January 31, 2011

Just a Monday.

1.  An ice storm is coming.  I personally, love the idea of no electricity, no heat, and, possibly no school.  Things like this never happen where I live, so, while I can imagine it happening, it never does.  This time, though, I think it just might!

2.  I have so many blogging ideas!  I love it when this happens!  Unfortunately, I forget them an hour later.  I haven't taken a single picture this week except for my brother at a basketball tournament.  Thus, I have no pictures to share with you.

3.  Exposure. I just learned how to play with exposure, and I am having so much fun!  I read a book called Photography for the Web, and it helped me so much!

4.  Knitting.  I am knitting a cowl right now.  I forgot how much fun and how peaceful it is to knit!  I will possibly do an outfit post with it when it is finished.

5.  Sealed for Redemption.  This is my other blog that is mainly for girls.  There are only ten followers right now, but I try to post as much as I can.  Go check it out here.  If you would like to guestwrite, please email me!

6.  Blog headers.  I love designing them!  They are that good, but I'm working on it!  Expect to see them change a few times a month.  :)

7.  Adoption.  Our adoption from Ethiopia is progressing smoothly.  It is such a wonderful journey to be on at the moment.  If you want to learn more, you can see my mom's blog.

Have a great Monday!

p.s.  There is still one open spot for Pay it Forward!!!  Please enter! 

January 27, 2011

Pay it Forward

**Hurry!  There is still one spot open for Pay it Forward!!  Leave a comment and you could receive something handmade from me!**

Yesterday, I entered Lauren Nicole's "Pay it Forward".  I am going to do it now...

Here's how it works:

The first five people to leave a comment will receive something handmade from me in the mail.  In return, you have to promise to do the same on your blog.  (Must live in the U.S.)  When you comment, make sure I am able to email you.  I will list the five people as they comment.

1.  Allie
2.  Grace
3.  Kendra
4.  Ambrosia
5.  Marie Elizabeth

So, what are you waiting for?  Leave a comment!

I also wanted to let you know about this giveaway.  This camera necklace is up for grabs, and it is beautiful!!!

Go check it out, and don't forget to enter "Pay it Forward"!!

January 26, 2011

The Need for Portraits

Lately, I have been dying to take portraits.  Because it has been so cold, I haven't wanted to go outside, but this weekend, I did.  My sister and I went out all bundled up and had some fun!  The glare was bad, which explains some of our squinting, but overall, these are some of the best portraits I have taken of my sister in a long time!
Excuse the gum...

We were running to stay warm!

Don't ask.  This was one of the dramatic running shots!

What do you think?

January 24, 2011

I'm 15 Today!

I turned fifteen today!  Even though it was a Monday, it was still very fun!  At my co-op, all 150+ kids sang to me.  All week, my brother had been planning it.  Well, let's just say that I will pay him back one way or another!
After a long day of school, my family and I went out to dinner.

 It was very yummy!
 I also got to have a mini dessert, even though we were going to have cake at home!  It was free, so what the heck?  I shared it though, I promise.  Doesn't it look so cute?

Me and my sister

When we came home, we ate a gorgeous cheesecake "tower" that my mom built.  It was yummy!  I some earrings, clothes, and candy, and a scarf.  Overall, it was a good day!  I love birthdays because they are just a great reminder of how short life is, and also how many people there are around me who love me!

January 23, 2011

Happy Monday!

I am entering Allie's Happy Monday contest again!  I really enjoy doing them, even if I don't win.  It's so fun to see all the diferent entries, and it really is a good way to introduce you to different blogs.

Here is my "shoe" picture.  I took this in Ethiopia.  These are the shoes the kids wear.  They're somewhat similar to Crocs.  These are the only shoes these kids have.  For some, it's the only pair they will have for many years.  For me, this is the best interpretation of shoes I can find!

January 22, 2011

Of Trees, Rain, and God's Word

"Yet he did not leave himself witness,
for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons,
satisfying your hearts with food and gladness."
Acts 14:17

"He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills."
Psalm 147:8

"For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing,
and all the tress of the field shall clap their hands."
Isaiah 55:12

January 21, 2011

A Sweet Way to Start the Weekend!

Hope your weekend is wonderful!  Next week, there will be lots of pictures!  I promise!

*update:  Check out my sidebar!  I added some pages...*

January 19, 2011

Tips to Spend Less Time on the Computer, and More Time in the Real World

Lately, I've been struggling with trying to spend less time on the computer.  It is hard to do with school, blogging, Flickr, and reading your blogs!  I have realized that I spend way too much time on this little electronic box.  Thus, I have been coming up with tips to help myself control the time I do spend on the computer.  I thought you might like to have them too.

1.  Schedule it.
I am going to try this next week.  I am going to put a little post-it note on the front of my computer with different times I can be on the computer.  Then, when I'm finished, I'll check off that time.  If I come back to the computer and all the times are crossed off then I will not be allowed to get back on.

2. Tell someone about it.
Talk to someone.  Ask them to help you manage your time better.

3. Close it up!
Plain and simple.  You know when enough is enough.  Resist the temptation and just close it!  (Or shut it down.)

4. Make it harder.
For me, almost every time I'm done checking my email or doing a blog post, I shut my laptop down.  That way, if I want to get back on, it takes me longer, and I don't want to do it as much.

5. Schedule it {#2}
If you are a blogger, schedule your posts, or just have a certain time when you post.  Limit yourself.  Say that you can only check your email three (or whatever number) times a day.  Try to stick to it. 

6. Reevaluate
Recently, I went through all the blogs I follow, and I deleted the ones I don't read or don't enjoy.  Take time to go over websites you are constantly looking at, blogs you follow but don't read, anything that really, is not keeping you focused on God or encouraging your walk with Him. Stop following, or stop reading.  Take the temptation away.  Plus, if you have fewer things to "check up on" every time you get on the computer, the less time you will spend.

7. Set a timer
In my family, we always do this.  When the kids want to play a game, they get 20 minutes, and then they have to get off.  Try it for yourself.  Set a timer, and when it goes off, get away from the computer.  You might have to do this a few times during the day, but it helps.  Think about it like this: Whatever you don't get done in the first 20 minutes, you can do on your next 20 minute period.

So there you have it!  Seven tips to spend less time on the computer and more time in the real world!  Do you have any tips?  Feel free to comment and let me know!

January 18, 2011

Was & Now

I decided to do another Was & Now.  This picture is recent and one of the only self-portraits I like!  It was freezing outside when I took this, hence that hat.  When I took it, it was a little dark, and I wanted my face to stand out, not the background.

 What I did was brighten it up a little, sharpened it, and obviously, I made it B&W.  Someday, I will be able to go into more detail about how I edit.  Since I have a free editing software, it's not like Photoshop with all the fancy actions and such!  I am hoping to get Photoshop in a few years.
What do you think?  I really like it in black and white.
I also like it in Sepia.  Well, what do you think?  Which one is your favorite?

January 17, 2011

A Cowgirl Day

My sisters are generally very photogenic.  Plus, they are the only ones in my family who let me take pictures of them!  My brother who is thirteen thinks he is "too cool" and my little brothes don't stop moving long enough!  Last summer, after I had just gotten my camera, my sister, who is eleven, dressed up, and out we went!

You've probably seen this before!  I love it a lot.

My brothers were happy to provide us with all the toy pistols we needed.  The slide adds a nice touch to this I think.

I think she makes a good cowgirl!  On another note, I am starting to consider portrait photography.  I love it so much, but I know I need to get better.  I am looking at this lens, and when I get enough money saved up, I hope to buy it!  Does anyone with a Nikon know anything about this lens?  Let me know what you think about these photos, and please tell me how I can improve.  Thanks!

January 16, 2011

Winner of the Giveaway!

Alright everyone!  I can finally tell you who won the giveaway!  My sisters and I placed each comment in a hat, and drew from it.  That way everything would be nice and fair!  And the winner is...

adding on to my first post :) The best gift would be Jesus Christ and that he died for our sins so would can spend eternity with God.

payton!  Congratulations payton.  Email me and I will send you the necklace!  ;)

I hope you all enjoyed the giveaway!  Maybe I'll have a photography contest soon!  We shall see...
Have a great Monday!

January 13, 2011

Happy Monday {Again}

Guess what? 

YEP!!!!  I am so excited!  Please go over to Allie's blog and vote for me!  I would be so happy if you did!  Thank you!

I won't be doing a devotional today.  I am working on some posts for Sealed for Redemption because I haven't posted there in a very long time.  Next week, there will be another devotion!

January 12, 2011

Happy Monday Photo Challenge

This week, I am participating in the Happy Monday Photo Challenge.  Allie hosts it here.  The theme is "something cold" so I immediately thought of this picture.  I love how there is just one little leaf left on the tree, and the rest of the brances are covered in ice.

January 11, 2011

Ethiopia: Part 1

For the rest of this week, I am going to do several posts about my trip to Ethiopia November 2010.  I wrote in a journal while I was there, so there will be some of that.  Don't forget pictures, because there are a lot!  I took so many when I was there, and as I go back and look over them, it makes me miss being there.  I can remeber being in the rooms I took pictures of, holding the hand of the little girl who smiles up at me from the computer screen.  I remember living with the team, we grew to be a family.  There are so many memories, which is part of the reason why I want to do these posts.  I hope you enjoy it, and if you would like, head over to my mom's blog, Olive Shoots and Muddy Boots, to learn more about the trip and our adoption.

November 17, 2010
Today we went to Trees of Glory, a school that is about two hours out of the city.  There were only twenty-four of the one hundred kids enrolled there today.  The reason: The parents of the kids learned that we were coming, and that we were Christians.  Because most of them are pagan, they believe that we are coming to convert their children.  When we first arrived we got a tour around the grounds.  They own about twenty-seven acres, and have thirteen buildins on it.  This place was once used by the Japanese, who were building the roads.  When they left, the buildings were vandalized.  Windows are broken and the only well is filled with rocks.  The men on our team are going to work there almost the entire week.  During the tour, we were taken to a small river, where there were cows and goats grazing.  Farther down, there was a bridge that we had passed on our way in.  On the side of the bridge, just over the railing, was a truck that had tipped over. 

 We prayed over this bridge because the people who live near it believe it is cursed.  They offer sacrifices on it, and throw spices into the water, all because there has been so many crashes there. 

We went into the school after the walk, and saw the kids practicing their English letters.  They were very shy, and did not come up to us like the kids at the other school did, but they were smiling and peeking at us.
We brought balloons, jump ropes, beads, crayons.  These kids had never seen markers or crayons before.  They did not know how to color.  It was humbling and so sad all at once.  I could picture my brothers at home with their bucket of markers, saying that they didn't want those ones, they wanted different ones.  Yet, these kids did not even know what a marker was.  They did not even know what a simple joy it is to color, something we take for granted here.

These kids were actually on our way to the school.  They were shepherding with their grandfather, who made us pay him for passing over his land!  We gave them suckers, and some attention they may not normally have gotten.

Because we are not allowed to eat the food they cook, we ate our own lunches.  In Ethiopia, they have a coffee ceremony.  They roast, grind, and brew the coffee right there in front of you.  They also serve popcorn on the side!

We left Trees of Glory with heavy, but happy, hearts.  We saw hope and joy, but poverty and depression as well.  We were not gone for good.  In just a few days we would return to meet more of the children, and for my family, our sponser child.  To be continued...

January 10, 2011

Go Check Out This Giveaway!

Go check out this giveaway!  She is giving away 26 different prizes!  It's worth checking out!

p.s. Post about my trip to Ethiopia tomorrow!

January 09, 2011


Alright people.  Only two of you entered my giveaway.  Thus, I will be extended it until next week.  All you have to do is follow me, and let me know what the best gift you ever received is.  That's all you have to do.  You have until next Sunday, January 16, to enter!!!  Go do it!

January 08, 2011

Just For You

It's cold where I live - very cold.  When I went shopping with my mom this morning, the temperature was 11 degrees.  Anyway, I have not taken a picture for a week!  I don't think I've ever done that!  I am usually always taking picture, or I usually take at least one a day.  Just for you (because I have not posted any photos in a while) I went outside and took pictures of the snow.  I put on my sister's thin pink gloves, realized they had a hole in them, ignored that fact, and grabbed my camera.  To say the least, I was freezing.  The wind was blowing, my dog would not leave my side, and I was shaking so much I could hardly push the shutter-release button!   

I LOVE the sunflare on this photo!
What did you all think of the devotion?  Also, please check out the giveaway!  It ends tomorrow, and so far, only two people have entered!  Go check it out.  You can find a link to it at the top of the page.  Have a great weekend!

January 06, 2011

Thursday Devotion

Do you use a calendar?  If you are like my mom, you have a large calendar stuffed with papers, reminders, and dates.  If you’re an organized person, you might carry a calendar around with you everywhere you go.  Keeping track of events in our lives can be very beneficial.  Who wants to miss that aunt’s visit or that birthday party you still haven’t gotten a gift for?  Important meetings would be missed, people would be forgotten if we didn’t have the beauty of a calendar.  There are many ways you can keep your schedule – phone, email, even non-electronic (who would do such a thing!?).  But, no matter how you do it, you do it.  You may use any means of getting there, as long as you actually get there.  So, where am I going with this?  Well, Psalm 90:12 says this,
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
I have learned that life is short.  There are only 365 days in a year.  Each day, you have 24 hours to either make the most of or waste.  You can choose to do something productive, or you can waste the day the Lord has given you.  When you are young (like me!) it seems as if you have a whole life ahead of you.  But it goes fast, very fast.  If we wait until we are too old to do anything for the Lord, what is the point of living?  Weren’t we placed on this earth to glorify God, and to do the work He has set out for us?  When we learn to number our days, we gain wisdom.  We gain a heart that yearns for God, yearns to do His work. 
Who doesn’t want a heart of wisdom?  I mean, really.  Do you want to be wise?  How are you going to become wise?  We can’t just sit around and wait for wisdom to show up.  Nope.  You have to go out and catch it.  You have to get up and do what it takes.  You and I must learn to number our days.  Our lives are going to end.  We will not live forever.  Do you want to do something great in that short time?  We are but a vapor, a breeze in the sky.  We pass quickly.  What are you going to do in your life?  How are you numbering you days?
Next week, I am going to have an open link for this.  I want to have at least 7 people link up!  There will also be a button you can post on your blog.  Think about it, pray about it.  Maybe it's something you can start doing on your blog!

January 05, 2011

A List

1. I have too much to do.

2. I haven't taken photos in three days.  Sometimes, I just need to go outside and take pictures.  It's calming.  At the moment, it's too cold to go outside, which means I don't want to go, which means I don't get to take any pictures.

3. I am trying to do two weeks of school work in one.  It makes me tired.

4. I am currently reading three books at the same time.  I love doing that. 

5. I hate to say this, but I miss the snow.  Yes, I know I just said I didn't like winter at all, but I contradict myself sometimes.  Snow is fun to photograph, play in, and really, just look at!

6. Only two people have entered my giveaway!  Go check it out.  It's a small giveaway, but it's fun!

7. My blog, Sealed for Redemption, has been severely neglected.  I need to post something, but I don't know what yet.

8. I'm staring at my Biology, History, and Latin books.  Why do I feel so guilty?  Guess what I will be doing for the next half hour?

9. I just wrote a post without a picture.  It's a record!

10. I just contradicted myself again!

January 03, 2011

Summer - I Miss You

I miss warm weather.  I am not one of those people who enjoys the outdoors in winter.  Don't get me wrong, I will go out and sled, but only for a little.  I'd much rather be barefoot and not wearing four layers.  The dirt beckons me, calls me to sink my feet into it.  The shade tree is inviting.  I want to sit there all day and write.  There is hapiness with warm weather.

 You don't have a care in the world.  No school, no worries.  At least for kids.  Summers are joyous for kids.  The time when they have freedom, and are not studying.
You go places.  You have lazy days.  The sun is awake longer, waiting to see the last game of tag or the last marshmallow roasted and eaten.

Water is your friend.  No one is afraid to jump right in and cool their heated bodies.
Summer, I miss you.  I cannot wait to greet you soon.  I cannot wait to play with you for the few months that you stay.  Come soon summer!  I will be waiting!