Friday, August 19, 2016


A few days ago,  I took the middle 3 (ages 12, 15, 17) to the doctor for check ups.  I know some of you may not do that after a certain age with your kids, but I still do.  I've had many health problems, so I always like to make sure I haven't passed any of that along.  Plus I like to visit with our pediatrician....I love her!! Each child came into an exam room alone with me and our pediatrician.  Our pediatrician has known them their whole lives, and she knows them well.  She will remember things about them from years past, all 5 of about amazing...that would be her.  On this day, Drew went first.  All went well...even the blood draw (which is typically a complete anxiety meltdown) was pretty smooth.  Bryna went next, and again all checked out shots or blood draws for her.  Of course she is the one who never sheds a tear.  Even when she was a baby and would get a shot, she would not cry.  Her little baby face would let out a big sigh and just look if to say, You're hurting my feelings.  Then it was Cal's turn.  Over the last few years, Cal has made huge strides in all things life deals him.  For those of you who don't know him, he has autism.  Going to the doctor was always a true nightmare for me (and for him), like literally I would have nightmares about it before and after; and it was NEVER EVER EVER smooth.  Our pediatrician has always been so accommodating and kind with him....she knows him well.  We discussed his progress, and she was more amazed than she was last year when he came in. I told her that out of my 5, he was  the easiest.  He doesn't do social media, or understand peer pressure, or know how to lie, or get involved with drama.  He is tidy, obedient and goes along with about anything we ask him to.  She nodded her head in agreement.  Who would have thought?  Certainly not I and probably not her.  He did everything she asked and answered all of the questions she asked him with confidence. happened, she told us he needed a shot and a blood draw.  I told her I would guess we would need to choose between the two, because I wasn't sure we would be successful at either.  He is a 17 year old young man, and although he's of very slim stature; he gets super human strength when he gets scared or he could lift a car, and I'm not joking even a little bit.  She said we should go for the shot.  I explained to him what was about to happen, and his face went from calm to pure panic; and he began shaking his head NO!  I knew right then and there that we would have a battle on our hands.  The petite little nurse came in, and we gave it a try in his arm.  He was in complete panic mode and tried to grab the needle from her hands.  Then she decided we should scoot him down to the end of the table, and she would try his leg.  NOPE...not happening.  We both declared defeat and decided that NPayne would have to take him back...EEEEKKK!! Bless their hearts.  When the nurse was telling our pediatrician that it wasn't going to happen, Cal got very upset and screamed "I hate shots!" and then he punched me in the arm HARD.  Immediately I saw a look of regret on his face.  While we were driving home, I looked over at him; and he was weeping silently but deeply.  I could see the sadness and disappointment in his face, and I was sad for him.  I knew that I couldn't ignore what had happened, but I needed to think about how to handle it with him effectively. Drew and Bryna were both silent in the backseat, but they both had such empathetic looks in their eyes; and I thought they might cry too.  It had been a long time, since I had seen Cal sad enough to cry.  I talked to him in the car and told him that hitting was never okay when you're angry, and I tried to give him words to use instead.  He listened and stared at me through his tears.  I could tell that he was so very sorry, because he was talking silently to himself which is one of his coping mechanisms.  Once we got home, I told him he needed to go to his room to think and calm down.  After about 20 minutes, I went upstairs to talk to him.  He was on Bryna's bed, and he was not crying and had composed himself.  I asked him if he had something he would like to say, and he said "I'M SORRY!"  I asked him what he was sorry for, and he said "For hitting you!"  His face said more than his words did,  I told him he was forgiven; and we talked about why hitting was not kind once again. Later that night, I went out to dinner alone.  It had been a long week.  Neil had been out of town, our house is in complete disarray due to renovations, the kids are all home adding to the disarray; and I was trying to work in the midst of the disarray.  I was a tad stressed, and to be honest; I had a little tantrum that afternoon; so alone I went.   I was sitting in the restaurant reflecting on the day's events and my son, when God reminded me of something big.  He reminded me that what had happened that day was full of miracles.  He reminded me of when Cal was a little boy and how things were hard.  There were days when I felt like I was failing him so big and days when I wondered if life would ever be easy again? Then He reminded me of Cal now, at 17,  and the conversation I had just had with our pediatrician about how he was the easy one. He reminded me that Cal has come so far...and He even gave me examples through memories of "little" big things he has accomplished.  Although Cal was sad today,  and it hurt my heart; God reminded me that Cal was understanding his emotions....something I was not sure would ever happen.  His sadness showed huge progress.  The fact that he was able to say, "I'm sorry for hitting you!" is a blessing and a miracle.  The fact that he was able to do everything our pediatrician asked him to and answer all of her questions was astonishing and a miracle.  The fact that he was able to recover, compose himself and go to school to see his teachers and classmates for a social gathering ..... that is an absolute miracle! Miracles are happening all around us, sometimes we just need to be reminded to look for them.  Thank God for reminding me and using my son to show me so many!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Photography can be a lonely job!

Addi and I attended a conference this past weekend called The Inspired Story.  It was designed to give photographers insight on bringing or keeping Jesus in your business and giving Him the glory.  There were lots of good stories and inspiration.  There were lots of stories about suffering, and how God blesses you during those times.  There was lots of learning.  I took away a lot, but one thing that really struck me was how one speaker said the business of photographry can be very lonely.  I've been stuck in a rut lately, and I think this is why.  The actual session is still as much fun and brings me as much joy as always, but the after part has become quite mundane.  I think this is why....loneliness.  I also think this may be why I've been turning down many weddings lately.  They are glorious to shoot, but then I edit and invest my time and emotions in people I may never see again.  When I photograph families, I usually always see them again.  Many of them have become my friends, and we have a connection.  Oftentimes when I shoot a wedding, the connection ends as soon as the images are delivered.  When I'm very busy with editing, I sit alone hunkered down with my coffee and music and work.  Sometimes it gets tedious, and  I end up with a stiff back and tired eyes; but I still enjoy it....until lately.  I think the lonely part is what has made it not as enjoyable as it use to be for me.  I've been doing this a long time now, and although I do really love alone time...too much of this kind of alone time takes its toll.  I'm feeling led to start looking for other things to photograph and to make a change in my business.  What that will look like....I don't know yet. 

School/Home School

As summer is quickly coming to a close, I am sad and excited.  Things are changing in our house physically and otherwise.  I will have at least one child at home with me for schooling this year, and I'm thrilled; but I'm also a tad nervous.  I want to make sure our time together is valuable.  She is excited about it, and I am too.  However as I've been searching for things that she is interested in learning (which don't necessarily involve academics or curriculum), I'm discovering that most classes and teachers still only offer times that are typically "after school hours".  I was kind of hoping to find the knitting class, art class, cooking class, etc. that were offered during school hours; but no luck yet.  Part of the lure of homeschooling is not using weekends for extra things, but preserving weekends for adventures and family.  As more and more people turn to homeschooling, I hope some of these things will become available.  For now, we will pick and choose a few and go from there.  I have another, who is contemplating, homeschooling this year.  I pray that whatever her decision, it will be best for her. As the school year approaches, I am excited about being actively involved in my kids' learning.  This is gonna be a good year!

Thursday, July 28, 2016


I'm in Colorado with my family, and it's been great! It's lovely here, and we've had so much fun together. Our accommodations are fairly roomy, but there's still the issue of waking people up if you try to go in the kitchen to make coffee. I don't wanna wake anyone too early...Paynes need sleep and lots of it. We got up early yesterday to take a train ride, so today is for sleeping in. However...somewhere along the last body has done this weird thing. It has switched things around in me, and now I can barely hold my eyes open past 10 pm and can barely stay asleep past 7:30/8:00. It's so weird and so wrong. Actually I don't mind getting up earlier as long as it's not by an alarm clock. I have enjoyed quiet mornings sipping coffee and meditating on all things big and little. Except our house is currently chaos right now as we are re-doing an addition that was once my closet and the room that held all my creations. My clothes and creations are now scattered about the living and dining rooms. 😳 It makes me crazy, but I know it will be worth it. I'm not sure how so many Paynes ended up with the "not tidy" "not organized" gene from NPayne, but they did. On the flip side, they also ended up with his love and passion for music, so that's a good thing! This morning my eyes popped open for good about 8:25, and I could not make them close; so I got up and snuck out of the condo. I'm currently sitting outside in the not too hot sun and drinking a vanilla latte in a cute little hippie coffee cafe. It's nice to sit and think in an organized peaceful place. I've been thinking a I do...which sometimes gets me in trouble. I think I may take a break. I don't really know what that means yet, but hopefully I will soon. Life is short, and there has not been enough focus on the good and love people have lately; and it's taking a toll. I'll keep writing, because it's just something I do; but I don't know about anything else yet. I haven't been very good about blogging over the last year or so, but I've been writing. Maybe I'll get back to daily blogging...positive stuff. I can tell you one thing...soul searching in the mountains is a blessing!

Friday, July 8, 2016


I tried to carry on as normally as I could today, but my brain was mush.  I got up, said my prayer of thanksgiving for another day, made my head hurt and my neck hurt; so I crawled back in bed.  I realized quickly that I wouldn't sleep, and I had a lot to do; so I made myself get up.  As I sat in the tax office waiting my turn to get tags for one of our cars, I couldn't focus.  I found myself being easily irritated by nothing really.  Once I was home, I was having a difficult time.  I told the kids we were going to the pool after I went to church for the prayer vigil.  Even at the prayer vigil, I couldn't focus.  I kept trying hard to listen to the words being spoken, but my mind was a fog.  I said, "Lord hear our prayers" along with everyone else, but honestly I didn't hear the prayers.  Even at the altar, my brain was mush.  I found myself thanking God for His goodness, but I couldn't find the words to ask Him to help with the fear and pain.  I couldn't focus.  We went to the pool, and I found myself sitting there watching them swim and trying to carry on as I normally would; but the tears fell.  My eyes were burning with a combination of mascara, sunscreen and tears; and so I went into the bathroom.  There in the stall, I sat and talked to God.  I told Him what He already knew....that my heart is heavy, that fear is seeping in, that I want to run but to where?  I told Him that I didn't know what to pray for, but I was assured that He knew.  The world is frightening me, and oddly enough I feel more and more like God is in control.  I don't know why things seem so out of control, but I know that He is more heartbroken about the recent shootings than any of us are.  I don't like the word, "hate"; and I don't allow it in our house.  Cal always asks me, "Why don't we say hate?".  I always answer with,"Hate is a strong word to use when we probably mean we really just don't like something."  Today I thought a lot about the word "hate" as my mind tried to take in all that has happened recently, and I decided that I do hate a few things....but one thing I really hate the most is HATE! I can honestly say I've never hated a person, and many others....don't understand what drives someone to act purely out of hate.  That is a good thing I guess, because if we did understand that; it would be quite scary.  We are all different....but we are all the same too; because we are all children of GOD...all of us, every single one.  God is love!  I just wish we were all love too.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

God Doesn't Give Us More Than We Can Handle....You Betcha He Doesn't!!

Sometimes I hear things, and I have to think about them for a looooong time.  Sometimes I hear things, and I immediately have a response.  One thing that I've heard repeatedly for years is this:
"God doesn't give you more than you can handle".  I am pretty certain I've even read that on plaques and wall hangings and other places as well.  That is one of those sayings that I thought about for a loooooong time.  After many painful life experiences, I started to get irritated when I would hear that phrase.  One time I even remember spouting off a response sort of like this: "Of course He doesn't.  He doesn't give you pain at all."  I don't believe God brings pain to our world and to us. I do believe that He allows things to happen that can be painful.  I also believe that He brings good from all circumstances....sometimes we may not see it, but someone else will.  Sometimes we have to search really hard to see it, and sometimes we don't see it for a long long time.  Why does He allow pain in our lives?  I don't know that answer.  People often say, "We will find out when we get to heaven".  Honestly I cannot even imagine entering heaven and thinking about anything but....WOW!  HERE I AM! Pain?  What pain?  I know that long ago in the garden, we chose free will; and part of free will is consequences...good or bad.  I also believe that God doesn't give us more than we can handle.  Sometimes He allows things, and they may seem like more than we can handle; because they are.  They are more than we can handle without Him.  I read this today in Jesus Calling which is what stirred up this post.

As You Get Out of Bed
As you get out of bed in the morning, be aware of My Presence with you.  You may not be thinking clearly yet, but I am.  Your early morning thoughts tend to be anxious ones until you get connected with Me.  Invite Me into your thoughts by whispering My Name.  Suddenly your day brightens and feels more user-friendly.  You cannot dread a day that is vibrant with My Presence.
You gain confidence through knowing that I am with you-that you face nothing alone.  Anxiety stems from asking the wrong question:  "If such and such happens, can I handle it?"  The true question is not whether you can cope with whatever happens, but whether you and I together can handle anything that occurs.  It is this you-and-I-together factor that gives you confidence to face the day cheerfully.  In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.  Psalm 5:3

O God, You are  my God, early will I seek You; my should thirsts for You;  my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.  Psalm 63:1

I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.  Philippine 4:13

Friday, June 24, 2016


Sometimes I wonder...okay actually often I wonder...what more is there? I am happy and have wonderful family, friends and more than I could ever need. I've rarely ever worked a job I didn't enjoy. We have a nice home, cars that run and good health (at least most of us). NPayne has a job that pays pretty well, provides insurance and some retirement. Still I this it? Neil doesn't love his job. It doesn't bring him joy, and I often think he's not reaching his potential or using his gifts. I'm not saying this just because he's my awesome husband and father of my children, but because I truly believe it. Neil has a gift in service. He serves so well, and he serves well alongside teens. He is a good leader. He is a good encourager. He is a good listener. He is a good example. He has always sacrificed, so I could work a job I loved (since I can't seem to find a job I love that pays enough to support the family).  He has sacrificed so our kids would have more than they need. He is good at his job, actually he is great at his job: but I wonder if there could be more for him. Would it be worth it for him to leave a secure, decent paying, insurance providing job for a new start? Leave it for something that would be hard and new and pay significantly less? Leave it for something where his family would have to make sacrifices for him? Leave it for something that would bring joy to so many...especially him. I think it would. Now I just have to convince him.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


I don't even know where to start...I don't know what to say...I don't know what to think, except that I'm sad and a little scared.  Things, in this our country, seem out of control.  Another shooting....49 people dead....for what?  For What?  Because someone didn't agree with who they love?  Because someone didn't agree with their lifestyle?  Because someone thought his way was the only way?  I haven't said anything regarding the shooting in Orlando, because honestly I didn't know what to say.  I didn't, but what I do know is this.....violence is never the answer.  Acting out of hate is never the answer.  Murder is never the answer.  I've tried hard to be careful in what I choose to read about this attack.  I've read a few posts on social media....kind and loving posts, and then I've read a few comments.  This is where I have to shut it down.  People take someone's genuine hurt and concern for the people of Orlando, for the state of our country and turn it into a battle about who is right and who is wrong.  I don't understand....I just don't!  How could someone gun down innocent people because they didn't live the way he thought they should?   How can people be so cruel to those who are heartbroken who are trying to show support and love, because they don't support the LGBT community?  I'm gonna say it out loud, right doesn't matter what you believe about homosexuality; nobody should die because they are gay.  It doesn't matter if you support the LGBT community or not, cold blooded murder is not acceptable.  God didn't orchestrate this....God loves all of His people....every single one of us.  He doesn't "punish" this way.  We don't all agree, that's part of free choice, part of being human, part of life; and the good thing is....we don't have to....we live in The Home of the Free.  BUT....we need to come together during tragedies, not apart.  We keep getting further and further apart, and making it all about "I'm right, and you're wrong!" That is not what our country was born on, that is not what our country is suppose to be about.  We are suppose to live in a civilized country, where people can agree to disagree and express themselves and their beliefs, in a civilized manner.  I keep hearing and reading things like...."It's so tragic, but...."  There should be no "but", it's tragic....and devastating and horrific and excuse.  If you believe homosexuality is a sinful act, IT DOESN'T MATTER!  If you believe homosexuality is not a sinful act, IT DOESN'T MATTER!  People trying to justify this massacre is just plain ridiculous. We, as a people of the USA, are out of control.  The government is out of control, the election is out of control, the country is out of control, the world is out of control.  When innocent people are massacred, and we are arguing about whether we support the LGBT community or not; we are out of control.  We have missed the point....NOBODY DESERVES TO BE GUNNED DOWN, BECAUSE OF WHO THEY ARE, WHO THEY LOVE OR THEIR LIFESTYLE....NOBODY!  I've never ever classified my family & friends as gay, straight, black, white, asian, single, married, divorced, Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Jewish, etc. ....I've just been grateful they are my family & friends and love me for who I am.  I'm praying for the people of Orlando. I'm praying for our country.  I'm praying for our leaders.  I'm praying for the people who wrote some of the horrendous comments I've come across, and that they will see that this isn't about being "right".  It's about coming together and figuring out how to keep this from continuing to happen!!  PERIOD!!!!  I hope Jesus comes back soon.  But until then.... I think I'm gonna write in "Savior" on the election ballot, because He's the only one who can save us from ourselves.

Happy 24th Wedding Anniversary NPayne!!

Happy 24th Wedding Anniversary NPayne! We've been together more than half our lives and have grown up together....and are still growing. 24 years ago today...we jumped in feet first and didn't really think about anything but that we loved each other hard...and that would be enough. We both just knew the rest would work itself out. You have been by my side through the best and worst moments of my life...held my hand through the good and the not so good and all the in-betweens. What in the world was I thinking when I said....I AM NEVER GETTING MARRIED all those years ago? I don't know, but I'm thankful God orchestrated things differently. I'm thankful that He softened my heart through you. I'm thankful He has shown me the best kind of love through you. I'm thankful for your calm, rational and loving approach in everything you do. I'm thankful for those 5 beautiful people we have and that you are their dad, because there is not a better person to guide them, support them, encourage them, and love them than you. God has taught me so much through you, but mostly He has taught me about love, kindness, gentleness and trust in this life we have together. Through you, God has shown me that there is always something to be grateful for and what a servant's heart looks like. Once again, we are apart on our anniversary; because you are out doing what you do best....serving and loving others. So today, I just need to say THANK YOU, with all that I have, to my handsome hunk of a rockstar are definitely the better half in this duo!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

May 28th.....The Best Day of 1999!!

Happy 17th Birthday Callahan Leigh Payne! I'm so grateful you were born. You have taught me about life, perspective and appreciating the little things more than anyone I know. You are the best brother in the history of ever! We have all learned about being flexible, accepting people for who they are and unconditional love through you! Your beautiful face and soul make my days soooo good! Funny how when you were little, our days together were very challenging; and now that you're approaching adulthood, our days together are easy and lovely. I love every single thing about you my precious boy. You make me a better person, you make everyone who knows you, a better person! I adore you! Thank God for Cal!