The last time I did a paid photo session was two March’s ago. It has been a long time. Jessica (in the photos below) went to high school with me and I did photos for her daughter when she was 2, her 2nd pregnancy photos, and her son’s newborn photos. She asked me to do another, which was very kind. Below are my favorite photos. I used to have my own photography website, but since I don’t take as many photos as I once did, I figured I could just post them here. It is not easy to photograph toddlers, but sometimes it is cute to get them in their more natural state.
1. I am a chalkboard fan. When the whiteboard came out in schools I attended, I was a little sad because I had fun with chalk and didn’t mind getting it on my hands. Now they have those smart boards which I have yet to see in person. I used to color and draw on a chalkboard we had in our basement when I was a kid. In a school in OK, chalkboards from nearly 100 years ago were found hidden behind other chalkboards. It was neat to see the art especially on these chalkboards. It seems like teachers were pretty artistic and talented in the past.
2. A Native American Fish River Cree woman who endured/s racism and poverty and grew up in foster care had been sent a book that she now uses as a tool to show how racism began against her people. It is sad and powerful to read and I enjoyed this article. I really feel drawn so much to the Natives of this land and my heart hurts for them and what they continue to endure. The old book made it seem as if Natives were lazy and needed white men to survive. I suppose the book was used to teach Natives English in schools in the 1800s. 3. How would you like to spend your wedding feeding refugees in Syria? That’s what this Turkish couple did on their wedding day, in their white clothes and all. I think it was amazing of them to do. What a great article worth reading! May we in the US see how much more vital it is to serve others on one of the most important days of our lives rather than spending thousands and thousands to celebrate ourselves. I truly think this was very admirable.
4. This little girl builds micro houses on her own and plants her own veggie garden in order to help homeless people have shelter and food! She is encouraging and inspiring and lives out what I think we all should live out.
5. This is more of a “thought” since I post more links in these posts than anything. Basically, I have not been posting as often as I used to because I am much more involved with the organization that I am a huge part of called Justice Network. I now am the one who makes most of the blog posts (made my first this week), I make some of the facebook posts (no, I don’t have my own facebook acount, I basically am Justice Network on facebook but the co-creators of the org also post), I also run the instagram and twitter. I write the newsletters too (my first one was sent out today). I have a lot of responsibilities now that I didn’t have before. I am sorry for my lack of posts though! Every week I will be making posts over at Justice Network, but some of them are written by other members of our organization and I will post it for them, while otherwise it will be posts that I make.
6. I have had a YouTube Channel. I can’t believe I have not posted about it when I’ve had it since spring. I am mainly posting about the road to minimalism that our family is on lately, but I also have some more entertaining videos as well. I hope you will watch, subscribe, like, and comment on them!
7. Pumpkin cheesecake dip is going to be something my husband will beg me to make for him. It looks delicious.8. the only season that I seem to ever decorate for is Autumn, and things like this make me swoon. I really like the idea of this and have made something similar to it in the past . . .and this might be my next project (aside from the regular quilting). If you know me in person, you know I own no trinkets and that my decorations are candles and scriptures.
9. I actually really love wallpaper though I have never put any up anywhere. This is a neat way to do something like wallpaper but easy to paint over instead of trying to tear it apart. Pretty results in the room (when you click on the link).
10. And I know it is a while to go before winter but my husband sent me this photo today and he and I were dreaming.
It is strange to think that in five days (Oct. 5) we will be a couple for 15 years. A lot has happened in that time from some bad things to loads of good. I like the people we have grown into together. It has been a wonderful experience aging with him, learning with him, and exploring life together. He has been my constant friend, companion, lover, and helpful guide to understanding God better. He is a great father and husband. We dream together, work together on goals, and try to better understand God’s Word together.
Rob has always accepted me as I was/am, corrected me kindly when I’ve been wrong, told me how I might be able to improve, shown me love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (and I have seen him do the same to others). He is living out the fruits of the spirit. I am amazed that this man is mine for life. I am amazed that I have known him almost half of my life as it is already. He is so sweet and I find myself staring at him when he is not looking as well as when he’s looking (I check him out a lot). He has overcome sin, has overcome temptations, and it is all because he knows that Christ has overcome the world to save him. He inspires me on a regular basis. May he continue to strive towards righteousness. I feel as if I have loved him for 5,000 years instead of 15, because I know my love for him will not grow dim.
I started up the boys’ school year a couple of weeks ago. My sons are tough to teach at times. Actually, they are tough to teach all the time. If you ever want to homeschool your children, it will be the most challenging thing you have ever done. My sons are really well behaved for the most part and are total sweethearts.
Leto is an easily distracted boy. He has a head filled with music and will hum songs all day long. He wants to look outside and play games. His head is always dreaming and in the clouds. The boy is also a smarty pants when he puts his mind to doing his work. Today was actually the easiest I had with him since I started to homeschool him when he was 3 years old. Now, at 8, it seems that he wants less and less work to do. I see he has an imagination, but when I tell him to write out his imaginations, he doesn’t like the work involved with it. He loves to read books, but writing is not something he enjoys to do. It hurts me because writing was always one of my favorite things. I bought him a great writing book to help inspire him. So far it has helped. I hope it continues. He lacks motivation but shows passion with learning the Bible, which makes my heart swell.
Micah is actually pretty attentive and does his work quickly, which sadly means his work is rushed and not always neat, but he does really well when he tries to slow down. He always wants to know what is next to do. However, his reading comprehension is also rushed or he won’t listen to the details that I tell him. When it comes to putting his answers down after reading, he doesn’t want to skim the story again to help him find his answers. Then of course he gets easily upset when I tell him to pay attention. He recently finished his first real chapter book. I am hoping his penmanship improves as he learns to write in cursive this year. He seems pretty goal oriented, which means he is actually the easier of the two to teach. He is improving with memorization, which is good. This year is very different for him compared to the years earlier.
I really am hoping that they find a love for education and see that there are great reasons for why they have to learn. They have no idea what an actual school setting is like and how easy they have it. One of the girls from church tried to tell her schedule to them which made them thrilled that their school day usually ends between 11 AM to 1 PM depending on how they work. They really are spoiled (though they don’t feel like they are) which means that I am getting more strict. At times I want to just run down the street and do some triple or long jumps while stomping about like a mad monkey or a wild mustang. Please pray that my nerves calm and that the boys stay focused and do a great job.
[Movie ratings are on a scale of 1-5. All films begin with 5 stars. Based on content, plot, photography/direction, and acting these rates start to drop. Anything over 3 stars are in bold, which means I enjoyed it and would probably recommend it or watch it again. Content is listed for those who are careful about what they or their children view and what to be aware of.]
Belle, 2014 (w/ Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Penelope Wilton, Miranda Richardson, Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Tom Felton, Sarah Gadon, Matthew Goode, Sam Reid) – 5 stars!!! – This is based off of a true story set in the 1700s in Great Britain. Dido (which is Belle, after her mother) is a mulatto daughter of a British navy man and an African West Indies slave woman. Her father brought her to live with his uncle who works for Parliament. She is raised along with her cousin inside his estate, though because of her skin color, she is not always treated as an equal. She becomes a heiress and starts to learn about the treatment of slaves when she learns of a trial in which her Papa (her uncle, who basically adopted her) has a lot of involvement with. This was a very powerful and wonderful film and I thoroughly enjoyed it through and through. When I first put this in my que, I just thought it was another British Romance Drama which usually bores me a bit. I was intrigued once the film began to find it was much more than that. It was in dealing with things I am passionate about (ending slavery and finding equality for all people no matter their color or nationality). There was indeed romance in this film and the acting and the intensity between the characters portrayed were very real to me. I felt like I believed every line and emotion from the characters. It was excellent. Definitely one worth seeing. No complaints.
content: racism, cleavage, kissing, a man showing some physical cruelty to a woman because he feels she is lower than he, the “d” word used once
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, 2014 (w/ Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore) – 3 stars – I know, you are thinking this is a low rating. Perhaps it will be more fair if I rate it with part 2, which I have yet to see. Mockingjay was my favorite book from the Hunger Games series, so if they do it, they have to do it right. They definitely got a lot of it right but they spent a lot of time doing things that I didn’t remember being a huge thing in the book (the “propo” films) which was just a little weird to me. I will say that Jennifer Lawrence’s acting is superb. She shines true emotions very well. I found (and laughed) at Elizabeth Banks’ acting which also was on par with the character she played. I don’t know why this movie didn’t really stir me as the other two before it, but I will say that the time went by quickly and it was well done and made me want to see the next part which is what caused me to adore the book so much. Again, I think it may be unfair that I am not rating this along with the second part. If you don’t know what this story is about, basically in the third installment of the Hunger games, Katniss is now the Mockingjay and she is basically told to do what she must to sti the people’s hearts up against the Capital, while she longs to see Peeta and make sure he is safe. I truly appreciate however that there is not one bad word said in this movie. A rare delight.
content: kissing, very slight immodesty, some genocide aftermath shown, an execution shown (without blood), signs of torture shown, people shooting and bombing and blowing things up where you know people are dying in the process, ill people shown
Home, 2015 (animated w/ voices of Rihanna, Matt Jones, Jim Parsons, Steve Martin, Jennifer Lopez) – 2.75 stars – My sons adored this, and that was what was important. I love that this is not another white main character even if animated (I’m really tired of the dominance of whiteness in films and in life). This was about a group of aliens that basically make the Earth their home while on the run away from the Gargans. The story basically tells kids that no matter where someone is from, you should try to understand them and get to know them. I like that. What I didn’t like is that there was such bad grammar throughout the film that I think little kids would pick up on when they need to learn more proper speech.
content: kidnappings (of all aged people), stealing, hitting others with a staff often, deceit
I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story, 2015 (documentary) – 3.5 stars – This was fabulous! Everyone loves Big Bird when they look back on Sesame Street. We learn the story of the man who has played Big Bird for all these decades, as well as Oscar the Grouch. We get to understand his childhood, how he got into puppetry, how Jim Henson met him, what it takes to operate Big Bird, his love story, his family, and his journey while playing the tall yellow bird we have grown up to love! As a long time muppet fan, I appreciated this. It was so interesting!
content: talks of physical abuse, kissing, the long b word (I read somewhere that you can hear the f word in the background at one point but I didn’t notice it at all and I am usually sensitive to swears), some war footage, talk of divorce, talk of suicide, mentions of deaths
The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, 2014 (w/ Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Aidan Turner, Evangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett) – 2 stars – I am so so sorry, friends. I Was so bored. The battle scene was a million times longer than it should have been. It was boring me to a million yawns per 5 minutes. The graphics were poorly done too and the way they had to youthen Orlando Bloom who I don’t even think Legolas was in the book at all was terrible. I liked how they wrapped it up at the end though. I was just glad it was over. Please forgive me. I felt it wasn’t done well enough in line with the story! The problem: It wasn’t focused enough on Bilbo Baggins or his story. It should have been.
content: lots of fighting with stabbing people and chopping off heads and killing one another with blood shown, drinking (no drunkennesss), smoking, kissing, language: large B word used, misuse of the word “hell”
The Divergent Series: Insurgent, 2015 (w/ Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer) – 3 stars – I think this did a good job of living out the book, just as I thought of the first as well. It was about Tris and Four continuing to find a place to hide so that they don’t get caught by Jeanine who wants to use divergents for her own purposes. I was impressed by how well they followed through the book. There were even quotes directly from it. Bravo. However, I wasn’t overly impressed by it (it was average) just as I wasn’t impressed by this book. I probably should have rated this higher. It had great graphics, I am just tired of the violence and the way that teenagers are basically fed that it solves problems when it doesn’t. Blame my Amnity mindset, haha. The reason why this doesn’t get a higher rating is due to the content.
content: kissing, making out while taking off clothes (no frontal female nudity shown but you get some underwear and a full back as a girl willingly shows her chest to her boyfriend before they have sex which is also not shown but implied), a couple shown in bed together without clothes on (you don’t see nudity again but you KNOW), lots of shooting throughout the movie and killing people and stabbing people, forced suicides due to mind control, language: (s word a couple times, f word, small b word, big a word)
Earth to Echo, 2014, (w/ Astro, Teo Halm, Reese Hartwig, Ella Wahlestedt) – 3.25 stars – My sons wanted to watch this. They are just starting to get more into the live-action films but seem drawn to robots. I put it on for them and watched it with them on afternoon in case there were some scary scenes. They were a little nervous about some scenes but they loved this movie so much. When I was watching it I thought the beginning seemed cute. It starts out like a documentary. Turns out it is about three middle school kids who have been making a youtube channel together and there was an eviction notice going through a portion of the homes in an area so a bridge could be built. While on their last night, they decide to spend time together and end up finding this creature or robot of sorts. The movie was very 80’s kids movie feel to me, which I love. It was a unique story and was really fun. I was really surprised by it and enjoyed it! It reminded me a little of a movie I loved as a child called The Flight of the Navigator. This is very different from it but the feel of it is similar. The graphics were spectacular.
content: talk about a party for teenagers (no beer shown that I saw, but there are solo cups in places which you assume must have alcohol in them), a girl says “hell” incorrectly, talk about someone kissing (no kissing is ever shown, as it was a joke), flirting, some imagery that might scare children (this is an alien sort of movie), situations where kids are taken away by scary men and bullied and threatened, breaking and entering, a scene where kids enter a bar
Airport, 1970 (w/ Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Jean Seberg, Jacqueline Bisset, George Kennedy, Helen Hayes) – 2.75 stars – This follows various people who either enter the airport or work for the airport in which the story focuses on. One man is going to board a plane to get money to provide for his family who has had it rough for awhile and his wife seems concerned but thankful for his hard work. One is the man who runs the whole place who has marital issues that he tries to work out but can’t seem to sort. One is his secretary, a widow who tries to do well for all around her. Another is an unfaithful man who is the brother-in-law of the man who runs it and is a pilot for the planes. Another is a stewardess who is beautiful and hiding a secret. Helen Hayes was by far the best in this movie as the little old lady who is a natural born stowaway! These are the main characters and each one is interesting to learn about. I think the story was very well done and unique for its time. However, it should have not been rated G, but PG. I am glad I finally saw it, but I don’t think I am interested in watching all the sequels.
content: affairs noted, women shown in slips, a woman shown putting a towel around her body and you see the shape of most of her one breast, kissing, a man talks about a possible abortion of a baby, divorce talked about, blood shown all over a woman’s head, a man dies, lives are threatened, an old woman is publicly slapped, a man is publicly slapped, alcohol being consumed (no drunkenness), smoking throughout movie, I am pretty sure that there was one or two swear words mentioned but they are not coming to mind right now (and I didn’t write it down as I watched)
Camp Harlow, 2014 (w/ AJ Olson, Monique Hurd, Andrew Dyer) – 3 stars – When this started I was very concerned. The acting sounded forced and terrible. Teenagers were acting realy badly. Although the acting in it wasn’t that great, it was a pretty good story about a girl who was adopted and is dealing with her parents fights. She loves being popular and being in control of others. She loves to tell people what to do and have them listen to her every action. When the boy she likes asks her to go to a summer camp where he goes to, she doesn’t really even look into much about it, only to find out she was supposedly tricked into going to a Christian camp that she is going to suffer through. While there she makes friends with a couple horses, writes some songs, and starts to realize that she needs some help in her life. It was actually powerful in a way that I think teenagers would possibly like. It did get good as the movie continued along and I liked it.
content:: stealing, deceit, talk about divorce and affairs, talk about God and Jesus, prayer shown, bullying
The Book Thief, 2013 (w/ Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nélisse,Ben Schnetzer, Nico Liersch, Barbara Auer) – 3.25 stars – Liesel’s mom is a communist living in Germany during the 1930s. She therefore is sent away to another home to live at. Her new mother is hard and unloving while her new papa is kind and tries to help her learn how to read. She finds a love of books. She gains a friend, a boy her age while other people seem to mock her. Also, she learns about who the Jews are and starts to form her own opinions about others rather than what people around her were telling her to believe. This story’s narration was confusing at times. We didn’t really know who was supposed to narrating: her papa, or something else. We find out at the end who it is, but the whole thing was narrated too distantly where we’d say, “Oh, that’s right, there is a narrator. Forgot about him.” My husband had a lot of discrepancies about this movie, but I noticed too that the girl who was the lead role was a left handed girl which was NOT tolerated back then, especially in Germany. It was a beautiful movie with a great story line overall and I found it interesting and sad and enthralling and a possible reality that I am sure was common during the Nazi rule.
content: a kiss shown, bullying, blood shown, people die, punching (blood shown), throw up shown, drinking shown (no drunkenness), racism against black people and Jewish people, war imagery, stealing, language: (German word for the long A word), misuse of the word “hell”
In July I gave my sister-in-law a quilt I made for her. I used a pattern from the book Quilts For All Seasons. She loves tea and drinks it constantly so I thought I would find a tea fabric. It actually took me a few months to find the right one (I had been planning her quilt for a while). I also found a matching calico print fabric. Her favorite color is purple so I wanted to make her a pretty purple tea quilt. This was the most challenging quilt I’ve made thus far (granted It was only my 9th quilt). I don’t think I was precise enough in my cutting of fabric and I should have bought a new blade for my rotary cutter (I learned my lesson from this quilt). It was difficult aligning things when I started to piece the blocks together, though I saw it coming. However, for the most part, it came out very well. I was satisfied with the results.
For the applique that I added to the backing, this was NOT in the pattern from the book. I actually drew it up myself and worked on it. It didn’t take me too long and was fun. I used one of the teapots and teacups from the fabric as a reference for my drawing. I then chopped it up for various fabric uses. I sewed it on but realize now that I should have made one of the teacup handles on the opposite side (another lesson learned). My plan was that when she folded down the top of her quilt on her bed, she’d be able to see the teacups and teapot.
I put a free-motion quilting design of tea leaves on the border and for the rest of the quilting I just made horizontal lines throughout it. I really like how it turned out. It is always fun to give a quilt away that I spent hours working on in hopes that it will keep someone warm, cozy, and brightens up their bed!
While waiting for my husband’s lunch meat to be cut at the deli at the supermarket, a man notices my sons sitting on a bench with pretzels behind them in which they were eyeing. The man looked at me as I kept watching them, and then said to me, “They are going to steal them maybe?”
“They wouldn’t do that.”
“Aw, I did it once at that age. What are they 5 and 6?”
“8 and 6.”
“Well you know, boys will be boys.”
“Boys shouldn’t steal.”
“It wouldn’t hurt anyone.”
As I went to respond to him that it would hurt their souls if they were to steal, we were interrupted by a deli worker who made sure the man received his meat. Afterwards he said to me, “Well you know when they are not around their friends as much in the summer, they get bored and get into things and sometimes things happen.”
I responded,”Well they are homeschooled and are used to not being around their friends all the time.”
“A job and a half for you. Even so, boys do need to try things out.”
I received my meat. I informed the man that I had to go and told the boys it was time to leave. They jumped by my side ready to go to the register to pay out. I pondered the message conveyed by the stranger I met. Just because a boy is a boy doesn’t give a boy a right to be a trouble maker and do things that are wrong. Just because a boy is bored doesn’t mean he should be granted access to do trouble making or steal. It hurt my heart to think that this is how many people might think.
All I can do is continue to try to teach them to do right and hope they will do what I teach them. Maybe one day they’ll do things wrong that will truly hurt them or others, but I want them to be aware they are doing wrong rather than shrugging their actions off as doing something supposedly expected of them as they grow.