Monthly Archives: September 2014

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hello, monday


A lovely weekend.
Sunny. Warm. More like summer than autumn.
Perfect weather for our nephew’s wedding.
A fun rehearsal and rehearsal dinner on Friday.
A beautiful ceremony on Saturday afternoon.
Jake got to officiate, which made it even more special.
Lots of fun with family. Violet kept us entertained. That girl. ;)
Lots of pictures taken. Will share more in the coming days.
Our church is so much fun. It was Celebration Services on Sunday.
Free (and delicious!) food and games.
Bounce houses. Cookies. Cotton candy. Popcorn. Photobooth.
Not to mention the wonderful sermon Pastor Jeff gave.

The whole weekend was full of wonderful blessings.

To BRIGHTEN your MONDAY!
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Have a wonderful day, you guys!

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around here


enjoying
the quiet moments I have while waiting to pick the kids up from school or this or that activity. I’ve finished reading Bread & Wine, listened to music or one of Elise’s podcasts, made lists and brainstormed ideas for the book’s interior layout, talked to God about everything that’s in my heart and mind right now, or just been still and soaked in the silence. Some days I feel like a chauffeur, but most of the time, I’m OK with it. Especially when I get to enjoy nights like the one above.

sharing
the cover of my new book, Goodbye, Magnolia, due out in the Spring of 2015. Very excited about this one, but also nervous. I love the story and the characters so much. But it’s also personal. For this story, I’ve really drawn from my own life, my own heartbreak, and that’s kind of scary to both deal with as you’re writing it and to share with the whole world.

juicing
I drank apple/carrot/ginger juice, apple/cucumber/kale/celery juice, and banana/orange/apple/spinach smoothies for three days this week. The worst part about cutting out every other food but juiced veggies and fruits is the horrible caffeine withdrawal headache. That was tough. But I made it through and now I’m moving forward with healthier meals. Although, I did eat a couple pieces of pizza my hubby brought home from a work party yesterday and I immediately regretted it. My mouth said “yum”, but my stomach said, “What have you done?” :D

celebrating
our nephew’s wedding this weekend. Looking forward to spending time with family and welcoming Shalea officially into our family.

wishing
you all a lovely weekend, wherever you are and whatever you do. <3

what’s in a name?


I don’t know how other people choose names for their novels, and I actually didn’t do this for Goodbye, Magnolia, but when I was writing The Truth About Drew, I really wanted the names to have meaning. I wanted the main characters personalities to fit with the name they held, because I felt like the book itself had so much meaning. So, here is a list of the characters’ names that I chose purposefully:

DREW • Wise. Brave. Courageous.
CLAIRE • Clear. Bright.
BRODY • Brother … duh! :)
AMY • Dearly loved. Beloved.
DAMON (Amy’s last name) • Constant. Loyal.
ZACH • Remembered by God.
GILBERT (Zach’s last name) • Trusted.
LIAM • Determined Guardian.

I didn’t really choose the names of the other characters based on their meanings, but I thought it would be fun to look them up anyway. Here is what I found:

NATE • Gift of God. – OK, this is a lovely meaning for Nate, but maybe in relation to my book, it could be flipped around to “God’s gift”. If you’ve read it, that might make more sense. ;)

MANDY • Lovable. Worthy of love. – This goes well with all that Mandy went through. She is definitely worthy of love, even after everything that happened, God brought her through it and gave her something new.

SAM • Bright sun. God hears. Heard by God. – I like this. I don’t really go into Sam’s story very much, but I do reveal his faith in God, and God definitely heard all the prayers that went up for him after a big event happened in his life.

TRUMAN (Claire + Brody’s grandparents’ last name) • Loyal. Faithful man. – This goes well with Grandpa and Grandma, faithful followers of Christ their whole lives.

LARA • Famous. – Well, she’s not famous, but she’s a popular cheerleader, so I’ll just interpret it that way.

KELLER (The football coach’s last name) • Little champion. – LOL! They do win those football games. :)

DONNA (The coach’s wife) • Lady. – Yep, she’s a lady. ;)

That was fun. I’m amazed to find that the meanings of the names really feel like the characters to me. Even some of the ones whose names I didn’t choose for their meaning. This book was such a labor of love for me. Even when I was choosing those names, I felt such a leading from God. Claire and Drew and Brody and Amy and Zach … they all feel like kids I would be friends with if I was their age again.

Those who have already read The Truth About Drew may notice that I left out a name. If you know what name I’m referring to, look it up and you will understand why I didn’t include it in this list. ;)

DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR NAME MEANS? Leave it in the comments below. My first name means “Follower of Christ”. I’d say that describes me to a T.

Goodbye, Magnolia

My wonderful newsletter subscribers were the first to see this, and I’m so happy and excited to introduce the new book, Goodbye, Magnolia, and cover design here … on the BLOG.

I don’t have an exact release date yet, but I will say …
COMING SPRING 2015!

What’s it about?
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.

As she travels the state of Michigan photographing weddings, she struggles to keep her business afloat and the wall around her heart intact. But along the way, she learns more about loyalty and love than she ever imagined.

* * *

A few thoughts
I’m venturing into a new genre with this book. Contemporary romance or women’s fiction or chick lit, whatever you want to call it. What it will most certainly be is a “clean” read, as in something I wouldn’t be embarrassed to let my daughter read. It will be full of friendships, family, secrets, grand gestures, and love, of course.

Most of all, this is a story about letting go and learning to love again. … And weddings. Lots of weddings.

—> I cannot end this post without a SPECIAL THANKS to my sweet cousin, Sarah, the beautiful bride you see on the cover. Two years ago, I photographed her wedding and she agreed to let me use one of her wedding photos for the design.

a special announcement


This morning, my newsletter went out with the big introduction of the title and cover of the new book. I’m very excited about it and, though the release of the book is several months away, I thought now was the right time to share. Enough in advance to give you something to look forward to. ;)

It’s not too late to click the “NEWSLETTER” button at the top of this page. If you are reading this post from a feed reader, HERE is the link to newsletter sign-up page. I will be sending out another round of the newsletter later tonight for those who sign up today.

hello, monday


After our disappointing decision not to go to Mackinac this weekend, we had a quiet weekend at home. It definitely would have been more fun to get out of the house and visit family on the east side, which we considered, but staying home was much needed.

By the way, after I posted about things not going my way on Friday, things got weird. I walked out of the house to get the kids and there was a squirrel on the peak of our roof just making this horrible screeching sound at me, staring me down. Creeped me out. I should have known things would get even weirder. When I got to the kids’ school, I heard a very loud “meow” coming from the front passenger side wheel. We discovered a kitty had crawled up in there and took a terrifying ride with me to the school. Unfortunately, we could not get it to come out. It crawled up underneath the engine somewhere by the front bumper, where we couldn’t reach it. So it got another fun ride home and we left it there until Jake got home and could crawl under the car and remove it. It was gone by the time he got home from work. So weird. Hopefully that won’t ever happen again.

The majority of my Saturday was spent staring into the mouth of my paper shredder. I had accumulated several years of old receipts, bills, bank statements, etc. that were not necessary to keep. They were three large piles that were taking up way too much space. It took pretty much all day to sort out the stuff I needed and shred what I didn’t. What remains is one small box full. Glad I can check that task off the “to do” list.

Chloe did my hair a bunch this weekend, too, which was so nice. Love my girl.

Didn’t make it to church on Sunday, but we were able to Livestream it, which was awesome. One of the things that Pastor said was that we are made in God’s image – God, the Creator – so it makes sense that we are creative beings, who want to make and invent and create. I like that.

Very close to sharing my new book cover and title as well as a little synopsis of what the book is about. I’ll be sharing first in my newsletter, so if you haven’t signed up yet, go HERE.

This week … I’ve decided to do some juicing. I’m a big emotional mess lately and I know it’s at least partly to do with not eating healthy. So I’m going to follow along with Reboot with Joe for a few days and hopefully reset my body a bit and get going on some healthier meals and moving more. Mom and I walked about 3 miles this morning. My legs are achy, but I feel good.

Praying for an all around better week this week!

reflecting on … God’s ways are better


Mackinac Island. August 2005. Taken on our 10 year anniversary trip.

Have you ever had one of those days (or weeks) when things did just not go your way? I’m sure you have. That’s been the past week (or three) for me. Just one little thing after another for days, nothing huge or catastrophic, but things won’t seem to go right and it all adds up, until you’re sitting at the bank, trying to get money out to rush to your daughter’s school so she can eat lunch today, but the ATM machine is down for service, and you burst into tears for no good reason. Yeah … that happened.

Things don’t always go as planned.

We had a lovely trip to Mackinac Island planned for this weekend. A little post-birthday trip for Zach. Some of Jake’s side of the family were on board with the plan. But with a forecast of rain and thunderstorms all day Saturday, we had to postpone it. I’m sure that added to the intensity of my little breakdown this morning.

God’s plans are better than mine, though. I needed a reminder of that. Life doesn’t always happen the way we want it to.

I thought about this verse today. God’s ways are not our ways.

“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than you thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)

There is a lot more to this verse and the passage it comes from than relates to my little plans falling through or things not going the way I wanted them to today, but it gives me comfort. Maybe there is a bigger reason we aren’t supposed to go to the island this weekend. Maybe when we do finally go, the trees will be changing to beautiful colors, the weather will be glorious, and we won’t have to walk around in the rain, ducking lightning bolts all day. ;)

the Project Life® App is LIVE!


It’s live, guys! and only $2.99! Becky’s answering some questions over on her blog HERE with a direct link from her site to the App Store. Go get it! And have so much fun with it. It’s really so easy to use.

hello, monday


We are on Day 6 without internet here at home. I’m using my phone as a hotspot for a couple minutes so I can post. A new modem is supposed to arrive today and hopefully that will be the solution to the problem. We’ve gone over our data allowance on our phones over the past week because of this. I’ve tried to stay off Instagram and Facebook as best I can. Jake and the kids went to the library on Saturday for their internet fix. And Chloe checked out a library book while there, too.

I should have been spending the internet-free time editing my book, but instead I decided to scan some more of Grandma’s negatives. Most of the batch I worked on were from 1981 or 1982. The above photos are from Christmas 1982 when my cousins and I got the beloved matching cheerleading uniforms. We were so cool! ;)

Isn’t it funny how photos can bring back all sorts of memories? Not just the things that were in the room, the decor, the everyday items, but what it felt like to be in that place, the house, the rooms, Grandpa playing solitaire at the kitchen table or sitting in his leather chair smoking his cigarette (funny … I don’t remember their house ever smelling like smoke, though it probably did), sitting on the orange davenport or on the floor watching Murder She Wrote or Dallas, Grandma running the vacuum, the smell of lavender, Avon bubble bath, that cozy feeling when you’re with family and you know you’re loved.

This photo was on one of the rolls. Nothing spectacular, just a picture Grandma took out the door on a snowy day.

They lived on busy US-30 so there were constantly semis driving by. And as soon as I saw this, I remembered being in the spare bedroom upstairs trying to fall asleep, listening to the sound of the approaching trucks, and watching the lights and shadows travel across the walls as they passed by.

I cherish every one of these photos. Even the fuzzy photos of snow. And there are a lot of those to cherish. ;)

project life® August layouts


I went back in time to 2013 this month, still working on my journaling for the last half of the year. And all I have to do is look at the 2013 document on my desktop, where I typed up a quick daily synopsis each night before I went to sleep. I’ve said this before (more than once!), but that file is such a lifesaver for me. I can look at the pictures and tell you the basics of what was going on, but writing it out daily along with any special things that I wanted to remember is the only way my albums are as accurate as they are.

On to the layouts:

A Road Warrior’s Wife • May 11, 2013

The journaling for this layout was taken from my post of the same name from May 2013 just after Jake ran the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K. I didn’t include all of the text, but if you want to read the whole post, you can find it HERE. It was such a crazy, stressful, exciting, rush of a weekend. More so for Jake than us, but we were pretty nervous right along with him. I thought this event deserved its own layout. Since I document things weekly, I just broke this week into two layouts with this one being for the last two days of the week – the race and then Mothers Day with Jake’s family.

Click image to view larger version


Jake’s DC Trip • May 20-24, 2013
Jake took a lot of great pictures on his trip to D.C. with our brother-in-law Jeff. I only included three in this layout. You can see a few more HERE.

It was also right around this time that I started to think seriously about self-publishing my book. I put emails out to a couple of places for more information and this was the week I was contacted by West Bow Press, which is a part of Thomas Nelson publishing. They help you self-publish … for a fee. A fee I did not have. And I knew I was more than capable of doing the majority of things they would have done for me (cover design, editing, formatting) on my own. So that’s what I decided to do.

Click image to view larger version


Girls Days • July 1-7, 2013
Most of this week’s layout focuses on our annual Girls Days trip with Aunt Pat and Tonya. My aunt and uncle purchased a house near Lake Erie and this was our first time visiting there. We stayed at the house for a few days and it was a great time, as always. The highlight for me was taking the ferry to Kelley’s Island. I had not been back there since the summer of ’92, when my former fiancé and I visited the church camp we attended for a week every summer during high school. It was so nice going back after all these years. We drove around the island and out past the camp. It looks so lovely and I miss it. Very special memories there. I was blessed to be part of the most wonderful church Youth Group. We were all like family and it will forever be one of the most important times in my life.

Click image to view larger version

Products used:
I used the Seafoam Core Kit and Design A pocket pages for all of these layouts. The Seafoam kit has since been retired (boohoo!), but it looks like they are still available on Amazon HERE. I think Seafoam will always be one of my favorite kits. I also purchased the digital version of this kit, too, so I can always print my own cards any time I want.

:)

AJAXed with AWP