Category Archives: Movies

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hello, monday

It was such a nice weekend around here. We went out to my parents house on Friday evening to celebrate Jake’s birthday with some Jet’s pizza and cupcakes. The guys helped my dad get big tires put on one of his tractors, then we all took a ride back to the woods while Dad hooked up a combine. We also had movie night and watched “Interstellar”. Really good movie. I was not expecting it to be such a tear-jerker.

On Saturday, my mom came over and we dug up all the old nasty bushes around our house that we’ve been wanting to get rid of. The kids were good helpers. We got it all done in a couple hours.

My book giveaway on Goodreads ended this weekend. Over 1,100 people put their names in. Now if all of those people would kindly purchase my book and read it next month. ;)

Sunday afternoon, we went to Jake’s dad’s for a visit. Heather and the girls were there for the weekend. We also got to see Andy and Michelle (one of Jake’s other sisters) and our niece, Breanna. Was a nice time with family.

The weekend was not without sadness, though. I learned that Jonathan Crombie, who played Gilbert on the “Anne of Green Gables” movies, passed away unexpectedly. He was only 48. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve watched those movies. My friends and I have wonderful memories of “Anne” movie marathons back in high school.

Jonathan was the perfect Gilbert and will always live on through those movies. :)

hello, monday … on tuesday again

Had a really nice weekend followed by a busy Monday and since I took up my Hello, Monday post yesterday with the big announcement about the book release date, I’m going to once again share a little recap on Tuesday instead of Monday.

After school on Friday, I decided to run the car through the car wash on the way home. With it being such a nice day, there was a long line of cars waiting to get rid of all that winter salt and dirt. I didn’t notice that as we sat waiting with the car idling that the temperature gauge was climbing and climbing. Just before we entered the wash, I noticed some smoke coming from my engine. I turned the heater on in my car, but we just couldn’t breathe from the heat, so once inside the car wash, I turned my car off. Big mistake. I had a horrible feeling that when the wash was finished, I would not be able to get my car to start. I was correct. Had to get a couple guys that worked there to come and push my car out of the car wash stall and get my car out of the way for the other ten cars behind me waiting. It was SO embarrassing! I wanted to curl up in a ball and hide. They said it was OK for us to leave the car there to cool down, and the kids and I walked home. We don’t live too far away from the car wash and it was a beautiful day.

On the walk home, I stepped in a stupid mud puddle.

When Jake got home from work, we drove down to the car wash in his car to see how my car was doing. Only, we ended up having to wait to get the last tenth of a mile to the car wash because there was an accident at the street just before it.

Friday the 13th indeed! ;)

We were able to start the car right up and get it home, by the way. The coolant level was low, so Jake added some.

The evening improved greatly when my dear friend, Jen, came for a visit. We went to dinner at the Chinese buffet then to Biggby for some coffee (tea for her!). We chatted until they closed. We also planned out our annual camping trip. It’s back to the U.P. for us this year. We love it up there!

Saturday was a hang at home kind of day. My brother, Rick, came by and we did his taxes and chatted for a while.

Jake spent the majority of Saturday evening with headphones on reading my book, while Chloe and I watched Gilmore Girls reruns, and Zach played on his computer in his room. Jake finished my book after 1 a.m. and then we sat up talking about it, even though we were both really tired. He loved the book, and some people might say that he is just biased because he’s my husband, but he’s been an avid reader since childhood and he knows when a story needs work. Not that he normally reads much chick lit, but I completely trust his opinion. ;)

On Sunday afternoon, Chloe, my mom and I went to see the new Cinderella movie. So good! Besides being beautiful to watch, it had such good messages. “Be kind and have courage” was the big one. But I also liked that they brought it around to being worthy of love just as you are, even without a fairy godmother to magically make you into a princess. Love that.

My mom and I have decided to start walking each day now that the weather is improving. We had a nice walk on Monday around town. This morning was very windy and chilly and back in the 30’s, though. Brrrr. We cut our walk short.

Monday was busy around here. I spent the morning spreading the word that my book now has a release date set! May 19th, here we come! So there were emails to send to my Launch Team and newsletter subscribers, social media posts, and a blog post to write. When the kids and I arrived home in the afternoon, there was a box on the steps containing Advanced Reader copies of the book. Oh my goodness! I can’t even describe what it feels like to hold an actual physical copy of my book in my hands. And it’s not even the finished product. But still, it makes me so happy!

So, I’m back to editing the book this week and I can’t wait to dig into it and make it even better. In case you missed it, the eBook is already available for PRE-ORDER on AMAZON. Eeeeek! Place your ORDER HERE!

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

put it out there

While browsing through my old posts, I came across one written on June 3, 2005, the night I went to see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie. I loved that book series and I remember loving the movie. One other thing I remember about that night was going directly to Best Buy afterwards to purchase the soundtrack because of the song “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield and driving home with windows down and moon roof open with that song turned up so loud. (OK, I’m playing it right now while I write this post and it’s still awesome!) I love how a blog post can remind me of those feelings.

Here’s what I had to say that night:

“I like to read, but I LOVE when books are adapted into movies. I’m a visual person, a huge movie lover. So to see a story adapted for the screen and done well really thrills me. This was adapted really well. I think there were a few things here and there that they changed for movie purposes, but for the most part it was true to the book.

I think the character that I relate the most to is Lena, the quiet one. Afraid to really let go, trying to figure out who she really is, not the most outspoken of the group. That’s totally me. A little reserved, doing what I think others want me to do, wishing that I had the strength to stand up for myself more, a little shallow with my feelings, mostly to protect myself from being hurt, but wishing I felt more deeply sometimes.

These kinds of stories really make me think and they get my creative juices flowing. I began writing a book in 1997 based loosely on my time at the church camp I used to attend for a week every summer in high school. I finally finished the first draft last year, but I’ve done nothing more with it. I feel like pulling it out and working on it now. It’s so fun to read through it and see these characters that I’ve created with little bits of myself and my friends in them and the adventures that they go through and the lessons learned during the week at camp. I’m proud of my book. It needs a lot of work and who knows if it’s something that is good enough to be published. It’s the “Lena” in me that is afraid to put it out there and see what might happen with it. I need to let it go and see what God can do with it.”

Reading this made me smile so big. I had not forgotten about my camp book, but I had forgotten how even ten years ago, I was thinking about publishing, wondering if I should try, afraid to put myself out there. That book, the sweet little camp story, will find its way into book form. Not as it is now, though, because I was being honest when I said it needed a lot of work, but it’s already being re-imagined and rewritten in my brain. It even has a title already, which I’m pretty excited about. But, I’ll try not to get too far ahead of myself. ;)

OK … on to today’s giveaway.

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’m getting so excited for the release of this book! It’s totally my heart and so much of myself is on these pages. This giveaway is for an Advanced Reader Copy of Goodbye, Magnolia. The winner will receive a copy of the manuscript in paperback book form in its still-being-edited, not quite polished to perfection, almost final state. It will be about a month or so before the ARC copy is ready.

If this is the first you’re hearing about my new book, here’s a little bit of the synopsis for you:
Wedding photography is Maggie’s passion. The art of capturing a moment forever in time is magical to her, and she’s worked hard to become the best of the best. Week after week, she works with couples as they plan their happily ever afters, but she hasn’t been so lucky in love. Behind the camera, it’s easy to hide from the pain and rejection of her past. The life she has made for herself is safe and predictable, until the owner of a rival photography studio sets up shop in her small town and comes to her with an unexpected proposal. Suddenly, everything she has worked so hard to build is threatened and her simple, controlled life is thrown into chaos.”

Eeeeeek! I’m giddy. ;)

Enter below. Tell a friend!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

CLICK HERE to see all the GIVEAWAYS on one page!



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.


hello, monday

It’s a new week. A fresh week. After a weekend with not much time spent at home, I felt rushed to do a bunch of laundry and dishes and prepare for the week ahead. I was up far too late last night doing just that. But it feels good to have those things done (well, not all the dishes … will the dishes ever really be done?).

Chloe and I spent Friday evening together on our couch watching more reruns of Gilmore Girls. And after a friend mentioned on Facebook that she and her daughter watched Phantom of the Opera recently, I pulled out my copy and Chloe watched it for the first time. I’m so thankful that God gave me a daughter to share things like this with.

Saturday was Chloe’s third meet of the season. The judges were tough, but Chloe improved on two of her events and got a higher score overall than the other meets. Very proud of her. Meets always make for a long day with lots of sitting and waiting, but I’m always excited to see what our girl can do. And it amazes me how confident she is. The one thing that gets her nerves going, though, is the back walkover she has to do on the beam. She nailed it at the first meet, then fell last time, but this time she stayed on with just a tiny wobble. Yay!

It was movie day at my parents’ house on Sunday afternoon. We watched the new Left Behind movie (the Nicolas Cage one). It was not great. There were some nice moments sprinkled throughout and some funny scenes with Martin Klebba (One of the highlights of the movie for me!), but I’m just not sure why they even chose to make it. It focused only on the plane ride at the beginning of the Left Behind book series when all the people disappear and was supposed to be more of an action movie. It didn’t seem to improve on the ones that were already made in the early 2000’s. Who knows. I wanted to see it and I did. But I think I’ll stick with the Kirk Cameron version. ;)

We also watched Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (the Kevin Costner one). We used to watch that movie so much in the 90’s. I was surprised how well I remembered the musical score and had forgotten how much I loved it.

“He fancies you, my Lady. I may be blind, but there are some things I still see.”
– Duncan, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

A big order of prints arrived the other day and I’m so ready to get my Project Life on. All the prints for my Week in the Life from October are now in my hands, so that will be the next thing I work on. Excited to have that finished finally. Then on to more 2015.

hello, monday

I said I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t listen to Christmas music or watch Christmas movies or make a space for the tree until after Thanksgiving.

But that’s exactly what we did this weekend. All of it!

The plan for Saturday was to have a day with my girl while the boys went to hang out with a friend of Jake’s. So we turned on Christmas music and danced around while straightening up the room and making a place for the tree. My brother, Rick, stopped by and hung out with us for a while, probably thinking we were crazy girls. When the guys got home, we watched Elf.

So, yeah. That happened.

I also spent some time working on a little something special for people who subscribe to my email mailing list. Anyone who subscribes from here on out will get this downloadable 8×10 print I designed using Psalm 91:4, one of the verses from my book, The Truth About Drew.

If you already subscribed, don’t worry. I will be including this in the next newsletter, too, which is coming later this week!

If you haven’t signed up yet, enter your email address below and watch for instructions in your email inbox. Don’t forget to click the link in the email to confirm your subscription, too.

And I would love to see what you do with the print. If you get a print and hang it up, show me! Email a picture or comment a link. :)

hello, monday

Hello, Monday.

We celebrated my birthday on Friday (a couple weeks late ’cause it was the only day that worked) at my parents’ house with dinner, cake ‘n ice cream, and movie night. We finally watched Gravity. Oh my goodness. On the edge of my seat the whole time. Sandra Bullock is such a great actress. If you haven’t seen this one yet, I highly recommend it. We sat and watched the documentary afterwards about all the trash up in space. Kind of crazy to think about all the dead satellites and other junk that is just floating up there and what damage all that debris can do to the space station and other satellites. Scary.

Saturday was a day of rest. We were gonna go see a movie, but I have been sick for the past week with a bad cough and I needed that day to just relax. And I ran a bunch of loads of laundry, too. ;)

Sunday after church, we went to see Guardians of the Galaxy. Yes! We love the show Parks and Rec and Chris Pratt as Andy on there. He is the lead in Guardians and I didn’t think it was possible to love that guy more than I already did, but I was wrong. He’s so great in this and the movie was just a lot of fun. Very funny and entertaining with a few tear-jerker moments thrown in, too. Chloe and I were almost bawling in the first five minutes.

Today is when Becky will be choosing a winner for the giveaway of a signed copy of my book, The Truth About Drew. There may still be time to enter HERE! And thank you to everyone who entered and left such nice comments on Becky’s blog for me. You are all so sweet. <3

*Note: The link to Gravity is an amazon affiliate link.

Project Life® | March layouts

This layout is very different for me. I’m not used to focusing an entire spread on myself and my thoughts. My Project Life albums have always been very much about documenting our life from week to week, the events, travels, etc. But over the past few months, as I’ve been digging into who I am and learning so much about myself, I’ve gotten a little deeper on my blog and the text I used for this layout was from a recent blog post that I thought really showed who I am right now and what kind of things I’m thinking about.

I used the Jade core kit, which has such fun colorful cards but also a lot of great neutral cards as well, which I chose for this layout to go along with some black and white selfies I took of myself for that blog post.

As is the case for a lot of mom photogs out there, I don’t get myself into our album as often as I should. It’s awesome to have so many wonderful pictures of our kids and the day-to-day stuff, but I need to hand off the camera to other people every once in a while or set the TimerCam app on my phone and get more shots of me.

“second thoughts” layout:

Click for slightly larger image

And here are close-ups of the left and right sides of the layout if you want to read the journaling. You can also read it HERE on the original blog post. :)

Products used for this layout:
Jade core kit, Design A and Design D page protectors

2014 album:

Seems like I’ve been doing just a few layouts a month when I get a chance and this month I chose to do only this one for the weekly album. I’m OK with that. I did get photos printed for other layouts, just haven’t put them together yet. No biggie. No pressure.

This was the week of more cold and snow, another snow day, lots of scanning of my Grandma’s negatives and a movie and day at Craigs Cruisers for Chloe’s birthday with her BFF.

Click for slightly larger image

Here’s a close-up of the left side with all the journaling:

Products used for this layout:
Midnight core kit, Design A page protectors

Digital layout:

This was a fun layout I made digitally for a little project for the Creative Team. Zach was such a little rascal for like a week when he turned 3. He was never really one to get into things he shouldn’t or make crazy messes – that would be Chloe – but this butter incident along with dumping out a bunch of baby powder to drive his matchbox cars through were probably the worst messes he ever made and I’m so glad I chose to grab my camera and capture it instead of freaking out and getting mad at him.

Close-ups of left and ride side:

I used the following digital products for this layout:
Boy Theme Cards, Slate Core Kit, Design A and Design D templates.

Note: I hand wrote my journaling on white paper with black marker, scanned it into my computer and cut/pasted/manipulated the text where I wanted it on the page. A little tricky, but I like how it turned out.

Project Life® is an amazing and simple system designed by Becky Higgins to help you get your precious photo memories into albums. For more information, click HERE, like now. ;)

this week

High School orientation for Zach was on Monday. It felt a little surreal sitting there listening to the principal talk about course scheduling and credits to graduate. It feels like just a few years ago that I walked my nervous little boy to his kindergarten classroom, so afraid to walk away and leave him there. Now, he’s talking about art and technology and graphic design classes he wants to take and what he might study at college. My heart hurts a little bit.

It snowed again this week. But the great news is the temperature is forecasted to hit 60 degrees by Monday. That might not sound very warm, but in comparison to what we’ve been living with for the past three months, it’s going to feel like the middle of summer.

Jake surprised me by washing all of the dishes the other night. I had a dishwasher in need of unloading and reloading as well as a pile of dishes on the counter. Some days it feels so overwhelming. I wash them and the next day, every plate and glass in the house has been used. I don’t know why I didn’t get the “happy homemaker” gene. My mom was always so good at it and kept a nice clean home. I try, but I fail miserably. So when I fell asleep on the couch the other night and woke to Jake saying “Dishes are done, man!”, I got a little teary-eyed. He knows how I struggle with it and that was such a blessing to me.

Anyone recognize Jake’s “dishes are done” quote? Here’s the clip:

From the movie “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead”. ;)

Have a wonderful weekend!

monday’s list

• It was a very quiet and uneventful weekend around here. Didn’t take many pictures. And I liked it that way.

• Jake took a day off on Friday and we had lunch together. That was so nice. Our dates lately have been few and far between. We let the busyness of life take over sometimes. Definitely need to make our dates higher on the priority list!

• Family game night Friday. Played a game that Jake bought – Forbidden Island.

• Enjoyed some movies – Frozen (twice) and Saving Mr. Banks. Love Disney.

• Got some new music this weekend that is touching my heart (will share about this later this week).

• I adore everything that Lindsay Letters makes. I have lovely visions of her canvases above my piano in our future home (no news on that front yet – still lots to do around here before we list our house for sale). But for now, I picked up this cute mug (above) – Live Creatively! – and I love it.

• Editing some photos to be printed for my Project Life album. Will be sharing pages early next week. More weekly layouts for this year’s album. A digital layout. And another layout for the Germany album focusing on a visit to a nearby town with a romantic legend.

• Spent several hours scanning more of Grandma’s negatives. Every time I scan, I find new moments to cherish.

Easter 1975. We sure did love our new baby cousin, Tonya (me – left, Traci – right), back when it was just us three girls and none of the boys were born yet. And I guess I thought it would be funny to sit in Tonya’s little baby seat (me and Uncle Tom – Tonya’s dad).

• I think I’ve settled on a cover design for my book. Now I just need to get the supplies I need and photograph it. Then I can start working on the layout in Photoshop. Praying I can recreate what I’m imagining in my head.

• Jake and Dwight’s latest Plus Sized Models podcast is up today. They invited their running friend, Adele, to share her experiences with running as therapy for her PTSD from serving in Iraq. Have a LISTEN HERE!

• A little over a week left of March. How did that happen? And a week and a half until Spring Break. Yes!

• This week … we’ve got a high school orientation for Zach this week. Yikes! I can’t even believe that is happening.

AJAXed with AWP