Thursday, April 28, 2011


Today I mowed my lawn. *pause for dramatic effect.*  I have never done that before. 

I wanted to do something for my husband. 
I wanted to be outside because it's beautiful.
I wanted to feel active. 
The weeds were tall.

You know what? I really enjoyed it...except for the forming blisters on my palms from starting the damn thing. Who knew that was so hard?? (By the way the top of my mower says "easy-start". Pshawww. right!)

But it was sort of relaxing and I spent the whole time thinking of my wip...which is my favorite past-time. Is writing my wip my fav past-time? No. Thinking about it is. Can anyone else relate to that?

The first thing I did after was run in and skype my husband to brag and say "AREN'T YOU PROUD OF ME??" He was. :)

Happy Thursday. Hope it's a beautiful day where you live.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


For some reason the last week or so of this A-Z challenge has been, well, a challenge! Really. I flew right along at first, now I'm struggling. Not really to come up with anything, but just to make myself do it. Hmmmm. That seems to be a recurring theme in my existence.

So, anyway, I've been reading a lot of first person woman's fiction. Some more literary...some even a little chick littish....sorry. But recall, I've confessed to being a romance junkie so you really shouldn't be surprised.

Without further is what I've been reading.

Bloodroot by Amy Greene

Named for a flower whose blood-red sap possesses the power both to heal and poison, Bloodroot is a stunning fiction debut about the legacies—of magic and madness, faith and secrets, passion and loss—that haunt one family across the generations, from the Great Depression to today.

I LOVED this book. The voice was amazing, and by 6 different narrators no less. This was fascinating, and she did it so well. The imagery she created was so real I could feel and hear it. This story was intense and haunting and I loved the way it all related. It made me think of my own past  and how connected we are to our heritage by ways we can probably never appreciate. This kind of book is right up my alley, and it's getting really good reviews. Check it out!!!

Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn 

First-century Rome: A world of depravity, blood, and secrets. The ruthless and enigmatic Emperor Domitian watches over all, fearing assassination from every direction . . . but not from the woman who fascinates him most.

Passionate, musical, and guarded, Thea is a slave girl from Judaea. Purchased as a toy for the spiteful heiress Lepida Pollia, Thea becomes her mistress's rival for the love of Arius the Barbarian, Rome's newest and most savage gladiator. His love brings Thea the first happiness of her life - but their affair ends quickly when a jealous Lepida tears them apart.
Oh my gosh!!! I just finished this book last night at midnight....I'm in love with Kate Quinn. I want to be her. I LOVE HISTORICAL BOOKS! I love them. If a book has me getting up and google searching it's facts, I'm all good. If the author is spot on...I'm in heaven. Of course she took some liberties, she admits that...but it's a fiction book. BUT, Emperor Domitian is real and she did him so well!! Thea and Arius The Barbarian....I was in love. They were fictional but you could believe every word of it. I loved the scenes of the Gladiator games. So graphic and realistic. She didn't hold back and you could imagine every second of it. This world was brutal, in fact if you're easily offended it might not be your cup of tea. It's very honest in the telling of what life would have been like for a slave or child in this time period. I love reading about things like this, reminding us of where humanity has been. Relating it to where we are now. I'm in awe of Kate Quinn...she is good, people. Real good.

I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, this book could not go wrong. (Well, yes it could...but it didn't, phew!!) Love, passion, emperor's, Rome, Colosseum, Traitors, Fighting, GLADIATORS!! Yes, you need to read it.

The Provence Cure for the Broken Hearted by Bridget Asher 

Brokenhearted and still mourning the loss of her husband, Heidi travels with Abbot, her obsessive-compulsive seven-year-old son, and Charlotte, her jaded sixteen-year-old niece, to the small village of Puyloubier in the south of the France, where a crumbling stone house may be responsible for a mending hearts since before World War II. There, Charlotte confesses a shocking secret, and Heidi learns the truth about her mother's "lost summer". As three generations collide with one another, with the the neighbor who knows it all, an enigmatic Frenchman, Heidi, Charlotte, and Abbot journey through love, loss, and laughter amid the vineyards, and delicious food of Provence. Can the magic of the house heal them all?

The cover of this book pulled me in immediately. Traveling is my dream. The idea of a mother having a "lost summer" spoke to me immediately. As did the idea that a mother and child were alone after the loss of  their father. I've been there. I've written previously on this blog of the need to escape after that loss. So, this book was an easy buy for me. Once I started reading I was a little concerned. Something about this book wasn't pulling me in right off the bat. It was a little too witty. I'm not really sure what I mean by that...but it reminded me of a Gilmore Girls episode. For the record, I hated Gilmore Girls. The whole witty banter was so over the top It made me cringe. This wasn't THAT bad...but it was giving me that vibe.

Thank goodness I didn't cave right then and there. I ended up really enjoying this book. It was a feel good book. With that being said, she described some very real, very spot on emotions of pain and suffering. I could get a good feel for Heidi's grieving. I'm not sure if it's because I imagined my mother or she just made it very believable. I'm thinking both. Once they got on the plane to France, I was all in. Captivated. I loved the relationships, and I loved the imagery. Who couldn't picture themselves living in a little home on the side of a mountain in France surrounded by vineyards? Seriously! This is a perfect summer read. You'll want to get out your passport!

FYI, Bridget Asher, Juliana Baggot, and NE Bode are all this same woman! :) You're children might have read her Nobodies books. This woman writes a lot! Cheers to her!! 

Has anyone read any of these books...or read something good lately???

Monday, April 25, 2011

A-Z Challange UNPLUG

I know this is late in the day...but better late then never, right?

I need to unplug. From the internet. Shut it down. Turn it off. Walk away. Log off.

My wip is talking to me and I need to stop telling it to buzz off. It needs some here we go.


(Only till much will power do you think I have?)

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I know, I already skipped a day this week...but whatcha gonna do?

Photo shoot today of a sweet family
Coloring Eggs
Rice Krispy Treat Eggs (have you seen this commercial?)
Filling Baskets
Making sure groceries for tomorrow are suffecient.

Lots to do...hope you all have a Happy Easter tomorrow!! :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

A-Z Challange SKIPPED R - Shyness - Special Day

Yesterday was incredibly busy! I had an early morning shoot and then my youngest son had an Easter Tea at Preschool. (Then grocery shopping, community dinner...blah,blah,blah.)

But back to that Easter Tea. My youngest son is 5 and VERY shy, and self conscious. He doesn't even like to joke around too much because he gets so embarrassed. (I joke with him anyway, because he laughs and smiles before he gets angry....and he has 2 big brothers and I think he better toughen up now!)

Anyway, part of the Easter Tea was the cute little classes getting up and singing a few Easter/Spring Songs. My son had been worrying on this for days. I finally told him, "You don't have to sing, but you do have to just get up there with your class."

My thought was that once he was up there, he would be fine!

WRONG. He was stone cold silent up there. Not a hand movement, not a clap. Not a smile. In fact, his signature look in these situations is to suck his cheeks in so he doesn't smile. Because he WANTS to like it. I know he does. He's just too embarrassed to show that he likes it.

Sadly, I sort of remember being like this as a child. I didn't want to draw attention to myself AT. ALL.

Well, luckily those preschool things only last a second, so he came down to have snacks with me and all was good after he got a cheese stick and grapes. I guess the only bright side to this shyness is that he keeps him my baby a little bit longer. :)

In unrelated news, my husband is off today for Good Friday! How awesome is that? I'll take it. I'm going to take a day off from editing and just chill out at home.
It's storming out, I may make cookies. How great does that sound???

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A-Z Challange Q is hard.

I had a heck of a time with this letter...nothing that came to mind inspired me. So, I share this video. I love these shows!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I love to write and would love to write daily, but I also have another job. A job I actually get paid my husband appreciates when I devote a little time to it. Okay, most of my time to it. This job is photographing people.

So, since I know a couple of things about taking photos...I thought I'd share a few tips. These are things you can do to improve your photos even while shooting on a full auto mode. You'll be amazed what a difference it will make.

1. Ignore the background...Look at the Light!

This is the biggest! You know you've done it, there is a beautiful background...maybe full of blooming tulips. You position your kiddo's right in front of it. Maybe it will look great. But what  if it's 1 PM, and the sun is high. Ya think?? If you were shooting on manual...I could tell you how to make this work better. But let's do this the easy way...take your subjects out of the sun and put them in the shade.

The best kind of shade is where some light is getting in to pick up some catch lights in their eyes. But look at your subjects face. Are they squinting? Are there shadows all over their face? Not Good!! Find some nice even shaded light and snap away. Even if the background isn't ideal...your images will be so much better! Promise.

The image below I put them in the shade that this building created, and the light was even and flattering.


*If you must take it in front of something, like your on vaca and want your subject in front of a particular landmark etc...and the sun is high and unflattering, try using your flash to fill your subjects face.

2. Fill the Frame

Especially if getting in the right light causes you to have an unflattering background. Is the perfect light in front of a trash dump? It could be cool...but maybe not. So fill your frame with your subject.


3. Rule of Thirds

If you've ever taken an art class, you will have heard this term. It is a compositionall rule that applies to all mediums of art— Photograpy, painting, drawing. It is more pleasing to the eye and it can make a good image great. It involves breaking the scene into 9 equal parts and positioning your subject where lines intersect. So, there are 4 sections you can use. This isn't rocket doesn't have to be exact!! (See the chart below.) But look at the 3 examples...if they would have been centered they wouldn't be as good. This rule also is in place to try to avoid the horizon being in the center of an image. It needs to be in the upper part or the lower part. Never in the center.

If you start looking for it, you will find the rules of thirds everywhere. Advertisements, movies, tv, photography.



With technology these days, there is no excuse for not getting the best picture can try and try again. I'd love to hear if these helped anyone...I hope so!!

Monday, April 18, 2011


Not one of my strong points.

Actually, and my husband says this all the time, I am the QUEEN of planning, strategizing, and getting organized. It's the follow thru that gets me every stinkin time.

I come up with the most amazing solutions. Why can't I follow them? I've made myself so many "schedules" over the years.

I will say though, that I still do love a few things. I may fall off the wagon...often, but I come back to these and I think they are worth sharing.

1. Motivated Moms I love these things and I buy the new one every year. This is a chore organizational system that you purchase and then print out weekly, or daily depending on your preference. The idea is that you just do what is on the list everyday and it will cover all areas of your home keeping it perfect and clean! Each day is not hard, and there are certain things you do everyday. This is great for people like me that like to see a list and CHECK IT OFF! I also like the idea that someone has already figured out how often things need to be done and they just tell me when to do it. When I'm on a roll with this system, I love it!!! They even have one that comes with a daily bible readings if that would appeal to you. Best part? A year is cheap, $8!!

2. Steno Pads- So wonderful. I make long lists. Especially during my busy photo season. Each shoot involves a minimum of 12 different "things" I have to do. Even more if they order an album or something that needs designing. I have to keep track of these things for each client and for me the best way is a good old fashioned running list. I put everything on here, even if it's just "sign note for school". If it passes my brain, i put it down!! I am finding that I am a very forgetful person. I don't know if I'm stretched too thin, or I'm getting old but something is up. I've tried electronic, computer based organization...but no. I physically need to write it down and CROSS IT OFF. There is something very gratifying about looking at a list full of crossed off things.
Also, I don't start a new list everyday. I may write something on the list that doesn't have to be done for 2 weeks but every day I go back and look at everything that is still not crossed off and see if I can do that. I might still put it off...but I'm reminded everyday.

3. Hannah Kelley Downloads 
I found this site a couple of months ago and liked it right away. She is funny and helpful. The one thing I liked the most was her downloads! (I love me a good download!) I use the weekly food plan, the account ledger, and the kids performance log. Check them all out.

One thing I've learned though...this is a work in progress. I'm never going to be cured of my organization problems. I will always be starting over and re-cleaning a house that has been "let go". I have to accept that, which is hard for me. I want perfection from myself and I have to let it go or my frustration with myself sabotages me. anyone else relate?? I hope someone finds something here helpful!! :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

A-Z Challange ~ Meet Me In Montana

My father died June 29, 1989. I was ten years old. He had battled a brain tumor for nearly five years. Five very long years. By the end, he didn't even know us and he passed in a hospital bed in our spare bedroom with me sleeping down the hall. Since then my mother has told me that God must have kept me sleeping because her screams were so loud.

As an adult with three small children, I can now appreciate the impact that this had on my life. I look at my ten year old son and can't imagine him having spent the last five years of his life the way I spent those of my childhood. It breaks my heart to think about it, and it makes me want to love myself and my mother a little more.

Less than a month after my father died, my mother, two year old sister and I packed up our new mini van and headed west on I-70 to Colorado. I remember hearing my mother tell someone we needed to get away.We had spent the week before preparing and one day my mother brought home a couple of new tapes to listen to on the way there. I was surprised because it seemed strange for my mother to buy something for herself.

At some point on that long stretch of highway I was curled up in a ball in the passenger seat while my mother drove. By then we had listened to the tapes a couple times through. I laid there letting her believe I was asleep as she sang along to one tape— Marie Osmond. It was country. It was okay.

My mother was a singer, she sang along to everything. When one song particular came on she really started to belt, and it turned into the most heartbreaking song I'd ever heard. I imagined her tears rolling down her face and into her mouth as she sang. Her strangled notes made my chest ache, but I stayed perfectly still, knowing that she thought I was sleeping.

She had changed the words to Meet Me in Colorado. When I finally decided to 'wake up' again she was happy and we continued on down the highway to our destination.

I have the entire album on my ipod, sometimes I close my eyes and go back to that trip. I know my mother does the same.Hearing the chorus of this song, always makes me cry.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A-Z Challange LOVE

It's been a stressful couple of days round these parts. I'd like todays challange to be easy. I can't do a lot of thinking right now. (On a side note...does your wip ever leave you in a funk?? But, it's almost like you need to be there? Ok, moving on.)

Things I love.

My Husband.
My Children.
My Mother
My Sister, My Sister in law(happy early birthday!)....and all my other family.
My morning Coffemate
Roald Dahl
Fried Pickles
The North and South miniseries from the 80's
Johnny Depp(it started with 21 Jumpstreet!)
my laptop
My bed when I've just changed the sheets
Roasted Asparagus
Shopping with no children
Good deals
meeting friends for coffee
Pad Thai...or any asian food for that matter!!
Drinking milk after something really sweet
Farmers Markets
Libraries and Bookstores
Online bill pay
Historical romance novels
The smell of grass in spring
Going to the pool
New purses

Okay, I've got a kid to get to school so I must stop. I suggest everyone stop right now and make a list like this. It felt really good. It reminds you of all the little things in your life that are really, really good.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A-Z Challange KANSAS

Oops!! I missed yesterday, please forgive me. I did think about it, and thought some more...but nothing came. Then, at a certain point I decided to forget about it, that's my prerogative right???


My state. As a child I thought Kansas was so boring. There didn't seem to be anything special about it. It was in the middle, flat, really cold in winter, and super hot in summer. It wasn't exotic, or romantic.

I was wrong. It is a beautiful state, full of wonderful people and perfect little towns. I've seen a lot of this state, and I've learned to  appreciate all the beauty it offers.

Sure there are no palm trees, sandy beaches, or majestic mountain tops. But that's why I have so much fly to these places!  HAHAHAHAHAHA. (good one!!)

Sometimes, I will get to visit other places, but for now I love living in Kansas. It's home.

It's also home to my WIP, which is really special. It's so fun to write about a place you know and create people you end  up loving to live in it!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A-Z Challange ~ Inactivity...and Incentive

I need to start working out. PERIOD.
There is no way around it, it must be done, I must accept it. And do it.

A-ha! There is the tricky part...doing it. I'm great at thinking about things, not so great at doing them.

So, today I'm starting to work out. Even if it's just walking my dog, I've got to do something everyday. Swimsuit season is coming and this is my year!

I need an incentive...any ideas??  I mean, obviously the real incentive is the results. But I need something more. What do you use to reward yourself...and don't say cookies!! That won't work!

*EDITED TO ADD* I walked my dog for 30 minutes today AND wrote 700 words. I'd say that makes for a very good day indeed!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A-Z Challange ~ Hot, Hot, Hot!

Today is Saturday!! It is going to be a hot one here in the midwest. The wetherman is predicting a high of 90. WOW.

Not a biggie, but I'm shooting an out door wedding today. eek. When I shoot a wedding I wear all black. double eek. Oh well, better than the alternative for the couple right?

I hope in your neck of the woods it is going to be a beautiful day. Hopefully you're not at your laptop working, your out enjoying yourself! :)

Happy Weekend blog friends!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

A-Z Challange GROWTH

It can come in so many forms can't it?

This morning I took my baby to Kindergarten Round Up. *sigh* I have mixed emotions about this. Part of me is jumping for joy at FINALLY having all of my 3 boys in school. If you have children— you know what I mean. It is quite a milestone. But it is also very sad. It's the end of something wonderful, which is, being the only major influence in your child's life.

Now, if your child is in day care they may have already experience this. But for the most part, until your child enters are it! You are the one that knows it all, you are the one they turn too, you are the most important person in the world.

School brings external forces into your family. Peers, teachers, awareness, smart mouths, other view points. It kind of reminds me of sharing my writing. It's easy to spend time with only your laptop, pounding away what you are just SURE is something special. It is safe with you, in your thoughts.

When you share it, you are sending it off to school. It will encounter criticism, judgement, and you will lose a small piece of it. Somehow it will not only be yours anymore. Of course, it will always belong to you...but hopefully by encountering outside forces it will now morph, sharpen, become polished.

Hopefully...grow, into something even more amazing.

I am nervous everytime I drive to my writing group. As I hand out copies of my work I feel moronic, naieve, clueless. Seriously.  I am in Kindergarten here people. I'm learning the ropes. I'm putting myself out there, opening myself to criticism. And you know what? It is a beautiful thing. It's not safe, or easy, or secure. But it is necessary, for me to grow. That is exciting.

This August I will drive my 3rd son to school. I will walk him to his classroom while holding tightly to his tiny hand. I will be on the verge of tears every step of the way ( i already am just thinking about it.) We have had it good, him and I, these past 5 years. We are close, and inseparable. But I will tell him how awesome Kindergarten is going to be, and how fun  it will be to have new friends and his own seat. I will pray that the new people in his life will have his best interest in mind, but I will try my best to be there for him when they are not. I will more than likely be swiping back tears until I get to my car and really let go.

However, after a couple of minutes I will check my mascara, call a friend and meet for coffee...knowing that this new life of mine, and his, is going to be amazing!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A-Z Challange FLOCCINAUCINIHILIPILIFICATION & Thankful for Thursday!

Yes, that is a word, friends. A very, very long word.

an act or instance of judging something to be worthless or trivial

Hmmmmm. I think I am indeed guilty of  floccinaucinihilipilification when it comes to myself. I wish I wasn't, but it's true. My self worth ebbs and flows, some days are low. Very low. 

THANKFULLY, I feel good today. I'm working on my novel, I have yummy coffee...and I feel good. I hope everyone else feels good too. 

Don't fall into the floccinaucinihilipilification trap!!

* not surprising— while this is a word, bloggers spell check doesn't recognize it! :) 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


You would have thought since I was pregnant, I would have been expecting a ring for Christmas.

I wasn't.

Up until that point it had been the best Christmas ever! Michael had given me a Dooney and Bourke purse, a watch, and lots of other things he knew I wanted. I NEVER expected them all.

My heart stopped when I pulled the little box out of the tip toe of the red velvet stocking. Please be earrings. 
Now don't get me wrong, I wanted to marry him. I just was not expecting this, and I don't do surprise very well.

My heart pounding, I opened the box. Shock is an understatement. I was  dumbfounded. The ring was beautiful.

The center diamond was a carat. He pointed that out right away, as if it mattered! Ok, it was awesome. The second and third band were full of smaller diamonds. Total, it was over 2 carats and I was in love! I had never expected something amazing.

For the next few years it was referred to as "The Ring". If we went out as a couple Michael had to meticulously clean it with a baby toothbrush and a polishing cloth, which made me happy because it was an extension of how he felt about me. He wanted me to be proud, as proud as he was. Proud of us. Of course, as a man he wanted to show off his buying power. What guy doesn't?

Over the years, I didn't give the ring as much thought. I knew I loved it, knew it was beautiful. Young cashiers at the grocery store often made comments as I was writing a check or signing my slip. But, it had been over 10 years! I was no longer dazzled daily by it's presence like I was in the beginning.

Last fall, cleaning up my kitchen I lifted my hand to look at something in it and my eye caught the most horrific sight. Four prongs staring at me. Empty. One was slightly bent outwards.

In that moment, I didn't even think. I just yelled for Michael and told him what had happened. He was quiet, which was strange for him. I immediately began sobbing. It physically tore at my heart that this stone was gone. The thing was, it wasn't necessarily about the monetary loss. Although that did suck. But it was about the emotional heartache of losing something that represented us. That ring had become a part of us. Our story.

And it was gone.

Let's be clear about one thing. Money priorities change drastically after ten years of marriage. The ability, or even desire to drop a few grand on a stone is just not there. If I had a lot of cash in the bank? Sure. But we don't.

So, as I type I am wearing a single gold band. It belonged to my father who passed away when I was ten. It's special, and I love it, but it's not "The Ring". The beauty is, nothing has changed. We are no less married, and no less happy. But it does make me sad.

I wouldn't describe myself as materialistic, I can rock a Target wardrobe like nobody's business, and with no shame. However, there are moments, when I'm meeting someone for the first time, that I miss it terribly. Especially if that woman has a beautiful ring. It's not that I want to show off, it's about Michael. I want everyone to know what he gave me. I want to show him off.

Oh well. I guess the solution is to get my damn wip finished and try to sell the darn thing. I have a feeling the first purchase for my husband would be a diamond, I'd probably let him. :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A-Z Challange ~ DISH CLOTHS

Dish Cloths
Dish Rags
Kitchen Rags

Pick your poison...and I mean that literally. Consider this a public service announcement, and YES, this post is totally random!

I have a pet peeve, and it goes something like this.

Person pulls dish cloth out of the drawer and uses it to:
1. Clean the DIRTY counter
2. Do the DIRTY dishes
3. Wipe down the DIRTY stove
4. Lord knows what else...but I bet it involves DIRTY

I'm sorry, I know this is my issue. But really??? Do you know what has started cultivating in that rag overnight? The fact that you may or may have not used soap does not matter. The fact that you used hot water to rinse it does not matter!

The ultimate kicker???  Remember when Grandma would do steps 1-4 and then use the damn cloth to WASH YOUR FACE?!?! OMG!? The smell was horrific. Maybe this is where that stems from. Tell me I wasn't the only one!

Happy Tuesday! :)

Monday, April 4, 2011



This words is a biggie for me. The fact that the last blog entry date below is March 24th should be your first clue. Consistency has always been a problem for me. Is there an explanation? Is it nature? Nurture? Laziness? ADD? 3 Children?

The one thing I am consistent about, is my inconsistency. So there, I can get SOMETHING right!

That's not fair to me. I get a lot of things right, but I'm pretty darn hard on myself. I expect a lot. Therefore, I am often disappointed. When I am disappointed I feel frustrated and defeated, and then....I fall off the wagon.

It is ironic that I chose this word this morning, because it is Monday. Ah Monday, the birth of so many good intentions. It is also a (relatively) new month. April. To me April is freshness. Spring, growth, blooming, newness.

Therefore I am deciding now that consistency is my goal for this month. Consistency in my writing, my blogging and my personal life. I'll let you know how this should be interesting!
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