Saturday, March 20, 2010

To Cook Is Divine

As I stood in front of a simmering pan tonight, making a delicious veggie and rice dish (if I do say so myself), I had a revelation of sorts. Not only is preparing a meal for your family a daily occurrence that can be somewhat tedious and dare I say mundane; but it is also a miraculous scientific event worth savoring and praying over. It is a time that not only tests our Patience, diligence, and attitudes but it is, at the best of times, therapeutic and divine!

Many nights I am at a loss for what to make. For someone who use to meal plan for an entire month and simply follow my schedule, the new dietary changes in my home (and I say new very tongue in cheek because we are coming up on a year) have left me wading in a pool of confusion. I have yet to find any semblance of cohesion or rhythm in favorites. I have simply trudged through the muck. And while I am still trudging and searching, tonight I had that first "aha" moment where God met me for my family meal making.

I was sauteing the spinach, broccoli, and tomatoes when a huge smile and peace came over me. "Hello my Father, it has been so long since I have spent time with you creating a meal." I remember man nights when I had derived such joy from cooking and creating new recipes and family favorites. Yet now that my food choices are limited by both choice and medical reasons I am baffled. I don't know what to cook or what to blend together to make those firework sparks like we use to have, the ones like a little mouse so poetically describes in one of my favorite Disney movies of all time. Now, tonight, I find solace in an old favorite but long to reach a new one.

I know that part of this feeling comes from the dull-drums of winter. The exhaustion of cabin fever and the excited anticipation of the upcoming fresh zucchini, strawberry, tomato and oh so many more wondrous fruits and veggies. The other part comes from You Lord reminding me of something so very important.

Each and every meal that I make I am creating what my child will be and are. You are what you eat? Yes, in a real sense of the expression, you are. Eating is not just for pleasure and comfort. Eating is for sustainability, health, vitality, and overall well being (including disease prevention). The blending of the foods that You have given me to eat is a chance to be creative, to experience creation, to play with science, and to have fun. It is also a chance to bless my family with good health and appreciation for all that God has given us.

Tonight I am thankful for all that God has given us and for all of you. Thank you for your interest in my musings and thank you for all that you share! Perhaps this week when we all get to the dinner dull drum and wonder "what am I going to fix" or "can't we just go out, I am tired and have no clue what to make" we will remember to pray and ask our Father what it is that He wants us to eat and possibly make?

Be Blessed!!

Winner Announced + Update to giveaway rules

So what an awesome response to Lauren's giveaway! I had over 250 emails! As I stated in the post, emails and comments would be counted when determining the winner and so that exactly how I picked the winner. However, with the fabulous turn out I will need to change things for the future, because yes I do hope to do this again in the future! So from now on I will only be able to pick from those who leave comments on the post. This will make the drawings much more efficient for me and better for all of the readers so that you will be able to get the results quicker (and not at 2 in the morning central time!

Now to announce the winner.......

Drum Roll Please.....

Hehehe, That was fun :) the winner is...Mr. C! Congrats, and thank you to all who entered and checked out Lauren's work. I hope all of you have a fabulous weekend and thank you again Lauren H. Campbell Photography!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lauren H. Campbell Photography

Today I have a word-full for wordless week extended. I just had to include an interview with this gal as her photos are marvelous and there is a raffle that I am so psyched about. So welcome to my corner of the net, pull up a chair, sip your coffee or do whatever it is you do while you relax and get to know the artist of the day!

Lauren H. Campbell is a full-time Corrections officer in Pennsylvania who is also a newly-wed and a talented photographer. She grew up in historic Gettysburg PA and resides about 20 miles west of there today. When she is not working, or snapping photos she spends time with her husband Wayne and their 2 cats Oliver and Emma, and their dog Smuckers.

What started you on your photography journey? Do you have any 'technical classes' or is this all 'real-world' experience?

"I started taking technical classes as electives in high school. By my senior year I was taking all that I could and also working for the yearbook as a photographer and using all my extra periods to work on my photography. I also worked for the Penn State Daily Collegian as a photographer while in's one of the largest student-run college newspapers in the country. I was handpicked out of about 80 other students (and I was not even a photography major!)."

That is impressive. Penn State is a very competitive school, in all fields, it must have felt great to be recognized for a passion that was not what your formal training entailed! What other passions do you have and what would you say inspires you?

"My biggest passion, other than photography, would be gardening. I can spend hours and hours outside tending to my flower and vegetable gardens. I love seeing something you put so much work into become something so beautiful. My favorite season is Spring when everything starts coming to life and I can get out there and get my hands dirty again!" The same is true for my inspiration, "I love looking at something that someone may see as "ugly" or "run down" and finding the beauty in it. That's what I love to capture. I love spur of the moment things, catching emotion. I don't mind doing portraits but I love taking pictures of the real thing...the real emotion, and not (staging it or) making it happen."

Do you have an all-time favorite photo that you have taken?
Probably my favorite picture of all time is the one that I use on my site and for all of my advertising. I was doing some family pictures for a husband and wife that I work with and their oldest daughter (3 years old) was picking flowers for mommy. My husband came along to the shoot because he is awesome w/ kids and he had her hold out the flowers so I could take a photo. The picture turned about beautiful and is definitely my favorite!

Copyright do not copy!

Lauren, do you sell your work and if so where?
I sell my work from my site and pictures can be ordered from a link off that site at I also do (on-site) weddings, family pictures, maternity, pet photos...anything really!

Lauren, I have drooled over your photos ever since you first shared the link with me. You really do have a talent for catching that ideal shot. One of my favorites would have to be the peacock. Peacocks are one of my favorite animals and they are so strong-minded creatures. It is hard to truly capture their sass and not just their beauty. However, the shot you got of the male in front of the red barn not only captures that but it reminds me of my home in Pennsylvania. Can you tell me about this shot?

The peacock picture was taken at my dad's neighbor's house. My husband and I were driving out to see my dad in Gettysburg and his neighbors were out feeding their peacocks (they have about 12). The one was spreading it's feathers so I hopped out of the car and snapped some photos...with their approval of course! A lot of my pictures come from things I just see driving around, going places.

Copyright, do not copy!

Well thank you Lauren! It has been a pleasure getting a behind-the-scene's tour of your artistic endeavors!

Isn't she great? Now readers, guess what? Lauren has graciously offered one of her 8x10 prints to be signed and sent to one of you lucky visitors! All you have to do is visit her site, check out her photos, find your favorite, and message me here in the comment thread or via email. The winner will be chosen by random, easy right? Now have fun and pass the word around! Comments will close at Noon on Friday and the winner will be announced as soon as the winner is contacted!

Good Luck!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Out with the old...

Ok, so the week of no words will continue into this week as last week we ran into some network issues. It will continue tomorrow with some fabulous artists and a give away or two!!!

For now I will share some really super exciting things that are happening around here! First, spring cleaning has sprung and I am soooo excited. I love spring cleaning, de-cluttering, and reorganizing! Most excitingly for the first time in our marriage, Bren has agreed to let me paint our home! I am beyond thrilled. Especially since we have put house hunting on pause for an undetermined amount of time due to upcoming career moves for Bren and myself. We will be doing major reorganization efforts in our sardine can base house and this place will be so awesome! I will keep you up to date so the first announcement in this move?

GOOD BYE SOFA'S! That is right, no sofa's for chairs, no big clunky pieces of furniture stealing space etc. Instead we will have a living room full of soft floor cushions, pillows, bean bags and rugs. It will be so cozy and we cannot wait! We moved the first sofa out today and the other one will be gone by the end of the week.

Here are the top ten reasons we said goodbye to traditional living room seating arrangements.

10. We live in a sardine can.
9. They took up so much space and became the purpose of the living room, (sitting is not living for us!)
8. We are constantly sitting on the floor with pillows and the kiddos anyway, the sofa's often get in our way of play.
7. The space was so limited that the kids would climb on the sofa for play and this is not something that we want them to be accustomed to for when we have more space and nicer furniture.
6. It always seems that sofa's are breaking in ways that are dangerous such as springs popping out and exposing sharp edges or staples doing the same thing. The first sofa to exit had several staples exposed and a few nails as well.
5. Our sofa's never have matched as one was new for our marriage and one was a curb-side donation from a neighbor who didn't like it after she bought it (single military wife whose hubby spent nearly a year in the desert).
4. Did I mention that we have 7 people living in a sardine can? Even on game night we would end up on the floor anyway because there is never enough room for everyone.
3. I am so sick of stuff getting under bigger stuff. When we cleaned out the sofa today and moved it there were more toys under it than in the playroom! Ok that was an exaggeration but seriously there was at least 5 pounds of stuff under the two sofas combined. That is a lot of room for things getting lost.
2. Children who have cabin fever and do not obey the 'no climbing on the sofa' mandate always get hurt.
1. How cool is it going to be to have a room full of pillows? :)

So to elaborate on # 3, my cell phone has been missing for days. Guess where I found it this evening? UNDER the washing machine! Yeah! I know. At least I have my phone back.

So do you think we are crazy? Do you have any unconventional living arrangements? Do share and I will see you tomorrow for a wordless week continuation. Blessings!