Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Road of Life

From Each Day....

At first, I saw God as my observer,
my judge,
keeping track of the things I did wrong,
so as to know whether I merited heaven
or hell when I die.
He was out there sort of like a president.
I recognized His picture when I saw it,
but I really didn't know Him.

But later on
When I met Christ,
it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride,
but it was a tandem bike,
and I noticed that Christ
was in the back helping me pedal.

I don't know just when it was
that He suggested we change places,
but life has not been the same since.

When I had control,
I knew the way.
It was rather boring,
but predictable...
It was the shortest distance between two points.

But when He took the lead,
He knew delightful long cuts,
up mountains,
and through rocky places
at breakneck speeds,
it was all I could do to hang on!
Even though it looked like madness,
He said, "PEDAL!"

I worried and was anxious
and asked,
"Where are you taking me?"
He laughed and didn't answer,
and I started to learn to trust.

I forgot my boring life
and entered into the adventure.
And when I'd say"I'm scared,"
He'd lean back and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed,
gifts of healing,
and joy.
They gave me gifts to take on my journey,
my Lord's and mine.

And we were off again.
He said, "Give the gifts away;
they're extra baggage, too much weight."
So I did,
to the people we met,
and  I found that in giving I received,
and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him,
at first,
in control of my life.
I thought He'd wreck it;
but He knows bike secrets,
knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners,
knows how to jump to clear high rocks,
knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.

And I am learning to shut up
and pedal
in the strangest places,
and I'm beginning to enjoy the view
and the cool breeze on my face
with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.

And when I'm sure I just can't do anymore,
He just smiles and says..."Pedal."
-author unknown

I have been cleaning house like a mad woman.
I have also been trying to figure out all the New Years Resolutions that I would like to do.
So between the cleaning and thinking I stumbled across this poiem (ok, poem. It drives my daughter crazy when people say poiem so I am doing it to poke the bear) in my Bible study stuff. It seemed like a good place to start, to help me put some things in perspective.

I have also cleaned up my hard drive on my computer and transferred over 5000 photos to my external hard drive which translates into have no pictures available to me quickly. This photo is of a girlfriend  that I went to middle school with in Minnesota. She is running away and her brother is "helping" her. Her father is Jim Brandenburg , he took the photo while hiding in the woods.. Jim is a photographer for National Geographic and now has a gallery in Ely, Minnesota. You really need to check it out, he does beautiful work.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sunday Ride

The scenario:
The temperature was almost 50 degrees and the snow is slowly melting. The kids have been home for nine days and I was starting to go a little bonkers. My husband was out in the garage putting together the basketball hoop that we Santa brought my daughter for Christmas. He was in the Left Brain mode. Focused. Methodical. Get 'er done mode. He gets like that, he is an engineer, he is Left Brain.
So when I went out in the garage hopping from foot to foot saying lets go for a ride, huh, huh, wanna go for a ride. Let's go right now. Can we? Can we? And his response was "give me a half hour".  I felt like the kid who just lost his kite in the tree. Boy he must be focused because when it comes to riding he is like an addict, he will look for any excuse to ride any time of the year.
Well two minutes later he came in wanting to go for a ride...hehehe, he is sooo easy!
The planning:

There always has to be a plan. I am always surprised that my DH does not pull out an actual written check list but then he may just have it memorized. Focused. Methodical.
When I ride I like to know that there is a destination in mind whether it be a landmark, park or preferably a Starbucks thats all. I am happy with that. We picked our destination, somewhere close because we I knew it was going to get cold fast. My husband has the heated gear. Electric heated jacket, gloves and heated grips. Along with the pants, full face helmet...yada, yada, yada.  I have, hold on to your shorts, the long underwear I used to wear in middle school when I went skiing.  My daughter is actually wearing them now and I had to dig them out from under her bed. 
 The ride:

It was clear, bright and actually pretty warm for December 27th, almost 50 degrees. Let me tell you though, that sun goes behind the trees and it is COLD!
Even after dodging the occasional chunks of ice, the large broken jar, sand and gravel from the salt truck it was a nice ride.
What we did see though was a HUGE BALD EAGLE. He had just swooped down in front of us grabbing something in his talons and then flew along side of us. How cool it that!
We were gone for about an hour and a half.  A nice little break. We got home and the kids had not killed each other so that was a bonus.  

And I turned 1000 miles on my bike. Yippee. Go me!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Half Broke Horses

Jeannette Walls lives somewhere close to me. Within a mile on one of the secluded farms with her mother and husband. When I am driving somewhere I will look at one of the horse farms and think, maybe it is this one.
The Glass Castle in probably one of the best books I have ever read.
I ran the gamut of emotions from excitement to being completely depressed by the life that Jeannette lived. I was amazed that she has been able to write a book of her life and not come across as bitter or angry.
From Each Day....
Jeanette has come out with a second book that I am very anxious to read.
Half Broke Horses is about the life of her grandmother.
I received it as a Christmas gift and when my husband and kids head to
the beach tomorrow I am going to hunker down and wallow in it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day Dinner...

I am always impressed with the food postings I see on my fellow bloggers sites. Their photos that go with their blogs are always great. I have attempted food photos several times but have never hit the POST button. They were never worth looking at. I really think it has something to do with the round plates and square cropping of the photo. It always felt out of porportion and off kilter. So I thought hmmmm, get rid of the round plates. You have this awesome camera that will allow you to do some heavy cropping, do it.

I was at the grocery store trying to figure out what to serve for Christmas dinner. Quite honestly I could not stomach the idea of eating any more turkey. Cornish hens are too close to turkey. The seafood department gave me the idea of King Crab legs. It was only going to be my husband, me and the 3 kids. How expensive could it be. Good Luck!  I chose to do it any way. One big 'ol bag a crab legs, 1 1/2 inch sirloins, baked potatoes, salad and mushrooms sauteed in butter and brown sugar. Yum. Oh, and red wine becuase it is good for your heart.
From Each Day....

From Each Day....

From Each Day....
From Each Day....
From Each Day....
Needless to say it was really good. The kids loved them and I ate way too much!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A letter from Santa Claus

From Each Day....

Hello boys and girls, Santa Claus here,

Writing a letter to you on the best time of year.

My elves are real busy making lots of cool toys,

which I will only deliver to good girls and boys.

If you want me to bring these great gifts to you,

there are a few simple things I need you to do.

Mind your parents and do what they tell you to do.

Be sweet to your friends; share your toys with them too.

Clean up your toys, put them all away,

to make room for new ones you'll receive Christmas day.

I'll be watching till the night I come to your house.

You will not hear me for I am quiet as a mouse.

Try to sleep through the night until Christmas day.

Then you can see what I brought in my sleigh.

I hope you'll be good, I hope that you'll try,

so until Christmas Eve, I must say good-bye.


Santa Claus

P.S. Please leave my reindeer some carrots, milk and cookies for me

And I will place lots of goodies under you tree.

Monday, December 21, 2009

How I did the BIG pictures.

Ok....for starters I get confused if there is too much writing in directions so I will try and make it as clear as possible.

1. You need to change your blog template.
    a. go to Dashboard on Layouts

    c. click on Pick new template
    d. choose Minima Stretch
    e. click Save

Sidebar note:
 Every picture you post to Blogger is stored in Picassa web album. When you upload a photo for a post it is automatically stored in Picassa.

In a separate window open up the Picassa link. This should show all your photos that you have uploaded to blogger.

2. Select New Post
   a. up load a photo like you normally would, but do not add it to the new post. You know how they            upload to the little window and then you highlight it in yellow to add it to the post. Well don't add it to the post.
   b. switch screens to picassa.
   c. the photos you just uploaded will be there.
   d. click on the photo you want to add to the blog.  It will open up real big. On the right hand side you will see a menu of items.
    e.  Click on Links to this photo
    f.   select size of photo.  This will change the embedded image information.
    g.  click on embedded image. the information will then be highlighted. Right click to copy the information.

Now switch screens back to blogger where you are typing you new post.  Edit HTML
     b. right click on the screen and click Paste
     c. Your enlarged photo information is now in the post .  If you select preview you can see the enlarged photo. Close the preview window. Select compose and start typing you blog.

What is REALLY nice about doing it this way is when you add your photos it places them one after another, in order.

Simply Joyful Photos has taken screen snapshots if you need some visual help.

Hope this helps. I am so excited that I finally figured it out. Good Luck!

HoHoHo Here Comes the snow!

Boy did we get snow! WOW. It was so pretty coming down. It  was not the big puffy flakes that are so easy to shovel but the small, get into every little crevice packing it in tight weighing a ton when you have to shovel it snow.   We here in the south think snow is pretty. It snows, covers everything in a pretty white blanket and makes everything so fresh and new. Two days later the temperature goes up and melts all the snow. Done. I don't think that is going to be the case this time. I heard a rumor that they are talking about an ice storm for Christmas. Not a good situation.
After being locked in the house for 2 days with the kids we were starting to go a little stir crazy so we decided to go for a walk. Martha was more than ready. As we were leaving we met Frank, the man with the plow.

From Each Day....
From Each Day....
From Each Day....
From Each Day....
It is so funny to see everyone out in the tractors plowing snow. 
I am not sure if this guy is plowing or just out for a ride.

When we got home the kids were no where to be found.  I have a feeling they bailed on the playing out in the snow the first chance they got. Cannot figure that one out. Go play in the snow. Have fun. 
After our beautiful walk I decorated Christmas sugar cookies with the kids and they made a Ginger Bread House.

From Each Day....
From Each Day....
From Each Day....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I finally did it.

I am so proud of myself.
With the help of Simply Joyful Photos and Kate at Chronicles of a Country Girl I was able to finally get a photo posted in the large format. For some reason I have had a devil of a time figuring this out. Now mind you I am not a complete idiot when it comes to the computer. (My husband and daughter may disagree with this statement but they don't get a say in this one. It's MY blog.) Anyway, I DID IT! I have BIG pictures. Well I have one big picture, don't know if I will be able to repeat the action. 
From Each Day....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Good Girl

Martha. Love my Martha. She loves me unconditionally. We have our routines. I take a shower she lays on my towel to warm it up for me. I use the bathroom, she makes sure that the toilet paper us torn off and ready for me to use. I go to the pantry to get something to eat she is right there to make sure no one has poisoned my food. I put a fire in the fireplace and she lays as close to it as possible so no one else gets to close.When I go to bed she lays on the floor next to me so I have something to soft to step on when I get up int he middle of the night to pee.She secures the perimeters of squirrels. She would not have clue what to do if she actually caught one, but she sure tries. The squirrels are VERY afraid of her. Can you tell?

She does love the snow as long as someone is out there with her. We have a reflective vest that she wears  so she does not get confused for a deer.

From Each Day....
My Martha. Martha, Martha, Martha. You are such a prety girl!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

No words are needed.

Do you ever feel like this?

I absolutely love this cartoon. I have it on my bulletin board at work and it makes me chuckle every time I see it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Day Thoughts


November 26,2009

Outside my window I am seeing the flicker of flashlights as my children and thier cousins play flashlight tag.

I am thinking  I did not eat that much Thanksgiving dinner and there is pie and ice cream calling my name.

I am thankful for the wonderful family that I have married into.

From the kitchen I am hearing my daughter pleading us to play Clue.

I am wearing a pair of very comfortable Levi's, light t-shirt and no socks.

I am creating Save the Date cards for a friends fundraiser.

I am going to try and sneak out and do some Christmas shopping tomorrw, maybe.

I am reading The Art of Racing in the Rain.

I am hoping this horrible cough goes away before I completely lose my voice.

I am hearing the football game playing on the t.v.

Around the house there are people milling around, playing games etc. Martha is scouring the floor looking for leftovers.

One of my favorite things left overs from Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, stuffing, cranberries with mayo on a roll.

A few plans for the rest of the week: I am going to put up the Christmas tree and hopefully get a headstart on the holiday planning.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


People are often
Unreasonable and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind,
People may accuse you of ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are honest,
People may cheat you.
Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness,
People may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

 The good you do today
May be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
And it may never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between
You and God.  It never was between you
And them anyway.
-Mother Teresa_

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Weaving a shawl

My neighbor is a big weaver. Or I should say a weaver, spinner, knitter, quilter, dyer etc. She will pretty much try anything when it comes to fiber.  Anyway, she has loaned me her triangle loom which I think I have had for the last 6 months with same project on it sitting in my kitchen. I think the fact that  I did not have a deadline kept me from completing the project.
The first 4 shawls I made on this loom did not look right. I used the wrong fiber, finished the ends off incorrectly, had a flaw in the middle of it and my personal favorite...ran out of yarn. Then about 2 weeks ago she called to give me a heads up that she was going to want the loom back soon.
(This is my youngest kicking back playing his Nintendo DS)
I think it sat in this stage of completetion for months and her phone call lit a fire under me.
I finally finished it. I was/am so excited about it that I wanted one for myself. This shawl is for a girlfriend of mine but whatever I make I always wear once. I don't think they mind.

I ran out and bought more yarn to make another shawl. I have 2 weeks to finish it. I thought I would keep this one for myself but I think my mother will get it for Christmas. 
P.S. Where did the spell check go on Blogger.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

I am a coffee drinker. I love the ritual of a good cup of coffee. A friend gave me this little story and I thought I would forward it on to you.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her.  She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.  It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen.  She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil.  In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans, She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see."

“Carrots, eggs and coffee," she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.  She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it.  After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrots went in strong hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however.  After they were in the boiling water, they changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean? 

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying. It's easier to build a child than repair an adult.

May we all be COFFEE.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The early morning.

Sophia and I woke up early and so that we could see the sun rise. At first I did not think it was going to be much, but silly me.
We got to the beach about 6:30, the official sunrise time is 6:58a.m.
We walked for a while.
This weekend is the Neptune Festival here on the boardwalk. This is  massive sculpture that sits on the boardwalk.
We then went to Mary's for breakfast. I had not been to Mary's in years! It was the diner that everyone went to for breakfast/lunch on the weekends. The local place. They serve the appropriate amount of greasy food and coffee after a night on the strip.  Now, granted I have not partied on the strip in many years. Kids keep you from doing that. I don't know if Sophia appreciated what an institution Mary's is.

After breakfast we headed back outside so I could watch the runners from the 3k and 5k race. I will sit on the side with my coffee thank you very much!
There are always some interesting characters. His hair has to add 5lbs onto his head.  Talk about some serious dreadlocks!
Sophia wanted  to stroll the shops. Had to ban her from buying a VB t-shirt.  I would have hated to have to kick her out of the family for buying such a t-shirt.  When you live in a tourist town you don't buy the tourist t-shirt. It's in the rule book.

I thought this one was more appropriate.

Because this is what I am dealing with and she is only 11 years old.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The greatness of it all.

This is what I want to do.
This is what I need to do.
To go to the ocean and feel the vastness that surrounds you when you look out into the ocean. To make me realize that everything that is going on is not that big of a deal.
To get my priorities straight.
To clear my head.

Trying to remain positive...

Trying hard to remain positive, but it's getting difficult to do so.

I have recently gone back to work. I really like the work that I am doing and I wish there was more to keep me busier. I am very capable in this position. I get things done, do it well and efficiently. Unfortunately one of my superiors thinks I am an 12 years old and need to be micro-managed.This is very frustrating to me.

Before I was married I was the office manager for 5 separate entities. Responsible for payroll, AR, employees etc. so I have the experience to be the office assistant in this office. It was made abundantly clear that I am only an assistant. I personally don't care what they call my position but apparently it is VERY important in my line of work.

I do have to say the experience is teaching me something about my daughter and how I need to handle situations with her differently. One of the hardest things I have found as a parent is to let my children have more freedom. I am not a helicopter parent, I do not hover over their every move but I do tell them to do things a certain way. Meaning...cover the spaghetti in the microwave so it does not explode and make a mess. To me that means I don't want to clean it up so do it right the first time. To them it means I don't think they know how to heat food up in the microwave and they need to be told how to do everything. I guess I need to let them make more mistakes and find out things on their own.
Although on a funny note my daughter heated up pizza rolls in the microwave for 9 1/2 minutes. Broke the plate. Filled the house up with smoke and 2 weeks later is still smells like the inside of a bingo hall.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Getting rid of the stuff

Stuff. Boy do we have stuff. I guess it has a lot to do with the fact that I have 3 children. Before they are even born they have more stuff than they will EVER use or need. I have gotten rid of all the baby stuff and have whittled their things down considerably in the past few years. What remains is my stuff. Actually let me clarify that.

My mothers stuff.

First thing to understand is my mom lives in Minnesota. I live in Virginia and all her stuff miraculously makes the trip to Virginia.

My mothers stuff. All the stuff that my mom no longer wants. Things that she could not bring herself to donate or sell in a garage sale. If she gives it to me she is not actually getting rid of it. Passing it on to her children, she says. So I accept it. I don't want to hurt her feelings. Well, actually I am usually excited about it then is sits in my house and I say "What the heck am I going to do with this?"

My mother feels I need Christmas stuff. I have enough Christmas ornaments and items to decorate SEVEN, yes seven Christmas trees. I have Christmas dishes by Lenox for 24. Now mind you, I have had Christmas at my house only....NEVER! Last year I did not even decorate for Christmas because we went to my mothers house. Which brings me to another story....

We went to Minnesota last year for Christmas. My brother was like "Julie the Cruise Director". We were going to go skating, skiing, sledding, snowmobiling. My mom was so excited. She was excited that her grandchildren were coming to MN for the first time for Christmas. Guess what she was more excited about. We were coming to MN and bringing the trailer to take more stuff back to Virginia. My paternal grandmother passed away a year previously so I had all of her stuff if my mother's garage and it was time for it to make the trip to Virginia.

My husband swears I have Clampets in my bloodline. I am beginning to agree with him.

So the purging begins. I am being ruthless. The 2o wineglasses I bought 6 years ago for my son's outdoor Christening party. The 2 silver chaffing dishes that were wedding presents...never used. Brand new placemats...sets of 4, I have 5 in my family.

When I cleaned out my grandmothers house, out in the garage was a 50 gallon drum. In that drum were collectibles wrapped in old bedding. Going. I don't want them. I am tired of the weight from stuff.

I wonder if I can sell 3 chidlren and 2 dogs. All their stuff would be free.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The First Day of School....3 weeks ago.

I was reading Chronicles of a Country Girl and she just blogged about doing storyboards that she read on Pioneer Woman Photography Blog. I wanted to learn how to do storyboards so I threw some pictures together. Not nearly as stunning as Chronicles, but I was motivated to give it a try.
I am not sure if it is going to have the boarder or not but I am just tickled that I actually fiddled around in Photoshop again. I have been hanging around Lightroom so much and not venturing out much.

The kids started school and were Very excited to be back. Well my eldest was really excited, boys maybe not so much.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Test of Photo quality

I desaturated the photos and upped the exposure... the first photo is uploaded at it original size. The last photo is uploaded at 50%...It did get darker. I have noticed that when I upload photos on the blog it gets darker? Go figure. Thanks for the input on uploading

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Daughter

Sophia. My daughter. I miss her. She is spending the week at her grandparents and enjoying the time without her brothers. I think she misses us. Not that she would ever admit that. She is eleven and as far as she is concerned I am a pain. The one that nags her to clean her room, stand up straight and eat right. Her brothers are, well, her brothers.
I hope there will be some time soon that they will actually start to like each other. To appreciate that they have each other. I do try to remind them how important they are to each other but I may as well be speaking Cartoon...BLAh, Blah,Blah,blah BLAH!
My brothers and I, not close. I think that is more of the 10 year age difference. At least that is what I keep telling myself. Maybe I will realize soon enough just how important they are to me?