Monday, December 14, 2009

There's not just one word to describe how I have been feeling lately. A few that pop into my mind are depressed, overwhelmed, angry, annoyed, stressed-out, ungrateful, self-asborbed, tired. Now that's a lovely little combination, wouldn't you say?
I'm not sure where it all started. At first glance of my recent schedule, you might say that it started there...with way over-extending myself beyond my capacity. But as I think about the past couple of years, I think my feelings have been a culmination of lots of changes, most of them not so great, and others that were great, but hugely life-changing.
I can't quite say I have ever felt the way I am feeling lately. I am hoping God has a big purpose for it that I can't see right now. I also pray that my family, particularly my boys, will hang in there with me and that their memories of this time in their life will be mercifully forgetful.
I want to be a mama again. Let me say that another way: I want to be a good mama again. One who takes her kids places, does art projects with them bakes with them, takes pictures of the silly things they do...that kind of mom. I feel like I have been on major auto-pilot, just surviving the days since, oh, last January. That's a lot of surviving. Not even sure that surviving is what you would call it.
I know I have lots to be thankful for. Gosh, if I were to try and list all of my blessings, they would take up this entire blog posting and more. But I confess, I haven't felt blessed lately. All I have been able to see is what I don't have, what I can't do, and how I do not measure up.
I hope I learn what I need to learn so this can be over quick--like pulling off a band aid.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


We have been remodeling for the past few weeks. We now have all new flooring on our first floor, new kitchen appliances, freshly painted cabinets, and a whole lotta other minor/major changes that we have made. Here is a little montage of the changes (double click to enlarge)

We have yet to do the kitchen countertops and main living area bathroom. Hopefully those changes will be coming soon (right Dad?).

It's beginning to look a lot like...


I like for all my trees to have a theme. This tree is in our main living space and has an organic theme. I did the whole thing for probably under $15. I purchased most of the ornaments last year at the end of the season. Some of the snowflakes I got at the dollar store last year. The branches were free from my yard, and the other things were just things I stuck in from around the house. I like how it turned out. It is dying for some burlap though. Next year there will definitely be a burlap garland!

This is Graham's tree this year. I think it reflects his little personality--bright, energetic, (sort of) happy!

More decorating pics coming soon!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I continue to be overwhelmed these days with all I have going on, but I am starting to see a light at the end of the least when it comes to our home. Our floors were completed last weekend (thanks, Dad!), most of the appliances are now in, we are just waiting for our fridge. There is SO much left to do, but nice to look at all we have accomplished. I read this blog post from my favorite blogger, the Nester, and it almost moved me to tears. It is SO where I am right now. I fall into the category of those that are too impatient and want it all "done" now. But, I have to remember that I don't even WANT my house to be "done"...
I will be posting pics soon...
On a side note, I hit a deer the other night :( Poor thing ran right into the side of my car. Her boyfriend, a buck, stood watching the whole thing in the shadows. He stayed and watched the entire time the police came and disposed of her body. How sad is that? Click photo to see

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Well, we are officially remodeling. Good grief, it feels like we just got done remodeling! I love taking something and making it mine, I just don't like the process. We are ripping up flooring in our entire upper level. After that, comes a complete kitchen re-do, followed by a bathroom re-do. My head is spinning with ideas. I have been taking these last few good days of fall to finish the painting projects I put off all summer. I am so excited! Many photos to follow!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm in love

I'm in love. Really. I am all giddy and can't stop thinking about him. How cute he is! (and I love his little sidekick too!) I can't wait to see him again. He is mine, but I must wait. The days can not go by soon enough.

Have you ever fallen in love with a sofa? I have. I have loved each sofa I have ever owned (and now this will be sofa number 4 in the eleven years we have been married). Each one has had it's distinctive place in my heart, and has served me well. But this one, at least for now, is my very favorite. It has taken me over a decade to really feel like I know my decorating self. I think I have flip-flopped through many different styles over the past ten years. Now, I know what I like. And, I know most everything I do like involves the color red. I really, really love red. And now, most of my house will have at least a touch of red somewhere in it.
We are beginning a big re-do in our house, pictures soon to follow. We are putting new floors in over the next few weeks, followed by kitchen and bathroom upgrades. I am so excited I can hardly sleep at night...
Pictures to follow~

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A net of stinky fish

I have been more than a little overwhelmed with life lately. Oh, it's not that anything really bad has happened, I just have too much on my plate. There have been many times in my adult life that I have felt over-extended beyond what I could handle. But, this takes the cake. Having this business, homeschooling, keeping up with a two year old, and running this house are running me into the ground. There are seriously not enough hours in the day to do what I need to do.
So, after trying to solve my problems on my own, like I always do, I decided I needed to be in God's word daily, even if it is only for 15 minutes. I pray He will bless my time, not because I am worthy to be blessed, but because it is truly my way of letting go and letting Him take control.
I have been a Christian most of my life, and it's sad for me to admit I have struggled my entire life with spending time daily in prayer and/or Bible study. This probably sounds like an excuse, but I think I have always been a bit overwhelmed by it all...not knowing what to do, what to read, where to start. So, I decided to just start with the Bible...imagine that. I have been just choosing a book of the Bible and I read through it in a few days. It is amazing how, as you draw near to Him, He will draw nearer to you than you could have imagined.
Today I was reading about when Jesus called His disciples. And as I read the story that I had read a million times in my life, I started to cry. Something in the story touched me, although I wasn't sure what it was. So, I stopped to really read the story, line by line, and focus on what it was that was grabbing my attention. All of a sudden, it dawned on me that it was this part that was so real to me:

9.For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken,
10.and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men."
11.So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

As I read the verse, I could feel the weight of my net. I could smell the stinky fish. I could feel myself put it down to follow's all that matters.
Isn't He amazing? He has the power to meet you right where you need to be met.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Today my computer died.
I really never thought it would happen to me, but it did. You always hear about someone's computer crashing, but I really didn't think it would ever happen to me.
For the past few weeks, my hard drive has been dwindling to the point where today, it had ZERO space left on it. This, after I had furiously deleted tons of photos and programs on my computer in an effort to gain more space. This was all done in vain however, as the HP customer support person informed me that my C Drive was "corrupt." Thank God that I had gotten an external back-up system in place a few weeks ago. As we speak, it is "restoring" my lost files. I am still not totally convinced that what I need to have on my computer will be there in the morning when it completes this process.
I have been sick to my stomach all day. When I gave the HP lady the go-ahead to wipe out my hard drive, a wave of nausea washed over me. I could see all of my boys' photos, from newborn on up, wash away, never to be seen again. I cried and cried as I thought about all those memories being potentially lost forever.
And it got me to thinking...
Lk 11:34-36] "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
Matthew 6:20 NIV
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
I have been focusing too much on what doesn't really matter. Instead of storing the memory in my heart, and focusing on the God who gave me those I love so much, I have been focusing on the physical memories--the photos. They have probably become too important to me. I needed a good reminder that the photos are just a representation of what I love so dearly, not the people themselves.
Nothing in this world will last except our heavenly treasures. Neither moth, or rust, or even a computer virus will destroy those.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

odds and ends from Buckaroo Junction

I haven't updated my personal blog for awhile, even though I have had every intention of doing so. I have been so bogged down with photo editing, I have done little else. I am excited to move on to my next phase of offering less photos with every CD I do so that I don't have to spend SO much time on them. Seriously, right now, I spend about six hours on every order I do (sometimes more), from start to finish.
OK, enough about that.
My kids are growing up a little more every day. Today was our first "official" day of homsechooling Isaac. It went SO well, and I was surprised at how much he retained from our doing preschool last year. He seems ready to read, and I really hope it happens soon. I think he would enjoy it, and it makes a mom's life easier when she is not constantly reading what the video games say to her six year old!
The other day, we were cuddled together on the couch, talking about how we used to rock together in the rocking chair at naptime. He asked where Graham was, and I said he wasn't born yet, and he said, "mom! Why did you have to lay that egg of evil?" Where do they get this stuff????
Graham has been a handful lately. He is in the throes of the terrible twos, and has me at my wit's end most days. It could be his bid to get mama's attention when mama is too busy to pay attention. But, whatever the reason, it has me on my knees a lot lately, which is a good place to be. I don't know why I wait until I feel I am on the verge of losing it to get there a lot of times. He is SO faithful, even when we are not. He has already started to unveil things to me when it comes to my parenting that I needed to have my eyes opened to. And, he is always such a loving Father. He patiently and lovingly reveals sin, or areas that need attention in my life. I grew up hearing the expression, "God had to hit me over the head with it!" I can honestly say, he has never "hit me over the head" with anything! It's not because I am so smart, far from it. It is because, from the minute amount I know of His character, it just wouldn't fit him to do something like that. Not to say that he couldn't, however....there's a few people I would LOVE for him to hit on the head! Most of them have a zip code within the Washington DC area!
I can't believe how fast summer has gone. I have to remind myself every day of the things that are good about winter (and there are just a few), to make the thought of it bearable. Here is what I have come up with:
*being able to keep your leftovers from a restaraunt in the car and not worrying about them going bad if you make a couple of stops on the way home * not having to shave your legs all the time * routines * Decorating for Christmas
that's all I can come up with. I really hate winter.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Friend Linda's House: Part 1

My friend Linda is one of the best decorators that I know...she is truly gifted. And, she is ALWAYS changing things around. She is my hero for that reason alone. It seems like I get something "decorated" in my house and it stays that way for ages! I have been feeling inspired lately to use my last good days of outdoor painting to tackle some projects. Whether time will allow, we will see...but at least the inspiration is there!
Linda was gracious enough to send me some photos to use on my blog. I will be doing a "virtual open house" of her home in two parts. Today, I will show you her adorable living room and kitchen/dining area.
She recently got some new living room furniture. I LOVE the new sofa:

But, I also LOVED the old one too!

I will be posting bedrooms and bathroom in the next part!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Musings of an Overwhelmed Mom

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed tonight. Do you ever have that feeling like your life has been hijacked?
Somewhere over the past six months, I have completely stopped doing the things I love--the things that make me "me"...decorating my house, photographing my children (for fun!), scrapbooking, just being alone and doing nothing. I can't remember the last time I did anything other than survive my life. That is NOT how I want to live my life! But, I also know that I have been given this gift of being to make some extra money for my family through my photography business. I never dreamed a few short months ago, when I was just praying for someone to actually PAY me to do this thing I loved, that I would have over 100 people on a waiting list in a few months. I feel very, very blessed. And, I feel very, very overwhelmed. Is that OK to say? Do God's blessings sometimes come with sacrifice?
I know there is a huge learning curve here--I have never done anything like this before. I need to draw some lines, prioritize, and put my family first. After all, that is why I am doing this in the first help us in our commitment to keep me home with my babies. It is so important to me, and I can't imagine not doing everything humanly possible to make it happen. I want to know my kids inside and out, to know every thing they struggle with, everything they are good at. I want to see them learn and grow.
I am so nervous about homeschooling Isaac next year. Sometimes I feel pressure from the world to just forget it and do the easy thing. It would be so much easier...but it's not what I want in my heart of hearts. I want to be the one to teach him the most important things in life. I want to be the one to watch him learn. I want to shape his thinking, to help him where he struggles and bolster his strengths. I pray God will give me the fortitude to do it.
That stupid idea some woman came up with probably somewhere in the middle of the women's lib movement that women could have it all is such a lie. And for too long, the women of my generation (and those before and after) have been striving for the unattainable. We can't have it all. Or, maybe we can...but "it" may not be the great job, the big house, the nice car, the happy family. Having it all to me is having my babies be happy and healthy, having a strong marriage, having a strong relationship with Christ, having a beautiful and restful home, and being able to provide a little extra money for my family. I may not be completely there yet, but I am trying. I pray my Heavenly Father sweeps me up into his arms and carries me to a green pasture somewhere to rest awhile, because right now...I'm tired.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Isaac!

Today is my big boy's sixth birthday! I can hardly believe it. Seems like yesterday we were just coming home from the hospital with that panic-stricken look like "what on earth are we going to do with a BABY?" on both of our faces. Six years later...some good days, some phenomenal days, and some bad days. We have learned a lot from our Isaac. Hopefully we're not doing too bad of a job so far. We are so proud of him. He's so smart and creative. Can't wait to see what God has in store for him.

I haven't blogged here in forever! Things have been so busy around here. I feel like I am busy-ing away my summer. It seems like that's how it works in try to squeeze in so much summer "fun" that you almost miss the whole thing. I almost feel the fall breeze already.
On a side note, today is Grandma Wahl's birthday too. It was so special to her that Isaac was born on her birthday. She called him her gift. She always said about Isaac, "He's going to do something for Jesus." Can't wait to see how very right she was. We miss you grandma.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Graham's Two Year Pictures:Part One

I am in the process of taking Graham's two year photos. It is a process because I know I won't get my desired results after the first try. Graham is a BUSY boy these days, and will not sit still long enough to get his photo taken. And, when he finally does sit still, he does not usually look at me. Good thing the boy has beautiful eyelashes, because I have lots of photos of him looking down. He must get tired of looking at me all day!

Oh, this child pushes me to the brink of my sanity every day. So, why do I love him so much it hurts?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I believe God is very creative in the ways He chooses to speak to His children. He knows us inside and out, and will speak to us in the ways He knows will best get our attention (at least this has been my experience). He speaks to me in my photos (maybe it's because He knows He will have my attention!). Don't get me wrong here, this is not some audible voice I hear streaming from the photographs I take. But, I have had several occasions when something about a photograph I am looking at or working with speaks to me. Sometimes it's a relationship that I am capturing, other times it's innocent eyes that are looking right at me. But, on this occasion, it was actual words, somewhat hidden in the background of my photograph. Look at this:

Let me just assure you that those words, "God is with you always" came at a very opportune time for me. And, what a wonderful reminder for all of His children! What are the odds I would catch that exact angle? I love it when my Heavenly Father, omnipotent and omnipresent, chooses to stoop down and speak to me in a way only a daddy could.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Home is the most important place in the world

I remember seeing this commercial quite awhile ago, and it always stuck with me. I thought it was extremely effective from an advertising point of view. But, something about the commercial resonated with me on a deeper level. At the time I first saw it, we were living in Iowa, and we had received the news that Dave would be losing his job. There were so many days back then that I had no idea where our home would be, and that broke my heart in two. Home is important. It doesn't matter if it's an upscale penthouse, a sprawling farm house or a cardboard box. Home, wherever it is, is the most important place in the world. It is where everything truly important in life happens. I have thought about that notion lately, and have realized that in many ways, mostly sub-consciously, I have centered my life around my home. It is where I want my children to spend most of their days (learning and playing...I have never been a big fan of running them around and filling their life with "activities"). It is where I want to be (whether I am being with my children, doing household chores, or working in my photography business). It is where I want my husband to find rest at the end of a stressful day out in the world.
I think this is one of the big reasons I have decided to homeschool. It fits "me." I feel the fit way down in my heart, I know it is the best thing. But, to be honest, I struggle with my fears and doubts. I wonder if I will be patient enough. I wonder if I will be creative enough. I wonder if I will be disciplined enough. I wonder if my kids will drive me to the point of insanity, all day, every day! I can't wait to see how my life unfolds over the next year. All I know is, for right now, I am enjoying every second of my life at home, because home is the most important place in the world!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I thought I would take some time this morning to update my blog. I haven't done that lately because I have been so busy, and boy have I missed my blogging time!
I don't know about anyone reading this blog, but as for me, I feel as though someone has all of a sudden pushed a fast-forward button on world events. I have been up nights lately, worried about all that is happening in the world around us. I wonder what this world will be like for my children in the next several years. I wonder how hard it will be just to survive. I cannot believe the decisions that world leaders and the elected leaders of our nation are making right now. I never dreamed I would see the things happening now in anything other than one of those scary "left behind" sort of movies. I know I need to trust, and hold tightly to my faith, but it scares me. I wonder if I have a strong enough faith to get through what is to come, or if I will be among those whose "love will grow cold." I pray not. I want to "endure until the end."
Whew! heavy thoughts for a Wednesday morning, but that has been heavy on my heart these days.
As for other things going on in my world, my photography business is growing at a rate I never dreamed possible. The largest part of me is happy and excited, but there is an ever-growing part of me that is nervous and worried about whether I will be able to keep up. My priority is my kids and being at home. Initially, I set the goal of only doing three sessions per week, and already I have reneged on that...I am up to four or five sessions in a week just to fit everyone in. So, after praying and giving it some thought, I have decided to raise my prices in June. The decision to do this was based mostly on the fact that I have more business right now than I even know what to do with. I want to keep growing, but I also want to give my clients and my family the attention that each deserves. The new pricing is intended to slow things down a little bit, but we will see what happens.
Isaac is at grammy and papa's this week. After the stressful week of the flood, and how busy I have been with my business, he needed the break. But, I have missed him SO much. Our everyday routine is totally not the same without him, and it seems like the sunshine has left our house! As for Graham, I think he has enjoyed the mama and daddy time, and has LOVED going into Isaac's room. I probably shouldn't allow this, but it keeps him happy and occupied. Rule #1 of parenting: the easy thing may not always be the best thing, but sometimes we need to do it to survive!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Red Envelope Day

This is such a worthy cause, and I had planned on participating. Today I remembered that I was going to do this, and because the deadline is tonight, I didn't have time to go buy any red envelopes (I don't think much is open around here anyway). So instead, I decided to just color a couple of envelopes red with Isaac's markers. I knew he would find me doing this, and ask what I was doing, so I was bracing myself. How do you explain abortion to a five year old? I thought it was important for him to know, and to also realize at a young age that we still live in a country where our voices can be heard (at least until the president and congress complete their all-out takeover of our country anyway!). So, I did my best to tell him that some mommies decide they don't want their babies and they go to a doctor who kills the baby when it is still in the mommy's tummy. I also explained that our president thinks this is OK, and that people who don't think it's OK are sending red envelopes to him to tell him to stop. He absorbed all this for a moment, and then said, "You could have done that to me." I took him in my arms and told him I would have never, ever in a thousand years done that to him. And then I thought about all the little ones that would never get a chance to say "You could have done that to me" to their mamas.
It is not too late to participate. Go here for information.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

We have not floated away yet! So far, predictions for our area have been really good. We are feeling very thankful that we bought the house that we did. There were a couple of houses that we looked seriously at, and they are probably flooded right now! Things have been very stressful here...when you go out, you can see the tension on people's faces. There are so many uncertainties and "what-if's" hanging over everyone's head like a black cloud. On top of it all, winter continues to drone on and on and on. Not only is it tough on my kids (they long to run around outside in the sun!), but it's been extremely difficult for my dad and brother during their calving season. You just want to scream, "ENOUGH ALREADY!" But, we know we still serve a God who is completely in control. He does not take his eyes off of us even for a second, nor does he sleep.
With all this indoor time, with nothing to do but watch local flood coverage non-stop, I have been doing lots of scrapbooking! Here are a few of my favorite layouts. Click on them to enlarge.

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