Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stellan's story to be aired tonight...

His mama was interviewed this afternoon by KSTP (Channel 5); it will aired on the 10:00 pm program.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

if you showed up at my door right now, I'd share. i really would.

I met with a friend this morning to discuss a future photo session and look what I was blessed with:

A vanilla bean cheesecake from McHatties. I've already shared a piece with Tilly who voted it better than the infamous Bailey's® Bars. Here's a slice dressed up with all of the fixins:

Yeah, it's as good as it looks.

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

she knows how to bake a mean cookie AND has the best smelling sheets

Stacey invited the niece and nephews over for a night of rip-roaring fun. As you can see, she has a way of making their time feel very special. They had an Easter egg hunt, played Payday, and worked incessantly to turn the sleepover into an all-nighter.

They had a great time - though I can't say the same for her cat. (She says he usually gets sick after the kids leave.) I snapped this while he was hiding from the young'uns in Stacey's bedroom:

One of the sweetest things our boys love about sleeping at Stacey's house (aside from the treats) is the smell of her sheets. The last time they stayed over, Meeley was elated to discover that his pillow had carried the fabric softener scent home. Seriously.

After dropping off the boys, the hubby and I snuck on over to Sonic for some treats of our own. (We're sneaky like that.)

Thanks again, Stacey!

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Saturday, March 28, 2009


I'm a day or so behind on the blog and a couple of days behind on my Flickr posting... thought I'd better step in to say hi.


I received a call late Thursday evening for a family in need of a NILMDTS photographer. (Please cover the family in your prayers as they journey through this heartbreaking loss.) Friday was filled with photo edits and a quick movie break with the family before heading out to dinner with a few friends. Rudy's Redeye Grill, though great food and atmosphere, is HORRIBLE for taking pictures. (Should have brought my Fong toy along... grrr.)

I'm on-call today and could be tied up again. If not, I'll be back!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009


The boy couldn't stay away from the glass railings. (Just click on the image to enlarge.)

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a few more shots from the day...

I gave the boys five minutes for find some sort of prop for our mini session on The Wall. They were very... creative. I'm hoping to make these mini sessions a regular part of our playdates. (I'd especially love to do this with our grown-up playdates as well.)

In addition to terrorizing playing with nerf guns, they shared some pretty hilarious stories, rocked out on real instruments and on Rock Band, wrestled, ran, and ate.

As far as the parenting stuff goes, how do you handle household rules with kids other than your own? Do you rule more with a heavy hand or do you tend to let things slide? Now that the boys are getting older, I'm beginning to notice changes and realize we will soon be dealing with bigger issues such as swearing, the telephone (a bit trickier to monitor with cell phones), computer limits (easy to monitor in your own home but not everyone handles things the same way), texting, and more. So what do you do when a visiting child breaks a house rule?

The family is waiting for me to join them (Movie Night). Gotta go!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

living with intention

Here's Week 4 of the Backseat Jesus sermon series: Immersing Your Mind:

Just click on the orange link above to find the rest of the series.

I had a sweet moment with my 11-year old last night. It had been a rough couple of days for the boy. (Sadly, his beloved iPod shuffle went for a "swim" in the washing machine.) We spent the evening preparing for today's playdate by setting up an elaborate nerf zone in the basement. I rearranged Rubbermaid containers, stacked boxes, and created several "walls" for the boys to take cover. At bedtime, Meeley grabbed my hand and told me he had something important to say. He first apologized for the iPod incident (it was a birthday gift from the hubby and I and Meeley was feeling bad about the loss). Then in a very grown-up way, he told me that he really appreciated the time I took to make the basement fun for his friends. It was so unexpected and so very sweet.

The playdate was a blast. I have a few more images to share (in addition to the one in the last post). And a few parenting things to ponder. Perhaps tomorrow...

One last thing - just had to share this beautiful image I captured tonight. I spotted it on my way back from the mailbox and it took my breath away:

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After months of strategic planning, the playdate of all playdates is finally here. (I have the feeling we'll be patching holes when it's over.)

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thought this worth a repost

I've posted a couple of times on personality testing and thought I'd share the links again. Knowing your personality type (as well the types of those closest to you) can be a great help during times of conflict. (It can also be a great tool for personal growth.) If you are unsure of your personality type, you can click HERE for a personality assessment in addition to an indepth look at each of the personality types. As a parent to young children, you can also learn more about your child's personality type by clicking HERE.

I'm an INFJ (married to an INFP - an interesting combination at times). As far as the kids go, it looks like we have an ISJ and an ENP (can't test for the fourth letter until they are a little older). How about you?

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Monday, March 23, 2009

urgent prayer request!

Stellan needs your prayers right now. The details are on Jennifer's blog (aka MckMama) - click HERE to learn more.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

This week promises to be anything but routine.

The kids and hubby are home for the week. (Interesting, considering the weekly photo challenge theme.) With today being Sunday and church being a usual part of the day, I knew I had to snap a shot of the service. (It wasn't easy.) Just click on the image to get a better view.

The kids are outside and the hubby is shopping - perfect for blogging... now if only I could WRITE! It's not been coming very easily as of late. What's been happening over the last few weeks has been something of a makeover. Things were getting a little off-track. (Nothing major, just feeling like I'd zipped ahead of God in a few areas.) I've been taking a little extra time to sort things out.

So how does one know when a godly makeover is needed? Here are a few of the signs I watch for in my own life:

1. Chronic crabbiness. From me, the kids, or the hubby.

2. Operating with very little margin.

3. Sleeplessness or feeling overly tired.

4. Continually putting the kids or my hubby off.

5. Lack of enjoyable, stress-free family time.

6. God has been shoved aside.

7. Very little interest in the needs of others. Critical and impatient.

8. Trouble keeping commitments - missing church, skipping out on meetings, or making excuses.

9. Erratic eating.

10. Unbalanced free time. Reading, photography, scrapbooking, and the Internet can be huge temptations for me. When stressed, I tend to overuse the things I like in an attempt to escape.

When I am lined up with God, I have peace no matter what the circumstances. When things are off-balance, even a tiny bit - I lose that peace. Here's what the Bible has to say about a life that's lined up with God's will:

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9

You will keep in perfect peace him who mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you, Lord. Isaiah 26:3

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11

Jesus said, "Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

"My people wil live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest," says the Lord. Isaiah 32:18

May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in him. Romans 15:13

"My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest," says the Lord. Exodus 33:14

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11

When I have the sense that things are unbalanced, I go back to basics. I make sure I'm spending time with God in His word and look to see that my priorities are ordered biblically. (Click HERE to learn more.) I usually spot a thing or two right off the bat. I pray, asking God for forgiveness and wisdom, then I do what I can to make the necessary changes. (This might mean a revamping of our family schedule or being more intentional about the time I give to our children or carefully watching my attitude towards my husband.) Some of the questions I ask myself:

1. Am I making healthy eating and family meals a priority? If not, what kinds of changes do I need to make?

2. Have I been heading to bed at a reasonable time?

3. Where have I been spending my time? Does it reflect my priorities? If not, what kinds of changes do I need to make?

4. How is the family being affected? Is my impatience rubbing off on others?

5. Have I been consistent in my parenting? Have I been respectful towards my husband or "mommying" him in addition to the children?

Once I have a better understanding of where I've gotten off-track, I continue to pray for guidance and persist in making changes until I'm back where I need to be.

That's kind of where I'm at right now, basics mode. (Thus, the short and sweet bloggy posts.) And on that note, my family is back in the house and waiting patiently for me to complete this post. Have a great evening!

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

create a place to create

I've been gathering all sorts of ideas and inspiration for a new photography website I hope to unveil later this year. I needed a place to put all of the ideas, resources, and links - a place where I could actually FIND THEM when needed. Whipped up this quick little journal w/tabs and can't wait to dig in!

I've also been messing with ring shots for my portfolio. Here's one of my favorites from the day:

It's been a fun afternoon.

Speaking of fun and weddings, you must check out Rain Studios. These talented artists create wedding videos that are beyond amazing. You can check out several trailers by clicking on Weddings, then Videos.

The hubby is home after a night away... gotta go!

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Friday, March 20, 2009

i think this counts as a fruit...

Met a special friend (along with my mom) today at a cute place in Prior Lake: Edelweiss Bakery & Cafe. The atmosphere is sunny and friendly, perfect for hanging out and catching up. The treats were DELICIOUS and you can even pick up lunch there as well. (If their cakes are anything like their pastries, it would be well worth the trip.) To learn more, just click on the orange link above.

My friend Carole was a bit apprehensive about the camera, little did she know she'd end up in a blog post! (Hey, it's just part of the deal.)

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i was SURE i'd shared this before...

I was wrong.

Heard about THIS BOOK on the radio was reminded of this powerful flick.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

what you see is NOT what you get

I stumbled across a couple of videos this afternoon and thought it very interesting to see the process behind a magazine cover.

Click HERE to see another example of retouching. Fashion magazines made a HUGE impression on me during the teenage years and provided ample fuel for my disordered thinking. Unfortunately, young woman today face even bigger challenges with the proliferation of sexualized images in the media. Click HERE for an article on the topic. A report from the American Psychological Association is HERE. Perhaps you heard something as well about the impact sexy television shows are having on our teens as well. (If not, the article is HERE.)

As parents, we need to pay attention to the messages our kids are receiving. We need to help them process and understand that what they see in the media is NOT what they get. (Another retouched image is below. Retouch left, real life right.)

If you're the mom of young girls, you might want to check out THIS WEBSITE and THIS BOOK (the boy version is on my shelf to the left).

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out of hiding

I was messing around with the 8-year old when I caught this shot. Another beautiful day to enjoy. Spent my quiet time reading about Christ's crucifixion and resurrection in each gospel. What really hit me was the nature of his "trial" - the high priest in charge of the Roman judicial system was outraged by Christ's claims, His influence a great threat to their power. Despite Pilate's reservations, Caiaphas insisted on Christ's crucifixion.

Here's an interesting excerpt from Wikipedia:

Matthew: trial of Jesus

In Matthew 26:57-26:67, Caiaphas, other chief priests, and the Bet Shammai dominated Sanhedrin of the time are depicted interrogating Jesus. They are looking for "false evidence" with which to frame Jesus, but are unable to find any. Jesus remains silent throughout the proceedings until Caiaphas demands that Jesus say whether he is the Christ. Jesus replies "I AM", and makes an allusion to the Son of Man coming on the clouds with power. Caiaphas and the other men charge him with blasphemy and order him beaten.

John: relations with Romans

In John 11, Caiaphas considers, with "the Chief Priests and Pharisees", what to do about Jesus, whose influence is spreading. They worry that if they "let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation." Caiaphas makes a political calculation, suggesting that it would be better for "one man" (Jesus) to die than for "the whole nation" to be destroyed.

In John 18, Jesus is brought before Annas and Caiaphas and questioned, with intermittent beatings. Afterward, the other priests (Caiaphas does not accompany them) take Jesus to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, and insist upon Jesus' execution. Pilate tells the priests to judge Jesus themselves, to which they respond they lack authority to do so. Pilate questions Jesus, after which he states, "I find no basis for a charge against him." Pilate then offers the Jews the choice of one prisoner to release — said to be a Passover tradition — and the Jews choose a criminal named Barabbas instead of Jesus.

Political implications

For Jewish leaders of the time, there were serious concerns about Roman rule and an insurgent Zealot movement in Beit Shammai to eject the Romans from Israel. The Romans would not perform execution over violations of Jewish law, and therefore the charge of blasphemy would not have mattered to Pilate. Caiaphas' legal position, therefore, was to establish that Jesus was guilty not only of blasphemy, but also of proclaiming himself the messiah, which was understood as the return of the Davidic king. This would have been an act of sedition and prompted Roman execution.

Acts: Peter and John refuse to be silenced

Later, in Acts 4, Peter and John went before Annas and Caiaphas after having healed a crippled man. Caiaphas and Annas questioned the apostles' authority to perform such a miracle. When Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, answered that Jesus of Nazareth was the source of their power, Caiaphas and the other priests realized that the two men had no formal education yet spoke eloquently about the man they called their savior. Caiaphas sent the apostles away, and agreed with the other priests that the word of the miracle had already been spread too much to attempt to refute, and instead the priests would need to warn the apostles not to spread the name of Jesus. However, when they gave Peter and John this command, the two refused, saying "We cannot keep quiet. We must speak about what we have seen and heard."
Before the trial had began, they'd already determined that Jesus must die. (Mark 14:1; John 11:50). No defense was even sought or allowed (Luke 22:67-71). They were not interested in giving Jesus a fair trial. In their minds, Jesus had to die. This blind obsession led them to pervert the justice they were appointed to protect, breaking several of their own "rules" in rigging the trial.

Caiaphas was a man seething in his own bitter stew. Ironically, his desperate attempt to stifle Jesus had quite the opposite effect. The same goes for many of Christ's disciples, who died cruel and horrible deaths for preaching the gospel.

Did they all die for a lie? An interesting thought.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

our weekend... in pictures

It was jam-packed.

I never had a chance to blog about our evening at the hubby's college campus. Nor was I able to share details from the DI tournament on Saturday (or the scrumptious chocolate malts from Little Oscar's that evening). This post will have to suffice.

As for a story from the hubby's college days... he showed the boys his dorm and the very spot where he and some friends had glued coins onto the sidewalk. Everyone had gathered in the common area above, pulling chairs close to the window to observe. The entertainment? Watching many unsuccessful attempts by passerbys to remove the coins. For real.

We were out the door by 6:30 am the next day for the DI tournament in Glencoe. Quite the hike. The kids had a blast and I even had a chance to visit with Sunny. She was managing a team from her son's school - a world away, mind you. Bumping into Sunny at a school function is a very rare thing.

The rest of the weekend was spent simply hanging out. There were burgers and malts at Little Oscar's, an introduction to Wii dancing, playing outside, a new book, and this nagging little nasal headache that won't seem to quit.

That pretty much sums it up. Despite the full nature, I still managed to find time for rest. And play. God has been working on me... pointing things out. I am making adjustments. A little less time on the computer, a little more time interacting with the family. All good.

Week 3 of the Backseat Jesus sermon series is up and running, just click HERE for the audio. (It's another good one.) Too, I also wanted to share a couple of talented photographers (and their inspirational blogs) - Dawn Nahorniak and Cameron Ingalls. Enjoy!

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Photo Challenge Themes for April

Here are the weekly themes for April:

March 29- April 4, 2009: Out & About
April 5-11, 2009: Signs of Spring
April 12-18, 2009: Family
April 19-25, 2009: Transportation

If you'd like to join our Flickr group for ideas and inspiration, just let me know!

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just let go

Ben Patterson tells of a common experience of westerners, particularly missionaries, traveling through jungle sections of the Amazon. They will ask members of a village to give them directions to where they want to go. "I have a compass, a map, and some coordinates."

The villager knows precisely the directions to get them there, but he offers to take them himself.

"No, that's okay. I don't want a guide. I just want directions."

"That's no good. I must take you there."

"But I have a map right here. And I have a compass. And the coordinates."

"It does not work that way. I can get you there, but I must take you myself. You must follow me."

We prefer directions, principles, steps, keys. We prefer these things because they leave us in control. If I'm holding the map, I'm still in charge of the trip. I can go where I want to go. If I have a guide, I must trust. I must follow. I must relinquish control.

God is not much on maps and compasses and coordinates. Life just doesn't work that way. We don't need instructions. We need a Guide.

(Excerpt from Faith & Doubt by John Ortberg.)

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Friday, March 13, 2009

just had to share one more before bed...

It was one giant headache of a day that ended on a very bright note. We spent some time at the hubby's college campus and had dinner at one of his favorite pizza joints (believe it or not, Luigis is still there). The kids had so much fun checking out the campus (they even picked up a couple of souvenirs) and especially enjoyed the stories. I'll share a few more pics and perhaps a story or two with you tomorrow! Have a great evening.

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