Archive for the ‘30 Day Photo Challenge’ Category

Day 13: Caedmon’s Call

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

It never fails. This is the band I have been turning to lately, more and more, because it seems that every single time I need a boost of encouragement, it is one of their songs that provides it. It’s usually one of the songs I don’t know well, that suddenly stands out just at the right time.

There are a lot of bands I really like, but Caedmon’s Call, has been my far and away favorite for over a year now. And this song is my current favorite. The slide show has nothing to do with the song, but it is literally the ONLY place I can find this song online right now. Just listen to the lyrics.

What’s your favorite band?


Day 12: Words Squeezed In

Friday, February 18th, 2011

A picture of something I love. Well, that was easy.

I found this note on my bedroom door at the end of a very rough day, which capped a very rough week. Can you tell he couldn’t quite fit all the words in, so just squeezed them in where he could?

My heart melted – the cliche works here, folks. It really did. Everything that child put me through this week was worth every minute. Levi and I were both home at the time, so we hunted him down and smothered him with lots of love. He may be crazy and disrespectful at times, but he has a heart of gold.

I found out later that he also wrote little notes for each of his siblings, and posted them at the heads of their beds. They are still there. The kids don’t want to take them down, and I won’t be the one to make them.

How about you? What do you love?


Day 11: I don’t hate goats.

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

A picture of something I hate? Hmmm…

No, I do not hate goats. I’ve heard they are handy creatures to have around, actually.

What I hate is the act of chewing like a goat. Gross.

For the love of all that is right and good…CHEW WITH YOUR MOUTH CLOSED! Seriously.

Even if your mouth is closed, please be aware that it is still possible to chew disgustingly. Smacking lips, slurping, and all other such noises are gross. Just gross. So stop it!

Day 10: The Stews.

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Today, I am supposed to post a picture of the person(s) I do the most messed up things with. I don’t really do much that could be considered “messed up.” However, the Stews are connected with many oddball, messed up inside jokes. I will not regale you with their explanations here. They have become almost a secret code for us. However, I can relate an anecdote from very early on in our friendship that just might give you an idea of our “messedupedness.”

In our base housing in DC, we had a small, half-bath downstairs. We had all gotten together to hang out, and were probably playing the LOTR trading card game. (One stone of the foundation of our friendship is made up largely of geek stone.) Stewy got up to avail himself of the bathroom. It was just around the corner from the living room. Less than 15 feet away.

It took me only two seconds to look up from my cards, horrified, exchanging significant looks with Levi & Sabrina.

I yelled across the room, “Are you peeing with the door open?!?! SHUT THE DOOR!!!” My horror was mixed with (what I thought) was an unholy desire to laugh. Levi and Sabrina submitted immediately to the laughter.

From the bathroom, all I hear is “I’m peeing with the door open, and I like it.”

He did shut the door, but that did it. We all collapsed, laughing fit to kill. Apparently, they just felt THAT comfortable in my house. And that’s a good thing, right?

Needless to say, we are a messed up bunch of friends, and I cannot WAIT for them to get here this spring! It will be so awesome to finally have our best friends here, even if it’s only for a little while. (The Air Force has an annoying habit of moving people around on you.)

How about you? Any “messedupedness” in your group of friends? Or are we the only weirdos on the planet?


Day 9: My Man In Black

Friday, February 11th, 2011

I think Jesus gets the default top positions for today’s topic: The one who has gotten me through the most. If it weren’t for Him, I wouldn’t have married my own personal Man in Black.

This man and I have come through more together in the ten years of our marriage than I think I ever went through in the nineteen before that. I can’t even begin to name it all. Personally, I’d rather not dwell on everything he has brought me through. Unless I am wrong (and I am never wrong), I sometimes feel like we’re headed dead into the Fireswamp these days.

It is his loyalty, his honesty, his sense of humor, and his stubborn presence in my life that has become something I count on, second only to Jesus Himself. He’s still the very same man I married nearly ten years ago, just more mature. And with facial hair. (No mask though. That would be weird.)

However, it is his unconditional love that has been my mainstay – above anything else. No matter how horribly I can behave at times, he stubbornly refuses to do anything but love me. Just me. He has never ONCE asked me to change. Never. He has just accepted me.

He doesn’t always understand me. (I don’t even understand myself half the time anyway.) He doesn’t always agree with me. He’s not often Mr. Perfect. But he loves me.

He loves me.

“And a man who can do that, can plan my castle onslaught any day.” ~Inigo Montoya

In other words, he’s my Man in Black. And unlike that twit of a woman, Buttercup, I won’t leave him when we emerge from our Fireswamp. We may be singed a bit, and not unscathed, but we’ll be together.

And yes, this is a kissing book.

I love you, Levi. I always will. Thanks for putting up with me and my hair-brained ways.


PS: Honey, I tried to work in your favorite quote. Couldn’t do it.

Day 8: Good Medicine.

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” ~Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

I’m supposed to post a picture that makes me laugh. I’m just glad I have a bajillion to choose from, thanks to my short people. All I had to do was pick the most recent one. This short person is not technically mine, but I love her like she is.

This is Sassafrass enjoying her first bean quesadilla. Go on, laugh. You know you want to.

Feel better? Good.

What makes you laugh? I’d love to know, and laugh with you!


Day 7: Words.

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Today’s post took me all day to figure out. The task is to post a picture of my most treasured item. My mind ran the gamut from my wedding ring, to my Bible, around to my books in general, on to my camera, then to my scrapbooks. All of these are very treasured items, indeed. However, none of them seemed quite right.

I’ve never really been much for “stuff”. There are other things I find more important. Still, I wanted to stick to what the topic asked for, if I could. I closed my eyes and tried to think of things I have held onto the longest, for no apparent good reason.

It dawned on me.

There are two cards in a cheap photo album I have had since I was a teenager. The only cards I have purposefully saved in a place where I can read them at will. Cards filled with priceless words. Words too precious for me to post them here. I carry them somewhere inside of me, and they come out and bless me on hard days.

Words of love, encouragement, and faith from my parents.

I remember the day this card showed up. I was having what Anne Shirley would call a “Jonah Day” at school. I was in high school, I don’t quite remember the year. All I remember, as though it were yesterday, was opening the door to my bedroom, finding it spotless, and this card resting on my pillow.

Before I even opened the purple envelope, there were tears of gratitude for the woman whom I had blown by with a trifling and sullen “Hi,” just moments before.

I sat down, and I read. I fed my hungry eyes on lovely purple script, and my mom’s distinctive handwriting, then tasted it again. I remember walking out to the living room, where Mom was reading in a chair. I knelt in front of her, put my head in her lap, and cried. I couldn’t speak – at least, I don’t remember speaking. Mom and I had a moment. A moment I continue to draw strength from. I don’t know if she ever knew how much her words fed my very soul that day. (Well, Mom, if you’re reading this – now you know.)

This card came from my daddy. It accompanied the purity ring I had asked for for my 16th birthday, but did not receive until six months later at Christmastime. A beautiful, simple gold band with emeralds and cubic zirconia. A ring I still have, much worn, waiting for one of my daughters to wear.

My dad is not a man of many words, but the ones he speaks are always worth listening to. When he says something, he means it.

His words fill up the entire blank side of the card. Words of pride in his daughter, words of encouragement to stick to the promise I was making by putting on that ring. Words of blessing for my future husband and me. Words of deep love. Words I have never forgotten, and have always tried to live up to.

Really, my dad is so easy to please. I didn’t have to try very hard to make him proud – he consistently made it abundantly clear that no matter what, he would always be a safe place of love and encouragement, no matter how hard I might fall. His precious words, in that all-too-familiar handwriting, are words I fall back on often.

So, I guess that’s it. Words of love and affirmation, written down, from my parents – and anyone else I respect and love deeply – mean more to me than any other material thing I possess.

Here is the complete topic list for this particular challenge, if you’re interested in doing it too.

What is your most treasured material possession? What makes it so special to you? Do share!


Day 6: The Real Deal

Monday, February 7th, 2011

I think if I could trade places with someone for one day, it would have to be this hottie. Meet Desirre.

She has a lot of initials after her name, heralding her hard work and education as a birth professional. She’s a labor doula, a childbirth educator (dually certified through CAPPA and Lamaze), a lactation educator, a childbirth education trainer (mine, actually), and is the president of the International Cesarean Awareness Network.

She’s a wife. A mother to four boys. FOUR BOYS. She’s my good friend, a sister to every woman she meets, a powerhouse of passion.

Most importantly, she is real. So very, very real. What you see is what you get. And I know that if I could walk in her shoes for just one day, I would come away with some serious “conquer-the-world” insight and confidence.

Don’t get me wrong – Desirre is not on some high and lofty pedestal in my mind. She would totally “Phbbbbt” at the idea. She doesn’t let that pedestal thing happen anyway. The first thing she does when I go to her for advice is to use her own mistakes and experience to teach. No illusions there.

Desirre is no pretender. She’s the real deal.

My main goal in life is to spread sunshine, but not if it means pasting on a fake smile in order to go through the motions like any robot could. And that is why I want to walk in her shoes for a day. To learn how to be more like that. To get a taste of that passionate, bold confidence only true humility* can bring.

Is there anyone YOU would trade places with for a day? This was Day 6 in the 30 Day Photo Challenge.

Be blessed! Monday School will be back eventually. That’s a hard one to keep up on when I’ve made a commitment not to post on Sundays.


*humility being defined as an accurate view of oneself, not a self-abasing view.

Day 5: So THIS is how much He loves me!

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

The birth of my firstborn.

I will never forget that moment.

The moment I felt the weight of him in my arms instead of my belly.

Before his cord was cut or the placenta was birthed.

Before I even saw his face.

I finally knew.

That I could never give him up for anyone’s sake.


And I thought to myself, “So this is how much You love me!”

And I wept.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” ~John 15:13 (NIV)

This was day 5 in the 30-day Photo Challenge, and I was to share a picture of my favorite memory. I couldn’t think of a better memory than this. Today, anyway.

What is your favorite memory?


Day 4: Where’s the Reset Button?

Friday, February 4th, 2011

According to my handy-dandy Topic List, this post is supposed to contain a picture of my night. However, since my day has been rather befuddled and piece-meal, this photo was taken in the late afternoon. It represents several things that were on my long list of things to do today.

1… The grocery list and menu I had to create. (Check)

2… The budget, which has been tweaked a lot today. (Check – pending approval/compromise from my other half.)

3… Laundry. (Nice try)

4… A bunch of phone calls. (Yeah right.)

5… Cleaning the office/school area. (Ha!)

6… Write a little. (Check)

7… More stuff I have certainly forgotten.

The elongated word “Fooooood” represents my state of mind. You see, though my menu & grocery list were written down, and the amount of cash we need for the month figured out, I was not able to go my merry way with the five kiddos to procure these things. Why? A confounding number of factors.

One being that Little Red has dirtied every pair of bottoms she owns – pants AND skirts – over the last few days. Another being that I spent too much time on things lower on the priority list (or not even ON the list) than I should have. (Please, don’t worry – I’m not kicking myself. I can’t change today, but I can start fresh tomorrow.)

Yet another reason was the timing of Schel’s afternoon nap. That child slept during prime time, which is normal for her. How on earth do I forget that I need to plan shopping BEFORE the nap? It’s too late in the day for me to do anything afterwards. I’ll get it down eventually. By the time she awoke, the bank was closed, and it was past time for some dinner.

So, my brain is confounded. I know there are things I have forgotten to put on the grocery list, which I will NOT remember until I’ve finished at all three stores. All I know is that we need “Fooooood.” And lots of it. We are out of everything, which isn’t good, seeing as how my children are eating like the proverbial “horses” at the moment.

The sepia tone symbolizes the overall melancholy tone my life has had this week, due to being a girl. (No, not THAT, exactly, just the week preceding THAT.) I have gone back and forth between hormonal moodiness and optimism; unreasonable crankiness and playfulness; guiltily kicking my own shins and making excuses for everything.

Where’s the reset button?

I know I left it around here somewhere. One of the kids probably destroyed it.

And you know what? This is just the tip of a very annoying iceberg of a week. Re-focusing will just have to be a must.

Please tell me your week was better than mine!? I need to know that others can function just fine, whether I do or not.