Monday, July 28, 2008

Hello from Virginia!

WE MADE IT! We drove 19 hours in two days with no TV, no iPods or mp3 players....just us, the radio and one game boy and one Nintendo DS! I get sleepy just driving to the grocery store so making it half way across the country was a miracle!

We are having a great time. Yesterday we ate at the best BBQ place in Richmond (featured on The Food Network on Bobby Flay Throwdown)and it was very good. I think it was called Buzz and Ed's....I can't remember. The best part, though, and the weirdest, was that as I was paying, the manager walked by and I looked at her, she looked at me. Asked her what her name was and she told me....asked her if she worked at Applebee's many years ago and she said yes. Turns out, she and I worked together over 15 years ago at a new store opening in Kingsland, Georgia! We roomed together for 3 weeks AND she's the one I got my tattoo with! SMALL WORLD!!! The cashier guy said..."WEIRD....she never works up here! I can't believe you even saw her!" It was pretty crazy. We talked for a while and I gave her my card so hopefully we can catch up more.

After that we drove around Richmond for a little while....this city is so full of cool history. If you live here I bet you forget where you are. We ended up at St. John's active little church today but it is famous because it is where Patrick Henry gave his "GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH!" speech. We watched a reinactment of that. Interesting stuff (the kids were bored though...the coolness of what we were seeing hopefully sinks in when they get a little older).

We then headed to the Virginia State Capitol. It has beautiful grounds, the building, or at least most of it, is new and very pretty. You can walk into the old capitol that was build in the 1700's (??) and it is pretty cool to think what our founding fathers built way back then. Took some pretty cool pictures so I'm excited to see them when I get home.

We are headed to Virginia Beach and Norfolk Naval Base this morning. Alli and my brother are planning to parasail at some point and I'm hoping to get some good family pics on the beach. Will be a long day but we will enjoy it!!!

I'll write more tomorrow if I can.

JC is my BFF!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah...

I can't believe it but I really don't have much to say today. Watch....I'll fill this up. :) Just getting ready for vacation so this is my last day in the office for a week and a half! WHOOO HOOO! I like what I do, don't get me wrong, but it's not where I am supposed to be and I know it. I have the patience of a flea so I am anxious to get my photography business functioning well enough that I can do that full time instead. God says to me regularly...."PATIENCE, my daughter, patience." It's killing me.

My girls and I are heading out on an adventure tomorrow and we are so excited. Virginia here we come! My brother and his family live outside of Richmond so we are driving (18 hours...I KNOW! I'm nuts!) and leaving early tomorrow morning. Wade and his boys are unfortunately not going with....lots of things happening in Wade's life (good stuff!) that is keeping him here to handle (more on that below). We'll be out there a week then they will be following us back so they can visit Caron's family in Minnesota and our family here in Iowa. I cannot wait to see them. My brother is one of my most favorite people in the world....I wish he was my next door neighbor but every time we get together it's like no time has passed and we just saw each other yesterday. I'm also very blessed (and so is he!) to have Caron in our family. She is a wonderful person and T-H-E best mom I've ever met. My kids and their kids are so close in age (except my oldest and his youngest) that they all feel like brothers and sisters instead of cousins. We'll be heading to Virginia Beach for one night so the kids (big and little!) can play in the ocean then up to DC for a day to check out the sites there. Gonna be a lot of fun and I will be sure to post some pics when we get back.

About Wade's happenings...I don't have his permission to share anything so I won't divulge much but he got word last night that his youngest son is going to be living with him. Wade has been so patient in the last two years...waiting patiently on God to bring his son to him. It killed me to watch and I really wanted to take over and MANY times I told Wade to force the issue, but he just wouldn't. He kept saying to me..."It will happen when it is meant to happen." Again, I have the patience of a flea! Thankfully, God instilled patience as one of Wade's strongest assets.

Please pray for Wade and his boys (his oldest already lives with him). Pray that God will reveal Himself to Wade's son and that he will see it is for the best. Also pray for Wade's ex-wife....she is going through some very trying times and as a mom, my heart absolutely breaks for her while at the same time it rejoices for Wade and his son. Please pray for our safe travel...pray for us all to remember how lucky we are to have a family who loves and cares about each other. Pray that we enjoy our time together and that when it's over, we leave with happy hearts instead of heavy hearts....leaving family you love dearly is always the hardest part of getting together. Pray that we come back with a renewed spirit and will have relaxed enough that we can function and not need a vacation from our vacation!

SEE! I filled it up! :0

JC is my BFF!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What's in your luggage?

Ok, so I started this thing thinking that I might just post once in a while and discuss the business and the latest happenings but it appears that I am enjoying it....and I have a lot to say! :)

This morning on my way to work (a lot happens to me in that 40 minute drive, I guess), I heard the "Upwards with Max Lucado" 1 minute segment on the radio and it was so good I just had to share. It went something like this: image we are all at the airport baggage claim area waiting on our luggage. Someone over the loud speaker says "get in line...everyone just grab the first piece of luggage that comes your way and that will be yours" one would go for that right? Max went on to explain how God has "packed a specific, unique piece of luggage" for each and every one of us and no two pieces or its contents are the same. I can't take your "luggage" and wear your clothes or use your things....they aren't mine. I must take what God has given talents and abilities and do something with them. It makes no sense for me to want and desire your wasn't packed for me!


Don't we all struggle once in awhile with wanting what others have or wanting to drive that car or have that certain house or job title? God has given us each a special talent to be used for His purpose. I guess the hardest part is unpacking the luggage that God has given us and doing something with it....taking a leap of faith and believing in God's master plan even when we have no clue what it is. For MANY years, my luggage has been stored in the very back of the closet, fully loaded and ready to go, but the anger that filled me didn't even allow me to know it was there. Over the last two years I have slowly cleaned out my closet, getting rid of old unwanted things and surprisingly finding some great treasures in there that I had forgotten I had. Now, with Out of the Ashes Photography, I have opened my luggage and begun to unpack. It feels good to fit into those things that God packed for me....everything fits perfectly. And the best part: my bum doesn't look big! WHOOO HOOO! Thank ya Jesus! :)

I pray that everyone reading this finds their perfectly packed luggage and will open it to find a treasure beyond measure.

JC is my BFF!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


"I WILL SING HALLELUIAH!" (Phillips, Craig & Dean if you didn't know). What an awesome song. It was playing on the radio this morning as I was driving in to work and you just can't help but turn it up loud and sing at the top of your lungs! The drivers around me all looked at me a bit weird, but oh well....God was laughing at my off tune version, I'm just sure. Made me think...does God really hear our every word, know our every thought? Can He really be paying attention to what I'm doing while paying full attention to what everyone else is doing, at the EXACT same time? That thought actually makes me smile because while it is scary to think that everything that I think and say He hears and knows, it is also very comforting. I am constantly reminded that God is in me so I better be on my best behavior which by default makes me a better person. I know I will sin....I know I will make mistakes, but knowing that God is so loving and forgiving makes being me easier....and that is NO easy task! :)

My girls and I are all big lovers of LOUD music....not just music. It must be loud music. Whenever we are in the car it is always cranked up and we are singing and dancing. "Oh Happy Day" by Tim Hughes is one of our favorites. Good stuff so check it out. Anyway, on the way home from somewhere last week we had the Tim Hughes CD in and started doing the new dance moves we had learned at VBS a few weeks ago. We were goofy and totally out of control (Don't worry...I was only half out of control as I had one eye on the road and one hand on the wheel). We were laughing and I asked my girls "What do you think God is thinking about us right now?" My oldest Alli (15) said..."HE'S TOTALLY LAUGHING!! He's gettin' jiggy with it right now! Dancing and laughing and....JUST GETTIN' JIGGY MOM!" I laughed so hard I almost cried. I was so amazed by her description of how God might be having a good time with us. It then occured to me how cool it is to truly know that God is watching, laughing and "gettin' jiggy" with us! What a wonderful feeling to know that we can and do make Him that happy.

So....the next time you are in the car, turn it up loud and sing AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS. God will be watching and He will be so proud of your praise to matter how bad you sound! Don't worry...the people in the car next to you will likely never see you again. :)

JC is my BFF!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Things that make you go HMMM....

Well....He did it again. God spoke to me saying "GET MOVING!" At church yesterday we started a new series called "Unstoppable"...good stuff. All about what we have to do as believers and followers of Jesus Christ and if we are going to believe, we are going to face opposition. It was the story of Elijah and the prophets of Elijah faced 800+ prophets of another God and through his belief and faithfulness to God, he overcame and proved to the Isrealites that our God was the one true God (1 Kings 18 if you are interested). Then, Pastor Jeff talked about listening to God and taking that next giant step to follow Him..."start that new business..." All I could say was WOW. I then worked in the children's service and the lesson there was "God is my helper, I should do what He asks me to do." Man....He just wouldn't stop telling me to LISTEN...ok...more likely I am a little slow and He had to repeat Himself several times! :0

So...what are my next steps? I'm not totally sure. Wade is setting up a meeting with a business advisor buddy of his so we can have him help us with a business plan. My website is in the works and when that gets up and running I will be able to get the word out about us much easier. I have a senior from ADM ready to let me take her senior pictures this fall so I just need to get that scheduled. We did decide to combine the photography and framing business into one..."Out of the Ashes Photography and Custom Framing" is who we are. We need to do some is a great time for people to get that family photo updated and ready for Christmas cards. Also trying to decide how to proceed...since I am working out of my house I don't have the traditional studio that you'd find or use when it's not so nice outside. Wade had a great idea to be a "traveling" photographer....meaning I come to your house and set up with the necessary backgrounds or we just take pictures in locations within your home (fireplace etc.) so considering that as a very viable option. THEN I NEED TO CONTINUE TO PRAY! Pray for God's guidance and understanding...pray for His peace so I don't stress about all the little details.

Just got an email from someone here at work (yes, I have a full time job on top of this...I should probably be working). It said at the bottom, "Life is a journey...enjoy the ride". I think I will. VROOM, VROOM. :)

JC is my BFF!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Coming to life

Last October I purchased my Nikon D80 camera with my severance that I received as a result of a "reduction in force" and "region realignment" with my former employer, Nationwide Insurance. I was devastated to learn that my job was being eliminated and there were no positions available for me to stay with the company, but looking back, God was paving the way....making my "crooked places" straight to get me where I am right this very minute. With the loving support and a whole lot of nudging from my very best friend in the world and boyfriend Wade, I have started Out of the Ashes Photography. The picture you see at the top of my blog is one of mine.

Anyway, last night Wade and I were looking for frames for the 20 or so pictures that I have ready to sell....he is going to be my "main framer" but until we get that side business going, we were looking for ready made frames. We found several awesome frames and when we got back to my house, we began to place the pictures in the frames....that's where the title of this blog comes into play. My pictures CAME TO LIFE. I swear...right in front of my eyes. They are awesome by themselves but put a nice frame around them and they really take on another feel! I was soooo excited and so very scared at the same time. I think Wade got tired of me whining because I just could NOT get over the feeling that if I sold even one of them it would be like selling one of my babies! Ugh! With his loving words..."you'll get over that when you get your first check" (thanks baby)...I started to realize that he was right. He is a smart man and I am pretty sure that God was speaking to me through him. God was reminding the nice way that He does sometimes...that he did not give me this talent or desire to keep the beautiful world He created and shows me daily through my camera lens to myself. His plan for me is to SHARE it. So...with that...I will share. Much like a 3 year old shares her favorite toy or candy--kicking and screaming--but I will do it! :/

So, I leave you with one of my favorite verses and hope that it reminds you of the strength that you have within you only through believing in Jesus Christ...."I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" ~ Phil 4:13 (I wonder if that goes for sharing too??)

JC is my BFF! (For those of you not hip in the text language -- Jesus Christ is my Best Friend Forever)


Just trying to come up with a creative way to share the ins and outs, ups and downs of starting a new business and this seems to be the way to do it. I'm excited to share with the world who I am, what Out of the Ashes Photography is all about and pass on my "learnings" from God along the way. Hope you'll check back often to see what's happening!