Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Running the Race

Last week can be summed up in one word....busy!  I don't believe that much of anything around housework was started much less completed!  I had deadlines, meetings, appointments, etc.--all good stuff! Then, I left before the crack of dawn on Saturday morning for a half- marathon (13.1 miles) in Columbia.  It was a beautiful but windy day all over the south! The gun sounded and away we went. The first seven miles were amazing! I was running faster than I needed to be, but that was ok--I knew that there were hills and lots of them coming up around the corner.  Hills are not friends to most runners!  And, Child #1 was going to meet me with a few miles left and run me in over the hardest part of the course--if he remembered to set his alarm and roll out of bed! The race course finished a few feet away from his dorm at USC.

Several hours further south in Savannah, Ga., many of my friends were toeing the line for a marathon (26.2 miles).  One of my closest friends and running partner, Phebe, was there as well. She was going to be running with a dear friend of ours, Tom, from church. Phebe's husband and Tom's wife were going to meet them at mile 25 and run with them to the finish. 

My race finished up, and we had gone to grab a sandwich and tea for lunch.  While my friend, Ginnie, and I were eating, my cell phone rang. I saw that it was Phebe.  I knew that she had finished the marathon and would give me all of the details.  But, these were details that I never expected to hear.....ever. It's really hard to even type this a few days later.  Phebe was sobbing when I answered the phone. Trying to process what she was saying, I heard "Tom," "collapsed" and "not good."  Tom had been running with her and pacing her throughout the race. Tom is a faster runner than both of us.  He was not struggling with the pace.  He had prepared for this race.  He is a great athlete--runner and cyclist.  Tom is 58 years old and in amazing shape. At mile 23, he stopped to adjust his knee brace, and Phebe kept going. She turned to see if he was coming and watched him collapse to the ground. She rushed to him shouting for help....paramedics were 50 feet away. A nurse running the course stopped and stayed with her and prayed with her. They took Tom to the hospital in one ambulance, and Phebe rode in another. She called Tom's wife and told her that Tom had collapsed and was on the way to the hospital. 

Deep prayer filled our table at lunch miles away. I called my husband and our minister. I texted a friend who was at the race in Savannah waiting on her husband to finish. She was able to go to the hospital to be with them. Then, the phone call came from Phebe. Tom didn't make it. While running the longest physical race he had ever run, he completed the spiritual race of life. He literally ran into the arms of Jesus. Jesus was waiting for him at the finish line.

Y'all, we are all still in shock. All of our community. We know that God is good and has a plan and a purpose for us all. He also has a kingdom calendar. Tom has a new birthday on it now....November 5, 2011.  Enjoy every minute that God has given you here with your family and friends. We are not promised that all of our time here will be easy....we live in a fallen world. But, we have hope in Christ!  I would simply ask that you cover Cindy, Tom's wife and my sweet friend, and her family in your prayers. Also, please, please keep Phebe in prayer as well.

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on the day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."  2Timothy 4:7-8

Sweet blessings,

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

De-cluttering My Heart

I went to the hall closet the other day to search for wrapping paper. When I opened the door, several items came tumbling down....a single glove--no mate in sight, a winter hat from Peru, tissue paper for gift bags, etc.  You get the picture! I had to pull out the vacuum cleaner and look into the deep dark depths for my cute polka dot paper.  It wasn't there!

How many times have you been on the hunt for something, and due to your lack of not putting things where they belong, could not find the item needed? Any hands out there?? Mine shot up before I even finished typing that sentence! Mercy!

All of this to say that our hearts can become cluttered just like our closets, our mini vans, our garages.  Today in our Bible study, our teacher shared some insights as to this matter. We are studying With All Your Heart by Brenda Blankenship which is based on The Beatitudes and the Fruit of the Spirit. It's an amazing study that ties these together. I want to highlight a few points from today and get your opinions.
  • Our hearts can become cluttered just like out closets.  If they stay too cluttered, we tend to forget the sight and sound and fragrance of Jesus.  We're too busy to spend time with Him.  There's no room in our hearts for His presence.
  • We must learn to make Jesus the center of our attention, the focal point of all we do, the object of our concentration if we want to maintain a healthy heart.
I don't know about you, but I need, I desire a healthy heart!  "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8.  If my heart is not pure, de-cluttered, not focused, then I have a big problem! I will not see God!  I want to see Him everyday! I need Him every minute of everyday whether I realize it or not.  Do you remember that beautiful hymn, "Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus?"  It's one of my favorites! It is a great reminder of focusing on Him--on His goodness and righteousness.  He is the ONLY one who can clear our cluttered hearts.

Running to Him now for some de-cluttering!

Sweet Blessings,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Reads

Hellooooo bloggyland friends! Praising Him for some much needed rain this week. Also made interesting the laundry pile filled with muddy running clothes from my family and me! Can I just say that "Shout" is a great product?

With a little bit of photography money that I had saved, I merrily went online the other day and did some shopping!! Since I am a professed "bookaholic, " Amazon is on my "favorites" list! I received a nice little box in the rain yesterday, and it has felt like Christmas ever since!

There were four books that have been on my heart lately.  I personally know two of the authors--you might too!  I received {W}hole by Lisa Whittle.  She is just precious and so real!  Lisa spoke at our church a few years ago when we did one of her many Bible studies.  We all just fell in love with that gal!

Another book is Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman.  Emily is just darlin'!  I met her and her sister, The Nester, at She Speaks a couple of years ago.  Put those two together in a conference room, and it's soooo much fun!  Emily is an amazing writer and photographer.

If I Perish by Esther Ahn Kim is one that I heard about.....somewhere! I cannot for the life of me remember where!  Sad getting old girls!!!  This is a true story of a Korean woman who was imprisoned during WWII.  She remained true to Christ and shared God's love to so many others who were in prison with her.  She reminds me of Carrie Ten Boom.  Can't wait to get started on this one.

The last one is by a 22 year old girl from Tennessee who is now living in Uganda!  Kisses from Katie is an amazing story of trust and obedience from a Titus 2 woman who happens to be years and years younger than I am!  I have started this book first simply because a sweet little girl that I know and love will be meeting Katie Davis on a mission trip to Uganda after Christmas.  We may think that the world in which we live is huge, but friends, it is not.  It continues to grow smaller and closer together each day through technology!

Deep into a couple of great Bible studies for a few more weeks.  Then a moment of breathing and then delving back into the deep waters of His Word.  I love this.  I am in a good (but very busy) place. Glad that He is sitting right beside me each day.

No pics today. I have some senior shoots coming up, and cross country is winding down. Fall break from high school is this week, and we will do it again for my college child next week. I'll need to add a few more items to the grocery cart.  God is good.

Sweet blessings,

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Season

It's really sad.....so sad....when you have been away from bloggyland for so long that you have forgotten which email and password you use!!! Have mercy!!
I am here. I have a few minutes to share with you before I start the rice to go along with the roast beef for supper. I have a list a mile long of things that I need to do this week....but most all of us do!  So, what can I share with y'all this evening that's a bit different? Just a little bit of my heart.

I am digging deeply into His Word these days. I am making appointments with Him so that I don't get caught up in the busyness of life and forget about studying a little more of His grace and peace. I am in a thirsty time in my Spiritual Life.  I am taking a Bible study written by a friend of mine. I knew that she was an amazing prayer warrior, but I had no idea that she could write! She writes and speaks so that I understand exactly what He is trying to tell us.  We are comparing the Beatitudes (Matthew) with the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians). I can feel the spiritual water that I do so desperately need in this season of life quenching my thirst. He is there....I just need to obey and join Him. The other can wait.

I have been busy with my photography business! I love the joy that it gives me --seeing His beauty through the lens of my camera. And, I can share this with my clients. He has allowed me to capture some special moments this summer. From our mission trip to Peru to a beautiful and fun wedding to taking our oldest to college and seeing it through his eyes.  God is good!

So, with a full week ahead, I pray that you will take the time to spend with Him and see what He has in store for you this season.

Sweet blessings,

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Image of the Maker Retreat

Mercy. Runnermom truly did much running last week--on the highways! I was home a total of two days! First week of summer, and I did major traveling up and down the roads! But, that's ok! Had an out of town photo shoot (so MUCH fun!!!), then college orientation (so VERY expensive!!!), and then....a retreat! Just for me! I had no idea how much I would need one by the end of the week. My soul needed much filling, and the Lord was willing!

The retreat took place in a small community tucked in hidden mountains not far from Asheboro, NC. I actually did not get lost driving there. Amazing! And, I worked in a trip to Mary Jo's fabrics along the way! I have NEVER seen so much fabric in one location as was in this warehouse! I'll show you some pics of my next project--when I have a chance to work on it.

I went not thinking that I would know anyone....wrong! As I was checking in, my sweet friend, Lisa Whittle, met me with a hug! What a beautiful heart she has. I met so many lovely ladies with hearts so full of love for Christ. My precious roomie was also a runnermom! Some ladies were local; others came from as far as Texas and Michigan. We worshiped along with Christa Wells and Nichole Witt--they are SO incredibly talented!  We sang, prayed, and heard from the Word with author and speaker Ann Voskamp. Her message was for us to search our hearts and see what God was creating within us.  Are we using our talents in a way that glorify Him? Are we embarrassed with the gifts that He has given us? Do we have the courage to use and share the gifts that He has blessed us with to the best of our ability?  God gives us beauty each day---how do we attend to it?

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion a the day of Jesus Christ."  Phil. 13:12

Friends, Ann touched on so much more....things that I still need to ponder and reread in the Word. But one of the things that He stirred in my heart was my photography business. Am I using it in ALL the ways He desires? I have been struggling with trying to discern His will in one specific area. It's a scary place for me! It's not a moment where I can tell my client, "Wait a minute, let's do that shot again!" When a wedding is taking place, you have to  be ready and focused at all times! Friends, He has been placing opportunities in my path--which I have really tried to skirt around! But, God will continue to whisper to my heart until I answer Him. As Ann put it, am I willing?  Two years ago, He placed a precious friend in my path to encourage me to shoot photos for others--not just my family and friends. She even went as far as to ask me to contribute photos for a book of hers---her first. Scared?  Yes, m'am! Obedient?  Most definitely. Am I willing to say yes again? Praying....

Hope y'all enjoy some of the shots from the retreat! New faces and new friends! Many more pics--I'll share more later!

Me, Jess--the other runnermom and my roomie, TJ, Kristi, Carrie, and Lisa

Nichole, Christa, and Ann

Broken pieces that will become whole

Lisa Whittle and me! Just love this gal from Proverbs 31 Ministries!

 My other Lisa--I think I have met my match with the camera!! Too cute!
Sweet blessings,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Texting and Sweet Tea

Before graduation last week, Hubby's parents came up to celebrate. I figured that mine were having their own celebration in Heaven :). They came bearing gifts for the graduate, little brother ( they always bring them both something--too sweet!), and yours truly---my belated birthday present.

They brought Child #1 a new Bible for graduation. It's a beautiful leather Hebrew and Greek Key Word Study Bible (NASB). I love his new Bible! Runnermom may have to ask for this one at Christmas!!  My father-in-law is a retired Methodist minister, so seeing him in this picture flipping through the Scriptures is a familiar sight.

I collect Fiesta china! Love this stuff. I got hooked on it when we did a marathon in West Virginia at Marshall University a few years ago. It's made in that state, and it's sold at the WELCOME center as you leave Virginia to enter W. Va.! It's colorful and heavy duty.  We've not broken any yet! Plus....they make a gi-normous bowl that Hubby uses for his cereal each morning! Received another place setting for my collection.

For dinner, we took the family to a really cool restaurant in downtown Greenville. It was a Brazilian grill. We had a lovely cold bar and salad bar first. Then, the wait staff began to bring out a huge variety of meats on skewers that ranged from flank steak to pork tenderloin to bacon wrapped chicken (my favorite!) to fillet! Yum!!! The above red button would show that we were full and needed no more. On the other side, the green meant 'bring it on!" Runnermom's family walked out of there completely full!  Mercy!

Child #2 wasn't sure what piece of meat he was about to try!  Love that expression!

I looked down the table and saw this! Do they ever stop with the texting?? Granted, he was through eating, and we were waiting on the check,but....! Anyone else have this issue? Of course, my other one was gulping down as much sweet tea--which was very good!----as he could!

My mother-in-law is a hoot! She saw this huge motorcycle and had me make her picture beside it. I don't think she's quite a Harley woman---but you never know!!

Join me over at Sweet Shot Tuesday for more fun pictures.

Sweet Blessings,

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Day After

Sweet friends, as I sit and type, dark clouds threaten over the horizon. Thunder has been around for an hour. Child #2 is doing a happy dance---the first swim meet of the season may be cancelled before it starts! An opportunity to stay at home tonight? Be still and watch a movie? I would SOOOoooo love that!

Yesterday, Child #1 graduated from high school. It was a bittersweet moment. As "Pomp and Circumstance" played, I was a little teary-eyed and had the lip quivering thing going on.  But as the next wave of 100 children marched into the Bi-Lo center followed by the next 100 (500 kiddos, y'all!), the tears stopped, and I began watching the faces of the graduates. They had no tears--just smiles of joy and excitement! How can a mama be sad and lost in the 18 years of memories when the guests of honor are grinning from ear to ear! So, I joined the smiles and took a gazillion pictures!

After lunch, Child #2 began to ask (beg, actually!!) his daddy to take him to the DMV to try for his driver's permit. In SC, you can get a permit at the age of 15--I think that's crazy, but no one asked me! Either Hubby or I have to be in the car with him at all times. And, right now it's going to be Hubby! My little child makes Runnermom nervous!!

He practiced backing up and down the driveway first! He did not take out any shrubs or trees. Good!

Hubby was not nervous at all as he let Child #2 chauffeur him down the street. Total confidence in that baby boy!

So, what have y'all been up to?
Sweet blessings,

Monday, May 23, 2011

Good to Wow!!!

Hey, friends! Thank you for the sweet words about the quilt! I truly do appreciate it! More projects are underway here, but for now, I need to share a really cool "God moment" with you!

As we were going out of town late yesterday afternoon, my eagle eyed hubby spotted something on our neighbor's fence post. He drove slowly toward it and stopped to see our reactions. Y'all, it was a hawk! He was just perched on top of the post looking around his open fields. It was so cool! I grabbed my camera and changed the lens to a zoom because I thought he would quickly take flight. He did not! That critter just sat and posed for me to take 50 million shots! Wish I could say that about my boys!!! Oh, well.

Here is the before picture. I have done absolutley nothing to enhance the shot. And, this preditor was in full sun. So, the sun is filling my camera to boot. Can't wait to give this a try and see what happens. I will post my after shot on Thursday and let you see how it turns out.

I just hopped over to Jill's blog to link up with her photos this week, and oopsie! She has a great sooc (straight out of camera) challenge. It's using sidewalk chalk! Oh, well, I will just show y'all what I do with this critter on Thursday. But, for cool ideas and pics with fun chalk, go visit Jill!

Y'all have a great day!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Quilting 101

Each time I begin to blog, I start out with an apology as to why I haven't touched the keyboard in a while. Hmm.....I think it's called groceries, committee meetings, editing, planning graduation parties, planning birthday parties, church, substituting, running.... life in general! Sorry--once again! I have finally decided to just forgive myself and hope you do the same! You can catch up with my "exciting" life on facebook if I haven't blogged in a month or so!

One thing that I have been working on is a quilt for child #1' s graduation. Back in the dark ages, when I taught school 180 days out of the year, a wonderful parent volunteer made a quilt for my classroom. It was precious! She had each of the children paint their hand prints on squares, and she sewed them together for a lovely wall hanging. I believe in "paying it forward", so I too made small quilts for the boys' teachers when they were little. I loved doing this.

I have a tendency to save things. Maybe it's the teacher in me--who knows! But, I saved special t-shirts that the boys had worn from the age of 4 until now. I thought in the back of my head, "one day I'll make them a quilt!" Well, stacks of t-shirts moved with us for three house moves! My hubby kept asking if I really was going to use them!

In January, I pulled them out. I had thought about using the old-fashioned poster board template--like the ones I had used for the teacher quilts. But....these shirts were pretty big! I broke down and went to Wal-mart and purchased real, live quilting templates and a rotary cutter! That cutter is amazing!!!!! One cold  afternoon, I sat down in front of the tv and began cutting. And, cutting, and cutting. Two hours later, I had a stack of 36 t-shirt squares. I was a little impressed that they really were all symmetrical! Having the right tools does help the process!

I began piecing them together--the dining room table makes a great workstation! The pieces got bigger and bigger. I finally pieced them together and added the batting and the back. Whew! Now, in the middle of the project, my handy dandy 20 year old sewing machine died. It really did. It's in the trash dump! So, I borrowed a sweet friend's machine and completed the project. I finished the hand sewing before lunch today. So, yes, even Runnermom can complete a project that's been in the recesses of her mind for many years. That in itself is an amazing feat! And, I get to do it again in 3 years when child #2 graduates! Mercy!!

What projects do you have going on now? Or, what do you want to learn to do? Summer is the perfect time to start a new project. You may not finish it bythe time school starts in August, but that's ok. Just learn to forgive yourself!

Sweet Blessings,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Week

Tonight, our family will attend a beautiful and moving Easter service at church. The choir will sing melodies that make us dig deep into our hearts as we recall the Scripture that describes the Last Supper. We will strip the alter of the sacraments and file silently out the door as we remember what Christ went through after the Passover meal because of His love for us: the betrayal, the disciples who could not keep watch, the soldiers who arrested Him, the floggings and beatings. Friday night, we will again be reminded of all that Jesus suffered as we sing songs and see portions of the movie, "The Passion of Christ." Two nights that truly touch the hearts of Christians as we wait in expectation of Easter Sunday.

The cute bowl of colorful M-n-M's reminds us of the Easter holiday that is full of bright and colorful eggs and new clothes for church and fun egg hunts. There is nothing wrong with those things as long as you hold onto the Truth. If you really know your Easter story, I believe that the true color was black. It represented the darkness and all that was not holy on that Thursday and Friday. Everything changed after three days, but during that time frame....well, you know what happened.  Read Matthew 26-28 when you have time to remind yourself of God's perfect plan for our salvation.  We need to keep our hearts focused on the true meaning of Easter, just as we do at Christmas.

The new life that Christ gives to His own when we give our hearts to Him is beyond me. I just love my Savior! Praying that all of you have a blessed Easter and will take the time to sit at His feet and experience His Presence. What are your plans this week as you remember this story that promises us a hope and a future?

Sweet Blessings,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sweet Shot Tuesday

What a busy few weeks! I just want to thank you all so much for your sweet words and prayers for me and my family. Your love has been a joy to hold close to my heart.

We've been keeping with the routines of school and work and meetings and track--which is winding down very soon. Graduation from high school is right around the corner, and if I start that now, I'll need a box of kleenex! So, we're not going there yet! Mercy!

What IS on my heart right now is a mission trip that our family is going to be taking in July! With everything that has been going on, I was in the middle of planning a family vacation to Oregon this summer. It's a beautiful place, and the boys had some ideas of what they wanted to do (sand surf, eating,  rock climbing, eating, running trails, eating, seeing where legendary runner Steve Prefontaine ran, eating, etc.! ). Well, three weeks ago while hubby was out of town working, the Lord whispered to his heart. Not mine, but his! I received a phone call asking "What if instead of doing Oregon, we did the church mission trip to Peru?" I was actually silent--hard to imagine, but true! I was trying to get a grasp on this "new thing" while still working on plane reservations to fun and adventure. Well, God, in His perfect timing and wisdom, is growing this mission trip in my heart and the hearts of my boys. The day after Mama passed away, we were told at church that our family was "in!" There were enough spaces left. So tonight, we will attend our first Peru Mission Trip planning meeting.

Sweet friends, I would appreciate your prayers as we prepare our hearts for this wonderful opportunity. We will be in a place called Kimo which is over the Andes Mountains! There is a 10 hour bus ride after we land in Lima to get to the mission area. I will be finding prescription drugs for bumpy bus sickness! We will be helping to build an orphanage for street boys. As I gather more info, I will share it with you all. I am still in "trying to take it all in mode!" We are trying to get the long form of birth certificates so we can secure passports so we can go! Those cute little birth certificates that they send you after the birth of your babies is only good for soccer and baseball sign-ups! The little man at the post office will not accept them when you want to apply for the passport! Trust me! This is all new to this little gal who rarely travels! But, God has a plan, and I can't wait to watch as it unfolds.

I'm linking up with Sweet Shot Tuesday this morning. Come join us and enjoy some lovely pics today.  I also have a new blog! It's attached to my photo website under susanhoodphotography.com. Hop over and visit when you can. I did a shoot with a 12 day old and her beautiful family last week.

Sweet Blessings,

Monday, March 28, 2011

Compassion International Works and a Prayer Request

Hey sweet friends! Just wanted to share a few things with you. On Friday, I received my FIRST letter from my Compassion International child, Monica! I was thrilled beyond words! She is just precious! I wanted to share it with you.

A few hours later, I was on my way downtown to a great Christian Women's Event, Extraordinary Women. I had been asked to volunteer at the Compassion table in hopes of sharing info with new sponsors.  It was simply wonderful!

These friends were so excited to find a child that they could bless through prayers and a small monthly donation. The donation is less than what it costs my family of four to eat out just once! We were able to share and listen to what God is doing through Compassion. It's an amazing outreach opportunity, y'all.

This darling gal, Amanda, was my co-worker. She was beautiful inside and out with a testimony that just melted my heart. While we were there with thousands of women (including Lysa TerKeurst, Chonda Pierce, Candace Cameron Bure--remember DJ from Full House? Yep, that's her! , Casting Crowns, Thelma Wells, and more!), were milling around, and I was receiving text messages from my sister. My sweet Mama had fallen a few hours earlier, and my sister took her to the ER to check for broken bones. While she was there, her blood pressure dropped, and she had difficulty breathing. The drs and nurses were wonderful. They did all that they could. But there was a Higher Calling for my Mama from Jesus. He was ready to take her to Heaven to live with Him. It happened quickly and perfectly--in His timing. She is no longer in pain. She will never ever have to have insulin to control her diabetes of almost 70 years. We will never have to worry about her cancer returning. She has been made whole again! Praise Him!!! She just spent the last week with my family, and we had a wonderful time. God is so good! His mercies are new each day, and His love is beyond our comprehension. We will miss that precious lady like everything! But we are at peace....His perfect peace. Thank you so much for your love and prayers! So many of you have sent beautiful emails and texts and facebook messages. We are overwhelmed at the outpouring of love. Thank you so much!

Sweet blessings,

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oreo Cows??

Hey everyone! Just a quick post to see how you all are doing! Some weeks I am only 2 inches from the computer, and others, I am 20 miles away. I never know if I can post on a regular basis, so I have forgiven myself and will post when I can :).

I have passed by these darlin' oreo cows several times in the last few weeks. I think that they are just too cute!!! And, I don't have a clue as to the real name of this breed. Anyone out there with the answer?

Well, oreos made me think of desserts and desserts made me think of calories! Mercy! I had one of the best ever milkshakes for lunch today at Chic-Fil-A. It was the banana pudding shake! I had a coupon for a free one, so I thought that I would snag it from the coupon drawer before hubby or the boys got it first! Y'all, there were even little itty bitty pieces of vanilla wafers in the thick delicous milkshake! And, it was soooo good, that I mentioned it on facebook. And, one of my sweet little running buddies burst my bubble by telling me that it contained over 700 calories!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you know how many miles I would need to run to take care of that? More than I have been doing lately!

So, I am on the lookout for scrumptious desserts that are not high in sugar or calories. Do any exist? Do you know of any? Please share your recipes or the link to them if they are online. Y'all are so sweet!!!

I am linking up with My 3 Boybarians for Sweet Shot Tuesday to share those sweet cow pics!!!

Sweet Blessings,

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Edit of "Spring"

Good morning, sweet friends! Today, we are linking up with another great photographer, Ashley, for editing our spring shots. Hop over and see what she has come up with!

On Monday, I shared a photo of a lovely bush in my backyard (no one has yet to tell me what kind of bush it is!!! Help!!). After looking at the pic, I noticed a beautiful cross. This reminded me of Easter which is not far away. Some of you began Lent yesterday on Ash Wednesday. It represents the 40 days prior to Easter. It's also a time to give up something. Usually this is something that keeps us from drawing closer to God. Instead of thinking about Him, we tend to focus on other things that take up our time. By the end of the day, we've been so busy that we've neglected to give God our best time! For me, that time is first thing in the morning. It's different for each of us. Anyway, I think I know what I'm giving up for Lent. I am going to try and not complain! Of course, I blew it already!! But, we have a loving God who wants us in a relationship with Him. He will take us even when we blow it! I just love that about Him!! Any thoughts about what you are giving up for Lent?

Okay...here is my before and after shot of the flowers of spring. They both are pretty....but my favorite is after the editing. I simply added two actions. Both of these are freebies from Pioneer Woman. I added fresh and colorful without fiddling with the opacity. Then, I ran the boost action at 23%. It just gives it a pop--which I really like! This photo was shot on a manual setting. I love shooting with manual! The other info is  that my shutter speed was 1/250, f/6.3, and the ISO was 320. Hope you enjoy!!

Sweet blessings,

Monday, March 7, 2011

Good to WOW SOOC --Spring

Hey, y'all! This week, I am participating in a photo shoot post with Jill and Ashely. If you notice, the title includes the letters, SOOC. That stands for straight out of camera. Normally, I edit  ALL of my pics before anyone sees them!!! This is sort of like doing your errands after running, and you are praying that you don't run into anyone that you know! Of course, that NEVER happens! My friends have seen me in icky running clothes at the grocery store or Target with a hat on to cover my wet head more times than I care to count! That's how I look in real life--straight out of camera! No clean clothes and no make-up translates to no editing! 

This week we will practice editing out shots. That way you can see the "before" and  "after" of our edits. We had to find a photo for spring today. So, I meandered outside and found quite a few beautiful signs of this lovely season. I am only sharing one picture with you all today. We have this prettty flowing deciduous bush in the backyard. Each year, it produces tiny white flowers that look like little roses. I have no idea what it is! Anybody out there recognize it? I'd love to know.

I was snapping away and looked in the LCD panel and realized that the branches were in the shape of a cross!!! I just loved that! Lent begins on Wednesday, and I am ready for the countdown to Easter. :)

Here is my entry for the spring photo this week. Come back on Thursday, and I will show you what I did to edit it!

Sweet Blessings,

Friday, March 4, 2011


  • How come it is so cold today after being so lovely and warm yesterday? ( I really do know the answer--a slow moving cold front has dipped down our way! I am not that dumb!) But, I am pondering over the difference that a few 20 degrees or so can make! Mercy!
  • Why can't I figure out how to get some photoshop thingies to work and not make life so complicated? I have sat in front of the computer for quite sometime now pondering this one! Just about ready to call it quits for the day!
  • We just had 4 humongous white pines taken down on the side yard. I hated to see them go, but one fell crashing onto our fence year before last, and the rest were leaning that way(especially after the power company comes along every few months and "shapes" them up for us so they are not near the power lines. The folks who work at ____ Power company did not pass their geometry class back in high school. Bless their hearts!) So now I am pondering what to plant in place of those lovely trees that brought so much shade to the yard. Hmmm.
  • Will my new recipe from the March Southern Living magazine taste as yummy as it promises? And as it looks (I am not getting my hopes up on that one!! I know my baking is not attractive...tasty, but not attractive!). It's Hubby's birthday, and SL has 7 new pound cake recipes to try! I love me some pound cake!
  • Should I actually attempt to make and sew (mercy!) some cloth napkins for the dining room that I am revamping? Sounds like an easy project, but....some things are easier said than done.
What all are you all pondering over today? I'd love to hear your ramblings!!

Have a wonderful weekend and stay warm!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sweet Shot Tuesday

What a gorgeous morning! After the threat of tornadoes and wicked thunderstorms last night, all is good today! God's majesty is abundant in my yard....daffodils, camellia bushes loaded in flowers and buds, and of course, a yard full of those pesky but pretty purple flower weeds!!!

I do have a sick child today....waiting on the doctor's office to open so I can get us an appointment! I am praying that it's only strep (!) and not the flu! I will keep you posted! Never a dull moment at our house! And I'm sure the same goes for you! I would truly appreciate your prayers for child #2 today! Thank you sweet friends!

I'm linking up with Sweet Shot Tuesday to see some great shots by photo-moms out there! Join me when you have a minute--between the mounds of laundry and unloading the dishes! Praying that you see His glory in the small stuff and in the large!

O LORD , our LORD, how majestic is your name in all the earth!...When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him?
Psalm 8:1,3

Sweet blessings,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Perfect Peace

Last night, we drove toward the setting sun with it's purples and pinks and oranges glowing in the sky. What a breathtaking gift from God.

We parked the truck and walked up to the beautiful stone covered building...quiet surrounded us.

Finding her room in a maze of halls with lovely paintings on the walls. Gorgeous cherry woodwork lined the windows where the moon now shone.

There she lay. Under a warm blanket with a mask to help her take in the oxygen that she needed. So small and frail. Asleep from the painkillers.

Gently whispering her name. Her eyes open, and she smiles in recognition. We talk just for a minute. The medicine makes her eyes heavy.

I'm the last to leave. I hold her hand. The warmth from it still seers my heart. How can someone so alive be so close to death? She is ready. She has verbalized it over and over. This place is perfect she says. Is she referring to the hospice house or her home awaiting her shortly?

For one who is usually at no loss for words, I don't know what to say. So...I whisper, "I'll see you soon."

She replies,"Yes, I'll see you soon."

Sweet blessings,