Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mision Complete!

Mission Complete!!!

I have done many things so far during the course of the 24 ½ years that I have been around. Perhaps one of the greatest things I have done was to take pictures of a family this Christmas season.

During the beginning of December I heard a song by Matthew West titled “Give this Christmas Away.” Upon hearing that song I wanted to do something to give this Christmas away. Living in such a materialistic world, it is hard sometimes to keep the right perspective. I knew that I wanted to give this Christmas away, I wanted to give someone hope. I knew that I wanted to participate in such a movement but had no idea how I would do this. Follow this link to listen to the song: Give This Christmas Away by Matthew West

Then one day I was reading through some blogs when I learned about help-portrait. Help-portrait is a movement of photographers who are using their time, equipment and expertise to give back to those who are less fortunate. It is about giving, not taking pictures. It works like this – find someone in need, take their portrait, print their portrait and deliver them. The light bulb went off in my head – this was it, this was how I was supposed to give this Christmas away. Ok so I had the idea to give this Christmas away, and now I knew how I was supposed to do this…but with who? I called my mom.
Moms are good at solidifying things! She told me about a woman at church and her two children, that their husband/father died three months ago. They came here with nothing and had to rebuild. She said they would be extremely grateful. The next day I was taking pictures. She brought with her a picture of her husband – hoping in some way I could include him in the picture. So this was it, I was to give this Christmas away through help-portrait of this woman and her family. It all made sense.

I took the pictures – the little boy looks just like his father, and the little girl is very photogenic. She gave me the picture of him, I uploaded all the pictures and did the edits, had them printed, and even framed one. I can’t even begin to tell you how incredible I felt knowing that I had accomplished just what God called me to do in this situation. With God’s timing, my mom’s guidance and this family’s need, I was able to give this Christmas away.

I have completed help-portrait number one and look forward to making this a yearly event. The one thing I wanted more than anything this Christmas was the opportunity to put hope in somebody’s heart and a smile on their face, I wanted to give this Christmas away. The odd thing is, now that I have gotten what I wanted – which was giving something away - I feel so incredibly blessed! Which makes me think about a quote from Mark Batterson’s book, Primal; “The blessings of God are never ends in themselves. And if we use a blessing selfishly, the blessing actually turns into a curse. The blessings of God are always a means to an end. And the end is blessing others. We are blessed to bless.” I have been blessed with the gift of photography, and am so grateful that I had the opportunity to bless others with my blessing. AWESOME… Don’t you just love when you get to see things come full circle?

I have uploaded a collage that includes the original pictures I had to work with as well as the edited finished results that I came up with.  What do you think?  The first two pictures I combined to make the family picture of all of them together!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Primal Review

By: Mark Batterson

We have a tendency to complicate Christianity. Jesus simplified it: Love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. If we are to live out the essence of Christianity, we must commit to being great at this Great Commandment.

In Primal, Mark Batterson explores the four elements of Great Commandment Christianity: compassion, wonder, curiosity, and power. Along the way, he calls you to be a part of God’s reformation, starting in your own life.

As Mark writes, “Is there a place in your past where you met God and God met you? A place where your heart broke for the things that break the heart of God? Maybe it was a sermon that became more than a sermon. Maybe it was a mission trip or retreat. Maybe it was a vow you made at an altar. In that moment, God birthed something supernatural in your spirit. You knew you’d never be the same again. My prayer is that this book would take you back to that burning bush—and reignite a primal faith.”

Primal will help you live in light of what matters most and discover what it means to love God. It will help you become great at the Great Commandment.

This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.
To purchase the book please click here.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  I started using those little post-it notes as I reading through it to mark parts that really stood out to me.  And when I got about half way through the book I think I had more post-it flags than pages in the actual book!  It is a great read.  It pulls you in and keeps you turning the pages.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Week 49 - Pets Only!

Week 49 - Pets Only!
We happen to have a very photogenic dog - when the camera comes out she literally will sit at my feet until I start taking pictures of her.  This isone of my favorites - don't like the glow in her eyes but any edits I do just don't quite look right. Check out the other i heart faces entries.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Value Gifts for the Holidays Blog Tour

Foolproofing Your Life by: Jan Silvious

Precept Ministries (Kay Arthur) radio co-host discusses how attempts at coping with difficult people often fails, because they are what the Bible refers to as “fools.” Silvious provides tools to help readers get along and conduct relationships in a way that honors God, while preserving their own sanity.

I found this book very enjoyable to read.  The writing style lends itself to being an easy read with an incredible meaning.  I love the scripture that is tied to the dealing with difficult people in our life. 

This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.
To purchase a copy of this book please click here.

99 Ways to Increase Your Income by: Frank Martin
Successful entrepreneur and author of over sixteen books. Provides tips to generate more cash, and rebuild or supplement an income, while hanging on to existing dollars.

I must admit, upon recieving this book I read through the entire thing as soon as I took it out of the package.  It was a quick easy read.  I like the way the book was organized, it shows you ways to increase your income at work and at home.  I would definately recommend this book.

This book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.
To purcahse a copy of this book please click here.

Week 48 "Sweet Dreams"

Week 48 "Sweet Dreams"
This is a picture of my little guy napping before his 2nd birthday celebration!

Check out all the other great entries at i heart faces.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My little man...

Seth is quite an amazing little guy.  I like these 'self portrait' style pictures that I have taken with him recently!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Treasured/God Gave Us Love/ God Gave Us Christmas

by Leigh McLeroy/Lisa Tawn Bergren

Treasured: Cigar boxes. Refrigerator doors. Scrapbooks and sock drawers and top shelves. These are the places we store our treasures–the keepsakes that tell the story of whom and what we’ve loved, how we’ve lived, and what matters most to us.

God is a collector, too, whose treasures are tucked securely into the pages of his book: a golden bell here, an olive leaf there, a scarlet thread, a blood-stained cloth, a few grains of barley. Each of these saved artifacts reveals a facet of his heart and tells the story of a Father whose most precious possession is…us.

In Treasured, Leigh McLeroy considers tangible reminders of God’s active presence and guides us in discovering evidence in our own lives of his attentive love.
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
To purchase this book please click here.
This was an awesome book that reminds everybody that we are special and loved by an almight Father.  This was a true 'feel good' book and a page turner, I couldn't put the book down once I started it.

God Gave Us Love: As Little Cub and Grampa Bear’s fishing adventure is interrupted by mischievous otters, the young polar bear begins to question why we must love others… even the seemingly unlovable.

In answering her questions, Grampa Bear gives tender explanations that teach Little Cub about the different kinds of love that is shared between families, friends, and mamas and papas. Grampa explains that all these kinds of love come from God and that it is important to love others because…

“Any time we show love, Little Cub, we’re sharing a bit of his love.”

This sweet tale will warm the hearts of young children as they learn about all the different sorts of love, while the gentle explanations of each provide a valuable opportunity to encourage children to share with others a “God-sized love.”
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
To purchase this book please click here.
Having read other books in this series, I knew I would enjoy this one.  My two and a half year old loved all the bright pictures, but didn't quite sit through the whole story.  I'm sure in time he will!

God Gave Us Christmas: As Little Cub and her family prepare to celebrate the most special day of the year, the curious young polar bear begins to wonder… “Who invented Christmas?” Mama’s answer only leads to more questions like “Is God more important than Santa?” So she and Little Cub head off on a polar expedition to find God and to see how he gave them Christmas. Along the way, they find signs that God is at work all around them. Through Mama’s gentle guidance, Little Cub learns about the very first Christmas and discovers that… Jesus is the best present of all.

This enchanting tale provides the perfect opportunity to help young children celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and to discover how very much God loves them.
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
To purchase this book please click here.
Having read the other books in this series, I was excited about reviewing this one and adding it to our collection!  My two year old didn't make it through the entire story but he got bits and pieces at different times!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Turkey Cake

Yes, you read the title correctly, "The Turkey Cake." 
So my grandmother saw this advertisement in a magazine:

And I guess she thought I was the one cut out to accomplish the task of creating a turkey cake...the baking 'pan' if you will is one of those new age silicone trays that I truly thought would have melted in our gas looked like this:

It required basic ingredients, so I thought to myself that it couldn't be that difficult:

There are no pictures of the baked cake because you see as I tried to 'pop' the cake pieces out of the pan, some of them stuck and some of them crumbled.  I was devastated.  My turkey cake was ruined...or so that is what I thought....but this is what I managed to pull out:

So the cake didn't turn out too bad...the feathers aren't how they should be, partly because of my having to make up how it should look - or follow the little one inch by one inch picture in the advertisment from above and partly because not all of the pieces of cake came out of the tray the way they should have.  So my conclussion was that our turkey, instead of combing his feathers back had a fro this thanksgiving! (My kitchen on the other hand, didn't look so nice upon completing this cake)

Lessons learned upon completing this cake:
1. I am capable of anything!
2.  I don't give myself enough credit.
3.  Silicone baking trays are so so - I'm not crazy about them but the world doesn't revolve around me.
4.  When trying to get brown frosting, it might be a better idea to add a dry coloring agent to the store bought icing - adding a liquid agent - like hershey's syrup to store made frosting meant I ended up with some frosting that wasn't as firm as all the rest - but it did make it taste really good...

oh and learn (and get luvs!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Week 45 "Autumn Beauty"

Week 45 "Autumn Beauty"
When I think about Autumn I think about leaves changing colors.  Living in Florida we pretty much see brown or green...somehow we miss that 'in between' phase!  I thought this one of my little one standing on his pumpkin might work....

Check out all the other entries over at I Heart Faces.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Toched by a Vampire and Thirsty

                          Touched by a Vampire Written by Beth Felker Jones

People around the world are asking the same question, enraptured with Edward and Bella’s forbidden romance in the Twilight Saga, a four-book serial phenomenon written by Stephenie Meyer. The bestsellers tell the story of a regular girl’s relationship with a vampire who has chosen to follow his “good” side. But the Saga isn’t just another fantasy–it’s teaching girls about love, sex, and purpose. With 48 million copies in print and a succession of upcoming blockbuster films, now is the time to ask the important question: Can vampires teach us about God’s plan for love?

Touched by a Vampire is the first book to investigate the themes of the Twilight Saga from a Biblical perspective. Some Christian readers have praised moral principles illustrated in the story, such as premarital sexual abstinence, which align with Meyer’s Mormon beliefs. But ultimately, Beth Felker Jones examines whether the story’s redemptive qualities outshine its darkness.

Cautionary, thoughtful, and challenging, Touched by a Vampire is written for Twilight fans, parents, teachers, and pop culture enthusiasts. It includes an overview of the series for those unfamiliar with the storyline and a discussion guide for small groups.
Thirsty Written by Tracey Bateman
There's no place like home, they say.
"Hello, I'm Nina Parker…and I'm an alcoholic."

For Nina, it's not the weighty admission but the first steps toward recovery that prove most difficult. She must face her ex-husband, Hunt, with little hope of making amends, and try to rebuild a relationship with her angry teenage daughter, Meagan. Hardest of all, she is forced to return to Abbey Hills, Missouri, the hometown she abruptly abandoned nearly two decades earlier–and her unexpected arrival in the sleepy Ozark town catches the attention of someone–or something–igniting a two-hundred-fifty-year-old desire that rages like a wildfire.
Unaware of the darkness stalking her, Nina is confronted with a series of events that threaten to unhinge her sobriety. Her daughter wants to spend time with the parents Nina left behind. A terrifying event that has haunted Nina for almost twenty years begins to surface. And an alluring neighbor initiates an unusual friendship with Nina, but is Markus truly a kindred spirit or a man guarding dangerous secrets?

As everything she loves hangs in the balance, will Nina's feeble grasp on her demons be broken, leaving her powerless against the thirst? The battle between redemption and obsession unfold to its startling, unforgettable end.
To purchase either book, please click on the picture of the book.
*This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.*

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

About a boy...

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.”  - John Donne

If you are looking for a "feel good" movie then this is one for you.  I thought this was going to start out like another Shallow Hal....but was quite pleased by the turn around.  You have a man in his later thirties living off the royalities of his fathers work, he has no job, he has no wife, he has no children.  He truly believes that he is an island in and of himself.  He likes it like this until he meets a 12 year old little boy who changes his life. This man in his late thirties, Will had decided that maybe single moms were the 'things' to start dating.  He made up an imaginary child to go to a single parents meeting with hopes of finding a single mom to date.  He found one single mom, and made arrangements to do something with them one afternoon.  His problem, once he showed up for this play date of sorts, the date informs him that her friend is having a rough go of it and her 12 year old son will be tagging along.  Will was not at all pleased by this news.  When they get back from this play date they come home to find that the 12 year olds mother had tried to commit suicide.  She survives and thus begins the change in everybodys life.  The movie deals with many challenges from today - divorce, single parents, lieing, suicide, depression, shallow mindedness, bullying, popularity, self esteem and lifestyle differences, just to name a few.  The lessons they all learn are so profound.

The movie has a great ending, you should consider renting it this weekend!

Monday, November 9, 2009

White Picket Fences

                                                         Book: White Picket Fences
Author: Susan Meissner
Amanda Janvier’s idyllic home seems the perfect place for her niece Tally to stay while her vagabond brother is in Europe, but the white picket fence life Amanda wants to provide is a mere illusion. Amanda’s husband Neil refuses to admit their teenage son Chase, is haunted by the horrific fire he survived when he was four, and their marriage is crumbling while each looks the other way.

Tally and Chase bond as they interview two Holocaust survivors for a sociology project, and become startlingly aware that the whole family is grappling with hidden secrets, with the echoes of the past, and with the realization that ignoring tragic situations won’t make them go away.
Readers of emotional dramas that are willing to explore the lies that families tell each other for protection and comfort will love White Picket Fences. The novel is ideal for those who appreciate exploring questions like: what type of honesty do children need from their parents, or how can one move beyond a past that isn’t acknowledged or understood? Is there hope and forgiveness for the tragedies of our past and a way to abundant grace?

Author Bio:
Susan Meissner cannot remember a time when she wasn’t driven to put her thoughts down on paper. Her novel The Shape of Mercy was a Publishers Weekly pick for best religious fiction of 2008 and a Christian Book Award finalist. Susan and her husband live in Southern California , where he is a pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves. They are the parents of four grown children.


This book was a little hard for me to get into.  The beginning seems like a slow start.  However, once I got past Chapter 7 I was hooked and couldn't put it down.  I enjoy reading books like this one - a lot of suspense which keeps me interested.  I have not yet finished reading the book but should be done with it shortly.  This book has a lot of unexpected turns in it...just about the time you think you know what will happen something else happens. Upon recieving the book and reading the title, "White Picket Fences," the first thing that popped into my head after reading that title was "that wasn't"...for some reason I thought this book would be about a family who wanted the white picket facade but it wasn't what they were truly about.  I have enjoyed it and would definately recommend it as a Christian alternative to some other titles that I have read.

To purchase this book please click on the photo of the book.
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Friday, I walked to the mailbox to get the mail and was a bit curious as to why I was receiving a rather large envelop from Florida State College (Formerly known as Florida Community College). I opened it up to find that my professor has recommended me to receive an honorary only student recognition award. I was recommended because of my outstanding academic efforts in psychology so far this term. So my photo and a brief bio will be posted on the Virtual College's Online Student Recognition Award web page. I was totally not expecting this. It feels good to be noticed for doing good, to be recognized when you go above and beyond. This was a great way to start the weekend! Granted I was a bit upset because my class average fell from a 99.5% to a 99.3% because my last quiz included one of those 'what is a synonym for ___' questions - and synonyms and I do NOT get along well with each other!

Here is the letter and award that I recieved in the mail, I will be updating with the webpage as soon as I can:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Decided to change the blog template up a bit - loved the world in the hands but was getting rather tired of it!

I like this template - 'magic trees' seems fitting!  I also changed my signature - what fun! you to actually sign your name!  I pulled out my graphics tablet and signed my name multiple times before I ended up with what I have now!

While I'm at it I might as well put something meaningful in this post.

Have you ever wondered why your children get fixated on certain objects?  Here lately Seth has been carrying around a little blue ball, a bead angel, and two little tins of burts bees stuff...he piles them, stacks them, throws them, and screams if he can't find them!  Sometimes I wish I knew what was going through his head...

Here is a picture of the things he has been carrying around lately:

I also think my son is adopting my desk!  I opened up a desk drawer while uploading the picture and found a collection of balls - golf ball, mini soccer ball, baseball...and on top of my desk he set his cup from earlier...along with the pencil and paper - maybe he was leaving me a note!  If only I could read the lines and circles!  He tells me they are ducks!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What would you do?

What would you do if you were in the grocery store and you saw somebody in one of those motorized wheelchair things and it was not working properly? Would you:
                     a.) Point and laugh
                     b.) Look the other way and keep shopping
                     c.) Get an attitude and roll your eyes and sigh because she is
                          blocking the lane
                     d.) Look to somebody else, as if to say “you should help her”
                     e.) Approach her and ask if she needs assistance

My next question is, would your expectations as to the ‘right’ answer be any different if you observed this happen around people who were in uniform? Military, Police, Fire & Rescue?

I think I am guilty of believing that every person in the military, police force or fire and rescue squad would help somebody in need, no matter where they were or what they were doing. I guess I had created that generalization in my head because they seem like the good guys and should be good guys all the way around - defending our country or helping an old lady in the grocery store; tackling crime or helping an old lady in the grocery store; rescuing people from burning buildings or helping an old lady in the grocery store.

Now I will say I think every human should help another when they see there is a need, but that is unrealistic. At the very least I would think these ‘role models’ would.

You never know what somebody is dealing with. You never know how much somebody else is struggling. You never know until you offer to help.

I was standing in the grocery store watching these men in uniform sigh and roll their eyes and go around her instead of help her. Let me just paint a mental picture for you real quick – I was pushing one cart, Seth was standing in the back of the cart and wanted my arm around him, and I was also pulling another cart…periodically stopping as my grandma would say, “I need that , can you put it in the cart?” That is where I was when I noticed what was happening. I picked Seth up and approached her and asked her if I could help her. She said the motorized wheel chair was acting up and not working properly. I looked at it and noticed it had a dead battery. I told her I would be right back and went to get her another one. This was no simple task. I, thank God, have never had to use one of those motorized wheel chair things, I know you have to push the green button, and then move the handles forward and I thought that was all their was to it. Wrong. You have to be sitting in the chair in order for the thing to work. After getting all these people to try and figure out to make it work, I finally figured it out. So off we went, Seth and I to deliver a new powered buggy for this older lady who had to be feeling pretty bad.

We caught up with her, I helped her get moved and then proceeded to move all her groceries into the new powered buggy. She kept saying thank you and God Bless you. It was truly an amazing feeling to know that I helped her, but also a sad feeling because I witnessed all those people who didn’t help. As I put the last box of pasta in her cart she told she was having a really bad day, she had no help and it had been a rough day, she went on to say that she has cancer and feels so handicapped. Wow. Talk about a humbling experience. Feeling exasperated by carrying Seth and trying to get those crazy carts to work and here this lady was battling cancer…fighting for her very life.

I was moved by the experience. I told her we would pray for her when she told me that – I was truly speechless…but then I forgot to ask her what her name was.

So for all of you reading this, join me in prayer for “the lady from the grocery store who was having a bad day and fighting cancer.” I am sure God knows her name and will direct the prayers accordingly.

Is there anybody in your life that is in need? My challenge to you is to make a difference. You have one life. Do something. Don’t wait around for somebody else to make a change, be bold and take the first step.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Are you blessed?

Matthew 5:3-12 (The Message)

3 "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

4 "You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

5 "You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.

6 "You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.

7 "You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.

8 "You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

9 "You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.

10 "You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.

11-12 "Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.


I love this passage...what a great point of reflection/reminder....