Saturday, February 28, 2009

love this song

Slow Fade by Casting Crowns

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there's nothing like a little chocolate to buffer the pain

As a reminder, tomorrow is the start of Project 365=Weekly Themes. I hope everyone is ready to start Looking Up! It will be fun to see what everyone has come up with, I'm sure the challenge will generate lots of creativity :-)

I've been reading up lately on digital SLR cameras and have learned quite a bit of surprising information I thought I'd pass along. First of all, did you know that most lower-end DSLRs have a 1.6x crop factor - meaning... you are not really even capturing the full image? The sad reality is my 50mm lens is really acting more like an 80mm lens because of the crop factor. To help explain things better, here's an example of what this means:

This explains exactly why no matter how hard I try or which lens I use, I will never be able to achieve the true wide angle image I am looking for. That is, until I spend about $2,700 more on a new camera body.

And I so want that camera body. In addition to achieving some awesome images, it would also serve as my second camera during sessions. Not only will it allow me the convenience of keeping two lenses at my fingertips (saving time and preventing me from missing shots), it will also provide a sense of peace and security to have backup equipment. Especially important as I take on more weddings.

This means I'll be holding off on investing in new lenses. (Sigh.) The good news? I've found a place locally that rents them for a mere $20-25. (There are plenty of online rental places as well, but you'll pay that just for the cost of shipping.)

Too, I've also discovered a very cool company that provides post-production services to photographers. Creating digital albums for myself is one thing, it's a completely different story when it comes to clients. The process is time-consuming either way, I think that's why I'm drawn to Colorati. Not only do they select your best images, they process, edit, and design album pages. (I could see this being VERY handy down the road.)

I have some morning business to tend to now that the kids are waking. But before I go, just a couple more things regarding the daily photo challenge: you do not need a fancy camera to particpate AND you are welcome to turn it into a weekly challenge instead. If you have any questions, let me know!

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Friday, February 27, 2009

all too familiar

Ren has strep throat... again. Unfortunately, we've been down this road a few times in the last year:

Funny thing is, the kid had never even had an antibiotic before kindergarten. If it happens another time this winter, we may need to take a serious look at surgery. (Something we've been putting off.)

Thankfully, Meeley is well and back at school.

It's my "25th" birthday and I had big plans for whooping it up. Not only did I miss a much needed Coffee w/Sharon date, we also had to cancel the boys' sleepover with Grandma Lita. (Meeley was really pitching a fit over this one.) Plans schmlans... the hubby and I have decided we're just going to wing it next time.

The sick boy is trying to kick me off the computer. I'm going to let him. Have a great afternoon!

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Depression Cooking w/Clara

Saw this on GMA this morning, have watched two episodes and am totally hooked:

The official website is HERE.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

when one door closes, another opens

Today is THE day. The last official day of my Project 365. The last official day of forty. (Yeah, not really excited about that part.) I'll have just barely enough time to take a breath before the new photo-a-day challenge begins. I can't wait to start, can't wait to see what you guys come up with as well! We have ten in the group so far and I really hope a few more decide to jump in.

Did anyone happen to see the news story last night about grocery shopping and the least expensive places to shop in the Twin Cities? The full story is HERE. (I've always had my suspicions about SuperTarget being a better deal than Cub.) Speaking of groceries, did you know that Simon Delivers is no more? I guess it's now Coborns Delivers - same colors, same trucks - new name. From what I hear though, organic is really the way to go. Check out this delightful video for details (courtesy of my children):

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holed up with a sick boy

I woke this morning to find my hubby and our 11-year old sleeping in the living room. Meeley had a bucket and was in The Sick Spot. (It was the first time EVER I had not been woken for sickness. Apparently, the hubby had still been awake when Meeley first became ill.) I sent the hubby upstairs, made a cup of tea, and wrote in my journal by nightlight.

By 7:00 am, Meeley was holding the bucket close and making a lot of noise. I asked him if his tummy hurt and he said it did a lot. (Boy, is it tough seeing your child in pain.) I put my hand on his head and began to pray, asking God to take away his discomfort. (At this point, Meeley reached for my hand and held on tightly.) Among other things, I asked God to take away the pain completely so that Meeley might actually "enjoy" his sick day.

Seconds later, Meeley said he thought he was feeling better. A minute or so went by and he said, "I really feel good now. Almost immediately after the words left your mouth, my stomach stopped hurting."

And he has not gotten sick since! God is good. And what I really love are those moments when my children have an opportunity to see that His clear hand for themselves.

O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. Psalm 30:2

So aside from hanging out with Meeley, what else have I been up to? (Yes, I know I've been usually quiet; God has had a clamp on my mouth.) Well as I mentioned in the accidental hair-shaving post, my hubby spent a night in St. Cloud earlier this week. On his way home, he stopped and picked up an early birthday gift:

The hubby loves me, this I know. So not only am I holed up with a sick boy, I'm holed up with a 1+ box of fudge. (Actually, it's more like a half pound now.) It's not just fudge, mind you, but there are FLAVORS: Salted Nut Roll, Snickers, Chocolate Mint, Peanut Butter, and Vanilla With A Thick Layer of Caramel Inside (I can't think of the real name but Tilly affectionately refers to it as "Tiger Beat").

And as a couple of Facebook friends pointed out, I "forgot" to share. Oops. An oversight, of course.

Well, I'm thinking about venturing outside to the mailbox. (The snow is already coming down pretty hard, I may even have to grab a shovel.) I have a few more things to share but I'll need to save them for another time because the fudge snow is calling.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

yes, it is.

If you haven't had a chance to visit Angie's website in the last 24-hours, be sure to check it out by clicking HERE. Powerful stuff.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

you just know it's going to be that kinda day...

When not only do you forget to take out the garbage on Garbage Day (hubby was in St. Cloud for the night), BUT... you accidentally shave your head while trying to maneuver in the shower.

Yeah, that's how my day began. How about yours?

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

i may need to recruit some models

The kids were on a mission for coins, my hubby was on the lookout for printer ink, and I was looking for a little inspiration. We joined forces and spent the day tooling around. It was so much fun, mainly because I found a few new places for future photo sessions (I've had enough of the empty fields and railroad tracks). I'll share a nugget with you now but will be saving the rest for later:

I'm hoping to entice a recently engaged couple here. Just wait until you see the other sights... WAAAY cool.

Speaking of cool, I just signed up for a wedding photography class being taught by a local photographer I absolutely LOVE. (Can't wait for the tips and feedback.) On top of that, Tilly and I will also be attending a photography conference to receive inspiration and ideas for capturing children. It's sure to be a fun time and I know I'll be itching to apply what I've learned! (Thankfully, many of you took part in the Needham Family Photo Drive so I have lots of sessions to look forward to in the coming months.)

I promised my hubby I'd make it a short night on the computer so I'll have to check in with you tomorrow. Have a great evening!

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Friday, February 20, 2009

wow, i really need to get moving

I finished up the edits from Heather's session and just wanted to share a couple more of them here:

He's just so darned tootin' cute, I can hardly stand it! A good portion of my day was also spent messing with these little guys:

Though it's difficult to tell from the images, the charms have the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep angel logo on them, with "NILMDTS" engraved on back. Just preparing for my on-call day tomorrow...

I know I'd promised to post the February faithbooking lesson. I'm still working on it. I do have the March themes for our new 365 photo challenge ready. (Click HERE for details on the challenge.) If you're interested in participating, just let me know so I can send you an invite (the only way to plug into the online group). The themes for March are as follows:

Week 1 (March 1-March 7): Look Up
Week 2 (March 8-March 14): My Home (meaning YOUR home)
Week 3 (March 15-March 21): Shadows
Week 4 (March 22-March 28): Routine

Obviously, there is quite a bit of flexibility within the challenge but it is supposed to push you outside of your comfort zone. If you miss a day, don't freak out - just pick up where you left off. The advantages of taking daily photographs are numerous: (1) you will become very familiar with your camera; (2) you will be practicing which means that in the process you will be strengthening your photography skills; (3) you will begin noticing DETAILS like never before... you might even find yourself taking more than one photo per day. (Really. It can happen.)

I've gotta run. If you have any questions about the challenge, just post a comment or shoot me an email.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

there is a difference between foolishness and just plain stupidity

I have no problem posting things that make me look a bit... off. Take this, for example:

Or this:

But I do draw the line at horribly gross. And that's what The Great Reveal would require to achieve the full effect. (Lost already? Take a peek at THIS POST.) Using your imagination, try to picture a 20-year coffee fanatic who smoked a pack of cigarettes each day for ten of those years. Now picture her much discolored smile.

Yeah. That was me.

The wake-up call took place after I was photographed standing next to Miss Susie Sunshine. She had the fairest teeth in all the land at the Creative Memories meeting and I was photographed next to her in my brownish-yellow glory. A picture I will never forget as it is permanently etched on my brain.

Not only did I want to spare you the pain, but as I mentioned above - I do have my limits. So my bloggy friends, the explanation for the garbled video:

I was busy whitening my teeth with THIS HANDY KIT. Aside from a little temporary tooth sensitivity, I am very happy with the results :-)

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

i hadn't realized that anticipation could be painful

A bloggy friend approached me this morning wanting to know when The Big Secret would be revealed. (She'd been waiting for an explanation for THIS POST, specifically THIS VIDEO.) I had no clue people were really even paying attention to my antics, let alone waiting on me! If there are any more of you out there... sorry. The big reveal will take place tomorrow, I promise.

Incidently, waiting seems to be *the thing* God is talking to me about today. Our video this morning was about timing, specifically when it is time to wait. I hadn't realized the magnitude of this message until processing it a bit. One of the verses Beth Moore directed us to was Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven... a time to be silent and a time to speak.
I tend to have a problem with the silent part.

On top of that, I've been struggling to hear from the Lord lately. I do not like this feeling and have spent quite a bit of time in my journal and Bible trying to root out the source of this distance. Anyway, today's message struck a chord: perhaps I am simply supposed to wait on Him.

After arriving home from Bible study, I quickly unloaded the coffee boxes. While putting supplies away, the words from my daily calendar grabbed me. Here's what it was opened to:
Wait and Receive

Be relaxed and at ease in God's presence. You come into His presence by spending time alone with Him in prayer and reading the Word. God loves you and wants you to have His best. Wait on Him and believe you are receiving. Do not be led by your feelings; be led by God's promises.

Wait for the Lord, and keep His way,
And He will exalt you to inherit the land. . . .
- Psalm 37:34 NASB
Just as I'd suspected. So now, it's time for me to go and BE QUIET. To spend time alone in His presence. Waiting expectantly.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

their latest obsessions passions

Origami. Ren received a ream of paper for Christmas (along with assorted art supplies) and has used the bulk of it to fashion all sorts of flying objects (birds, jets & bombers). You can thank our library and THIS BOOK for his very UNgreen new hobby.

Music. After weeks of raiding our eclectic CD collection and downloading dozens of songs from iTunes, Meeley decided to purchase his own album. It is his first and a good one at that :-)

The long weekend made for a very long weekend. Thankfully, Pippy was able to stop by for a visit. After an hour of unsuccessfully trying to convince Pippy that paper folding is da bomb, they decided to play a little Rock Band:

I'm quite sure Pippy has a future in music - lead vocalist, worship leader, or some other front man. He will, at the very least, give Wierd Al a run for the money (the boys' words, not mine). I do have to say that Ren's real drum lessons have significantly impacted his pretend drum skills. Here's the boy in action:

Oh how I wish I could sit and blog the afternoon away. I've missed days like this (not the Rock Band playdates of yesterday but the no-pressure-just-do-it-when-you-can days like today). But alas, there's work to be done. Low-key work but work nonetheless.

I'll be back a little later with the March photo challenge themes, the February faithbooking lesson, and hopefully some deeper posts. Have a great afternoon!

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Monday, February 16, 2009

happy belatedvalentinesandpresidentsday

Just a reminder... the countdown is on for the $50 photography sessions. The sessions can be booked anytime in 2009 but you must contact me by February 20th to take advantage of this offer. Click HERE for details.

Too, I'm almost at the end of my photo-a-day challenge (a.k.a. Project 365) and am gearing up for the next, which will begin on March 1st (I'm hoping to convince a few of you to join in). My hubby gave me a great idea for shakin' things up... there will be a weekly theme for the photographs, for example: Reflections, Old, Signs of Spring, Family, etc. I would like it if we could share our images with one another (assuming I won't be doing this alone) and will be creating a Flickr group for that purpose. If you decide to take part in this challenge, one thing is certain... you will become a better photographer.

As for the Flickr bit, you can open up a free account HERE. There's a monthly upload limit you might reach by posting a daily photo but you can get around it by reducing your image size or deleting older photos. To upgrade to a Pro account (with unlimited uploads and storage) the cost is $24.95 a year. Details for both accounts are HERE. You can post images as public, friends, or family - which means you decide exactly who has access to your images. If you have any questions, just let me know.

I'll be posting the photo topics by month to give everyone time to prepare. (I'm not yet ready for March but hope to have the themes up this week.) If you're interested in taking part (or at the very least, giving it a shot) just let me know!

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

a deep breath

Another short post but this week promises to give me time to rest and reflect. I did have a couple of quick images to share... the hubby had Friday off we took a little time to play. We went out to breakfast at Little Oscar's in Hampton, MN. (The best food EVER, I swear - breakfast, lunch, dinner, and MILKSHAKES.) I want to go back.

Yesterday was the monthly Faithbooking Crop; I snapped this image at 9:10 am and entitled it, "What's wrong w/this picture?":

We spent the evening with Tilly's family (sans Tilly) and successfully had my hubby playing on Facebook. (Granted, he has yet to create his own page but it's a start.)

I'll be posting this month's lesson later in the week. (Along with taking care of inventory, processing a couple of sessions, and miscellaneous paperwork. A "calm" week all things considered.)

I'd better get a move on. Have a great day!

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Friday, February 13, 2009

up and running

Mellissa's gallery is up for viewing (again, she granted permission to share). If you'd like to check out their new family photo session, click HERE. It's listed under "Featured Galleries" and is entitled, "Mellissa's Kid."

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