Sunday, November 24, 2013

Photography Announcement.

Hello all!  First off, can you believe the holidays are here already??  Where did the time go?  I don't know about you, but I feel like the past few months have been a complete blur, and I am looking forward to some time off over Christmas to catch my breath, enjoy time with my family and friends, and bask in the ending of another year.
I wanted to let my dear, faithful clients know that I am not doing Holiday sessions at this time...
As of now, I will be taking a sabbatical from photography, indefinitely.  I've wrestled with this decision, but found it a necessary one to make.  I do enjoy photography, and am so blessed and grateful for my lovely clients.  However, I am finding it difficult to find a balance with photography, painting and my full time teaching job.  I just do not feel like there are enough hours in the day to book sessions, edit photos, and deliver them in a timely manner, especially during the Holiday crunch, when I am at work full time. 
From the bottom of my heart, I thank each one of you who has believed in me and encouraged me to pursue photography, and I thank you for your understanding regarding it being put on hold for now.  
I will post as soon as I am able for upcoming photography news.  In the meantime, I appreciate you, and want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and a very Merry Christmas!  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


In February, 2012, I wrote this post.  

In February, 2012, my life path was forever altered by sorrow.  

I've wanted to write about the various experiences...the trials and the great times...but I could never find the words.  I still can't quite find the words.

But it weighs on my mind, on my heart.  

God used a year (Feb '12-Feb '13, roughly) to change my life in a way that I have never truly expressed to the course of a year, I reopened my heart to Him, to pour into me and expose in me the dark places that needed some housekeeping.  In the midst of the whirlwind of emotion, of experiences, of happiness and despair, I finally understood what He wanted me know:

That He is enough.  

He is my portion.

Daily, I struggle with fears of rejection, of feeling like I just don't fit in.  I worry that I am not perfect enough...that I don't give enough, that I don't try hard enough, that I'll never ever be good enough...daily, I have to surrender these issues to Him.  

And daily, He shows me He is enough.  I don't have to be enough, because He is.  

And in a year, and every day since, He has proven His faithfulness, His goodness, His unfailing love.

He has proven that He is surely enough.

Before February, 2012:

I never knew I'd meet and care so deeply for man so very different from myself.  But God did, and He gave me enough grace to do so.

I never knew I'd counsel another young woman, broken and whole, a friend and an enemy.  But God did, and He extended to me enough mercy to do so.

I never knew I'd have to say goodbye to the people who had become so integrated into my life.  But God did, and He gave me enough courage to walk away.

I never knew I'd experience such agonizing heartache.  But God did, and He gave me enough strength to survive.

I never knew I'd leave the place of worship that had become my home and start over somewhere else. But God did, and He gave me enough time to heal and make the transition.

After February, 2013, and on to this day:

I see God's plan more clearly for my life...I may not understand it, but today is enough.  Tomorrow will be enough.  

I will never be enough for other people, and they will never be enough for me.  It is the Lord alone who is enough.

I will most likely continue with my daily struggles, unless the Lord takes them away altogether.  But in the meantime, His grace is sufficient enough.

When trials come at my own hand, and my sinful nature takes hold, I find comfort in knowing that His forgiveness is enough, and that He will guide me to the place of reconciliation.  

Today, I want to live like my God is enough for me.

Tomorrow, I want to live like my God is enough for me.

I will daily have to surrender to Him, and seek His face, and His help, and it won't be easy...but He will be enough for me.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


While I've had some time off from work, I've been trying to update my painting portfolio, and really make an effort to create new pieces...

The inspiration for this piece came from 'The Passion of the Christ'...

I had to take the photograph at a very slight angle, it looks better in person!

Acrylic on canvas

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Weight loss is scary...

I've touched on this in a previous post, but sometimes I don't know who I will be when I reach my goal.

I'm afraid of failing.

I'm afraid of succeeding.

I'm afraid of changing.

I'm afraid of staying the same.

I just haven't felt like myself in awhile...I feel like I'm in some 'in-between' stage, stuck in the middle of the past and the future.  People say to 'live in the now' or 'carpe diem'...but what if the now sort of stinks?  

It's easier to look back and say:  that's how far I've come.

It's easier to look ahead and say:  that's where I want to be.

But the now?  It's's riddled with success and failure, excitement and fear, discouragement and hope, anxiety and calm.

In the midst of changing myself, I'm afraid of losing myself...and losing those I love so dearly.  

I've found this process is a catch-22:  putting myself out there, adventurous, trying new things...and shrinking back...alienating myself from my friends and spending time alone, trying to understand my issues.

So, for those wonderful friends of mine who have taken the time to read this, I thank you for your support.  Thank you for dealing with me and my fluctuating emotions...
Thank you for your patience.

And, if you haven't quite figured out who I am right now, 
don't worry...

I haven't either.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Progress Photo.

I scrounged around for some more before photos, and had a friend snap a progress shot today...

I tried to match the 'pose'.  I wish I had a before photo with form fitting clothes on so it's easier to see the change, but I remember that dress fit just perfectly, it was even snug around the sides.

Like I said, I've only just begun, but here is an updated photo, in my workout gear!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Me I Wish To Be.

Sometimes, I look at myself in the mirror, and I can see the progress...the continuing transformation.  I see my features shifting, I see the hint of muscle definition, I see the pounds gone...

People have been telling me how much they see it too.

But, on other days, I don't.  Sometimes I look at myself and only see the round cheeks and the double chin.  I see the plump arms and the flabby stomach.  When I go shopping on these days, I immediately head for the largest sizes, because surely those are the only ones that will fit, and then they don't, and I get frustrated...because in the mirror stands the girl who once wore those clothes is too small for them...but I don't see it with my eyes.  

Sometimes, I go to the gym.  I feel like one of the crowd.  Nobody notices me running on the treadmill, or down the road.  Today, for instance, I completed 2 miles nonstop outdoors (a minor milestone).  A young man passed by me on my left as I was running along at my slow and steady speed.  He smiled at me and said hello, then jogged on.  For a moment, we were one and the same, he and I.  Two runners, one goal.

Then there are days when I feel like I'm being judged...that people see me and wonder what I am doing there, running along, that overweight girl...

I know they don't really judge me...rather, I judge myself.  Sometimes the journey seems so long and the milestones so few and far between.  

I wonder if I'll ever truly see the me I wish to be...will my perception ever catch up with reality?  Will I ever look at my reflection,, in my over sized clothes and really see a smaller, healthier me?  Or will I always see the me I used to be?  

This weight loss journey has made me ponder...made me see clearly...and made me try to understand more about myself than I ever thought possible.

I know I will see the me I wish to be...she's there.

We've come so far, the old me and the new...and yet, we've only just begun.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Okay, gentle with me...this is probably the most embarrassing blog post to date...even though I'm incredibly proud of my progress in my weight loss journey.  I've had a couple of friends ask me how much I've lost thus far, and how much more I have to go, and how have I changed in the process?

Well, first off, I have lost roughly 80 pounds...I say roughly because I cannot seem to locate my original weigh in record when I started Weight Watchers what seems like forever ago.  I'm thinking the number is closer to 90, but I'll say 80 to be on the safe side.  

Yes, the progress has been thanks to Weight Watchers.  It has worked for me, but only when I allowed it to.  I'm starting to fall into a great rhythm with it, though I have not been faithful, and have quit and restart a number of times.  

I'll gladly give specific 'numbers' (weight, sizes, etc.), but not until I am at 'goal'.  I've lost 80+ pounds and 6 dress sizes in a matter of years, but still have quite a bit to go.

In addition to the food tracking portion of Weight Watchers, I am also going to the gym regularly:  weight training, running, and a variety of cardio are my go-to's.  

I love seeing my body change...and then I don't...
I know that sounds crazy, but I've struggled with my weight since I was 8 or 9.  I've yo-yo'd dieted throughout middle school, and high school, and my entire adult life.  
But now, I'm starting to face the psychological aspect of my weight, hand in hand with dealing with anxiety, and how that has affected my life, and my daily choices.  
So, while I love seeing the change, and the scale reflecting new numbers, it's hard...and scary.  As strange as it sounds, I wonder who I'll be when I'm no longer labeled 'the fat girl.'  Even the compliments aren't as easy to take as I anticipated:  the heartfelt, well meaning gestures of kindness, people asking me if I've lost weight, and how much, and keep it up.  It makes me feel encouraged, and strangely exposed in a way I've never been.  But, I'm learning to embrace this journey, and to like my body along the way...flab and all.  

Anyway, thanks for the encouragement and support, my friends and readers.  

Sometimes you don't realize just how far you've come until you look back and see where you started...




Monday, February 11, 2013

Boo to the Flu.

On the eve of my birthday, I was hit hard with the flu.  My dinner party cancelled, I took some nighttime cold/flu medicine, and drifted in and out of a feverish stupor for the next 3 days.  I had a lot of time to think, hence the list featured here...

The Top 5 Things I Hate About The Flu

5.  Kidney Punches

Maybe this isn't something you've experienced, but it was something that I dreaded during this flu, and illnesses past.  I kept myself pretty medicated to keep my fever down, but in that short lapse between dose 1 wearing off and dose 2 kicking in, I could feel the fever come raging back through my body in the form of (what I call) kidney punches.  

No, no...not just a backache induced by a fever.  But, an intense, sharp, throbbing pain that would get me right at the kidneys.  All I could do was curl up in the fetal position and gasp through the pain until it subsided.  I kid you not, it was as if the Keebler Elves had abandoned their cookie tree and found me with fists of fury and sharp knives.  I shudder at the mere memory of it.

4.  Skin Irritation

When the kidney punches would subside, I would go stand in a hot shower.  It just helped me feel better.  However, (TMI, possibly, for some people...) I found that the loofah and moisturizing body wash I use every day, without any problems, made me feel like I was rubbing sand paper on my skin.  It was the strangest thing.  And, it only felt like that during the height of my fever spikes.  Am I the only one...?  Regardless, it was rather annoying, not to mention uncomfortable.  

3.  TV

This is a strange one, but I rarely just 'channel surf.'  I have a handful of shows I record on my DVR, and I watch them on certain days at certain times...a typical day for me goes like this:  wake up, prepare for work, morning devotions/prayer time during breakfast.  Work until 3:45, gym (I've been a slacker), go home, prep for next days work, shower, take care of dinner, evening devotion/prayer time, watch a show or 2 on my DVR, bed.  It's not that I'm 'holier than thou' by any means.  It's taken me a long time to become disciplined enough to maintain regular devotion/prayer time, and I really enjoy it.  

But, I was so sick, I could barely sit up, so I spent a lot of time laying on my couch, mindlessly watching television, or sleeping.  And, I found it becoming...boring...Sure, I could have skipped it, but in those moments when I couldn't sleep, I did like to have the TV on for noise, or simply a distraction.
TV:  a love/hate relationship.    

2.  Fever Crying

True confessions, and a blessing on the man who I someday marry...I have horrible crying jags when I get sick...for  It's like my body gets so maxed out from fighting off the infection, it just takes a nosedive off the emotional cliff.  It's awful.  And, to make matters worse, I was already congested, so crying was NOT helpful.  

There were a couple of times I woke up in the middle of the night and burst into tears.  No reason.  I was already delirious, drugged up, and feverish.  Might as well cry, too.

1.  Forgetfulness

I would say I have a pretty sharp memory.  But, when I am sick, it all goes out the window.  And, I think it makes it worse when you live alone and have to fend for yourself.  Typically, that's quite fine with me.  But, this time, I think my brain was taking a holiday, because I kept forgetting ridiculous things.  For example:  I needed to make soup.  The instructions said boil water.  No biggie.  I would set the water on the stove, crank up the temp, and then FORGET I had done it.  It wouldn't be until I heard a strange hissing sound and saw billows of steam rising from the stove that I would remember I had even turned the stove on.  Or, that I was going to make soup.  That happened more than I'd like to admit.  I hate the feeling of forgetting something...especially something important, like turning on the stove or oven, and not remembering I did it...drives me nuts.

There you have it, folks.  My own little list of things I hate about the flu, besides the flu itself.  
Stay healthy, everyone!!  

Just say boo to the flu!

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Hello, readers!  I apologize for my long absence, but I cannot guarantee it won't happen again...I still go in circles about whether to keep this blog, or close it.  Truth be told, I mainly keep it for my list of blogs I love to read.  I just don't seem to have the time to write here, and often wonder whether the posts I do write belong's a continual catch 22...I want to share, but I don't.

For example...this post, brutally honest, and even sharing it reminds me of how much I detest being vulnerable...yet, I know I am not the only one.

The past few months have been good.  I have spent a great deal of time with friends, attending Bible study, working, going to church...

But, around the holidays, I found myself struggling through a rough patch, spiritually.  It felt akin to wandering in a barren desert land.  I read my Bible often, prayed, wrote in my journal (FYI, my journals are not the 'dear diary' sort of journals...they consist of prayer requests, answers to prayer, things I believe God is speaking to me about, Bible verses, etc.), went to church, fellow-shipped, worshiped ..  I did everything I knew how to do.  But, it just didn't seem to be enough.
I felt...
Recently, a friend shared a wonderful devotion that she herself had written.  One thing that really impacted me was the phrase being at the end of yourself.

I was at the end of myself...I found myself wrestling once again with God over control in so many areas of my life.  I was overwhelmed and exhausted.  I was looking to myself for spiritual rejuvenation...I was doing the right things to get there, except the ONE thing that I needed:  asking God to meet me in my desert.

I had been going to the beach frequently, because in my barren wasteland, I discovered that I felt His presence more at the edge of the sea then anywhere else (besides church).  It was our meeting place, in many ways.  I would go and walk and walk and walk...and walk some more...and I would talk to Him.  And, He would talk to me.  Those moments were sweet, and they seemed so far and few between in my day to day life.

So, not too long ago, I went to the beach on a whim...I wasn't prepared with the basic necessities: I went wearing a dress, a sweater, and some nice dress shoes.  Naturally, I wasn't going to damage my shoes, and I am typically fine walking barefoot.  Unfortunately, the beach I go to often has an influx of small pebbles covering the shore.  I got there, and noticed that the pebbles were washed up over the sand, and the stretch of beach near the water was clear.  So, I hopped, tiptoed, and leaped from sand patch to sand patch, until I reached the point of having to carefully trudge across the carpet of pebbles to get to the waters edge.  It was rather uncomfortable, but I made it, and walked in the icy water.  I must have looked out of place in my dress, sparkly sweater, and bare feet, hopping around pebbles.  I wandered aimlessly for awhile, growing colder each moment, begging God to meet me.  I started feeling frustrated, and self-righteous.  I had, after all, used precious gas money, and my feet were being bruised for this closeness to Him...those were (shamefully) the thoughts that went through my mind.  And, I didn't feel His presence.  I knew He was with me, but He seemed distant.  Finally, my feet were starting to burn with the onslaught of numbness that came from being in the water.  I was shivering, and decided to call it quits.  I pulled out my phone to send a friend a text message before getting in my car, and that's when I noticed my fingers were so numb, I could barely bend my thumbs to tap at my phone keypad.  They ached at the mere attempt of bending them, and I tried weakly to open and close my hands.  I got in the car, cranked up the heater, and drove home.

It wasn't until I was home, showered in scalding water, wrapped in a blanket that I had an
that was the end of myself.  Painfully shivering, desperate, alone...demanding God to be there, instead of asking Him to be there.

I stopped looking at the end of me, and I found Him.  Waiting patiently and ever so lovingly holding out His arms to me.  He reminded me that I don't need to hold on to my own brokenness, I need to give it to Him.  I don't need to have a far off place to be to feel His presence, I need to seek Him in every place and area of my life.  

I'm not completely out of the desert, but I don't feel quite as dry and lost anymore.  All He wants from me is trust, my belief, my love, my thankfulness, my dreams, my future.  His love never fails.  And, He never leaves me alone.

But, the most profound part of the epiphany was the realization that God was not making me struggle in a barren land.  He was allowing me to, because He knew it would turn me right back to Him.  
And, the next time I find myself feeling lost, demanding His presence, I want to remember to invite Him into my struggle, and let Him work in my heart.

Where would I rather be, after all?
At the end of myself, or safe in His arms?