April 19th

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

I woke up to a beautiful sunrise this morning.

No, there weren’t vibrant shades of pinks and reds, or warm sun rays coming through the fog. No, just simply the fact that the sun was shining was what made it beautiful.

The kind of sunrise you get after a rain storm. Clean, warm, faithful. A sort of blank slate, ready for you to rejoice in it. To seek the day that God has made.

As I watched the song birds happily flitting from tree to tree, singing at the presence of the sun, I realized I needed this sunrise today. I needed those joyful little birds, too. The reminder of God’s goodness and His beauty; the reminder of His ultimate plan.

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
Give me Jesus
Jeremy Camp // Give Me Jesus

March 17th

Saturday, March 17th, 2018

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! My day ended pretty miraculously with a pot of gold (sky) at the end of the rainbow. But more on that in a minute.

The weather was just miraculous today – 50 degrees, light wind, full sun. I was outside in just a sweatshirt today, and I didn’t realize how much my soul needed that. I was a rebel and even turned off the furnace and opened the windows this afternoon. The fresh air in the house was heavenly.

I planted the seeds for my garden today – just another sign of spring. Snap Dragons, Alyssum, peppers, jalapenos, tomatoes, just to name a few. They’re obviously being started inside, but watching them germinate and grow is such a delight for me.

I was so wrapped up in the beauty of the day that I hadn’t taken any pictures. So, it was a pleasant surprise when the swans started moving around tonight on my way back from the barn.

It started with a couple…and then they were everywhere.

The geese are starting to come back, and have been encroaching on the swan’s feeding grounds. So I guess tonight was the last straw, and the geese weren’t welcome anymore. Everyone was worked up – honking, trumpeting. It was like a tornado of large birds – and it was AWESOME.

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These are just a couple of my favorites. The sky just kept changing, and they all kept flying.

Once things had finally started to calm down a little, then I hear the distinct call of a Sandhill Crane. They’ve been around (six were in the field today), but this guy has been flying around alone all week. I don’t know if he lost his mate, or if he’s a juvenile just kicked out of the nest, looking for a mate, but boy is he loud.

Either way, it was so peaceful the way he flew over the trees. They aren’t overly graceful birds, however in the air they look so gentle and steady. I think this is because they have a very large wingspan, meaning they don’t flap their wings often in flight. If you don’t hear them coming (again, they’re loud – they sound like dinosaurs), they’re easy to spot in the sky.

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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.”

And:

“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 16th

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Four months old and already loyal to a fault.

This sweet girl is growing by leaps and bounds; it’s incredible to watch. In one month she’s doubled her weight. Eleven pounds mid-December, she’s now twenty!

Remember a couple weeks ago when I posted the photo of her under the manure cart? Yep, she can’t fit anymore.

She used to LOVE laying on laps and snoozing. Now she can’t fit – she has her own chair.

And she’s a smarty pants. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen her do her “tunnel.” Once she gets over a year old we’ll be trying out some agility obstacles just for fun.

November 25th

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve slowed down to appreciate.

You guys have been keeping me crazy busy with holiday orders and ongoing sales (which is AWESOME!), and with the new pup, I feel like there’s a new baby in the house. I’ve been scheduling my time around Henna’s nap time.

It’s easy to be a person of quick glances, too busy to see the love notes that God stashes in the quiet places.

Tonight He got my attention.

I didn’t think to photograph the sunset until it was almost gone, but that’s alright because I was too in awe to think to pick up my camera. The best part? I got to enjoy it with Paul.

All of life’s blessings all brought into focus through a few minutes of spectacular color and majesty.

What are you thankful for today?

September 8th

Friday, September 8th, 2017

There’s a first time for everything!

I’ve never really been someone who enjoys photographing at night. To be 100% honest – no judgements now – I think it’s partly because I’m afraid of the dark.

I admit, I am a bit of a pansy when it comes to that. But hey, when you grow up in the country, there’s a whole bunch of stuff out in the dark that I’d rather not encounter.

Anyway, moving on. Night photography, not usually my thing.  However, Paul and I are going out to Utah this fall for a vacation (National Park central – whoop!), and I really would like to photograph the stars while we’re there.

So, I found myself trying to practice tonight. It was a half-effort, as I was inside when I took this. But it was helpful to play around with infinite focusing, and manipulate my ISO and other settings to see what works and what doesn’t.

While I admit it was fun, the strain on my eyes was something I wasn’t expecting. If any of you out there do this a lot, I would LOVE any tips you may have! What are your favorite settings? Spill! 😉

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 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.