Monday, April 29, 2013

Finding the happies

This weekend has been one of those weekends. Where good happened but so much frustration was mixed in. Rather than go on about the frustration, I’m going to focus on the happies throughout the week, because when 7 days goes up against 2 days, the 7 days will always win out.

- Tuesday, I was at my desk when a bunch of school kids, maybe 2nd grade, walked by our big office windows, and they started waving. I happily waved back and one girl said, ‘she’s pretty.’ and the other girls all started chiming in, ‘yes, she is pretty.’ and I just have to say, that made my day. They had no idea I could hear them.

- I scored 4 free lunches last week, and that will always make this girl exceedingly happy.

- Having my friend come over for a girl’s night in was such a pleasure. While waiting, it prompted “Philosophical Emily” to come out and say the following.

photo 1 (17)I haven’t always felt that way. For a long time when I was younger, it really would upset me, but it struck me while waiting for her (and having the extra time to do my dishes because she was running behind) that its useless getting worked up over it all. I would hope in the future any kidless friends would extend me the same courtesy.

- Since I’m on the topic of tweets, I inadvertently sent one out that was completely innocent however the moment I reread it a few minutes later, I saw it in a whole new light.. and it got its fair share of concerned and relieved replies…
photo 2 (17)
- I finally got to see Les Miserables this weekend and I’m happy to say that it will probable the only time I’ll ever watch it. It was good, but once is more than plenty.

- I went to Costco and next thing I knew my (though I have bought small amounts) 16 months of no official cheese buying has been broken. In a very very big way. Those are all Costco sized, mind you. I have good intentions with all of them, for instance, I did make Broccoli and Cheese soup from Peas and Crayons’s blog. And it was good, friends.
photo 1 (16)photo 2 (16)

- I signed up for The Typing Web and if you want to have fun typing as fast as your fingers can go and be timed while doing it, sign up! Maybe this is my geek side, but I have so much fun testing out how fast and accurate I can type on this website. They have every level and text imaginable. And they say you can get a certificate but I’m having too much fun, I haven’t gone for it yet. I want to get even faster before I get it.

- 2 things became obvious from Thursday’s post. 1) I am 100% in the minority on number 2 on the list.. thank you for pointing that out… and 2) a lot of us struggle with flossing!! I now have a 2nd accountability partner since then, and its been fun getting her texts of flossing. If you want, you’re more than welcome to join the flossing anonymous texting group (FATG). We do not judge you for the last floss you’ve done.

I feel the weekend downers getting washed away as I think of all these happies. (and yes, I realize ‘happies’ is not a word).

What good things can you see from your week or weekend that overshadow the crappies that wanted to drag you down?

--crappies and happies… I don’t know what’s gotten into me.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Now its my turn

Remember all that time ago when the “5 things you don’t know about me” floated around and everyone jumped on it to share? Well, I thought I’d be cool and wait until it completely died down where no one in blogland was doing it and do mine. In reality, this has taken weeks weeks to create so technically it could have been posted during the whole fad, but I didn’t realize it would be so hard to think of 5 things.. and I wasn’t sure I wanted to say one of them, so it was a lot of back and forth until I decided to throw caution to the wind and just go for it.

So, this is me. Giving you 5 things that after reading this, you can’t say you didn’t know about me anymore.


1. I've been engaged before.   (hello cat, you can come out of the bag now)
2. I like the smell of skunk and associate it with lemons. I realize they don't smell like lemons in any way, but every time I smell a skunk I think, mmmmm, lemons. {does this put me in the minority??}
3. I have a flossing accountability partner. Every night we text each other that we flossed. That's the only way either of us will actually floss (consistently) and its been working for the past 4 months or so. Our gums have never been happier.
photo (38)photo (39)

….and you probably thought I was joking.
4. Its a must that I use the bathroom whenever I go somewhere. Just the thought of getting in a car accident and knowing I'll pee all over myself while unconscious, ensures I have an empty bladder before leaving... even though I realize pee all over me is the least of my problems, if I'm passed out from a car accident.. but why add insult to injury.. am I right?
5. G-man and I love to listen to John Tesh on the radio and we (ok, maybe just I) call him “Teshy” and say, “Hi Teshy” or “Its Teshy!!” when he comes on to give his facts… and I may or may not wave to the radio in the car on occasion. Teshy has wisdom, you guys!

There you have it!! Five truths about little ol’ me!

I think I should start this trend back up, what do you say?? If you didn’t do a post listing the 5 things we don’t know about you, I give you my full permission to share and you’re more than welcome to blame me for resurrecting it if you get any grief from others. My excuse I’ll use is I grew up in small town Utah where we never got the “trends” in stores until 2 years after they happened, so I don’t know any better. 

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

So you want to rent a lens

There’s so many things that are out there in the world that we have no clue we can rent, until magically, it’s pointed out to us.

A designer gown for an incredible price? - Rent the Runway will let you.

A wedding gown, tuxedos, furniture, cars, kids.. you get the idea.

But did you know you can rent lenses? Professional luxury lens? and even the camera bodies too?? If you’re close to a reliable camera store, they’ll all be at your fingertips for what could be a very hefty price, but online! Online is where your selection goes beyond your wildest dreams.

When I was planning to go to Mexico, I wanted to make sure I had the easiest time with my camera as possible. My camera is already heavy enough, I didn’t want to bring my 5lb, break my arm zoom lens, plus another lens that will let me shoot close. No. I wanted one lens that would let me do it all. Zoom in. Zoom out without ever having to stop to switch it out for the ‘other one’ so I could get the shot I wanted.

I put it out there to a lot of professional photographers to find the ‘perfect vacation lens’ and though they all had their opinions, one made the most sense. The 24-105L series zoom lens. Now my next question to myself was: “where will I get it, and how can I pay the least amount of money for it?”

Though there are a lot of trusted reliable websites, I went with the best one for me. Lens Pro To Go. Not only did I get a great deal – 14 day rental for the price of 7!! But I also got to experience true customer service. Of course I had questions, which led me to call while I was placing the order, and they picked up right away. No automated voice, no press 1 for English, they answer and they’re funny. Or at least my guy was. Not to mention very patient and helpful.

After placing my order, they called me…and being the hyper skeptical, overly cautious person that I am, wasn’t prepared for their call. He asked me a series of questions, ranging from why I was renting the lens, to if I were a professional, to whether or not I have a blog/website so they can see the photos after.

Since I can be less than forthcoming at times, I wasn’t willing to give my blog and details and only supplied the necessities so he could complete my order. I have no doubt this is standard, but I was new to renting and I’m a private (information) person, so it was hard for me to give it all up.

I didn’t know what to expect when it arrived, but it came in a huge box. I dove into it and quickly understood why it was such a huge box. This massive hard cover case was inside.

Just seeing it was getting me happy and I loved the touch of the question on their sticker of who my favorite superhero is. Once I worked the {very difficult} snaps, I opened up to see the lens nestled nicely into thick thick padded foam. Plus a tootsie pop! Another fun detail that Lens Pro To Go adds to their rental.

I really liked that {while it was in the case} I didn’t have to worry about breaking the lens. Outside the case was another ballgame, but this case seemed indestructible.

I took it with me to Mexico and loved every minute with the lens. I had 5 days after to keep playing with it, and I was sad to see it go. I’ve always thought I wanted a 24-70mm lens, but now using this one, I’m thinking I know what I’ll be saving up for. It’s the perfect all around zoom when you only agree to bring one.

Its not as heavy as other zoom lenses, which is another reason why I chose it, but still after awhile (read: 8 hours) of the camera and lens together, the weight will catch up.. as evidenced by my vein beginning to pop out of my arm from holding it up.

And a reminder of the fantastic photos taken with it…

If you ever get the chance to rent a lens, check out Lens Pro To Go, they’re really great to work with and they provide everything for you to ship it right back. Whenever I get the itch to rent again, I’ll definitely be using them again.

Have you ever rented a lens before?

What’s the most obscure thing you’ve rented that we would be surprised that you can?

*they have no idea I wrote a review. All opinions are mine. I did this solely on my own because I had such a great experience with them and not many people know you can rent lenses!

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Monday, April 22, 2013

A lovely of a time

Happy last week of April, all! I think I could sleep through today. At least one Monday a month should be devoted to napping at work. I have no doubt productivity would be through the roof if every employer would let their people nap instead of work. If it was nationwide, no one would expect to get any answers that day, so the workload would be non existent any way.

Clearly I’ve put thought into this. {we should start a petition}

I had such a beautiful weekend. Started out with the potential to be rocky.. picked G-man up at the airport, only instead of his flight arriving and 10-15 minutes later, picking him up at the baggage claim all happy-go-lucky; I wait over an hour after his plane landed because his suitcase wasn’t on his flight.. and in turn went to Spokane, WA. Its hard to not be upset when it’s a direct flight and they still manage to misplace your luggage. But all was not lost since we went for sushi after and had a fun conversation throughout dinner.
as I waited for G, I got to watch the sun set.
photo (37)

Saturday we had grand plans of driving up to Yosemite for the day and soak in the gorgeous views but since we had to go back to the airport to get his bag at 1pm, there was no way we’d be able to make it, so instead we had delicious Indian food and looked at exotic fish for sale.

I guess old Yosemite photos will have to do for now..

Did you know 2 black and tangerine ‘nemo’ fish are $250?? A small loan might have to be taken out to be able to acquire all the fish he’s wanting one day.

We rented Skyfall and got into a big discussion of whether “M” is his real mother. If you have an opinion in this, do share because I do not believe she is… He even went so far as to text his friend in England to have him weigh in on the idea. It was rather entertaining.

Come Sunday, all we did was talk over coffee. It’s a beautiful thing when you don’t have tv. There aren’t any distractions. When the first thing you’re used to doing is turning it on to catch the news and zone out, it takes a moment to adjust. At one point G-man said, ‘I wish you had tv, but then I’m glad you don’t’. and I feel the exact same way. Its so easy to flip it on and forget the person next to you. They’re there, but you don’t have to say anything. But when there’s nothing, and you want to be ‘entertained’ you reach out to the person you’re with and before you know it, you’re in full deep conversation whereas you wouldn’t be if there was tv.

We sat for hours talking and there was nothing lovelier. The only reason we had to stop was because we had to get ready to take him back to the airport, but everything about Sunday (minus his leaving) was lovely.

What fun things did you get to do over the weekend? I hope you had an equally wonderful past couple of days.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

The sun still shines

Sweet Friday, I think I can speak for everyone when I say, we’re so happy you’re here. This week has been a crazy week. for everyone. far and wide and I hope in time people will be able to heal from all of this. It still makes me incredibly sad when I think of it, but right after the Boston bombings, I was talking to my co worker and I said I couldn’t believe it, and the first thing out of her mouth was, ‘eh, people die every day.’ So cavalier, so flippant with the human life, those innocents who just came to watch and cheer some runners on a beautiful day.

And it makes me sad that there are those who feel this way. Who don’t bat an eyelash or think twice about what our country is becoming…or has already become. It’s those I fear have hold of this country to drive it deeper into the direction its going…into a dark direction.


There has been some good in this week, more than some and I’m sure for you too. The silver lining if you will.
` I’ve eaten 2 buffalo burgers in 2 days with just about no pain. That was monumental… and delicious.
` The sweet Lauren gave me a Liebster Award.
` I got to nap 3 times in my car on my lunch breaks this week.
` This weekend will be a good one for me too. A certain visitor will be here and they may or may not get a kiss from me upon arrival. I’m leaning toward may, and I really look forward to it {the visit.. though the kiss too}. It’ll just be us all weekend long. No distractions, no tv, just him and me hanging out on what will be a beautiful weekend.

Since I’m not sure I’ll be seeing this again anytime soon, I want to post it, so I can be reminded of its beauty, and God’s glory.

Wishing you so many great things for your weekend. For a lot of you, that the snow will stop falling and the sun to start shining!

Happy weekend everyone!

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

The last {last} one

Remember when I said I was done sharing the Mexico pictures (from over a month ago)? Of course that was a lie and in all actuality had every intention of springing this very last post on you {and myself} so I could stretch out my once upon a time even longer.

One of the girls that went, emailed me some photos she had taken plus still wanting to show our last day there has led me to today. If there was ever a time I could share a photo of us, it would be today because she took the cutest one that I would love to share. in case anyone’s wondering, his answer is still no with sharing a photo of himself…but I’m still working on it, you can bet I am.

These girls are great.
If ever there was proof that I can’t be “sexy”, here it is. I just don’t have it in me.. I come across rather as someone who is biting her nail off and getting caught in the process.

On the last day, G-man and I decided to take it really easy. We had been going going going the entire time and it was finally nice to have an afternoon of just nothing. That morning we had gone into Cozumel to do some walking around and shopping and though it was leisurely, it was also tiring.

The bus driver kept hitting on me for one. And the constant calling out and craziness of the street vendors had me worn out. I used to love to haggle. I’m great at it and when Jossie (stripes above) and I went to Tijuana over 10 years ago, I dominated and got so many things for dirt cheap, but now? I don’t want to deal with you. So rather pick up souvenirs and stop to have the monkey on my shoulder (I hate monkeys any way..), I would keep my eyes straight ahead and ignore every sound around me.

G-man on the other hand. He wasn’t quite prepared for what it would be like and would reply to them or acknowledge them, but it wasn’t very long before he caught on and ignored them as well.

I did walk away with some beautiful plates though. There was one and only one mission I had while there, and that was get a Talavera pottery plate or bowl for my mom. I struck gold with the quiet store we walked in. The floor, the walls, the shelves were all covered in these beautiful potteries and the moment I started seeing one then another and another for my mom, he turned to me and said, ‘pick one for yourself.’

I was jumping for joy and took 10 good minutes looking for just the right one for my mom and me. This one is mine.

Once we made it back to our hotel, we unloaded the goodies and made our way to the free bike rentals to ride around the resort. It was a beautiful afternoon and we took our time riding around seeing all the little critters they had around the grounds. This guy was tired from getting chased away from the garbage cans, so he decided to take a quick rest before running back to his family.
G-man had this gift with the crocodile in the water. He would make this noise over and over and the crocodile came from way back in the pond, right up to us.
He and his little turtle buddies hung around waiting for us to feed them no doubt.

We eventually returned our bikes and got ready for our last dinner at the resort. We decided on a sit down place that was partially outdoors and though good, it left me with over 25 mosquito bites on my feet and legs. Not exactly the way I thought I’d end the trip, but it was quite wonderful as a whole.

Even though I read just this week about the killings going on in Cancun (while we was there), we really felt “safe”.. or I should say, though we were incredibly cautious (we’re two very cautious and “aware” people), we never felt in danger and that I’m very grateful for.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Sweet relief

We start all over again today. Weekends never seem long enough yet I seem to get everything done in those 2 short days. This weekend was no exception. So many notable mentions. I made the big leap to fold up the 2 winter blankets on my couch and bed and tuck them away in the closet. Its too warm here now for either. And I’ve officially shut off the pilot light to my fireplace.

No more pretty warm and cozy fires needed here.

Saturday, I woke up still under attack from whatever I was dealing with. Some of the blood tests came back negative for anything, Friday, and I was getting irritated that by all accounts, I was “fine”, though I was far from it. I hadn’t eaten in over 2 days (beyond toast for breakfast, lunch and dinner) and people were commenting that I had lost weight…and I could definitely tell I had!

By Saturday afternoon, with G-man’s prodding, I called the doctor’s office and asked for something for the pain. I picked up the meds, and within 30 seconds of walking in my door, the office called saying they received more test results that showed I have a bacterial infection.

Halleluiah! They found what’s wrong!

They called in the prescription for the antibiotics and told me I no longer needed the other meds. Thank goodness they only cost me $2 otherwise it would have been a huge waste of money. They’re still waiting for the remaining test results but I’m already feeling better after 2 days of the antibiotics.

It’s linked to raw foods. Poultry, milk and contaminated water. Its hard to pinpoint, but it was either me somehow coming in contact with the water in Mexico, the raw milk I drank, or cross contamination of the raw chicken I handled. Honestly, I’m leaning toward the chicken…but who’s to say. To be on the safe side, I threw all foods away in my fridge, including the leftover chicken and did some major grocery shopping to start all over.

And then I ate. I ate real food..and it.was.good!!

Did you know it’s the start of strawberry season? Strawberry stands are open all over and its one of the few things that help me live where I live.

Don’t let the look fool you, this is one of the best strawberry stands around!
photo 1 (14)

Are you like me? Here’s a little taste of how I pick for instagram (@emily_grapes if you want to follow along) …and how slow my brain works sometimes with ideas.
Originally I was going to post the whole box (simple.. a little boring), then I felt like making it look like a flower bud, then with a drooping stem, slowly adding leaves but still feeling something’s off…
photo 4 (9)

I shift the stem over and finally happy with the final look. (in all actuality this served to keep me from deep cleaning my bathroom, so I was ok with experimenting).
photo 2 (14)

I also got dressed up over the weekend and couldn’t help but notice how long my hair has gotten. This is the longest I’ve ever had it. Ever. A haircut is so very necessary. em130
Can’t wait to see how your weekend went.

If you’re on Instagram, how do you choose your photos? Do you play around like I did with the strawberries until you get the best photo? Or take 1, maybe 2 shots and pick the best and post? Or are you a snap and poster!? Blurry and all??

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Friday, April 12, 2013

To the doctor I go

Apparently yesterday was my turn for the drama as I had to leave work to go to the doctor that I didn’t know I was going to see that day. I’m not a ‘run to the doctor’ kind of person. I like to wait it out as long as possible and see if it’ll go away on its own.  Its more cost effective that way. And generally, it goes away on its own.

But this time, it’s only slowly progressed with each day. If you’ve had the pleasure of being in my ‘whiny’ circle, you’d already know I’ve been complaining lately… a lot, and for the past week at least (that I can remember). That’s another problem. I can’t remember when my issues started. Any way, it resulted in blood being drawn and results to wait on. And the biggest bonus: going home early.
photo (36)
Only weird moment (or one of them any way) was the Physician’s Assistant saying, “one of the signs is anorexia.” She quickly changed it to ‘loss of appetite’ after I stared at her but her choice of words was odd. I’m far from anorexic and anorexic makes me think of not eating for days, weeks and months. Not going 6 hours without eating because it bothers you.

I will now await the test results in hopes they actually find something. Am I the only one that would rather them find something wrong than see everything as ‘fine’?

This truly has been quite the week. I’ll be thankful I can rest a bit over the weekend and hopefully get a call with the results. I hope you have a great weekend with no quick trips to the quick care or anywhere else medical.

Happy weekend to you! If you feel like praying that whatever I have goes away or is easily treatable, I wouldn’t mind. :)

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

..and its only Thursday

This week my friends, has been quite the week. I thought I left the life of crazies and drama and criminals when I left the department of corrections, but apparently it has a way of following me.

Each day has offered a new and more “exciting” show for me to watch. After being in this position for a year, I’ve finally realized its all one big entertaining show that I should enjoy, rather than get bothered and annoyed by. Ever since then, I’ve sat back with my imaginary popcorn and watched in fascination as it all unfolds in front of me.

Last week, my co worker (who owns her own business w/in our company) offered me a job. It would have been one where I kept my current job but did hers as well. It could have easily doubled my pay. But even though I’ve turned down her position 4 times in the past year, she asked me to seriously consider it over the weekend {again} and give her an answer Monday.

My answer: No

I did consider it, weighed the pros and cons but ultimately regardless of how much more money I would have made, I would have been miserable and told her so. I was miserable while working for corrections making astronomical amounts of money, and even though a pay increase would be nice, I’ve come to learn money truly doesn’t buy happiness. Having turned down her position, she is forced to keep the person she currently has and that is where the drama has occurred.

My brain hurts from all the drama that’s gone on this week. From ex-cops, to district attorneys, to detectives, to gang bangers and convicted criminals, its been tough to keep track of what’s going on when. Its only solidified my resounding no to take over that position.

And its only Thursday.

Yesterday, for G-man’s birthday, I decided to get a little clever. I was able to get the people in his condo building to help me put notes handwritten by me on his truck window (for when he walked out to go to work) and for his front door (for when he came home that night). I wanted to carry out the idea further and get a hold of his co worker to leave a note on his keyboard for when he arrived. Only problem was, I didn’t have his co workers number and the only way I could locate him was if I had his last night.. which I did not. So the work note idea was quickly losing momentum as the day worn on.

The truck window note worked perfect. They put it out there and he was really surprised. But the front door note… well, that didn’t work out quite as planned. Originally, I was told it could be taped to his door, but when I called back to confirm it was done, she told me they weren’t allowed to tape anything, so they put a ‘parcel pick up’ tag on his door (uuhhh, isn’t that taping something to his door??) so he could pick the note up at the front desk.

It was a lot of fun to coordinate, even though it hadn’t worked out like I was hoping it would, but that’s what happens when you’re 3,500 miles away from each other. Things tend to have hitches.


Random cherry blossom picture for your viewing pleasure.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Another year


It’s your birthday today! Another year has come and gone and this one is a little hard. I had set my hopes on being with you to celebrate your wonderful day with you; making sure you knew how special you really are to me and in general. But no matter, I have some ideas up my sleeve to be sure you know it.

I don’t want to give them away just yet, but I’ve planned some fun things for you throughout the day, that I’m pretty sure you’re going to enjoy. Especially since I know you opened your birthday card early. Maybe you’ll get teased a little bit over them?? But hopefully you won’t.

I will add this birthday to the list of birthdays I didn’t get to spend with you, but I hope, and pray even more that that list will come to an end after today. But I think knowing what the future is bringing, I’m pretty realistic about it.

Thank you for being in my life and for being my love. My life hasn’t been the same since you’ve been in it and I’m glad for that.

Happy birthday, my love! I look forward to sharing many many more of your birthdays with you.

I love you forever and ever and ever,

em149 Pin It Now!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mental case

I figured in light of my post yesterday, I should continue on with the ‘mind’ theme because in other ways, I’m going mental. To the point of Caddyshack mental. You know, Bill Murray killing gopher mental.

It might seem like the smallest of things (in the grander scheme of people’s many bigger issues) but I’m dealing with ants in my bathroom and I’m losing my mind over it. This isn’t a ‘past couple days’ issue I’ve been dealing with. This is a month after month after month plus 5 more, that I’ve been fighting this battle with the ants.

Many times I think I’ve won. I sprayed, I squished, I stomped and rubbed thinking I’ve eliminated them entirely but within a couple days, another will emerge..then another and before I know it, their pesky little bodies are roaming my bathroom floors again. I have a square of toilet paper devoted to their deaths, yet more continue to emerge.

I leave some of their dead bodies as warning to others, and they just laugh at them and continue their hunt.. their search.. their whatever the heck it is they’re looking for! Nothing is there! I don’t get it!!

I outlined my entire bathroom in baby powder, because I heard they take that back and die.. well, one died..I watched it, but all the others shake their bodies like they’re having a seizure, only to brush the darn stuff off and plow right over the line to climb up my wall. Its like they laugh at my defenses.

My next course of action is cornmeal.. I’ve heard good things about cornmeal. And if that doesn’t work, Terro is my last course of action before I lie on the floor and cry in defeat.

Either that or dynamite.. one of the two.

In other {more important} news, 2 beautiful little girls had birthdays these past weeks and I guess I can’t really call them ‘little girls’ when they turn 11 and 13. Our first teenager in the family! Oh boy, things are about to get crazy.

ignore the fantastic blur
Our 13 year old {niece}!
The 11 year old!
I find it a lot more comfortable when I’m sitting on their lap vs them sitting on mine. This photo makes me look incredibly old, but I do like her sweet smile in it, so I’m choosing to take one for the team.

All these birthdays lately only to add one more to the mix tomorrow. A rather notable one in fact!

Happy Birthday to you today… if its your birthday.

Oh, and if you have any brilliant ant killing ideas, I will frantically take them.

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Monday, April 8, 2013

The mind is a terrible thing to waste

Oh hi guys! How’d you get along over the weekend? I’ll be honest and say I had several rough patches the past couple days. If I could erase 89% of my Saturday, I wouldn’t mind one single bit. It went down in my books as one of my worst days to date.

The mind is a terribly fickle thing. So easily taken over and run.

Saturday morning I had something huge going on. Exciting and fun and 5 minutes before walking out the door, it got canceled. Not just canceled, but the person who was heading it all up didn’t even bother telling me it was canceled. I had to reach out to her sister in law, for her to tell me it was canceled. It put the biggest damper on my day, I can’t even tell you!

There was no getting out of it from that early point on. It of course opened my mind to all the niggling negative thoughts I ignore and had them magnify to 100. It practically rendered me incapacitated for the rest of the day, being consumed by every sad thought I could possibly allow, having me sink deeper and deeper into myself, thinking God wanted me to think them. That He was ‘telling’ me something.

It was crazy. It exhausted me to the point of not even wanting to open my mouth to talk to anyone, it would have been too much effort. I went to bed that night with a broken spirit and heart.

Come morning, one of my first thoughts were, God would never hit me from every angle with such negative thoughts. He would never beat me down leaving me so confused and unable to make sense of my thoughts to show me His way or give me His answer. I immediately knew at that moment, it was Satan. He brought me down to such a level that kept me from reaching out to anyone. Because if I would have been able to talk it through, I would have felt better, but I believed I would feel “better” if I stayed unmoving on the couch, staring at the same spot on the wall for hours as the thoughts consumed me.

I realize this is quite candid and quite different than normal, but I shield a lot from this blog. I cover a lot of struggles and issues I’m facing because they’re not something I want to talk about. As I’m sure a lot of your lives are the same, its not always daisies and sunshine, yet I had to share what I was facing over the weekend. The spiritual attack that thankfully come Sunday, was defeated by my One and only true God, was no joke.

Sunday eventually gave me those daisies and sunshine, turning everything around. I even, for what is probably the first time in years, worked out on a Sunday, heading to the track only to find no one there. Having it all to myself on a beautiful afternoon was just the added peace I needed. God sure does know how best to take care of me.
photo (35)

Please tell me you had a better weekend than I did.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Photo book fun with a how to for you!

Back in January, I jumped on a groupon for a Shutterfly photo book. I’m on this quest right now to put all our travels into their individual photo books and figured I’d make book number two with the groupon. My last photo book I made, through another website turned out to be dreadful. Taking 13 months to complete because their software (to me) was the worst I’d ever dealt with. So even though I was a little leery making them, I thought I’d give it a go with Shutterfly.

I’ve read a ton of reviews about their colors being completely off and doing some very funky effects to your photos without you knowing and having the books turn out horrible, so it made me even more cautious. I read a person’s tips about turning off the ‘vivid effect’ and planned to do that once I completed my book, and proceeded to fill the book with my photos.

It was easy. If you’ve never used Shutterfly, that’s one thing I have to tell you. Its unbelievably easy to do. But once I was completely done; had added over 100 photos to the 44 pages, I went to find that ‘vivid effect’ and couldn’t find it. anywhere! Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and jumped on their online chat to ask for help.

That’s when she told me that if I wanted to remove the vivid effect, I had to start all over. I was getting upset. All that work, and I had to start from the beginning again. For 45 minutes we went back and forth as she slowly..and I mean s-l-o-w-l-y walked me through each and every step. I’m sure I tested her patience with asking the same question 3 times over, but I wanted to be absolutely sure I understood what I was supposed to do so I could have a perfect photo book.

And I do.

But what I find interesting is they don’t advertise that they apply this vivid effect and even more, that they make it rather difficult to remove it too. They hide it, if you will. I don’t know why they think its something you should have or would want, but I’m going to show you how to remove it from all of your photos you want to put in an album so that you can be sure you’ll have the photos you want the way you want.

Step 1 - go into the photo album you’ll be using to put in your photo book and “select all”. All your photos will have the rim around them, as shown.
Step 2Click on “edit” and click on “Apply effect”.

Step 3 – make sure it shows that all photos (in my case, all 201) in your photo album are there and click “don’t apply automatic corrections to picture”. Once checked, click Apply this effect.

Step 4 – Are you sure? YES! its like they want to trick you into thinking you’re applying an effect, but you aren’t.

Step 5 – sit there and wait for it to remove the effect from every image. Keep the popup up, otherwise it will stop the process.

Step 6 – you can now go into the photo books tab and begin to create your photo book!!

I’m particular about my images. Even though I took these photos during my point and shoot days, I still valued the way they looked and didn’t want them to be altered in any way and I truly am pleased by the end result of my Shutterfly photo book.

We drove across the country, and I am so happy I have it all in this one album to show our trip from California to Virginia.
My groupon only allowed hardcover and normal photo paper, but I didn’t mind because the quality turned out great.

I have so many more to make and I can’t wait to have a stack full of photo books to look through for years and years to come!

If you choose to use Shutterfly, make sure you do those steps before you start your album, otherwise you’ll end up like me and have to do it all over again and we don’t want that.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend. If you have any questions about this, email me or comment and I’ll be happy to help you!

in no way was I compensated for this post. Heck, they have no clue.. I simply love my book and wanted to share so everyone can be aware of that silly ‘vivid effect’ and how to remove it to make a perfect album you’ll love.


PS - HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOSSIE!! Love you friend!!

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Kissing is dangerous

Did I tell you about that time I chipped my tooth? …on G-man’s tooth?

One should really know who has the stronger teeth in the relationship before doing something as dangerous as going in for a kiss.

I have now established that I, in fact, am not the one with the stronger teeth. It may seem small, but its big in my mind.

photo 1 (13)
After returning home, I quickly got into the dentist and there was little they could do. Now I’ll always have this little wave in my tooth, and as silly as it may sound and as much as no one else will really notice it, I notice it just about every day.

photo 2 (13)

Embracing new little imperfections is a work in progress.

So if you take away anything from today, let it be to go in s-l-o-w-l-y for a kiss. Preferably with flags waving you both in and yellow caution lights flashing.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What’s your worth?

Do you sit at a desk day in and day out and think to yourself, I deserve more than this. They don't pay me enough for what I do. Or. I'm worth so much more than this pay?

Its a struggle not being defined by the mighty dollar. I sit here at my desk every day and there are days I have a hard time justifying any pay at all. Its an easy job. Not just easy, its cake. I took a job ran by someone who couldn't handle it, and completely changed it into a well running position. So much so that I never have any work to do. 

When I say never.. I mean never. If there's any, I do it in a matter of 30 minutes. That leaves me approximately 7.5 hours left in my day for... other things? They told me when I was hired that I was 'overqualified'. I'm sure many of you who've had to endure a job interview has heard that before. But at that time I was so desperate for a job. I needed a company that would hire me and teach me something new, something different from a prison.

You'd be surprised how few there were that would even give me a chance once they saw my previous career was as a Correctional Sergeant for a maximum security prison.

None, in case you're wondering.

Except this one. And God had His hand in it, I know that for a fact. They gave me a chance, let me learn a whole new field and said they had so much "growth" for me. I'm overqualified, but I had what they were wanting. So I jumped on it. I accepted the low wage and brought order and peace to the office and within a couple weeks had everything cleaned, sorted and organized to the point of reducing the workload to 30 minutes a day.

I think back to the day I began throwing away papers and phone books that were from 2006 and some in the office panicking. Who is this girl who thinks she can just come in and change everything!? I had them blatantly whisper about me 4ft away, making it obvious, turning their backs with their hands blocking their lips, but say loud enough ‘I miss the way the other girl did things.’ To now, them loving my order and structure and calm I bring to the office. I even have some who value my business decisions for them, and will seek me out before acting on their choices and I think.. I’m worth more than what they’re paying me.

I have so much more to offer, but there’s that doubt, what if this is as good as I can get? When a co worker who wants to hire someone and pay them the exact same amount of money I’m making, say, ‘I get what I pay for’ in the quality of work, I question if I’m viewed “as good as what they’re paying me”.

This position this past year has been an incredibly big pride check for me. Having a position that’s viewed as lesser to some…to me even, hasn’t been easy for me. I want to scream to people who come into our office that I’m more than this! I am so much more than you think! But it doesn’t matter. I know it doesn’t matter.

Over the past couple months, I’ve struggled quite a bit with this and trust me, I know my value isn’t monetarily, or in possessions or anything the world has to offer, I know its in Christ and Christ alone. It’s one of those struggles where I know I’m not alone, but feel alone in. Where its embarrassing to talk about and one I hope never gets brought up with old friends I may run into. But one where I’m grateful for because I’ve learned so much that will equip me for the future.

Finding that balance. That’s where I struggle most.

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