Wednesday, April 28, 2010


On Saturday, I hosted the first Workshop for Inspired Beginners at my home here in Wisconsin.

When I picked the date for the workshop it was just any old Saturday.
A Saturday when I didn't have other photography obligations and
a Saturday that Emma could come home from college to model.

I thought there was a good chance it would not be snowing.

But as life sister Sue was diagnosed with a enormous
brain tumor two days after I advertised and sold each seat for the workshop.

The next two months were filled with thoughts of Sue,
trips to Missouri, life around here and worries that I would have to cancel
the workshop.

As it would happen,
Susie died right after my workshop was over.

Is that a coincidence?

I sat down to look at Cindy's facebook with a Diet Dr. Pepper after the last gals left
and I cried tears of joy as I looked at the pictures of Cindy and Sue's friends who
gathered to walk in a 5K on that very morning. Cindy had planned her walk for months and
as she stepped out of the car she was greeted and surprised by a huge group that had come to
walk with her.


I cried tears of joy and love for Cindy and Sue. To see my sisters supported and loved this way
filled my heart to overflowing. And when your heart overflows the tears come out....I have decided.

Right then Cindy called to tell me Sue had died.

Tears of joy turned to tears of pain and sadness.

I don't really know what I am suppose to gather from this....
this strange confluence of happenings. The best and the worst on the same day.
It has my head spinning, I must say.

All I know is that instead of worrying on that Saturday I was teaching.

I was teaching six excited, interested, fabulous women as much as I could about their cameras and the light and photoshop as I could squeeze into our seven/eight hours together.


And even tho the clouds were gray and heavy we found the light.


It wasn't always easy.


(especially when I grabbed my d80 instead of my d700}


(This is why I needed a new camera. I wore my d80 out. Can you say grain? at 400iso. not good)

But we walked around the capital and took loads of pictures anyway!
The rain held off and the fog rolled in.
And we took more pictures.


The flowers look fabulous on cloudy days and we even had water droplets to add to their beauty.



There was lots of talk of metering and exposure,
aperture and iso.


The students and teacher and models were all pretty tuckered out by the end of the day.

I am so happy that the workshop went so well and I feel very lucky
to meet such lovely and sweet women.

Thank you for coming Jeanie, Christine, Kristin, Becky, Holly and Carolee!

Jeanie posted about the workshop on her blog today:

Confetti House Journal

Christine posted too!

Posey Patchworks


We are headed to Missouri tomorrow.
Matthew and Melinda are coming. I haven't seen Melinda's baby bump yet.

Like I said the other day, joy and sorrow stand side by side in my heart.

I know it does for you too.

We just have to be there for one another either way.

Encourage one another,

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

beams of love
for you


...we are here to learn to endure the beams of love-


I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks.

~William Shakespeare

Love you
Mean it


Monday, April 26, 2010


"I can never lose one
whom I have loved unto the end;
one to whom my soul cleaves so firmly
that it can never be separated
does not go away
but only goes before."

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

cindy, cousin diana, donna, susie
circa 1961



After the wedding last summer I made a book called The Seven of Us for my sibs.
I did not include this picture because it was blurry and the color was so, shall we say, warm.

This morning I spotted it in my folder and knew that The Seven of Us needed to see this lovely picture
of our Sue and her beloved husband Keith.

Keith took beautiful care of Sue.
How Keith cared for Sue was the most beautiful act of love I have ever seen in my life.

And our precious Cindy was our eyes and ears (as Jim calls her) thru it all.
She was also our words and our lips and our love.

She would whisper sweet nothings to Sue and kiss her every day. A kiss from each of us.
And Susie would count.


peas and carrots

DSC_5392-2 copy

The seven of us.
forever and ever amen

And while it does not feel like it right now....

I am comforted by the words of the Apostles' Creed and by these simple words;

All shall be well, and
all shall be well, and
all manner of things shall be well.

~Julian of Norwich

I want you to know that I have read every word and prayer you all have sent, both
here and on facebook and in the email.

I know those prayers are lifting us up and lightening our burden.
I am truly thankful for them.

Please continue to pray for Keith and Wes, Kurt and Jeff.

Encourage one another,

Love you
Mean it

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010


The man who treats our lawn to keep it weed free says these are weeds.

I told him. I like em.


Katie and Emma are going to be my official models for the workshop.
They will get paid and everything.
Katie can't believe her good fortune and she has promised to be a good model so that
she doesn't make me look bad. (her words ;o)


It is suppose to rain this weekend.
Can you say....Murphy's Law?


I bought another iphone camera app. It is called Hipstamatic and because I am so totally hip....well...nevermind.
But I lucked out with some amazing sun flare on my first self portrait attempt.

I wonder if I could do this a second time. I should try :o)

Wishing you a beautiful Thursday!

Encourage one another,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What's it all about.....

The primary and shining grand purpose in our lives is that Christ might be magnified in us,
that we might be the bearers of the life of Christ
to the rest of the world.

Elisabeth Elliot

"Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death."
Philippians 1:20

The message of the cross is transformation. We bring our sufferings,
and Christ gives us joy. We bring our pains, and He gives us comfort.
We bring our deaths, and He gives us life.

Elisabeth Elliot

"I have come that they have life,
and that they may have it more abundantly."

John 10:10

Life can go along, busily, happily, swimmingly.
And then it can come to a shocking halt.

It's important to know what you believe.

Now is a very good time to figure that out.


A piece of our joy.

Encourage one another,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sweet Sue


I once heard someone say that what we are truly filled with...
the truth that is in our hearts....will come spilling out when we are bumped.

When something bad happens our true character will be revealed.

Our Susie has gotten the very worst bump of all.

And you know what she is filled with...
she is filled with humor and love and the most genuine sweetness.

I hope to one day be as sweet as you
thru and thru.

Love you.
Mean it.


Monday, April 19, 2010

To me,
the iphone camera was useless.

I tried and tried and the pictures were horrid.

But then along came the Shakeit app.


The app that makes your iphone pictures look like Polaroids!
How cool is that??

The Polaroid is so hip now. So hip I don't even know what the right word to
say instead of hip or cool.

Sweet? Tight? Fab?


It's delightful and tons of fun and it only costs .99!



After you snap your picture, the phone makes the sounds of a Polaroid and the picture slides down
into the screen like a Polaroid. And then it develops in front of you.

And you shake it to make it appear.

It's quite the gimmick!



And so instead of comparing the iphone pictures to my fancy camera,
I can pretend I have a Polaroid!

Shake it photo



We went to the farmer's market on Saturday morning. It was the first one of the season!


If you love tulips, this is the week to head to the state capitol!
They are just so beautiful!


Encourage one another,

Saturday, April 17, 2010


My first Workshop for inspired beginners is one week from today!

I can't wait to meet the women who are coming.
I can't wait to help them learn their cameras and settings better and
and I can't wait to show them how to find the light.

It's going to be so much fun......and fun is good.


Last night at 5:30 just as we were going to the spring dance, I thought I would snap a few shots of Katie.
She looked so pretty and she was so excited to go.

This setting doesn't always have the best light.
But last night at 5:30 it was perfection.

I didn't even edit these pictures.
Well. I sharpened a tiny bit. But gosh. I wish I could shoot in that light every time I took a picture!

That light, that beautiful, splendid light.


Keep a Quiet Heart is a little book that has been by my side for over ten years.
Elisabeth Elliot shares her stories and lessons throughout.

This morning I will share with you some of Elisabeth's thoughts on trust she learned from
missionary Amy Carmichael:

"Some of you are perhaps feeling that you are voyaging just now on a moonless sea.
Uncertainty surrounds you. There seem to be no signs to follow. Perhaps you feel about to be engulfed by loneliness. There is no one to whom you can speak of your need. Amy Carmichael wrote of such a feeling when, as a missionary of twenty-six, she had to leave Japan because of poor health, then travel to China for recuperation, but then realized God was telling her to go to Ceylon.

"All along, let us remember, we are not asked to understand, but simply to obey...
'And only Heaven is better than to walk with Christ at midnight, over moonless seas--'
I couldn't feel frightened then. Praise Him for the moonless seas--all the better the opportunity
for proving Him to be indeed the El Shaddai, 'the God who is Enough.'"

Let me add my own word of witness to hers and to that of the tens of thousands who have learned that He is indeed Enough.
He is not all we would ask for (if we were honest), but it is precisely when we do not have what we ask for, and only then, that
we can clearly perceive His all-sufficiency. It is when the sea is moonless that the Lord has become my Light."

From my moonless sea to yours,

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Dad, will you play Frisbee with me?"





Aren't you suppose to catch the Frisbee?
Come on you two. Let's have two catches in a row!




Anyone for a game of four square?


Bring it on.

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”

~Dr. Suess

" is good."

~Dr. Suess

Encourage one another,

p.s. speaking of fun....Janet is healing nicely. She has rice pudding by her side.
Thank you for praying for her!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Once upon a time my parents died. I was 16 years old.
I learned that life is short and beautiful and that you have to make to
decision to live and love abundantly.

And with the birth of our children the love poured out
and life was full of life and love.

And then our sister got sick and I reminded myself that life
is short and beautiful and that I have to make the decision
again to live and love abundantly.

And yesterday came the phone call,
a little boy is on the way....

a little boy to love.

and suffering and joy lived side by side in my heart and I knew that the only way to live is
to love and live abundantly because life is short and beautiful.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

If you could have seen me yesterday, you
would have thought I'd lost it.

You see, I am on a mission.
My mission is to scare away the piggy grackles from my bird feeders
so that the pretty birds can visit without fear.

How am I accomplishing this mission?

I am runny to the back door and slapping my hand on the window pane or shouting at them.
"Go Away!"

Yes. I have officially gone eccentric.
I am not exaggerating when I say that I dashed to the sliding glass door 30 times yesterday.

And as Dr. Phil would say,
"How is that working for you?"

And I must say, it's working pretty well.

The Grackles flee and moments later a pair of house finches or goldfinches or cardinals alight
on my feeding station and munch away.
It's such a delight to see the pretty birdies.

Why don't I like the grackles?
They are bullies and they eat too much.

Yup. I am getting a nice little workout flying thru the house
to chase away the grackles.
It may seem nutty, but I think it may be working.

p.s. isn't it odd to think that Robins are carnivores/omnivores?


Janet is having surgery tomorrow.
She is having her ailing gall bladder removed.
Please pray that all goes well with the procedure and that she heals quickly and well.

Thank you!



The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
~Robert Frost

Encourage one another,

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Our sister Sue has always been generous.

One way you can see her generous heart is by the friends she has.

Lots of us let go of our grade school and high school and college friends.
Lots of us stop making friends when we are grown up.

But Suzy. She kept her friends. Always.
She went out of her way, she kept in touch, she traveled and went the extra mile for her friends.

She continues to make friends....
friends from work
friends from bunco
friends from church
friends from her children's circles

And now when she is struggling,
her friends are coming to her side.

They are giving back to her all the love that she has given away.

Sue's husband keeps a calendar to keep the visits straight.
It's been a parade of friendship and love.

So when we (her sibs) can't be there to kiss and love her
we know that Suzy has an army of friends who will love her and kiss her in our stead.

I don't really like to use the word deserve....

but Suzy Q deserves every bit of friendship she has been shown;
She is a true friend.

“Alone bad. Friend good.”
~Bride of Frankenstein

“I found out what the secret to life is - friends. Best friends.”
~Fried Green Tomatoes


Sue and her buddy Karen.
Friends since 6th grade.

(the above picture is from my college graduation. Karen was my friend, too, so she came along
to the graduation. But Susie and Karen: they are besties.)

Encourage one another,

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Case of the Horrible Haircut

This story does not have a moral. It is just a story about how I dealt with
the most horrible hairdo I have even been given.

The way I would have dealt with it would have been.
Go to a different salon. Never step foot in the salon where the bad haircut came from.
Never go to the same haircutter again. Ever.


Something happened.

My thoughtful husband bought me a gift certificate to the same salon.
He came home and surprised me with it.

"But. I don't want to." I cried.
I am a huge whimp.

And so I put it off and put it off until my roots were very awful and I had to make a decision.

I did something kind of sneaky. I knew the gal who gave me the awful haircut and color didn't work on Saturdays.
(It's a huge salon)

So I called and made an appointment on a Saturday with someone completely different.

And I think I hit the jackpot. At least so far.
She was super careful about getting close with the highlights.
She listened and really cleaned up the messy bits to the last haircut.
She showed me how to style the back that was such a problem for me.

When I left the salon this time. I was very happy.
Images of Nancy Pelosi are slowly becoming just a bad memory.

I may be a baby for not confronting the last stylist and it may be weird to go to the same salon as the other
woman....but sometimes you just have to do what is in your own best interest.

So that is how I resolved my sticky situation.



The new stylist said it may take at least two more visits before it is looking like it did at first.
(I had two pictures to show her on my phone)
But gosh I appreciate her good work and talent!


Yesterday was just a gorgeous day.

We cleaned and I took pictures and we watched the Masters.


A little neighbor girl hugs her mommy's leg. She is a sweetheart.
So is her mommy.


garage light


beautiful sooc


Eye Candy Dandelion


We watched Have you heard about the Morgans again this weekend.

This sonnet is recited in a very sweet scene in the movie.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come:

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

William Shakespeare

(1564 - 1616)

Encourage one another,