Sunday, December 29, 2013

Miller Family

This was a one of my mini sessions from this fall that we kept secret until after the Miller family had sent out their Christmas cards and given gifts using these photos. It worked out perfectly, I was excited to have a session to save for later and post now while I'm still taking my little photography break... I loved how these photos of Scott, Jamie, Cameron and Cole came out and I was so excited to get a Christmas card from them with some of these photos on it :) So fun to see how my clients end up using their photos and the creative things they do with them. :)















Thank you guys so much for trusting me with your family photos. :) I loved how they came out. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas House 2013

Christmas 2013. Jaden's first. This year has been so much fun with Drew and Isaiah getting a little older and being SO excited for every little piece of Christmas tradition. Drew seriously was ecstatic to set up our Christmas tree, both of them had a blast running around the tree farm we went to with my parents, and they both have been singing frosty and Rudolph the red nose reindeer and jingle bells and happy birthday Jesus together morning to night every day it seems... We've gotten two snows already and it's snowing again now and that just makes it all even more magical :)
 So here's our Christmas House...
Two things I decided this year as far as d├ęcor goes... To try to keep it simple and natural, and if I don't love it, I'm not using it. (You know, like that table runner you have, but don't really have a good spot for, since you have something else already on the table... don't force it to be used somewhere else... or that garland that you hate, but hey, it's a Christmas decoration, and you already own it, so you have to find somewhere to drape it.... right??? wrong! At least that was my mental dialogue this year.)

I love hanging these gold ornaments out in the tree in our front yard each year. Last year we had a spotlight shining up into the tree at night. But the bulb burnt out. And we didn't buy a new one. (Keeping it simple...)

I used lots of different evergreen branches from Shaun's parents' house in my decorating, and we used real garland on our porch too... Love it so much for than the fake!


So, so cozy at night... the pictures never do it justice.

We usually hang strands of white lights along the roofline of our house, but it just didn't happen this year... random last minute thought I decided to frame our living room window with them inside :)

Living room in the day light. Decorated with real greens, white candles, and some fur accents... 


Favorite "mantle" ever... And so simple. I made the sign just before Thanksgiving, and Drew even helped me paint the canvas black and rub the chalk on. I made it using the same process as I did here. Inspired by a pillow sold by Pottery Barn. But if you read my last post, then you know it's a lot more than just a pretty sign to me. 

My nativity is up on top of our tv cabinet, partly because it's a nice surface space for it and partly because it is safe from little hands there... ;) 

See that beautiful, gigantic basket tucked between the cabinet and the chair?? I am in love with it for the fact that it holds all our throw  blankets and isn't overflowing even if I don't fold them... I had been wanting one like this for a while. Finally found it for 19.99. (And it was at Home Goods!) 


And that beautiful wreath that's peeking into every picture and making them all look more festive cost me $2 to make. I got a green wire wreath form from AC Moore, some fun ribbon, free ever green branches and pom pom yarn I already had and this was the result. Love, love, love. (Also, it's hot glued to the ceiling.... yeah.)


If my computer was not being ridiculous right now and not letting me upload any more images I would show you the two end tables in the living room as well. All I have uploaded is this one close up shot of one of them though. I used real furs that I've had since I was in second grade I think, layered them on the table, filled a wooden bowl with nuts and got the lovely textures and natural colors I was going for super easily. There's also a $3 grocery store white poinsettia on the table as well. 
(I moved the little glass jars with more ever green branches in them to my window sill over the sink in the kitchen)

Dining room buffet. I would have loved to have a little live Christmas tree here again this year.... But I have a new baby, and three kids now... so... keeping it simple and letting things go... ended up using leftover branches from the wreath project and put them in a fun big glass jar I found in Shaun's great aunt's garage last year, and tied some of the ribbon from the wreath project around it in a bow. 



Our basement family room is where we set up our tree and hang our stockings. I took pictures of those as well but can't get them to upload right now either... :( But, since I'm letting things go, I'll post this anyway. Maybe I'll add those photos later if I can. 

Merry Christmas!! 



Thursday, December 5, 2013

Speak Life

This is not an ordinary "look how my mantle is decorated" post. (Although it's probably my favorite one I've ever done, just because I love the simplicity of it.)

This is about the sign on the mantle. And about the power of words in our life. I painted the "All is calm, all is bright" sign about a week before Thanksgiving and was so happy with how it came out. I didn't paint it because all is actually calm in our home these days. (Believe it or not it's FAR from it sometimes!) I painted it because I want to remain calm inside despite whatever is going on around me. Call it my personal motto for this season in life. I'm tired of letting external factors and the emotions of those around me dictate the state of my spirit.

I love my three baby boys with my whole heart, but I'd be lying if I said that having three little boys four and under was easy. It can be stressful and exhausting if you let it be. But that steals the joy right out of it to be in that mentality. There is so much JOY to be found in having three little boys all home with me right now too, and I don't want to miss it. So when all three are crying at once, or somebody hit somebody, or I just put the baby down so I could make the other hungry boys lunch and the baby gets woken back up and is screaming and I can't make lunch very fast with just one hand while rocking back and forth to soothe the baby and I can't hear myself think because those other boys are breaking the sound barrier with the level of noise that has just errupted in our house (and yes, I know that you don't break the sound barrier with noise, you break it with speed...) And I feel like I could scream myself, this is what I start to think:

"They are all safe. They are healthy. They are clothed. They are about to be fed. There is nothing to be seriously upset or worried about. Don't let yourself get all bent out of shape right now." And then I drown out the noise in my own head with whatever worship song comes to mind first. Or I pray. Sometimes silently, sometimes out loud. Sometimes with a sense of humor, sometimes with my emotions barely hanging on by a thread. And those words of worship, or prayer, or praise have the power to change my heart, change my emotions, and change the atmosphere in our home. And that sign is a reminder on my wall to choose to be calm. To choose to make our home "bright".

The amazing thing is, since hanging it up, and since making it a point to be the calm anchor in our home rather than being drug around by the changing emotions of toddlers, our house has become much more calm!

I heard this song on the radio the other day and just loved it. Here are the lyrics:

Some days, life feels perfect.
Other days it just ain't workin.
The good, the bad, the right, the wrong
And everything in between.

Though it's crazy, amazing
We can turn a heart with the words we say.
Mountains crumble with every syllable.
Hope can live or die

So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won't shine and you don't know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak...
You speak Life, (oh oh oh oh oh oh) You speak Life. (oh oh oh oh oh oh)

Some days the tongue gets twisted;
Other days my thoughts just fall apart.
I do, I don't, I will, I won't,
It's like I'm drowning in the deep.

Well it's crazy to imagine,
Words from our lips as the arms of compassion,
Mountains crumble with every syllable.
Hope can live or die.

So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won't shine and you don't know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak...
You speak Life, (oh oh oh oh oh oh) You speak Life. (oh oh oh oh oh oh)

Lift your head a little higher,
Spread the love like fire,
Hope will fall like rain,
When you speak life with the words you say.

Raise your thoughts a little higher,
Use your words to inspire,
Joy will fall like rain,
When you speak life with the things you say.

Lift your head a little higher,
Spread the love like fire,
Hope will fall like rain,
When you speak life with the words you say.

So speak Life, speak Life.
To the deadest darkest night.
Speak life, speak Life.
When the sun won't shine and you don't know why.
Look into the eyes of the brokenhearted;
Watch them come alive as soon as you speak hope,
You speak love, you speak...
You speak Life, (oh oh oh oh oh oh) You speak Life. (oh oh oh oh oh oh)

You speak Life, (oh oh oh oh oh oh) You speak Life. (oh oh oh oh oh oh)

Some days life feels perfect.
 
Please listen to it, it will make you so happy :)
 
Speaking of listening to music, the other night Shaun and I were driving to home group and all three boys were crying in their car seats and Shaun looked at me and reached for my hand, smiled through the noise, and turned up the volume on the radio. He is one awesome husband :)
 
One more thing to add: I have learned that reading parenting books and getting advice of "what to do in certain situations" from others just doesn't seem to work all that well for me. It leaves me frustrated and upset when it doesn't work like it's "supposed" to. The BEST piece of advice I have ever heard is to take your kids to the Word in every situation, no matter how old they are. Speak scripture. Pray. And I understand why now. It's because the Word has power, it changes things, whether they understand what's happening or not. On Sunday morning I was getting all three boys ready for church and into the car by myself because Shaun was on the worship team and had to go early. As usual, crying broke out as I tried to wrestle them into their car seats in their big coats. "Mommy it's too tight!!" "Mommy my pants are falling down!!" "Mommy, I, tan't, see, my, back!!" and "I, tan't, see, my, chin!!" are some of the sentences that were being yelled through the wailing. My reaction was totally not me, it was the Lord. I just started praying out loud. "God, thank you for these tight car seat straps that will hold them in and keep them safe if we get in an accident. And thank you for car seats, they are expensive and we're blessed to have three of them. And thank you for big coats to keep us warm when it's freezing cold outside. Thank you for this beautiful van to ride in. Thank you for a church family we love, and a place to go to worship you this morning....." As I finished praying everyone had stopped crying, even Jaden. We rode to church in a beautiful, peaceful silence save for the worship music playing on the radio.
 
Ok, one more thing... In this whole quest for joy and peace to take over me and translate into our home, I have started praying over Drew each morning before we even go downstairs to breakfast. He really can set the tone of our day with his attitude and whether or not he shares or is happy because Isaiah tends to follow whatever he is doing. I have really seen joy begin to take root in him, and his beautiful smile when it lights his eyes is one of my very favorite things to see.
 
I don't want you to think from this post that my kids cry all the time. They are fun, energetic, happy boys, but they are also 4, 2 and 6 weeks old, and controlling their emotions just isn't even in their field of view at these ages. Whatever they're feeling, they let it out. And for whatever reason they all tend to be feeling the same way at the same time a lot. I mean, what the heck, at twenty six years old I am not all that good at controlling my emotions! Jesus is just doing something in me where I am learning that I just want Him to consume me. Less of me, more of Him. It's so, so, SO much better that way!