What’s Happening Now

Ah, the first Monday of the new year. Always ripe with possibility and promise.

I love the wide open potential that buzzes in the air this time of year but I also like what happens when I look back at the past year. I am particularly amazed and humbled by all that God has done in the last twelve months. If you had told me this time last year that our family would be moving to Louisiana I probably would have snorted with disbelief.

But God has a way of surprising us, doesn’t He? I had no idea the challenges and struggles we would face, nor the beautiful ways He would show Himself faithful and kind beyond measure.

So much change. So much shifting and shaping, conforming us to the image of His Son. I look back at what He has done and look forward at what He will do and I just marvel.

One thing I came to realize over the weekend is that while we are happy and settling in here in our new home I have been waiting for things to click into place and feel normal. But a major move around the holidays, and getting not one but two puppies, doesn’t really lend itself to feeling normal so there has still been this sense of fluctuating to our days. Our place here feels comfortable so I wouldn’t say I’ve been floundering through my days. More like a joyous doggie paddle though and I am ready to feel the routine of structure.

As I was contemplating this the other day I thought of something important. In the past, any changes that came our way, even significant ones, upset the routine to varying degrees but there were key components that the upset happened within. The framework of our established life if you will, our church and community and school, all acted as a sort of buffer that the change bounced around in until it settled in its place.

I have been assuming things would just settle but the framework is completely different and to a certain extent needs to be rebuilt as we develop and grow relationships here. Although Abby and Claire are both finding their place in some ways I feel like we are in a temporary mode…with the wedding in a few months there is an unsettled feeling with regards to Emily. She has felt almost homeless I think driving back and forth from here and Monroe. And Sam is doing great but we are looking forward to finding him work and purpose outside of the house now that the holidays are over.

Even though we are putting roots down I know there are still changes to come and honesty I am excited about them even if they are as yet unknown. How could I not be with such a testimony of God’s goodness and mercy in the last year standing at my back?

Like tons of other people across the globe I am taking advantage of the new year to make some conscientious changes to my health and well being. Knowing I will need to be on the wrong side of the camera that I am less comfortable with in three short months for wedding pictures has a way of motivating me ūüôā Changes to my diet and a family membership to our local parks and rec center are definitely helping with that.

I was recently asked about what my plans are for my photography here and honestly I have no idea. I’m basically just going with the flow and seeing what develops. (See what I did there? That is high photographer humor right there is what that is.) My love did get me a mini drone for Christmas and I am super excited about using it! There is a bit of a learning curve since I am not naturally inclined toward technology and I am well, to put it kindly, directionally challenged.

You might also have noticed some changes here on the blog and hopefully there will be more to come. One plan that I do have is to spend more time here and so I think an overhaul will happen. I think my photography site will probably just migrate over here too but I haven’t decided about the recipe blog even though I don’t post there often. It would make sense to have them all back in one place and truthfully the reason I have a hard time giving up the food blog as a separate thing is simply because of the name I came up with. Which really is a silly reason if I am not actually going to be blogging recipes regularly. If I can get this one set up the way I like then more than likely it will all come under this site though.

In summary, I am looking forward to all that God has in store in the year ahead. I know there will be hard things as well as good things, severe mercies mixed with gentle ones, but if I learned nothing else in the last few years I have learned to lean into what He is doing with all my might.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

Proverbs 3: 5-8

DPP ~ Finishing Up

Technically the December Photo Project only goes through the 25th but most years I finish out the month. I haven’t decided yet if I will do that this year or not but I am happy that even though I posted in clumps some days I did not miss a day this year. After trying to do a 365 last year and failing miserably at it I think I may take this win and go home so to speak.

I didn’t intend to wrap things up by posting the last four days at once but I did, however, mean to wait for the 22nd and 23rd together. I made a sourdough starter for the first time this week and made bread. If you have followed the blog at all then you might remember the original starter getting knocked out of the refrigerator all.over.the.floor. a few years ago I was given a second starter but it did not make the move with us from Florida to Louisiana so I went to Pinterest and found a recipe for a starter that uses instant mashed potato flakes and here I am just like a real bread baker using my own starter!

Day 22nd ~

Day 23rd ~ All joking aside I am so happy to be able to make this bread again! I was curious if I would get a more sour flavor out of a fresh starter but it’s still the same mild but delicious bread.

Day 24th ~

We enjoyed our Christmas Eve service and then joined some friends for dinner. The theme of the meal was soups and sandwiches and boy, the men cooked up some delicious soups! I made a pot of our family favorite, roasted tomato. I did use one loaf of the bread for a bread pudding. It turned out okay even the bread itself was almost too fresh. I will plan and have better timing next batch.

Day 25th ~

This Christmas has been different for us. I told Rob it is the first time in my 50 years that I have not been with my parents and at least one of my sisters for the holiday. And, Sarah works so she and Deveon won’t be coming over until the 28th. Despite that bit of sadness it has been a really lovely day so far. The other four kids are happy with their gifts and with the other eleven days ahead we are anticipating much more celebrating. Hays is going to be coming back here while Sarah and Devon are in town so a couple of days will find us in the new territory of having the girls significant others with us for the holidays and that’s kind of exciting. I’ve texted with Florida friends this morning and while they are missed as well, everyone seems to be having a merry Christmas.

The Porter clan is actually in route to us as I type this and we are looking forward to feasting and celebrating with them this evening and worshipping together tomorrow.

So a different Christmas than what we are used to but we are so blessed by all God has done in bringing us here.

Merry Christmas!

Rejoice, friends, Christ is born!

DPP ~ Day 19

It rained all day yesterday. I’m not sure we were ready for what a rain meant as puppy owners but we managed. My laundry room is a total mess but that’s okay. Floors wash and puppies learn to not pee in the house so they can be in the living room, right? Please say they will stop peeing in the house and can be in other parts of the house.

The rain brought in a much appreciated cold front but too cold for little pups to be outside much. Plus it’s Sunday so we had them in the kennel more than usual. And wouldn’t you know it as soon as we got home and could take them outside to play and romp they played and romped in every single mud puddle in our yard.

Tired dirty little puppies.

DPP ~ Day 17

Part of the reason I enjoy the dpp so much is that I have to look around and find something to photograph that is “right there” in my space. I mean sometimes it works out that I can plan a more elaborate shot or I happen to have a session that falls during the time frame but more often than not I am needing to search out the beauty in the common everyday I live in.

It’s something I love to do…to find beauty in the ordinary. If you have read my blog for any length of time that phrase, beauty in the ordinary, is not new to you. I firmly believe there is magical amazing beauty in everything from dust dancing on a sunbeam streaming through a window to a carton of eggs on a kitchen counter. And a well developed sense of seeing beauty, in my opinion, will naturally lead to a heart that is full of thankfulness when we recognize that God is a god of beauty. Or maybe it’s a thankful heart will see the beauty of its Creator in all the simple mundane things. Truthfully it is more likely to be a combination of the two, one feeding the other over and over again until you can no longer see where one begins or how they differ.

I also love finding the light. And it seems that once again I have a bathroom that produces the most beautiful of natural light. This picture I took of Tom reminds me of some old school glamour portrait lighting. Looks pretty good on a cat, don’t you think?

I mentioned yesterday that the cats are slowly getting used to the new puppies. They are but not without some changes being made. Like moving the litter box because they refuse to pass by the dog crate to use it at night. Even though the dogs are inside with a blanket covering it and so they’re not even visible.

For the first two days Tom and Milo weren’t eating either. The puppies were in the main living space of the house hence they didn’t trust them to not be around when they wanted to eat. One thing we have learned about our cats is that they are very much social eaters and like for us to be nearby when they eat. After a little research we learned this means they feel safe and they trust us to have their back. Apparently even without the pups being present and not a clear threat that safety was feeling diminished but we have either convinced them they are safe or they just just got really hungry and decided to risk it. No matter the reason the girls are pleased to see the Bubs back at the food bowl.

Seeing the untouched bowl the first couple of days did get me to thinking of how often I have had the same reaction to a disruption in my own life. Times when I have been uncertain and afraid because of circumstances and let that fear keep me from the spiritual nourishment I needed. Instead of turning to prayer and reading more of the Word I tucked myself away paralyzed by the what ifs and unknowns.

Thankfully God hasn’t ever let me stay there too long, always letting someone or something come along to remind me that I don’t have to be afraid of what might be.

He is indeed our clear and present help in times of trouble.

Odd the lessons you can learn from a bowl of cat food.

DPP ~ Day 15 & 16


Puppy hours are rough!

The first two nights they were up at 4am and let me tell you, I am somewhat an early riser but starting the day that early is not my favorite thing. At all.

But yesterday the pups were a little more adventurous and willing to explore their new home more and we stretched their awake time before bed further. Which was great but they woke up at 3 o’clock. (That sentence should be read with a tone…incredulity, horror, maybe even a whimper of sadness.) The good news is that we took them outside to use the bathroom and then put them back in their crate and they slept until about 6:30. And oddly enough I will take that over being up at 4 in the morning.

We have always said that having babies was a young person’s game and I think taking on puppies might be too. I am feeling all of my 50 years on this earth all at once at various moments throughout the day. But they are just so stinking cute and sweet.

Okay, enough puppy talk and on to yesterday and today’s dpp pictures. I took a few pictures yesterday but see the above paragraphs and I am sure you can imagine why I didn’t get to post them.

I’m really trying not to overdo it with puppy pictures (although I am sure they will show up on here again) so I stepped into the front yard yesterday and enjoyed nosing around the front flower beds with my camera. I don’t think we will be leaving things as they are but for now it looks nice and adds some color.

I have no idea what kind of berry bush this is but I have never seen one with purple and red berries on it at the same time. I’m guessing the berries are changing from one color to the other but I’ve just never seen that before. It’s really pretty!

Day 15

So, I may not be sharing pictures of the pups but I do have a shot of Milo that I took this morning. He and Tom are both quietly settling in to having other four legged furry creatures around. Maybe a better word is slowly getting used to them. They no longer bolt at the first sign of Rex and Louis and we’re counting that as a win. Tom is still the only one of the cats to have any kind of interaction with the puppies. Time will take care of things but for now they seem to alternate between looking at us as if asking, “What in the world?” or “Why? Why would you do this?” Don’t worry though, the kids are pretty quick to make sure the cats gets lots of attention so they know they’re still loved.

See you tomorrow!

DPP ~ Days 9th-13th

Playing catch-up ūüôā
Day 9 ~

A new plant for the kitchen window.

Day 10 ~

When did my kids get so grown?

Day 11 ~

Christmas with part of my family this past weekend! There are a lot of us ūüėČ

Day 12th ~

Day 13 ~

There is something incredible about the sunsets here in Louisiana!

If all goes well tomorrow with the picture I am planning to take I will be so excited. It is not something I have ever gotten to shoot before so fingers crossed it comes out the way I hope.

For now I hope you all had a great Monday!