Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mini Magoo

This little boy has just captured my heart. So thankful for a chance to visit him. And for modern technology that lets me watch him grow up, even though we live so far apart. This was a highlight of my summer.

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It is already over 7 months since I last saw him when he was just 9 days old. But I love the age he is at right now. Developing quite a little personality! He’s a wiggle-worm and chewing on anything he can get his hands on. His shirt says “My name is Magoo.” It was his dad, my brother’s shirt when he was little. We used to call him Mr. Magoo. And now he calls his son Mini Magoo. And the shirt fits, which is just perfect. Such a cute little man.

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Yup. I love being an Auntie. I just wish we didn’t live so far apart. Glad for the little moments when we get to be together, even for just a few hours.

Who is your favorite little person?
Does your family have nicknames?
I’d love to hear yours! Mine is Shadylane…Imagine that!

Monday, August 27, 2012

This I know

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This summer I have been slowly reading and savoring Susannah Conway’s book “This I know, Notes on Unraveling The Heart.” I am normally a speed reader (just ask Chris, it drives him crazy!) but I knew I wanted to take my time with this book. I just had a feeling it would touch my heart and I would need the time to process each chapter. I was right.

As I read her words I found myself saying, “Oh this chapter was just what I needed. It is so me. The next one couldn’t possibly touch me more than this.” But as I progressed through the book, the next chapter always did. And so did the one after that. Each one felt like it was just what I needed to read.

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The thought of “unraveling” can sometimes seems scary…to peel back all our layers and really look at how we feel about things, how we think and learn and cope…how we celebrate. I am embracing it, however. Being in my own transitional period in my life, I am ready to unravel…eager to unravel. And so I followed Susannah as she shared her own journey to self-discovery through this book. It is full of her art…the polaroid photography she is so well known for, and each chapter ends with a “reflection,” a little exercise of sorts, to reflect upon and use in your own life. I truly loved reading it…

I wanted to share a couple of quotes from the book. These are things that I underlined as I read and rewrote in my own journal. Pages that I left tear stains on. Concepts that moved me. And I also want to encourage you to pick up a copy of your own. We could all use some unraveling…

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“Each person experiences grief in their own individual way. And…there is no hierarchy to grief—only we can know the pain we feel and what we have lost… To assimilate the loss—to make sense of the change—we must allow ourselves to fully inhabit the pain for as long as we need.” 

“So many of the difficult parts of our lives can be helped with a little kindness, and nowhere is that needed more than the way we view ourselves….I want to walk along the middle road, between vanity and not caring; I want to be seen and loved by the person I need it from most. To look in the mirror and smile at an ally I can always count on… My worth is not measured by my outward appearance, my worth is felt in my bones, in the quiet yes that starts in my belly and rises up to my lips as I reach forward and embrace my life, my world, this piece of experience that is mine alone.”

“The more I excavate myself, the richer my relationships with others become, because as we connect with our true selves we have so much more to give.”

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If you love words written from the heart, the magic of polaroid, and find yourself needing a gentle push to learn more about yourself, this book is worth a read. Its one of my new favorites on my bookshelf. I’ve passed it on to my mum to read. I think she’ll love it as much as me.

Have you read “This I Know” yet?
What was your favorite chapter?
Do you read Susannah’s blog or taken any of her classes?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Week in Review

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star SUNDAY: We woke up at Chris’ parents house in their camper to a great breakfast of blueberry pancakes, bacon and the best French Press coffee. I don’t know why, but their coffee just always tastes the best. And of course their dog Razzy was begging like crazy. He never gets food off the table, but that doesn’t keep him from asking. That evening their congregation had a get-together as a going away party for a couple families that are moving away. It was nice to visit with the friends and enjoy a gorgeous day by the river. A few people tubed down the river after dinner was over. If we hadn’t had to get home in time for Chris to get sleep before waking up for work at 3am I totally would have joined them. I’ve never done that before and it looks like so much fun. Someday…maybe I’ll add it to our Summer Manifesto for next year!

star MONDAY: I was not feeling good Monday…I had some flu like symptoms and just felt really draggy on top of some rough allergies. So I slept most of the morning and then headed to work. I finished up a couple big projects and felt good about all I was able to cross off my to-do list without having to ask my boss for help with every task. 

star TUESDAY: Today I got to do something that I really enjoy doing: proof-reading! My boss has a project she’s working on and wanted another set of eyes on. I was so excited to be asked because that’s something I really love doing! Back in high school my classmates would always get me to proof-read and edit their papers. Me and my red pen were pretty famous. lol. That’s sounds silly, but its one of my favorite memories from high school. Glad to be able to use my skills (and my red pen) again.

star WEDNESDAY: After work today Chris and I rented a movie called Anonymous. It’s a completely different take on the story of William Shakespeare. Such a cool movie! Lots of switching between different timelines, which I love in a movie, and great photography. 

starTHURSDAY: The shop that I work at is getting audited next month so I spent the bulk of the week going through files and triple checking everything is 100% in compliance. It’s a big task, but we’re working hard to pass with flying colors. Lots of paper cuts and blurry eyes looking at the same paper over and over again.

star FRIDAY: Chris made burgers for dinner tonight with feta cheese, kalamata olives and onion and cheese melted on top. They were amazing. The only time he made burgers that topped these was when he added bacon. So delicious. Bacon makes everything better, right?! We also spent a couple nights sleeping in our guest room this week. Its cool to have 2 comfy beds at our house, and it feels a little like staying somewhere else for a night. Like a built-in get-away. Although its pretty funny when I wake up in the middle of the night and get lost looking for the bathroom. haha!

starSATURDAY: After going for breakfast and working from 10-2, Chris and I drove up to Omak to stay with my parents. On Sunday the four of us are heading up into Canada to see my brother Micah, his girlfriend Shawntel and my little nephew Emerson. I can’t wait!! It is nice to spend some time with my parents too. They have been so busy lately and trying to get their house sold. Anyone know of someone looking for a great house with property?? Let me know!

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Favorite parts of this week: Taking my mum’s flower pictures and adding sentiments for her to use in making her cards. I love her flower photography. Watching movies with Chris before bed and catching up on So You Think You Can Dance and Suits on HULU. Seeing another picture of my friend Kelly’s baby boy. I so wish I could go visit them. Looking at cute glasses on Firmoo.com. Wearing my wedding ring again.

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What did your week look like?
What was a highlight for you?
Did you remember to take time to celebrate the everyday?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

We went out for breakfast

Celebrating another beautiful Saturday together.

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This is our favorite little cafĂ© in Soap Lake where we love to go for breakfast. The coffee is great and they have awesome homemade hash browns. We used to come here a lot, but we haven’t been eating out at all lately. We saved up a few pennies here and there this month to have a treat and went out this morning for breakfast. Makes it feel like a special celebration. Love this guy and savor spending time with him. 

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Do you have a special diner that you frequent?
How are you celebrating today?

REALLIFE

Friday, August 24, 2012

Songs on Repeat

Music is a huge part of how I celebrate the everyday. I love discovering new artists and songs and learning the words to my favorites. Here are three songs I’ve had on repeat lately.

A cover of “Call Me Maybe” by Ben Howard. I wish this was the original version! Winking smile

“Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men. This gets stuck in my head all the time…in a good way. All their songs are pretty great.

“Home” by Phillip Phillips. We only caught a little of this season of American Idol before we turned off our TV, but he was my favorite early on. I think his voice is so special.

What other songs should I be listening to?
What is your favorite song on repeat?
Help me add to my playlist!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Blog Design work update

I have been hard at work this month with 2 repeat customers creating new blogs for fun and interesting purposes. I designed both Mary and Kristin’s personal blogs, but I was so honored when they wanted to work with me again for their new projects.

Mary is an Independent Beach Body Coach and wanted a blog for her new business that will be full of inspirational content promoting a healthy and fit lifestyle in conjunction with the Beach Body programs and products. Her new business is called Game-On Fitness, and so she chose the name Game-On Fitspiration for her blog. I worked with muted tones, a vintage sports inspired color scheme and some great fonts. She’s got a series she’s featuring right now called “Nine Innings to Health” that you should totally check out.

It was a pleasure to work with Mary again. I can’t wait to watch her blog and her new business venture grow. Thanks Mary!!

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I just worked with Kristin a couple months ago to develop and create her Fancy Free Life blog and we had lots of fun working together. She is an elementary school teacher and had a plan for a classroom blog she wanted help with. I loved all the school elements and colors she brought together in her Pinterest board and had fun drawing inspiration for her design from that. I’ve mentioned a couple times that Leah of Mommyish.net was so kind and gave permission for her elements to be used in the design. I just don’t think the finished look would be the same without that great apple!

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She’s going to use her blog to keep in contact with her students and their parents throughout the school year. Isn’t that a great idea? Thanks so much for choosing to work with me again on this fun project Kristin!

I really enjoyed working on both of these designs and love that with everything new I create, I continue to learn. Blog design is something that I’ve really come to love and have a passion for. I’ve got another couple designs in the beginning stages that should be a lot of fun! I can’t wait to share those completed projects too.

Are you looking for a personalized blog design? Do you have an interesting side project that you want to develop and keep a blog for? I’d love to work with you! Take a peek at my Design page and see if one of my packages will work for you and feel free to send me an email. I hope to hear from you soon!

Leave some love for these ladies in the comments below.
It will just make their day!

DESIGNING

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Week 5

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happiness gets blurry sometimes
so I stop
take stock
and smile
for the gift of a scarf
the touch of warmth in the sun
and the life i hold in my hands.
happiness gets blurry sometimes
so I spin
and revel in my femininity
knowing this life is mine to enjoy.

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This scarf was a gift from a friend of mine who bought it for me while she was in Turkey. It was an amazing feeling for someone to travel to a far-off land and think of me and bring me a gift. Its one of my favorite scarfs in my collection. I remember the day I took this picture so vividly…it was just warming up a little outside. Not too bad for a February afternoon. The ground was moist beneath my feet where the snow was melting. I stood out in my backyard for probably an hour taking portraits. Because of my project, I made time during my week to spend in front of the camera and those minutes I spent were really a treasure. I could take a break from the world around me and all the turmoil. I could breath and I could smile. I really miss having a reason to stop, to take a break and take a picture. But I’m so glad to have captured images like this and the other ones I took that day.

How do you feel about giving and receiving gifts?
Do you make time each week to be creative?
What have you learned about yourself from those times?

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Wondering about this post? I am sharing my 52weeks project from 2010 each week on my blog and analyzing the image and the poem with fresh eyes two years later. For an explanation of the project and to start at the beginning click HERE.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Learn a little more about me

Its time for this month’s Me, Myself and I link-up. After last enjoying last month so much and getting to know more about my favorite bloggers, I knew I wanted to participate again. The questions this month gave me a lot to think about…

1. What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
I think I would invent a teleportation device…figure out some way to get to all the places I want to go and visit all the ones I love that I don’t get to see enough. I think it would revolutionize the transportation industry. Chris has this clever idea that towns with the same name should be able to automatically transport you to the other town with the same name. Like Paris, France to Paris, Texas. Cool, right? There is another town named Ephrata (the name of the town we live in in Washington State) in Pennsylvania. I would love to just pop over for a visit.

2. If you had only six months left to live, what would you do with the time?
I would write…I would fill journals with my thoughts and words and poetry and life. I’d want to leave my legacy and my story in words.

3. If a front page news article was written on you, what would the headline be?
"Local Girl Fulfills Her Life-Long Dream and Goes for an Elephant Ride!”

4. What is your biggest pet peeve?
I hate indecisiveness. Especially in a group setting…a bunch of people and no one can pick what movie to watch, or where to go eat, or what to do. So you waste all your time just sitting around instead of doing something! I think its because of how much I dislike this that I turn into a leader in these moments. I’m always coming up with ideas and spontaneously deciding to do things. I think it makes life much more interesting when you do things instead of just talk about doing them.

5. What is your favorite chick flick movie?
I have a soft spot in my heart for the movie Serendipity with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. I love the idea of love being meant to be and how you end up with the one you’re supposed to be with.  And A Walk To Remember…I cried so hard the first time I saw that we had to throw out the throw pillow. But sometimes you just need a good cry movie, right!?

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Now its your turn! Answer the questions in a blog post and join the link-up. I’d love to come read your answers and thoughts too.

SHE

Monday, August 20, 2012

The highlight of my weekend

The ELEPHANT RIDE!!

I am still just giddy about being able to go for my elephant ride at the Grant County Fair on Friday night. And the coolest part was that we were there so late in the day that I got to ride by myself! My elephant’s name was Debbie and she was a little rascal. She spotted a pop can that was the trainer’s and stole it when he wasn’t looking, then dumped it out and hid it! She was really playful.

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And here’s the video that Chris took for me to share with you all!

I have loved elephants since I was 13 and have quite a collection, but I’ve never been this close to one before. Its something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m so glad that we went to the fair and I got a chance.

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After visiting the elephants for awhile we headed over to carry on our fair tradition and ride the Farris Wheel. We had our first kiss at a fair after a Farris Wheel ride 6 years ago, so its special to us.

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We walked around for awhile together taking in all the sights, watching the other rides and listening to the music. And then Chris treated me to my very first Funnel Cake. We shared its yummy, sugary goodness as we headed to see the animals asleep in there pens. There were some HUGE pigs and the lamas were pretty cute. This is turning into one of the greatest summers we’ve spent together. I’m glad we’re going and doing things together when we can, while still spending as little money as possible. I’m pretty proud of that. I hope you all are enjoying and savoring and celebrating these summer days.

Have you ever rode an elephant?
What’s your favorite part of the fair?
Is there a ride you still love going on?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Week In Review

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star SUNDAY: Sunday after the meeting we met up with our friends who have a boat and spent the afternoon on the lake with them. There was 8 of us and we had so much fun! I got some videos of our friend Andy wake boarding and Chris being pulled on the tube. I’ll share soon! My phone died right before Chris was flung off the tube and launched 4 feet above the water and then bounced. It was crazy! Too bad I don’t have video of that! I just enjoyed being in the sun a bit and jumping into the cool lake from the boat. So glad they invited us along. Hopefully we’ll get to do that a few more time before the summer is gone.

star MONDAY: After finding my to-do list from my boss in my junk mail halfway through the day and still managing to complete all the tasks on the list, Chris and I headed to Wenatchee. We went for dinner with his parents to celebrate their 32nd wedding anniversary and to take my wedding ring to the jeweler who made it to see if it could be resized. All the other places we’d taken it said that the diamonds would pop out if we tried to. But thankfully the guy that made it said it wouldn’t be a problem. I eager to get it back and wear it again.

star TUESDAY: Most of my Tuesday was spent stuffing copies into folders for an upcoming class. I survived with only one paper-cut, so that’s not bad. Then we went to the meeting and heard news about the Russian language class that’s coming soon. We are getting so excited!

star WEDNESDAY: Just another normal day at the payday loan store today. But after Chris was done his workday he got us a little Chinese food take-out as a treat and we watched episodes of So You Think You Can Dance on HULU. We really love that show! Are you watching this season? Who are your favorites? Then I convinced Chris to go get pedicures with me. He is so ticklish he giggled through the whole thing. The ladies at the little spa got quite a kick out of him!

star THURSDAY: The owner of the shop I work for was supposed to come this week for her every-other-week visit. She lives in Ellensburg and runs the other store there. However, this week there is a horrible fire in Cle Elum which is right near where she lives, so she’s got a lot going on. Friends and customers dealing with the loss of their homes and animals and mass evacuations. It’s a real tragedy and one of the worst parts about the dry side of Washington State. It makes the heat of the summer very dangerous. The smoke from the fire is reaching over to our town too. Today was a huge day for me in regards to blog designing. I was trying to do something specific and didn’t even know where to start in terms of making it happen. So I reached out to my friend Katie of Priceless Adventure who also does blog designs. She was willing to take the time out of her afternoon to Skype with me and show me via her screen how to create what I wanted. Totally opened up a whole new world for me and I’m so grateful!!

star FRIDAY: The Grant County Fair is going on this week, and in the four years we’ve lived here we’ve never gone. So we decided to change that this year. The best part? I got to RIDE AN ELEPHANT!! I have a post planned to share the pictures, but it was so amazing. It feels a little wrong to be so excited about riding an elephant in captivity and as a fair attraction. But it is one of the things I’ve most wanted to do in my life, so I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. It was so amazing! Chris even took a little video, so I can share that too.

starSATURDAY: Chris has been dumping the trash at the fair all week, and they asked for him to come specially for Friday night. So after we’d been at the fair (and to Walmart for a midnight movie release) he went back to the fairgrounds to dump the trash after 1 am when everyone was gone. So we didn’t get home until 3 in the morning. Man, I haven’t stayed up like that in a long time! I feel so old. LOL. We made plans with Chris’ parents to visit again (to pick up my ring) and go to a get-together with their congregation Sunday afternoon. They don’t have a guest room, but they do have a camper! So as I type this we’re all cozy out in their bus, as they call it.

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Favorite parts of this week: Riding the elephant!! Taking pictures of the amazing fresh fruit Chris’ mom gave us: blackberries, raspberries and peaches. I used a butterfly tea cup set my Auntie Lee-Ann gave us as a wedding present. Learning new skills and finding a class I want to take to continue growing my design ability. Seeing a video of my nephew Emerson clapping and saying “yay.” He is too cute!

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What did your week look like?
Did you take time to find something good in every day?
How do you keep track of the happenings in your life?