Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Today's Adventure With Mz. G

Have you seen these?   Bitstrips - where you can cartoon yourself and make these silly little cartoons.

Well, I do love my job and I try & have fun with the kids I am blessed to work with.  There are days they can get on my last nerve - but for the most part, I have a good time with them!

So this sweetie peetie is Paige - and she is a hoot!  And this is a bit of what we did today.

Who knows?  This just may become a weekly posting -- so if you know me, beware!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Morning Coffee

Good morning!

How are you doing this morning?

I'm feeling refreshed and rested and ready to take on another week.  I accomplished some major editing this weekend & feel like I just might be seeing the light again!  Albeit, I spent most all of Saturday in my creative corner and felt quite blurry eyed (despite the new specs) by day's end, but I did accomplish a lot!

Going out for groceries with Dream Boy on Saturday night was, believe it or not, a welcome reprieve.  Just to get outside and into the cold, crisp air was wonderful!

I slept in both Saturday and Sunday morning - ahhhhhhhh.  Yes, I missed church, but sometimes (not too often), we sleep in.

I was back at the editing on Sunday and also decided to channel my inner Betty Crocker and do some baking.  I had some canned pumpkin in the cupboard calling my name…….so I searched for some new bread recipes and found a Pumpkin Cranberry Bread. 
Oh the house smelled so delicious ……a true sign of fall.  

Pumpkin.  I love it - do you?

I had a fun photo session on Sunday afternoon with a family from church.  They have 2 boys, like us.  One is getting married on New Year's Eve and the other is getting married next summer.  So it was off to the local State Park to try & capture some of the remaining fall foliage and grab some family memories.

Now - it's off to school to CONQUER the week and the world inside those halls!

Happy Monday - do come back soon!

As always, thanks for having coffee with me this morning.  I treasure our time together every week.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Song-ography::Forever Young Edition

"and may you grow
to be proud,
dignified and true"

Forever Young
Rod Stewart

I don't try and fight it.  I'm aging gracefully and trying to embrace each sign of it as it comes.  The small lines on my face, the graying hair that is there (but so far thanks to my dad's genes - isn't showing to much), the lack of bend-ability in my joints.

My heart tells me I am Forever Young - my body doesn't always agree.  

I listen to what my heart says.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Random 5 Friday

Dear New Spectacles:

Thank you for the clearer vision and the rad new look.  Rocking the blue frames and lovin' them.  Plus the fact that stop signs are once again readable and not just a red, roundish blurry object on the street corners.

Dear Snow:

Yes, I know I live in Michigan.  Yes, I know you are expected every year.  But really - October 24th?  Thank you for not sticking to the ground in my neighborhood, but still - you're a bit too early this year.

Dear Life:

I realized (again) this week how very precious you are.  Knowing 2 separate families who lost a mom way too soon has made me grateful for my life and even more determined to continue on my quest of healthier living.

Dear iPhoto Library:

Can you magically edit ALL the pictures I need to edit so that I can finally be caught up?  I love the shoots, I love the end results, but the I too picky about the end results?

Dear United States Post Office:

When I send a package across this great big country of ours, and wrap the breakables in bubbles, and write FRAGILE in HOT PINK all over the package, could you please, PLeaSE, PLEASE follow directions and deliver the package to my son without breaking the contents??  

Linking up with A Rural Journal.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Morning Coffee

"Fall -ing in love"

Well, the weekends over and a new week is here.  What will this one hold?  

We had an awful lot of rain this weekend and this week is now holding the a four letter word in it that begins with 's'.......not quite ready for that schtuff though.

The colors are just really starting to pop and the schtuff will just ruin it all.  Boo.

We went Friday night to watch our niece's perform in their marching band.  They have an awesome band - I really enjoy watching them and listening to them.  My older niece invited us earlier in the week as it was senior night & this is her senior year.  She said they had added a few new parts to .  The theme of their show this year was "Joy".  They played a variety of songs that had to do with Joy, "Ode to Joy", "Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog" and "It Is Well With My Soul".  

That last song, "It Is Well" is an old hymn, one of my favorites that holds a special place in my heart.  They play it beautifully.  But then they added a "new part" to it.  The whole band sang.....they sang it beautifully.  So much so, that my big sister and I couldn't look at each other because we were both fighting back the tears.  

Saturday I spent a good majority of the day editing and crossing things off my list......only to add more to it after another 2 photo shoots this weekend.  But I'm not complaining at all.  I feel truly blessed that people are allowing me to capture some of their life memories, truly blessed and humbled.

Dream Boy and I are celebrating the fact that a year has passed since his pacemaker surgery and that he is doing so well.  Yes, there were a few bumps in the road last winter, but they are pretty much under control now and life is good.  We are both healthy and enjoying our time together as empty nesters.  We are so very grateful that God has blessed us this way.

So now I'm off to another day of school.  Oy vey, what will this day hold?  All I ask is that no one gets hurt and that today, and each day, I can make a bit of a difference in someone's life.  Maybe they won't see it at this very moment, but down the road, but I pray that in some small way, I can make a difference.

Happy Monday and happy week ahead.  Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Songography: Best Day Of My Life

After yesterday's post, it feels good to reflect on the best day of my life!  

When I listened to the song prompt for this week's songography post, these 2 pics came immediately to my mind!!
"Flying Solo"

ANY day on the dock with my wonder dog - is the best day ever, for both of us!!    But I'm sure Libbi will tell you it's especially great for her.  

"Family Affair"

While I cannot take credit for this photo by APaige Photography, I can honestly say this was the best day of my life this year!  


This shot I can take the credit for.  Loved this moment.

Aaaagggghhhhh!!  I still get goosebumps and big smiles when I remember the joy of this day!  To think that in about a year and a half we get to do it all over again with the couple on the left.   Yay!

Seriously still smiling just looking at that family photo.  Huge smiles!

Linking up with Kathy at You'll Shoot Your Eye Out.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Thoughts

"Free Will"

Can I get on my soapbox?  Well, I suppose I can - it is my blog after all, isn't it?

Lately my heart has felt pretty heavy - in fact, if I'm truly honest, it's been that way for quite some time, but even more some as of late.

I'm not generally a worrier, but I can say that I am currently deeply concerned about our future.  If you've been reading my blog for any time or you happen to know me personally, you know that I've worked in a local high school for almost 15 years.  

I truly love my job.  Back when I was hired I was a bit green and questioned myself why I ever thought working in a high school was such a good idea?  But within a few weeks, I found my groove and trusted God that I was where He wanted me to be.  I discovered I loved the kids and finding ways to help them succeed.

But lately I struggle with who these kids are and who they are becoming.  At the risk of sounding like my grandmother (am I really that old?), the world we live in today is not the world I was raised in.  It's a scary place.

The sense of entitlement that most kids feel they are owed continues to amaze me.  The lack of respect, not to mention the language used freely, breaks my heart.  

When did respect become something I owed them?  When did it become okay for the "f" bomb to be dropped in a general conversation?  When did it become acceptable to call a teacher "dumb" (or worse) because she pointed out your lack of effort and this is why you're failing?

I am concerned for our future - for my grandchildren to come, for each and everyone of us.

I don't have the answers to these questions, but I do know I can pray and pray without ceasing.  I pray that I can continue to make a difference in young lives and that maybe, just maybe, some of these students of our world today, will realize that their behavior is unacceptable.  I pray that those who do know right from wrong will continue to stand up and be the example.

I can't change the whole world, but may I continue, with God's help work to change the part of the world I live in just a little bit more for the better each day.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Creative Corner

I continue to work through my oodles and oodles of shots from recent photo shoots.  So my creativity is limited to PSE right now.

But - I have promised myself that when I'm done, I get to play with this & see what better photos I can create!


Lucy got some new bling!

And we now return to our regularly scheduled editing formats in PSE.........

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Morning Coffee

Good morning!

That's a pretty crappy pic, isn't it?  It's from my iPhone.  I'm not sold on the quality of the pics that everyone rants & raves about - when looking at them on my phone they look a-okay.....but anywhere else, meh.

So how was your weekend?  We actually had a gorgeous Pure Michigan weekend, with the exception of the downpour at the soccer game on Saturday night.  But you know what?  We didn't have to stay because we didn't have anyone playing - so we left.  Plain & simple, we left.  


Friday night was the perfect fall night, so we gathered up the firewood, lit a fire & spent the evening sitting around with lots of good friends and plenty of campfire junk food.  You know, s'more, hobo pies, popcorn popped over the open flame, roasted marshmallows dipped in Bailey's.  

Yeah - I said it.   Roasted marshmallows dipped in Bailey's.  Dream Boy read about it on Pinterest and we tried it at the rehearsal dinner - winner, winner, chicken dinner!  

Dream Boy is on Pinterest more than me - don't let him tell you otherwise.  He hides under the guise of my name.  Love that man 'o mine.

But back to the marshmallows - you.must.try.them.stat!  Go ahead, toast up a gooey mallow on the stove top, but try it soon!

Saturday we spent the day around the house and then headed north to Holland where we watched Hope vs. Alma in college soccer.  Our friend's son plays for Alma, and we still know a few of the Hope players, so we thought why not?  Until the downpour.  Then we thought, why?

Sunday we headed to church.  It was the 1st Sunday for our new pastor.  He was just a wee bit nervous at the beginning of the service, but then he started preaching and he was in his element!  Fan.tas.tic!  I'm praying for him and his family as they begin this new chapter in their life journey.  They are a great couple together and I sense some awesome things happening in our little church!

I had a senior session on Sunday afternoon and then Dream Boy & I headed out for a little bike ride to visit friends at the nearby campground.  

I have a ton of editing to do this week - but this mama's not complaining.  God has blessed me beyond my dreams with photography bookings this month, and I am so thankful for that!  I continue to seek and search to learn and absorb so that I can grasp even more knowledge on how to make my photography better.  I so want to learn as much as I can.  

So now, it's off to breakfast & prayer with my ladies.  Then another week of school.  Our evenings will be filled with much of nothing - but nothing is good.
Hopefully our week at school is "uneventful" in the fact that we can get through it without too much drama.

Thanks for stopping by again this week - I love our Monday morning's together.  How about you?  Hmmmm????   Let me know what you've been up to - just leave a little comment below, you know you want to!

Toodles all - be sure to come back soon!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Songography::Look Out Any Window

Look out any open door
See what's going on in the air
around you....

-Bruce Hornsby

As I listened to this song over and over this image came to my mind.

I am fortunate to live in an area that is still considered rural.  Where men still venture out into the streams & rivers and enjoy the bounty of the nature around them.

But I also look at this place that I call home - where I grew & have lived all my life and I see the limits of the city constantly creeping out into the wide open spaces.

The river above that the gentleman is fishing in is not as clean and pristine as you would imagine.   Growing up that river about a mile down stream became contaminated because of all the paper mills along the banks dumping into the river.  It is now being cleaned out due to the PCB's that have contaminated it.  Three years ago about 20 miles up stream an underground oil line leaked thousands and thousands of gallons of oil into this same river.  The clean up continues and only last summer was it open to the public and deemed "safe" to once again swim in and fish in and you could sit on its banks and not be chased away by the smell of oil.

The city limits (the skyline is actually of Chicago) have pushed out further & further into these rural areas.

So look out any open door - any open window and see what is going on in the air around you.

Linking up with Kathy at You'll Shoot Your Eye Out.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


This is my cousin, Ric.

Growing up he was one of my "big brothers".  He and his 2 brothers were all my big brothers.  Our mom's were sisters.  We have lots and lots of great memories together.

Ric's heart is currently failing.   Our hearts are currently breaking.

Ric suffered a massive heart attack this past February and the damage is beyond repair.  He needs a heart transplant.

Ric is 63, a husband of 40 years, a father of 3 + their spouses and a grandpa to 2 adorable little ones.

He is a man of faith, a man of integrity, a man of strong values and morals, a man who loves his God, his family & his life with every ounce of his being.

We found out this week that his heart is weakening every single moment of every single day.  He is currently in the hospital, but his insurance benefits for this stay have run out.  A social worker is feverishly trying to find more benefits for him so that he can stay in the hospital and not have to be discharged and wait the allotted time to be re-admitted so his benefits will once again pick up.  Also, his insurance will not cover the cost of the heart transplant, which is upwards of one million dollars.

His family has started a blog where you can donate to help offset the cost of this surgery.  Would you pray about helping and consider donating?  I'm not normally one to put this type of thing on my blog - but I really felt compelled to help Ric & Mary, you know?   I can only do so much for them and I decided this was one way to help.

If you aren't able to donate, pray.  Pray for Ric and the family as they play this waiting game.  Pray for peace of mind and hearts as they walk this path.

If you are able to help out with a donation, a webpage (secure) has been set up in Ric's name.  It is a secure sight, so you don't have to worry about your records being compromised.

Read more about Ric and see more pictures of him & his family at "Give Forward" - just click on this link and it will take you straight to his page.

Thank you for reading, thank you for praying, thank you for your well wishes and good thoughts.  Thank you for allowing me this moment to help my family.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Random 5 Friday

Dear Colors of Autumn:

Oh how I love watching your ever changing faces.  Every day your vibrancy becomes brighter and brighter.  You remind every day of the great works of our Creator.  
Thank you.

Dear Students of today:

It saddens me the sense of entitlement you've become accustomed too. 
It saddens me the lack of respect you have for your authoritative figures and adults in your world.  
It saddens me that you have very little understanding of responsibility and always seem to place the blame on someone else.
My prayer is that you will someday soon understand the importance of respect, and hard work and the excitement of knowing accomplishment.

Dear Daughter 2 Be 2:

I have been praying for you.  I know that life is full of ups & downs for you right now.  I know that you expected more and are disappointed.  I know that you have big dreams for your life.
I also know that you have a deep faith and that God is leading you on an amazing journey.
I pray that you learn to rest in His arms and relax a little more on this path.

Dear Son and Daughter:

I love watching you in your new married life.  The way you are working together to find your niche together, your groove, of finding what works for you.

Dear Holly:

Yes, I know I owe you a long over due email.  All in good time, my friend, all in good time.  :)

Linking up with A Rural Journal - be sure to head over there to see Nancy's Random 5 this week.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Creative Corner

I've been spending a lot of time in my creative corner - which I love.  I'm not messing with glue and ink and paper and grunging things up, but instead, I'm editing.

I've truly been blessed with oodles of bookings over the last few weeks and through the end of this month.  So needless to say, my creative time is spent fine tuning my shots!

I actually enjoy it, even though it can be a bit time consuming, it is fun to pull out different effects, to see what happens to a shot when you zoom and crop, what difference a shot can look like in black & white.

I've had the privilege of shooting several different seniors, so I thought this week I would share some of those pics with you.

Meet Allison

....and Anna....

...and Dani....
who is actually my niece & loves to play and explore and humor me with my ideas for senior shoots.

I'm off this afternoon after school for another session downtown.  I love exploring the urban side of our city and coming up with new ideas.  So many nooks & crannies & hidden places & spaces.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Morning Coffee

Mornin to y'all..

It's once again Monday!

Did your weekend move as fast as mine?  

Whoa....back up the bus to Friday, please?

Can I call a do-over?  Anything.........just bring back the weekend.

Apparently not gonna happen until we make it through the next 5 days.  SOOoooOOoooo............let's hit it together with an extra cup 'o joe this morning!

We had a mixed bag of weather this weekend.  Hot, humid, melting and then rain and cold.  Just a touch of sun peeked through on Sunday afternoon, but not early enough for me to get in a senior session.  Had to reschedule that one.

Friday night we sat at our niece's homecoming in t-shirts & jeans to watch them perform in the marching band.  They.are.awesome!  Just saying - they can rock it!

Saturday started with my aunt's memorial service.  Their church is so beautiful - the have a full wall of stained glass at the front of the church.  I forgot how pretty it was until we walked in again Saturday morning.

Saturday afternoon and evening I spent on a photo shoot for a Wedding Vow Renewal.  This couple never had a real wedding, they went in front of a judge. So they did it up big time and it was beautiful.  We played dodge the rain storms & they won!  Their service was held out on the deck of the venue where they also held their reception.  It was very humid out though, I think I may or may not have sweat off a few pounds.

They had a wonderful dinner - a full Thanksgiving spread!  Turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, salad, green beans.  Oh my.  They also had ever flowing apple cider and iced tea on tap.  It was a wonderful event!  The venue had 3 walls of floor to ceiling windows and we were wrapped in the beauty of the fall foliage.  The decor was rustic with a fall flair.  The bride's name was Robin, so there were Robin's nest all over nestled into the decor too.  So stinking cute!!

Sunday we spent the morning at church and the afternoon napping.  It was a cold, rainy day & what better way to spend that type of Sunday afternoon.  I also managed to get some more editing done & finalized some photo session packets too.

Sunday night Son & Daughter #1 came home for dinner along with the grand pup.  Our dear friend's also joined us.  Dream Boy made beer butt chicken on the grill and I made up a huge pan of roasted vegetables, along with a tossed salad and crescent rolls.

The grandpup was more than happy to help clean up the dishes.....
Gotta love her......

Well, I'm off to school and to knock out another 5 days before the next weekend comes along.

Have a wonderful Monday - and an even better week.  

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Forever Autumn - Songography

I'm fashionably late to Kathy's Song-ography party today, but better than not to arrive at all, eh?

This week's song is "Forever Autumn" by the Moody Blues.  I've never heard it, and so I had to listen along.  The following images are from my archives of last fall, it was an extraordinary year for color here in Michigan - the colors were brighter & bolder than I ever remember seeing them!

Please come along on a fall color tour - Forever Autumn in Pure Michigan.

 "The summer sun is fading as the year grows old
and darker days are drawing near"
 "Through autumn's golden gown we used to kick our way,
You always loved this time of year.
"Those fallen leaves lie undisturbed now
cause your not here."

Linking up with Kathy at You'll Shoot Your Eye Out.
Be sure to click on the link above & check out Kathy's beautiful interpretation and also those of many others!

I'll be back in the morning to share coffee with you!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Creative Corner

Here I am!  Trying my best to get back into a regular routine.  Can you believe it's October??


I spent all of Monday night in my Creative Corner.  I have been so abundantly blessed over the last few months with my photography, booked almost every weekend for senior sessions and I even have a vow renewal this coming Saturday.

I had 2 sessions that I had finished editing and needed to put together the packages, so I grounded myself on Monday night to my room.  It worked - just like it worked last week when I wouldn't allow myself to get out any fall decor until I got those 2 sessions fully edited!

When I do a senior session, it includes a CD with all pics, including my choice of edited shots.  The customer gets full printing rights and I also make the senior a custom album with selected prints in it.

Here's my process:
They are 5x7 in size and hold 20 photos.  The senior's love them because they can easily show their friends their shots.

I'm always sure to put my business card on the very inside of the back cover too.  I also try to use colors and papers that reflect the senior inside.  It's amazing how well you can get to know them in a 2 hour shoot.