Friday, November 30, 2007

30 Days of Blogging

When my friend, Kim, asked me to join her in blogging the month of November, I knew it wouldn't be easy. In retrospect it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. There were only a handful of days that I sat in front of my computer with a blank screen and blank mind. Most days I discovered my topic while driving around during my daily routine. I like to use my time in my car for thinking and praying.

Tonight, for example, I had some errands to run and notice all of the Christmas trees for sale in all of the parking lots around town. But all the trees look exactly the same. I know that they are trimmed to look like that. My favorite Christmas trees, however, are the ones that are chosen in the woods. I have a great memory of walking through waist deep snow in Alaska a couple of years ago with my buddy, Anita. We selected a beautiful tree in the woods behind our house and brought it home. It had not been trimmed all its life so it was not a perfect cylinder, but it was the perfect tree. Too bad that they don't sell that kind of tree in tree lots.

I have had lots of comments that you, my readers, have enjoyed having something new to read every day. And a couple of you have even said that you are not looking forward to December 1st because you know I won't blog everyday. I am sorry to say that you are right. I don't see myself keeping up this habit. However, I will attempt to blog more often. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Travel Bug

No matter where I am or how my life is going, I get the travel bug itch at least once during the year. I just want to drive to the nearest airport, hop on a plane and go somewhere new, experience a new culture, and go exploring. I just wish that I could go every time the bug bit. I have a long list of places that I would love to go. This list just continues to grow as I keep up my subscription of National Geographic Traveler and Budget Traveler magazines.

Right now I am simultaneously trying to figure out how I can afford to go to Arizona, London, Alaska, Japan, and Australia. Aside from becoming independently wealthy, I just don't see it happening anytime soon. Too bad that I am also a realist.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Classic

I discovered some great tv this month. They now have the British tv series All Creatures Great and Small on dvd. I read all of these books by James Herriot as a kid and really enjoyed them. In the 80's they made a British tv series based on the books. After a little research, discovered that all of the 8 seasons are now on dvd and available at the Boise Public Library. I have watched two complete seasons now and am looking forward to seeing them all this winter. If you get a chance, I recommend them, especially if you have read the books. You will remember a lot of the stories.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

And the Winner Is...

This was the favorite photo from yesterday's blog. Misty wanted more contrast. So I touched it up for her. Thanks for your comments.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Vote for Your Favorite

A photo for today. I have been learning Adobe Photoshop Bridge and enjoying the digital darkroom this week. The first one is the most original to the photo. Then I started playing. Which one do you like best?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thank You

At church today the service was a bit different for Thanksgiving. There was a lot of music but also a time of communion and thanksgiving. Normally I don't like the idea of passing the mic around with uncomfortable silences and unpracticed speeches. There is something a bit uncomfortable about it for me. I think it is just something personal that I need to get over.

This morning the mic was passed around for people to share something they were thankful for. When it was nearly time to be done a young man raised his hand for the mic. He said that he was thankful that he and his buddies had returned safely from tour in Iraq. Being part of a military family I could relate to his words and smiled to myself. Then the pastor asked him his name. Then the pastor said, "Thank you, Daniel, for your service." And the room exploded in applause as people rose to their feet for him. Tears welled up in my eyes and I was thankful for this group of people that made it so clear to this young man that he was loved and supported. This reminded me of something I heard recently about a woman who researched what military families needed. The number one thing that they wanted was not sympathy but just a simple 'Thank you for your service and sacrifice' from people.

Thank you to all the military people who sacrifice for and serve our country.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cameras in My Life

I started thinking earlier this month about how my photography passion as developed over the years. My very first camera was a 110mm camera that was given to me around 5th grade. I loved snapping pictures of whatever struck my fancy at the time. They were alway dark, a little blurry, and never interesting.

At some point during the years between elementary school and high school, mom got a Pentax K1000. I loved messing around with it. Then as a sophomore in high school I took the black and white photography class offered at my school. Mom generously allowed me to use her camera for this class. This is where I really started to understand composition and art of photography. And I loved working in the dark room. It was magical.
I was all set my junior year of high school to take the color photography class and be a year book photographer. And then we moved. Needless to say, I was disappointed.

At my new school my senior year of high school I joined the yearbook staff and was able to use my photography and dark room skills once again. I enjoyed it so much that I remember trading assignments with other students in the class... they wrote my copy and I took their pictures.

College photography was a series of borrowed cameras for trips and events. I remained cameraless until I moved to Japan after college. When I arrived the gal I was replacing asked if I had a camera. I told here that I didn't and she graciously left her point and shoot camera for me. I don't even remember what kind it was. But it took great memory snapshots for me.

Fast forward three years and I was living in Alaska. Living in such breathtaking scenery drove me to make my first camera purchase for myself. A Canon Rebel G. This simple slr camera took such great pictures, I couldn't stop taking pictures. I was a regular at my favorite camera shop. And I was spending quite a lot of money on film and developing. But it was worth it to me to do something I loved.

I started hearing about digital slr's and I was intrigued. Especially when I heard that canon had a dslr that could used film lenses. Having purchased a zoom lens (that still remains my favorite lens) the idea of going digital and yet use my lenses was very motivating. So in 2004 I purchased the Canon Digital Rebel 300D. I liked the digital convience and cheaper developing costs, but it has never wowed me like my film camera. But I have continued to take pictures and build up my accessories knowing that one day I will get a better DSLR as they develop newer technology.

As I make plans to go to photography school I have been researching and dreaming of my new camera. Canon just released their newest DSLR in September... the 40D. I believe that this will be the next camera for me.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

Black Friday- the day after Thanksgiving when stores lure shoppers out at the wee hours of the morning to spend money. I believe the extreme hours are because most of the shoppers are not quite awake enough to realize that they really aren't saving that much money.

Misty likes this crazy shopping tradition (ironic because she doesn't like shopping). We were standing in line outside a store at 6am last year and gave up the hunt by 10 without buying a thing. This year we looked at the ads and weren't impressed so we slept in. Really, there are very few items in the world that I want badly enough to loose sleep over. We hit the stores at 7:30 and actually found some bargin Christmas gifts. And there was only one store that we spent 40 mintues in line to pay. The rest were relatively quick purchases. All in all, painless and quite productive. Well, unless you ask Pete who stayed home with the kids. On second thought, don't ask Pete.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Family Cooking

This morning Misty and I were cooking the desserts for todays Thanksgiving dinner and this started me thinking about how so many favorite recipes we have are part of our famliy heritage. I love the idea that the food we love is from the same people that influenced our eye color and height. It is a good thing we have our mom to teach us how to cook those type of recipes. There is a lot of 'to taste' and 'about a cup' or 'a little' in theses recipes.

Today's menu included grandma's apple crisp, mom's bisquits, and a great aunt's gingerbread.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Why do sunsets make us hold our breath and want to stop everything we are doing? Tonight I was driving home to a beautiful sunset. This started me thinking about some of the best places I have seen sunsets. Kansas has awesome sunsets. In college I used to walk out behind my dorm to pray, think and soak in the breath taking scene. Hawaii also has fantastic sunsets. Some of my favorite sunset shots I have taken were on a beach in Maui. Alaska sunsets are not to common, but definitely unique to seasons and location. I love South Dakota sunsets on the ranch, too.

I believe one of the reasons that I love photography so much is that attitude of worship that you can't avoid when you stop to really look at the beauty of creation. That breathlessness that comes when you stop to drink in a scene that touches your soul. So much of God is in that moment. I wonder if it is in a small way how we will feel when we are at the feet of the throne one day. A glimpse of inexplicable beauty that takes our breath away. Something so much more than we can ever imagine.

Here are some of my sunset shots over the last few years.

South Dakota

South Dakota





Tuesday, November 20, 2007


This morning we were greeted with fluffy snow flakes trying to cover everything. It didn't last long, but it did remind me that it is winter and the holidays are coming. Crazy to think that it is Thanksgiving this week. I feel like it was just summer.

Here is a photo I took last spring. A little something to look at because I don't have much to say today.

Monday, November 19, 2007

You've Got the Cutest Little Baby Face

Imagine this being sung by a little blonde three year old at the top of her lungs with actions.

Baby Face, you've got the cutest little baby face
There's not another one could take your place, Baby face
My poor heart is jumpin you sure have started somethin
Baby face, I'm up in heaven when I'm in your fond embrace
I didn't need a shove cause I just fell in love
With your pretty baby face.

Yes, it was the cutest thing you could imagine. This actually happened at lunch today. Lizzy came home from preschool after practicing for her program. If I can get this on video, I will definately put it on my blog.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

November 18th

Happy Birthday, Laila! I love that you have been a dedicated aunt my whole life. I have always loved that you remember my birthday. But one of my favorite things is that I get to look like you! I was going to put a picture of us here, but I don't seem to have it on this computer.

Fall camp went well. The rain didn't stop until I was almost back to Boise. But it was a good weekend. There were about 100 high school students that made the trip to Quaker Hill. Crazy games, fun songs, lots of laughter, and a message of hope filled our weekend. I personally spent a lot of time in the dining hall setting tables, busing tables and cleaning. But I love to serve and be in the background of what is happening. It was a good weekend.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

McCall Rain

Here I am in McCall. A little sleepy and damp, but here. We were expecting snow this weekend but it has been dumping rain like I have never seen in Idaho. I have actually used an umbrella for possibly the second time since leaving Japan nearly 9 years ago. Fortunately I had one stashed in my car.
Here is a fun picture of the only other time I can remember using an umbrella since Japan. This is at my buddy Joani's outdoor Alaskan wedding the summer of 2005. If you are wondering about my facial expression, I am eating and having a conversation with someone to my left. My favorite comment about this picture is from Joani's cousin Teagen who said I looked like a Hummell doll. (I need to find a reason to wear that dress again... it is cute) What a fun day we had.
Anyway, back to today... I slipped away from camp for a little while during free time (instead of taking a nap) to make sure that I keep up with NaBloPoMo. I am sitting in a coffee shop about 10 minutes from camp drinking my Americano with cream. It tastes very good and I may need to get another one before I head back.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fall Camp

One of the very first things I did when hired by Young Life, was attend Fall Camp. I went as work crew. This was a new concept for me. Usually the camps I had attended as student or leader were completely staffed. But a Young Life tradition is to bring along volunteers that help in the kitchen and dining hall. These people serve family style to the dining tables and help with set up and clean up. It is hard work, but good work.

Tonight I head up for my second Fall Camp, as work crew once again. It will be a good weekend, with lots of fun but lots of late nights and work. I fully anticipate being exhausted when I get home on Sunday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Young Life

Today is officially my one year anniversary working for Young Life Soutwest Idaho. I have learned a lot about Young Life. When I started I didn't know much Young Life, its vision or ministry. The extent of my knowledege was the three sea kayaking trips I took with my youth group kids through Beyond Malibu in British Columbia. I was always impressed with the quality of the trips and the amazing guides. This year has given me a very high respect for YL as a whole. The vision of reaching the kids farthest away from God and doing it in a relational way is awesome. If you don't know much about Young Life, I challenge you to look it up in your area and look at how you might be involved. Young Life is all around the world and in every state so if you don't think it is in your area, you might be surprised.

It has been a good year. Thanks guys.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Anita, This One's for You

This blog is for my good friend, Anita. She called me today to catch up. I could only chat for a little while because of work. I have been thinking of her all day so I thought I would share one of my favorite pictures with her. This was in Switzerland on our adventure we took to Europe a few years ago.

Anita stepped out on on adventure of her own this year. She quit her job and moved from Alaska to South Carolina to pursue her dream of seminary. I can't wait to see where God takes you, friend!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Fast Food Cravings

Tonight I was driving home at 9pm and had a sudden craving for Sonic. I really wanted some hot tater tots. That craving brought back fond memories of college. I had never been to Sonic until college. My roomates took me to the tasty drive in with in the first few days of arriving my freshman year. Whenever school got too stressful we would hop in a car and drive to Sonic for tater tots and cherry Dr Peppers. Those were the days.

I know fast food isn't good for me, but I do have some fond memories associated with some fast food chains. Wendy's, for example, makes me think of Japan. There was a Wendy's in Japan that I could get a nice ice tea and french fries. I also think of Alaska with Wendy's because it was the closest fast food to the office and had a pretty speedy drive through most of the time. After a month in Russia eating some crazy foods, we were able to go to the first McDonalds in Moscow. The burger and fries I got there were heaven. Burger King always makes me think of military bases because nearly all bases in the world have a Burger King and dad is military, after all.

So this is my tribute to the fast food craving that I indulge in every once in awhile.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I started tutoring last winter. This is the first time I have actually used my college degree and teacher certification. Well, technically my teaching certification expired in 98 and was only for secondary education. But I was trained to teach.

I really enjoy tutoring because it is working with kids in one on one situations and dealing with their specific struggles. I have worked with little kindergartners on letter sounds, a second grader who wanted a bigger vocabulary so his head would be bigger, 5th graders learning fractions (defiantly a review for me) Middle schoolers struggling with grades, and high schoolers who preparing for their ACT and SAT scores.

Tonight, for example, I helped a 3rd grader practice subtraction and reading, a 4th grader with improper fractions, and a high school senior struggling to overcome years of remedial classes to improve her ACT scores.

I am defiantly working on skills that I may use in the future. There will always be kids that struggle with learning and you never know when you need a little supplemental income.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Christmas Already?!

The day after Halloween I began to see Christmas items in stores. Today I saw Christmas window paintings. There was a fully decorated Christmas tree in the local department store this week. A freind told me that she wrapped Christmas presents last week. Somehow the Christmas season keeps getting longer and longer. It isn't even Thanksgiving yet.

I think that I would rather just have the Christmas season for the month of December. November and December just seems a little on the excessive side. This also means that I need to start perparing for my own Christmas gifts. Not a bad thing, just a big project.

It seems like yesterday was summer. Where did the time go?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

House Sitting

Over the last 8 years I have had lots of house sitting jobs. Some that were great and others that I couldn't wait until they were over. House sitting can be a funny thing. Living in someone else's house for an extended amount of time. Neighbors give you funny looks. You are never quite sure if you should eat the food in the house or not. What if it is their favorite and they are looking forward to it when they get home? Figuring out all the different washers and dryers. Hoping no plant or animals die on your watch.

I have stayed in houses that required me to stuff pills down the throat of a cat. But first I had to catch the cat that didn't like people. I wouldn't like people either if they grabbed me once a day and stuck something that tasted bad down my throat. That house also had a 'friendly' rottweiler dog. It never threatened me, but its size was sure intimidating.

I stayed in a house that that two dogs (one female that was in heat, one blind that followed all the walls around in the house) two rabbits, and fish. This house was at the top of a hill and in December my car didn't always want to get to the top of that hill. So I had to park at the bottom of the hill most days (for 2 weeks) and climb up to the house.

I stayed at a house with a hot tub for two weeks. The second day I was there I went out to check the tub and the temperature was way too low (also in the Alaskan wintertime). I ended up figuring out that a breaker had flipped. Whew! That would have been a mess if it had frozen.

I have stayed in some nice houses that didn't have crazy animals, too. But those stories aren't as much fun.

Since coming to Idaho I had a 6 month house sitting job with two house plants. That was a great job. And I am currently in a nice house with one outside dog and 30ish house plants. This job is about over, but has been on the good side. Between jobs I live in the camper in my sister's back yard. A nice place for my gypsy self until the next move.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Photo for the Day

I remember thinking about something to blog about earlier today. But now that I sit in front of my computer, I can't remember what it was. I am sure it was great, whitty, and somthing you would totally enjoy. Must be my old age setting in.

So instead I will share a photo I took this fall. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


The winter of 2005 I was introduced to blogging by a couple of college friends that had been blogging for a while. I became addicted to checking their blogs. Then it occurred to me that I too could blog. Blogging would be a great way to stay connected with all of my friends around the world. So I jumped into the blogging world just after Christmas that year with the announcement that the twins were coming(check their ultrasound pict.) Here is a picture of them today.

The last two years of blogs chronicle the events of my life: work, ministry, arrival of 5 more nieces and nephews, Dad's cancer, favorite photos, a trip to Japan, Dad's heart bypass, quiting my job, moving to Boise, 5 months of employment hiatus, a 30 day road trip, a new job, and future plans.

Today I was catching up with my favorite blogs and notice 3 new blogs of friends from home. I started thinking about all my friends and family that now blog. I started writing because of two friends. Today I read about 20 blogs of friends and family that blog as a result of my blog. It is kind of fun to be a catalyst of change. Do you blog because of my blog? I would love to hear from you if you do.

I hope you will stay with me as I continue sharing these snapshots of my journey.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Today is a good day for a birthday. My big brother, Shane, turned 35 today. I looked around on my computer, but couldn't find any photos that were too embarrassing. Here is one from this summer. Shane is the brother on the left with his little girl, Kelli (Wade is the brother on the right with his little girl Kyrstin). Happy Birthday, Shane, I am proud of you!
It is also my buddy from Japan, Keiko's Birthday today. Happy Birthday Keiko-chan! I miss you and can't wait to see again.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Visit From Mom and Dad

Surprise! Mom called last Thursday to tell us that they were coming on Sunday. Dad had doctor appointments in Washington DC last week. He had developed a rash that the medical team was concerned about and they wanted to see him back in a week. Instead of going all the way home to Alaska they flew to Seattle for a few days with Shane's family. Sunday night they flew to Boise to see us for a few days. It has been a lot of fun to have them here. The kids and grandparents have been eating it up. Here are a few photos of the fun thanks to Misty.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Photography Plans

About a year and a half ago I decided to quit my job and move to Boise. Part of that choice was that I wanted to be a part of my sister's life as she was having twins. When I left Alaska I was asked many times if I was going to go back to school or look for a different type job. My response... "I don't know what I want to be when I grow up." Nearly two years later I think I know what I want to be when I grow up. Well, at least for this next stage of my life. I want to go into photography. I am not sure what type or what that will look like, but I am making plans.

In doing some research last winter I came across Rocky Mountain School of Photography. I was intrigued and discovered that they had weekend workshops throughout the spring. So I talked Misty into going to a weekend workshop in Oregon in January. Then RMSP came to Boise in April for a digital focused weekend workshop. The weekend in April provided an opportunity to talk to other photographers who attended RMSP's Summer Intensive career training program. I heard great things about the program. At that point I decided that unless something major came up, I would try to attend the Summer Intensive 2008 program. This program begins in June and will finish in October. When I am finished I should be a professional photographer with skills and knowledge enough to start my own business.

I fully expect that the summer will be very intense, with classes 6 days a week. But I am so excited about all the experiences and knowledge that the school will offer. I will keep you posted as my plans progress.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Thoughts for Today

It was fun to read everyone's comments about my haircut. But I was looking through some old photos last night and had the realization that I think I have had this haircut before. I wore it curly today and sure enough I could go back 5 years or so and that was the same hair. Not really what I had hoped for, but I suppose that the older you get the more times that you tend to repeat.

Mom and Dad are coming to visit. They arrive tonight and Misty and I were laughing about how much concentrated cleaning can get done when your parents are coming to visit. I am happy to report that their bed has clean sheets and the camper is ready and waiting.

The big news is that I have ordered a new lens for my camera. I am quite excited about the Canon 50mm prime lens. All the research I have done has pointed to prime lenses. This will be my first. I will let you how it goes.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A Haircut

I had a great friend that used to cut my hair in Alaska. When I went to have my hair cut it was partly for the great cut and partly for catching up with a friend. Then I moved away. It is hard to work up the nerve to trust someone new with your hair and the awkward silences that come with someone new in your personal space. So when I moved here I avoided getting my hair cut at all for about 9 months-- with the exception of chopping my own bangs. The first thing I did when I went back to Alaska for a visit was to go see my friend for a haircut. It has now been another 6 months and my hair has been driving me crazy. So this afternoon I went into a salon nearby and hoped for the best. I wanted a new style and much shorter. Here were the results. Not too bad, I think. It will take a little getting used to because I have had much longer hair for the last few years. And I typically wear it curly, but they wanted to straighten it for the cut. It looks pretty good straight. I just don't think I will take the time on most days.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Family Photo

Two weeks ago Misty and I got the opportunity to take Casey and Rhonda's family photos. This is one of my favorite snapshots. Probably not the one that will be on everyone's Christmas cards, but one of my favorites.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Challenge

Two weeks ago my good friend, Kim, issued me a challenge: to blog with her every day for the month of November. I thought it quite a stiff challenge, but one that I couldn't pass up. So you should have something new on my blog every day this month. And don't forget to check out Kim's blog for something new every day.

Kim lives in Japan and thus had to start this challenge a few hours (15) head of me. So in reading her first blog I discovered that this isn't just us. There is a NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and there are thousands of people out there stepping up to this same challenge. They even have a web site that I am now an official member. Who knew these people were out there?!

Enjoy the posts and snapshots of my journey for November 2007.

This picture was taken a year and a half ago when my friend Lorrie and I visited Kim in Japan. Some very sweet Japanese ladies fed us some delicious traditional food. Kim is at the head of the table.