Monday, December 28, 2009

Hello Seattle

Time to play a little catch up! My newlywed sisters recently came for a visit!

Emma and Jake gave me such a great shock when they showed up at my door a few days before Thanksgiving! I can't remember the last time I got such a huge and happy surprise of a visit. On their last day here we went to Seattle and showed them around. I love this shot I got at Pike's Place Market.

Lauren and Steve arrived on Christmas evening--best present ever! They just took off tonight and I miss them already. Poor Lu caught a flu bug and has been sick the entire drive back to Spokane. :(

And, of course, I had to take the newlyweds on little photoshoots.

Emma ♥ Jake

Lauren ♥ Steve

I love it when my beautiful sisters come see me! I instantly go into shopping/vacation/chick flick/crochet/hang out mode. Can't wait to see you all again!! And thanks, Steve, for taking that last shot of Lulu and me. :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Warning: Christmas Card Spoiler!


A big thanks to my friend Jill who took our family Christmas photo for us! I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday! ♥

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunsets and Silhouettes





With the end of '09 fast approaching, I'm feeling anxious to set resolutions for 2010. There are so many things I want to do better next year, so much I want to rework. To you who follow my blog regularly, forgive me for the huge gaps between posts lately. December has been a full month for me in many, many ways. But from now until 2010 I'm going to kick back a little--crochet, read a stack of books, get into an exercise routine-- clear some room for all that next year has to bring!

And to that macho man in the first photo (who so patiently and willingly did what I told him to while I practiced shooting silhouettes in Maui)~~~

Happy 31st birthday! I love you more than I can express. ♥

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rich in December

Mo-ney. For a two-syllable word it's a heavy little thing because regardless of financial circumstances, we all feel its burden in some way. I assume it pesters the poor with want and weights the rich with guilt. Across the board, I think it's most wanted for sparking envy. Sometimes I wish it would vanish and free us all from its sorrier temptations. But more often I'm wishing for more of it as my never ending wish list cycles through my mind like an annoying song that won't leave.

On that note, a few inspiring memories and stories have recently hushed the echoing "me, me, me" that creeps into my world:

As a little boy, my brother once stole from a knick knack store. My parents told us we couldn't buying anything, but together we eyed the toys and goodies anyway. There were handfuls of things we both would’ve liked, but eventually, we reluctantly filed out. As we followed my parents back to the car, my brother pulled something from his pocket—a beautiful necklace—and tenderly gave it to me as a special gift. Even bigger than the lesson on stealing I received after watching him return it, I’ve always been impressed that instead of something for himself, he’d wanted something badly enough for me, to steal it. He was a young boy and obviously didn’t understand the crime in shoplifting, and so I think it’s touching, the big heart in that brother of mine.

In college, I had enough money to cover my living expenses, but sometimes I'd manage it poorly and spend too much on a new outfit or eating out, leaving me short on grocery funds. I can remember once at the end of a two-week pay cycle, having a single loaf of bread to feed me. I wasn’t starving; I just felt lousy after eating bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I was in this type of situation as I trudged home in the snow on a late and bitter evening after an exhausting day on campus. The thought of my empty cupboards awaiting me was depressing. I just wanted a warm dinner. I prayed and prayed that I might find something—anything—to eat. I hoped to find a random can of soup I’d forgotten about or better yet, maybe one of my roommates would be home and want to share their dinner with me. But it was pushing midnight and they were probably asleep already, so that scenario wasn’t too promising.

I was right about my roommates; they were all out for the night. The place was dark, very dark, until I flipped the kitchen light and felt my spirits lift at what was illuminated before me. On the table stood a stack of Tupperware topped with a note addressed to me. Me? I read the note:

I hope you survived your busy day. I felt like I should drop off some dinner leftovers for you. Hopefully they hit the spot. --Steve

I slowly sat down and read the note again and again. Then I dished myself the most warm and hearty meal I’ve ever eaten…mashed potatoes, chicken and vegetables! Nutrition for my churning stomach and sweetness on my tattered spirits! I was struck by God’s generous answer to my prayer, and very grateful. Most impressive to me, though, was my friend’s quick response to a heavenly prompting. Had he not listened, I would’ve been fine, but he did, and it rejuvenated me in boundless ways and has stayed with me always.

Lastly, I recently got an email from my dad while he was in Charlottesville, VA visiting the brother I first mentioned and attending a business conference. He told me that at church in Virginia he met a man who grew up in Cardston, Alberta, Canada and knew my great grandpa and his old theater there. My Great Grandpa Gordon Brewerton would sell this man his movie tickets, but never charged him the full 25-cent price. He’d always give him a discount and hand him a dime back.

Little stories, but here’s the well-known, less-used secret tucked into each: despite how many pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, dollars, hundreds, thousands, millions, billions a person does or doesn’t have, when their mantra is “what can I give to someone else?” the “me” slips right out of the money factor and a person is instantly rich.

This always seems most clear to me in December.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

When Work Is Play

This photogenic family has some serious style and really knew how to coordinate colors without being too matchy-matchy. And they introduced me to this fabulous, fabulous location that was oozing with variety and inspiration. ♥♥♥

PS. Whoever taught me how to make the heart emoticon (I can't remember who) should be in serious trouble because all I want to do is post ♥s all day.










Speaking of inspiration, I've been reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. Sprinkled throughout the book are quotes of sweet inspiration. Here are some of my faves:

"Artists who seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain in anything."
Eugene Delcroix

"Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish."
Ovid

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."
Joseph Chilton Pearce

"You are lost the instant you know what the result will be."
Juan Gris

"A painting is never finished--it simply stops in interesting places."
Paul Gardner

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

!! {Surprises}

First, meet another gorgeous senior! She had so much style and so many great ideas--completely loved her. And she was such a trooper in this cold, drizzly November weather.

But enough blogging from me, my sister Emma and my new brother-in-law Jake showed up at my doorstep tonight to surprise me for Thanksgiving!! They are staying until Saturday and I don't know what to do with myself, I'm so excited! I love surprises, and this is one of the best ever. :) Definitely squeal worthy.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!





Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sweet on my Mind

Maggie's got a thing (as I'm sure many four-year-olds do) for listing off her favorites...her favorite friends, colors, foods.

In Maui it went something like this:

"Do you know what my favorite words are?

My favorite words are 'I love you.'"

I don't know what that has to do with this little "we're home from Maui" post, but that little phrase and these photos have been sweet on my mind today.

I don't think there's a prettier sight than my girl bubbling over with smiles on the beach.

I realize these are only of Maggie, but more to come, I promise. I couldn't believe how quickly her fair skin tanned up. I'm proud to say that with the help of some serious sunscreen, Maui's sun didn't burn us. :)

Oh wait, not just Maggie. I'll sneak this boy in. I think he expresses the Aloha spirit of the Hawaiian people so well. It was a split-second decision to point my camera his way and he reacted perfectly with the most pleasant, welcoming, and genuine expression ever.

And again, this is Maggie playing tag with the waves. She got the biggest kick out of how they'd tease her.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Message from Magson...

We're taking a break from this coat weather...

But we'll back on the 16th-ish to catch up!

Maui here we come!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

One Tomato


Meet Larry. He’s retired and single and keeps his yard pristine. In the summer, he can be found poking at his plants, making artistic bird baths out of concrete, and responding several times a day to Maggie's loud “Hi Larry’s!” with nodding and waving from his place two doors down.

I’m grateful he’s not right next door because then our failing grass would be smack next to A+ quality, enormously magnifying our neglectful yard upkeep. A little space is welcome, but to our relief, Larry is just a hop away to soften our landscaping sins. Last spring he suggested we use this nitrate stuff that attracts worms into the soil—ammonium nitrate, maybe?--to fertilize our lawn. He next lent us his spreader with which to apply the fertilizer, and was often spotted edging our lawn with his (disregard my technical jargon) lawn edger. (And never mind that our lawn is now yellow and infested with mushrooms.)

And so Magnet knew just the guy to talk to when Maggie and I became determined to have a little garden. He went straight to Larry’s, who had the type of box we hoped to build, to ask for pointers. Not only was Larry a wealth of information, but Magnet came home with all of the materials needed to make the box (Larry’s scraps and leftovers). Larry even lent us his drill so we could start right then as the battery in ours was dead. He helped Magnet assemble it and within a half-hour we had a pretty little box all ready for dirt and seeds, water and sunshine. We intended to buy dirt the next day, but Larry insisted his cousin would gladly deliver some. Sure enough, the next morning a grumpy Italian man was shoveling dirt onto our driveway under Larry’s supervision. All we had to do was hand over $20 and listen to the cousin grumble:

“What, Larry?! You have me bring dirt to your neighbor’s? Who do you think I am? I thought this was for you. Never again, Larry, never again.”

With everything in place, the next week for family night we studied the backs of our seed packages and nervously proceeded to plant cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, green beans, and cantaloupe. Maggie watered them generously and had wonderment and glee in her eyes as she imagined how her garden would grow. I looked forward to the fresh vegetables I’d have at my fingertips and felt proud that we, the horticulturally challenged, might have pulled it off.

The first month was great. Maggie danced around her garden analyzing what was sprouting, what wasn’t. Sensing my pride and excitement about the project, my friends often inquired about how the garden was coming. I was showing it to one of my girlfriends, personally admiring how tall one particular vegetable was getting, when she kindly (really, this girl is so sweet) pointed at said tall vegetable and asked, “Do you think that’s a weed?”

It should have been a statement.

I shrugged and thought about saying, “Oh, of course. Definitely. I’ve been meaning to uproot it all week.” I also thought about telling her Maggie was really attached to weeds in case there were others—were there others? I couldn’t tell. I feared additional embarrassment and began strategizing how to distance ourselves from this uncomfortable inspection of my precious garden.

My friend pointed:

“Are those green beans?”

“Uh, ya know, I’m not really sure,” I said honestly. “I could go get my notes. I have a scrap of paper somewhere that tells me what was planted where," I said jokingly, yet again, truthfully. It was obvious I couldn’t tell a weed from a vegetable plant, let alone green bean sprouts from onion sprouts.

My friend: “Yeah, I’m pretty sure those are green beans.”

We laughed and I quickly pushed the conversation in another direction. Phew.

The rest of the summer was abnormally warm for Washington and at times reached record-breaking temperatures. And just like my house plants, our garden was dwindling, wilting, shriveling. It’s sad when your four year old asks if she can please, please, please water the garden!

At last, Larry came to the rescue.

His garden was overflowing and in need of thinning, and so he happily gave us one of his big and beautiful tomato plants that hadn’t yet produced. He planted it in the corner for us, and it was a strange sight: a garden of stubs with a plush and beautifully thriving tomato plant gracing the corner.

We were instilled with new hope.

Months went by and nothing substantial happened, although Maggie might say otherwise as she was tickled by the slightest changes. She was ecstatic when the yellow buds appeared on our tomato plant. And then one memorable day in August we “ooohed” and “aaahed” at a green baby tomato that miraculously appeared despite the dead leaves that decorated the plant's perimeter. September passed with little change other than the green tomato growing a little. It finally turned pinkish in late October and then red last week.

We have one red tomato.

We visit and admire it often. I snapped a few pictures and wondered if I should pick it. I would ask Larry, but he has a fence up now. He can’t wave and nod at Maggie when she calls; our sad garden is nowhere within his view. Is that why he put a fence up? Should I go tell him we have one red tomato? Wait, I can’t. He’s on an extended vacation to California and his yard is turning yellow and he has mushrooms sprouting. Larry wouldn’t like that. Not one bit. Maybe I’ll sprinkle nitrate on his lawn and weed out the mushrooms. When he gets back we can tell him how, thanks to him, the garden didn't fail completely.

Or maybe we’ll just have him come see for himself because nobody seems to want to pick our one tomato.

PS. I once expressed to Larry how impressed I was that he basically set up our garden for us. His response: "I couldn't help it, seeing how excited Maggie was just at the talk of it."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

My Girl




Maggie turned four in August, but with our crazy summer, I took her birthday pictures today of all days--Happy Halloween! I bet you were expecting to see costume photos, sorry! Magnet snapped a few while we were out trick or treating, but it was a little chaotic getting the kids dressed and out the door. Maybe I'll post a few this week sometime. Until then, Maggie was an angel and Magson was one unhappy ghost. He wasn't a fan of his costume one bit. Huge fan of the candy, though.

Oh, and I can't fail to mention that my friend Melissa MADE that dress! Wish you could see it minus the coat, but Maggie refused to go out in the cold without it--can't blame her. So, I will have to photograph her wearing it again next week in Hawaii. Yes, Magnet's sweet parents are treating us to another vacation, this time to Maui. :) We leave next week! Woohoo!

Anyway, here are some pictures of my beauty at four years old. ♥♥♥

Thursday, October 29, 2009

L♥VE

What words can I find at a quarter to midnight to describe how I loved this session?

Just L♥VE to the upteenth.

Night, and hope you love your peek. :)








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