Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

A Year in a Flash

Jan 19

Today I really tried out the flash at the neighbor’s baby’s birthday party. They have a little boy about our baby’s age. It was hard because my light-meter doesn’t seem to account for the brightness of the flash but in the end I got a couple pretty great shots – and was so much happier with the photos than if’ I’d try to shoot in the low light without it!




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Woah, Friday Already?!?! Guess we’ll have to settle for the quick version again 😉 I’ve got more things I want to write about, I’m thinking there will be some sort of bigger post coming in the future, covering many of the things I haven’t been able to lately…

Fri Nov 2
the stillness
the soft sound of gentle rain falling all around
the sound of a rake pulling leaves
baking unconventional cookies 🙂
flour galaxies
perfect swirl slices
a tray full of sweet

Sat Nov 3
My children’s genuine awe and wonder at the cookies I made
Cleaning the house with praise music blasting the speakers
Having my house cleaner than it’s been in months!
A friend helping me clean and prep for the party
Seeing my vision for the theme come to be a reality on my table
The house crawling with 5 babies!!! / 5 babies in my living room 🙂
A pom pom caterpillar
Gifts we will actually use: several books and a puzzle that will all be GREAT for schooltime!
2 lighting matching lightning mcqueen hooides; the only clothes my kids have actually been excited to open!
My perfect little caterpillar and his cake

Love – my best friend not only bought me a whole bunch of bulbs to make my yard pretty for spring, but she planted them all for me too 🙂
After hosting a kids birthday party, still having my house cleaner than it’s been in months!
An interruption to my prayertime; an opportunity to strengthen my will to show grace and love instead of frustration – and so stay in union with You
Deep joy at the realization that tomorrow is Sunday, Your day, and I get to receive You!
Crawling on the floor with the baby to the sound of his giggles

Kool aid kisses
My true love’s arms
The Deepest well of joy
Love – going deeper – my love today went deeper, for ALL my family, for each of my children and also for my husband, thanks and joy is waking me up to their unique beauty as God made them etc, and I’m falling deeper in love with all of them.


Sun Nov 4
A Morning game of peek a boo
A beautiful blessed baptism
Sleeping children young and old in arms in the line for communion
The littlest child of 6, purposefully kneeling just like daddy
Community – the more people you know in church, the less you are able to talk to anyone! – still more of a blessing than a burden

heavy clouds glowing light from behind
a tiny blue peephole of blue through the clouds
a row of perfect white bushes like cauliflower heads
a row of trees and orange leaves against teal blue siding

a well trodden path
plants, all yellow
green fans
gardens in fall
a sea of red and white leaves
perfect red berries like Christmas light baubles
a quilt of leaves, every color
an old vine grown into a twisted half-heart hoop
a new perspective of the cross – Jesus literally laying down his life as a bridge for us

a cozy concrete garden porch with a big star
an outdoor gathering of people united
baby bundled in a hoodie, fuzzy hat and blanket
a parking meter turned flag pole and how it entertained my kids for ages
a friendly game of keep away
my children laughing and playing with others, oblivious to any differences
kids running circles around a mechanizied wheel chair –laughter and fun for all involved
a leaf hooked in the fence
scattered leaf drifts and bare patches
yellow leaves scattered on faded teal blue wood steps
mossy green telephone pole
dents and notches all over
a yellow house and a yellow tree
patterns and lines on the street
hyacinth globes overhead

strings of headlights on the highway
lights at twilight overlooking our town
the porch light
the view as I walk in the door – sponges baby pulled out of he cupboard and hubby making dinner in the kitchen
confiscated toys reflected in a pan of cooking oil
sweet potato pancakes


Mon Nov 5
Your grace – that you found me and saved me from that raging river of sin and darkness
This headache, you chose to give it to me, a gift for my salvation – purification now, an earthly purgatory.

Tues Nov 6
Warmth of sun on a chilly morning
Surprise hugs from my 3 yr old
Successful first instalment of the kids ‘writing’ book – my oldest drew the line through the maze with ease and was really interested in working in it.
Baby cruising along the floor pushing 1 dinky car in each hand
Challenging myself doing a jewelry photo shoot for a friend and neighbour

Wed Nov 7
Frost everywhere
A Paintbrush all frost white on the railing
Friendly honk and wave with our friends at the bus stop
2 ft of perfection – the cutest little girl, right up to the tip of her hair clip pony tail
a dinosaur block tower
Leaf surprise in my camera case
French toast and strawberries
Making play doh breakfast with my boys
Paying homage to our delicious lunch with the play-doh

Thurs Nov 8
A new friend in a lady at church – I really value her friendship.
God having equipped me to support her in leading this study, because really, we both need each other.
Wet pavement reflecting colored lights at night
The grace of going to the market first thing and not last – it was closed by the time I drove by on the way home.
The stars, crystal clear in the night sky

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1. The routine has continued to be largely a success- when I stick to it. If I get drawn into the computer when I’m checking something quick, or if I’m tired and the house is a mess, these things can get me off track, but we’ve usually done alright to get caught up again.

My mom also gave me an excellent book for my birthday. She had it set aside for herself but decided I could probably benefit from it more than she could, so she passed it on to me. It’s a book about organization, but it’s not just schedules, it aims to help you organize your entire life, especially around what is truly important. It is such a treasure, and what a Godsend! It covers WAY more than just organization, and addresses just about everything I’ve been struggling with or working on for the past 6 months or more!

It is helping me to see everything in a new light – and to prioritize rightly – I made it easier to discern whether I really need time alone for x or whether I just want it – but am being called to do something else that would use my time better.

2. I have to remember to KNEEL for my times of THANKS!!! I don’t even know Why I stopped doing that. When I kneel I make the moment a hard stop, and it becomes a ceremony, a celebration of thanks.

Humility – Jesus = the way to God — why is He the only way? BECAUSE God is pure and holy, He is the purest love. And most all of us can admit that we are not.

God’s mercies are new every morning — not as an obligation to you, but as an affirmation of you. It right there in there in the sky every morning: Every sunrise proves the burn of His passionate heart.

The car can fail today and the kids and the dog and the fire detector and the dishwasher and the doctor and the whole free democratic world and it’s entire economic system but the mercies of God cannot and will not fail and His faithfulness is not merely great– it is unwavering.

Nothing is too much to handle when I think about the so much from His hand.

And the way out of the pressing “too-much” — is to whisper thank you for the providential “so-much”.

Levi breathes. He breathes pneumonia hard. And this world is hard as nails and Christ knew it and that’s why He came.

3. I did it! I took all 3 kids to mass on Wednesday, by myself. And actually, it wasn’t quite as bad as I’d thought. Phew!

Here’s what it looked like…


4. I had my first really frustrating time with trying to teach my kids this week. It was only the second day we worked on writing skills, and I was trying to help my oldest draw squares. Somehow I ended up wrestling with him for 2 hours. He’d do a pretty good one so I’d ask him to do jsut one more, to show me that he was really getting the concept, and he always stalled and complained at having to do jsut one more that by the time he went and tried again he’d forgotten and I had to teach him all over again. This went on for a while. I didn’t want to force him, but I didn’t want to let him off the hook either, so I jsut kept asking him again and again. He knew he was being really stubborn and difficult, and I couldn’t let that slide. So in the end, the time hopefully strengthened his will to obey; it certainly strengthened my patience!

5. Since DH transfered downtown he has been telling me of all the neat things he sees from his 6th floor waterfront office and snapping pictures of ships and such with his iPhone. Last week we finally got to have a quick tour of Daddy’s work – just before his team all got moved down to the ground floor in the middle of the building.

This is what they had to give up:

The kids and I sure enjoyed ourselves.


6. On Saturday we went to get professional pictures taken. One of DH’s coworkers had had us in for a session free of charge and I really liked some of the poses and things, but was really not happy with the end result, so I was still looking to get a proper family photo to put up over the couch etc (except that above the couch is a window). As someone so in love with photography, it kind of bothers me that we don’t have very many nice photos up, especially when I go to non-photography enthusiasts homes and see the put-together professional photos of their whole family. A month or so back someone came to our door offering a discount on a photo-shoot and an 11×14 photo and I snapped it up. Then I had to figure out what clothes I wanted us to wear, but in the end I settled on bright colors, a different one for each of us. I love fun colors and bright photos.

I don’t think I will be disappointed this time. This guy is a professional with a fabulous studio and fabulous portfolio. I get to see the raw takes on Saturday. He is letting me look at all of them, rather than narrowing them down by making his own decision as to what I would like. I really appreciate this, and respect him for operating this way; since they are to be my photos, I would like to be the one to choose the best.

I also stumbled on an article to make your own macro lens for your iPhone. I think it’s pretty neat. Check out these macros, they’re way better than my camera lens could take!


7. We finally had another movie night. DH and I saw this one way back in theatres, before I think any of the kids were even though of. The kids had picked it out at the library, and both DH and I were interested in watching it again, so I googled around a bit and put together a simple dinner to go along with it. (simple in theory, DH had to step in to help because things weren’t going well in the kitchen!)

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Aah! My quick takes are getting seriously backed up. The first is waiting on an unfinished post, and most of them relate to it, but then since most of them build on each other as well, they are all just waiting for that first post to get things moving… And then of course, since they’re so late anyway, I feel like I want to put the pictures in too, before I put them up, which makes it take even longer…

On a slightly related note, I realized I never wrote up a SINGLE quick takes this time last year, so I would love to put one or two of those up as well.

1. This week I have 3 Routine/Organizational things to share:

First off, one afternoon this week all 3 of my kids went to sleep so I finally got to tackle my kids activity/craft cupboard.

Ta daa!

I don’t have a before photo but suffice it to say that it looked nothing like this.

Secondly, After taking with the local Mom of 6 who is sort of my homeschooling mentor, I learned a number of tips to better organize our things and our life. A big one with the routine has been mornings; my old routine had us eating breakfast about 9, but it made all the hours before hand very unstructured and a lot of time got lost as a result. She told me they have meals at 7:30, 12:30 and 5:30. I was already doing the second 2 mealtimes, so I decided to plan breakfast earlier and when I restructured the routine with this in mind, it made a world of difference! I couldn’t believe how much I was able to accomplish before 10 o’clock. 😀 Who would have thought that having a clean kitchen every night would actually help me get the laundry put away!

And lastly, this week I also started a new habit that when I keep it should solve the bulk of my routine problems on days when I’m tired. After a good weekend away I came back wanting to jump back into our routine, but was hit hard the next morning with tiredness, an surrounded by complete disorganization, as the house and especially the kitchen were in complete chaos. When I walk into my kitchen half-awake to see the sink and counters covered in dishes and no clear space to prepare breakfast, let alone begin to shuffle the dirty dishes around, I freeze, sigh defeated and unless there is something grab and go that I/we can eat out of the fridge, I walk back out of the kitchen still hungry. When I’m tired, I find it almost impossible to think through the steps involved to tackle a mess like that. I know I want to follow the routine and have to work on the self-discipline for that, but how do I handle it, when the house/kitchen is a disaster and I’m so tired that it’s completely overwhelming?

It was the kind of morning that could throw off my best laid routine if I was homeschooling. From time to time as I’ve walked along this path towards hopefully homeschooling the thought of one of these mornings will cross my mind now and then: would I be able to stay on track enough to get through the housework and lessons, or would everything just fall to pieces? Of course I could have a day like that once maybe twice, but it certainly wouldn’t work with that happening 2-3 times a month.

I knew that if I’m going to continue to pursue this plan God has for us, that I’ve got to solve this problem. And the only solution to this kind of problem, is to never have it in the first place! Because on a tired day, I need my kitchen to be clean and ready to go for breakfast, not piled up with dishes till there’s no counter space!

The solution then is ALWAYS do it the night before, because I can’t predict when I will be tired! So even after a tired day, I found the energy that evening to clear all the counters, run the dishwasher, plan my meals and set out a few breakfast things ready for morning. Who is this new me?!

[This kitchen counter is one of the areas I have yet to declutter :P]

2. I’m also learning more about what stops me from keeping my heart open to love God and others. Looking back to even the day before I can see so many opportunities, so many things I should have done, if I was truly following God’s lead. There are so many little moments, when the kids or DH have asked something of me, and I, focused on something else have plainly said ‘no’. The key to keeping my heart open to my loved ones and to God is to not reject them in these little things, but to say yes, even when it’s not what I want.

Lord, I pray for the grace to keep my heart open even when it hurts, so I can stay in the Spirit, ready to follow where Your every lead.

-Lately I’ve been finding it harder and harder to fit in my rosary each morning. I’ve already been splitting the decades up as I have a free moment, but lately it seems the kids would never leave me alone long enough to even get through the opening and one decade! I have been realizing that of course, one decade prayed from the heart is far better than five prayed while very distracted, but I get something different from each of the mysteries, so it seems a shame to only ever get to one or two of them.

And it’s gotten even harder because now I’m offering it for 4 people instead of just 2 – I used to use the first 5 decades to focus on the mystery and then the other 5 to offer prayers for others but now the decades are all taken, leaving me inclined to try to focus on the mystery, the virtue AND the person all at the same time. I know it’s common to offer each decade for a different person, but again, the mysteries and virtues are all different, I don’t want to exclude anyone from any of them. Hmm, MAYBE I could assign a decade to each person based on the virtue they need MOST???

Also – I seem to be able to get in at least 1 decade every time I nurse Noah if I go off by myself with him, so maybe I’ll try to do that more often.

-The other thing that has bothering me lately is trying to fit in the special prayers for my husband, and anyone else I offer them for. I always feel I need to do the rosary first and then when I haven’t finished that I feel I should do the rest before trying the other prayers. But I realized that was just an old construct, and there is nothing that prevents me from praying those prayers while working in the kitchen, as they require a little less focus that the rosary, so I’m going to adjust the routine accordingly 🙂

-Something to try and remember: Whatever DH does, just love on him, and let God deal with him.

3. This past weekend I had a second weekend of walking in God’s will, I tried to control as little as possible trusting that whatever happened was God’s will and abandoning myself to it – only I ended up doing it for God, but not WITH God. I guess I was so focused on not controlling anything that most of the time I forgot about the relationship, I forgot about Him. 😦 I guess I also forgot to slow down and appreciate the moment.

However, the time was definitely fruitful. I know God was close, I just didn’t feel His presence much, but I sure saw Him working. My only goal for the weekend was to find an opportunity to share something that God had put on my heart. Because my top focus was on others, and I was waiting so much on God and His timing, I spent a lot of time with my in-laws, and especially making a point to help out my MIL whenever I could. It certainly made for a very peaceful and happy weekend.

It was so nice going down to the country. We’d already spent a 2 nights with DH’ parents, so Dh and I let the kids make the call on whether we were going to go join them there since DH was undecided and I was trying not to control things. I am sure that it was the right choice and God definitely blessed our time there: we got to go for a family trip in a family friend’s boat, we had a great conversation sitting out around the fire, and I finally did get the opportunity to share what God had put on my heart.

Spending the weekend with the in-laws was nice for all of us, the kids loved it, I loved that we got past all the other pleasantries etc, and into some serious discussion, mostly surrounding homeschooling. We were all sitting around the fire when DH brought it up. Turns out they already knew. But even more than that, DMIL is fine with it!!!! She actually understands why I wouldn’t want the kids in public school! DH still seems pretty set in his ways, but her support can only help God’s cause!

4. Recent discussions have made it clear that DH’s biggest objection to the homeschooling is not the faith-based content but the socialization of the kids. He says he wants them to be part of society and when you’re in grade school, society happens at grade school. He also said the nice thing about school is they can see 5+ friends every day and where else could they get that?

As a result, I’m not sure if it would be a good idea or if there really is any point to getting the pre-kindergarten curriculum to run with the kids this year anymore. It seems like I wouldn’t really be proving anything new to him. As a result it seems unwise to go ahead and spend the money on something he doesn’t agree on, if it won’t make much difference anyway. It may be that it would be better to continue with my little homespun ‘curriculum’ and school day schedule, so that when the time comes I can just change up the work that we do? It will let the kids get used to having a routine, which I’m learning is very important for them. I’m still trying to discern this one, because I know I would benefit from working with an actual curriculum, but it probably isn’t really necessary.

5. Great news relating to my kids and media influences: the CARS cars have now become the auto-cars- the characters from the Auto-B-Good show that emphasizes Christian values and biblical character and condemns anger and violence etc. 🙂 It all started this week because professor Z’s monocle broke off, and I heard my son call him ‘professor’.

Not a bad resemblance eh?

I was only too happy to help them choose the right car for each of the other characters in the show.



Maria’s Press Conference

6. I’m learning more about what a difference changing just the focal point can make for a picture. Take these two photos, I checked the settings and the only thing that is different is the focus point, but the 2nd one looks so much better.


I find this especially interesting, because the focus point in the better one is the fence, and the people in the photo are actually out of focus. I always try to make sure the people in my photos are in focus and it usually bothers me if they aren’t. Recently though, I am realizing that photos can look very good even if the main subject is out of focus. I guess I need to play with this a bit more when I’m taking photos. It seems that having people out of focus can be good – as long as they are further away and not too close.


In this photo I was aiming at the Lego, but I found I liked the picture better when the focus was on the kids heads. I found I was able to capture the abundance of Lego just as well when it was a little out of focus. I guess the goal is not to always have the main subject in focus, but if it is going to be out of focus, especially if it’s a person, then it will only look right if the person is further away. I find that my photos of people who are out of focus because they are too close usually look pretty sloppy.

-On a related note I have to remember that every time I back up to take the same photo a bit further away, even if I’m not changing the zoom, that I still need to adjust the shutter a little higher to make up the difference in the lighting.

7. My birthday is on Saturday! It’s kind of snuck up on me this year, I knew it was coming, but it was always so much closer than I thought, every time I thought about it. The thing is, I really don’t even know what I want this year. Last year it was easy; I really wanted a shelf under my kitchen window. This was low on DH’s list of priorities and I knew I’d be waiting a long time otherwise, so I asked for that for my birthday. And I love it.


But the only other semi-major project on my honey-do list was the back yard steps, and DH and DFIL put them in back in the spring 🙂 So I’m at a bit of a loss! There is a part of me that wants a new memory card, as this one is over full and I keep having to go through and clear recent photos to make space for a few more – but another part of me doesn’t, because it feels like even one more card would be too many to keep track of, to keep the photos in order and be able to find the hard copies of the particular photos I was working on etc.

There is also a part of me that wants a long stretch of time uninterrupted to work on blog posts or photos, especially the ones from my brother’s wedding because it would free up a lot of space – but I don’t want to spend that much of the day away from my family either!

I’ve asked God to let me know what He wants me to have, but short of asking for something homeschool related, I’ve got nothing!

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June 26


On Friday afternoon a brood of red bearded newfies (and their mother) showed up at our door. We had family visiting from Newfoundland. We kicked it off with a big summer buffet at my mom’s house, but they were also able to squeeze in a visit to our house as well 🙂


We had a nice time chatting and shooting on my mom’s back deck 🙂


The last time they came they brought their fancy cameras and extensive knowledge, and taught me a couple things, but I really didn’t get to use them until I started working in manual. This time I had a lot more knowledge myself, and was able to ask more helpful questions than just, ‘how do you do this?’

Practice shooting

Since they both have a couple lenses each, I thought they would be the best to explain to me why somebody would want to buy additional lenses, how they differ and the improvements they offer. I knew the basics: better glass creates a sharper image, a larger piece of glass lets in more light, and different lenses offer different zoom capabilities. However, there’s more! Different lenses will also change the way in which the background is blurred. Besides fancy lenses that turn blurred lights into stars etc, I guess I would just have to try them out to see what I liked. But it’s good to know about for when I do want to upgrade someday.



My favorite thing about our family dinners after the family: Dinner!

We had roast chicken with 8 different salads. To bring the plain green salad up to the standard of the other 7, Mom made her delicious homemade ranch dressing:

The Best Ranch Dressing

1/2 cup mayo
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 cove garlic minced
2T parsley
1T chopped chives
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 celery seed
1/8 onion powder
pinch dried marjoram
2 drops Worcestershire
salt and pepper

Directions: whisk mayo and sour cream, whisking, pour in buttermilk, add everything else and chill.

And, where would be without dessert?? Three to be precise 🙂

It was too bad that DH was away for the family dinner, but it turned out ALL were without their spouses as my brother’s wife had a friend in town, my nephew had to leave his wife and baby back home and my other nephew was on his way to Texas to marry his s/o. So, it was just Russells, and we had a lovely time. However, because of this my brother wanted them to come over to meet his wife, and I wanted them to come over when DH was back, and see our first house 🙂 We had settled on Monday evening, but when that fell through we asked them to lunch instead. The meal didn’t change, summer bbq with burgers and salads, and they were not only able to squeeze in the second visit, but they were glad to be treated to yet another delicious meal at no cost, as my half sister told me they were so tired she didn’t know what they were going to do.

While they were here they ate like royalty! They went from brunch at one person’s house to dinner at another. Since they don’t get up early, I’m not sure they paid for even one meal since they’ve been here, as everyone was only too happy to have them come over for a meal.

DH was able to get the day off work to help tidy up and to be there to visit, so we got to show off the house.

Here they are checking out our Texas-acclimatization room, aka the sunroom. My Nephew dubbed it the Texarium. (They are headed to Texas for a wedding, where one of them will actually be staying!)

Then we had a nice chat as I finished the prep work and then we sat out in the back yard munching burgers with a grilled corn salad and an Italian bread salad.

An interesting tidbit: none of our Newfoundland family like cilantro. Apparently there is some genetic trait that makes all cilantro taste like soap. And they ALL have it. Luckily, I mentioned that my corn salad contains lime and cilantro before I made it, so I knew not to put any in! This must be why dear Jen can’t stand the stuff also, I think it tastes great, but if it actually tasted like soap I wouldn’t want it either.

We also had chocolate bread pudding for dessert. This was a little ambitious on my part because I’d been having problems with my bread puddings lately, but I found the dial and was able to turn it fully to low and there was no acidic fruits involved and it turned out just fine. And, they loved it. My half sister said she loves bread pudding anyway and was not disappointed, and my nephew was skeptical but brave and discovered that at least the chocolate variety is very nice. We ate it warm topped with vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries 🙂

 photo blogmay41.jpg

I also got to ask a couple more photography questions, as we hadn’t had the chance to discuss the manual settings on my camera on Friday ( Too much going on with 8-10 different salads and 3 desserts! ) I had read the explanation on the camera, but still didn’t understand several of the options my camera gave me, and they said that the explanations aren’t always that clear. I now have a better understanding of metering, and when to use it. Metering changes how the camera adjusts for uneven lighting. For example if you have a bright object against a darker background, spot metering will tell the camera to base the photo off the main subject, the bright chair, ensuring that it will not be lost in the shadows. It can also can be used to even out the light and shadow areas for less contrast.

So, I would select spot metering to get a nice photo of this chair.

It’s also usually the best setting for photographing people.

(One other photography note, my friend mentioned to me at the b-day party that putting the f-number up will also put more of the image in focus. Once again, completely obvious and self-explanatory, and yet I didn’t realize I could actually use that information. But, often my camera’s auto-focus will mess up at the last second and cause my main subject to be out of focus so with less focus blur, this would be less of an issue. )

*Photos of me coutesy of my Nephew in orange.

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Huzzah! Quick Takes up on time!

-1- Ooph, what a week! had a cold for last 6 days, the kids seem unusually difficult and whiny, my patience with them is so gone, I’ve been super tired every day, the house has been a disaster and of course we have a have a birthday party here on the weekend! It’s no wonder I feel I’m not getting enough sleep when the baby goes back to sleep for a few hours after I get up, every single morning. Even he’s not getting enough sleep in the night.

I’ve been trying and fighting my hardest to still do work, to respond with love instead of yelling, and to remember that this too shall pass, but it’s been wearing me so thin. Along with the post about discipline and being less tired, I also made a speical youtube praise playlist, that is only uplifting songs, because. I. NEEDED. it.

Actually, half way through the day on Wednesday things started turning around, I felt a little better, I suddenly had energy and I was even feeling cheerful! I had been working hard to change my attitude, but I still don’t know if it was really me, or if once I was finally willing to change God stepped in. Either way, the party and even the house are in good shape for being ready this weekend 🙂

-2- Here’s part of the problem; I stopped resting!!! I quickly put a time of rest away from the pc in my routine right after lunch – and then never did it! I’ve had a rough week and today is no different on the resting thing, I’m going to try to make this a priority on the routine next week. Or just to make the routine a priority next week…

-3- While I was desperate and searching for uplifting praise music, I stumbled on this amazing awesome christian music cd: It’s a musical journey through the bible from the point of view of different characters like Adam and Eve, Moses, Joshua, Daniel, David.,Mary, the disciples, Paul… http://www.jesusfreakhideout.com/lyrics/new/track.asp?track_id=15447


“Nichole Nordeman is my favorite lyricist of all time and having watched Bernie Herms’ amazing talents develop over the years, I knew he was the perfect writing partner for Nichole. I was thrilled when they both accepted my invitation to write THE STORY. We then put together a list of artists we wanted to sing on the project and were thrilled when they agreed to be part of THE STORY.”

Lyrically, Nordeman wrote the songs from a first-person perspective using timeless biblical stories providing a completely new context into how God’s story of love and redemption intersects with our story of brokenness and failures resulting in a new story of hope and rescue. “I think for me one of the goals was to be able to listen to these songs and feel more connected to these people that walked before us and learned lessons that we’re still learning,” explains Nordeman. “There’s such a tendency to turn them into superheroes and have these big, takeaway, moral-of-the-story moments. For me it was all about the humanity. These were broken people who were desperate and needed God. They were just like us. I really believe that, and I think sometimes forget.”

Just check out some of the Lyrics

Good- (Adam and Eve)
Can You hear us cry?
Wishing we could turn back time
To feel Your breath when branches move
Take one more sunset walk with You
Must each tomorrow hold
Such brokenness untold?
Can’t imagine how You could
See all of me and say it’s good

Broken Praise (Job)
But who am I
To make demands
Of the God of Abraham?
And who are You that You would choose
To answer me with mercy new
How many more will wander past
To find me sitting in this ash
Will you hold me? Will you stay?
So I can raise this broken praise to You
But You were the One who filled my cup
And You were the One who let it spill
So blessed be your Holy name if you never fill it up again
If this is where my story ends, just give me one more breathe to say

What Love Sees (Jesus)
Tell me your story
Show me your wounds
And I’ll show you what Love sees
When Love looks at you
Hand me the pieces
Broken and bruised
And I’ll show you what Love sees
When Love sees you

This is How Love Wins (Thief)
Only one of us deserves this cross
A suffering that should belong to me
Deep within this man I hang beside
Is the place where shame and grace collide
And it’s beautiful agony
That He believes it’s not too late for me
This is how Love wins, every single time
Climbing high upon a tree where someone else should die
This is how Love heals, the deepest part of you
Letting Himself bleed into the middle of your wounds
This is what Love says, standing at the door
You don’t have to be who you’ve been before
Silenced by His voice, death can’t speak again
This is how Love wins

I found all the songs on you tube, but I would happily buy the cd, or the accompanying dvd with video footage. Can’t wait to listen through it next Easter!

-4- It’s official, the baby crawls as of last Friday. He’s still about a week shy of 6 months! It’s a little crazy on one hand, but on the other hand this tiny littler person exploring about the room is just so darn cute! – months and sits up, not quite 6 months. And now 5 days later he also sits up. I already said he’d crawl before he could sit up – and that he would be crawling at the birthday party!
Lookout, next comes walking, and I except that will be rather early too. I’ve already seen him leaning up on small soft objects and even kneeling… He also enjoys being put in a stand up position and while he can’t grab the couch etc to hold himself up yet, he doesn’t need THAT much support either.

On the big kid front, I’ve been having a problem with them trying to wander from our yard lately, especially since we opened up the deck with the new back steps. We don’t have a formal gate on it yet, so they are no longer fully contained. It’s not that I don’t check on them often, but they don’t stay put like they used to and by the time I register the definite quiet they are down to the very edge of the driveway if not a couple houses away! However, I think I’ve figured out a trick to make them hang around – the promise of a treat they want. The backyard is where they get most of their treats because it keeps them happy there longer (as I enjoy a little quiet) and also because it’s less messy. I observed this phenomenon yesterday when they were happy to go outside to get a popsicle. Sure enough, although they could easily have run away they hung around – right on the deck by the door in anticipation, and I had about an hour of quiet (with interruptions) to tidy up the house a bit more and open up some CARS toys that came in the mail in preparation for the party.

-5- Mummy LOLs

Announcment: Toddler Conference!

-6- In surfing or googling something, I stumbled on this great site full of phtography aarticles, including a wealth of hard earned experience: The photography tips that 96 photographers wish they wouldve learned sooner. This article is full of good tips: how to use flash effectively, exposure compensation, what to look for in a tripod, when you need to buy new gear, and probably my pesonal favorite: A $25 reflector will do more to improve your photography than a $2000 portrait lens.

Other helpful articles:

21 things you can do today to change your photography forever
What you didn’t know about depth of field
Canon vs Nikon

-7- DH has the day off today so I can go out and run some errands. I want to stop in at the church with a form to up our monthly donation. We ended up at a different church one Sunday where that was the topic and it really spoke to me. The speaker challenged us to increase out gift by just 1% of our (which is about 300%) for the next year, and said if God did not give us more peace, more joy etc that she would personally refund the difference, lol. I’ve been wishing that WE as in our household could give a bit more, but I was sad to see that I/we were giving LESS than even 1%. So I talked about it with DH and he agreed we could do the increase by 1%. Considering he’s not religious, I’m pleased as punch that he said yes 🙂

I’m also going to get the last of my party supplies and we can have the house decently clean – without being swamped Sat morning. Last year I found I was still finishing tidying the last room when my guests started arriving, and I missed out on spending some time with them as a result. Not this year! I’ve also asked a good friend to bring her camera and take pictures for me, so I can be more present to my guests. I’m sure I will take some pictures too, but I’m hoping this will help me to focus less on the pictures and more on the people and being in the moment.

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June 1

This has been a week with a couple blog posts, other weeks there’s a dearth and I’m lucky if I get this one up. I think I’m going to try to work on posts when I have the time, but save finished posts for when it’s been a few days etc, so I still have something to put up. Especially if the post is already chronologically way late anyway 😛

1. The routine is still hit or miss. Typically the pattern is I have a really good day where I’m mostly away from the computer and on schedule, and then when I have some computer time the kids get into trouble and I end up frustrated, and then the next day I feel I can spend a bit more time on the pc to make up for it. I do love praying my new morning prayer out on the deck though! The kids have been sleeping in this week 😮 but if they don’t then I just give them some cheerios and a drink, and then go out to pray. The one time they stay out of trouble is if they’re at the table eating!

2. Faith Notes
– Morning Prayer/Reflection: I remember when I was younger I always felt like I was special, like I was set apart from the rest of the world, like the main character in a movie. Now I realize where that came from: God had a clear calling on my heart. Long before I knew what it was, I felt the whisper of God’s love on my life.

We are all the main character in God’s movie.

Then later reading spiritual combat: ‘We like to see ourselves as important’ – Yes, but this feeling didn’t come from me… I like to think of myself as important but this was different. – it came from ‘out there’ from somewhere outside of me.

-CCO is here for impact this summer. That in itself is pretty exciting, but since I’ve already taken ownership of my faith and gone through the first two faith studies, I didn’t think there’s be a whole lot to enrich my faith, but then I discovered the Courageous Catholic program. While the impacters lead faith studies, the staff team leads more mature Catholics in a program on mission and evangelization. There people of all ages at the tables, which makes discussion very interesting. I feel that pull on my heart for other souls, what better way to feed that desire than to be equipped to do something about it? It’s exciting and challenging, and I only missed two weeks… One session and I was hooked, I will be going back!

CC Lesson 3:
-Holiness and Mission are 2 sides to the same coin. They compliment each other, as one grows, the other follows. Both are key to our spiritual life, our relationship with God. We should put the same care, resources and attention into out missionary life as we do into attaining holiness.

-“In the spiritual realm, to, no one lives for himself alone. And salutary concern fro the salvation of one’s own soul is freed from fear and selfishness only when it becomes concerned for the salvation of others as well. This is the reality of the communion of saints, the mystery of ‘vicarious life’ of prayer, as the means of union with Christ and his saints.” Incarnationis Mysterium

-The danger in mission is we can get so busy doing, that we miss the relationship. My ways, my thinking interferes with what God wants to do. (like when you over think what you’re going to say too much…)

-Everyone’s relationship with God is so different, so personal, that children CAN’T latch onto their parent’s faith, because it is not their own.

-If anyone so much as glances at the Lord (monstrance) He’s got them.

-There are barriers to other people’s faith when we try too hard: the worst thing we can do is open our mouth and have it not be the Holy Spirit speaking

-Sometimes the worst sinners make the best witnesses. When you’re an army general, and you’ve been in the trenches and looked evil in the eye, no one can say ‘ you don’t know’.

-Faith w/o question is not faith. It’s blind obedience. How do we know it’s not just a bunch of lies? Lies fall under their own weight, truth survives. The truth of God’s word has survived for centuries. Also, would the martyrs die for a book of lies?

-To reach the world one person at a time, we need to pass on the message AND the mission. If we don’t pass on the mission as well, then there are people who will not hear the message. But we have to equip them, we can’t just tell them to go and share the faith without helping them to do it!

-I had a beautiful Pentecost. At Mass before communion I had a real sense of God pouring His very Life into us through the Eucharist. I understood again that this is what He does, for all of us, and also personally. As I was trying just a little harder to live led by the spirit and to live how God wanted me to, (extra patence and love etc) I chose to remain calm when one of my children followed me up, and when they wanted to see Mary I felt such a request should always be granted – though when my big kid came running over after the priest didn’t seem too impressed. But still, as soon as I received Jesus, I felt a deep increase of patience, that I had the grace to do much better what I had been trying to start doing for a few days. It was just neat.

As I drove to my mom’s while listening to the Rosary CD: ‘She would treasure in her heart, as she had always done, the things that God had done for her, and for all of us her children.’ As Father Groeschel said those last words, I had an image of a great big cross in the patch of sky that lay open before me, watching over us. It’s there, this life, this hope, for all of us here on earth, who choose to see it. I wanted to take a photo but I was driving, but another time I will. I hope I never see big open spaces like that driving on the highway the same way again.

Then, still being led by the spirit, at my Mom’s mention I ended up washing a number of her dishes. (only my oldest kid was awake at the time.) As I washed and she prepared lunch we discussed a couple of the faith questions I’d been meaning to ask, and we had a very nice conversation.

-There was also a fun Focus on the Family Broadcast on Surviving Summer Vacation:

*Start by letting your kids have a few days to decompress. Then, draft and explain some summer house rules: curfew, bedtime, what friends can come over, where they can go etc… Then do some brainstorming and involve your children, what are some things you want to learn? ( Sports, hobbies, etc )Plan to help them get what they need, help them practice, even do related field trips.

*Expect them to do some more chores than during school year, and summer is a good time to teach them important life skills like doing laundry and paying bills. This is doing them a real favor, because they will need to know this stuff when they leave home!

*Have a Summer hit list: places and things to see. Think about some fun fieldtrips! (beach, parks, museums, tours…)

It’s a time when you can really influence your children since you’re around them more,. If you’re intentional, you can be teaching and growing your kids physically, spiritually, intellectually…. Don’t let the days devolve into ‘sleep in as late as you want’. Have a schedule where everyone sleeps in a bit but gets up at a reasonable time, 7:30, 8am. And don’t sit around in front of a screen all day – get out there!!!

Other ideas:
Have a scheduled quiet/reading time for everyone
Have a reading contest to motivate them to read… 2000 pts for this book… 10 000 for reading the gospels etc – have rewards (at the end of the week we’ll go: for icecream, to the beach, to an amusement park (depending on the total points)
Other ideas: Museum scavenger hunt, Nighttime animal safari!, Go to a state park and cook foil dinners – start traditions!
Same with the car trips: Car contests-scavenger hunt, bingo etc… have little prizes in the glove box.

3. Boo! Unprotected Sects – When it comes to computer viruses, you’re now more likely to catch one visiting a church website than surfing for porn.

4. BBQ for the Win! I love summer when we can just throw a quick meal on the Barbeque! We’ve been making suppers om the barbecue a lot lately, Yum 🙂

5. The full site for the worldwide photo project won’t be up till June, but they’ve posted up 100 photos and also 100 profiles for people to browse through. There’s some pretty neat stuff there 🙂 I especially like this one:

The tailor takes the measures of new summer uniform for a swiss guard in vatican city

Check them out here: http://www.aday.org/#100-photos

6— I am POSITIVE I wrote about these photography basics for kids activities, but I couldn’t find it anywhere on the blog… Since my kids have a mom who’s in love with photography, these ideas would be great to help teach them and have fun. Hey, I probably could teach DH a thing or two as well!


This is another article about teaching kids to take good photos, but the ideas are more aimed at older kids: Teaching Your Child How To Take Good Pictures

7–My son’s birthday party is in just over a week! We’re doing a CARS themed party, and I’ve got some good ideas, but nothing is made or wrapped and I still have a few more supplies to buy.

I’m going for something like this CARS party :

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