January 31st

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

I think today’s image was taken earliest in the day so far.

I had heard about the Lunar Blood/Blue Moon eclipse, but zoned out and assumed it was happening in the evening. So off to bed I went last night not thinking about getting up early.

Well, at 6:38am my phone went off. I rolled over and saw my mom had texted me asking if I was watching the eclipse. In my head I thought “couldn’t this have waited until the sun is at least up?” But I texted back: “Is it happening tonight or right now?” She answered: “Right now!”

I was up out of bed so fast!

Tangent – Luckily, my camera and gear was already set up on my tripod from last night because an OWL WAS OUTSIDE MY HOUSE!


A Great Horned Owl, nonetheless!

Anyway, so outside I went to check out and photograph the moon. For only being conscious for a couple of minutes, I’m pretty happy with my shot.

I had never seen a lunar eclipse; it was beautiful!

January 30th

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

One of my favorite parts of Sara Hagerty’s book Unseen is all of chapter 5.

Titled “Uncovered: Becoming Vulnerable,” Sara reflects on stepping down from a powerful ministry team to do a smaller, more humble job. At the time she wasn’t sure where her life was going, and it was a particularly vulnerable season of her life. She felt like she wasn’t accomplishing enough, being impactful enough, and that people thought less of her because of it.

However, in this season, it taught her that “We tend to be a people of quick glances,” and that “[…] hidden seasons invite us to slow down, to notice the beauty too often blurred by hurry.” Through our own earthly vulnerability, it pushes us to “Invite God there,” and to be “less accomplished, more present.”

Two of the most powerful lines in this book for me?

“When we approach God with an open, mindful, hungry heart, we position ourselves to not only see His beauty, but to let it change us.”


“His love notes are stashed everywhere.”

The second is so simple, but has really resonated with me, and stuck with me when I find myself hurrying. This morning was a great example of this.

Due to living in different states, and the lack of connection we’ve been feeling from the digital aspect of life, a good friend and I recently decided to become good, old fashioned pen pals. She also owns her own photography business, so not only are we fostering our friendship, but being business accountability partners. We bounce ideas off of one another, encourage each other, and talk life.

So this morning, I had a letter that I wanted to get in the mail today. Our postal service varies from day to day what time they actually stop at our mailbox, so if I have something I want mailed, I try and get it down to our mailbox as early as possible. Let it be known that our driveway is about 1/3 of a mile long, so this isn’t as simple as it sounds – especially when the temperature is in the single digits.

So anyway, I hopped in my car at 7:15 this morning to run it down there. In a hurry, fueled by the cold. Out of habit, I took my camera. I made it about halfway when I felt something watching me (this is not paranoia – I have a pretty good sense of when an animal is around). Sure enough, I looked up, and there was our resident Red Tailed Hawk taking advantage of being hidden in the low light. Silhouetted by the beautiful sunrise no less!

I featured either this one or it’s partner a couple weeks ago on the blog, and ever since then I’ve noticed them around. About 90% of the time I see them, they are in this tree on that branch.

At the time, only one was perched, but about an hour later I looked out my office window and they were both there.

Love notes. Today it was stashed on the branch of a dormant tree, painted by God’s promise of another day.

January 29th

Monday, January 29th, 2018

I hosted a little baby shower planning meeting this afternoon.

My cousin and his wife, Amy, are having a baby girl due the beginning of April. Naturally, with babies come showers.

Woodland themed seemed like quite the challenge when Amy mentioned that was what she wanted, but my aunt took it head on, and has found mounds of fun things to do and use that match the theme. A trip to Hobby Lobby can inspire a multitude of things, am I right? 😉

Anyway, one of the things she brought with today was this beautiful fake greenery garland. She left it with me as I volunteered for a project, and I’m tempted to go get myself one to keep.

Today was a great reminder of how lucky I am to have such an incredible family. Coming together to plan an afternoon of celebrating a new little life was full of excitement and laughter. The enthusiasm for supporting Amy and Clayton as they start the next chapter in their life was evident, and I know it’s not that way with every family.

So today, I’m saying an extra prayer of thanks for the blessing of family.

January 28th

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

One of my favorite places: The Woods.

Not just any woods, but the 9 acres of woods on the back side of the farm.

This is the trail from the farm to the entrance of the woods. Fields to the left, marsh to the right.

I used to take Val back into the woods and hang out for hours. My dad and I made a tee-pee out of logs, and it was at the crest of the hill right in the middle of the woods. I’d ride back there and make a “fence” by weaving downed limbs and large sticks through trees. Val was happy to humor me and play her part; she would stand under her favorite tree and nap while I played make-believe.

When I wanted to practice shooting my bebee gun, dad would take me back in the woods and we’d set up cans on a sawhorse.

This spot is where Brenna and I were riding or horses when the Sandhills Cranes flew at us, and Val and Rusty spun on a dime to scoot us out of there.

At one point, when we had three horses, CJ, Buck, and Val, dad and I wanted to go for a ride, but we didn’t want to leave an aging Val back at the barn by herself. She was NOT a rule breaker (as an example, she stayed inside the pasture when the gate was left open even though all the other horses ran for freedom) so we thought “She’ll just follow, herd mentality right?” So we saddled up Buck and CJ, and let Val follow (no halter, no lead). She did great, followed us with no issues and it was so fun! Until we got to this spot and it clicked for her that she had no halter on. She literally stopped in her tracks, spun and ran – tail flagged – back to the barn. Dad and I continued on our ride, which I know sounds so crazy to you fellow horse people, but that’s how much we trusted her.  When we got back, Val was standing in her stall, relaxed and happy to see us. I will never, ever forget that. I miss her so incredibly much it hurts sometimes.

More recently, Paul, Kya, Tim , and I went Morel mushroom hunting back there last spring.

Bandit rode the Ranger with me all over those woods her whole life, but especially this last summer.

And now, we’re showing Henna these woods.

These woods, and this spot in particular, hold so much meaning to me.

I love this place.

January 25th

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

The hoar frost stuck around all day!

I love it when it’s thick, because it reminds me what the trees look like when they have leaves. Gives me a little sneak peak into what spring looks like – except obviously in white, not green.

It made this gloomy weather today beautiful.

January 24th

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

A lot of people go into the New Year knowing what they want their resolution to be.

I am not that person.

To be honest, I’m not really in on the whole “resolution” thing. I used to be, but always found myself failing. Who wants to be involved with something they consistently fail at?

Obviously not me.

So here’s what I did last year: I decided to work on my character. I chose something immeasurable to work on, knowing that I couldn’t fail. It could only be good. I either move forward, or I stay the same.

I decided to be fearless.

Decided. Not vowed, not hoped, not promised. I made a decision. Mentally, I decided I wanted to further who I was.

I started with being fearless, with being brave. I tend to play it safe. I painted the walls in my house beige for goodness sake. Where was my maroon wall? Where was that pop of color in my personality? How was I going to impact others in a positive way without being able to step out of my comfort zone?

So I started small. And you know what happened? I didn’t become daredevil extraordinaire, but I became more brave. And being brave showed me that above all else, I wanted to be positive and kind.

So, I started holding doors for strangers. I made eye contact and smiled. I paid for the person behind me in the drive through. I sent friends cards in the mail just to say “hey!”. I started seeing people’s strengths, what made them glow, stood back and saw how they impacted me, and I told them. When someone started complaining, started down a negative train of thought, I did my best to pull it back out into the sunshine, to the positive. Someone cut me off in traffic? I literally would say out loud “Peace be with you” *deep breath* to stifle the frustration.

And something awesome happened.

It became a habit. My outlook on life changed.

Do you know how wonderful it is to be able to smile at someone who cut you off because, hey, you don’t let it get under your skin.

How full of purpose you feel when you stop to hold a door for a mom carrying a screaming toddler, and she mouths “Thank you” at you, like you just bought her cart full of groceries.

How light you feel when a loved one comes to you with something that really knocks the wind out of you, but while you’re weeping you hear Matthew West’s song “Forgiveness” float through your subconscious, and you know that true forgiveness is more important than holding a grudge. To walk away from the past, and look to the future.

When friendships change for the so so good and deepen when you look at them and say “You are such an awesome cheerleader. You make people feel like they can accomplish anything.” Or: “I really admire you, because you have such a servant’s heart. You give selflessly and in turn really impact those around you.”

It feels so strange and foreign, and plain uncomfortable to do, but I pushed through it because I wanted to be that person.

Those little things kept building and building, and I became more brave. And I became content. I became happier.

God did a lot with my heart over the last year because I trusted his vision. So this year, I’ve been stewing on what I’d like this year to be about. And I keep coming back to the same thing, but it makes me uncomfortable, so I push it back down into it’s box.

I’m not ready.

Yes, you are.

God and I are talking it out. I’m trying to hold my ground, but He’s being extremely persuasive. Mind you, this is nothing huge or earth-shattering, it’s just a personal challenge for me.

For example, I’m sitting in my office today – day dreaming if we’re being honest. What does my business mean to me? Where do I want it to go? What are my hopes and dreams? Paul and I have really been dreaming together about what our 5 year, 10 year plan looks like, so how does family life fit into my business plan?

When “Different” by Micah Tyler comes on the radio.

If you’re never heard it, here’s a snippet:

“I don’t wanna hear anymore, teach me to listen
I don’t wanna see anymore, give me a vision
That you could move this heart, to be set apart
I don’t need to recognize, the man in the mirror
And I don’t wanna trade Your plan, for something familiar
I can’t waste a day, I can’t stay the same
I wanna be different
I wanna be changed
‘Til all of me is gone
And all that remains
Is a fire so bright
The whole world can see
That there’s something different
So come and be different
In me”
And I started to tear up.
And then the next song comes on, Se7nth Time Down’s “God is On the Move:”
“I see your generation standing on the truth
In each and everyday saying God is on the move
Anytime the Gospel stirs a searching souls
And someone says “send me, here I go”
I know, I know, I know, I know
God is on the move, on the move
God is on the move
In many mighty ways
God is on the move, on the move
God is on the move
On the move today”


I smile, because that song gets me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. The art of persuasion people. And when the King of the Universe is the one doing the persuading, it’s inevitable.

I hear you, Lord. Let me sleep on it.

January 22nd

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that I was frustrated. Well, Minnesota showed up today.

I was working at my desk this morning when I heard about this Go Fund Me campaign (https://www.gofundme.com/vikingsbrotherlylove) on the radio and I had to look into it. While many were flabbergasted by the vulgarity of the Eagle’s fans last night, one woman wanted to be the light and show some grace.

She decided that regardless of how Vikings fans were treated, she would choose to take a different view of our loss last night. She wanted to demonstrate that Minnesotans show up, win or lose. So, in the wake of the Vikings support for the Saint’s punter’s charity last week, she started a Go Fund Me campaign to support the Eagle’s charity that impacts their local underprivileged children. What a cool way to “kill with kindness” – I can get on board with this. A true way to be the bigger person.

While some may see it as a lost cause, that those fans who assaulted police, threw full beer cans at other fans, and stalled the Viking’s bus won’t see the generosity, I have one thing to say: It can start with you. Being kind is always impactful.

Anyway, moving on.

It snowed today! We were right in the line of heavy snow, so we ended up with about 3″ as of now. However, down deeper into the cities, companies closed down early, the airport cancelled hundreds of flights, and the National Guard was called in to help assist all of the stranded vehicles.

While I love snow, that is simply no fun. In fact, Paul left for work at 5 this morning thinking he’d be flying out at 7, and all of his flights ended up being cancelled for the day. Luckily, Paul’s parents live down near the airport, so he’s bunking there for the night.

I do know one soul who was enthralled with the snow: my sweet Bucky.


He LOVES snow. His forelock was frozen in place, he had icicles hanging from his mane, and a half inch of snow piled up on his back.

He came in for dinner and couldn’t hide his glee. Cutie-pa-tootie.

January 21st

Sunday, January 21st, 2018

This is how I feel. Like hiding with my head buried in the blankets.

I was all about sticking out the Vikings game tonight, regardless of who was winning, but when the fights started, I was done.

Everybody’s frustrated, yes. They may be saying things to provoke them, yes. But let’s hold it together and be good sportsmen.

Remember the Vikings that came together to donate a boatload of money to the Saint’s punter’s charity? Let’s hold onto that. Let’s have our character be tied to that.

On another note, Henna is cute 😉

January 20th

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Warm weather means that Henna has been out alllll day for the past three days.

For a busy-body four-month-old, that’s heaven.

Today we bought her a harness to teach her to walk on a leash. We started with a collar but it caused her to flat-out panic – she is not a fan of things around her neck.

The harness didn’t scare her, but of course it felt funny. She rolled and dove and ran in circles trying to catch it or get it off. Eventually she tired herself out, and when she slowed down and sat quietly with it, on we took it off.

Needless to say by early afternoon she was pooped. So much so that she fell asleep laying like a baby in Paul’s arms.

Cue the heart squeeze.

January 19th

Friday, January 19th, 2018

The heat wave continues!

The warm weather is slowly melting the snow, making it wet and heavy. In other words? The perfect snowball-making snow.

Henna could have chased them all day (see how she’s incredibly focused on watching Paul make the snowball?). She didn’t catch them, just chased them; her depth of field is still developing, so she’d run to meet the snow as it hit the ground, but didn’t try intercept mid-air.

Henna also had friends visit today!

Kya and Tim came over for supper and brought their dogs, Kida and Bailey. We walked from our house back to the farm, and when Henna saw them she barked! She rarely barks, so that in its own was big for her.

Henna was pretty terrified of them at first, definitely the submissive, but by the end of the visit she was attempting to play with them.

I’m sure she will sleep well tonight!