Thursday, January 29, 2015

Photo Op

Another snow day.  Rather, it's an ice day - freezing rain made a mess of roads this morning, so school was called off.

So I'm enjoying this little gift of a day off.  

On my continued quest of bettering my photography, I'm setting up some still life shots and playing with editing, working with textures & layers.

I'm not a still life type of girl. I get bored with it easily. I'm a people person. The movement, the mystery, the intrigue, the action. 

But alas, the weather is causing me to do the best with what I have. There's not much "life" out there on the streets right now. 

Or is that just an excuse? Am I hiding behind that to keep from stepping out of my comfort zone and just go out and sit on a bench, walk the streets, sit in a coffee shop, visit the mall and observe "life" and take those people shots? Am I hiding behind that as an excuse to not reach out to the umpteen teenagers I work with every day and ask, "hey - would you be willing to model for me so I can practice my photography?"

Normally, I can be a very outgoing, not-so-shy kind of person. Why is it so hard for me to do "all of the above"? I know that practice makes perfect, or at least gets you closer to it. I know what I want to do with my photography this year, but how can I achieve that if I don't step out of my comfort zone?

Reading books, blogs & watching instructional videos are all things I need to do to better my craft. But unless I get out & DO the things I read about and see done, what good will it all do me?

"Night Rider"


Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

Good morning!

So, I never made it back last week for Photo Op.  I'm still working on that & working on my photography.  I've joined an online website that teaches all sorts of different classes, but I'm focusing on the photography classes.  The sight is called Skillshare & was recommended to me by a former student.  I'm working through a lighting class right now & have learned several things already.  There are so many other classes that I want to venture into, but I'm resisting the urge until I've accomplished at least one photography class.

The weather around here wasn't too bad last week, but it's just so gray & dull & damp.  This week is going to be cold.  This type of weather makes it very hard for me to get out & play & explore.  There's not much life going on either, but I will continue to work through my class and the books I recently bought as well, searching for inspiration.

This weekend we pretty much hung around the 'ol homestead.  We really do much of anything on Friday night, just ate leftovers & hung out.

Saturday morning we attended a memorial service for a friend who recently lost his battle with cancer.  We went to see him 2 weeks ago when he was put into hospice care.  When we were leaving we were talking with his wife.  She said that he wasn't afraid to die, he was just concerned that he had not witnessed enough about his faith to others. If you had been at his memorial service on Saturday, you would know that he had done more than his share of witnessing in his life.  What an amazing tribute to his memory & to his family!

Sunday we headed off to church & then Dream Boy headed over to Son #1's to help put in a new garbage disposal and faucet unit .  S&D1 just had new granite counter tops installed, including a new sink. So good that Dream Boy is so handy! He has saved us so much money over the years and has been a tremendous help to S&D1 in their renovations with their new home.

Today it's back to school & the beginning of a new semester. Where did the 1st semester go? Wow! 

This semester will be filled with the excitement of impending graduation, senior trip to Florida - this will be my 13th trip! The kids are so excited already. I love to see their faces light up when I tell them about experiences from past trips.

Well that about does it for me today. Thanks for stopping by and please come back again soon!

Happy Monday!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

So Saturday, I'm sitting in my creative corner working on this & that.  Mainly this, but there was some of that as well.

While working on this, I needed to the date. I began to write down January 10th, but upon looking at my calendar, was soon brought to the realization that it was January 17th.


How in the world has so much of this month passed already?

We are finishing up our 1st semester of school this week, 3 days of exams. 


Back the bus up. Seriously.

Our weekend was a quiet, relaxing one actually. Friday night Dream Boy made a pot of chili & we stayed in by the cozy fire.

Saturday brought on a tropical heat wave. No kidding. After the sub zero temps we've experienced this past week, 38 degrees was quite balmy. Dream Boy even headed out in the afternoon for a bike ride. I, as I stated earlier, worked on this and that.

That being stuff I don't want to do, but have to do because it's part of the job/responsibility.

You know, I love photography, but the editing process can be quite tedious & it's not my favorite part of the plan. 

But I did have time this weekend to play......with these
The pattern for the hearts was found through a mutual blogging friend, Lisa! She posted them what seems like forever ago & I just remembered them last week. I pulled up her Pinterest & found the pattern & have been crocheting them up like crazy.

I showed them to Dream Boy & he said, "those would be something neat to carry around & just hand out randomly when you see someone having a bad day".

Wah-lah. An idea was born.

I went one step further by adding the tags and doodling a quote or bible verse on them. My doodling inspiration comes from Stephanie Ackerman, the Queen of doodling. I took a class from her a few years back & dabble with it from time to time.

In the past week I've shared this RAK with at least 7 or 8 people. It warms my heart to see their face when I hand it to them & they realize what it is. I'm kinda diggin this little thing.

Sunday we picked up D1 and she went to church & breakfast with us. When we arrived home after dropping her off, we could smell wood smoke quite strong when we backed into the garage.

Dream Boy had commented that he needed to sweep the chimney earlier in the morning, so we went inside & he was going to change his clothes, but upon inspecting the stove pipe in the living room, we realize there was small, undetectable hole in it, but we noticed it because the creosote was leaking down the pipe.

So until we can replace it, the cozy fire that heats our home is out. We are just thanking God, literally, that we realized this before we had an issue with carbon monoxide & it was too late.

So I'm off to school for 2 full & 3 half days. Time for testing...........semester exams & my patience!  LOL!

Happy Monday & blessings to you for a wonderful week.

I'll be back soon with this week's Photo Op!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Photo Op

Several weeks ago, the Saturday after Christmas to be exact, I shot my last wedding.

What a great night! While I was "working", I was also enjoying the company of my family & friends. The groom was the oldest son of some very dear friends. Our boys grew up together, played soccer together, went to school together, chased girls on the beach in Florida on spring break together & I'm sure there's much more I don't want to truly know about......if you get my drift.

It was a beautiful Christmas wedding & such a joyous time for everyone. 

Son #1 was a groomsman, and all the other boys I've known since they were wee little boys.
Son #1 is a quiet kind of guy, until you get to know him. He is a loyal kind of guy, loves his family with his whole heart.

So what happens at the reception when he grabs your camera off the table?
He turns it back on you, son #2 & a twin sister from another mother. And this mama doesn't really know what he captured until she starts editing pics. Son #1 also complained while attempting to use Lucy, that it "just wasn't working" because he's used to shooting a Canon.


I turned the camera back on him to prove that it wasn't the camera......nor the operator......
I had to show him that his camera skills just may have something to do with the amber liquid he was hydrating on all night!

Love my boys & how they challenge me to be better in everything I do!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee!!

Well, good morning!

After a 5 day weekend, I'm ready for this week to start -- back in the classroom. We had 3 snow days last week, the 1st 2 were due to some snow & major, major cold temps.  too cold for the littles to stand outside & wait for the bus. The bus that is either late or may never come.  Sad to say, but we have some issues with some of our drivers. This has happened since our district went to a contracted service, rather than keeping local peeps as drivers.

Anywho --- Friday we were off due to a full blown storm and when that passed through, we were hit with lake effect snow. Living in the Mitten & not far from the snow belt lines, we are on the outer edge of the lake effect. But it can get bad. Real bad.

If you watched the national news on Friday night, I'm sure you saw reports on this horrific accident just 3-ish miles from my home.
photo courtesy of

193 cars & trucks were involved in this pile up on the local interstate. White out conditions, which can come up in a second, along with high winds, are a major factor in the cause of this accident. NO one should be blamed. So many on social media are throwing blame around. Unless you've ever driven in these type of conditions, you will never understand exactly how fast it happens & how absolutely helpless you become. 

Been there.done that.thankful I made it through.

The highway was shut down in both directions from about 9:30am Friday morning, when this awful accident happened. It was not reopened until early this morning, meaning almost 48 hours there was no access to this stretch of I-94. There was only 1 fatality in this pile up, a semi driver from Quebec. My heart goes out to his family. Many were brought to the local hospitals, which had gone into code for disaster. 

Our primary school was opened up to the Red Cross & traveler's who were stranded on the highway due to being tangled up in this mess were transported by buses to the school for warmth & food. Most waited until other family or friends were able to pick them up as it was going to be some time before their cars were going to be accessible. Members of our administration team were on hand to help serve & help.

Never have I been more proud of my community & the neighboring ones as well. The fire & rescue teams from our community & over 20 others, were called in to work through this. One of the semi's involved in the crash was filled with over 40,000 lbs. of fireworks. It wasn't long before it caught fire and there were major explosions. Evacuations were being ordered, due to another semi carrying toxic chemicals, but it was contained & they were soon lifted.

It has been amazing to see how our community banded together with all those surrounding us to help out through a disaster that could have been so much worse than it turned out to be.

The snow finally stopped late Friday and we've had a bit of a respite, but we saw another 3 inches Last night.  But we do have some respite from the frigid below or near zero temps for a few days. In fact, this morning felt quite balmy compared to the last 4.

Thankful for the respite.

Sunday was a quiet day, starting in church & then off to our favorite Sunday breakfast spot. A great way to end our weekend.

So I'm off to breakfast with the ladies & back to school to try & get my kiddo's on task. Exam week next week, they have lots of work to do, as I'm sure they did NOT spend much time online working on it at home over their extended weekend.  (wink, wink)

Until next time...........thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Photo Op

Hey there!

We are stuck inside due to a major winter storm blowing through the Mitten.  It was forecasted yesterday as a Winter Weather Advisory, but turned into a full blow storm warning this morning.

I'm on my 2nd snow day of the week & it's pretty likely tomorrow will be another one with the forecast that has been blasted on the news.  'Bout time the weather man got it right - he get's paid even when he's not!

As I told you last weekend, I'm working on some changes.  I'm finalizing the editing on the final wedding I shot over the Christmas weekend.  
I promised the bride & groom I wouldn't post any pics while they were on their honeymoon, but I posted the bottom one on facebook prior to them leaving.

The top one just tugs at my heart strings & I couldn't help but post it now.  It's the mother of the groom reading scripture during their wedding.  

This family is very near & dear to our hearts.  They have 3 boys, we have 2. They are all within a 4-ish year span of each other & have grown to be great friends!  All of our boys played soccer together ever since they were just little mini-mights.

One of the changes I'm working on is working harder on my photography skills & having an even better understanding of this craft.  I have read through & am working on through the application process for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. It's a very lengthy & very complex process, so I want to make sure I am submitting my best work.

I've decided that since I am going to be focusing more time on this, I'm going to make it a regular blog post.  This is so I can go back through the weeks during this year & see my own progression.

I have followed The Coffee Shop Blog for a few years.  She is great at tutorials on Photoshop and has tons of free actions for downloading!  Rita has now partnered with another blogger, Jill, from This is Life?, and I am finding LOTS of fun tutorials and ideas on her blog.

And today, while mopping up spilled milk - which was frozen to my porch floor- I scared the crap out of the poor UPS driver when he delivered my new reading material.
The Street Photographer's Manual is the one I want to start digging into, but I'm forcing myself to take it slow & finish the reading material Dream Boy gave me for Christmas.

I'm hoping the weather does clear a little for the weekend so that I can finally take a trip to the shoreline for some winter pics of the Great Lake Michigan!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

Good morning everyone!

I'm heading back to school today, much to my dismay.  I truly love my time at home and truly despise the alarm clock! 

What a glorious 2 week break though!  You all know that all my kids were home this year for the Christmas holiday & my heart was filled with SO much joy.  We dropped off S2 & D2B2 at the butt crack of dawn on Tuesday & were back here at home sweet home not much after the sun rose.

New Year's Eve we stayed home & had friends over for dinner.  Dream Boy put on quite a spread & I napped. Yep, he did ALL the cooking & it was amazing. Our house had such an delectable aroma. He made Cheese Tortellini Sausage soup, Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chili & braised short ribs complete with garlic smashed potatoes. 

Sad to say, everyone left us before 11pm - one couple had to get home to see the grandkids before they went to bed and the other couple had to get his parents home & put them to bed.  Shortly after they all departed, S&D1 arrived with beer & Moscato in hand & we toasted the new year in together, staying up until 1am!

I tell ya, I have not kept such late hours in a very long time.  But it was grand being able to stay up & get up as I wanted.

New Year's day Dream Boy & I headed out to the local ice skating rink.  I haven't skated in years & he's a former hockey player, but it didn't take long for Mama to get her groove back.  Dream Boy was itching to take some quick runs around the rink as there was a little guy buzzing around him all afternoon.  We skated for 1 -1 1/2 hours.  It was great being outside and spending time together.

Dream Boy had the whole week off, so on Friday we just hung around the house after running some errands in the morning.  He took off for a 2 hour bike ride out on the trails with his buddies & I finished up a pair of mittens for my niece. We went out Friday night for a pizza & a beer to a local restaurant that we really enjoy.

Saturday we woke up to freezing rain & a snow mix.  The roads were pretty nasty & as the day wore on, the temps climbed & soon the snow mix turned to all rain. 

We met up with some friends Saturday night at a local brewpub for dinner. We had a great time just talking & eating, they had never been to this particular pub, so they were enjoying the different beers & the delicious food. We followed them home & had coffee & dessert before heading home.

Sunday morning winter had returned. We had a coating of snow & some pretty icy roads on our way into church. The rain from the night before had froze under the snow, but by the time we headed home after church & a visit with Dream Boy's mom, the roads were just wet. 

The weather report for the week is calling for colder & colder temps & snow, so yes, I do believe winter has finally arrived to the mitten state.

So now it's time for me to close it out & head off to breakfast with my ladies. Time to get back into the routine of a work week once again. 

See you all soon!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Change Is In Order

I've done a lot of thinking over the last several weeks/months.  

I am not one to make resolutions.  I'll be the 1st one to admit that I don't keep them when I make them for the New Year.

These are thoughts and ideas that I've been mulling over for quite some time, but I will admit, the start of a new year has brought them to the forefront of my mind. I've talked this over with my Dream Boy & LtWD.  Both feel I need to do what I feel is right & good.

On a personal level, I have started working towards a more healthy lifestyle. I, like all of you, am not get any younger. My creaking knees remind me every time I go down the stairs. The gray hair that pops up more & more is definitely NOT blonde highlights, I let my personal hairdresser add those.
After all, he does a great job.  So gentle and his prices can't be beat!!
These highlights are much better than my "natural" ones.

To spend more time with my Dream Boy, doing new things, exploring past favorites
having mini dates, finding ways to explore and enjoy each other's company. I want to work at a stronger life together, stronger than we already have.
In 2006 a meme was started by Ali Edwards. She is very well known in the scrapbooking industry.

Anyways - it was choosing a word for the year.  A word to focus on, meditate on & reflect upon through out the year.  I've chosen One Little Word a few times over the last 7 years ~ Life ~ Believe ~ Hope. I have once again decided to play along with this meme, as a word has been impressed upon my heart & mind a lot during my time of thought & reflection in the past months.

My word is ~BE~
I touched on this a little bit a few days ago, but wanted to give a little more information on what I meant and where this all began.

I'm also making some changes to my photography business.  I want to grow more in my photography skills and I have truly felt for a long time that I need to make a change in what I am capturing.

I will no longer be scheduling weddings, but instead, am choosing to focus on infant ~ senior ~ engagement & family sessions.  Weddings are a HUGE project, and I don't feel the joy capturing them, as I do when I am more one on one with people. I want to BE in the moment with my client(s), a wedding makes that very hard. For me there are too many details to focus on that day & I just don't feel that I can give my all to the event. I have truly loved the opportunities I have had in the past few years and will be forever grateful to those who chose me to capture their special day. It has helped me grow in my art, my craft, and it has also helped me to know that is not where I want to specialize my photography.  

My heart strings have been tugging at me for a few years. About 5 or 6 years ago I did a photography project at my church.  For several weeks I would take my camera to church and capture candid shots of mom's and their children. I had them blown up and mounted on foam board. My pastors and worship director were in on the project and for Mother's Day that year, we displayed them on the front wall on the stage in our sanctuary. When the mom's came into church that morning, an overwhelming sense of purpose filled me as they realized why and what I had done with all those candids I had taken. After the service, we took the pictures down & presented them to the mom's. The project was so well accepted, that for Father's Day, we did the same thing, but also set up a mini photo session for the dad's & their families after services that morning.

A few weeks after the Mother's Day project, a friend approached me and told me she really thought I had an eye for photography and she strongly felt I should check into an organization called, "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep".  I had never heard of it, so she suggested I read up on it & talk to her the next week. I was mesmerized when I read about what this organization does. It is a national organization that helps parents work through the loss of a baby. I talked with my friend the next week, stating that I felt my work was not yet "accomplished" enough for something such as this. She looked me straight in the eye and said, "oh yes, it is." She then want on to tell me that it's not just my abilities with my camera, but who I am as a person. She truly felt that I was the exact type of person to help parents through such a rough time.

As I stated, I've thought long and hard about this project for many, many years. Over the last year, I feel that God has truly been pushing, ever so gently, me to explore this ministry. I have come to the realization that I need to move forward with this. So I will be working through the application process over the next week & see where it leads. I will be awaiting an answer from them and will definitely let you know what happens with it. Also, now that I've put it out there for the world to know, I will be held accountable by all of you to make sure I do follow through on this.

I'm also going to be working on a schedule to blog more frequently. To come up with a list of ideas for regular postings. I started this blog because I love to journal & a few of my scrapbooking friends in California had started them as well. It was a way for us to post our current projects and share them with one another. Over the years, the scrapbooking part has not been as prominent in my creativity, but the journaling part still is & I thoroughly enjoy all the people I've met through this little corner of the world. I've made some TRUE friends, some who I've been blessed to meet IRL and some whom I hope to meet at some point in the future. 

I will be setting up a time each week to fully devote to my photography as well. Whether it be online courses, YouTube how to video's, suggested books on the subject, whatever - I will be focusing more on how to better my abilities.

Thank you all so much for sticking with me through the many years here at My Happy Place. Thank you for all your encouragement over the years & commenting below or on my facebook page or when you see me at church or school. You are a part of why I keep writing. But mostly, I do this for my own reasons, to record what is happening in my life, to journal, to have something for my family to look back at & remember the memories.

Until Monday ~~ when we meet for coffee ~~ thanks for stopping by today!