Category Archives: family

Your Family in Pictures a review

9780823086207  Your Family in Pictures

This book is much like a recipe book but for photographs. Me Ra Koh’s step by step advice for getting your family in the mood, or setting the stage for fun and unusual family photographs is easy to follow. Prompting the reader to not just capture the formal family portrait but to also remember to capture cherished every day, such as naps, cuddles, homework time and many other rarely though about photographic moments.

The icing on the cake is right under every photo in the book, the settings she used to get the photograph. While these settings are not going to be exact for everyone who tries them, they give a starting point. I could have used these tips when learning to use my DSLR.

Even though I consider myself fairly accomplished with my camera, I am sure I will refer to this book often for inspiration and tips.

I would recommend this book to every couple as they begin their journey together. I would make a great wedding or baby shower gift.

Click here for more information

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Gratitude Production 101

gratitude production 101

Here are all the links to all 7 blogs in case you missed one. Trust me you do not want to miss one. All on the same subject, all so different yet so similar.

Before November gives way to December and all that seems to go with this time of year, make sure to read these. After this week of reading these I feel better prepared to enter this busy season. I will be more intentional with my thanksgiving, more satisfied with what I have, more compassionate to those who don’t have, more focused on the real reason for the season. I will be more thankful.

Take a few minutes, ready them one right after the other, like chapters in a book. it won’t take long. Choose just one or two of the suggestions to try see if it doesn’t change the way you look at celebrating the birth of our Jesus.

Day One by Traci Castaneda : Thanksgiving Blog Venture Day 1

Day Two by Terry Porter : Thanksgiving and Gratitude

Day Three by Bev Landgren : 365 Days of Grateful

Day Four by Joe Castaneda : Be Thankful. Be Thankful. Be Thankful.

Day Five by Tom Tanner : Rooted, Built, Established and Abounding in Thanksgiving

Day Six by Danny Ray : 3 Ways to Make this Thanksgiving the Best One Ever

Day Seven by Becca Forrest : Intentional Thanksgiving

I am working on a special project for this weekend. Stay tuned!

Have a blessed tomorrow.

Skippidy doo da

wedding day 1

My birthday month has come to a close I have been thinking about the amazing gifts my husband has given to me, not just this last month but from the beginning of us.

I am loved with no expectations, and I have been from the very beginning. When we started dating I really did love my single life, I told him so. I told him that I did not want a serious relationship, I did not ever plan to marry again. He loved me anyway, gently and consistently. No pushing, no expectations, just there accepting me.

Freedom to be exactly me, my husband has loved me for who I am and has never tried to change me. That is such a gift. The next two gifts come in the same wrapping. Knowledge that I am enough. Finally coming to myself. I am 56 years old, I am finally comfortable in my own skin, and I have finally realized that I am who God created me to be. This man has shown me more about how God loves me that any other.

Because of the three gifts above I feel safe. Safe to try new things, to be exactly me, to feel what I feel, to say what I need to say. This is an incredible gift, I have rarely felt this in my life. I have always felt I needed to measure myself, whether real or imagined I did not feel safe enough to really be me.

I can totally invest myself (and $) into a thing that I want to try. Over these last 5 years I have tried so many new things, knitting, soap making, building with pallets, photography and running just to name a few. I have not heard once that I am investing too much. That I am spending too much time or money, nor have I heard one word when I have decided that this particular thing is not for me. He is my cheerleader through all of it.

I have learned to truly relax and to let things go, I don’t have to always be in motion. I don’t have to complete a project the same day I start it. I have learned patience and to pace myself. Gently he taught me these things. It is amazingly freeing and calming. He has taught me the value of total quiet, the peace and comfort of being able to sit next to a person in total silence in peace and not feel like the quiet needs to be filled.

Waking to snuggles every morning and falling to sleep with snuggles every night. This everyday occurrence helps me to let go of the day and readies me to start a new one. I cannot even begin to tell you what a wonderful gift this is.

Really the point of this post is to publicly thank my husband for being the amazing man he is. To thank him for all the amazing gifts he gives me not just for my birthday, but each and every day. They are far more valuable than any material thing.

Skippidy doo da thank you
Lord for makin’ him for me
And thank you for letting life turn out the way
That I always thought it could be

There once was a time, that I could not imagine
How it would feel to say I’m the happiest girl in the whole U.S.A.

Tim, I never thought it possible to grow more in love with time, I did not know that this existed, when you said five years ago that we would be amazing I had no idea. Life with you is amazing. Thank you for all you do for me, especially this time of year. Thank you for loving me as I am. Just when I think I could not possibly love you more, a new day dawns. I love you more than I can say.

Stretcher Friends

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When they couldn’t find a way to get him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down on his stretcher through the tiles into the middle of the room, right in front of Jesus. Luke 5:19

From the time the fireworks tents start appearing through August is what I call the season of Jason. (You can read the whole story here.) This season the story of the man being lifted up on his stretcher and brought to Jesus by his friends has been running through my head.

Many times through these three years when I have been at my lowest I have heard from you that you are praying. Your prayers have carried me time and time again to Jesus. You did for me what I often could not do for myself. When the grief was crippling you picked up my stretcher and carried me. You spoke the words to Jesus when I had no words.

I write this today to say thank you to all of you, I have felt your prayers, I have felt you lifting me to the presence of Jesus. I have felt his healing grace over and over. Thank you for being there still, three years later. Thank you for allowing me to grieve, for not telling me it was time to get up and walk on my own, for giving me the luxury of being carried. Thank you for walking beside me when I can walk, and then carrying me again when I need to be carried. I don’t have enough words to thank you properly, but I want you to know, that I know you are there, I know you are lifting me up to Jesus. Thank you.

I thank my God every time I remember you. Phil. 1:3

the day before The Day

Jason's garden

Today is the day before The Day three years ago. My first born, my boy, woke up dancing on streets of gold. I find myself with such mixed emotions, I miss Jason. Plain and simple I miss him. I have a peace that I will see him again, that we left nothing unsaid, that the last time I saw him I hugged him, told him I loved him. I am so happy for him, living with his new body, free from earthly cares, in the presence of our amazing God.

There is a family today, that is holding a memorial service for a son that had been disowned. Not a word had been spoken to him in several years. There were chances to offer forgiveness during an illness, no fences were mended and now it is too late. I can not imagine surviving this kind of regret and grief. I pray for them today and the days ahead, for the momma’s heart that must be shattered.

Today in the midst of the grief of not being able to physically hug my son, I am so grateful that I have no regrets, that Jason left this world knowing he was completely loved for who he was.

So through the tears this morning, I can smile as I remember the wonder of being his mom for the years I was allowed.

Kobe

I had a day

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I had a day last week that I have been pondering, still unsure of where it came from and what to think of it. Maybe if I write it down I can process it a little better.

This day I wanted to take a break, it was more than that, but I am even having a hard time explaining how I felt. I wanted to not be a mom whose son was dead, I wanted to not be a manager, I did not want to knit, I did not want to not knit. I did not want to take a run, I did not want to not take a run. I did not want to sit out in Jason’s garden, I did not want the reason for it. I did not want to cry, I did not want to feel, I did not want to be sad, I did not want to be happy. I did not want to do anything, I did not want to be idle.

Does any of that make sense? I have heard the expression “stop the world and get off” but have never felt it like I felt it that day. I was at a loss with what to do with myself, I was restless and lifeless all at the same time.

So, I put on my favorite Christian praise station, put on my headphones and made myself take a run. I really did not want to, and I really did not want to not want to.(Hope that makes any kind of sense.)

This is what I sorted out on my run, the fireworks tents started going up this week, these mark the beginning of Jason’s end. I also realized that my favorite season will forever hold some sadness, I am a summer gal, but it holds some darkness now. (I don’t really like that.)

By the end of the run, I felt like I had run to the arms of my heavenly father and he held me close. I cried, we had a long talk. Then I sat in the arms of my husband and he held me close.The world was okay again.

I am a blessed woman, my amazing daughter is just that, amazing. My two step children remind me every day of the love between siblings, and they make me smile. I cannot say enough about my wonderful husband, he makes sure I live the most carefree life possible. He makes sure I feel loved and cherished. And last but certainly not least, my heavenly father who is never more than a breath away.

Yes, the world is okay again, I have regained my balance. I am truly blessed beyond measure.

Is. 43:1-2, 4
Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to Me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.
MSG

Happy Father’s Day

Dad, Steve, Dave, & Bev - sea wall at San Diego

First to my Dad – I remember trips we took, places we saw, your humor and your aversion to camping. But we did it one summer, 6 weeks in that camper van, all of us sleeping in it every night all the way to Indiana and back. We survived. I remember driving down the highway in a station wagon and you eating as many cherries as you could, holding the pits in your mouth until you could hold no more, then in machine gun fashion spewing them out out the car window as you drove. I remember driving back from grandma’s in Richland and the huge blizzard in the gorge. we got in that fender bender, by the time you got back in the car one side of your face was coated with about 1/4 inch of ice. The first thing you said when your face thawed was “never again”.  And never again did we travel the gorge at that time of year. And then your love for my kids, how you cared for them and helped me so often as a single parent. Thank you for the love and example you were to all of us.

Paul & Jody in Rogue River 05

One thing I just remembered today as I was looking at some pictures, you loved photography. I remember you telling me how to compose a picture to give it depth. I wonder what your photography would have looked like had you been able to afford a nice camera? Love you and miss you, I am so glad you were there to welcome Jason to his heavenly home.

Jason 022steve & mendi

 

 

 

 

 

 

To my brothers, what great uncles you have been to my children, I don’t know if I can ever express to you my gratitude for the care and love you showered on my kids as they navigated life with out a dad. Dave, even without children of your own you have loved and cared for so many kids, you have been a great example of unconditional love. Steve, your example to my kids of  a daddy and godly father is something that I will be forever grateful for.

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Tom, papa, I can not tell you what it meant to me when you and Sammye “adopted” my kids. Your love of them is something I can never thank you enough for. What a godly example you have been to them.

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Last but not least, my husband, one thing that attracted me to you was the love you had for your kids, they are your heart. I had seen too many single dads fade from their kids every day lives. I was so impressed with your love and care of your kids, I knew I could trust you with my heart. Then you loved mine too, you are a wonderful “Dod”.

I did it! (but not on my own)

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I did it, I set a goal 9 weeks ago to go from no exercise at all to running a 5k. Yesterday was the day – I did not have any goals except to finish. I finished, shocked to find I was 10th in my division, females 45 to 55. (I am hoping there were more than 10 of us 🙂 )

I did not do this alone, family and friends rooted me on from the start. My first time out running I could barely run for 30 seconds. I was not sure I could do it, but I pushed ahead with the encouragement from others. Strangers offered encouragement God was gracious to send me “winks” as my friends Joe and Traci Castaneda call them. (You can read about those here) .

I am so grateful to my husband who has not minded the neglected house, and a few more “on your own” dinners as I prepared for this run. I am grateful to friends who offers tips and hints when I was really struggling. I am grateful to friends, family and co-workers for cheering me on. All of these things were essential in my journey.

It makes me think about the great cloud of witnesses that surround us in our spiritual race here on earth. How very much like preparing for an earthly race is like our spiritual race.

I am so much more mindful of what I put into my mouth since beginning to run, there is a definite cost/return mindfulness.

I am dedicated to practice, getting out and running on a regular basis. I am mindful of what inactivity will cost me in working towards the goal.

I am mindful of being public/transparent in my process, I knew if I told people I was doing this that I would be more accountable.

Isn’t this so much like our spiritual race? Shouldn’t we be mindful of what we take in?, Shouldn’t we be dedicated to practicing/studying on a regular basis? Shouldn’t we be transparent and let others help keep us on track?

IMG_1034Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Heb 12:1

A letter to my son on this Mother’s Day

Jason

Dear Jason –

My heart overflows with things I want to say to you. You were my first, I truly did not know what I was doing with you, and you tested me from the first few minutes of your life. When they handed you to me I wanted to look at you all over, you had different ideas, you wanted to eat and you made your will very plain. You were loud and active. Even then I realize you were charting your own course.

As you grew I began to see the soft inside of that hard exterior, you had a heart like no ones I had seen. You loved everyone. You saw beyond the surface to the person beneath, you had such an eclectic collection of friends. I loved that about you.

What I want you to know today is that I miss you every day, but I am okay. People told me that pain would dull, I did not believe it. I thought I would always have this huge sharp pain every time I took a breath. God is good, when I think of you now it is with a smile of warm memories. God was gracious to let me be your mom for almost 30 years.

I wonder about you still, what life is like for you? How did it feel to take that first full breath of heaven? Know this today, that I miss you with every part of myself, but I am okay, I am happy, I am content.

I love you more than I have words for, I miss you as much.

Love you forever,

Mom

A letter to my step-children on this Mother’s Day

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Dear Katie and Scott –

I did not know you as babies or children. I was blessed to have you enter my life as adults. I know we were not looking for each other, but here we are.

I want to thank you for letting me love your dad. For sharing him with me. I want to thank you for putting up with my “different” ways, and accepting me in spite of them.

You are both wonderful adults and I count it a privilege to call you my step-children. I am grateful that you are part of my life, I love you both.

Love,

Dev