Saturday, January 31, 2009

25 Random Things

I was tagged on Facebook several days ago by my cousin Nicole (which reminded me much of being tagged in the blogosphere). Not wanting to keep any of you non-FB ladies in the dark, I thought I'd post my list here as well. Here it goes:

1. Designer whaaaa? I wouldn't know a $30 pair of jeans from a $300 pair. The same goes for purses.
2. I devour books. I can read an entire book in one evening.
3. I used to blow dry my hair upside down... and leave it that way.
4. I secretly wish I were in a real Rock Band.
5. I am never bored. Ever.
6. I've never bought a lottery ticket.
7. I have sipping issues (coffee, tea, chai) and will often have multiple beverages scattered about the kitchen. (My husband teases me and I use the movie "Signs" in my defense.)
8. I have two children here and three in heaven.
9. I like order.
10. My sister Stacey and I are the same age right now and will be for another month.
11. We sponsor a little girl (Elina) in Tanzania and I hope someday to meet her. (My friend Karen has an AWESOME story about her family doing just that.)
12. Colleen's son calls me "Patina" and I love it.
13. I used to sell my plasma and have the scars to prove it.
14. I love pumpkin and believe in my heart of hearts it will be in heaven, along with coffee.
15. I love getting to know people. What I really like are the deep stories - real life stuff - as opposed to superficial small talk.
16. I can lose myself in a journal, behind a camera, and while blogging.
17. I am an introvert. As much as I love people, my favorite time is alone.
18. I've had surgery three times.
19. I love the pre-dawn quiet and set an alarm so I can enjoy it.
20. I avoided speech class LIKE THE PLAGUE in college. Now I speak every month in front of a group of women... with a MICROPHONE. Crazy.
21. I might be a teeny weeny bit competitive.
22. While we were building our home, I wrote scripture on the framing of each room - doorways, walls, and floors. I did it in pencil but wish I would have been bold enough to use a Sharpie.
23. PMS? Try twice a month.
24. I have a tendency to procrastinate and therefore need lists. Funny thing is, my youngest is the same way... we call it "getting side-tracked" - yeah, it happens a lot.
25. I still have an old boyfriend's class ring. If I could return it anonymously, I would.

How about taking a stab at it yourself? It's been a lot of fun reading everyone's lists - very insightful. It's funny how much you can learn even about yourself by taking a look at the little things.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

my kids thought they were alone in their online humiliation

If you've been reading my blog long enough, you've probably picked up on the fact that my kids aren't so keen on their lives being used as blog fodder.

"Please don't put this on the blog."
"That's so embarrassing!"
"What if my friends see it?"

Believe it or not, I am careful about preserving their integrity... for the most part. But there are times, my friends, when you must throw caution to the wind and post things like THIS or THIS or THIS.

Oh, the joy of motherhood ;-)

Anyway, tonight the tables were turned as I foisted the humiliation upon myself and a handful of friends. I spent a good part of the day hunting down old photographs to post on Facebook. Here's what I found:

Click on the above image to enlarge! It's my 8th grade class picture and within the circle, a group of childhood friends. I also found this 15+ year old image:

Now that's what I call foreshadowing (notice the COFFEE CUP between us?) - which reminds me, I am WAAAY overdue for another coffee w/sharon. Noticing the hair - the very BIG hair (it was the eighties after all), I couldn't help but chuckle.

I'm having way too much fun with this Facebook-thing.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

i call this... speed blogging

Another day has gotten the best of me. I have about forty uninterrupted minutes left and thought I'd spend them here :-) First of all, have you heard about Harper? With all of the bloggy overlap that occurs, you just never know! Kelly has been keeping a blog for some time, sharing the details of her pregnancy as she and her husband were awaiting the birth of their first child - a daughter named Harper. Harper was born on January 16th when complications arose. They've been gettin' prayed over like there's no tomorrow by the blogging community and God has been holding them high. Click HERE to fill yourself in. Kelly's dad is also a blogger and it's been amazing to see things from his perspective as well.

Too, I just wanted to mention that Hosanna! is offering free beginner music lessons (if you're in the Twin Cities area, this is a wonderful opportunity). The session begins on Saturday, February 7 (drums, keyboard, guitar, and bass) and is for 2nd-12th graders. There are a limited number of spaces available so register ASAP if you are interested. Click HERE for details about the program and HERE for registration information.

Shoot, now I'm down to ten eight minutes!! There's more (and I also have a couple of deep posts in the works) but I've learned it's best not to fight The Time Thing. If I have a chance (eek, four minutes!!!), I'll be back later...

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Veni, Vidi, Vici

Amy and I went and got ourselves some culture. We spent the day at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and not only had fun photographing exhibits...

... but creating our own. Sort of.

Here are several more images from the day:

Talk about a deal, admission and parking were FREE! It's connected to The Children's Theatre Company, which brought back wistful memories of school field trips and Pippi Longstocking. Amy mentioned that they do periodically offer 2-for-1 ticket weekends, so you might want to keep your eyes and ears peeled. (Speaking of discounts and deals, you might want to consider checking out a Museum Adventure Pass from your local library. Just click HERE for more information.)

I just had to share this funny thing as well. (Funny as in it's-really-kind-of-depressing-so-we'd-better-laugh-so-we-don't-cry kind of funny.) Several months ago, I blogged about the deceptively-similar-but-much-smaller milk cartons. Guess what? They even ran a story about it on last night's news! While looking for a video clip online, I stumbled upon an insightful collection of "grocery shrink ray" stories. (Click HERE to get the scoop.)

It's going to mess with a lot of my recipes.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

well, at least the tree is down

A major accomplishment.

As many of you already know, I am a photographer for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. It was my sister-in-law Amy who first introduced me this non-profit organization on the heels of my own season of loss. I could barely make it through the website, my tears were so overwhelming. It wasn't so much sadness that gripped me as it was the fact that these families were given something beautiful to remember their dear children by. They had something to hold on to. Many have trouble understanding the significance of this type of photography... perhaps this will help. The following is a video trailer for a documentary that aired in December:

You can read about the film (Capturing a Short Life) by clicking HERE and the DVD is available by clicking HERE.

If you would like to support Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, you can do so without it costing an extra dime! Register at iGive and a percentage of your online purchases will be donated to NILMDTS. Just click on the icon below for more information:

You can also click HERE to support another cause after my own heart. They are changing lives and bringing hope to women struggling with addiction, eating disorders, depression, and self-harm. Click HERE for more information.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 1 Corinthians 1:3-4

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

after all, what's a webkinz fortress without a disco ball?

My boys have been working all weekend on this Webkinz fortress - complete with a weapon manufacturing facility, bunkhouse, and discothèque. It was an elaborate setup, though I had to draw the line at taping blankets to the wall.

Sadly, my hubby had to remind me that these days are numbered... that our soon-to-be middle schooler will likely move on to other interests. Older kid interests. For now, I'm going to enjoy their creative use of tape.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

book a Valentine's Day Session now!

When: Friday, January 30th and Saturday, January 31 (choose a date)
What: 30-minute photo session which includes 25 customized Valentine's Day cards (this is a mini-session - if more than one person is to be photographed, only group shots will be taken)
Where: In and around my home
Time: 9:30 am, 10:15 am, 11:00 am, 12:30 pm, 1:15 pm, 2:00 pm (choose a time slot)
Cost: $50

Interested? Just post a note here or shoot me an email at acvega at frontiernet dot net.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

what are you doing here?

You should be on Mellissa's blog congratulating her on the birth of their first child!

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no, it's not chewing tobacco

"This is my superhero chin." I thought the kid was just being weird, until I saw this:

Seriously, where does he get it from?

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... and the winner is:

Anonymous said...
The movie An Officer and a Gentleman..... Richard Gere and Debra Winger. The song Healing Rain M W Smith...
"Anonymous" benefitted from my delay this morning! Congratulations, Mom.

I heard about this neat organization through another NILMDTS photographer. It's called, "Operation: Love ReUnited" and provides provides free photography services for deploying military families. Click HERE to learn more. (The family website is HERE and contains some amazing galleries. You will be deeply moved by the images.)

Too, head on over to THIS BLOG for another fun giveaway. And while you're at it, be sure to check out THIS WEBSITE (thanks, Tilly). Speaking of the whole ONE WORD-thing (this won't make any sense unless you actually click on the orange links), if you haven't checked out Ali's posts on the topic, click HERE and HERE.

Now, I'm off to play with the hubby.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Valentine's Day Kit Prize Drawing

This wallet-sized PicFolio (a.k.a. slide-in style) album and Valentine's Day Additions pack could be combined to create a very special gift for that very special someone... which might even be YOU! To enter the prize drawing, share the title of a favorite love song or chick flick by adding a comment to this post. A winner will be chosen tomorrow (Friday, January 23) at noon.

To help you get started, I'll go first. Somewhere in Time is one of my favorite romantic movies, I even made the hubby watch it during our dating years. I'm also a fan of Ewan McGregor Moulin Rouge! and 50 First Dates. Now, how about you?

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For Stacey & Tanya

Oh, the memories.

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there's barely enough time to post between Zzzzzs

It seems that sleep has been the first order of business over the last several days. My schedule has been a little out-of-whack since the hubby was out-of-town (too many late nights cropping). Fortunately, I made it to bed early last night (even skipping out on the season premiere of LOST) and was able HEAR my alarm clock this morning - a great start. I thought a prize drawing might be a fun way to shake things up, to really get the adrenaline going. But because it's too early to take a photograph of the giveaway item, consider this post a heads-up.

I'll be back later this afternoon with the details :-)

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

check this out...


And after:

Got myself some new lighting for the camera (an external flash).

My first love is still natural light but boy will this help in some of those challenging low-light situations. I had some fun tonight playing with bounce and my Gary Fong Lightsphere. Just like anything else, it'll take a bit of time to familiarize myself with all of the settings. If you'd like to learn more about using an external flash, click HERE for more information.

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Project 365 Ideas (and more!)

I've been brainstorming for my next Project 365 and thought I'd check with all of you to see what other ideas might be floating around. (And yes, I did say my next Project 365. I've learned so much about my camera and lighting and different subjects that I want to continue to challenge myself.) This is a great time for gathering ideas because the topic is on a lot of bloggers' minds with the start of the new year. This is not strictly a year-to-year project, you can begin this daily project at ANY time.
As for ideas, here's what I've come up with so far:

1. Daily Routine;
2. The City Around Me;
3. Everyday Happenings;
4. Self-Portraits;
5. Family (could be specific to your family or just family images in general);
6. God Moments;
7. Strangers on the Fly;
8. Baby or Child 365 (take a daily photo of your child to track their growth over the course of a year);
9. Gratitude (take a photograph of something you are grateful for each day);
10. Meals (take a photograph and include recipes, receipts, and/or ingredients for one meal each day).

Be sure to check out Becky Higgins' blog for some great Project 365 ideas (click HERE). If a photo-a-day seems a bit daunting, you could also work any of the above ideas into a weekly photo challenge (i.e. Project 52). Here are a few ideas that might work well as a weekly project:

1. My Neighborhood;
2. My Job;
3. Bits of Love;
4. Weekends;
5. Friendship.

Again, I'd love to hear from you! Please share any ideas you might have for either a daily or weekly photo project by adding a comment to this post.

PS: I almost forgot to add the "and more!" part. Check out the Inauguration Lunch Menu (a.k.a. President Obama's first meal as president) by clicking HERE - recipes included.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

January Faithbooking Lesson

This lesson was written on the heels of some very stressful "things" taking place in my life... the sort of stuff that knocks the wind right out of you. It happens to all of us at one time or another - you're cruising along at a smooth pace and WHAM!, you hit a pothole. The road of life is full of uncertainties, though we may not understand all of its twists and turns one thing is sure: God is in control.

I was reminded of this as I sat at my computer, gathering notes and numbers for an important telephone call. A dreaded telephone call. An email popped up on my screen entitled, "Waiting for God's Answer."

It couldn't have arrived at a better time. Here is an excerpt:

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. - Romans 5:3-5

The Christian life would be easy if the space in time was small between when you first believe God's promises and when you receive what He promised. If you could read about it one day and get it the next,
wow - wouldn't that be great!?

But life's not like that.

The hard part is in the waiting between God's promise and His answer; and even harder, when the waiting comes with uncertainties. We all have areas of uncertainty where we need to hold tightly onto what God has said while we wait for Him to work. I couldn't go forward another day if I didn't believe what He told me. So here's what we each must do: We must review His promises all the time. We must remind ourselves that our faith is in God and not in what He does for us. He knows what He has promised, He can't lie, and He can't forget. He will deliver on time, all the time.

God knows that it's hard for us to walk by faith. So He assures us, I'm not going to leave you wondering what I'm going to do. I don't want you to be overcome by fear. So I'm going to make some promises to you so that you can get through the difficult days. You don't have to take your view of life only from what you can see happening right in front of you. You're not imprisoned by the crazy talk someone is putting into your head that you know isn't true. Hang onto the things that I told you.

And while we wait, God builds our faith. ~ by James MacDonald
It was meant for me, of this I have no doubt. As I made my way through the day, through the difficult phone call and the many more that followed, things looked bleak. But I continued to remind myself of His well-timed message and the one thing I am certain of: God is in control.

This lesson isn't, of course, about making real predictions about the road ahead (God is the only one with that information). It is, however, a great way to put your hopes and dreams for the year ahead on paper.

  • Where do you hope to see yourself a year from now in regards to your home, job, and/or relationships?
  • In what ways would you like to see yourself grow?
  • Do you have any unfinished projects looming? If so, list them on your page.
  • Are any of you facing difficult circumstances that you would like to see resolved by this time next year? If so, add them to your scrapbooking page.
For more journaling ideas, just click on the lesson to enlarge. My page is below (the design came from THIS BOOK):

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

two down, a zillion more to go

I've been messing with my new digi kit. Love it. These two pages are Week 1 of my Project 365... only 51 more weeks to go. By the way, I discovered another cool digital site - Scrapping with Ikea Goddess (Angie posts only digital freebies on her blog). Be sure to check it out!

Too, I thought I'd pass along a great series of books that both of my boys are into - Alex Rider. (I think the spy-theme appeals to most boys.) I've read one book in the series and it's pretty intense. You'll find the books in the teen section at your local bookstore or at Amazon by clicking HERE. The first book was made into a movie (Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker) which starred Ewan McGregor, Mickey Rourke, and Alicia Silverstone. The trailer is below:

It can be purchased through Amazon (just click HERE). Looks like a fun family flick.

BTW, today is my sister Stacey's birthday. It could even be a big one. (Welcome to the club.) I hope you have a very Happy Birthday!

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