Currently Reading

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Today I turned to Write Alm's January prompts for some creative writing inspiration.

And wouldn't you know it, the prompt was "currently reading."

So here's what's on my night stand and am carrying around with me these days:

The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God by Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller I've read two other books by Keller, The Prodigal God (which was one of those books I almost couldn't stop highlighting) and The Reason for God: Belief in the Age of Skepticism. As always with Keller, I appreciate his intellectual prowess, Biblical exegesis, and broad cultural knowledge and examples. I love that Keller brings a high level of intellectualism to his writing while at the same time remaining simple, clear, and direct in his style. One thing I like about this book is it's not some sort of how-to manual. It is much more broad in it's scope. Instead, it is thought-provoking and vision casting (so far).

Morning Glory by Sara Jio I was first introduced to Sarah Jio when I read The Violets of March. This remains my favorite novel by the author but have read everything else by her as well. Morning Glory is about a woman who's lost her husband and child and is searching for a fresh start and rents a house boat in Seattle. There she uncovers clues to the mysterious past of a former owner of the boat.

James and the Giant Peach by Ronald Dahl If you can believe it, I've never read a single Dahl book! This one I'm reading aloud to the kids.

And of course, I'm still listening to Harry Potter on audiobook.

You're up next! What are you currently reading?

Make + Listen

2014-01-22_001This week we got more snow. Yesterday after coffee and some morning reading I saw the sun slip over the hill. It sprayed sunlight across the frosted yard making long tree shadows. It was so breath taking. Thanks to everyone being home together for a couple of days our making has consisted of good eating. First up, German Pancakes with Brown Sugar and Pecans. Quick and easy, the kids love this puffy pancake. They don't care for pecans but I do, so we divide it up among ourselves.

I also made these mini ham and cheese quinoa cups for breakfast and snacks. Only one of my kids would eat them, sadly. However I enjoyed them and they are a great protein pick-me-up.

One afternoon this week when Josh was home I made this chopped thai chicken salad. Whoa, was it ever delish! Nothing like chicken, peanuts, and some crunchy greens in a fabulous dressing!

I made these awesome peanut butter balls this week for ourselves and another family. Hard to believe something with only four ingredients can taste. so. good. I rolled mine is raw shredded coconut. But next time, I want to toast the coconut first.

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In the listening department I've been delving into the world of Harry Potter by listening to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Jim Dale is such a fabulous reader, wow, I think he blows every other audiobook reader out of the water! They are light and enjoyable. Something I can track with while folding laundry or making dinner.

How about you? What have you been making and listening to lately?

Linking up with Dawn today.

 

Captured in 2013

This year I was honored to capture three families, one set of triplet seniors, a head shot session, a maternity session, and a brand new baby girl! Each captured image signifies a moment in time: a new life, students marking the end of the high school experience, or the love between family members. Thank you for entrusting me with capturing these special mile markers in your life! Thank you for allowing me to freeze a moment from 2013 for you to always remember.

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Emmalyn | Newborn Session

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I have a confession to make. I get very nervous before a newborn session.

And here's why: despite the fact one would assume newborns sleep all the time, newborns are actually one of the most labor intensive subjects to shoot. And little Emmalyn had me sweating when she decided to cry for almost 45 minutes after just a few clicks from the camera. But she and I worked it out once I was able to finally lull her to sleep. And once she was out, she was out.

Then we were able to get these gorgeous shots of her in dreamland. Isn't she pretty? And such chubby cheeks!

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Emmalyn was born the week of Christmas so it was appropriate for her to don a Rudolph hat!

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So excited for Emmalyn's mom and dad as they begin the parenthood journey!

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Emmalyn's mom is quite the DIY crafter. She made the gorgeously whimsical mobile below. And such a sophisticated color scheme for the nursery.

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So excited to meet you and capture these special moments, Emmalyn!

 

 

On Loss and New Beginnings

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2013 was a year of loss. Some were anticipated. Others arrived unexpected.

The year started off with the sudden sadness of Josh's grandmother's death in January. This past Christmas her loss was felt once again more acutely. Then Josh's grandmother died as well, about a month later. We were so glad we were able to see her a week before her passing. Then came my uncle's unexpected heart attack in the summer. And Josh's grandfather died in the fall. They draped his coffin with the American flag and played Taps. The boys asked why and I told them.

"So you mean Great-grandpa was in a war and his team won?" Owen asked. "He fought to make our world safe?"

"Yes," I say. At least for a while, I think, knowing such safety is but a mirage.

Four deaths. Josh's three grandparents gone all in one year.

In April we left the church I'd been attending for fourteen years. For Josh it was the church he'd grown up in. While we still see those we're closest to from our old church, there are many people that we just don't cross paths with anymore who are still dear to us. This sort of change involves loss too.

In early June we moved to our new home. We said good-bye to our first home and the place where all our babies came home. Good-byes to neighbors we came to love.

Death. Change. Moving. Things shift. The loss was sad and painful, some more than others. Loss brings something to an end. But with loss comes the beginning of something new.

2013 was a year of new beginnings.

With my uncle's death came meeting my cousins for the first time since I was a child. We've all linked up through social media and I hope the funeral won't be the last time I see them.

We've been attending a new church that we're just starting to get active in. It's been a good change for us in many ways and part of the good has been that it's closer to us and more apart of the community we now live in.

Obviously, moving was a HUGE blessing to us. We love our new home and all it allows us to do things that the other house restrained us from. We can now host bigger gatherings, the guest room allows for family and friends to more comfortably visit us, and it has space inside and out for the kids to run and play. We didn't move incredibly far from our old home. Basically two towns over. But I was worried at first that with changing churches at the same time we'd experience some isolation from being farther "out." But it's been neat that I actually feel like I've experienced more community, not less. Three other families that we've known for years live about 8 miles from us and we all go to the same homeschool community. Plus we get together each Friday to spend the afternoon doing science experiments together. It's been so fun to see the relationships of the kids bond together as we run back and forth from each other's houses, since they see each other about twice a week. And once a month we do a pizza dinner altogether. Even though we're more out in the country, ironically, I've never been such a short drive to so many friends' homes.

Good-bye 2013. Welcome 2014.

Five of Twelve 2013

My personal project, Twelve of Twelve was for the second year in a row, a bust. I'm trying not to let this bother my perfectionistic spirit. ;) Preparing to move really did me in when it came to this project. But that said, we still ended up with five family photos we probably wouldn't have if it wasn't for this project. So here's our year in review:

January

Picture taken at Josh's grandmother's funeral. This was her church where she was an active member in for many years.

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February

Here we are gearing up to put our house on the market! My favorite picture from this project.

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March

Easter Sunday at my Mom's.

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August

Instagram shot at my Nanny's former home.

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September

Beach vacation at Emerald Isle!

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