Friday, April 29, 2011

sneak peek

We're done and it was so fun!
I was not the primary photographer at tonight's photo shoot,
but that didn't keep me from shooting a bunch myself to give you a quick sneak peek.

And wouldn't you know, it would be windy. It's never windy in Phoenix.

Oh my gosh, could elsie be any cuter!

I'm planning on having my husband put these images through photoshop 
and see what we can do to make them even better.

But overall I was very pleased by the whole experience...

... and very thankful for these awesome gals.
Thanks Miranda for helping with the girls and taking pictures on our Canon AE1 film camera.
And thank you Nancy for being the primary photographer. I am so grateful!
And I can hardly wait to see them on Monday!
And thank you Nicole & emolyn & elsie for sharing in my love of preserving memories.
Like I said, this is only the beginning. And I can't wait to do it again!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

pre-photo styling madness

This will be the site of my first photo stylizing shoot. And that would be my handsome husband standing in for me while I check the lighting.
Remember when I told you about my latest hobby here? Well, I'm going for it. Tomorrow night.
I've been scouring the desert for weeks, for just the right feel and literally found the perfect site at the entrance to South Mountain Park. I didn't want green grass or trees... in fact I would have preferred less color here, but I think it will work. We're shooting during the golden hour and I can hardly wait!
Oh and my lovely subjects will be my two granddaughters and their Mommy.
Here's a little sneak peek into the makings of such a shoot or in the life of one unorganized homemaker. I have twice ripped my house apart looking for a certain item that I wanted on the set. And I mean literally destroying my home. But guess what? I end up not only finding said object, but other items that I thought were gone for good.
Also in the making of this shoot, I have created future shoots as emolyn & elsie get a tad bit older. Wait till you see them come to fruition!
All to say, I am good to go. I'm excited. I have a van load of props and baskets and stools and chairs... oh and a tambourine. Yes, a tambourine. Not only for my daughter to use to keep the girls looking at the camera... but emolyn loves this old tambourine and I plan to have it in a few silly shots.
Looking forward to giving you a sneak peek after the shoot!

Monday, April 25, 2011

6 couples wed in 1950

Laura & Claire ~ Dolores & Roy ~ Mom & Dad ~ Dorothy & Bernard ~ Teresa & Bruce ~ Helen & Edmond
My Mom & Dad were married April, 29th, 1950. This week would have been their 61st Wedding Anniversary. I am so thankful my parents had 59 years together. And I am so thankful they shared those years with these 5 couples. You see, they all got married in 1950. And they were all friends before they married! 

I called my Mom this morning and did some probing. She told me they all met at local dances and the local roller skating rink in Hatfield, Wisconsin. And they've been the best of friends ever since. And get this... they celebrated their anniversaries every 5 years. And we have the photos to prove it. They would all gather together, rotating homes, every 5 years. And this was in addition to visits throughout the year. As you can imagine, we loved growing up with their kids. Three of the couples had 10+ kids each! And believe it or not, we'd occasionally gather five of the families together for a potluck picnic/softball game. We're talkin' over 50 of us... with 40+ being kids! 
They all lived on farms 10-20 miles from ours (and still do) and we all went to different schools. (Whitehall, Alma Center, Neilsville) Sure made it fun having friends that attended our rival high school during football and basketball season. 

The above picture was taken at my Mom & Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary party in 2000. They all sat together and had the best time. They are such a fun-loving, laughing bunch that I will forever associate them with playing Whist, sharing pot lucks, drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and telling stories from the past. I have always said, nothing made me happier as a kid, than hearing my parents laughing with friends while falling asleep in my bedroom at the top of the stairs. Not a better feeling.

(my Dad and Helen (far right) have since passed away)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter!

We have a Mom's Day Out program every Thursday at our church
and I am the teacher's assistant. I love my little job.
Well, as you can imagine, yesterday was a fun day filled with lots of activities.
We told the kids the story of Christ's death and resurrection...
and then we made deviled eggs for snack.

And that's when Kathy & I looked at each other and thought "deviled eggs?".
There has to be a better name than THAT!
So, does anyone out there call them something besides deviled eggs?
Any and all suggestions are welcome.

Oh my gosh, how cute is Emolyn and her favorite little girlie girls!

I love these little kiddles and my dear friend Kathy.
And I love Easter!

Have a very special weekend remembering Christ's death and resurrection. 


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sunbonnet Sue quilt

My favorite little thrift store is closing this weekend and I'm still rather verklempt about it. Can't imagine my life without my favorite little thrift store. 
Anyway, I decided to pay homage this past Sunday when everything went 50% off till the store closes April 23rd.
I wasn't expecting much... it was already rather picked over, but I did splurge on this zany-looking bowling ball that I've had my eye on for weeks, in it's original Brunswick box for $3.00. It's going to look groovy cool in my backyard! Yes, very psychedelic 60's.
But when I got around to checking out, the line was long, so I decided to take another gander around the joint... and well, I struck gold... actually bright yellow.

I found a twin-size handmade Sunbonnet Sue quilt for $3.98!!!

And lest you think I'm losing my thrifting mojo... I'll have you know that they had just brought out several handmade quilts with no price tags. And I happen to stumble upon them at just the right time. Call it instincts. Or call me Al. (sorry, I've had Paul Simon's "Betty when you call me, you can call me Al" lyrics stuck in my head)

But I was psyched for two reasons ~ emolyn & elsie's bedroom is painted bright yellow... and I knew Nicole would love and appreciate such a treasured heirloom. Well, the girls loved it and I loved that my favorite little thrift store came through in the end.

Oh but rest assure, I'm not done shopping those hallowed aisles just yet. I plan on making a few more stops before the week is over, just to take it all in and... PERSEVERATE AND RUMINATE ABOUT ALL THE HOURS AND DOLLARS STOLEN FROM MY LIFE!!!!!  
Just kidding.

Linking up to ~

Monday, April 18, 2011

transportable tablescape

We have dear friends Rand & Michelle, that provide that slice of heaven when we're needing to get out of the city. The ambiance is out of this world... when really it's only an hour away in Waddell, Arizona. So when the Hand in Hand reunion team (six couples) decided to have a dinner party to share our stories about the reunion and celebrate our 30+ years in ministry together... well, it was a no-brainer!

And Rand & Michelle happen to be the most amazing cooks on the planet! So Nancy & I decided to take care of the outdoor tablescape. I brought my traveling Mason jar caddy filled with candles & Daffodils. Always good to go and so easy to transport. 

Nancy brought all her Spring table linens to grace the tables. I have 3 - 6 ft. banquet tables that are so easy to throw in the van for a dinner party. I'm serious, every home should have at least two of these tables! You will use them like crazy! In fact, they are only $33.00 this week at Target. So go get one ~ now!

We literally felt like we were dining in Napa Valley... only better, cuz we were experiencing it with good friends.

So what do you do when the cooks are putting the finishing touches on the meal? You hula hoop! Can I just say I LOVE hula hooping! Like I really love hula hooping! A lot! Thanks to Kayelen (pictured) who makes these amazing, well-built hula hoops!

Nothing better than sharing a good meal with good friends, sipping good wine...
under a full moon and a starry night...

eating lamb for the first time, and I gotta say, unbelievably good...

yummy salmon cakes that were to-die-for...

 and pork tenderloin in all it's stuffed glory! YES!

I'm telling you, when you set the table (pardon the pun), you create moments where 
love flows freely... 
hearts are full... and blessing abound. 
(click each pic so the images fill your screen)

If you want to check out more creative tablescapes, click HERE.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

elsie & emolyn


Oh my gosh, I am so in love with these little girls!
elsie is six months old and looks so much like our son Shawn
and emolyn is 3 years old and looks so much like her Mommy Nicole.
Nicole wrote the funniest post about her girlie girls yesterday.
I'm still laughing every time I think of emolyn changing elsie's clothes!

Friday, April 15, 2011

a spacious place

"He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of the deep waters.  He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes who were too strong for me.  They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support.  He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me." 2 Samuel 22:17-20

Wow. Where have those verses been my whole life? Love that " He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me". There is nothing I desire more right now than to be transported to a spacious place... to bask in quiet rest... to know His peace and assurance.
So this morning when I found these verses posted on one of my favorite blogs, I couldn't believe how true these words applied to my life. I started journaling again just hours before I found these verses... desperate to hear His voice. And then He speaks to me through His Word... posted on  THIS  blog. 
I don't know when I have come upon such timely Truth, nor experienced such delight and favor. 
I am lost for words.
(photo taken by my friend Linda at the Hand in Hand reunion)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

blogging & pruning

I've been busy blogging over at the Hand in Hand blog
 about the Hand in Hand Reunion.
We had several photographers at the reunion
and I love how each of them uniquely chronicled the event through their camera lens.

My husband has been busy pruning back vines and bushes and trees
because of the deep freeze we had this past winter.
I can't wait for everything to fill in and green up.
And I just heard that snow is in the forecast for the farm in Wisconsin,
and we're looking at temps in the mid 90's this weekend. Whoa!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring rain bonnets

We had our first Spring thunderstorm over the weekend and it was glorious.
It rained and poured all day Saturday.
It was heavenly.
And to think we had temps in the mid 90's last Saturday
and mid 50's this Saturday! Gotta love these crazy weather patterns.

Anyway, it made me think of rain bonnets from the 60's.
These rain bonnets were freebees at County Fairs and other such promos. 
Aren't they adorable?

I've had the green one since I was a little girl 
and later found the pink & yellow bonnets for a quarter each at yard sales.
They add the perfect Spring zing to any Easter decor, don't you think?
Which I should probably set out this week...
with Easter only being two weeks away.
I'm linking my rain bonnets story to-

Thursday, April 07, 2011

heavenly hollyhocks

Fifteen years ago I planted a tub full of hollyhock seeds 
that I had brought back from a trip to California.
I literally harvested the dried seed pods off the hollyhock stalks at a Christian College 
and then threw them in the ground when I got back to Phoenix.

Months later they started growing,
but I wasn't sure what I had planted where, so I had no idea they were hollyhocks...

... until much to my surprise, every color, shape and size hollyhock began to bloom.
And I mean every variety and color imaginable!
We were stunned and so was everyone that drove by our home.
Our hollyhocks became the talk of the neighborhood.
And I became known as that "hollyhock lady".

 I have rarely planted a hollyhock seed since.
Once you plant a crop of hollyhocks, they reseed year after year.
And then you can transplant them anywhere you want.
They grow in our backyard now.

This year none of the crinoline (can-can) variety have boomed.
They have always been my favorite. (as you can see from my blog banner)
But that's not to say they won't bloom next year.
Oh and don't hesitate to ask permission to harvest seeds from hollyhocks as you travel.
I may not plant many seeds any more... 
but I love adding a new variety that I have found here and there.
For instance, on one vacation in Wisconsin my eye caught a pale yellow hollyhock.
We immediately stopped to see if any of the stalks had dried seed pods,
so I could harvest and replant when we got home.
Well, the farmer was more than willing to let me take his seeds back to Phoenix, Arizona.
In fact, he was quite honored!

I'm linking my Hollyhock story to ~

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

what a weekend!

Yes, what a full weekend!
I'm feeling the need to take some time and journal before I forget some of the details.
So this morning I will do so.
Ok, so we found out Thursday that Tyler's swearing-in ceremony was Friday morning. A little disconcerting to say the least. Linda was here from Wisconsin for the reunion... so I was a little distracted, but Randy & I were good to go Friday morning. Long story short, Tyler is not joining the Marines. He is at peace with his decision. And we feel God intervened in the final minutes and answered our prayers, even though we were totally supportive of him joining the Marines. Whew, talk about a shift in thinking, I am still letting that sink in. But it's all good.

Linda & I woke up Saturday morning of the Hand in Hand Reunion and climbed South Mountain to watch the sunrise. The perfect start to a day that would far exceed our expectations. So much fun reconnecting with old friends and remembering a time when God used a bunch of musicians in their 20's to draw teens and young people to Jesus. I will be posting more images from that day. Check out the HiH Reunion post prior to this post.

After maybe 4 hours of sleep, I woke up Sunday morning and my allergies had kicked in big-time. Linda & I had been sitting out in my backyard every chance we could and the blooming Mulberry tree was giving me fits. But what a sweet time we had sitting back there, talking, laughing, singing, crying and praying. So worth whatever those trees were dishing out.

We went to church and the worship was freeing and powerful. Linda met my darling little granddaughters... and then Randy, Linda & I drove to Camp Verde to visit our dear friends Randy & Debbie Jamison. This is their backyard!

Linda & I have known them since we arrived in Phoenix in 1977. So much fun reconnecting with Randy & Debbie, Randy's sister Marci & husband Scott, and Randy's parents. We sang and laughed and told stories and ate good food!

So incredibly peaceful and relaxing... I didn't want to leave.

When we left hours later, our hearts were full of love... 
tummies full of food... and our minds full of memories to last a lifetime.

Monday morning Linda & I once again plopped ourselves in the backyard and never came inside the whole day. The weather was near perfect. Again, so peaceful and relaxing... just what we needed after a busy weekend. 
We sipped on homemade lemonade and devoured too many lemon bars. Randy grilled the brats that I had cooking in the crockpot all day. And then we ended our time together by climbing South Mountain to watch the sunset. 
Truly awe-inspiring. 
In fact those images deserve a post all their own.
Today I sit and reflect on the faithfulness of God and friends. I feel loved and hopeful and peaceful.
And I feel so... well, sick. Seriously, all that time outside at the reunion, South Mountain, Camp Verde and in our backyard has reeked havoc and I'm an allergy mess... that unfortunately has turned into a cold.
I did nothing yesterday and I will do nothing today. 
I will soak in the memories and rest in His peace. 
And it's all good.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Hand in Hand Reunion

These sweet reunion images say it all... 

lots of hugs...

reuniting with old friends...

remembering a time in our lives that was foundational to who we are today...


and making new friends that will last forever.

The reunion was everything and more than I could have ever imagined!
70 of us gathered together to thank God for His love, and the meal we were about to share.

They forecasted temps in the mid-90's,
but then the clouds rolled in and cooled things off...

... and the day was spent catching up on the last 30 years...
over good food, friendships and fun music!

Hand in Hand was a concert ministry back in the 70's
that shared Jesus through all styles of music.
Thousands of teens accepted Christ during that time.
And it was at a Hand in Hand concert that I met my husband Randy,
but you can read all about that HERE.

As the sun began to set over the Estrella Mountains,
we were transported back in time to the tunes of sweet music filling the air.
It was simply magical.

Linda & I had not sung together in over 10 years. 
But it came back so easy and natural... just pure & simple harmonies.
And then while the music was playing... 
we were stunned to witness God's glorious handiwork!

PSALMS 19:1 ~
The Heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.

Truly the most breathtaking sunset I have ever witnessed!
What a special gift from God.

These are the simple centerpieces that graced each of the tables.
~ candles in aqua blue Mason jars on burlap ~

The highlight of the evening was watching Glory Road reunited as a band
and playing great music again after many, many years.
What a memorable night!