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Christmas Card Mini Session Promotion

So glad you stopped by for more information!

Session dates for the outdoor Hague sessions are as follows:

Tuesday, November 11th (no school – Veteran’s Day)

Wednesday, November 12

with an alternate date of Saturday, November 15th

Note:  The 15th could be a possible 3rd session date if there is enough interest and the weather cooperates.

Christmas Card Mini Session

– Steps to your updated portraits & awesome holiday cards –

1.  Contact me via email at victoria@vlvphotography.com or call 701.336.7720 to book

2.  You will be able to book your time slot online, as well as pay for your session and fill out the session agreement

3.  Choose your wardrobe.  Coordinate by choosing one outfit with several colors and pulling from that for the rest of the family.

4.  Want to include Props?  How about add on anything to your session to receive 10% off?

5.  Enjoy your time in front of my lens during your session!

6.  Within 10 days view your images online in a private, password-protected gallery

7.  Choose your digital images and your card design (you will have several options to choose from)

8.  Approve your card design online

9.Receive your beautifully packaged order

10.  Mail out your beautiful cards to friends and family

Get in touch with any questions or if you would like to book your session!  Time slots are to be determined but space will be limited!

My Life Monday | Energy Flows Where Attention Goes

When was the last time you got really excited?  Jumping out of your skin, grinning from ear to ear excited?  So excited you’re anxious?

Every time I ask our dog, Gizmo, if he wants to go for a walk, he gets very excited, jumping up and down, tail going crazy, barking up a storm, doing circles around me, and running back and forth to the door in anticipation of actually going for a walk.

That’s pure joy and excitement, right there.  Same as a child would react who loves the outdoors and where every day is an adventure.

Energy Flows Where Attention Goes

An experience I had recently, involving work I created for two dear friends, brought out some pure joy and excitement in me, that I hadn’t experienced before in my business quite in the same way.  I had held on to that work for several weeks, allowing other things to take over in my schedule, because if I’m being honest…I had a lot of anxiety surrounding putting this work “out there” for all to see.  What most don’t know is that this was two years in the making.  And two years of me resisting and getting in my own damn way.  So for me, it’s like “giving birth” to a new possibility that is both exciting and very nerve-wracking at the same time.

I’ll share more of that story in the full blog post at a later time, where I’ll share more of their images, but in the meantime, these are the two I posted on my Facebook page.

This is Lori, who, on the day of this beauty session, turned 40.  This was a celebration beauty session! :)

beauty photography

This is Jen.  The resistant-at-first friend who realized, towards the end of the session that, what just happened, was much more than just a make-over.

women beauty photography

That, right there is work that I want to create over and over and over and over.  Because it matters.  Because it’s empowering.  Because it has long-lasting good-feeling mojo long after.  Because, I feel, it’s work that is bigger than me.  And because it just feels right to me.

Now, you may be wondering…huh, guess those children, families, weddings, couples, and seniors she’s photographed weren’t as awesome.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.  I take away and learn something from every interaction I have with my clients.  A senior in high school takes me back and reminds me of my more youthful days, brings an energy to the session that no other session can.  Whereas, children bring this natural wonder and curiosity that even now, I still have as an adult, so I find it easy to relate to children in that way.  And families….well, it’s a reminder for me, every time, of the blessing I have in my own life that even though my own family is very small, we are very tight.  And how, through my marriage, I have been introduced to so much more love in my life and have that father role model, as an adult, that I never truly had as a child.  And all the weddings I’ve photographed, give me hope, that in this world, there is still goodness and love prevailing and you see it all unfold in one very important, emotionally-charged day…and to be a part of that and to document the start of someone else’s love story?  It’s not something I ever took very lightly.

I’ve put passion and love into all of those sessions, but this….this is different.  It’s as if a sleeping giant has been awakened in me.  And I didn’t fully feel it until Friday, October 24th and it’s a day I will never forget.  Simply put, this has been a big deal to me.  And I have no idea where this will take me, what will happen from now on, but I do know this:  that when you feel true joy and excitement…that’s when you know you’re on the right track.

Seek out the joyful moments in your life and do whatever it takes to feel it on a daily basis.  It may be simply taking the dog for a walk.  It may be turning on the jams and having your own dance party. And I feel like I’ve written about this before.  But truly, you will see a difference taking shape in your life when you do.  And it starts rubbing off on those closest to you as well.

And before I go, I want to share a little update on this previous post, where I shared how I planned to tell the kids what I love about them.  Last week, we had sat down for our evening meal and I went around the table telling each of our children what I loved about them.  Their faces just lit up.   Two days later, Xavier shared that he disagreed with me on my previous assessment of how he makes a situation funny, whereas Jozlyn will make others laugh at her expense. He disagreed and proceeded to give an example of how he made others laugh. That told me one thing, that what I said to him, made him think and also actually stuck with him.  Alexandra too – busily made cards for her dad and I to put on the fridge days after that conversation.

Kids are sponges;  taking in the good (and the negative) things we say, directly or indirectly stated towards them.  Becoming mindful of what I tell myself (in my own mind), has made me more mindful of what I actually say.  It’s a daily practice, and I still find myself allowing negative things into my mind.  But, it’s honestly been helping me change the tone of the conversation in our home.  And with my older two, it’s going to take some work.  As I learn, they too shall learn.  And maybe through reading this blog, you too, shall learn right along with me.

Have a blessed week and until next time, be mindful of what your feelings are telling you and never hesitate to share, with others, what you love about them.

Energy flows where attention goes

My Life Monday | What You Offer the World

Gift of Words quote

Ever think to yourself that you have nothing to offer….to anyone?  Or maybe you know you offer a shoulder for someone to lean on, but never really feel how much that impacts others so then you are still in the camp of people who feel as though they have nothing to offer the world.

I’m a deep thinker, if you haven’t gathered that about me or, if you’ve only recently started to read these weekly blog posts – which, have really gotten deep lately.

And I’m the type of person that needs alone time in order to recharge.  I actually crave alone time.  Weird, huh?  I also find small talk rather difficult, which often leaves me leaving a small talk conversation feeling like I was just misunderstood.  Because, when I meet you for the first time – I really would rather know you – tell me something of substance, of interest;  something that gives me an indication of who you are on a deeper level – what you stand for, believe in, or value.  And to get someone to share that side of them isn’t usually easy and especially on a first-time meeting.  They have to look into your eyes and trust you won’t judge them.  And most people just don’t feel safe doing that.  But, I think we all know someone in our lives who people just seem to spill their guts to;  tell their whole life stories to and we ask ourselves…what is it about them that makes people so comfortable doing that?

Over the years, my husband has been that person for many people.  Most of these people were met in passing, never to be seen again.  But he shared the many stories with me over the years.  I think sometimes people just want to feel heard, if even by a stranger.  And what a gift my husband has given others.  And maybe you’ve been in that situation too – where someone just spills their life story to you, where you don’t get word in edge-wise, but suddenly feel like you’re in a psychologist’s chair and this stranger is lying on your couch.  I know my husband doesn’t see this as any kind of gift, but I sure do.

What you offer the world doesn’t have to be this grand thing that yields tangible or monetary rewards.  And just because, what you offer others, doesn’t give you those things, what it does give you is joy…..if you choose to look at it that way.  My husband can choose to see these instances in his life as an annoyance;  an interruption in his day.  I don’t feel he ever saw it that way, but rather, just a brief time where he lent his ear to a stranger.

I know many people in my life who have a gift they don’t even know they have.  I know someone who knows their job is important, but may not really see the big picture that what she truly gives children is hope, who desperately need it the most.  To give anther human being hope – well, it’s a life-changer.  Makes me get choked up just thinking about it.

I know someone who is so unbelievably postive, you just have no choice but to be positive when you’re around her.  Just being around her makes me a better person.

I have many people in my life, simply by occupation, that have left an impression on me in some way.

I just wish more people knew what they offer the world, just by being here and existing.  Have you ever thought about this of the people in your life?  Deep, right – so likely not. But do this for me today and tell one person what they have given you or that you’ve seen them give others, on a deeper level that goes beyond a job title.

For example, a really great footbal coach gives young men the know-how on how to make plays happen – building on those technical skills year after year.  But what a great football coach really, truly gives young men is self-confidence, the ability for those young men to SEE their own potential, commroditry, and the ability to pick themselves up and dust themselves off.

If only more people saw what they truly offer the world…..

And that’s my deep thought Monday, formerly known as “My Life Monday.” lol!  Seriously, maybe I should change it.  In my life though, this past week (if you’re really curious),  I got to photograph my lovely and talented sister-in-law and the boys in her life.  Not to mention, had the long drive there and home to do what I do best – think.  Sneak peek will be coming tomorrow more likely on my Facebook page.  I even got their old-man cranky dog to look at me! ha!

Until then, think about what YOU give the world.  I know there is something – all of us have a gift to give the world.  You’re doubting yourself right now that you don’t – quiet your mind long enough and you’ll figure out what it is.  Also, bring to light something you see in someone else that they may not see in themselves and TELL THEM.  If you actually do this, I’d love to hear from you on how it made you feel and how that person reacted and made them feel.  More often than not, people have no idea the impact they have on others until someone tells them.  And children are not excluded.  A child who values themselves and what they bring to the world is priceless.  But they need to be told what that is.

For example, Xavier is a deep-thinker like me.  That boy is beyond his years.  He offers, even at the age of 9, a different way of looking at things.  He’s very accepting of others and has deep empathy towards all living things and people sruggling in the world.  Alexandra, our soon-to-be 8-year-old, is very thoughtful and loves creating and giving.  She is also very intuitive to the needs of others – even if it’s just a hug.  Jozlyn, our spit-fire 5-year-old, brings humor to everything she does.  She loves making people laugh and if it’s at her expense, she doesn’t care.  When she’s more serious – she very much cares for the well-being of others, even if it’s as simply as covering you with a blanket to make sure you’re warm or bringing water on a hot day while mowing lawn (both girls have done this for me without being asked).  And these are things I need to share with my own kids, today….not tomorrow, and not in 10 years.  These are things I love about them, that are a part of their character – who they are as individuals.

Who you are is a gift to others in and of itself.  No grand exchanges, no frills or applause;  just affirmation that you matter to someone.  Just sharing those thoughts with someone is a gift.

Gift of Words quote

My Life Monday | we are all a work in progress

Sitting there in the second-to-last pew, shoulder-to-shoulder with women on either side I did not know, I thought to myself, would this many people show up for me? as I blotted my tears.

As a woman you blot — you know that mascara running down your cheeks just makes you appear like you just had yourself an ugly cry and you dont’ want that.  Because, as you are wiping the tears, you say to yourself – why am I even crying, this is just stupid;  as if to be shameful for feeling.

That first question I asked myself has stuck with me ever since David Gabriel’s funeral.  If we are truly on this earth, in this life, to prepare for the after-life, than what am I doing on a daily basis to do that?  Not enough.  Surely I have some self-work to do.

I think I can safely say;  however, cannot assume, but again, think it is safe to say that David didn’t think that way in his daily life.  And really, who does? But yet, there I sat, in a church filled pew-to-pew, with people standing in the back, for a man I knew only a short time, but somehow he made me feel (and you, if you’re reading this and knew him), even after one conversation, as if we had been friends for life.

Someone asked, “did he have a single enemy?”  From where I was sitting, it didn’t appear so.  Was he living his life the way God would have wanted?  Maybe not.  But I think we all could use a little tweak here or there in our lives;  no one is perfect.

We’re human.  It’s human nature to be selfish at times.  It’s human nature to get wrapped up and manifest our own daily dramas.  It’s human nature to walk by someone and maybe say hello, depending on our mood.  It’s human nature to feel as though you are completely alone in your own despair because no one has it as bad as you – so you tell yourself.  Why?  Because no one knows you better than you know you.  No one knows your life as well as you.  You have a front-row seat.  Everyone around you is just a part of your story. No one really knows your hurts, sorrows, or pains that trigger a side of you that you’d rather not face.

At some point in life, you may have to face and come to terms with (and take responsibility for) – the very things about yourself you’d rather hide from the world.  To yourself, you’ll admit to your own shortcomings, failures, what others or you yourself may see as “defects” of your human nature and personality.  You may choose to share what you discover with others or you may not.  You may choose behaviors that help you cope (negative or positive).  Or, by your own will of choosing, learn how to use what you’ve learned about yourself to become more of who you already are, at your deepest core, with all of your best intentions.  No partner, friend, or mentor can do that for you.  They can influence  or guide you, but you will have to do the work.

My hope for you, should that mirror of self-reflection present itself (and what a blessing it can be) — that which blooms from that discovery is a fresh perspective, a revised devotion to daily living, and a new promise to love and be kind to yourself.  Because, what you put out into the world, comes back to you.

In the meantime, have empathy.  After all, we are all a work-in-progress.

Inspirational words from Proverbs

My Life Monday | Living for today, Planning for Tomorrow

So, before I get into today’s post and what the title is all about, I want to chat a little bit about something that is so important, yet often ignored at the family dinner table.

Over the weekend, our community lost a very lively, happy-go-lucky guy.  You may have seen the story on the news.  My fondest recent memory of David Gabriel goes back to Halloween 2012.  Honestly, that was the last time I had seen him.  It’s funny how you can seem someone maybe once a year, if that, when they live so close.  It makes you realize, the phrase, “its a small world,” is one that only seems to apply to circumstance/happen-stance situations.  It seems you are more likely to run into someone local you know in Iraq (true story)  than someone you know that lives a matter of miles away, sometimes.  Crazy, if you think about it.  David came into my life very briefly compared to most around that know him.  The last conversation I had with him was him telling me that I should have dressed (for Halloween) like a naughty school teacher, as he apparently liked my glasses.  He was obviously a guy who loved conversation with anyone and everyone he met and had a zest for life.

Which brings me to what I want to talk about – when death is unexpected (or even when it is, really).  I imagine, the zest for life that David had, also probably kept him from planning for his personal matters, in the event he was no longer here to take care of things himself.  And it is something I know many people, in my personal life, that are guilty of the very same thing.  No one wants to talk in these terms and have those hard conversations.  However, if you have children/spouse, handling the planning stage is probably one of the greatest gifts you will ever give them.

I can’t imagine what his loved ones are feeling right now and my heart goes out to them.  But if you take anything away from this, take this:  we all know we are not promised tomorrow.  Do your loved ones a favor and bring up the hard talk of estate and personal matter planning.  And do your family members even know what you want, in writing, in the event you don’t pass but yet, are incapbable of speaking for yourself?

This is something my husband and I have talked a great deal about.  And honestly, there are a lot of things we have yet to get in writing.  We do have our plots, and do have, in writing, what should happen with our children in case we both pass on, and also have life insurancce.  When it comes to financials – it would be one huge headache though, combing through everything.  So, yeah – we still have work to do too.

Some here are some things to think about, off the top of my head:

  • What will happen to your children should you and your spouse both pass, or if you’re a single parent and the other parent is unfit?
  • What happens to your outstanding debt?
  • If you own a home/estate/land, what are your wishes?
  • Where do you want to be buried?
  • Do you have life insurance and enough to cover funeral expenses (on average $10,000-13,000 last I checked), in addition to a year’s worth to cover living expenses for a year, especially if you are the breadwinner?

There are so many what-if’s and you can drive yourself crazy just thinking about all the scenarios.  However, if you have children, own property, have a business – getting these concerns addressed, while you have a say and can take on that responsibility, is one of the most thoughtful things you can do for your loved ones, in my humble opinion.

Again, my thoughts and prayers to David’s loved ones.  His goofy nature and larger-than-life personality will be missed by many.  He seemed to view life as this big stage and he was the performer;  there to make you smile, in his own, David-esque way.

Now onto the update from last week’s post.

Nope, just can’t do it.  It just doesn’t feel right.  So, I will close it here for today. I’m also changing the title of the post from “Update from Last Week” to what it is now.  Next week I’ll share an update on the whole time-tracking thing.

Until then……

Thomas Wolfe Quote about the human spirit

My Life Monday | Unexpected Advantage of Time Tracking

Hello to another Monday and another season.  The year is nearly coming to an end and the final quarter of the tax season year has already started.  On a personal note, I didn’t meet as many of my goals I had hoped for 2014.  But, I know where I went wrong in several ways and look forward to taking the next couple months to prepare for 2015.  I’m considering some big changes, so we’ll see what the next few months bring.  Maybe the simple task of time-tracking will give me the boost I need.  So far so good!

This past week was so gorgeous.  I forgot there, for a few days as you probably did as well, that soon we’re heading for bare trees and chilly air.  The tree in our front yard is just about bare already.  I was outside enjoying the warmth this past week, doing some painting and taking Gizmo for walks.  Hopefully, you were able to enjoy it while it lasted as well.

Moving on, I want to share something I read recently that really resonated with me.  Are you feeling as though you keep spinning your wheels and don’t get anywhere?  Do you feel like you’re a hamster on a wheel going through the motions day-to-day without really feeling as though you’re accomplishing  much of anything?  All this does is build anxiety, make you feel terrible, shameful, etc..

So, what if all you really needed to do was track everything you do in your day for three consecutive days, right down to fifteen minute increments?  Is it really that simple?  What if it is?  If there is a goal you have in mind and just can’t figure out why you keep feeling like a hamster on a wheel – give this a try.  I’ve read, and you’ve probably read too, all sorts of things about mindset.  The thing is though, if you feel like you are at the top of your game, getting shiznit done and taking names, the mindset follows naturally, right?  How could it not?  So, sometimes it’s just a matter of getting back to the basics.  Once you get a visual picture of your day, in black and white, you will see where you’ve spent your time (i.e. what you value most).

I just started today and seriously, I’ve had more brainstorming activity going on than I’ve had in MONTHS!!  Like seriously – get you excited, can’t wait to move forward, kind of brainstorming.  The time-tracking has become a mini-diary of my day. Progress, my friends…feels wonderful and there just might be something to this.  It’s like a game of mentral trickery at its best.  lol!

Other than the whole brainstorming going on – I just wanted to share a couple images from some recent sessions.  I have other sessions I have yet to blog, so these will get added to the list, but until then…..

Rylan just recently had his ordering appointment and this is one of the family favorites.

senior guy with helmet and football

I recently photographed the Serr family and I KNEW this was going to be one of their family favorites.

ND Family Photographer

Have a wonderful week, everyone!!  I have a ton of apples to peel, core, and wrap for freezing and tomatoes waiting to be made into salsa.  Yesterday, I got 8 jars of tomato soup made! That was a first for me but it sure turned out pretty tasty, thanks to a great recipe from a friend. :)

 

 

 

My Life Monday | We are our own worst enemies

September is nearly over;  cannot believe it and today is officially the first day of Fall.  I love the sights and smells of the Fall;  however, the chill that comes along with it can take a hike.

I honestly typed, deleted, typed, deleted on the title of today’s post several times.  I simply just cannot find the right words.  I’ve just had so much on my mind lately….with life, with business, worry, worry some more, mix in the pre-winter blues and you have a cocktail of someone not feeling too social.  Hence, the disappearing act on social media.  But you know what, I’ve come to realize that most people probably didn’t even notice.  Read on to the next paragraph and I’ll explain why I think that is.

I am, generally speaking, a private person, but I think sharing the motions of what has been on my heart lately will do me some good.  And what I’ve come to realize, is that what I may think others think, generally isn’t what they think at all.  Our perceptions of what others are thinking;  of what we do, what we say, what we wear, or how we go about our day, are just our own manifestations of our own [often negative] thoughts.  People are busy.  You are busy.  To top it off, it’s a very NOISY world in cyberspace and in your inbox.  It’s info-overload on a daily basis and you’re not paying much attention to those around you.  And that’s not to say you, others, or myself are being cold or disconnected, but rather, we often become just wrapped up in the chaos/busy-ness of our own lives, which doesn’t leave much time to give thought to the chaos/busy-ness in the lives of others.  Not only that, it can sometimes get  downright depressing to read all the sad stories shared across social media.

But when the air is silent, and we are left to our own thoughts in peace;  thinking about our to-do’s, what is left undone, what was left unsaid, those pants we couldn’t quite squeeze into that morning, the gray hairs staring back at us in the mirror – we are so quick to left-hook ourselves in the chin time and time again with our very own thoughts.  We would never tell those we love the very things we tell ourselves.  It becomes this vicious cycle that’s on rinse and repeat in our lives.

Such has been my life for several years, and even more so the last year, especially.  I have always cared what others think — too much, really.  So much so, I think it has created roadblocks in my own personal growth as a human being and as an entrepreneur.  At the root of all that though are two very tightly woven hurdles to overcome:  fear and lack of self-confidence.

If I would have blogged about all the things/ideas/beliefs/thoughts, etc., I’ve wanted to blog about over the years, or would have tried all those things/ideas in my business that I merely thought about trying but was too scared to, I cannot imagine what I might be doing right now, at this very moment, rather than talking in hindsight.  Not to mention how many people would not be reading my blog, or how many more might be.

Take a magnifying glass to your own life and examine – what is that one thing, that one nagging thought/idea you just can’t let go of?  Or, possibly, what haven you buried  so deeply but every so often something you hear/read/see reminds you, creeping to the surface, and you sigh quietly and tell yourself maybe next year or someday.

Several times over the last several weeks, I have heard the same passage from the bible, by two different priests (one time being at the funeral I attended yesterday, which honestly I’m left wondering – what did that have to do with anything?), and also read it in a daily prayer booklet I have.  Just makes me wonder if God isn’t trying to tell me something.

I know I’m being somewhat vague in this blog post but know this:  whatever deep-seeded thoughts you have in your pretty head, there are a thousand more, just like you, with their own deep-seeded thoughts.  There is something in all of us lying dormant.  We all possess a certain skill, knowledge, idea, a concept, or a gift that majority of us will never tap into.  I find that incredibly saddening.  Imagine how many more Einstein’s, Picasso’s, or Jobs’ of the world there could be.

I’m going to leave you with these words that hopefully will stir up something within you.  I’m just another person out there trying to find their way and figure out this one shot at life.  The way I see it, God-willing, I have about 40 good years to make some good shit happen.  At least, I’m hoping I can still wipe my own butt when I’m 75.

Hey, you know me – gotta mix a little humor in there, if even at the end (no pun intended). :D

And I realize I really didn’t share what I’ve been up to.  Basically, a personal project (which I may or may not get the guts to eventually share or put out in the world), some self-discovery work, a wedding album design (last year wedding), a pretty sweet surprise birthday party for a pretty awesome gal whom I wish I’d known years ago, canning, studio organizing/cleaning, and an amazing morning session with the Serr family.  Here’s a teaser from their session.  This one was for Ray (Mr. Serr).  He & I were totally on the same page for this one!  Love it when ideas meld together!

ND Family Photographer

 Want me to tackle a specific topic on my blog or have a question for me, I wanna hear it?  Shoot me an email at victoria (at) vlvphotography (dot) com.  It only takes 2 seconds to be brave. ;)

Are you finally ready for your family to be photographed (before the kids start their own lives and get their own families)?  Do you have an idea or a vision of what you want your family portrait to look like?

Book Session with VLV Photography

My Life Monday | Beets, Pickles, Pie – Oh My!

My husband must be worried….if, even slightly.  I’m turning into “Harriet, the Homemaker.”  No offense, of course, to all those out there named Harriet.  I happen to love the name;  however, I’m thinking my husband is thinking that I may have been abducted by aliens and brought back another woman.  Clearly, because baking (from scratch), canning, and making a new German dish….all in the same day, mind you – is not like me….at all.

When a  day like that comes around, I go full bore, as they’re pretty rare.  But, they have been more frequent, I must say.

We had a our local church Fall supper yesterday and as a member, I was to bring two pies.  I thought it would be an awesome idea to make my own pie crust.  I’ve never made my own pie crust.  Ever.  And not for one pie, but for three pies. One pie was the “trial pie,” so that if the crust was a total flop, I would then not take the other two and just buy two pies.

I used an old recipe I had gotten from my aunt Delores (age 87 and kicking as ever) and it really was easy to work with, once all mixed.  Once baked, I thought it tasted too much like Crisco, as did my husband.  However, now that it’s a couple days later, I think it’s actually pretty good.  The crust baked beautifully and I even made some fancy-shmancy designs prior to baking.  I did cheat on the filling though.   Next time, I’ll really impress the hubby and make a whole pie from scratch.  There are a lot of pie crust cheaters out there.  I know, I was one of them.  But when you just feel like having a little taste of “back in the day,” this is a perfect way to count your blessings for all of the conveniences we so take for granted.  Or, you could use your microwave….that would probably be easier.  lol!  The recipe?  I never thought you’d ask!

Perfect Pie Crust

Mix together:

5 cups flour

2 cups crisco

Add:

1 cup 7-up

1 tsp. salt

Makes about 6 single crusts.

perfect pie crust recipe

Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy! :)

In addition to the pies, I made an old recipe I came across just days before – honey cookies, courtesy of my grandmother, Bertha, who died when I was 8.  I didn’t remember eating these cookies until they actually came out of the oven.  The smell and how they looked, once baked, really took me back to my childhood.  Kinda like that Glade commercial whose marketing is spot-on, if you ask me.

They’re not sweet enough for my sweet-tooth husband or Alexandra though, saying “these would be perfect with chocolate chips.”   The rest of us like them and I know I will be making them again.  I have some new ideas I’m wanting to try in how I share information, so I do promise I will be sharing the recipe, just not today.  It’s kinda a “special” recipe to me. :)

Pies and cookies aside, I also did some canning.  I got several jars of regular pickles, bread & butter/refrigerator pickles, and also finally got my beet jelly made.  I will be sharing all of these recipes coming up, because, seriously – anyone can be canning.  I almost put “anyone can can” but that just sounds weird.  But really, if you can follow a recipe, you can can.  Okay, there I had to use it. :P  Aside from beet jelly, which, in my own admission, feels and is an all-day process, pickles are so easy.  The regular pickles are less involved than bread & butter, but still easy enough – just more steps.  I recently acquired some tomatoes and will be trying my hand at homemade tomato soup (if I find I have enough), or I may just make salsa – not sure yet.  I’ve never messed with tomatoes, so it will be a first.

So, there you have it – that’s what I’ve been up to.  I’ve also been working on a wedding album design from last year’s wedding of Steven & Crystal.  They’ve had a busy year, and I’m excited to get their album in their hands.  I surely could have chosen the images for them, but with my wedding clients I never did that.  Because, it is their album, not mine.

A lot cooking in the kitchen, figuratively and actually, and hopefully whatever you’ve been cooking up lately has also been bringing you joy.

And just because you and your girlfriends may be interested in, what I think, would be a great time and offer some great laughs…..if you do go, I want to hear how it was!  Since it’s a weekday – it’s not the easiest to get away for me.

Menopause The Musical

Happy cooking in the kitchen of life, my friends!

My Life Monday | Fall is Upon Us

A week into school and Labor Day weekend just around the corner; it’s that time of year when we start to say that Fall is upon us.  We slept with our windows open last night and it’s probably the best sleep I’ve had in several weeks.  Even Tony didn’t wake up, as he usually does, prior to his alarm.  The chill in the air today had the kids getting on the bus with pants and sweaters too. It’s a “brrrrrr….” kinda day today.  And it makes me think of Fall family sessions.  I’m starting to book in September, so if you’re thinking about a session, it’s never too early to book – especially if you’re needing a Saturday. :)

This past week just seemed to go so fast.  I thought my days went fast when it was Jozlyn and I and the other two were in school, but now it feels like noon gets here in no time and before I know it, kids are getting off the bus.  I am definitely getting more done, but I seem to make my lists longer now and it feels like I have so much left undone at the same time.

Since the kids have been in school, I have gone from not being involved with much outside of my kids and business to being on community committees, volunteering myself to the church, and really just putting myself out there more in the community, in general.  It’s felt good to feel like I now have the ability to devote more time to my area communities.  I’ve always shy’ed away because I have had a child in tow for so long.  It is nice now, to know, that should my help be needed somewhere, while the kids are in school, I can give more of my time to others.

In other news, this past Saturday was mine and Tony’s 11th wedding anniversary.  The elevator was closed due to the weather, so he got the day off, and it was also the 5th Annual Courage Against Cancer Walk.  Despite the weather, I think it was a good turn-out.  The ones who ran/walked, probably woke up not really “feeling it” or really wanting to walk/run, but I think we all who did participate (I ran the 5k) would agree that those who are fighting can’t quit or those who are fighting and who have lost, simply can’t run or even walk that far.  And above all, Joyce Scherr, survivor for whom this event was originally started, wasn’t sitting indoors with her feet up.  She has walked the 13 miles, rain or shine every year for the past 5 years.  It’s really a wonderful event, with great fellowship of community, a great meal, and for a wonderful cause.  I’m proud to be a sponsor for it as well.

My gal-pal, Lori, was my 5K running buddy.  Our mutual friend, running rockstar, Susan, ran the half-marathon.  Maybe one day I will….I think I would need a year of training before I would attempt that!  So, kudos to her, and Andy Nolz, who I believe, also ran it. And, of course, to all those who walked it.  Thirteen miles is no walk in the park! :)

Courage Against Cancer Half-Marathon & 5K

Tony and I did celebrate going out for supper in Mound City, which is always delicious, followed by evening mass.  We get a little crazy when we celebrate, I know. lol!  At this point in marriage, it’s really the quiet, and ability to hold adult conversation that you really learn to appreciate, regardless of an anniversary or not.  So, although it felt like any other day, we did manage to carve out some time for us and conversation.  But we don’t just do that on anniversaries, but on a weekly basis.  Kids ears are always listening, it seems.  And the best thing we ever did for our marriage was having a set bedtime for the kids since the day they were born.  It’s the one piece of advice I would give new parents too.  Create a routine and stick to it.  Routine has given us time – time to decompress after a long day, time to communicate, time to discuss important matters/issues the kids need not hear, and just time to enjoy each others’ company.  I really think, in this day in age where 1 out of 2 marriages end in divorce, that anything you can do to make time for communication, is key in longevity in marriage and your own sanity.  It’s definitely helped us in our marriage and to be better parents.

11 year anniversary date

And, while I’m blogging today – I want to say Happy 2nd Anniversary to Paul & Terisa!  Two years ago today I got to photograph a very important day in each of their lives.  I’ve also gotten to photograph their new addition, Nora.  I love that I have been able to photograph these very important moments in their life.  Cheers to two years and to many, many more (and maybe many more little fingers & toes too)! :D

love and parenthood

Well, I hope all the kids getting ready to start school after Labor Day enjoy their final week summer, although it may not feel like it outside.  And I hope all those reading have a blessed week.  Until next time…..

……….laugh with the ones you’re with…for laughter is the best kind of medicine. :D

 

Parent’s Prayer When Children Are Leaving Home

I read this today in my daily prayer book and I found it fitting for all the parents who will be sending off a little piece of their hearts off to college.  And even if they’re not going to college, they’re still having to let them go into the big, big world.  I have several years to go, but I can wait for those years.  Until you become a parent, you never imagine how you could possibly love another human being so much.  So, I feel for all those having to let go this week.  The worry and the love never ends…no matter how big your babies get.

Please share this prayer with someone who may need to read it.  I think it’s so beautifully written.

“Gracious God,

you blessed me with the gift of this child

and entrusted me with his/her care.

Now he/she leaves this home

and begins a new life apart from me.

Surround him/her with good people,

and watch over him/her each day.

Let him/her know that I will always be near

whenever he/she may  need me.

Heal any hurts we may harbor with one another,

and forgive our failings as we learn to be in a new kind of relationship with each other.

And when the sight of his/her empty room

         pierces my heart with sadness,

may I find comfort in knowing that my child

         is your child too,

filled with your grace and sheltered by your love.  Amen.”

        – Diana Macalintal, The Work of Your Hands

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