Beauty in the Small Things

I love photography. I have loved it since I was in elementary school, and I got my first 110 camera with the flash bar.  My dad got a Minolta 35mm a few years later and I was fascinated with learning how to use it.  Most days I enjoy being behind the camera either taking pics of my kids, vacations, or just what ever is around me.  I have boxes of pictures in my basement and thousands of pics on my computer I have taken over the years.

If you go back and look at them all they chronicle people and places I have come in contact with or places I have gone. I would be fun to put them all together and see the timeline of mine and my family’s life.  I do have a stack of pictures that are stuck together when I house burned down.  I just couldn’t get rid of them. I love photos!

It sometimes drives my girls crazy when I bring out the big girl camera. I get the look, but I pray that one day they will be happy I took all of those pictures. My photo has gotten higher due to my camera phone.  I always have a camera with me and to have one in places I don’t have my big girl camera.

Another thing from my past that drives my photography is my years in architecture and art in college.  It taught me to look at objects and places differently, and that is why you may wonder at some of my photos.  I love details, small things, and out of the ordinary.  Because of this, my art in my home consists of my photography.  Why buy when I can make my own.

This summer I was able to take some really neat photos using God’s world around me.  We were out in a picnic area and I was fascinated by fungi on a log. I looked for beauty in the small things.  We would go on hikes, and I was wanting to take pics of all the little things I saw.  In nature, there are so many wondrous things God has created, if only we would take the time to stop and look.

I wonder how many people walked by this and noticed.

I wonder how many people walked by this and even noticed.

First Day of School 2015

Today we send off TWO girls to high school for their classes at Granville. Our homeschool year will not start till next week – ready or not. Hannah is in her 2nd year of AP English, and Emily is joining the high school band.  Emily will still be in the homeschool band as well the the high school.  She is considering pursuing music in college and being in both bands give her the best of both worlds and more opportunities to perform.  Hubby was excited till he realized that it double the number of performances he had to attend.

In addition to these two classes, both girls are on the high school tennis team. Hannah was not going to play, but after seeing one match – she really wanted to play.  We talked to her doctors and got cleared by them – she got back on the team.  Some of you know that Hannah had been dealing with chronic pain and goes to the pain clinic at Children’s.  She was not sure if she could just play thru it, but she realized she wanted play more than her pain.  Her pain doctor is happy she is giving it a try.  It is just great to see both girls out their playing and competing.

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We are praying the girls will be ambassadors for Christ in their high school endeavors, and be positive influences in others lives.

I got nothing…

I know you are waiting for the next part of our sabbatical, but I just can’t think about what to say.  It has been a crazy day with doctor appointments and a tennis match that never was.  My brain just can’t think about what to right.  So, I am hoping tomorrow I can get it together to post.

In the mean time, I am happy to see that Nation Outfitters is open again.  They have the cutest and modest clothing in their shop.  So, go check out their shop, and come back tomorrow for the next part of the story.

Love and Marriage – 20 years later

This past week hubby and I celebrated 20 years of marriage.  How did we get here? The time has flown by – 3 states, 6 homes, and 3 kids later we are still thriving. It has not been an easy road, but a fun one with many highs and lows. One of the hopes that we would be a positive and God honoring marriage for others and to see. Also,how 2 people who keep God at the center can thrive and love each other more every day. I cannot truly image my life without my hubby.  He has been my rock and biggest supporter, and I pray I have been the same for him.

One thing that I feel that has made our marriage survive and thrive is that we have always wanted to live and be God wants us to be.  We have learned that it doesn’t matter where we live geographically – it matters where God wants us to be.  We have also taught our daughters this too or will learn this.

This year we were able to get away for a little day trip to Asheville to visit the Biltmore Estate.  I have always wanted to go, but hubby has never been to excited about a house.  This year since we were so close, he decided to take me for a mini anniversary trip. Words cannot describe how big this house is.  We had a wonderful time touring the home and grounds, and just enjoying hanging out with each other.  We were in the car for several hours and that has been when we are able to talk the most. If you have heard hubby preach, one of the things he says that is important in marriage is to dialogue daily. It was such an amazing day together. While, hubby was not originally excited, he did enjoy at the end of the day.  I have seen the home on TV, but seeing it in person is much grander and more amazing.  One of our favorite things was likely eating at the Inn at Biltmore.  If you know us, we enjoy finding great restaurants. Eating dinner there was absolutely amazing and possibly some of the best food I have ever eaten.  Many of the items on their menu or either grown or made there on the estate.  It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.

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Selfie in front of the home

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In front of the Biltmore

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The entrance. I do not have any pics from the inside. You are only allowed to take pics on the outside. Trust me, It was amazing.

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Dessert at the Inn – chocolate ganache with brownie crumble and mint ice cream.

The Friday Five – Bible Verses

Today’s Friday Five will be Bible verses that really stood out to me this week. I have been doing the Stronger Bible study by Angela Thomas, and it has been so encouraging.  I am not doing it with a group, but the weekly videos are available online at Lifeway. This study would be great in a small group of ladies, but I currently do not know of one available. So, I am doing it alone – just me and God.

Here are some verses that I pray will encourage you.

  1. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5
  2. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
  3. For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:20
  4. The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials. 2 Peter 2:9
  5. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16.

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I’m not ready for Fall!!

I know so many people are excited that fall is almost here. The pumpkin flavored items are coming out at coffee shops and restaurants. The temps here in Ohio are getting cooler. Football season is in full swing too. While I love football, especially SEC football, I still don’t want cold weather.

There may be only one thing I like about fall. We can leave our windows open and not have to run a/c or heat.

On various social media people are asking what do you like about fall? Me? Nothing! It means pools are closed, shorter days, no beautiful flowers, fewer outside activities, summer clothes will soon be put away, and mostly – IT’S TOO CLOSE TO WINTER! Winter means snow and cold weather!!

This summer once again I feel robbed again here up North. It was either too rainy or cold to go swimming. I want summer back!! I love my flip-flops and sandals. I love the smell of the grill on a summer evening and having friends over while watching our kids play outside.

Dear Summer – PLEASE COME BACK!!

Friendship

This post has been in my mind for several weeks, but I just have not been able to get all my thoughts together to get it written.  My prayer is that you will be encouraged.

Over a month ago one of my best friends I had known since kindergarten ended her life. While we were not as close as we should have been in the last few years, all my school memories include her. I still remember her parent’s phone number that I called so many times to talk with her. I remember all the field trips, playground time, Girl Scouts, band, classes we had together, and even sharing a locker in high school. I recently showed my girls my old yearbooks, and I found notes where she had signed it and even a letter she wrote to me while we were still in college.  We were best friends.

After college, life took us in different directions. We would talk occasionally, but not like when we were in school. Before I left Alabama, we had reconnected. She was getting married, and I was able to attend her wedding. She was very happy. We stayed in touch a little better, and then Facebook took over. We connected again there. We could see each others children.  Our conversations slipped after we moved to Ohio, and I now wish we had connected better than just a Christmas card.

Life was too busy, and I didn’t reach out like I should have. We “talked” some over Facebook, but nothing more.  We are all guilty of “friendship” on Facebook. We come to realize this too late when a tragedy strikes.

I will never forget my hubby calling me to tell me my best friend had ended her life. WHAT?? WHY?? Why had I not reached out more? Why had no one seen? This has really caused me to think. While we have many “friends” on social media, do you really know what is going on in someone’s life.  Hubby and I have talked – Facebook is a snapshot in someones life. It is just the happy highlight reel. We often do not talk about what is really going on in our lives.  We “like” people’s post and pictures. It makes us happy to see who comments or “likes” what we do. This is all temporary. A temporary high. I started thinking – when is the last time I called someone or texted someone something encouraging or just to see how are they doing. Why am I worried about what others think? Why do we get caught up in other people’s drama?

So, I unplugged from Facebook. It was taking too much time away from what was important. I am finding who I am in Christ so I can be what He wants me to be for my friends. Friends that I call, text, or have meal with. I need to know what is going on with my friends – how I can pray for them or just be someone they can talk to.  You may wonder that I may not know what is going on – well, if you need me to know – email or call me.  I just recently read that with all the social media to connect people today we are MORE LONELY and feel more isolated! I do not want to feel that way. I love being around people and talking to them. Why do we have a phone if we do not use it to call people or even text them?

I know unplugging from Facebook is not the whole solution, and many people can be on Facebook and not get sucked in like I did. But for me, this is a good place to start.

I do not want another call saying a friend has ended their life due to fact that no one knew what was going on in their life.

I love this verse – Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD you God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deut. 31:6 – God is never going to leave us, He will not, He will not, HE WILL NOT! You have the best friend in Him.