Thursday, October 29, 2009


Just sharing a couple - three of the results of my senior photo taking this year.

Two more seniors to finish - by the beginning of next week!

Then it's on to family photos for four families.

Busy with photos is fun and exciting.

And also a bit of pressure because I really want these photos to make my clients happy.

That takes time and attention.

Time and attention that can't be focused elsewhere!

To give time and attention I need to be organized.

And there in lies the issue - I need to be more organized. But with so much on my plate it seems an insurmountable task. With out prayer it is.

A Prayer:

Thank you God for all my many blessings. Please give me the insight to see them as blessings and not just as another thing on my plate. I humbly ask for the ability to prioritize in a way that brings glory to you. And then to let go of the things that won't bring you glory, knowing that when the time is right you will bring them to me in a way that can glorify you. Please grant me peace to do my work in your name! Amen.

And with prayer, I head off into the rest of this day, joyful and hopeful that God will be glorified in what I do, and the priorities will be where they need to be.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Smells good here!

Making bread today to go with the homemade chili for dinner.

Spent the weekend quietly allowing J to recover from a cold. I don't think it was the flu, but he was pretty happy snuggling up at home most of the weekend. He did go out on Saturday afternoon with his dad to cut down a tree. But otherwise he did a lot of this:

He's really into crafting and drawing and painting these days. And he got out his legos this weekend, which is really rare - he's not generally inclined towards activities that take small motor skills. But he's having a spurt of it, and I'm over joyed because he could use development in that area so that his handwriting can be smaller and neater.

I did some crafting too:

Actually, those were done on Thursday when I had my friends over for some crafting - hi girls! It was fun! I'm focused on using up some of my "older" papers, and finding that I have some treasures I'm excited to work with in my stash. Probably only need to be adhesive for the next couple of months, and that just might fit in my budget - adhesive above the black line, new papers and embellies BELOW!

I did more scrapbooking over the weekend, but they are as a gift for someone so I can't show them. Let me just say I'm keeping them very simple because I think that is what will be the most appreciated. Not my usual style, tons of photos per page, minimal embellishments, and surprisingly satisfying! I am going to do some similar for myself for those series of photos where I just want to get those family photos and stories archived in a way that they can be passed down to future generations.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

That's Not My Job!

This boy really is so wonderful!

But, he's nine, and there are some little annoying habits that he and I have gotten into lately. So, I'm going to put a stop to it by no longer doing things that are not my job.

It's not my job to nag him in the morning to get everything done. What is my job is to make sure he knows what is expected, and then let him experience the consequences when he doesn't meet expectations. I'm done with "warnings" which are really just a euphemism for nagging. I'm done with "reminders," yes, just another euphemism for nagging.

It's not that he was suffering from a bad attitude in the morning. In fact just this morning I was musing about how he is so cheerful in the morning, especially compared to the complete grump I was before school at his age. It is, however the fact that he is rather happy go lucky in the morning that leads to some of our problems. He's so joyful that he kind of wanders around the house aimlessly.

The one with the bad attitude is me - after nagging all morning, I'm not really very nice anymore. I want to be nice. I want to be peaceful in the morning. I want to start the day off right.

So, under the new plan, if he hasn't brushed his teeth, fed the dog, put on his belt, tucked in his shirt, tied his shoes, put his lunch bag in his back pack, or whatever, he just can't leave for school. The "school bus driver" (either Andy or I) will just sit on the couch and read until he has accomplished all of his responsibilities. If he is late, well, there are consequences at school for that - and he will have to pay them.

We've done this for two days, after letting him know that we would not be "reminding" him of what to do. And so far he's made it to school on time both days. But this morning, it was close.

Long term goal: he needs to take more responsibility for himself.

My job is to help him learn that responsibility, not to take it away from him before he's had a chance to master it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Outside my window. . . A sunny day, with green still in the lawn - amazing for October.

I am thinking . . . I have a lot to do, but it is all do-able if I can just stay focused (and insert a bit of rest now and then so I can keep my energy levels up). I'm also thinking and praying for a friend in crisis. I found myself advising her to do what is right, not because it is easy, not because it is more enjoyable, not because she will like the result, but just because it is right and God asks us to do it. I cling to that thought - it may not produce the result the world tells me to seek, but if it is right in God's eyes I really need to do it. It is comforting and challenging to live that thought!

I am thankful for... my continued renewed energy; a wonderful husband who is so worthy of my respect; a child who brings so much joy; opportunities to do some of the things I have a passion for in life.

From the kitchen...tonight "Fancy Quicidillas" with goat cheese for me - remember, part of my feeling better is the elemination of cow dairy - and lots of roasted veggies and chicken to make them "fancy."

I am wearing... jeans, my popcorn shirt and a sweater, and not any make-up yet.

I am creating...back up files for my photos because my hard drive needs more room!

I am reading...The C Factor, The Common Cure for your Capital Campaign Conundrums by Patrick G. McLaughlin. It's for our school fund raising related to the new building we're doing, and for general fundraising.

I am hoping...for two good photo shoots this weekend and time to finish two other processing jobs.

I am hearing...silence. But, if I talk to Tana, the cat, I will hear Leo the dog jump off his bed, run down the stairs and trot over to me to be sure he gets in on the attention action.

One of my favorite things...there are so many, I hate to choose, but right now I have to say, simplifying my schedule and not being over committed

A few plans for the rest of the week... enjoy the weekend of football game, photo shoots, log splitting, working on a work project with Andy, church, and relaxing Sunday evening while watching Amazing Race with J.

A picture to share...

This is from last October. We won't get these wonderful golden colors this year because the zero degree morning on Monday killed off the chances of that. Oh well, glad I have pictures to remind me of last year's splendor. This year will have it's own dull brownish grey beauty, and I will enjoy that too!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Below The Black Line

This photo is from yesterday, on my way home from taking J to school. White horse, white snow, cool clouds, neat lighting. I just couldn't resist!

We started the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course. Or at least, Andy attends and tells me all about it.

I am so relieved because there is actual a system for people like us who do not have any idea how much money will or will not be coming in each month. It is one of the most nerve wracking parts of being small business owners, but now we have a plan for budgeting.

Its called "The Black Line!" Or at least that is what I call it. It goes like this: Make a list of all of your financial obligations. Then, prioritize them - what has to be paid before the other things. Ramsey suggests that the first four items should be food, housing, transportation and utilities, because basically you can't go without those things. Then, start all the other items.

Andy and I went through the process separately, and came up with very similar priorities. I don't know what he thought was his strategy, but after those four basics, I put anything that was necessary to continue to make money - bar fees for Andy, an office for Andy, that kind of stuff.

Once you have your list, keep a tally of how much it costs to fulfill it. When you get to the amount that you have as income that month, draw a black line. Everything below that line is just not getting paid that month.

Now, here is the hardest part: Ramsey says if such and such creditor calls and says you didn't pay us this month you say - I didn't have enough money for everything this month, and you fell below the black line. Then, you quietly hang up. Gulp! Okay! I'm hoping that most months none of the things that we would get a call about will fall below the black line. But at least we have a plan if that does happen.

This month some things are falling below the black line:
  • new clothes - I sewed the big rip in my slip and said "good enough!"
  • Anything over $500 in groceries (food, toiletries, pet food, household cleaning);
  • eating out - not even buying little snacks out, gotta make those at home;
  • books and magazines - thank God for the library;
  • art supplies - wasn't buying many of those lately anyway;
  • a new camera lens - well, that really was kind of a pipe dream anyway;
  • photo printing - have to use older photos already printed for scrapbooking next week;
  • Halloween Decorations - that one really has J resenting the black line;
  • Early Christmas shopping.

See, the big thing is that I can't really think of anything we can't do without that falls below the line. And frankly, only spending above the line feels so safe! And safety is so much better than anything below the line.

Works for me!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tid-Bits In Black and White

It's cold - 0 degrees when J left for school.

It made me so glad Andy is taking him to school these days.

Also makes me thankful for the little portable heater at my feet.

I'm feeling better, but not best.

Glad to be better! Thank you God.

Hoping to get to best soon! Please God!

My boy is growing up so very much!

But sometimes he just likes to lay on the floor and play with his toys! Saw that yesterday, and just loved to watch him with his imagination!

And he's handling the loss of our cat so much better than he handled the loss of the dog a year ago. Signs of his emotional growth.

With my re-found energy, I need to start getting things done!

The list is long - Mary Kay, around the house, photos processed, follow-through on volunteer jobs at the school and church, and to support Andy's office.

Not necessarily in that order.

No longer have physical health as an excuse.

Time to get off the stick and do it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

So, umm, our Spider cat died.

Yeah, that is the thing on our hearts around here today.

Last night I found her on the laundry room floor - right in the doorway - apparently suffering from a stroke and going constantly in and out of siezures. I knew right away that she was not going to make it through the night. Andy ended up having to take her into the all night vet to have them put her down because she went into a siezure that didn't stop for about an hour - not until they gave her the shot. Vet thinks she had a blood clot - I assume that means a stroke.

While my heart is sad to lose our friend of ten plus years, it is absolutely shattered for J, who mourns from the depth of his soul.

He got to say good-bye last night and pet her body this morning - that is important to him! He's doing better than when Bo died last October. But I now that after Bo died he went into a depression tail spin that lasted for 9 months. I would do just about anything to prevent that from happening again.

This tragedy happened after J and I had a really wonderful mother-son afternoon. We needed to wait in town for Andy, and after getting his homework done at the libary, J suggested we walk around downtown. So we did. It was snowing lightly, and not too cold. Here are some of the things we saw:

It was a great walk, and very special momma and son time. He told me how much he really enjoyed it!

So, today he decided he wanted to go to school. I'm praying for him to make it through the day well. Then, tomorrow is a day off, and we'll have a quiet day at home to just be and adjust.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rockin' October

Yep, it's here. A really good month. At least that's how I'm planning it. Up for this month?
  • Scrapbooking at my house on the 22nd. I can't wait!
  • More football for J.
  • Baking with Pumpkin - which I hear is going to be in short supply, so I'm off to buy a case of it at Costco this afternoon.
  • Eggplant Barley soup - yummy fall food!
  • Getting my head into the holidays!
  • Finishing Senior photos - two completely done, two needing processing, and one getting the photos taken on Saturday!
  • Focusing on Christmas photos for friends and families - two families waiting for processing, and several families that need to get onto the calendar!
  • Fun fall lighting on the landscape!
  • The snow we got over the past week melting, so the trees can actually change colors before we end up with a white landscape.
  • Cuddling with my boys on the couch when the evenings are cold.

Things I'm thankful for:

  • Feeling a bit more energetic, although still need to improve. But, hey, I'm actually contemplating exercise, which hasn't been even a possibility for over two months!

  • My brother being another healthy, hardworking, loving man in my son's life!

  • Smiling boys who enjoy playing with older cousins like my J.

  • The opportunity to take my camera out and play with it!

Have a great Tuesday - or what is left of it!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Yesterday morning

All of these photos were taken yesterday morning. And all of them were played with in PSE.