Wednesday, December 29, 2010

a real break.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

Our Christmas was lovely, in spite of a bad case of strep throat, which I caught last week. My throat started really hurting the Sunday before Christmas, when we were in Ohio. By Monday, I couldn't talk, had a fever as well as aches all over, and my throat was swollen beyond recognition. And, of course, it hurt to swallow. Bad timing, since that Monday was my wedding anniversary.

Needless to say, I was miserable, and in a lot of pain. I was taking 400 mg of Ibuprofen every couple of hours, just to take some of the edge off. But I had little energy to do anything, least of all blog.

I still have several days of antibiotics to take, and there's a tiny but of soreness left in my throat, but I feel a lot better. I wasn't expecting to take a break from blogging, but the illness kind of forced my hand. (Now I'm marveling at the fact that I did any blogging at all during the holidays last year. Things were pretty hectic then, and they were pretty hectic last week.) I couldn't bail from the family gatherings and the last-minute shopping, but everything else definitely took a back seat.

I will spend the next few days catching up on some of the December Daily and Reverb '10 posts. I plan to be caught up with those by New Year's Eve, plus I want to share some highlights of this season (meaning Autumn going into Winter) with you. And I look forward to connecting with many of you again.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

december daily, day eleven.

We had my oldest son's birthday party today. He will be turning fourteen the day after Christmas, but we have learned that the 26th is not the best day to have a party, because lots of people are out of town or visiting with family or what have you. Last year, we had it on the busiest shopping day of the year, at the mall food court. It was totally chaotic, but not for us, since we were there for a party. It worked out, because parents just dropped their kids off and then went out into the mall and got some shopping done. It was a lot of fun.

Today was a lot of fun as well. We had it at a place a couple of minutes from my house, called Pure Taqueria. It is a very cool restaurant, and one whole side of it was reserved just for his party. They have an upper deck that we originally wanted to use, but they closed that down last week for the winter.

Having it inside turned out to be awesome anyway. The weather was great; it wasn't too cold out and it didn't rain until later on tonight. Bobby had probably thirty or more people at the party, and they all had a blast. I did not take as many pictures as I wanted, since I was hosting the party, but I did get some and will post them on his actual birthday. Meanwhile, I am going to write a short journaling piece for today's entry and, with his permission, take a few quotes from some of his birthday cards and add those as well.

He made out like a bandit. $20 in Starbucks money, $45 in iTunes money, $115 in cash to go toward the purchase of his DJ set, and a RED UKELELE, which he is totally is going to teach me to play. To see him be so blessed by all of his friends really blessed me.

After the party, he went to a play with some of his friends and then another friend's 18th birthday party at IHOP. I picked him up at 11:30. What a social life this kid has got.

december daily, day ten.

I had lunch with my bestie today. She is so much fun, and we always have a blast when we hang out. Later on in the evening she met the kidlets and me at the mall, and we did some shopping! She got me a $50 gift card to Sephora for my birthday, so I needed to spend it. We both needed moisturizer! And we both needed Sephora! *giggles*

Once we had gotten our goods at Sephora, we got some Starbucks and chilled in the food court before heading to Hot Topic. My son wanted to look at the vinyl albums, and I ended up buying him his first one as an early birthday present: Invaders must Die by The Prodigy. The bestie got a few things she needed, and I also bought a pin for my coat that says, "OMG. A Double Rainbow!"

Then we meandered through the mall, toward Macy's. Because she needed more ornaments for her tree (mushrooms and gnomes!), AND because all of this goodness was beckoning to us:



A pink tree!!!
I'm kind of in love with it.


It was all so marvelous, not to mention the varieties of mushrooms and gnomes that we found. Oddly enough, my tree is up and lit but I haven't put my ornaments on it yet! I'll dig them out soon. Really.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

december daily, day nine.


Poinsettias. They ARE December.

I decided I wanted to include a photo of poinsettias somewhere in my December Daily album, and I happened to see these today. What happy plants these are.

Is there something simple that screams December for you?

11 things.

December 11 – 11 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)


1. More distractions. Guess I didn't really need to get an XBox 360 and replace that Wii and subscribe to Netflix.


2. Fear. I am so done with it.


3. Late nights. Yes, I am a night owl, but I really do want to turn over a new leaf and go to bed earlier.


4. Pounds. I gained weight at some point this year and am kind of disgusted with myself for it. Don't know when exactly it happened, but I was frolicking merrily along towards a familiar and comfortable size 8 when all of a sudden I was a size 12. And I refuse to buy bigger clothes. I did that once with the jeggings and that's IT. No more. Darnit.


5. Large pores. About a month ago, I was minding my own business when suddenly (it seems) I aged overnight. Not happy. I looked in the mirror one morning and I had these pores around my nose that looked like polka dots, they seemed so big. Ugh.


6. Fear. I am OVER IT. 


7. Bad reports. Bad doctor reports, bad work reports, bad reports of any kind.


8. More sugar. I completely fell off the water wagon at Thanksgiving, and am determined to get back on. Or in. Or whatever. And stop drinking so many sugary drinks. Namely, sweet tea. One glass a day instead of a few glasses a day.


9. Stress. Of any kind.


10. Joint pain. In my left knee. I WILL find a way to get rid of it.


11. Fear. 
I know I've already said it.
It bears repeating.


How will I eliminate them? One breath and one prayer at a time.


Except Number One. Probably not going to actually eliminate it. Just keeping it one hundred witchall.

wisdom.

December 10 – Wisdom Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)


The wisest decision I made this year, and perhaps in several years, was the decision to allow my husband to be who is supposed to be in our marriage.


You see, I was so used to being independent and handling things myself and pulling myself up by my own bootstraps and getting things done, even if I got them done poorly or haphazardly or not at all, that I didn't realize that after several years of marriage I was STILL doing independent me. I thought I had stopped. I hadn't. I thought I was holding it down for my husband. Instead, I was holding him down. A lot of problems we had last year and going into this year were due to us both not handling our responsibilities. We failed to handle them because of ignorance, not defiance.


He was perfectly happy letting me handle practically everything, because he was working like a dog. He always worked like a dog. And I handled everything else, even though I was completely in over my head and was not doing a good job at all of handling said else. So our house was out of order.


It took a rude awakening and someone on the outside looking in to help us see where we were going astray. I stopped operating as an unmarried single parent, as it were, and my husband gladly began to shoulder his responsibilities. We were instantly less stressed, hidden resentments disappeared, and we experienced a new level of peace in our marriage and home. It was a lesson learned the hard way, but it was an excellent lesson and one which resulted in my humble decision. The subsequent rewards were totally worth learning the lesson, even if it was the hard way.

Monday, December 13, 2010

beautifully different.


December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)
What makes me different?...

In many situations, on an almost daily basis, my skin color makes me different. But that's not anything new. It's always been that way for me, oddly enough. I rarely even notice anymore.

I grew up in the hood. All of the neighborhood kids would tease me for "talking proper." Even there, I guess I was different. It was aggravating.

My name makes me different. I hated my name when I was a child. I liked absolutely nothing about it. No one could pronounce it or spell it, and my last name was weird. I didn't like my middle name either.

I liked reading books and listening to classical music, things that none of the other kids around me particularly liked. Annnd I got teased for it.

I have a random dent in the right side of my head. I am not sure it was always there; the first time I ever noticed it, I was in the seventh grade. It is rather odd. Certainly different.

I was definitely different when I lived in Mexico, but not so different that people did not assume I was Latina. I was always asked if I was Cuban or Panamanian. It was amusing.

And now, I have reached a point in my life (does it happen to everyone when they reach their mid/late 30's?) where I actually appreciate everything that makes me different. I don't mind "talking proper." I have learned to live with the dimple in my temple. And I love my name, even if, for the rest of my life, I will be referred to as Natalie or Madeline every time I introduce myself to someone new. I love my middle name equally as much. Both of my names have stellar meanings, and I am stoked that my parents gave them to me. And my maiden name? Makes it very easy to search my family history, since it's so uncommon. In fact, there is a very real chance that I am related to every person that shares my maiden name. A welcome, beautiful difference.

As for what I do that makes people light up, I would like to think that the answers to that are: smile, laugh, hug, sing, joke, and show up.


community.

December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)


There are a few communities that I discovered this year that have helped inspire and motivate me. The community that Tasra Dawson built through her Project365 last year was awesome. Through that I was able to make a few new, wonderful friends, Tasra herself being one of them. I've also met some fabulous people through a couple of online blog communities and art communities. And since I started my "unofficial" hair growth challenge a few months ago, I have been slowly discovering the immense natural hair community and meeting some lovely ladies through it.


These are all places where I hope to make more contributions and friends, and build the relationships that have already been formed. I am glad that I have been able to get to know so many gifted people. I'd also like to meet more home cooks, more homeschooling moms that have children that are my children's age, and musicians. Maybe I'll even start my own online community: homeschooling photographer musician artist mothers who cook and sing and love opera and jazz and literature and art journaling. And mid-century modern design. And wearing afros.
Haha. I'm thinking I might be the only one in that community.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

december daily, day eight.

Today was the last day before Christmas Break at Master's Academy. The kids had a colonial feast and dressed up in colonial/Baroque costumes, and my music classes performed an English country dance for the history classes. 

In one of my classes, a student drew this on the board:


And this is pretty much why I love my job.

december daily, day seven.


Tonight, I made this soup. A very quick Pasta e Fagioli. It was ready in about thirty minutes. I will probably make it next week since it's so easy. Also because I forgot the spinach. I will be including the recipe in today's entry.

Swirl some olive oil in the pot.
Add about a teaspoon of anchovy paste. (I used an anchovy fillet this time, but hated that there were soooo many bones. Using paste from now on.)
Add a couple of teaspoons of tomato paste, and a couple of smashed cloves of garlic. (Tonight I used minced garlic because I thought I didn't have any garlic cloves left on hand. I forgot that I actually did.)
Mash it all together, and once it is heated and mixed, add about a quart of chicken stock. Bring it to a rolling boil, then add the tortellini pasta. About five minutes into the pasta cooking, add a can of rinsed cannellini beans, along with several basil leaves torn into pieces, some dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
Right before the pasta is done (after about ten minutes), add a cup of fresh spinach (which I forgot). When the spinach has wilted, the soup is ready. Garnish with parmesan cheese, even if it's the fake kind.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

december daily, day six.


One more Monday to go before we are off for a welcomed, month-long break. Tonight, it's Outback Steak for dinner.

Friday, December 10, 2010

make.

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)


The last thing I made was actually food. It was good food.


I make food on the regular anyway, but this was most excellent. 


It was my crock pot jambalaya.


I have been doing crock pot meals every Wednesday this Fall, since Wednesdays are very hectic. This jambalaya is not the last thing that I made in the crock pot, but it is the last thing that I made in it where I felt like I was doing something really creative.


As for something that I want to make, but need to clear some time for it? Gaaahhh where do I start??


Artwork for over my bed, finish my daughter's book of colors, my dining room wall collage, graffiti-ing up my son's new bed, and food... ropa vieja... coconut cake... basil coconut chicken curry... more shrimp and grits...


Too many things to list.

december daily, day five.

We went to Chuck E. Cheese today for a birthday party. One of Ian's classmates turned five, and he also attended Ian's party the week before. Ian's party was also at Chuck E. Cheese, so that was two trips to the magical pizza wonderland in one week. Fitting for us though, since my little ones' first time ever at Chuck E. Cheese was Ian's party. They had been saying how they wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheesus for a while now.

Yes. "Cheesus." Like Jesus.

They had a blast today just like they did last week. I also got to have a little fun too. I love skee ball so I got a lot of tickets that way. Here are some highlights of our fun time today.





I love that last one. It looks like it's some kind of scene out of 'Doctor Who' or something.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

let go.

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)


This year, I have attempted to let go of fear.


My One Little Word for 2010 is 'Fearless.' 


I've done pretty well most of the year, especially since I felt like the crappy beginning of the year kind of forced me into walking fearlessly.


By the middle of the year, however, I suffered a minor setback that had me doubting my abilities as a photographic artist and wondering if I should even be trying to build a business. My husband helped me snap out of it, and I continued to promote my business in the small ways I was already doing.


But in the back of my mind, those seeds of doubt still tried to take root and grow, and it has been an uphill battle for me since August. I had a road map in place, some plans to promote my business in new, larger ways, and I followed through with none of them. None of them.


Sigh.


Soooo, needless to say, I have failed in living up to my one little word this year. I don't think I am going to repeat it next year though. The past couple of months I have been thinking a lot about the things that hold me back and keep me from doing what I believe I have been given a gift to do. I am done being fearful of rejection or failure. I am just going to press forward in this new year and let the chips fall where they may, and maybe there will be some success. Regardless, I will not let fear continue to dictate my actions anymore.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

crock pot wednesday: holiday hiatus.

I hope you all are having a marvelous December so far. I am.

I gave my mother a body lotion set for her birthday today, because we both have a thing for lotions and potions and creams.

I said "Merry Christmas" and "See you next year" to all of my students at the Woodstock school today. We are officially on break. One more day at the Marietta school, then one more day at Classical for my eighth-grader, and we will be officially on TOTAL break. Woohoohoohoohoo.

I am currently locked in a post-processing dungeon, finishing photos from two different shoots that I did last week. No complaints here though; I love that part of my job. But due to the time crunch I have been devoting almost every minute of my computer time to these photos, and thus have a couple of December Daily posts and Reverb '10 posts on which to catch up.

And, I haven't cooked anything in my crock pot this month.

Last Wednesday was my birthday and I had a full day from start to finish, beginning with the morning. I had planned on going out to eat with my kids that night, but that didn't even happen. At the moment, I can't remember what we ate!

Then tonight, I had no plans of cooking since I made a quick Pasta e Fagioli soup last night and reheated the rest tonight. It was yummy.

Next Wednesday we will be on the road, making what will be our last trip up to Ohio. My husband is nearing the end of his work up there, and we'll be going up to get him and our things. Needless to say, no crock pot meal will be happening.

And so, I'm thinking I will take December off from the weekly crock pot meals, since the main reason I am doing them anyway is to have something ready for dinner when we get home from Master's Academy on Wednesdays. Since we are on a break from Master's Academy, I will take a break from the Wednesday crock pot meals and resume in January.

I will still be using my crock pot, however. At the very least, it will be used to make Wassail overnight on Christmas Eve, a tradition at my house. Waking up to the smell of Wassail wafting through the house on Christmas morning is pretty heavenly.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

wonder.

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)


We took our kids to the lake.




I stood on a glass platform and saw the city beneath my feet. I got a couple of my children to do it too. My husband? No such luck.






I rode on a ferris wheel for the first time ever.




I made road trips. Several road trips. Long road trips. And enjoyed the scenery along the way.







I stopped to smell the flowers.






I took pictures of beautiful young people.








I spent quality time with my husband.




And I marveled at the wonder in my children's faces.






And it was all very, very wonderful.

Monday, December 06, 2010

december daily, day four.

For today's December Daily installment, I will be including a photo that a friend took. We went out on this rainy Saturday night, I and seven girlfriends, to eat and celebrate my birthday. It was the 3rd annual Natty's Birthday Girl's Night Out! We went out to an Asian fusion place, and had a grand old time.

I spent the earlier part of the day cooped in my cozy little home, away from the harsh elements, working feverishly on photos from two shoots that I did this week. So, when it came time to go out, I was ready for a few hours of girly time with my friends. My son, being the amazing son that he is, babysat the kidlets for me and they watched movies and had Steak and Shake. Netflix is AWESOME, if you don't know.

Since the photo was taken by my friend, I don't actually have it yet. So I will probably do a little bit of journaling and include the photo later. Somewhere in the journaling I will include the fact that 125 people sent me a birthday greeting on my actual birthday. That was the illest. :)))

Sunday, December 05, 2010

december daily, day three.

I spent this evening shooting pictures for one of my students' Sweet Sixteen birthday party. So many of my students and former students were there. I was happy to be in their midst, snapping away, watching them have fun and enjoying the camaraderie.

On my way home, I realized that I had wanted to do some photos for today's December Daily entry, and I had yet to shoot any. So I observed my surroundings, looking for some cheery Christmas decor. I found this lovely tree in Acworth.

Of course, since I was in my car, driving, I could not look through the viewfinder or compose a shot or anything like that. I just pointed Niki in the general direction of the tree and hoped for the best (my M.O. whenever I am on the road).




That last one is actually a photo of some lighted wreaths on a bridge, and I wanted to catch some of their lights before I went under the bridge.

So, am I actually using these?

You bet I am. I totally love them.

moment.

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)


It's hard for me to zero in on just one from this year, and that's a good thing.


I'll pick this one.


The moment my oldest son and I took a ride on the ferris wheel at the Navy Pier in Chicago.


I am soooo late in sharing all of this with you (our family vacation this year), but now's as good a time as any to start. I'll start from the beginning on Sunday. But for now, let me just tell you about this ferris wheel ride.


It was the first time either of us had ever been on a ferris wheel. My husband stayed with the kidlets on the ground. Namely because he is a wee bit afraid of heights. (He has, however, completely conquered his fear of flying, and doesn't mind being on a plane.)


Bobby and I were so excited. The ferris wheel is huge, and moves very slowly. We were told that it used to have cars on it that would hold sixty passengers apiece. I think all five of us would have fit in our car, with Natalie's stroller folded up.


Anyway, Bobby and I ooohed and aaahhhhed the whole way around that thing. We could see the entire city skyline, all of the pier, and of course the gorgeous blue water of Lake Michigan. It was a gorgeous, sunny October day and the sun was thinking about setting but not beginning to set at that point. The light was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.


We were both like tiny little kids who were at the circus for the first time or something. It was funny. I snapped photo after photo, marveling at all of the details on the ground below us. And when the time came to get off, it was kind of a bummer.


Here are a few of the photos I took on the ferris wheel. I took several iPhonearoids too, but I'll share those another time.



















Friday, December 03, 2010

december daily, day two.

So, I got this AWESOME holiday journal kit from Evalicious a couple of weeks ago! I am sooo excited to use it for my December Daily album! It is off the chain.

I still haven't gotten a binder to contain all of December Daily goodness yet, but I am shopping around. I've seen several great ideas on Ali Edwards' Flickr page for the group... so, I don't know... maybe I'll make my own cover. But for now, I'm trying to decide what I will do with all of my goodies! I'll probably get some prints of some photos next week and put the first several pages together.

Yesterday I showed you what's going on for Day One, and I'm thinking a 1 1/2 page spread, or a two-page spread with smaller-sized photos. Maybe I'll make a triptych out of them and use them across two pages. Not sure yet...

For Day Two, I'm going to include something I wrote to enter a giveaway. The giveaway was for a copy of "The Beauty of Different," the new book by Karen Walrond, better known as Chookooloonks. To enter I had to write why I am beautiful. This is what I wrote:

I am beautiful because although I may look weathered, I have overcome every trial that has come my way and not self-destructed.


I am beautiful because I feel that way when I am in my husband's arms.


I am beautiful because my children's faces light up when they see me after a long day, and because my eyes dance when I see them.


I am beautiful because the children that I teach tell me that I am smart. Funny. And pretty. And they do so with the most sincere hearts.


And I am beautiful because the laugh lines around my eyes are more apparent now.


And now, for some quick pics of my awesome journal kit! Squeeee!

A bag (a. BAG.) of goodies that came with the kit. Buttons, papers, fabric, ribbons, tags, you name it.


One of the transparency pages. You can see the corrugated cardboard and another glittery piece (that I inserted there) underneath.


I think I'm gonna use this calendar card for part of Day One, and circle my birthday. I may use it before the pages with the Day One photos.


Evalicious ROCKS. This whole kit is SO my style. Here's a page out of a hymnal, with some paper snowflakes stitched along the side. Hotness.


A vintage-looking card piece. Yay.


Another page with stitching on it in the background--the graph paper page.
But LOOK AT THIS OLD HANDWRITTEN NOTE! From 4 August 1930!!! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?! That's definitely going to be opposite one of my photo pages.


A stitched transparency page.

More goodies that came with the kit. Yayyyy.

That's just a sample of some of the pages and SOME of the goodies that came in the kit. Can you tell I'm excited? If not, let me just tell you. I'm excited.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

writing.

December 2 Writing.
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
(Author: Leo Babauta)



I think I spend too much time on my computer, doing useless things. I've always loved surfing the internet, and since 1996 I've logged in a lot of hours doing things that don't really amount to much. Entertainment, shopping, games--there sure are a lot of ways to waste time. That is something I could definitely change.


A few months ago, I started doing just that. I would give myself a half-hour per task on my computer. A half-hour to check email, a half-hour to be on Facebook and Twitter, and a half-hour to read blogs. The things that I deemed important, working on photography and my own blog, were the only things to which I would devote more time.


It has worked out, although lately I have found that YouTube has been jockeying for a position on my list of "obsessions." I'm currently trying to effectively curb the amount of time I spend there too.

and so, the best month of the year begins.

I am doing my first ever December Daily! I'm so excited.

Here are my images that I plan to use for today, the first of December. I'll probably find some kind of birthday-themed stuff and post it in there too, since today was my birthday.

Tomorrow I will show off my album!

This morning.


This afternoon.


This evening.

And that was Day One.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

homeschooling log 2010: chapter eight: what will we do during advent?

So, I love December.

It's my favorite month. For a number of reasons.

It's my birthday month (December 1.)

It's also my anniversary month (December 20).

One of my children also has a birthday this month (December 26), as does my mother (December 8).

It is the culmination of my favorite season of the year, Autumn.

But most of all, it's Christmastime.

I am one of those oddball people that thinks if this time of year doesn't make you happy inside, not even in the slightest way, or if you hate Christmas music, or anything having to do with this time, then something's off with you.

There really is something in the atmosphere at this time of year. It's almost tangible.

I believe it is the anticipation of the glory that comes upon the celebration of the birth of Christ.

Advent is a celebration, if you will, of that anticipation. It is a time when people focus on Jesus and the meaning of his birth, life, and subsequent death and resurrection.

I decided to teach my little ones about advent this year. I know many people use advent calendars, or advent boxes, or Jesse trees, but I am doing something different.

Since I am a singer, and my children love it when I sing to them, I am going to teach them a Christmas carol, a Nativity-focused song, each day until December 25.

They may not remember them right away, but I have decided that this is going to be a new tradition for us and over the years these songs will become solid in their hearts and minds and they will always remember Mommy singing to them. And they will especially remember the meaning of Christmas thanks to learning these songs. That is my hope, anyway.

This isn't to say we won't be singing songs like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Jingle Bells," or "Jingle Bell Rock." We will. I love all Christmas songs. I will just be concentrating on teaching my little ones these Nativity-focused ones.

Next week, I will share a week's worth of songs in a new chapter of the homeschooling log. But for today, since we just started, I will share with you the song that I taught them today. Maybe I will record these too...

God rest you merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay;
remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day
to save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

From God our heavenly Father a blessed angel came,
and unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same,
how that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

Incidentally, a good friend of mine looked up my name, Natalyn, and found out that it means "Beautiful Tender Lake/Waterfall Christmas/Birth Day." So, that's extremely happy. 

one word.

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)



This one is easy.


Unlike my One Little Word for 2010 which was Fearless, the word that I would use to describe how this year went is this:


Redemptive.


You see, 2010 began in the suckiest way possible. I mean, it was ROTTEN. My husband and I faced a number of circumstances that were beyond our control and left us completely dejected. It was a real shock to our system, considering how amazing all of 2009 had been up until the very end. And when the end came, it hit us like a giant, stinky rock of slimy crap.


Those first couple of months we pretty much inhaled and exhaled. We did what we knew to do daily, and closed our eyes at night. We learned who our real friends are and we held onto each other tight. We also held onto our faith and had to remind ourselves daily that faith is indeed the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. We were seeing nothing at the time that would give us any incentive to hope that things would get better any time soon, and yet we had to dig our heels in the sand and believe beyond belief that things would get better, and soon.


Then one day, a day like any other day, things turned around, literally. Just. Like. That.


We didn't see it coming, but almost an instant restoration occurred. It was like life went back to normal for us practically overnight, and the two months that began the year were just some strange hiccup at best and a terrible nightmare at worst. The cloud of despair that was hell-bent on raining depression and hopelessness and strife on us dissipated, and the sun shone as brightly as it ever had. 


It was as if we had gone through some test to see if we could hold onto our joy and peace, even if it was by the tips of our slippery fingernails, and we had managed to hold on successfully and pass the test. We definitely learned some lessons through it all, and corrected some issues in our marriage. As a result, the subsequent joy and peace was exponentially more than we even had before. Amazing.


The whole of 2010 has met us with such good fortune, even moreso than the whole of 2009. We are truly blessed, and grateful for the Lord's grace. It really is AMAZING grace. Sure, we have faced our trials this year, as we always do, but something in us has changed this year and the trials we face don't hit us as hard as they used to. We have been bona fide witnesses to the redemptive power of God in our lives. I am really a little sad to see the year go.


And so, looking back over this post, I noticed that I used the words joy, peace, and amazing a few times. Any one of those would be a perfect word to encapsulate the end of my 2011. I'm excited to see which word ends up on top.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

art every day month, day thirty.


Well, the month has come to a close.

A month of hearty celebration, replete with food items of all kinds, and so I thought that this photo was a propos.

I had to shoot a sports banquet tonight, and this was our food. It seems fitting to end the month with a hearty picture of yummy goodness.

I spent most of this Art Every Day Month concentrating on iPhoneography, and it has motivated me to launch another component of my photography project that I'll be starting at the beginning of the year. I will share it with you soon.

Meanwhile, I'll be finishing up my daughter's book of colors this next month I think, and if I don't, it just means it will be a birthday gift for her in January instead of a Christmas present. I will be sure to show you the finished product.

And so, my beloved readers, I bid you adieu this night, and I say so long, blessed November.

art every day month, day twenty-nine.


I feel a heavy french press binge coming on soon.

In a couple of days, it'll be my most favorite month of the year. And I intend to take it as slowly as I possibly can. With lots of yummy homemade lattes.