May 31st

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Year three has come and gone!

We laughed today, as the weather today was about the complete opposite of our wedding day three years ago. When I said I wanted a May wedding, I was told that May was a fickle month; well, stormy skies and four inches of rain that day was traded for a completely clear sky today. Whoever told me that was 100% accurate!

Weather aside, I had been thinking all week about what image I wanted to do today. I knew I wanted it to be a picture of Paul and me, but don’t have a manual shutter release. And trying to focus  the camera and then setting a delayed shutter to run in front of it wasn’t appealing. It actually sounded more frustrating than anything.

So then I got to thinking about silhouettes. Shelley does them all the time for clients, and we have a big hill in our backyard so that part was easy. The more I thought about it, I realized that it would also be so much easier to focus. I at least wanted to try. Paul was up for indulging me (have I told you how much I love him?), so we grabbed the tripod and gave it a whirl.

The running back and forth (and up and down hills) to the camera still happened, but it was worth it!

May 30th

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Life is precious.

Homemade donuts were made this morning in honor of a beautiful friend and woman who passed away on Friday. CarolLee loved to bake and made beautiful cakes. In fact, most of my birthday cakes when I was a girl CarolLee made with craft and care, so baking this morning in remembrance of her seemed appropriate.

During retirement, CarolLee and her husband Kenny ran a daycare out of their home on their family farm. I learned today that Kenny was actually born in the farmhouse on the property, so to say that he lived his entire life there is no exaggeration. Myself and both my sisters attended “daycare” there, and it was one of my favorite places to be. Pigs, chickens, cows, horses, kittens, a large yard, beautiful barns… need I say more? Both CarolLee and Kenny loved that farm, and loved us. I remember feeding the kittens, following Kenny through the barns, countless hayrides, and hotdogs and hot chocolate. A second set of honorary grandparents, they loved and gave with all of their hearts, and it is a time of my life full of precious memories.

While I was very saddened to hear of her passing, at her visitation this morning, I knew she was where she wanted to be: With Kenny in heaven.

May 29th

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Happy Memorial Day. I’d like to keep it simple today, so here we go.

I spent my Memorial Day admiring the birds that have become such a powerful symbol of freedom and the American dream. The dream that is possible because of all past, present, and future military men and women. Thank you to all of those who have served, and thank you to the families who have sacrificed and mourned those who gave all.

If you have never been to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN, I highly suggest going!

May 28th

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

Horse shows still give me a small thrill.

Even if I am not showing or riding myself, there’s a feeling I always get. The excitement, community, beautiful animals – I love it.

Today and tomorrow Shelley and I are in Winona at the Minnesota Equestrian Center for black background portrait sessions! We had three of them today, and the horses coat patterns were stunning against the black. We also did a sunset session, and the clouds and light did not disappoint!

Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!


May 27th

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

Nothing says spring like baby birds.

While Paul and I have been spending a large amount of time on our front porch, we’ve seen many birds building nests. One in particular – a cute little Chipping Sparrow – has been hard at work for a week building hers. Here’s an image from earlier this week:


Yesterday, Paul noticed she had three blue speckled eggs in her nest! So today, we watched her hop down into our evergreen bush, so I snuck up to catch her sitting on them. All I could see was her tail!

May 26th

Friday, May 26th, 2017

Summer sunsets are upon us!

Paul and I have recently done quite a few update to our front porch and we are loving it! We removed the railing, painted the front doors, and made/bought new furniture.

Since the bugs aren’t really out yet, Paul and I have taken to eating most of our meals out there. Tonight as we finished our dinner, we watched a sun slowly set. The light was so full of summer vibrance; it was lovely.


May 25th

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

We endure Minnesota winters for views like this.

The weather forecast for today looked beautiful, so this morning, Paul and I loaded the horses and went over to Crow Hassan Park for a ride. It was – dare I say it – perfect. No bugs, light breeze, partly cloudy, 70 degree goodness. And for it being the front end of Memorial Day Weekend, the park was surprisingly quiet; only three other trailers.

Paul and I worked a lot on Buck and Junior’s “Buddy sourness” over the winter along with confidence building. We found with these two, those go hand-in-hand. We started with one horse in the arena and the other tied right outside the fence, then we tied in the barn (but still within sight), and then we finally got to the point where we could take one out and leave the other in their stall. You can slowly see it working, but it doesn’t really sink in until you’re out on location and they don’t have to walk right next to each other anymore. See how far back I am? Had we let them, this would’ve been the pace they set for the whole ride. So refreshing!

Also, check out Paul! He was totally comfortable leading the ride and he rode like a seasoned pro. He’s worked hard on his skills, and worked a lot with Junior over this past year. His hard work and good habits with him has tuned Junior into a great mount, and is making them into an unstoppable pair. I am so proud of him!

May 24th

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Aren’t they lovely?

When these beautiful purple flowers began blooming at the edge of our yard, I had no idea what they were. It was a wonderful surprise when I did my research and realized that they were chives! Fresh herbs growing in our yard? Jackpot!

So this evening, Paul and I grilled sliders and grilled some sweet potato fries and tossed in fresh chives. After doing so, I think I may start an herb garden. The fresh flavor was excellent!

After photographing the flowers for a couple of minutes, I realized I was being watched:


So my camera turned to him. He let me get so close!

May 23rd

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017


Although not the ideal time of day or location, I still got her!

Paul and I had just gotten back from a ride, and there she was, bold as brass, hanging out in the pasture near the barn. She let me get fairly close to her, and I couldn’t figure out why. Then I saw one of our barn cats sitting in the tall grass – my perfect diversion!

A fun note – as she eyed the cat and  wandered the pasture, she seemed to LOVE dandelions. Each one she passed she plucked off the top. 🙂

May 22nd

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Exterior updates around the house means insects. It’s inevitable.

But this guy was pretty neat. He landed on my leg and I had a hard time getting him to let go so I could grab my camera. I finally got him off and he was still hanging out when I got back.

May 21st

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

We had a meeting of the minds today.

For those of you who don’t know, Paul and I run a pick your own pumpkin patch. My family ran it when I was growing up, but as of last year it was passed on to us. Our first season was a VERY wet one. We would get five inches of rain at a time throughout the summer. It was so wet that we were picking pumpkins in September trying to bail them out of standing water so they didn’t rot. Unfortunately, this year is off to the same start.

In Minnesota’s climate, the best time to plant pumpkins for their growing cycle is late May to early June. Too early and your pumpkins don’t last until Halloween, too late and they may not have the chance to turn orange before the first freeze. So even though we knew the rain was coming last week, there was nothing we could do about it. We just had to pray that we’d end up on the lower end of rain potential.

Well, we were on the high end. Four inches later, we have standing water everywhere. So we met up with my dad today to talk through options. We already knew that we’re going to have to push back planting at least a week, and because of that, the corn more than likely won’t go in. By that time, it will be on the late end to plant sweet corn, and the neighboring field has field corn this year, not soy beans like we had planned for. Although cross contamination/pollination between corn is unlikely, we’re not sure that we want to risk the seed that we have.

We roll with the punches here at Dream Acres Farm.

All we can do at this point is leave it in God’s hands and hope that he’ll give us some good drying weather for the next 7-10 days. We’ll see what happens!

May 20th

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

My mother in law sent me this verse today, and I thought it very fitting for today: “He who trusts in the Lord will prosper ” (Proverbs 28:25).

Why is this fitting? For a couple reasons. First is that Paul is in Salt Lake City taking his final 3 hour Captain oral exam and 2 hour simulator as I write this, and I’ve been praying all morning. Not to be dramatic, but after four weeks of training and being away from home, it all comes down to this. I have no doubts that Paul will rock it, but we’ll all be happy to move forward and start living life again.

Second reason is that earlier this spring, after lots of prayer and quiet contemplation, I made the choice to not pursue art shows this summer to focus on getting my work into local galleries and businesses. Today would have been my first show of the season, but instead I spent my morning at the Maple Grove Arts Center to finish hanging my pieces.  The kicker? The show I would’ve been at was shut down early, after only two hours in, because of the rain. What a humbling example of obedience over hustle.

After setup this morning, I took time to photograph a few of my pieces at the center. In the picture of the main entrance above, I have three metal prints pictured: two over the stairs and one over the “R”.

I’ll make sure to post an update when I hear from Paul this evening!

**Update: Paul passed! 🙂