photography - winter pictures

Sometimes, I can let one critical comment or tough moment overshadow the one million good things about my day. I hate when I do that. Oh, to have the will power to not let words get me down. But, I don't always have that kind of strength. Sometimes positive thinking just ain't' enough and my heart gets buried underneath life's stress. It stinks. Somebody throw me a life line because these feelings of defeat need to set sail.  Like, hours ago.

Thank goodness for photography. Who knew I would love photography so much? Who knew that photography could help conquer discouraging moments and reduce stress? God knew. Just like He knows what moves all of us. He knows what to use in this life here on earth to speak directly to our hearts.  

For me, God knows that looking at my photography and especially playing with my pictures on Photoshop moves me. Playing with light, composition, exposure, and color is therapeutic. As I sort through my pictures - the good ones and even the bad ones - I see Jesus in my life. I see love, hope, joy, family, smiles, laughter, beauty and kindness. God so clearly points out my everyday blessings that I cannot deny His daily presence. The negative thoughts don't always completely go away, but they fade. In the quietness of working on my photography, God gently helps me gain perspective. I feel more gratitude. I love when God uses the ordinary to guide our hearts back home to Him.

I finally have had a chance to play with some of my winter photos. I was pretty proud of myself for figuring out how to add snow to a few on my pictures in Photoshop using  this fabulous tutorial. 

Look at all those beautiful people who my husband and I get to call our children. See ya life's stresses. You can keep coming back for me, but you will never overshadow these blessings. God always wins.

What about you?  What is your stress reliever?


You are Inspirational - My Guest Post on Moms Magazine

I love reading a good blog post, a good book, hearing an inspirational speech or watching an inspiring movie.

But most often those moments pass and I forget what I learned or what moved my heart.
Inspiration that sticks with me is what – or who – I see daily.

Like, my mom friend who meets me each week at the pool. We sit with our feet dangling in the water, admiring how much our kids have improved at swimming. We chat and laugh and declare each other the funniest people ever. Because we are.

Or the mom I sit with as we watch our sons play football. When my son gets hit in the face with a football and is weepy the rest of practice, she empathizes with me as I debate if I should pull him off the field or let him tough it out.

The mom who shares her real thoughts with me. Things that are hard about life... read the rest, it would be my honor if you would check out my post over on Moms Magazine.

Porch Remodel

About 4 1/2 years ago, we redid our porch. I wish I had some before pictures, but I wasn't a blogger then and we just didn't take any. The before was sad. The biggest issue was that the porch had settled on one side, so it was crooked. 

Here is what we did to make this place one of our favorite spaces to hang out:

1.  Raised the sagging side of the porch with a carjack and added supports to make it even.
2.  Reframed the porch and tightened the screens. 
3. Tore off the old roof and put a new one on.
4.  New outdoor carpet.  (To keep the mosquitoes from coming in underneath.)
5.  Paint.  (This is my favorite story. The weekend before we were going to have our youngest son, we weren't quite done with the porch. We still needed to paint and lay the carpet. So, my husband's family came in full force and helped us paint inside and outside of this porch. Painting that ceiling was tedious and it was so hot out. God bless them. I remember being 6 days away from having my baby and wiping down all the wood so it was clean and ready for them to paint. Oh my goodness.  What we do to get things done. But, it was wonderful to sit on that beautiful porch and rock my baby and watch my older two boys play. Such small joys create such defining memories.)

Here is what we did for furniture:
1.  Table - bought off of Craig's list for $40. I put about 10 coats of black paint on it.
2.  The rocker was my husband's grandmas. I painted that as well. (Then rocked her great-grandbaby in her chair. Sniff. Love that.)
2.  The bench is from Target.
3.  The rug we already had. (Target)
4.  I recovered old pillows with new material.
5.  The wicker chairs are from a garage sale. We already had the other two chairs.
6.  The side tables, I got for free from a neighbor who put them at the end of his driveway for anyone to take. A lucky find for me. I painted the bottom part white and sanded and stained the tops. 

Here are some pictures:
Linked to: Remodelaholic