Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Okay....So It's Not As Hard As I Thought....

So I finally found a FREE website builder, and it has not been as hard as I originally thought. The website service, that I had paid for, did NOT offer what I wanted; and it was EXTREMELY difficult to use. So.....I searched online and found this amazing FREE site builder and am in the process of building.....oh and I did get a refund from the original website service. I should have it up and running soon. What is the hold up? ask. Well....that would be the holidays, spending time with my children, taking care of my chores, sleepovers, my birthday...oh and the slowest rebuilt laptop in the world. NPayne is in the process of shopping around for a rebuilt Mac Book, and I absolutely CANNOT wait to get my hands on it.....literally. As for now, I'm making due with what I have; and I am grateful that I have anything to use at all. Stay tuned and check back is coming soon!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday Sermon Summary.....Unwrap The Gift!

Today in church the sermon was titled...."When It's All Said and Done".....and based on the scripture John 3:16....
Pastor Rick, one of our Associate Pastors, led the sermon and was very inspirational. He told the story of Edna....a sweet lady who lived in a nursing home. Years ago, Pastor Rick use to visit Edna each year at Christmas and take her a fruit cake that some folks from his church baked. He noticed one year that the fruit cake that he had brought her the previous year was still sitting on the mantle in its original tin container. Nonetheless he left another fruitcake. Then on the 3rd year, he noticed that there were 2 fruitcakes still sitting on her mantle when he went back to deliver her the annual Christmas fruitcake. He talked about how her gifts sat unwrapped year after year, and how that is what happens to a lot of people. We get so busy during Christmas that we forget to unwrap the gift.....the gift of Jesus....remember that is what Christmas is about. For God So Loved the World that He gave His One and Only Son! God gave us the most precious it's up to us to unwrap it, treasure it, change ourselves with it, change others with it. Pastor Rick said if we unwrap it and are filled up with the Holy Spirit, then we will want to change ourselves for the better....we will want to serve others and help others....we will want to shine the LIGHT OF CHRIST....we will just want to be better people. If you haven't had a chance to unwrap the gift of Jesus, it's never too late....and you don't have to do it on Christmas! That gift is always available.

It's All About Me....

Since my birthday was yesterday, and it was all about me day :)....I decided to write a post about ME. Things I do, don't, wish, won't, cherish, love, prefer, don't care for, etc. So here ya go....
I prefer baths over showers.
I don't like chocolate much, but I can eat my weight in pastries.
I'm not a vegetarian, but I rarely eat meat.
I cut my own hair and my daughters' hair.
I've only had one pedicure in my entire life.
Sleep is my most coveted need.
I have had migraines my whole life.
It takes me about 15 minutes (if I'm not interrupted) to get ready...shower, hair, makeup, and dressed!
I laugh really loud when I think something is funny....even in church!
I will oftentimes break out in dance mode just because I can.
I am extremely sentimental but barely sympathetic.
I cry easily.
I LOVE the beach.
Amusement park rides that spin make my physically ill.
I prefer trucks over cars.
I could take photos every day all day.
I am not computer saavy.
I never change lightbulbs.
I've been changing diapers for almost 13 years.
I like surprises.
I'm not a fan of heights.
I love wallpaper.
I don't like being scared or scary movies.
I LOVE a bargain.
I prefer old stuff over new stuff.
I love coffee.
Anthropologie is my favorite store to browse and wish in.
Target is my favorite store to buy in.
I have rheumatoid arthritis.
I rarely paint my fingernails but always paint my toenails.
I prefer costume jewelery over expensive jewelery....except my wedding ring of course.
My ears are pierced, but I always forget to wear earrings.
I have an addiction to decorative pillows, vintage linens, and aprons.
My favorite color is pink.
I like to dress up, and I like to dress casual.
I wear my hair in a ponytail 5 out of 7 days.
I love clean sheets.
I like things to compliment each other, but I don't like things to match.
I love the smell of clean laundry and babies.
I get nervous in elevators and parking garages.
I love other people's junk.
I don't like alarm clocks.
I never shop at a department store.
If I get woken up during the night, I can't go back to sleep; and I can be quite grumpy.
I love handmade things....especially clothes.
I don't like exercising but love the way I feel when I do.
I am not a fan of TV, but love the radio.
I like stuff to be tidy and organized.
I love treasures: my babies' little toes, kisses on the lips from my son, love notes from my girls, when NPayne brings me a coke from Sonic, rocking Elliot, Saturday Night Disco with my family, reading with my children, listening to my children pray.
I love to watch the eyes of my children light up at the littlest of things.
I am honored to be Mrs. NPayne!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

It's My Party And I'll Clean If I Want To.....

Today is my birthday! WOOHOO! Another year that I've survived healthy and happy and so very blessed that I can't even begin to tell you all! As I've stated before, birthdays in the Payne house are a BIG DEAL!!!! BIG....HUGE....GIGANTIC!
For my birthday I slept really really late...received tons of "Happy Birthday" texts, FB bday wishes, and phone calls....was served lunch in bed....went shopping with NPayne and my 5 children....had a fabulous mexican dinner out....and opened gifts! Gifts, although quite nice and very practical, gave me a little bit of a complex. When I tell you what I received you will see why....
scouring pads
pot scrubber
dusting mit
whole new set of cookware someone trying to tell me something here? Do they think I need to clean more, or do they think I clean too often? Either way.....I cleaned nearly the entire house this evening, with some help from my oldest girls....and honestly that was the perfect way to end my day....well that and a little "Just Dance" on the new Wii that NPayne bought! And just so you aren't worried that all of my gifts consisted of cooking and cleaning supplies....I also received some cash for shopping and am in the process of getting a MAC book! However the best gift is always hanging with my family and now bustin' a move with the kids and the Wii!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

WORDFUL WEDNESDAY....Merry Christmas!

Visit Angie's blog for more Wordful Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

WEBSITES ARE HARD! soon! I've been working on building a website, with some help from NPayne, and let me tell ain't no blog. I is COMPLICATED! Setting up a blog is a piece of cake compared to a website. I'm hoping to have it finished in the next few days, but until then....if you go to there are some groovy little silhouettes and these words.....COMING SOON!

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Christmas!

Although we don't have near the decorations that we have in the past, and we did not buy our traditional fresh cut tree, and the gifts are not all wrapped, and our stockings are not hung by the chimney with's finally beginning to feel look a lot like Christmas. My children are on Christmas break....we have lots of plans to spend all of our available time together and with family and friends. We will bake more cookies for our neighbors and then the birthday cake for Jesus' birthday. We will go to church on Christmas Eve and listen to Drew and Bryna sing in the children's choir. We will open gifts with our family over the next few days. We will go to Six Flags, the movies, Target to let the children use their gift cards. We will sleep late and stay in our pjs all day. We will make lots of messes and clean up. We will play outside a lot. But what I'm looking forward to the most is.....just being....and doing it without having somewhere to be at a certain time every day. I am looking forward to the break from the schedule and just being together.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Photographer In The Making!

This is what happens when Addi gets hold of the camera.... the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!
Like Mother....Like Daughter!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Baking from scratch is something my girls LOVE to do....

....even Cal enjoys helping!
As much as I love spending time with my children
and the taste of homemade cookies.....
....I'm perfectly okay with using Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker!

Of course when you make your own dough,
you can also make dough boys from the leftovers!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Some Things I Am Starting To Realize....

There are some things that I am starting to realize....

-I was NOT fat in high school.
-My children know more about some things than I do....especially Math.
-I need to start exercising.
-My parents were right about many things.
-The only way I'll ever get rid of my post pregnant pooch is with plastic surgery.
-I need to focus on the present.
-Worrying is not good.
-My dream of my own private master bathroom will probably never become a reality.
-Drinking 8 glasses of water per day is TORTURE.
-I still can't walk in high heels.
-My husband rocks (okay I realized that a long time ago).
-There's a lot of good to be done.
-Our garage will never be clean.
-I never did like tight fitting jeans.
-I'm getting better with age (maybe not physically but spiritually).
-Life can be hard, but there's always a bright side.
-My daughter will be driving in a little over 3 years.
-I've been changing diapers for almost 13 years.
-You do get age spots with age....go figure.
-Love can change most anything.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Sunday School Summary

Today in my SS class, we were posed the question: How do you feel RIGHT NOW about Christmas? Unfortunately most of the answers given (none by me....surprisingly) were along the lines of....stressed, overwhelmed, busy, etc. There was only one really positive answer....I like seeing it through the eyes of my children. Then Cathy, our teacher for the day, had someone read Luke 2:6-20

6While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.
7And she (B)gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.
9And (C)an angel of the Lord suddenly (D)stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
10But the angel said to them, "(E)Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
11for today in the city of David there has been born for you a (F)Savior, who is [a](G)Christ (H)the Lord.
12"(I)This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14"(J)Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men [b](K)with whom He is pleased."
15When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."
16So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.
17When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.
18And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.
19But Mary (L)treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.
20The shepherds went back, (M)glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

We then discussed how shepherds were thought of lower class males during the time of Jesus' birth. How they were usually single males....oftentimes the last in a line of siblings who was not entitled to any land as inheritance. Shepherds were not held in high regard. But when you read the passage above, you notice that when the angel told them of Jesus' birth....they listened, they believed, they acted, they shared the news, then they GLORIFIED and PRAISED God! Hmmmm....don't sound quite so lowly now, do they?
Then we discussed the innkeepers especially during the time of Jesus' birth....they were all swamped due to the census, none of them had room in their inns, there was one innkeeper who took pity on Mary and Joseph and put them up in his stable....but he didn't actually allow them in. Now we were not saying that the innkeepers were necessarily unkind, but maybe they were stressed, overwhelmed, busy....sort of like our answers when asked how we were feeling about Christmas. Then Cathy posed the question....Who do you want to be this season: the shepherd or the innkeeper? WOW! I am definitely a little of both at this time of year, because the few weeks leading up to Christmas are always busy and overwhelming for me; BUT honestly once my children are out of school....things settle down and I start to relax a lot more. The point Cathy was trying to make was this....during this time....whether you're feeling stressed, overwhelmed, overjoyed, excited, whatever....take the time to remember your blessings, experience joy, and think about how you can share the story of the birth of our savior. At the end of our lesson, we each had to write down things we were feeling joy about....our blessings this time of year....and how we are sharing the story of the baby! Then she asked us to take one thing off of each of those lists and practice it every day for this next week....YES HOMEWORK! Actually although I never liked homework and still don't, I think this homework will be much more valuable than any homework I've ever had!

Friday, December 11, 2009


the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma

I have someone that I love who is an addict.....she is a very close relative....she is my cousin. Being an only child, I "adopted" 2 of my cousins (sisters) as my own sisters. I love them both dearly....we live close to each other, and I love spending time with them always, the other when she's sober. My cousin, S, has had an addiction problem for a very long long time. She is addicted to alcohol and drugs as well, and as much as I hate to say it....she will do whatever it takes to get them. Although she's a fun loving, sweet, beautiful woman....the addiction has taken its toll....she is a different person when she's under the influence; and she doesn't make good or safe decisions. She often puts herself and others in very immediate danger by driving and doing many other inappropriate things. She has lived with my mother, off and on, for about 4 years; since my dad died. And although she has been very helpful to my mom....who is disabled....there have been many many many times when she has acted inappropriately, disrespectfully, dangerously, and borderline abusively to her. The worst part about addiction, in my opinion, is that S really has lost all control of who she is. The addiction has taken over her mental and physical capacity, and she really only thinks about how she can manipulate any situation to get her next fix. I recently made the decision....and it has been one of the hardest things I've ever distance my family from her. Unfortunately 2 of my children already know about S's disease, because I felt I had to tell them. When their Moo, my mom, was suppose to show up at birthday parties and other events but never did; because S was too drunk to drive her or never came home that day....I finally had to tell them why Moo wasn't able to come to these things. And sure if given enough notice, NPayne or myself will always go get Moo and bring her over; but more often than not....that's not how it plays out. It was and is heartbreaking to watch her destroy herself. A few weeks ago, S dropped my mom off at the hospital for a treatment that she receives and never came back to get her. For the first time EVER; I got really angry at her. I mean ANGRY....I was also very irritated with my mom....who didn't call us to tell us she was abandoned there until she had been sitting there for 4 hours. I know her intent was "not to be a burden" which is always her intent, but I have to tell her time and time again, that she's not a burden....CALL ME! I told S and the rest of my family that I could no longer stand by and be a part of this and watch her destroy her life and treat my mom this way. She has since promised that she will go into rehab after the first of the question is Why wait? Why not go now? I think my family all knows the answer....she's buying time, trying to smooth things over and get back in our good graces in hopes that we will just forget it. And honestly that is what has happened in the past....too many times to count. After speaking to a few mentors and a counselor, I really feel that the decision I have made is the right one. And although I know my sweet mother has high hopes that S will go into rehab, I really believe it's only a matter of time before she won't come home, or lose another job, or come home with some strange guy again. I keep trying to tell my mom that S is sick....she has a disease, and even though S (and I think my mom) think she can stop on her own....she can't. The disease, the addiction, has complete control over her. I made the decision not to support her or continue to enable her, and I will tell you it is a horrifying thought as to what will happen to S if and when my mom ever turns her out of her house. She has nowhere to go, her own sister and mother will not allow her to live with them any longer; because of the choices she's made due to the addiction. I don't blame them one bit. She is not welcome at my house any longer either. My mom has the hardest decision to make here, because as much as I, my aunt, my cousin J, can all say that we are not going to stand by and watch her destroy herself; it's my mom who ultimately has to put her out on the street. That's TOUGH! I spoke to Cindy, a pastor and counselor, at my church yesterday; and she talked a lot about forgiving and anger when you have someone in your life who has wronged you. What I had to explain to Cindy was that I don't have any anger towards S, and I have already forgiven her for every single thing she's ever done; but what I am so struggling with is the guilt and just plain sadness that I feel. It's a horrible thing to think about cutting yourself off from someone you love and who needs such desperate help, but when that person refuses the help time and time again and continues to manipulate and endanger your family....somethings gotta give. Truly deep down in my heart, I believe that if S doesn't seek some professional help; she will end up dying a miserable death....either out on the street, due to the addiction, or at the hands of a crazy person that she's sold herself to once again to get the quick fix she so longs for. I can't bear to think about literally makes me sick to my stomache....but what I was recently told by a dear mentor friend of mine is that ultimately, it's not our fault. That is hard to swallow for me, because I feel like I should continue to help her; but what I've just realized is that she doesn't want help. She's not at that place yet. She wants to pretend like she does, only to manipulate, and get what she really satisfy her addiction. It hurts so much to see someone I love so much be completely taken over by something so evil as addiction. The only comfort that I have is that I know, without a doubt, that Jesus LOVES her as much as he did before she was even born. And I know, without a doubt, that He is carrying her. She just needs to let Him.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Somethings A Brewin'!

Something big is brewing....I'm being nudged in an enormous way, BUT I can't reveal anything just yet....because I don't know what I'm suppose to reveal just yet. I'm not sure of the details, of whom I will be serving, of....well....a lot of things! But I know that God is speaking to me.....nudging me along in this direction! As soon as I have a clue as to how, what, where....I'll share more.
Until then.....some of my favorite photos from this weekend's sessions!

Friday, December 4, 2009

THE BIG 40!!!

Happy Birthday Sam!!!
Forty ain't so bad, BUT....tomorrow will wake up with gray hair, need readers to see, have all sorts of new body aches, get horrible indegestion after eating pizza, need to go to bed by 8:45, have to write everything down so you don't forget it, and start wearing socks with sandals.
BUT you know what they don't get older, you get better!

Elliot wishes you a Happy Birthday too!
We love Mr. Sam!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Needed This....

I needed this....maybe some of you needed it as well.

Matthew 11:28-30
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I haven't mentioned the twin boys lately....
but this is one of the things I love best about keeping them.
This is what it would be like if Cal had brothers.....
don't get me wrong, he adores his sisters;
but he sure is enjoying a little more testosterone around here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's Christmas Time....Time For My Soap Box....And My Many Other Issues, and there are many!

If you know me at all or have been reading my blog for the last year, you will know that although I LOVE the true meaning of Christmas....I am not a huge "Christmas and all that goes along with that" fan. After my treasured Thanksgiving passes, it's a downward spiral for me for the next 3 weeks....there's tons to do, presents to buy with very little money to buy them with, baking to be done, invitations to this and that, parties, cookie exchanges, ornament exchanges, luncheons, shopping, crowds, parades, Christmas cards, candlelighting, decorating, caroling, etc. Have I ever mentioned that busyness overwhelms me? Well it does! As much as I enjoy many of the things I just listed (especially Christmas cards and baking)....I get completely overwhelmed by it all and honestly sometimes a little annoyed. Now for my soapbox....feel free to stop reading now....I believe that Christmas is about Jesus....plain and simple! I love that His birthday is celebrated in so many ways, and I think it's wonderful IF.....that is why we are really going to all the trouble and mayhem planning and organizing for all of these things.....for HIS birthday! Do we really need to exchange an ornament or a dozen cookies to celebrate the birth of Our Savior? Now I know what some of you are's the Christmas spirit, and for most it probably is; but for me....the Christmas spirit comes after all the hulabaloo and chaos has settled down....for me it comes on Christmas Eve when we are at church celebrating the birth of Christ....or when I'm thinking about the angel (from the angel tree) opening his/her gift....or when I'm serving or hosting a table full of broke, hungry people for dinner at our church's monthly dinner....when we come home from church on Christmas Eve and set out (for Santa) a piece of Jesus's birthday cake that we baked especially for His birthday.....that's when I feel the "Christmas spirit"! Now I do have to get past the fact that we are leaving the cake for Santa, because I have issues (stemming back to childhood) with the Claus family as well....I'm sure Sinter Klaus was a nice enough gentleman; but still not a fan....that's all spelled out in a previous post from this time last year, so I won't get into that again. As I said, it's not that I don't enjoy many of these's just that I oftentimes feel like it's out of control,excessive and for the wrong reasons. Jesus doesn't care one iota about a Christmas card or decorating a tree. Actually I think He would think it was perfectly okay if we didn't do most of those things and just spent all the time, that we would have at parties and gift exchanges, in His word or serving another! I know many many many people don't agree and think all these activities and events are just part of the season, and that's perfectly okay....everyone has his/her opinion about the season; and since this is my blog....I'm sharing mine here and now. I'm just venting about stating how I feel during this time of year....I don't believe in overabundance or excessiveness. In fact it gets on my last nerve if you want to know the truth. I know that I am so very fortunate to live in a house, have food to eat, clothes to wear, clean water, and the other basic necessities of life plus many many many extras; and honestly I use to never really think about how fortunate I was to have those things and was never really truly grateful! So when my husband's company owners use to treat us to a very extravagant and expensive Christmas party and dinner, I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it was great. But today if they still did that....I don't even know if I would seems so wasteful to spend tens of thousands of dollars to feed perfectly healthy and some very wealthy individuals, who spent a small fortune on their outfit for the night, when there are people literally in our own neighborhood starving and homeless. There are so many of us who focus so much on living in abundance and materialism that we can't even see the needs around us. Christmas time seems to be one of the worst times of the year as far as abundance, excessiveness and materialism go. I use to be that way and am by no means Mother Teresa, and I still struggle with wants vs. needs; but I have been praying and searching for what God is leading me to do as far as "stuff" goes. Simply I just want to celebrate the birth of Jesus like we should celebrate it every day of the praising, thanksgiving, and serving! I'm not saying a LITTLE extra celebrating this time of year is a bad thing....I'm saying that A LOT of extra celebrating this time of year without Jesus at the center is....well....not for me! JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON....sometimes we forget that!

Monday, November 30, 2009

I've Been Busy

So my photography business is keeping me REALLY BUSY which is a blessing and a ton of fun! I'm trying NOT to neglect my Thinking Out Loud blog, but I have to admit that my photography blog has been seeing a lot more action as of late. Just so you will know what's been keeping me so busy and away from blogging.....We did these photos yesterday of some of our dear friends. Here are a few of my favorites. I ADORE this photo with all my heart.....
I guess you could say, I heart this photo.

. I LOVE this photo....mainly because Ashley is in a tree (whoop)
with the help of her dad all the while never taking off the stilettos.....AND because Ryan (the youngest standing beside his mom)
was a winking machine. See him winking! Help Me Henry....pinch that boy's cheeks.
I absolutley adore this photo as well.
What a sweet family.

Then there's Ashley again.....Super model student!
I mean seriously....can she work it or what?

She is not only gorgeous but so much fun!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

All I want for Christmas is..... ....oh and world peace!
The likelihood of me receiving either of those things is basically zilch....null and in a gazillion,
so I guess I'll just keep hinting around about the cute quilted rocking chair
I found....oh and that necklace from Lisa Leonard! NPayne if you're reading this....
take the hint and run with fast and hard!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving 2009!

I may not have everything I want, but I have everything I need.
And for that I'm thankful and extremely blessed!
I thank God for allowing me to live in the USA,
for blessing me with wonderful family and friends,
for my health, for my church, and for sending Jesus Christ as our Savior!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordful Wednesday!

Enjoying the piano playing and singing
without her knowing that I was watching....
.....loving those sweet little feet dangling beneath the bench.....

OUGHT OH.....BUSTED....she caught me snapping photos and admiring her!
She didn't mind....she kept right on playing.
For More Wordful Wednesday, visit Angie's blog.


This morning, Drew and Bryna decided to make books. They each got out some paper and the markers and water paints and dove right in. Drew said, " do you spell Color?" So I told her. Then she said, "How do you spell family?" Again I answered and then don't know how to spell those words? She said..."Yes, I just want to make sure I get them right." Remember she's my very detail oriented child. A few moments later, she brought over the cover to show me....It said, "My Color Family" with all sorts of colorful designs on the front. "Very Nice", I said. A few moments later, Drew asked Bryna what her book was called; and she said "My Colors." SILENT PAUSE "Humph.....that sounds a lot like my book", said Drew. Then there was a pause.....and Drew said triumphantly, "I'm also going to put the copyright sign on my book!"

My Heart Giggled

I came home from having coffee with a few friends last night. I spoke to NPayne for a bit, grabbed myself a little snack and headed to my computer. When I went to sit down, I noticed this sitting on my keyboard. When I was close enough to see the handwriting, I knew immediately who had written it.
I picked it up and read...."I Love U Mom and Dad"! sweet of little B to leave us such a sweet note before she went to bed. As I walked back into the living room to make sure NPayne had seen it, I happened to flip over to the backside and immediately started to giggle....
It said....."Bryna Payne"..... as if I would have no idea who wrote it, or much less that it was Bryna PAYNE....not just Bryna! I love it when my children do things like makes my heart melt! She is a dumpling!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Don't hesitate....don't wait....don't walk, RUN as fast as you can to check out my photography blog. I just posted new photos from a session yesterday. I am so excited, and I appreciate the support I have already received from so many in starting this new chapter....this new adventure! Come along for the ride, it's going to be FUN! Click on the link on my sidebar!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wait For It....Wait For It....

A Reveal Is On The Horizon....COMING SOON....Just Around The Corner....In The Finishing Stages....On Its Way....oh you get the picture (that was a clue for those of you who love to try to figure it out)! Do you know what the reveal is going to be? Wait For It....Wait For It!!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

MUMS The Word!

So....many of you know that I love my church, and I love the pastors at my church. And most of you know that I really love Cindy....our associate pastor. She has been at our church, since before we joined; so honestly I have no idea how long she's been there....but it's been a long time. She baptized NPayne, she has been my shepherd many many times; and I respect and love her. In fact, I want to be her when I grow up....even though she is only a few years older than I....she seems is much wiser. She is truly one of the funniest, kindest, most honest people I have ever met. She is a fabulous speaker and writer, and she writes a column for our local newspaper every other week. On November 4th, she wrote an article....this article caused quite an uproar by some; but it also caused most people to realize that what they had been thinking all along....she was bold enough to say out loud. So her article....

Wednesday, Nov. 04, 2009
Ban the Mums, Feed a Child
Now that homecoming season is over, I can no longer hold it in.
How did the homecoming mum situation get so out of control?
Surely no one will argue with me that homecoming mums and garters have become increasingly hideous-looking, over-sized, over-the-top and expensive. I saw some that probably cost $250 — with lights and boas an entire stuffed animal collections attached. Did you see all those high school and middle school girls bowed over by the sheer girth of these mums?
At the game I attended, I saw two girls with what I call four-plex mums approached by a mom who said, "Girls, your mums are beautiful."
She was lying, of course.
One answered in a strained voice, "I can’t wait to get it off."
Somehow we’ve created a bizarre custom where for one, maybe two days, guys and girls spend too much money trying to outdo each other with giant, ugly things that everyone despises.
Here’s my problem: I’m a pastor and sometimes I see the world through a different set of lenses. Lately, I’ve been painfully aware that we have hungry children all around us — not I-need-to-go-to-McDonald’s hungry — I’m talking about starvation hungry.
Our church partners with the GCISD schools in a Weekend Food Program where certain children, identified by the school nurses as the poorest of poor, receive a packet of supplemental food in their backpacks for the weekend. Why? The school nurses were seeing children arrive on Mondays lethargic, with stomach cramps, unable to concentrate. Why? They hadn’t eaten since their free school lunch the previous Friday.
Currently, we are supplying weekend food for 450 kids for $6 per child, per month. These aren’t starving children in Africa, they are right here in the classroom with your child and mine.
The cost is the same for feeding children in at least one program in Africa with local ties.
A former Colleyville resident started a children’s feeding program in Africa because his heart was wrenched by children in Kenyan schools lying on the floor, faint from hunger. Steve Peifer feeds a child for a month for $6 through
This year, each outrageous mum represented to me 33 hungry children who could be fed for a month. 33 children fed for a month! If just one high school gave up mums and fed children instead, they could feed almost 17, 000 children for a month in Africa or provide Weekend Food for all 450 children locally for over three years!
If you are a florist or a have a mum business, don’t bother to e-mail me an angry letter; we all know traditions are not easily moved or shifted. Instead, get busy designing the cool ribbon or button everyone could wear instead which says, "I banned a mum and fed 33 children."
Something needs to change.
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor and writer.

After the article was published, she was swarmed with emails from all over the world....yes ALL OVER THE WORLD....about this topic. Most were very encouraging and full of gratitude but some were....well NOT! Below is her rebutal article....

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009
Real Life
"Ban a Mum, Feed a Child" ran in this column two weeks ago, on Nov. 4.
In it, I suggested homecoming mums and garters are an over-the-top, expensive tradition which seems crazy when we have hungry children around us.
I highlighted programs that feed children locally and in Africa for $6 a month in which 33 children could be fed for a month for the cost of a homecoming mum.
To me, it was just an interesting point and allowed me to vent.
I was surprised then, to receive e-mails and phone calls from all over the world, because of the power of the Internet.
Overwhelmingly, the e-mails were positive. The column seemed to put into words what others had been feeling, too.
"These mums are a sign of excess and are ridiculously ugly."
"We are surrounded by children who need help while most of us have more than we need."
"This bizarre custom is so wasteful."
"How do students feel who can’t afford outlandish mums?"
"A quaint tradition has been hijacked by a tendency to spend whatever to make it bigger and better than everyone else’s."
"You were being conservative when you estimated the most expensive mums were $250; one in Southlake was documented as costing $650."
A 10-year-old, Benjamin Singel of Grapevine, designed a homecoming button the same day the article published which read "I fed 33 children."
This little guy has his own button business and got right to work.
I learned in the past, students have already attempted charitable alternatives to mums, including giving to Make-a-Wish Foundation, Water is Basic for water wells in Africa and an organization supporting injured Marines.
The negative e-mails mostly came from florists reminding me their income feeds children and supports charities.
"Why pick on hard working florists and not those who drive a Lexus, buy $200 bottles of wine or Rolex watches?"
"Why not write about what is spent on band or cheerleader uniforms?"
"Why not knock on doors of some of the mansions around here and ask them to downsize?"
I heard from flower growers everywhere who think Texas homecoming mums are made with live flowers.
One flower farmer from Ecuador wrote, "Growing and selling baby’s breath feeds my 1-year-old."
I didn’t have the heart to tell him I had never seen baby’s breath on a homecoming mum — stuffed animals, boas, lights, yes, but not baby’s breath.
Flower growers were shut out of homecoming long ago.
Florists insist that their homecoming mum business allows them to purchase fresh flowers from growers.
Could we ever go back to one simple live mum and a few ribbons? One ribbon could read, "I supported an Ecuador flower grower and fed 30 children."
That would be a pretty long ribbon, but, then again, we’re used to that.
One friend coached me saying, "Don’t you know the world economy depends on Americans buying stupid stuff they don’t need?"
For the record, I love fresh flowers.
I buy them.
I give them to friends and family.
Our church uses fresh flowers in worship every Sunday and lots and lots of them on holidays.
I’ve even written entire columns about the power of a single flower to change one’s outlook on life.
I don’t recall hearing from even one florist then.
A few attacked me as arrogant, harsh and found my "remarks were not becoming a pastor."
"You are what is wrong with society," one said.
"You do not have a clue about much ... but then again, you are Methodist."
"Divide the price of new synagogues and sanctuaries by $6 and see how many children you could feed."
One criticized me for being too slow in realizing we had hungry children in our area.
Some had no problem banning mums, but didn’t want to feed needy children.
"Stop sending food and medicine; you are enabling them"
"We have starving kids because we are a nation cursed by God."
Or, the stunningly racist e-mail declaring we not feed Africans, nor black people in the United States, and said "our African president will turn the U.S. into a third-world country in four years."
He closed that charming e-mail asking me to pray. I am, but not for the reasons he thinks.
My latest insights:
1. When you speak your mind, watch out.
2. Even good traditions can continue past the sensible point.
3. Don’t mess with florists.
4. This seems to be a heated dialogue between parents and florists. I wonder what students think?
5. We all have excesses we could give up to help others, me included.
6. We are all connected. What we do here, matters to people in Ecuador, Africa, all across the planet.
7. And, I’m certainly not alone in believing something needs to change.
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor and writer.

No matter if you agree or disagree, it definitely gives you something to think about. I know that we are not here to judge, but we are here to serve. I also know that I believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with kids celebrating homecoming....getting dressed up....going to a football game....having dinner....even buying a's all about perspective and moderation. That's my opinion. I also know that if my girls go to homecoming, I will dig this article out to remind them; and I know.....without a doubt....that they will agree to donate to hungry children. Will they wear a mum....maybe....but it won't cost $250! That I can guarantee you.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm So Excited....And I Just Can't Hide It....

I'm about to lose control, and I think I like it.....I like it!
I just uploaded a trial version of Adobe Lightroom....woohoo!!!! I can't wait to sit down for a few hours a few minutes and experiment!!!
I'm working on my photography blog, AND my website will be built soon!!!! I have several bookings already, AND I'm so excited....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bowling Shoes and A Gold Medal

Last Friday I was in the carpool lane waiting for Drew and Cal. As soon as they got into the already full of kids suburban....with the twin boys, Elliot and Bryna....I could see some excitement on Drew's face and a little of an overwhelmed look on Cal's face. I could also see Cal's special ed. teacher walking over to the burban. Before Drew had even climbed over the seat and attempted a seatbelt, she enthusiastically and so excitedly said...."Mom, Cal won a medal!" I then noticed that he was, in fact, wearing a gold medal around his neck. As I was listening to her, looking at him in the rearview mirror and realizing that his overwhelmed look was really excitement; his teacher came to the door. She then explained that he had won that 1st place medal....Yessiree Bob, I said 1st the special olympics bowling competition. She also told me that he had been wearing it all day, and that he was so so very proud of it. Then the next words she said were life changing and make me smile and cry all at once....she said that all of his classmates cheered so loudly for him, and that he was so proud to show them all. THANK YOU GOD! My sweet sweet sweet sweet boy....the one who use to hate any sort of attention being paid to him....the one who couldn't stand it when we tried to sing Happy Birthday to anyone much less to him....the one who would have NEVER EVER EVER in a million years worn anything around his neck....the one who refused bowling shoes the first few years he bowled for special sweet sweet boy.....he was wearing a gold medal (Did I mention it was 1st place?) around his neck, he was proud and excited and literally beaming, and he loved that his friends cheered! The things that seem so simple, so minimal, the things that just a few short years ago....I thought would never happen....are happening. When my head stopped reeling from what his teacher and Drew had just told me almost simultaneously, I took a deep breath and turned around to look at my son's face. There he sat staring at me with the biggest smile and he said...."Mama, look what I got in bowling!" I smiled back at him, trying not to let him see my tears, and asked him if he had fun bowling....I already knew what his answer would be....and he replied with "YES" and then he said...."And I wear my bowling shoes!"

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Hole In The Gospel

Who's read it? Who's reading it? Who is planning on reading it? Right now I am reading this book, and it is really tugging at my heart. The best way to describe it is how it was described to me.....once you start reading it, you won't want to put it down; and it will make you quesiton what kind of Christian you are! When I was told that, I got a little worried....and with good reason. Now believe me I know that we are not all called to sell everything, uproot our families, and head out to the poorest parts of our earth to face orphaned children, starving children, dying children. The question that has been running through my mind is.....If I was called to do that, would I? I know that we can serve many orphaned, starving, dying children right here in the fact right here in my own neighborhood; and we are called to do so. I reaching out beyond? Am I being the hands and feet of Jesus outside of my comfort zone....I mean really outside of my comfort zone? Am I? The other thing about this book that has really tugged at my heart is the fact that the author, Rich Stearns, tells us how we can't shut the door.....close our eyes.....pretend that we don't live in a fallen world.....pretend that there are not people suffering at the hands of others, at the hands of disease and poverty. If you know me, you know that I don't read the paper or watch the news. You know that I don't want to hear the awful things that are going on around me....I don't. After the Oklahoma City bombing occured, I read and watched and listened to everything about it. It haunted me so deeply that I couldn't sleep, eat and really became depressed. I could think of nothing else but the images that were etched in my brain. Since then, I haven't watched the news, read the paper, or anything that will inform me of the horrible things occuring around me; and although many aren't.....I am okay with least until now. After reading this book, I have been nudged to start getting more in tune with the world. I have decided for my own sanity that I will still continue to avoid the news and newspapers for now, but I am going to pray for guidance and where I'm being led to serve others. Our church is an outward reaching church, and we have many ministries that serve the poor and elderly in our community; and I love that about our church. I mean I LOVE IT!!! I serve in a few of these ministries, and I can tell you that I am blessed each time I do.....blessed beyond words. But since reading this book, I have decided that I need to listen closer and pay closer attention to where God is calling me to serve. The ministries that I serve in now are definitely from God, but is there more? Is there more that I just haven't heard, because I've been too wrapped up in trying to avoid it? I don't know, but I'll keep you posted if I receive a kneemail soon!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Did You Know?

Today I took my show on the road.....I was a vendor at a local church benefiting a local children's was a great event. The speaker today was very motivational and quite funny, and I wanted to share some things I learned from her besides the fact that when she was little.....everyone always thought she was smiling....but really she couldn't close her mouth because her teeth stuck out so far....YOWZA!
1. Did you know that if you have a smile and don't give it away it will enlarge and settle in your hips?
2. Did you know that as you get older, there are parts of you that automatically become chemically your hair?
3. Did you know that if you see someone wearing their wedding ring on any finger besides their left ring finger and ask them why they are wearing their wedding ring on the "wrong" finger, they may tell you it's because they are married to the "wrong" person?
Some things that made me chuckle today....maybe they'll bring a chuckle to you too!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wordful Wednesday!

Sisters.....Best Friends!
For more Wordful Wednesday, visit Angie's blog!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Help Me Henry.....I'm In Love....

Help Me Henry....I'm In LOVE with.... ....cute girls on RR tracks....
....tossled curly hair.... girls in a vintage photograph....

....cowboy boots with dresses....
....beautiful green eyes....
....that old blue door....
.....the train depot....
.....graffiti and sisters....

....long flowy skirts....

But I'm really in LOVE with these two little friends....sisters!

These are pictures from Drew's photo shoot on Saturday! As you can see, there are several photos taken with Bryna.....because Bryna really really really wanted to have her photo taken too! I never turn down a willing participant!