to one day take a class so i can throw a term such as aperture around in my everyday talk. I think capturing the little moments in life and documenting them on film has become my most favorite hobby. I can spend hours a day editing photos, printing photos, just perusing them, recalling the events surrounding them, framing them, and even painting them.

I want to remember life's fleeting moments . I want to chronicle our days. I want to have a tangible record of how much I love my girls and how flippin crazy i am over my hubby. I want them to feel beautiful.....that whether they are dressed in a beaded formal gown for a pageant or pony tails and ripped jeans just walking on the beach....that I treasure each moment I have with them. When Caroline is running the fields flying a kite and giggling, when Savannah is cheering in front of hundreds of football fanatics, when Madison's blue eyes dance in the sunlight, when Emi builds a sandcastle.....I love each of those little moments and each of those girls so much. I think they feel a sense of pride when they see me pull out the camera and know that whatever they're doing , i think its wonderful enough to capture.

I think photography , as many important aspects of our lives, takes time and a commitment. It requires making an effort to sometimes stand back and enjoy whats going on around us while attempting to freeze us in that particular moment. It doesn't mean everyone needs to look just right or that the photo has to be taken with a $2,000 camera or fancy lens, but just a heart that's set on taking it all in, absorbing right where we are.
Kasey is having a photo challenge and has several ladies have joined in....go check out their captured moments!

Monday, April 27, 2009

~~berry goodness~~

Strawberry pickin time is here!!
We're fortunate to live very close to a great berry patch, where for years I've taken the girls out to pick berries. We usually come home with at least 3 gallons to make jam ( which makes cute little gifts) and load up the freezer for year round yummy berries to add to smoothies & salads.

These are all oldie pics taken pre-digital camera days but i love them anyways.

~Its best to pick berries first thing in the morning while the berries are cooler.
~Don't wash or remove the caps until you are ready to use them
~When freezing them whole, hull the strawberries and place on a cookie sheet. Once frozen you can transfer them in a freezer bag. Once they are frozen they shouldn't stick together.
~If you plan to freeze your sliced berries in cereals or desert toppings, add a tablespoon of sugar per cup of berries. Let stand for a few minutes until they become juicy, then freeze. If you plan to use the sliced berries in jam or other recipes later, do not add the sugar.
~Let your berries thaw in the frig. You may add frozen berries to recipes.

Strawberry- Poppy Seed Vinaigrette
2 cups hulled strawberries
6 tbl lemon juice
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
1/8 tsp poppy seeds
using food processor, puree berries until smooth. add lemon juice and sugar and process until well combined. with machine running gradually add vinegar and oil in a steady stream. process until blended. stir in poppy seeds.
this makes a wonderful vinaigrette thicker than most. serve on a salad of mixed greens with grilled chicken or steak. i love to add brown sugared almonds and blue cheese!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

living in the moment~ an inspirational story

I stumbled across this story today.

I don't know that i have ever heard a more tender story of bravery,
unconditional sacrificial love,
& the joy of living your life to the fullest --each moment.
The link i have is actually from snopes which a longer version of the story.
I urge you to take the 120 seconds it will take to read this.....

Personally, I pray I learn from this story....that i take to heart the lesson from this beautiful bride ....that i learn to not live a life wrapped up in fear (which i struggle with frequently) ...
that I take each day as a blessing & live it , out loud, to its fullest blessing.

you must click on the words/text to go to the photo essay
...then click the little bubbles at the bottom of the page. )

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

~happy earth day~

~ Happy Earth Day~

Just know that even compared to the majesty of Mount Rushmore,
the amazing view from Niagara Falls,
the delicacy of an unfolding tulip,
the gentle sound of a wren's song,
and the amazing miracle that ocean knows just how far to go
...He loves you much more than all those.

How precious to me
Are your thoughts O God!
How vast the sum of them
Were I to count them
they would outnumber the grains of sand.
Psalm 139. 17~18

Friday, April 17, 2009

Treats for my senses

Between mid February and the beginning of April, we celebrate 3 of our 4 daughter's birthdays, Valentines Day, my birthday, our anniversary and sometimes Easter sneaks in there too.

My sweet guy is truly a most romantic man....he puts great thought into gifts , hides a multitude of cards throughout the house for me to find & usually sends a few in the mail too. He always way out gives me.

So, not being one who can appreciate a surprise, a couple of days before my birthday my curiosity was about to kill me...what had he done this year?

The whole tanked economy issue & our depleting stock portfolio combined with the fact that we really need a new dishwasher ( snore) and our pitiful carpets
( that truly wish they were hardwood floors)
are in dire need of cleaning,
I was hoping he'd play it down
......... oh , who am i kidding...

so i was busily trying to guess what the gift was.
my only hint was " I wanted to buy you something you would never ask for.
I wanted to buy you something you'd never want to spend the money on for yourself"
Well, that could easily have been the dishwasher.
why would i ask for one of those or certainly spend the money on one--right?

He leaves the room & comes back in with a large silver box from Nordstroms.
This clearly isn't an appliance
I open the box and take in the most amazing aroma.........italian leather.
I then see the Dooney label on the bag.....oh my....
inside was this beauty!!

I buried my face in that dreamy brown bag of perfection
" It smells incredible!! just like a horses stable!!! I'm in love!"
He looks at me a little bewildered---" a horse stable? do you mean a horse saddle?"
"yes --yes--that's it!! of course!! a leather saddle"
( see, i have this whole inner-cowgirl thing going on)

Oh my, let me tell ya girls
I have never owned a fancy bag but he has created a monster out of me now. I am so in love with this--
I do apologize
i realize this post is horribly materialistic
but just picture my vintage dishwasher and a home with shabby carpet
& you'll be slapped back into my real world :)

Will she always smell this wonderful?

Is it like the aroma of a new car--intoxicatingly wonderful for a few weeks and then slowly fades away?

As if that weren't enough to send me into a blissful state of living
he also bought me one of these
in yellow if you were wondering, with a great speaker dock for my kitchen
I love to have music on in our home ( & yes i know, welcome to the 21st century) but i've used my cd player (gasp) and greatly tired of listening to radio talk and the same songs over and over...so now i have 586 of my fave songs on shuffle at all times!

and for more fun.. a gurglepot ~~ which makes a wonderful whimsical little gurgling sound--(truth be told, you too can play that little gurling sound if you open their site..what a riot...) as you pour water. surely this will help me drink those 8 8oz glasses a day...just to hear that cute little noise.

I sure do love that boy!!!

Have a happy weekend
I'll be the one listening to James Taylor, Elton John, Taylor Swift, Norah Jones & Keith Urban and smelling my gorgeous bag while drinking 64 oz of h2O!

ps--on a real life serious note--several of you have been so sweet to email me your thoughts and prayers for my precious father in law. He is slowly improving after having major organ issues ( heart, lungs, pneumonia, gallbladder, intestinal problems, enlarged prostate, and the list goes on). The cardiologist told him if he had 9 lives, he surely used 5 of them recently. His spirits are better and he is finally able to eat (its been a month with no food!). Sweet precious man , we are so grateful for you!

Monday, April 13, 2009

a little farmhouse full of dreams

I'm certain one of the greatest events in a friendship occurs when you are able to witness the unfolding of one anothers dreams
This past weekend I finally saw the brick & morter real life dream come true of my friend Susan.
a simply gorgeous yellow farmhouse

Susan was martha to me long before I had ever heard of Martha Stewart.
Susan can do anything.
Days after Gregg passed away, she showed up at my home to wrap hundreds of twinkly lights on my humble Christmas tree.
She has made clothes for my girls
brought over wreaths made of gingerbread
dozens of elaborately decorated sugar cookies ( from valentines day pooh themed to Christmas angels glittered with edible gold dust & drages)
she created my wedding dress & my wedding flowers
brought over pumpkins filled with pansies
& handpainted scuplted pinecone wreaths
invited my family for 17 years of Easter celebrations
ever the gracious host, always having time to chat with her guests and make each feel equally important

Despite that we are one generation different in age, we are both mothers of four daughters and each love our golden retrievers. We connect.

For years she spoke about "the property"
The place she would construct her dream home, host weddings and events , grow lavender, & witness both the sunrise and sunset from her bedroom windows.
Susan, thank you for sharing Sweet Grace Farms with my family.

" Breathe beauty , art, & love into this place
let forgiveness and grace have their way
hang garlands of mercy from the porch
your light will shine bright to strangers"

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

just like sisters

kristin, jami, me, & lori

this past weekend i had the long overdue pleasure of getting together
with 3 of my best friends , ever
jami & lori are identical twins & we've been close since 8th grade
kristin grew up across the street from me
each of us intertwined the other

we've been each others maid of honor
room mates
favorite friends

we've double dated together
spent endless sleep overs together
know each other secrets
run 1/2 marathons together

we shared dreams & disappointments
chips & salsa
16 years of easter celebrations
our children's accomplishments & our own failures
books, clothes, shoes & jewelry too

been there for the birth of babies
& the unimaginable burial of one
we even share the hopes of those babies yet to come

breakups & re-unions
bad dates & bad hair
always ready with a laugh and maybe a casserole
or even a piece of james avery jewelry if the times are really hard

silent tears shared at gravesides
when words can't be found
that only a lifelong friendship
can truly understand

kristin & i talk daily
usually more than once
while the twins, i may not see for months
but we pick up like it was yesterday

even though my girls have each other
i pray they are blessed enough to find 3 friends as wonderful as these

three finer women can not be found
i'm so grateful to do life with you
i love you each
(even if your hips are thinner & your teeth whiter~wink)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

i love the rain
i especially love a spring rain
something so purifying and healing to my soul.
to hear the sound , the smell it leaves behind, to the way the sky glows at sunrise just after the shower with all the majestic colors of spring highlighted like a watercolor painting come to life

its raining today & that's just fine with me

( i'll give you a heads up here--if you want a funny, light & carefree post you might just close this one now & come back later, sorry)

dan's sweet daddy is in the hospital with doctors running a gazillion tests trying to figure out what is wrong
today he's a frail 87 year old man but years ago he was a strapping man in the coast guard protecting our country
loyal husband married to the same woman for 50 years whom he buried 9 months ago
a gentle soul with wrinkles from years and years of wearing a smile & carrying a joke
first generation of Swedish immigrants to America
crystal blue eyes that always see the good in people
a servants heart that is currently struggling to find a normal sinus rhythm

he's lost weight from the current illness
he has iv's in each arm & a picc line that was placed yesterday
bruises up and down his arms from where his platelets counts were low
a horrific ng tube down his nose hooked up to suction,-probably the most barbaric medical tool i've ever seen ,because he has a blockage "somewhere"
oxygen canula in because he can't breathe well
he came in to the hospital in renal failure which they think they've fixed secondary to dehydration, from what cause...who knows still
with an enlarged prostate
now they think gallbladder issues
or maybe a blockage in the colon
his heart goes in & out of a-fib, a-flutter, v-fib and when it does he is confused & agitated
he can't move
he can't get comfortable
he hasn't eaten in days.....days
his mouth is dry
he feels bad for the way he looks therefore only wants us as visitors
& no one else
but he doesn't complain,
of course not
he survived the depression and is part of the greatest generation
of course he isn't going to complain
oh did i mention he had quadruple bypass 40 something years ago, so his heart is quite fragile along with "everything else"

despite all this his nurses say
"he's one of the sweetest men we've ever cared for
....what a delight he is"....
my point exactly

i must say , i think caroline is his favorite
maybe because they both have blond hair & blue eyes
maybe because she's so stinkin cute
or maybe because they just have a special connection , kindred spirits if you will
she's so tender right now worrying about her pop pop
her kindred spirit
and worrying about her daddy & how
he's doing with all this

these photos aren't related
i took them a couple years ago at "the tulip house"
on a cloudy day
just after it rained
god speed pop pop
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest;
keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year
Robert Frost