Category Archives: remembering

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10 YEARS!

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. ;)

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY!

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.

SEE YA BACK HERE TOMORROW!

one little word


I remember the kids always doing acrostics at school with a personality trait for every letter of their name. I don’t know why, but as I was writing this post, I kept staring at the word “OPEN” and this acrostic (in the photo above) just popped out at me. Old. Pain. Ends. Now.

I love this quote:

     “Listening to the pain of loss and heartbreak can wake us up to who we are, where we come from, and what matters most.
     But only if we open ourselves up to them.”

– Emily Freeman, A Million Little Ways

I jotted this down when I was reading Emily’s book. It’s so true for me as I’ve moved through this past year with my one little word … OPEN.

Being open to that pain is hard. There have been plenty of days when I went back to my old habit of closing the door on it and pushing it deep down inside. There have been others when I’ve laid on my bed in a puddle of tears and sobs and let all the feelings and emotions just come out, the pain and bitterness and sadness and regret overwhelming me.

But on the other side of all that, I do feel like I’m more awake to who I am. And I’m able to use what I’ve learned (and continue to learn) in my writing because I’ve listened instead of hiding from it.

Old Pain Ends Now? Yeah, I like that. Sounds pretty good to me. :) But I will continue to be open to what God wants to show me this year, dealing with the pain and loss, and on into the next and the next and the next.

ripples


These are the words God spoke most clearly to me this morning. “My sweet child, I love you.” I already know it, but I needed to hear it. I needed the reminder.

Emotions are heightened on this particular weekend. Feel like I’m floating alone in a little row boat, drifting away with no oars or motor. And there, on the shore, where I want to be, is everyone else. Leaning on each other for comfort and support. But I can’t get there. I’m not supposed to, because I don’t really belong. I’m on the outside looking in.

And so I drift.

I watch the ripples come across the water, expanding further apart, further out.
Each one the evidence of choices made – the cause and effect.

I am a ripple.

today


photo taken october 2005. frederik meijer gardens.

Thinking about my book. I spent several hours last night editing, which left me in a great big puddle of tears. Though Maggie’s heartbreak is very much drawn from my own, she is much stronger than I ever was. To be able to photograph a wedding just days after breaking up with her fiancé … well, there’s no way I ever would have been able to do that. Like I said. So strong. So when she breaks down in the book, I break down right along with her.

(Don’t forget to click the “newsletter” button in the menu bar above to sign up. Newsletters go out about once a month and will keep you up to date on the latest book, release date, and future projects.)

Hoping the upcoming holidays will be stress-free and full of family time. Chloe already has her Halloween costume, so no worries over rushing to get her one at the last minute. Jake is planning some vacation time around Thanksgiving and Christmas, which makes me happy. Already thinking and planning for Christmas shopping, so I feel like mentally I’m more prepared than in past years.

Making lots of lists. I have a new blog in the works (like I need another thing to take up my time) and I’ve been filling my notebook with idea after idea. I’ll share more as the idea develops into something a little more solid. Too many ideas bouncing around in my brain, so for now, it’s best to get them all out of there and then organize those thoughts into something real and doable.

Wearing jeans, a dark grey/blk striped v-neck tee, and my grey moccasin slippers.

Hearing the hum of my computer fan and an occasional car driving by on the street. It’s very quiet today.

Reading my daily devotions on She Reads Truth and not much else right now. We’re studying I & II Peter this month. If you are looking for something to help you dive into God’s word, I highly recommend this site. I discovered it within the past year and it has really helped me to get back into seeking God’s guidance daily in His Word. For many years, I didn’t even open my Bible. Sad to admit, but it’s true. In recent years, I’ve felt that nudge within to learn more. I started reading my Bible front to back, but only got halfway through the Old Testament. But then I discovered She Reads Truth and I already feel like God has showed me so much in just the last few months. Yay for the girls at She Reads Truth, who God is using in such a wonderful way in so many women’s lives.

Praying for friends and family going through losses right now and for my “almost family” as they remember their son and brother lost a year ago.

Remembering is hard. Enough said.

Happy Wednesday!

writing is healing


I downloaded an ebook this morning called “Writing to Find Yourself” by Allison Vesterfelt. It is available for FREE over at Noisetrade right now. It’s all about finding yourself, your voice, through writing.

It’s been a few weeks since I touched my latest work in progress. I’ve barely stopped long enough to write out what’s been happening in our days let alone to write anything “deep”. Maybe it’s because July was a busy month. Maybe it’s because I was sick and didn’t feel up to it. Or maybe it’s because the last chapter I worked on was an emotional one. It dredged things up that hurt, and I was sick and tired of remembering.

Writing helps to heal old wounds. I know that. It is cheap therapy, as Allison says in her book.

Maybe I’m just afraid. Because I will learn things about myself that I would rather not. I’ll face all the things I never dealt with and I’d much rather they stay locked away.

But I know to find my real voice and tell my stories, God wants me to open up. There is no growth if you don’t.

So I will write.

To heal.

To grow.

For me.

no words


Some days I just don’t have a lot of words. I sink deep into my thoughts and memories, and writing it all out just feels like too much, too personal to share with the world, too overwhelming to deal with and sort through.

It probably doesn’t help that I am sick and have spent the last couple days feeling not much like myself.

The tears feel close to the surface today.

Maybe I’ll feel better if I let them fall.

digging deep


My latest book is filled with weddings and photography and relationships and love.

But this is a hard one to write. I’m pulling from my heart, from a lot of the struggles I went through when my first engagement ended. I love this story. I love Maggie, but she is me in a lot of ways, and it’s not easy to spend so much time with her. Not that I don’t like myself, it’s just hard to put myself in her shoes and be back there again, hurting, brokenhearted, lonely, questioning everything, afraid of being hurt again.

I’ve been spending a few hours every night this week working through the first several chapters. And it hurts. Earlier today, when I thought about sitting down to write, I tried to come up with other things I could do instead. I could sort through our vacation photos and choose some for an album. I could edit the maternity photos I took the other day for my friend, Heidi. I could bake a loaf of banana bread. (Mmmmm. That sounds good right now.) I could fold and sort some laundry, maybe go through my clothes and see if there’s anything I want to get rid of. I could binge watch some random television show on Netflix. Anything and everything crossed my mind.

To really fill in Maggie’s story, though, I have to dig deep. But digging up all those old emotions has left my recently opened wounds a little raw. I even thought today that maybe I should just shelve this one, maybe it’s easier to just quit before I get too far into it, too consumed by the pain.

But maybe this is exactly the right time to write this book, when I’ve already been dealing with so much of my past this year and it’s all fresh in my mind. Maybe God will use it to help me heal. I don’t know that I’ll ever be fully healed, but that is part of my journey, just as it is a part of Maggie’s.

I found my happily ever after. Will Maggie find hers? Hmmm … guess you’ll have to wait and see. ;)

reflecting


A lot has happened in the past nine months. As I sit here on the eve of the kids’ last day of school, I am reflecting on it all. There have been a lot of fun times this year. Class field trips, family gatherings, holidays, and vacations. Fun things like being chosen for the Project Life® Creative Team and self-publishing my book. And the not so fun – the longest winter ever, struggles in Math for Chloe, Jake spraining his ankle, and facing the fact that my kids will be in middle school and high school next year. No more elementary school for us.

This year, for me, has also been one of revelations, grieving, dealing with past heartbreak, and being open to what God wants to show me. It hasn’t been easy. As each day passes, I move forward and remember that I’m right where God wants me to be.

I’m looking forward to the next few months. Hopefully the lazy days of summer will go by very slowly this year.

come however you are


I spend a lot of time in my car. Driving here and there. These days, it’s pretty much the only place I listen to music. For the past few months, I’ve been stuck on Taylor Swift’s last two CD’s on repeat. Before that, it was all of Bethany Dillon’s. Every once in a while, I’ll decide to mix it up and flip over to the radio, ’cause I’m crazy like that. ;) Yesterday, I heard a song on the Christian music station that I instantly loved. Not sure how long it’s been playing on the radio since I haven’t been listening much lately, but it’s new to me. The song is called “Come However You Are” by City Harbor, who are also new to me and I believe are just releasing their first album.

What I love most about this song, besides the beautiful harmony of their voices together, is the message of the lyrics. Whatever you are dealing with, whatever pain or regret or mistakes you’ve made, no matter what your past looks like, you can give it to God. All of it! Right now! Because He loves you more than you could ever know.

Here are the lyrics, but if you’d rather hear the music, I’ve added that at the bottom.

Come However You Are by City Harbor

To anyone walking down a hard road
Worn out with blisters on your feet
To anyone with a heart that’s shattered
Doing your best to hold it together
With no prayer to pray and no song left to sing

Whatever pain you’re dealing with
Let me offer this

Come however you are
Come with all your heart breaks
Come with all the mistakes you’ve made
Lay them down at the cross
Give them to the God who loves you
Hurt, scarred, falling apart
Come however you are

To the girl who never had a father
To the guy who thinks he’ll never
Amount to much of anything
To those of us who feel unwanted, unneeded, unloved and desperately incomplete

Come however you are
Come with all your heart breaks
Come with all the mistakes you’ve made
Lay them down at the cross
Give them to the God who loves you
Hurt, scarred, falling apart
Come however you are

Come with your regrets
Come with the things you can’t take
Come with all your fears and all your shame
With everything
Come with the pieces of
Your bruised and broken heart
Don’t wait, don’t wait

Whatever pain you’re dealing with
Let me offer this

Come however you are
Come with all your heart breaks
Come with all the mistakes you’ve made
Lay them down at the cross
Give them to the God who loves you
Hurt, scarred, falling apart
Come however you are

Here’s a video from YouTube of the song. The only one I could find.
)

I hope this song has blessed you as it has me. Love you guys!

lightness


One afternoon, during our Florida vacation, while some were napping and others were swimming, I had some time to reflect on the trip and think about the things that I had been trying not to think about all week (it was only a month or so after Dave’s funeral and my mind was still very much on the events of that day). I sat on the balcony sipping coffee, watching Chloe and our niece, Scarlett, swimming down below, and it struck me how carefree and light things are for them.

Oh, how I longed to feel that lightness again.

If only I could guard their little hearts from ever having to feel the kind of heartbreak I have felt. I prayed then that God would spare them that and lead them each to the right man, one who will cherish and adore them and treat them right.

Before I knew it, tears were falling down my cheeks.

It’s difficult to look back at the girl I was twenty years ago, so young and naive, so blind to everything but him. So focused on future plans that I didn’t notice what was going on around me. I want to shake that girl and yell “Wake up!” I guess with age and experience come clarity and understanding. I can look back now and see things so differently. We were just kids. I was only 8 years older than Chloe is now. What? So young. But in all our vast teenage wisdom, we thought we knew what we wanted.

God knew better.

I thought I felt it then … the lightness. Before everything went wrong. I think it was there at times, in the happier moments. I’m starting to accept that there were some of those. But for all these years, it was just easier to make myself believe that it was all a lie, that there was no love there at all. It was the only way I could move on. But it wasn’t true. I know that now.

I’m beginning to let a little thankfulness seep through as the memories flow – for those happy moments, for the years of friendship that led to us. I choose not to focus on the bad. I’ve focused on that enough over the years. The things we go through change us and, while my heart still feels heavy over it all, hopefully, one day, it will feel a little of that lightness again.

AJAXed with AWP