Category Archives: weather

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hello, monday

• Had a lovely visit at Mom and Dad O’s on the east side of the state a couple weekends ago. Lots of yummy food and I even spent some time in the mornings working on my NaNoWriMo novel. Morning writing is so unlike me (except for blog posts). I’ve always been an evening writer, but I made myself do it so I could keep up with my word count and the ideas flowed even though I’m so not a morning person. ;)

• It was sort of Friend Week for me last week. I got to visit Heidi and help her design her annual Christmas card. It’s our annual tradition now for me to take their family picture and help design the card. Always a fun time chatting and picking photos and laughing at all the ones where they’re making funny faces or their eyes are closed. I also had dinner with my friend, Jen, and lots of catching up time over coffee (tea for her) at Starbucks afterward. Time with friends always makes it a good week.

• The painting is done. For this year anyway. I finished all but a couple small sections on the way back of the house that need to be reached by climbing on the roof. They aren’t really visible from the ground anyway, so they will be finished in the spring. So our house is all one color finally, and we finished just in time …

• It’s our first Monday with snow. We had the first big snowfall over the weekend. Not sure how much snow there was. At least 6-8 inches piled on top of my car.

• Chloe’s first gymnastics meet of the season was early Sunday morning. We drove through mostly clear roads to get there and had a nice lunch at Cracker Barrel afterwards to celebrate her 3rd place medal on bars and also the completion of painting the house. :)

• I was happy to see The Truth About Drew had the #1 Best Seller banner again this week. I ran a Kindle Countdown Deal throughout the week and it did really well. It’s always fun to see that little orange banner pop up.

• It’s a short school/work week for Thanksgiving. Looking forward to family time and putting up the tree.

• My newsletter is going out later this week. If you haven’t signed up yet, click HERE. There will be a little Black Friday info inside. Stay tuned!


You’re here! I’m so excited! On February 26, 2005, I started this blog, and for the next two weeks, I will be looking back at the past TEN YEARS of blogging!

Ten years has gone by in the blink of an eye. At least, it seems so at times. I’ve been browsing back through old posts and, while the style of my photos (lots of borders and filters in the early days) has changed, the core of the posts has not. It started with a few posts about my kids and that’s pretty much the same today. I wrote about things we did, places we traveled, movies I loved, following my love of photography into a business, family, friends, parties, scrapbooking, memories, happy times, sad times, publishing my novel. So much of our life.

Ten years is a really long time.

So, for the next TEN DAYS, I will be looking back, sharing old photos and favorite posts, and there will be GIVEAWAYS!!!

GIVEAWAY INFO: There are four ways to enter through the giveaway box below and each will get you five entries in the drawing.

• The first option is the only one you HAVE to do in order to be entered. I’ll ask one question in every day’s giveaway. You just have to enter your name and email address, give a brief response to the question, and you’re in the drawing.

If you want more chances to win, you can …
• Join my mailing list (if you already have, enter your email address so I can verify)
• Tweet about the giveaway and copy/paste the link from Twitter
• SHARE about the giveaway and the BLOG-IVERSARY on your own blog, Facebook*, Pinterest, etc. and link to that as well.

All giveaways will end on my actual BLOG-IVERSARY, next Thursday, February 26th, so the giveaways will all be OPEN until then.
The winners will be announced in a blog post on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 27th!

* Note: If you share on a private Facebook account and we aren’t “friends”, make sure you change the audience of that one post to “public” so I can see it. ;)


I’ve got a paperback copy of my first young adult novel ready to sign. The Truth About Drew was published last May.
It’s a sweet, uplifting, heart-warming story full of friendship and family with a journey to faith and a mystery surrounding a boy and his notebook.
Enter below. Tell a friend! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have any questions at all about the giveaway, feel free to ask.


throwback thursday | from Grandma’s camera

It’s been the week of lots of snow around here. I found these pictures recently among some of my Grandma’s scanned negatives and thought they fit well with the recent weather. I believe it’s the winter of 1977 (January or February maybe). The negatives were in a big envelope with other photos from that year, so I’m assuming based on that. This snow storm is so similar to what we got this past weekend. It just snowed all day long and was extremely windy, which made the snow blow all over and drift everywhere.

I love looking back at old photos like these below. This is my Grandpa standing alongside their drifted driveway (left). And there’s just something I love so much about the photo on the right. Grandpa standing at the end of their drive, you can see that the snow plows went right around that lovely 70’s car parked on the street and it’s totally stuck. I love that Grandma took it from this perspective, so you can see just how deep the snow was piled up along the edge of the road, the trees, the cars driving by. The long shot down the road is so great!

This is the view from the end of their drive. They had a horseshoe drive that went straight in right here, curved around that tree and went back out the other side to the road again. I bet Grandpa had fun digging this out. I love that you can see the footprints Grandma left and that she stomped through the snow to take these pictures. :)

For those who are new here to the blog, my grandma passed away when I was 13 years old and my grandpa one year later. When Grandma passed, my Mom and her siblings split up all her photos based on who was in them and my Mom also got the negatives of all the photos she ever took. I snatched them from Mom a few years ago and have since been working my way through scanning all of them into my computer. It’s a huge task as there are thousands of photos, but every time I sit down to scan another roll, it’s like finding these wonderful treasures. I’ve seen some of them before, but I’ve found so many from the time after my family moved from Ohio to Michigan when I was five, special times we weren’t around for that Grandma captured, that have been so wonderful to see. And I always love finding just the everyday shots that Grandma took, too.

I’ve always said I get my love of documenting life in pictures from my Grandma. She always had a camera and took so many pictures of her life. I’m proud to follow in her (snowy) footsteps. ;)

snow day fun

One of my goals this year is to pull out the big camera instead of just using my phone camera all the time. I spent a good portion of my 30’s with that camera strapped to my shoulder, especially for work, and it seems that once I stepped back from my photography business (and got my iPhone), the beloved big camera started collecting dust.

But NO MORE! Yesterday, Chloe bundled up and ran around in the fresh fallen snow for a while, so I went out on the back porch and snapped away. I didn’t take more than a couple dozen photos, but I definitely captured a few favorites that will make their way into the Project Life album.

The beloved North Face. This was what she begged for at Christmas time and she was very happy to receive it from Grandma. We aren’t ones to spend so much on a light jacket like this. I told her this wouldn’t keep her warm enough to play in the snow. She layered it with a sweatshirt and went out anyway.

Love this one. My pretty girl. If my car wasn’t behind her, this would have been a much better shot, but it was too cold to worry about composition at that moment. And I still love it.

I was right. The North Face wasn’t enough. ;)

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

hello, monday

Another SNOW DAY on this lovely Groundhog Day! This time due to over a foot of snow that fell yesterday. It just kept coming down all Sunday long. We ended up staying in all day. The school cancellation notification came last night, so we slept in a bit this morning. Jake took a personal day because he could not get his car out of the driveway. The snow plows are the worst kicking up all that heavy, wet stuff at the end of our drive, making it even deeper and heavier than the rest of the snow. Ugh.

While Chloe ran around the yard playing in the snow, Jake and I shoveled the drive. He had actually been out there working on it for over an hour before I joined him. We took turns with our one shovel (the snowblower broke) and got it done in a couple hours. Team Noorman! Yeah!

The biggest news from our weekend was that Chloe got her kip on the uneven bars at gymnastics practice. She has been working on this skill since the beginning of the season and finally, after spending extra time on it during a couple open gyms, she got it. Here is a little video of this awesome moment! You can see how shocked and excited she is. I love it. :)

Well, looks like Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning. Darn you, Phil! I’m SO ready for Spring to arrive!

Happy Monday, guys!

the first snow day

Today is the first snow day of this school year. Last winter, we had so many snow days that the kids’ school year was extended into the middle of June. I’m praying that doesn’t happen again this year because that was not fun at all. Not that I mind a snow day now and then. To keep a positive attitude about this, I made a list of some good things about our snow day:

SLEEPING IN. Yes! I didn’t roll out of bed until 10 this morning and that was a blessing for sure. The kids got up a little later than me even. ;)

WORKING FROM HOME. It’s already a blessing for me to be able to work from home, but Jake was able to stay off the roads today and work from home, too. Technology is wonderful and he’s able to hook up to the office and still attend his conference call meetings from the safety of our house.

PJ’s and NO MAKEUP. I’m actually not in my PJ’s. I’m in jeans and a sweatshirt and cozy slippers today. It’s nice to not have to put on makeup or do my hair to go out. Chloe, however, is all dressed with her hair done. She also applied eyeshadow, mascara and lipgloss just for fun ’cause she’s not allowed to wear makeup yet.

BEING INSIDE. I am so thankful I don’t have to go out in the cold today. Temps are in the teens and it’s so nice to be able to stay in our cozy house and not have to go anywhere. Jake and Zach are going out in a little while to snow blow the driveway. Have fun, boys!

NO PLANS. Tuesday is already our family night, when everyone is home, no practices or youth group or library study sessions or other after school activities. It’s one of my favorite nights of the week. The night I don’t have to run the kids all over the place. So to have a snow day on a Tuesday … AWESOME!!!

It seems so weird to have half a foot of snow on the ground already. It’s not even Thanksgiving or officially winter yet. Last winter was a hard time for a lot of reasons, but I think I also get a little touch of the “winter blues” and I thought it would never end last year.

Several times this past week, I heard or read someone say, “Happiness is a choice we make.” You can choose to be happy in every circumstance and dwell on the positives or you can think about the bad side of things and be miserable.

Trying to start off the season with good, happy thoughts this year. I know it will help.

happy things

I’m looking at my calendar today and kind of freaking out that we’re only a couple weeks away from December! How did that happen? I am looking forward to the holidays and the nice winter break we get for Christmas and New Years. We got that snow I talked about the other day with more on the way. The roads yesterday and last night were not pretty. No snow plows were out until after the snow fell and melted on the roads and then refroze to sheets of ice when the temps dropped into the 20s. That seemed a little backwards to me, like they could have at least been out putting down some dirt on top of the ice or something. People were off the road everywhere.

On a sidetone … yes, I know it’s not smart to take photos while driving, especially in this kind of weather. I held it up in front of me (not blocking my view) and pressed the volume button on the side of my phone letting the phone focus and snap a few photos on its own and that was that. I did not look at my phone screen to make sure it was in focus at all and it took me all of about five seconds. My eyes never left the road and there were no other cars around. And I did not look at the photos to see if they turned out until I arrived at my destination. I do not recommend this behavior at all. If my son or daughter did this, I would take their phones away forever. ;)

Kind of a funny story about this bad habit of mine … when we were in Yellowstone, I drove through the park and also had my big camera sitting beside me or in my lap the whole time. It’s mostly slow driving through a lot of areas and I would whip my camera up and take pictures out the window or through the windshield. We were driving like 5-10 mph through one area where a lot of cars were stopped or creeping along to look at a little bear that was off the side of the road. There were park rangers nearby kind of directing people through the area and making sure nobody approached the bear. As we drove by slowly, I lifted my camera and the ranger said, “Driver, please pass your camera to a passenger in your vehicle.” haha!

I didn’t listen very well, though …

Since the snow is not my favorite, I thought I’d share some things that are making me happy this week:

• Zach and I found THIS at the grocery store yesterday! What? Love these. We are SO making them this weekend. Mmmmmm.

5 Hymns on She Reads Truth this week. So many beautiful songs. My favorite has always been It is Well With My Soul. But I really love so many. Including this one:

• We’re only a week away from The Truth About Drew’s Kindle Countdown deal. Starts next Friday (the 21st) at 99¢ for a few days, then bumps up to $1.99 and so on through the day after Thanksgiving when it goes back to regular price. If you haven’t bought it yet in eBook form, this would be a great time to pick it up! One of the most important scenes in the book takes place at Thanksgiving, so this would be the PERFECT time to read the book!

• Finally listened to my first Christmas song of the season. “O Holy Night” sung by Mercy Me. The snow this week has kind of put me in the holiday mood, so it might be time to turn it to the Christmas channel.

• Knitting! I’ve been doing quite a bit of knitting lately. I always get into it more in the colder months. Sitting under a blanket on the couch, knitting away. My favorite winter pastime. I recently finished this great big bulky infinity scarf for myself and, after seeing Elise’s cowl tutorial yesterday, I decided to give that a try, too. I’ve never really knitted in the round before. I have circular needles, but just never tried. It’s not as hard as I thought it would be.

That’s it for today. Have a wonderful weekend!

our Fall so far

This lovely heart-shaped leaf flew over to us and landed right by our feet on Halloween night when we were eating hot dogs at the trunk-or-treat that always sets up at the end of the street each year.

We’ve developed a nice routine since school started. It took a little while to get adjusted to it, but now we are on a roll. And I feel completely exhausted. I’ve got more time to work during the day with this new schedule, so I’ve thrown myself into editing my book and this new project, and I feel like I’m just working, working, working. Not slowing down much. I have a killer knot in my neck that could use a really good massage. All my stress ends up in my shoulders.

But this is how it goes. I put a lot of work into my projects and then, once they are finished, they can go out into the world and just be. And I can just be for a while, too.

I am longing for that right now. A real break without thinking about the work that still needs to be done. I thought photography stuck me in front of the computer for too long and then I started writing. ha!

Here’s what’s been happening around here with the rest of my little family:

• Jake is working extra hard at his job after the two people who worked with him left for other jobs. Such a bummer. But he will soon get a new person to help, so that will be a big relief for him.

• He is also a creative person like me and has started making mini terrains for games like D&D out of styrofoam, toothpicks, popsicle sticks, whatever he can find. It’s pretty impressive the stuff he comes up with. He just started a You Tube channel, Mini Terrain Domain, to share “how to” videos and other fun stuff. If there is a guy (nerd!) in your life, point him to JAKE’S CHANNEL.

• Zach is doing pretty good so far his freshman year. He seems to have adjusted just fine to the high school. His computer class is his favorite. They are doing all kinds of programming and he is very into it. We knew he would be.

• Unexpected stuff already his freshman year. Yearbook orders were open like the first couple weeks of school. I don’t remember ever ordering them that early. And already the kids ordered their class rings. Freshman year? I think we got ours maybe when we were sophomores. Maybe I’m wrong. I just wasn’t prepared for it when the packet came home and showed me all the $$$ we needed to come up with.

• Chloe is our busy girl. She’s in gymnastics again this year and is gearing up for her first meet of the season. This year is the first she will compete for a score. Her shiny new USAG # arrived in the mail the other day (you have to be registered with USA Gymnastics to compete above Level 3 Fun Meet status) and I think she’s ready!

• She is also in choir at school this year and they have been preparing to put on a little musical, Beauty and the Beast. I was really proud of Chloe for trying out for an acting part. She didn’t get one this time, but I’m so impressed she did it. Such a brave girl, always wanting to be a part of everything. So very much her father’s daughter. :)

• It already snowed once this fall, but we are about to get our first real, stick to the ground, get out the window scraper and maybe a shovel kind of snow this weekend. If you’ve followed this blog for very long, then you know I am not a fan of winter. Ugh! But I do enjoy snow leading up to and through the holidays. Once January 1st rolls around, it can stop, though. Last year was the worst for snow days and we ended up extending the school year into mid-June. Forecasters are predicting a worse winter than last. Double ugh!

• The snow does make me want to get the house ready for the Christmas tree and pull out all the Christmas movies and start watching, though. That might have to start happening this weekend while the snow is falling. :)

• Have a wonderful Wednesday!

monday’s list | no more junk

Our Easter weekend was really nice. It was made extra special by all the time spent with family. The fun started Friday with a little egg hunt at my parents’ farm. My mom spoils the kids so much. They had huge ziploc bags full of candy and also a special Easter basket with more candy and some special gifts. They love being spoiled by Grandma.

After eggs, we had a yummy (and very filling) dinner, then we hung out and played Forbidden Island and Sequence. That was a lot of fun. We also celebrated Jake’s birthday, which was Wednesday, with cake and ice cream. Good times! :)

Saturday and Sunday were picturesque days. In the 60’s and 70’s. So beautiful. Just what I needed.

We enjoyed Easter morning service at church. Pastor started a new series about overcoming the junk in your life. We all have junk, stuff that we are dealing with, things from our past, things we struggle with daily, depression, addictions, etc. The only way to overcome is to acknowledge the junk and give it to God. I know a couple people with serious addictions (alcohol and drugs), one who is in rehab already and the other who needs to be to get over his junk. I would really appreciate prayer for both of them right now. They need to let this junk go and turn to Jesus. HE is the ONLY solution!

After church, we went over to Jake’s dad’s and had a nice time with all Jake’s sister’s and their families. The kids did an egg hunt in the back yard and we hung out outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather. It was a really nice day.

This week, Mom and I are back to cleaning out our front porch. So many funny things I’m finding out there. I’ve been snapping pictures of some and just pitching stuff. So much junk – the actual physical kind – that has been holding me back from getting this place ready for sale. But little by little, we are making progress. Letting go of the junk feels GREAT!

Have a happy week!

reasons to celebrate

After starting this week with depressing snow and cold weather, I was feeling really discouraged about a lot of things. Chloe and I were talking on the way to school Monday, complaining about the snow, trying not to slide off the road in a particularly icy stretch, when I heard myself say, “Maybe God has some big blessings planned for us this week.” I thought about that a lot after I dropped her off and I prayed that God would show me all the things I have to be thankful for.

We’ve definitely had some moments to celebrate this week and I’m thankful for all of them:

• Chloe got bumped up to a new level in gymnastics. For the past year, she’s been participating in “fun meets”, where the girls get ribbons – blue, red, white, yellow, or rainbow – based on how well they performed their routines. This was a great starting off point for Chloe to get her acquainted with how meets work, but, honestly, she was bored with the whole thing by the middle of the season. Just not challenging enough for her. Now, she will be working on new skills and will be able to move up in levels if she masters certain things. I think she will like this much better. She was pretty excited to give me the news.

• We celebrated Jake yesterday on his 41st birthday. Gave him a couple cards (one from me, one from the kids) and went to dinner at the Walldorff Brewpub & Bistro. So yummy. I think he had a good day. Lots of birthday wishes from friends at work and calls from family.

• Zach’s computer stopped working last week and we were afraid the hard drive was toast. But after running the recovery disc, it’s restored to out-of-the-box factory settings. He was thrilled and I was pretty happy we didn’t have to fork out $$ for a new hard drive.

• My book is almost ready. Manuscript is in the review process on CreateSpace (Amazon’s self-publishing site that I chose to publish through). After I get my proof copy and make sure it looks good, the book will be ready for sale! I’m shooting for May 1st!!!

After so many years working on this book, many long hours working on editing, formatting, cover design, etc., to finally be this close to having it ready to share with the world is both exciting and terrifying. But it’s time. It’s been hiding on my computer for far too long and I really believe God can do great things with our little story.

Easter weekend is almost upon us. Lots of family time planned – dinner, egg hunts, lots of candy. But most of all, reflecting on the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for us when He died on the cross and the joy in knowing that death could not keep him down. He is risen!

AJAXed with AWP